Holiday countdown

Now that Halloween is over it's nearing time for our annual holiday marathon to the New Year! In the past the craziness of the holiday season has been a bone of contention for me, but in my old age I've come to accept it, and dare I say even enjoy it. Well, most of it anyway. Don't get me wrong, I still daydream of vacationing in Hawaii instead of rushing from house to house to house for Christmas, but with two little kids who love visiting their cousins and grandparents, for now it's better to just suck it up and play along.

But first a little rehash of Halloween! I was pretty excited for it this year. I even decorated the house right around the first of the month. Cadence was super excited too, and dressed up as Mal from Disney's Descendants. She's obsessed with those movies, which honestly is fine with me. At least it's a change from the nonstop stream of cartoons that we watch on repeat, and some of the musical numbers are enjoyable (my personal fave is "Did I Mention," it's just so catchy). Also I'm not gonna lie, I'm relieved to see her admire a female character for once. Not that I have a problem with her mostly being attached to male characters, only wanting to listen to male singers, and preferring boys in general, but I do have a problem with her overall disdain for girls. I'm not sure what brought that on, but it had been going on for months and finally seems to be fading a little. Now she's been telling me she's playing with the girls AND boys at school, likes purple and sometimes pink (before those were relegated to "ew" girl colors and therefore to be hated), and might even be willing to wear a dress from time to time. So anyway, she was Mal, we sprayed her hair purple, and she wore her costume to school two days in a row and was totally stoked.

Max was a puppy, because I figured this was probably my last year of getting choose his costume myself and I wanted him to be something snuggly. He was so cute! He loves dogs too so he was actually pretty happy in his costume. He of course refused to wear the hat/puppy face so I painted a nose and whisker spots on his face (which were mostly rubbed off in the first 30 minutes but whatever). He can't say "trick or treat" yet but he can go "woof woof!" when you ask him what sound a dog makes, so that was pretty adorable. And he caught on to the idea of trick or treating pretty fast and had a blast. We went out with the kids' cousins and a couple other families as usual, and it was exhausting as usual, but fun.

Now we get a little holiday break for a couple weeks, and in the meantime we have some more house projects to do. Nothing major, but we're getting a new screen door to replace the retractable one we've had for a while. I didn't realize when we bought it that the bottom would be loose enough for the cats to easily squeeze underneath and escape, so for the past few years we've had 2 very classy cinder blocks on our front porch to block them in when the door is open. And now the screen has torn so even the cinder blocks don't keep them contained anymore. (I'm just starting to realize how white trash my life must sound...) So hooray, soon I will have a nice screen door and NO CINDER BLOCKS to step over! That should probably take my trashy-meter down at least 10%. Also we're going to do a little hot-spot cleanup on the side yard finally. And I'm going to secretly get rid of like 30% of my kids' toys and clothes before Christmas. Shhh!


Jobs and heat and cold

So I have a second interview tomorrow that I'm a little anxious about. The first interview went really well and was actually super easy, and tomorrow I meet with the hiring manager. It seems like a really nice place to work, but it's the same commute I had been doing for about 6 years before I got laid off, which I am not thrilled about. That's my main concern about the job, but the reality is there's not much available any more locally than that.

On the bright side I've been working a lot with my dad on expanding his business. If our efforts pay off I'll be able to work full time for him, which really means working from home taking orders and doing administrative stuff, and weekends filling orders. Eventually he would like to pass the business on to me when he retires too. So I'm making that my end goal. Whatever job I take right now is "temporary" in my mind because I'm doing whatever I can to grow my dad's business until I'm making enough money to quit. I really hope that happens sooner rather than later, but I'm guessing realistically it will be at least a year or more.

In other news it's hot as balls here lately. Apparently we're beating all kinds of heat records in our area, which is super fun when you don't have AC, let me tell you. Today is the first day in a few days that it has been cool enough to even stay home (it's like 90 today). Supposedly tomorrow will be a lot cooler, and I'm praying to every god I can think of that it stays that way for the rest of the year. I'm so sick of autumn heat waves! Seems they've been nonstop since the end of summer and I am ready to put away my flip flops and sundresses already and stop having to shave my legs for a few months!

We've also been fighting colds and coughs nonstop around here. Max came down with an ear infection and when we went to the doctor yesterday we discovered that Cadence had one too! They've each had a cough for at least 2 weeks (and so have I), so I'm hoping the antibiotics finally knock it out. I just don't understand why these sicknesses seem to linger all the time lately. I hate giving them antibiotics and I wouldn't if it was just a cold, but with the ear infections I figure we have to. We go to a large family practice and the doctor we've been seeing lately seems to jump to antibiotics every time we visit. Next time we go for a checkup I think I'm going to talk to our regular pediatrician about it and see why that is.

Yeah so not much of interest happening in my life. I've noticed that my party planning posts have gotten lots of hits since I posted them on Pinterest; unfortunately I can't afford to plan any parties right now! I have tons of ideas too. I would love to do a kids' Halloween party someday, and a vintage Christmas party. Last year we hosted Friendsgiving and that was a big hit. Maybe it would be fun to write some posts about the parties I want to throw until I can actually afford to throw one. That will ease the itch and give me something to do when I need to hide from my kids for a few minutes! (Yes that's what I'm doing right now.)


I am the storage solution queen

Okay so my open shelving project in the kitchen is officially complete, here it is in case you wanted to see:

Ooh, aah! Baskets were a steal at $15 for 2 on Amazon Prime.

...And so is the pegboard-over-the-stove project! That one turned out to be ridiculously easy and cheap! We bought an $8 white pegboard from Home Depot, cut it to size with a circular saw, hung it up using stainless steel bolt spacers between the wall and the board, and hung up a bunch of utensils that were taking up ample drawer space... A-like so:

I'm pretty excited that my green mason jars fit perfectly in that basket, so my non-hangable utensils are still out of the drawer and within easy reach.

The baskets were purchased in a set of 3, also from Home Depot, and I ordered the J-hooks from Amazon since I couldn't find them at HD. Can I just take a moment to mention that Julia Child's kitchen was covered in pegboard? So I'm feeling like a legit chef right about now. And I'm fully appreciating the fact that locating my cork screw is easier than ever without all those pesky spoons and ladles in the way.

My kitchen chalkboard is also nearly complete. It has taken 4 coats of chalkboard paint, 4 sanding sessions, and like 2 weeks, but at least I'm done painting now. We still have to pick out trim for the frame, and then cut, paint, and install it. It is going just to the right of the open shelves.

So the other day I was so excited to be in my kitchen with my satisfying updates, that I mentioned to the Hubs that we should finally replace our awkward old stereo cabinet/bookcase with the big bookcase I acquired from my old job. While the old bookcase was too short and too deep, the "new" one is completely the wrong color to go in our living room and I've never gotten around to painting it like I initially planned. But we really need the storage space, so I decided color scheme be damned,  storage is more important and I'll get around to painting it eventually...one day...maybe. Well we got it done, and even though the color is all wrong, I still think it's an improvement:

Before: This cabinet/bookcase is short, narrow, and deep (you can't tell from this pic, but it's like 18" deep). The room looks super cluttered. And in case you're wondering, yep, Max's "changing table" is in the living room. The joys of living in a 900 square foot house with 4 people.

After (but before I really organized the shelves): 7' tall and 3' wide, but only 12" deep, it looks more streamlined, and makes the room feel more spacious. I'm planning to paint the frame black, and the back of it to match the wall. 

And while I was waiting for my BIL to show up and help hubs move the 7' tall bookcase from the garage to the living room, brilliant inspiration struck! I decided to remove the feet from the old bookcase and use it at shelves in my bedroom closet, where we currently store Max's clothes. We'd been using yet another old storage device - a 2-drawer mini-dresser-thing, but the crap cardboard bottoms fell out of both drawers so that it was completely useless. Now none of Max's clothes are hanging anymore but the closet looks much better and I can actually find what I'm looking for when I get him dressed.

The more projects we complete, the more I find to do - like now I need to clear off the top of the fridge and microwave, and we're considering trading rooms so that Cadence and Max can share the bigger bedroom and keep their toys in there. I'll probably tackle the fridge and microwave first though.