Sunday, November 3, 2013

Tasty Feelings

I'm in bad shape right now. And I'm not just talking about my feelings. My delicious, delicious feelings.

You see, I'm an emotional eater. Those of you who get so stressed or sad that you can't eat, I hate you.* I want to be one of you, but I'm not. The minute those bad feelings creep in they start yelling "EAT ALL THE REESES!!!!" and I just start hoovering in all the crap I can eat. Blizzards, cookies, candy, Oreo milkshakes, you name it... and they're often washed down with nachos and a margarita. 

Basically, over the last two months I have turned into a human landfill. All kinds of bad crap has gone in and just hung around, being all gross and stuff (yeah, all that "real food" eating I normally do went right out the window)

No joke, I currently weigh MORE than I did when I was 9 months pregnant with Duckie. Granted, before my dad died, I was already overweight, but I have gained about 15-20 pounds of delicious feelings in the last two months. My clothes are too tight and I've taken to wearing sweatpants 99% of the time I'm not at work (and I ain't gonna lie, some days those yoga pants go to work with me...).

To curb this, starting tomorrow I am going to start the whole eat less & move more thing, even though I so love the eat more, move less diet. I kind of have a vague plan, but it is something to the effect of starting out walking  more  this week and then if that seems to be going okay (I tore my calf muscle and it is just now healed enough to start working out on it) I'm going to start back on Couch to 5k next week. 3-4x a week I'm also going to be doing this diabolical plan that Little Man's godfather (co-founder of PrayFit, fitness guru, and all around good dude) cooked up for me:

5 push-ups
10 body-weight squats
15 crunches
Over & over, as many as possible in 10 minutes.

Just typing that makes me want to die a little.

So that is that... Hopefully in a few months I'll be fitting into my jeans and feeling a little better. And my feelings won't be tasting so delicious.

Also, I leave you with this, because she's basically me:

*I don't hate you, I'm just jealous. I love you. Even if you don't/can't eat when you're sad. 

Day 2:
NaBloPoMo November 2013

Thursday, August 29, 2013

An Explanation of My Absence

A few months ago I posted vaguely that I wasn’t doing well. And then I pretty much posted nothing until now.

So, I thought I should share what’s been going on.

In early December, my Dad called me to tell me that he had been diagnosed with congestive heart-failure. This was a major blow, as he had been battling Hepatitis C for many years and at this point, his only (very distant) hope for beating it was a liver transplant. The CHF diagnosis knocked him off the transplant list and quashed the tiny glimmer of hope for a “cure.” It also hit home that my Dad’s life expectancy was being cut even shorter. While I can only imagine what it was like for him to hear this diagnosis, for me, it was crushing. I was finally having to really accept my father’s mortality. It was not a fun experience.

For the first time in my life, I couldn’t get excited about Christmas. I went through the motions for my kids, but I was just so sad. I even attended my church’s “Blue Christmas” service, which was helpful in allowing me to feel less guilty about feeling so sad at my favorite holiday. It just felt like so much hope was sucked out of my world in the span of a few weeks. 

During one of our regular Skype conversations in February, my dad told me of his newest diagnosis: Pulmonary Fibrosis. While we joked that he was trying to collect as many terminal diagnoses as possible, my heart was overwhelmed by the magnitude of what that all meant. It meant time was limited.

It was around this time that I stopped posting to the blog because we had a lot going on around the house, on top of my funky emotional stuff. As a result of some huge home improvement projects and my general malaise, honestly, my house was a mess and I felt disingenuous posting about great ways to get your act together, when my act was so far from together. (Though I feel it is also important to note that I wasn't suffering a major depression, but just wasn't in the greatest of head spaces. It ebbed and flowed throughout the spring).

Unfortunately, because I was unemployed and we had purchased a "fixer-upper house" we really couldn't afford to travel out to see my Dad, step-mom and sisters, so we made due with lots of Skype conversations. Little Man loved walking around the house and showing his Pops stuff and Duckie thought Skype peek-a-boo was HILARIOUS. While I loved that my boys could connect with my Dad, part of me sometimes wondered if it would just be better for them to not know their Pops. To spare them the pain of losing him, because I knew losing him would happen sooner than later. It was a selfish thought, and one I couldn't go through with, because I knew how much these Skype sessions meant to my dad.

And yet, with all this illness, my dad was still up and about. Not his old active self, but not on his deathbed, either. He seemed tired and out of breath, and sometimes puffy from the CHF, but otherwise, the normal that I had grown accustomed to. He was definitely not well, but I think my youngest sister said it best when she said “he was sick, but he never seemed like he was that sick.”

On Friday, August 16, my world changed forever. My cell phone rang. “Dad Home” popped up on the screen and I thought “YAY! I was going to Skype him today anyway.” I picked up the phone, expecting to hear his voice. When I heard my older sister’s voice, I was startled. She was calling to tell me that Dad had died that morning.

I wasn’t ready to hear that.

I’m still not ready.

I still needed to call him and say I loved him one last time. My boys needed to have one more Skype session with him. We still had so much to talk about.

And yet, despite all this, he was gone.

The past few weeks have been a blur of travel and childcare arrangements and funeral arrangements and family and all the zillion other things that go along with losing a family member. Now, I am home and I am trying to adjust to the new normal. I know I will get to a place where I will feel better, but right now, I just feel sad. As a normally happy person, feeling persistently sad is a really uncomfortable place for me. I’m allowing myself the time and space to grieve, but I hate knowing how long a process it will be. And that while it will not always feel this raw, it will remain an unfixable hurt.

I’m sure that for a while, if/when I post on here, the posts won’t always be chipper. I apologize in advance for that (I know I don’t have to, but c’mon, who wants to read a downer blog? Not me!). But, if you can bear with me for a little while, I’m hopeful that we’ll get back to a new normal and I’ll be telling you how to reorganize your life in a few easy steps…

For now, I just miss my dad so much that I barely care if my junk drawer is a hot mess.

Cluttered Mama (as a Cluttered Girl) with her Daddy, may he rest in peace

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Painted Pots

Recently, Diesel did a cabinet install for some clients who were also in the process of re-landscaping their back yard. They asked him if he would be interested in some fiberglass flower pots for which they no longer had a need. He snapped a photo and sent it to me and I responded with a resounding “FREE FLOWER POTS? HELL YEAH!”

Nope, these pots are totally not my style, but they were FREE. I like free stuff. Free pretty much trumps ugly any day of the week when it comes to items, such as flower pots, where function is more important than beauty.

I decided that I wanted them for on the deck, but they’d need some freshening up. So I got some spray paint at Home Depot and went to town. The texture of the pots was perfect for someone like me who is fairly heavy handed with the spray paint. Any extra paint just sort of oozed into the lumps and bumps and made me look like I was a spray painting genius.

I’m actually pretty pleased with the project. Granted, it wasn't “free” because I paid about $16 for spray paint (would've been more like $8 if I had opted for just one color), but considering that at Home Depot, one painted fiberglass pot of a similar size is about $20, I’m gonna say $16 for 4 is a bargain!

(In case you’re curious as to why I chose the colors I did, the inspiration was the door mat on the back deck)

 A little before & after to really hit home the change (and for your pinning pleasure!)

Monday, April 1, 2013

Hello my dear readers!

It is April 1. I am back on the blogger horse. What can I say, sometimes life yells "SWEEP THE LEGS!!!" and you find yourself on your ass! That is where I have been the last month an a half. I'm not back to feeling 100% great, but I need to start blogging again to help shake my funk away. It is just hard to come on here and talk about getting life all organized and tidy and whatnot, when you are looking around you and thinking "I am in shambles and so is this house."

And yet, I would venture to guess you guys come here because I'm fairly real about my struggles with trying to get my act together!

So, right now I am ignoring the pile of dishes sitting next to the sink, and the laundry in the basket, and coming here and writing to y'all!

Now, lest you think Cluttered Mama has been just laying around doing nothing but moping and having panic attacks, I have actually been furiously applying to jobs (and getting no replies) and working on the house. I have spent the better part of this week trenching the front yard & garden for a sprinkler system, which is super fun. In the way root canals are fun. Today I found a partial skeleton of what I believe is a cat. Also awesome.

I also started the boys in swimming lessons and scored some free lawn chairs from the side of the road! (YEAH!!!) So we're keeping busy.

Now, I have some stuff ready to write about this week, some old, some new, but all good I hope. So I'll be seeing you soon!

And thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for the kind wishes and emails after my last post!

Friday, March 22, 2013


I've been having a rough time. Bear with me. I'll be back soon, I promise. :)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Happy Pre-Valentine's Day!

Today, Little Man and I got our craft on and made these cute little Valentine's Day cards for his classmates:

I, of course, found these through Pinterest, but give MAD props to The Teacher Wife for creating this cool little Valentine. Cute, sugar-free, and inexpensive! (Ours were essentially free because I happened to have cardstock and glow sticks on hand). All I had to do was print & cut out the hearts. Then Little Man signed his name and helped me tape the glow sticks on.

I love a good free Valentine!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

How will My Garden Grow?

We're gearing up to put in our garden soon. I have so many thoughts percolating around in my head about what I want to do with our garden. I'm really excited to get started, but am having major "gardener's block."

There is so much to consider, as we are basically starting over from scratch this year. What do I want the garden to look like? What kinds of raised beds do I want to use? Where should we put the compost bin? The list goes on and on.

And I am NOT looking forward to the cost of restarting everything from scratch. First year vegetables always end up costing more, because of the expense of constructing raised beds (I know we don't HAVE to use raised beds, but I prefer it) and getting a garden started. In the years to come, eating produce we have grown ourselves, using our own compost,  will be more economical, but this year will be the $100 tomato year.

Oh, I know there are tons of ideas on Pinterest about how to create raised beds out of pallets for free, but that also means finding the time to procure enough pallets, finding a place to store the pallets, etc. Plus, you never know where that pallet wood has been and you don't want something that is going to leech chemicals into your garden soil, etc. I LOVE the idea of recycling and repurposing, but I'm not sure if I will be able to pull such a feat off!

I have just fired up my Grow Veg garden planner for the season and am trying to plot my garden out. I have had a Grow Veg account for a few years and I really like it for planning my gardens (I promise you that this is a totally organic, unpaid commentary). The #1 reason being that you put in your zip code and it guides you with planting dates. Living in So Cal, a lot of gardening books don't really apply, because we don't have clear seasons. Normally, there isn't a "last frost" after which I should put out my seedlings and we can often grow plants for a longer time period than other locations around the country. I also like that it has a square foot gardening tool so that if you, like me, utilize this method of gardening, you are able to easily plan your garden.

That being said, it is a hell of a lot easier to plan a garden if you know what you want!

Off to Pinterest to find more gardens that mine will never live up to... :)

Monday, February 4, 2013

And the Prize Goes To...

On Thursday night, a package addressed to me arrived at my home.

I hadn't ordered anything recently, so I was perplexed as to what it could be. I noted the return address was "Award Claims Department," and giddily said to Diesel (in my very best dad-from-A-Christmas-Story voice) "It's a major award! Why it could be anything. It could be a bowling alley! You know a fella down in Terra Haute won a bowling alley... I sure hope it isn't fra-gee-lay," all the while wracking my brain for what contest I had entered. The only thing I had tried to win lately was a copy of Not Your Mother's Make-Ahead and Freeze Cookbook and I knew I hadn't won that give-away.

I tore into the box. There, beneath layers of bubble wrap and air-paks, lay a simple white box. I lifted it carefully from its wrapping. It was heavy. My heartbeat quickened at the thought of what untold treasure lay within. Diesel looked on expectantly. What could it be? What amazing thing had I won?

Slowly, I lifted the lid. I peeled back the gauzy foam wrapping, revealing my major award. I looked at it. Looked at Diesel and said "you have GOT to be shitting me," as I allowed one vitriolic giggle-snort to pass my lips.

"What?" he asked

I reached into the box, and heaved out a mantle clock. An art deco inspired, wooden mantle clock.   An art deco inspired, wooden mantle clock emblazoned with the logo of my former employer.

The packing slip announced that the clock was, in fact, a "DeVry Anniversary Gift."

You see, back on August 20, 2012, I celebrated my 5 year anniversary with the aforementioned company. Much back patting and "what would we do without you"-ing ensued. It was a heady day. On September 19, 2012, I was laid-off as a part of a nation-wide downsizing.

And apparently, DeVry thought NOW, months after laying me off (and just as my unemployment is about to expire), would be the appropriate time to send me a commemorative gift. Fan-frickin-tastic.

I am not trying to bash my former employer. I was laid-off. A lot of people were laid-off. It was business, it wasn't personal.

However, this was just too ridiculous to not share. They sent me a gift for 5 years of service, six months after the anniversary, and five months after laying me off. WHO DOES THAT?!?!?!

So, dear readers, what do you think I should do with the "gift"?
  • Sell it at a yard sale?
  • Send it back to the corporate office?
  • Call HR and ask why I haven't gotten a pay check in 6 months?
  • Other? (I'm open to suggestions)

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Organize-a-Palooza Week 4: After


Well, it has been 4 weeks of re-organizational bliss! And now it is over. I have three nicely organized and more functional spaces in which to work. Kitchen was good, Linen/Hall closets were good, my office?

Well, it turned out GREAT! So great that I pretty much want to spend all my time in it!

There is still work to be done (mostly filing. Ugh), but I can actually come in here and work and craft and be creative. I'm so excited!

The rest of this post will mostly be pictures and explanations. Enjoy! (Before pics are HERE).

Panorama of the Office

(you may notice that I did not photograph one side of the closet. It is not because I am hiding all my clutter there, but because it houses stuff for Diesel's work that I am not supposed to show)

Top Shelf: briefcases, scrapbooking bag, extra baskets & bins, photo DVDs (and a nightlight that needs repair)
Second shelf: Diesel's R/C stuff
Third Shelf: books for work and blogging, magazines (his & hers), clear bins of batteries, writing implements and lots of miscellaneous kids craft supplies

Fourth (center) shelf: typical "desk" stuff-- staplers, tape, pens, my P-Touch label maker (that ran out of tape midway through this project, forcing me to HAND WRITE labels; the horror!), box of mailing supplies
Fifth shelf: file storage bins, box for paper to reuse in the printer

Sixth (center of pic) shelf: File boxes filled with project supplies
Bottom shelf: more future project supplies and a box of stuff to file

Close up of one of the file bins. I use it for storing our paper, labels, manila folders, etc. vertically.
Makes it much easier to access this way.

Close up of my file boxes: one filled with notepads, binders, etc. The other two are project supplies.
Tall Bookcase:
Top two shelves are photo albums/scrapbooks with room to grow.
And "placeholder" chotchkies until I can figure out what I want to put there!
First shelf is boxes of scrapbooking supplies
Second shelf is more supplies, scrapbooking reference materials, and the 12x12
boxes are where I store memory stuff for each of the boys and for the family.

I think you know what that is! :)
I skipped photographing the smaller bookcase, because I talked about it last week.

Scrapbooking Cabinet (and annex)
This is the scrapbooking cabinet Diesel built me (out of scrap material left over from a job) when we lived in the Original Cluttered House. It was built to fit into a tiny corner of our bedroom, and the cart on the bottom rolls out, providing a small extra work space for me. It is pretty rad.
On the wall are my yard sticks and cutting mat. I found that going vertical was the best way to store them.

Top shelf: Project Life stuff I got last Christmas, but have yet to start, Xyron sticker/laminator/magnet maker, small Xyron sticker maker and some 8.5x11 paper & letter punch outs
Second shelf: Embellishments, markers, humongo tape runner, more embellishments and my Crop-o-Dile Big Bite

Vertical supply storage. This is where I keep the majority of my stickers and
embellishments in Cropper Hopper sticker envelopes

Cutting tools, more paper storage and an empty 12x12 box

Paper. Probably wouldn't hurt to go through this and purge some paper.

The scrapbooking cabinet "annex." has individual, take it with you sized boxes in it. This is where I store scrapbooking projects that I am working on/will be working on.

Supplies for scrapbooking Little Man's 4th birthday party photos. Which I will get to soon. Right after I finish his second birthday and then start on his 3rd. Good thing his birthday is in 4 months and he'll be five. I'm not behind, right?
Desk Area
In an effort to keep the desk as clear as possible, I moved some storage up onto the side of
 the scrapbook cabinet, and hung a little collage of family photos up above it.

Stuff that will be on the wall above my desk soon. Perpetual calendar, magnet board, inspirational quotes, etc.

Cord central. I used Cable Drops to secure the cords for the various electronic machines I will need on my desk, that way it is much easier to move stuff around as I need it. I have each cord labelled (you can kind of see my Cricut label) so I can easily identify what is what.

Diesel built me this chair to match my desk. He's awesome.
File cabinet. Full of files. The caddy on top is where I put notebooks/research at the end of each day to keep my desk clear of piles. I love piles, but they are counter productive.
Propped up against the wall is a black & white print of the Empire State Building that I haven't quite decided if I am going to hang up in my office or not. And the baby gate I use to keep the children out of my office.
So that is the end of the tour. My last thought I am going to leave you with is this: once upon a not so distant time, a friend and I were in stitches over a website where the site owner had made custom covers for her dogs' kennels. We were DYING at the ridiculousness of it-- they were even embroidered with each dog's name. But now that I actually have to share my office with an ugly old dog kennel, I'm starting to think that lady was onto something...

Luckily, my office mate is cuter than his kennel.
Yes. His kennel is labelled. Little Man insisted that we label it back when we lived at the
Original Cluttered House, back when I was making mail sorters for everyone in the family.
And also, all that black & electric lime green on my scrapbooking storage has GOT TO GO! I purchased them on super sale a LONG time ago, and now they don't fit my "vision" for the office. Since they are still in great shape, I think I might have some box recovering projects in my future!

So how did your organization projects go this week? I'd love to hear about them (and see them?)

Saturday, February 2, 2013

DIY Storage Basket

As you know, I am trying to keep my spending on storage containers to a minimum as I reorganize the house. Reusing and repurposing is my main focus.

But I was really stumped when it came to what I wanted to do for a "work in progress" (WIP) basket. I wanted a place where I could put projects that I was either in the middle of doing or about to start working on. I also wanted something that was large enough to hold a few projects, but small enough to fit on a shelf easily. It also needed to be un-lidded, because I know that if a project is out of sight, it is out of mind for me. Which means those works in progress will never actually make any progress.

I had resigned myself to keeping my current WIPs in a lidded file box (you'll get to see those tomorrow) that was too tall, not wide enough and had a lid, so none of the things I was looking for in a WIP basket, but it was readily available, so I settled for it.

On Sunday we did a Costco run. They provided us with a box for our purchases, and as soon as I laid eyes on it, angels began to sing. It. Was. Perfect.

It also conveniently fits an on the small side 4 3/4 year old, so that is a bonus too!

I had some cute wrapping paper that I had purchased months ago on clearance at Target, so I set to work!

First, I had to trim off the nubbins at the tops of my "basket." Anyone will tell you that nubbins are no good!

Then I rolled out my paper, got an approximation of the length of paper I would need to wrap it lengthwise. Then I sprayed adhesive on the bottom of the box and affixed it (crookedly) to the paper.

I then used my yard stick and a pencil to create cutting lines on all four sides of the box.

Using the lines as a guide, I cut all the way to the box and then in from the sides, to create flaps.

Then I realized I had started with the wrong side and that if I did it this way, the front of the box was going to have all kinds of crazy folds and lines, and the sides would be all neat and smooth. So I had to rip all the paper off and start over (but remember those directions for later).

I salvaged as much of the paper as I could and began working on the two sides of the box. I knew that I was going to be covering the entire bottom of the box when I covered the front and back of it, so I went ahead and cut enough paper to just stick on the bottom (about 5") and then come up the side and into the interior of the box.

I sprayed adhesive on the face of the side and smoothed the paper over it.

Then I folded the piece of paper on the front and back faces like you would fold it when gift wrapping and cut away the excess, leaving only a piece to adhere to the inside of the box. I sprayed more adhesive and smoothed the interior piece down. I now had one side completed.

It was at this point in time where I realized that using spray adhesive in the craft room wasn't such a great idea. Not only was I getting a little woozy from the fumes, I was also getting spray adhesive all over the floors.
That white stuff? Yeah, spray adhesive.

So production moved outside. To my ever so fabulous backyard, which is both overgrown and disheveled, so be kind...

I finished the other side

And rolled out more paper for the front. Using my yardstick, I roughed out where the box would sit and reapplied my spray adhesive.

I then cut along the shorter lines and folded the flap up on both sides.

I folded down the corners

And pulled the paper up and affixed it to the front face and sides.

I then trimmed about an inch above the edge of the side to the corner of the paper.

And then glued that down.

Then the camera battery died, so allow me to paint you a word picture. Fold the paper over, smooth and glue into place. Repeat for the other face. Then, cut a piece of paper the same dimensions of the interior bottom of your box and affix that over all the flaps. VOILA! You have a cute storage basket!


So there you have it folks, an easy-peasy, lemon squeeze-y DIY project for your Saturday! Now go get yourself a free box and get to work!
And here's a little before and after if you want something to pin (because you're all pinning this stuff, right? RIIIIIGHT?!?!?!?)