Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Books Update

How to Knit A Love Story by Rachael Herron
The Associate by Grisham

 and I'm about half way in The Red Pyramid by Rick Reardon (the Percy Jackson guy).

Sweet is reading the third book of the Narnia series, two anamorph books and The Lightning Thief.... all at the same time.  Love that boy.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Mission Organization: The Bathroom Edition

The Inspiration:  Open & Airy. 

Painting the bathroom a gorgous shade of pale grey helped.  The color is "January Dawn" which had me hesitating.... Grey winter days as inspiration?  Not so much.  But it is lovely.  And my ultimate goal is to add some turquoise and tangerine accents and a dolphin or two..... subtle Miami Dolphins decor... funny, right?
The Challenges:  This is the biggest room in my house.... almost.  Poorly laid out and awkward.  The tub is small.  The toilet is tan.  The countertops are trashed.  The cabinet is ancient.  It has hollywood lights and seriously 80's ceiling light fixtures.

Organizing:  The kids have baskets for jammies.... sometimes I even fold them.  I'm pretty happy with the generally organization of this room.  My husband has taken over the dresser in here for his own.... it was baby stuff for years.  I take the towels off the hooks, wash them and hang them back up.  I don't like to fold towels.  And we don't have towel bars.... the humidity here is so low I don't worry about mildew.  I buy a lot of shampoo and things at Costco in giant bottles but having 5 butts using the same tub makes for a crowd... so I decant into smaller bottles.  I don't like labels on bottles.  Is that neurotic? 

Cleaning:  I often clean the toilet with vinegar and baking soda.  It's like a volcano experiment and the kids can help.  Sometimes I break down and buy real toilet cleaner.  And right now things are so bad I actually bought one of those giant bleach tabs for the tank.  That goes against everything I believe but desparate times call for....  I clean the floor of the tub with Barkeeper's Friend and scrub down the walls with a Mr Clean Magic Eraser.  I scoop the cat box pretty much every day.

Handy Tips: To keep the shower clean.... don't let your husband use it.  Seriously.  Since Hot has been showering mostly at work (after PT) my tub is spotless.  I blame it on bar soap.  Have you noticed that?  I have no scientific evidence but I think bar soap makes bad scum.  

Confessions:  How often do you clean the tub?  What about washing the plastic shower curtain liner?

We went skiing.....

We had a long weekend the 17-20.  The 20th is a holiday and the 17th was a PIR day for teachers. 

A 3-day weekend is a catch-up weekend.  Maybe some baking and a dance party in the kitchen.

But a FOUR-day weekend?

This called for a plan.

I've always been a downhill skier.  Nothing fancy.  A decent skier.  A solid skier.  I have a poorly-repaired acl and metal rods in my back so I'm not a hotshot but I can muddle my way down most slopes and manage to have some fun. 

You can tell the skiers with bad knees.  We tend to go faster and faster as the day goes on.... because it hurts to turn. 

I haven't skied in years and it is a part of my pre-kid life that I miss.  (The other major pre-kid thing I was mising I have recently regained.... eating wheat thins, cheddar, avocado & salami in bed for dinner.....)

So.... I've never skied our local ski hang out.  Never.  Not even before I had kids.  It's a long story. 

So I decided to brave it.  Daycare was open on Friday so I would only have two kids.... easy, right?

So we got up and got ready..... I made a list for the kids and they checked things off... nothing motivates my kids like checking things off a list.

get dressed
eat breakfast
put on sunscreen
brush teeth/hair
extra socks
extra mittens/gloves

The kids are ready.  We talk about the skiing soundtrack.  How the easiest thing is to just get a song in your head and move to the music.  Sweet picks "Grenade" and Tuff picks song 6 on the Sugarland CD.  They ask me about my soundtrack.  I realize I don't have Aerosmith's "Pump" on the ipod at all and I only have one Jane's Addiction song..... but the Soup Dragons are on there so I settle for that for now....  Don't be afraid of your freedom.....
And away we go.  I immediately regret my decision when Bugsy cries and clings... she knows we are going somewhere fun.  Sweet also cries and clings.... his best buddy is at daycare.  Sigh. 

I give Bugsy a kiss and I give Sweet the "be thankful for your mama because she rocks" speech. 

Tuff is a thinker.  So as we near the area she is full of questions and details.  We sit in the van discussing the merits of hauling our snacks with us versus leaving them in the van.  We talk about the lesson they will take later.  We discuss walking in ski boots.

We wander around the area checking things out.  Where to meet up if anyone gets lost.  Bathrooms.  Lunch plans.  Tuff thrives on this.... she likes to assess.

We get our boots and skis and helmets.  I've decided to go it in snowboots (my trusty muckmasters) for the day.  I figure we will get about 20 minutes in on the rope tow and then eat cheese fries for a few hours.  I'm ok with this process.

Wow, was I wrong.

Sweet had one moment of 7-year-old anxiety.... about run 3 he was just sure he couldn't do it.  I remind him to hear his song and as I listened to him talk he suddenly talked himself into trying it a few more times and after he figured out how to put his own ski back on there was no stopping him.

Tuff has some colossal 5-year-old wipe outs..... mostly doing battle with the rope tow.... but she had on short pink skis and was unstoppable.

I was exhausted.  Running on snow is hard work.  And of course I had to help everyone... not just my kids.  The ski area has lots of staff on the rope tow slope helping, guiding and encouraging.... which was a huge benefit when one kid would wipe out at the top while the other was sliding backwards into the bench at the bottom. 

An instructor said, "So... how many of these kids are yours?"  Just two.  "Oh..... which two?"  The ones down there getting on the rope tow... "So.... NOT these three up here that you've been helping?" 

Finally around noon I had to call a break.  The kids were showing no signs of stopping on their own.  We had some lunch & a potty break.... sandwiches, popcorn, chips, granola bars and carrot sticks.  Sweet chewed about 3 times and was gone again... back to the slopes.  Tuff stopped long enough to squeeze me around the middle before she took off.

The weather was incredible.  Sunny and warm.  The kids had a lesson.  Tuff mastered the pizza.  Sweet still liked to race top-to-bottom and wipe out... singing the whole time.  The instructor said all the right things to say to a mom like me.  "What athletes."  "What great attitudes."

About then some friends showed up and Sweet was in heaven.  Buddies!!!  I'd been visiting with the ski school director off and on during the morning and he said, "Tuff is ready for the chair lift."  I agreed and mentioned we might try that next time.  He said, "No.  She's ready now.  I'm going to get her a chair lift ticket and taking her up to try it out."  Who-hoo. 

The kids skied until about 4:30.  Sweet had sore feet and a sweaty head.  Fortunately the rental shop is RIGHT THERE and we had gear off and dropped off in no time. 

Sweet didn't make it out of the parking lot.  He was out cold.  Tuff managed to stay awake while talking about "delicious roast beef sandwiches" in a sort of delirious trance. 

I'm already -in my way-over-the-top way- planning season passes and season-long rentals for all of us for next year.  First steps are to get 2-year-old Bugsy on the slopes, get in shape, and get myself going again.  I'm not sure how to do all of this.  Hot is not very excited about it but I seem to be managing ok by myself... at least with the big two.  I have a few friends with kids who are really into it and love it as a family activity.  I've always considered skiing a solitary activity but I'm trying to expand my thinking.  I know it was amazing to see my kids fall in love with something I love.

And, yes, "Janie's Got a Gun" is playing in my head.....

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Camera Found

Found it.  In the garage.  Of course.


Bruno The Baker

We are making the cake from the Bruno the Baker book.

It is in the oven.  I'm wiping up flour.  Bugsy was in charge of flour.  Need I say more?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Pizza Crust

So I'm making stromboli tonight.  Sort of following this recipe.

But I like my (mom's) pizza crust recipe.  It's in the red Betty cookbook.

Here's the thing.... I CAN NEVER FIND IT. 


Because it is behind the CHEESE & EGG tab.

But..... it is alphabetized behind that tab as...... T.  T?  Why not C for crust or P for pizza?

Traditional Cheese Pizza. T.

Sigh.  Who wrote this cookbook?  Betty... what were you thinking?  T for Pizza.

The sad thing is the recipe is REALLY simple.  I should have it in my head.

Pizza Crust
(makes two small 12" thin crust pizzas or one big medium crust pizza)

1 pkg active dry yeast
1 c warm water
2 1/2 c flour
2 TBS oil
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt

Dissolve yeast in water, stir in everything else.  Beat 20 strokes.  Let rest 5 minutes.


Cleaning 3 feet at a time West to East

So I needed some cleaning inspiration.

The wind is blowing west to east.

There ya go.

I'm cleaning the house west to east.

I started with the first three feet across the bathroom.  This included tossing a slimy scrap of bar soap, washing the towels & getting out new toothbrushes for Hot & I.  I also wiped down the sink and mirror and tidied my drawer under the sink. 

Then the laundry room.  That was easy.  Tidy the markers and kid desk.  I cleaned out the 4 drawers last weekend so that was good.  3 feet puts me just short of needing to take out the recycling.... that will be the NEXT three feet.

Same with the living room.  No problem.  I dusted the window sill.  Then I hit the game cabinet and the office armoire.  That was a bit more work but still good.  All the stray game pieces are now in their rightful home. 

Upstairs.  I cleaned Tuff's closet.  Fair is fair.  And the dressup bin.  And the shoe bin.  And Tuff's desk.  And the toy shelf.

Then on to the hall closet.  Ugh.  Getting tired.  But it wasn't bad and now it is done.  I moved some paint back to the kitchen..... stupid. 

Now, technically, I have to clean my closet but that ain't happening.  I have all of my hangers turned backwards and I'm turning them forwards when I wear the clothes.  I have a promise from my sister to help me sort, purge & create outfits next time she is here.

So now I'm taking a break before I go for the next 3 feet.  This will include scrubbing the tub, cleaning out under the sink, the kids' toothbrush drawer & the bathroom hair pretty drawer.  Oh dear.  The recycling in the laundry room.  Nothing in the living room and not much in the upstairs bedrooms..... oh.... my dresser.  That won't be bad.  I'll toss some underpants.  Excellent. 

Day 5 . . . . ONE single photo that best describes what you'll be doing over the next 48 hours. One photo.

Day 5 . . . . ONE single photo that best describes what you'll be doing over the next 48 hours. One photo.

Insert photo of my children here.... except I don't have a spare moment to do that because the pictures are all on the external hard drive and it is downstairs and I am upstairs.  Snuggled in with a sick boy.  He's reading Percy Jackson.  I'm looking at facebook.

We were going to sled and ski this weekend but it is snowing sideways and Sweet feels awful..... it is only fair... the girls had it last weekend. 

So instead we are cleaning bedrooms, planning to watch "Hoodwinked 2" later and I think I'm going to make a stromboli-like substance for dinner.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Day 4: A list of projects that are started, but currently undone in your house. If you are really bold, add a time frame for completion.

Day 4:  A list of projects that are started, but currently undone in your house.  If you are really bold, add a time frame for completion.


Fortunately "bold" has never been in my job description so I don't have to add a timeframe.

1.  Paint the laundry room ceiling.
2.  Paint the living room walls and ceiling.
3.  Paint the bedrooms (2) upstairs.
4.  Remodel the house.
5.  Put Hot's arrowheads back in a display.  I sorted them out last weekend and bought the glass last night.
6.  Sorting and purging in the garage.
7.  Make a mouse out of felt to sleep in an altoids box.
8.  Put up 3 hooks, (I put up 5 last night but ran out of screws and didn't want to venture to the garage in the snow storm.)
9.  Scan and sort and index documents.
10.  Have negatives scanned to digital prints.
11.  Clean out the top of the stairs closet.  I don't know if I really need to do this but it seems like a good idea.
12.  Purge my closets and create cute outfits.  I need my sister here to do this but she has promised to help if I will feed her waffles.
13.  Super glue things.  I ran out of super glue.  I have a small stack of stuff that needs gluing... a fairy wand, a transformer with a broken leg & a tea party plate.
14.  Print next week's breakfast/lunch plan.  And plan dinners.
15.  Print some adorable lunchbox notes.
16.  Laundry.
17.  Return some light plate covers to Lowe's and buy some really narrow long screws to try to fix the book bag hangers.
18.  Find my yak-traks.
19.  Return library books in my car and get some new ones.  Encyclopedia Brown maybe.
20.  Sort the hair pretties.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Day 3: A Photo From Your Day Today

This is tough what with the lost camera and all. 

But this kind of sums up how I feel right now....

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Where is my Camera????

Dude.  I think I lost my camera.  It isn't in any of the usual places I leave it (the bathroom counter, the workbench in the garage, the ledge in the dining room) and it definitely isn't where it belongs.... the drawer in the kitchen. 

And it has all the bathroom painting pictures on it.

My sister is painting her new bedroom.  It has some seriously unfortunate "bordeaux" carpeting.  But she has a vision....  taupe-grey walls, purple carpet, pale bedding with a really great throw on the foot of the bed, minimal furniture and graphic wall decor.  I've been pinning things on pinterest and also marking things on houzz. 

So anyone have a favorite taupe wall color? 

Day Two: In picture or written form, ten of your favorite things

You can pretty much just cut-n-paste Elle's list as my own.

1.  My family. 
2.  My dog.
3.  Coffee.
4.  Lists.
5.  Yoga pants & Apt 9 v-neck tshirts from Kohl's.
6.  Taking pictures.
7.  Eating meals at the table.
8.  Reading.
9.  Eyeliner.
10. Daydreaming.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Add ons to THE LIST from you people....

Pay property taxes They are due end of April and end of October.  Ours are running at just over $2000 for the year right now.

Update calendars/reminders
I have to update the ipod with school dates every fall.  I get the kids at 3:15 on Monday and Friday and after 5:00 Tu-W-Th... and all those odd little dates have to be recorded.  Once for me, once for Hot, once for my mil, once for my boss (for days off).  I use a paper perpetual calendar (that I made) for birthdays.

And the little daily schedule for school has to be updated with library books, show-n-tell, pe shoes etc.

I do this in October when we do health insurance for the state.  And addresses are done with my office inventory stuff for work in December.  I use the same emergency contact sheet for work and home.

Toys/clothes purge
Maybe if I set a date I wouldn't feel so perpetually overwhelmed by this.  And I wouldn't chronically have a pile of too small stuff on the laundry room counter.  Ah-hah Moment.  We do a toy rotation... one tub in and one tub out on a fairly regular basis... but a schedule would be good.

Smoke alarms and furnace filters
We don't have a furnace but I do schedule a yearly pellet stove cleaning in August.  And how often do you change the batteries in the smoke alarms?  I've heard twice a year when you do daylight savings time but I've been doing it on Valentine's.  Ok.  check that.  I bought the batteries.  They are on the laundry room counter.

Tax Stuff
I gather the tax stuff in a file that says, oddly enough, "taxes" and then sort and organize it during the Super Bowl.  That's when I make notes of what is missing and track things down and fill in the paperwork.  Then I have it all gathered by President's Day for drop off at the accountant.  Our taxes are easy.... but I also anticipate doing taxes someday in the future for the farm.... that's more complex.... deductions and write offs and quarterly payments....  maybe someday.

Have you seen the new two-sided scanners?  Maybe they aren't new.  But that is something I would find very valuable if we ever become full-time farmers.  I'm in an organizating situation with scanning now.... I need to do better at sorting my digital files and figuring out what else needs to be scanned.  I have a pile and I'm procrastinating.  We are ditching our safety deposit box in favor of putting things in the safe at home.  Some of it has been easy... some not so much.

And I get one vote for weekly laundry with sheets on Saturdays and dog beds once a month.  Anyone else??

Day One: Something that you are good at

Elle challenged.

Spinning Plates.  I'm really good and keeping a lot of things going all at once.  I'm not saying I excel at all of those things all at once.  There is a lot of wobbling.... but that's the whole thing about balance.  When you balance on something you have to make a million tiny adjustments to stay in one spot.  I'm good at that.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Project: Mission: Organization: Make-a-list

I have the day off today and we were planning to ski but..... 66% of my kids are complaining of sore throats and the other 33% have some serious booger issues so we are going to stay low today. Doing some meal planning, a little baking (for the upcoming Carnival Event at school), and some much-needed scanning and organization of digital documents.  I'm also doing a bit of the eternal organization shuffle as priorities change..... winter gear is the goal.  We are set for sledding but now I'd like to add in skiing as an option......  our test-drive on Friday has me perking on some ideas.

I'm also doing some thinking. I'm slowly pulling out of my February funk and, while I don't like it when it is happening, the dense non-functioning funk of February usually results in some serious productivity when I do finally come out of it.

One of my big goals for 2012 is to make some to do lists. 


Let me explain.

Some sort of seasonal lists of things to do to keep organized.

For example:

Clear photos & video from cell phone & ipod & flip.  I am pretty good about getting things off my camera but not the cell, ipod or flip.  (See previous post for example.)  I could set a goal to do this yearly, semi-annually, or quarterly.  Make a note.... for now we will do it every 6 months...  February & August.

Gather tax materials.  I like to sort and organize this stuff during the Super Bowl.

Submit taxes to accountant.  I like to have this done by President's Day.  I have it ready today and can drop it off tomorrow.

Pay van & pickup insurance.  February & August.

Pay car insurance.  April & October.

Pay house insurance.  August.

So what else?  What do you do on an automated schedule?  Either consciously or unconsciously?

I should add clearing out the broken drawer... either glueing/sewing/repairing/tossing....  probably monthly.  And some laundry things... like washing the couch cover and blankets and pet beds. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

I recall summer.....

February is not my favorite month.  (Apologies to Kae.... it is her birth month and I gotta tell ya.... that's pretty much the only redeeming quality....)

So I'm doing all the things I do in February to make myself feel better..... hair cut, nesting down with a book, making soup.  We had a Big Ski Adventure on Friday.... more to report on that later.

Part of my nesting included clearing the photos off my cell phone..... now THAT makes me smile.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Monday, February 06, 2012

Continuing to Read....

The Help.

The Paris Wife.

Two Anne McCaffrey books I pre-read for Sweet... the Dinosaur Planet ones.... not my favorites and, ultimately, boring for Sweet.

Susan Mallery "Only" trilogy.... I read half of the first one ages ago and got distracted while I read "The Help" and "The Paris Wife" so I just got back to it.  It was perfect smut for this last week.  I finished the third book last night. 

Next up is.... hmmmm... I have a James Patterson or The Bonesetter's Daughter. 

Sunday, February 05, 2012

the weekend list

*went to Costco (without a list... more as a social outing with my Grandpa, kids & aunties).... actually managed to remember and buy everything on my list except cat food.... and we have enough for a while so all is well.
*had breakfast with gramps and crew at ipod.
*went to Ross.  twice.
*wrapped a gift for a birthday party on the 11th.
*immediately got an invitation for ANOTHER birthday party on the 11th.
*got the kids started on Valentine's cards for classmates.
*found 100 things for each kid to take for 100 day on the 8th.
*washed coats and mittens.
*had a Valentine's celebration with Nana & the kids.  Painted Pot, lunch at Taco del Sol, ice cream at The Big Dipper.
*made a delicious ham and lovely cheesy potatoes.
*grocery store trip (quickie for football chips, sunflower seeds for salads, bananas & sour cream).
*stopped to pick up Hot's driver's license... forgotten at the local sporting goods store.
*returned the WRONG paint and got the RIGHT paint.
*folded eleventy-million pounds of clothes during the Super Bowl.
*drank some wine.
*fed the clan some lovely simple suppers.
*received a jewelry box of Grandma's old jewelry.  so happy.
*talked about a plan for a birthday bash for Grandpa this summer.  complete with cake and crafts.
*cleaned the fraggin' oven.  (you are thinking.... "how fraggin' hard can it be??"..... BUT.... when the microwave died it took out the controls for the auto-clean.  and the delicious cheesy potatoes spooged all over the oven.... it was horrific.)
*requested flex childcare and medical.
*gave up on balancing the checkbook for 2011 and started fresh for 2012.
*cleaned Tuff's desk and restored order.
*gathered tax materials.
*bought a lottery ticket.  A FIRST EVER.  And on my "better than a bucket" list.
*packaged up another box of toys for garage storage.
*picked up a reserved book for Hot at the library.
*bought some Tervis glasses on clearance at BBB for mini-Valentines gifts.
*downloaded the digital copies of Jurrassic Park.
*updated iTunes.
*compared our budget to our actuals for January.
*read some trashy novels.
*broke my ceramic compost bucket
*watched "Blackthorn" & "A Dolphin Tale"
*planned for the kids' week:  outfits, hot or packed lunch, dinners & events (Tuff ice skating on Monday, School kids snowshoeing on Tuesday, pay daycare on Friday, treat shop money for Friday, Valentine's writing, 100 days stuff)

Still to do:
*finish painting the bathroom and restore order.
*wash Tuff & Bugsy's sheets.... apparently Bugsy smuggled a sugar cookie into bed last night.
*buy & wrap another birthday gift for the 11th.
*finish Valentine's cards for classmates.
*find a box for Tuff to use for a Valentine mailbox.
*find a backup box for Sweet to use for a Valentine mailbox... I know it is coming... just no request yet.
*put a new light bulb in the night light.
*put a new light bulb in my reading light.
*put new light bulbs in the THREE dead spots in the bathroom.
*change batteries in the closet light bulbs
*get a split pea soup recipe.
*drop tax stuff off.
*order a roller thing for my IT band.
*wash all of the couch blankets & cover.  (Yup... more sugar cookie.)
*reorganize and restore order to the pantry.
*think about Valentine's gifts.  To do or not to do.
*heat up the oven and see if it smells like cleaner.
*pay car insurance.
*pay credit card.
*put giant box of toys in the garage.
*pick up stuff from Painted Pot Wednesday.
*spray paint a frame to make a magnet board.

Did ya catch the half-time show?

  Did ya?  I love '8o's music.  My girls ROCKED OUT and danced.  And I loved Cee Lo's glittery wizard costume.  Love that little man.

But what is up with old rockers?  I guess there was some controversy with Stephen Tyler's anthem a few weeks ago.... I saw it... thought it was fine.  The thing that concerned me was.....  I HAVE THE SAME HAIRSTYLE AS TYLER.... right down to the grey streak.....  Anyone else concerned about this???