Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Whatever Wednesday: The Day My Husband Begged Me to NOT Clean the House

A few weeks ago, right after having a lot of family over for a long visit, as he was leaving for work, my husband, Nate, begged me to NOT clean the house. As I guffawed at this remark and kind of looked at the messes in each room and the large piles of laundry, he came back to me and said: "Really, please don't clean the house today. I want to use the messy house as an object lesson for our family night tonight."

Ever the teacher, Nate is always looking for ways to teach our children how to be better (though in the case of our house, we all could use help in keeping it tidy!).

So, instead I baked and made up some mixes for future baking and worked on furniture (which is waaaay more fun than cleaning!!).

Just about every Monday evening, our family gets together to have a lesson.  Sometimes it's spiritual in nature, sometimes it's learning how to treat friends, other times it is just getting together to play a game or go on an outing.  Usually we start out with a prayer, sometimes a scripture, we usually sing a song (because we all enjoy singing) and almost always play a game or watch a short video (this particular Monday it was music videos by "OkGo").  You get the idea.

 Instruction on how to lead music.

We started out talking temples.  He asked the kids what they think of when they think of temples.  We got great answers like: eternal families, peaceful, etc.  And some crazy ones, which of course at the moment I can't remember.

Then Nate and I talked about how temples are peaceful partially because they are clean and neat and everything has a place.
We took a tour of our own home, quietly, no-one was to speak as we went to each and every room.  Then we ended back in the living room again. 
Nate asked the kids how did our house look?  Dirty, messy, cluttered.  Was it peaceful?  Hmmm, not really.

So, we made a goal to, together, clean it for five minutes each night.  For the first many days, we took about five minutes in each room.   This is separate from their regular, daily cleaning jobs. 
But as we kept things up, it turned into 15 minutes total and then about an average of 8 minutes total. And we can usually do it in the time of two songs from an MP3 player but our phrase to clean is: "Let's do our five minutes."  Or sometimes: "We forgot to do our five minutes!"   
If we kept it clean for a week, the kids were taken out for supper at a place of their choice. 
Keeping the house clean for a week = supper at a place of their choice.  This was their choice, The Dawg House Grill.
If we kept it clean for a month, then we'd have dinner and movie.  If we keep it up (the daily evening cleaning) for a year, the kids get a cash reward.  

We started this challenge on March 30th.  And we did so great!  ...for two and a half weeks.   But currently we are in the process of moving and the packing and sorting has taken it's toll.

So, when we missed a night last Friday (my dad was also visiting from out of state that night), the agreement was that we had to start over.  So, here we are on day five of the start over.

 We are determined to make this a habit!

Some things we've learned:
  1. The kids sometimes groan when it's time to clean, but most of the time they are the ones to remind us.  Positive reinforcement works wonders people! aka: rewards
  2. Let the kids help decide when to tidy.  One of my kids, the morning bird, wants to do her "five minutes" right after school so she can go to bed (and not be grouchy).
  3. Also include the kids in determining what their positive reinforcement will be.  
  4. Work with the children so they can see that it truly is a family goal.  We've found that working together as a family can be fun (especially when you listen to music and make it game-like).
  5.  It's very hard to reach goals, but it's so very rewarding when you're able to complete one!  Taking the kids to The Dawg House Grill was such a small thing yet they loved every minute of it: being with mom and dad, having delicious food, trying out a new place, and who wouldn't love the picture of the gigantic purple and yellow bedecked bulldog?!  

Friday, April 24, 2015

Furniture Friday: A Damaged Family Heirloom Gets a Second Life

Recently my grandmother was moved from her home of 53 years into a senior living center.  It was a difficult move for her.   Years of living in the same home allowed for a great accumliation of lots of great stuff!  Well....there's a saying:
That was about right in this situation!  My dad and uncle weren't really excited about a lot of the stuff my grandmother had.  But man oh man, did I love a lot...A LOT of it! 

She was relieved to know that some of her beloved possessions were going to someone who was related to her.  And I was grateful to have some piece of her life in my future home.  It really was a win/win!  She has been in her new home for two years (does it take anyone else that long to get working on a project?) and she is enjoying her life there! 

Back to the items, one of that I accrued was an old damaged hanging shelf unit.  When I saw it, I thought: "Unique"  "Family Heirloom" and "this needs to have second life"

Each shelf was made of very thin (1/4"?) wood with both sides of the wood covered in veneer.  The top shelf's veneer was completely coming off. 

At first I wanted to just take it off and leave the wood plain, but with how old the piece is, as I tried to remove the veneer, the wood started to come with it. 

Then I thought I'd just cut off that top shelf and keep the whole unit with just the two center shelves, but I thought that would look asymmetrical, and I kinda like symmetry. 

So, I took some wood putty and filled in the spaces that had peeled off.

The drawers were also busted.  And I don't mean that they came disconnected!  The wood connecting the drawer front to the drawer sleeve was severed. 

To fix that, I just used E-6000 glue.  Worked like a charm!  I'm sure super glue or wood glue would have worked just as well, if not better, but I'm packing at the moment and all I could find was the E-6000. 

After fixing all of the above it was just a matter of some primer (spray paint) and a can of my current favorite colored spray paint. 

Except for fixing the veneer, this project was finished in about an hour.


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Whatever Wednesday: Sometimes I Clean My Faucets Like This

Does anyone else have those new faucets with the "pull-out spray" instead of the one that sits beside the actual faucet?  Have you found it hard to clean the hard water and lime scale off of it?  Ours got so bad that it stopped going back into the faucet like it was suppose to and just hung dangling down.  It drove me crazy! 

I tried filling a plastic sandwich bag with Vinegar and then rubberbanding it to the tip of the spray, but it just doesn't work too well on those pull out spray faucets! 

But this worked:  Lots of cups and a jar to get it to just the right height.  And vinegar going all the way into the faucet.  And of course a rag....actually I don't know why the rag is there.  We'll say it's because I was hoping to catch any vinegar that fell out so I could clean something else? 
I'll say it again, this worked!! 

Friday, April 17, 2015

Furniture Fridays: A Little Side-Table

I found this little table on the side of the road in someone's garbage.  It was a neglected little yellow-wood side table that just needed some love.  The wood was undamaged and it was exactly what I was looking for.

(We had to use it as a kitchen table for a while when we were remodeling our kitchen.)
At first I just spray painted it white to match things in my bedroom, but then it turned out that my son needed a side-table and his room was decorated sea-side-ish with red, white and blue. 

So, red it turned.

Now, however, he is a young teenager and wants a little change for his room. He's going with navy, gold, and dark walnut wood tones.

Since it was for his room, I had the teen start helping with the stripping process. 
 And sanding in between each coat of stripper.
 After one last sanding, I donned the gloves, placed a cotton sock over it...
 ...and stirred the stain with a paint stick.  
 I like using a sock better than a paint brush because it runs on smoothly and doesn't leave small bubbles like a brush does. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Whatever Wednesday: Clip Earring Organizer - A Frame, Some Ribbon, And Some Staples

 Right now my daughter is to tally against piercing her ears which is fine by me!  I was allowed to pierce my ears at age 12, but I admit that I did it because my sister did it when she had turned 12.  I was a tomboy and hardly ever wore earrings anyway, but I do remember looking forward to wearing little studs because I thought I looked rather boyish too and I thought it would help people know I was a girl.  Honestly, no-one ever thougtht I was a boy, it was just a crazy idea in my head but those were my reasons for piercing my ears. 

I don't know if my parents gave me the choice of whom to take with me for that momentous occasion, but it was my dad who drove me to the mall for the new holes.  He did a great job at comforting me and reassuring me that it would be fast and hardly hurt at all.  The woman who was doing the piercings drew a dot on either ear with a Sharpie and asked my Dad if it was even.  He replied in the affirmative and she got ready to proceed. 

Unfortunately something happened and she slipped up or something.  Sadly, when she was through, I had one hole in the center of my lobe and the other almost right next to the opening of my ear.  My dreams of just wearing studs were crushed because it looked ridiculous and uneven.  So any time I did wear earrings they had to be dangle-y ones, which I did not prefer!  I did get a re-piercing when I was 19, but that was a long time to wait! 

Anyway! Back to my daughter and her desire not to pierce her ears.  Since does like dressing up on occasion, she has a fair few of clip earrings.  And my hanging earring organizer just doesn't work for them. So we came up with another idea that has worked pretty well. 

We just chose ribbon that matched the colors in her bedroom. Stapled them onto a frame from the thrift store, and voila!  Ready for hanging those clip earrings!
Many of her earrings we've found at garage sales or antique stores, but have you seen the amazingly fun clip earrings they have nowadays?  At places like Claire's?  They didn't have those when I was a kid!  The feather ones!!  And at the top are some gummy bear ones - love them!     

Monday, April 13, 2015

Make a Mix Monday: Meals in Jar?

I've seen meals in a jar on Pinterest, but always assumed that they wouldn't be large enough to feed a family; a couple maybe, but not a family. 

But I received an email from Mother Earth News (you know, because I moved out to the country and started to sign up for anything and everything that could help me know how to live on land).  This email was advertising the book Meals in a Jar

Here's what they say the book has in it:

Pull it off the shelf. Mix with water. Cook. Serve.

It’s as quick and easy as preparing a box of mac and cheese—but it’s not store-bought junk, it’s your favorite dishes made from scratch. With Meals in a Jar and a little planning, you’ll have your pantry stocked with healthy, delicious ready-to-cook meals, like:
• Tomato Soup with Cheese
• Cheddar Garlic Biscuits
• Cornmeal Pancakes with Syrup
• Breakfast Burritos
• Chicken Chipotle Soup
• Carnitas
• Braised Short Ribs
• Turkey Pot Pie
• Coq Au Vin
• Rustic Fruit Pie

Meals in a Jar is packed with step-by-step instructions for natural breakfasts, lunches, dinners and desserts that allow even the most inexperienced chefs to make scrumptious, nutritious dishes. Not only are the recipes in this book perfect for carry-along camping fare, rushed weeknight dinners and meals for Dad (or even a teenager) to prepare, they can also be life-savers in times of disasters like fires, blackouts or hurricanes."

Sounds kind of amazing!  I wonder if they can them so they are shelf stable....I might just be ready to give those meals in a jar a try.  Have you ever tried a meal in a jar?  How'd it go?
 I am not getting paid by anyone for my opinion; just expressing my own opinion and curiosity about the book.    

Friday, April 10, 2015

Furniture Fridays: A Bushel and a Peck (wooden basket display)


Anything that helps to make a house more organized is such a wonderful thing!!  At a garage sale in March and I found this great wooden basket holder.  It used to hold bushels of canned produce at a berry farm.

Other than some cobwebs and a little bit of dirtiness, it was in great shape!  But I really love white furniture and I felt like this just needed a quick fix of white paint to really make the baskets pop and become the focal point of the whole piece.  

So, I did a light sanding (because I don't think you need to waste time on a deep sanding when the wood is already pretty raw).   My purpose for sanding was to clean off the bird poo, dirt, and smooth it out so the finished product would be soft and splinter-less. 

  Then I primed it with a water-based primer. 
 Added one coat of our house's trim color.  Done! 

 As a side note:  As I was writing this post I couldn't keep the song, "A Bushel and a Peck" from running through my mind.  You know, the one from Guys and Dolls?  "I love you, a bushel and a peck, a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck..."