Mar 282013
 

21 Days To A More Disciplined Life

21 Days To A More Disciplined Life

The long awaited final post to the Mega Project for February’s 21 Days To A More Disciplined Life is here.  Okay, I’m not sure if you have be awaiting it, but I sure have been awaiting getting around to being able to write and post this final post.  Did you follow that?  It honestly hadn’t taken me all that long to finish this project as it may seem, due to the lateness of this post.  The biggest delay was the wiring …

GFCI outlet in bathroom remodel being installed

light switch in bathroom remodel being installed… it still looks like this.  The light switch has a broken wire inside the box and the GFCI outlet won’t reset for some reason.  We have had this particular breaker off for sometime.  It was only after shutting it off that I realized how many random things in the house are on this circuit.  Outlets in our basement, main floor and the upstairs as well as the lights in this bathroom and some (but not all) in the bedroom beside this bathroom.

I initially told myself that I would post this final post after I did this final step.  Now the step involves and electrician whom we have not chosen yet (still awaiting a second quote).  Said person will also be installing the vent, replacing a vent in our other bathroom, installing a light switch for a light that is always on, and fixing the two issues above.  Sometimes, you just need to know when to call for help.

Okay, so what does the rest of the bathroom look like?  Take a look.

finished bathroom remodel decorated

The odd light is a reflection off the mirror.  I tried from several different angles but kept getting the same result.  As that is what a mirror does, reflect, I gave up and moved on.

bird clock in finished bathroom remodel decorated

I intend to add items around the clock, small pictures, as I come across them.  This is behind where the main door opens and is above the closet door you see.  I wasn’t standing on a chair to take the photo.  It is a short closet tucked into the attic space.  It hurts like the dickens to hit your head on the frame, which is something I never thought I would have to say.

finished bathroom remodel decorated 2

This is the view from the door way.  Again a mirror is reflecting on the right side.  This particular mirror was in the bathroom when we moved in.  It is kind of neat in that it extends and swivels.  You can also flip it to have a mirror that magnifies.  I have found it useful to see the back of my head or as a second mirror if the larger mirror is taken up.  The hand towel and bathmat are new.  The picture was picked up from a garage sale last summer with no really home.  Once I decided on the color I wanted this bathroom (tan and red) I realized it fit perfectly.

I didn’t tell my husband when I finished the bathroom.  Instead I let him find out for himself.  He came back downstairs commenting on how much he liked it and that it turned out better than he thought it would.  He also wants me to do the same for other rooms in the house.  The biggest difference?  Art work on the walls.  Specifically, art work (or pictures) that are sized to fit the space.

This project seemed so big at the beginning and never ending while doing it.  However, now that it is done I am so much happier with this room.  I also won’t feel embarrassed to let visitors use it.

Mar 262013
 

30 days 21 projects photo

Lists of my 21 Projects:

  1. Spackle stairway walls
  2. Prime spots to be painted (from previous replacement of door and window frames)
  3. Paint spots around door and window frames
  4. Repaint Horse post by street
  5. Strip vent covers in bathroom and kitchen
  6. Repaint bathroom and kitchen vent covers
  7. Seal pots and paint with chalkboard paint (to be used with herb plants on the deck)
  8. Add outlet cover for washer/dryer
  9. Add outlet cover for outlet on front porch
  10. Check credit report
  11. Replace light fixture in stairway
  12. Remove weeping cherry (to create a place for blackberry bushes) – work in progress
  13. Put out a bird bath
  14. Buy new kitchen trash can – work in progress
  15. Organize and label kitchen pantry
  16. Move clothing totes to back of crawl space (instead of right in front), add shoe rack and rod to hang winter coats
  17. Divide out future clothing sized into clear totes, label
  18. Put camping stuff in tote(s), label
  19. Clean bathroom grout
  20. Seal bathroom grout
  21. Make and freeze 4 different soups, 3 months worth each – work in progress.  3 soups made.

Above I have put in bold, red letters the project I am hoping to work on today.  I may get that one done or another one.  I may get more than one done.  Laying in bed this morning I had grand plans, but then realized that it was still dark outside and all things seem much easier while laying in bed thinking about doing them.  They also don’t seem to take near as long at that time of morning in that particular position.  Add to that some other things that need to get taken care of today I need to not forget that there are people who are counting on me for food and attention.  We’ll see what the day brings.

I am really starting to feel the crunch time on this.  7 more days to go.  This involved being gone from home for 3.5 of those days.  It also involved a snow storm which kept kids home from school on Monday and us inside Sunday night.  One thing I was able to do was to upload pictures that were on my camera and had not made it to the blog yet.  Here are some of the photos I have taken, both of the snow and of projects from the list.

The first two are of the new bird bath placed in the yard.  I decided to put it among the rose bushes for a few reasons.  One being that the previous owners had a statue or such here and left the concrete blocks.  Also, I thought it would look really nice during the summer when the bushes are all green and full of blooms.

Bird bath among rose bushes

bird bath reflecting cloudy sky

Here is how it looked Monday morning with 10 inches of snow on it (we had an inch more, but some was blown off of here I believe.

snow on rose bushes and bird bath

Yes, there is a bird bath under there.  By lunch time Monday all the snow was melted off.  The temperatures just weren’t right to have the snow hang around any longer.

depth of snow on bird bath in inches

10 inches on the bird bath

snow depth on birdbath in centimeters

This meant about 24 or 25 cm.

snow filled basketball hoop

I would have never thought that a basket ball net would actually catch and hold snow.  The wind was blowing very had, though, and it was wet enough to stick.

snow on trees and back deck

snow on trees and deck

snow on trees

If you look close enough you can tell that the branches are bending.  Not only is this due to the weight of the wet snow, but also because these are soft wood trees.  They were created to bend easily under weight.  For the most part they will come back to their normal stance without incident.  Now hickory trees are the exact opposite.  They are hard woods and don’t bend easily.  They will hold up under weight but are more likely to break.  This is also why you don’t see baseball bats made out of pine wood.  The ball just wouldn’t be hit as far.

Mar 232013
 

I had all but given up on yesterday holding anything that would show progress on this list of 21 projects.  However, I was wrong.  After getting home a bit after 3 p.m. I decided it was time to go outside some and enjoy the nice (above freezing) weather.  If the kids were going to play outside, then I may as well make the most of the nice weather and get something productive done.  I considered breaking up tree limbs from the work done so far on Project #12.  However, I knew that I wouldn’t have time to also remove them from the yard.  Then I realized that if it was warm enough, I could paint the post in our from yard (Project #4).  So that is what I did. After gathering paint, sandpaper, steel wool, and a wet rag I went to do battle.  The air was quickly let out of my balloon when I realized the project was much easier than I was making it.  I didn’t need the sandpaper or steel wool, actually as the rust was very superficial.  I wiped down the post and painted it.  Looks brand new.

Now, this is something others may not notice but which I enjoy knowing looks so much better.  In the grand scheme of things, it probably doesn’t add a lot of our curb appeal.  At least it no longer takes away.  Also, it is part of a larger plan of mine to work more on the outside of the house this summer.  This plan began last fall with the reduction in the front flower bed, in hopes of having an actual flower bed rather than a week bed.  The post was the second step.  Step three is most likely getting a load or two of wood chips to spread around the bushes along the walkway and in the beds in the front yard.

What is in store for today?  Good question.  This is definitely going to be a family day.  A visit to a farm will begin the morning and the afternoon will see a larger meal being made at home.  A meal that will include ribs, potato salad, shredded carrot salad, corn on the cob and cookie cupcakes with raspberry fluff frosting.  I’ll let you know how it all goes.  As for projects I think it will be the day to work on some of the “in progress” projects. 

Lists of my 21 Projects:

  1. Spackle stairway walls
  2. Prime spots to be painted (from previous replacement of door and window frames)
  3. Paint spots around door and window frames
  4. Repaint Horse post by street
  5. Strip vent covers in bathroom and kitchen
  6. Repaint bathroom and kitchen vent covers
  7. Seal pots and paint with chalkboard paint (to be used with herb plants on the deck)
  8. Add outlet cover for washer/dryer
  9. Add outlet cover for outlet on front porch
  10. Check credit report
  11. Replace light fixture in stairway
  12. Remove weeping cherry (to create a place for blackberry bushes) – work in progress
  13. Put out a bird bath
  14. Buy new kitchen trash can – work in progress
  15. Organize and label kitchen pantry
  16. Move clothing totes to back of crawl space (instead of right in front), add shoe rack and rod to hang winter coats
  17. Divide out future clothing sized into clear totes, label
  18. Put camping stuff in tote(s), label
  19. Clean bathroom grout
  20. Seal bathroom grout
  21. Make and freeze 4 different soups, 3 months worth each – work in progress.  3 soups made.
I’m not sure how it is, but it feels as if there is so much left to do.  Yet the list proves that so much has been done already.  9 projects completed and 3 are works in progress.  That is 12 out of 21 projects worked on.  Why is it I am seeing the glass half empty today?
Is anyone else having trouble staying positive about their list of projects?
Mar 212013
 

My last post of this series was 4 days ago.  About two days ago I was starting to feel the effects of no accountability, even if it just in the way of posting my progress.

“They’ll never know if I take the day off.”

“Oh, the project can wait.  I have a new book to read.”

“But I don’t WANT to!”  Yes, said in a whiny toddler voice.

The last one is what did it for me because my mom voice replied, “I don’t remember asking if you wanted to do it.  You said you would, now go do it.”

I knew my plan for this week (even though I didn’t post my goals) involved doing Projects #2 and #3.  Not only doing them, but finishing them.  I had previously started on these two projects in our downstairs bathroom.  This left two more rooms to work on.  I knew that it would probably take me all week to get these two rooms done.  Mainly due to others wanting my attention at home (i.e. little ones).  I also had 4 different meetings on the schedule, on taking a whole morning.  As it happened, I was able to get a young lady to come for a couple hours two days in a row to play with the little ones while I worked on these projects.  Was it worth it?  Instead of taking 5 days to finish these projects, I got them done in 2.  So, yes, it was worth it for me.  At least, it was this time and under the particular circumstances of the young lady being available to babysit. The timing was too perfect.

There are 12 more days till the end of the 30 days.  If you see the list below I have 10 more projects to start and finish, and other 3 to finish.  That works out to just over 1 per day.  Since life happens, I am planning on doing, or working on, more than 1 each day.  Tomorrow is a great example of life happening.  I have a meeting that will take up the latter part of the morning.  However, driving to and from the meeting will mean that my whole morning and early afternoon is taken up.  Since my largest project, in terms on space, has been complete I should be able to do just that.  For example, I can strip vents in the garage one night and repaint them the next morning.  Then that afternoon our outside activity could involve hauling off the limbs from the tree I started to take down.  If it were to  happen this way, I would get three projects done in two days.  Adjusting to life and seeing it as a challenge rather than using it as excuse to not do something has been the only way I have gotten through my list of projects.  It hasn’t been easy, but it has been very much worth it.  I love knowing that the painting is done, the weeping cherry tree is almost removed (just in time to expect my  new blackberry bushes) and my pantry is in order.  These are things I used to grumble about almost daily.  No longer.  I have found that not only have these projects have gotten done, but so have others.  Discipline begets discipline.

Lists of my 21 Projects:

  1. Spackle stairway walls
  2. Prime spots to be painted (from previous replacement of door and window frames)
  3. Paint spots around door and window frames
  4. Repaint Horse post by street
  5. Strip vent covers in bathroom and kitchen
  6. Repaint bathroom and kitchen vent covers
  7. Seal pots and paint with chalkboard paint (to be used with herb plants on the deck)
  8. Add outlet cover for washer/dryer
  9. Add outlet cover for outlet on front porch
  10. Check credit report
  11. Replace light fixture in stairway
  12. Remove weeping cherry (to create a place for blackberry bushes) – work in progress
  13. Put out a bird bath
  14. Buy new kitchen trash can – work in progress
  15. Organize and label kitchen pantry
  16. Move clothing totes to back of crawl space (instead of right in front), add shoe rack and rod to hang winter coats
  17. Divide out future clothing sized into clear totes, label
  18. Put camping stuff in tote(s), label
  19. Clean bathroom grout
  20. Seal bathroom grout
  21. Make and freeze 4 different soups, 3 months worth each – work in progress.  3 soups made.
It doesn’t feel as if these 30 days are almost up, but they are.  I am excited to not only see what other projects get completed, but also to keep going on marking things off my list.
How has your thinking changed as you have worked your way through your project list?  Are you feeling like you are getting more done?  What does you list look like?
Mar 162013
 

Perfectionism has tried to work its way in while doing this list of projects.  I’m so glad I have not given in to it a lot so far.  For example, yesterday, the plan was to spend time in the morning putting up painters’ tape in the second room and applying a second coat of paint to the first room.  That didn’t happen.  Instead, I picked up around the house, returned something to the hardware store, picked up a few items while there (for #4 and #6 below), picked up a few items from the grocery store, sorted laundry and started a load.  The afternoon found me making supper (see #21 below), mopping the kitchen floor, then taking advantage of the nice weather outside. (see #12 below, I wish I could show you pictures.  I forgot to take them last night and right now it is 4:55 am, dark and rainy.  Not exactly really good setting to take photos outside.)  I also added another meeting to the calendar for next week.  These things do seem to come in groups.  I sort of prefer it that way, as I would rather have one week busy than two weeks just messed up.  (Yes, I have been having a lot of meetings lately, but we also have a lot going on here at home. Such is life sometimes.)

Today is going to see me gone all day, so I’m honestly not sure what today is going to hold.  I feel okay taking a day off from working on projects, as I worked on two yesterday.

Lists of my 21 Projects:

  1. Spackle stairway walls
  2. Prime spots to be painted (from previous replacement of door and window frames)
  3. Paint spots around door and window frames – work in progress.  First coat done on spots in first room.
  4. Repaint Horse post by street
  5. Strip vent covers in bathroom and kitchen
  6. Repaint bathroom and kitchen vent covers
  7. Seal pots and paint with chalkboard paint (to be used with herb plants on the deck)
  8. Add outlet cover for washer/dryer
  9. Add outlet cover for outlet on front porch
  10. Check credit report
  11. Replace light fixture in stairway
  12. Remove weeping cherry (to create a place for blackberry bushes) – work in progress.  All limbs are cut off.
  13. Put out a bird bath
  14. Buy new kitchen trash can – work in progress
  15. Organize and label kitchen pantry
  16. Move clothing totes to back of crawl space (instead of right in front), add shoe rack and rod to hang winter coats
  17. Divide out future clothing sized into clear totes, label
  18. Put camping stuff in tote(s), label
  19. Clean bathroom grout
  20. Seal bathroom grout
  21. Make and freeze 4 different soups, 3 months worth each – work in progress.  3 soups made.
I love seeing progress being made on the list of projects.  Even better is to see several things marked off.  The 30 days is almost half way over.  So far 6 of my projects have been completed, with 3 more in some stage of completion.  By Day 15 I want to have 10 or more of the projects completed.
How is your list coming?  Do you think you will be halfway through in two more days?  Does knowing that “half way through” is in two more days make you feel behind or motivated?  What can you do today to work towards completing one of your projects?
Mar 142013
 

 

Yesterday, I was able to finish the first coat of paint in our downstairs bathroom.  This was the quickest of rooms that needed touching up on paint.  The areas were mainly places on the wall that had been damaged or marked up the past few years.  Also included were areas around trim or door frames that were missed when the room was painted originally or were damaged when door frames were changed out.  I also took the time to patch a place on the wall were a hook has come off, taking some of the paint and drywall paper with it.  That area needs to be sanded and painted today, as well as a second coat on the other areas.

On the list below, I have marked (bold and in red) two projects I am going to be working on the next few days.  I decided to put both of these together as they really are related.  It doesn’t matter which I do, painters tape will need to be up, paint brushes out and the ladder needs to be brought in from the garage.  (We have very high ceilings on the main floor of our home, which means I can’t reach the top of what needs painting just by standing on a chair.)  Some places need priming, others just paint.  I am not sure if I will take this one room at a time, or do two rooms at once.  It will depend upon how much time I have and how long a step will take.

Today I am going to be gone all morning, then have a meeting at my house over lunch.  Nap times have been decreased this week (in hopes of having easier/better bed times), so I will have a shorter time frame in which to work than I have become accustomed to.  Also, Saturday will find me gone before the sun rises and home after bed time.  I doubt I will be painting then, though I might be installing an outlet cover.  This is mainly to keep chipping away at projects.  Yes, I could take a whole weekend and knock out several projects, but I don’t have the time for that.  What I do have the time to do, right now, is work on them a bit at a time.  If I do a little each day the progress will add up and soon I’ll have them all done.  A saying of FlyLady’s that I like is, “Anything can be done 15 minutes at a time.”  I completely agree.  One thing I have come to find out, though, is you actually need to get up and do those 15 minutes.  Dreaming and thinking about doing them doesn’t get you very far.  =)

Lists of my 21 Projects:

  1. Spackle stairway walls
  2. Prime spots to be painted (from previous replacement of door and window frames)
  3. Paint spots around door and window frames – work in progress.  1st coat in one room completed.
  4. Repaint Horse post by street
  5. Strip vent covers in bathroom and kitchen
  6. Repaint bathroom and kitchen vent covers
  7. Seal pots and paint with chalkboard paint (to be used with herb plants on the deck)
  8. Add outlet cover for washer/dryer
  9. Add outlet cover for outlet on front porch
  10. Check credit report
  11. Replace light fixture in stairway
  12. Remove weeping cherry (to create a place for blackberry bushes)
  13. Put out a bird bath
  14. Buy new kitchen trash can – work in progress
  15. Organize and label kitchen pantry
  16. Move clothing totes to back of crawl space (instead of right in front), add shoe rack and rod to hang winter coats
  17. Divide out future clothing sized into clear totes, label
  18. Put camping stuff in tote(s), label
  19. Clean bathroom grout
  20. Seal bathroom grout
  21. Make and freeze 4 different soups, 3 months worth each – work in progress.  2 made and frozen.
How is your progress on your projects?  Have you come upon any bumps along the way?  Do you find you have larger blocks of time to focus, or have to fit the projects in where you can?
Mar 132013
 

 

Did anyone notice a lack of post yesterday?  Life happened.  Between trying to shorten nap times for a little one, car battery dying, redoing lunch and supper plans and 6 loads of laundry a post just didn’t make it onto the computer.  Sorry about that. What still did happen was work on a project.  Actually, I worked on 3 projects.  Day 8 I wanted to work on spackling the stairway.  What happened instead was making one of the soups and quadrupling a corn bread recipe to make a dozen corn bread muffins four times.

On Day 8 a little friend was supposed to come for a few hours mid morning.  So, when the one kid didn’t adjust to the time change very well and stayed home from school (no nap for three days and didn’t go to sleep till 12:30 a.m.), our morning was thrown off a bit.  Not only where we trying to be quiet so that one could sleep, but I was also trying to not get into the middle of a project before the friend came. The friend ended up not coming, but a few hours of the day had already gone by before getting the call about this.  So much for the normal Monday morning routine.  When lunch came I figured the least I could do was work on one of the projects and multiply the amount of chili I was making.  Spackling of the stairway did not get done, however.

Day 9 was better, if not just as annoying schedule wise.  I was able to Spackle the stairway, make another soup (times 4, as we also had it for supper) and we put up the birdbath that came in the mail. (We had to order it since the store had none in stock.)  I also did a few more finishing touches on the bathroom upstairs.  After Day 8, I realized that there was no one right way to do a project.  When I first started I imagined myself taking a day or two per project, working on one at a time.  Yesterday reminded me that perfectionism should not be allowed to get in the way.  The goal was to work on a project (or two or three) each day so that progress was being made.  The goals wasn’t to complete only one project each day.

Today, I am going to continue down the list of painting related projects.  This shouldn’t take too long.  It will also work well with what needs to be done.  No 6 loads of laundry to do today.  I do  have my normal 1 load to do, as well as picking up.  So far, the schedule looks nice and boring.

Lists of my 21 Projects:

  1. Spackle stairway walls
  2. Prime spots to be painted (from previous replacement of door and window frames)
  3. Paint spots around door and window frames
  4. Repaint Horse post by street
  5. Strip vent covers in bathroom and kitchen
  6. Repaint bathroom and kitchen vent covers
  7. Seal pots and paint with chalkboard paint (to be used with herb plants on the deck)
  8. Add outlet cover for washer/dryer
  9. Add outlet cover for outlet on front porch
  10. Check credit report
  11. Replace light fixture in stairway
  12. Remove weeping cherry (to create a place for blackberry bushes)
  13. Put out a bird bath
  14. Buy new kitchen trash can – work in progress
  15. Organize and label kitchen pantry
  16. Move clothing totes to back of crawl space (instead of right in front), add shoe rack and rod to hang winter coats
  17. Divide out future clothing sized into clear totes, label
  18. Put camping stuff in tote(s), label
  19. Clean bathroom grout
  20. Seal bathroom grout
  21. Make and freeze 4 different soups, 3 months worth each – work in progress.  Two soups made.
Have all your projects gone as you anticipated?  Have you found a rhythm different than you thought it would be?  Keep up the work and soon you will start to see your list getting smaller.
Mar 112013
 

 Do you feel a bit refreshed after the day off yesterday?  I know I do.  Here is what I did instead.

  1. Sat on the couch under a blanket, with the kids, and watched a movie.  (I read while they watched.)
  2. See above.
  3. See above.
  4. See above.
  5. Made chocolate butterhorns with the kids.
  6. Made a cake with the kids.
  7. Warmed up leftovers for lunch.
  8. Cleaned up.
  9. Ate dessert.
  10. Sat on the couch under a blanket, with the kids, and watched a movie.  (I read while they watched.)
  11. See above.
  12. See above.
  13. See above.
  14. See above.
  15. Put together a delicious meal of a bit of this and that (some was supposed to be used in other ways for supper.)
  16. Ate dessert.
  17. Put kids to bed.

It was a very not strenuous day.  My husband and I both commented that we have not done this before and weren’t sure why not.  We both agreed that we try to do too much and need to have more days like this.

 

Today is a bit off as a little friend is coming for a few hours late morning.  Also, I believe one kid will be staying home from school, unless that particular kid wakes up on their own.  (It was a rough night sleep wise.)  A great day for an “easy” project.  The temperature isn’t as warm as I wanted it to be, but so is life.  I had planned on making soups today, but think that will have to wait a few days.  No grocery shopping for me today to pick up those last few items which I don’t have yet.  If the painting projects go well, the soups may have to wait till next week.  They aren’t going anywhere, so I’m not in a rush to do them.  It just seemed like a great thing to do on a rainy day.

Lists of my 21 Projects:

  1. Spackle stairway walls
  2. Prime spots to be painted (from previous replacement of door and window frames)
  3. Paint spots around door and window frames
  4. Repaint Horse post by street
  5. Strip vent covers in bathroom and kitchen
  6. Repaint bathroom and kitchen vent covers
  7. Seal pots and paint with chalkboard paint (to be used with herb plants on the deck)
  8. Add outlet cover for washer/dryer
  9. Add outlet cover for outlet on front porch
  10. Check credit report
  11. Replace light fixture in stairway
  12. Remove weeping cherry (to create a place for blackberry bushes)
  13. Put out a bird bath – work in progress
  14. Buy new kitchen trash can – work in progress
  15. Organize and label kitchen pantry
  16. Move clothing totes to back of crawl space (instead of right in front), add shoe rack and rod to hang winter coats
  17. Divide out future clothing sized into clear totes, label
  18. Put camping stuff in tote(s), label
  19. Clean bathroom grout
  20. Seal bathroom grout
  21. Make and freeze 4 different soups, 3 months worth each
Mar 102013
 

Yesterday, I tackled a large project – organizing and labeling my pantry.  It took longer than I thought.  Not because it was hard, but because I was trying to be perfect.  Yes, perfectionism got me again. However, it was completed by late afternoon.

Here are some photos of what it looked like while organizing the pantry:

Below is a before picture.  Notice the salad spinner we haven’t used in … months?

Here is a picture of all the pantry items moved out of the pantry.  I employed two laundry baskets to hold items “to go somewhere else” and “appliances or other helps to go to shelves in the basement”.

With everything cleaned out, the pantry looked very empty and promising.  I took the opportunity to wipe them down.  Never would I have guessed that pantry shelves could get so dusty.

Then came the task of putting everything back.  Due to height variances, I was not able to put all the items next to each other that I wanted.  Trying to figure out what would go back where, to make sense, too the longest.

It took even longer than labeling.  Towards the end of adding labels I decided not to add them for everything.  Some things, like baked beans, are not a normal pantry item for us.  I was not going to make a spot for every single thing that would possible ever show up in our pantry.  I made them for common items though and categories for everything else, ex: veggies, baking items, etc.

I know the angle is off on some of the pictures.  Because of the tight space, I had to walk DOWN four stairs before I could get a picture that was larger than about 5 cans wide.  This meant I was taking pictures from about the floor level, unless I held my arms up (till they hit the short ceiling) and took a picture without being able to see what I was actually taking a picture of.

Today, I need a break.  I could tell by yesterday afternoon, as I snapped at one of the kids.  “Don’t they understand I am trying to organize here?”  It was about 5 minutes later that I realized exactly how off that thought was.  They were just wanting some attention.  So, today I am not working on any of the projects.   Sometimes, a break is what is needed to gain energy to go again.

On a happy note, the bird bath should be here in a few days.  On a not so happy note, I still have not been able to find a trashcan I like.  While stopping at a farm store today, to buy some onion sets in bulk, I browsed their trash can selection.  I thought that perhaps they would have what I was looking for, since I want something just a bit bigger than normal.  No such luck.  The search continues.

Lists of my 21 Projects:

  1. Spackle stairway walls
  2. Prime spots to be painted (from previous replacement of door and window frames)
  3. Paint spots around door and window frames
  4. Repaint Horse post by street
  5. Strip vent covers in bathroom and kitchen
  6. Repaint bathroom and kitchen vent covers
  7. Seal pots and paint with chalkboard paint (to be used with herb plants on the deck)
  8. Add outlet cover for washer/dryer
  9. Add outlet cover for outlet on front porch
  10. Check credit report
  11. Replace light fixture in stairway
  12. Remove weeping cherry (to create a place for blackberry bushes)
  13. Put out a bird bath – work in progress
  14. Buy new kitchen trash can – work in progress
  15. Organize and label kitchen pantry
  16. Move clothing totes to back of crawl space (instead of right in front), add shoe rack and rod to hang winter coats
  17. Divide out future clothing sized into clear totes, label
  18. Put camping stuff in tote(s), label
  19. Clean bathroom grout
  20. Seal bathroom grout
  21. Make and freeze 4 different soups, 3 months worth each

4 projects completed, with 2 more worked on.  This upcoming week will see more painting and related projects.  I would love to see if I can get projects 1 – 6 completed by the end of the week.  May not get done though, as I have something all day Saturday.  We’ll see.  Perhaps that will be a day for a quick project.

How are you coming?  Have you found that you have needed a break this past week?  Were you able to cross any projects off your list?

Mar 092013
 

My project choices the past few days have really helped with my momentum.  Honestly, the the public accountability hasn’t  hurt either.  The first day involved making a list of all your projects and what needed to be done to complete those projects.  Day 2 of 30 Days, 21 Projects found us doing a quick project, something we already had everything to do and knew we could get done in one day.  For me this was checking our credit scores.  Thankfully there was not a lot of wrong information, though there were disputes about a few small things.  Day 3 was a bit harder, at least for me as it required going an purchasing something I didn’t have yet.  This also turned out to be a bit harder than I thought since they didn’t have what I was wanting.  Day 4 held a very large project.  I felt as if I had been working up to this one.  This project took much longer than the rest and was more physical than the first 3 days. Day 5 found me going back to an easy project.  The house needed a bit more attention.  I also talked about this during Day 3 – looking ahead.  The discussion was about grouping your projects so that not all the larger projects are being done at the end.  Not only is this so your list doesn’t “feel” unbalanced, or heavier at one end than the other, but also because many of us have other obligations to attend to.

Yesterday’s project was to buy, and install, a bird bath.  On Day 3 I had gone to buy a trash can, but was unable to find what I was looking for.  What I did find out though was the store would let you order items from the store and use a coupon.  After looking online I found a birdbath from there that I liked.  Since I had a few spare minutes in Big Town, I stopped by the same store yesterday.  The bird bath is ordered with a coupon and using a gift card.  The coupon saved me $6 and the gift card made it possible to pay nothing out of pocket. Yes, it is purchased.  No, it isn’t installed as it will take 3-5 business days to get to my house.  I am going to mark is a “work in progress” so I at least know I am still working on that one.

Today, Day 6, I’m ready to tackle another larger project.  Since the weather outside, and hence our wall inside, is still cold that disqualifies painting or yard work.  Instead I am going to work on organizing my pantry.  Everyone’s pantry is different and provides different challenges.  The last house we lived in had a great pantry.  Double folding doors, easy access, at the end of our galley kitchen and against an inside wall.  I would say it was near perfect for me.  Then we moved.

Our current pantry. I actually had to take a few steps down the basement stairs to get far enough away to take this picture.  You can see most of the shelve in the pantry area.
 

I love our house.  I really do.  However, our pantry has a lot left to be desired.  I am pretty sure it was an after thought.  Let’s start with the location – at the top of the basement stairs, right inside a narrow door from the kitchen and bordered on the other side by a narrow door to the outside.  Until this winter that particular outer door had major gaps around it and was by no means a deterant for the cold/hot weather outside. Yes, it did lock, but you if you stepped into the pantry area and closed the door to the kitchen behind you, while leaving the lights to the basement off, you could clearly see the sun shine all the way around the door.  Previous attempts by me to fill these gaps had helped but did not quite do the job.  Finally this winter I had a great idea – use the same thing you put on the bottom of doors to stop drafts.  Off to he hardware store I went.  Not only did I find what I was looking for, but it was in the color I wanted (white) and it did a great job.  The particular items I found did not need to be screwed on, but instead had a sticky backing.  These worked so well that the temperature in the pantry area is finally decent.  I don’t think it has been below freezing all winter.  Yeah for our food stored there and for our heating bill in the rest of the house.

This is the normal calming, uncluttered view of the  pantry floor.  This is the first thing you see when you open the door to the pantry or to go down to the basement.  This is also the way, from inside, out to our deck.  We don’t go that way much.  Can you guess why?
 

Okay, enough about the location.  Let’s talk about layout.  There are shelves.  They vary in height.  They also vary in how deep they are.  On the far side they will hold one can with just a bit of room leftover.  On the other side you can get 4 or 5 cans deep.  Some of the shelves sage a bit in the middle.  This means that you may be able to put a quart jar on the right side, but by the middle or the left side the space is too short.

Over time I this space has become a hot spot for items heading to the basement.  One thing in there I know for sure of are pictures from VBS … from the beginning of Summer 2012.  Oh, and an alarm clock.  And a fire extinguisher  while the one attached to the wall is out of date.  Yet there are no cans of peas or apricot jam or tomato paste because “there isn’t room”.  This means I have to walk down steep steps into the basement for these items while other useless, pointless items take up valuable space. 

The bottom two shelves currently hold a lot of non-food items: crock pots, salad spinner, emergency candles, different vinegar, adult snack stash (hide it in plain sight and they don’t know where it is – hint: it is the box with the blue lid, the front package that everyone can see never changes)

Here is a closer, though darker, picture of the middle shelves.  There really is a general order to things, though my husband can’t figure it out.  Guess that means there really isn’t much of an order to things.  The very top shelf does hold jams and jelly, then canned goods with tomato products being on the far left.  As we go from there the organization starts to break down very quickly.  It soon become more of a “if there is space, but it there” kind of organization.

So what is it about the pantry I want to change and what do I want to leave?

I don’t want to change the flooring or the wall paper.  Yes, both are old, but are in decent shape.  Also, I would rather spend my money in other spaces of the house right now.

What I would like to see are a lot of the non-food items go to the basement, especially the things we only use every so often.  I would like to see label.  I would like to see the groceries for this week in the pantry so I don’t have to walk to the basement multiple times for a meal, or for a meal at all.  I would rather go down at the beginning of the week and restock the upstairs pantry and use from it as the week goes on.  I want my family to be able to open the door and know exactly where to look for something.  I want to be able to, at a glance, know what we need more of.

Lists of my 21 Projects:

  1. Spackle stairway walls
  2. Prime spots to be painted (from previous replacement of door and window frames)
  3. Paint spots around door and window frames
  4. Repaint Horse post by street
  5. Strip vent covers in bathroom and kitchen
  6. Repaint bathroom and kitchen vent covers
  7. Seal pots and paint with chalkboard paint (to be used with herb plants on the deck)
  8. Add outlet cover for washer/dryer
  9. Add outlet cover for outlet on front porch
  10. Check credit report
  11. Replace light fixture in stairway
  12. Remove weeping cherry (to create a place for blackberry bushes)
  13. Put out a bird bath – work in progress
  14. Buy new kitchen trash can – work in progress
  15. Organize and label kitchen pantry
  16. Move clothing totes to back of crawl space (instead of right in front), add shoe rack and rod to hang winter coats
  17. Divide out future clothing sized into clear totes, label
  18. Put camping stuff in tote(s), label
  19. Clean bathroom grout
  20. Seal bathroom grout
  21. Make and freeze 4 different soups, 3 months worth each

And in case you couldn’t guess it, showing all of you the messiest parts of my house and the projects in progress is not my most favorite of things to do.  I would rather be showing you the wonderful tulips that are starting to come up.  Or the red bird that hesitantly goes to our bird feeder in the mornings.  Or the wonderful snow falling outside.  Those are all pretty things.  Things that look orderly and everyone can ooh and aah over.  But, I am trying to keep it honest and real during these projects.  And that means showing you my pantry that has slowly slid into disorganization or the bathroom upstairs that had wall partly de-wallpapered.  (Which by the way I forget what they looked like now that they are wonderfully painted.)  I hope you are able to understand the non-perfect state of my house as I work to get it back in order and projects finished that were put on hold for a bit.

What I am pretty sure that all of you can understand is my desire to have these all done before gardening season starts.  It can’t be too far off.  Like I said, tulips are starting to show.  So, I am going to end today’s post with some pretty pictures from last year: