Getting through the day, one cup at a time.

December 1

Happy December All!

I asked for some ideas yesterday, for what I should do for December in an attempt to post around dailyish. Why so noncommital? Because I don’t want to let anyone down. It may or may not be daily…..

I have decided to try and participate in a daily photo challenge AND attempt to make a daily craft/decoration-set-up-Christmas-type-thing. Lots of pictures.

This is the photo challenge that I have decided to participate in: (feel free to take this as well, I sure didn’t come up with it!)

December Photo Challenge

#1 is “My view today”, so here was my view this morning:


Although upon closer inspection, Kira’s face is not so flattering…..

I also saw this:


It’s my finished tree skirt and tree stand holder! With my little model.

Here are some more to show you how much of the room it takes up:


Can you see our ghost?


Also, the craft that we did yesterday (yes, I’m cheating already) is a clothespin advent calendar for counting down the days until Christmas!


The numbers are taken off every day until there is nothing but the 25th left! I’m super excited for Christmas everyone. 24 more days!!!


DIY Tree Stand Holder – Because doing it yourself is ALWAYS a good idea…

“Hey Phil, you know what I hated last year? Having to reach under the tree to get presents and getting stabbed because I neglected to water it enough. I want to raise the tree stand this year, about a foot off the ground; then we can get a smaller tree and not get stabbed as often.”

-Me, about a month ago.

Then I had a freaking brilliant idea. I would make the tree stand holding device out of leftover scraps from our renovations last year. Ka-win. Right?

Step One: Borrow a skilsaw from your dad because they cost a lot of money, and since you only use one once every other year or so it doesn’t seem like a sound investment.

Step Two: Set up a makeshift shop in your basement. Use ridiculous items for horses, such as your children’s old toy box. And a weird ladder thing. Comb through your scrap pile and choose your materials. Pick wood that is at least as wide as you would like your stand holder to be tall, and long enough to surpass the width of your tree stand four times.

Oh look, I found two convenient pieces of particle board. They were both over 10 inches wide, and since my tree stand is 14″ (inches) wide – their lengths of 37″ and 35″ totalled more than four times the stand width. (14″x 4 = 56″.  37″+ 35″ = 72″.  72″ > 56″) Also, choose a nice sturdy piece of plywood that is large enough to cover the entire top of the box you will create (Largest possible square from the plywood: 20″x 20″).


Step Three: Measure twice, cut once. After your first cut, realize that you are shaking like a small child and that it has been far too long since you have operated a skilsaw. Also, fail a little at the cut and repeat it in order to actually succeed at cutting off all the material that needs to be removed. Sigh.

Continue cutting and think to yourself how much the guys from your Carpentry Apprenticeship program would laugh if they could see you now. Cut two of your pieces, “sides” if you will, shorter than the other two but only by the amount of the width of the wood. (The pieces of particle board were 3/4″s thick, so the smaller sides needed to be 3/4″s shorter.) Realize as you stand the pieces side by side that duh, the shorter sides need to be twice the width shorter, so 1 1/2″ shorter instead of 3/4″.

If you’re following me, then congratulations! You must have been a carpenter in a past life!

Step Four: Assemble the sides of your box. *cough* Assemble….assemble the…….argh! Why do these screws hate me so much?!?! Ouch! Screws get really really hot if you suck as hard as I did at screwing through the longer ‘side’ into the shorter ‘side’. Your middle finger pad may blister later, but it’s okay. Walk it off, you’re in the construction business now.

Miss. Miss. Miss…….gawd I suck at this. Continue to mentally degrade yourself as you continue to be unable to successfully place two consecutive screws. Begin to lose hope that this will ever look nice and/or function. Remind yourself that it will be covered by your epic tree skirt so no one will see it anyways. Those judgmental wieners…….

Step Five: Screw the top of your tree stand holder on to the base. That’s right. More screws. Feel free to curse, mutter, glare, etc. Does your back hurt from all of this hard labour yet? Mine sure does. I never want to stand again.

Did you miss your screws again? Perhaps drop another one? Make that GZZZZZZRRZT noise with your drill? It’s all good, I’m fairly certain it’s all part of the project.

Step Six: Swear off projects involving a saw. For serious. Free or not. Maybe this will seem like a better idea when my back stops hurting, and my finger blister heals, but until that point: don’t do this project. Just buy something. Anything. Or leave your tree stand on the ground like a normal person. What’s the matter with you? Always have to be different? Special you, eh?

Aw, who am I kidding. I haven’t even been done an hour and I’m already starting to feel proud of myself. It will be a looooooooooong time before I ask to borrow my dad’s skilsaw again though. I’m going to stick to the “scissors and glue” kinds of crafting for a while.


Day 1

After finally finishing the massive blanket I’ve been working on for about a year, it was time for a new crocheting project. We dropped Ally off at school this morning and I was quick to head to Walmart and buy more wool. 3 balls of red, and 1 ball of white later; I was back at home beginning my newest project. 400 stitches long, the chain took almost no time. With a little foresight I was able to tie a small piece of brown thread on the 100th, 200th, and 300th stitch as markers. My first row of white was complete, 400 stitches. The second row, I merged two stitches into one…a little trick I picked up by leafing (without purchasing) through a crocheting book at the store….totaling 399 stitches in the second row. Row three contained two merges at the 100 and 300 stitch mark. Total: 397. Row four is nearly complete as I type this, it will have three merges at the 100, 200, and 300 mark; containing 394 stitches upon its completion.

My intended project? A long, tapering tree skirt for our Christmas tree this year. Days until Christmas? 63 (but who’s counting?). I would like to have this finished by about December 15th so it can don our tree base when the tree comes, and decorate our living room for the rest of the holiday. I also intend to attempt small white circles (snowflakes) that can be sewn on the finished skirt.

Luckily, Phil is at school late tonight, so I will be watching a romantic movie whilst working away at my project.

Any plans of your own?


Being Reasonable


All of us.

I’ve been trying to clean lately. That’s a big deal for me because I’m kind of a slob. My parents weren’t too big on the cleaning when I was a kid, and that was the way I was used to living. It is not however, how I would like for my children to live, so I have been working my buns off lately in an attempt to rewrite my cleaning habits part of the brain.

Yeah, it’s a part now.

This is exhausting. Very rewarding, mind you, but exhausting. Upon waking every morning, the kids and I get dressed and then make our way to the dining room to eat breakfast. As soon as I finish I start my pot of coffee and wash a load of dishes while it’s brewing. After the kids finish breakfast they are each responsible for doing one chore from their rainbow before they can play. I sit down and enjoy my first cup of coffee (normally checking my email or reading posts) while the kids play in the living room. After my first cup of coffee is done, I will gather a load of laundry, cart it down two flights of stairs and start the washing machine. I will then return to the kitchen, sort the recycling and make a second cup of coffee. The table is then wiped while my coffee sits on my desk being sipped occasionally, the dining room floor is swept, the kitchen floor is swept, the hall is swept. The kids do another chore (or two) from their chore rainbows while I make lunch. After lunch I move the washing into the dryer and they are responsible for picking up everything off the living room floor so I can vacuum. While Kira naps, Ally plays an ‘older child’ game or toy while I wash another load of dishes. I then sit down and try to play with her, or – more likely – am on the phone or computer trying to sort out some doctor’s appointment, school issue, financial aid, renovation hooblah. After Kira wakes up we have snack, fold laundry and do more chores from the chore rainbows. Then we put clothes away, tidy the bedrooms and try to squeeze in some outside time. Sheesh. Then it’s time to make dinner, the kids each do a chore from their chore rainbow, we eat dinner then have bath and either read books or watch a movie before bed. Then I have another load of dishes to do, and then I collapse on the couch somewhere.

This doesn’t leave too much time for you guys. And unfortunately, things are only going to get more busy as Ally starts school, Christmas approaches and (upon funding approval) I begin school in January.

I guess I just wanted to say that I’m still going to be around but until I get into a really good groove you guys might now hear any more from me than the weekly grocery shops.

So, yeah….I’m just being reasonable.


Chore Rainbows

I saw a similar craft somewhere…but of course I can’t remember where. The gist was to write down behaviours that you want your child to model. I adapted this into chores because I want my kids to have better cleaning habits then I do, and it is best to start them young. Trust me. As an adult it sucks to try to change your cleaning habits.

The first step is to cut a cloud shape out of white paper and then write on it. Ours are labelled “Ally’s Chore Rainbow” and “Kira’s Chore Rainbow” respectively. I then cut out strips of coloured construction paper, and cut up old crummy magnets (thank you realtors) to stick to the strips with ye olde double sided sticky tape. One permanent marker later and the strips are labelled with whatever chores you deem appropriate for your child.

These have been a little…worn…because we’ve been using them for about a month now. Still good though! What I decided early on was to create twice as many coloured strips as necessary for a rainbow, and then allow the kids to pick which chores they wanted to do. Once a chore is completed they get the strip, once they have a strip of every colour they are allowed to choose a ‘prize’ from the treasure box. This box is filled with small dollar store toys such as rings, zoo animals, and dinosaurs and helps to encourage the kids to push through their chores.

The current available chores for the kids are:

  • use the duster
  • pick up dishes
  • put away hair stuff
  • garbage/recycling
  • pick up laundry
  • bathroom recycling
  • pick up dog toys
  • wash the walls
  • organize dish cupboard
  • put toys away (Ally)
  • put toys away (Kira)
  • tidy bookshelf
  • put shoes away
  • bedroom animals
  • make your bed (Ally)
  • make your bed (Kira)
  • sweep the stairs
  • dry the dishes
  • wash the table
  • feed the dog
  • organize toys
  • special request chore (Ally)
  • special request chore (Kira)
  • {blank}

While most of these are fairly self explanatory, the {blank} chore is simply the last strip that hasn’t been designated yet. Once I added a second set of strips I left them blank and filled them in as repetitive chores became noticeable. “Special Request Chore” strips are given if one of them completes a chore that I ask them to do that is not a regular chore. For example, putting away clean laundry is a job that only Ally can do, but it doesn’t need to happen daily or even every other day so it doesn’t deserve it’s own strip.

This method works so well for the kids that I was inspired to make my own chore rainbow to help keep me on task.

I only have one set of chores at this point, but these are the daily ones. Everything else is just additional mom chores that I normally stumble upon of my own accord.

All in favour? Motion passes. I rock.