Monday, January 20, 2014

Organizing and Cleaning

Organization is a Huge part of my life, although you may not have been able to tell the last 3 years. Since moving into this house our life has been one project after another which means moving stuff from one room to another... This was one of the major things I have missed about our old house, I mean we had projects but it was a new construction house and really it was minor things we were doing (replacing linoleum with tile, painting, putting in a fence, etc)

This house on the other hand is major renovation, complete gut of kitchen, adding in a closet to the office so everything had to be moved out of the nook, bathroom remodels (future) so nothing stays in one spot for long. This is the year that we are going to change. We bought these gray tubs a few months ago at Target for under $4/tub but they wouldn't fit on our existing metal shelving so we decided to build something that would fit our needs in the unfinished area of the basement.


Our storage area is not always this bad looking but remodeling the family room meant most of our stuff ended up here.


We used 2x4s and OSB. This was not an easy task because we had limited room, it was built in place without moving most of the stuff out. After seeing how nice it turned out I decided to move the cheap plastic shelves designated for garage sale stuff out and wrap the shelving around on the wall. We ran into one glitch though... our hot water heater decided to die. Of course it was the day before record lows and snow. It was a late night but several attempts to repair we ended up getting a new one. Since it was a Saturday night and bad weather we ended up installing it ourselves with the help of my dad by phone. It works, no leaks, and already seems to be better than the old.

Now to building more shelving, just remember that we were working with the old hot water heater still in the way. Actually I am standing by it taking the picture below.

 This time we made a few changes (there was a week break) instead of just screwing the boards we used pocket screws and a laser level proved again to be our best friend. Also instead of me having to hold all the weight while my husband drilled we used clamps on one side to help hold the boards in place so I wasn't shaking each shelf as bad. Now we are trying to decide if we should build more and make it a U shape or try to make everything fit on the current and move our exercising stuff back to this area as well, which is what I prefer.

Since it was a 3 day weekend we did a project a day. Saturday was the shelves, Sunday cleaning the garage/ raking leaves so we could fit the trailer in our backyard again. It was a MASSIVE amount of leaves especially since I had mowed all the leaves right after most fell.
That pile is literally what was in our driveway in front of our garage and next to the fence. I don't even want to think about the yard.

While cleaning out the garage we decided we should finally use some of the wood we bought a while back for a bookcase but since we already bought shelving because I didn't think we would get to it (had the wood for 2 years) we needed a new idea. We decided on a bookshelf anyway but not for the original intended child and now we are thinking about making it to go beside our oldest child's bed. We don't have nightstands in their rooms so this would make a perfect place to put a little lamp and his water at night. His books will be next to his bed, loves to read until he falls asleep, and plan to put in dividers on the lower shelf for baskets or whatever. I am looking forward to having a place to put stuffed animals. We are thinking about building two, one for each side of his bed but we will have to see how the first one turns out.


Here is a sneak preview before it was painted (black) well it is still in the painting stage but I'll have a more detailed post later. Right now it is time for bed!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

A Little Behind

I apologize now for letting time go between the last post and now. December is a bit crazy for us and this year we tried to make it less so but failed miserably.

We have been trying to work on finishing up projects, Christmas shopping, date night, work parties, family get togethers and can't forget my boys' birthdays. Unfortunately very few pictures were taken, at least that we have in our possession.

Very rarely do we get a date night, try maybe twice a year. I know we need to do it more often but the typical things stand in the way; time, money, babysitter or a combination. We were suppose to go to a dinner swearing in the new president for the Agents here but I failed to RSVP in time and our friends were gracious enough to still watch the boys. So off we went to dinner and some shopping although it was mainly to walk off what we ate. We did the typical thing of constantly talking about the kids even though we tried not to but it could be that we were able to discuss so much since we weren't having to shout over the boys and we certainly were not in the habit of taking our time to talk. We have become pretty good at getting out what we want to say quickly and effectively... I think.

Ah I forgot about one thing that helped keep us busy... Gizmo our elf. Luckily the days we forgot to move him he had excuses. For two days we was trapped in our bread safe (had to leave the door open the second day), stuck in the playroom drop down ceiling, and had adventures riding reindeer and my treadmill. He took a spill when I went for a run and "magically" ended up on top of the dog cage about a foot away.


Usually this is the time of year we are planning family Christmas' (which we did) and birthday parties, but this year we knew everything was already kind of crazy so we decided to keep it simple. This may be the point to mention the reason it is so hectic is that both of our boys' birthdays are in December not only that but they are the day before and day after Christmas (NOT PLANNED). We let them pick where they want to eat on their day and what we do. It was a little harder since one is on Christmas Eve and daddy worked but all he wanted to do was cuddle, have lunch at Panera, and then picked up the making for cupcakes. He fell asleep while his brother and I made them but we woke him up to help decorate and devour. (We only took video that day) He never ate the cupcake, just wanted the icing. They left cupcakes for Santa and headed to bed, although they didn't fall asleep until midnight.

We try to make sure we keep most of Christmas and Birthday's separate but it is hard. We try to keep everything low key especially when it comes to presents. So Christmas morning we had to wake them up so we could do our gifts and head to my parents. My husband was able to pull off a surprise for me despite me almost ruining it. I now have some nice running gear :) We quickly dressed and packed to head to my parents' for brunch. 

Sorry for the blurriness but you can tell they wanted to go back to bed instead of opening gifts.

About 1/2 the family is not in the picture
 It was great getting to spend time with my mom's side, due to ice/snow we took dinner to my dad's side. There were 16 of us in a tiny 1 bedroom apartment but it was good to be surrounded by family. We took turns walking the boys up and down the hall since there was very little room for them to play in the apartment. It truly was a day that reminded me of my childhood watching our children. We ended the evening going to see my sister's and her husband's new house, I think they will be very happy.

On the 26th my sister spoiled her 3 nephews by helping them make gingerbread houses with leftover supplies from her class. I am a little ashamed to say this was their breakfast.

 Then it was off to Chuck E Cheese for lunch and some fun. Who would have thought that the kids would just want to hang out on the jungle gym and it was the adults going around playing games. Not only was it just my brother and his wife joining us but my mom and my other brother. Again a day that we didn't do a big party but probably one of the most memorable days he will have.
 We ended up staying the night and playing Quelf, very entertaining. Headed home early on Friday and since our oldest didn't get a cake let him pick out an ice cream cake.
The rest of 2013 was spent packing up our office, we will soon be having a house guest staying in that room and moving it upstairs. We also had a wedding for one of our nephews. Not terribly exciting of a post but hopefully not as exciting as the start to 2014 has been, but need to save something for the next post ;)

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Thanksgiving

This is the time of year that flies by and makes me panic a little bit. I am a firm believer in waiting until after Thanksgiving before decorating for Christmas but this year there is less than 30 days between the two which adds a bit to my stress.

2006
One of my favorite holidays is Thanksgiving. It is the one time of year that I remember as a child we always tried to get together with both sides of the family. Now that we have a family of our own we still try to do it. The day of we go to my husband's side and the day after "Black Friday" we host our own for my side and anyone that didn't get enough the day before. Most of our family does little Black Friday shopping so it works out well, and if they do want to we live in a large town than where I am originally from.


2009
My husband and I spend the week in the kitchen preparing almost everything from scratch. Over the last 8 years we have experimented and found a pretty good combination for what my family likes. We have something for everyone. The only things we don't make from scratch are the stuffing, gravy and chocolate pie although we tweak those a bit to. This was not the case when we first started very few things were really made by us but Alton Brown started inspiring us year by year.

This year was a bit different and helped show us another reason our new kitchen was worth it. We weren't tripping over each other as much, we stayed on schedule because we had places to prep and not have to wait until counter was cleared for the next thing, and we had plenty of room in the fridge for the things we made ahead of time. I had cleaned and started organizing so it would be easy to decorate once the tree was up, although we haven't decorated as much this year.

My family arrived in the usual fashion of some being really early, others on time, and still others 30 mins late...This truly is my favorite time because we rarely get to see extended family and to have them all in one place sitting in one room getting to visit, well that is what makes it special for me. Most of the food disappeared quickly.

The spread looked something like this:
Pioneer Woman version of a Turkey in brine
Mashed Potatoes
Sweet Potato Casserole
Rolls
Baked Mac and Cheese
Alton Brown Green Bean Casserole
Broccoli Rice Casserole
Deviled Eggs
Stuffing
Pumpkin, Apple, and Chocolate Pies
Heading out to search
11 Adults 4 children inhaled the food before heading to the tree farm. Actually one of the adults stayed behind, a friend of ours who needed to study for finals this last week. The rest of us loaded up for a somewhat chilly hay ride back to find our tree. This is one of the few times that we have found our tree in the first 30 secs. It was literally the second tree that I said I liked but we looked a little more before deciding it was the one. The guys cut it down and carried it back to the main path where it was shook and netted before we all loaded back up on the trailer and headed back to the main cabin.

 The boys think they own the place

 The kids watching the men cut down the tree

2006
Growing up we only had a real tree once, it was a mess and HUGE. My mom said never again until my sister needed to do a report her senior year in high school about real Christmas trees, by this time I was married and lived near one which is how our tradition began and my mom doesn't have to mess with the clean up.
2008
2011 - We added 2 more kids to the family
2012

2013
We typically don't have enough energy to decorate until Saturday and then our elf begins his visits on Sunday, the day after the tree has been dressed up. Unfortunately this year we have yet to really do much decorating around the house. With the time until Christmas being shorter than normal, having an appraisal, working, school, parties, and birthdays I haven't been in the mood to drag everything out only to feel like I have to put it right back again...lets see if the boys notice...