The William Morris Post: 2014 | I KILLED IT

A couple of weeks ago I noticed a pimple on Mikey’s left cheek. He’s nine, so I was a little surprised. Pimples in 7th and 8th or maybe 6th grade I expect. Not so much in 4th grade. I told him to wash his face. The next morning I looked at it again and wondered if it was really a pimple. By the end of the day, I decided it was a spider bite.

The next morning I an appointment with the doctor since it didn’t seem any better. I was talking about it to some other moms at school and pointed it out. They thought it looked more like a mosquito bite, and then Mikey turned his head and said, “Well, I got more last night.” His ear was blistered with bites. One was really and truly blistered over. I kept my poker mom face on the outside. On the inside I was already imagining dousing his bed in gasoline and lighting a match. The doctor confirmed my suspicions. Five spider bites. FIVE. I wasn’t surprised after I gave it some thought.

A week prior, as I was getting into bed, I pulled back the sheets and saw an enormous spider on the Mister’s pillow. I briefly considered pulling him out of the shower to handle the situation while I called a real estate agent. During my internal debate, I lost track of the spider. (!!) I did what anyone would do in my situation. I tore apart the bedroom and moved all the furniture until I found the spider and snuffed out its life like a 17th century candle. My apologies to vegan and animal activists.

Whole House

This, on top of the ants. The first thing I do in the morning is roll over and put on my glasses. There were days where I would put on my glasses and see ants crawl across the lenses. Ants and spiders in this area aren’t unusual, especially when it gets hot. But this, this is unheard of. We are teeming with ants and spiders and even one cockroach. One, but it was large enough for me to think I had Gregor Samsa in my family room. Also, there is never just one cockroach.

I am really weird about kitchen cleanliness. I don’t like food laying around, don’t leave stuff on the counter, and eat in the dining room or family room since we use our bedrooms only for sleep. The Mister is even more particular about crumbs and, for the most part, the boys are pretty neat when it comes to food because we live in ant country. They know better. If you grew up in this area, you don’t leave food on the counter or dishes out overnight. It’s just not done by humans age 7 and up.

I’m trying to explain that I have no idea why we are suddenly having this ant and spider problem. A friend on Facebook suggested that one of our neighbors must have recently bombed their house for pests. Well, that sucks for my other neighbors because we are bombing the hell out of this house on Monday. In 14 years of marriage, we have never had to bomb or spray or do any sort of pest control. There’s a first time for everything. They’re even testing for bed bugs–OMG PLEASE NO. GROSS.

Small Pet Storage

Whole House, 5

Whole House, 6

Whole House, 7

We were told to remove all items like food and kitchen equipment stored waist high or lower and put it under a tarp on the dining room table. Pull all furniture away from the walls and make sure there is access to baseboards and corners. What a task! And on a Sunday! I freaked out about it from Friday on because, really? Who wants to do all that on the weekend. It’s like moving.

Well, we did it as a family and as much as it sucked, I knocked out so many projects. Gone are the little piles. The Mister got rid of two large trash bags of clothes. The boys finally cleaned out and organized their closet and toy cabinet. I purged the kitchen again, though there wasn’t much I got rid of. I bought two precision screwdrivers for my battery box and cleaned out all our goldfish supplies and replaced it with our hermit crab supplies. The counter tops are clear of paperwork and clutter. I created a donation pile. I feel really, really good.

Thanks, ants and spiders.

The William Morris Project: 2014 | Too Many Books

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The William Morris Project

I’m pretty pleased with this one, folks! Not that it’s revolutionary or anything. I admitted to myself that every project I do will adapt as we change as a family. When I put all the books in one room, Nico wasn’t much of a reader and Mikey was reading small series books. Now Nico has interests of his own and Mikey likes big books. I can’t blame him.

BABY GOT STACKS

Between Mikey’s many series and Nico’s developing interest in reading, books started to collect in every room of the house. The fact I continue to buy books is absolutely irrelevant to the issue at hand. (HAHAHAHAHAHAA!)

Side note: I started reading most of my books on my ipad because the Mister was ready to make me sleep outside with my books and a flashlight. I love to read at night, so much so that I can’t fall asleep unless I’ve read two hours before going to bed. This is a problem when two hours means after midnight. He bought me the ipad and begged me to read with the lights off. That was fine for a while, but over time it bothered my eyes and I started to miss the experience of owning books. I like the look of books everywhere. I like going to the bookstore and searching for the perfect book. Also, and this will sound odd, but I swear my taste for books has turned tawdry now that I know I don’t have to worry anyone at school will see my copy of Gay Wizards, Consulting Detectives and the Women Who Love Them: The Best of 2014.

Children's Books

I realized believing I could store all our books in one room was like that one time the Greeks told the Trojans, “It’s just a horse!”

So I bought two cheap bookcases from Target for the boys room and had Mikey and the Mister put it together. Both went into the room and we started the book purging process. It wasn’t easy with Mikey, who is a sentimental pack rat. Nico, not so much. If he saw the movie and read the book, he was okay tossing it. I took close to 50 books to the school on Monday and, I’m happy to say, a lot of them were checked out by the younger grades.

I’ll show the boys’ new bookcases another day, but for now here is what I have done so far with my new found four shelves of space.

Cookbooks, 2

Cookbooks

Cookbooks! I finally have a place for all my cookbooks! I used to keep them in the pantry in the kitchen, which was fine, but my motivation to use them was less than zero. To access them I had to get a step ladder and forget it. I forgot which books I owned and I ended up storing my most used books in a kitchen cabinet. Now I have them all on two shelves with nine ready to go to Goodwill. Yes, I purged my cookbooks while I was at it to make room for two cookbooks I bought last month. That means I’m seven cookbooks lighter, so at least I’m going in the right direction.

The Plants I Want

Blue Sofa

Mother’s Day is this weekend, and I told the Mister to buy me a plant instead of flowers. I think he would prefer the flowers since they’re so easy to do, but too bad! My day, folks. MY DAY.

I wrote about the plants I want over at Wayfair. As always, I appreciate the support for those of you who decide to visit me over there.

The William Morris Project: 2014 | Makeup Drawer Redo

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The William Morris Project

The last time I worked on my makeup drawer, it was a total redo. I was proud of how much I had purged at the time, but looking at the after now, I see I could have tossed in the trash another bag’s worth of makeup.

Makeup Drawer, 1

My makeup drawer last week may have had less makeup than the first time I cleaned it out, but it was back to being cluttered and messy. Loose powders and compacts are dusty monsters.

Makeup Drawer, 2

Makeup Drawer, 3

I took out everything in the drawer and put it in a purge pile. The obvious items went out first. I admit, there weren’t too many obvious items. I knew I would start rationalizing, so I went into the project with some notes on makeup expiration. If it had expired, I tossed it out–with the exception of a handful of eye shadows because while the beauty editors at Allure says they expire in 3 months, other sources said 12 months. I wear eye shadow, at most, a few times per year. I don’t want to toss out everything I have and then buy replacements that will sit in a drawer. For now, some eye shadows stay until I can figure out a workable solution.

Sticking to bright line rules whittled down my makeup by at least 50%. After that, it was as simple as washing out my makeup caddy and putting the makeup back in place.

Makeup Drawer, 4

Here’s the new and decluttered makeup drawer. I admit that I will probably add some mascara to the drawer–or nice eyeliner since I shouldn’t wear mascara.

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These are my notes in case you were wondering about the expiration dates. You can see them–sans scratch outs and misspellings–in the Allure link above.

Getting birds to eat

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The other day I bought two bird feeders, one for hummingbirds and one for song birds. I filled them up immediately, but so far they haven’t had any visitors. I thought with the warm winter we had there would be hummingbirds, but I did some research and it looks hormones determine their migration, not weather. California often has year round hummingbirds, but I can’t say I’ve ever paid much attention. This bird thing is all new to me! Thanks, Nico.

Songbirds we have, because I can hear them in the early morning. I’m not sure why they won’t eat from my feeder. I did buy good quality songbird food, so I’m not sure what’s up. Time for more research, I suppose.

The above picture is from a garden that caters to birds, insects, and other wild animals. The owners joke that it’s a free outdoor restaurant. I would love a garden like this! It’s pretty, not too fussy or formal, and colorful. If you’ve never looked at the garden photos on flickr, then you’re missing out. There are some seriously talented gardeners in the world.

I did a post about gardens for Wayfair this month–this one about must-have garden tools. I would love for your to check it out–or at the very least throw me a bone and click on the link. Hah!

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Hi! I’m Jules.

I used to be an attorney, but it made me grumpy. Now I write about life, sweet and savory, as a wife and mother to two small boys. My knowledge of dinosaurs knows no bounds.

You can read more, including the meaning behind the name Pancakes and French Fries here. And, yes, I really am phenomenally indecisive.