Being Prepared

Ah, the first day of summer vacation.   I am ready for a change in routine, some travel and hopefully some swimming soon. The weather has been very odd, I still haven’t turned the a/c on for the summer. Our pool is only up to 75 degrees ( I am a wimp who needs it at least 85, preferably closer to 90). I am sticking with my prediction of a very rainy summer.
I am prepared though.

I have a list of things to do, projects and activities. My list is divided into four categories: things we can do daily, cleaning projects, craft projects and special days.

  • Daily
    some sort of cleaning (wash the car, dust, vacuum, picking up etc)
    swimming (if the weather cooperates, if not we can play badminton, ride bikes or go hiking)
    spend about 20 minutes doing worksheets or educational computer games to prepare for 2nd grade
    Play some sort of board game (most likely after lunch)
    Also looking at once a week combining grocery shopping and bowling with a trip to the base
  • Special Cleaning projects
    wipe down the kitchen cabinets (I figure E should help since most of the dirt is from his hands)
    wipe down doors, door jambs and light switch plates (ditto)
    paint a very short hallway
  • Craft projects
    latch hook kit
    soap bubble pictures (where you add food coloring to soap bubbles and then try and get them to pop on paper)
    decorate pickle jars with dyed glue (use q-tips to paint on dots)
    make bookmarks and then hide them in random books in the library
    an embroidery hoop mobile
  • random special days
    stay up late and eat ice cream outside
    reverse roles (I can’t wait to be the kid for a day, very ‘Freaky Friday’)
    paint at ben’s bells
    neighborhood scavenger hunt
    picnic on the summer solstice
    make simply crackers candy
    “Little House on the Prairie” day (no electricity, swim in the “creek” etc)
    Christmas in July (watch a holiday movie and read Christmas books, turkey for dinner and I have a Snoopy Christmas magnet kit)
Our school basket

I don’t know if we will get to do everything on the list.  I recognize the need for unstructured time too.  But I am prepared for when the I’m bored whine comes out or he wants to spend all his time on the computer.

We also have three trips planned, one to the beach, one to the mountains and one to visit the Grandparents.  Let the summer commence!!

Last day of school!

Honestly I am pretty happy school is over.  I am ready for the freedom summer brings.

I thought about how I wanted to spend my last few days of alone time and really there wasn’t much I wanted to do.  I did enjoy a last leisurely shopping trip to Target.  I went primarily to get a gift for E’s teacher but it was nice to just browse around and pick up a few odd items.

I bought some of those removable decals, one set of the Eiffel tower to decorate my closet doors and some glow in the dark stars and moons for my son’s ceiling.  I hope they stick okay since the ceiling has a slight texture to it.  I put up enough to surprise him tonight and if they seem to be sticking okay we can add more together.  I also got an oversize badminton set which I hid in the back yard.  I decided to get the oversized set so I would a have a fighting chance to return the birdie once in awhile.

I also picked up a new eyeshadow.  It is such a small thing, I don’t wear much makeup, especially in the summer when we are swimming all the time but I saw this group of colors that I really loved and I went for it.  I can’t remember the last time I bought eyeshadow and for some reason this tiny treat felt like quite the, well treat.

Tonight for dinner we are having ice cream and cake with chicken nachos for dessert.  I think I am more excited about the start of summer vacation then my son is but I am sure he will get over it!

A simple wacky cake

I made a chocolate wacky cake, iced it with leftover vanilla frosting and sprinkled chocolate chips on top so the cake matched the chocolate chip ice cream we had with it.

The comfort of finding a church

After a long, arduous search I feel I have finally found a church home.  It took quite a few Sunday mornings sitting in various denominations of  churches feeling awkward and out of place but I persevered and succeeded.

Back in Sept 2013 I  wrote a blog post (traceyr1984’s blog)   about the search. Since then I have continued trying out different churches and none of them fit quite right.

Frankly I was getting tired of feeling awkwardly out of place on Sunday mornings and running out of relatively nearby churches to visit. There was one more church, Lutheran,  nearby and I decided I had nothing to lose.

For me I have always thought the Lutheran, Presbyterian and Methodist churches all seem pretty similar.  Sort of like Mexican food: same ingredients,  just put together in different ways.  It made sense to visit the Lutheran’s.  My husband’s family is Lutheran and some of my Aunts and Uncles are too.   I drive by this church all the time, it is less than 10 minutes from my house.

So why did it take me so long to check it out?  It is a really weird reason.  A long time ago I saw on their message board that the Mayor was going to speak at a Sunday service.  For some unknown reason this struck me as odd.  Honestly, I cannot explain it.  I told myself to get over it and check it out.  And I did.  And I am glad.

For once I didn’t feel awkward or like an intruder.  I was comfortable being there and when I left I felt comforted.  On the drive home I felt a huge sense of relief.  The search was over!  But what if it was a fluke?  I deflated a bit and vowed to return the following week.  Having now been going for six weeks  I am pleased to report it was not a fluke.

I was a little nervous when they did the switch from the two service winter schedule to the one service summer schedule, two weeks ago but I survived.  The music is different for the two services but not very.  One is organ and one is piano.  They alternate service types for the summer.  I felt relief that electric guitars and steel drums were not involved.

The Pastor suits me.  He is unassuming, your favorite cardigan sweater on a gray day.  I find his sermons simple and comforting somehow.   They make you think,  but not in an ‘in your face’ kind of way.

One of the  church’s volunteer projects is to  provide and serve a meal to a homeless shelter once a month.  I signed up for a dessert this month.  It feels good to find a way to help that I am comfortable with.  I am hoping to provide something most months and get my son to help.  It will be good for both of us to remember all we have while filling the stomachs of those less fortunate.

I am not sure why after all these years I felt the need to find a church home but it feels right in my heart.  Now I have cookies to bake….snickerdoodles that will hopefully provide some men in a shelter a small moment of comfort the same way finding a church has brought a feeling of comfort to me.


Spring Fever?

The weather has continued to be very strange. We had rain on Monday and temps are back in the 80’s so I have turned the a/c off.
I woke up Tuesday in no mood for the normal routine. The routine is starting to feel like a rut. This really doesn’t make sense as I have been doing lots of different projects lately. In addition to making my triptych and organizing my closet I sewed a pair of curtain panels for our trailer. So I have no idea what the problem is.  Spring Fever?
I need to find someplace new to walk the dog. I have gotten rather bored with all the nearby little neighborhoods. Much of the urban desert southwest all looks the same.  Same houses, same landscaping, mountains in the background. I need to find some new, nearby places to explore.

After getting my son to school I decided to do whatever came to mind.  I washed my two pair of older sneakers (it didn’t help much) and hung a load of laundry outside.  I made a pitcher of iced tea and a batch of hard boiled eggs.  Then I walked the dog around the block.  It may be boring to me but he seems able to find lots of interesting smells.  Then I decided to hop on the treadmill and read blogs and write my own.  As tempted as I was to sit on the couch watching tv and eating ice cream I know how much this walking contributes to a good night sleep.

Next I cleaned out the desk drawers, an item on my declutter list for this year. Accomplishing that task felt pretty good.  Then I took the rest of the homemade bread that was getting stale and turned it into croutons.

Wednesday morning after walking the dog I washed my car.  Another overdue task I can now check off.  I have pretty much decided to throw my routine out the window until the end of the school year when a new routine will be created.  I am rather enjoying doing random tasks and not knowing what I will be doing the next day.  Plus the house is getting really clean.  Only 10 more school days!

Yesterday’s this and that

With the increase of my thyroid meds I am feeling soooo much better. Not looking forward to dealing with the doctor but I will have to remind myself how much happier I am when my meds are correct.

Since I have resumed my computer time on the treadmill and started averaging about 13k steps a day I have been sleeping soooo much better. The other thing I have been doing to help with sleeping is turn the a/c down a few more notches. I sleep better when it is cold enough to use a light quilt or blanket. It may be having the extra weight as much as the temperature. I  know I do not sleep well under just a sheet. I decided I am worth the extra few bucks on the electric bill.

I finally took care of two annoying tasks that have been hanging over my head for awhile now.  I have wanted to cancel my book club membership and the newspaper delivery.  I tried to cancel them via e-mail months ago but they make you call so they can deliver the sales pitch. I knew this task would take way more time than I wanted to spend on it so I kept putting it off.  This morning I finally bit the bullet.  It took 45 minutes, most of that hold time. I put the phone on speaker and folded laundry, read the comics (yes, in the paper I am cancelling) and straightened up the family room.  I am not proud of this but I really wasn’t in the mood for the sales pitch so I lied.  I told them I was moving overseas and my internet access would be spotty.  I am sure I saved another 10 or 20 minutes of wasted time.  I am glad to finally get those tasks off my to-do list.  I may have to celebrate by watching “Mr. Selfridge” this afternoon!

Summer sunshine in the Southwest

I love the really big windows in my house, especially the ones with arched tops. Two of those windows face North including the living room one. I love being able to see the mountains out of the top of the window and I leave it uncovered year round.
The arched windows that face East (master bath) and West (dining room)  let in a little too much sun in the summer.  For the bathroom I made a simple curtain that I hung from small screw in hooks. I made a template out of newspaper and lined the material to provide extra sun blockage. Fact: I really don’t know how to sew. But the curtain turned out usable and not many people see the master bath anyway.


My Spring look.  In the fall I put up an autumn leaf garland and in the winter a frosted pine garland.



The curtains do an excellent job of blocking the direct sun but we still get enough light.


The dining room has presented a much bigger challenge. First, It is a space people see and second the top of the window is really high. Too high for the ladder we have. I needed something that would be easy to remove in the winter and re-install in the spring. So I did what most people do and did nothing, until this year.


The West facing dining room window.


I came up with the idea to paint a triptych. I can reach the bottom of the arch shaped window and it is easy enough to set the panels on the fairly wide ledge. There was only one problem, I can not paint.
Despite a complete lack of artistic talent I actually enjoy painting.  It is one of those tasks that puts me in a Zen mode, I can completely lose myself while painting.  I used to paint geometric designs or doodles.   I haven’t  painted since having my son.  Paint and toddlers and Zen modes don’t mix.  But now we have school days and an office where I can close the door.  It was time to break out the old paints!

I was happily surprised to find most of my acrylic paints were still usable.  I had three long canvas panels stashed behind the desk and they fit the window space perfectly. A sign I thought!  I trolled around on Pinterest for awhile looking for ideas.  This is what I came up with, part my own imagination, part what  I saw on the internet:



It supposed to be the sky on the left (think), flowers in the middle (explore) and grass on the right (feast).  


I have to confess, I loved the creative process.  It was so soothing, I love the colors and the simplicity of  using just circles.  Halfway through I decided I wanted to add some words using a stencil and a gold sharpie.  I spent a long time thinking about what three words to use.  I didn’t want to be too trite, yet I wanted something to reflect what I think sums up  a good life.  Think, Explore, Feast are what made the final cut with the first runner up being Rest.  I am very happy with the idea but I think I needed a bigger stencil and now I sort of wish I had staggered the letters across the canvas.  Oh well.


The finished project.



This shows how much shade they provide.


I am still not da Vinci but I had a very pleasant week painting.  I created more shade in the dining room, the project was inexpensive  (I had everything I needed on hand)  and actually doing the project was very relaxing.  An all around win.