Sunday, April 22, 2018

10 easy ways to go reusable at home

In the spirit of Earth Day, I'm sharing 10 simple changes you can make to create a more eco-friendly environment in your home. Some of you might have done all these and then some, but for those of us who need a nudge in a new direction, here are some baby steps to pick and choose from, according to where you are on your environmental journey.

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1. Replace paper towels with cloth dish towels, sponges, and rags.

It can seem daunting to discontinue paper towel use when you’re accustomed to grabbing one several times a day for all manner of cleaning projects. If the idea of going cold turkey scares you, keep a roll at hand but gradually increase the number of reusable options you have as well.

Here’s what we use in place of paper towels:

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Fishy fun & mammal merriment at the aquarium

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Library pass in hand,
to the Seattle Aquarium we go!

This was Karsten's favorite part:
matching orca trading cards.
High points at naming to Oreo
and her sons Double Stuf and Cookie.

Tidal pools are splashy!
I'll point out that Alrik is advertising
his self-designed merch (#notforsale).

Marine Mammal Mania meant lots of fun activities.

Alrik swims with the jellies.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Make it special: Take time for one-on-one parent-child dates

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If you have multiple kids, or even just multiple parents, you might have the worry of how to give one-on-one attention to a child, apart from the spotlight-hogging of siblings or everyday routines. Your kids will relish time to be with a parent free from distractions, with all the attention for the space of a special outing.

My husband recently instituted a new family custom of parent-kid outings, where each child gets a special date with each parent. We have three kids, so he set up Saturdays on our family calendar with a code for which parent goes out with which child, and it rotates around so that every three weeks, a child gets a date, and every six weeks, both parents will have gone out with each child. Did that math make sense? Let's assume so.

Here are a couple reasons that prompted us to try for some one-on-one special bonding time with each child:

  • Sam had been working a lot recently, so his time with just the kids was scattershot and hurried. In contrast, my time with the kids was always en masse and filled with distractions like errands and housekeeping.
  • We have a 10-year-old, 6-year-old, and 3-year-old, and we started realizing the 10-year-old was the non-squeaky wheel who never got the grease. After spending his baby and toddlerhood in dramatic isolation, Mikko is now the quiet, chill tween who lets his brothers talk over him. We figured each child would appreciate some time to express himself without any competition.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Don't Touch This Book! (With rampant book touching)

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Here's video proof that my kids can't obey ONE SIMPLE DIRECTION. Don't Touch This Book. Couldn't be easier, right? See what incredible things happen when Karsten and Alrik can't resist.

This book by Bill Cotter, along with the others in his canon, is hilarious and interactive read-aloud fun for kids. Highly recommended!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Having babies broke my body

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It was during my last period, cursing my menstrual cup's repeated and messy failures, that the sobering thought finally hit me: This might not get better. After having my third baby, my body is broken.

I don't know how much is age, or how much is particular to my body's foibles, and I don't know what I hope to accomplish by cataloging this except to offer sympathy to anyone else going through this realization.

But here are the ways my body seems to have reacted to repeated pregnancies and births:

The peeing.

That pre-baby body has gone the
way of the woolly mammoth.
Oh, the peeing. My kids think it's hilariously exasperating that I must use the restroom every half-hour. I know where every public toilet is on our usual routes, and I cannot afford to be choosy about conditions of some of the sketchier ones, as well as the hellish stretches where there is not one. I have been known to duck into an unoccupied construction zone's porta-potty. I'm not proud, but it's better than wetting myself.

Speaking of which, I have spent too much time fantasizing about ordering pee undies. They are so much moolah, though. Why so very much? Would a cloth menstrual pad be as good? Can I make my own pee-wear from old cloth diapers?

And I've had to cut way back on caffeine, or woe betide me. Again, just ask my kids about my comical dance to get the keys in the front door, race up the stairs, and make it into the bathroom before I need to throw my pants in the wash. I often lose the race.

Menstrual cup confusion.

This might or might not be related as it's a down-there situation, but what the actual heck is going on with my cervix and adjacent ladybits now? Almost every month is a game of Will My Menstrual Cup Catch Any Blood? The answer is usually, No, no, it won't. The blood will go around, adhere to the side, or do other fun things. WHERE ARE MY PARTS NOW? Did the babies MOVE them?

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

DitDoo's World is amazeballs

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Alrik has decided that it's time he broke into the glamorous world of YouTubing. He has done so with aplomb, with the release of his own channel, DitDoo's World.

DitDoo is what his baby brother inexplicably started calling him when he learned to talk, and we stuck with it. Karsten has strong opinions about things like what your favorite color is or how to pronounce your name, and we've found there's no point in arguing with him.

Anyway, DitDoo's World has everything fabulous a 6-year-old can offer, to wit:

Journal entries featuring illustrations of adorable dreams

Inventions like the wearable phone glove and paper-tube robot arms,
which the world will be clamoring for as soon as these vids goes viral

DitDoo the author's own books,
self-illustrated and self-published with love

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Taste test of 28 British crisps, chocolates, biscuits, & more!

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And now for something completely different…

Our U.S. kids taste tested a treasure trove of U.K. delights that Sam had bought himself for Christmas.

Sam made a playoff competition for each kid and each type of snacky goodness, culminating in the champions of nonsensical yumminess.

Enjoy the enthusiastic tummy-rubbing, the slow-mo yuck faces, and all the thumbs up, down, and sideways!

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Kids sad Christmas is over? Keep unwrapping "gifts"!

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Does anyone else have a 3-year-old who continues to pine for more gifts to unwrap?

One who looks longingly into the corner where the Christmas tree stood and says, offhandedly, "Any more presents?"

A child who peers into backpacks and bags hopefully, thinking maybe a bonus gift was forgotten inside?

Here's what's helped us stem the disappointment of humdrum, non-present-opening life between Christmas and his birthday:

Giving each other pretend gifts wrapped in pretend paper.