Saturday, July 31, 2010

Just Another Manic... Saturday??

Today was another chore-filled, activity-filled, hard-working-filled day!! Seems like I have had a lot of these lately!!

This morning Brianna got up early (8:00am people!!!) and I never fully recovered. Stephen and I both got up to support each other. Actually he should have been totally fine - that is over 2 1/2 hours longer than he can sleep when he is working!! And really, I should have been fine except I have been sucked into the Dark Tower series and can't quit reading at a decent hour. I need to quit finding my way into the kitchen at 1:30am, book in one hand, peanut butter brownie in the other...

Anyway, all that to say, it was fine that Bri got up early anyway because I had a Fed By Faith delivery this morning. It went well, it was just far away so it ended up taking quite a while to do, but that's totally fine with me. On the way home I stopped by Fifi's and picked up a check (cha-CHING!) so I can't complain. I also called Granny to wish her Happy 80th Birthday!! Seems like just yesterday she was 79...

I have a list of "every day chores" that I try to do, well, every day. I know my blogs lately have been very boring about all the housework I'm doing. Would you rather read about my housework or not have a blog to read at all? Don't answer that. I didn't get home until almost 12:30 so I was already behind on my chores. Luckily many of them are just about keeping the clutter off the floor. Here are the things I try to do every day: make the beds, wash the dishes, sweep the downstairs, make sure the papasan chair is not hoarding any junk, make sure our bedroom dresser is clean, clip and put away a certain amount of coupons, make sure I haven't left anything on the stairs, make sure my nightstand is clear of clutter, make sure the laundry is done for the day and put away (if any), and make sure the corner next to our bedroom dresser is clear. So most of these things are just checking to make sure the clutter doesn't begin again, only a few are actual chores.

When I got home I put Brianna down for a nap, and after I scarfed down some lunch I started cleaning the bathrooms. I cleaned and mopped the downstairs guest bathroom but after I cleaned the upstairs bathroom I got distracted by the attic. I needed a big box to put some of my yard sale items in and I ended up moving around some items in the attic to clear some space. That took quite a while and after spending so much time in the attic I was incredibly hot and tired. So to relax I just clipped coupons and watched Stephen play a video game instead of cleaning the last bathroom.

When Brianna woke up I made a run to Walgreens to get some school supplies for Fed By Faith. I blogged about it here. Then I still had some coupons that were going to expire today so we went to Harris Teeter so I could use those. I blogged about that here. Brianna always plays with the balloons in Harris Teeter and sometimes I get her one of the free ones in the "Balloon Corral" they have there. They happened to be out today but no big deal - the balloons don't really keep her attention once we're home anyway. Well, the lady in front of us in line saw how much she was enjoying playing with the balloon and told the cashier that she wanted to purchase one for Brianna! Stephen and I politely refused (those balloons are expensive!) but she insisted that she really wanted to buy her one. It got to the point where I thought it would be rude to refuse further so I picked out a Get Well balloon that says "This balloon will keep you busy until you feel better (please turn)" and on the other side it says the same thing. I thought it was appropriate since the balloon was definitely keeping Brianna busy. We thanked the woman profusely and she said, "It's so worth it to see that smile on her face!" I was very proud when Bri promptly marched up to the woman, grinning, and pulled the balloon down for her to see. Then she marched over to the bank inside of Harris Teeter and proceeded to play with the beach ball that was a prop for some deal they had going on. An employee immediately rushed out with another beach ball for her to play with and a lollipop. Not that we are crazy or anything but Brianna does not know the thrill of lollipops if you know what I mean. So once she got her hands on that thing she sucked and sucked and drooled and sucked. She was in hog heaven in Harris Teeter. The cashier said, "You don't even need to go on vacation! You can just come here to have her entertained!" So true. We had to take the lollipop away from her once we got in the car of course. Not ever having a lollipop I was scared she'd accidentally bite it and choke on it going down the road or something. Yeah, I know, I was actually paranoid about something.

When we came home Stephen needed to do his workout so I was doing some work on the computer and watching Bri when suddenly I realized I had just dozed off sitting straight up. I guess I was tired once I actually sat down! I logged off work and dozed for the rest of Stephen's workout which was about 10 minutes - the perfect nap for me. When he was done and I was awake we started discussing dinner. We really wanted to go out as a treat, so we decided to go to Chili's. Stephen wanted to call Steve and Kathy and invite them along - we hadn't seen them in quite some time. They were able to meet us out there and treated us to dinner. Very nice!!

When we got home I realized the counters desperately needed to be cleared of clutter. I had been just laying things on the counter all day. So I spent a while clearing the counters and then I finally went and cleaned the last bathroom while Stephen bathed Brianna.

It was a long day but well spent. And the best part is I got enough things done during the week that I can RELAX tomorrow between church services! Other than my every day chores I will have NOTHING to do! And I am going to enjoy it because starting Monday Stephen is working 20 days straight and overtime many of those nights and I'll be going crazy so I better enjoy our relaxing day tomorrow while I can!

Friday, July 30, 2010

It's Friday!

Still trying to get stuff accomplished around here! (And yet, I am taking a break to blog. Go figure.)

I had to get up at the unearthly time of 7:15 this morning. Oh wait, that's what time I was supposed to get up. I set my alarm wrong and didn't get up until closer to 7:30. So I was late, as usual. Back up....

There is a lady that has been coming to our church for the last nine months. She came up from her home in FL to visit her brother here in Seven Lakes for two weeks. While she was here his health took a turn for the worse and he ended up passing away. She has been in limbo here for nine months trying to settle his estate and move all of his belongings. Needless to say she has given so many items to FBF, so for that I am grateful! When I heard her plight I volunteered the youth group for moving services. After all, they can take the time to go to Carowinds as a group during the summer, so they should learn to do some Christian service during the summer as well!! We finally settled on today at 8:30am as Moving Day. Unfortunately after setting that time I realized how early I was going to have to get up to get this party started! I was going to have to wake up Bri and take her to mom and dad's by 8:00 so I could get to Brenda's by 8:30. (Thanks mom and dad - the perpetual babysitters this crazy week!!) So any youth members that were groaning about having to wake up early... I feel you! My child doesn't normally wake up until 9:00 or 9:30 so I am so used to sleeping in! But it was for a good cause. We had several youth members show up and within two hours we had cleared the house of all the boxes and furniture that would be making its way to Florida! It was really a lot of fun and I know Brenda truly appreciated the help. I know she is ready to get home!

I knew poor Bri would nap soundly when we got home since I had to wake her up so early. I absolutely hate doing that, but I knew she would survive. Especially staying with her Grandpa and Grandma. :) So when I got home, as much as I wanted to take a nap, I chugged two glasses of caffeine-filled Wild Cherry Pepsi and got to work... after I gobbled down lunch of course!

I was able to complete my every day chores and other things that needed to be done today:
  • made the beds
  • checked to make sure certain areas are still clutter-free (papasan chair, nightstand, corner next to dresser in bedroom)
  • cleared off the staircase
  • clipped and put away 75 coupons
  • put away five items in my car
  • made a run to Rite Aid and blogged about it
  • cleaned off the dresser in our bedroom
  • read a magazine to relax
  • wrote a letter to a very good friend I haven't talked to in months (like, she doesn't even know I am pregnant...)
  • dusted our dresser
  • took two Bookmooch packages and two eBay packages to the Post Office
  • washed, dried and folded one load of towels
  • counted up the amount we are donating to our FBF family this month
  • vacuumed the living room
  • swept
  • washed the dishes
Stephen, Best Husband Ever, was such a huge help tonight. After working all day and then doing a long workout session he still went to church with me to help with the Fed By Faith room. It had gotten out of control and was taking too long to organize in the couple of hours on Wednesday nights I have in there. We were really needing things put away NOW because the whole building has to be inspected before August 30 when school starts. We had major fire hazards in there and were blocking the only window exit. We stayed at church 2 1/2 hours. He loaded the entire truck for the delivery I'm making tomorrow as well as some things that were trash and need to be thrown out. He also watched Bri whenever she would get to a point where she was tired of entertaining herself. He lifted heavy boxes that I'm not permitted to lift (actually I'm not sure I could ever lift some of those boxes!!) and he helped me find the best places to put everything we're storing in the room. I wish I had before and after pictures because it is a totally different room now. It's so nice to just be able to go and DO IT. Just to have the time to set aside to get it organized and done and now it's such a relief!

Today was certainly a busy day right from the beginning, but I definitely love getting so much accomplished! Now I'm going to try to get some work done so I can catch up a little bit!!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Just Stuff

Last week I bought Froot Loops because they were on the clearance rack at Lowes, and I love me some sugary cereal every so often. Plus, they had added marshmallows! It doesn't get much better than that, folks. Except that as I was eating them Brianna wanted them too. I ended up giving her enough to make the lower half of her face a rainbow color, and all I could think the whole time was the sugar content of the cereal. So this morning I had Kashi Heart to Heart for breakfast. You guessed it, she ate the fire out of blueberry oat clusters. Just goes to show it's true - you really do have to watch what you eat around your kids!!

I was cleaning out a junk drawer in the kitchen (a whole other post, trust me) but I came across these holiday Mad Libs that Stephen and I have done the past couple of Christmases, usually when driving home from the Christmas party at Jenn's house. I thought I would share a couple that I thought were pretty good! I'll leave it to your imagination to figure out which words we inserted!

How to Deal with a Bad Gift
If you move a gift you dislike, there are a few wheels to follow so as to not offend the gift-giver. Do not show shock or disbelief on your ankle when Stephen gives you a bad gift. Instead, jump - remember it is the fire hydrant that counts! Thank the giver for the glowing gift. See if you can determine what outhouse the gift was purchased at and return the gift later. And if you are unable to return the present, unwrap it completely. If the gift does not contain any hidden newspapers or monograms on it, rewrap it in fresh, pale paper and re-gift it to Amanda!

How to Silence a Group of Carolers
If you are not in the caroling mood, as soon as you drive the carolers sweating down the street, clearly turn out the lights. If this doesn't work, try turning up your music - speeding rock 'n' roll or red metal will turn carolers away. Or you could try answering your door in a thong - embarrassed carolers may scream "Yikes!" and snore away. If the carolers are unavoidable, like at an inauguration or shopping center, request songs they will not know, like "Deck the Roaches", "Frosty the Kerplunkman", or "Jingle Schnozz". If all else fails, send them to a neighbor's house you dislike. Tell them that, "Stephen really loves carolers!"

How to Treat a Wrapping Paper Cut
A wrapping paper cut can cause smelly pain that can cause you to yell "Help!" To treat, first inspect the wound on your bellybutton or toenail. If the cut is across the elbow, keep it straight. This will prevent the skin from running, which will lift the pain. Then clean the wound with soap and sulfuric acid. Apply pressure on the injury to stop the jogging. Finally, dress the wrapping paper cut with a gigantic bandage or adhesive moose. Until the wound heals, avoid contact with spaghetti juice and gasoline - both will cause extreme pain!

I got so much stuff done today!! Just in case it never happens again, I am making a note: (most of these are my "every day chores")
  • made the bed
  • washed all the dishes
  • swept all the hardwood
  • made sure the papasan chair in our room is free of clutter
  • clipped and filed 25 coupons
  • made sure the stairs were cleaned off (I tend to lay down Brianna's laundry there and it sometimes takes a while to make it up the stairs!)
  • made sure my nightstand was cleared off
  • put away my corner next to our dresser (I tend to leave out clothes here)
  • went to Walmart to get some household supplies
  • made a bank deposit
  • dropped off a book for Bookmooch at the Post Office
  • got gas
  • went to Harris Teeter to make a Fed By Faith shopping trip and blogged about it
  • listed one thing on eBay
  • packed up two things I sold on eBay
  • packed up two books for Bookmooch
  • dusted our bedroom
  • washed, dried and folded one load of Brianna's diapers/clothes
  • worked one hour (minimum)
  • put away 5 items in my car
  • dropped off a load at Goodwill (would normally go to the Coalition but it was just too far away)
  • made dinner and blogged about it
  • and now I have blogged about my day!
Tomorrow is going to be another BIG day... the past few weeks I have had so much to do I really haven't had time to blog about everything, but I'm trying to blog more so I don't forget what I'm doing!

I even had time today to do my devotions, read a magazine, and read a few pages in a book. It has been nonstop since I woke up this morning. I think once I get in bed I am just going to DROP!

P.S. I started writing this blog exactly 11 hours and 6 minutes ago. It took me all day to blog. :)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I Win!

I definitely won a radio contest today. So random.

I was just getting in my car after leaving Harris Teeter, flipping stations, just in time to hear the DJ say, "Who sings this song?" The song played, and then he rattled off the station's phone number and said he was taking the eighth caller. What the heck. I called. He answered, "You're caller #5!" I quickly hung up and pressed redial. This time when he answered, he said, "Who sings that song?" I said, "Evan and Jaron!!!" He yelled, "You won!!! How in the heck did you remember that band?" I said, "I had a friend who loved them and the name just always stuck with me!" He said, "Well, you'll have to take her to the concert with you!" (At this point I had no clue what I had won, and I wasn't about to tell a radio DJ that the friend I was talking about lives in Augusta and is not going to drive to NC just to go to a concert with me...)

Turns out I won tickets to see the Goo Goo Dolls and Switchfoot in Raleigh. The Goo Goo Dolls are my least favorite, most annoying band ever. I think we should just go to see Switchfoot and then leave.

But still, so cool that I won! Stephen can go pick up the tickets because it's only a few minutes from the base!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Organization: Baby Steps!

I am so tired of all the clutter around here! I feel like I say this every single day but it is really overwhelming to try to organize everything and try to interact with Brianna as much as I think I should! I have done pretty well at organizing in baby steps though, like I blogged about here. Last night I was thinking about how to go about organizing the house and decluttering at the same time, and I thought, the easiest way is just to start in one room. Finish that one room and then move on to another section. That way it's not so overwhelming. So my goal today was our dining room. Our dining room really doesn't have the appearance of being cluttered but I have things hidden in our drawers that are not at all organized and don't need to be taking up space in the dining room!

Our buffet/server has become overloaded! You can visibly see all the photo albums:

and inside is an ugly secret - records, copy paper for the computer, picture frames and random coupons!

The drawers contain miscellaneous electronics, magazines, and more coupons!

The first thing I did was go through the picture albums. The empty ones that I'll never use are going to a friend who can use them to help with speech therapy clients. The hard copies of pictures are going in our fireproof safe.

I next tackled the records. I separated them into two piles - keep and give away. Whichever ones I can't give away I will sell at our next yard sale, or give them away there if I can't sell them!

I only kept the best of the best - Beatles, CCR, and select Eagles, Bad Company, etc. I grew up listening to these types of records thanks to mom and dad, and I would love for our kids to grow up jammin' to these classics! I then made an inventory of the records we have, took a picture, and put the list and the picture in our safe for fire and robbery reasons.

The magazines have been read and are going to make their way to mom's house this afternoon.

Next up: The bags of stuff next to the buffet:

The white bags (courtesy of Leila) are going to FBF this afternoon. The other bags are going in the hall closet until I can take them to Fifi's to try to sell them. Finished buffet table: (Yes, the puzzle is still in progress.)

Next up: The hutch. Drawer #1 contained a cookie jar, 16 cookbooks and several loose-leaf recipes. The cookie jar is going to the attic (I do want to eventually use it when our kids are older, but we have no need for it now), 8 cookbooks and some loose-leaf recipes are going to the yard sale pile, and all the cookbooks which don't fit on these shelves are going to my other cookbook location which is taller. The rest of the loose-leaf recipes went into my binder of recipes.

Drawer #1:

Drawer #2 contained 32 cookbooks, a lazy susan, and approximately 100 recipes on index cards. Whew! I actually only discarded one cookbook out of all of these, but they all fit in the other drawer with my other cookbooks. The lazy susan is on the dining room table where she belongs, and the index card recipes were sorted alphabetically and filed or thrown away. Unfortunately, my camera messed up when formatting this picture and it was deleted. Trust me, drawer #2 was much worse than anything you could imagine.

Completed drawer #1:

On to the middle three drawers: Disaster!! Drawer #1 contained another twelve cookbooks and bubble wrap for my eBay items. Bubble wrap was moved to my mailing supplies drawer. Five cookbooks will go to the yard sale pile and the rest will go to side drawer #2.

Drawer #2 contained more coupons, paper bags meant for FBF, and 8 cookbooks. The couple of coupons that hadn't expired will be clipped and put away. I actually kept all the cookbooks, and I'll take the paper bags to the FBF tomorrow night.

Drawer #3 is my eBay drawer. I'm going to keep everything in here, but it definitely needed to be tidied up! Actually, I moved all the items to the middle drawer and I will move them down to the third drawer as I list them. That way neither drawer will be cluttered.

Completed middle drawers:

Last but not least, the room is swept, chairs pushed in, Brianna's bibs put back in their rightful place (she loves to drag those out!).

And my dining room is ORGANIZED!!!

(P.S. Next time I will not try to do an entire room in one day! It took me several hours during today to complete this room!! But it is a relief to have gotten so much done.)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Lots of Miscellaneous

I never blogged about getting my hair chopped off. It's not really a fascinating topic, but I have these pictures on my camera so I figured I may as well post them. I've been wanting to get my hair cut for forever - I hadn't had it cut since I found out I was pregnant with Brianna... August 2008 people!! It just seemed like if I had someone that could babysit Brianna I shouldn't waste the time getting my hair cut, I should be working or getting things done around the house. And there just never seemed to be a good time to take her with me. Hence, my hair was very long and stringy, and always in my way.

Finally, Jennifer came to my rescue. She told me about this great stylist, Jada, who was working from home because she was so close to having her baby. She said that it worked out great because Claire could just play around Jada's house while Jenn was getting her hair cut. So we worked out a time that we could both get our hair cut at the same time, plus the babies were entertained, plus we could go to Chick Fil-A afterward. So, win-win-win situation!!

Brianna is so happy to be in that picture with me. Actually I was going to post this one but I look like a goofball:

Well now I've posted it so it doesn't matter anyway. That was the day we were getting ready to go to the lake with Jenn & Claire, Nana, and Grace, Elizabeth and Amelia. That was a great day!

For the Fourth of July, we had family in town. This is Brianna gnawing on Oma's leg. It tickled Oma which made Brianna laugh very hard!!

We played a game called Apples to Apples (we are always playing some new board game around here!!) and Bri didn't want to be left out. Her card-loving days started at Grandpa and Grandma's house and now she loves to play with cards wherever she goes!

After a rousing card game, Brianna's uncle Josh thought it would be a good idea to sit her on the coffee table to read a good book. I thought it would be a good idea to take a picture before removing her.

Every year we go to Stephen's grandma's for Fourth of July fireworks. I actually dressed Bri for the holiday since I saw this dress in her closet and realized she'd never worn it and probably will never wear it again... These are her favorite magnets at Grandma Betty's house!! I believe Kathy got them for her.

And at the end of a long day, sometimes you just want to sit down and read a good book...

And then when Daddy gets home, you just want to play with him... even if he doesn't play back!

Determined to wake him up!!

And last but not least, here is our yummy produce from this week! I exchanged the lettuce for more tomatoes because we still have lettuce from our last box.

Squash, green pepper, 3 lbs of potatoes, tomatoes, peaches, okra, blueberries, and corn. Yummy!!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Sandhills Farm 2 Table

I have mentioned before that we joined a local food co-op for the first time this year - Sandhills Farm 2 Table. Overall I have been so happy with it. Not only are we privy to a large variety of beautiful, local fruits and vegetables...

But we also have opportunities to buy in bulk! For the last three weeks, Billy Carter Farms (a local farm) has offered 25 lb cases of tomatoes for $11 - $0.44/lb!

One week mom and I split a case, and the next week I purchased a case for a friend. This week it is being offered once again and I think I'm going to do it again even if mom doesn't want to split it with me this time. Tomatoes are not Stephen's favorite food, but I use them all the time in soups and sauces for myself and when cooking for mom and dad, so I want to stock up while I can! Plus, there is always the other advantage of being a member of the co-op...

Canning classes!! Just for being a co-op member I was able to take advantage of a canning class last Saturday at the Agriculture building in Carthage. I had to bring my own tomatoes and $5 to cover "materials". For that $5 I was able to use someone else's kitchen, someone else's equipment, know that I was canning correctly (I never realized how many things can go wrong when you are canning!!), I didn't even have to clean up (but I did offer, mom), and I spent four glorious hours out of the house with six other women who were so much fun! It was actually only supposed to be two hours but there was a glitch with one of the stoves and it took a little extra time. Trust me, I was not complaining. I came home with two beautiful quarts of tomatoes that will last in my pantry for approximately one year.

We spent the whole time laughing and exchanging recipes. I felt really at home with these women, and I loved showing my "granola" side when we shared stories. One woman shared with me how she gets her children (5, 4 and 2) to try new foods, and I shared with her how I switched out the cookies in our church nursery for banana bread (whole-wheat banana bread, no less!) and the kids ate the entire container in one night! I told everyone how easy it is to make peach-applesauce (we tend to get a lot of peaches through the co-op) and one woman actually brought fresh banana bread straight from the oven to class! She used whole-wheat flour as well and advised me on how to use the whole-wheat flour and still have incredibly moist bread.

The co-op offers other classes such as jam-making and things like that. I didn't do those classes because I already make jam, but this was so much fun it makes me think I should do every other class offered, just because!

Check out the website, because they are taking subscriptions for fall boxes. We are not going to do a fall box simply because we would not get our money's worth out of it because of the food selection, but it may work great for you. If you don't sign up for the fall produce, check back in the summer. I will definitely be signing up once again and you should too!!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Declutter Project

It seems like I am always on a mission to declutter our house, but somehow we always have more "stuff". I have sold things at secondhand stores, made numerous donations to the coalition, given away items to people at church, had a yard sale, and organized drawers, closets, and other little things along the way. It's always such a relief when you can open a drawer or door and know where things are! It's particularly nice to be able to open a cabinet door and not have something fall out and hit you on the head.

So. Surely I am not the only person who has a pantry that looks like this:

Ack! I know! The sight alone is burning my eyes! I realized that maybe my couponing skillz are a waste if I can't even tell you how much of what we have in the pantry. I would go buy the mother load from a triple coupons event, give half of it to Fed By Faith, and still be pushing stuff out of the way in the pantry to fit what we "needed". So I made it a 24-hour project to organize our kitchen pantry, which is not that big to begin with.

The first step was getting Stephen to buy me shelves and install them on the doors of the pantry. We bought those from Walmart for under $20 - I can't remember the specific cost now. They are super easy to install and hold a lot of items! Once I was able to get multiple items off the shelves and onto the doors, I could really move things around inside the pantry.

Finished project: I have categories - breakfast, snacks, pasta, sauces, baking ingredients, box dinners and even a couple of boxes for "miscellaneous" items (Kool-aid packets, a few Butterfingers from a friend at church, etc.) On the doors are more categories - canned items, jarred items, jelly/salad items/other baking ingredients, created by my own discretion.

MUCH better! I will never be able to have a clean floor (although I was able to mop it for the first time by doing this project) because we will always store drinks down there I'm sure, along with some other items. But at the very least it is much neater. The shelves on the door are pretty overloaded at the moment but I'm trying to eat out of the pantry more often than I normally do, especially when Stephen is working and I can make something simple for one person out of there. I do realize Harris Teeter is probably going to have another special coupon event in the next couple of weeks... what will the pantry look like after that???

Monday, July 12, 2010

Camera Dump Part Deux

These are the videos of Brianna I was trying to upload the other day. They are still showing as errors when I look at them, but if I publish this post and make it public, they work for some reason. Hopefully they will work for you because these are some cute videos... if I do say so myself!

Watch her rear end right at the end of the video - she had done this for several minutes before I pulled out the camera...

This video would have been much longer except my memory card became full during the video and cut off the camera!!

If you ever watch Brianna eat, you will probably see her do this:

Friday, July 9, 2010

Camera Dump

I actually had a bunch of videos I wanted to upload here but after messing with it off and on for the past 24 hours I am giving up. For some reason Blogger just won't play videos right now. I will post them later. Meanwhile, here are the pictures.

She is literally sitting on his shoulder, accompanying him:

In the pool again:

She carries this mustard all over the house. Don't ask me why.

Her new "toddler" car seat! Yikes! Too soon!

It's a boy!! Deja vu of last year, somewhat...

Lovin' couch time with her Aunt Jennifer:

Saturday, July 3, 2010

No Words Necessary

Although words really aren't necessary for these pictures, I'll just say - yesterday Claire turned a whole year old! These pictures are from her birthday party last night!