Sunday, June 29, 2014

Meal Planning on the Fly

It is a bit messy, but here is the fireplace viw

This was all black and rather homely. Now it is cheerful

Our $10 facelift for the window

They light up

I painted the candlesticks aqua and black. I went through so many cans of aqua paint

Picture between the shelves that we barely got hung up before we discovered the need to move

The funky bamboo light was a Goodwill Outlet score. It is very light, and they charge by the pound, so it was less than $5
Here are some shots of the living room that we are now packing up.

We have about a month to pack, patch, clean, and move. I am prepping and teaching two courses, Magnus is absorbing a whole lot of math tutoring, Rin is taking 5 classes, and Luigi is drawing and trying to be a kid. 

We have been eating a lot of pizza, taco bell, and rotisserie chicken! I need to get on the stick and plan some fast, easy, cheap one-dish meals that have easy clean up.  I am gaining inspiration from this post. I also plan to keep sandwich and snack fixings around so that we can have fend-for-yourself nights.  

I think I have asked for this type of thing before, but  I am asking for you best hot weather, fast and easy, minimal mess dinners and lunches. Please share freely :)

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Living life to the fullest

I have reached the point where I want to stop putting things on hold. There is a consistent thrum in our lives, waiting for the next move, the next goal, the next job. If all goes as planned, I will have my degree in two years, and that may very well mean another move, hopefully to the place where we can finally settle down, just in time for our kids to graduate and move out.

This lifestyle is wearing me out. I want to enjoy life now, and I want the boys to as well. I am to the point where I don't want to look at people's facebook pages because I am tired of seeing everyone have a wonderful time and me being stuck home packing and studying (FOMO). It is time to start having wonderful times of our own.

We are making a few changes to that end.

First of all, we have started a list on a white board. This list contains all the things we like to do: hiking, biking, writing, eating, etc.
The hope is that by listing such things, we can remember what we do like to do, and will make time and space for those things.

I hope to make more space in my life for things I love by routinizing the things I don't love.

Instead of ignoring work and letting it pile up and then feeling guilty, or spending entire days devoted to it, I am going to try to put it in neatly marked boxes on my google calendar, tackle them and forget them. Laundry is working so well with this system that we want to add more. Room cleaning, vacuuming, dissertation writing, and exercise will all get places. 

The next step will be scheduling the things we like to do, to make sure we remember to do them!
I have always been resistant to scheduling, discipline, and structure because it seems so stifling. If I make the structure, I find many ways to cheat. But I know I am not happy having life lived for me, so I am ready to take control.

Of course, my one big stumbling block is the electronic device I am using right now.
I am terrible about using it and overusing it, and I have set the tone for overuse in our household. I get resentful when it is taken away or limits are placed on it, even if it is me who is placing the limits. I could free up so much time to do other things if I could pull the plug every now and then. I don't have a smartphone so my computer use is limited to the house. If I can kick myself out the door, I am good. But indoors, and keeping myself from distractions when I am working on the computer, those are more difficult. I place blocking software and then just work my way around it. That is my biggest stumbling block and I am looking for suggestions from people who have felt addicted or at least deeply attached to their devices and have found ways to curb their own enthusiasm.

Tomorrow we will be trying to revel in summer. Part of the issue is that summer takes a while to get going here, but I think we might have achieved summer weather. On tap-berry picking and a hike.

I wish everyone (including me!) a joyous First Summer Weekend! 

Monday, June 16, 2014

We'll always have laundry!

We are packing and getting ready to move, and everyone gets into the act.

However, I am trying to get pictures of projects before I pack them up. Today I want to show off my laundry. First I must apologize for the quality of the pics. I am not good at taking room shots. I have looked at many many many house and apartment ads in the past couple of weeks, and I take comfort in knowing that I am not alone in this! Room pictures are hard, and fuzzy, dark pictures of corners and toilets seem to be the norm. I don't have time to work on my skill at this time, so I will simply join the fray for the time being.

I want to share with you my most exciting discovery. The Dollar Tree carries wall decals!! My kitchen has white cabinets, and I thought it would be cute to add some decals. I found an owl decal that looks a lot like this one except the price tag. I bought a couple. But then I found some very cute curtains for the kitchen that sealed its fate: the kitchen now has a cute Italian baker theme, and the owls seemed out of place. The Dude suggested I move them to the laundry room, which is right off of the kitchen and was quite bland and white. I moved them over, but the space needed more. I went back to the Dollar Tree and picked up a few more owls. Then I noticed butterflies and flowers, and decided to make a scene. And again, sorry for the quality! The space is tiny and it is hard to work in. But hopefully this gives you the idea.

The upper cabinets. The little bits are colorful leaves.

Dryer front

Door to the outside:

Coat rack next to the back door:

Close ups on the doors.

So, that is the laundry room. The project cost under $10, and it makes me smile ever time I see it. Speaking of laundry, I am happy to report that laundry day continues to be a success. Twice a week, 3-4 loads per day, all folded and put away, at least by the next morning. I am going to add linen day as its own day on the calendar, twice a month on Wednesdays. 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

A most unsettled week

My week was supposed to go like this:

Finish my syllabus, get some lessons planned, take lots of walks, go on a hike, tidy the house, do some painting.

No. It hasn't gone like that at all.


The city is installing a sewer line on our street, which means that there is crew working outside our house every day, with loud machines, vibrations, and occasional house shaking bangs.

We had the landlady visit to look at some issues, which is nerve wracking because she has expectations of cleanliness. Although the house was clean by our standards, she noted the carpet is "pretty beat up"

We found out the Rin's dream high school might not accept him (after they already accepted him and he turned down choice two), because they don't know what to do with a homeschool record.

I decided to crack the whip and make Rin finish the school work he has been slacking on. This has resulted in me sitting on the couch with him for pretty much nonstop since Monday. He is getting the work done though.

Tuesday we found out that Magnus is in jeopardy of failing one of his classes, so he has to spend every waking hour researching and writing.

Yesterday we got a letter letting us know that the landlady intends to sell the house and so we have to move by July 15.

My first reaction was deep sadness because I am finally getting the house to look like I want it to. ( I will still take and post pics soon)

And today, we had a swarm of bees in our yard.

So yeah, quite different from how I planned.

Focusing on the positive-I got my syllabi done, Magnus should be able to pull the class off with a C and his other two classes are fine, Magnus got the classes he wants for the fall, there are some houses available, the landlady is giving us a bit longer than required and she will prorate the rent if we move earlier. And bees are cool.