Put on real clothes and makeup and was all ready to go out and buy the college kid his textbooks. He pulled out his laptop, typed in the bookstore name, entered his class names, then 5 minutes and $300 later we were done. Guess I could’ve stayed in my comfy clothes this morning.
Yesterday was a church day, but today I got back to my little projects. I cleaned the front hallway closet, took out the hanging shoe rack thing since we haven’t been using it since we no longer exit out the front door in the mornings. I moved those items into bins on the floor of the closet (mostly spare hats & gloves, sunscreen & bug spray, and miscellaneous fun things we use mostly in the summer.) and threw out most of the junk that was in those bins previously.
Next up I’m going to cut the shoe rack into fewer columns of cubbies since the outer rows are broken. I’m going to move those into the garage for wrapping supply storage. Then I moved my purse rack into the hall closet because it was messing with the calmness of my bedroom.
Last week I was thinking that I’d love some kind of jewelry rack that hid my jewelry a bit more than what my current system did. By some miracle, I found just what I was looking for in the Family Dollar store:
I bought two, because I have a lot of jewelry. (I also got a cute rug for my garage entryway/laundry room, but I forgot to take a photo of that.) I haven’t filled them with photos yet, but I’ve been digging through Flickr looking through 2009 photos (because they were lost in the Great Hard Drive Failure of 2009) and I’ll have those printed tomorrow while I’m getting things ready for a Secret Project.
Now we’re having dinner and games with my parents. All in all a productive weekend.
My friend Godiva and I are participating in Pin -Free February this month. We’re each doing it differently, though. She’s not going to Pinterest at all, but is still pinning things from her Pin It button. I, on the other hand, am not pinning new things, but am going to my own boards in Pinterest and am either reading-and-deleting pins or making-then-moving-them-to-finished. Some people are going all out and just eschewing the site altogether. Ha!
This morning I made two things from quotes I’d liked on Pinterest. One was this one:
…(I don’t know if you can read it. It says: “To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.”. -Audrey Hepburn). which lives on my front patio, and then inspired me to tidy my front patio area. (I want to get some flowers out there and for it to be sunnier before my big reveal.)
Then I made this sign for my dining room, using the frame that matches the outdoor one, but had no glass. I also used bits of paper from Matt & Heather’s wedding favors.
After that I ran off for my infusion & I wrote out some cards that are waaaaay past due, then read-and-deleted for an hour. Deleting pins is even more fun than pinning them! Who knew?!
So what craftiness are you getting up to this month?
Yesterday was the last day of my personal challenge. I will admit that I was a little sad that no one joined me on it. Oh well, moving on.
Here’s a round up of areas that I worked on that I somehow managed not to post photos of earlier in the process. Some were places I didn’t have finished on time and others were places I didn’t have on the list but did anyway.
The hallway bathroom I didn’t take any before photos of. It didn’t look a whole lot different. Here it is with its new Reveille:
And here are the tags for the boys. David is the crocodile, Ben is the love animals, and Greg is the cat.
The desk area hasn’t changed a lot since the middle of things, but it’s still a work in progress, here it is mid process:
The desk area now:
(the main change: I sent away the paper file box and brought back in the plastic box because it’s sturdier in the long run, then piled up the stuff over there while I’m working on sorting through it all. The sorting is taking forever because I haven’t had enough time to dedicate to it yet.)
The shelving units in my room before: super crowded.
The shelving units after:
(I have actually only gotten rid of a small pile of papers and four books. The rest just got re-sorted back to the places they were meant to be living in the first place.)
David’s room, mid process. Ah, it looked so clean. Too bad you couldn’t see all the stuff on his bed.
David’s room now: His aunt April donated an old computer for his use. It doesn’t have wireless access to the internet, so unless a parent gives him the super-long ethernet cable, there’s no internet in his bedroom. But still, he can write papers, play a certain subset of his computer games, use iTunes, and draw lots and lots of weird stuff with the mouse. Plus there’s an awesome outer space screen saver. The other half of his desk is covered in his current Lego battle.
Ben & Greg’s room mid-process:
Greg and Ben’s room now: The matching chairs came FREE from the garage, much to my happiness. Greg decided he was finally tired of the Moon Sand mess, so out that went. One of the teachers at school, who is mom to 2 ladies that have taught Ben & Greg, overheard of my yearning for a second computer for the house for boy use, and showed up one day during my volunteer hours up there with a computer very, very similar to the one April had given us for the big boy. (I know this sounds confusing “second computer.” When I had been talking about it, April hadn’t given us the one in D’s room yet. And then once she did he rejected it because of the lack of internet issue. BUT, once the little kids got and enthusiastically embraced their new-to-them computer, he was all “whatever happened to that other one?” and so now both rooms have one. Little kids room has one that’s more disabled for little kid use, chock full of educational games. Big kids room has a regular one that we’ll put big kid stuff on.)
The top of the dryer wasn’t on the list, but it should have been. Before: mess, mess, mess.
The top of the dryer, now: nice! (sorry for the angle change there!)
The other side of the laundry room has new labels for things (soap & different recycling bins), printed for free from my computer on regular computer paper and laminated with clear contact paper I had on hand as well.
The piano area before: mess, mess, mess.
The piano area after: I showed you where the books ended up, but not how the piano area looks now. I just added a stack off boxes from elsewhere, the snow dragon, and a strand of music garland from my first Homecoming mum (what, don’t look at me like that. Yes, it’s 22 years old. It’s plastic. Whee!)
And that’s all folks. I am done! Well, not really, as there’s always more to do, but I am done having a project a day all week long. It’ll be nice to just take things slowly again.
For Day 11 I tackled the biggest boys bedroom.
oh my (he assures me that he was trying to find something, which led to this mess. I love how that happens.)
the closet full of mostly my stuff and/or empty containers
I don’t have any DURING photos. I was too busy being busy. And now for an explanation of my process. A real life friend asked today how I manage to do all that I do. Here’s how: when I move furniture I take everything out of it. Then I take it as far apart as it goes, unscrewing screws, taking off drawers, legs, anything to make it lighter. Yes, this is time consuming. Yes, it’s tedious. Yes, I probably ought to ask my husband to move stuff for me. But then he’d have to stand around while I internally debated all the pros and cons of where I wanted the item to end up and move the parts back and forth and back and forth while I decided and let’s face it: that would make him insane. I’m trying to avoid insane Nick. Also of note, I didn’t do this room in an hour or even two. I started on it right after I dropped big kids off at school around 7:30am and worked on it off and on, with frequent rest breaks and time off to take Greg to school and to eat meals, until 1:30pm.
Here, for instance, those plastic drawers: mostly empty. Also: lightweight. They’re living in the garage awaiting a trip to another home. There was a little plastic cart in the corner you can’t see that just wheeled on out (also mostly empty, oddly enough). That all got moved the first 15 minutes, then a fifteen minute break.
The file cabinets got emptied out (each one had one empty drawer already). The top one had drawers that came all the way out, the bottom one did not, but I already knew that (that’s how they came to be stacked that way). I only moved them a few feet across the room to hold up the desktop (which, don’t tell David, was the bottom of his crib) of D’s new desk area. I moved those one at a time, with a rest break in between and afterward.
Since the closet was then nearly empty (I still have a stack of file boxes of old high school & college memory stuff in there that needs tending, but that’s another day entirely), I slid the dresser (particleboard, also sans drawers) in there. After that another break, this time for lunch. (See the pattern here?)
The only heavy thing to move at all was the former TV stand – also oddly particle board – but it was much lighter after removing the drawer. (The family that took our old TV is coming to pick it up later this week)
Also in between everything was the ever-present picking up of Lego bricks. They’re EVERYWHERE (they were even, mind-bogglingly, under my bed).
A nice, neat desk area for David, with drawers in the file cabinets for his Scout stuff & papery goodness and the hope chest for Lego brick storage. (Not shown: his display shelves: they’re to the left of the frame)
The closet of joy and emptiness. Or NOT. I found 12 belts in there. 12. He can’t ever complain about a lack of belts again.
(Notice that I’m not showing the beds in these pictures. Yeah. That’s where I dump all the stuff I no longer have any interest in picking up. I put away the stuff that’s big and in the way, but the nitty-gritty stuff that needs a kid who knows where it goes to put it away? Well, that’s what beds are for. And kids.)
Ben’s closet before (at least the top half of it; no idea why I took just the top half, but look, so many clothes, so many piled games, the bottom half was piled clothes and piled toys)
Mysteriously there’s no photo of Greg’s closet before. Imagine a closet with 6 items hung up top, a few empty hangers, then below: a chest covered with 2 blankets, 8 pairs of shoes, a dozen outfits, dirty socks galore, and a dozen or so books.
The weeding out stage, which we actually did over the weekend when Ben was available for consultation. Most of these clothes were lovely, but we had nowhere to wear them. At home we’re t-shirts and jeans casual and at school & scouts there’s the uniform (which is also worn to lessons), so no need for these cute collared, stripy shirts.
Greg’s closet turned out not to be as bad as I thought in that the costume chest held nothing but costumes, much to my delight. He does have a lot of shoes, though.
Since I’m doing crazy organizational things, I decided to do a bit in the actual room as well as the closets. The kids haven’t been playing in there at all since we added the nook, which ended up being the place they tossed all the stuff they didn’t toss into Greg’s closet. They couldn’t find any of their toys and so they were being lazy and just playing their DS’s all the day long. Well, I’m not going to let that go on forever. So I took out the Nook O’ Messiness (they still have the hiding nook in the bathroom – have I featured that here yet?) and moved Greg’s bed back to be even with Ben’s again. I took out the tiny desk that no one uses and moved the shelves over there.
Then I pulled in a folding table from the garage, one that is long enough to accommodate two boys sitting at it, hung a peg board above it, and hung all their card games, lego bricks, nerf stuff, & a box of their creatures above it. I’m envisioning this as a space that Ben can work at Scout stuff at and Greg can build things at and they can play games together just the two of them. It’s still a work in progress (I’d like matching chairs and the board to be a color they choose, but hey this is a big change and it was FREE), but here’s how it looks right now:
Special thanks goes out to my friend J.P. who watched Greg for several hours yesterday and my friend S.C. who watched Greg & David for an hour and a half while I worked on all this.
So I went ahead and started today, just because. Here’s what the desk area looked like before:
A mess, I know. I went and got my trusty helpers
the trash can, the “please put away” box, my chair to hold the “to be filed” items, and the paper recycling bin. I started tackling the desk by taking everything off it that was paper or didn’t belong in the desk area. I scanned in the entire pile of things sitting there waiting to be scanned, made a file of kids passwords so I wouldn’t have to keep up with a billion little scraps of paper, and finally registered all those games the kids got over the holidays. Then I removed all the electronics and was left with this delightfulness:
Okay, not so delightful. I pulled the cords all out, too, and wiped them down, and then used twist ties (saved from bread bags) to tidy up their cordiness (I also labeled them with the remainders of sticky paper off the bottom of a book of stamps). Then I wiped down the desk and used a bit of spray paint (leftover from another project) over the very obvious paint deficiencies there (You may all skip that step, really. My husband will be quietly appalled. The whole area needs a repaint job, but that will have to wait until it’s a bit warmer and we can open the house for extended periods of time).
After everything was dry, I started moving things back in, leaving some stuff out in the “please put away” box and rearranging other stuff. I made enough space to put my scrapbooks back out where they belong, which made me very happy.
The only thing I didn’t get to today was under the desk, but that required tools to take the old hard drive out of the old computer and I didn’t have time to go spelunking in the garage today on top of everything else. I’m really quite pleased with the finished area, especially as it puts the file folders into better reach so that I might actually file the stuff that needs filing next time instead of it leaving on the desk.
Remember, if you’d like to link to this challenge, you may link here.
Beginning in just a little bit, I’m starting a new January challenge. I really loved the one over at A Bowl Full of Lemons last January, but haven’t been able to find anything like it this year for the month, so I’m making one of my own.
Here’s the plan, each weekday I’m going to tackle a project that I’ve been talking about forever, but never get to. I’m going to assign a day to each project and just work at it until it’s done or my time is up. If you’d like to follow along and link to your own similar projects, I’ll include a linky at the bottom. If you’ve got nothing similar, but just felt inspired to do something, anything that’s been on your list forever, link that up, too. The more the merrier!
- Week One starts now:
Thursday 1/5 Tidying up the computer area
- Week Two starts on Monday, it’s theme is basically “Starting with my own mess”
Monday 1/9 My bedside table is scary
Tuesday 1/10 My closet tries to eat stuff
Wednesday 1/11 My reading nook has crap under it
Thursday 1/12 Under the bed the drawers have found friends
Friday 1/13 The shelving units could be emptier
- Week Three starts the following Monday, with it’s theme being “Places we hide stuff when company’s coming”
Monday 1/16 My eldest son’s closet has mostly my stuff in it
Tuesday 1/17 My youngest son’s closet is scarier than my bedside table
Wednesday 1/18 My middle son’s closet holds all the games
Thursday 1/19 The front hall closet I’m suspecting of having parties without me
Friday 1/20 Someplace else messy that’s not a closet
- Week Four’s theme will be “All the Stuff in the Universe:”
Monday 1/23 My craft desk is overflowing
Tuesday 1/24 My memory stuff is taking over
Wednesday 1/25 The garage needs tidying
Thursday 1/26 The media cabinet could be emptier
Friday 1/27 The piano & music center wants a shelf
- Week Five is short because that’s all that’s left of January and I only have two bathrooms:
Monday 1/30 The kids/guest bathroom needs spiffying
Tuesday 1/31 My bathroom towel situation
Over the winter break, I entered into a give-away over at Embracing and Being Embraced. I don’t normally enter give-aways, as I never, ever win anything, but this time the give-away was for something I really wanted, so I thought I’d give it a try. So imagine my joy when I got a message from the lovely Shanda saying I’d won! 🙂 The prize: a $20 credit towards merchandise from DaySpring. I had to use it by December 31st, but I waited until after Christmas to try to get some post-Christmas-sales goodies. I went and agonized for literally days over finding just the right items and placed my order December 30th. I had the option to get FedEx or USPS to ship it for the same price and as I’d never tried FedEx before, I decided to be bold and try it.
Fast forward to today. The doorbell rings and I hear a “thud” on my doorstep. Look closely at the note, it’s funny:
(For those that didn’t click on it: the note, which I’m assuming should have been stuck to my front door, said that my package had been delivered to my front door. Hilarious!)
I brought it in, happily finding a pair of scissors to open it right away, and not even slicing myself open along with the package. 😉 Here’s what I saw:
It looked good, really good. (But wait, there’s only one spiral bound item in the box! I accidentally ordered the wrong journal…but this one is super cute, too.)
I totally heart Holley Gerth, can you tell? I used my credit towards: 1 thing for me (the journal), 1 thing for the family (the perpetual calendar), 1 thing to share (the book), and 1 thing to bless others (the inspirational cards). I think I did pretty well. Thanks so much, Shanda!
(One day soon I hope to come up with better titles…we’ll see.)
Thursday last we had a double crazy day. I baked 6 dozen cookies over the course of the day, those yummy apple caramel cider ones I did last week, but this time with the chunk caramel rather than the bits. Oh what a difference the chunk caramel made! They went from yum to superextrayum! After the kids came home from school we decorated the cakes they baked the night before and that morning.
That night Nick took the kids to their cake auction while I went to a cookie exchange party at one of the newer neighbors houses. I didn’t know most of the people there, but the kids did enjoy playing together and I came home with some fabulous cookies. (photos to be added once I find them) Nick came home with some other kids cake, as he was outbid on our kids cakes. They totally loved that!
Friday was the quadrupaly crazy day. Ben had eaten one of the caramel chunk cookies without warming it first and his crown came out so he had to be taken into the dentist first thing in the morning. Also in the morning there was a concert at school for all the kids and parents that hadn’t gotten to see/be in the big performance the week before. My mom took Ben to the dentist and my dad, Greg, and I went to save seats at the concert. Ben and my mom got back before the concert started but too late to sit with us. David got to play his violin in public for the first time and did very well.
From there we went home and got some breakfast real fast before gathering stuff up for the class parties. I’m the homeroom mom coordinator for our PTA this year, so I’d spent the week contacting all the homeroom moms and their teachers, trying to make sure all the room parties were being taken care of and that people were all signed up to bring stuff. I brought a cartload of extras and put it in the school office in case anyone was lacking anything, as I had two parties of my own to help out with. Fortunately for me, the other moms involved in the parties were awesome, so I was able to run back and forth between the two parties a bit. While I was running around, I noticed this hanging in the bathroom:
Isn’t that amazing?!
Anyways, Ben’s party had bingo
and a Left/Right gift exchange (I wrapped extra gifts in case they were lacking some and passed them out to younger siblings afterwards).
David’s party made ice cream cone Christmas trees (idea from Pinterest, naturally)
and also played bingo (yes, Greg was everywhere all at once, too!)
It was a great afternoon, but I was exhausted and out of breath by the time I’d climbed all those stairs a half dozen times (sometimes I’d walk the extra distance and take the elevator, but it was pretty far away).
My parents picked us up straight from the time the bell rang and drove us down to Palestine for our annual trip to ride The Polar Express.
Mom and I dressed up in our robes for the event
The kids were likewise dressed in pajamas. This year it was freezing cold, so everyone wore their jackets, except Greg, who tried to live inside my robe.
Looking down at the train
The other half
Mr. Conductor came and punched our tickets. The kids continued to be sad that they weren’t punching words like in the movie. The elves came out and danced with Ben
and to our great surprise, David danced with her, too. (Even more surprising actually was that Greg said “no.”)
The North Pole. We decided to be nice and let another family that hadn’t been there before sit on the side with all the lights. 🙂
After the train ride we changed up tradition a little and ate dinner at Giovanni’s, which is right next door to Little Mexico (where we normally go).
We have no photos of Saturday at all. Aren’t you feeling happy about that by now?
Sunday Santa’s helper Elmer the Brownie visited our house. When he saw we were all decked out for the holidays, he brought us yummy cookies.
Monday we made some graham cracker houses (and used up all the leftover candy from the class parties).
Yesterday we got The Call and left for College Station a day early, thinking that Steph’s baby was on his way. Sadly, he wasn’t yet (she was more than a week over due), but we did get in a little visit today and she opened his present from us (which was partly something to be used on Christmas day). Tomorrow I’ll post some more pictures. Aren’t you excited?