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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!

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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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My Favorite Gifts for Kiddos

I’m a mom of three boys — invites to kids’ birthday parties come with the territory. Ditto on my own boys’ parties. There’s not a month that we don’t have at least one shindig to attend, and I’m totally fine with that. I need the socializing as much as my kids do, and what better place to connect with other mom friends than at a place where there’s guiltless cake and probably wine of some sort? (I’m in the south — don’t judge.)

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Because I’ve got three kids with ages ranging from 6 months to 8 years, I’ve definitely got my favorite “go-to” gifts for other kids. I try to stray from trendy items because:

A) Often times, they already have those toys, or

B) I’m not 100% sure what he or she is into.

Look, we all want our kids to enjoy themselves. And it is totally fine for our littles to be drawn to the latest, greatest, & loudest. But coming from a mom whose children are surrounded by loud toy guns, trucks, video games, and Legos (if you think Legos can’t be loud, then clearly you’ve never been around a boy with Legos), sometimes I prefer to give other kids fun activities (with minimal mess) and their moms a much-deserved break from all things battery operated.

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The things I’ve got in store for you today still allow kids to be kids, but it also provides an opportunity for fun family experiences. I hope you find something cool for your little guy or gal’s next birthday party adventure!

  1. Zoo passesgift1
  2. Fun subscription boxes

    *The above boxes are from Kiwi & Co. I am not affiliated with nor am I receiving any sort of compensation from Kiwi & Co.

  3. Movie passes with enough for drink/snack
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    Image found here: https://www.etsy.com/market/movie_ticket
  4. Age appropriate arts & crafts sets.

    *Brit+Co Metal Stamp Necklace Kit

    *Discovery Kids Crane Tower Set

  5. Board games

    *The Oregon Trail

    *Where in the World is Carmen San Diego

    Speak Out: Kids vs. Parents

I also love incorporating books of some sort into my gift, especially for little ones. What are some of your go-to gifts for kids? I’m always game to add to my list of ideas.

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30.

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Today, I am thirty.

….sooo…. why do I feel no different today than I did yesterday, at 29?

Probably because my kids went to bed squabbling and woke up squabbling.  Thanks for keeping it real, kids.  You da real MVP.

But I digress.  Today isn’t just that huge of a deal for me.  It is what it is.  My best friend made a valid point this morning — 40 will probably be my epic meltdown birthday.  So, there’s that.  Ten additional years to prepare for being a complete basket case.  She also told me to party like a rockstar — little did she know that I woke up laying in puke that wasn’t my own (thanks, Mason!) and to an unwelcome foot down my pants (thanks, Connor!).  So while I’ll likely not party like a rockstar, I certainly woke up like one.  Same difference, right?

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I’m pretty sure my body is just in shock that I’ve made it thirty years through three c-sections, a slew of super-stupid life choices, and a nearly completely pickled liver.  The “dirty thirty” birthday bonanza will probably hit me like a semi-truck later when I’m kicking children out of the bathroom so I can just take a damn shower.  So for now, I’m going to leave you with thirty things about myself that, like ’em or not, have made me who I am today.

  1. I was born May 30th, 1988 at 8:15 AM.  I only know the time because my sweet mother has hammered that into my memory for, oh, thirty years.
  2. I have three siblings (two brothers and a sister), all of whom I am extremely proud of.  No, their accomplishments are not my own.  But they make me proud to be their sister.
  3. I have always rooted for the underdog.  That hasn’t always worked out in my favor.
  4. I am a momma to three beautiful and slightly deranged little boys.  They are my reasons to get up every morning — largely because they wake me up at the buttcrack of dawn every. damn. day.
  5. I love Diet Coke and would drink it by the case if I didn’t think it would kill me on the spot.
  6. When I was growing up, I wanted to be a writer.  …that clearly didn’t pan out.
  7. I also wanted to be a pilot and an interior designer.  I don’t mean to brag, but I chauffeur my kids around like nobody’s business and I can feng shui the hell out of some Legos.
  8. My most favorite book is To Kill a Mockingbird.
  9. love murder-mysteries in any form — except for in real life.  Don’t nobody got time for that.
    • Murder, She Wrote is my JAM.
  10. I love to explore and would pack my family up to become adventurers if given the chance.
  11. Ireland is on the top of my “Places to Go” bucketlist.
  12. I talk with my hands.
  13. I’m a hugger (comes with that Southern territory — sorry, not sorry).
  14. Daisies are my favorite flower with tulips following at a close second.
  15. I love all things history, emphasis on Early American and European history.
  16. I am fascinated by the lives of people from the past.  I think I romanticise it all and get it in my head that they lived these super intriguing lives when, in reality, they were probably pretty ordinary for the times.
  17. I romanticise a lot of things, come to think of it.
  18. I was a single mom for two years.  Not a very long time at all by most standards, but it taught me a lot and helped me really appreciate life and, more importantly, my son’s life.  On a more serious note, he truly did save me from myself.
  19. I met my husband through my ex-brother-in-law via Facebook.  Truth be told, I only met Evan to shut Jake up.  Little did I know…
  20. My abhorrent punctuation skills aside, my favorite subject in school was English.
  21. I plan on taking the leap one day and writing a book.  God bless the editor that is assigned to that hot mess!
  22. I am terrified of deep water.
  23. I wish I were a bit bolder.
  24. Sometimes I feel altogether useless as an adult and parent.  But don’t we all?
  25. I really love deep conversations.  I know that’s not a super popular thing these days, so I have to censor myself lest I become a real buzz kill.
  26. My mouth is absolutely horrid.  Seriously, I don’t even realize I swear half the time.  I’m working on it.
  27. One day I hope to explore an old house and find a secret passageway.  That would be the equivalent of finding gold for me.
  28. I have no idea what I’m doing most days.
  29. Writing this list made me realize how little I really know about myself, which is oddly scary.
  30. And finally, I hope to lose minimally thirty pounds by the end of the year.  Not just for myself, but for my kids as well.

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So there you have it.  If you made it through that somewhat redundant list, then bless your heart.  I’m off to celebrate the morning at IHOP with my kiddos, because prying sticky pancake off of my four-year-old is the best thing EVAH.

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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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Stuff Southern Mommas Say

As a kid growing up in the South, I learned the difference between sarcasm and sincerity real fast.  I learned that tone only makes up about 40% of each individual way of speaking; the other 60% is all in the body language.  And y’all — ain’t nobody got that tone and body language down-pat quite like we southern mommas.

Before I had kids, I only thought I’d inherited the gift prematurely.  Psh!  I was a timid little dormouse until I had kids.  These days I speak sarcasm so fluently, most people think I’m the nicest, most sincere person they’ve ever laid eyes on.  My kids are little smart-asses, too, but they don’t got nothin’ on their momma.  Y’all call it being passive-aggressive; we call it issuing a dare.

Oh, sure; we mean what we say.  But the true brilliance of SM language is the ability to almost speak in code with the eyes.  You may HEAR, “Go right on ahead and touch that fence”.  But if you’re paying real close attention to the shifting of our gaze and the clenching of our fists, then you know what we really mean is, “Go ahead and touch the fence, smart ass.  But we’re not going to the hospital and I’ll be damned if I’m gonna listen to your bitchin’.”  So this brings me to the topic at hand: stuff southern mommas say.

  1. Excuse me?!
    Y’all, when you hear this you better hit the ground runnin’ and hope to God we can’t get our flip flops off in time to chuck it at the back of your head.  I have said, “Excuse me?!” so many times to my kids that the last time I sneezed, the boys both cleaned the entire house and offered to cook dinner.  Poor babies hadn’t even done anything — that time.  But momma don’t play.  And if momma ain’t playin, ain’t nobody playin’.
  2. Go ahead and touch (insert object here) after I said not to.
    This is the ultimate “don’t even think about it”.  Most of the time I don’t even have to come through with a punishment because whatever it is my kid(s) has (have) touched is punishment enough.  Case in point: I told Connor not to touch my straightener the other day.  Now, I’m not above baby-proofing and there’s no way in hell I’d have that thing low enough for Mason to get to it.  But Con is old enough to know (and I’ve reiterated enough) that the damn straightener is HOT, and just like the oven, we don’t touch it.  So what’s he do?  Well, the little smart-alec went in and just barely touched the plate.  I mean just barely; it didn’t even leave a mark.  It scared him more than it hurt.  But he knew to “suck it up, buttercup” because I’d already told him, “Uh, don’t touch that”.  However, sometimes the kids slip up and still come running after doing something less than intelligent.  In those cases, we hit ’em with…

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  3. Don’t come runnin’ to me.  I don’t want to hear it.
    Here’s the phrase that often gets us southern mommas in a fair amount of hot water, but we don’t care.  Listen, a kid’s gotta learn at some point in his or her life how not to do stupid things.  We like to call this “experience”.  If you haven’t experienced something, you’ll never know the rewards or pitfalls that whatever-it-is can bring you.  It’s kind of like riding a bike: once you learn, you never forget.  So in the bicycle ride of life, you gotta bust your ass a few times before you’re riding a Tour de France.  Also, on a less logical basis, this really means, “I TOLD YOU SO.”
  4. Bless your heart.
    This one has been done to death, but there are so many possible meanings to this phrase.  Sure, we may mean we’ll pray for your momma and them — but probably not.  Generally speaking, we’re telling you in the nicest way possible to get over yourself.  Hey, sometimes we all need to hear it.

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  5. Oh, honey.
    “Oh, honey” is simply a less condescending way of saying, “Bless your heart”.  Sometimes we even mean, “Oh, honey”.  However, the sincerity is limited to the death of a loved one, a bad hairdo, or getting into Ole Miss but not LSU.  If you’ve been “oh, honey-ed” recently but haven’t experienced any of the above scenarios, then someone out there thinks you’re a few bricks short of a house.
  6. Lemme say it one more time.
    For the love of God and all that is holy, don’t make that woman repeat herself.  Unless, of course, you enjoy frostbite.  Then go for it.

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  7. God don’t like ugly.
    Stop runnin’ your head about your cousin’s sister’s fiancé.
  8. Did I ask who put it there.
    No, I didn’t mean to insert a question mark.  This is a STATEMENT, y’all.  Not a question.  And if you value your hide at all, you’ll pick up whatever it is that’s on the ground, table, or couch FAST.
  9. I know you did not!
    Gabe’s teacher reminded me of this one yesterday and I laughed out loud.  I’m constantly saying this to my boys.  The look on my boys’ faces when they hear this — Lawd.  I can’t even put it into words.  It’s definitely a “deer-in-headlights meets aliens are coming” kind of face.  For those of you who are lucky enough to have never heard ya momma say, “I know you did NOT!”, let me fill you in on the meaning: your ass is grass.  You will soon to meet your Maker.  Hit the deck, Bud, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride.  In short: you’ve really screwed yourself and there’s no gettin’ out of it.
  10. You’re killin’ me, smalls.
    Okay, so this one may not be limited to us southern moms.  But I know for certain we say this A LOT.  And, really, it speaks for itself.  Say the kids aren’t really being bad, just… “plentiful”.  Coming in and out, in and out, in and out… letting out the “bought air”.  Or runnin’ wild in the heat of the day, all up in your house?  You don’t really want to jerk a knot in anyone because your own momma taught you to pick your battles.  So the next best thing to clotheslining your own spawn is to simply let out an exasperated, “YA KILLIN’ ME, SMALLS!”  The kids get the message, count their blessings that there is still breath within their lungs, and for a solid two minutes there is peace.  It’s only fair — about ten minutes into more rough-housing, one of the aforementioned statements is going to come rushin’ out of your mouth faster than a Nascar at Daytona.

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  11. Lastly, You are my sunshine.
    I don’t want anyone leaving this post thinking that us Scarlett O’Haras, Blanche Devereauxs, or Ousier Boudreauxs do anything less than love our kids.  They are the lights of our lives.  Our reasons for loving anyone from the mud to the moon.  And, yeah — sometimes they are our emergency trips to Target for a big-ass bottle of Tylenol and a box of wine.  But they teach us as we teach them.  They love us as we love them.  And one day they’ll leave the nest and have children of their own.  Until that day comes, we’ll be back porch sittin’, summer day spendin’, and on the couch cuddlin’ with our littles.

    Until they piss us off.  Then they better run.

 

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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

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Mother’s Day Gift Guide pt. 3

There are days that us moms feel like dressing up (read: the good leggings and non-stained top) and there are days that we have to shave our legs, put on good jeans, and a nice blouse.  But I would say most of the time, for me anyway, the go-to uniform is a kitschy t-shirt, lightly distressed denim, and trusty Chucks.  I love a cute tee that expresses my mood for the day — whether that mood is light or dark is generally pretty up in the air.  But today, for lightness’ sake, I’ve rounded up a few of my favorites.  You may be thinking, “Who on earth would get their mom a TEE SHIRT for Mother’s Day?!”  Trust me.  If she has toddlers, puking babies, or if she’s recently cleaned a toilet, she’d love the new top (and you!) forever.

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  1. Raising Wild Things tee
  2. Mom of Boys tee
  3. Mom of Girls tee
  4. They Whine I Wine tee
  5. Walk Across Legos tee
  6. Diet Coke Helps tee

Not Pictured
Gabriel Clothing Co. Mom Box
Bonus Mommin’ tee