Archive | August 2012

And The Cleanup Continues!

We are still cleaning up around here!  The nesting continues…but not as strongly as before.  It may be because the kids started back to school and I am their local bus service.  We have a Kindergartener this year, so that means I am to school 3x per day.  Morning, noon, and after school.  I love doing it, but it makes it harder to get things done around the house.  All of the bigger projects have to be on the weekend.Anyway this week I was able to get some kitchen cabinets cleaned out and I was able to do my 5 things in the evening that has been doing a series on for the past two weeks.  My 5 things to do before going to bed to make my morning smoother are:  1.  Clean kitchen 2.  Sweep kitchen floor.  3.  Run dishwasher…you don’t know how many times I load the thing and forget to turn it on!  4.  Get the coffee pot loaded and on the timer to start in the morning. and 5.  Take a nice hot bath and relax for a few minutes before bed.  I have been pretty faithful with the chores and it is helping make my day a LOT better and more relaxed first thing in the morning.

Also, my husband has been on the bandwagon with me.  He went through a big stack of boxes and condensed it down to a couple of boxes.  This stuff has been in our basement since shortly after we built the house.  My MIL wanted all of his stuff out of the house and would bring loads of stuff every day until it was all gone from her house and dropped off at ours.  It has been sitting in our basement ever since…about 15 years!

Yesterday he went through the entire stack.

Here are the before and after pictures.

Our hallway before cleaning the mess up!

After the project was cleaned up! I am so happy to have this stuff cleaned up! A big thank you to my wonderful husband for cleaning that stuff up!

We are making good progress, but with school in full swing, I am sure it will slow down, but I am thankful to get the stuff that we have done taken care of.  I will try this week to clean out our entry closet and our game closet.  That will be enough to get done.  I will try to remember to take pictures of before and after.  I hope you have a great and productive week!

Final Day Before School Trip To The Drag Strip

My husband took T and S to the drag strip the day before school started.  They have been wanting to go all summer, but it just hasn’t happened.  So while they were gone M and R helped me in our basement cleaning project.  The drag strip is close to an hour away and by the time they got there and back, we had a lot of stuff cleaned out.  Yeah!

T really enjoys the whole process, and he really wants a Jr. Dragster.  S enjoyed his time with T and Dad, but he just didn’t really care about the racing.  Funny how 2 kids with the same parents can be so different!

Here are a few pictures from their trip.

T and S in front of a “cool” car.

S being crazy by wearing 2 hats.

T and S in front of a race truck.

This race track sure is loud!

In front of a Jr. Dragster.

It was a fun afternoon.  T wants to go back as soon as possible!

Family Reunion

A, my little sweet tooth!

We had a great time at our family reunion last weekend.  The kids got to see some of their cousins that they only get to see once a year, and their favorite cousins that they see a little more often.

We rent a Pavillion and each bring a covered dish.  We have to travel about 3 1/2 hours to get there, but the kids were excellent in the van.  Having unlimited electronics definetly helps.  We had a few technical glitches that caused some frustration for our 5 year old, but otherwise everyone was awesome.

We arrived a little bit later than I wanted because we ran in 3 different sets of orange barrels.  Bummer!

They have a pool at this community center, so the kids love it.  They swam for quite a while.  Pools are great for kids.  They just never seem to get tired!

It was nice to see some of my aunts, uncles, and cousins that I don’t normally get to see.  There wasn’t a great turnout this year.  It seems if we do it on Saturday people have to work, and Sunday doesn’t get a good turnout either.  We prefer Saturday so that we have Sunday to recover before the week starts again!

My dad has 10 out of 13 siblings alive and 9 made it to the reunion which was a really good turnout.  My grandma will be 93 in a few days.  She couldn’t make it because she wasn’t feeling well.  I hope she feels better soon.

It was great to see my parents, I haven’t seen them much as of late (because of all of our kids activities) and summer vacation is pretty much a free for all.  They look great!  I need to see them more and talk to them more, but it’s hard with my plate so full of kids, Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, American Heritage Girls, school, drum lessons, etc.  Thankfully they understand my situation and are glad whenever I call or visit!

Here are a few pictures at the pool!

A swimming with a lifejacket. I am getting too large to get in the pool without causing a scene!

S trying to learn how to dive off of the low diving board. He is not good at diving yet, but he can do a heck of a belly smacker!

Cousin R, having fun in the pool with our kids!

T telling me about his latest dive.

More fun in the pool.

R and A having fun together.

Cousin B, jumping off of the diving board.

1st Day Of School 2012

S acting goofy for his first day of school picture.  He is in 2nd this year.

It’s time for another first day of school.  My kids are less than thrilled….well a couple of them.  My 5th grader, T knows the drill, so he isn’t thrilled,  S, my 2nd grader is excited, but didn’t like being awakened so early in the morning.  My daughter A is starting Kindergarten. She is ready to go.  She is usually a sleepy head who doesn’t like to get up in the mornings, but this morning she had a spring in her step and was ready to start school every day like the big kids and like how daddy goes to work.  We will see how thrilled she is after the first week.  I suspect that she will be very tired by Thursday morning. R my 8th grader is fairly excited because it is his last year at our current school.  He will be in high school next year!!!

A ready for Kindergarten.

R starting 8th grade…his last year at this school!

T starting 5th grade…on to Jr High next year!!!!

My Junior and Freshman in High School don’t start until tomorrow, so we had a little bit of an easier morning trying to get everyone out the door.

Fast forward…

The day went pretty smoothly for them they all said.  T said it was a boring day and all about rules, but he was excited about changing classes for Science.  S said he had a great day, but he got a headache from thinking so hard.  A, had a fun day.  She spent a while telling me about all of the rules.  She is excited to go back tomorrow for another day.  R said it was a good day, but it feels weird being in the class with the oldest kids in the school.

The kids sure have been full of energy tonight.   I don’t know what the deal is…I hope it wears off.

Trying To Get Things Done Around Here*Updated*

I had a couple of slower days around here.  I’ve been pretty tired…I haven’t been sleeping well for the last couple of nights.  I find that when I don’t sleep well, it takes a couple of days to get over the tiredness.

I pretty much sat around and didn’t do much on Sunday.  That’s not all bad…we had fun with the kids.  Monday I had my doctor’s appointment and my 17 p injection (to prevent premature birth), so that was kind of a wash.  That was a good thing too, because I was pretty tired.  I did  get the buffet in the dining room cleaned out and a box ready for Goodwill.

Last night, I slept a lot better, so today I tried to get back on track.  I did get T to tutoring, took kids to the library to finish up the summer reading program, and I took my MIL to physical therapy.  After that I was pretty worn out, but I still managed to get under the sink cleaned out and the 2nd turn around cleaned out.  I also cleaned some of the carpet in the living room.  I am making progress…slower than I would like, but progress nonetheless.

I hope I sleep well tonight, I would like to get a lot done tomorrow.  On the chopping block the microwave, the bathroom cabinet, the rest of the living room carpet being cleaned, and hopefully clean T and S’s room.

I hope it goes as planned.  Here’s to good sleep and getting a lot done tomorrow!

Good Night!

Sam’s Or Costco?

I was wondering what everyone thinks about Sam’s or Costco.  My membership expires in a few days, so I am considering my options.

I have been a faithful Sam’s customer for probably 6 years or so.  My second year of having this kind of membership I switched from Sam’s to Costco just to try it out, but I didn’t like it as much because I felt like they had more clothing, etc than food, so I switched back to Sam’s.  My hairdresser has a Costco membership and she loves it.  She has been telling me about all of the organic stuff that they have now.  She says the prices are very good.  She is thrilled with their selections.

I am primarily looking for food for our large family.  If you don’t know, we have 6 children, with number 7 on the way.  I have 5 boys ages 16, almost 15, 13, almost 11, and 8.  I have one girl who is 5.  They LOVE to eat.  At Sam’s I buy the bulk flour, sugar, rice etc.  I also buy salad mix, yogurt, juice boxes, fruit cups, lunch stuff like cheese crackers, breakfast bars, and peanut butter and jelly.  I also buy frozen veggies, fresh fruit and veggies when they are a good deal.

I really haven’t bought anything that isn’t food.  I am not much of a spontaneous shopper anymore.  I have been training myself to buy what is on the list…and that’s it, unless it is a really good deal.  Also, when I shop at Sam’s I am going there to buy food…that’s it!

Do you have a preference?  What bulk store do you like best?  I would really like your help in this matter!  Thank you!

Still Moving In The Right Direction!

I am continuing on my roll of getting a lot of things done around here!  I have cleaned the inside of the dishwasher and the coffee pot, cleaned one turn around in my kitchen,  and wiped the front of the stove and dishwasher.   I also  took all of the stuff off of the front of the refrigerator including all of the papers and magnets.  I even put the miscellaneous stuff up there on the fridge into new correct spots.

I also took a bakers rack, a fake Ficus tree, some extra clothes, some toy train track,  and some miscellaneous stuff to Goodwill.  That feels good.

I still have plenty to do, while I have some energy.  I am kind of wondering why I am feeling the nesting instinct so early.  One reason may be because the rest of the kids start school next week and then all of my help will be gone or doing homework.  Another reason is that I have been there, done that many times, and I know what is to come.  A third possible reason is that this baby could come early…I think that is part of the been there done that…and I have had 2 premature births at 35 and 36 weeks.  Not terribly premature, but enough to be scary and have some complications.

Anyway, while I feel the urge to purge and clean, I am going to go with it!

I hope you are having a productive weekend!

Do One Thing…

Half of my kids are out-of-town.  One is in New Mexico with the Boy Scouts on a trip to Philmont.  The other 2 are with my SIL in Kentucky.  With this little bit of freedom, I am trying something new.  I have several days to get a good start with this while there is less stress and fewer demands on my time.  Here is my brilliant thought…do one thing.

I am trying to do one thing each day that I don’t really want to do, but needs to be done.  For example, yesterday I cleaned out the fridge.  I certainly didn’t want to do it, but it needed to be done.  I bit the bullet and did it.  It took all of 30 minutes to get it done.  It wasn’t that big of a deal, but since the fridge closes, I close it and forget about it.

Another day this week, I baked 2 loaves of banana zucchini bread from a recipe at  Here is the link if you are interested.  It turned out great!  The only thing I did differently was add some extra banana since I had some lying around that needed to be used up.  Again, no big deal.  It probably took 10 minutes to get the stuff into the pans to bake for 45 min. to an hour.  I don’t know why doing this is so hard for me, but it is.

I have a tendency to let things build up, and then it is a bigger deal than it needs to be.  For example, if I were to work on baking something every day, the kids would always have stuff for breakfast and their lunch, but I get lazy and then we have nothing in the house and I have to bake and cook like crazy to fill the freezer again.  The kitchen gets completely trashed and it takes me 2 days to recover from the mess and exhaustion.  Then I don’t bake again until I’m close to being out of stuff again.  If I am tired when I run out of food, I buy stuff to fill the freezer at a much greater expense!  So I am going to do one thing…

I’ll let you know how it goes!

Revamping The Living Room

I have been in a nesting kind of mood this summer.  I think it is because I know (since I have 6 children now) what it will be like once number 7 gets here.  There will be no chance of getting anything of substance done for at least 18 months to 2 years.  I am lucky that my youngest is 5, and not very needy that I can make some headway on the things that I have wanted to do for a long time, but just didn’t have the energy

It is kind of funny, in a way, that you think you don’t have any energy…and then when you really don’t have any energy…you get it out of the blue!  This pregnancy has done that for me!

We have a lot of people in a very normal sized house.  Once this baby gets here, we will have 9 people in here.  That is a lot of people in not a lot of space.  We keep going back and forth with how to maximize our space, but adding on an addition takes a lot of time and money.  Time is something that is always in short supply when you have a large family.  Also, my husband is working on his Ph.D. which takes up what time he has available after the kids are asleep.  I can’t do big projects by myself, or even little ones usually….because I am really indecisive.

So, a long story to say, that we are trying to clean things up a little, and use our space to the best of our ability.  We have too much stuff in too little of a space.  We are trying to use the height of the rooms to our advantage (tall bookshelves etc.) and keep things off of the floor to try to make the rooms feel larger.

I am no interior decorator…not at all.  I am really challenged in this area, but as they say, necessity is the mother of invention.

Our living room makeover was free!  We had extra furniture in the basement that was given to us by my parents.  Thanks Mom and Dad.  It has been down there for years.  The basement was never finished, but we did have a seating area with a TV and a couple of video games for the kids to play.  We had a gazillion toys and 3 toy boxes down there, a ping-pong table, etc.  Needless to say it was constantly trashed.  Couch cushions and pillows were everywhere.  Toys were never in the toy boxes.  You couldn’t walk through there without killing yourself…please tell me I am not alone….It was a constant mess.

This summer we went through all of the toys and gave all of the better stuff to Goodwill and got rid of a lot of broken stuff, and happy meal toys.  It was wonderful.  My youngest son is 7 and he and my 10-year-old really only play with a few things over and over.  They play with Lego’s, Bionicles, BeyBlades, Tech Decks, and a few video games.  My 5-year-old daughter is the only one with her own room and the only girl, so all of her stuff is in there and not in the basement, so why did we keep all of this stuff?  Well, no more!

Anyway, back to the living room.  I am a matching queen.  I really like my stuff to match.  In  the living room we had a red-flowered couch, a pinkish loveseat, 2 huge beige recliners, one of which was broken and the leg rest wouldn’t go down and lock.  It was a disaster, but sometimes it is just easier to ignore, than to DO something.  Well, I had enough and decided that we were going to bring the furniture from the basement upstairs (it matches by the way), and get rid of the flowered couch that was stained and worn out.  We put the coffee table (a very nice cedar chest from my MIL) in the basement for now until I can figure out where to put it.  We got rid of the recliners.  My husband hated them from the beginning because they were too big for our smaller room.

Anyway, I am soooo not visual, but my 2 oldest boys helped carry the furniture up and helped me place it.  The transformation is amazing to me!  We actually feel like there is some room in there.  The coffee table is out and it really opens up the room.  Also, this furniture is a lot lighter in color than the other furniture.  I think that helps somehow.

The funny thing is that once we got started, I wanted to keep going.  I worked the big boys pretty hard, but it was so great to get it done.  I dusted everything, we cleaned out the globe on the ceiling fan, we got rid of little stuff here and there.  Fun!

I should have taken before pictures, but I didn’t really know that we were going to do all of that work yesterday, it just happened.  Anyway, here are the after pictures.

Picture from the middle of the living room.

Picture taken from the entry of our living room.

From the far corner looking at the entrance of the living room.  Don’t mind the mess in the foyer, it’s next!

Front corner to opposite corner.

We Are All Back Under One Roof

Yesterday at about noon, I picked my 3 big boys up from their week away at Boy Scout summer camp!  I hadn’t seen them for 10 days.  My sewing retreat was the Thursday through Sunday before.  They left on Sunday morning.  I got home Sunday about noon.

They are so worn out.  They came home dirty and hungry, so it must have been a fun trip!  I forgot to take pictures, but they looked like they had not slept and were filthy!   They said that there was plenty of food.  That is good, some years they complain that they just couldn’t get enough to eat.  They do have an outpost where you can buy junk food, but they said it wasn’t enough.  This year, it was the last week at this camp, so it was no-holds barred on the food.  All three boys said that they got their merit badges that they intended to get, but we won’t officially find out until our September meeting.  Our troop takes the month of August off!  I am so happy.  We can get school started for a couple of weeks without Scouts as a distraction.

When they got home, each went through their scout stuff and the washing machine began.  All showered and ate, and it was just like they never left.  The bickering started, the chaos resumed, the rude comments were free-flowing.  They of course were TIRED…no patience for the little ones who missed them for the past week and no appreciation for the $900 or so that their hardworking Dad paid for this trip.

Sometimes, I wonder if we get anywhere in this journey of parenting.  I often think that here we are 16 years into this parenting thing and this is all the farther that we have gotten!  Sad at times.

My oldest wasn’t the problem yesterday, so there is hope.  It was mostly M, the 14-year-old and R, the 13-year-old, so hopefully this is something they will outgrow.  I remember J, my 16-year-old being so very tired and grumpy too.

On the bright side, they told me that they love my cooking and camp food is nothing like eating at home!

All three of the older ones are still sleeping at 9:17 this morning, so maybe they will wake up in a better mood.  Let’s hope!