Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Sometimes half done is better than nothing...

The plague. That's what its felt like in our house for the last three weeks. I think we are finally seeing the light. I guess I should feel thankful that it's the first really nastiness in a very, very, long time, but right now I'm a bit too tired and burnt out to feel super thankful. :/ Everyone just kept taking turns! And right when I'd think it was petering out, someone would get sick, or get sick again. It was like the never ending morphing virus. I hung on for a good while, taking care of six different sick kiddos, but eventually my body gave out too. Anyways we've done a lot of half day school around here and the house was falling down around me as well. So this Sunday I decided like any sane person whose been battling some sort of nasty virus that I would do an overhaul on my laundry room, which was just packed with Christmas tubs that still needed to go out to the shed and all sorts of clutter. I mean it was so bad that I could hardly walk in there. I meant to get to it weeks ago, before the plague settled in.

So this is how my day went. And it happens all too often…

First of all my daughter had been invited to a birthday sleep over at a family friends house on Saturday and I invited their son over to our house. We were finally on the other end of things and there was no way my daughter wanted to miss her best friends birthday party and sleep over! :) Well the boys just wouldn't go to sleep, in part probably because their friend had come over at dinner time and they didn't have a lot of visit time before bed so they were having a hard time settling down. I can be understanding of that until about 11 pm… :/ Finally around 11:30 I let them know that if I heard another single sound there would be no more sleep overs for a long time! That worked. ;) The next day we bid farewell to their friend around 9:30 and welcomed home a broken daughter… I mean she was seriously broken. I say that with a laugh now but oh my goodness she was a monster for the rest of the day Sunday! I thought I was going to lose my mind! She spent more time in her room then out. I think we are going to take a very long break from sleep overs for a while now. We talked about her behavior at bedtime and it seems as if being on her best behavior while at her friends house was taxing, I asked her if she had just been holding in her grumpies until she got home and she shook her head yes, which made me laugh. But I sort of understand. It can be hard to put on your shiny best face for a long time, I tend to melt down when I get home as well. ;)

So on top of all this I was still determined to make Sunday productive. We usually go to Church but being as all my kids were really burnt out (and had a lingering cough ) and I had so much to do, we stayed home. I went into the laundry room to survey what to do first. I decided tubs must be removed so I headed out to the shed to make room. Well the shed is a disaster as well and needs a deep cleaning and I got a little distracted. On the way back into the laundry room I notice the chickens needed water and food. So I did that right away, then decided to clean out their pen a bit because it is an awful muddy stinky mess because of all the rain. I've been wanted to get a bunch of the sandy compose in the coop out and onto my garden for months now, as well as spread straw out first that has been sitting up front since September! So I took a wheelbarrow full of compost up front and then realized I had to spread the straw out first before I could put any of the compost down. It was a beautiful day and it gave me my first taste of gardening days ahead. :) Notice I am no where near the laundry room any more. I settled on spreading straw over the smaller garden bed, and then brought up four more barrows full. By now my back was feeling it. :/ I was going to call it quits but I went into the house part where they roost and it was in desperate need of some attention as well. So two more trips up front I went with compost, then I added wood shavings to their nesting boxes and spread the rest of the shavings over the floor. Done for now, not perfect but better by far. Still plenty more compost to bring up front but my back was protesting. I realized it was past lunch time at this point so in I went to make lunch. Still hadn't even started the laundry room. After lunch the boys told me they saw a flea on one of our dogs. This drives me crazy! I can't use the topical stuff because I bath them once a week (or aim too anyways) and it will just wash off. So I use the blue dawn dish soap, which kills fleas on contact. Weird I know. It works for the most part, but occasionally we will find a flea or two and when we do I bath them immediately, change all their bedding and use DE all over the place. I think the problem is with the cats who I do treat with topical meds (because I'm not about to bathe them, ha ha!) but it doesn't seem to work very well anymore even though it's from the vet. I've got to find a better solution, I've heard about something they can take orally and I might have to do that even though it's way more expensive. The vet said it's an awful year for fleas as it's been a fairly warm winter here. Anyways needless to say I didn't start on the laundry room after lunch, instead I was bathing poodles in the sink. Then I finished shaving Charlotte as she only got half way done last week. Don't judge, it's a tedious task and she does not sit still like her sister does! 
By this point most of the day has passed and I've yet to get done what I set out to do! On top of all I've mentioned there was the little distractions, disputes to help settle, assistance needed, a daughter that kept losing her noodle, phone calls, etc… to add to the chaos.
But I was determined! So I finally marched into the laundry room and went to work. I settled on getting tubs out, everything picked up and de-cluttered, vacuumed and slightly organized. It's not perfect, but it's way better. And that's how it all went. There was just too much that needed to be done, so I settled on everything being mostly done. The rest of the week and beyond will be spend finishing all the things I started. ;)
The whole day my kids had been asking to watch, "It's a Wonderful Life". Netflix sent it a wee bit late for Christmas, I didn't even remember that I'd added it to our list until in came, it hadn't been available when I wanted it. Anyways it's a favorite of mine and we usually always watch it at Christmas time. While I was in the middle of cleaning the laundry room they asked again. And now starts the battle of what I want to do and what I should do. (This goes either way sometimes the want to is spending more time with kids when I really should be doing house work, sometimes the want to is housework when I should be spending more time with kids. If that makes any sense at all, ha!) I know that spending time with my kids is more important, by far, than a clean house. But boy do I love a clean house. So I am always struggling to find a balance. I absolutely wanted to finish the laundry room and I knew that in the busyness of the day the rest of the house had been neglected. It's crazy how fast the floors get messed up and the dishes pile high. I knew these things had to be done as well before the mad rush of Monday rolled around. So I gave my kids a choice. I told them if they cleaned up the kitchen and the playroom while I finished the laundry room it would leave enough time to watch the movie together. And you know what, they totally did it! On their own, and they did a pretty good job as well. :) So I finished up as fast I could and we curled up on the couch and watched the movie together (for a bit, I did have to get up and slap a dinner together at one point) which was a nice way to end a scattered half done day. ;) By the time I tucked them into bed I ran a bath for my aching back and read a book while I soaked. My favorite way to end those hectic days that seem to be unending, and really it was such a long day! I ended up going to bed way too late just to find some me time...
I wish I could say that Monday was less hectic, but it started with me madly vacuuming a very messy house first thing in the morning and it didn't settle down from there.
Now back to my crazy busy Tuesday. There are no more excuses for half day school so I've got to get my head back into the game! :)

Monday, January 12, 2015

Ramblings of a wannabe decorator.

Now that we are planning to stick around awhile I'm getting really excited about this kitchen makeover that's been way too long in the making. My husband is almost done building the additional cabinets! Once that is done he will be cutting out the tile where the cabinets are going, installing the cabinets and then comes… New Counter Tops! I can not even fully express how excited I am about that!!! Especially because now I actually get to stick around and enjoy it for a while. Right when we moved in I joked that the kitchen would be complete by the time we were ready to move out, and it was starting to look like that. Which was just depressing for someone who spends a ridiculous amount of time in the kitchen. :-/  There is hardly any prep space for someone who prepares massive meals from scratch, trying to keep up with a whole foods diet, with dietary restrictions, for a family of six, well seven right now, plus the two kids I watch who also have dietary restrictions. The counter tops are this hideous wood laminate, that was chipped and missing on the ends when we moved in and has just gotten worse over the years. At the end of the kitchen is all this blank space, no idea what use to be there, but it's a total waste of space. I've had a large folding table there since we moved in to store things on and under. That's were the additional cabinets are going and the additional glorious counter space. :) Plus I'm going  to actually get a large pantry cupboard. Right now it's just some slapped up shelves and everyone can see my mess. ;)  I'm trying to be patient because my husband has been trying to squeeze in time to work on them after a way too full work week, but it's so hard! I want them (five years ago) Now!!! ;)

As for my current dilemma… which color! We are not going top grade as this is not our forever home, so it's a mid way choice. They will be formed laminate countertops. I put it to a vote on Facebook :) and the middle won out, with the one on the left in second. I've pretty much ruled out the one on the right because it's too close to the colors of my laminate wood flooring (Which I hope to soon replace the tile with, I hate that tile, for so many reasons!) and the carpet in the family room. It would be too much color monotone, not enough contrast. I like colors in the same color family, but this would just look blah, everywhere. I also like warm colors and the one in the middle is warm where as the one on the left is cool. But I have a darkish house and I'm a bit worried about the color in the middle being too dark. I have all black appliances, and the one in the middle goes really well with that. I'm pretty sure I want to go with some sort of sage green color for the cabinets. I loathe the white! It always looks dirty and the last time we painted them they just stayed tacky, so everything sticks to them. It's infuriating.  

Okay I changed my mind I'm going to be brave and post pics of my kitchen as it is now. Cringe… Just to give you a better idea of what I'm dealing with!

It's not nearly as cluttered as it has been in the past. I've been on a decluttering/purging/streamlining kick this winter. :) I don't have enough cupboard space right now to store everything away though, so it still appears a bit cluttered no matter what I do.
There's my folding table in the back, covered with a table cloth to try and hide all the stuff under it.

There's nothing to be done about the small amount of counter space on each side of the stove because we aren't going to be moving the fridge. But I wish. Now picture the cabinets sage green… Which counter top color should I go with? Oh and see that black kitchen hood, I finally got it! The hood use to be off white and it drove me crazy cause it didn't match the stove. It's the little things. ;)

You can't really see it but the dishwasher is black as well, and it's a stainless steel sink. All the knobs are relatively new on the cabinets. They didn't use to match, and once again it drove me crazy. So last year I bought new ones. To try and get the ball rolling on the kitchen and remind my dear husband how badly I wanted a kitchen make over. ;) I will be keeping them, I hope, as long as I can get more that match for the new cabinets. They are burgundy, but will still be in my imagined color scheme for the new kitchen. Which is actually all the colors in my kitchen rug.

Which would be this rug right here. :) The coloring is off a bit in the picture, it's all a bit faded. The red looks brown in this picture to me, but it's not, it's a burgundy color. 

A closer look at the area that is going to be getting all new lower cabinets and counter tops! Plus a long shelf for all my cookbooks. :) This is the area of the kitchen that embarrasses me the most. Sigh. Well that and my ugly counter tops and permanently stained dirty looking cabinets. No amount of scrubbing can fix. In fact I've tried scrubbing them so much that the paint is wearing thin and an old blue color (from before we bought the house) is starting to show through!

Anyways, the counters will continue all along this wall and around to the back wall.
Yes those are ziplock bags hanging to dry, being reused. I'm super thrifty, what can I say. I'm trying to phase them out as well, less plastic is a good thing. 
And oh my, I really need a new chicken scraps container, that container looks so nasty! I really shouldn't look too closely at pictures of my kitchen, it just add insult to injury. ;)

I know I sound ungrateful and full of complaints… I do honestly feel grateful for my home and a kitchen to cook in. I'm just being super picky and who doesn't want a dream kitchen! Or at least as close to a dream kitchen as possible on our budget. ;) And I've had six years to think about all the things I want to change about this kitchen! Ha ha!!

This will be a pantry with doors!

This is what I use now for extra drawers. Can't wait to say goodbye to it so that there is more walking room on this side of the kitchen.

Now that we have the walk through here, which I love and don't regret at all, you can see my ugly food shelves from the living room. I won't miss that.

Just because I was already taking pictures I decide to snap a picture of this sweet find, the bird picture. Got a great deal on it from Hobby Lobby. It's my favorite. :)

I decided to try something new with my mantle. I use to always put family pics on here, but I have so many pictures all over that I decided I wanted to be a bit more fancy. ;)
I really want to paint the mantel a different color too.

Ryder got me a set of six of these adorable little birds for Christmas. I love each and every one of them. And I love that he wanted to make sure and get me six, because he knew that's how many I would want. One for all of us. :) Atty's bird fever has definitely spread to me, ha ha!

I've been looking for kitchen inspiration and colors on line and I found a few sage green colors I like but I can't make up my mind. I had no idea that there were so many variations of sage green!

I think this is my current favorite. I'm thinking of going with wheat colored walls as well.

This one might be a bit too blue for what I'm dreaming up, but I like it.

This one is probably too dark for my kitchen but it seems to go well with darker counter tops. And I like the color.

Anyways I've just been in such a decorating mood lately, probably because now that the kids are older I have the energy for it. Also before kids I didn't really care much about what our place looked like, besides clean, because we were hardly ever home. Then when we had kids they came one after another, fast and furious! I could hardly think straight, let alone think style. I just wanted everything simple and plain, less to worry about and a lot less saying no and stop over and over again. ;) Plus every inch of my creative brain was drained there for a while. Now I've been haunting Pinterest and cruising the web trying to figure out my decorating style. I even took some quizzes, ha ha! I'm too eclectic though and just don't fit neatly into anything.
This link covers a few different style types. There's quite a few more of course.
I know I don't like the modern style, or anything to frilly/feminine or exotic. Coastal doesn't make sense to me unless you live by the beach, at least I couldn't pull it off. I'm not into lots of white or pale colors. I like a little bit of country/rustic. I think the one I keep seeing that I like the most is the Arts and Crafts style. Didn't even know that was a thing before, but just about every decor picture I see with that label I like. There is actually a decorating style called eclectic, but it's way to busy for me! Ha ha! Basically I like warm earth tones, fall colors best of all, and I want it to feel cozy and inviting. That just about covers it. :)

And whoa, I did not mean to make this blog post so long!

Christmas crafting...

So as I mentioned in the last post I went handmade crazy this Christmas. ;)
I've been wanting to make blankets for the kiddos beds for a while now, so a couple months before Christmas when I was at the fabric store for something else I wandered over to the fleeces and asked the kids which two were their favorites. Since I'm always asking them random questions they didn't really question it and totally forgot about it. So it was a nice surprise Christmas morning. I made them large enough for a twin bed. Totally reversible, bright and fun. :)

Banden's blanket, nice and bright!

Atticus' blanket, of course. ;)

Ira's blanket, it was hard for me to get the TV characters, as it's not my favorite thing on clothing, blankets, etc… but it's the one he picked.

Leiella's blanket, purple is her new favorite color, so of course she picked fabrics with lots of purple on them. Purple is my least favorite color, sigh.

Even Ryder got one, as he mentioned I've never made him a blanket when I was showing him the kids blankets. He was only teasing, but even so he was happy to get one on Christmas. :) I made his the same size so it's like an extra large lap blanket I suppose.

I also made blankets for my bonus kids, the boys I watch. :)

This is the one for the older boy. He loves bright rainbow colors. 

Here is the baby's set. I accidentally bought too much fabric, so I made the medium taggie blanket I was planning on, then a little one, and still had enough for a good size baby blanket, ha ha! Better to have too much than not enough when making something right!?! He loves the taggie blankets, so cutting all that ribbon, and the crazy amount of pinning was all worth it. :)

I also crocheted two bear cowls, one for Lala and one for her cousin. Plus a bunch of infinity scarves, and hat/scarf combos. I crocheted a couple Seahawks hats too, blue with a green stripe, for Ryder and J. (The kids helped me pick out the perfect Seahawks colors, and according to my husband we did good, ha!)  I might make another bear cowl for her other girl cousin, as well as three more Seahawks hats and an infinity scarf. Hoping to go visit them soon and will be bringing late Christmas presents. I guess I'm not totally done yet, ha ha!
I was pretty proud of myself being as up until this year all I've ever crocheted was granny squares! And I've been working (slowly) on the same granny square blankets for about 10 years now, ha! Obviously not consistently, but it's been a random work in progress that I occasionally get out and work on. ;) It got put away for years when the kids were little. Anyways wish I'd taken some pics of all the crochet work.
 On top of that I made a huge batch of calendula salve, once again using dried calendula from my yard. Love that! It's amazing stuff and everyone seems to like it. :)
Will be growing an even bigger batch of calendula this year, I hope.

So there you go, I was a busy elf. ;) And I totally burnt myself out. But it was kind of nice as well, I watched lots of cheesy TV shows and drank tea and ate too many snacks and enjoyed peaceful crafting time without interruptions. Now I'm in a terrible habit of staying up way too late though. It's hard not to since the only time I get peaceful time to myself is at night, and I treasure it so! Just me and my poodle babies (and occasionally the cats) snuggled up on the couch, or sitting at the computer, or crafting. I love my kids but it's me and them all day long, every day, day in and day out… So mommy needs a break! And sometimes I get a little greedy about it and try to cram in too many hours and before I know it it's midnight. Ugggg! As I have to get up at 6 am and face the day with a house full of kids and a million things to do, hopefully with a smile on my face. Hopefully. 
The bags under my eyes do not thank me. ;)

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Never a dull moment!

One of the projects I went crazy on right after Christmas. :) Still so much going on on this self, but at least it's better contained now. 

They have a ridiculous amount of games, but they do all get played, so I can't really narrow them down any more than I have at this time. All the little tubs have random items in them, from science stuff to misc puzzle and game pieces. Everything that had little pieces in it went into a tub, because we often have a baby around now, and he's crawling already! 

Also organized the toy self and put all the baby toys down low. Everything with little pieces has been moved to tubs with lids or into their rooms. (I also sorted/decluttered/organized their rooms, it was quite the project!) We've never had toys in the rooms before but over this last year we started moving more stuff in there that I don't want little hands to get into. Like legos. Which my boys love now, and they just don't work in the playroom. 

Speaking of playroom, I want to start calling it a family room. Don't know why I like that better but I do. I called it a playroom when I had a daycare, and now that I don't I want it to feel more like a relaxing family room. Which it is now that the kids are getting older and there isn't as much kid stuff in there. Who am I kidding, their is still a silly amount of kid stuff in there… but it's getting a tiny bit more balanced.

On to New Years eve! My poor honey didn't make it very long. He's been working so hard! He had been up since 3 am and has already been putting in some massive hours these past few months. It looks like the over time is starting to ease off though, for now, and I'm glad. I really worry about how much he works! I know he likes the extra money, and it does really help. But on the other side of things I miss him so much when he's hardly ever here, and so do the kids. When all of our basic needs are met I'd really rather time than money.
That being said I'm sure he's feeling the pressure of earning extra for the up coming trip to Texas!!!
I'll tell more about that later. We are finally going to see our good friends, after three years of missing them!

He was out by 8:30, ha ha!

The kids and I watched tv and played games...

And just acted generally silly. :)

Leiella confiscated my camera and took a crazy amount of pictures. It was sort of funny looking through (and deleting most of) the pictures. For some reason she took a bunch of my bum! Good Grief! Funny thing is I didn't even notice her doing it, ha ha!

Leiella perspective. :)

Then she got really annoying, just snapping one after another of us trying to watch a show. Started to get a feel for what my poor kids go through. Oops.

It does make you want to be uncooperative, I get it now! ;)

Finally enough was enough, good thing I'm the boss and it's my camera, ha!

Cheers to a new year from our family to yours!!! All the kiddos made it to midnight this year. :)

Here's to hoping for another fabulous year. 

Next day we headed up to the mountains as always. Snow day! My kids look forward to this, and this year especially since we have yet to see a single flake in our neck of the woods. :(

That is Leiella up there at the very top by her self. This hill was actually pretty steep. She totally went down on her own! She is fearless. :)

Watch out for that tree! ;)

These birds provided great entertainment! They are not shy at all!!! They are a grey jay I believe and they love people scraps according to Atty's bird book. If you don't offer them some they will just come take it. As in land on your plate! Worse then seagulls! But a lot cuter. Ryder said he saw people feeding them by hand when he went up to the lodge. So of course all my kids wanted a bird to land in their hand. And since the birds were boldly trying to steal from them anyways I figured why not. Normally I wouldn't allow my kids to feed wild animals of any kinds. But I bend the rules, uh oh!

Each one of the kids managed to get a bird to eat out of their hand. The looks on their faces were priceless! Especially Atty's.

And yes we did eat our lunch sitting on sleds, ha!

This is the only picture I managed to get though, of a bird perched on a hand. My mom's hand. :)

After our late lunch break we headed back for a bit more snow fun.

That blur of snow is actually Leiella and I sledding down. I asked Ryder to take a picture of us and when I looked on my camera I didn't see one and was feeling a bit disappointed. Until I realized that this was the picture he took! It was a very chilly ride!!!

So cold in fact that I didn't go down again. I hate being wet and cold! My head band and scarf was soaked and I had snow down my shirt, yuck! My daughter on the other hand was not fazed.

Here's the little snow bear with the cowl I made her for Christmas. :)

Have to have warm apple cider after a day in the snow. :)

My mom actually had quite the adventure. She managed to fall through some slushy snow and get her foot stuck. The sledding area is actually on a lake and so parts of it can be a bit dangerous when it's not cold enough out. We weren't there at the time as she was walking back to our vehicle with Atty to warm up and wait for us. Some kind strangers were trying to help her when we caught up to them! She had managed to get her foot out at that point but was stuck sitting on the snow without a boot as her boot was still in the slush. No one had been able to get it unstuck. I don't even know how she managed to get her foot out but I'm glad she did or she would have been in a world of hurt! As it was her foot was really cold by the time we got her back to the Suburban and I quickly worked on warming it back up. Ryder saved the day and managed to wrench her boot free. :) She was really upset at the idea of leaving it there as I had just given her the boots. So he reached way down there into the cold slushy icy water and wiggled it out just right. He's good at saving the day. :) Anyways everything ended well, life is never boring when my mom is around. ;)

My kids are getting so big!!!

I was trying to demonstrate how to take a better selfie to my mom on the way back down the mountain, ha ha! She kept taking them from a down low up the nose position, not the most flattering. ;) Anyways this is not the best one of me either as my glasses are sliding down as usual and it's overly emphasizing the bags under my eyes from staying up way too late way too many nights in a row. ;) (I made a crazy amount of hand made gifts this year. Sewing, crocheting, and making salves for Christmas.) Regardless it was fun being silly with my mom.

And this picture makes me happy.

For anyone that read my post about what happened to Ira's tooth, this should give you another giggle. Or totally gross you out like it did me. My mom actually gave Ira her recently pulled out wisdom tooth to give to the tooth fairy since she swallowed his tooth. Egads!!!
Like I said never a dull moment with my mom. Use to drive me crazy when I was a kid, now it mostly makes me laugh… and or roll my eyes. ;)

Happy, Happy, Happy New Year!!!