Thursday, July 31, 2008

Knight in Shining Armor Rides in on Her . . . Cow?

The pictures in this layout make me laugh. I laugh, and then I cry because my oldest, Thing 1, is a horse freak. A big time horse freak. She gallops around the house on all fours, pretending that she's a horse and making horrid not-quite horse noises.

I cannot keep this kid in jeans, she is on the floor so much. I even threatened her with, and followed through with, boy pants. Can you imagine my desperation? Not even that worked.

Does anyone out there have a horse freak and please, can you tell me, when will this madness end?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Sand Monster

This is Thing 2 walking away from me at the beach today. Can you tell that she enjoyed playing in the sand?

And this is the kid who will not pick up finger food with her bare hands. Explain that to me please. We buy our napkins in bulk because she uses at least ten at each meal. She doesn't like her food to touch for crying out loud!

Sometimes I think she does this just to give me the willies.

Nice five o'clock shadow sweetie. All I can do is shake my head and snap a picture.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Denim Rag Quilt

Here is a picture of the denim rag quilt that I made for our master bedroom. I collected my friends' and family's old jeans for months when I decided I was going to make this quilt. Then I cut them all up and realized that I was still short. Way short. So I went to the thrift store and bought lots of jeans for cheap so I could finish it.

This quilt took me over a year to complete because I kept losing steam and stopping. I even killed my sewing machine. I thought I had a good quality, sturdy sewing machine until I made this quilt. Ha!

My sewing machine has been repaired, but it'll never be the same again. I can't tell you how surprised I was to find out that "they don't make Singers the way they used to."

This was my first rag quilt so there are lots of mistakes. Mathematical mistakes especially. You would think with me minoring in math in college that that would not be a problem. Well I'm here to tell you that it is. I especially suck at topology. I've had many sewing mishaps from my topology handicap alone. Peanut Head could entertain you for hours with them, but I'll just tell you about two especially frustrating ones.

First, I made a mobius vest. When I sewed the lining and the vest front together it wasn't matched up, so half of it was always inside out, no matter what I did. Hence, my mobius vest. Peanut Head was thoroughly entertained by this, and he tried to explain it to me, but to this day, I don't understand how it was topologically possible.

Next, I made sock pockets on a pair of muscle pants for my husband. Remember those M.C. Hammer type pajama looking things from the 80s? Well, in my defense they are basically huge squares of material that you sew together so it is impossible to tell where the top of the pants and the bottom of the pants are when sewing them together. Really. Soooooo, when it was time to put the pockets on, they got put on the bottom of the legs. Understandable mistake.

Peanut Head laughed hysterically for hours.

Anyway, back to the quilt, my biggest mistake was in making the quilt blocks waaaaaay too small. I made them six inches square and they should have been eight inches square. Or is it nine? I should check before I attempt to make another one.

With the smaller blocks, it meant that I had to make a lot more quilt blocks. And the quilt is bulkier than it had to be. And heavier. Really heavy. It was so bulky that I had to wash it at the laundromat in an industrial triple load washer, and it was still a tight fit. Then it took three hours to dry in a large capacity dryer and still wasn't 100% dry. Plus, I had to sit up against the door the entire time because the weight of the quilt kept knocking the dryer door open and stopping the dryer. Boy was that fun.

In spite of all that, I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out. Please don't look at my messy nightstands.

The back of the quilt is flannel so it's super cozy and warm for our cold Idaho nights. And heavy, did I mention that?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Organized Bathroom Cupboards--Yay!

This month's challenge over at the Organizing Junkie's Monthly Organizing Round-Up is to organize under bathroom sinks. Now that's doable. It's not the whole bathroom, just under the sinks.

Since I was rushed to pack and get ready for my vacation, I chose to do only the master bathroom, because it didn't have 1,700 hair accessories to corral and make a decision about. I know, I'm such a cheater. So, above you see my before picture which, I admit, is not really that bad. That's because I had started on this cupboard previously, but just never finished it.

And here is my after picture. I have a lot of manicure/pedicure paraphernalia, so separating everything into the small set of divided drawers was a good idea for me. It's easier to just grab what I need and take it away.

I also really like the idea of keeping cleaning supplies in each bathroom to make quick clean-ups easier. Also, maybe it will help me to keep my bathrooms cleaner since that is my least favorite room to clean. I tend to cheat in cleaning the bathrooms too, as I've discovered that the disinfectant wipes are super handy to have for quick jobs, usually when people are coming over and I've procrastinated on my cleaning.

As you can see, some of my vertical space is wasted, but I really don't have anything else that needs to go in this cupboard, so that's okay.

Here's the before picture for the adjacent cupboard. Again, I know it's not that bad, but there was still room for improvement.

Here's the after picture. Probably the most useful thing that I've done here is to stuff that drawer full of Q-Tips. We are constantly running out of Q-Tips and even though we buy the industrial sized packs of them at Sam's Club, they never seem to be easily accessible. This should do the trick.

If you liked this, check out some of my other organizing posts:

Look Where I Went Today

Yes. I went to IKEA today. I've been waiting for two years to come to San Diego and go to IKEA. I've had a hankering to go so bad that I took a shopping list with me. Yes, I did.

Every time I come to San Diego, I come back with furniture, and I'm limited by what will fit in my minivan and still allow me to bring the girls back with me, inside the car. They aren't fans of fresh air I guess. Weird kids.

So, Peanut Head was warned ahead of time and I briefly glossed over the list with him so there wouldn't be any surprises. This post might be preparing him for my arrival home with those items on the list and maybe one or two other items. Just tiny little things. Inconsequential stuff.

By the way honey, I love you.

So, do you want to see what I got?

I got two of these cubey-type shelf units. They are actually called Expedit bookcases and you can stand them on end, or horizontally to make low shelves. I'll tell you where I'm going to put them because I know that Peanut Head is reading this post and throwing his hands up in the air screaming "And exactly WHERE are we going to put these?!!!"

I do have a plan in addition to that shopping list honey, and I'm going to use them against the wall in my crop/office area and they will be set up horizontally. Yes, I do realize that some other things might have to go to make room, and I'm prepared to deal with that because dang it, I want these things.

Here's my impulsive purchase. It's an ERIK File Cabinet and I like it because a) it has three file drawers that open veeeeeery smoothly, and b) the file drawers open all the way so I don't have to risk severing my arm when I have to reach into the back of the cabinet to extract a file. That is always a worry in the dangerous world of office filing, yes it is.

The other things I got are just real little, and I wouldn't want to bore anyone with the details. Well, that and they are for some organizing projects, and I don't want to spoil a possible future post. Or something like that.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Strawberry Watermelon Lemonade

Peanut Head came up with this recipe a few years ago. He's pretty handy in the kitchen, although he has some mishaps that he'll never live down. Like the time he made Enchiladas with a whole can of chipotle chile peppers instead of the "one canned chipotle chili pepper" the recipe called for. He ate alone that evening, sweating buckets because he made it dang it, and he was going to eat it.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

All Aboard!

Thing 1 has been bugging me forEVER to ride a train, so today we did just that. We got on the Sprinter in Oceanside, rode it to the end of the line, and came right back. Just so we could shut the kid up. Well, no, for the experience, that's it.

Thing 1 loved it. Absolutely loved it. She didn't want to get off, she loved it so much.

Thing 2 was not so easily impressed. You can see how unmoved she is by the whole experience. Peanut Head and I just know this kid is going to be Goth or the equivalent for her time, whatever that might be. We're preparing ourselves for this now. She is her own little person and she doesn't give a rat's behind what anyone else thinks about her. In the long run, this can be a good quality, we realize that, but for now she is just entertaining and exasperating us all at the same time.

Again, Thing 1 soaking it all up so she can recount the experience in vivid, excruciating detail, for anyone, anytime. And she will. She will.

Just to warn y'all back home, if she wants to tell you about it, I want you to be fascinated, riveted, amazed, and alert.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Beach Dork

Can you believe this picture? It's me, the ultimate dorky tourist on an outing to the beach. Laugh. Go ahead, I'm okay with it. Seriously though, if you've ever gone to the beach and wanted to take all the chairs, the snacks, the towels, the boogie boards, the umbrellas, the books, the sand toys, then you know I need one of these granny buggies when I'm going to the beach.

I originally bought this cart for my mom. She's too cool for it though, and it only gets used when I'm the one pushin' it, once or twice every year or two. You can see my Mama Lama in the picture, trying to get away from being in the picture with the beach cart because she doesn't want to be seen near it.

If you aren't too cool for a beach buggy and you want one, you can find the beach cart at One Step Ahead.

Here are my girls, Thing 1 and Thing 2, at Oceanside Beach. It's been two years since we came to California, and the last time we were here they were both too chicken to go in the water by themselves. Here they are testing it out.

Whoa Nelly, those waves are gonna get us!

Oh Mama, I have to get out of here!

Thing 2 catches her first wave and she's hooked.

Bring it on, baby!

Okay, I can do this now.

It was so funny to watch them. They were in the water for hours, running and screaming. My favorite was when the waves would knock them over and they would roll in the surf, up onto the beach. They thought that was pretty cool.

Unfortunately, that sort of tumbling in the surf leaves sand in your knickers. Here's a little clip of Thing 1 trying to walk with Coochie Creepies from a little sand chafe going on in her girlie bits. Watching this makes me want to take a shower, but it is hilarious.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Only Four Months Behind Now--Whoo Hoo!

I just finished scrapbooking Easter 2008, so now I am officially only four months behind. Maybe I'll get completely caught up on this vacation, eh? Ha. Not unless I stop taking pictures. And I don't even want to talk about my backlog. We'll just not even go there.

Don't you just love that morning hair? Both of my girls got that from me. I call it Tumbleweed Head.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

LOST . . . in a Concrete Jungle

This was my Mother's Day gift this year, and man, did I need it. I can't navigate my way out of a wet paper bag. Oh, I can read a map just fine, but I'm lacking that internal compass that Peanut Head seems to have. That lucky duck. I have always needed a point of reference (mountains, river, whatever) to be able to figure out where I am. Since maps are oriented with north at the top, I have to orient myself north to be able to read them. I'm not kidding. If I'm facing, say west, I cannot make that mental adjustment. I don't know if it's a spatial skill thing, of which I am sadly lacking, or what, but I suck at it.

So the GPS is my friend and I love it. One of my favorite features is being able to find the closest Starbuck's or In 'N Out Burger, or whatever. And by the way, since I've been in California for nine days now, I've eaten at In 'N Out three times. I know, it's pathetic, but I don't have an In 'N Out at home so I have to get my fix while I can.

Furthermore, since I've been on this trip with Thing One and Thing Two, without Compass Man, I've not had to stop and ask for directions at all. I am Perpetually Lost Girl no more.

So why the title "Lost . . . in a Concrete Jungle" you ask? Ha ha. Now that's a funny story. I got to my mom's house last night and decided that I was going to go on a run because I'd been laying around, getting no exercise, for over a week. I took my mom's dog, Hobbes, aka Hobbity Bobbity Boo, because he loves to get out. That and it was dark and he's big and has a real deep voice. He sounds vicious too.

So, we're out getting our exercise, I finish my 30 minutes, and we start walking back to my mom's house, letting Hobbity do his thing on the way. Walking, walking, walking . . . WHERE THE HECKITO AM I? I got a little . . . . hmmmm . . . disoriented. Oh crap. No cell phone, I don't know my mom's number, I DON'T HAVE MY GPS!!!!!

After my initial freak out fit, I kept the panic at bay for about an hour while I walked around the neighborhood north of my mom's house, chanting, "But it was RIGHT HERE!" It's getting later, everyone is in bed so I'm scared to ring somebody's doorbell and confess what a dork I am, so I just keep walking in circles, trying to sort out the ball of yarn that is my internal compass. Sad, sad, sad.

When suddenly, DA DA DA DUM! Compass Dog to the rescue! Hobbity, I guess, becomes disgusted with my pathetic sense of direction and starts dragging me where he knows he lives. Here he is, MY HERO.

I never knew he was so smart. Sweet, yes. Doofy, yes. Smart? Apparently. Hobbity saved me. He took me home, he snorted how disgusted he was with me to my mom as we walked in the door, and he went to take a nap. We had been gone for two hours. My mom was worried, my kids were worried, Hobbes was disgusted.

"No, no, NOOOOOOO! I am never letting you put a leash on me again! Get away!"

So that's that. I'm going to have to sneak up on him and put the leash on the next time I want to go. I may have to carry him, but I'm not leaving the house without him EVER!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


This is a picture of two of the Story Books I've made. The one on the left is my first one and it was the easiest to do. I just dragged and dropped my pictures into predesigned templates that I downloaded from my Creative Memories website. The books were made with the free software and the free templates, so all I had to pay for was the printing and binding of the book itself and shipping.

After making the first book, I was sold. It was fast, it was easy, and it looked great. And in the long-run, it was waaaaaaay cheaper than traditional scrapbooking. So now it's one of my favorite gifts to give. I'm giving the one on the right to my niece for her graduation gift. Yes, I'm a teensy bit late, but better late than never, right.

Here's one page from her book:

Now I'm using the Story Book Creator Plus Software, which is $59.95 and so worth it. With this software, I can alter the templates, or create my own pages from scratch. The best part is that I don't have to use just Creative Memories embellishments and papers. I can use the free stuff I get off the internet too. What a deal.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Fantastical, Amazing Tickler File

This, my friends, is my 1-31 Tickler File. I love my Tickler File. It keeps me sane. When I use this thing faithfully, I don't lose bills, important time-sensitive papers, reminder notes, you name it, it keeps my ducks in a row.

As you can see, it has 31 slots with the numbers 1-31. These numbers represent each day of any given month. If I have to remember to send money to school for pictures, lunches, field trips, whatever, I just stick it in the appropriate date slot and then I don't forget. If I need to mail a bill on the 10th of the month, I stick it in the 10 slot. If I need to remind myself to do something, especially something that will recur again and again, like sending lunch money to school or clean the litterbox, I write it on an index card and file it in the appropriate spot. I know this sounds pretty anal and, I agree, it is, but once I can write something down and file it away, I can purge it from my brain and it makes me less scatterbrained.

I found my 1-31 Tickler File at Target, but if you can't find one, you might try looking at the thrift store. Organizing junkies are always changing their systems and purging what doesn't work. In fact, I have put this system away a few times when I was trying to free up space on the top of my desk, but each time I did that I found that I couldn't live without it.

This is my Monthly Tickler file. This is where I unload things I'm procrastinating on making decisions about and things that occur on a yearly (or more often) basis. For example, in each month I have an index card with birthdays for the people I want to remember to send a card and/or present to. This releases me from writing all those dates on the calendar every January.

At the beginning of each month, I pull out that month's Monthly Tickler File and file its contents in my 1-31 desktop file thingie in the appropriate slots. I also put yearly reminders in these files to schedule things like vet appointments, my family's dentist appointments, etc. The possibilities are endless. If I need to remind myself about something that won't fit in the file, I write it on an index card with a note reminding me where I put the too big thing. Whatever I can do to free up valuable brain space, I'm on it.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Easy Salsa

If you like salsa, you must make this. It is the best salsa I have ever had, it tastes fresh, and it's easy. My mom originally got this recipe from Sunset Magazine back in the late 80s or early 90s. She made it for my wedding reception and the guests raved about it. Every time I make it I get compliments.

The best part about this recipe is how easy it is. All you need is a can of Mexican Style Stewed Tomatoes, onion, garlic, cilantro, lemon juice, and Tobasco Sauce. That's it!

The second best thing is that it stays fresh for several days in the refrigerator. You can add more or less cilantro, Tobasco, onion and/or garlic depending on your tastes. It's pretty hard to screw it up. 

Just make sure you have plenty of chips on hand if you're going to make this stuff. Yum!

Here's the recipe card. Enjoy!