Category Archives: organization

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*

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!


A Prayer for Children

marian wright edelman prayer for childrenI’m posting this because I want to clear out clutter, which the scrap of paper on which this prayer for children is printed has become, yet I want to remember these words, these thoughts from Marian Wright Edelman, who included it in her book of prayers and meditations on (raising) children, Guide My Feet.

I copied this out of her book well over a decade ago, when my boys were quite young. Or perhaps it was back when I only had one boy. I think my intent was to read it each week on Shabbat, when we lit the Friday night candles.

Many of our traditions and habits fell aside during the years we lived with my parents and our Friday night candle lighting was one of them. We are getting back into the habit, though.

Dear God, I thank You for the gift of this child to raise, this life to share, this mind to help mold, this body to nurture and this spirit to enrich.

Let me never betray this child’s trust, dampen this child’s hope, or discourage this child’s dreams.

Help me dear God to help this precious child become all You mean him to be.

Let Your grace and love fall on him like gentle breezes and give him inner strength and peace and patience for the journey ahead.

Upon further reflection, I’ve decided that this wrinkled scrap of paper held together with tape isn’t clutter after all. Its message is timeless, and as the mother of a teen and tween who have learned well how to push my patience to its limit, I should read and reflect on these words at least once a week.

I’m sticking it up on the side of the fridge, just as it was posted in our previous house.

The Tax Nightmare is Over (I Hope)

tax timeWe moved in with my parents for a few months–back in 2008. And then we got stuck, until very recently. We’re now in a truly wonderful house, but staying with my parents for so long created a few problems, one of which was organization. Because I’m a hopeless optimist I have a very strong sense of denial, each month we lived with my p’s, I’d tell myself that in just another month or two we’d be back on our own. It was okay that I left this or that unfiled because soon enough I’d have a real office again.

I never got organized. I never put the right systems in place.

So when it was time to do my 2011 taxes, I was really scrambling. Most of my papers were here, but some were still at my parents. I was months behind in my bookkeeping.

But then I caught up.

Aaaaand then my computer crashed.

Needless to say, it was overdue for a backup.

So I had to enter months of financial data all over again.

Now everything is balanced, reconciled, and ready for the accountant.

I hope.

Business taxes are due March 15. You ready?


Ramekins- The Perfect Mother’s Day Gift

ramekins make a lovely mother's day giftI suggested to my dear husband that ramekins would be a lovely Mother’s Day gift. If I had ramekins, I could finally make, well, whatever it is one bakes up in them. I’d get daring and whip up creme brulee or…something. I can no recall what I longed to bake because he gave them to me for Mother’s Day back in 2005. And look! After I dug them out from a box, I finally removed them from their original packaging.

And I rediscovered my candy thermometer, too. I bought that when I was pregnant with my younger son back in 2000. I recall being at Target, I might have even made a special trip to the store to buy it because I had. To. Have. It. I could no longer live without a candy thermometer.

Yep, it’s still in its original packaging.

I guess it’s time to get cooking.


I Used to Be Anti-Pot

cast iron pan no teflonI used to be anti-pot, but now I’m reconsidering. I was all about my new cast iron pan to the exclusion of all other stove-top cooking vessels, except for the one pot that remained after our last move, a ginourmous beast of a thing that’s large enough to bathe a set of twins.

It worked for a few days. I made enough chicken soup for a small army, but the matzo balls were a challenge because I didn’t want to cook them directly in the soup. (Does anybody do that? Seems like the soup would get too starchy.)

I pulled my crockpot into action when I needed to boil a smaller amount of something, but I can foresee quite a bit of unnecessary kitchen gymnastics unless I get myself a proper pot.

Or two.

Or one small saucepan and something like a Le Creuset dutch oven?

I’m not sure which size or what brand (any recommendations?), I just need some pot(s).