Surgery on Friday

I mentioned in an earlier post, I will be going in for surgery on Friday. It is for a hernia, which I developed following my fourth c-section three months ago. It's gotten worse, and can be extremely painful sometimes. I will be going under general anesthesia. I'm not too thrilled, since I'm overweight, have sleep apnea and some other medical issues which raise my risks of being put under.

As you know, I have four small children depending on me, ages 3 months to four years old. They and their daddy need me, so PLEASE remember me often in your prayers, that the surgery may be successful and uneventful, and that the pain and recovery time will be minimal. My husband doesn't have much vacation time left, so I won't be healed when he goes back to work, and I will have no help then. Now is one of those times I could really use an older child! The four year old is pretty much only good for fetching things. I could use a baby-holder and a diaper-changer and a dinner-maker, lol.

I'm starting to get pretty nervous. General anesthesia is a big deal. I could go to sleep and wake up before the judgement seat of God. I'm a little worried when I think about that, because I'm not happy with the kind of Christian that I have been lately. I have been extremely lax, particularly in my prayer and worship. And although I think I have been much more patient with my children and somewhat more diligent with my household duties, I feel that I am still falling far short of what I could and should be doing as a mother and wife. So hopefully when they put me to sleep on Friday, I will wake up...for REAL!

Thank you in advance for your prayers.


Oh, and by the way, I'll let you know next week, when I'm feeling better, who the challenge winner was. And I'm sorry to say I won't finish the challenge myself, due to the unexpected surgery, but I'll get done what I can. At least I have one cupboard done, and that's more than what I had done before, lol!

Belated Tribute to Veterans


I read a moving and wonderfully patriotic tribute to veterans on Stephanie's "Getting Back to Basics" blog (which is fabulous, by the way--and I stole your vet pic Stephanie, hope you don't mind).

It is sad that our veterans, after serving so honorably in our armed forces to protect the freedoms of this country, are forgotten. As with Christian observances, our patriotic observances have turned into hedonist free-for-alls where one lays about, drinks and eats past satiation, and completely ignores the meaning of the day.

This post should remind us all of what Memorial Day is supposed to be about:

One Cabinet Completed

One cabinet down, a whole lot more to go!



This is the dry goods cabinet. I keep mixes, cereal, grains and legumes in here. Notice the crumpled bags all over the place. Those are there because I buy many things at the health food store in bulk. Then I never get around to transferring them to other containers. I am working on accumulating some more half-gallon canning jars. Mrs. Wilt at The Sparrow's Nest had pictures of laundry detergent in nice glass jars by Martha Stewart that she got at Kmart. I find them a little pricey, but it's cheaper than buying other types of jars. I did find some similar jars at Target for a little bit less. I'd like to get some. I also have been buying canisters at yard sales. I bought a set of four for $2. I don't like the pattern on them, but I plan to print out a pattern I like on my computer, then decoupage it to the outside of the canisters. You'll see them in future photos as my kitchen clean-up progresses.

I chose not to clean the cabinets yet. Although it would save time in the end to clean them now, I decided it would get me off track, and I'm more likely to organize them if I can just do it quickly in five or ten minutes, without having to get out cleaning supplies and a step stool. There's also a few things that I probably could get rid of, like the Atkins food, since we're not doing Atkins any more. But I'm still deciding what to do with them (will I use them, donate them, or toss them).

The beans were put into half-gallon canning jars. I couldn't get them all in, I only had four of them. Each jar holds approximately three pounds of dried beans, usually with a bit of room left over. Although the jars do take up more space than stacking the bags of beans flat, it looks nicer and will be easier to use. And really, I have quite a bit of storage space in the kitchen. It's embarassing, some of the "before" pictures I took have empty drawers and cabinets that I actually forgot about, lol! Seriously, since I never use them, I forgot they existed!! But others, as you will eventually see, are crammed full of small appliances, bags of sippy cups and who knows what else.

The other bags of beans are stacked into a small plastic tray. I used another tray to hold packets of organic instant oatmeal. I re-used a plastic cous cous jar for brown rice. Then I got rid of some things that didn't belong in that cabinet. It only took me about ten minutes--would have taken less if I wasn't dealing with the kids eating their lunches. :-)

I wouldn't say the cabinet is 100% done. I may add more containers. But for the most part, it's done. I plan to attack one more cabinet today, then get to the laundry monster. I can't decide if I should do the baking cabinet, or the really bad corner cabinet. We'll see how it goes!

Apron Pattern Prize


Here is the apron pattern I am giving away for the "Cruddy Job Challenge". It is a true vintage pattern, a Simplicity Printed Pattern # 3718, copyrighted in 1951. It shows four views of aprons. The envelope is torn a bit on the front. All the pieces are there, and in very good condition. It doesn't appear to me to have been used.

For some reason, the pattern pieces are lettered, A-M, except for I and J. There are no pieces marked I or J, and the list doesn't include I or J. The pattern lists eleven pieces, and all are accounted for. Being a novice, I don't know if this is typical, or not. The pattern comes in a ziplock bag to protect it. I will probably just send it in a manila envelope.

Here you can see the directions sheet, the envelope, the ziploc bag, and the stack of pattern pieces.

This picture is a close up of the direction sheet, where it shows all the aprons you can make. I showed this because one apron isn't visible on the envelope,where it is torn.

Good luck with the contest. Just think how much more you'll enjoy your next "cruddy job" if you are wearing a cute vintage-style apron that you made yourself! And you just KNOW everyone will ask where you got it! :-)

I Did It!


You may have noticed that beginning with my Memorial Day Tablescape post, I have FINALLY added pictures. After figuring out how to upload pictures from my camera and add them to my blog, I am extremely embarassed that I publicly posted that I didn't know how to do was easy, once I spent the time to figure it out!

The hardest part of the whole thing was finding the stupid port to plug the USB cable into on the camera. I knew I had the right wire, but I spent five minutes looking all over the darn thing for a hole to fit it into. I finally found it under a hidden panel. Okay, was marked AV/DV plus a USB symbol, but it was hard to notice. ;-)

I will be updating some of my old posts with appropriate pictures, and the next post will include pics of the apron pattern. I will also add pictures of my family. However, they pictures will be blurred or altered to protect my family's privacy. I am a big advocate of maintaining privacy on the web, particularly if you have children.

Too bad though. My kids are so cute! :-D Maybe I can let a picture of the baby slip by. They change so much in a few months, anyway. Here is a picture of me holding my three year old daughter at the zoo, as we look at the tigers. My three month old daughter is in a carrier on my chest. The white blob is her bonnet.

Memorial Day Tablescape


Since today was Memorial Day, I wanted to do something special. It was a hectic day, and my husband had fed the kids dinner while I napped, so I never had time to plan. But when I went to the store to pick up a few things, I decided to get some "picnic" type of food

and decorations. Inspired by Mrs. Wilt at The Sparrow's Nest (see sidebar for the link), I decorated my table for Memorial Day.

I used a red table cloth I already had. Not perfect, but it was red. Then I bought two little pails with star cutouts in the rim, one red and one blue ($1 each at Target), a flag-motif star-shaped candle dish ($1 at Target), a few little flags (3 pack for $1 at Target), some foil star garland ($1.50 at Kmart), and little red white and blue decorative "sprays" (pack of 3, $1.50 at Kmart). I also bought a four-pack of annuals at the grocery store for $1.79 with tiny white flowers.

At home, I cut the four-pack apart and arranged them into one of the pails. Then I stuck the three flags and decorative sprays in between them. Then I unwrapped the garland and coiled it around the centerpiece. I lined the other bucket with plastic wrap inside and used it to serve cut fruit, and set the pail on top of the candle dish (I had planned on using a candle, but it wasn't needed with such a full centerpiece). I used a red and white plate for the cookies, and used two blue glass plates I already had for eating on. It looked pretty cute. After the fact, I decided to add a white doily under the centerpiece for more contrast. Not sure if I liked it that way or not. These pictures don't do it justice--they were taken at angles strategically designed not to show my dining area. ;-) Really, it's not that bad at all, but would make the picture look very cluttered.

I will re-use the decorations for Independence Day and Labor Day. I also plan on going back in a few days and trying to purchase some red white and blue swags, flags, and other decorations on clearance. Thanks to Mrs. Wilt for the inspiration. My husband was very pleased.

In case anyone was wondering, I served hot dogs, cole slaw, macaroni salad, cherry pie, cut fruit, and cookies with holiday sprinkles for our dinner. I am embarassed to admit it was all store-bought, as I didn't have time to prepare anything. My fault for lack of planning. But hey, this is the first "minor" holiday that I actually did something for, so I'm making progress.

Challenge Update

Journey to Homemaker

I just found out I have to have surgery on Friday. I will be in the hospital over the weekend, and recovering for a couple of weeks. I will still judge a winner for the contest, but it may take a few extra days to get the apron pattern sent out. I hope the winner won't mind. If you are doing the contest, please post a comment telling me what job you plan to do. I'm trying to flush out all you lurkers! ;-) I am going to post a picture of the pattern tomorrow. I'm still trying to figure out how. If I don't, you all have my permission to post a million comments bugging me to do it! :-)

I have not yet gotten to my kitchen, mostly because I got behind and it turned into a pigsty. My wonderful husband cleaned it up for me this weekend, and now I'm ready to tackle it. Well, actually I did start a little bit, because on Friday I started going through the piles of paper and putting them into in/out boxes, the stackable kind you use in offices. I have four down in the computer room and four in the kitchen, which gives each of us an in and an out box in each room. I cleared an entire counter of clutter, getting rid of the CD's (I got a new CD rack at a yard sale for a dollar, to keep in the computer room) the tapes, and a pile of junk that didn't belong there. It looks SO much better. That had been a major hot spot for months!

Tomorrow I will begin to pull stuff out of the cabinets. When we moved in, I just shoved stuff into them, unorganized and in bags and boxes. We actually have a lot of storage space in our kitchen, but it is under-utilized. I may try to paint the interior of the cabinets white, to make it cleaner looking and easier to see inside. Our cabinets are a very dark 1970's style wood. VERY dark. I may ask the landlord if I can paint the outside, too. I'm planning on repainting the walls no matter what. They painted them a very odd pinkish beige. It's the kind of color you can NOT match anything to, in decorating. Pinks are too pink next to the paint, beige looks funny, and so do most other colors, except maybe white and some greens. Trust me, it's wierd. I have a feeling it was in the "oops" section of discounted paints.

Plus, the landlord told me he painted with washable, scrubbable paint. Bless his heart, he's a nice man, but he doesn't know what he's talking about. The paint is FLAT paint, and you moms out there with a lot of kids know that flat paint is not scrubbable or washable, no matter what the paint can says. I need walls I can wash. I'm going to pick a very neutral creamy yellow that will go with almost anything. But I'm going to ask first about the cabinets, because painting them is a big deal. I want to paint them a semi-gloss white. I hate to spend money like that on a rental, but it will make me happier, and we have an eighteen month lease.

I can't wait to have my kitchen clean so I can start decorating it. I'm going to do before and after pics, it will be great! Just being able to have a place for everything, and know WHERE that place is will be wonderful! The challenge is helpful to me. I can't very well have a challenge and not do it myself!

Cruddy Job Challenge

Journey to Homemaker

Is there a job in your home that you have been putting off, but really needs to be done? Cleaning out the garage, decluttering the basement, paring down on the amount of clothing in your house, organizing your pantry? If you have a job that you need motivation to do, I have a challenge for you.

Get that cruddy job you've been dreading done within the next two weeks, and post before and after pictures on your blog...then leave a link to it in the comments section of this post. I'll chose the winner, who will receive...da da ta daaaa!...a vintage apron pattern. It is circa 1950's, has several styles to chose from (all waist aprons), very cute. I don't think it's been used at all, but I have to double check...I didn't actually open up every single page of the pattern. I'll try to get a picture of the pattern envelope on here in the next day or so.

But the real prize is pride in a job well the bragging rights when you show the pictures on your blog, lol! Just think of how much you'll smile when you'll just sit and stare at the neat and tidy results! The deadline is June 5th, and I will announce the winner by June 7th. Good luck!

Treasure Hunting

Journey to Homemaker

I've been yard saling and going to thrift stores to find some decorative and practical items for my home. This weekend I passed through a small town on the way home from a Walmart trip and saw piles of junk by the curb of many houses. Then I saw trucks going by loaded with some of the good "junk". It was a neighborhood curbside pickup weekend!

Towns often have one day a year that you can set out anything--furniture, appliances, junk, etc.--to be picked up for free. Thrifty-minded people often scavenge most of the good stuff before the truck come. Last night I loaded my car with useful items--two sets of nice looking metal shelving for the garage, some children's riding toys, a couple of cabinets, a lawn seeder, a wooden rocking horse, a four-drawer filing cabinet, a stereo cabinet, a nice tapestry footstool, and much more.

Today I went back and got even more. A nice green wing-back chair (will go well with the footstool), a baby gate, a nice Eddie Bauer infant car seat with matching stroller, a flip-and-fold cushion chair for my son, a white dresser for my daughter, a race car bed for my son, a little tikes picnic table, a little tikes double easel/chalkboard, a razor-type scooter, a little tikes toddler basketball hoop, a nice decorative shelf, and miscellaneous smaller items. It was a great haul!

Most of it I want to keep, but some of it I plan to repaint and repair (only a few things were damaged) and sell at a future yard sale. I happened upon a "vintage home sale" today. Basically a fancy garage sale. The lady had her garage arranged like a little country gift shop. She had white Christmas lights strung up, painted lattice as a back drop, and carefully merchandised furniture pieces. Looking closely at the furniture, I'm sure it was stuff she got at the previous weekend's curbside pickup, which I misssed. Or they were very cheap yard sale finds. She repainted them nice, pastel colors, and arranged nice decorative items in them. She had homemade soaps tied in tulle and ribbon, and most of her stuff was very expensive. If she had priced stuff half of what she was asking, she could have made a good profit and had more traffic. But I got some really good ideas!

One thing she did was to take a waist-high cabinet and place a small bookcase on top, and paint them both a light sage green. I've seen this trick on Decorating Cents on HGTV. Though I think she should have permanently mounted the two together, for safety. It made it look similar to an old china hutch. It looked pretty cute.

I had so much fun this weekend. The only thing better than getting great deals on cool yard sale stuff, is to get a huge haul of good stuff for free! Just recently I had been wanting to wait and do without the furniture we needed til we could afford nice, new furniture. But now I remind myself that by being thrifty and re-doing old furniture inexpensively, I can help keep down my family's expensive, and still make my home look nice. In a way, I'm "earning" money for us. And if I paint and re-sell some furniture, I will really be earning some money for the family.

Of course, I have to remind my husband of this, when he sees our garage so full of stuff, he can't park in it!! But it's just for a few weeks. ;-)