18 Minutes of Productivity

In this house, we measure productive activity by the TNU, or Toddler Naptime Unit.  A TNU is the amount of time that a parent or caretaker has in a day to attend to anything that is "extra."  By law, the TNU does not involve words that end in -y (such as "potty"and "sippy") or songs about animals or daily routine.  The TNU is usually in the afternoon after lunch and storytime, but it may also spontaneously occur some mornings or early evenings too.

A few important notes about TNUs: first, as soon as they are planned into the parent's day, they will be shortened by 75%.  They must be recognized as a likely daily possibility, but never counted on with certainty.  Second, a TNU is not a specific amount of time, but rather a mindset.  Parenthood requires some adjustment to this philosophy of operation.  Third, the tenuous nature of the TNU would suggest that the adult never try to squeeze anything extra into that TNU period.  ON THE CONTRARY, the TNU is the perfect time to tackle a project that may be picked up, put down, picked up again, and put down again for multiple TNUs.  (Projects that can't be set down are for when the kids are at Camp Grandma).

During my TNU today, I finally got to do something with a burlap coffee bag I've had around for a few weeks. I'd been throwing around a few ideas, but when I saw this post over at the Scrappy Love Blog I had my answer.  Re-cover the chair!  I had snagged this very sturdy chair on freecycle a few months back (if you don't know what freecycle is, you should check it out.  I'm pretty crazy about it ...).  It's sturdy as far as chairs go, but somewhat plain.  And since I kinda like things in my house to have a story behind them, I knew this was the time.

At the beginning of today's TNU (approximately 12:59 PM), I gathered my supplies: chair, screwdriver (to unscrew the seat from the chair frame), coffee sack, and staple gun.  

1:02 PM - Unscrewed the screws from the chair seat and laid it upside-down on half of a coffee sack.
There was some flipping and adjusting so I could get the image on the sack where I wanted it on the seat.

1:06 PM - Pulled out the staple gun (that I got at a yard sale for $4, woohoo!) and stapled with abandon.  OK, not with abandon, but it wasn't the prettiest job in the world.

1:11 PM - Folded under the raw edges and stapled again.  Burlap is prone to shedding, and so I figured a little extra precautions wouldn't hurt.

1:17 PM - Fit it back in the chair!  Something I didn't see coming - since I just put the sack over the existing upholstery, the cushion was really snug in the chair frame (by that I mean I had to work to get it back in).  I did have the bonus of not having to re-screw it in, though.

And now, I have enough time left in my TNU to blog about the project, drink some hot chocolate, and marinate in the sunlight that's streaming in the corner of the window.

Don't be fooled.  Most days, the TNU is taken up with some kind of normal chore.  But every so often, somehow, it's an unspoken-for Toddler Naptime Unit.  And when that happens (like today), I'm excited to have some project to tackle.

What does your TNU look like today?


  1. OH MY GOSH!! SO creative!!! I am going to have to figure out how to include one of these in our house. Danny would be ga-ga for it.