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5 Things I Wish I’d Known About Plumbing

Hey, y’all!  Sorry for the long absence; we’ve been battling bathroom plumbing issues the past week and tried to get a handle on them over the weekend.  Honestly, it’s been a long-time coming.  Our house is about 40-45 years old, and the previous owners did a rough job of “doctoring” the problems rather than properly fix them.  Nothing serious, but definitely a pain in the gluteus maximus.  One big problem we’ve been dealing with, especially recently, has been the bathroom plumbing.  None of it was installed correctly and totally half-assed.  The existing piping, according to our plumber, is likely as old as the house.  We decided to go ahead and get an estimate on what it would cost to re-pipe the entire house and, surprisingly, it isn’t awful.  Granted, we live in a small 1,350 sqft home.  Hopefully soon that will all be changed out, however, and we’re anticipating that the new works will at least slightly increase our home value.

Anyway, prior to calling a plumber my husband, dad, and I attempted to flush out the situation to attempt to save some cash.  I’m not currently working, so we’re on a pretty tight budget.  But, as luck almost always has it, we wound up spending twice as much on plumbing “band-aids” than we did on an actual plumber coming to fix our toilet disaster.  Lesson learned, ladies.  Occasionally, you may get lucky and be able to plunge or Drano the problem away.  But always, always, always stop after $30.  If thirty bucks ain’t solving shit, then an additional $20, $40, or $60 won’t, either.  HEED MY WARNING.  You are speaking to the queen of frugality, y’all.  When it comes to plumbing, tread lightly.  Which brings me to what I’m driving at today:

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1) Never, under any circumstances, pour grease down a drain.  This includes any type of grease and all drain types.  The damage won’t be instantaneous, but over time the fat and grease deposits collect and clog your system.  This can leave you with an overflow of sewage in your house.  Believe me, you don’t want that.  It may take 5, 10, or 15 years, but it’ll happen and it can be an expensive fix depending on whether you’re on septic tank or city sewage.  Don’t chance it.

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  • What to do instead: use a container (I use old detergent bottles) to catch the grease and a funnel (if necessary) to help direct it.  Wipe out any residue with a paper towel.  If any grease does get down the drain, pour some detergent that breaks down grease and hot water down the pipes to help further knock out the deposits.  Which brings me to….

2) Use a tough detergent.  Realistically, you can’t keep all the grease from escaping a pan or plate and going down the sink.  It’s gonna happen.  But, you can use a high-quality, non-store brand to help the eliminate any problems.  Again, I’m the Frugality Queen and I use a ton of store brand items, but dish detergent ain’t one of them.  I’ve even stopped using store brand and/or cheap laundry detergent due to the weird build-up they leave on my washer.  If it’s going down your plumbin’, make sure it’s properly suddin’.  You want your pipes as close to grime-free as possible.
3) On the opposite end of the toughness spectrum, you want to use something that easily degrades in the TP department.  Now listen, y’all.  I don’t mean use TP that don’t hold to blowing your nose, but it is SO important that you flush stuff that won’t clog or slowly disintegrate.  Our plumber recommends Scott or Angel Soft.  I’m not affiliated with either of those brands in a marketing sense, but I can tell you from experience that Angel Soft is where it’s at as far as being durable enough for a wipe but easily breaks down for pipes.  If you don’t use either of those brands, then be sure to follow-up monthly with toilet or plumbing enzymes such as Roto-Rooter.  In fact, Roto-Rooter has a toilet safe formula that is okay for those particular pipes.

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4) Invest in a good plumbing upkeep schedule.  Honest to God, this has really helped us keep BIG problems at bay.  There are all kinds of products that you can use to help things flowing well.  INVEST, INVEST, INVEST.  That bottle of Roto Rooter or Drano may cost $15, but fifteen bucks is a far cry from $1,500.  Again, been there — done that.  Looking for more of a green clean?  Check out Grove Collaborative for those options!
5) When in doubt, don’t flush it.  I’m not always 100% sold on “flushable” wet wipes and, as it turns out, neither are most plumbers.  Obviously you don’t want to stick other hygiene products, toys, etc., in the toilet, but sometimes crap happens.  You want to be prepared for the inevitable — especially if you have children or if you keep little incidentals around the facilities.  Lemme fill you in on a secret, guys: while it’s always good to have a normal vacuum, it’s also awesome to have a wet/dry ShopVac.  “What does this have to do with plumbing, Sarah?”  Well, I’ll tell you.  Having a ShopVac is freaking great for spills and floods.  Guess what it’s also good for?  Getting close-proximity clogs out of toilets.  Toys, stuck wet wipes, you name it — if it’s stuck within reach of an attached nozzle, you’re golden.  It’ll suck the lost item right out of there, no plumber needed.  BE CAREFUL not to push down on the object — you want the nozzle just close enough to pull whatever is stuck, out.  Bonus points: most ShopVacs have a reverse option.  Go outside or to a bathtub and let the vacuum do the rest (if using a tub make sure to have a drain catch installed so the object doesn’t relodge into another pipe).

Plumbing work is no fun and cleaning up water back-up is a nightmare.  Hopefully these five tips help you to have a better experience, whether you rent or own!

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Do you have any helpful plumbing tips?  Jot ’em down in the comments below!  I’m always game to add to my home-owner hack arsenal!

Blog, Children, Family, Home decor, Humor, Kids, Mom blog, Mom Life, Motherhood, Parenting, Relatable, Writing

What the Fork

Lately, we have been experiencing a shortage of silverware — forks, in particular.  We’ve an abundance of butter knives and spoons, but the forks?  Pftttt.  They have gone amiss.  As I’m sure I’ve mentioned in the past, there is no chore I hate more than standing at a sink washing dishes.  So naturally, I decided to get to the bottom of the matter recently when I washed the same four utensils three times over the course of the day.  My Nancy Drew sleuthing brought me to this conclusion: my kids, upon scraping their plates, are also discarding our flipping forks.  Why?  Because they’re imps and they hate me.

Okay, so that’s a little dramatic.  Really, it’s because they’re children and they are not paying attention.  Nevertheless, we’re down to four pieces of this particular kind of utensil and I can’t deal.

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“Geez, just go buy some more forks, Sarah”, you might be thinking.  Ah, but it isn’t that simple.  You see, we’re a bunch of weirdos, and weirdos have to use specific eating apparatuses.  These things can be neither too thin nor too bulky, too plain nor too ornate.  They cannot be easily bent (read: husbands) nor can they be too hard too manipulate (read: kiddos).  The silverware set that I purchased a few years back was PERFECT.  The weight wasn’t off (tell me that’s not important — I dare you) and the handles were the perfect thickness.  Bonus: it was bought at Target for $19.99.  In short: this set was EVERYTHING.  And guess what?  They’ve discontinued that line.  Because why the hell not.

I’m the kind of person who has eleventy-hundred movies and/or series on her Netflix cue but only watches the same five or six that never let her down.  So, of course, I’m going to keep nose-diving into my first world problems and get all stupid over forks.  Obviously, I will eventually have to purchase another set.  And if Target would get it together and re-instate this particular set, then I’d be ready and raring to go.  But nooo.

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Don’t worry, y’all — I’m not nearly as on myself as I sound; most of the above has been said in jest.  But honestly, while most decor and utensil options come to me pretty naturally, this whole fork/spoon/knife thing has me frustrated.  I’ve looked at several options and I cannot find any that aren’t either A) over-the-top expensive or, B) something everyone will like.  My husband isn’t a particularly big guy, but he has big hands and doesn’t like to use small utensils.  My kids I’m not so worried about as I’ve recently bought them some colored, plastic tableware that I won’t flip my lid over when and if they’re accidentally thrown out.  I, myself, don’t care so much about the size as I do the thickness; I don’t like using anything bulky.  So here’s my question, dear readers: what brands are you using and what are the pros/cons of your favorite utensils?  I know I’m not the only one here who agonizes over tableware, so dish (pun absolutely intended).

I suppose I should be relieved that they aren’t throwing away entire dishes, although a few weeks ago a very bleary-eyed Connor nearly chucked his bowl that he’d been eating oatmeal out of.  He realized his error before I even got the chance to say anything, however, and begrudgingly grabbed it out of the trashcan.  “Ugh, mom”, he said.  “Why’d you let me do that?!”, he asked.

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“Because why the hell not”, I mentally argued.  “Why the hell not?!”

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10 Things I’ve Said to My Children in Walmart

As we grow older, we develop life stories.  Some parts of these stories are light-hearted and fun.  Other chapters are dark and gloomy.  Some are just “meh”; you know what I mean — we all wander out of the “wonder years” and straight into the “not-even-using-dry-shampoo-give-a-damn’s-busted”- ‘meh’ phase.  It happens to the best of us — don’t knock ya’self.  If you’re a parent, at least one and a half of those chapters take place at the grocery store.  If you’re an unlucky parent, that grocery store just so happens to be WalMart.

Now, look — if any of you are employees of WalMart, I’m not hating on your workplace (much).  WalMart is a necessary evil.  A necessary evil that I should be a stockholder of, but I digress.

Point being, we all hold our own dialogue, with our own children, from our own personal experiences in the aisles and check-out lanes of various markets.  My kids are generally well behaved in public.  Sure, they get rowdy on occasion and sometimes I threaten to leave them in the frozen food aisle (“WHERE ARE YOUR PARENTS, RANDOM HEATHEN?!”), but usually, the most damage that is ever done is me having to say really. weird. SHIT.  No, Classy Cathy; I don’t mean stuff.  I mean SHIT.  I have said some seriously off-the-wall, where-in-the-world-did-that-come-from crap.  And if you have ever had to run into the grocery with your children for, “Just eggs!” and you come out with everything but eggs, then you know my grief.

With that said, I’ve compiled a Top Ten list of my personal favorite “WTF?!” WalMart moments with my kids.

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10. You don’t have to have a new toy every time we come to the store.  Yes, that includes the poo emoji beanbag chair.
09. STOP POKING THE CHICKEN.
08. I don’t care if this is only WalMart and not Target, quit farting on your brother.
07. Quit staring at the bras.  You’re right — I don’t have a tiger striped bra.  Oh, I’m sure dad would laugh, alright.

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06. You know, they throw kids in WalMart jail for eating grapes that haven’t been purchased.  Don’t think I won’t let them keep you, either.
05. Yes, I see that she is wearing her pajamas.  No, you may not wear your pajamas next time.
04. Are you lic– WHY ARE YOU LICKING THE BUGGY?!

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03. No, you may not scan the baby’s butt.  Why?!  Because we’ve already paid for him, that’s why.
02. GET OUT OF THE FREEZER.
01. Go get in the car. Go GET in the CARGET IN THE CARRRRRRR.

All of the above was said in one shopping trip.  Last week.  The final week of summer.  Y’all, Connor started kindergarten today.  Do you know what that means?!  That means I get to go grocery shopping, nay, to WALMART, alone.  Unincumbered.  In (relative) silence.  There will be wine and dancing in the aisles and I don’t care who stares!

I hope I’m not alone in most of these (and seriously doubt that I am) and also hope you’ll comment below with your own grocery shopping proclamations and weirdness.  Like what you’ve read?  Hit the links below to follow me and subscribe for email notifications!

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All Aboard the Hot Mess Express

In the train station of life, I am the conductor of the Hot Mess Express.  My kids are the cowboy bandits Rowdy McGee, Ruckus Brown, & Ryder “Big Stink” Calhoun — the fastest Nerf-gun slingers in the South.  Their goal?  To rob me blind of sanity and Goldfish crackers.  The train leaves the station at “Oh, Shit, We’re Late” thirty and pulls in around “Sorry, We Hit Traffic (But Not Really)” o’clock*.  Needless to say, my ability to conduct chaos is ASTOUNDING not the greatest.

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Since becoming a SAHM, I’ve found that my resourcefulness as far as managing the clock goes is…. well.  Lacking.  When I had a 9-5 job, I had to be efficient at all times.  If I wasn’t on the road at Time A, there was no way that I’d be at work for Time B.  And if I couldn’t get out of the office at Time C, then I was going to be fifteen to twenty minutes late for pickup at Time D, which cost me $5 a MINUTE.  Y’all, I’m frugal as hell.  I’m not paying anybody, but anybody, to watch my kids for five bucks a minute.  So get outta my way, slow-moving eighteen wheeler on the freeway!  Momma’s burning gas and rubber to save $75 and you’re impeding my progress.

I don’t really know what happened when I left my job to stay home.  I’d been momming for eight years, so I knew that being at home — ALONE — with the ankle biters would be no easy task.  I knew that I wouldn’t be sitting with my feet propped up, lovingly stroking their heads, reading a bajillion Dr. Seuss books, sipping on luke-warm cocoa.  I’m a lot of things, but gullible ain’t one of them.  So all I can think is that maybe, just maybe, I thought I’d have more time on my hands being at home all day vs. going to work and then struggling to get all the things done.

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Sigh.  Could there have been a time when I was really that stupid?  Me thinks so.

And summertime — sheesh.  Summertime is the worst time-sucker of all.  I’ve been telling myself for weeks now to invest in room-darkening curtains.  I’m a cheap ass, but really… I feel like those would be a sound investment.  Because eight o’clock rolls around and my kids see half a glimmer of a fourth of a sunbeam and they’re all, “PARTY TIL MORNING” and I’m all, “OH HELLLL NAW”.  No kidding, I’ve been trying to write this very post for three days. THREE DAYS, Y’ALL.  Rowdy, Ruckus, & Ryder are about to find themselves hogtied if they don’t cut out the hoopin’, hollerin’, and general shenanigans**.

When we do manage to get out the door on time (read: minimally ten minutes late), my kids are clean, dressed, pressed, and look like little gentlemen.  I try to come out looking somewhat presentable, but sometimes my appearance is that of a frontierswoman who fought a bobcat — and lost.  I think my most favorite “getting ready” activities are hollering, “PUT ON YOUR PANTS” from my bathroom and explaining to my husband the million reasons I’m not ready but the children are.  Like, are you kidding me, dear?!  Don’t call me darlin’, darlin’; I’ll be ready once the children stop urinating on the floor.

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You’re probably wondering why I’m still not on the stick after 8.75 years and three children.  And I wish I could tell you.  What I can tell you is that if you looked at the alarm app on my phone, you’d think I was in the business of timing heists.  I’ve got an alarm for EVERYTHING.  Departure times, arrival times, bath times, eating times, times we could ideally leave, and more realistic alarms for when we’ll actually be getting in the car, and an additional timer for when we’re all in the car but we haven’t actually left the driveway just yet.  Think I’m joking?  Think again.  Those little alarms are the only things that get my ass in gear — who cares if they also give me anxiety?!

One day I’ll have it all together.  hahahahahahaha

No, I won’t.  I can’t even finish that paragraph without lying my backside off.

One day, I’ll try to focus on being less anxious to get out of the house before noon and just roll in the reality of this: I do have children.  BOY children.  And I know there are mommas out there who are also boy moms.  I know there are moms out there who also have 3+ children.  I know those women manage to get out the door dressed, unscathed, and on time.  I’m not even going to be bitter about it, because that’s just not my life right now.  And that’s okay.  Because those women likely have other issues that I’m not dealing with, and if life has taught me anything, it’s the grass ain’t necessarily greener on the other side of the fence — and if it is greener, it’s probably fake.

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So to you moms out there who struggle with promptness like I do***, raise up a glass of sasparilla, whiskey, milk… whatever you’re drinking and tell yourself this: just don’t forget to turn off your straightener.
*Obviously, these times vary because time management is an unfamiliar concept as a mother of bandits.

** Not really.  But only because I have no idea what hog-tying entails.

***Before anyone jumps on the, “If you can’t be on time you’re just rude” comment — don’t.  If I do nothing else, I consider other people’s feelings as well as their (valuable) time.  This is something written in jest, but also something that I genuinely struggle with.  So make nice, or move on.  kthanks!

 

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A SAHM’s take on her three-ring-circus and the three Converse
 wearing monkeys who live there.

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Decor, Entertaining, Family, Gifts, Heirlooms, Holidays, Links, Lists, Mom blog, Mom Life, Mood Boards, Motherhood, Parenting, Uncategorized

Mother’s Day Gift Guide pt. 4

Hey, y’all!  So sorry for the long absence; the past few days have been absolutely crazy.  However, I’m back with our fourth edition of the Mother’s Day Gift Guide.  Today, I’m going to share with you two of my favorite brands from two of my favorite leading ladies: Joanna Gaines & Ree Drummond.  I love these two mommas’ charming personalities and am constantly impressed by their moral compasses — even in the face of their individual fame.

Joanna’s line “Hearth & Hand” (a Target exclusive) is simple yet stunning; her attention to detail is absolutely exquisite.  Ree’s “Pioneer Woman” takes a different approach, but is equally charming and detail oriented.  I have provided two separate boards each complete with links to the products.

What momma wouldn’t love getting some new decor inspiration?!  I know I sure would.  Here’s to finding some beautiful ideas for mom that I just know she’ll enjoy for years to come.

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Joanna Gaines’ “Hearth & Hand”
  1. Stoneware Trays: Set of 2
  2. Stoneware Pedestal Bowl
  3. Covered Cake Stand
  4. Magnolia Table Cookbook
  5. 2-Tier Cake Stand

 

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Ree Drummond’s “Pioneer Woman”
  1. Cookbook Stand
  2. Batter Bowl
  3. Pioneer Woman 2-Quart Pitcher
  4. Pioneer Woman “Food From My Frontier Cookbook”
  5. Jade Cake Stand

 


Previous Posts
Mother’s Day Gift Guide pt. 1
Mother’s Day Gift Guide pt. 2
Mother’s Day Gift Guide pt. 3

DIY, Family, Furniture, Heirlooms, Home decor, Mom blog, Motherhood, Nostalgia\, Uncategorized

Sentimentallity

I am a pretty sentimental person.  I love birthdays and celebrating people on those days.  I love finding “that perfect” gift for someone at Christmastime to the point that it’s stressful — but I love it.  Bottomline, if there is any amount of sentiment in it, I’m there.

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On the flipside of that, I, personally, am not super materialistic.  I like pretty things and I could window shop all day long, but things don’t make me happy.  People and memories are infinitely more important to me than anything money could buy.

However, I do love sentimental items that have been passed down generationally.  There is something so special about looking at an old piece of furniture or a trinket that belonged to a loved one who has since passed.

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While I was pregnant, I frantically looked everywhere for a suitable dresser for Mason’s room.  I didn’t want to spend a fortune on cheaply made furniture, but I didn’t really have the time to refurb anything in rough shape, either.  My dad stepped in and offered to refurbish my great-grandmother’s old dresser and I accepted.  It meant so much to me that he would offer to do that (not that it’s out of character — he has made things for all of us since forever) and I loved the idea of having a family piece in our home.

He recently finished and I absolutely love it.  I love the dresser itself, but even more so I love the time that he took to make sure it was perfect.  I love that he wanted to hand down something that meant so much to him from a person who he grew up admiring.

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Mason’s nursery is full of special items that my dad either built, refurbished, or touched up.  Those heirlooms are why I love that room in particular so much.  It’s more than just material objects; it’s the love that came out from them.  I hope one day I will be able to pass on those items to my boys.  I hope that they will appreciate the thought and meaning of those pieces and that they will cherish them as much as I do.

Is there anything that has been passed on to you that you love?  What’s the story?  I’d love to hear about your treasures!