Archive for the ‘Non-Food’ Category

Step Away From Food: Bathroom Remodel Week 6

June 7, 2009

Week 6 contained just enough hope to make me excited, again.

This week, I learned that next time I remodel a room, I will avoid “specialized companies” where you can go pick out all of your items for your room, they supposedly order them, and then you’re done.

I’ll ignore that said “specialized companies” scoff at Home Depot and Lowes, claiming they are “builder grade” and don’t you want something that “will last”?

I’ll do all of this, because said company has done nothing but They didn’t order pieces, had difficulty getting items, and then had the audacity to give us attitude on top of it.

If you LOSE MY FAUCET, you DO NOT have the right to then huff at me that it will be “3 weeks if you have to have THAT one”

I will, in turn, simply go to the internet, and in 5 minutes, have it purchased and arriving at my house in 3 days — for hundred less than you wanted to buy it for me.


This week we got our vanity (finally!), they hung our mirror, and finished our trim work. The trim still needs painted, but at least it’s all up. They also roughed-in the shelving we’d requested beside our vanity. DH insisted on keeping our plumbing access to the shower, so I wasn’t able to get a nice, wide vanity. The resolution was a normal-sized vanity, and removable shelves, with a small plumbing access for DH. Our counter top will stretch the entire space, so it will all be contained in the end.

Here’s this week’s pictures…

Shelving, Week 6Vanity, Week 6Bathroom Week 6

Trim, Week 6


Step Away From Food: Bathroom Remodel, Weeks 3 & 4

May 22, 2009

Week 3 of our bathroom remodel (yes, that’s right. The job they told us would be 3-4 days, has come to this point) was really not newsworthy.

Tallying it up later, I concluded that I only actually had contractors in my house for 6 hours, the entire week 3. SIX HOURS. That’s not even a full day of work.

We complained to the contractor — who got attitude and told us “he was trying to finish it”.

bull. pucky. BULLPUCKY!!! If you were trying to finish it — you’d have guys here for more than 6 hours in a week.

Unfortunately, said contractor is still holding most of our stuff for the bathroom hostage…so firing them isn’t really an option.

Week 4 actually made some progress (noted in the images below). I got a painted ceiling, painted walls, and beadboard put up.

Note there is no:
– flooring
– vanity, vanity top, sink, or faucets
– outlets
– lights
– shower head
– toilet
– baseboard or chair rail

– also note that my stupid-expensive-bathtub is FULL of construction supplies. nice. real nice.

Contractor claims his guys will be back on Wednesday of week 5, to install flooring. What I’d like to know is why we can’t install lighting, chair rail, and shower heads while we’re waiting on the flooring to arrive. 😛

This is easily going to be a 6 week project, if not longer. *sigh*

I miss my bathroom, guys.

Step Away From Food: Bathroom Remodel Week 2

May 9, 2009

Because I now realize that daily updates aren’t an achieveable goal, I’ve moved to weekly.

Mostly because I go full days without a contractor in my house.

This week we accomplished the following. It should be noted for posterity that we’ve completed week two and are still A LONG WAY from a finished bathroom.

Next time, I’ll write a timeline for work into the contract. Seriously. I’ll accept input from the contractor on what’s reasonable, but this is a basic bathroom remodel that should’ve been done a week ago.
1. The guys put my faucet and drain, etc in for my tub. They didn’t put my showerhead in. I’ve no idea why. I also have plumbing sticking up through the flooring for my sink now.
2. They put lu-on? Something? Down on my floor to even it out and create a nice base for my new flooring. Except for some reason (lazy? weren’t told to? can’t think for themselves?) they put it over my rotten flooring by my toilet. Nice guys. Nice. This meant they showed up another day this week to fix it. At 7:20 a.m. WTF? But at least it’s done right now.

In all honesty, those are the ONLY things that got done this week, but a few other gems stood out…

3. Contractor calls DH and tells him we need to pick out stain for our vanity. WHY? I have PICTURES of what I want! He’s seen them! Why on earth can’t the man building the vanity do this? Exasperated, and not trusting my contractor to do it, I go to Lowes and pick out stain. Just get the freaking thing done.

4. Contractor calls Friday at 3:45pm and says he can have the guys come out and do the first coat of mud on the drywall this afternoon if we hustle. Since we did not provide the contractor with a key, I fly out of my office 45 minutes before closing time, speed to get home to let them in. I get home, let them in, and in 5 minutes, they’re walking out, explaining to me and the contractor that they don’t have any mixed mud (WTF?) left for today, so they probably can’t do it.
….so why did I have to come home and let them in?

Pictures on our meager progress below.

Step Away From Food: Bathroom Remodel Days 3-5

May 2, 2009

Day 3: Incredibly-late plumber finally gets here, hooks up my basement shower (hurrah for showering!!!), and caps off the plumbing in the under-construction bathroom. And…that’s it. no demo guys come back, and the electrician can’t do anything until demo is complete. Nice.

Day 4: Today…today was not a good day, kids. Contractor remembers only half of our specifics, and gives the workers only half of said specifics. This results in DH coming home at lunch and having to correct all the mess-ups and missed details. This also results in DH getting flustered and telling the electrician, yes, put ALL OF THE OUTLETS RIGHT BESIDE THE SINK. I, of course, raise holy hell and protest this. I also discover, via DH, they tried to install an insanely cheap exhaust fan (we bought a stupid-expensive one in advance…that detail obviously got lost), and tried to put my electrical outlets so they’d be right under my vanity mirror. Except we don’t have a vanity/top yet, so how the heck did they know where to put them? Exactly.

By the end of the day, all issues are resolved, and DH and I are beginning to wonder if we should start playing project manager every morning, since it appears that nobody else is.

Day 5: We’re back in action. Electrician comes back (grumbling, mind you, but dammit I want my outlets moved away from my sink!), fixed outlets, and guys get my surround and tub installed, along with all my new ceiling and most of my new drywall. This, of course, is already Friday, Day 5 of the project that “should take 3-4 days”. Pictures below.

Oh, and for those who knew I wanted to take the pink toilet outside in the yard and beat on it a la “Office Space” style, no — I didn’t get the chance. They carted it away. Good riddance!

Below are the precious outlets I had to fight tooth and nail for.

Step Away From Food: Bathroom Remodel 2

April 28, 2009

It should be noted for posterity that not a single contractor came to my house today.

– The plumber has a guy out sick and is behind (I really am trying to be nice and not hope he has swine flu)
– The demolition guys can’t finish until the plumber caps the sink/shower
– The electrician can’t come in until the plumber caps the sink/shower and the demo guys get rid of the sink/tub
– And most importantly…I cannot SHOWER until the plumber comes and hooks up our temporary shower in the basement.

I’ve become amazing adept at showering with a bucket of water and my loofah.


Step Away From Food: Bathroom Remodel

April 27, 2009

For those wondering what this looks like (*wave* hi beth *wave*) here is “before” (aka when we moved in Oct 2008) and day 1 of bathroom remodel.

Yes, yes I did shower out of my kitchen sink this evening. Thanks for asking.

A Different Giveaway — NonFood

March 17, 2009

When I signed up for myblogspark, I told the ladies I was interested in other things besides food. I mean, I love food, but my world doesn’t COMPLETELY revolve around it or I’d be losing the battle at the gym every day.

In addition to food, I’m a bit of a car nut. I love cars, reading about them, looking at them, driving them. I stubbornly purchased another coupe (with a powerful engine) instead of buying something “practical” when my first car up and died on me. (It should probably be mentioned that my first car was a sports car too — I sense a theme!)

In addition to cars in general, I’m a bit of a fiend for car products.

Rejex, for example, is god’s gift to a beautiful car — and with proper application, the stuff lasts SIX MONTHS! It’s awesome, and it makes your car look like you’ve spent every single day working on it.

This giveaway, though, is focused around Rain-X. Rain-X makes a variety of products that are supposed to assist you in seeing better during precipitation — be it rain, snow, sleet, or just the slap of that nasty brown gunk off the 18-wheeler in front of you.

Most of their products are sprays or treatments that you put on the glass — and they all work. They help the moisture bead differently, so your wipers can whisk it away more efficiently.

It’s really awesome stuff.

myblogspark provided me with a free set of Rain-X’s new windshield wipers, and two of their glass care products (a pre-treatment, and then the customary Rain-X windshield cleaner/protectorant).

Admittedly, I was skeptical. These wiper blades are pricey to purchase. But come on — they’re wiper blades!

Oh, was I wrong. They’re NOT just wiper blades. They’re some kind of magical wiper-blade-from-the-future that whisks EVERY. OUNCE. of moisture out of my way, while NEVER SMEARING.

It’s like having someone outside constantly wiping your windshield clean — it’s that awesome.

So even though you probably read this blog for food — seriously, enter the contest. Even if you don’t give a rat’s butt about the quality of your windshield wipers, enter the contest.

Give them to your dad. Give them to your husband.

Heck, you could give them as a gift to any male you know and they’d most likely be thrilled.

But I secretly hope you keep them for yourself. 🙂 Express the car geek inside that you never knew you had!

Contest Details

Contest will end at 8:00 p.m. on March 25th, 2009. Winner will be chosen by Random Integer Generator.

Contest winnings include:

  • 1 set of Rain-X windshield wipers
  • 1 bottle of 2-in-1 Rain-X windshield cleaner and rain repellent
  • 1 bottle of Rain-X Extreme Clean – which helps remove residue, build-up, and road grime from your glass and headlights

If you’re my winner, you must respond to me by March 26th with your car’s year, make, and model (this is so you receive the wipers that fit the car you want to put them on…so if you are giving them away, make sure you give the right car!)

To enter, just leave me a comment…any comment, but if you need a topic, leave me a comment about something you enjoy that others would find surprising (like my love of cars).

Have fun!

Blog Award – Thanks Erica!

January 25, 2009
Thanks Erica, over at Erica’s Kitchen Adventures, for the blog award!

And of course there are some rules that come attached to this great award:

– Add the logo in your blog.

– Add a link to the person who gave you the award.

– Nominate 10 other (refreshing…like lemonade) blogs of your choice.

– Don’t forget to add links to those blogs in yours.

– Also leave a message for your nominees in their blogs, informing them about the award.

Rather than nominate this time, I’d like to see you guys just take the award — let me see who’s been reading! 🙂

More "Green" Cleaning

November 16, 2008

I have a few more “green” or natural, cleaning recipes to share with you — but these are the ones I haven’t had a chance to try yet.

If you try any of them, let me know how it works!

Window Cleaner
16 oz. spray bottle
Club Soda

– My notes say this is very good for interior windows and mirrors. Depending on what has been used in the past, you may experience streaking the first time or two of use. Once the old film from previous products is gone, the glass will sparkle.

Dust to Dust (Furniture Polish)
Olive oil (light)
Lemon Essential Oil
16 oz. squirt bottle

– Put 2 teaspoons olive oil in the bottle, add 20 drops essential oil, and 1/4 cup vinegar. Fill the rest of the bottle with purified water. Shake well. Good for weekly dusting or mopping. Shake before each use.

Leather Polish
Olive oil
8 oz. Squirt bottle

– 2 parts olive oil and 1 part vinegar. Shake well. Cleans and conditions leather couches, car seats, purses, jackets, and books. Shake well, squirt, then rub. Buff dry with a soft cloth.

Brass and Copper Cleaner
Large plastic or glass bowl and spoon

– Mix 2/3 cup vinegar and 2/3 cup flour. Stir until smooth. Add 1/2 cup salt and stir until mixed.
– Spoon the mixture onto copper pots. You want a nice sticky/smooth layer to stay on the metal. Leave on at least 2 hours or even overnight.
– This goop will turn green when it is working
– Rinse off and wipe clean. Finish with a tab of olive oil to prevent further tarnishing.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner
Liquid Castille Soap
Baking Soda
Tea Tree Oil
22 oz. Squirt bottle

– Mix 1/2 cup liquid Castille soap and 2 cups baking soda together. Work out any lumps with a fork.
– Dilute with 1/4 cup water and add 2 tablespoons vinegar to make foam. Add 1/2 teaspoon tea tree oil, mix, and pour into a 22 oz squirt bottle. Shake well before using.
– Squirt the cleaner inside the toilet on and under the rom and on the seat. Use a high quality toilet brush inside and a sponge for the rims and seats. Rinse with a scented vinegar if you like.

Tub and Tile Cleaner
Baking Soda
Liquid Castille soap
22 oz. squeeze container

– Mix 1 2/3 cup baking soda with 1/2 cup liquid Castille soap in a bowl. Dilute with 1/2 cup water. Add 2 tablespoons vinegar last. Stir until the limps are gone. If you can pour into the container easily then you have the right consistency. Shake well before using.

Room Deodorizer
Mix in a clean spray bottle:
4 tablespoons baking soda
1 quart warm water

– Spray into the air, or onto carpets.

Citrus Surface Cleaner
1/2 cup Borax
1/2 cup Baking Soda
2 teaspoons sweet orange essential oil

– Blending Procedure: using a small food processor, process the baking soda and borax until smooth. Add the essential oil and process further until smooth and free of lumps.
– Store in a glass or heavy plastic airtight container
– To use, dampen dirty area, put on gloves to protect your skin and nails. Scoop Citrus Surface Cleaner using your chosen cleaning utensil (rag, paper towel, etc) and clean the area until sparkling. Use more mixture for stubborn stains, less for minor stains.

Antiseptic Soap Spray
Liquid Castille soap
Purified water
Tea Tree Oil
16 oz trigger spray bottle

– Fill the bottle almost full of water and then 3 tablespoons liquid castille soap. Add 20-30 drops of tea tree ol. Shake to mix.
– Squirt on laundry, doorknobs, bathtub, toilet seats, etc.

Floor Cleaner
White distilled vinegar
Essential oil
16 oz. squirt bottle

– Equal amounrs vinegar and water, 15-20 drops essential oil (reccommend pure peppermint)
– Squirt onto the floor and mop or clean with a rag. Also can be used to cut soap scum in tubs and sinks.

Laundry Detergant Powder
In a large bucket with a lid , mix the following:

Equal amounts of washing soda (NOT baking soda. Washing soda is sold in the laundry aisle), and borax (reccommended ratio: 3 boxes of washing soda to 2 boxes of borax, to make it equal)
2 cups baking soda
4 bars grated Fells Naptha soap
drops of essential oil (reccommended: cedar wood, lavendar, eucalyptus, pine, spruce, and tea tree all mixed)

– Mix well with a large spoon, or close lid and shake
– Reccomended amount for use: about 1/8 cup per load.

Laundry Detergant Liquid
1 cake of soap (must be vegetable-oil based)
1/2 cup washing soda
1/2 cup borax
8-10 liters water

– Heat water to dissolve ingredients. Allow to cool before use. Glycerin can be added. Use vinegar in the rinse water.

Fabric Softener
2 cups vinegar
2 cups baking soda
4 cups warm water plus essential oil

— No amount is given with this recipe per load!

Spicy Orange Air Freshener
5 drops orange essential oil
2 drops cinnamon essential oil
4 oz. distilled water

– Put distilled water in a spray bottle, add essential oils and shake well. Spray as needed in rooms or at your work desk to refresh the air.

Cleaning Recipes

November 11, 2008

Our new home came with a septic system. I grew up on a septic system, but my parents never followed any of the “rules” (no bleach, no chemicals, etc) — and our system was fine.

Nonetheless, DH begged me to not take the same approach, and to scale back on what I used to clean. So I have.

I figured I’d share a few of these “non chemical” cleaners with you here. They’re pretty common and pretty simple…I don’t know where they originated, but I got them from a co-worker (thanks Kim!)

I’ve found that most of the ingredients are available in my local grocery store. Things like tea tree oil, castille soap and lavender essential oil are also on my grocery store’s organic section, but if your store doesn’t have an organic section, call around to natural foods shops and see if you can find them. Or order them on the internet 🙂

The rest of the items can be purchased in large quantities at a Club Store (Sam’s club, Cosco, etc), or you can do like I do — and just stock up at the dollar store 🙂

All Purpose Cleaner
Combine in a clean spray bottle:
2 teaspoons Borax (found in the laundry detergent isle)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 quart water

Heavy Duty All-Purpose Cleaner
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 teaspoon Borax
Hot Water
1/4 cup Castille Soap
Essential Oils (optional)

– Mix 2 tbsp vinegar with 1 tsp Borax. Fill with very hot water. Shake until borax is dissolved. Add 1/4 cup Castille Soap last. To scent, add 10-15 drops essential oil.
– How to use: Spray and wipe refrigerator, walls, shower, toilets, etc. To remove or prevent mold or mildew, use 1 tablespoon Borax in your mixture.

Window and Glass Cleaner
Combine in a clean spray bottle:
1 part vinegar
1 part water

Strong Glass Cleaner
Mix in a clean spray bottle:
1 cup rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol
1 cup water
1 tablespoon clear, non-sudsing ammonia

Oven Cleaner
3 parts baking soda
1 part water
nylon scrubber
elbow grease

– Combine baking soda and water and use like a paste with the nylon scrubber. For really stuck on stuff, instead of 3 parts baking soda, mix half baking soda and half salt (this will increase the abrasiveness). Keep baking soda off the heating element.

Floor Cleaner
1/2 cup baking soda
1 gallon warm water
(For extra disinfecting power, add 1/2 cup Borax)

– Mix all together to dissolve the baking soda (and Borax). Apply with a rag or mop. When finished, rinse the rag/mop and go over the floor with warm, clean water so there’s no residue left.

Fruit Cleaner
Mix in sink, scrub and rinse veggies/fruits well with:
3 parts baking soda
2 parts water

Drain Cleaner
Move over Drain-O!
1 cup baking soda
1 cup salt
1 quart boiling water

– Blend together and pour down drain, followed by boiling water. Let set for several hours or overnight, then run hot water down the drain.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner
– For scouring power, sprinkle baking soda in the toilet and scrub with your brush
– For stained toilets, try:
1/2 cup baking soda
1/2 cup vinegar
Beware, it bubbles and fizzes a bit.

Furniture Polish
Mix together:
1 part olive oil
1 part lemon juice

– Apply lightly with a soft cloth. Don’t make much more than you need; it doesn’t store well.

Hardwood Floor Polish/Shine
1 part vinegar
1 part olive oil or vegetable oil

– Apply to the floor, and then rub it in well.

Lavendar and Tea Tree Spray Cleaner
1 teaspoon Borax
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 cups hot water
1/4 teaspoon lavendar essential oil
3 drops tea tree essential oil

– Mic all ingredients together and stir until dry ingredients are dissolved. Pour into a spray bottle for long-term storage and use. Spray as needed on any surface except glass. Scrub and rinse with a clean, damp cloth.

Rosemary Deodorizer and Disinfectant
6 drops Rosemary essential oil
6 drops Grapefruit essential oil
4 drops Lemon essential oil
2 ounces purified water

– Combine oils and water in a 2-oz. glass spritzer bottle. Shake well before each use. Spray liberally into the air. This spray will combat oders and kill infectious organisms. During cold and flu season, add 2 drops of eucalyptus. This blend works well in a diffuser also without the water.