Jun 152016
 

cutting closet woodInspiration can be like a wave, far away then suddenly crashing into you with such force you get knocked over. It seems to come while your attention to focused on something else in the opposite direction.

I have spent countless hours, usually while painting, trying to figure out what to do with our new, very large closet.  I looked at pictures online, looked for ideas with apps such as Houzz, and checked out This Old House for ideas and suggestions.  In the end I had a lot more idea than when I had began, but nothing seemed to fit my need.

I have turned it over and over in my mind to no avail. The back wall/ceiling angles toward the front of the closet, starting at about 4 feet up from the floor. I searched and searched the internet for ideas, but found nothing to fit our needs. Last night I changed my search terms and found the beginning of my wave.

The first trickle almost knocked my socks off with the cost; it was a $120 find. That was only for the supports for the rod. Hmm. Not quit what I wanted as my goal is to spend under $100 for the whole closet. BUT it meant there were options out there and I was on the right track.

I kept going.

Then I came across the Closet of Greatness.  I felt their pain on the closet issue. Then I saw their solution. Not only did it solve my dilemma, but it also fit my budget.

That is when the wave made my knees start to buckle.

This afternoon I was standing in front of the closet when the rest of the wave knocked me right over. See, I was working on the garage his morning , not even thinking about the closet. Well, except maybe to grumble about it to myself.

I was returning tools to the closet, not intending to think about the layout at all, when it hit me. I had been going about it all wrong.

Now that I no longer needed a floor-to-ceiling support half way through, I did not have to have a shelving unit between the doors going from the front to the back of the closet. “But what about shelving?” So I measured.

I should have enough room to make a two-tiered closet, a rod up high and one lower. The lower one will be set back some, supported by brackets along the flat wall.

“Brackets like I have in our current closet. …. Brackets that can have a shelf attached to them!”

The wave hit me full force.

All at once I found ourselves 13 feet of shelving space and 26 feet of hanging space. Given I barely use the 3 feet I currently have, I think we will be good on room to hang our clothes.

The shelf will serve as space for linens, shoes, etc. This will eliminate the need for a shoe rack and for storing our sheets in Jack’s closet.

I need to run the idea past my husband and get his input, of course, before moving forward. It is his closet, too, after all.

There are some details I have to iron out, like whether to add the lower rod right now or wait or whether to put our dressers in there and add rods and shelves on the extra space around them.

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Update:

I have ordered the Angled Ceiling Supports from Groover and installed the closet.  I wanted to wait to post this till it was all in and I decided whether I was happy with the solution I had found.  Though there were several patience trying moments, most of them were of my own making or due to a previous contractor’s measuring issue. (more on that below.)

I have now had the closet in for a few weeks and am really happy with the supports for our closet.  Once I had the right tools, and no whining kids who did not understand why they could not just drill holes at will, things went well.

Before beginning I had called Groover Enterprises to ask a few questions.  David took the time to answer my questions, even though he was working on something else at that time.  I appreciated his attention and assurances on measurements.

Here is what the final result looks like:

diy closet system

A trip to the local hardware store resulted in a 16 foot rod to use for hanging clothes.  Thankfully it was the local store, as my car does not have the space to put a 16 foot pool inside. We took the side streets back to the house.

I also opted to go for a pine board for the shelf rather than a laminated board.  Not only did it cost less, but I could stain it to match the closet rods and the future, hopefully soon, doors and trim for the room.

staining closet wood

Another change I made was to place both of our dressers inside the closet.  My husband was not so sure of the idea, but I like that they will be behind closed doors.  They also add a horizontal surface at no additional cost.  If we do not like it, I can always go back and change it.

Having made that change, I was able to use a left over rod from our basement.  I am not sure why the previous owners had this, apparently there were plans for it that never transpired.  It has come in handy though and several projects have cut it down from 16+ feet long to now about 2 feet.

Using stain and polyurethane I already owned, I began the process of turning the unfinished wood into something that looked classier.  Setting up saw-horses in the garage over top a plastic sheeting gave me room to work.  The staining took the longest drying but not in application.  Adding the polyurethane meant the wood and stain would be protected and have a semi-gloss finish.  This is a step that you do not have to do, but which pays off over time and is a nice final touch.

Another time consuming step that I had not planned on, was finding the studs behind the drywall.  I measured and marked, having a good idea of where they should be.  As it turns out, they were off several times.  I played “find the stud” with the drill rather than use the stud finder.  Why? I find that the stud finder does not always find the stud and takes longer in the end.

Below: I had found one stud on the third try (on the right, marked with the check mark), measured the 12 inches to where I thought the other one was, then got really frustrated when I didn’t find it and decided to just drill in a line both directions till I did find it.  Turns out it was at 15 1/2 inches.  What you do not see is that the one after this was at 16 1/2 inches.  And the one after that?  Well, it was finally at the 16 inches it was supposed to be … if they were not at the 12 inches like I thought they were placed.  Honestly, this was the worst seek-and-find of all the places.  Thankfully it is hidden by the shelf.

finding closet studs

Below: This was more typical of me trying to find the studs.  In this case my first two holes ended up just on either side of the stud.  It took the rest of the holes for me to figure that out and make my last hole in the middle of the first two I had drilled.  Thankfully not all were like this, though there were enough to make me extremely frustrated by the process.  Out of the 6 upper supports, I had trouble finding 3.  Considering two were next to the wall, that is not a good average.closet remodel finding studs

I am glad I did not jump in with a more complicated arrangement.  Instead I have a nice base for adding to or changing in the future as we use the closet and see what our needs warrant.

So, did all this work really save money?

Yes.

  • In all my costs were very near $100, about half of that being the supports for the clothes rods.  I may have gone over by a few dollars due to buying a new can of polyurethane.  I opted for the larger can, knowing I would be needing it in the near future and any unused product would keep for future, unknown projects.
  • We now have stained wood for our closet system rather than the coated wire option.  Even if we had wanted to go with the wire option, available at most stores, it would not have worked for our closet dimensions.  It also would have cost around $400 to find something for half of the closet.
  • While it took a bit longer for me to buy, cut, stain, and varnish the wood, I enjoyed the process and did not need to pay someone to do it.

child helping with closet

This project was also easy enough that I will do something similar with our now ‘old’ closet.  This closet has rods to hang clothes on, also double-tiered, but ones which were not stained nor attached to the brackets.  That particular project was a first for me, and more involved in a shorter amount of time than the closet above.

I am going to stain and add polyurethane to the rods with the kids’ help.  Being able to use rags instead of brushes as applicators makes it much more kid friendly.

While the kids may not appreciate the skill at this time, my hope is it will at least give them the confidence as they are older to tackle things on their own.  This is the same reason I let them help patch (small areas) of dry wall, use the drill to make holes and put in screws, paint, pull carpet, cut boards, etc.

Jun 062016
 

Ever get the urge to clean when you are angry, frustrated, depressed, feeling like life is out of control? I find cleaning helps me get things back into perspective with throwing dishes against a wall.  Please tell me I am not the only one to feel this way…

Today I got some surprising, bad news. Someone passed away who had made a large impact on my life, who I was around every day for years when I was a teenager. After shedding more than a few tears I looked around for something to do, something active. Dishes (washing, not throwing) and laundry were not going to cut it this time.

“Well, the closet rods and shelf need to be cut and stained …”

After a quick look on the internet, to review the staining process, I gathered supplies and headed out to the garage.

cutting closet wood

It has been almost an hour, my mind has worked through memories, my hands have made progress on cutting and sanding, and I feel more even keeled emotionally. I also feel more motivated on this part of the project to get the closet finished on the inside.  Sometimes all it takes is starting.

The 9 week Intro To Shop class in 7th grade seems to have paid off. Not only did we make a cutting board, but I learned how to smooth sharp edges off the corners of boards by hand. You never know which lessons will stick with you and be needed later, much later, in life.

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After the kids were in bed, I thought about heading there myself.  As tempting as it was, I was exhausted after all, my better side won over and I headed back out to the garage to stain the wood.  The stain needed to dry for several hours before I could put on a final coat of polyurethane, which will take all day to dry properly.  I know that if I waited till the morning to stain I would rush the drying step.   Better to get up and do it right then, allowing it to thoroughly dry overnight.

This morning I was glad to have completed this step last night, as I am able to keep up the momentum and get this finished between breakfast, morning routines and laundry.  With the next few days holding out-of-home activities, and me wanting to get our closet to the point where we can hang clothes, I can use all time saving steps available.  Yes, it meant staying up another 45 minutes, but it saved hours today.

staining closet wood

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Mar 012016
 

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If you have not been following me on Facebook, you probably missed the news. Yesterday another kid came to live with us for a while.

On top of an already busy week, one where I had not yet made a menu plan, we have someone new who does not know our routines or expectations.

My answer when they first called was, “No. We need a bigger age gap. But call back if you can’t find anyone else.” For the first time ever, they called back. I said “Yes.” I was also honest, with the supervisor who called, about my concerns. They understood and we went from there.

I am also working with renewed gusto on taking down wallpaper so I can paint our spare bedroom. Once painted, we can get new flooring and actually start using the other half of our house.

So far I have found the early morning hours to be the best time to work. And Sunday afternoon, which is why I have no menu plan for this week.

While I get the wallpaper and painting taken care of, as well as adjust my nerves to having another personalty in the house, the blog may be a bit quieter.  We’ll see.  I know today is packed. The only reason I have time right now is because it is 5:14 a.m. and I am using this to finish waking up.

Keep checking back, as I have a few posts planned. I may also get the opportunity to post if some of the others things leave my plate.

Thanks for understanding.

Nov 122015
 

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Up since 4 a.m.  Good Morning! Wish I had the coffee above to start my day.  Instead I had old work clothes and a cold room.  Maybe I will get some of the coffee tonight; we have several great mixes here at the house.

Found the Ghost in our house – a window that looked closed was actually open a smidge, causing a moaning sound as the wind passed between the upper and lower parts.  That was quickly corrected.

Listened to several Market Place Money and TED Radio Hour pod casts.  Really enjoyed, though that is not the best word, the episode called “Headspace”.  As someone who has had multiple friends and family members deal with depression, I appreciated the further delving into some of the science surrounding it.  Here it is if you find yourself with some extra time to listen.


Finished painting walls and ceiling with primer in 300+ square foot room and stairway.  I got a lot of painting done in those first 2 hours of my day. 🙂

Unloaded dishwasher. Reloaded it (with dirty dishes from last night) and ran the new load.

Dropped car off at mechanics for brake repairs.

Dropped husband off at work and son off at school.

Got a call that there is an issue with my car and it will have to stay in the shop till the part come in tomorrow.  I would not feel bad about this, except it is literally stuck on the lift of the mechanic.  Who is a friend and whom I know has other cars waiting to have work completed.  Of course, my husband’s car was supposed to go in after mine, but it can wait another few days.

Made a from scratch lunch. (Contrary to the picture below, there was no wine involved in this meal.)

Measuring items for cooking

Then within a 5 minute stretch:

Lunch finished.

Sold a book online.  Found issue with book before sending it. (Small issue, but one I want to correct before selling it.)  Got flustered and canceled the order.  Then realized I should not have done that and got flustered even further.  {sigh}  I do not always like learning opportunities.

Got a call about a (foster) kid who needs a place to go, someone right between George and Jack’s ages.  Due to issues, this kid would need their own room I suspect.  Our extra room at the moment needs painting, a door, and electricity restored to it. We are not the place for this kid.  I was in no way tempted to say yes.  We would have caused more trauma than help in this case.

unpainted stairway collage

I sent my husband back to work with his car, found George a ride home from school and have a plan to engage Jack’s mind while I tackle the garage.

My big goal for the day is to finish priming the garage.  It is about 40% done.  All that is left are the flat surfaces, which go fairly quick once I get going.

This is not the way I saw today going at all, but sometimes you just have to roll with it.  (Painting pun unintended.)

And the day is not yet over.

With only one car, we had to rearrange some activities that were to take place tonight.  It also will change tomorrow’s plans a bit, as my husband is taking the day off of work.

Being down to one car is not something about which I will be complaining.

  • We have a roof on the house that does not leak and a garage to keep the wind from finding its way under the kitchen door.
  • Most of the drafts in the house have been blocked, which is great as it is gusting something awful outside.
  • My car works, apart from the fact that the brakes are currently locked up while on a lift in the mechanic’s shop.
  • Even with the added cost of parts, we will be able to afford the repairs on the car.
  • I have friends who are willing to help with getting my kid home.
  • Jack is in a great mood today which allows me to focus on painting. (This is a HUGE thanksgiving, as this time last year it was very different.  Those were the days where a good day meant no call or note home from school and only yelling at me, no hitting me or others, for the hours he was here.)
  • We have food in the house with which to cook.

I could keep going, but have already been on here long enough.  Before my afternoon completely disappears I am going to grab a bit of chocolate and get back to painting.  You never know what tomorrow may hold, but I am going to try my best to make the most of today.

Oct 282015
 

Today has been a nice boring day.  At home.  It started off with me waking up on my own versus kids yelling at each other.  Perhaps that had something to do with it?  Either way, I was okay with a day that included school, laundry, painting and dishes.

2 hours this afternoon spent on the Mega Project, this time edging around the room above the garage left me feeling like I made good progress.  I might even get in another hour tonight if I have energy.  I have the ceilings in two rooms to do then I can go back and use the roller on the walls in all the rooms and stairways.

store flash cards math

School work completed with a great attitude; so much so that we were able to add in a few extra things.  Jack was happy that “we did not have to do math today!”  Of course, he finished 2 lessons on MathSeeds just so he could see the theme of the next map.

If you tell him that he just did school work, I think I will have to ban you from reading the blog. 😉

A few days ago the camping equipment was put away and the space freed up in the kitchen.  No worries, it did not stay empty long.  I brought up the totes of clothes as switching them out while in a stack in the basement was not going well.  It actually was going no where very, very quickly.  So now, maybe some progress will be made.  As it is, we seem to be in the limbo stage, with some summer clothes out and some winter ones making their way into the wardrobes.

Tonight, after the kids are in bed, I am going to check out the deals on Schoola.com.  Jack needs more pants.  We tried getting some while in Big Town earlier this week.  He does not usually do well in these stores.  I am not sure if he is visually overwhelmed or if the abundance of places to play “Hide and Seek” is just too much.  Either way, I really would rather make shopping easy and fun, while knowing the items will be of good quality and reasonably priced.

To make it even better, Schoola is currently offering several deals, my favorite of which is  the free shipping that is being offered for a limited time.  However, there are several more offers.

If you do the math above, you could potentially get $60 worth of clothing plus shipping for free if this is your first time ordering through them.  Now you have no excuse not to have your wardrobe as well as your kids’ (or other kid in your life) caught up for the season.

Clothes shopping without having to even turn on the car?  Sounds great.  Clothes shopping while drinking my favorite warm drink and snuggling under a warm blanket?  Sounds wonderful!

Update: I bought 4 pairs of pants for $13.08 in the time it would have taken me to get everyone unbuckled and into the store.  This does not even count the fact that the nearest store, that has clothes that won’t drain my bank account, is about 30 minutes away.   I paid about a $1 more per pair of pants than I would at garage sales or half-off days at the thrift store.  However, I did not spend $8 in gas and over an hour of driving to purchase them.  Also, Enya is playing in the background, my feet are up on the foot stool and I have a cup of homemade cappuccino sitting next to me.  So worth the extra $4-$5.  (For the record, Schoola says that I saved $36.92.  I never would have paid that much to cloth my active, life loving boys.  Just saying.) 

first schoola used clothes order collage

As I looked out the window today, I realized that I need to put the garden to bed for winter really soon.  The rainy weather we are having did not help the forlorn look by any means.  There are still tomatoes growing, which is what kept me from doing this before.  However, I do not see it lasting much longer and it is better to end this year’s gardening adventure on a good note.

The strawberry patch is overrun with weeds and radish plants that have gone to seed.  I’m not sure how this will turn out, but we’ll see.  If I get to it, then wonderful.  If not, then I have just created a larger job for myself next Spring.

There is still a small pile of wood chips that need to be relocated before the ground freezes, though I do not see that happening for a few weeks.  However, it is going to happen soon and I really want these put in their intended destination.

toddler bedToday I talked to two different friends, both of whom are on the journey to become foster parents.  I find it a bit odd that two different friends of mine, who do not know each other and who live in different states, are at the beginning-ish stages of their journey to become foster/adoptive parents.  The reason(s) that compelled all 3 of us to do this are different, our expectations are different, even our experiences at the beginning are different.  There are some similarities, but each of us is unique.

A misconception I had when I was, let’s say, younger was that all foster parents fit into a box.  They were XYZ kinds of people.  That could not be further from the truth.  I have seen first hand how the variety of homes can work for the best for different kids.  While a kid may thrive in one home, they will struggle in another.  While one home will struggle with a certain kid, they will find another a joy to have.

After going down this road these past several years, it is not necessarily something I push or even suggest for people to do.  It is hard, personally as well as on your relationships.  There are struggles.  Yes, there are also joys, but … it is hard.  If someone makes the decision to go on this journey I want it to be something they have chosen to do, not something I convinced them would be a good idea.  Having said that, I hope I can at least make it a bit easier and answer questions, provide support and being a sounding board.

That is exactly what happened this morning, before we could even start school.  My friend called to work through some feelings she had after a meeting with the agency and get reassurance about a decision being the correct best a logical one.  Of course she did not say it that way, but sometimes you just need to say things out loud and have someone who has been there tell you that you are not crazy.  I can be that person. Give me about 10 minutes and I can leave you feeling as if you have it all under control and know what you are doing.  I’ll even add in a few screaming kids in the background of added effect.  🙂

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Oct 142015
 

This post contains some affiliate links.  If you click on them and purchase something a small portion is returned to me, at no added cost to you, and helps with the cost of running this blog.  Thank you for your support.

Sorry for the long absence.  Yes, 3 days does seems like a long time to not blog.  Time in the blogging world does not move at the same pace as time in real life.  Sort of like time when you are moving at the speed of light versus time when you are moving at a normal pace.  Please, don’t ask me the math on it, I just know that time moves at different speeds.

While I have not been able to get on the computer to update on the 21 Day Challenge, I have been working and making progress.  Day 5 of 21 Days To A More Disciplined Life talks about making a plan for when you hit a road block.  One of the questions was, “What will you do if you have to skip a day?”  Well, I got to that particular problem on Day 4.  I took the weekend off due to all the activities we had going on in various places.

At first I felt guilty for not doing yet another thing on Saturday.  Then I realized that running myself ragged was not the point to this challenge.  The point was to get back on the path to being more disciplined.  Taking a day of rest was not the enemy.

Farm Market Swap 2015 collage

I made a plan.  I would enjoy the day and pick back up on Sunday.  If Sunday did not work out, then Monday would have to be Day 4.  I was not going to feel guilty for taking some time for myself, by going to the Farm Market Swap, after days and weeks of constant going and craziness for others and our home.

My original plan for Day 4 was to take a day to wipe down the ceiling and walls in the small area at the top of the steps, take a day to do our ‘old’ upstairs bedroom, take 2 days to do the ‘new’ upstairs bedroom and take a day to clean the floors.bedroom above garage collageMonday came and I had renewed energy.  Instead of sticking with my original plan for Day 4, I did the ‘new’ bedroom in one day and swept the floors as well.  I will need to go back and wash them down, but they are much better.  I even did this with both kids at home, which is a small miracle.  It was not lost on me that this little feat would have been impossible a year or two ago.  There were still squabbles, but I was able to do this work with minimal stoppage.floor of bedroom above garage collageTuesday (Day 5) I tackled the ‘old’ upstairs bedroom and the small area at the top of the steps.  This is the point when I realized that I should put on one of the audio books I had recently picked up at a library sale.  Turns out it was the perfect choice for that day.  I knew Who Moved My Cheese had been a huge hit when it came out, but I had never read the book.  I am so glad I decided to listen to it while I worked.  Jack got to watch a documentary on Lewis & Clark, then some Rescue Bots.  And all was happy in our home.

One thing both of these days had in common was that I started early.  Mornings are the calmest time in our household and when I am able to focus the best.  As the day goes on my energy become depleted at a pretty fast rate.  Patience also starts to wain.  By the kids’ bedtime I am exhausted.  Sometimes I can gain a second wind, but it is not something I can count on.

Knowing this, I chose to do the biggest part of the Mega Project on Monday morning.  It stood to reason that I would be able to get the most done while expecting the best behavior from the kids.  Once I get to the next stage, the actual painting, I will try to do this when the household is asleep or after bedtimes.  I would rather wake up an hour earlier and get in some focused time, instead of having to stop to do this or answer that question.  That is the plan beginning this evening or tomorrow morning.

Yesterday found us in Big Town, taking our laptop to a computer repair store.  Of course, I had tackled the day’s Mega Project immediately after taking George to school, so that part was done and out of the way before anything else needed attention.  Jack and I stayed in Big Town, ate a picnic lunch then went to the library to do school work.  This is a great benefit of using the modified drawer system.  I was able to fill his folders, add in my binder and the pencil box, then pick up the crate and take it to the car.  Everything was there.tires and pumpkin autumn decorToday we have a field trip to a local pumpkin farm with some other home school families.  Some we have met before, but most will be new to us.  Please pray that Jack will make some friends.  He is often missing his school friends and there are less than a handful of other home schooled kids here in Small Town.

I have been doing well keeping on top of the dishes.  Yesterday morning found me short of time and a clean load of dishes in the dishwasher.  I have to admit that I left the dishes undone while we went to Big Town and only had a small bit of guilt.  I had to remind myself of priorities, that the dishes would still be there when we got back but the computer really needed attention.

The first thing I did when we got home was to unload and reload the dishwasher.  It was full, so I turned it on to run.  This meant it was still going when supper was finished.  However, we had tomato soup and grilled cheese for supper, so minimal dishes.  This morning, while breakfast was cooking, I unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher with all 4 bowls, a plate and accompanying silverware.  Once breakfast was finished the dishes were added to the now mostly-empty dishwasher.  I love the look of clean counters welcoming me home.

Today’s application and things to think about were focused on keeping things realistic.  I feel like I have done that this go around.  Maybe I have learned from before or perhaps I am giving myself more leeway in other areas.

How are things coming along with your project?  Having any struggles or finding yourself hitting any walls?

Oct 092015
 

It takes 21 days to make a habit, or so the saying goes.  And while it may take more than a day’s resolve, that does not mean it is too hard to do.

Our dishwasher started going out this past summer.  The signs?  It stopped drying the clean dishes and every so often it would take more than one push of the start button for the cycle to start.  This issue was not a new one, as it happened to us a few years back.  At that time we found a temporary fix that worked very well for a few years.

When the issues started to arise again, I did our default action to “fix” the problem.  This time, though, it did not work.  Seems it was time for a new dishwasher.  We waited until the day it would not longer turn on at all, which of course happened when it was fully loaded with dirty dishes late one night.

For almost the past month, my evening routine of loading the dishwasher and doing dishes was disrupted.  I was not 100% perfect in this routine.  More like 75%, but I was working on it.  Now, faced with a counter full of dishes at the end of supper, the time of day when my energy is the lowest, I became overwhelmed.  A new habit began.  After supper we would clear off the table, I would turn off the lights in the kitchen and go sit on the couch in the living room.  “The dishes can wait till the morning.”  And wait they did.

This new bad habit meant that I started every day faced with a messy kitchen.  Instead of using my morning energy to get our day going, I was using it to clean up yesterday’s mess.  By the time the dishes were done, I had no desire to do more.  Guess what happened at lunch time and again at supper time?  That’s right, I put the dishes off till the next day.  No magic fairy came to do them, they were always there the next morning waiting for me.

A good thing that came out of this was the realization of exactly how many plates, cups, and utensils we use in a day.  There are only 4 of us.  There really should not have been that many dishes. When you cook 3 meals a day and most of you are home for all those meals, that tends to happen.  It was a reality that was masked by the wonderful maid called the dishwasher.

This past weekend, our new dishwasher was delivered and installed.  Picking back up where I was a few months ago was harder than I thought.  The layout of the dishwasher was different so I had to put thought into where things went.  The old layout did not work as well in this new dishwasher.  For the last several days I have tried to get the dishes loaded and all the pans cleaned right after supper.  I am doing better, but there is a lot of room for improvement.

To work toward the goal of having the kitchen cleaned after supper, for the next week I am going to work on loading the dishwasher and running it every night.

cleaning kitchen floor collage

Yesterday’s quick project was to mop the kitchen floor.  I did not get to it till last night, the point in the day where my energy is the least.  I wiped down the tile area (10 minutes) and saved the moping for this morning.  I woke up a few minutes early and tackled this job.  It took me all of 25 minutes this morning and is now drying while I type this post

The pictures above do not do justice to the amount of dust that was there and now is not.  It really did look like someone took a sifter full of flour and walked around the kitchen doing a cha-cha dance as they went.  It still is not perfect, but is tons better than before.

washing garage floor

Step 1 toward the Mega Project of painting all of the new drywall was to wipe down the garage ceiling and walls, as well as wash the floor.  I lost track of how long this took, as the kids started to play in the water running off the floor.  I can say that it was easier than I thought it would be.  While not perfect, the garage floor looks a lot better and should track in less dirt to the house.

unpainted stairway collage

Step 2 today is to wipe down the walls and ceiling in the stairways.  I will need to hang up a sheet or some other barrier to keep the dust from coming onto my newly mopped kitchen floor.  Perhaps that order of activities was not the best.  However, I think I will be able to dust mop any dust that finds its way into the kitchen.

How are things coming at your place?  Was there a quick project you were able to take care of yesterday?  If not, why not look around for one today.  It does not have to take as long as mopping the kitchen floor did for me.  Actually, I would suggest something faster.  How about a new habit you want to work on forming?  What small step can you take today toward achieving it?

Oct 082015
 

Day One in 21 Days To A More Disciplined Life could not be titled any more appropriately – Discipline is a choice.  Over the past few months I have chosen not to let self-discpline happen.  I have chosen instead to set things aside till ‘later’.  I have chosen to pile up papers instead of filing them away, put off following up on items that should have been addressed months ago, and not finish what I have been working on before starting something else.  I have chosen to blame the circumstances around me rather than view the real issue – I have chosen to not be self-disciplined.

This choice has resulted in a home that feels chaotic, kids who are responding accordingly, a husband who is already stressed feeling even more stressed when he comes home and myself not feeling at all restful or productive.  There are so many things we could be doing but I feel so behind I have no energy to make headway.  So now, at this moment, I am choosing to start changing.  I will show self-discipline and do the important things that need to be done so we can life and enjoy life later.

nature center bird feeders tree pond

Today is the day.  I have room to breath a bit and tackle the things that have been overwhelming me, or threatening to do so.  I have begun to take on one of the larger projects and work on smaller ones, but just as they come up.  From past experience I know that if I were to have a plan and a goal in mind I could be doing so much more.  So here it goes, my plan to get back on the ball, to start up some of those habits I began to drop a year ago when our home life was disrupted by work on the house and adding in home schooling.  I am excited to get going and see what changes can be achieved in the next 21 days.

It is still dark outside and Jack woke up.  Yes, it is 6:35 a.m. which is right at his wake up time, but I was hoping the darkness would give me an extra 30 minutes.  No such luck.

His first question of the day, “What are you doing?”

“I am trying to set my goals for today.”

“Oh.  What are they?”, he asks with an innocent voice.

“I don’t know yet.  That is what I am trying to figure out.”

A few sentences later I clarify for him that I have 3 top goals for today:

  • Finish his school work for today.
  • Clean the garage of as much drywall dust as I can: finish wiping down the walls of the garage, wipe down the washer and dryer, and clean the floor
  • Spend an hour cleaning the house: picking up and moping the kitchen floor to get as much drywall dust up as I can

The last two goals may sound like complicated goals that could be broken down, and they could, but in reality they are not that bad.

Moping the kitchen floor is a smaller goal I have had for a while.  It is the first thing we see when we come into the house and really set the mood for how I feel about the house.  With the drywall dust and work dust having covered it often these past few months, I have also noticed exactly how much it impacts the cleanliness of the floors in the rest of the house.  Don’t believe me?  I now have white foot prints everywhere to prove it.  This really, really, really needs to be done.  And to that end, it is also why I am wanting to clean the floor in the garage.  We enter the kitchen from the garage.  The two floors are united almost as one.

The garage is 95% of the way done.  Wiping down the walls and the washer and dryer should take about 10 – 15 minutes.  This part is a step toward working on my Mega Project.

Quick project to jump start the 21 days: mopping the kitchen floor

Mega Project: Paint the new drywall in the garage and house

I will need to sit down later today and break my Mega Project into smaller bits.  For now I am going to finish up the first step I started this past weekend, which was wiping down the walls and ceiling in the garage.  Below you can see what it looked like before being cleaned out and after.  It is harder to see exactly how much dust was wiped off, but it was enough to cover me and make the whole room look white.

new garage clean out

Is there a quick project that you have been putting off?  Make time today to tackle it, then share with us how long it actually took.

Jun 252015
 

Yesterday was a going to be a busy day, that much I knew right from the beginning.  What it turned into was a day of non-stop action.

The schedule said that swim team practice was the first thing of the morning.  However, at 7:54 a.m. with my freshly washed hair still wet and unbrushed, the electricians showed up.  Apparently this was to be the day they worked on our house.  Thankfully I was dressed and up (thank you morning routines), so I was able to let them in, and mention a few things I had forgotten the last time I talked to their boss.  Four guys spent the next 8 hours drilling, pulling, attaching, connecting, and all together putting together a puzzle.  This is not always the easiest thing to do in our old house.

electrical work collage

George and Jack thought this was the greatest thing ever.  Jack was actually still asleep when they first came.  This is what happens when little boys think that the middle of the night is the time to be up and talking.  George made the most of new people being here and proceeded to talk their ears off when I said he could watch.  Finally I had to remind him that we watch with our eyes, not our mouths.  The talking slowed a little, but he just can’t help himself.

Jack finally awoke due to the drilling and hammering. So began his day of wanting to do nothing else besides watching the electricians.  Not such a bad thing, except he is a very hands-on kid.  He looks with his hands instead of his eyes, which is not such a great thing when talking about electricity. 🙂

We still had to go to swim practice, only this time we drove.  The plan had been to talk, but it was raining.  Again.  So into the car we went.  While the kids swam I talked with the grandmother of some of the other kids, which is what happens when we all huddle under the one umbrella available.  Usually we are spread out and I read.  This time I chose not to be rude and actually had a conversation.  🙂 Turns out she knows George from pick-up at school, her grandchild was in George’s class.  It was good to compare notes on kids and realized that  mine are, well, normal.

Coming back home, we had an appointment with an insulation contractor.  I thought we had someone lined up, but decided to call a few more to get additional quotes.  We already had 3, but only really only liked the one option.  We also have another contractor coming this morning.  Hopefully these two additional quotes will give us more options.

first schoola used clothes order collage

While at swim practice, a friend let me know that she had received her Schoola order in the mail.  We both had placed our very first orders on the same day, taking advantage of their $15 credit for first time customers.  I do not usually share deals with friends until I have tried a company, but I knew this would be right up her alley and worth the risk of it not working.  Instead, we were both extremely happy with the clothes that came and will be ordering from them again. Shipping is currently free on Schoola‘s site, for a limited time.  You can still get the $15 credit for free if you are a new customer.  This would be a great time to try them out if you have not done so yet.

Between the Schoola order and some hand-me-downs from friends this week, George is all set for this upcoming winter.  Even if he grow into the next size before next summer, which I think will happen, we are ready.  🙂  This is one of the ways I use to keep our kids’ clothing spending.  I rarely buy them new shirts and bottoms as I can find second hand clothes in great shape for $1 – $2 per item on average.

My husband was unable to come home for lunch, so I used it to help my kids practice a Life Skill – making sandwiches. I set out a loaf of bread, jars of PB and jelly, and containers of apple sauce.  Learning to spread things is very important, so I wanted them to practice this skill.  I had noting to do with me not wanting to cook.  Well, maybe a little.  Okay, a lot, BUT they loved it so I do not feel quilty.crafts on front porch therapy

After lunch we had a family therapy appointment.  Family therapy with young kids looks a lot different than what it may if you have older kids.  There is no laying on a couch talking through your problems or sitting in a circle working through issues.  At least, not in our therapy sessions.  The above is what part of the appointment included – making a craft.  We also did a few games and other activities.  What does this accomplish?  Learning to tolerate following directions, asking permission, and letting someone help you.  It also helps the boys learn to slow down as they are often running high.

Think of ‘high’ in terms of a car.  High would  mean an engine that is running at full speed.  This is not bad if you are running a race but it is bad if your car does this all day, or if you are driving down the highway where you are expected to go ‘just right’.  It is also bad if there is a curve ahead that you need to change gears in order to make it around without crashing.  If the kids are also running ‘high’ we have more crashes (tantrums, disobedience, fights, arguing, etc.) in our day.

Our therapist is so calm that he almost puts me to sleep when he visits.  That is a good thing.  It means that he also has an affect on the kids, though Jack gets very high emotionally when he comes.  I find this interesting as there is nothing about him that would set me off.  He says it is because he pushes Jack to do things he (Jack) does not want to do.  Also that he (the therapist) is not a normal part of Jack’s routine.  Makes sense, but boy is he calm and patient.

Ingedients for Chocolate Chipotle Chili #2

The electricians were still working when the therapist left.  I had supper to make and laundry to work on.  I was face with a decision, it was either let the kids watch t.v. or have them watch (and touch and distract) the electricians.  They got to watch television.

The electricians finished up, a few loads of laundry were washed and dried, supper was made and several other phone calls were made.  My husband stopped by to get supper to go before heading out to class.  Once everyone was gone, I got the kids ready and we headed outside.  The grass had not been mowed in about a 2 weeks, yet it had rained more than 4 times.  It was tall enough that I could have pastured a few sheep on it.  🙂

The kids played in the sandbox while I mowed the back half of the yard.  They only interrupted me about 20 times asking to use the potty, find slugs, wonder why they couldn’t walk along beside the push mower, etc.  Finally, that part was finished and we moved on to the front part of the yard.  We were all hungry and tired, but I wanted to just get this done!  I told them they could play in the wood chip pile with their bulldozers while I mowed.

What ensued was actually two boys playing in sand (it got into hair even) then in the muddy water puddle at the end of the drive, between again trying to run where I was mowing and trying to tattle on each other.  By the time I finished mowing they had moved on to dumping muddy water on each other and my car.  Thanks kids.  I was so ready to go in that the mower is still sitting outside.  I marched two boys into the house and straight to the shower.  I washed them off, had them get pajams on and fed them supper.  For kids who complained that they did not want, nor like, chili they each had 3 helpings. 🙂  Teeth were brushed and boys were put to bed. 10 minutes later and all was extremely quiet in my house.

I think we were all exhausted at the end and very ready for bed.  Even I fell asleep folding clothes in front of the t.v.  🙂  Today is a bit calmer, but still a lot going on.  This is how our life has been these past few months, the crazy comes in waves.  You take the calm when you can get it, knowing that it will all come to an end eventually.

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May 132015
 

Poppy flower

“Perfectly Imerfect” seems to be my theme for this year so far.  I am learning that sometimes things just need to be done.  Does it really matter if my laundry is sorted by color before washing?  (hint: the answer is “No”.)  The goal is for it to be washed.  It does not matter if it is all on one day at the laundry mat, or spread out over the week while walking around building materials to get to the washer.  Washed is washed and that is all that really matters.

I often get stuck trying to make things perfect and in the end nothing gets accomplished.  Then I begin to feel like a failure and even less happens.  Not exactly productive.  This year it seems that if I want anything to get done, it just had to be done.  Yes, there are times where more thought is needed.  However, there are a lot of times where waiting for it to be perfect is just an excuse for it not to happen.

Take gardening for example.  In years past I have tried to plant at the ‘right’ times, space the seeds exactly where they should be, start transplants weeks and months before hand … while that is all fun, I do not have the mental energy or daily time for it.  What I do have time for is imperfect gardening.

Seeds were planted at night, after the kids had gone to bed, on nights when it was supposed to rain within a day.  They were planted, but not necessarily at proper spacing.

Seeds were planted that I already had on hand.

Weeding is done on a per-bed basis, sometimes as I walk by them.

Grass seed gets added one spot at a time.

Blog posts are being written one paragraph at a time.  🙂 This means though that they do not get finished in time to post them.

So, I am still here, just not as put together as I have been.

I am caught up on laundry, though. We have switched out clothes for the season.  This resulted in my washing about 8 loads of laundry in one day and pulling out a lot of clothes that have been outgrown.  Add in our normal washing, and I hope to not see our washer for another week, at least.  We are back to using cloth training pants at night again, so in reality it will not be a week before I need to do another load.

framing remodel room

Framing work on the new part of the house is close to finishing up.  Electrical, insulation, drywall, HVAC, etc. still to come.  This means lot of calls, chaos before the calm, and things still very out of place.  There are days when television is on a lot more than I like, but it is what is easiest in a non-perfect situation.  Today was one of those days.  The only rooms Jack could go into were my bedroom, the bathroom, his bedroom, the playroom and the living room.  He couldn’t even go outside alone (he kept going to the neighbor’s house, without asking, and ringing her doorbell).  There was a LOT of noise and dust and change of routine for him.  Not only did he need somewhere to ‘hide’ from it all (sensory overload for a kid who does not like loud noises) but also something he could do that would not get him into trouble.  Perfect situation, no.  Did it get the job done, yes.  Imperfectly perfect.

So, there you have it. A perfectly imperfect post. While it won’t win awards, it will have the ‘post’ button pushed on it and the sun will keep shining.  Well, it would have if it had been finished before the sun went down.  🙂  For today, that is an accomplishment.

Have a great day!

 

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