Mamas Make the UnFun Decisions

I'm the Mama. It's Up to Me to Make the Un-Fun Decisions at

One recent Wednesday was a little/lot exhausting. It involved appointments in insanely-busy, far away hospitals and errand-running with my mother-in-law and such.

And then there was that moment when I had to drive an electric cart through the grocery store.

My mother-in-law had an electric scooter-cart-thingy, but it randomly and suddenly died as soon as we got to the meat section. In that store, the meat section is the farthest possible distance from the entrance where the other electric scooters are kept.

I walked back to the front of the store to get another scooter for her, but the girl who assisted me couldn’t leave her station. She called for help, but none was coming any time soon.

She said I needed to take the electric scooter back to my mother-in-law. This was fine, except I quickly learned you can’t walk those things anywhere. They don’t even work unless someone is sitting on the seat.

A nice safety mechanism, but kind of embarrassing for able-bodied me.

When I picked up the kids from school that afternoon, I told them the story and we all laughed about me scooting through the store. All my kids commented that they had always wanted to ride one of them.

I took the teachable moment to explain that we don’t ride them because that might mean someone who needed one (like their grandmother) wouldn’t even be able to shop that day because none were available.

I reminded my kids how, when they were little, I wouldn’t let them use the multi-kid shopping carts at Target if I only had one child with me. I KNEW how life/sanity-saving those special carts are, and I also knew how difficult almost-impossible it was to shop when there were none available and I had three small children with me.

I always explained to them that even though those carts were fun, we needed to save them for the families who needed them. Who couldn’t function without them.

And one of my boys, in a moment of mama-heart-swelling-sweetness, looked stricken. His face showed the guilt he felt over only considering his own happiness (back when he was four!) over someone else’s true need.

Cue another teachable moment: “You don’t need to feel guilty! Kids aren’t going to naturally think through things like that. That’s the parent’s job. Mamas are the ones who have to make the un-fun decisions.”

Teachable moment for me, I mean.

Running the dishwasher isn’t fun. Teaching my kids to clean isn’t fun. Scrubbing toilets is about as far as one can possibly get from fun.

But that’s my job. I’m the Mama, and I make the unFun decisions.




Clutter-Free Christmas Stocking Stuffer Ideas

List of Clutter-Free Stocking Stuffer Ideas at


A few years ago, I wrote a post about how much I hated buying Christmas stocking stuffers. I didn’t want to fill the stockings with junk.

I asked this question at the end of the post: Do you have any great non-clutter stocking stuffer ideas?

And boy oh boy did y’all deliver!

So this year, I’m putting those fantabulous ideas into a post so you can have them in one easy-to-read place. (And so you can share this post on Pinterest and all that good stuff . . . )

Obviously, consider your child’s age and needs.

(Oh. And I am linking to a few of the items using my Amazon affiliate link.)

My Picks for the MOST Ingenious, Space-Taking, Non-Clutter Stocking Stuffers:

Pringles (This one rocked my world! We EACH got our own can of Pringles and everyone was THRILLED. They still talk about it.)

Batteries (Genius!!)




More Non-Clutter Stocking Stuffer Ideas

Bubble Bath


Shower Puff

Hair brush

Shampoo, toothpaste, bodywash, deodorant and other toiletries


Hairbows and Headbands

Nail polish


Coloring book

Notebook and Pencil/Pen

Art Supplies (crayons, markers, Paint Set)

Post-it notes

Tape (Scotch or Duck)


Word search or activity book




Sippy Cup or Water Bottle





Playing Cards

Magic Towel (They expand into a washcloth from a little pellet in hot water. Can be found at the dollar store.)

Chore passes or “around the house” coupons

Little Debbie Christmas Tree Cakes (LOVE these!)

A special breakfast (Small boxes of cereal, apple-juice boxes)

Animal Crackers (The good kind in the space-taking box!)

Goldfish crackers in the small boxes

Add to the list in the comments!


Accepting What I Can’t Handle

Our Elfis Not on a Shelf - It's All About Knowing What I Can Handle at

My husband is an Elvis fan.

Recently, he mentioned hearing about the Elf on a Shelf craze and thought it might be fun to do Elfis on a Shelf in his office.

I believe my response was more than he bargained for:

“Well . . . first . . . your daughter has been dying for an Elf on the Shelf, so I think you should do one at home if you’re going to do one at work.

And furthermore, do you realize what kind of a commitment it is? Every single night for the entire month you have to move it. And kids talk at school about what their elves did the night before, so there are some pretty big expectations for creativity there.”

He said (sheepishly), “Oh. OK.”

So we have had a sometimes-moved, sometimes-not Elfis not on the shelf at home this year. No book to read or real rules, and half of the time, one of the kids moves it if it gets moved at all.

Fun, but no pressure.

I know what we can (and can’t) handle.

Do Normal People use the word furthermore? Because it’s one of my very favorite words.



For the Amazon affiliate link of the day, I give you . . . the banana slicer. Not so you can slice bananas, but so you can go read the reviews of this item. Which are hilarious. Truly.

And after you have some major laughs and sit in awe of the creativity of random people on the internet, maybe you’ll remember you wanted to buy a new 70 ba-jillion inch flat screen TV, and I’ll get the affiliate commission for that (or for anything you happen to purchase on Amazon after following my banana slicer link).


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