Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Life in General.

A few things to share this morning...

1. Yoplait Light Strawberry Shortcake yogurt DOES NOT really taste like strawberry shortcake.

2.  It's cold, rainy, and gloomy here today and that makes me want to crawl right back into bed.

3.  I've worked out two mornings in a row and I think that I'm going to croak.  It's not that I'm sore, exactly.  I just feel really weighted down.  Everything I do is ve--rr--y slow.  It will get better right? 

4.  Where are those endorphins I read so much about?

5.  Noah the fish is dying.  He's been sick since before Christmas and I've done everything I can to make him better, but he just gets worse. 

6.  This has prompted many questions about illness and death and why God lets these things happen.  You know--those easy questions!

7. And speaking of questions, here is a conversation I had with my son yesterday...
     Connor: Mom, what is your favorite thing in the world?
     Me: You're my favorite thing.
     Connor: Oh, I thought money was your favorite thing because you're always talking about    how you wish you had more of it.

The awards ceremony for Mom-of-the-Year will be held this weekend, but I was--OBVIOUSLY--not nominated!!!

What's happening in your neck of the woods? 
(Don't you just love a blog post with an Al Roker reference?)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Hello Monday.

Pinterest via
Today, I'm linking up with Lisa to say...Hello Monday!

Pinterest via
Hello to getting things done.

Pinterest via
Hello warm-ish weather in January.

Pinterest via
Hello to the second week of classes and finding my groove.

Pinterest via
Hello to making progress with my dining area plans.
Pinterest via
Hello to setting goals and working towards them!

Pinterest via
Hello to my never-ending, Pinterest-induced daydreams!

Pinterest via

Have a great Monday!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

What else?

Hello!  I disappeared for the weekend.  Did you notice?  I/we have been busy getting ready for the start of a new semester around here.  This semester marks the beginning of my fifth year of teaching for a local community college and Jason is set to teach an evening class at a different local college.  He's teaching Abnormal Psychology and I just wonder how often I'll be used as an example.  Hmmm.

What else?  No progress has been made in the dining room.  Well, that's not true.  On Saturday, I hung a shelf on the wall and left it there for about two hours.  It looked fine, but a bit more "country" than I want so I took it down and added it to the pile of junk stacked in the guest room.  I've spent the last three days trying to determine exactly what I want to put up instead, but no big ideas have emerged.  Well, actually 213 ideas have emerged but have since been tossed out.  I say I'm indecisive, but Jason says that I'm ______?  (A:  insane, B:  annoying, C:  abnormal, or D:  all of the above)

Look at that!  I just wrote the first question for his midterm!

What else?  In the last six days, I have dealt with a plumber, a dentist, a kindergarten teacher, and a mechanic.  Lovely.  My favorite was the mechanic because he gave me a new key fob-lock opener thingy for my car.  Now, with the push of a button, I can unlock or lock all of my doors and/or trunk.  Before today, I could unlock the driver's door and lock the passenger door--but not the other way around.  

I can live without a lot of little extras, but the key fob-lock opener thingy is truly awesome!  Now I just have to figure out a way to keep Jason from losing it.

What else?  Ummm.  I guess I'm done.  I'll be running to the library now to return two movies I haven't yet watched.  I say "no!" to over-due fees.  It may cost me the same amount in gas to go out of my way to return them, but by golly they'll be turned in on time. 

Plus, I'll get to unlock my car with my new toy!

Friday, January 13, 2012

China Cabinet: All Dressed Up and Ready to Go.

Are you tired of my dining area yet?
I am. 
Here are some pictures of my "finished" china cabinet. 
It took an embarrassingly long time for me to get to this point...

See all of that stuff on the bottom shelf there?
After one night of living with it this way I fought my natural clutter instincts and cleared it down to this:
My new mantra:  Less is more...Less is more...Less is more...
Must keep reminding self.  : )

Hope that you all have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

They've Got Me Surrounded.

Good Morning!  Here I sit, surrounded by the contents of my china cabinet. 
It turns out that I've been avoiding this particular cleaning/organizational task for a reason.  It's bad.  Really bad.  I found: 
  • Fiestaware (plates, platters, serving dishes, two gravy boats!)
  • Wedding china (very pretty, though sadly never once used in the last 8 years)
  • Stemware (I have approximately 30 wine glasses and only two have ever been used)
  • Five deviled egg plates
  • Four teapots
  • 22 clear jars & bottles
  • a hammer
  • two measuring tapes
  • two ice picks
  • Two dogs, a rooster, a hen, a bear, and a duck
Add in about 273 other serving dishes or miscellaneous items and you'd have a pretty good idea of the mess I have created.  The hardest part is knowing where to put it all.  I don't really want to get rid of these things, but I only have 8 kitchen cabinets so the bottom portion of this cabinet could be really handy for extra casserole dishes and small appliances--things that I use all of the time.  I'm thinking that the best choice is to box up a lot of the pretties that I'm not going to use for decorating right now and store them in the garage or attic.  Not the most exciting way to spend my day, but I think that it will be nice to reclaim this cabinet! 

So day two of dining area chaos begins. Please don't feel jealous of my exciting life!

What do you have planned for today?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Dining Area Disaster.

Do you remember yesterday when I showed you a picture of my living room, taken from my dining area?  Well, here is the dining area, taken from the living room:
See?  I told, you it was cozy!  Want to see more?  Here is a really dark picture of our window:
Yes, that is an office chair.  I like our dining chairs, but they aren't so cozy for extended periods of looking at Pinterest working.
Even though this is a tiny space, it needs a lot of help.  I have a pretty clear picture of what I'd like to do in here, but the first step is to work on the china cabinet.  It needs serious cleaning and organization!  Here's a closer look:
While I really love my Fiestaware, I think that I'm ready for a calmer, more neutral look in here, so stay tuned to see what I come up with and wish me luck!  I'm really good at coming up with a plan, but not so great at the execution...

P.S.  Does everyone have a bear, a dog, and a hen lurking in their china cabinet or is it just me?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Organized Chaos.

I think that I mentioned that I am trying to spruce up our home, one room at a time.  My goal is to work on one room each month, but it turns out that I'm pretty poky, so it may take longer.  (Note:  Yes, mom and dad.  I can hear your opinions regarding the fact that it's been 9 months since I promised to finish painting my dining room and kitchen and it's still not done.  I know that having two-tone walls looks silly.  I recognize that I am slow and perhaps a bit lazy/crazy.  Now pipe down!).  : )

Okay.  Where was I?  Oh, yeah.  I'm working on one room at a time and I thought that it would be appropriate to start with our dining area because it's smack dab in the middle of our house and it's where I spend most of my time.  Here is a peak of the view when standing in the dining area and looking at our living room:
I took this picture to prove that I did, indeed, complete my 1000 piece Christmas puzzle present!  You can see that our house is pretty cozy (i.e., small).  The kitchen is just to the left of the table and these three areas (the kitchen, dining area, and living room) comprise the entire living area of our home.  I'll show some more pictures of the dining area tomorrow, but what I really want to share today is this:
This is my new organizational system (and the world's oldest working cell phone)!  Please ignore the fact that the white cabinet (A) doesn't work well with any other surface finish in this area; and (B) makes things look very cramped.  I've decided to ignore these facts for now and go with it.  Instead, please notice the fancy wire file thingy, the binder, and the basket.

I saw this idea (from a blog called Lovely Crafty Home) on Pinterest and it inspired my little system.  I really like the container used in the original picture better than mine, but I decided to use what I already had.  I'm cheap that way.  Here is a close-up of my new system:
This has improved the quality of my life exponentially because it provides me a central stuffing location for all of the forms, calendars, reading logs, etc. that Connor brings home from school!  Always before, I would take them into the guest room, toss them towards the desk, and pray that the school paper fairies would come out to deal with them at night.  Now, I don't have to walk those extra steps!  : )  Seriously, though, it's been nice to have a central location for all of the things I need to keep track of.  And even better--it has allowed me to clear off our refrigerator.  Mostly. 

Wire file thingy = Awesomeness.  Who knew?

So what's the other stuff, you wonder?  The binder is for my work papers (class rosters, discussion board feedback forms, reminders, etc.)  I do 99.9% of my work at the kitchen table so it just makes sense for my work materials to have a home nearby.  The little basket is full of pens, pencils, a calculator, and post-it notes.  The little flowered notepad needs to find a new home, but it's currently full of measurements for various projects so I'm keeping it here for now.

And that's it.  I'm completely organized now.  Ha!
Maybe someday I'll be completely organized, but this is one small step...

Monday, January 9, 2012


  • the sun was shining.
  • I took my car to the "car doctor" and discovered that every last thing that is wrong with it is covered by our warranty!
  • I had an unexpected, but lovely lunch date with my husband.
  • our son came home with a very good report card.  I'm so happy!  And a little relieved.
  • I tried not to freak out over the fact that my baby is half way through kindergarten!
  • I finished reading The Help.  I really loved it.  Now, I'm ready to see the movie.
  • I ignored the fact that our Christmas tree is still up!  All ornaments are put away.  Every other Christmas decoration has found its way back into storage, but the Christmas tree?  Still up. 
  • I thought about decorating my tree with Valentine's day ornaments.  I'm pretty sure that Jason will be opposed, but I might find support amongst the kid contingent.
  • I made zero progress on my housekeeping and redecorating projects.
  • I wondered why my face is breaking out the way it did when I was 16.. .
  • I wondered if they still make Sea Breeze...  (I checked.  They do.)
  • I decided that it might be time to find a good skin care line for the 40-year-old woman who not only needs to combat wrinkles, spots, and dark circles, but also acne.  Any advice?
  • I considered joining the battle to have my name added to the Virginia primary ballot.  I'm pretty sure that I can turn this country around if someone will just give me a chance.  : )
  • I chuckled at that thought until I realized that running for office might just be my best chance for finding a new job.  Let's examine my credentials: I'm old enough.  I'm a U.S. citizen (with a birth certificate to prove it). I look a lot like Newt Gingrich. I don't have any really great ideas, but I like to talk a lot. My memory of U.S./World history & geography may be a bit shaky, but I'm pretty good at shifting blame to other people.  I really, really like meetings--especially the kind where you don't really get anything done, but you get to eat really nice pastries.  Hmmm... I'll keep working on this.
And on that happy note, I'm off to putter...

Sunday, January 8, 2012

the glass is half full.

Source:  Pinterest via Jennifer Kershner
I have a confession:  I am generally a "glass is half empty" person.
I can be pessimistic, gloomy, even a little paranoid, feeling like the world is out to get me.  Sarcasm is my friend.  There are days when every sentence that comes out of my mouth is some type of complaint.
Source:  Pinterest via Martina Qualls
Not too long ago, Connor asked me to stop being such a "grumpy old lady."
Um, yeah.  I'm a real joy to be around.
Source:  Pinterest via Sara Kate
In my defense, there is a lot about my life that would make even Pollyanna scream in frustration.  The Dalai Lama might have some serious questions about what evils I committed in my past lives to earn me such stellar karma in this one.  The saying:  If she didn't have bad luck, she'd have no luck at all.  I think that was written about me.

But, in my occasional "glass is half full" moments, I recognize my blessings.  I have a healthy son.  I have a cozy home.  I have a patient husband.  I have a car that runs.  We have plenty of food, clean water, money to pay the electric bill.  I have a tremendous amount of freedom almost every single day.  This is just the short list.

I am truly blessed.
And I really want to focus on that throughout this next year. 
I want to let go of all of my frustration and worry and fear.
I want to live the gratitude I feel rather than the grumpiness.
Source:  Pinterest via Sandra H
So, I'm trying out some strategies that might make this easier:
  • I'm working on some home beautification projects, but working really hard to focus on what I do have rather than what I don't have.  For example, I don't have money to buy custom curtains for my house, but I do have the creativity and mad sewing skills (ha!) to sew new curtains out of the ticking stripe fabric I found at the discount fabric store this week.  Or, I don't have money to buy new knick knacks and pictures to hang in our dining area, but I can search through all of the stuff I already have and come up with, what I hope will be, a cute little arrangement. 
  • I'm planning some crafty projects just for our house.  I almost never take the time to make things for our everyday use, but we need new potholders and chair cushions and a few other things and I've been having a lot of fun thinking of how to make some.  Not to mention, it gives me an excuse to peruse Pinterest for hours on end.  : )
  • I'm trying to stick to a housekeeping schedule so that I feel less overwhelmed by all of the little things that pile up.  I really hate cleaning.  I wish I didn't, but I do, and I'm just going to have to get over it.
  • Source:  Pinterest via Marlena Porter
  • Perhaps, most importantly, I'm trying to teach myself to stop. stressing. out. over. things. that. are. out. of. my. control.  I'm trying to remember--at the beginning of a freak-out--to take a deep breath, say a quiet prayer, and move on to something else.  This is not easy for me.  At all. 
So, on that note, I'm sending out positive thoughts this evening, hoping that everyone has a wonderful week.  I'll be here, focusing on the happy in my life. 
Even if it kills me.  : )
Source:  Pinterest via Jemm

Friday, January 6, 2012


Just finished volunteering at Connor's school.
Now I'm off to buy more fabric!!!

I feel cheerful!

Have a great Friday...

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Last Day of Vacation!

Today is Connor's last day of Christmas vacation! 
  • It's been a good break and today we have plans to get together with friends, spend lots of time playing, and relax just a bit before jumping back into our regular routine.
  • Connor is not feeling ready to go back to school tomorrow, but I think he'll be happy once he gets there.
  • I'm not feeling ready to supervise the getting-ready-for-school process, but I think I'll be happy once it's complete.
  • I have a long to-do list for this week and I'm anxious to get started.  I working on a plan that I hope will help me get our house into shape.  I'll be back to share that tomorrow! 
Enjoy the day!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

It's a new year.
A fresh start.
The first square on a new calendar.

I love that "I can do anything" feeling that envelops me every January 1st.
That "I have goals and they're as good as done" attitude.

Here's hoping that this energy and happy feeling lasts all year long for all of us!