My number one rule for getting things done during pregnancy

via
via

It humors me slightly that I just wrote that title when I feel like I’m not getting anything done during this pregnancy. But in retrospect, that’s not exactly true; and feelings are never the best barometer of progress.

So in the interest of keeping things short for those who have a lot to do and not much time to do it, here it is.

My number one tip for getting things done during pregnancy is if you feel like doing something, do it!

I surely hope your world isn’t so small and fragile that it is now shattered. This is not rocket science, but it has been a huge help to me.

Case and point, in case you’re not quite tracking (I wouldn’t be either yet), every now and then I put the girls in bed and think, I’ve got twenty minutes until Paul comes home, I could clean a bathroom. If that thought even enters my mind, boom! I’m going to do it. Because honestly, the next time I have that time, or energy, or inclination… it could be in three weeks.

Disclaimer: I don’t always wait for a feeling to do something and I do try to clean the bathrooms more often than every three weeks.

That being said, energy really does come and go on a whim during pregnancy; if you’re motivated to do something go ahead and get it done.

Many times the next day I will think, I could not possibly do that right now! I’m so glad I did it when I thought about it. 

This can apply to housework, errands, doing something special with your kids, meals, just about anything.

Well, that probably didn’t change your life, but there’s enough awesome stuff out there that can do that, right?

What is your number one rule for getting things done during pregnancy?

Housekeeping and the Second Law of Thermodynamics

source
source

It’s only been about a year now since I’ve realized a very encouraging principle for a very discouraging reality.

We all know that certain jobs will never be done. Laundry, cooking, cleaning, etc. have to be done over and over. However, I used to get very discouraged when I would tackle a certain problem area to organize it or fix it or decorate it, only to notice a few weeks later that it’s condition was once again deteriorating.

But at some point it clicked, a lesson from some science class somewhere.

“Everything in the universe tends to disorder.” 

More correctly stated:

image

And a definition for the all-important word “entropy:”

image

And there you have it.

Though it feels so good to step back from a project or job and admire the order I see, at some little place in my head I need to remember that this space, too, is subject to the laws of the universe. It will become disorderly again without work and effort.

Sometimes I just walk through my house putting in back in order or cleaning something I had just cleaned the day before and think to myself, “Houses just take constant maintenance.” And not just the laundry, cooking and cleaning  -all of it. It’s no longer a reason for discouragement. Hopefully it’s an incentive to dive in and thoughtfully strive to bring order to this little place under my dominion.

Perhaps I’ve been thinking about this more because with being pregnant I have really seen how quickly things lose order when extra rest or downtime is needed.

Some of my New Year’s goals are aimed at organization and consistent maintenance of our little dwelling place. I am certainly not the best housekeeper in the world, but his is an area where I want to grow.

What about you?

I’ve read about every organization post I can find. = ) Now what I’m working on is taking all those ideas and making them work around here. Little by little, step by step.

source
source

Apartment Improv: coat closet and pantry

Hello everyone!

Today I’m going to talk about I guess what’s called a “homemaking hack”? What is that anyway? Well, I’m going to call it an apartment improv because I like how that sounds better. This will certainly not apply to everybody, but maybe it can be helpful to someone.

We love our apartment! When we moved in here, it felt like a mansion. However, there are some space challenges that you have to work with. I wish I was better at figuring it all out, but it’s a fun process.

One thing that has worked well for me is dividing the coat closet by the front door into a half closet, half pantry.

Disclaimer: these pictures are grainy. = \ I’m trying to shoot only in manual with my point-and-shoot; I thought these turned out pretty good as I’m also playing around with exposure and iso (whatever those are), but alas, on here they are just grainy. Good news, though! I found the manual this week and can maybe learn more in all my spare time. = )

Use your coat closet for a pantry as well.
Use your coat closet for a pantry as well.

Our kitchen is right across from this, and while there is plenty of space to keep dishes and such, there is no space for… food!

Keep food staples on a small wire shelf underneath coats in closet.
Keep food staples on a small wire shelf underneath coats in closet.

I have no idea where I got this little wire shelf, but it occurred to me one day that it would fit perfectly in our little coat closet.

Over-the-door hanging organizer, bought at Bed, Bath, and Beyond
Over-the-door hanging organizer, bought at Bed, Bath, and Beyond

Several months after that idea, I was gifted with a Bed, Bath and Beyond gift card and I knew just what to do with it. This hanging door organizer gives me even more storage! Granted, these are expensive for what you’re actually getting. But for what they do for you, I think it’s worth it. I was so excited after putting it up that I entertained the idea of getting one for every door in the house. = )

So there you have it. Our half closet, half pantry wonder space. That’s a little dramatic, I know.

half closet, half pantry

The basket on top holds placemats and cloth napkins for when I feel like using them.

half coat closet, half pantry

The middle keeps our coats, Awana vests, and tablecloths orderly. (I think the tablecloths wish they could go out as often as the coats.)

half coat closet, half pantry

The bottom holds typical pantry staples and random wonderful boxes of chocolate.

Over-the-door hanging organizer for food storage in coat closet

And the door holds every last thing it can. Not always neatly.

Works for us!

Half pantry, half coat closet

What solutions have you found, oh pantry orphans?

Recovering my dining room chairs

diy recovered dining room chairs
diy recovered dining room chairs

I may be a tad excited about these, because…

a. I am such a beginner and novice

b. I have never had things I made with my hands turn out that great

c. when I do try a DIY, it’s at best o-kay, but never quite there.

d. I really love doing stuff like this and have been hoping to improve as I work little by little

So.

For the time ever, I am completely happy with this project.

My pictures will not include tutorial instructions. Just because I did it once doesn’t qualify me to do that. = )

Here is the best tutorial I found.

And here is my favorite video.

****

My total cost was about $44.

Broken down it looks like this:

Foam: 17.99

Spray adhesive: 4.19

Batting: 10.19

Fabric: $13

Staple gun: borrowed *Thanks, C and C!* = )

It was actually less than that since I had coupons for money off the total purchase. All in all, it’s not bad to redo four chairs at about $10 per chair. Woohoo!

****

Here are my in the process pictures.

The fabric. I love it! In order to choose from the many fabrics and colors I love, I looked for blue and graphic. At most, these will last five years, so it seemed like a good time to go for something a little more fun.
The fabric. I love it! In order to choose from the many fabrics and colors I love, I looked for blue and graphic. At most, these will last five years, so it seemed like a good time to go for something a little more fun.
The chairs. This one is by far the best. They have served us well, but serving little kids had taken its toll.
The chairs. This one is by far the best. They have served us well, but serving little kids had taken its toll.
Tracing the shape of the particle board on the foam.
Tracing the shape of the particle board on the foam.
The foam has been attached to the particle board with spray adhesive, wrapped and stapled with batting.
The foam has been attached to the particle board with spray adhesive, wrapped and stapled with batting.
The first one is covered. Looking good!
The first one is covered. Looking good!
Waiting to be re-attached.
Waiting to be re-attached.
The easiest way to work on the bottom of the chair. And I didn't think of this for awhile. = /
The easiest way to work on the bottom of the chair. And I didn’t think of this for awhile. = /
They look... for real!
They look… for real!
Back in service. = )
Back in service. = )

If you’ve ever thought about trying this, I say go for it! I wanted to for at least a year.

It was pretty straightforward; definitely took some elbow grease on the removal part. The only thing that actually gave me trouble was re-filling the staple gun. = / By no fault of the equipment, I assure you.

I completed it in twenty-four hours with only six of those hours being actual work time. And there were two, three, or four kids with me most of that time.

Here are eleven things that I think might be helpful for those who have never done it before. Coming from someone who had never done it before. The tutorials don’t tell you everything.

1. Removing the old cover is the hardest part. Perhaps I didn’t have the right tools, but it was almost impossible for me to pull those staples out. I ended up using a screwdriver stuck in between the staples and just prying off the fabric, which did pull many of the staples as well. Between the screwdriver, scissors, and pliers, we got the job done.

2. It is worth it to remove the old. So many things I saw said just to leave it on and recover it, but that to me makes no sense. It’s old. It’s dirty. According to the experts the foam is only meant to last five years anyways, so it’s really worth it to just completely redo it.

3. Follow the steps exactly. I’m the type of person to skip steps that I don’t understand or see useful; however, because this was a major undertaking for me, I followed all the steps. And it turned out the best! Amazing.

4. Cut costs only in ways that will not hinder the quality of the product. From no.3, I saw no point in using spray adhesive. It was just one more six dollar something to buy. But on this end, I get it! And I have it in my supplies now for future projects. I bought my other items over a few weeks time trying to wisely use my Joann’s coupons. This helped a lot. If I had bought a non-decorator type fabric to be more cost-effective like I was tempted to, it would have been bad. By the way, I only do projects like this every couple of months, but it is so worth to get the Joann’s emails and coupons. I highly recommend it!

5. Don’t be afraid to ask questions at your local craft or fabric store. Most of this I had never done or even heard of before. I had to ask about foam, fabric, nails, and batting. And my friend had to figure out how much fabric I would need. I’m sure there will be more questions on the next time around, but I’m learning little by little. It would have been a disaster if I tried to figure it all out on my own.

6. Regarding cutting the foam: I didn’t think cutting high density two-inch foam would be hard, but I should have. Someone online suggested that turkey carvers work really well??? But seeing as I was fresh out of my turkey carver supply, my scissors had to do. What I found was that cutting only about an inch deep on the first cut, and then on the second cut cutting the rest of the way through worked fine. It just took a little longer than I expected.

7. The fact that I couldn’t perfectly straighten my batting while stapling it on worried me that the wrinkles would show through in the finished product, but they did not.

8. Everything I read said to keep it really tight when stapling the fabric so I did it as tight as I possibly could, making the staples about a half inch to an inch apart.

9. The corners you just kind of have to figure out for yourself, but I was happy with how mine turned out.

10. Backing up, when I cut the fabric, I put it all down on the table making sure it was the direction I wanted the pattern facing. Then I put all the pieces down and cut one by one to make sure it was all the same.

11. Last but not least, I need to Scotch Guard these! Especially with kids, Everything has been great so far, but I can hear the clock ticking…

****

We’ve been so happy with these! My husband may or may not have said, “Wow, baby, those look better than I ever expected them to.” = ) It’s okay. They look better than I expected them to as well.

Yay for projects!

*linked up at Thrifty Decor Chick*

The Idealistic Homeschooler

Idealistic homeschooling... for two weeks
Idealistic homeschooling…. for two weeks

I have a dream. It goes something like this:

I wake up early; have some quiet time to myself; exercise; and get completely ready. At this point (hopefully @7:30) I go in and wake up my children. Did I say their clothes were already out and waiting for them? They wake up, get dressed, make their beds, and come to me so I can fix their hair. We eat breakfast and clean it up. School commences at promptly anytime earlier than what it has been. Oh wait, I’m being idealisitc; school starts at 8:45. When school is done, we make sure everything is tidy from that and then go outside to exercise and play for an hour.

In case you don’t know this about me, what I just described is nothing like how our weekdays go.

But I have this idea.

Starting Monday, we have officially two full weeks of school until Christmas break. What if I just try to live my “ideal” for two weeks? Only two weeks! Can it really be that hard? And if it is…can’t I stick it out for just two weeks?

Now, in my defense, the last three weeks have been crazy and unusual. There is no way that we could have or should have tried or expected something like this to happen due to all that was happening.

Why do I even want to try this?

I know that change is better done gradually; I know have to be realistic about my life expectations with four little kids; I know the whole thing could be a colossal failure on day 2.

But it just occurred to me that I have this two-week window coming off of a very relaxing holiday break; and it might be a fun time to try.

I’m hoping for a couple of things:

1. To realize that some ideals are maybe more livable than we think if we just give it a chance. Sometimes it’s too easy to just trudge along and never actually try for anything better.

2. To get over my fear of waking my children up earlier, thinking that they won’t get enough sleep.

3. To force myself to get up earlier for the purpose of prayer and exercise, and to therefore go to bed earlier. (because if this girl doesn’t get enough sleep, she’s not gettin’ up; AND, we’ve been starting to do a lot better at this already!)

4. To bring some more structure to our homeschool routine.

5. To make more time for extra homeschool things with Hope and other activities/learning times for the little girls.

What do you think?

I just spent almost two hours cleaning up our homeschool space, organizing, and in general trying to prepare the house for a fresh start tomorrow.

And the whole point of hitting “publish” now is to make it a point of no return.

Don’t expect updates; hopefully, I’ll be in bed.

Completely unrelated: we got our Christmas tree tonight!!!!! Mmmmm…. the smell of Christmas tree could inspire me to do just about anything.

****A slight, but important amendment! I will post about how it’s going, but just on the facebook page to be faster. If you haven’t liked the facebook page, do it here so you can keep up!

The burlap wreath

It's about time I made a burlap wreath after pinning so many.
It’s about time I made a burlap wreath after pinning so many.

I finished my first wreath ever. And I love it dearly.

This is not meant to be a tutorial, but a “Yippee! Look at this, Mom, Grandma, sister, and anyone else who cares!”

I expected this project to take a while, but it didn’t at all. Two nights. Could have been one long one if I’d wanted.

At this point, I was sure it would take hours.
At this point, I was sure it would take hours.

Total cost was less than ten dollars. I used an 18″ four-ring (?) wire wreath form, three yards of burlap, two pieces of felt, and some leftover fabric from these pillows.

I love burlap.
I love burlap.

Above is my first shot of the project. Burlap makes quite a mess, but I didn’t mind. It was so relaxing to just sit there cutting up strips of burlap and listening to classical music. I wasn’t quite sure if I was supposed to tie the strips once or twice around the wire, but twice sounded like way too much effort so I went with one and was happy.

halfway done
Halfway done and sitting across from my handsome and studious seminary husband. = ) Happy night.

Back in December, I tried felt flowers for the first time and was pleasantly surprised at how easy they were. It didn’t take long to make these, and I only used the kind that I liked the best.

Love felt flowers. Especially since they're easy enough for me to do.
Love felt flowers. Especially since they’re easy enough for me to do.

Actually, the only mildly creative part of this whole thing was using the leftover fabric to make a flower. I really loved the fabric and thought the colors would go nice with the felt so I went for it. It worked just fine, I didn’t change anything from what I did with the felt.

And did I say how much I love it?

I’m not going to add links to other tutorials for the burlap wreath or felt flowers because I didn’t use any specific one and didn’t find any of them especially helpful. I normally find that just searching through several pinterest links will give you a good idea of what you need to do.

Thanks for letting me share my first wreath!!

Linked to the Inspired Room fall party

cleaning my diy chalkboard

So proud of this baby!
So proud of this baby!

After two solid weeks of use in school, our chalkboard was quite ready to be cleaned.

I will not be posting anything about making the chalkboard because there are so many out there already. However, when I googled how to clean a diy chalkboard, it was a little sketchy.

Hence, my sharing how I cleaned my diy chalkboard. This chalkboard is just wood from Lowe’s painted in three coats with chalkboard paint. I’m happy to say that this cleaning method did not chip or damage the paint in any way.

The best tip I could find was to use warm water and vinegar so I decided to try it.

I filled up the sink with warm water and poured in some vinegar. They suggested using a bucket, but buckets always manage to be filled with junk at my house, so the sink is a much faster option. = )

Previously, I used a dry rag to completely erase the board and then went over it again with the magic eraser (which I have been using to erase it).

After this, the water and vinegar on a rag cleaned it beautifully. Just once over and it was done.

Spotless.

That’s all.

The end.

Have a lovely day!

And now you can see why it occasionally needs cleaned. = )
And now you can see why it occasionally needs cleaned. = )