4.25.2015

Seedlings

The problem with having a toddler is that they like to get into stuff.

Move things around.

Take the labels off of your seedlings.

Move everything around.

Turn whatever they can.

Put all kinds of seeds into trays.

And generally mess with your shit.

I do not remember what seeds I planted, nor do I remember what seeds are in which tray.

No freaking clue.

Except the herbs. Sort of. The Monkey threw seeds into different planters. I labeled what I did. What The Monkey planted... well, that's a whole different story.

This summer's garden is going to be... interesting...





4.23.2015

Homemade Bread

I somehow ended up ordering a bread machine on Amazon.

I'm not quite sure how, but I was ordering our regular stuff (coffee, toothbrushes, etc...). It was in my "cart" and I have a habit of adding something to my "cart" and leaving it for a week. If after a week I'm still interested, or can't live without it, or it's cheaper than the grocery store, then I buy it. I'm not really one for buying things on a whim anymore. Definitely I'm a frugal person and I really think about what I purchase - comparison shop, etc... 

SO... when this thing showed up on the doorstep I was a bit concerned. I bought it and didn't really look at my Amazon cart.

Oops.

BUT I have been thinking about buying a bread machine since January.

I don't buy bread that often and when I do buy bread I really only want to buy it for a few slices and not a whole loaf. This thing can make 1 lb, 1 1/2 lb, or a 2 lb loaf of bread. AND it can make pizza dough. If there's one thing that I want to do more it's making homemade pizza dough. I used to make it from scratch all the time but I never got the dough quite right. I'm hoping the recipe that comes with the bread machine will be delicious. WE SHALL SEE.


This bad boy is working right now. I'm just starting off with a 1 lb basic white bread recipe. I'll make some grilled cheese sandwiches with it for dinner and see what it tastes like and see how much bread is in a small loaf. I'm hoping that it tastes great. Maybe I'll try a french loaf next week. 

4.22.2015

Trial And Error - Kids Crochet Hats

My goal this year is to use up as much yarn as I have now. That means altering some patterns, maybe making some items that I've been meaning to make for awhile, and in general, just using what I already have. 

Some of the yarn I'm not really a fan of - like variegated stuff where the colors look GORGEOUS all balled up but when you start working with it, it looks like crap. I don't know how to work with variegated yarn to make it look great, except for a few different brands where I know they'll look nice as stripes in a hat or together make a shawl look beautiful. Part of the variegated yarn is that the cheap stuff just looks cheap and handmade. I'm not a fan of it looking like cheap handmade - I'm more of a fan of making items that look like they could be sold in a boutique. 

All of the hats below were absolute trials and experiments. But you can see the green hat with the variegated yarn, it just doesn't look right to me - I used two strands of different colored sock yarn to make it thicker and to make the variegation blend more seamlessly. This yarn I got for free anyway, but still, I need to do more experimenting with the variegated yarn to figure out how to make it look nice and not so cheaply made looking. 

Since I've already weaved in ends, I won't be frogging them but I will put them in a "discount" pile at my next sale. I'm not happy with them all, but that's ok. Sometimes I just need to make something to see if the yarn will work for certain patterns.

The creative process continues...





Dining Room Chair Problem = SOLVED



Finally. We're not sitting on broken antique chairs anymore.

I bought an antique chair that needed some help for $3 (which I lovingly cleaned up, glued back together, and had found sandpaper to start refinishing it), when the Sunday paper came with an ad for 15% of dining chairs at Pier 1 plus a $50 off coupon. 

So Bimmer Man and I picked out chairs.

We ended up with the chairs in the photo above. They're nice and solid. I bought 4 chairs for now - when we have guests I can bring out the antique chairs. No need to buy more than what we need for right now. I bought a sort of surprising finish.

I've noticed the older I get the more I like the wood finishes instead of the solid black or white. Which is fine - I think eventually I would like a reclaimed barn wood dining table anyway, so these chairs will look nice. But that won't be for YEARS. At least until the sticky fingers, playdough, and paint phases are over and done with. So far The Monkey's chair has held up great to food spills, playdough messes and just this morning... the random sticky honey spill. 

WOO HOO!!!

I HAVE DINING ROOM CHAIRS!!!

4.21.2015

Mondays Are Hangover Days

I don't think I've ever talked about the struggles of being a Stay-At-Home-Mom.

Well, maybe I have. But definitely not this one.

Bimmer Man leaves for work between 6:45 and 7:15 in the morning. He gets home between 6:30 and 8:00 at night.

It's a really long day. For both of us. This happens 5 days a week. Most other stay-at-home-parents that I know don't have partners that work this much. Most partners of parents that I know leave at 8:30 and are home by 5:30. That sounds like a dream to me.

Am I complaining that Bimmer Man works too much? No. I'm definitely not - when he decided he wanted to be a lawyer, this is what I signed up for. I knew it. I agreed to it. When we had The Monkey, I knew I was going to be the "primary" parent because he would be working a lot, which is partially why I stay at home - if I worked, The Monkey would be in daycare and neither of us would get to see her much during the day during the work week. What we have now is what works for us and this is what makes us the best parents that we can be.

So when the weekend comes after a really long week, it's a real whirlwind of activity - The Monkey gets her "dad" time since they don't have as much time together during the week. They play, hang out, do a ton of stuff together, work on cars, play Legos, go shopping. We get to hang out as a family together, we see friends, we go to other play places, we are pretty much on the go all weekend long.

Sometimes I go to bed on Sunday night completely forgetting what we did on Friday or Saturday.

Then Monday comes.

The Monkey is pretty much worn out from all the "dad" time she got over the weekend. She's crabby because he's not here. She's irritated because it's "not as fun" without dad. She acts out because she knew she could get away with certain behaviors over the weekend when I wasn't around. She wants the tv on all the time because playing isn't as fun and she's not as creative because dad has been playing with her. It's a seriously irritating day for me.

Mondays really make me question my parenting skills.

Which is why I call Mondays "Hangover Days." Serious hangover from the weekend. Sluggish, irritating, lazy, and headaches abound.

As a stay-at-home-parent sometimes I feel really bad talking about the struggles of staying home because of all the "mommy wars" that you read about on Buzzfeed or blogs or Facebook groups. There's going to be that one person that says "you ungrateful mommy! you get to STAY AT HOME! while I AM WORKING AND AWAY FROM MY CHILD!!" So I'm putting this struggle out there. BECAUSE MONDAYS FUCKING SUCK. It doesn't matter if you have kids or don't. Stay at home or work. Mondays are terrible "Hangover" days for everyone.

Now that it's Tuesday, we're going to have a great day. HAPPY TUESDAY!!!

4.08.2015

2015 Garden Plans

Oy. Gardening. I feel like I have a lot that I want to do but so little time/money to get it all done.

And that's ok.

For right now!

Last year I planted pollinating plants on one side of the boulevard. Unfortunately I didn't get to the people that were re-seeding the construction areas in time so this year I'll be killing grass (naturally) and then adding in more mulch and a few more bee and butterfly friendly plants. So far I've got Bearded Lilies, Daylillies, and some random daisies. I want to move more daisies down to the boulevard and then also plant maybe another rose bush and more Bee Balm. Bee Balm spreads, so I'm hoping that if I move a few stalks when I see them come up in a few weeks, they'll spread for next year. Between plants I'll put down newspaper that I've been saving up to cut down on weeds and then mulch over the newspaper. I'm positive that my neighbors will like mulch instead of newspaper. It has to be somewhat attractive, right???

Then, since Rusty died (sad face here, poor Rusty), he won't be around to kill all the plants in the backyard. He's killed anemones, bee balm, basil, hostas, boxwood bushes, grass, and countless other flowers that I've tried to plant. He was so tall he was even able to pee in pots. That ASSHOLE.

In any case, the Monkey's great-uncle bought her a little gardening kits with seeds that we've started. I've allocated approximately 10 square feet for her little seeds and garden area - since she planted the seeds randomly in the seed-starting kit, it will really be a crapshoot as to what comes up (possibly peas, tomatoes, flowers, or something else, I don't remember). To get that area ready I'm going to need a pitchfork, and the compost from the bin to turn the soil over. We just don't have a big enough area to justify getting or even renting a tiller. No big deal. She can dig in the soil with me.

In the front, I'm going to get more newspaper down in the big beds and cover it with mulch. I've just decided I've really had it with as much weeding as I've done in the past (but not all weeds are bad - a lot of weeds provide food for bugs and birds. Weeds can be a great distraction for pesky insects that would otherwise feed on your nice flowers!). So that should cut down on my "garden work" this year. Plus the mulch that I buy is extremely cheap and pretty much composts back into the ground and helps to make the garden soil better. I'm thinking I'll need close to 20 bags of mulch (not including what will be happening at my mother-in-law's garden, which is also part of the reason why I'm mulching so much at home, we'll be spending a lot of time there this summer getting her house ready for sale).

So garden planning. Yeah. I've got my work cut out for me but that's ok. I LOVE gardening so I don't mind doing all this work. In the end, the flowers bloom and I get to enjoy it all!

4.07.2015

I Want A Giant Metal Chicken Sculpture

Or another giant animal sculpture for my front yard.

I guess I don't really care what animal it is (it could be an alligator jumping out of the front garden), I just want some sort of giant metal animal sculpture. I think most of our neighbors would laugh. Some would frown. At least one would probably call me "That Weird Hippie Lady With The Ugly Sculpture." And that's fine with me.

I JUST WANT A GIANT ANIMAL SCULPTURE.

So I'm buying Bimmer Man a welder for our garage.

Either I will make it myself (and hopefully not burn anything down).

Or Bimmer Man will help me.

Or I will bribe someone with beer.

But come Hell or High Water, I'm getting my giant animal sculpture.

4.06.2015

More Stuff Is Gone - Thanks to the DAV

Every time I've called the Disabled American Veterans to come and pick up "stuff" we no longer need or use, the pick up time they've given me has been MONTHS out... and that's a good thing! It means more people are donating their stuff! WOO HOO!!!

But then a few weeks ago, I actually got a phone call from them saying that they would have a truck in our neighborhood and they would have room for stuff from our house.

I pretty much jumped for joy. This means I wouldn't have to load up the back of the Pilot and wait in line at the local Goodwill (I don't donate to the Salvation Army because of discrimination, I still draw the line at donating stuff...), haul the Monkey in the back with her asking questions all.the.time.

But I only had four days to get BOXES ready.

As it turns out - I went through my closet (AGAIN) and found 2 garbage bags of clothes - mostly work clothes that I realized either wouldn't fit or that would need to be updated anyway if/when I go back to work and a bunch of old college T-shirts and sweatshirts. Enough already. I had that box sitting since last Fall and freaking forgot about it. Time to go!

Books, an old pot, more books, some home decor that I haven't used in months, and even some toys and Monkey's old clothes that I knew she wouldn't wear (because if it's not pink, polka-dots, or stripes, she won't be wearing it. I can't go shopping without her!). I even tossed in some children's books that we don't read anymore or that weren't interesting or they were just plain dumb. Bimmer Man even donated some clothes. And yarn. I DONATED YARN. I donated yarn that I knew I wouldn't use but happened to come upon it for free - it seems that I happen to come upon lots of yarn for free. I'll still have to go through a few balls and decide if I'm actually going to make something or not but in four days I didn't have time to go through all my drawers. Next time I'll have to focus on an area and just de-clutter that.

Oh My Goodness. It was such a relief to just set everything out on the front step. I didn't have to do anything else. WOOT!!!

I think it's amazing at the amount of "stuff" I've already gotten rid of and then I can find more.

It's that weird moment when you look at something and think... "If I were traveling for a year, would I bring it with me?" If the answer is no, then out it goes.

At some point I will have to get rid of some camera equipment and bags, I have two that I absolutely LOVE, one that is easy to carry and another HUGE one that can carry all of my equipment. I've already gotten rid of reflectors, a few lens, and another camera bag.

Bimmer Man still wants my old camera to use as a track camera because I don't really care if it gets grease on it or gets dropped and breaks. That's fine. I've had all the use I can get out of it so no loss there if it gets broken. I'm sure it could ultimately be repaired anyway.

But my ultimate goal: Spring is coming. I want to spend less time inside cleaning and caring for stuff. I want to be outside in the garden, biking, walking, hiking, spending time at the park, and in general... just to be outside. That's what is important to me.

3.30.2015

Someone Turned 3



This little one turned 3. And holy buckets, it's like she's already a teenager. This is such a FUN age though - we can have actual conversations, she plays well by herself, she cleans up after herself, AND I can give her chores to do. It's pretty freaking awesome. 

Life has been busy. 

We've now been invited to THREE destination weddings. Within about 4 months of each other. OY.

All people that we dearly love, but man... so EXPENSIVE. I'm not sure we can pull it all off. I don't know when destination weddings became so popular - it's like eloping... but inviting people...

In any case, I'm trying to learn of all the craft fairs in the Twin Cities area - not exactly in the Cities because people don't shop at craft fairs - instead they shop at Target where items are cheap, so that makes selling handmade items pretty difficult. I just can't lower my prices to the side of sweatshop cheap, not only do I lose money but I don't make enough money to buy new supplies for more items. Craft fairs are much more popular out in the sticks because there's really not much else to do AND there aren't as many shops to buy items - which means that selling out in the suburbs and in the rural areas is much better for crafters (however, if it's a home-base business like Norwex or something, I have no idea of what the market is like). 

So, this Spring I'm making hats instead of scarves (which I got a little bored of), I have some new Wool of the Andes yarn which works up beautiful and some new cotton. Hats abound. WOO HOO.

Blogging sort of took a back seat these past few weeks as I've been trying to get SO MUCH STUFF done, including laundry and Spring cleaning. The weather should be better this week which means we can be outside. YAY!!!

Happy Monday! Have a great week!

3.04.2015

So Crazy Busy Lately/Vintage Plastic Tile

My mother-in-law is going to be selling her house so we'll be helping her get a few things repaired and updated. I've been at Menard's so many times in the past week and now I've got a ton of prices and information swirling around in my brain.

Our basement is getting there... slowly but surely...

And it snowed yesterday but this weekend it will probably melt which means that this was most likely the last snow of the season. That's too bad - I was really hoping for at least one really good blizzard to satisfy my winter soul. Oh, well.

I also need to get some seeds started, I've been saving egg cartons and next I'll have to get some organic seed starting mix and probably lose at least one jelly roll pan to the seed starting. That's ok, but hopefully it will warm up enough so I won't have to grow the seeds on our dining room table and I can stick them out on the porch... one can hope, right?

Also, if anyone is interested in buying 1950's vintage plastic wall tile, or knows anyone that is interested (renovating a vintage camper???), please, please let me know! I've got a whole bathroom of this stuff, I'd really rather have it re-used than end up in the dump.

4 1/4 x 4 1/4 inch tiles
3x9 black bullnose
1/2 detail tile