Projects! Projects everywhere!

Clearly I haven’t been blogging recently, so what have I been up to?  Looooving summer, that’s what!

First of all, we’ve found it next to impossible to keep up with the kitchen cleaning for the last year.  It’s truly disgusting.  Part of the problem is that I have so many dishes(I love dishes far too much) that there is really no urgency to wash them every day.  Things stack and the sink is good sized and hey, why wash a spoon and bowl when there is another couple dozen clean in the cabinet.  But this was the state of the kitchen way too often.

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Should mention that we haven’t used a dishwasher for over a year. Ours broke and we’re too picky to replace it. Would it help? I don’t know. The way the old one was working things had to be 90%clean before they went in, and they came out 70% clean. Stupid. So we hand wash it all.

Oh. My. Word.  Everything on the counter is dirty.  I have to say, I wash at least a sinkful of dishes every day, but if that sinkful is pots and pans, or the silverware, it really doesn’t make much dent in the worst of the cluttery stuff.  I should have opened the cupboards to show that I still have probably that much again still clean.  I just have tons of great dishes, but if I have to do an hour of cleanup just to expose the counters enough to cook?  Insane.  Especially when I find myself using(and then washing) a bunch of dishes I’m apathetic about because some part of me “saves” dishes for special occasions.  So I got rid of a box of stuff that wasn’t used/was too much/didn’t love.  Then, after three two hour washing sessions over three days I got everything clean and away and declared that things were changing.   Continue reading

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Saving My Sanity With Easy Toy Rotation

I’ve mentioned before that I rotate toys, so I thought I should show a bit of what that looks like here.  I love toy rotating because it is totally simple to clean up at the end of the day and because it really helps Ascher to focus in his play.  I always know when we have too many toys out because he goes through and dumps everything out without playing with it and gets really whiny and distracted and generally hard to live with.  Also, too many toys out means it takes forever(I mean, more than the five minutes it ought to) to get the toys put away at bedtime, which makes ME whiny and distracted and hard to live with.  :D

SavinSanityToyRotation

Continue reading

Day 15 of 31 – Making Headway

This was the babies at the start of their nap today.  I moved Wilona right after the picture, but aren’t they sweet?  Good long naps today.  Ascher for two hours and Wilona for 2.5.  I think playing outside with him right before nap really helped zonk him out faster.

DSC06807So, mid-month checkup, what have I enjoyed most about reduced internet time throughout the day?

  • Faster responses on my part to their needs, thus…
  • Calmer babies, thus…
  • Calmer mama.
  • Baking bread!  I think in the last 18 months I could count on one hand the number of times I made real bread(wonder why?), so it’s nice to have the house smelling like it again.  Today was two big loaves of a partly sourdough leavened bread and a, experimental, batch of gf.  Both turned out yummy!
  • Unearthing my sewing room.  Not done, but progress.  I might sew again someday!
  • There truly is more time in the day!  Dishes, laundry, dinner, playtime, I can do it all!  Apparently I had a bigger problem than I knew with time-management.
  • Actually reading books about real things.  I read, for the first time, one given to us as a wedding present.  It’s been on my to-reads for four and a half years, folks.  FOUR AND A HALF YEARS!  Absurd.  Not that I was actually missing anything, but hey, now I can get it out of my house guilt-free, right?
  • Feeling empowered to DO things!  Today my positive affirmation, was, no joke, “You are a strong woman.  It is ok to throw away the empty glass candle jars.  Yes, even if they have lids and are cute.  You are strong enough to to this!”  And I did.  Then I flinched and repeated the affirmation every time I had to throw something away and saw them again.  Today, candle jars, tomorrow?  Who knows.  Clutter, begone!

Little Miss Tomato Munchkin Shortcake is just the happiest little thing.  I was sure after happy little Ascher that we’d get a crabby baby, but no.  She’s a dolly and wants nothing more than to eat and play with people and be let to sleep.  Love her sweetness!

(click a picture to see them larger and scroll through)

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Day 1 of 31 – Ascher’s Room

Last night, after linking up with the Nester I almost freaked out.  I wanted to delete my link and un-commit to this whole deal.  Not sure why I was suddenly extra worried about it.  I think it was maybe the possibility of disappointment when things(inevitably) don’t turn out quite as awesome as I’d hoped.  When the baby wants to eat truly all day and Ascher is restless and we’re both crabby and I have no idea what to make for dinner and I’d rather hide from it all in the fun of other people’s lives until I can head to bed and forget all my noble plans that didn’t happen.

There probably will be days like that this month.  But.  I think it’s really worth it to try to do better.  So here I am, publicly committing.

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It was 3pm before I opened my computer today.  Ascher was finally down for his nap, which meant it was computer free time.  After 45 minutes on email and Facebook I realized I was all caught up and had a second of wondering why obsessively checking for updates or new email six times an hour(understatement) throughout the day was really so “fun”.

Here’s what I did instead of internet so far.

  • Read several chapters of a real(paper pages, non-fiction!) book while I fed Wilona instead of mindless internetting.
  • Set her down for her first nap instead of holding her for the whole thing and continuing with internet.
  • Took Ascher into his room to play while I boxed up his summer and outgrown clothes.
  • Folded and put away his fall and winter things, both from a great consignment sale and stuff that was gifted and too big last year.
  • Sorted his toys and boxed several categories into his closet to be rotated in a couple weeks with what I left out.  This should refresh the closet toys and lessen the mess possibilities.
  • Sorted out laundry and trash to remove from the room.
  • Moved his bed, the bookshelf, the rocking chair/footstool, and Wilona’s dresser to maximize floor space and accessibility.
  • Closed the closet doors, cleared a couple furniture surfaces and mostly reduced eye clutter.

By the time I finished with all that Ascher was nap ready, but needing a snack first and Wilona, having woken up somewhere in the middle, had lost her patience with watching me from her bouncy seat and needed me.  So Ben set Ascher in his highchair with a snack and I took Wilona to grab a couple pictures of the beauty that is a clean room.  Isn’t it pretty?

Then when I came out Ascher looked like this.

Watching mama work is exhausting!

Watching mama work is exhausting!

So we put him to bed.

I’m really pleased with how the first day is turning out.  I’m not out to “do” constantly and for today I’ll probably figure out dinner and not much else big, but I’m excited to see how much more I can stay on top of when I’m not hiding in the interwebz from the mess.  I know more experienced mamas and “doers” are probably chuckling at me, but I over and over realize how much I get crippled from doing anything by the knowledge that I won’t have enough time to do it all at one go.  Given how good babies are at needing things frequently I have to get better at breaking projects down into bite-size tasks and remind myself that some is better than none and not spend all my time on the internet waiting for the perfect moment to do a whole project at once(not gonna happen, folks).

Obviously today is not seeming like a good example of that.  However, I was truly only aiming to sort out Ascher’s clothes, and, given that the babies were happy, the rest just snowballed.  There is also a heap of Wilona’s fall clothes on top of Ascher’s dresser that I was hoping to sort into her drawers but didn’t have time for, so see, I did quit in the middle, haha.

When Ascher wakes up I’m planning on stories, time on his swing set, more useful reading for me, dinner, and an evening walk to fill a good portion of the rest of the day.

Bring it on, October.

Flurry of Activity

I honestly can’t decide if I’m already starting on pre-baby nesting or if it’s just a frenzy of desire for spring and something fresh.  Nesting would be really early, but possible…  I got my nesting kick at 28 weeks with Ascher, whereupon I cooked freezer meals like a crazy person and cleaned and organized everything for two weeks.  Then it went away and actually doing anything else after that(basics, like, you  know, cleaning bathrooms and vacuuming) was an act of drudgery.  Ok, not drudgery, but it was definitely more forced than inspired.

At any rate, nesting or spring cleaning, I keep finding myself plunging into organization projects.  I recently got all my maternity clothes into my wardrobe and bought new storage bins so I could put all the stuff I can’t or won’t be able to wear out of sight, neatly on the top shelf of the closet.  I also sorted through all of Ascher’s outgrown clothes, making boxes of his specific stuff, stuff that will work for baby girl(whites and yellows) and stuff to be returned to my sister, once they get moved.

Yesterday I was trying to get a handle on the counter space so I could fix dinner and got entirely distracted.  See, this was bugging me.

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It felt wintery and cluttery and I was pretty much just tired of looking at it.  So!

I moved the cocoa bar fixings to the pantry, moved and wiped down the Kitchen-Aid, the cookie jar and other counter “lifers”, wiped down the stove top and the wall over the stove.  Then I set up an official station for the salt and pepper shakers/grinders, the butter dish, and the olive oil jar that were all originally taking up random spots on the counter and stove control top.  I considered just setting them all into that space, but thought it looked more put together to lay down a round wooden cutting board and use it like a tray.

TidySpace

Now, it makes me smile to see it.  I love the organization, and the simplicity.  It brings all my daily use items together and gives them a real home.  And I did eventually get dinner made.  :)

Finally, in lieu of something deep and conclusive, here is a picture of my sleeping baby.

DowntoSleep

Closets and Clean-Up

Wednesday was a good day for productivity.  I tackled the big closet and my wardrobe in our bedroom.  I sorted out a couple of boxes of “storage clothes” determining what needed to stay(like snow pants and maternity clothes) and what needed to go(like 10 pairs of shoes and a stack of button down blouses that had been stored for a couple years “just in case” I needed them later.  Haven’t.  Huh.)  I moved my skirts to the big closet and hung up most of my shirts for better reminders of my options.  I tidied up a couple shelves in the closet and still owe my wardrobe drawers a once over.  Only so much you can do at once, right?

I also went after Ascher’s room which was looking like this.

 It really wasn’t too hard to fix up.  Mainly, since Ascher doesn’t live in there at the moment, I’ve just been tossing in clothes into the heap on the floor as he outgrows them.  There was a lot of clothes, but messes with not much variety aren’t that hard to clean up.  I did a bit of sorting into the handy diaper boxes and stuck them into his nearly empty closet.  After that it was just a bit of tidying of other stuff and the room was restored.

Ascher woke up as I was finishing and joined me. If you clean it they will come? :)

All in all, a good, productive day.  Today was a more low-key.  We had a really nice visit with some family in the evening and exercise and basic kitchen maintenance stood for productivity.  I also took pictures for a hair tutorial and started a little sewing project, so watch for those things coming soon!  This is how I’ve been focusing and refreshing.

Hair Styling and Organization

The day started with beginning the process of cleaning up my closet and getting rid of some surplus clothing.

The day started with re-folding the basket of clean laundry that has been living in our room for a few days since time unremembered.  Once baby got tired of watching me fold clothes we had food and nap and exercise and more food and another nap, during which I got a shower and tried to do something interesting with my hair.  I’ve been trying to figure out a hair style that gets all my hair up and out of my way without being the stranglehold bun or ponytail that I lived in for years far, far overused in the past.  I’ve been trying to get some height and some texture and some stylish looseness with still having something that is secure and not needing repinned every time I move my head.  I’ve been working on this one for a while(there’s only so many times a day I have patience to pull down and put up my hair in pursuit of perfection!) and there’s still room for improvement, but this is what I came up with today.  

I used five bobby pins, one ponytail holder, four little butterfly clips and a couple handfuls of product. Pretty good for waist length hair, I think.

In the evening we went to my parent’s house for dinner and visiting, which was a lovely fun time.  I so much enjoy spending time with them all and watching my siblings goof off together.

Once we got home again Ben and I watched an episode of one of our tv shows.  I offhandedly mentioned something about our bed set up that wasn’t quite working out, which led to brainstorming for a solution which led to rearranging our entire room at midnight.  It’s a good fix, I think, if a completely unplanned way to finish the day and I’ll share some pictures with you tomorrow, once it’s tidied up a bit more.  Busy day!  Time to brush teeth and head to bed now!

Did you do anything interesting or extremely unplanned recently?