The listing realtor comes tonight to see the house and, I hope, give a much-needed motivation injection by telling us the pig’s lipstick looks quite sellable, actually.

Because right now — after at least 6 weeks of concerted purging, boxing, and clearing — it still feels like 80% of my preparation has been…buying a can of Febreeze.

People like Febreeze, right?

The more I want to be gone, the more impossible it seems.

Has anybody ever actually sold a house they were still living in? With two children? Under age 2? And a disability that makes tidying up a monumental effort?

toddler looking uncerrtain

Felix isnt sure, either.

Home and crafty book giveaway!

Free! Anybody want any of these? Trying to pare down so the house will be easier to stage.

Not shown: Amy Butler’s In Stitches, which I think has all the patterns in it.

IMG_2478
If I know you, I’ll be happy to deliver or ship (my treat).
If I don’t know you, the books are still free, but I’ll need you to PayPal me for shipping.
Coming soon: cookbooks!

Do stay-at-home moms need annual leave, too

The average American worker is entitled to sixteen days of paid leave per year. If being a stay-at-home mom is tantamount to a full-time job, isn’t this a benefit we deserve as well? The obvious answer is yes. The reality is far murkier, both because of the nature of the “work” of parenthood and the extent to which it is valued by society.

“Murkier.” Yes, that’s one way to put it.

via Stay at home moms need annual leave, too – The Washington Post.

I did a thing! Toddler art gallery

For months and months, I’ve been looking for a way to display artwork at the boys’ eye-level.

Unfortunately, “eye-level” means it would also be within their arms’ reach. Which means anything left unattended would very shortly end up in their mouths and on the floor. Likely in many sharp little pieces.

No deal. The Van Goghs and Rembrandts and Monets would have to wait.

But wait!

Serendipitously, I got lost in Target, one day scanning aisle after aisle for trash cans. (How can you hide a bunch of trash cans? They’re as big as…well.)

In my search, I found this nifty little undermarketed artwork holder that showed promise.

I forgot to take a picture of the package and Target's own website doesn't who it. Found this one on ebay.

I forgot to take a picture of the package. Found this one on ebay.

No glass, no hard plastic even, and it’d be easy to switch out images every so often, without having to take it off the wall. And only $10!

Did I mention “undermarketed”? Check out Target’s own web presence:

Targetscreengrab

Nothing says “celebrating the colorful creativity of childhood” like this paen to bleakest minimalism.

I promptly bought it, brought it home, and lost it for 2 months.

Getting warmer

The recent playroom expansion gave us more wall space and the perfect excuse to find and install the artwork holder.

For the first fill, I found a cat calendar at Goodwill for $1, and a puppy one at Target’s dollar spot for $3ish. Cut some of the cutest down to fit the pockets and hung the whole thing up with some Command poster strips. Et voila!

playroomartFramers

Hoity, meet toity.

 

But what did the critics think?

playroomartFJrx

Felix approved of the way the display validated photography’s long-acknowledged power to mirror both the face of the world and of the most important things in the world: dogs.

 

playroomartEJrs

Emerson noted that the gallery was by turns euphoric and despairing, prey to utopian optimism or deep spiritual disarray, depending on whether you were a dog person or a cat person.

And finally, here’s an overly-long video of them worshiping at the quadruped shrine.

Verdict: I did a thing!

Have you done anything lately? Tell us about it!

Recipe: Super Baked Oatmeal

For starters, it’s not the most photogenic food.

baked oatmeal in a glass baking dish

But I’m not going to apologize, because this super baked oatmeal is KK’s new favorite breakfast.

She likes it because it’s healthful and keeps her full until lunch time.

I like it because:

  • I can make our breakfasts for the week in about 15 minutes.
  • It’s gluten free (when you use gf oats, etc)
  • It’s customizable enough that I can change the flavor profile and not feel like we’re eating the same thing week after week.
  • It’s forgiving enough that I only actually measure out the oats and the milk. Everything else gets eyeballed.
  • It’s got all the goodness of oatmeal, without the pot or bowls to sandblast clean every day.

Super Baked Oatmeal

Adapted from a recipe in Cooking Light
Yields: 10 generous servings, enough for 2 people to enjoy every weekday

Ingredients

4 cups uncooked gluten-free oats (old-fashioned and quick cooking work equally well)
1 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup raisins
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped and toasted
1/2 cup coconut flakes (sweetened or not)
2 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups milk
1 cup applesauce
1/4 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
optional: 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, OR apple pie spice

Preheat oven to 375º. Coat a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray.

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Stir well. Bake at 375° for 50 minutes.

To serve warm: Top it with butter, margarine, heavy cream, cream cheese, greek yogurt, maple syrup, or honey.

To serve later: It’s easier to slice after it’s been in the refrigerator. Reheat individual servings in the microwave for 60 to 90 seconds.

To customize:

  • Make a 4 or 5 serving size by halving all the ingredients and cook it in an 8×8 pan (or an 8- or 9-inch cake pan — like I said, it’s forgiving) for about 35 minutes
  • Instead of raisins, try any dried fruits, like cranberries, dates, currants, or berries.
  • Instead of dried fruits, try fresh blueberries or chopped bananas.
  • And while I personally don’t like chocolate chips with oats, I won’t tell the breakfast police if you throw some in there.
  • Instead of walnuts, try pecans, cashews, or mixed nuts. Or go no-nuts, and just add extra fruit or your favorite seeds.
  • Instead of milk, try substituting your favorite milk-alternative — I bet it would work fine.

You can probably also sub out the sugar, oil, and eggs, too. Let us know in the comments if you try something else that works!

Working it out

Benefits of moving to another county

KK will be able to second-parent-adopt the babies, so they’ll have the two legally-recognized parents that they deserve. That we deserve.

Closer to friends and family

Closer to all my healthcare providers and the hospital we’ll deliver at

Closer to friends and family

Opportunity to find a house/apartment without stairs, so I wouldn’t have to worry so much about my future mobility or lack thereof

Closer to the farmer’s markets

Closer to the airport

Closer to friends and family

Potential for using public transport at least occasionally

Closer to a few bakeries that offer gluten-free goodies

Closer to more alternative families (there are some everywhere, I know, but there’s a greater concentration intown)

Closer to free/lowcost cultural events and field trips

Closer to friends and family

 

Benefits of staying where we are

…uh…

Not having to come up with a $20,000 cash ransom before we’ll be allowed to leave?

We get to continue working on our cooperation skills by sharing a single bathroom sink? Even though KK sticks her elbows out like Peter Pan when she’s brushing her teeth?

 

This makes my head hurt.

My living room smells like a carpet showroom

It’s better than it sounds.

Before:

The living room as setup by the family here before us.

The living room as setup by the family here before us, bless their hearts. It took two coats of primer to cover that red accent wall.

What you can’t see about the carpet are the fact it’s over 20 years old, the ghosting, the spots, the fact that the back 4 feet of the room was laminate, and a bizarre spreading it-came-from-below shadow-stain near that armchair in the back right that always felt cool to the touch but never damp.

Our before, with the laminate already removed from where they GLUED IT TO THE SLAB SUBFLOOR:

https://i0.wp.com/www.smugmug.com/photos/i-CZZ7dSL/0/S/i-CZZ7dSL-S.jpg

See that weird triangleish piece at the bottom right? It looks like that because when the previous family moved out and took the fridge, they covered the ice maker line with a bag and hit the road. They did not TURN OFF the ice maker line, so it eventually leaked from the adjacent kitchen right before we moved in.

We pulled up the pad in an attempt to speed the drying and salvage the carpet…which worked (yay!) until the replacement pad roll we bought got flooded when the water heater gave out while we were 500 miles away one week (boo!).

If you’re doing the math, that was 3 years ago. We were too beaten down to try replacing it again.

Minus the carpet:

https://i0.wp.com/www.smugmug.com/photos/i-52hqkJs/0/S/i-52hqkJs-S.jpg

And a few hours later, with the new carpet:

https://i1.wp.com/www.smugmug.com/photos/i-hg2Fs5d/0/S/i-hg2Fs5d-S.jpg

Lula had to spend the duration of the install up in the bedroom, instead of her usual sequestration area (KK’s office, but KK was working there today). I took advantage of her ignorance to capture her first reaction to the new floor.

There’s no music, but if you turn it up, you can hear her shnuffling and scratching. I think she likes it.

I also made a quick recording of KK doing snow angels on the new carpet, but it’s not uploading for some reason. Here’s a still instead, post-rolling-around-on-the-new-floor.

https://i2.wp.com/www.smugmug.com/photos/i-2C36W2s/0/S/i-2C36W2s-S.jpg

Angel, the carpet installer, was amazing and a total pro. I assumed it would take two people to do the job, but he showed up alone this morning — a man, a van, a plan — and bent it to his/our will. He also had really excellent highlights. So basically, my hero.

The couch arrives Tuesday, and we’ll see if the curtains I picked out will work in there. I will be so happy to have it look like a room where people actually live that I may even start inviting in Deborah and Barbara, the Jehovah’s Witness ladies who stop by every month or so.

But maybe not. I had a few too many literary theory courses (1) to be able to discuss The Watchtower, or the Bible, in polite company.