Friday, December 3, 2021

7 Quick Takes about Holiday Decor for Families with Young Children, Raking Leaves, and the Best Way to Force Yourself to Paint the Walls

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


As I was taking down our fall decorations this week, I almost forgot the Thankful Tree.

This is our super-simple fall centerpiece, made by one of my kids at a church activity years ago. Every Thanksgiving, we write things we're thankful for on paper leaves and hang them on the branches.

As I picked the Thankful Tree up off the table to pack it away for another year, I suddenly focused on the brightly-colored leaf closest to my face and noticed that it read "POOP."

Just in case you wanted to know what the holidays with kids are like.


Every year, I take whichever kids are interested to The Nutcracker ballet (except for last year because of COVID.) 

This was my 5-year-old's first time. I wasn't sure how he'd do sitting for that long, but it turns out I didn't need to worry. The seats directly in front of us were empty so his view was fantastic, and he stayed engaged and whispered constant questions and commentary almost the whole time. 

He especially loved the "I Spy" curtain, which had Nutcracker-themed items hidden on it (there was a list in the program of objects to find while waiting for the show to start.)

So handsome in his sweater, excited to find the snowflake.

Of course, when I asked him afterward how he liked The Nutcracker he shrugged and said, "I dunno. Kinda boring." and then complained about it the whole way home. 


On Thanksgiving weekend, Phillip took a few of the kids to rake leaves for an elderly couple in town. They didn't quite get it finished before dark, though, so it was my turn to go back the next day.

The next day Phillip offered to come, but he was in the middle of baking a pie (it's a Thanksgiving weekend tradition for Phillip to make a different kind of pie for each of the four nights) so I told him the kids and I had it under control.

Attendance was mandatory for the kids who weren't there yesterday but I let the other four choose, and I was so proud of the fact that three out of four happily volunteered to go back for Round 2. (They were significantly less enthusiastic when we raked our own yard a few days later.)

Using the "blow everything onto a tarp and dump it in the woods" method.

As I was starting up the leaf blower, the elderly gentleman who owned the house came out to talk to me. "Where's your husband?" he asked.

"Making a pie," I answered, and then started talking about something else.

I didn't realize until afterward that this man was in his late 70s was probably so confused. In his day, ladies didn't do manual labor while the menfolk stayed home baking pies. He probably thought he heard me wrong.


At some point I'm going to have to stop gushing about how much I love my new kitchen counters, but today is not that day. 

I've mentioned their amazing ability to hide crumbs and splatters so well, but they hide them almost too well. It's actually hard to know for sure when you've gotten the counter really clean without running your hand over them for a tactile double-check.

What an absolutely glorious problem to have, though. 


My favorite kid's game is the one my elementary-schoolers have been playing lately: sneaking around trying to spy on me without being detected. 

I never quite know when they're going to start, but sometimes when I'm minding my own business I become vaguely aware that they're in the room, tip-toeing around, hiding around corners, ducking behind furniture, and trying to stifle giggles.

All that's required of me is to look up with a suspicious and confused look on my face every once in a while, and they're having a blast. 

I love little kids, you guys. They may be maddeningly nonsensical sometimes (see Takes #1 and #2), but it just doesn't take much to entertain them and that's a beautiful thing. When they get older, they become a lot more picky about what constitutes a great time.


I think I'm addicted to watching TV news blooper compilations on YouTube. One showed up in my feed so I watched it, and now it is serving up dozens of them. I can't not watch.

I'll just show a short little clip because some of them have Freudian slips you might laugh at and then have to explain to your kids, but these ones are all clean:

Just remember, nobody's perfect!


My friend Melanie and I have started what I like to call an informal home improvement co-op. That's a fancy way of saying that once a week, one of us shows up at the other's house in our slobby painting clothes to help them with a project around the house they've been procrastinating.

It's pretty much the best thing in the world. 

Not only do we get to talk while we work, but the built-in accountability of it forces us just get started. Some parts of painting (especially the prep work beforehand) are so tedious you can put them off indefinitely if left to your own devices, but if you know someone is coming and you just HAVE to do it at the appointed day and time... it's actually not so bad.

I wonder if I can find anyone interested in a house-cleaning co-op now, because I could totally use that, too.

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Unknown said...

You have to be thankful for poop, right? Our bodies can't work without it.
I remember going to Nutcracker in Columbus. The 15 year old ( who was 3 or 4) did that same thing. I had never gone to Nutcracker with such an engaged kid. Wonder if she would have had the same comment after.
Love the leaf blowing/pie story. Very confusing for that generation. Wait a minute ..thats my generation. Of course dad does cook and I do all the snow shoveling. Cause I like snow.

Robyn said...

Oh my gosh…the cougar! 🤣🤣

PurpleSlob said...

That's so cool y'all rake leaves for a neighbor~ And the Nutcracker aftermath- hilarious.
I love the newsman- as suspect!! So funny!!