Monday, March 28, 2011

Laundry Room Nirvana: The Transformation, Part 2

Picking up where we left off...

The laundry room used to look like this:

(I told you it is a tiny room. Very tiny. No room for any extras or anything fancy. And what a mess! I should be ashamed. But I suppose I'm not. If a messy laundry room was the greatest of my worries, I'd be a lucky girl.)


It is early Tuesday morning. The Lowe's truck pulls into the driveway. I am about to jump out of my skin, I'm so excited! {Yes, I suppose this says a great deal about how little it takes to get me all worked up. The opportunity to wash loads and loads of laundry makes me happy? Really? You betcha!!! ; ) }

The Hubster goes outside to meet the delivery men and brings one inside to show him where they're going. (My laundry room is on the second floor of our home and they needed to be aware that they were going to be lugging those heavy machines up a flight of stairs.) Back outside they go to unload the truck and carry the machines into the house, when the guy looks at The Hubster and says "So you bought a used washer, huh?" Knowing a good joke when he hears one, The Hubster laughs and says "No, didn't buy a used washer!" Then, in all seriousness, the dude looks at him and asks "You didn't?"

That'll sure wipe a smile off your face in a hurry.

Sure enough, they had brought us a used machine. The only one of that model in the whole store, they said, so they were sure it had to be what we bought. It was in the clearance aisle, returned by some customer who: a. changed their mind ~ or~ b. couldn't pay for it ~or~ c. (come up with whatever reason you was returned!) It even came complete with splatters of liquid detergent on the top and sides. Wow.

Well, we ordered AND PAID FOR a NEW machine. Phone calls were made and it was discovered that while our dryer was delivered to the store the previous day, our washer wasn't due for delivery until the following day.

I could hear the groaning of the floorboards upstairs as Laundry Mountain grew some more.

I could also hear the weeping of the new dryer as he sat there, all alone, with nothing to dry. :(

Kind of pitiful, isn't it?

Now, remember how this Lowe's delivers to our area only on Tuesdays? Well, since it was their mistake and they really did feel badly about it, they said that the washer would arrive at the store on Wednesday afternoon and they would deliver it on Thursday.

YAY for good customer service!

YAY for not ticking me off! ; )

They also offered to set up the used washing machine so I could tackle Laundry Mountain but I was not about to make those guys lug that thing up the stairs and then back down again in two days. Laundry Mountain would wait. *groan*


Thursday came and so did my washing machine. The NEW one. : ) And here she sits in all her glory, awaiting the first load of many that will be delivered to her gleaming stainless steel drum with its low profile agitator. Isn't she beautiful? : )

It's extremely difficult for me to get a good pic of this room because of space limitations. When you reach the top of our steps, you must turn right (into the master bedroom) or left (into the hallway that leads to the other upstairs rooms) and if you turn left, the laundry room is immediately on your left. As I took these pics, my back was against the opposite wall of the hallway. There is just no way to get a great shot. :( But I suppose you get the idea. It's a brighter, cleaner, more streamlined look and I like it. I LOVE my new cabinets, too. Everything is out of sight.

And more good news? I was able to scale and conquer Laundry Mountain in an amazingly short period of time! A load of towels (which would have been a load and a half in our other machines) dried in 50 minutes. It would have taken at least an hour and a half in our old dryer. PLUS we've had no problems at all with the washer. In the reviews some folks complained of part of the clothes not getting wet and that because the spin cycle is so efficient and truly does cut drying time, they complained that their clothes were coming out of the dryer terribly wrinkled. Well, I've read the instructions thoroughly and I follow them, plus I shake out each piece of clothing as I take it from the washer. This eliminates that problem. : ) I am beyond thrilled with the efficiency of these machines! I know they're going to save us BIG money on our electric bill.

There may one day be a Part 3 to this story...if I'm ever able to find just exactly what I'm searching for when it comes to a hamper/sorter that will fit in this room, and some little finishing touches I'd like to add. I did some shopping at Home Goods and a couple of other places over the weekend but had no luck.

All in all, I'm extremely pleased with our little transformation. : ) It is a much brighter, cleaner looking room. And if I'm going to continue to spend as much time there as I have in the past...well, the brighter, the better! I need all the happy in there I can get! ; )

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Laundry Room Nirvana: The Transformation, Part 1

Nirvana: a place or state characterized by freedom from
or oblivion to pain, worry, and the external world
A happy place.

It all started when the washing machine died.
It was a slow and somewhat painful death. (Not painful for the washer...but for us. Have you priced those things lately?) The silly thing was only 4 years old. Our dryer, however, was 12 years old and we decided to replace them both. This allowed us to get a more energy efficient dryer, too. Ours was taking a very long time to dry a load.

And so, as Laundry Mountain continued to grow, the shopping began. Online, in person, you name it. We took in as much information as we could stand and read reviews until our eyes crossed. We discovered that while the outside dimensions of washers have remained pretty much the same, dryers have grown a bit. Not a problem for most, but the extra 1 1/2" that the new dryer would stick out from the back wall would mean that we would be unable to swing open the laundry room door.

Yeah. How's that for a pain in the patoot?

Since we weren't terribly surprised by this turn of events (because nothing is ever simple around here!) we opted to remove the trim, grab a hacksaw, cut out the door frame and turn the entire thing around so it would swing out into the hallway instead. Now the doggone dryer will fit! : ) And then we brought the shopping madness to an end by making the somewhat unorthodox choice to purchase a Maytag washing machine and a Whirlpool dryer.

Peculiar, I know, but according to our research these were our best possibilities for achieving true Laundry Room Nirvana (hereafter referred to as LRN.) I spend a LOT of time in the laundry room. It isn't asking too much to make it a pleasant experience. Right?

***Still, Laundry Mountain continued to grow.***

Now the next part of the story. Since we were replacing both appliances and the room would be temporarily emptied, I wanted to scrub and paint. Goodness only knows it needed it.

1 teeny, tiny room with white walls + a washer + a dryer + app. 20 loads/week = A DREARY MESS OF A LAUNDRY ROOM

But that's not really the end of it. (You knew that already...right?) I had decided long ago that the vinyl coated wire shelving we had installed in all the closets and the pantry when we built the house were not shining examples of our best judgment.

Actually, I've learned to despise the stuff.

Therefore the next step to achieving LRN was to be rid of the shelf over the washer and dryer. I wanted a couple of cabinets instead. : )

Now...too much to ask? Hmmmmm.......nah! ; )

The Hubster agreed and off to Lowe's (the one about an hour south of us) we went. (Here is where the story gets a little more...ummm...complicated? Yes, that's the word. Complicated. UGH.)

Got to Lowe's, ordered the washer and dryer, got the paint mixed (It's called 'sunglow'....ahhhhh! A sweet, happy yellow!) and went to the storage department to get the cabinets I had chosen.

*Where'd they go??? *

That Lowe's doesn't carry those cabinets! Sorry. Try the Nitro store.

We drove to Nitro. Not only did they not have the cabinets in stock, NO ONE EVEN WANTED TO WAIT ON US. Our first ever negative Lowe's experience. :( The dude who finally did decide he'd honor us with his time flat out lied and said "Uhhh, I think they're discontinuing those anyway. We won't be getting any more of them."

The dude was seriously endangering my LRN. I was not happy.

***And Laundry Mountain continued to grow.***

We came home. The Hubster had to empty the laundry room of everything while he had our son-in-law here to help with the heavy lifting and I had to run the kids all over creation for a 4H meeting and a birthday party. Then I jumped in the car and ran to a Lowe's store an hour north of us to pick up the cabinets. (AFTER we called ahead to make sure they had them and that they were holding them for us. Whew!) Drove home again and started the prep work for painting. The washer and dryer were to be delivered on Tuesday and that left me one day to get 'er done. EGAD!!!

Spent Monday taping and painting. Walls AND ceiling needed it.

Did I ever mention how much I detest painting ceilings? I do. Really, really do.

Then the Hubster got home from work and we hung the cabinets and installed the doors. I know that to some of you that sounds like a nightmare on earth, but we actually work pretty well together. : ) We both enjoy those kinds of projects and it went pretty smoothly, I might add.

And so........

Voila!!! We were READY!!! The delivery was scheduled for 8:30ish the next morning and then...THEN I could scale Laundry Mountain, replenishing my family's supply of clean clothes and conquering my fear of heights all in one fell swoop! YAY!!!

And that, my dears, is Part 1 of this story. Part 2, with yet another crazy twist that shouldn't have but did stun me just a little, will be posted soon. And there will be pictures! ; )

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

And the BAD BLOGGER AWARD goes to....

ME!!! : )

Sorry folks, but I've just not been able to keep up with everything lately. Too much going on around here. We've undertaken a minor (well, sort of minor...) renovation here at the house. I'll be posting before and after pics sometime in the next couple of weeks, so you'll see if we managed to pull it off. ; ) Softball season has kicked off and Perri has practice every single day after school, sometimes immediately after and sometimes she has time to come home, eat dinner and then go back for it. I am still doing my best to get to the gym 3 times a week, though it's getting harder and harder to find the time. Plus that grandson of mine is probably going to make an appearance sooner rather than later! : ) Brie's official due date isn't until April 25th, but we think they might have that date all wrong. According to ultrasounds she's had done, he is running out of room in there and she is pretty miserable already. Her fluid level is low and they have her resting on her left side and drinking lots of water.

Anyway, that's what's happening in the Land of Kelli. I'll be here when I can to keep you posted on the baby, the project and all the minor details that keep life interesting. ; )

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wacky Wednesday

What a day this has been so far!

First thing this morning, the kids' bus broke down. AGAIN. This is not unusual. You see, this is a substitute bus for a substitute bus for a substitute bus because their original bus kept breaking down.

Got that?


Then I found out the strawberries we sold for the school band (they were supposed to be here at 10:00 a.m. for pick-up) ended up being delayed. THIS after I have rearranged my entire day to run 50 miles south to make deliveries, return home and then drive 50 miles north to make deliveries. Now they're supposed to be available around 1:00 p.m.

That doesn't help me out a whole lot.

Next, our power went off. I jumped in the shower thinking it would be off for only a few minutes because they've been working on the lines near our house and I figured they were making some sort of connection and then restoring our power.

It was off for a couple of hours. So my wet hair ended up going into a baseball cap and there it shall spend the rest of the day.

In the last fourteen hours I have contacted people to let them know I'd be delivering their berries by a certain time; re-contacted the same folks to let them know I wouldn't be delivering their berries at that time, but later...much, much later; twice rescheduled my entire day to accommodate delivering those berries; made arrangements for my kids to be picked up from school and shuttled to ball practice at the appropriate time; lost power and was unable to do two loads of laundry that really, really needed to be done; took a shower in the dark; and scrubbed two bathrooms out of sheer frustration.

But the day is gradually improving! The power has been restored, the laundry is going, it's pouring the rain and my hair is better off under a ball cap, PLUS I have two sparkly bathrooms. : )

And let it be known... tell ALL your friends... I will be posting a fantastic white lasagna recipe over in Kelli's Kitchen SOON! I made it for dinner last night and it was a HUGE hit with EVERYONE!!! Even my pickiest eaters gave it a two thumbs-up! : )

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Yes, 27. It's a pretty decent number, don't you think?

A BIG number if you're talking...oh, say BMI.

A small number if you're talking...IQ.

And when you're talking about the age of your firstborn....
well, let's just say the number 27 can make you feel really, really OLD.

He's grown from this:
(Pictured here with his sister, Brie on her 4th birthday.
He would have been 6 1/2 years old.
This has always been one of my favorite pics of the two of them. : ) )

To this:

And it happened WAY TOO QUICKLY!

I would post a baby pic of him (he had the most GORGEOUS black curls bobbin' around all over his little head! And long, thick eyelashes that any girl would beg to have!) but I'm
having an issue with my scanner at the moment.

Anyway, I'll just say this for now:


You were my very first true love, Drewpy.
I am proud of the man you have become
but in my eyes and in my mind,
you will always be my little boy.
Love you much, forever and always.

Friday, March 4, 2011

National Pound Cake Day

Who'd a thunk it? March 4 is National Pound Cake Day.

And me without a pound cake.

Guess I'll have to remedy that by baking my absolute FAVORITE pound cake today! And of course I'm going to share the recipe with you. Just take a peek here.

Just for fun, here are a few cool and yummy ideas to help make that pound cake even more special. (As if it needs any help. It's SO great just as it is! But some of these look just too tempting! Check out those pound cake pops...and the pound cake s'mores!)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Capital Issue

According to

capital (cap·i·tal) : larger or more prominent; it may also suggest preeminence or excellence


blog (blawg; blog) :
online journal where an individual... presents a record of activities, thoughts, or beliefs.

This concludes today's vocabulary lesson.

Now, moving on to why you've just
had a vocabulary lesson today. (Trust me, there's a point to this...somewhere.)

I was typing out my Facebook status this morning when I came to a few words that all the rules* say I must capitalize, and yet my fingers did
not want to cooperate. At all. I literally had to pause and then very deliberately depress the shift key with one index finger and the desired letter with the other. It was draining. But you see, lately I'm having trouble capitalizing lots of things. And to think it all began with a joke...of sorts. Allow me to explain.

You all know I'm a HUGE Yankees fan. LOVE MY YANKS!!! : ) And anyone who knows anything about baseball knows all about the HUGE rivalry between the Yankees and the Boston red sox.
(Aha! There's a hint as to where this is all going...) So one day I'm typing a reply to a friend (who happens to be a sox fan) on Facebook when my finger missed the shift key and I failed to capitalize the 'r' in red. I immediately began back spacing to correct it when it hit me: IT DOESN'T DESERVE TO BE CAPITALIZED!

(Yes, I really do think this way. Sad, isn't it?)

And so began my capital issue. I simply refuse to capitalize words, titles or phrases that I feel are undeserving of that
suggestion of preeminence or excellence. So there you have it.

I don't want you to worry. I promise to never take this power of non-capitalization for granted and I won't throw it around unnecessarily. ; )


What's that? You want to know what was in my Facebook status that got me so worked up about all this? Well let me tell ya.

westboro baptist cult.

Long story short (sort of): Our local news reported that an anti-bullying bill was making progress and had been extended to include the bus stop and cyber bullying as well. (I think this is great! We need to protect our kids however we can and stricter punishments are needed.) But that was immediately followed up by the story of our Supreme Court (that was tough to capitalize this just now...) ruled that westboro baptist cult is protected by the right to free speech. The irony of those two stories running back to back hit me pretty hard. How are the two situations all that different? wbc is just a group of bullies spouting hatred at the most painful time possible. It seems to me that it's a all pretty contradictory. And I can see what the future holds: a school-aged bully gets caught and reprimanded, then sues the
powers that be for violating his right to free speech. And our Supreme Court? They'd obviously back him up on that.

Sad. :(

So I've said all that to say this: If you see a word in my blog that should be capitalized but isn't, it's probably just an expression of personal opinion. After all, that's one of the reasons I have a blog. ; )

*Regarding rules: I don't proclaim to be perfect and I'm sure there is rarely a post on this blog that does not contain grammatical errors, poor punctuation and even misspellings. I try to edit and proofread, correcting what I find and hoping I'm not missing too many. I truly am a stickler for the rules I learned in school even though many of those rules appear to be ignored in this day and age. But I also want to come across as a friend with whom you're having a conversation. I want to sound natural and not pretentious, therefore I also tend to write the way I would speak even when it is not grammatically correct. I mean really, how many of us worry about that sort of thing during casual conversation? I appreciate the rules of grammar and punctuation but I don't allow them to...well, totally rule my life. ; )

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Farewell, lazy days of winter!

Hello spring sports season!

Perri's middle school softball tryouts are this week, with practices after school each day. Tucker's Little League practices will begin sometime in the next couple of weeks. Those of you with athletic kids know what that means...

1.) Lots more laundry.
2.) Much more running to and from various fields for practices and games.
3.) Homework being done in the car.
4.) Insanity at dinner time.

#4 is the only one I can possibly change and it takes much planning and self-discipline to make it work. If you are a sports mom, here are a few of my best tips to help you make life run a little more smoothly:

*Plan ahead. Sit down on the weekend and make a list of meals for the coming week. Make sure you have all the ingredients you'll need and anything you can prepare ahead of time, get 'er done. Tacos one night? Brown and crumble your ground beef and add the seasoning. Store it in a lidded container or a Ziploc bag and just heat it up when needed. Planning to bake cornbread or biscuits one evening? Measure out your dry ingredients and put them in a Ziploc, too. It simplifies and minimizes prep time, making a home cooked meal more doable on a busy evening. A couple of hours on a Saturday or Sunday can make your entire week much less hectic and keep you from hitting the drive-through, saving both your pocketbook and your health.

*If you don't own an insulated casserole carrier, buy one. I have one similar to this:
It's a tad larger than a 13"x 9" and I can't tell you how handy this thing really is! When I'm picking up the kids from school, heading straight to the fields and don't want drive-through fast food, I make my own fast food. I will grill burgers, stick them in the insulated carrier, grab a bag of buns and my cooler of burger toppings, a tossed salad and dressing, and we have fun tailgating at the ball field. You can do the same with hot dogs and pack a Thermos with hot dog chili. The carrier is also great for one dish meals like lasagna, spaghetti and meatballs, cheesy ham and potato bake, etc. It's a great way to still feed your family a good home cooked meal even when you can't be at home.

*Invest in a large cooler. I don't take chances when it comes to food poisoning. I insist that cold things be kept VERY cold and let's face it...once you get enough ice in the cooler, there isn't much space left for food and drinks. We bought a very large cooler with wheels and a telescoping handle just for this reason. I can carry plenty of water bottles, a bowl of salad, bottles of dressing, lunch meats and cheeses, sandwich condiments, and whatever else I might need. It sure beats buying greasy corndogs at the concession stand. ; )

*A small plastic tote that lives in your vehicle is a great investment, too. When filling it, include: packaged crackers, sunflower seeds, fruit leather, anything your kids like to eat for snacks; paper plates, styrofoam bowls, a package of plastic forks, plastic spoons, napkins and baby wipes; anything you think you're likely to need according to your family's eating habits. {Just FYI: I'm doing my best to become more environmentally conscious and all that trash is getting to me. This year I'll be packing reusable plastic plates, bowls and silverware, along with a large Ziploc to drop it all in when we're done. They can be washed when we get home and reused.}

If you have any great tips for this time of year, please feel free to share them here in comments! I'm always up for suggestions to save time and money, plus things that make it easier for my family to share meal times. : )