Thursday, September 09, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Well, today I am grateful for a great many things. God is good, all the time - but during this season I am always particularly thankful for my blessings.

1. Candy Pumpkins. Yes, I know this is trite, however Candy Corn and Candy Pumpkins are my Season Triggers. You know, that thing that says to just you NOW is when it starts. For me, Fall really starts when I see Candy Pumpkins in the store and begin my Annual Fall Preparation List. I am so thankful for Fall, even though we have awhile before we get real Fall weather. Until then, I can munch on my pumpkins and soak it all in.

2. Chai Latte K Cups. So we all know how I feel about my Keurig. It is THE BEST THING EVER. Hot, nummy coffee in under 60 seconds at the push of a button. I realize it is such a non necessary luxury, but I will take it and be thankful. My Keurig makes my mornings pleasant and easy and I stop each day and look at it with love. It's just so shiny...sigh. But anyways, back to the Chai Latte K Cups. I had my doubts, I mean, Starbucks makes a mean Chai Latte, but they get expensive, even for an occasional treat. And I really want one right when it's not feasible for me to go out (ie Naptime). So I got a box of Chai Latte K Cups, preparing myself for yuck, and I was pleasantly surprised. They are GOOD. I mean, GOOD. It's the perfect non-coffee spicy treat and I am very thankful for a fun way to usher in my favorite fall drink.

3. My David. We are in a particularly great time right now. With him working from home and me homeschooling, we are having more time together than we've had in years and It. Is. Rockstar. We get to have breakfast and chit chat time in the morning and lunch together every day. He usually comes in once or so during the day to get a snack or a drink, goes back to work and then he is home right at 5pm. Glorious. The only problem we've found with this arrangement is that him working from home makes it SUPER easy to stay in bed until the absolute latest moment and then we are rushed to get breakfast (but not coffee - because our coffee is supafast!) and get the day started. But I'll take an overdose on snuggles over not seeing him as much any day of the week. I am way thankful for the snuggles.

4. Our New Dog(s). We got a new dog this week - a Great Dane! We got him from my stepbrother who needed to rehome his two Great Danes. It worked out perfectly, because Laura Beth is taking the other one when she moves into her new house and until then we can dogsit. So it's like we have TWO new Great Danes. And let me just tell you, these dogs are HUGE. It's like having two ponies walking around. The kids love them and the dogs love the kids - especially Allie. Allie likes our dog, Josh, the best. She walks over to him, bends down and pats him on the head, and then licks his nose. It's both incredibly gross and sweet. Regardless, we are so thankful for the new member of our family and the new member of our extended family :)

5. Everything Else. Seriously, we're just in a good season right now. Things are still tiring (we do have three kids and three dogs right now), and I'm still trying to get my groove in homeschooling, and Dave and I have been falling into bed exhausted each night from lack of exercise and crappy eating (we lost our mojo and are trying to get it back - I lost much more mojo than he did, though) - but on the whole, things are good. Happy marriage, good kids, good day.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Homekeeper's Journal

I found this on Christian Homekeeper and I thought that it looked fun, because of course I have my head all in my house right now. I'm getting ready for cleaning and starting to make my cold weather lists and this survery just seemed to fit into my home-centered mood today.

My kitchen would be more inviting if... there were a little more natural sunlight. We have a galley kitchen that works very well, but since it is smack in the middle of the house with no windows in can get a little dreary in there. I think that short of adding a sunlight into the ceiling (which we've talked about), I could help this by putting a squat lamp in there and adding some light underneath the cabinets.

My best tip for making a home feel welcoming... not having a lot of fussy rules or furniture. We try to make sure that when people come here that they aren't worried they will hurt something or disrupt our zen and know that they can act at our house just like they would at their own. Feet go on the coffee table, kids can yell (mostly :) ), and getting yourself a drink isn't rude.

To give the feeling of warmth in my home I often... light my Yankee Candle. Right now I'm burning "Good Morning". It's a sweet smell that kindof makes you think of muffins. I want the first impression of my house to be welcoming, so I try to have the place not smell like diapers or dogs. Sometimes I do better at this than others :)

In cooler months it is essential for me to... have lots of snuggly things around. I read in a book somewhere that you should always have the makings for a nap in your living room. Since all my kids still have nap time or quiet time and all the rooms are taken, I can't just run into my bedroom and grab a pillow when the Nap Need strikes. So, I try to keep quilts in the hallway and a good pillow nearby. That way, when it's cold outside and warm inside, I can turn off the lights and snuggle down.

Some favorite Autumn or Winter recipes are... Vegetarian Chili, Cheesy Chicken Chowder, Potato Soup, or really anything soupy and warm. In the winter we have Chili (vegetarian and meat) almost every week. Except when I'm pregnant. For some reason, my ability to cook a mean chili vacates when I'm pregnant. We discovered this while I was pregnant with Little David - but thought it was a fluke. We realized it was a blanket fact while I was pregnant with Allie. I made the most disgusting pot of "chili" you've ever seen. We didn't even eat a bite. We just looked at it and ordered pizza.

A quick tip for making your house more inviting... Make it smell good and make sure there is a comfy place for your friends to sit. Which reminds me, I need to put cushions on my kitchen chairs. My chairs are lovely, but could probably use a little smooshy.

To fill out your own survey, just copy and fill in and be sure to link up to Christian Homekeeper!

Monday, September 06, 2010

Annual Fall Preparation List!

Oh friends, you looked at that picture to the left and you knew, didn't you?

It's time.

Time for open windows, time for falling leaves, time for candles burning, time for crisp breezes, time for The Unsinkable's Annual Fall Preparation List!!

You would think that after three years of listing the same basic things in the same basic order that I would just call a spade a spade and give you the link and move on, but no. I'm going to keep writing this thing in new and different ways as long as there is life in this blog. A debatable point, I know. Regardless, I had myself a sip of the Pumpkin Spice Latte and there is no turning back now. I've got itchy fingers dying to list out all the thing that make preparing for fall great and nothing can stop me now!

So join me, Reader Friends, as I walk us through the upcoming months of awesomeness - the homemade cider, the apple picking, and the pirate talking. You know it will be good.

The List:

1. Fast & Furious Fall Cleaning: I don't know about you, but my house is on the....messy side. My closet has a few well meaning piles at the bottom ("missing buttons" "is this clean?" "clothes that looked good on the hanger and now look bad on me 5 minutes before church") and my kitchen cabinets used to have rhyme and reason but currently they are just housing what fits. If Summer is the time for letting your ducks have fun and for living by the seat of your pants and dropping routine to go frolic in the sprinkler, then Fall is the time to gather them ducks back up and set them in a row. This, dear Readers, is where Fast & Furious Fall Cleaning comes in. Over at one of my favorite places, Christian Homekeeper, is running a week long cleaning event October 4th - 9th where each day you tackle a room from top to bottom. Dump those drawers and scrub, scrub, scrub. By the time this week is over your house won't even know what hit it. Except, yes it will. YOU will have hit it with your crazy awesome cleaning skillz and it will quiver in fear of ever getting dirty again. You are like the Chuck Norris of cleaning.

2. Fall Decorating: So, after you have your space all fast and furious and Chuck Norris clean, it's time to make it seasonally awesome. I am always excited about putting cute fall things around my house, but I think I am more excited this year than ever before. Why? Because of my rockstar friend, Diana, that's why! She got me that amazing fabric banner you see in the picture to your left. I. Know. Isn't it awesome?! Its very presence has me all aflutter for fall.

Decorating for fall may be the easiest season to decorate of them all. I sent Tot out into the backyard today on a nut finding mission and a two hours later (no joke) she came back with a GIANT bowl full of fallen nuts of every kind and shape. I'm thinking these will go in a hurricane glass along with a nice little candle on my kitchen table, but you could really just dump them in any kind of bowl and add a smidge of fall. If you aren't sure where to look for cute, cheap non-nutty decorations, though, then browse around Hobby Lobby, Wal-Mart (seriously, cute and cheap), and any craft store worth their salt. You could get a wreath for the door, some place mats for the kitchen, or just gather together some pine needles in a mason jar and call it a day. Whatever screams "ooo la la it's fall" to you.

There now. Look at that.

Your house is spic and span, you can find anything you need in under 5 minutes, and there is the delightful aroma of pumpkin wafting from your delicious Yankee Candle (seriously, get thee a yankee candle). Grab a cup of coffee, sit yourself down with the October or November issue of just about any magazine, and take a wee little break. We're about to get all Chuck Norris on the planning so you'll need your rest.

And yes, I know I've now said Chuck Norris three times.

3. Cold Weather Preparation: Okay, are you rested? Good, because now it's time to grab a pencil and paper and get your list making on. Every single year we have cold weather, so it's about time that we were prepared for it. There isn't much more annoying than a huge storm coming in in November and knowing that not only do you not have an umbrella, you don't even have matches to light that one candle you think you have back there in the closet. Also, you wouldn't have that problem if you would have just gotten that Yankee Candle like I told you, but whatever. I'm preaching to the choir. This year we aren't going to have those silly problems. We are going to acknowledge that right after the beauty of Fall comes the harshness of Winter - and that means that kids grow out of clothes, it will most likely rain and snow, the power will probably go out at least once, and we will be prepared for as much of it as we are able. Take that, weather.
  • Clothing - As far as preparing goes, this is one of the harder ones. It's difficult to predict when a child will hit a certain size or when they will start some massive growth spurt. My own children decided to grow two sizes less than three months after I bought them new clothes. Be that as it may, we can all agree that the kids will need jackets when it snows, right? So we need to look at the clothes they have and see what they can wear through the winter (jeans) and what needs to be stored or given away (tank tops). I usually start with a sheet of paper per kid. At the top goes their name, then I start listing the items I know we will need to purchase new and the ones I can look for used. Each year there are some of the same items that they just keep growing out of (tennis shoes, warm church dresses for the girls, gloves, boots) and I almost always get each kid a new pair of house shoes and pj's. And now is the time to think of all those details you always forget on a freezing cold Sunday morning: tights for the girls and dress shoes. Please tell me I'm not the only Mom who realizes each year on the first Sunday that I never remembered to buy shoes that match those new dresses and it's too cold for flops. Sigh.

    Oh, and don't forget yourself, my friend. Get down the cold weather clothes from the attic (or where ever) and start looking to see if you still like them or are wondering why you ever thought you could get away with an ombre shirt. Make sure you have a warm coat that fits (and looks cute!) and all those warm accessories to go with it. I've been told that capes are "in" this year, a fact for which I am eternally grateful. Love me some capes. Dave thinks they are the dumbest thing on the planet, but I don't care because I just bought that green cape from Old Navy and it looks smashing on me. Yep, smashing. So get thee a cape or some other fun warm thing. And you know, all that other more essential cold weather clothing like hats and scarves. Oh.....scarves.....
  • Bedding - Okay, enough about scarves or I'll be lost in onlineshoppingworld and I'll never finish this novel blog. Depending on where you live, bedding may not be something you need to mess with for awhile. When I lived in Michigan you really needed to get warmer blankets on in September. Here in Texas, though, you can do without changing much until closer to November or December, and even then you don't need too much. I usually add a warm fleece or cotton blanket to each bed and switch to flannel sheets. We also pump up the pj's and get everyone new jammies or sleep pants (or just a second fleece blanket for Little David who has been refusing to wear pajamas for over two years straight now) and a new set of house shoes. This is when I break out my fleecy red robe my Mammaw gave me 10 years ago and my hot pink house shoes. I'd like to pretend my morning wear is a little more high brow or fashion forward, but who are we kidding here? If you live some where colder than the Lone Star State, then you may think about down comforters, microfleece blankets, and space heaters. And really thick socks.
  • House - Now that you've got your bed and your body all winterized, take a look around your freshly awesome house. Do you have what you need for the cold weather? Again, where you live is going to play into this equation. What I need for January in Texas will probably be different that what someone in Michigan's UP needs, however, we all need the basics. So start looking around for matches, candles, flashlights and batteries and gather them all up in a bucket or basket and put the somewhere you will remember. I have a shelf in my linen closet devoted just to stuff like this. Well, I used to. I'm pretty sure it is currently overrun with Candyland pieces and upended decks of cards right now. I'll need to work on that. Oh, and keep an eye on both the wood pile and the smores stash. What? You don't have a designated spot for smores fixins? Well, you should. Consider it good Fall planning.
  • Yard - And now for the newest addition to our Annual Fall Preparation List - The Yard! In my house, the yard really isn't my job, but it is my job to let Dave know what needs to be done, and since this summer we planted flower beds, this fall we have some work to do. On my yard list is cutting back the roses, the flowers, the crepe myrtles, the bushes and the trees, and replanting my veggie containers with some winter plants. While you're outside, look around and see how many faucets you have and make note to buy covers for them at the Home Depot (or where ever) before it gets too cold. These are the first things to sell out when a hard frost comes. Well, these and milk, bread, and eggs. Does every person make French Toast when bad weather arrives?? Anyways, roll up your hoses and put away your water toys and bring in the kiddie pool. But don't forget to leave out the soccer balls and baseball bats because you'll need to have something for the kids to do while you're sitting on the back porch with your cup of coffee enjoying the chilly morning air. ... Don't mind me, I'm just mentally willing that chilly air to get here.
4. Holiday Preparation: I realize that there is something innately wrong with thinking about Christmas during September, but sometimes needs must. Since I have a tendency to over plan (quit laughing, I know how long this list has already gotten), last year I tried to limit my Christmas measures to the actual month of December and may I just say: Epic. Fail. There is a reason that it's better to plan ahead: you actually remember to do things. So this year, I'm already starting a little mental activity and thinking about the gifts I want to give and making small notes and getting my budget firmed up. And of course Halloween seems like a long way away, but we all know that it sneaks up on you and before you know it you have no idea what the kids are going to be and all the costumes are sold out. Start thinking now and you might be able to snag a good deal. But along with the Big Holidays come lots of little ones that you would be sad sad sad to miss like my personal favorite, Talk Like A Pirate Day (Sept 19 - Um, there is now an official SONG - Love. It.) Get yer pirate voice on and do some piratey things, Maties. For more of the most random holidays ever, and really, random holidays are the spice of life, go here.

5. Festivities: Now, friends, now you can rest. Your house is clean and welcoming, you have prepared for the coming season and have a plan for the rest of it. You have been the ant and worked hard and now it's time to enjoy the fruits of your labor. And those fruits are the festivities of Fall, dude. Find a pumpkin patch and a group of friends and take a hayride with all the kids. Bake some Pumpkin bread, Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies, or Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins. Scour the internet for every fall related activity you can find and pick out the best one and get there. Pick some apples, watch Charlie Brown, make your own scarecrow, or just rake some leaves and nap in a hammock.

Whatever you do, do it to the fullest and soak up every speck of Fall you can this year. It only comes once, you know :)

Friday, September 03, 2010

Happy (Early) Birthday, Self!!!

You all know I love my birthday so there's no need to be coy - I'm starting the celebrating early with my fancy birthday header so I can drag out the awesome!

Tonight is Date Night and Dave and I will be rocking out a little Dominos and I will be consuming not one but TWO Lava Cakes all by my onesie. Yep, that's right. On my birthday I get two lava cakes. It's how I roll. And tomorrow on my actual birthday I'll be going out with some friends for a tasty dinner and some B-I-N-G-O baby!

I know! What an awesome birthday!

I hope you all have a great weekend, and please please, leave me some comment love. We know I'm not too ashamed to ask :)

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Stay Tuned, Reader Friends

In the next few days it will be.....

Annual Fall Preparation List time!!!

Yep, the Pumpkin Spice Latte got to me and now I'm all atwitter over fall. Do join me :)