Friday, April 18, 2014

FINALLY!!!

I've spoken often of my disdain for the closed-in, burgundy monstrosity that is my dining room. Well, I can finally say that in the past tense. Ding dong, the red is dead!! For memory's sake, here's a fuzzy old picture. I tried my best to deal with it, really I did!



Just. So. Dang. DARK.

Things take twice as long when scheduling around an almost 2-year-old, don't they? Enter "bursts", stage left. I took an afternoon to empty everything out (lots o' crap in that room, I tell ya! One compound word: bookshelf), a full day to prime (with two coats of trim) and paint (again, two coats of trim for some odd reason), another nap time to prime the baseboard/built-ins/windows/kitchen door, still another nap time to paint the aforementioned stuff white...and let's just say I haven't put everything back in yet. Goodbye, Spring Break! :-P

I'm too excited not to share a couple of crappy iPhone pictures, though. :-D Can you hear me squealing where you live? It might also be my husband, though. He didn't want the red gone, but has since changed his tune and LOVES how open it is. I can't blame him. It's a huge, awesome change.



In some light, it's a light tan/beige with a gray undertone. In other lights (such as the weird, overly-bright shot here), it looks green. I promise you it's the perfect shade of greige (read: beige + gray) with no blue or flesh or purple undertones. Actually, no green undertones, either. Just the perfect neutral.

I still need to (obviously) fill the room and bookshelf, find a rad new rug to replace my, um, attempt at dealing with the red (let's just say that I've become gun-shy to decorate with red...at all...THANK YOU, dining room! *grumbles*), and do some styling.

And, yes. So far, the Boston Massacre has survived. At least until Hadley starts questioning why we have a crude drawing of people being shot on our wall.

So...what do you think? Improvement? When all is said and done, I'll be sharing the color name and taking better pictures. Just couldn't wait to share it so far!

Time to go celebrate with the family. This is such a weight off the ol' shoulders eyes, and it's time to enjoy the last couple of days of spring break.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Embracing Self Care - Peace in the Home

Welcome back to our third installment in the "taking care of yo' self" series! (Not really; I just called it that.)



This week's "Embracing Self Care" theme involves peace in the home. Now, this can encompass many different topics -- from finding peace through organization, surrounding yourself with decor that helps you find peace (or finding decor that helps you feel at one with yourself; finding your "style"), finding a schedule/routine that works for you, etc. See? It really can mean ANYTHING! Love that!

For me, this involves a couple of things. Obviously, I'm in the midst of some "low-stress" spring cleaning. (Taking it a day at a time, folks.) When I'm done with the "cleaning" part (ie the scrubbing, dusting, mopping, vacuuming stuff), I plan to attack on the organizational front. I'm weird that way. I see cleaning as more of a "must destroy dust bunnies!" and "wash windows" sort of thing; yes, things are neat and orderly afterwards, but more in a "picked up" way.

So, after things are spic and span, I'm going to address any organizational issues that we have. This will entail looking at areas where we're falling short (like finding better uses for our closets and built-ins, and my bills...I pay them, then pretend they don't exist 'cuz, y'know, I don't like them...so they just end up in random piles) and areas that just need our attention, like the basement and garage (y'know...the dirty places).

This is twofold for us. Yes, we want to have an organized, happy, serene environment...but we also hope to ready our house for a possible move. See? Two birds, one stone. ;-) (Hate that phrase, but it's relevant.) And, of course, I'll share any tips I pick up on the way.

The second "peace in the home" factor I hope to work on (which goes hand-in-hand with readying our house for a sale) is our style. This is the week I'm FINALLY working on painting the red out of our lives dining room, with the help of my uber-motivated mom. (Spoiler: It's already gone! Just got some trim to do before sharing.) The other rooms are relatively light and airy (our bedroom is a little moody with a green wall, which we may or may not keep) or at least neutral, and the burgundy sticks out like a sore, outdated, 1990s thumb. 


Aside from that, I've got some Pinspiration regarding other areas of the house. Our front room was a spot that helped sell us on the place originally, so I'm hoping to modernize it a bit with the help of some better window treatments (we still use the short sheers that came with the house...for shame). So, I'm on the hunt for some extra long white curtains to hang "high and wide" and a few more bamboo shades, for an effect kind of like this --



I'm also excited that my stepdad has offered to help me complete the tub surround with a ghetto he-thinks-it'll-work solution (I have my doubts), so that'll finally be a done project. I'm not happy with the art I made for that space, so I've got my eye out for other DIY art solutions that'll make me happy. Not to sound picky, but I'm not a huge fan of the word art stuff ("Brush your teeth. Wash your hands." Uuuummm. No comment.); I guess I'm more into either a graphic or a vintage botanical print type thing.

Maybe something like this... (Different colors.)
Not sure of original source :-( Hate that!
If anyone knows, let me know, please!

Or this type of botanical...
Original Source

I also recognize that a big part of moving will be weeding out things that we don't wish to drag with us to our next residence. That can be a horribly daunting task, or it can be an uplifting "ahhh" getting rid of stuff we don't NEED in our lives task. Probably 50/50, in all honesty. There's a part of me that looks forward to taking all the wine bottles off the shelf and in storage, putting only the pots and pans that we need in our cupboards, and having less "visual clutter" around the place. I'm already asking myself how many mugs we actual need to have on-hand for guests and for ourselves, how many utensils should be in our drawers, and what food we truly need around cluttering up our cabinets. Maybe it'll be therapeutic, who knows?

So, the only way that "schedule" really fits into this "finding peace in the home" concept is that we need to better schedule our "to dos" to actually, um, y'know...get them done! ;-) The goal is to remember to keep the peacefulness of our lives while working on these projects and focusing on our future, and to make sure that the monkey doesn't get his routine too knocked out of whack.

What about you? What "peace" do you hope to achieve in your own lives? How are you hoping to achieve it? Feel free to post a link to your blog (if you have one), or just share in the comments.
 

TThisWednesday, April 16: Peace in the Home

This can encompass home decor, fashion, organizing and decluttering, schedule and routine, etc. Whatever needs to happen in your life in order to restore peace and equilibrium will be represented during this week!

Wednesday, April 23: Taking Some R&R

This week we’ll dive into taking time to pamper ourselves, time to fully relax, putting aside the to-do list, etc. We will recognize that we need to find healthy ways of treating ourselves so that we aren’t tempted to bad habits that ultimately harm us (i.e. emotional eating of sugar, etc.)
- See more at: http://thehumbledhomemaker.com/2014/03/embracing-self-care-community-blogging-project.html#sthash.aWSSQQGz.dpuf

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Dick Van Fans

It's no secret that we're kinda...yeah, we're a tad "different." We listen to eclectic music selections; we watch vintage Sesame Street; we wish Hadley could grow up in Carville while we devour our Andy Hardy movies (rest in peace, Mickey!) and other classic, black-and-white films; I love history books and Dave loves comic books. We've got all sorts of quirky up in here.

So, it should come as little surprise that we have a new favorite.

Thanks, once again, to our super basic cable package and Netflix usage, we have stumbled upon The Dick Van Dyke Show in much the same way that he tended to stumble over a wayward toy or ottoman. With great zeal!

The weird thing is that I never watched this show as a kid, and I don't think Dave did. I followed plenty of old shows (Mr. Ed, Dennis the Menace, Lassie, My Three Sons -- horrible acting, great storyline, a bunch of the old cop shows, and two personal favorites -- Batman and The Monkees), but I never saw "The Dick Van Dyke Show." But, boy, are we wicked glad we have now!

Since the winter has kept us pretty much eating in front of the TV every night, we've gotten into the habit of dragging Hadley's seat into the living room, firing up the ol' Wii sensor, and continuing on with the next show. We've become familiar with every single character and their particular quirks, and Dave has read several "trivia" pieces from the interwebs when a question or an "I wonder if they..." idea pops up.

A few of our favorites?


- The show was the first of its kind to have a character like Sally (played by Rose Marie, who just happened to guest star in two Monkees episodes), a single, independent, working woman.

- Dick Van Dyke gave up his role on Broadway to star and was such a mess on the day they taped the first show that he missed out on Kennedy's inauguration (which everyone else seemed to watch).

- He also seemed to think that Mary Tyler Moore was too young to portray his wife, and she was also meant to be a secondary character (with most of the action happening at the office). Her talent was quickly noticed and her character was given more storylines (Rose Marie didn't get along with her very well for this reason), and Dick was won over. Side note: They were said to each have crushes on the other at certain points throughout the show. *blushes* So cute!

- The show was actually based on Carl Reiner's time writing for "Your Show of Shows" with Sid Caesar. The character of Buddy was based on Mel Brooks.

- Buddy (friend and "co-writer" to Dick's character) and Mel (the "show's" producer) were actually great friends in real life despite having characters that are constantly at each other's throats. As a matter of fact, they used to get together and have drinks after work to see what zingers they could come up with.

Ohhh, it just keeps going. Of course, my favorite bit of trivia happens in our very own living room. Hadley sometimes finds himself smitten with Laura, giving the TV doe eyes and getting shy. It's these times when he decides to shout out to her -- "Mama! Mama, mama, mama!" I could possibly be flattered, but I know that anyone who appears to be a) a woman or b) in pairs, he tends to refer to that way.

We also ADORE the fact that they tried very hard to keep slang out of conversation in order to make the show seem less timely. In other words, it has held up VERY well (for the most part) and we find ourselves laughing our butts off today.

What about your family? Do you have any quirky favorites?

Friday, April 11, 2014

Food Revolution Day -- Again

It's that time again! Rollin' right around the corner, May 16th is Food Revolution Day (#frd2014), hooray!!

What's this? Well, simply, it's a way to engage with food in a public way. This can mean a bunch of things and can be achieved a kazillion ways, but in essence it's meant to bring attention to the fact that eating responsibly-grown and -raised foods is a) healthier, b) more beneficial to the local economy, and c) way better for the environment. All awesome things. It's also about learning how to cook from scratch, which tends to be a bit cheaper and healthier for all of us.

(Side note: Clearly, hittin' up McDonald's and calling it a day won't cut it. Sorry!)

Last year, I had high hopes of making an awesome meal, but the fact that Dave was out of town and I was feeling crappy took it down a peg. Luckily, I still found my own way to celebrate -- even if in a pretty private way.

This year, I'm hoping to celebrate a little more as a family since, well, Hadley eats regular food now and Dave should be home. So, while we may just do one or two of these things, it may help you get your mental juices flowing (ew) if you decide to take part, too. Here are a few ideas I've got for our family (there are a ton more to check out here, and I'm sure you could come up with a ton more far better than mine):

- Go out for a lovely dinner. I know what you're thinking: "Isn't this all about making your own food?" Yes, and I know what you mean. However, we have a handful of kick-arse locavore joints that we're dying to try out. It'd be nice to have a date night with the hubby and know that the food we're eating is Besides, we hardly ever get formal dates, so when we do we tend to try new places or old favorites (which, ahem, tend to be slightly more expensive places; we don't eat out much normally, so we put more value in what we're eating when it's locally-grown and well-prepared).

- Try something new. I'm thinking it'd be fun to trek out to the Cooperstown Farmers' Market, buy a new ingredient (plus any other "needs" we might have), then try a new recipe. My meals lately have been pretty one-note, so this might help kick-start me into getting back into the swing of preparing summer-type meals (which tend to be more creative...or to me, at least).

- Plant our garden. We've already drawn out (literally) a simple plan for our veggies (and one fruit), and one of my biggest issues is usually not planting early enough. Given that our frosts are gone for the season -- which they may NOT be, given our crazy weather patterns -- this would be the perfect weekend to buy our plants (I don't think I'm growing anything from seed this year; I'm taking the lazy mama's way out) and get 'em in the ground.

You may notice that these ideas are ones you really can't complete in one day...er, at least, not at our house! I tend to look at Food Revolution Day as more of a weekend celebration than a one-day thing, especially since it generally lands on a Friday (a work day). It's kind of like how some celebrate the whole weekend of Memorial Day, y'know?

So, you've got a little over a month. Are you planning on doing anything for FRD? (Or FRD weekend, as it were?) If so, what? I'd love to hear! 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Spring Cleaning Week #3

The past couple of weeks, you've been dragged along with my spring cleaning drudgery adventures. Depending on what type of environment you inhabit, my to-do lists may seem far too simple -- or, for that matter, far too complicated. You may live in a two-story (or more) house. You may live in a single-story ranch. You may rent a small apartment. Since all of these scenarios are incredibly different, I'm trying to come up with a "this is what I'm doing...here's a slight variation for your situation" type of list. If I'm off-base, or if you have more time to get things done way quicker (or are more efficient with your time than I am, which is TOTALLY possible!), feel free to adjust it.

But, in order to actually get the cleaning done, I need to section it up like a huge meal. Gotta make it easier to eat and digest, right?

So, after last week, most of our downstairs (living room, dining room, kitchen, and any other "random" spaces like a sun room, if you have one) should be done, including storage spaces/closets and stuff like ceiling fans. I didn't mention doing your refrigerator or windows, which I actually undertook this week (don't worry, I totally rushed to get OTHER stuff on my list done...it's weird how, when the cleaning bug actually does bite, you end up cleaning the most random of things), so I'll add them to the list.

- Windows, upstairs and down. You're not really supposed to clean these on a super sunny day (#streaking), but waiting for an overcast day that's not raining (#backsplashnightmare) is like waiting for a rainbow unicorn bearing ten wishes and endless chocolate. Don't hold your breath. So, even if you have to do one roomful of windows a day (then place the cleaning solution in the room you want to do the next day as a visual reminder -- by the way, I use a vinegar-based thing and rags. I'd rather use reusable than a buttload of paper towels, so I use one rag for wiping the wet stuff and a "dry" one to help with streaking), it'll get done by chipping away at it. Don't forget to wipe down the screens and that filthy "in between" part...you know what I'm talking about.

- Fridge and freezer. I start at the top shelf and work my way down, emptying the shelf (and throwing away anything that's expired or, y'know, "questionable" -- embarrassed how often this happens), using an eco-cleaner (or hot water and dish soap) and a rag, wiping down the sides and back of the fridge, too. Pretty much the same thing goes for the freezer. Defrost if you must, but I've never had to do this. Maybe my freezer's not efficient(?)

- Head upstairs. Wipe down your bathroom walls, clean the toilet (inside, out, around, and behind...ick), clean the sink and tub/shower, attack any lime with white vinegar, mop the floor, clean the mirror...the works. {Side note: If you have a downstairs bathroom I apologize, but you'll have to clean it this week, too. The perks of being a one-bathroom household!}

- While upstairs, start attacking the office. At least do the cleaning side of things -- windows, vacuum/dust mop floors, dust, dust the walls and ceilings, clean ceiling fans, and at the very least, tidy up.

Next week: Bedrooms, any other closets, and going through office crap.