Archive for the 'money' Category

Big family, small house Part I

How we moved from here:

to here:

And how we not only cut our living space in half, but our housing expenses as well.

Our old living room:

Our new living room:


Notice that we are now missing a nice big television (sold!) We owned three televisions and decided that one was enough. And size doesn’t really matter. We also got rid of most of our DVD collection. Since we don’t have cable, we kept some appropriate/favorite chidlren’s movies, and we held on to our very, very favorites. You know, the classics. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. American History X. Fight Club.

We’re also missing a couch. That one wasn’t by choice. It wouldn’t fit through the front door. It was hell on earth just to get the loveseat through. But we’ve found we don’t need it. And yes, that’s my dog lying on the loveseat. Am I sick or what?


One thing I really love about my new living room is the huge front window. I keep the blinds open all day long so I can look at the trees and the occasional sunshine.

Our old dining room:

Our new one:

On to my kitchen..

Yes kids, I have a washer and a dryer in my kitchen. And if anyone has any great ideas of what should be placed in that huge gaping hole where my DISHWASHER SHOULD BE, please let it be known. Honestly, the kitchen needs some work. I’d like to cut the “stuff” in here by 50% again. All the crap that has now been shoved to the tops of the cabinets…it’s gotta find a home.

Here are Rylan’s toys. Now, the child has more toys than shown here. Probably about 3x the amount here. But the remainder of the toys are stashed in a closet somewhere. Invisible clutter. Every month or so, I rotate the toys. This helps to keep him interested in his playthings. I also try to keep only one battery operated toy out at a time. And the blocks and legos…always a staple.

One of the biggest decluttering challenges of all, the bookcase.:

When we moved here, the entire bookshelf was crammed full of books. On top of that, we had at least a dozen boxes full of MORE books. We had books coming out our ears. Decisions had to made. Many of them very hard decisions. But in the end, it went like this: Keep the instruction and reference books that are used often. (Cookbooks, “how to manuals”, etc.) And then, keep a handful of favorites. Anything else can be checked out at the library. The next step in this corner of the room is to eliminate that giant leaning Tower of CD’s. All of the cases will go. The actual CD’s will be placed in a book. Maybe someday we can even get rid of that dinosaur of a boombox we have. How long have we had that thing? 95? God we’re old.

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Details, details

Dear faithful readers:

Here’s what’s happening.

1. We had the biggest windstorm since the Inauguration Storm of ’93. A million homes were without power, including ours (of course). I’ve lived on this island for 6 months and we’ve lost power at least six times. Anyway. Losing power at my parent’s house is no big deal. We lose power in style. We live the life of luxury without electricity. We’ve got a gas fireplace, a gas stove, and plenty o’ lanterns. We went about 24 hours without electricity. I got a lot of reading, embroidery, and eating done.

2. We got the house. The teeny tiny cabin in the woods. It’s ours on December 30th. Now who’s going to help me move?

I imagine that I’ll be sparse around these parts for the next few weeks. We’ll be off to the in-laws house for the days surrounding Christmas, then moving, and then off to some more in-laws for the famous drunken New Year’s bash. (Can’t WAIT for that one.) And then, even worse–I will be without internet at my new teeny tiny cabin in the woods for an unknown amount of time. I’m hoping a month at most. I’m so poor I can taste the top ramen that we’ll be eating for the entire month of January. Ah, there’s nothing like being destitute to ring in the new year.

But really, I actually am quite happy.

Love,

Estella

The downside of chocolate

So this Fall marks the first year that I am so completely destitute that I was unable to purchase any new school clothes for the boys. My mother-in-law kindly gave me $200 to buy the absolute necessities. (Shoes, backpacks, lunchboxes, and a few t-shirts.)

I had grumpily resigned myself to putting the kids in their summer shorts for as long as I could, while the weather was still remotely warm, and then buying jeans and long sleeved shirts as the funds became available.

So yesterday, I went through their clothes, and separated the acceptable, soon-to-be school clothes from the trashed, play clothes. I selected each item carefully, checking for rips, stains, missing buttons, etc. I came up with 6 pairs of shorts and 8 t-shirts that would have to do. Then, I threw them into the washing machine so that they would be clean, fresh, and crisp for the first week at a brand new school.

This morning, I went to fold and hang up the clothes, and was horrified to find that literally every single piece of clothing was covered in small, dark brown stains. I scraped at the stains, smelled it, and to my utter dismay, realized the culprit. Chocolate! (Chocolate is probably 2nd to blood in it’s staining qualities.) I immediately knew what had happened. Pigpen had happened.

Pigpen, the only child that I have ever had to call Poison Control for. Twice. Before his second birthday.

Pigpen, the toddler I found at naptime, with a huge jar of Desitin diaper rash ointment, all of which had been rubbed into every square inch of his head. He had white hair and smelled of fish oil for a week.

Pigpen, the child who, at 3 years old, arrived at daycare with a pair of pliers hiding underneath his shirt. (Thank God I discovered the treasure while hugging him goodbye.)

And yes, Pigpen, who is notorious for storing blackberries, frogs, and yes, melted chocolate, in his pockets.

My mouth dropped open and I felt my blood begin to boil. The laundry basket was promptly kicked across the room, chocolate splattered clothes flying everywhere. I heard myself start wailing as I ran to my room, throwing myself on my bed and sobbing into my pillow while the entire family jumped quickly to come to my aid.

Anyway, I’m better now. The chocolate is being scrubbed with toothbrushes, each miserable speck at a time. Thank God for Oxiclean. Mothers of boys everywhere salute you.