Friday, August 29, 2008

The Craft Table is Trying to Kill Me!!

My sewing machine is broken. Okay, it's not really broken, but it won't work until it gets a tune-up. So all craft projects are currently on hold. 

I'm going to go drown my sorrows in some Oreos and milk. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

You should watch this

If you support a woman's right to choose, you should watch this, especially if you're an Obama supporter. And you should watch it all the way through. Let's be clear about what we're talking about. 

Warning: if you have children, the above video will disturb you. As it should. 

Guess who's still awake?

She really doesn't want me to get any sewing or decluttering done. At least she's a happy girl, right? 

Notice the castle paint still on the walls...sigh. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Craft table - during

Yeah, yeah. I've been working on the craft table. And Cory's been painting the trim, and prepping the walls for paint. But it's not done yet. See? Look! 

And even worse, my mess is spreading! See?! LOOK!! 

You want to know why it's not done? Here, look at my wonderful husband: 

Yeah, that's him. About 5 minutes ago. Wave to the nice people, honey. 

So, do you notice that little lump next to Cory, on the bed? Here. Take a closer look:

Yep. It's Gracie. She's a sweet little darling. But have I mentioned that she likes to be held? ALL THE TIME? So during the day, I school the kids, clean the house, wash the dishes, and do the *mountains* of laundry that we produce. All while holding a chubby (read: heavy) 8-month-old. If I need two hands, I give her to hubby. (If he's home, which he hasn't been lately - job interviews and other such details. Ha *insert eye roll* ha.) So if he wants to paint, it's got to work into Gracie's schedule, and the job interview schedule, and the grass-mowing, landscaping schedule. And if I want to get any crafting done (and hence clear my table) then I have to do it at night, after Gracie is sleeping. (Otherwise I run the risk of sewing my fingers, since I'd be using the sewing machine with one hand while jiggling a chubby baby. Kinda distracting, that jiggling.) 

So I'm giving myself another week. We'll see how far I can get. 

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Stockpile is Growing!

I just have a minute, but I wanted to post this picture of my updated stockpile. (Please forgive the bad picture. It's a tight spot with bad lighting.) Yes, I have been able to add to my stockpile, even though hubby's been unemployed since July 10. By combining sales and coupons, I've gotten so much of this for free. In some cases, I actually made money! 

I've hit the back to school sales, and hopefully been able to stockpile enough supplies to see me through the year. (Most of my school supplies are stored in a box in the garage.) I got the crayons for 22 cents at Target, and the glue (all 24 bottles) was free via instant rebate at Staples. In the garage, I have three-ring binders (25 cents each), several 5 packs of mechanical pencils (25 cents per pack), free folders, and inexpensive highlighters. 

In the picture you can see my canned salsa and canned tomato juice, a bottle of Chi-Chi's salsa (44 cents), All detergent ($3 a bottle), green beans from my mom's garden, and Softsoap (33 cents.) The shampoo in the back was a money-maker - it was on clearance for 97 cents a bottle and I had several $1 off coupons. The razors (on the top shelf, behind the mouthwash) were also a money-maker. They were $1.67, and I had several $2 off coupons. The hair products and shampoo on the top shelf were similar scenarios. 

I need more space for my stockpiling. We're all set on shampoo, glue, and crayons right now. I need some adult toothbrushes, though. (I've got a lead on a Target deal. We'll see if it pans out.) 

So much for a short post! Hopefully, my next update will be about my beautifully painted bedroom and much-improved craft table! 

Friday, August 22, 2008

A renewal of faith

Last week, I was in the throes of a real crisis. Hubby & I had done some intense study of our budget and our dwindling savings account, and realized that some choices would soon have to be made. We set a deadline by which hubby would have to have a job, or I would have to go back to my former employer and reapply for my old job: the job I had before I left the workforce to stay at home with our children. Thankfully, that deadline has passed us by without much fanfare, since hubby's now employed. (More details on the job later.)

But last week, as I was giving God a good talking-to about how this was just! not! fair!, about how I try to be a good and faithful servant of Christ, about how I scrimp and save and stretch every penny, about how very very important my children are to me, God sent me a little telegram, restoring my faith.
  • My wonderful playgroup friends starting bringing us meals. The meals were fantastic, and we were (and are) very thankful for them. Just as important, though, is that sense of community that goes with someone bringing you food. I know how busy each of these women is. But each mom took the time to make a meal for my family, for my husband and children and me. And I am so grateful.
  • Our neighbor Mike (gosh, he's really a great guy!) fixed our mower with spare parts from his old mower. He found out that my husband's mower was broken, came over to our house, got our broken mower, and repaired it with parts from his old mower. (Keep in mind that hubby has a fledgling lawncare business that's been bringing in a bit of extra and much-needed income. No mower=no money.) AND THEN, Mike called his nephew (who just so happens to be the deacon at our church), who came over and made sure that we were doing all right.
  • A dear friend gave us a very generous and unexpected gift, with no option to refuse his/her generosity. It was the kind of gift that makes you stop in your tracks, without the words sufficient to express your gratitude. Really, what do you say to someone who is so generous, who just says, "You need to stay home with your children"? "Thanks" seems like such a trite, pithy little word to say. But what else can you say? I hope someday I'll be able to pay it forward.
Yes, the Almighty made me bow my head again, and be thankful for my blessings. He is teaching me that I can depend on His generosity, shown to me over and over by the wonderful people He puts in my path.

If God so clothes the grass in the field that grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith? As for you, do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not worry anymore.
Luke 12:28-29

So for now, I'm able to stay home and be a mother to that adorable little girl at the top of this post. And I'm going to try to stop worrying.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Craft table - before

This post is to keep me accountable. See my craft table? It's a mess! 

Let's work from left to right, shall we? 

First, you can see the pile of homeschool books. Some are for this year, and some are from last year. Last year's books can be put away. I will do that this week! 

Above the book pile is the pegboard, which is just holding onto things that should go to their homes, instead of being vagabond clutter. 

Next, we have a pile of mending and quilting that should be done. A gift bag that should be put away with the other gift bags. An empty bolt core, to hold some fabric that I haven't ironed yet. A book, some fleece, and a pile of jeans. A picture that wants to go on the wall. Some beans. (Yes, beans. I made draft stoppers last winter, and never took the leftover beans back to the kitchen!) 

And, lastly, we have the walls. UGH. For a brief time, hubby & I traded rooms with the boys. Once we realized that their room couldn't fit our king-sized bed, and that the boys much preferred a room on the main floor, we switched back. That was more than a year ago. The room remains painted as it was when the boys were up here, so I am the Princess in the Castle. We have the paint to repaint the room, and we have the supplies. IT WILL GET DONE THIS WEEK!! 

So I am keeping myself accountable by posting my intentions here. I will clear my craft table this week, and I will help hubby paint the room. I'm going to make a dent in this clutter! 

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Canning Salsa

As the abundance from the garden begins to roll in, I have become obsessed with preserving our harvest. Watching it grow, picking it, washing it, finding a place to put it, and then wondering... 

"What the heck am I going to do with all this food?

I can't just throw it away. Garden produce tastes too good, far superior to the washed-out, bland, old, tired food at the grocery store. Fresh vegetables nearly explode with flavor. As a card-carrying tightwad, I can't let good food be wasted. As a good Catholic, it's sinful that I should have such abundance and not make good use of it. And with a jobless husband, it just smacks of tempting fate. So I've thrown myself headlong into canning. 

Today, I tried out a recipe for salsa, given to me by a good friend. I boiled, I peeled, I sliced, diced, and cut. I mixed, and then, at last, I tasted. 


Let me be the one to tell you: fresh salsa tastes nothing, nothing!, like grocery store salsa. (Well, of course not. Being made from fresh ingredients makes a difference. Duh!) So thanks, Tonja, for the salsa recipe. I now will be able to have a slice of summer when the snow's flying this winter. And my husband is very impressed by my kitchen abilities, even though I told him I just followed instructions. 

I also have to add an addendum, here. Tonja is so smart - she gave me the idea to save the juice from the tomatoes and can it, also. So we'll be using that to cook veggies this winter. Whoo-hoo!! 

Monday, August 4, 2008

The multi-tasking sprinkler

We've been a bit short on rain the past two weeks, so we've been watering the garden. We have a specific sprinkler just for the garden, that keeps most of the spray in the garden, though a bit does go to both sides. 

Now, I'm not one to waste money by watering the sidewalk that adjoins the garden. To make the most use of our water, we put our potted plants on the sidewalk, and our watering cans, and a few buckets. Instead of letting the sprinkled water sit on the sidewalk & eventually evaporate, we use it! The hanging plants and porch plants get watered at the same time as the garden, and the watering cans and buckets get filled, so we can go dump them on the compost. (Which is much too dry at present, but is much too far from the hose to water conveniently.) 

But this evening, my wonderful husband had a brilliant idea! To entertain the kidlets, he staked down the slip-n-slide on the other side of the garden. (I'll admit I had a moment's pause thinking about all the potential injuries of a two-year-old and a five-year-old on a slip-n-slide, and the fact that we have no health insurance right now, but sometimes you just have to live a little, right?) Our garden sprinkler watered the garden, the compost, the porch plants, and entertained the kids!