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If you don’t remember my last What’s Working Wednesday (and would like to), or don’t know what I’m talking about (and would like to), please click here.

1. The Fruit Game

I am not a morning person. I am also not an after-nap person. Pretty much anytime my kids are transitioning out of sleep is rough for me. As such, one of the best pieces of advice I ever received was to let my kids stay in their rooms for half an hour or so in the mornings and after their naps. When they were in their cribs, they just entertained themselves with a couple toys (safe ones – I want to see them eventually!).  But now that they are aware that Mommy is downstairs without them, they are harder to convince that their rooms are fun (imagine if they knew I was eating chocolate!).  Eventually, I’m hoping that books will become the entertainment, and that long after they stop sleeping they will still enjoy at least an hour upstairs alone (unlike their mother who grew up in such a big family she never had to learn to be without others). Until then, I try to keep a rotation of toys that only make an appearance after nap time. The Melissa & Doug Cutting Food Box kept my son busy for weeks. He would wake up, use the potty, then ask for the “fruit game.”   Sixteen dollars for over five hours of peace per week? What a bargain!

2. Laundry Tip

Laundry is my nemesis. I come by it honestly: my dad told me the secret to a happy marriage is to always have one more pair of underwear than your spouse. Check and mate, husband dear. My poor husband starts loads of laundry as he runs out of clothes. But he seldom folds or puts them away (he’s too busy doing other things. like his job.). Anyway, this leads to a mountain in shape and size that has to be scaled in order to get to the laundry room or, eventually, to get down the hall. Ironically, the bigger it gets, the less likely I am to deal with it. (Yes, I’m aware that I have issues.) I still have no idea how to stay on top of this, BUT, I have found one rule that helps the mountain stay small-ish (okay, medium-ish): All sheets and towels must be folded and put away immediately. Straight from the dryer to the linen closet. These are easy and quick loads to deal with that if added to Mt. Kilimanjaro take up a lot of room and overwhelm this Sherpa-wannabe. Plus, getting something completed in this department feels like a great accomplishment (like looking out from the summit of the world’s tallest… yeah, this metaphor has run its course).

3. Sausage Lentil Soup

There is nothing better on a crisp fall day than walking into the house after a busy day with the kiddos and being greeted by the smell of dinner cooking. Since I don’t have a personal chef, I use my crockpot to feel rich. Here is one of my favorites (makes a FULL crockpot so feel free to halve it!):

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 16 oz package of dry lentils
  • 2 10 oz cans Rotel
  • 2 14 oz cans beef broth
  • ≤ 3 cups water
  • ≤ 1 bag of baby carrots
  • 2 lbs kielbasa, cut into ½ inch pieces
  • 8 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 onions, quartered
  • 3-4 cloves minced garlic

DIRECTIONS

  1. Rinse and drain lentils.  In a slow cooker, stir together the lentils, broth, water, carrots, sausage, celery, onion, and garlic.
  2. Cover and cook on high for 3 hours or low for 6-7 hours.
  3. ½ hour before serving, add Rotel.

What’s working for you this week?

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