The Children’s New Clothes


When I pictured the life of a stay-at-home parent, I don’t think I pictured so many clothes.

The Laundry-Sorting Room (AKA my bedroom) is covered in pants, shirts, underwear, socks, a skirt or two, dress shirts, a lone pair of tights, towels, sheets, blankets, and children. The boys’ bedrooms are equally carpeted in garments, though not as thickly. Near the bottom of the stairs is a hopeful pile of jackets and pants just waiting to be carried up. Corners and edges of every room sport socks, underwear, and the occasional sweater. Since it is currently winter, the main floor heater vents are warming snow pants, mittens, and more socks and underwear.

And, despite all odds, everyone’s closets and dressers are full enough to convince a live studio audience that this family sitcom is legit.

I’m not sure where all these clothes are coming from, where they are headed, or who they belong to. I’m especially not sure how to get them on their way. Perhaps they’re waiting for a nudge? A meal? A loan?

This morning, after barely making it from bed to bathroom, I tried sorting into piles. “Whose soccer jersey is this?” I asked, holding up a reversible garment from 2013.

“That’s Twelve’s,” Ten said.

So I put it in Twelve’s pile he was currently rooting through. “Hey!” he protested. “That’s not mine! I gave it to Ten!”

Ten objected and they fought until Twelve could name the exact location and date of the transference. “Oh, yeah,” Ten finally agreed. “I remember. But, then I gave it to Seven.”

I sighed, and slid the jersey over to Seven’s mound. “That’s not mine,” his voice claimed. I found his face nearby. For some reason, he was not yet dressed but was buried beneath the towels.

“So,” I said, my patience waning, “Whose is it?”


I looked at Four, who was dressed -albeit still in pajamas. The soccer jersey was large enough for him to wear as a dress, if he were a girl and if baggy, faded, reversible polyester with a giant number and sponsor name across the back were the current fashion.

“Maaaaahm?” Ten called from somewhere under the pillowcases. “Where’s my orange pants?”

Twelve was huffing as he still rifled through his mess. “Where are my socks?”

Seven surfaced long enough to say, “I probably should have used the bathroom before helping you with laundry.”

Four shrugged at me with a cute smile. “Here,” I told him. “Find some pants to go with it.”



© 2019 Chelsea Owens

The Cheapest, Bestest Dinner Ideas, XI

Today’s meal was inspired by Thanksgiving leftovers. Through a combination of laziness and laziness, I haven’t purchased any extra food besides milk and bread since Turkey Day.


We actually had two Turkey Days this year. At the second one, we also baked a ham. My children have informed me that, if they have to eat another meal with ham hidden somewhere in it, they will voluntarily fast.

Slightly before that point, I used ham slices as a side for a new recipe I discovered over at Genius Kitchen: Leftover Mashed Potato Pancakes.

Leftover Mashed Potato Pancakes


2 cups mashed potatoes (approximately)
2 eggs
1/4 cup flour
Salt and Pepper
Dried onion flakes or powder, to taste
Garlic powder, to taste
Oil or butter, for cooking
Toppings: sour cream, shredded cheese, or ketchup


Mixing bowl
Mixing spoon or electric mixer with beaters
Griddle or skillet


  1. Mix all the ingredients except oil and toppings together in a bowl. If stirring manually (or using mashed potatoes that were a tad lumpy), use a potato masher.
  2. Preheat griddle or skillet to 325°. Add a small amount of oil or butter to surface.
  3. Pour about 1/4 cup batter in a round shape in the oil or butter. Repeat to fill griddle or pan.
  4. When one side is browned, flip and cook the other side. If too thick to cook the inside evenly, press down slightly with the spatula. Repeat with all pancakes.
  5. Set aside and serve with toppings.

I hadn’t made these before and felt pleasantly surprised at how they turned out. My kids all ate them (win!) and only complained mildly (a midway win).

I thought they tasted like hashbrowns with extra substance, and preferred eating mine with ketchup. When eating them for leftovers breakfast the following morning, I tried the sour cream and cheese and thought that tasted more like baked potato.

This is a great meal for using up leftover mashed potatoes, for keeping things cheap and easy, and for serving a dinner that’s fairly healthy as well.