Category Archives: the little stuff

Today’s Assignments


Yes, assignments!  Bet you didn’t know there would be homework when you wandered in!  🙂

Please do at least one of the following:

  1. Get down on the floor to play.
  2. Build something, paint something or otherwise create something.
  3. Give your child at least 10 hugs and/or kisses.
  4. Do something nice for somebody else’s child.
  5. Do something nice for you.
  6. Laugh like a fool.
  7. Frame some of your child’s art and display it where it will make you smile.
  8. Just sit and talk with your child.
  9. Make silly faces at your kids and then play innocent when they look.
  10. Leave a comment with an assignment of your own.

Extra credit if you do more than one!  Do not do all ten.  No perfectionism allowed.  🙂



Filed under the little stuff

On Finding Balance and Letting Things Go

Letting small children plant 60 marigolds will test your limits of perfectionism and impatience!

Magical Mama Esther wrote recently and asked:

I would love to see you comment on being able to let things go. I regularly read your blog because I want more magic in our home. But I just can’t let the cleaning/organizing off of the front burner. I want my children to remember a fun, relaxed home, but I am afraid that they will mainly remember Mom always wanting the house to be clean. Any suggestions?

Good question!

I’m not sure I’m the one to ask, as I tend to have the opposite problem.  I am too good at letting the housework go while having fun!  🙂 

Whether you’re trying to get more done, let more go, or otherwise change how you’re spending your time at home, here’s some things that can help:

  1. Make lists.  Lists keep me on track for getting writing done, keeping up with housework, doing laundry, prepping meals and so on, but they also keep me on track with kid things.  My lists almost always have entries like “One-on-one with Jack” and “Read to Alex.”  Those items are just as important (or more so!) and putting them in writing helps us  remember that.
  2. Start a record.  When you know you’re recording the day-to-day things, it makes you a little more accountable.  Find a way to start noting the special things you do in the day (or whatever else you’re working on improving).  You can start blogging magical moments, check in on a parenting list, jot things down in a journal or even resolve to write at least one happy family memory on a daily calendar each day.  Knowing that you’ll be checking in is a great reminder to fit that special time in.
  3. Talk to yourself as if you’ve already changed.  I use this little trick on myself to get myself doing more housework sometimes.  I’ll purposely repeat things in my head that I want to be true, such as “I just can’t pass a mess without cleaning it right away” or “When I’m antsy I always have to tidy something.”  Neither of these are typically true in the least for me, but when I start to hear them in my head I do start to live by them!  Say the things you want to be true often enough, and they will become a part of how you are.  If you want to make more magical moments with your kids, some good thoughts to insert might be ones like, “Today’s too nice of a day to spend inside cleaning!” and “I can’t wait to do some silly crafts with the kids!”.
  4. Pretend your someday self is watching.  Will you one day regret spending so much time on housework and missing out on those magical moments with the kids?  Then get in the habit of seeing scenes from that far-from-now self who’d be beating you up for missing your chances.  This is also a good way to get past annoyances a lot of the time.  I often look at the present as if I’m looking back on it and see how I’d react, and the answer is laughter, patience or empathy far more often than it’s anger if I look at it with that distance.  Some day, this moment will be a memory.  What kind of a memory would you like it to be?  What lesson will it have taught you or your children?
  5. Practice.  Whether it’s being silly, tidying up or taking time to make things special, the more you do it the more naturally it comes.  Never mind the times you didn’t do what you wished you had — every time you do is something to celebrate.  And then do it again.

One of the wonderful things about parenting is that we get so many thousands of chances to do it right every day.  Every minute is a new minute where we could do something fun, silly, messy, loving or special.  Don’t focus on what’s missing, just fill the next minute with something wonderful.

What about you?  If you have tricks to help you keep up with all that you want to, please add them in the comments!


Filed under the little stuff

At Least Life’s Interesting

Oh my.

What a night it’s been!

We have been preparing for our annual birthday marathon.  Jack turns 8 tomorrow, Victoria turns 13 on Sunday, and Alex turns 4 on Tuesday.  Yes, three birthdays over four days!

We all went shopping this afternoon for party and cake supplies, then we assembled the goody pots for the boys’ birthday party tomorrow.  We filled little planters with seed packets, colored sidewalk chalk, mini bubbles and homemade flower pens (the type that stores use so you won’t walk off with them, with giant flowers attached to ballpoint pens) that we made together.

Then I slathered henna on my hair to touch up my blond roots, covered it with my traditional cheetah print shower cap and a child’s light blue knit hat that said “angel” over it (you need to keep the henna warm and a silly looking child’s hat works as well as anything!) and sat down to write an article while Daddy watched a movie downstairs with the kids…

And then the power went out.

Within a minute, four kiddos were up the stairs and piled on our bed in the pitch dark.  Three of them were in various states of panic and one thought it was really fun.  😉 

We sat together on the bed and made glow designs with my iPod (thank goodness for technology sometimes!) until it finally came back about 20 minutes later.

I took that as a cue to get the cakes in while we still had power, and Jack helped me make two cakes and get them in the oven.

In the meantime, I was still dealing with terrible nausea and stomach pains (the “morning” sickness is holding strong well into the second trimester!) so I jumped in a hot bath for a half hour while the cakes cooked….

Until the terrible wailing.

Poor Alex had been running down the hallway and had stepped on a piece of a tea set pitcher that had broken and scattered.  Blood was everywhere. Victoria helped me strip him and put him in the bath with me, which instantly turned red.  One look at the gash between his toes and I hollered to Daryl that we needed to take him to the E.R.

Daryl rushed us to the hospital, which is only a couple of minutes away.  I ran in through the rain, with my bathrobed boy in my arms, wearing a housedress paired with lime green crocs, complete with my cheetah print shower cap and angel knit cap on top of my head.

I am fairly sure that nobody has ever looked more ridiculous upon entering an emergency room anywhere.

Everything turned out well.  We were swarmed by nurses who doted on Alex and he charmed the pants off of them (he told one that her shirt was pretty and he liked it because it was covered with hearts and “hearts mean love.”).

The doctor was able to use superglue on the gash instead of stitches, so fixing Alex up was quick and painless.  We even got to meet a giant, mellow toad on our way out of the hospital at the end of it all.

Alex happily told his adventures to his siblings when we got home, and I tried to rescue some very odd shaped cakes (cooking half time and then again later does interesting things to cakes, it turns out!).

Tomorrow, we’re heading 2 hours away for an outdoor birthday party for both boys.  Friends are meeting us from all directions. 

It’s supposed to rain.

Oh well.

At least life’s interesting!


Filed under the little stuff

I’m Off for a While!

The kids and I are off for a couple of weeks!

We’re heading to Florida with friends to visit their family and see the coast.

I may pop in from time to time, or at least pop into the Facebook page.  Perhaps I’ll post links to favorite crafts and posts.

I’m a bit of nervous wreck.  It’s a very long car ride and I’ll miss my sweetie quite a lot.  I might be just a bit hormonal too, what with our recent news.  🙂  I’m sure it will be a grand adventure though!

See you in a couple of weeks!


Filed under the little stuff

Little Things

The dryer repairman just left, having discovered the reason our dryer suddenly stopped working last week.

It was actually several reasons, all of them in the blower fan.


  • One marble
  • One pair of dice
  • One glass heart, and
  • One LEGO foot

Attention small boys in my home:

Please be advised that in order to make up for the dryer bill, I expect extra help around the house, extra hugs and kisses, extra nice behavior towards your fellow small children (and even the medium sized ones) and extra talk about how fabulous your mother is.

Oh yeah, and empty your pockets!



Filed under the little stuff

The Silent Treatment

The view from my desk through the snow yesterday

I lost my voice today.

I’ve been fighting a cold and getting sicker and sicker, until this morning when I woke without the ability to speak at all.

I went through the day scribbling notes, gesturing and occasionally squeaking and whispering out a few words.

The funny thing is, it was kind of nice at times.  And I’m pretty sure I was a better mother for it.

  • When I went to wake up Anna, I couldn’t holler from the doorway so I jostled her arm and did the “I love you” sign when she opened her eyes.
  • When I needed Jack to do something, I went over to him, touched his shoulders to get his attention, got down to his level  and very quietly whispered what I wanted.
  • When Alex and I rested in the bath together, both of us feeling pretty miserable, I just wordlessly smiled at him and kissed his cheek.  He wordlessly smiled back.

Don’t let that magical part fool you.

With four children, I can be a loud mother!

I am frequently hollering “Anna, be nice to your brother!” from the next room, “Jack, please set the table for dinner!” up the stairs and “Alex, stop throwing things off the bunk bed!” from the doorway.

Today was a nice change from that.

There is something to be said for having to get very close and speak very softly.

Of course, it makes it really hard to answer the phone when that important phone call comes!

My voice is coming back already and it should be fine tomorrow.

Just the same, I think I’ll give it a rest.  🙂


Filed under the little stuff

Is It Spring Yet?

I’m not sure why winter is getting to me

so much this year.

Maybe because we’ve had


or maybe it’s just an odd year.

It’s been bitterly cold here —

too cold to even venture out most days–

so today I seized the tropical temperatures

of 30 degrees

and hauled the kids outside

like it or not.

Alex is not always a fan of time outside

And the others were not wild about the idea either

but soon snowballs were flying

and forts were being build like mad.

And then everybody was having fun

and I was the one wishing we could

just go inside already.

And okay, I guess I can see a little fun

in all this cold and white.

After all, what fun would spring be

if it was easy to come by?

Enjoy the weather

no matter what type you’re blessed with this week.

But if you happen to live someplace warm and sunny

please enjoy it a little extra for me!

Happy Thursday!


Filed under the little stuff

Sole Searching

You know how there are mothers who have a place for everything and always know exactly where things are?

I am not one of those  mothers.

I am one of those mothers who usually knows where most things are, even in the midst of clutter and chaos, except in one big area — shoes.

Despite the fact that we have somewhere near 80,000 pairs, my children are almost always either barefoot or sporting amazingly inappropriate footwear (Jack is prone to wearing Uggs with shorts, for instance, or Anna’s cleats or cowboy boots).  We simply never can find the things — or two that match, anyway.

The other day, we were running very late and I sent everybody scrambling to locate Alex’s shoes.

We found four…

None matching.  Of course.

It took another 10 minutes to finally find a match.  Except…

They were way too big.

So socks were in order.

So then, of course, we all had to look for socks.

Who says socks have to match?  😉

Someday I’ll know where all the shoes are.  Socks too.  I’ll be organized and everything will be tidy.

Okay, probably not, but I can pretend!

In the meantime, I’d much rather do an art project about shoes!

Here’s a few…

Shoe drawings and shoe autographs at TeachKidsArt…

Customized shoes with Sugru and spray paint at Instructables (Okay, we’d scale these down a bit I think but I love the basic idea!)…

Unicorn Hoof Shoes at Cut Out and Keep

Kimono Baby Shoes and Matching Onesie from Omiyage

And last, but not least, easy removable flowers to add to toddler shoes at happy together…

Happy Thursday!


Filed under crafts, neat stuff elsewhere, the little stuff

You Know You Have Little Boys in the House When….

… This is what the inside of your bread maker looks like.  🙂

Happy Thursday!


Filed under the little stuff

Knock, Knock….

Knock, Knock…

Who’s there?

Wanda Witch

Wanda Witch who?


Wanda Witch you a Happy Halloween!

(Happy pumpkin by Victoria)

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Filed under the little stuff