Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Kitchen Renovation DIY Style Part 1

Okay here is a before picture for you. Look at that retro flooring. Looks retro and pretty from here but trust me when you get close there is nothing pretty about it. YUCK.  We opened up the wall to the left as you can tell from the floor.  This kitchen was closed in and in fact we have the original two doors we could hang back up if I want some quiet time in the kitchen.  Its not 1967 anymore so the doors stay off! My husband and father in law and pretty handy and this project was done quickly.  They have a bit of work left but its already added more light into my kitchen and that makes me happy.  This space was used as my girls art area only because we didn't know what to do with it. We already have a dining room and the size was just weird.  Now its open to walk through and my husband will be adding shelves to make a media area.  It will store books and hopefully keep our personal stuff organized. Right now a basket holds everything and its not organized one bit.

As you can see our island is emptied and the doors are off. This is where were putting my new gas stove in.  Most expensive thing in this whole project is my gas stove. I use cast iron so gas was a must!  Only part we will not be doing ourselves is adding a gas line.  We leave that for the professionals.  Counters will be butcher block and cabinets will be kept and painted.  I had stored all my glassware, pots and pans in there.  Had is the key word. 

Another thing we want to do is take out some walls in our laundry pantry room.  This room sits right off the kitchen.  This was actually a very tiny toilet room but we removed the toilet and added shelves. The toilet room made no sense to us. It was WAY too small and we already have 2 other bathrooms. I think this was the ladies kitchen toilet so she wouldn't have to leave or be seen back when this home was built. Remember those two doors I told you about in the kitchen? My home is a 1967 home made to entertain.   It functions a little right now holding all my food.  I literally have my own store here.  I buy things in large quantities and years of retail has made me even straighten and face everything.  I like a organized pantry where I can see what I have.  If I have only a few of something I keep an eye while shopping and stock up again if I find a good sale.  Recently I added that tablecloth turned curtain to keep my dogs hair from floating in there.  Yep not only is this a laundry and pantry room but its also where my dog sleeps.  See what I mean?  I need to fix this room.  Its bugging me! 
This is another part of my laundry pantry room. But this was a shelf here when I bought the house.  I removed the door from this as well because every time you were looking for something one of my girls would open the door and hit that door. Who puts a door behind a door!!!! Here is where I store more food and all my glass jars.  I will be adding another curtain as soon as I buy one.  My dog has welcomed herself to a few things including a unopened container of chocolate covered sunflower seeds which I found puked up all over the backyard.  She is fine now promise. But as you can see I need to do something here.  

Here is another view of my kitchen which shows another point that I hate about it.  I have one track light that works. Oh I have other track lights but bulbs now days are bigger and when we replace them they get stuck and will not come out. And this is why we have one light.  Then we have this large window which lets the most light in.  Its still not enough as you can tell by the picture. Its so dark in here! Dark cabinets, dark floor and no lighting. I'm starting to hate my kitchen.  

Remember all my glassware,  pots and pans?  Yep look at my counters. This is the only place I can store them.  I swear I'm not that much of a pig. A little but not that much.  That stove we are giving away because it works still.  In its place we are putting our fridge.  My husband will be doing the waterline and work.  In the fridges place will be shelves for storing my cookbooks and such.  We will also be putting our microwave and large appliances such as my bread machine etc.  

Doing most the work DIY style it will take some time.  So until its done I have to put up with this.  Thats lots of sanding and prepping.  

Which means I have to put up with this.  DUST!!!! Its everywhere. 

Stay tuned for more pictures and updates on my kitchen.  
Peace and love to all.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Skills to Survive

Recently Ive been thinking about what my daughters should know before they move out.  I have a soon to be 16 year old who will be off to college in a few years and could really use some great skills to take with her.  I asked you what skills one should know when leaving your parents house and you came through with flying colors. Thank you for that! But of course I added my own slight twist to it.  

Enjoy this list of tips and skills you should know how to do before moving out of your parents home.

You should know how to cook a few things from scratch.  Nothing complicated just some simple things like making gravy, taco seasoning or even just soup. You should know how to use measuring cups and spoons along with how to read a recipe.  Also learn how to put a grease fire out safely.  

From freezing, canning and drying. There is a way to preserve food no matter what you have or don't have.  Learn how to keep food fresh and you will have fresh food always.  Watching a family member or friend do it and get lots of tips you won't find in books.  

Learning to bake food and you will always have something to eat. I'm not perfect at it and in fact I'm still learning how to do it.  It takes a little bit of ingredients and some time but its worth it. The end results taste so much better.  

From making your own powdered or liquid laundry soap, how to use a washing machine or dryer and even how to iron your clothes. You must know how to do these things because you can't afford to pay someone else to do it.  Invest in a wooden clothes rack and save money on energy.  

Protecting your living space is most important no matter what season it is.  Spring time is a great time to clean your carpets. Rent a carpet cleaner from somewhere or borrow a friends. Try dusting every inch of your living space.   Open up your windows & clean the tracks out. Try your hand at conserving water and energy all year long.  Winterize your home  tips will save you lots of money on repairs. This will save you a ton of money over the year.  Energy and water cost can easily go down with simple tips and tricks. 

It doesn't take much effort if you do it as you go. Seriously quit being a slop! Pick up your laundry, clean the counters with soap, take the trash out often, vacuum the carpet or sweep the floors and clean your toilets.  Keep your home clean and you will get sick less and your home will smell fresh and clean. And not to get into much detail but since you will probably be in college its a good idea to learn how to unclog a toilet. Who knows why people put things in there but they do.  Remember to not use toxic cleaners! Go DIY some simple green cleaners and get on with your bad self. You know you want to.  

Learn how to make a budget and keep on track with your budget. Remember its not only about having a budget but keeping within your budget.  Everything else goes into savings and stays there.  This is a hard lesson to learn when you are young but later on in time you will need that savings for one reason or another.  Its all about being prepared now and down the road.  Learn this simple tip and you will be good for a long time.  

Make a list of what you need not what you want.  Keep your list with you and shop at stores you know have good prices.  In fact keep a log what you buy on a regular basis and keep track of where the prices are low at certain stores.  Keep in mind how far each store is and it its worth it even after you waste gas to drive there.  
Remember to always buy in bulk! Less packaging and better prices! Stick to the basics.  Pasta, grains, beans and root vegetables are always good to have on hand because they keep for a really long time.  
Stick to the outer aisles of the stores because that's where the fresh food is.  Shop in the early afternoon weekdays because this is when stores mark down their products to make way for fresher items. You can always freeze things (even dairy!).  
READ LABELS!!! If it has lots of ingredients then its probably not good for you. Example-tomatoes should just have tomatoes not all kinds of preservatives.  Keep an eye on how much your getting. Most packages come with less than a pound now but still charge for a full pound.  Compare with other products.  You ca also learn by following my blog here or on Facebook

If you learn how to sew you can fix pretty much anything and stretch your dollar even further.  Why spend more money on something that could easily be fixed?  Want verses need! Or go on Pinterest.....

Once you do learn how to balance a checkbook you can see what money you do have or don't have.  Also keep track on your banks website and compare with your checkbook.  Sometimes a little mistake can mean big impacts.  Which usually mean charges to your account. These little charges add up to a big amount when you keep doing it. 

This could come in handy for years to come.  You could one day have a fireplace or get lost in the woods.  It could mean life or death for you.  I would learn how to build a fire and be safe either way.  Be smart! Learn how to build a fire.  

No one wants to smell you even though you left the room five minutes ago.  When someone doesn't want to share a hat with you then maybe there is a problem.  When your clothes stick to the walls you might have a problem.  Lets fix that problem. Go get yourself some good hygiene habits

You deserve to love and respect for yourself

In this day and age its very important to talk about this with your son or daughter.  When its appropriate, how to say no, what options you have, how to be safe and so on. Its all very important because one wild night could change their life forever.  Its good to know and have the facts.  Keep a good open line of communication so your son or daughter can come to you anytime they have a question about anything.  Safe and healthy sex is a bit touchy and embarrassing but it must be talked about for you and them.  Besides by the time they leave the home they should of had a few classes about the birds and the bees at school.  I'm sure you are more embarrassed than then.  

These two things don't mix when you are putting yourself through college.  They impact how you think and act and could have disastrous affects on your life.  Learning how to say no to drugs and alcohol can help your child make good choices.  Talk with them and again keep a open line of talk with them about it. Knowing they can call you anytime can help avoid situations, accidents and even death.  

This can be used in any part of your son or daughters life.  From proper talking etiquette to phone etiquette.  Its all important! Word of the day is ETIQUETTE! Remember to make eye contact and let that person know you have their full undivided attention.  

Learn how to grow a garden in small places, how to save seeds, how to compost and even learn how to grow herbs indoors.  

There are few things you can do to save yourself money in the long run.  Could be as simple as learning how to change a tire or a little more work by learning how to change your oil.  These things cost money and add up quickly.  Save money on the simple things so you can pay for the difficult things later.  Or you could just be friends with someone who knows how to do any car work.  Barter for car work! Thank goodness I have a handy husband. Phew! 

last but not least....

Assuming you have power and Internet still you can learn to survive a apocalypse with no problems at all.  Once you have learned this you can defend yourself against any zombie.  You go prepper!

Comment below if you have a tip to add to this list! 

Monday, February 3, 2014

9 ways to Stretch What You Have Till Payday

It's that time of the week.  Payday is in a few days, money is tight and you are running out of things.  This is the crucial time that has big impacts.  People start to get scared and don't always make the best decisions.  There are ways to avoid unnecessary spending and they are pretty easy steps. 

1. Buy smart always-When I see a good deal on a staple I buy as much as I can in my budget.  You will rely on these food staples when money is tight.  Stock up on produce that keeps for a long time.

2.  Go back to basics-I always buy a lot of the basic ingredients that keep for a long time.  Onions, carrots and celery can be used in so many ways.  Carrots and celery  keep in the fridge for what seems like forever. Onions if keep in a dark cold place they will last a long time as well.  Remember to store your produce properly and you will save money by them not going bad and having to replace them.

3.  Keep it simple-No fancy recipes with lots of ingredients. Cooking simple can be as delicious as any fancy recipe.

4.  Use what you have-Have rice? Rice can be used in so many dishes just google it.  Soups can be a great meal if made with the proper ingredients.  Rice, barley etc are healthy fillers along with your veggies.

5.  Substitute-I do this all the time.  If I run out of milk I just google how to make milk from what I have.  Just recently I made cashew milk and used it to make homemade bread.  No eggs? There are lots of ways to get around that, in fact most recipes even share egg-less versions.  Google it!

6.  Plan plan plan-Make a calendar with your meal ideas and stick to the plan. This way you know exactly how much you have, what your making and when to cook it.  I'm no planner and don't work well with a schedule so this doesn't work for me. If your creative like me you just go look at your pantry and fridge and toss something together.  Which is why its hard for me to stick to any recipes. Which means I'm horrible at baking. You win some you lose some.

7.  Trade or barter-I ran out of cornstarch and was lucky enough to borrow a little from my neighbor.  Might be worth a try to ask your  neighbor to borrow something and then give them a little of end product in return. Baking cupcakes etc.  Its always fun getting something yummy from the neighbors.  Don't forget this tool and remember to give back always.

8.  Keep a inventory-Know whats in your freezer and pantry at all times. I couldn't tell you what I did 3 days ago but I can remember how much of something I have and how much I paid for it 6 months ago. No idea how that even works but it helps me when were strapped.  I'm always cleaning up, pulling forward and reorganizing my pantry and freezer. I blame my years in the retail business for this.  I like things pulled forward, labels out and tidy.  My freezer I'm trying to use up what I have before I buy more.  But if I find a good deal I remember to pull out stuff on top and put the fresh stuff on the bottom. I then put the older stuff on top.  This way I know I'm using up the older before using the newer.  Then there is no chance of waste from having to toss out old food.

9.  Last but not least have fun with it.  Tell your family you have such n such and ask them what they think you should cook.  Give options and they will pick something.  Don't over think it! And most of all get creative!

Now that you have all these great tips please keep these in mind next time you are trying to stretch what you have before payday.  Don't pull out the credit card when you don't necessarily need to. Why spend money you don't have when you can just get by till your next check?  Yes you could dip into savings (for those who have it) but why? You have a budget for a reason. Stick to it and I promise you will reap the rewards later on.

Have some great tips? Share them below so everyone can learn from them!