Category Archives: family

Garage Sale, Day 1

Today is the first day of our garage sale, so I’m keeping it simple on the blog. Earlier this week, the boys and I conjured up a great bit of summer fun with duct tape, a contractor trash bag and water.

Take a look at the Water Blob we made and let me know if you try this yourself. It was hours of fun using inexpensive materials we already had around the house. The fun was extended by the boys hovering over the computer creating mash-ups with the video segments I’d filmed. Best deal of the summer so far.

Stop by the garage sale if you’re a local. You’ll get the blog reader discount!

It’s summertime and the living is messy

School’s out, camp hasn’t started and the plumbing job I thought was going to last for two days took five. To be fair, I must have missed a part of the conversation. After all, we’re talking complete pipe replacement. Every bit of the old galvanized pipes are gone, replaced with copper or PVC. So it’s hectic and messy here at Casa de Reno.

And my boys haven’t been a great help. Between outdoor water fights and quick changes into swimsuits so they can head to the pool, I seem to be finding random pairs of underwear all over the house.

I mean, my bathroom is fair game considering that they are using our shower until theirs is in service, but why did I find a pair in my husband’s office?  On the porch? The living room?

These kids act like they’re being raised in a barn. *sigh*

S’mores, FTW!

ingredients for smores, marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolateSo neither the s’more room nor the snore room plans were executed as we initially hoped, but we’re still living the dream. At the moment the dream feels a bit nightmarish given that we’re down two bathrooms, my living room looks like a warehouse for a plumbing supply outlet, there is dust everywhere and our wood floors are a mess. This is why we’re going low-key with our weekend entertaining.

By low-key, I mean not more than a few hours of advance planning and crossing my fingers that we keep the party, S’more Fest, outside. And also crossing my legs that no one has to use the bathroom during our short fete.

We bought a $5 metal fire pit at a garage sale last summer. I scraped off the rust, sprayed on new paint, and we were good to go.

The old girl, er grill, is still doing the job and we’re using remains of the bushes we chopped down last year for the fire, so if you discount the boatload of carbon emissions we’ll be releasing, it’ll be kind of a green party.

Anyhoo, given that last night’s practice mini-s’mores fest involving just five neighborhood boys resulted in the use of nearly an entire bag of marshmallows, I’m not sure how many bags I need to pick up for tonight.

(Especially because I’m not exactly sure who’s coming–see paragraph 2.)

(If you happen to read this before 8:00 on Saturday and you’re local, stop over!)

On a related note, I’m thinking of re-upping at Weight Watchers after a few months away. Apparently my dietary self-control is limited unless I’m paying someone to hold me accountable. *sigh*

This is not a sponsored post or party (see note about running to the store), but FYI, Hershey’s is giving away cool prizes like fire pits that are much nicer than the one we’ll be using tonight. Check out the Hershey’s Facebook page for deets and promise to invite me over if you win. In exchange I’ll teach you my special golden double-roasted marshmallow technique.

Big Week of Bloggy Fun Ahead

bob the builder or Hitler youth tattoo?

I thought a Bob the Builder tat would be a fun way to mark my blogaversary, but it looks more like Bob the Hitler Youth Guard. Crud.

Like my friend Tracey, I missed my blogaversary. I started Reluctant Renovator just over a year ago, a few nervous weeks before we closed on our house. What a year it’s been! But honestly, I don’t have time for a starry-eyed link-filled year in review post. I’m coming off of nearly two straight weeks of end of year performances, parties and events at night, work deadlines, not to mention a week-long biz trip for the hubs and a couple of local trade shows for me. The next couple of weeks bring a certain child’s 8th grade graduation(!), end of school for two kids, a synagogue retreat, a TV appearance for me(!), more work projects and a chance to be a fly on the wall citizen journalist at the upcoming Clinton Global Initiative meeting.

And let’s not forget a garage sale I very much hope will  take place on June 9– just in time to keep the growing pile of cast-offs from taking over our basement.

{deep, cleansing breath}

Anyway, about that blogaversary. It’s time to par-tay.

Virtually, of course. Hop on the happy train by taking a moment to de-lurk and reassure me that someone (something?) other than spambots frequent this blog.

The fun will continue this week with photos of me in a bathing suit (rawr) and chance for you to win a fab suit for your fine self. I’ll also be hosting other giveaways through the end of the month, so stay tuned!

 

Happy Mother’s Day!

As a long-time mom, I decided to commemorate this Mother’s Day with a video of things I never expected to say as a parent, including those things (groan) my mom said to me that I swore I would not ever say to my kids. It’s in my DNA, people. I just can’t help myself.

 

I’m thrilled to be hosting a family gathering with my husband’s family–including his 90-something year-old grandmother (a neatnik who I hope will not have a heart or bladder attack when she goes to use the bathroom and sees it’s completely gutted), his parents, his sister’s family, my parents and my brother’s family.

And, no, that was not a sarcastic “thrilled.” It’s so wonderful to have a home and be able to share our food, our space, and our love.

It’s also nice to host a family gathering without worrying about someone storming out, making a fuss or causing a food fight. Well, we do have a rambunctious lot of kids ages 6-14, but hopefully they’ll be using their manners.

We’ll be serving salad with lettuce straight from our garden, my classic cucumber-tomato extravaganza,  guacamole, a lemon-cucumber-dill salad, a black-bean-roasted corn-avocado deal, lot of chips, grilled hot dogs, chicken sausages and chicken breast.

If the morning’s mild, sunny weather holds, we’ll be in for a great day.

However you celebrate, happy mother’s day!

Chambana Bound!

I’m going to be a temporary Chambana Mom. The boys and I are heading to the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana for the State Science Olympiad Competition. The boys have been working and learning about their events since last fall and I’m coaching an event myself (food science, FTW!). Cumulatively, we’ve learned about food molecules, food poisoning, aquifers, CSI-type crime solving, testing for proteins, building small scale vehicles, technical writing and more. Will this weekend be the culmination of our hard work or the gateway to another month of prep for the national event? The competition is stiff and only the top two teams move to the next level.

Unfortunately, with the exception of a handful of events like bottle rockets and the one where they show off their trebuchet skillz, it’s not the most exciting competition to witness. There’s a lot of simply escorting kids around campus to take event tests and then waiting for the results. But there are usually enough witty t-shirts to rival a Think Geek catalog. And it’s generally a good time. Plus the team get’s a hero’s send off at school.

Let’s hear it for the science geeks!

DH is sitting this one out so he can stay home and slide down the banister in his new undies care for his garden (possibly also in the aforementioned undies). He likens his seedlings to young children who don’t talk back to him. No wonder he finds gardening so enjoyable.

Have a great weekend whatever your plans!