- Begin by properly motivating yourself. I found that making a healthy smoothie (Fine, it was a milkshake. I was out of yogurt) for your 3 year old and putting it in a cup that tends to leak is a good place to start. The 3 year old will then leave the cup where your toddler can find it, and then, when your back is turned, the toddler will conveniently place the cup on its side, right on the crack between the cushions of your couch. If you're child is as gifted as mine, she will chose the crack in the couch that is over the crack between sections of the couch, enabling the smoothie to drip all the way to the floor. It is best if you wait until the day after, instead of the day before, your garage sale to do this.
- Wipe up the liquid as best you can, pull the cushions apart and leave them to dry until you can find the time to clean the couch properly.
- Enter the living room the next morning to find your children piling the cushions on top of each other AND THE OPEN COMPUTER. Time out.
- Return from dropping your 5 year old off at school to discover your house has a distinctly funky odor. Decide you have found the time to shampoo the couch properly.
- Drink a Dr. Pepper. Do not eat lunch.
- Put your remaining children down for naps.
- Pull the cushions off the couch, pretreating any funky spots you find as you go along. If you discover ball point pen marks, rubbing alcohol will take them right out, even if you've been letting them set for months.
- Vacuum a family size box of Fruit Loops, a half a dozen crayons, 3 popsicle sticks, 3 pressed pennies, 5 hair clips and other assorted items out of the couch.
- Be disappointed that you didn't find any Dove eggs from Easter like the last time you cleaned the couch.
- Pull the sections of the couch apart. You might need to use some muscle to do this if you find the hardware is sealed together with dried sugary saliva.
- Discover that in addition to more Fruit Loops, some insects have also made their home in the joints between sections of the couch.
- Be grateful you didn't eat lunch.
- Feel deep shame and remorse. Swear you will never let it get this bad again.
- Vacuum it all up.
- Pull out your handy dandy carpet shampooer with the upholstery attachment and shampoo all your cushions, as well as the frame of the couch. Wonder for the millionth time how your sainted mother survived 7 kids without a carpet shampooer.
- Remember that she was still a better housekeeper than you. See #14.
- Move all the sections of the couch away from their current location. Find a curtain rod, a stick, a cardboard tube, a dowel, a yardstick and a princess crown behind the couch. Pat yourself on the back for finding such a great place to stash all long and narrow items that your children like to hit each other with.
- Discover that the windowsill behind the couch is covered in dead gnats. And there are dried boogers on your sheers. Again. Decide to take them off and wash them.
- As you are taking them off, discover the colony of spiders that has taken up residence on the backs of your drapes. Contemplate leaving them there, because after all, it is almost October, the magical month when spiderwebs and dust are considered decorations. Decide to vacuum them up anyway.
- Wonder how your angel mother up in heaven, who had a soft spot in her heart for Halloween, feels about how well you're doing as a homemaker. Worry that perhaps your failings are keeping her from eternal exaltation.
- Attempt to find the parts for the vacuum hose, but your 3 year old has now woken up from her nap and is using the tubes as a sword. Take it back and contemplate stashing it behind the couch with other long and narrow items.
- Clean off the webs and vacuum the floor. Start to put the couches back in their proper place, then notice that your 3 year old is now spraying spot cleaner all over the sections of the couch you just cleaned.
- Leave everything to dry while you rush back to pick up your kindergartner. Get smacked in the head with a stick the three year old found.
- Return home, retouch spots on the cushions that are still stiff and nasty because they were so saturated with goo.
- Give up. Watch your children play on the disassembled couch like it's an amusement park.
- Walk away, return to find Addie has again found the spray bottle of pretreater, filled all your vacuum attachments with it, and re-saturated another of the couch cushions.
- Kick all of your children outside.
- When everything is dry, move the sections of couch back into their established grooves in the carpet and reattach them. Replace all the cushions.
- Repeat in 6 months.
Friday, September 24, 2010
Friday, September 17, 2010
Here's another shot of Addie and the Sabrina poster.
Here's the real winner, though. While hunting for a good "before" shot of the wall, I found this shot of Addie with the Sabrina poster 2 years ago.It's AWESOME! But not awesome enough for me to not update my dining room.
Since we really don't have the budget for anything major, I've been collecting at yard sales and using coupons (Thank you Kohl's and JCPenny for those $10 off your $10 purchase deals). I got a shelf for free, which I repainted with paint we had in the cupboard. I wanted a real apple-ey green, but didn't have enough yellow, so I'm fine with what I did for free. I picked up some cute milk glass dishes, a vintage plate and some little birds (which I decided not to paint black for Halloween) at yard sales, added a couple pieces of memorabilia from my life and some herbs from my garden, and . . . .
Voila! One excited Chloe!I'm excited, too.
I'm really quite pleased with myself.
Now I just have to keep my fingers crossed that I'll win that set of Fiesta Ware.
And then got stressed because I was in the middle of all sorts of craziness preparing for my brother's wedding, and knew I needed to get a tooth fairy pillow made now also. I know, a special pillow is unnecessary for the whole process, but I have that special kind of crazy that dictates that I must have it done for the first one or I won't be able to do it for the next one. I had seen this darling thing before, and got right on making one for the Mannions. I got it done, then had Bracken pick up a roll of gold dollar coins so we would be ready. No scrambling for cash in the middle of the night here. And then the tooth didn't fall out.
We wiggled and wiggled and prodded and pulled and bribed Chloe to let us stick our fingers in her mouth again and again. No go. Then this week I looked in there and saw that not only had Chloe grown in her first big girl molars, she also had a new tooth growing in behind the wiggly one. That would not stand. We doubled our efforts to try and get that tooth out before she started looking too much like a shark. One night ended with Chloe sobbing because there was blood in her mouth, and the tooth still firmly in place. At that point we decided we needed to just let nature take its course and back off, full size permanent tooth in place or not.
A couple days later, after a couple bribed attempts at the tooth, it was still there, but so loose that every time she opened her mouth it was pointing a different direction and making me hear banjos when she smiled. And then she brushed her teeth Wednesday morning.
As they brushed their teeth that day, Chloe and Addie bickered as usual. But this bickering elevated into shoving and ended with a full cup of water splashing all over the bathroom. I sent them both to time out, and as they went, noticed Chloe didn't seem to have a loose tooth anymore.
We did show Dad, then took some pictures and put that little tooth into the mouth of the tooth fairy pillow and tucked it into bed with Chloe. She went to bed, and instead of the silence we were expecting, we heard tears. Bracken went in to check on her and found her sobbing over how much she was going to miss her tooth. (Anyone else thinking future Hoarder here?) He told me later that he had consoled her by telling her how it was the tooth fairy's job to collect teeth and if she couldn't get Chloe's tooth, she would be out of a job and she would die. Lovely. Somehow, though, it did the trick. She went to sleep, we snuck in and made the trade, and the next morning, a very excited little girl found a nice shiny gold coin the the tooth pillow's pocket.
I'm not sure why she's holding everything over her right eye, but we'll just go with that theme.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
I really can't get enough of it. It is so delicious to me, and so light and tasty, especially when compared with traditional potato salad. I've only ever made it with dill pickles instead of cornichons, I substituted a shallot for the onion last time, and I love using this seedy dijon mustard I got at Trader Joe's. And, I think I may have left the oil out, and it was still super tasty, and even better for me. And of course, I must credit America's Test Kitchen for the recipe.
Austrian-Style Potato Salad
Serves 4 to 6
The finished salad should be creamy and loose, with chunks of potato that keep their shape but are very tender. If you can’t find cornichons, chopped kosher dill pickles can be used in their place. To maintain its consistency, don’t refrigerate the salad; it should be served within 4 hours of preparation.
- 2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes (about 4 large), peeled, quartered lengthwise, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup water
- Table salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 small red onion , chopped fine (about 3/4 cup)
- 6 cornichons , minced (about 2 tablespoons) (see note)
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
- Ground black pepper
- 1. Bring potatoes, broth, water, 1 teaspoon salt, sugar, and 1 tablespoon vinegar to boil in 12-inch heavy-bottomed skillet over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until potatoes offer no resistance when pierced with paring knife, 15 to 17 minutes. Remove cover, increase heat to high (so cooking liquid will reduce), and cook 2 minutes.
- 2. Drain potatoes in colander set over large bowl, reserving cooking liquid. Set drained potatoes aside. Pour off and discard all but ½ cup cooking liquid (if ½ cup liquid does not remain, add water to make ½ cup). Whisk remaining tablespoon vinegar, mustard, and oil into cooking liquid.
- 3. Add ½ cup cooked potatoes to bowl with cooking liquid mixture and mash with potato masher or fork until thick sauce forms (mixture will be slightly chunky). Add remaining potatoes, onion, cornichons, and chives, folding gently with rubber spatula to combine. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature.
You start out with some small animal statues. I got most of these at the Dollar Tree. I've also been hunting at garage sales, which is why you should get started now if you want to get these made before Halloween.
Now here's the tricky part. You spray paint them glossy black. I used the 98 cent spray paint from Walmart. Then you glue on red rhinestone eyes. Instant spooky little decoration. I know the pictures aren't great, and I haven't fully decorated for Halloween yet (I'm going to add some black painted branches), but I wanted to get the idea out there now.
And all these cute little pumpkins? Totally got them at the Dollar Tree too. I heart the Dollar Tree.
Next I'm going to start working on this.