Tuesday, November 30, 2010

If Looks Could Kill...

If looks could kill, I'd be in trouble.

Trips to Sam's Club (or any store, really, but mostly Sams) with all three boys (ages 5, 3, and 2) usually go either really well (rarely) or really poorly. There are just so many wide open aisles, beckoning to young active boys. Yesterday's trip was an absolute train-wreck.

It didn't start out that badly. We talked about proper behavior in the store. My three-year old was actually holding on to the cart, and he said, "Mom, I guess I'll just obey you. I guess I won't run in the store." My two-year old was strapped into the cart. That is, until we were nearing the end, and he decided he was at his end and started working on getting out. He figured out he can turn himself around and wiggle out of the strap, then attempt to climb over the edge of the cart. So I thought a little walking wouldn't hurt, right? Wrong.

My two and three-year olds, partners in crime that they are, decided it would be more fun to get a cardio workout in Sam's than to remember the initial promise to obey Mom.  As I was picking out a bag of apples (looking down), they ran off over by the milk case, opened the doors, and tried to climb the shelves. My five-year old, acting the part of a border collie, ran over to give me the play-by-play of what they were doing. So I retrieved them, scolded them, and proceeded to grab the last few things on my list over by the meat department.

The problem with this was there was a sample stand nearby. It was a good sample. As I was checking out the prices on the items in the deli cases near the sample stand, the two ran off again. I didn't notice immediately, since again, I was looking down. However, the fact that the sample lady had turned around and was glaring at me told me something was definitely up. I went to investigate. Sure enough, the boys were an aisle over, sitting on the metal bar running the length of the deli case--that is, when they weren't walking on it, practicing their tightrope act for the circus.

From there, we went straight to check out. My three-year old wanted to help me unload the cart. No problem, right? A way to keep him busy, I figured. It was working beautifully until he wanted to help me unload the eggs and put them on the belt--all by himself. Way too risky. So I told him no, and he proceeded to throw a temper tantrum. A real big one, right there in the checkout lane. What can you do when you're in the checkout lane with your groceries going down the conveyor belt? I did the only thing I could do at that moment: I picked up both of the boys and strapped them in the shopping cart (at least it was a double).

As if his behavior wasn't embarrassing enough, the couple behind me in line just gave me that glare. It's hard to describe it if you haven't ever received it. It's a deadly look, really. Without words, it says so much: disapproval, disdain, disgust. The whole situation brought tears to me eyes. Yes, I was embarrassed. Yes, I knew my son wasn't behaving well. Yes, I dealt with it. But not in the checkout lane.

Why do people have to give those kinds of looks in stores? What can we as moms do about it?  I heard a great line once--you could say, loudly, "Your mom is going to be so disappointed when I tell her about the way you're behaving." At least then, the onlookers will have sympathy for you--"She's just the nanny," they'll think. "Poor girl." But if you're the mom, different story. You get the "What an awful mother. What undisciplined, bratty kids. What is happening to this generation of parents?"

All I can suggest is--if you're at the store and it happens to someone else, please don't glare. Please smile instead, sympathetically. It may be just the wee bit of encouragement that mom needs right then.  If you're in checkout, offer to help her unload her groceries.

And if you're at Sam's Club, remember to always strap the kids in the cart, and never look down.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Messy Monday: Their World, a Canvas

You know that saying that the world is a canvas? Well, my kids seem to think their world (our house) is their canvas. Marks of their artistic expression are everywhere: walls, woodwork, blankets, and more. Last week, I actually took away all the possible writing utensils in this house: crayons, colored pencils, regular pencils, markers. Every. single. one. The boys are not allowed to use them without permission, and without supervision for the time being.

Why such a drastic action, you ask?

After scrubbing the woodwork in our sun porch and several walls, we all had a big talk about the right and wrong places to draw. (We've had this talk before). Everything was reasonably clean. Then last week, it happened again. The very same wall I worked so hard to clean was crayoned even worse than before. That's why everything went in a giant Ziploc bag--just for the time being.

But here's a secret I want to share with you. Did you know you can make your own Mr. Clean Magic Eraser simply with a rag and a baking soda paste? It works wonderfully to remove crayon marks on walls. Simply dampen your rag, sprinkle on some baking soda (I used quite a bit because I had a large area to cover), and put the baking soda paste side directly on the marks you want to remove and rub them off. Erased, just like magic.

I will try to post some pictures later today to give you a visual of what I am talking about!

Have a great day!
(Linked to Works for Me Wednesday)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday: Yay or Nay?

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

I'm still in my robe at home this morning, and I love feeling relaxed rather than frantic. While I am drinking coffee, my husband and I are shopping a few of the Black Friday deals--right in our living room, on our computers. Did you know you don't need to get in line at the wee hours of the morning to snag a great deal? You can get the same deals online. Sure, a few things are out of stock, but I was able to find the LEGO Ultimate Building Set I wanted from Walmart for $15 at Amazon.com.  The Crayon Maker is out of stock at my local store, but Walmart.com will ship it to my house for a mere .97 cents! No waiting in line, no frazzled rush to find it and snag one, just a peaceful easy feeling, to quote an Eagles' line.

After today's shopping, we're pretty much done. I wrote extensively last Christmas about not getting caught up in the commercialism of it all and the frenzy toward the big day to buy more and more. While we don't follow it exactly, I love the idea behind the 3-present rule: a "gold" gift (a bigger item), a "frankincense" gift (a gift that matches the child's interests), and a myrrh gift (something that helps them grow in their spiritual life). Sure, I still need to purchase a few gifts for extended family and make a few gifts, but overall, I want to remain intentional about enjoying a peaceful Christmas season and letting the peace of Christ dwell in my heart richly (Philippians 4:7).

By the way, my favorite find was an Iron Man costume for $3 at Target.com! My boys' love to dress up as super heroes, and if yours do too, I encourage you to check the costumes Target still has available online only.

Do you shop Black Friday--in-store or online? If so, what was your best find of the day? What steps do you think we can take to remain intentional about not getting caught up in a buying frenzy this year, and celebrate instead time with family, making special memories, and focusing on the true meaning of Christmas?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Hour of Power

Amazing things can happen in our homes when we all work together for the good of the family. I wrote yesterday about our weekend date and the cleaning overhaul that proceeded it. For the purpose of this post, I'll refer to it as the "hour of power."

Maintaining a relatively tidy home takes a lot of discipline and concentrated effort several times a day, several days a week. If your husband is home on Saturday, as mine is, you can talk in advance about the idea of taking an "hour of power" on Saturday, where everyone works hard for that hour, finding things to do and doing them. When the hour is up, you're all done. Work stops, Saturday fun begins, and the house is more enjoyable for the rest of the day--maybe not perfect, but definitely better than what it was before.

A few tips for getting your husband on board:
First of all, stress that you're only asking for an hour--not the whole day. Help him imagine all the positive results from having everyone in the family work together to clean for that hour.

Second, I love what Sheila Wray Gregoire writes in To Love, Honor, and Vacuum. She says,
"The way we phrase our requests can go a long way in determining whether they will be honored. When asking for help, be brief and very specific...When we women ask for something, we tend to justify our request to show that we are not being selfish in our asking. This works fine with other women, but for men it may backfire."

For example, you say "The faucet's leaking again. I don't know how to fix it, and it's driving me crazy. Can you fix it before the weekend?"

He hears, "Why didn't you fix it right the first time? How could you even imagine you could go out with friends and leave me and the kids here this weekend with a leaky faucet?"

Solution: Say point-blank, "Would you mind fixing the faucet tonight?"
So don't give all the reasons and extra information, like "I'm just having a real hard day with the kids, and I'm really tired, so I would really appreciate if you could please load the dishwasher for me tonight after dinner." I think our husbands sometimes tune out all the extra information (or they think it sounds whiney, which is a turn-off). Just ask directly if your husband could please help you load the dishwasher after dinner. If you ask sweetly, with a smile on your face, I'm sure he will be much more inclined to help (especially if he thinks his hard work will pay off later...)

With kids, it's similar, but also different. We have got to be training them from the youngest of ages that when we work on chores, their help is expected. That way they grow up understanding that when the family goes to work, they work alongside Mom and Dad.

Time for the kids and I to take a power hour in the kitchen!

Do you already use this idea in your family? If not, do you think it could help?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Shed 10 a Day, the Easy Way

(With the holidays here, I hope you weren't thinking I was offering tips on how to lose 10 pounds a day...I just hope I don't gain 10 pounds a day!)

It's Messy Monday and we're focusing on a real easy way to get things under control in our homes.

My husband and I went on a date this weekend to celebrate our eighth anniversary. Although we were both sick, we managed to have a nice time. But going out on a date without kids means a babysitter comes in, and that means a major cleaning overhaul happens first.

I am continually amazed at how letting a few things slide here and there creates a whole mountain of work later when it's time to put everything away. Now that most surfaces are fairly clear, the easiest way to maintain that lack of clutter is not allow it to begin. That takes a certain level of discipline, but it's worth it. One item looks so much more out of place when it's the only item there; however, a group of items beckons to more.

One thing I've been doing lately to clear clutter is to get rid of at least ten things a day. At first, it won't make much of a dent in anything, but slowly, steadily, we're reducing the inventory in our home. And that does make a tangible difference through time. It could be as simple as throwing away unnecessary papers, worn-out clothing, yucky food from the frig, broken crayons the kids scatter from room to room, etc.

Perhaps you don't need to get rid of a single thing, but there are out of place items that can be transported to their correct locations. I know my dresser holds at least five stray things right now (my son's sunglasses, a couple pens, some socks, a Spiderman band-aid...strange assortment, I know).

Make it a goal to find at least ten things a day to move--either to a new, neater place, or out to the trash if it's not reusable by someone else.

You'll feel ten pounds lighter, and that's always a good feeling, especially this time of year!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Money: "A Necessary Nuisance"

The Story of Doctor Dolittle (Yearling Book)
I've been reading The Story of Doctor Dolittle to my kids in the afternoon. What a marvelous book! Even though Dr. Dolittle is a fictitious character, I love his approach to money. He doesn't have any, and it doesn't bother him in the least. It's his animals, actually, that are concerned about their dwindling, and then non-existent, finances. He viewed money a necessary nuisance. You've gotta have some, but what a bother.

Don't you sometimes wish we could be more like that in real life? We have more medical bills than the average person, and not very good insurance, so it's kind of like having a second mortgage every single month. What fun, right? God always provides for our needs, but I do have a responsibility to stretch the money we have as far as possible. It is somewhat stressful, and I probably inwardly fret about how it will all work out each month a bit too much. I would like to be more like Doctor Doolittle--not thinking about it too much and not letting it bother me too much.

Here's a practical way to deal with money:

One of my friends takes out $400 cash from her husband's check every two weeks. This is her grocery money, plus any spending money. If her kids need shoes, it comes out of that. If she needs gas, it comes out of that. Basically anything other than utility bills will come out of that fund. What's left over carries over. If it's all spent, she waits until the next installment to spend anything (even on groceries).

For some people, perhaps that may be too much money (she has five children); for others, it may be too little. The point is to find a figure that works for you, that reins in your spending, and then stick to it. You don't have to be legalistic with it (if your baby needs diapers and you're out of cash, go buy some diapers), but if you make yourself stick to it, you'll really control spending.

And here's the key from Dr. Dolittle: if you feeling like you're making do with too little, don't let it bother you too much. Seek to find free (or very frugal) ways to have a grand existence. There are plenty out there.

Linked to Frugal Friday.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Coffee Talk Thursday: Talking about Turkeys

At the grocery store a few days ago, there were many turkeys to choose from for one's Thanksgiving feast. There was the frozen Jennie-O for .68 cents per pound, the Honeysuckle White for .88 cents per pound, Butterball for .98 cents per pound, plus some huge unbranded turkeys. In addition to frozen turkeys, there are also fresh turkeys for a higher price per pound. I remember several people telling people they swear by Butterball turkeys, so in the end, after my indecisive debate with myself, I chose a Butterball.

But I'm wondering--does it really make that much of a difference? What do you think?

In years past, I've just bought a turkey from Safeway, since the store has a great deal: $4.99-6.99 depending on the size. I brine it and roast it, and butter baste it myself. We've always thought the turkey tastes moist.

I did a bit of research online, and the "experts" will tell you the free-range, farm-fresh turkeys taste the best. That's probably true, but it's not as easy to track one of those down as it is to grab a frozen turkey from the routine trip to the grocery store. Plus, they're going to cost quite a bit more. Some people say they don't like knowing their turkey was injected with anything, hence the apprehension toward a Butterball.

However, those I know who love Butterballs say they've tried other turkeys and they just don't taste as good.

I have yet to try the difference.

So for this Coffee Talk Thursday, let's talk about turkey. What do you buy and why? If you've tried Butterball, do you really think there's a Butterball difference (by the way, there's a $1-off coupon on their site). Do you have strong opinions about it, or do you just go more for price? 

Monday, November 15, 2010

Messy Monday: Do More in A Day

"Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might." (Ecclesiastes 9:10)

"She...works with eager hands." (Proverbs 31:13).

"She sets about her work vigorously." (Proverbs 31:17)

Improving one's home management is much like going on a diet. Just as one seeking to lose weight must eat less and move more, one striving to clean up simply has to move more. Especially in a house with children, there are multiple stray items to pick up several times a day. Of course, as moms with little ones, we should be training our children to pick up, but until they're older, the bulk of the responsibility will fall on us. That means we simply have to put our hands to work.

My number one homemaking challenge is keeping up the intensity when it comes to picking up all day long. Let's face it--it's a lot of work. It's much easier to let our guard down and become a bit apathetic when we walk past a cluttered surface, a floor with toys scattered all around, and other messes (small or large) here and there. Many times, especially when I'm tired or drained, I just feel like walking by and ignoring it. 

 But if I don't ignore it--if I see something to do and work at it with all my might, if I make my hands eager to do the work, if I set about my work vigorously, my home will look much tidier, much more consistently.

If there is not a health reason why you need to rest and recover (childbirth, illness, etc.), let's get busy and see how much we can find to do today. Even seemingly simple things, like putting away this and that while we're in a particular room anyway will make a big difference at day's end.

Menu Plan 11/15/10

Cheesy Veggie Scramble, toast, oranges
Grilled cheese, tomato soup
Beef Tips over noodles, carrots, applesauce

Granola, bananas
Sesame noodles, Chinese celery salad
Coconut Shrimp, Asian veggies, brown rice
White cake with raspberry filling

Pumpkin waffles, cottage cheese
Salmon burgers, Ranch potato wedges
Pizza casserole, salad

Oatmeal, grapefruit
Chili, cornbread

Eggs, toast
Vegetable beef soup, rolls
Sesame chicken, sugar snap peas

Pancakes, fruit salad
Crockpot Chicken and rice

Visit orgjunkie.com to see lots of other menus!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Coffee Talk Thursday: Craving His Kiss?

A few days ago, my family and I--along with a few neighbors--were walking back from our neighborhood watch meeting, which is held at our nearby high school. As we walked down the sidewalk in front of the parking lot, we noticed a young teen couple kissing in their car. They noticed us, too, and stopped abruptly, obviously a little embarrassed.

This whole thing made me think about the magic of first kisses.

Do you remember your first kiss (let's focus on our first kiss with our husbands)? Do you remember the feeling that accompanied it? Perhaps the anticipation, the butterflies in your stomach? Then, after the kiss, can you recall how excited you felt that he kissed you, and how you wanted him to kiss you again? Now, a wedding ring, and kids, and years later, do we still crave our husband's kiss? If not, why not?

Do our days become so busy that we become so tired and overwhelmed that a quick peck before he heads out the door and when he gets home is all we can muster? Maybe it seems passionate kisses should be reserved for the bedroom only (after all, little eyes are usually watching).  Perhaps, once married, kissing just seems a little too rudimentary. I don't know what the reason is exactly. I just know that somewhere along the way, I stopped craving my husband's kiss--not entirely, of course, but not in the same way I craved it years ago when our relationship was new. And I don't think that's ok.

While the love and friendship I share now with my husband are much deeper than the early days of our infatuation, I think it is still possible (and desirable) to crave our husband's kiss. So how can we bring that about?
  • Pray about it and ask God to renew those desires
  • Think about those early days of courtship
  • Practice!
  • Spend intentional time thinking about your husband, and specifically what is attractive to you about him
  • Seek to be affectionate

Well, it's Coffee Talk Thursday, so I'd love to hear your thoughts!

"Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth— for your love is more delightful than wine." (Song of Solomon, 1:2).

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Basic-H As A Stain Remover

Basic H2 Organic Super Cleaning Concentrate
My boys get their clothes dirty. Real dirty. So I always make sure I have plenty of stain remover in my laundry room. I like the Shout and OxiClean sprays, but when you get down to about an inch left in the bottle, they don't spray out so well anymore. Then you have to pick up another bottle at the store for about $3.

But not if you do what my mom taught me.

While she was visiting, she did all the laundry for us (what a gift!). She's used and loved Shaklee's Basic H Super Cleaning Concentrate for years. Mom told me she used to pre-treat my sisters' clothes and mine with a Basic H solution mixed up in a spray bottle. She did the same with our clothes, using about 1/4-1/2 tsp. to about 16 ounces of water. Spray it on the stain, let it sit for a bit, and wash as usual.

Now that I'm back to doing my own laundry, I'm giving it a try. I'm impressed! One of my boys spilled chokecherry syrup all over his white jammy shirt. The Basic H stain treatment got it out--good as new!

A bottle of Basic H costs around $11, but for that, you'll be able to mix up hundreds of bottles of stain remover, plus household multi-surface cleaner, glass cleaner, and so much more. It truly is multi-purpose, and it's safe for your home. 

Linked to Works for Me Wednesday.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.

In my quest to get my home more organized, someone once commented to me that I simply have too much stuff. Inwardly, I was slightly offended at the comment, because for one--I really like my stuff, and two, that's a subjective statement: who defines what constitutes "too much"? All the stuff I've collected over the years is in my home for a reason. It either has meaning to me, or it serves a purpose.

As I work to improve my home management, I realize now this person was...uggghh...right. It is so much easier to clean when surfaces are clear, not dotted with special bud vases, picture frames, decorative candles and the like. (Of course they look pretty, and there's nothing wrong with decorating a surface nicely. It just takes longer to clean). It is so much easier to pick up all the toys that have been dumped out of the toy bins when there are five rather than fifty (or five hundred, for goodness sakes!). The fewer clothes one has, the fewer that need to be washed, folded and put away. (I know this point is subject to arguing, because one may need to wash more, but the total volume is still less.). It takes less time to iron two shirts than 20.
The bottom line is--the more stuff you have, the more places you have to find to store the stuff, and the more you have to manage, and the more it clutters up your time and life.

So I'm starting to recklessly reduce the amount of stuff we own. And you know what? We're doing fine. I really don't miss anything I've donated (except for a small appetizer size Crock-Pot, but I never used it, so funny I should wish I still had it "just in case").

The second step after reducing inventory is continue to reuse what you already have. You'll save money and space. While it feels good in the short term to treat oneself to new clothes, towels, body lotions and such, the problem is finding a spot for the new stuff. My closet really can't take anymore. The shelving system that holds our linens can't hold anymore. The problem is not that I need more storage space; I need to get rid of  stuff to fit the storage I currently have.

Finally, when parting with some excess "stuff," recycle it. While hanging onto it for a garage sale next summer may net a few bucks, wouldn't it feel good to be done with it now and have extra white space? Donating it to a non-profit like the Salvation Army gives offers a tax write-off and blesses others; otherwise, extra stuff like children's clothing could be passed on to a friend.

I'm learning that we really don't need all that we think we need. More often than not, we do better with less. White space is good for one's psyche. My stress level is lower just thinking about making life more manageable by getting rid of excess stuff.  

(Ruthlessly culling one's belongings is Habit #4 in my post, The Seven Habits of Highly Successful Housekeepers).

Menu Plan 11/8/10

Remember that early Thanksgiving dinner I said I was going to be making while my Mom was visiting? Well, it didn't quite happen (it wasn't fully thawed before she left). So I made it yesterday. If you follow the advice here, you're guaranteed a really moist, delicious turkey (we follow the carving instructions on Martha Stewart's website...well, my husband does that part while I'm still working on gravy or something like that).
Hopefully, we'll be ready for another turkey in about 2 weeks. (It was a good practice session for me, but whew--doesn't making Thanksgiving dinner by yourself wear you out, especially on Sunday?!)

Making bread right now
Veggie scramble with cheese & toast (I don't think it will be ready in time though)
Oranges or grapefruit
Turkey sandwiches
Carrot sticks
Turkey Stir-fry and rice

Apple-cinnamon oatmeal
Grilled cheese, tomato soup
Turkey pot pie, biscuits (Anyone have any ideas of what to serve with pot pie???)

Raggedy Andy Salads (lettuce leaf=body, raisins=eyes, celery=arms, boiled egg=tummy, carrot sticks=legs)
Pinto beans, rice, tortillas, lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, etc.

Zesty soup, crackers
Cranberry chicken, rice, broccoli

Toast and eggs
Stuffed shells, french bread, salad

Leftover stuffed shells
Lemon-pepper tilapia, baked potatoes, Broccoli/cauliflower/carrots/yellow squash blend

Roast, potatoes, carrots, applesauce
Ice-cream Sundae night

Visit orgjunkie.com for more menu ideas!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Hundreds of Healthy Meal and Snack Ideas

It's so, so easy to come up short when it comes to finding new ideas for healthy breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks. That's why I was thrilled to come across a couple of articles detailing a hundred healthy after-school (or anytime) snack ideas that kids are sure to love. You can find the list here.

I'm sure you'll find some great new ideas!

Plus, here you'll find a list of a hundred breakfast, lunch, and dinner ideas (with recipes)--all of which are
vegetarian. Even though we're not a vegetarian family, there is a ton on the list that I know my husband, children and I will love. Oatmeal waffles, oatmeal cranberry muffins, lunch box pasta, kitchen sink quesadillas, baked ziti, roasted butternut squash--much more than tofu!

(Linked to orgjunkie.com)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Take a Hike...

photo by Pat Williams

After a busy week and a series of bumpy days, I've been getting lots of practice when it comes to training myself to stay calm. Remaining calm is exceedingly difficult sometimes--like when you discover your down comforter (a wedding gift) has been cut no less than three times by little hands and curious minds to see what's inside. Yet I don't think it's enough just to have a calm spirit. After all, one can be calm and yet very, very grouchy. We have to go further than that.

Beyond staying calm, we also have to work on maintaining a joyful spirit. And that's a whole 'nother ball game. On our own, it's next to impossible, but with the help of the Holy Spirit (who resides in everyone who trusts in Jesus Christ as their Savior), we can do it. Developing a consistently calm spirit exercises the self-control listed in the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5. There's also love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and faithfulness. We're going to be busy for awhile!

Many of us have probably heard of the parenting strategy of developing a family mission statement, yet have we ever thought much about our family vision: what it looks like, and feels like, to be a part of our family? We don't want homes characterized by selfish, impatient, rude, lazy people. We really do want our homes to be marked with the fruit of the Spirit.

The question remains, though:

On bad days, how do we maintain a joyful, loving tone--in our own hearts, and in everyone else's?

While I don't profess (or even suggest) to have all the answers, one tip I arrived on this week through prayer is this: do whatever you have to do to enjoy your family more.

By no means am I suggesting tossing discipline out the window. What I am saying is, if you're having a real lousy day and the kids are misbehaving, and you're at your wit's end and getting angrier by the minute, stop. Find a way to turn it all around and enjoy your kids--and encourage them to enjoy you--more.

What does this theory look like in real life? Here's an example. This week, after spending an hour and a half trying to get my boys down for naps to no avail (and getting angry inside), and after my oldest spilled a 2 liter of 7-UP on the newly mopped kitchen floor, I knew we could either sink or swim.

While I hesitated to take the boys on a fun outing, lest it seem I am rewarding bad behavior, I knew it was the only way I could maintain any semblance of the fruit of the Spirit. So that day, we went to the park, then to the Burger King germplayland. Then today, after stitching up the two comforter cuts, and then discovering a third, and other whoppers of a day in the life with little boys, I knew the only way to possibly maintain a calm (and minutely joyful) spirit was to load up and take a very brisk walk. It truly is mercy for a bad day.

So the next time you feel like you're really, truly going to absolutely lose it, load everyone up and take a hike.
You'll be glad that you did, and the kids will appreciate the way it feels in their hearts to be part of your family. We can either stay angry, and have a rotten day, or find a way to enjoy our family more. I choose the latter.