A Busy Mom's Letter to Santa

Hey Santa! Blow some of that Christmas magic over here!

Hey Santa! Blow some of that Christmas magic over here!

Dear Santa,

I hope things are going well for you and Mrs. Claus and the elves. I hear the North Pole is experiencing a more-or-less permanent warm spell these days. Hope you’re enjoying the nice weather. Have you had a chance to go swimming?

I have been a very good girl this year. In the midst of work deadlines, colds and flus, budgetary constraints, and the odd family emergency, I’ve managed to keep the kids well fed and get them to school on time most days. Not to mention soccer practice, dance lessons, slumber parties, summer camps, scout meetings, bake sales, school plays, and parent-teacher meetings. I’ve kissed all the boo-boos, cleaned up all the spills, and I believe I’ve read more than the requisite number of bedtime stories. It would really help if I could get an eighth day in my week. Do you think you could swing that? We could call it “Santaday”.

I can’t say my me-time hasn’t suffered this year. I can’t remember the last time I took a bubble bath, or read an entire novel in less than three months’ time. And date-nights with Mark, which we instituted as part of our New Years’ resolutions, lasted only through the third week of January. But I am grateful for my family and happy (for the most part) with my career. If it’s not too much to ask, I’d be thrilled if you could somehow arrange to let Bob in marketing leave the firm. He is such a boor. He shoots down all of my ideas and never allots my department the funding we need to complete our projects. Plus he smells like sardines. His departure from the company doesn’t have to be due to anything horrible. Maybe you could just let him find a better position with another firm. Far, far away. Are there any openings in marketing at the North Pole?

I have been nice, for the most part. I was very gracious to my mother-in-law when she spent her entire visit in July criticizing my cleaning and cooking skills. I tried so hard to refrain from yelling all those times Becky dragged all of her toys out into the living room and refused to clean them up. Oh, and when Greg’s teacher called me to say that Greg had not done any of his homework in two weeks, I feel I handled the situation firmly, but lovingly. I might have slipped up a little in October when Mr. Johnson from next door backed into our mailbox FOR THE FIFTH TIME.

You know, it’d be a lot easier to be nice throughout the year if I had a little bit of time to relax. If that Santaday thing proves too difficult, I’d gladly settle for a self-cleaning house. Or a gift certificate to Green Home Cleaning. I heard they are very professional and detail-oriented cleaners, AND they use environmentally friendly cleaning products, so we can both feel good about our decision. What do you say, big guy?


A Busy Mom

P.S. To get a Green Home Cleaning gift certificate, all you have to do is call 828.505.7320 or send them an email. I don't know what kind of international calling plans you have up there in the North Pole. I'd probably go with email.






Scary Halloween Stain Removal: An Earth-Friendly Guide

Neil Patrick Harris and family all dressed up for Halloween. The scariest part? All that makeup is going to leave a terrifying mess!

Neil Patrick Harris and family all dressed up for Halloween. The scariest part? All that makeup is going to leave a terrifying mess!

Halloween is right around the corner! Everyone at my house is busy decorating, planning costumes, and preparing treats. Every year we go all out on Halloween, trying to outdo each other for the scariest costumes and decorations, and every year the clean up is the scariest part! If your family loves Halloween, you probably know what I mean. But never fear! I have compiled this handy, non-toxic Halloween stain guide to help you combat the ghosties that linger behind on your carpet, your clothes, and even your skin!

I’d recommend reading over this guide thoroughly before Halloween night, so that you’ll be prepared if any of these terrifying stains occur on your watch. Be vigilant! Most stains can be removed, but most require immediate attention in order to prevent them from overstaying their welcome.

Dealing with Common Halloween Party Disasters

Oops! Looks like Dracula had a little accident.

Oops! Looks like Dracula had a little accident.

If you’re throwing a Halloween party, hosting a haunted house, or even having a couple of friends over to sip wine and eat chocolate while you hand out candy to trick-or-treaters, these tips might just come in handy.

  • Wine Stains on Carpet- For a red wine stain on carpet or upholstery, immediately soak the stained area with 3% hydrogen peroxide. Let sit for a few minutes to allow the peroxide to penetrate the fibers. Then, spritz the area with a mixture of water and white vinegar and blot with a clean cloth until the stain is removed. Note: you must get started on this right away, before the wine dries, or it will be nearly impossible to remove.

  • Candle Wax on Carpet- DON’T ATTEMPT TO CLEAN WHILE WAX IS STILL WARM!!! Wait for the wax to cool, then scrape up what you can with a table knife or spatula. Then, fold paper towels into three layers and place over the stain. With an iron set to low, go back and forth over the stain until the paper towel absorbs the wax. You may have to repeat three or more times with fresh paper towels each time.

Getting Halloween Stains out of Clothes and Costumes

It's all fun and games until someone melts a snickers bar in their back pocket.

It's all fun and games until someone melts a snickers bar in their back pocket.

Post-Halloween laundry is ten times scarier than anything you’ll see on Halloween night. Trust me. In the world of cleaning, it’s right up there with vacuuming between the toddler seats in a minivan. But I do have a few non-toxic tricks up my sleeve when it comes to common Halloween stain culprits. The first thing to remember is that the sooner you attack the stain, the more likely you will be to claim a victory.

  • Chocolate- Soak stained area in detergent and let sit for 15-30 minutes, then launder as usual. Alternately, you might try soaking with an enzyme based stain remover or 3% hydrogen peroxide.

  • Cosmetics- Try 3-5 drops of glycerin, being careful to concentrate the glycerin directly over the stain. Attempt to scrape the stain off with a plastic spatula, then pretreat with your regular laundry detergent and wash in hot water.

  • Fake Blood- Give the tips in this article on how to clean fake blood off clothes a try.

Removing Costume Makeup and Adhesives from Skin

Pro-tip: Don't sleep in your zombie makeup.

Pro-tip: Don't sleep in your zombie makeup.

So you’re home from the evening’s festivities, and you’re probably ready to cue up Night of the Living Dead on Netflix and pass out on the couch. But! You can’t. You have to somehow remove all of that costume makeup from your face, neck and arms first. This is not the most awesome part of Halloween. Not by a long shot. But it must be done, or your skin will break out and your pillow will look like Frankenstein’s monster. First things first. Check the label of the cosmetic in question. Sometimes, it will tell you exactly how to remove it safely from your skin. If not, here are some methods to try.

  • Liquid Latex- Comes off with just soap and warm water.

  • Body Glue- Wipe with rubbing alcohol on a paper towel, cotton ball or cotton cosmetic pad.

  • Cosmetic Stains- If soap and water won’t get all of the costume makeup off your skin, try shaving cream, lotion or a small amount of gentle essential oil like lavender or tea tree oil.

Have a safe and happy Halloween, and don’t let those scary stains drive you to an early grave!