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Category Archives: Cleaning

A Classic Movie Night: I Still Have Stars In My Eyes

My son’s birthday is in December. This last year he turned 9. If there’s one thing I’ve felt since becoming a parent and and having left the 365 days of sun in California for more seasonal states, it’s that I might never host an outside birthday party for this child.

That’s alright, our other kid has his birthday in the other extreme: August. We usually let our December boy help out with the plans so he can get the best of both worlds.

Having his birthday parties in the past have been hit and miss. There were times where many had to cancel at the last minute due to contagious illness or weather conditions. So I’ve adapted and learned to watch the weather, invite many, and have a back up plan.

This post is not about the hardships of a winter birthday. It’s about STARS (insert mystically music).

This last December, I decided to host a “Classic Movie Night” themed birthday party. My son loved it! I didn’t have to think of any games (which I’m really bad at planning) and we got a chance to invite our grown-up neighbors and get to know them while the kids watched the movie.


This movie night had EVERYTHING. There was crying, shrieking, laughter, spilling, munching and lots of socializing.

We made nifty invitations in the fashion of a movie event gala. I sort of wanted it to have an Oscar Party feel about it. Being that it was a Classic Movie Night for 3 to 12 year olds, we offered these three choices for a feature presentation:

  • A Christmas Story
  • Home Alone
  • Jurassic Park

I don’t know how it happened but, in the midst of a Christmas season, “Jurassic Park” won.

Then it was time to get the party gear…

We chose the colors of Black, Gold, and Red for balloons, plates and platters.

To give it that “Red Carpet” feel we bought, well, a Red Carpet.

And what is a movie theater without a Concession Stand?

I printed up voucher tickets for the kids to turn in for their share of Popcorn (served in popcornesque boxes) and other treats.


My son’s favorite snack to hand out is a little diddy I found in a Rachel Ray magazine year’s ago. They are sushi pieces consisting of the following ingredients:

Fruit Roll Ups (sugar)

Rice Krispies Square Mix (sugar)

&

Twizzlers (more sugar)

Now you know why I came up with vouchers: Management of Sugar

And of course you gotta have chopsticks for those.

We set up the living room as best we could to contain 10 kids as they watched the movie, chatted it up, and shuffled back and forth for goodies.

So why is this post about STARS???

Well, to enhance the magical, glittery feeling of going to a premiere of a classic movie, I purchased about a million little shiny gold and black STARS! And I sprinkled them all over the red carpet in our wood floored foyer for easy clean up later.

I can still remember what they look like… And that’s because I’m still finding them. EVERYWHERE.

On my socks

On my butt

In the couch


On the dog

On the kids

In the shower

In the Washing Machine

In the Dishwasher

In my Purse??

Upstairs

Downstairs

Under the Rug

In the Basement

Outside

In the Vaccuum (though I’ve emptied it numerous times since then)


So the moral of the story is, Do Not sprinkle cute little shiny stars all over your foyer unless you are prepared to be reminded that you did this for years to come.

It doesn’t bother me one bit, actually. It’s a pleasant reminder of the great time we had. Luckily we don’t have any babies, dogs or cats who like to nibble on the such.

Hey, there’s a party game we can play in August: Find the STARS.


Love,

Marthaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

I GOTTA KNOW:

What are you finding here and there from long ago? Share it in a comment below!

 

Martha Asks Martha: How do I live with a Bunk Bed?

If you’ve read my past blog on bunk beds then you know the daily battles my son and I engaged in with making this bed. Sure, bunk beds are fun for kids, but not fun for the person who has to make them. I told my 8 year old son it was his job to make the bed himself and I actually felt bad for him. He was getting just as hurt and frustrated as I was in this task, and he’s half my size!

Some of my readers (loving family and friends) suggested that I use a sleeping bag instead. This is a great idea! However, we have character comforters out the ying-yang and I’m way to stubborn to let them go. Plus, I dread the sound of zippers clancking around in my dryer. Yes, I’m a stubborn gal!

So if you aren’t as stubborn as I am, start with a sleeping bag. Because I’m so stubborn, I decided to try one more thing before giving in to retiring a brand new Star Wars: The Clone Wars comforter and sheet set.

IMPORTANT! Before reading this and possibly taking my advice, please remember that this solution, similar to a sleeping bag, was tested out on an 8-year-old capable of getting out of a sleeping bag in an emergency. Do not use this solution with a child that would not be able to do so. Thank You.

So, we have tested and approved this method ever since the first blog post of my whining and complaining came out. Since the test, we have kept the method and my son makes his bed every morning without an injury and I am about as happy as a domestic engineer can get each morning (please add coffee).

This is our “Method to Making the Lower Bunk of a Bunk Bed” (dun dun dun!):

What you’ll need –

  • The twin comforter of your choice!
  • The twin sheets of your choice!
  • Zip ties (YES! Zip Ties! Sometimes called Cable Ties)
  • Pair of tough scissors

That’s it! The best thing about zip ties is that they are CHEAP. I bought mine at an unnamed superstore for under $2.50 for a pack of 50. A pack of 50 could last you about 4 months if you change the bedding once a week. Imagine how much money you’ll save in bandaids, antiseptics, ice packs and therapy (from all the emotional damage the old fashioned way will cause you). I won’t disclose how often I change out ours. There’s no judging here!

First thing you want to do is lay out your kid’s bedding on the floor UPSIDE DOWN, preferably next to the bed itself. Lay the Comforter down first, then any extra winter blankets, then your flat sheet (remember, ALL upside down).

Now fold the foot of the bedding sandwich over, only to the length of the twin mattress. This helps preserve the character theme of your comforter, the whole reason you spend $29.99+, right?!

We severed Obi Wan and Anakin's head's off when we did it the old way...

Everytime you do this, you will need only 3 zip ties. Yes, just three. This allows for the child to throw off unwanted layers on warmer nights.

Zip tie the two bottom corners nice and tight so that the blankets never pull free. Yes, this will leave a thicker mound at the foot of the bedding, but your elbows will thank you in the end.

Now the last zip tie goes on the top corner that is used the least for entering the bed. Remember that your bedding is upside down right now, so think about which upper corner will end up on the entrance side. My son’s bed is against the wall and he is forced to enter on the left side. Easy-peasy!

Here’s an important thing to note: Once the ties are pulled tight, you’ll may feel the desire to cut off the excess tie. If you do so (which we do) be sure to cut as close as possible to avoid sharp plastic edges that can scratch. So far, my son has not been scratched whatsoever. Also, turn them in toward the bed and not facing out, if you’re extra worried about little scratches. And please make sure your bedding is out of the cutting zone! I say this because I came close to cutting the bedding fabric. Whoa!

Now you have to teach your kid to make the bed, because now it’s so easy, you no longer need to do it for them! Leave enough space between the bed and the wall so your kid can throw the far ends over the bed and tuck them down. My kid sleeps in a tornado fashion. If yours does too, he or she may need to tuck under and smooth out that bumpy foot of the bed sometimes. The rest is just smoothing the top so mommy and daddy can say “oooh” and “ahhh” when they walk in.

Oh hi, Obi Wan and Anakin! There you are!

To clean your blankets, simply cut off and discard the zip ties and repeat the whole method again with new ties. Be sure not to cut your blankets when removing the ties!

I hope this helps! My kid loves it. I love it! My 4 year old has a regular twin bed, but if he follows in his brother’s tornado steps, I’ll use the same method to help him keep the blankets in line.

Love,

Marthaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

 

Show Your Shtuff

Just admit it. If children are your life, you’ll notice there’s something that’s different about you… And it’s your purse.

Call it what you want:

Bag

Satchel

Handbag

Diaper Bag

Backpack

Survival Kit

Duffel Bag

Ladies, for this study, I will call it a purse. It’s that thing you never leave home without if you want to make it through a day with your kid(s).

If you have children that you spend a lot of time with on a regular basis, you may have a case of the exploding purse. This doesn’t necessarily mean that your purse has met maximum capacity. But it may mean that when you go to grab your wallet, a slew of unexplained items may try to jump free of the chaos that is YOUR PURSE.

Of course, I bring this up because of my own personal experiences. Nothing makes the grocery clerk’s day more than when I pull out my wallet and a Nerf bullet and an army dude missing both legs falls across her conveyor belt. My purse may be excessively messy at this point and maybe others out there have purses that could be considered “organized chaos”. But if you continue reading this, you probably will start thinking about all the things that have accumulated since the last time you cleaned out your purse. Things you have packed in there by necessity, treasures you have been asked to hold on to by kid(s), or even just all the things that keep your life, with children, rolling. I’m not here to talk about messy though. I’m addressing the contents of your purse.

If I go out on a date with my husband, I transfer my necessities to a smaller purse, one that I can daintily carry in my hand. And everything I need, when my children are not in tow, actually fits in this little bitty purse. We’re talking: Driver’s License, Bank Card, Compact, Lipstick, and Cell Phone.

But when I wake up the next morning and get back to reality, I put everything back in my mommy purse, which is four times bigger than my “date purse”. I literally grunt when I throw it over my shoulder. The list could go on forever so, instead, I present it to you as a visual. Sometimes my purse is more exciting than this, but I wanted to be honest so, I promise you, this is EXACTLY what was in my purse on this day 12/03/2011 at 5:27 p.m.

Now let’s talk about some of the contents a bit.

  • If you know me, you know why I have THREE —> pens.
  • That little bike tire cap has been in my purse forever. Perhaps someday I will come to the rescue of a rapidly deflating bike tire. *shrug*
  • I have a couple grocery store club cards because I like to change things up on grocery day once in a while.
  • There’s plenty of coupons for those days we decide we just don’t want to cook that one meal we’ll never eat.
  • Can you see my emergency toothpick? I know… Yuck.
  • We just rented two movies. A family one and a grown up one.
  • I’ve got the usual wallet, check book, a couple “necessities” (which I’m glad weren’t SUPER for this picture).
  • I hope I never get pulled over by the Lego police because I’m sure it’s illegal to carry that little Lego shank around in my purse.

Damn, this mess looks like a picture out of an I Spy book.

Now, I have a challenge for you. I challenge you to literally dump the contents of your purse out on the floor (like I did) and share a photo or two (like I did). I want to see what unusual child and/or motherhood-generated items you have in your purse. You can spread the contents out so they are easier to see but PLEASE DO NOT stage your photo. Don’t add anything that wasn’t there before. But do feel free to eliminate lady items and be sure to flip over anything that contains personal information otherwise I won’t use it in my results post. Other than that, show your shtuff. Email your photo to me at marthaaafish@gmail.com. Be sure to include a first name (doesn’t have to be your real name, you can call yourself Peaches if you want) and the ages of all your children. Okay, now I’m gonna go wash my purse while it’s empty…

Love,

Marthaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

P.S. I would never assume only women have this problem. The point is that the contents of your life are different now that you have kids in it. If you have a wallet, briefcase, gym bag, or European carry-all that is child-modified, please share those as well.

Also, I have no reason to keep your email address nor contact you unless you ask me a question. So don’t worry. If you start getting unusual junk mail, blame someone else. It wasn’t me!

 

Confession of the Month

The first time I pushed THIS BUTTON

on my Dyson Vaccuum Cleaner, all the dust, dirt, dog hair, and crumbs in the container fell out on to the area rug. I still can’t explain what I thought it really would do…

Love

Marthaaaaaaaa

 

Doubledecker Disaster or How Mommy Got Her Butt Kicked

I’ve been up for just two hours today and already I have broken up two fights, prepared three meals, cleaned five rooms, organized three schedules, ironed two articles of clothing, and had a paper airplane thunk me in the head. I added that because it JUST happened. On top of that, I got into an altercation for five minutes, in which I bumped my elbow, pulled a hamstring, busted my head, and got a splinter in my finger. And after all that, the bunkbed won! And that was just the bottom bunk… don’t get me started on the top bunk, which no one is allowed to use unless they don’t already live in this house.

So, guess what? I HATE BUNKBEDS! My kid hates his bunkbed. The reason he hates it? He hates it because I hate making it and so I make him make it. But today I decided to help him out…

Whoever invented bunkbeds is a GENIUS because, although they are a huge pain in the butt to make, we STILL buy them! I never had one as a kid, yet I always wanted one. They have to be the coolest thing a kid could ever play on/in. My friends’ brother had a car bed when we were kids and we pretended it drove us to the past and the future. But the bunkbed goes beyond that. It’s has so much potential from the day you buy it. I mean it can be a cave, a three story apartment, a skyscraper, a bridge in which to bungee jump off of. The possibilities are endless, as they say.

Thank goodness for the sticker on the top bunk that states you have to be 6 years or older to be up there, otherwise I’d be freaking out for the next two years. Of course, I’m really good at coming up with my own rules, but it just makes my life easier. Once we went to this massive furniture store and they had a luxury bunkbed on display. It had a clubhouse on top and my kids were ecstatic. The 8 year old, who hates making his bed, lost his mind and forgot all the times he bonked his head and got fuzzy elbows from smacking them into the walls when the blankets got loose from his yank. I brought him back to Earth and said, “Now, how in the world would you get a vaccuum cleaner up there?” He knew I was messing with him, but we have shared the dilemma of making the bunk beds. It bites!

I’d like to know what other people do with bunk beds. Do you just give up on all sanity or do you do something clever like custom make blankets or use throw blankets that are the perfect size, or something in that nature? Just help! And pretty please don’t share a link with some seemingly awesome solution unless you actually own one or know someone personally that owns one. The last thing I want to do is “test” something out, find out it doesn’t work, bring in an axe, chop up the bunk bed and then have to clean up the emotional mess that goes along with a reaction like that.

Much appreciated.

Love,

Marthaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa 

P.S. How about them fitted sheets? Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!