Tag Archives: humor


So it all started with Pinterest. Actually, back that up, it all started with the thrift store by my house that sells great condition board books for 50 cents or less. Due to the boys’ love of books, the books began to slowly take over the playroom, then the living room, then the kitchen, and the bathroom. I was constantly tripping over books.

This is how our book collection was organized before the shelves. Piled up on the train table (without the gutter or measuring tape of course).

Enter Pinterest. After searching for kids bookshelves I came to the conclusion that there are only two general types of kids bookshelves featured on Pinterest that would actually be reasonable in my tiny home: ikea spice rack bookshelves and rain gutter bookshelves. While I’m the first to admit that the ikea bookshelves with their “no assembly required” definitely catered more to my skill set, I hit one roadblock there: we don’t have an ikea locally, and they don’t sell them online. After consulting Google Maps and determining that it was a bit silly to drive 256 miles from my house to the nearest ikea, I started looking up tutorials for rain gutter bookshelves. The general consensus seemed to be the following: buy rain gutters, cut them to size, mount them to wall. Voila! Bookshelves. Okay, simple enough. I can do that. So I offer to you my very own tutorial: How to make super awesome rain gutter bookshelves without losing your mind (or a finger).


Rain Gutters: (duh!) Gutters come in 10 foot lengths. We wanted wall to wall shelves, so we measured that wall. You can pick an arbitrary length or measure a wall of your own.

Brackets: All of the other tutorials skimmed over this part so I was confused. Buy a bracket for every 2 feet of shelf that you want. If you don’t know what brackets are, it’s okay. They will be by the gutters, and neatly labeled.

End Caps for the Gutters: In my opinion, if you are going to have your shelves run flush from wall to wall, these are optional because you wont have any sharp, rough edges exposed. However if you want shorter shelves, a more polished look, or if the guy at Lowe’s who helps you saw your gutters down to size wields the hacksaw like a drunken murderer, you’ll probably want to opt for the end caps.

Dry Wall Anchors and Screws: Dry wall anchors are those plastic things that you shove into the wall before you put the screw in so that you don’t have to be bothered by doing things like finding studs. Make sure you don’t buy pegboard drywall anchors even if the package is a pretty yellow color and has the exact number of screws you need. They are not the same thing, which you will eventually discover and you may cry.

A Drill: Remember to charge it before hand if it’s cordless.

Sun Chips: We recommend Jalapeno Jack, but any flavor will do.

1. Head to the hardware store to pick up your items. Put on your pretty smile that makes people want to do things for you and ask someone to help you cut the gutters down to size so that they fit in your car. (Optional: if they cut the rain gutters more crookedly than you could have imagined, hustle back over to the gutters and grab some of those end caps that you didn’t plan on needing.)

2. Pay for you items. (Optional: While paying for you items, answer 20 questions from the cashier about what you’re doing with the rain gutters, how that will work, where you got that idea, what kind of books you’re going to put on it, why don’t you just buy actual bookshelves, etc.)

3. Load you car with the items. (Optional: Slice your finger open trying to fold you backseat down to make room for the gutters. Pout a little)

4. Arrive home and instruct your husband to unload the car.

5. Show your husband where the employee cut the gutter for you, and find out that even an end cap wont cover that crooked of a cut. Send your husband out to find the hacksaw. (Optional: Have your husband return from the garage empty-handed, remembering that the hacksaw broke the last time he used it. Brainstorm what to use to cut through gutter.)

6. Use a sharp implement of your choice to even up the cut on the gutter (Ginsu knives, anyone?)

I feel like this should be an advertisement for these knives.

7. Slide the brackets onto the gutter from the ends. (Optional: Try to clip them on without sliding them on from the ends, and when they don’t clip on all the way, ignore your husband telling you that you’re doing it wrong. When he proves his point by sliding them on correctly, pretend the whole thing never happened.)

8. Use some sort of plastic on plastic glue to adhere the end caps to the gutters. We are Gorilla Glue kind of people around here.

9. Get out the drywall anchors. (Optional: Realize that they are peg board anchors and are not at all the right thing. Return to the store and exchange them for actual drywall anchors.)

10. Take the gutter to the wall you want to install it on. (Optional: Realize that you cut the gutter a 1/2 inch too long and try as you might, it doesn’t fit on the wall. Pry of Gorilla Glued end cap, and use the Ginsu knife to trim an additional 1/2 inch off of the end. Find out that if the gutter ends are perfectly straight the end caps don’t need gorilla glue, but can just be snapped on. Also realize that your husband can cut a better line with a Ginsu knife that you won 5 years ago at the county fair than an employee at a home improvement store with an actual saw.)

11. Position the brackets where you want them (we did about 22 inches apart) and hold the gutter up to the wall where you want it. Use a level (really, do this, because what feels level is usually not, and you want a bookshelf, not a slide) and mark where you want the screws in the brackets to go on the wall. (Optional: Forget to grab a pen a silently curse your husband for taking the longest time to go get one while you hold the gutter, trying not to let it budge a millimeter before you mark it.

12. Optional: Eat some sun chips.

13. Use a giant drill bit (5/16) to drill on your marks, and then pop the drywall anchors in. (Optional: Make your husband do all this, due to your previous thumb-related injury.)

14. Hold the gutter in place while your husband uses the drill to screw the brackets into the drywall anchors. Load with books and admire.

15. Repeat with additional shelves as necessary. (Optional: When installing the second shelf right above the first one, with the brackets in the exact same place, hit 2 studs that you didn’t hit the first time. After expressing concern that there are studs in the top part of our wall, but apparently not the bottom part, move on and drill those screws straight into the stud.)

And that’s it. Bookshelves from rain gutters. Who would have thought? More of a pain than ikea spice racks, probably. However, I just love the way they look.

Pretty, pretty bookshelves.

Make Your Own Rain Gutter Bookshelves


Posted by on March 28, 2012 in homeschooling, How To, kids


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Smokey the Bear Would Be Disappointed In Me

I remember Smokey the Bear from grade school. “Only YOU can prevent forest fires!” I have never played with matches, I am cautious with campfires, I make sure that the BBQ is turned off and the fire is extinguished. I’m a pretty fire safe lady. But as I write this my house reeks of smoke, to the point I’m afraid that it is going to set of the smoke alarms, again. So apparently Smokey the Bear was limited in his scope. Yes, I can prevent forest fires, but house fires are clearly a whole other story. I suppose that Smokey only cares if a fire takes out his home, not mine. Selfish bear.


Let’s rewind back to the Christmas Eve service at our church this year. We were having a small family style service in our church’s living room, cozy and complete with cookies, cocoa, and pretty little tea-lite candles on the table. All was well until the middle of the service when Liam had crawled over and was attempting to eat my husband’s sheet music. He was defenseless against the attack, as he was using both of his hands to play the guitar. I moved the stack of sheet music further toward the center of the table. Problem solved. Until about 30 seconds later when the song took an interesting turn. “O come, o come Emman-Uh! Nicole, FIRE!” Yep I had set the stack of music directly on top of the candle which shockingly resulted in a fire. I grabbed the stack of paper and blew on it. When that didn’t prove effective, I ran the papers to the bathroom and extinguished them in the sink. Christmas service continued with a sense of excitement in the air. The only drawback was my husband trying to play the songs with a large chunk burned away. Everyone was quite understanding. I chalked it up to a fluke. It had been a long day, and I was exhausted. Tired people set the occasional accidental fire. Whatever.

Moving forward, we had friends over for dinner this weekend. I made mini pizzas and some of them had olive oil for a sauce. I opened the oven to check on the pizzas, and moments later the smoke detectors were going off. Some of the olive oil had gotten on the burner of the stove and created a nice smoke cloud. The smoke detectors in our house are really quite awesome. 1st of all, our 750 square foot house that would be totally covered with one smoke detector, has 3. They followed code, and placed one in each bedroom and in the living room. The bedrooms are right off of the living room, meaning that we have 3 smoke detectors all within about 6 square feet. When one goes off, they all go off. On top of that, the smoke detectors are hardwired, and I don’t really know what that entails except for the fact that they don’t need batteries, and you can’t turn them off in the case of a false alarm. You just have to stand there and fan them repeatedly until they decide that the threat has passed and calm down. So we fanned them, they calmed down, and we all had some laughs about my cooking.

Fast forward to this afternoon. I was on the couch dinking around on Facebookdoing homework, and suddenly with no warning, the smoke detectors were at it again. I glanced into the kitchen to make sure that I had indeed turned the oven off after lunch. I had, so I assumed that perhaps it was the cool mist humidifier that I was running for the baby in the playroom while he napped. I went into the playroom, and other than the smoke detector making the baby scream, all was well. Just as I was silently cursing the stupid crazy smoke detectors, I walked into the boys’ room. It was pungent with smoke. I went straight to the electric baseboard heater to examine it while Logan pointed at the smoke detector and informed me, “Mama, I think it be makin noises.” Really buddy, ya think? The curtains were still hanging clear of it, so I crouched down to see if anything had fallen behind the dresser. I found three sippy cups of water neatly lined up against the heater, but they were barely even warm, so I peeked inside the actual vent part and saw an obstruction. I fished around in the vent and found this:

Mmmm... warm and toasty

Yep, that is a singed sock and a very burned part of what used to be a Target receipt. Being the genius that I am, I pulled these out of the very hot heater with my bare hands. Please note, that my finger is now blistered. I then aired out the room the best I could opening all of the doors and windows, even though it was freezing out. Once the room was sufficiently aired out, I put the kiddos back down to nap, but not before I had a little talk with the three year-old about not putting stuff in the heater. He listened very carefully and nodded yes, but I have a sneaking suspicion that he is not the actual culprit. I happen to know someone who has just learned the skill of putting things into other thing (like blocks into a cup, or perhaps socks into a heater vent), and has a particular disdain for socks. I cannot actually prove my theory, but I’m pretty certain that the perp is 2 foot 7, blue eyes, blond hair (but mostly bald), and looks a little something like this:

I thought his crimes would stop at texting and driving; who knew arson would be next

I am actually so grateful for my annoying smoke detectors because I was seriously sitting 5 feet away from his room and I didn’t smell anything until I opened the door. Yikes! Just to be on the safe side, I piled blankets on him and turned the heater off for the rest of his nap (either that or I turned it all the way up- half of our heater knobs are installed upside down, so it’s hard to remember in which room to do what).

So Smokey the Bear was right. I can prevent forest fires. However, my fire prevention skills apparently stop there, as I clearly cannot prevent indoor fires. I’m not sure what his advice to me would be, but I feel like even though a have yet to set a forest fire, he’d probably be disappointed in me.

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Posted by on January 20, 2012 in Cooking, kids, Parenting


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Awww…Can We Keep Him?

So I had some time to kill after I took my Chemistry final tonight, since my lab partner was giving me a ride home and I finished the test an hour or so before her. I forgot to bring a book to read and since I was done with the class I didn’t really feel inspired to read the only book that was currently in my possession- my Chemistry text. I wandered the corridor hoping to find a newspaper or something lying around, but all I could find were several copies of the school paper. Even though community college papers aren’t really my thing, I was bored enough to read through it. It was mostly a pretty generic college paper, until I got to the back. The back is where I struck gold.

Solid Gold!

 There are so many awesome things happening here, I can’t decide where to start. Okay, we’ll take it from the beginning. The title:

On Broadway!

 To me this title implies that this is an article about reptile performers. Come on, who else soaks up the spotlight. In actuality it is an article about a reptile store in the local mall that opened over a year ago. I’m not really sure how this is newsworthy, but I kept going. The next thing I noticed was the awesome quote in the center of the article:

I know it's a little dark, and you may need to click on it to get it big enough to read, but it's worth it, I promise

 First of all, this is just good information to know. I bet that this quote will prevent a lot of unsuspecting people from buying an anaconda in the hopes that one day they might teach it how to fetch. Also, this quote really answers a lot of questions about what I thought was my dog. He doesn’t usually care if I’m calling his name, and he really doesn’t seem to recognize what I want from him (especially when what I want involves him stopping whatever misbehavior he’s involved with at the time). He MUST be a reptile. That explains everything!

Canine or Reptile? You decide
And then the sidebar. I really, really love the sidebar.

"Illegal Exotic Pets in Wash"

Finally, perhaps my favorite part of the article is the sidebar. First of all last time I checked the abbreviation for Washington State was WA, but since this says “Wash,” these pets are either illegal to own in Washington or illegal to put in the wash. Either way, I am firmly opposed to putting any pets, exotic or not, in the washer. That’s just not cool.

Now for my itemized analysis of the illegals:

Non-Human Primates: I was a little concerned about this at first, but since the list specifies that it’s non-human primates, I’m relieved. I was afraid that perhaps I was keeping my children illegally. But since I’m over 95% sure that they are human primates, then we should be in the clear. Also, if any of you were considering getting a human primate as a pet, rest assured that it’s not illegal in Wash.

Badgers: No problem here. I have never wanted a badger. Those little guys have a reputation for being mean. However, apparently this list doesn’t 86 beavers. So if you’re disappointed that badgers are off the list, consider gifting a beaver this Christmas.

Large Cats: Due to the fact that this list doesn’t really define “large cats” I’m a little worried. I know that tigers, cougars, and pumas are out, but what about our beloved Fat Buttons? Everyone who comes into our house marvels about how huge he is. Is our adorable large cat an illegal in this state? If so, since he’s been living here for over six years do you think they’ll grant him amnesty?

I'm not fat! This fur just isn't very slimming on me.

 Alligators and Crocodiles: I have no issue here. My bathtub certainly isn’t large enough.

Water Moniter Lizards: I actually had to google these bad boys, and as soon as I read that they can grow to be over 10 feet long and weigh up to 55 pounds, I was convinced that they deserve their place on the no-go list. I’d actually be willing to sign a petition to keep them there.

Venomous Snakes: I’m glad that these aren’t allowed as pets in Washington (or the wash – we never really cleared that up). I wish that they weren’t allowed in camping areas either.

Wolves: Oh, man. I totally wanted to try to tame one. Perhaps I can tame a coyote since they aren’t on the list.

Hyenas: I only know hyenas from The Lion King, but based off of their portrayal in that, they don’t seem like very good pets.

Bears: Not even a little black bear cub? But they’re so cute!

And finally, Elephants: First of all, to me elephants would be very impractical in Washington. It’s cold here. Based on where they’re from, I assume elephants like to be warm. That would take a lot of blankets. However, with only elephants and big cats being excluded from your safari pets, that still leaves plenty of ridiculous options. Zebra, giraffe, or hippos, anyone?

All in all, this article definitely wins my vote for most thought-provoking part of the school paper.

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Posted by on December 9, 2011 in General


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