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Sunday, May 3, 2015

Weekly Goals: May 3-9

Earlier this week, Jonah asked if I would draw a picture of the snake creature from his Ninjago movie.  In high school and college, I actually used to draw and paint fairly often, but I haven't done a lot since then.  I ended up drawing about six different people and creatures for the boys to color.  A good reminder from the kids to never stop being creative...

Last Week's Goals:
  • Price everything for the garage sale. I finished Thursday night, and we had our sale Friday and Saturday.
  • Figure out May birthday presents. I ordered Mother's Day cards and figured out about half of the presents, plus I made a list so I won't forget anyone!
  • Do the May church newsletter. Done! I also discovered that I can do a church newsletter in about 2 hours if I need to.  Someday I'll learn not to procrastinate...
This Week's Goals:
  • Move my craft stuff into the extra room upstairs.  Since we've decided to homeschool (again), we're going to use the other half of the toy room downstairs for our school room.  Now that the garage sale stuff is out of the extra room upstairs, it will become the craft room.  Once those spaces get a little more complete, I'll post before and afters on the blog!
  • Work my way through my spring cleaning checklist.  I have 10-15 extra cleaning tasks that I've written down but haven't done yet.
  • Figure out an Iron Craft project for the current challenge.  The theme is "faux", to make something that looks like something else.  I have no ideas right now.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Garden Beginnings

About a month ago, we started our seeds inside.  I had been saving egg cartons for this, and the boys helped poke holes in the bottom for water drainage.  

We (and by "we" I mean Jesse) planted them in the egg cartons.  Unfortunately, they didn't get labeled before the boys started bringing them in to put them on our card table.  Mystery plants!
We had seeds for carrots, bell peppers, jalapenos, tomatoes, and lettuce.

After a couple weeks, Jesse transplanted some of the thriving plants into plastic cups, because they had outgrown the egg cartons but weren't ready for outside yet.  He put these on dark towels to help them really soak up the sun and stay warm, since we don't have a heating lamp.
(I can't figure out why this picture won't rotate in the blog post. It's not sideways on my computer!)

At that point he also planted some additional seeds, yellow squash and dill.  The squash and dill are growing well, as are about a third of the egg carton plants.  The 5 egg cartons in the picture above didn't really grow well, probably because they didn't get quite as much heat and sunlight.  Live and learn!
Earlier this week, our church president came by and tilled up the land behind our garage.  It's a huge plot!  I don't know that we'll even be able to fill it, but it's awesome to have this much space!  We're going to work on putting up a chicken wire fence around it to hopefully keep out the rabbits.  If you look really closely, you can also see our compost pile behind the garage to the right of the garden.  More about that next week!

Jesse picked up four more tomato plants, four red pepper plants, and four jalapeno plants, which are a little bit farther along than our seeds.  We're hoping to transplant everything to the garden in a few weeks.

We're still pretty much novices at this since we only had our two tomato plants in pots last year.  Any advice for beginners?  I know a lot more about the saving the produce once it's actually grown than I do about growing it...

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

My 5-Minute Decluttering Trick

A couple papers from the mail that need to be dealt with.  A broken toy on the kitchen counter.  A wall hanging that just hasn't found the perfect spot yet.  We all have these little bits of life that clutter our homes.

I don't know about you, but cluttered surfaces drive me crazy!  After looking around my home and seeing all of these little bits of things that didn't belong, I came up with a solution to clear the clutter: a "deal with it" box.
I grab an empty box from the recycling and take five minutes to walk around and grab everything that doesn't belong.  I'm not worried about finding a home for things, or taking care of them.  I am simply removing them from all the spaces they hide in plain sight.

And a crazy thing happens.  As I'm gathering things, I find a few to put away.  I end up taking care of some of those loose ends that have been sitting out "until I get to them".

Yes, some things are still in the box at the end of the day.  But by clearing off the extra clutter from the surfaces in my home, I'm greeted with a calmer, less stressful house, and I'm motivated to keep it that way.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Iron Craft Challenge #8: For The Home

That's an 8x10 frame, in case you can't tell the size from the picture.

I'm cheating a little bit, because this isn't for my home, but it is for someone's home, and I made it within these two weeks, so I figure that counts.  For Iron Craft Challenge #7, I did the design for this cross stitch, but as usual, I changed it up once I actually started making it.

I really like how it turned out, although for future wedding gifts (because I'll be using this one again), hopefully I'll start with more time so that I can add some little flowers or embellishments of some sort to the empty spaces.  Still, with such a short time frame, I think it looks nice!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Weekly Goals: April 26-May 2

Can you believe that before this week, I had never rolled out a pie crust?  I made this chocolate-chip-filled hand pie with the scraps.  It was delicious!

Last Week's Goals:
  • Get things organized for our garage sale.  Does adding more stuff to the pile count?  I only have a few days to price everything!
  • Make a list of kid clothes to purchase at garage sales this summer. Done!
  • Finish my wedding cross stitch. Done!
This Week's Goals:
  • Price everything for the garage sale.
  • Figure out May birthday presents, especially Hannah's and our niece Jenna's.  Living in a small town is forcing me to be on a stricter schedule for figuring these things out so I have time to get what I need if it's not available here.
  • Do the May church newsletter.
So I have a few big things to work on this week.  Here's hoping for a productive week!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Books I've Read: April 2015

Did anyone notice that I didn't have a post about books in March?  No?  Well, that's because I didn't actually finish any books in March.  April was not much better.  I'm just in one of those busy seasons of life, I guess.  I do need to be more intentional with my free time, though.  I find myself wasting bits of my day on the Internet far more frequently than I need to.'s the book I read most of in March, and finally finished this week.

This Is What You Just Put In Your Mouth? by Patrick Di Justo.  (Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from Blogging for Books)  I've been on a real food kick for a few years now, so I'm always interested to read what's actually in some of the things that are called food nowadays.  The author says that he's trying to present an unbiased neutral explanation of ingredients, and I think for the most part, he actually succeeds, although some of the things he makes jokes about could be seen as negative if people chose to take it that way.    I liked the breakdown though.

There were two sections to the book: This is what you put in your mouth, and this is what you don't put in your mouth (skin care, make up, cleaners, play doh, etc.).  For each product, there's a list of ingredients and what their purpose is, whether it's flavor, preservative, color, smell, or whatever.  Some of them also have a little anecdote about why he chose to find out about that specific product, or something fun/cool/frustrating that happened while he was trying to find out about it.

Overall, I liked this book.  It was fun to read what was in some of this stuff, and the author has an easy, conversational way of writing.  But.  It obviously didn't hold my interest very well, because even though it would have been easy to pick it up and read the couple pages about the next product, I just didn't.  I got through most of the book in two days, and then finally got around to the rest a month and a half later.  

Friday, April 24, 2015

A Quick Ninja Turtles Birthday Card...

I made this quick Ninja Turtle card for our nephew's birthday (which was last week, but better late than never, right?).

I did a Google search for "Ninja Turtles face black and white" and found a few options.  I printed them off, colored them in , and cut them out.  A bit of glue later, and bam! Birthday card!  It's always a winning project when you raid the kids' craft cupboard for supplies.

This was a really simple card, which you could replicate with pretty much any character you can find on the Internet.