Wednesday, February 23, 2011


As a mom of 3 kids 4 and Life. gets. messy!
(in more ways than one...)

I have this terrible fantasy of being cutely dressed, hair and make up done, children in actual clothing (not counting pjs past 3pm) and my house being.....CLEAN. And having people randomly stop by when this has all occurred. That's the big part of the fantasy. The whole timing of the people randomly stopping by part.

I was NOT a clean child growing up. My favorite part about sharing a room with my 5-years-younger brother (when we were little) was that I could blame messes on him and usually sucker him into cleaning it up got to spend lots of quality time with him. (ehm)

But seriously. It. was. bad. I had multiple black garbage bags of STUFF stuffed in the back of my closet. You know when you start to clean something and then decide to deep clean and get super organized and then what was previously pretty clean to begin with becomes this ginormous mess and it's totally intimidating/depressing because you were just trying to clean??

yeah. Hate that. So.... I would take all that junk that didn't have an easy-to-put-away spot and shove it in a garbage bag in my closet. (eh, hi mom!)

*Please note: I never had old food/rotting stuff/gross things lying about. And i could usually walk fine in my room. Unlike my friend who had a COUCH in her room and couldn't remember where it was(!) and when I went over to force her to let me help her clean her room we found various food items and packages...
(hehe MT! :P)

In that regard, at least, I have changed. A. lot. I can be a little OCD about cleaning. well. maybe not really. but I'd like to be OCD about cleaning...
I'm definitely much, much, MUCH cleaner now than I was as a teen.

Anyways. While my house is moooosssst definitely not always (or even frequently) cleaned- it generally is CLEAN. It may be strewn with childrens' clothing articles, toys, and the occasional diaper ripped off by our trying-to-potty-train 2 yr old...but! underneath that's clean. :)


I know I have odd cleaning 'issues'. Don't we all? My friend gets the heebies from dirty microwaves. I get the heebies from dirty bathroom baseboards. Seriously. That grosses me out major. ehk. I'd like to keep the walls clean, remember to actually wash sheets, wipe the outsides of our black kitchen appliances (side note: I will NEVER EVER EVER go with black kitchen appliances again. EH.VER.)

But how the heck am I supposed to remember these things?!?

Well! I found something (and by 'found' I mean 'created') that works. For me.
I print this beauty out each month- and then it helps me keep track of what I've done when and making sure I get it all done.
(at least that's the theory..)

Menu Chalkboard

With baby #4 on the way, I'm trying to get as organized as possible. Part of that plan is to make feeding my family easier. My goal is to have a monthly menu and then 3 months of supplies for those meals in my pantry (at least all the non-perishable parts!). Hopefully, this will make grocery shopping a lot smoother too. After all, one more child makes getting to the grocery store all the more challenging! I'll post more on that as it progresses.

But for now, I have a little craft to share with you that I'll be using to post weekly meals for my family.

I started with this cute cut-out of an apple that my sister made for me. She sketched it on a scrap piece of MDF board and used her jig-saw to cut it out.

I lightly sanded any bumps on the edge and then painted with chalkboard paint. There was lots of gunk that had settled to the bottom of the can which took a TON of stirring to mix it all in!

I then carefully painted two coats, because painting 2 or 3 light coats are ALWAYS better than one gloopy coat! Also, I was careful to only paint in one direction (I did up and down) to keep the grain consistent. It makes the surface much easier to write on.

Because I actually planned on writing on this chalkboard, I needed to prep it. Using the side of a piece of chalk, I just rubbed chalk all over the writing surface.

Then, using a chalk eraser (NOT A WET CLOTH) I wiped off the extra dust. And there was a LOT of dust!

Although it takes away the crisp blackness of the board, if this prep step is skipped--you will not be able to erase anything you write very well. Trust me. I've learned the hard way!

Did I mention it makes a LOT of dust?

Next time I'll put a plastic drop-cloth down before I prep it! Cean-up would have been SO MUCH EASIER if I could have just gathered up the plastic and shaken it off outside!

Here it is . . . all ready for a meal plan!

I think it needs a little color--maybe some ribbon around the top or outside edge. What do you think?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Keep the Love Alive - Group Date

My hubbins and I hosted our first ever 'adults-only' dinner party/triple date.

(we live in an incredibly smallll town with not. much. to do. So 3 of us couples decided to save money/have fun/and doe something different by swap-hosting a dinner/date night once a month. An idea I would totally recommend.)

Seeing as this was just days after V-day (of the loving variety) we thought it would be fun to do some lovey-theme.

I made these hearts (would anyone like a tutorial for that?)
(KIDDING! KIDDING!) that doubled as place cards/tags/name plates/subtle-declarations-of-where-you-are-expected-to-sit-and-you-better-not-try-sitting-anywhere-else/ whatever they're called AND name tags. (even though we all knew each others' names..)
(yes, 'Tyler' did have a lovely companion also. I think she just loved her elaborate name tag so much she decided to take it home. Can't blame her, really. :P)

On the back of each was written a type of command: i.e.:
When someone laughs, you comment on the weather.
When someone takes a drink, say "whee!"
When someone says "Love" wink at your spouse
When someone coughs, mention one of your favorite things


It was a fun and easy way to make the dinner itself a little more exciting and entertaining.

Afterward we play this great game similar to The Newlywed Game, but mormonified. :)
Celestial Companions (this is the cheapest I've seen it- totally worth $10. :) )

All in all, it was a blast- and can't wait for next month! :)

Keepin' it Real

"Ah, yes. Our sweet boy? Yes. He is magically potty-trained." *pause* " Oh no, it wasn't a nightmare at all! Really- like magic! 100% potty trained! (except at night, of course..)" *pause* "Our secret? Well- I'm certain we've tried bribing with candy before, but for some reason this go-round it clicked. Not a single accident. No siree! Not one. " *pause* "Oh, yes. I understand. Most parents wish they had our children. I think the real secret is in the parenting!"

House wonderfully cleaned before hosting our first ever 'adults only' dinner party.

why, yes. that IS what you are afraid it is.

about 30 min. before go time, I'm in the kitchen doing last minute dinner prep.
meanwhile in the front room:
"Christian! What letter is this? Huh? What letter? What letter is this? What letter? Christian, what letter is this? What letter?"

"Here, pal, show mama- I can tell you what leCHAAAAAAAANNNNNNIINNNNNNGGG!!!! Nooooo! Buddy!! No!!!"

please admire the culprit's delightful scowl along with the modernesque empty hanging frames.
Same kid. Same stinker.

Yes. The secret must be in the parenting.


Friday, February 11, 2011

Keepin' it Real

What does 1:00 church, a sick dad, and a mom who spent the day in meetings look like?

Cereal & milk for dinner . . .


falling asleep in your bowl!