Archive for June, 2012

June 24, 2012

I may be off the wall, but our shoes aren’t!

by Decemberbaby

I was going to post this on Wednesday, but it was our wedding anniversary and so Mr. December and I chose to spend our evening together. On Thursday it stormed and we lost power for eight hours… so no blogging. Here we are, after shabbat… I’ve been dying to share this with you!

Our home has a very small entryway. It’s so small that in order to get everyone out the door in the morning, we need to put on shoes and coats 2 at a time. You can well imagine that as soon as there’s anything on the floor, it become impossible (actually, impassible.) Sadly, the kids’ shoes are constantly on the floor.

We’ve tried having shelves for the kids’ shoes. We’ve tried asking them to line them up neatly next to the wall. Most recently,  the shoes have been kept in an IKEA Trofast bin in the hallway bench – easy to put the shoes away, but finding a pair generally involves dumping all the shoes out onto the floor.

I decided to sew a pocket shoe organizer that can be hung on the wall, with smaller pockets to hold more (and smaller) shoes. I bought all the supplies. Then I procrastinated. And then I thought.

I don’t know about your kids, but in my house if there’s a pocket, someone will fill it with tiny “treasures.” And if you’re putting shoes in pockets, the dirt that falls off the soles of the shoes stays at the bottom of the pocket pretty much forever. And the kids will inevitably either overstuff the pockets or pull on them, leading to tearing and subsequent uselessness (of the pockets, not the kids. The kids are all heavy enough to serve as very cute doorstops, if nothing else.)

So I came up with something new, that addresses all of those problems. I ask you, readers: is this solution patentable? ‘Cause if it is, I’m totally applying for a patent.

Have a look:

It’s got elasticized straps (kind of like a scrunchie,) one for each shoe, and a vinyl layer on the backing so that dirt from the shoes can just wipe off. I’ve firmly attached it at all possible stress points so that it doesn’t come away from the wall (actually, from the wooden backing that is affixed to the wall) even if the kids grab the straps and lean backwards. The straps are stretchy enough to fit even our bulkiest running shoes, but tight enough to hold baby sunglasses and rolled-up hats. I’m already looking forward to winter, when all of the kids’ hats, scarves, and mittens will be visible and ready to go.

The best thing? It takes up no floor space and doesn’t protrude into the room much at all:

(For reference, from the wall to where you can see the watermark on this picture is a ten-inch (25 cm) space. Even accounting for the angle at which I took the picture, the shoes still only take up about four inches in depth.)

The best part? The floor in our entryway has been clear ever since I put this thing up! Oh, and leaving the house takes way less time, since we don’t have to stop and hunt through a bin for the shoes we want. That’s a major plus.

So, what do you think? Patent-able or just patently obvious?


June 13, 2012

Work-in-Progress Wednesday: the no-progress edition

by Decemberbaby

You know how the second you’re really gung ho about a project, one of your tools just up and dies on you? Yeah. My sewing machine did that last Thursday.

I tried fixing it myself. I opened it up and cleaned it and oiled it and closed it back. But the darn thing just wouldn’t work!

So there I was, with lots of stuff to sew and no way to sew it. It was a low point, that’s for sure. Add that frustration to the fact that R slept very little (and kept me awake) most nights, and you can see why absolutely no progress has been made this week.

You know what, I’m not even doing the project-by-project account of how little progress has been made. I’ll just leave you with this sad picture of (exhausted) me and K’s half-finished (and slightly mangled) bike shorts:

Off to pick up my sewing machine from the repairman. What are you hoping do get done this week?

June 11, 2012

Menu Plan Monday – June 11 edition

by Decemberbaby

Remember how I made a tilapia parmesan a few weeks ago? It was good – and that’s coming from someone who doesn’t eat fish. It was so good that I had two helpings at dinner and then ate the leftovers for lunch. Yum! That one is definitely going into the regular rotation, especially during the summer months.

In other dinner-related news, I’ve recently found frozen prepared meats (roast brisket, beef ribs) that taste amazing and are actually cheaper than buying the same meat raw. Weird… how do they do that? Anyhow, it’s nice to have a few of those in the freezer for days when I don’t feel like actually cooking.

I need to do a huge grocery shop this week – in a few minutes I’ll be going upstairs to inventory my pantry and fridge – so the menu planning will be fast and furious, followed by the customary Making of Lists.

Here’s what’s for dinner this week:

Monday – (Mr. December works late, no dinner for him) Picnic in the park! Falafel sandwiches (will probably pack ingredients separately and assemble when we are ready to eat), fresh fruit (watermelon?), homemade lemonade to drink.

Tuesday – Beef ribs (prepared freezer food!), mashed potatoes, green peas

Wednesday – Tilapia Parmesan (yum!) over whole-wheat linguine

Thursday – Taco night

Friday – Stuffed schnitzel roll-ups, rice, broccoli, challah, Israeli salad, fruit for dessert

Saturday – Coldcut sandwiches

Sunday – BBQ… hot dogs and burgers on (homemade?) buns

Monday – Picnic in the park!

… and that’s it. But readers, I’m curious. How do you organize your shopping list and meal planning? Tell me, do tell…

Not sure what to make for dinner? Get some ideas over at Menu Plan Monday!

June 6, 2012

Work-in-Progress Wednesday – mental health day edition

by Decemberbaby

I am severely sleep deprived, and it’s starting to show. This morning I woke up (that’s too strong a term for what happened, actually. Let’s say I achieved consciousness) and realized that my limbs felt heavy and my speech was really slow. I made Mr. December drive K to school (anyone who is sleep deprived has no business driving a car, in my opinion, although I understand the necessity of driving sometimes) and I went back to sleep. I just need to catch up before I really make a mess of things – for the past five days I’ve had a case of what I call “the stupids”, which means that I was aware that my decision making abilities were way, way off – or seriously yell at the kids for all the little things that are driving me nuts right now (why are there stickers on everything? Why does K need to hoard toys and then haul them all over the house? And so on.)

Right. So it’s “restore my mental health” day today, which seems fitting since yesterday I found this door while on my way to an appointment:

I definitely need to get my hands on that key. In the meantime, here’s my progress for the week:

In Progress: choosing my apps

I really, really like Remember the Milk. I like it enough that I bought the Pro version. It’s a bit like a hybrid between a calendar and a to-do list, and it lets you tag things, set priorities, schedule tasks, set deadlines, postpone… and to-do items can have notes attached, so if my to-do is to phone someone, I can have all my information right there – telephone number, what we need to talk about, reference numbers, etc. It’s really awesome. Even better is the fact that I can use it on my iPod and on my Mac, so I can organize lists and notes on my Mac so that the typing gets done faster, and then sync it with my iPod to be able to refer to it throughout the day.

Yesterday was the first day that I organized myself with RTM, and it went very, very smoothly. I got everything done. Even more amazingly, I was able to see that I really have no spare time in my day, and I could see how long it will be before all my items actually get done, and so I was much more able to say “no” to new commitments.

I’d still like a month-at-a-time calendar view. I think I should be able to sync it to my iCal, but I’m not sure. I’ll play around with that this week.

In Progress: weight watchin’

I’m up two pounds this week, and I know exactly why: when I’m exhausted but circumstances dictate that I can’t (or shouldn’t) sleep, I eat to keep myself awake. Also, I was exceptionally testy on Shabbat and so had Mr. December go out on Saturday night and get me some cookie dough and some ice cream. I ate all of it.

I’m hoping to make this week a better week, but there’s only one thing I can prioritize at a time, and right now it has to be sleep.

In Progress: Upcycling clothes!

I have a whole lot of t-shirts stashed in my workshop. In (seemingly) unrelated news, most of K’s stretchy play dresses have seen better days. This week I’m going to make her some play dresses (and matching bike shorts to wear under them) out of my old shirts. Wish me luck!

So nu, what are you up to this week?