I tried to do a project Archives

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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familydoingart

Day 8 of our fun 12 days of Christmas was making family art. Because we have so many children, and I’m a striving minimalist, we just can’t possibly keep every, or most, of the kids’ childhood artwork because they can easily go through a ream of paper in a week just doodling away or drawing stories or making paper airplanes that I end up finding in kitchen cupboards or the dirty laundry…
Seriously.

So, to ensure some of the art of their youth becomes permanent, Rabbit and I bought a giant canvas for our family to paint together.  We figured that having the kids finger paint it is a really cool way to savor some of that childhood silliness that always comes out when you give a kid something colorful and messy and some paper to put that messy on.

We picked up a nice sized canvas at Hobby Lobby, along with a box of finger paints and some clear sealer for after it dries.  We put each color of finger paint on it’s own paper plate and let the kids go to town.

familyart

Kait quickly picked out a corner to make a statement and heaven forbid anybody got close to her Packers plug.   Maggie picked out the opposite corner to smear some purple around with her super tiny 9 week old hands.  I guarded that corner and I wasn’t even playin’ y’all.

After a short while painting, Jesse and Lucy discovered that it was much more fun to smear their hands in the left over paint, wash them in the bucket of warm, soapy water I had brought outside, dry them, then do it all again.

familyfingerpainting

Rabbit and I got in there too. Rabbit finger painted, what do ya know, a Rabbit and he also painted the year but both got swiped away by adorable tiny fingers shortly after, which was pretty much to be expected. I am so pleased with how it turned out and I can’t wait for it to dry so we can seal it and hang it on the wall.

familyartdone

We’re going to be so famous after we die.

 

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We’ve been doing this 12 days of Christmas thing and I’ve been meaning to blog about it each day but I keep procrastinating because that’s my talent and now it feels like it’s too late to do a separate post for each one so I’m just going to sum it up and tell you about tonight’s fun.

Anyway, Rabbit and I are surprising the kids with one activity each day for 12 days, ending on Christmas day.

Day 1: We named a star as a family (the name Patrick won by a landslide) and launched that name into space. Or if you’re Sam, you launched an actual star into space.
Day 2: Rabbit took half the kids to a Jaguar’s game and the younger ones stayed home with me and got to enjoy a new game. It was unfortunate that we had to split up for this one but it turned out that everybody had a great time.
Day 3: Fire pit, roasted hot dogs, s’mores, and friends.
Day 4: Family movie night and popcorn with $1 tree popcorn buckets.
Day 5: We went hunting for the best Christmas light displays.  There is a neighborhood close by who really makes this special.
Day 6: We went to Sweet Frog for frozen yogurt and candy.

And that brings us to tonight, day 7.

The gingerbread house building contest.

Now, Kait and I swore last year that we would never, ever, ever attempt to build a gingerbread house again.  Especially together in the same room.  Or same city.  Or same state.  So when the voices inside my head starting telling myself, Self, you should invite the entire family to join you in self torture this year, I should have shut the voices down right then and there by drinking something spiked.  But I didn’t and that is how Kait lost an eye.

No. I kid.
Kait and I had one very short tense moment but we both managed to make it through the whole event with all of our eyes in tact and functioning properly. Though she did threaten to stab herself in the head with a butter knife if she didn’t get her way.

gingerbreadhousecontest2013

We split into two teams, creatively named them Team 1 and Team 2, pulled out our ginger bread house kits, and each team got to work trying to build and decorate a winner.

Team one decided to go the fun, happy, holiday house route.  It turned out pretty neato.  Kait even made a car out of some left over fondant.

team1

Team 2 decided to go the Hansel and Gretel get eaten by a zombie gingerbread man route.

team2

Which one do you think is best?

Personally, I think I more prefer the more holiday-spirited house and it’s abundant use of candy; but there is something quite attractive about that creepy gingerbread man standing in front of the one-eyed, haunted, zombie house.

 

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arty

As it turns out, the largest of our 3 dragons, Akbar, a 29″ Chinese water dragon, will possibly reach three and a half feet long before all is said and done, and will need a six foot long enclosure at his full adult size.  He was just 8 inches when we got him and apparently I had no idea what we were getting into even though the people at the pet store were quite confident that we were going to be excellent dragon owners.

Seriously though, they should really have some kind of warning about these things but they don’t because then nobody would buy them and that wouldn’t be good for business so they just play dumb and tell you that, Yes, that 30 gallon aquarium will do just fine.

Either they just plain lied to me or they’re complete idiots. Or both.

However, this post isn’t about Akbar or un-knowledgeable pet store staff or 6 foot water dragon cages.  This post is about another lizard’s cage that was born out of my need to declutter and my desire not to spend hundreds of dollars on a pre-made bearded dragon vivarium.

babyarty

We named him Moriarty but rarely do we ever call him that.  We usually call him Arty. Or Marty.  Or Maury.    He’s got a lot of nick names.

He’ll likely get between 1.5 and 2 feet long and we knew when we got him from the Repticon show last month that our 10 gallon aquarium would only be suitable for him until he was 8 inches long because the people who sell animals at Repticon seem to have absolutely zero problem telling you how owning a dragon is for realz.  This is where the ugly, slated-to-be-trashed bookcase cabinet came in.  I decided it would make a swell apartment complex for Moriarty.

We spent some time researching safe ways to paint it, much to the paint mixer’s at Lowe’s dismay because the guy really didn’t want us to buy oil based paint and couldn’t figure for the life of him why oil based was best for this project even though a bird cage or rabbit hut would need water based.  I began to explain to him that birds and lizards and rabbits all belonged to completely different animal classes but I was derailed when another testy paint mixer broke in that she was very concerned that I was actually going to use oil based paint in my present pregnant state.  I informed her that the ventilation situation couldn’t be better because we were doing all the painting outside, and that I had numerous face masks to keep my incubating child safe, to which she actually tsk, tsk’d me.

Anyway, we painted it and decorated it and managed to recondition it for only about $40 and nobody died so I’m calling this a success.

artyscage

Eventually we’ll add the upper level to his little desert dwelling, I think, but as of right now he’s just too little for that big of a space.

babyartyonrock.jpg

I would like to close this post by saying that lizardy pets take way more upkeep than you would initially think, but they are so much easier to deal with than those more common, furry, domesticated types that leave their excess fur in every crack and crevice and tend to smell bad and eat food that smells bad and make deposits that smell bad…

It’s not that pet dogs are bad, it’s only that pet lizards are better.
I’m just sayin’.

In my opinion.

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