Monday, February 24, 2014

Making Space

One of the funny things about moving is that it really makes you think about whether or not a room is cluttered and about what you need.  The simplest things, I find, can make a big difference!  

One such silly thing is the trash can in our kids' bathroom.  It has been on the outside of the vanity, sitting next to it for the past 2 years.  I realized two weeks ago that I could fit it underneath the sink inside the vanity.  I moved a few things around and took out what really wasn't needed there and voila!  One less thing to clutter up the floor and bump into.  I moved the bath toys up to a shelf and put the shampoos/conditioners all in a small basket.  It looks cleaner already!

Another thing I did was in my son's bedroom.  He loves to leave legos out that he's working on (please forgive me if I've already mentioned this on this blog).  The clutter on his dresser at times would drive me crazy!  So, I placed a large bath mat in the corner of his room and a small cardboard box next to it with the essential pieces.  He has three large boxes of legos under his bed, but my husband explained to me that it's very hard to find particular pieces in big underbed boxes...  So, the small box sits next to the legos on the mat.  They fill the mat, but it looks less cluttered because that space is just for legos.  It also gives my son parameters and guidance on how to pick up his room.  

Lastly, I bought a smaller trash can for our recycling that will fit under the countertop instead of taking up more floor space.  Moving it opened up that area and it's surprising how much less cluttered that part of the kitchen feels where it used to stand!  

I think next time we're settled into a house, I'm going to pull out my camera and think about how I can simplify the floor space.  I wish I'd done these three things 2 years ago when we moved in!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Burger King...Just Not What it Used To Be

This is just my opinion.  That's all it is.  I have these memories of liking Burger King's hamburgers.  I remember liking their fish sandwich.

I don't like them anymore.  Last night, my husband wanted a hamburger.  You know when you are sick and you just need to eat what you're willing to eat because you don't want to eat anything.  That's where we were at last night. So, I headed off to Burger King.  

Bad choice...

We've really gotten used to 5 Guys Burgers and Fries' burgers--which are quite good!  A newly transplanted San Diegoan told me recently at the local sporting goods store that he thinks they're actually better than In-n-out's burgers (which is hard for me to believe), but in my book that reminds me that they really are good.  Unfortunately, that's a 20 minute drive for me and I wasn't going to brave potential black ice on the roads for a 5 guys burger.  

So, I headed to Burger King and picked up a Big King for my husband (akin to a McDonald's Big Mac and a fish sandwich to me).  The price was right--2 for $5, but the food was so disappointing.  I think my husband's was okay--not great, but okay.  My fish sandwich was almost horrible.  I threw almost half of it away.  And the new french fries--well, they weren't any better and weren't anything to write home about.

I wish I could say they were better than they were, but they just weren't.  

Sunday, February 16, 2014

My Favorite Glue

A few years ago, I found something at Home Depot that I love. It's my favorite glue.

It is a great thing!  I like this glue a lot more than gorilla glue. A lot of people like gorilla glue, but we bought one bottle and the top sealed itself to the bottle before we could use it again.  What a waste!  This glue has been much more dependable for me.  It has a screw top lid and dries clear.  There is some that is white and dries white, though.  

I've used this glue to fix a lot of little things.  One example is when I glued on a piece of baseboard trim because I couldn't get a nail in at the awkward angle that was needed.  And beneath that trim was a little piece of wood that I had fitted into a hole in the floor.  (I had shaped the wood with my dremel).  

Next to caulk, this is my favorite fixer.  

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

What we need and what we don't

We're going to move again.  It was just two years ago when we bought the house we're living in.  We bought it thinking one thing and really found it to be quite another.  I remember praying when we were walking through the closing process.  I remember the Lord laying on my heart that this was going to be hard, but that it was worth it.  I just didn't know how hard the past two years with this house would be!

But, I was struck by something this morning.  Life is hard and it's easy to catch one's self complaining and focusing on the difficulties.  Instead of acknowledging the difficulties (because they're very real) and then getting up and walking forward, it's easy to get stuck.  I have a very dear friend who I call when I'm struggling and need to sort things out.  She once made a comment to me that that's what's different about our friendship for her.  We vent, but we vent with a purpose.  That purpose is to find our way out of what's prompting our venting!  And we do.

I realize I am rabbit trailing, but it's all related in my mind.  It's easy for me to look back and dwell on the struggles with this house and heart ache it has caused me.  Instead, it's wiser to focus on the end product.  We've learned a lot and we've fixed a lot.  I am beginning to pray for who is going to buy this house--that they would be blessed by it.  That they would be blessed by having a house that is totally fixed!  What a blessing!  Our efforts will not be wasted because someone else is going to enjoy them.

In preparation for what is ahead, I, of course, have begun going through our basement.  Our entire basement is unfinished and it has  accumulated quite a mass of stuff in it!  Wow!  I walk around it and ponder.   I have some ideas of what we can get rid of, but I struggle with a lot of it.  My husband reminds me not to get rid of anything that we might need in our new home.  But, there is much that is "extra".

Last week, we began pondering dishes.  We inherited 20 boxes of dishes with this house.  We had to open up every one.  It's an interesting thing to contemplate... what should we really keep and what should we give to another?  We ended up keeping 6 boxes, I think.  We gave 4 boxes to one of my sister in laws, 1 box to another friend, about half a box to my mother in law, and a large box to Goodwill of odds and ends.  Whew...  Last week, I got about 12 or 16 boxes of stuff plus some larger items out of my basement.  But, if you went down there, well, you'd never guess!  But, I know.

When I go down into the basement, I ask myself, "Do I really want to move this???"  Sometimes I find the answer is yes and sometimes it is no.  Interestingly, I've been asking a similar question all along.  I'm known by my friends for my continual purging and passing on of things we no longer need!  

It's hard being patient.  I know we're just in the beginning of this process waiting for this house to sell and just  as importantly for the weather where we live to get better...  My goal is to do one thing a day.  
Monday:  Dropped off bag of prom dresses from a friend of mine to the local high school for their prom closet.
Tuesday:  Scrubbed floor in 4th bedroom, dropped off 4 boxes at my mom's, Clean all linens in my son's room
Wednesday:  Got together forms I needed to assemble, Clean all linens in my girls room

One thing a day is manageable for me and it also encourages me to make the most of this time while I'm waiting so that I'm not bombarded and completely overwhelmed when it comes time for us to move.  

I keep reminding myself of God's plan and perfect timing as I wait for events to unfold.  I am thankful that I can trust fully in His providence and plans.  It gives me peace, hope, and comfort.  

Utility Bills

My mom lives in an apartment.  She enjoys it very much.  But, it is horribly insulated!  A month ago, I went over and caulked around her windows and the wall heating unit.  We put baby plug covers over the electrical outlets that were on the outer wall of the apartment.  And she put in a request to have the maintenance fellow put in insulation around her patio door.

Unfortunately, they never came and we have hit a horrible cold snap here!  So, today I went over with the extra insulation tubes that I hadn't needed when I insulated the hot water pipes in our basement last year.  I cut each tube in three long strips and used these strips to fill the gap between the door and the wall.  I wish I had done it before today!  But, I am thankful it is done now and that cold air isn't continuing to pour in through her door.

So, a couple of things to think about and matter for mercy and prayer...

If you know someone who lives in an apartment on a fixed income, do you know if it is insulated?  Do the windows need caulking?  My mom told me that her friends' apartments are just like hers... I hope I'll get the chance to go caulk around some windows soon.  It's hard.  There's a lot going on, but hopefully I will...

But, there's another way that the winter is hitting many families hard this winter.  Did you know that there is a propane shortage across the country and that tanks aren't being filled completely?  The winter here on the east coast is much colder than the past few years.  The fall was wetter for farmers this past season across the country and a much greater amount of propane was used so there is a greater shortage (and exports have also increased according to the Baltimore Sun last Saturday's edition).  The article we read last week opened our eyes to something we didn't know.  It is this... Only 3% of the general population use propane for heat... BUT 49% of all mobile homes use propane for heating.  This means that many families who live in mobile homes this winter are struggling to stay warm.  I'm not sure how to help besides prayer.