Tuesday, December 30, 2014

In the Doghouse

We built a dog house... for our cats.

It has been so bitter cold here for the past little bit, and I felt bad for our poor kitties.  We have two cats who lived quite comfortably in the house - in our last house.  When we moved in with my dad, they were relegated to be outdoor cats because of my dad's allergies.  They coped just fine with that, only occasionally sneaking in the house (and regularly sneaking in the garage).  But when the snow and the cold came, they had no shelter.  Poor kitties.

So David and Eddie and I went over to a kind neighbor (the greatest scout leader ever!) who helped us cut and assemble this dog house.  It was pretty easy, as the directions were all nice and clear at the Lowes website.  

Just one sheet of 4x8 plywood, cuts, some 2x4s, a bunch of screws, and we were done in a morning.

We brought it home and painted it green in the kitchen.  Because I could only find green paint and pink paint, and because the kitchen is the only place to paint when it's below freezing outside.

Trent cut up some carpet scraps to insulate and make it all cozy for our kitties. In the spring, we will put on shingles and make it pretty, but for now, with a tarp thrown over to keep off the snow, they are warm and toasty.  Every time I look on the back porch, I see a tail or two or some whiskers through the door.  Glad they can be warm!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Christmas Decorations

We've finally got the Christmas decorations taken down.  It has been a trial this year, since I have my own decorations, as well of those of my mother.  She loved to decorate for Christmas!  She loved the lights and the mistletoe and the pictures on the windows.  She had Christmas tablecloths and garlands and doorknob jingles and even a Santa toilet lid cover.  At one time, she had a Christmas tree in ever room of the house!  One had pictures of  us kids growing up, one was decorated all in white and angels, one had bubbling water lights, one had golden balls and red apples...  it was fun to see.  Fortunately for me, she started downsizing before she passed away, so I had a bit less to go through.  

Going through it all, sorting out which things to keep and getting ready to set things up

We set up the angel tree in my dad's room and our Christmas tree in the front room.  That's about all the space we had.  I put up a bunch more decorations than I usually do (remember Mom=happy Christmas decorator, me=minimalist) just because it was there.  But after Christmas, it was sure nice to put everything away and have a bit of visual breathing space.

All packed up and ready to stash in the storage space in the garage.  This is what we ended up with - minus four(!) trees and the outside inflatables.

Ah.  Much better.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Police Car

We recently had a police car pull up in front of our house.  The door opened and... out jumped my husband?  He had a discontinued police car down at the dealership and wanted to drive it around a bit.  My happened to come over just then, and he got to drive it, too.  Evidently the thing has some get-up-and-go to it!  While they were talking, the kids turned on the lights, and then siren.  That thing is LOUD!

Of course, all the kids wanted to have a ride in it, too.  I got a kick out of seeing them through the bars in the window.  You be good now, you hear?

They had a great time going for rides.  It was all fun until a neighbor boy locked his own hands in the handcuffs, and we had no key.  They had to drive back to the dealership and fortunately someone there could free him.  See what happens when you mess around with the law?

Monday, December 1, 2014

24 Days of Giving

Every year, our big extended family on Trent's side likes to do a service project.   The past few years, we've purchased fleece and tied blankets for the Linus Project.  When all of us work together, we get quite a pile of blankets!  It's great to be part of something helpful like that.

This year, instead of doing an all-together service project, each family was asked to do their own projects.  We hunted for a while, wanting at first to do something epic.  But epic projects require epic amounts of money...  Then we wanted to do something for folks in South Africa or Madagascar.  For some reason, we have an affinity for those two places!  But we don't have enough knowledge or time to find something there.  And I'd really love to do something where the kids can be directly involved and see what good things happen when we serve.

So we finally settled on a smaller project that requires a bit of service every day.  Instead of one big project, we will be doing lots of little ones.  This way, we can help others around us and get that giving spirit all month long.

So here is the plan.  We went to multiplygoodness.com to print off their free pdf file of the day cards.  They print off four to a page so it's easy to cut them apart.  There are 24 cards - one for each day until Christmas.  Each card has an idea for a bit of service to do: leave a treat for the mail person, give change to the bell ringer, send a cheerful text, put a nice note on someone's car, give chocolate...  

None of them are hard, but all the little acts of goodness will add up.  Some require money (pass out candy canes), some need some advance planning (leave goodies on someone's porch), and some you can just do whenever  (encourage a young person).

I made open envelopes out of a half sheet of paper, then decorated them and numbered them all to 24.  I tucked a card in each envelope and paper-clipped them to tibbons I had strung up between nails.  No sheetrock was harmed during this project - the holes were already there.  Honest!
We'll open a new envelope each night - or maybe the first thing in the morning if (when) we forget (just keeping it real).  I hope we can remember and that the kids will get the feeling of giving through this Christmas season.