Thursday, December 25, 2008

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Halfway there!

I'm halfway through my week of finals. Three down, and three to go! This week is insane. I'm tired, stressed, and can't wait for it to be over with!

The girls made these today:

I got the idea from: Just Like Martha. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Another project completed, plus an ER trip.

I finished another project on my to-do list. I crocheted a hat for a friend based on one worn by Bella in the Twilight movie. I loosely based it on this pattern, but had to make a number of changes to it so that it would fit correctly. I used Caron Simply Soft Eco in Charcoal to make it - it's a new kind of yarn from Caron that recycles .6 plastic bottles per skein - it's 80% acrylic and 20% NatureSpun. I used two strands of the yarn held together, with an I hook. When I originally made the hat according to the directions (without checking gauge, so I don't know if the difference were due to the yarn, my tension, or the pattern itself), it came out HUGE! So I omitted some increases (so there were only 10 stitches in between the bands) and several rows to shorten it. I had such a hard time keeping it a surprise until she got it in the mail, but I'm glad that I did! I think she likes it!

As for the ER trip, the kids were running around the house, playing and goofing acround. Nathanial scared Cecilia, who accidentally pushed Niko, who fell in the kitchen and hit his face on the bench. He got a small cut right under his lip, that did the nasty gaping open that deep cuts do. Hubby and I took him to the ER since it wasn't in a place we could put a butterfly bandage on. They cleaned it up, and closed it with about 7 layers of Dermabond (aka SuperGlue). My little tough guy!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Monday - Honey Walnut Shrimp with Candied Walnuts, Rice, and Broccoli

Tuesday - Turkey Carcass soup (with carrots, celery, onion, and homestyle noodles)

Wednesday - Stirfry London Broil (with broccoli, mushrooms, onions, cilantro, and tomatoes in a homemade stir-fry sauce of soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, garlic powder, and dried red peppers) over a bed of rice

Thursday - Lil Smokies mini sausages in Hickory Honey BBQ Sauce with Country Fried Potatoes (diced potatoes and onions fried in butter and canola oil, with seasoned salt and pepper), and Creamed Spinach or Corn

Friday - Sushi Night

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Recycling Catalogs into Ornaments

I came across a neat little project on Craftster, that linked to this cool tutorial. I wanted to try my hand at it, so I grabbed a JCPenney catalog that came in the mail the other day, and started folding while watching TV. This is what I just finished tonight:

Give it a try! I think I'm going to make another one, for my Geography professor, out of a copy of a map that she worked on (that's her "other" job, cartography).

I also finished one more Knifty Knitter hat, so I only have to finish one more of those. What projects would you like to complete in the next few weeks?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Finished projects!

Well, they have nothing to do with the house... But I did complete a couple of things!

First up, a hat from the knifty knitter loom. Made with two strands Lion Wool, with a rolled brim... this one is probably going to be for Abbi for Christmas:

And second, a crocheted hat in green WoolEase (up close it has little specks of blue and yellow in it too), for Niko. I have the edge rolled up twice in this photo, but we can unroll it to cover more of his ears when it's cold:

Simple instructions for the crocheted hat: Ch 35, DC into 2nd ch from hook, DC across, ch 3, DC across in back loop only, repeat until it's long enough to wrap around the head, slip-stitch together. Use a length of yarn to weave in and out on one of the ends and pull together to form the top of the hat, knot it off, and you're done. You can add a puffball or something to the top if desired, and roll up the brim or leave it down. Make the original chain longer or shorter for different size heads!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Just checking in...

As with all projects around here, the dresser and all of the girls' room stuff is still sitting on the back burner. There's only three weeks left in this semester though, so I should be getting back to that stuff soon!

After last week's bout with the stomach flu, I was very glad to get out of the house on Saturday for my Service Learning class' last work day. We spent several hours removing sticky eupatorium from Monrovia Canyon (along with fig trees), and we also found some fun little friends. Say hello to Mr. Newt:
This little guy got named Sebastian before being released.

Our group of 30 students was then evacuated from the canyon by the Fire Department. They were closing down recreational areas so that they could make sure to focus of their resources on fighting all of the wildfires that popped up around Southern CA this weekend. We got a lot done though! More pictures here.

I am working on a project though... Here's a sneak peek:

Friday, November 14, 2008

Day 5? I think.

yesterday's list:
-PTA meeting at the girls' school (had to go home and print out some membership cards ASAP instead)
-re-picking up the toys that are the bane of my existence Made the kids pick up the living room.... can't tell today though
-planting some surprises from the House Fairy because my girls have kept their room clean for THREE days (shocking!) The girls were very excited to find notebooks and fairy dust from the House Fairy
-attempting to tackle the laundry piles that are increasing exponentially Didn't touch them
-getting some Geography homework done and preparing for this weekend's field trip Did nothing
-building a cozy reading nook (idea from The Crafty Crow) under the kitchen table for today's homework Did this, kids had a blast and even wanted to eat dinner under there

Also completed:
-Went to library and returned DVDs and books borrowed on Saturday, picked out a new stack of books (with the 3 girls)
-Came home and crawled into bed because the kids' stomach flu hit me, hard

-Stayed in bed most of the day
-Emailed my Friday instructors and let them know I wouldn't be in class today, arranged a makeup exam for Geography lab
-Kept the 2 kids that stayed home sick stocked up with saltines and water in between their dashes to the bathroom
-Repeatedly Lysol'd things around the house
-Watched a lot of BBC
-Made 3 newborn caps from stained-up toddler tees for Caps to Cap-Haitien Project (the cool thing about using the stained up tees that I would have just thrown out was that by careful placement of the pattern, I was able to avoid the stains that went down the center/chest of the shirts, and was able to make 3 usable, and cute, life-saving caps (and my 8y/o got to help)

The tees before...

...and After!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Day 3 Update and on to Day 4

Well, I did get my math homework finished, and I did study for my biology exam... though since I had to wait until the kids were asleep to tackle those, I didn't get to bed myself until nearly midnight. Also, from yesterday's to do list, I did put clean sheets on our bed, and I did clean the back bathroom... but I have not yet conquered the piles of laundry. Dinner last night was chicken soup, made from the leftover Tuesday night baked chicken, as per the birthday girl's request. For dessert, we had some fun little trifles in fancy champagne and wine glasses. Since the hubby and I don't drink, the fancy glasses just sit in the cupboard, and this post from the Pioneer Woman was inspiration enough! Breezy and I baked a packaged angel food cake (none were available already baked at our store), and topped them with diced strawberries, and light store-brand whipped topping. Picture to come later!

I had school today, so that took up most of my morning, and now I have eaten, cleaned off the table, did a load of dishes, and did a water change on one of my fish tanks. Remaining on today's to-do list:
-PTA meeting at the girls' school
-re-picking up the toys that are the bane of my existence
-planting some surprises from the House Fairy because my girls have kept their room clean for THREE days (shocking!)
-attempting to tackle the laundry piles that are increasing exponentially
-getting some Geography homework done and preparing for this weekend's field trip
-building a cozy reading nook (idea from The Crafty Crow) under the kitchen table for today's homework

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Day Three - "Haven"izing Continues

I think today is going to be another day of not planning on that much, and hoping that I get SOMETHING done by the end of the day. Breezy turns 10 years old today, and instead of bringing cupcakes or doughnuts to her class, I am stuck at home with sick kids. Her 4 y/o brother started off our day by becoming the next victim of the stomach bug that the kids are passing around like a twisted game of Hot Potato.

While Monica at Homespun Heart is using the day to catch up on some of the little projects that we all tend to put off, I'll be trying to finish up my math homework and get in some studying for a biology exam tomorrow. On the home front, I need to clean the back bathroom, put clean sheets on our bed, and tackle the last two big piles of clean stuff in our bedroom... one pile is nothing but towels and linens, and the other is a mixed up pile of clothes belonging to me, the Hubs, and the little guy. With three kids home sick, and one perfecting his 50-feet porcelain dash, this is as ambitious as I can get today.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Making your home a haven (part 2 - Tuesday).

I didn't make a list of stuff to do today, since I was so worn out when I woke up. Two of the girls kept waking me up during the night with a stomach problem, which left me with a lot more laundry and towels to be dealt with today. What DID I get done today?

I emptied and filled the dishwasher again. Cleaned off the stove from dinner last night (spaghetti always makes a mess). Cleaned out the litter box. Cleaned the heck out of the front bathroom - toilet, counters, floor, the works. Went to the hardware store and bought a new toilet seat and installed it. Cleaned the girls' room (which is an all day chore in itself), including cleaning out the closet and moving all the furniture to vacuum. New sheets on all their beds. Put away a HUGE basket of laundry in their room (seriously, probably about 6 loads worth of laundry).

Unfortunately, the toys are already taking over the living room. It never lasts long!

Monday, November 10, 2008

What I actually got done.

I always overplan. I knew I wasn't going to get everything on my list done, but at least it served to keep me motivated for most of the day.

So here's what we got done... I had the kids empty the pantry out and put everything on the kitchen table. We wiped down the shelves, and then they pretended it was an elevator for a while.


Going up!


We filled it back up, and then did the same to the spice cabinet (the small cabinet next to the stove, houses all of the spices, cooking sprays, tea, and coffee). No pictures of that though! We also emptied and filled the dishwasher, but somehow it never got turned on. Oops.

Then.... we sock mopped! The kids all put on Daddy and Big Brother socks, inside out, I squirted cleaner on the floor, and they slipped and slided all over the kitchen floor. When they were done, I mopped up the excess soap and water, and cleaned around the edges of the room. It's not a perfect job, but like Flylady says, even housework that isn't done to perfection is still a blessing to your family!

Sock mopping.

While I went out to the garage to handle some laundry, they used some emptied out containers from the pantry & spice cabinet cleaning to have their own "marching band". Tinkerbell used a harmonica, while Pony and Superman drummed on a coffee can and a breadcrumb can.

We took a break for a while, and after they picked up the toys in the living room, we ate lunch picnic-style on the floor. After lunch, it was time to really clean up the living room. As you can see... it was a mess and a half before. The smaller pile of junk was just what was underneath the coffee table from the last WEEK. My kids are piggies. I did get the couch and end table cleared off, all of the junk on the floor picked up and put away properly, and mopped this half of the room. I'm not quite done with the living room yet; the bottom of the coffee table still has a lot of mail and magazines that need to be sorted through. And all the laundry that was on the couch got added to the piles already in the bedroom, so I have a MEGA pile to contend with tonight. Wish me luck!



I told you I'd make you feel better.


Making my house a haven.

Monica over at The Homespun Heart is hosting a Making Your Home a Haven week. Today, she decided to focus on tidying her home... unfortunately, between having five kids and attending school full-time myself, tidying my home is likely to take the whole week. I do have school off until Thursday, thanks to the holiday tomorrow, so I am going to try to invest as much time as possible, and include the kids!!

Today's focus is going to be on my kitchen and living room, as well as a side focus on laundry. We'll be doing the following:
- Clean out the pantry
- Clean out the spice cabinet
- Catch up on dishes
- Clean off the counters, cabinets, and table
- Mop the floor
- Put away all the clean laundry that is currently in the house
- Clean sheets on all the beds
- Pick up all the toys in the living room and dust
- Mop the living room and hallway

We'll try to take before and after pictures as much as possible... and be forewarned... my pictures will make you feel 10,000,000x better about your own home. I promise.

Friday, October 24, 2008

A rare night out.

Thanks to this post at Money Saving Mom, my hubby and I got free tickets to see "The Rainmaker" at A Noise Within.
We got there about 50 minutes before the play started, so we found parking, and then went out to eat at a small Chinese restaurant two doors down. The theater was very small and intimate, and it was a very enjoyable evening. Of course, we didn't get home until nearly midnight, so I am more tired than usual today! It was so nice to be able to go to the theater with my husband though... it has been about 9 years since the last time we were able to go see something (The Pirates of Penzance!), so this was a very special treat! Many, many thanks to Crystal for posting the information about Free Night of Theater!!

As far as the dresser project goes, the hole has now been filled with wood putty, and then sanded flat. I am hoping that I can get it all sanded this weekend... but I do have to study for a math midterm and get a batch of homework done for my accounting class.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Progress at a snail's pace.

I finally got around to doing some work on the dresser. I removed all of the hardware and scrubbed it down.

My dad started the repair job on the hole. He took a small piece of board and held it in place while I drilled a hole. He added some Gorilla Glue to the board, then threaded a bolt through the board and the hole in the dresser, and tightened it in place with a strip of metal and a wingnut. This is acting as a vice and smushing all of the small pieces of wood so that they lay flat. When it is dry, we will remove the bolt and fill in the hole with wood putty. When the putty dries, it will be time to sand the whole thing down.

One thing I didn't mention when I introduced the dresser is that the man that I bought it from was a smoker. There is definitely a tobacco odor about the piece, though it has lightened considerably already. I've read a bunch of different techinques on how to remove the smell, but would like to hear from you guys too. I've rubbed down the entire inside with dryer sheets, and I'm going to set some bowls of vinegar in the drawers as well.

I read this answer on Yahoo!Answers, and it sounds interesting, but I'm afraid to use something like kerosene on something that will be going in my childrens' bedroom!
"What I can suggest which works quite well on wood furniture(but of course not on upholstery) is to buy a quart of ordinary odorless kerosene, get the odorless kind, at your local hardware and mix that with about a pint of mineral oil purchased at the drug store. . Take and wipe down the entire outside, inside and everywhere you can get at including the drawer sides, front and back and inside. And of course, the inside of the cabinet. You need to apply that material with a large brush in places a rag isnt suited for and let it soak in a bit, then wipe it clean. You can apply this material safely to the outside finish of the furniture, it will not attack the varnish at all. Dont forget, to even get at the mirror, back and front. "

Now, that brings me to a new subject. My mom bought this shelf for me many years ago... Probably about 7 or 8 years ago, and it has sat in my garage the whole time. I just don't have room in my living room for it, my kitchen nook is nothing but windows, and I don't have a dining room. I've been thinking about giving it a coat of white paint and hanging it above my oldest daughter's bed. It's just about the same width as her twin bed, and I was thinking she could use it for books or knick knacks. Now, if you know me at all, it's hard enough for me to consider painting wood furniture at all, and then the idea of using a piece for something other than what it was intended is a huge leap of the imagination. What do you think of repurposing and repainting this piece?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The dresser, the girls' room, and stuff.

I got this dresser today through Craigslist. It was made in 1964 so it's been through a lot... there's a small hole on one side that will need to be patched, but other than that, it's in good condition. I paid $30 for it, which was the man's asking price. I'm still trying to convince myself that it's a good deal. In comparison to what I have seen in the thrift stores lately, it's practically new. I almost paid $60 for a dresser this past weekend at Goodwill that had to have been covered in at least 15 layers of paint. The Community Thrift Store up on Arrow wanted $40 for a particle-board dresser that was covered in stickers and graffiti, and boasted two broken drawers. Salvation Army priced a small 3-drawer dresser with a broken drawer, again constructed out of particle board and bubbling up veneer for $30. So yeah, I'm going to need to do some work on this dresser (and any advice is appreciated), but on the whole it seems like a bargain compared to what else is available here.

I'm going to paint it white to match the girls' "new" bedroom. I also need to paint the hardware... I'm trying to decide between black or a brushed nickle.

Which would you choose?

For those of you with experience in painting furniture hardware, what brand or type of spray paint do you recommend? Do you need to somehow prime or pretreat the hardware?

These are some of the things that are going into their room. The walls are painted "Sassy Lilac". There's the quilts with butterflies that match the sham, lavendar sheers, and the furry purple rug. I am painting all of their furniture white - white bunk beds, white twin bed, white bookcase, and white dresser.

This is a catalog picture from where I ordered the bedding, to give you an idea of what it looks like as a whole:

A mirror from Dollar Tree that we painted white:

A horse frame from the thrift store, painted white, with pictures of my middle girl going horseback riding for her birthday:

Hubby painting the room... The Ikea bookshelf will hopefully be painted white and placed in between their beds. I'd like the lower two shelves to be baskets or fabric bins for toys, the middle shelf for a table lamp and some knicknacks, and then books on the top two shelves. The uppermost shelf will probably house their Vermont Teddies. It's being "recycled" from our living room.


I decided I need a little place on the web to put my projects on. My house is small. It's falling apart. It needs a lot of work to make it into a more beautiful place. I'm so inspired by some of the great blogs that I read, seeing what people can do with roadside finds, clearance rack scores, and thrift store treasures. I'm also hoping that by putting stuff up here, it will force me to actually complete projects!!