Laundry…commence “banging-head-against-wall”

Confession: I hate doing laundry. It is my Everest (and the piles in my house closely resemble it).

Ten truths about laundry [in our house]

1. When I strip beds for “linen day,” someone will inevitably pee through a diaper or throw up that night. “Wash when needed” is superior logic.

2. Sock baskets [by the door] work waaaaaay better than sock drawers [in a bedroom].

3. Dry clean only REALLY means either a) wear once and never again -OR- b) take my chances and machine wash on gentle. But, my best bet is to leave “dry clean only” items at the store, as they really have no business in my closet, let alone on my body.

4. “Line Dry” really means “lol – Tumble dry extra low”

5. White shirts and pants have no business in my children’s closet, let alone on their bodies.

6. Bibs are great when eating out or at someone else’s house, but “dinner in a diaper” is a superior choice when dining at home.

7. Dreft is a cute idea (laundry soap just for babies – how cute is that?), but most brands “Free and Clear” get the job done cheaper [and better].

8. The more clothes purchased: the greater the laundry pile… Less is more

9. If we have no plans to leave the house, changing out of pajamas is completely optional… and kind of silly.

And last but not least [and certainly the greatest truth in my house]

10. The laundry will never be finished. Ever.

Love Thy Neighbor

In my 31 years, I have experienced my share of “trials.” Since my 25th birthday alone, I have had 4 miscarriages, 2 c-sections with complications, thyroid problems, melanoma, and lost my job TWICE.

I learned a lot during those difficult times. Just to name a few…

1. Even when they don’t have anything nice to say, people still talk.

2. People love to hear bad news, but…

3. it ends there. They would much rather ignore your grief/problem than get personally involved in any way whatsoever

4. Self interest almost always trumps “doing the right thing”

5. People will downplay just about anything that isn’t happening to them

Last night our basement flooded. Well, part of it. Just the laundry room. In the grand scheme of things, it was small potatoes. I’m sure it will result in a decent bill, but it definitely wasn’t disastrous.

While I laid in bed, (not sleeping and jumping at every noise) I started thinking. I am sort of ashamed to say this… but, I have always been very dismissive about flooded basements. It certainly has never been my intention to be unsympathetic, but I always kind of figured “It’s a basement. They flood.” It wasn’t a lack of compassion. It was a lack of perspective. Ok, It was both. Since it wasn’t happening to me, I didn’t have much of an opinion…or reason to care.

Ignorance is was bliss.

When the water was rushing to every corner of the room, threatening to jump the threshold and enter the finished part of the basement, and I was surveying the impending, colossal damage, I kept thinking, “This is awful. Everything will be ruined. Cleaning this up will be a nightmare.” I then immediately felt many years worth of guilt for all the times I have dismissed “just a flooded basement.” Shame on me.

I am sure there has been a loooooong list of other things I have dismissed as well. I’m far from perfect.

Confession: While I have been very quick to judge people for their lack of empathy/compassion/kindness during various phases/periods in my life, I completely overlooked the times that I did THE.VERY.SAME.THING.

Ask yourself this. Have you ever made a statement ever that started with “It’s just…” -OR- made a statement along the lines of “It could be worse?”  (i.e. It’s just a miscarriage. Just skin cancer.) I certainly have. (i.e. It’s just a flooded basement).

Ignorance isn’t bliss. Ignorance is ignorance.

Last night was eye opening for me. I am glad our laundry room flooded because ignorance can very easily become a way of life if we never learn to see we are never shocked into seeing beyond our own noses.

the ability to understand and share the feelings of another

I used to think that empathy came ONLY from shared experiences. It really doesn’t need to. Really, all we need to do is “Love Thy Neighbor.” If it is a big deal to someone/anyone, it is a big deal. Period. We need to look beyond our own noses, see past our own front doors, and get out of our own damn heads.

We council kids to “worry about yourself,” but I think we have taken that to an extreme. Maybe If we spent less time worrying about ourselves, we could think about others and help others a little more. I don’t know. Maybe this is just a sleep deprived, caffeine fueled rant about nothing in particular, but I am changed woman after my little flooding fiasco last night. From now on, I am making empathy and kindness a greater priority.

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Words to live by, friends! 🙂



Confession: I am a Series of Contradictions

A few months (weeks? days?) ago, I wrote a post – A Type A Housewife’s Thoughts on Cleaning. I stand by that post, but today I NEEDED to clean. Seriously clean. Not just pick up and wipe up. I needed to dust, scrub, shine and polish. Not because it was dirty (it was filthy), but because I needed to feel in control of something.

Sometimes things get too crazy. Too chaotic. Too loud. Too fun. Yes, I just said sometimes things get too fun.

There are times that I feel like the ONLY thing I am accomplishing is entertaining and engaging my kids. Such an upbringing is sure to spoil them, right? Turn them into entitled little creatures that require immediate gratification? They have to learn (at some point) how to entertain themselves or be complacent with a little boredom, right? Maybe not. But today, that was my theory.

Today, I let my kids wander, tinker with toys, watch TV, and spin in circles while I almost completely ignored them and cleaned house. Not to worry, I made sure they were safe, fed them when they were hungry, and changed their soiled diapers, but I also did my own thing.

I think they actually enjoyed it. They played together, fought a little, found toys they had forgotten, and let their momma clean house (translation: reclaim a small piece of her sanity).

Windex makes me giddy. Crumb free floors make me want to dance (albeit badly), and polished furniture makes me feel brand new.

The kids are now napping, and I am sipping a cup of tea in a CLEAN house. All is right in my little world. What can I say, sometimes I just gotta scrub something.

Knoephla Soup

Pronounced /ˈnɛflə/

I am paying homage to my home state of ND with this recipe – a German soup perfectly suited for chilly, rainy days like today.



1 3/4 cups flour

1 egg

1/2 cup water

1 tsp salt


one small onion diced

2 cups potatoes (peeled and diced)

2 cups precooked ham cubed

3 chicken bullion cubes

salt and pepper to taste

3 cups milk

1 cup cream

Combine dough ingredients to make a stiff dough. Chill in the refrigerator for about an hour. Roll dough out on a floured surface and cut into small pieces (I use a pizza cutter).

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Cook dough pieces in a kettle of boiling water for 20 minutes, stirring often. Drain and Reserve.

In a dutch oven, saute onions in 2 T. butter. Add potatoes, ham, and bullion cubes. Add enough water to cover the ingredients and cook for 25 minutes (be sure to fork test your potatoes to make sure they are done).

When the base is done, add the cooked knoephpla, milk and cream. Simmer for another 20-30 minutes.

We like to serve ours with buttered french bread. Try it! You won’t be disappointed!


Small Changes Add Up

When we moved into our home, there were a TON of updates I wanted to do. A few projects in, I realized my to-do list needed to become more of a wish-list. Let’s face it, renovations are costly and time consuming. But, that has not stopped me from making small updates that make a big difference [without inflicting much damage on the budget or monopolizing entire weekends].

For example…

1. Painting our millwork instantly made our entry feel lighter and brighter.


2. Painting our mantel instantly modernized an otherwise dated fireplace.


3. Painting our cabinets black completely changed the look and feel of our kitchen.


Those are just examples of what paint can do, and proof that you don’t have to make drastic changes or spend a ton of money in order to update your space. Small changes can really add up :).

On Caving…

Every book, article, and pamphlet I have read on parenting says the same thing: consistency is important – children thrive within boundaries, and routines are essential.

It’s not that I disagree… it’s just… well, sometimes “caving” is just as necessary. I have yet to read any literature that endorses “caving,” but I’m going to say  SHOUT it: SOMETIMES GOOD MOMS AND DADS GIVE IN!

Today I took the kids to the mall. Rex had won a prize pack in a drawing and we went to pick it up. Exciting stuff for an almost three year old! Not so exciting for his little sister. The nice lady who gave Rex his prize offered Sydney a sucker. Let me be clear, this was not my “caving” moment. While a sucker is not something I would have allowed Rex to have at 16 months of age, she is my temperamental second child and I am not no longer one to scoff at a treat that guarantees 15 minutes of contentment. She squealed and started sucking happily. We then decided to go to the indoor play area…

I couldn’t fathom allowing her to toddle around with a sucker so I decided it needed to go ba-bye. I took pried it out of her little hand death grip and the shrieking started. She threw herself to the floor and screamed in a way that frightened other mid-trantrum toddlers.


I felt other parental eyes searing into my spinning head. I could “hear” the questions conveyed by their eyes. “What’s she gonna do? Is she gonna stand her ground? Is she going to march that little tyrant out of the play area, strap her flailing, screaming body back into the stroller and go home? Who is going to win?” 

I wrestled with these questions for [what felt like] 5 minutes [though I’m sure it was closer to 22 seconds].

Here’s the thing. While I wrestled with my choices [stand my ground or cave], I felt myself escalating. My face felt hot, my shoulders were up around my ears, and my hands were clenched. My choices weren’t so much “stand my ground” or “cave”…they were more like “stand your ground now and later explode in the car” or “cave now and NOT turn into scary mommy later.” Honestly, given the two choices, the latter seemed the lesser of two evils.

So, while I acknowledge that consistency is important, I also feel [with great conviction] that sometimes “caving” is just as necessary.

Sydney got her sucker, I kept my sanity. We both won :).


Maximizing Refrigerator Storage and Freshness


1. Place a new container of Baking Soda on the top shelf every thirty days

2. Store milk on a shelf vs. in the door (as the temps there are too variable).


3. Group and containerize like items (i.e.  fridge bins are homes for kids’ snacks, deli meats, and dips & spreads).


4. Stackable fridge bins allow you to group like items AND maximize vertical space


5. Store raw meat on the bottommost shelf or drawer (in case of leaks)


6. Designate one shelf (at eye level) for left overs [so that they don’t get lost in the mix and forgotten] and another for beverages


7. Label!

8. Keep a sharpie on top of the fridge  so that you can quickly jot “opened dates” right on the container

9. This is pretty straight forward, but still worth a mention – keep cheese in the cheese drawer, butter in the butter compartment, and fruits and veggies (together) in the crisper 🙂

10. Group like items [dressings, condiments, pickled “anythings,” sauces, and bottled water] and store them in the door compartments



Just like a well-ordered pantry, a well ordered fridge reduces food waste as well as makes cooking and food prep easier and more enjoyable.

P.S. I haven’t done a major grocery trip this week so our fridge is pretty bare, which made it easier to clean. There’s another tip for ya 😉