Friday, January 28, 2011

Blanket tutorial

Here is a quick tutorial for THIS blanket. Click to enlarge. Hope it helps Crystal :)

STEP 1 -This is how you layer the blanket before sewing it together.

STEP 2 - Sewing only 3 sides so you can turn it right side out. Trim extra fabric along the seams before you turn it.

STEP 3 Turn it right side out and it basically looks just like you want it to, but with one open end.

STEP 4- sew the open end closed

STEP 5- Add a border for extra security. I sew it as close to the outside seam as possible.

Good luck! Their are probably much easier ways to do this, but I made this up as I went along and it worked for me. If anyone has tips..Lets hear em!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Feeding my OCD

Labels. I may have already told you all this, but I'm talking about it again. Not only do I have minor ocd, I repeat myself as well. lol
I hate manufactured labels on basically anything plastic or glass. I used to be really bad for a while, and I would take them off every.single.item. in the house. Sometimes even relabeling them once I got it off. Diaper wipe cases, peanut butter, bleach, cleaners, lotions etc.. I would scrub the words off of a large shampoo bottle with a scouring pad and then keep refilling that same bottle with the new shampoo to save time. CRAZY I know.
I slowly started to get control over it and narrowed it down to only taking the labels off things that were visible when the house was clean, like on the counters or table tops. That allowed me to shut the shower curtain and hide certain things like the shampoo and eventually I got over those types of items. It seems ridiculous to me now, but it used to just be a normal part of my life.
I was not like this as a kid. It started a little bit when I got my own apt where I was just trying to be perfect on my own and then it got progressively worse as I tried to maintain a clean home and appear as if everything was ok when my first marriage was falling apart. Oddly I would let the dishes sit for a week, but the labels were off of everything so it looked cleaner. *coo-coo, coo-coo*!
For some reason brightly colored brand labels catch my eye and make things look messy. Like the label on the dish soap. I hate it. It is one that I just really can't get over. It looks like clutter. Why did they have to make it so bold and in a color that clashes with my kitchen? To me, this just clutters up the room, and even if no one else notices, I feel that subconsciously it is bothering them, they just aren't as fine tuned as I am to notice that it's the label adding a wee bit of clutter/stress and if I eliminate those few things, everyone can be just a little more relaxed. I know it sounds crazy, and it's not healthy, but this is how it is in MY mind. Like feng shui. Labels disturb my feng shui lol
For dish soap, I have:
Taken the labels off of one container and refilled it each time I buy a new bottle. - the plastic bottle has a narrow opening and it's a pain in my rear.

Constantly put the bottle under the sink so it was out of view- This drove my husband batty. It is inconvenient.

And now it's in a glass olive oil bottle. It drizzles out extremely slow, but my husband can live with it and it makes me happier.

Now my compulsion never really hurts anyone, but it does have a dangerous side. If I remove the label from things like bleach, or other bottles with hazardous chemicals, I am asking for trouble. I used to remove the labels and then relabel them with a cleaner more eye-appealing (to me anyway) label. My Honey put his foot down and gently helped me stop removing labels from anything hazardous. He is a very kind spirited person and I am thankful for his gentle nudges. It has never come across as anything other than helpful. I felt the need to make that clear. lol

Anyway, recently for Christmas my husband got a label maker from his dad. I'm trying to keep it under control, but I could seriously label everything in the entire house with that thing. I LOVE it. I wish all products had a simple, clean line, no logo type label. It would be boring, but I would be happy and it's MY wish after all! So far I have not re-labeled anything that was already labeled. and that's kind of my signal. If I pull something off just to relabel it with a cleaner looking label then I've gone too far. (i.e. take off the jelly label just to stick JELLY back on it.

BUT I am having fun with it.
This puts a little grin on my face as I lay down at night, knowing my homemade laundry detergent looks this good.

Those are liquid oxyclean bottles btw, (used it in my carpet shampooer) and they are the perfect size @ about 2 quarts. The label came off really easy and my new labels went on like buttuh.. :) (note that my regular Oxy Clean is in a pretty glass jar, but I resisted labeling it!)

So much neater than Sharpie. My files have never looked so good.

See, just using it for things that need it right? I can finally keep the kids straight!

Nothing too crazy... :P

Monday, January 24, 2011

Epic Failure

I know what your thinking? Epic failure? Not Angel, never! But yes it's true. I figured it was about time you all learned I wasn't perfect!

I've hinted though haven't I? Telling you all I can't cook which is absolutely true. As a matter of fact I was on the phone with my Grandfather once, forgetting I was about to make some pasta. I smelled something burning and my Grandpa, who knows I can't cook, made the statement that I could burn water. The truth at that moment was: I had started water for pasta, and let it boil away into nothing. Of course I didn't mention that! Are you crazy? I'd never live it down! Anyway, my epic failure also involves the oven, but this time I prove that, not only can I ruin food with it, I ruin hair bows!

Katie over at Sack of Potatoes , showed us how to make some awesome korker bows. I decided it was time to try it out and make a few Valentine bows for Cutecumber. I actually talked to her on the phone (she had just went to a Goodwill and promised to blog about her finds *hint, hint*) and I got a more specific "recipe" for the korker bows.

"Use grosgrain ribbon, wrap it around a wooden dowel (or plain pencil) and bake at 325 for 5-10 minutes."

"It's SO easy" she says.

So I find a few dowels in my ribbon box, wrap my ribbon around them, pinching the ends with wooden clothes pins as Katie had suggested. I had a pair of St.Patrick's Day bows from Target that had come undone last year and decided to try out a few of the rickrack pieces from those. I never throw out ribbon. Although these had the same lines as grosgrain, with only a slightly satin sheen, these were NOT the correct kind of ribbon. I repeat, they were NOT the right kind of ribbon.

I put it all in the oven, and waited for almost 10 minutes. That's when I started to smell something like a melted crayon and decided that obviously they had been in there long enough.

This is what I found:

Of course I like to look for a positive, and prefer to think of this as a newly discovered way to strengthen a wooden dowel with melted ribbon coating. LOL Can you believe that? The rest of the ribbon turned out fine though, but I took this as a sign to quit for the day. lol

I did make these before the baking fiasco though. Aren't they cute?

Ms. Thang also made a few of her own. She's really been into the flower thing and recently said it will become her signature fashion statement. (No she doesnt watch Sex and the City lol) She made 3- a white, a purple zebra print, and a sun flower. (flowers are 50% right now at Hobby Lobby, and I got the pink ones @ Dollar Tree)

She's already had her step-mom try and borrow one which made her day. The ultimate compliment. :)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Who are the people in your neighborhood?

A fact you may know, but I need to repeat for this tidbit I'm about to tell you, is that for the first 2 years of Cutecumbers life, keeping shoes on her was an uphill battle. Another fact you may know, but I am going to point out anyway, is that Cutecumber is only 2 yrs old. For those that aren't catching on here, wearing shoes has been an issue for HER ENTIRE LIFE, thus becoming the bane of my existence.

There is only one 10 minute window where she is happy in shoes, even loving them. She actually leaves them on during the ride to the Scientist's school, all the way until we are back in the van with her brother in tow and then *plop-plop* they are off.

Why does she leave them on for this one short trip? Because of the crossing guard! I know I've mentioned my love for our two CGs. Actually now that Kaitlyn left, (whom I talk a bit about HERE) I am really only close with one. Not only is she super duper nice and wonderful, but sometimes she is the ONLY adult interaction I have for the entire day. Sad? YES but it's a fact. I'm not really the kind of mom that hangs out with the other moms in front of the school. I'm extremely shy.

For the first couple of days into the new school year, Cutecumber refused to wear her shoes. It was summer, it was hot, and she was small. I opted to choose my battles and this wasn't one that needed to be fought, so I carried her and her little bare feet.

"Well hello beautiful! Where are your shoes?" the crossing guard said pulling one of Cutecumbers exposed toes as we passed her by. Cutecumber, not warming up to anyone quickly, lowered her brow, analyzed the CGs face and intentions, then stared at her own bare feet until we were back to the minivan.

As the week progressed, the gray-haired lady with the big sun hat questioned Cutecumber about her shoes every day. By the end of the second week, Cutecumber asked me if she could walk across rather than being held.

"No sweetie, you didn't want to wear your shoes and the road is hot. Maybe next time you will wear your shoes."

Monday came and before we left Cutecumber brought her shoes to me.


I was surprised. I put her shoes on, left for the school, and was shocked again to see that the shoes were still on her feet when I opened the door to unfasten her car seat.

She grinned at my surprise. She's a smart little thing and anticipated the reaction.

I picked her up out of the van and before I could shut the door she shared another of her eloquent one worders.

"Down" she said, gesturing that she wanted to walk.

Hand in hand we went to the cross walk.

"Shoes" she said beaming up at the crossing guard.

"And aren't those some pretty shoes too?" she said making Cutecumber beam from ear to ear.

From then on she has always worn them and the crossing guard even gave her a little nick name as the year progressed.

"Hey Shoes! How are you doing today?"

Cutecumber now enjoys shoe shopping. She owns a glittery pink pair of converse, 2 pair of light up shoes, a pair of pink cowboy boots, rain boots, and many more. ALL because she wants that big reaction from the crossing guard. The anticipation of wearing new shoes and seeing what the CG will of the highlights of her little life. lol

Only recently did the CG ask me "What is her real name anyway?" and after hearing it just once, had it memorized.

Without this shoe ritual and hearing "Have a great weekend!" every Friday, my week would be a little less bright, a little less happy. Not having a lot of people in my everyday life really helps me appreciate the ones that go out of their way to say hello.

Who are the people in your neighborhood? The people that you meet each day... :)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Feeling twitterpated!

Yeah I know it's a little early, but I'm feeling the love so why not show it?

3 packs of paper doilies from the Dollar Tree
1 long piece of kite string

glue the doilies together, smaller on top of larger. I used good ol fashioned Elmers glue.
thread the doilies onto the kite string

$3 for the doilies
the rest I had on hand
I can make the same banner for the next 10 years with 3 packages I bought

I'm tempted to add letters and spell out "love" or "adore" or Xs and Os like you see all over blog land. What do you think?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Bad mood

I didn't get much sleep last night and then had an early morning despite the fact that Honey tried to surprise me by taking the kids to school since he had early errands to run.

Cutecumber decided to wake up earlier than usual and give me a nice morning face rub. I wish it would have annoyed me to the point of actually getting up. Instead I realized I had fallen back asleep and sat up with a jolt (just love an adrenaline rush in the morning don't you?) to find Cutecumber sitting diaperless in my bed, eating a slice of bread. Such a wonderful feeling waking up in a breadcrumb sandbox.

I let out a sigh of relief (I had only been asleep for 10 minutes) but slowly my mind pieced together the entire story of this scene.

Cutecumber had ripped open a new loaf of bread and emptied it onto the kitchen floor because obviously that very back slice is the best. My dog is sniffing at it and trying to lick my face while I am bent down picking up the mess. How annoying! Wait...why does my dog smell like poo?

Remember how cutecumber was found diaperless in my bed? Yeah, she dropped that fully- loaded sucker on her bedroom floor as a play toy for the minpin. Is my dog the only one that loves to roll in poo? GROSS!

Bread in the trash, dog and baby bathed, carpet scrubbed, sheets in the laundry... I look at the clock and it's 8:00. What a morning!

Honey walks in-
"I just called work and I don't have to be in until 12:00"

Slight elation at the hope I may sneek in a nap-
"Awesome! Wait..why?"

"My errands are not going as planned and I need more time. I'm headed back out hoping to finish by noon. I just came home to grab some paper work.."

"You're going to be home really late tonight then, going in this late?"

"Yeah, sorry hun...ok, got the papers. Hey, the dog just peed in the hall. Bye!"

Now it's noon. I just got cutecumber to lay down and I have the choice of cleaning or sleeping. Instead I am stuffing my face with oreos, which I don't even like. My phone is bleeping somewhere nearby that it needs to be charged, yet I'm too tired to find it and plug it in. Every few minutes the sound is picking at my sanity as I present you with this blog of self pity.

I believe my monthly visitor is only one rant and two king sized candy bars away.

Monday, January 17, 2011

A lesson I need to learn

This is an excerpt from Dare to Discipline by Dr. James Dobson. I really need to put this down and take a minute to really soak it in because it just MIGHT be a problem in my home.

*pink text represents my personal input

4. Don't saturate the child with materialism.

Despite the hardships of the Great Depression, at least one question was then easier to answer than it is today: how can I say no to my child's materialistic desires? It was very simple for parents to tell their children that the couldn't afford to buy them everything they wanted; Dad could barely keep bread on the table. But in more opulent times, the parental task becomes less believable. It takes considerably more courage to say, "No, I won't buy you Wanda Wee-Wee and Baby-Blow-Her-Nose," than it did to say, "I'm sorry but you know we can't afford to buy those dolls."
A child's demand for expensive toys is carefully generated through millions of dollar spent on TV advertising by the manufacturers. The commercials are skillfully made so that toys look like full-sized counterparts: jet airplanes, robot monsters, and automatic rifles. The little consumer sits open mouthed in utter fascination. Five minutes later he begins a campaign that will eventually cost his dad $84.95 plus batteries and tax.
The trouble is, Dad often can afford to buy the new item, if not with cash, at least with his magic credit card. And when three other children on the block get the coveted toys, Mom and Dad begin to feel the pressure, and even the guilt. They feel selfish because they have indulged themselves for similar luxuries. Suppose the parents are courageous enough to resist the child's urging; he is not blocked-grandparents are notoriously easy to "con." Even if the youngster is unsuccessful in getting his parents or grandparents to buy what he wants, there is an annual, foolproof resource: Santa Claus! When Junior asks Santa to bring him something, his parents are in an inescapable trap. What can they say, "Santa can't afford it"? Is the jolly fat man in the red suit really going to forget and disappoint him? No, The toy will be on Santa's sleigh.
Some would ask, "And why not? Why shouldn't we let our children enjoy the fruits of our good times?" Certainly I would not deny boys and girls a reasonable quantity of the things they crave. But many American children are inundated with excesses that work toward their detriment. It has been said that prosperity offers a greater test of character than does adversity, and I'm inclined to agree.
There are few conditions that inhibit a sense of appreciation more than for a child to feel he is entitled to whatever he wants, whenever he wants it. It is enlightening to watch as a boy or girl tears open stacks of presents at a birthday party or perhaps at Christmas time. One after another, the expensive contents are tossed aside with little more than a glance. The child's mother is made uneasy by his lack of enthusiasm and appreciation, so she says, "Oh Marvin! Look what it is. It's a little tape recorder! What do you to Grandmother? Give Grandmother a big hug. Did you hear me, Marvin? Go give Grams a big hug and kiss."

Sadly that scenario is almost word for word an issue in this house, mainly with the Scientist.

Marvin may or may not choose to make the proper noises to Grandmother. His lack of exuberance results from the fact that prizes which are won cheaply are of little value, regardless of the cost to the original purchaser.
There is another reason that the child should be denied some of the things he thinks he wants. Although it sounds paradoxical, you actually cheat him of pleasure when you give him too much. A classic example of this saturation principle is evident in my household each year during the Thanksgiving season. Our family is blessed with several of the greatest cooks who ever ruled a kitchen, and several times a year they do their "thing." The traditional Thanksgiving dinner consists of turkey, dressing, cranberries, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, peas, hot rolls, two kinds of salads, and six or eight other dishes.
Prior to my heart attack in 1990, I joined my family in a disgraceful but wonderful gastronomic ritual during the holiday season. We all ate until we were uncomfortable, not saving room for dessert. Then the apple pie, pound cake, and fresh ambrosia were brought to the table. It just didn't seem possible that we could eat another bite, yet somehow we did. Finally, taut family members began to stagger away from their plates, looking for a place to fall.
Later, about three o'clock in the afternoon, the internal pressure began to subside and someone passed the candy around. As the usual time for the evening meal arrived, no one was hungry, yet we had come to expect three meals a day. Turkey and roll sandwiches were constructed and consumed, followed by another helping of pie. By this time, everyone is a bit blank-eyed, absent-mindedly eating what they neither wanted nor enjoyed. This ridiculous ritual continued for two or three days, until the thought of food became rather disgusting. Where as eating ordinarily offers one of life's greatest pleasures, it loses its thrill when the appetite for food is satisfied.

Totally relating to that. You?

There is a broader principle to be considered here. Pleasure occurs when an intense need is satisfied. If there is no need, there is no pleasure. (memorizing this chant for the testing times ahead lol) A simple glass of water is worth more than gold to a man dying of thirst. The analogy to children should be obvious. If you never allow a child to want something, he never enjoys the pleasure of receiving it. (more to chisel in my mind as reference) If you buy him a tricycle before he can walk, a bicycle before he can ride, a car before he can drive, and a diamond ring before he knows the value of money, he accepts these gifts with little pleasure and less appreciation. How unfortunate that such a child never had the chance to long for something , dreaming about it at night and plotting for it by day. He might have gotten desperate enough to work for it. The same possession that brought a yawn could have been a trophy and a treasure. I suggest that you show your child the thrill of temporary deprivation; it's more fun and much less expensive.

There is more on this topic in the book, Check it out if you liked what you read. :)
The Scientist never responds to doing something (such as a chore) for a prize. All he needs to do is wait until our monthly trip to the Dollar Tree where it's so easy for me to say "Pick out one thing each" at a total of a mere $3 for me, and he gets a prize for doing nothing. I've noticed a few signs recently that this has become less of a "Thanks mom!" and more of an expected treat.
I think for our next trip to the Dollar Tree I am going to deny them each their item, not because I can't afford it or because I don't want them to have something fun, but because I am curious about the reaction, and wondering if any red flags will pop up alerting me that this problem is as serious as I fear it is. I do believe my oldest and youngest will pass with flying colors. Ms. Thang has matured a lot in the past couple of years and I believe she will have almost a "non reaction", the same goes for Cutecumber who is still too young and never begs for material things. But the Scientist...I think I'm going to have some work to do there. I really want to give the Scientist the experience of working hard and earning a reward he will appreciate.

I was extremely envious of a friend during the Christmas season for making a really low money limit per child for her Christmas budget. Her children receive many extravagant gifts from their grandparents (as do mine) and I really took something from her example and hope to emulate it soon. It's definitely an area I need to work on. I give my kids so much because I can. I don't want them to expect it. I need to be more aware of how they are reacting to material things and why.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Thrifting again.

I love it when you go thrifting and the cashiers comment on how cute all your stuff is, or "I didn't even know we had that!"

I went out today and totally scored. I know, I always say that, but I always mean it!

My items from Helping Hands.

I've been looking for an office chair since I started the corner office make over. This chair is a Steelcase in excellent condition and really heavy duty. Apparently Steelcase is a well known brand and some vintage Steelcase chairs are sought after. Who knew!? I got the best one of the bunch. Look at those sparkly legs! I needed one without arms and although it looks more brown in this picture, I realized it was a color match to the "vines" in my bedroom artwork! I was initially looking for something in gray, blue, or chocolate brown, but this dark honey color is perfect and I hope it will keep the room from looking too matchy-matchy which is something I tend to do and Ms. Thang teases me for, even in my wardrobe. lol

4 wooden Christmas ornaments. I'm trying to go with traditional and well made, getting rid of the plastic and cheap (besides unbreakable plastic balls of course).

2 heart shaped bowls- It's almost Feb and they were cheap. My Valentine decor storage box still has lots of room left in it. 3 reasons I couldn't say no to. I might end up doing one of those tiered candlestick trays for candy and Valentine treats.

6 books
Fudge Mania and Ramona the Brave (For the scientist)
Simon the Pointer-Never heard of it
Marley and Me
White Fang- wolf book
Where the Red Fern Grows-Ms. Thang is really into dog books lately and recently finished "Where the Red Fern Grows" at school but wanted a copy of the book for her own. She also recently read "Sounder" and "Shiloh" which she bought with Christmas money. Made me proud!

I was sort of on the look out for Jane Eyre whom 2 of my friends are currently reading and made me want to pick up, but it wasn't there.

Camo set for the Scientist. Long sleeves and pants, and I don't think it's ever been worn because even the pulls at the bottoms of the pants are still pressed. He is going to LOVE it.
I also picked up 2 wooden letters which I've been collecting when they are cheap for craft projects and such.

3 NEW small laundry baskets. - One for each kid. Forget those mesh, brightly colored folding hampers. I have decided those things suck. I'm totally going OCD and labeling each one with the new label maker my Honey got for Christmas from my ILs. I can't stop using it! It's so fun.

1 new colander- here is to hoping it doesn't end up in the sand box like all my others.

2 new wall mounting teddy bear clips. I'm not exactly sure what I want to do with these yet. I'm probably going to take the bear off. They are like giant clothes pins. See..

It might be fun to mount these in the laundry room and clamp lost socks up until I find their mate.

Also got this small oval platter. Pretty, simple, great for any occasion. Did a little googling and the pattern is called Opal Innocence. Found the same platter online here for $69!

And here is my shopping partner's haul:

Cutecumber is obsessed with candles and anytime we pass one in the store, she asks to smell them. She's honest if they stink too which I enjoy and have let her smell every candle scent at Walmart one boring afternoon. :P
So she was happy to get this toddler-made-wickless votive to smell to her hearts content. She wanted a holder for it so I let her chose one of the 1,000s available and she picked this cute little thing that simply says LIGHT. (even has a period and everything lol) It has holes all through it which might actually look pretty cool with a candle lit inside of it someday.

*I looked it up too (can you tell I love to do that?) and it's Rae Dunn . She has some really pretty things, all natural white and a rustic/handmade feel to them. Originally this votive was a set of 3 for $30 so I guess you could say this one is worth $10! Good eye Cutecumber!

She also got a mini princess lunchbox and her candle fits in there very well. She is just outside of the photo there, anxiously waiting to have it all back. lol

I paid $8 for everything (including the chair!), and can I just say that I love the man that works the registers most Saturdays? He is always so friendly. As I laid the army camos (seriously like new) on the counter, I mentioned that my son was going to "live" in them once I got them home. "Oh I bet!" he said, and told me that he owned a pair from when he served our country and still enjoyed wearing them. I thanked him for his service and said, "Well, you SHOULD be proud to wear them." "I sure AM!" he said and rang up my items with a smile. It's such a different type of shopping experience at Helping Hands. You have to dig a bit, but it's well worth it. Every little old lady stops and talks to Cutecumber. "Oh you have a candle? You already know what a woman wants don't you pretty girl?"
Of course Cutecumber clutches her little scented candle to her chest in complete terror and fear at the wrinkled hands that reach out to pat her head, but they never seem to care. Cutecumber always warms up and waves to them once I put a little distance between us, showing them her candle as we pass again on the next aisle. lol

I love to go, take my time, and visit with anyone that needs it. Sometimes I learn a thing or two. I saw a wooden sock darner once and thought it was a broken maraca.LOL A man saw me turning it over in my hands and asked if I knew what it was, telling me all about it. I bet I looked so silly to him, shaking it and listening for that maraca rattle. lol I almost bought it, but a little girl had leaned in to listen and though it was pretty cool as well. I took the hint, laid it back down and sure enough, she nabbed it and went running to her mom. :)

I highly suggest checking the place out if you're local and haven't gone before. It's the little room in the back that I love the most, so don't miss it! I enjoy looking at all the kitchen utensils and figuring out what all of them are. There are great plates and bowls for this project and today I even saw a cheese plate for this project. They also have lots of linens which make cheap fabric or pillow case dresses, quite an array of furniture and suitcases too. Google image "suitcase crafts" and get inspired.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

From diaper changes to laundry center

This is the diaper changing center:

Can't see it?

How about now?

I was changing her here most of the time anyway because the diaper changing area in the laundry room was constantly being piled up with laundry. So I moved everything to a drawer in my bedroom. I kind of stole this idea from my MIL who keeps a towel and diapers in a corner on her dresser, which is SO great cause I never have to bring a diaper bag to her house.

Oh yea, that's right, an entire changing table worth of space compacted into one single solitary drawer! In a small house, this is like..THE BEST IDEA I EVER HAD! Not to mention that the garbage can outside is just through the french doors opposite the dresser. No more smelly trash!

So what did I do with the area in the laundry room after losing that big bulky changing table? I made it into a laundry folding station. Quite appropriate for the room don't ya think?

I was doing the folding on my bed and to be honest, if I slacked off, it ended up in laundry baskets at the foot of my bed because I would just be too tired to fold at the end of the night and want to crawl in bed so I just put them back in the baskets. :S
(see all those white plastic hangers..hate em now that I got the new hangers and I'm slowly swapping them out through the whole house. Know anyone that needs hangers?)

And below is the hamper that used to be right IN MY WAY all the time.

I already feel happier doing laundry. Not elation or anything, but I don't tense up in there and that's worth a million bucks (when actually I spent $35 for the table at Walmart and could have waited for a better deal but who wants to wait once a genius plan is unfolding? Plus I made most of that back selling the old changing table. :)

**note** do not leave the diaper creams unattended in a drawer where toddlers can reach it. Speaking from experience here.

**secondary note** Diaper cream comes out of couch cushions in the wash when pretreated with Shout and washed using Oxyclean, and homemade laundry soap.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Stripes in the bedroom

Here is a quick peek at the new paint in the bedroom:

Did stripes on the wall behind the bed. I worried they looked too nautical, but now that it's all coming together, I really like them and think they add a lot more to the room than a plain ol' wall would. :)

Also did the fake out chunky baseboards all around the room:

Few before and afters, you can better tell the paint change here:

I still need to hang a large mirror opposite the bed, and I'm waiting on the new monitor before I post the office nook. I also want to move the mirror hanging on the closet door, but not sure where yet. The master bath door won't close right with it there. hmmm.... but I'm really happy with the results so far.

Little breakdown of what you're looking at-
Cream blanket/comforter- Gift from Grandma a few years ago

Faux mink throw at the foot- Christmas gift from my brother-in-law

Pillow cases and decorative pillows- part of a set from Target where the comforter only lasted a week until I washed it and it shredded into tiny threads. >:[

Paint colors and paint are the cheap stuff from Walmart. Only took one coat because the walls were already a similar color

chunky base boards for the whole room- $14 ..still can't get over that. I think they made a drastic impact too. More on that when I reveal the other side of the room.

bouquet on the tall chest of drawers- cotton picked by my Honey while he was out on a location for our 7th anniversary which he had to work late on. <3

2 art pieces above the bed- Mothers day gift 2 yrs ago that I hinted heavily for :)

flower pieces on the wall by my lamp and mirror above and vases on the tall dresser- thrift shops, less than $5 for it all.

I hope to do a more "put together" post later, but I just couldnt wait to show SOMETHING!

**had to quickly change my background because the old one expired. Picked the first thing I saw and I kind of like it! Must be Ms. Thang influencing me with her turquoise and red phase. I might have to make a fabric banner for their room like the one at the top of the page.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Quick nothings

Bedroom painted and desk area done. It looks fab! Cutecumber spilled a gallon of white paint on the carpet (yes seriously) so I skipped a bit of touch ups for now because after that clean up, I don't want to see any white paint for a long, LONG time. Mainly I just needed to touch up my fake-out chunky base boards (which I love) but realized since I have textured walls, I really need to smooth the faux part with putty and paint, but yeah.. long LONG time until I bring a gallon of paint in the house.

Also can't take pictures because there are piles of laundry on my bed. I'm still playing catch up from the holiday break and the weekend it took to paint the bedroom, and then just a lot of random things that kept me from it. It's nice to have a choice of clothing other than the jeans and t-shirts I was rewashing over and over!

I also want to wait to take photos until I get a new computer monitor because my nice big flat panel screen went out :( I forgot how big and bulk (yet tiny little screen) the old monitor was until I had to pull it out again as a temporary fix. It takes up all the new wide open desk space I finally achieved and reduced it to less than I had before. In an ironic twist, my grandmother bought me a new monitor for Christmas not knowing that I already had one and I returned it and bought Honey an Ereader thingy. Sigh..maybe I can find something on craigslist, otherwise I may be waiting until the income tax check comes in.

Speaking of that, I have a million dollar plan for that check. lol

I want to make an extra house payment and bulk up the savings a bit.

get bunk beds for the girls room, they also need new closet doors (did I mention the scientist shattered one of the mirrored doors?) and Ms. Thang is already asking for a new paint scheme in turquoise and red. She always picks the loudest colors!

get rid of the Scientists carpet (thinking of peel and stick until he is old enough to care for new carpet) in a parkay type design. I don't know yet. I'm still undecided. Where can I look at a large variety?

Pay someone to haul off the pile of "tree" in the back yard (cut that down..hmm..was it 2 yrs ago now?) ugh

....and about a million other things, but these are just MY plans. I'm sure Honey has a million dollars worth of alternative plans. lol

Want to see the Craigslist options I have for bunk beds?

At $75 these are definitely in my price range, but black? Can I make that work and do I really want to paint them? Black is so hard to cover, and there are a million little parts.

These are the ones I truly LOVE and want, but $850...probably not gonna happen. :(

There are quite a few oak colored beds similar to the white one pictured, but not with the dresser and in the 500-700 range. Still a bit on the high side for me. There is also a primary colored metal set for $160, but I'd have to spray paint it and at that price I'd probably just go with the simple black set above, which I emailed about and still haven't heard anything so it's probably gone. So just cross your fingers and toes that the white set I love will still be there when the check comes in and I can talk them down at least a little bit, or something better comes along between now and then.

Friday, January 7, 2011

My brother

I have bit of a guilt trip going on before I even write this. The intentions of this blog have always been about ME and talking about the things that I love, the things that make me happy, a place to vent MY feelings and insecurities. I'm actually a really open person once you get to know me, and I'll share things about myself that most people probably wouldn't, but that also makes me the type of person that I am. I lack shame and often talk too much about myself, but on the other hand, I rarely feel that I'm better than anyone else and I like that about me.

For once I feel a little restricted in what I say here, but it's a subject that is weighing on me heavily and I like to use this place as a vent, and also to look back on what I write and evaluate myself, finding the true core of my problems and addressing it. I feel reserved to write about it because the subject matter is about my brother and includes information about him that he probably would not readily share with others. However, this blog IS somewhat under the radar (I do not have it listed in searches) and my readers are really few, and limited to my friends and family so I have decided to post about it as I would any of my other problems. I hope you respect that I am sharing my views and opinions on issues not just about myself, but my loved ones and trust that you will never use the information to hurt someone I love.

Now that I feel a bit less reserved, let me pour out my heart. :)

My brother is a year younger than I am. We grew up extremely close. For most of my life growing up, my mom raised us alone, so being a single mother, she worked a lot and we didn't have much extra money to do many extracurricular activities. My brother and I spent a lot of time together and we hung out with the same group of kids staying at whichever apartment complex we were living.
My brother has always been the outgoing one. As a kid he made friends in an instant because he was brave enough to run over and just start playing. He had that same "high on life" attitude that I also see in my oldest daughter. Just an overall eagerness to do something fun and a carefree attitude that made him easy to get along with, always ready to go to the greatest lengths to get you to laugh and enjoy his company. He loved everyone like they were family, a loyal friend but wore his emotions on his sleeve. I, being the more reserved kid, hanging back and observing before trusting someone enough to be my friend, expected every person to be rude and waited for someone to be nice before testing out the waters of friendship. My brother, on the other hand, was the opposite, expecting everyone to be wonderful and then being shocked when anyone was hateful or mean. I remember watching him get hurt again and again, when someone was mean to him. He really took it to heart. He'd cry in disbelieve in the earlier ages, but as grew up and puberty came on, the reaction to that pain was less sadness and more anger. He felt betrayed by people easily and would erupt in rage that someone could be so disloyal, when I viewed the same things as people being people, and fairly minor issues.
When he would try and get justice for these "wrong doings" he was blown off by teachers and other authority figures and he felt his feelings were never important or justified even though he WAS in the right. The issues were just not viewed as importantly as they were to my brother. And so, a decline in his respect for authority began.
Through the years he had his ups and downs. Always hanging with "the misfits" because he felt loved and belonged there. Druggies are a dangerous group of misfits and after a tough break up and the death of a close friend, my brother fell into that category as well. Family tried to help, he reached out to those already on their way down. He ended up in jail where my family and I all thought he would get the wake up call he needed. He stayed there for a year and when he came out, he quickly went back to his old ways, even delving deeper into the party scene. We were very estranged at that point. He was hard to contact by phone and even harder to visit with in person. He was a stranger to me.
Then one day I get a call and he informs me that he is going to be a father. I heard him sounding more like his old self than I had in years. Having gone through hard times myself, even dabbling in drugs in the past and coming out of it all for the love of my children, I had really high hopes.
I didn't hear from him again for a very long time. He pretty much disappeared, hiding from all family. Finally we found out that the mother of his child had doubts that it was my brother's baby and was not contacting him at all. I think my brother was in a really hard place of wanting to hate her for tricking him and being "disloyal" and "deceitful" but a really big part of him wanted to keep loving her and hoping the baby was his.
In 2009 my dad planned a huge summer reunion on his property in AK. My grandparents said they would try and find my brother and bring him along. We all doubted it, but hoped he'd show up. On the way there, I got a call on my phone and found out that my brother had been invited to the hospital to visit his SON that was just born and although it was shocking and I really didn't know what to think about it all (was this boy even his?) I felt..happy. Actually, I just felt love for this tiny little human I had barely heard about.
Surprisingly my brother came with my grandparents and showed up for our AK camping reunion. It was a good decision. The babies mother needed time to soak it all in and figure things out. My brother needed time to do the same. He sat there and beamed, and started to imagine a life with his son.
Unfortunately he imagined a life with his son and with the mother of the child and this was not how events happened. Frustration with love and finances ensued and my brother found himself partying to escape the heart ache. He watched as the mother of his child was going through hard times herself and knew he would need to take more responsibility for his son very soon, but he was in a horrible living situation, especially for a baby, and no money to get out of it. He made a bad decision and went to a big city to do a big drug deal for "easy" and fast cash, where he was caught and arrested. Only a month or so later, the mother of his child was also arrested for past charges and so, my nephew was left, not even a year old, without either of his parents.
My mom, grandmother and the baby's other grandmother, took on custody and we watched him turn one while we waited to find out when either my brother or the baby's mother would be released. Almost a year later (would be a year on Feb 2nd) my brother has an opportunity to be released today, or continue on for the full 2yr sentence he received. The baby's mother's release date is still undetermined.
I am a ball of emotions.

Elated that may be reunited with his son soon.
Scared that he will fall back into his old ways as quickly as he did before.
Hopeful that the love and new responsibility of his son will keep him straight.
Worried that he will be overloaded with finding a job, a home, and the responsibility of being a first time dad and sole provider for a toddler.
Fear that he will not be released and have to stay in for another year.

Through letters I know that the drug addicted stranger is not coming out of prison ...

Praise god I just literally got the call that he is RELEASED!!!!!!! Now I have to go cry for like an hour and relieve a full years worth of tears. I'll continue this later if I have time since I'll be hugging my brother as much as I can now. <3

I'm pressing post without editing so scuse me, but I want this saved.
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