Tuesday, May 28, 2013

I Had Planned...

...to do a post about my curtains today and the house "in progress" Thursday.  But I decided to go out of town for most of last week and EEEEKKKKK next week is VBS!  Exciting, but scary considering how much is left to do.

Yesterday I spent cleaning.  It was Memorial Day but we went ahead and did our Bible study since it was the last one and VBS is next week.  So today I spent in "trip recovery" where I totally unpacked and did catch-up laundry (well, I did catch-up laundry yesterday, too) and then I did some organization in my craft room and did a "dream with me, here" drawing/plan of the cutting table I want my husband to build.

OH, and I tried to make dishwasher soap again today before we go to the store on Friday and I don't know how it will work, but it didn't explode everywhere!  I'll post more on that once I know if it works and all.

Then, I set my computer back up (because I took it with me) and printed a TON of organization printables (they all came from here or from clicking links on the links on the original page).  I always do weekly planning on Sundays but I think it can improve.  So I'm testing out a bunch of pages to decide which one I should laminate and use over and over or if I should create my own.

I also spent quite a bit of time watching Duck Dynasty because I discovered it while I was gone (I know, I'm way behind the times) and loved it.

So, at the end of the day, I did everything on my list except blog about curtains.  It's way too late to take pictures of them now.  And I accomplished a lot more than it looks like I did.

It may be after VBS before I post again and I'm nearly certain it will be after VBS before I actually blog about the curtains or house!  But the trip? It was totally worth it!  I came home feeling much more like me.

Also, pray for our VBS.  I'm a little nervous about how much is left to do and that we still need an assistant for one classroom!

Branalyn

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Mini Trip

If I write any posts this week it will be from my phone and won't be the posts I had planned to do.  I am planning to do them next week now because this week?  This week 5 weeks until seeing "my people" seems like way too long and I am making a fast trip down to see my family and friends!


Saturday, May 18, 2013

House Befores

We live in a parsonage that was donated to our church by an elderly lady. 

There were no less than 9 different carpets in the house, including the kitchen and very pink bathroom. 

Some rooms have already had vast improvements, some are waiting their turn. We have big plans to remove the rest of the carpet and overhaul the bathroom. I have a beautiful plan to fix the kitchen, and some flooring I'd love to use in the "downstairs," and an awesome grey I'd love to paint the outside, but the money will be gone before we get that far! 

But I am SO THANKFUL we had a budget to fix up this house. It needed some love and we could never have done it on our own budget!

I'm gonna show you the floor plan first so maybe you can make things fit in from the pictures.


This is not an uncommon floor plan, but it has been added on. Here's a rough sketch of how it's laid out. 

I know its a very...rough... but hopefully you are used to interpreting children's drawings and can understand what I was trying to do.  Also, it's not to scale and that really bothers me.  (Actually, if you move the wall seperating the kitchen from the utility room and the middle bedroom from the craft room a little to the left, it's pretty accurate.  The front two bedrooms should be about the same size and the bathroom, while tiny, is not quite as small as it looks.)

Here are some pictures from before we moved in to the house (they are actually stills from several videos. For some reason, I took no actual pictures.)

Outside
Front Porch, Carpet #1 AstroTurf
Front Door
Living Room (from Dining Room)
Carpet in Living Room, #2 on Carpet Count
Ceiling fan in Living Room, the three bedrooms had very similar fans.
Dining Room (from Living Room)

video
Kitchen (I just inserted some video here because I didn't take a "big picture" picture)

Kitchen Carpet (#3 on Carpet Count)
Utility Room (from the Kitchen) (Not pictured is the step down into the utility room, featuring Carpet #4 on the carpet count.  It's like the Living/Dining/Hall carpet but brown)
3rd Bedroom, Now my Craft room, No good pics, Carpet #5 on Carpet Count. 
Middle Bedroom, had the bed while we visited, it's rather undefined right now, holding stuff until we get furniture to actually use the room. Not pictured, #6 on the Carpet Count!



Closet in that room, notice the funky difficult to use shape and #7 on the Carpet count!

The bathroom, and CARPET! But it's the same as the living and dining room and hall.

The sink cabinet.  What you can't see is that it's made of particle board and is crumbling at the bottom.  

Close up of the light switch that goes to nothing and the weird board stuff that covers the wall in the shower from where the tile stops to the ceiling.
But as you can see in this picture, its all torn up and nasty and I am so sure there is mold growing behind it.
Seriously! Carpet in the bathroom!
Transition hall carpet to Front Bedroom carpet.  It's the same as the now-craft-room carpet.  And yes, those rooms are pretty much as far apart as possible in this house but they have the same carpet.
Closet in front room, #8 on the carpet count.
 
Car port from the back door (in the utility room).   Notice that  if my car were much taller it wouldn't fit.  R's F-150 is just short enough.  We hung a tennis ball so we'd know how far we had to pull in so we could open the back hatch.
Sorry it's sideways.  At this point I'm tired of this post and don't want to go back and fix it.  The Storeroom.  Carpet #9.

What is now R's shop/workroom.  It is concrete.  So if you add the utility floor and this floor into the count, that's 11 different floorings.
The lantana!  I love it!
Nothing in this house is "done" yet, but there have already been some vast improvements made!  I'll get to work on those soon.  This post took more work and ended up longer than I thought it would!

Branalyn

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Short Update

So I did a big VBS shopping trip today.

And I finished the curtains!

I will hang them and a couple things in my craft room tomorrow, take a few pics, and finish the before/after house blog post I started the other day!

(Sneak Peak!)




Branalyn

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A Failed Science Experiment

Well, only half of it failed.

Because this is me talking, here's a backstory to the why I attempted the science experiment:

When we moved here, the lovely people at our church threw us an old-fashioned "pounding" (its happened to us twice now, at churches with older members-they give you food and household stuff).  The last pounding we had we got a lot of canned food and about half of it was stuff we would never eat and we gave it to a canned food drive.  This time? It was a HUGE amount of stuff! Like filled the bed of R's F-150 amount of stuff.  And it was all useful stuff!  I appreciated the household stuff they gave us even more than the food.  R had moved up here with some laundry pods (because of the ease to move them) and we didn't need laundry soap again until this month!  So, R had moved here with some pods, but by the time I got here, they were mostly gone.  Then, at the pounding, we got a huge can of pods.

I. loved. them.

They are SO easy!  I mean, it's really not that hard to pour some soap in the cap and drop the cap into the wash, which is what I do with liquid soap, and I don't use powdered soap, so there it is, but somehow the pods just became amazing.

If you were blessed with a front loader, I don't think you'd be as impressed with them.  I think you'd be happiest with a liquid dispenser sitting on top of your washer and just pushing the spout and filling that little tray right up (which is what we do at my mom's).

BUT.  If you have a top loader, like mine, then pods are your friend.

So when we ran out of soap and finally needed to buy our own again, I decided to join the ranks of people making their own laundry detergent.  The liquid version intrigues me, and I may try it eventually, but I decided I'd make the powder stuff and then turn it into my own pods.  And since we'd been buying pods for the dishwasher, too and the ingredients are very similar, I'd go ahead and try to make pods for the dishwasher, too.

I used this recipe from One Good Thing by Jillee to make the powder, but I changed it like this:

I'm sure where I read it, but I knew I could use Ivory instead of Fels-Naptha.  And I had some Ivory soap, so I used it.  I used about a bar and a half.  To make it easier to grate, I microwaved it first!  If it is not as old as the bars I had, it will make an awesome cloud (because Ivory soap, the soap that floats, is whipped, and the air inside will expand and make a really cool poof of soap!) and you can just crumble that (I know, I've done it before) but if your soap is old like mine, you may have to do a combo of microwaving and crumbling and grating.  Also, if you microwave it your microwave will smell like soap for a little while.

Then I added the borax, washing soda, baking soda, store brand oxy-clean, and Downy Unstoppables in the ratio of her recipe.

Then, to make the pods, I started adding hot water in tiny increments until it was wet enough to hold its shape when smooshed.  And I started packing it as tight as I could into ice cube trays (that are now dedicated to soap making and not used for things we eat).  I had more soap than trays, so I used cupcake liners and a cupcake tray to finish it out.



And I left it to dry.  I figured it'd take a couple days.

I underestimated how dry West Texas is!

The next morning, they easily popped out of the trays and held their shape perfectly.  The cupcake liners were necessary since I plan to use that tray for cupcakes in the future, but it was a PAIN to get the liners off.

I put them in an old pod container and a pretty jar. (Please ignore how dirty the top of my dryer is.  Even when I've just cleaned it, it looks dirty because, as you can see, it's very old and has lots of scratches.)


(Also, that wire there? That's how the washing machine was grounded before we moved in.  We had them put a grounded plug there and throughout the house.  Seemed like a good idea to us...)

Her recipe calls for 1/2 cup of the dry stuff per load.  To me, that would mean the cupcake ones were enough and the ice cubes would need two.  After using them for about a week now, though, I have to say that I think that once ice cube is enough for most loads.  REALLY full loads I've used two, but I don't think most loads need that much.

Also after using them for several loads, here's my tips:

Put them on top of the clothes near where the water comes into the washer.

If you have cupcake sized ones, after the water fills the tub, go and make sure its broken up.  You may need to help it along.  Also, try not to make cupcake sized ones because they don't break up as well. : )

SO, since this laundry pod thing turned out so awesome, I thought I'd try the dishwasher pods next.  Since we have really hard water and LemiShine is a must in every load, I though I'd add it to the mix.

But guess what?

LemiShine reacts with hard water.

So you get this:


And, later, this:


And then this:



And then you take them outside and clean your counter with the overspill and its never been cleaner, like this:


But even 24 hours later, outside, they are still not done bubbling.


Bad idea.

I have an idea on how to improve it next time and, once it's successful, I'll let you know about that, too!

Branalyn


Top Ten Tuesday

I'm linking to Shabby Blogs here for Top Ten Tuesday.  Then I'm going to attempt to get a few things done today and come back and write about the failed science experiment.  This week's top ten is music-related.  Top 10 bands, songs, CDs, whatever.  I'm going with artists, because that's the one that sounds easiest, although I'm not sure I can narrow down that category enough either!

So, in no particular order, my Top Ten favorite music artists (with links to my favorite song by them on YouTube):



1. Miranda Lambert
I love how much fun she's having with this.  It's hard to pick a favorite song by her.  I also am digging Dead Flowers right now.  (pun intended, lol) And Kerosene, and Me and Charlie Talking, and Greyhound Bound for Nowhere, and...
Also, I loved her before Nashville Star.  I can remember late at night when the radio stations would play local and Texas country artists and I loved her then.  I watched Nashville Star just for her and have loved just about everything she's put out since.  I also really love her attitude about life, her weight, marriage, family, etc.

2. Lady Antebellum
Another one that I have trouble picking a favorite...But I think this one would win...

3. Hillsong United
This one is EASY to pick a favorite! Although, Hosanna and Lead Me To The Cross would be tied for second place.

4. Jason Aldean
Again, easy to pick a favorite, but there are many close seconds!

5. Blake Shelton
I've had a love-hate relationship with Blake Shelton.  Right now, it's on the upswing... This one is an oldie but goodie.

6. George Strait (old school)
I have not liked a new song by George Strait in a long time.  But there are some old songs that are amazing!

7. Garth Brooks (old school)
It's been awhile since Garth retired, but near the end of his career I didn't really like his music anymore.  This is one I have always loved!

8. Luke Bryan
I really can't pick a favorite Luke Bryan song.  It depends on my mood!

9. Brantley Gilbert
I liked individual songs by him before I discovered (through the wonder that is Pandora) that he was the common denominator!  I had trouble picking a favorite from him, too.

10. Eli Young Band

Oh, the Eli Young Band.  I have loved them since 2004, before people outside of Texas even knew who they were.  Small Town Kid made me fall in love with them, but I love so many of their songs!

And Jack Ingram, and Chris Tomlin, and...

I just plain love music, ya'll.

Branalyn

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day

(This is a totally new version of one of the three lost posts.  I have one in the works that show some before and after house pics and I am still planning to write this week about the disastrous science experiment. This one is about infertility.  I'm not sure, but I don't think I've mentioned on here we are struggling with infertility.  I have a different, anonymous blog where I talk about infertility and I leave this one to be my "happy place" most of the time.  But I have decided to take a break from the norm and be very deep, open, and honest on here today.  Not that I lie other times.  You know what I mean...)

"Happy Mother's Day" is rather an oxymoron in our house these days.

Mother's Day is a day to avoid social media, avoid people, and immerse myself in a fantasy world (ie read a really good book) so I don't have to deal with the overwhelming disappointment.  (Which is rather an innocent and small word in the grand scheme of my emotions.)

I'm not sure that anyone noticed, but when I came back to blogging and changed it up a little, I change my About Me.

Because it was so naive and sad.

I started this blog back in 09.  Almost exactly two years after R and I were married and a few months before moving to CS.  That means I've been blogging for nearly 4 years and been married for nearly 6.  I just turned 26.  And I am childless.

Not exactly how I planned my life to be.

And I did plan my life.  I am so a planner.

So, I'm "coming out" on this blog.

We are struggling through infertility.

Read here and here about some wonderful thoughts I wish I'd written.  And come back for more of our story.

Branalyn

Thursday, May 9, 2013

I Know I'm Terrible At Keeping Bloggy Promises

But this time I am claiming illness.

I don't know what has hit me, I'm thinking UTI but my ear has been hurting, too and it's not like the other time I had a UTI so really I'm at a loss but I feel terrible for the second day in a row.

Like sleepy, feverish, nasty terrible.

Branalyn

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

I Have Lost The Will

Honestly, I hoped after the internet was all back up and running again I would discover my phone had not eaten THREE posts.

But I would be wrong.

I have lost the will to recreate them but here are the highlights.

Yes I know the So But So post was long and full of sewing jargon and honestly I was just complaining and reminding my future self to never take on the adventure again so sorry you had to suffer through it also.  I will post pics soon.

I have been doing some crafty things but have not returned to the curtains yet but am feeling that as soon as a couple things are hung in my craft room all will be productive in here again.  Also, I'm wanting to move forward with house projects and hopefully that can happen soon.

The picture was very much a science experiment gone wrong and now you will be waiting till Thursday to read about it because that was on of the eaten posts and I'm not writing it again right now.

I also started a post that was very much on my heart and not a funny post but about life and how sometimes it sucks.  I will attempt to recreate it later because I still want those words out there.

The internet man came this am and did a bunch of stuff around the house and then everything was working but warned me that he was gonna turn it off again to work on the line in the alley.  It all seems to be working again now and he gave me his card so that if it breaks again I don't have to talk to a robot and three people before getting a 12 hour window to wait for him to come fix it.

I'm going to *try* to set myself a schedule of posting at least on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  We will see how that goes.  Once I get myself to sit down and type, I usually have fun (except when the internet eats posts). (Also, this is eerily how I feel about the gym, if I just make myself get there I tend to enjoy the workout and feel better after.  But I never enjoy sweating and blogging has never made me sweat.  At least not literally.)

Branalyn

I Had A Lot On My Heart

And mind tonight and started three different posts to edit and finish and eventually post.

I'm glad the writing of them was cathartic because I will never get to finish them and you will never read them, it seems.

The little Internet fixer man better come tomorrow and actually fix the Internet.

Tricking me into thinking you are working because my Internet icon is showing at the top of my phone and then not actually saving anything because you are connected to the network but not the Internet and the signal around here is edge so there is no backup is not cool. But I cannot blame you, little phone, as the computers do the same thing. And then you both ask me to "log in" which is nothing more than a screen telling me that the Internet is, in fact, broken. Thank you.

Grrr.

Branalyn

Monday, May 6, 2013

Drive-By Blogging

I had a lovely post planned out.

It was gonna have pictures and everything.

But several minor-ly disastrous events have caused the postponement of said post.

Instead, before I very quickly grab something to eat before people arrive for Bible study, I leave you with my last two Facebook updates and a picture to be explained tomorrow (pending the arrival and departure of the internet fixer man that will be here between 8am and 8pm tomorrow...)

Dear laptop that I have loved so long,
I realize you are quite old now. I remember picking you out five years ago and I know that five years in people time is like 90 years in computer time. But, even as old as you are, you are the best computer we have in this house. And you cannot give up yet! I promise that one day we will let you rest but right now I am so close to having my craft room perfect and, due to Pinterest, free online patterns, awesome online tutorials, Craftsy, the owning of a computer controlled embroidery machine, and some computer stuff for my Cricut, you, best computer in the house, computer that I love, have become an integral part of having my craft room just so. Also, I have just started blog in again and I cannot continue without your cooperation.
Please, please don't die yet.
Thank you,
Your loving owner,
B


Ode to a computer, part 2:
Dear amazing laptop,
I am so happy to say that you remain the best computer in our house.
In the future, I would appreciate it if you didn't randomly decide to do 81 updates and then subsequently decide they are too much for you and revert back. Next time, can we not have a heart stopping moment and just not update?
Thank you so much for continuing to be awesome and thank you in advance for not scaring me half to death ever again,
B




Hopefully, tomorrow goes better and I can get a real post in!

Branalyn

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Mount Everest

The number of views my Revival week post has gotten is now almost as many as the I Know Him post.

Craziness.

Apparently people really identify with the absence of appreciation for the sound person.

Or a couple people shared it on Facebook and people got curious.

Whatever.

Yes, I know that today I have 5,000 loads of laundry to fold and preparation for town and (I don't think I mentioned this one) but a couple days catch-up to play with my Bible study "homework" but I have done none of that so far today.

Also, it's 43 degrees right now with a "feels like" of 35 because of the wind.  Please understand that I hate the hot and am totally fine with the cold so I am not complaining, but I'm just a tad confused.  Isn't it May?!? I was wearing shorts and short sleeves yesterday! The a/c was going! I can't recall ever running the heater in MAY before! It's good for the dog though, because we discovered yesterday while she was inside that she is in heat.  You can really only tell on my gold carpet here in my craft room, and really there's no making that look any worse so its OK.  (Also, we need some major prayer intervention because we have always intended to have her fixed but we keep spending money on things like people medical bills and have not had any to spend on puppy medical bills and now she's in heat and there are lots of stray dogs in this town and just dang it...) The point is, she's all black and it was hot outside and now she can't come inside for a little while and I am of the opinion that she is a dog and she has shade and water and she can take care of herself but Robert wants her to come inside when it's really hot and I don't usually mind letting her inside and would let her in if she wasn't in heat so its good that its not hot.  (Yes, I know that was a run on sentence.)

I wanted to show you the stairs one must climb to reach the sound booth.  (See? I can write a proper sentence.)  As I told my Danish friend yesterday, there are no mountains in Norway as steep as those stairs. And here's the thing--you have to go DOWN some stairs just to get to the stairs to go UP to the sound booth.  It's like this: to get into the front door of the church, you have to go up outside stairs, then up the stairs to the sound booth.  BUT if you went in the back door because you had to go to the office first or whatever, the door opens onto the landing that's halfway up the stairs, so you go up half a flight of stairs.  Then, you walk through the sanctuary, going slightly uphill, and out the main doors to the sanctuary, down a few stairs, up a couple steps, open the door to the sound booth and go up those stairs.  Here, I took some pictures:

Down the stairs first 
Up these stairs to the door

These stairs are so cramped and steep, I couldn't actually get a picture.  My foot is just barely bigger than the treads and the risers are pretty much the same size.  If I stick my elbows out when I climb the stairs, they touch the walls on both sides.

Trying to show how steep they are.

Trying to show how many there are, but this is  cutting off some of the bottom stairs.

And then at the top, you have to turn and take one more step up.
It's kind of crazy.  And I climbed them somewhere between 8 and 8,000 times yesterday.

BUT I won.  The monitors work, the recording works, the computer is playing through an actual channel that has a slider and l/r and not just a knob to control the volume and it's all good.

And my pants should fit better today.

Branalyn