Sunday, Sunday, glorious Sunday!

What an epic day! When I say epic, I don’t mean in the sense that a crazy adventure was had; we didn’t all go bungee jumping together or anything remotely crazy like that. No, an epic day for us is one where everyone is happy to do their own thing and chores also get done in the process.

Today was one of those glorious days where the children were totally compatible and spent the entire day cavorting together without a single fight as they morphed from one fantasy world to another. They started off the morning as pirates and turned our sofa into their pirate ship, sailing the seven seas in search of adventure before my husband and I were enlisted to plan and map out a full on treasure hunt. This went on for quite a while before the pirates decided they were hungry and I was called upon to make Pirate PBJ sandwiches.

With full tummies the pirates then decided they were done hunting for treasure so opted to go for the next best thing and watch Scooby Doo (the 1970’s version) while giggling at the slap-stick antics.  During this time I was upstairs re-organizing our bedroom closet and giving the whole room a good old fashioned sweep-down.  I purged the shelves of clothes not worn and did away with holey socks and t-shirts. I dusted and hoovered (vacuumed) like a mad woman and the result was a blissfully clean, organized and zen-like room complete with fresh sheets and puffy pillows to which I’m looking forward to getting cozy with tonight.

As I finished my chores my daughter approached me and “ahem”-ed me. I turned and was greeted by a dazzling pink princess. “Mummy, I am now Queen and you must do as I say,” she informed me as her brother came racing into the room in his Spiderman costume and declared for all the neighborhood to hear that Spiderman had arrived. With eyebrows raised I accepted this new change in family hierarchy and asked if there was anything Her Majesty required at that present moment in time. I was told no but to be aware that a demand may happen at any moment unto which I would be promptly informed. They both then hurried out of the room and descended the stairs to the basement where they began a whole new fantasy game. They also spent time crafting crowns for themselves out of construction paper, the remnants of which now scatter the playroom floor. Throughout all this my husband and I pottered about doing our own thing, casually remarking at how beautifully the offspring were playing together and how lovely it is not to hear fighting and bickering.

This game continued all the way up through dinner and let me tell you, it was amazing seeing the clean plates! Usually my children are fussy eaters but not tonight; those plates were cleared by mini tornadoes before they were off again to continue their game of Queen and Spiderman. Nothing makes a parent feel more accomplishment than when their child has scarfed food they have prepared without a complaint! Bath and bed time was a breeze and now I sit here while my husband plays video games, children all nestled in bed, a sense of peace and happiness floating through the house. Like I said, it really was an epic Sunday.

Cleaning House; let’s start small.

The holidays are officially over and this morning I was back to the routine of getting children ready for school, making a packed lunch and ensuring all forms of winter wear were at the ready. It is bitterly cold (-23) with a wind that rips right through you so there won’t be any outside adventures today. Needless to say that doesn’t mean a non-productive day, oh no! It’s a perfect day for getting stuff in the house done. With one kid in school I feel I can get on top of the housework and start regaining the house after two weeks of little Tasmanian mess devils running around.

As I mentioned in my New Year’s post I like to use the winter months as a good way to kick-start a house cleanse and declutter. Winter lasts roughly 5-6 months here in Toronto which means I get to pace myself nicely and although I wish I was more organized I am not one for drawing out plans and lists of how to go about the house cleanse; I like to just see which room irritates me the most on any given day and today it was the stairs and hallway.

I have hardwood throughout 90% of my house and coming from the UK where everything is carpeted I actually find it harder to keep wood clean than carpet. I’ve had many a discussion with my in-laws and my husband about this! Hoovering (vacuuming) a carpet to me is much easier than sweeping and sweeping and still not getting all the dust. Or worse, getting that stupid dust line from the dustpan that simply will not sweep up! Anyway, this morning was spent sweeping all corridors and down the stairs; high traffic areas that have lots of nooks and crannies for dust bunnies to hide in. It took me probably 15 minutes but I swept up enough to make me feel good about doing it.

Now I am drinking tea while blogging and thinking about the next mission. I am a procrastinator and I’m not afraid to tell you! However when I get on a cleaning bender it feels really good. If you are like me and you’re not someone who cleans everyday, no worries. Start small and see where that takes you.  Look around and see if there are areas that bug you, even if it’s only a little bit. Look at high traffic areas, classic dumping grounds and hidden dump drawers. There can be times where, even if things are stored in a drawer, you know that draw is a mess and believe it or not it bugs you! If you look at it and think, ‘I know there’s junk in there but I don’t want to go near it!’ then ask yourself these questions: when was the last time you opened that drawer? Do you know what is in that drawer? If the answer is ‘I don’t know’ then it’s probably safe to say a vast majority of items could go into trash or recycling. I’ve found the best way to kick start the clean-up is to buy a drawer organizer. You can find them from dollar stores or IKEA and if you have one then it means you can make peace out of chaos!

Start by putting things into 3 piles – one for definite trash and recycling, one for certain keep and the last is the unsure pile. Once you’ve gone through the drawer once, go back through the unsure pile again and see if those items are seriously worth keeping or not. Can you honestly say they will be used? No? Throw it out! Trust me, once it’s done and the draw is organized you will never look at it again with hate. You might even be proud and consider showing it off to friends and family.

Right, enough sitting. Time to do more cleaning! Remember, if you know you hate cleaning but want to make a difference then start small. One thing at a time and all the little things will add up to a big difference and a happier you.

P.S: if you need inspiration look to things like Pintrest. There are some great ideas you can adapt and use to your advantage.

Happy New Year, and all that…

2015, eh? I always get a bit nervous at the start of a new year. There is so much that can or doesn’t happen, just waiting to, well, happen! As you go through a year you get used to a bustle of life and everyday is all part of the same package, but at the start of a new year there is a certain feeling of, ‘right, let’s get started. Again.’ I look at the year and think will there be happiness, sadness, grief, joy? Of course there will but we don’t know in what amounts and that, to me, is a little scary! Some people will already be going through their own tests so a new year might not matter either way on how their lives are effected but I have a very regular, routine infused life; two small kids and a regular job will do that.

I do know a few things that will happen this year which aren’t worth looking forward to – it involves my husband’s career, and my career, and it’s a very unstable and daunting prospect, one I can’t go into (sorry) but it looks like it’s a make or break situation. We have been here before, twice in fact, and I have to say it’s getting a bit boring! But you know what they say; ‘if you want something done, do it yourself!’

As for family my little sproglets are ever-growing and this year will see my youngest start junior kindergarten. Although that won’t happen until September I get to enroll him in February which is daunting! I’ve had at least one little firecracker at home with me for the past 7 years so the idea of being alone again, if only for a short chunk of time, is both joyful and upsetting!

I don’t do the whole ‘New Year, New Me’ bulls**t! I don’t make resolutions or false promises to myself – I’ve learnt I am my worst enemy. However I do try to actively take stock of myself and I try to remember to be a little calmer, a little more patient and a lot more encouraging. I think I am too hard on my kids so I’m actively trying to take a step back instead of lashing out. I always flirt with the idea of being more active but I am so lazy it’s a joke sometimes! With shows like ‘Sleepy Hollow’, ‘Scorpion’ and ‘Bones’ on it’s a little difficult to jump from putting kids to bed to a workout instead of collapsing on the sofa to be mentally whisked away for a few hours! I am also very hard on myself, something that drives my husband to distraction. I prefer to adopt the ‘glass-half-empty’ attitude towards myself and it’s another item that needs work but it won’t happen in just one year.

There is a positive in a new year which I do really enjoy – a new year means a house cleanse and reorganization! It might just be something I feel but I love the idea of purging the house of a years worth of junk! I read a wonderful book by Gretchen Rubin called The Happiness Project and she got me thinking on how much better organized a household can be. With two small-ish kids in the house clutter just appears and if it’s not tackled quickly it will get out of control so I like to do mad days of mass cleaning and putting things to recycling. Nothing is safe when I’m on a cleaning bender! With the cold weather it makes the perfect time to do it as everyone is stuck indoors and family sometimes make (un)willing helpers.

Right, well that’s the first blog of 2015 written! Hurrah! I hope you had a lovely Christmas and New Year.  Be kind to yourself and don’t go through a crazy new routine that will be forgotten in a month – be realistic and work steadily. You might surprise yourself.

Cheers to 12 months of new adventures!