Sunday, January 27, 2013

Hiding the Cat Litter Box!

Phoebe, from the television show "Friends", was a lot more tolerant of the worst part of cat ownership than most of us.....

It might not be "the cat's fault".....but it is a fact that the litterbox is the least attractive item in the house!

At Sweetwater.....we have these smelly eyesores tucked away in the back workroom!

Alas....Mr. S is often stuck there with the mess and odor! But at least it is out of sight!
And.....we are used to it!

When my nephew told me about solution to the "Smelly Cat"....I was sooooo jealous!

The only place for the cat box in their new house was the bathroom.....ewwwww!

He came up with this amazing DYI project he did to totally hide the litterbox!
He shared some photos of the project.....and I am sharing them with you!

He started with a simple cabinet that he bought from the Habitat Re-Store for $35.

Then he cut the side and back off to fit the space....and leave room for feline access!
He added a toe kick to raise it off the floor and match the height of the vanity in the room.

Now for the best part!!!

This little access hole in the side.....lucky kitty!

The hinge on the door needed to be moved...but I guess that wasn't that big a deal.

 The next step was to install a set of drawer slides in the bottom of the cabinet to allow for easy access to the box for cleaning.

 The addition of the shelf provides a place for pet paraphanalia!

Truly Amazing!

 And the kitty likes it too!

An all purpose kitty station!!!

I bet he didn't spend more than $50 total and it looks like a built in!!!

Well Done Sweetwater Nephew!!!
Thanks for sharing!

Monday, January 21, 2013

January Decorating Blahs!!!

I hate January.....
The holiday fun is over....and about the only thing to do is hunker down and get through the month!

It is hard to get excited about much....
The thermometer reads -11 today!!!
we are supposed to be thrilled when it warms up to 0!

The view out the window is pretty depressing!


My biggest challenge is to find ways to brighten up the house!
January has NO obvious THEME.....
January is a time when spending money seems silly after all the Holiday shopping.....
After all the time spent on Holiday seems like a time to aim for simple...and of course CHEAP!!!

What to do......simply and cheaply???

Since January seems to be all about healthy eating....and we are needing our vitamin C to ward off the flu....this little vignette on the bakers rack makes sense....
I picked orange as the "color wave"....yeah I know orange was LAST year's color of the year...but so be it!

 I had this photo of the oranges my brother sells at the Farmer's Market in Florida....
Printed and makes a nice bright focal point in the display!

On to the lower level.....where we spend lots of evenings cozied up to the fire watching basketball.....

I left the white candle stands....maybe a splurge on some new candles is in order....but for now...
The heart shaped wreath with red berries was a hand made gift from my sister-in-law lots of years ago.....sitting in front of a framed flag....a nod to Valentine's day and President's day coming in February...
Would you believe that the flag is the one that used to hang in my very first classroom?  I rescued it from the dumpster...I love the aged look....water damage and tattered edges and all!

The bookshelf is more in keeping with the winter theme....
The antique skis were hand crafted by Mr. S's great grandfather....yeah...maybe the pine cones and greenery are a little "Christmasy"...but I think it still looks OK...

The framed prints are two pages from another "school rescue"!
I have been saving the pages from a damaged book.....
A Farmer's Alphabet by Mary Azarian....I looked it up on can buy it for only $49.00....glad I was smart enough keep it!!!
Ww Winter and Uu Underwear seemed to be a perfect fit!!!

I have all the other pages.....hmmmm....Gg is for Garden Mm is for Maple Syrup and Zz is for Zinnia!  They just might get framed for the summer!!!

I couldn't bring myself to take this arrangement down....

The greens are still sort of long as you don't bump into them!!!

The pine cones and birch will be "seasonable" for a couple more weeks!

Some of my collection of off-white pottery made it's way to the mantle in the upstairs Family Room.

Would you believe that the greenery still looks that way after more than a month?!  A few pine cones and interesting "stuff" from a bag of potpourri finishes the look!

Now for my favorite....."still life" centerpiece on the table in the kitchen
 .........TRULY unique!!!!

Stay Warm......

Link Parties
Alderberry Hill  From Dream to Reality  
Adorned From Above   Handyman Crafty Woman  Trendy Treehouse  Sugar and Dots 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Martin Luther King Jr. Book List For Kids

Like many of you, this is a three day weekend for me because Monday is Martin Luther King Day!
Who doesn't like an extra vacation day?
In honor of the life and vision of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I am reposting this list of great read aloud books that celebrate the ideas inherent in the celebration of the life of this amazing American Hero.

I have the distinct pleasure of reading and discussing books like these with kids everyday.
I am always amazed by the wonderful insights that children have about the "dream" that MLK had.

I ask the kids to look around the group of kids that are sitting together listening to the stories.....

Then I ask them if they think that Martin Luther's Dream has come true....

They are in fact living in a world where "little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers" they sit side by side with children of all colors.  

I believe that well written children's books are a wonderful way to start "Courageous Conversations" about the struggle in our nation surrounding Civil Rights!

Martin's Big Words by

The book shows Martin as a child and then as he grows up to   and preach about love and acceptance. Following this are small looks at the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott, civil rights marches, and his 1964 Nobel Peace Prize. Finally, while marching with striking garbage collectors (a fact not often mentioned in children's biographies of King), he was shot and killed. Says the book at the end, "His big words are alive for us today". 

The Story of Ruby Bridges by Robert Coles

This is a nicely done history of the familiar story of the brave little girl who was the first black student in a New Orleans school in 1960.
Our kids will find it amazing that there was such anger about desegregation at that time...but never the less...this is an important story.

Through My Eyes by Ruby Bridges

Read Ruby Bridges' own words to truly feel what it might have been like to be this brave little girl!

The best history is always told in the words of the people who lived it.

....and look at those eyes!!!

Remember by Toni Morrison

The photos in this book are truly amazing!  Morrison has captured with photos and fictionalized words of what it was like to be a child during the upheaval of school desegregation.

Climbing Lincoln's Steps by Suzanne Slade

This book is a nice timeline of the story of Civil Rights in America. It begins with Lincoln’s signing of the Emancipation and ends  with the visit to the Lincoln Memorial by President Obama and his family....truly an amazing journey!  There are nice short biographies of important black leaders included.

The books above are great non-fiction.
But it is the stories that truly make for "courageous conversation"!

The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson

This is a simple story of two little girls who ignore the "rules" crossing the fence that segregates their African-American side of town from the white side. They get around the grown-ups' rules by sitting on top of the fence together and becoming friends.

Freedom Summer by Deborah Wiles

It is 1964....Mississippi....2 white!
The boys swim together at the creek, rather than at the whites-only town pool,  so when new laws mandate that the pool, and everything else, must desegregate, the boys rejoice.  But then the town fills the pool with tar in protest and the boys try to understand.   The illustrations in the book are extremely well done!

Ruth and the Green Book by Calvin Alexander Ramsey

I never knew about "The Green Book" until I read this little picture book.  This story is about a family driving from Chicago to Grandma’s house in Alabama and the bitter realities of segregation. They have to sleep in the car because they are turned away from hotels. Then they are welcomed at an Esso station, where they get a copy of the pamphlet called The Negro Motorist Green Book, which lists places where black people are welcome. There is a nice historical end piece about the Green Book as well.

Pink and Say by Patricia Polacco

I probably can't ever do a book list without a Patricia Polacco book.

Say Curtis describes his meeting with Pinkus Aylee, a black soldier, during the Civil War, and their capture by Southern troops. This is a compelling tale filled with the realities of war.  It would be best for kids older than 9.  I never get through this without a few tears! What makes it even more is based on a true story about the author's great-great-grandfather.

I hope you enjoy your long weekend....and that you take some time for some "Courageous Conversations" to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Dream!

Link Parties

Saturday, January 12, 2013

How are YOU Avoiding the FLU?

 Look at these "gorgeous" images.....
They look like fine contemporary art don't they?

Well.....NOT SO MUCH!!!
They are really microscopic images of the FLU Virus!!!

I spend my days "immersed" in germs....ewwww!

All those books covered in germs....
All those computer keyboards covered in germs....
All those wonderful hugs from the kids.....covered in germs....

I have always figured that being "immersed" in germs is a good thing.....building lots of immunity against most illness!

And....knock on usually works! 

But this year it seems that every news report includes yet another report about how widespread and big the outbreaks of this year's flu strain are.....

Now...I don't usually get too worried about catching it.....
but when one of my friends (a great strapping 40 something man) ended up in bed for two weeks.....
and a young freshman student in my school actually lost her life to the flu....

I realized it was time to get myself my very first FLU SHOT ever.....alas....not until last it will be a while before the shot takes full effect!

In the MEANTIME....I decided I need to get serious about some strategies to ward off those bugs!

Our VITAMIX has been getting a workout making this delicious Grapefruit Juice!
Eating whole grapefruit is sort of a pain....
CostCo has big bags of grapefruit for "cheap"....

The recipe is simple:

Just peel the fruit.....leave the white pith on....
Dump the sections in the blender.....
Add a little orange juice....
Add a little pomegranate juice....
Add a couple of packets of Emergen C....

Turn on the machine and let it do it's magic....

 The juice is really pulpy....and just sweet enough....Yummm....

I also planted some Wheat Grass a month earlier than usual.....

This magic flu fighter to make Wheat Grass Smoothies...

Here are a couple of posts I did about Wheat Grass....

HOWEVER....this year we have a new challenge when using the wheat grass as food!!! know...I think Marvin is trying to get some flu fighting anti-oxidants of his own!!!
So I guess now I need to WASH the wheat grass before I use it!!!

How are YOU warding off the flu at your house?

Hopefully you are not reading this from your sick beds....but if so....I wish you a speedy recovery!!!

HMMMM....maybe I will print those germ photos and frame sort of a talisman for warding off the flu?

Saturday, January 5, 2013

How to Clean Your Bathroom Tile Grout!

I cleaned the grout on the tile floor in the master bathroom yesterday!!!

Now.... this may not be the most exciting topic....
In is a pretty boring topic....

But I bet it is a topic that you think about once in awhile!!!

It all started when the Sweetwater Son's SO told the Sweetwater Daughter how she got such clean and shiny grout on her kitchen counter....

Then the Sweetwater Daughter cleaned the grout in her bathroom.....and it was all clean and shiny.....

So of course I had to keep up with THEM!!!!  Especially when the Sweetwater daughter brought me the leftovers from her project....

These are the magic potions.....

I am not a big believer in magic potions....especially when it is a cleaning product or anti-aging creams....guess experience is  a great teacher....usually the stuff "sort of works" but no "miracle" happens!!!!

Well wait until you see how this stuff works....

This is the way the floor looked before I started....not bad....well unless you look really close...and unless you know the grout is supposed to be WHITE not GRAY!

Now look!

Yup.....same floor!
With just 2 hours of work....

The Grout cleaner alone did an amazing job......
but the Grout Coating made the big difference!

The grout at the top of the photo has the coating on.....

The grout at the bottom of the photo has just been cleaned with the Zep Grout Cleaner...

Not fact I think that it would be good enough in a couple of other spots in the house!

This photo really shows the full effect!!!
Lots of years of dirty feet and spilled make-up.....

Gone girl.....Gone!

It even motivated me to clean the rest of the bathroom so I could take pictures.....

Now if we could just do something about the 
countertop.....the sinks.....the popcorn ceiling....the mirror I hate!!!

But you have to admit the floor looks amazing!!!

Here are links to the 2 products on Amazon if you are interested in more specifics!

I might just do the grout on the laundry/mud room floor this afternoon....
I might just lay on the couch and read a book....we shall see!

Have a Great Day!

Link Parties
Glitter Glue and Paint   

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