Wednesday, June 28, 2017

A list of Things It Is Absolutely Unfair I Have to Clean

I have a complicated relationship with cleaning. I don't exactly enjoy it, but like visiting the dentist or getting a colonoscopy, there are worse things in the world and at least I enjoy the peace of mind I have after it's done.

I'ts not that I hate cleaning. But.

There are certain items that I absolutely loathe cleaning. Most of the time I can let my mind wander onto more pleasant thoughts while I do the household chores, but when it comes time to clean any of these, I'm definitely thinking increasingly homicidal thoughts with every sweep of my scrub brush.

Most of the time I don't totally hate cleaning. Unless I'm cleaning one of these things - then I just might lose my mind.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

1. The Washing Machine

I'm already tethered to the washing machine like a mom tied to a nursing baby. I do so much laundry. I'm at its beck and call every day. I hear the buzzer at the end of the cycle in my nightmares. Are you telling me I have to wash the clothes, dry the clothes, fold the clothes, iron the clothes (haha, just kidding,) put away the clothes, and on top of all that I also have to wash the washing machine? Something is clearly wrong here.

2. The Bathtub

I don't even use my bathtub to bathe. That's for people who don't have children crawling on their heads at all hours of the day and night. No, it's where I clean filthy floor rugs and Phillip hangs his sweaty running clothes, so what else can I expect? Our tub gets dirty, but it just doesn't seem right to have to clean a bathtub, no matter how much logic is involved. When I saw "jacuzzi-style tub" on the real estate listing, I didn't realize it was code for "something that offers no benefit to you but you must clean, anyway."

3. The Shower

The great unanswerable question of life is not "what is the sound of one hand clapping?" but "why does soap leave scum behind?" Think about it: shampoo and soap are products we use to clean our bodies, so why must they leave behind an icky residue I need to wipe off the walls and curtain liner in the shower? It boggles my mind to think that showering is just trading a clean me for a dirty shower. It's almost not worth it.

4. The Dishwasher

Oh, the dishwasher. This is another hard-working appliance in the Evans household, but I have to work even harder to keep it clean so it can clean for me. In what universe does this make sense? Dishwasher gunk is the smelliest, grossest substance, and to clean a dishwasher you have to get down on your hands and knees and become a circus contortionist to reach the nooks and crannies where it likes to hang out. I pay our dishwasher to clean my plates and glasses for me, and yet... at what cost?

5. The Sink

It only takes a few days, tops, for my sparkling white porcelain sink to start looking like the Gulf of Mexico after the BP oil spill. I know kids dump juice and maybe some food scraps down the drain, but it feels excessive to me how quickly the entire sink turns dirty and disgusting looking. I feel like I need to set up a CSI-style crime lab just to figure out how in the world my sink gets so filthy so fast. It's not like I'm pouring radioactive substances down the drawn. Most of the time it's just water. Clean tapwater. Go figure.

6. The Trash Can

Considering the function of the trash can, I should expect it to be the messiest receptacle in the house. And I do. I'm not surprised that the garbage can needs washing, but still there's something about squatting on the floor wiping sweat from my brow while scrubbing out what is essentially an indoor dumpster that makes me want to tear my college diploma from its frame and chuck it right in while screaming "Behold, the power of the 4-year degree!" I never would've envisioned that my life choices would lead me to regularly polish the place where I put my garbage, but here we are.

Like I said, I generally don't mind cleaning  as long as it's not one of the things on this list. If you ever invent a self-cleaning washing machine, you can fully expect me to show up on your doorstep with a suitcase full of $100 bills and singing that Whitney Houston song from The Bodyguard.

(Seriously. No more cleaning my cleaning appliances. I don't know how much longer I can take the irony.)

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Monday, June 26, 2017

5 Tips for Dealing with Negativity When You're Pregnant Again

Every now and then, I get an email or Facebook message from a mom who's pregnant for the 4th, 5th, or 6th time. It usually goes something like "I'm really excited for this baby but I'm dreading the negativity when I tell my family/friends/coworkers/total strangers that I'm pregnant again. Any advice?" When everyone seems more dismayed than excited that you're adding a new baby to your family, here's how you can deal.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

I know how that feels, because it describes me exactly when I was pregnant with Baby #5. I thought of 4 kids as "above average but still normal," and I envisioned everyone freaking out once we told them we'd crossed over to the dark side and were having a fifth. Which some did.

I don't know why some people get so bent out of shape about how many children you have (or when you have them, or how close together in age they are) when it doesn't directly affect them. But their negative reactions can really take the wind out of your sails.

Eventually I stopped feeling sheepish about my many pregnancies and announced proudly to the world when we were expecting again with Baby #6, and here are some things that helped me get over it.

1. Tell people who will be happy for you first.

It might feel weird not to tell your mom or your best friend you're pregnant before anyone else, but if you're dreading negativity from them then tell someone who you know will be supportive. Hearing someone say "congratulations!" instead of "not again! what are you thinking?" will boost your confidence and remind you that babies are blessings. It will also soften the blow when others aren't excited to hear your news.

2. Announce it in writing to the Negative Nancies.

If you know certain friends or family members will flip out, do yourself (and them) a favor by telling them about your pregnancy over email, Facebook, or in a Christmas letter. That way they can do their shock-and-disgust routine, process their feelings, and hopefully be more pleasant about it to your face later on. We all say things when surprised that we regret; they actually might like having some time to compose themselves before responding to you.

3. Don't tell people you don't have to.

When I was dreading so much negativity with my fifth, I told my close friends and family but that was it. I didn't announce it to people at church, my mailman, or the other moms from my kids' school. After a while I got so visibly pregnant that everyone just knew. For some reason people feel less license to say something rude when you're obviously enormously pregnant (possibly because they're afraid you'll eat them,) and that was fine by me.

4. Find a support system of big families.

The antidote for feeling like the only weirdo on the planet with a big family is finding the thousands of other people for whom it's just regular, everyday life. If you don't know any in person, the Internet is great for this. Join a big family Facebook group or follow a big family blog I personally like So-So Mom and Hands Full and Loving It.

There are also a lot of big family moms on the Unremarkable Files Facebook page. A while back I asked my Facebook fans for recommendations on vehicles for families of 8+ and it was refreshing to get a ton of helpful answers instead of gasping face emojis and stern directives regarding birth control. The point is, there are plenty of other people who get it. You just need to find them.

5. Remember their reaction is probably more about them than it is about you. 

It's hard not to take it personally when you say "I'm pregnant" and they say "%$@&!" but try to remember that their shock and dismay doesn't necessarily mean they believe you personally are going to be a failure as a parent and your family will be a disaster. Maybe they grew up with many siblings and had a bad experience, or maybe they don't know any big families and can't wrap their heads around how one would work. In any case, their opinion about your family doesn't matter nearly as much as YOUR opinion about it.

The truth is, there's always going to be someone who responds badly to your pregnancy announcement, whether it's because they think you have too many kids or they're too close together or you're too young or whatever.

Dealing with negativity about your pregnancy is hard, but try not to let it get you down. When your child is born, you might be surprised to see how the naysayers soften up and agree that there's nothing quite as wonderful as a baby.

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Friday, June 23, 2017

7 Quick Takes about Letting It Go, Signs That Someone You Love Is Building a Time Machine, and How to Part Your Hair in Preparation for World Domination

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?


What do you do when two of your kids had an argument, and it's basically over, but one of them just won't let it go?

Apparently, requiring that child to sing along to a karaoke video of Frozen's "Let It Go" we found on YouTube must not be the right answer because it didn't work very well.

After a stubborn refusal and a tense standoff, I even volunteered to sing it with the reluctant child, but it ended up being mostly me doing a solo and then the child stomping away.

Phillip pointed out the silver lining, though: "Well, I think they hated that almost more than having to sing it. Nice work!"

I'm no Idina Menzel, but I do what I can.


I usually bake bread once a week instead of buying it, but before you get too impressed let me tell you that I forget the salt about 20% of the time.

After telling me how good this week's bread was, my 5-year-old asked about last week's no-salt bread, "Can I call your gross bread 'gross?'"

"Well you can, but it's not really polite," I said. (We have regular conversations about how it's bad manners to broadcast your negative opinions about someone's cooking to the entire dinner table. REGULAR.)

"Okay," she nodded. "I'm just going to call it 'gross' then, because that's what it was."

When honesty comes up against manners with this girl, honesty wins.


For Father's Day this year the kids and I cleaned Phillip's car, which was sorely needed.

Phase 1 was clearing out the debris that had accumulated in there over the years (yes, I said years) which included two candy canes, a dreamcatcher, a mega-size canister of zip ties, rolls of wrapping paper, boy scout awards, assorted cords and gadgets we couldn't identify, a bent umbrella, about a million receipts from Home Depot, and a drywall trowel. As we were unloading all of this randomness from the car, my son asked, "Is dad building a time machine?"

And I thought I had a messy car.

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
This is a nice dreamcatcher. Too bad Phillip didn't know where it came from or how it got in his car.

We threw out trash, vacuumed carpets, cleaned smoothie spills off the passenger seat (maybe for his birthday we'll get him a smoothie container with a lid,) washed all the windows, and polished the dashboard. By the time we were done, it looked like a new car.

As a reward, Phillip let the kids eat the candy canes they found.

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
Hopefully these are from the most recent Christmas. If not, I don't want to know.

For Father's Day dinner I was going to make our favorite veggie burger recipe (spare me your vomiting noises, these are amazing) but somehow we'd run out of almost every ingredient. Even the hamburger buns had been ravaged by the kids, which I'm guessing had to do with the fact that no one wanted my salt-less bread.


When I say we buy everything on Amazon, I'm serious. I just ordered a bunch of rolls of Scotch tape from Amazon instead of picking them up at Walmart like a normal person.

I heart Amazon. Amazon completes me. I've never had an issue with them, which is amazing for how much I use them. But for the last week, packages have not been arriving at our house.

Earlier this week we ordered some batteries, and the delivery status on our order said "delivered; left in the mailroom." Thinking it meant the mailroom at the post office, I went there and they had no clue what I was talking about. Our package was nowhere.

And then a Nerf gun we ordered never arrived, even though the delivery status said "delivered."

What the heck. Amazon, we love you but are you on drugs??

Luckily, next to the delivery status there was a picture of our delivered packages and I recognized the surroundings. They were in the back corner of the house at a basement-level door we never, ever use. Without that picture, it could've been months before we found those packages.

From now on, I guess we'll have to start checking the ground outside the back door our "mailroom" for packages.


Phillip and I were watching TV when he leaned over to me and whispered, "That guy's part is on the wrong side."


"His hair. It's parted on the wrong side."

I had absolutely no idea what he was talking about, but when I Googled it, it turns out that there sort of is a wrong side.

The "masculine" way to part hair is on the left, so much so that when they want a guy to be super-nerdy in the movies, they give him a right part. Clark Kent? Right part. Superman? Left.

Then I also learned that apparently, I'm a man.

When I started parting my hair on the left side years ago, little did I know that I was joining the ranks of Margaret Thatcher and Hillary Clinton in positioning myself to become one of the most powerful women in the world.

Between my right part and the fact that I've already drawn up my presidential platform, success is only a pantsuit away.


I still identify as a night owl, but as I get older, the definition of a "late night" changes. Even just a couple of years ago, I could stay up until 2 or 3 with no consequences. Now it's more like 11 or midnight.

Anyway, I stayed up until 3 one night this week. Predictably, I felt like garbage in the morning.

"I'm so stupid! I'm just too old to be doing this anymore!" I wailed to Phillip, who was supposed to feel sorry for me even though he clearly didn't. (Apparently when you have no one to blame but yourself, you're not entitled to the same sympathy or whatever.)

"Well," he said, "Traditionally I think people are supposed to start out young and stupid, and then they gradually become old and wise. Old and stupid is a problem."

I declined his offer to graph it out for me.

I now have an alarm set for 9:30 PM on my phone to remind me to go to bed. It's pretty worthless since turns off if I ignore it for 60 seconds, but luckily Phillip must have felt a little bit sorry for me after all, because he makes sure I go to bed when he does now.


Before the older kids finished the school year, I knew I wanted to take the littles on a day trip. I knew they'd all like it, especially my train-obsessed 3-year-old.

We got on the commuter train, rode to a stop just a few towns over, and went to a playground that's about a 10-minute walk from the station. We played and had lunch there before going back home. I was so glad we finally got around to doing it.

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

And the 3-year-old? He actually wasn't going insane with enthusiasm during the train ride like I thought he would be, but I know he really liked it anyway because everything he did for the next 24 hours, he loudly let me know he didn't want to do because he'd rather be on the commuter train.

Also, now he asks me if we're taking a train every time we leave the house. I think I might end up regretting this.

And while it was refreshing to see a positive graffiti message scrawled across the wall of the train station, it would've been nice if they'd spelled it right.

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
Just say no to female protagonists in literature, kids. 

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

My Best Marriage Advice

Church was over for the day, and the halls were filled with the usual mass exodus of little boys in clip-on ties and girls running with their tulle underskirts flapping behind them.

Phillip and I picked up our two little girls from their Sunday School classes and carried them to the car. We buckled them into their car seats and turned the key in the ignition  and nothing happened.

That's when I remembered I'd left the lights on.

I felt pretty bad about it, even though in the grand scheme of things (or even in a minor scheme of things) it wasn't a big deal. Mentally kicking myself, I told Phillip it was my fault.

Stepping out of the car and back into the parking lot, he flagged down a man nearby and said, "Hey, do you happen to have jumper cables? We left the lights on and our battery died."

Instead of throwing me under the bus in even the smallest way, Phillip assumed half the responsibility for my mistake without even thinking about it, saying "we left the lights on" instead of "my wife left the lights on."

I doubt he'd even remember that day if I asked him, but that was when it hit me with full force: we are a team.

After 14 years, I feel like I should have a bunch of sage pieces of marriage advice. But I only have one.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

When you're two starry-eyed 20-somethings planning your future together, you really have no idea how much you're going to become a team. Or much you're going to need to be one to make it through whatever lies ahead.

Being a team looks different for every couple, because every couple is its own unique mix of personalities, quirks, habits, needs, and strengths.

For us it means that on road trips, Phillip drives while I'm in charge of keeping the kids alive. Because I fall asleep at the wheel.

And since I'm more okay than he is with disrupted sleep, I get up with babies in the night. But he gets up with the older kids in the morning and gets them off to school while I sleep in.

And when we go on vacation, it's my job to give him a list of everything we need and he somehow gathers it up and makes it all fit in the car.

Today's our 14th anniversary, which means it's been fourteen years of sharing diaper duty and planning birthday parties and disciplining our kids and going to elementary school art shows together. We've supported each other through college, moving, having babies (me,) and a kidney stone (him.) We've tag-teamed bedtimes and school pickups and rides to soccer practice.

People see my 6 amazing kids and the fact that I hold down a church calling, write a blog, and even shower most days and they ask me, "How do you do it?"

And truthfully, I don't really know. I'm just pretty sure I couldn't if I didn't have such a great teammate.

After 14 years, I feel like I should have a bunch of sage pieces of marriage advice. But I only have one.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

I feel like I should have accumulated more wisdom than that by now, like after 14 years I should have cracked the formula for a good marriage and can now pass it on to others like the secret recipe for cheddar bay biscuits at Red Lobster.

But I suppose my best marriage advice is this: remember that you're a team.

Also, carry jumper cables in your trunk. You never know when you're going to need them.

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Friday, June 16, 2017

7 Quick Takes about Being Done Dragging Myself to All the Soccer, Surprises in the Kitchen, and Soap Cakes

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?


Soccer is over for another season. I know I say this every spring and fall, but I can't believe we made it through.

Not only did my 5-year-old start playing so we now had three sets of practices and games to coordinate, but the older two also needed transportation to away games. I never asked about carpooling because strangely enough, the other parents appeared to enjoy driving to the outermost corners of the earth and back every Saturday. I did not.

This is actual footage of me during the last 2-3 weeks of the season:

But at least the kids got exercise, worked hard at something, were part of a team, and learned perseverance which is why we do this every time.

I also enjoyed hearing my son repeat snippets from his coach's pep talks to the team, which I found highly motivational. On the way home from his last game, he told me "If you play a tough team, you've gotta be tougher. If you play a fast team, you've gotta be faster."

"That's good advice," I said.

Then he thought of something else and added, "If you play a dumb team, you've gotta be dumber."

See? Motivational.


Opening the fridge one night, Phillip asked me, "Are you going to yell at the kids about these two unwrapped blocks of cheddar cheese in the fridge?"

I could only blink at him and wonder, Are you new here? 

That's their modus operandi. Punishing them for that would be like punishing them for breathing. At this point, I'm pretty sure opening a second container of something when the first is clearly already open is some kind of immutable instinct from our caveman forefathers.

They can't help it; it's genetics.


My 3-year-old is usually pretty shy and reserved around people he doesn't know well, but lately he's experimenting with yelling playfully at them. I think this actually may be a coping mechanism for his nervous energy around unfamiliar faces, but I don't like it.

A few weeks ago my neighbor came over, and he kept headbutting her and calling her "cuckoo."

And then at the grocery store, a nice old lady approached us near the pickles and started telling me how cute my kids were. She reached over to pat my son's downy head and he yelled in her face, "Don't touch me!"

She left pretty soon after that, probably wanting to get out of there before his head started spinning around.

(Note: my e-course on how to raise extremely well-mannered children who in no way embarrass you in public still has a few spaces available!)


The baby currently sleeps in a Pack 'n Play in our closet. When he wakes up in the morning he's sometimes happy and sometimes grumpy, so I never know quite what to expect when I open the door. But it isn't a tiny person covered head to toe in fecal material.

Nevertheless, that's what I got on Tuesday morning.

I'm still not sure what happened. His diaper was still on, but I think it leaked out the sides onto his thighs, which he started itching because it felt weird, and once it was all over his fingers things got a little out of hand.

Considering there was poop in his eyebrows, it really didn't take that long to clean up. And it certainly could have been worse.

At least he didn't start grabbing all of the clothes that were within arms' reach (and we have a small closet so they're ALL within arms' reach.) As I write this, I'm getting a sinking feeling that I need to double-check that he didn't do this, actually.

The funny part was, after I'd given him a bath and done a load of laundry, one of my other kids came in and casually leaned against the Pack n' Play while they talked to me. Suddenly they were no longer talking, but running to the bathroom to wash their hands. Turns out I'd missed some poop on the railing.


Sometimes you know how you decide you're just going to arrange your spices a little and then suddenly the contents of every cabinet are spilled all over the counters and the floor and you're not even sure how it happened but you're reorganizing the entire kitchen now?

The good news is, my kitchen looks great.

And I even discovered some new things, the most interesting one being the 200 grams of meth I thought I found in my husband's cupboard.

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
Upon closer inspection: not meth.

Yes, Phillip has got his own cupboard in the kitchen for storing all of his weird stuff. He's a really experimental food guy, and he brings home the strangest things from the grocery store. I don't even know what half of it is. Maybe he doesn't, either. A lot of the time the labels aren't even in English.


We needed to make a themed dessert for a cub scout event and decided on a cake that looks like a bar of soap. Since I don't have a lot of ideas when it comes to cake decorating (my fanciest idea is using the sprinkles that came with the container of Funfetti frosting) I turned to the Internet for help.

I was extremely disappointed that Googling "soap cake" only gets you results on fancy soap that looks like a cake for wedding favors and stuff.

Aside from being completely unhelpful in our current circumstances, I don't even think fancy cake-shaped soaps are a good idea. Seriously, if you went to a wedding would you rather get soap that looks like cake or cake that looks like soap?

That's what I thought.


Every scout was assigned part of the scout law (which is "A scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, etc...") and asked to bring a cake symbolizing it.

Our word was 'clean.' Hence the soap cake.

We decided on something really simple and my son did it all by himself:

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

Of course we had to be right next to the life-sizes 3-dimensional eagle representing "trustworthy." It was one of those times you just have to smile and say, "We're here to make you look gooood, that's all. You're welcome."

In case you were wondering, I say that a lot.

(P.S: My cheapskate heart also loved the "thrifty" cake, which looked like a roll of duct tape. Really. A roll of duct tape is practically our family crest.)

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Why Parents Need to Have a Zero Tolerance Policy, Too

After dinner one night I was washing dishes. Through the window I could see the little kids playing in the driveway, and my 11-year-old sat on a chair nearby telling me about her day.

"Mom?" she said, "I guess my brothers and sisters are pretty nice."

"They are," I agreed, putting a plate in the dish drainer. "What makes you say that?"

She told me about a classmate who accidentally wrote her birthday on the wrong day on her school assignment calendar, and when her older brother saw it sitting on the table he wrote beside it, "What are you, dumb?" It was still there when she came to school today, and her friend was upset and already plotting her vengeance.

It was hard for my daughter to imagine her siblings doing something like that, and frankly, it was hard for me to imagine, too. Our kids are pretty good friends.

Not to say they always get along perfectly. In fact, two of our six kids currently have their video game privileges suspended for snapping at each other too much lately.

But any fighting between them is usually a one-time reaction to something that just happened. ("You knocked down my tower!" "Stay out of my jewelry box!" "Stop poking me!") It's not part of a pattern of unprovoked mean behavior.

I wasn't sure what to say about my daughter's story, so I just said, "Wow, if one of you guys ever did something like that, you'd be in major trouble."

And I think that might be the key.

If we allow our kids to treat each other in a way that would upset us to find they'd been treating another kid at school, something is wrong.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

Just like we sometimes got annoyed with our roommates in college because they made too much noise, used our stuff, created a mess, and invaded our personal space, siblings also get annoyed with each other. And being human, sometimes they lose their temper and react badly.

But how parents handle those reactions matter.

If we allow our kids to talk to each other in a way we wouldn't stand by and listen to them talk to a friend, or treat them in a way that would upset us to find they'd been treating another kid at school, something is wrong.

Every time there's meanness between siblings, we as parents have a choice: we can roll our eyes and accept it as normal behavior, or we can stop both kids and let them know it's not okay.

By tolerating a few rude names or sneaky pushes, we're allowing things to snowball into what we call sibling rivalry. Kids quickly get trapped in a cycle where each of them is constantly seeking revenge (yes, I've heard kids use that word) against the other.

If we allow our kids to treat each other in a way that would upset us to find they'd been treating another kid at school, something is wrong.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

So what do you do if your kids are already trapped in the sibling rivalry cycle, teasing each other until someone cries and telling their friends at school how much they hate each other?

I believe you can sit down and talk about what you've been seeing. Explain that effective as of right now, this family has a new zero tolerance policy. Every time, for every act of meanness, there will be consequences. Then follow through.

Easier said than done, I know. Being consistent is the hardest thing there is when you're an exhausted parent. But I promise it will be worth it.

Some other tips to escape from the cycle of sibling rivalry:

  • Give them opportunities to have fun together, like going to a movie or out for ice cream
  • Create goals to work toward together, like cumulatively earning points toward a reward
  • Consider "punishing" them for being mean by requiring them to think of and do something nice for their sibling
  • Catch them being nice to each other and praise them, especially in front of others
  • When you must discipline, say something like "you're such a nice person, please try to be kind to your brother" instead of "you're always so mean to him!"
Do siblings always have to agree, get along, and want to spend time together? Of course not.

But even when they're sick to death of each other and need time apart, expect civility. We should never demand that kids treat their own family with less respect than everyone else around them.

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Monday, June 12, 2017

5 Father's Day Crafts He'll Want To Throw Away Immediately!

Why is it so hard to find good Father's Day crafts? All I want is for my little ones to be semi-involved in giving a gift to their dad, without presenting him with a necktie made out of craft foam or an ugly keychain weighing 5 pounds that he'll never use.

According to the Internet, those are my only options.

I guess I don't know all the answers. But I do know that if I'm ever looking for ideas for Father's Day crafts that will be sure to make Dad say "thanks, I love it!" on the outside and "how long til I can throw this away?" on the inside, I'll definitely suggest that the kids make him one of these.

If you're searching for ideas for Father's Day crafts that will go straight in the trash, look no further.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

1. Anything with glitter.

Glitter is the gift that keeps on giving. Dad (along with everyone else in the house) will be finding it stuck to his feet for weeks, if not months. Even if it's a really cute picture he'd actually like to keep, festooning it with glitter is dooming it to a very short life and an expedited ticket to the trash can. If tiny pieces of devil-confetti fall off every time he touches it, dad isn't keeping it.

2. Anything made out of recycled materials.

I blame the schools. My kids would've never thought of making art out of our trash if their teacher hadn't suggested it to them. But here we are, and now dad is the hapless recipient of an egg-carton caterpillar that says "Happy Father's Day!" on it. I don't get it. Is it useful? Is it particularly cute? The answer to these two questions when it comes to recycled material crafts is usually 'no.' A good rule of thumb is: if it once was used to hold toilet paper, he probably doesn't want it for Father's Day (even if you decorate it.)

3. Anything 3-dimensional.

Dad wants to save a lot of your art, he just doesn't want to rent a storage pod in order to do it. If things aren't flat, or at least foldable, they'll probably end up you-know-where. When your kid presents dad with a paper mache "#1 DAD" trophy the size of the Stanley cup, let's both hope she's not old enough to know that by "taking this to work tomorrow" he means "hiding in the garbage at the earliest opportunity." He'll probably take a picture first and save it, though  because pictures are flat.

4. Anything heavy and ceramic.

While I understand that for the first 2-3 years of a child's life they're unable to produce much else, but there's a downside to those handprint kits you see in Michael's that look like such a cute idea at the time. Namely, they are heavy, breakable, and don't really serve a function. There are only so many handprints Dad can display or even save. Statistically speaking, most giant clay impressions of kids' hands end up in the trash. Sorry.

5. Anything involving fart jokes.

I wish I didn't have to say this, but please don't. Yes, I appreciate the irony that "Happy Father's Day" sounds a little bit like "Happy Farter's Day," but Dads are so much more than farts. Honestly, even a hand-painted porcelain doorstop in the shape of your kids' head would be a better gift than a T-shirt that says "World's Best Farter." Even if you're 7-year-old thinks it's hilarious, don't let him do it.

Finding Father's Day crafts that won't go right in the trash is harder than it sounds like it should be, but we've always found success with a good old handmade card from the kids and something edible we know he likes.

And if kids decorate plain paper and use it to wrap the gift? That's technically a Father's Day craft, but it's designed to be thrown away so no one will even feel bad about it. Think about it.

If you're searching for ideas for Father's Day crafts that will go straight in the trash, look no further.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
Phillip walking two kids and wearing a toddler around on vacation last summer. He deserves better than a pencil holder made out of popsicle sticks. 

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