Monday, April 29, 2013 share the finished product

...of the cabinet that almost wasn't savable.

If you recall I started this project a few weeks back and it was a pretty hopeless case.

I nearly called it quits when all of the dead insect carcasses dropped out as I peeled off layers

and more layers of bad veneer.

But after the sanding was complete (this was the most time-consuming part of the whole process) I slapped on a layer of wood conditioner,

two layers of stain, and one coat of polyurethane later...

and voila....

The little cabinet turned into this:

Mark is always the first to admit when he is wrong.

This little kitchen nook is now one of his favorite rooms.

Sunday, April 28, 2013 enjoy the first truly beautiful

...lazy Sunday of Spring.

Isabella started the day off right with a delicious breakfast of pancakes and bacon.

Then we spent most of the rest of the day outside enjoy the sun...oh beautiful sun!

The girls caught the ice-cream man for first time this season too.

Appropriately enjoying their snack at the soda fountain table (a recent treasure I recently snagged off of Craigslist...and have on my project-to-do-list).

Audrey had equal amounts of ice cream in her tummy, on her face, AND in her hair.

Audrey LOVED being pushed around in her new 'ride'.  We enjoyed a really long walk while the big kids rode alongside us.

The day was beautiful.  Fresh air, exercise, time at the park, and time spent relaxing on the porch.  Tomorrow's forecast is dismal.  But our spirits are high because of this much needed respite from Mr. Sun.

Friday, April 26, 2013 get ready to splurge...

...and buy a new couch after all.

Who loves this couch?

We do.  We all do.  It's comfortable.  It's durable.  And It has hidden fingerprints, dog hair, pencil marks, coffee stains, sweat, tears, spilled milk, and greasy finger smudges pretty well.

It's lasted through 15 years, nine moves, three homecomings, and through the middle-of-the-night-feedings of four babies.

But it's time.

It's become lumpy and bumpy and a little bit holey.  And It had an unfortunate accident last week...It had one large glass of wine too many spilled upon her.

So the search is on.

Silly me.  I thought it would be easy.

Especially since my standards for a new couch are not that high.  Something cheap and boring is fine.  But the choices! Oh...the choices.  Microfiber, suede, leather, cloth.  Reclining or standard.  Hide-a-bed or no hide-a-bed.

I walked into the furniture a few days ago and picked out a simple, plain, inexpensive option.  I would have bought it on the spot.  But Mr-I-don't-want-a-new-couch-but-I-have-standards-if-we-do now actually does have an opinion on the process.

I suppose We'll now approach the process a little more cautiously.  We'll look around.  We'll study Consumer's Reports.

And then we'll go back and pick out the couch that I want anyway.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013 enjoy the noise

...for a couple of evenings.

Mark is home for a few days and his presence increases the decibel level around here exponentially.

While Mark is home wrestling is favorite pastime.

Wrestling with Dad means squeals, yells, grunts, sometimes a few tears, and always screaming from all the tickling traps!  

Even the queen enjoys the chaos!

No one is happier to have Mark's presence than his baseball watching buddy...

As for me, I'll pop in my earplugs, enjoy the chaos, and appreciate my heart bursting as my cup runneth over.

Monday, April 22, 2013 enjoy my mom's visit these past few days.

Audrey's antics are always entertaining.  

Now that the toy room is clean, she has found all her 'treasures'.  Clearly she needs to wear them all at once.

The weather hasn't been very nice to spend time outdoors.  We improvised to make our own fun...

 and even created our own little spa.

The nail tech (a.k.a. me) needn't quit her day job.  But clearly it was fun...

Even the Queen enjoyed an oatmeal-foot-scrub-soak.

After enjoying yet another lovely breakfast at the Tin Pan Galley in Sacket's Harbor, we tried to take a stroll near Lake Ontario (again).  And while we were able to make it the perimeter of the park this time, it was still deceivingly cold.  

Windy and a brisk 36 degrees.  Brr!

The view is picture perfect.

 Sweet photo of Mimi and her Abbey.

No visit is complete without a trip (or two) for ice cream.

Girl time at Yo Johnny's!
This evening's destination was Coldstone Creamery.


What a delightful visit we have all had together.  

Saturday, April 20, 2013 tackle the...

...toy room!

My mom and Richard have come into town for a visit.

My mom is really great about offering to be tackle some project that she knows I have in the back of my mind.

And the toy room has been on my mind (and Mark's mind) for some time.

The kids were scared.  My mom has a 'reputation' when it comes to cleaning a room.  Code for "adios!"  "Sionara!"

Isabella is wise to my mom's tidying secrets and she rushed to try to rescue a few precious treasures from doom.

I am not going to lie.

My mom and I were a bit overwhelmed.

And poor Richard was on his way to the pool and lunch with the four lil' angels, while we tackled the chaos.

Three extra-large jumbo boxes set for donation (or maybe garage sale), three large trash bags, and several big items disposed of later, the toy room is complete.

I am not going to lie, my heart was heavy as I put many items into boxes to go, but the toy room is so very manageable now.  I no longer feel suffocated when I walk in the room.  And the kids can now find all of the things they really play with...AND they have easy access to all of the things.

the door actually closes!
Gone is the keyboard (we have a piano), the green table (it only was used as a ladder and a collector of stuff), and one of the trunks (it only held stuffed animals and old costumes).  In the donation boxes are toys that were once loved by my children but I am certain they won't be missed.  

My mom sorted and lugged and tidied.  And most importantly she gave me the "OK" to just let go of so many.  We purged dried out markers, broken crayons, stray shoes, toys with missing pieces, and some very rough looking stuffed animals.  

When the children got home from their outing they rushed upstairs to see the result.  They loved it!  And then spent the afternoon and into the evening playing in its tidiness.

Abbey's comment:

"I like it but I know that there is something missing."
"Oh?",  I questioned.
"Yes, I know there is something missing.  I just don't know what!".


Thank you Mom.  Thank you Richard.

A team effort.

And a job well done.

Thursday, April 18, 2013 look ahead to next week

...and begin planning our meals.

List's are my thing.

I have them everywhere.  There are several different notepads all over the house.  When I think of something that I need to do or buy I am pretty good at jotting it down.

This does not mean that I am very good at taking the list with me to the store.  Nor does it mean that I am very good at completion of the lists.  Stray, uncrossed-off items may possibly get transferred to a new-shiny list several times before it is completed or it just slips off the next list.  I always have very good intentions.  Sometimes though, the statute of limitations expires with an item and it is no longer applicable (e.g., bring new family a meal and said family has already moved.)

I have tried lots of different list systems.  One of my favorites was this sticky-pad-note-system with all different sizes of sticky notes.  The problem was that I like uniformity...and when I started using all of one particular size of sticky notes, and then not the other sizes of sticky notes, it gave me little heart palpitations because the use of the pads was not uniform.  Seriously.  I have a sickness I know.

The problem with all of my little note books scattered throughout the house, in my purse, in the car is that the heathens in my life write in them.  This MESSES THEM UP PEOPLE!  I can't stand writing on lists that have scribble scratches underneath them.  Then I have to flip thirteen pages to find a clean-back-side of a random page, (which by-the-way also bothers me) to start writing on the back-side of a page.  Weird.  I know.

I digress.

My story is about menu planning.

I am not quite sure why it has taken me so long to hop on this band-wagon.

I started consistently using a menu when our new nanny started.  Mainly because I am a control freak and I felt like she was serving macaroni and cheese too much.  The second reason I started, is well because I am a control-freak and because my children were helping themselves to whatever high-fructose-corn-syrup, red-dye-laden snack they could find.

(Yes, I know, I know if I did not buy the junk-foods they would not be able to reach for the junk-foods....this is a task for another time...)

If someone had told me that by posting a menu we would not have any more 'what-is-for-breakfast' battles I would have started this years ago.  Seriously.  It happened quite by accident.  One morning Abbey asked what was for breakfast and I simple said, "Let me see what the menu says".

Apparently THE MENU is now the dictator of all things food in our home.

The funny thing is I never meant for it to be the bible of what is being eaten in our home this week.  But sure enough, I watched Will run in the house after school today and check to see what was on the menu for snack, before he opened up the refrigerator.  He was even super excited because today was 'choice'.

As for dinner time grumbles?  Well, there are still plenty.

I make sure to add plenty of their favorites.  Waffles is on the menu twice.  I don't think cereal is very good for them (especially the ones they like) but that is still on there once a week.

As for shopping, strangely I have found I don't have to make as many trips to the grocery store each week.

My goal of having a bit more control over what my children ate was achieved.  A little more variety, a little more healthy.

I only wished I had heard of this secret sooner.

This week's menu:

Wednesday, April 17, 2013 listen to a few jokes

...because, lucky me, Abbey has figured out how to tell them.

What she has not figured that typically jokes make up by five-year-olds are not funny.

You would never guess it though.  She believes she is the next Jay Leno.

The big kids rolls their eyes.  Me...well, I do try to laugh.  I promise.  I find this phase very sweet.

Abbey:  Mom.  Mom.  What did the cat eat for dinner???
Me:  Hmmpff?  (barely listening)
Abbey:  He ate the food for dinner!!

Ha ha ha ha!

She tells them ALL.DAY.LONG.

On the way to the store:
Mom.  Mom.  Maaaam!@!?
Why did the kid go to the store?
To go to the commissary!

Playing outside:
Why do bees go on flowers?
Because bees fly on the flowers!!

Getting into the shower this evening:
Why did the stink stink up the house?
Because it was a skunk!!!

She finds herself superbly funny.

After this last joke she asked...

Abbey:  "Mom.  Why don't you get my jokes?"

Me:  (treading carefully) "Um...because I have never heard those particular ones before?"

Abbey:  "Well, that just shows that once again you don't know everything!"



All jokes were transcribed verbatim.  Really.  I can't make this stuff up.

Monday, April 15, 2013 post a few articles

...of interest this week.

I haven't done as much reading as I usually do lately...

Seems Meghan decided to let me know about this show that I should watch while I ran on my treadmill.  She claimed it was motivating her to run because she would so look forward to it each morning.

Since the show was free on Amazon Prime I indulged.  And thus, began my infatuation with Downton Abbey.   I also got Amy hooked (and she Donnie....and he got his parents hooked) and we all watched the entire 3 seasons in a very period short time.

How were my runs on the treadmill you ask?  Poor.  I found the show to be so enthralling that I had to stop running on my treadmill every few moments to the characters were saying.  I finally abandoned my attempt to do anything productive while waching this show so I switched to watching an episode (or two) each evening before I fell asleep.  

Since I began watching, I have googled Downton once or twice become obsessed to figure out when season 4 is going to begin (Not until JANUARY 2014!!) and other small details (e.g., who is not returning, new plots, etc...).  Here is one of the latest articles I have found....


The next few articles are ones that Mark has sent to me (since I have been obsessed with watching Downton and have had no time for reading).

This article fits nicely with the time period and while slightly morbid is certainly sad.

Mark sent this piece to me...and in doing so told me that I break all ten of these rules.  :)  I call it blazing my own tech trail.

And finally, just because I like coffee he sent this link to me.  Pretty cool video.

Enjoy the very light reading for the week!

Sunday, April 14, 2013 enjoy the 'calm'

...before the storm.

As an unspoken rule of late (code for since Mark has been in the crazy job) we try to manage pretty low-key weekends.

Mark and I spend a few hours each morning having coffee while we pay no mind to our cherubs.  This means they watch TV (Audrey) or play video games ( to their little-hearts-content.

Everyone wins.

We always manage a nice breakfast together and then we typically spend the rest of the time doing things that we like to do around the house.

I took the girls swimming yesterday.
Mark took the big kids to see the movie 42.

Isabella had a fancy girl scout function this afternoon.

Will complained, procrastinated, and had several temper-tantrums about doing his homework.

Really.  And.  Truly.  He is only smiling in this photo because he knew how ridiculous he was being.

I used a saw for the first time ever.  I know it looks awful.  It won't matter in the end.

Then I my ghetto workshop.  Who uses garbage cans and planters to hold their handiwork anyway?

Yes...that is in fact a heater.  It is there because (as I have mentioned more than once) it is still freezing here AND it is trying to aid in speeding up my project's drying time.

Mark and I managed to enjoy a relaxing evening out to dinner last night at a fancy martini bar in Watertown of all places!  

We enjoyed a walk (or ride on scooters) around the neighborhood.

And finally, Audrey announced that she is now collecting both rocks and sticks for her respective collections.  Lucky me.

A deliciously slow weekend with the family.  It makes upcoming weeks like we are facing much more manageable.

Mark leaves in the morning for another 'field-trip'.

Destination: The hills of northern New York.  Pretty much...Canada.
Duration:  10 days
Weather forecast: Mild.  Windy.  Cold.  Wet.  Stormy.  Colder.

Side note:  If you are considering a new occupation, I wouldn't recommended joining the Army.  That is, if you like standard creature comforts.  

Friday, April 12, 2013 bring spring inside

...since clearly it hasn't arrived outside.

I stopped in at Home Depot today to pick up the finishing touches to my cabinet project and I couldn't resist...

They had their herbs on sale 4 for $10.

I couldn't resist and I only bought a few.

Then I put them in some pretty pots

and now I'll pretend that spring has arrived

and I'll enjoy the aroma of my new spices.

Even my lemon tree is in bloom!