Friday, October 22, 2010


Have you seen the new Patty Young fabrics?!  I can't wait to get my hands on some of the knits (!) to make up a couple of dresses from her new Penny pattern.  Head over to her blog and check it all out.  She currently has a give away going on until Sunday.  (My chances of being the winner now went down a bit, but I couldn't keep it to myself. )

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tuesday's Tip of the Week

Good Morning, Y'all!

I don't have a tip for you today, but am asking for tips instead.

Let me explain.

In my mind, very few others are as big a slacker as I am.  Examples?  Right now I have a load in the washing machine that I'm pretty sure I'll have to re-wash, all the bathrooms need a good cleaning and a mop just isn't going to cut it on the kitchen floor this time.  Probably TMI, but it is true.

So, this time around, I'm asking you all to share your cleaning schedules.  Do you have one?  Do you have certain days or even times of the day that you do a specific job?  How do you start supper ahead if things are air/time sensitive?  Are there little secrets to multitasking better with the little ones?

This isn't a pity party.  I feel a bit overwhelmed at times, but I know it is just the stage of life I'm in.  And, quite frankly, most of the time I am my own worst enemy.  Just wanting some good ideas to implement in my life to make things even better in our home life.  Comments would be greatly appreciated this time around.  :) Leave one here or head on over to Facebook and leave one there.

Thanks in advance!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Biggest Project of All

Have you ever gotten a quote for having someone come in and do any sort of contracted service?  Yeah?  Um, have you ever seen the amount listed on the line for labor?  Wow!  The bigger the project, the more zero's there are on that line of the quote.  I know it is well deserved money for their time and effort.  And, IF we couldn't do the job ourselves, we would gladly have that work done by someone else.   So, when we started looking into getting a deck on the back of our house, 'sticker shock' is a mild way of stating our reaction to the quote given to us.  

Fortunately (or unfortunately - depending on how you look at it), my husband and I are 'cut from the same cloth'.  We really needed wanted a deck.  Perfect time for the 'I Can Do That' Monster (?) to enter the picture.  (Even my practical husband suffers from this illness on occasion.  :)  So, plans were drawn up, permits requested and granted and products purchased.  My dad was even nice enough to help in the project since I was once again pregnant and just overall a huge wimp.

It wouldn't be a true project if there were no unforeseen problems, right?  Like - 1.  The ground breaking started during the hottest week of the year in MAY! (Temps above 100 F - Who'da thunk?!)  2.  We sit on one huge pile of rock - limestone, I believe.  And, 3.  Kevin had several business trips that were made between start of the project and winter setting in.

We Kevin resumed the project this spring and has finally finished his biggest project to date.  I'm extremely proud of him and his hard work.  We've even had a final inspection and passed with no problem!

I can't believe how nice it is to have the extra space and the access to the back yard from the kitchen.  The kids are loving it too.  Here are a few pictures of the deck project, start to finish, for you to enjoy.
The back of the house (pre-purchase, I believe).
Jackhammering the rock out to get to code depth.

Isn't it lovely?  Not much dirt in with all that rock.
Taking a break.  Notice all the Gatorade?

Filling the forms.

Various stages of the support structure going up.
Taking another break.  Kevin had a sinus infection during this week, too.  He could barely breathe.  Poor Baby. :(

There is about a 12 foot drop at outside edge of the deck and those pressure treated boards were wet and heavy.

The last day Dad was here to help.  So much done, but still a lot of work to do!

Look!  Decking!

View from one of the upstairs windows.
There is a big jump now to the work that was done at the very end.  Even our oldest got in on the action.
The big finish!!  An extra 325 sq ft of usable outdoor living space!

We keep waivering between staining this fall or waiting until spring.  It will probably be done this fall leaving the stairs to weather and then be stained in the spring.

Now,  to get Kevin started on his next project! Mwa hahaha! {laughing evilly and rubbing hands together}

Friday, October 15, 2010

A Moment

Things a have been moving right along here in the Wise home.  We have several things going on right now and sadly they require no crafting, power tools or paint.

I did take a few moments to sit down with the kids and do a little holiday decorating. :)

Those nails are little!  And hard to paint when attached to a 3 year old wiggle worm.  :)  Painting was done with a toothpick since I couldn't locate my artist brushes.  She loved every minute of it, though.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tuesday's Tip of the Week

Fresh baked bread!  Yum!

Well, this is the closest this family is going to get from me for quiet awhile.

Here's what you do.

Purchase the big package of 12 inch wheat hoagies (6 ct) from Sam's Club.  And freeze them.  Yep.  Just toss those puppies in the freezer.

(I know, I know.  Bread just doesn't taste right or have a good texture after being frozen and then thawed.   Trust me on this one.  I can't stand bread after it has been frozen, but this little trick makes all the difference.) 

Now.  The next meal you need some yummy fresh bread, all you have to do is pull one (or any number) out of your freezer and put it in the oven.  Here's the trick.

Start with a cold oven.  Put your frozen bread in said oven.  Turn it on to 350* to preheat with the frozen bread in the oven.  (My oven takes 6.5 minutes to preheat to this temperature.)

After the temperature is reached, turn the oven off.  You now have two options depending on personal preference.  For a crispier, crunchier crust on the bread, pull the bread out of the oven and slice and serve.  (Just make sure the center is completely thawed.)  Option two is for a softer outside.  To achieve this, after the bread is sliced, wrap it in aluminum foil and put it back in the warm oven.  Pull it back out when ready to sit down and eat.  You can butter or season before or after wrapping it in foil.  (We typically do option two.)

It's that simple.  Really!  I can't tell the difference between bringing it home from the store and eating it right away or thawed.  Makes my life so much easier at meal time and the kids love it!

I've got some hamburger buns in the freezer on which to try this method.  I'll let you know how it works out the next time we have hamburgers.  

Hope this helps you all.  Let me know if you have the same results after trying this little trick.

Monday, October 11, 2010


I'm trying to get our living room functional.  You know.... a couple of end tables for setting a drink on, some lamps for reading and looking at magazines in the evening and just an overall cozy atmosphere.  I'm not having much luck.

Scale.  UGH!  Scale is not my friend right now.  I'm playing nice and giving in to my husband's request that his recliner be included in the seating.  This thing is massive.  However, he is happy - and that's what really matters, right?  (Yeah, I'm still trying to convince myself on that one, too.)

What do you think?

Something like this.......

Or this?

In the top picture the 'table' is too small.  (Plus, it's baskets turned upside down and stacked.)  In the second picture the table seems too big.  Or does it look better here?
No.  It's just not wide enough here.  I should just put it back where it was in the kitchen.

And the lamp!  I thought this would be perfect when looking at it in the store, but now I'm not sure about that either.  Maybe I should go with a floor lamp instead.

Hmmmm......... Any suggestions?  

Friday, October 8, 2010

Bar Conversion

If you know me personally, you know I don't drink - alcohol, that is.  There isn't even a desire to.  I won't get in to all the who's, what's and why's about that, but just know that I don't.  :)  I mean, can you see me with a 'cold one' in my hand?  I think the closest I've come is IBC.  It's outrageously funny to even think about.  But, I digress.

So.  What do you do when you buy a house with, I suppose, something called a 'dry bar'?  Well, up until the other day, this space has just been a huge clutter catching area.  We have a LOT of clutter in this house.  ;)

We've also been struggling to keep school information and homework organized and contained.  My oldest comes home with 2 packets of homework on Monday that are due by Friday.  This makes it nice to have the possibility to get extra work done, but can make it difficult to keep it put up out of the reach of the little siblings.  She has had to turn in no less than 2 O originals on math work to date.  I can also grab things without paying full attention to where I move them.  (Does every mother do this?)

We needed a solution to both problems.  Can you guess after all the rambling what it is?  Yep.  The bar area is now our School/Homework Center.  See?

I didn't take a before picture to avoid the embarrassment for me and the horror for you.  You're welcome.

The wall file has a spot for each school age child and another spot devoted to the homework of the week.  I think I could actually use another one, but this is working out.  Instead of hanging it on the wall with screws or even the adhesive strips that came with it, I used some Command Picture Hanging Strips.  Love these — especially on my freshly painted walls.  :)

Underneath that we have all the necessary tools for completing said homework:  writing utensils, pencil sharpener, speakers (to hook up the IPhone for some tunes),  baby monitor, and tissues (homework time is stressful around here).

The laptop is there just because we haven't found a better place for it.  That goes for the Paul Harris bag holding all the current library books, too.

One of these days I envision a couple of stools placed under the bar for the kids to sit on and do homework, I just haven't found any that I really like.  We have time for that later on, anyway.  For now this area is housing all diapering paraphernalia and our TV trays.  It works.

I've got all the hair accessories in this area, too.  The kid's bath is upstairs.  And, while it might be beneficial for my heart, thighs and derrière to have the multiple trips up and down the stairs in the morning, I'll choose to get the exercise in some other fashion.  (or not)  Thank you very much!

This completes the tour of the newly converted space.  I want to get a calendar on the wall above the file soon.  That should help me remember important school dates, functions and field trips.  I'm thinking it would be good to have the lunch menu up there as well.

I'm very optimistic this space is going to make things much easier on us in the homework department.  Have I missed anything?  What do you all do to keep schoolwork organized at home?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Living Room Layer 1 Reveal

Here it is!!

Yep.  I'm uber excited about this one!

Quick reminder what we started with.....

Flat, contractor beige.  Unexciting and uninspiring.

Now.  Here is the new and improved living space.  {squeal!}

I am loving the colour!!  (Had to upgrade it with a 'u', I'm so pleased!)  I'd be willing to paint the whole house in this color.  Is it a huge difference? No.  But, it is a warmer, cozier color in the space.

Want another view?  I thought so.

Oh, our poor saggy, baggy couches.  :(

I have one last little corner to paint, but I need help moving the cabinet that resides there.  Once that is done, I'll start working on Layer 1-B.  For a hint on what that might be, look at the before picture.  Hmmm.  (finger tapping chin and snotty smirk in place.)

Some wonderful friends have kids #3 and #4 with them at the zoo today.  I'm fighting the urge to just sit back and rest.  I really ought to finish the laundry.  OH!  I know.  Time to sew!

**Paint color is Gobi Desert by Behr

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tuesday's Tip of the Week

Painting the living room has been my goal this week.  I would love to tell you I'm finished, but I can't.  *sigh*  Just a few too many things to do during the day to be able to focus on painting.  I am working hard to get it presentable to take pictures and post tomorrow.

As a result of trying to do too much, I have a great tip of the week.  Usually,  I am OCD about making sure my painting supplies and tools are cleaned right away.  This last time I made sure the brush was cleaned, but did no more than just set the empty paint tray to the side to fix supper.  Guess what -  I completely forgot about it.  Imagine that!!  {Okay.  Not such a big surprise.}  Such a happy mistake, though!

The absolute easiest clean up I believe I've ever had.  I'm really tempted to do this every time.  Every last bit of paint came out of the tray and I was able to just start anew.

So, if you ever don't have time or just totally forget about cleaning out the paint tray, no worries about the resulting dried latex paint.  There was something almost satisfying/therapeutic about getting to pull all that out, too.


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