I tried to do a project Archives

What does success look like?

Success looks like a pair of little gray night stands that I made all by myself that are almost ready to go into the little girls’ room.

Okay, Gabe helped.  And the little girls “helped” paint them. They have also requested that I put a pink stripe on them so I’ll be doing that here in a few minutes after I re-putty a screw hole on the top.

They definitely aren’t perfect but let’s face it. I don’t really have an eye for detail so what do you expect? But they are cute and strong and free and the girls are quite excited about them.

Today is a busy day for us so I’d better go get it started.

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I tried to do a project

I got this wild idea to build two small bedside tables for the little girls’ room using wood scraps and old screws that we already had which I thought would be a great use of the couple of really good wood scrap piles we have that need to be decluttered.

I found all the pieces I needed pretty quickly but I wanted the legs to be 2×2’s so some of my pieces needed to be ripped on the table saw but I am terribly afraid of the table saw so Gabe took pity on me and sliced them up.

This was not any better though because not only am I afraid to use the table saw, I am also afraid of somebody else using the table saw because there is no blade guard and that thing looks like it’s just going to come flying right out of there and attack everybody like some sort of cheesy horror flick where an inanimate object comes alive and goes on a murderous rampage.

Good news, none of that happened, my sticks were cut in half, and Gabe still has all his fingers.

Unless you count the times when I was little where I nailed boards together on the floor of the garage while my dad worked on a project, I have never built something before so I really have no idea what I am doing. The only thing I have going for me is that I want them to look like reclaimed pieces. That gives me a lot of room for error.

I got most of them put together last night but I made a couple of mistakes. I’m going to remedy those this morning and hopefully have them painted by the afternoon.  I am at the mercy of Lanie, who still has a cold though so we will see what I actually get finished.

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A few things this morning.

-I mentioned yesterday that I wasn’t sure if I should include Kait and Joe when I say that I did something or whatnot with 10 kids because neither of them are kids anymore. In fact, Kait doesn’t even live here anymore and will be a Mrs. in 2 months. However, it feels weird to not include her in my kid head count when I’m writing about our day because even though she isn’t a kid anymore, she’s still my kid.

This same thing goes for Joe but he still lives at home and so it isn’t as weird for me yet. Hm.

-I had a weird dream where all my hair fell out and, while I didn’t like that it happened, I wasn’t alarmed by it at all. This alarms me.

– The rest of our sod was delivered last night right as I was finishing up cooking dinner. The guys got to working and I served dinner outside on the patio table. It was a nice, cooler, 78 degree evening and everybody seemed to be much happier laying sod than on Friday. My backyard looks amazing.

– Rabbit has finished sanding and the table has been stained, praise God from whom all blessing flow.

We’re using this dark brown gel stain. I like it so far. The color is rich and reminds me of a chocolate bar but it leaves these paintbrush lines even though Rabbit doesn’t put it on with a paintbrush. It’s weird.  I’ve read that it just needs another coat, or that the wood was sanded too fine, or that it wasn’t wiped off quickly enough, or that gel stains just do that, or that or that or that…  We’ll get it figured out.

– My kids have adjusted to not watching movies or playing video games every day. I know they are over the withdrawal because they have become happy to find other things to do. They have now formed a club and it is very important and intense and there are passwords and disguises and drawings from a hat. It’s quite entertaining to watch.

– I cleaned out the pantry.

It was a crazy mess of expired baking products and empty granola bar boxes. There were three opened jars of peanut butter, 3 open containers of raisins, 3 opened containers of corn starch…  apparently we open things in threes.  Ben and I filled more than two trash bags full of unnecessary junk. I should pay attention to the pantry more often.  Rabbit asked how long I thought it would stay this way. I said about 24 hours.

– The reason I cleaned out the pantry was because we have had all these gnat-like bugs flying all over our house and they are making me crazy. I wanted to make sure there wasn’t any spoiled food attracting them. There wasn’t. We’ve cleaned and bleached and sanitized but they still show up in my coffee if I don’t drink it fast enough. I’ve decided that they must be coming in from outside because my kids don’t know how to close exterior doors. They are really good at slamming interior doors though. Go figure.

– I’m getting rid of our microwave. Probably today.  It is very small and we rarely use it and what we do use it for can easily be done on the stove or in the oven, which makes more sense with the number of people in our family anyway. I’m the only one who cleans it and I don’t even like it so it’s going away.

– This post has become much longer than I originally planned so I will go for now. It’s almost 8am and time to run.

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My minimalist senses are tingling

I am a minimalist at heart. I love getting rid of stuff and clear spaces and having nothing on my counters.  That new refrigerator that has a Keurig in the door makes my heart pitter patter because that would mean one less thing I’d have to keep on my countertops.  Though I do wonder how a Keurig works in a refrigerator door because these coffee machines are known for their short life spans. I wonder if there is an easy way to replace it when it inevitably dies the week after its warranty is up or if you’re just stuck with a refrigerator Keurig that no longer works.

Being a minimalist in my family means that I cannot actually practice minimalism the way I’d like. If it were up to me we’d have about a quarter of the stuff we have now. I think the only things I would have a hard time parting with would be little girl clothes and books.  Even still, I had been able to work around my maximalist children and keep the house at a reasonable junk level until I just gave up trying a couple of years ago. I don’t know what it was. Rabbit’s mom’s death and then the miscarriage and then the hard pregnancy that followed…

I just sort of quit.

And when I was ready to get things back in order at the beginning of this year it all seemed so overwhelming and my kids had become comfortable in their growing piles of stuff and I didn’t know where to start.

I’ve decided now, however, that it is high time to take back control over this home. We have a lot going on over the next several months and all this clutter is keeping my brain from being able to focus on becoming a foster parent and my daughter’s wedding and the holidays and all the preparation that goes into life this time of year.

I started with one corner.

I love this artwork Rabbit and the kids made for me a couple years back but it really doesn’t match this area of the house and because of that I feel like this corner has become an easy catch all spot. This is definitely not the corner of a minimalist.

This area is at one end of our long dining table. I knew what I wanted here because I saw it somewhere on a video or Pinterest a while back because I have no imagination of my own and I count on other people’s creativity for these things. Yes, I’m a copy cat.

The previous owners of our home are awesome people that we know and love and I asked if they’d let me have their large wooden spoon and fork if we bought the house.  They quickly said yes and they’ve been sitting in a corner of the dining room the last 3 years, sometimes being used as swords. It was ling passed time to give them a spot.

I wanted giant letters to spell the word eat but I didn’t want to pay an arm and a leg for them. Rabbit spotted this cheap wood scrap while we were at Lowe’s yesterday. It had some great grain and he asked if I would like the letters cut out of it. I had a better idea that wouldn’t require any work from him and we grabbed the wood and headed home where I got to work and TADA!

It’s not crooked. I just can’t hold a camera straight.

The kids all helped me. I usually don’t like the distressed look but this seems to work well here.

I really, really like it.

I think I am going to keep this momentum going and actually get some family pictures on the walls and while I’m at it I’ll throw away everything in the living room.  Don’t tell my husband.

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Still sanding…

And when Rabbit can’t be here to sand because he has a job that actually requires him to go to work, he uses a stand in replacement (Joe-19) to keep the job going.

This job has proven to be incredibly taxing and detailed and truly annoying. I am thankful for my 14-foot long table, I really am, but this is maddening – and I’m not even the one sanding!

And because we’re realistic, we knew from the start that this job would have to be done in the house and not the workshop where the sawdust belongs.  But even with the sander’s dust collector, there is this light dusting of sawdust on everything and that is particularly irritating.  It is a full-time job keeping the dust from taking over our lives. I am so glad this is almost finished.

I am so glad this is almost finished.

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Wallpaper is my nemesis.

We’ve lived in this house for about 10 months now and have finally gotten to a point where we are ready to tackle a few projects.  The house has been seriously taken care of so I figured our mini-remodels would go super smoothly.

Hahaha.

The first thing I wanted to do was paint the kitchen. Simple.  Easy.  Cheap.  Quick.  I really don’t like color yellow so my plan was to give it a quick coat of white paint just to get the kitchen remodel started.  Turns out, no.

As it would turn out, the bright yellow kitchen walls are actually painted wallpaper because, really, nothing can just be easy right?

house

So, Matthew(11) and I ripped the wallpaper down in about 2 days, which took with it some paint and pieces of drywall so now my quick painting job has turned into a some sort of construction project where I get to scrape and clean and putty and texture and I don’t even know how to do some of those things.

matthewwallpaper

Wallpaper, people.
Wallpaper.

 

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My favorite present that Rabbit got me for Christmas is this 1980-something Polaroid camera.

mecamera

I didn’t have a Polaroid as a child but I had a friend who had one and seemed to always have an unlimited amount of instant film because she took pictures like it was digital.  I have, however, realized that Polaroid picture taking is definitely a very part-time hobby and not something I can just do whenever I feel.  The pictures run around $3 a piece so snapping them in succession is just not going to happen.

polaroid3

Many of you guys know that I am no good at taking pictures and, as it turns out, this simple Polaroid camera is no different.  I’ve gone through an entire box of film, 8 pictures, and have still not figured out how to work the little exposure slidey thingy.  The camera has only just the one function and I still can’t seem to get it right.  I bought 6 more boxes of the instant film with some Christmas money and as soon as they get here I’m going to set to work figuring out how to make the exposure thing work with me instead of against me.

I took some pictures of my Polaroids so you can see my progress because that’s not a bad idea at all.  Two negatives make a positive, right?

polaroid1

Or not…

polaroid2

Also, when I said “vintage photographer” in this post title I meant that the camera was old, not me.  I have 2 more months before I turn 40 and become vintage.  Besides, I feel like the Polaroid above of me holding Maggie makes me look really young.

 

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I found one of these Huggies designer wipes cases at my local Walgreens a while back.

KIMBERLY-CLARK HUGGIES

 

I needed a travel case and even though it was a little bigger than I would have liked, I bought the blue one because it was pretty and function didn’t seem as important as design.  It’s a baby wipe container, I know.  I don’t know what’s wrong with me but it just listen up because as it turns out I bought it because I was having a great idea that I didn’t even know I was having at the time.

This one case actually holds baby wipes AND diapers when you do like I did. I love a multipurpose tool, y’all.

I took these pictures for your viewing pleasure.

wipescollage

The side of the container pops off and what I did was wrap two diapers in a ziploc bag and I slid them in behind some baby wipes, then I put the cap back on the side of the container.  There was no fuss in doing this.  Everything slid in nice and easy and there is still plenty of room for another diaper or more baby wipes too. A small tube of diaper cream would even fit inside.

I find this to be super easy and the whole thing makes changing while we’re out and about more organized.  Plus, it helps keep the diaper bag less chaotic.  It might seem like a simple thing but chaos seems to rule my life sometimes. Any little bit helps.

So go forth and make your diaper bag neat and orderly.  You can send me flowers and cards and gifts of appreciation if you feel it necessary.

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Almond flour pancakes. Rating: No.

I mentioned in an earlier post that I was not eating wheat or dairy because Maggie seems to have some intolerance to those two things.  Rabbit has joined me in this and so we’re both watching our food intake and eating mostly single ingredient foods right now.  It’s annoying sometimes but Rabbit is already seeing the benefits after only 6 days of eating mindfully.

Which brings me to the point of this post.
Almond flour pancakes.

I made the kids waffles this morning and thought I would try my hand at clean pancakes so I found this 4 ingredient recipe for almond flour blueberry pancakes and I made them.

Almond flour, eggs, coconut milk, blueberries.

image

They actually look better than they taste.

Yes, you read that correctly.

These were incredibly un-tasty and dull and dry even with the tons of blueberries I added in.
Rabbit ate a couple because the dash of love I added masked the awful taste for him but I couldn’t eat more than a few bites so I ended up eating just blueberries for breakfast.  Again. I might just turn into a blueberry if I can’t get this under control.

It’s happened before.
Not to me.  But it’s happened.

Remember Violet Beauregarde?  The name is so telling.

violet

So the moral of this story is two fold.

1. Don’t commit to eating whole foods if all you really want is a waffle
And
2. Don’t eat too many blueberries unless you want some Oompa Loompas to roll you around a factory and sing about how famous you’re going to be now that you are big and blue.

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Day 11 of our 12 days of Christmas was on Christmas Eve.  And since, as a hard and fast rule, I will leave the house the day before Christmas for only one reason.  Blood.  And lots of it.  Like somebody has an arm off or something.  And because Rabbit didn’t think it would be a good idea for somebody to have to lose a limb just so he could get me out of the house, we opted to do something with the kids indoors.

I had picked up a hydroponics aquarium thingy the week before and thought, wrongly, that it was something everybody would enjoy but as it turns out, fun educational maintenance-free aquariums do not enthuse across the board and now I have a beta fish named Alpha, a frog named Smeagol, and a snail named Smog (or do I have that backwards?) that most of us aren’t even interested in.

Not even me.

alpha

Although they were mostly interested in the educational part of it.

snapshot

They just weren’t all that interested in the gadget itself.

That part of it didn’t really disappoint me though.  What bothered me was that it has turned out to be kinda boring and it does not look nearly as nice as I had expected.  Even though it’s not dirty, it’s never really crystal clear and clean looking like the advertisements suggests.

tank

It’s called an Aquafarm and doesn’t it have a warped look on top?  We’re supposed to feed the fish, the fish produces waste, the waste is sucked up by the pump and it feeds plants on top.  Rinse.  Repeat.

And it’s supposed to clean itself and the fish should be a no-maintenance pet and the advertisement shows a pristine, crystal clear aquarium.  But ours just looks like a clear, plastic, square bowl with wheat grass on top.  It didn’t even come with enough rocks to cover the bottom of the tank.

tank2

While three of the plants have sprouted and are growing nicely, I’m just not getting the visual appeal that I was hoping for. And since I’m a big fan of clear spaces and feel that if something is taking up space in my house, it had better be serving a purpose, I’m really starting to regret this purchase.  Maybe if the kids were totally into it I’d feel differently…

Boo.

I wouldn’t call day 11 a totally failure.  The kids did learn something about hydroponics.

And I learned to not surprise my kids with a self-cleaning fish tank. And wheat grass.

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