Homeschool Musical

Very exciting news. We have a new addition to our family. Meet… um…

Oh yeah, it doesn’t have a name. Earl is my first instinct… hmm. Okay, for now we’ll just go with Piano.

Meet The Piano!!! 

homeschool, music, music appreciation, piano

I have no idea how that bird got there…

So, Beau has been taking piano lessons for two years now. Or is it three years? I have no idea. It’s all a blur. ūüėõ Anyways, he has gotten pretty good and it was high time for him to graduate from the electric keyboard.

homeschool, piano, music appreciation, tjed, sibling rivalry

Even Finn has gotten a little more inspired to learn how to play since The Piano arrived. (He has opted not to take lessons yet himself.) In a rare few minutes of being in close proximity to each other without fighting, Beau taught Finn to play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. <3 ¬†Hey, if Beau teaches the other boys we will have gotten a 3 for 1 deal on lessons… I like it. ūüėČ

Anyways, I’m really excited (and hopeful) that having The Piano will help inspire a love of music in my kids. This is something we’ve tried to do in our homeschool, despite neither of us having any musical knowledge other than how to operate an ancient artifact called the CD player. So how do we do it?

One fun and inspiring field trip we did last year was going to the symphony. I for one loved it!!! We’ll definitely be going again this year.

music, homeschool, symphony, field trip ideas

Even if some people weren’t ready for all that culture. ūüėČ

Sure, it’s embarrassing when your kid is sitting at the symphony groaning and rolling their eyes, but there have been a few moments where you just pat yourself on the back and know you’re doing this right.

One incident… er… instance that comes to mind; we were at the juice bar ordering a smoothie. Finn chose the Purple Rain smoothie off the menu and told the barista he would like “the Prince One”. “Wow! How does he even know that?!” Yup. Possibly the proudest homeschool moment of the year. He can not only read the menu but translate the pop culture references. #winning ūüėČ

Or the time we were being super cultured at home, watching classical music concerts on YouTube. No one could hide their enjoyment of the Piano Guys and their renditions of Star Wars and Mission Impossible. And I think we can all say we were moved by a stadium full of musicians playing Ode to Joy, so much so that Finn and Dash decided to join in playing. With what instruments, you may ask?

They played Ode to Joy with arm pit farts.

And I must say, although Beethoven may have been rolling over in his grave, they really have a natural gift. #proudmoments

How do you inspire a love of music in your homeschool? Share in the comments!

xoxo

Jen

 

 

 

A Lesson In Positive Thinking

So maybe you didn’t know this about me, but I’m a big fan of Positive Thinking. I suppose no one is a fan of Negative Thinking, right? From what I hear Negative Thinking is really down in the polls, yet somehow he still gets way more press time than Positive Thinking. ūüėČ

The thing is, no one likes to think negatively, and yet, it happens. Psst… here is the big secret. Whether you choose to think positively, or negatively, it is a CHOICE. What goes on in your head is under your control. Yes, there are other factors and issues, but the words that play over and over again in your head are YOUR WORDS. And maybe someone else put the recording in there, but you are the one who presses play or stop, or just DELETE.

True story! When a thought comes up that makes you feel UGH, say DELETE. Try it, you might like it. ūüėČ

So by now you’re thinking, her poor kids. They have to listen to this positive thinking garbage all day long. Right? I don’t put up with any Negative Nelly-ing.

So last night, Finn says to me “Tomorrow is going to be the WORST day of my life.” Which naturally made Positive Mom want to scream “DELETE, DELETE!!!” I mean, I didn’t because that would be nuts, even for me. Now reading this, you may be concerned that something really dire is about to happen in Finn’s life. What could it be? A root canal? A rigorous test? Is someone dying?

Take a deep breath, it is none of the above. We are going to the pool with friends.

terriblepool

 

Horrible, right? I mean, you can do things other than have giant buckets of water dumped on your head, but… Finn hates the pool. Yup. And I understand. For an introvert kid with sensory issues, the pool can be a bit much. Still, he “usually” enjoys it once he gets there.

So, instead of screaming “DELETE!” I said calmly to Finn, “Please don’t ever tell yourself ahead of time how bad something is going to be. Never choose for it to be a bad day. You have the whole day ahead of you. The pool is only a couple hours. Decide it’s going to be a good day. What else do you want to do tomorrow?”

“Go see Banana Split” replied Finn. Umm… Banana Split is a turtle we saw at a state park in Florida 3 years ago…

“Well, maybe you will see a turtle. We do have turtles around here too.”

“I doubt it.”

“Well, you never know. You never know what good things might happen.”

“I know what good thing can happen that will make it a good day.”

“Great! What is that?”

“Someone will poop in the pool, it will be closed, and we won’t be able to go.”

And with that, he drifted off into a sweet slumber, dreaming of failed swim diapers and summer festivity shut-downs. Positive thinking for the win.

nopoop

Unless you choose the poop. I don’t recommend it. Thanks for reading.

 

KonMari vs. My Brain

Hello out there! I know it’s pretty awkward, but I think it would be best if we both just ignore the fact that I haven’t written on this blog in nine months. I’m about to give you a peek inside my brain which should really explain a lot. In a few minutes you’re going to be shaking your head in pity and mumbling something like “Bless that poor child for trying.”

And try I do. On August 11, 2015 I purchased The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. (I know the date, not because I’m organized, but because Amazon wants to remind me that I already bought it.) Thanks Amazon, you’ve got my squirrel brain covered and I appreciate it.

Anyways, for about 3 months it sat on my night stand in a pile of other books. Actually Danny read it. While it’s right up his alley (as an organized person), he instinctively knew not to push me to read it, probably realizing there’s a good chance it would make my head spontaneously combust. Finally I got around to reading it on my own. Not sure what pushed me to finally spend a weekend devouring it, but it probably had something to do with a rock bottom moment where I couldn’t find a matching pair of socks.

So, being the go getter I am *cough*, I jumped into purging my dresser and closets. It was kind of a clown car situation, I removed 3 full garbage bags of clothes and still was hard pressed as to how everything would fit back in.¬†Possibly some of my problem was with KonMari’s idea that most clothing items shouldn’t be hung on hangers, but folded. Why? Because you really like to iron everything? No, because your clothes are happier folded. Perhaps like myself, you’ve been a self serving brat and put your own happiness before the happiness of your t-shirts. It’s not too late to make amends, my friend. Shirts are very forgiving, particularly if they are made of non synthetic materials.

chooseyoumust

So the folding began. I was actually quite excited to come across these amazing little videos on Gwyneth Paltrow’s site showing how to FOLD. It was like a whole new world had been opened up to me. Folding. Neat rows of underwear. WOW.

Since this is all about minimalism, I was not permitted to blow money on drawer organizers. Kind of takes all the fun out of it, right? So I cut up some boxes to use as dividers (cause otherwise those cute little origami socks will just fall over, ya know?) This brilliant move led to cardboard lint all over my clothes. Maybe that planted the seeds of dissatisfaction in my brain. And the fact that I STILL was struggling to fit everything neatly in my drawers. I know, I know. That means I did not get rid of enough. The whole theory is that if an item doesn’t bring you joy, it doesn’t belong in your home. I am all for clothes that bring me joy. The problem is when you have 6 pink tank tops and 4 of them are downright delightful. Hmm…

I was still relatively pleased with the results. And Danny thought it was so cool he decided to KonMari his own drawers as well. But as a Born Organized person, his KonMari-ing was so much more impressive than mine. His folds were so professional looking. His drawers looked like artwork, swirls of color, fabrics neatly arranged to perfection. Just looking at it made me feel panicky.

Me: “I think your drawers are giving me a panic attack.”

Him: “There really is something wrong with you.”

Kindly, he agreed to putting away his own laundry so that I wouldn’t have to feel the pressure of maintaining the Sistine Chapel of clothing storage. And I tried to KonMari the boys’ clothes too. Kind of. But before I knew it, the laundry started piling up. I was procrastinating putting it away (even more than I always did), knowing it would take SO. STINKING. LONG. to make everything into little origami burritos. The idea of folding underwear started to feel like a ridiculous time burden I was not willing to impose on myself.

Look, I know it’s awesome opening your drawers and hearing the angels sing about your perfectly arranged leggings. But it’s also pretty awesome doing other things. Like exercising, preparing food, homeschooling children, reading a book, and running a business. Heck, maybe even WRITING something. Imagine that! ūüėČ All of those things come up higher on my awesome list than folded underwear. It got to the point where I just¬†could¬†not reconcile myself to spending one iota of time on neatening skivies when I could be fulfilling a greater purpose.

I recently heard someone say that you get much better results when you embrace your strengths and run with them than you do by focusing on your weaknesses. Apparently that’s scientific, but even if it’s not I plan on running with it. ūüėČ Organization is not my strength. I still can keep myself in line by not procrastinating and by using my planner. But I’m always going to be a little (lot) crazy, a little messy, and perfectly okay with wrinkled underwear.

So I’m a KonMari dropout. I don’t like to think of it as failure, I just choked a little on greatness. ūüėČ Keep trying to be your best self, friends!

chokeongreatness

 

 

 

Feeling Ambitious: Goals for 2015

Okay, I’m not really feeling very ambitious today. ¬†I have a headache from eating sugar. ¬†And gluten. ¬†And beer with gluten and sugar. ¬†I mean drinking beer, not eating it. ¬†But UGH. ¬†And I think I broke my toe last night walking into a vacuum cleaner. ¬†I sound like a hot mess, do I not??? ¬†Don’t worry, I’m NOT going to show you a picture of my toe. Danny said it’s the worst thing he’s ever seen. ¬†He exaggerates. ¬†It is only mildly grotesque. ¬†I’ve been putting Panaway oil on it, which is helping. ¬†But let’s just say I probably won’t be wearing these lovelies this weekend:

2015 goals

Aren’t they pretty? ¬†Even in a size 10 1/2? ¬†You know, it’s not easy finding a size 10 1/2 shoe, particularly a PRETTY size 10 1/2 shoe that doesn’t look like they were borrowed from Hulk Hogan. ¬†Seriously, I have to compete with the cross dressers for what few are available and we all know cross dressers have impeccable taste in footwear. ¬†NO??? ¬†Isaac Mizrahi and Nordstrom’s Semi-Annual Sale took care of me on this one though. ¬†Now I just have to get the swelling down enough to fit into them again…

Alright, alright. ¬†I didn’t decide to brush off the old computer JUST to talk to you about where to buy pumps if you’re Xena the Warrior Princess. ¬†While I’m not into “New Year’s Resolutions”, there is something about a shiny new year that really does make you want to start fresh and do big things!

Yeah, yeah. ¬†So what if I probably said the same thing last year? ¬†I could look, but that wouldn’t be very productive now, would it??? ¬†It’s time to look FORWARD, people!

So, I really have been feeling pretty goal oriented lately, at least when both my feet are working and I’m not in a sugar coma. ¬†Here are some of my plans for 2015!

1) ¬†Get Dash potty trained! ¬†He’s THREE now y’all! ¬†Can you believe it? ¬†We started potty training and he is none too happy about it. ¬†Take for example, yesterday, when I caught him about to sneak off to his room about to do You Know What. ¬†I put him on the big boy potty, much to his chagrin.

“You Poopy Jerk!” (He was directing this insult at his duck faced¬†(don’t ask) potty seat.) ¬†Of course, I chided him for his nasty talk.

“I’m just SO ANG-GWEE!” Dash explained in his eloquent toddler lisp.

“How about if we get you a treat when you’re done?”

He raised an eyebrow. “A tweet?”

“Sure!”

He thought for a moment before replying, “Two tweets.”

Do you ever feel like your being played???

2) ¬†So, now that you see I have my hands full with Goal 1, on to our family goal for 2015… We are getting a DOG!!! ¬†If you were thinking I should complete Goal 1 before moving on to Goal 2, you are wise, my friend, very wise. ¬†But we’ve got serious puppy fever here. ¬†There was great disappointment today when we found out “Millie”, a precious Pointer mix pup had been adopted before we could get our application in. ¬†Of course I am happy that Millie has found a home, but OH, we were so looking forward to meeting her! ¬†Some of us wanted to cry and some of us did cry. ¬†I will not name names. ¬†But, alas, there are many more dogs in the world and we will keep looking for ours. ¬†Danny has in mind a smallish terrier. ¬†I have read up on terriers and while they are cute as can be, I just keep envisioning one terrorizing me and my Isaac Mizrahi pumps… I tried to talk some sense into him.

“It’s just that terriers seem a little intense…”

“Jennifer, YOU’RE intense.”

Touch√©. ¬†I am intense, but I don’t eat shoes. ¬†Although when I was a child I apparently had a habit of chewing on wood… explains a lot, does it not?

Anyways, a furry friend is in our future and hopefully my patent leather lovelies will be spared any harm.

3) ¬†WRITE!!! ¬†Well, you knew that was coming. ¬†I have thought a few times this year about just shutting this silly blog down. ¬†But darn, I really dig having it. ¬†And I do have things to share with y’all. ¬†Perhaps it’s not so much about the writing itself, as the doing what one is passionate about. ¬†It’s true, I’m intense and intensely passionate about a lot of things. ¬†And what gets me even more fired up is sharing my passions in a way that helps others, whether it be by making you laugh about dog poo or helping you break your sugar addiction or teaching you how to use essential oils. ¬†I’m a multi faceted individual. ūüėČ ¬†Anyways, maybe what goal #3 is really about is being more of my authentic self; a writer, a teacher, and a raving lunatic.

I really hate that I never got around to telling you about the time we spent on a deserted island after the plane crash... Oh well.

I really hate that I never got around to telling you about the time we spent on a deserted island after the plane crash… Oh well.

4) ¬†Hmmm… You know what? Forget #4. ¬†I had more ideas, but maybe that’s enough to start with. ¬†Because when I get overwhelmed my brain starts to feel all sticky and cotton candy like.

I will say I have used this past year WELL, even though I didn’t get around to writing about it. ¬†My health is much improved (when I don’t eat naughty things, which I usually don’t, HONEST!!!) ¬†I really have more energy and better clarity of mind than I have had in forever. ¬†And you all know that Brain Fog is a writer’s worst enemy, so just getting rid of the feeling of having cotton candy where my brain once was is a step in the right direction.

So, maybe it’s just the sparkly-ness of the new year, or the fact that I finally have a steady supply of my favorite Young Living oil, VALOR. ¬†(Fist bump to those of you who know what I’m talking about.) ūüėČ ¬†But either way, I’m feeling ready to make it a great 2015 where I will be cleaning up less kid poo and more dog poo!!! ¬†It’s not going to be easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is. ¬†Bring it on!

#valor #oilpower #revOILution

Freaking Out (Update on the No-Spend Month Challenge)

I’m seriously freaking out. ¬†Hyperventilating! ¬†Could someone please get me a paper bag!?! ¬†Okay, okay, deep breaths. ¬†It will be okay. ¬†The¬†No-Spend Month Challenge¬†is almost over. ¬†Only a few days left until February, right? ¬†I NEED TO BUY SOMETHING!!!

Alright, alright. ¬†Don’t call 911, I’m just having a Shopaholic Moment. ¬†I’m not proud of it, but it happens now and again. ¬†Really, though the No-Spend Month Challenge has been going well. ¬†So well, in fact, that maybe I was getting a little too cocky about my new found Frugality. ¬†I even told Danny, “This is easy! ¬†We have everything we need! ¬†I’m going to keep not shopping in February!”

What is it they say about pride before the fall??? ¬†Hmm…

I HAD been doing so well at avoiding my Shopaholic triggers. ¬†I got in the habit of¬†zealously clearing out my emails without looking at anything that could be related to shopping. ¬†But I thought I was safe with an email from Money Saving Mom!¬†I mean, I’m trying to be a Money Saving Mom, so THE Money Saving Mom could certainly only help, right?

WRONG!!!

“Kitchen Aid Mixer at Kohls for $129.99!” wrote Money Saving Mom. ¬†AGGGHHHH! ¬†I have been WAITING to find a really good deal on a Kitchen Aid mixer! ¬†“Well”, I thought, “It’s the bottom of the line one. ¬†It will only come in White and I want chrome. ¬†I’ll just click on the link to see and then I will feel better.” ¬†IT CAME IN CHROME! ¬†FOR THE SAME PRICE!!!

So that was semi-tragic. ¬†Maybe not fully tragic, but if you’ve ever kneaded bread with a toddler standing on your metatarsals, you can understand the slight tragicness of having to pass up a Kitchen Aid Mixer. ¬†But I held firm and ¬†resolved to put money aside specifically for a Kitchen Aid Mixer so I’ll be prepared next time a great offer comes along. ¬†Good, right? ¬†Don’t feel too sorry for me. ¬†I have a VitaMix, a giant food processor, and a hand mixer, and sturdy shoes to protect my metatarsals. ¬†I’ll survive.

When my inner greed monster starts to rear its ugly head, I’m trying to push it out with gratitude. ¬†Nothing knocks you back into reality like checking out the Heifer website and contemplating how much of the world lives, know what I mean? ¬†There are people who NEED things! ¬†As for us? ¬†We have ENOUGH!

So, just when I had reeled my brain back in to a zen-like state of gratitude¬†(it just looks calming in bold italics, doesn’t it?); I came across THIS news on Facebook, the very news that got me hyperventilating: ¬†¬†Life Of Fred¬†came out with A¬†LANGUAGE ARTS SERIES!!!

Yes, I really was losing it over Language Arts. ¬†Is that super weird? ¬†Hey, being a Shopaholic isn’t all about hoarding high heels and lip gloss. ¬†Shopaholism is a complex issue. ¬†It can strike when you least expect it. ¬†As soon as it occurs to you that you NEED something, that a THING will make your life complete, that is when you’re in the Shopaholic Danger Zone. ¬†And yes, it can happen with Language Arts books just as well as a pair of buttery leather pumps with exquisite detailing…

…Uh-oh, I shouldn’t have thought about shoes… PIPERLIME! ¬†NORDSTROM! ¬†Where’s that paper bag??? ¬†Okay, let’s just change the subject… Language Arts is a LITTLE less painful.

So, anyways, if you’ve been reading here awhile you know how much¬†we love Life Of Fred¬†math in our homeschool. ¬†I am so stinking excited about the new series!!! ¬†And no, we don’t really need it. ¬†I wouldn’t skimp on my kids’ education, but seriously we are stacked with books here. ¬†Stacked with stacks and stacks. ¬†Besides that it’s actually intended for high school, but I’ve heard that the first book is okay for 8-9 year olds too… ¬†All right, I admit it. ¬†I want it for myself. ¬†Only. A. Few. More. Days.

I can do this!!!

OH. ¬†But I have to tell you about the really unfortunate thing happened. ¬†I heard the all too familiar hum of the UPS truck outside my house and thought “What on earth is the UPS truck doing here when I haven’t bought anything???” ¬†(Okay, the UPS truck has still visited us this month for our supplements, laundry detergent, and purchases Danny had to make for some volunteer work he’s doing, but this day I was really not expecting anything.) ¬†Then I found THIS on our front porch:

No Spend Month Challenge

Be really careful about putting babies on autoship. Once they’re in transit there are no returns or exchanges! (Just kidding, and let me make myself clear: there are NO BABIES in transit to The Ordinary Chaos!!!)

Turns out that in my zeal to delete emails without looking at them, I missed the email from Amazon that my Subscribe and Save was shipping soon. ¬†So I now have an overstock of Chia Seeds, Chili Powder, and Diaper Genie liners. ¬†Don’t you hate it when saving money ends up costing money? ¬†So just maybe my own carelessness is what cost me money, but I’d rather blame it all on the No-Spend Month. ¬†Is that the wrong attitude? ¬†Hmm…

Oh well, what’s a No-Spend Month Challenge without the “Challenge” part, right?

Maybe you’re wondering if we’re just going to have Spendthrift February to make up for No-Spend January. ¬†Don’t worry, we saw that coming a mile away, and plans are being put in place to stop the insanity! ¬†Here are our ideas:

  • Have a waiting period to make sure you REALLY need something before buying.
  • Only buy an item if you have specific dollars put aside for the purchase. ¬†(I think this what people refer to as a budget???)
  • If you do bring one new item home, find two old things to donate so clutter isn’t piling up.

What do you think? ¬†Anyone have some more sweet ideas to cure the itchy credit card finger? ¬†I’d love to hear them! ¬†Are you doing the No-Spend Month Challenge along with myself and Carrie at Natural Moms Talk Radio? ¬†Tell me how it’s going!

Well, thanks for listening to me vent. ¬†I feel a lot better. ¬†It does feel good to stop buying things and be thankful for all the blessings we already have. ¬† I mean who can want for anything when you’ve got this little face cheering you up all day long?

No-Spend Month Challenge

And his brothers too! True blessings. <3

 

BUT I’m totally ordering the first book in Life Of Fred Language Arts on February 1st… the waiting period will be over! ¬†Is that so wrong? ¬†It’s for education, okay? ¬†AND I will let all you Life of Fred lovers know how it is!

Talk to you soon!

Gratefully,

Jennifer

 

Rough Times

Whew, what a day! ¬†My poor kids are beat. ¬†Yeah, they’ve got it rough. ¬†HOW rough? ¬†Where do I start?!?

Why, this morning they had to do chores after breakfast.  Beau got the job of cleaning the tiniest bathroom in the house.  He emerged 22 seconds later, looking quite exhausted.  I peeked in and surveyed the filth.

“Try again, you have to actually wipe things off.”

Beau: ¬†“I did!”

Me: ¬†“I can see pee on the seat from here.”

He shrugged as if pee being on the seat was a non issue.  SIGH!  Back into the bathroom for another full minute of bone crushing work.

Chores are HARD.

Next, it was time to wash up and get dressed. ¬†Finn was entirely too exhausted to walk up the stairs. ¬†After 15 minutes of whining, he decided he needed something up there anyways and was miraculously transformed into a ball of energy, shooting up the steps at warp speed. ¬†“Don’t forget to get dressed!” ¬†Several minutes later, he returned in fresh pajamas.

“Finn, you will need actual clothes before we go out to play.”

Finn: ¬†“UHHHHH”. ¬†(This is the sound of exhaustion that requires massive amounts of energy to produce and takes even more energy to listen to.)

It’s okay, Finn, we get it. ¬†Wearing pajamas for only half the day is HARD.

I couldn’t blame Finn for being a little down, because his favorite stuffed animal, Zoe the dalmatian, was missing!

“Did you check your bed?”

Finn: ¬†“YES! ¬†I looked super good. ¬†I even checked the crack!”

Beau also climbed up the bunk bed ladder to help look for Zoe. ¬†A massive search ensued, combing under furniture and behind curtains. ¬†Still, no Zoe. ¬†I’ll admit, I was worried. ¬†Possibly more worried than Finn…

Finn: ¬†“If Zoe’s lost, then I want a stuffed manatee instead. ¬†And I’ll name him Manty!”

Beau: “No, you can’t! ¬†MANTY is MY manatee!!!”*

*Backstory: ¬†In Florida Beau got a stuffed manatee at the Ron Jon Surf shop. ¬†Finn and Dash were not interested and chose other souvenirs. ¬†Within 48 hours Finn and Dash were both obsessed with Beau’s Manty the Manatee.

Finn: ¬†“Well, MY manatee can be named Manty too!”

Beau: ¬†“NO! ¬†He can’t! ¬†You can name him Manters or something, but NOT MANTY!”

Finn: ¬†“MANTERS? ¬†I HATE THAT! ¬†YOU’RE THE MEANEST BROTHER EVER!”

Fighting over names for stuffed sea cows that you don’t even have??? ¬†Hard. ¬†Hard to listen to, that is…

Had we seen the worst of it? ¬†I’m afraid not. ¬†At lunch time, Finn wanted his favorite, macaroni and cheese. ¬†First, I had the nerve to ask him to get the box while I got the pot of water. ¬†He had to open a door. ¬†HARD. ¬†As if that wasn’t bad enough, I put fresh grated cheddar in his bowl. ¬†“Mom! ¬†That macaroni and cheese was TOO CHEESY! ¬†I could only eat one bowl.”

Macaroni and cheese that’s TOO CHEESY??? ¬†Now that is a tragedy of the worst sort.

Just when everyone had almost recovered from the macaroni incident, I had to go and make chili for dinner, which was just plain cruel. ¬†Chili is really close to soup, and if you were to ask my boys they would tell you we have soup “EVERY DAY.” ¬†That means once ¬†a week. ¬†To their credit, they were not whiney and they ate their chili. ¬†I guess they are getting used to prison life. ¬†But to add insult to injury, there was nothing for dessert except for a few white chocolate chips. ¬†“Those will do” they responded with a glimmer of joy. ¬†See? ¬†During rough times you have to be grateful for what you have.

After dessert, the small sugar rush impelled them to want to slide around on the kitchen floor in their socks. ¬†When Finn went to look under the kitchen table for his socks, they had disappeared! ¬†“Where are my socks?!? ¬†I need those socks I left under the table!”

Hmm, maybe I had already moved them when I swept? ¬†I should have known better. ¬†Obviously if you find socks under the kitchen table, they aren’t abandoned, they have been left there for safe keeping! ¬†Poor children. It’s SO HARD when you don’t have a safe place to leave your dirty socks!

Well, without socks, there is no sliding on your feet, so the only other option is “Butt racing”. ¬†Butt racing is where the poor children turn themselves into little human plasma cars and scoot along on their bottoms. ¬†Sure, it’s kind of a pitiful sight, but I was glad to see them making the best of the situation.

Can you believe what a rough day these guys had? ¬†I’m glad they’re getting their rest now. ¬†Oh, but there was ONE silver lining in the day, (besides the stale quarter bag of white chocolate, that is.) ¬†I went upstairs, climbed the ladder to the bunk bed, and untangled a rolled up sheet. ¬†Inside the sheet was Zoe. ¬†Because the saying is true, “Nothing is lost until Mom can’t find it.”

FINNANDZOE

I know a lot of people out there are having hard times for real.  I hope if you are going through a rough patch, maybe our silliness will put a little smile on your face.  Tomorrow will surely be much better!

Chin up! ūüôā

Jennifer

 

 

 

The Domestic Revolutionary

How’s 2014 treating you all? ¬†In highly irrelevant, semi-outdated news that you can’t live without, “Selfie” was named word of the year by Oxford Dictionary. ¬†“Selfie” simultaneously topped the list of banished words for 2013 compiled by Lake Superior State University. ¬†So, 2013 was the year of the Selfie, and you should never speak of it again. ¬†Look, I don’t really care if you take Selfies or talk about Selfies, just don’t say Twerking in my presence, okay? ¬†If you have managed to spare yourself from knowing what these words mean, consider yourself lucky and DON’T ASK.

There is another word/phrase that I wish would just go away: CRUNCHY.

“What?” you may ask. “Who doesn’t like a little crispness to their food? Hmm, do I have any chips in the cupboard?” ¬†Okay, before I lose you to a Dorito run (or Late July organic tortilla chip run if you prefer), I’m not talking about the opposite of mushy. ¬†I’m talking about the word people use to describe those who are health conscious and environmentally aware. ¬†I am particularly not crazy about being called a Crunchy Mom. ¬†I know some people don’t mind the term, in fact, they totally own it. ¬†They embrace it. ¬†They flat out rock it. ¬†Others are like, “Crunchy? ¬†You call me Crunchy and I’ll break your teeth.” ¬†Perhaps I fall somewhere in between? ¬†And do you really want to find out? ¬†Yeah. ¬†That’s what I thought.

Okay, so some of you are still confused. ¬†What on Earth would make someone call you Crunchy? ¬†Let me enlighten you, because this is way more relevant than Twerking and Selfies. ¬†Trust me. ¬†Here’s the scoop. ¬†You might risk being called Crunchy if you…

  • Plan for a drug free birth
  • Use cloth diapers
  • Baby-wear
  • Co-sleep
  • Breastfeed past a year
  • Prepare homemade food
  • Grow your own food
  • Homeschool
  • Use alternative medicine
  • Have a parent at home full time

Yada, yada, yada. You get the picture? Why Crunchy? ¬†Apparently it goes back to the hippies and granola. ¬†Because granola is crunchy. ¬†You can tell people put a lot of thought into this, right? ¬†When I explained the term to Danny, he said “Wow, you even make your own granola. ¬†You must be REALLY Crunchy.”

You’ll have to ask him if he still has all his teeth.

Like I said, a lot of people are totally cool with this term. ¬†But I’m not a fan of labels. ¬†It makes me feel like we’re all back in high school. ¬†“Oh, don’t hang around them. ¬†They’re like, SOOO Crunchy!” ¬†(Insert obnoxious mean girl laughter here.) ¬†Or worse yet, “Hey, if you want to be in our Crunchy Club, you’ve gotta use cloth diapers made from organic cotton. ¬†Pampers, like REALLY??? ¬†We don’t hang out with Earth haters.”

Look, I kind of get where the animosity comes from. ¬†We Moms are an enthusiastic bunch. ¬†And we also can be a sensitive bunch. ¬†So when one mom wants to ask “Did you see the article from Dr. Mercola about¬†Azodicarbonamide in commercially prepared bread?”, the mom she’s talking to hears “Don’t you know you’re killing your child with that sandwich???”

So perhaps some have given us health conscious types a bad name. ¬†I understand that people can be a little self righteous about their decisions. ¬†But does that mean we have to label everyone who makes those decisions with a texture of food? ¬†I mean, REALLY. ¬†We all put a lot of thought and effort into our parenting decisions. ¬†Entirely too much thought and effort to be lumped into a category described by the mouth feel of an oat cereal. ¬†I prefer “Parenting Non-Conformist”. ¬†Or better yet, “Domestic Revolutionary”. ¬†YES!!!

So, from here on out, we shall not use the CR word. ¬†We will instead use the term Domestic Revolutionary! ¬†(It requires an exclamation point, don’t you think?)¬†¬†So, you may be thinking “Being a Domestic Revolutionary sounds sweet. ¬†Do I have to do all the things listed above to qualify?”

The answer is simple. ¬†Absolutely not! ¬†You can do some of the things. ¬†You can do none of the things. ¬†You can do all of the things as long as you don’t go bonkers trying to do them. ¬†But there are a few simple qualifications, and while they aren’t all easy, there’s a pretty good chance you’re already doing them.

So here it is!  A sort of manifesto for the Domestic Revolutionary:

  • Know your family
  • Be tuned in to your family’s needs
  • Listen to your mommy gut instincts
  • Never make your decisions based on the status quo
  • Never make your decisions just to defy the status quo
  • Research like a mad woman
  • Never waste one second worrying about what other people think
  • Be The Expert On Your Own Home

When I had my first baby, I wanted to do things the “right” way. ¬†I wanted people to look at me and say “She’s a good mom”. ¬†I didn’t want to stand out. ¬†I never planned to be that lady who loves Frankincense, has a freezer full of wheat berries, brings organic pop corn to movie night, and refers to 1st grade as Core Phase.

I tried being conventional, but when it didn’t work out, I had to give myself permission to become a weirdo. ¬†Okay, forget for a moment that I’m a weirdo. ¬†Because in addition to being a weirdo, I am also an expert. ¬†“Ha!” you may be thinking. “Well, what on Earth are you an expert in? ¬†We know it’s not baking bread, Miss Wheatberry!” ¬†SO, I am not an expert at baking bread. ¬†But I AM the expert on my own home! ¬†And I bet you are the expert on YOUR own home! ¬†See how cool that is?

When we come across another mom who does things totally differently, we don’t have to feel defensive of our own choices or condescending towards hers. ¬†We can give others the benefit of the doubt, that what they are doing is exactly right for them. ¬†Instead of trying to examine their motives or assign them to a parenting style clique, we can say “Wow! ¬†That’s Revolutionary!” ¬†And move on with our lives because ain’t nobody got time for worrying about other people’s decisions.

So, hold your crispy Ezekiel bread with grass fed butter high, my formerly CR labeled friends! ¬†And my friends with mushy white bread because that’s all your kids will eat and it’s not worth fighting over, hold that up high too! ¬†Let’s make 2014 the Year of The Domestic Revolutionary! ¬†Hey, if Twerk was a hot word, I think we have a chance here.

Oh, and if you’re lucky AND good, I just might give you the recipe for my Revolutionary Homemade Granola. ¬†It’s really awesome. ¬†And as far as granola goes it’s more chewy than… well, you know. ūüėČ

 

For Beau, who for 9 years has been teaching me to be Revolutionary.

For Beau, who for 9 years has been teaching me to be Revolutionary.

A No-Spend Month Challenge (aka The Shopaholic Goes Cold Turkey)

Hello, my name is Jennifer and I’m a shopaholic.

You know, sometimes I feel like EVERYONE out there is frugal.  The blog-o-sphere is full of frugalistas giving tips for how to pinch pennies and stretch dollars.  Frugal is hip.  And frugal is necessary and wise.  But I am seriously no good at it.

Okay, I’m not totally irresponsible. ¬†We have a budget. ¬†Sometimes the budget is used a little too… loosely? ¬†But it’s there! ¬†We rarely eat out. ¬†We don’t have cable TV, just Hulu Plus. ¬†I don’t have a Smart Phone. ¬†Instead, I have Old Blue, who costs $5 a month and has buttons that don’t work. ¬†Old Blue is my little penance, something visible that I can wave around and say “SEE, I’m at least TRYING to save money!”

No-Spend Month

Meet trusty Old Blue. Surely someone who has a phone like this must be very frugal, no?

But I have WEAKNESSES.  Like Starbucks.  (Gold card member.)  And clothes.  (I have a pretty fabulous wardrobe for someone who spends 90% of her time at home in sweatpants.)  OH, and boots.  (Can one ever have too many styles of boots?)

I AM really good at finding deals.  I never, ever pay full price!  But sometimes I forget that even 60% off still leaves 40% to be paid for, know what I mean?

So, all this considered, when my friend Carrie over at Natural Moms Talk Radio suggested a No-Spend Month, I knew it was just what I needed. ¬†Honestly, I had already been thinking about it… until the Boden 70% off sale hit my inbox. ¬†Whew, thank goodness I already had my order in before Carrie’s email went out. ¬†That was a close one!

So, I told Carrie to count me in. ¬†I told Danny about it and after thinking about whether he needed anything desperately, he said he was in too. ¬†Let the Spending Fast Begin! ¬†…Okay, “No-Spend Month” is better, someone like me might get confused and think it meant “Spend All Your Money, Fast!”

So here is what I WON’T be buying this month:

  • Clothes, shoes, purses, boots, accessories (unless I really need a statement necklace to complete an outfit…) ¬†NO! ¬†JUST KIDDING!
  • Clothes for the kids (if they need shoes because their feet grow or something then we’ll have to do that)
  • Makeup and things to make my face look less wrinkly
  • Home goods (like decorative or general stuff. ¬†Not toilet paper type stuff. ¬†We are not taking it that far, people!)
  • Books
  • Entertainment
  • Starbucks (I already have money and several free items on my Starbucks cards, so I may very well use what I already have. ¬†Fair, right?)

What will I still spend on?

  • ONE Toy (this sounds silly but it was already promised and the money is put aside, full disclosure here though!)
  • Groceries (but I’m going to be really careful to stay on budget, I’ve been really lax about tracking it lately.)
  • Essential Oils – These are part of the grocery/ household budget, but they may seem like a luxury item. ¬†However we have had such good results with keeping sickness to a minimum this year that I’m not willing to risk giving them up. ¬†A $35 bottle of Thieves oil could end up saving $350 in doctor’s bills. ¬†Or more! ¬†Like many people, we have a huge deductible, so if something keeps us out of the doctor’s office or ER it saves money! ¬†And I’m working on relieving my eczema with oils as well. ¬†So, I’m definitely not risking being oil-less!
  • Haircuts for the boys if needed – I told you we aren’t good at being frugal! ¬†Frugal people can cut hair! ¬†I do cut Dash’s because it’s curly… can’t do the straight hair though.
Frugal No Spend Month

Last home hair cut. Can you see why we need to pay for haircuts???

So, day ONE down. ¬†I had a panicky moment when I realized I should have already bought placemats. ¬†I NEED PLACEMATS!!! ¬†HOW EVER WILL I MAKE IT TO FEBRUARY WITHOUT NEW PLACEMATS??? ¬†Okay, okay, I can do this. ¬†And it was a little hard clearing out my inbox without looking at any sales. ¬†Why one subject line was “4 things you need in 2014!” ¬†What if I really NEED those 4 things??? ¬†And here I deleted the email without even looking!?!? ¬†Deep breaths, deep breaths…

I’m okay, really. ¬†I know that we honestly have all that we need and more. ūüôā

If you want to join in on this No-Spend Month thing, let me know! ¬†And leave Carrie a comment over at Natural Moms Talk Radio to let her know you’re in! ¬†And if you are not in, you will notice about that I left you a link to the Boden sale. ¬†And to Jane.com, a great daily deal site for accessories. ¬†That way I can live vicariously through you. ¬†Tell me what you get, okay?

…I realize I have a problem.

Alright, alright! ¬†Enough silliness. ¬†I’m looking forward to getting 2014 off to a great start!

 

Predictable

Hey there! ¬†Remember me? ¬†Yeah, it’s been awhile. ¬†I’ve been up to stuff. ¬† Oh you know, this and that…

Why, I’ve been doing some baking…

It is easy to make bread. Making edible bread is the real challenge.

It is easy to make bread. Making edible bread is the real challenge.

Well, some of it was edible. ¬†I will have to try again. ¬†And again. ¬†And then we won’t have any bread for 3 weeks. ¬†And then I’ll say “Forget it!” and I’ll buy bread again. ¬†But would you believe I even ground my own flour from wheat berries? ¬†I felt so Little House On The Prairie. ¬†What? ¬†The Ingalls didn’t use a Vitamix to grind flour? ¬†Are you sure?

Anyways, I’ve also been doing some crafts:

Looking to good ol’ Pinterest, I found various sites that led me to believe making a burlap wreath would be EASY and take less than 20 minutes. ¬†Three hours later there were shreds of burlap everywhere. ¬†I could feel it in my ears. ¬†No one warned me that personal protective equipment was needed in order to prevent the inhalation of microscopic threads of burlap. ¬†So, I’m warning you now. ¬†Burlap is a hazardous material. ¬†And Hobby Lobby has great prices on it. ¬†You’re welcome. OH, and I will also inform you that a burlap wreath makes a lovely Bug Home at this time of year. ¬†Overall, I’m happy with how the wreath came out. ¬†And I have a feeling the cockroaches are even happier.

Burlap Bug Home

You know who HAS been doing some writing around here? ¬†Beau and Finn. ¬†Many of you are already familiar with Finn’s critically acclaimed short story, Blue Poop. ¬†Well, as I already announced on Facebook, he’s working on the sequel.

Blue Poop

Lest you think we have been negligent in our parental guidance, we HAVE been encouraging both of the boys to broaden their horizons and explore topics outside of the Poop Fiction genre. ¬†Seriously, they have not disappointed. ¬†Beau is delving into non fiction writing, taking on the challenge of being informative AND entertaining. ¬†Take for example, his recent ¬†work “Body Explorers: ¬†The Butt Part”. ¬†Very informative and only mildly disturbing. ¬†Why, just check out this page which explains the proper use of toilet paper.

Very informative

What? ¬†You already knew how to use toilet paper? ¬†Well, it may seem self explanatory, but I have known some people who could use *ahem* some refinement in this area, and I can’t think of a better way to get the message across. ¬†In fact, I’m going to order extra copies.

So, yes, great literary classics are being produced under my very roof.  But me?  Writing???  Not. So. Much.

You know, I read before that the average blog lasts 6 months. ¬†Around that time, you either dig in or throw in the towel. ¬†Out of curiosity, ¬†I took a peek at when I started The Ordinary Chaos site. ¬†My first post was 4/30/13. ¬†The last post I did was 10/28/13. ¬†One, two, three…. Seriously??? ¬†How can I be so predictable??? ¬†Disappointing. ¬†Being a quitter is one thing, but being a predictable quitter is a whole new low. ¬†Anyways, here I was, ready to join the ranks of the Towel Throwers, when the fan messages started pouring in. ¬†“Bring back the blog!!!”

…Okay, that didn’t really happen. ¬†But there was one message from a family member, and I do take requests. ¬† Besides, I know y’all were missing this face:

Dash Age 2Yup, Dash is TWO now. ¬†Terribly, wonderfully Two, with all Two’s messes and tantrums and snuggles and giggles. ¬†He talks really well now, and by that I mean he says things like “I luh loo”. ¬†Melts my heart. ¬†<3

So I’ll try to keep writing. ¬†Because I never quit while I’m ahead. ¬†I only quit when I’m really far behind and haven’t a shred of dignity left. ¬†Besides that Facebook can’t contain my run on sentences. ¬†And because I know y’all really benefit from me telling you how not to bake bread and how not to decorate and how not to get your kids to write about things that aren’t poop. ¬†I cannot decide if that even makes any sense, but if you’re still reading this, it’s not because you’re overly attached to things making sense. ¬†Anyways, I’ll be back soon with more of The Chaos.

Luh loo all,

Jen

 

The Time I Wanted New Running Shoes

Danny just got the coolest new running shoes. ¬†I have to admit, their blue ombre tone had me drooling a bit, wondering if they had something similar in pink or purple… ¬†I haven’t gotten new workout shoes in awhile…

new running shoes

Okay, who I am kidding, EVERYTHING makes me wish for new shoes! ¬†And of course, there is this minute detail to mention: ¬†Danny actually runs whereas I do not run. ¬†(Unless I can count “Run to Target” or “Run to the kitchen to get a snack”?) ¬†No?

Still, when Danny told me that Mizuno has a feature on their website called Precision Fit Online that would analyze my gait, flexibility and other factors to determine the perfect shoe for me, I was more than eager to try it.  Danny pulled it up on the computer and started going through the questions.

The first question: ¬†“What is your weight?”

SIGH.  While I do not care to disclose my weight, I did tell him, and would you believe that man had the nerve to raise his eyebrows???

“No! ¬†I’m just raising my eyebrows because you are right on the edge of the categories, do you want to go up or down? ¬†If you go up, they’ll suggest shoes with more cushioning.”

Well, clearly I like more cushioning, so I had no choice but to go up. ¬†Let’s move on, please.

“Is your pace slower than a 10 minute mile, between 7 and 10 minutes, or faster than 7 minutes?”

SIGH. ¬†“Slower than 10 minutes. ¬†I’m bigger and slower, okay???”

Next came the foot print test.  It was suggested that you get your foot wet and make a foot print on a paper to see what type of arch you have.

“I don’t need to do that. ¬†I have no arch. ¬†My foot is a pancake.”

Pancake foot, check.  You see by now that I am a natural born athlete, do you not?

Next I went through several movements to check my gait and flexibility, including a one legged squat, which I could perform without my knee drifting to one side or the other, but not without hearing a lot of SNAP, CRACKLE, and POPPING.  The bad news is I may have reduced mobility in my upper ankle joint.  The good news is my pinky finger still has a normal range of flexibility.

Finally, I got to the end of the analysis. ¬†It really only took about ten minutes, which is a lot less than it takes to go to a running store and be professionally fitted, but I’m really not too sure of the results. ¬†It said I should probably stick with these: