Thursday, September 27, 2012

Bathroom Storage Solutions

One of my 5 things to do every day is to keep the counters clean.  The kitchen counter wasn't too hard to control, but my bathroom counter was always OUT of control:

Everything is haphazardly sprawled out of over the counter.  The problem is - we have this fantastic long counter, but no storage built in. 

There is just one cabinet under the sink, but it is a big empty space with no shelves.  I tried placing some baskets down there to organize my hair & makeup supplies, but there wasn't enough room and it just didn't work.  The good news is there is plenty of great space under the counter.

I looked all around and finally settled on these ClosetMaid organizers from Lowes.  I believe I paid $10 for the shelf and $35 for the drawers.  I spent two nights putting these together while Patrick was working late.
The result:

Fabulous!  It was the perfect fit!

I store my skin care, makeup, eyeball stuff & toothbrush in the top drawer.

The bottom drawer holds all my hair care items.

And the shelf underneath is the perfect size for extra toilet paper and tissues.

Now it is super easy to clean off the counter every morning before I leave for work.

Next on the list:  Get this bathroom painted!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

It's Fall Y'all

It's officially fall and I have been busy getting ready for my favorite season.

I've been working on my inside decor as well.  I have SO MUCH fall decor left over from my wedding last November so I'm excited about putting it all together. 

Also - do you see that gorgeous wreath on my front door?  My mother-in-law made this wreath for the wedding.  So many good memories when I pull out all my fall things. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Honky Tonk Homicide

Last month, Patrick & I hosted a murder mystery party for a group of his friends.  We had THE BEST time - everyone dressed up and stayed in character.  Unfortuntely, no one solved the murder (too much to drink?) but we still had a prize for the killer that got away. 

I've been meaning to post pictures for a while - so these are for you Doug Verby.  :)

Angie & Jose - the bartender & biker

Ben & Jill - the preacher & his wife

Adam & Tara - the karaoke star & the trailer park queen

Verby & Ranie - the carnival work & the sheriff

Patrick & I - the hosts
The game we bought and used for the party.
I wish I had more pictures to share, but I was so busy in the kitchen and I had sliced my finger open while preparing food that morning, so I was a little off my game.  I would highly recommend this mystery!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

5 Things to do Every Day

Have you ever had a night when you climbed into bed feeling like you got nothing accomplished that day?

Has your husband ever asked what you got done on a day off work?

Do you know you have a lot to do, but feel overwhelmed at where to start?

If your answer is "yes" to any of the above, I can on...

I am still getting used to caring for a large house  (vs tiny apartment) and needed a simple checklist to make sure things got done around the house.  I found a decent checklist over at Martha Stewart that lists 6 things you should do every day.  I liked the concept, but not really the list, so I altered her idea and came up with this:

Here is my every day list:

1.  Make the Bed. (During the week - I don't use all the throw pillows, just the basics so this is very quick.  On the weekends, I like to to spruce it up for the full effect.) 
2.  Sort the Mail.  (This is something I am tackling on my Get Organized in September checklist as well.  If you sort through the mail daily, the piles won't grow and important documents won't get lost.)
3.  Water the Flowers.  (Unless I know rain is in the forecast, I try to water my roses and front porch pots every day.)
4.  Clean the Counters.  (This includes the bathroom and kitchen counters.  I always spread my makeup and hair supplies all over the bathroom counter when getting ready in the morning.  The 2 minutes it takes to put it back away when I am done really makes a difference.  And nothing feels better than a clean, uncluttered, kitchen counter.)
5.  Clear the Clutter.  (I spend 2-5 minutes in each room of the house to clear the clutter.  This could be removing something that doesn't belong there (like the shoes that always end up EVERYWHERE) or tidying up a small section of the room (like shredding mail in the office).  The key is to not spend more than 5 minutes in each room so you don't feel overwhelmed.)

In all, this routine should not take more than 60 minutes of your day.  I try to do some tasks in the morning (like making the bed and cleaning the bathroom counter) and other tasks after work.  And I am definitely not perfect - you can ask my husband about that.  But, it helps me stay on track most days and at least I know what I got accomplished at the end of the day.  I am still working on a weekly cleaning schedule (because those bathrooms have to get cleaned sometime!)

Monday, September 10, 2012

Goo Goo Gavin

Patrick & I got to watch Gavin for a couple hours Sunday afternoon.  Unfortunately, my camera died before I was done taking pictures.  This little guy is getting so big and cuter every day!

Hope everyone has a great Monday!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

How to Organize your Garage with Pegboard

Our garage was looking cluttered and I wasn't quite sure what to do with it.  I found some cool organizing systems at Lowes, but I wasn't too fond of the high price tags.  One day while surfing the internet, I saw a post about how one person organized their craft room with pegboard.  I immediately knew that same concept would work in our garage - and so the planning began.
Patrick & I headed to Lowes to purchase a piece of pegboard.  They only sell one size - 4' X 8' - HUGE!  The brown sells for $9.97 and the white for $17.25.  Since I knew I wanted to paint the pegboard a cheerful color, I chose brown.  We also bought 2 cans of Valspar Peacock Blue Gloss Spray Paint for $4.85 each.  This is for outdoor use so we thought it would be great for the garage.  We also purchased a package of assorted peg hooks.  I believe it was around $11.
When we got out to the car, we realized we were going to have quite the time trying to manuever this 8 foot piece of pegboard into the back of Patrick's SUV.  We pushed, pulled, shoved and got it to fit!  For future reference, if you take your measurements before you go to Lowes, you can have them cut it to size before you leave.  We were just winging it and made it work.
The next day, my dad came over to help me tackle this project.  The first thing we did was measure our space.   

Then we measured our pegboard and used a chalk box to make a straight line to use as a guide for cutting.

My dad got to work with the circular saw...

...and then I got to work with the spray paint.

We left the pegboard to dry while we had lunch.

After lunch, we came back and hung the pedboard with a power drill.  We measured the height in several places and used our chalk box again to mark a straight line to use as a hanging guide.  

We still have some work to do on the long piece of pegboard.  I ordered some baskets and we are thinking of putting up a shelf.  The small piece of pegboard is complete and is currently holding our brooms and shovels.

Overall, this was a super easy project and I love the results.  The price was right too - coming in right at $30.   I can't wait to finish the long piece of pegboard soon.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

September Storm Damage

When I pulled up to my home after work today, there were 2 cop cars on the scene with 3 uniformed officers.  What was the cause of all the commotion?

Uh-oh!  Tree down!  This picture is a little deceptive.  When I arrived, the limb was still haphazardly hanging from the tree and spilling out into the street.  The policemen pulled on the limb to break it off completely and then dragged it up into our yard to get it out of the street.

It was a pretty big limb and looks like it might have been rotting on the inside.  I asked one of the policeman if our tree was hit by lightning, but he told me it was wind damage.

The city's Public Works department is coming out tomorrow to chop it up and clear it out for us.  

Luckily, the limb that fell was on the street side of the tree.  Otherwise, it might have been dangerously close to our new home.  Eeek!

The tree was a "helicopter" tree, so the street and our driveway are now scattered with these little things.  I tried to sweep all the big debris out of the street and away from the storm drains. 

I really hope the tree isn't rotting because I LOVE the look of a tree lined street (one of the things that really drew me into this subdivision) and I don't want to be the only house on the street without a big tree.  More storms are expected overnight, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed for no additional damage.  Stay safe out there!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Get Organized in September

I hope everyone had a fantastic Labor Day!  I spent mine cleaning out our master bedroom closet and killing a bunch of big scary spiders. 

Here are the tasks I have leftover from prior months:

May 8 - Shoe Parking! Many families take shoes off at the door to avoid tracking outside dirt into the house and onto carpets. A bench with a handy shoe rack makes it easy for family and guests to stop and remove shoes before going further into the house. (Still working on this one, I purchased a small bench, but not sure if I have the right spot for it. I'm thinking of doing something in the coat closet for shoes.)

May 17 - Open that mail right over the recycle bin. Handling mail sometimes leads to stacks here and stacks there. So when you bring it into the house, sort it immediately. Shred anything that has personal information on it and recycle the rest. Keep any bills or important mail in a separate file. (Also working on this one. I am looking for a good mail tray - let me know if you have any suggestions!)

June 17 - Create a kitchen annex. Store seldom used appliances and serving pieces together in a closet. If you don't use it regularly, it shouldn't be taking up valuable real estate in the kitchen. (Working on this one - Patrick's brother Eric built us some shelving units for the basement so I have been slowly moving some kitchen items downstairs.)

June 26 - Clean out your old makeup in your cosmetic drawer. There are items that should be replaced frequently, such as mascara. It should be replaced every 3 months for safety sake.  (Working on this one - purchased new eyeliner and mascara - still need to purge old items.)

July 8 - Straighten up your garage as much as possible. Then sweep it.  (Working on this one - still need to post about our pegboard organizer.)

July 17 - Thoroughly clean the kitchen sink. Clean in and around the drains. Use a brush to scrub around the faucet and sprayer.  (Any good tips on this?)

Aug 2 - Walk around your yard and check for fading flowers. Cut out (dead head) these flowers to keep the plants producing more flowers instead of going to seed.  (Done!  My rose bushes are doing spectacular!)

Aug 11 - Wash down outside patio, driveway or decks after sweeping.  (Will do in conjunction with the garage cleaning.)

Aug 18 - After clearing off the top of your refrigerator, dust and clean the top. Consider finding other locations for items or discard everything!

Aug 22 - Go through your pen and pencil junk drawers. Empty drawer and wash out and clean. Then test all pens and pencils to see if they work. Throw away anything that does not work, is not used or not wanted.  (Done!  I bought a drawer organizer and Patrick helped me whip our junk drawer into shape.)

Here is what I have on the agenda for September:

Sept 4 - Wipe your kitchen cabinets clean.  Start from the top of each cabinet and work down.
Sept 15 - The days are getting shorter and soon much colder.  Time to assemble your shoes deciding what shoes or sandals are good to keep or let go.
Sept 20 - Organize your baking supplies.  Keep all your food products used for baking together.  Give them a spot in your kitchen that is close to where you prepare such foods.  Clean and dry your canisters before replacing with flour, sugar, etc.
Sept 25 - Make a list of all food/household items you normally use on a regular basis.  Post this list on the inside of a kitchen cupboard.  When you are making your shopping list, you can reference this list of necessities.

As always, this fabulous list comes from the Get Organized Now website.  Also, don't forget to check out Julie at The Hyper House to see what she is up to in September. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Garage - Indoors or Outdoors?

Alternate Title:  Big Scary Spider Story

True Story:

This evening, we just got home from the grocery store and were unloading the car.  The very first thing I notice in the garage is a big spider just waiting to get me...

(Not actual spider  - would never get close enough to take a picture!)
I had my hands full (and c'mon - I was wearing flip flops!) so I carefully dodged the spider and rushed inside.  Patrick followed me in and here is our conversation:

Me:  Did you see the big spider in the garage?
Patrick:  No
Me:  It was right there when you walked in.
Patrick: No - didn't see it.
{We both walk outside}
Me:  See!  Right there!  How could you miss it?
Patrick:  I don't look at my feet when I walk.
Patrick & I have had this argument before.  He doesn't care if there are spiders in the garage because it's the garage.  Which he deems to be outdoors - meaning okay for outdoor creatures to make their home there.  I, on the other hand, think of the garage as indoors.  I park my car in there and when I get out I don't think I should have to be on the lookout for creepy crawlies.  No bugs allowed in this girl's garage!
Back to the story:
I walk back to the car (which is parked outside) and another spider comes running out of the crack in the center of our driveway. 
Yikes!!  Patrick smushed this one as well. 
Patrick was getting ready to mow the grass, so I decided to take on this spider epidemic myself.  I armed myself with a gallon jug of insect killer and got to work marking my territory.  I did the walls of the garage and then worked my way outdoors.  I was spraying the driveway crack - when


Bam!  Another spider emerges from the same crack the previous spider fled from.  I chased him with my spray for a while until he got too close to a hideaway and then I stomped on him.  Whew!
I continue spraying around the driveway guessed it....
Spider #4 makes his appearance.  I squished him too. 
Now I am making my way up the sideway towards our front porch...and guess who is hanging out in the crack of my sidewalk...

NUMBER FREAKING FIVE!!!  I gave him a double stomp.
Now the whole time I am on my spider-killing rampage, Patrick has been mowing the front grass.  This next scene is critical.  Patrick was coming up on the sidewalk where I was standing.  I had my back turned to him and was spraying on the porch step, when who should come whizzing between my feet, catching me off guard from behind...
I screamed bloody murder!!  Patrick swung around and killed the mower.  And here's the next part of our conversation:
Patrick:  What's wrong?!?
Patrick:  Really, you screamed like that about a freaking spider?  I thought I ran over your foot with the mower.  Don't do that.
Patrick: Stop screaming or the neighbors will think you are hurt or that I am hurting you.
During the argument, the monster spider managed to creep down into the mulch.  I continued to spray him until I was confident he was dead.  I couldn't risk stepping on him in the mulch.  Uneven ground could mean trouble for spider stomping.
While I was spraying monster spider, I got a mosquito bite on my hand.  I seriously can't believe I haven't contracted some disease from these bloodsuckers.  I get more bites than anyone I know.  That's when I knew it was time to call it quits. 
6 spiders in one night - this is sure to lead to bad dreams.  I have spider nightmares at least once if not twice a month.  I've actually gotten to the point now where I can realize I was just dreaming and I no longer force Patrick to turn on the light and get out of bed and shake out the covers.  I still wake him up though with my screams.  My poor husband - he is quite the trooper.   
So the big question is:
How do YOU view your garage?
Do you consider it indoors or outdoors?
For the sake of my well-being, this would be the time to lie (if necessary) and just say that you agree with me.  No spiders in this girl's garage!

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