So what’s my secret? my routine?
1. invest in good clothes that fit and all washable in the washing machine (by the way cashmere is washable in the machine just don’t dry it in the dryer)
2. before leaving the house clean off one table surface and pull up the sheets (aka make the bed)
3. you and the members of your family are worth the luxury of flowers -any will do whether it is picked from your garden (even big leaves and palm fronds are wonderful) or from a florist or a grocery store or the vendor on the street
4. the children’s clothing make it good and make it last. I have the good fortune of having a friend who has a little man who is exactly one year older than mine and she passes down most of his clothing. This has been such a blessing on our pocketbook (thanks Cheryl!). Find someone you can exchange with -a mom’s group or play group.
5. Which brings me up to the all important LAUNDRY. Always do just one full load a day to keep the monster from growing out of hand. Keep your clothes looking good by using cold water (good for environment and wear and tear on your clothing) and using slightly less than what the manufacturer recommends (remember they are in the business of selling soap not of saving your clothes). Always spot clean before throwing clothes in. Any blood or tar should be rinsed with cold water and then rubbed with a little pine cleaner (the cheaper the better it works). Oil stains -get them out with chalk or baking soda. When all else fails I keep a chlorine pen at hand for those really tough spots (use sparingly because it is a carcinogen). Another thing I keep around the laundry area instead of commercial liquid fabric softener is vinegar (the kind they sell in bulk). Fabric softeners contain too many perfumes and dyes that are potentially harmful for children and after prolonged use clothes become ‘waxy’ and frayed.
Vinegar in the last cycle of laundry gets out the residue of the detergents, organic smells and keeps your clothes soft --all for a lot less than buying a hazardous liquid fabric softener!Always keep a small pair of scissors, a fuzz remover and a little sewing kit and old luggage tags that airlines put on your luggage around the laundry area. Scissors for the threats that hang off clothes after the laundry. The fuzz remover is essential in keeping your clothes looking the best, use it on sweaters, jackets, t-shirts anywhere little fuzziness appear. I’m always waiting for the washer to finish and if while I wait I make sure buttons are secure and if they aren’t I quickly tighten them up with the sewing kit --very convenient (and it keeps me from having a pile of stuff I need to sew -who wants to do that much?!). Old luggage tags have great tackiness and work wonders as a lint roller both at home or on the road so I never throw them out until they are well used up. If you don’t travel that much just keep a lint roller or a roll of thick masking tape around. Oh, and by the way if you left the laundry in the washer one moldy day too long then run a cycle with 3 cups of vinegar and 1 cup of baking soda -no soap required.
6. Food -hmmm.... everyone’s staples are different. So I’ll tell you mine if you share yours. Here they are:
Tuna in oil
If your child is teething frozen waffles are heaven sent! They won’t choke and they love the numbing coldness and they’re eating -it doesn’t get better than those quiet few moments!
Ok, now I’ll go down the list. Tuna in oil is excellent for making pasta sauce. Put the excess oil from the can in a sauce pan and lightly sauté 1 or 2 pieces of garlic until light yellow then add tomato sauce stir in salt, fresh basil and pepper (or hot pepper).
Chickpeas -easy to make another pasta dish or to make hummus with -the Little Man loves the many reincarnations of chickpeas.
The quickest way to make a hearty breakfast or a light lunch is by making a potato tortilla or frittata -depending where your from in the Mediterranean. Grate on med. potato into a pan of olive oil and cumin -let it lightly brown while mixing 2 or 3 eggs and salt. Pour eggs mixture in and cook as you would an omelet.
Ramen noodles -boil the water with chopped broccoli and 1 tbsp of peanut butter when it is boiling add noodles and flavoring as per directions. Garnish with julienne green onions.
Then sometimes even mommies need a chocolatey rest from everything and for that I toast a waffle for myself, spread some Nutella top it with a strawberry and find a quiet corner to enjoy it in.
Hope this helps you parents out there who are feeling a little scattered -I know sometimes I truthfully feel this way even if it does seem otherwise.
Please leave me a comment here on the blog and let me know if this was useful to you or if you have something to add. If there is enough interest I’ll share with you my portable bag of magic tricks to calm the little beast in everyone.
[N.B. special thanks to my friend Jaime J. (aka Cool Mom) for the inspiration for this post and has inspired me to start a blog list of other clever sites that are helpful in keeping it all together]