Preparing for Hurricane Season

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Earlier this month, we bought a pallet of plywood. When Brian first talked to me about hurricane preparedness, I admit I pretty much shrugged it off. We’ve been through hurricanes in Virginia, but it really is a BIG DEAL here in southeast Texas. In my mind I thought about packing essentials and getting in a car and driving off before a storm. I didn’t realize that you should prep your house and protect the windows from flood, breakage, etc.

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Brian ordered window clips online and then on Saturday our pallet of plywood was delivered. This is the part where my expectations and timing does not usually line up. Well, let me back up a little bit. When Brian was describing this project to me, I thought he would do this on his own, with our table saw and various other cutting tools, and it would be good. Zip and done in a couple of hours.

But, shortly after taking a look at this pile, I realized I would have to pitch in too, especially considering how many windows we have in this house.

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There was so much cutting. We spent most of Saturday and Sunday cutting, carrying, and adjusting. Thankfully, my mom is visiting and was able to keep our children entertained and out of the way as I tried to keep my temper in check.

I realize this is a safety precaution, and in the long run it’s cheaper than replacing all these windows (The total cost was less than $500.), but it wasn’t the most “fun” way I wanted to spend our long weekend, money, and/or time.

Once I got over myself and semi-jokingly told Brian I never wanted to talk about all the work we just did ever again, I really buckled down and pitched in. Brian measured all the windows and drew on the board while I cut using a combination of a table saw, a reciprocating saw, and a semi-useless portable saw (I know, I need to brush up on my tool-vocabulary). Since I had to look online to see what tools I used, I think a jigsaw would have been good too.

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The clips are drilled into the wood, but I guess we’ll do that before we have to put the boards up.

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After we cut everything, we moved the large pieces into our garage to the side with the rest up in the attic over the garage.

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Hopefully we will never have to use it, or think about it again! Though, we slept really, really well on both nights from all the hauling and work we did!
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Have you prepared your house for hurricanes? I grew up hearing about preparing your home with emergency supplies and stuff, but it was definitely for the inside. This was a good learning experience for me.

Sources from Our Play Kitchen Lighting

Since sharing our super play kitchen, I’ve received emails and comments asking for more information about our lights. I sent my father-in-law an email and he finally gave me his sources that I’ll share with you today.

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For the knobs to turn on and off the stove, we used Lux Replacement Top Burner Knobs Universal – Gas Ranges Black Card Of 4. It fit almost perfectly, but to make sure the knobs didn’t break off, they’ve also been super-glued on!

For the oven light, we used something similar to Zone Tech 30cm LED Car Flexible Waterproof Light Strip Red (pack of 4). (I tried to find the exact one we had, but the link is no longer available). It’s glued to the bottom of the oven.

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For the “burners” we used Vktech 1M Flexible Neon Cold Light Car Glow Strip EL Wire with 12V Inverter (Red). The nice thing is that when it’s turned on, it’s not a true red, more like the red/orange of a stove, and that it can be coiled.

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My father-in-law coiled the light in the shape of a burner and glued it on top of blank CDs. The top is plexiglass that’s been spray-painted black on the underside. It was then attached on top of the play stove so that the lights are sandwiched in between.

Now, for the wires to turn off and on the burners and lights on the stove. There is a DC power pack 12-volt, 2-amp that is used to power all the lights. The power pack is connected to each of the switches which are then connected to each of the light sources.

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(This is about as technical as I can get, but if you need more info, let me know and I’ll get my husband on here to explain.) The wiring here was done by my father-in-law, as he’s an electrical engineer and does this stuff for us when he visits!

I hope this post makes sense…if not, let me know and I’ll do my best to answer your questions!

Over a year later, and my girls still love their play kitchen. There are times when they just hang out in the playroom and turn on the burner lights for fun.  :-)

Daily Painting Book Review

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Although my husband and I are many years away from retiring (unless we hit the lottery!), we talk a lot about new hobbies that we would take up in our golden years so that we stay healthy. One new hobby I thought I would take up would be painting.

I love the idea of painting, and I really liked it in art class in high school. But, I always struggled with it and never felt like it “clicked” with me. I thought in my older age I would be able to devote the amount of time, money, and energy to painting.

After reading Daily Painting, I’m considering picking up a paintbrush much, much sooner. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I started, but I found that I was super inspired by the concept. Basically the author suggests that you make the time to create small art every day (or as much as you can) so that over time you hone your style and improve your skills.

The book is fabulous and laid out well. She starts with how she got into the habit of daily painting, then moves onto tools, subject matter, art 101, to photographing, posting, and selling your work. There is so much information and I love how it builds up to pretty much a general step-by-step overview of everything about painting. This format works for a complete beginner like me.

I also liked that she included other artists to talk about their practice too. It’s nice to have some variety and how artists approach their work in different ways.

Not only have I learned a little bit more about art, but I’ve also gained a greater appreciation for the process. I feel like I can apply the habit of doing something creative daily like in my blogging/writing to my other arts like scrapbooking and needlework.

I’m left feeling really inspired after reading this book. It touches on just enough for me, and makes painting approachable and not overwhelming.

More info on the book here. More info on the author here.

Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. All opinions are my own.

Dealing with FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)

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Since our move, I’ve been really excited living near a larger city. There are multiple activities and events almost every day nearby that we can attend as a family, and sometimes individually. It’s come to the point now where my kids think it’s weird that we’re staying home and request that we “go out.”

I’ve been trying to adjust my expectations here. In our old city, we stayed at home pretty much every day. We went out once during the weekend and maybe randomly once during a weekday. Maybe I’m suffering from mom guilt, or too much isolation, but after looking at our calendar recently, we’re going out almost every day, and staying home maybe once on a weekday.

It’s not unlike when I tried playing BINGO with these 12 cards. It was nuts. My eyes were darting around and it was chaos. I ended up going down to 4 after this round because I could not keep up on the long haul.

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Taking advantage of all these opportunities for fun and adventure is getting to be a little exhausting for this introvert, and recently, on a drive home from yet another event, I spotted this car beside me on the passenger side of the car (Brian was driving when I snapped this).

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If you look closely, the car is definitely weighted down by all those tires. Sure, it’s moving, but it’s not functioning optimally. I had a light-bulb moment and realized I felt this way with our near-constant go-go-go lifestyle.

It’s kind of hard to stop when you’re being bombarded with the message from peers and the things they plan for their children. Swimming Lessons! Preschool! Sports! Gymnastics!

One mom I recently met talked about feeling guilty that she hadn’t yet signed her children up for camp this summer. I thought about our children’s museum membership we recently got, and wondered if I needed to find another place to go.

Another mom talked about running flash card drills with her not-quite 2 year old. When she said that I totally froze and thought that I was definitely way, way behind because my 4 year old only recognizes a couple of numbers and letters.

I’ve been feeling a strong urge to pull away from all the planning and stuff, and I think getting this brochure in the mail yesterday cemented it for me:

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Hilarious, right? That’s the message we’re getting nowadays. That it’s good to be busy.

I don’t want to be busy.

I realize I want to stay at home more and be more selective about the activities I take my kids to. I’m seeing that there are always going to be opportunities and that it’s okay to miss out on most of them.

I don’t think my kids will be too mad if we skip the weekly playgroup that has tons of people, because they’ll probably appreciate the smaller one we plan later in the week. They won’t be traumatized if we don’t do both.  😉

I want to give them down time and to learn that it’s okay to be “bored” and stay in and learn to occupy their time without me trying to help them fill it up with car rides all over the city.

I’m going to work on limiting our weekly activities to 2-3 a week and embrace the slower pace of life that we used to live.

Do you struggle with fear of missing out? I don’t feel too bad on myself, but I worry if I give my children “enough.” Ha, definitely a first-world problem here.