Sunday, August 15, 2010

Instant Streaming Netflix is Evil

I don't really have any good excuse for why I haven't been blogging. I have gotten things done off my list and I did start my new job and I have been really busy. But, truth be told... I've been spending all of my free time and a good chunk of time that should have been spent taking care of things around the house... watching all three seasons of Veronica Mars on instant streaming Netflix. That's right... the UPN channel's hit show about a teenage detective. I'd say I'm ashamed to admit it, but really, I'm not. I thought it was a great show! The problem? I have ZERO willpower when it comes to turning off the television if the next episode is readily available for me to watch! I mean, if every single show ends in a cliff hanger, and all I have to do is select to 'watch next episode' to see how it turns out, then how can I NOT watch just one more? (and then one more... and then one more) It's a vicious cycle! I have the same exact problem with books... which is why I hardly ever read. I LOVE reading, but if it's a really good book (or God forbid... a SERIES...) then I can't do anything BUT finish reading. I forget that anything else exists in my life. It's bad. I'm pretty sure I get this personality trait from my Mom. Actually, I know I do.

Ah... so... thankfully I've made it through all three seasons and can finally take my life back! No joke! My house is cleaner since I wrapped up that series, I've stayed more on task and I've spent more time with my husband. I've also instructed him NOT to get me hooked on any more series of shows on Netflix. I am a person who NEEDS to stay within the confines of normal television ... where I can watch a show one week, and (gasp!) have to wait a whole week to watch the next episode! ha ha!

Moving on.... I decided not to have a daily resolution for the month of August. Why set myself up to fail? There was just no way I could take on anything daily this month. So instead, this month is going to focus on my future sister-in laws' wedding shower tasks, yard work, and debt. I'm moving right along on the shower projects. I have to... considering the shower is next weekend! I'm going to do a post when it's over about all the little projects on my list (including making the favors, which I did tonight... check!)

The other day I weeded the yard... so that is one yard work item down! Yaye! Tomorrow I'm going to work on cleaning up the back yard. We have had some CRAZY thunderstorms this summer! Like... almost every other day! Our yard is a mess with small tree limbs down everywhere, camping chairs blown over and half way across the yard, etc. Not to mention the whole yard is like a swamp with all the rain we've been getting! But, we have family and friends coming in to town several weekends in a row and we're hosting a little cook out here at the house for Andy's second birthday. I definitely want the yard cleaned up before all that, so I figure I'd better start soon.

And last, but certainly not least.... I called Shark about my stick vacuum battery. Let me start by saying that I have hardwood floors throughout the whole downstairs of my house and I am in love with my Shark steam mop. I used to use a Swiffer Wet Jet, but it always left a film on the floors, not to mention the EXPENSE of buying the pads and the solution. I eventually bought a steam mop and never looked back. Then I bought a Shark cordless stick vacuum. It had enough power to get through the whole downstairs and I didn't have to mess with a cord. I really truly did heart Shark. Then my re-chargeable battery started to last shorter and shorter and shorter amounts of time, until most recently I only get about 30 seconds of good power out of it. I've only had my stick vac for about six months, so I called Shark. Guess what? It turns out that the battery is the only part NOT under warranty! Huh! Imagine that! But, wait, what's that you say?! I can BUY a replacement battery?! Awesome! How much? Oh, FORTY DOLLARS???!!! Really? FORTY DOLLARS???!!! Hmmmm.... let me think that over... the whole vacuum costs $60 and if I buy it at Bed, Bath & Beyond with a 20% off coupon, it's only $52... but you want me to pay FORTY DOLLARS for a battery???!!! That's okay, I'll look around and find the battery from somewhere else. Oh, wait, what's that?? YOU are the only ones that sell it? FANTASTIC! Then, instead of buying a FORTY DOLLAR battery, I will now be buying a $30 Dirt Devil stick vac that plugs in ... because, honestly, is moving the plug THAT big of a deal??!! It just so happens that it's NOT! This new stick vac also has a gazillion times more suction and guess what... I don't have to charge it. So, thanks, Shark for making such a quality product. I still heart my steam mop, but I'm super disappointed in the $52 I wasted for 6 months of use from your vacuum.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

July Wrap Up... Five Days Late

Well, this is officially the most behind I've been at the start of a month. I feel like I'm going to do much better keeping up with things in August than I did in July. I think I'm over my half way through the year hump. I'm getting back on track. Although, I have to say, I can waste time like nobody's business! I have to get better about that. Here's the thing... and I know you are going to read this and think...uhhh DUH!!!!... but the more disorganized I am, the more time I waste. That seems SOOOOO simple, right? So, if I was actually let's say... more organized then it would take me less time to get things done and then I would ACTUALLY HAVE more time to "waste" online or watching TV or reading a magazine... big sigh... if I could only get my act together...

Seriously though, I'm going to put more of an effort into the organizational thing this month. (my husband is totally reading this and thinking ya RIGHT! right about now... aren't you honey!) But really, I am. I need to be. In addition to taking care of Andy all day (which becomes increasingly more FUN and FRUSTRATING everyday as we approach the big TWO YEARS OLD), my Thirty~One business is starting to take off... AND... I got a job! Yeah! BIG YEAH!! Remember at the beginning of July when it was on my list to apply to five jobs? Well, it paid off... and the best part??!!! I didn't have to settle for something I didn't want to do. I got the exact job I wanted... the job I was waiting to open... and on Saturday I start work back at the same place I landed my very first job out of college... ten years ago! Yes... my life is already coming full circle and I'm only 32. Ha ha! Seriously though, it's the perfect schedule for me, it's the perfect mix of job duties, and since several of my old co-workers still work there, and many new friends, I already know I'll fit right in. It's the place I met my husband ten years ago... so it will always be special. And now I'll have one to two shifts per week... only nights and weekends, so I can still stay home with Andy, but not have EVERY night or weekend away from Matt. I'm really excited to start. Tonight I finished filling out the 10 pages of pre-employment paperwork to take to my orientation tomorrow.... so that is getting crossed off the list.... although what I should have put on the list was keeping Andy entertained for 45 minutes in the waiting room while waiting for my drug test a few days ago... THAT was an accomplishment! Ha!

Okay, what else did I do? I set up an appointment for a tree removal company to go give me a quote on removing some branches that are overhanging the roof of our rental house in North Carolina. I actually already did do this about a month ago. I called three companies... no one ever called back with a quote. So, this time I got a recommendation from a friend of a friend and I think these guys will actually show up... let's hope... in the mean time I'm knocking on wood that branches don't crash down on our roof in a storm... because that would totally be something that would happen to that house!

I also returned two Netflix movies that we have had out for almost two months. The only problem? I forgot to update our cue, so two new movies we didn't really want are headed our way. I'll have to get a quick turn around on those so that we can get the ones we really want in.

I also finally framed a 12x12 picture of Andy and me from his six month photo shoot.... yes... as in a YEAR AND A HALF ago. It turns out that 12x12 frames (or frames matted to 12x12) are hard to come by. Couldn't find any at the big box retailers... not going to pay for custom framing... looked at ordering online but didn't want to pay the high price plus shipping... Enter a very ill advised stop at Ikea on our way back from camping last weekend... You know when you know a decision is a really bad idea, but you do it anyway? Like when your kid hasn't napped in three days, has spent some part of three days in a row strapped in the car seat of his car and is SUPER over tired and has TONS of pent up energy... and it's a rainy Saturday... and it's IKEA... but you think, Sure! Let's stop! He'll be FINE for like 45 minutes in a cart! Ummmmm.... try ZERO minutes! So, we tried opening a package of $2 stacking cups for him to play with, he wanted no part of it. After 10 minutes, we realized that yes, we were those parents, and cut our losses. Matt took Andy to the back of the building to run around in the empty parking lot in the rain while I walked approximately 2 miles through the ENTIRE store to get to the check out line to pay for the stupid $2 stacking cups... when something stopped me in my tracks!

Ah ha!!!!!!!!!!! All is not lost after all!!!!! A frame. Matted to 12x12. For only $19!!!!! Whoo hoo! Who cares that it's black/brown and not black! Not me! Yaye!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! But seriously, with the black and white photo, the frame really looked brown... so, no biggie, I spray painted it black... and... viola!

Now my biggest issue with this picture is deciding where to hang it! Hmmmmm..... And LAST... but not LEAST... uggghhhh this month felt like it would never ever end... I made a chore chart. I think we'll eventually upgrade to a bigger dry erase board, but we already had this one... who knows for what... but we did. So, I used it.

Chores are on the left separated by day and by "C" and "M" (for Colleen and Matt) and then basic stuff is plugged in on the calendar to the right. We'll see if we can make any sort of effort to stick to it. If we do it 70% of the time, that would still be an improvement over how often things get done now, so I like our odds.

Goodbye July! Welcome August! Month of my future sister in-law's shower AND bachelorette party weekend... my FIVE YEAR wedding anniversary... and my not-a-baby-anymore's TWO year birthday! It will be a good month... I can feel it. If I could only get organized!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Planning Sessions

This past month I tried out something new. Every week, on either Sunday or Monday, I spent some time planning my week. I clipped coupons, planned grocery lists and meals and thought about errands that needed to be run. I felt a little more centered and a little more organized doing this. I think that I'm going to try and make it a habit.

I had felt pretty scatter brained by not planning out my weeks. I felt like I was running errands almost every day (I still do feel this way... although I'm improving). Errands that could definitely be combined with just the smallest amount of planning. I know I'm wasting gas, and wasting time. The other issue that this causes is that I'm dragging Andy with me to run errands. He usually does fine, but what two year old wants to spend 3-4 mornings a week running errands? It was just so easy when he was a baby to take him with me while he napped in his infant car seat. I guess that two years later I just haven't gotten out of that habit.

Well, I'm working on it now. Better late than never I guess... right? One of the other problems I seem to have is thinking of things to do with him during the day. It was a little easier in the spring, because we just played outside a lot, but now... it's SOOOOOOOOOOO SO SO SO hot and humid out. He doesn't even want to be outside! So, a lot of the time, when I can't think of something to do, it's easier to think of an errand I need to run. Sigh. I know that's not really good, but I suspect I'm not the only person out there like this. So, I spent some time finding fun activities to do with a two year old online and I printed them all out. I'm going to put them in a binder and flip through it when I have my weekly planning sessions. As long as I am better planning my shopping and running errands, I need to start planning activities to do with Andy in the mornings.

I know it will get a little easier in the fall when the weather cools down, but since we aren't ready to send him to any kind of pre-school yet, I want to make sure I'm providing a good environment for learning AND having fun! :-)

How To Organize Earrings

I don't know about you, but I have a really hard time keeping my earrings organized. I have little square compartments in my jewelry box for earrings, but they are all taken up with the studs. Any long earrings seem to be ALL over the place! So, the other day, I worked on a little solution to this problem. Actually putting this together took all of 10 minutes... if that! It took me more time to collect the things I would need for this project!

First, I purchased this old picture at Goodwill for $1.80. I picked it because I liked the look of the frame and didn't feel like I had to alter it in any way.

Then I stopped at Lowe's and picked up a roll of window screen for around $4. When I got home, I took the glass and the picture and mat out of the frame. Then I cut a piece of screen to fit the back of the frame and I used a staple gun to secure it to the back. I hung it up in my closet above my jewelry box, and hung all of my earrings on it!

I love the way it turned out!!!! The rest of my jewelry was also a mess....

So, I straightened everything up and now it looks much nicer. I use two velor covered neck tie hangers that I found at Walmart to hang my necklaces from. It works out well for me.

Now, all that I have left to add is a small mirror on the adjacent wall so that I don't have to carry various necklaces and earrings into the bathroom to try on with an outfit. They usually get left in the bathroom and not put away, so it would be nice to be able to try things on right in my closet!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Getting Out Of A Slump

So, it's probably been pretty obvious by my lack of blogging lately that I've been in a little bit of a slump. I know I blogged a little bit about it during July, but honestly, I feel like I'm just now starting to come out of it. Going on a little one night camping trip to the mountains with Matt and Andy definitely helped. I'm hoping we can do that more often! I still can't really pin point what has been causing me to feel this way, so that makes me think that maybe it's just a whole bunch of different things. I kind of just took a mental break for most of the month of July. I stopped letting things stress me out and I stopped keeping up with things I normally take care of. I had absolutely no motivation. For anything. Well, now, the not keeping up with things is starting to stress me out. I'm feeling ready to get back to my normal pace. I probably won't get my August list up until Wednesday, but that's okay.

I've realized over the past month that I actually feel worse when I don't hold myself accountable for getting things done, and then that makes me feel less motivated, and then I feel worse... and it's just a vicious cycle. I've been starting to remember why I started this list in the first place. It's to make me feel LESS stressed by actually getting things done. Although it's been nice to lay on the couch with my husband at night watching back to back episodes of old shows on Netflix... I'm realizing that I can't do that every night! I think I'm starting to find a balance between getting things done on my list, and keeping up with the day to day... or at least I hope so!

Okay... SOOOOO... what have I accomplished during my little blogging hiatus? Well, let's see... (and PLEASE ignore the really terrible photos... I left my camera on vacation and had to take all of these with my cell phone!!! Uggggghhhhh!)

First of all, I got the hall closet finished up. Back in April, my husband created a little storage area under the stairs in our house. It's where I am keeping all of our Christmas containers. We haven't done anything to the closet since. It's a pretty deep closet, and the coat rack used to be at the back of the closet. We had to take it down when we put in the door to the storage area, but also, it just wasn't that practical. We decided to install a coat rod closer to the front of the closet instead. This puts our coats within reach, and still leaves storage space behind them. I'm using that space to store our vacuum and carpet cleaner.

I also put an old hanging shoe holder that I had previously thought was destined to go to Goodwill, on the inside of the closet door. This way we can keep our "everyday" shoes neatly organized instead of piled in a heap on the closet floor.

All in all, I'm much happier with this closet now!!!! Okay, project number 2... touch up painting Andy's room. Andy decided to nap one day with two painted wooden blocks from this shape sorting box that was my husband's when he was a toddler. I didn't think anything of it until I went to get him up from his nap and saw that he'd used the red and green blocks to "color" his wall!!!! And of course his room is still the flat paint that our whole house was painted, so.... I couldn't wipe it off.

It stayed like this for a few months.

Finally, yesterday I bought a mini roller and paint tray and took some of the wall paint and got the whole thing touched up... then I spent a good 30 minutes going around the rest of the house and touching up the walls that still have that beige flat paint. I am beginning to think that I should really do that every couple of months!

I also refinished two bedside table lamps that I have had for five years. They were perfectly nice looking brushed nickle lamps.... but I wanted them to be more of an oil rubbed bronze finish so that I could use them in our master bedroom.

Nothing that a can of spray paint won't fix!

I haven't decided yet what to do for lamp shades because I haven't found any bedding for our bedroom that 1) I like and 2) can afford... sigh... so that is on hold!

Also in our master bedroom we FINALLY installed a ceiling fan!!!!! This is also our overhead light... our ONLY light. Yes, we lived in our house for THIRTEEN MONTHS with no light in our master bedroom. So, finally, yesterday I splurged and bought the ceiling fan that I had my eye on at Lowe's. After some mild frustration, Matt got it installed! Hooray! And the best part??!! Tonight when I was back at Lowe's for some black spray paint, I noticed the SAME FAN was on clearance for $30 less! So I brought my receipt to customer service, and now have $38.30 (with tax) back in my wallet! Whoo hoo!

Over the course of the month I've been stock piling things to get rid of. Yesterday I removed thirty items from our house. Taking a cue from 365 Days of Decluttering Challenge, I decided that it would be pretty easy to get rid of thirty things. The following have left (or are leaving) my house:

Pair of curtains
Thermal lunch box
Package of underwear (the wrong size)
One pair of men's dress pants
Eleven men's t-shirts
Tea pot
Bathroom light fixture
Four glass canisters
Outdoor baby swing
Baby gate
Cardboard guitar box
One men's dress shirt
Five tools

Other than the tools (which are going to my brother) and the cardboard box (which is going in the trash), and one of the glass canisters (which I dropped and smashed on the front porch) everything went to Goodwill.

Okay, I'm almost done... on Tuesday night I started crocheting a baby blanket for my friend Heather. She's due with her second child, a little girl, in September. I'm DETERMINED to a) finish this and b) not screw it up. Even though I go to our weekly Stitch n' Bitch group, I'm not what you would call, good at crocheting! I tried to make a baby blanket once before, but it ended up looking like a trapezoid... no kidding. Then another time, we were making "friendship scarfs"... each person adds a section to everyones scarf in their own yarn and pattern.... well, I added my section in the wrong direction to my friend Amy's scarf. We decided it could be made into a pocket.... because seriously... how practical is a pocket on a scarf?? Right??!!

The only thing I've made successfully is a dish cloth. I've actually made three. So, my friend Megan, who is an uhhhhh-mazing knitter and crocheter is teaching me a pattern for a blanket that she swears I can do... we shall seeeeeee-eeeeee.....

And last, but not least (for this post anyway), I mailed the bridal shower invitations for my future sister-in-law's shower in (yikes!) THREE weeks!!! This was a challenge in and of itself because for the past three times that I've gone to the post office, my wonderful, sweet, loving, adorable child has pitched some kind of fit... for no apparent reason. THIS TIME, I was prepared! I'm totally not above bribing. I went to Walmart and bought a package of Goldfish (his favorite... but he hasn't had them in about a month) and I let him eat right out of the package (gasp!) while he was in the stroller. THEN... I gave him a juice box. Forget the sippy cup! Straight juice ... not watered down... out of a REAL straw!!!! That kept him quiet long enough for me to buy 3 books of stamps and stamp all the envelopes... and get the heck out of there!

Whew! Are you still reading? Probably not! This was ridiculously long! I promise to get better about posting! I am, after all, coming out of my slump!