You get a box, you cut a hole in the box, you put your…

… food scraps in the box. Anyway.

If you looked at my back patio earlier today you’d have seen a dirty green storage tub sitting out there being useless and you’d have asked, “what’s that for?” I’d have told you, awkwardly, “oh, um… I’ve been planning to make a compost box out of that for, uh, like a year and a half. The entire time we’ve lived in this house, actually.”

And it’s true. That box has been sitting there looking sad (not to mention kind of trashy) since we moved into this house a year and a half ago. I had good intentions!
Sad box is sad.

There are lots of great tutorials online like this and this and this that will show you how to make your own compost box. So. Here’s mine.

This was one of the easiest DIY projects I’ve ever done. It literally took me less than ten minutes from start to finish, so I have no idea why I waited so long. It’s really so easy. You can go buy a plastic tub, but you probably have one lying around, right? That means this project will cost you $0.

What you’ll need:
Storage container (18 gallon size or larger) with a lid
Drill/screw driver?/something to poke holes
Shredded newspaper or sawdust

I used an 18 gallon storage container, just because it’s what I had on hand, and it’s probably on the small end of what you’ll want but you also need something small enough that you’re able to pick it up and give it a good shake every now and then just to mix everything well. It would even probably be awesome to use a big trashcan as long as it had a tight fitting lid. Whatever you have, there are really only two steps.

1. Drill a bunch of holes so air can get in. You need air to get decay. I drilled a hole about every three inches all across both the top and sides.

2. Throw some shredded newspaper or sawdust into the bottom for starters. Fill your box about halfway full.

Yeah. That’s actually it. Put it outside in an area that will get some good light, but not in direct sun or it will get too hot. Now you’re ready to compost! Here’s a quick and dirty lesson on Composting 101:

What you CANNOT compost:
• meat
• dairy
• lime (too acidic)

What you CAN compost:
• table scraps
• banana peels
• egg shells
• dryer lint
• hair
• plant clippings
• weeds (but realize that you’ll be spreading these seeds if you use the compost for fertilizer!)

Anything you add you should tear up and spread out so that it is able to break down more easily. The smaller your organic material, the faster the decay. You basically want a good mix of green (e.g. food) and brown (e.g. leaves), wet and dry. Keep a couple of newspapers around so that if things start looking too wet you can throw some shredded newspaper in, and if it starts looking too dry, spray some water.

I also made a tiny version to keep under the sink in my kitchen so I don’t have to trek outside every time I want to add something to my pile. I just used an old coffee container and for this, because I really don’t want anything seeping out into the cabinet under my sink, I only drilled holes in the top.

Make sure your holes for this are ridiculously random. I don’t know. You could even write some handy do’s and don’t’s on top! I did. My hope is that making it as foolproof as possible will help encourage the other members of my family to use it.

So far I’ve added used coffee grounds, part of an onion I left out that wilted, and a handful of chopped carrots Fletcher threw on the floor. Captain Planet should be dropping by any minute to pat me on the back. I can’t wait.


Seventh grader in da house!

It’s a terrible thing, but my kids keep getting older. Ethan finished sixth grade this year! He has one more year of middle school left until he starts junior high and I die.
Strangely, and somewhat conveniently for photo purposes, he wore the exact same outfit on the first and last days of school. What do you think? I think he looks kind of exactly the same. But partly that’s because this was him last year:

He went in a baby and came out a full blown man.

But back to this year, I leave you with this thought:



So close we can taste it

After today there’s just one. More. Day of school.

Of course, that’s devastating because it’ll mean Ethan will be a seventh grader and I just can’t even talk about that, but also: summerrrrrr!

There are lots of ideas floating around Pinterest for summer fun, so to give us some inspiration for rainy days and to just break up the monotony, I made a list and thought I’d share. We have the somewhat unique challenge of needing something entertaining for both babies and big kids, so there is a little of both on this list. There’s also a pretty good mix of free or nearly free activities along with some that will cost some money. There are lots of cute ideas with popsicle sticks and paint and glitter, but I just wrote each idea on a sheet of paper and folded it up. I divided each idea into two baggies, one for indoor activities

And one for outdoor ideas


I stuck the baggies in an old vase and called it a day. Now when we are bored we can pull out a bag depending on what the weather is like and dig around for a surprise activity! So here’s the list:

1. Make moon sand
2. Go get a movie at redbox
3. Go bowling
4. Make balloon rockets
5. Build a fort with couch cushions
6. Make special stepping stones for the garden
7. Go to a children’s (or any) museum
8. Make play dough
9. Bake cookies
10. Build a volcano
11. Go to the library
12. Make homemade Popsicles
13. Pick out a craft to make from the craft store
14. Go to Target and pick something from the dollar bin
15. Make homemade pizzas
16. Make dry ice bubbles
17. Make cards for Dad
18. Movie theater at home: turn out all the lights, serve popcorn and lemonade, and watch a movie
19. Walk or ride bikes to a restaurant for lunch
20. Go get snocones
21. Create a city with sidewalk chalk
22. Go to a splash pad
23. Go for a walk together
24. Have a picnic
25. Camp in your backyard
26. Make a water blob
27. Go to the pool
28. Go to the zoo
29. Play in the sprinkler
30. Go to a state park
31. Walk to the grocery store and buy popsicles
32. Set up a slip n slide
33. Make s’mores
34. Wash the car in swimsuits
35. Water balloon fight
36. Attend a vacation bible school
37. Have an unbirthday party (with cake!)
38. Build a play tent like this or this
39. Tie dye tshirts
40. Plant a fairy garden
41. Have a movie marathon of your favorite movie series or show. Better yet, introduce your kids to some of your childhood favorites
42. Rearrange bedroom furniture
43. Paint a birdhouse
44. Attend a summer camp
45. Build an outdoor chalkboard
46. … Or one for indoor play
47. Make a sensory play bin — there are a million and one ideas for whole themes for these on Pinterest
48. DIY a water table
49. Paint a flower pot
50. Write a letter to a far off relative

We will be doing most, if not all, of these things, so check back to see which ones are the most fun. Any great ideas you want to share?

This blog post brought to you by: Fear

Last fall Ethan brought lice home from school. It almost killed me, y’all. It was them or me.. and for a minute I thought it may be me.

Last night my head started to itch. Nothing crazy, probably just some dry skin on the back of my head. But. Now that I know the horrors of lice I will never again just have dry skin. It will always be omgthebugstheyareonme!!!

No one else in my house is itchy, or has anything suspicious on their heads (believe me, I checked), and I actually don’t see anything that is definitely lice on my own head. BUT WHAT IF! I really do have an itchy head, and what is most likely dandruff could be nits.

Hello, my name is Crazypants. Nice to meet you.

I’m doing what I did last time just in case. The added benefit is that if it is just dandruff, this is also a great treatment for that. Here’s what you need:

Coconut oil, tea tree oil, and good quality lice combs

I melted a cup or so of the coconut oil in the microwave, which I normally wouldn’t do, but since it’s just going in my hair I don’t care. Coconut oil is great to use because it’s amazing for your hair, but also since it’s solid at room temperature it’s less of a mess on your head. You could also use olive oil, just maybe do it in the shower! After it is melted, put four or five drops of tea tree oil into the coconut oil. Supposedly lice do not like the smell, and as a bonus, it is used to treat dandruff. Plus I think it smells awesome. And now… Dump it on your head! Well. In sections. Get the back and behind your ears first, then work your way around the rest of the roots to the tips of your hair. Your head should be drenched. Here’s my head (and yellow finger?) for reference.

If there are lice in your hair, even if you thoroughly comb, they’re fast and will move around enough that you’ll miss them. If you soak them in oil it will stun them enough to keep them still while you comb the heck out of your hair with a good metal lice comb. I got mine at Walgreens.

Go. To. Town.

Seriously. Comb your whole head from the base of your neck, from the left, from the right, from the front. Get at that hair. You do not want this to get out of control. And it will. Fast.

If you are crazy like I was and don’t find anything, great. Consider this a fancy hair treatment and prepare to be gorgeous tomorrow.

If you do… Do this every night until you don’t find anything. Then one more night just to make sure. Then! If you’re clear for those two nights, take a break. But! Do it again seven days from the last sign of lice (write the date down so you don’t forget!), because if you missed even one egg.. It’ll hatch 7-10 days after being laid and you’ll want to die all over again.

And let me add: I try — I really try — not to bring nasty chemicals into my home and around my family. But you gotta do what you gotta do. If you’re still finding signs of lice after two days, and you have to get your kid back to school or yourself back to work (or you’re just miserable) go get some lice shampoo. Shave some heads. Sometimes it’s worth it.

Good luck!

Quickly catching up

Oh hey, remember when I had a blog and even wrote in it some? That was neat.

I’m thinking about doing that again, actually. You know. Here

So, hmm. What have you missed? For one, my realization that depression is a bitch and even someone who has never, not once, remotely struggled with depression can succumb to it in the right circumstances. But also that antidepressants are awesome. Holla for breastfeeding-safe SSRI’s!

There are seven (7!) school days left which means it’s almost summer, glorious summer, and the whole house is excited about that. I always love summer until I don’t and it’s 100 degrees and I’ve heard “I’m bored” and “I’m hungry” 30 times in one morning. But by then it’s school time, glorious school time, so for now I’m just excited about all the funnnnnn we’re going to have.

Also, Fletcher looks so different!


But stay tuned. Here’s promising to update more than once every six months.

I’m Baaaaaaack

It’s ok and normal to take like two months off from life sometimes, right?

What did I do? Aside from sob uncontrollably, you mean? Oh. I took a lot of walks. I got a bike and rode it. I kept busy which meant stretching nap times back until my children were hysterical, and fed them fast food for days at a time. But they’re fine. We’re all fine. Or getting there, I guess. This blog isn’t supposed to be something to make you (or me) sad, so I think I’m done talking about it.

But I did other things, too.

First: I got a job. Not a real job. But it pays real money (as in, actually pays in dollars. No real money to be made, unfortunately). I’ll be working at a Mother’s Day Out program a couple of days a week. I can look out my window directly into Violet’s window, and I’m Fletcher’s teacher, so it pretty much doesn’t get any better than that. I am super apprehensive about it, but only because I am a crazy person, not because the kids won’t absolutely love it, because they will.

Second: I fed Fletcher food! The real kind, not the boob kind. Well, in addition to the boob kind. But real food. So far I think he’s a fan.

That’s a nana. We love them here. Whether edible or familial (as David’s mom is called Na-Na), we are big fans.

Third: Ok. It’s entirely possible that I did two things since I last posted. Because Christmas. Oh! Christmas!

Yeah. One of the things Ethan did was break his glasses and wear da rec specs for a week.

We went to Branson and Silver Dollar City to see the lights. It’s very pretty, but we will most definitely not go back until all babies are over five. Exhausted doesn’t begin to describe it. And that’s Fletcher in the Ergo, not a giant flower on my chest. I say so because I was asked. Twice.

And I’ll leave you with this:


On loss

Tomorrow I’ll be attending my third funeral in less than two months. I had only ever been to three funerals in my life before now, so doubling that number has been difficult. The deaths of my husband’s grandpa and my grandpa, though upsetting, were not unexpected. But this week, in a horrific accident, I lost my sweet brother. Every morning since he died I have woken up fine, only to immediately remember with crushing intensity what has happened.

Even if I had words to describe what I’m feeling, this isn’t the place for them. All I wanted to say is how thankful I am that we live in the technological world we live in. Obviously this technology, particularly social networking, has its drawbacks, but it has been so, so wonderful to be able to go through, of all things, his Facebook and see words he wrote, thoughts he shared. I can hear his voice so clearly in my head. When mutual friends like and comment on his pictures, it shows up on my feed and makes me smile. Admittedly, I always found that to be a little creepy and wondered what the point of Facebook interaction with the dead could possibly be, but I know for those of us left behind (at least for me) those likes, comments, posts, and tags are like small, sweet memorials for the person we loved so much.

I have gone back and forth about how I feel about blogging about my life, especially my kids, but I think I’ve decided it is good, that this is life today and the trade off for less privacy is better documentation. So many thoughts and pictures would have been lost and forgotten if not for the internet. Grief will make you do and feel ridiculous things, but I know it’s going to be ok. It’s stupid, I know, but his Facebook told me it will be.


Will Work for Naps

I am laying on my bed in an artificially darkened room in the middle of the day, box fan running for noise, perfectly still except for my thumbs tapping the screen of my iPhone. Fletcher is inches away from me and must. not. wake. up.

This is my life right now.

I don’t think I realized that parenthood was so calculated until I was managing two babies’ sleep schedules at once. Maybe it isn’t for you. But there are two things I need: I need the two littles to nap at the same time, and I need to sleep at night… And in order for those two things to happen, I need at least a rough schedule. And also let me add that “sleep at night” is relative. Waking up once is given, twice is acceptable, three or more times and my brain stops functioning.

My brain has not been functioning for quite some time now.

We are on lockdown trying to solve this problem. I’m about to lose it. Why aren’t there other 27 year old minivan driving moms of three in my neighborhood? If you exist, come over. Bring food!

Pillow from my high school bedroom + Fabric coupon = Love

For someone who doesn’t sew especially well, I actually do it pretty often. I can only get better, right? And, hey: no broken needles today!

My dad has owned a business since before I was born and recently sold it. The other day, he emailed all of us kids asking if we wanted any furniture from the office before he sold it all. I’m sure I was the only one that responded but (a) I’m the only one that recently moved into a larger house and definitely still needs some filler pieces, and (b) FO FREE???

I actually took home a few odds and ends, but I am pretty excited about these chairs.

20131107-140852.jpgThe wood is nice and heavy, and a pretty honey color. The fabric reads as blue in the pictures, but they’re more green… teal, really… and happen to fit in our playroom (which is sorely in need of additional seating) perfectly. But something’s missing, right? Looks kind of boring and uncomfortable? I should add that my budget is $0.0 right now. And have you shopped for throw pillows recently? I do not have 20+ bucks to drop on something I know I’ll probably want to change in a year. So. I just decided it’d have to wait. Or, as seen below, accessorize more organically.

I find that sometimes when I’m being really good about budgeting, I get rewarded. Do you? Maybe you have to be really looking for it. Or pretending. I was picking up some fabric at Hancock (for three super [hopefully?] awesome diy Christmas presents, one for each of the kids) and my total came to $24.83… buuuuuut if I could find something I liked for at least 17 cents, I had a coupon for $5 off a $25 purchase! Boom. Free fabric. Well, like all normal people I save every decorative item I’ve ever owned, so I have plenty of pillows to either recover or recycle the stuffing from (you too, right?), so I grabbed half a yard of something fun.

This room already has teal, aqua, and apple green (looks yellow here, and in every picture I attempted to get before giving up), and I thought the navy and emerald bits in this fabric would be fun (ooh, trendy!) aaaand I love it.

I think it adds so much to that corner. Please note I swapped out my dying Christmas cactus for a faux succulent for the picture. You will not catch me blogging about keeping plants alive.

But anyway. Since that chair is so short, I didn’t use the entire half yard, so I was able to turn this:

Into this:

I think it really brings out the rainbow explosion of toys so frequently found in this room.