Jan 31, 2012

Weekend Wrap-up: Spring Cleaning

Read on to learn how this played a role in our weekend
 This weekend was one of those weekends you just didn’t want to end. It was also a very productive weekend in the spring cleaning realm enjoyed with spring-like weather. The productivity started Friday night. Not only did we get new tires on the truck, but we also stopped in at Safeway and picked up all our needs to have healthy meals all this week as well as stopped in at Home Depot to pick up all the supplies I needed to re-organize the laundry room – my weekend project.

We were all up early Saturday, and by 10 AM Cameron was on his way out to the Drop Zone to get a few jumps in, taking advantage of the beautiful weather. Back at home, London helped me as I got a good deep clean started on the kitchen. Her idea of cleaning was taking my old dish towels and covering and uncovering Tulley’s hunting bowl. But this kept her entertained for a good hour, which meant I could get a lot done without her trying to help more. We had the TV music channels on while we were cleaning and had a few impromptu dance parties along the way.

From there we headed up to the loft, which we re-arranged in preparation for Super Bowl Sunday, which we are hosting. She did help a little too much when I was trying to get our massive DVD collection re-organized. I have the section alphabetized to make it easy for finding and putting DVDs back. London took over one of the S sections and re-organized it several times in her own way. Luckily, I finally won the battle and got it back to the way I wanted it. I can’t say the same for her Disney collection, but it’s not nearly as massive, at least not yet : ).

After London went down for a nap, which she finally requested, I began work on the laundry room. It was quite a task and one I didn’t finish completely – I still need Cameron’s help on getting a new shelf up on the wall and then I need to mop the floor. But the progress was huge, enough that I didn’t dread going in there on Sunday to get almost all of my laundry completed – time stood in the way of that. I’ll post more about this Laundry clean-up and re-org later this week when all is complete.

Saturday also included a trip to the vet for Tulley at 4:30, which London, Cameron and I attended. More on that to come this week too. ON our way home, Cameron mentioned that he wished we had been more proactive and gotten a babysitter for the night so we could attend Roseville’s 20-30 club’s crab feed. Well, within minutes of getting home, and the mail, Cameron had secured us a babysitter – Lauren was more than up for having London’s company for the evening. With that, we were scrambling to change, pack for London and get out the door, since the feed started at 7 PM. I ended up doing my hair and makeup in the car. But we got there in time to enjoy the cocktail hour for about a ½ hour before food was served and caught up with all our friends that were attending. And London had a grand time with Lauren, wearing herself completely out. She barely flinched when we picked her up around 10:30 – she was so cute passed out on Lauren’s couch.

Sunday brought more lovely weather. After a run to Costco mid-morning, London decided she was still warn out from the night and day before, so she went down for a nap early. Cameron and I thought we’d join her, but that lasted about 5 minutes. We decided we weren’t that tired and headed outside to tackle the massive weed problem that has grown up over the winter. And after being outside in the fresh air for an hour, it just wasn’t enough, so we threw open all the windows when we went back inside to tackle some cooking. See, Cameron had made turkey and dumplings Thursday, which then turned into Turkey stew Friday night. We still had a ton left over so we decided to make Turkey pot pies with the rest – make one for Sunday night dinner and freeze one. Well, after I made the crusts and we filled the pie dishes, we discovered we still had a ton left over, so both pies got frozen and we had the Turkey stew and biscuits for dinner instead. We still had enough for Cameron to finish off at lunch on Monday!

But making pie crusts and prepping my lunch for the week wasn’t enough. I also prepped the zucchini lasgna Cameron has been asking for. It’s a bit time intensive, so its definitely a weekend meal – or a meal to prep. With the prep on Sunday, all I have to do is throw it in the oven one night this week and wait. I’ll even be able to get a run in without worrying about it.

But overall, Sunday was a day where we all were together enjoying each other's company while getting things done around the house and yard. And that's what made it such a great weekend. Time together. We have a lot to get done this week and in the coming weeks and next weekend is pretty much out in getting anything done, given I have a girls night scheduled for Friday night, Saturday I have a baby shower I am so looking forward to, and then Sunday morning before the Super Bowl Party I'm running a 10K! Bring it on!
And out Zucchini Lasagna ready for a week night appearance

One Pot Pie all tucked in and ready for the freezer

Toddler Tuesdays: Discovery Bottles

This weekend’s Toddler Activity I found in one of my books – yes I cracked one open, even if for only a ½ hr. I found some great ideas and went with one that I had the most supplies for around the house already. I actually didn’t buy a thing to make these “Discovery” bottles. Basically, you take plastic bottles and fill them up with various supplies and liquid that your child can then watch interact or not interact with in the bottle as you shake it or tip it upside down.

I only made two, though the book suggested 5 different discovery bottles. I did two because I only had two bottles on hand (aka, pepsi and water bottles in the backseat of Cameron’s car). The first I filled with 3/4ths of the way full of water and dyed the water blue with food coloring. Then I filled the rest of the bottle with cooking oil. The last key is to glue the top on so that your toddler can’t open the bottle when handling.

The second bottle I first filled with some crafting gems I have on hand – I have so many I wasn’t going to miss any. Then I poured in some red and gold glitter I had left over from making our wedding invitations 3 years ago! After filling the bottle up with water, again I glued the cap to the bottle. Can you imagine that mess all over your floor?

Voila, London’s activity made for the weekend. The book suggested this activity for young toddlers. And I figured it might help keep her busy while I cleaned. On Saturday, while I was trying to clean the kitchen, I offered the bottles up to London. What was in the bottles and how they moved around in the water didn’t faze her one inkling! Don’t get me wrong, she loved shaking them but was never once curious about what was on the inside. I think Cameron and I had more fun with the oil and water one than she did. And after sealing it, and playing with it some, I realized it needed more oil in it any way.

So this activity basically bombed big time in the toddler activity department. Oh well. Maybe when she’s older and is able to communicate what she is seeing it will be better.

The weekend wasn’t at a total loss. London loves helping me clean and kept herself occupied for moments at a time covering and covering a dog bowl, as well as helping me arrange DVDs. What can I say, I’m training her young to help clean up.

Case in point - London was given a case of small Disney books for Christmas by Cameron’s grandparents. Besides flipping through the books to look at the pictures, one of her favorite things to do it put them back in their case! The child still makes a mess, but is on her way to being able to pick it up herself as well.

London was also in a dancing mood this weekend so we had several impromptu dance sessions in between all the cleaning. London had fun as did I, all while getting what we needed to accomplish, done.


Jan 30, 2012

Motherhood Mondays: The Great Vending Machine Debate

On January 20th, Parenting Magazine’s Show &Tell blog posted that a study has come out that vending machines in schools do not have a direct affect with a child being obese. Read all about it here.

Cameron and I had a great conversation about this one. Mainly, we laughed that a study was needed to prove this. We are both firm believers that childhood obesity starts with and ends with the parents. The parents are the ones that teach their children bad eating habits and allow much of the food found in vending machines into their homes. More often than not, when I see an obese child I find an obese parent not far away.

Here’s another thing – what child carries so much change around with them on a daily basis that they could consume enough vending machine food to affect their weight? And if they are carrying around that much, don’t you think they’d likely spend it on something else that they want, like the latest video game?

I’ll admit I made my fair share of visits to the vending machine at my high school. But not before. This study followed kids from kindergarten through eighth grade. I think I grabbed a soda or energy drink from the vending machine in junior high only on the few mornings I had basketball practice at 6 AM. And in high school my choices definitely weren’t healthy (a pepsi and either chocolate cookies or chocolate covered donettes) but I also was playing basketball or soccer or running track and burning more calories than I could consume, so I was still a skinny, (somewhat) healthy kid. But I digress.

We are doing what we can to teach good habits to London. Cameron and I both make time to get our own workouts in. We should take her for family walks more often, but the fact that she doesn’t ever stop means she’s burning up plenty of calories on her own as well. And we try to give her healthy choices when it comes to food, though I know we could do better. Luckily, her pre-school does an awesome job in this area and now that she is more and more able to eat what we are eating, we are getting better because we make an effort to eat healthy ourselves the majority of the time.

What do you think? Do you think vending machines affect childhood obesity? Or are you like me, and think it all starts at home?


Jan 27, 2012

Cocktail Friday: Barry's "Gin"ger Beer

To kick off my first Cocktail Friday series, I'm going with the last cocktail I was introduced to, my dad's Ginger Gin Beer cocktail. My dad discovered this drink just before he and my mom came out to celebrate London's 1st birthday. He actually had to buy us a proper cocktail shaker since the one I had leaked! So here's to you dad!

Barry's "Gin"ger Beer

2 oz Gin
1 Tsp Superfine Sugar
1/2 of a lemon's Juice
Gingerbeer (Found next to the rootbeer at the super market)

Mix the gin, sugar and lemon juice in the cocktail shaker. Fill a pint glass full of ice and pour the gin mixture over the ice. Fill the rest of the glass with the gingerbeer. Stir and serve.



Jan 24, 2012

Weekend Wrap-up: January 21-22

Winter has finally decided to show up here - and with a vengeance. Which meant my plans to have a “How Martha Were You” weekend were derailed. “How Martha Were You” is a contest played every Monday morning by the DJs of Morning Living on Martha Stewart Radio on SiriusXM. Every Monday they invite listeners to call in and “brag” about all they accomplished that weekend.

On my list this weekend:
  • Clean & Re-organize the Pantry
  • Clean & Re-organize the Laundry Room
  • Personalize Dog Bowls
  • Incorporate Dirty Laundry Baskets into Closet
  • Run 6-miles
  • Rainy Day Fishing with London
  • Make Zucchini Lasagna from Skinnytaste.com  
I knew this was a big a list, full of some time-consuming tasks. But I’d planned on getting a jump start on the pantry Friday night after London went to bed. With the weather conditions the way they were, Cameron had headed up to Biggs Friday night for an evening hunt as well as a Saturday morning hunt. Had it not been for the 49er game Sunday night, he would have made a weekend of it. 
This is what happens when the pantry gets out of control - items make their way onto the counters and never get put away
And like clock-work, London was asking to go “nite-nite” right around 7 PM. After putting her to bed, I got started on the dog bowls as this was something I wanted to get done before I fed them. But shortly after I came back downstairs, and was just barely started on cutting out Melody’s stickers, Cameron called asking to skype with his little girl. I said I’d check to see if she had fallen asleep yet, as she had cried for a little bit but it was quiet now.

The second I turned the door knob to sneak in, she was up in a flash, arms out, asking to be rescued. And after our short skype session in which she was more interested in her farm animals puzzle, she showed no signs of being tired. On Fridays I don’t mind letting her stay up a little late, to encourage sleeping in on Saturday morning, but by 10 PM I had to force her to bed – so I could go to bed! At least I got the dog bowls done.

Unfortunately, for me the worst of the weather was still to come that night. Sleep was difficult between midnight and 2 AM as the wind and rain pelted our house. With our house backed up to an open field we don’t have anything blocking or shielding us from the elements. Add in the fact that the master bedroom is located at the back of the house, you can imagine we hear it all. Even Tulley got a bit restless from the weather outside – amazing for a dog that has been sleeping like a rock for the last month. London woke up around 6:30 AM, but I wasn’t budging and by 7 AM, she was back to sleep. I made it until about 9 AM when my own internal clock made me get up. London would make it to 10.
My little helper and the state of the pantry before I began. The only space you see is so the door could close!

I did begin to tackle the pantry, when London allowed me to without shutting me out or getting too involved with the clean-up herself – you can image how unhelpful a 1 ½ year old can be with cleaning. The weather had calmed down by morning – the sun was even shining here and there, which meant a quiet naptime for us both.

Jake loves pantry cleaning day - plenty of boxes for him to test out and lounge in.
Unfortunately, my nap was interrupted with a call from Cameron saying he was on his way home. I tried to go back to sleep but it was no use. But I also didn’t have the energy to get back to the pantry – I spent the rest of the day dealing with what I call a sleep-depo headache. A shower woke me up just enough to have dinner out for yummy Mexican with Lynde and Matt. We got home not too long past London’s 7 PM bedtime, and soon Cameron and I were both curled up in bed watching a new DVD from comedian/ventriloquist Jeff Dunham (Controlled Chaos). I was in and out throughout the entire DVD – mostly waking up when Cameron was laughing too hard, and was definitely out for the night before 10PM.

Sunday brought more clouds, wind and rain. Luckily, not before I was able to sneak in my 6-mile run. Around mile 1, it began to sprinkle and I thought about turning around. But it wasn’t heavy so I made myself a deal to make it to mile 2 before I would turn around. I’m glad I made this deal, as the rain had subsided when the mile 2 marker rolled around and I was able to make it the full 6 miles without any more rain. About 10 minutes after I got home, the clouds opened up and let loose.

I also successfully completed the pantry clean-up before we headed over to watch the 49ers game at Matt & Lynde’s around 3 PM – I even got a little nap in and London’s activity for the weekend!
All Clean. We can actually walk in again!
Now, as you look at my list above, you may see 7 items for a weekend, when I promised myself only 6. The dog bowls weren’t part of the weekend list – they were one of two items on my Friday list, so I did in fact stick to my resolution. And while I only crossed half my tasks off my list and felt like I didn’t get that much accomplished by Sunday night, looking back on it, I actually did ok. Not a Martha weekend for the record books, but a satisfying one.

So how was your weekend? How Martha were you?


Toddler Tuesdays: Rainy Day Fishing

I plan to focus my Toddler Tuesday posts on activities I do with London and how well (or not) they work out. Having her in daycare, I sometimes feel London gets bored at home on the weekends, as we aren’t always the greatest at keeping things interesting and entertaining. I’d bought a couple books on Amazon a few months ago to remedy this issue, but have only cracked open one, once! Now with the holidays behind me, and now that I am actually caught up on my magazines (I’m actually going to start reading February magazines at the beginning of February!), I’m going to begin to peruse these books and come up with one activity for London and I to do each weekend.

Lucky for me, I saw this great idea on Pinterest  last week. so I had an activity ready for this past weekend. Basically, you use a magnet at the end of a kid’s fishing pole to “fish” out those famous refrigerator ABCs and 123s. We recently purchased these refrigerator magnets so I had those on hand. I thought we had a dowel at home that I could craft into a fishing pole instead running out to Home Depot to buy one or purchasing an actual kid fishing pole.

Nope. But I did have a large wooden paint stirring stick and a small wire frame hook that I could screw into it. Add a little string and I had a "fishing pole". Unfortunately, the only spare magnet I had on hand was in the shape of a circle. I did my best to wrap it up well, attached it to the "pole" and filled the tub with water and the refrigerator magnets.

I brought London up and after showing her what to do, watched her go at it! This girl could have a future hobby in fly fishing the way she was whipping the magnet back and forth on the pole.

By the way, every time my bathtub is filled with water both Tulley and Jake come running, and this time was no exception. I’m not sure Jake will be so quick to come next time, though. London clocked him with the magnet a few times.

And while London never actually caught a "fish", she had a grand time - even after the magnet fell off the string (about 5 minutes in!). We spent the next 15 minutes taking the refrigerator magnets out of the tub and putting them into her beach bucket and then pouring them all back into the tub and repeating the process. While it wasn’t a long activity, London did seem to enjoy the attempt and change in routine.

I’ll definitely try it again with her, making sure to pick up a more suitable magnet and a dowel the next time we are at Home Depot. I’d also make the “fishing line” a bit shorter now that I know she likes to “cast” a lot!

My Home Depot Shopping List:

Wooden Dowel

Another Frame Hook

A new magnet (I'll probably break out the glue gun too, to adhere it to the string)

Jan 23, 2012

Good Dog

For a lab, Tulley is one of the best. Having only just turned 2 in November, people’s first impressions of her are how small she is (many think she is still a pup; she’s only 55 lbs), and how mild-tempered she is. She has been an amazing dog, especially for London and was just what I needed when I was laid off and 5 months pregnant.

Not that we didn’t have those normal lab/puppy struggles with Tulley along the way. My bathroom baseboards and a missing patch of carpet in the family room can attest to that.

One thing we really worked on with Tulley from the very beginning was feeding time. Labs will eat house and home if you let them and never, ever miss a meal. If they do, something is wrong. Melody on the other hand, being a shepherd/husky mix as well as an “old lady”, has always been a grazer. This meant teaching Tulley to leave Mel’s full bowl of food alone, always. We are proud that this is something Tulley has mastered.

Then last Friday morning when I went to grab Tulley’s bowl to feed her, I noticed there was a little bit of her dinner left over. While puzzled, I strugged it off. She was right next to me begging for breakfast any way. But then she didn’t eat her breakfast. She just stared at the bowl and wagged her tail. I gave her the ok command several times and petted her back as added incentive. She finally just went back upstairs to bed. I mentioned the weirdness to Cameron but we both continued to shrug it off. Cameron let her romp outside for part of the day and reported back that he had spied her eating grass. We assumed that her tummy was upset and that she’d be back to normal the next day. Nope. Tulley didn’t eat all weekend.

Finally, on Sunday and the worried mother that I am, I resorted to grabbing a hand of food and placing it near her mouth. She ate it. I poured some food on the floor and she ate it. But when we asked her to eat food from the bowl, Tulley just wouldn’t eat. The same thing was true Monday morning. A call to the doctor only suggested we bring her in if she didn’t eat by Tuesday. Cameron doesn’t think that the doctor listened to him carefully, though. She was eating – just not her normal food from her bowl. She had no problem gobbling up the Ritz crackers London offered her when I wasn’t looking.

Monday night I decided to make her rice and boiled chicken – how could she resist that? And she couldn’t. Tulley gobbled it right down. But I also put it in her hunting bowl since her normal bowl was full of dog food and I was too lazy to go dump it back in the bin in the garage. After eating the rice and chicken with no problem, I placed some food from the normal bowl to the hunting bowl. And she ate it up. So, I performed a quick clean on the normal bowl and put some food back in it. Nope. What was it about this bowl?

Cameron and I finally came to the conclusion that we may have switched bowls on her. Tulley’s and Melody’s bowls are almost the same. The only difference is one has a dog silhouette on it. Neither Cameron and I know which dog had that bowl before, but we have to assume it was Mel’s after all this crazieness.

It had never occurred to us that Tulley would know the difference and shy away from Mel’s bowl, even when she was starving and we’d given her the ok command a million times.

Mel, on the other hand, doesn’t differentiate, which means with food lying around in two bowls all day long for a few days, she’d helped herself to both. So to Tulley both bowls now appeared to be Melody’s. It’s taken a few more washings, and food mixed in with rice and chicken in the bowl a couple of times for Tulley to be eating normally again.

We can’t have Tulley starving just because we mix up the bowls so I started to think about a solution. Obviously, we need a way to distinguish between the two. I went online to look at personalized bowls, but all are ceramic, which is dangerous lying around our kitchen floor, and starting prices were about $20. Add in tax and shipping and getting the right sized bowls and who knows how much that would cost.

I’ve been following several DIY blogs lately, which got me thinking – how can I do this on my own? And then it struck me – Stickers! Better yet, I could create something and print it out on the sticker paper we already have, left over from our Christmas basket projects. We don’t wash the bowls enough nor do we ever soak them so I’m not too worried about them deteriorating too quickly. And they'll be easy to replace when they do.

A little clip art grabbed off the internet, and playing around in paint, plus Cameron putting my sticker paper in the printer, and viola - stickers!

I also gave the dog bowls a good scrubbing before putting the stickers on.



Has your healthy dog ever stopped eating for no clear reason? What other weird things have you experienced with your dogs?


Oh the Invisible Mother

Can you find the “Hidden” Moms in these pictures?

Hello to my first installment of Motherhood Mondays. The first blog to turn me on to such a weekly topic is Cup of Jo. She’s a professional writer, who lives in Manhattan with her husband and toddler son. Her blog covers everything and anything that comes to her mind or happens in her life.

Last Monday for her Motherhood Monday piece, she featured a link from Retronaut, which showcased old-time photos of children. In actuality, the mothers of the children are in the pictures as well, covered up by what often looks like a sheet, blanket or rug. This was so that child would hold still so a focused picture could be taken. Remember, taking a picture back in these days required patience, stillness and time.
All in all, these are hilarious but I also can’t help seeing the truism in the picture. How often do you feel invisible as a mom? And not only by your children but by the people around you who are too focused on your children?

Make sure to go to the original link to see all the pictures Retronaut has gathered (I’ve only picked out 3 to show you), and check out Cup a Jo for some great blogging and insight.


Jan 19, 2012

Pondering Some Changes…

I finally figured out how to follow several blogs at once. At first, when I’d find a blog I liked, I’d save it to my favorites. But this list would get long and not all blogs were updated regularly. And then I seemed to switch go through a few computers over a short period of time which resulted in not all the blogs getting transferred over.

And, with my old system, I’d literally have to go to each blog site everyday to see if they had been updated. Then we had London and following blogs and other online activities got more difficult. Especially when she learned that the computer meant skyping with Grandma and Grandpa. Cameron and I cannot even pick up the laptop in London’s presence without her expecting a Skype session, which means we don’t unless we are planning on a Skype session. This limits my free online time even more. Not to mention this is also my time to work on crafts, blog myself to keep everyone up to date, clean the house and just have some me or hubby and me time.

So when I do have free online time going from site to site to find something just wasn’t worth it. Until I got bored at work and looked into Google Reader. I wish someone had told me about this handy little Google App ages ago! It literally is one place I can login from any computer and read all the blogs I follow in one, central location. No more bookmarks, per se, as once they are book marked here, they are everywhere I can access the internet. Now I follow 75 80 blogs! These blogs are everything from the professionals who work for Martha Stewart and other publications, to the stay at home mom, DIY Decorator and home crafter. Which has me thinking…

Maybe I should expand the content of our little blog here. I started this blog to keep family and friends up to date on our lives and have occasionally shared a craft projects or home project. It also has served as a creative outlet for my writing. Why can’t I turn this into one of the many blogs I follow?
What I really would want to do, it to create ways to blog more often, share more and make my blog more of a destination for you, my friends and family. But also open it up to the writers of the blogs I follow if they so choose. Here are some of my thoughts of what to add:

Motherhood Mondays or Toddler Tuesdays – this is inspired from many of the “Mama” blogs I follow. Basically, these blogs would focus on some topic in parenting or something that happened with London.

Wordless Wednesdays – this is also inspired by some of the blogs I follow. The task is to simply post a picture that captures life at that moment and post it. The idea is the picture says it all.

Happy Hour Fridays – This is one is all me. Building on Lynde’s and my “Champagne Fridays” I’d share a simple home cocktail to be made for Happy Hour. It would have already been tested and approved by me previously. Another rule is that most ingredients would be easy to find at a grocery store or liquor store if not already on hand at home.

I'll also try to share more on the projects around the house and how I go about accomplishing each. With following all these DIY Blogs, I can already feel myself looking at something I would like to buy for our house and trying to figure out a way to do it DIY style for less. The latest has to do with the mirrors I want for London's bathroom, and I think I've found a possible solution. Stay tuned...

Another thing I plan to do is share with you all these lovely blogs I’ve been following when a particular post gets me so that I can possibly expand the blogs you follow. And if you haven’t signed up for Google Reader I highly recommend it. It’s easy to use and FREE.

Of course, I'll keep posting about our family adventures and London.

So what are your thoughts? Should I go for it? What would you like to see more of on this blog?

Oh, I’m also contemplating a name change. The Duck Call is just left over from my UC Davis class project, but I don’t like Cenedella Family Musings any more either, especially if I open this up. So far, most new names I come up with are already taken. One I am mulling over right now is “When A Hunter Meets a Crafter” It would fully read “What happens when a hunter meets a crafter…” in the title area, and I’d add some pictures to make it more punchy. Another one I thought of was "Simply Sarah" or "Sarah. Simply Stated." but there are variations of these out in the blogosphere. Do you have any Blog name ideas for me?


Jan 16, 2012

Resolutions – Part 2

At last! My 2012 Resolutions. At first I wasn’t sure I really had any and in some ways I’m just repurposing last years, but for fun, here you go: 

Never Have a To-do list longer than…
6 items on the weekend
4 items on a weeknight

Also, I cannot get upset at myself when one or none of the items does not get crossed off. Life happens. Spending time with my husband and child is far more important than crossing something off my to-do list (no matter how much satisfaction I get from doing such :). Weekend To-do lists need to have equal parts Fun items and not so fun items. The 4-mile run from two weekends ago did count as fun. And it was! Weeknight items also need to mix fun with no-so fun items, but also be attainable. That would mean "putting away Christmas Candles" but not "pick up the loft" (especially the loft's state of destruction until yesterday - see pictures below for the before). I've done pretty well so far. I crossed everything off my first weekend list (two weekends ago), 3 of my 6 items on this last weekend's, and have crossed one, two or everything off four of 6 weeknight lists.

Make the stack of old, read magazines disappear!
When I read, I fold corners and mark with pen things I like, draw inspiration from, want to make etc. I have a file storage box ½ full with torn out magazine pages and several binders full of organized magazine pages. At the moment I plan to keep the recipes and workouts in torn-out magazine page format, but the rest I plan to convert to my new favorite site, Pinterest! Here's a pic of that file box and the stack of magazines I read last year.

Pinterest is a great way to categorize and organize everything you see online. Most of what I read is also available online (I just like the feel of a real magazine in my hands and a real magazine is safer to read while soaking in a bubble bath!) What I cannot translate to online will be debated and most likely tossed, just because I will probably already have 10 other things just like it online. Goodbye binders, box and stack of old magazines.

Part of the reason I have these binders and torn pages are for home décor ideas, which brings me to my home décor "focuses" for 2012 (note I didn't say "resolutions" as these could change and already have….

The Master Suite
11 days into 2012 and I’m already well on my way with this one. A big thank you to my hubby for purchasing the dressers I have been eyeing at Ikea for almost an entire year. They were his Christmas present to me. And another thank you to my dad and his generous Christmas gift that allowed us to buy the matching 3-draw chests which we are now using as night stands, as well as the new gel foam mattress pad we have been enjoying since before New Years. Having real, matching furniture in our room has made a HUGE difference in the feel of our room and I hope encourages us to keep our room clean rather than the dumping ground it has often been over the years.

I know the room will not be completed this year, but I do hope to get some paint on the wall and a few small DIY design items done to bring it, and us, even more into the adult world.

I know my home decor photography skills still have a long way to go, but at least its natural light!

I’m also adding in last year’s challenge of completing the master bathroom resolution into this year's focuses, since really the two areas are very much connected and one. Again, the room won’t be “complete” by the end of the year, but paint, a border to the large mirror and some small DIY décor items would go a loooong, long way.

Front Room.My Office
For the most part, that rounds out my home décor focuses. I will continue to work toward completing the Family room and will touch up the paint in powder room downstairs. We are also looking at turning the front room/my office area into an actual room, all with an actual door, and move Cameron’s office downstairs so that we have a spare/guest room upstairs.

Cameron’s already sourcing contractors for this one, so we’re already headed in the right direction. In the meantime, I’ll be working on cleaning up the loft area (as until yesterday held the old dresser and night stands and a rather large pile of left over pine needles from the Christmas tree) so that I can then begin moving all that is residing in the front room up to the loft until construction is complete. Check out these pocket doors I saw on Pinterest that we would like to incorporate into the new office.

Laundry Room
One last area I would like to focus on a little more, is our laundry room. The main objective will be to get it organized and make it easier to get to the litter box so I clean that more often (hopefully every day). And maybe, if it isn't such an eyesore, I'll enjoy going in there a little more often to get my laundry done. Currently, I wince every time I open up the cabinet that holds the liquid detergent as there is a pile of semi-solid liquid detergent that has built up on the bottom. I can only imagine what this is doing to the cabinet wood. This is one item Cameron and I were discussing when I failed to put the blankets in the laundry last night. When I tackle this room, it will definitely take a day. I'd also like to get it painted.

London's Bathroom
And until last night, this item had fallen off my list of home decor focuses, but Cameron brought it back. With Contractor's coming in and quoting, we figure we can see about having them take the large mirror down and replacing it with the ones I like at Lowe's. Add in a little paint and this room would really be done. We even almost bought the paint last night at Home Depot while picking up some RoundUp. At least we know the paint color, finally. This after several months with three possible colors painted all over the bathroom.

A Final Note on Resolutions
Last, I plan to not just make resolutions at the beginning of the year, but actually make one at the beginning of each month. To start, my January 2012 resolution is to get the house picked up and begin a deep cleaning. This means dusting each slat of every blind, dusting the top of the ceiling fans and light fixtures and dusting the floor boards. Right now, the pick-up process is in progress and hopefully, by this weekend, the deep cleanse will follow. For February, I’m thinking of finishing small projects or getting some painting done, but all this could change, depending on how January rolls along. Stay tuned!


You know you’ve done too much cleaning in one day when…

Sorry for the delay. I promise my Resolutions for 2012 are coming. The post is written. I was just waiting to get a few pictures of our bedroom looking all adult and pretty. The thing is, this needed to be done with sunlight coming in (at least in my mind this is when it needed to be done). I want to try and take alright pictures for this blog.

The problem was, I couldn’t take such a picture all week. The sun isn’t up, nor Cameron out of bed, when London and I head out at 6:45 AM and the sun is almost completely set by the time we get home at 5 PM thanks to these short winter days. I'm more interested in using my last few minutes of daylight to get a 30-minute run in versus try for a half-ass picture. I was able to take the pictures Saturday, but then got caught up in a cleaning frenzy Saturday morning and most of Sunday.

Saturday was a mad dash to get downstairs in order with friends coming over at noon to watch the 49ers game. We were a loud, rowdy bunch as the 49ers were winning, losing, winning, losing and finally winning the game! The loud hoots and hollers took a number on London at first – she’d been down for a nap when the game started and was not expecting the scene before her when she woke up. She was pretty clingy until Cameron showed her that when we got loud, she should to, along with clapping and saying yay! She had this down by the end of the game.

Jeremy & Alyssa were some of the friends to join us that day, including their 4-month-old son Brayden. Alyssa and Brayden came near the end, after a visit to the Bay Area that morning, which was when the game got real exciting and nerve-racking. Poor Brayden. Our howling definitely scared the beegeesus out of him with all the back and forth scoring. Being in his dad's arms at the time probably didn't help as Jeremy was one of the loudest in the bunch.

But it was on Sunday when I literally over cleaned, past my mental capacity. Cameron took London up to his mom’s in the afternoon since the daycare was closed today in observance of MLK Jr. day. Not so for Cameron and me, as we had to work. The alone time in the house allowed me some free time to crank up the music and tackle the loft. Cameron was also taking our old dresser and nightstands up to his sister’s, so those had been cleared out of my path.

I’m happy to report there is no longer a pile of Christmas Tree needles in the middle of the loft! But I also got so consumed in the cleaning that the last load of laundry I meant to do didn’t actually happen. I’d called it a day in cleaning but still had a little laundry to do. I started the load and went back to my glass of wine and London’s stocking while laying on the bed and watching last week’s episode of Parenthood. Probably 20 minutes later it suddenly occurred to me that I may not have actually put the blankets in the washer.

When I mentioned this to Cameron, it dawned on him that he hadn’t see me do this either – he’d watched me put the laundry detergent in and we’d discussed the cleaning that needs to be had in our laundry room, but nope, no recollection of blankets actually going in to the washer.

Upon further inspection, by Cameron, he confirmed my goof. I was already bowled over in a laughing fit, tears streaming down my face. Oh well, I guess that’s a true sign you’ve cleaned yourself out! The blankets made it into the wash tonight. And that 2012 Resolutions Part 2 post is on its way!


Jan 6, 2012

Resolutions – Part 1

Happy 2012! We spent New Year’s Eve with the McGraths, Moes and Millers (yes, we were out of place without an “M” last name) and their growing broods. The kids were ready to party well past midnight (albeit London being cracked out from the lack of sleep, and purposely slamming her forehead into the wall) but Cameron and I were ready to pack it in as soon as midnight arrived. We lasted just a little while longer, but were home by 1:30 AM, London crashed out in her car seat and easy to transport to bed – we’d had the good sense to bring her to the party in her Pajamas (we also decided to rock the sweatpants for ourselves – I think some people were a little jealous they hadn’t). We had a great time, but look forward to the day we can leave the older kids in charge of the younger ones – we’re about 4 years away, we think.

With the New Year comes new resolutions. But how did I fair with last years? I fared ok – in my mind. That’s to say that resolutions aren’t absolute (to me) and if I decide to go a different path, I’m alright with that.

Update: Get Healthy and Lose Weight
I’m on and off track this one. I’ve taken a little break from running since the Thanksgiving 10K and haven’t really run since. But my mom got me a bunch of new cold weather running outfits and I have a ½ marathon in March, as well as a Super bowl Day 10K in February so I’ve got to get my butt in gear. I plan to run 4 miles this weekend and get as many 30-40 minute runs every week between Monday thru Thursday. I can’t say I’ve really lost any weight – maybe just those last 5 baby pounds, but I’d like to loose more, of course. What I can say is I do feel descent about myself most of the time and proud of the steps I’ve taken to make mine, and my family’s lives healthier. Cameron even asked me to make some Zucchini Lasagna again (a recipe I made after finding on Skinnytaste.com).

Update: Finished Decorating the Family Room
While I didn’t accomplish this completely (will it ever be done, per se?), we did make progress. We found and created the perfect entertainment center, as well as mounted the TV. All we really need are some throw pillows (which I remind myself I really want every time I lay down on the couch) and a little display on top of the entertainment center, under the TV. This will include a clock, as we now have AT&T and their DVR/Cable boxes don’t have clocks on them! A trip to HomeGoods should take care of it and now with HomeGoods in Folsom, it will be less of a trip to get there.

Update: Get all Bathrooms Decorated
Powder room: Pretty successful – I just need to do some touch-up re: paint

London’s Bathroom: Fail. Not that this is a big deal to me. All I really need to do is paint, but I don’t want to do that until we remove the big mirror and replace with some smaller ones I’ve found at Lowe’s. I also want to add some bead board/wainscotting. This could or could not happen in 2012. We’ll see.

Master bathroom: Fail. But again, not a big deal. I’ve recently had some new ideas for it, and wouldn’t have come up with these ideas had I done what I originally planned. Stayed tuned for these ideas in the next post, as it is part of my 2012 resolutions.

Update: Start and Stay up-to-date on London’s Baby Book
Start: Success
Stay Up-to-Date: FAIL

It’s definitely one of the top of my projects to do list. Along with London’s Stocking.

Update: Finish Cross Stitching London’s Stocking.
See above. I’m close – I just need to finish the blue background and turn it into an actual stocking. I won’t take 8 months off this year either!

Update: Catch up on my magazine Pile
I’m caught up minus two magazines from December. I’m half way through one. Both are fitness based, so I pushed them aside to read all my other December magazines in the actual month of December and save these for January since I know they will mean more this month any way. This pile does make a re-appearance in this year’s resolutions, but in a different way that I can’t wait to share with you, next post.