Although countless Myers Briggs tests have named me an Extrovert, friendships are something I struggle with – I can be pleasant with many people and have a wide circle of acquaintances, but taking the relationship to the next friendship level is where things fall apart. Apart from a couple of years in junior high, (which would have been unsurvivable without a close group of girlfriends), I never had that tight-knit group of friends.
Part of it was my friendship style – I had one or two close female friends, but I stayed far away from groups of women – too much drama! Too much competition! I was always more comfortable with men (despite having next to no interest in professional sports, I still get along well with men today, and most of my closest “work friends” are men). Until I hit adulthood, and I realized I needed girlfriends, and I found my tribe – on the internet. I’m telling my friendship story today on Ivy League Insecurities, a great blog run by writer (and former lawyer and college classmate) Aidan Donnelley Rowley. Please go read it, and tell me your friendship stories. Have you found your tribe?
This crockpot easy white chicken chili is what I need right now.
Things have been pretty crazy on the domestic front lately. The husband has been in a crazy period of working until 2 or 3 in the morning every night. I am also still working my normal, mostly 9-5 job, and I’m doing 100% of the evening fetching, lunch packing, permission slip signing, homework checking, laundry folding, bedtime reading, nightmare soothing, out-of-bed dragging, and meal planning (though Mr. TDF would want me to acknowledge that he is still taking Thing 1 to school because I cannot do that and still make it to work by 9.)
The end result of all this is that everyone in our household seems to be exhausted. I can usually get going in the morning (with the help of copious amounts of caffeine) but by the time I get home at night, kids in tow, having done two childcare pickups (and driven for an hour and a half, each way), I’m practically catatonic. If dinner isn’t simple – not only easy, but stupid easy – it’s not going to happen, and I will be reduced to the sad, sad state of eating pretzels dipped in cream cheese for dinner (it’s happened. Fortunately, my kids often get fed by the kindness of others, including Thing 1’s after school program, my mom, and Trader Joe).
Slow cookers are a lifesaver in this kind of situation. Nothing is more soothing when you’re frazzled and exhausted than sitting at your desk, contemplating the hot meal, cooked from scratch, that will be waiting for you when you finally crawl home. (Of course, nothing kills that buzz more than sitting at your desk at about 2 pm and realizing that you forgot to turn on said crockpot, and that a pot full of partially cooked chicken and beans is sitting and festering on your kitchen counter. Don’t do that! Learn from my mistakes and turn ON your crockpot. This has been a public service announcement.)
Look, I want to level with you here. We all know about screen time and kids and TV and blah blah blah, but the truth of the matter is that TV is indispensable to working moms. Maybe some kids will quietly play imaginary games in their rooms on their own, but mine will draw on paintings with marker (true story, happened today), if they’re not properly distracted. I would like my children to have something to do so that I can do something besides entertain them – something like, oh, clean marker off of my paintings (windex, worked like a charm), or take a shower, or write this blog.
But just because I am OK with my kids watching TV, that doesn’t mean that I’m OK with my kids watching any old TV. While in theory, I have nothing against someone who lives in a Pineapple Under the Sea, ideally I’d like my kids to be watching something that makes them think, and inspires them to do something besides watch TV. Because eventually I’m going to succumb to my mommy guilt and turn off the TV, and I don’t want to hear the whining.
Halloween is in just two short weeks, which means you may be looking for Halloween costume ideas. Or you may have children like mine, who start planning next year’s Halloween costume on November 1.
I have many failures as a mother. I am not very tidy. I don’t volunteer in my kids’ classrooms. I refuse to iron anything. I don’t check my 7 year old’s homework (not that I could do anything with it – it’s all in Spanish). My kids eat fish sticks for dinner not-infrequently (don’t tell the home cooking police). But I have two points of pride: Homemade birthday cakes, and homemade Halloween costumes.
In the collage above, you can see the Nuni’s creations over the years. I am not a great sewer, but I’m good enough for Halloween. From the top, Tinkerbell (I made the tutu!), a Ladybug (made the jumper, with black tights and black wings and homemade antennae headband), the cutest lopsided Cinderella ever, Bernadette (this was me last year, from this book – easiest Halloween costume ever), Merida and baby brother (my mom sewed the Merida dress, and the baby was in a bear hat and black pajamas), and last year’s Eloise and Max).
Max (from Where the Wild Things Are) breaks my homemade rule – this is a PBK costume that I love so much I bought it when Bootsy was tiny (on clearance, after Halloween) and he’s wearing it again this year.
Eloise is my favorite genius costume idea.
If you’re not familiar with Kay Thompson’s Eloise (with drawings by Hilary Knight) you should go out and read it right this second. I’ll wait.
OK, back? I leaned hard on the Nuni to be Eloise last year when she was six, because Eloise after all is six, and it remains and will remain my all time favorite kid’s Halloween costume.
The great thing about this costume is that it was very easy to put together black pleated skirt, black suspenders, white blouse, knee socks, black mary janes and pink bow – but you can wear all of it again! The Nuni wore the skirt and blouse to school as part of her uniform for the rest of the year, and the knee socks and shoes went into the regular rotation, too. We even got a little stuffed weenie dog to hold.
We’ve got great things planned for this Halloween too, and I’ve got to log some sewing time this weekend. The Nuni is requiring me to dress up this year, too. What about you? What are your Halloween plans?
I'm Kate, and between my day job and my home job, life is pretty full. Look around to find some of the recipes, projects, stories and tips that keep me sane on the domestic front. Read more about me here and feel free to email me with any questions or feedback!