Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Kitchen Counters - Utter Fail

Side note: If a cow stops producing milk, do they have an udder fail?

Ok, back on topic. Last week my goal was going to be clearing my kitchen counters. Well, hmm, I did not accomplish the task. I made progress, but they get messed up so quickly!!! So I tried to determine the problems so I could come up with solutions:

Problem #1: Dirty dishes on the counter.
Solution: Clean them.
This can be a problem for me. Our day is pretty fast-paced, so it's hard for me to get a moment to wash the dishes in between meals and I'm not Type A enough to really even care. For now, the solution is to TRY to clean them in between meals and hopefully have a dirty dish-free counter by bedtime.

Problem #2: No place for food items, such as bags of pretzels or chips, or for boxes of crackers, etc. 
Our house is not equipped with a pantry. It's a very poorly designed kitchen. I mean, it's nice and spacious and there are plenty of cupboards, but there is not a walk-in pantry or even a large, tall cupboard or closet. (We don't even have a hall closet for jackets.) I think our 1200 square foot apartment, when we first got married, had more pantry space than this house. Because there is inconvenient storage for these types of food items, they usually end up on the counters or on the playroom floor. Bad.

Solution: We have a back porch off our kitchen, and ideally I would enclose it and make it a sort of mudroom, butler's pantry, food storage type room. It's a dream of mine. But since that would likely cost in the 10's of thousands of dollars, I decided to buy a temporary cabinet at Lowe's to put in another area of the kitchen. The white matches our existing cabinets and it should nicely enclose the awkward packages of food that are encroaching my counter space and causing my utter fail. Right now the cabinet is sitting unassembled on my kitchen floor. I need to work up the courage to put it together. Here's a pic from Lowe's website. I'm kind of excited about it. I hope it holds up well:

Zoomed: ESTATE by RSI 70-3/8"H x 23-3/4"W x 16-5/8"D Wood Composite Multi-Purpose Cabinet

It cost $138, which I still think costs a lot of money, but much less than $10,000. It's all relative.

Problem #3: Unorganized baking center.
For Christmas my dad gave us a Kitchen Aid. I was very excited because I'm not much of a baker and I thought that this might be an inspiration to be able to do some hands-free mixing. I have a nice spot for it in my kitchen, but my ingredients are not very handy. I want my ingredients to be handy by the mixer so that I'm inspired to bake.

Solution: I want to install a pullout drawer in one of my cabinets where I can put my flour, sugar, etc and easily scoop it into the mixer. The ones at Lowe's are about $55-65 which I think is expensive. I've been searching online and I think I can get a comparable one for about $37. Still haven't decided yet. I might just have to squat down and pull the containers out from under the cupboard. Gaw! It just feels so primitive! We MUST have convenience and exert as LITTLE effort as possible!!! Ok, so I might be getting a little spoiled here. I think I better start a budget and practice my squats for now.

Ok that's all for now. Totally boring post, but it's been what's been going on in my mind. This week's assignment is supposed to be kitchen cupboards and drawers. Thankfully, I did mine not that long ago, so I'm in pretty good shape in regards to my drawers and cupboards. Getting this cabinet assembled should help with with the kitchen organization overall. I'll keep you updated.

Ugh. I'm annoyed that I just created such a boring post! Such is life. I'll leave you with pictures:

 I took these last week. My counters have improved, but they still need some work. This is the counter that accumulates the dirty dishes.

This is the clean dish side. It's usually stacked with drying dishes.

This is unusually cluttered due to the holidays, but unfortunately it's still pretty bad. Aren't you excited to see the after pictures? Me too! This is where my beloved Kitchen Aid will go.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Solution Resolution

Tonight's Family Home Evening lesson was on New Year Resolutions. For our activity the kids wrote down at least three of their own resolutions. They came up with them on their own....well, maybe with a little help from mom and dad. At least the ones that seem to recur among children.


When I asked her what she meant by "riding" she said, "You know..." and then gestured with a writing motion. I think what she meant was spelling. And "cleaing" means "cleaning".

Focus on piano, obedience, trying new food, and cleaning*

*Really need to do!" I'm glad he realizes that.

Learn how to properly dip a chocolate chip cookie in milk. It's not necessary to dip the hand past the wrist.



He chose not to write down any that mom and dad suggested, and he came up with this one all by himself, with a little help from an older sister with spelling.

Rachel slept through Family Home Evening.

In addition to our individual resolutions, my husband and I made a joint one to find Solutions to problem areas in the house. For example, my husband was very frustrated with our shower curtain hooks in our bathroom because they didn't slide smoothly. So he bought new ones that are very slick. He also bought a new shower curtain because ours had a lot of mildew growing on it and it was yellowing from all the times I have bleached it. Now my husband says that his day goes so much better now that he has a pleasant shower experience in the morning.

I found a cool website via Pinterest that focuses on one problem area of the home per week for 52 weeks. This week's focus is kitchen counters. Hopefully by Saturday I will have some good before and after pictures. Kitchen counters in our house are a major clutter magnet. I have to put my thinking cap on and find some solutions!

Sunday, January 01, 2012

New Year Resolutions (5 of them)

Did you think I was dead? My sincerest apologies for the two month leave of absence. I'm not sure that anybody really even cares, but I do. I feel like I missed two whole months of documenting my life. My occasional Facebook Status update will have to suffice to fill in the gap. Anyways, I would like to call my leave of absence a bloggatical. You know, like when a professor leaves to go do something for a semester or two, they take a sabbatical? Well, yeah, that's what I did, except I'm not a professor. So I'm not really sorry, because the break was nice, but I should have warned you so you didn't think I died November 2. My daughter, Emily, finally got upset with me. and is strongly encouraging me to blog. I think she misses her weekly 15 minutes of fame.

Instead of trying to catch up with telling you everything that's been going on over the past two months, I'm starting fresh at the beginning of this year, and I'll throw in a thing or two from the past two months as they come to mind or relate to the topic.

So what are my New Year Resolutions? I don't like to get overly ambitious so that I don't feel like a failure by January 7th, so I'm going to keep it simple. I actually haven't put a whole lot of thought into it as of yet, so I am brainstorming as I type:

1. Increase my gratitude. I simply want to be more grateful for things, people, and experiences (including trials). And not only to feel the gratitude, but to express it as well. I don't think it's something I'm bad at, but I want to be better. I want to write down the things I am grateful for either on my blog, a thank you note, or in my journal.

2. Be faithful at keeping a written journal. My husband gave me a journal for Christmas and on the cover it says, "Love Your Life". I do love my life, and I want my descendants to know that I love it too. In case the Internet blows up, at least I will have a hard copy to prove it. I want to write at least a few lines a day and if the day was really exciting, I might actually write a whole page.

3. Be a Better Blogger. I'm not going to try to set a specific goal for how many posts per week. I just want to be consistent. I think I already used up my vacation leave the past two months.

4. Gain 35 pounds. I'm getting a little tired of stocking up on food because we are running out of space in our closets and under our beds, so I thought a little extra storage on the body might be helpful. Also, I think it's fun to gain weight.

5. Have a baby by the first week in July. I hope I didn't just jinx this whole having a baby thing. But I'm out of the closet now (my doctors words, not mine) because I just said it. Yes, I hope to be an octamom this summer. So this resolution possibly explains my bloggatical. There are moments in life when you need to set your priorities. In November and December my priority was to lay on the couch and watch Hallmark movies while I snacked away the nausea and paranoia. Hopefully I will be able to lose the 35 pounds by December and be done with that goal.

Yes, I've been super paranoid for the past 9 weeks. "Super" is actually an understatement. My blighted ovum in June permanently scarred me in regards to getting excited about pregnancy. But there was a heartbeat at 6.5 weeks this time around which was much more exciting than an seeing an empty gestational sac. There was still a heartbeat at 9.5 weeks. And there was yet, still a heartbeat at 12.5 weeks. I made my husband come with me to my last appointment this past Tuesday because I was so sure I wasn't pregnant anymore and I didn't want to be alone when the doctor couldn't find the heartbeat. So my husband stood my side as the doctor put the doppler on my abdomen. I heard something beating. I thought it was my own heart beating. Then my husband asked, "Is that the baby's heartbeat?" I piped in, "No, that's mine." Then the doctor looked at me confused and said, "No. Your heart is not beating 160 beats per minute. That is the baby's heart beat." He had to prove it to me and show me that mine was beating at 90 bpm because I didn't believe him. Like I said, I've been super paranoid and pessimistic this whole time. I need to get over it.

Ok, so there you have it. My New Year resolutions. Hopefully I will be consistent. You guys are my cheerlearders.

I need to post a picture. Don't I?

My physical journal. 
I don't usually post pictures of myself on my blog, but I was having a relatively good hair and complexion day on Christmas Eve. Pictures of kids coming soon. They are much cuter....

And if you feel inclined to comment, let me know what kind of posts you like to read. I need some direction on what to write about. I have all sorts of topics running through my head throughout the day, which I think overwhelms me at times, and my indecisiveness prevents me from writing anything at all. I can post about homeschooling, my attempts at organization, my cooking (I'll warn you that this could be boring), my messy house (lots of content for this one), my kids (that one is a give-in), my self-diagnosed ADD, my Hallmark movies, my stack of unread books on my nightstand, or I could simply just post about George because he is the the cutest kid in the family right now. (Don't worry, I haven't offended any of my other kids by writing that, because we voted on it, and it is unanimous.) I'm just curious what ya'll want to know about.  

Christmas Eve