No, I haven’t developed a multiple personality.

This will sound like I have developed a multiple personality, but I haven’t. Well, maybe a little, but not in a you-need-to-call-the-white-jackets sort of way.

Zach starting kindergarten pushed me into different head-space. See, we weren’t supposed to still be living in this house. I was supposed to be finishing a master’s degree. We should have been done with the renovations.

But we are, I didn’t, and we aren’t.

Living life has a way of readjusting–or obliterating– priorities and goals.

All of these stream of consciousness ramblings in my head– because what y’all get technically counts as organized– led me to a few conclusions.

Scattermom remains my first baby. Right now my most pressing daily challenges are parenting, and living/parenting with ADHD.

Scattermom did a lot for me– both as a writer, and as a parent. But instead of making me feel like a boss, she often makes me feel– well– scattered.

Then it occurred to me that she may very well have an expiration date based on how comfortable my children are with my blogging their lives.

Also important? It’s not always true that I’m randomly spinning around in multiple directions. Sometimes my ideas (and focus) result in such impressiveness that I’m surprised by my accomplishment.

Those are the moments/days of The BonBon Ninja.

Ah– The BonBon Ninja makes a tongue-in-cheek reference to those that believe SAHMs sit on their spreading asses while munching bonbons.

I’ll have you know that I don’t even like BonBons. The BonBon Ninja is the one that replaces candyland ennui with painting cardboard boxes. Or sewing halloween costumes. Or … whatever else.

Which leaves one. Lately she’s knocking the loudest– hello, nose-piercing and tattoo. She’s been quiet for so long that it became easy to ignore her importance.

What to do about the tattooed, pierced woman that– in a parallel universe– spends her day on a coffee-shop patio; chain smoking and drinking double espressos, utilizing both written and spoken words to change the world? She deserves a space that protects and nurtures the part of her identity independent from butt-wiping and cardboard box repurposing. A place where she doesn’t have to worry about the desperately yearning stares from moms, or ninjas.

To be fair, Stephanie existed before any of the rest.

Ways to Repurpose Cardboard Boxes into Storage

I told y’all about that time I took a reciprocating saw to my living room couch, only to discover that the bulk of its shape was formed by cardboard, right?

That moment changed my life– and not just from listening to the myriad of excuses from JB on why I can’t have a reciprocating saw. For all his concerns, you’d think he’s afraid that I’m going to cut a hole in the wall, or something.
The real life changing moment came when I started considering how often I paid considerable amounts of money for products that could be disposed of in curbside recycling. Which led me to all the various ways one can repurpose cardboard boxes.

Thus began my love affair with repurposing our heavy-duty cardboard boxes.

These repurposed cardboard diaper boxes lasted Z at least 6 months.

15 month old Z rocking diaper box covered in contact paper.

66 month old Z rocking his box fort.

They’ve been building various forts, beds, and hotels from these boxes all summer. Finally, a common interest.

He and E intend to grow up to be hotel typhoons (tycoons).

This has also been the summer (for me) of committing to using what’s here before buying from the store. Homeless clutter needed clearly labeled homes.

Liquor boxes are perfect– separate compartments and very strong.

So many boxes and some left over spray paint… I do love to paint.

I do love to paint.

See, the clutter just needed someone to believe in it again– to look at what-some-would-consider-trash and find future purpose.

I dig it.

I mean some of these boxes were just another brick in the wall, you know?

I had to take down a few parts of the hotel.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. And, *weep* look at him, cleaning his brush!

Double imitation, double flattery, mega cheese.

You’re with me so far, right? Nodding your head, and considering all the various storage things that can be made from a leftover shoe box.

Liquor boxes, being designed to hold large glass bottles full of liquid courage are made from some really heavy-duty cardboard. Then the separate compartments? Begging to be a felt storage unit!

The best is the cost– NOTHING.

And then? Well then I saw these rough edges and thought: bias tape. But I didn’t want to use my good bias tape, because well… I have no idea. Ah-ah! Homemade bias tape– can’t be that hard!

This is where I entered the Ridiculous Zone.

Normal people don’t end up in these creative places.

At this point, the only remaining option was to:

Ideas for Repurposing a Crib: The Lego Table

I allow– nay, encourage — both kids to get down and dirty with the building projects. I want to pass the family tradition of DIY and hoarding repurposing common household items. Thus I started collecting ideas for repurposing an old crib about 2 years ago.

I love pinterest– I really do. However, long before wireless internet access and 4G networks, Good Housekeeping showed up in the mailbox. Women like Heloise shaped how I thought about housekeeping– and pantyhose.

Playing with Barbie to the background music of This Old House and Victory Garden adds up to more than a decade’s worth of subliminal suggestion. Mixing that with Wrath of Khan and the Shaolin Monk and… yeah, my formative years molded me eclectic.

Teaching children to see the world through the lens of creativity? Sort of my thing. The satisfaction of using real tools, of touching real wood cannot be replicated by Little Tyke.

When I repurposed the crib into their lego table, I had two very willing helpers.

Sand is a verb and the paint isn't crayola

An admitted side bonus of having them enjoy my hobby means that they are usually tolerant when I say “no, you can’t help paint with oil-based primer”. Usually.

Both of my babies slept in this crib–and my oldest starts kindergarten on Monday– but the Dropside of Death meant sending it to a landfill. Landfill? No way.

This past January, when I was deep in the swamp of kitchen cabinet painting, the boys and I did a side project on their crib.

Here– let me detail the steps:

    1) find your crib.
    2) wipe it off
    3) sand
    4) paint
    5) assemble three of the sides, leaving the 4th one available for a mystery project

Legos were assembled, children were happy, mom went back to being covered in white cabinet paint.

Then this started happening.

Picture showing a lego table made from 3 sides of a repurposed dropside crib

Granted if you replaced Legos with sticky notes, receipts, and pony tail holders their table looks a lot like my desk… still.

I used to feel like this each time I walked past the room.

Now, thanks to my handy Lego Storage System I:

The Three Faces of Lego Peeve

Finding the best Lego storage solution seems to occupy way more of my attention than appropriate.

I’m the only person that cared about maintaining the Separation of Lego Components, investing hours of time in the sorting and labeling of Lego storage systems, each new system more elaborate and separatist than its predecessor.

Mistake Number One: Investing that much emotion in the State of Lego’s Infrastructure Policy.

Mistake Number Two: Excluding Ambassadors from State of Lego during the planning phases of the Infrastructure Policy.

Mistake Number Three: Demanding Expecting adherence to the Infrastructure Policy and delivering harsh sanctions for noncompliance.

Yesterday I performed an admirable step-jerk-hop to avoid demolishing a Knex creation, only to over-correct, lose my balance, and land– barefoot– on an abandoned pile of Lego bricks and tiles.

Finally taking a closer look around, I noticed my carefully sorted and labeled drawers where upended on the floor, and those not on the floor coated the entire surface of a Lego table re-purposed from the drop-side crib of death.

You see the surrender? Well, I guarantee that I have the best Lego storage solution developed just for you. My readers. My fellow Lego-peeve sufferers.

And in the infamous words of another brilliantly famous red-head: Tomorrow! Tomorrow!

Prioritizing To Do List Items

My To Do List today, according to Zach:
1) Sew an Ironman costume
2) Make cookies
3) Wrestle
4) Finish reading all of the Harry Potter novels to him
5) Build the outside fort

My To Do List, according to Elliot:
1) Build the knex roller-coaster
2) Make cookies
3) Play Monster Chase Hide-n-seek
4) Sew a Kitty Bed
5) Make Yoda Soda

My To Do List, according to Me:
1) Take a shower
2) Put on clean clothes
3) Get E’s health form filled out (due on Friday)
4) Magically morph 3 tortillas, a tomato, and cheese into a nutritious and delicious meal for four*
5) Make a Mega To Do list (see example from July) proving I am just a wee bit delusional

*Note: Going to the grocery store didn’t make my Top 5.

When Pinterest Changed the World

You’ve heard of Pinterest, right? And then, because one cannot have yin without yang; Pinterest, You are Drunk? I have a personal submission for the second link: remember, laughing at other people without also laughing at yourself makes you an asshole.

I am a procrastinator. I make To Do lists only to willfully ignore every item. I seek pressure-filled, adrenaline-rushed situations. Setting soft deadlines for myself is like putting mashed cauliflower on a plate and calling it potatoes: a nice thought, but not fooling anyone.

In a few weeks, each of the Small People start schools in different zip codes. For those keeping notes, ADHD folk (yup, that’s me) generally struggle with multiple transitions. Multiple transitions involving two people that regularly take 20 minutes to walk a mere five feet? Valium anyone?

Sane Other people might be spending these next two weeks soaking in time with the kids, making lunch menus, planning outfits and updating the family calendar.

Or finishing the other important things like emailing Z’s new principal a head’s up that the child is capable of reading Harry Potter level text– but might prefer to speak his made up dragon language on testing day. Or perhaps dropping off his immunization records.

To that end, getting E’s health form filled out.

Or buying that other car, since the insurance company totaled out the Scion.

Instead of doing any of those things, I am sifting through mountains of paper and spray painting stuff.

To thine own self be true, right?

Wistfully reminiscing about that timeI was alone in my home for an entire weekend.

Because pinterest didn’t exist back then–

Make a DIY Magic Wand

How to make a DIY magic wand? Yeah, sure.

What adults learn from children–if they pay attention–is that the world is a magical place. That there might be monsters under the bed, or a beanstalk that grows high into the clouds. Or, if I make the environment friendly to them, laundry gnomes.

Please, please let laundry gnomes be real!

Zach has been reading since November and his skill with it still makes my brain hurt. Okay, in the interest of full disclosure, it squeezes my heart in a vice and makes me all teary.

So when we started reading Harry Potter together (not that he couldn’t read it by himself– he just won’t) I began to consider all of the wonderful things I could do with my own magic wand.

Laundery gnomes

Then I saw some old chopsticks and got to thinking… which is how I ended up making the easiest DIY magic wands in the history of craft making.

Supply List for the Easiest Magic Wand:

      Hot glue gun

 

      Chopsticks

 

      A few beads (I used pieces from a broken mardi gras necklace)

 

    Paint

Apply hot glue to the chopstick. Twist and twirl it– uniform perfection is NOT the goal here. Let the glue harden up just a little bit.

Add a few beads. Just a few— I did a version with more beads and it looked like a bedazzled corndog.

It was at this point that I went and looked an actual image of Harry Potter’s wand. Ahem. I mixed brown and a little black to make it streaky.

Ta-da! A epoximise spell!

This Old House

This old house has seen a bunch of upgrades–some easy, some not. A corner here, a room there. Slowly it inched forward from 1969.

The poor kitchen started off with a look that only a DIYer could appreciate. We got new cabinets, and I was happy for awhile. But then I decided that the new cabinets were boring and needed to some spice.

Ah, turning the old-new into the new-new.

Insert insane cackle, since that project isn’t ahem done. Though all I have left (other than decorative touches) are the faux built-in from target bookshelves and leftover scraps hack. I plan for it to look something like:

Photo Credit: BHG

My brilliant idea for an inexpensive stainless steel backsplash is still my favorite all my DIY projects.

And I did manage to get the other set of shelves hung in the coat closet last weekend. But then I had to shove all of the misplaced stuff back in there (we needed to eat dinner). I refuse to let JB hang the door back up, because out-of-sight…

So instead I’m embracing my eclectic decorating style and making a pop-art statement about the Overload of Stuff in America–

Wait. That’s IT. I’ll just label my clutter as being an ode to Warhol and suddenly it’s a statement.

And why this montage of projects of Months Past? Because I was down in the basement– doing, yeah, laundry…

…when I started fantasizing about my perfect life. One where my hair stayed stick straight despite the humidity and I had an extra 1200 square feet of space.

Wait– I do have an extra 1200 square feet of space, but it’s not pleasant– and sometimes the dark corners are kinda scary.

If only the basement were done, everything else would be perfect. Cue my Rainbow farting unicorn, please.

Hey– who needs some baby stuff? Cloth diapers? Anyone? Bueller?

Can you see it with me?

Buh-bye to clown-vomit epoxy floor,
and also to the 1970s vintage accordion door.

No to wainscoting in shades of dark brown,
Acoustic ceiling tile? You’re first to go down.

Hello to a softly carpeted place;
to new walls creating happy-family space.

Oh– and bad poetry aside– I’m totally building this system for storage.

Trying… but Just. Can’t. Stop. Myself.

Photo credit: Family Handyman

To eliminate all of the closet over-pourage.

But before I can even think about the satisfaction of ripping out every spec of acoustic ceiling tile, I first have to finish the built-ins. And the closet. But you can watch me drool over ideas on pinterest.

Perhaps I should have FINISH IT tattooed on my forehead?

Mortal Kombat for ADHDers

How to Organize a Coat Closet

This past Saturday (as in the day before Father’s Day) I decided it was time to tackle the organization of the coat closet. Mine was a simple plan to use the free closetmaid shelves that I’ve been installing in various other locations and do something about the mess.

Before: the top of the closet.

Before: the bottom of the closet.

After pulling everything out– hey look, a box of hangers– I realized that I didn’t have a real plan.

I started first with a mind map, a new skill recently acquired during a blog content planning class at Momcomm.

Yes, I included hide-n-seek as a priority need for the closet. Duh.

Next I took measurements (height, width and depth) and transferred the dimensions to my best-ever-perspective-drawing.

But then I started poking around on google and pinterest for clever configuration ideas. This, my friends, began the easy project’s downward spiral into the 5th level of home improvement hell.

Google, in its increasingly sentient–and assholish– way led me over to a blog where the homeowner turned a coat closet into a mudroom nook.

*Weep*

I’ve been suffering from mudroom envy since 2007 when the first of a million grains of sand dribbled out of Zach’s tiny shoe. But then Kim hacked mudroom built-ins and somehow I’ve turned my missing mudroom into the root of all my domestic difficulties.

So… JB returns and I, according to his version, pounce on him like he’s the nip to my cat with my Super Duper Ooper Schmooper Big Idea.

Instead of a boring coat closet with wire shelves, how about a NOOK. Everyone has a closet! We’d have a mudroom nook! It’ll be easy!

Y’all, I had him. For approximately 27 seconds.

Then this happened.

Next came the argument, the frustration, the misunderstandings and at least 4 hours of my life lost to the abyss of marital disagreement.

A sort of cranky me finished deconstruction. Off came the wooden coat rod and shelves.

Then came paint. I was tempted to use the bright green from the living room, but for the first time ever in my life I intentionally painted a room beige.

While painting non-popcorned closet ceiling, I realized that the popcorn covering the ceilings of all but three rooms in this house aren’t original. Which means that the previous owners deliberately chose to popcorn their ceilings as a… design technique?

Redneck sauna: a closet with no ventilation and bright work lights.

I’m totally over my mudroom nook plan.

I think. Maybe.

The fact that there is only one wire shelf installed does not, in any way, imply that I might be considering just going for it while he’s at work. Because that would be wrong and stuff.

Easy Magnet Lesson for Preschoolers

Do you need an easy magnet lesson for preschoolers (or older)? A few months ago my mother gave the Small People a book about magnets. This morning E found it buried under some other books and requested that we go magnet fishing. Like in the book.

Well, I do love the science-y stuff, and the entire lesson plan is laid out in the book.

Stay tuned for my explanation for how to hand-carve your very own bamboo magnet fishing pole. And also how to use your regionally available fish to handcraft the fish magnets. Please don’t forget to place them all in your hand-thrown, kiln fired porcelain pond.

Or not.

Because I’m making fun of myself too, when I start thinking craziness like that. Did the above-mentioned occur to me? Yeah, for at least 6 seconds. Then I recognized how insanely stupid and time-wasteful that was for my purposes.

In this case, I needed to Just Say No to Pinterest and yes to projects that Small People could theoretically replicate without me.

Every item needed for this project could be found in my catch-all bowl bucket to my microwave. So I’m even giving myself bonus points for cleaning some crap off the counter.

I’m turning over a new leaf when it comes to this stuff. Because you know what meant more to my kids than a hand-carved magnet fishing pole?

1) Going from request to completion in less than 5 minutes. Because that never happens here.

2) Not fake smiling as I photograph their every magnet fishing moment.

3) Playing with magnets and catching fish with every cast. Trying to beat each other for catching and carrying the most objects.