Saturday, August 25, 2012

The summer trio

That's my Littlest boy there in the middle. He turned 6 in June.

On the right is his homeschooled buddy from across the street. He's 8. His family moved in across the street from us six months before he was born, so he and Littlest have been friends awhile. They have a standing afternoon playdate at 3 o'clock most week days.

On the left is his little friend from next door, age 7, who moved in this spring. She and Littlest have played together almost every day since. She saved him from a summer of complete boredrom while Mommy was on self-imposed bedrest waiting for his baby sister to be born. I vaguely remember her being in our house while I was laboring, too.

This week Littlest's Girl Friend started second grade at the public school around the corner, and brought home two hours of homework every day -- which left very little time for playdates. And Buddy was on a camping trip all week with his family.

Boy, did Littlest miss his friends! (Thank goodness Mommy decided to start homeschool this week, too, or it might have been worse!)

But today was a reunion of the summer trio. They spent all day in and out of the house, playing games, sharing stories from their week, and generally making up for lost time. And I finally took their picture.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Baby pics: She's here!

Oh, friends! Has it really been that long since I've blogged? It has. So much to catch up on, where to start?

Baby is here, of course! And doing beautifully. She arrived five days after my due date, on July 24, at 12:59 p.m., weighing 9 pounds, 5 ounces, and measuring 20.5 inches. She was born in the birth pool in our kitchen.

(The kitchen is... well, mostly finished. I'm still not ready to do a full reveal. I'll probably get the nursery tidied and do that first. But I know what you really want is baby pictures, right? So, here we go...)

These were all taken by my friend's not-quite-13 year old daughter, Mary. Little baby E was 10 days old, and I think she handled her first photo shoot quite well, considering it was time for another nap.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Decluttering: I don't know when to stop.

Apparently, I'm nesting. Only 17 weeks to go until this baby arrives, and I am determined to have THE ENTIRE HOUSE reorganized and ready long before my due date. I know I'll be too tired and won't want to do anything but knit little booties and sew little dresses by June. (OH! Did I just give something away?!)

We have a smallish, old-fashioned house that requires creative rearranging to accommodate our growing, ever-changing family. This includes regular, ruthless decluttering. Of which I have done very little in the last year.

The baby goodies are already arriving -- but what will soon be the nursery is currently my craft/curriculum/storage/library. Two bookcases and their books, a desk and all its clutter, my scrapbooking and sewing supplies have to go Somewhere Else.

One of those places is this closet:

Nope, nothing else is going in there until something comes out.

My problem is, I can't just pull a few things out of a closet. Once I decide to start organizing, I have to empty EVERY CLOSET IN THE HOUSE so that the whole place looks like we've been flying over Kansas with Dorothy -- collecting everything but the cow passing by as we go.

First, though, I made lists of everything that would need a home somewhere. (This I started weeks ago.)

I started thinking about what big items needed to go -- the dresser in the bedroom closet that was not working, the rocking chair that was cute but never comfortable for nursing, the boys' desks that I repainted for the school room two years ago and haven't been used since last May. And I decided we should have a yard sale.

On Monday, I started pulling everything out of the closets. And then I realized I was coming down with the flu. By Wednesday, three of us were in bed sick, and my house still looked like this:

Stuff was piled everywhere waiting for the yard sale.

But, no matter, because my main closet had gone from THIS (before):

To THIS (after)!

Top shelf: Blankets, sorted by knits, fleece, and quilts
Second shelf: Seasonal items in tubs: Snow, birthdays, swim, and crafts.
Third and bottom shelves: Games, craft supplies, and homeschool baskets.
Floor: Gift wrapping supplies. And an EMPTY tub!!

And I wasn't quite finished here. I now have storage on the back of the door for the gift wrap, and I was able to move some sewing and scrapbooking tubs out of my office into the bottom of the closet.  I still have more sorting through craft and school supplies to do, too.

And check out my bedroom closet (BEFORE):

And AFTER (so far):

I'm still working on this one, too, but removing the dresser and adding the tubs and shoe cubbies made a HUGE difference! I found shoes under that dresser that had been "missing" for over a year. :/

The tornado spewed the rest of the mess onto the lawn Saturday morning, and after we made an entire $3.75 in six hours of yard selling (plus $75 for the dresser from someone who saw it on Craiglist), we loaded up the rest to take to Goodwill.

Now to finish the boys' closet...

I'm participating in Project: Simplify 2012!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Decluttering: Because I love to show off the inside of my fridge.

Tonight's the deadline to participate in Project: Simplify's Pantry/Fridge declutter week!  Obviously, I don't want to miss a chance to win a new cookbook!

So, here's what I did while my boys were at the park with friends on Thursday, and I was supposed to be taking a nap...



This was mostly a matter of dumping moldy leftovers, wiping shelves and rearranging things a bit. I also picked up a couple tubs at the $1 store this week to organize cheese and lunchmeats. And now I can actually see what food we have!  (Who knew I'd bought so much cheddar?!)

Last week was also Kitchen Decluttering Week at Modern Parents/Messy Kids, which inspired me to get some serious unpacking finished. Last weekend, I worked on the two corner cabinets, which had been awaiting shelves. Oh, were things a dusty mess after 10 months of remodeling!



I'm not quite finished with these two, since I have a few more boxes to unpack, and I'll probably rearrange things some more. I do love the vertical, tension rod space for my baking sheets and muffin pans!

I'm also awaiting open shelves above the "Breakfast Corner" of my countertop, but I bought some pretty glass jars at World Market, and it was time to put them to use!



Tuesday, March 13, 2012

What I've been up to.

Sheesh, a month without blogging? Can I say it was somewhat intentional even though I didn't tell anybody? Can I say I gave up blogging for (part of) Lent?

Well, bloggy friends, I miss you. Life has been crazy, but I want to try to come back here. This blog needs some serious updating, but that will come eventually.  For now, I'll just update you a bit on what I've been doing.

1) Growing a baby. (I could stop right there, couldn't I? Isn't that enough?) And eating a lot more than when I was nauseated all the time!

2) Knitting for the baby -- especially now that we know which variety we're having! :)  And yes, I will share those projects (and other details) eventually!

2) Finishing the kitchen. (One coat of a paint at a time. Don't worry, it's low-VOC and I wear a mask.)

3) Attempting to make sure my children are learning something.  Littlest has miraculously managed to teach himself to read fluently in the last few months. And his math skills are ahead of schedule. So, while I have much guilt over various other unmet needs during this remodel project, at least that's done.

4) Moderating two different homeschooling groups -- one a discussion/info group on Facebook, the other a social/activity group that I've belonged to since my older boys were babies, and was asked to take over in October.

5) Organizing and hosting a six-week lecture series on homeschooling for our public library. Totally worth it, and I was sort of sad to see it end, but it did take a bit of time and energy.

6) Organizing and decluttering. Slowly. Very slowly.

7) Pinning ideas for these topics to keep myself motivated. You can find me on Pinterest here:

I wish I were better at blogging about these things as I do them, but, well, I'm just not. Better late than never, right?

What have you been up to lately?

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Candlemas: Jesus is the Light of the world!

We're celebrating our first Candlemas today! I would have forgotten it again if it hadn't been for Kara's post earlier this week. Thanks, Kara!

Candlemas, or the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, commemorates the presentation of Christ in the temple and the ritual purification of the Virgin Mary forty days after Jesus's birth.

And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, (Simeon) took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said:
"Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace,
According to Your word;
For my eyes have seen Your salvation

Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples,
A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles,
And the glory of Your people Israel.”
And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him.

--Luke 2:27b-33

The full gospel reading for the day is Luke 2:22-39.

In some countries, such as France, people eat crepes on Candlemas, and even play crepe-throwing games. We didn't have quite enough left over to do that -- and they were way too yummy!


Candlemas Morning Prayer

All-powerful Father,
Christ your Son became man for us
and was presented in the temple.
May he free our hearts from sin
and bring us into your presence.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God for ever and ever. Amen.
The Liturgy of the Hours

Canticle of Simeon (Nunc Dimittis)
Lord, now you let your servant go in peace,
your word has been fulfilled:
My own eyes have seen the salvation,
which you have prepared in the sight of every people:
a light to reveal you to the nations
and the glory of your people Israel.
From Christian Prayer, commonly said at Candlemas

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