April 22, 2008

As a stay at home Mom I've come to terms with the lack of mentally stimulating conversation, the routine tasks, and those days you just seem to barely make it through. (If you're a Mom - you know what I mean.) Not that staying at home is not enjoyable. I love it. I wouldn't have it any other way. But if you're a stay at homer you know how important a night out can be.
So, as a solution, in March I invited a large group of friends over to my house. (10 to be exact.) Not that I really have the room. I planned a simple craft and some treats. They were all so excited - I mean - REALLY excited. It wasn't hard to plan. I enjoyed every minute of it. My friends all arrived and we had a blast. It wasn't meant to take too much time (an hour or so) but three hours later when people were leaving and I looked at the clock I laughed. Had we really spent that much time talking and making marble magnets? I checked another clock just to make sure. We had
So - this has officially become a monthly event. It's so much fun to plan and organize and I'm grateful that my friends are so enthusiastic about it. We had a recipe exchange in April and planned our next 3 activities. I can't wait. Which reminds me - I need to get the invites together.
The best part is that my husband is more than willing to watch our son. He's the greatest Husband and Dad! Not that it's really hard on him, he gets together with the other husbands and all the kids play while they play the Wii!

April 8, 2008

You know, a lot of my friends have blogs. I've mentioned that before. Between checking out their blogs every so often and searching for craft/home improvement ideas I have seen a lot of blogs. I enjoy them. The updates, the pictures, the ideas, and most of all the humour. But I do have a new pet peeve. Playlists.
Do you have one? Do you realize how annoying it is? First off, I'm unexpectedly blasted away by music. Sometimes it's good music, but even then, I may not be in the mood for it. Most of the time I want to turn it off. (Especially if I don't want my son waking up or getting too interested in my notebook.) So right away I look for the source of the music. I hate scrolling down the side to search for it only to find the person has chosen to put it on the bottom. Argh. Why isn't there a standard location? It's reminds me of those times when I'm driving peacefully along the road and get cut off by an idiot driver. I get a little anger when I can't find that playlist. (So do I get Blog Rage?)
Worse yet is when I leave the page and then when I come back, I have to go through the process all over again. (I cringe as I press that back button.) Is it too much to ask for a mute button at the top of the blog? I mean, really.
So to all of you out there thinking about adding a playlist to your Blog - Please think twice. Oh and choose your music carefully. It says a lot about you.
Update: Some people have suggested I just mute the sound on my computer instead of scrolling down. That works until I forget to turn the volume back up and I'm trying to watch a video they've posted and have to turn it back on. Ha! I guess you just can't win.

April 5, 2008

We are painting the house. It's not a new decision - it's actually one several months in the making. My husband has been so wonderfully patient with me as I decided paint colors for each room, changed my mind on almost each of the decisions several times, and decided many other renovations would be necessary in the process. Back to the main topic though. The hardest decision by far was what brand of paint to go with. I'm the typical craigslister. I bargain shop as much as possible. So you might be shocked and appalled when I say we are using Benjamin Moore paint. Oh and not just their regular priced paint. We went with Aura! Gasp.
Every time I go in to buy a new color I still cough and take in a deep breath when the clerk tells me the price. But after all my research and all my experience, I have to say I know I'm making a good choice.
Here's my list of the benefits of Aura paint:
  1. ONE COAT. Here's the story of my Master Bathroom. I made the mistake of choosing a beautiful but way too dark color (AF-720, Sparrow). It was so pretty and so dark in such a small area. But over the original cream color it was perfect in one coat. Despite how quickly the room was painted (3 hours) I had to change the color. It was way too dark! This scared me as now I would be putting a lighter color over a dark one. This time I went with Cape May Cobblestone (1474). As I began painting over the dark color I was trying to go quickly. After about half an hour I stood back for a break and surveyed the wall to my right. It was drying already and I was shocked - none of the dark color was showing through. 2.5 hours later I was done. There are two spots I have to go back and touch up (fist size) where there is a little dark showing through, but that is all. Once again it only took one coat.
    Now I must say as a side note that painting white over the dark color did not completely cover in one coat. (Touch ups on the ceiling as I haven't learned to paint like a pro.) I'll let you know soon if two does it.
  2. LOW VOC. There were some fumes while I painted. It is a bathroom with no window. I kept the fan running. But compared to other paints I have used it was nothing. After the paint dried (3-4 hours tops) I could barely smell the paint anymore. The next day you'd never know we had painted. (Benjamin Moore does have a NO VOC paint.)
  3. FAST DRYING TIME. This is such a fast drying paint. Perhaps it's because it only needs one coat, but compared to other paint jobs this was speedy.
  4. EASE OF USE. I wasn't sure how to describe this but I think that's the best way. The paint is thick and as such drips and spills less than other paints. Honestly - I did the walls and ceiling and got one paint smudge on my arm but nothing on my clothes, hair, or anywhere else! That's saying a lot for me - last time I painted I had paint all over me for weeks.
  5. LOOK AND FEEL. I know this might seem weird but it's true. The Aura paint has a way different look and feel then the rest of the paint around the house. It's smoother, richer looking and feels softer. OK so paint feeling softer is crazy but it's true.
  6. OVERALL TIME. Aura takes one coat and it dries faster so what does that mean? Less time with a room out of service! Need I say more?
  7. THE REAL COST. So to start out I must explain that I did a true comparison test. I went to Benjamin Moore and bought a small sample of the Aura paint. Then I headed over to Home Depot and bought a sample of Behr (also has good ratings and I've used it on other occasions) in the closest color match and eggshell too. I came home and rolled a patch (1 coat) of the Aura on. Then I did the same thing with Behr (again 1 coat). I cleaned up and walked away. Several hours later I returned to the room and checked out the results. The Aura sample was perfect and needed no touch-up but the Behr sample did. But I couldn't quit there. If Behr would take two coats it still might make more sense to use Behr. So I painted over it again, cleaned up and came back. Boy was I ever disappointed to realize that the cheaper paint was going to need a full third coat to get even close to the same coverage as Aura's one coat. (I even have pictures to prove it.)
Aura costs just over twice as much as Behr.
Behr takes 2 coats more than Aura.
(That means painting 2 extra times and waiting for the paint to dry 2 extra times.)
Choosing the Aura brand over Behr is not really more expensive. While you pay more per gallon you will be using less paint (depending on the color, less then half the amount) and spending less time painting.
So - with cost justification and all the other benefits of Aura it wasn't a tough decision.
I know! It's completely enthralling. Alright, some of you may be wondering why I would spend so much time blogging about paint. You do not know me well. If it has to do with Interior Design I'll be at it for hours.
I hope that my experience will be beneficial to those of you trying to decide what paint brand to use. I'll try to post before and after pictures soon. Now, if only I could solve the color dilemma. HA HA HA. Benjamin Moore sells their color fans for $20! You might want to do what I did and pick one up. Enjoy!

April 3, 2008

So I've heard about it, but honestly wasn't sure if I believed it. I mean, really, who believes the government would just give you money? But - apparently it's for real! It's called the Economic Stimulus Payment and if you have filed your taxes this year then sometime in May the government will be giving you money. You can find out more about it (and even figure out how much you'll be getting) at the IRS website.

As an important note: beware of anyone calling claiming to be from the IRS or emailing you. You can learn more about the scams and what to do about them here:

Having just learned about this myself, I have no idea what we're going to do with the fun money. But I have decided that it will be used for fun!