Tuesday, March 31, 2009

My First Sprout!

Oh! I spied a rhubarb sprout today! Yahoo!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Spring Cleaning Report

I am thankful to report that we are finally done with Passover cleaning on the top floor.

To recap:

I painted the boy's bedroom and made them new curtains, Sissy vacuumed and organized the closet in that same bedroom that we use for a linen closet.

In Sissy's room we took down her curtains and washed them, washed the windows, walls and Sissy primed and painted her bathroom. Today her room got a good sweeping and vacuuming.

The bathroom got a scrub down and a new look for the medicine cabinet.

The big bedroom that no one is using right now (we call it the jumpy room) had all of it's jumpy mattresses stripped and the sheets washed. All of the ride on and climbing toys have been put away in hopes of more outside time and less indoor play. The room was picked up and vacuumed well. I did organize the closets and go through all of Mr. Right's clothes. He was able to get rid of a lot of things he doesn't wear.

The storage room was a huge disaster. This is the library/sewing room. Thankfully, Sissy took on one of the biggest monsters, the sewing area. She organized and cleaned it out. I went through the shelf that we keep gifts on (I try to buy at the sales so when the need arises we have something to give) and made room for another shelf for our chapter series books.

Today Macho Man got up on the ladder and dusted the top half of the hallway for us. Sissy and I washed wall and moldings. Sissy also washed the banister with it's many nooks and crannies. She swept the upstairs rooms again too.

To my surprise I found leaven in several places! Pretzels behind a night stand and dried homemade play dough stuck in cookie cutters were couple of the hideaways. Lots of dust and cobwebs are now gone. As much work as this through cleaning is, I feel good about having that floor 100% clean.

Tomorrow we will begin the downstairs cleaning. Eight days until Pesach!

Father of the Future

Sunday, March 29, 2009


Speed Racer and Girly Girl helped me to plant some pink Brandywine tomatoes, sweet pepper, Hardy Kiwi, huckleberries and rhubarb, all from seeds. We'll see about the last three, I've never seen anyone start them from seed but maybe we'll get something out of them?

Friday, March 27, 2009

$24.00 Shopping Trip

Hey! I am so excited about the deals I got today that I am blogging about it - even thought I said I'd never be that cheezy. Call me a coupon-a-holic if you will but it sure pays off. It's really hard to shop the deals right before Passover. There were cereal and milk deals, crackers and a ton of leavened things. I was thrilled to be able to stock up on all of these non-food items.

This load of stuff was from Safeway's buy 10 items get $5 off deal today (tons of coupons that go with these items out, and I would have used the Angel Soft tp as a filler but my store was out!) and Albertson's clearance bin. It was $24.oo for everything:

2 4 packs Duracell batteries
4 rolls Scotch Tape
3 packs Huggies baby wipes
6 bottles Albertson's dish detergent
1 bottle Lysol all purpose cleaner
2 bags M and M's
2 Dove deodorant
1 celery
2 Hall's cough drops
1 Electrosol tabs
2 bottles Electrosol automatic dish washing liquid
1 bottle Pomolive automatic dish washing liquid

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Garden Party

So, you know that I've totally put my life on hold for Passover preparations, right? Well, I've been procrastinating. I was upstairs today, doing a little of this and a little of that: priming the vanity in the bathroom Sissy is painting, hanging laundry, getting the work crew that lives under this roof to pick up miles of match box car tracks that are weaved all around the upstairs, things like that. Some of the worst rooms await my attention up there, one storage room in particular that I just don't want to face... all the while, I was thinking about those garden boxes just sitting outside. I knew that some of the seeds sleeping in their little packets could probably be planted now. So I snuck outside and went to work on that project.

Here are my three piles, compost, vermiculite and peat moss. Oh - Cheri - thanks for the advice, I did end up going with the back yard, which really isn't more than a narrow, graveled area that was used for parking by the former owner. I hope they do ok there, I'm leaving space for my Brandywine tomatoes at the most sunny edge of one of the boxes. Now that I really see how much I can plant, I am thinking of doing a couple of long, narrow boxes down the other side, as Lanita suggested, maybe 2x8's. I'd really like to buy some strawberry plants as I was reading about growing them last night. I think I could really make use of some of those this year!

Here is my side kick and constant companion, looking on from the stroller. She did not like this stroller imprisonment and was quite vocal about it.

Word must have gotten out that mom was outside because the children came out, one by one, first to watch and then to get in on the action until finally it became a group project.

My first hard worker. He was mixing with me.

Here they come....

We got all of the ingredients mixed and two and half boxes filled by lunch time.

Then, during nap time Macho Man and I put the grids on.

This afternoon I was able to plant my peas, cilantro, carrots and a four varieties of lettuce and spinach. I'm so excited, I hope to see little seedlings soon! I also fertilized all of the fruit trees (to which I hope to add to this year if I can find the room) and fed my blueberries their highly acidic azalea fertilizer to keep them happy.

Tomorrow. I will tackle the big rooms upstairs, tomorrow.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Square Foot Gardening

One of the things that we allocated some tax return money to is getting some garden boxes going at this house. It's not cheap to start out, but we were really blessed to used some recycled wood we found at ReStore. That place is GREAT, Mr. Right and I go a couple of times a month and always come out with something, really, for pennies on the dollar.

The other day I was hanging laundry out and got a little peak of my hard working honey from my laundry room window. I was so excited that he was working on my garden boxes!

We decided to start with 4 - 4 foot by 4 foot boxes.

I went to three different garden centers and farm stores on Sunday to find what I needed to start the boxes, according to Mel. I still only have half the vermiculite (that's the big bag in the top picture). I was sick to have to buy compost as my compost pile is still not doing anything. I've been faithfully turning it for weeks and.... nothing. I've had it going since last year and I really hoped it would be ready by now. While I was at the garden center I bought some "compost starter" that is pure nitrogen. I put the whole box in and added a bit more water. Maybe someday this stuff will decompose. But I digress.

Here are my finished boxes up against the side of the house. As soon as I have cardboard for the bottom, I will get them started. I'm struggling with exactly where to put them. The front yard where they will be much less attractive but have lots of sun or the more practical backyard where there will be less sun when the trees get all of their leaves?

I'll report back on that. Big Sissy was busy all day working on priming her bathroom as this is our second day preparing her bedroom for Passover, but I'll let you read about that over on her blog. I'm sure she'll be posting soon.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Birthday Blessings

Today was my thirty-fifth birthday.

Mr. Right and I went to Torah study as always, but my children stayed home. This is unusual, the boys always come. They wanted to stay home, I knew something was up.

When we got home, this sign was on the door. We were instructed to take an envelope that contained tickets for different events.
The house was decorated with balloons, streamers and birthday signs.

The table was set with birthday cups and plates...

and a big mint chocolate cake.

There were games: pop the balloon, pin the tale on the goat (the artist was frustrated with his picture, it was supposed to be donkey but he thought it looked like a goat!)
and musical chairs.

I was given several gifts.
The big one is from my brother-in-law, who is a real gift-giver. He bought me three candle sets and a sweet card. My eldest daughter made me a little pillow and embroidered "Happy Birthday Mom" and the Proverbs 31 verse, "And her children will rise up and call her blessed." I got cards and drawings from three of the children and Speed Racer made me a little heart out of pearler beads.
My husband gave me a video tape with an interview from all of the children and himself saying all of the things they loved about me. That was a very special gift, that I am sure I'll watch many more times. I liked it so much that I told him that's what I want every year!

What a wonderful and blessed birthday I've had.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Nap Time Make Over

Look what I did during nap time yesterday!
Remember that 100 year old medicine cabinet in my bathroom? I think the paint was 100 years old too.
Using the bottom of a can of primer/sealer,
my favorite paint brush,
(Side Note: If you haven't tried one of these angled paint brushes for your projects, go out and spend $10. They are great. Forget all of that blue painter's tape, the paint leaks through anyway and gives you an uneven line, especially if you are painting a dark color next to white trim like I'm always doing. With this type of paint brush, you can use the "cutting in" technique that I learned from a pro painting friend.) a little tiny can of mis-tinted sample paint,
and a roll of Contact Paper from Walmart, I got this project done in an hour.

First, priming. Then painting.
Add in a little contact paper on the wooden shelves....

and Viola!

I love the results. But, it does make it very obvious that the bathroom really needs a new coat of paint all around! And new shower curtain and.....

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Passover Cleaning Report

I working on my cleaning for Passover list. It's long! The other day I went up to do the boy's room. Which, from the outside looked clean. Then I moved the beds. Ha! Since I was up there, looking around, I decided that the time had come to get rid of the little purple flowers on the wallpaper and the lace curtains that had been hanging there since my daughter left the room over a year ago, had to go.

This is a picture of the room when we first looked at the house, before moving in. It pretty much looked the same up until now, you can't tell that there is purple flowered wallpaper to the right, but there is!

So I made some curtains out of a sheet I found in the closet and painted the room.
I wanted to paint it blue but was out voted by everyone, including my husband. So, now the boys have a brown bedroom with cute airplane curtains that, you have to admit, just beg for blue paint. The boys, on the other hand are begging to make it a cowboy bedroom (Creative Genius) or an army bedroom (Macho Man).

This is a view of their newly organized closet which is where all of my sheets and extra blankets are stored. (No dressers in the bedrooms - see this post for more on that) What do you think?

My list for today shows upstairs bathroom and supply closet. Doesn't sound too hard - but I hope to paint the inside of my hundred year old medicine cabinet and clean out the linen closet in the bathroom. Lots of dust will also be eradicated from the picture rails. I'd better get to it, I've procrastinated long enough!

Getting Rid of the Leaven

I'm trying to use up all of the leaven in my house before Passover... never knew I had so much! We have boxes of the stuff we need to eat in the breakfast nook. Boxes! We've been out of bread for quite some time so we have to get creative with the many bags of pasta and other stuff still there. I found this recipe to use up the boxes of Raisin Bran I had on hand - my husband loves this stuff, but apparently prefers not to eat it every day until the holy day. My children had these muffins for breakfast yesterday and today. They love them.

Raisin Bran muffins

1 box Raisin Bran (I used a 20 oz box)
3 cup sugar
5 cup flour
3 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. salt
1 cup oil
4 eggs
1 qt. buttermilk

Mix first five ingredients then add the rest. This makes a ton - 4 dozen, I think, so the batter can be stored in the fridge for up to six weeks. Bake in greased muffin tins for 20 minutes at 400.