Thursday, April 30, 2009

Going to Phoenix

I'm going to be flying to Phoenix in the morning. My sister is there at my dad's, taking care of Camden so Andy and Ashley can focus on Hudson, so I'll be there to help for the weekend. This just worked out for me because Craig has tomorrow off, so I won't have to figure out getting the kids to school and stuff.

I'll be back Monday night.
Thanks again for your prayers for my brother and his family. It really means a lot to us all.

Thrift Store Thursday

Here are some of my finds this week.  IMG_2680 Another lidded jar $1.29, a tiny vase $.50, and two spherical decorative objets $1.29 each (love these!).

IMG_2681 Two matted framed prints $1.50 each; I got these for the frames and mats only, but at one time, based on the stickers on the back, somebody paid $19.88 each for them at Garden Ridge!

The roll of ribbon was about $.30, and the glass telephone line insulator $.75.  I know these are collectibles, but I just thought it was kind of neat.

Today is Craig’s birthday, and since the kids only had about $4 between them, I took them to United Volunteers to do their shopping.  In the past we’ve gone to Dollar Tree, but basically it’s the same kind of stuff there all the time:  a mug or a screwdriver.  They were able to get some pretty cool stuff  at UV for just change (I won’t list it, since we haven’t given the gifts yet) .

I’m going to skip the linky today, because I’ve got a lot going on and I’m trying to be quick about this, but I plan to be back with it next week.

Hudson Update

I just spoke to my Dad. Hudson is still on the ventilator, and Ashley and Andy have signed a “do not resuscitate” order. He has so many issues that everybody is at the point of wondering how much more to put him through. I believe Dad said the doctors are going to try a round of steroids in the next few days to see if that jumpstarts him somehow, but it’s really a last ditch effort.

I don’t clearly know all of the problems he has; I do know that he has scoliosis, malformed ribs that don’t allow his lungs to expand, he can’t swallow, and Dad said he has a stress ulcer. Poor sweet baby.

Thank you for all your prayers. I know that God is listening.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Small Project

First, thank you everyone for your prayers for my nephew and family. I don’t have any further news at this point, so we’ll just keep praying.

Next, I thought I’d just show a little project I did this week, just to let you know that sometimes I actually do something with my thrift store finds.

I’ve been keeping an eye out for a little table for the front porch. I was hoping to find wicker, but when I came across this at United Volunteers for $3, I decided it would do.


I did just a teeny bit of sanding where the rusty parts were visibly flaking off. I probably should have done a better job at it, but I figured since this will get minimal use, it wasn’t a big deal.

Next, I traced around the table top onto newspaper, and cut out two circles, which I used to cover the glass top and bottom, kind of tucking the paper under the rim. Then I primed and spray painted it with some dark bronze that I already had.


It matches the chairs nicely and will be the perfect spot to set a glass of lemonade. Incidentally, the chairs were a Goodwill find last year, $12 each, and were exactly what I was looking for. (The sidewalk chalk design is courtesy of Skippy and Pinkerbelle.)

Monday, April 27, 2009

Please Pray

The prognosis for my nephew Hudson (see sidebar) isn’t good. The doctors have told Andy and Ashley that it may be time to think about turning off the ventilator, and barring some miracle, letting him go.

Please pray for them.

I Need a Maid

tired_housewife Ever have those times when you just feel out of whack? Like things are controlling you rather than you having things under control? Yeah, that’s me lately.

I have been married for 16 years, and have been a mother for 11. You would think I’d have this down by now, but I’ve just never been very good about being organized about everything it takes to run a household. I just can’t seem to get it all done, and I don’'t mean in an “I’m every woman” sort of way. I don’t work outside of the home, and currently all three kids are in school. That’s a lot of available time for mopping, laundry, cleaning bathrooms etc.

At various times I’ve tried different systems, such as Flylady or schedules I’ve made up for myself. They usually work (or I usually work them) for a while before it fizzles out. Right now I’m back at the point where I feel like I need some kind of plan.

I’m going to be thinking about that and hopefully I’ll have something to share before too long. Just kind of to keep me accountable. If you have a fabulous tip to inspire me, please share!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Thrift Store Thursday

This past Sunday, the kids were invited to a birthday party at Bounce-U. Several families from our church small group were there. Goodwill happened to be in the same plaza, so my friend J and I ditched the party and went shopping. (Tracey, if you’re reading this, I apologize for being so rude.)

So, J had never been shopping at Goodwill, but had heard enough about it from me and others that she was willing to give it a try. I think it’s safe to say she enjoyed it. She found quite a few fun things. I ended up spending a little more than I probably would have normally, in part, I think, because of being swept up in the excitement and encouragement of a new thrifter. (She wanted to know if I was going to talk about her in the blog, so I just had to do it.)

IMG_2646Here’s the round-up. A brand-new from Target pair of sandals for Firstborn, $6.99. Now maybe he’ll consent to get rid of the disgusting yellow Croaks (fake Crocs) that he’s been wearing all year.

IMG_2660 The Ann Taylor capris and the beaded lampshade for Pinkerbelle’s room were $3 each. Not pictured: two pairs of khaki shorts for Craig, $3 and $4.

IMG_2660Look at this adorable dress. It is my size, and would look so cute on me if a) I had any b**bs to hold up the strapless top, b) I didn’t have skin the color of the Pillsbury Dough Boy and a belly to match, and c) I didn’t have tons of spider-not-quite-varicose veins on my legs. Except for the pasty skin, I can attribute all of those to a combination of giving birth three times and breastfeeding for a combined total of 4.5 years.

Knowing all that, I paid $4 for it just because I thought the fabric was so cute, and I’m going to use it to make a skirt for P.

IMG_2661Lastly, more new-from-Target shoes, $3.99. This is big for me, ladies. I have horrible balance and only on extremely rare and short occasions do I wear my one pair of heels. But these wedges felt solid, not like I was teetering dangerously on stilts. Plus, I’ve never had a pair of shoes any color other than black, brown or white (I don’t accessorize well). But Stacy and Clinton love a red shoe and I trust their fashion sense. I’ll probably wear them with the wrong thing, but my shoes will look cute.

Hmm, horrible balance, very-gross veins, flabby belly. Are you thinking that I'm really a 75 yr old woman and not a thirty-something? You'll never know.

Okay, what cool and thrifty things did you find this week?

1. Please link directly to your Thrift Store Thursday post, not your home page.

2. Please mention and link back to my Thrift Store Thursday post.

3. Please put my button in your post, and I'd really love it if you'd use the code to do so :)

WFMW—Castile Soap

This morning when I went to clean my very filthy bathroom, I was out of spray bathroom cleaner. I could have gone to another bathroom and got some there, but seeing a couple of bottles of Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap under the sink, decided to give it a whirl. I did have an empty spray bottle, and squirted in some of the soap (maybe a couple tablespoons) and added water.


It worked fabulously on all the water spots and toothpaste drips. It wiped cleanly and left no residue. I used the lavender scent, so it smelled great too. In fact, every time I went into my bathroom today I could smell the subtle, clean scent.

I originally got these because I wanted to start using more natural products in general. I was using them to wash my face, and they left my skin clean without feeling dry. The peppermint scent also left a refreshing tingle. I did eventually decide that I needed to go back to my acne wash, though, to help prevent the occasional blemish. (Hello? I’m in my thirties. Shouldn’t I be done with that by now?) I set them aside and kind of forgot about them, until today.

So, what’s so great about castile soap? Dr. Bronner’s is all-natural, organic, Fair Trade, biodegradable, and contains no sodium lauryl sulfate. It’s also multi-purpose, from household cleaning, to personal hygiene, to laundry. In addition, they are very economical because they are concentrated and a little goes a long way.

I also have Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds, and have been using that in the kitchen for wiping down counters and washing fruit and veggies, but there are dozens of other ways I could be using both products.salsuds

I’m going to get serious about this and really start expanding my use of these products. If you are interested, the Dr. Bronner website has tons of info. I got mine at a discounted price at Vitacost, where you can also read reviews, which often have helpful tips.

Visit We Are THAT Family for more Works for Me Wednesday ideas.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Locker Baskets

A few weeks ago a got a bee in my bonnet that I needed to have a system to handle all of the kids’ stuff that ends up on the first floor but belongs on the second floor.

I had something like this in mind

basket drawers

but the ones I found were either too small, too expensive, or both. So, when I came across these locker baskets at Deals for $5 each, I grabbed ‘em.


What, you don’t like the orange? Well, maybe for a playroom or something, but these will be kept in the living room at the foot of the stairs.

Enter your friend and mine: spray paint! First, I primed. It was kind of tedious to get all of the surfaces of the wire grid.


I did two to three coats of Rustoleum automobile primer. I actually didn’t notice it was auto when I bought it, but it probably wasn’t a bad idea for metal. I highly recommend that little trigger thing that snaps on the to paint.

After some trial and error trying to replicate the look of galvanized metal, I finally just ended up with smoke gray Krylon, which matches these wall bins I have in the back hall. After a couple coats of that, I wanted to label one for each child. I decided to go for the popular numbered look.


I used contact paper in a method similar to the one I used for the numbers on my front door, but this time I used the negative space as a stencil. I used several coats of white acrylic, but I’m not sure that was the right choice. When I peeled of the stencil, the acrylic had a rubbery quality and some of it wanted to peel off too. We’ll see how long it lasts.

Here is the finished product under the table at the bottom of the stairs. During the day, I will put each child’s things in the corresponding basket and it will be their job to take it upstairs, put away the stuff, and bring the basket back down. That's the plan, anyway.


In the interest of full disclosure, I need to show you this.


You can see that there was some bleeding under the stencil. I thought I adhered it really well around the cutouts, but apparently it wasn’t good enough. However, I decided that it was Good Enough For Me. You can only see it up close; overall, I really like how they turned out.

Hmm, if you think about it, they do look a leetle bit like something that would be issued to an inmate. I wonder if the chain gang kids will notice.

Monday, April 20, 2009

What Makes My House a Home

Lucy's House a Home Giveaway

Lucy at Lucy's Life is hosting a what makes your House a Home giveaway. You have until Wednesday to enter, and put your post on the Mr. Linky. I'll admit this wasn't as easy as it should've been. I mean there's the obvious stuff, but then what? She said to list 5 or 10 things; I only made it to five.

What makes my house a home:

First and foremost, it is not the house. I know we all know this, but I really know this. If you followed my Parade of Homes, you recall that we are currently living in our eleventh domicile in our almost seventeen years of marriage. That means that, on average, we’ve moved every 1.5 years, and every one of those places was home. So, if it’s not the house, what is it?

1. Family. This is high on everyone’s list, I’m sure. My children have lived in one house for each of their years of life, but where ever we were, we were together, and we were home. I wouldn’t recommend it really (moving so much), but my kids are none the worse for wear and have never felt “homeless” or transient.

053 (5)

2. My husband, Craig. I once read a very sad article about a couple whose son was murdered. In their pain, their marriage struggled and almost fell apart. In the end, they were able to hold it together partly by remembering that “before there was [their son], there was just the two of them”. That has always stuck with me. Craig is my rock, and together we are the foundation of this family.


3. Our “things”. Okay, I know that material things don’t make one happy, but that’s not what I mean. In all of our moves,our stuff came with us. Every house had a similar look, because of our familiar belongings. My great-grandmother’s dresser, the corner cupboard my grandfather made, the ceramic chickens I bought long before it was a huge fad because they reminded me of a pair that was always in my grandma’s house, my barn stars, my Ikea hanging bucket system. It’s an eclectic mix.


misc 013

4. The mess. The unmade beds, the toothpaste in the sink, the piles of laundry, these greasy fingerprints on our slate fireplace surround…oh, what a fuss I make about them! But these are the signs of life, the stuff that says a family lives here.


It reminds me a poem my mom used to love, Pittypat and Tippytoe by Eugene Field.

All day long they come and go—

Pittypat and Tippytoe:

Footprints up and down the hall,

finger-marks along the wall,

Telltale streaks upon the door—

by these presents you shall know

Pittypat and Tippytoe...

…There are proofs of every kind

of the havoc they have wrought;

And upon my heart you’d find

Just such trademarks, if you sought,

Oh, how glad I am ‘tis so,

Pittypat and Tippytoe! (excerpted)

5. Our faith. Without God, without Jesus, we wouldn’t be who we are. The whole family dynamic would be different. We aren’t perfect by a long shot, and don’t claim to be, but this is what holds us up. He has blessed us richly, and brought us through dark times. I can’t imagine what my life, my family, my home would be like without this.



Friday, April 17, 2009

Who’s the Belle of the Ball?

Wow, this was an awesome giveaway!  I got tons of new visitors and lots of new followers.  Thanks, everybody!  I hope you’ll come back and visit again.

Now, the moment we’ve been waiting for…Truly Random Number Generator picked #26.


And #26 on the list was Mandi of Miss(es) Canadian Pie!  She is one of my loyal readers…thanks, Mandi, and congratulations!


Thanks to everyone who entered.  If you didn’t win, you can always get some ping pong balls and get started on your own!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Thrift Store Thursday

Goodwill Goodies

IMG_262412” Wedgwood Platter, $2

IMG_2631 Shallow basket, 20” wide, with lid, $2. I’m going to keep cds and dvds in it, under the entertainment center. I think I’ll spray paint it.

Salvation Army Surprises

IMG_2607 Large glass jar w/ latched lid, $1.29. Vase, $1.29. Covered candy dish, $.69. Six ceramic napkin rings (one not shown) $1.29—they’re actually kind of weirdly shaped, but I thought if everyone had their own for their cloth napkins it would prevent confusion and encourage use.

Resale Recreation

IMG_2627 Brand new Monopoly, $2. Wooden Chinese checkers, $2. Found these at a new-to-me thrift store that benefits foster families. I haven’t played Monopoly in years. We set it up last night, and everyone, down to the 6-yr-old, was able to play, and they all loved it!

Show us whatcha got!

1. Please link directly to your Thrift Store Thursday post, not your home page.
2. Please mention and link back to my Thrift Store Thursday post.
3. Please put my button in your post, and I'd really love it if you'd use the code to do so :)

The New Sectional Couch, and Living Room

So, this past weekend Craig spent a whole day moving around huge pieces of furniture. The tv/armoire and the sectional moved to the front living room. The room off of the kitchen, which has the fireplace, is now just a sitting room.

Here is the ‘before’ of the living room. You can see more here, and here. This couch, which I have loved for nine years, is falling apart.IMG_2252

And here it is now, with the sectional. We bought it on craigslist, and it is the same brand and style as the old one. It does have feet that need to be put on, but I have to spray-paint them first. It’s more casual feeling and looking than the old one, but we really like having the sectional, and the price was right.IMG_2620

This is the view as you come in the front door. The china cabinet, which was at the bottom of the stairs moved to the back wall in the other room.IMG_2610

The table and mirror that were just inside the front door, posing as my ‘foyer’, moved to the bottom of the stairs and the armoire took their place. The problem being that now you are greeted smack-dab by an armoire. The speakers are also a problem; I’m in negotiations.IMG_2612

For now, the old chair is still in the room. Its upholstery is not in the best shape either, so it will eventually need to be replaced too. But the scale and color works okay with the sectional (which will be a little taller when it gets its feet).IMG_2613

This is the view from the sitting room back into the living room. Which I guess is now more like a family room, since it’s got the tv.IMG_2621

This room set-up and layout may not be ideal, but it works better for us. Before, this front room wasn’t getting any use, and we all spent all of our time in the kitchen and the now-sitting-room, which is smaller. There are also, clearly, designing and decorating issues. As in bland, blah, booooring!

But there’s hope. A few weeks ago, Kimba had a giveaway for a consultation with Layla Palmer of The Lettered Cottage. Guess who won! Me! Me, me, me! This is the room I’m going to submit and let Layla work her virtual magic on. So stay tuned for updates!

(Don’t forget to enter my giveaway; it’s open until Friday pm!)