Family Portraits

Happy Birthday to me (about three and half months belated)! I asked for and received a family session with my dear friend and neighbor, Katie Starr Photography, for my birthday. Finally, dusk and schedules aligned so that we could have our session this week. I love them! Katie is talented. My husband and children are beautiful. And Photoshop (and a trained and talented user of such powerful software) is AMAZING! I wanted our photos are in front of our home. It’s a part of our family, too.

 

 

 

 

Room Share (Second Attempt)



Posted by PicasaI spent all day today rearranging bedrooms to put the girls together for sleeping and give them a playroom. This was my plan even before Elizabeth was born, but when we tried it, she just didn’t sleep well with her sister near. We’re trying again, and I hope it works well. We’ve got a month to figure it out before school starts. And if we have to revert, at least I got a lot of decluttering out the work. 

Not much fits here besides their beds — Elizabeth is on a full-sized futon. Caroline is on a twin-sized captain’s bed. Between them are some crafting component shelves stacked on each other to serve as a nightstand with lots of space for their books. On the opposite wall are some bookshelves (IKEA) with a shelf of Caroline’s stuff (her birthday books — I make one for each girl each year instead of scrapbooks, her sports trophies, some pictures) and Elizabeth’s stuff (same, minus the sports trophies.)

I must point out the lovely pillows on the girls’ beds. Caroline’s was made by (Great) Grandma Bindel — a ministry she started when John and his siblings were adopted into their new homes. She made each of them a Jesus Loves John (or David, or Michael, or Elizabeth) pillow to have in their new home. Then, all the cousins wanted one, so she made more. Eventually, it became Grandma’s thing — Jesus pillows for new babies, family friends, etc. Caroline’s was one of the last she made. I actually think that my niece, Sophia’s, was the actual last that she made, about six months after Caroline’s. That meant little Elizabeth would not have a Jesus pillow. Of course, Grandma’s tradition was too loved to let that happen. Within days of Elizabeth’s birth, (Great) Aunt Patty had the pink blanket made that says “Jesus loves Mary Elizabeth.” My sister also started a project where she embroidered and sewed most of the polka-dotted pillow, sending it to Elizabeth’s Godmother, Aunt Carlye in Wichita Falls to take to Grandma to stuff. I was so happy to have both. Then John’s sister, Elizabeth, came to visit, bringing one of her childhood pillows that Grandma had made. And that is why Elizabeth’s bed is a constant reminder that Jesus loves her — and is a constant reminder that lots of other people love her, too.

Green clean = brown laundry and cloudy glasses

Well, I confess that when I tried “green cleaners” around the house when Caroline was tiny, I quickly abandoned them. Vinegar wasn’t going to get my toilets and showers as clean as good ol’ Comet. I quietly hid the truth. And for some reason, even after that, I recently decided to try making my own laundry detergent and dishwasher detergent. Call it a green attempt. Call it trying to be frugal. Really, I was kind of bored and figured why not? After two weeks or so, I’ll tell you exactly why not. It didn’t work! My clothes still had stains. My dishes were cloudy. I know it works great for some. Maybe our water is hard. Maybe I didn’t tweak my mixture to get it perfect. I’m going to stick with the R&D proven commercial stuff and save myself some time, spend a little dough, and wear clean clothes and drink from clean glasses. THANKYOUVERYMUCH.

A little elbow grease . . .

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and porcelain cleaner go a long way! I’m a bit embarrassed to show what my daily-use plates looked like (see top plate in image). These were well-loved Pfaltzgraff dishes given to us at our wedding — in 1995! I was almost at the point of replacing them and was browsing the Pfaltzgraff Web site since I really liked the durability and flexibility of these dishes. Liked the size. Liked the neutral, solid color. Liked the price. But I have a set of twelve. That’s a lot to start over, even if it is affordable. It’s a lot of waste to get rid of. I read about the Pfaltzgraff porcelain cleaner — that works on porcelain sinks, too — a real sore spot in our otherwise-loved kitchen.

The problem is not that the dishes or sink is scratched,as I had thought. It is that the silverware leaves a stain on the porcelain when it scrapes against it. It just needs a specialized cleaner (bleach doesn’t work; I’ve tried!). At the outlet mall today, I popped in to the Le Cruset store, even though I own nary a piece of the lovely enamel-covered cast iron cookware. Sure enough, they had a porcelain cleaner. The clerk wasn’t sure if it would work on my sink, but for $12, I wasn’t willing not to try it (or pay $8 shipping elsewhere) to try it. You can see the results above. I am quite pleased! No, my dishes do not look new. Neither does my sink. But they don’t look trash-worthy anymore. I think I can easily get another five year’s out of these plates. 🙂

WFMW: Bathroom Organization

I borrowed this idea from another blogger, but now that it WORKS FOR ME and it is WEDNESDAY, I’ll share it here.

I use an over-the-door shoe organizer, trimmed to size and hung over my shower, to organize my toiletries. I hate the clutter of things on my counter. This frees up the counter but still keeps everything I need daily easily accessible.

For more WORKS FOR ME WEDNESDAY ideas, visit Rocks in My Dryer.

Tackle it Tuesday — Spice Cabinet

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

This week, I organized my spice cabinet. I moved rarely used things to the higher shelves, dusted off the shelves and the lids, and labeled the tops of the spices for easy finding. Then I put the less-often used spices in baby-sized shoe boxes and lids and left the more-often used ones in the front.

I’m not convinced this is the best method, but it will work for now. I had bought a lazy susan to use for the spices, but it didn’t fit in the cabinet. I may look for something at the Container Store the next time I am there. I’m picturing three or four levels with the labeled lids facing out. I’m sure I’ll find it.

BEFORE:
AFTER:

To Mop, or Not To Mop ?– that is the question.

I do a different household task each day, and Thursdays are my “hard floor” day. That means on Thursdays I Swiffer the tiled parts of the house and then wet mop them. I wet mop using a flat cloth diaper wrapped onto the Swiffer pole, wet in a mixture in my sink. The mixture varies — either vinegar and water, Pine-Sol and water, or bleach and water — depending on what I think the floor needs. This has become my least favorite housekeeping task of the week, not because I dislike mopping, but because I must do it while Caroline naps. It’s too hard to keep her off of the wet floor, and she slipped a few months ago on the wet tile and freaks out now if so much as a drop of water is on the floor. When she took two naps a day, doing housework while she napped was the plan. Now that she naps once and enjoys helping so much, I do my housework while she is awake (and while away the hours reading blogs and such during naptime).

Apparently my floors don’t get too dirty. I hosted my Tuesday playgroup here last week. Keep in mind, this would be two days before “hard floor” day, so five days since I’d mopped last. I was outside with some of the kids when a mom came out laughing saying I had to see something inside. I walked in and another mom was holding up a wad of white papertowels. Somebody had spilled some water on the floor, so she grabbed some papertowels to wipe it up. When she looked at the papertowels after wiping, they were clean. The moms were amazed, and I have to admit I was pretty surprised myself (and so thankful!)

So yesterday, I skipped wet mopping. I went over all of the tile with my new favorite gadget, The Shark, my Christmas present. Then I Swiffered. I guess I should keep this my dirty secret, but I’m going to try just mopping every other week. I can give up twenty minutes of “me” time every fortnight to mop, I think. Is my house going to become a stinky pig sty? I hope not.

I’d love to hear how often others mop. (I’m betting that at two of you mop daily — RS and EW.) Leave a comment and let me know how often you mop.

BEFORE

AFTER

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

This week I tackled the refrigerator. It wasn’t too bad, really. The worst thing I found was a box of pancake mix that expired in November. I think I’ve used it since then, but it was in the fridge and we obviously didn’t get sick from it. It’s nice to have such a central part of the home organized, even if it won’t stay that way for long. Notice the big plastic bag on the lower shelf. That’s a skinned wild turkey my dad killed on my uncle’s ranch. I’m going to make tukey-au-vin today with it.