Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Small-Budget Kitchen Improvements

I think the kitchen is the most important room in the house. That was one of the main selling points for this house and one of the biggest reasons we chose it. Obviously, there were other reasons, but knowing that the kitchen was good just the way it was and that we wouldn't have to (eventually) remodel the whole thing was a big plus.

Of course, if your kitchen is less than ideal, there are some things you can do to update it. Without spending a fortune.
  • Decorate - it may seem that your kitchen has enough stuff in it with all the appliances and other items necessary for preparing food, so you may not think about adding more stuff in the form of decor. Start with a few decorations and things that make you happy and see how it boosts your mood. 
    • Even something as simple as a nice clock can make a bold statement in your kitchen, while also being functional. PenduLux clocks are a great choice thanks to a wide selection of handmade items to choose from.
    • Your kitchen is supposed to be a happy place. If it no longer feels like that, changing the color on the walls may be the perfect antidote. The cheeriness of a new color will rub off on you and make you smile every time you see it. Like the way we changed our kitchen walls from blue to green shortly after we moved in. The green still makes me happy.
    • You use dish towels and cloths every day, so why not make them more fun? Buy kitchen linens in bright colors and patterns to help boost your mood and creativity. Even when you're not using them, they'll add a cheery splash of color draped over your drainer or hanging from your oven door.
  • Change up Cabinetry - whether or not you have the funds for a full kitchen renovation, making changes to existing cabinetry can be a cheaper option.
    • If the bones of your kitchen cabinets are still viable, give them a good cleaning and a fresh paint job. Sometimes a different shade makes a huge change.
    • Replace hardware. Even something as simple as a hinge can make your cabinets look instantly more updated.
    • If you have the space, tear out a small section of cabinetry and replace it with open shelving. Open shelves can be a lovely spot for displaying hard-to-store things like cake platters.
Kitchen improvements don’t have to be dramatic to create an impact in your home. Invest in the changes to your kitchen that make you happiest.

The most important tip of all is to fill your kitchen with the people you love.
Grandchildren make the best kitchen decoration!

Friday, May 24, 2019

Summer Reading


Do you have a plan for your summer reading? I signed up for the summer reading program at the local library, which starts June 1st, but as far as I can tell, it's just about keeping track of how much time I spend reading and then entering to win prizes. I like winning stuff, but I'm horrible at keeping track of my reading time. I just read. Whenever I can squeeze in some time. And I pretty much just read whatever catches my eye - though I am determined to finish Stephen King's Dark Tower series this year (just 2 books to go, and I'm enjoying it just as much this time as I did the first time through).

The main difference between my summer reading and my rest-of-the-year reading is that I need some 'real' books for summer so I can read them outside in the sunshine. The Kindle doesn't do so well in bright sunshine, but for any other time, I like it a lot more than I thought I would.

But what has me thinking about summer reading is this Goodreads Summer Reading Challenge. It looks pretty interesting and a good way to expand your reading horizons - especially good if you tend to read a lot of the same type of books, or books by the same author. I'm not sure if the intent is to check off every prompt on the list, or if you're just supposed to use them as a nudge to try something new.

Me, I'll probably use them as a nudge to try something new. Or I'll approach it from the backside and see how the books I'm already reading anyway fit into the checklist. I'm guessing that it doesn't really matter too much. As long as you're reading.

But, of course, I can't imagine not reading.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

The Whole Thing Makes Me Sick

Somehow I got on this email list. I pretty much disagree with everything they send out, or at least the ones I actually read. (I tend to just delete most of the emails) But I do occasionally read them, just to see what they're trying to say. This one I pretty much read with my mouth hanging open. There is just no part of my brain that understands the rabid need so many women have to defend their 'right' to kill their unborn children. How did we even get to such a place?

Their argument is that taking away this right to 'manage how many children we have and when we have them' is an outright war on women; it's 'not about abortion' but an attack on a woman's right to choose. Seems to me they've been waging a war on their own babies for years - and that seems far worse on every level. Why don't they exercise that right to choose in a timely manner - before there's another life involved? You want to choose 'when and how many children to have' (which sounds an awful lot like they're using abortion as a birth control method, doesn't it?) then choose. You have every right to choose. But choosing should not involve murder. Stop abdicating your responsibility to choose until 'Oops!' there's a baby you just don't want, and if you kill her before she's born you can go on with your life as if nothing ever happened...

And maybe that's what boggles my mind most of all. Why do these women who so desperately want to 'control their own bodies' only seem to be fighting for the right to kill their babies, while ignoring all the points where they really should be making those choices - don't be having sex with random guys, use birth control... Perhaps if we take baby killing off the table, they'll fight harder for the right to make the choices they should be making.

Anyway, here's the email. All emphasis is theirs.

Dear Anna,
Most women who have abortions are already moms.1 Being able to manage how many children we have and when we have them has been nothing short of revolutionary — not just for women and mothers, but for our country as a whole. It has helped to narrow the gender pay gap, improved the health of women and their families, and led women toward access to increased economic and political power.
Following on the heels of Georgia2, Alabama just passed the nation’s most restrictive reproductive healthcare bill that, if allowed to go forward by the courts, would impose criminal penalties on any doctor who performs an abortion, even in the cases of rape and incest. As moms, we know the lifesaving importance of access to reproductive healthcare for ourselves, and we cannot even begin to imagine the horror of a high schooler who has been raped learning that terminating her pregnancy is a criminal action. Despite these horrors, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey immediately signed the bill into law.3
* Join MomsRising in telling every governor that they must protect access to safe abortions and resist the attack on a woman’s right to decide when and how many children to have — or whether to have children at all — which is nothing short of a war on all of us, including mothers and our daughters.
Across the land, other states like Missouri and Louisiana are considering bills designed to provoke the reversal of Roe versus Wade, which protects a woman’s right to choose under the U.S. Constitution. (In good news, some states like New York are passing protections of a woman’s right to choose in response to the bans.)4 Ultimately, it’s up to governors to sign them into law. Signing such anti-choice laws signals a governor’s active participation in the war on women that wants to take away our bodily autonomy and our ability to make our own family planning decisions.
This coordinated effort to take away choice and deny reproductive health care involves states with some of the worst health outcomes for women, including high maternal and infant mortality rates.5 Politicians who say they value life should advocate for policies to solve the public health crises that are killing women and newborns, not dismantle women’s health care.
Governors must protect women, moms, and families, and stand firm against the attack on a woman’s right to choose, which is nothing short of a war on women.
Make no mistake, this war on mothers and women is not about reducing abortions. If the goal of those who are passing such severely restrictive laws was to avoid abortion, then they'd be passing access to free birth control, which is proven to lower abortion rates,6 not setting lifetime imprisonment laws for doctors who help women in need. What's really happening is a direct attack on women and moms having bodily autonomy, economic freedom, and sovereignty in our lives.
Twenty-five million women — that’s one in three women of reproductive age – now live in states in which abortion under any circumstances could be outlawed if the Supreme Court were to overturn Roe v. Wade.7 And this war on women, mothers, and our daughters particularly harms women in low-income families and communities of color, who face more barriers accessing reproductive healthcare.
Lawmakers should not be attacking women, who are half their constituents. Instead, they should be supporting us by passing paid family/medical leave like every other industrialized nation has done, access to health care including birth control, affordable childcare, equal pay, fair treatment of immigrant families, and an end to the mass incarceration that tears too many families apart — and not a rollback of our rights.
Women are the foundations of families, communities, and the economy. Tell governors to protect women and stand firm against the attack on a woman’s right to choose.
Please forward this email to everyone you know who believes in a woman’s equal right to freedom and her own autonomy, and ask them to sign too.
In solidarity,
- Kristin, Monifa, Gloria, Donna, Elyssa, Felicia, Sili, Tina, Casey, Maggie, and the entire MomsRising/MamásConPoder team
So, apparently, lawmakers should not be attacking women. but women should be allowed to attack the most vulnerable and helpless, killing them with impunity. And they have the nerve to talk about horrors.

Please note, I removed all the links. If you want to support this nonsense, you'll have to look up your own links.

Why Choose an Architect

blueprints_architectural_plans_2228686Oftentimes when you're planning to build a home for your family, your builder will give you a choice of 5 or 6 home designs. You pick one of those, and they build it. If you happen to know a bit about home design, you may be able to tweak the plans a bit to get something that works a little better for your family. Otherwise, your house is built according to the plan, and odds are there are several houses in the neighborhood that are just like yours.

If you'd like something a bit more unique, consider hiring an architect. Here are ten reasons an architect can benefit your new build:
  1. Dreams - Architectural design services include trained professionals that can make your dream design into reality.
  2. Investment - Your home is often your largest investment, so why not make sure you get what you want in your new build.
  3. Weather - A local architect understands weather conditions your home needs to be prepared to protect you from.
  4. Original - Working with a design team can let you create an original residence that includes unique areas such as hidden rooms.
  5. Green - Earth-friendly architects can help you create a home that is energy efficient and eco-friendly.
  6. Value - Working with an architect can assure you are creating a house that is the best value for your dollar.
  7. Costs - Construction costs are lower than they have been for several years, so why not take advantage of the savings?
  8. Property - If you have an unusual property, an architect can help you design a home that highlights the strengths of the land.
  9. Resale - The resale value of a home designed by an architect is often much higher than standard stick-homes.
  10. You - You are worth the extra time and effort it takes to find an architect to make your dream dwelling come to life.
Dream House
If you want someone to help you build the home you visualize, choose an architect. You can be sure he or she will be familiar with the latest technology, roofing fabrics, and building materials. With a trusted design team in place, your dream residence can become a reality.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Had to Share

Shortly after posting that last post on whether to buy wooden or vinyl horse jumps, I came across this video on Facebook. It seemed almost too coincidental, so I just had to share.

Is that wood or vinyl?

When It Comes to Jumping

Whether you keep your own horses at home, have a small training or boarding facility, or run a facility that hosts multiple horse shows a year you want to make smart choices with all your purchases. When adding horse jumps the first question you may have is whether you should invest in wood or vinyl. There are several reasons why wood horse jumps are the best choice.
Horse Jumping

While some horses are chronic overachievers, many are, like many humans, a little lazy. Using vinyl horse jumps teaches your horse that he doesn't need to respect the jump because it will come down easily at the lightest touch. A few times of this and he will quickly learn he doesn't need to be particularly careful with what he does with his legs when jumping. Hanging his knees or not tucking up tightly has no consequences. These bad habits are more than frustrating, they can prove dangerous as he continues to get more sloppy with his front end, or when he faces a more solidly built fence.

Another reason you should consider wood horse jumps rather than vinyl is that wood fences are made to last. Wood fences just look good. While vinyl fences may look nice when brand new, they quickly show signs of wear. If damaged, they cannot be repaired but must be replaced. Wood fences are much tougher than vinyl, but even if they are damaged, they can often be repaired. If they start to look a little worn, a fresh coat of paint can have them looking just like new.

I just finished a very lovely book - The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley - in which the young girl at the center of the story learns to ride a pony (after never being out of the city or even the room her family lived in), and she works really hard to be able to jump. There's a lot more to the story, but the relationship between the girl and the pony was really special. I never really thought about whether they were jumping wood or vinyl, though because the story was set during WWII, I'm thinking it was probably wood - with a few logs and then a couple stone walls thrown in for good measure.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Liars, Every One

I occasionally watch Family Feud in the afternoons. Sometimes (OK, a lot of the time) it's really hard to come up with the responses that are up there. And some of them have me practically yelling at the television screen. There was the time they asked single men what was the longest time they'd gone without cleaning the toilet. Remember, we're talking about single men. And the #1 answer was - any guesses? If you're like me, you're guessing a month, 6 months... But, no, the #1 answer was one week. I'm pretty sure they were all lying on that one.

There was a time - amazingly, back when my kids were very small - when I really did clean my bathrooms every single week. Thursdays, to be precise. Now, if I could just figure out how to get back to something that remotely resembles that.

Another Family Feud question was 'How long does it take to clean your house top to bottom?" I actually did clean this house top to bottom before we moved in. The house had been sitting empty for a few months, so it was mostly vacuuming up all the dead flies and spider webs in the corners, wiping down the bathrooms and kitchen, and vacuuming all the floors. There was no furniture (except for the table in the breakfast area), so that made things a bit easier, but it still took pretty much all day. So my response to the Family Feud question was 8 or 10 hours. Maybe? But the #1 answer was 3 hours. Yeah, right... What, do these people all live in tiny houses? Either that or they're lying. Lying.

Back when we lived in the apartment - before kids (all those years ago) - I could clean the entire place on my days off and still be able to get out to the pool when it opened at 10:00. But this house is a bit larger than that old apartment, and 3 hours wouldn't even come close to being enough time to clean the entire thing.

And then there's this chart I saw on facebook a couple weeks ago:

Yep, that looks entirely reasonable...  Does anybody actually do this? Probably those people who can clean their entire house top to bottom in 3 hours.

I do make the bed and do the dishes (mostly) every day, so there's that.
(also - *every day - there really is a difference)