Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Gel Toenails - Fun Treat

It has been such a crazy week. I am so glad that the flooding is stopped but I like things to be "done" and "fixed" and having holes in my wall and ceiling frustrates me. If it is in a room we don't often go into, I do better than having it in a living area. 

My house guest brought down her stuff to do gel nails and toes. She offered to do mine but I had just done my toenails and I have so many house projects I am working on that fake nails wouldn't be useful at this point so I asked if she would be willing to do the girls toes instead. 

She was thrilled to be able to do them and the girls were thrilled to have them done. 

The picture at the top is Princess two's toes. She picked a copper color and she has feet issues so for her to sit still and let someone do that to her toes was a miracle. I have learned how to be gentle enough that she lets me do some things but she likes to do her own "maintenance" on them and will allow me to paint them.

She said "she enjoyed having it done and it didn't hurt her and she only jerked her feet back a few times." That is saying a lot. (Here is a link to our tradition with toenails.)

Princess four had hers done with a purple color. She had hers done quite late so it wasn't as smooth as she would have likes so we filed them down a little today. There were smiles all around and then today, Princess five asked to get hers done. She wasn't sure yesterday that she wanted to have it done but when she saw how cute her sisters toes looked, she wanted to have hers done.

I really liked the cute silver sparkles she chose to do. They are really cute and as she said, "they will match everything."  

I think I am going to have her do my nails in a few weeks when I have my trailer work finished, my wall put back together again and my garden planted, etc. It seems like there is so much to get done in spring and with the last month of school, we are busy most nights with recitals, awards nights, concerts etc. 

You can see how cute my friends nails are in this picture where she is doing Princess fives toes. She has "french tip" with sparkles on them. It could be fun. This friend was the first person to give me a foot soak, massage, paraffin wax and pedicure in my life. She invited me over for the night and did all that for me without even telling me she was going to do it. I LOVE my feet being massaged and she did the entire package. That is my kind of friend! My girls are beginning to figure that out! Check out the smile! 

I am grateful for good friends!  Here is a link to me giving pedicures in Peru
Here is a link to a pedicure for a dear friend who recently passed away.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Fixing a Pipe Bib From the Inside

 Not sure why my internet is so slow tonight. I can't get it to upload. It took over an hour to get these pictures uploaded and I have one of the finished product and I can't get it to upload at all. 

Slow internet is the price I pay living in a small town. I started before midnight and it is now almost 1:30 and they still won't load so it isn't a busy time for internet. 

I will just post what I have and you can imagine the finished pipe. ;-)

I had a disaster clean up man come to my house and check out the drywall. He said it was 100% wet. That made me feel so much better. (joking) I was about cut out the entire section of wall but he said if I could get air flow in the wall, I could probably dry out the drywall. I had to rip out the cedar planks and then cut a hole and pulled out the wet insulation. I realized a few hours later that there was a board keeping the air from flowing in the section to the right so I cut another hole and pulled out the insulation in there. I pulled the wood off until his meter said the drywall was ok. The carpet is lifted and had fans on it for several days but the drywall had to wait as I had drill try outs and bunko so it got cut 1 1/2 days after finding out about the leak. 

I pulled out the pipe bib that I had installed and found insulation in the valve. That meant that I caught insulation in the pipes when I screwed them together which in turn wicked the water out of the pipe into the wall. So, I had to cut a hole into the ceiling to get the adapter out of the pipe so I could clean the insulation off the threads and re-thread it. 

I was ok cutting the holes in the wall as I can cover that with the cedar planks but cutting the ceiling was hard for me as I won't be able to make it look perfect. I do think I may just cover the spot with an air vent cover making it look like part of the heating system but actually, it would give me access in the future to the pipe. I will have to see how that would look.  

I scrubbed the threads to get the insulation out and then put on the Teflon tape and then got some pipe dope and slathered it with that and screwed on the adapter.

I then put Teflon tape on the pipe and put dope on that and then pushed it through the wall from the outside. I then went inside to screw it on making sure the connection was "clean" and then tightened it again from the outside. 

I tested it and have used the hose and there haven't been any leaks which makes me happy. I was so grateful that I got the bib on without having to cut the ceiling. It is a miracle that I was able to get the old one off and just a fluke that I caught the insulation in it, otherwise, I would have been fine. Can't wait to get the wall dry so I can put more insulation in and get the room put back together again. 

I have two fans blowing. One if faced into the water main and the other is faced away from the holes in hopes that will pull the other fan's air through the wall. I can feel a breeze up in the ceiling hole so something is moving in there. The paint was all bubbling so I hope I can get that all dry. I don't want to have to paint again.

 I hadn't used the pipe dope before but it went smoothly and seems to have helped seal the pipe well. I actually have a neighbor who is a plumber and he lent me his when I didn't want to go back to the plumbing supply store.

With the two sections to seal due to the adapter, I was grateful to have the dope to seal them better in hopes we wont have any more leaks. 

I got the pipes attached and then turned it on to make sure it works. It looks like it is working well. I have house guests coming again this week and have had one all weekend and her car had some issues so it looks like she will end up here for part of the week as well. I am grateful that we have water with all this company.

It was a busy weekend as I am working on some leaks on my trailer as well. I need another weekend. :-)

Friday, April 26, 2013

Bigger and Better Chair

Last summer we had an exchange student. We tried each day to give her a new experience. She  liked that we were able to let her have a real "American" experience. While here, we shared a game the kids in this town like to play. I had never heard of it before moving here but it is quite popular around town for the youth. 

They take some small item and go to a street and ask the people at each house if they have something bigger or better than what they start with. 

I posted about this last year. Click here to see the post. 

They usually do it with two teams and see who ends up with the better item. Both teams ended up with chairs. The chair in the picture was one they brought home. I don't need another chair but Princess One and her husband were down and thought the chair could be cute. 

Princess works full time and her husband works and is in graduate school and is doing his final major project so their time is limited for excess but she has been doing all sorts of fun projects lately when she can find the time. 

Today, she sent me this cute picture of the finished chair. She wrote, "Not a piece of junk for bigger or better now!" She painted it after sanding it and bought some cute fabric to cover the chair cushion. I think it came out really cute. The gold and brown wasn't working for anyone's house. I was going to take it to good will so I am glad she was able to use it.  

I had bunko today and about ten other things and it is 2 a.m. so I am glad she sent this picture so I could share it with you but still get my post done quickly and get some sleep before our extremely busy weekend. 

Hope you have a great spring weekend.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A Day of Finishing... Princess Five

My day didn't go as planned and I got nothing on my "to do" list done but lots of things not on my list that just came up. 

So, my excitement about fixing the pipe bib the other day was premature. (see a link about the issues I've have with it here and the second one here.) I think I twisted the pipe in the wall and my basement family room is flooding and I didn't notice it because our wall bookshelf was out so when I put it away today, the wood cedar slats were jutting out. 

I thought they caught on the bookcase and went to push them back into the wall (see a post about that here) and stepped in wet. The entire wall is soft and I am so frustrated about water issues as we always have some in spring for some reason.(see post 1 here, click here to see that same spot flooded years ago, and if you want to see more, type "flooded" in the search box at the bottom of the page.) 

I know it could be so much worse but I have a huge day and weekend with company and now I have carpet ripped up and will be cutting into the ceiling and I still haven't finished working on my trailer etc. 

I have Bunko (see a post about my bunko group here) today at my house along with the company coming and washing the sheets etc. 

So, I decided to do a quick post about Princess five finishing projects a few weeks ago. Some of these things were started years ago. These pillows she started this fall to make for Christmas presents and they turned into Spring presents. She stitched their names on the front, sewed them, stuffed them and tied them. Here is a link to some in a "neck" shape and using small beads to fill it instead of stuffing. It was a big deal for Princess five as she likes to start things and not finish them. Here is one such project I posted about before. 
I hope tomorrow goes better than today. I got lots done but just not things anyone can notice or I can check off the list. 

Princess five crocheted this afghan for charity and we learned a few lessons on this. It was her first crochet project. She learned not to use more than one "fluffy" type yarn. Using three at the same time caused lots of tangling and knots between the yarn as she crocheted. (click here for the first post on how to make the afghans.)

She also leaned to count the stitches in the row. As you can see, she started out only to get smaller then bigger as she went. She changed colors and didn't pay much attention to amounts. If she had used one of each alternating, it would have been thinner stripes alternating which would have looked better than using all of one color and then all of another. 

These are the things that teach us. She was happy to get these four projects done. We have the baby blanket I posted about before to finish but her friends were happy she decided to give them the travel pillows she made for them.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

What a Day - Gratitude and Blessings Abounds

A few months ago princess four was working on her math homework in the locker room between performances and she left her TI calculator in the locker room by mistake. She had to borrow one from her teacher these past few months so she could get her homework done. 

Today, I went to a second hand store and there wasn't lots but as I was there, they brought out another cart and I saw this calculator and grabbed it. It was $3. I asked to borrow some batteries to check it out while there and it works! 

Princess four was very excited about this purchase, as was I, as I still have one more princess to go and she needs a calculator for the next four years. The loss was a costly one but today's find saved me $100. Even used, they are over $50. I am so grateful for the blessing. 

We have had so many blessings this week. Princess two was using the washing machine and it didn't work. It left water in the washer and didn't drain or spin. This happened last time she did her laundry a few weeks ago. The repair man said that this week someone decided to get a new washer and dryer set and he put a few new parts in this washer as it was a few years old and brought it over last night. 

He also had a dryer that someone bought and it didn't work so the company gave them a new one. I guess after they gave them a new one, they realized that it was the person's vent system that was the problem but the company had already written off this other dryer. It literally was still in the box as he brought it to my house. I went to Home Depot to get a new gas line that was a bit longer than the one I had and the Dryer from the same company is almost $1,0000 and the washer was over $400. 

So within three days, we had a new water heater, new (less than three years old but new to us) washer, new dryer and a fixed lawn mower. 

The lawn mower was pulled out for the first time today. I had to get it started as it had a rough start due to not having been used all winter. I noticed when I pulled the rope that it had a worn spot in the center and thought it may break soon. 

Princess 2 finished the front yard and then went to mow the back yard and the rope broke. The man that does my appliances has an assistant who just happens to fix mowers on the side. His assistant was here helping him move in the new dryer. When they finished moving in the new dryer, he fixed the mower with a stronger nylon chord. He had it done within minutes.

Princess 2 had time to finish mowing the back yard during daylight hours. All the girls helped rake up the rest of the twigs and branches from the branches that fell during the past weeks storms. I cut the larger two branches into small pieces and we filled up most of the garbage cans.

There were two other blessing of the day that I want to share. When they were taking out the old dryer, they found a ring under my dryer. I thought it was a cheap ring one of the girls had and put it aside until thing were all put away. 

There were also two pennies under the dryer when I was cleaning up as well. It was a sweet reminder to "Trust God."  

When I looked at the ring a bit closer, I was a bit shocked to see that it is 18 karat white gold with diamond chips around three quarters of the ring. I called people who stayed with us and actually called the person we got the old dryer from asking if he remembered where he got the dryer. No luck on finding who it belongs to so we got a designer ring by "M. Christoff" with about 30 diamond chips in it that is 18 karat gold. 
The man who got me the washer and dryer has been a friend for years and insists he isn't allowing us to pay him for this but we have had it out and as it is, I am paying him almost nothing for installation and removal and new appliances. 

What a week. How can I not be grateful this week? So many blessings and a beautiful ring as well. I looked down at my phone today when I got a new text and laughed when I saw that I had 1 unread text and 111 texts total. 

Heavenly Father is so wonderful to continue to remind me that I am loved! 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Meet The President - Don't You Forget About Me

Princess Four has done it again. She won the election for Student Body President by 12 votes if you believe rumors. She did an amazing job and I am proud of her. Even if she had lost, I have reason to be proud. 

She has so much going on and yet she found time to make posters and banners. Not only once, but twice. Somehow, her banner disappeared and her competition had a poster where her banner had been. I was so proud of princess four. She just went right in after school and made another poster. I am glad because it gave me a chance to take a picture of her sitting beneath her new banner. 

She had the theme "Don't you forget about me!" and used that theme throughout her campaign speech bring the point in that sometimes we all feel forgotten and how next year she hopes that "we" can make everyone feel remembered etc. 

Then, for the skit, she used the them from "Pitch Perfect" and had a group of kids go up and do the "Ahh on 1, 2, 3." thing and then she rewrote the words to "Don't you forget about me" and sang it by herself while the "Crew" did a syncronized dance behind her. There was a popular boy that actually threw up on stage last year during an assembly where they had to eat food fast. She had him play the girl on the movie that throws up and had him throw out candy to the audience. It made everyone laugh as she had a male and female announcer giving highlights and commentary on the skit. 

She texted when she found out she won and I bought some treats to celebrate her victory. While at the checkout, I looked down and found this penny. I figured it was a good sign. She is so busy already, I don't want to think about how busy next year will be with two in high school again and possibly two dancing as well. 

Dance tryouts are this week. So far, Princess four has something every week through the first of August. She has church camp, girls state, drill camp, fourth of July dancing/parade, Thailand service mission and Freedom Academy for Student Body Presidents. 

She mentioned taking a college class or two this summer a few weeks ago and I just laughed. She also has HOBY and RYLA as Jr. Leaders at the end of this year and the beginning of next year. She has more packed in than any of her sisters ever did and I keep telling her she doesn't have to "one-up" anyone that she is amazing just for who she is but she keeps going. I am tired just thinking about driving her to all those things. We have had to drive six hours the last two weekends just to get her to meetings. 

I remember her telling her sisters that she was going to get her driving permit the day she could. So far, she hasn't read the book and doesn't have a permit and she could already have her license so I guess she isn't on top of everything. :-) Her sisters often joke and remind her of those "comments" she made back when.... 

I know she will be getting it together soon because there is going to be a lot of driving involved for all those activities and I really would like to let someone else do all that driving. 

She will also have lots of activities next year early morning and I don't want to be getting up early to take her so I think I will have to make getting her license a priority.

When going through my phone pictures, I found this picture of her two years ago running for senator when her sister was running for Student Body President. I didn't think she had changed much but looking at the picture, she has matured. Still amazing, but there is a difference over the years. 

She has grown so much and come out of her shell so much. I am proud of the efforts she has made. I know it was hard for her to reach out sometimes but she really is becoming a beautiful woman inside and out. I wonder where things will take her in the future. No doubt wherever she ends up, she will still be amazing!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Quiet Activity Toy - Busy Weekend

I had three different girls with activities in three different cities hours apart. It was a very busy weekend and one of the difficulties of being a single mom is I can only be in one place at a time. 

I will post about each girls activities from the weekend this week but I am tired so I will just show these cute quiet activities that I made when the older girls were young to help keep them quiet in church. 

They are like the nesting dolls. They all fit inside each other and each different doll fits inside the next bigger doll and each back closes differently. Snaps, lace-up, buttons and zipper. 

You could really make them any shape you wanted but the faces and hair made them look like dolls. 

This is another one of the items the girls would all like to keep as they all played with it many times over when they were little. 

All you need is some felt, pom poms and yarn other than the fasteners. You could also use Velcro and add another doll. You could even make them different shapes so that they could learn their shapes as well as the fasteners.

It could be a family affair and you could have each person design one of the dolls or shapes. There are lots of options. I thought I would just show them as we have been cleaning things out.

Click here for another quiet activity.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Vote Princess Four for President And a Few Other Things

Princess four is running for Student Body President. She has been a student Senator for the past two years and wants to be able to continue serving in that way her senior year. She really enjoyed serving and is almost finished with her 80 service hours needed for her service mission to Thailand. 

She spent one afternoon and evening making these cute posters with her best friend. 

I have to say that the cutest parts of the poster were done by her friend who is an artist. 

I am ok if I have something to copy but coming up with cute fonts etc from the top of my head has never been something I am good at. I was in awe of her friends ability to just make cute letters and highlight them.I will keep you informed as the the outcome. 
I spent the day working on plumbing issues again and spent hours working on the front pipe bib that I blogged about in this post here. I guess when I fixed it this winter, I stripped the threads and that is why it wouldn't turn on or off. The girls tried to use it to fill the tank on the trailer and it wouldn't stop running again so while the water was off for the water heater, I thought I would fix it. I put a new washer on before I realized the problem but after that, I couldn't get it to work and then couldn't find a way to stop the flow of water so I couldn't turn the water main back on. 

I tried for about two hours to get the pipe bib loose from the outside and was worried I would break the pipe inside the wall and have to cut the ceiling in our family room to replace it. I was so frustrated and had a migraine all day that I was about to live without water all night as it was getting dark. I finally said a prayer and asked my daughters to pray as well so we could have water. I went back out and was immediately able to unscrew the 14 inch pipe bib and it was actually a twelve inch that had been welded and had an adapter to a different size on it so I once again headed off to Home Depot where I was able to buy a 12 inch bib and an adapter. I came right home, put it all together and was able to put it right in without any problem as it was almost dark. I had no problem with it and turned on the main valve at the street and everything worked well. I was so grateful to my Heavenly Father for helping that pipe come out. I really tried for hours and it wouldn't move. Such a blessing..... 

So, as of today, I have a new hot water heater, I changed a cartridge in my moen faucet on my tub (for free as Moen is lifetime warranty), put in a new pipe bib in the front and was about to replace the main valve on the entire house but I can't find the right replacement part so I think I will leave it as it is working ok I just figure since I had the water off I would do it but I am VERY happy to leave it alone as it is working and I am DONE with plumbing stuff!

All I have left to do on the pipe bib is to fill in the grout area where I had to chisel it a bit to get it out since they had some silicone in one spot and I couldn't get it out without removing some grout. I bought some of the spray foam that will increase in size when you spray it and will be done with the pipe bib.  :-) I was entered in for a drawing to win a riding lawn mower next Monday for my visit to the hardware store. I would SO be OK with winning that. I think the girls would fight over the chance to get to mow the lawn if we won that. I may even enjoy mowing again if I won! 

I am very happy about the new water heater. The girls have all showered and I am off to take a bath! YEA!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Water Curses - Water Heater Blessing 111

The other day I went down to do laundry and the floor was wet. Over the past 18 years in this house, that has happened a few too many times for my liking but the laundry room would be the best place to have a flood so I can't complain as I prefer that to some of the other water issues we have had over the years. 

 I hunted around the water softener and the washer and couldn't find anything there and finally found that the culprit was my water heater. 

This is frustrating as I need a pressure vent gas water heater and with our large family, we need a fifty gallon tank. Vented water heaters are expensive and I replaced it in December ten years ago. I pulled out the warranty and the receipt and wouldn't you know the warranty is only six years. That one cost me just under seven hundred dollars. I figured it would be a bit more but when I called the plumbing supply place where I purchased my last one, it was $1140 plus tax. 

They said I could go with an electric heater but I have had to replace elements in them before and the hard minerals make it a nightmare to deal with so I decided not to go with the cheaper heater as they cost almost twice as much in electricity as the natural gas costs. They have charts you can compare each type, gallon size, fuel type, economy of the unit etc. There was one eco friendly one that was cheapest to run but cost $1500. I couldn't justify that.

I didn't think the local Home Depot would have one as the vented types are special order but they did happen to have one in stock that they special ordered just to have one available. I was thrilled as it was $900 plus tax. I figured I would take it. Of course, the extended store warranty for $190 was only three years past the six offered by the manufacture and they know that they make them to only last for ten years so they warranty them for 9 total. So, I opted to skip the $200 extended plan. 

I get the installer to pick it up for me and he gets it to my house and uses his dolly to carefully get it into my house. I had moved some furniture so we had a clear path. He cuts the box bottom and takes it off and there are dents in several places. I worry that the dent on the bottom control panel may have caused some damage to the control unit. I call the store asking if I can get another. It would take 2 weeks to order another so with the one I have leaking from three areas quite heavily, I don't know what to do. I had it turned off most of yesterday and today just to keep it from running. 

The installer tells me that he thinks it will still work. I ask if I can get a discount if we install it because I need hot water before two weeks. They tell me they will give me a $200 discount. I am willing to take the chance as that will help pay the installer. I also find a rebate for $100 from the local gas company so I am thrilled as I will now get it for about what my last one cost me ten years ago. 

The installer is putting it in and sends me to the store for new copper intake pipes and some pvc 3 inch venting pipe and wouldn't you know that I can't just buy the two feet length size we need, I have to buy ten feet. 

I am in my little car so I ask the man to cut off a two foot piece and then cut the rest in half. He does. There is no price on the shelf. He can't find a price for the ten foot piece. It doesn't ring up at the register and so I get the entire ten feet piece for free. 

As I am carrying it out of the store, I look down and there is a 111 on the pipe. I smiled and was reminded that earlier that day I was at the store and waiting for them to ring me up and waiting for the installer to pick up the heater when I looked over and on a box they had at the customer service desk there was a 111 in large print on the side. I smiled then as well.
Home Depot didn't have a plumber there and I couldn't find the parts I needed to finish the hook up and the plumbing supply store was closed so he got the heater hooked up without the venting and at least we have cold water for now. I am hoping we will be having some warm water by shower time tomorrow evening or I will have some unhappy and probably smelly girls. :-) 

The new water heater is fatter and shorter than the old one and is sitting back further in the corner so I have a missing piece of carpet now. I pulled the linoleum out of that room when it flooded last May (Click here for that post) except for under the water heater and now I have some rusty  linoleum that needs to be pulled out and I will have to find a rug to put there until I can put in tile. It wanted to tile after the May flood but there are so many other things that need doing that I have left that for later.

Today made me even more grateful than I usually am for hot water, dry floors, and any running water. It also made me know I am loved as Heavenly Father showed me several times and helped me get the water heater for about half of what I thought it would cost. I am truly blessed.