6.28.2012

Quick Fix with Mr. Clean Magic Eraser

So are you like me? Do you have tons of little things around the house you want to do, but just think you don't have the time. My pet peeve is grubby doors and I have plenty of them. Painted white doors are the worst.  They show everything and why is it that we don't use the handle like we are supposed to?  Shove the door shut.  And what? Do we walk around with gross, grubby hands that make those disgusting marks on the door.  I blame it on the invisible dirt monster that likes to create a mess while I am sleeping.  That's my excuse for a messy house.  I can't blame it on kids because I don't have any.



So embarrassing! Many months of starring at this gross basement door and I whipped out one of my trusty Magic Erasers.  I buy these things in the big box store by the boatloads.  Some elbow grease and about 3 minutes of my time and the door looks fab.  Why didn't I do it sooner?  What do you have on your list that you want to tackle and in the back of you mind you know it will only take minutes?

6.23.2012

Power Washing: Vinyl Siding

This has been on our "to do" list for a really, long time.  The thought of dragging out the power washer (it's very testy) and all the ladders, soap and brushes, just wasn't on our fun list.  Hubs and I decided we were sick of looking at the mold, dirt and gunky stuff on the side of the house.  Storms passed through last night and today we awoke to clear blue skies and balmy breezes.

At a reasonable hour, Hubs fired up the power washer and it acted happy and behaved itself.

You can see how the soap and water pressure cut through the grime.  
Left side= CLEAN. Right side= GRIMEY

We were able to move to the back of the house pretty quickly.  I think soaping, washing and rinsing the entire backside and far side of the house took about an hour and half.
The power washer hose wouldn't reach this top part of the house and it really was the worst part. Hubs took a bucket of hot water and two scrub brushes and had at it.  He used the jet stream on the hose and scrubbed real good.

Finished and super clean.
 It really looks like a brand new house.  Only took us a few years to getting around to this.
We used a power washer that we had bought from Home Depot a few years back.  The brand is called Homelite 2600 psi.  As I said, it's a testy little bugger. While it ran real well today, few weeks back we were cleaning up the patio and the darn thing was leaking gas.  Hubs had to toy with the carb.  I would have thrown my hands up.

The soap was from Home Depot.  It's bright green and says for Krud Kutter for House and Siding on it.  Our power washer had a hose that attached the soap bottle and it squirted right through the power washer.  We used a little in a bucket of hot water too and it worked fine by hand.

I bought a soft bristle brush in the cleaning aisle of Home Depot too and Hubs used that along with our old car wash brush on a pole.

Hubs Tips:  Keep the power washer wand about 4-6 inches away from the siding and keep it moving with downward pressure.  You don't want to lift up under the siding.  While pure water worked at getting the dirt off, using the siding soap really made it clean.

The sun dried the house to a sparkling clean shine.  Love it.

6.21.2012

Organizing: Paperwork

Hi All.  Happy Summer!  
Been crazy busy around these parts but wanted to pop in with a recent quick fix for paperwork.
We have two businesses in this household that are a require keeping mucho papers for taxes, record keeping etc.
While I use the binder system for many of our household stuff and the paper pockets for manuals, I needed a place to store current year paperwork for the businesses.  A place that was easy to access and something that Hubs wouldn't rifle through haphazardly.  Remember, I am a piler, and don't find joy in filing anything.


I found these stand up folders at Staples in the Martha Stewart line and knew they'd be perfect to fit into one magazine file (from Ikea).  


Martha carries the folders in fun colors with matching labels.  I'd love to figure out how to use some in my laser printer and use some cool fonts, but for now, I used a good old Sharpie to write on them. 


I kept the categories simple, Advertising, Expenses, Taxes and Checking.  So far, so good.  Paperwork goes in and Hubs knows exactly where to find everything.  At tax time, I'll know where to find the goods and it will all be neatly organized.  What's your trick for paperwork?

6.07.2012

Organizing: Manuals

I don't know about you but dealing with household paper is a real problem around here.  It morphs into a mountain before I know it.  I was turned on to the Martha Stewart line at Staples by Ashli.  Nothing genius from Martha, but these pocket organizers have made life easier around my home.

 I've been using my binder system for most household paperwork and keep many of our manuals in specific binders, but I found that doesn't work for everything.
For example, in the pool house, there are some manuals that I want accessible and don't want to have to walk back to the house, upstairs to the office and pull out a binder.  Instead, storing all pool house related manuals, well, in the "pool house" makes sense.

So, a blank white interior cabinet door received a makeover with a little Martha.
 Instant gratification.
 I've even used these pockets in the laundry room for my washer and dryer manual.  No better place then stuck to the side on the machine.
 The best use ever is to contain all the take out menus.  Hubs and I know where they are in the kitchen island and love how tidy they are behind the cabinet door. 
Simple Things.  How do you contain the paper monster?

6.02.2012

NJ: Liberty State Park, Ellis Island and Lady Liberty

Hubs and I have been sporting a week long vacation tooling around various towns.  We headed up to Liberty State Park in NJ this week and brought Grandpa along.  Come to find out, he'd never been to see the Statue or Ellis Island.  He'll be 90 this year and is sharp as a whip.  He remembers so many details and loves to talk about his journeys while in the Navy.  He was the man on the ship that did S.O.S and translated messages.  
We had a great time having lunch in the park.  We brought subs from our very favorite sandwich shop, Tastee Subs. We took the ferry over to Ellis Island, checked out a few exhibits, found our ancestors names on the wall and battled the cattle crowds of people. Grandpa's father came over from Italy when he was twelve years old, by himself, and ended up staying at Ellis Island for about two weeks before any family knew he was there and came and got him.  Amazing to hear that.

The day was beautiful and I was lucky enough to capture some great images.
Below is a view from the ferry of the Freedom tower being built in NYC.
This was outside the ferry loading dock and old access bridges.
There was an old building that used to run the trains in and out of.  There were a total of 20 tracks and I loved seeing the Blue Comet track as is traveled my hometown.
Lady Liberty in all her glory.
View of NYC traveling back to dock.
This is the building with the tracks and where you board the ferry from the NJ side.
Ellis Island view from the ferry.
Amazing masonry on the buildings at Ellis Island.
Hubs and Grandpa waiting in line to board the next ferry.
This was our gal who took us back to dock.
When you get off the ferry, there is a memorial for the victims of 9/11 and this view would have shown where the Twin Towers would have stood.
I'm so glad I was able to share some time and sights with my Grandpa and happy to know he enjoyed our trip together.