So, third-oldest daughter is getting married in less than a week. We are doing most of the food for the reception ourselves, and today I wanted to try some pretty fruit-filled finger foods (say that six times fast) I saw online. First ingredient: powdered sugar. Huh. I am out of powdered sugar. So much for that idea.
Second-oldest daughter arrives tomorrow for a visit, and I need to get Sheridan's room cleaned up a bit for her, so I decide to get the whole house clean while I'm at it (stop laughing). I start by taking Christmas decorations down, and between the 'help' and the interruptions, two hours in I have put away one box. I need something that will distract all four kids and keep them contained and busy for a long period of time.
Fortunately, I have just such the thing in a big plastic tub. I move the dining table and chairs to the living room, have the kids change into the clothes we save for this exact purpose, and dump out the cloud dough.
This is cloud dough:
one part baby oil to eight parts flour. It's a little bit moldable, nontoxic, smells great, and my kids will play with it for HOURS, giving me time to get SOMETHING done. I usually do it when I need to clean the dining room floor anyway, so there's not much extra work for me. Usually.
USUALLY, it's just the big kids playing with it - this is only Shane's second time.
USUALLY, the kids are pretty good about staying in the dining room with it.
Shane has no such inhibitions.
This is the kitchen, about a half hour in:
Note that I had not baked anything today: no powdered sugar, remember?
This was the living room:
It got much, MUCH worse after I took this picture, but the trail you see leads into Sheridan's room - the one room I had finished cleaning so far. I have no idea why the sofa is so blurry - I can't really blame Shane for that one.
Who could get mad at that face, anyway?
I quickly got the kids' rooms done, then told them to start putting the cloud dough back into the tub while I cleared a walking path. I didn't really expect them to be much help there (they weren't), but it worked for a transition. The ending procedure is: dust child's hair off vigorously (because they never listen when I say NOT to get it in their hair, and it is always "an accident"). Use a dry towel to wipe off all other parts of child. Have child strip. Compliment child on ability to get cloud dough THERE, and finish dusting off. Send child to room to get dressed. Repeat with other children. Note that cloud dough and Desitin are not a good mix.
This is usually the end of it, but today's disaster required a bit more (well, I did say I wanted to clean the whole house, right?)
Confine all children to one bedroom (NOT Sheridan's) and tell them they can play with any of the toys in there, but to stay off the bed, and in the room. Gather clothes and shake vigorously outside. Pin to laundry line and hope for wind. Go back inside and tell child who is out of room to get back into it. Beginning at end of house closest to bedroom, sweep absolutely everything towards the other end. Heap throw rugs by washing machine and start first load. Make sandwiches and open bedroom door long enough to hurl them in. Open it again and tell daughter to STOP JUMPING ON THAT BED RIGHT NOW AND I BETTER NOT CATCH YOU DOING THAT AGAIN.
Dust surfaces with cloud dough on them (i.e. everything) and sweep again. Fill spill-proof cups with juice and shove into bedroom. Mop living room, because Shane was drooling as he crawled everywhere, and as every Mommy knows, flour + water = glue. Chase Logan back into bedroom. Wipe up cloud dough he just tracked across living room floor. Wipe down dining room chairs with Clorox wipes and place in living room. Start another load of laundry. Cut up apples, fill a bowl with peanut butter, and shove into bedroom. Give 'the look' to daughter who was obviously getting down off the bed when she heard you coming.
Mop dining room. Replace chairs. Start to scrub table, give up, and cover it with a tablecloth. Start another load of laundry. Release children to their own rooms for naps (insert regular naptime circus here). Clean kitchen, which could do with a whole post of its own. Sit down on sofa with a drink and a book. Notice trail of cloud dough footprints across freshly cleaned dark brown throw rug.