I Kept a New Year’s Resolution: A Good News Jar Recap

I recently told a friend how sometimes I feel like my memory fails me. I can remember obscure Smiths lyrics, or I can remember my grammar school friends old home telephone numbers, and yet, there are things that I cannot recall. For example, every morning when I leave the house, in a hurry, carrying a million things, shouting to someone, “Ok, I’m walking out the door!” I try to plow through the storm door. However, the door is always locked. Then, under my breath, I utter, “What the…?” in complete shock that the door is locked and I cannot just go careening through it at full speed. I am often the one that locked the door the night before. Every. single. morning. this. happens. We will have lived in this house for 5 years in February.

The fact that this happens to me every morning scares me. Which is why, in addition to using my phone, a DSLR, writing kids’ quotes in the notes section of my smart phone, scrapbooking, creating a photo gallery, and keeping both a digital and written calendar to capture events and milestones, I decided to write some memories down when I remembered and placed them in our 2015 Good News Jar.

I have found over the course of the year that writing these things down has served three purposes:

  1. I am infinitely more grateful for what I have.
  2. I am able to recall smaller things.
  3. I have a year’s worth of notes to put in a scrapbook some day.

Good News Jar ReCap 2

Some memories are pretty significant and might have been remembered anyway because of their significance or  the photos we took or because it was something that was all over the news:

Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup! Celebrating with our friends has been our favorite part! WOOHOO!

But most of my favorite memories that were written down were things that I probably would not have remembered otherwise.

It has snowed all last night and today. Sunday School has been cancelled and it looks like school tomorrow will be cancelled too. Time to play in the snow while Daddy snow blows the driveway and Mommy makes snacks for the Super Bowl.

To be honest, I was pretty surprised at how often I found myself writing down little tidbits about our lives. Often times the moments I chose to write down were small every day occurrences that would not have been captured on a camera:

After some hard practice, George moved to the next level of sight words at school. He learned that hard work does indeed pay off. Good boy, Big G. We love you!


Good News Jar 4

And while they might not be captured on digital film or be considered conventional milestones:

Family Date Night: We went and saw Big Hero 6 and we all loved it. Now we have a secret family handshake. Ba la la la la.

These are definitely moments that are worth remembering:

Russell lost a tooth at school.

I am grateful I kept this resolution, because now I have all these memories written down where I can remember them. Memories that might have otherwise been forgotten. I am so grateful I kept this resolution, that I think I will begin calling this our Gratitude Jar as we head into 2016. It has meant so much more to me than a few extra pounds shed or an organized closet. I cannot wait to read all the cards we write in 2016.

Good News Jar 3

Readers, talk to me! What are some events, moments, things you are grateful for in 2015? What are some goals in 2016? Is one of them to just write some memories down on index cards?


Thirsty Thursday: Limoncello

When I was a little kid, my Mom had this pretty glass bottle in the kitchen that she had filled with cranberries and vodka. I think she had seen this home decor tip in a magazine or on Martha Stewart as a way to accessorize. This red bottle with a white cap sat on the counter for years as a decoration. Several years went by, and the cranberry vodka bottle remained on the counter unopened. It kind of became a centerpiece of the kitchen. One Christmas, my Dad thought it might be fun, seasonal, and festive to pop open the top of this cranberry vodka decoration bottle that had been sitting on the counter and try a little nip.

As a former high school chemistry teacher, you think he would have been slightly alarmed when he opened the bottle and the bouquet resembled that of jet fuel. It should have caused even greater concern when he poured a small swig into a glass and before he could lift the glass to his lips more than half had evaporated up the sides of the glass like nail polish remover. However, he still took a little sip. Long story short, we think the cranberry vodka mixture had undergone several fermentation processes in the years it sat on the counter as home decor, because I’m pretty sure my Dad swore off shots that day, and no one saw the cranberry bottle on the counter after that, again.

I tell you this story because recently my brother-in-law, Joe, came by to show me how to make Limoncello. As we were peeling lemons, preparing to soak the rinds in Everclear, and making batches of simple syrup, I couldn’t help but think of my Dad and how I think he would have appreciated this recipe a bit more as it is way more palatable and way less flammable.

Limoncello 10

Limoncello is still pretty strong hooch, but it is liqueur that can be mixed lots of ways to make some delicious cocktails.

Here is a simple recipe for this citrus liqueur.

Limoncello (makes three bottles of liqueur and can be doubled to make for friends)

15 large fresh lemons rinsed clean

1 bottle Everclear grain alcohol

4 cup water

4 cups sugar

Limoncello 1

Using a very sharp pairing knife, peel the rind of the lemons being sure to only peel the yellow portion.

Limoncello 2

You do not want to have any of the white pith, this will make your mixture very bitter.

Limoncello 3

Once all the lemons are peeled, put the peels in a glass container with a tight fitting lid (I used a decanter). Pour the Evercleafr over the peels.

Limoncello 5

Store in a dark cool place (not the refrigerator) for 10 days. Shaking the mixture once a day. I put the mixture in my laundry room so that when I went down to do a load of laundry I would shake it up.

After ten days, strain the Everclear mixture to remove all the lemon peel.

Limoncello 8

It will be a lemony yellow color.

Limoncello 6

In a large sauce pan over medium heat, mix together the water and sugar. Bring to a low boil and reduce heat stirring occasionally. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes until sugar is dissolved. The makes a simple syrup.

Remove this mixture from the stove and let it cool completely to room temperature.

Once the syrup is cool you can mix the lemon mixture and the syrup together.

Funnel into your storage bottles (I just throughly cleaned out the Everclear bottles as well as an old wine bottle and removed the labels.)

Store in the freezer.

Limoncello 10

Enjoy responsibly sipped alone, a shot with club soda, with lemonade, or even over a bit of sorbet for a refreshing treat.



The Last Slice: An Uncommon Goods Story

This post has been compensated by Uncommon Goods however the opinions and stories are 100% my own.

My Dad had a ridiculous sweet tooth. He loved all sorts of sweet treats and baked goods. Milkshakes, doughnuts, cakes, and cookies. He had a particular fondness of pie.

My Dad who was also a hardworking and genuinely great guy had come home from a long day at the office. Most days after work, Dad would go for a run, do some lawn work, or if it was one of our many sports seasons he would end up having to head right to coach us. I think the physical activity would help him unwind. However, on one particular day, no amount of physical activity was going to help.

Berry Wash 5

There was one day when I was about 10 and we had a gorgeous and fresh blueberry pie in the house.

My Dad had walked in the house and had seen the pie sitting on the counter he couldn’t help himself. He didn’t even change his clothes or exchange pleasantries with anyone. He grabbed a fork and plate with an almost ‘Hello, old friend’ look in his eyes, and helped himself to a slice. My brother, Kevin, and I were looked at each other wide eyed knowing that dinner was soon, and Mom wouldn’t be happy to see a slice of pie missing. It must have been a particularly rough day for Dad at work, though, because he got up from the table again and helped himself to another slice of blueberry pie. He wolfed it down as fast as the first, this time topping it off with a glass of milk. He went to the counter for another slice. Then another. Kevin and I’s eyes widened with every gigantic slice of pie that was eaten. Until, finally, there was only one slice left. Kevin and I looked at the pie plate, then at each other.

We had just witnessed a stress eating session of epic proportions.

We thought he was finished when he had cleared his mess from the table, the only evidence of the insanity was the one slice of pie left in the pie tin.


Dad walked to the counter grabbed the entire pie plate, and dug in with his fork and finished the entire blueberry pie.

I guess he figured there was no sense in leaving just one slice. Looking back, I kind of agree. What’s the point?

When I eat pie, I think of my Dad and that last slice of pie every time, and I always laugh.

For those that read my blog on a regular basis, you know that when it comes to gifts or things in my home I like to surround myself and decorate with things that are sentimental, remind me of something, or possibly have a history, and have a lot of heart. When Uncommon Goods reached out to me and asked me to write about their beautiful line of products I was eager to pair up with a company that is sentimental, personal, and has a lot of heart.

Uncommon Goods supports artists, most of them living right here in the United States by selling handmade items such as home decor, wall art, kitchen and housewares, and even jewelry. Many of the unique items Uncommon Goods sells use recycled or up cycled materials which show their commitment to our planet. Also, as a part of their mission, and this was my favorite part, Uncommon Goods employs all of its workers for a fair wage. In fact, their lowest paid seasonal worker receives 50% more than the local minimum wage. If that doesn’t show heart, I don’t know what does.


Uncommon Goods asked me to browse around their wall art line which you can find here or home decor line which you can find here, or their adorable line of decorative pillows which you can find here.  Then, I was to find something that I liked for our home. Let me tell you, it was not easy as there are so many adorable and beautiful items to choose.

As my list of items to choose got longer, I saw this adorable watercolor entitled The Last Slice by Kendyll Hillegas in the Wall Art section, and I stopped dead in my tracks. Hillegas paints ordinary every day objects, and this ordinary everyday object was perfect.

Uncommon Goods The Last Slice 1

It immediately made me think of my Dad and the blueberry pie story. I knew it would look adorable hanging in my dining room, and it would bring me back to the moment not just when I am eating a slice of pie but every time I sit down in my dining room.

Not only is the watercolor itself so cute and a perfect addition to any kitchen, but I am loving the natural wood tone of the frame.

It arrived perfectly packaged. Safe and sound.

Uncommon Goods The Last Slice 2

And it is hanging for all to admire. I am looking forward to someone asking me about it, so I can not only share where I got such an adorable piece of art, but also share a funny family story.

Uncommon Goods The Last Slice 3

If you would like more information about Uncommon Goods or to shop, visit the website. For news or information about new items follow them Uncommon Goods on Facebook or Twitter.



Being Prepared: I Wish I Would Have Known About UnderJams Sooner

I have been compensated for this post, however the thoughts and opinions are completely my own.

I guess you could say I like to be prepared. I like to have things on hand for those “just in case” situations. I have always felt that even being spontaneous takes a little bit of planning so I always have some snacks in my purse, some hand wipes with me, some sunscreen in the car because you just never know when you might want to take a little day trip.

This is why I was so glad when the kids were potty trained. There was less I needed to keep on hand, and less I needed to lug around. No diapers, no diaper cream, no extra clothes. It was amazing. When my kids were all potty trained, I loved the freedom of just being able to use a bathroom when we were out.

I was still prepared, I mean everywhere you go there’s a bathroom right?

Then, a few months ago, I had a moment when I wish I was a little more prepared, and had a flashback of when I had three little ones in diapers at the same time.

I had to make a quick run to our local Big Box to pick up a few things. I had all three kids with me, and my middle son asked to sit in the cart. This never happens, but because I wanted to get in and out of there in a hurry, I was grateful to have one less dawdler. My other two chimed in, “can we ride, too?”

I furrowed my brow wondering why these kids wouldn’t want to walk around and touch everything in sight, but I didn’t question it. Oh well, I thought to myself, and quickly found a cart big enough to hold my three growing kids.

As I made my way through the store, I zigged and zagged the cart through each aisle trying to get my mopey kids to laugh, but also trying to get through the store as quickly as possible (which upon further reflection was not a good idea). This is when my middle guy spoke up again: “Mommy, my tummy hurts.”

As I was asking my sweet little angel if he needed to use the bathroom, he yelled, “Mommy, you better hurry!”

I sprinted the cart toward a family bathroom just in time for him to spew his breakfast.

We made it just in time, but that was much too close for my liking.

As I was helping him get cleaned up, my other two children clutching their stomachs said, “Mommy, we are not feeling well either.”

OH NO! I thought, I am going to be trapped in this bathroom with three kids who are ill. One more child threw up, and all of them had diarrhea.

That is when one of my sweet sick darlings with tears said to me, “Mommy, I went in my pants.”

I told my little one not to be embarrassed, and Mommy would fix it right away.

I looked in my purse out of habit and luckily found some wipes. I used an extra grocery bag with the help of a clerk to store the soiled clothes, and bought some underwear and a pair of pants to get my little one home.

When we got home, I got everyone showered up, put on a movie, and called our pediatrician. She said that a bad stomach flu was going around, and to do my best to keep them hydrated.

In the time that the kids were sick, we only had one more accident. However, I felt terrible.

When Acorn Influence and Pampers UnderJams asked me to participate in this campaign, I was eager to share this story because NOW when my kids are sick, there won’t be any more embarrassment over an accident. I have already bought a pack of Pampers UnderJams at WalMart and are keeping them on hand just in case the need arises again because honestly you never know when they will come in handy and save a little kid from an embarrassing situation.


Pampers UnderJams are discreet due to the ComfortWear quiet material that is like cloth, are super absorbent due to the NightLock core which is perfect if you are trying to #ConquerBedwetting, and they even have a lower waistband so no one has to know your child is wearing them except your child. I also liked that they come in a good range of sizes.

I have added Pampers UnderJams to my being prepared kit.

For more information about staying prepared when it comes to enuresis (bedwetting) check out the information below.

What do you do to stay prepared with your littles ones?

If you like this post and would like to read more about all things domestic with a touch of humor, become a Home Everyday follower! For blog updates or to see other places I write such as ChicagoNow or Chicago Parent follow Home Everyday on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.

Spring Cleaning: What a Sham (WOW)

We are a few days into Spring, and I have not Spring cleaned a thing yet. (gasp!)

I take that back, I scrubbed the kitchen floor the other day. It was gloriously clean for an entire day for a hot minute. Then it snowed. Not just a little flurry, but a ridiculous 4 inches of heavy wet SPRING insanity, and it didn’t matter that people took off their shoes. I still had to bring the groceries in the house the day of the SPRING blizzard of 2015 and that made for a messy floor.

So here I am, a queen of domesticity about to tell you 7 Reasons Why Spring Cleaning is a Sham (WOW).

1.) Unpredictable weather: Let’s just call Spring in the Midwest what it is, shall we? Toddler of weather. I want to build a snowman, no wait, I want to pick flowers, no wait, I want to splash in puddles, no wait, I want to fly a kite. I WANT TO RUN IN SPRINKLERSSS!!! GET OUT THE SIDEWALK CHALK! WHERE’S MY SNOW BOOTS! Get in the basement there’s a tornado warning! This is currently the state of my front hall because every day there is a new kind of clothing to be worn, and I refuse to put any of it away until this kid known as weather makes up his damn mind!


2.) School is still in session: When school is going on there is homework, and papers, and activities, and so many more things to keep track of that it just doesn’t seem to be a good time to add in a huge reorganization and cleaning of the entire house. And the papers! The school papers are everywhere. You know that old saying about when you pluck a gray hair and 6 more grow in its place? I’m pretty sure that for every school paper I throw away, a million more multiply.


3.) Spring is busy: My family and I have a lot going on in the Spring and mostly we are just trying to keep afloat. Soccer, ice skating, ballet recital rehearsals, local elections, Listen to Your Mother practices, TAXES, extra writing submissions, CCD, Brian out of town, me out of town, dinners out, and that is in addition to everything else. I refuse to Spring clean. So, I do the only logical thing. I straighten up and hide things in the closet when people are coming over.

4.) When the weather actually is nice: Those first few gorgeous days when the sun is out, and you don’t have to wear a jacket and it is still light out past 4:00 p.m., I really don’t want to spend that time cleaning. I would so much rather take the kids outside (because it might be snowing tomorrow, again). See ya!


5.) Did I mention the papers? I don’t think you guys realize the papers. So, I’ll show you again.


6.) Project time: Since my house looks like a bomb of papers and weather appropriate clothing went off anyway, this is the time of year I usually do some household projects. Then, when I am ready to do a big clean and organizing project, I just clean everything up at one time. This is called not re-inventing the wheel, or something like that.


7.) Spring Break: There are very few people who have the opportunity to spend a week all together as a family. Because my husband is in education, he has an entire week to spend with us and the kids who are also off school the at the same time. We usually spend that week taking day trips to places around town and spending time together. There is no way I am trading scrubbing baseboard and organizing toys for that!

I saving the Spring Cleaning for Summer!

If you like this post and would like to read more about all things domestic with a touch of humor, become a Home Everyday follower! For blog updates or to see other places I write such as ChicagoNow or Chicago Parent follow Home Everyday on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.


St. Patrick’s Day Spirit

Over the years, three things keep happening to me. I get
older. I get wiser. I have become worse with my time management skills.
I have found it increasingly difficult to manage my time and
the time of my family. It seems like rather than crossing things off my To Do
list I just keep adding. I have just come the realization that there will
always be something to do, and I will somehow get it done. I pay for it, and I
go through spurts of very busy and chaotic times. However, it is worth it.
In fact, I really wouldn’t have it any other way.
I know there are times I should be going through the papers
on my desk or putting laundry away, or planning for something.
However, there are days when I know there are just much more
important things to do. Like chatting and eating lunch with my girl after
pre-school. Stopping by my Mom’s for a cup of tea and a visit. Baking something
with real butter. Being on a funny group text with my siblings. Playing hockey
in the driveway with my boys. Drinking the nice wine and telling stories with
my friends.
I was thinking about St. Patrick’s Day, and how I love going
to my Mom’s with my family to eat and just be. There is no exchanging of
presents, or dressing up, or fanciness. There is family, laughing, some
stories, maybe some music (if we remember to turn it on), butter on Irish Soda
Bread, and a beer or two.
That’s it. While it doesn’t seem like much, it is everything
in this life.
Which is why I love this day so much, and why as I get older
I’m trying to live it out a little bit every day. The older I get the wiser I
am and the more I appreciate these small moments.
So, however you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, remember to
include your family, have a few laughs, tell some stories, maybe a little music
(if you remember to turn it on), don’t for get the butter, and maybe have a
beer or two if that’s your thing.
Try to do a bit of that every day.
Because in this life, it is everything!


Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Readers!If you like this post and would like to read more about all things domestic with a touch of humor, become a Home Everyday follower! For blog updates or to see other places I write such as ChicagoNow or Chicago Parent follow Home Everyday on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.

How I Write: Also Known Organized Chaos… Ok Just Chaos

Today, I am participating in a blog tour. This sounds so fancy. It is when bloggers write on the same topic over a period of time and share their posts. Kari Hoban of A Grace Full Life  asked me to be a part of this tour with her about writing. We had been admirers of each other for awhile.

The blogosphere is a weird place in that you can kind of become friends and learn a little about a person through her writing and becoming friends through different social media channels and blogging circles (you know, stalking). Kari and I kept finding ourselves in many of the same circles whether it be Chicago Parent or Listen to Your Mother. Finally, we met in person at the Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop in Dayton, and it was like we were writing sisters. So then we made THIS VIDEO and the rest is history.

How I Write.

1. What am I working on?
The short answer: my sanity. Currently, I write for Home Everyday, ChicagoNow, ChicagoParent, I am in the final stages of the writing program at Second City Training Center in Chicago which means I am writing (re-writing) sketches for a four week review to premier in June/July, and just like the mind of any writer my mind is always swirling and capturing and doing side projects.


I write in coffee shops, my dining room table, my couch.

Right now, I am on the edge. Not the edge you’re thinking… I am trying to find my medium. I know I love writing, but what does this mean? Do I want to continue blogging, if so, what kind? Do I want to continue writing sketch comedy? How? Should I keep my book ideas swirling around? Should I keep story telling like LTYM? Should I really try that open mic at The UP. How should I keep making anything and everything I write accessible? Can I do it all?

Then, the questions get too hard and I ask if the kids want to go to the park, because I know for sure right now that is something I want to do right now. They are only going to want to go to the park with me for a little while anyway.  I know eventually I will find my groove, and will have the time to do it. Slow and steady wins the race.

2. How does my work differ from others in its genre?
There is something to be said for creating your own genre. I started out trying to be the “next big DIY blogger.” Then I wanted to be the “next big comedy blogger.” After blogging for almost two years, I am really starting to find my voice (what can I say, I’m a slow learner), and I have realized that I really want to bring some life lessons and humor to home improvement. This is where I am hoping to come into my own, and create a place that is true to what we are living, but also that is relatable to my readers (and hopefully to the masses.) C’mon next hit comedy series (Idea: SAHM Like it Hot)!


First day of class last March!

3. Why do I write what I do?
I made a diagram for you because this is how my brain works, but basically there are a few things in this life that really bring me true and real joy. Home and Laughter. The End. Sure all the other things in life are nice too, but I don’t get the same thrill or pitter pat in my heart that some people do from seeing the world. When I say home I don’t mean the physical structure, while I enjoy that too, I mean more the HOME that is the all encompassing breaking bread with family and friends. The feeling. My husband, kids and I sharing this space at this time in our lives. Home. When I say laughter, I mean when you say something really funny to someone who really needs it and he or she really laughs. This is why I write about all things domestic, and this is why I (attempt to) write funny. However, it is just starting to dawn on me how I should combine the two.


4. How does my writing process work?
NOTE: Priorities – these are on a ranked based on deadlines, who is depending on me, what is paid, and do I have Second City homework. I prioritize based on who needs what first and then fill in projects or writing where I want on my blogs. As a writer, I find that I must write every day or else my brain is mush.


Writing after a kitchen injury.

NOTE: Eclectic Styles – (once I sort out my priorities) because I write in a couple different kinds of mediums, the process for each of those mediums varies a bit, but the basics are the same: Capture, organizing my thoughts, write, edit, actually publish, look it over once more.

DIY Project Writing – When I am thinking of inspiration I hit thrift stores, JoAnn Fabrics, Home Depot, or the SuperMarket for inspiration. I snap photos on my phone and capture the idea for a rainy day.
ESSAYS, BLOG POSTS – I often text myself, makes notes on scrap paper or journals, keep notes in my phone, or write things on word documents on my laptop as they pop into my head (usually while I am writing. Writing begets writing for me.) I have even written things in the fog on the mirror in the bathroom when I hop out of the shower. I don’t ever want an idea to float away from me. Then about once a month, I take all my texts to myself, notes, scraps of paper, and put them in my “MASTER DOCUMENT” this is in EVERNOTE. I sort them into where I think they belong. This is a good topic for DIY, this is a good topic for ChicagoNow, this would be a good chapter in a book, this is a good sketch idea. I keep these for a rainy day. Sometimes, I sit and sift through and weed out the garbage (Sitcom Idea: Phoenix Heat, Segway Cops) and keep the good stuff (Recipe Idea: Lemon Blueberry Bread).
SKETCHES – writing exercises like lists of ten, free writing, or mapping that I learned via Second City help capture ideas.

DIY Project Writing – I take pictures of the process and jot notes and I do the project to be written in the post later.
ESSAYS, BLOG POSTS – I try to sort everything I want or all the thoughts I can about the topic. Sometimes, this also may require a bit of research or asking questions or testing out some funny sentences on people to see if they laugh. This step I sometimes write out, sometimes I do in my head while I’m driving, lying in bed, or in the shower. This is trying to figure out everything I want to say regarding the idea I captured.
SKETCHES – this is the initial pitching stage of a sketch. The whole who, what, where, why, what’s funny of the idea I have rolling around in my head.

3. WRITING: I write everything I can or remember about something. Sometimes I set a timer, sometimes I don’t. It depends on how important the piece is, or how much detail I want to be added. If I do set a timer though, I usually don’t allow myself more than about a half hour.

4. EDITING: This is more than just typos, this is cutting the unessential or punching up.

5. ACTUALLY PUBLISHING: I am trigger shy and still very insecure about my writing. If a piece doesn’t have a deadline sometimes I will wait to publish when I am feeling more confident. However, most days I just bite the bullet.

6. LOOK IT OVER ONE MORE TIME: Sometimes I read through my finished piece one more time. I like taking advantage of that moment to be proud of myself, oh and check to see if I missed anything.

There we have it my organized chaos.
If you like this post and would like to read more about all things domestic with a touch of humor, become a Home Everyday follower! For blog updates or to see other places I write such as ChicagoNow or Chicago Parent follow Home Everyday on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.

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Friday Fails: A Job a Anyone Can Do

Since I have
started Home Everyday, I have had my share of fails. Let’s face it, failing is
not exclusive to DIY or blogging. Since I love a good theme, everyone loves a
funny story, and we can all learn from failing, I thought I would start another
series here at Home Everyday called Friday Fails.
Like Thirsty
Thursday, this was an idea of my sister, Beth. Like the good older sister she
is, Beth has been threatening to start her own blog telling “the rest of the story”
explaining all of my fails to everyone. She does have a point though. As a
student of comedy, and one who loves a good lesson I thought I would beat her
to the punch and just bust myself.  After
all, Tragedy + Time = Comedy, and now that I have had a bit of time to process
these things, I am able to laugh about them, and now share them with you.
So welcome
to the first of what I am sure are many many Friday Fails.


For those
that don’t have the pleasure of living in the Midwest, you had to hear about
the horrendous winter we had second hand. As sorry as I am for the people who
had to live through the winter, I also feel sorry for the people who lived
somewhere much more mild but had to hear our constant whining about how cold it was here. It is
like when someone orders a spciey tuna roll at a sushi restaurant knowing it is going to be spicy and then all you hear for the rest
of the meal is how hot it is. We get it, its spicy, you knew it was going to be.
In our
defense, though, I am 33 years old, I have lived in the Midwest my entire life, and I
have never experienced anything like the winter we just had. Also, considering
we are just coming off the first nice week we have had since September 2013, I
think we have some room to complain. 

Finally the trees are blooming in my yard!


When there
is a winter like the one we had complete with tons of ice, snow, and bitter
cold, it has potential to do some structural damage. Our house experienced what is known as an
ice dam. This is when ice actually gets so heavy and thick and gets trapped
UNDERNEATH the shingles on a roof. When the ice melts, the water has only one
place to go and that is into your house. So the ice was melting underneath the
shingles, through the plywood, into the attic and into our our kitchen ceiling. There was water coming in through where our light fixture attaches to the ceiling. Fun, right? 


It was only
a small section, and compared to most people, we considered ourselves pretty
lucky. We had the roof repaired, our gutter rerouted so water will no longer
collect on the roof, and the ceiling damage is scheduled to be repaired soon. Everything is fine. Almost.
noticed that the light fixture in our kitchen didn’t seem to be working correctly. When the light was on for even a few
minutes it would begin to flicker. This made Brian and I nervous. We thought
that perhaps there could be water in the light fixture some how.
Brian and I
like to consider ourselves pretty handy people. Whenever we are questioning our
“handiness” or DIY capabilities we say, “But we built our dining room table for
pete’s sake. We can figure it out.” However, when it comes to electrical and
plumbing. We don’t’ like to mess around. Sure we can put in a light fixture,
fix a clogged toilet, but we are not equipped to handle a water damaged
electrical line.
So, we called
our electrician.
When our
electrician arrived, this is the conversation that transpired.
Me: Hi,
Carol. Thanks for coming!
Carol: No
problem. What’s going on?
Me: Well,
Brian said he told you about our ice dam and our leak. The water was
coming right from where that light fixture is, and now the light flickers, and
we are just worried there could be some kind of water damage and we don’t want
to mess with that.
Carol: Ok,
well let me just turn the light on. Oh, so I see you use compact flourescents.
Me: Yep.
Carol: Well,
have you thought about changing the light bulb in this light fixture.
Me: (Blank
Carol: I
mean you have changed it since the water?
Me: Well,
no. We didn’t want to use this light because there’s water damage.
Carol: Let
me just take a look at the light bulb here. (takes glass off light fixture,  unscrews light bulb) Yep, look at that. This
is a bad light bulb. Sometimes they flicker right before they are about to go
Me: (fumbling like an idiot) The
light bulb?
Carol: Sure,
just go get me a new one, and I’ll switch it out for you and we can keep and
eye on it for a minute, just to make sure there’s no more flickering.
Me: (heat
rising in my cheeks) Ummm, ok.
Carol: Is
that all you had for me today?
Me: Well,
Brian will be home any minute, let me grab that lightbulb and he can tell you
when he gets here.
Carol: Sure,
no problem. That’ll be $150.
Me: (shocked
Carol: Just
I was
But this
story only gets better (or worse depending on who you are). You see, not only did Brian and I call an electrician
out to change a light bulb, but we had just done some rearranging in the
basement and I couldn’t find a damn light bulb!
I was
frantically searching/stalling in the basement, knowing Brian would be home any
minute to rescue me. Fortunately he did and found a lightbulb for Carol.
Thankfully, he also had another teensy question for Carol to help me save (my very red) face.
In the end,
Carol didn’t charge us (she’s an awesome electrician). Also, she probably figured she has an excellent story to tell at
parties for the rest of her life.
You may want Brian and I to relinquish our DIY cards right here right now. I don’t blame
you. I mean we called a liscensed professional electrician to change a
lightbulb. This is clearly a job a monkey could do. Well, maybe not a wild
money, but maybe a trained one.
Regardless, we
did learn that it IS to be better to be safe than sorry. Oh and change the
light bulb and give it a go before you call an electrician. 



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One Small Step for Him, One Giant Leap for Mom & Dad

Its pretty late at night, and I just got finished packing my first school lunch as a parent.

I know this is only the first of thousands that will be packed by me or my kids over the next several years.

Sandwiches and snacks, juice boxes and pretzels, carrot sticks and grapes all packed up in  lunch pails and boxes, coolers and brown bags.


This is the start of the school years and kind of the beginning of the end of the baby years. While I am so excited for these years and know that my kids will love this time, it is still change.

My kids haven’t been babies for awhile, (I am practically done with diapers), but there is something about packing up a real lunch for a full day of school that says BIG KID.


As I was packing, I got a big blob of jelly on my shirt and I laughed/ugly cried. I didn’t cry because of the jelly. I certainly know this won’t be the last blob of jelly I get on my shirt. I cried because I am feeling such a mix of emotions.

I am happy and sentimental. Excited and nostalgic.

With his one small step on that school bus, Brian and I are taking a leap into the realm of BIG KID.

Why did I laugh? Because let’s be real, this will probably be the last time I have my act together enough to make his lunch the night before.


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When It Rains in the Basement, It Pours (Literally)

Did you ever have one of those days where everything intersects perfectly to create the Perfect Storm? It is like a mean example of Murphy’s Law where everything that could go wrong… does.

That happened last week, and while I would like to be sad about it all (and our wallets are definitely lighter) but, I have to say we are lucky the way everything turned out
Last Thursday, I had plans to meet two of my gal pals for dinner. When Brian walked in the door, he was greeted with hugs and kisses hello from the kids and myself. Then, on nights where I have to go out, Brian and I go over dinner for the kids, bedtime, and he usually asks me if laundry needs to be switched up before I leave (I’m one lucky lady). I was finishing up getting ready, and Brian went to finish switching up the laundry when I hear, “Erin, could you come down here for a minute?”
I walk downstairs to our unfinished basement and there is a line of water running along the drywall. UGH!!! We immediately go into panic mode, and begin the investigation of where it is coming from. After a few minutes of poking around with flashlights, and following water, we saw that it was definitely coming from the water heater.
We were actually both a little relieved that our basement wasn’t flooding and that getting a new water heater is one of those things that just happens with home ownership. We knew ours was getting up there in age, and it was probably time. Also, when you know (several) people who have had major flooding in their basement in the last year due to rain, you are thankful that you just a little dripping from an old water heater.
Despite the need for a new water heater we were grateful.
Brian insists that I go out to dinner, and that he will call around and figure out how to get a water heater here soon. I headed out for some much needed girly conversation. While I am out, and with the help of 21st century modern technology, Brian texts me that everything is taken care of and after reading reviews online, and calling around he was able to have Lowes deliver and install our new water heater sometime tomorrow. HOORAY!!!
I had a playdate scheduled for the next day, but we didn’t need hot water for that. Also, Brian said he would be home in time to meet the installers. There was no need to cancel our playdate. So, my friend, Colleen, and her three children came over for the day just as planned.
The next day, Brian got home from work early to over see the installation just as myself, my friend, Colleen, and our six kids sat down to lunch.
All was right with the world. Brian was coming home early from work to help with water heater installation. My three children were happily playing with three of their best friends. Colleen and I were enjoying spinach salad with berries and goat cheese (recipe coming soon). It was a great summer afternoon. I even had a craft planned. Sounds like fun, right? Sounds organized, right? Sounds… almost too perfect, right?
It was. The clouds were starting to roll in.
Brian lets the the Lowes installer in the house, and he leads the installer downstairs to our sub-basement. A few minutes later, Brian is standing in the dining room while we are finishing up lunch. I just assumed that the installer is down in the basement doing his thing. Well, you know what they say about assuming things, right?
That is when Brian says, “The installer is gone.”
There was a crack of thunder. “WHAT?!,” I reply.
“He said this is definitely a two person job, and they only sent him. He said he couldn’t do it all today, and that we should call Lowes to figure it out.”
Figure it out? Ok, minor setback. No worries. Brian calls Lowes, and Colleen and I start cleaning up lunch and trying to get the kids to take naps.
This is when the lightening started up. Needless to say, the kids didn’t nap. They were too wound up and excited to be together.
Then, more thunder. Also, after Brian talked to Lowes, they said, “Sure, we can send a two man crew out, as early as Monday.” Just to get you up to speed that is THREE days away. Three days without hot water, with kids in the house who need baths.
While, we probably could have waited it out, our real problem was with how Lowes handled the installation problem. Instead of the installer calling from our house and working with his supervisor to get a time later in the day or even tomorrow. He basically told us we were out of luck, and then left.
But, the clouds had started to clear up a bit. Brian calls Home Depot. He is on the phone for a few minutes, and our problem was solved. Home Depot said they can have a GE water heater out to us tomorrow. Brian calls back Lowes and cancels the previous order. Also, while the kids hadn’t gotten much rest, they were playing wonderfully, snacking on Goldfish crackers and taking turns with a craft I had planned for them.
Things are looking up, and it looks like a the sun may come out again. Colleen and I get the kids settled with a movie, and start cleaning up paint. Brian is in the sub-basement. I invite everyone to stay for dinner, so Colleen calls to order pizzas. Everyone was happy and content.
I take all the paint brushes upstairs to rinse them off. I am happily rinsing, thinking, “What a lovely day. Sure, the water heater is a bummer, but in the grand scheme of things it will be alright.” That is when I hear yelling. I can hear Brian from the basement yelling something, and Colleen starts shouting, “Erin, Brian says shut the water off!”
“Why, is everything ok?”
No, it wasn’t.
I run downstairs and it is pouring in our basement. This is not a metaphor this time. Literally, a full on storm in our sub basement. Brian is standing with a bucket directly under where our kitchen sink is on the the upper level. He is wet, and everything underneath the leak is wet. EVERYTHING! Boxes, bags of baby clothes, old toys, everything.
I start getting garbage bags, and dumping wet things into them. Brian has towels and starts wiping up the moisture.
We do our best to clean up, while Colleen helps with the kids who are starting to get a little unruly because of lack of sleep.
Brian does a little investigation under the kitchen sink, and finds that the sprayer on the faucet is completely shot and the kitchen faucet needs to be replaced. Basically, any time we would turn on the water it would rain in the basement.
So at this point in the day, we have 6 hungry and tired children, no hot water, and zero ability to use the kitchen sink. Needless to say, we cracked open some beers with our pizza that night!
After a long weekend of repairs, and cleaning up everything is alright. The hot water heater came the next day. Brian and I picked out a new faucet, and he installed it and so far everything is working fine.
We decided it was lucky that our hot water heater was broken and then the installer cancelled because then Brian might not have been in the basement when the kitchen faucet started to leak into the basement, and we might not have noticed for hours or even the next day that it was raining in our basement.(that is what we keep telling ourselves anyway).
However, sometimes when it rains in the basement, it pours… literally.
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