Tuesday, May 31, 2011

10% project: shoes

I have this half-baked feng-shuish idea lately that if I can start decluttering and get rid of 10% of my junk then I will also lose 10% of my weight and have 10% more money saved...and be 10% happier?  (I don't take myself seriously, so please don't take me seriously here, it's just a fun little diversion)

So to start, day 1 of "the 10% project":  10% less shoes.  I took down my shoes and counted them and cleaned them out.  I have amassed 38 pair of shoes + 3 loose single shoes.  This includes 3 slippers, 1 pair of rain boots, 2 Crocs, and 1 pair of roller skates. I have no idea if this is excessive or not.  My husband thinks so!  But some of my femal friends seem to have way more.  (Ahem, JR!) And others are more zen-like and have maybe 10 pair.  Most guys seem to have: dress shoes, sneaks, flipflops and loafers.
Anyway, here's the "before" picture of the pile of shoes I dumped out on my bed:

I got rid of a pair of never-worn brown heels that pinch my toes, black pair of black LLBean loafer-sneaker thingees, a pair of "water shoes" for walking on tidepools or something that I have never worn, and I tossed a pair of white slippers that I got for free at a 5-star hotel in Italy.  The good shoes are going to UCLA Thrift Store.

Feeling lighter already!  What do you think?  How many shoes do you have, and how many is too many?  And could you get rid of 10% of yours?

Playdough Parent Retires

Ugh.  I sit here typing this with blue and green hands.  I got stuck with the worst job at Lauren's co-op preschool.  The playdough parent.  You see, parents have to attend quarterly workshops to clean the school for 3 hours on a Saturday morning.  Attendance is mandatory and they are usually scheduled well in advance.  Well 2 years ago, we got our plane tickets to go to North Carolina and then afterwards, they scheduled a workshop while we'd be away.

I appealed to the board that I didn't want to have to pay the fine and have the strike on our record because we'd had the trip scheduled first.  They said we could repaint the lines on the playground instead, one Friday evening.  (You know, "blue box!  Everyone line up on the blue box!", well we were painting the blue boxes.)  They also came up with another idea for me-if I would agree to be the "playdough parent", I would not have to ever go to another workshop (as long as I was making playdough).  All I would have to do is make playdough for the classrooms every month.

I like to cook and I hate waking up early on a Saturday, so this seemed fine.  It should have been my first clue that the board member who offered me the position said with relief that she would not have to do it now.  Later, I wondered why she would have to do it-board members are already excused from the Saturday workshops.  I was given this playdough recipe:

3 cups flour
1 1/2 cups salt
3 cups water (put the food color in the water)
2 tablespoons cream of tartar
3 tablespoons oil

Cook on medium heat, stirring constantly.  When it forms a ball and
comes away from sides and you can't stir it, it is done.  Do not
overcook or else the playdough will get too stiff.
(Make recipe 3 times for 3 classrooms)

Here is how it actually played out.  If I had just missed the workshop, I would have paid a $50 fine.  (I think if we missed more than 2, we could be kicked out of the school.)  But I ended up paying way more than that for all of the ingredients.  *Especially* cream of tartar.  That stuff is expensive when used by the tablespoon-full!  And I had to devote a section of my kitchen cabinets to a giant bag of salt and big containers of food coloring.  One bottle of blue food coloring spilled one day, dripping on the white wall and staining everything.  It took Ryan and I (okay mostly Ryan) all morning and many sacrificed towels to clean it up. 

At the beginning of my "tenure", I also had to make separate gluten-free playdough for two sisters in the school who have celiac disease and cannot even touch wheat.  I originally had a recipe the school gave me using cornstarch and rice flour.  I bought a giant bin of cornstarch (more cabinet real estate gone) and made the recipe twice.  It came out terrible and the teachers complained.  So I can report that after much experimentation, the above recipe will work if you use corn flour instead of wheat flour.  The texture is slightly more chalky but it's fine.

Anyway, I made the playdough tonight for what I hope will be the last time.  They have a workshop this week and that's the last one of the school year so I think I'm off the hook, phew!  And when William's at the school, someone remind me to NEVER NEVER NEVER get roped into this again!!!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Thursday, May 26, 2011

William 6 month update

I took these pix yesterday. William is sitting up quite well now on his own and still enjoying his measuring spoons more than any other toy. This week he's been interested in cats and dogs, and squeals with joy when he sees one, and almost falls over with excitement. Just outside of the frame in these shots, is our neighbor's black Lab.

He's getting one tiny tooth on the bottom. It's pushed through the gums and the one next to it is going to erupt soon, too. He likes to gum everything in sight, including my arm or sleeve. He even gave me a little hickey the other day before I realized what was happening. He thinks the "drop" game is funny, and Lauren plays it somewhat more patiently than I do.

He is still babbling quite a bit. I was excited to hear him say his first meaningful word. When I asked him if he wanted water, he said "yeah wah wah". But he has not said it again since. Another time, Lauren was going on and on about how she only wanted one brother, this brother and right on cue, he said "Bill!"
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Monday, May 02, 2011

William 5 month update

William is sleeping right now as I type this, looking angelic and completely wiped out. He had a busy day, crawling a few feet this morning, eating oatmeal for the 3rd time, and giggling a lot with his sister. We went to Costco for the 3rd time in his life, and this time, his sister got in the cart beside him. He was SO thrilled with this that he laughed out loud and threw his head back and squealed with delight.

This month, he discovered his toes and that's one of his favorite pasttimes. When he wakes up, I unzip his sleepsack and first thing he does is check to make sure they're still there. His other favorite toy is a set of my stainless steel measuring spoons. Or maybe they're aluminum. Anyway, he likes them so much that I bought him another set at an estate sale, which we keep in the car. I can tell if he is awake back there by whether or not I can hear them jingling. The other day I cooked something and went to use the measuring spoons in the kitchen and looking crestfallen that I had taken his toy.
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