October: Get the most of your 31 days

Yesterday I told you that I was going to make some changes in October. I already relinquished the cockatiel we’ve had for 9+ years to the ARL to simplify life here and give Fluffy a less-stressed life. I’m determined to have made some real changes in this place I call home by Halloween.

To help me do this, I’m reading a few “31 Days…” series, and I thought you might benefit too.

The Nester is blogging about “31 Days to a Less Messy Nest.” Hmm…can I benefit from this? Let me think about that… Uh, yeah. And she has all boys, so I know she can really relate to me.

Next, Remodeling This Life is writing “31 Days of Living Simply.” Yes, please. I just discovered this blog, and it looks like one that’s right up my alley.

And finally, because I love Darcy and really want to get better at photography, I’ll also be following Life with My 3 Boybarians’ “31 Days to a Better Photo.” Note: Darcy also has three boys AND she lives in the same metro area as me. Unfortunately, the last time I got to see her IRL was in Nashville last February! But she’ll be speaking at I_Blog Conference in November, too. (It’s not too late to sign up!)

I hope these series can help you make the most of October too! Okay, I’d better go get something done! 🙂

Photo from hortongrou

The (Rare) Cleaning and Organizing Post

Since it’s already been a week since Labor Day and I’ve already shared with you the Labor-Less part of my Labor Day weekend, I thought I’d better prove to you that I made good on the “Labor” part of the holiday as well. Before, you know, it’s Halloween.

I was determined to get some things accomplished over the long weekend instead of doing my usual—saying I’m going to get some things accomplished and then cozying up to the DVR instead. So I started a painting project because I knew I would HAVE to finish. As a result, the boys’ bathroom finally got some fresh paint, as well as a new shower curtain and towels. I went with a light bluish gray color because I wanted to give it a peaceful, spa-like feel. And it didn’t turn out too bad.

Instead of buying a new soap dish and toothbrush holder (because the primary-colored fish themed holder I had didn’t quite look so good anymore), I shopped around in my house and found a dark gray dish I had picked up at a thrift shop to hold soap, and a vintage glass jar that was Husband’s grandma’s to hold toothbrushes.

When Boy #2 walked into the bathroom after I’d finished cleaning up, he said, “Whoa, this is too fancy for me to use!” Pretty sad what my kids constitute as being “fancy”! But perhaps the most embarrassing moment was when Boy #3 opened the lid of the toilet and said, “Look! The toilet is white! WOW! That’s so cool! Thanks, Mom!” And no, the 6-year-old wasn’t even being sarcastic.

So once I started organizing and redoing the bathroom, I got more motivated to tackle other rooms in the house. I managed to get our bedroom, and two of the boys’ bedrooms completely cleaned out. You’ll notice that I do not have any “before” photos to show you. That’s because I don’t think I really need to provide any evidence for DHS to use against me someday. Nor do I want Oprah to get ahold of it and drag me onto her show to do some kind of cleaning intervention. Just trust me. It wasn’t pretty.

But here’s the “after” result of our bedroom.

It’s amazing how much bigger the room feels when you can walk on the carpet without stepping on dirty clothes, clean clothes, Pokemon cards, books and a smuggled birthday cake.

I literally spent three hours untangling necklaces from my jewelry basket. My back was near-broken and I’m pretty sure I lost some of my eyesight, but I got all of those chains apart. (Thanks to the obsessive part of my personality.) Then I decided to find some other means of organizing my jewelry so I didn’t have to go through that torture again. So once again, I went shopping in my basement. And I love how this turned out!

This scale was Husband’s great-grandfather’s, which he used in his veterinarian clinic. We’ve had it for several years, but I didn’t really know what to do with it. Finally, I found the perfect use. I put my bracelets on one side, and my rings and earrings on the other.

I found another “treasure” I’d picked up at Goodwill at one time, a little brass stand that kind of looks like a mini umbrella stand, and I hung my necklaces on that.

I’m sure this will not win any design awards, but it totally fits my style, and I am excited about how it turned out.

If you can’t tell already, I have a thing for old crap vintage goodies. And I literally get chills up my spine when I figure out how to repurpose something I already have. Suitcases are one of my little addictions…

Aren’t they cute? They were just looking for a loving home!

I used this cute little dish I’d picked up at Goodwill to hold soap in our bathroom. It reminds me of a birds’ nest. It makes me happy when I’m washing my germy hands.

Whew. I feel better now. After always posting the horror stories (and photos) of my house, I’m glad to be able to show you that sometimes I actually try to make things look halfway nice (and clean).

Maybe someday we’ll actually be able to keep it this way for more than a few days…

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Let Them Eat Cake (Just not in my bed)

I’m not sure if this is a trait of boys in general, or if my boys have some genetic malfunction.

It certainly couldn’t have anything to do with my parenting skills…

But I’m beginning to notice a trend. Granted, it’s only taken me about five years to recognize the trend, but you know, I’ve never been accused at being quick at anything.

So here’s the deal: I am finding food EVERYWHERE.

No, I don’t mean going out and foraging the forest for berries. I mean I’m finding food everywhere in my house. Besides the kitchen.

As I said, this has been an ongoing phenomenon. Remember when I found the loaf of bread behind the couch?

Or when the bologna with the face was staring up at me?

Yeah, as I said, this has been years in the making.

Lately, I’ve noticed that this trend is getting worse. Let me give you an example of what I found last week alone.

Remember how it was Boy #3’s birthday last week? And I bought him that uber-generic cake? (Yes, the cake that gave me severe gas cramps.) Well, his birthday was Tuesday, and Wednesday evening I noticed that the leftover cake was not on the counter where it was that morning. Weird, I thought. Well, the kids must’ve finished it and thrown the packaging away.

And I didn’t think too much more of it.

That is, until I went to my bedroom later in the evening and found a huge crumbling mass of chocolate cake beside my bed, along with some telltale crumbs actually IN my bed.

Upon investigation, I found the round piece of cardboard that the cake had been placed on in Boy #2’s room, under his desk.

As you can imagine, I was not a happy mom.

But, people, that’s not all. I also walked into the family room later in the week to find a carton of Schwann’s sherbet, 3/4 full, just sitting on the floor with its lid off. Completely melted.

I am almost embarrassed to tell you that I also found an opened bag of Cheetos beside my bed as well, and a small, but empty, carton of Starbucks coffee-flavored ice cream in one of the boys’ bedrooms that for some reason was just sitting by itself in this humongous cardboard box someone had dragged in there. I’m guessing that coffee flavored ice cream wasn’t the best-tasting stuff they’ve ever had, but that obviously didn’t deter them.

Now, we’ve told them they are NOT to eat anywhere outside of the kitchen. And they DO get in trouble when we find food all over the house. But apparently we are going to have to start either padlocking the refrigerator or tethering them to our side whenever we are home, because nothing else seems to be working.

Or maybe I’ll just quit feeding them.

And just last night, people, an entire loaf of just-bought whole wheat bread went missing.

That is still under investigation.

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