Monday, March 31, 2008

Quiet books and Quilts

Sometimes I get an idea in my head and I'm too dumb to know that I'm not supposed to do it. Apparently, sewing with knits is intimidating. I just saw fabric I liked and just did it. Who knew?

Today, I decided I was going to make a quilt. I've been wanting to do one for a long time, but have never really had the guts to try it. I have had a zillion other projects and a quilt was never a priority. This time, I had the living room clean, laundry done and dishes was the perfect time to ignore the pantry I was supposed to organize and make something.

I didn't start out wanting to make a quilt. I went to the fabric store with the intent of buying the remainder of the cute pink skull fabric. In and out and done. Then, I saw all the pretty colors and that was pretty much it. Some people are distracting by shiny sparkling things...I'm distracted by fabric and paper. Hubby would agree I'm a rather cheap date.

Kari (4) is also distracted by fabric and paper. She discovered a quiet book panel and asked me to make her blanket. I tried to explain it was supposed to be a book but she insisted it was a blanket. It was $3 for the panel. I figured, why not? Surely I can make a quilt.

It was actually a lot easier than I expected...aside from having no idea how to quilt properly. I had already started sewing the border together when I thought "hmm, I should probably lay this out on the backing to make sure it fits."

I rescued a receiving blanket from the goodwill bag that's been sitting in my room for about 3 weeks for the backing. Used up some pink gingham I inherited from freecycle and in about an hour, had the quilt done!

And in the eyes of my 4 yo, I'm the most awesomest mommy ever!

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Anne with an E

Good morning! I'm feeling very positive about things today, almost like I can accomplish anything. As my favorite heroine, Anne Shirley, says "Today is fresh with no mistakes in it" or something like that.

I think I'm also coming off the scrapbooking high from this weekend. I made 12 pages, which is a huge amount of scrapping. Most of the time, crops are social rather than something you actually get work done at. Think of the old time quilting bees, but less productive.

Oh and I finally organized that pesky scrapbooking closet. I was rather surprised and my husband slightly appalled at the volume of supplies I had accumulated! I had no idea I actually had that much paper. I did fill up an entire box of supplies to give away! I am resisting the temptation to hold on to the supplies for the scrapbook store's garage sale next month. If I sold supplies at the garage sale, I'd earn store credits. Now, as much as I love scrapbooking supplies, this is contrary to my new mindset. I need to use up what I have before I buy more! So the box of supplies will go to someone from Freecycle.

This morning affords me fresh new challenges. I'm going to really organize the kitchen and pantry today. Maybe even clean out the fridge!

Here's a positive confession: My spices are baking supplies are organized and have been for quite some time! My kitchen space is limited. My best place for storing spices is that pesky cabinet above the stove. Problem is, I'm short. I couldn't reach all the way to the back and dragging a chair over to find my cumin was getting to be a pain in the toosh. I ended up buying two small square plastic "mini milk crate" style boxes from the dollar store. In one, I store my baking needs (baking powder, cinnamon, food coloring, etc) and in the other my spices! I even labeled them (go ahead, ooohhh and ahhh). I just have to stand on my tip toes and pull down one neatly labeled box.

This is proof I'm not totally lost at this homemaking stuff. Good ideas do come and I just need confidence that I can do this!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Some afternoon thoughts

First, please congratulate me on being caffeine free all day today. And please ignore the bag of dark chocolate m & ms sitting on my desk to take the place of the caffeine.

Second, I wanted to talk more about changing the mindset. I've come to really love freecycle. I don't feel bad about giving things away to other people. I feel like I'm sharing the love and giving back.

I have three large bags set to go away to someone else.

One of my biggest successes in this whole clutter control issue was letting go of kids' clothes. With five children, you can just imagine the overwhelming amount of clothes. My boys are four years apart and so are my two older girls. I can't imagine holding on to something and not using it for FOUR YEARS. Talk about wasteful! This means, when they outgrow the clothes, they go away. I do keep a few sentimental outfits.

And, I'm getting in my crafting/creating fix by sewing clothes for the girls. This creates a completely different issue for a hoarding type like me.

How to COPE

One of the biggest tips I have for anyone reading this who also might be an ADD housewife, is to keep your goals small. Don't try to do it all in one day. You don't have to. In fact, you're probably the only one who expects it!

My husband, bless his heart, says I just have to keep the house clean enough that child services doesn't become involved. Having known people who have actually had child services involved in their housekeeping, that standard isn't actually very high. The floor is cleared, dishes are clean, and the trash is taken out. It doesn't address the neatly organized piles.

Oh yes, the piles of piles. That is my downfall! Since I was small, I knew the content of every stack of stuff in my room. No one else could tell there was a method to my madness! But I knew.

Shortly after my first child was born, I bought a book titled something along the lines of Clutter Control. I checked amazon and there are approximately three pages of books with similar titles. Not very helpful in giving you a link. One of the big tips with this book was to eliminate your clutter hot spots. Brilliant! If I don't have a place to put the clutter, it won't accumulate there!

We ended up getting rid of our kitchen table. We never ate at it anyway because it was a repository for all this stuff. We also got rid of the baby crib because it really was nothing more than a giant laundry basket since we co-slept.

What I learned from this is clutter migrates. Eliminating the storage means does not eliminate the clutter.

Confession: I feel guilty for throwing things away. I grew up extremely poor. Everything had to be used until it was practically dead, and even then, we tried to find another use for it. Here's my thought process: Junk mail could make really good paper airplanes! Eventually I'll get around to shredding things for packing material if we move! I spent money on that...I can't just give it away! That's like giving away money!

The struggle is changing the thinking process. We're not poor. We're not rich either. But it's ok to let things go. We got a storage unit. We placed things in it more than a year ago. If I've needed something out of storage, I went to get it. I'd say 90 percent of what we have in there, we haven't missed and probably forgot we owned. One day soon, we're going to the storage unit and loading up the van and taking things to charity. I'll go through boxes looking for documents and important papers, pictures, but all of that stuff needs to go!

Changing the thinking at home is a bit more difficult. I have to deal with things immediately instead of being distracted by fun blogging. One project at a time.

I'm still planning on tackling my scrapbook supplies today. I'm going to a crop tomorrow so I do need to have those things organized.

Other than that, I'm working on just keeping things tidy today.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The nose knows

I am the proud owner of a super sniffer. This morning when I woke with a migraine should have been my first clue there was a problem in the house. The only times I wake up with a migraine as opposed to developing one throughout the day, is when the pilot has gone out on the stove. Why can't I ever remember this?

I didn't think it had gone out because there wasn't anything on the stove this morning. It wasn't until I sat down to sew did I smell the funky odor.

Sure enough, the pilot had gone out once again.

I often wonder why we even have a CO detector if it doesn't ever go off unless the battery is low. One would think if the pilot is out and emitting fumes the darn thing would go off. I suppose the levels aren't high enough to be toxic.

No one else in the family can ever smell the gas. I guess I'm the lucky one.

As far as what I'm doing today...

I did get one outfit sewn...and I have three more cut and ready to go. And because I've been focusing on the sewing, the house is messed up again. *sigh* It shouldn't take that long for the kids to clean it up. Oh yes, I'm making them clean it. After all, the whole point of having children is to teach them to clean up after you (just kidding, sort of). That's my confession today. I make my kids clean, especially if they are in trouble. My other confession is I'm drinking a diet dr. pepper. So much for weaning off the caffeine!


Today, we're just going to try to function. I woke up with my head trying to split in half. The joys of having a migraine. This is just one more challenge to my life.

I've taken a couple Tylenol and hopefully in a few hours I'll be able to handle the day.

If not, husband is only working a half day today and he can take over parenting duties while I try to sleep this off. This is my punishment for weaning myself off caffeine.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

COPE for today

Today my COPE will be:

1. Cleaning the living room
2. Clean couch (wasn't on my radar but the girls just pulled off the cushions and ewww need to deal with the trail mix)
3. Go through my scrapbooking supplies and purge. This will be emotionally difficult.
4. Sew at least one dress...actually a multistep process which will involve: cleaning the dishes, clearing off the table and the counter in the kitchen. It's a ritual. I reward myself with something I want to do after I've finished a task I have to do.
5. fold laundry

Tonight is the fun night around here as we have scouts and achievement day at two different church buildings in two different cities. Oh yeah...this out to be fun.

Dinner will be something quick and easy.

Oh drat. I just remembered, while making this lovely list, I told my husband I'd bring him lunch today! See, this is precisely why I need lists!

Daily Dynamics

One of the biggest challenges facing me each day is getting in control of my daily tasks.

Most people can look at a task and break it down into smaller jobs and just get it done. I can't. I can see the job. I can break it down into smaller jobs. Getting it done? eh not so much.

When I attempt to clean, it goes something like this:

Gather dishes in the living room to take to the kitchen.
See fabric in the kitchen that belongs with my sewing supplies.
Decide there has to be a better way to store the fabric.
Find a really cute piece of fabric I forgot about and decide to make something.
Dig through the patterns.
Find a pattern.
Begin cutting out the project.
See stack of dishes in the kitchen.
Start putting away dishes in the dishwasher. Get dishwasher loaded (for some reason I can usually complete this task without too much problem).
Check living room for more dishes and remember "oh yeah, I started in here 3 hours ago!"

I will just move from room to room never actually finishing a single project. And that sewing project I started? It may sit there for a week or more before I actually finish it. If it goes more than a week, the likelihood of completion is very very small.

Someone pointed me in the direction of looking up information on executive function deficits. This makes a good amount of sense to me. Basically my brain can't figure out where to start. It has trouble prioritizing.

I really just wish I could, off of medication, finish one thing at a time. Supposedly FlyLady would help, but it gets really overwhelming that way. I've tried. I think one day I may make a list of all the books I've purchased to help me get organized!

I need a small daily list. Maybe a spreadsheet. I need to make things manageable and write them out step by step.

I can definitely see how having more clutter and chaos affects my ability to keep a grasp on things. An organized environment means less distractions visually to interfere with my thinking.

I will be here with my daily Cleaning Organization Prioritization Expectations...or COPE posts. I am hoping it will help me COPE with my life better!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


This is my first confession. I didn't used to believe ADD was real.

I was among those who thought the "attention" that was "deficient" was attention from parents. It wasn't until I had a child who wasn't "neurotypical" that my eyes were opened. I had a paradigm shift.

At first, I didn't want the label on my son. Anything but ADHD. So many children who are just active normal children are labeled ADHD and placed on medication so the schools can have better control. That's a fact I still believe. I didn't want my child to be one of those statistics.

We tried everything. We had his tonsils and adenoids removed. We made dietary changes. We eliminated known allergens. We were told by one person he wasn't as smart as we thought and needed to lower his expectations. Then he was labeled as gifted. Soon, he got the label of Asperger's. I don't disagree with this one. But often with Aspie kids, they also have ADD.

Reluctantly, we began to consider medication. Something had to give. My child was unhappy. This made everyone else in the family unhappy. And who wants to live in an unhappy home?

As I sought out information on ADD and treatments, I began reading about what his future may hold. This is when my eyes were opened.

The symptoms of Adult ADD were very eye opening. I began going through these checklists and thinking "My gosh, this is me!" It was as if every complaint I had about myself could be traced back to a symptom of attention deficit disorder.

I'll get to more of that later. Right now, I see I have emails to read and well...I've lost interest in blogging for the moment.