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I started working from home on February 1. I absolutely love it and don’t miss going into the office at all – especially the whole hair and make up thing every day! (Don’t worry – I haven’t turned into a hermit. I bring the kids to “work” each morning and get out for meetings and such. If I start talking to the toaster I’ll schedule more frequent lunch dates.)

This past Friday, though, I experienced something that tells me that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.

I was working from my living room floor on Friday afternoon (don’t ask – long story about fetal positioning blah blah) and I heard some crying coming from outside.

I thought maybe it was the neighbors coming home after school and that their son didn’t want to go inside.

Then I heard this pacing on the sidewalk and poked my head out the front window to see what was going on, and saw a little boy about to cross the street. He was super little, about Peter’s size, and it made me vow that my kids wouldn’t be allowed to walk around town on their own until they were at least 14.

He kept looking back and forth at the road and then behind him, as if waiting for somebody to catch up to him. Cars were stopping to let him pass, but he didn’t go.

I ran out to the porch and asked if he needed help crossing the road. He said yes. I threw on some shoes and ran out to him.

We crossed the street and I asked him where he was going. He said he was going to his babysitter Roxy’s house. I asked him how old he was (kindergarten) and if he went to the school just down the street from us (yes). I asked him how far Roxy’s house was and he said he knew what it looked like, but not where to turn.

He also mentioned that he goes to her house on the “S” days (Saturday and Sunday). I told him that it was an “F” day, and that maybe we should call his mommy just to check and see if he was supposed to go to Roxy’s.

I asked him if he knew his phone number (he did) and told him that we should probably go back to my house and call his house to see if his parents were home (he thought his mom would be working, but didn’t know where she worked except that it was a long ways away).

We turned back for my house and I called his home number and got the answering machine. I then pulled out the phone book and called his school. The secretary answered right away. I told her my name and that I had the little guy at my house. She started hollering “we found him!” to people in the background on her side. I asked if I should drive him over and she said his dad would be right over.

It turns out his dad had shown up a minute late to get him, and he decided to walk to Roxy’s house. They had no idea where he was and had been looking for at least 20 minutes. Can you imagine the fear they must have felt?

We went outside and waited for his dad. He showed me how he could snap his fingers and about how he used to not be able to do it, but now he could.

I recognized his dad as the car that came barreling down the road and into the alley by my house. His dad jumped out and came running over. I could tell he was a mix of frazzled and frustrated and relieved.

The little guy hopped in the car, ready to head home, and I told his dad that his son had done a good job of waiting for somebody to help him cross the road.

They headed home and I went back inside where I emailed Casey to tell him the story. His first response was amazed at the miracle that had occurred.

His second response was that we were definitely not going to send our kids to that school. (You do have to wonder a bit how a kindergartener got away unnoticed, but I’m not going to go there.)

Mistake or not, I am so unbelievably glad to have made the “decision” to work in my living room that afternoon.

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We used to have a really boring refrigerator.

White doors, white handles, water/ice dispenser, and maybe a few magnets that may or may not have been holding something to the surface.

Then we had kids and this is what it looks like now:

the fridge

Allow me to take you on a tour (counter clockwise if you’re keeping track)…

This is Mr. Peter after his very first bath at home. It’s been on the fridge for just over 4 1/2 years. I’ll never take it down.

Peter after his first bath

These are our “fridge kids”, otherwise known as sponsored children from the World Vision organization.

our World Vision kids

The top left child is Magreth (our first sponsored child from about 4 or 5 years ago, she lives in Tanzania), then there’s Xhjosi (sponsored second, lives in Albania), on the bottom left we have Jose Luis (from Colombia), and finally Tanya (from Ecuador).

Casey has always wanted 7 children. I tease him that the baby in my belly surely brings us to that number.

The kids’ preschool gives us a report each day of how Charlotte felt, what she ate, when she napped, and how many times she used the potty. This report is from her first #2 in the potty!!! That’s definitely fridge worthy!

first #2!!!

This is one of Peter’s first works of art including the writing of his name.

Peter's name and hearts

This little LeapFrog matching game has been a staple since Peter was 6-8 months old.

animal match game

Most of the animal halves are missing now. If we ever get a new refrigerator I’m sure the lost will be found under the current one.

Peter was in speech therapy for about a year. He graduated this fall (only stumbles a bit on the pronunciation of “s” and “l” in the start position now) and received this certificate from his teacher:

Peter's certificate

We love happy grams from school around here and stick them on the fridge until we get the next one (old ones – as well as all of Charlotte and Peter’s daily reports – are then retired to the bottom shelf of my bookcase. Which reminds me – I should really put them into binders or something).

Peter's happy gram

A more recent example of Peter’s penmanship:

Peter's writing

My sister Sydney’s 7th grade picture. The kids love their “auntie Hydney”.

Sydney

Each month we get an activity calendar for each child. I love posting them and need to check them every day because a missed share day does not go over well at the Davis abode.

monthly calendars

And finally, the lovely Mollie Evelyn. Mollie is my sister’s 13 month old daughter (these are her 6 month photos). Charlotte loves looking at cousin Mollie on the refrigerator and says her name and kisses her almost every time we pass the fridge.

Mollie

This appliance has become such a symbol of our daily lives and loves. It’s hard to believe it use to be just white doors, white handles, water/ice dispenser, and maybe a few magnets that may or may not have been holding something to the surface.

I like it so much better this way.

the fridge

It’s been quite the week. A good week, but one of those break neck, “holy cow how many more things can I shove in here” kind of weeks.

Allow me to divulge…

Sunday, January 31

Made it to mass with about half a minute to spare. Church is packed we sit on folding chairs in the lobby. Kids use this opportunity to party like rock stars. Head to dinner with my parents and siblings afterwards. World’s slowest service and after 75 minutes we get our meals. Thank goodness for the iPod Touch and our ability to distract Charlotte. Afternoon with the fam, then off to teach religion class in the evening. Come home to sleeping family (WHAT?), do last minute prep for my move into home office, which kicks off tomorrow, and do some research for the wedding I’m helping to plan.

Monday, February 1

Regular morning routine of getting kids and myself ready for school and work. Get to school before breakfast is served (WIN!) then head back home to work, combating the feeling that I was driving the wrong way. Settle into home office and get ‘er done. Family home at 5:45, dinner, hang out, then pass out with Charlotte.

Tuesday, February 2

Wake up at 1:30am, remembering I need to pack for my 5:00am flight. Oops! Do some laundry, fold laundry while watching Desperate Housewives, pack bag, take a quick bath, get dressed, kiss the family, take out the trash, and drive to the airport. Board plane and fall asleep the second my seat belt is fastened. Continue to mostly sleep my way through three flights to Atlanta, with the exception of getting a 10 minute foot rub in a day spa in the Indianapolis airport (awesome!). Walk through the world’s busiest (and super huge) airport, get to hotel, eat, absorb cable, check email, then pass out again until later in the afternoon. Realize that all tourist spots I planned to visit that day, deeming a 5:00am flight necessary, are closed. Get ready for dinner and roll eyes back in head with heavenly food. Go back to hotel, watch some more cable, do some more work, do a little more wedding research, and conk out.  

Wednesday, February 3

Site visit for upcoming event which means walking all over an enormous convention center. Participate in tasting lunch, reveling in the best grits in the world. More tours and such. Back to hotel for a bit before going to dinner in famous diner in Atlanta’s Buckhead. More grits (!) and potato chips with more bleu cheese than humanly thought possible. Back to the hotel to absorb some more cable, including the repeat of the 19 and Counting premiere, look for photographers for that wedding, and work a bit. Then, you guessed it – out like a light!

Thursday, February 4

Rise early to beat traffic and security lines at the airport. Arrive at airport and go through security within 20 minutes of leaving the hotel. That doesn’t happen very often. Use the extra time to have breakfast (grits again!) and the world’s best decaf coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts (seriously – it was so amazing!!!). Leave travel companions who had direct flights to Minneapolis and head to my gate waaaaaaaay at the end of the airport. Get there, buy a water and a magazine, then realize I have 20 minutes until my flight. Oops! Hop on board, realize I’ll be able to watch a movie while in flight, and can’t wait to get to cruising altitude. Watch movie, work a bit, then land in Detroit. Rinse, wash, repeat, land in Minneapolis. Ditto above, back in Fargo to my dear husband. Drive to daycare to get the kids, go to Old Navy and Sam’s Club, head home for dinner, playtime, baths, and bed – sweet bed.

Friday, February 5

Regular routine – early again! – then back home for official day #2 of working from home office. Try to figure out new work PayPal account for most of the day, go get pizza at the end of the work day, get home to family + 1 (nephew spent the night in preparation for Saturday’s festivities). Start transferring photos to Flickr (last update was November – oops) and fall asleep. Wake up to transfer another set, then back to sleep.

Saturday, February 6

Nephew wakes up at 6:30am – WHAT? Thankfully Casey goes downstairs with him and the rest of us sleep until 8:30 or so. Charlotte gets crabby at 10:00, but doesn’t want to nap. Casey, Peter and nephew head out for the Monster Truck show at 11:30am and Charlotte decides that a nap is a good idea after all. We fall asleep together on the couch and I wake up to the phone ringing to see that I drooled all over her face. Sorry! Talk to mom and learn that grandpa has a birthday party until 3:30. Call out for lunch and transfer photos to back up disks as Charlotte naps. Charlotte awoke, ate half my sandwich, then we were off to the party. Hung out for a while then went to Target for miscellaneous necessities in life. Headed home to the boys and awaited in-laws’ arrival for birthday dinner. Headed out for dinner, walked around mall afterwards, and helped coffee cart woman who dumped most of her supplies down the elevator shaft. Home and up to bed for the kids and Casey, Saturday Night Live and scrapbooking on Snapfish for me. Decide to take a bath at 2:00am while reading book club selection which will be reviewed next week, then off to bed.

Sunday, February 7

Repeat the moment to spare Mass attendance. Teach religion class right afterwards while family gets groceries. Head home to play a game, then make banana and peanut butter cup ice cream (two separate ice creams). Kids head up to play together while we’re downstairs, with Casey making dinner. It’s quiet as we eat dinner alone. Casey suggests they’ve taken all my Mary Kay inventory out of the drawer and are sampling it. Consider that and have him go check on the kids. Nothing to worry about. Decide that blog is way out of date and should do something about it. Start watching Super Bowl and writing. Kids come downstairs. Charlotte is climbing on me, thus ending this post. Right now.

 

A couple of weeks back we had a little mouse problem. I’m over the trauma now and able to talk about it.

One evening I was nestled on the couch with my laptop and saw something move across the floor out of my peripheral vision. I instantly drew every body part up to my chin for fear of what it could be.

After 15 minutes or so I grabbed one of Peter’s toys, holding it in front of me as a weapon. I walked to the site of the disturbance and gingerly poked around to see if anything would move again.

To my relief, nothing moved though I wasn’t convinced that it was a figment of my imagination.

I went upstairs and woke Casey to tell him the horrible news. “I think we have a mouse. Can you please come and catch it?”

My question was met with “hrmph…uh…tomorrow.”

That was a night of terror, my friends.

You see, the only thing I’m afraid of are mice. It’s unnatural how they can squish their bodies into any sized crevice. It’s violating how they run around your house, poking into your food and running along your counters. It’s terrifying that they could be inside my couch when I sit down.

And now I had one in my house.

The next morning I asked Casey if he remembered me telling him about the mouse. He did and said he would set up some traps later that day.

That evening we were talking in the kitchen and the little vagrant ran right by him into the dining room.

“Get the gun! Could you shoot it?”

Apparently that’s not a practical solution.

Casey set up three traps and later that night found the little bugger in one of them. Knowing that mice usually travel in yucky little packs, he kept the traps up.

The next night I was working in the living room and heard the SNAP! of another trap. I ran upstairs to get my mouse hunter so he could remove number two. Number three came the next night and we’ve gladly been mouse free for a few weeks.

I can rest – and walk – easily.

But somebody in my house thinks that a mouse would be a nice addition…as a pet.

My mom dropped off a wrought iron outdoor candle holder and Peter told Casey on his way into the house the other day that it would be the perfect home for a mouse.

“It would be a nice mouse and it wouldn’t get out of its cage and Mommy wouldn’t have to be scared, she would like it,” he said convincingly to his dad.

“Uh, I don’t think Mom will go for that,” said Casey.

“Well I’ll tell her and she won’t be scared.”

My little salesman walked into the house and told me of his idea.

“Absolutely not” was my reply, thinking that Casey put him up to it.

He burst into tears.

Casey then told me what Peter had told him and I felt bad.

But not bad enough to actually purchase my greatest fear and bring it willingly into my home.

Sorry kiddo, not going to happen.

Every morning when Peter walks by the cage he remarks at what a great home it would be for a mouse.

He’s going to have to keep dreaming and I’m going to have to get a candle.

I’m awake at this late (for me) hour waiting to turn my biscotti.

My son’s preschool is having a bake sale tomorrow, with the proceeds going towards gifts for kids through the Christmas Giving Tree program. Isn’t that a great idea? They’re hoping to sponsor seven or eight kids this year. I’m so proud of them and so glad that my children are going to such a wonderful place during the day.

I chose to make cranberry and pistachio biscotti for a couple of reasons.

  1. I figured there would be lots of really sweet things and that maybe people want to change it up a bit (or maybe that’s just me).
  2. I haven’t made biscotti in a long time and (selfishly) want some for myself. That’s okay, right?

This recipe is super easy and I used to make it on a more regular basis…until the incident.

I’m not sure if you’re a biscotti-making individual so let me explain just a bit.

Biscotti is very easy to pull together, but it’s a bit more labor intensive than other baked goods when it comes to said baking. You first bake it as a log for 25 minutes. You then take it out of the oven and let it cool for 10 minutes. Then you slice it, tip to one side, and return the lovelies to the oven for another 10 minutes. After that 10 minutes, you rotate the little buggers so the other sliced side gets its chance to firm up for another 10 minutes. Then you let the puppies cool before putting them in a container.

See what I mean? A little more crazy than good old chocolate chip cookies and their 12 minute bake time.

Now that you know the logistics of the situation, I present to you…the incident.

I was on the second biscotti bake of the routine after slicing the logs and tipping them up. I returned to the couch to await the next buzzer (I could clean or something during this time but I prefer to couch it up with some good old NBC late night shows).

Only I didn’t hear the buzzer after 10 minutes.

Or 20 minutes.

Or 30 minutes.

Or 40 minutes.

50 minutes later I stirred from the couch to a most peculiar smell. I thought and thought…ACK!!!

I ran to the kitchen where I could see smoke billowing inside the oven. Oh man.

I turned on the microwave fan, grabbed a potholder for each hand, and braced myself before opening the oven.

Finally I threw open the door, stuck in my arms, plucked up my beloved stoneware, and ran to the door.

My darling biscottis (biscotties? biscotti? biscottae?) where absolutely black. Just charred to their posthumous sweet innards.

There was no saving them.

I let them cool before depositing them in the garbage can (I always fear that placing hot things in a garbage can will cause them to combust internally and start a fire. I drown used matches in water for minutes upon minutes before throwing them away. I prefer cautious to weird.) and then tried to salvage my stoneware.

Years later and I can still see biscotti markings on it. (Kind of like those chalk lines on CSI or Law & Order. Okay, nothing like them.)

So…tonight I’ve been hyper vigilant, keeping myself busy with Facebook, Twitter, and this post.

If only Facebook, Twitter, and this blog existed back in the day…

If you’d like to live on the edge as well, check out the cranberry and pistachio biscotti receipe here. Be vigilant, friends, and success in the form of delicious biscotti will be yours!

Our family had a great Halloween night, with lots of trick or treating which resulted in LOADS of candy! I’m doing my part to whittle it down so that the kids don’t get too sick. I’m such a good Mommy.

Here’s my little dragon, Peter (I made his costume this year – bought the fabric weeks ago but, for some reason, waited until literally the last hours before he needed it for school to sew it. Some day I’ll learn.)

Peter

And my little lady bug, Charlotte (costume courtesy of Carter’s)

Charlotte carrying her own loot

Casey and I took the kids and my sister Sydney out for three blocks worth of trick or treating (our longest Halloween trek yet!)

smiling for the camera

The kids had a great time ringing the doorbell and waiting for homeowners to come with their treasures. Peter complimented almost all of the homeowners on their nice decorations or cool candy bowls. What a sweetie.

at the alley neighbor's house

waiting

and seeing a HUGE pumpkin was a family favorite!

neighbor's huge pumpkin!

When we returned home, Peter ditched his costume and spread out all of his candy

Peter and his stash

Charlotte preferred to sit on her loot. I think it was more functional than protective.

sitting on her pumpkin

I think the highlight of the night, though, was watching my two little kidlets playing together.

playing together with Peter's candy

What a great night…makes me want to stop time.

The two monkeys I have at my house crack me up.

They love taking baths – together, separate, whatever. As long as they have an endless supply of bubble bath and tub toys, they’re set for hours. (Daddy can hold out over an hour. I’m ready for them to get out after 20 minutes. Therefore, Daddy is the preferred bather.)

According to Daddy, their favorite toy is my Mary Kay facial cleanser. If I happen to leave it down, they descend on it almost immediately.

Last night Casey left them for a nano second to grab a clean towel.

When he popped his head back in the door he noticed the kids had my cleanser and were about to squeeze the remaining contents into the water.

“Peter. That’s Mommy’s special soap. Why are you doing that?” asked Casey.

“A cause (because) you weren’t watching us!” answered Peter.

Huh. Makes sense, I guess.

I just wish it didn’t cost $18 a bottle…

Wow – who knew that goldfish are so unhearty?

We had three last Thursday and lost one about every day and a half, with Sharkie (who was re-dubbed Nemo) kicking it on Monday at some point.

Now we have an empty fishbowl to once again clean out and store, in anticipation of the next fish.

I’m thinking betta next time.

My sister had one that lasted forever (which equals a couple of years in human time).

Or maybe you have a better recommendation? One that doesn’t require a fancy system, please.

Have you ever heard of a woman-centric house? Not the “if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy” kind of woman-centric, but an actual method of home design.

I hadn’t until I was asked to join a Facebook group about that very topic.

I proceeded with wary caution and was amused with what  I found.

Contractors have coined the phrase “woman-centric” to describe homes in which they actually talked to the female head of house before throwing up the two by fours and calling it good. (Okay, I know there is a heck of a lot more to it than that, I’m just being factious.)

The vendor that invited me into their Facebook group doesn’t describe the woman-centric home on their website so I found the skinny elsewhere (disclaimer: I have no idea if these guys are legitimately woman-centric, but I liked their site better than some of the others).

There are some great ideas out there! If we ever build our own home (and let me tell you, after just reading about The Pioneer Woman’s lodge remodel, I don’t think I have the patience or the cash or the patience or the cash), I would seriously consider some of these ideas.

Now, I noticed that there are a few design incorporations that were left out, such as:

  1. A laundry chute! Now I guess that’s probably more granular, but it should be a staple. We have a two-story home with a two-story chute (one opening in the bathroom and one in the kitchen). I heard recently that these might be a fire hazard and can’t go into new homes. In that case, we’re never moving.
  2. Concealed spots next to your bedside table for a helmet that you can slip on before going to bed with your 1-year-old daughter, her spindly arms and legs, and her new baby doll with the hardest plastic head in the world.
  3. How about a sound proof room for when the kids start playing instruments and the strains of music are a bit hard on the nerves? I kid, I kid. Music is a wonderful gift, but why do kids love to bang on piano keys with the force of a 200 pound man?
  4. An electronic display that can reassure me that I did indeed lock the doors before getting cozy in bed.
  5. A washing machine that can automatically move its contents to the dryer or hanging rack. Then when dry, fold said contents and deliver to their respective rooms. I love the idea of laundry, but stink at the implementation.

What would your woman-centric home include?

Good golly have I turned into a domesticated lady…

My dear city issuing all homeowners a garbage container and recycling bin in order to standardize their pick up system and save the backs and legs of many city employees.

When I read this juicy tidbit in the monthly newsletter I got pretty excited. Our current garbage can is a hand me down from the previous owner. I’ve gone out looking for new cans, but could never justify unloading $50 on a trash can when the world has so many beautiful shoes to offer. This new can would mean that my alley would be pretty at no expense to me (actually – we’ll be charged on our monthly bill, but it’s a small price to pay!).

When the first delivery day came and went, and no new shiny container was in sight, I was a little disappointed.

Well my friends, I am disappointed no more!

As I drove home from work this evening I was absolutely thrilled to see rows of black containers standing at the end of my neighbor’s walkways.

And what did I do as soon as I got out of my car?

new trash can!

Isn’t it a beauty?

Has my domestication gone a little overboard?

I’m sure there are other ladies out there who oogle over the little things in life…and I would love to meet them 🙂