Five Things

Hello! Happy Friday!

It’s been a long, busy week. First, I’m helping with our school auction this weekend. I’m helping organize games, and it’s getting down to crunch time, so I’m running errands and emailing and calling and figuring out final details and trying to teach myself how to play Liars Dice. (Anyone? I’m so confused.) On top of that, due to a change in policy regarding volunteer requirements in our state for parents attending field trips, I’ve been running around like crazy getting a flu shot and TB test and finding immunization records and getting a titer (didn’t even know what this was) because my immunizations from our last doctor never made it to our new one. And in between, a million other little things that need to done this week (kid flu shots, birthday cards, parent conferences, we needed a new carbon monoxide detector). It’s all felt a little nutty.

But with all this time in the car, it’s given me time to pause and be grateful. For vaccines that keep us from getting terrible diseases. For my children being healthy enough to GET a flu shot, as there are many who cannot. For being able to go on field trips with my kids. For finding ways to support our school while helping families connect and build community with one another. For being able to help out friends who feel like family. Even as I’m typing these moments of gratitude, I can feel the calmness taking over the nuttiness in my mind. May I continue to be mindful of the fact that things that might feel stressful to me are things that others are longing to experience.

Here are a few (other) things on my mind this week:

first rain

1.Ready for Rain. It’s supposed to rain most of the weekend, which is something I would typically love, but not for the weekend of an outdoor auction. The author’s words here really resonated with me. I don’t live in the PNW, and while the amount of rain we get in our stretch of Northern California is minimal and decreasing every year, I do crave the end of summer for many of the same reasons – the coziness, the slower pace, the feeling of home as a refuge. (Also, I just gave away the little rainboots pictured above. We’ve had them since BB was tiny, and BG wore them a couple of years, too. I might have gotten a little teary over them leaving our house for good.)

2. Maya Jankelowitz’s Beauty Uniform. This was a fun read, and I love her style!


3. This quote. I have this on a clipboard in my little workspace. An appraiser came by this week, and as he was stepping into our garage, he said, “It’s true. At 46, I feel like I’ve gotten there. It’s been a lot of work, but it’s worth it.”


4. This book. I’m reading it every night before I go to bed. I would never have guessed that I would read a cookbook like I read a novel – under the covers, with a reading light, staying up way too late because I wanted to read “just one more page!” seventeen times. I love the way Jenny Rosenstrach writes, her recipes are so approachable, and her cookbooks are just beautiful. (I also read this one cover to cover.)

5. This made me laugh.

What are you up to this weekend? For me, it’s all auction all the time. But hopefully Sunday will be gloriously rainy, and we can snuggle under blankets and soak up the quiet. 

And sometimes I forget to say it, but thank you thank you thank you for reading. It means the world to me. 

Back Porch Tables

back porch table wine

Aaaaahhhhh! Can we go back to the weekend?

It’s Colombus Day, and while that might be a holiday where you are, it’s not really here on the West Coast. The kids have school, most people are working, it’s just a regular Monday. But if it were a holiday, I’d be here on my back porch, sipping wine with a new book.

I have a project today that might be a little late in the season, but for us in Northern California, it’s the perfect time of year to head back outside. The 100 degree days are over (PLEASE?!), and the evenings are just lovely. We’re back to enjoying dinners on the porch and Saturday afternoon naps on the daybed.

vintage trash cans

My project today started here. Rough looking vintage trash cans. The kind you had in your school growing up. I got these beauties for FREE at a local surplus store. (They’re super similar to these at Schoolhouse Electric. See, Husband? What a deal! I can’t imagine why anyone would want to give these away! Rust? Pfffft.) There were at least 30 of them up for grabs. I nabbed 6 with no real plan, but I brought them home and immediately spray painted them white.

Now, I know I have some crazy ideas. Husband usually just goes along with them and often helps out, especially with the painting. I’m waiting for the day when he puts his foot down and declares, “No! You may not bring that (insert random free item I drag off the curb and load into my car) into our house.” So far, he humors me (see “free” shutter). For this, I am very grateful.

instagram trashcan

I posted this photo to Instagram over the weekend, seeing if anyone had any guesses as to what I was working on. Surprise – no one guessed A TABLE! (My brother guessed an oil pan.)round table tops

I picked up these two pre-cut wood rounds at Home Depot and this 8′ rectangular wooden dowel (1/2′ x 3/4″) at our local hardware shop. My plan was to cut the dowel into smaller pieces to attach to the bottom of the wood rounds. The dowels would slide into the bottom lip of the trash cans and keep the tabletops from moving around.


This required finding the center of the circle. My high school geometry has escaped me (formulas have been replaced with Dan Zanes lyrics), so I googled to get the true method, involving chords and perpendicular lines (where’s a compass when you need one?). Husband (the engineer!) preferred to eyeball it. Between the two of  us, we had a reasonable point we both liked.


After measuring the diameter of the bottom of the trash can, I cut the dowel into one long piece of wood the length of the diameter (10″) and two smaller pieces of wood equal to 1/2 the diameter minus the width of the dowel (4.5″). Confused?

table top sketch


Here’s a drawing to explain. The outer circle is the wood round, the inner circle is the measurement of the inside of the trashcan lip. The wooden dowel crossbar will slide into the lip and hold the tabletop securely in place.

Confession: it wasn’t completely secure the first time, even though my measurements were VERY accurate. It’s pretty hard to saw exactly (we have VERY basic tools), and I wanted the crossbars to fit tightly in the bottom of the trashcans so they wouldn’t move at all. Husband helped me position the crossbars to make it just right.


After screwing the dowels into place on both wood rounds, we spray painted them the same color as the newly painted trashcans.

spray can gun

I got to use my super cool spray can gun attachment. You just slide it onto the can and squeeze the trigger. Game changer.


And miraculously, the tabletops fit perfectly. You can even pick the tables up by the wood rounds, they are so secure. (Thanks, Husband!)


I originally looked at garden stools to serve the table purposes, but I had a hard time justifying the price, especially when we have kids under 8. I think I would cry if one of those lovely porcelain beauties were shattered on our brick.


So for now, vintage trashcans with a wooden tops works just fine.

back porch

After we were finished, I asked Husband, “Do you really dislike them?”

“Well, I don’t like them, but I don’t dislike them, either.”

That’s a start.

Five Things

Hello! Happy Friday!

After several weeks of busyness, it was nice to have a regular week – school and play dates and more time for books and less running around like a chicken with its head cut off. “Catching up on life” is how I’ve described this week. And it’s felt like fall – bonus! Here are a few things on my mind this week:


1. Halloween. As I flipped my calendar over to October, I realized that I never posted last year’s Halloween photos. We went as superheros. We each picked our own superpower and then designed our own symbols (or “assembles” as the kids called them). Husband was “Speed”, I was “Fire”, BB was “Lighting”, and BG was “Ice” – she called herself “Elsa Superhero”. Husband said it was the end of the family costumes for him. (It could have been the red leggings that broke him.) And it’s inevitable that the kids will want to do their own thing – early on this year, BB declared he would be a Ninja, and BG declared she would be a kitty. But in the last few weeks, I’ve heard talk of Ninja Kitty. What?! Guess it’s time to start hunting down black clothes for the grownups, too. I’ll just use my sweet ninja skills to convince Husband to join the fun. (I have no ninja skills, so I’m not holding my breath.)

(Check out past Halloween costumes here and here and here.)

2. This is fascinating.


3. This orange house. Have I told you that our house is purple? “Lavender Ice” actually, as the previous owners told us in a letter. (See Halloween photo above.) It is cute and makes our house look more cottage-y than perhaps it really is. And it’s fairly well known in our town. Right after we moved in, when we talked about the new place, people would stop me and say, “Wait. You bought the purple house?! Oh, I love that house.” And we do, too. But it is in need of repainting, and we are pretty sure that we won’t choose purple this go around. Maybe orange is the way to go. Or maybe that’s just October talking.

Bittersweet October

3. This quote. (The photo is from my trip to New Hampshire last October. I’m feeling homesick for a place I’ve only been once but am completely in love with.)

5. I loved this. Probably because this is the year I graduated high school and started college. So. Many. Memories.

What are you up to this weekend? I’ve got projects I’m itching to finish, books to start (I just finished this one last night – quirky but couldn’t put it down), and we are having family photos taken. I’m working on getting color-coordinated outfits together, which I must admit is increasingly harder as BB and BG now have OPINIONS about their clothing (see Halloween, above). And hair. I mentioned getting BB a haircut for pictures, and he balked. He’s growing it out, he insists. I’m letting it go. Hope you have a beautiful, mellow, leaf-kicking weekend.

(Orange house image found here.)