Monday, March 26, 2012

The Five Stages of iPhone Grief

1. Denial: I very calmly took my phone out of the sink, removed it from the case, dried it off, and set it on the bookshelves in the hallway. After the girls were done in the bath, I turned on the phone. The screen lit up for a few seconds, then went dark before I was done powering it off. The screen hasn't worked since, but it still could, right? Maybe if I leave it in the silica long enough?

2. Bargaining: If only my phone will work again, I'll never set it on the edge of another sink. I'll never even take it in the bathroom again. I'll buy a waterproof case. I'll drink a green smoothie every day. I'll keep my eyebrows groomed. I'll play board games with the girls whenever they ask. I'll read a book every week. I'll stop drinking so much wine. I'll exercise. Are you even listening, God?

3. Anger: Why did this happen to me? I'm usually careful with my electronics. My other cell phones have all lasted forever. Why did this one fall in the sink? And why now? It's not fair! How could I be so irresponsible? Everybody knows that electronics and water don't mix. And why is our stupid faucet leaking anyway? I should have noticed the faucet was leaking and set my phone somewhere else. I should have noticed my phone fell in the sink and removed it immediately. I should have had the faucet fixed. It's all my fault.

4. Depression: How will I communicate with people without my iPhone? Sure, I can call them with my flip phone, but what about Facebook? I don't have time to always go to the computer to check it. And I can barely text with this old numeric keyboard! What about Draw Something and Words With Friends? I need a smartphone to play those. Even worse, Instagram, which is only available for iPhone. How am I supposed to post pictures? Probably nobody will even know I exist in three weeks!

5. Acceptance: It's not so bad. I am lucky we had this old flip phone laying around. Now I can't waste time on my phone, so that's a good thing. I'll probably sleep better. And read more books. I already had an iPod, and I can do most of the other things on my iPad. It's no big deal. Plus, I can cancel my data plan and save money. Really, it's like I did myself a favor. I should have dropped it in the sink ages ago.

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Green Room

There is an enclosed porch off our kitchen, and when we first moved into our house we kept it closed off from the rest of the house. It was the middle of winter, so it was very cold in there and it became known as "the cold room." There is another small, kind of triangular room off of the porch, which became known as "the weird cold room" due to its irregular shape. 

Of course, as winter turned to spring, and spring turned to summer, the rooms got hotter and hotter. But still, they were the cold rooms. They are both oddly shaped, small, and windowed on all four walls, so we weren't exactly sure what to do with them. We tried using the main room as a mudroom, but that didn't work, because we always use the front door, and you enter this porch through the back door. I tried to use it as my sewing area, but that didn't work, because the space was too awkward to use efficiently and always full of the random items kids tend to drop near entrances and exits. 

So, it sat. And as any unused room will, it slowly became a junk room. I took pictures of it before I put everything away, but I lost them somehow. So you only get to see the clean befores. Which is probably really for the best. But take my word for it: it was bad. 

Something had to be done. I sorted and cleaned and organized and donated. And the room looked better. But still, it wasn't inviting. And I knew it would fill up again, because that is the nature of unused rooms.

So I took the initiative, and filled it with plants. 

And painted it green. I used Ellen Kennon's Peridot, which is absolutely luscious.

I also finally, finally finished the craft area I planned to set up for the girls for Christmas (but it's tiny, and really hard to photograph).

So now we can sit back there while they sit back there, which means they will sit back there more often. I can see our entire backyard from there too, so no more hot afternoons spent sitting in a plastic chair baking in the sun while the girls play outside.

One day I may even do something about that floor.

Ellen Kennon also wrote about my porch on her blog. She talks about the reasons for going green in rooms like this, and a little about how we chose the color. People are sometimes surprised to learn that I use a color consultant, and think it means she just tells me what color to paint everything! Maybe some are like that, but Ellen is great about considering what I like, and often gives open ended advice. In this case, she said to pick any green from her Nature's Palette. I loved the idea of green, and there were a lot to choose from. I think any of them would have been beautiful in this room, so I just picked my favorite one!

I did a Flickr set with all the befores and afters if you'd like to check them out here: Porch

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Forbidden Fruit

There is something so magical about the Waldorf ideal. Open ended toys made from natural materials, rhythms and routines, delayed academics, wholesome foods, and children who are never exposed to electronic entertainment. It's charming, and timeless, and almost nothing like what goes on in our house.

Oh yes, we've got wooden toys, we rotate books and aren't doing much academic work with my 6.5 year old. We eat well, mostly. I did stock up in Annie's gluten free mac and cheese at Target last week though. Did I mention the girls were there with me? Well, not with me, exactly, they were with Brad. In the toy aisle.

I can say we don't do television at all (actually, that's not entirely true; Lissie has watched Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Twice.), but I must admit to occasionally letting the girls play a game on my phone or on the iPad. But that's okay, right? Because they are always educational. Oops. So much for delayed academics!

And we try, we try so hard to keep licensed characters out of the house. So how is it that my two year old knows the names of every single Disney Princess?

And Dora.

How do we own a Dora coloring book?

But at least she was coloring in it with beeswax block crayons. That must count for something, right?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Terrarium Time

Update: My Polka Dot plants were dead within days and the stench was unbearable, so we dismantled the terrarium. Actually, I did it. Lissie wouldn't even come into the kitchen. I am planning to try again, once I find charcoal. And tiny ferns.

I'm not really a houseplant person. I like them, I buy them, and then all but the heartiest die within a few months. I wouldn't say I have a black thumb, exactly.* It's more like a lazy thumb. But lately, I keep seeing terrariums, and I think I love them. They are supposed to be low maintenance, so I thought setting one up would be a fun project as we ease into spring.

There are no doubt a zillion better tutorials experiments out there than mine, but here you go anyway. This is what we did, and our plants survived the first night, so I'm feeling pretty good about it.

First, you need a glass container. I had this crooked cake stand a friend gave me. She thought it might be good for a Halloween party. And it would, but we haven't had a Halloween party yet and it's been sitting in the cupboard (the one we never go into, because of the mouse poop, but then one of the cats got stuck under the lazy Susan, and I saw the cake stand in there) for so long I wouldn't even have remembered to use it if we'd had a Halloween party last year.

Don't forget to wash your container really well to remove any mouse poop germs (you can skip this step if you don't have mice).

You also need small stones, soil, and moss. I added a clear drainage plate to hold everything in place because the base of the cake stand is flat. Some people recommend activated charcoal** too, but I am not exactly sure why. I read that it prevents odors, but I guess the lid should probably keep them in?*** I suppose if it starts to smell bad, I'll add some charcoal. Or just never open the lid.****

Start with a layer of stones.

Cover them with moss. This step may be optional, but the moss keeps the soil from migrating down into the stones so it won't get soggy. It seems like a good idea.

Cover the moss with soil.

Then you add plants. I didn't get a good picture of mine before they were planted, but obviously, you need plants that like high humidity and will fit inside your container. I used baby's tears (also called angel's tears), polka dot,***** and some kind of ivy. I bought the smallest plants I could find, and I did have to check a few different places to find tiny plants. I really wanted a fern, but I couldn't find any that would fit. I may add one later though.

You can sometimes separate the plants too. My polka dot container had four plants, but the roots were really tangled, so it looks like two plants. There were three ivies, but only two fit in the cake stand. It will be interesting to see how those two do vs. the one we planted in a pot.

It took some fiddling to get the plants where I liked them. Once I was done, we made sure the roots were covered with soil, and covered the soil with moss. I don't know whether that's necessary, but I think it looks nicer.

Then you add water****** and put on the lid. It only needs to be watered every few weeks (perfect for those of us with lazy thumbs), and if too much condensation builds up inside, the lid should be removed for a little while--which I guess is where the charcoal comes in handy.******* Dang.

*This is debatable.
**Definitely get the charcoal.
***It doesn't.
****Sometimes, you have to open the lid.
*****RIP Polka dot plants, we barely knew you.
******A tiny bit of water. Far less than you think you need.
*******Finally, I was right about something in this post.