Category Archives: Home Making

Wherein I Drop a Household Appliance On My Toe

February 27, 2014 · 1:18 pm

IMG_20140227_124245

We got a new (used) dryer.  Our old one had a bad habit of chewing large holes in our clothing and took four to six hours to dry a load of laundry.  These indiscretions might have been overlooked, but the otherworldly sound it made was unforgivable.  Think of fingernails on a chalkboard, only the dryer is in the basement and this could be heard on the second floor of the house. So “fingernails on a chalkboard” on steroids for four hours. It had to go. We replaced it with a happy little dryer that makes a gentle hum as she works.  She can dry a load of laundry in just one cycle.  I love her.

The only way to get her where she needed to be was via the stairs from the garage to the basement.  They are treacherous and dark, and I’m pretty sure I recently saw them featured in a horror movie.  We persevered, in the name of peace and quiet and clothing without gaping holes torn from it, and started the difficult task of maneuvering her down said stairs.  Yohannes went first and I followed with the awkward job of trying to hold on to the smooth surface of a dryer from above. Read More →

December

December 31, 2012 · 5:31 pm

Nati, Christmas 2012

Dear blog,

December has been busy. Sorry I neglected you.  How about some Christmas tree decorating tips to save a little time next year?

Step 1: Put up Christmas tree.

Step 2: Carefully string lights on tree.

Step 3: Plug in lights only to find that they don’t work.

Step 4: Wish you would have done steps 2 and 3 in a different order.

Step 5: Unstring lights, check for broken light, growl in frustration, throw away lights, buy new lights, restring lights on tree.

My side of the family decided to make homemade gifts this year. It’s fun to make homemade gifts for Christmas.  The best part is that you  have to get to stay up all night on Christmas Eve to get them done, just like Santa. Speaking of Santa, what do you do when you realize your child actually believes in Santa?  I don’t remember ever believing in Santa.

Christmas morning was lovely.

Nati, Christmas 2012

Nati, Christmas 2012

Lily, Christmas 2012

Lily, Christmas 2012

If only the camera hadn’t stopped working after the first two pictures.

Now it’s New Year’s Eve.  I’ll be using tonight to rest and remember the year fondly.  2013 looks to be brimming with changes, but more on that later. Happy New Year, everyone!

Absentee

August 23, 2012 · 2:34 pm

During the past several weeks as we have been rearranging our house, I haven’t had much to say.  Partly because my days are full.  Partly because they are full with housework.  Maybe it’s because I hate don’t love housework to begin with, but I just can’t think of anything good or interesting to say about it.

Meanwhile, Nati continues to entertain.  While we were out to eat with my dad one day, Nati smiled sweetly at the elderly lady at the table across from us.  Then he sat up, pointed at her with his full arm extended, and said loudly, “Mama, I just smiled at that black lady!”  She was white.

“Mommy, I have some mama-milk for Lily.”

Also, Lily is now crawling!  Hello, mobility.  Goodbye, safety and easy parenting.

I’ll think of something interesting to say in a few days when the house is finally in order.  I hope.

A Tragedy

August 8, 2012 · 4:43 pm

Yohannes is gone.  He’s only on a work trip for a couple days, but I needed something to cheer me up.  What’s that you say? Chocolate? Well, I don’t mind if I do.

So I decided to try to make this:

Grasshopper Mint Chocolate Bark

I thought it looked beautiful.  Heavenly, even.  So I bought all the ingredient and they’ve just been sitting in the cupboard begging for me to run out of other chocolate to eat.  Today was that day.

As I melted the chocolate and stirred the gooey delight with a spatula, I pictured the crisp chunks of minty chocolate goodness.  I knew I would probably eat this whole batch, but the next one I would definitely share.  Maybe I could even make a cinnamon flavored red variety and give it away at Christmas!  I pictured myself smiling and brushing off complements as I bestowed my generous gift — Telling everyone how easy it was, and that they could do it too. (Insert comment about counting my chickens before the eggs hatched.)

In drama speak, a tragedy is a play dealing with the downfall of a great man.  This was a tragedy.  (Well, I’m not sure if I qualify as a great (wo)man, seeing as my grandeur was all in my strangely detailed daydreams of the future.)  As I reached the step where I put mint extract and food coloring into the chocolate it all went to crap.  Apparently there is this baking secret that you are only entitled to know after you have screwed up a batch of desert and google, “What in the heck just happened!”

If water (such as that in mint extract or food coloring) gets into melted chocolate, it will seize.  Seizing is when your melted chocolate turns solid again.  It is still hot, but solid, and impossible to melt again. Basically, what was once beautiful goo is now a clumpy mess.  It was clear that it wouldn’t pour onto the baking sheet, but I thought maybe I could press it down with a spoon.  When that didn’t work, I tried my hands, but did I mention it was still boiling hot?

Seizing

As I was frantically working, Nati was whining for my attention. I growled gently asked him to be patient.  I few minutes later, I found this:

Never been happier that I insisted on a wipe-able surface for our brand new futon.

I guess the green food coloring is good for more than just ruining my chocolate.

In drama speak, this is called comic relief.

This homemaker thing is way out of my league.  Maybe I’ll go to med school, or something easy like that.  And after failing at life at this recipe, I could really use some chocolate.  Who cares if it’s clumpy. :-)

Yum.

DIY Wall Map

August 1, 2012 · 10:46 am

DIY Wall Map

I DIMed! (Did It Myself.)  I’ve been seeing this wall map made by Christy Wright all over Pinterest. It caught my eye, and since we are in the middle of trying to bring our barren walls to life, I decided to give it a try. Read More →

The Secret

July 21, 2012 · 8:00 am

Hundreds, maybe even thousands of years ago, pretty close to the beginning of time, a pact was made.  This pact was sacred, never to be broken lest the whole universe implode.  The purpose of the pact was to protect The Secret (aka how people with children keep the house clean) from those who are not worthy of it.

Apparently I am not worthy.  But if anyone could just tell me what I need to do to be let in on the pact, that would be so awesome.  I would make you cookies.  Give you a massage.  Create a direct deposit of all the money in my bank account into yours.

I had been doing pretty well there for a while.  Then we went on vacation and immediately upon our return got the stomach flu.  So there’s that.  I feel like I keep walking into my kitchen and seeing the piles of dishes, and thinking to myself, “But I just did the dishes!”  And then I realize that it was actually a couple days ago. So there’s that.

So I’ve been feeling a lot like this lately:

“What did you do all day?”

At least when I first looked at the picture, I thought it captured my feelings quite well.  But the more I look at it, I have to reconsider.  I mean, holy moly, that is a clean kitchen.  The wood is literally shining.  There aren’t even streams of dried yogurt decorating the table.  Check out the well-stocked bowl of un-rotten fruit. The jello neatly stacked in the fridge.  This woman baked a cake. And does her shirt match her pants?  I take it back.  This woman is obviously in on The Secret.  I now feel both the compulsion to jealously despise her and grovel at her feet for information.

So, if you are one of the chosen who is in on the pact and knows The Secret, I am begging you here. Anything, up to half of my my whole kingdom for The Secret.  (Okay, so technically, I’m not the king of anything, but I think you understand my point.)

What’s that you say? Time management and self discipline?  Oh.  Well can anyone tell me the secret to how you can improve your time management and self discipline?  Up to half of my kingdom.  Seriously.

Marriage

July 15, 2012 · 2:08 pm

My parents and sister Naomi went down to Richmond to visit my sister Hannah this weekend.  Hannah is getting married in less than a month (!) and they were dropping off some things for the newlyweds’ home.  I sent along these “messages in eggs.”

Message in an Egg.

I saw the idea on Pinterest and thought it would be something cool to try for her Bridal shower.  Before the shower, I blew out 30 eggs and then at the shower, people could paint them and put a note inside with encouragement or marriage advice.  I ended up taking them home to finish the leftovers, which is why my parents took them down this weekend.

If you feel tempted to try this, there are a few pointers I would give you.

1. Do less than 30 eggs.  Like maybe 1. Or 5.

2.  Don’t do it when you have a friend over at your house.  They will see you blowing out 30 eggs and you will look and feel ridiculous.  Then you will both not be able to stop laughing, and you can’t blow out eggs when you’re laughing.

3.  Do it when you have a friend over at your house.  Preferably around breakfast time.  That way there will be more people to eat all those eggs you now have to scramble up.  Pick a good friend, because it is maybe a little weird (verging on gross) to eat eggs that you blew out of their shells.

After the shower and before we sent the eggs down to Hannah, Nati helped me to finish decorating them and stuffing them with messages.

Nati:  Mama, what are we gonna do with the eggs?

Me: We’re making them for Auntie Hannah, because Hannah and Pierce are getting married.

Nati: But Mama, why are Hannah and Pierce getting married?

Me: Because they love each other very much.  Sometimes when people get very big and old [compared to a 2 year old] and love each other very much, they get married.

Nati: Oh…  Nati loves Lia very much, so Nati will marry Lia.

Me: Well, people don’t marry their cousins, but that’s very nice that you love her so much.

Nati: Oh… But who should I marry, Mama?

Me: I don’t know Honey, but you don’t have to decide right now.

Nati: Okay.  How ’bout Grandma and Pop Pop?

Me: Well Grandma and Pop Pop are already married to each other.

Nati: Okay.  But Mama, who should I marry?

I’m not sure how I finally stemmed the tide of questions, but if this is any indication, boy are there a few other talks I am not looking forward to.

Yes. One of those.

July 11, 2012 · 5:44 pm

It’s been one of those days when you are halfway through grocery shopping with two fussy kids when you realize that you are not completely over the stomach bug you’ve had for the last few days.  Yes. One of those.  When I got to the checkout line, the elderly lady in front of us looked at me and the kids sympathetically and said, “It can be really hard.”  Thank you, dear lady, for understanding.

We drove home, during which time both fussy kids fell asleep.  Now here was my dilemma:  Do I wake the kids up and sacrifice the few, few moments of peace and quiet that have been allotted to me today, or do I leave the kids in the car while I unload the groceries and then get back in and drive around until they wake up?  You have to understand that I live in the middle of Lancaster City, and not necessarily the nice part of town, though not the worst.  It’s not like I would be parking in my garage, or even driveway.

Still, that’s what I did.  Left the kids in the car on the street, with the keys in the car and the doors unlocked, (doors unlocked because I didn’t want to lock the keys in the car, and keys in the car so the kids had AC and didn’t suffocate.) So I ran back and forth with the groceries, each time panicked that someone might have stolen my car and, inadvertently, my children.  Does this make me a bad parent? (Hint: The answer I’m looking for is, “No.”)

So that was the kind of day it was.  It was also the kind of day where this morning, Nati entertained me by insisting he had two noses and continuously asking me where the other one was.  Then at lunch time, he told me I was his best friend.  (Don’t worry. Daddy was his best friend on Sunday.)  Then, this afternoon, he called me “Sweetie.”  Also, Lily sat quietly in her car seat when she woke up and didn’t wake up Nati. Yes. One of those.

Then I saw a dead possum on the road.