Tuesday, December 12, 2017

How to remove permanent marker/ sharpie stains from wood furniture

The other day Big Sister Z was drawing and coloring a picture for her cousin G. She asked me if she could use the red marker and I said yes without verifying which marker she was talking about. Turns out, it was a sharpie! The ink bled through the paper and seeped into my oak wood table. I couldn’t even be mad because I am the one who told her that she could use the sharpie. I immediately turned to Google to find out how to remove the marks from the table.
Sharpie/permanent marker stains 

Google offered various solutions, but most of them did not work (Peroxide, soap and water).
Toothpaste on the stains
Before giving up, I saw a post that suggested using non-gel toothpaste to remove the stains. At that point, I had nothing to lose so I decided to try it. I used a generous amount of Aquafresh children’s toothpaste and rubbed it on the stain/marks. I used a washcloth and firmly rubbed the spot in circular motion. The stains came off immediately. If you have been wondering how to remove permanent marker/sharpie stains from wooden furniture, simply rub non-gel toothpaste and wipe with a wet rag.

Toothpaste on the stains

No more marks!
You can thank me later!

Monday, October 2, 2017

When they are quiet...

When they are quiet, they are usually up to something. If you have children or have taken care of young children, you probably know what I am talking about. This is something that I have lived by and is always in the back of my mind, except for today. I learned this the hard way when I had to spend three hours cleaning bits of finely shredded Styrofoam from every inch of my living room. The girls wanted to have a winter wonderland and I was busy putting together some new end tables. They
Big Z knows they are in trouble, Little Z does not care!
asked me if “they could make it snow in the house” and I absentmindedly agreed. I learned never to just say “yes”. Yesterday I turned my back and discovered that baby Z had drawn and colored all over the kitchen floor while peacefully playing and gleefully singing “happy birthday to mama!” Big sister Z had finished using her markers and left them uncapped within reach of the baby. As I mopped the floor, I reminded myself that when they are quiet, they are usually up to something. Today was different. We had “the Vaseline incident”, but that was not major. The girls had decided that they needed to moisturize so they used the tub of Vaseline on my bathroom counter.

Today, I was a cleaning machine. I smiled proudly as I surveyed my accomplishment. Despite not feeling well, I had managed to clean the house and do a couple loads of laundry. Capitalizing on this new burst of energy, I decided to clean the bathroom (refer to the Vaseline incident).  The girls were finally getting along and playing very well together. I gave them some books and a couple of toys to keep them occupied and immersed myself in cleaning the bathroom. Everything was good…too good. The house was quiet... too quiet. I snapped back to reality when I heard big sister yell “stop!” As I ran to the Livingroom I felt crunching under my feet, but I ignored it. As I entered the room, I was greeted by a sea of chocolate cheerios and Craisins wonderland. Every inch was covered with their concoction. They both realized I was standing there and proudly displayed their masterpiece. I faintly whispered “why?” With an innocent doe-eyed look, my oldest answered “We were hungry.” For the record, they had just finished eating lunch, so they were not hungry. Big Z knew they were in trouble, the implication of their action had not dawned on Little Z. “Look, mama!”
"We were hungry!"
she exclaimed. She scattered the mess even more pushing them further in all directions. I could not even get mad. I let out a chuckle as I plopped down on the floor beside them. Big Z realized that they were not in serious trouble since mommy was laughing and playing along. She relaxed and resumed working on her pile. Baby Z gleefully scattered the remining mixture of cheerios and craisins farther in to the Livingroom. I let them enjoy playing for a little bit, then we had a brief talk about why we should not waste food. They were more than happy to help me clean up the mess. Life with my little divas can be messy, but I’m so happy to witness the little things that brings them so much joy. Now I know, when they are quiet they are definitely up to something!


Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Seven Days Among Monarchs

A while back I took a trip to Mexico. I spent seven glorious days at the exclusive El Dorado Royale. It was seven days in a manmade paradise. Although I refer to those who I encountered there as "monarchs" I use the term figuratively. I write this from an outside observer's point of view, admittedly if asked, many would not have perceived me to be different from my excessive self proclaimed monarch counterparts.

In this secluded island paradise, the masses flocked to frolic in the sun, to eat, drink and be pampered to their heart’s content. My first few days, this constant pampering and posturing of the staff impressed me. It wasn't until my very astute mate voiced his discomfort at having other individuals wait on him hand and foot that I became aware. With this awareness, I began to question my purpose and my very existence. The service was impressive, but I started to notice that most vacationers acted like they deserved to be treated like royalty. They wielded control over the staff with “tips”. One day I observed one of the patrons slip a member of the wait staff a crumbled note in an effort to entice him to contravene resort rules. After the staff member left, the patron looked at his companions and stated with a cocky grin, “tonight we are kings and queens!” I saw this theme repeated throughout the week.

Another time, my husband and I met a couple at the pool. Being with child, I dutifully sipped my smoothie as they downed their presumably delicious (and unlimited) alcoholic beverages. As the man drank more, the more he talked about himself, and his possessions. He talked about his expensive watch, his vehicles, his big house back in the United States and his various travel adventures. Just as I was about to lose interest he remembered that I am originally from Kenya. My ears perked up,
because this is a topic that I could talk about for days. At this time, his wife swam over and decided to chime in on our conversation. “Last year, we adopted from Africa.” At that moment my heart swelled, all was not lost. There was more to life than just accumulating riches, bragging rights and languishing in opulence in exotic locations. “Really?” I asked in disbelief (we had been talking for several hours and this was the first time she mentioned this). “Yes, we adopted a baby elephant.” My jaw almost hit the floor. After that statement, my mind shut off to most of what she said afterwards. I just know that she sends money every month to some part of Africa to give this one elephant a good life.

Throughout my stay, the phrase "is this all there is?" repeatedly echoed in the deep recess of my mind. Most of these people worked really hard to save for a lavish vacation. They just wanted the fact that they spent an inordinate amount of money to be recognized, and the resort catered to this mindset. Not every vacationer was like this, but the ones who were, overshadowed less boisterous. I watched the other vacationers as they enjoyed the luxurious amenities, half of them never acknowledging or even bothering to look the staff in the face. I was really perplexed because I did not want to the staff or anyone that I encountered to assume that I would also treat them in a gruff, entitled and callous manner. I felt guilty and ashamed to be associated with the excess. After voicing my complaint to my husband, we had a long talk. I finally realized that in life, I can’t control other people’s behavior, nor could I control how the staff perceived me. My only duty was to be kind and treat each of them with respect and dignity. Once I accepted this, I began to enjoy my vacation a lot more.

If you would like to adopt an elephant from Africa, simply click on this link to get to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Zoey Chronicles: The yogurt incident

My baby is a picky eater, so when I find something she likes to eat, I am excited. Lately, she has been on a yogurt kick. She has also been experimenting with using utensils. This morning hubby decided to give me a break. When Princess Z woke up this morning and alighted from the bed, he changed her
diaper and took her to the living room for yogurt and football. She ate a little and decided to play. The yogurt was set on the side table and soon forgotten. A few hours later, hubby stepped out to run errands. I languished on the couch enjoying having a stress free day. I decided to reply to some of the new year's text messages. Around the corner comes baby Z holding a plastic tumbler and a yogurt container.

                 It reminded me of this image------------>

The spoon was still stuck in the yogurt. The yogurt was on her face, her eyebrows and all sound her mouth. She proudly extended the spoon to me, her generous attempt at sharing. I simply smiled and encouraged her to eat some more. Each time she offered, I pretended to eat all the while cringing and trying not to be grossed out. 

She was messy but happy. Kind of like life...messy but happy!

Written on 1/1/15

Saturday, February 14, 2015

The Zoey Chronicles: Busy Bee

Busy Bee

I live with a little busy worker bee. She picks up and moves everything. She is vibrant and constantly moving, but not doing anything at all. The more independent she becomes, the more she moves stuff around, content to play by herself. Most of the time I don't mind. I am slowly learning to put those things that are essential out of her reach if I do not want to spend hours looking for them. There are times when it is inevitable. I have spent hours looking for her shoes ( I mean near tears) only to find them the next day in the cabinet under the sink. Keys, phones, cups...nothing is safe...nothing! She has a chest full of toys, but would rather play with pots, pans and flip flops. When she has something in her grasp that I don't want her to have, she can run away faster than Usain Bolt. She plays a mean game of hide-and-seek. By that I mean, she has learned to open and close doors as well as hiding in cabinets.

I learn something new each day.

Aldous Huxley once said,"experience teaches only the teachable", no truer words have ever been uttered! 


Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Zoey Chronicles: In the Trenches

In life, we have to celebrate every victory. I wrote this entry after a particularly challenging day last month and wanted to share it with you...

It is 3:24 pm on New Year's Eve and I am just now sitting down to finish my morning cup of coffee. It is cold and bitter, but I don't care. I am still going to drink it and savor every last flavor I can glean from it. Mostly, I am just too lazy and too tired to go up four stairs to the kitchen to microwave it. Today, this week, this month, this year I have been in a battle. As I sit here in my one good chair wearing a t-shirt and grey sweat pants from yesterday, I survey my living room and can't help but grin. Whoever thought to call this space a living room knew exactly what my day has been like. This room has been lived in. Toys, puzzles, suitcases from last week, shoes, golf balls, mail from the last week, a random beer can and more toys litter my floor, tables and every space of the 300sq ft of my living room. I have piles/mountains of laundry that I have been scaling for the past two days. I can honestly say I see the end, but I am too scared to be optimistic about it lest the laundry fairy decides to dump another pile, so I claim my progress as a small victory.

For now, I am going to sit here in my good chair and smile. I have managed to do the impossible. I have put baby Z down for a nap. I had been trying to get her to nap since 1:00 pm. She was tired but kept fighting it. Finally, I had the ingenious idea to lay next to her in bed and side feed her until she became drowsy. Stealthily, I managed to swiftly switch the boob with a pacifier. Sensing the difference, she had clutched my shirt closer and draped a leg over me. I was trapped. I counted the minutes until I could escape her iron clutches. When her breathing got slow and even, I braced myself for the escape. Luckily I was taught the "stop,drop and roll" fire drill in elementary. As a mommy, I am the master of the Ninja roll. When the time came, I did a fast roll and flung myself off the bed to the hard floor. It hurt. I held my breath and tried to stay as still as I could. You could hear a pin drop. She made a slight move but continued to sleep. I slowly rose to my feet and stealthily shuffled out of the door.

 Now I am here, in my good chair, sipping on my liquid black gold. I might be sore, but I managed to escape, so yeah, I will sit here in the battle torn cluttered living room and enjoy my cold coffee. I deserve it, because my achy elbows and knees have earned it. Today was another day of battle in the mommy world. If things go well in 8 and a half hours, I would have seen a new year and hopefully a turn in events. Right now, I am re-charging and reveling in the moment and I would not change a thing.

* As I neared the end of this entry, I heard the monitor crackle and baby Z's faint cries... Time for this mother to jump back in the trenches, exactly where I belong! Till next time!

written on 12/31/2014

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Library

 When I was a child, my family used to take me to the library. The library was a quiet solemn structure. It was peaceful and tranquil. There was only one rule which we had to abide by, everybody had to whisper. We could not use outside voices. Nowadays, people refuse to follow the rules at the library. I just assumed that it was well known that people are supposed to be quiet and respectful of others at the library... Not so much these days. I have been coming to the library daily and each time I have had to ask people to keep it down...each. damn. day! I just want peace and quiet. Every time I ask people to keep it down, they act like I am a horrible person. 

Today was no different. I had a weird encounter with a lady at the library. She was in a private reading room. I was in a room adjacent to hers. She was on her cellphone for a long time, using her outside voice. I asked her to keep it down. She said she was not loud. Then, I politely told her she was, which is why I approached her. She retorted that she was not loud. So I informed her of the library's policy of no cell phones. She got angry and told me she was not loud. I informed her that I would report it if she refused to lower her voice. Then she told me that I would not report her. I replied that I would. She said I would not. I said I would. We went back and forth like that for awhile. At some point, I felt like I was in a twilight zone. It also occurred to me that I might be on Ashton Kutcher's Punk'd. When Ashton did not jump out from the shelves, I accepted my reality.

This random lady was really telling me that I would not report her to the librarian for talking on her cell phone. .. Sigh. I just can't deal with people sometimes. The price I pay for being a square peg trying to fit in a round hole of a world.

Written on 1/12/15