Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A great DIY thing to learn

Disclaimer: I'm not a professional at cutting hair. 
But I don't think my boys' hair is obviously "home cut", either.  Anyone with more than one boy (who we all know grow at astounding speed), or a hubby (who has neither the time or expense for monthly cuts) could do themselves a favor and save a fortune by buying a clipper kit and get started teaching themselves how to cut hair while their boys are relatively young and non-judgmental about their hair.
Of course, that doesn't mean that a certain aunt won't make comments; the handsome one on the top has been accused of having  "chili bowl" hair.  Or that your neighbors won't think they live near the Beverly Hillbillies when you are out on the back patio cutting hair when they drop on by.  But think about this: even with a coupon you're gonna spend $10 a head every 6 weeks.  Multiplied by my three (and I used to cut four of them) that's about $260 a year and that doesn't include the tip. Buy the clipper, and you've saved enough already to put a dent in the back to school clothes.  Think about it!
And, by the way, I think they all look very nice! 
Good job, Rustown Mom.



 I linked this post to:

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

All coming together...

I feel like I have worked on this bathroom for 2 weeks
..oh, wait. I have worked on it for two weeks!
Let's pause for reflection on the ugly star wallpaper.  Dirty. Stained. Ugly.
(I repeat myself sometimes.)
With an incredibly awful hunting theme/family crest border at the top. And I hate that light fixture - it's rusted and so boxy.  We've been here almost 13 years...I procrastinated a bit. My trusty sidekick helped me strip the wallpaper in about 2 hours!
The new wall color will be very much like the color of the hand towel you see hanging.  Yes, I removed the towel ring.  We are going with brushed nickel accents and I got a similar light fixture, but it's brushed nickel as well and just looks new and pretty.  Plus, it was inexpensive.  I'm trying not to break the bank on this bathroom, I just want it to be spiffed up.
I used both a  brush and a roller to apply the joint compound and just played with the consistency and texture until I got something I thought was reasonable.  My plan is now to re-paint the ceiling overhead, give the walls two coats of "Summer Rye", add a vase of eucalyptus, add a new rug, and some wall art.   I also got some dark green hand towels for 70% off today at Kohl's.  They don't match perfectly. That's OK.
Hello, yellow!!
I looked everywhere for 25 watters for the light fixture - it was so darn bright you could do surgery in there!
The cute ceramic birdy and vase were $2 each.  I bought inexpensive frames and printed my own photos to put in them, so each was $6.  I might add more brushed nickel outlet and switch covers;
saw them today at Home Depot when I got the bulbs and a matching hook for next to the linen closet. So now, all I have left to add is a rug, and maybe a cute cup for the boy's toothbrush supplies.
A frame around the mirror would be nice, too!
I like it, the kids like it...the color might take some getting used to,
but what's life without a little color?


Monday, March 29, 2010

The name is Mrs. Bunny!

Rustown Art

Once upon a time, even up to about age 30 for me, my mother made me an Easter 'basket' every year. It always had a note attached saying 'Love, E. Bunny". (She knew she wasn't fooling anyone)  It had loads of Russell Stover candy (considered the best by her) and other trinkets such as earrings, nail polish, cute fuzzy chickies you use in crafts, etc.  One year after I'd left home, I spent Easter in Houston with my mother and sister, Melissa.  In my basket was a lapel pin, featuring Snoopy wearing bunny ears and carrying a basket.  I was 21ish.  And I wore it to church on the neckline of my very nice skirt and top combo!  Easter is such a nice holiday - everything about it makes you feel good...My mother still sends me Easter treats - usually marked "for you, only" and of course, I share them with my dear ones.  But I also make baskets for each of my kids, and I probably will for years to come, filled with candy in plastic eggs.  And I will sign the card "Love, E. Bunny".  And hope that they incorporate that little tradition into their own families.



Friday, March 26, 2010

Out of gas...

That's what I am.
Maybe I got a little carried away this week.
But, I think it's therapeutic to stay busy and creative. But I also love a clean home. 
With home cooked dinner every night. 
I'll still get up in the mornings to make sure the boys get breakfast.  I'll make lunches for them and hubby, and an extra pot of coffee so hubby will be able to fill his travel mug before he leaves.  I want the dishwasher unloaded and reloaded, the trash and recyclables taken out, my bed made and room straightened.  
The bathroom tidy-ed up. 
The chores are important for they make order from chaos, and it can sometimes feel chaotic here...I don't know why women think they can't have all that.  Why not have both?  On the same day, even? And still sit and have dinner with family?  And visit the library?  And watch a movie?
And go to Sonic for a "happy hour" soda?
As for our summer schedule - we will definitely pack a lot into those days...but we will still have a clean house, clean laundry, and good meals - I guarantee it.
So, yes I get tired, but a good kind of tired.  I do my best to create a clean, pretty nest for all my chickies, (and for their parents, too!)  And I can focus on the weekend at work, knowing that,
at home,
all is in order.



Thursday, March 25, 2010

My new love...

Years ago...in fact the night before we got married, I enjoyed Chicken Picatta at Green Pastures.  It was the dinner following the rehearsal for our wedding.  Mark's mother, Marie, basically sent me the menu, asked me to pick out the entree I liked, then she did the rest of the work!  It was such a beautiful place and a great evening, too.  My oldest brother was there, Mark's sister and family, his aunts, my maid of honor,  Melissa.  Marie decorated the table with tiny glass bud holders with votives
lined up the length of the table.
Toasts were made.
Laughter and conversation flowed.
And we were treated to this:
And I barely remember it because I was sooo nervous~!  
It's been almost 25 years since that evening at a very beautiful restaurant with family surrounding us just before we took the plunge.  But tonight, I felt brave and made this recipe .
And I have to say...it was so delicious.  I wish I had been paying attention to it long ago.  The sauce was velvety-lemony, with capers.  I don't even remember the capers.  They are amazing!  Like olives only tinier.  And better!  And the fresh parseley.  Nothing else compares. I added a small amount of flour to the sauce to thicken it up and served it over buttery rice.  I am still happy and it's been a couple hours since dinner! 


This post linked to this fun blog:

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Fahgeddaboudit

Normally, I feel like a pretty together mom of a pretty together family.  We all watch each other's backs, remind each other, do what we can to stay on top of things...well, that is, I am the one reminding everyone.   Anyhoo...
Rustown Art


Lately, I've been forgetting a lot.
It's just that I have so many others things to get done in the day, and I get distracted. Can I help it if I forgot the car inspection sticker expired at the end of January?  That I didn't pick up another green notebook for Bubbie for school? That I didn't realize we were (gasp!) out of creamer?  Must have that for morning caffeine, you know.  And I'm not the only one.  Scout forgot to watch Nova last night to write a report.  Bubbie was supposed to, also.  Hubby forgot to take the insurance bill in to pay. Firstborn and Bubbie forgot to empty the dishwasher and sink until there was absolutely no place to set a dish down. Scout would have forgotten to put the trash out this morning, but I hollered at him just before he ran off to catch the bus. 
The Girl forgot to put her things in the dryer from the washer;
 I did it so her clothes wouldn't stink.
Where was I going with all this?  Oh, yeah.
I need to go get the car inspected.  Better go,


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Life Skills

Rustown Art

With varying degrees of success, Mark and I have tried to instill the following attributes in our children.  We started talking about these things while they were very young - just starting school - and it was helpful that the school also talked about them. I post them on the fridge; they are timely even as my children are growing into adolescents and adults, and even some adults benefit from a reminder, right?

1.    Integrity - act according to your sense of
right and wrong
2.    Initiative - if it's to be, it's up to you
3.    Flexibility - be willing to alter your plans
4.    Perseverance - never give up
5.    Organization - a place for everything and
everything in it's place
6.    Sense of humor - laugh and be playful without
hurting others
7.    Effort - do your best!
8.    Common sense - use your good judgement
9.    Problem solving - create solutions to
difficult situations and everyday problems
10.  Responsibility - be accountable for your actions
(and your finances, and your education...)
11.  Patience - to wait calmly for someone
or something
12.  Friendship - make and keep friends through mutual
trust and sharing
13.  Curiosity - investigate and understand your world
14.  Cooperation - work with others toward a
common goal
15.  Caring - feel and show genuine concern for others
16.  Courage - the ability to withstand difficulty,
danger, or fear


Parenthood is the hardest job you'll ever love!



Monday, March 22, 2010

Friend Makin Monday - How cute!

Finding so many blogs lately written by like-minded moms who enjoy all things domestic (: 
This is a cute one:
I thought it sounded like fun!
  Check it out and read what other moms say about:

1. Favorite things about Spring:  Getting the patio back in order!  I can't wait to  re-paint the furniture, plant some herb pots, and make the back patio a nice place for all of us to have breakfast or dinner.

  2. What I'm doing for Spring Break:  Sadly, SB is over.  (Maybe not so sadly, as I can get back to my growing list of To Do's.) We stayed in town, hung out around the house, ate lunch and/or breakfast out, slept late, saw "Alice in Wonderland" and went thrift shopping - mostly me and my two younger sons.  And yes, they had lots of time to catch up with their PSP's and MP3's. (:
3. Favorite Spring flower:  Bluebonnet, hands down!

4. Do you have a garden?   I'm not really into veggie gardening - I love working on the landscaping. I have Earth Boxes that I am going to set up in a small section of the backyard, but no, not a fenced in garden like this:

My mother's garden in Brenham - with chickens, too!
5. If so, what do you grow.  We plan on growing tomatoes and peppers in the Earth Boxes - check them out.  My mother has grown lots of things in them with success.
6. Do you do Spring cleaning?  I have housekeeping OCD, I'm convinced.  I clean all the time - love a clean house...  My favorite thing is to re-organize and throw stuff out! Weird, I know.  Pine Sol is aromatherapeutic.
7. What is your weather *really* like right now? Morning temp was 38, afternoon high was 74! {Just b/c it's "officially" spring, doesn't mean that it feels like it for some of you}  
8. Snapped any weather related photos lately? Share one with us! Haven't lately, but we will head out to the nearest Bluebonnet patch this week for a pretty pic for our Easter card.  
9. What's your favorite thing to do on a sunny afternoon?  So many projects to do here - mostly I like to work in the yard, or do some sewing, or make something delish for dinner! 
10. Favorite TV show right now?  Not much of a TV watcher - but I do like the cooking shows and science stuff on PBS - boring but true...I'm a fan of Lidia!



Thanks, Amber for a fun linky party!


A new fun thing to do

Lately, we've all been into cookies at Camp Rustown.  Homemade cookies that we call "oven cookies" because they are eaten warm out of the oven, not cold out of a box!  It's the easiest dessert on a school night. Really, cookies are one of the simplest things to make and they taste sooo much better than store-bought..  You don't have to have any special skills, and though a mixer is nice and speeds up the process, a bowl and spoon works well, too!  You can find recipes anywhere these days, literally.  I have a vintage cookie cookbook I use, too, and I like experimenting with different doughs, nuts, dried fruits, and spices. 
These "kitchen sink" cookies have oatmeal, Raisin Bran, walnuts, 
and coconut in them...
Cookie dough can be such a custom thing - make it how you like!  
Today I made dough using those swirled white and milk chocolate chips.  You can't really see it well, since I have them wrapped,  but it was made with butter and  brown sugar - no nuts this time around. (I think the kids are getting a little weary of me trying to sneak nuts into all the cookies!)
My cookie method includes dividing the dough in half, wrapping it in cereal box waxed paper (free!), securing with rubber bands, and freezing.  If I forget to thaw the dough, I just use a sharp knife to cut it into squares about the size of the ones you can get pre-made by Toll House or Pillsbury.  Bake time is about 12 minutes while I load the dishwasher and set out the cereal bowls for the morning.  Maybe a minute less if thawed, but I usually let one of the kids pick out which kind of cookies we get that night, and set out to thaw before making dinner.
Mmmm...hot, fresh cookies cannot be beat!



Friday, March 19, 2010

What I'm lovin'

TidyMom is hosting a "what am I lovin' right now?" party
And I have to say I'm lovin' this:
First Bluebonnet

Beautiful signs of Spring all around and getting outdoors to photograph it.  Can't wait for the bluebonnets to cover the hillsides and highways of Texas - so lovely!  Even tho my kids are big (20,18, 14, & 11) I am going to corral them for one last "babies in the Bluebonnets" photo. They will make faces and act like they are too big for that, but I know they will secretly love it as much as I do (:



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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Break? What break?

Spring Break is a theory, not a reality. 
It's only a break for those people who are young children and still in school.  Those same people do not shop, cook, clean, or drive, so really, there's not a whole lot they can be in charge of.  Oh, sure...you can assign them tasks, but you can't spend an entire day cracking the whip over them.  They're just kids on a break.   Well, you could. But, that would be no fun for anyone involved.
 Rustown Art

And that wouldn't make for a happy home, either.
Sigh.
I will miss Spring Break one of these days, I'm sure.  For now, I look forward to going back to  the routine next week.  Everyone goes out into the world in the morning and I have most of the day to get those things done that are my creative outlet and make me a better mom.
Hmm...maybe that's the point of Spring Break - perspective!


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Change of plans..

Well, it's raining today, so there will be no sanding, no painting, no moving the outside plants around and sprucing the patio today.  Instead, looks like we will have to go see a movie and eat lots of popcorn!  And make plans to see old college buddy of mine on  Friday.  And call Grandma to see what she might like to do tomorrow when we visit.  And do a few sewing repairs, make a couple pillows, find a new recipe to try....
And, maybe we will work on this:
The before and after of stripping the star-patterned wallpaper from the kid's bathroom.  For now we will leave the hunter green marbled paper in the shower area.  Maybe it's dated, but I love that shade of green,
and for now, it's not in bad shape. But I am thinking of painting the sink area in here a soft gold color like the towel that is hanging.  And adding brushed nickle switch and plug plates, light fixture, and towel and paper bars. And adding some below the counter organization to stow the kid's various supplies.  And a pretty piece of art for the wall.And something pretty for the counter, too.  Guess we could work on that today!
And I have such a great co-foreman:
What a great helper!




Monday, March 15, 2010

So far, a few

Here's the progress on my alphabet letters:

This is harder than I thought it would be.  And I don't want to repeat pictures for letters.  So I have to find another N, another A, and an R.  And I'm wondering: do all of the letters have to be oriented the same?
I think I have "Project ADD".  I just bounce from one thing to the next.  Sometimes before I think it all the way through!  I still have that hands project to do, too..
I get so many good ideas from all the blogs I really enjoy reading!



Friday, March 12, 2010

What a deal, what a steal

This is the last post about the front room.  Really.  I mean it.  Even I am tired of looking at my front room.  I'm focusing more on the yard today, getting it all raked, weeded, fertilized.  And The Girl and I are eating lunch from Taco Cabana.  And I need to get the house cleaned up, and...sorry, I got distracted.
Remember the ugly curtains?
They started out pretty.  A nice copper color in faux silk.  But I hated that valance in the middle (why did I do that?),  the blinds were beyond filthy, and the curtain color managed to clash with the sofa re-do.  I can't have that.  I took them down and put up new cordless shades.  Loved them!
Cleaner, prettier, nice not to have the dirty cords dangling there.  I lowered the middle rod and  left the rest up, not knowing if I wanted to put curtains up again.  I feel so inadequate putting up curtains! Why? It always seems so simple, but never is...but, toodling around Wally World yesterday I found these.  Verona Sheer panels. The website  photo doesn't do them justice - you can see a faint swirly design of sand on beige.  They match the room perfectly and were $7 apiece!
My photography is not great - sorry.  But the curtains give a very soft touch to the room and let lots of light still filter in. I still could use suggestions about what else needs to be done - a rug, maybe? 
Not a coffee table - we love the open space.
Apparently, so does Sugar.  


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Mr. Helpful

Bubbie helped me make this today:

 Our version of the Coca-Cola cake, made with Dr. Pepper and a little cinnamon...ummm...
 and then rigft after that he unloaded the dishwasher. 
Monday, you recall, he helped me with this project:
He was the one who removed most of the hardware so I could paint it.  As soon as I get up from here he has offered to help pull weeds in the yard. Sometimes I wonder what I would do without him.  He loves to be with his mom, so I am enjoying that as much as I can.

Unlike this person who stands at the screen door asking when dinner will be ready, or can I fix her shirt...
We could call her Miss Unhelpful, but that would be unkind.  She's wonderful in her own way... we'll just leave that for now.

 Sweet.

The cake, too.


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