Browsing Category "Household"
5 Jun
2012
Posted in: Household
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Car Headlight Challenge

How many of you drive an older car? I have one really new car and one really old car. How old? I bought it my senior year in high school and my 10 year reunion is coming up soon. It was already used when I bought it and right now it has over 241,000 miles on it. The car is likely to fall apart before it stops running. I’ve lost a gas cap and a door handle but I still get better gas mileage than most people I know. I also can’t handle the idea of saying goodbye to the car that lasted me through my first job, senior prom and the glitter I swear is still in there, those crazy Hello Kitty decorations I put in it, all those trips to and from college, the trips with friends,  and the memory of taking my little puppy home in it.

In an effort to make my car last just a little bit longer, I decided to do something about my front headlights. If you’ve ever driven an old car you know that they can grow hazy thanks to oxidizing. It isn’t just a pain; if I can’t see the distance that could mean hitting a deer on the rural roads I live on. I saw on Pinterest that you could use toothpaste to clear off that haze but I didn’t know how great it would work. I decided to test a different method on each headlight, toothpaste for one and baking soda for the other. For the baking soda, just add enough water to it until it forms a paste. Here’s the results:

It might be hard to see how it ended up so I made a detailed comparison for you.

And a quick before and after of each of the lights

While I didn’t see any miracles like the original pin showed, I did see an improvement from both methods. It may be a bit hard to see on your screen (click the images to enlarge) but the baking soda paste ended up getting the haze off just a touch better. It also used less product making it the more cost effective solution as well. I think I’ll keep applying baking soda to the headlights each time I wash the car until they look like new or until the car gives up and goes to car heaven.

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1 Jun
2012
Posted in: Household
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June Task List

It’s time once again for this month’s Get Organized Now checklist. As usual I’m mapping out my favorites on the calendar and then scheduling all my other projects around their list. Up for me this month: finishing my closet, starting on my flower garden, and a lot of summer fun.

I wanted to share this great method of tackling these chores that Emily from Becoming the Wilmi has been doing. Each month she chooses 3 or more tasks from the list and blogs as she tackles them. I love how she uses her blog to keep herself accountable to each task. I had some issues keeping up last month so I just might follow her example.

June calendar
Source: Scout Creative-Download the free monthly calendar

June’s list seems to focus on recycling, repurposing, and reexamining what we own. Last June I did a huge purge of my house so I could probably use a yearly check-in so things don’t get out of hand. Here’s some of my top items to tackle this month:

  • June 2: Donation time! If you’re anything like me you have a few piles of goods to be donated. Books, electronics, clothing, household items–they all take up space. Clear some valuable real estate and do a good deed by packing it all up in your car and going on a donation spree. Better yet, see if a charity does pickups in your area.
  • June 10: Consolidating isn’t just about goods. Try to plan your day by taking as few trips out as possible. You’ll be more purposeful in your shopping trips and you’ll save gas, both leading to savings in the wallet.
  • June 11: Consolidate your cleaning approach. Break down your cleaning routine into 10-minute sequences. This way you won’t get overwhelmed with cleaning and you know that whatever you need cleaned it can be done in 10 minutes or less.
  • June 18: Eliminate superficial clutter. If you keep ads on the table to read for a week at a time you’re just wasting good deals and cluttering up your home. Learn how to decide “trash or keep” with just a glance so you don’t waste time making so many little decisions.
  • June 23: Today’s the day to tackle desk clutter. Throw out old pens, toss those scrap notes that mean nothing and clear your workspace.
  • June 30: Clean out your fridge. Now you’ll be ready for all your 4th of July foods. Here’s some tips for cooking with the odds and ends you find in your fridge.

How do you make time for the little things?

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28 May
2012
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May Centerpiece

I realized just today that I haven’t shown my May centerpiece and tablescape to you all yet. I went simple this month since our table seems to be taken over by projects these day. April showers bring May flowers so my table is covered in bright flowers.

May centerpiece

May centerpiece

Check out my napkin rings. Can you guess the secret item I used to make them?

Napkin rings

Shower curtain rings! For $1.50 I bought 10 shower curtain rings and used them as the base for these napkin rings. Throw in a $1 set of flowers on sale at Michaels and some floral tape leftover from another project and I have a cheap napkin ring with plenty of leftover supplies for another month.

napkin rings tutorial

To make these super easy napkin rings, you’ll want to cut off your silk flower’s stem and wrap it around the shower curtain ring. Wrap the floral tape around the stem to secure it and continue your way around the entire shower curtain ring. Then just slide your napkin inside your ring and enjoy your work!

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18 May
2012
Posted in: Gardening, Household
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Change It Up

This week has been a crazy one. I started a new job last week and it’s been keeping me on my toes. Luckily it’s close to home and I get an hour for lunch so I can come home, play with the dog, eat some food, and prep dinner. The husband has really stepped up his game and has cooked roasted salmon and learned to make croutons but he’d much rather me mention his mad Kraft Mac & Cheese skills.

So while I’m adjusting I’m still trying to find time to do all those other tasks. This isn’t me complaining, I’m just adjusting and wishing Mother’s Day had been on a day I don’t use for blog writing. Complaining would be telling all you people to work on your penmanship because there are some people out there with awful handwriting and my super-secret-please-don’t-fire-me position requires me to read bad handwriting for hours upon hours but at least they pay me. 🙂 It’s nice to have place to work and I have some great co-workers but there’s still nothing like home.

After work my favorite thing to do is to do “the rounds” with the husband and dog. The husband laments that his plants haven’t grown much since the last evening and the dog thinks every time we move our legs that we will kick her ball for her. Sometimes we do and then she looks like this after she’s all worn out. Then 5 minutes later she wants to go again.

nova

That hydrangea at the top of the post–it’s decided to be pink this year. Last year it was blue, the one next to it is blue but this year it wants to be a special snowflake so pink it is. Just 2 weeks ago it had a blue tint so now it’s in a lavender transition plan. When you comment on your plants daily you start to notice lots of little color variations that normal people don’t notice.

coleus

We also have these rocking coleus plants. We planted them in our new planters but really every planter in the yard has at least 2 just thrown in. We bought way too many because we love coleus plants. This year we found some great varieties. Since they grow fantastically in the shade, they’re one of the few ways we get color into the shade garden.

coleus and ivy

The husband likes the “watermelon” ones best (green and pink) but I seem to favor the reddish ones just for the unusual color. Coleus plants pair really well with flowers like impatiens or even ivy but we’ve gone flowerless this year to go a touch more low-maintenance. I’ll show you later in the summer how huge these plants can get. Which variety is your favorite?

coleus

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7 May
2012
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Organizing Your Desktop

Do you have a cluttered desktop on your computer? It’s one of those things that can get out of hand quickly. You might save a file to the desktop to look at tomorrow and 3 weeks later it’s still there with all the other items you’ve saved since then. Here’s how I’ve decided to handle the situation.

desktop

This is my desktop. You can click it to enlarge it but my method has 3 columns to keep me organized. I tend to work from left to right on my screen so while it might make sense to keep my most frequently used items on the left, I actually put the most urgent items over there. That way when I’m procrastinating and clicking around, I’m more likely to click on something I should be doing instead of a way to waste time.

this week desktop

My first column is labeled “This Week” for tasks I’ve assigned myself to do ASAP. I keep a text file with a basic schedule and meal plan here and usually I leave it open in my task bar. As you can see, this week’s tasks include addressing my finances and working with photos. My Finance Folder is full of links to websites to help me research some financial changes. Over on the right I have shortcuts to all my photo folders on my home computer network and a desktop shortcut to my DVD burner so I’ll finally get around to a much needed photo backup.

Tip: Put shortcuts on the desktop instead of actual folders.

this month desktop

My second column “This Month” focuses on longer-term projects that still need a deadline. In one folder, I’ve put links to all my summer vacation plans in along with copies of forms and confirmations. I also keep a backup meal plan in this area with some meal ideas based on what’s currently in my freezer, as well as plans for the spring and summer. You can see my other ongoing project is to keep checking for updates on the 1940 Census that was just released. I have one text file that logs where I’ve searched for family and what pages I’ve located people on for printing later.

always desktop

My “Always” folder on the right is where I keep my most frequently used items. On the right you can see where I keep hard copies of my eBooks and the program I use to organize them. I have a small eBook addiction and this helps me manage them. I have desktop shortcuts to each of the image folders for each of my websites along with my website mission statements and organizational charts. After that I have a calendar with a daily task on it, a document where I log the meals I’ve tested with notes on improvements, and my bulk cooking cheat sheets that are slowly being added to the website.

Want to know how you can make your own desktop? I took all my desktop icons and aligned them along the top of the screen. Then I hit the Print Screen button and pasted the screencap of my desktop into Photoshop. I divided the screen into thirds with blocks of color and then labeled the top of each section. After saving the file, I just right clicked on the image and chose “Set as Desktop background”. My resolution is set at 1366 x 768 so if you want this desktop background and you use the same size, just save the image from here.

What does your desktop look like?

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3 May
2012
Posted in: Gardening, Household
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Front Door Wreath

May wreath

I used a wreath in last month’s centerpiece design and this month I adapted it to be my front door wreath. To do this project you’ll need the supplies I used last month (wreath base, yarn), some spray primer, and some 50 cent wood butterfly cutouts. I found those at Michaels in the woodworking aisles.

April centerpiece

I just spray painted the wood pieces with some primer, hot glued them to my yarn wreath and plopped it on my door. For less than $2 I’d repurposed a simple piece. If you ever outgrow a decoration, think of a way to make it work. Sometimes it’s best to cut your losses but I’m loving the spring look on my front door right now.

wreath May

I’d just washed my door so pardon its streaky look. All the hail from the weekend knocked a bunch of dirt and mulch in every direction. We all survived and even our car survived being outside so I think streaks are the least of our worries. The only casualties were a giant branch (that I cut down myself) and our doormat who will be replaced as part of my big exciting summer porch prettying project.

Step 1 of that project was making some urns over. The urns were cheap and kind of meh looking on the shelves of Walmart but with some primer (see my Instagramed up photo- I’m thehyperhouse on Instagram by the way)

urns

and then I added some textured Krylon spray paint to add some fun (posed in front of the farmland behind the house)

urns

and finally filled with some coleus plants for some drama.

urn

If the weather cooperates I should have some nice progress photos of the front flower bed coming up soon. We finished up the rain barrel base tonight but it needs to cure at least two days before holding the 65 gallons of water in the barrel but all of the plants are in the ground and mulched so I hope to show you a good progress photo next week some time.

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30 Apr
2012
Posted in: Household
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May Task List

This time last year I was on my way to Mexico and instead now I’m back at home working on about 10 projects at once. It’s easy to get caught up on yardwork this time of year and forget about keeping up with all the little things. So once again I’m relying on this month’s Get Organized Now checklist to keep the inside of my house looking as nice as the outside.

I’m mapping out my favorites on the calendar and then scheduling all my other projects around their list. Up for me this month: work on the fireplace makeover on rainy days and work on a second flower bed on sunny days. I also want to keep some balance in my life so I plan on visiting the park and going on a picnic this month.

may calendar
Source: Vintage Sterling Silver May 1964 Calendar Charm Pendant via The Copper Cat Vintage Jewelry

May seems to be focusing on balance in the checklist and that’s perfect for my life right now. Some of my top tasks for May from the checklist include:

  • May 1: I love this suggestion from the list- go on a negative energy scavenger hunt. It’s so open-ended but the gist is to walk your home and find things that give you a negative feeling. This could mean clutter stacks, that burnt out lightbulb you keep ignoring, a spot of paint needing to be touched up or even a spot that could just use an ounce of brightness.
  • May 3: Take a new approach when doing tasks. Before starting on a project ask if it brings you closer to the goals for your home. If yes- do it! If no- ask yourself why you are doing it. It’s really easy to get caught up in the idea of having some sort of “perfect” home after seeing staged home on Pinterest, other blogs, or in magazines. Prioritize your energy and happiness.
  • May 4: On the opposite end, do a positive scavenger hunt. Find objects that make you happy and feature them. If you love an accessory try to feature it and hide or donate the objects that you don’t need.
  • May 13: Do something for Mother’s Day. Some moms want everyone around, some want a day to relax so find what’s best for you.
  • May 16: Plan out the meals for the rest of the month. Stock up and avoid the grocery store as much as possible. Try living out of your pantry or fridge to clear your fridge out. That way you’ll have space available right in time for planning a big Memorial Day bash.
  • May 24: Organize your car and find a place to store all emergency equipment. Clearing space will mean you have more space to haul items.
  • May 28: Enjoy Memorial Day weekend with a picnic in the park, a parade, or spending time with family.

If you’re local to St. Louis, here’s a list of my Top 10 Things to Do in St. Louis for May. There’s so many festivals going on this month you definitely won’t be bored in the city.

What’s your must-do task for May?

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18 Apr
2012
Posted in: Household
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Top 10 Kitchen Tools

Centsational Girl is having everyone share their favorite kitchen gadgets and I wanted to make sure I chipped in. When I was getting married I was also moving into an empty house with no kitchen. I had never lived on my own outside of a dorm room, I didn’t like cooking (only baking) and had no clue what I needed. It should come as no surprise that I had no clue what to stock my kitchen with and ended up with a pinata. Luckily I had some advice from others, some relatives who stocked me up with items and gift cards, and I learned a lot along the way. Now I have a bunch of favorite items but here are 10 I couldn’t live without.

Pampered Chef Favorites

My cousin Allison was hosting Pampered Chef parties around the time I was getting married and she stocked me up with some amazing tools. I have added to my collection since then but these 4 are my must-haves. I love the bamboo spoons, I put them in my dishwasher and at 4 years old they look brand new. My Mix n Chop makes bulk cooking so much easier; I can have finely ground beef or shredded chicken in an instant. My bar pan gets most of its use as my pizza stone and it’s held up remarkably well. I also have the round stone in this collection. Finally, the scoop– I use this for cookies and I’ve tried buying the ones at Target and never again. My Target scoops both broke when they got caught on chocolate chips or M&Ms while scooping but my Pampered Chef one is going strong 5 years later. I don’t sell these products but if you go to a party I wouldn’t hesitate to stock up on every single one.

George Foreman Grill

True story, my parents once went to a conference and met George Foreman. That’s the closest I’ve ever gotten to a celebrity. I know he’s more of a figurehead for the brand but I love my George Foreman grill, celebrity BFF or not. It has 5 removable plates that I can wash in the dishwasher including waffle plates and grilling plates. I cook burgers, chicken breasts, and kebobs on mine all the time. My other favorite way to cook with it is to put in the griddle plate and use it as a panini press. My turkey sandwiches always feel classier after a go in the George.

kitchenaid mixer

I see so many people who add the KitchenAid Mixer to a registry and I was no exception. I also see a lot of people who break them out to make cookies at Christmas and to collect dust the rest of the year. Why would you do that? I use mine to make pizza dough, bread, shred chicken, whip pie, not to mention mixing up all sorts of desserts. You can even make butter in a mixer. I like mine with the beater blade, it scrapes down the sides of your mixer which is perfect if you’re making something with a high liquid ratio.

immersion blender

I also like my immersion blender. I use it to mix up soups or spaghetti sauce and the chopper attachment is perfect for anyone who wants the functionality of a food processor but doesn’t use them often enough to justify the space those devices take up. I haven’t used all the attachments yet but I like what I have tried.

My next item is a bit of a cheat since it’s 3 items in one. I know a lot of people just starting off spend money on a giant knife block with 20 knives. Save your cash and instead invest in 3 quality knives. I use the Wusthof brand and all I need are the paring knife, the bread knife, and the 7″ Santoku knife.

My last item was such a help when I was first learning how to cook. I wanted to make sure I was cooking recipes that weren’t likely to fail and didn’t call for any ingredients I’d never heard of. The Taste of Home Cookbook is on its third edition now and each cookbook comes with a 1 year subscription to Taste of Home magazine.

I have many more items that would make the honorable mentions list but that would drag on even longer than all these did. Like I said, most of my most beloved kitchen items came to me as gifts over the years. Some smart people shared their wisdom with me in gift form so I try to pass along the same knowledge to those around me. I usually do it in gift form but I don’t quite have the cashflow to buy all of you an item. Do you have any items that you couldn’t live without in your kitchen? I’d love to know what I’m missing.

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12 Apr
2012
Posted in: Household
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Going Nautical

I mentioned in another post how I love Katie Daisy’s whimsical creations. I’m starting to plan out some artwork purchases and I decided to create an image board to help me see how her pieces would work with some ideas I had in mind. I chose two of her pieces, Salt Air Hair and Take Me to The Sea, as inspiration for a soothing bathroom look.

I’m not sure if I’ll end up going this route as my bathroom won’t be started on until at least October, but I love the idea of a softer take on the nautical idea. I chose pieces that reminded me of ocean waves and salty seas for this inspiration board. I’ve listed the sources but I’ve also listed out some DIY alternatives for some of the pricier pieces.

katie daisy room inspiration

Sources

Seychelles Chandelier by Serena & Lily ($1500). This item is so gorgeous but the $1500 price tag is way out of my budget. Even before I saw the price tag I was thinking of how similar the light was to these DIY mardi gras bead chandeliers. I’d love to try it with these chip bead strands. I’m not sure what kind of light I may include in here but it would work simply as a decorative piece over my corner bathtub.

Large Atlantis Clam Shell by Z Gallerie ($59.95). I’m hoping I can find a slightly smaller (and cheaper!) version of this clam shell. It would look perfect on my bathroom vanity with some decorative soaps and handtowels thrown in.

Capiz Sea Horses by Pottery Barn Teen ($29-$39). I’ve seen DIY tutorials for copycat capiz using waxed paper and I think there’s a project here. These would be great for the walls above my bathtub.

Faux Coral by Z Gallerie ($29.95-$59.95). I already have the perfect plan for DIYing this for a lot less. I’m going to buy coral at the local pet store and spray paint it a nice shade of aqua.

Starfirsh Bowl by Z Gallerie ($24.95). The price on this one is too good to resist. I think this would be a perfect holder for some of my Lush bath bombs or some rolled up towels near the bathtub.

Blue Cloud Vases by Z Gallerie ($19.95-$24.95). While I could think of a DIY copycat, I think it would cost more than the actual item and the color on these is perfection. The 8″ one would be perfect on a bathroom shelf.

Any ideas for some other good accessories or wall colors? I have a Target soap dispenser that would repurpose beautifully into this room but I’m worried the overall look might be too dramatic for the subtle and sellable look we’re going for.

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3 Apr
2012
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April Centerpiece

April centerpiece

This month’s centerpiece theme is based around Easter. I’m loving purples and greens this year for Easter so I painted some dollar store Easter eggs with some Krylon Make It Stone spray paint. Then I topped them off with some acrylic paints and some watered down paints I misted on for a watercolor effect.

April centerpiece

Then I took a flat wreath base and covered it with a mossy green yarn following this technique so I looked like I had a nice grassy base to hide some eggs. Then I plopped eggs all around and inside of my favorite scalloped bowl from Pier 1 for this super simple look.

April centerpiece

For an added bonus, I folded up my napkins to look like little bunnies popping out of my dinner mugs. I got the technique from Better Homes and Gardens

Tomorrow I’ll show you a perfect breakfast treat in the week and later on I’ll show you my favorite carrot cake recipe. If you want to try either of these dishes, the first requires yeast, an orange, and baking raisins in addition to the usual baking items. The second dish requires carrots, crushed pineapple, coconut, walnuts, cream cheese, and powdered sugar.

What will be on your table for Easter weekend?

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