Monthly Archives: May 2009

Closing a Door

Sometimes you have to close a door so you won’t jump out the window.  That’s how I’ve been feeling lately about a volunteer role I have had the last couple of years.   And I’m closing the door on it.

Tonight Grace and I had the year-end ceremony for this organization.  I made the decision Monday that I would be done.  I told a couple of close friends.  I spoke with the few people it truly, directly affects but  I refused to share the decision with everyone tonight at the ceremony.  I don’t want accolades or people persuading  me to stay on.  I didn’t do that great a job…mostly it’s one of those jobs no one else really wants.

I have mixed feelings tonight.  I know I will stand by my decision, but the emotions of the evening are bittersweet.  Seeing the faces of all the girls at the ceremony talk about the fun they’ve had all year, seeing the growth we’ve had in the last 12-18 months.  I was proud, yet had little to do with it.  I started to think, “next year…” and then remembered.  I won’t have a next year in this role.  I think Grace will still be involved, with another volunteer heading up things.  It will be good that way.

Sometimes the paperwork and red tape in organizations can make life anything but simple.  Sometimes trying to coordinate events among 8 women and 55 girls is anything but simple.  When I started to notice that my free time & even family time was spent feeling like I should be catching up on work for this volunteer role, I knew I needed a change.

I’ll be back to being wife, mother & child care provider.  I think that simple change will be nice.  Very nice.

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Make-Do Monday: Bibs

I use lots & lots of bibs.  Sometimes up to 4 per meal at breakfast, lunch and snack.  I don’t like Velcro bibs much, mostly because they stick to the other laundry and then don’t stick together at mealtime.  Heavy usage also  means I  can wear out a lot of bibs.

Currently I have 3 sweet little girls here during the day, all in bibs.  Often there is a little toddler girl that drops in.  Toddlers often need tie bibs…that way we are sure they stay on through the whole meal!  The other girls are all 2ish and almost out of bibs but do need a little protection. They are good about keeping those bibs on through a whole meal.

I thought of replacing some velcro or sewing on some ties but didn’t get to it.  In flipping through a children’s catalog I saw just what I wanted.  It was an elastic band with fasteners of some sort on each end.  You could use it to turn almost anything into a bib.  At almost $15 a pop, it was way out of my price range, but it did get me thinking.  What could I use to do that???

After browsing around the discount store I happened upon the laundry aisle.  For a few dollars I went home with a package of 4 elastic bands meant to hold on ironing board covers. They work beautifully.  Now I use old burp clothes as bibs too.  Even a dish towel works on spaghetti day.  After using these, I found some of those fasteners that keep mittens hooked to coat sleeves…those are good too, but not as long.  These fasteners also hold tightly, which is important when the kid just doesn’t want a bib, but also isn’t old enough to do their own laundry!

This elastic fastener makes this infant bib usuable on a toddler.

This elastic fastener makes this infant bib usuable on a toddler.

I  solved my Velcro problem too.  A clothespin works just fine to hold those bibs on securely.

A clothespin can make a quick and easy closure for bibs.

A clothespin can make a quick and easy closure for bibs.

My make-do solution to the bib problem will be my permanent way of doing things, and I even suggest to the daycare parents that they throw one of those elastic straps in their bags or purses so they can always  fashion a bib out of something, even paper towels, when needed.

Check out Ann’s site for more Make-Do Monday solutions.  There are some clever things over there.

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Filed under In the Kitchen, Kids, Making Do

Square Foot Gardening

2008

2008

I finally planted some seeds today.  Sugar snap peas, spinach, lettuce, bush beans, radishes, red & yellow onions and green onions all went in.  I would’ve liked to put in carrots too, but didn’t realize last year’s seeds were gone.

This is my second year using the square foot gardening (SFG) method.  Last year was a huge success. And I know I could’ve planned so much better and had even better results.

I’m not sure if it is the location.  I finally have a garden that gets enough SUN! Or if it is Mel’s Mix…our soil is really sandy and not so hot for growing stuff unamended.  Or maybe it has something to do with actually taking care of this garden for more than a month.  Yeah, follow through hasn’t been my gardening strong suit in the past.  I really don’t know what made the difference.   But I can say it is one of the best gardening experiences I’ve had.

With that in mind, we (meaning Dan, of course) built another garden box.  Ours are more elaborate than the SFG book calls for because we like it to look a bit more finished.  Also I like being able to sit along the edge and garden or just watch the kids play.  It is nice not getting down on my knees to garden.

2008 ~ fist garden box

2008 ~ fist garden box

Last year we had an abundance of banana peppers, bell peppers, tomatoes (with only TWO plants!) and salad greens.  We planted carrots, radishes and bush beans at varying times so we could have a longer harvest.  This worked out really well.

2008 ~ a month after planting

2008 ~ a month after planting

I love how SFGs look.  It looks like a green quilt to me. All those squares with a variety of colors and textures.  I smile just thinking about it.  I am really excited to venture into the trellis part of it this year and try some vines.  The peas went in today and I’ll try some cucumbers too.  I look forward to a great crop again this year.

2008 ~ harvesting vegetables daily now

2008 ~ harvesting vegetables daily now

I’ll add current photos as I get things planted, along with some other SFG tips and tricks I’ve learned.

So tell me, do you garden?  What are your best gardening tips?

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Simple Saturday

It’s Saturday again and I’m trying to keep it simple.  Productive but not crazy ambitious.  Of course “crazy ambitious” died when I slept in until 9:00.  I’ve got a terrible spring cold so I’m nursing that too.

Continuing the theme of not over thinking my to-do list, I have just a few general items to look at: clean up where needed, change out toys and supplies for work, mow the lawn, garden.  And of course errands: bank, library, thrift store, groceries (we don’t need much, just some loss leader stuff).

I struggle with how much to do on a Saturday.  I like one weekend day to be more relaxed, where I don’t really have to do anything unless I want to.  This used to be Saturdays mostly because there is always some work to do on Sundays just to get ready for work on Monday.  Lately I’ve felt a push to change that around so I’m trying to do some things differently.

When do you tend to relax?  Saturday? Sunday? Some other day?

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Things I Love Thursday: Neutrogena Sunblock

tilt

I come from a family of folks with skin cancer. With fair skin and fine hair, I manage to burn my scalp more than I care to admit.  Hats are a great idea but I often forget to wear one.

I really need to be more careful.

With summer almost here and gardening started, I’ll tell you what I love.  I spray my part with Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Body Mist Sunblock.  It isn’t greasy and doesn’t really weigh my hair down.  Best of all, it works.  Last year after starting this, the incidence of red scalp was greatly reduced.  To an almost undetectable level.

If you too tend to burn along your part and don’t like to always wear a hat try it out.  It also works great for kids’  fine hair.   This Neutrogena stuff is definitely something I love…and not just on Thursdays!

Check out The Diaper Diaries for more things to love…there is always something good!

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WFMW: Recycling Envelopes

With kids in two different schools it seems like there are always permission slips or papers of some sort flowing back and forth from our house to the school.  I like to put those two inch strips of paper into an envelope to send back.  Why do we always have to cut off that little strip with our signature??  How many kids have lost THAT in the bottom of their bags?

Anyway, I was going through my share of envelopes when I decided to start using the return envelopes from junk mail.  I save a little basket of them.  When the baskets full I go back to throwing them in the recycling bucket so I don’t end up with too big a stockpile.  I cross out the address on the front with a bright colored sharpie and write what’s inside.  Done.

I also use them to make local payments for utilities and garbage, that kind of thing.  I make sure to write PAYMENT on them so they know what it is in the drop box.

It may not seem like much, but I like using what I already have (and is free) and it works for me!

For other great tips check out all the Works-for-me-Wednesday posts over at We Are THAT Family!

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Making Do: Glass Storage Jars

Over a year ago I saw some glass jars for kitchen storage at a discount store.  The size and price varied but I think the smallest (and least expensive) was at least $6.00.  I loved the look of them.  I daydreamed about the things I’d put in jars like this.  Oatmeal.  Rice.  Tootsie Rolls.  Homemade granola.  So many possibilities.

I never put one in my cart though.  These are the type of purchases that used to put me over budget (not that I was really sticking to a budget back then) and ultimately had me overspending.  I always felt justified in buying things for the house.  “I don’t buy for me…it was for the house!”

Now I make do.

Shortly after I fell in love with the idea of these glass storage jars, I emptied a large applesauce jar.  Hey…I could use that.  Then I emptied a pickle jar.  And a couple of cheese spread jars.  After going over the lids with a couple of coats of black chalkboard spray paint, I had my own storage jars.  One even held dog treats.  I wrote little things on the lids with chalk too.  Like “dog treats” with paw prints…no one wants to get confused as to what was in there!

glass jars

I love my mismatched jars.  I think the black lids give a bit of a unifying feeling.  I always look twice at a jar before putting it in the recycling.  You just never know what could be stored in it!

Check out Ann’s site on Mondays for more make do ideas!

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Filed under In the Kitchen, Making Do