Work it, Girls


Comments.  I’ve been hearing little comments lately that have put my hands into a clenched fist position.  A few weeks ago, after finding–among many other things–an entire orange peel in the far back seat cup holder of my minivan that had clearly been sitting there IN PLAIN VIEW for about ten days, Mike and I organized a “family car cleaning day.”  Holy MOLY did my car need it.  It was so bad in there I brought out the regular house vacuum to get the back of the car.

My son’s comment that day?  “Why can’t we just take it to the car wash?”  “Because, my–ahem–sweet angel, we made this mess.  It’s our mess, and we’re going to clean it up!”

I’ve had a housekeeper, we’ll call her “Saint Mari” for several years now.  When the kids were little and I, as they say, had my hands full, I employed her at least twice a month.  Here in Southern California this is affordable and even though it’s not the way I was raised, it’s dang hard to pass it up.  I used to weep with actual tears of joy when she would show up to my house back in the day.  I would count down the days until she would take my crumby floors, sticky counters and dusty shelves back to a state of relative humanity.

Nowadays, the kids are older, I’m only working a few hours a week… I admit that I do hire this fabulous helper every other month or so.  (What she can do in 5 hours would take me two days and frankly it’s just not worth it!!!)  So what’s the problem?  I’ll tell you what the problem is: The problem is when my fourth grader looks across her sea of messy room that I’ve just told her must disappear before she leaves to play and says to me “Why can’t we just call Mari?”

Because, my–ahem–sweet angel, you made this mess.  It’s your mess and you’re going to clean it up!”

My kids have a few chores around the house, but it’s really hitting me like a ton of bricks that they could, ahem, use a little more.

Like the other day on the way to school, after a wonderful spring break, and yes, it is hard to go back to school.  But honey when you come at me with “Why can’t we just stay home and relax all day like you do, mama…?”  Well, AHEM, let’s just say you better not come at me with that.

Because MY SWEET ANGELS we all made this mess and I don’t feel like chipping away at it all day to be met with a blank stare of utter lack of appreciation when you return home from school!!!!!!!!

Do my kids weep for joy when they come home to a house free of crumbed floors and sticky counters thanks to moi?  Um… no.

They’re kids.  Yes.  Did I really appreciate everything my parents did for me until I had kids of my own?  Nope.  But my grandmother would roll over in her grave if she heard my kids (gulp, she probably did!) say things like this.  So, after school that day we all rolled up our sleeves and got our job done.

I made a list of choices which included cleaning toilets, scrubbing tubs, sweeping, vacuuming, dusting, folding laundry… Yes.  All the good stuff.

“Pick one job you’d like to do and then one that isn’t your favorite.”  These were my directions.

“But what if none of these are something I’d like to do?” Asked Grayson (age 6.)

“Then pick two jobs that aren’t your favorite (my sweet angel.)”

I heard a new set of comments while we scrubbed, washed, toiled and de-grimed.  Comments like “This is hard!” and “Is this good enough?” (answer: no.)   I corrected hands that, rather than grasping the scrub brush properly were gingerly holding it with two fingers in an effort to not get messy.  Puh-lease.  Kiddos: we  is gonna’ step up our game!  There’ll be no half-wayin’ it today!

I mean really, this aggravation is my fault.  Kids aren’t born saying please and thank you.  They’re not born responsible, and they obviously won’t learn to appreciate the work that it takes to keep our house from becoming a filthy disaster if they don’t ever participate in the joys and sorrows of keeping it up.

Was our afernoon fun?  For them?  Not at all.  For me?  You betcha’. 

FYI: My personal fave cleaning product:

cleaner Sprinkle baking soda and spray with white vinegar.  Cleans great, anti bacterial, good for the environment and not harmful to us.

“The bathtub smells like a salad!”  That’s the vinegar, my sweet angels.  Now keep at it and hold that scrubber properly so you don’t have to do it twice.  You’re only half way there…

p.s. My girls shrieked when they heard me take this photo.  “You’re not going to put this on your blog are you!!??” 🙂




Winter Cole Slaw

cole slaw 2 OK.  Yes.  I have posted my recipe for cole slaw before.  I just had to do it again because delicious fresh cabbages  literally abound at local farmer’s markets right now!  The high vitamin C and sulphur content in cabbage gives it strong detoxification properties.  High in vitamins and fiber, low in cost and de-lish make it a winter winner at our house.  This recipes forgoes the all-too-common-and-very-unhealthy ingredient of mayonnaise.  Fear not! After you taste this cole slaw you’ll never reach for a jar of that white stuff again.

Ingredients: 1/2 head cabbage (green, red or a combination), chopped; 1-2 carrots, shredded; few slender pieces red onion (don’t need to much); 1/4 cup cider vinegar; 1/4 cup olive oil; 2 tbsp sugar; few dashes salt and pepper

Directions: While you are prepping the veggies, bring the vinegar, olive oil and seasonings to a boil on the stove top.  With the sugar in there this will happen in about 2 minutes, maybe less.  Mix your now kinda-syrupy and warm vinaigrette and pour it over the top of your naked veggies.  Toss all this yummy stuff together and you’re pretty much there, my friend.

Kinda important tip: This recipe tastes great after hanging out in the fridge over night.  This month’s photo includes a double batch of the recipe above.  Why?  Because it gets even better after a few more days… leftovers = YES!!

Not as important tip: I usually give a big batch a stir after several hours to make sure all the vinegar-oil mixture doesn’t rest on the bottom.  Pairs well with chicken, burgers, tastes great on tacos–have fun!
Final thought.  Still with me?  Doesn’t this salad look absolutely gorgeous!?  OK.  Now go get something else done.  Seriously.

Up Chuck

Chuck E. Cheese This face.  Who chooses a dang RAT as the mascot for their restaurant!?  You know who…  It’s every kids’ fave and every mommy’s personal hell.

At least it’s my personal hell.  I mean don’t get me wrong, it’s never too early to introduce your child to poor nutrition and gambling, but could they at least offer something besides a $5.00 Miller Lite for me to take the edge off?

So my six year old son’s basketball team recently culminated  their fabulous season with a trip to the (I can hardly say it) restaurant with the rat for a mascot.

I didn’t want to go.  I loved my son’s basketball season.  Loved his coaches and all the other players.  Wanted so badly to be a team player… but on a dark and rainy school night, after a rather hectic day, Up-chucky’s Sleeze was just not calling my name.

Enter: Mike.  Like a gallant knight on a white horse, like Tarzan swinging through the jungle (kitchen, whatever) on a vine, he strode in the door, took one look at the expression on my face and, like a 15 year seasoned spouse stated “I’ll take the kids tonight.  Why don’t you stay at home.”

Are you kidding me?  Did I really marry this well?  I did!  I REALLY DID!  It’s true! (man I’m smart.)

Now only the four most important people in my life will be off consuming the fude (well it’s not food) the “rat”-urant serves to its sensory over-loaded patrons, after I fed them a hearty bowl of vegetable soup on their way out the door, of course.  But at least I was off the hook.  I was saved!   SAVED!

Thanks, Love.  You’re the best.