by Joe

Stove-Top Potpourri

December 13, 2012 in Crafty Time by Joe

I love candles. If you saw our stash some might even say we have a slight candle hording problem. A trip to Bath and Body Works or White Barn Candle Company takes at least an hour and usually ends with a splitting headache from smelling every scent there is and then trudging bags of candles back to the car.

I’ve been wanting to try something now for at least five months but was unable to since I didn’t have a stove. Now that we haveĀ  a stove I couldn’t wait to try a different way to spread wonderful smells throughout the home. Even though we pretty much only buy candles during sales it still gets pricey, and I love saving money.

Stove-top Potpourri


Simply Aromatic

The ingredients are simple and the smells are wonderful! All you need is one lemon, a couple of sprigs of fresh rosemary and vanilla extract. I’m using imitation vanilla as I don’t think it makes a difference and is loads cheaper.

Add all these ingredients into a sauce pot with water, simmer on the stove and enjoy the wonderful smells. You don’t need a lot of vanilla as a little seems to go a long way, about teaspoon or so. Just don’t forget to keep an eye on the water level and replace as needed. I’ve noticed that the smell lingers for quite a while after turning off the burner. Each batch lasts about a week.

At first I was using one of our good stainless steel sauce pots but noticed after a while of simmering the sides would get pretty nasty. Cleaning out the pot when I put new batches in was going to take a lot of elbow grease to get it clean. So the other day I ran out to Savers, which is kind of like a Goodwill, in search of a cheap pot to simmer my potpourri in. What I found is the awesome vintage enameled bright yellow fondue pot for $5. I highly recommend doing the same thing or using a pot you rarely use.

I’ve also tried different things like cloves, cinnamon sticks, and oranges which smelled just as good. If I can find some fresh Christmas tree cuttings I’d like to see if that would work in my stove-top potpourri too.

If you try this let me know what you think.

by Joe

I Smell Progress Part II

December 12, 2012 in Kitchen by Joe

It appears I’ve been a really good boy this year and that Christmas has come early, and in a big way!

A very good friend of ours decided that us going on six months without an oven was long enough. He so very generously surprised us with an early Christmas present, an oven! When I found out I think I bounced off a couple of walls. I thought it was a bit much for a gift but when he sets his mind to something you can’t change it. We are so ever grateful and not sure how we’ll ever be able to return such kindness.

We asked if it was ok if we could throw a couple extra bucks at it so we could upgrade to a higher end model to which he obliged. Seeing as we also lost one of our fridges the day before we decided to get a fridge while we were at it.

It’s a Merry Christmas after-all! Say hello to our new oven and fridge.


GE Convection Gas Oven

GE Fridge

GE Stainless Fridge

Having been without the proper cooking appliances it probably goes without saying that I plan on going on a cooking frenzy! We had to go out-of-town these past two weekends so all I’ve been able to do so far was bake a cake, make a fabulous scallop and linguine dinner, and a dish called Tinga. If you like spicy chicken dishes stay tuned as I’ll be sharing my tinga recipe here soon.

So now that we have our temporary kitchen, a new shiny fridge and oven, I hope that means we can start saving our money again and move towards putting our house plans into action.

by Joe

I Smell Progress Part I

December 10, 2012 in Kitchen by Joe

I’m back!!!! Did you miss me? Of course you did!

Things seem to be getting better around here it seems. 7 grand later the truck is finally fixed, car is fixed, and I’m so ready to get back to putting money into the house. It pains me to think of how far along we could be right now if all that money didn’t have to go into our vehicles. We’ve had some pretty crappy luck the past several months. I feel a change for the better on the horizon though.

Lets get back in the kitchen…

I’m very happy to report that we have the temporary kitchen in. It isn’t pretty by any means but its functional. Some 2×4′s and laminated particle board and we have a counter and some much-needed shelves.

Kitchen Counter

Fancy New Counter!

With our temporary kitchen comes a sink and a dishwasher. I can’t tell you how old it was getting bringing all our dishes and such into the basement to wash them in the utility sink. We also had two fridges in the basement so that meant even more trips up and down the stairs, ugh!!!

Dish Washer

Hells Yes! A dishwasher!


Bad luck strikes again!

No sooner than when we move both our fridges up to the kitchen that both of them decide to quit working. Damn this luck of ours! One of them still works but has to be manually defrosted once a week for the fridge to work. A pain to say the least since the freezer has to be emptied and then we have to plug-in a hair dryer to defrost it.

Things can only go up from here right?!