8/1/10 - 9/1/10

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Home Renovation: Tile Repair,Grout Cleaning, Bedrooms, and New Offers!

 Using $35.00 timer to run sprinkler so damaged lawn will grow back.

Well, the next door neighbor's parents have been wanting to see our house ever since the last time we were here working on it. The neighbor came over with his daughter and did a walk through as we were cleaning up the paint, caulk, and grout cleaner.  

 New Living Room

I told him all about the termites and the foundation repair. All he could say was "It looks great!"  He said, his parents want to buy a new home and move next door to him and his family. They will be calling our realtor this week!
Rooms before being painted and having new carpet installed.

That's the second person whose expressed interest in actually buying the house since we repaired and renovated everything. I'm soooo happy! Thank you Lord! Here's an old photo where you can see what Dad's house actually looked like BEFORE...

 Dining Room

Bedroom 1 (had wall paper)
Office/Bedroom 3

This was the master bedroom and had the old hospital bed in it in the photos at the top.
The new grandbaby hasn't arrived yet (poor patient Elisabeth!) and we needed to go back and cut down the dead tree in the front yard (stump on far right), trim the peach trees, install a gas stove (just purchased for $75.00 on Craig's list) and finish the repairs, painting, and renovating in the bathroom.

Tim and I decided, on Friday night, that the best thing to do would be to hunt down a stove on Craig's list Sat. morning, get the housework done, and then drive straight to Grand Prairie on Sun. morning (since our church was meeting in the park) and do the work..then drive straight back home that night.

I didn't want to stay overnight just in case there was any chance the baby might arrive.  With the three teenagers helping us, we five worked five hours and got the tree loaded in the truck. We got home at 1:00am tired--but successful!

Photo by Chic Shelf Paper
  The kids worked so hard! While Jacob helped Tim cut down and load the dead tree (and painted the hall and bathroom ceilings), Rebekah and Christian patiently cleaned and lined all the drawers and cabinets in the kitchen and cleaned the new (used) stove. It was pretty dirty.  It looks great now. :o)

 Five new tiles on the bottom row.
  • Renovating a house is quite an education.Thanks to watching my dear hubby, I now know how to install tile!! First you dig out all the old grout from between the tiles.
  • Then you can break up the tiles pieces with a hammer and screw driver.

  • Then you spread a special tile adhesive on the wall. 
  • The weird part is that you have to scrape the glue into lines with gaps between them. This is so the glue will dry properly. 
  • Fill in the grout between the tiles after 24 hours to allow the glue to dry. We did the tile first thing and went ahead and grouted it right before we left.

Tile Grout Coating
It's not the ideal situation..but what else could we do?  I also discovered a jewel of a product! It's called tile whitener and it turns stained grout pure white! This tile was installed in 1950 so the grout was yellow. Now, it's gorgeous.  And I'm no longer afraid of caulk--my new best friend! I re-caulked the whole bathroom and boy did it ever need it!   

Last of all, I painted both the towel racks and the gas wall heater (ancient and rusted) with high heat appliance paint. It worked beautifully! I tried taping it off but it didn't quite work. However, I was able to clean the tile afterwards with paint thinner. Then I hung up the new curtains and shower curtains. I think it looks fabulous now (compared with before.)

I'm starting to feel like I can truly rest now. All I have to do is sew cushion covers and a banner...and cuddle grandbabies (and pay bills-Ha!) And I've learned so much about house renovation, that when we finally get the T-I-M-E..I will be able to confidently tackle the renovation of our own home. That's such a plus!

But the house..that was really weighing on me. I think it's time to celebrate!! ...almost. :o)  Hope you all are having a wonderful week! I've missed visiting you and look forward to dropping by tonight.  Have you ever done tile or grout work?  What are your favorite home repair products?

Happy Homemaking!


Need a Home Remedy for Mange? This One Really Works! (Bonus: Cute Pet Video)

Poor Percy! He plays with the neighbor dogs who are pretty wild and don't live in the most sanitary conditions. We can't keep him from going over there. Last summer, he got mange (mites) from them. And now he's coming down with it again this summer. We all cuddle and kiss him all the time and he sleeps off and on with everyone. So we have to nip this in the bud and quick!

We just can't afford to take him to the vet unless absolutely necessary. The good news is that I did ONE --only ONE-- bath with this recipe for curing mange last summer and it worked like a charm. 

We noticed the signs early on this time and I had wanted Rebekah to look up the recipe online before we left but she forgot. So tonight, I looked it up..and Percy is getting a good dose this evening whether he wants it or not.

Here is the recipe from the Thrifty Fun Website.

Hydrogen Peroxide and Borax:

  • Combine 1 part hydrogen peroxide (3%) to 2 parts water so the peroxide is 1%. 

  • Add Borax powder and stir it in. 

  • Keep adding Borax until solution is saturated (i.e. powder won't dissolve anymore, a little is settled on the bottom). 

  • Soak dog in solution thoroughly-- don't rinse or wipe off. 

  • Be sure the water you pour is warm. You don't want your puppy getting chilled.  If you don't dilute the peroxide, your pet may react and throw up. That's why you add all the water.

I bathed Percy only once with this and he was cured the first time. You have to be sure to get every part of your dog. I missed his tail and two days later he had a bad spot where he had been chewing.

  • Refrain from wiping the dog dry. Simply allow the treatment to take effect. 
  • Do not exceed a treatment period of two months. 
After a couple of dips, I'm sure he will be just fine...and then he can go back to his job of 'baby inspector'. 

Watch this cute video from back in May. No mange then..so don't worry. He seemed very anxious to take good care of Nicholai, my youngest grandson.  I'm so glad there are frugal ways to take good care of our pets. Do you have any good frugal fixes for pet illnesses to recommend?

Happy Homemaking!

“What is the price of five sparrows—two copper coins? Yet God does not forget a single one of them.  And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.  Luke 12:6-7


Blackened Fish and Dirty Rice ~ New Recipes to Try

I've been trying some new recipes every now and then just to surprise Dear Hubby  and this is one I had hoped he might like. He likes 'blackened' whatever at the restaurant but he only likes fish if it's very non-fishy tasting. So I tried this with cod.  It was nothing like the fabulous fried fish that my Uncle Jay and Aunt Joan made at their house. Jay catches the fish and Aunt Joan cooks it to perfection. Wow--I stuffed myself at their house the other night!  

I have to say that Tim LOVED the blackened seasonings...but the fish he considered so-so. (After all, he isn't a fish fan.) I plan to try this with chicken breast next week or steak. Tim was so impressed that the spices and blackening technique turned out so well! He is looking forward to me using this technique on other meats. I adored it and got to eat LOTS of fish. I was thrilled that even one of two of my kids, who don't like fish, seemed to enjoy this. 

In case you are wondering, Blackening is an official cooking term. Here's what Wikipedia had to say about it.
Blackening is a cooking technique commonly used in the preparation of fish and other foods. Though often associated with traditional Cajun cuisine, it is in fact a modern invention of chef Paul Prudhomme.[citation needed] The food is dipped in melted butter and then dredged in a mixture of herbs and spices, usually some combination of thyme, oregano, chili pepper, peppercorns and salt. It is then cooked in an extremely hot cast iron skillet.
The characteristic brown-black color of the crust results from a combination of browned milk solids from the butter and charred spices.
While the original recipe calls for redfish, the same method of preparation can be applied to other types of fish and other protein sources, such as steak or chicken cutlets.
Blackened Fish by Cajun Crawfish Pie Website

These Cajun blackened fish recipes can be used to blacken tuna, red snapper, grouper, redfish, and just about every kind of fish that you can think of. If you have never tried blackened fish, you are in for a real treat. Some famous Cajun chefs have really made blackened fish famous recently (such as Chef Paul Prudhomme), but Cajuns have been cooking fish this way forever. We hope that you enjoy our Louisiana blackened fish recipes (try using redfish the first time, if it's available), and that you email us if you have any suggestions.

Before we share the blackened fish recipes, we need to explain how to make blackened fish seasonings. If you would prefer, you can also buy this seasoning from the store. Either way, it's great!

"Blackened Fish Seasonings Recipe"
  • 2 tablespoons of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of sweet paprika
  • 2 tablespoons of onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons of garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons of red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons of dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons of dried thyme
  • Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl. You can store them in an empty mason jar.
  • Enjoy the blackened fish seasonings!
  • 6 fish fillets, cut at about 1/2" thickness each (can be redfish, snapper, or whatever)
  • 3 sticks of real butter
  • 8 tablespoons of Blackened Fish Seasonings (see above)
Step by Step Instructions:

  • Heat a large, cast iron skillet over high heat for at least 10 minutes (yes, it will get really hot!).
  • In a separate pot, heat up the butter until it melts. 

  • Dip a piece of fish into the melted butter.
  • Sprinkle your seasonings onto both sides of the fish.

  • Place the piece of fish into the hot skillet. 

  • Pour a teaspoon of melted butter on the fish in the skillet.
  • Cook for about two minutes and then turn it over.
  • Place another teaspoon of melted butter onto this side of the fish. 
  • Cook this side for another two minutes.
  • Repeat this process for each fillet.
  • Before serving, add another teaspoon of melted butter on top of each fillet.

    The only trouble I had is that I was afraid to turn my stove on that high of heat or to use the cast iron griddle on my glass top stove. I almost think using my griddle would be the better option. I think my blackening coating would have stayed on better if I could have used higher heat. The first few pieces turned out really well in terms of the coating staying put, but as the temperature lowered with subsequent additions of fish...the crust didn't seem to develop as well.  That's the trouble with new recipes! They rarely turn out perfectly the first time.

    I think Cajun Rice would go good with this, don't you think? (Another name for this is Dirty Rice.)

    • 2 tb MAZOLA corn oil
    • 1 cUncooked rice
    • 1 lg Onion, chopped
    • 1 lg Green pepper, chopped
    • 1 tb Minced garlic
    • 1 cn (14 1/2 to 16 oz) stewed
    • -tomatoes, undrained
    • 1 1/4 cWater
    • 1/2 ts Hot pepper sauce

    1.In medium skillet heat corn oil over medium-high heat.
    Add rice,onion, pepper and garlic; cook, stirring, 3 minutes.
    Stir inundrained tomatoes, water and hot pepper sauce, breaking tomatoeswith a spoon.
    Bring to a boil.
    2.  Reduce heat.
    Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender.
    Makes 8 servings Recipe By :Woman's Day Recipes

    If you like fish...you will love this. It tasted fantastic!!  It's so nice to have a style of cooking to add to the cooking rotation. I think Cajun is officially my new favorite style of cooking.  Have fun with this and if you try it..let me know how it goes.  Have you ever used this method for cooking meat or fish? 

    Happy Homemaking!


    The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.  Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish you have just caught."  Simon Peter climbed aboard and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, "Come and have breakfast." John 21:8-12


    Several Tricks to Getting Rid of Scorpions

    This morning, I went out to the kitchen and noticed Rebekah asleep on the couch..which she normally doesn't do. She has a very nice bedroom out in our office. It turns out that she got bit by a scorpion which was in her bed! That's the second time this week! According to all I have read..they want water and cooler temperatures. Pesticides don't work.

    But cats, chickens, and caulking all help. Also, we need to send out the boys with a UV light to kill as many as they can find around the outside of our office one night soon for a hunting session. Apparently they glow in the dark very nicely. Can you believe these guys live at least seven years! No wonder they are so hardy and difficult to remove.  If it's not one thing--it's another! Have you had to deal with this?

    I've listed the best response I read to someone's question about what to do in case you are battling this problem too.

     Marmalade supervising the building of the office three years ago.

    Apparently cats and chickens are the best solution. Rebekah will be having Midnight sleep in her room from now on. She's quite the huntress. Tim said he would help me get the barn coop secure from predators and then we can get some more chickens to help keep the scorpion population down. It's no surprise that we haven't had this problem for most of the time we've lived here. The chickens have been gone for a year though. Looks like we need more!

    Our unfinished office has a lot of seams that need to be caulked. Looks like I'm not done with renovation projects yet. We are going to have to make time for this project or Rebekah will not be safe. Hate to see her sleeping on a couch semi-permanently but I wouldn't want to sleep in her bed either! Hope these ideas help you. :o) I'll let you know how the 'hunt' goes...and the caulking!

     How to Get Rid of Scorpions by Sharon

    Posted by stown6654 8b (My Page) on
    Thu, Jun 10, 04 at 16:42
    • Apparently, scorpions are nocturnal, so that explains why we would almost never find them when we were searching around, unless we lifted up a piece of carpeting, or moved a planter. They usually hide during the day.  Apparently, MOST scorpions found in the USA are not much more venemous than a bee sting, but for those that are highly allergic to bee stings etc, it can be a real problem.
      Getting stung apparently hurts like heck. I wear boots to work even though they are hot, but then we have rattlesnakes too.
      • I have read that scorpions can be located at night with a black light. I have not tried this, but apparently they "glow" in blacklight.
      • Live births is correct, they do not lay eggs.
      • Besides chickens, I am told peacocks will keep their numbers down.
      • A can of Raid will only make them mad...lol.
      • This past year we cleared much debris, such as old piles of lumber, and general junk from around the buildings. We also went on a serious spraying program.
      • This has helped a lot, only two so far this year. The spraying has helped to clear out other insects that might be food, such as crickets and cockroaches.
      • Clearing debris I think has been the most help, chased them away from the buildings. Removing places for them to hide and nest.
      • I read they actually can live 12 to 15 years. Judging by the size of some we have found, I can believe that.
      • I have never found one in a bathtub, shower, or sink. I do not know why they come inside, but I almost always find them smack dab in the middle of a room.
      • I poked a broom at one and he acturally grabbed the bristles with his pinchers. Very aggressive. I tossed him fifty feet with the broom...lol. The I whacked him until dead. As long as they stay out in the desert they're OK with me, it's their territory, but when they come in the building they are mine!
      • Personally, I am glad they are so big, the smaller ones are harder to see, our variety is sort of transparent yellow.
      • Of course, this is just my experience, all I can say is watch where you step, and ALWAYS check your shoes.  

      Well, I hope this post  helps those of you in rural locations..or Arizona apparently. :o) 

      PS.  For some reason this post has tons of hits. I just want you to know that I finally called a pest control person. He said that scorpians usually live NEAR your house, not in it. We had a waterfall with lots of cracks and crevices a few feet from the house. Because the pond pump was broken, they moved in and set up camp.

      They don't like water, so once we got the pump fixed, and he did a professional treatment, we haven't seen any scorpians at all.  They like to live next to your house in warm dry places.. leaves, wood piles etc.  

      We finally got professional help and it seems to be working beautifully!  No scorpians so far this year. 

      Happy Homemaking!


    He led you through the vast and dreadful desert, that thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and scorpions. He brought you water out of hard rock.

    Deuteronomy 8:15'

    “There's nothing half so pleasant as coming home again.” ~ Margaret Sangster

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