Thursday, May 31, 2012

7 Questions



1.  If you were to start your own business what would it be?
     I would host a show on HGTV about families who remodel their own houses together :)

2.  You wake up on the wrong side of the bed, do you embrace your grumpiness or try to fight it?
     I am a total morning person so this doesn't really happen.  In my case I am much more likely to go to sleep on the wrong side of the bed.

3.  What's the very first memory you have?
     I remember the way it looked looking from the inside to the outside of my playpen.  I remember the criss-cross ropes, how soft they were and how hard the play pen was to lay down on.  Thank goodness those pack and plays now have soft mattresses :).

4.  The world is ending, what do you do?  Fight?   Hide?  etc.
Um, I'd probably just hold onto and hug my babies and shut my eyes!  I'm a flighter not a fighter :)

5.  What is your favorite meal of the day?
Depends.  If I'm at home, it is breakfast:  turkey bacon, eggs, waffles, cereal, love it all!  If I am at a restaraunt I love to "do lunch."  A lovely salad or salad bar, a hot sandwich...love!

6.  How do you best learn?  Visual?  Listening?  Hands-on?
Kind of a combo of both.  I love doing a mindless task like cleaning while listening to a thought provoking audio book or NPR radio show.  I like to move while I am learning, but like listening the best I think.

7.  What is your favorite joke?
Not a joke per se, but I LOVE Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey.  Here's one for your pleasure:

"Somebody told me how frightening it was how much topsoil we are losing each year.  But I told that story around the campfire and nobody got scared."

For more 7 questions check out the post I am linking up with.




Trimming Hedges



A fun Spring day, wandering around the front lawn, watching Dad working.... 
Dad putting the new hedge trimmer to work.  We love our pretty plants!



Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Curling Wands!




Uh, no one really asked me to, or probably even wants me to, but I'm going to consider this post an unpaid advertisement for these curling wands.  Because I love mine.



On a recent family trip to our "homeland" my niece fixed my hair with one of these.  In fact she fixed all of us girls' hair.


   She's pretty talented at that.  Thankfully, before we left I had her teach me how to use the wand, and bought one immediately when we got home :).

The girls felt so lucky to have their teenage cousins to fix their hair and do their nails.  They are so sweet to my kids!


Although it does take a bit of practice to get used to holding with one hand and wrapping the hair around with the other, the results are worth it.  Get one!  You'll love it!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Stair Carpet Removal

Removing carpet on stairs (that wraps around the edges) takes a good lot longer than we anticipated!


Thankfully we've been blessed with "helpers" that make every task "cuter."


"Cool gloves, Dad!"



"Yep, check them things out!"



Whoever installed this carpet went a little crazy with the staple gun....

Using Covered Diaper Boxes



Covering diaper boxes to use like baskets for storage is kind of a big deal in my life right now.  It's probably terribly awkward when new friends realize the types of things I am obsessed with :).

Regardless, after gushing about it to some ladies I know from church, I thought it would be worthwhile to post exactly how I use them once they are made:



The top polka dot diaper box is covered with fabric.

These are covered with decorative duct tape.
These ones I am using to store fabric in my shelves next to my sewing machine.  Upstairs my daughter has two in her bedroom to store socks and underwear in her closet (she doesn't have a dresser).  Since they cost me between free and about $2.50 in materials per box, they are way more economical than baskets, and I love the idea of recycling in a cute way!

To see my post about covering them with fabric:  Click here.

To see my post about covering them with duct tape:  Click here.



Monday, May 28, 2012

Good. Better. Best...


Church is an enriching experience for me.  My ward (LDS congregation) is full of interesting, wonderful people who inspire me weekly.  This week our Sunday School teacher gave a lesson that left me feeling motivated.

One thing that stood out is this, "Good is the enemy of Great."  It hit me.  And it reminded me of my first semester of college.  My best friend who I'd also gone to High School with and I were discussing the rigor of our new college classes.  We shared how much time and effort it was taking just to get through them.  And we concluded...if we had put forth that exact same effort in High School we'd have had 4.0's all the way through. I was always kind of a 3.5 kind of gal :).

I remember that realization.  That I was capable of more - it was not a negative feeling but a spiritual one, where you realize the seed of greatness lies within just waiting to be sprouted, nurtured, and expected to grow.  Interestingly, I got a much higher grade point average in college where more was expected and it was a lot greater challenge.  Sometimes a great challenge can make us rise to the occasion.

I left Sunday School wondering, What could I do that is great in my life, not just good???  I don't have a clear picture of anything to change at this point, but I feel excited.


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Just Be


I've had an anxiety-ridden day.  As much as I try to ignore the stressors as they happen in my life, my body doesn't forget.

I laid in bed last night battling my panic attack, trying to just breathe when I realized what I had experienced that day...and it was stressful.  My body/brain would not let me ignore it.  We are doing about 20 home projects at once.  That isn't necessarily the stressful part.  Almost all of them I am excited about.  What took me off the rails was getting the call that our house in Texas had water leak/flooding issues.  It took lots of phone calls for my husband to finally get to the knowledge that our renter had installed their washing machine wrong.  So, its their fault, and therefore their expense?  I'm hoping, I really have no idea how this will turn out.  Frankly, I'm sad that our little house, our very first house we had built is all messy and damaged. And there is not really a dang thing I myself can do about it.  Except worry!

But guess where my mind goes:  the house is going to foreclose.  It's going to fall apart.  It's going to require repairs we can't afford, then we won't be able to pay our bills, etc, etc.  Or its going to look or be so damaged it will never sell.  I realize this is all pretty irrational thinking, but it seemed like over the last year worse things happened than I could have anticipated.  So my brain somehow interprets that I should try to predict every bad thing, and somehow that will prevent it?  The truth is we couldn't get it to sell anyway...thus the reason we have said renters.  But in the end, that's not a bad gig.  We are lucky we are able to pay that mortgage every month, by way of the renters.  It just isn't what I wanted (which is why we tried to sell).

What I Wanted vs. Reality being so starkly different in this situation is what makes it tenuous for my mental health.  It turns out, according to my current doctor, I have OCD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.  Yes, the disease everyone makes jokes about.  Only, I guess, for me it is real?  I'm still not 100% convinced, but the more I read up on it on the internet...well I can see why the Dr. is looking that direction.  What he kept telling me in my last appointment is that CONTROL is the keyword of my disorder.  I kept using that word as I related what was wrong with my life, to him, trying to explain that if only I had control of this or that things would be different and better.

What he was trying to say is that the fact that I was so obsessed with control over those things is what was causing me problems and actually called for the OCD diagnosis and the medical treatment I am receiving.  Hmmm...eye opening!  I've been noticing it in my life in the days since my last appointment, and it actually has me excited for a more relaxed and happy state of being, once I am being successfully treated.  To be honest, the struggles I related to the Dr. I thought everyone experienced and felt.  I didn't know others weren't actually plagued with stuff like this.  Wow.  Mental illness is interesting.


A Kid's Life

I was going to start this post by apologizing for the photo quality, but who am I kidding?  I don't make much of an effort in that department even when I take the pictures.  

This is a collection of photos by my kids, most of them taken without me knowing.

Here is a little slice of their lives:



looking at what mom has on the computer - raised bed garden table blog post :)

the way my kitchen floor looks right after  breakfast, or pretty much anytime, since the 4 year old eats cereal all day

the windows look TALL to a child

OH, having our very own lawn mower is the most exciting feeling in the world!  Wheeee!!!!

Don't mind the old, stained carpet in our truck.  We just kind of stored it there until we found a place we could throw it away....


Dad is SO strong!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Treating the sub-floors

To get rid of the mess the previous owner's dog made, we've had to go to the very root of the problem....



which meant removing the flooring and treating the sub-floors.  You may remember reading about the techniques i was going to try in this post. It worked!  That spray bottle I am holding was filled with bleach and water about 1:3 ratio.  It smelled strong of bleach!  I opened all the windows (thankfully there are LOTS!) so there was excellent ventilation and when the bleach solution hit a spot with residual urine you could see it bubbling up and "steaming."  The next day when it was all dry the odor downstairs was WAY different.  Thank goodness.


The bottom stair was a big culprit of the STINK too.  Crazy dog apparently took a liking to marking that step every time he went by it.  So Mr. Warmth removed that carpet and I bleach bombed it too :).  Eventually all the carpet will be removed, and each floor will get the same treatment.  Then when it is good and dry I will paint a thick layer of KILZ (primer) over the subfloor to seal in and make sure there are NO odors.  Then, and only then will we have new carpet put in.  Oh, I can't wait for that day I can sit down, or lay down, or roll around on that clean carpet!


A Trip Favorite


Besides disappearing his first night (into the neighbor's garage, but we didn't know that for what felt like an eternity of panic), our baby boy had a wonderful time visiting his extended family on Mr. Warmth's side.  We only had a few short days together, but it was warm and memorable.

Our little guy especially loved "petting" this deer head.  Isn't it adorable?  His tall uncle was kind enough to give him a boost :).

Thursday, May 24, 2012

What I Feel like Shouting Today!



Now that the ink has dried on the "life lesson learned the hard way" we went through this year, I'm reflecting on the pain we went through and put our kids through but also the lessons learned...1.  Don't build unless its on a solid foundation.  2.  Even if "everyone else" is doing it 3.  If something sounds too good to be true it probably is.  4.  If being honest means you do hard things and stand alone so be it.  5.  Everything has its natural consequence and hard things will pay off.  6.  Lying always requires more lying, so the sooner you tell the truth, no matter how painful, the sooner the truth will "set you free."

The feelings have re-surfaced as we strangely are now in touch with the people who will live where we were building.  It's a weird feeling to converse, but also somewhat freeing knowing it is someone else's home.  I'm happy for them.  I hope it all works out for the best.

The footings from our floor plan that are probably now just buried under the new house's foundation (its a completely different house)
The lawsuit is over, but not the profound shock that it really happened...I still feel anger about the way we were deceived, but don't really have any ideas of how to face it or get over it.  If you have suggestions feel free to share!

This post was shared on Addicted 2 Decorating.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Jealousy


A while back, I posted a quote from a magazine about using the things we are jealous of to determine our goals.  The point was that we do not need to feel jealousy - we just need to pay attention to those pangs so that we realize what it is we really want and GO FOR IT!  Sitting around feeling jealous is a waste of time when almost anything is within our reach with the right amount of effort.


Since that posting I've paid attention to those feelings.  A good thing about getting older and passing through more trials, for me anyway, is that I seldom feel jealousy.  I can see that there are "back stories" behind almost all success that we see and there are struggles each person has that I wouldn't trade for my own.

But I have paid attention and I noticed the thing I am the most jealous of is other women's careers.  Moms, to be exact.  Moms who have kids my age as well as balancing an interesting and challenging career.  I am jealous that they felt entitled to make it happen.  I am jealous that their family life sacrificed the time it took for their education (talking about my doctor in this instance).  And I'm jealous that they seem happy and confident, because I feel like I'd feel terribly guilty all day if I did work full-time.

The women I am most jealous of are doctors.  I've had the desire to do that for years, but always felt it would be incompatible with family life.  I had reconciled that until the last few years when I've known good moms that are about my age, with kids the ages of my older ones....that also happen to be doctors.  Somehow they made that happen, and it makes me question the boundaries I place on myself.

I don't necessarily think that because I feel that jealousy I am "called" to become a doctor, but I wonder what to do about that feeling or what it means in my life.  I guess maybe it is the pang of realizing that I *did* make some sacrifices to be a stay-at-home mom, and that is okay.  I definitely felt called to do that at the time I left my career.  I don't regret it for a second.  I'm glad I could cuddle and nurse those babies and be there when they woke up from their nap in that cuddly, warm part of the day.  I'm thankful I got to teach the older ones to read and watch them all as they began crawling, talking, and taking those wobbly first steps.

So, I guess what I'm saying is I think I was wrong.  Not every feeling of jealousy means you need to take that path and start living that way.  It's just an interesting thought, and I think it is always good to explore the "why's" of our feelings, even and especially the negative ones.

What do you feel jealous of?  How does it affect your goals and choices?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Meals Disguised as Snacks

In order to feel "free" in the summer, I've taken note that the kids like to raid the fridge and pantry and take whatever they are indulging in over to where they are reading or out to where they are playing, etc. Who wants to give up 5 precious minutes to sitting down at a table?

While we eat our evening dinner together as a family, I don't find objection to this eating style during the day.  Being only two days into summer break and completely out of breakfast cereal and bread, I'm realizing I need to plan more for this, however.




Portable Kid Meals



  • Frozen gluten free muffins
  • Granola Bars
  • String Cheese 
  • Lunch meat pieces
  • Frozen homemade GF Protein bars (individually wrapped)
  • Individual Pizza Slices, wrapped and frozen for heating
  • bananas
  • apples
  • bag of celery sticks and carrot sticks sitting in fridge (PB and Ranch readily available in little containers for dipping)
  • frozen burritos
  • frozen taquitos
  • frozen tamales
  • have an extra loaf or two of regular and GF bread in the freezer for back up!
  • Buy cereal in bulk!
  • keep 4 gallons of milk in the fridge
  • back up containers of PB and Jam

If this is how they are going to eat, and I am okay with it (I realize not everyone is :) I'd like to make it as healthy and balanced as possible.  Here are my ideas of "portable" breakfasts, lunches and snacks for summertime.  Feel free to add yours too.  I am writing this because I have very few ideas, so suggestions would be really helpful!

First Science Project - 4th Grade



She tested different finishes on wood, to decide which to do on the dining table we plan to build as a family.  Each finish then got tested by being jabbed by a fork, and having puddles of water sit on it.  It was fun and interesting to see the results.

Here's links to the table we hope to build someday:


Monday, May 21, 2012

The Techy Kitchen


Paper, paper, everywhere!

I feel like I could chant that everyday as the kids come home from school, and I look through their backpacks.  Then, I open the mail.  Then someone decides to make a craft!

Paper control is a big part of my cleaning routine.  In order to not make life harder for myself I am trying to go paperless in areas that I haven't before.  Having a smartphone is basically what makes that possible.



 In this app called Taskos, I add what I need to get at the store.  While at the store I just click in the box to check off what I already have in my cart.  I can't even tell you how many times I look at this right before the check-out line, and am reminded of that ONE item, that is the whole reason I was at the store!

You know what else can be saved on your phone?  Coupons can be sent by text to you (so you simply show the text to the cashier rather than print anything), you can show screen shots of prices from a website in order to politely ask a store to match their price (I've done this at a furniture store for big ticket items!  It works!).

There are recipe apps, and ways to store them electronically so you can refer to them again and again.  Not to mention educational games kids can look out while waiting in line at the store!

My husband has always been into technology, and I'm a slow adapter, but in the kitchen I've found it to be SO HELPFUL!

Smartphones are expensive, and not everyone can afford them.  I will mention that we don't have cable TV, landline phone, or any movie service.  We only drive older, paid-for cars.  I'm sure you don't need to know any of that...but when I'm touting an item some consider an expensive luxury I just want to make that disclaimer.  We each have our priorities.


So, how about you?  How have you used technology in your kitchen or cut down on your paper clutter?

This post is a tip for Kitchen Tip Tuesday over at Tammy's Recipes.  Check it out!

Wall Paper Removal




Removing wallpaper – it's not a fun job, but it doesn't have to be an expensive or chemical-laden job. Here's how to make your own effective wallpaper remover:

What You Need:

  • Vinegar
  • Warm water
  • A spray bottle or sponge

What You Do:

Mix equal parts vinegar and warm water in a spray bottle or other container. Then, apply the mixture to the wallpaper, and allow it to soak in for fifteen minutes. The wallpaper should now scrape off easily.

Why This Works:

The acid in the vinegar acts as a solvent, and dissolves the wallpaper paste.


Benefits of Removing Wallpaper with Vinegar:

  • inexpensive
  • no harsh chemicals
  • no harsh smells
  • non-toxic

Tips:

1) If the wallpaper still doesn't come off easily, use a scoring tool to score the paper, and apply another coat of remover.
2) Focus on a small area at a time. This will ensure that you have time to get the paper off the wall before the wallpaper remover dries.

***Note:  I found this info on About.com.  I'll let you know if this works for us.  In one home we remodeled it was impossible to remove so we did a "stucco" type wall treatment right over the top of it.  It actually worked well, but was in a much smaller space than what we have to deal with here.***

Sunday, May 20, 2012

It Makes Me Happy


We just got back from a quick road trip and I am itching to pull out my camera, load my pictures onto the computer and blog away!  As I've made the effort to post each day this year, it has been so rewarding for me.  It's not always interesting stuff to others, but it is fulfilling to me to keep track in words and pictures what we are feeling and experiencing.

This past year was so FILLED with feelings and experiences (good and bad) that I am bursting with things to share.  I appreciate those of you who read and pay attention to my little world here.  It's personally rewarding to do something permanent (since the internet keeps it saved away :) in my not very permanent daily life of laundry, dishes, and remodeling.

I plan to continue sharing my thoughts, feelings, pictures, adventures, tutorials, and recipes with you for a long time.  Here's why:


Find what that is and do it today :).  Feel free to share with me what makes YOU happy!  I like to know...

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Caramel Corn!




Step 1:  Pop some Corn!







Step 2: Combine the following:
      
            2 C brown sugar
            1 C corn syrup
            1 cube butter
            3 T cream or milk




Boil 4 minutes over medium heat, add a little vanilla, and pour over the popped corn.  Sometimes I salt the whole thing (you know, like salted caramels?).  Easy peasy~!


Friday, May 18, 2012

Deck + Swings

Maybe you thought you'd read the last about our deck.

Well, you were wrong!  :)

Guess what a nice, strong, sturdy deck is good for:




As long as it is quite high off the ground ;)....



There will be more to come.  It might not be this year, but we have ideas for forts and slides.  It's a wonderful life!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

DOUGHNUTS!

This is my mom's recipe.  These are yummy and amazing, and in my opinion......better than Krispy Kreme!



I found some Wheat Montana flour here in Omaha, so I had to buy it!  Reminded me of home (I've driven by their farms and factory!).

With further adieu...here's the recipe:

Doughnuts

5ish C flour
1/4 C sugar
1 t salt
2 packages yeast
1 C milk
1/4 C really warm water
1 cube butter
3 eggs

I dissolve the yeast in the really warm water and while that is sitting put the milk, butter, sugar, and salt in a glass bowl and microwave it for about a minute.  I pour about 4 C of the flour into the mixing bowl (over the water and yeast I've had sitting there) and then pour the hot milk mixture over the top.  Using the bread dough attachment (I have a Kitchen Aid) I start it mixing and add the eggs.  Then I add whatever more flour seems to be needed to make a soft dough.  It'll be slightly sticky.

Then grease the bowl and the dough and cover it with a cloth to rise for 45 minutes to an hour.  Once it is risen, I roll out the dough on a floured board and cut it into triangles.  For "real" circle shaped doughnuts a doughnut cutter can be used.  Our family has always done the triangles--I just love the crispy corners :).  Yum!

For the record:  Pizza cutters work much better than knives for this task.  I lost mine in the move :(.



Once the doughnuts are cut out, separate them so they don't rise into each other and cover loosely with a clean cloth.  Let rise again.  Heat up the frying oil to around 375 degrees (electric skillets work great for keeping the temperature perfectly even).



Fry in batches until they are the brown-ness you like.  My Dad likes his really dark.  My kids and husband like theirs lightly golden.  I fall somewhere in between.  Since they are small I've never had a problem with them being doughy.




Dry them on a paper towel after frying and then immediately glaze them.  



Doughnut Glaze

Mix around 5 or 6 C powdered sugar in a bowl and slowly add milk and stir until a thick glaze forms.  Dip hot doughnuts in it and thoroughly coat and then set on a cooling rack (over a cookie sheet to catch drips).








***I dare you not to eat 1 or 10 while they are still hot!  Enjoy~!***