Been too Busy

Here is the dealio.  I have been swamped.  And by swamped, I mean doing things I want to do.  Examples of those activities are: eating my new favorite low-cal cheat, lemon ice with raspberry from Culvers, taking naps when I decide I want to, and oh, a couple small projects.  Oh yeah, and having my van towed, that has been super fun.  Four times.  And driving the kids all over. 

It is Princess’s turn for a summer room redo and thanks to her love of all things girlie and my addiction to pinning things in Pinterest, combined with my friend Janelle’s sewing machine, we have pumped out a pretty cool teenager room. 


Our first war was over paint color, and we debated this for MONTHS – since last summer, actually.  She wanted brown walls with a bright teal accent wall.  I have to look at this for 5 years, so nope, not doing neon teal.  We settled on Robin Egg, and I located this color at Home Depot.  I kinda really like the Behr paint from there with the built in primer.  It covers so well.  It can cover the ceiling, the carpet, and the wood trim, because that is how I roll.  But I got it done.  So there.20130618_110101_9933


Because Princess is a pack rat, and by that I mean collector of trash, anything anyone has ever given her – like postcards from 5 years ago and pictures colored by cousins 4 years ago – and awards won in school 3 years ago, we really needed to organize everything.  She loves photos of her friends, so we followed this tutorial and made her a cork board that will hold those photos, instead of putting them EVERYWHERE (thus requiring me to pull tape and blue sticky putty off her walls before painting.)


I think I have mentioned before her massive love of earrings.  Like over the top crazy. 

“Hey, Princess, what do you want for your birthday?” 

“Uh, maybe some earrings.” 

“Hey, Princess, what do you want for Christmas?” 

“Uh, maybe some earrings.” 

“Hey, Princess, what are you hoping is in your Easter basket?”

“Uh, maybe some earrings.”

And so, something had to be done to keep them all in order.  Because it comes in handy for me – I just borrow hers, so I gladly support this addiction.

We followed this tutorial and backed the frame with fabric to match the cork board.  And much to our surprise (not all all) her collection filled this thing, so we will need to take it apart some day and add another row. 


(In all this accessory organizing, we realized she needs necklaces – she really doesn’t have many and that is a shame.  so now next time a gift-giving opportunity rolls around, I wont have to ask.  YEAH!)

We also took her old letters spelling out her name and repainted them.  Somewhere online, I read about painting designs on them with glue and then painting the whole letter.  It gives cool dimension.  We painted the letters the same color as her wall, since she is more mature than when they were polka dot and striped to match her crazy little girl room.  This is more subtle.  Just like me.  Or not.

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Once  all of this was up, we decided the room needed more dark brown.  And we needed curtains.  And I was running out of free flowing cash.  And curtains aren’t cheap.  But they are if you MAKE them, and I found these lovely curtains and decided to make them in brown.  This is where Janelle comes in.  Only she would go out and buy a gathering foot for her machine so we could make these…and we knocked these out of the park.  I want them for myself. 


All in all, the room is 100% awesome and doable.  Not some over the top version of a room found in a magazine, but a sweet teenage girl room perfect for my Princess.  We have one wall left to finish – a collection of precious things that mean a lot to her – like an “A” that she bedazzled, the Broadway sign we picked up in NYC, and a sparkling gift from a friend.  All those things will combine with a undecided framed photo or two of her friends and will comprise a grouping sometime in the near future. 

So we have a fancy curtain rod left to hang and a little wall décor remaining.  And a couple months to get it done.  Progress is great.


Mama Said There’d Be Days Like This

Yesterday was one of those days.  The first set back began my day a wee too early.  Bill and JP got up to start their regular days and woke me up.  I couldn’t go back to sleep.  What???  That can’t happen in June.  It was just the way the day was going to go.

My first big job of the day was to mow our lawn.  The grass was pretty much hay bale material, and I knew the job would be horrendous, like scrubbing the latrine.  Although I have never scrubbed an official latrine, I imagine it to not be all too enjoyable.  I made one lap around the yard and clogged the bagging shoot twice.   Made another lap – the bags were already full before 3/4 of the lap around the big estate and I had to unclog again, so I did what every good lawn-mowing, summer-stay-at-home-mom does:  I took the bagger off and just mowed it down.  JP wasn’t home to watch the horror unfold.  Good thing, it wasn’t pretty.  Since it was going to look like garbage when done anyway, I taught Curly the art of the riding mower and let her loose.  I figure with her eye for detail, this might be the job for her.  For now, it is fun, so she might roll with it without noticing she is working.


Even worse, however, were the dandelions smiling at me as I mowed them down.  Seems they are undaunted by swirling blades.  The back 1/2 of our lawn is an embarrassment.  Princess and I dug those precious dandelions out by hand for quite some time and estimate that we cleared out about 12 gallons of them, which doesn’t sound like much, but was a major undertaking.  My goal is to dig every day this summer until they are gone and once again I can hear someone mention that the Pieper lawn doesn’t have a single weed in it – I miss those days, and how has it come to this?  Princess doesn’t understand why in the world dandelions are weeds.



After working on the lawn all morning, the girls and I treated ourselves to hair cuts and styles.  It was relaxing as we bonded over eye brow waxing.  And that last sentence was the beginnings of a poem.  Feel free to run with it.



But as soon as we hopped back in my hot mini-van to get ourselves home, we realized we weren’t going anywhere.  Van dead.  Completely dead.  We tried mouth to mouth.


No luck.  So we, for the first time, had our trusty van towed in to the fixin’ guys this morning.  I was secretly, well, maybe not-so-secretly, hoping for a total failure of all systems so I could be all like, “I drove that thing till she died because I am all content to drive a mini-van forever.”  Bill was hoping for “all she needs is a new battery.”  (I know my van is a she-mom because she has logged countless hours of child care without being a glamorous and worried about herself while the Denali is a guy because it sucks down the gas being all super strong and manly.)   Well, the verdict came back more like “She needs a new computer.”  to which Bill probably was super pumped (he does love getting new computers!) and agreed to fix her so I can once again be blessed by her ability to drive me all over looking all washed-up-momish.   It isn’t a clear win for either of us.  I am out a van for 3 – 5 days, however, so that makes it a lose for JP because I am now driving his car.  HA!  (I have yet to determine the gender of Goldie.)

So today is half over already and I haven’t accomplished much, so I better get my butt out of the pink blogging chair and get to the dandelion detail.

Welcome, Summer!!!

Although it is a wee bit chilly out there, summer is officially here!!  I know this because we ended our spring project today!!  (Almost, I have a few plants to put in still.)  Last fall, we had curbed edging installed, replacing the uh-sorta-good and not-so-trusty plastic edging.

Haul rocks out.  Lots of rocks.  Many hours of resentful kids serving out their slave labor hours in exchange for the blessing of living under our roof.  Just kidding – two of our kids worked really hard on this project, and to thank them, we took them to graduation parties for free supper.




Put the rocks in new desired locations.


Haul in dirt to compensate for settling; put down new fabric, new plants, and mulch; sit back and enjoy!





Now we wait to see if the summer storms wash any of it away to see if we need to haul it all out and put the rocks back.  HAHAHAHA.

Another sign of summer is all the bird poop on the patio.  The cause of this great white washing might be Crazy Man’s love of the bird feeder.  It is fun to wake up to the sound of life again. 


One last sign of summer’s arrival: the “last day of school” photo.


Bring it summer, let’s get this party started.


“Mom, will you please make us pancakes?” 

“Uh, are you serious?”

“Yep”  with cutest smile a 15-year-old can muster.

“Buddy, do you know how much I have to accomplish on weekends to pull off this?”  I replied as I show him next week’s schedule. “Eat cereal.”

Oh yes, we are in that time of year when all good things must come to an end and before that happens, each of those good things has to pack extras onto the calendar.

Scouts Sunday and Monday

Track – 2 meets Monday and one Friday.  Slower week, thank goodness, because,

Academic Awards – Wednesday

Jazz Concert – Thursday

2 boys touring Jazz on Wednesday and one on Friday (still trying to figure out how one tours with Jazz and also goes to Track meet.)

And, a scheduled scout weekend we will have to skip this coming weekend.

“Also, we need clothing from the 60’s.  See if you have any.” 

“Girl, how old do you think I am?”   A kid at school asked me if I was born in the 1800’s, so maybe I need some fancy wrinkle cream or somethin’.

Made these bars today to give to two new moms/dads who pumped out precious little baby girls!  Well, the moms did the work – probably the dads just watched.  So we didn’t taste test them, but we are pretty sure they are good, because come on, peanut butter cup bars?  YES!

We also made and delivered this broccoli cheese soup recipe which was new to us.  I did steal a spoonful and thought it was pretty good…I will wait on pins and needles for the official review.  Just in case it was gross, I also brought them ham and potato soup, which I have made for them before and gotten rave reviews. 

Last weekend, I also tackled this lemon strawberry cake – my very first Bundt cake.  The way this week was, the clean Bundt pan is still waiting to be put away.   At least it is clean.  Anyways, I could have just eaten the batter – Wowsa, it looked and smelled so good.  And it was.  End of story.  Make one. 

After all this baking and cooking, we came home from holding precious babies to eat cheese melted on chips, known by the fancy name of nachos.  Delish.

My house is a wreck – guess what Sunday brings? 

“UGH!!!  I hate cleaning my room.  We should get a maid.”  Yeah, I agree.

“This room needs a little TLC.”   “I HATE TLC!  I’ll clean my room when it is dirty enough” says the girl with piles so deep you can’t see carpet.

When we look all pulled together, it is just a facade.

An unexpected day off

It is rare to get a complete snow day around here.  It snows, we dig out, we go on with regular life.  Today was one of those rarities.  The first thing we did was dig out and by “we” I mean the boys. 


They walked the snowblower around the hood and helped out three other families.  They were slightly chilled when it was all said and done.


When I found out we had a snow day comin’, I had lofty dreams of all I would accomplish today. My reality is that I didn’t do much at all.  The laundry is still piled up, I didn’t dust anything, my bathroom is still dirty.  That is the way it is.

I spent the day in the kitchen!!  I made homemade bread…with yeast.  In.  The.  Oven.  I have to get permission to share the recipe still as it is another family’s recipe.  But I am so proud of myself.  And it is SO GOOD.  Lucy wants to eat the whole loaf.

The kids didn’t want minestrone soup, so although I made it for us grown-ups, I had to make them something different.  I don’t do that very often, but they really have been troopers while I suddenly changed how we eat around here.  I found this recipe for cheeseburger soup.  Pretty much an artery clogger.  I had to send Bill to Wal-mart to get Velveeta since it is neither a real cheese nor a real food.  AND the recipe calls for sour cream.  YIKES!!  The kids loved it.  It is not cheap to make, nor is it something I will eat, but I will make it again for them.  Because I love them.  And I tasted it and it is pretty dang good.

While I baked and cooked and washed dishes all day, the girls got their sewing on.



It is good to have projects to keep us from going crazy.  Speaking of going crazy, Crazy Man crashed and burned tonight with a migraine.  Good times.  He likes the cold leather and a blanket over his face in times like this. 


When he starts to talk again, he craves cheese.  So now I have to go fulfill his desire for 10 or 15 slices of cheese.  What in the world??  Good night, I am going to cut the cheese.  (That one was for you, Curly!!)

Batten Down the Hatches!!

The mice are trying to find a home for winter.  Crazy Man found one in the boys’ window well this evening and Bill sent them on a hunting mission.  NO MICE WELCOME AT OUR HOME!!

Crazy Man used our HBR 2012 supplies.  Well, come on now – hummingbird does not = mouse.   Out came the hockey stick.  No luck. (It had burrowed down in the rocks.)


Fun trying though, so much fun that Curly got in on it.


Then JP, the animal slayer, came home and took on the challenge with real equipment.  I warned, “Please don’t bounce that off a rock and get yourself.”


And he came back in with this big wicked smile.  “I chopped it in half!” He declared.  “It started running away, but I got it!”

“Holy Crap, get the camera!!”  I said. “This is blog material!”

“I’m comin’ too!”  Curly exclaimed, checking for organs (remember, she wants to be a vet!)

“That is disgusting!”  Princess stated. But she came out a stood by me, not close enough to see a thing.

“AWESOME!!!”  Chimed in Crazy Man and he touched the victim, of course.

I wouldn’t get close enough to either half of the mouse to take a photo.  I really didn’t want to see it.  But JP and Curly did.


Yeah, JP killed one of God’s creatures with the Bowie Knife he got at the church auction. 

No mice welcome!  The critter learned the hard way – don’t run from the law! 

Rest in (two) pieces, furry little fella!

A Fun Project

I was visiting a friend’s yard two weeks ago, and she had some really cool tall metal things in her gardens.  These cool things had climbers growing up them and baskets of flowers cascading out the top.


I had no idea what they were, but soon she told me about inheriting them when they bought the farm.  She mentioned they were old metal silage feeders and totally made my day by asking me if I wanted one.  Uh, does cow poop stink?  SURE!!


So we loaded that thing up and put Crazy Man on the job.  Clean it up, paint it, and make mom super happy about a cool growing thing-a-ma-bobber.

First, he hosed it down to get all the barn junk off it.


Then mom got out a brush, much to his delight, so he could scrub it down.  Boy oh boy, that kiddo loves to clean stuff.


Then the exciting part came.  After a mecca to Wally-World to pick out a paint, the Crazy Man got to work painting this beauty.



I now have a really cool garden climbing thing-a-ma-bob and a beautiful patch of RustOleum-coated grass.


I plan to put this climbing thing right in the middle of this new circle I have.


Yep, we got curbed edging put in a week and a half ago, and now we have the fun project of killing off grass, digging out sod, and moving rocks AGAIN.  It seems like something we have been doing since the kids were three years old.

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Yeah, we were busting out the large equipment back then.  I bet we will get it done a lot quicker this time with only a wheelbarrow and muscle.  Homeownership is one project after another, and sometimes, the same project over and over and over.

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