How Do You Do The Things That You Do?

I spent a substantial portion of yesterday afternoon watching a combination of HGTV and Food Network, and for reasons completely unknown to me, looking at all those different houses and kitchens made me think about the way I do certain things in my house. You know, things like how I slice an onion or how I stack my dishes or how I fold my fitted sheets or how I don’t wash my windows, well, EVER.

Never underestimate the power of home- and/or cooking-related television programming to inspire a serious bout of housekeeping inferiority, my friends. Beats anything I’ve ever seen.

And honestly, I don’t really feel that inferior. But I do think that I may do a few household-related things in a way that’s more complicated than necessary OR that’s just flat-out different from the norm.

So, as part of a deeply informal and completely unscientific surveying process, I have a few random questions for you, the people of the interweb.

1) How many days a week are you completely caught up on laundry?

2) When you load your dishwasher, do you load the silverware basket with handles down or handles up?

3) FINALLY – can you make up recipes off the top of your head? Or do you have to follow a recipe somebody else has written?

Clearly THE FATE OF THE FREE WORLD hinges on your answers.

So, you know, NO PRESSURE.

My crazy and I will be anxiously awaiting your responses.

How I Dusted A Nightstand In Our Guest Room

1. Walked in guest room. Decided the nightstands needed dusting.

2. On way out of guest room, determined that two nightstands were too much in a smallish space.

3. Turned around, cleared off one nightstand, picked it up and carried it into another bedroom.

4. Vowed to return to that bedroom once dusting was finished and find the perfect spot for the nightstand in its new location.

5. Walked to the laundry room. Secured dust rag and Pledge.

6. Headed back into guest room. Contemplated rearranging all the furniture.

7. Started moving the bed. Immediately noticed the bed looked weird.

8. Looked under the bed. Saw that part of the frame had come undone.

9. Determined that mattress and box springs needed to be moved so that frame could be fixed.

10. Wrestled with mattress and box springs for approximately 15 minutes.

11. Strained – and this is just an estimation – seventy two different muscles in my lower back.

12. Walked outside and begged husband for help.

13. Stood in doorway of guest room looking useless while husband fixed the bed frame.

14. With help of husband, put mattress and box springs back on the bed.

15. Made up bed. Couldn’t remember what led me to that room in the first place.

16. Oh, yes. THE DUSTING.

17. Decided that I would dust just as soon as I vacuumed the rug in the foyer.

18. But not until I played some Connect Four with the kindergartner.

19. Won four out of the five Connect Four games. NOT THAT I WAS KEEPING SCORE.

20. Vacuumed foyer rug.

21. Remembered that I was supposed to be dusting.

22. Heard phone beep.

23. Found phone and answered text.

24. Checked email since I was standing next to the computer.

25. Saw an email with some pictures I’d been waiting for.

26. Wrote a blog post since I’d gotten the pictures I needed.

27. Fixed a snack for the boy. And one for me, too.

28. Folded a load of clothes.

29. Put away clothes and decided that half bath had to be cleaned immediately.

30. Scoured the half bath with Mr. Clean.

31. Decompressed from bathroom cleaning unpleasantness by playing a round of Fuzion Frenzy.

32. Felt renewed sense of motivation and purpose after decisive Fuzion Frenzy win.

33. Walked back in the guest room.

34. Cleared old magazines and books off the nightstand.

35. Dusted the dadgum nightstand approximately three and a half hours after the whole process began.

But I have to say that now? That nightstand? Is SPOTLESS.

And that is understandable, especially given my efficiency.

Birds. BIRRRRRDS.

In the past I’ve made no secret of the fact that birds sort of terrify me, what with my ongoing irrational belief that their primary objective in life is to swoop down out of the sky and yank a vein out of my neck.

I mean, have y’all ever read that short story called “The Birds”? And did you notice the fact that THEY DON’T MESS AROUND?

But ever since our last beach trip – the one where I took pictures of birds and lived to tell about it – I’ve grown a little more attached to birds. And I’ve especially grown more fond of products that feature birds, because when birds are inanimate they cannot in fact put me in any kind of grave physical danger, and quite frankly I appreciate the mental and emotional comfort that their lifelessness affords.

I’m sure that in some way my bird fascination is connected with a trend that I refer to as the decorative resurgence of the owl (a phrase that I’ve grown to adore and, I might add, overuse annoyingly). But owl accessories are everywhere, people. And they’re DARLIN’. So you can put that little tidbit in your pipe and just hooty-hoot-hoot all the way home.

(I just mixed about four different metaphors, by the way.)

(In case you’re keeping score at home.)

Anyway, over the last couple of weeks I’ve channeled my growing aviary affection into a couple of lively Etsy searches, and OH, the cuteness that I’ve discovered. In fact, a few days ago I thought that if I ever have another baby I might even decorate a nursery with a bird theme, despite my concern that I’d wander into the hypothetical nursery in a sleep-deprived state and somehow a sweet little robin in a mural would suddenly look more like a predatory hawk, and I don’t really think it’s comforting for a hypothetical infant to hear a hypothetically exhausted woman screaming at the top of her lungs in the middle of the night and then falling underneath a hypothetical crib in a completely spastic version of stop, drop and roll.

So let’s scratch that hypothetical bird-themed nursery idea. Let’s just focus on Etsy birdie cuteness instead:

This wallet
This purse
This print
This print (SO tempted to order this one for myself)
This tote bag

See? Aren’t the birds adorable?

And by the way: did I mention that owls are in the midst of a decorative resurgence?

I seriously can’t get that phrase out of my head.

Now do have a lovely Tuesday.

Internets, You Must Never Doubt My Love For You

Today, as one of my 54 errands (that number is merely an approximation and may not be completely accurate), I had to return a few things to Old Navy.

And because I am apparently surrounded by a powerful magnetic force field, not one but two cash registers just up and quit working while I was trying to make my returns.

So while the check-out counter turned in to Troubleshooting Central, Land of No Working Registers, I ambled around the store a bit.

And I saw these adorable pants. FIFTEEN DOLLARS. OVER HALF OFF.

These, too. FIFTEEN DOLLARS.

And while supplies are a little limited online, there were lots of sizes in my store. I bet there are lots of sizes in your store, too.

Finally, it was only by the power of the Holy Spirit that I was able to walk out of the store and leave these shoes behind. So I would really appreciate it if one of you would buy them and I could live vicariously through your cute shoe purchase.

Thank you.

And carry on.

While Perusing The Grocery Circulars

Normally I just circle the really good grocery deals. You know, like if Land O Lakes butter is two for five dollars, or Cokes are five for eleven dollars, or Pillsbury biscuits are five for five dollars.

But when I saw this? I needed arrows.

I needed three arrows, to be exact.

And then some exclamation points.

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Because while I have no idea whether or not the price is good, DO YOU SEE THAT THERE ARE TWO CHEESE FLAVORS IN ONE BOX?

TWO CHEESE FLAVORS? IN ONE BOX?

Sharp cheddar? AND parmesan?

IN ONE BOX?

This is an unexpected, precious blessing.

And while we’re at it, do y’all have a preference in the Cheese Nips / Cheez-It showdown?

Personally, I find Cheez-It to be the far superior snack cracker.

As always, I welcome your comments on this deeply important topic.

But please, let’s keep it civil.

Friends Are Friends Forever When Madras Bermuda Shorts Are All The Fashion Rage

Yesterday I told Big Mama that if she had any plans to go in Target or Old Navy she’d better not step foot in either store until she’d put on the full armor of God, including the oft-neglected Pocket Shield of Thriftiness.

But because we are enablers in that we enjoy, well, enabling each other to find the absolute cutest clothes possible, she then asked me to tell her all about every single thing I saw and please, oh please do not leave out a single detail.

And if you are sitting at your computer feeling somewhat skeptical as to whether or not Big Mama and I actually talk about clothes as much as our blogs would seem to indicate, all I can say to you is OH, YOU HAVE NO IDEA.

Just ask Shannon, who, God love her, was subjected to the misfortune of walking through store after unending store with us for an entire Saturday. Big Mama and I not only like to shop – we like to shop and then say things like, “Well, if I had this coat, it would absolutely be my signature piece,” and “These hoop earrings are perfect for when you need to give an outfit a little ‘pop’ but don’t want to drag it down with a necklace” and “You have to buy this, there’s no way I won’t let you buy this, IT IS AN INVESTMENT.”

Because clothes totally earn interest for you, internets. Just ask your financial planner.

However, since Big Mama and I are in a season of life where we’re not exactly earning big wads of cash money, most of our oooohing and ahhhhing and hypothetical accessorizing must be confined to window shopping. As opposed to actual, you know, shopping shopping. Where you buy things.

But make no mistake: we long to shop. And for now we rest in the peace of knowing that we are being refined during this particularly difficult scant-shopping season, and because we are more than overcomers, one day we will shop again, hallelujah.

And in the event of an unexpected financial windfall, there may even come a day when we are able to shop in stores where the clothes aren’t just a hop, skip and a jump away from a produce section.

That would be quite fancy, don’t you think?

Anyway, Big Mama and I actually have three (THREE! 3! TRES!) blog-related trips planned for this summer, and we’ve spent an inordinate amount of time discussing what we’ll wear on those trips because, as Martha would say, we don’t want to be too dressy, but we don’t want to be too casual, either, I mean sometimes you can just get away with wearing jeans and a blouse, jeans and a blouse!, but we really can’t do that because we need to be more dressy casual, dressy casual!, you know, like with some cute slacks and a shirt that is tailored but not too fitted, of course, because you don’t want to be immodest and certainly you want to be comfortable, you just have to be comfortable!, but then if it’s just a cotton shirt it could get wrinkled!, it could wrinkle!, and DO YOU SEE HOW HARD THIS IS? DO YOU SEE?

Well, I’ve run across a few spring clothing items that I think are absolutely adorable, and I thought I would share them with you because I can’t really shop for anything other than air right now (please do not get me started about how my computer won’t hold a charge anymore and I am going to Africa for blogging purposes and call me crazy, but a dependable computer might come in just a little bit handy, and I can’t talk about it anymore or my breathing will become somewhat shallow and erratic).

So let’s distract ourselves with clothes!

Like this.

And these, ohmyword THESE, for they take me right back to 1981 and a dog-eared copy of The Preppy Handbook.

Because I knew all about preppy when I was, you know, eleven.

And do you have any idea how well this would cover a post-partum tummy? Even if the post-partum was almost five years ago and please don’t judge me because I HAVE AN ADDICTION TO FRIED THINGS?

For the record, it would cover the five year-old post-partum tummy absolutely beautifully.

As would this.

And I would love to wear this shirt untucked with some jeans.

I say that, of course, like I ever tuck in anything. But if I’m being perfectly candid, I should probably tell you that I really don’t think I’ve tucked in anything since 1998, which means I’m coming up on a decade of being tuck-in free.

It is some sweet liberty, my friends.

And in the interest of versatility, I should point out that I love these pants, even if I do have to go up a size in them because the waistband hits across the post-partum belly area, only who do I think I’m even kidding, it’s totally the DEEP FRIED belly area, and strangely enough, I’m pretty much okay with that.

Also: I am now craving fried dill pickles.

Dipped in Ranch dressing.

And for our skinny friends, we have this shirt. SO cute.

But I would never ever wear that much elastic around my upper arms, oh good grief no, and I have two very strong reasons why:

1) That much elastic encasing my arms would render said arms completely numb in a matter of mere minutes and

2) The elastic on the upper arm area would create a sausage-type effect, thereby causing large canines far and wide to mistake my arm for a tasty pork treat. Which could lead to some springtime unpleasantness.

Because while there are some risks that I’m completely willing to take for the sake of fashion, grave injury to an appendage is not one of them.

And I imagine that you would agree.