Got To Pick A Pocket Or Two

I have a confession to make.

I’m a pickpocket.

But it’s all for a good cause, you see….the cause of my time. And my laundry.

If you have children (or even just husbands), you have probably learned that it’s important to check pockets before putting things in the washing machine.  Not for you, of course; you never forget there’s an important paper in your pocket.

I once washed my husbands entire wallet. Complete with credit card (needed replacing), memory stick (amazingly, still worked), and a check that fell apart and was an embarrassment to ask for a re-issue. I learned my lesson.

And then I had children. Who like to stick the strangest things in their pockets! Rocks, pieces of play-dough, crayons….you do not want to wash those things with your other clothes.

I made a cutsey sign to hang over the hamper. It reminds everyone to check their pockets, sort by color, make sure it’s dirty, etc.

Nobody pays any attention to the sign.

I nagged, I implored them to check their pockets. It made little difference.

And then, I began to pick pockets. For profit, that is.

I empty the pockets, and the contents become mine. I then offer said contents for SALE to the owner first, and then to others if the owner doesn’t want to fork it over. If there are no buyers, I declutter it by putting it in the trash (it usually belongs there anyway).

I don’t charge much, only a shekel (about 25 cents) per item. But to the kids, it’s a lot (the 2 older ones get 1 or 2 shekels for allowance each week plus a little for extra jobs if they choose). And it works! It makes them more careful about leaving things in their pockets, and helps them learn the value of both things and money at the same time.

It works for me.

What’s your trick for getting your family members to participate in laundry rules?

What’s the worst thing you ever washed by mistake?

Have you ever been pickpocketed for real?

How do you teach your children to take care of their things/value of money?

When was the last time you watched Oliver! ?

Back To School

We start school tomorrow. As in, I begin to school at home my two oldest sons (7&6) while the 4 year old goes to preschool (to help him learn Hebrew) and the 2 1/2 & 1 year old are here. At home. While we do school and prep food and keep house and….OK, I’m tired now.

I get one question frequently. It comes both from moms with fewer children than I have and also from moms who don’t have their kids home during the day.

How do you do it? I can barely manage with my ( fill in appropriate number of children or situation).

Well, I’ll tell you. I don’t know. But, I do have a secret weapon, or rather, two of them.

The first one you may have heard me mention before. It is Flylady.net. Flylady gives lots of very helpful and totally do-able tips and tricks to help you stay on top of your housework and even make it sorta fun.

The second is Managers Of Their Homes.  This book shows you how to make a daily schedule, especially for homeschooling. It has lots of real-life schedules from many families of all different sizes and ages of kids to see for example and is filled with practical advice. It’s the first book I’ve found of its kind and has been extremely helpful.

Some main tips I’ve picked up from these sources include:

  1. Use a timer set for not more than 15 minutes to get a job done. Make it a race and see the progress.
  2. Get kids involved with meal prep. I have an assigned dinner helper for each week day.
  3. Assign play times and play partners in 1/2 hr blocks of time. This helps them build relationships and keeps them busy while you do school one on one or tend to another task.
  4. Have your daily schedule be the same each day. A certain block of time might have a rotating activity but it always happens at the same time each day or on that day each week.
  5. When you get off schedule for any reason, do not try to catch up. Just jump in where you are!
  6. Do not let the schedule or routine ruin the time. It’s there to help you, not to boss you around!

I have my daily schedule for this school year created. Will it work? I have no idea. But we’ll find out soon enough!

Now, off to that lesson planning…


When Natural Doesn’t Seem To Work

I feel extremely frustrated.

Remember those Unwanted Guests I so eloquently described? Yep, enterobius vermicularis AKA pinworms. We’ve got them. Or, at least one of us still has them, despite our all natural anti-parasite regimen, including lots of toy rinsing, sheet changing, tush-showering, and LOTS of hand-washing (with paper towels to dry). ARGH !!!

Natural remedies work- in general. I’ve experienced that. There are too many testimonials out there to just blatantly disbelieve them. But they are gentle. They take longer. They require patience and perseverance. And, they are not cookie-cutter answers: you have to tweak it to see what works best for each individual person. That’s because natural remedies use real food or herbs, etc, to help the body do its own work. They promote life and healing (pro-bio), instead of death and sickness (anti-bio).

We used a gentle parasite cleanse, well, gently. Instead of giving our kids a full strength dose for the recommended 3 weeks that an adult would take, we gave them a half dose for only 2 weeks. We did not take into consideration the ages of our children and how that might affect the transmission of these little critters. In other words, kids somehow manage to get those little egg things spread around the house and then put their hands into their mouths constantly, which is something that an adult would be able to better control.  So treating a household with five young children, one of whom is crawling and puts everything in her mouth, should not be approached the same way as treating a single adult.  So all the while we were cleansing, at least some of us were re-infesting. Eeew.

I believe our bodies were made to be healthy, with the ability to self-regulate and heal, providing no interference. (For more on this, read “When Your Child Is Unwell: Attitudes Toward Illness“) And that when an interference is discovered or detected, it should be corrected in the way that will cause little to no harm to the body. If possible. Within limits that you choose.

Our son was hospitalized with pneumonia and took antibiotics, intravenously and then orally. Antibiotics are awful for your body, but they do have a purpose. It is possible that if he hadn’t gone for that treatment that he would have died. Obviously, that’s a limit that we were not willing to pass in the name of  “doing things naturally.” So, we allowed his body to be given toxins in order to clear up the infection that for some reason his body seemed incapable of correcting itself.

And then we began the cleanup process.

If I were more patient, we could take the natural parasite cleanse again, longer, and with a higher dosage. I am not. This parasite is so communicable that we are unable to have friends over until we are sure that it is gone. Not cool at all.

Now, once it’s gone, we MUST take steps to protect ourselves from a re-infestation. How, you might ask, would we get it again? Oh, that’s easy. PAY ATTENTION TO THIS, ALL YOU PARENTS WHO HAVE YOUNG CHILDREN YOU SEND TO SCHOOL OR DAYCARE: My 4 year old son will not be homeschooling with us this year. He will be going to preschool. With other kids. Who also don’t have the best toilet habits, hand washing habits, who put things in their mouths, and….you get it. Basically, these creepy crawlies are everywhere there are young children!

So, I’m planning to get whatever I need to get to wipe these things out. And then, we’ll continue our cleanup process. And learn to really like apple cider vinegar, garlic, cloves, and pumpkin seeds (natural anti-parasitic foods).

Here are things you can do to help keep parasites away:

  1. To avoid head lice, get rosemary oil from the health food store. Dab a drop behind each earlobe of your child as you would perfume before he goes to school each day.  You can also use any shampoo or conditioner with rosemary or tea tree oil in it; they don’t like the smell.
  2. To avoid  intestinal parasites (like pinworms), eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies. As much raw as possible
  3. Add raw pumpkin and sunflower seeds to your diet. You can add them to your smoothie or have them as a snack. The worms don’t like them.
  4. Have an apple cider vinegar drink 2-3 times a day. Have a tablespoon of vinegar (organic with the “mother” is best) with a few drops of stevia in a cup of water. It tastes like apple juice and keeps the wormies away.
  5. Eat raw garlic. I take a clove and press it, then take some of that on a spoon, covered in raw honey. The honey helps it slide right down. (Don’t do this on an empty stomach!)
  6. Add a pinch of ground cloves to your breakfast smoothie and your dehydrated granola. You don’t know how to make those? Ask me and I’ll give you the recipies.
  7. Wash, wash, wash those hands! Not just before meal times, but before bed (thumb-sucking), after waking up, after playing outside, of course after using the bathroom…..and every hour in between.

Got any other tips to share? Send them along!

The contempt shown to parents of large families

I have five children. The oldest is 7; that means that in my 8 years of marriage we’ve been…..busy.

I always wanted a large family. That’s probably because I am an only child, my parents are divorced, my mother is also an only child with divorced parents. With no immediate family to speak of, and a very small extended family on my mother’s side, I was lonley, to say the least. I saw my friends with brothers and sisters and wanted that for myself. Although I couldn’t have it growing up, I decided to create that large family and give that gift to my children.

I always envisioned a large dining table, full of people for dinner. And they were all part of one family; my family. I love that we already have that now. And although they are still very small and needy, they are growing. The hardest years are behind me ( I think. Or hope.) and they are little by little becoming “real” people.

Kim from Life In A Shoe posted the following article from Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, and it was right up my alley. I hope you enjoy it.

Why are people impressed that Jay Leno owns 20 motorcycles, but disgusted that some religious families choose to have 10 children?

Let’s not finesse the response. We all know why. A world that has lost its innocence has trouble appreciating beings who are innocent. A world that has become selfish has soured to the idea of leading a life of selflessness. A world that has become grossly materialistic is turned off to the idea of more dependents who consume resources. And a world that mistakenly believes that freedom means a lack of responsibility is opposed to the idea of needy creatures who “tie you down.”

Read the rest of this article here.

How do you feel about large families? Do you think there’s something “wrong” with having more than 2 or 3 children? Why do you have the number of children you do? Have you felt pressure from society/family/friends to have fewer children than you really want? Let’s talk.

Laundry. Day 20 of Babystep Challenge To A Peaceful Home

We now have seven people in our home. SEVEN! Seven people wear a lot of clothes. Especially when one of them is a baby who sucks her hand between spoon-fed bites and then holds her toes and the food goes everywhere in between….and four of them are of the little-boy variety who play hard, in dirty things, every day.

So, we have a lot of laundry. I remember when I was in college & in my single days when I could go a week (or more!) without doing my laundry. Those days are long since done, and the habit I’ve learned would have been helpful even then.

What is that habit, you may ask? How do you stay on top of the laundry when THERE’S JUST SO MUCH OF IT!? You make laundry part of your routine. Which just so happens to be Flylady’s babystep #20.

This means that I do laundry EVERY DAY. Well, 6 days a week. It’s just part of my morning routine which looks like this:

  1. Make my bed
  2. Get dressed to shoes
  3. Feed baby
  4. Wake other kids
  5. START A LOAD OF LAUNDRY
  6. Prep & drink smoothies
  7. Prep school lunches
  8. Cleanup kitchen/empty dishwasher
  9. Baby to nap
  10. HANG CLOTHES OUT TO DRY/laundry “reboot”

I do this every day, with slight variations. If I do one FULL load each day, it’s almost enough. Add an extra load or two for towels & sheets and we’re good to go. In addition to this, we do a load of cloth diapers each night. In the morning they are dried and ready to put away (this job belongs to my four year old).

My biggest challenge with the laundry is not the washing and the drying. Even the folding I’ve gotten a new system for: since I’m line drying, I realized that I must handle each piece of clothing separately as I take it off of the line. So, I add a few seconds for each one and FOLD IT AS I TAKE IT OFF THE LINE AND PUT IT INTO THE BASKET ALREADY FOLDED! I was excited when I realized I could save time like that.

No, the challenge is putting the clothes away. I do have a time in my schedule that is supposed to be for this, but I’ve gotten behind most days and needed to skip this step. And, the drawers are so full that there’s no place to put things. So everyone lives out of the laundry basket. It’s no good.

Today, I’m going to actually use the time that’s supposed to be set aside for putting away the laundry to fold and put away the laundry. That will mean that we must eat our lunch on time and stick to the schedule I worked hard to put together. Then I’ll be able to see this.

Which feels good.