Friday, June 29, 2012

Birthday Parties

Tomorrow night my home will be invaded by 4 or 5 twelve-year-old boys.  The Dude celebrated his birthday almost a month ago.  We had planned to have a sleepover and mall trip with friends, but one-by-one little league commitments claimed his guests.

We will start our evening with a taco dinner, the guest of honor's choice, followed by a non-traditional birthday cake.  My Nana used to make a chocolate cake for me and now I make it for my crew.  It is a favorite of everyone in the family, since I also allow it be eaten at breakfast.  For those who are wondering what the heck I'm thinking, it's no different from a triple chocolate muffin from a bakery. 

My son has "plans" for the festivities.  Something that after dinner involves a Nerf war by twilight, movies and video games, and of course, junk food.  We have Hershey bars, popcorn, Doritos, Fanta orange, grape Crush, oh and cheesy poofs.

Twelve-year-olds are far too mature for goodie bags.  But let's face it, they still like the loot.  Dude has put together a comprehensive profile on each guest.  They will get a plastic red & white striped popcorn box filled with at least two of their favorite candies, and at least two packs of sports cards.  NBA cards for this one, baseball for these four, football for these two and hockey for this one, and a pack of Magic cards for Dude.  And then the popcorn boxes will be used for actual popcorn.

Sunday, after breakfast, we are planning on taking this crew to the mall "to hang out" for a couple of hours.  Mom & Dad will be at the mall without being visible.  I think we'll pull up a booth at one of the restaurants and order one appetizer or entree at a time to draw out the meal.  We will be a quick phone call from the mall cops should they need us.

I long for the birthday parties that only last a few hours and have a cute theme.  We made our way through Winnie-the-Pooh, Thomas the Tank Engine, The Wiggles, Blues Clues, NASCAR.  My favorite birthday party wasn't even at my home, but at Build-a-Bear.  It was for his fifth birthday and it was fun to watch him and his friends kiss little hearts, dance around in circles and pick outfits for their creations.

Oh that life were that simple still......  Sunday afternoon, we will collapse from exhaustion and frayed nerves.  Heaven help us!

Edited night of the party:
11:42 p.m. EST - They show no signs of tiring.  All five of them are wound up on sugar and junk food.  Sleep is the farthest thing from their minds.

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Dreaded STUFF

This week, I have been on an organizing kick.  It all started thanks to Pinterest (that is a blog entry for another day).  One of my pins last week was about organizing your "medicine cabinet".  Now I put that in quotes because back in the day, a medicine cabinet was typically something that hung in your bathroom.  In the pin, the "medicine cabinet" was an actual kitchen cabinet with everything from children's medicines, to first aid products, to sunscreen, to regular medicines.  In my house, it consists of two full and two partial shelves of STUFF.  Yes, the dreaded STUFF.  It was a constant jumble, despite some half-hearted attempts to tidy it up.  However, I was constantly being asked, "Do we have _____________?"

Ultimately, I followed the pin to the originator's blog, A Bowl Full of Lemons.  It was my idea of heaven.  Lots of great ideas for organizing your life.  Something that I often pine to do, but lack the motivation or am totally overwhelmed by.    What I found attractive about this blog, was she broke down a project into manageable pieces to deal with the dreaded STUFF.

My first step, was to go buy containers.  She showed a selection of sizes that complemented each other in stacking.  So I went and made my first purchase of the day.  Yes, you read that right "first purchase".  This project involved four trips to the store to buy containers, more containers, return correct lids.  First lesson learned, next time I would perhaps lean towards buying too many, that if need be, can be returned.  The time wasted going back and forth to the store, made the project longer than it needed to be.

Now to tackle the actual dreaded STUFF.  I set up containers and started sorting.  Beside the sorting area, was the trash can.  If it was out of date, it got tossed.  If it was partially used and there were more than one partially used, it was combined.  If it was something that we bought, was within date, but never likely to be used, it was placed in a bag to be donated to the local church food pantry, that also supplies toiletries to their clients.  One of the things that made me really crazy was the number of small tubes of toothpaste floating around, you know the kind that the dentist gives you.  So those got a special container on the bathroom counter, with a note saying, "Please use these up before using a full-size tube.  Love, Mum".

The final step was getting out my label maker and labeling the containers according to what they were for.  Most of the labels are straightforward:  Pain Relievers, Sunscreen, Supplements, Soap, Deodorant, Oral Health.  But I also had a little bit of fun with this phase of the project.  There are two boxes, one labeled Tummy and one labeled Tushy.  We had two boxes of first aid products.  The top box has a selection of band-aids, antibiotic creams, and the more common things you would need treatment for.  The bottom box has ace bandages and items you might need, but not as often as a band-aid.  I had initially labeled them both First Aid, until my husband said that the top one should be First Aid, and the bottom one, labeled Second Aid.  Again, I decided to make it a bit fun for the searcher.

I will admit, I was so pleased with the results, that I open the closet door just to admire my efforts.  The rest of the STUFF in the closet still needs serious attention, but it's definitely a step in the right direction.

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Rise and Fall, and Rise Again of Random Thoughts

Facebook was the downfall of my blog.  I used to blog regularly.  Then I discovered Facebook.  Sadly, the blog fell by the wayside.

My sister-in-law recently started blogging.  Her blog, Sue at Home, got me thinking about writing again.  I used to love to write.  Sometimes it was hard to come up with a topic, but those were the times that my writing would be best because I had to work for it.  So thanks Sue, you've re-enervated my desire to write.

For many years I have thought that I had a book in me.  That dream faded somewhat.  But I still think it's there, somewhere.  Now I just have to figure out what it will be about!

Thank you Sue for inspiring me to write again.
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