Friday, January 30, 2009

It ain't so bad.

Well, see, it could be more crowded at our house.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Yet Another Organizing Challenge

There is a "Spring Cleaning for Normal People" Challenge going on.

I'm not gonna lie.... we worked hard during our little Christmas holiday staycation. Hot used his new drill to do things. (Wow... that didn't sound very good, did it??) I mean things like put anchors in for the kid coat hooks.... when I put them up I wasn't sure they should stay so I didn't anchor them and they were quickly coming out of the wall and leaving little piles of sheetrock dust on the floor. Now they are solid.

And just this weekend I got the whole "computer" corner in order. Backed up to the old machine and stashed it in the shed. (what? So what if my idea of cleaning is to stash things in an outbuilding. Don't you judge me.) I do still need to hang the power strip up where tiny hands can't get to it but big hands can so we can prevent that pesky "vampire" issue we have with energy. Yes, I do have a giant pile of "things to scan" but I'm working my way into it a bit at a time.

So progress is being made but I always love a little motivation..... here, in condensed form, is the to-do's for this week.

B) Quickly go through your entire home with a garbage can and toss out any and all trash you find.

DONE. Not so bad. The garbage can in Sweet's room was a little nasty so I soaked it. The garbage in our room (ok, yes, it's an old restaurant sour cream container) is empty. The bathroom garbage is out. And the kitchen garbage... well, we are back to sub-zero weather so the kitchen cabinet must be open all the time so that garbage HAS to be emptied or the dog will gorge buffet-style on trash. There. ta-da. Oh, bonus... I emptied the lint trap and gathered all the little bits of tinfoil from kisses wrappers by the couch. I also cleared the messy pile on the counter..... I admit to considering just putting it on the laundry room counter.... but I actually disposed of it. I also fixed all the "glue it" projects piling up in the laundry room. The "baby cut" horse. (It's an appetizer knife with a horse handle.... Tuff loves baby cuts for spreading butter on bagels.) A broken transformer helicopter blade, a broken arrow, a broken wand and a broken toy cell phone. Who knew the key to motherhood was crazy glue, epoxy and a hot glue gun??

Still hot and needing work: The laundry room counter. It's better but it is such a catch-all zone. Right now it has a plastic box of stuff to be sorted for baby books/ kids scrap books, a plastic letter organizer I need to return, a globe that I want to put on a shelf over the window... if I ever go get a shelf, the sewing machine (that actually belongs there), and a box hiding some sweets I got the kids for Valentine's day. Sigh.

C) Take three boxes labeled "give", "sell", and "maybe" and begin in one corner of your home and gradually move out until you have briefly scanned every room in your home. As you do this, scan each item you see and briefly question yourself: "Is this useful to me and/or our family? Is this beautiful to me and/or our family?"

Working on this. I moved most of the "give away" stuff to the garage but now need to load it in the car and take it to the local college for their annual fund-raiser garage sale. But it's so cold out.... ok, I know. Get busy. This is the last week for drop offs. This is hard for me. I'm so use to just stashing things in the garage and/or shed..... but my goal for the summer is to get the garage cleaned and organized (and make the most kick-ass kid play area EVER). You laugh and think that is a weekend project... you haven't seen how BIG my garage is.... or how full.

But more of that plan later.

How's organizing in YOUR life??

Monday, January 26, 2009

Spiders crawling up your back. Bite ya. Bite ya.

Great Grandpa and his best girl. (She's giving him a backrub doing "Treasure Hunt"... If I could remember the lyrics I'd tell you.... All I can remember is "Spiders crawling up your back. Bite Ya. Bite Ya. Cool Breeze. Shiveries.)

Possibly my favorite fruit.

My fingers are behaving oddly. They are dried and cracked on outsides of my index fingers and thumb.

It isn't the weather. It isn't a fungus. It isn't a lack of hand creme.

It is grapefruit.

Lots and lots of grapefruit. Torn apart with my bare hands and consumed with a sprinkle of sugar. I couldn't resist. It was a baseball fund raiser. I love the smell. I love the taste. Tuff loves "pink oranges" and will usually eat a section or two with me while we read bedtime books.

I love grapefruit.... but I think I'm going to have to start cutting them in half and eating them with a spoon like a civilized person.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Dread Credit Card Bill January

Mmmm. Love this post about credit card debt.

Speaking of.... November & December were a little hard on the budget here at The 'Stead.

My "nose job" bill finally came through insurance and cost me more than I thought. Plus Christmas. Plus some serious work on the pickup. Plus another ton of pellets to heat our house. Oh and those omigod-cold temps are going to ding us when the (electric) heat bill arrives.

Well, it's officially taken care of (carrying a credit card balance makes me break out in hives... seriously....) but we made a conscious effort to cut back in January. Unfortunately, the billing cycle is mid-month to mid-month so I have half of December on this bill... but we shopped early so it isn't as bad as it could be... right? Sooth me here.

I'm not going to lie.... I'm not back in the $500/month credit card bills of my singleton days.

But if the bill is around $1500 I'm happy. Andy has cut back considerably on his "daily Bob's" purchases.... going from almost $200/month to almost nothing the last few months. I still spend a lot at Costco but it is our primary grocery source and I've cut out impulse buys almost entirely. We have a big line item for fuel. That's the problem with living in BFE.

We budget $40/each for cash each month. I mostly save mine for bigger purchases... like a dvd recorder or a new recliner. And I pay my library fines. And buy girl scout cookies. And I pay the kids the occasional bribe. This weekend it was a dollar each to help me clean up the dog poo in the yard. They scanned and located the piles and I picked them up. If they were too frozen to scoop they marked them with a croquet marker and I came back for them later that afternoon. It is a glamorous life I lead, isn't it?

Ok, so I know some of you are still gasping at the $1500/month credit card bill.... let me explain. I'm not buying myself a new wardrobe every month or anything. I have a Costco cash-back card and I try to put EVERYTHING on it. Fuel. Groceries. Car repairs. Doctor bills. Home phone. Cell phones. Internet. Netflix. I haven't figured out how to put the electric bill on it yet.... wish I could. Pellets are up to $300/ton and we use about 3 tons per winter.... on the card.

I know. I know. Using a card instead of cash isn't very "Dave Ramsey" of me, is it? But I haven't taken his course and I haven't committed to saving all that money over the convenience of plastic.... maybe someday but not today. For today I just bury my head and say "cash back, cash back" instead of listening to Dave's philosophy...

What about you?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Nesting.... at its worst.

Bargh. Spent most of the 3-day weekend looking at the stuff in my house and not liking it.

Let me make a whiner list:

Ugly couch. Frumpy.

Hideous recliners. (Is that redundant? Is there an un-hideous recliner out there?) Pink.

Icky carpet. Ugly linoleum.

Paint. I need to paint. I have the paint. I can't get motivated to paint.

Knick-knacks. Ugh. Just the word.

The computer corner. The giant monitor. The lack of solid internet. Ugh.

The dining room tinyness.... and lack of storage for mittens. I need mitten storage.

The pink Barbie shoe explosion that registers as my daughter's room.

The pain-inducing, toe-stubbing, transformer and action hero horror that is my son's room.

The laundry room. Ugh, the flooring again. And the desire for a beautiful new washer and dryer.

The bathroom. The outdated. The poorly designed and laid out.

The kitchen. You've seen the countertops.

Ugh, ugh, ugh.

I have a bad case of the gimmes and the toss-mes all at the same time.

Santa Pic 2008

Forgot to show this off. Yes, she's wearing her cowboy boots. Lordy... when did they grow up so much??

Friday, January 16, 2009

Safety First

Apartment Therapy has a post up about home security.....

Silly city dwellers.

Home defense at the Homestead is pretty solid.... and we don't rely on locked doors....

Also present:

Mary, the 4D utility flashlight on my side of the bed. First, I'll blind ya. Then, I'll beat ya senseless with her no-nonsense streamlined utilitarian functionality. (What? I used to sleep with an escrima stick under my bed and I have the knuckle scars to prove I know how to use it....)

Another serious consideration. We keep the "front" door locked all the time. It's the road-side facing door that opens into our living room. No one ever uses it. BUT. The doorway is directly across from the door to our daughter's room. Here's my concern... you tell me if it is valid. Our bedroom is upstairs, her bedroom is down. If there was a fire in the living room or on the stairway (or the pellet stove), we would go out the window and slide down the porch roof and drop to the ground (or use the hanging ladder stashed under our bed) BUT how would she get out? My husband says he would break her window and snatch her. I say.... I don't know if I can break her window and get her out. For now there is a BIG HEAVY FLOWERPOT on the porch outside her window to assist me. But what I was thinking was.... how about an installed push button combo lock for that "front" door.... so I could shimmy out the window and just open that door and grab her.

All a moot point since she's often in bed with us. But... anyone have any experience with push-button combo locks? How do they hold up in cold-cold weather? Are they pricey? Easy to install?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009