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Archive for July, 2017

From baby to preteen room... makeover...

July 13th, 2017 at 12:14 am

Well, I'm in earnest converting the toy room into my oldest's pre-teen moody testosterone lair.

We pulled all the toys out, emptied closets, etc., and boy how did my boys end up with so many toys?? It was chaos for a couple of days, but I got the closets done today and some things put away, so that helped.

As part of the transition, I gave the closet in both bedrooms some upgrades. Both boys will have two rods for hanging clothes and half a closet of toy storage and shelving. I was able to reuse a closet rod I'd taken out of my own bedroom when I redid my closets in Feb.

I had to buy 1 rod, two brackets, and three wire shelves. I spent just under $50 for all of it, so $25/closet in expenses.

Here are the pics. For the record, I have no idea why they are sideways. The originals aren't!

DS1 wants his own room, ADD, medical bills, etc.

July 9th, 2017 at 02:26 pm

Just a few odds and ends.

So far, my Big C medical bill tally:

$1300 in copays before surgery (paid)
$53 to the CTI scan (paid)
$252 to the anesthesiologist (mailing check tomorrow)

Bills are just starting to come in. Worse, are the "This is not a bill" papers with itemized lists of every rinky dink thing you used in the hospital. But no indication of what it costs or what you'll pay. Gar. Why can't I be Candian or European?

I've started spending my $500 home improvement budget, and so far, things are coming in less than expected!

I budgeted $25 to replace broken cereal bowls, but managed to get what I needed at Ikea for $9. I spent that 'extra' $16 on a replacement part for the dishwasher. The rack wheel broke! So, another project on the list, but no more budget spent.

I budgeted $40 for dish and bath hand towels, but spent $12 for 11 new ones, and I think those will get us by for a while. So that's $28 that can go to another project.

I also started looking for fabric to slipcover the ugly chair, and realized if I use fuzzy throws and blankets, which are super soft and comfy-- and just also happen to be large pieces of fabric for less than the per yard cost at the fabric store-- I can get it done for about $40. Which would be awesome.

Of course, my 9-year-old threw a wrench in my plans by giving me a sincere and heartfelt plea for why he should move into his own room. That's always been the plan. He shares with his 7-year-old brother right now, and has for four years. We have a 'toy' room that was always designated as his bedroom once he hit puberty.

I guess he didn't want to wait for puberty. And, the more I'm reading about 9-year-olds, the more I understand this is the phase when they want privacy, and independence, and something of their own. And frankly, since they are only 19 months apart and it's been easier for us and they didn't mind until now, they've shared EVERYTHING for years. Friends, activities, same school, same room, even share clothes because they are the same size.

I just feel bad I didn't realize all this until DS1 said something.

So yeah, we agreed. It's time for them both to have their own space and their own identity.

After some calculating. Furniture wise, We can have the toy room transformed into pre-teen boy hang out for about $300. This includes a loft bed frame, his homework desk, mattress (the bunk beds will stay together in their current room, for DS2 and guests), and any other odds and ends.

I haven't been spending much lately, so we should be able to swing this out of cash flow in the next two weeks or so.

I am feeling a little better every day, post surgery. It's been 3 weeks, 2 days? Last night, I could finally sleep on my side comfortably. Yay!

I'm also going to spend some time weeding the garden today.Gah! Something always happens in June that lets the weeds get away from me. and as much as Dh promises every spring that he's all about the garden and will help and weed, he never does.

Sigh. I did not marry a fix-it or do-it man. Pretty much everything outside of his job, and folding osme laundry, I do. I fix, I grow, I paint, I maintain, and honestly, it's overwhelming. And I'm not that good at it, so it's death by a thousand cuts of broken things around here!!

He isn't doing it to be a jerk. We realized through the journey of discovery of our youngest son's severe ADD that he got it from his dad. So many things in our relationship made sense after figuring that out.

Anyway, part of that is obliviousness to details, 'forgetting' to do things you've been asked to do (They have good intentions, but anything that isn't immediately in front of them doesn't exist, ergo easily distracted and forgetful.)He even forgets full conversations had only hours before AND big chunks of our past 15 years together.

Anyway, I'm not mad about it. It's the way his brain works. But, with my being out of play for a month this summer, and watching the world crumble without all the drudge work I do every day, it got me thinking it's time to figure out a way to simplify our lives, minimize the 'things' we need to take care of, in order to take workload off of me.

The help isn't coming, so it's time to figure out what can stay, what can go, and what can be reconfigured to make it easier for me to do on my own.

Like the garden. Maybe it's time to ditch the complicated raised beds that are hard to mow around and that I have to spend hours weed-whacking, and just do straight rows that I can mow around? And then maybe fewer rows, since the boys don't really help much with maintaining once the novelty of spring has passed?

As for indoor tasks, we are making the boys do much more for themselves since I can't. It's actually been good, because I did too much for them anyway, and they're old enough to take care of more.

Just thinking out loud!

Darn you, CeeJay! ;)

July 7th, 2017 at 12:50 am

You must have gotten into my brain like a gourmet amoeba!

I don't know what came over me. But today, I made three new recipes.

1. A new marinade plus recipe for baked chicken legs.

2. I had most of a stale (amazing) baguette leftover from the farm market yesterday. They are amazing but they don't last, because they are baked with no preservatives, so I thought. Hmmm. I'll try that recipe for bread pudding and caramel sauce! (On the stove, as we speak.)


3. Then, I had five tiny tiny granny smith apples leftover from last week's farm share. One more day, and they'd start to go bad, so another Hmmmm... I made an apple-pie ice cream sauce and it was a huge hit for dessert. It seriously tasted just like apple pie. On ice cream. I'm dying!

Normally, I dread cooking. But, maybe there's something to putting more effort into trying new things and being creative. Maybe it'll get us out of our dinnertime rut!

This is my favorite time in the food year, though. We're getting produce out of the garden and can buy most of everything else at the farmer's market. Good living!

Tightwad gazette, $500 budget

July 5th, 2017 at 06:23 pm

Gah! I lost the original version of this post! So frustrating!

Anyway. I was GOING to say, before it was all wiped away...

While I'm stuck at home recovering, I've been re-reading the Tightwad Gazette. Once you've been cheap for 20 years, there aren't a lot of ideas left to try, but I like to go through some of the classics for inspiration and maybe ideas I've missed.

Most of the TG falls into the 1. already doing it 2. not relevant or 3. not my thing categories.BUT, I am going to try the grocery price book. I've never done it, and maybe writing down what things we buy cost at different stores will come in handy.

I dug out a tiny notebook and wrote down my categories, and we'll see how it works out!

I'm also revisiting reusing plastic Ziploc bags. I prefer to put leftovers etc into reusable glass pyrex with lids, but DH still puts stuff in Ziplocs, tries to wash them but never really gets them clean.

I, seeing the dirty bag, get grossed out and throw it away,but now I'm thinking of trying harder to get them clean. I hate the idea of all that plastic waste put out into the environment. Any tips on washing and drying them effectively?

$500 home improvement

We rescued a 1970s modern lounge chair from the in-laws. It's super comfy, looks modern,and is one of DH's favorite childhood chairs. They were going to put it on the curb.

Only problem: The 80s. floral upholstery. The MIL loves to cover everything in flowers. Not my style. And, in this case, it's dirty. SO, I got an estimate for a real reu[holstery job and it came back at $500.

Cringe. But I originally planned to do it anyway. Then I thought, "geesh, my friends I used to re-cover thrift store furniture in our 20s,a nd it looked fun and lasted a long time. I bet I could do that with this chair."

I inspected the chair and I think I can make a washable slipcover that looks like new upholstery with maybe a day's work.

And, since I'm stuck at home recovering, I've noticed a long list of smallish house projects that need to be done, so I wondered how many of those I could do with that $500. I want to find out, so I'm allocating $500 to misc. house projects.

Here's a rough plan

1. $100. Reupholster chair/ottoman
2. $100. Reupholster office chair
3. $50 to $75. Scrape and re-paint my master bathroom.
4. $40. Buy all new dish and bath hand towels. Ours are awful, and at least 15 years old.
5. $25. Replace all the Japanese ceramic cereal bowls we've broken.
6. $60 plus whatever is left-- either replace the broken stereo speaker with a used set or rent a steam cleaner and clean three sofas plus the interior of my car,which is super gross from the kids.

Food for thought. I think I'm gonna do this littler experiment and see how it works.

in other news

Three more days and It'll have been three weeks since surgery. As expected, I am not back to normal. Sigh.

Yes, I can do more. Yes, I can drive. But two to three hours of activity leaves me wiped out and needing nap. (I am trying to sleep more, since that is when the body heals.)

I still can't bend over to pick things up off the floor. Since my incisions are on my torso, they limit movements until they heal 100 percent. Sigh!

This is all very frustrating for an on-the-go gal like myself. I want to be back to normal!! I hate feeling like I'm on pause!

Plus, a bit of the gravity of the 'C' word might be sinking in, and the reality of if it hadn't been for all this, I would have been dead in the next couple of years. I'm having some feels related to that. Maybe reevaluating my priorities and how I'm living my day-to-day life.

Gah! SO many feels!