Faux real this time

A few years back I spent wayyyyyy too much time with an iron and some wax paper.  Remember when I made this faux capiz shell light?

Honestly I can’t really believe that I did that.  Ahhhh….the blissful pre-child days where you had a good 4 hours to spare ironing wax paper!  Ha!  You fool!

Anyways, while I do still love me a capiz chandelier, I was growing tired of this faux version.  And truthfully, three years later, it was starting to get a little wonky – it no longer laid flat and some of the circles were starting to curl.  So I’ve been “on-the-lookout” for something, anything really, to replace it with.  I knew I wanted something girly and feminine in the room though because overall I try to keep a masculine feel to it…not like the Hubs cares, but I’m sure he doesn’t want floral explosion going on in there.  Wait, neither do I….

I was mostly looking in second-hand stores and on Craigslist for something that I could re-purpose but nothing ever really interested me.  So one day (probably after another discouraging house hunt), I browsed Overstock and found this little gem:

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via Overstock

Voila’.  I loved it.  It was simple, elegant, and a little bling-blingy (but not overly so).    Sometimes you just have to wave the white flag for finding that perfect thrift find, and succumb to the fact that the Internet has everything we need (where’s that sarcasm font when you need it?).

A week later, she was up!  P.S.  Have you ever installed a heavy light fixture by yourself?  It gets…..entertaining…..to say the least.  I had 3 pillows teetering on top of three boxes, all stacked on the bed so the chandelier could rest on them while I connected the wires.  You’ll be glad to know that I ALSO had an emergency backup plan in place (a friend was to call me 20 minutes after I started) because the Hubs was gone all week hunting and I was terrified that Abby would wake up from her nap and I’d be electrocuted.  Yes, I’m paranoid….and yes the best time to install blingy chandelier’s is when your husband is gone.

Enough blabber.  Check it out!

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I realize now that I was SO over that capiz chandy….because I LOVE this one.  So so much.  In fact, instead of Taylor Swift keeping me up at night, now it’s this blingy-bling on my ceiling that I can’t stop staring at.  It’s the little things.  Or, is it the blingy things?  Same diff.

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An oldie but goodie

Did you know that I started this blog in 2011 as a New Years Resolution?   It was about that time that I really got into reading other blogs and I was in awe of the projects, stories and everyday life people were sharing.  I started to learn that there was this big ‘ol world in the Blogsphere where you could connect with someone halfway around the globe.  You could learn how to make something new.  You could get the confidence to do something out of your comfort zone.  You could shed a tear while reading a post written by a person you’d never met.  It was so exciting, comforting and fulfilling in a weird sort of way, and I wanted to share too.  I wanted to make connections.  And I wanted to inspire other people.

Anyhoo, the other day I was going back through some of my posts (I got suckered in by the “Related Post” widget that pops up at the end of each post) and had a grand old time re-reading some of my earlier entries.  Forget inspiration, turns out I can be quite funny too, amiright?

I ended up coming across the story about el Sheepo, whom I would gladly forget about except that he is lying right next to our computer desk, so he stares at me incessantly when I write, and I was cracking up.  Since I have quite a few more readers than I did back in 2011, I thought I’d reshare it today.  Seems fitting since it’s hunting season and all.

So whether this is your first, second (or third?) time reading this post, enjoy.  (Please excuse the poor pictures and red kitchen!  Both have improved since then!)

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The first question The Hubs asked when I told him I was going to start a blog was:  “Oh great.  Are you going to use it to talk bad about me on the Internets?”

Who me? Do what??

Honestly!  I see no reason to use this medium to complain about The Hubs.  Yes, it’s a place for me to talk about events happening in my life, voice my opinions  and discuss whatever else I deem important.  But to air my dirty laundry?  I don’t think so.  That’s what girlfriends and wine are for.  Of course there are times where I may pick on him…just because he gives me such great material….but I would never write about anything private between the two of us, or dish on something that was hurtful.  I’m not heartless!  I know where to draw the line.   So, know that when I write things that seem to poke fun of him; it’s all done with the best intentions and probably to get a laugh out of someone (myself included).  Because I know that some of you out there can relate to what I’m saying.  And laughter is the best medicine, right?

That being said though…I did warn him that this particular topic would come up.  And it’s ok because he already knows exactly how I feel about the situation.

The situation I’m about to discuss is serious.  It involves my kitchen and a sheep.  I know…I know.  You’re confused already.

Let’s back up 17 years:  The Hubs is a teenager.   He draws a coveted Bighorn Sheep tag.  And I say coveted for a reason….some of the other phrases I’ve heard people use to describe pulling a Bighorn Sheep tag in Montana are:  “nearly impossible,” “if you’re lucky enough to draw one,” “you’d never have a prayer of drawing one.”  My personal favorite?  It’s the hunting equivalent of Willy Wonka’s Golden Ticket.  Ok I just made that up.  But it’s true.  Another article on the Internet said an Illinois hunter paid $245,000 for a Bighorn Sheep tag.  Craziness!  So you get it right?  These things are pretty rare?  Coveted one might say.

So Little Hubs gets a tag.  Little Hubs goes out hunting and sacks a huge Ram.  Little Hubs is proud.  His Dad is proud.  His Mom is proud.  His sister is proud.  Everyone is proud because who, at such a young age, gets a Bighorn Sheep tag and shoots a huge ass ram to boot?  The Hubs.  That’s who.   All of this proudness resulted in a shoulder-mount of this coveted ram.   Yes.  That means hair.  And eyeballs (The Hubs says they’re marbles, but honestly it doesn’t really matter because eyeball or marble, they still follow you around the room all creepy-like).

Do you see where I’m going with this?   Do you remember me saying kitchen earlier?

Am I starting to sound (a) rational or (b) kinda like the mean wife who hates the coveted ram?

I can’t decide either.

Why don’t I take this opportunity to introduce you to the man ram of the hour?

There he is in all his glory folks.

Let me just set something straight before I go on.  My issue isn’t with the sheep itself (even though sometimes I feel like Harry from Harry and the Hendersons….wanting to look on the other side of the wall to see where the rest him is!).  But really…I get it.  It’s a big fricken deal to get a tag for one of these.  And it’s a big deal to The Hubs…so I have to respect that.  Did I ever think I would have half of an animal hanging on the wall in my house?  Ha Ha.  Get real.  I’d never even eaten wild meat until I met The Hubs.  Honestly, I prefer an antler mount (where you just show off the antlers…so no eyeballs) to a shoulder mount.  But like I said, I guess I get it, and I’ve resigned myself to the fact that “yes Janna, you will have half of a dead animal hanging on your wall.”

So, my issue is with the current placement of the sheep.  Remember this post where I showed you my spoon collection and hutch?  Something was lurking in the outer fringes of those shots…

Are you thinking “maybe it’s ok…it’s not like it’s front and center of everything.” ??

Actually my friends….it is.

Mr. Sheep has a front-and-center view of everything I do:  cooking dinner (breakfast/lunch/snacks), washing dishes, unloading groceries, eating, entertaining guests.  You name it.

In fact, to the untrained eye (unlike myself), he’s probably one of the first things people notice when they enter our house.  Here’s a shot down the hall through our living room (where the front door comes in).

Maybe you’re starting to see my side of the story.  I’m not sure where or how  “coveted  ram” fits into my decorating style.   In my defense, it was hung before I moved in…so I’ve kind of gently decorated around it for the past 5 years.  And it’s not exactly one of those things you can demand be removed…it would be like telling Charlie to give back the Golden Ticket.

The other issue is –assuming sheepo has to stay— that there really isn’t a better place to hang this thing in our house.  Our kitchen has really tall walls (that extend up to a loft above the kitchen) so there’s plenty of wall space.  In reality I guess I should feel lucky that the sheep got hung here instead of “in-yo-face-style” on our standard 8 ft walls in the living room.  I should also consider myself lucky that I came along when I did, because I know that The Hubs still considers parts of this wall to be prime real estate for future hangings.

I’m imaging a big wall clock here….The Hubs imagines his latest elk rack.

I’m not kidding.  There is currently a debate in our house about where his Elk rack from last season should go (something about how it’s the biggest he’s ever gotten….measures really big…..yadda yadda yadda).  Maybe I’ll write about that someday.  Ooooo….maybe I could do a poll and see where my readers think it should go!  Stay tuned….

So there you have it.  My biggest decorating dilemma.  Should I embrace the sheep and make him part of my style (you know, Santa hats at Christmas…camo in the fall)?  Probably not.  For now…I’ve chosen to pretend it’s not there live with it because (1) it could be worse (I think) and (2) I don’t even notice him staring at me anymore.  Plus, it’s always a little amusing when someone new comes over and I see them notice it for the first time.

The best I can hope for is moving into a new house someday where I will decide be an active player in the placement decision.  Wait, no.  It will have to be a requirement that we have some sort of rustic den or man cave in a new place.  Isn’t that where all the animal heads/racks and beer fridges should go anyways?  Not in a kitchen.  No no.  Far, far away from the kitchen where I’m actually trying to eat.  (Have you ever tried eating something with a big bowling-ball eye staring at you the entire time)?

Gosh.  I feel like maybe I have aired a little bit of my dirty laundry here.  I guess it’s just another day in the life of a hunting wife.  Trying to find balance between somewhat of a stylish home and coveted sheep heads.  Ugh.

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Since writing this, the sheep head has obviously been taken down (not in any way, shape, or form, due to the post mind you).  You can read about that, here.

target hack: DIY Rolling baskets

Let’s do a project today, shall we?

Awhile back, I started to notice a trend…a trend that I fear is here to stay (at least for awhile):   toys.  Toys, toys everywhere!  It honestly drives me nuts.

In about ten minutes Abby can stir a toddler tornado, which leaves every toy scattered across the room.  IMG_6002

A very very small and random sampling of said trend.

And while I acknowledge they are a necessary evil, I still want to feel like an adult who lives in a semi-nice, semi-clean, semi-uncluttered house once in awhile.  So I’m learning to be OK with toys as long as they can be contained.

Our house is such that our living room needs to house several toys – we don’t have a dedicated playroom and I don’t want all of Abby’s toys up in her room.   We spend most of our time on the first floor and reality is that toys need to be there if I want to get anything done so Abby can have fun.

I picked up a couple of these baskets from Target, but they weren’t quite doing it for me.

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They just needed something.  I really wanted them to have a lid to completely keep things out of view, but that didn’t seem easy.  So I decided to prop them up and give ‘em some wheels.  It would give them just a little somethin’ somethin’ while at the same time giving me some added functionality.

This project was really very simple and doesn’t require any fancy tools.

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Here’s all you need (quantities listed are for one basket):

  • (1) Basket (wicker worked well, but a wire basket would be cute too)
  • (1) Wood cut-to-size for a platform (it should be the same dimensions as the bottom of your basket).  Perhaps a 2″ thick piece to make it extra chunky?  That would be cute too!
  • (4) Caster wheels of your liking (I used these)
  • (4) 1.5” Screws (make sure you account for the width of your platform here) and a cordless drill

Now, because I’m cheap resourceful, I decided to make my own wooden platform out of scrap wood I had laying around.  This took some additional time because I had to kreg jig the pieces together to make a sturdy base.  You could just buy a piece at Home Depot and have them cut it to size for you.  Bada bing, bada boom.

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Next, simply attach your castor wheels to the platform with the provided screws.  I used a small template to make sure I was placing them in the same spot all the way around, but that’s just the perfectionist talking.  It certainly isn’t necessary.

Lastly, all I did to attach the basket, was set it on top of the platform, place a screw through the bottom of the basket, and screw it directly on to the platform.  I did one in each corner….so four.

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In all, this project took about an hour, and I have to say they’ve held up great.   And yes, I can say that because I made them way back in February.  Ha.  Let’s just say I wanted to provide adequate testing prior to sharing them with you, mmmkay?

Even with a toddler pulling them all over the house and occasionally sitting in them we really haven’t had any issues.  And I have to say, the wheels actually make it a heck of a lot easier to do a quick toy pickup…I just pull that basket around the room with me, fill it up, and push it right back under the table.   Much easier than lugging the whole basket around in your arms, in my opinion.  Fashion AND function….they’re a double-threat.

How do you contain the clutter at your house?  Or have you mastered the secret jedi skill of not caring?

random ramblings

I started writing random ramblings awhile ago to talk about a bunch of, well, random things all at once.  They typically have no rhyme or reason and reflect whatever I’m thinking about that week.   Sometimes they’re long, sometimes they’re short (uh hem, that’s what she said), but they are always fun to write and hopefully read.   So sit back, grab your cup ‘o coffee and let’s chat.

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First up:  Taylor Swift.

I’ll be damned if that little pop star isn’t keeping me up at night.   Seriously.  It’s 11:30 p.m. and all I can think is:  “players gunna play play play play play…..haters gunna hate hate hate hate hate.”

{here, dad}:

I can’t explain it.  Maybe I like the cross-over version of Taylor Swift?  Maybe it’s the Oula dance?  Who knows.  All I know is that I can’t shake it off.   (see what I did right there?)

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I come from a long line of clean-car freaks fanatics.  Growing up I was never allowed to eat in the car.  Ever.  No gas-station-treat-stops on road trips.  No snacks around town (although I wonder if my mom secretly let us when my dad wasn’t there, because HELLO.  How can you have THREE kids and NOT let them eat in the car?!).  As teenagers we were required to keep the cars clean, and wash them or vacuum them if we made a mess.  To this day, I bet my dad washes his cars once a week, if not more (you know if they maybe it sprinkled rain or they accidently drove down a dirt road).   I still notice my dad picking crumbs or little specs of debris out of the car after we’ve ridden with him.   His cars are immaculate and he keeps them forever (because why wouldn’t you keep a car forever if it looked brand new?).

Anyways, a small portion of the clean-car gene definitely got passed on to me.  I prefer to wash my vehicle by-hand (although I can’t tell you the last time I’ve had that luxury).   I like the inside dust, crumb, dirt and dog-hair free.  I don’t like any items left in my car after we go somewhere…even if it’s just around town.  That stuff needs to exit the vehicle.  Pre-child I could spend a good 2 hours cleaning my car to perfection.  Post-child, I get as much time as it takes Abby to eat a sucker.  It’s not perfect, but I’ll take it.  I’ve learned to live with a few cheddar bunnies here or there, and I’ve resigned to the fact that my car won’t always shine like the top of the Chrysler building.  But I have my limits, which I’ll get to in a minute.

Let’s talk about the Hubs.   I’m pretttttty sure the last time his truck was cleaned out was in 2011 when I cleaned it out for his birthday.   He drives his truck like a truck should be driven:  mostly on dirt, in puddles, through bushes….basically wherever he wants.   He’s got a good collection of Montana Racing Stripes (scratches) along the side of it.  The inside has dirt, rocks, gear, dust, stains and garbage.  All of this used to bother me but I acknowledge the fact that not everyone cares about that stuff.  And that’s cool.  Now I just climb on up in the cab, sit indian-style and don’t sweat it.  But what does drive me nuts?  Is how he uses the passenger floor as his garbage.  Done with that wrapper?  Sweet, just crinkle it up and toss it on the floor.   Water gone?  Crush that bottle and throw it on over.  And, nope, it doesn’t matter if I’m sitting right there in that seat or not.  Seriously.

So last week when Abby inhaled a juice box, crushed it, and threw it on the floor of MY car?  ohhellno.

I pulled the car over.

She looked at me like I was crazy but I knew I had to nip that in the bud right then and there.   We don’t have too many rules; I’m a pretty laid back parent.  But that sh&t ain’t gunna fly in momma’s car.

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I don’t care how big of a diva you are, kid.  You won’t throw trash in my car!

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So, we’ve been looking for a house.  And looking, and looking and looking.

Turns out house hunting isn’t as much fun as I thought it might be.  I was convinced that Missoula just didn’t have the type of house that I needed wanted.  Then one day I got a little frisky and searched for houses that were almost twice our budget.

Yep.  Missoula has those houses.

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In other news, I’ve started playing the lottery.

Just kidding.

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I think I need an intervention because I actually had this thought today:

“You know, it’d be really cool if I built a fridge to go with Abby’s play kitchen for her Christmas present this year.”

Am I nuts?  Have I blocked out the chaos of last year?  I think I need to re-read this post, or someone, please talk some sense into me.  The sanding…my god the sanding….

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Ok, so Abby has been watching Daniel Tiger (which I actually think is pretty cute because it’s like the “new” Mr. Rogers).   Any clue what I’m talking about?  No?  Ok.

Well Daniel Tiger does this thing where he rubs noses with his mom/dad/the screen/whoever, while saying ugga mugga.  Just as a way to show affection or hug I guess.  Anyways…..Abby has been saying, “Momma, Ugga Mugga!” and then getting really close, rubbing our noses, while saying really softly, “ugga mugga.”  It is THE.  SWEETEST.  THING.  It melts my heart every single time.

Kinda like this (without all of the really weird stuff edited in):

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And with that clip, my friends, we may have hit an all-time low here on twsst.  (I hope you didn’t watch the whole thing, it was extremely weird….but it was the only thing I could find with an ugga mugga in it!).

Thanks for reading all of this nonsense, I’m always amazed that anyone reads this blog, but I’m so grateful that you do.

Ugga Mugga,

Janna

(shake it off, shake it off!)

archery season opener: hunting-widow edition

Sweet Jesus the summer went by fast.  So fast that apparently I didn’t have time to blog about anything at all.  Obviously we have some catching up to do, and catch-up we will since it’s officially Archery Season….bow season….hunting season…whatever.  All I know is that I we have a lot of time on my our hands these days and I’m loving it.  This euphoria usually lasts about 3 weeks and then I get completely bored, overwhelmed with being a single parent, and cabin fever sets in.  But for three glorious weeks I bask in the fact that time is on my side.  Time to do whateva I want.  Time to do laundry (ok, it’s sad that I listed that first).  Time to clean the house.  Time to workout.  Time to cook.  Time to write.  Time to take that graphic design class I signed up for in April.  Time to think!    All I know is that I will not be frantically packing (and unpacking) bags for weekend getaways.

So to get me back in the blogging mood, I decided to document opening day, hunting-widow edition. To do this I snapped a photo each hour throughout the day.  Not necessarily on-the-hour, because surprisingly it was sometimes hard to remember to take one before the hour was up…but it’s kind of a cool way to tell a story through pictures.  And it sorta kicked off our hunting season (which admittedly is drastically different from a hunters) of being a Party of Two (ok, three if you count Summy).

I learned that I take a lot of pictures of my kid and food.  Clearly, I’m fascinating.

You know I’m dying to write a caption or give you a backstory to some of these…but, no, pumpkin, no.  I’m not going to.  A picture speaks a thousand words right?  So I’ll let them do the talking for once.

And hopefully, this will be my giant leap back into writing and sharing.

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If you need me I’ll be freakishly organizing and purging our house, along with feverishly planning projects I can “surprise” the Hubs with (who doesn’t want a tile backsplash installed while they’re away?  hello.).

35 years old; it ain’t the end, but it sure ain’t where I began…

I have a tradition of writing a post on my birthday.  It’s typically one that is a little more personal, a glimpse into my little world and my goals or dreams, or just a few fun facts to help you get to know the real me a bit better.  While I try to be as real and authentic as I can in all my posts, it’s hard to know what each reader walks away thinking.  So these are always a good way for me to open up a bit and share a piece of me with all of you.

So, this year I guess I’m 35.   I have this convenient problem of never really being able to remember how old I am.  I mean,  is it 33 or 34?  I just never know….because it all still feels like 28.    I have this fear that I’ll wake up 70 years old and still feel 28, which seems like a nasty trick.   Just stuck inside some old body.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I used to think 35 was old.  Like, ancient.

Sigh.

And now I am 35.

Ancient.

This year I don’t really have a list of fun facts to share with you (like I did at 32.)  I’m not fearful of the coming year, wondering what it will bring and terrified of losing myself (like I was at 33).  And I’m not really too sentimental about reflecting on the past year (like I was at 34).   This year?  I feel…..content.   Weird, huh?  And I’m not really sure how to explain it other than things are good.  I feel healthy.  I feel happy.  I feel like maybe I’m finally figuring this mom thing out.  I feel motivated.  I feel confident.

Content or not, I still find myself questioning everything constantly – how can I be a better mom?  Can I do better at my job?  Do I even like my job?  Why can’t our house stay clean for just one freaking second?   How can I strengthen the relationship with my Husband?  When do I get some time to myself?  Why are there no houses for sale that I like in Missoula?  Shouldn’t we be talking about baby #2?  

I mean seriously.  I question everything.  Big things.  Little things.  Important things.  Inconsequential things.

And the more I think about it, the more I think that’s ok.  I don’t want to settle and never question anything.  Questioning things makes you think.  It makes you evaluate your circumstances and helps you realize that if you don’t like something you can change it.  Or you can work towards changing it.   I am living proof of that.  I made a huge commitment to myself this year and put myself and my health first by changing my diet (and my families diet).  And I’m seeing positive results because of it.   And I did it because I questioned the way I was feeling; I knew it wasn’t right and it could be better; it could be different.

So, after a little thought and reflection about how I feel regarding turning 35, I decided that my goal for this year is to JUST BE.

be happy.

be thankful.

be thoughtful.

be creative.

be spontaneous.

be loving.

be unique.

be daring.

be me.

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If that means questioning things, so be it.  I’m ok with that.  As long as I remember that overall I do feel content and happy right where I’m at.

I’m the first to admit that letting yourself “be” is likely harder than it sounds.

And I hate to sound cliche’…but as a mom you really do tend to put yourself last.  To put your own feelings, wants, needs and dreams aside so that your family can flourish.  That’s ok to some extent.  But you can’t put yourself so much in last place that you’re forgotten.

That’s why this year I’m going to let myself just be.  It doesn’t mean I’ll be first all the time, or second or third.  Sometimes I’ll still be last.   But as long as I’m being true to myself and honest about what I’m feeling then it’s ok.

I feel good about turning 35, even if it’s hard to remember or acknowledge.  I’m looking forward to this year and what it holds, and I’m going to let myself be happy and enjoy it….no matter how ancient I am.

I may also enjoy some Big Dipper ice cream and just be stomach-achy.  But that’s another story.

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As always, I’ve borrowed my title from one of my favorite Jewel songs, Stephenville, TX.   Take a listen here: