Sunday, November 16, 2008

Fall Cleanup

The fence is finally installed! After much waiting around, for the grant money to arrive, for the fence people to arrive, for the weather to clear up so the fence people could arrive, the fence is finally, finally done! It looks great, just like I had pictured in my head.
The day after they were done, dh and I moved the steps on the back porch, from the front of the porch to the side of the porch-a necessary project, since with the fence installed, the steps where they were simply sort of dead-ended at the fence. I say we did it, but of course it was mostly dh's doing-I was there to hand him tools and screws, help hold up the heavy things, and call 911 if he were to make a large uh-oh, which of course he did not, being handily skilled in all things remodel-ly.
The weather has taken a definate winter-like turn this past week, and while we worked outside, it began to snow. Not the delicate crystalline flakes you dream of in August when it's 98 degrees in the shade, but hard, angry round chunks of snow, which stuck to Stitch's fur while he sat and sniffed the wind, and enjoyed the cold, grey day we were having. Now that the entire back yard is enclosed with a fence, he can play outside for hours if he chooses to do so. Our lab, Buddy, stayed out for a bit, but would occasionally make it clear to us, that he needed to go in NOW, and warm up.
After the steps were done, I raked leaves while dh mowed over them to make a sort of mulch for the lawn. Then we put away the patio table and chairs, moved bikes and outdoor toys under the porch for the winter, and basically cleaned up.
Today, being a Sunday, we're taking it a little easier: Watching football, making apple crisp and pot roast for dinner, and basically recharging for the week ahead. I can definately use some recharging!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

We Got The Grant!

I know I haven't posted about this before, but I am soooo psyched about it, I just have to share!
A few months ago, I received in the mail a form from the state about a grant that was available to day care providers, for "facility improvements". Now, this grant is open to family child care providers, day care centers, anyone at all who isn't run by the state itself.
My thought at the time was something along the lines of, "Well, since I've never even so much as broken even on a scratch off lottery ticket, the chances of my winning a grant are probably slim to none. But, what the hey, right? What do I have to lose?" So, I read the directions, and , using my best skills at writing, wrote what I thought was a fantastic grant narrative. I sent it, in triplicate, to the state, return receipt requested, and sort of forgot about it. I've always thought that not winning anything like that meant that God was trying to tell me to depend only on him. I've always figured, if God wants me to win the lotto, I only have to spend the dollar to buy one ticket, and He can make it work, right?
So, in the words of my fav ever pastor RR, I put feet on my prayers and sent the grant app in, then left it up to God.
When the deadline for award letters passed without a word from the state, I took it as a symbol of God's provision in His own way, in His own time, and left it at that. What I didn't take into account, however, was the fact that the budget in our state is truly screwed up, and currently in limbo. Also, there were a LOT of applications for the relatively small amount of money available for this grant.
The deadline for award letters passed, and almost three weeks later, I received a letter from the state. Now, understand, as a daycare provider, I receive a lot of letters from the state. I almost put this one directly into the garbage without opening it, as it bulk seemed to indicate an ad of some kind. But I opened it, seeing as how it was nap time and all.
And then! Well, then, I proceeded to call first, my dh, who was inconveniently in a meeting, and my dmil, who knew of the whole grant app process, and who kindly let me scream in her ear about how thrilled I was.
The upshot of this all is, in a few weeks, I should have a brand new, non-rotting, six foot, cedar privacy fence around my back yard, complete with a locking gate to keep out random animals and predators of all kinds, courtesy of the state, thank you very much!
While I am waiting, I will try to squash completely the conspiracy theorist in me, who is currently whispering that all gifts from the government come with asterisks attached. And the nerd in me, who is shouting,"AHA!", while pushing my glasses up on my nose, is also being slowly silenced by current elation. Since I believe that all things work together for good for those who love God, I will lock both the conspiracy theorist and the nerd in the basement together, where they will stay until I can get the new X-Files movie from Netflix- or at least until the fence is installed!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Bathroom Remodal is done!

Well, the bathroom remodal is done. Has been for a couple of weeks, really, but I'm just now getting around to posting about it. DH did great work, and I love, love, love, the paint color. The whole bathroom looks like it came out of a bed and breakfast somewhere, which is exactly the feeling I was aiming for. And the price we did it for was unreal, just way low. We shopped around and got some great deals, like Oak molding and trim in a bundle, enough for the whole bathroom, for under $20. And DH added some great details, like you would expect in a craftsman home. Like the rosettes in this pic: And although this pic is way too dark, this corner in the bathroom is not dark. We picked up the dresser at a flea market for $20. Well, my dfil saw it and asked us if we wanted it, and of course we said yes, and it fits this corner perfectly! And it's great for storing towels , etc. I picked up the lamp at a garage sale for exactly one dollar. It was a lovely rococco gold with a pleated shade when I bought it, and now with a little matte spray paint and a glue gun and some fabric, it fits the bathroom perfectly:
Here you can see the tile-DH did a great job, the rows are straight and even, and the tile adds a great base to the room. The last pic is a shot of the sink side of the room. The sink looks soooo much better than the old cabinet that was there before. I love this bathroom now, and it gives me great ideas for the rest of the downstairs!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Old House Remodel

Well, the old house remodel has officially begun, sort of. As is the way with most of these things, it started simply. Smaller Dog likes to play with his water, splashing his paws through it as he drinks, which results in a gigantic puddle around his water dish. We tried to solve this problem by putting the water dish on a boot tray, but that wasn't wide or deep enough to contain the mess he likes to make when he drinks. As a result of this constant mess on the bathroom floor, the self-stick tiles which make up the bathroom floor began to come up. So we decided that we simply had to re-tile the bathroom floor.

Re-tiling was always the plan, I just planned to wait until I actually had the money to do so.When the tiles started coming up, however, the situation got urgent. Here are some pictures, of the bathroom currently, the bathroom at it's worst, and the bathroom pre-remodel.
As you can see, things have gone beyond a tile job. After my dh got the tile up, we discovered that the lovely fake tile on the walls was nothing more than glorified cardboard. And since we hated it anyway, we decided to put up drywall and paint. And then of course we needed a new sink to go with it... Shades of "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" , anyone?
In the middle of all this, we all got a lovely case of intestinal flu. So our two-day tile job is now at a week and counting.
When it's done, however, it will put the rest of downstairs to shame, and I can't wait for it to be done, so I can take pictures and share!

Monday, April 28, 2008


A while back, my dmil promised me a box full of old aprons that her dh had inherited from his mother, but didn't know what to do with. I love all things old and feminine, so I went online to check out old aprons, and have since become completely enamored of them-they are so girly, and useful too, especially when you're at home all day with a houseful of children who want to paint, color, play with clay, and "help" you cook.
Blog after blog I found about aprons, which are apparantly enjoying a resurgence in popularity right now.
The following blog is having a mother's day apron giveaway, if anyone wants to enter:
She sells her creations too. Anyway, lots of links there, if anyone wants to go and browse!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Share With Me, Please!!!!!!!!!!

Answer the following questions: Who, What , Where, When, Why, and Seven Things I Will Never Grow Tired Of:

Who: Me: Redeemed, Wife, Mother, Sister, Friend, Day Care Provider
What: Whatever God currently is Providing: It's All Good
Where: In My New House, Of Course!
When: Now, and Future, but never past.
Why: To Please my God and my husband.
Seven Things I Will Never Grow Tired Of: God's Mercy, My children's smiles, My husband's love (never get used to that-how did I get it or deserve it? ) , Rocking babies to sleep, the first green of spring, the first red leaf of autumn, the first snowflake of winter. I could go on...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

4:17 A.M.

I woke up in the middle of the night last night, with an urgent need to, um, use the facilities, so I grabbed my glasses off the night stand, got out of bed, and crept my way to the door, trying to avoid the major squeaky spots so as not to wake my sleeping husband. As I did, I glanced at the clock: 4:17 a.m. I quietly opened the door, took a step into the hallway, and promptly found myself face down in a veritable pile of puppies. (On a side note, if you're in the market for a family pet, don't pick a black one. They simply disappear at night, leading me to believe that Alice's encounter with the Cheshire Cat was simply an encounter with a black cat in the shadows of a tree's leaves. Silly Alice.)
Now, the nice thing about dogs is that when they sleep, they really sleep. One of them sort of sighed, but they both never moved as I extracted myself from the pile. Once freed, I went down the hall to the restroom, which is equipped with a handy night lite so as not to wake the whole household at 4:17 a.m. This is not one of those plug-in nite lights, but an actual wired-in light with a switch on the wall, with a wattage of about 4 or so. When I was finished, I thoughtfully turned off the light before opening the door. My night vision now truly gone, I stepped outside the bathroom to once again find myself face down in the aforementioned pile of puppies. They seemed to have thought it was funny enough the first time to quietly move down the hall way and lay in wait outside the bathroom door for a repeat performance.
This time, however, they were not quiet about it. "Woo-woo-woo!" said our Malamute, while the black lab did his hound dog imitation:"Roo-roo!" "Shhh!" I told them, then extracted myself from their wagging, licking embrace, and stepped over them. I've had dogs long enough to know what a 4:17 a.m. howl means. Grabbing the wall for support, because I've been here before, I cautiously asked them,"Outside?" and was promptly almost knocked off my feet by two swirling masses of fur competing to be the first to the back door, the lab stopping halfway down the stairs to run back up, circle me, lick my toes, and jump three steps in an attempt to catch up with the quietly confident Mal.
Once they were outside sniffing, I leaned on the back window for a good look at our sleeping neighborhood. The narnia house behind us (my name for it-you can only see a window between several tall trees, but there's a street light near it that casts a permanent glow in the back yard, and in the summer they leave a side window open, and a trick of the breeze causes the curtains to blow out into the yard, giving the illusion that you're inside the house looking out. ) , the totem pole in the yard next to us, and the eternally blinking light in the garage next door.
I let the dogs in, settled them with a treat, and went back upstairs to my warm bed. I lost this particular battle in the war of Who Lets the Dogs Out at 4:17 a.m., but that's alright. Falling face down in a pile of puppies isn't too bad, when they're your puppies.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Random Stuff

Well, we've all had the flu to various degrees here. I think I had it the worst, and when it left, it left behind a nasty sinus thing which I am still struggling with two weeks later. Thank God it wasn't that nasty 1910 flu, which killed thousands of people, but it was bad enough, thanks.
Things tend to get neglected when you move, and the list of things I've neglected due to simple forgetfulness grows longer daily. I recently realized we haven't had the oil changed in the family van since before we moved here in September. I normally have it done every 3ooo miles like clockwork, but for some reason it just escaped me when we moved. So I'll try to have it done on Thursday this week, my only short day of work, currently.
We had a lovely warm day on Sunday, and managed to get all kinds of cool, warm day-like things done: we got the car washed and vacuumed, cleaned out the garage (two dogs in the garage on a long day of shopping equals one messy garage!), picked up trash in the backyard, and dd picked up a weekend babysitting job due to a local mom going back to her weekend seasonal job at the local ice cream place. The dogs got to spend quite a bit of time outside, which meant they both needed baths afterwards. Didn't get them, but then that's on the list for the next free day.
I like spring, but it has a nasty habit of leading to summer, which I just sort of suffer through to get to autumn and winter. I can't stand the humidity of a midwest summer, but it's better, IMO, than the dry heat and various poisonous creatures of a western US summer, and the nasty weather of an eastern US summer, so I'll stick around here, at least until I win the lotto and can afford to travel during the summer. ( Notice I said ," Until I win the lotto"? I have every confidence I'm going to win. Have to, every week when I pay the bills, it's what keeps me going until the next week!)
On the list of neglected things is the two full size quilts I'm currently working on. One has been so frustrating I'm not sure it will ever get done, and the other one is simply awaiting a few spare minutes. Spare minutes are not something I have in great supply; I'm writing this blog post while the daycare kids are playing at my feet, so this time doesn't count. I can't quilt with babies in the room, there are too many spare pieces of thread and needles to chew and choke on.
I recently bought a pair of reading glasses for when I work on my cross stitch. I ignored to need for them for quite some time, but the last time I tried to thread a needle, I ended up poking myself in the finger so many times that I just gave up. Old age threatens, but hasn't won yet!
Well, that's all for now. I'm off to change diapers.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Some things I've learned

Well...Over the years, In spite of the fact that I try really hard to be smart on my own, there are some things I've learned, in spite of myself:
1. Children will learn from what you do, not what you say.If you go to church, they'll think that's the thing to do.
2. Babies will get sick when you least have the time, or the money to go the doctor.
3. Dogs will eat anything.ANYTHING!
4. Emergencies will expand to fit your emergency savings.
5. Your friends and family will be just enough to help you through the rough times. But most friends suck. Stick with God. He's cool, and He's there ALL the time.
6. All those hymns you learned in sunday school will be just what you need to help you up on days you couldn't get up otherwise.
7. God is GREAT!
8. I'd rather have Jesus, than anything... (that's a hymn...)
9. A husband is a gift from God.
10. So are children, and friends...

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Winter Marches On

Up here, in the land of the 8 to 10 inch snowfall on a really depressingly regular basis, we are plodding along through winter, as best we can. The new puppy has taught us that black labs don't like snow, and will pee on the porch in an attempt to avoid the deep drifts in the back yard. Our Malamute has taught us that old dogs dislike new puppies but love deep snowdrifts, and will bury themselves in them, given the chance. The current baby I sit for has taught us that Influenza type A this year, is very contagious, and comes on fast. (So far we've avoided it in our family! ) Owning a house has taught us that old pipes break on regular basis, leading to savings account deprevation.
On the other hand, we thank God for the cash available to fix those leaky faucets, for cute if hyperactive little puppies, for old furry huuuge dogs, and for the opportunity to hold those sick babies and offer them comfort.
Now that we've been back from our Washington trip for awhile, and have had the chance to make up for missing our dd's 13th birthday by being snowed into DC (our airport at home was closed because of the snow in Chicago;DC was a beautiful balmy 65 to 70 degrees while we were there), we've had the chance to settle back into our routines a bit more, but like every other day, unexpected things will happen.
I've been obsessively blog-hopping lately, a wonderful sort of treasure hunt that started with a search for a new apron pattern, and lead to the discovery that there are whole bunches of women with small children out there, who sew their own clothes and dress their children in what I can only assume is some sort of hippie-retro-live off the land-cool style, and who make their living by sewing little stuffed doll creatures on Ebay.
I started looking for the apron pattern because our new puppy ate my vintage cotton apron that I bought at the flea market last year. That's right, he ate it. Fortunately, it was a thin cotton, worn thinner by years of wear. So on that note, I'd like to offer this partial list of things the new puppy has eaten since we brought him home:
1. DS's headphone/mic combo for his xbox.
2. An entire 2 lb. tub of butter. (Resulting in an every-2-minutes trip outdoors for something like 4 hours that evening. )
3. An entire 5 lb. box of clementines
4. the apron
5. DD's barbie's shoes. Several of them. No barbie feet were harmed, however.
6. Many, many socks
7. Several pepsi bottle caps, plus the rings
8. The antique baseboards in the upstairs hallway-approximately a 4 inch square
9. A corner of the linoleum square in the downstairs bath.
10. part of the downstairs bathroom door.
11. small clothes that were glued to the "laundry room" sign on the laundry room door.
I'm sure that he's eaten more than these few things, but the point is, what in the world are puppy stomachs lined with?
Anyway, happy rest of winter!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Back From Washington

We went to Washington, D.C. last week, my dh and I, with his union, to lobby members of congress for help for a little more attention to the plight of the middle class.
We had fun, and I learned alot. Like, how well-spoken my dh can be when he's passionate about something. And how the other members of his union care about what happens to you. But mostly, I learned that certain political parties, who shall remain nameless here, just don't really give a crap about the middle class. And some from the other party do care.
But aside from that, we really did have fun. We went to the National Archives, and got to see the Declaration of Independance and the Bill of Rights. The Constitution was behind a large screen while it's case was being repaired. My dh asked the guard if the prez was back there erasing the parts he didn't like, but the guard only laughed in response, so we still don't know. I was a little sad to see how much the Declaration and Bill of Rights have faded since I last saw them, in the eighth grade. They can hardly be seen now, just a few words are still visible. Fortunately, with a nod to Ben Franklin, the truths set down in writing there are "written upon every man's heart". If you have a heart, of course.
Democracy , even a limping old decrepit democracy in need of a triple-shot of double-caffeine espresso, is a wonderful thing. We listened to Congressmen speak, visited with their aides, saw the great documents of our nation, and just generally got to participate in the running of said Democracy. Of course, everyone can do this. Vote, call or email your reps in congress, run for local office-just do something to make your voice heard.
And on a side note, bring walking shoes. And bandages. Or lots of cab fare. But if you opt for cab fare, don't go during a cab strike.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Shades of Paint, Thirteen Dwarves and Other Random Thoughts

Today's post is one of random thoughts, mainly because I haven't posted in awhile and have nothing else to say.
We painted the lower half of our dining room yesterday, below the chair rail. When we moved in it was Go-Bears Blue. Not a bad color, but it didn't go at all with the green carpet and '80's-small-print-mauve-and-hunter wallpaper above the chair rail. Since I don't currently have the money or the patience to rip off and replace all that wallpaper, we updated it by painting the patterned paintable wallpaper below the chair rail a more updated color. I was aiming for a
tan-ish linen color, but the dear people at Menards just couldn't get it right, and we ended up repainting at 11 pm with paint that was already in the basement when we moved in. This was after two coats of primer/concealer on top of the Go-Bears Blue and a coat of the paint I actually bought. I'm praying that the wallpaper is not now so heavy with paint that it falls right off the wall. So far, so good, and the new color looks a lot better than the one that was there to begin with. Next project: the hot-pink room that my daughter inhabits. Who paints a room hot-pink anyway?
While I was doing the breakfast dishes this morning, my mind was wandering aimlessly towards nowhere(A pleasant place to be when you're stressed and not feeling too well, as I was). Of the things that were cavorting around in there was the fact that I can still name the thirteen dwarves without even thinking too hard about it.(If you just said,"Thirteen? Aren't there only Seven Dwarves?" Then you are not sufficiently geek-ified for this blog. Please move along to a nice Disney oriented blog where you will feel more at home.) I suppose that being able to name all thirteen dwarves means I am still, after all these years, just a nerd at heart. That's alright, I guess, because I feel at home here. (And for the record, Dori , Nori, Ori, Oin, Gloin, Bifur, Bofur, Bomber, Fili, Kili, Dwalin, Balin, and Thorin Oakenshield. Nod to Tolkien.)
Another thing in my mind is that our new puppy, whose official name is Buddy but has been known affectionately at various times as Vlad, Imhotep, Dingbat, Stupid, Trouble, and D*&^^%! , is, sad to say, not the brightest of dogs. Our four year old Alaskan Malamute seems to think Buddy's going to go away if just ignores him long enough.
Black Labs are supposed to be intelligent fast learners. Ours is just stubborn, or lacking a few marbles, I can't decide which. When we took him for shots recently, the vet said he needed obedience classes badly. We got some, in the form of a shock collar, which is not as bad as it sounds. All the other members of our family tried it and said it wasn't bad, it just sort of vibrated. We used this same collar on our Mal, and it worked wonders. Schooled him right up. We'll see about Vlad.
The last thing I'll write about is my new-found interest in old houses. New-found, that is, since I first walked into this house, and wanted it right away. It just felt like my house the moment I walked in. It's a 1920's - era Craftsman style house. I love all the cool touches put in by whoever built it. Aside from the woodwork every where, which is what drew me to it, there are neat little extra's everywhere. In the closets, for instance, are brass coat hooks. If you look closely you can see flowers have been carved (molded?) into them. This is something that no one but family will ever see, but the care this little touch speaks of makes the house feel like a home.
Since we moved in, I've almost stopped reading the other things I used to read. Now I read things like This Old House magazine, The Old Home Journal magazine, and browse the web for old home websites. I worry about whether or not our lighting is period-appropriate, and whether or not my dishes look right with the cool new period-appropriate dining room table we seriously splurged on. It's sort of an obsession.
Oh, well, just an adult form of geek-dom I guess! Have a great day!