Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Kitchen Before and After Pics

A few of you have asked for some before and after pics of our kitchen and I thought that was a great idea! It certainly has gone through a transformation this last year. So here are lots of before and after pics from every angle. 


Brown laminate counters, white appliances, oil rubbed bronze faucet and double basin white sink.


Quartz counters with ogee edge, stainless steel appliances, single basin farmhouse sink and industrial faucet.  



daltile riverbank quartz
That KitchenAid stainless steel refrigerator with the red medallions on the ends of the handles is my favorite part. :) 



daltile riverbank
We've had our new appliances for about 4 months now and are very happy with them. I won't bore you with all the details, but if you want to read all about our KitchenAid appliances, click HERE to see that post. 





kitchenaid stainless appliances with red medallions
I don't know what it is about those red medallions, but I had to have them on all the appliances.

Here's a really close up of the quartz...

Our quartz is by Daltile and the color is Riverbank.

I love the difference it made! And if you want to go really far back, here's a way-back before of this same shot...

White laminate counters, white appliances, maple cabinets, checkerboard backsplash and cream colored linoleum. But you know what? I still loved it. :) 

Hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane. Thanks for stopping by!


Monday, January 29, 2018

Real Life Messes and Flossy Glossy

I was a busy bee in the kitchen the other day and thought I'd show what real life looks like around here...

Reading glasses on the counter, a ziplock bag half full of icing, crumpled up paper towels...

My 28 year old Better Homes and Gardens cookbook falling apart, loads of paper towels, measuring spoons, and don't miss the Starbucks cup in the sink...

Just thought you'd enjoy seeing what it looks like a lot of the time around here. :) 

Changing subjects here...I had a lot of favorite books when I was little. I was thinking about one the other day and I couldn't remember the name of it. I remembered the main character was a cute little lady with colorful hair and she put out a fire with a weird looking firetruck. I kept thinking her name was something like Floopy or Mopsy or something like that. I also remembered another character trying to save some cream puffs. I know that sounds weird, but gosh, I loved that book! 

Then I was in the kitchen watching my hubby make fried potatoes for breakfast and as he poured the olive oil into the pan, I said "That looks so glossy." Then...BAM! I was like, "That's it!!!" He looked at me like I was crazy, but I explained that I had been trying to think of the name of the character and when I said the word glossy, it clicked. Her name was Flossy Glossy! 

I immediately Googled "Flossy Glossy" and the book came up! Here it is...

Flossy Glossy and The Hard To Find Fire. An Upsy Downsy storybook by Mattel.

That "weird looking firetruck" was an elephant! Lol! 

I found it on Etsy for $10. Sold! I love that you can google almost anything and find it somewhere in the world. I don't know what it is about childhood books, but I love coming across them now. 

I was so excited to get this in the mail! 

There's the cream puffs I remembered! 

I did another post HERE about some other favorite childhood books. 

Is there a book that brings back childhood memories for you?


Friday, January 26, 2018

Cats, Crowns and Makeup

Holly and Finn have been taking their own sweet time getting to know each other. Finn just wants to play, play, play and Holly is more like "Stop. You're interrupting my 11th nap for the day." 

The other day, Holly was sleeping on my bed and Finn jumped up there. Holly didn't even open her eyes, she just growled at him. He ignored her and plopped down next to her...

Close, but not touching.

I noticed he kept trying to get closer to her, then all of a sudden I looked over and saw this...

I texted the pic to my aunt and said "We have contact!" Lol! It was the first time they were actually touching while napping. It only lasted a few minutes though. Holly glared at him, hissed and moved a couple of inches away. Ha! She's used to being an only child, I guess. 

In other equally exciting news, I Googled "Joanna Gaines Makeup" the other day. What? Y'all don't google stuff like that? Weird. Anyway, I remember her saying she used a certain brand of blotting sheets and I was in the market for them. Blotting sheets are used when you get a little oily in your T-zone, or anywhere on your face. You can blot your face with them and it removes the oil, but not the makeup. I've used tissues before, but they always remove my makeup. I don't always want to apply more powder because that can make it look all cakey. Anyway, I figured with her living in Texas, she deals with the same humidity as me, so whatever she recommended would probably be a good choice. 

When I read makeup reviews online, I always look for reviews from Texas. We have very high humidity here and it affects how well your makeup stays on, etc. If I read a review from someone in California and they say it holds up well to the heat, I'm like...yeah, but you don't have "real" heat, lady. :) 

So Jojo uses these...

And I have to agree with her. These work very well! I bought two packages and keep one in my vanity at home and one in my purse for on the go blotting. :) 

There's a little sticky piece on the inside that automatically pulls a new sheet out for you when you open the case...

Neat, huh? They were very reasonably priced too. I paid less than $5 and there's 50 sheets in a pack. 

Okay, y'all know my love for crowns, right? I love using them in my decor, but I don't have too many. I have this little one which is actually a very inexpensive Christmas ornament...

And another Christmas ornament that was red and I painted it, but the red was starting to show through a little...

And this little crown box that I got in the dollar section at Michael's...

I bought a crown stamp and stamped it onto a piece of scrap paper and put it inside this frame in the master bath...

So when I saw this at Hobby Lobby, AND it was on sale 50% off, I had to get it. :) 

Isn't it a beauty? Not bad for $8.

Do you have a certain item or theme you like to use in your decor? 


Monday, January 22, 2018

Coconut Cake Mix and Snow

This has been the coldest winter. We usually never get snow and this year we've already had it THREE times! The first time was on December 8th and it was a pretty good snow. Well, for Houston anyway. :) 

Houston snow 2018

Then we had a little dusting of sleet on January 2nd...

And more sleet and ice on January 16th...

Okay, I know those of you with "real" snow are laughing at those last two pics. Lol! But this is a big deal for us. Our city isn't equipped with the proper trucks or resources to deal with ice and snow. Everything shut down for a few days each time. No school, work, etc. 

I usually love winter, but even I'm ready for warmer temps. Thankfully we're back to the 60's this week. 

I also wanted to share this new-to-me cake mix I picked up the other day...

coconut cake mix
Duncan Hines Coconut Supreme Cake Mix

It was so good! My house smelled delicious while it was baking and the coconut flavor was perfect! I frosted it with whipped cream and it was a big hit. I just noticed this flavor at my local HEB store a couple of weeks ago. I'm not sure if it's a new flavor or not, but apparently it's kind of hard to find. Amazon only has it in a 6 pack for $38 (what?!) and there's only one left as of this morning. Walmart is sold out too. I heard there's a lot of people on Facebook trying to find it and they're willing to pay shipping for anyone who can get it to them. I mean, it's good, but I don't know if I'd go to all that trouble to get it. Ha!

Thanks for stopping by!


Saturday, January 20, 2018

Homemade Bread and Laundry

 I made homemade bread again the other day...

My recipe only takes 30 minutes to prepare, then it's just waiting around for it to rise and bake. The whole process takes 2 hours, start to finish. Not a bad wait for this goodness...

 Who can resist freshly baked bread with butter?...

Not me. :) 

Do y'all spend as much time in your laundry room as I do? 

I remember the old days before kids when I could get away with doing laundry one day a week, and it was only a couple of loads. Now I do laundry on Sunday and Thursday and it's a lot more than two loads. I posted that pic of my laundry room on IG and got several messages asking what kind of laundry detergent I use. In case you're wondering this fascinating fact, here's the answer...

All Free and Clear

Such exciting information, right? :) I really do like this detergent though. 

When I had the flu, I didn't make my bed for several days in a row. That's unheard of for me. So glad I'm back into my normal routine. 

Actually, now I don't think I had the flu. I never went to the doctor and never got tested for the flu, but just figured that's what it was since so many people had it. It started out with chest congestion and nausea and led to three days of fever. Then more chest congestion and coughing. Then it went down to just a dry cough for a couple of weeks and mild nausea. The whole thing lasted three weeks. 

My mom got the same thing and did go to the doctor. The doctor told her everyone who comes into his office has this same thing. He said even he got it and he's exposed to everything and never gets sick. He said it lasts for 4-6 weeks too. Can you believe that? He said it's not the flu, but more of a bronchial thing. Antibiotics won't do any good and the only thing you can do is take cough meds. 

One of the worst parts was I had an aversion to coffee. I didn't drink it for over 2 weeks, then miraculously my taste buds wanted it again. I'm happily enjoying my morning coffee again, thank goodness. 

By the way, what is the 'flu test'? Like, what do they do to test for the flu? I've always been curious about that.

Can you spot Finn in the pic below? 

I'm trying to show different views of my home so y'all don't get bored. This is from the dining room, looking into the kitchen. I can't believe there wasn't a cat standing by the food bowls in this pic. They eat all the time in the winter, especially Finn. 

By the way, I'm really loving my Amazon Echo. I use it all the time. My son had to get up early the other day, so I said "Alexa, remind me to wake up Logan at 8 am tomorrow." And at precisely 8 am the next day, she made her little music and said "Wake up Logan." I use her for a timer and ask her questions all the time. I was cooking something and needed to know how many tablespoons were in a 1/4 cup and she told me. :) 

Speaking of measurements, I'm really enjoying the "measured fill" on my new fridge too. I just put a measuring cup under the water dispenser and press 'measured fill' for anywhere from 1/4 cup to 16 cups and hit the button, walk off, and it fills it for me and automatically stops when it reaches my desired amount. It's convenient for filling the coffee pot too. With all the capabilities of my fridge and Alexa, I feel like I'm living in a Jetson's episode! Lol!


Monday, January 15, 2018

Latest Walmart Run

I got up this morning and started my day by cleaning the washing machine and then I cleaned the Keurig. Exciting, right? :) After all that, I made a quick trip to Walmart. I found some good deals and thought I'd share. 

 I've been looking for some new pajamas for some time now. I had very specific requirements: They had to have short sleeves and be capri length. (It's usually too hot here, even in the middle of winter, to wear long pants/sleeves.) And they had to have buttons down the front and have some sort of pattern. I finally came across these for only $13.84 and they met all my requirements...

 I bought them in every color. :) It's hard to tell, but the pink ones are striped and the black ones have white dots on them. Oh, and they're Secret Treasures brand. Love these pajamas!

If you follow @whoawaitwalmart on IG, you're probably already aware of these. Love the three colors these baskets come in and that price is great! 

I didn't get any, but if I can think of something to do with them, I'll go back and get a few. 

I try to eat yogurt about three times a week and I've been waiting for these to show up in my store...

Girl Scouts flavors!!! They're so yummy! 

I have to go to Walmart for my shampoo because my HEB doesn't carry it. Some of you have asked and yes, I'm still using this Suave avocado and olive oil shampoo and conditioner. It helps with my frizzy hair. :) 

Not sure if I've ever shared this mascara on here. I've been using L'OrĂ©al Voluminous Million Lashes for a long time now and love it. I get the waterproof kind because of our humidity. 

My boys have some road trips planned and Logan is going away to college in another year and a half. (He's going to a local college right now) So I bought some Fix a Flat for them to keep in their cars. 

We all have AAA, but it never hurts to have these things with you. They tease me because I insist on them having a flashlight, batteries, a space blanket, bottled water, a phone charger, etc. etc. in their cars. It puts my mind at ease though. :) 

I broke one of my candle holders right before Christmas and the hubby glued it back together. Then Finn knocked it over and broke it again. I threw it away and decided to look for a copper colored one to replace it with and found this one at Walmart for only $2.87...

It's really pretty when lit. 

It was 65 degrees today, but the weatherman is saying we might get some light snow this week. It's already snowed here twice. I never shared the second time because it was just a very light dusting and only accumulated on the patio furniture. I don't think we've ever had snow THREE times in one year! I'll keep y'all posted. Texas weather is crazy. 


Saturday, January 13, 2018

My New Cleaning Routine

I'm back sharing my new cleaning routine today. I say "new" because with our new quartz counters and stainless steel appliances, I couldn't use bleach anymore and had to find new ways to clean. 

You can see my old cleaning routine post HERE

I always start in the kitchen and the first thing I do is wash the sink racks. I scrub the entire rack, as well as those little feet. I use my regular sink sponge with soap and water.

 Then I use the same sponge to scrub the sink with soap and water. 

how to clean a farmhouse sink

Then I rinse everything and replace the racks. I like these non scratch sponges:

The back of the box says they're gentle enough for non stick cookware, but they still do a good job scrubbing messes. 

Speaking of sponges, I use a new one every 2-3 weeks. I have a little system. Of course I do. :) My hubby thinks this is over the top, but I have a plastic cup under the sink that holds the old sponge. When I replace the sponge with a new one, the old one goes in the plastic cup. I use the old sponge to pre-clean really dirty pots and pans, etc. Then when it's almost clean, I use the new sponge in the sink to finish cleaning it. This way, my sink sponge never gets grimy or discolored. OCD much? Lol!

I'm always telling (threatening) my boys not to use the sink sponge for really dirty pans. I've trained them to always use the old sponge to pre clean. Dylan thinks it's hilarious to taunt me about this. He once texted me a pic of him holding the brand new sponge over a very dirty/greasy pan that he just cooked bacon in. Like he was going to use it! The horror! I literally gasped in line at Starbucks when I got the text. Ha ha! 

Next up, I wash the quartz counters. I use a white washcloth (I always clean with white washcloths) with soap and water. And just so y'all know, when I say "soap and water" I just mean regular old antibacterial liquid hand soap. I wet the cloth, apply a little soap and wash the counters. Then I rinse and dry them. 

My favorite white washcloths are THESE from Target. It's an 8 pack of 100% cotton cloths for $2.99.

Then I clean the SS appliances with a microfiber cloth. (More on these cloths below) I wet it a little and wipe with the grain to remove fingerprints. Then dry it with the microfiber cloth.

tips for cleaning stainless steel

If I have a particularly greasy smudge, I use Weiman SS wipes, but so far, I've only used these once. They did do a great job though.

great stainless steel cleaners

I keep a microfiber cloth hanging on a command hook inside my cabinet door under the kitchen sink. I only use this one for cleaning my SS appliances. It's easy to grab when needed and by hanging it on the hook, it allows it to dry between cleanings. I switch the microfiber cloth out every week. 

household cleaning tips

Next up is dusting. In my last cleaning post, I had switched from microfiber dusting cloths to Swiffer dusters. I've since realized the reason my microfiber wasn't doing well was because it was dollar store "microfiber" and was actually 100% polyester. I did some research and apparently "real" microfiber is made of 80% polyester and 20% polyamide. I guess it's true because it made a huge difference.

So I researched some more and found some on Amazon that were bonifide microfiber with the 80/20 combo. If you search "Eurow Microfiber commercial towels" on Amazon, they should come up. They're Clean Aide brand and are 16 by 16 inches. I paid $12.95 for a 12 pack.

Here are the ones I bought...

clean aide microfiber cloths

I still use my Swiffer for quick dusting jobs, but for my weekly deep clean, I use the microfiber cloths from Amazon. I wet them a little to dust with and they do a much better job than my old "microfiber" from the dollar store. :) 

Be sure to wash your microfiber cloths together and never with anything that has lint, like cotton. Also, never use bleach or fabric softener on them. I keep my clean microfiber cloths in a stack in my linen closet. I put the dirty ones in a separate container, then wash them all together. 

So as I said, I use microfiber cloths to dust the entire house. I use them on everything...tables, picture frames, tv screens, etc. 

Now it's on to the bathrooms. I start in the guest bath. First I run the water in the tub because it's not used very often and I use Basic H to clean the mirror. Then I squirt Lysol toilet bowl cleaner in the toilet and let it sit while I clean the counters and sink. In the guest bath, the counters are quartz, so I do the same as the kitchen. First I scrub the sink and faucet with a sponge and liquid soap. Then I use a white wash cloth with soap and water to wash the counter. Then I rinse everything and dry it. 

Typing this out, it sounds so boring, but I can't tell you how many emails I get asking for my cleaning routine. :) 

Next up, I use Clorox wipes to clean the toilet tank, lid, seat and base...

 Finally, I scrub the toilet bowl with the brush and use a 50/50 solution of vinegar and water to mop the floors. Like I said in my last cleaning post...if I'm being honest, I usually just spray my vinegar/water solution on a paper towel and use that to hand mop the floors. My bathrooms aren't very big, so it's not a hard job. 

Here's another quick tip. I was paranoid about having quartz in a bathroom because I didn't want it to stay wet for long periods of time. I don't really think it would hurt it, but for peace of mind, I hang this little washcloth on the inside of the bathroom cabinet. I tell my boys to use it to wipe the counter down after they brush their teeth or wash their face. I don't know if they actually do this, but the counter looks great, so I'm not complaining. 

I just punched a hole in the tag so I could hang it easier. 

It's pretty much exactly the same in my bathroom. I start by running the water in the tub because it's not used very often either. We're more of a shower family than a bath family. Then I squirt Lysol TB cleaner under the rim of the toilet and let it sit. Next up, I clean the mirrors with Basic H. 

We don't have quartz in this bathroom, but I use the same method as the guest bath. I use a sponge and soap and water on the sinks, then the washcloth and soap and water for the counters. I scrub them, then rinse and dry. I always use a sponge on the sinks, because they tend to need a little more scrubbing than a washcloth can provide. 

Then it's just like the other bathroom where I use Clorox wipes to clean the toilet lid, seat, etc. Then I scrub the inside of the toilet with Lysol toilet bowl cleaner and mop the floors with vinegar/water and a paper towel. 

I always wait to clean the shower at night. I usually just clean the shower while I take a shower. I'm weird like that. :) First I clean the entire shower with a Magic Eraser...

I've used these...

And these...

And they both do a great job. I always wear gloves when using Magic Erasers. 

Then sometimes after I scrub and rinse with a Magic Eraser, I'll spray some of this in there...

natural shower cleaner

I'll let the Method Bathroom Cleaner sit for a few minutes, then rinse. 

Then it's on to cleaning the wood floors. I use my Bona dust mop, then if it needs it, I mop with Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner...

favorite wood floor cleaner

Then I vacuum with my Dyson. That Dyson is one of my best purchases ever. It has suction like you wouldn't believe. It pulls the carpet fibers back up every time I use it, so they don't have a chance to get matted down. 

I actually dusted my vacuum before I took these pics. It was pretty dirty! 

I also wanted to share my newest cleaning toy...

It's the Cordless Dyson V7 Motorhead Stick Vac. Click HERE for a link to purchase at Target. 

I've been wanting a cordless stick vac for awhile. I kept thinking how helpful it would be to have one in the laundry room when I scoop the litter box. I scoop it at least twice a day. When Holly and Finn jump out of the litter box, they track bits of litter onto the rug and sometimes into the kitchen and dining room. I know they sell those rubber mats that are supposed to help with that, but they didn't work for us. 

Every time I scooped their box, I would then go around doing a sort of duck walk with a dust pan and brush, cleaning up the stray litter pieces. Not good for my back with all that bending over all the time. 

Anyway, I found this one and ordered it. By some miracle, it came the next day and I couldn't wait to try it out. I love it!!! It's not too loud, does a bang up job, and automatically goes from carpet to hard floors with no problem. No more back bending work for me! So much easier to vacuum up the litter while standing up with this little gem. The charge lasts a long time so you can even vacuum your whole house with it. It has a lot of suction too. And it converts to a hand vac with the push of a button...

This is great for vacuuming our vehicles and it's also very helpful in removing cat hair from my white comforter. If you have pets, you'll definitely benefit from this little gadget. 

You can even use it like this for reaching high places...

This is how easy it is to use. You just push those red buttons to release the part, then when you're done, push it back in and it snaps right back into place. Literally takes seconds. 

Here's how we installed the docking station in the laundry room. If you're thinking about getting one, be sure to think about where you want to keep it, because the docking station has to plug into an outlet to charge the vac. I thought about keeping it in my closet, but quickly realized there's not an outlet in there.

That's their litter box in the bottom left corner. You can see how small this room is. That's the washer and dryer poking out on the far right of this pic. 

You'll notice I bought a cord cover. :) I just ran the cord behind the bulletin board and straight down to the outlet. This is the paintable cord hider we bought at Lowe's for $5. It's five feet long and you just cut it to whatever length you need. It's peel and stick, so it adheres to the wall easily. They also sell a packet of angle pieces like an inside corner, outside corner, etc. 

Paintable Cord Hider

Now y'all know I couldn't leave that cord cover white. I painted it the same color as the wall to blend in a little more...

peel and stick cord hider

I promise my laundry room isn't fluorescent yellow. There's no natural light in here and my editing skills obviously aren't up to par. It's lighter in real life.

That's an LED night light at the bottom of the outlet. It's in there so the cats can see if they need their box at night. And I don't know if you can tell (or if you even care~ha ha) but that's the litter scoop hanging by a command hook under the stick vac. A place for everything and everything in its place. ;)

If you've been reading this blog for any amount of time, you're probably aware of my aversion to cords. I'm always trying to hide them. But in this case, it was more of a "I don't want the cats to chew on the cord" thing. :) With the cord being so close to their litter box, I didn't want them to be tempted to play with it. Covering it up solved this problem and disguised the cord at the same time. A win-win! 

Let me know if you have any questions in the comments or send me a quick email and I'll be happy to answer.

Happy Cleaning!


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