Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sticky Rice and Housekeeping tips that would Mortify my mother

In the 12 plus years since we've had children, I have learned a thing or two that can only be learned by experience in regards to keeping house.

Today, we'll talk about rice.

First off, if you try to sweep the kitchen floor after a meal that includes rice, all you end up doing is smearing half the rice all over the floor, and sticking the other half of it to your broom.

So what has this taught me? It's best to wait to sweep until breakfast the next morning when the rice is now hard and crunchy on your floor. It sweeps up much easier. Heck, you can even vacuum it.

Yes, I know that would disgust Martha Stewart. But I do think she could respect my next discovery in regards to rice. Rice Krispies to be exact.

If you ever happen to run out of super glue, but you have some Rice Krispies in your cupboard, take comfort. You see, all you have to do is wet a dozen or so pieces of cereal in milk, sit them on the surface requiring adhesion, and let them dry for about an hour. I have never actually had to do this, but I know it will work because if I let a bowl of Rice Krispies sit on the counter for an hour before someone gets around to rinsing them out, it pretty much takes a chisel to pry those suckers off the bowl.

I guess that's where the term "Sticky Rice" must come from, right?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

3 years and counting...

(What children who aren't watching TV may end up doing instead...)

This August marked our 3rd year of no cable TV. No TV antenna. I read the book "Unplug the plug-in drug" and in desperation to help improve the quality of our home life and my children's education and general well being, we pulled the plug. That's not to say we don't use the television. We have DVD and VHS machines. We subscribe to Netflix. We have the internet. We subscribe to the Wall Street Journal. But WE choose what comes into our home.

This was not our first attempt. But it was the first time it stuck. It was brutal at first. What do you do with all the quiet? The kids thought they would die. So did I. They were so "there" all the time, demanding my attention. (It was very cold turkey the first 2 weeks, no screens period.)

But eventually, something happened. They went outside. They played with the massive collection of Legos I had almost given to Goodwill. They brought out their toys. And played with them. I had more time to read. To put them to bed. To go to bed myself. Before we knew it, it was normal to not have background noise all the time. I stopped feeling like I needed to yell all the time so they'd hear me.

We have some good friends who have never had cable, and I used to marvel at them. They would always say, "I don't know how people have time to watch TV", and I now know exactly what they mean.

I of course waste plenty of time on the internet. There are days I'm desperate to just sit down and "veg out" in front of a screen. But the thankfully, it usually proves to be too cumbersome to make it come to pass, so I am far more likely to spend time doing something I actually care about, rather than procrastinate it.

I really enjoy reading headlines and thinking about what they mean, rather than having somebody else tell me what to think. Baseball games are a lot more fun to listen to than watch on TV. I love my kids not knowing "what they're missing" at the movies, in fashion, in Hollywood. I love not knowing who certain celebrities are, or what movies are coming out. That's not to say I wouldn't love "Dancing with the Stars", and I especially miss the Olympics and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. But the trade off for a less clutttered mind is worth it. I am pop culture illiterate, and that's okay with me. I love the silence. I can't stand the noise of TV.

We still haven't reached my utopia of endless book reading, gardening, or model building, but we're closer than we ever had any chance of being that way to begin with. At least we can get homework done, read a book, or just play Uno.

I hope no one interprets this as a self-righteous lecture, I really don't feel that way at all. But if you're looking for some peace in your life, I highly recommend giving it a try!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

I am pregnant. Hear me Roar.

This morning I woke up mean.
No particular reason.
I knew something was amiss, but wasn't fully cognizant of my temperament until about 5 minutes before loading everyone in the car for school.
It dawned on me that everything I had said all morning, regardless of intent, came out more like snarl than an instruction or question.
Yes, Jared's been out of town, but he's not usually part of my morning routine anyhow. I had plenty of sleep. When I started crying on the way home thinking of what an unpleasant mother I am, it hit me.
I'm a walking horomone today. I feel tired to my core. I want to cry just thinking how tired I feel. As Susie had gotten up extra early, she went down for her nap early as well and I joined her. I had angry dreams for 2 1/2 hours. (All I remember really is throwing a bunch of dishes at my husband because HE wasn't "mad enough" about something I thought he should be madder about) I woke up still feeling crabby. And tired.
And so I've decided. Even though I must venture out in public to buy sustenance for my family today, I am to speak to NO ONE. I am not to try to redeem coupons, and I definitely cannot go to WalMart (as previously planned). It's all about survival. (For anyone in my path. Kind of like Edward in TWILIGHT)
I will post photos of my earlier triumphs this week. Apparently, all my expended energy to vacuum everything in sight and clean out cupboards/closets you previously could not OPEN, has caught up with me. I need to remind myself why I feel like this, and to console myself that if the kids toy room has looked this bad for this long, it can wait for another day...

This closet was formerly practically impossible to open. 2 bags of trash and one bag to Goodwill later...I could move in.

We'll see how long the "under the sink" magic lasts, but isn't it pretty?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

It's the little things really

I'm in love.
With my new vacuum.
Ours died a couple of weeks ago, I declared to my hubby that the time had come to INVEST in a vacuum. (As opposed to the $150 model we keep buying every 18 mos...X the last 15 years...you do the math)
I did my due diligence. Even borrowing some from friends to try out. But today, confused by the mire of internet reviews, I actually stepped into a vacuum shop and came out with true love for $100 less than I was thinking I had to spend.
I spent the afternoon vacuuming. Again. Even after scouring our carpets yesterday with 2 different, expensive, models, this thing sucked up everything that was left and makes my carpets look gorgeous. Glory be, it does hardwood as well, no special adjustments necessary.
I'm so inspired I may actually clean something besides my floors.
It weighs 8 pounds. Has a 5 year warranty, lifetime belt, and free yearly tune up.
Who knew I'd finally reach this point in my life? A vacuum making me so content. (Especially because it's light enough for the kids to do all by themselves!)

Monday, November 2, 2009


Jack was a classic. Dream job costume. Spencer? A "smartie" pants.
Illustrating the differences between male and female, "scary guy" and "flower fairy"
Susannah the fierce lion, with her fairy friend.
The ultimate power couple...