Friday, June 23, 2017

What I'm Reading This Week #25

It is FINALLY Friday...can I get an amen!?

Let's dive head first into...

How Much You Need to Exercise If You Sit at a Desk All Day  (Wake up call but doable stuff)

How To Bust Through A Fat Loss Plateau  (Hi-yahhhh!)

Get a Load of These Unexpected Uses for Teabags (I'm definitely doing the rice thing!   I have some mango tea asking for it)

What Women Should Eat to Build Muscle  (Good information to be able to make an informed decision)

Don’t be scared, but this is how many germs live on your grocery shopping cart  (This is why the Mr swabs the deck and the front of the cart at every grocery store we go to!)

Many Americans taking too much vitamin D   (The Mr and I were diagnosed with low D by doc and take 2000 IU at her recommendation.  I think I might reduce that a bit due to pancreatic cancer in the family)

5 Surprising Foods to Eat for Strong Bones  (Surprisingly I like the first one a lot)

Here's How Much Businesses Pay To Get On Those Big Blue Exit Signs  (I've always wondered about that!)

How to Make Smoked Salt  (This is great for grilling season or to give as a gift for your favorite foodie!)

Reporter Steps In Front Of The Camera But The Horse Has The Crew Howling In Laughter  (I couldn't stop laughing!  So cute...he likes him!)

After Losing His Kid's Lunchbox, One Guy Did the Most Dad Thing Ever  (This is friggin' genius!)

I am a hobbling mess today because we finally finished the fence last night.  The Mr was doing a class this week so I was on my own for a bit of it.  I've got some nice blisters going and my hands are pretty sore from brushing all over the place.  Add to it, the legs being on an uneven surface for a total of 6 hours over two days and I'm jacked, big time.  I'm hoping that I can take it easy a little today because depending on how I feel, tomorrow I may wake up and be like "we're tackling the bathroom today."  Despite ending my email to the contractor with "confirm the date and let me know what time to expect crews", I haven't heard from him and that was 5 days ago.  I'm effin' DONE with contractors and their BS.  The way I feel right now, I feel like we could have a nice sense of pride doing it ourselves.  Who knows if that'll carry into the weekend or not but I cringe to think if we were waiting on this for a MAJOR remodel.  I suppose we should read the directions for the flooring first though to see what the manufacturer recommends and then a trip to Home Depot will be in order.

What do you have planned for the weekend?

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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Formidable Fence Fiasco

I'm up to my eyeballs in a fence frenzy.  We have to repaint our fence by the end of the month and I'm sure I know why...

The delightful lawn care company insists on weed whacking the bottom of our fence where there is absolutely no grass near it.  (The stuff above is moss)

Now I know the 2x4 are algae covered so that's a big contributor too but I'm beyond po'd that these d-bags insist on purposely hitting the fence once a week with their whacker.  I'm about 2 seconds from telling them what they can whack.

So we rented a power washer and the Mr blew off paint, chunks of the fence, small colonies of insects, my hostas and anything else in his way.

Then we got to sand it down to get it ready for priming which is a joy.

There is nothing I enjoy more than sanding in sweltering heat.

So I crisped in the sun for 2 hours yesterday priming the slats.  (He gets to do the insides and crevices)  I got 2 coats on most of it until my foot arches cramped so bad, I was forced back inside. Trying to straddle what's left of your hostas whilst not damaging newly planted lilacs proved to be too much for the dogs to bear.

We had our fence post replaced (finally!) and I was less than pleased the dude put back up a damaged slat despite having slats in his truck.  He's barely old enough to drink and I so didn't want him to prove me right but there you have it.  So now we have a gaping hole in one slat where the old gate hardware used to be and the damaged slat he put back up before he ran without taking our money. When the boss had to come back, the Mr said to replace the slats or knock $20 off since we'll now have an extra project we didn't have when they came.  $20 off it is.  Why can't anything just go as it's supposed to go?  *checks forehead to see if "poke the bear" is tattooed there*

This morning I'll go out and put the second coat of primer on the last few slats and the Mr will start his coats on the crappy parts.  Hopefully, we'll get a full day of drying and we'll have to cover it up because I think we're getting rain.  Grrrr.

Ever had a run-in with a contractor that left you with an extra project due to their incompetence?

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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Grillin' Fool

When summer hits, it's time to fire up the grill and I don't know about your household but I am the grill master of my homestead.  Our grill is tiny because we have a tiny space to put it but it works for it just being the two of us.  I won't lie that I dream of a HUGE grill and/or outdoor kitchen but I doubt that will ever happen.  Sigh.  But these are some of my current faves that I use all the time.

This grilling basket is one of my favorites for Brussels sprouts, zucchini and all kinds of veggies on the grill.

This smoker box is also a hit with me because of the flavor it infuses into everything from turkey burgers to salmon to corn on the cob.

I just throw in some apple wood chips and once it starts smoking, it's time to whip out the gas mask because it always seems to be blowing directly into my face.

My newest toy I got last week was this Charcoal Companion Grill Station....

I was tired of using plates for the raw stuff then having to grab a new one for the cooked stuff and dragging out BBQ sauce and silicone brushes and all that jazz.  This lets me put the raw stuff in its own bin then I can stack the cooked bin on top once the raw is empty.  It's worked really well so far and I highly recommend it if you don't have a ton of prep/counter space by your grill.

I'll continue enjoying my gadgets and little grill space even if my brain wishes I were grilling in this space:


Who is the griller in your house?  Do you have any fun grilling must-haves?

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Food Review: Annie's Macaroni and Cheese

I'm sure a lot of us grew up on Kraft Mac and Cheese in the famous blue box.  I remember making many a box as a latchkey kid so I'm all too familiar with the neon orange powder.  When I saw Annie's Macaroni and Cheese had a freebie at the grocery store, I decided to give it a go since it'd been eons since I had or made the powdered version.

Here's a peek at the nutritional info...

It's pretty comparable to it's Kraft counterpart except the carbs are quite different from what I compared on Kraft's site.  They list theirs as having 16g of carbs and you can see here that it's 46g of carbs.  But 40's is typical of pasta so I sure am curious how Kraft's version could be 16!!

You gotta love how pushing a bunny bum will open the box.

The macaroni looks pretty similar but thinner than I remember but that seems to apply to most everything these days.

But it cooked up to the pasta noodles I remembered.

So I drained it and then it was time for the magic powder.

Looks on par with the childhood stuff.

It even clumped like the childhood stuff.

(Remember when you didn't mind biting into those clumps as a kid?)

With a little skim milk and a few stirs, it was ready to roll.

So how did it taste?

Well, again remember it's been probably almost 6-7 years since I've had this kind but it tasted about like I remember except kinda bland.  I don't know if it's because of my adult taste buds or what but yeah, on its own it didn't taste like much of anything.  So it didn't taste like my childhood mac and cheese as far as having that slight bite of artificial cheese but given the reviews on Kraft's site of the newer no artificial anything not having any taste then I guess they're comparable?  When we both dumped ketchup on it, THAT tasted just like childhood but I'm sure that had more to do with the ketchup and the look of it than the actual taste of the product.  :-)

I certainly wouldn't steer people away from this especially if you want a healthier version.  They also have other flavors too so they might be a little higher up on the taste scale than this mild cheddar version.  I've always been curious about Annie's so I'm glad I got to try it and I'd probably get it again if we babysat and had some finicky eaters on our hands.

Do you buy Annie's products and if so, what are your favorites? 

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Monday, June 19, 2017

A powerful weekend

Happy Monday everyone.

Friday we'd had enough with the initial contractor never contacting us so the Mr called and left a message saying if he didn't get a call back that day then forget it.  In the meantime, we both began looking elsewhere.  A place had an appointment in our area and said they could come out that day. The original guy got back to us and left a message.  Well, we weren't calling him back until we talked to the other contractor.   So the woman came out and looked at it and quoted us the same price as the original contractor and said she could have her son come out this Thursday or Friday depending on their permit situation with another job.  Sold.  We called back and left a message saying we wouldn't be needing him for the fence anymore as we told him several times we were on a deadline with that but if he could still do the floors the 30th as he said in his message and we'd like a confirmation on that.  We still haven't heard from him on that confirmation so the Mr said we'll just see if someone shows up the 30th.  I'm ready to do it ourselves despite the Mr's look of paleness that comes over him when I say that.  Maybe I'll just do it myself and screw all y'all men.  Mama is DONE with this crap and the day he's scheduled to do it, Aunt Flo will be firmly in town and I don't know if I'll be able to keep my mouth contained.

The Mr told the fence lady we had to paint and she suggested due to all of the algae that we really should power wash it.  That was a cluster of such gargantuan proportions I can't even talk about it and some of it was due to common sense precautions not being taken.  From the renting/loading of the machine to the actual wash to the hellacious aftermath. Please do yourself a favor and make sure your beloved has tarped everything first. That's about all I have to say about that.  *side eye*

Then there's the basement which is in the "worse before it gets better" stage.  I've got two small bags ready to donate and need a box or something like that to put more crap in.  I planned on working on it yesterday but we had to finish our grocery haul, got in a 3-mile walk in the blazing heat and then it was time to grill up some chow.

Turkey burger with caramelized onion topped with arugula, spinach and watercress and corn on the cob.  We were both so zapped from the walk, we could feel our energy slowly returning after dinner.

I hope all of you dad's out there enjoyed your day and you didn't get lame gifts.  The Mr always comments on how the dude's get the shaft for Father's Day and I tend to agree.  If the stores are any indicator, apparently you guys are all a bunch of drunk grillers!  HA!

What did y'all get into this weekend?

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Friday, June 16, 2017

What I'm Reading This Week #24

It's the weekend, yo!  Raise yer hand if you're excited!  :-)

Let's dive right into...

The Best New Healthy Trader Joe's Products from 2017- So Far  (I see a few I'm gonna have to pick up!)

Birth control pills recalled due to packaging error   (Seriously, if you take Mibelas 24 Fe birth control pills, read this!)

Why Weight Training Is Ridiculously Good For You  (In case ya didn't know)

7 of your favorite foods might be going extinct soon  (NOOOOOOOO!!!!!)

Foods To Help Lower Cholesterol Naturally  (Stock up!)

How a Healthy Gut Can Make You Happier   (I wish I liked fermented food.)

This Variety Of Onion Contains Highest Amount Of Cancer-Fighting Compound   (*runs to grocery store*)

A Simple Brain Trick For Dealing With Mean People  (Punching is not an option)

The First Things to Do After You Move Into Your First Home  (Uh, I can't believe they don't list the very first thing you should do which is change the locks!!)

Take a Rare Look Inside Carrie Fisher's Eccentric Home  (Wow, eccentric about covers it!)

Fleetwood Mac WILL Reunite With Stevie Nicks for a New Tour  (Yesssss!  Saw the original line up in 1997 for The Dance tour...highly recommended!)

Regular People Recreate 10 Corny Romance Novel Covers And It’s Hilarious  (I actually read Rogue when I was Fabio crazy.  Yes, I actually met him too...with the Mr.)

"I've Been Drawing A Comic Every Day For My Girlfriend For 5 Years"  (NSFW!  I almost peed just reading the first page.  Some of them hit too close to home.)

Tonight my mom is coming over for a cookout for a belated birthday celebration.  I wish it wasn't going to be so hot but hopefully, we can at least get some cloud cover to be able to sit out on the patio. I'm grilling up some BBQ chicken and corn on the cob and birthday dessert will likely be strawberry angel food cake.

What are you up to this weekend?

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Thursday, June 15, 2017

DIY on da Brain

With being thrown into forced reno and position of being at the mercy of others, my brain is ready to work but the workers are not.  When the proposition of a project is in front of me, I tend to start binging on DIY Network and HGTV for ideas.  I feverishly blow through DIY posts on blogs and d├ęcor magazines which then give me other ideas.  In the past week, this is what the Mr has had thrown at him straight from my brain to his ears…

1.  Molding on top of the front doors.
2.  New windows.
3.  Moving to a fixer upper that would allow us to stay here while we renovate this severely dilapidated house with no serious contracting skills of our own.
4. Moving to an old gothic revival house in our budget, out of state with 140 ft of lake access and 2 acres.
5. Putting up shelves and tin backing behind the washer and dryer.
6. Painting the walls and floors in the basement.
7. Drywalling the basement ourselves.
8. Laying vinyl floor planks in the basement.
9. Making a shutter side table.
10. Getting a 10-year-old 3 legged dog from a rescue so she can sit in my kayak while I paddle.

So yeah.  Basically, I want to fix ALL THE THINGS.

This was only amped up to 11 by setting the depth on our new Ryobi Brad Nailer which does not require an air compressor and now makes us both think we could probably build a whole house from scratch with the brad nailer and new drill the Mr bought and YouTube.  Hey if this chick did it, why not us?  

But I had more pressing issues to deal with.  Since I couldn't move forward with anything on the forced reno's yet, I knew I could work on the basement a little since I could feel everything closing in on me every night when we worked out.  That's the thing when you live in a shoebox, you're forced every now and then to take stock in what you own and donate or give away to family/friends what no longer fits in its previous space.  The problem is, I'm allergic to dust so I can only be down there so long when I start kicking it up...45 minutes is usually my max.  I knew the area I wanted to work on, the out of control pantry shelves, but I wanted to move some of the items I use more often now to this other shelving unit...that's already full.  I started pulling off piles of heaped up Total Gym extensions covered in dust bunny farms and vacuuming them to see if they'll be donated or not.  I found old pictures and negatives.  See kids, negatives are what pictures were on before you had them printed. You didn't know if your picture you took at a concert or out with your friends was blurry until you paid to have it printed and find out.  So getting them back was a true roll of the dice.  We couldn't afford to take 127 selfies at 36 angles for one "good" picture.  What you got was what you got and I'm glad for it.  *stepping down from old lady soap box*  

I found the Allen wrenches the Mr has been looking for probably two years.  I put the old Gilad VHS' I could bear to let go of 5 years ago in the donate pile cuz mama ain't got no room for those!  I found one rogue Madonna style lace glove that will go in the childhood bin in the closet until I can find the other one because I'm never getting rid of those.   Those two shelves were the hardest and just need to be cleaned off before moving to the bottom two shelves which house old Etsy boxes full of stuff I couldn't sell so it'll likely be donated.  Time and money down the drain but oh well...I need the shelves more.  So the shelves are cleared off and I looked at the back of it and because it's one of those MDF jobbies that's like 20 years old, there's some slight warping on the back.  Well, that ain't gonna cut it anymore so I'll likely be giving it a chalk paint makeover and stain some plywood for some contrast on the backboard.  Then I'll brad nail that mofo.  *Beats chest gorilla style*

So I'm firmly in the "it gets worse before it gets better" phase of the basement and clearing it out for a workout space was less than fun since last night was cardio night.  Oy.

When you start a project do you binge on DIY videos/information?  Does it spark you to want to do multiple projects at once?

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