26 Feb
2014

Spring in My Step

Ever wonder who compiled that 400-entry index for the exceptionally edited (if I do say so myself) cultural/historical art book you’re reading [whilst wearing a tweed coat with corduroy elbow patches)?

That would be me. I did it. I compiled that index (and edited that book, exceptionally), and it’s all I’ve been doing for the last few weeks, save

(a) a two-birthday-party Sunday (the weather was glorious! I wore a skirt!),
(b) attempting to thwart my children’s efforts to injur themselves (verdict: fail, as Wombat has a black eye, and Fox is a mess as per usual), and
(c) my requisite seasonal crafting, which is what I’m here to share with you today.

Here are links to my latest posts for Work It, Mom:

I made a playdough rose for the boys and posted it online and y’all went NUTS, so I decided to do a playdough rose tutorial. It’s really easy.
playdough-rose-DIY-craft

This week’s roundup is all about Spring, which most standard style guides will tell you to lowercase, even though I always feel like it should be SPRING! ALL CAPS EXCLAMATION POINT! Even in a place that doesn’t have snow (or much rain some years), it always feels like letting out a long-held breath when the plum trees start blossoming pink and daffodils trumpet their way out of the soil. Spring never disappoints.

spring-crafts-showers-flowers

While I’m at it, here are some more rainbow-related things for St. Patrick’s Day, since rainbows are way easier to make than leprechauns.

This rainbow windcatcher I made last March is still hanging above Wombat’s bed.
rainbow-ribbon-windcatcher-craft-diy

This was one of my favorite posts for Nice Things Now: rainbow food! If you’ve never made a cake with different colored layers, you should.
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rainbow-food-1

Last year’s roundup of last-minute St. Patrick’s Day crafts includes these two winners:

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This year I might only muster some green food coloring in the cereal milk, but who’s counting? If the Internet has taught me anything, it’s that pretty pictures on a blog are more important than living a good life. (I don’t actually believe that.) (Most days.) (I’m not cynical and bitter, I’m just really, really tired.)

11 Feb
2014
Posted in: Regular Entries
By    78 Comments

Time to Change

Much in the same way one might come to the unfortunate conclusion that to change one’s body for the fitter/slimmer one must exercise and regulate one’s intake of fun-size Milky Ways, Simon and I have come to the conclusion that to change our life for the less chaotic, we need to front-load our days, which is just a fancy way of saying we need to go to bed earlier so we can wake up earlier. That we came to this decision at 11:45 p.m. on a school night is worth a point and a laugh, so go ahead, we deserve it.

Simon and I usually go to bed around 11ish and get out of bed–verrrrrry reluctantly–around 8ish, having been woken up at 6ish by the sole member of our family who can function happily on less than eleven hours of sleep. (It’s fair to say I resent him for this at the same time I’m jealous of his superpower.) If those of you who wake up at 5:30 every day will kindly unwrap your fingers from my throat, let me acknowledge loud(ly) and clear(ly) that we’re incredibly lucky to have schedules that allow us to roll in to our roles at around 9:30 or 10 each day, even though that flexibility is doing nothing for the larger problem that is always feeling like we don’t have enough time to take care of basic necessities, which on too many days includes showering (gross).

Since our usual post-kids-in-bed routine is to flop down on the couch enjoy (well, “enjoy”) some quality programming (recent gems have included Big Trouble in Little China (a.k.a. Big Budget for Little Value) and Funny Games, which we turned off after it turned our stomachs too many times in the first ten minutes), obviously this mindless media-fest, cherished as it is, is the most expendable of our daily activities and therefore the first to be marched, blindfolded, to the chopping block. Of those two hours we spend on the couch each night, if we subtract at least one from the end of the day and add it to the beginning of the day, will we magically find our lives transformed for the better? I don’t know. And I don’t really want to try, although I’m going to do it anyway because blah blah “being an adult.”

(But oh god, don’t even get me started on the time change coming in three weeks. I’ll trade an hour of daylight for an hour of shut-eye every single time.)

What I need is to find a way to make my first zombie hour of the day more productive than my last zombie hour of the day. Or I need to find a way to be less of a zombie. Actual question: Is there a way to train oneself to live on fewer hours per sleep each night? I feel positively rotten if I get less than ten hours–always have–but the fact is that I need more than fourteen waking hours to do all the things I need to do, and although I’m not so great at math anymore, I think this means I need to sleep less.

You people who seem to have time to read a book per week and keep up with multiple television shows and never go to bed with dishes in your sink–how in the world do you do that? One of my pseudo-resolutions for this year is “Thou shalt not compare thy own household to households that include any combination of the following: (a) a non-working parent, (b) a housekeeper, and/or (c) zero children,” but that’s obviously not going to stop me from grasping those people by the hands and begging them to tell me their secrets. Is there a potion? I will drink your potion.

5 Feb
2014

All the Colors of My Heart

If I had any nuts to give, I’d give my left one to be able to write an actual blog post about things that have nothing to do with work. I want to update you on the kindergarten situation and how my BABY is EIGHTEEN MONTHS OLD and said his first sentence yesterday (“More broccoli!”) and how Wombat turned fiiiiiiiiiive and is suddenly a little grownup person (sometimes) and how, goddammit, I’m still going to do that long year-end wrap-up meme even though it’s February. (Our Christmas tree is still up; does that make things better or worse?) Alas, it’s a worky time of year for me, plus my MIL’s coming to town this afternoon, plus I’m throwing a birthday party in three days (aaaaiiieeee) and I still have to make the children shirts to wear (dum dum dum dum dum), so for today all I have for you is yet! another! way to use toilet paper tubes for something other than toilet paper. Is this what they call personal branding? Am I the Toilet Paper Tube Lady?

***

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There are two types of crafts:

(1) things you make with your hands that serve some greater purpose, and
(2) crafts you do for the sake of crafting.

The former category includes things like upcycled vases or decorated T-shirts or tote bags or what-have-you. The latter I call “crafty-crafts,” and you pretty much just have fun making them and then hang them on the fridge or display them on a shelf and then throw them away keep them foreverrrrrrr. Kids love crafty-crafts because they have more freedom and the process is often just one step above mom-sanctioned mess-making. My kids especially love them because I don’t try to micromanage their creativity. Too much.

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Look at me, being so light and breezy that I don’t even care that the baby is EATING THE PAINT AH MAH GAH HASHTAG POISONCONTROL.

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(Use nontoxic, washable craft paint and you’ll be fine. And so will your children.)

Full instructions for this TP tube (yessss) valentine heart stamp craftstravaganza are over at Work It, Mom, along with more photos of the things we created. (We made balloons and flowers and butterfly wings and Wombat wore a superhero mask the whole time.)

Here’s a thing to pin if you’re into that stuff:

tp-tube-valentine-heart-stamp-craft

And here’s what I just now decided we’re doing for preschool valentines this year because it’s not child labor if they’re having fun, right?

tp-tube-valentine-heart-stamp-craft10

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