Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Joint Compound: Transforming Nastiness

Dear Joint Compound,
About six months ago, my MIL introduced me to you. Not exactly the home-builder-y, heidi the-tool-man-assistant kind of girl, I had no idea what you were. Little did I know you would transform my life--er, bathroom (and kitchen, and half-bath and guest-bath) forever. Love you
Hugs, Thanks, and Gig 'em,

Clueless Mom

My new bathroom:

Some other examples:

 (this texture was done with butterknives!)
 (the color of our baby room)
All it takes is one day, two (cheap) purchases, and paint.

Adds texture to any wall, or pic frame or art project and makes it look amaaaazing. (I am an Anti-Matchy-Matchy when it comes to decor) Or, as in my case-JC gets rid of nasty 80s-looking wallpaper.

All you need:
(and--of course--it's super cheap, like $13 for the whole tub which should do a whole bathroom (my bathroom is fairly large. A tub and a half for a room, pending)
(Could substitute with another tool that gives cool texture, but the texturing really needs to be consistent so it doesn't look janky).
3) Boring or ugly room
(the second one makes me want to poke out my retinas, please)

All you do:
1) If you're not sealing in wallpaper, put the JC in a trough or container and mix it with a little water to get it creamy.

**Note Regarding the Wallpaper Scenario: I am personally not completely anti-wallpaper. It's actually coming back in and a lot of designers are using it now. (moderation is the key word...) My wallpaper...was def. not designer caliber****

2) Go to town. Start making a pattern on the wall, it does help if the pattern is somewhat consistent but it doesn't have to be. (I find retexturing really therapeutic and a creative outlet)

3) Paint over with the glorious color of your choice!

easy peasy. 
It takes about a day to finish. (apply, wait a day for it to dry, then painting).
((if you are going over wall paper, you will need an oil-based primer before adding texture and to seal it with water based primer, THEN you paint. Still takes about a day maybe two.))

My Bathroom Before: (insert gagging-noises here)(we tried to peel off the wallpaper before we discovered JC)

80s wallpaper on crack, yes I know
And after: 

And yes, we're planning on keeping the brass. My inspiration for this room is 1930s hollywood, so I'm going to look for antiqued brass fixtures, and the colors will be light pink (curtains are light pink silk, which we got for free:) and brown with powder blue accents. Crystal chandelier EVENtually--will find one on craigslist & refurbish

We also textured the guest bathroom:
Wish I had before and after of our kitchen because it was even more transformational.  
There you have it. 
My bathroom no longer feels like

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Bear Grylls Project

I have successfully completed two weeks of baking soda/vinegar shampoo/conditioner-ing my hair! (see previous post on going green)
I vote yes, on a mostly consistent basis.(how's that for ambiguity, spoken like a true member of generation y)  
I say it works AMAZING--For thick, dry hair types. (can't say for others...) It made my hair bouncy, shiny and feel lightweight for entire duration.Just like salon-hair. I also felt better about  blow-drying, because I knew my hair wasn't getting fried. 
Hair is on the mildly acidic side of the pH scale and has an ideal pH of 4.5 to 5.5, which is close to that of an apple cider vinegar rinse (pH 2.9). On the other hand, many of the hair care products we use, such as soap-based shampoos, bleaches, hair colors, and permanents are strongly alkaline. Rinsing with apple cider vinegar will help balance the pH of your hair and remove the buildup that can result from the use of these styling products and inexpensive shampoos. Rinsing with vinegar will also close the numerous cuticle scales which cover and protect the surface of each hair shaft. This imparts a smoother surface which reflects more light and as a result leaves your hair shinier, smoother and easier to manage.
yadda yadda. 
So, bear grylls project=win. 
I will continue to replenish our supply on a weekly basis. **However, for days with an intense run, or if I go a couple days without shampooing, or go on an intense run, I think I will use normal shampoo, perhaps once every week and a half. Other than that, I'm a convert.

Number one question I get about vinegar hair wash: No, the vinegar does not make my hair smell like vinegar. At all. Maybe a little in the shower, but after that, zero vinegar smell. (actually, since I re-used an old conditioner bottle, my Vinegar Conditioner actually smells like coconut).  (PS, I really do love Pres. Bush..)


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Mom Essentials and Epic fails...

Short list of things that I find fairly essential for being a mom and things I purchased that were epic fails.....
1)Ten million nipples. Not two, not five, ten million. Each worth every penny and each a valuable member of the team.
So no:

(note the progression in creepiness..the last two, you can't blame them...I'd cry in the same way too)
2)IPhone/ or Phone with good camera capacity. As a mom, I never have a free hand or free sec to go grab a camera, and each moment is PRICELESS. If I didn't have my phone, I wouldn't have countless videos of Eli as a new baby that still bring tears to my eyes..
3)Good slip on shoes. For me, these are danskos. I hate danskos. They are not very cute. But, they are incredibly comfortable and well made, so, they are my personal mom jeans.
4) Kid books with a Christian message.Since most days lately I don't read on my own, they minister to my heart as well as Elijah's. Spoken words are so powerful.
5) Good monitor. Mine isn't pricey, but plays classical music while Elijah goes down, turns itself off, and drowns out any noise but baby cry. It has a sensitivity switch too.
6)Plastic bibs. As Elijah is now eating, these are great. I don't need a ton, just three or four last a long time. 

= Uneccessary. )

7) SweetTulip's diaper wipes case, aka "Mommy Clutch". You can purchase them here:http://www.etsy.com/listing/57104650/boutique-style-diaper-wipes-case-pink?ref=pr_shop  . It's great because it has a pouch for diapers attached. 

8) PEAPOD!!! This thing=bff. We purchased the phil and ted's travel play pen and I'm not going to lie, I did it because it was cute and a good brand. However, it does NOT stack up to the peapod (which is cheaper) You can take the peapod everywhere/anywhere. Self-inflating mattress, and sleeping bag (if you get the camo color, each color has diff features of course, the cutest color (yellow, in my opinion) does NOT have self-inflating mattress or sleeping bad inside)) UV protected. You can take it outside when you garden, you can take it to grandparents to sleep in as a bed (that way they have something in diff environment they are familiar with, a "totem" if you will (Inception, anyone?). They make a Plus size, which is needed for my kid, since he's such a big boy :)

That's absolutely it. Besides crib, and car seat.
Epic fails:
1) Petunia Pickle Bottom diaper bag. Too small. Not totally my style. Doesn't match with enough stuff. Overall, $150 (sometimes more), I would rather go to target and buy a new oversized purse every season. 

2)Special bottles. It's all a bit of scam. (in terms of certain formats reducing colic or gas) At least that's what 3 pediatrician's I've talked to say, and what I have found with Elijah.

3)Pricey light up toys. They don't force him to create and think, they just make noise at him and make him dumber. 

4) Earth-tone Anything. You know, the cute, trendy, brown and teal, brown and pink, brown brown brown. There's a reason why everything comes in primary colors--that's what stimulates baby! Don't get me wrong, I loathe primary colors. I swore I would never buy a single item that was bright yellow red green etc...but, Elijah gets super bored super fast to the point I don't even bother putting him in his cute playthings. So I suck it up and keep all child/baby items in one designated, color-claustrophobic room, leaving the rest of my house free of baby stuff.   

5) Newborn clothes. Born at almost 9lbs he didn't even get to wear half of it. He wore the other quarter and the last quarter he grew out of too quickly to wear either. Really, he didn't get to wear a lot of the clothes I bought him from 1-3 months. The 3-6 months he still fits in a lot of, even though he's big so I would have focused more on those months.

6) If you cloth diaper it...diaper covers with velcro. #epicfail. They fray asap. I was even told they didn't, and they did.  #epicepicfail.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

1001 Crazy Things You Can Do With Vinegar. Or just 34

Going Green: White Distilled Vinegar

WHITE DISTILLED VINEGAR: effective for killing most mold, bacteria, and germs, due to its level of acidity. Cleaning with white distilled vinegar is a smart way to avoid using harsh chemicals, is enviornmentally friendly, and economical.

+Make your own scouring cleanser by combining 1/4 cup baking soda with 1 tablespoon liquid detergent. Add just enough white distilled vinegar to give it a thick but creamy texture. 

+Some stains on clothing and linens can be soaked out using equal parts milk and white distilled vinegar

 +Clean counter tops and make them smell sweet again with a cloth soaked in undiluted white distilled vinegar. (I am doing this one right now)
+Renew sponges and dishrags by placing them in just enough water to cover them. Then add 1/4 cup white distilled vinegar. Let them soak overnight. (I will try this one tonight)
+Clean and deodorize a drain by pouring in 1 cup baking soda, then one cup hot white distilled vinegar. Let this sit for 5 minutes or so, then run hot water down the drain.

+Deodorize the toilet bowl by allowing 3 cups white distilled vinegar to sit in it for about a half hour before flushing.

+Deodorize the garbage disposal by pouring in 1/2 cup baking soda and 1/2 cup hot white distilled vinegar. Let sit for 5 minutes then run hot water down the disposal.

+Some carpet stains (animal buisness for ex.) can be removed with a paste of 2 tablespoons white distilled vinegar and 1/4 cup salt or baking soda. Rub into the carpet stain and let dry. Vacuum up the residue the next day. (Always test on an out-of-sight part of the carpet first).
+For cloudy glassware, soak paper towels or a cloth in full-strength white distilled vinegar and wrap around the inside and outside of the glass. Let sit awhile before rinsing clean.
+Get decals off walls or doors by letting undiluted white distilled vinegar soak into them for several minutes before trying to peel them off. Repeat if necessary.

+Easily clean your mini blinds by wearing pair of white cotton gloves.  Dip gloved fingers into a solution of equal parts white vinegar and warm tap water, and run your fingers across both sides of each blind.

+Clean hardened paint brushes by simmering them in a pot with white distilled vinegar. Soak them first for an hour before bringing the white distilled vinegar to a simmer. Drain and rinse clean.

+Remove odors from a lunch box by placing inside a slice of bread that has been soaked in white distilled vinegar. Leave overnight.

+Discourage ants by spraying undiluted white distilled vinegar outside doorways and windowsills, around appliances and wherever you find the pests coming in.

+To clean and disinfect baby toys add a good-sized splash of white distilled vinegar to soapy water.

+Get rid of fruit flies by setting out a small dish of undiluted white distilled vinegar.

+Clean scissors that have become sticky (after cutting tape, for instance) with a cloth dipped in undiluted white distilled vinegar.

+Get stained white socks and dingy dishcloths white again. Add 1 cup white distilled vinegar to a large pot of water, bring it to a rolling boil and drop in the articles. Let soak overnight.

+Attack spaghetti, barbecue, mustard or ketchup stains with a white distilled vinegar and water solution.

+Remove perspiration odor and stains on clothing, as well as those left by deodorants, by spraying full-strength white distilled vinegar on underarm and collar areas before tossing them into the washing machine. There are some people who could really use this post.

+Forgot that you left wet laundry in the machine and it now smells moldy? (guilty) Pour a few cups of white distilled vinegar in the machine and wash the clothes in hot water. Then run a normal cycle with detergent.

+Eliminate bad breath and whiten your teeth by brushing them once or twice a week with white distilled vinegar.

+Make nail polish last longer. jackpot. Wipe fingernails with cotton balls dipped in white distilled vinegar before putting on nail polish.
+Get rid of foot odor by washing feet well with antiseptic soap daily, then soaking them in undiluted cider vinegar for 10 minutes or so. Remember that cotton socks aid odor control more effectively than wool ones.

+Make creamy vinaigrette by adding some plain or whipped cream to a mixture of 1 part white distilled vinegar to 3 parts oil.

+Add moistness and taste to any chocolate cake—homemade or from a box—with a spoonful of white distilled vinegar.
+Stave off high blood sugar with a daily dose of vinegar. In one study, downing two or three tablespoons of vinegar with white bread cut expected rises in insulin and blood sugar by about 25 percent. Pour on the vinegar -- add it to salad dressings, eat it by the spoonful, even mix it into a glass of drinking water. Any type of vinegar works because it's the acidity that counts. (reference on vinegartips.com)
(Yes, that is someone's pet anteater drinking vinegar)

               (Yes, that is the same anteater wearing a kimono...nothing to do with vinegar)
+If you’ve added too much salt to a recipe, add a spoonful of white distilled vinegar and sugar to try correcting the taste.

+Kill weeds and grass growing in unwanted places by pouring full-strength white distilled vinegar on them. This works especially well in crevices and cracks of walkways and driveways.

+Kill fleas by adding a little white distilled vinegar to your dog or cat’s drinking water.

+Freshen air in the bathroom by spraying into the air a solution of 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 tablespoon white distilled vinegar, and 1 cup water.

+Clean the microwave by mixing 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar and 1/2 cup water in a microwave-safe bowl. Bring it to a rolling boil inside the microwave. Baked-on food will be loosened, and odors will disappear. Wipe clean.

+For an economical and environmentally friendly floor cleaner, mix a solution of 3 drops dishwashing liquid to 1/3 part white distilled vinegar, 1/3 part alcohol, and 1/3 part water. Spray sparingly and mop for a fast clean-up.

+Stop a dog from barking with a spray bottle filled with equal amounts of water and white distilled vinegar. When the dog barks, spray the vinegar water in its direction but not in the face.
Because I can't help it.....

 (info acquired from vinegartips.com)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Why I feel like Bear Grylls...Why I am going green

I feel like going green is more than just being trendy. Or granola. Or Austin-y. Living in this information age makes it easier for me to be indecisive, busy and constantly comparing myself to others. Not to mention mentally, physically and spiritually cluttered. Clutter clutter clutter. Things being more complicated than they need to be. The more I experience (because I'm so old....) the more I see wisdom in simplicity. That's why I want my house to be more green. Because beyond thinking about the earth for our children (though a major impetus toward green living) it's making room for going back to the basics... saving money (so you can save UP money for things that you want, thank you Dave Ramsy), having less stuff you have to keep track of (and thus creating less time to spend holding your baby, asking your husband how his day went, etc...) and, lastly, creating opportunities for good, old-fashioned character-building.

Here are 40 tips for being green (besides just recycling) I read on my new fave blog:

Woman vs Wild...
The one that really caught my attention was the one about the shampoo. Why would anyone stop buying shampoo? Crazy. Granola. But, then I started thinking about my whole going simple soapbox. So I decided to just try it (No coincidence that the same day I had JUST run out of shampoo/conditioner and didn't feel like packing up baby just for shampoo run...). And then I thought, (after reading how it takes awhile for your scalp to get adjusted to the lack of oil-stripping shampoo causes) why not try it longer. The next SEVEN days--me, I am going to wash my hair with the vinegar/baking soda concotions (http://simplemom.net/how-to-clean-your-hair-without-shampoo/).And I will record how it goes here. I am pulling a modern-day suburban version of Bear Grylls! Next time I am abandoned in the wilderness, I may not eat or know how to find water but at least I will be able to wash my hair. Once I find baking soda somewhere....

I researched online and there are a TON of women out there blogging about doing the same thing! Here are their results:

here we go...
My Vinegar Hair Diary
Day one: 11/10/10--Washed hair with it at night. Not without beaucoup awkwardness. The solution basically had to be poured on my head which is not typical to a normal Herbal Esscence experience. However, once in my scalp, the baking soda felt shockingly refreshing...I blow dried after as normal.

Day two (11/11): My hair is soft. Weird, weird. Since I have super thick, dry hair, I was thinking the lack of lather would be fairly detrimental. Not so.Definitely don't need to wash again day2.

Day three (11/12): Still don't need to wash my hair on day three....it's still clean and not even remotely oily.However, I worked out a lot so I'm going to wash it anyway.

Day four (11/13): I half-blow-dried my hair and half-slept-on-it-wet and this morning it is awesome. I am really loving the vinegar conditioner...I think it's working better than the normal thick goopy stuff I buy. 

Day five (11/14): Didn't wash, it was still good to go. Again, it feels like I just got back from the hairstylist. It does look a little dry, though.

Day six: (11/15): NEEDED TO WASH. Got oily. Was really, really tempted to use shampoo. And I broke down! I failed. What can I say I love the lather and I was worried it would be oily. But I did use the vinegar conditioner.
Day seven:(11/16): It feels like it used to. It doesn't have the 'post-salon' feeling it did with the home-made shampoo. Tomorrow, I will wash it again with home-made to compensate for day six.

 and not