Sunday, May 23, 2010

I dream of boxes! (and sweeping!!)

The cross-country move is now behind us, and as we settle into the new home we are swimming in corrugated! Literally, I spent one night unpacking in my sleep ... and was quite disappointed to see that dream-time productivity did not translate to the real world.

Sigh. But no bother. It's not like the towers of boxes are going to go anywhere on their own! They'll wait for me, I am sure.

But in addition to the logistics puzzle of fitting all the old stuff into the new space(s), I am also realizing that my housekeeping routines are going to need some updating as well. Luckily I did some prep work (before I even knew I needed it), when I created my set of washable and reusable Swiffer dry sweeping cloths.

The bottom floor of the house is all hard floors - tile and wood - and with a long haired dog, two kids, pollen from countless trees, etc., the daily sediment buildup is impressive!  I like the concept and simplicity of the Swiffer sweeper, but I didn't like throwing all their expensive, single-use cloths away. Still, it took a friend to wonder aloud what could be done about it before I turned to my fabric stash for the answer.

Using one of my last sweeper cloths as a pattern (dimensions noted on tub in pic, below), I cut new sheets from scrap fleece. Ta da!! Swiffer sweeper cloths that can be used and washed over and over, and will probably last forever. I cut six cloths for the set, intending to use scraps only, but got talked into using a piece or two of "premium" from my 4 year old helper. :-) All in all, it took about five minutes. Sweet!

Now to find a place to set up the sewing machine, so I can get cranking on that again as well. Happy crafting!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

So, a party banner might strike some as an unusual way to mark Mother's Day - even one so artfully arranged to nearly look like a waterfall of flowers! - but this party banner is special. Even more special than usual, I mean. :-)

Some good friends of mine are in Thailand this Mother's Day to meet and bring home their adopted daughter, Grace. The banners are part of Grace's "welcome home" decorations, and will also become permanent additions to their playroom decor.

The vibrant fabrics feature dots (on green stripe), rainbow checks, ladybugs (on yellow), and a "narrative" pattern with boys and girls from all around the world. I finished the banner with a handmade 1" double-fold fabric ribbon in white with white stars.

I love how this banner turned out! It is so cheerful, and so spring-like. It will bring the sunshine indoors on even the coldest and dreariest of days.

I loved it so much, in fact, that I made a second one from the scraps! The original banner has 16 flags. (The mini has 8 slightly smaller flags and would work well around a window or large doorway.)

But the point is - wherever you might be celebrating, and however you might be decorating - Happy Mother's Day!  :-)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

This 'Money' book actually HAS the answers!

I'm happy to introduce a new category of post on SoSaje - the Christian book review! Call it a 'wish I'd written that' perhaps. :-) A friend connected me to the BookSneeze blogger review program from Thomas Nelson Publishers, and I am having a blast! Please continue reading below for my first book review, and I hope you will join me for more in the future. :-)

-:|:-   -:|:-  -:|:-  -:|:-  -:|:-  -:|:-  -:|:-  -:|:-

I devoured The Money Answer Book by Dave Ramsey during one airplane flight, and upon landing I immediately sent a text message to my husband: "On the ground again. :-) Beautiful flight. Oh, by the way, I LOVE Dave Ramsey. Pretty sure after reading this book that you will too."

I had no prior exposure to Dave Ramsey (or any of his various programming), and I found The Money Answer Book to be a great starting point for someone wanting to get a broad introduction.

The subtitle is 'Quick Answers for Your Everyday Financial Questions,' and with chapter topics ranging from Budgeting, to Automobiles, to Retirement & Estate Planning, he addresses a lot of subjects. Each question (such as "How do I get started on managing my money?") is followed by a one or two page discussion. He also offers several worksheets that will help you specifically target where your finances stand.

Ramsey is quite blunt, and does not skirt around the fact that solving tough financial problems is going to require some WORK! But he is also compassionate, understanding from personal experience that people make mistakes, and that the current financial society is NOT engineered to help you make wise choices.

At the root, he is trying to help people address and change the behaviors that cause financial distress - not just apply a band-aid to the symptoms. I found his suggestions and analysis to be accessible, understandable and applicable in the real world.

If you're already familiar with Dave Ramsey or keep up with his other offerings, this book might be a re-tread of material you have seen before. If you're looking for a primer or an overview to decide if Dave Ramsey is right for you - this IS the book you want to read. I'm not saying you have to buy it (check it out at the library!), but for a very short investment of your time, you may reap great rewards toward your family's financial health and your peace of mind.

(( Disclosure: I received this book for free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. ))