Eat That Frog

Have you ever heard that saying? It basically means to tackle the job you dread the most first so the rest if your day goes more smoothly and you feel accomplished.
I have been keeping a list of things I want to do before we “shut up” the house for winter, and near the top if that list was resealing the bathtub.
I had literally put this job off as long as I could:

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So this morning I decided not to put off the job any longer.
With a trusty box cutter I removed all of the old grout, scraping as much as possible from the tub and tile:

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I had lots of little pieces of sealant all over the floor. Precisely a job little hands could help with:

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No, Clara, that’s not cheese!
::sigh::
Oh well. Moving along.
Then I filled the bathtub and used a caulking gun to shoot sealant along the gap between the tile and the tub. I used my favorite tools (my fingers) to spread, smooth out, and remove excess to get this:

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I left the tub full for about four hours before draining and cleaning it.
It felt amazing to accomplish this nasty little task today, and it honestly only took about 40 minutes!

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Not Everyone’s Favorite Teacher

I found out last week that my history teacher from high school lost a long battle with cancer. Another teacher asked former students to write a bit about her in order to put something together for her sons to know about her work and life as a high school history teacher. I wanted to share with you all what I wrote about her:
We were all warned about Dr Spiller’s class. Our predecessors told us her
class would be difficult and that we would be doing hours of homework for
her class every night.
The funny thing was, everything we had been warned about Dr Spiller’s class
turned out to be true. Her AP U.S. History II clad was challenging and
thought provoking, and many of us spent more time on homework for Dr
Spiller’s class than any other.
Looking back, I don’t remember my experience in her class negatively,
though. Instead, I remember her enthusiasm and dedication. I remember a
teacher so committed to giving her students a taste of college academia
while expectin them to live up to their full potential. Dr Spiller cared
about us in a way that not many do: she did not care about being every
student’a favorite teacher. Instead, she cared about showing every student
how much they could accomplish when they pushed themselves.
Dr Spilker was an asset to the high school and will be sorely missed. She
was essential to producing diligent, driven students who would succeed in
college and beyond.
RIP Dr Spiller. The students in heaven will love History Jeopardy!

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Taste of Summer

I refuse to believe it is September. Consequently, I also refuse to believe summer is over. It’s been 90 degrees all week.
This I why we are still making “ice cream” in our house after dinner. I wanted to share today’s conviction: Cherry Vanilla “Ice Cream”

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2 bananas, frozen
1/2 cup cherries, frozen
1/4-1/2 cup milk or nondairy milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Put all ingredients in a good processor or blender and blend until smooth. Serve immediately. (Serves about 3-4)

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Keeping out the Junk

Recently I was listening to a podcast on Focus on the Family with a woman called Sandra Felton.  She started an organization called Messies Anonymous.

I’ll admit, when I read the summary of the podcast, I almost didn’t press play.  It sounded a bit like a joke to me.  Is messiness that much of a problem that there needs to be support group?  Surely people can just get off their butts to clean their house instead of spending time meeting with and reading about their messiness problem.

Then Jesus told me to take a look around my house.

I am a messie.  And I am not anonymous.

In this affluent, first-world country, we have the problem of too much stuff.  Way too much stuff.  It can be difficult to weed through all of the “stuff” we accumulate in order to get rid of what we actually don’t need or will not use.

As I listened to this podcast, Felton talked about two different kinds of people in this world:  “cleanies” and “messies”.  After giving a short blurb of each, I quickly realized that both my husband and I fall into the “messie” category, though I have the internal voice of a “cleanie” (my mother).

What does this mean?

This means that neither my husband nor I are naturals at keeping things tidy.  We both tend to keep otherwise useless things for either sentimental value or possible future use.  We both are not in the habit of putting things away as soon as we’re done using them.  These small, seemingly insignificant habits mean that we can acquire a lot of junk very quickly.

In an effort to simplify our lives, we have continued to try to simplify our possessions.  Though we both still struggle with putting things away or throwing things away as soon as we’re finished with them, we are working on this habit.  We consult with the other when we feel there are items that would be best donated or thrown away instead of kept unused.

I recently cleaned out my half of the closet, removing all of the clothes I haven’t worn in a year or more, didn’t like the way it looked on me, or didn’t particularly like the style of.  I was shocked to find how little clothes I actually had left.  Importantly, though, everything I had left in my closet were things I loved and looked good on me.  Fortunately, my closet cleanout inspired my husband to do the same.  He too was left with much less clothing that he truly liked to wear.

Decluttering, cleaning out, and keeping organized are always struggles in our household and have been even well before we had children.  Though we are learning how to deal with this problem, I’m interested to hear how my readers take care of clutter.   What have you found that helps?

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Be Serious: Fun

Man.

I can’t believe I just typed that.

Let’s all just take a moment for the silliness that is that title.

Take fun serious.

Plan fun.

Yes!

Life can really suck you in.  With meetings, appointments, housework, caring for kids, and everything else, it can be hard to find the time to do something fun.  So I schedule in fun.

What kind of fun?

Date night, for example.  That’s fun for me.  And for my husband (I hope! haha).  And for my girls.  We get a date night every other week, and my sister-in-law watches the girls.  They get to hang out with their aunt, uncle, and cousin while my husband and I can spend some time alone.  It’s really a win-win situation.

But it wouldn’t happen regularly if it wasn’t scheduled.

Another piece of scheduled fun is a sane moment.

Oh a sane moment.

This is a glorious amount of time during which either my husband or I can be alone or with friends.  Without spouse or children.  My husband and I have found these are literally crucial to our sanity.  With a toddler and a preschooler, it can feel like someone is always demanding something or asking something of you.  Having a couple of hours a week without those demands can be lovely.  My husband often hangs out with friends for his sane moments, and I have been known to sit in Panera Bread drinking coffee and writing for hours.  We try to make these happen every week.  Sometimes it isn’t possible, but it’s a good goal to reach for.  Having even just 2-3 hours a week outside the home for each of us to be real adults can be so refreshing.

One last example of scheduled fun is girls’ movie night and toenails.

Another weird sounding night.  Sheesh.  I need to come up with better names.

Girls’ pampering movie night?

Yes, that sounds better.

On Saturday afternoons, once the girls get up from their nap, I have them pick a movie they’d like to watch.  We watch the movie, have copious (healthy-ish) snacks, and paint our toenails.  My husband works late on Saturdays, so this gives the girls and I some fun time together.  We usually have snacks first (popcorn, fruit, cheese, anything that isn’t too crumbly or crumby or messy), then I’ll have the girls sit on the floor on a blanket.  Madeline sits well for me to paint her toes and fingernails.  Clara is still working on it.  But the experience is fun nonetheless.  The girls love having “pretty toes”, and it’s a real treat to watch a movie.

I choose not to let my Saturdays get bogged down with projects and housework.  Instead I spend time enjoying and pampering my daughters.  And re-watching my favorite Disney films.  ;-)

Do you schedule fun into your week?  If so, how? And what kind of fun?

 

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