Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Power of Pinterest

Yes! I am advocating how Pinterest can be a power tool in the mother’s bag of trick. Sure, you can get lost in the cute spring outfits you would love to see hanging in your closet. And it’s easy to find yourself searching through travel pictures of Italy and Australia.

For me, there are two weaknesses that get exploited by Pinterest: Food and Crafts.

You know how it is. You pop on, just to see what your friends have posted or to see some of the popular posts while you’re waiting for the dishwasher to summon you and then Bam! An hour has gone by, the dishes are completely dry, the kids are asking for a snack, which would be fine except it’s actually dinner time and there’s nothing even defrosting from the fridge. So you shoo the kidlets away and focus on finding a recipe that utilizes what you have on hand but get distracted by some yummy looking cookies that you know you won’t have time to make because the dishes STILL need to be put away, dinner is still TBD and of course, Dear Husband walks in to see you drooling over your monitor like Gollum looking for Precious. What? That’s just me. Fine, stick to your story, if it helps you sleep better at night, but I know I’m not the only one.

Pinterest can be an enormous time drain. Anything can, given the right circumstances. But it can also be an amazing way to help the less than perfect mom make up lost ground. Here are the top ten ways Kidletville takes advantage of this stellar tool:

1. Creative Ideas for Meals – Like I said, I can get lost in the creative ways the not-so-average mom decorates a cake, but I can also find recipes that both Kidlets, who apparently have opposite palates, will eat. Case in point: Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken with Vegetable Fried Rice. Kidlet #1 gobbled up the chicken, Kidlet #2 the rice, and Mayor Mom had leftovers for a week worth of lunches. And, just yesterday, while the wind and snow was blowing, I found a recipe for homemade mac and cheese that BOTH kidlets loved. In addition, I’ve started packing lunches for them and the numerous blogs out there with creative lunch ideas is mind blowing. I even found some cutters to turn sandwiches into cute cut-outs. Not that I have time to use them when we’re running late for school, but just in case there’s a day we’re on time, I can make us late by cutting PB&J into dinosaurs.

2. Coloring Pages – Free, downloadable coloring pages in a whole range of characters and designs. This past summer I created a coloring book with a variety of pages, added in some free word searches and mazes and handed them to the kids. Whenever the fighting got to be too much, I banished them to the art bucket for some much needed quiet time.

3. Organizational Tools – The art bucket, a pinterest inspired project, brings me to organization. I am horrible at organization. And not in the way that a modest person claims to be horrible but really isn’t. No. I completely suck at it. But here’s where Pinterest comes in… I WANT to be good at it. I really do. I want to walk into a room and everything has a place and the floor is void of clutter. Seriously, I’m getting chills just thinking about such a world. Pinterest has loads of pins for a helpless case like me. And it’s not just for the home, either. There are pins about time management. I even found inspiration for making my own daily calendar for 2013, based on what I need to keep track of (ie. Hours writing, blog posts, daily chore list, schedule, etc.). I also found a Blog Planner that is helping me even as I type this post.  Granted, a couple trees had to shed their bark to print these bad boys off, but if I can stay on top of things for the next year, it will be worth it.

4. DIY – There is one thing I am worse at than organization. CLEANING. Seriously, I could totally trounce Roseanne Barr is a Domestic Goddess cage match. The woman looks like June Cleaver next to me. But on Pinterest I have been inspired to make my own cleaning products and tackle the mountains of dust bunnies. Next week, I’m trying the homemade laundry detergent. And of course I have to prove to Dear Husband that they work… which means I have to USE them. And since they’re not toxic, I feel no guilt about slapping a rag into the hands of my adoring Kidlets and sending them on a cleaning spree while I kick back with a good book. Oops… sorry… I was dreaming.

5. Holiday Décor – Now, before I say this, I must confess, when inspired, I can be quite the crafty person. However, inspiration would be hard to come by, if not for Pinterest. In 2013, I vow to add three to five permanent decorative pieces for EACH holiday we celebrate. Since we’re on a super tight budget next year, this should help fill me time I would rather be shopping and hopefully provide for some fun family bonding! Thank goodness I have the above mentioned cleaning products.

6. Summer Boredom Busters – This past summer we made sponge balls and had water fights in the backyard. We used the cheap swimming noodles to do marble races. This summer, we’re making a waterbed for some backyard fun in the sun. We’re also adding a bubble refill station so mommy doesn’t have to keep filling up the bubbles. And we’re going to spend a week doing “Olympic” inspired events with friends and family at the park. Without Pinterest, we would be sitting in the backyard, in the hammock, swinging with a good book and lemonade from a bottle, instead of homemade. Hold up. I may have to rethink my praise of Pinterest. The latter seems like a lot less work.

7. Traditions – I love the idea of traditions, but since I don’t come from a family who had them, I don’t bring a lot to the table. But I have found amazing traditions that we’re implementing for holidays and any old time alike. I see more traditions being put into place in the coming year as we celebrate being a family and making the most out of the time we have.

8. Harry Potter – I love Harry Potter, so yeah, I have a couple of pins that are favorite quotes and pics. It’s a guilty pleasure and I love it. Don’t judge.

9. Workouts – I am jumping on the “world didn’t end so I guess I better go ahead and get in shape” bandwagon this coming year and pinterest is helping. You would be surprised how many awesome, could be fun kind of workouts there are. Like movie workouts. It’s like a drinking game, but with sweat and puking… huh… a lot like a drinking game, I guess. Whatever. The point is, I can combine my love of being a couch potato and watch movies with my desire to get in shape. We’re talking major win here!

10. Parenting/Marriage tips: These have been especially helpful as I reflect on my parenting style. I don’t think you can look at how you function as a parent without including where you place your marriage in the hierarchy of importance. As a mom, it’s so easy for me to put the needs of the kids ahead of the needs of my husband. Or worse, view Dear Husband as Kidlet #3. I have come across some great ideas for how to strengthen all the relationships in my house.

There you have it. The top 10 reasons why Pinterest will not be banned from the computers of the office staff in Kidletville. And yes, I’m sure I will be distracted by ooey, gooey cakes and fashions I could only hope to pull off some day, but all in all, when used for good, instead of evil, Pinterest can be a great tool in running this crazy little village of ours. 

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