Friday, February 27, 2009

The road less traveled

For me, it was a life changing moment.

I was eleven years old and had gone to see An American Tail with my best friend, Molly.  I loved the movie so much I ignored how uncomfortable I was feeling.  Well, I tried to.  I knew I had to urinate (badly), but I wasn't about to miss any of the movie, so I just sat there chomping on popcorn and sipping my Dr. Pepper.  Fieval couldn't find his family fast enough as far as my bladder was concerned.

After the movie, I told Molly I had to go really bad.  So bad that I wasn't sure I'd make it down the long corridor to the women's restroom.  It was there I found out why I was uncomfortable. The moment most every little girl longs for, but is probably a little scared of at the same time.  


I don't remember if I even told Molly that I started my period.  I think I just went home and told my mom.  I don't even remember how that all went, but I'm sure my mom does.  I wasn't afraid because my mom had already explained everything to me, come to think of it, I was even a tad bit excited.  After my mom gave me my very first pad to wear, I remember looking in the mirror to see if something had changed on the outside.  Would my classmates know that I was now a woman?  Did I somehow look older?  More mature?  More sophisticated?  This was a gift I had been given even if my stomach hurt.

As the years went on, my gift was becoming more of  a curse. I had joined the ranks of all the other teenagers I knew and began wearing tampons.  In fact, I would even wear them to bed sometimes because I could not stand to wear pads.  It never failed,  I bloated up like a pufferfish a week before and the cramps set up camp for a five day vacation.  Honestly, I don't remember any terrible mood swings, but that's because I was the one having them.  To those who loved me, I know I was very difficult to live with.  

One of the worst times for me was for the six weeks I had to wear pads after having a baby.  I hated them.  They were sticky and they hurt in a place where things were already a little sore. It's just not right, but I was always happy when the six weeks was up so I could go back to wearing tampons again, even though I was starting to not like them either.

When I was pregnant with Caleb, our final baby, I decided to look into cloth diapers.  A friend of mine loaned me some to try on Chloe and that quickly pushed her into potty training.  I didn't realize that at the time, but they definately helped.  As my due date was nearing, I couldn't imagine going back to weeks and pads...especially after nine whole months of freedom. My friend had told me about "Mama Pads", but I just wasn't so sure I wanted to spend the money on them and not like them.  I hate being wasteful.  I decided to buy just one pad.  You know, I'd give it a try and see how I could handle wearing them.  I bought my very first pad from Pretty Pad's. It was beautiful and felt so soft. I spent a couple weeks experimenting with it and knew I needed more.  Another friend of mine made me a few more that were velour topped with a waterproof backing. It was really nice to have more than one. 

During this time I was also cloth diapering my own son and loved every minute of it.  I wish I had started with my other children, I liked it that much.  Over the next year, I started keeping track of my PMS symptoms.  I noticed a dramatic decrease in my cramps and headaches.  Not only that, but I was no longer protected by sticky paper.  Instead I had cotton fabrics like velour and sherpa next to my skin.  I was hooked! 

Photo from Essence of Eve

I remember the day I decided to never go back to paper.  I actually felt free.  Free of societies views on menstruation and the impact it had on my life each month.  Free from the limited choices that were offered at the local market.  I don't know about you, but I'll take comfort over convienence...especially when it comes to my girly bits.  Thankyouverymuch!  

For about two years I only had twelve pads, but it was enough to get me through a couple days before I had to wash again. I still have those pads, after 7 years, and I still wear them from time to time.  These days, I'm extremely lucky to have a dear friend who sews amazing menstural pads for me. Check out her online store The Essence of Eve.  I love these pads and hope she continues making them...or is at least willing to stock me up for the another decade or so.

If you decide to try them out I suggest the velour or sherpa top with micro fleece back.  I get a medium thickness because my flows are heavy normally.

Do you want to know the best part?  

My nine year old daughter can't wait for me to buy her very first cloth pads. I've made a difference and have succeded in teaching my daughter that she doesn't have to suffer with uncomfortable toxic products from the market.  That's not the only against the flow topic I've had the privelage of teaching her, it's just the one she'll live with the longest. 

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Early Years

"This is the pinky I have you all wrapped around"

Aww!  I am so cute!  I weighed 6 lbs 1 oz.  

Me and my big brother.  I was one year old and still didn't have much hair.  Now, I have so much hair I pay to have it thinned.  I pay to have some of the grey colored, too, but that doesn't count.  

Me at three.  If you look closely there is a bruise on my left cheek.  A little boy in my preschool bit me and when my daddy heard that some little monster had bit his little princess, he found the little boy and bit him back (on the hand).  I'm not sure what those teachers thought about that.  In fact, it might have been my last day at that preschool.  I'll have to ask my mom.  


Next up.... The Teenage Years

I think you better prepare yourselves.  It's going to be good.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

It's a Hard Knock Life

Although my house looks like a tornado hit it, we were very productive today.  I like being productive.  Lately, I've been on a chuck it all out the window and don't look back phase.  It all started with the basement project.  I felt energized and ready to tackle even bigger things, like the garage. When it warmed up, that is.  Freezing my tushie off in the garage is not my idea of fun.  

When the nice weather man said it would reach fifty degrees today, and be sunny, I knew it would be a great day to get some outside work done.  We could all use the sunshine and Spring like temperatures after all the snow we've had.  Oh, and it just so happens that my fifteen year old son presented me with the most amazing opportunity to utilize his growing muscles and teach him his actions do have consequences and his recent actions have resulted in....... 

Teenage Slavery

I know you're dying to know what he did to deserve such parental torture, aren't you?  First, let me post a picture of the young man we're training up.  

This handsome teenage boy is my first born, by one minute.  I love the kid dearly, but I don't understand teenage boys very well.  You see, this young man decided he was going to skip a class last Wednesday.  He also thought it would be fun to horse around, while skipping class, with a friend of his and they ended up breaking a window.  He has to pay fifty dollars and for a kid without a job, that's a lot of money.  So, being the mean mom I am, I knew this would be a great opportunity to work him like a slave so he could earn the money to pay it off.  At five dollars an hour, I'll have him slaving away for the next few weekends.  

Does anyone need anything done?  I'll gladly offer his services.  He can clean toilets, scrub sinks, mop floors.  Oh and if you want to make him work happily, just play "It's a Hard Knock Life" over and over again.  He loves that song. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A laundry wall?

Several weeks ago I mentioned my new laundry wall, or so I thought.  Maybe I  just thought I posted about it.  That happens sometimes.  A little more often than I'd care to admit though.  I was all set to link back to that post where I had promised pictures and such, but's not there.  So I guess the whole following through thing didn't quite happen this time around. 

Several weeks ago I went to IKEA to check out the Antonius system.  I had several pieces in my old laundry room.  Basically a shelf with a hanging bar, fold-out drying rack, iron holder, small hanging ironing board, and a cross bar with hooks.  

Back in this post, I mentioned my unfinished laundry room and how I would just have to live with it.  ::big southern belle dramatic sigh::  Then I thought to myself, "Self, why not make the best of it and use the wall in the dance room to hang your clothes?" When I talk to myself, or my self talks to me, we can usually come up with some pretty neat ideas.   

So what does any self described obsessive organizer do?

Repeat after me.....

"You take a vacation to IKEA!"

I am lucky enough to have one close by and having been to IKEA too many several times, I know the in's and out's of the store.  I don't go through the entrance anymore, I head straight through the EXIT doors, through the check out lines and go straight to "As Is".  After I'm finished checking it out, I go backwards through the store.  Unless I want ideas or swedish meatballs, I rarely make it upstairs.  On this particular shopping/idea trip,  I just had to make my way to the laundry section, which is right across from all the storage containers and organizing things (giggle).  They had a pretty neat set up and I was immediately inspired.  I took some pictures with my phone to send to Rob for his thoughts.  Then I grabbed the booklet and started adding up all the pieces and designing it right there.  I went back to the loading area and bought the pieces I needed sans a few pieces they had on backorder.  

After a few days and several trips to IKEA for the missing parts, we started putting it all together.  Here is the final result.

Don't you just love it?  I do!  I now have many places to hang dry clothing and a place to actually fold.  I love that my sorting basket fits nicely under the table and my kids still have a ton of space to dance.  

I recently started hang drying most of our clothing because I feel better about saving the energy.  I'm not opposed to using the dryer, I still do, I just try to lessen the amount I do use it.  I would love an outdoor line, but for now I'll cheerfully hang dry what I can.  


I'm very eager to let you all know that Casey will be in his first play next month.  He is so excited and of course we are very proud of him.  He will be playing "Puck" from A Midsummer Night's Dream.  He has been practicing very hard.  It's difficult for him to read and much more difficult for him to actually comprehend what he is reading.  He's doing a remarkable job working out his left brain and I see more confidence in him.  It can often feel discouraging and sad as you watch your child struggle with educational and cognitive delays.  Casey is a natural born actor.  He wants to be a movie director, actor and Broadway performer one of these days. You know what?  He will be one, if not all, of those.  I know because I have a mother's intuition. I just know!

Casey 02/2009

Friday, February 13, 2009

Cora Paige

I don't know this family, but my heart goes out to them.  Little Cora Paige was diagnosed with cancer just three weeks ago. 

And on Sunday, February 8, 2009 Cora Paige went to be with Jesus.  She was just 10 months old.  I just can't imagine the heartache her family must feel.  Please lift them up in prayer.

Please consider donating to Cora's Playground as well.  You can follow the links above to find out more information. 


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Talk About: My Pantry Door

Click on the link above to see more Talk About Tuesday posts & The Lazy Organizer.

This is my pantry door.

In August 2008, when we moved into this house, I was a little shocked at how skinny and narrow my pantry really was.  Things just seem to look bigger when they are empty.  We're a family of seven, so I need to keep as much cabinet and pantry space available as I can.  I didn't want to use a cabinet shelf for spices since I always end up moving everything out just to find what I need.  I wanted a simple space where I could easily find everything, so I did what all crazy organizers do.....

I went on a vacation to IKEA. 

Did you know that when someone who is even mildly obsessed with organizing enters the hallowed doors of IKEA, the angels sing hallelujah and the planets allign?  No!  Well, then you must not be obsessed with organizing.  Either that, or your iPod is turned up too loud.  

Anyway... no longer do I have to buy expensive baskets or whole rack systems that I cannot customize to suit my specific needs and space.  I now have IKEA and all it's glory.    

I found these metal baskets in the kitchen section at IKEA. They ranged from $1.99 to $2.99.  Each comes with a removable handle so you can either hang it on a bar or attach it to a wall.  They also come with a removable tray which I love! I plan on getting a couple more for the lower sections of my door at some point, but the baskets suit my needs at the moment.  

Monday, February 9, 2009

To start off this week.....

It's raining and snowing today.  I'm happy to be in my warm cozy house, but not happy that I am sick.  Late last night, I started to feel a little scratch in my throat and I had a headache.  This morning I woke up to what felt like a ball stuck in my throat.  Realizing that my tonsils have been removed, I knew this was not a good sign.  It's hard to swallow and I still have a slight headache.  I'm thinking it's just a virus and hoping it's not strep.

We just found out last week that our insurance co-pay's were increased, so now we pay twenty-five dollars instead of ten to see the doctor.  Obviously, it makes me a little less eager to make an appointment.  I'll just go with the "wait and see" approach.  

When I'm sick it's hard for me to just stay in bed.  I have all these things I want to

Organize this closet.


Begin the daunting process of organizing what is supposed to be my craft/sewing room.

This room has been organized once before.  It was almost finished when I decided to destroy the downstairs storage room so that we could actually walk in there. One of my biggest pet peeve's is when you have to take everything out of a room just to get in there.  I just can't stand it.  This is a room I just shut the door on.  I'm really going to need a tremendous amount of energy to tackle this room.  Does anyone want to help?  

Eh..I didn't think so.  

I bet you're wondering just how bad the storage room was to make my previously organized craft room look that way.  

This wasn't even half the trash we hauled out of the basement.  It's absolutely ridiculious that we have accumulated and carried around so much junk in the past 16 years.  We still had manuals from the twin's carseats and at least a garbage bag full of manuals of stuff we have not owned for a decade.  It really felt good to go through all of those boxes though.  

This is what part of the basement looked like after I cleaned out the storage room.  It was a complete mess for over three weeks.  That's how long it took me to go through everything.  Unfortunately I do not have any before pictures of the storage room, but this is most of what was in there.  There are about 6 boxes that are not in this photo.  

During the three weeks the basement was in shambles my youngest son, Caleb (7), had no where else to play LEGO's. Of course, to a seven year old, making a mess among the mess is the perfect spot to build his creations.  

To his credit, he didn't have any other place to play because his own bedroom was in disarray while we took apart the bunkbed's and made two separate beds, but didn't actually finish making them two separate beds for a few weeks.   Procrastination at it's finest.  You see, Rob thought the two beds that were still in bunkbed form (one low with rails and two footboards, one high with two headboards) looked fine. And I, with gnashing of teeth, disagreed until the beds were put together right.  Who in their right mind.......?  Nevermind.

We ended up moving the LEGO's back to the bedroom once the beds were complete because those teeny-tiny pieces, that are extremely expensive pieces of plastic, do not fare well in dark brown deep-pile carpet.  My vacuum loves to gobble them up.  Caleb has keen hearing and can tell the distinct sound of the vacuum devouring his treasured pieces.  I, however, refuse to dig through the bag to recover the lost pieces, so Caleb has now learned he had better pick them up by the time I'm ready to vacuum.  There's nothing more precious than the sound of your child running at the speed of light while screaming "WAIT!  WAIT!  Don't let the vacuum eat my LEGO's!!!"

This is what the finished storage room looks like.  

When you open the door you see this.  There is a shelf with duffle bags and other various bags. Sleeping bags are neatly stacked on the top shelf.  Hard suitcases are neatly stacked in the corner. 

As you can see there is still a walk-way towards the back of the storage room.  The shelf you see with the Life game is actually our game shelf. 

The shelving unit in the far back holds Christmas boxes and other holiday items.  The two craft tree's do not collapse so this is how they will be until next Christmas.  I will put plastic bags over them to keep the dust off.   The second shelving unit has items we might need to get into at some point, but things I didn't want to throw in the trash.  Most of it is sentimental.

It was very motivating to go through the storage room and make it accessible.  

Now I'm off to organize the hall closet and do some laundry.  Or, perhaps, I'll just make myself some tea, wrap up in a warm blanket and read a good book.  

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Organizing the Love Nest

Yesterday was a productive day for me. Instead of going shopping or sitting at the computer all day, I decided to focus on one room of the house. I'm in a major decluttering mood lately, so I chose the most important room to me. 

The Master Bedroom - BEFORE

This room is, sadly, the one place where everything seems to get dumped. 

Like you hadn't noticed.  

It feels like a junk room, at times, rather than a place of comfort and intimacy rest. Sorry...I couldn't resist. 

This plastic drawer system was used to hold whatever.  A couple of the drawers only had one thing in them.  What a waste of space.  Plus it just looked weird out in the open.  Oh, everyone say "Hi Lilo!" 

Yeah...that's a cleaning spray bottle in my closet.  I probably set it down in one of my many ADD moments.  Anyway....we already had the hook from IKEA.  In fact, we have two.  One for ties and one for belts.  They've been great and are only $4.99 each.

To be completely honest, I had taken the brown boxes that are on the floor down from a shelf in the closet before I remembered to grab my camera.  I am Semi-Organized,  you know.

The Master Bedroom - AFTER

I decided to stick the plastic drawer bin in the closet, though I'm still not sure what to put in there.  The bottom drawer holds my cloth pads, which I am very proud of and thankful I was brave enough to choose cloth over paper.  That's a whole other post though.  You really wanted to know all of that, didn't you?  

I already had the shoe holders and put them to good use. I found them when I was cleaning out the basement storage room a few weeks ago.  It's always nice to re-use things you have.  In fact, the only thing I bought for this organizing spree were some pant hangers for Rob's work pants, we already owned everything else.  

This whole system is from IKEA.  I bought them all in the "AS IS" section for a fraction of what they sell for new.  The utensil organizer is also from IKEA and was "As Is" for only $6.00.  It was sitting on the shelf in our closet since we moved in.  I dusted it out and thought it would make a nice place for Rob's sporan, watch & wallet.  My jewlery (which is not much) is on the other side. 

This drawer was full of junk.  I cleaned out TWO drawers that Rob was using to stuff things like; dead batteries and used movie tickets.  This utensil holder is also from IKEA and was "As Is" for only two dollars.  It makes a really nice holder.  Can you tell I love IKEA?  

Here is the other IKEA hook that holds our belts.  Love it!

This is a pile of bathroom items that haven't had a home for a long time.  I finally got them all organized.  

Bottom Shelf:  The shelving unit, woven divided basket and glass jars are from IKEA.  This shelf is for various items, but mostly things we use more often than others.

Second Shelf: This shelf is filled with baskets of sunblocks, shaving items, pedicure items.

Third Shelf: This shelf holds four plastic divided containers.  The dividers are removable so you can customize the spaces you need.  They are from IKEA and sell for $3.99 each.  I have them separated into four categories:  Owie's, Cold/Flu, Allergies (includes creams, benadryl, etc) and prescription medications.   

I know that I'm missing a few more "After" pictures.  As soon as the kids got home from school yesterday we were out the door for doctor appointments.  I didn't have time to wash the sheets or make the bed.  I don't know when I'll actually get the chance to do laundry.  Hopefully this weekend because I really hate sleeping on the mattress without a sheet.  

Monday, February 2, 2009

Valentine's Day Decadence

I wanted to share a wonderfully decadent dessert that I've made for Valentine's Day for the past 4 years.  At the time, I was an avid follower of Chookooloonk's who first posted about the scrumptious cake she chose to make for her daughter's first birthday.  I still read her blog from time to time....she's an amazing photographer!  My family and friends have begged me to make this cake ever since day one.  It's an easy recipe and one that will not disappoint. Well, unless you're my mother and would prefer something made with vanilla or banana.  The less chocolate, the better.  However, you could be like my Nana who absolutely loves chocolate, in which case, you'll love this recipe.  Just like her.

By the way, you can buy the heart shaped bundt pan at Spoon's & Spice,  if you're wondering. 

My glaze, on this cake,  didn't turn out smooth because I didn't have any light corn syrup, but it was still yummy.  

You really don't even need frosting or glaze.  It's so rich and moist as is.  I'll have you know that I am one of those crazy people that removes 80% of the frosting before I even take a bite of cake.  I also prefer the middle,  so my "you don't need frosting" tip might not be for those of you who prefer a corner piece.  


1 18.25-oz package chocolate cake mix (I use the Devil's Food from Duncan Hines)

1 3.9-oz package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1/2 cup hot water
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees Celcius). Grease and flour a bundt pan. I love the Crisco spray (like Pam) that has flour in it.

2. Combine cake mix, pudding mix, oil, eggs, hot water, sour cream and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour batter into bundt pan.

3. Bake for 1 hour. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then invert cake onto wire rack and let cool completely.


4 oz semi-sweet dark chocolate (again, I like Ghirardelli's)
3 tbsp butter
1 tbsp milk
1 tbsp light corn syrup
1/4 tsp vanilla

In small, heavy saucepan or microwave oven on medium, melt broken chocolate with butter. Stir frequently until smooth. Remove from heat. Stir in milk, syrup and vanilla. When glaze is cool, pour onto cake. Let glaze run down sides. Chill about 10 minutes to set glaze.

*Note* I did copy and paste the recipe from Chookooloonk's and added a few of my own recommendations.  Here is a direct link to that post.