Friday, September 24, 2010

The View From Here

When we lived in Iowa, Peyton's school was 20 minutes away from our house. I didn't mind the drive, because it was beautiful.

In the winter it was a steering-wheel-gripping adventure. We drove on icy roads:

See the tire tracks? If you didn't stay on those, you were extremely likely to go sliding around.

We drove under a train bridge:  

When there happened to be a train on it, Peyton and Ella would get so excited! No matter how cold it was, we'd have to roll down the windows and listen to it as we went under.

We drove past a snowpal family that lived on a roof:

I think that snowmen on the peak of a hard-to-reach roof is excellent proof that we lived in a college town.

And we drove down long roads surrounded by barren, wintery trees:

In the spring, the drive was bright and calming. 

We drove down long roads surrounded by lush, green trees:

Did you notice the last two pictures are the same road? In the spring, every time I would drive down this street, I would consciously take a deep, relaxing breath and admire this view.

And we also drove over not-so-rushing river bridges:

I loved that drive. I took pictures because I knew I would miss it. And I do.

Now that I'm in California, I drive two kids to two different schools.

Here's what I see when I drive to Ella's school:

And to Peyton's school:

You know, these views aren't too bad either.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Little Cabinet That Could

I have a little spot in my little apartment, between the kitchen and the dining room, that could easily fit a little shelf-type thing. And YOU KNOW I need to get as much storage space as possible out of this place. 

I think I was whining about that spot for a good 5 hours when my very, very sweet friend, Ali (who also happens to be my sister-in-law), gave in and generously gave me a piece of furniture from her very own furniture supply store that she calls her garage. 

Ali's awesome that way. 

It's a really cute piece, but it's open in the front. What I need is practical storage space, not Look-How-Fancy-I-Can-Display-My-Fancy-Stuff space. Besides, I don't have any fancy stuff.

See? Not fancy at all. 

(As a disclaimer, at this point I was still unloading the boxes into my apartment. I wasn't yet into the decorating/organizing phase of the big move.)

Ali's awesome in another way, too. She has the much larger version of this cabinet. She covered the front opening with fabric so she could use it to store all of her crafting supplies. I knew my little cabinet needed the same treatment. 

The mess inside that cabinet was driving me nuts. I had some extra fabric that used to be my basement window curtains (how I miss that basement!) and an extra 30 minutes on my hands, so I got down to business.


Glue Gun and Glue

Cut the fabric to fit the height of the cabinet door opening. Cut 2 pieces of ribbon to fit the width of the door opening. You want the fabric width match the length of the ribbon (the width of the door opening). You can cut the fabric to fit the door opening or you can make some folds in the fabric and iron them so they stay. I'm sure you could get all measury and perfecty on the folds if you wanted. I just folded where I thought the folds should go. This is the back side of my fabric:

Hot glue the front of the fabric along the door frame opening. I put my cabinet on its side to make it easier to glue.

Make sure you pull the length of the fabric really tight before you glue. Otherwise, if you are like me, when you stand the cabinet back up, the extra fabric will pull at the bottom and you'll have to pull it off and start gluing again. Depending on the heaviness of your fabric, you may want to hot glue in the folds as well. Then your folds will stay perfect forever and ever.

Hot glue the pieces of ribbon to the top and bottom of the fabric. This is just cosmetic. If you wanted to get really fancy, you could glue 2 more pieces to cover up the sides of the fabric. I ran out of brown ribbon, so I didn't.

Close it up. Admire the outer beauty.

Open it up. Fill it with stuff.

Admire the inner, organizational, functional beauty.

It's The Little Cabinet That Could (Hold Lots of Not-Fancy Stuff)!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Daily Affirmation for Tomorrow

If you give an Ella a piece of paper, she's probably going to ask you for a pen.  When you give her a pen, she'll probably ask you for some spelling tips.

Ella: Mommy, how do spell 'Tomorrow'?

Me: T-o-m-o-r-r-o-w.

Ella: Okay. How do you spell 'Fight'?

Me: F-i-g-h-t.

Ella: Okay. How do you spell . . .

And when you give her some spelling tips, it will probably go on like this until she finishes expressing herself with an inspirational poster.  And when she finishes her poster, she'll probably ask you for some tape.

And when you give her the tape, she's going to want to hang her kick-ass poster on your bathroom mirror.

Which you might very well take down after a couple of days so you can have it framed. Because, seriously, that's an amazing amount of awesomeness from a little four and a half year old girl. 

Thursday, September 2, 2010

To Do List in Pictures

I've been busy. We're unpacking boxes and organizing. We still have lots and lots of regular house stuff to put away. And then there are THE TOYS. Oh my dear Lord. 

The sheer amount of toys in this little apartment is kind of amazing. Awe inspiring, really. James had to make me promise not to bring in anymore boxes of toys (there are still 6 or 7 humongous boxes) from their temporary storage space in the garage until we've figured out what to do with the 15 tons of toys that are already in here. It's so cute, though. As we open each toy box, it's like Peyton and Ella are discovering their old toys all over again. Watching them play with their toys just makes me happy.

But our house is a disaster. Boxes everywhere. Stuff everywhere. Toys everywhere.

So yesterday I made my To Do List in pictures. And let me tell you, looking over the before and after pictures makes me feel really accomplished. I totally recommend it. Anyway...

Under the temporary work table in the master bedroom:



Done! (Except somehow Barbie's puppies' dog bones ended up there. They are so very little. Every time I see all 4 bones at once I do a little jig because I can't believe we haven't lost any yet. And Ella got them like 6 months ago. I know! It's amazing. It might be a tiny accomplishment, but an it's an important one - just ask Ella. She freakin' LOVES those bones.)

Master bedroom by the dresser:

Okay, that spot looks pretty much the same. But I did stack up a bunch of magazines that were underneath the chair. I have a lot of magazine reading to do. I kind of love this pile.

Dining room area:

Done! I love this little desk. Peyton and Ella have used it for years. It is the well-worn and well-loved little desk that could.

Dining room table:

Done! See all the scribble marks? This table is so old that when my kids scribble on it by accident it doesn't bother me. I think of it like seasoning a cast iron pan. They're kid-seasoning our table. When we get a new one, though, watch out! Rules will be made and followed! No seasoning!

There are coupons somewhere in this pile of newspapers:

Done! Cut and organized! Let the savings begin!

My sweet kids. Today they made the kinds of little messes that I love.

Ella created some cards for her Daddy:

Peyton created a battlefield on my computer and file cabinet:

That's better. Now my world is a little more tidy and a little more organized and a lot more like home.


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