Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sorry I've been gone

I swore I was going to do better. And really I am going to do better. This last week I've just been under the weather. First I had a sinus infection. Now I have bronchitis. I just started antibiotics today, hopefully tomorrow or the next day I'll feel more like spending some time on the computer.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Storing and Displaying Your Child's Artwork

Anyone who has a child or has had a child knows how much artwork children bring home from school and/or daycare. The preschool and kindergarten years produce enough artwork to fill a gallery.

When my daughter was young I thought or maybe I wanted to save everything she did. i quickly filled one of those 'under the bed' totes that is long enough to hold wrapping paper. Periodically I've gone through that tote and was able to part with enough things that I haven't yet had to buy another tote. Not that the things in there are any less cute now than they were then, it's just that now I keep something because it was particularly wonderful or (most importantly) it had a story that I remember from it. A tote of that size or shape may not be ideal for everyone. I started out with a big one but will probably not have to buy another one to hold her artwork for years if not forever. For us this option was a good one simply because it can be stored under a bed since we do not have large closets or much space in our home for storage.

Another option is to use plastic 12x12 scrapbook paper storage boxes. I had seen some in the Sunday ad for Michael's for $5 each. These would be a great option if you were only going to store papers (they are not deep enough to store craft items). Each school year (or a couple of years as they get older & you have less to save) could be put into each plastic scrapbook storage box.
April always wants us to hang up the pictures she makes in school. This is another common problem for parents. How can you display them besides by just taping them to a wall or sticking them on a fridge?

One option would be too find some hangers that you usually use to hang slacks (either the kind with the clamps or the wooden slat); paint the wooden part (if that the hanger type you chose want) a color to match your decor or leave it wooden if you choose. You can decorate the base of the hook, the clamps, or even wooden part with bows, beads, ribbon, etc. Then hang your child's artwork from the hanger. You can change the artwork as frequently as you want without ruining the picture or the walls with tape or tacks.

Another option for hanging the artwork is to hang some yarn, rope, or lightweight wire across the wall & use clothes pins to hold the artwork. You can decorate the clothes pins by gluing embellishments on them to match the room it's in or decorate clothes pins according to the season. Hang the artwork like you would hang clothes. The good thing is that whatever you are using as the "clothes line" doesn't need to be straight; actually it would look better if it weren't straight. Again you can change the artwork as frequently as you want without ruining your walls or the artwork.

Yet another idea to display your child's creative pictures is to display them in frames. To do this use some decorative frames, remove the glass (optional), add your picture, & hang the frames randomly on the wall. You can find affordable frames at craft stores, second hand stores, or even yard sales. Always make sure you check the corners to make sure they are good shape. Seems like all too frequently when I find a frame I like the corners are separating!
Do you have any ideas for storing or displaying your child's handiwork?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Storage Idea

The house we live in was built around 1920. This means the rooms and especially the closet space is pretty darn small. We have struggled since we had April to fit everything she has into one of the small bedrooms. It would be difficult with a good size closet, but with a closet that is literally only 6 inches wider than the closet door (which is a single door by the way) it is almost impossible. So her things flow into the other rooms also.

One idea we had thrown around was to replace her current bed with a loft bed so we could store things underneath. Of course we'd have to get one that wasn't very tall. I had mentioned a bunk bed some time ago but Layne didn't think that would work for us because we wouldn't gain any storage.

Then a local furniture store had this bunk bed on sale in their ad last weekend:

Soooooo.......... my idea is to buy this metal bunk bed, have April sleep on the top & use the bottom portion for storage. To do this we will put a piece of plywood (or something sturdy) on the bottom bunk to keep from having anything fall through the slats. Then we can stack totes, boxes, or even use the plastic drawer sets on the bottom bunk. If my daughter should have anyone sleep over we can remove the storage items and put an air mattress on the bottom bunk.

The next question is how to keep the bunk bed from looking junky & cluttered? Well, I've thought about this. What I have decided to do is to buy a cute shower curtain and shower curtain hooks & install them on the bed to "hide" the storage items. I thought it would be a cute way of incorporating some color & a cute design into her plain pink & purple room. : )

We ordered the bed on Friday and it is on backorder for now. We should receive it mid-February. I may buy a shower curtain before then, but will wait on the shower curtain rings - just to make sure that I get some that fit. If the bottom rung is too big in diameter we will have to get creative and find another way to hang them. (I'm thinking those office supply rings that you can get in various sizes perhaps.)

Where to go with this blog

I've been thinking for quite some time about what content I want to include on my blog. I guess the more I think about it I really want to get away from some of the personal "journal" type entries and perhaps go with something that is more of an interest to me.

So what have I decided I want to blog about? I think I really want to write about various tips. I don't want to limit myself to just household tips, althought that will probably be a frequent subject.

I know that one thing I am always looking for is a "tip". An easier way to do something or an alternative use for household products. I love coming up with new ways to use something & am always on the lookout for alternatives for storage or cleaning - as well as ways to save money & lose weight. So while my content will still be random it will also provide a tip or solution to a particular problem. This is really where my passion is - I think. : )

I have a binder full of tips that I have collected over the years. Some are from magazine cut-outs, others are just notes I've jotted down. I haven't blogged regularly over the past few months because I didn't know what I wanted to write about. The one thing I always came back to was "helpful tips" or "helpful hints".

When I first started this blog I included a tip each day. For some reason I quit doing that; I really think that's what I need to get back to. It's what I know, it's what I like. I want to write a blog that I would use & look forward to reading.

I guess I don't know if anyone even reads this blog anymore. If you do get ready for an exciting change! I'll be posting tips that everyone can use & benefit from. I'm very excited about this change & I hope you will be too. I won't change the name because the things I post will still be a little bit of "This & That". Check back later today for my first post!

Monday, January 11, 2010

My weekend

This weekend was really good. Especially considering it didn't start out so wonderful. My husband was going to have to work all day Saturday, which sucked. And our cold water pipes in the kitchen froze up, which also sucked. But (here's where the weekend starts to turn for the better) Layne only had to work 1/2 a day because they finished significantly quicker than they thought they would. When he got home he put a heater in the area of the basement where the kitchen pipes are and had water pretty soon (so they couldn't have been frozen up to much. Thank goodness!

I got all of my cleaning done on Saturday so that on Sunday all I had to do was a couple loads of laundry. It was a great feeling!

Layne & I signed up for a couples membership at a local gym. It's less than a mile away and it's open 24 hrs so it will be very convenient for us. He initially suggested it and honestly I didn't want to spend the money (it's not a lot of money, but still...) since we have a treadmill & a somewhat functioning bowflex machine in our basement already. I changed my mind when I went and spent 20 minutes jogging on the treadmill and still didn't even break a sweat because it was so cold down there. I'm one of those people who doesn't feel like I've exercised unless I have sweat running down my butt-crack. So working out in a freezing basement wasn't going to work for me. (And I'll never lose the remaining 10 pounds that the doctor tacked on at my last visit if I don't work out.) Luckily for us we didn't have to sign a yearly contract, it's just a month-to-month plan and since we signed up online there were also no membership fees. Our monthly fee will be $50.

Yesterday I decided to go check the gym out, wondering the entire way if we had made the right decision. I walked inside and honestly was a bit intimidated by all the equipment. I decided to start off with a treadmill (all the treadmills have TV screens on them - how cool is that!) since it would help get me warmed up and I already knew how to do those. : ) After walking and jogging on the treadmill I decided to move on to the weight machines. Each had a diagram and written steps to ensure you knew how to use the machine and did it properly. I was in heaven!!! I used to lift weights in high school (during cheerleading competition season) and loved it then. I forgot just how much I liked it. I did an amount of weight on each machine that wasn't too much and I didn't do too many reps because I knew I'd pay for it. When I left the gym I was excited that we had joined.

April and I played a game called Shut the Box last night. She borrowed the game from my mom, which honestly I wasn't happy about because I don't usually enjoy playing games too much and I didn't want another box sitting around on one of our tables collecting dust. Well, I was wrong to think it wouldn't get used! I think we played a dozen games last night and it was really a lot of fun. Some of the games went by fast and others seemed to take forever! I was so glad later in the night that April had borrowed the game. It gave us a chance to play something that wasn't difficult, didn't have a lot of pieces, and most of all it gave us a chance too enjoy each other - which was the best thing of all.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Things I'd like to work on in 2010

This year I have quite a few things I want to work on and improve in myself. I don't really want to call them resolutions, but quite honestly resolutions are made to be broken. Here are the things I want to work on/do:

1. Work harder to make sure I get my daily devotion in.
2. Lose another 10 pounds - recommended by the doctor, not simply just me getting carried away with losing weight.
3. Blog more frequently. These last couple months I have been terrible about blogging. Things were so busy and quite honestly blogging wasn't at the top of my 'to do' list. I've really missed it though.
4. Enjoy my family more and try not to stress so much when we are together.
5. Work on being more spontaneous. This is a huge struggle for me. If you want to really freak me out or even piss me off then show up and demand I do something spontaneous with you. This is something that I have rarely ever been.
6. Spend some time every week getting rid of clutter and trying to organize my house.
7. Be more patient with my daughter and do more fun things with her. This weekend we spent time playing legos, doing puzzles, and other things and we both enjoyed it so much and spent a lot less time arguing.

I know there are more things I want to do or to work on but I think these are the ones I really care about.