Tuesday, October 31, 2006

My BIG project!!!!!!!

I am so excited to be a part of National Novel Writing Month, better known as nanowrimo!!!! Basically, I have 30 days (starting at midnight tonight) to write a 50,000 word novel. The theory is that the only thing holding me back from creativity is a deadline, and a pushy support system. The novel itself does not have to be good...in fact, at almost 2000 words a day, there is no way that it will be very readable, but it will be so much more than I have ever made myself do before. Gone will be the fetters of trying to write the next best seller. Instead, it will be re-placed by a timer, and a word count. This is a game that is won, not based on content, but on achieving a goal.

When I told Dustan about this, (after rolling his eyes into the back of his head, and muttering about how crazy his wife was) he smiled and said that he had married a writer and he was glad she was back after being gone for almost ten years. I married a great man. A wonderful man. With his support, in thirty days, I will turn in a 50,000 word novel!

I will try to update my blog every once in a while with how I am doing. maybe I will post bits and pieces of the novel itself (don't hold your breath).

I am taking this commitment very seriously. I will not be blogging or visiting my regular websites (and if you see me elsewhere on the web, beat me with a big stick). I signed up for a meal service: Meal Makers and I tried to get my house as clean and ready as possible. I created a new routine (with a 5:30 rising time), and I re-did my work space to be an inspirational space I made a polka dot table cloth (because my main character happen to be someone who would love polka dots as much as I do), and decorated some helpful lists for myself. I piled up a candle (for calming me down when I feel frantic) and some of my favorite books (to use as reference). I am ready to go. Ready to write. Ready to accomplish something that I have put off my entire life.

Trick Or Treat

Smell My Feet.
Give Me Something Good to Eat!

Tonight, a Monster, a PippiLongstocking princess (You can't see her bright striped tights!), and a Knight went on a delightful trek through the neighborhood and gathered up three pillow cases of candy.

Much of which were Reeces Peanut Butter Cups.

Thanks Kids!

(and thanks to some lovely neighbors, I was able to try the new caramel reeces. I didn't like them. The classic ones are way better.

We have been busy!!!

The boys made this awesome domino creation over the weekend. It looks super cool and they knocked it over while I had my back turned.

Their creativity has sparked my own and I have something up my sleeve that will keep me very busy indeed. I will have to go down to once a week posting.

Look for my news: Coming soon! (Whenever I get a few minutes to tell you about it- life got crazy around here1)

Friday, October 27, 2006

It's a rainy yucky day...and we were all bored

So, mommy went shopping. It seems that my favorite store is closing. I am terribly sad, and I didn't even get one last visit. "Junique" was an eclectic collection of junk, antiques, and unique items. They were all thrown togther here and there, and you never knew what you would find lurking underneath a basket or wool blanket. I mourned for the little store by shopping at their competitor down the street. It wasn't the same at all. Still some nice junk...but you have to look really hard. Most of the things in that store are frilly and fancy- not to mention quite pricey. I did find a cute little tea canister and a hand embroidered set of tea towels and pot holders. It even came with a toaster cover that I don't need. I do not own a toaster. I don't like to have exra stuff on my counters and I like to fry my bread on the stove top. Yummy!
If you want a cute in perfect condition Toaster cover make sure to leave a comment and I will have a little drawing for it. Dustan told me the tea cannister was an "ugly little thing" but he thought the tea towels were pretty, and he did concede that the canister was prettier than the tea boxes.

The kids spent part of the day sliding down the stairs on their behinds. What fun! I even joined them for a round or two. It was a great sound to hear their laughter echoing up my stairs. As we slid down, we could see the nasty weather that was raging outside and it made me grateful for my cozy home.

I have decided that Fridays will be called Favorite Things Friday. It seems that everyone except me has a special day on their blogs. And because I am obsessed with knowing what people consider their favorite things, and because I assume that everyone else is obsessed with the same things I am, I am declaring Friday to be the day where I share my favorite things.

Today is dedicated to Konriko...the little spice that can make ALL food taste better. We have a saying around here...goes like this: "It's pretty good. Would taste better with Konriko." It's our all time favorite all-purpose spice.

Yep, it's a cajun seasoning. Nope, I am in no way cajun, but Tara is and she introduced me to this little jewel and my family has been eating it EVERY day since then. If you are looking for an interesting gift for someone, I suggest this and maybe package it up with a bit of Louisiana Gold . The best hot pepper sauce I have ever had.
It helps to have cajun cultured friends who bring back these gems after vacationing with their family. I won't even begin to talk about the sausage...or the special Mardi Gras cakes Tara has mailed to her house. Those folks in Louisiana have a lot to put up with: stifling heat, awful humidity, and hurricanes coming from left and right...but they have great food to make up for it.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

I'm feeling a bit like Martha

And ummmm, yes, actually, this IS my third post today. I will make up for it by skipping a week. How could I not show off this creation? What is it? Glad you asked. It's mayonnaise. Homemade Mayonnaise. helman's is better. I didn't have Helman's. This works. Besides, it's homemade!
2 egg yolks
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon powdered mustard
1/8 teaspoon sugar
Pinch cayenne pepper
4 to 5 teaspoons lemon juice or white vinegar
1-1/2 cups olive or other salad oil
4 teaspoons hot water

Mix up the egg yolks and seasonings until quite thick. Add in the oil a drip at a time and 1/4 a cup at a time, alternating with the hot water and lemon juice. This will take you forever to make, and it won't taste very good. But it will work. And you will be very proud of yourself, and you will even feel a bit Caroline Ingalls-ish...because she would have made her own mayonnaise...no store bought Helman's goodness for her!

Oh, and the bread turned out wonderfully. We will be having tuna melt sandwiches tonight- a family favorite. Served on homemade bread and with homemade mayonnaise. Good for me.

Wow, I think I win the award for "Most Sentence Fragments Used In One Post". I accept with as much dignity as possible.

"I love you"- the homespun way

Some people are easy to love. This bag is for one of those people. I have a friend who has been walking around using a large ziplock bag for a purse. This just won't do and so I finally got the courage to make my first bag. I have been wanting to do it for ages now, and this was the perfect opportunity. I needed a way to say I love you to a woman who brings me groceries when I am sick, who listens to me babble on and on about whatever my passion happens to be at the moment, who calls me every day to make sure I am doing ok, and who brings me deserts when I am depressed. I don't say "Love ya" very easily, but sometimes it is needed, and I think this bag will do the trick.
I used a gorgeous cord for the outside and lined the inside in flannel birds. Tweet tweet...surely the site of that beautiful fabric will express my feelings. And if it doesn't? Well, that button will...beautiful buttons can express anything!

Oh, and if you are wondering...why, yes. I did rearrange my living yet again. I can't help it. It's a sickness I tell ya. I re-arranged my family room last week too. I like to keep my family on their toes...they never know where the furniture will be when they walk into a room. The element of surprise is always there. I am not sure what I will do if I ever fnd the "perfect" arrangement. Probably find another one.

A new pet for the family and a pretty bed for me

Ahem. Nope. Not a dog. He is silent, and growing, and we can kill him for food. His name is yeastie and he lives in a jar. Technically, he is not a very good pet, but my children are loving to watch him grow and bubble. Yeastie is really a sour dough starter but my children have deemed him the new pet. He is a boy they say, because we already have a girl. Yesterday they sat at the kitchen counter for an hour, just watching yeastie bubble and froth away. In my humble opinion, every family needs a yeastie pet...One hour!!! One full hour of silence and peace. Today, a bit of yeastie is being made up into a sourdough bread for dinner. I got the directions for making both yeastie AND the bread from this site. Whatever you do, please read the FAQ's. They cracked me up, and what mother doesn't need a laugh here and there? Oh, and just in case he doesn't make it clear enough- the sour dough topic is CLOSED for discussion. I think that Mr. Ross would understand the frustration of this conversation quite completely
Weston: can I have a cookie?
Mommy: No.
Weston: Can I PLEASE have a cookie?
Mommy: No, you can have a carrot stick.
Weston: I don't like carrot sticks. I like cookies. Can I PLEASE HAVE A COOKIE.
Mommy: I said NO!
Weston: But I will DIE if I can't have a cookie. Do you want me to die because I starve to death?
Mommy: I am not going to discuss this again. We are not having a cookie. If you ask me again, you will spend some time away from me...in your room.
Weston: Mommy?
Mommy: WHAT?
Weston: I am not going to ask for a cookie. I was wondering if I could have a round thing with chocolate chips in it?

And because I am so excited about the awesome deaal I snagged on Amazon thanks to Want Not , here is a peek at my new bedspread. it is warm and luxurious. The sheets are soft and amazing...I can't believe I paid under 50.00 for sheets, bedspread, pillow cases, pillow shams, and bed ruffle all for a KING sized bed. Unbelieveable!
Because I can't show a picture of my my without telling a bit of history: My bed is actually two twin sized beds put together. First they were my father's and his brother's. They were bunk beds, and I can sometimes imagine my daddy, up on the top bunk reading comic books under his pillow. I can imagine my uncle Duane kicking the top of the bottom bunk and daddy as a kid throwing stuff at his brother to make him stop.
It's easy to imagine, because I went through the same cycle with my own sister. The bed holds great memories for me. Renee and I would tuck a sheet under the top mattress so we would have a fort, or a cave. We would practice the Olympic sport of jumping from top to the bottom (because sometimes we had the bed put together in an "L" shape). We had fights on that bed, and told stories on that bed. We had lovely dreams, and sometimes nightmares..right on those same bunks that my father and his brother slept on.
My two boys have slept on that bed as well. They have their own memories. And I have memories of holding Weston tightly until he fell asleep. Of Marcus falling off the top and breaking his arm. Of piling on the pillows and reading my own children a pile of story books. Of creating the story of "mean Jim, the BAD pirate, and little Elizabeth, the child missionary" right on that bed.
I commandeered it recently, after we found a loft bed system for the boys. My own mattress had been in the floor for months and we were in desperate need of the bed- so we stuck them together and piled our mattress on top. On one side hangs a pink string- a leftover from Marcus 2nd birthday balloon. I leave it there, because it seems to belong to the bed. It's a reminder: This bed is for children. One day soon, we will get another bed, an "adult bed" and this set of bunk beds will be passed onto Marcus, and then onto my brother, when his children are born.

It's solid, It will last another 50 years, and I hope to one day tuck my own grandchildren, or perhaps my great nieces or nephews into bed and tell them that there are alligators under the bed, but if you feed them, they will be your friend. I can tell them the story of "Mean Jim" and we can laugh over all the funny dreams I once had on that very bed.

Family history is important, and it is too bad that it gets tossed so easily for things that are newer/better/more convenient. Some people would say, "It's just a thing". But heirlooms are more than things...they are treasures. And treasures should be cherished.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

My ugly Mug

Before makeup. Ugg. redness and acne. This, friends was a gift from my daughter. I swear, Esther stole any beauty I ever had. She took it all in with her brown eyes and rosy cheeks. She has dimples and a perfect smile and I have a redness, acne, and huge pores.
I have tried all kinds of makeup before I talked dh into shelling out $$ for Bare Essentials.

It was worth it. This makeup can cover redness AND acne and somehow still feel as if my skin is bare.

I would sell this stuff for them if they would let me. It is worth the money. It also has SPF 20 and 15 so it protects my sensitve skin. I feel better, less itchcy, and WAY more confident. It is easy to apply. Well, I guess I could gush on for an hour.

Bottom line: If you have problem skin, this makeup is all that it has claimed to be. Dh loves the way it looks natural, and I love the way it can take an ugly aging mother who doesn't have time for complicated skin regimes and make her almost pretty.

As an after thought...I never noticed I have wonky eye syndrome. My eye has never drooped like that before has it? Maybe I had a stoke and didn't know it.

Another after thought: These pictures were taken as naturally as possible. i hate when they take a before with the hair all pulled back and nasty, and then the after pic has nice clothes, and gorgeous hair. I think it's misleading. i get no payback from BE. I just want to leave a honest review of some products that have really made a difference in my life. these pictures are real and have not been edited at all. They haven't even been cropped. How they are is how I am.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Good stuff

I didn't go out of my way to find these treasures. It wasn't MY fault Tara's horrid neighbors had to go and have a garage sale. I could have spent an additional 10.00 but I was already feeling bad for spending the 10 I did spend. Tara's neighbors have been less than kind to her and they didn't deserve my money. I did however, deserve their junk. Three decorating books, a mirror to go in Esther room (it will be Victorian Funk), and a cute wee little basket with a quilted top. Tara said that if I cut the handle off, that it would look like a quilted butt. I think she was in a bad mood because I gave money to her neighbors. I do thank her greatly though- since she lent me the money I needed for these finds.

I finally made a new kitchen mat. I am entirely pleased with this one. It is full of errors, the back is HORRID, and it is a bit scrumpled and wavy, but I love it. I am a notorious copier and this mat is no different. Someone made some nifty strip purses like this and I thought it would be adorable as a mat. I again forgot where I saw it. I have decided to make myself a special file for all those projects I want to copy...that way I can give due credit. I think it turned out cute, and it fits my personality well- much better than the last one. It shall find a new home at the foot of Esther's bed.

And just for fun, here is the project I made for TeenMOPS to do tonight. As you know, I am not all that crafty, and someow I was put in charge of this craft. It's a nifty clip board, turned into a frame. I thought it was young and hip. I just wish I was a better scrapbooker...But it will do. It will be used as an example and then relinquished to the uttermost corner of my house somewhere- maybe behind a door...

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Cookies? For breakfast????

I was hailed as "best mommy ever" today. It always feels good when that happens, especially considering that I have been in a bit of a funk lately and have not been the best mommy ever. But cookies fix all that is wrong in the world, and cookies for breakfast was such a novelty that I can almost guarantee my "best mother" status for at leat 10 minutes!

I figured that these cookies had to at least be as healthy as most cold cereals or packaged sweetened oatmeal. They were easy to make and super yummy.

1 2/3 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 TBS baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 C+ 2 TBS butter (unsalted)
2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 Cup old fashioned rolled oats
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
2 cups coarsely chopped fresh cranberries
1/2 cup of craisins

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. In a small bowl. combine wheat flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
3. In medium bowl, with electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well.
4. Stir flour mixture into butter mixture until just mixed. Stir in the oats. Fold in the nuts and cranberries and craisins.
5. Drop by spoonfuls onto a non-stick baking pan. 2 in. apart.
6. Bake 8-10 minutes. Trasfer to a wire rack to cool. Store in sealed container.

I didn't have any vanilla extract (because I am ultra vanilla picky and won't buy grocery store vanilla). I also didn't have any fresh cranberries and so I just put in a full cup of crasins.

I also doubled the recipe because I have a habit of doubling everything. Less than twice the work, but twice the results!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Tea for 2+2

My good friend Tara felt badly about my horrible day on Wednesday. She is so good at empathising, and she called me yesterday morning with an idea for a treat. What a treat it was! Tara and I as well as our two daughters had tea at the Oatman House. I had to giggle at our girls as they carried a solemn face for the entire event. They almost looked shell shocked at all the finery. I found myself speaking in a false, sugary sweet voice, Margeaux had perfect posture, and everyone seemed to have changed personalities temporarily. It was so fun! The little ones chose whatever they wanted from the menu, which unsurprisingly was grilled cheese sandwhiches. Their sandwhiches were brought out on pretty plates and piled high with pieces of fresh fruit. Esther ordered a Shirley Temple and Margeaux had ice tea...in a tea cup...of course. We ordered 4 different deserts and tried them all. It was lovely and relaxing and something every mother should do with her daughter and a good friend.
To find a tea room near you, check out The Tea Map It will be worth the trip, I promise.

Score!...again...we hope...

I like ellipses...can you tell?...

Anyhow. We are hoping for a few more scores from the Cardinals. Well, I am not hoping really. Dustan and Marcus have been faithfully listening to the game on the radio. They looked so snuggly together that I had to snap a picture. I hope for their sake that the Cardinals win this game. I hope for my sake that baseball does not get a foothold in my home. Baseball is truly the most boring sport in history...except for golf...except that one time I saw this game of golf called speed golf. The golfers drove their golf carts like maniacal idiots and didn't even aim before they swung...it was the most fun I have ever had watching any kind of sports game. But baseball is not speed golf. It is not fun to watch, and even less fun to listen too.

I can't believe how well Marcus has been following the game considering the only experience he has had with baseball has been a few weeks of t-ball during the summer. But he is enjoying it...the late night up...the time on daddy's lap. I hope he remembers it forever. And in case he forgets, I have a picture...


I totally hit gold this evening at my local grocery store. My dear friend Tara gave me a heads up that there was a 10.00 off 50.00 coupon at one store that would be honored at the one I normally shop at. Whoopee, cause I was out of flour, sugar. oil, and yeast. How can I survive without all that stuff?

Guess what? Everything on my list was on sale except the yeast. Darn the yeast. Not only that, Boneless skinless chicken breasts were on sale for 1/2 off...so I did a bit of freezer stocking. Here is what I bought:

3 lbs of rolled oats
2 bottles of oil (crisco brand)
8 pounds of sugar
split peas
20 pounds of flour
2 boxes of cereal for Dustan
2 3 packs of yeast (because as I just saw, the three packs WERE on sale!!!! Bless the dear yeast!!!)
2 pounds of deli meat
12 pounds of chicken.

My total was 40.18

Ok, well, now that I have probably bored you to tears, I am off to hunt down some good recipes for my chicken breasts. Boneless skinless breasts are a treat for me...Yay!!!! No picking bones for me for an entire month!

I will be trying a new recipe tomorrow. Split Pea Soup . I have never been brave enough to try it, but I saw a recipe on a blog and was inspired.
Also, be looking for a post tomorrow about a special gift that Esther and I recieved from a dear friend.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

A platter of "I'm sorry", a bowl of forgiveness, and a cup full of love

A plate filled high with the rare form of tiny PBJ sandwhiches. I don't make these often because I don't often have bread, and because they are messy. Tea cups full of milk to soften the edge of a very bad day. A bowl full of cornchips because if ever we needed a treat to drown out our grumpies, this is the day. A table full of comfort food: kid style

Why was it such a bad day? Let my pictures tell the story.

Milk Bottle: broken by Weston

Windchimes: Broken beyond repair by the wind

Room: gone through and destroyed by Esther

School Book: Chewed up by Heidi

Baby Boy: Spirit hurt by angry monster mommy.

It was a bad kind of day. The kind I hope will never repeat itself. Here's hoping that apologies are accepted and that forgiveness can restore peace, love, and happiness. Here's hoping that they don't spill their lunch milk. And if they do? I won't cry. Again.

UPDATE: Esther climbed onto my counter and painted the entire surface of her body and the countertop in peanut butter. Someone come save me.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Feeling a Bit Artsy

After receiving an entire desk full of art supplies for his birthday, Marcus has really taken to art. He has especially been interested in watercolors. This interest was brought on by reading Grand Canyon: by Wendell Minor that was given to him by my mother. He adores it and has been begging to learn to paint. I rented a Simply Painting introduction to watercolor dvd from Netflix. The instruction told us how to make a simple landscape using a single color. In our case, Burnt Umber. His picture is on the left. He is selling it for 99.00, in case anyone is interested in owning a fine piece of original art. The one on the right was done by me. I was ambitious and tried to put figures in my landscape. See how they look like little carrots? That was intentional. I think Frank Clark would be proud of me. However, I am not selling my piece. I am going to keep it as a reminder that I am not the artsy type.

Here is a second watercolor done by Marcus. He copied it from his now favorite (and before mentioned) book. He says that this one is for sale for 100.00. He wants everyone to know that he is asking such an expensive price, not because he want to get rich, but because a. the painting is very good, and b. he really, really, really wants to keep it. But for 100.00, he would really, really, really love to sell it! Of course for that price, it would come nicely framed and matted!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Rainy Fall Day

It is quite rainy here, but such a lovely Fall chill that we had to take advantage of the weather that was just cool enough for jackets, but not so cool you could see your breath. It was perfect for sitting on the porch, listening to the rain falling through the trees, and reading a bit of Mr. Popper's Penguins . So, we cuddled up and read to our heart's content. Our chosen book was one of the best children's books that we have read in a long time. I love to hear my kids giggling as they listen to the antics of Mr Popper and Captain Cook (the penguin). The Popper family has a lovely, gentle relationship with each other and the book just has a wonderful reminiscent tone to it. It is a true pleasure to read it aloud.

THis is one of my garage sale finds from the summer. I can't remember ever actually owning an umbrella, and if I did, it was surely not as lovely as this one.

I usually am not a fan of garage saleing. I don't like going out of my way to visit ten sales before finding something that is remotely interesting to me. I do however love any garage sales sponsered by my neighbors. They are close enough that I can just walk with the kids, and even if I don't find anything, it is a nosy glimpse into my neighbors lives. I am a bit of a curious cat that way. I get it naturally from my mom. But she is even nosier than I am...she would rather go to open houses (when the house goes on the market). She never has any intention of buying, she just wants to see what the inside of the house looks like... her own personal and free version of a home magazine.

Weekend Recovery

Sigh...My kitchen used to look like this. It's pretty and cozy, dontcha think? Now it looks like there was a man in there. And there was. Dustan decided that this weekend was the perfect time for making his "famous" chili. He makes it once a year, and it is truly a fun time. However, when he is done, chaos reigns in the kitchen. I do have to give him his dues, he worked on cleaning it up yesterday...but he is male...so I have about an hours worth of scrubbing tomato sauce off of my stove left to do. I will say it again...sigh

Except for the short amount of time we were home to make chili, it seemed we were off running around all weekend. We made ourselves so busy that I couldn't even sqeeze in my one hour of thrifting that I had been so looking forward to.

So, now it's Monday. A messy kitchen, a load of laundry, schoolwork to get started on (I homeschool), a new dog to take care of, and a Sunday School party to get ready for tonight.

We HAD a nice get-together at Borders planned...but the Cardinals had to go and make themselves important...so now we are having a chili dinner (thanks to Dustan) and watching the most boring sport in history. Oh, I mean "Go Cardinals!"

I think I will make a scrumptious desert and eat on it everytime I get bored...

UPDATE ON OUR NEW FAMILY MEMBER: We named her Heidi...caugh caugh..Dustan named her Heidi. I will get used to it. She has fallen in love with our family and is overjoyed when she gets to play. She has had a few accidents but is doing quite well in the housetraining department and is very quickly learning to not jump on Esther. Esther is learning that being licked is not painful and does not warrent screaming and yelling like her hand has been bitten off. Heidi is a precious dog, there is no doubt about it. She is sweet and mild tempered--and so very loving.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Our new Family Member!

Here she is! Our long awaited addition to our family. She is perfect for us, but she is not so sure yet if we are perfect for her. Hopefully she will fall in love with us soon. She is a sweet dog who looks to have a bit of Corgi and Basset in her. She has those sad eyes of a Basset, that is for sure.

We already had our first "episode" with her. She decided to eat a meal of acorn and on a car ride home from petsmart- she upchucked them all over me. I forgave her though, cause she cleaned it all up herself! Good dog!

A Tasty Surprise

My kids are absolutely in love with muffins and being that Fall has decided to disappear and be replaced by winter- it was time to turn on my oven.
We made one of our favorite muffins, so easy to make, and such a kid pleaser!
They are called Surprise muffins, because hidden in the center is a yummy dollop of homemade jam.
To make these, take any basic muffin recipe, fill the tin about 1/4 full and then put about 1tsp of jam (or as Esther says..."jelly jam") then top with some more muffin mix so that the jam is covered. Bake until done.

Warning: The jam in the center is HOT! Ask me how I know.

Here is the basic recipe I used.
2 Cups of flour
3tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cups sugar
1 egg
1 cup of milk
1/4 cup of oil

Mix well and bake in 350 degree oven.

Make sure to let me know if you make these for your family!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Look what mama's elves helped her make

The kids helped me to make the quilt top for this kitchen rug. I would love to link you to my inspiration, but I was playing the blogging game yet again, and can't find where I found this fabulous idea. I mean, it was fabulous on the blog I saw...not so wonderful seen here.

This is my first quilted anything, and I am thinking it is probably my last. I was really dissapointed in how it turned out. It looks more like a doll blanket than a rug. In fact, I would give it to Esther for her baby Mary, except that the back is a non-skid rug mat. The non-skid mat was both a great and stupid idea. It doesn't slide (which is the point) but that means it didn't want to slide under the machine foot. I was bother laughing at myself and pulling out my hair. I finally got the truely grand idea of covering the non-skid stuff with tissue paper and then after sewing it, I could tear it off. It worked like a charm! But it doesn't LOOK as charming as what I was hoping for.

I daren't toss it though because the kids actually sewed quite a bit of it. Marcus loves driving the machine and Weston isn't half bad himself. Esther just puts her hand on top of mine and helps me guide the material through. Marcus is already asking for a sewing machine for Christmas. And some real scissors. What does he want with REAL scissors?

A Lesson in Laundry

There are at least two people who will wonder why I think I am qualified to give a lesson in doing laundry. Actually, I admit, I am wondering the same thing. However, sometimes the best teachers are those who had to learn to do something the hard way. Gone are my college days of scooping clean clothes off my dorm bed and into the floor to scramble themselves up with the multiple piles of dirty clothes. Gone are the days that I had to sniff my clothes in order to tell if they were clean or not. With the exception of a few relapses, I have the laundry monster under control.

Now, I must warn you, I am NOT a perfectionist, as you will very quickly see. If you are a perfectionist, pass me by...this method will not be of any help to you at all. However, if you are a harried mom with 3 kids and ten piles of dirty laundry surrounding her washing machine, two more on the bathroom floor, and three more on various bedroom floors...If you have 9 loads of once upon a time was folded, but is now in a heap of clothes on your couch, if you have to move a clean load from your bed every night- then maybe you will find some wisdom here.

First: Goodwill is your friend. No. really. When you are still learning to conquer laundry, having umpteen loads of clothes is NOT a good thing. I pared myself down to one outfit per week per family member. Most of the clothes were old, out of style, and ill-fitting anyway.
Oh, and I know there are some of you who have one or two items that end up in every wash load because it doesn't have a place or is too ugly for you to find a place to put it. Get rid of those things that you dread putting away.

Second: Do a load a day. Every day, and make sure your washer is emptied by the end of the day...keep the lid up because it lets the tank dry out and prevents it from mildewing. No one likes to use sour towels to dry off with in the morning.

OK, now I will just share how things work in my house...pick and choose some things that might work for you.

Each morning I gather dirtylaundry from upstairs and carry it to the top of my basement stairs.
Then I make the kids breakfast. While they are eating, I carry the laundry the rest of the way down the stairs and add it to the pile that is likely down there.

I have a three way laundry organizer that contains the dirty clothes, but I do not separate. I wash everything on warm and so far I have been lucky. Washing everything together saves me a TON of time.
There is usually a load in the dryer from the day before. I take these out and lie them neatly in piles. Each item of clothing gets laid flat onto a folding table I have set up in my basement. I have seeral piles of clothes. One for dh and I, one for the kids. I have a laundry basket that i throw ALL the white into. And I fold towels and washcloths on the spot.

That only takes a few minutes and the clothes in the washer won't be done yet, so I go upstairs and get some otehr work done. When I hear the dinger from the washer go off, I go downstairs and transfer the clothes from the washer- into the dryer. Sometimes I will do another load, sometimes I will stop for the day. Remember NEVER to end the day with clothes ion the washer.

At the end of the week (and sometimes sooner) I will have quite a pile gathered on my folding table. Dustan brings the all upstairs and we have a putting away party. He puts away the hang-up clothes. I put away things that go in drawers. he usually takes care of the whites. The boys put their clothes away after I have folded it and I take care of Esther's clothes. It take about 30 minutes to put away the entire weeks worth of laundry. And nothing is wrinkled because it was all laid out flat.

Easy Peasy. Let me know if it helps at all.

The main rules are:
1. Don't have more clothes than you can keep up with
2. Do a load of laundry every day
3. Make sure the washer is empty every night
4. Condense putting away time by doing it only once a week
5. Have a place to store clean laundry- laid flat- until your putting away day
6. Gather your whites into a basket
6. Have your family help you.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

How to be a Sick Mom

Moms are not supposed to be sick. There is no time for it. Who will take care of the world if a mom gets sick? Well, I think the world can take care of itself for a couple of days.

At least I hope so.

I have a pile of books by the downstairs futon. Shel Siverstein should get my kids through the everyday quarrals. Surely he will add the little bit of humor that will lighten the mood so that mommy doesn't have to holler, "Cut out that fighting before I make you all go back to bed!!!!!" I can't holler today. I will lose my voice. Besides that, my head is aching...no hollering allowed today. There is a John Grisham book for me. Grisham is my guilty pleasure. I am embarrased to say that I have read his books over and over again. I don't know what is so appealing to me about them, but I consider my Grisham books as friends. The Brethern is on the reading list for this sick day. It is my least favorute of his books, but it is one I haven't read twice and all the others are very well worn indeed. I really wish I had not just re-read all my Tyler books...or Montgomery. Anne would be such a sweet read for a sick day. Anyhow. I will choke down The Brethern and hopefully it will bore me to tears- I mean sleep. I mean, what can be more boring than three judges who sit in prison inacting a "gay scam" in which they somehow snag a presidential candidate? It was so boring the first time that I can't remember a thing about it and so it will seem like a brand new book.

I filled my kitchen table with bowls of snacks. A bowl of dried cranberries, a bowl of popcorn, one filled with peanuts, and another full of fruit snacks. I should say, WAS, full of fruit snacks. They are gone now. Great, A sick mom AND kids on a sugar high...not sure that was such a great idea. Their water cups are full and they should be fine with minimal inerference from me. Or Shel.

We will make it through the day. I will whine.... wahhhhh fever, headache, body ache, chills, the works. It will be a miserable day. But, I am entitled to a miserable day every once in a while. Moms DO get sick. Sometimes we just do...fact of life.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Quick Post

Wow! What a busy weekend! Wonderful, but oh so busy. But it was so wonderful! Oh, I already said that? Well, one more time won't hurt any. My weekend was WONDERFUL! My visit with my family did my heart some good. Every mama needs to be loved on by her mama and mine is the best kind to be loved on by. She is the epitome of unconditional love. Over and Over she told me how proud she was of me. She complimented EVERY SINGLE THING in my house. It's like she thinks I am perfect or something.

All our visitors left by this afternoon and then I had a TeenMOPS meeting. TeenMops is an incredible ministry that allows teenage moms the opportunity to get support, guidance, and an evening of fun. I had a vision to start a group in our area, well over 3 years ago. It took three years of prayer and several months of hard work by a team of really dedicated woman to see this group get on its feet. We had five girls tonight. Two of them are still expecting their little ones. It was so nice to be able to love on those girls and to watch them as they interacted with one another. They are such wonderful people and I have this big suspicion that they will teach me more than I can possibly teach them. Check and see if there is a teenMOPS group in your area. If you are or know a teenage mama, then go or send the girl you know. If there are no groups in your area...consider starting one.

And because I am overwhelmed with this idea for a wallpaper-quilt closet door I will leave you with the link, so you can admire it for yourself. That gal at Posie Gets Cozy is clever as clever. I am in great need of a door or two exactly like this...hmmmmmmmmmm....maybe a whole wall? Where to get vintage wallpaper scraps?

Sunday, October 08, 2006

"F" is for Failure.

We could also title this post "The Day that Wasn't". Big plans do not always equal big results and boy howdy, yesterday was proof of that. 8:00 last night found us with a kitchen stove still in the middle of the kitchen, electrical wiring sticking out of a wall, a microwave NOT on a wall but rather in the middle of my eating area, and a mess in every single room.

It also found me.in bed. in tears. It seems that I do not handle well the thought of a visit from family with my house in total disarray. It seems I care much more about how they perceive me than I thought I did. I spent my childhood and even my early adult years as a slob. I blame this on my mother (and yes, she reads my blog- but she owes me an apology). One time she told me to wash the dishes. I used dish detergent in the dishwasher instead of dishWASHER deteregent (who knew there was a difference?) and the result was two-fold. First we had soap bubbles rolling down our basement stairs much to the hilarity of myself and my siblings. Secondly- I never had to do dishes again. Mom hated the hassle of making us clean, having us do a bad job, and then having to clean it all over again. So mom did all the cleaning.

The exception to this rule was when Grandma came to visit. Then my mother pulled out her big guns. TOOTHBRUSHES! And no way was she going to be able to clean an entire house with toothbrushes all by her self, so lucky us. We got to help on those big cleaning days, with her coming in the room every once in a while, auburn hair crazy and face red with stress. I won't even begin to tell you what her voice sounded like when she deemed to talk to us. Frankly, during cleaning time, if she was talking, we KNEW we were in trouble. During cleaning time, mom used her yelling voice to convey the importance of our new found slavery. When she talked, it was because she was about to blow that auburn head of hers. Oh, yes, I grew up in anticipation of cleaning time.

So, I blame her entirely for my early years as a woman. I also credit her with turning the situation around in a calm and loving manner. My mother-in-law also gets credit for this change in me. There is nothing like a mother-in-law showing up for a surprise visit to find your house utterly trashed, a toddler sitting on the floor probably playing with old toilet paper rolls, and her daughter-in-law playing strategy games with her husband and sister. (Let's just say that was an experience I never want to re-live) At some point I decided I had to learn to clean. So started the journey.

I went from horrible housekeeper, disgusting slob, bad cook to a really great cook, not near as much a slob, and a pretty awesome housekeeper. On any given day, my house can be company ready in a hour.

And yet, in just a few hours, my family will be here. My brother and sister have never seen my house. My house is a wreck.

Last night I went to bed crying because I felt like a failure. I knew they would not be able to see the change in me that I had worked so hard to transpire. It was a bad night last night.

But the morning is fresh. 4:30 am found me scrubbing down the main bathroom with bleach. I have a load of laundry in the washer and dryer, my kitchen looks great. (NO, the microwave is STILL on the dining floor). My family is still sleeping upstairs but at 7:00 I will wake them up and I will have one hour to get the rooms cleaned up there done. It can be done. It will be done. And even if it isn't? The truth is, that my family does not care. They loved me even when I was a slob. They will love me even if they find a basket of clean clothes hidden in my closet. They will love me even if they have to sleep on an air mattress in the living room because the sewing/guest room never got cleared out. They love me and they know I am not a failure. I know I am not a failure. Soon I will be surrounded by a family who is proof of this. We will attend our church to praise a God who does not make failures. I will pat the head of my son who has read his Bible every day this week. I will tousle the hair of my middle son who has the ability to make people laugh- at will. I will hold my daughter who is spunky and charming and oozing with love towards all kind. I will hold the hand of my husband who is thankful for the woman I have become. I am not a failure. I am a mother and a homemaker. An incredible one at that.

UPDATE: 8:00 am and it's done. My house is ship shape AND there is a place for everyone to sleep. Every room looks beautiful and every child is groomed and ready for church. It has been a long morning but it is worth the sense of accomplishment I feel.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

It's a Crepe Day to Be Alive!

It's Saturday, a perfect day for a time consuming breakfast. My family loves to be spoiled for breakfast on Saturdays and today I decided to try something a little different- Crepes! Oh, my! They were out of this world delicious. I used theBasic Crepe recipe and it turned out lovely. I would give this a five star. The kids had theirs stuffed with a bit of blackberry jam and mixed berries. Dustan hates raspberries, so his was stuffed with strawberries. I had one of each. Wonderful!

There is a lot of things going on in the house today- A good friend is coming over to help Dustan with some electrical work so we can hang a dual micro/vent over my stove. It will be wonderful to be able to cook without having to open all the windows and STILL have to listen to the ear piercing smoke detector.

The second plan is to clean out the new sewing room. I lost my sewing room when we gave Marcus his own room for his birthday. We threw all my sewing stuff into a new, teeny, tiny space and it is a mess. We have to get it cleaned out today because I have family coming in and my sewing room doubles as a guest room. There is nothing like company to spur one on to complete all those undone and put off projects. I do have to say that I am looking forward to being able to sew next week. I miss my machine.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Cozy Corners

I love corners. They are a great place for feeling safe. There is just a cuddle factor about corners that can't be denied. Recently I have been working on the corners of my house. I want then to have the cozy appeal, the feeling that one should curl up and read a book, take a nap, or snuggle with a doll.

I read somewhere about having a scared spot (I read this on a blog while I was playing the blog game...I visit one blog, follow a link to another blog, follow a link to another blog...and so on and so on... does anyone else do this?). Anyhow, I read about this sacred spot, a place that is set aside for the mommy; cozy and comfortable with a basket of devotionals, inspirational reading, and a Bible. I am inspired to find me a spot today.

Shall my sacred corner be in my living room? A place of peace an calm? Should it be in my family room? The center of my house, overlooking my children as they play and my kitchen that brings me joy? Or should it be in my bedroom? I have an extra corner in there, and we actually NEED a chair in that room. I will meditate on it today and see what I come up with.

The other issue with my sacred spot is "the chair". "The chair" is no longer in my house. Once upon a time I lived in a teeny tiny house that had no room for my favorite chair. No one wanted it and I BEGGED my mother to store it for me. It was the most comfortable chair ever! Besides that, it had sentimental favour. My parents had bought a matching set from a garage sale when I was in Junior high. It was the ugliest pea green anyone has ever seen. On top of that, while I was babysitting, the babysitee decorated it with a black permenant marker. My mother glady gave the newly designed chair to me and it found a place in my room. Then it found a place in my college dorm. Then it found a place in my first apartment. Then it found a place in my first marriage home. The problem is that after finding a place in my mother's basement for storage, it has somehow found a place in my brother and sister-in-laws home. Surely they have fallen in love with my chair. Surely they will hold it hostage and not give it back...even for the truckload of money I am willing to pay for it. Surely I will never see my ugly but much loved chair again (Dustan is actually hoping for this outcome- the jerk.). The point is, I need this chair. It would be a perfect chair for my sacred spot. It is already loved, it is comforable, it is soft, it is wide enough in case my children want to climb up with me. I will have to go on a mission to get my chair back.

Meanwhile, this is a corner of Marcus' room. He loves this shelf for displaying his shell collection. I love it for containing books. It contains a football beanbag that he loves and I hope to add some colorful floor pillows.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Fall is Back

To celebrate the return of Fall, here is a poem written by my amazing 7 year old.

Fall is Coming

At first it was sunnier
And brighter
And shinier

And then it got chillier
And darker
Very much

Here is a frugal breakfast recipe for you to try. I make this the day after a rice meal -last night we had stir fry...I mean, Dustan and I had stir fry. The kids had buttered rice, because they have this thing against mixed up vegetables.

Rice Pudding
3 Cups of cooked Rice (I use brown)
3 cups of milk + 3/4 cup of milk
2/3 Cup of white sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
2 TBS butter
cinnamon to taste
Raisins to taste
vanilla to taste

In a saucepan, heat rice and 3 cups of milk to a slow boil. Add sugar and salt.
Cook until creamy (about 30 minutes)
Mix eggs and remaining milk
When rice is cooked down to a nice creamy state, add milk and egg mixture stirring constantly.
Add remaining ingredients and cook for 2 additional minutes (stirring constantly)

Serve hot. You can add whatever ingredients to taste that you want. I bet a banana pecan flavor would be good.

I will leave you with a picture of my yard that has been overtaken by blackbirds (are they starlings?). Their chatter is amazingly loud. The front and back yard were both COVERED in the little pesky birds (half of them flew away when I went to snap their picture). It was neat to watch them swoop down and away- all in unison, as if they were one creature. It was like watching a chorographed dance.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

A girl kind of mess

I have spent two hours of my afternoon cleaning out Esther's bedroom. This is a ginormous task that is not even quite finished. You see, she has this really, really, really, really, really bad habit of going through her dresser drawers and putting on one billion gazillion outfits everyday. The ones she discards get thrown in the floor amidst toys from her own room and bits of legos and train tracks that she pilfered from her brother's rooms.

I am scared of what this child will be like as a teenager. Admission: I was a MESS as a teen. A big gigantic, awful, mom screaming kind of mess. I do not want the same for my own daughter. Even though it was a bit of adventure to even cross through the doors of my room, it set up some habits for me that I am still trying to break today.

So, I cleaned her room. I moved all her clothes from the drawers and hung them on a high closet rod. This means that my mornings will be crazy. I will pull out her cute little purple leggings with a pink turtleneck and pink and purple tie-dyes jumper done by a The Color Farm. "This will be so cute." I will think. And then the fit will start.

Her (stomping her tiny foot): NO!
Me: Come on Esther, it's adorable.
Her: No mommy! (with her cute little rose shaped lips pursed into a tight little rosebud)
Me: What do you want?
Her: Dat.
Me: I don't know what "dat" means. Show me.
Her: pointing at some anonymous item of clothing
Me: Sighing, and pulling out the pink leggings and yellow sweater.
Me: Finally getting a clue and lifting her up.

She pulls out her jeans that are patched with peace signs and her swimsuit. She grabs her cowboy boots off the top shelf just in case we are going anywhere.

See what I mean? Life is going to be crazy every morning...as if it is not crazy enough. And it is only a temporary fix anyway. Soon she will get taller and be able to reach her clothes. She will demand a three-way mirror and I will have to sludge my way through her room just to find her sound asleep on top of her bed which is buried in clean laundry, a headset on her ears and striped socks on one foot, polka dot socks on another...


Thinking of Ma

Remember Caroline Ingalls? From the Little House on the Praire books? (or from the tv show if you are so inclined toward have your brains turn to sap and melt out through your ears)

I was thinking about her this morning.

Laura never mentioned any messes around the house. I wonder if Caroline ever left a load of dirty dishes in the sink. ALL DAY. Ok, probably not, they only had like one dish per person, but still. I wonder if Ma ever started to do the dishes and noticed that little Carrie was in that hunched over position and had "that look". The one that says, "I am about to do a great and mighty work." Did Ma forget about the dishes, yell, "NOOOOOOO CARRIE! In the POT! I said in the POT. NOT in your millions of pairs of underpants!!!!!!!" All the while carrying poor Carrie under her arms, through the backdoor and into the outhouse. Well, doesn't that happen to every mom? What I really wonder is, after cleaning Carrie up, and trying desperately to figure out what clothes to put on her (because her only other dress was already soiled and washday wasn't until Friday...) did she forget to get back to those dishes?

Did Ma ever look at a dirty table with bread crumbs (or ziti noodles) scattered underneath, did she see the HUGE pile of dishes, and all the dirty clothes hung on hooks (except for Laura's, because you KNOW that child never hung up her dirty clothes), did she survey the room and think about all the meat that needed to be cooked, veggies that needed to be perserved, dirt that needed to be swept, chickens that needed to be fed, and then curse (in her head of course, because Caroline Ingalls would NEVER have a foul mouth)? My question is: Did she have a foul mind? Did she ever just wish she could go back to bed? Or hire a maid?

I wonder. I wonder if Caroline Ingalls had anything at all in common with today's homemaker. I spend a lot of time trying to be like her. Those books give me the feeling of peace and warmth, exactly what I want my children, husband, and visitor's to feel when they are in my home. Why oh, why didn't Laura ever tell us if Caroline had any housekeeping flaws? I really need her to be more human, I need a more realistic goal to strive for...because I have this feeling that I will never be Caroline Ingalls.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

A Crazy kind of Fall

Last week was freezing. Out came the fall clothes, out came the winter coats. I mean it was COLD! And it stayed that way for quite a long time. Fall seemed to be here permanatly, and it even looked like Winter was going to make an early entrance.
And yet...last night...we had to turn on our air conditioner. Because it was over 80 degrees in our house. Dustan turned over to avoid my complaining about the swet dripping down my head. "You better learn to live with it," he said. "It is supposed to be 95 degrees tomorrow."
!!!????!!!??? WHERE IS FALL??????
And as if the 95 degree weather was not enough to convince anyone of how crazy this season is being. Just take a look at these pictures

Ummm...that is a strawberry. We planted it early spring and are just NOW getting strawberries. Utter craziness!

And this is a marigold that Marcus planted early early summer. Ummm, you missed summer buddy! Nice to see you popped your head out when you should be hiding from the frost. (I should mention that we never ever saw a single bloom all summer long)

Enough of the crazy weather- on to my goals for the day. How about a cleaning challange? If you are up for it, make sure to come back after you finish and let me know in the comment section. Here is the challange:
Master bedroom- make the bed, clear away any dirty laundry, vacuum the floor, wash the windows and clean out the window sill, dust everything including the cileing fan.

See y'all later...I hope

Monday, October 02, 2006

One step forward...two steps back

You know the old saying. We lived it here today. I would get one thing done and turn around to see two things more that needed to be done. Messes were the word of the day. My three children were walking disasters, and as I walked in their wake, I was impressed with the need of more child sized cleaning utensils. We have a Eureka Boss Superlite that has a retractable handle. With the handle retracted, it is the PERFECT size for my kids. PERFECT! Every mother of children needs one of these. Ask for one for Christmas- you will thank me for it. Anyhow, I need a child sized mop and toilet brush. These kids need to learn to clean up their own pig pen.

I was able to get my one goal accomplished. The mantle has been decluttered. I am a rotton housekeeper...you should have seen the layer of dust that came off those picture frames. How do people remember the little things; like dusting picture frames? Unless I come face to face with dirtiness, I forget that it is even there. Fortunately, I like to re-arrange things, and that brings me closer to my dirt.

We took the nice weather warm-up as an oppurtunity to play outside and because we have four oak trees in our yard, it was practically raining acorns. Little plop plop sounds constantly while we were out. I was tempted to have the kids wear little hard helmets lest they sport tiny acorn sized bruises on their little heads. But we moved too fast and no one was hit. We had fun filling up an antique Mason jar full of them though and I took the opportunity to display them on the mantle. There was something satisifying about filling a jar full of acorns.

A good kind of morning:

I wake up each morning to an empty house. Dustan leaves for work as the sun rises and the kids don't wake until a few hours later. I love this time to myself. I use it to gather my thoughts and look around to see what needs to be done for the day. I also use it to do a bit of online browsing in the morning.
This morning was no different as far as that goes, but my browsing was cut short by the voice of my eldest son. I looked up to see him carrying his Bible.
This story actually starts yesterday when his Sunday school teacher impressed upon him the idea that he needed to read the Bible every day. He was so excited about it that he could hardly get to sleep last night. He kept pacing across my bedroom floor, every step or two he would give a little jump. "Calm down." I told him. "I just can't mom." he said, "I am just to excited to read the Bible tomorrow."
"This has got to be too good to be true," I thought. And yet, this morning, here is was begging me to read with him. And so we read five verses in John. I mean, HE read five verses in John. He read them all by himself and I am proud of his reading skills and even more proud of his desire to read about the One we love most passionately. No home making endeavor is complete without teaching a young child to love the Lord!

On to breakfast: Not usually a noteworthy time in our house, but since I had the camera out, I shot a picture of the six white eggs that will feed my three children. Actually, Marcus is still clambering for another. I need to make some bread. Then they won't eat so many eggs...maybe. I am fortunate because I get milk and egg delivery from Oberweis Dairy. Otherwise I would have to run to the store every week. And anyone who knows me well, knows that there is not a chore I dread more than going to the grocery store. So, I avoid it by going only once a month. Dairy delivery saves my sanity. Besides, it is lovely to run to the front porch every Wednesday morning to grab my glass jars of milk, my eggs, and any misc. items I choose to order. It feels so old fashioned and homey.

Well, that was our morning. My plans for the day are pretty simple. Besides the oridinary household chores, I want to tackle my family room mantle.

I just need to pull off some of the extra stuff it has started collecting. The pirate ship does NOT belong up there, but it is fragile and the mantle seemed to be the safest place, away from the grabbing hands of a toddler.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

A good idea...No a WONDERFUL idea.

Danielle had the great idea of painting the three walls that are not "vintage wallpapered" a light tannish beige. Since my mother also had the same great idea, I think it's a go. Now who wants to come over and help me paint?
I had wanted to stencil my favorite quote across the wall above the windows. The wall is quite large and could use some cheering up. Although, come to think of it, it DOES have windows and after moving the bookshelf away from the side wall, IT is now in need of some attention. Hmmm, which wall to stencil? Which wall to stencil?
Anyhow, I am caught chasing rabbits. Back to Danielle's most wonderful suggestion. She sent me this site . They can make me a pre-spaced, pre-pasted custom quote for my wall. All for 54.95. Which seems expensive until you figure up all the time it will take me to measure out my wall into a grid and then re-paint my wall after the paint has leached under the stencil and made huge nasty smears. After all the mess-up possibilities come to mind, 55.00 seems a bit cheap. They even let me choose a background color so i caould play with the design. I chose a tan wall with moss green letters. It was beautiful! And definately what I need for Christmas.

Oh, you want to know what quote I will use? It came from my Psychology professor- "Those who dance are thought mad by those who don't hear the music.

I think most people would rather be deaf than hear my music.

The New (and hopefully improved) Room

Well, since I am having a day of illness, and because I am bored out of my brains, I decided to go ahead and post my living room pictures today. My pictures are blurry, I am not sure why my camera is taking blurry pictures now days, but alas, i can't get it to take a crisp shot for anything. This first picture is what you see when you enter the front door. See my homemade "wallpaper"? I wanted that vintage look without the mess of papering it. frankly, after working on this for over 6 months and STILL not being done; I wish I had just found some nice paper...or painted a solid color.

Here is a picture from the opposite corner of the room.

And one that centers on the seating area. I am so bad at furniture placement. My husband (Dustan) thinks the couch pulled away from tha wall looks horrendous, but i think it makes the room feel more cozy. It is a HUGE room and I just don't know how to arrange the furniture. I am open to any and all ideas. I am also open to someone telling me what to do about the windows. I know they look bad. What I WANT to do is hang shutters on the lower half and curtains (maybe gingham) on the upper half.

No need to mention the ugly carpet. It is the bane of my exsitence. Ugg...uggg.ugggggllllyyyy. Why would someone have chosen such an ugly color? It shows every piece of lint and is hideous to boot. Yuck. When I get rich, it will be the first thing to go. goodbye barfy carpet...hello hickory hardwood floors! can someone tell me how to get rich?

Inspiration In a Couch

Every room needs an inspiration. Most of the time, my inspiration comes from a picture of someone else's house. I don;t find very much inspiration in my own thing. My couch is an exception to this. It has become part of my family and we all love to cozy up on it. I found it just a week after we had moved into this house. We had a living room with NO furniture, and we had planned on keeping it that way until I saw this in the front of a consignment shop in downtown O'Fallon. I was with Tara when I found it and she and I both KNEW this couch belonged in my house.

Isn't she beyond lovely? She has a few character flaws, but who doesn't. Her velveteen is well loved and the crewel work is loose in places. But she is beautiful, comfortable, and has personality.
Here is a closeup of the crewel, which from what I understand, just means embroidery on linen.

Pretty! The couch is circa 1930 and we think it was reupholstered in the 1950's. All of the cushions are reversable, and as often as I like to change things up; it's perfect for me!

Anyhow, the couch is the inspiration for my living room. I want to pick up that cozy, worn-in feel with the hint of sophistication and elegance.