Archive for the ‘homemaking’ Category

  • What Life is Like With 3

    Date: 2012.05.01 | Category: homemaking, just blabbing, parenting | Response: 1

    Well, I admit it. Having three kids is kicking me in the butt. We’re actually doing fine; we eat 3 meals a day plus a snack, we change out of our pajamas (most days!), we’ve made it to church every week since James was 3 weeks old. You know, we’re fine. But I am exhausted! Chris has track season right now, so 4 days a week he doesn’t get home til 5:30 or 6 which is when I try to serve dinner so I’m doing all that without help- and with the addition of my 2 nephews on Mondays and Thursdays. Plus he’s gone all day Saturdays at track meets. James is doing great at giving me long stretches of sleep at night, but JT has started having nightmares and calling for us in the middle of the night several times a week. Gone are the days of sleeping in until 8 or 9, at least one or two of the kids is up by 7 am most days. Which makes it awfully hard for me to take a shower, so I’m lucky to get one every other day lately. Odds of me getting more than half an hour of all three (or five) kids resting at the same time in the afternoon are pretty low. Maybe twice a week I get a decent break- so then it’s always a big decision… do I sleep? shower? start dinner? catch up on email? pay bills? blog?

    Anyway, all that to say- Hi. I’ve missed you. Here’s what’s been happening around here lately…

    JT has started showing a lot more independence. He’s dressing himself most days, using the potty on his own, helping with snack and meals, doing little things to help with James and Kate. He is a great big brother!

    The other day we got the kids loaded up in the car to head to church. While clicking JT in to his seat we noticed he was wearing socks, but no shoes. So I ran in the house and grabbed a pair. Once we got to church I was helping him put them on and I discovered that he was wearing a pair of jeans under his khaki pants! This week he wore his pajama bottoms under his pants. Silly silly boy.

    JT watched me using the toilet the other day and asked “Mama, is that tricky how you go pee pee without a penis?”

    We had an exercise bike in our foyer and JT pushed it across the room. I asked him how he did it and he said “Well, I was doing really hard work!”

    JT climbed up so his feet were higher than my head at the playground!

    JT broke out in some wicked hives in the middle of the night all over his legs. He started calling them his “bubblygerks”.

    Kate gets super possessive of James. When she’s holding or hugging him she doesn’t want any help and heaven forbid someone else wants a turn!

    Kate was watching me breastfeed and noticed the blue veins on my breasts. She became very concerned and said “Blue! Blue! No drawing!” She thought someone had drawn on me.

    (please note that two of us are still in our jammies!)

    Kate loves to pick out her own hair bows! She has also taken to carrying a pair of footie pajamas around as her lovey. Lucky for us she’s not picky about which pair!

    Kate is definitely two- she’s got a real willful streak and she’s likely to melt down over any small injustice. But she’s still super sweet, so kind, really funny and loves to cuddle in with me every chance she gets.

    The good news is we’re all happy. The kids love James and don’t seem resentful of the time he takes at all.

    We loved having Grandma and Grandpa here for three weeks in March and then our friend Daniel here during spring break. That added some nice variety and was a lot of help!

    (please note the kids are actually fighting over the baby- and they’re in their jammies!)

    Both big kids are go go go all the time. They are super adventuresome and always climbing and jumping and creating and getting into stuff!

    We’ve been having lots of fun playing hide and seek, coloring and using stickers, playing outside (Oh thank you God for the warm spring weather we’ve had!), building with blocks, and reading books.

    It’s nearly impossible to get the kids to sit still long enough to take a picture.

    This is the best Easter picture we got of the family- do you see how crazed we look?!?

    The sweet boy who tipped us over the edge!

    James just turned two months old, he weighs 13 pounds 11 ounces which is 87%. He’s a great eater!

    He’s smiling and noticing his toys and the people around him now. He’s a great sleeper and he’s pretty easy going.

    So you see why I haven’t been on the computer much lately. Most of my Facebook and email time is on the phone while I’m breastfeeding. The blog has just had to go for now. Thanks for understanding, I’ll be around as often as I can!

  • She’s movin’ on up!

    Date: 2012.01.04 | Category: homemaking, parenting | Response: 0

    Otherwise titled “How I Spent my Christmas Vacation” or “The Yellow Room Gets a Makeover”.

    Since Baby #3 is coming sometime in the next two months we needed to get cracking on cleaning out Kate’s new room so we could move her out of the nursery.  Unfortunately, the yellow room was not only serving as a guest room, craft room and wrapping room, but it had also become the dumping ground for things we didn’t know what to do with.  Papers from the closing of my condo in 2001?  Yup.  Yearbooks?  Yup.  Old financial records?  Yup.  3 boxes labeled “Chris junk”?  Yup.  14 years of bible studies?  Yup.  I vowed that I was not going to lug all those boxes down to the basement until they had been purged and sorted and organized.

    Here’s how the room looked this Spring…

    Totally out of control.  So embarrassing, really.  Not particularly inviting for guests or a relaxing place for crafting.  We made a little bit of progress over the summer, but things kind of stalled when the school year started.  So, Chris and I spent 3 or 4 evenings after Christmas sorting paperwork and hauling things from the second floor down to the basement and from the basement up to the second floor.  The desk and file cabinet had to go down to make room for a dresser (the one I painted months ago- I am so glad I did that before I got big pregnant!) and chair (an extra we had in the basement).  Thank you Matt and Robb for helping us haul the furniture- it was a bit much for this pregnant lady!

    Here’s Chris about halfway through the great purge of 2011.

    Don’t be fooled- that’s totally a fake smile.  This was not a fun task!

    But look how cute Kate’s big girl room turned out!

    I LOVE the letters that Auntie Kristin made for Kate- they double as hair bow storage and I think they’re so fun!

    We ended up adding black out curtains OVER our black out blinds because this room is much brighter than Kate’s old room and she was having a hard time napping in here.  We’re big fans of sleep at our house, so we fixed that problem quick!

    We debated about setting up our second crib in here for Kate, but decided to give the bed a try- so far so good!  Bedtime has been easy, naps are a little harder, but we still have the pack n play as a back up in case we need it.  I’m still looking for a headboard for her new bed, hopefully something will come up on craigslist soon!

    Doesn’t she look tiny in her full size bed?  Sweet girl.

    We decided against decorating her room with any kind of a theme- in a few years when we have an idea of what Kate likes and wants we may change things around for her, but for now the existing yellow floral bedding and some of the decor from her old room work just fine.  She is thrilled and loves running between the nursery and her new room and saying “hi bed”, “hi Katie’s room”, “hi chair”.  It’s so cute.

    I’m calling this project a success!  Now to put the nursery back together and to tackle the mess in the basement…

  • Three quick tree decorating tips!

    Date: 2011.11.25 | Category: Christmas, homemaking | Response: 0

    We’re a two tree house.  We buy a 6-7 foot real tree for the front room and decorate it with colored lights and all of our handmade ornaments.  Then we put up the 13 foot fake tree in the family room for the store bought ornaments and that one is pre-lit with white lights.  Call me crazy- I know it’s true.  I love Christmas!

    Last year we bought a fake tree from Target  for the front room during the after Christmas sales.  (I think it was 90% off, but I can’t remember how much we paid for it.)  We hated to do it, but our tree last year looked dead and dropped half of it’s needles well before Christmas.  It was pathetic.  And we’ve had years where our tree fell over.  And years where we had bug infestations.  And it’s a hassle.  And it was just time.  This new tree is really nice, it’s one of those ones with a lot of details that help it look more real.  But it has white lights.  Now don’t get me wrong, I love white lights, but we already have the big tree with white lights and I like the tree in the front room to have colored lights.  So guess what we did.  Oh yes, that’s right.  We added colored lights right on top of the white lights!  And it looks great!  Both the white and colored lights are LED so they blend in nicely together.

    So tip number one is don’t feel tied to white lights if you want colored- there is no reason you can’t add some.  And really, it’s not like you can have too many lights on the tree!

    My second tip is even easier.  Fluffing fake trees and garland is a pain.  Literally.  My hands always end up scratched and cut and dried out after primping the tree.  So I throw on my gardening gloves.  It makes the job so much more pleasant!

    My third tip is going to be hard to believe, but don’t be afraid to enlist the help of your kids!  We were totally surprised, but JT LOVED decorating the tree this year and stuck with it through to the end.  He did a great job too!  If only he were a little taller…

    There will be more and more Christmas coming in the next few days and weeks, so stay tuned!

  • What my house really looks like

    Date: 2011.10.21 | Category: homemaking | Response: 4

    I thought you all might enjoy a sneak peak into my real life.  Not the “I’ve cleaned the laundry room so I can take pictures” life, but the “my son spent two hours awake in his room during naptime today” life.  The “JT must make the biggest mess possible in the short amount of time” life.  It’s glamorous, let me assure you.

    All of these pictures were taken during the past week.  Not all of the messes have been cleaned up.

    They say a picture is worth a thousand words.  Well, there are 9000 words for you.

  • A quick redo

    Date: 2011.10.05 | Category: homemaking | Response: 0

    I’ve started storing food that I’ve been stockpiling on top of the washing machine.  This was mostly fine except I’ve been meaning to show you all the AMAZING laundry/mud room redo that we finished last year and I really wanted to clean up the laundry room first.  And when I started to clean everything so I could take pictures the other day I didn’t want to have boxes of food in my after photos.

    I mean really, it looked like this!

    The wheels in my head started turning and all of a sudden I came up with the perfect solution!

    Our dining room hutch has a section where I’ve been cramming all of our tablecloths.

    They were hard to access, totally wrinkled, and I could barely close the door!

    So I hung the tablecloths and table runners in the coat closet and folded the napkins and place mats into two drawers in the hutch that were empty anyway.  I have a plan to make labels for each hanger with the size of the tablecloth and how many leaves it fits with.

    Then I took all of the teacups down from the top shelf of the cupboard  where I keep the dishes.  I had three sets up there!  The cups and saucers for our regular dishes, our china and our Christmas china were all up there- and I never use any of them!

    Sorry, I forgot to take a picture before I took them all out- but they filled the whole top shelf!

    I put the real china in protective cases and stacked the mugs for our every day dishes.

    Next I attacked the pantry- you can’t see it, but behind the food on the top shelf are two bins full of tea and hot cocoa and cider.  I also had tea that we use more often in the coffee cupboard- making it hard to know what we have and where to find it!

    All of the beverage choices were moved up to the top shelf of the cabinet where I keep the dishes- now they are all in the same spot and the most frequently used items are easy to reach.

    This freed up most of the top shelf of the pantry for all of the food that was being stored in the laundry room.

    Whew!  It was a fairly quick and simple shuffle that freed up a ton of space, makes more sense, makes everything easier to find, and gave me the opportunity to clean out some old items that have expired or we just won’t ever use!

    And now I can finally post the laundry room pictures!  Soon…

  • What have I been up to this month?

    Date: 2011.09.26 | Category: crafts, home improvement, homemaking, saving money | Response: 1

    I know I haven’t been blogging much lately, but it’s hard to sum up what I’ve been doing instead.  Hmmm… lets see.  Raising a 3 year old and an 18 month old.  Growing a human being (we just found out that it’s a boy!).  Napping as often as possible.  Hitting the fall consignment sales and garage sales for bargains.  Making more denim purses (apparently I’m taking orders and selling them now!).  Making more jewelry.  Swapping out Kate’s 12 month wardrobe for her 18 month wardrobe (yes, she’s 19 months!) and finally hauling all of her 6 and 9 month stuff down to the basement.  Swapping out my regular wardrobe for my maternity wardrobe.  Hanging out with my parents for 2 weeks.  Dealing with the stomach bug that worked it’s way through each member of our family.  Dealing with the cough/cold that’s still working it’s way through each member of our family.  Celebrating my birthday with week long festivities (lunch and pedicures with my sis in law, date night, Rockies/Giants game, family birthday party, party with girl friends).  Setting up the new sewing machine I got for my birthday (hooray!).  Watching the first 3 seasons of Bones on Netflix (I love this show, but sometimes there are serious plot flaws.  Really?  Addy?  Not to mention it’s pretty gross).  Grabbing a free dresser from the side of the road.  Grabbing another free dresser from a family at church.  Painting both dressers white.  Buying 2 bookshelves for $2 each at a garage sale and settling them in the basement closet for more storage.  Surfing the blogs and pinterest for inspiration.  Experimenting with styling my cute new hair cut.

    I don’t have pictures of everything that’s been going on, but here’s what I’ve got…

    JT made a “bee costume” and ran around the house buzzing for days!

    Silly Kate is reading a book upside down and through her legs!

    Pink and red necklace, earrings and bracelet.

    Blue and black set, I think it’s my favorite one that I’ve made!

    Turquoise (teal? aqua?)  The strands are separate so I can wear one or all three!

    First purse I’ve tried with anything other than jeans- I like how it turned out!

    So I made a second one that way!

    I also added these little bows that I made to coordinate.

    This bag is made out of toddler jeans- so cute and a great gift for his mom!

    Fabric for 3 more bags.

    Still looks good a week later!

    Go Giants!

    New sewing machine- it has so many great stitches!  I can’t wait to experiment!

    18 weeks

    It’s a boy!

    This dresser will go in Kate’s new room when we get the guest room cleared out.  We have crystal knobs that match her desk for it.

    This dresser will go in the nursery.  I picked it up from the side of the road on garbage day.  It had at least 4 (some had more) holes in each drawer for different knob configurations over the years- and no two drawers had the same configuration!  I had to fill a lot of holes.

    Cute blue and white hardware we picked up at Hobby Lobby (or potty dobby as JT called it!)- the knobs will go on the tall dresser that’s already in the nursery (since I’m stealing the crystal ones for Kate) and the pulls will go on the new dresser.  I got the knobs on clearance- hooray!

    More storage in the basement for $4!  This closet now houses all of my wrapping supplies, birthday and Christmas gifts (I love to buy early), our 2nd crib, and some craft supplies.  We’re still in the process of clearing out the yellow room so Kate can move in.  These empty shelves won’t stay empty for long!

    The storage in the garage that I never showed you.  It’s so nice to have all of this vertical storage and get everything off the garage floor!  There are a few empty shelves behind the counter top (that STILL hasn’t been installed in the kid’s bathroom) for our Christmas decor- rather than hauling it up from the basement now only to move it back into the house after Thanksgiving we’re just waiting until we are ready to pull it out.  Behind the drape we have some of our tools and chemicals (up high and locked!) that we don’t want curious hands to get into.

    So that’s been my life lately.  I’ve missed you!  Thanks for checking in with me now and again.

  • Jam Making Day!

    Date: 2011.07.11 | Category: homemaking | Response: 0

    My sister in law and her mother have a tradition of getting together to make freezer jam every year.  They have kindly allowed me to join in the festivities- much to the joy of my husband who loves homemade jam!  We gathered up all of our jars and several flats of strawberries, blueberries and peaches and went to it yesterday.  About three hours later we had dozens of jars of jam for each of our freezers and the kitchen was returned to a non sticky state (that’s actually an improvement over its usual condition with 4 toddlers frequently dining here!).

    We tried the Ball instant set pectin this year and we also tried a few batches of Xylitol/Splenda jam.  We loved that you didn’t have to cook the pectin- just stir for three minutes!  The strawberry and strawberry blueberry jams turned out great, and the no sugar jam tastes great and set up well too.  Unfortunately it doesn’t look like the peach or peach blueberry jam set up very well this year.  Syrup anyone?  I hear great things about Pamona pectin- maybe next year we’ll try to find some ahead of time and see if we get better results.

    The other nice thing about jam day (aside from 22 jars of jam!) is it inspired me to clean out the chest freezer.  I spent an hour this morning cleaning, defrosting (It brought back childhood memories of my dad with an ice pick and a blow dryer de-icing our freezer!  I used a screwdriver and the shop vac to clean out all the ice.), reorganizing and then taking inventory of it’s contents.  I discovered I don’t have any pork chops, but I do have 15 pounds of ground beef out there!  I guess I’ll cross off the pork chops for this week and I’ll be putting more beef recipes on the menu plan in the coming weeks.  I decided to write down everything in the freezer on a white board and I’m going to see if I can be diligent about changing the quantities when I use items and replace them.  It will be so nice to know exactly what I have on hand.

    So that was my day yesterday and today.  I’m still catching up on life after being gone for 3 weeks out of 4, but I did fold 7 loads of laundry the other day, so we’re getting close!

  • Packing Tip

    Date: 2011.06.07 | Category: homemaking, saving money | Response: 0

    When I’m getting ready to go on a trip there is one thing I always do that saves me time and money. The morning before we leave I pull out my toiletries bag and set it on the counter. I keep some travel sized items and a few duplicates of my regular products in there all the time, so it’s already half full. Then as I am getting ready I place all of the products I use in the bag- makeup, toothbrush, hair stuff, etc. Throughout the day I might toss in something I think of and my jewelry or whatever. At bedtime I might add a few more items. Then the morning of the trip I get ready out of my bag. This is a double check for me to help ensure that I didn’t forget anything important.
    With this system I rarely forget something critical enough that I have to buy it on the other end and I know I’ll have all of my favorites with me.
    Just a little tip from me to you… I hope it helps on your next trip!

    20110607-102355.jpg

    *edited to add*- I never check my toiletries bag- I always carry it on the plane with me. I keep jewelry and make up and other hard to replace or expensive items with me. I don’t mind buying new shampoo if my bag is lost, but I would be bummed to lose my favorite earrings!

  • Airing my dirty laundry for all the world to see

    Date: 2011.05.19 | Category: homemaking, parenting | Response: 2

    I have something to confess. I have a serious problem in our house. It’s the laundry. Piles and piles of laundry. Clean laundry. That languish in a heap until I run out of clothes or need the basket again. All the time.

    Right now? 9 loads of clean laundry.

    Really.

    No exaggeration.

    Kids clothes, our clothes, towels, sheets, whites, darks and colors that fall in between.

    I have such good intentions. I tell myself- “I am going to put these away today. Before I go to bed.” As they come out of the dryer, warm and smelling fresh, I haul them up the stairs and lay them out on the bed so they won’t get wrinkled. And then several hours later when I realize it’s way past my bedtime, I go up to my room only to discover them there. Where they’ve been patiently waiting for me all day. Only I have forgotten. And now I’m just so tired.

    “Tomorrow,” I promise myself as I move them to the floor. “I’ll get to those tomorrow.”

    I spend nap time reading blogs about home management binders and household chore calendars. I set goals for myself to clean all of the floors on Tuesdays and the bathrooms on Fridays, but it never happens. I once set the goal for myself to do just one project a day- no matter how small. Wipe the walls by the kitchen table. Clear off the kitchen island. Clean the shower. That lasted about 3 days. And now nothing gets done again.

    When we’re expecting company there is always a flurry of activity in the hours preceding their arrival. Counters must be wiped clean, the dishwasher must be emptied, the toys must be picked up. But several hours or days later it’s like it never happened and once again, the house looks like a hurricane came through.

    I have a 2 and a half year old and a one year old. I work 3 days a week. In my down time I’d much rather read a good book or make a new pair of earrings and a bracelet to match than scrub a toilet. Or fold the laundry.

    We have a running joke that when we win the Lotto the first thing I will do is hire Alice from the Brady Bunch to move in. No 20 year old blonde Swedish girl for me. I want a kindly grandmother type- young enough to be energetic and old enough to be wise and patient. She wouldn’t be the nanny, although I might use her as such occasionally. She would plan the meals and do the grocery shopping and cook hearty breakfasts from scratch. She would clean the bathrooms and the kitchen. She would fold all of the clean laundry and put it way- hung by season and color in each of our respective closets. She would organize the incoming mail and keep my desk top free of paper piles. And she’d do it all with a smile.

    What would I be doing with all of my free time, I sometimes wonder? I don’t know, but I’d sure like to find out.

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