Friday, December 28, 2012

Let's try this again

I'm back. Again. Ya, I know. I was back before and then I wasn't. Again. But this time - I really am back. I am once again, a SAHM, and I do have some time now to DO this blogging thing. Again. And I'm fully committed.

I have a series of projects that I would like to accomplish this year and I feel like charting them all out here in this blog will help me stay on top of things. At least that's what I keep telling myself. It's realistic - right?


I'll ignore the silence.

So starting THIS weekend I am doing a project. What IS the project you ask? Well, I plan on revamping the kid's closet into a play space just for Piper. In 2012 I DID get the little ones into the same room in bunk beds. And that has been ok. If you don't count all the nights they didn't actually go to sleep until 11pm because they keep each other up. And somewhat entertained. But I digress. Their bedroom is small, at best. And there is not just a lot of extra room in there. The one shelf I have room for is taken up completely with all things Max. Think Nerf guns. The kid has a Nerf arsenal in there. I'm not kidding. So Pip needs a space that is hers for all her girly things and babies. And she has a lot of both.

Also, truth is we don't use that closet much - mostly because all their things are in front of it because the room is small and there is no ROOM in there. Things are always in front of the door and it has become a PITA to open the closet door. It is really just wasted real estate and we can't afford to have wasted real estate around here. SO, this weekend, the door is coming off the closet, I'm dragging everything out and re-organizing all of it and putting it back together as a girly-spectacular space.

I'll post pics as we get into it!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Pantry Re-Organization

After literally YEARS of living with a cluttered, disorganized, and confusing pantry system - where I only knew where about half of what we actually had was located - I decided I had had enough.

I went to Wal-Mart and purchased some airtight locking-lid containers and shelves and set about cleaning out and putting some ORGANIZATION into the pantry!

The top part of my pantry before. Well, sorta before. Because in typical Kathleen fashion - I was so gung ho to start my project - I forgot to take a REAL before picture. So this is after working on it maybe 10 minutes. I had cleaned out the top shelf completely by this point and put my food processor and waffle iron in the back b/c I really don't use either one very often. They freed up NEEDED space for pans and large pots I use on an almost daily basis.Also, you can see how muddled the second shelf is still. So that shelf really is a Before.

This is all the stuff that came out of the top shelf. 

And this is the after.
And a little closer of the second shelf - which is the one I actually access most of the time.

Next was the bottom half of the pantry cabinet. 
Before - I remembered to take a Before picture this time!
Just look at that mess. No wonder when I got in there and organized it I discovered I  had two bottles of mustard stored away. TWO. We won't need mustard for another 2 years. Seriously.


See the mustard down there on the lower shelf? *SMH* Really good example of why everyone needs an organized pantry. 
I've been really pleased with the Re-Do. So far so good. 

Have a great day!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tasty Tuesday

So, I'm on this UPcycling/recycling kick and I'm trying to extend that to every part of my life - including cooking. Fact is we spend too damn much money on groceries and we throw out too damn much stuff. No more. Last night I looked in the fridge and we had no less than 6 containers of leftovers just sitting and literally going to waste. I thought of what all I had, some leftover taco meat, leftover roasted potatoes, leftover green beans - then I looked down and saw my HUGE bag of Kale that I use when I make my juices and I got inspired.

I made a homemade vegetable soup - using mostly leftovers and ONLY things I already had HERE in the house.

I grabbed some beef broth and tossed it in the pot, followed by some chopped red onion, and a couple of cans of water. I set all of that to boiling with a little kosher salt and pepper. Then I threw in a can of diced tomatoes - but any tomatoey-something would work - like stewed tomatoes or even tomato sauce! Then I added the taco meat, the green beans, about half the roasted potatoes, half of a fresh zuchini - chopped, one carrot - chopped, one stalk of celery - chopped, a handful of chopped Kale and some garlic powder and I let it all boil. Then I turned it down to a simmer and let it cook for almost an hour.

Oh.MY.gawd. It was really, REALLY good. 

Every bite had a TON of veggies in it and there was just enough meat to give it a little flavor. 
So good. And healthy. 

Upcycling from the fridge - I'm going to *try* to make this a weekly entry and habit!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Hallway project

I've been in love with all those pictures of women's hallways that have beautiful, gallery looking photo display walls of the children/family. I've also really liked the photos of walls that were all done in letters and initials. So I had this idea...and a long hallway...why not combine the two looks I like so much?

I started gathering up photos of all of us and printing them off or transferring them to black and white and printing them off. Then putting them all in black frames. A good many of these frames were NOT black to begin with - a good many of them were assorted colors and purchased at goodwill, thrift stores, and garage sales and none of them were more than $1 tops. I simply spray painted them flat black and added our pictures.

I also started collecting letters of all our first names and one "V" for our last name. These I spray painted either Black or Antique White. Well, all except the "K" and that is because it was a gift and was already a beautiful patina'd copper.

So I got all my items lined up and started placing them along the wall. This took some time to get the arrangement and placement right. But I did and now I"m really happy with it.


And from the other side of the hallway.

And my little display in the center.

Don't be afraid! If there is something out there you like - DO IT! Take a risk! Love your house! 
And UPcycle every chance you get!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Mantel Project

On to my projects. So I haven't been happy with our mantel in the living room ever since we moved in - 7 years ago. That is a long time to feel unhappy about and confused with what to do with a space. We live in a Craftsman bungalow that was built in 1918. It has a beautiful and HUGE, long mantel that covers the fireplace but also extends along and over built-in bookshelves on either side of the fireplace. It was just such a HUGE space. It also has the largest mirror known to man above the mantel. Anyway, I was just overwhelmed with the space and the size of it. I could never seem to get it "right". The scale of whatever I put up there was always off - too small - and the space just ate it alive.


And then there was the magic that IS Pinterest. I did searches on Mantels like crazy. And mantel designs. And craftsman mantels. And craftsman design. I looked and studied and looked some more. Inspired, I knew what I wanted to do - two square vases on each side of the mantel with something large in the middle. I wanted tall sticks or something in those square vases. And maybe some candles. And I decided on a design that would be balanced and symmetrical. 

I started pricing vases and decided quickly that I needed another option. I was standing in my kitchen and looking down at an empty capri sun box that was by the trash when inspiration struck. And it just happened to be 70 degrees out that day. In January. In Oklahoma. It was fate, I told myself. CLEARLY the universe wanted me to at least attempt this project. So I did. 

First I emptied out another capri sun, or possibly cool aid drink box, and cut the ends off of it.

Then I spray painted them a flat black.

Sprayed one side, let dry and flipped them over and did the other side.

While the boxes were drying I walked around with the little ones and picked up some thin sticks. All were between 28 - 40 inches in length - based on the height measurements I took of my mantel earlier.

Then I opted on painting the boxes a hammered copper color - with my trusted hammered copper spray paint. I decided the black would be fine, but I thought the hammered copper would help fool the eye over any box imperfections. Also, our fireplace screen is copper - so I thought the two would relate to each other nicely.
This is the after.

one side up close

And the other side.

I added a star from the top, a chalkboard in the center that I write quotes on, surrounded by two candles on either side.

Another After.

I'm happy. AND I upcycled. AND I spent ZERO dollars to do it.

Upcycle Decorating - the BEST kind!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Trying to figure this stuff out

So I got a Picasa account today so that I could post pictures on it without it being the death of me. Let's see if I can manage that, shall we?

The last time we talked Piper looked like this.

Now she looks like this. And yes, that is black marker all over the side of her face.

And Max was a lot smaller too.

Well, this was him then.

And the Max Man now. Faux Hawk and all.

Alec is now and "official" teenager.

My Alec at twelve.

My Alec (and Max) now. He's 14.

When did they grow up? I blinked and they were all big. And I am so proud of them and heartbroken all at the same time. But its a good kinda heartbreak. I am so, so blessed.       :)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I'm back

So, um, ya - it's been oh around 18 months...give or take.

Let me explain. Life, kinda, happened to us. So the summer of 2010 was pretty rough on us money wise. A LOT of my medical bills started rolling in and it became very apparent that I needed to get a job. So, I did. I started working for some friends of ours as their office manager. They own an automotive repair shop - and I know nothing about cars except you are supposed to put oil in them and gas in them. And that is about it - so there was a VERY large learning curve there. It was also a really big adjustment for me, the kids, and the husband.

Then, we found out we were pregnant. VERY UNEXPECTEDLY I might add. And that was all fine until Valentines Day of 2011. I had my 12 wk ultrasound and heard the words that no woman ever wants to hear. "We see some things with the baby that we find to be VERY concerning." They talked to us about Down Syndrome, Klinefelter's syndrome, Trisomy 18, Edwards Syndrome, and myriad other BAD things. We held out hope through 2 more ultrasounds before deciding to do that amnio and just know. The results took 2 weeks to come back and when they did, it wasn't good news. Our baby girl had Down Syndrome, 2 cystic hygromas, and other problems. We lost her at 15wks gestation on March 5th. That was a very, very dark time for me. I was lucky to immediately seek therapy and I truly believe that if I hadn't I would not be here today. Even with therapy it has been a touch and go kind of year for me. The first weeks were, well, there really aren't words that adequately describe what that was actually like. I think of her every day. And I cry only every other day now - sometimes I even go a couple of days without the tears. So I know I'm doing better. But I did not have it in me to write. I didn't have it in me to do a good many things.

But I think I am beginning my journey up out of that darkness. I am fearful of Valentines day now and of March because of the pain of those days. But I am trying really hard to embrace the pain and FEEL it. To feel it is the only way to get through it and beyond it. So that is what I'm doing now. I may find myself writing about it in the coming days - I hope I can find some catharsis here.

In the meantime Max turned 5 and started preschool at the elementary school he will be attending. He loves it. Piper is 2 1/2 now and talking. She attends daycare while I work. And Alec is 14 now, in 8th grade, and full of teenage attitude. Heaven help me.

I have a ton of projects that I would like to accomplish this year in our home. I hope to document and share the experiences doing that here.