Sunday, November 29, 2009

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Man I love being green! It fills my cheap heart with pride when I take something I should have thrown away last year and turn it into something functional and not to shabby looking.

Every so often I get into this rearrange/ organize kick. Actually if you were to ask Jared, its more like a weekly occurrence. Anyway, I decided that Emma's books needed to be organized better. We had already started sorting them into bins so Emma would have an easier time browsing for a book to read. That was a good idea on my part because her book collection doubled after Thanksgiving. (Gramma use to teach 3rd grade, so she has her own personal library that she is trying to get rid of, lucky for us!). Not being very good at the reduce part I also bought Emma a bunch of horse and dinosaur books for her birthday...

So, onto the reuse and recycle part.

Last December (I think it was December), my sister-in-law, Sara, and I tore down my kitchen cabinets. I have no idea how old they were, but they were pretty useless the way the shelves had been set up.

The only salvagable parts were the cabinet over the fridge and all the doors. They were pretty sturdy still so I knew I could use them for something. Eventually.

Over the summer I had removed the doors, sanded, and repainted the cabinet, and turned it into a "bookcase" for Emma's room. I use the term bookcase loosely because we have used it for everything from books, to stuffed animals, to bedding, to its current use... cubes of clothes. It has been very useful.

Today I was finally able to use some of the doors when I decided Emma needed some shelves for her humongo book collection. And it was easy.

"L" brackets (saved from shelves we had back in AZ...2 years ago)
Screws (from the same shelves as the "L" bracket and a few more from over the years)
Shelves (doors salvaged from kitchen cabinets).

By shear chance, I picked the perfect height so that later, if Emma wants to, she can have a desk in her room. Emma, Jared, and I are happy with the results.

All it cost me was a blood blister and a bruise. That is a price I am more then happy to pay for a (free) job well done!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I need a little noise...

The house is too quiet. Emma left on Monday to visit Gramma and Boppa, (Jared's parents) till Thanksgiving.

The first night Emma is gone is always a little exciting. The only teeth I have to brush are my own, I don't have to read any books I don't want to, and I know that the next morning I won't be woken up at dawn.

Then I go to bed too late and wake up at dawn anyway, wondering why I don't hear Emma's happy voice telling me good morning. I don't have anyone to eat breakfast with me (Jared leaves for school at 6:00am), I don't have anyone to talk to while I do the dishes, and I don't have anyone asking me very thought provoking questions about things that are happening on Super Why and Dinosaur Train.

At least I know Emma is having a blast.

I had a long list of things I wanted to accomplish while Emma was gone; groceries, laundromat, rearrange furniture, clean, read the newest J.D. Robb book, craft, craft, and craft. With lots of appointments and babysitting, I don't feel that I have gotten as much done as I should have by now.

So far I have managed to do groceries, rearrange the living room, and craft a little. Tomorrow I have another appointment, but this one should be fun. I get to sit down with someone at Lowes and design a new kitchen. Then I have to make a Costco run. The rest of the day is for crafts... after I remember to bring Emma's books and movie back to the library and run to the post office.

I will try to enjoy the lack of responsability I have for the next however many days, but I am already thinking of all the fun things Emma and I will do when she gets home.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sneaking in the Veggies

So I was rummaging through the cupboards looking for the mac and cheese for dinner tonight when I realized I also had a container of baby food squash. The squash was suppose to be for a specific recipe that I never made. Mac and cheese is orange, squash is orange. I decided to throw the squash in the mac and cheese. The squash was actually wet enough that I did not need to add any milk or butter.

We sat down to eat, I dished up some mac and cheese for Emma, and she dug in. I also served up some mac and cheese for myself. I thought I could taste the squash a little, but not a whole lot. Jared had some mac and cheese after he finished his minute steak burger (apparently it is not ok for him to have ketchup left on his plate when he serves up his mac and cheese).

I asked Jared how he like the mac and cheese. He thought that he waited to long and it tasted a little dry. By this point, Emma was just about done her mac and cheese so I told them that I had added the squash. Emma licked her finger and said, "I think I like squash."

Jared and I decided that if I add squash again, I should still add the butter to make it creamy. As Jared and I were cleaning up and Emma was finishing her dinner, she said to me, "Mama, you make the best mac and cheese."

Thanks kiddo, I am glad you liked it.

Makin' a Buck

I am still obsessed with making paper and I thought maybe my paper can make me a buck. I have more then I know what to do with, so why not share the wealth and make some in the process? I will be selling my creations at I have attached (after a lot of frustration due to my Html illiteracy) a widget for my shop. Check it out if you are looking for interesting handmade items for you or someone else.

Have a Happy Day!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Makin' Paper

So my latest obsession is making homemade paper. I have been wanting to give it a try for a few months now. Apparently Monday was the day I was waiting for because I just jumped into it in the afternoon. I had tons of paper laying around waiting for me to figure out a way to reuse it (my town does not recycle), so I figured, "Why not?"
I also have a lot of Emma's art projects that we don't really need to keep anymore. For example; Emma went through a sun phase. She loved to draw suns. We had about 10 pieces of paper with a big circle and lines coming out of the circle. Very cute and fun to remember, so I kept 2 or 3 and we made new paper out of the rest.
We started with plain white paper. That was a little boring so we added purple glitter. Much cooler. Then we added in purple, orange, and green construction paper, Emma's favorite colors. Those also came out really neat. The colored paper was not blended as much as the white so you can see flecks or squares of the colors.
We decided it needed to be spiced up a bit more so we added vanilla extract and cinnamon to the water. You could actually smell the vanilla and cinnamon. Until we used a Sharpie marker to write Gramma a note. Then all we could smell was marker. A good lesson learned.
Our next batch was shredded bills and such. That was neat to see also because the paper ended up being a little gray with noticeable letters poking through here and there. I had also cut up some scrap photos, just to see what it would do. The photos don't really blend like the rest of the paper, so the really stuck out, but I got some really neat results with that and some cool ideas for things to try in the future.
Today I made paper out of pink and blue construction paper "suns." I had mopped up some spilled water yesterday using paper towels and decided that I could use those also. So I mixed the paper towels with the pink and blue construction paper and I really like the way that batch of paper came out.
The last batch of paper I made today was a mixture of yellow and brown construction paper. I thought it was going to be really ugly. When I blended the paper it looked like relish, but the paper is a really neat mustard yellow.
All in all, I think the paper came our great. We plan to use them for holiday cards, little notes to say hello, and I think I may even scrapbook with a few. It feels good to be crafty and green :)

About the J.E.T

This is my very first blog. I figure a good place to start is with a little intro.

Hi, I am Tina. I am a wife and a mom. It amazes me that those two 'jobs' can seem so unimportant to some people, but to others, the are a badge of honor. I love being a wife, and I love being a mom. Both jobs are tough at times, and sometimes even thankless, but all it takes to make my day is a big squeezy hug from my daughter, and a simple complement from my hubby. What can I say, I am easy to please! Here is a little more info about my two favorite people (and our dog).

Jared and I have been married for 5 years. We met in Tucson, AZ where we both were stationed. When we met, we were both active duty Air Force. Our story is a little long and pretty fun to tell, so I will save that for a post of its own. Anyway, we got married in Tucson, Emma was born in Tucson, and we love Tucson. At the moment we are living in Iowa and we miss Tucson. Jared separated from the Air Force in January of 2008. He is a history major/ ROTC cadet at Iowa State University. Once he graduates, he will be a commissioned officer in the Air Force. We miss the military and are looking forward to getting back to that life.

Emma, our beautiful baby girl, is almost 4. I separated from the Air Force when I was pregnant with her. I was able to stay home with her for her first two years. Unfortunately, I took that time for granted. When Jared separated from the Air Force to go back to school, I was excited about going back to work. My excitement did not last long. I hated being away from Emma all day. Well, it took almost two years but I am back home with her. Emma loves to "read", loves to be read too, loves horses and dinosaurs, and is very independent. We tend to butt heads often over very silly and unimportant things, but we are getting better. Thankfully she has a great sense of humor so we are able to laugh our stress away most days.

Icky, our boxer/pit bull/ Labrador, is the other member of our household. My poor Icky. He is a great dog, but he tends to get neglected when Emma and I get involved in our crafts or books or what not. We adopted Icky when he was 7 months old, just before Jared and I got married. He is a great dog, but he has his issues. He tends to not like strangers (both human and canine variety) but he is the best dog around Emma. He has always been patient with Emma and very easy around her. For that, we are willing to put up with his other issues. I try to work with him, but I am not very consistent. Shame on me.

And then there is me, Tina. I am a Gemini. That will explain a lot. I change my mind a lot. I tend to throw myself into new projects and sometimes I don't always follow them through. For example, I started a course in motorcycle repair, but never finished. I attended 4 months of cosmetology school (before I decided that the soap opera life was not for me). I enrolled in dietetic courses, but withdrew before they began. Same for physical fitness. I took a bunch of courses in American Sign Language to become an interpreter, but never went back to finish. I did manage to finish a correspondence course in dog training though, after my second attempt (hence the shame on me comment about Icky). I have had a bunch of different jobs through the years; waitress, call center operator, day care, toll booth attendant, retail clerk, news paper delivery, city bus driver, ice cream scooper, babysitter, commercial building cleaner, and probably a few I have forgotten over the years. My hobbies are just as scattered as everything else. I would love to relearn how to play the guitar. I need to do more with all the scrapbooking and jewelry making stuff I have. My current obsession is crocheting, and paper making. I like to think that even though I am goofing off, I am still being productive.

As I was saying earlier, I love being a wife and a mother. I try to be thankful everyday for what I have and for all that I am able to do. I am happy to say that being home with Emma is right where I want to be.

Oh, in case you missed it, J.E.T. stands for Jared, Emma, Tina. We typically add Icky in there so don't be surprised if you see J.E.T.I. at some point.

Thanks for reading about us!