Sweet Sunflower Snacks (A Pictorial Snack Tutorial)

Did you know you can cut an apple almost all the way through, pop out the core, let the flower petals fall open, then add a dollop of peanut butter and a few mini chocolate chips, to make a delicious and nutritious sunflower?

You can!

See?

Isn’t that fun? It is a favourite around here, especially in Fall, when the Nova Scotian apples are at their absolute best. Delicious!

Easy, right?

Totally.

You can use what you like best, of course, but I tend to use a Golden Delicious Apple, Natural Peanut Butter*, and gluten free mini chocolate chips. You only need a few chocolate chips. They are chocolate chips! They seem to have a magical power over kids. If they find 2 in a mini muffin they’re thrilled, so I just go with what I have worked so hard to achieve. Happiness!

So, what do you think? Do you think your kids would like to try a Sweet Sunflower Snack?

I am willing to bet they would.

What is your favourite snack food? Do your kids have special snacks after school?

Let’s talk about it!

If you give this a try, I’d love to hear what you think.

Oh, just one more thing! I nearly forgot!!

Look!

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It’s a teeny tiny Thing 2 enjoying a Sweet Sunflower Snack a few years ago! Aww!

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This small Corelle bowl might be the ideal serving dish for this snack. Notice how it helps the apple slices keep the flower shape, while containing the Peanut Butter? That’s better than the larger plate for presentation. (Though the larger plate was best for an after school snack with extra Things!) I also like the mix of white chocolate and dark chocolate chips here. It seems more flower-like, to me.

*Of course, if you have a peanut allergy you can use another nut butter or a soy butter in its place. Still yummy!

A Labour (Day) Of Love

Sun setting on summer 2015.

Happy Labour Day! (That’s Labor Day to all my awesome American readers!)

We might have to give up our lazy, hazy, crazy, days of summer, but we sure as heck don’t have to let the joy of summer fizzle. We took the weekend and made the most of it and just like we try to do with most of them, we carpe-ed the heck out of this diem!

There was an epic board game last night, a movie in the theatre today — complete with extra butter on the popcorn and peanut M&Ms, followed by a special dinner out and ice cream for dessert. Stick a fork in this Labour Day weekend. It’s done!

We are saying goodbye to our beautiful summer break and even though my Things have already started back to school, I am well aware that lots of children are starting their school year tomorrow morning, bright and early.

Oh, it is never easy, is it?

Even if your kiddos are great students and love all things scholastic and extracurricular, it is still a bit daunting to have to say goodbye to summer.

Of course summer isn’t really over, you still have until September 23rd to check those things off the summer bucket lists. Yes. Yes, I am here to bring you a loophole. sings That’s what friends are for! You’re welcome.

Anyhoo!

Where was I?

Oh yes! Even the happiest little pupil might not be so thrilled with Labour Day and the unofficial end to summer, so I am here to bring you hope! (Also, loopholes. We can’t forget the loopholes.)

You may or may not have noticed my absence here this summer. It was not intentional.

I was on a technology-fails-us-all-just-when-we-need-it-most sabbatical. It was, as you might imagine, not planned.

I will expound on all things technological (I may even have my IT Department contribute to a very techie blog post about the trials and tribulations we have been going through) in the not too distant future, but tonight, dearest, darlingest, readers I just wanted to say hello and let you know that I am here and I am going to be here every single day from now until the end of days. So, I hope you are happy and feeling like some chatty blog action because that is what I am in the mood for and that is exactly what I am going to do. I am sure you will let me know if you want something else. More photos. Fewer words. More words. More cowbell. You name it. I will deliver!

In the meantime, thank goodness for excellent blogging friends who allow me to contribute to their amazing blogs.

Just in time for my kids to start school, I wrote a post for Life In Pleasantville about how we can lessen the stress associated with back to school in a post called “6 Steps to Ease Back to School Stress“. Since many of you have children starting school tomorrow, you might find it helpful. I’d absolutely love it if you made your way over there to read my post. As always comments are greatly appreciated. I make a point of replying because I love the connection and conversation that can emerge from a simple comment. That is the whole point of my being here, there, and everywhere.

So, now that I have written nearly 500 words, I feel slightly less terrified about posting tonight. I will be posting earlier in the day, eventually (maybe), but until I get my blog mojo back, frankly, getting something posted – at all – is way more important than what time of day it is posted. SEO be darned!

snorks

As if I know anything about SEO.

Two questions:

  1. Are you ready for back to school?
  2. Do you want more cowbell?

May I confide in you? I kinda-sorta, really-really, hope you missed me.

There. I said it.

Phew! There goes a weight off my shoulders.

After you read my post over at Life In Pleasantville, why not come back and share something about your summer and maybe a hope for the new school year?

I’d love to hear what’s on your mind.

 

Too Much Looking. Not Enough Leaping.

This is an actual road in New Glasgow, PEI. There's a street sign and everything. AACK!

This is an actual road in New Glasgow, PEI. There’s a street sign and everything. AACK!

I have to go for it, right?

I have been tiptoeing around things and you know what? I am not much of a tiptoe-er in any other aspect of my life, so what the heck is my problem when it comes to asking for what I want?

I dunno!

I don’t even care* right now.

All I know is that it’s over.

I’m only popping in here for a minute to tell you this.

I felt you – of all people – should know.

So there you have it!

It’s time to leap.

Why not? Right?

Life has a way of working out, when I do.

I mean, we survived our adventure down the road** pictured above. That was a miracle of sorts. The Things were sufficiently freaked out and in all honesty I wasn’t sure we would make it out alive. Having an active imagination is a wonderful thing – until you turn down a one way, red dirt road, after dark, relying on a GPS (whose prowess thus far – let’s be honest –  has proved to be sketchy at best) when you know darn well that you could have found your own way home. I asked Daddy-O to take a picture because no one would believe it otherwise and well, if we met our untimely doom, there would be, what? Evidence of our blind faith in technology? It was hard to capture what we were actually seeing. It was so dark. There were downed trees or large branches on the road along with deep grooves on either side of the car and a lot of deep puddles. It was as if the road was brand new. Like, we might be following the bulldozer – new. Frankly, it felt like a scene from a cheesy, scary movie. It was fun though! Lots of laughs and shivers and “Whoa!”s coming from inside our teeny car.

Maybe we are a bit more invincible than we thought?

Could be.

I intend to find out.

Oh! And there will be more PEI posts to come.

I think everyone should come to the Maritimes and visit many places (all the times!), but Prince Edward Island has a special place in my heart (that I can’t even really explain), so I will be sharing some serious PEI love this week and maybe, if I am fortunate, even more into this blog’s future.

So, let’s see where this all leads, shall we?

Tell me, are you a looker or a leaper?

How is summer going, so far?

Are you hot or cold?

We are a lot chillier than we should be, I think, but hopefully it will be warmer soon.

*That’s a lie. I always care.

*Mt. Tom Road. FYI. Look it up. Fun! I dare ya!

 

It’s iCal Day!

Happy iCal Day!

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Are you aware of this fact? Did you ever notice the calendar is always on a specific date? July 17. Yup. It’s true. Go look. I’ll wait here. * drums fingers on desk *

No. No I don’t know why the little icons for Apple calendar app reads “Jul 17”, but it does and that’s today and that’s reason enough to celebrate, isn’t it?

No. You mean you need more?

Okay. I’ll find out.

Look!

Now you know!

Should we eat cake?

No.

  • shakes head *

No that would be a silly reason to eat cake.

Though, one might argue that any day is is a good day to celebrate a thing with cake, but I digress …

Wait.

ical-cake

Oh! Ho ho! I knew it!

Oh sure! The number is changed to reflect a birthdate or anniversary or something worthy of cake, but that is most definitely an iCal cake!

This person and I could be friends, I bet.

Anyway!

Happy iCal Day! Happy Friday!

I know it is very silly, but I wanted to pop in and say hello and now we have all learned something, so there’s that. What can I say? I’m a giver.

How is your summer going?

Ours is going great!

We seem to have struck a nice balance so far of outings …

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and down time …

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… and activity!

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I am enjoying the laid back nature of it all and I am managing to blog a bit or contribute a bit to other places.

The Peady #PhotoADay challenge is in full swing and more than halfway over. Have you been seeing the daily posts? I have very kind friends on Instagram and some of the photos are really fun! There’s still time to join in. Come on! The more the merrier!

I really do love summer.

Next week Chez Peady is hitting the road for a little getaway. I’ll try to write a bit from the road when I can.

So, tell me, what have you been up to?

Are you enjoying summer so far?

Do you have any little vacation plans? Or BIG ones?

What’s been your favourite thing so far?

Source

Source

This Is Not The Post You Are Looking for.

Don’t worry, though, I know how to get you there.

I am helpful, like that.

First though, I need to say something and I really hope you can hear me, because I mean it from the bottom of my, ever loving, geeky, little heart.

Okay?

Ready?

Here it is.

I never find your lack of faith disturbing.

You are all such an amazing support.

Thank you!

Now quick, before the “Revenge of the 5th” (Or is it “Revenge of the Sixth”? I’m still undecided.*) head over to Life in Pleasantville and read my very first post.

*But I do have this handy funny ha-ha so let’s just go with “Revenge of the 5th”.

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**Don’t forget to come back tomorrow to see what’s new at Chez Peady, though, because of course we celebrated today!

One Step Forward And Two Steps Back. (Or My Life In Glacier Parenting)

glacier parenting ice cold falling apart force

I had no intention of blogging tonight. (Well not here at least.)

I’d really rather be doing something else. (Eating chocolate, mostly.)

However, here I am. (Hi! Fancy meeting you here!)

I have a PSA*. (Pullleeeease STOP Arguing!)

Today, while sunny and nice outside, has been ridiculous.

There were homework woes that have not been displayed so outwardly in years.

I forgot how trying it could be.

Well, no. Not quite forgotten. I will never forget the struggles we have gone through.

It is more like I had hoped a milestone had been passed for good, but clearly no, that is not the case.

Life, is not really well known for being so simple, is it?

The frustration of feeling your child’s frustration is awful. I swear to you that I know this kid better than he knows himself. I know the way he is feeling. I know that I do. They are his feelings, though, so he must feel them. I try my best to help him help himself. I encourage. I monitor. I remind. I know.

I do all these things and yet I end up feeling like the enemy. I can do and I can know all these things, but I cannot experience his life. I cannot live it. I can’t make him understand these things anymore than someone could understand them for me. And you know what? That really stinks!

How frustrating for the frustrated to not understand that I understand.

It gets a bit tangled right about there. Hands tied. Deep breaths. Bite tongue. Walk away. Just for a little while. A minute or two. Go have some water. Figure out dinner. Make a plan. Check on his little sister. Let cooler heads prevail.

I am not a fan of all this sadness. It is draining.

I am totally exhausted right now. I feel like my day has been stolen. Everyone’s has. Everyone’s.

Not the way I prefer to end a week. Or start a week. What is Sunday? Is it the end or the beginning? I am too tired to choose. Does it even matter? (Now I have Semisonic’s “Closing Time” running through my head. You know? “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”)

It would be worse to maybe never feel it though. My empathy, I must believe, is a strength.

And yet.

Hoo boy! This day.

It feels like the Toddler phase is never-ending ’round here.

Alas, feelings are not facts. I say it. I believe it. I must apply it to myself.

Sorry if I scared the bajoopees out of those of you currently parenting Toddlers, earlier.

It really does get better. I promise. It does.

It’s just that, for me, today, I felt like all the steps forward were being outnumbered by all the steps back.

*Go ahead, fire away with all the things PSA could stand for. I meant Public Service Announcement, but I admit some pretty funny not so PG words also popped into my head. Meh. At least my sense of humour is still intact**.

**Full disclosure: It was hanging by a thread not too long ago and quite frankly is still a bit iffy***.

***When Thing 1 was teeny, he used to say “Iffy Daisy!” instead of “Oopsie Daisy!”, which was something we said a lot. Mostly, because we had a teeny Thing 1 who was busy dropping and spilling things.

Earth Day Play Dates Require Dirt.

It has been a rainy 24 hours or so, but fortunately the sun really seems like it is trying to shine. No actual sunshine, as of yet, of course, but the grey skies overhead are nice and bright.

I am sitting here silently cheering it on.

Inside my head? Oh, inside I am full on “Rah! Rah! Siss boom bah!”ing, but Thing 2 has a friend over and I don’t want to appear any quirkier (which, if I’m being honest, is *pretty* quirky) than usual, so I am giving them some space right now.

Kids need time to just be. They are making their own plans as they go along and there were murmurings of “fort” not too long ago, so frankly, I am curious to see what they come up with.

I’m risky like that.

In a little while I’ll offer snacks and drinks and they’ll happily chat while they eat together. It’s really sweet to hear their breathless giggles (So much giggling!) and to see the way they enjoy each others company. It’s a rare treat to have a playdate all afternoon on a Wednesday. What luck to have a PD Day smack-dab in the middle of the week!

These are the days I cherish. I am so thankful I get to be here today.

You know what else I am thankful for?

Dirt!

Yes. Dirt.

In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.  Margaret Atwood

So, after the kiddos have a snack, we are going to plant some seeds. Yay!

Now, I just have to find the old fashioned flower mix seeds I have had hanging around this place forever.

Where did I put them to keep them safe?

(Well isn’t that the best phrase to hear when you need something immediately? “Somewhere safe” loosely translates into, “You will never see again. Muah ha ha ha!”)

Maybe my items are a tad more sinister than yours, but yeah, that’s pretty accurate, I’d say.

Found ’em!

I’ll be back. *pfft* As if you’d know I ever left! *winks*

❀•❁•❀•❁•❀•❁•❀•❁•❀•❁•❀•❁•❀•❁•❀•❁•❀•❁•❀•❁•❀•❁•❀•❁•❀•❁•❀•❁•❀•❁•❀•❁•❀

I’m back!

Did you miss me?

Silly!

The girls had so much fun today and they were very enthusiastic to plant some seeds.

First, though, they had to decorate their little flowerpots. So we dug out the Sharpies and the petit artistes had fun coming up with design ideas.

Is there anything more wonderful than an enthusiastic kid? I think not. I just love ’em!

Instead of me listing everything they did, let me show you.

So that was my Earth Day.

How was yours?

Oooh! Just one more thing. I am pretty sure that these little giggling girls made the sun come out. Yes. By the end of the playdate the sky was turning blue and the sun was indeed shining.

Happy Earth Day!

 

The Night Before The Night Before The Night Before Christmas Nachos (Or How New Traditions Begin)

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Enthusiasm. Don’t you just love it?

One of the best things about being an enthusiastic person is that when you have offspring they often take on this trait.

I know because I have two kids and even though, individually, they’re as unique as little snowflakes, they share my* enthusiasm.

It’s a lot more fun to be enthusiastic when you have other enthusiastic people around you. Wouldn’t you agree?

 

I was in a mall today.

I don’t generally go to malls, ever, actually, but Thing 2 made a special request to go to the mall to buy Christmas gifts for her family, this morning, and well, when a little enthusiastic elf asks for help in elf matters, you just smile and say, “Sure!”, with enthusiasm**.

So, after the grown-ups were caffeinated, we headed out to our local mall to help the Things do a bit of shopping. We went for the divide and conquer approach, whereby the parents each take a Thing and help him or her to find what he or she needs and then meet up to trade Things and do it all over again. It works well for us. It was fun. The mall wasn’t very crowded and the kids were in great I-don’t-care-what-we-do-we’re-not-in-school moods.

We took our time and helped each Thing find the gifts that fit the bill. This was easy for one and difficult for the other. Thing 2 is decisive and goal oriented and was seriously like an elf on a very enthusiastic mission. Thing 1 had a hard time, but mostly because he really wanted to get something special and he wanted to stick to his reasonable budget.

Even though there were no fewer than three fancy schmancy easy-just-buy-whatever-sparkly-diamond-places, he just wouldn’t stray from his logical path. Go figure! Personalities come out in the most interesting ways, sometimes, don’t they?

Anyway, eventually, everyone got what they needed and I was even able to do a bit of secret elfing with Thing 2 and her enthusiasm in tow.

We ended our mall adventure with a teensy stop into the Apple Store (to ogle things we would not buy) and Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory (just to inhale). We enjoyed the seasonal red shirts the staff were wearing at the Apple Store – though the expendable joke was not lost on us.

Then we all hopped back into the car, which was parked in the same spot*** we always seem to get at this mall, and took ourselves out to a late lunch. We had worked up quite an appetite walking in circles and trying to dodge each other in the mall. It’s a great place to play super-spy, by the way, in case any of you were wondering.

Lunch was delicious. Burgers and fries and root beer****. Hot and fresh and yum! A real treat!

We arrived home just in time for the carb coma to hit, so the kiddos went to their separate corners and Daddy-O and I crashed into a delightful nap. I am a terrible napper, generally speaking, but with fighting the plague and all the running around, I guess I was due for a good one. Oh so dreamy! I guess Daddy-O is the Ross to my Joey, because I seriously can’t ever nap. Thing 2 can even recount stories of my escaping naps when she was teeny. I’m just no good at napping.

I awoke refreshed and with a newfound mission in mind. I simply had to get something into the mail and nothing was going to stop me.

(You should know I have a stockpile of very thoughtful gifts sitting neatly on a chair in my bedroom. I buy these things with every intention to get them sent out to their intended recipients asap, but alas, life happens and there they sit. Am I the only one? Tell me I am not the only one!)

So, I snipped school photos of the Things, wrote out a speedy holiday greeting, located the item and channelled my inner Grammy***** and packaged that baby into a teeny size that really should have been impossible to fit into a standard 8×10 Canada Post parcel envelope, but lo and behold it fit! (Dude at the post office was impressed. I know he was. He just expresses himself differently than I do.) Into the mail it went and we will have a new tradition to add to our already diverse Hanukkah, Solstice, Christmas, ChrismukkahLa Befana, 12th Night mix because when that parcel arrives it will be a kind of miracle. Plus I know the recipient will laugh and be happy and that’s all that matters really.

When I arrived home, my Things had the TV paused for me (there was a brand new Austin & Ally episode) and were waiting (and waiting and waiting) while I was out making miracles happen and grabbing a few ingredients at the grocery store (Chipits were on sale. W00t!). The plan was to make a simple snacky supper, since we had had a late lunch.

We decided on nachos, but not just any old nachos would do. No sir-ee!

We had to have nachos worthy of a new tradition.

I give you, “The Night Before The Night Before The Night Before Christmas Nachos”.

They were delicious and I can guarantee my little enthusiastic, creature of habit, elf-y, Things will be reminding me next December 22 that we have to make them again.

We are only two sleeps away from Christmas and we still have plenty to do, but you know what? We are all being very chill about the whole thing. There really is no need to panic.

What traditions have emerged in your family over the years that seem so logical, but may be completely unique to you?

What’s your go-to dinner when the hour is getting late?

How are your Holidays going?

 

 

 

 

 

*Daddy-O is enthusiastic too, but he can claim them on his own blog!

**See how well that works out?

***Of course when you go the mall only a handful of times all year, selective recall is strong.

****Guess where we had lunch!

*****Grammy is my Mummy. She could pack an elephant in a matchbox and ship it to Istanbul and it would never escape because the sheer amount of tape used would stand up to anything the world might throw at it.

Source: http://ca.eonline.com/news/605724/weird-holiday-traditions-you-thought-were-normal-but-prove-your-family-is-totally-nuts

Time Crunch.

Chalkboard mugs are very happy-making!

 

 

I have about 20 minutes to post this.

It will be short and sweet*.

I am quite literally feeling the time crunch.

 

The first Monday after Daylight Savings Time ends can be rough, but we all survived the day from beginning to end with nary a freak out. I am very happy about the way the Things have gotten better at adjusting to the whole “Spring forward. Fall back.” each year.

I remember how challenging it was when they were teeny. It felt like they would never “get” it.

Just like all the other molehills that a parent can easily turn into mountains, it just seems to eventually work out.

More often than not, these days especially, the grown ups remain calm and the Things follow suit.

Thank goodness for that!

 

10 minutes! *deep breath*

Remain calm.

 

Monday was mellow, but very productive.

The combination of a very lazy weekend and the snow storm happening in a neighbouring province was a terrific motivator.

I had my coffee in the very happy-making chalkboard mug you see up there and was all set to get stuff done.

I managed to find snow pants for Thing 2. So challenging to find!

I bought a pair in the right colour, but too small a size. Another that was the right size, but wrong colour. I was seeing flurries. It was really not the time to get all persnickety about perfection. (A downfall of mine, but I digress …) The girl needed snow pants and she needed them yesterday!

We tried them on after school and decided that we could try one more store after supper just on the off chance they had one purple pair left. If they did? Great. If not? The fitting ones would win, regardless of their colour.

 

Long story short?

After getting stuck in a really horrendous traffic jam while picking up Daddy-O and arriving back home way later than usual, I whipped up a yummy supper which we happily devoured and cleaned up after and then it was very late. Very nearly too late to take a Thing out to a department store to find snow pants.

What should we do? Are you getting sleepy? Are you sure? Okay then, let’s go!

So, we were off to will a pair of purple snow pants into existence.

And we did.

We got the last pair of purple snow pants in Thing 2’s size and she was positively giddy with joy.

 

Never mind that I currently have three pairs of snow pants in my bedroom right this minute. We got the pants!

 

Time’s up!

*whew*

 

 

*Just like me! *snorks*

Drop and Give Me 15!

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Minutes, that is. (What? You thought I meant sit-ups? *pfft* Have you met me?)

Today is a day for catching up, at home. This is exactly no one’s favourite day at Chez Peady. (Well, if I’m to be honest I have a hunch that it might be my husband’s, but I digress …)

We had a great July (everything being relative) and the oh-thank-goodness-school-is-over-we-are-free-to-run-and-swim-and-play-and-never-ever-ever-ever-clean-our-rooms, like ever, philosophy has carried us through a fun month of visiting family and favourite places, but the time has come to rediscover our peace and, let’s face it, our floors.

I’d love to be the kind of person who really gets all jazzed about being organized and tidy to a freakish fault, but alas, nope.

I’d love to be the mother of perfectly obedient* children who can fluff and fold like nobody’s business, who never interrupt, and who wake up at the crack of dawn to fashion their beds into something worthy of a military inspection, but again, nope.

I wish I had systems in place that allowed me to buy and keep every book I’ve ever read or wanted to read. I would hoard books like a bibliophile bound for her own (least watched ever) reality show.

Wishin’ and hopin’ and prayin’ that everything would be at right angles and dust free. That’s me!

But wishing, as I am willing to wager you already know, won’t make it so.

 

So, here we are on a grey, rainy, and otherwise damp, Sunday cleaning. It’s ideal, really, because grey, damp Sundays are already depressing, so we are just going with that theme! (I kid. I kid. Sort of.)

 

One of my strengths, I believe, is finding something to be happy about all the live long day most of the time. This comes in handy when it comes to rallying the troops for a cleaning mission. Why on Earth should they want to spend their time cleaning their rooms when Austin & Ally is on? I mean really! If I had the option to watch Austin & Ally instead of cleaning *my* room, I would totally choose Austin & Ally. Have you seen it? It’s terrific! Perfect for Things. Funny. Clearly, written by fun, geeky, music loving, hilarious people. I love it. Will they ever get together? The people want to know!

Anyway, as I was saying, because I am generally happy and imaginative, I also tend to be able to make things fun. This is a skill that comes in handy – especially when it comes to my children. There’s always a way to make life a little more fun or entertaining. You just have to dig a little deeper sometimes. I mean, even I am not going to claim to love cleaning a toilet or a disgusting mess from the bottom of the fridge or dealing with the latest evil Fruit Fly invasion,  but I sure as heck enjoy when those tasks are done and I might do a little happy dance to show my joy at the vomitrocious job being over and done with. Maybe. Who’s to say really? It’s a mystery.

If a little celebration after the job is done, is wrong, I don’t wanna be right. I have taught my kids that sometimes a job just needs to be done, so that we can get on to the fun that follows.

Fun always follows.

Always.

There are a lot of things about a very messy room that can be overwhelming. Ideally, no one would ever let a mess get to that point, but let’s be honest here, life is messy at the best of times and after a long, hot, happy summer day with sand and sunscreen and sticky popsicles or treats the victory is in getting kids cleaned up just enough, so they can get to sleep. (W00t!) The time just never seems right for a big clean up.

Then the mess grows and grows. Clothes that should have been sorted and donated keep finding their way into the laundry. New summery clothes come home. Drawers get stuffed to overflowing, instead of neatly filled with folded fashions. My Things are masters of “Oh, it’s fine. We’ll take care of it. No problem.” (Remember Theo Huxtable?) and they are actually pretty honest people, so we give the benefit of the doubt until the day we walk in to glance at the clean closet and see that there is no longer a floor.

*cue the Mom voice*

“How is this acceptable?!”

“This is not okay.”

“You have some work to do!”

Oh, don’t I sound sooo fun, now?

Nope.

 

What is a mother to do? I’ll tell you what.

You get yourself a timer** and you set that little gizmo for 15 minutes, pick a zone, and clean it up.

Never mistake motion for action. ~ Ernest Hemingway

The aim is not perfection (a horrible, delusional, harmful word), but rather action. You want to see a noticeable result. Not only so your “Mummy Brain” doesn’t go *kerblooie* from the sheer number of T-shirts in your kids’ collection, but also because you really are teaching your kids how to take charge of an ongoing task. It’s a life skill. You don’t want them to resent it or you. It’s just a fact of life that if you make a mess, you have to clean it up and that putting it off only leads to more stress later. Completely unnecessary stress, for that matter.

I mean, if you did a little each day, it would never be overwhelming, right?

Oh, Summer! Why ya gotta be like that?

 

There is a plethora of advice available to parents about ways to “motivate” or get kids “involved” with household chores. It can be exhausting. We have always adhered to this simple idea at Chez Peady: They live in the world, therefore they must learn to be a part of the world.

It really is that simple. Even when Thing 1 was a teeny, little Thing he would help to wipe up spills (adorable!) or line up his board books (Can you picture it? It still makes me squee!). Thing 2 loved doing dishes the “old fashioned way” with bubbles in the sink and a dishtowel apron (just like *my* Mummy showed me!) or using a cloth to hunt down spots on the walls or cupboard doors. We would present it like a fun thing, but always credited them for taking part. There is a family unit and if everyone doesn’t do his or her part, life begins to get stressful and then some pretty important things might be lost, forgotten, missed or broken. No one wants that.

This basic approach has been a great catalyst for coming up with effective, but easy-peasy ideas to just get stuff done. The sooner it’s done – and noticeable – the sooner we can move on to something fun. It counts if you go tidy for a few minutes, of course, but 15 minutes is just about (dare I say it?) perfect for getting a whole task done.

Trumpet practice? 15 minutes!

Empty lunch containers and clean them? 15 minutes!

Make a bed? 15 minutes! (Bunk beds. Ugh!)

Fold a load of towels? 15 minutes!

Gather all the hair accessories and put them away? 15 minutes!

Empty and fill dishwasher? 15 minutes!

You get the picture.

It is a magical number. Not just for the Things, either.

I often set a 15 minute timer to help me focus on getting a task done. From mail, to school forms, to meal planning or prepping, to writing (some of) my blog. Many of these everyday tasks can just get done with a focussed 15 minute approach.

Now, a gift.***

Ta daa!

Click on this to download my little “15 Minutes” sign. The original hangs in our office. True story! 15_Minutes.pdf

 

 

How does your family approach household chores? Do you involve your kids in the things that make your house a home? Do they love taking part or do they loathe chores with the fire of a thousand suns? What’s your approach when stuff just needs to get done?

I hope you print off my little sign and then do a little happy dance the next time you tick a task off of your to-do list. Please come back and share with me when you do.

 

 

*This is a falsehood. I am happy my children are unique individuals with minds of their own. They are polite, kind, funny, creative, energetic and thoughtful. I love them unconditionally. Obedience is a terrific trait in a dog, though, I suppose.

**Swear that just as I typed the word “timer” *my* timer – also set for 15 minutes – went off! Honest to Martha Stewart!

***For the record I have been calling the above gift a “PeadyF”. Get it? Hah! I kill me!