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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Delightfully Summer

I keep ending up with stashes of photos that can only be classified as “Things I Love About Summer” so I thought I should dump some here.  You don’t mind, right?

Our beans are getting big  on their trellis!

Our beans are getting big on their trellis!

We’ve been having breakfast most mornings outside, on what I’ve been calling the terrace.  Doesn’t breakfast on the terrace have a lovely ring to it?  I mean, there’s no terracing involved, but work with me here.  Whatever you call it, we get to play outside before it’s blazing hot and we don’t have to wash hands or high chair trays or anything after we’re doing eating, just go play some more.  The ants are getting exceedingly well fed, and I’m getting shockingly lax about how long I’ll be ok with the children eating something after it’s fallen on the ground(really only dry stuff…hmm.  oh.  ew) but small price to pay, right?

I was going to say it’s really only dry stuff(cereal, toast) but then I remembered that Ascher spilled the last of his oatmeal on the way back inside a couple days ago and was playing with it in the gravel, and then went to slide and then when I had him clean it up 20 minutes later he started eating it again.  Hmm.  Yum.  o.O  (I did stop him…)

Let’s face it, there really is no graceful way to say I let my kids eat off the ground so often that they don’t know when they shouldn’t.  Or to say that occasionally I forget to, until it’s already in my mouth and I’m like, eh, germs are already in now!

Ohmagosh.

*facepalm*

MOVING ON!

They love sunglasses, but only inside.  Because that makes sense.

DSCF2563 (400x300)Ascher has been enjoying his sidewalk chalk.  He scribbles for a bit, then carries it around in its little bucket, then starts throwing it everywhere which is code for, “We’re done with chalk now!”  Wilona’s favorite part is biting it.  EEEEWWWW.

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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

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Butterflies

So, once again I’m neglecting my duties as blogger, but look!!  It’s for a good cause!!

We’re transforming this….

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Eh, blase. Also, so done with the red accents!

 

To something more closely resembling this…

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Cool, refreshing, chipper, centered…

 

We don’t have it all figured out yet, but I have that wall mostly painted and curtains found and put up.  We trialed a small part of the wall in something that we decided was too Easter eggy, oh my!  We agreed that we didn’t hate the color, it was just not the right color for that wall.  It was something like 14 shades stronger than we wanted, haha.

I’ll have actual pictures soon here, but I have to say that the Sketchup model has been a bit of a lifesaver.  I can tweak colors and patterns and furniture as much as I want in the pursuit of the right combos!  I can even take the photos of actual rugs and fabric patterns to put onto my surfaces to get a better idea of things.

Anyway, more later.  Have a marvelous day!

Sweet Talk

At some point growing up we were introduced to the tradition of making graham cracker houses for Christmas, usually in the two or three weeks just before.  I don’t know when that was, exactly, but I have fond memories of the heaps of candy and frosting that were constructed every year by us, our best friends, and eventually many of the kids in our church(still a running tradition for the church kid’s craft day!).    Our house’s construction materials determined what kinds of candy we’d have available for eating in the next week or so, so the trick was to artfully load up the house and yard with as much favorite candy as possible.  All that to say, on my less creative years my house ended up plastered in m&ms and chocolate bears and wreaths and red hots and caramel, veritable mountains of sugar and gluttony.  I do remember skipping the house altogether one year and, after a failed attempt at a greenhouse, doing a stream of blue m&ms with a graham cracker bridge for the gummy bears and a fence of mini candy canes and chocolate rocks.  Ok, actually I cheated.  All I remembered was the stream and bridge, I found a picture, look!  Circa 2005(I was 17), when we still had real pictures!  (thus the digital photo of my scrapbook page, haha.)

Man, I wish I still had that sweater!

Man, I wish I still had that sweater!

In fond memory of all that, this morning after breakfast Ascher and I decorated graham cracker houses.   I constructed the house for him and put down squiggles of frosting for him to stick candy onto.  Gummy bears never made it past his hands,(yum!) but he was quite willing to use other things for decor.  A couple times he even pointed out to me where he wanted frosting for something particular.  He repeatedly pulled things off to restick them elsewhere and generally had a grand time.  We both had fun and neither of us ate too much candy.  I was really excited to share one of my favorite childhood holiday memories and begin the tradition with my babies.  Photos!

When you give sprinkles to toddlers...

When you give sprinkles to toddlers…

Nightcap

A couple of today’s best things.

I took the babies to the playground so Ascher could play a bit.  It’s so much fun that he’s actually big enough now to start trying some stuff!  He’s pretty cautious, and I don’t think he likes heights much, but he had fun on the swings and throwing his ball up the slide and watching some kids playing football nearby.  On our way there we found a pretty nice living room chair free on the sidewalk.

We headed home from the park and I was trying to think, with Ascher in the stroller and Wilona riding on me, how I was going to get that chair home too.  But, Ben was getting out of the car just as we got home, so I told him about the chair and he ran down to look at it and hauled it back on his shoulder, which was not quite what I was picturing.  I thought the car might make the job easier!

It needs a slipcover or a full recovering for some roughed up fabric on it, but I think either could be a fun sewing challenge.  I’ve been thinking I’d like a chair this shape(kind a modern armchair?) for a while to try putting some fun fabric on, as an accent chair, but have been reluctant even pay thrift store prices for a project that might not turn out right.  This, for the grand price of free should be a good fit.

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Made some yummy pumpkin almond maple streusel muffins.  Dessert is the only real thing to call them, but I hear muffins are always good for you, as opposed to cupcakes.  So.  Goooood.

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I was washing dishes and Wilona was playing with a toy caterpillar in her bouncy seat nearby and Ascher was pottering around playing with any and every thing available to him.  He got up close to her, like he does to pat her and play and he started to put his knee up into the bouncy too.  I don’t really like him to try to be in there at the same time as her – too heavy, too tippy, too much squishing the baby – so I started to tell him no and realized she was laughing, laughing, laughing at him as he was getting closer and bouncing her.  He stopped and looked at her again and was tickled to realize she was laughing at him, so for a minute they just sat there and laughed and smiled and talked at each other.  I went for the camera, but as soon as I got it turned to video Ascher got up and walked away(of course!), so you’ll just have to imagine.  :)  I love how much they enjoy each other sometimes!

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Oh, and I didn’t get on the computer at all today until 8pm.  It was a happy day, and I think that really helped.  But, I knew that already.

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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.