Just Don’t Buy It?

Toys are so overrated. And expensive. And messy!

The kids play with them for about five hours less than the time they play with the box it came in. Our stomachs growl in hunger for the lunch we skipped to pay for that toy (and its box). Then, to add insult to injury, we find the toy and its brothers everywhere.

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And so, I have concluded that we need to no longer fund this operation. My husband decided that long ago, and continually reminds me of this resolve every time he has to walk in the house.

I’ll hear his voice from the boys’ rooms: Who left all these Legos on the floor! We need to put these all away till they learn to clean up!

Then there was the time of The Battle of the Art Cupboard. I’d hear everything from, Who painted the floor? to Who didn’t clean up after his papier-mâché? to Why is there confetti all over?

I tried. Sort-of. I limited birthdays and Christmases to number and cost. I encouraged thrift and order. I devoted about a decade to teaching (yelling at) our miniature houseguests the meaning of “Clean up.” I cleaned on my own; again and again and again.

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In frustration, I moved most of the mess out of general sight and set up a toy room in our unfinished basement.

As my husband and I snuggled in to immediately fall asleep all romantic-like, he said, We need to keep the kids’ toys in their closets. The basement is getting too messy.

Photo Credits:
Markus Spiske
Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Food Tip 2

My children love peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. It’s their standard fare for school lunches and snacks.

They are also in charge of making said lunches each morning. In order to help the process run smoothly, I keep all the materials they need within easy reach. In order to help me not have a lot of mess to clean up afterwards, I opt for plastics.

Use plastics!

I’m not referring to BPA-free, recycled, overpriced sandwich and snack containers, either -though we do happen to have those. I refer to the jars of jam and peanut butter.

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I recall a time in my childhood when my mother was bringing the groceries in from the car. I wanted to help. I grabbed a brown paper sack and began the long walk across our cement garage… only to have the edge of the bag rip in my hands. *CRASH!* It turned out that my bag had our newly-purchased jar of peanut butter in the bottom. Yes, it was good that the mess was contained. Yes, it was a waste of money and groceries because glass permeated the contents of the bag.

So stick with plastics! Save the world and your sanity and enjoy delicious sandwiches in the process.

Why Oh Why Must We Have The Teenage Years?

Today’s advice is really short, sweet, and to the point: do not have teenagers.

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You’re still here? Ah; maybe you, like me, haven’t really got a choice. You birthed or adopted a cute little bundle of joy, lived through the terrible twos, survived the first and second set of teeth, and even passed most of the elementary years.

The problem is that, now, the child you once knew has …changed.

You tiptoe (yes, you must tiptoe) down the hall to your child’s room. You know you are getting close because of familiarity, but also because of the smell. Okay -you knew you were getting closer because you followed a Hansel and Gretel trail of dropped socks, pants, and accessories to the door.

And because of the smell.

If you are a bold enough adventurer to peek inside (without notice), a mishmash mess will meet your eyes. It’s a jungle in there: clothes, school things, sports equipment, blankets, and some of your items you’ve been looking for are draped everywhere in anti-fen shui-style. A fish eyes you from the dresser top detritus and mouths the word, “Help!”

As scary as the physical side effects of a teenager are, however; there is nothing to quite prepare you for actual encounters with one.

One, tentative question about homework may lead to a Mt. Vesuvius eruption. A term of endearment might cause a glare and door slam. Requests to pave a path through the teen’s room will result in a yelling insinuation of how little you care for their feelings and how much you just want them to diiiieeeeee!

And, I have a boy teenager. I thought I wouldn’t have drama.

So, as I recommended: avoid the teenagers. Get yourself a nice, helpful preschooler who’s just napped and who loves to get five-cent candies as a reward for mopping the floor. Give the teens to their grandparents; you know, the ones who were so keen for you to have kids for them in the first place.

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Photo Credit:
Image by Gary Cassel from Pixabay
Photo by Justin Chrn on Unsplash

Quick Dinner Tip 1

Fast food is not as ‘fast’ or as ‘food’ as they claim. If you’re in a real rush that cannot possibly wait for a trip back to the house, I recommend foresight.

FORESIGHT!

I usually know when the evening is going to be busy, but somehow assume that dinner will appear on its own. I say things like, “We’ll think about what to have when dinner gets closer.” I always forget that I am a human being whose logic abilities go down when I do not have nourishment.

Translation: I get dumb when I get hungry.

My first dinner tip is to plan ahead. If I know the evening will be rushed then I pack us food like we’re going on a picnic. In the car. While wearing karate, soccer, or choir uniforms.

Trust me; they’re the new way to dress for dinner.

You’ll save more money, eat healthier, and not fund a franchise trying to take over the world with golden arches. You will also model good behavior for the kiddos, save the environment from more leftover fry oil and hamburger wrappers, and make the world a better place.

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Photo credit:
Grahame Jenkins