Friday, March 23, 2012

Spring Cleaning

The house is a wreck in a great way.  Our spare bedroom is piled high with stuff.  We are purging and cleaning and giving away and it feels great.

I think there are two great disadvantages of having a fairly large house.

1. Cleaning.  Ugh.  This place can be a beast to clean.  OK, we obviously don't live in Downton Abbey, that might be more worthy of the title beast, but we'll just say it is no 20 minute job.

2.  Stuff.  More space means more room for stuff.  Books, papers, clothes, toys, kitchen stuff.  Oi!

I decided it was time to really pare down our stuff, or at least to start paring it down.  I started in the kids rooms with all the hand-me-down clothes.  Changing seasons and changing sizes in our house is a bit of a nightmare.  After going through all the hand-me-downs for HC and Annelise, I discovered that I actually did not need one single piece of new clothing for either of them.  Thank you friends who give me clothes!  In turn I am giving all my clothes away, one good turn deserves another.  Just this morning I invited a friend with two young girls over to go through my stash.

Next I tackled the playroom, and then the kitchen and then the books in our family room.  We still have more to go through, but it is a start, and a move in the right direction.  I do have to stop for a week or so because my parents are coming for a visit next week, so I need to get rid of all the stuff in our spare bedroom so there is room for them to sleep.

OK, so, where did al the stuff go?  Let me tell you.

I packed up a box of used shoes and sent it to Shoes for Kids.  Dave is on his way to USPS as I type.

Our church has been supporting Atlanta Union Mission for as long as I have been there, and not only does AUM have multiple thrift stores around town, they also pick-up!  Yay!  All of my clothes, toys, and kitchen knick-knacks are going there.

Anything that is leftover is going to the Kidney Foundation which also has a couple local shops that you can drop things at or ask for a pick-up.  We got a new mattress last summer, and still have the old one, so out that goes next week.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Chores and Allowance

Dave and I have been mulling over the whole chore-allowance subject for a few years now.  My girls are very helpful around the house, and we have wanted them to have specific responsibilities they are in charge of.  We have also mulled around the idea of an allowance or commission.  On one hand I think my kiddos should help around the house, no matter what.  They live here, they contribute to the mess, and we are here to serve each other.  But we also want to teach them about money and an allowance is a great way to begin to do that.

So, we have a chore chart.  At the end of the week they will get a nickel for every chore completed.  These include making their beds, helping with the laundry (folding and putting away clothes), helping in the kitchen, clearing their dishes from the table, emptying the silverware from the dishwasher, and cleaning up their toys before dinner.  HC also has to wipe the table and counters.

Both girls are very eager to help and get stickers for their chart, and I like the extra incentive it gives them.  Since the girls have no need of money, I have been talking to them about what they can do with all the money they earn at the end of the week.  This morning I went onto World Vision's website and showed them a bunch of videos about how they can use their money.  They can buy a chicken, or some ducks, they can buy a family some seeds, or help a child go to school.  I thought this was a great way to get them involved and most of the gifts would be attainable in a few weeks, if the girls pool their money together.  SO far both of them have decided on World Vision's clean water campaign.  We'll see how long it takes us to make that $20.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

After a Long Silence

It’s been 7 months since my last post, and of course there have been lots of reasons for that.  I am not sure that I want to go into all of it at this time.  But I am sure as I become more and more comfortable posting there will be more and more thoughts that come out.  I do feel like I have a lot to say and a lot that is stuck inside of me that is bursting and to come out.  But these days things seem to come out like a slow trickle. 

Enough about that.  We’ll save it for another day.

Here are some things we have been up to since June.

Celebrating True’s first birthday. 

A trip up to OH to visit my grandparents, and introduce True to his only living great-grandfather.

Sending Hadleigh Claire off for her first day of kindergarten.

The girls started ballet and we painted and rearranged our bedroom with the help of my bff Erica. 

Halloween and pumpkins

Celebrated Annelise’s 4th birthday.  We took her to see the musical Cinderella and it was a  memorable experience.

Spent Thanksgiving on a wonderful little island beach.

Took the girls to see the Nutcracker

Celebrated Christmas here and then took a quick trip to TN to visit with Dave’s family.

Lots of fun things seem to be in store for us in 2012.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Cuz Gets Married

At the end of May we journeyed up to TN to celebrate Jon and Leigha's wedding.  The girls love their cousins, Jon, Josh and Jacob, and their cousins are super sweet to them them.  Now the girls finally have a girl cousin and they are super excited about it.  

All of us gals ended up matching in our black and white dresses, which was quite by accident, but I am sure it made for great pictures.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Fourth Year of Strawberries

About a month ago we trekked out to a farm not too far away for some yummy strawberry picking.  This was actually our fourth year at this particular place, and we managed to pick our usual two buckets.  True was on my back this year, as opposed to inside my tummy, so I came away with different aches and pains. And then the following night, Dave and I made our first batch of strawberry jam.  I gave jam making a whirl last spring for the first time, and quickly became obsessed.  We go through jam quickly at this house, so after the strawberry batch, I made peach, and plum and triple berry.  We opened our last jar the week before we went picking, so I went through an entire year without having to buy jam.  Sweet!

I think we were successful with our strawberry jam this year, and I am looking forward to making peach and plum in the coming weeks.  Random side note: as I was taking these pictures of the girls this crazy lady kept jumping into the picture and trying to tell the girls how to can only imagine their reaction to that, but it did make for an eventful picture taking moment.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


I love risotto.  I also love gnocchi.  A few winters ago we planned to go to Prague with our buds Jim and Kristen.  The morning we were to leave it dumped 18 inches on us and we had to cancel our trip.  Instead we bummed around our little place in Hensctal, ate some spicy, BB (butt-burning) chili, rode sleds, and ate at our favorite Oriental restaurant.  The next morning we decided to go to Lucerne, Switzerland, which was much closer than Prague and we could drive there for one night.  That night it was raining and cold, and after walking around all day we stopped for dinner at this little Italian restaurant.  The first thing they served us was a bubbly aperitif.  I usually do not like bubbly alcohol drinks, but it made me warm inside and it was a perfect start to our dinner.  I ordered gnocchi and I cannot think of gnocchi without thinking of that night.  It was a great night.

The nice thing about risotto is I can actually make it, unlike gnocchi, which I will leave to the professionals.  So here is a wonderful recipe from P-dub.  I did not use wine in this, and I added my own variation of veggies.  It was WONDERFUL!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Little Ballerinas

The girls took ballet this year.  I signed them up late (October), but it was a sweet little program at a local church, and they could be in the same class.  They loved it, although at times I wonder if that is really Annelise's thing.  Hadleigh Claire loved every minute of it, and Annelise especially liked jumping from dot to dot and making faces in the mirrors.  She did pick up a few moves, and overall I think it boosted their confidence.  We missed their "big" recital, but still were able to dress up for the rehearsal, ballet buns and everything.  It took me an hour, lots of gel and hair spray and bobby pins to get their hair up.  I am hoping to get their hair a bit longer for their next rehearsal (next spring).