10 May
2012
Posted in: Life
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Stream of (Semi) Consciousness

Things I have been wondering this week.

1) Is it possible to be in a bad mood while listening to Simon & Garfunkel’s Cecilia? (Please listen and respond.) Should I have named Sydney Cecilia because of this? (If video won’t load, you can listen here.)

2) If anyone ever saw my google search history I think I would die of embarrassment.

3) Why have I not yet learned to play my mandolin? If I sold it and bought a cello instead, would I learn to play that? Doubtful.

4) How is it that I can (or so it seems) be so quick and witty in writing, but in person I become a humorless, shy semi-geek? An excerpt from a description of my Myers-Briggs personality description. At least an estimated 4% of the population share this:

“INFPs are usually talented writers. They may be awkard and uncomfortable with expressing themselves verbally, but have a wonderful ability to define and express what they’re feeling on paper.”

5) Speaking of Myers-Briggs, were they some sort of sorcerers? How do they know so much about me?

6) Note to self: Take the Big Five Personality test (considered more accurate and reliable than my pet test, Myers-Briggs) for comparison. I predict I score high on conscientiousness. I wish more people scored high on conscientiousness.

7) Is anyone reading this even remotely interested in personality tests? Unlikely.

8 ) If I’m approximately 80% more productive when I work before 8:00 a.m., why can I not get out of bed earlier every day knowing the payoff is totally worth it.

9) Evan is going to have a sound wave treatment for kidney stones. He lays on a special pad that sends sound waves through is body, which will hopefully bust up two of the stones. I think this treatment HAS TO BE from the future. I imagine George Jetson will be administering the procedure.

10) On my front patio there is a peony bush in full bloom, along with wisteria climbing our pergola that is blooming. I am absolutely stunned that something we planted is not only not dead, but is thriving. Spring blessings.

30 Apr
2012
Posted in: Abode
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The Long Walk Home

The song Roll Away Your Stone, by Mumford & Sons, is one of my favorites. As in, if it’s a sunny day and the windows are rolled down in the car it will make me cry kind of favorite. If you aren’t familiar, listen here.

Last fall, I shared with our house church how much I loved this song, and mentioned a particular lyric that was especially meaningful to me.

“It’s not the long walk home
that will change this heart,
But the welcome I receive with the restart.”

We exchange names for gift-giving at Christmas, and our friend BJ got my name. And THIS is what he made me! He took vinyl letters and placed them on the canvas, painted over them (turquoise! and gray!) then removed the letters. I love it.

What song lyrics get you every time? Or what songs make you cry on a pretty day with the windows down (or is that just me – surely it isn’t just me).

 

19 Apr
2012
Posted in: Abode, Life
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Stick it to me

When I first started this blog, I wrote a little piece called The Whittler, about my great-grandfather, and his propensity to whittle. Given our culture’s current fast pace (and I live in West Virginia where the pace is at least a few miles per hour slower than most places), I find it incomprehensible that someone would just sit around on their front porch whittling. So that little whittled stick was one of my prized possessions, not only because it was made at the hands of a man I so admired, but also because it reminded me to breath. Slow down. Rest.

Then last year one of my kids grabbed it off the shelf to play with. Then the dog chewed it to pieces. I cried.

Fast forward to this Christmas when somehow my grandmother got word of the destroyed whittle stick and wrapped up a new one. It was her father that was responsible for the works of whittled art, and I have to admit this one is even more beautiful than the first. As soon as I opened it, I cried again.

Who knew my favorite Christmas present would be a stick! I keep it on a higher shelf.

Slow down. Breathe. Relax.

Perhaps I should get familiar with a pocket knife.

13 Apr
2012
Posted in: Life
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The Befuddled Blackberry

Hello, my name is Kelli, and I’m a thrift store addict.

It’s true. What started as an occasional stop-by has become an often-enough-the-cashier-knows-my-name. About a year ago, my friend Brittany and I kicked around the idea of opening an etsy shop for all the fun vintage finds from our local thrift stores. Thrifting is fun because it’s so easy to score great finds, but not so easy to score them in your size. That’s what’s great about the shop – I can buy all these totally fun vintage goods and sell them when they aren’t quite my size or style. There are a few things I keep to myself, of course.

Anyway, last May we opened the store and have sold about an item a week since then. We’re definitely not quitting our day jobs, but it’s a fun way to support our thrifting habit. We decided on the name by creating a list of about a dozen random words we each liked, then we  paired up a few of the words and narrowed it down to one that sounded fun. Check it out! 

13 Apr
2012
Posted in: Life
By    1 Comment

One Year.

It’s been a full year since I’ve blogged regularly.

Woah.

Let’s see if I can change that, shall we?

25 Dec
2011
Posted in: Life
By    2 Comments

I’m Alive! (And in Need.)

Quick Update: Dad is still in the hospital, but the surgery was successful and he’s recovering well. It looks like he’ll be home within a couple days. He’s still weak and in pain, obviously, but I am so very thankful for the outcome so far. Thanks for your support.

 

I absolutely cannot believe the length of my absence. To say that I’ve had no free time since I last posted would not be far from the truth. We did manage a couple trips out of town since then, all of which the laptop had to tag along for a few work-related tasks. Anywho..

I do have a few things to tell you about.  A fun craft I’m finishing up, a couple recipes I’ve enjoyed, and some reflections from my life and work over the past few months. But in the immediate future I need to ask something of you, dearest remaining blog readers. My dad is having a major heart surgery next week at Cleveland Clinic. And without posting details for all the internet to see, just know that it’s pretty serious, will require a long recovery, and I would so very much appreciate your prayers. Provided all goes well (and I’m trusting it will) I will be traveling back along with my husband, brother, and his girlfriend on Christmas Eve to spend the holiday with family. The surgery is next Thursday. And I’m a little nervous. (Admittedly perhaps more nervous than he is. I have a bit of a hospital aversion.)

Thanks, friends.

6 Sep
2011
Posted in: Life
By    12 Comments

Question / Confession

I logged on today and noticed it’d been nearly a month since I’ve posted. I would’ve guessed it’d only been two weeks, and such is the struggle I have with keeping up here on Simple Modern Life.

The truth is, by hosting this space, I want you to think I’m really awesome. You may get the impression that I twirl around the kitchen in my apron simultaneously whipping up a batch of salted caramel brownies from scratch while preparing my two angelic children completely nutritious and well-rounded meals, served on color-coordinated plates. In the evenings, you may surmise that I put them to bed at a totally reasonable hour in time for me to sew a skirt for my daughter and a toy for my son, and finish that in time to wrap up everything on my work to-do list before lovingly talking to then drifting off to sleep beside my handsome husband.

In reality, I make things totally from scratch a couple times a week, I feed my children peanut butter sandwiches and Chick-Fil-A, there are dishes piled in the sink, I craft when I have the time (rarely!) I work when I have deadlines looming (always!) and sometimes Evan and I go days without having a meaningful conversation. He is still handsome, though.

This blog represents what my life would look like if I had no responsibilities or obligations. My lack of posts represents that – while I’m happy with my life – it is full of responsibilities and obligations that, ahem, get in the way of my hobbies.

I’m not a professional blogger. I do this for fun, as a way to connect with people and share what little itty bit of knowledge I may have regarding food or crafts or books or life. However, I know it can be frustrating to check a site and never see it updated. So I have a question – would it be better for me to close shop? Let myself totally off the hook? Or should I just post when I can, however (in)frequently I can and let myself be ok with that? Do you care if I only post once or twice a month or have you stopped reading altogether?

Please note, I don’t at ALL mean this post as a cry for sympathy or compliments – I am truly just curious and trying to decide what to do with myself when I beat myself up over not posting more frequently.

9 Aug
2011
Posted in: Abode, Great Clean Out
By    2 Comments

Great Clean Out – Daisies and Vase

At one point during my life I had these silk daisies on a table somewhere in this house. Since then they’ve been hanging around in a cabinet. I have no idea how they lasted so long. But they’re really cute, if you love orange and pink.

 

5 Aug
2011
Posted in: Great Clean Out
By    4 Comments

Great Clean Out – CF Cards

I have two 2.0 GB Compact Flash cards that I no longer use. I have plenty of larger cards, and because I shoot in RAW, a 2.0 card won’t hold enough for me to need them. However, since most of my blog readers shoot in .jpg from your cameras, you can still get plenty of use out of them. I’ll send these together, so comment if you want ’em!

4 Aug
2011
Posted in: Abode
By    3 Comments

A Greener Clean

I have not often had requests for posts here (although I enjoy it!), but this week, John Withum tweeted with the request that I write about my cleaning products. Specifically:

What are your favorite Method/Seventh Generation/not awful for you cleaners/house products and why? Also when/where do you find them cheap/on sale?

I had written about this once before, a while back, but have changed some of my products and feel like it’s worth an update.

First, my favorite greener/better for you cleaners. There are a few brands that come to mind, primarily Method, Seventh Generation, and Mrs. Myers Clean Day. I am the first to admit that smell is a huge motivator in my cleaning products purchases, and both Method and Mrs. Myers offer fantastic scents in their lineups. These brands have become more mainstream over the last 10 years and I find them regularly at Target, Kroger and many other local stores.

A short list of what I use:

Furniture: Method Wood for Good, exclusively. It smells like almond, which is my favorite scent, ergo I am terribly loyal.

Windows: Method Glass + Surface – a great glass cleaner that smells like mint.

Bathroom: Method Le Scrub for harder-to-clean areas like my shower, Seventh Generation Tub & Tile Cleaner for the tub, sink, and counters. Also, we have a problem with mildew growing around the hardware of our shower, so I do keep a bottle of a bathroom cleaner with bleach only for use on these areas.

Kitchen: Method All Purpose Cleaner for surfaces (in cucumber, a personal favorite), Mrs. Myers Clean Day Surface Wipes for quick cleanup, Mrs. Myers Clean Day All Purpose Cleaner for, well, anything. This is a great diluted cleaner and a great money-saver. Just buy a $2 spray bottle and use it all over the house. I use Mrs. Myers Clean Day dish soap, when I can find it. Mrs. Myers has a basil scented line, which wins me over. I also love J. R. Watkins All Purpose Natural Cleaner, but can’t find it around here, so I pick a bottle up when I’m out of town.

Floors: Mrs. Myers Clean Day All Purpose Cleaner is great if there’s a mess, but my workhorse is my Haan Steam Mop. LOVE it – it cleans so quickly, sanitizes, and uses no chemicals (with the exception of water, which IS a chemical, no? Isn’t everything, really? I digress).

Laundry: I’ve been pleased with Method’s laundry detergent’s cleaning power, BUT I’m attached to the scent Tide. So don’t follow my example here. I do like Method’s Dryer Cloths.

Reusable Cleaning Supplies: I keep a drawer full of microfiber cloths, and have a microfiber dusting wand (think swiffer, but reusable), many of which I found at the dollar store. The steam mop uses washable microfiber pads, and I use dishrags in place of paper towels. These changes made a huge difference in the amount of paper towels I go through. I probably used  one roll every couple weeks before, and now it’s one roll every 2-3 months. This alone has resulted in some major savings.

How I find these products on sale/discounted:

First let me state that I did not one day decide to throw out all my “bad” cleaning products and go purchase “good” replacements. I figured that the cleaning products were no better down the drain or in the landfill than they were to do their jobs here. So as I finished, say, a bottle of window cleaner, I just purchased a bottle of Method’s window cleaner to replace it. I went through some trial and error (learning I’m not a huge fan of Method’s dish soap or tub and tile cleaner), but I started replacing our products about five years ago, so I’ve had time to learn. By making the change gradually, it didn’t bust our budget, as most of the greener cleaners are less than a dollar more than their non-green counterparts.

With that said, there are a few things you can do to save money. First, sign up for Method’s People Against Dirty – it’s a great way to get coupons and product samples. Second, sign up for coupons from Target – they occasionally have discounts on some of these specific brands.

Finally, comparison shop. Once I found Method Hand Soap for $1.50 at Kroger on special – half off. Another time I found tons of Method and Seventh Generation cleaners at Toys R Us (of all places) on clearance because they seemed to be getting rid of all cleaning products not specifically related to babies. I cleared them out, and still have some products in my cabinet from that great find. Any time I find the items on a good sale, I purchase ahead and store the items.

I had flirted with good-for-you cleaners for several years, because I liked their philosophies, scents and design, but once I had little ones, that put me over the edge. I like knowing that if my toddler opens the cabinet and chugs a bottle of Method’s cucumber cleaner, they might get a belly ache but won’t die. And once you go green, it’s hard to go back!

 

I hope this helps, John. Best of luck!