SoBo Mama's Tips & Tricks











Starting back in April, I demanded politely requested a weekly date night with my husband.  Although I think he hated was hesitant at first, it’s a routine we both count on now.  We’ve tried a few “new to us” restaurants, a few favorites, and revisited some we’ve not been to in years.  We’ve had a picnic by the river and experienced the fine cuisine at TK’s Tavern when he’s running late for Friday pool league.

This week has been crazy with a capital C.  Back to School Night, karate, etc.  He’s got several jobs he’s trying to finish, which adds several hours to every day.  I really expected this week he’d go to pool while the monkeys and I chowed down on leftover fried rice (yum!!!). But he called after work with “What are your thoughts on dinner?”

While I’m tearing the house apart, desperately searching for Monkey #2’s karate pants is not the best time to ask me this. 

And still, we were running behind.

“How about Arby’s? Its on the way.”

I love that place.  Their little ham and cheddar sandwich is cheap. The jamocha shake is amazing. And we spent less than $20. On a dinner on date night! The kitchen was a little on the slow side, but the food was worth it.

I have figured out through the experiences over the past few months that it’s not really about the food.  It’s the time together, without the monkeys, to talk and catch up and laugh and flirt. Do I love going to the pool hall practically every Friday? Not every week, for sure. But do I love the alone time before? Yes.

So, while it’s a routine, and you can set your watch by it, our date night dinners aren’t about the food. I think we’d do just as well with Little Caesar’s and Red box.  As long as we get that it’s quality time, that’s what is important.

How do you make sure to squeeze honey time into your schedule?

~ Katie

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English: Picnic table - combined table and ben...

English: Picnic table – combined table and benches, often used in gardens and at camping sites Deutsch: Kombination von Tisch und Bänken, oft auf Campingplätzen zu finden (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Being organizationally challenged runs in my family.  Granny-at-the-Farm always kept my bedroom door closed during my time living at home.  She tells me now that, as a parent, you choose your battles.  It took me reaching middle age to start to understand the benefits of organization.

 

Unfortunately, I have yet to get organization mastered.  And the monkeys, God love them, received a double dose of disorganized genes.

 

Monkey #1’s door will probably be closed until the day he moves out.  No matter how hard I try, I cannot get him to keep his clothes straight.  There are video games and movies and art supplies and cardboard boxes and plain old garden-variety trash all over his floor.  I truly believe he wore dirty uniforms to school all last week, because he couldn’t be bothered to get his clothes to the laundry.

 

Monkey #2 is a little better.  Every once in a while, I’ll wake up on a Saturday to find her room straightened up, bed made, everything in its place.  It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen. Maybe it won’t take as long for her to appreciate being organized.

 

For years and years, Monkey #2’s bedroom has been a hodge-podge of miscellaneous second-hand mismatched furniture.  When Grizzly and I replaced our furniture this summer, Monkey #2 asked for an upgrade.  Her furniture all matches now, but it is big and takes up a lot of her room.  Now when anything is out-of-place, her room looks a hot mess. I’ve gotten bins from 31 Gifts to organize some of her toys that she plays with all of the time.  She’s donated many clothes, books, and toys to charity (usually her idea!)  And the bedroom is still full as a mosquito on a Louisiana summer night. It’s not a losing battle, though.

 

One of the issues we’ve run into in the last year or so is the kids won’t play in the back yard.  I get it, we live in a busy neighborhood and the monkeys can’t be nosy from behind the fence.  However, we have a pretty good backyard.  And a pricey swing set.  And a dog who needs to rough house.

 

I recently moved Monkey #2’s play kitchen to the deck out back.  First of all, this frees space in her room.  Second, if she wants to play kitchen, she has to go to the back yard.  And finally, if she doesn’t play with it for quite a while, we can “sale” it, as she says. Win-win-win.

 

So of course, yesterday as I was clipping coupons, she gathered my scraps and informed me she was “going to the grocery” and she headed out the back door.  Today, she went outside almost as soon as she got home from school.  She announced she would be dining outside tonight if I’d hose down her picnic table, please?  I told her she could have dinner at the table with the family and we’d set up her outdoor dining tomorrow.

 

I’ve completed my lesson plans and most of my grades are in.  My biggest plans tomorrow were to go to the grocery and straighten the house, maybe work on my blog a little.  Instead, I’ll be helping a monkey redecorate my back porch.

 

And I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

 

So what is your next remodeling project?

 

~ Katie

 

 



Monkey 2 desperately wanted Santa Claus to bring her a dream house for Christmas.  Along with a variety of accessories for her doll and the desired house, of course.  Her daddy and I explained that Santa can’t do everything he used to because so many of the elves joined the union and their hours are much shorter.

No lectures, please.

I remembered when I was a little older than Monkey 2 and really into my fashion dolls.  My grandma made lots of clothes for my dolls but I really wanted a house for them.  My dolls had a sweet silver Corvette and a four-wheeler (it really worked!) but they didn’t have a place to live.  My mom’s friend was really crafty and made an amazing dollhouse from some cardboard boxes, wallpaper samples, and corkboard.

It was the best dollhouse ever.

I had told Monkey 2 about it and she decided that, although she still wanted the elf-made version, it would be pretty cool to build her own dollhouse and decorate it the way she wanted.

Good save!

This morning, I woke at seven and started grading essays and inhaling coffee.  Typical Saturday.  But Monkey 2 started rustling around early today, too.

“I’m ready for a grown-up lady craft,” she told me.  “I need a box.”

Looking up from a pretty decent essay, I waited for her to explain further.

Barbie needs a house,” she said, thrusting a mylar mini-skirted diva at me.  I convinced her to give me thirty more minutes with my essays and then we would start.

So this is what Monkey 2 and I crafted today and how we did it:

We took a box from the meat processor, probably 14x14x30 (but remember, I’m NOT a math person).  We cut out a window first thing from the bottom of the box, which would now be the back wall.  Using duct tape and glue, I tacked down three flaps to the box, leaving the fourth as part of the dollhouse floor.  The outside has not been painted or papered at all, because I think we’ll be adding an “upstairs” so that Monkey can have an elevator.

Then we got into my scrapbook stash.  Monkey 2 would have liked to use the same Valentine patterned paper that we used on her hair bob holder, but I only had one more 10×10 sheet, so she settled on some blue flowered prints and green dotted swiss.  We glued a smaller print to the “back wall”, a larger print to the sides, and the green forms a chair rail and flooring.  Monkey 2 scotch-taped all of the seams.

We haven’t made curtains or rugs yet but I have some fabric that will be great.   I also have yet to address furniture.  I can see a battery operated string of Christmas lights around the “ceiling.” This will be an ongoing project. Obviously.

No pics yet, but I’ll edit my post and add them in when we take some.  Monkey is so proud of this project and keeps telling me I’m the “best dream house builder, ever!”  I’ve always said this kid is just as happy with a box as an expensive toy.

This was a quick and easy way to bring some sunshine to my baby – and I exercised my cheaptitude muscle, wasted not, and had the chance to be creative.  Do you have any crafty projects going this weekend?

~ Katie

 



{January 6, 2013}   Monkeying Around with Crafts

 

Today was my last day off before heading back to work.  Usually, I’m totally bored and ready to return to work, but this year has been different.  Maybe because I hate my car right now.  Maybe because I was sick the full first week and a half of the break.  Or maybe it’s because I didn’t get everything done I would have liked.

 

The Grizzly and Monkey 1 planned to hunt this morning, so I was up before 5.  Feeling industrious, I put all of the totes and the Christmas tree up in the attic before 6 AM.  I did locate those missing stockings while putting other crap away!  I folded and put up two loads of laundry, ran the dishwasher, and cleaned behind the washer and dryer before being distracted by Monkey 2’s iWaste-Time.

 

Monkey 2 was out of bed by 7 and realized she had me all to herself.  We played Dream Heights on the iWaste-Time, learned how several states got their shapes, and watched celebrities shop for over-priced properties before she said, “Let’s do crafts today, Mama.”

I had the perfect thing in mind!

 

Monkey 2 has long hair.  When it is wet, it falls a few inches below her shoulder blades.  She loves bows and hair bobs of all sorts.  I made a bow holder for her a few years ago to match her bathroom (frogs), which she’s diligent about using.  Ponytail holders and headbands?  All over the floor, in drawers, in my room, even in the kitchen sometimes.  But Pinterest has a solution for that.

 

We turned an oatmeal container into a hair bob (that’s a technical term, by the way) holder.  I’m not a hoarder.  I’m a creative repurposer.

 

Project Supplies

 

  • Oatmeal container with the label removed and inside cleaned outimage
  • Scrapbook paper of the monkey’s choice
  • Coordinating ribbon
  • Glue
  • Scotch tape
  • Clothespins

 

Easy peasy, and I had everything on hand!  She picked out a pink, Valentine’s pattern for the paper and red ribbon.  We marked on the wrong side of the paper where the top and bottom of the container would be and cut away the excess.  Because our container was 14 inches around, we used part of the extra, also.  Then we wrapped and glued the paper to the container.  It wasn’t perfectly straight, but I told Monkey that was where the ribbon came in – to cover the uneven edge!  We scotch taped the seams in case the glue didn’t hold perfectly.  It was going to be covered up, anyway.  We glued ribbon around the top, near the edge, and clipped in place with clothespins until it dries.  We also added a little label, again covering the funky seams.  Then we glued a circle of scrapbook paper to the lid and added a ribbon bow from the red ribbon.

 

imageThe most time-consuming part was waiting for Monkey 2 to pick out her colors and patterns and such!

After setting that project aside to dry, she wanted a baking lesson.  Have I mentioned my oven is kind of messed up?  Thank goodness for Martha White Muffin Mix.  I showed her how to measure the milk and stir the batter.  Her stirring was so awkward!  I guess from watching me, she tried to stir with her right hand.  She did a great job after we straightened that out and the muffins turned out really well.

 

Baking done, Monkey 2 wanted to move back to crafting.  Santa Claus, that brilliant fat man, gave theEnglish: Photo of Jonathan G. Meath portraying... monkey a headband making kit for Christmas.  It came with three plain white headbands, a few pieces of ribbon, and a tube of crappy glue.  Not the jolly old soul’s finest hour.  But the Monkey had a solution!

 

“Mama, you have good glue and a whole box of ribbon we can use.  I think that would be prettier.”

 

Pretty time-consuming because she had choices again!

 

By the time we wrapped and glued 2 ½ headbands, started a hash brown casserole for dinner, and listened to every song Taylor Sift ever thought of recording, the Y chromosomes returned from a fruitless day of hunting (but they did finally pick up the last deer from the processor!) Monkey was excited to share her day’s accomplishments with her daddy and brother.  But it seemed she was done with me.

 

Until a few minutes ago.  She came up, wrapped her arms around me in one of those hugs only little kids ever give, and said, “I wish you didn’t have to go back to work tomorrow, Mama.  I liked having you to myself to do grown-up lady stuff today.”

 

And that’s exactly why I’m not ready to go to work tomorrow.

 

What crafting experiences have you had with little kids?

Mamá

~ Katie

Posted from WordPress for Android

 



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