Monday, June 28, 2010

Day 13 Summer June 24

Today we tidied up McKenzie's room. Since we re-did her room last November (and removed half of her belongings!) she has done a really good job of keeping things tidy. We mostly just went through her dresser and cleaned up the stuff that had migrated under her bed. I still need to take pictures of that room all tidied up!

In the afternoon Becca and I . . . let's see. . . what did we do?? It's funny how the summer days just seem to run together! I believe we ate at the CK Bakery (which used to be the Atlanta Bread Company). It was pretty good. Behind the bakery used to be a little thrift shop where I got a cabinet for my dining room about five years ago. Well, it's not there anymore! So we headed up the road and ended up at Tuesday Morning which my friend Tanya had suggested we stop by. Well, thanks to Tanya, I dropped about $300! Yikes!! The big ticket item was a King-size comforter set and sheets. I've been looking for months and I really love the comforter, but I'm still not sure. The truth is that 8 months out of the year, we only need to sleep with a sheet or light blanket. So having a comforter on the bed looks nice, but it's really just for show since we would need to pull it off the bed each night!. What I have now is a duvet cover with no duvet in it. The weight is just right for most of the year. The issue is that our mattress is sooooo thick (22 inches) it's nearly impossible to find a blanket or comforter that will cover the whole thing! And there just aren't many California King duvet covers on the market. Of course, I could always sew something. . . Anyway, we also picked up some decorative pillows and some odds and ends craft stuff.

Then it was off to Goodwill to look for shorts for McKenzie. She has been growing so fast the past year or two that she grows out of her clothes way before she wear them out. Not such a big problem except for this week when she has needed junky clothes to wear to her art class. It was a lot of work but Becca and I waded through rack after rack of high waisted, pastel colored, pleated shorts to find three pairs that we thought would work for Kenzie! (And you will be happy to hear that all three fit her!!) Becca and I also found this really great consignment shop called Plato's Closet. Their niche is carrying teenage clothes for boys and girls. Bonanza for us! We'll have to take Kenzie there soon so that she can check it out. I expected to see jeans, tops, shoes and bags but what I didn't expect were to stacks of young adult novels for $2! What a great deal! So Becca and I brought home a big sack of books for $30!

Thursday night we watched So You Think You Can Dance and a rerun of Glee! which we all love and adore (we have all four albums and Becca plays them constantly).
Okay, I will add the photos of the comforter and you can tell me which look you prefer. . .
The first one is a red coverlet that we have had, the second is the reverse side of the new comforter and the third one is the floral side of the new comforter. Is it too much? Kenzie thinks it makes the carpet look dirty (although you can't really tell in the picture).

New comforter. . . please excuse the mess! We haven't gotten to this room yet!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Day 12 Summer June 23

Day 3 of the Clean the Whole House Challenge!! and the winner is. . . the Laundry Room! All right, this isn't going to be as scary as it sounds. I'm actually pretty good at keeping up on laundry. It wasn't always this way, of course! I didn't have a washer and dryer on premises until 2000. I spent all my years of college and the first five years of my marriage at the laundry mat! Wow. Good times. Not.

At any rate, I'm good now. I have front loaders that can do BIG loads of laundry, so even if I fall behind a little, it's pretty easy to catch up. The kids are required to bring their laundry to the master bedroom and sort it. I take care of washing/drying/folding/hanging. Then everyone has to pick up their laundry from the laundry room. Out of all the chores, it's my favorite. Not that I love it, just that I don't dislike it as much as other chores. :)

Basically all I needed to do was tidy up the shelves and scrub down surfaces (which I made the girls do!). I did, however, pull the front panel off the dryer and clean out all the lint. I also pulled it from the wall and cleaned the back hose part out. It's a pain, but I'm glad I did it. The laundry room looks basically the same as it has since we moved in when I put in the countertop and the shelves. It's desperate for a coat of paint. I don't want white. Any suggestions??

So while Kenzie was at art class Becca and I went to lunch at Steak n' Shake, went shopping and took care of some returns! Fun stuff, huh? I really should take the girl to a movie or something. We started at Michael's and bought a few things for craft projects. Becca wants so much to be talented at something. And she's just not. I know, I'm gonna get fired from the Mom Club. My daughter is beautiful, smart, and a very kind person, but if God has given her any artistic ability, He is keeping it a secret. The girl can't dance, sing, draw, etc. She is actually a pretty decent writer but she doesn't really enjoy it. I'll let you know how the craft thing goes. . .

After Michael's we headed to Kohl's to return a pair of shorts and a shirt that I had gotten Becca for her birthday that she didn't care for. Her style changes from minute to minute, so it wasn't a big surprise. I think she liked the shorts but they were too small and I think she may have kind of liked the shirt, but it fit kind of funny. While there, we found some earrings on clearance. I LOVE Kohl's. Especially the jewelry section! You can always find something that's just darling and it will be on clearance for like two dollars. Love it.

Then it was off to Home Goods to return the lamps (bye beauties!) and to TJ Maxx to return two little decorative plates that I decided I didn't need. Then we grabbed a drink and headed back to pick up Kenzie. Here's what she was up to:

It's her acrylic version of the apples! Pretty cool, huh? One of them kind of looks like a nectarine, but the shading is really good, I think. She is enjoying her class. Way better than hibernating in her room which is what she did all last week!

Day 11 Summer June 22

Drum roll, please! Today the room we attacked was the . . .


I was happy about that, because the dining room is pretty under control already and after tackling the office yesterday I really wasn't looking forward to cleaning another room! but I also know that the cleaning needs to get done! One wall of the dining room serves as a craft room with all my art/scrapbooking supplies. Shockingly, that area is pretty tidy, probably because I do very little crafting these days! So really all that needed to be done is clean the table off, mop the floor and dust some shelves. So here it is. . .

The cabinet against the wall holds all my stamps! Stamps that haven't seen the light of day for months! The table is from a yard sale in Austin. It actually has another leaf that allows it to expand to 108 inches. And the chairs are also from a yard sale with chair covers that I sewed last summer. the curtains have been up for 4 years or so. I have always wondered if I should find curtains that go all the way to the floor or do they look ok the way they are?

In the afternoon we stopped by Pei Wei on the way to Kenzie's art class. Rebecca wrote about Pei Wei for a homework assignment (it was a descriptive writing activity about your favorite restaurant) several months ago and I happened to mention it on a post on PeiWei's Facebook page. A marketing assistant contacted me and sent Becca $30 in gift certificates and a coupon for free lettuce wraps!! See? Doing your homework does pay off!! So lunch today cost us $0.87!

Kenzie worked on apples at her art class today and Becca and I went shopping!! We hit a consignment shop (we struck out there), Home Goods and TJ Maxx, and a shoe store. I picked out two new lamps from HomeGoods that I love, but ended up taking back. They were crystal and chrome with gray organza shades and I really did love them, but I didn't love the way they looked in my bedroom, so back they went. At TJ Maxx Becca found some more shorts and a cute top and I found a knit top in a pretty raspberry color. Three hours of shopping was hard on us. Becca and I both ended up with aching feet!!

Day 10 Summer June 21

Officially the first day of summer! Day 10 for us!

Have you wondered why I am blogging every day of our summer, even when it is incredibly boring??? Well, I always feel like at the end of the summer it has just gone so fast and that outside of some traveling we don't do anything. It's so easy to just relax, stay in the jammies, watch TV all day. You know how it is. But summer should be an opportunity to catch up on life and build some memories too. So I thought if I blogged each day first it would help me remember what we did since it seems to all blur together, and second it would force me and the girls to get up and do stuff because I would be embarrassed to have nothing to blog day after day!

Another brilliant plan I came up with was to pick a room each day and with the girls help, clean it from top to bottom. After two weeks we should have hit every nook and cranny and have a clean, perfectly organized home. That's the plan anyway. So I wrote 10 rooms on the back of index cards and the girls have chosen one each day. So today the girls picked the office. Yikes.

Ever since I got a laptop (about two years ago) I stay out of the office. I use my laptop in the living room, sitting in a comfy chair. It's way better than sitting in an uncomfortable office chair with my feet dangling. Inevitably, my feet would always fall asleep! So this room belongs almost exclusively to Mike and Becca (Kenzie uses her ITouch in her room for her communications fix). Of course, since I don't use this room, I don't clean it! Of course I nag on Mike and Becca once in a while to clean up and occasionally they vacuum or file something, but mostly it is just a disaster with precarious piles everywhere. So our first room is also the worst in the house.

The office has a long countertop (ten feet long) on one side of the room where the two computers and the printer sit and on the opposite wall is a gigantic bookcase with 25 cubbies. Great for storage but it tends to get cluttered. So the girls and I emptied everything from the office into the living room and cleaned and then put everything back. It took two full hours to clean and then the whole evening to organize. We still need to clean and organize the drawers and cabinets under the computer but it's tons better. A design question for you. . . does the window need curtains or drapes or are the 2-inch wooden blinds enough?

Today was also the first day of McKenzie's art camp. Camp runs from 1:30 to 5:00 Monday thru Friday for two weeks. It's about 40 minutes from our house to the Elliott Museum where the class is. A long drive but ultmimately worth it I am hoping. That means Becca and I will have to entertain ourselves each afternoon because it's really too far to drive home. So today we walked around the Eliott Museum, got a pedicure (me) and manicure (Becca) and then went to the mall for an hour. We ate pretzels, bought two candles at the Old Yankee store and found some shorts and underwear for Becca at JCPenney. Then we headed back to pick up Kenzie.

The instructor is a lovely, warm, older lady with long, iron-gray hair pulled back into a bun. Kenzie impressed her with her drawing abilities. On the first day Kenzie sketched a plant with charcoals, played with clay and then used black and white acrylics to paint the plant. Busy. McKenzie is only 12 but she comes across to others as very mature and she is so very tall that people constantly think she is much older. Her teacher thought that McKenzie was a sophomore. Yikes! I'm having enough issues with her being a teenager in a few months. Don't give me a heart attack!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Day 9 Summer June 20

Father's Day!!

So we woke up at the hotel in Stuart near the beach. We headed to the pool for a morning swim (the pool water had to be close to 90) and then checked out at 11. We headed for home to check on the doggie. She was fine and happy to see us! Thanks to our wonderful neighbors, the Chase Family, for always keeping an eye on her when we are gone!

Our day was pretty chill. Mike didn't want to go out for lunch or dinner, so I made grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch. We did manage to clean out all of our closets and get all the laundry done. Unfortunately for me I found that I have 3 tubs of clothes that no longer fit!! Yikes. We ventured out later in the day to grab some groceries. It was a great reminder of why I avoid Walmart at all costs!! It's always crazy busy with long lines, crying babies, whiny kids, and the produce just sucks.

We picked up a rotisserie chicken for dinner along with some other staples and headed home. Hmmmmm. . . oh yeah, we watched "The Empire Strikes Back!" There was a Star Wars marathon on the Spike channel (??) a couple of weeks ago and Mike and I and Rebecca spent the whole day watching Star Wars. Yes, an entire day. The marathon started at 9 am and ended at 4am the next day!!! Needless to say we did not make it through all of them. Star Wars movies are long anyway but with commercials they are realllllllly long. I made it through Episodes 1, 2 and 3 and the original Star Wars before heading to bed at 10. Mike and Becca were determined to watch "The Empire Strikes Back" but neither made it very long, maybe an hour at the most. So we put the last two movies on our Netflix queue and waited for them to show up. So we finally got a chance to watch it. The big difference for me was when Luke finds out at the end of the movie that Darth Vader is his father. Originally I remember being as freaked out as Luke! It was absolutely shocking!! Beyond comprehension even. But having watched the prequel, it wasn't any big deal. Kind of took something away in my opinion. Next weekend it will be "The Return of the Jedi!!"

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Day 8 Summer June 19

Well we woke up early to watch the sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean, but it was too cloudy to really see much. Oh well!

We walked on the beach for a bit and then it started to heat up and my tummy started to growl so we found a little restaurant in Stuart to have breakfast. Alice's, it is called and it looks like it has been around for a long time. We were the youngest patrons by a good 40 years! Funny.

Then we went back to the hotel to check out and check into a different room (from a King to Double-Double) and went home to check on Sophie. There was a major storm and she gets kind of freaked out. Plus we had left her inside the night before so we didn't want ot have to clean up any messes. We hung out with Soph for a couple hours and took care of some housework before we picked up Becca from Amanda's and Kenzie from the Civic Center (where Lauren was playing basketball) and headed south again. We ate lunch at Pei Wei (of course) and headed to the hotel. In the parking lot we ran into a teacher (and good friend) from school who was doing the stay-cation thing too. In the evening we got some snacks at Publix, swam a little and watched a movie. A nice evening with the family all in all.

Day 7 Summer June 18

A momentous day. . . my 15th wedding anniversary!!

Wow. Hard to believe it has been that long and that I am old enough to have been married that long! Crazy. In fifteen years we have lived in 9 homes and five cities, had two kids and one dog. Nine homes?? That means we had to pack and move 8 times!! and that was in the first 10 years, because we have been in our house for 5 years now.

So how did we spend our special day? Running around two counties mostly! The girls and I had plans to spend the morning at the beach with schoolmates. I picked up Rachel on the way because Michelle has SHINGLES (!!!) and won't be able to get out much for a few days. She feels pretty good considering. . . So then we drove down to Bathtub Beach (in Martin County) but there were no spots left in the parking lot! So after a few frantic cell phone calls it was decided that we would all meet at Jensen Beach which is about 7 or 8 miles north of Bathtub. So we got to the beach around 11. I really did consider taking pictures but there is NO FREAKING WAY I am bringing my new Canon to the beach and I can't find my little Canon with the cracked LCD screen. So no pictures. I know. I suck.

I spent about an hour and a half in the water because it was way too hot to sit on the beach in the hot sand. That was enough beach time for me. I don't know how other people can stay for hours and hours. I'm good for about two hours, max. And even slathered in sunscreen I still managed to burn my back and shoulders. Crap. Two days later and it is still sore and starting to itch!

We stopped and got burgers and headed back home. That is another thing I never do. We never bring food to the beach. Been there and done that and ate enough sand that I have never done it again! We got home around 2 o'clock and Mike was already home. Yeah! Everyone took a shower and then we packed everyone up for their night away from home. We dropped Becca off at her friend Amanda's house (I just adore her family. . . They are so nice and their house is adorable!) took Kenzie to art class, took Rachel home and visited with Michelle, went to pick Kenzie up and dropped her off at Lauren's house and then headed south to Stuart for our night away. (I love Lauren's mom, too!)

Mike and I ate at the Thai Basil Garden in Stuart and then headed over the causeway to the Marriott Hotel on Hutchinson Island. We had a lovely evening on our own and even got to watch a grown-up movie that I would never be able to watch at home (well only on the laptop with headphones): The Hangover. Basic grossout humor but with a plot! Very funny and recommended by both Mike and me.

Mike's gift to me was some fabulous caramel popcorn with nuts (I'm sure there's a better name for it, but it's like Super Crunch n Munch) and a caramel apple from Kilwin's. Unfortunately Mike ate most of it! LOL! And I have another gift coming that is in the mail. . .

Day 6 Summer June 17

Well, looking back, we didn't do much of nothin' on Thursday. The only eventful thing that I remember was making butter chicken for dinner, which was really amazing. Try it out if you haven't ever made it. It's really pretty dang easy. You marinate some chicken in lime juice and spices (I never remember to do this, so my chicken only sits like ten minutes and it's still just fine). Then you saute an onion in butter, add the chicken and saute a little longer. Add a can of diced tomatoes and a can of tomato sauce and let it all simmer about 20 minutes. At the end you stir in some cream and serve it over rice. See? Not too difficult! And absolutely delicious. If you leave out the cream it might even be kind of, sort of healthy.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Day 5 Summer June 16

Well I got the kids out of the house by 10 to get to McK's dental appointment. The chain across her front teeth snapped on Tuesday and within a couple hours she had a gap between two of her teeth. Oops. Definitely needed to be taken care of. While there I ran into an old student and her family. It's nice to know that I have made an impact! Sometimes it really feels more like I beat my head against a wall!

After the dentist the girls and I headed to Tradition. The girls don't have much for summer clothes. In fact they both wore long jeans to the dentist. Crazy! When we got in the car after the dentist appt. the car said it was 113! Ha Ha. It wasn't that hot of course, but it was still super warm. Over 90 and incredibly humid. We made it to two stores before the girls started to beg for lunch: Old Navy and TJ Maxx. Becca finaly found some shorts! She is hard to fit. She is very narrow with a tiny waist but has a bigger butt and thighs than a slim. So most things are too big in the waist or too tight in the thighs. Definitely a Mayo. McKenzie is in a junior size 5 now. And both girls found some T-shirts. I'll try to remember to take some pictures to post.

We ate lunch at Wicked Burger. It was delicious (and yes I stayed away from the girl's soda) but their a/c was out and we ended up eating outside. It was shady and they had fans going, but I was still soaked in sweat by the time we were done so we headed home. The girls and I ended up watching "The Blind Side." We all enjoyed it and none of us cried. I kept hearing from everyone who saw it to be prepared to cry. What is wrong with us? We must be hard-hearted or something!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Day 4 Summer June 15

Day 4 and I must admit that I was, dare I say it? Bored. Yep, it's true. I didn't feel much like cleaning or housework and I don't have many projects going, so I didn't do much at all! Mike and I did take the dog for a walk. We did it before the sun was up and it was still pretty warm. The humidity has been terrible. The temp may only say 90 but the heat index is around 105. Nasty stuff. What I wouldn't give for a pool!!!

I ran out of Pepsi Sunday and forgot to buy some at the store so I figured maybe it was a sign that I should try giving it up. I had a can of Pepsi with lunch on Monday but none Tuesday, so by Tuesday night I had a pretty killer headache. And there wasn't anything on TV so I mostly laid in bed and read a book. Fun stuff huh? I should be caught up on sleep!

Oh, I did paint the patched wall in the master bath. We tore part of the wall out behind the shower over spring break to fix a leak. I had patched it, but never gotten around to painting it, so I did take care of that. Now I need to paint the baseboard and replace it. I really should paint all of the woodwork. All the trim in the house is a flat builder's white. The house is six years old now and the baseboards are looking pretty sad and beat up and they could all use a coat of fresh paint (as well as the doors) but that just sounds like a LOT of work, so I keep putting it off. I need to just do it!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Day 3 Summer June 14

Started the day very early, at 4 am! Yuck. I let the dog out and she ended up terrorizing a monarch butterfly on the back porch. Nothing quite like a barking dog at 4 am to make your neighbors love you. I fell back to sleep around 5:30, but had to get up to go to work anyway. Double yuck. I spent 8 to 12:30 at school doing some instuctional planning for next year with other teachers. They fed us breakfast and lunch and I will get paid, so not too bad overall.

Got home and rallied the troops to do a little cleaning. Got most of the laundry done and Kenzie helped with the kitchen and Becca helped here and there. My house needs to be deep-cleaned from top to bottom and I need to do a LOT of organizing (closets, drawers, shelves, etc), so it's hard to not go crazy and just tear evrything apart, but I'm trying to keep my cool. :)

I got Kenzie signed up for a Fine Arts camp at the Elliott Museum for the next two weeks. The classes are in Stuart (about 35 minute drive) from 1:30 to 5:00, so Becca and I will need to find stuff to keep us busy. It's too far to come back home, but I'm sure we'll find things to do. And Kenzie will really love the opportunity to learn and hang out with other kids with similar interests.

Around 3 a kid showed up at my door to apologize. A few nights ago we were woken up around 3 am by a policeman letting us know that our car had been spray painted in the middle of the night. (FUC U written on the back window of Mike's car) Several cars and houses were spray painted. The paint came off pretty easy with WD40. We got a call a couple days later that the person had been caught but I didn't ask for particulars but we figured it was just a few teenagers pulling a prank. It turned out to be a black kid, probably about 13 or 14. His aunt was taking him around the neighborhood to apologize and to offer to clean up any damages. Apparently he just moved in a couple streets over. I have a lot of respect for that aunt driving that kid around in the heat of the day to take responsibility for his actions. Good for her! I hope the kid appreciates her. In my line of work I see a lot of apathetic parents.

Becca had a neighbor boy over for the afternoon (too hot to play outside--heat index 104!). They played Wii for a couple hours. She kicked his butt in the Family Feud but he did better with the Summer Games or whatever it is called. We'll have to set up some more play dates especially for Kenzie who hibernated in her room all day. Becca is much better at picking up the phone and calling friends. Kenzie texts a bit, but doesn't spend much time on the phone.

For dinner we had Chicken and Green Beans with Spicy Orange Sauce (America's Test Kitchen again)and strawberries and mangos with whipped cream. Super Yum and fairly healthy (except for the whole whipped cream thing). I've lost two pounds this week. Only about 50 to go! Ha Ha. Then Becca and I watched The Bachelorette. Not sure why I keep watching. It's an illness I guess! I just love it! Even while knowing that The Biggest Loser and Survivor have better matchmaking rates. Right now my money is on Roberto or Kurt.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Day 2 Summer June 13

Got up early again to take the dog for a walk. It's not fun getting up early in the summer, but if we don't get a walk in by 8 am, it just ain't gonna happen!

Let's see, oh yeah, I was going to make pancakes because we had some strawberries to use up and then Mike suggested waffles. YUM, I thought. Uh oh, no pancake mix. Now for the most part, I do not use mixes; I prefer to make things from scratch. But I find that the pancake mix where you just add water is every bit as good as from scratch. Unfortunately, I was out of mix. So I dig out my fave cookbook, America's Test Kitchen, and peruse the ingredients. Uh oh, no milk. Seriously?? If you read yesterday's post you will recall that I was too smelly to go to the grocery store. Oops. So I ended up making oatmeal-cranberry cookies. Yeah, I'm not quite sure how I came up with that either, but the family was happy. Except Becca who picked the dried cranberries out of hers. Oh well. . .

We did finally make it to Sam's Club later in the day. And we made it out for about $100 which is really good for us. We got steaks, snacks, fruit, etc. So for dinner we had rib-eyes, grilled mushrooms, corn-on-the-cob and fresh sliced mango. Delish!

It was also my mom's birthday!! And Michelle's high school graduation! It's rough being so far away during all these celebrations. I just feel so disconnected from our families. At first it seemed like it might be temporary, but we haven't lived within a day's drive in over 7 years now. At least when we lived in Utah we could drive up. It took a full day but it was possible. Now we are 3700 miles away and we are limited to once yearly visits. This year we fly out on July 8 and we come back on July 26.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

DAY 1 Summer!

Got up early and took the dog for a walk with Mike and Kenzie. It was already HOT!

Becca was over at Kiera's house on a sleepover. Mike and Kenzie and I took Sophie to the Farmer's Market in Fort Pierce. Picked up some bread and veggies. It was hot there too, even though it's right on the water.

We decided we were too sweaty and gross to stop at Sam's Club so we went home.

Took Becca to a pool party at a schoolmate's house at 12 and then ran to the post office to mail some paperbackswap books and my mom's birthday gifts (and dad's father's day card). Mike and I went to BerryFresh Cafe for lunch and then picked up Becca at pool party.

What I wouldn't give for a pool right now!! The Heat index is over 100 everyday and it's just miserable to be out in it. Canada sounds good right now.

Becca got a little gift in the mail today! A couple weeks ago I mentioned on Pei Wei's Facebook page that my daughter had gotten a A+ on an assignment where she had to write about her favorite restaurant. One of Pei Wei's marketing people contacted me for our address and he sent Becca $30 in gift cards and a coupon for free lettuce wraps! See, it does pay to do your homework!

Spent the evening reading and went to bed early! Exciting start to vacation! Okay, maybe not. But it feels good anyway!