Monday, April 14, 2014

Spring is Coming, Time to Look Like an Idiot

So Monday...  We meet again.  It seems like it's only been a week since I've had to deal with you.  I liked you a bit more last week than I do this week, though.  Last week I was going to be out-of-town for most of the week and, let's face it, nothing makes for a better work week than 2 days of actual work.  The graceful answer is that I'm blessed to have a job where I can set my own hours, especially at a time where it's so hard for so many to find good jobs, but I'm in more of a "please don't make me do stuff" kind of mood at this exact moment.  I'll be grateful tomorrow.  Today, I just want to go outside and enjoy the first whispers of spring.  I'm so ready to be done with winter.

Of course, the fun thing about it being spring is that the family social calendar very quickly changes from "there's nothing to do ever around here because it's so miserable out" to "we're running 15 minutes late for (insert activity here)."  Baseball, move up day, end-of-school events, weekend trips, family things, holidays...  There's a banquet of opportunities to be the last person to arrive at some event or gathering and look like the worst person of the world.

And speaking of looking like the worst person in the world...

Last week, we came across this awesome little cot on uber-markdown.  It folds up and stows easily, it has wheels, even came with its own little mattress.  Perfect solution to the whole bed crisis that is fitting 3 kids into a 2 bedroom living space.  Finally, the last of the kids has their own sleeping space that isn't a bundle of blankets and sleeping bags on the floor of Baby Boy's room, right?  


After telling our oldest for like three days how excited we were that we found him a his own bed, consoling him out of hysterics because he didn't want a bed and wanted to keep sleeping in a sleeping bag on the floor, then finally getting him to come around and be excited too... We unpack the thing about 10 minutes before bedtime only to discover it measures about 3 by 50 feet and is too large for the kid's room.  And our bedroom.  And the hallway.  The only solution was to set it up in the kitchen.  So getting this stupid bed, which started with excitement (for us), progressed to tears (for him), returned to excitement (for him), eventually finished with the ultimate disappointment of having to explain to a child through hysterics why he's not sleeping in the same room as his brothers anymore.

So much for our "best parents ever" slam dunk. 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Finding the Strength to Try Again

Last week I was inspired by my favorite Bible passage:

"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

Matthew 6:21
This has so much meaning to me and I get so much happiness and strength from reading it and thinking about it.  This passage reminds me of Mr. Stepford , how much I adore him and need him in my life.  It reminds me of all we've been through and how we've come together and survived it all.  I can't think of this passage without thinking of him and how much he's changed my life.  Last Sunday, I had so much I wanted to write about everything this passage makes me feel, but I couldn't put it down.  Instead I just promised myself that I'd do better in living this principle and displaying it outwardly to those I love. 

How did I do?  I had my victories, I had my failures.  The failures came in that I didn't live this principle like I wanted to every day.  Life makes for a great excuse for why we forgot to be the person we strive to be, doesn't it? But the victory comes in that now, sitting back, thinking of my week, I see where I failed and, most importantly, I see why I failed.

I've honestly spent quite a lot of time thinking, writing, praying, and I'm feeling really good.  I've already had several realizations about what I can do to help myself out and help out my family, bringing myself closer to living this principle that is so important to me.  Over the next week, I'm going to start introducing the changes that I think that will help me to live this passage I love so much.

Talk about being inspired!  This is how I want to start my week every week...

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Why Does My Bathroom Smell Like Butter?

The moldy offender...  Crocodile Mat from Ikea
I noticed the other day that my son's rubber bath mat has a few spots of mold growing on it.  Terribly frustrating since I have no mold remover in the house at the moment and the mat is not supposed to be soaked in bleach.  So as I go to the computer to research a solution, I am told by Mr. Stepford that he had heard just the other day that using simple Pam (as in the non-stick stuff from the kitchen) was a really great way to remove mold.

Now this makes me very happy...  It's non-toxic, I have it in the house...  I already have my blog update about the wonder of Pam in the bathroom already written in my head.  The nagging questions (how is that possible?  Doesn't it make the tub slippery?) I quietly ignored, figuring that all would reveal itself as I used it.

Today, I spray the mat from top to bottom with the Pam.  My bathroom smells like popcorn, but I figure who cares if it works?  I take a wipe with my microfiber cloth and...  That nasty mold...  Still there.  So I try again, leaving it on for about 5 minutes.  Still nothing.  I finish my third application and with arms crossed, impatiently staring at this aligator mat, which I'm pretty sure is now mocking me, I pop open my phone to see what I can find about Pam as a mold killer.

As it turns out, Mr. Stepford was right...  In principle, I guess...  Because I found plenty of websites that talk about how wonderful Pam is at releasing mold.  Unfortunately, the mold it's great as releasing are the variety that allow you to mold items, you know, like ceramics or candles, or other things that are to be painted and displayed, not the kind that the kind found on bathroom mats.

So, even as we speak, the hot water shower is running in the bathroom to try and remove the Slip-N-Slide quality that my bathtub now has.  And I have learned a very important lesson about how just because you love somebody doesn't mean you don't fact check him first.

But for those who are curious who may make models as a hobby, apparently car wax also works wonders as a mold release, though I have not tried it on the bathroom mat to see how it works on that mold.  I do not recommend it.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

WFMW: Colored Water = Cheap Entertainment

My son has more toys then any child his age has any right to have.  And you'd think with every toy in the world, he would never be bored, never be without a toy, never sit on the floor frustrated over having "nothing to do." 

You'd think wrong.

Granted, he's only a year old, so I don't have to hear "But MOOOOOOM, there is NOTHING to do!" yet (and conversely, don't have the satisfaction of saying "If you can't FIND something to do, I will GIVE you something to do...").  But I can tell he feels bored when he's just sitting and making his angry noises despite being in a sea of toys, or when I have to go pull him out of something that he knows he shouldn't be getting into for the 15th time.

One day, I got frustrated with it.  Knowing he loves water, and knowing that space and mess concerns prevent me from getting a water table, I decided to put something similar together in the hopes he'd be entertained. 

I got a handful of Ziplocks, filled them with water, used simple food coloring to dye the water, sealed it (while pushing out as much air as I could), folded the top over several times and taped it with packing tape to the bag so that the zipper section was totally sealed in by tape.  Then, again with the packing tape, taped it to the sliding door. 

It was an instant hit, not just for my 1 year old, but for his older brothers too.  Splashing without the mess.

Since then, I've had a little fun.  I've put glitter in the bags, layered the bags so that the 3 primary colors make the secondary colors, added dish soap to make bubble water that puffs up when played with, even put some food coloring and shaving cream or whipped cream and taped that to the window for "clouds."  Adding colored water to empty, used water bottles has brought unexpected fun.  The bottles are stacked, rolled, slished, sloshed, put by the window so that the reflection they made by the sunlight can be cast on the floor, on the wall, on the ceiling, on unsuspecting parents...

It's funny to think water, coloring, and tape can make for a fun, rainy day, cheap distraction.  But then again, when I was a kid, I was utterly entertained by such simple distractions.  Maybe it's time for me to under think his entertainment?

Don't lie, you kind of want to take a swat at it too, don't you?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Adding Some Bounce to Your Life

Maybe I'm stuck in the 80's, maybe I can't break those housekeeping trends I learned from my mother, or maybe I'm just too lazy to be bothered with adding liquid fabric softener to anything other than a spray bottle, but I love, love, love dryer sheets.  I'm almost ashamed to say that my favorite brand isn't even a "real brand."  It's the Wal*Mart generic brand which smells like "Mandarin Essence."

Another thing I love about them?  Even after they're used, they continue to be handy:

*  I use them on my glass/polished electronics surfaces like the TV, computer screen, laptop keyboard, and even the gaming units (Xbox, Wii, etc).  They remove fingerprints and dust with a single swipe but also repel dust and static. 

*  They are awesome for freshening up living areas...  I've put them under couch cushions, inside pillows or pillow cases, between the sheet and bed, old shoes, in storage boxes, in my drawers (as in the place you keep folded clothes), tucked in the pocket of a shirt hanging in a closet, or even sandwiched between books on the bookcase.  It keeps things smelling fresh and clean, even slight movement (like rolling over in bed or sitting on the couch) releases a little burst of sweet-smelling air.

*  Added bonus?  They repel ants, mice, moths, and silverfish.  Sweet smelling and pest free is a win/win.  If you find a hole where mice or bats are getting into your house (did I mention how fun it is living in the country?), stuff a crumpled sheet into the hole and they won't get through.  The smell keeps them away and the fabric itself they can't and won't chew through.  Bring them outside to ward off mosquitoes. 

*  Spill some flour?  Knock over some baby powder?  Dryer sheets are perfect for sweeping up fine powder spills.  I accidentally knocked over a whole can of powdered formula and used dryer sheets saved the day...  Though I still cried at what had to have been $20 worth of formula on the floor.

*  Like the look of those dashboard polishing sprays but can't stand the price?  Wipe the dashboard and chrome or other detailing in your car with a dryer sheet and remove dust, dirt, fingerprints, and slow down further buildup.  Or keep a used sheet under your floor mats, in the glove box, or the center console. 

*  Tweezers not quite doing the job anymore?  Wipe the tweezy part with the dryer sheet.  Also use them for cleaning up other gunked up makeup accessories like mirrors or eyelash curlers.  Same with scissors that have lost their will to cut.

*  I use them in the bathroom to get soap scum off my tub but they can also be used on shower doors and on the faucets for a beautiful shine.  I also use around the toilet to remove that weird, wet, grimy dust stuff.  You can also find used dryer sheets between my folded towels to keep them smelling dryer fresh.

*  As I said in an earlier entry, I use them as a replacement for dry wipe floor Swiffer.  It not only gives a light polish, but also helps keep the floor from being sticky, and happen to be waaay cheaper then Swiffer cloths.  They're also brilliant for dry dusting wood.

*  Sometimes I leave the used sheets in the hamper because laundry at the bottom of the pile can smell pretty bad by laundry day.  Especially in my son's room...  Stinky little boy.  I also put them in trash cans between the trash can and the liner.

If you didn't use them before, I bet you're thinking about it now...  Just a word of warning, especially for you fancy folks who have those high-end dryers, make sure you clean out your lint trap and clean it with warm vinegar or soak in boiling water for 30 seconds and wipe at least once a month.  It extends the life of your dryer, allows clothes to dry faster, and keeps your laundry room more free of dust.

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Simple Daybook of a Stepford Wife

For July 3rd, 2011
Outside my Window
I see that everything is glassy from the light rain falling outside.  The emerald color of the trees and the Rhododendrons is so piercing and bright that you could almost picture yourself sitting in a tropical rainforest.  My Hostas, normally a quiet and subtle beautiful, are really shining in this weather.  The rain and the light through the clouds have turned them a delishious lime green color.  The light rain has kept everybody in the neighborhood inside and with Baby Boy asleep, there is this peaceful quiet all through the house.  The only thing seemingly unaffected by the weather is the chipmonk who zips by my sliding door doing, looking very busy at doing whatever chipmonks do.

I am Thinking
I'm thinking that quiet moments like this are so few and far between...  Usually there is some noise in or around the house.  Baby Boy playing, the TV, kids outside playing, phone ringing, knocks at the door...  So I'm enjoying the quiet solitude where I feel like I can enjoy the beauty of nature from the comfort of my bed and an open window.  I'm doing a lot of thinking about my passage for the week, there's a lot that it brings to my mind.  I feel like I should be writing it down, but I'm trying to feel the passage, not think it.  An incredible change.

I am Thankful For
Honestly, I'm thankful for the quiet, thankful for a moment to get back to myself.  I'm thankful for my family of course, but sometimes I forget to be thankful for those moments where we're not together and I can spend time with myself. 

I am Reading
Right now, my library is a parade of magazines, cookbooks, and blogs.  Most of my reading material for today will be coupons and sales flyers.  Sunday's are busy for me since it's coupon day.  First weekend of the month and a holiday weekend also mean P&G coupons (the best of the bunch) are out and properly shopped sales are amazing.

I am Hoping
I am hoping that in moments where I feel rushed and frantic, I will remember how I feel right at this exact second.  I hope that the time I can enjoy something similar again isn't too far away.  I'm hoping for a really good week.

I am Hearing
The sound of rain hitting the leaves and the gentle rolls of thunder from a storm moving in.  I love morning thunderstorms.  We only get maybe half a dozen all year so I always feel like a day that starts with a thunderstorm is a magical day.  From the other room, I can hear Baby Boy's many music-making gizmos and sound machines to help him sleep.  It's ironic that the sound of the fake ocean drowns out the sound of the real rain, though I don't know that he'll notice. 

Around the House
I'm ashamed to say that the house is a disaster.  Kid's toys everywhere, laundry that needs to be folded, video games in a pile next to the TV.  Last night was date night, so instead of cleaning when I had a chance in the evening, we all went out.  By the time we got back, I was way too tired to take care of it. 

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week
A busy week...  July 4th is also our area's 250th anniversary so there's a lot to do and see if the weather holds out.  Tuesday is a job interview that I'm hoping will compliment my going back to college.  Then later in the week, family travels up from the South and is up to stay for a week.  Can't wait!

Picture of the Day
A beautiful, rainy morning

Sunday, July 3, 2011

A Morning to be Inspired

"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
Matthew 6:21

So much to say about this passage and what it means to me, but I struggle to even know where to begin.  This passage has gotten me through so much hurt, sadness, lonliness, and pain.  This simple phrase became a mantra of mine that I lived off of like spiritual food.

Today, I'm carrying this with me again as a message of devotion to Mr. Stepford and I'm allowing this passage to shape my day.  My mind is already busy with planning on how I'm going to live this passage today, but I'm trying to put it all aside and allow my heart to do the leading.