The tyrant

 

© Sarah Lipoff 2011

*This is a short piece in response to a Red Dress Club writing prompt:

Is there someone who drives you crazy?

Someone who really gets under your skin.

It doesn’t have to be someone you know (although it certainly can be). It could be someone famous. Or even a character in a book.

Now, write a first-person piece – as if YOU are this individual. Write from his or her perspective and include the things that really bother you. For instance, maybe there’s a good reason why they eat with their mouths open, or why they use sarcasm as a weapon.

 

I’m happy there’s a routine around here and she’s willing to follow my plan and do what I say. I wouldn’t have it any other way. That’s what she’s here for. She has no other choice.

Just this morning, when I finally ventured outside and the sun was so bright that it almost knocked me down, she made it seem like I needed someone to hold my hand. The sun was just really bright and when you’re stuck inside for so long, the brightness is almost physical. I slapped at her hand, and when she reached out for me again, I slapped at it harder, which resulted in her finally leaving me alone.

It was bliss walking in the sun feeling the heat burn through my skin. I wanted to wallow in the warmth for hours and hours lusciously enjoying everything it had to offer. I waved my hands in the glow, moved my feet slowly, and let my hair feel the soft breeze. But, I wasn’t moving fast enough. Just like her, always in a rush. She prodded me from behind and I turned and gave her a look. I knew where we were going and we had more than enough time. We were still on schedule.

Quietly, I tried explaining things were just fine. My goal wasn’t to cause problems, just to get a few special moments with her. I wasn’t trying to be deceptive, only for her to take a couple of minutes to enjoy and relax with me.

I suddenly felt horrid for slapping at her hand earlier and desperately reached for her. But her face was set and she wouldn’t look at me. I sulked, too.

The garden was lovely and we both went to our corners to do things. I so enjoy pruning the plants and tending to the fresh flowers. After carefully inspecting each one, I picked a few to share with her as a way to show my true love. But, just when I was ready to turn and offer my bouquet, I was shuffled into the shade and my flowers thrown to the ground. The shade offers no warmth, just shadows. It wasn’t time yet and I was frustrated that she had disregarded my flowers with anger.

Where had she run off to? Now when I needed her, she’d gone of and left me huddled in this cold corner all by myself. I was bored and alone, and I was thirsty.

Thirsty.

It just so happened that in the shady little corner where I had been left and forgotten there was a large puddle from all that torrential rain. It looked so soothing and cool, and would taste and feel so good on this warm afternoon. I quickly used my hands to drink and drink and drink not caring if my clothes were soaked through or my body dirtied. I was thirsty. It was as simple as that.

With tremendous force I was lifted in the air and twisted violently. Surprised, I let out a shocked wail. Within moments she had whipped off my clothes leaving me naked and shivering. I was embarrassed. I was cold. I was scared. There was no reason for her to treat me like that. I simply had wanted a drink and she hadn’t been there.

She hadn’t been there. She hadn’t followed the schedule.

The thought made me howl and wail, and then howl and wail more.

What would I do if there were a time she wasn’t there, when she would never be there?

To hell with the schedule.

I want a hug.

 

 

 

Black bean quinoa veggie burgers

© Sarah Lipoff 2011

The other day we went to In-N-Out and figured the babe would be in bliss over the amazing tastiness. I mean if we love the stuff, she should too, right? Yes, burgers slathered with cheese and that extra special tasty savory sauce is one of my favorite unhealthy indulgences, which doesn’t happen very often. We figured it was time. It was time to introduce the wee tot to In-N-Out.

The minute we walked in she was dazzled with the shiny redness of the place and we amazingly found a booth. The hubs ordered the food and we happily (impatiently) awaited the double-doubles – single for the babe.

She wanted absolutely nothing to do with any of it. After delicately tasting a fry, a couple more, and touching her tongue to the burger, she was done with the place. And, when I say done, I mean wailing-in-the-highchair done.

I figured I could at least attempt to create a burger she might like and had my sights set on some sort of veggie burger. I know she likes quinoa and black beans (sometimes) so decided to attempt a combo.

Black bean quinoa veggie burgers.

Stuff to make them

1 green onion chopped

1 cup cooked and cooled quinoa

1 15-ounce can of beans

1/4 cup crumbled saltine crackers or breadcrumbs

2 Tablespoons flour

1 egg

1 Tablespoon salsa

1/4 cup cubed cheddar cheese – or Monterrey jack would be tasty, too

What to do

Start by adding the quinoa and rinsed and drained black beans to a bowl. Give them a light toss to get them ready for ingredients to come.

Go ahead and crack an egg over the mix and stir until the egg is incorporated. You can also add the salsa and chopped green onion.

The day I concocted these goodies, I didn’t have any plain breadcrumbs, but did have an abundance of saltine crackers. So, I crumbled some up and they worked just fine. This is the time to add the flour, too.

Cube up some of your cheese and add it to your veggie burger mix. Let everything sit and glue together for about five minutes or so.

While you’re waiting, you can heat up a large sauté pan over medium heat with a layer of veggie oil. The burger mix is enough to create four really big burgers or six nicely sized mini-burgers. Spoon mix, gently pat together into whatever shape you want by two to three inches thick.

Place those burgers in your hot pan and let sizzle for about two minutes without touching them. This helps create a crusty seer on one side, making those buggers easier to flip.

After you’ve flipped, you can get your burger buns ready however you like. I cut big buns into smaller buns for my wee tot to enjoy her black bean quinoa veggie burgers. Once those burgers have cooked another two to three minutes, you can flip and let them cook a couple of minutes more on each side.

Serve your veggie burgers with some homemade fries or your favorite potato or tortilla chips.

Yum.

*These black bean quinoa veggie burgers were a big hit with the babe – sans the bun, though. She even enjoyed them cold for lunch dipped in ketchup (although I think she just really got into the whole dipping-something-into-ketchup thing)!

 

 

Fine Art for Kids: Stars with Jasper Johns

 

© Sarah Lipoff 2011

Just last week, the wee tot’s favorite shape (heart) was replaced with the star. She walks around yelling, “staaaaaaah” and pointing at any stars she sees around her. So I figured it would be fitting to create a few stars with some motivation by famed painter, Jasper Johns.

During the mid 1950’s, Jasper Johns broke onto the American art scene and helped move the art world from Abstract Expressionism into the land of Pop Art and Minimalism. His canvases were layered with thick paint, covered with big, bold shapes, and sometimes even came right out at you through his style of building canvas on top of canvas.

A couple of Jasper Johns’ paintings are right here in San Francisco at the SFMOMA, which I took the wee tot to visit just about a year ago. Sure, she had no idea what she was looking at, but I stood in awe while looking at his paintings. I knew one of my favorites, Flag (1954), would be the perfect inspiration for an afternoon star painting project with the babe.

My daughter’s not old enough to really understand the motivation behind Johns’ flag paintings, but older kids can do some research to learn more about Jasper Johns and what intrigued him so about the American flag. Stars are also fairly prominent in Johns’ works, so I figured the wee tot could cozy up by the computer while enjoying counting stars in his paintings.

I offered the babe a sheet of white paper and plopped a couple of dollops of blue paint on the paper. With the help of a big paintbrush, she had the whole paper covered in no time. Finger paint would also be a great option for creating the textured blue background for those stars.

© Sarah Lipoff 2011

While the paint was drying, I helped the babe with the next step by cutting a star out of cardboard. Older kids could do this step themselves by tracing around a star shape, or using a ruler to create and cut a nice edged star about 3 inches in diameter.

Now tape a small item to one side of the cardboard star to create a stamp. I found that a die worked great, but a wine cork, or plastic bottle cap would be perfect, too.

© Sarah Lipoff 2011

Once the paint was dry, I poured a small amount of white paint on a paper plate and encouraged the tot to press and stamp stars, and stars, and stars. Older kids could create a star pattern, or even replicate rows of stars, just like in the American flag.

After my daughter was satisfied with those stars, we proudly displayed her Jasper Johns’ inspired artwork on the fridge. She loves walking by, pointing, and yelling, “staaaaaah!”

 

Spanking

© Sarah Lipoff 2011

Last week I wrote a blog post about how I don’t do time out at my house. I shared my post on a website I sometimes frequent and was actually more surprised by the comments than I thought I’d be. Mamas chimed in on how they found time out to be beneficial and why, that they also don’t do time out and have found other disciplinary things that work, and some on how they spank.

What?!

Spank?

I was never spanked as a child. I’m not sure if that causes me to look at spanking differently than someone who was spanked as a child, but spanking is not okay in my world. You can spank in your house if you think it’s the right thing for you and your family. But, wowsa, nobody spanks at my house.

Let’s get down and dirty, shall we? I’m not judging you if you do spank. This is a personal choice for me and it all comes down to my belief that hitting promotes hitting. When a child is spanked, isn’t it the same as hitting? When a child is spanked, isn’t it the same as saying using violence is a way of getting a point across? When a child is spanked, aren’t they shamed instead of nurtured?

Well, I’m no expert. I’m just a parent. But, whenever I put my point out there, I like to back it up. So, here’s Dr. Sears’ view on things: Spanking demonstrates that it’s all right for people to hit people, and especially for big people to hit little people, and stronger people to hit weaker people.

Oh, and the American Academy of Pediatrics – The AAP does not recommend spanking. Other ways to discipline kids effectively include using time outs, modeling appropriate behavior, and helping kids understand the connection between actions and consequences.

I look at my child and I see innocence discovery, exploring, experimenting, pushing buttons, causing a ruckus, excitement, crazy butt-shaking, screaming, movement, and typical child behavior. No matter how out-of-control her conduct ever could be, I would never, ever spank her. Ever.

As I said, I’m not judging you if you spank at your house, but I am asking you to think about it before you spank the next time. Just take a deep breath, look your child in the eye, and think about it. That’s all I’m saying.

So, what do you do at your house? What has influenced your disciplinary decisions? How do you back up your choices when asked about them by others?

*Here’s a link to the thread I started that caused total knock-down-drag-out mama drama with 180+comments. If the site makes you become a member to see the link, it’s not worth it (trust me).

http://bit.ly/hOC8KB

What the heck is an OOTD post?

In my head I’m a total babe. I’ve got perfectly coiffed hair, my clothes are sans cat hair and bits of child-food, and my smile is big and shiny white. Oh, and I’m also toned, buff, and a perfectly healthy weight. Then, every once in a while, I get a good look at myself in the mirror, and yeah, I still rock, but that perfect hair is really a ratty pony-tail and the yoga pants look like they are made of cat hair.

Ick.

My hair has led an interesting life. For many years it was permed, teased and sprayed. Then it went through a growth spurt and hung all boring and long-like. During pregnancy my hair had a mind of its own and as soon as the wee tot popped out, that post-pregnancy hair was back to being blah. So, I cut it all off, and admit to having absolutely no clue what to do with it.

Well, it’s finally long enough to pull back in a ponytail, and the hubs has already made comment on the not-so-pretty pigtail sticking out of the back of my head.

Ugh.

Spring is here, and wearing a hat or headscarf is quickly becoming a thing of the past. I hit the computer and searched for input. I came across someone twittering about doing an OOTD post and was intrigued. What the heck is an OOTD post? I asked the all-knowing Twitter, but got no response.

With the help of Urban Dictionary (a true friend), I learned OOTD stands for (in the blog-o-sphere) Outfit Of The Day. All the self-proclaimed fashionistas share pics and info on what they are wearing on a good outfit day. And let me tell you, I discovered some pretty amazing OOTD posts, which made me feel even frumpier.

Right then and there I decided I was going to do an OOTD post. But, it was also going to also be an HOTD post – a.k.a Hair Of The Day post. And in it I would share with you, faithful readers, a pretty-decent hair and outfit day.

Then I chickened out. Who wants to see my mamanista fashion/hair? Well, with some helpful hair tips (and motivation) from the Motherboard, I did a quick bangs trim, totally hair-dry tousled it, and pulled off a messy mini-pony.

Here I am trying to look super-cool in not my Outfit Of The Day outfit, but my Outfit Of The Everyday Outfit. Seriously, the sweater is interchangeable, and those jeans are just like yoga pants – wide all the way down.

© Sarah Lipoff 2011

Notice the sparkly flats, oh-so-great to chase after the toddler and bedazzle her at the same time. This is just about the most bling there is in my wardrobe.

© Sarah Lipoff 2011

Close-up of the frayed edges of my sweater (just like all other sweaters and sweatshirts I own) from over-wear and using the sleeves to wipe the babe’s nose and stuff.

© Dean Lipoff 2011

And, my attempt at creating a tousled nape of the neck pony…

© Dean Lipoff 2011

What’s your normal OOTD and HOTD mamanista style? Do tell!

*

Jeans – Anthropologie
T-shirt – Forever 21
Sweater – Local consignment shop (it was basically brand new when I bought it – super find!)
Shoes – Target (?)

Thanks to the husband for the photo shoot.

 

 

Time to make the donuts

 

© Sarah Lipoff 2011

I woke up the other day obsessed with making donuts. For someone trying to eat healthy, hot, crispy donuts are not at the top of the low-calorie, low-fat, low-anything list. But, I wanted some donuts. So, donuts I would have.

Stuck deep in my cause-my-mouth-to-drool memory is a creamy donut I had the pleasure of eating at a little bakery/coffee shop in Duluth, Minnesota. I loved frequenting the place to sip a cup of tea and sample one of the goodies sparkling in the bright, shiny display case. Whenever the smell of fresh donuts wafted from the front door, I was right there ready to munch away.

The style of the afore-mentioned donut was more like a beignet – full of air and lightness with a blustery dusting of powdered sugar all over the place. I knew I had to attempt a recreation. My stomach told me so.

After finding a recipe for donuts, and making a couple of adjustments, I created the best ever donuts right in my own kitchen.

Ingredients

1 Tablespoon yeast

1/2 cup warm water (about 105 degrees)

3/4 cup warm skim milk

1/3 cup white sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 egg

1/3 cup soft butter

2 1/2 cup flour (*I used 1 1/2 cup white flour and 1 cup whole wheat flour) plus additional flour for kneading

2 cups vegetable oil

Directions

Stir together the sugar, warm milk, and water in a mixing bowl. Gently sprinkle the yeast over the top and allow to bloom (get all bubbly), which takes about 3 minutes.

Now add the egg to the frothy concoction, along with the salt, vanilla, and soft butter. Delicately stir together with a spatula. You’re creating a batter of goodness and treating it with total love and respect will guarantee luscious, decadent donuts.

Begin adding the flour 1/2 cup at a time until a soft dough forms, which means the mixture will be a bit sticky. Deposit the supple dough onto a floured work surface and sprinkle with additional flour so it can be kneaded without adhering to your hands. Once the dough has been worked over for about five minutes, return it to the mixing bowl and cover with a fresh, soft towel.

Find a nice warm spot for the dough to rest, which takes about 30 minutes, or until it has doubled in size.

Dust your work surface with flour and begin rolling the donut dough until it is about 1/2 inch thick. Now you can create any shape of donut you like by pressing a glass or cookie cutter into the dough. I simply cut the dough with a pizza cutter into rectangles.

Bring to a toasty-hot temperature of 350 degrees Fahrenheit two-inches oil in a medium-sized sauté pan. Gently slide the cut donuts into the hot oil and fry for 1 to 2-minutes on each side, carefully flipping with a slotted spoon.

Remove your lightly browned donuts from the oil and let rest on a couple of sheets of paper towel.

Topping the donuts

Simply dust the donuts with powdered sugar, or a combination of cinnamon and sugar. Or, if you really want a treat, you can combine powdered sugar, a touch of vanilla, and enough water to create a glaze perfect to drizzle over the warm tasty things.

This recipe created about 20 3-inch rectangular donuts.

(I won’t tell you how many of them I actually ate.)

*I originally posted this in July of 2010, but after discovering The Red Dress Club and seeing the writing prompt for this week, I couldn’t resist reworking the post as well as rediscovering my love of the all-wonderful donut.

 

Whole wheat honey crackers

© Sarah Lipoff 2011

The other morning the wee tot awoke not only a slight shade of green but with the wonderful dry-heaves occasional throw-up thing. I knew right away that the day was a wash and any plans were pushed aside. Stopping the babe from tossing her cookies was of the utmost importance, and I quickly quizzed myself on all the things that help tummy ick.

Crackers and ginger ale.

Amazingly, I had ginger ale. Unbelievably, I was fresh out of crackers. For those of you living in the northwestern part of California, you are fully aware of the freakish monsoon like conditions taking place. The hubs and I had spent the previous day stocking up on anything and everything possible to get us through the next couple of days so we wouldn’t need to leave the house in the pouring rain. Somehow, those crackers were forgotten.

But, have no fear, there are simple ingredients that are easily tossed together to create tasty and happy-tummy-making crackers. I figured if I used whole wheat, she’d get some protein and healthy grain in her, too. And, honey is just yummy.

So, whole wheat honey crackers it was. These little goodies are somewhat similar in so-many-ways to those ones you get in the yellow box at the store (you know the ones I’m talking about).

Ingredients

1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour

5 Tablespoons butter cold and cubed

2 Tablespoons honey

1/4 teaspoon white vinegar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup water

What you do

Start by tossing the flour and cubed cold butter in a bowl and mushing them up together with your hands until they are like course sand. You can use forks or knives to do this, but I really prefer to do it by hand. It feels oh-so-good and you can control the texture of your cracker dough better, too.

Once everything is all crumbly, add the honey, vinegar, and salt and give a little stir. You can also preheat your oven to 400 Farhenheit so it’s ready to go when you are.

Now slowly drizzle the water into the mix while stirring. As soon as the dough comes together, you’ve got enough water. Some days you’ll need the full 1/4 cup and others you might need less (or more, who knows).

Dust a work surface with flour and kneed the dough lightly – or just slap it around a bit. Cover it with plastic wrap and toss in the fridge for 10-15 minutes. You don’t want things to get too cold, but the dough is easier to work with once it’s chilled a bit.

Tear off a sheet of parchment paper and cut it to the size of your sheet pan. Place that parchment paper on your work surface and dust with flour. Now roll roll roll that dough until it is thin. I found the thinner the dough the crisper the cracker – and I love crispy crackers. But, if you want a thicker more substantial snack, roll the dough until it is the thickness you prefer.

Get out your pizza roller and cut your crackers. I went with a basic rectangle formation, but you can create any shape you’d like.

Give the whole shebang a sprinkling of salt, slide the sheet of parchment onto your sheet tray and toss your crackers in the oven. Don’t go too far, these tasties bake up in no time – especially if you rolled them thin. Mine took about seven minutes to reach perfection.

These are super tasty crackers, and you can add any flavor combinations you’d like. I’m already planning on some whole wheat honey herb crackers!

*The babe enjoyed munching on these while sipping some water-downed ginger ale, and in no time, she was no longer a shade of pukey-green.


Fine Art for Kids: Etching with Klee

© Sarah Lipoff 2011

 

Paul Klee was an interesting guy. He had a great imagination that shined through in his child-like paintings. But, you’d never know when you met Klee that he had so much going on in his head. He was pretty reserved and kept to himself. I guess you could say painting truly was his way of expressing himself, and in his cubist abstract paintings, line, color, and excitement shined through. Klee was best-buddies with another expressionist – our friend Kandinsky!

We have fish at our house in a big tank and they’ve been swim-swimming around for almost seven years having a great time and getting bigger and bigger. The wee tot just started taking notice of fish one and fish two, and loves feeding them every morning. So, this early am, while she was sprinkling the fish food, Paul Klee’s The Golden Fish popped into my head. I knew we had to create our own rendition!

Although Klee was a painter, your child can replicate his fishy painting through an art process called etching. An etching is made by using acids to cut into unprotected metals – not really a safe project for kiddies – so using black paint and paper works just as well! Creating a layer of crayon offers a kick of color hiding under all that black.

I started the babe out with a sheet of white paper and a bunch of crayons. If you’ve got a little one like I do, it sometimes helps to tape the edges of the paper to the work surface so she doesn’t get frustrated with the paper moving. I encouraged her to scribble and scribble, filling her entire paper with color. If you’ve got an older child, she can create patterns of color on her paper, which will make the etching part of the art project really exciting.

Once the entire paper was filled with scribbles, I offered my daughter a paintbrush soaked with black tempera paint and invited her to cover her paper with that paint. At first she wasn’t sure about hiding all those lines and looping circles she had just created, but painting is fun – and she was more than happy to continue covering her paper until there wasn’t any white showing through. Try to encourage your child to do the same, too!

While waiting for the paint to dry, take a closer look at Paul Klee’s work and his life. For the older set, Klee was living in Nazi Germany, which directly impacted his life. For the younger ones, it’s as simple as chatting about shapes and colors found within his paintings!

Now offer your child the end of a paintbrush, or a really dull pencil, and invite her to etch (draw) into that black paint, revealing all those bits of color underneath. She can create a fish, just like Klee’s painting The Golden Fish, or any kind of design she’d like! I helped my wee tot by making an outline of a big fish, some smaller fish, and then invited her to make fun lines and shapes around them.

Your child’s finished Klee creation can be proudly displayed in your home – we put ours right next to the fish tank!

Time out – no thanks!

 

© Sarah Lipoff 2011

It’s been pouring here the last couple of days and I’m a bit tired of it. When it rains like this, the only things I want to do are cook, eat, and watch movies. So, that’s all that has been happening at my house.

Really, not that exciting.

But, today, while we were all out grabbing a few things to get us through the weekend, the hubs kept the babe in the car so I could rush in and out of the grocery store to pick up the oh-so-important cheese for the wee tot. And, while cruising through the store, I heard that wonderful wail coming from an adjacent aisle. You know that wail. The one that makes every parent twitch and all non-parents crane their necks to see what in the heck is going on over there.

It was that wail.

I’ve been there. I’ve been that mommy pushing the shopping cart full of a screaming tot angry at being confined and walked up and down the aisles filled with overwhelming and overstimulating stuff she isn’t allowed to pick up, touch, or eat. So, I understand that mommy’s frustration. What I didn’t understand was what came out of that mama’s mouth, which I would rather not repeat, in such a high-pitched, shrill, and loud voice, that it made that kid cry even louder and harder, and just about everyone in ear shot to seriously cringe.

She followed it up with the classic, “do you want a time out?”

I quickly made my way to pay and got out of there.

We don’t do time out at my house. Whatever you do at yours that works is great with me. I understand that parents get stretched thin and sometimes short out. I’ve been there. I usually slink off to a quiet place to take a time out myself, because I think that’s what’s really going on. It’s not my child that is misbehaving; it is ME becoming frustrated with her behavior.

Kids throw stuff to see how it feels, they bite because they don’t have the verbal skills to express themselves properly, they cry because they aren’t sure how to use words to share… Sometimes it is hard to understand as a parent. I don’t feel having my child sit quietly for a moment in time out makes any difference. It just confuses her.

So, what do I do when my child does something she shouldn’t when she is fully aware that she is misbehaving? I ignore her for about a minute, which drives her batty. She usually follows me around crying her head off, mad that I’m not paying attention to her bad doings. Then I get down to her level, calmly explain what I don’t like about what she was doing, offer a hug, and hope some small part of her brain understands what is going on.

Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t.

But, that’s parenting, right?

 

Green clean

 

© Sarah Lipoff 2011

I really dislike cleaning the bathroom. There’s nothing I love more than a sparkling bathroom. So, I have a pretty intense love/hate relationship with my commodes. There are two in my house, which makes double the fun to deal with. Because we are “attempting” potty training in the upstairs bathroom, it’s definitely the worst of the two. It’s also my husband’s bathroom. Yes, along with separate checking accounts, we have separate bathrooms – it just worked out that way.

Well, the other night, when the hubs got home, I slunk into the upstairs bathroom to steal a couple of minutes of “me-time.” While I was catching my breath, I couldn’t help but notice the complete lack of shininess around me. Everything gleamed a dull gray.

It was time for a cleaning intervention.

UGH.

For me, the worst part of cleaning is the harsh chemical smell that is left behind from products which claim to miraculously clean and scrub away the scum without doing anything (which always make my head hurt). When done cleaning, I feel like things are clean, but still squirm a bit at the thought of how it got that way. I would love to toss those chemical-filled cleaners in the trash in favor of something much more Earth-friendly. So, the next afternoon during naptime, I hit the trusty computer to search out some clean-green solutions. The Motherboard had a few tips for real icks that left me ready to get experimenting with natural cleaning ideas – actually getting me excited to clean!

Seriously!

First things first. The bathroom smelled. Between the husband and the babe, there was a delicate-bit-o-pee smell hanging about. I filled a bottle with equal parts water and vinegar and got spritzing.  I have baby wipes in just about very room of the house (they really come in handy) and gave the whole bathroom a quick wipe-down. Now everything smelled better, but it still needed a good scrub.

To really get things going, I sprinkled a dusting of baking soda all over the place, busted out a new sponge, and gave my arms a good work out (wax on, wax off). I rinsed everything down with fresh water and started to see some sparkling going on. I also combined that vinegar and baking soda in the sink and tub drain to help break up any stuff hanging out in there. It was just like making a homemade volcano for a science fair project – I just used my own bathroom pipes instead of making some paper mache disaster!

I’ll admit, up to this point, things had been actually okay – even kind of fun, and I wasn’t feeling horrid about wasting naptime cleaning. But, I hadn’t touched the potty yet. That’s where I get skeeved out. I busted out the plastic gloves and drained the bowl (all while holding my nose). I figured this way I’d really get to scrub the gunk away. Once again, I dusted everything with baking soda, pulled those gloves up as high as they could go, and attacked that bowl with my scrubby sponge.

Well, in no time, that potty was sparkling! My head wasn’t ringing, I didn’t have to hold my breath while cleaning due to that chemi-smell, and I felt like things were CLEAN!

For the finale, I wiped everything down with a cloth dampened with some vodka that was hiding in the back of our freezer. It was lemon flavored, so also offered a great fresh finish.

Wow!

Clean!

And, maybe I did (or didn’t) toss back a shot of that vodka in celebration!