Whose Routine is it Anyway?

In our bedroom we have these bamboo blinds over the windows. We bought them when we first moved to New York and thought it would be so cool to have trendy window dressings now that we were fancy and living in ‘Murica.

Turns out they are kind of a pain in the ass.

Unlike less-cool but more-efficient blinds, these ones have a long string attached that needs to be looped around a little hook on the wall when you pull them up at the start of the day. It’s not hard work but it’s time-consuming enough that I think a lot of people wouldn’t bother putting up these blinds on a daily basis.

But, I put them up every day.

After breakfast and after Violet gets washed and dressed and Daddy is safely delivered to work, I pull up each of the four blinds and wrap each of their strings around the little irritating hook. Then I make the bed. Then we come downstairs and Violet is ready for her nap. No one else goes in that room for the rest of the day. I thrive on praise and no one pats my back for making the room look bright and presentable but I still pull up those aggravating blinds.

Then, at 6:30 after supper has been been eaten, a little playtime has been had and Violet is splashing in the bathtub under Hubby’s watchful eye, I head back up to the bedroom to unwind each of those egregious strings from their hooks and lower the blinds for bedtime. I pull down the covers and unmake the bed for Violet to crawl into for storytime with me and her dad.

At first I cursed those stupid, albeit attractive, blinds and the time they were costing me in my otherwise busy day. And then, gradually, I found the opening and closing of the blinds almost ceremonial. Meditative. Ritualistic. One day I realized that opening and closing those blinds was the routine I had created for myself while creating a routine for Violet. In the same way that she knew once the bedroom was tidied it was time for her nap, I knew that once the blinds were up I was about to get a break and get some time to myself at the start of the day. In the same way that splashing in the bath meant two stories and bedtime for Violet, pulling down the blinds meant things were winding down and I was soon going to crawl into a snuggle with my best girl and settle her into a warm and cozy sleep.

The word “routine” is probably the most iterated in all parenting guidebooks. If you set a routine, you’re golden. Everything will be smooth sailing. But what I’m coming to realize is that the routine is as much for the parents as for the wee ones! If naptime comes and goes and Violet hasn’t rested her little head it’s me who is in more of a fit than her! #MelHal

Maybe 13 Won’t Be So Bad

I spent last week with my 13 year old cousin, Abby. As our 14-month old Violet toddled around after her big cousin, I couldn’t help but think that Tom & I were getting a brief glimpse into our future. Having a baby girl means, inevitably, having a teenage girl someday. As someone who is genuinely scared, sad and filled with dread at the prospect of my sweet, innocent and perfect little baby turning into an attitude-driven adolescent, I have to say that having Abby around showed me that maybe 13 won’t be so bad.

I learned last week that maybe 13 won’t be so bad because sleeping has really (and I mean really!) come a long way by then! If Abby woke in the middle of the night while she was with us, I was none the wiser! She put herself to bed every evening and I didn’t hear from her until well into mid-morning on the following day!

I had braced myself for a bit of brazen before Abby arrived. I was 13 once too and I remember making quips to my elders that resulted in stern looks (and probably embarrassment!) from my parents. Abby was pleasant and polite for the entire duration of her visit. My one-year old, however, threw yogurt and peas at me on a daily basis and made a few swats too!

There are elements of truth here but of course I write with a tone of jest. I don’t want to be interpreted as demonizing Violet in any way! My little one may be difficult but, moreso, she is a blessing in its purest form. What I’m trying to say is that I learned a valuable lesson last week and that is not to dread 13. Maybe 13 won’t be so bad because it means that I will have spent 13 joy-filled years with a person I adore and who was created out of deep love. Maybe 13 won’t be so bad because it will be a fun time in Violet’s life. Even if I hate the music she’ll blare on whatever iteration of the iPod has come about by then and even if she wants to have someone else’s hair colour, I hope that she enjoys the coming-of-age moment of being 13.

I know there will come a day when I will long for a midnight feeding and a dollop of yogurt in my hair but I shouldn’t dread 13 just like I shouldn’t dread any stage of our daughter’s life. Every day is a gift and every year will make us another year richer for having her in our midst. #MelHal

Science + Kids!

Science + kids is a perfect equation in my mind! When the scissors aren’t cutting it anymore (no pun intended) and the glue is just no longer cool, we turn to a fun and easy kid-friendly science experiment. There are so many neat ideas on the internet but I tend to gravitate toward the quick (15mins or less) ones. After all, when you have a 2 year old you have to be quick to keep his attention! I also lean toward ideas that require common ingredients/items and not things I have to go buy in order to do the experiment.

Mess is generally not an issue for me though because I’m mostly concerned with creating fun for the boys! I don’t focus too much on the scientific aspects of the experiment as we’re doing it but I hear my 7 year old using the key terms so that lets me know he is learning as we “play.” My 2 year old, if nothing else, is having fun sensory play and when he comes across these concepts in school he will have some prior knowledge!

Baking Soda and Vinegar — Two Basic Household Items, Two Great Experiments!

 

Blowing Up A Balloon 

One snowy day we grabbed:

Vinegar

700ml drink bottle

Balloon

Baking soda 

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I believe I had originally seen this idea on a Bill Nye the Science Guy video, so the measurements are approximations. (You can play with the quantities depending on the size of the bottle and the size of the balloon, anyway.)

Place about ¼ cup of vinegar in the bottle and 2 tablespoons of baking soda into the balloon. (*TIP: Have the kids take turns stretching the mouth of the balloon while you are getting things ready. This stretching will make putting the baking soda in the balloon a bit easier.)

Once the bottle and balloon are ready to go, stretch the mouth of the balloon and place it over the opening of the balloon. Be careful NOT to dump the baking soda into the bottle YET!

Once the balloon is securely on the bottle, have your child tip up the balloon and allow the baking soda to mix into the vinegar. Then, watch the magic! The balloon will blow up before their eyes.

We had to do this twice – each boy needed to have his turn dumping the baking soda into the vinegar, after all!

Baking Soda Volcano ~ Old Faithful Childhood Experiment

Last summer, as you can tell by the pictures, we did the old faithful baking soda volcano. We grabbed a piece of Bristol Board and made a cone shape with a quarter-sized hole at the top. During LittleL’s nap time one day, BigB painted the volcano to make sure it looked authentic! The next day we grabbed our supplies and headed outside. Using a 500ml juice bottle we poured vinegar and red food colouring into the bottle and placed our volcano replica on top. Once the volcano shape was in place we dumped a LARGE amount of baking soda into the bottle. Ta Dah! The boys loved the “explosion” of red food colouring and the volcano replica really added to the fun!

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So, grab some baking soda and vinegar to have some fun and make a mess!

Baking Soda and Vinegar Science Experiment ROUND-UP 

These experiments meet my criteria of fun, quick, and using household items.  

Painting with baking soda and vinegar

via ~ Just Live Life Happy

 

Baking Soda Boat

via – Science Sparks

 

Peeling an Egg with Vinegar

via Just Another Day in Paradise

How An Irresponsible Purchase Taught Me I’m One the Luckiest Moms in the World

This month I have embarked on a #MealsOnABudget project. Yesterday morning, with $77 left in my $400 budget, I headed off to WalMart to pick up a few essentials. In the bread aisle I was looking for the cheapest and healthiest option when I saw them –  the densest yet softest bread product of all: bagels. As soon as my eyes met them, all I could imagine was a beautiful toasted bagel, crispy on the outside and warm on the inside. I knew they had to be mine. I didn’t even bother making mental justifications for buying them before they were in my cart and I was in the dairy section for cream cheese. 

It was an irresponsible purchase in light of my current project. I could have bought a whole loaf of bread for the cost of the bagels and it would have been more practical. But I wanted the bagels, dammit. 

So, I got the bagels. 

And then this whole #MealsOnABudget project came into a very new perspective for me. 

This project is a decadent hobby for a new Stay At Home Mom who is used to the stimulations of a traditional work day. If I surpass my $400 budget this month, so what? We won’t go without food. We won’t even resort to eating white bread to make ends meet. I’ll enjoy my bagels and I’ll enjoy blogging about my groceries and I’ll enjoy my life. 

For some, this is a fantasy but for me it’s real life and I am thankful for it every day. It’s pathetic that “splurging” on bagels is what it took for me to realize that there are moms out there who actually have to choose between a loaf of bread and a doctor’s visit. There are moms who have grocery budgets a lot lower than $400/month and far worse consequences if they overspend. 

Moms everywhere are doing it though. They’re doing it on a budget. They’re doing it alone. They’re doing it with unsupportive partners. They’re doing it with sick children. They’re doing it in every different type of circumstance we can imagine.

I’m going to keep posting my #MealsOnABudget series and I probably will meet my goal. But each meal will be even tastier now that my irresponsible purchase has taught me I’m one of the luckiest moms in the world. #MelHal

Something Else That Makes My Life Easier…

In this case, I suppose I’m sharing something that makes my baby’s life easier too! Maybe everyone uses this little ‘innovation’ but if you’re not doing it, start! The ridges really help Baby’s fingers grip, especially when eating slippery foods like bananas or pears! #MelHalImage

Another thing that makes my life easier…

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I love having something sweet after a meal. If there’s nothing handy, I get a little nervous! That’s why I like having cookie dough in the freezer to heat up while the oven is still hot from making supper. It feels like warm, fresh cookies with my evening coffee! Freeze the dough in cookie-sized balls so they take the least amount of time and effort possible,

These molasses-raisin cookies sure do taste good after #MealsOnABudget! #MelHal

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