7 QT: Cupboard Confessions, Valentine's Roundup, and Thoughts on Phileos

 Hello, and Happy Valentine's Day to you! I hope you're having a suitably love-filled day. I'm very aware of the love I bear for my children today. I was never one to worry about not having enough love to go around for more than one child. As I've heard, love isn't divided among children; it multiplies. I certainly find that to be the case. As the title indicates, this 7QT is going to be a bit various in its approach, because I'm trying to wangle two distinct link-ups into one. So, here goes...
Real Housekeeping is having a Friday Clean-up Link-up (although the link-up feature is open all weekend, so there's plenty of time for you to participate. The idea is to spend 20 minutes organizing/cleaning/otherwise beautifying some part of your home. This week the challenge was the medicine cabinet. Here was my before picture:
Yep, that medicine cabinet needs some love.  There's so much stuff packed into it that unless I nudge it all just so, something or other tends to fall out when I open it.  Not good.

The first thing to do was to evaluate what was in there and why.  Even though we only moved into the apartment 8 months ago, somehow there's stuff in there that hasn't been used in a long time.  For example:
  • a bottle of super-duper-post-C-section strength ibuprofen…from two babies ago
  • a pill-cutter ( I honestly can't remember the last time I needed to use that)
  • multiple trial size tubes of toothpaste, all open at once.  

Yep, time to dump the excess and move the items that don't need to be pulled out that often, like kid cough syrup and the thermometer.   I also busted out the Lysol wipes to give the shelves a scrub; and when I pulled the toothbrush mug down…well, that went in the dishwasher post-haste.  

I think I cleaned it in about 10 minutes, but don't be too impressed; it was because I woke up late and had to scramble everyone out.  I also didn't really do much different with the top shelf because it's all Allen's stuff and I don't know of a better place for most of it.  

Here's the after shot, ta-da!!!
Much better!

Thanks for giving me some positive peer pressure to get that little corner of our lives organized, Real Housekeeping!

Thanks to another RH contributor, Tacy Williams Beck, I had a chance to try out a new cookie recipe with my babysitting charges this week.  The recipe was delicious (or so I gathered…I didn't have any, since I have a DietBet to win) but very crumbly. It seemed a bit more like shortbread than sugar cookie dough.  I wondered if I did something wrong.  I didn't have all the butter necessary, so I substituted a half cup of shortening for the last half cup of butter needed.  Could that have thrown it off?

Anyway, the cookies were not easy to roll out, so I did my best and let the kids decorate them with M&Ms (red, pink, and white ones, natch).

Little kid decorating motto: More is more

Max samples the finished product

Kind of crumbly, but the kids loved making them!

I'm not usually a sugar monger when I babysit, but the week of Valentine's Day is something of an exception.  On Wednesday we made what I'm calling Heart Bark.  It is so easy to make and pretty satisfying for little hands.

  • a bag of chocolate chips/melties
  • bag of white chocolate chips/melties (I bought mine at the bulk bins)
  • chocolate candies (we used Valentine's colored M&Ms)
I melted the white chocolate first in a makeshift double boiler (i.e. a glass Pyrex bowl over a saucepan of boiling water).  When it was liquidy, I spread it on a cookie sheet and let the kids decorate it with M&Ms.  

While they were doing that, I melted the chocolate and then poured it over the white chocolate.  I gave the kids plastic knives and let them marble the bark.

I'm "hearting" out the kids' faces since I haven't asked their mom if she's okay with them being on the internet
Then just put the cookie tray in the fridge for a few hours (Pro-tip: do the making before nap time and it should be ready when nap time is over).

Finally, today we made valentines.  Very simple, very hands-off (for me).  Just blank cards, rubber stamps, and markers. It's just their speed.

It never fails to please me when kids entertain themselves with common things.  Like the kids making a train out of a laundry basket and a scarf…

Or all the glorious things you can make with a large cardboard box. I don't have pictures of it, but we built a castle out of a cardboard box on Tuesday and then repurposed it today into a racetrack for matchbox cars.  

The giant box came courtesy of Amazon.  I've jumped on the Amazon Prime bandwagon (at least for the 30 day free trial) and decided to try out the Subscribe & Save feature.  I'm ordering diapers, wipes, and Lysol wipes every few months.  I can get name brand diapers for the same amount per diaper as the cheap store brand (which, in my experience, are less absorbent and often mean that after a nap Ben is soaked).  We'll see if it turns out to continue to be worthwhile.  But the HUGE box everything came in was quite a selling point on its own!  Oh, the things you can do with a giant cardboard box!
A thought on phileos, or brotherly love: I'm so thankful that my kids do love and care for each other.  I know it won't always be perfect (if my own history as an older sister of two little brothers is any indication, anyway), and they already know how to push each other's buttons with amazing speed and accuracy. Still, they all look on each other with great affection and play together.

The other day, I glanced in my rearview mirror in the car while we were on our way to pick up Ruby from school.  Max was staring out the window and holding Ben's tiny hand.  It was so sweet, so tender.  Ruby often holds hands with Max in the car, too, especially when they sing songs together.

It's sometimes aggravating to live in a small apartment with three little ones and drive a car that probably wasn't meant to hold three car seats in the back.  But from all the forced closeness, I believe a true closeness emerges.  Max and Ruby love to be together.  Even when they are driving each other crazy, they still want to share the same bed at the end of the day.  If we put Max into his bed, he inevitably climbs up into Ruby's as soon as we leave the room.

I'm so grateful that they treasure each other, and I pray that they always will.
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  1. Hey! Love the medicine cabinet. Isn't it a funny place in our homes? Collects so. much. random.

    Your kids are so cute. I kind of wish Ben held Mimi's hand, but, yeah, he's an independent little guy.


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