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 have 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!!!
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?!
I don’t know what it is but these last couple of months have really packed a punch. I haven’t updated the blog in some time due to nothing happening because of this persistent black cloud that just won’t go away. I can take bad luck but I usually like it to be properly dispersed throughout the year, not all in the span of a couple of months.
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, Barry’s work truck has been sitting for a couple of months now waiting for us to save up enough to get it fixed. So in the mean time he’s been using our other car for work, which leaves me without wheels. Which isn’t a huge deal since I work from home and only need a car a couple of times a week for errands.
Since we’ve moved in we’ve had no kitchen. We moved in July 1st so that puts us at 4 months of no kitchen, yikes! You’d be surprised how well you can actually still cook with just a hot plate and a toaster oven though. I felt like Martha Stewart in “prison” having to cope with the surroundings and adapt.
Two weeks ago the money around here wasn’t as tight as usual so work resumed on the temporary kitchen, and the truck was to be taken in to get its fix done. Yes!! I’ll be making another post at a later date about the temporary kitchen.
Last Sunday night we found an oven on craigslist that was too good of deal to pass up. So last Monday we headed into the city to go look at it and hopefully purchase. We loved it, wrote the check and headed home. Less than a mile from home I noticed steam/smoke coming out of the hood and brought it to Barry’s attention. He quickly pulled into the gas station and turned the car off. Jumped out and popped the hoot. Kaboom!! Radiator decides explode almost taking off Barry’s face. It’s a good thing he’s got cat-like reflexes or he could have been injured. Oddly enough, a block away was Enterprise Rent-a-Car. Odd how things like that happen sometimes.
Long story short, had to cancel the oven , rent a car for the week, and buy a new radiator instead. Dam! Was so close to having a kitchen I could taste it, literally!
On Saturday Barry and his son replaced the radiator and all was well. I couldn’t drive the rental all last week since putting me on would have been an extra $70, stupid. So today I had a lot of catching up to do as in lots of errands to run. My day started with so much promise. Although I should have known the powers that be were still not done with trying to drive me into the nut house. I just knew me taking the car before Barry had a chance to take it out for a lengthy drive was going to bite me in the ass.
About an hour into my errands the car started to sputter and was losing power quickly. It’s a stick so it was jerking like crazy from what appeared to be a fuel problem of some sort. The first place I could pull into was a forest preserve and as I turned into the preserve the car went dead. I didn’t even make it to the parking lot of the preserve. Which you’ll learn was actually a good thing.
In all the confusion of what was going on, after I realized where I had actually pulled into I had to laugh. The forest preserve where I ended up in, it is one that is very well-known for the married closet cases to go to in search of “fun time” with other married guys. Of all the places I had to end up in I had to pick the “cruising” spot!
By this time Barry had called Enterprise Rental to get the car rental back that we had just returned not two hours ago, and call the wrecker…again. So while I waited the hour to be rescued, I got to watch married guys trying to find love in all the wrong places. I’m a huge people watcher so this was all too entertaining for me.
In the end I think I’m kind of offended that nobody tried to pick me up!!!
So how was your Monday?
Sadly I have no new updates on the house. Everything right now is at a standstill due to money being needed elsewhere, like vehicle repairs. Barry’s work truck is out of commission right now to the tune of 4 or 5 grand, yikes! Which means he’s using our car which also means I am without wheels for most of the time. That certainly is no good! The sooner the truck gets fixed, the sooner I have a vehicle again, and the sooner we can start spending money and getting the house projects started…again.
As the saying goes “idle hands are the devils workshop”. So with nothing going on with the house I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and designing in my head in regards to the kitchen rebuild. I’m starting not to like the original idea that we came up with. Let me rephrase that, I love the idea of what we want to do I’m just not sure it’s the best way to go in regards to the flow of the house anymore. That and it may add a lot of unnecessary costs to the kitchen project.
Click Here to see and read about the original plans.
What came to me about the original idea is the design basically cuts the kitchen and dining room off from the rest of the house. I have a new idea that I actually think Barry mentioned the first time around, but we’ll just say it was my idea.
Another thing that popped into my head is putting the dining room in the back most corner of the house means the room will get zero use. That would be fine if the house was bigger but we need to make the most out of the square footage that we have. Any wasted space or useless rooms will be a waste of time and money.
Back to the drawing board!
I shall have a new blog post soon explaining all the changes and ideas. Stay tuned…
Couple of days ago Barry added up what we’ve spent on the house so far and it came to about 5 grand. Things certainly do add up in a hurry when you aren’t paying attention. If you saw the house in person you’d probably ask yourself “where?!”. That’s certainly what we’ve been saying when we look around. When things are so far gone, and there is so much to do I think it’ll be awhile before we can look at the house and say “ok, things are starting to look good”. I don’t expect Better Homes and Gardens or Martha Stewart to come calling anytime soon.
I don’t know what it is but I feel that we’ve cursed the neighborhood when we moved in. It seems that when we move in to a new area weird things start happening, I swear!
When we moved in to our previous house, the power in the whole neighborhood went out 7 times in 3 months. Everyone said that’s never happened…until we moved in
That really doesn’t compare to what’s been going on around here though. First our neighbors house collapses. Then yesterday a house six doors down starts on fire. I’m kind of afraid to ask whats next?
The kitchen is now sitting empty, bare and lonely waiting to be filled with its fancy new look. Unfortunately we’ve run into a little problem in my design idea. Due to the small size of the kitchen the right thing to do would be use white cabinets and then bring in the richness with the flooring and counter. I’ve discovered there is no such thing as white cabinets made from real wood these days. Every “painted” cabinet is now pressed board laminated with some crap called thermofoil. I refuse to put fake wood cabinets in our kitchen. I really don’t understand the point. You spend thousands for a kitchen and once the cabinets start to show wear what is a person suppose to do if they can’t paint or re-finish them. Stupid I tell ya!
No new stuff to post about the house so I thought I’d share some recent photos that I took. It’s odd how going black and white, or sepia can really add some interest to a photo.
Things seem to be moving along nicely now with the in progress kitchen project. Or maybe I’m just saying that in hopes of trying to convince myself that this project doesn’t totally suck! What no sympathy?! Ha!
Last week I got most of the plaster down and out of the kitchen. Thanks to my awesome new window chute clean-up is so much faster now. Love it! I can make a mess fast and clean up quicker than it took me to make the mess. That is until I run out of garbage cans to fill anyway.