Being Kinda Productive For Once

I finally kickstarted my “get some $%&# done around the house” engine. Maybe the guilt of not doing stuff was hanging over my head. Maybe the fact that I purchased paint weeks ago and it was sitting, unused, on our deck. Maybe I finally got enough energy (or overcame the mental demons). Maybe I wanted to find “bursts”(remember those?)  of easier-to-manage tasks (or chunked-up tasks) to make it seem simpler.

Whatever it was, I got to work. And, slowly but surely, the trend continues. It even spilled into the nearest vicinity like a nasty plague (not to the neighbors; to Dave!).

I had already wire brushed a majority of the formerly invasive ivy plants which had attacked the side of our foundation. Seriously, the left caterpillar-esque tendrils of plant veins clinging with what looked like millions of legs ON the cement. There were areas that I just painted over them (uncool, I know), but for the most part those buggers were gone.

So a few quick tips for painting a foundation…

Use a crappy brush. This is actually one of my FAVORITE short rubber-handled angle brushes, but it had seen its day. Your brush will be ruined and will no longer be able to follow a straight line. It’s a drunk brush, but it works for this purpose.

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Use horrible posture and wear the least supportive shoes on earth. Seriously. I know you want to take several minutes to get up then walk like you’re 90 when you’re done, right? Follow this example:

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Show your toddler-toting guns. Seriously, I didn’t know I had those. Thanks for the awesome picture-taking, Dorky Daddy!

My actual advice is to use an old newspaper to not only catch drips but use as a guard. Yes, it’ll keep paint from getting onto your garden beds/driveway/etc (it actually works; the stuff you see is actually junk from when they put in our new window) BUT it keeps your brush from getting dirt/gravel/mulch/randomness stuck in its bristles.

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Nothing to see here, really. Just enjoying the picture. I look badass. Painting. With a “Life is Good” (“Half Full” glass) hat and my too-big cast t-shirt from our high school production of “Once Upon a Mattress”. It’s my go-to painting shirt and has splatters from every set I’ve ever painted on it. It’s getting buried with me. But, of course.

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The perfectionist-without-perfection will admit right here, right now, for all the world to read: I’m not a fan of the paint color. I’m not sure what I was thinking. I know I wanted a more charcoal color, and admittedly this one looked darker on the swatch (and in the can, which tells me it’s not mixed wrong). I’m positive it’s the combination of a super bright summer sun and the angle with which it hits the foundation. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

It also dries dark…er. Darker. Kinda.

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Either way, it looks cleaner and brighter, so it’s fine. I’m not going to nitpick. S’all good.

I started the project late last week, then spent time with family on Saturday and got back to business on Sunday during naptime. Since there’s a chance of rain today, I’m not expecting to finish today (I’m about 2/3 done), but if I do, I do. And I kind of hope I do.

No worries, though. I’ve got another project halfway finished that will grab my attention if the “rain rain rain comes down down down…”

This. Damn. Ceiling. Okay. So…ahem. This spot had a super budget style light fixture installed…but it had been placed where the angled ceiling meets the straight part of the ceiling in our upstairs hallway. Like, a half circle was cut out of the angled ceiling. Crazy town.

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(This is actually after I patched it for the LAST TIME.)

We’ve patched and sanded sporadically over the years, always putting it off longer. There were times we had thin little sheets of crappy patchwork hanging precariously. The cats had grown to ignore them, so used to the crapfest were they.

So, Sunday morning after we went out to breakfast (and I had discovered that my favorite antique center nearby wouldn’t open for another hour, egad), we returned home with one foul-moody, high-strung mama on board. I felt like I was spinning my wheels, so I checked my short list of house to-do’s, grabbed my sander and step stool and started the a-gypsum a-flyin’. (Not sure if it’s really gypsum in drywall…or whatever our house is made of…but work with me here.)

Of course, since I threw myself headlong into the project (happens. every. time.), I had failed to check on our spackle supply. D’oh. Very little, and all dried out.

Sooooo, Dave was good enough to watch Hadman while I ran to Lowe’s. Of course, $100-something later I also came home with a few super cheap window blinds and a handful of other do-dads for other projects…and my beloved Dap goes-on-pink/dries-white stuff.

I applied, then had lunch, put the munchkin down for a nap, and hit the outdoors (see: foundation painting). After Dave had gone inside and got the little guy up, I finished my painting for the day and headed indoors to sand, yet again.

I’m sure you already know this, but start with the lower grit number (it’s rougher); the higher, the gentler (finish with the gentler stuff).

Oh, and another word of advice. Don’t take selfies. Seriously, just don’t. But, if you MUST take a selfie, be sure to do it ONLY when you can embarrass yourself royally with it. 

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And don’t lick your lips after sanding. Stupid idea.

So, today I hope to slap on a coat of ceiling paint (how do I have two gallons of THAT in the basement but am incessantly out of what I usually need?)

Oh, and I also took the cat tower’s rope scratching post from annihilated (spelled that on first try, woo to the hoo!) to looks-like-new —

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RIP Monty Mouse. He squealed. #beardsleesourgodfather #jaspersourmuscle

Complete with massive amounts of help and support from Beardslee along the way. #notreally #heslept  He made some headway on reupholstering Daddy’s computer chair completely in cat fur, though.

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And I thought I’d share a few pics of how the garden’s doing, along with its fashionable tulle attire (to keep cat poop out of our food…how’s THAT for fabulous?).

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Last I knew, those things (to the left, to the left) weren’t trees. Too bad they turned into trees this summer ‘cuz they’re bogarting all the sun for my garden, man.

Oh, and the trellis near the garden in that picture? History. (It was being eaten by ants.) That was Dave’s huge project this weekend, and it’s awesome to finally have the thing down. Plus, a farmer helping neighbors move asked if he could take the posts and everything (ants and all), so it all got a second life. *warm fuzzies*

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Summer squash lookin’ all growy and stuff…

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Can you see what I see? Look closely…little neon green cuteness. (I don’t mind that they’re cute. I just mind the taste when they turn red and, y’know, “edible.” Ew. I love my husband enough to grow him two tomato plants, guys. That’s mad huge love.)

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Right after I picked one handful of lettuce, right before I picked the rough-around-the-edges leaves. Keeping it real.

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Our first “bounty.” Just a teensy strawberry (I moved those near the front of the garage and they’re doing “eh, okay”) that Hadley ate immediately, a couple of cherry tomaters and jalapenos, and a fistful of lettuce.

Whew! So! I know it’s a long one, but that’s how we’ve been productive lately. How about you? Getting anything checked off any lists — even if your list includes sitting on a sandy beach with something cold to drink? (I’d like to live vicariously.) Go ahead, tell! Or just post some horrific selfies in the comments to make me feel better about my lack of selfie skillz.


I’ve spoken often of my disdain for the closed-in, burgundy monstrosity that is my dining room. Well, I can finally say that in the past tense. Ding dong, the red is dead!! For memory’s sake, here’s a fuzzy old picture. I tried my best to deal with it, really I did!

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Just. So. Dang. DARK.

Things take twice as long when scheduling around an almost 2-year-old, don’t they? Enter “bursts”, stage left. I took an afternoon to empty everything out (lots o’ crap in that room, I tell ya! One compound word: bookshelf), a full day to prime (with two coats of trim) and paint (again, two coats of trim for some odd reason), another nap time to prime the baseboard/built-ins/windows/kitchen door, still another nap time to paint the aforementioned stuff white…and let’s just say I haven’t put everything back in yet. Goodbye, Spring Break! 😛

I’m too excited not to share a couple of crappy iPhone pictures, though. 😀 Can you hear me squealing where you live? It might also be my husband, though. He didn’t want the red gone, but has since changed his tune and LOVES how open it is. I can’t blame him. It’s a huge, awesome change.

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In some light, it’s a light tan/beige with a gray undertone. In other lights (such as the weird, overly-bright shot here), it looks green. I promise you it’s the perfect shade of greige (read: beige + gray) with no blue or flesh or purple undertones. Actually, no green undertones, either. Just the perfect neutral.

I still need to (obviously) fill the room and bookshelf, find a rad new rug to replace my, um, attempt at dealing with the red (let’s just say that I’ve become gun-shy to decorate with red…at all…THANK YOU, dining room! *grumbles*), and do some styling.

And, yes. So far, the Boston Massacre has survived. At least until Hadley starts questioning why we have a crude drawing of people being shot on our wall.

So…what do you think? Improvement? When all is said and done, I’ll be sharing the color name and taking better pictures. Just couldn’t wait to share it so far!

Time to go celebrate with the family. This is such a weight off the ol’ shoulders eyes, and it’s time to enjoy the last couple of days of spring break.

Bursting My Clothes

Burst time again! So, my 15-minute challenge this time was my own clothes. I knew I couldn’t do my closet and dresser at one time, so I just tackled the worst place — the overflowing dresser. (No “before” shot, but just envision a tall dresser with a stack of clothes on it. Always a husband-pleaser.)

Most of the drawers were okay, but I did find a handful of items to put in our Goodwill pile.

The worst spot, however? My two (T-W-O!) drawers for shirts.

I’ve got a problem, people.

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Yes, those are all shirts. I had 10+ tank tops. Seriously. WHY would I keep those around when we have a foot and a half of snow outside? Into under-bed storage they went.

I also found a few larger size tops from post-pregnancy which I put into storage, too.

Then, I stacked them based on usage. I have old tees (which I probably shouldn’t have, but they’re SO COMFY!!!! And I can paint…and sleep…in them…..and now my mind is wondering why my husband even hangs around with me wearing a 12th grade t-shirt from “Once Upon a Mattress” smeared with paint), work tops, and in-between t-shirts (nicer than the nice ‘n soft, crappy ones). The nice ones went in the top drawer; comfy ones below.

Which left me with a nice, clean bed again. Beds are great for organizing your stuff, aren’t they? Perfect negative space.

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The other spot (of which I shan’t be sharing pics) is my underwear drawer. My GOD. I need to shop for new underwear. Again…my poor husband.

I decided to take out all of the frilly stuff I don’t wear often (I’m not a stockings girl, but was raised to own every possible configuration ) and put it into one of my smaller top drawers that wasn’t being used.

(I was also thrown back in time to my post-baby days with a stack of nursing bras and hospital underwear…yes, hospital underwear. Underwear given from the hospital. I kept those. God only knows why. And now you can sleep soundly knowing THAT little tidbit.)

The one thing I didn’t achieve in this 15-minute burst? My jewelry drawer. Ugh. Hoping to find something to artistically hang my necklaces and bracelets on (no pierced ears here). Oh, and it’s all pretty much costume. Nothing too valuable here. 😉 (Just dusty boxes.)

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Have you been getting any organizing done lately? This is not representative of how on-top-of-things I am lately. It’s a miracle I’m dressed and upright, with all I’ve got goin’ on. Yet, I am, and it feels like a feat in and of itself.

Toddler Clothes Burst

I recently shared my first “burst” of energy — ie using 15 minutes to accomplish one cleaning task. Today, I’m back to tell you about the burst of 15 minutes I spent in Hadley’s room.

Since I technically spent about 20-25 minutes on the first project and about 5 minutes on the second, I’d say I reached the goal of 15 minutes each.

Cheating? Naw. My house, my rules. 😉

With a growing little (or, NOT so little) guy, we regularly need to switch out Hadman’s clothes. Of course, this regularly DOESN’T happen. So, his dresser starts to look like this —

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That’s a nearly-full bin of size 18-month clothes next to the dresser. He’s comfortably in 24-month right now, so I went through his two drawers (the bottom is for sheets and blankies) to pull out too-small items and switch in some 24-month stuff we still had sitting around.


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By the way, I’ve totally gotta use one of my 15-minute bursts to take that changing pad off. He hasn’t used it in, like, a year. Der. (And the cat toy is with its rightful owner…)

So, that burst took about 20+ minutes, which will sometimes happen. If I hadn’t given myself the 15 minute goal, I would’ve spent 30+ minutes, and there would’ve been some crying over how big our baby has gotten. But, not the case. No tears this time. Just a speed-cleaning. Bam.

This also had one of those overlapping effects; our office went from clothes mountain to “whoa, there was a desk chair under there!” (So maybe I did 3 bursts in 30 minutes. Sweet!)

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While I was at it, I organized the two under-crib bins that we use for the clothes that don’t fit the munchkin quite yet. I always keep his next size (sigh…2T) in the one on the left and anything higher in the one on the right. That way, at a quick glance, I can see that he’ll need undershirts or more pants for his next growth spurt. (BTW, isn’t “burst” better than “spurt”? Yeah, I almost considered using that word instead. You’re welcome, hee hee.) This system works SO well for us.

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Another side note: Dave has been stock-piling some Woot shirts in the smallest size for AWHILE. Needless to say, we don’t really need any shirts when he’s in a 4T. This one’s my favorite (others are eyebrow-raising…like the passed out Cookie Monster who’s been on a milk and cookie binge…I laugh, but others may not) —

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So, after about 30 minutes, Had’s clothes are under control again. Ahhhh. Nice.

And maybe…just maybe Winston helped.

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Happy Presidents’ Day, guys!! Home with the munchkin today.

For whatever reason – winter doldrums, lack of exercise, the “the less you do, the less you can do” syndrome (I just made up) – I’ve got wicked low energy lately. And, of course you know what that means, right? One thing has to fall to the wayside. The same thing, all the time.


At least, that’s what gets neglected around here. Don’t tell my mom (sorry, Mom!!); she’s got very high cleanliness standards. She called my sis and I “Cinderella” (and maybe our brothers from time to time).

At least I suppose the standards are there to some extent. I know and cringe when something’s filthy or dusty or precariously piled. But finding the energy to get it checked off the to-do list is another story.

I’ve seen something interesting about cleaning on no less than 20 other blogs (and probably 20 magazines before I was a blog reader), which tells us to use a 15 minute period throughout the day (as we find them) to accomplish something.

It could be spending 15 minutes doing the prep work for some freezer meals. It could be 15 minutes working on a small project you’ve had on your list for years. But, more likely than not, since cleaning is dreaded by so many people, it’ll be performing a chore around the house. And I’m calling them “bursts” (get it? A “burst” of energy?)…’cuz I’ve gotta categorize everything. Weirdo.

I decided to use my kitchen dry erase board to make a continual list of chores that can be accomplished in about 15 minutes. Y’know — while on the phone or just to achieve that “don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today” philosophy before heading to bed or for that moment that I sigh after putting the baby down for a nap when my brain goes blank.

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While I was at it, I decided to start in the kitchen with one (yes, one) cabinet shelf. But, it’s the dreaded baby shelf, which I’ve been planning on organizing for awhile since Hadman only uses a particular type of sip-cup. So, in under 15 minutes, it went from this…

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to this…

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with this left to lug into the basement (which I did…but it all needs to be re-organized, of course)…

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It’s funny how kids only use ONE particular “style” of beverage receptacle, huh? And it’s sad to be packing away the last of the bottles, but it’s all good.

Oh, and by the way, the cabinet is completely clean (I scrubbed it), but it’s in dire need of painting — along with the rest of the kitchen cabinets. Needless to say, that’ll be a burst of more than 15 minutes worth of energy. 😉

I’ll be sharing a handful more “bursts” I’ve already used to get myself off my hibernating hiney. Otherwise, it’s so darn easy to wile away a snow day!