Friday, June 30, 2017

What I'm Reading This Week #26

Happy happy Friday all!

It's a holiday weekend for the US folks...woo hoo!  Let's get right to...

50 Little Etiquette Rules You Should Always Practice  (I'm down with most of these.  Manners is sorely lacking these days.)

10 Hidden Reasons Your Diet Isn’t Working  (5 and 6 need to be worked on for sure on my end)

Why You're SO Stressed Even Though Life Is Good   (Interesting and I know I'm guilty of being on both sides)

These Are the Ultimate Trader Joe’s Dinner Hacks  (The enchilada sauce is the shizz!)

9 common myths about food poisoning   (Video starts on landing but article underneath.  Good to know for bbq season)

7 Smart Ways to Kill Fruit Flies  (A flame thrower isn't an option?)

When Loved Ones Die At Home, Family Caregivers Pay The Price  (Very true)

Why Weight Training Is Ridiculously Good For You  (Preach!)

How People With Depression Interact With The World Differently  (Eye opener)

90 Weird Tourist Attractions Across America  (This stuff is right up my alley)

We are SO happy it's the weekend and there is no planned reno.  Planned.  (Nervous laughter from the Mr)  I'm actually glad nothing pressing is on the books.  Yesterday I treated myself to a 90 minute massage and the girl was having so much fun chatting with me that she gave me an extra 30 minutes for free.  Whoop!  So I'm fairly limber and ready to hopefully enjoy a relaxing weekend!

What are y'all getting into this weekend?

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Thursday, June 29, 2017

Our Bathroom Reno: What We Learned

(If you haven't seen the previous posts regarding our foray into our DIY bathroom remodel, you can see them here and here.)

Obviously the whole thing was a learning experience for us because we are not major DIYers to this degree.  But there are some things we did right and wrong that may help you should you decide to tackle this yourself.

Watch YouTube videos.

Make a list of the things you know you'll be dealing with.  In our case, we knew we were going to have to lay down the vinyl plank flooring and had no idea how to measure for the vents, around door jambs or how to even read a measuring tape beyond 1/4", 1/2" and 3/4".  (Still don't!)  We also knew we'd need to remove and reinstall the toilet (our only toilet) and remove and reinstall our vanity.  The two that involve plumbing are ones that they easily charge over $100 for per item if you are having a contractor do it!  So we watched videos on all of it.  You begin to see common themes like for a seamless look around door jambs without having to notch too heavily, you need to undercut the door jamb.  Well, hacking away at your frame sounds terrifying but enough videos showed all you needed to do was use a saw and a scrap piece of the flooring you'll be using as your guide to cut underneath and it worked!  Another great tip we picked up was using a fine point dry erase marker  (affiliate link) to make our marks for cuts.  This meant no marring from a pencil and hoping it would come out and if you made a mistake, it was easily removed from our vinyl (or a laminate) plank.  It also made list writing easier.

Watching enough videos done a myriad of ways but finding the common thread that clicks with you will show what works and you'll be able to choose which method you're most comfortable with to get the job done right.

Read blogs/articles about the project(s) you want to do

For us, this wasn't just about changing the floor but also installing planking (or faux "shiplap" if you're a Fixer Upper fan.)  Well, since this was a small bathroom on the interior of the house, there was no need for thick planking and I hate the uniform look of the tongue in groove on the walls.  I read enough blogs to see that you could get sheets of 1/4" plywood ripped for you at the big box hardware store.  Honestly, the hardest part about that was just getting the nerve to ask a dude to cut them into the 6" slats we wanted.  When I pushed the Mr to ask the guy, he said "oh yeah, you guys doing shiplap?  We do that ALL the time."  So truly, they've seen it before so don't be shy about telling them what you need.  Just know that typically the first two cuts are free and then it's $.50 per cut after that.  If I went with the pre-cut, tongue in groove thicker wood, I would've spent almost $150 for our little 30 sq ft bathroom.  Ripping 2 sheets of 4'x8' down into the measurements we needed...$39.

Make a list of the tools you'll need from start to finish

I'm talking from a hammer to caulk to paint brushes.  Then go to the garage and put a check by the tools you already have hanging around from previous projects like drop cloths, masks, etc and what you have left is what you'll need on your store run.  By trying to think of every possible thing, it'll minimize getting started or halfway through something and saying "crap, we don't have that!  Home Depot run!"  This saved us from having to do that at all except toward the end.

Pack your patience

I'm not gonna lie, when we started this I was firmly into the hormone swing week in my cycle and that scared me.  Given my already short fuse when things go wrong and ability to snap like a twig, I pictured all of the things popping up in the corner of the TV they write about people on Renovation Realities.  You know, how they say something like "THIS isn't a good idea!" or "yeah, THAT helps!" and makes the person look like even more of a tool than they already look in a moment(s) of frustration?  So I made a conscious decision that I needed to cut the Mr a ton of slack and that me going ape sh*t over a mistake (as long as it didn't flood our house and cost us more money than if we'd just hired the contractor) wasn't going to help anyone.  We started out with a chill big breakfast at our favorite diner because we knew it'd likely be our only meal of the day or at least one of two.  We each got to our projects and when something was said or done I had a concern about it was either discussed calmly or I'd walk away.  Like when he ripped off the counter from the vanity like a heathen instead of just carefully scoring the silicone caulk like I'd done on the chair rails and baseboard and ripped off the corner of the vanity you would see whilst sitting on the toilet.

Inside, I wanted to hurl him out the second story window onto an awaiting airbag on the patio but since the airbag was in the shop and jail wasn't appealing, I stopped and assessed.  Okay, so lucky for him, he ripped it off in one piece.  That I can deal with.  I picked up a bottle of wood glue for some reason that I couldn't recall and apparently the home reno gods knew I was going to need it for this.  So I glued it, held it for a minute and then taped it to hold it as it dried so I could do other things.

When it was dry, I filled in the cracks with white wood filler, waited for it to dry, sanded it and it was ready to be painted.

You can't even tell it happened.  In that situation, screaming at him and making him feel bad for something I was able to easily repair would've made for a day of grumbling under our breath at each other and that's no fun when you're already going in blind.  Plus lesson learned so he'll be more careful in the future, right hon?

Pipe in some tunes

Seriously, there is nothing that puts unease in the air like silence and figuring out your next move on your project.  It's like perceived added pressure.  By having your favorite tunes on in the background, it gives pleasant white noise to a stressful situation and there's nothing like wielding a T-square and long level overhead as you high five and belt out Eye of the Tiger together.

Plan your cuts

Yeah.  We didn't do this...despite every flooring video specifically saying to do this.  You know how they say figure in 10% waste?  Well, we did and given we had to buy an extra box of flooring because we didn't plan the cuts, our waste went up to about 50-60%.  When you don't plan your cuts, you end up with a bunch of female ends when you need males and then before you know it, you're down to two boards that aren't gonna be enough and your wife has to walk away.  So to reiterate...plan. your. cuts and save $60 on a box of flooring you now have to figure out what to do with.

Paint first

In reading a zillion "shiplap" posts, I saw arguments for and against painting planks before you put up the planks.  Unless you like being confined in a small workspace and contorted in ways your body will rear up on you for in the days following...paint all the coats first.  A little fill and touch up is way better than what I had to go through for three days.  It's not like we hadn't had the boards for 3 weeks either.  But given it was a semi-spur of the moment decision, I paid for our poor planning.  I also must stress if you have a paint and primer mix, thin it.  Because of the primer, it is SO thick that by the time you start on the next patch, the first patch has started to gum up and makes feathering in paint almost impossible.  It can be done if you work super quick but at minimum, water down your final coat after sanding any parts that you can see brushstrokes and make that final coat nice and smooth.  Also make sure to heavily paint the edges so you can minimize how much you'll need to use a tiny brush to get the cracks.  Luckily the Mr lightly primed those so it wasn't quite as laborious as it could've been.

Keep it on the level

ALWAYS check your level on the flooring, on the vanity and anything that must be level.  This is especially true on that first row of flooring because if you screw that up, you will start to get wonky seams if they're visible and if you don't catch it until the end you'll either have to rip it all out or live with it and you know you'll see it forever!  (Thankfully we didn't have this issue!)

Locate your water valve shut off

If you're going to be working with removing toilets and vanities or anything like that, always make sure you turn off the water in your bathroom/kitchen.  Know in advance where the main shut off valve to the whole house is prior to getting started.  No sense in flooding the place if something goes seriously awry.

Properly prepare the throne

If you've watched any horror DIY shows, you know the toilet can be a source of nastiness.  "Stuff" can clump out if it's super old, tanks have been broken due to rushing or carelessness and water flooding because they deemed the job too nasty to get their rubber gloved hands dirty.  Turn off the water valve to the toilet and continue flushing until the tank is empty.  Soak up any remaining water with a large car wash sponge and do the same with the bowl.  Have a trash bag or two ready so when one person is lifting the toilet, the other can be bagging underneath it.  Place it on a steady surface if you're reusing it.  One thing you cannot reuse is your wax ring to reinstall it.  The wax must be removed from the flange and the bottom of the toilet for as clean a surface as possible.  We used this wax ring set  (affiliate link) and that piece that pops up scared us a little bit at first but after sitting on it set properly and it actually helped us set the toilet on the first try.  Always buy an extra wax ring because they're cheap enough and you can take it back if you don't need it.  Better to have an extra one available than having to make a store run in the middle of installation.

We can't show you a true after shot because we're not there yet.  While our part is done for the most part, we have the counter top guy coming Monday to measure and then our counter top and sink should be installed in 2 1/2 weeks.  But here's a look at the hardest part of what we did which was the floor and the planking on the walls with new chair rail.

True after pics coming hopefully in 3 weeks!

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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Our reno reality: Day 2

Apparently the key to sound sleep that leaves you so quiet that your husband has to make sure you're not dead is taking on a major DIY project!  Sunday morning, we woke up so broken that we were sad we only owned one heating pad to share between the two of us.   We had a working toilet by the time we went to bed Saturday and honestly, that was our only concern.  

I had painted the vanity, which I didn't know looked so friggin' dingy until it was out of the bathroom.  The only thing is I took a shortcut by using a chalk paint that was not Annie Sloan and I paid for it.  It looked like absolute crap even after using Annie Sloan white wax.  At that point, I considered it a base coat for when I got it back into the bathroom because it just looked like hell cakes.  It was faux shiplap day.  We'd already done the wall behind the toilet but still had to do the small side wall where the vanity would butt up but still be seen in bits and pieces.

We put those up and I did a paint job on them and caulked seams on the chair rail which funnily enough was the old baseboard.  I mean we didn't use the old baseboard but it was the same model we bought at Home Depot and it looked nice used in that capacity.

We decided to get the vanity back in place since this was the second thing we'd be holding our breath on...reconnecting the plumbing.  That meant my baggies had to come down.  We had a slow drip from the hot water side which left the Mr concerned but we'd just dump it every few hours so it didn't get too heavy and put a big bucket under it when we were sleeping.

We got the vanity in place and there was a Renovation Realities moment where it seemed like the right water pipe made a loud thud and the Mr thought the pipe snapped.  He listened for water then ran down and shut off the water to be safe.  We inspected further and there was no water, it was just the cut rate company who installed our plumbing when this place was built didn't properly secure it behind the wall.  That was why there was a notch in the back of the vanity to hold it in place.  So we were good.  He cut a bigger notch with his new Ryobi tool.   (affiliate link) (Man those people really reel you in.  "Look at all of the tools this battery will fit!  Weee hoooooooooo!")  It did come in handy though for notching that and undercutting the door jamb (ooh, I sounded like I knew what I was talking about!  Thanks YouTube!)

Everything got reconnected then it was time to put the old counter top/sink back on and really pray.  I guided him down right on top of the P-trap and while it didn't sit where it did before (thank God, that was a whole other cluster) it was stable and will do for the next few weeks until the new counter top is ordered and comes in.  He reconnected everything and while there was a slight moment of terror with the cold water with a high pitched sound and very little water pressure, it thankfully turned out to be a kink in the water line and just needed to be readjusted.

Running water is a beautiful thing!

Then it was time to work on the main wall which is the one you'd be staring at when doing your business so it had to look good.  I don't like the look of straight boards going all the way across.  I like seams for a bit of interest so I planned on originally doing one long board then one seam with the board split in two and alternate.  But the more I thought about it, the more I thought that could look uniform as well.  So I drew out what I thought would look good which was dividing the boards into thirds.  I must say I liked how it looked when it went actual thought was put into it!  HA!

Then we had to figure out how we were going to get the rail on top with the proper amount of planking under it to get it even.  While we had certain kinds of saws, we do not have circular or table saw which makes those long cuts easier.  The Mr did his best with the jigsaw but yeah...well.  Luckily a few boards that HD ripped were about 5 1/2" instead of 6" and that board made it fit perfectly, no wonky long cut needed.  There was a little filling that needed to go on with wood filler but nothing I didn't feel confident handling.  It's about 1 plank higher than the toilet side and I'm good with that because I was actually going to plank the whole wall but didn't so I like that it's slightly different but not so different you're like "what happened there?"  So all of the hard labor with cutting and such was now done. But since we were putting planking over beadboard, despite it only being a nickel width gap, you can still see it if you look.  Given you'd be sitting on the toilet with possible time to spare, I had to take an extra step...

I caulked after nailing up a plank to fill in the ridges in the bead board so you couldn't see them through the gaps and thankfully that hasn't been an issue.

We reused a piece of trim from the bead board to fill in the small little wall space to the left of the door frame.  While it looked fine on it's own, we saw that there was a 3/4" attachment we could add and make it look like we carried the planking over to that side.  So we got to fake it on that little piece but I think it gives a good finishing touch.

Then it was time to get into the grooves...

...and caulk like it was my job because right now it kind of was.

Holy hell, we DID it!!!!!!!  Screw you contractor!  The Mr told me a story a week prior about how when he was a kid, his friend's step dad was replacing the roof and he promised the boys a steak dinner if they helped.  They hauled away the roof shingles and at the end of the day, they grilled up some steaks and the Mr felt like a big shot. Since my big shot put in a commendable amount of work, I told him to get ready, we were going out for a steak dinner.

Sadly my work was just beginning because then it was time to paint...and paint...and paint.  I stayed on the floor in the squatty area and spent two hours painting the planking before waving the white flag.  My back and legs where not pleased.  I begged for a massage and he was kind enough to do my back since I was griping about it all day.  We were in bed by midnight and I hoped a day to ourselves after suggesting he call off.  That didn't happen because caulking took way longer and I had to put on a thinned out final coat on the planks.

What's the scariest DIY you've tackled?

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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Food Review: Enlightened Frozen Hot Cocoa Bars

You may remember my first experience with Enlightened bars was not the greatest.  I pretty much chalked it up to a product I wouldn't likely get again and didn't give it much thought.  Then I was contacted by the president of the company who said the bars looked like maybe they'd been damaged and she wanted me to have the opportunity to try them again along with their new crisps.  She was so nice in her email and I was glad to have the opportunity to give them another shot risk-free.

Well, I'm all for second chances but even free wouldn't keep me from giving my honest opinion.  She suggested their Frozen Hot Cocoa and given hot cocoa is our Sunday night tradition, that sounded right up our alley!

Here's the box:

A peek at the nutritional info:

Seven grams of protein and five grams of fiber? Yes, please!  I'm thinking occasional post workout snack.  You know, for recovery purposes.

The back of the box:

Here's the comp of actual product compared to the box:

I got a little nervous but I know that everything doesn't always look exactly as pictured...I mean have you seen fast food burgers vs. real life?

I gave it the 2 minutes suggested to thaw a bit.

So how does it taste?

Holy hell balls!  Oops, sorry- I should be a little more professional but yeah...leaps and bounds better than our first experience.  It had a creamy texture and if marshmallow is your favorite part of your hot cocoa experience, it has it in spades!  I believe the Mr's exact words were "this is damn good" as his eyes glazed over and he happily crunched on the little bits of chocolate.  Cold chocolate in ice cream gets a huge thumbs up from him anytime.  I'm usually not a fan but this wasn't rock hard chocolate that you couldn't taste.  It was slightly softer and full of flavor.  The cocoa flavor really did taste like hot chocolate!   (Even when you forgot you left the box out on the counter and an hour later discovers them, throw them in the freezer and pray for a miracle!)

(Still ate it.  Still delicious!)

We both agreed we would definitely get this flavor again and given the already humid summer we've been experiencing, I'm sure they'll make their way into our freezer soon.  But first, we want to try the Salted Caramel (review coming soon!) or Mint Chocolate Chip before getting this flavor a second time.  But it might just become our summertime Sunday night tradition when 90 degrees and hot cocoa doesn't sound like fun.  And I'm just gonna say this, in my own humble opinion...better than Halo Top.

Many thanks to Enlightened for hooking us up and believing in your product enough to think we needed to give it another look.  I'm so glad we did and you guys know me, despite trying this item complimentary, I don't blow sunshine let that sway me at all.  It gets four thumbs up from the Mr and I and I highly recommend if you see this flavor in the store, you give it a go!

What's your favorite flavor ice cream bar?

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Monday, June 26, 2017

Taking it into our own hands

Happy Monday y'all!  I hope your weekend was off the chain, dope AF, relaxing.  I wish I could say ours was.  You heard me threaten it Friday.  I said I was done with contractor BS and Friday afternoon, I went rogue.

I scored the caulk on our bathroom chair railing and got out ze Vonderbahhh....

Before you knew it, dat crap was off the wall and I was pulling brads out of faux bead board.

And we were officially in the middle of a construction zone!  But dammit, it had been over a month since we started this process and it was ridiculous to STILL be in limbo.  Even just having the chair rail and baseboards removed, I felt like it was something which is a far cry from the nothing of the past few weeks.

I was D-O-N-E yo.  I got the Mr's color to come back and realize this was going to happen because d-bag contractor was not only emailed Friday morning with a follow up that I expected to hear from him by the end of day if he expected to get our business (which at this point I no longer wanted to give him anyway) but at 5:30 pm the Mr called him and said I emailed him 4 days ago AND today to no response and if we didn't hear from him, we'd just do it ourselves.  We didn't hear from him and by the end of dinner, we made our list of what we needed to get this project underway.  We made a list of the tools we had and what was needed and made our Home Depot run.

The next morning we had a big breakfast at a local diner and came back and we were off!

That photo is a little deceiving.  It makes it look like we just blasted through that.  The register was a beeotch and my hats off to the manus who nary picked up a hammer as a lad to diving into the land of jigsaws, tapping blocks and pull bars with a major learning curve, my limited construction knowledge (I guess I remember more growing up around construction than I thought!) and YouTube.

Then came the part that terrified us both...the toilet.  Mainly because it's the only one in the house!  (And we'll just say it got a workout before being disconnected.)

We need to give it up to HGTV and DIY Network for the many home reno shows of toilet tomfoolery for us to learn from.  He turned off the water, flushed until the water was basically gone in the toilet then soaked up what was left from the tank and bowl with a huge sponge.  As soon as he lifted, I had a garbage bag ready for any water and stuff but we really lucked out.  We moved it to the guest room and got back to work.  Of course, then you're left with a big stinky sewage hole in the middle of your bathroom and that is no bueno so while an old towel worked for a while, this is the solution that we both preferred:

Holiday Press and Seal makes everything better and you can easily template around it for flooring so yeah, we were happy, plus...Christmas.  (Less than 6 months now!!)

The floor got knocked out, I painted the vanity which we moved to the guest room, we put up one wall of planking behind the toilet and I painted it and we got the baseboards and chair rail put up on one side.  The toilet was reinstalled at 11:20 pm, I put down a nice bead of silicone caulking around it and by 1 am, we were finally off to dreamland and that was just Saturday!

So our house is a little discombobulated right now.

Did I mention d-bag contractor emailed just as the Mr was laying the first board???  Nope.  Too late sir.  Yesterday was your deadline and you got two emails and one phone call to your personal cell line.  We didn't even open it until the next day and of course, it had a LAME excuse about how my email got lost and put in a different folder...blah blah blah.  Well, you just always seem to have an excuse, don't you?  Tell it to someone who gives a shite because that's not us anymore.  Our bodies are broken.  So we are taking today off to rest or just what whatever we WANT to do and not what we have to do.

What did you guys do this weekend?

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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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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  (affiliate link) 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  (affiliate link) 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  (affiliate link) 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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