Monday, March 28, 2011


As a mother I fail miserably more often than I'd like to admit. It'd make your eyes water to read the lists of failures I could share or hear the pitch my voice can reach at times.

But since I control the content on this here blog, I'm only going to share a handful of practical things I've done right. This may very well be an exhaustive list of my right parenting, but it's something.
  1. Trained them to say "aaahhhh" with their tongue out from a very early age. It saves having to dig in their mouths if they have anything in there they shouldn't. It also helps at the dr's. and the dentist's offices.
  2. A sick bed. We have an extra crib mattress we keep sheeted and tucked beneath our bed. Whenever someone is under the weather they sack out on the sick bed with a bowl beside them and get to be close to mom and dad as well as a bathroom. I get to monitor their breathing/coughing/restlessness/fever from the comfort of my own bed and they get to feel special all tucked in their "nest."
  3. Public restrooms freak me out with little ones. I see germs everywhere. We build a "nest" before using the toilet and taught our children to hold on to us while using the facilities.  It keeps their hands away from any nastiness and helps them focus on the task at hand.
  4. "Look at my eyes." My friend Ellen taught me to have the children make eye contact when giving instruction or correction. It engages their minds and leads to their acknowledgement of the said instructions. It also helps them be good listeners by using several senses and keeps them from running away mid-sentence.
  5. I think it was our pediatrician who advised me to have the children hold on to me when we're in a public place. This is especially helpful when multiple children require mom to push a stroller or carry groceries. Of course my preference is to hold their hand, but this keeps everyone safe and close through parking lots and food courts.
  6. "Pocket Places." We copied my dear friend Kim in labeling some stores/places "pocket places." If it's necessary to walk through an area where everything is breakable (i.e. crystal aisle at HomeGoods), it's a "pocket place" and the kiddos know to tuck their hands in their pockets til we're through.
This list is woefully short. Please share any good ideas you've heard or practiced with your children!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Talking to Myself

Self: Why not post a picture of what the little Moose did?

Me: Because it involves a toilet.

Self: So it does. But it's funny and no one got hurt.

Me: The water in the toilet isn't fresh.

Self: True. But that means readers will better understand what you do on a daily basis.

Me: I certainly do not have daily toilet drama.

Self: Ah, but today you did.

Me: (sigh) Ok. But it's still a bit uncouth.

Self: Don't worry, I'm sure mom won't read it anyway.

Me: Moose and I definitely have to have a chat about what "put it away" means.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Chalk Talk

As mentioned in the last post, a recent trip to the ReStore got us this never-used cabinet door for $7.

And now it looks like this.

I purchased Rust-oleum's magnetic paint and chalkboard paint at Home Depot and went to town.

Now we have a sizable and useful piece in our kitchen.

The kids love it and actually read what's written. We've used it for love notes, special reminders and to do lists. If it weren't for the chalk dust it would be my favorite accessory in the whole house.

Excuse me, I need to go write "sweep the floor" on my new chalkboard.

Disclaimer:  Please ignore the uneven edges of the white "matte." Due to the texurized nature of the specialty paint, the painter's tape allowed feathering. I plan to re-tape and caulk the tape edge before giving it a final coat. Someday.

Monday, March 21, 2011

ReStore It!

Recently the boys and I have been browsing at the local ReStore every week or so. It's never the same place twice and while I think their pricing is a bit on the swollen side, it's still possible to find a good deal.

I had my eye on a couple of pieces and waited (impatiently) for their prices to reflect their stagnant state. On one piece my patience was rewarded with $ savings. Alas, on the amazing still-in-the-box lighting fixtures my cheapness caught up with me. They were long gone when I went back to check. There were almost tears in my eyes. I just kept saying, "Oh, no! Oh, no! I'll have to tell you what we plan to do in place of gorgeous light fixtures in a future post.

Meanwhile, here's a peek at the items I've picked up the last few months.

Cabinet door for $7

Bookcase for $25

2 bookcase end tables for $12 each (technically, these are from the Salvation Army and were purchased in the summer).

Wire storage items $3 total

Bamboo tables for $12 each

These bamboo, glass-topped end tables are still in their original state. I've tossed around the idea of painting them a fun yet sophisticated shade, but have found neither the courage nor the color to inspire. For now they're fine and functional.

I'll be sure to show you what I've done to the other pieces to make them presentable in our home.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Laundry Inspiration

It's Spring Cleaning time again. And that means an influx of articles out there with cleaning instructions and schedules, to-do lists and miracle products.

I'm exhausted just reading about it. So in the spirit of spring cleaning I thought I'd post my own inspiration for getting the laundry done.

Just a bit of background here. I do not have trouble washing our clothes. Or drying them, for that matter. Even ironing has it's moments. It's the folding and putting away steps that elude me.

I know, why wash clothes if you don't put them away? That's the question that doesn't seem to get answered around here.  I'm of the rare breed that walks impeded through her laundry room due to the abundance of clean clothes.

Although blushing from admitting this, those of you who have dared open my laundry room door can attest to this weakness of mine.

So while I draw the line at showing Blogland a picture of the laundry room in the throes of distress, I will show you what I did about it.

Enter - Fabric! It's the balm for so many household ailments. I found this on clearance at JoAnn's and used my trusty 50% off coupon for even better savings.

Now to be completely honest, I never did get around to using the thread. Thread is highly overrated when time is of the essence.

I give you item #1. Our wacky cabinet. The washing machine thoughtlessly trespasses into the laundry room, keeping the cabinet door from opening more than a few inches.  Problem is, I love storage. And tucked back behind there is about 12 square feet of storage. It's calling to me. If only I could get to it. 

Solution - trusty fabric. After removing the cabinet door I made this little number with some fabric and stitch witchery (love that stuff). It's secured to the cabinet with upholstery tacks (love those too).

And, voila! Paint storage. Ahhhh . . . I'm almost feeling like folding some clothes. But first, one more necessity. How could I introduce fabric into the room without addressing the window? I found ideas for window mistreatments on Nesting Place. This particular mistreatment is here. It only took some fabric, 5 upholstery tacks and 15 minutes.

There. That's better. I can now fold laundry and put it away . . . and I did.

Now if I could just get window treatments atop all the other windows.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


After discovering this wreath on How Does She, I set out to make one myself.

I used 7-inch round balloons and managed to use about 10 times the balloons than the instructions did. Does it mean I'm uptight since my balloons were placed super close together and all uniform? Probably.

I wish I could just apply this obsessive trait to a needful area of my life. But back to the wreath. Once finished, I tugged some balloons out a bit to add a bit of "droopiness" to the finished product. Before that it looked a bit too buttoned-up.

My thumbs are raw from shoving the floral pins into the wreath form, but the kiddos love it and it's quite fetching in it's colorful glory. Technically it is a birthday wreath, but since today is my sweet sister-in-law's birthday, we'll pretend she doesn't live in Buffalo and display it in her honor.

Happy Birthday, KR!

Meanwhile, I'm enjoying the splash of color in our otherwise sterile-looking, pre-window treatment home.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Home Team

Do you ever get bogged down with your list of "To Dos?" I certainly do.

It seems that since we moved in (a bit over 4 months ago) many projects have been started and not finished. It's driving me batty because I don't know where to start.

But today I accomplished a detail! A very important detail (in my mind anyway).

The kiddos and I turned Schnickle's naked window into this.

And I'm so happy. It's amazing what a bit of color can do to a dreary day. I believer her room is done. finished. complete. (well, except for the fringe that I may or may not attach to the hem). But for now we'll call it quits. I may go sit on the couch for a while.

Scratch that off the list and score one for the home team!

Monday, March 14, 2011

What's It's (Re)purpose?

Real Simple magazine has a monthly feature entitled "New Uses for Old Things" that I find intriguing. Dental floss has amazing applications, in case you ever wondered.

So here are a few things scattered around our home that have found their (re)purpose.

Ikea toy storage for socks, undies and undershirts, respectively.

Empty spice jars as coin banks (Source: Giver's Log ).

Plastic silverware organizer (dollar store find) as bathroom drawer organizer.

Decorative box as make-up storage. (Please ignore the pink counter)

Plate rack to display photos.

Retro chair (found on curb for $1 each) as a nightstand in sons' Detroit Tigers bedroom.

Glass cabinet door as photo display (door was not yet drilled for hinges).

Drop ceiling tile as tack/ribbon board (idea from Megan).

As I perused the house searching for repurposed items, I was excited to see how much we use these quick fixes and finds. Now I need to go hunt down my magazines to figure what else I can do with my extra rubber bands.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

the best intentions

Since our home has been an infirmary this week I've struggled even more than usual to keep it sparkling. I use the word "sparkling" loosely. But yesterday morning I rose before the kiddos to wash the kitchen floor on my hands and knees.

It needed it.


But I only got this far before Fritz woke up and vomited.

So the chairs stayed in the great room for the next few hours while we did homework, washed sheets and played Sorry!

The children ate their lunches perched on the kitchen chairs, just not in the kitchen.

Then we dragged 5 chairs back to the table for supper.

When we went to bed last night the floor was still unwashed and the chairs scattered about the house.

But today I actually put soap and water in my purple bucket and scrubbed the floor. On my hands and knees. My mother would be so proud.

Actually, I called my mother and asked if she wanted to come see the freshly scrubbed floor. My mother loves freshly scrubbed floors. She prefers them to freshly mopped floors and freshly swept floors. Needless to say they're seen more regularly at her house than at mine; thus the invitation.

So as I write this the chairs are tucked back in their rightful spots and the children have been warned about spilling anything on the floor.

'Cause let's be honest, it's easier to wash a child than a kitchen floor.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Bathing Beauties

Last year our school's wonderful 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. F., happened to mention she'd always wanted a clawfoot tub in her classroom. I was bemused, befuddled and bewildered.

Turns out she wanted this tub to be a reading spot for her kiddos.

Well, if that didn't sound like an interesting challenge I don't know what would!

So unbeknownst to her we spent the next few months scrounging Craigslist in search of a tub.

We found many. All either too expensive ($600?), too gross (someone actually bathed in there?) or needing too much work (reglazing was not an option).

At one point we'd spoken with a lady in Toledo who said we could have one for a reasonable price if we removed it ourselves from her 2nd story bathroom. The catch - we had to wait a month till they were ready to remodel.

No problem. I informed the teacher and we got a group of strong folks who'd drive the hour+ to Toledo to fetch the thing.

Fast forward 2 months with no word from the seller. Turns out they decided to wait at least a year to remodel.

Square one. But Craigslist always comes through. We finally found a couple nearby who'd sell us a claw foot, cast iron tub for $100.

SOLD! All it needed was some elbow grease and fun paint.

And when I informed the couple what was in store for the tub, they dropped the price to $50! Turns out the lady had a jr. high teacher with the same inspiration as Mrs. F.

So the 3rd grade classroom now has a tub worthy of a nap, a good book or a Kindle.

Thank you, Craigslist!

Thursday, March 10, 2011


There are sickies among us. One in particular. Schnickle has that blasted virus going around that causes horrid congestion, headache and a high fever. Yuck. We're currently on Day 4. Double Yuck.

So here's the face of viral infection.

Believe it or not, she's had a sweet spirit this entire week. We've had some much-needed mother-daughter time and have played numerous games of this,

read stacks of these

and tracked and treated the dreaded Fever.

It's been quite the season of sickness. We've battled the flu, sinus infections, stuffy noses, ear infections, teething and aches and pains. We adore our doctor, but would love to not see him for a while. I warned Kevin that he may come home to find me curled in a ball under the kitchen table with a Diet Coke and a bag of Cheetos.

But in the meantime, we've been able to steal moments like this as well. Boy, do I love my babies.

Through it all, I'm thankful for a God who made our bodies to heal and thrive. (I'm not gonna lie, I'm also quite thankful for a digital ear thermometer and a rotating regimen of acetaminophen and ibuprofen.)

Catch you later. Gotta go get the thermometer.