Archive | December, 2009

Non-Stick Spray for Shoveling

December 28, 2009


We finally got some snow in Upstate New York! The Mohawk Valley got about 4 inches over the weekend (just a spit o’ snow– I grew up in the Snow Belt between Lake Ontario and Lake Oneida; four inches is like a dusting there). The snow was wet and heavy, though, and still needed to be moved. Here’s a little tip for any of you novice snow shovelers out there. šŸ˜‰

Spray your shovel with non-stick cooking spray before you begin shoveling. This will make the snow glide off the shovel. It works for spring digging, too! WD-40 is not a good idea to use outdoors, as it will get into the ground and contaminate the snow and soil below. Non-stick cooking spray is great because it’s a food product (veggie oils). Plus, you’ll be ravenous for popcorn when you’re done shoveling.

Snow Slam2

Non-stick cooking spray has other uses, too:

  • After applying nail polish to your nails, spray a very light coat of non-stick cooking spray onto them. The polish will dry much, much quicker!
  • Spray the cooking spray on the underside of your snow sleds. Wheeeeeeeeeeee! Hang on tight, boys and girls!
  • Instead of melted butter on your popcorn, lightly spray your cooked popcorn with the butter-flavored spray.
  • Spray plastic containers before you store your food leftovers in them. It will make the containers easier to clean later.

Have fun shoveling!

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Find the Kitty Friday 12/25

December 25, 2009


Merry Christmas! I hope your holiday is turning out swell. To celebrate, here’s a particularly difficult Find the Kitty photo. Hmmmm where could she be this time?

FTK 12.25.09

Enlarge the photo if you need to. […]

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

December 24, 2009


May you have a blessed Christmas filled with His joy. And I hope your New Year really rocks! šŸ˜€

God bless you guys! šŸ™‚

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Building a Winter Cat Shelter

December 22, 2009


We’ve adopted a few feral cats who have homes outdoors. Well, not exactly outdoors– one sleeps in the attached garage and one sleeps in the basement (we have small hatches for both areas). Both areas are warmer than the cruel outdoors, but Upstate New York winters can be pretty rough on a critter. My feral cat, Milo, an orange tabby, is an old geriatric at 12 years old, and we had to ditch his comfy but dirty old stuffed chair last year. I did some searching, and came up with a terrific idea for a winter cat shelter. I decided to make the simple plastic container shelter for Milo, with a few adjustments. I post what we did, here, in case anyone searching for ideas can use it.


This is a very inexpensive shelter, and it’s easy to build. The most difficult part of the construction is cutting the plastic holes, a task we found arduous. I read one tip (after the fact, ugh) that suggested heating the plastic buckets with a hairdryer to soften the plastic, and thus make the cutting of the holes easier. I wish I’d known that beforehand!

    Supplies you’ll need:

  • a 28 gallon plastic tub with lid (it cost me $12 at WalMart)
  • an 18 gallon plastic tub with lid (I had one on hand already; I think they are about $8 at WalMart)
  • a roll of fiberglass insulation or a sheet of rigid 1″ foam board insulation/polystyrene (I had my fiberglass insulation on hand, and it cost me $15 two years ago; a rigid 1″ foam board at Lowe’s was selling for $20 at my local Lowe’s)
  • duct tape
  • A box cutter or heavy-duty carpet scissors to cut the plastic
  • a bottle of Great Stuff (or whatever brand) expanding foam

We cut a generously large hole, because Milo is a little skittish. A small hole with no other opening might have spooked him. Cutting the plastic was hard. By the time we made a second, bigger shelter for the dog, we were pros. But the first time was kind of tough.


I taped the hole edges with duct tape, because the edges were a little rough. […]

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My Beat Up Old Desk Gets Hip

December 19, 2009


I have this old desk. It’s OLD. It’s an old schoolteacher’s desk, maybe dates back to the 1920s or 1940s or something.

desk tray7

It’s huge– it weights a ton because it’s solid wood. It has this strange plasticky tabletop material on it; it’s not slate– it’s a little spongy. You can write on it, and sharp things (like fingernails!) will scratch its surface. I don’t know how to repair it because I don’t know what it is. I love the sliding wooden trays on each side. They are wonderful. I can place a cup of coffee on them, knowing that a spill won’t destroy what’s on my desk; and the kids can come to me with their onerous books so we can go over their work.

Well, the worst part about the desk (besides badly needing a surface restoration- yeah, I’ll get to that someday) is that it’s not built for modern technology. It’s a little higher than most computer desks, and has no sliding keyboard tray, so it gets tiresome to type with my arms and hands elevated all day. I asked my husband if he could make the front drawer into a sliding keyboard tray.


With just a little adjusting, a few minor cuts…

desk tray1 […]

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Find the Kitty Friday 12/18

December 18, 2009


Sometimes the best places to hide are the most obvious. :-p

FTK 12.18.09

She’s been a real pill this week. Not playing Find the Kitty or doing too much. Maybe it’s the cold weather- we’ve been blasted with single-digit temperatures and I can’t say it makes ME too playful, either!

I took down a mirror from a wall recently, and leaned it up against my filing cabinet until I had another place for it. Livvy LOVES the mirror. I don’t think she’s caught on that the reflection is her– she still scratches the reflection in the mirror. And even more funny: whenever she enters the living room, she slowly saunters up to the mirror, sniffs the image, and arches her back and makes all her silky fur stand up on edge, as if she’s spooked. She does it just about EVERY time she turns around the corner to enter the room– as soon as she sees herself, she stops and does the “spookies” as we call it. Then, she scrambles her toes and speeds away. It’s just too hilarious!



She also brings all her toys to the mirror. When we come down in the morning, we find that she has brought all her kitty toys and put them at the “feet” of the “other kitty.” Sheesh, the little pagan! :-p

Isn’t she adorable?!


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My New Delta Touch Faucet!

December 12, 2009


Isn’t it beautiful? It’s the Delta Pilar with “Touch2OĀ® Technology.” Which means that the faucet handle will no longer be slimy, sticky, or gooey! I am THRILLED.


We are going to have a lot of fun with this! Even the kids are excited. And they should be. Now, I won’t yell at them because they touch the faucet handle with gooey hands. I hate that. :-p


The faucet is beautiful. It’s got a lovely brushed bronzed/steel look to it. The set comes with a separate faucet handle and a soap dispenser, too! The spray wand is incorporated with the end of the faucet spout– we’ve always wanted one like that. God bless the folks at Delta for sending me this– for free– to review!

I’m doing some reading up on the faucet installation. Thank God, the website has some good tutorials (videos!); I’m watching them over and over again to fully understand how to do this. We MAY have a test run on the sink before we gut the kitchen. I’ll keep you posted with all the play-by-play details.

I love Delta. The house still has all the original faucets– and the Delta are the only ones still working properly after 30+ years. I’ve promised myself that I will only buy Delta fixtures because of the reliability of the brand. NO going cheap on fixtures! This new faucet has DIAMOND seal technology and a Magna-Tite docking system, to prevent leaks and to make sure the spray wand gets a tight fit in the faucet every time.

I’ll have loads more details about the other stuff we’re planning for the coming renovation. I’m looking into flooring and cabinets right now (whoa, I’ve got sticker shock). And of course, I need to read up again on how to wire a kitchen. It’s more complicated than a regular room.

Our demolition date is loosely set for May. Before then, I need to have everything mapped out, make a materials list, create a temporary makeshift kitchen into the garage, and pack everything up. I also have to rent a dumpster. :-p When we gutted the living room, we were able to bag all the plaster and take it to the dump; the kitchen is twice the size of the living room, so I think I’ll have to rent a dumpster.

More to come!

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Find the Kitty 12/11

December 11, 2009


Well, it’s not a tough one this time (is it ever??). But she was having a blast and it was literally a “Kodak moment.”

FTK 12.8.09

Did you find her?

By the way, YES that IS a 1984 Macintosh on the cabinet. šŸ˜€ I lost the mouse and the floppy drives that go with it, sorrow. I think I have to rip apart one of the kids’ closets to find it…

Anyway, we’ve been getting packages from the mailman from time to time. Livvy always FLIPS when we do. Not because the stuff is for her, but because mail means BOXES and PACKAGING! […]

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I Have Decided

December 10, 2009

1 Comment

We’re going to gut the kitchen. Next year, hopefully as soon as the kids finish their school year (if I can wait that long). I cannot STAND this horrible kitchen any longer!! I am going to plan on demolishing the room (26 x 12) sometime in May, with plans on starting to electrify and plumb the room by June. I will have to replace the entire plumbing system, upstairs and downstairs, because most of the pipes are inside the walls of the kitchen. I know they are in bad shape, so I will have to replace the system before I close up the walls.

So I’m going to be spending all winter planning the room. I’d love to gut the adjoining dining room (that still has no electricity except for two outlets in the very old wiring system that I kept in place). That will be a tough one to do because it has four windows, six doorways, and two stairwells. yikes.

So please keep me in your prayers as I plan and finance this project. I’m going to toss aside my pride and start up a “Donate” button in my sidebar. I don’t really like those things, but I know some of you have offered to help in times past… and I have donated to some bloggers, too…. so I’m going to “make room for more.”

Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full–pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back. Luke 6:38

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Good Prices on Magazine Subscriptions

December 9, 2009

Comments Off on Good Prices on Magazine Subscriptions

I get a lot of ideas for renovating from books and magazines, and they also help me to keep on top of the latest technology or development in home building and other stuff. Here’s a tip for you if you like magazine subscriptions: is having an outstanding sale on subscriptions right now. Many of them are $5 a year! House Beautiful, Country Living, Good Housekeeping, Veranda, and more on on sale. Even This Old House is affordable, at $10 a year.

Magazines are so low right now because hardly anyone is buying them; more people are turning to electronic media (like websites and online books and magazines) to get their information. I like online media, sure. but I do prefer printed stuff! So $5 a year is a steal! I couldn’t find out any information on long these sales will last; get them while you can, I guess.

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