Wednesday, July 29, 2015

around the house

I am feeling very Susie Homemaker, I made my own laundry washing powder. Some blog recipes call for 3 ingredients, but I followed this blog post. I'm not sure what my motivation was. This gal says the cost gets down to $0.04 a load, but she is comparing to Tide. I love the smell of Tide, but it is very expensive so I've used cheaper stuff for years now. Anyway, it is free of a lot of the dyes and chemical stuff, so that's probably good.
all the ingredients
the soap was jamming up my blend tec so I had to hand grate, that was the hardest part!
And then I mixed it all with my rubber gloves in a trash bag lined bucket and then I was done
And I just use the scoop that was in the oxi-clean. It doesn't suds, at all, but the clothes seem to be coming out clean and fresh smelling. So that's good. I'm going to try those plastic dryer balls next as soon as my box of dryer sheets runs out. We don't have any skin issues or allergies, but less chemicals can't be a bad thing!
my sunflower has grown! Maybe not the best pic for an illustration, but I'm standing pointing up and it was still taller than my fingers! I remember planting it and seeing it would grow 10-12 feet and not believing it. But no lie!
Doug and Dad put up 2 walls of the shower liner, and then we did the last wall:
Doug pretends to shave his pits with the tile edger for some reason...
putting up a couple quarts of adhesive
looking good, hang in there tape!
new shower head
This bathroom, oh my gosh, so many things going wrong. Little annoying things. Doug said he and Dad spent 5 hours just figuring out a leak problem. The pipe sticking out of the wall doesn't stick out far enough to attach to our new faucet thing. Now there is the old caulk all around the rim of the tub that needs to be scraped off and it's been glued on there for like 20 years. He's off at Lowes buying razor blades right now. The next step (for the tub) is caulking it. Hopefully that will go ok. We still have to finish hanging the drywall, tile and grout the floor, install the new toilet, mud & sand the drywall, then paint, build an "addition" onto the upper cabinet, paint both cabinets, switch out the sink faucet, get a new light fixture, paint the walls, install the hardware, put up new trim, and find a less cheap looking door on CraigsList. How can people do this in those 3 day makeover shows!?!
The other home thing I'm happy about is we can finally use the treadmill we bought in June! We got a Nordic Track incline hiker in June, new on ebay, and it gets here and there was a clanking. After several phone calls we find out it's a common issue and there is a kit you can get to fix it and have a technician install. So we're talking to the ebay guy who ordered the part for us, and reimbursed us for the technician. But it was back ordered forever, and we're wondering if the ebay guy was lying, and anyway, finally it got here, and the technician came yesterday. The lady I used to babysit for had one and I always liked it and wanted one. But you can't even buy that old school model anymore, this one has all these bells and whistles, but then right out of the box was broken!? We were pretty disappointed in Nordic Track. The tech also told me I was going to have to buy some lube kit and do that every couple months and to expect to replace the belt in 2 years. The gift that keeps on giving! I was surprised, but maybe the lady I babysat for was doing all this stuff too and I just never knew. Anyway, I'm hoping that we will have no further problems and it will be worth the investment.
the lube part was easy
one thing I also liked about her treadmill was it was just so easy to use and user friendly. This thing has a built in computer screen (read= more to go wrong), and the worst part is that Jillian Micheals is the spokesperson now so I have to hear her voice everytime I go on there. I just wished I could have bought a new- old model! I don't like when people "improve" and then it's worse than before. But alas, that wasn't an option, so this one will have to do!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Alaskan Adventures

We're back! And had a busy week back at work, and back at our home projects. Doug ran out for another bucket of adhesive to stick our shower surround to the wall and I'm tallying the Alaska vacay receipts (ouch!!) and taking a few minutes to blog. I already posted all my pics to FB, so this is just going to be a quick recap. Doug and I are still on the new church hunt too, this morning we went with one of his friend's recommendations. Doug liked it, it is really important to him to be in a spirit-filled church, and it was; but the message reminded me of one of those Joel Olsteen "name it and claim it" takeaways that really bug me. We ended up having really good conversations about it, but I'm not so sure I'd want to go back. The message was a gal sharing about how you have to 'expect' God to do mighty things, or it's a sign your heart is hardened. And I just don't know how I feel about that. I know God can do mighty things, I have seen Him bring both emotional and physical healing to people I know, but I have also seen that healing not come. And people died, and marriages were broken. But I still believe God can do it, I just don't know if I would 'expect' Him to always do things they way I 'hope' for them to turn out. I'm really bad at explaining what I'm trying to say, but Doug and I were able to have a good conversation about it. Anyway, back to Alaska.
One fun thing we did was a day cruise on the Prince William Sound. It was called the 26 glacier cruise, maybe we saw 26 glaciers?, but whose counting. We also saw whales (far away), sea lions, seals, and lots of birds. At one of the main glaciers we saw calving which is where big parts of the glacier break off and fall into the ocean and it makes a loud noise and huge waves, that was cool.
Another 'day trip' we did was an ice-climbing day. We went with a group and some guides to Exit glacier. First we hiked up to the glacier, then put on crampons and walked out on top of the glacier, and finally were harnessed up and descended into the glacier before climbing out of it. It was hard! A bit like rock climbing, but you hack your arm ice pick things into the ice and then have to kick your toe picks into the ice and push yourself up. That park was hard. They were saying something crazy about how glacier ice is so much more dense than an average freezer ice cube. I can't remember the percentage, but it was mind-boggling. And all that dense ice was really hard to kick the toes into was my point here. Owie, plus just kinda scary.
Doug has done something like this in Michigan, so I think this was very cool for him, but I think I can cross it off my list of things to do :)
The next day we toured the kennel of the 4 time winner for the Iditarod (the annual dog sled race from Anchorage to Nome). Oh my gosh was it smelly and noisy! First I was thinking of calling animal protective services, but then it was clear that the animals liked living there and love pulling things. Our tour lady even said one time she tried to adopt one of the dogs and it was sad and just howled and howled and didn't want to cuddle, so she took it back to them. And they eat so much food and every stop they make in the race the musher examines their paws and joints and warms them up in all this gear. Alaska loves their dog sledding and the animals are very well taken care of, so I felt better. We went on a little 2 mile ride in a cart and that was fun.
example of all the warming gear it would be wearing on a break during the actual race
This day was rainy and cold and gross, so we did our tour and then ate lunch and did some shopping in Seward and then came back to our little apartment and watched HGTV which was a nice treat for me.
Next we headed up to Denali National Park.
The first afternoon we got there we attended some ranger led programs in the visitor center and then went on a hike ourselves. Then we went back to our B & B which was owned by this crackpot who was talking our ears off and made up this strange story... "a beaver and a wolverine made love and had a little baby beaverine. This beaverine was sad because it wasn't all beaver and it wasn't all wolverine. So it became an alcoholic. One day I came home and saw this beaverine in my kitchen holding my beer. So of course I had to shoot it. And that's the story of how little Ned became my new hat." And he held up this creepy silence of the lambs pieced together hat of a wolverine head with clawed arms hanging down as ear flaps and a beaver tail hanging down in the back. I was kicking Doug under the table like can we leave?!?! But, we stayed and we survived. And he even asked if he could pray for us as we left the next morning!
The next day we boarded our shuttle for the tour into the park. Unlike other national parks I've been to, you are only allowed to drive 15 miles into the park, so you have to take a shuttle bus and that gets you 66 to 95 miles into the park. We did the 8 hr 66 mile tour. It was rainy, cold, nasty, so it was just fine to cuddle up on the bus seat and look out windows. We saw a grizzly, lots of caribou, and then a grizzly eating a moose cub :(
That outline is where Mt. McKinley is, if it's not too cloudy to see it. But it was, oh well!
After the tour we drove down to Anchorage for the last part of our trip. Part of the trip was visiting an old college InterVarsity friend Lisa and her family.
We hiked thru the Chugach mt range near the city.
The next day Doug and I rented bikes and rode along an 11 mile trail along the coast of Anchorage.
We saw a moose on the trail! we were scared because they say more people are killed by moose than bears in Alaska. But this one seemed pretty focused on eating bushes and not on killing us, so that was good
Date night with Lisa and her husband. It was so nice to see them. It'd been 12 years but we had some great honest conversations about marriage, families, faith, it was really nice.
This was the sky as we were boarding to come home at midnight, crazy it was still light out! Land of the eternal sun.
It was a great trip!