Christmas light alternative to extension cord

There is no plugin on the front of the house. Well, there is one, but it’s over by the garage, great for the driveway but useless for hanging Christmas lights on the rest of the house. There is one big window on the front of the house, you know, the one the whole neighborhood would want to see lights on, so I turned the problem inside out.

I taped the lights to the window inside the house. I taped to the window rather than the frame so I could be sure that a square of lights would be visible from the outside and as a bonus, there are Christmas lights inside the house too!

taken with flash so you can see the window I'm talking about

taken with flash so you can see the window I’m talking about

taken without flash so you can see the lights

taken without flash so you can see the lights

DIY homework sorting file box

There’s a small countertop in our kitchen that seems to have been put in as an afterthought. I’m fine with that, I’ll take all the extra storage I can get since I hate Hubby’s method of leaving everything on the counters. But this counter is just too far away from the main appliances to be of any use for cooking so I use it to sort through the massive amounts of artwork and homework the kids bring home from school every day. I also keep the pens, moisturizer and multi-head screwdriver here.

Here’s what I did to organize all that.

1 cut off 1L cream carton covered in nice paper
1 cut off 2L milk carton covered in nice paper
1 Cheerios box cut into magazine holder shape and covered in nice paper

The pictures explain it much better.

before

before

cut

cut

measure each side, subtract 1/8 inch, cut paper and glue

measure each side, subtract 1/8 inch, cut paper and glue

After.  You can see the two milk carton/pencil holders here too.

After. You can see the two milk carton/pencil holders here too.


Oh yes, I put 2 command hooks on the side for the kids’ lunch boxes.

Sturdy, homemade memory game for young kids

1. Collect 20 or so milk bottle caps in the same colour (red for me).
2. Buy two sheets of identical stickers (a gift in our case).
3. Stick pairs of stickers on the caps.
4. Cover stickers with Modge Podge or a homemade facsimile of 2 tsp white glue and 7-10 drops of water.

I stored the whole thing in an empty jam jar.

they're flower stickers in case you can't tell

they’re flower stickers in case you can’t tell

flip em over, flip em back

flip em over, flip em back

Fixing a cheap entertainment stand

Once we had this new house we very desperately needed something to put the kids’ TV and Diveo collection on so they wouldn’t be squatting over milk crates. Enter Kijiji and a $30 entertainment system looking somewhat like this.

Ours is half the size, black and uglier.

Ours is half the size, black and uglier.

Due to its age and questionable care from the previous owner, the laminate cover glued to the pressed wood was peeling off in many places leaving a black curl with a tan wood underneath.

In many places I was able to glue the curls back into place with krazy glue. Other times I could reattach the whole strip with krazy glue. And sometimes that didn’t work and I wound up with crumbled laminate and glue all over my fingers. Time for phase 2.

the sticky cover starts to peel, sometimes coming off in long strips

the sticky cover starts to peel, sometimes coming off in long strips

starting to peel off

starting to peel off

when krazy glue doesn't work you wind up with pieces of the strip you were trying to reattach stuck to your finger for a week.

when krazy glue doesn’t work you wind up with pieces of the strip you were trying to reattach stuck to your finger for a week.

when krazy glue doesn't work colour the tan wood with a black permanent marker.  Good enough.

when krazy glue doesn’t work colour the tan wood with a black permanent marker. Good enough.

Blind cord safety

The house we bought came with blinds on all the windows. I hate blinds. For one, they’re a fucking strangulation hazard and I live in constant mortal terror of my children discovering that fact; and two, they’re ugly. But more importantly, number one. And sure enough, one lunch time I hear “Hey brother, look at this!” and I come out to the dining room to see my daughter with the cord wrapped around her neck while her brother wraps another around his. I had a cow. A herd of cows, horns and all.

They were banished to their rooms while I sobbed and taped every single cord to the ceiling with packing tape. We lived in the dark for almost a month. I also explained as graphically as possible what happens when you strangle yourself: no more Mommy and Daddy, no more toys, no more school or friends or swimming or dancing, no more NOTHING and you’ll make Mommy cry until the day she dies. To make extra sure they were familiar with the death concept, I took the teddy bear each of them loved the least and decapitated it with a pair of scissors in front of their very eyes.  They sobbed and begged me not to do it but as much as it hurt my heart I made myself press on because it’s for their own safety. 

Then I got this 3M command hook idea.

top arrow: command hook bottom arrow:  came with the house

top arrow: command hook
bottom arrow: came with the house

The window frame came with these little wrap around hook things, but it gets annoying to wrap up 5 cords every day and unwrap every evening. And by annoying I mean that Hubby won’t do it at all and it’s all on me if I want any natural light in the house. So I added an extra hook so winding the cord high above the children’s reach is a lot faster and easier.

Quarterly report spring cleaning

October is a quarterly month so I took this arbitrary marker to do some cleaning around the house.

Test:
smoke detectors
carbon monoxide detectors
home alarm system (if you have one)

Wash:
coffee maker
water jug (in the dishwasher)
broom dust pans (in the dishwasher)
door knobs
light switches

Dust:
ceiling fans
computers
pretty much everything

Change:

Brita filter
toothbrushes

Explaining Remembrance Day to my kids

My kids are 6 and 4 and have been making poppies in school (or “cloquleliclot” as my daughter calls them instead of the French- coquelicot). I wanted to explain Remembrance Day to them simply so they’d understand some bit of its importance. The best explanation came from an unlikely source: a documentary I was watching on Netflix.

The documentary was about the Virunga national park in the Congo, the last refuge for the mountain gorilla, and the kids walked in on the part where the rangers are carrying the coffin of a fellow ranger who had been shot by poachers. “Is he dead?” they asked since they have been studying human anatomy for about a year and are familiar with organ failure. “Yes, he is dead.” I said. “Is he in the box now?” Yes “Where are they taking him?” They’re putting his body in the ground and his soul will go to Heaven with God. He died in the service of his country just like thousands of soldiers did during the war in order to defend our freedom and happiness. “Did they die fighting the bad guys?” Yes (thank you Ninja Turtles) “But the good guys don’t die?” Well sometimes they do and that’s what we remember.

They got it.

Lego Digital Designer

Due to the “hundred millions of Lego” that we have here, Hubby and I discovered http://ldd.lego.com/en-us/ which is an online way to design and build your own Lego creations. Or you can browse the gallery archive for patterns, such as Thomas the Train.

http://ldd.lego.com/en-us/gallery/archive

Type “Thomas” in creation name and select your model to download. I made the 5th one from the left, top row, first page.

My guess would be that I had 50% of the pieces that the pattern called for and totally improvised the rest by running up the stairs to my son’s room then down to the basement to the playroom. It took a few days to make Thomas this way but it was totally worth it for all the joy Thomas brings my son. He had to make a few adjustments to Thomas, for instance, putting windows on the cab so the driver could see out, making the funnel all one piece and adding a lantern so Thomas could see.

My son let me draw on his Lego piece (cardinal sin otherwise) because I showed him that rubbing alcohol will remove permanent marker.

My son let me draw on his Lego piece (cardinal sin otherwise) because I showed him that rubbing alcohol will remove permanent marker.

Lego Thomas

thomas front

Didn't have enough square single pieces so used round ones.  Artfully.

Didn’t have enough square single pieces so used round ones. Artfully.

I had no train wheels or train sets to draw on so Thomas' carriage is totally improvised.  The front buffer is a "holey" blue piece with a flat single piece pressed into the holes to hold the buffer button pieces.

I had no train wheels or train sets to draw on so Thomas’ carriage is totally improvised. The front buffer is a “holey” blue piece with a flat single piece pressed into the holes to hold the buffer button pieces.

Today I’m making a princess castle for my daughter, as per her request. She’s already made a giant, poufy dress out of Lego for her princess.

How to change a toilet seat because one day you’ll need to

Gloves, you will need/want gloves for this, especially if you just bought the house and are changing someone else’s toilet seat. That’s probably something you should do in a new house anyway, along with changing all the locks. Fluids inevitably leak under the screw assembly, as you’ll see, and who wants other people’s pee in their house?

Changing a toilet seat is easier than changing a lightbulb. I don’t have to get a chair, climb on a chair, unscrew all the light fixture doodads while hoping they don’t fall onto my face, unscrew the tighter-than-a-toad’s-ass broken lightbulb while hoping it doesn’t shatter, replace bulb, test bulb, and replace light fixture.

A DIY Barbie closet rod and hangers

Following up on the lack of space for Barbie clothes on the clothespin board I made, I made a Barbie closet.

My daughter’s closet has a built in unit with adjustable shelving option. You’ll see in the picture that the sides have little holes at regular intervals where you can put a shelf holder peg in the hole. What I did was enlarge a hole on either side (already pre-measured to line up!) with my drill and a 5/16 drill bit. Then I cut my 5/16 wooden dowel to the right length and popped it into the holes.

I twisted paperclips into clothes hangers (USE THE BIGGEST PAPERCLIPS YOU’VE GOT FOR THIS).

None of this is difficult, you just have to have the tools and dowel lying around. Otherwise you have to leave the house to get stuff which is not my idea of a fun project.

DIY Barbie closet within tall closet shelving unit.

DIY Barbie closet within tall closet shelving unit.