Monthly Archives: June 2011

There Is No Cleaning Fairy – Making FlyLady Work

I can see it now… (cue cheesy daydream sequence music)
The cleaning fairy would sweep into your house, dusting you with good feelings as she scrubs your heart free of stress and grime. She would gently wash, fold, and make your babies lunch, too.

I was looking at the chaos of my home today. Even when we pick it up, the mess creeps out literally hours later. We own Big House stuff but live in a Small House. There’s no room for things. I declutter as much as I can but it still seems impossible.
Today, I was wishing for the Cleaning Fairy to come and make it sparkle. I’ll maintain it, I promise. I’ll keep up on it, I swear.
{This time.}

Just as we eventually figure out that the tooth fairy is total crap, we must wake up and realize that there wasn’t a cleaning fairy that kept our houses clean growing up…
it was our moms
And guess who is the mom now?

Crap, crap, crap.

There is Flylady, which I know a lot of other ADHD moms swear by, but my inability to take it “one step at a time” I was left me burnt out by the process.

She also promoted deep cleaning one area a week...
which left me wondering
is my living room going to survive 3 weeks of neglect while I clean other areas of my home?

I never did figure that one out, though I’m sure there’s a logical explanation.
I want to make FlyLady work for me and my family. Today I had the kid do their chores, then I made them do an extra 15 17 minutes on deeper cleaning in one of the most chaotic areas of the house: my room.

It made a dent.

So tomorrow, we’ll work on it again. Monday Tuesday we’ll move on, if I remember. Maybe I need to motivate the kids so they’ll motivate me?

So here’s what I’m going to attempt:
 I need to 
wake up (before 9 a.m. would be ideal), 
feed children, 
and clean the kitchen (15 minutes)
while kids do chores (15 minutes).

Then we need to do school. We’ve been starting later and later as I get lazier and lazier. It’s 1 p.m. and I haven’t even gotten things ready. :(

So start school before lunch time. 
Then lunch.
Clean up lunch chores (everyone)
then… maybe a 5 minute “Hot Spot” clean?

Maybe I should stop listing things now. This is where my inability to do baby steps creates problems. Clearly I need to stop and try this out before going on. I need to see if this is doable, or if I need to break it down further.

How do you handle cleaning? Do your kids help, if available, or are you the Cleaning Fairy in your home?

It’s Bad. It’s Really, Really Bad.

June 2011 is one for the books.
Or blog.
Here’s why:

Inaccessible drain pipe leak.
Hubby asks: kitchen or bathroom?
Kitchen was somewhat remodeled due to the last pipe leak.
I voted bathroom.

I now have this:

This is where my bathroom sink, in all its ugly glory, once stood.

This is my tub. Not sure how the toilet broke. There was a crash while he was moving it; I ran in panicked and hubby said:
don’t ask.
So I didn’t.

Did your heart skip a beat when you saw this? Are you finding it hard to breathe?
I am.

To his credit, Gary got the kitchen water up and running as quickly as possible. Turns out, four days of mostly unwashed dishes is a lot of dishes.
I did pay Jordan to handwash dishes downstairs. I was really stressed.

Now we’re basically down a bathroom. We only had two, and we have five potty trained individuals in the house. 

I find, with my ADHD, I have to have a routine to my cleaning. Not as strict as Flylady, but a basic pattern to starting my day. 
{Otherwise, I never start.}

The smallest things can throw my day for a loop: an unexpected doctor visit, preparing for a trip to Grandma’s, or even a playdate in the morning.

Remodels kind of make me want to crawl back into bed.
Remodels happen at the worst time too. This all began the week Gary was supposed to be spending down at work, finishing up a project there.
Now he’s splitting time, making both projects three times as long. (Yes the math is off, but isn’t that realistic?)

I’m trying to keep my routines up, and it’s certainly easier than a kitchen remodel. My routine starts in the kitchen, and if I can’t start there, I have a hard time starting anything at all.

Any tips on keeping sane while the house is in chaos??
Or should I take my sister up on her offer and stay at my mom’s house?
(Again, I know that doesn’t sound right. But it is what it is!)

Food Allergy Rights

One of the hardest things about dealing with food allergies is going to restaurants. I can control and monitor what my daughter eats at home, but who knows what’s going on in a restaurant kitchen?
The servers certainly don’t!

Fortunately, my little Abigail is still, well, little, so it’s not yet as hard as it could be. One recent situation illustrated how difficult this may soon become. Abigail loves to try new foods, and will eat anything I’m eating. Even at our dinner table she wants to sit on my lap so she can grab whatever is on my plate–the buttered bread perhaps, or maybe a handful of that delicious looking salad coated in ranch dressing? 

We spent the weekend at the lake and had a great time. We did a lot of this:

Our favorite thing to do after a day at the lake is get one of LaBeau’s famous raspberry shakes. Well, they are famous for their raspberry shakes, but I don’t think anyone got one of those. We settled for more mature versions such as Mint Oreo or Cookie Dough. Anyway, it’s a tradition I insist on maintaining. 
{Mostly because there is ice cream involved.}

Here’s a question: how do you take your 15 month old baby to get shakes for everyone when 
she can’t eat ice cream?

As I’ve said before, she loves to be eating what I’m eating. I can’t exactly hand her an animal cracker and call that a substitute for a shake, now can I? Babies are smarter than that!

Here’s a trick for your favorite non-dairy baby:

Yeah, really! This probably wouldn’t work with say, a recently diagnosed six year old, but for a baby who doesn’t know the difference? A smooshed banana looks like ice cream!
In fact, this is a Weight Watchers trick. Cube a banana, freeze it, and puree. Just like ice cream!
(I know, you’re not buying it. But supposedly it’s better than… not eating ice cream?)

Because of the large amount of kids swarming around the window to order at LaBeau’s, I requested via my mother a banana for my baby. An ice cream store has got to have banana’s, right?

I sat down, and she came back with–no banana. They would not sell her one
Say what now?
They told her there was a market not too far that she could purchase some bananas, but they were almost out and couldn’t sell her any.
Say what now?

Picture me, not exactly irate, but my momma bear fur has definitely been ruffled. 
My mom says we can just go get some bananas. 

Uh no. I don’t think so.

I went to the window and spoke with the girl who had talked to my mom. She explained the situation–they only had a few bananas on hand and couldn’t sell one to me.
After going back and forth for a moment she requested I speak with the manager. 
I’d love to.

The manager introduces herself; she’s apparently the owner.
Great. I want a banana.
She again explains that they only have a few bananas left, and need to be open till 10 p.m.
I ask her what I’m supposed to feed my egg-dairy-almond allergic daughter.
She looks flustered. I kindly (but firmly) explain that LaBeau’s is a family tradition and one I’d like to carry on with my family. I brought my daughter, who has food allergies, and I’d like her to be part of this family tradition. I want to feed her a banana while we eat the ice cream we’ve ordered. 

Owner: Well, we’d have to go down to the KOA and buy more bananas.
Me: Okay.
Owner: So you want a banana?
Me: Yes. I want a banana.
Owner: Well… I don’t even know what I’d charge. I’ve never sold just a banana before.

She spent a few minutes calculating. I offered to pay her a dollar for the banana (I understand the inconvenience I was causing, really), but after thinking for a moment, she charged me only $.15 for that much disputed banana.

Why do I bring this up?
Sometimes, when we have a child with food allergies, it’s up to us to make sure their needs are met. While it’s in a restaurant’s best overall interests to make things as allergy-friendly as possible upon request, they certainly don’t have to. A server is (almost always) completely unaware of what food contains what allergens. As parents, we must be the person not only checking to make sure the food is safe for their consumption but sometimes we must be the ones to demand it.

By nature I’m not a confrontational person. I hate fighting and I am uncomfortable with arguing. However, when it comes to my children, I’m much more assertive. I like the idea of giving your server allergy information cards to show the chef, but they apply to more severe allergies than Abigail has (fortunately!). I wonder what happens when you hand your server a stack of these cards and say “avoid these?” 

One of your best defenses is a good offense. Go here or here to learn as much as you can about your child’s allergy. The more knowledgeable about those sneaky ingredients you need to avoid, the better you can explain your situation at the restaurant.

Massachusetts has made a great first step by requiring managers of food establishments to go through a food allergy course. Of course people who suffer from allergies are accountable for watching what they eat, but it’s nice going out knowing you’ll come home without a visit to the hospital first. :)

While national restaurant chains are becoming more and more accommodating to the situation, I wish labeling was required at restaurants the way it is when I buy a loaf of bread. At a glance, I can usually see whether or not the loaf contains milk or egg. It saves a lot of time from having to scan the list of ingredients for words like “casein” or “whey.” Why not a little symbol on the McDonald’s menu board for each of the most common trigger foods? At a glance, one could easily tell what foods to avoid.

I got these nifty little graphics from the Special Gourmet site. What’s neat about this site is on the home page you can enter your city and your allergies, and it comes up with a list of restaurants and more that are listed as “allergy friendly.” This list claims to be the largest global guide for special dietary concerns, which is probably true; however, it only came up with one restaurant in the Salt Lake City area. 

Okay. I’m officially done. I started this post hours ago, meaning to mention a quick little story about the bananas and look at the rant it’s turned it to! Forgive me. :)

Popsicle Night

My neighbor holds a weekly “Popsicle night” in the summer. Every Tuesday at 7 p.m., my neighbors come, bring various frozen treats, and sit on the lawn and gab. Until today, I hadn’t been. 
Why? I have my excuses. They’re realish.
But mostly, I have a paralyzing fear of social situations.

Not so much once I arrive at the social situation. But the anxiety beforehand is so overwhelming, I typically avoid the whole thing altogether. 

So tonight, I took a deep breath (and changed my clothes and put on makeup and perfume and made sure the kids looked decent), and went to popsicle night. And of course, once I got there, I was fine.

About ten minutes into being there, another neighbor–in her pajamas and no makeup–dropped off a box of popsicles, excused the near-naked children in her front yard, and explained she wouldn’t be coming because they hadn’t eaten dinner. 

Let me back up. The amazing thing to me is not:
-that it was after 7 p.m. and they hadn’t eaten dinner (story of my life)
-that she was wearing pajamas and no makeup (story of my life)
-or that her kids weren’t dressed (yup, story of my life)

it was that she admitted it.
Out loud.
To the neighbors.

I have no problem confessing to faceless (and often nameless) people online–where you can’t actually witness my personal chaos–that I’m a slacker kind of mom.

But out loud? To people you see in real life, to people that go to church with you, and surely have perfect homes and perfect lives?
That’s seriously awesome.

I’m always so concerned about what others think. I almost ditched popsicle night tonight because the clothes that were still in the dryer that I assumed were dry weren’t, so what was I going to wear? The graying old t-shirt I was wearing? Not.

I hate that we eat dinner so often past “normal” time. I cringe when my kids yell out the door to their brother or sister, “It’s time for dinner!” when it’s 7:30 and I just know the neighbors are judging me for it.

Either my neighbor is seriously okay with what other people think of her or…
or what? 

This concept is so boggling to me. When I was dating my husband, he stopped by to offer to help me pack up my room when I moved out of my apartment. Eventually I let him in the room but he didn’t realize until after we were married that the mess I was so embarrassed about wasn’t exactly move-related. It just was the state of my room in general.

When I check the mail, I either go really really fast, or check to make sure my neighbors aren’t outside first. Because let’s be honest, it’s noon and I’m probably still wearing pajamas. (My mailbox is on my porch, six inches from the front door. I make the kids get the newspaper.)

Hmm. I’m starting to think I have a serious complex here. Who cares if my neighbors know I’m two steps from everything falling apart at any given day? I mean, they can see my yard. It’s not like they’re totally clueless to the situation, am I right? They know I went from 2 full time kids to 4 full time kids almost literally overnight. 

Yes, I avoid my neighbors because I have social anxiety. But how much of it is anxiety, and how much of it is this deluded obsession over what people think of me? Why is it so hard to be myself? Why do I think people even care? How do I let that all go and learn to be as honest with people in real life as I am somehow able to be online?

Ugh. That’s a lot of deep thinking and self-examining. And of course, there are no real answers. Are you anxious to make sure people see you as “perfect?” Or are you able to just let that go and let people see you as you really are?

I think I need another popsicle.

And should my neighbor ever read this… please know you are officially an inspiration to me, and I met no harm in posting this. :)

Update: Nutrition Facts for Banana Bread Recipe!

Out of curiousity, I decided to figure out how much healthier my “egg/dairy/nut” free version of banana bread might be over the original version. I ran the numbers and came up with the following statistics, courtesy of The recipe was calculated with a 1/12 serving size and all were calculated without streusel.

If you make my recipe as written, it’s 142 calories and 7 grams of fat. (That’s with Nucoa margarine.) 
If you use butter and eggs, it’s 157 calories and 9 grams of fat. 
If you are really watching things , you can use 1/4 c. Nucoa margarineand 1/4 c. applesauce. That’s only 115 calories and 3.6 grams of fat, which is 3 of the new Weight Watchers points

Oh, and you know how I ask you not to ruin perfectly good desserts by adding nuts? If you go all crazy and add the full 1 cup of walnuts with the eggs and butter, your little slice of banana bread will be a whopping 223 calories and 5.8 grams of fat! That’s 6 points on the new Weight Watchers plan, should you be curious.

So now you know: even though I’m posting “allergy friendly” recipes, take another look. Allergy friendly can also mean diet friendly!
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