Category Archives: house”keeping”

Making all the things…(Part 1)

It’s that time of year again! The air turns colder, the leaves start to crinkle, and my urge to MAKE ALL THE THINGS comes out of it’s summer hibernation.

This year we are doing handmade gifts for most of our family so I am getting started early with my research. I have college age kiddos and grade school kiddos, high school kiddos and full grown kiddos. Luckily the internet is vast and the possibilities are endless. It’s important to find gifts that people will like, that can be made inexpensively, and that are useful in some way.

Of course one person’s useful is another person’s WTF? so it’s equally important to know your audience. For example, monogrammed coasters might seem like a useful thing to make but do your friends even have coffee tables that require coasters?

I’m starting with my college peeps. This year, there are a lot of them.

College Age DIY Gifts –

  1. The Secret Book Safe – Keep your tiniest secrets hidden here, or at least your cash when you’re throwing a party for your fellow students. basic-25
  2. Study Carrel – You can’t make everyone else leave the room, but you can kind of make your own room.
  3. Managing to sleep in a room with another person can be a challenge. A sleep away kit can make all the difference. A homemade eye mask can make it seem like you are home sweet home. A small homemade fleece pillow filled with lavender, a solid set of earplugs, and your softest pillow case combine to create a cozy sleeping environment where ever you actually are. 1009-Photo-101-3_b
  4. An office in a box gifts your student with all the study necessities. Post-it’s, pencil lead, bookmarks, paperclips, highlighters, and more! Header
  5. A no-sew fleece blanket gives your student something soft to cuddle up in when they are tired and homesick.
  6. A Mason-Jar Sewing Kit is an essential gift for someone moving out on their own. After all, your sewing stuff is staying with you, so it’s not like they can just run in and grab it.
  7. Sick Day Cold Kit – Being sick away from home is the first time you really understand how much being a grown up sucks. Ease their pain a little. In a large mason jar place:
    1.  4 Emergency-C Packets.
    2.  A handful of cough drops.
    3.  A handful of throat lozenges.
    4.  2 packets of Throat Coat tea.
    5.  2 packets of Peppermint tea.
    6.  4 honey sticks.
    7.  A travel size tissue pack.
    8.  Lip balm.
    9.  Travel size menthol rub.
    10.  4 Nyquil Liquigels.
    11.  4 Dayquil Liquigels.
    12.  2 Advil packets.
    13. Chicken Soup packet.
    14. 2 saltine cracker packets.
    15. Quarters for the soda machine.
  8. Magnetic Message Boards let roommates communicate with each other and avoid awkward moments.

There are more. The internet is full of laundry kits, first aid kits, coffee lover kits, etc. Really, if you can think of it, you can turn it into a gift for someone in college.



Some days it’s just not worth chewing through the leather straps…

It’s Monday.

It started with a kick in the head from Otter. Actually it started with several kicks in the head. It would seem walking his feet up my back and dropping them on my face is the new alarm clock.

My new alarm clock doesn’t listen to reason. It doesn’t care that it is waking me up a full hour before it is supposed to, it does it anyway.

Monday continued with screaming as Otter stridently demanded we wake up and bring him downstairs. I am thinking he is sleeping in his own bed from now on.

Downstairs we were greeted with dogshit by the front door and dog pee on the couch. It would seem our incontinent dog decided to climb over the coffee table placed on the couch to restrict her access to it, so she could sit on the back of the couch and pee all over it. We have a couch cover and a waterproof cover inside so the couch isn’t ruined, but it is a giant pain in the ass.

By the time we cleaned up the shit and removed the couch cover she had already peed in the kitchen.

Now Otter is sitting in the middle of the freshly mopped floor screaming “Help me!” because he wants me to come pick him up.

Where the fuck is Tuesday already?

A morning of cuteness…

This morning Otter settled on the couch next to Monkey and watched an episode of Dirty Jobs, Monkey’s favorite show. (Lee has trained her to say that she needs to finish school and go to college so she can choose whether or not she wants to have a Dirty Job. It’s pretty funny.)

The siblings enjoyed an early morning snuggle together for about half an hour, until Otter was ready for second breakfast.

Our house is so comfy. The house is large enough that the dogs seem smaller, we seem smaller. As Devon put it, the house is actually to scale for us.

It is nice to wake up in a pleasant room with plenty of space for one’s things. For the past year we lived in a dark tiny cramped space infested with ants and owned by two people who were determined to squeeze every dime they could out of us and not give much in return. Now we live in a huge open space, well lit, with gleaming hardwood floors and spanish tile. Sunlight streams in through the many windows, skylights, and glass paned doors.

Our current landlords are kind people. They are interested in making sure we are getting everything we need, and are willing to make necessary changes and repairs quickly and efficiently. They are also really nice, I like them a lot and look forward to working with them in the future.

We are almost finished setting up our bedroom/Otter’s room. It is a large space, but hard to capture on film. Nonetheless, as pictures were requested by a certain preggosaurus, I tried. (Everyone knows, you never turn down the request of a preggosaurus.)
Here is our bed and my dresser. To give you an idea of the size of the room, our bed is a King size, and has always been the item of furniture that turns rooms into tiny spaces with no walking room. It fits neatly along one wall, next to my huge antique dresser, and leaves room for two end tables and a dog bed.

Our bathroom is through that white door there, it is green marble and burgandy paint. Mmmm…. Green and red, Lee’s and my favorite colors. Otter’s changing station and storage are located on this wall. There is still plenty of space in the center of the room, and no sense of being cramped walking between the bed and the rest of the room.

Lee’s dresser is on the wall with the crib, between the bathroom door and the door to our other room, which we have deemed the sitting/hangout room. It is larger than our bedroom. We haven’t set it up yet, but soon it will have a couch, our T.V., our Apple T.V. system, a rocking chair, and our closet in it. Off to one side is a kitchenette and laundry room, where we have set up the cats. We plan to keep water and beverages up there, along with any non communal snacks.

Downstairs we have set up the kitchen, the office, and the living room. I have a photo of the living room, but the light was too odd to get the other rooms at the moment, so you will have to wait for those.

The house is really long, so all our rooms are set up such to allow flow through the whole thing. It is pretty calming and definitely a comfortable set up.

Ah… I hear the strident tones of a certain young man. Thanks to all who responded to my Bar Exam rant, I appreciate the thoughts and insight.

(Everything but the) Kitchen Sink Curry…

Conundrum. What does one make for dinner every night the month before moving? You know, that month when the last thing you want to do is go to Costco to stock up on three months worth of green beans, rice, cereal, and coffee?

I stood in my cupboard, which is far from bare, but somehow always seems to have nothing in it anyway, and attempted to decide. Pasta, nope, had that last night. Hmmm…. I have ground beef and garlic, okay, fry that up with some olive oil. What to add…. Oh look! Savory mushroom rice pilaf! Great! Get that cooking…. still not quite a meal….Voila! Dried shitake mushrooms! Boil some water and get those ready to add. Anything else? Well… here is some red wine, some dried cranberries, and some curry powder. Why not!

So yes, we are having what I call… (Everything but the) Kitchen Sink Curry. It is surprisingly tasty.

Oh, ask not for whom the baby cries….


The city of Domestis…

A place where comfort can be taken in scrubbing and sweeping, cooking and cleaning. A place where the effort placed in making a purse from yarn, or turning a dirty room into a clean paradise is valued.

I find it oddly suited to me of late. Hence the new handbag, the sparkling kitchen, and the bubbling pot of spaghetti sauce on the stove. None of these chores will save anyone, I will not have made a difference in the outer world at the end of today, but I will feel slightly more cheerful when I enter the room. I will be happier bundling my belongings into my new woolen handbag than I was into my new Target purse, even though the latter was significantly less costly. My family will eat a hot healthy meal tonight, and we will save on the expense of take out.

It seems intelligent to retreat into my home and try and make some sense out of it, especially since I can make no sense from recent events. (since, sense, events…. a bit poetic.) Maybe tomorrow I will make another baby blanket, or finish the quilting on the blanket I made a month ago. Maybe I will make a wallet to match the handbag… or maybe I will learn how to make an exotic dish.

There is no better healing balm, than domestic bliss.

The game’s a foot!!

Yesterday we felt a foot! Or was it is hand?

It was definitely an appendage of one form or the other, and Lee and I each got to feel it rest right under our hands. I almost felt it in my hand at first! It had edges and definition. He becomes more and more of a little person each day.

Monkey sings Otter a lullaby at night after I sing her one, and he kicks mightily away as she sings into my tummy. He is really going to know who is sister is when he comes into this world. She is so excited that she has really spent a lot of time talking and singing to him.

I am still nesting, the instinct growing stronger and changing form as we get closer to Delivery-Day. This week it is a scrapbook of artistic images of me and my belly to commemorate this pregnancy. I wanted something to remind me of what it looks like for me to be pregnant. It is a pretty neat project so far. I am having fun with my Photoshop elements program and my pictures. Most of them I will not post on the Internet, as they involve no clothing, and once you put naked pictures out there, out there they stay. However, this one is I feel is harmless enough.

I am trying to capture the sense of quiet peace that fills me from time to time. So much of pregnancy is hard, and so many of our culturally supported memories are the hard ones. Nausea, sleeplessness, cramping, feeling fat, etc. I wanted to create memories for myself that reminded me of peace, and beauty, the internal sense of fulfillment one gets when you’re growing a baby. That way, even though I more often look sleepy, or a little rumpled, or tired and grumpy, I will remember feeling beautiful and calm, and ready for baby.

It has been an interesting project. When Monkey was in my belly I had a cast done of my torso, but I have not gotten it from the artist, and recently found out he had passed, so it is unlikely that I will have that memory, in any form other than a memory.

Of course my mom took a ton of pictures of me while I was carrying with her, so it’s not as though I have no memories of that time, they just aren’t full on belly nudes.

I am also making curtains and designing a little book and doing all the other stuff that lends itself to a sense of readiness for baby. We have our first meeting with Ellen, who is our Doula for the grand day, this weekend, and our having our tour and birthing class the following weekend.

I am still anxious about delivery, and a little sad that this is my final time doing this. It is such a complicated thing, pregnancy, I can’t imagine signing up for a life of it, but I am sad to see this part of my life slip into the past. Sometimes I wish life’s experiences were less ambivalent.

The carpet strikes back…

The Carpet Strikes Back… a thank you… and more…

To begin with I would like to thank all of you for your outpouring of support in response to my last blog. I really feel loved and supported, which is more helpful than just about anything else! My absence from posting was due to a combination of the final chapter of the carpet saga and planning our wedding/honeymoon.

So, we were told at the end of last week that the icky, yucky, blucky carpets would be gone at the end of last week or the beginning of this week. Weeell, they came out today. Sadly, all of our stuff has been in the family room all week while we waited, and we had to sleep in the living room last night in order to insure the furniture was out of the rooms. (By the way, we will be finding an alternative bed for guests, our futon sucks!! I heartily apoligize to any friends who have already learned that. Sorry Luke!!)

But today the carpets were removed to uncover a decent, though heavily stained, wood floor. I have spent the better part of the day mopping, sweeping, and steam cleaning the wood. I have also removed little pokey things (staples and nails), and tiny remaining tufts of carpet that were stuck to the wall. The rooms look better. They do not look great but they are no longer covered by stinky, ugly, dirty, lavender carpet. (YAY!!) I am now completely spent.

Our landlord came by today to haul away the carpet. He missed some, of course. One of his biggest arguments in this carpet debate is that we have pets who will simply ruin any new carpet that comes in. Now our pets are good. The girls have occasional accidents, but given that we are fencing the backyard and I will be able to let them out whenever they need to go, there should be no issues here. My cat, Chloe, has never peed anywhere. That is until this morning, when she objected to the carpets remaining as long as they have by peeing on the one in the hallway. So the carpet removal crew informed my landlord that the carpet was wet, and he gave me a very triumphant look. I responded by stating the obvious. That pets, no matter how well trained, will spray when they encounter another pet’s urine smell, and that poor Chloe had restrained herself for over two weeks. Happily for me, the carpet removal crew agreed that it is nearly impossible to stop your pet from peeing on a carpet that is covered in a different animal’s scent. My landlord grudgingly agreed, but I am positive he expects my pets to ruin the carpet in the family room. Sigh.

I am settling in a little better, the challenges of the last two days have kept me from feeling quite so “desperate”. I vacillate between wanting to stay at home and wanting to work. I really would love to write an article for publication, or maybe even a book. I would love to do crafty stuff, and volunteer for some good environmental causes, learn to cook Indian food. I would also love to take on a new legal challenge or several, and earn some money after years of incurring a massive debt. It is really hard to figure out what I want to do.

Luckily, I have some time! Tonight I am making chicken curry for the first time ever! Off to counquer the kitchen! Thank you all for your helpful suggestions and love! I miss you!

Denver Girl, signing off!