a room with a view

What do you see while you're doing dishes?


~Week 4~

Last week I dug waaaaay back into a kitchen cupboard and pulled out my bread machine. And then spent a good 30 minutes trying to scrub the thing clean! Jake bought me this bread maker for Christmas about 8 years ago and I think I put it away about 7 years ago. ahem.
The problem was, all of the bread machine recipes I had were sort of cumbersome and made reeeeally dense and frankly, awful tasting bread. But, I recently discovered this great recipe website that has a whole section devoted to bread machine recipes.
So I gave myself an ultimatum: get out the bread machine and use the blasted thing or get rid of it already!
The first recipe I found was perfect! It was simple, used very few and very basic ingredients that I already had on hand. The bread was delicious...light and soft!! And the big bag of yeast that I bought at Costco after Jake gifted me that machine? Still active! What a deal! :)

My machine now has a permanent place on my counter....at least, for the next month. I'm going to try to make all of our bread and not purchase any dough for the next month. This means our Sunday morning cinnamon rolls (I usually use Bridgeford frozen bread dough for this), sandwich bread, muffins, etc. I'm going to make all of it from scratch. Well, I'm going to try!

If you don't have a bread machine, you should try my absolute favorite recipe for beer bread. Talk about easy!
*preheat oven to 350
*mix together:
3 cups of self rising flour (or regular flour with salt and baking soda added)
1 12oz bottle of beer (or a can, if you're really red-neck :))
1/2 c. sugar

*bake for 1 hour; when there's 10 minutes left, pour 2 Tablespoons of melted butter on top

If you devour the entire thing yourself, I promise not to judge you.


a bathroom remodel (part 2)

Since the handyman we were using for our bathroom remodel had a full-time day job, Jake decided we could save a lot of time (and money) if he did the demolition himself. Basically, that involved knocking out all of the tile in the bathroom. If you remember from the previous post, there was a lot of tile!

Here is the inside of the shower after most of the tile had been removed. See the pile at the bottom of the shower? Also, see the protective face shield at the bottom of the shower? He didn't start out wearing one of those. Let's just say, he thinks safety equipment is overrated. Or at least, he did. We had Jonah and Nathan for the evening and our girls were already in bed when I hear the pounding in the bathroom suddenly cease. Then I hear him shouting for me. I run in the bathroom and open the shower door to find what honestly looks like a murder scene. There was blood every.where. Most of all, it was pouring down his face and into his eyes. Apparently a piece of tile had flown off the wall and hit him in the forehead. As is true of most head wounds, it took a long time for me to even find where the actual wound was and then to get it to stop bleeding. And being the supportive, loving wife that I am, the whole time I was thinking, "Well, great! I'm going to have to wake up the girls, load 4 kids and a bleeding husband into the car and drive into to town and sit in the emergency room at 11:00 on a Saturday night!" However, the only thing my husband finds more overrated than safety equipment is doctors. The bleeding finally stopped on it's own....and the next day he bought a safety mask.

He complained about that mask for the rest of the demolition process.

When we took out the medicine cabinet, we found hundreds of razor blades in the wall. Brand new ones, thankfully, but still! There's no telling.... The green towel on the floor is plugging the pipe for the toilet. Don't worry, I threw that towel away.

to be continued.....
Just one more time, I promise!


a bathroom remodel

We started a remodel of our "spare" bathroom almost 2 years ago. The final touches (i.e. hanging the cabinet doors) were completed last week. *sigh*

Without further ado, I give you the "before".....

That metal square under the medicine cabinet was a fancy, revolving door which housed toothbrushes. And check out those cabinet doors! I hope I'm not causing anyone to stumble through envy. Ahem.

In case you couldn't tell, our house was built post-WWII. They were big into tile. And hideous color schemes. Our other bathroom is a not-so-lovely combination of baby blue and pale yellow. And I'll never forget a house we almost bought, also built in the late 40's....one of the bathrooms had black and bright yellow tile. I kept thinking, "Oh no! I'm gonna have to have a bumblebee-themed bathroom!" So, I guess things could be worse. Don't ask me what that completely tiled nook just above the toilet paper dispenser is supposed to be for. I put a box of kleenex in it. When we bought the house, my MIL joked that we could keep our statue of the virgin Mary in it.

By the way, we don't actually have a statue of the virgin Mary.
The real reason we had to remodel this bathroom is because of the shower. According to the husband, ugly tile is not a sufficient reason for gutting a bathroom. Hmm. Anyway, the shower pan was cracked and therefore, leaked.
What really kills me (and our other bathroom is the same) is that light switch. Why, oh why, didn't they just raise it another inch!? No, it makes much more sense to cut all that tile to go around it! And the light switch plate that was on there didn't even fit in that spot! They had to cut the bottom off to make it fit. Brilliant.

to be continued.....

I've always wanted to say that.


~ week #3 ~

This particular thing I tried was so exciting to me because it fed my inner Ma Ingalls and my inner Dave Ramsey!

I made my own laundry detergent!!

It is super easy and ridiculously cheap! I can't believe the amount of money I've been wasting on stupid, boring laundry detergent!! No more!

So, here is the ingredient list:
My girlfriend said that she had bought all of the ingredients (minus the bucket) at WinCo and so I figured I could get them at Walmart just as easily and probably cheaper. Nope. I ended up at WinCo after searching every other store for the Washing Soda and Fels Naptha bar. It is the only place that carries them.

Cost Breakdown:
5 gallon bucket with lid (Home Depot): $3.32
Borax (Walmart): $2.98
1 gallon tupperware-type pitcher (Walmart): $2.98
Fels-Naptha bar (WinCo): $1.07
Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (you cannot use baking soda....something about it having to be a bicarbonate....whatever that means. :)) (WinCo): $2.71

Grand Total (for about a one year supply of laundry detergent!!!!): $13.06

And even better, when it's time to make another batch, the only thing I'll have to buy is the Fels Naptha bar for $1.07! It takes so little of the Borax and Washing Soda that they will last a good 10 years or more!This is the finished product in the 5 gallon bucket. Egg Flower soup anyone? ;)

Here's how you make it:
Grate Fels-Naptha bar of soap in food processor and add to saucepan with 4 cups of hot tap water.
Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted. (Next time I make this, I'll use the burner on our BBQ outside. My family claimed their eyes were burning while I was "cooking" this because it is such a strong concentration of soap.)
Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of hot tap water. Add melted soap, 1 cup of washing soda and 1/2 cup of Borax.
Stir well until all powder is dissolved. Fill bucket to top with more hot water.
Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken. Stir.
Fill a Tupperware-type pitcher half full with soap and then fill rest of way with water.
Shake before each use. (will gel)

*5/8 cup for top-load & 1/4 cup for front load washers.

I have a lot of dishwasher tabs right now that I got for free after coupons awhile back, but when they're gone, I'm going to try making that too!


~Week 2~

Because we went to Disneyland for a few days in the middle of the week, I didn't have a chance to try the one thing I was really wanting to. I have it planned for Monday though. I know you're on the edge of your seats.

I did manage to make some braided fabric headbands that I had seen on this blog. I love Ruby's site and her girl's names (she is so much braver - no pun intended - than I) and her creativity! I can't recall exactly how I stumbled across her blog, but I'm pretty sure it was via this one, via this one. I have issues.
The yarn one is just 2 crocheted chains. Super duper easy!!

I also made the yummiest cherry, almond, dark chocolate granola! I don't have a picture, but you can check it out here. My only issue was that I think the bake time is too long. I had the handy man here fixing things, was trying to pack for Disneyland and attempting to do schoolwork with the girls while it was baking and so I didn't check on it like I normally would have. It got a little too dark for my liking, but it was still really good.

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