Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Sips and Strokes

Day In.

Stuart was off playing a double header in softball last night, so I was glad that I had planned a girls night. We decided to do something extremely girly. So I choose Sips and Strokes! It really is a fun thing to do...though there was a large amount of negativism and criticism of our own paintings. 

My favorite part is bringing wine and hummus. Can't go wrong with that! 

Here we are...five little blonds with their "poppies". Mary Elise decided to be different and do yellow. What a fun night!

I'm not sure mine will find itself a permanent home in our house...

p.s. I HIGHLY recommend sitting by Megan while painting...she constantly looks over and compliments you :) Good for the confidence.

Day Out.

Monday, May 14, 2012


Day In.

Something amazing has happened in our backyard. Our hydrangeas have bloomed...a lot! And they are gorgeous.

Two years ago, I thought I knew what I was doing and cut the dead branches after they bloomed. Oops...I must have taken off a bit too much. They skipped a bloom last year.

But I guess it's almost worth it...I don't think they were this pretty two years ago! Lesson learned :)

And they bloomed just in time to decorate my dining room table. Perfect for a night grilling with friends.

Day Out.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Felt Flower Wreaths

I have seen these types of wreaths on Pinterest and always thought they were so cute (and seemed fairly easy). So I decided to try a couple.

I bought some pieces of felt from Hancock Fabric. I bought yellow for a friend to make a baby wreath.

It turned out simple enough...though I had a few run-ins with the hot glue (ow!).

Here's a quick tutorial for the felt flowers for those of you (like me) that thought they looked difficult.

Use a round object to measure circles, depending on the size of wreath.

Cut the circle...

...until it looks like this (sorry, I couldn't think of a better way to describe!).

Reassemble the circle by hot gluing it into a rosette.

Voila! Felt Flower. Now repeat like 20 times :)

Here's my baby wreath (not the best photo, taken by phone)

I decided to make one for my front door for Spring. I wanted a "cheery" color since our house in green, the yard is green, etc. Everything seems to be green. So, I chose hot pink! It really does brighten up the door.

My very talented friend made me the sweetest banner for Easter. It's hard to read here but it says "He is Risen". It was a lovely surprise! I decided to add it to the wreath for the month of April. I love how it turned out.

Happy Spring!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

SFG Update

Day in.

Some of you probably just read the article about the square foot garden we created.  Since we took the pictures, we have had a little bit of action.  Some from animals, some from plants.

We thought we'd give an update.

Some birds and squirrels decided they wanted to get in on the action and at their own touch.  I think the birds were trying to eat the seeds, and the squirrels were moving the seeds around/bury their own. In order to keep the animals out of the garden, we added chicken wire around the garden.  We got 25' of 2' chicken wire.  We attached it to the base with a staple gun and attached it to the top with old bread ties and other wire we had around.
Animal Proofed.
You also probably notice there is some green in the garden.  Currently, every square foot has something green popping up.  Some veggies are growing a lot faster than others, so here are a few pictures.
That's it for now. We'll be sure to update once we harvest something to eat.

Day out.

Front Load Fix

Day in.

I sure am glad April is finally over.  We had a variety of things break/cause problems and it got to be a little annoying. We started the month off going to the Cooper River Bridge Run in Charleston.  Yes, both Anna and I finished the 10k despite not training much.  On the way home, Anna's car's oil light came on and the dash read "STOP ENGINE IMMEDIATELY!"  This is more than a little concerning when you are between Columbia, SC and Augusta, GA with nothing around.  Anyways, we got home safely and had the car's oil changed, a new oil pressure sensor, new axles, and a new tire (someone got a little too close to the curb).

At the end of that expensive week, the dishwasher stopped working.  Anna and I have been doing the dishes by hand since that went out, and just as we were looking into a repair man, the washing machine stopped working in the middle of the next week. Our washer and dryer came with the house, and they are a GE front-loading combo.  The washing machine stopped mid-cycle and had standing water in the drum.  Not good. Needless to say, we were now looking for someone that could repair both of our appliances.

A common theme in my posts are the desire to save money.  So as you would expect me to do, I went to the internet in search of a potential solution.  It turns out all front loading washers have a very similar feature. This feature is a drain plug that consists of a trap to catch all the fun stuff you leave in your pockets.  These items range from coins to keys to hair clips to lots and lots of lent.  I decided to check that out and see if that was causing the problem.  If you have a front loading washing machine, I recommend you do this every 3 months!

So here is the easy process to save hundreds of dollars:


1. Locate the washing machine.
Our beautiful machine.
2. Remove the bottom panel of the washing machine by simply removing three screws on the very bottom of the front face.
My screws were white.
Three screws and the panel comes right off.
3. Locate your drain plug.  It should be obvious when you see it.
There it is!
4. Place a thick towel under the plug to catch the excess water.  There will be a decent amount.  You may want a bucket (depending on how clogged it is). Ours filled up two buckets.

5. Simply unscrew the plug and pull it out.
Obviously I had cleaned ours out before taking pictures.  You will likely have a bunch of lent and smelly nastiness in yours.
6. Clean the plug and reassemble.

Doing that easy maintenance could save you hundreds of dollars.  Like I said, I didn't know about this, so ours was clogged and that was not the only problem.  We had a sock located in the drain hose, just upstream from the plug.  This was not only incredibly smelly when removed, but caused the drain pump to burn up the motor trying to remove it.

So now for a little more detail on how to solve the problem if your washer still won't drain.  We learned this after trying do wash another load.
Drain Pump. Note: The impeller on the end of the pump would spin 180 degrees and stop.  That's how you know it's broken. I read that sometimes the impeller just breaks off.
The drain pump and drain plug assembly.
How they go together....'cuz I know you were curious.
Locate your nearest appliance part dealer to get the replacement drain pump. We used Fox Appliance Parts of Atlanta after talking to multiple repair men and appliance store recommendations. If you live somewhere that there are appliance part stores, Fox can ship parts to you, or you can find the parts you need on The Home Depot's website. We only needed the drain pump, but it comes attached to the plug apparatus too.

Again, do step zero and follow the same steps 1-5, remembering the buckets to drain the water. Once the water is fully drained, you will need to unscrew the drain plug and drain pump from the base of the washing machine.
There's a screw! There is another on the other side as you would expect.
Then unplug the drain pump.
Remove the black and white wires.
Just like that!
Next, undo the black hose that drains from the drum and the grey hose that takes the water out. You will need to use pliers to do this, unless you have an incredibly strong grip.

Remove the assembly and install the new parts!

Re-assemble your washing machine, plug it in and turn on the power.

Hopefully, you're washing machine will run as good as the day you got it.  The parts came to a total of $138 and the repair was free (minus the cost for internet connection to research on YouTube).  I read on multiple blogs that people had this work done by a repair man and it ran at least $300.

Next weekend, I'm planning on fixing the dishwasher.

Day out.