Archive | January, 2013

My New Pie Pal, Mrs. Smith

January 27, 2013

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This post brought to you by Mrs. Smith’s. All opinions are 100% mine.

I grew up on homemade pies. My mother made the most amazing pies and her pie crusts were always phenomenal. She usually only made pies during the holidays. How we kids would beg her to make them more often! She used to make chicken pot pies (which I absolutely hated), but I would eat only the crusts and chicken and waste the rest. :S

Since I am a spoiled pie-eater, I have always found it rather difficult to endure frozen pre-made pies. They always tasted like cardboard to me: dry, tasteless, crumbly. The only kind of pie who comes close to the original homemade ones is Mrs. Smith's Signature Deep Dish pies. These are pretty darn good. My husband got a few for Thanksgiving this past year since we were too busy to go all-out and bake our own pies. Of the four different kinds available (Signature Deep Dish Dutch Apple Pie with Caramel Sauce; Signature Deep Dish Cherry Pie with Butter Fudge Sauce; Signature Deep Dish Peach Pie with Cream Cheese Icing; and Signature Deep Dish Pumpkin Pie with Cream Cheese Icing), we got the cherry and the apple. Oh my goodness, yummm!!!! The pies come with icing that you spread over the pie yourself. It adds a nice touch because it looks pretty (we drizzled it) but it also is sooo delicious. The cherry pie has butter fudge sauce that is phenomenal!


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YUMMMMMMMM!

Another nice thing about Mrs. Smith's Signature Deep Dish pies is that they are, well, deep! Lots and lots of pie goodness, and they don't skimp on the fruity filling. It's a pretty good deal, in my opinion. And the price ir right, too. Most pie ingredients are crazy expensive, even if you bake from scratch.

So if you're looking for a yummy holiday pie or maybe something to snazz up a family dinner, definitely check out Mrs. Smith's Signature Deep Dish pies. Also check out Mrs. Smith on Facebook and Pinterest for mouth-watering ideas and photos.

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Toilet Tragedies and Other Holiday Fun

January 9, 2013

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I had always relegated it to urban legend, those tales of Christmas-Day plumbing emergencies… but to my shock and surprise, those things REALLY do happen. And who else would it happen to but ME!!!

We were getting ready for bed late one night when my son ran breathlessly into the room. “The toilet is not flushing and there is water squirting all over the floor.”

{insert screaming, crying emoticon here}

We are a family of six people and our old house has two toilets. The one downstairs doesn’t work so well so the one upstairs is the mainstay. This toilet was installed way back in 1962, however, so you can imagine the amount of water it ate with every flush. And worse, the drains are so poor here that we would have to hold the flushing handle down until all the water was sucked down the bowl. I estimate that the sucker wasted 10 to 15 gallons of water with every flush. Yes, our water bill is atrocious. So I couldn’t say I was sad to see the old porcelain hag go. But at 11:30 at night on a holiday weekend?!?!?! Noooooooo!

Providentially, I had an extra toilet on hand. It was actually a miracle. In late October, Delta Faucet asked me if I wanted to try out their latest toilet, with SmartFit™ and WaterSense® technology! Sure, I said, imagining that I had months to install it….. my my my, such are the plans of mice and men…

We trudged upstairs to check out the damage. I knew the old toilet leaked a bit — the floor is spongy and it squeaks. After a quick caucus, we figured the wax seal beneath the toilet was shot, and since we have to remove the old thing, why not install the new Delta toilet now? The box said it had an EZ Out™ Toilet Removal Kit, so maybe something will actually be easy for us this time?

We rolled up our sleeves and set to work. The hardest part was removing the old toilet. Those screws were welded on by time and eternal moisture problems. Good riddance.

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The EZ Out™ Toilet Removal Kit is really neat! It has a stiff block that is actually a compressed sponge. You plunk it into the old toilet bowl to remove all traces of water. The kit also has gloves (YAY for that!) a plastic scraper the remove the old wax ring, and a plastic bag to throw the wax ring away. My son actually got excited (it was his first toilet project) and wanted to scrape the wax ring himself. Son, BE MY GUEST!

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Yeah, he looks tired. It was only 2 in the morning… 😐

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We unboxed the new Delta toilet and I got my first look at it. Delta had sent me their luxurious Corrente series toilet and it’s beautiful! It’s narrow, so it fits better in the small space. It’s also elongated and taller than average!!! I can’t tell you how important this is. I sometimes get a stiff back in the mornings, and it’s not fun to have to .. well, you know. Those low-to-the-ground toilets are fine for 6-year olds but let’s face it we haven’t had a 6-year old here in a decade. Time for the toilet to grow up.

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Yes, the cat made sure we were doing everything just right. She often joins in on our projects, which is OK except when she gets too close to the wet paint or, in this case, the silicone adhesive… *sigh*

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The tank is so tiny! It has a special contraption inside — this must be the WaterSense feature. It only uses 1.28 gallons per flush! And the flush is very powerful, so no flushing twice. It works perfectly even with our sluggish plumbing system.

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Here Livvy is supervising the toilet seat installation. Delta even provides that in the package!

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Taaaadaaaa!

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Now if I can only convince the cat to use the thing…

So Delta saved my skin that night. It was a true miracle that we had the toilet on hand, truly. I love Delta products. I think they are built to last. I have lived in a lot of old homes, and I’ve only ever seen Delta products stand the test of time. We are still using the old Delta faucets here, installed by the previous owners in the late 1960s. They faucets never leak and are still working perfectly. That’s proof of some good manufacturing there.

Here’s the poop on the new toilet we installed. It flushes without any problems and we love it!

  • RSL (Rigid Supply Line) model is available for use where required by State or Local Plumbing Codes.
  • Maximum flush power while saving you money, Delta 1.28gpf WaterSense labeled toilets are virtually clog-free.
  • Features the exclusive SmartFit™ tank-to-bowl connection and SmartFit™ supply line, reducing potential leak points, over-tightening of the fasteners and cracking the toilet.
  • Delta toilet kit includes the tank, bowl, toilet seat, mounting hardware, SmartFit™ supply line, wax ring and SmartFit™ Multi-Tool. No additional tools required.

Oh, and we did find out the reason for the old toilet failure — when we lifted up the old toilet, the drain was filled with a wad of those “flushable” wipes. It was my wonderful job of running a plumber’s snake down the pipe to loosen everything down there. Yeah. Don’t you believe it when those wipes manufacturers say their products are flushable — they are not!

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Paint the Town Red.. or, Pink

January 9, 2013

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This post brought to you by Hpnotiq. All opinions are 100% mine.

… but first see what's "in," right?

This is perhaps the first holiday season that I actually relaxed and did nothing for a time. I usually work right through the holidays, but the end of the year was really stressful and busy, and I knew I'd better get some "down" time or I was going to collapse. I took my husband out to dinner, and then my girls and I went on a nice girl's night out, too. It got me hankering for a bit more of those "hair down music up!" nights. It was SO GOOD to enjoy myself! Why have I been waiting so long?!

There's a cute new website up for those of you who love to go out. It's called Primp & Prep and it's from the Hpnotiq website. It targets young women who want to have fun, safe and memorable moments out or in. Here's the scoop:

*Discover some really delicious cocktail recipes for your own home parties, including the pretty Stiletto Sangria, Blue Breeze Party Mix and Snowflake Martini (it looks beautiful).
*Dress to impress but also learn how to dress properly for the occasion. Read what men think about your super-tight mini-cocktail dress or neon-pink fuzzy stilletos before wearing them to the dance.
*Learn makeup secrets of your favorite celebrities and learn how to enhance your own natural beauty with terrific make-up tips.
*Discover relationship pitfalls and avoid the "first text message" blunder with some good, womanly advice.
*ALWAYS drink responsibly. It is illegal for people under age 21 to drink alcoholic beverages. Never drink and drive. Getting drunk and acting like an idiot can ruin a nice night REALLY fast.
*Check out the latest music and funny trends so you won't be tongue-tied when meeting new friends.
*The site isn't only for girls. Guys can find tips on music, fashion, and how to treat that lovely lady of yours.

It's a cute site, and while it's geared for younger women, it has some excellent recipes. The presentations are so pretty!

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Check it out! Remember: You must be 21 years or older to drink alcoholic beverages and as always, please remember to drink responsibly

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I’m Back! Well, Kind Of And a FInd the Kitty, Special Edition

January 8, 2013

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It’s been a looooong couple of weeks, friends. After Thanksgiving, I took time off to recuperate. Life has been topsy-turvy and very hectic and it seems that everything around me is changing right now. I’m looking into a major lifestyle change (a job outside the home) that will affect how we do things around here. There’s a lot more to share but it will have to wait until things are more settled and I have more answers.

In my absence, I realized I haven’t had a Find the Kitty in a long time. How you guys must have suffered! Well, here ya go. And it’s a toughy this week. Can you find her?

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I have a few home improvement stories to tell in the near future, too, including a delightful little ditty about our holiday toilet emergency installation. Oh, I thought such things were the mere tales of stand-up comics, but no — they REALLY DO HAPPEN. More to come. :S

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