The Bearded Iris

A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

Tag: just the tip tuesday (page 2 of 6)

Three Parenting Things I’m Doing Right

I don’t usually see myself as a parenting expert. I am one of those people who, for whatever reason, will do nine things right and one thing wrong, and I’ll stew over that one wrong thing for-EV-er. It drives my poor husband right up the wall. He sure wishes I’d give myself more credit and not be so damn hard on myself all the time.

So today for Just the Tip Tuesday, I want to tell you about three parenting things that I’ve done right lately. Maybe it will strike a chord. I hope so.

For starters, I recently taught my sweet daughter Mini-Me how to disassemble the bathroom faucets and scrub the hell out of them.

That may sound like child abuse, but I assure you, she loved it. See?

 

Our bathroom faucet knobs had been grossing me out for a while…they were all moldy on the inside and I couldn’t figure out how to take them off and clean them. So on Saturday when the whole family was working on our chores, I took Mini-Me into the bathroom with me to see if we could figure it out together.

And we did.

The key was, I let HER do the fun part with the screwdriver. She’s only nine and that girl already knows “righty-tighty/lefty loosey,” how not to strip a screw, and how to make a faucet shine like new. I’m pretty proud of that.

I grew up with a single mother. I learned how to clean and fix stuff when I was a kid, partly because I was a curious child who enjoyed solving problems, but also because we couldn’t always afford new things or a repairperson every time something broke. As a result, I grew up to be a very handy and independent woman. I want that for my daughter too. 

Which brings me to the next thing on my list of good parenting. My husband and I recently noticed Mini-Me complaining a lot (and no, not about her chores). We’d all be on a walk with the dog after dinner and I’d say, “Oh, see those lights on that house? I like those. They’re pretty.” (Meaning: someday when we get new lights, let’s get some like that.) And my daughter would immediately follow that with “I wish we had nice porch lights. Our porch lights are so ugly. Our whole porch needs a makeover!” Frankly, I couldn’t agree with her more, but I didn’t like how it sounded coming out of her mouth. So negative!

The next night after we said grace at the dinner table, we started having everyone say a few things for which they felt thankful. It was actually my husband’s idea, but we’ve been enforcing it as a family, so I’m counting that as good parenting on my part too.

I cannot even begin to tell you what a difference it is making in our attitudes. Instead of complaining all the time about what we don’t have, we are all finding so many blessings in our lives. And sharing it aloud at the table is like keeping a gratitude journal times five!

It’s gotten to the point where the kids just start sharing what they’re thankful for, sometimes even when we’re not at the dinner table. Makes me tear up a little just thinking about it. Bucket Head even took a pair of Spiderman underwear off yesterday and said, “These are too small. Let’s find a little poor child we can give them to.” (Don’t worry…I’ll wash them first.)

And speaking of sharing our blessings, look what Mini-Me did last week:

That’s right, girlfriend had 12 inches of hair cut and bagged to donate to children who need wigs. We have several friends who have lost their hair due to cancer treatments or Alopecia and my sweet Mini-Me wanted to help them somehow.

As her mother, I humbly take some of the credit for her generous act because I did the same thing with ten inches of my own hair this past April.

Our children may not hear a single word we say some days, but by golly, they sure are watching what we do. 

(Thank God she didn’t see me smoke that bag of hair in my homemade potato bong later that night.)

Kidding!

I kid!

You know I don’t smoke…hair.

I know I joke a lot about how my kids are raising themselves and that they are thriving in spite of me, but when I sit down and really take stock of the things I am doing right, I should probably give myself a little pat on the back now and then.

My children are amazing. They are generous, grateful, and capable, among other things. I must be doing something right at least some of the time.

How about you? What are you doing right that is rubbing off on your family? Please share your parenting gems so we can celebrate together.

Yours truly,
Leslie

How to Remove Bad Smells from Carpet and Upholstery

Well apparently it is Bad Smells Month here at The Bearded Iris, because my first two tips of July were all about combating stank on your hands and in your bathrooms.

What’s that you say? It’s August now? And it’s not even Tuesday? Well let’s just pretend I got this done yesterday like I had intended, m’kay?

So anyheee, today’s tip is also about stank. But today, we’re talking about stinky fabrics and carpets. 

Hey, I’ve got three kids and three pets. I know stank. Continue reading

Does your bathroom smell like a truck stop men’s room?

Today for Just the Tip Tuesday I’d like to step outside of my comfort zone and talk about something I normally don’t discuss: pee. You know, urine, number one, tee-tee, tinkle, piss, mellow yellow, the golden stream of relief, that which is produced when the main vein is drained.

It’s obviously outside of my comfort zone because I clearly prefer to talk about poop. But I had a pee-related problem, I needed a solution, and I found one worth sharing. I’m a giver, what can I say.

I have three kids. One of them is a five year old son whom I affectionately refer to as Bucket Head. He is pretty popular around here.

But what you might not know about this curly headed cherub of a boy is that Bucket Head has terrible aim when he pees. I don’t know if he gets distracted or he just doesn’t give a hoot, but that child sure makes a mess every time he takes a whiz.

my-distracted-tinkler2

I would tell him to just go outside all the time, but I once caught him pinching a loaf in the front yard (with his back to the street, no less!) Also, he’s about to start Kindergarten and I just can’t afford the ramifications of him not fully understanding when it is and is not acceptable to go outside.

So inside he stays and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to remove the toilet seat and scrape the dried boy pee off the back of my toilets. It really bums me out.

And let’s not even discuss the fact that I foolishly chose to install white semi-gloss wainscoting in my powder room, the only room in my home that we’ve completely remodeled.

Well the other day, while using said powder room, I noticed a horrible smell. I kid you not, it smelled like a truck-stop men’s room (just guessing). It was absolutely disgusting. I figured that Bucket Head had gone in there and done a fire-hose impersonation and that all I needed to do was clean the toilet (and possibly wipe down the walls).

Wrong.

Nothing I did worked. I scrubbed and scrubbed, and still…the smell of old urine haunted that room as if it were being visited nightly by a hobo convention.

I was pissed! (See what I did there?)

So I did what I usually do, and I Googled.

And I found a potential solution! It was from Anna Moseley of Ask Anna. She’s a lovely lady. I have used her cleaning tips a number of times and I actually met her at the Haven conference last month. (At a Waffle House, where I was getting my hash browns on…smothered, covered, and capped, yo.)

Anna wrote a post all about getting rid of “boy bathroom smell.” I followed her directions to the letter and it worked!

In a nutshell, Anna said to:

1.) Make a paste with baking soda and freshly squeezed lemon juice (a natural disinfectant.) I used one lemon, it was plenty.

2.) Apply the paste liberally to all the places around the toilet that get a lot of over-spray, especially the base of the toilet.

3.) Let it sit for 15 minutes.

4.) Then spray it with white vinegar and wipe it down with a damp rag.

She also suggested spraying white vinegar on the other surfaces surrounding the toilet and then wiping that with a damp rag too.

I had to take that one step further because of the wainscoting and I used an old toothbrush with the vinegar to get all the caked-on pee out of the grooves. It really didn’t take that long. I was in the zone; rather zen-like actually. I might do this more often.

And I’m proud to tell you that my bathroom no longer reeks of old urine. So I have that going for me.

Here is the original post by Anna if you need any clarification on the steps. Please tell her I said hello!

Sincerely, and now with less stank,
Leslie

 

Just the Tip Tuesday: How to Deodorize Stinky Hands

I know stuff…weird stuff…like how to remove somebody else’s chewed bubble gum from your preschool daughter’s most holy of holies. (Yeah, that really happened once…Vaseline on a paper towel…took it right off.)

So when I started this blog about 4 years ago, it was a perfect way for me to share some of my random tips. I did it as a joke at first, but over time, I realized that I actually had some practical knowledge worth sharing and that finding new and better ways to do things made my heart sing.

But then Pinterest came along and I got a little discouraged. Why would anyone want to read my goofy tips?

And then In The Powder Room asked me to join their team as one of their Tuesday columnists and I jumped at the chance, abandoning my Just the Tip Tuesday feature.

But you know what? I’ve missed it. And I’ve learned the hard way that there is a lot of shit on Pinterest that looks pretty, but doesn’t really work! Either the directions are horrible, or the projects are way too hard, or the people writing the tips take themselves way too seriously and I feel like I need a hug and a Xanax smoothie after I visit their blogs.

So I asked my editor at In The Powder Room if I could move my column to another day and take back my Tuesdays. And she said yes! (Thank you, Gigi! XO)

Drumroll please…

Ladies and gentlemen, I am proud to announce the return of:

For my first foray back into the world of Tips and Tricks, I thought we could discuss something that happens to all of us at one time or another: stinky hands. 

No, I’m not talking about Bucket Head’s favorite new game, although I suppose this trick would work for that too.

I’m talking about what happens after you chop a bunch of onions, and no matter how many times you wash your hands with soap and water, you can’t shake the stank off.

This happened to me the other day and it was driving me nuts. I had made a big beautiful pot of Ratatouille for dinner and later that night as I was lying in bed, trying to fall asleep, the pungent scent of Vidalia onions was wafting from my fingers to my face, actually gagging me.

Desperate for relief, I suddenly remembered that used coffee grounds are a great odor neutralizer! That’s why perfumers keep jars of coffee beans around to cleanse the palate between samples.

Luckily for me, that morning’s coffee grounds were still in the coffee maker (sometimes it pays to be a slacker). So I pulled them out and scrubbed my hands with them over the trash can, and then rinsed off the extra coffee grounds in the sink. (Sniff sniff?) It worked like a charm!

If it hadn’t been so late at night, I would have done the deed outside in my garden, because coffee grounds are like crack for worms and hydrangeas!

Yes, according to Karianne of the breathtaking Thistlewood Farm blog, adding coffee grounds to the soil around your hydrangeas is THE secret to spectacular blossoms. My hydrangeas are always blue, not pink like Karianne’s, so I’m not sure if the coffee grounds have an impact on the color or just the overall robust health of the plant, but it seems wasteful to throw coffee grounds into the trash when they are so great for the soil and the planet in general.

(Please note…I brew my French Roast old-school using unbleached biodegradable Melitta Bamboo Coffee Filters.* I don’t know if this would work with Keurig K-Cups, although I’m guessing a row of upturned K-Cups could be lovingly hand-crafted into a garden bed border if that’s your thing. Hey, whatever rocks your dinghy. No judgement.)

Alrighty then! Now you know what to do when your hands are all jacked up with stank. And as a two-fer, those coffee grounds are great for your garden. Giddy up!

Thanks for stopping by! And don’t forget to enter for a chance to win a $50 Amazon.com gift card from DealAngel. Giveaway closes this Friday.

-Leslie

*This post contains an affiliate link to my Amazon.com store.

 

We’re having a lean, green, and mean Halloween!

Have you noticed the vast selection of non-edible Halloween treats in the stores this year? We’re talking Halloween themed silly bands, bendy monster action figures, temporary tattoos, glow-in-the-dark vampire fangs, mini cans of creepy colored Play-Doh, stickers, pencils, erasers, etc.

WTF?

How am I supposed to get my annual All Saints Day yeast infection?

Kidding. It usually takes until All Souls Day for me to deplete my children’s entire supply of Kit Kats and Butterfingers.

As a semi-conscientious parent, I suppose the movement away from candy makes sense. You know…all the cavity-causing sugar, the Red Dye #40 that ignites kiddies like roman candles, the neurotoxic artificial flavorings, the risk of cross-contamination from tree nuts, the razor blades…I get it. Long gone are the days of homemade candy apples and popcorn balls.

But you know what? I don’t think I can tolerate any more plastic CRAP in my house.

Because for realio, if I step on one more of those MFing little plastic spider rings in the middle of the night, I’mma be starring in the next episode of Snapped.

Seriously, I’ve already sacrificed one of my formerly lovely toes to the Plastic Clutter Gods. Enough is enough already!

I’m nothing if not practical though. And since handing out non-edible plastic CRAP is the hot trend this year, I’m perfectly willing to get on board.

My approach, however, is a little leaner, greener, and yes, according to my kids, “way meaner.”

It is so simple… you’re gonna kick yourself for not thinking of it first!

This year, I’m going to recycle random kid clutter as Halloween treats! Bye-bye Happy Meal toys, school “Treasure Box” earnings, anything that came home in a birthday party goodie bag, carnival prizes, etc.; it’s all fair game. Your kids want it, and I want it out of my house. Win-win!

Here is a picture of some of the kid clutter I was able to gather in just a few minutes.

"Mom, have you seen my Shrek and Mulan action figures?" "No honey. I haven't." (Heh heh heh)

Frickin’ brilliant, right? And I don’t have to spend a dime! Take THAT, Corporate America!

My husband already thinks I’m crazier than a shit-house rat, so of course this idea came as no big surprise to him. He’s just bummed there won’t be a stockpile of fun-sized Almond Joy bars in the pantry all week.

If you are going to try this at your house, something I learned the hard way is to NOT ask your kids to help you gather your loot. In fact, don’t even do it while they’re around… kids are notoriously clingy to those awful made-in-China choke hazards. Must be all the lead, messing with their brain chemistry. Also, once you assemble your stash, keep it hidden from your ankle biters or you will open yourself up to a world of whining, fighting, and/or stealing.

OH! Lookie here, even as I was taking these pictures, a little hand was sneakin’ in to reclaim some of the booty. That’s my Bucket Head… notorious Crap Raptor.

Hold it right there, Bub.

We get a lot of teenaged Trick-or-Treaters in my neighborhood, so I think I’ll break up the “treats” into two age-appropriate baskets; toys for the little ones, other random household clutter for the older kids.

Finally, something practical to do with our stash of pre-vasectomy condoms! (Clearly, if the kids are dressed up like this little neighbor was last year… a condom or two isn’t such a bad idea. Lord have mercy!)

Look at this little skank rubbin' up against my little Vampire! Maybe she's just cold. Poor thing.

"Well who are you supposed to be? A WHORE? Oh, a teenager? Same diff. Get away from my son!"

So that’s my hot Halloween tip for this year. Reduce your clutter, save the planet, and hoard your cash this Halloween. Sure, your kids might miss some of those toe-breaking-toys, and yes, the neighbors will probably have even more to say about you than they usually do, but think of the serenity you’ll gain by eliminating clutter and reducing your carbon footprint!

And with the money you’ll save you can hire professional window washers to remove the egg shells and soap you’ll most likely receive as a result of your non-traditional “treats.”

Totally worth it.

What do you think? Is this idea a winner or have I gone off the deep end?

I’m going to link up to Org Junkie because I think she’d approve of this idea!

-Iris

© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris. 

Just the Tip Tuesday: Have Fun with Your Leftovers

Do you like a good underdog story? Then please “like” The Bearded Iris at Babble.com’s list of the Top 50 Mom Blogs.  Three months ago I was ranked at #891. Today I’m #10 (OMG!!!). My readers are THE BEST. Just sayin’.

And now, back to our regularly scheduled blogging…

Last week I was trying a new crock pot recipe for chipotle beef tacos. It wasn’t great; totally not worth sharing, unfortunately. However, I did come up with a great kitchen tip in the process that might be of use to you.

But first, it’s time for another riveting installment of:

Real Conversations, Really Bad Parenting.

Her: “Mom? Why is there cat poop in the freezer? Is Gracie okay?”

Me: “That’s not poop.”

Her: “Looks like poop.”

Me: “It’s not poop. ”

Her: “SNOT POOP?”

Me: “It. Is. Not. Poop.”

Her:  “Then why does it look like poop?”

Me: “It looks like poop?”

Her: “MOM! Please. You know that totally looks like poop!”

Me: “Does it?”

Her: “MOM!”

Me: “Not my poop. I eat a lot of fiber.”

Her: “Ew. Mom! TMI! It looks like CAT poop. Sick cat poop.”

Me: “Great – you’re hired. Since you are such an expert on cat poop, you can scoop Gracie’s litter box from now on.”

Her: “Ugh. Mom. That’s not fair.”

Me: “SNOT FAIR? Ew! I’m totally not buying a raffle ticket there, I’ll tell you that much.”

Her: “MOM!”

Me: “Honey, will you please hand me one of those cat turds from the freezer? Mama’s making soup.”

Her: “I’m running away.”

Me: “Take your brothers.”

* * * * *

I know what you’re thinking. “Iris wrote about poop. So unlike her!” In my defense, totally not my fault. SHE started it. My kids are so gross. Must get it from their Dad.

This all fits together, by the way. Stay with me. I know it’s a stretch.

The recipe called for 2 tablespoons of pureed chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. I had a can of these, but it was a big can…way more than I needed.

So I pureed the whole can in my blender, scooped out the two tablespoons I needed, put the rest in a quart sized baggie, and was about to chuck it into the freezer for future use.

That’s when it dawned on me, “Wait…how am I going to access two tablespoons (or so) of this stuff the next time I need it if it’s all frozen together in a big clump?”

I thought about spooning it from the baggie into a plastic ice cube tray and freezing individual portions like I used to with fresh baby food, but I’m too lazy to wash ice cube trays after the fact and that oily red adobo sauce stains like a mofo.

That’s when a great big eco-friendly compact fluorescent light bulb appeared over my head.

I know! I’ll just cut the tip off the baggie and squirt individual portions onto freezer paper and freeze the blobs. Once they’re frozen, I’ll store them in a freezer baggie!

So that’s what I did. And it totally worked like a charm.

And I think it’s just an added bonus that the blobs totally look like sick cat poop.

These are the blobs before I froze them. (Anyone humming the Diarrhea Boom Boom song?)

One frozen blob of the chipotle pepper puree.

Bag o' frozen blobs.

By the way, two tablespoons of this stuff is pretty flavorful and spicy. I’m thinking one tablespoon would be plenty of seasoning the next time I make something chipot-licious. I’m pretty sure I can use a sharp knife and cut those frozen pepper puree turds in half though, easy peasy.

Sure hope I don’t find any tapeworms in there when I do.

-Iris

© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris.


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