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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Creative Partner

Well, quarantine has been good to get a few projects done.  While Charissa sleeps, Verity and I work ... until she falls asleep and then it's just me again.  Here's what we've been up to this week. 

Verity having some tummy time while she watches me work.
And yes - her eyes are blue.  We're all a bit surprised, but who knows what will happen in the next few months. 
I wasn't quite fast enough to catch her full smile, but V was happily smiling at me while I was sewing.  Her and the pink elephant were just hanging out.  
I was holding Verity in my lap while I was reading something, and I thought she was just being still, and then I realized that she'd fallen asleep.  It's so hard to find good help. :)

So here are the projects we did this week.  
I finally hung my curtain for the guest room.  It only took me two months to do it, but I am pleased with the results.
A few months ago I tried to solve the squeaky doors by using some WD-40 on them.  Well, they don't squeak, but now they so easily swing that they never stay open.  So I made this little door stopper that I found here.  They didn't have a tutorial for it, but it was pretty easy to copy without one.  
I got tired of CJ's pens, pencils and markers being in an old yogurt container (Britt's solution), so I made Charissa a pretty pencil cup.  

This used to hold coffee from a cafe, but I repurposed it using some directions from Little Birdie Secrets. 

My last project (so far) is this little hair bow. I found this "ribbon" at the Scrap Exchange and I knew I had to get it because Charissa has a sweater that perfectly matches it. 

So that's what we've been up to between loads of laundry and cleaning the carpets and trips to the doctor.  It has turned out to be quite a productive week.  

Because Some of You Want to Know ...

A couple of people have asked me how to clean your carpets after an "incident."  Well, ask and you shall receive.

First, here are some general rules about spot cleaning carpets:
  • Most modern carpets have been treated to render them "stain resistant."  While this does not make them stain proof, most spills can be removed if you act quickly.  Especially with things like children's juices and drinks, you may only have minutes.
  • Do not scrub the stained area - that can cause "pile distortion" (which in normal words, means that your carpet will start to come unraveled and fray).  
  • If you use wet cleaners make sure you blot it until dry so that the foam beneath the carpet doesn't get ruined. 
  • If the spill is something that creates a dry mass, scrap off as much as possible using the side of a spoon or a blunt spatula.  For waxes, gums and things like that, use an ice cube to freeze it (thus hardening it) before you scrap it.  
And now on to the fun stuff:
  1. Remove as much vomit as possible from the floor with a wet cloth.
  2. First method of attack: Vinegar.  Sprinkle it on the carpet and blot it up.  You can repeat this process until clean, or if you feel like it's not working, move onto the second method.
  3. Ammonia.  Again, sprinkle and blot
  4. Third product:  a mild detergent.  
  5. Fourth:  an enzyme-containing detergent.  
Presto - clean carpet!  If you get through all these steps and you feel that the carpet is clean, but still "smelly" you can sprinkle baking powder on it, let it sit for a few hours or overnight and then vacuum it up.  

Enjoy clean carpets!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tuesday Tip - Resource Books

I was going to blog about a totally different subject, in fact I was sitting down and writing it yesterday morning when Charissa comes out of her bedroom covered in vomit.  Yup - a Treece girl is sick again.  But that's a different story.  So, there's vomit on her bed, on the carpet, on all her bedding ... her room reeks.  And I have a very sensitive nose, so even the slightest of ill smelling things drive me nuts (just ask my husband).  I had a very big problem on my hands.  

I washed everything immediately.  Charissa, the bedding, the floors.  But the room still stunk.  Before I could spiral into complete despair I remembered that I have the book How to Clean Practically Anything.  A few quick flips through the book and I find the specific ways to clean vomit out of your carpet - in four easy steps no less!  And now I am glad to report that my carpet is once again stinky-free.  

It just reminded me of how thankful I was to have that book on hand.  I'm sure I could have looked it up on the internet, but it was nice to have a book from a credible source that I could grab quickly off the shelf and find what I needed.  And the best part - I bought that book at a thrift store for a dollar.  

Have a few reference books in your library.  I have a couple on household tricks, one of children's illnesses, and one on household repairs.  I'm sure they can be expensive, but if you go to your local used bookstore or thrift store, I'm sure you'll be able to find a few pretty cheaply.  

The next book I want to read is How to Keep Your Kids from Ever Getting Sick Again.  Although I'm not sure the research is done for it ...

Monday, February 23, 2009

A Wonderful Weekend

We had such a wonderful weekend.  We were finally healthy enough to be with other people so we went to our church's "Family Room" which is dinner and then a short talk on something related to marriage and family.  It was so nice to see people again!  

Then Saturday my parents came up to see the girls.  Since Charissa tends to stick closely to Britt and I when we are around, we decided to go out so my parents could get some undivided attention.  We went to the Scrap Exchange (which I plan to blog about tomorrow) in downtown Durham having so much fun shopping for unique craft supplies, fabrics, and books.  Then we went to a little Mexican restaurant for lunch and it was surprisingly delicious.  They even served their rice and beans in tiny taco salad shells.  Such attention to detail!  We had a great time together and I literally laughed so hard I cried at one point.  It was one of the best dates we've had in a long time.  And to reveal our true nerdiness, on the way to and from downtown Durham we read a vocabulary building book and laughed about the words we did and didn't know and how I kept mispronouncing everything in my attempt to pronounce them correctly.  

When we got home we just hung out with my parents.  My dad helped Britt cut some wood for our attic floor and my mom gave me some advice on a few sewing projects I'm working on.  It's so nice that my parents are able to help us on such a wide variety of subjects.  

Sunday we spent at home resting and playing with the girls.  Verity has started smiling in response to things we do and has even started cooing.  She's so fun!  If possible Charissa is even more interested in her and always wants to hold Baby V and burp her (she must think Verity is terribly gassy).  

It was a truly a great weekend.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Dummy Moment

Today while the girls and I were out a woman walked up to us to comment about how pretty they were. She asked me how big Verity was and I casually said, "About 10 pounds." She got this incredulous look on her face and said, "And I thought my baby was big at 8 pounds." She walked away as I realized she meant "how big was Verity when she was born."  Whoops!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Drawing With Charissa

Today when I sat down to nurse Verity, Charissa sat next to me and said she wanted to color. Well, what she really wanted was for me to color. I asked her what she wanted to draw and she said "Uncle Russy." So I drew Uncle Russy in business attire because I'm sure he was at work while we were drawing. All those dots on his face is my left-handed attempt at a beard.

After we finished one drawing she wanted to do another one. Another Uncle Russy, but this time as a cowboy. Very nicely drawn. Note the boots. She made sure that he had boots.

Then we drew Uncle Russy with a swimming suit ... and boots ... and a cowboy hat. Just like he is so prone to wearing ...

And our last Russy is in normal clothes, but he is holding two bowls of soup. I'm not sure why. Her little mind is very creative ... and random.

So after all of our Uncle Russy pictures, we had to do one of Aunt Kitty Kat. She's wearing normal clothes (if I could draw normal clothes), but Charissa wanted to make sure she had a belt. Very nice.

So drawing might not be one of my fortes while nursing, but I can play a mean game of Wii tennis while nursing.

Tuesday Tip - Food Tidings

So I had something else scheduled for today's Tuesday Tip, but after I read about this website from Carolyn McCulley, I just had to tell everyone about it.  It's called Food Tidings and it's a website to help you organize taking meals to people. So instead of staying on your computer all day to make sure everyone hits "reply all" when they sign up for dates or assuring that everyone has all the information they need (contact info, food allergies, food preferences, etc.), here is one website that does it all!  All you have to do is put in the dates meals are needed, their preferences, a few contact details and presto! - you have an online sign-up sheet that updates itself so you have no double bookings.  Food Tidings even has a prompt to ask what meal you're planning on bringing which is then posted for everyone to see, assuring that the receipients don't get 17 casseroles.  

So this website makes me really happy because our church has a rather large pregnant population that we bring meals to after their babies are born.  This could make all the arranging so much easier for everyone.  No more running around after service trying to make sure that all the slots are taken or that everyone gets the handout with all the info on it.  

So enjoy Food Tidings!  Use it anytime you need to arrange meals for family, friends, or coworkers!  

Friday, February 13, 2009

Fun Fabric Barrettes

This afternoon I didn't have much to do, so I decided to make some fabric barrettes that I found on Belle and Burger.  She said they were easy, but I was surprised that start to finish it only took me 30 minutes to make these four barrettes (and that's including getting everything out, picking my fabrics and buttons, and cleaning up).  The hardest part for me was decided which fabrics went with which buttons.  Here's what I came up with:

Verity was a good sport and let me try one on her after I finished.  I think I get bonus points because that clip exactly matches the flower on her sleeper.  

I think I might get some more "subdued" fabric and make myself some.  

Thursday, February 12, 2009

My Girls

About two weeks after Verity was born our friend Casey came over and took pictures of our family.  I already knew Casey was a brilliant photographer, but the pictures were even better than I imagined.  I only have time to share a few right now - maybe if I figure out that bubbleshare thing I can post some more.  

Don't we look like a happy family?  I love that in CJ's picture you can see Verity crying in the background and Charissa is completely unfazed about it.  

If you ever need a photographer, I know someone you should use!  (Actually I know a two people you could use because my friend Kristin is also amazing.)  

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tuesday Tip - 8 Ways to Reuse a Dryer Sheet

Does anyone else find dozens of dryer sheets in their laundry room and all throughout your house as you fold and put away your clothes?  Charissa seems to think they are tissues and continually tries to blow her nose with them.  I applaud her ingenuity and her willingness to repurpose items to get more use out of them, but I think there are better uses for used dryer sheets.  Here's my top 8 list:

1.  Scented dryer sheets can be used in drawers, closets, at the bottom of a trash can and in shoes to help eliminate odors.  You can also get rid of that old musty smell books get by putting a dryer sheet in a Ziploc bag with the book for a few days.  And if your car stinks, put a few sheets under the seats and in a few days your car will be mountain fresh.

2.  Scented dryer sheets can also be used as a repellent for mice and insects.  If you know of a place they come in, put a few dryer sheets there and your problem will scurry away.  You can also put a dryer sheet in your pocket or belt loop (or anywhere else you want) to repel insects while you are outside.  I love this because I hate bug spray.

3.  Dryer sheets work great for dusting because they actually repel dust.  

4.  If you have any chrome in your house (or on your vehicle), use the dryer sheet to polish it up.

5.  When potting a plant, line the bottom of your pot with a dryer sheet to prevent the soil from falling out.

6.  Similar to a sticky lint brush, an old dryer sheet will remove pet hair from clothing and furniture.  

7.  If you collect enough dryer sheets, you can stuff a pillow with them.  Your pillow will smell great and won't be lumpy like with traditional synthetic stuffing.  

8.  A wet dryer sheet can be used in the shower to get rid of soap scum.  

Even though I'm doing a post on how to use dryer sheets, I just found a way to not use dryer sheets that I thought I should share as well.  All you have to do is take a small washcloth (like a baby washcloth) or a rag and soak it in fabric softener, then you let it completely dry.  Throw it in with your laundry and it'll keep your cloths soft load after load after load (I've heard it can last for 40 loads!).  This won't help your static problem, but you can always throw a balled up wad of aluminum foil in the dryer for that.  

Happy drying!  

Saturday, February 07, 2009


The Treece family has been struck by the dreaded RSV virus.  Charissa got sick last Sunday evening and we thought she just had a bad cold, but then Verity started getting sick on Thursday and her symptoms were more intense.  All day Friday I watched her respiratory rate climb, she started wheezing, and she became congested.  Very scary things for a 6 week old.  When I called the nurse that night she listened to Verity's breathing and said, "How quickly can you get to the hospital?"  When I told her we could be there in 15 - 20 minutes she said, "Make it 10."  Panic and chaos immediately ensued.  However, when Verity was checked out in triage it wasn't as dire as the nurse made out, so my heart started beating again.  Britt and I were at the hospital until 130 AM hanging out with Verity while the doctor's checked her out and confirmed that she had RSV (Charissa was at our neighbor's house spending the night - we are so thankful for the Sylvies!).  

So we are officially quarantined until Saturday (combine that with staying home all last week and you have some stir-crazy girls).  So far we've done a lot of baking, coloring, and movie watching.  If you have any fun activities that don't involve mingling with the outside world, we'd love to hear them!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Valentine's Day Preparations

I don't normally do a lot for Valentine's Day, but this year I decided to make a wreath.  I found the idea on another blog where she took 1.5" ribbon and tied bows around a wire hanger that she had turned into a loop.  Well, since I have two girls (and I love red) I had a lot of fabric scraps in the red/pink genre, so I used that in addition to ribbon.  I didn't realize how much it was going to take to make this wreath, but after bow tying for 2 hours here's what I had:
And the best thing about this wreath was that I didn't have to buy anything to make it.  Woo-hoo!

I found the idea to make Valentine's Day Fortune Cookies from felt from the blog Create Studio.  Mine aren't nearly as nice as her's, but she is a professional artist so I'm going to cut myself some slack.  

Instead of writing messages on the slips of paper, I wrote questions.  At dinner Britt and I pull out several fortune cookies and ask each other whatever is on them.  Some are silly questions, but a lot are about our marriage, so it's been a nice build up to V-day.  

Oh - and if you have children you should get the book "The True Story of St. Valentine: Beyond Cards and Candied Hearts."  It's a wonderful book that teaches children that Valentine's Day is really about a man who stood up for his beliefs.  

Enjoy your loved ones on Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

It's hard not to smile ...

... when I stay home with her all day.  

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Tuesday Tip - Book Recommendation

It's a must read - God at Work: Your Christian Vocation in All of Life by Gene Edward Veith, Jr.  The first time I read it was for a class I audited with Britt at seminary.  I think I read it in a day.  It's 164 pages and not a difficult book to work through.  But every chapter is worth reading.  He discusses what the purpose of vocation is and how to find your vocation, but he also discusses different types of "work" - our roles in the family, our society, and the church.  

I would recommend this book to people of all ages, even those who have found what they love to do.  It just gives you a better perspective on what the goal is of working - glorifying God.  

Enjoy reading!

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Happy Birthday Charissa!

Our sweet little girl turned 2 this weekend!  Can you believe it?  It's hard to imagine that 2 years have gone by already.  We decided to have a small party with a few family members since I still don't feel ready to host a large gathering.  But we had a great time!  Here are just a few pictures since both my camera died and my mother's camera died.  Great timing, huh?

This was my first time experimenting with fondant.  It was easier than I thought, but I definitely learned a few things that will help me the next time.
CJ loves purses, so it only seemed appropriate to have a purse cake for her.

I only got pictures of her opening one present - a xylophone that Britt and I bought her.  She played with it for a few minutes, and then her Uncle "Russy" played with it for a long time.  Actually, Uncle Russy played with most of her toys so I think next year we should all get him "toddler-appropriate" toys.  
I look at her little face and know it will only be a blink of an eye before I'm hosting her Sweet 16.  Just a reminder for me to treasure every moment with her.