Thursday, February 28, 2013

the !@#$% chore sticks, done!

Okie dokie, so these chore sticks that never seem to get done and just hover in my semi conscious demanding I finish them with the intoxicating promise of being helpful ... yeah, I want them done.  I have mentally attached the completion of these sticks to the success and smooth running of this household, so I am feeling a smidgy desperate.

So I gave you the massive list of chores, and I showed you how to make the sticks, and how to take a really ugly picnic utensils basket and make it be something you'd actually want in your home.  So now, how to use it!

Here is the gist of it:

There is the section for the chores not being used this week.

Then there is the section for the regular chores that are always expected and never a commission.  This is the daily stuff that Meatball has to do every day.  We don't think that he should be paid to take care of his basic responsibilities and contributions to the house.

Then there is the section for the 20 chores that are available this week for commission.

I will put the chores in on Sunday and they will remain there all week.  We do not control Meatball on when he does the chores, when and how many are entirely up to him.  There are only 20 chores here per week because he can only earn a maximum weekly commission of $5.  This doesn't sound like much (as far as chore numbers) but with Meatball's other responsibilities -- his daily non-commission chores, school, sports, being a kid -- it really is pushing it for him to hit all 20.  At least, we think it will be.  Obviously we will adjust as needed, and I know that during school breaks we will have to develop a plan of some sort.

Each stick is worth twenty-five cents.  This may sound steep, but Meatball is 11 and we didn't want him to have a max earning of $2.  When the Beans is older and he starts getting chores the amount per stick will be much less and will grow with him.

The very last section on the basket is the "done" section, which is divided into two parts.

One is for the daily non-commission ones, the other for the weekly commission ones.  This makes it easier on Meatball to start each day by grabbing yesterday's done dailies and just putting them in the section he still is working on.  When they mix together it takes longer, which means he just skips it and defeats the whole dang point.

Oh and the container that Meatball insisted that he needed because four sections in the basket wasn't enough?

We have no use for it currently, so it is just sitting behind the chore basket with the "I'm Bored" sticks ... which I don't think I ever posted about either ... I will get on that.  So here it is at a glace, I didn't bother to label the dog kennel or my Scentsy warmer, but I think you get the idear!

So, now they're done, is my house clean and organized yet?  Am I hoping for too much?

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Sheldon ... & owl poop

Recently I did a post detailing some of the things I never pictured saying to a child of my own in those days, ages ago, before children. Many of them centered on hygiene, safety or logic but I had a dozy today that I simply must share because I think there are high odds it has never in the history if parenthood been said before.

Oh yes, the debate between is it boogers or blood has surely been said before by someone. Certainly at least one parent before me has wept in gratitude at the avoidance of the catastrophic prior to hitting the deductible.  But this ... I'd be willing to bet my wine cozy has not been said before.

"No! Rat bones and owl poop are NOT appropriate keepsakes!"

While not nearly as frightening or even as creepy as it sounds, it was still wholly unacceptable that it needed to be said.

Here is hoping no mothers-of-mass-murderers have said this sort of thing before.

Recently, however, Paul Bunyan and I have been watching the Big Bang Theory for the first time.  I'm only a few episodes in and I've noticed something that alarms me: I have way to much in common with Sheldon Cooper.  Like enough that while we are watching things Paul Bunyan swivels his head to stare at me pointedly.  Kinda like ...

... and I'm all ...

... but this was me when Meatball asked if he could keep his owl poop and rat bones in a baggie because science class was soooooo cool today.

Um, no.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

the importance of parchment paper

It is funny how the little things can derail you.

Take for example, parchment paper.  Something so simple, yet apparently it is quite important to listen to a recipe when it says that you should use it and not, for example, tin foil.

Allow me to teach you why and how.

I found these on Pintercrack.  Marvel in their beauty for a moment if you will, Raw Banana Bread Bars from The Sweet Life Online.  

Now we all know there is a snowball's chance I can make anything even half that pretty and the odds of it being as tasty as those probably are is equally slim, if not less.  But if I gave up there I'd have nothing to blog about.

I bought bananas because they are cheap.  I found dates (which I have admittedly never bought before) and had the oatmeal ... it seemed sooo simple.  But the website very clearly says you need parchment paper.

Now I did not intentionally disregard this, I just overlooked it.  Until I was all ready to go.  Keep in mind I am allergic to bananas and Paul Bunyan gets frustrated when I try to handle them, so speed was of the essence here.  So I made a snap decision to proceed because, really, how important can parchment paper be?  

Um, apparently very.  

So I slice for about 45 years and put them on tin foil coated in a non-stick spray ... 

I presume that this is where I went wrong because where the bananas were supposed to get a bit dry and bendy I instead had kind of smoked bananas at the end.  And they were just as wet as they started, but definitely stickier.

So yes, I messed this one up on like the very first step.  I did continue on in the hope that it would end up being edible in some form ... but ... well, see for yourself ...

In the processor, but already doomed.

Um, that looks appetizing, right?

Trying to flatten it per the instructions, but it is a bit liquidy.

Uh, yeah, once they are in the right shape they are clearly much better looking.  Right?  Yeah, I didn't think so either.  

As you can tell the end result wasn't particularly appetizing in appearance.  What the picture doesn't appropriately convey is the texture and consistency.  It was wet, soupy, gooey, and just plain gross. 

Ultimately, I tried sticking it in the fridge over night in the hope that the cold would firm it up.  Still a big nope. 

So in the trash it went, and I know now that while clear plastic wrap may be my arch nemesis parchment paper is clearly a very underrated product.  

Oh, and the extra burned gooey bananas?

Threw them out too.  Ew.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

child labor and commissions

I have been feeling particularly down and failurey as a homemaker lately.  Perhaps it is the constant state of disarray the house is in, or perhaps it is the constant state of disarray the house is in, but it has left me craving simplicity and order like Thin Mints during PMS (thank the gods that Thin Mints are nut free, I would have had to throw myself in front of a bus).

I wanted to start off with a list of just household chores, that everyone can do.  Myself, the kids, and the husband.  But kept getting stuck on laundry and toilets, and how much I'd like to never deal with either, and couldn't think past them.

So I click on over to Pintercrack just certain there will be a treasure trove of helpful lists and ideas.  Instead I find about a million "chores that burn 100 calories," ways to attach mops to crawling children's clothes, and a whole lot a jokes about chores and marital congress being directly proportional.

Did you hear that Paul Bunyan?

At any rate, it seems Pintercrack is telling me that my only hope for an organized clean home is child labor or 30 minutes of mini golf.

Aaaaand a clean home is seeming even more hopeless over here.

Then I remembered my stellar yet never fully utilized chore sticks.  Remember these?  Beautimous, but not like I really finished posting about them, right?  Well that was kind of a premonition of what was to come because I was totally a bad ass at putting the chore sticks out for Meatball ... for like three weeks.  Then he had to remind me for like another three weeks.  Then he, unsurprisingly, stopped.

So I am Resurrecting them!  Because, well, I want a clean house and Pintercrack made it clear child labor was the way to go!  Oh, and they were a poop ton of work to complete so I'd rather them be used!

So picking up where that last post left off I have purdy painted sticks and a basket.  I also have a short list of  100 chores already established (what was I searching for on Pintercrack for again?  Oh ... yeah, that's right. Something I already have.  Lovely.)

The list can be found at the bottom of this post, and it is quite comprehensive.  Feel free to pin the crack outta dat!

So then I decide, because it makes sense and because I am on a huge Dave Ramsey kick right now (in the Snowball stage and we are rollin' that muthah!) that allowance is now commission.  Meatball hasn't actually collected an allowance in a while, so he is down for anything that gets him paid again.

So the price is twenty-five cents a stick with a weekly cap of $5 as the most he could possibly earn for the time being.  If you are wondering why on earth we'd cap his chore earning/doing capacity it is simple -- he'd forgo sleep.  At any rate  between school, sports and kidness he really can only fit an additional 20 chores max in there anyway.  His usual chores (dishes, bed making, dog poo, etc) are non-commission because they are part of being a family member.  Especially the dog poo one, mama no wanna.

Tomorrow I will tell you about how we use it -- what are all those sections of the basket for anyway?! -- and what payday will look and feel like for the Meatball.

Clean organized house?  Instituting child labor and hope to have it soon!

So here is the list, 109 things including the "Freebies" which are there so that if Meatball has to pull chores at random he may get lucky.  Without the Freebies there are a total of 100 chores.  

Meatball’s Room (YELLOW)
1. Laundry
2. Feed/water turtle
3. Dust all surfaces
4. Windex all glass
5. Make your bed
6. Vacuum
7. Change bedding
8. Clean out closet
9. Organize your toys
10. Freebie

Meatball’s Bathroom (HOT PINK)
11. Scrub toilet
12. Scrub bathtub/shower
13. Empty garbage
14. Shake rug
15. Sweep floor
16. Swiffer floor
17. Mop floor
18. Wash sink
19. Freebie

The Garage and Laundry Area (GREY)
20. Empty garage garbage
21. Sweep garage
22. Vacuum washer area rug
23. Wipe down washer and drier
24. Wash mom’s vehicle
25. Empty Mom’s vehicle garbage
26. Wash flat interior surfaces of Mom’s car
27. Check Mom’s oil
28. Check Mom’s antifreeze
29. Check Dad’s tire pressure
30. Empty Dad’s garbage
31. Wash flat interior surfaces of Dad’s truck
32. Wash Dad’s windows
33. Vacuum Dad’s Truck
34. Wash Dad’s truck
35. Freebie

General Cleaning (ORANGE)
36. Wash baseboards in hallway
37. Wash baseboards in beds/bath
38. Wash baseboards in kitchen/dining
39. Wash walls in the kitchen/dining area
40. Wash walls in the hallway
41. Wash walls bed/bath
42. Dust all picture frames
43. Vacuum all carpet
44. Wipe up bathroom when done
45. Sweep all tile
46. Sweep all wood
47. Swiffer all tile
48. Swiffer all wood
49. Mop all tile
50. Mop all wood
51. Wash all light plates
52. Windex all glass
53. Clean all windows
54. Freebie

Kitchen (TEAL)
55. Load/unload dishwasher
56. Empty recycling bin
57. Feed dogs AM
58. Feed dogs PM
59. Empty garbage
60. Wipe down oven
61. Wipe down stove top
62. Wipe down chairs
63. Wipe down microwave
64. Wipe down cabinet exteriors
65. Wipe table
66. Mop kitchen
67. Wipe down dishwasher
68. Wipe down juicer
69. Wipe down refrigerator
70. Wipe counters
71. Sweep kitchen
72. Sweep eating area
73. Dust eating area
74. Dust kitchen blinds
75. Swiffer kitchen
76. Swiffer eating area
77. Clean sink
78. Freebie

Outside (GREEN)
79. Pick up dog poop
80. Sweep patio
81. Wash patio furniture
82. Wash the “park” and “truck”
83. Water plants
84. Mow backyard
85. Weed the backyard
86. Weed front yard
87. Weed garden
88. Freebie

Living Room (BLUE)
89. Swiffer
90. Sweep
91. Empty garbage
92. Wipe down furniture
93. Organize/clean up toys
94. Vacuum rug
95. Dust knick knacks
96. Mop wood
97. Dust flat surfaces
98. Vacuum the shelves*
99. Freebie

Adult Bathroom (MAROON)
100. Scrub bath/shower
101. Windex mirror
102. Mop floor
103. Empty garbage
104. Sweep floor
105. Shake rug
106. Scrub toilet
107. Wash sink
108. Freebie
109. Freebie

* Yes, it does say vacuum shelves.  Trust me, it works better than dusting.

Friday, February 22, 2013

5 things to *never* say to a reflux mom

Beans, taking the pink goo like a champ!
The Beans, who never does anything halfsies, got sick last week and into this week.  Poor kiddo had horrible chest congestion, the stuffiest/runniest nose in the history of cute little button noses, and not one but two ear infections.

Thusly, I was reminded of the one and only perk I can think of for his earliest days of constant medication needs.

My nearly 2 year old takes drugs like a pro.  Okay, that sounds kinda bad, but it is actually really good.  Well, in context anyway.

Given that Beans had to take meds twice to three times a day from infancy onward he just presumes swallowing nasty goo is part of life.  No fight.  No crying.  No spitting.  No death shriek while writhing on the floor the way Meatball always did.

So I count that as one perk, and likely the only one I could come up with in a pinch.  That said, I don't think I would try to reassure any mama's of babies currently in the midst of GERD that one day they will be able to laugh over being able to dope their kid with ease as a result.  In fact, there are a lot of really stupid things that are said to mamas and dadas of refluxers with the intention of being helpful or soothing that wind up making them want to commit murder ... or aim the fire hose of baby puke their way on the next, inevitable, round.

Five things to NEVER say to a Reflux Mom:

1. Oh its just a little spit up!

Its. Just. A. Little. Spit. Up.  Oooooooh, is that all?  The endless screaming in pain, is that a figment of my imagination?  The refusal to eat OR the constant need to eat, is that also part of me being dramatic?  The contortions my baby puts himself in, the bruises his itty bitty toes give me as he tries to scale me getting away from the horrible burning?  How about the vomit that launches out of him and hits the opposite side of the room?  The constant burping and hiccuping that keeps him awake?  The possible need for surgery, expensive formulas, medication? Go ahead, tell me again how its just a little spit up.

2. Lots of babies have reflux!

Mm-kay.  This may well be true, I honestly don't know the numbers, but I do know that the "reflux" I am talking about isn't standard run of the mill she spits up after every meal kind.  Even if a million other babies are currently cry-puking with their exhausted helpless parents wanting to do anything to make it better right there with me, minimizing how hard this is hardly helps.

3. He/she will grow out of it!

Oh there is a light at the end of the tunnel ... but it can take years.  Even if it takes only a few months, ask yourself this: how much do you actually like sleep?  Ear drums in tact?  And again, it isn't just a baby crying and keeping you up -- your child is suffering.  Yes, I hope the timetable is a short one, but understand the road is a tough one.

4. Do you burp him/her after feeding?

Holy Similac Batman, you mean you are supposed to BURP the baby?!  WTF chapter of What to Expect When You're a Freaking MORON was that part in?!

5. Oh I always had to avoid *insert food here* when I was nursing my baby.

If you are nursing your refluxer, chances are between Google and your doctor you are down to eating saltines and water rations in the hope that it will help.  My elimination diet was exhaustive for my child, and while I happily avoided foods that I knew would make things worse for him it was still challenging as heck to be tired, physically drained, and then to have to watch every single thing that went into my mouth with microscopic intensity.

For formula feeders, this shit be pricey in some cases!  While some babies may drastically improve with the avoidance of certain ingredients or even brands, some need special formulas that one does not get at a regular grocery store.  And the smell?  *shudders*

Bottom line, if you decide to be patronizing, minimizing, or condescending to the parent of a infant/baby/toddler with reflux, you may get shanked with a medicine dropper in the eye.  

Thursday, February 21, 2013

IK4T: fireplaces & mantles

Okay so it has been a while.  Like a pathetically long while, so I am going to go with an installment of I'd Kill 4 That that we all are faced with every major holiday, particularly the one that recently past that I am not the biggest fan of anyway.  Humbug, y'all.

Fireplaces -- such cozy inviting things that complete a room and fill it with an ambiance nothing else can.  A simple Pintercrack search for "fireplace" yields some really stunning places with an astounding fireplace as a focal point.  For the purposes of this rant, er, I mean post we shall focus only on those that are indoors.  We will tackle enviable outdoor spaces in another rant.  Post, I mean post.

So here we have this lovely little bright pop of color ...

Lets ignore that I envy how anyone can use color like that without it feeling like a kider-classroom or just visual vomit.  I guess it is the restrained use of color, *nose up in the air* but seriously, it is awesome.  If it were my house, that much white would be covered in hand prints and boogers.

Moving on ...

Don't you just want to sit down with a book and a cup of something warm with your woolly socks and Snuggie?  No? Just me?  Okay.  (For the record, I would like it noted I do not own a Snuggie.)

One of my fave blogs to read had this how-to on it and I totally heart it.  I want the mantle, the candles, oh and her plank wall.  I desperately want that plank wall in my house somewhere but that is entirely not the point of this post.

For those people out there who are actually festive -- unlike yours truly who wants to be but is simply too lazy -- you can do some awesomey things with fireplaces and mantles round holiday time.  For example, werk the cute-yet-spoooooky factor like this:

Or pine cone and foliage it up!

Or these icicles, this one might actually make me less of a Scrooge ... 

That one and this next one both made me think "Narnia" though I am not totally sure why ...

I love this one with the corner thing its got going.

And then there is this, maybe my favoritest of them all ... sigh ...

But then I saw some like these next to, and my inner geek actually gasped out loud ...

... oh my gawd ...

Yes! YES! YESSS! (totally said like an Herbal Essence commercial!)

So now that you have all those breathtaking images in your corneas, let me smack you with a dose of reality. My fireplace and mantle ... which I, of course, decorate faithfully to match every season and holiday with perfect Martha-esk skill ...

Oh, wait, that's right!  My fire place and mantle are about as real as those decorations.  I don;t have one!  None at all, not really something you need or miss in a desert climate, but still.  Makes me sad.  Especially now that I realize I could be stashing books in there too!

So yet again, drat you Pintercrack for making me have the sadz and being all full of envy!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

I want a halfsies kid

No one actually thinks they have a halfsies kid, but I want one.

We can all label other people's children as halfsies, or easy kids.  The kids who don't have to charge like a knight into a joust into everything they do.  Kids who only kinda get sick.  Or only kinda have sleep problems.  Or only kinda have temper tantrums.

Okay, maybe they don't actually exist, maybe the idea of a child who is easy is just a figment of the imagination and wishes of parents the world over.  If one of those kids do exist, maybe they grow up to be the Hannibal Lecter's of the world and we should just be cool with our needy little poor sleepers with attitudes and feeding issues.


That said, we all know that while we'd gladly run into a burning buildings after soaking in gasoline for our children, we do not have to like them all the time.  Honest truth, love my kids blindly.  Don't happen to always like them.  Would do anything for them, but would give a kidney for a five second break most days.  I mean, I can't even remember the last time I went to the bathroom without a resounding applause and "mommy potty!" just before I flushed.

So, the Beans is sick.  Being that he is not a halfsies kid, AT ALL, he went full boar.  Why have ONE ear infection, man, when you have two ears?  What's the point of having a fever and making mom search for the damned thermometer if you can't yield a number greater than 101?  Who needs a cough when you can choke on phlegm?   And, of course, why the heck would you just have a runny nose when you can make your family wish they had hip waders to better navigate the rivers of your snot with?

But while I was feeling nothing but pity and sympathy on day one and two, I began wallowing in my own pathetic misery by day three. So by day four and a half when Beans was on the slight upswing I realized something.

There is something much worse than a sick child.  The child who is finally starting to feel better after days of infirmary is much, much worse.

Beans would oscillate between the utterly male/baby conviction that no one in the history of suffering had ever suffered as much as he was and then would swing to the other end of the pendulum and was like a squirrel on a crack-speed cocktail.  Running around like a madman, laughing in a manic way ... then coughing like a three-pack-a-day-habit while crying and choking on his own snot while moaning "mama" and wanting nothing more than me holding him.

Hold him, I did.  Whilst praying fervently that the misery would pass, and the copious amounts of hand sanitizer I was requiring everyone to use in addition to the bleach cleaning wipes that rarely left my side were doing their job and preventing the plague from spreading.

But today I woke up and I sound like Louis Armstrong.  Fingers, toes and eyes crossed that I am the only marked one in the house.  Again, I am reminded about the main difficulty in living with men.  It has nothing to do with toilet seats in the wrong position, fart jokes, or never owning breakables or white items.  No, it is the dreaded man cold.

So the point of this post was, in summary: whine, vent, complain, pray!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

*stuff* parents say

Parenthood changes you.

One moment you have dignity and some semblance of self worth, the next you are feeling like hot stuff because you shaved your legs this month, a stolen chicken nugget is a meal, and you feel a huge sense of accomplishment when you teach your children to use a bottle opener for you.

I know in my pre-kid days I was a Judgey McJudgeison who often turned my nose up at parents who's children weren't eating their broccoli with smiles at every meal, saying please and thank you in their sleep, and knowing how to locate an effing salad fork.  Seriously, I don't even  know which one is the salad fork so I am not sure where these delusions came from.  At any rate, I was thinking the other day that there are some real gems that my kid-free friends would be equally horrified and amused-in-a-non-understanding-condescending-way at hearing me utter.

Here are my top fifteen.

Shit I Never Said Before I Became a Mom

1. I used the baby's Nose Freda ... on myself.  I feel better.

2. Thank gawd, it is only pee.

3. Bye bye penis!  Bye bye now! *said in a really animated voice that makes pulling one's pants on acceptable even when one really doesn't want his pants on*

4. I can't tell for sure, let me just sniff his butt.

5. Ha ha ha, they say it is unbreakable!

6. So do you want to wear pants today? Please?

7. Is that a booger or a scab?

8. OMG, seriously, I can go to the grocery store and shop By. My. Self?! (okay I have never said this, but I fantasize about getting to, and that is a new thing)

9. Well at least he didn't swallow it, we are no where near our deductible yet.

10. What, you don't have the number for poison control memorized?

11. Holy flip flops Wolverine, trim those toenails!

12. When did I get that black eye?

13. Oh it is only a little poop/pee/vomit/snot.

14. Did you actually use soap/toothpaste this time, or just water?

15. Dora is a hooker, DJ Lance is on acid, but Caillou is a whiny bitch.

What about you?  What are some zingers you never thought you'd say prior to parenthood?