Thursday, February 16, 2012

Reinventing Everything

It seems to me that today, people are doing just that. Taking every great and nifty invention and making it better. Here are one of those new-and-improved items that we love in our house.

I have had toddlers. Three to be exact.

I have a toddler.

I will have a toddler soon.

Most people can claim at least one of these statements. All of the above statements are true for me all at the same time...which is great! Along with having a toddler always comes potty training. Here is an example of our typical and more classic toddler potty seat that we have always used.

Yes, I suppose that this one gets the job done. I always hated this seat though. Pee gets everywhere with this seat. And in a matter of a few months they start to stink. And you sure can't clean them. So my sister-in-law, who is great at finding all things practical, discovers this little gem that we now have in all our bathrooms.

Big deal. It's a toilet.

Open the lid and ... hey, what is that under there?

Look! A built-in toddler seat!

Closer examination shows that the toddler seat is held into the adult seat by a magnet. Also, you'd see a slow-close lid. One of my toddlers would drop the lid when they got "done." WHAM!!!! every single time.

The toddler seat pops off for easier cleaning or for when you don't have a toddler anymore. (Could take us a while to get to that point)

And the whole seat just clips off for easy cleaning!

Anyway, the only con to this seat, in my opinion, is that there is no "boy-flap." Oh, don't pretend like you're all confused. Anyway, Josiah (a sitter, for now) has been taught to aim downward, if you get my drift. It wasn't too difficult.

Interested? It's a Bemis NextSteps toddler toilet seat. Here is one similar on Amazon, but I don't think it has the slow-close feature.


Would you like to see some more of the ideas I've implemented from Pintrest? Ah, sure you do!

Remember a while back I shared the ice cube tray sorter for earring and bracelets? This is for helping more of my jewelry overflow.

Homemade necklace hangar.

Couldn't stop with just one!

The how-to on this was pretty simple. The hooks are shiny brass hooks from the hardware store. The wooden frames were $2 a piece from Dollar General. The "art" is doilies I bought from Etsy for $3 each and the denim background was scrap saved from an old sewing project. I actually originally saw this project done with a 11x13 frame in distressed wood and the hooks were several different and unique cabinet pulls. I didn't want to put that much money into it. haha

Part two...

Here we have the inside of one of my cabinets. The same brass hooks are screwed into a piece of scrap 1x2 from the hardware store where we got the hooks. (they even gave it to us for free). Oh, and the index cards are of Bill Gothard's Operational Definitions of Character Qualities And while I think that not all of Bill Gothard's material is spot-on, I think a lot of it is very useful. Most of the character quality definitions are great. Not all of them are.

Seems like 2012 is the year that everyone has chosen to get organized. Maybe that's true for me also.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Noticing Noah pt 2

Adding another bullet to the list.

  • He has been rolling tummy to back, but as of today is rolling back to tummy also. But he doesn't end it with one flip. He goes over and over. Not bad for a 4-month-old whopper like him.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Noticing Noah

So, my little man is coming fast upon five months old (already!!). Just was going to share some observations about him.

  • He very much reminds me of Ethan, both in his looks and in parts of his personality.
  • He has become very difficult to nurse. He pulls away, kicks me, claws me, and suckles really hard!
  • He loooooves to swing.
  • He always sleeps with a blankey...preferably right on his face!
  • He has a favorite toy, a soft-and-squishy Rhino Oball:
  • He goes to bed very easily and mostly sleeps all night.
  • He loves mom's homemade baby food!
  • He always has a smile to share.
  • He's really getting into exploring everything.
  • It's sooo cute that he loves to gnaw on everything...satisfying those itchy gums.
  • He mostly sleeps through school...which is a blessing.
  • You may remember from a previous post that we are foregoing the nursery. Thus far he is still doing super well with sitting through church. He usually stays awake half the service and sleeps the other half.
  • He is built like many of our other kids: tall and heavy

Such a sweet baby and I'm so blessed to be his mommy! :-)

Monday, February 6, 2012

Helpful Ideas from Pinterest

Maybe you've noticed a new button there to the right to my Pinterest. I'm really not into the whole social network scene for so many, many reasons. I see Pinterest differently, just like I see Blogger differently. The object of Facebook is pretty much to acquire friends (which are typically very "plastic" relationships) and to keep tabs on those friends. I'm not going to bog down into the reasons I hate Facebook with a purple passion because that's covered in a previous post. ;-) Pinterest and Blogger are different in my opinion because they both contain a wealth of information that out family can use.

I suppose that I'm getting on the organizational bandwagon here a bit. Since I lack the creative powers to think of these nifty things on my own, I borrowed these ideas from Pintrest. I have many pairs of earrings. It never fails that I'm getting ready to go somewhere and I can't begin to try to find a specific pair because they're in a pile in a jewelry box.

These are three-for-a-dollar ice cube trays from the dollar store. One pair per ice cube hole unless it is a small set of stud earrings. After you get them all settled stick them away.

Neat, yeah? Even a little extra space to stick something else. Not sure what yet. The only real problem is that very large earrings, bangles, and many beaded bracelets don't fit and have to remain in the jewelry box. I have another idea for necklaces that I'll be sharing in the coming weeks (once I finish it).


This next idea is the one that I was really excited about. Are you like me and have a coil burner stove? We have had this stove since about a year after we were married: about 10 1/2 years. I remember when the burner drip pans were sooo nice and shiny.

They stayed like that for a while. A very short while.

I scrubbed. And scrubbed more. And more. As the saying goes: beauty fades.

After several years we just gave up. I would dunk them in the soapy water and go over them with a steel wool scrubber every once in a while. They were black and were not coming clean. I tried some harsher cleaners and the strangest thing began to happen. It looked like the drip pans starting to rust. That's exactly what it felt like when you touched them. We tried buying so many different size replacement drip pans, only to return them because they didn't fit. Ordering them from the manufacturer was a pricy option that we were trying to wait out. I hated even looking at the drip pans on the stove; they made the whole kitchen look dirty.

I'm going to share them with you, so hang on to your hat, because it's going to be a startling sight.

I cannot believe that I have posted this on the Internet for the entire world to see. Hey, cut me some slack: we are not like the average American who eats out an average of 4-5 times a week. Maybe, as a family, 4-5 times a year. But I post this with good reason...which leads me to my tip from Pinterest.

I read that 1 Ziplock bag + 1/4 of ammonia = drip pan wonder.

I don't use ammonia. Period. I use natural cleaners. But in this case I felt like desperate times called for desperate measures. So off we went with it. Surely my efforts were in vain, but it wouldn't hurt anything to be sure.

As you can see ammonia, drip pan, Ziploc bag. Nope, it's not submerged. Supposedly, it's the vapors from the ammonia that do the work. Which, knowing how horrible that stuff smells, I could believe it. Put the drip pan in the bag. Add 1/4 c. ammonia and seal the bag (quick, before you die...that stuff is horrible).

Here are all my drip pans encased in a toxic nastiness. I set them all on the baking tray overnight (12 hours). I'm not really sure exactly why I put them all on the baking tray...just seem right, I guess. haha ;-)

Now, here's where it gets good. Here were my results.

My camera's flash makes it look a little dull. But I promise, the edges of the pan look brand new. Seriously, I kid you not. I literally wiped off the dirtiness. Not scrubbed. Wiped.

The insides of the drip pans was a different story. This required a lot of scrubbing and the aid of 180 grit and 220 grit wet/dry sandpaper. Yes, it's not perfect, but it is a 1000% improvement. If your drip pans are not as bad as mine, yours will surely come out looking new.

I am also scouring the Internet for ideas to store clothing. Dressers, I think, must be the enemy of the large family. It seems like they're always over stuffed, or the kids can't get to the stuff in the back or on the bottom. Then the guides break and on and on. I would love to have a family closet, but it's not feasible right now. I've found some good ideas on Pinterest and other websites, but nothing yet that's a sure-fire solution. Any ideas from you moms who are short on space or have more than a few kids?

Those are my Pinterest tips for the day. If you decide to try them leave me a comment and let me know.