Stained Glass Pirvacy Film

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Ooohhh! Aaaaahhh!

Isn’t that just so pretty?

This post goes along with my doomsday prepping that has been taking up so much of my time recently. I have been looking into ways to fortify the house and make sure we will be ready in case we need to hunker down here, but also make sure that we are safe on a regular daily basis.

It may come as a shock to some readers out there, but, in general, I do not feel very safe in my house. I am home alone the majority of the time, my neighbors hate me (with good reason) and are constantly some new type of passive aggression, our house is in a not so good neighborhood in a not so good town, and we live on a corner lot where our front door is about 30 feet from the road and the side of our house is about one foot from the road. It is very normal to have some strange person or hear some strange sound around the house pretty regularly.

We did install security cameras after someone broke into our truck and stole my hospital bag when I was pregnant (seriously, who steals from a pregnant woman and an unborn child?? Jokes on you, asshole, that bag was full of newborn onsies and depends protective underwear), so I can see who is around the house on the bedroom tv just by changing the input, and it records, so if I come home and something has been messed with I can rewind and see who did it. Very handy! We got 4 cameras with a DVR type recording device all in one set at WalMart, the cameras have cords that we ran along the house and up the roof and in through our bedroom window. I think it was around $300? I know they have cheaper systems and they also have more expensive systems depending on what you want. If we were to do it over again, I think we would have splurged and gotten the wireless cameras. Nothing says “love” like standing in the freezing cold, 9 months pregnant, screaming through your wide open front door “THIS IS ALL THE FURTHER THE WIRE GOES!! IS THAT ANGLE BETTER?? CAN YOU SEE ME NOW?? HOW ABOUT THE ROAD?? CAN YOU SEE THE ROAD??” while your husband yells back down “NO BUT I CAN SEE DOWN YOUR SHIRT” Good times.

We do enjoy having our privacy fence around the back yard as well. It is about 8 ft tall and made out of wood with no gaps where people can see in. Each side does have a gate in it, but the ones we don’t use regularly are padlocked closed, the one we do use is the one that leads to and from the garage and we just leave it latched. We used to padlock it but the lock kept freezing in winter and I was stuck looking like an idiot trying to climb over the gate. Not a good look for me really.

With all of these security measures, along with Pixie who barks any time someone is around the property, and our home defense weapons, I still don’t feel safe very often. I worry a lot about break ins or other shenanigans, and one of the things that bothers me a lot is the window in our front door. Our front door opens into our hallway and steps, so when someone knocks on the front door, they can look in and see anything going on inside. If I am in the living room I am unable to get upstairs to check the cameras without the person on the porch seeing me skitter up the steps, if I am in the kitchen I am unable to get into the living room without them seeing me come down the hallway. There is no way to hide from someone who wants to see me and I don’t want to see them.

That being said, I am not really THAT anti-social, in fact, I really enjoy having company. But my company always calls before arriving, my family and friends mostly all life over an hour away and would not make that drive without telling me they were coming. The only reason someone knocks on my door is if they want to sell me something, if they want to leave something, or if they are crazy and want to murder me.

The mail man and I had a good talk a few weeks ago where I was like listen dude, I know you probably hate me because my husband and I shop online as if we are paid for it, and you are dropping off about 6 packages a day at my house and its heavy and there are steps and stuff. But please, stop knocking on my door because you make my dog go insane, and honestly she starts barking the minute you pull up, so knocking on the door just makes her even more angry. I promise, I hear you, I will come get my stuff. Don’t knock. He agreed and we haven’t had any more USPS door knockings.

So that leaves the options of people selling things, and people wanting to kill me. While I am ignoring these people and prepping my weapons, I would prefer they not be able to see inside my house and watch me. I once had someone on my front porch, I will not mention any names, but she wanted me to answer the door, and I wouldn’t, so she stood and stared in my front window like some total creepazoid. Luckily, that was right after LD was born and we were basically living in the bedroom so I just sat and watched her on the camera with faint amusement. Now we are much more mobile, and I don’t ever want to be caught in the situation where I come down my stairs or hallway and see a face peering in. Seriously, that mental image is going to give me nightmares tonight.

So, I ordered some “privacy window film” on Amazon (haha poor mail man). It was about $15 per sheet and each sheet is 24x36in. There are about a gazillion different designs to pick from. The picture at the top of the post is in my first floor bathroom with faces my angry neighbors house. The toilet literally sits directly in front of the window which directly faces their kitchen, bedroom, hallway, and play room. I have curtains up but they are not black out curtains and so you can still see the outlines of their house and windows…I am pretty sure if I can see them, they can see me. So I ordered a “magnolia” pattern window film and put it up. It is beautiful and looks just like stained glass! It was also super easy to put up.

Here is my front door:

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Yay! No more weird people looking in my house!

I am seriously so happy with how this turned out. The only issue I ran into was that each sheet is 24×36, and my bathroom windows are 19.5×19 so I while I had enough square footage, I couldn’t do it with one piece each. I ended up having to cut strips off the extra and fill in the gaps. It is noticeable, but the curtain will cover it. If you order some, be sure you measure first and order enough sheets to cover what you need.

The install is very simple:

  • clean the window
  • measure and trim film
  • spray window with warm soapy water (i used regular water and it worked fine)
  • peel film off backing
  • apply film to window
  • squeegee out any bubbles

I was able to put all of mine up within about a half hour and that was even when Little Darling was awake and I was on the phone for some of it.

Very easy way to spruce up a house and add a little extra privacy/security!

 

Dried Bananas

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My mom and I have been having a wonderful time with our dehydrators. I never knew the satisfaction you could get out simply drying food. It is just so wonderful to know that you are preserving food that would otherwise go to waste and you are going to be able to store it and keep it and eat it in the future instead of throwing it away. When you see a good deal you can snatch up a lot and not have to worry about eating it before it goes bad.

Last week my mom ended up at a grocery store that was having a huge produce sale so she brought me bananas, oranges, and limes. I immediately dehydrated all of the bananas.

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They are freaking delicious. My mother and FIL hated them, but I have been snacking on them regularly and really wish I had more bananas to dry!

I am still working my way through all of the apples we have, I load up the dehydrator almost every night before bed and let it run for about 12 hours, then all I do is take the contents out and put them in bags. It is so easy! and this food is good for, like, ever.

I would definitely say a dehydrator is worth the money, although we didn’t have to pay for ours, it was given to us by Wonderful Husbands parents. Even if we had paid for it ourselves it has more than paid for itself already because I use it almost every night and have saved a ton of money on fruits that otherwise would have been in the trash.

What are some of your favorite dried foods?

 

 

Homemade Butter

Give me a log house and call me Laura Ingles, I made homemade butter!

I am being serious. Right now, in my fridge, there is a container of butter that I made with my own two hands. Ok, well I made it with a mason jar, but I used my hands to shake it. So that count’s for something I am sure.

This one is super duper easy and the results are epic. Imagine hosting a family get together and coming out with your fresh,  homemade butter with a big crusty loaf of bread. People would die, and you would forever be the favorite. I am promising you fame and fortune here people, for a mere 10 minutes of your day.

The concept is incredibly easy, I really should have taken pictures, but I was so excited I completely forgot.

How to make homemade butter:

  • Pour heavy whipping cream into a mason jar
  • Put the lid on the jar
  • Shake the shit out of the jar until butter forms
  • Pour off the buttermilk
  • Put the butter in a bowl
  • Run the butter under cold water and smoosh it around with a spoon to get all the extra buttermilk out
  • Store in the fridge or freezer

It is the same concept as making the homemade whipped cream, except you don’t have to add any sugar or vanilla. I put about a cup of heavy whipping cream into the mason jar and twisted on the lid. After about five minutes of shaking you can hear the liquid stop swishing back and forth, that is when you have whipped cream. Just keep shaking and within another minute or so you will start to hear liquid again. This is the buttermilk separating from the butter. Shake it for another few minutes and you will have a decent amount of buttermilk and a nice ball of butter. I poured the buttermilk into a little container and stuck it in the freezer to bake with later. Then I put the butter in a tupperware container. The washing part is a little weird because you feel awkward putting your butter in water but it is pretty easy. Just put the container of butter under a running tap of cold water and squash it around with a spoon. There are little pockets of buttermilk stuck in there that you have to get out of the butter will go bad faster. Once you feel confident that you have gotten enough buttermilk out you can store it in the fridge for immediate use or freeze it for future use. It does go bad much faster than store bought butter, it only has about a week shelf life, so its probably best made in small batches or frozen into small batches so you can take out as much as you need at one time.

This was a super awesome activity and would be great for kids to get in on too. They can watch the transformation of the cream into butter and feel good about eating something they made themselves! I can’t say that I will completely stop buying store bought butter, but I will definitely cut back and start making more of my own. Next I want to experiment with adding herbs or berries or other flavors so I can make some Christmas gifts. It will go fabulously with my homemade jelly!

Mechanic Stepford

Growing up my dad did very little work on our vehicles. Our cars went into the shop for oil changes, repairs, and maintenance. It wasn’t that he didn’t know how to do it, it was that he didn’t want to. The way he saw it, was that he worked hard to make money to pay someone to work on the vehicles. Mechanics work on cars, he is not a mechanic. He showed us how to check the oil, taught us to get it changed regularly, and made sure we understood the importance of checking all your fluids.

When I was in college, he would pay for my car to go to the shop anytime it needed anything fixed. He wanted to make sure I had a reliable vehicle to get to and from school and work. It was great. I would call dad and tell him what was wrong, he would deposit money into my account, I would drop it off at the mechanic. Sometimes for large repairs, I would drop it off and give them dads cell phone number so they could call for the credit card when it was finished. Some people call me spoiled, I call myself loved.

It was a huge shock when I graduated school, and got married to a guy who thinks mechanic is a dirty word. We barely mention the “m” word around here unless the vehicle needs inspected or is pieces. We do it ourselves, because we like to. And by “like to” I mean we are cheap and enjoy spending our free time cursing and throwing things. Wonderful Husband is a master of all things manly and has done tons of work on our vehicles, he thinks I should help because it may come in handy in the future. Many nights have spent on the floor of my garage cursing my husband, my car, and my inability to understand anything mechanical.

While Wonderful Husband was away on his last rotation, the check engine light came on in my car. I knew something was a little off about it ever since we bought it. WH bought it, a 2005 Subaru Outback Legacy, an R title with hail damage. My cute little pock marked car was cheap, easy to drive, and sure to run forever. But it has it quirks, when you start it it shakes for a minute or two, the trunk button sticks, and the alarm goes off when you open the back door regardless of if you had it locked or not. Realistically, it wasn’t worth buying me a super nice vehicle because I would have broken, hit, or lost something on it before too long. Now I don’t really have to worry because its not in fabulous shape to begin with.

When the check engine light came on, I called Wonderful Husband and asked what to do, he had me go to Advanced Auto and get a diagnostic run. Just as he thought, it was a misfiring cylinder (I didn’t and still don’t have any idea what that means) he said it should just be the spark plugs, an easy, cheap fix. He told me to try to get it into the mechanic before driving it to his hometown for the family reunion, but not to worry too much because it should be ok to drive for the most part. The mechanic couldn’t get me in, and I decided I wouldn’t worry about it WH could just fix it when he got back home. I don’t really drive that much and I didn’t want to waste the money.

For some reason, Wonderful Husband was not happy about me skipping the mechanic, probably because he was dreading the thought of coming home from a long hard rotation and diving into a hard-to-work-on Subaru. He told me to call the mechanic and take it in. I decided to call our best friend and ask him to teach me how to do it. It would be a win/win. I would save money, I would learn something new, and Wonderful Husband wouldn’t have to do it. What could go wrong?

Fast forward to three hours into the job, everything under my hood is in pieces, there’s bolts and screws laying everywhere, and we have no flippin’ clue where the spark plugs are.

Shit.

I finally decided we would just put it back together and I would call the mechanic the following day, we all agreed to never tell Wonderful Husband what we tried to do. He would laugh, he would probably be mad that I didn’t listen to him, and we would be embarrassed. We started putting all the bolts back in and getting the car back in one piece. We were about three bolts from being finished when Wonderful Husband pulled up outside the garage.

Double shit.

I looked at our friend and said “We are in so much trouble.”

He replied “Nobody move!”

Wonderful Husband said “I can see you guys in there.”

In the end, WH took it very well that we were trying to surprise him, and he barely rubbed it in our faces that we had failed. Unfortunately, he has now decided that we will change the spark plugs ourselves, so I can look forward to another evening covered in grease on my garage floor. Yippee.

Homemade Fabric Softener

To go along with my homemade laundry detergent I posted a while back, today I am posting my homemade fabric softener recipe. It is super simple and comes together really quickly. I had a recipe I got from some blog somewhere, but over the past couple years it has gotten lost and I have played with it a little bit to make the recipe I like the best.

The basic recipe is a 2:1:1 ratio of water, conditioner, and vinegar.

I normally buy the super cheap conditioner at whatever store I am at that week. Sometimes I get coupons for V05 and can pick it up for almost free, other times I will buy the Suave when it is on sale. It honestly doesn’t matter, I have found no difference between conditioner brands.

I always use the big jugs of white vinegar that you can get at WalMart for a dollar or whatever.

If you are partial to a particular scent then you may want to use that. I enjoy the water/ocean/outdoor scents. But the raspberry is also quite nice.

I keep my old Downy bottle and store my softener in it. When I make the softener I do follow a few steps:

  • Heat up the water
  • Add the conditioner and whisk it together
  • Add the vinegar and whisk it together

That’s it!

The first few times you make it, you may want to be careful and do it in a bowl or sauce pan. For the most part, I just run about 6 cups of hot water (we keep our water heater really high), dump it in the Downy bottle, squeeze in 3 cups of conditioner, and 3 cups of vinegar. Then I shake the shit out of the bottle.

Regardless of how I make it, I always shake the bottle real quick before adding it to the washing machine to make sure anything that has floated to the bottom gets stirred back in.

Hope you like it!

Baby Led Weaning

When I got pregnant, I had these delusions of grandeur that I was going to be super mom and I was going to do it all myself and I would make my baby’s food and she would love it and everything would awesome! (like that Lego movie song)

Unfortunately, then life happened. After I made all the baby food when she was 2 months old and stored it in the freezer and waited with baited breath for her to be 4 months old so we could start solids… She hated it. She didn’t know how to swallow properly, she wanted to play with the spoon, she wanted to spit food everywhere, it was just awful. We even took a week long break because I could not handle the thought of her screaming and crying when I plopped her in her play chair.

Wonderful Husband bought her this fancy high chair that’s pink and has multiple settings and reclines. The thing has a tray cover so the tray doesn’t get dirty.. It’s fancy. So, I felt obligated to use it. Twice a day, every day we would sit in that high chair and I would make train noises and whistle the theme song for jaws and basically act like an idiot while my daughter sat tight lipped staring at me like I was trying to poison her. It was awesome.. Not.

Then one day, a friend of mine said she had done Baby Led Weaning with both of her kids. I was intrigued. For those of you who aren’t going to click on the link the basic concept is this- you skip all the mush and gush of purees and go right to big people food. You just give baby small soft pieces of what you are eating. When I asked my friend to elaborate she said she had started with puffed rice cereal sprayed down with breast milk. Seems easy enough.

I bought rice krispies because I was terrified Little Darling would choke on anything bigger. There passed another week of sitting at the high chair with a handful of rice krispies and Little Darling screaming. Fun.

For several months now, I had been using this awesome little net thing we found at Babys R Us to give LD berries and stuff. She loves to suck on strawberries and grapes and just about anything I put in there. So I had an epiphany. If she likes eating the stuff through the net, then maybe she would like little pieces!

I let her eat a pear through the net for a little and then I cut up a nice ripe pear and put little bits on her tray. She slowly smooshed it all into a ball and threw it on the floor. Dear God- This child is going to starve to death in the future. This went on for about two days where I was trying multiple fruits and veggies and nothing was working. I resulted to sticking krispies to my finger and putting them in her mouth. She would eat those. But she couldn’t seem to get the hang of picking them up and eating them.

One day, we were sitting in the kitchen, her with her tray of krispies and fruit and me with a pack of graham crackers trying to how her how to eat. In frustration, I held out a half a graham cracker. She plucked it out of my hand, put it in her mouth, bit off a piece, gummed it to mush and swallowed it.

What.

She ate the entire thing. She only gagged once when she got a large piece. I took another one and broke it into grab-able pieces and sprayed it with formula. She slowly picked up each piece, mushed them around, and ate them. A few ended up on the floor, a few were mushed into oblivion, but most ended up in her mouth.

Now, she is slowly getting the hang of spoon feeding, she still eats graham crackers every day, and we are expanding on her solids. Just about anything soft and small she will at least try. Avocado is still a no. Just today she ate a whole graham cracker, an oz of peach puree and a bunch of pieces of sweet potato. She also eats those little baby puffs they sell at the store for toddlers. It is kind of scary sometimes when she is trying to swallow or chew, but 98% of the time she is fine and works it out. There has only been once or twice that I had to pull her out of the high chair because I thought she was choking (she wasn’t). They just have to practice.

I am so glad that someone told me about this, because it is so much easier than the baby food. I am glad I did the baby food because now we have it and we can work on the spoon feeding and get a well rounded experience, but on baby number two I am not gonna bother. Grahams and Krispies for everybody!

Back Yard Overhaul

One of the main reasons we bought this house, stupidly, was because the landscaping was so gorgeous. We were just young, dumb kids excited to buy our first home and overlooked all types of issues because it looked pretty. Not realizing that landscaping is a constant battle to keep up. We have lived here about 3 years and since most of that time we were both working full time, we never spent much time on the outside of the house. We never really got to sit outside to enjoy it, and when we did go outside we were in the backyard where we have an 8ft privacy fence.

Now that I am staying home, I have been attempting to bump up our curb appeal. We may want to sell the house in the next year or so, and we need to fool some dumb kids into buying it make it look really pretty. I ordered an American flag and an Engineer flag for out front to show our patriotism and support for Wonderful Husbands branch of the military. I bought some hanging baskets for both the front and the back to give a splash of color, I even dug up the edge of the flower beds and laid down some paving stones.

I took on whole day and ripped all the porch furniture into the back yard to scrub it down. I mixed up a batch of homemade porch cushion cleaner and scrubbed the cushions and pillows too (total waste of time, I resorted to a strong hose spray and scrub brush, the cleaner was useless). I washed down the porch, cleaned the windows, and ordered a wreath for the front door.

I was feeling really proud of myself for the front of the house, it looks incredibly better, and I have actually been spending some time sitting out there now. As for the back yard, there was a lot more work to be done.

We used to have two dogs. Unfortunately, we had to re-home our Pitbull not long after we moved in because our neighbors were causing too many problems for us. We still have our German Shep mix. When we moved in, our back yard was beautiful, it had big pretty trees and shrubs. There were rose bushes, flowers, mulch, lava rocks. It was like a little oasis. Within a week the dogs had destroyed it. The roses were trampled, the mulch was everywhere. The trees had nibble marks all over them. Worst of all, grass all along the privacy fence that borders the road was gone. There was a mud pit where our beautiful yard used to be. I searched for a photo to post, but, understandably, I don’t have any good pictures of what it looked like. All I found were these :

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And these are incredibly old, probably close to two years old, so imagine being much, much worse.

For the most part, we have just dealt with it. Not really knowing what to do, or how do it. I finally dug out all the sad little dead bushes that were still there, and trimmed up the ones that had survived. Then I decided that we should just throw down a border, and put stone where the dog runs. That way it would till look presentable, rock is very “in” right now, and the dog would still have a place to run without kill all my grass. Wonderful Husband was right on board with me and went out immediately to start digging up the yard. We decided we would dig it up, build a little wall, and then put rock along the fence.

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Here is a pretty picture of the process of building the wall and digging up the ground. I took it from inside, so please ignore my screen.

Once we dug it up, and I got my hands in the dirt, my longing for a real garden came on again. I have wanted a real, in the ground, garden for years. But, our lot is so small we were never sure how to go about it. I have been gardening in containers (and failing miserably) and it just doesn’t give the same thrill.

When I mentioned it, Wonderful Husband agreed and built me a garden box for one corner

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I have 14 varieties of plants in there! Everybody is doing really well and my zucchinni is blooming!

Of course, once we saw how nice the wall looked, and how nice the black fabric looked, we decided we wanted to mulch it instead. So, now we are in the process of shopping for good mulch prices and arguing about good mulch colors. WH wants black mulch, I want anything but black mulch.

I am so happy with it and so excited to have a real garden this year! Hopefully we get a better crop than my container gardens gave!

Now we have a really neat little space in the back yard to sit and enjoy our time (and our fire pit!) without having to stare at mud and dead grass.