Archive for the Homemaking Made Easy Category

Elimination Communication Breakdown

Posted in Embarrassing Moments, Going Green, Homemaking Made Easy, Motherhood with tags , , , , on May 18, 2009 by Ms. Ex

Made by Mommy.  The "Flaming Wreckage" diaper.

Made by Mommy. The "Flaming Wreckage" diaper.

I love cloth diapers.

I know.  What a ridiculous thing to love, right?  But if you ask any mama who does it nowadays, she’ll probably tell you the same thing. 

Not only are they easy to use (no, really – they are), but they are ridiculously cute!  Crazy cute.  And who can resist an already adorable tushie that is covered with soft goodness in your favorite colors?  Makes the Charmin look unappealing at best.

Yes, the cult of the cloth is firmly entrenched in even the mildest of crunchy families.  But a new cult is forming.

It’s called “Elimination Communication,” or EC for short.

Basically, it means that you pay attention to your baby’s signals and learn when they need to eliminate, then you take them to the potty and let the potty begin.  There are also cues you develop to let baby know it’s okay to shake the dew from her lily or let loose the bowels of hell.

I’m all for being close to your babies, listening to them and trying to understand what they need.  I think it’s absolutely necessary in fact.

But maybe there are just too many distractions in modern life for this to be really workable for me.

I ask my friends who do this if there are accidents, and the answer is always, “Sometimes,” but she will sort of look at the floor, or her eyes will suddenly start darting around as if the woman is contemplating chewing her arm off to get away. 

Because she doesn’t want you to know the truth.

In my house, within seconds of taking off the diaper, there is poop on my floor, or I get urinated on, and not in a good way.*  I just figure some airing out does a body good now and again, but dammit, every time I let him go commando I have a mess to clean up.

There.  If I can admit it, anyone can.  Except I guess not everyone has that whole  “lack of shame” thing going on like I do.  So unless I can get some serious help up in here and have time to do absolutely nothing but stare into my baby’s eyes all day…well.  I know not what others may choose but, as for me, give me diapers…

or give me a maid.

 

 

*I’m kidding! About there being a good way to be peed on, I mean.  Like I really had to tell you. 


The Great Caffeine Crisis of 2009

Posted in Homemaking Made Easy, Why you should maybe rethink the whole reproducing thing with tags , , on May 15, 2009 by Ms. Ex

I was very proud of myself for finding all the necessary pieces of my cappuccino machine this morning.  As you know, if you read this post, this is no small feat.

Of course, it’s not working properly.

And now I’ve spent so much effort putting it together, I no longer have the wherewithall to make coffee.

So due to the lack of caffeine, I will not be posting today.  Check back another time, or bring me some Starlight Cafe goodness.

That is all.

Beating a Dead House

Posted in Homemaking Made Easy with tags , , on April 26, 2009 by Ms. Ex

I have made no secret of my lack of housekeeping skills.  In fact, in a moment of folly I even posted photos.  Photos, people!

The Parent Bloggers Network is having another blog blast this weekend, compliments of Pledge Multi-Surface Cleaner, and I’m flouncing my shame around in public in honor of the event.

I sit right now in the middle of an architectural disaster.  A hundred year old house makes dust bunnies that reproduce faster than regular bunnies.  Coupled with my apathy about things like dusting, I could start some kind of farm here, if I thought the bunnies wouldn’t get lost amid the clutter.

So how do I clean?

Mostly, I move stuff around until I can reach a surface.  Then I wipe with whatever is handy – sometimes it’s a washcloth, sometimes a sponge, sometimes a shirt.  If a child happens to be wearing the shirt, it’s a bit more of a challenge.

Today I loaded up the truck with donations for a local thrift store.  I think I’m finally ready to let it all go.  I figure once I can find all the surfaces in my house, I’ll be more likey to clean them.  I do have one question about the Multi Surface cleaner, though.

Can I use it on the kids?

Carnival of Play: Water Play Activities Part II

Posted in Homemaking Made Easy, Motherhood with tags , , , , , on April 9, 2009 by Ms. Ex

Children’s play is their work, and there is no reason it can’t be yours, also.  I have found some simple ways to include the kiddos in my chores, and this is my absolute favorite.

This is part two of my Carnival of Play post, inspired by Annie at PhD in Parenting.  Unfortunately, my floor-cleaning hasn’t happened in the last couple of weeks (don’t tell anyone) because I’ve been so busy, so there will be no pictures quite yet, but here is my super, secret, special way of getting my floor sparkly clean!

Sweep first.  Of course, one should know this, but if you clean house like I generally do, there’s a chance you might not.

Then gather together a bucket or basin of warm water, a bunch of rags and/or sponges, and a non-toxic cleanser of some kind.  You can actually use baking soda, or vinegar.  Mixing them essentially just gives you water and salt, though, so just use one.  I just use Seventh Generation free-and-clear dish liquid.

Dress the children (and yourself!) in something that you don’t mind getting wet.  Because friends, we are about to get wet.

Let the kids clean the floor.  Let them get soapy and wet and squishy and puddly.  Get that water on the floor, let them slide around on it (on their bottoms to prevent falls), let them squish the sponges and towels between their toes.  Have them “scrub” the floor with their cloths, and don’t worry about excess water.  But don’t let them have all the fun; get down there with them and slip around.  Experience the warm water, the bubbles, the silliness.

When you are finished, you will all grab a couple of old towels and push them around the floor until you’ve soaked it all up.  Maybe it will take three towels, or five.

In my book, an extra load of laundry is a small price to pay for a clean floor and two happy children.

I realize my parenting style is unconventional.  It’s not for everyone.

But if you need to work, and your children need to play, it seems like a pretty good plan to find ways to meet in the middle.

Happy cleaning playing, and while you are at it, check out these other excellent posts from the carnival of play:

99 Bottles of Blog on the Wall

Posted in Homemaking Made Easy, Mental Stability, Motherhood, People Are Idiots, Why you should maybe rethink the whole reproducing thing, Writing with tags , , , , , on March 31, 2009 by Ms. Ex

Interestingly, my biggest motivator and friend, Melissa, is also celebrating her 100th post TODAY!  I guess we both started taking our writing more seriously about the same time, only she was much more disciplined than I was for a while.  Then she started nursing school, and with four kids and a husband to take care of – let’s just say I caught up.  For now.

For my little celebration, I’m doind a round up of my favorite posts.  Mostly funny, I think, but I’ll let you be the judge.

Just keep it to yourself if you disagree, mmkay?

Dear God, Someone Please Stop Her

How to Leave a Party in Three Easy Steps

My Morning Routine

Not So Serious, After All

Top Ten Reasons to Only Go Places With Nice Bathrooms

Cleaning Tips for Real People

The Cow Call

Male Female Relations in a Nutshell

Cool Beans

P.S.  Thanks for all the love!

Reduce, Reuse, Reincarnate

Posted in Going Green, Homemaking Made Easy, The Soap Box with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 22, 2009 by Ms. Ex

I recycle!  Yes, I do.  In fact, you might say I have a bit of a problem.

I’ve have been asked, and answered with complete seriousness, the question, “Are you keeping this dryer lint for a project?”

I won’t tell you how I answered.

It all started with using wool as a cloth diaper cover.  It worked so well for my heavy wetter, I could hardly believe it.  It became my cover of choice, and with a little research I learned how to take discarded wool sweaters and turn them into rockin’ baby pants with almost no skill involved at all.

Gradually, I realized that I could make more than just pants – I could have matching sweaters!  Hats!  Wool appliques!

It’s easy to see now, in hindsight, how a person with my proclivities might get carried away.  A Goodwill sweater here, a silk shirt from a pile of junk on the side of the road there – you see where I’m going, right?

Before long, I had a stash of historic proportions.  The thing is, the more I bought, the more I realized I could do with them.  I started using the scraps to stuff toys (and knitted breasts, but that’s another post), I use the larger pieces to make little embellishments for hats.  I started buying clothes made from gorgeous fabric and making something I would actually wear.

It’s not that I don’t buy anything new.  My kids have regular clothes, in among the pants that I mended with fabric I rescued from the thrift store and the recycled sweater pants.

But I dress them in cashmere.  I have awesome diaper bags that I made from castoff place mats.  I have a baby bib I made from a Sublime tee shirt.  I have the coolest kids on the block, in my book.

When I walk into a clothing store and see row after row of all that fabric, I wonder where it will end up, and why we think we need so much.  It makes me nauseated, dizzy, the overwhelming choice of it all, when just down the road, if you can spend just a few minutes digging, are bargains waiting for new incarnations.

Even if you can’t sew, there are amazing things to be found in a thrift store.  And I’m not saying you have to buy your under drawers at the Salvation Army, honey. You can buy tee shirts from the dollar bin, cut them up and use them as cleaning cloths.  Make a reusable shopping bag from an old Sex Pistols shirt.  Fly your freak flag with pride.  Or buy that designer skirt you’d never be able to afford in real life and don’t ever tell a soul where you got it.

Buying thrifty is just one way to make a dent in the crazy amount of waste that happens in this country.  It cuts processing, which involves chemicals, as well as transportation and other environmentally damaging parts of the clothing industry.  And when you only spend  a few dollars on an item, you can afford to buy more!  It’s a win-win situation.

Another great way to reduce your impact on our earth is to use environmentally friendly cleaning products.  SC Johnson has developed a new line of cleaners that are designed to actually, you know, work while still retaining their eco-friendly personalities.  They are called Nature’s Source and I can’t wait to try them.  They, along with The Parent Bloggers Network weekly Blog Blast are the reason for this post.  So, uh – check them out.  Right after you send me your wool.


We Are Not Alone (in our messy houses, even if you don’t count the squirrels and the action figures)

Posted in Embarrassing Moments, Homemaking Made Easy, Why you should maybe rethink the whole reproducing thing with tags , , , on March 21, 2009 by Ms. Ex

Yesterday I got to laugh a bit while taking a break from writing about depression when I came across Her Bad Mother’s post about house cleaning.

I’ve been pretty clear about my skills in that area, but I haven’t been what you might call…transparent.  She posted pictures!

So in a show of solidarity (and maybe just a bit of competitiveness for the “don’t use her bathroom award”) – I’m posting some of my own before pictures, because I plan to fix it.  Soon.  Like maybe tomorrow.  Or the next day.  Or surely by next month.

In fact, I think I will do a video series.  Maybe the pressure of knowing you will be watching me will help me stay on task and finally organize this house.  Or maybe I will end up needing a second zip-lock baggie to hold all the meds.  We’ll see.

Drum roll please…

My back is to this mess while I write.  It's the only way I survive.

My back is to this mess while I write. It's the only way I survive.

The little circle on the table is Beckett’s musical toothbrush.  He likes the variety of leaving it odd places and having me look for it every day.  The string is the remnant of an invention.  No, not the invention, but something similar.  The great big circle is the to-do pile of sewing and paper crafting and other stuff that I want to do but I’m too damned busy taking pictures.

Preschool teacher's nightmare.

Preschool teacher's nightmare.

Here we have a baggie of felt I need to ship for an Etsy customer, and just below that – my kids’ favorite toy.  Tampons.  They were my daughter’s, because for some reason she won’t use cloth pads, but now they are just another weapon in the arsenal of “what can we play next, mommy?”.   The little, tiny circle at the bottom?  That’s my cappucino machine.  You put your appliances where you want, and I’ll do the same, mmkay?

My sacred space.

My sacred space.

This is the cluttered corner of hell peaceful oasis in which I sit when I type all this tripe, since my laptop is unbearably slow now.  Chained to a desktop – can you believe it?  The view on my screen is one of Her Bad Mother’s photos.  And you know, looking at her house I got jealous.  I thought, my house could be that tidy!  Really!  If I just had some help.  And some cute, modern throw rugs.  But what really gets me about her house is the book tossing.  Here, the best my kids can throw is a Richard Brautigan, or a Chuck Palahniuk.  Her kids get Bukowski and Derrida, for crying out loud!  I need to work with them more.

Anyway, the rectangular plastic container holds beans from the great bean extravaganza of 2009.  I should throw them away, but why?  Maybe we’ll use them again.  Next to it is my bag of mother’s little helpers.  All legitimately prescribed to me – and totally ineffectual.  Then some random shit is circled,  and I quit, because there’s just too much to look at here.  Where do I start?  The wine glass from three nights ago?  The paper towels with coffee grounds in the tube?  It’s just too overwhelming.

I think I’ll go tackle a project now.  I feel motivated.  Or maybe it’s tired.  Something like that, anyway.

And in case I need to say it – no, you cannot use my bathroom.

Rant ‘n’Roll Will Never Die

Posted in Homemaking Made Easy, Mental Stability, People Are Idiots with tags , , , on March 14, 2009 by Ms. Ex

Here is the run down of my day:

1.  Bread.  In the bath tub.  That’s right, ladies and gentlemen.  Witness:

Lead-Free Bath Toy (but not gluten-free)

I spy a whole wheat, lead-free bath toy (but not gluten-free)

2.  See cell phone.  See glass of milk.  See mom scream.  See that it’s too late.  I am sure gonna miss my milky, qwerty keyboard phone.  This I have no photos of.  It’s just too painful.

3.  Forward calls to house phone.  This requires a call to customer service, which results in idiot-savant Justin (whose name probably really is Justin, since he speaks American English with no discernible accent) quizzing me about the phone number I’m calling from and telling me I am not an authorized user.  He hasn’t asked me for my own phone number yet, even though I specifically told him I was not calling from MY phone.

4.  Trip to Alltel to have an old phone activated: 30 seconds.  Having the call forwarding canceled: 30 MINUTES, and finally – a call to Alltel customer service.  While standing in the Alltel store: Priceless.  *Sigh.*

5.  Then on to Walmart to buy storage bins.  You know, the ones with the little signs over them on the shelves that say, “Don’t Forget the Lid!”  But which lid?  One that fits, perhaps?  No!  That would be incontheivable (ok, is it i before e except after c except when you are altering the spelling of a word to reference your favorite movie ever?)!  Instead, let’s make sure than any bin that’s affordable has no lid anywhere in the vicinity.  And the expensive ones?  Well, those lids don’t fit.

6.  Finally – it’s so late, I go for a cheap and ready pizza.  My total?  $6.53.  This is exactly what he said it was.  So I give the guy $10.03 and watch him agonize  over it as it lay there, all helpless in his hand, at the mercy of the new math.  And then I get back from him – $3.47.

“Um, I gave you three cents.”

“Yeah, but your total was $6.56.”

“If I had known that I would have…nevermind.”  And with a thank you and a big, fake smile, I left.

I think I will take a nice, long bread bath tonight.  I totally deserve it.

The Good Ol’ Snow Days

Posted in Homemaking Made Easy, Motherhood on March 3, 2009 by Ms. Ex

Back when I was a youngster, before global warming and all, we used to have snow SO DEEP we could tunnel through it and make igloos and we would lose children in it for weeks at a time.  It had nothing to do with the fact that I and all my friends were three feet tall – it’s ALL TRUE!

And instead of sleds, we had laundry baskets, but they weren’t even baskets they were laundry TUBS.  All plastic, no holes, because laundry always smelled like fresh air back then even when it was dirty.  And we would take those tubs out into the back yard where there were real hills, because a developer hadn’t leveled everything to make the neighborhood more aesthetically pleasing.  We would then take turns flying down the hill into the ditch valley between our houses at a sound-barrier taunting three miles per hour!

If we were really lucky, our moms would be into recycling and we would get to put those bread bags from store-bought loaves over our boots and rubberband them around our legs, so no snow would ever get in there.  No blood, either, but at least they weren’t wet and cold.  Well, wet, anyway.

And playing in the woods with your friends on a snow day when you were four years old was no big deal, because if someone took you, your parents knew it was just that weirdo from across the street and they knew where to find you.  I must say, using those oil drums as fireplaces in our fort was a stroke of brilliance.

Nowadays in the south, we have to lug up the box labeled “Winter Gear” that we haven’t used in three years and figure out if we have enough things that fit everyone that aren’t dry-rotted or filled with baby spiders.  I couldn’t even remember what a mitten was supposed to look like.

Despite the hardship of modern parenting, the snow day yesterday was beautiful, and fun, and I didn’t regret for a moment everyone being home.  That is not always the case.  And it looks like today is lining up to be another snow day here.  Anyone have any bread bags?

He says it was keeping him warm.  Makes sense to me.

Ethan says it was keeping him warm. Makes sense to me.

Beckett & I Me Mine In our super cool hats

Beckett & I Me Mine In our super cool hats

The Real Mom Quiz

Posted in Homemaking Made Easy, Motherhood, Why you should maybe rethink the whole reproducing thing with tags , , , , on February 17, 2009 by Ms. Ex

Disclosure:  I occasionally, in a fit of mindlessness, click on those ridiculous quizzes from Facebook.  Go ahead, mock me.  You’ve all done it too and I know it.

Yesterday, there was one purporting to tell me what kind of mommy I am.  From five questions.

I don’t think anyone should be pigeonholed into some arbitrary category of parenting by a mere five questions, so I’ve decided to develop a much more scientific quiz for my amusement your edification.  Complete the following statements with the choice that most fits you.

1.  The only reason I would allow my 18 month old to continue to squish his hands around in the puddle of glue he spilled on the train table is:

A.  I am busy paying bills

B.  I didn’t  see him doing it

C.  I would never, EVER leave a bottle of glue out where a child could get to it.

D.  I am blogging and just need five more minutes.

2.  My child likes to fish his waffles out of the toaster on the floor with the hook from my tea strainer ball.  I:

A.  Tell him it’s dangerous and not to do it anymore.

B.  Wonder why he’s so quiet in there…

C.  Your toaster is on the FLOOR??

D.  Unplug the toaster and tell him he can only do it when mommy’s right there.

3.  My four year old starts saying “Damn” on a frighteningly regular basis.  I:

A.  Explain to him that some words are not nice and we shouldn’t use them.

B.  Convince myself he’s saying “Dan” and that it’s all just a cute misunderstanding.

C.  Refuse to leave the house for fear of being mortified by this foul-mouthed child.

D.  Try really hard not to laugh, then tell everyone that all words are just tools and if we don’t pay attention to it he’ll get over the novelty of it.

4.  My little ones decide it is TONS of fun to slide down my back from my bed to theirs and crash into the pillows and blankets.  I:

A.  Hmmm…I’m not sure I understand what you’re saying.

B.  Uh, I’m on Facebook, not horsing around on the bed.

C.  OMG!  Your children sleep in the same room as you?!

D.  Laugh hysterically and think that this bed arrangement is the coolest thing ever.

5.  I am trying to write a quiz for my blog, and my kid keeps saying, “Mommy come in here and play the tickle game with me!”  I:

A.  Say, “I am working, sweetie, and I need just a few more minutes.  Then I will come in and play.”

B.  Shout, “For the last time, I’ll come in there when I’m ready!”

C.  I don’t have time for that sort of thing.  There are cupcakes to make for the PTA bake sale and then the Junior League meeting is tonight!

D.  Say, “Here is the $200 wireless keyboard.  Come in here and you can sit on the floor and write just like mommy!”  And decide that maybe five questions is enough, after all.

Scoring:  If you answered A, B, or D for any of the questions, or any combination of them, or if your answers would change around among those choices depending on the day (or time of month), congratulations – you are a real mom.

If you answered C for any question:  you are definitely reading the wrong blog.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.