About This Site

Hi, I’m Denise!  I just realized that I never wrote an About post for this website.  I started this website when me and my husband began an adventure in real estate.  We bought a 4-unit property that was built in 1969 and is a bit of a fixer upper.  Hence, the realty in the website name.  And housewife b/c I am a stay-at-home Mom to my three daughters.

We were looking for something that I could do from home that was flexible and provided us with a little extra income and so we became landlords.  Plus, my husband is handy and that helps significantly, so he’s basically taken on a second job.  We’ve had many experiences through this adventure and I thought we’d blog about it here and if anything helps or encourages or entertains anyone else through this then great!  We also rent out our old house that we used to live in – that comes with different adventures also posted here.

My hope for this site is that you’ll be able to find recipes (easy, mostly), tips on property management (landlording), cleaning tips (b/c I have to), home decor ideas, renovating ideas, and mommying shenanigans (the most fun and challenging part but also most rewarding).  But through all of it, I hope to convey humor and make someone laugh b/c if we don’t laugh we cry, right?

The name of the website also came from a play on the Real Housewives shows.  I do love those shows and I watch every season and every city.  I know some people are going to look down on me for that and I understand.  My husband feels the same way.  He can’t even stand for them to be on if he is in the room so it’s a secret pleasure of mine.  As I’ve told him, I only watch them as a way to know what not to do.  I really do learn a lot from the shows.

There’s usually a voice of reason on the show and there’s some give and take so it’s not all bad.  It’s not like watching Jerry Springer or anything – which I don’t watch.  I used to watch the Real World but I gave that up several years ago b/c I felt like there was no voice of reason on that show – just bad behavior and I felt dirty after watching it.  I think the Real Housewives casts pretty well to have a variety of people – there’s usually a voice of reason, a pot stirrer, a big spender, and someone on the verge of divorce every season.  I don’t even know why they call them housewives b/c most are not married but whatever – details..

I’m not sure how my About Me post became all about Real Housewives.  I am not one of them nor do I look up to them – no way no how.  I just love analyzing the psychology of relationships and I’m always watching reality shows that involve groups of people and group dynamics b/c I find it interesting.  I also love Big Brother, Survivor, Bachelor, and Bachelorette.  When groups of people that are different are forced to be together, conflict arises and I like to see how it’s dealt with and analyze it.  Could they have said this or that to make it better?  Etc. Or I take mental notes: Never bring sprinkle cookies to a dinner party (those who have seen The Real Housewives of New Jersey will get that).  I really should’ve gone into the psychology field but I didn’t b/c career paths there were less clear.  But I can practice it secretly.  :-p

For myself though, I absolutely abhor conflict and avoid it at all costs – it gives me anxiety.  Maybe that’s why I watch the shows – I’m in shock that people actually willingly put themselves through that.  I couldn’t do it.  This post is indicative of how my website is – lots of tangents, analogies and analyzing things b/c that’s me and I have to be me. I might veer off topic every once in a while, but I’ll try to make it interesting..

Here’s my NOT AN EXPERT clause: I am not an expert – just a person that does a lot of diy stuff so don’t sue me (literally) if it doesn’t go well for you – not my fault.  :-p  When things don’t go well for me, I only blame myself – I don’t understand today’s philosophies of people being sue-happy and that’s another tangent for a different day, but I don’t hang around people like that so hopefully that’s not you and we can be friends.  :-p Unless, of course, a box falls on your head at Wal-Mart or something.. That might be a little different. I suppose there are appropriate times for people to sue, but you know what I’m talking about. People should use it sparingly and judiciously. Besides, I have no money so sueing would be pointless – as I mentioned earlier, I’m a stay-at-home Mom. :-p I just feel the need to put a disclaimer in here somewhere: not an expert. :-p

Which brings me to the next point. The bible warns against quick money: Proverbs 13:11: Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, but whoever gathers little by little will increase it.  Remember: Hard work pays off.  It may not always pay off financially but it may just feed your soul and that’s the best kind of pay.

On that note, last but not least, me and my husband are Christians and we do our best to follow the principles set forth in the Bible.  We fall short constantly but that is the human condition.  We do our best not to judge others b/c we ourselves aren’t perfect.  The only perfect person was Jesus.  Jesus was all about love and compassion so if you don’t have love and compassion then you are doing it wrong – ok, so maybe I am being a bit judgmental on that point.  We enjoy good people and especially people that point us toward God and we’d like to give all the glory to Him in everything we do that’s good.  Everything bad – not God’s fault – the fault of our human condition.

 

Fred Bird – My arch nemesis

FredBirdAnybody else get anxiety about volunteering at their kid’s school?  Well, one year I volunteered at the Fall Carnival at my daughter’s school.

It was hard to choose what to volunteer for.  I didn’t want to lead a game b/c I was having some back trouble and thought I’d get grouchy picking stuff up constantly (like darts, and things that the kids use for the games).  And it would’ve been weird if I had taken off my shoes and used my feet as hands to pick stuff up which is what I do at home.  Also, you have to be all excited and fun and extroverted when putting on the games and that doesn’t always match my personality.

So, I thought temporary tattoos – that should be a safe place to just kind of blend into the wall!  And it was only for 2 hours – what could possibly go wrong?  Maybe if I messed up a tattoo a kid might scream but not likely b/c most kids are easy going- though you always have that one kid – who I’m not going to judge b/c my kid has been that one kid at times.

It was going as expected – nice and boring and uneventful until Fred Bird walks into the gym.  He’s all taking pictures with people and having a good time with the paparazzi following him and comes straight up to the tattoo table and asks for a tattoo.

Well, I tell him that the tattoo isn’t going to stick to him b/c he’s got fur.  And he’s like, “What?!?!” but he doesn’t talk so he was gesturing WTH with his hands.  Then, he points at his arm that he wants a tattoo there.  And I explain to him that, “I’m sorry it’s not going to work.”  Then, he pounds the table with both his furry arms and makes a big scene demanding a tattoo.

At this point, the whole gymnasium full of parents (and kids) is looking in my direction and I feel my face turn bright red.  Next, he puts his leg up on the table and points to his leg that he wants a tattoo there.  But the costume is covering his legs.  So, I explain to him again that I’m sorry but it’s not going to stick.  He puts up his hands like he’s completely exasperated with me and then proceeds to put my entire head in his mouth!

Pictures are being taken, etc.  My face at this point is the color of his costume and the entire gym is staring at me and laughing.  At me not with me.  I look across the room, hoping at least my family wasn’t watching this, and see Bryon and the girls staring at me and they are not laughing (they look like they are in shock – probably at how red my face was) and my oldest daughter had this strange look on her face – like she was embarrassed of me which made me want to die.

All you parents out there can relate that all we want to do is make our kid’s school life better not worse and therefore, I try to blend into the wall where ever possible.  Yet, here I was managing to be the laughing stock of the gym.  :-p  I’m not exactly sure what he wanted or how I could’ve avoided embarrassment – maybe I should’ve pretended to give him a tattoo for the photo op and instead I spoiled his photo op b/c I was too busy trying to bury my head in the sand.  :-p  LOL!  Oh well, at least it was entertaining for everyone else!  If only my face didn’t turn so red, I could play things off a little better.

Flash forward to today and it is the funniest thing ever to me to retell that story but at the time – complete embarrassment!  :-p  Moral of the story:  if you think the temporary tattoo table is a safe place to volunteer, it’s not.  No place is safe when volunteering at the kid’s school.  Just buckle up and enjoy the ride – it could make for a good story later!!!  :-p

Carpet Cleaning Tricks

Things you’ll need:

Carpet brush (any brush with a handle)
Resolve Carpet cleaner (this is my favorite)
Oxi clean
Spray Bottle
Goo Gone (the kind in a spray bottle) – for any gum or muck
Vacuum

We have had tenants move out and the carpets have looked beyond salvageable.  Often times they are not salvageable and we just replace (with vinyl plank flooring – we’ve had pretty good experience with this-I’ll need to write another flooring review post for those interested in our flooring experiences), but we’ve saved some carpets with this scrubbing method.

By the way, I haven’t had great luck with carpet cleaning machines.  I just feel like they don’t work as well as scrubbing by hand.  Maybe scrubbing by hand and then using a carpet cleaning machine would work best.  Scrubbing by hand is alot of work though but I feel like it really pays off.  Hard work pays off – that’s the mantra I like to repeat to myself over and over as sort of a hypnotic trance while cleaning.  :-p

1.) Spray the carpet with Resolve and brush the cleaner into the carpet, then let sit. Vacuum up after dry.

2.) If the carpet remains darker in some spots after cleaning, spray an oxi-clean/water (mix oxi-clean into some hot water in a spray bottle) solution onto the area and scrub into the carpet with a brush.  Let sit for a while, then vacuum again.

This worked really well on our light beige carpet.  We actually had large areas that were stained darker and this worked like a charm to lighten them up.  I’m not sure I would use it on darker carpets though – you’d have to test in a small area.

Believe it or not, this carpet had an entire slushie spilled on it and it was never cleaned up.  I thought it wasn’t going to be salvageable, but with alot of scrubbing and then some oxi-clean and it looks pretty good if I do say so myself.  We replaced the carpets in every other room b/c they had cigarette burns and stuff that couldn’t be fixed unfortunately.  But we were able to save the stairs and one bedroom using this method.  It’s not perfect but it’s a rental.  And some spots I wasn’t too worried about b/c I knew there would be a bed covering it.  Now, to do my own house using this method.  I’m too busy cleaning houses that other people are going to live in that my own house is starting to suffer.  :-p

If you have any muck or gum on the carpet, the Goo Gone spray gets it off amazingly well! It again takes some muscle, but I’ve gotten whole pieces of gum out of the carpet with it AND construction muck (if you know what that means – it’s gooey, oily muck that manages to get on the carpet when doing construction work – I don’t know where it comes from but it always magically appears.) If you have kids, then you know that candy and gum are the worst offenders – comes off like a charm.. A tiny piece of candy flies out of their mouth when they chew and then dirt gets stuck to it and eventually you have a nice black spot on the carpet – I’ve gotten these out as well with this! It’s magic! Spray it with the Goo Gone and use a white cloth to rub at it until it’s gone – keep spraying and rubbing until you either crumble into a pile of dust or the stain is gone… :-p

20160726_181245

How to Seal Grout on a Tile Floor

Here’s what you’ll need:
20160726_182044

First, scrub the grout thoroughly with a grout scrub brush (seen in picture) and water.  I actually use a water/oxi-clean solution to brighten the grout a bit (let the mixture sit on the grout for a little while to brighten it then scrub), but you could also use baking soda.  Make sure to wash off afterwards. Then, let dry for at least 24 hours.

Then, pour some sealer into the Grout Sealer Roller Applicator and roll on the grout.  I had to gently squeeze the bottle a little at times b/c I couldn’t tell if the stuff was coming out or to get a little more to come out, but it worked really well and the sealer stayed mostly between the lines.  If it gets on the tile, just wipe it off with a damp rag.  Let dry as per directions on the bottle.

Hopefully, this sealer will help keep the grout from getting stained.  We shall see.

 

World’s Dirtiest Jobs – Cleaning behind the oven

After cleaning behind the oven in one of our rentals, I believe land lording could qualify to be on that show, “World’s Dirtiest Jobs”.  I joke, but seriously.  My husband usually does most of the dirty work and I do mean dirty.  This one was mine to own though b/c he just has so much other stuff to do that I don’t have the skills to do.  :-/  It pays to be skilled, eh?  I need to get him to teach me some more stuff so I can send him to clean the toilets, etc.  :-p

Here’s a picture of the before:

20160724_174452

And After:

20160724_182326

I used Greased Lightning and the Spray bottle of Goo Gone to get this clean.  I started with paper towels b/c I didn’t want to destroy all my rags, then finished with rags. And definitely wear gloves!  Some of the grease that was on the sides of the cabinets, I had to scrape off first with my handy dandy 14 in 1 painter’s tool which I’m going to have to devote a post to b/c I love it so much..  So relieved to have this project over.  Yuck.  I don’t think I’ve ever even cleaned behind my own oven – ugh..  I need to.

Renovation Packing List

Every time we need to renovate a place or get it ready to be rented, we have to maintain two, sometimes three, households, so it’s important for us to keep a list of things we’ll need to bring and possibly leave at the rental property for a while.

Here’s our list of important items (this might help someone else out there):

Bryon’s toolbox (this is the black box that has everything – sorry can’t include it all here b/c I don’t really know what’s in there.. :-p)
Drill
Scissors
Spackle
Putty Knife
Screwdriver (all types)
Paper towels
Toilet paper
Pliers
Hammer
Small screw remover (it’s a tool, but I don’t know the technical name)
Trash Can
Trash Bags
Cleaning Gloves
Cleaning Rags
Sponges
Cleaning toothbrushes
Hand Soap
Dish Washing Liquid
Dish Washing Detergent
Paint Brush
Paint Rollers
Paint Tray
Paint Can Opener
Paint
Sand paper
Windex
Resolve Carpet Cleaner
Vinegar (for cleaning)
Bleach (for cleaning)
Ammonia (for cleaning)
Oxi Clean (for cleaning)
Baking Soda (for cleaning)
Spray bottle (for cleaning mixes)
Baby Wipes (for dirty hands and cleaning and everything under the sun)
Movie Player
Movie Player plug (adapter to adjust from car plug to wall plug)
Step Stool
Work Clothes
Butter knife
Forks
Spoons
Bowls
Plates (some glass some paper)
Cups
Chairs (lawn chairs or regular folding table chairs)
Folding table (optional)
Contact Paper (if need to recover shelves)
Vacuum
Broom
Dust Pan
Mop
Mop Bucket
Floor Cleaner
Hand Towels
Work Towels
Caulk
Caulk Gun
14 in 1 Paint Tool (see post on that: Painter’s Tools All In One: 14 in 1 paint tool)
Pumpkin Candle (secret ingredient for showing houses – everyone likes the smell of pumpkin, right?!?) and a nice red hand towel to hang on the oven handle – boom! rented! Everyone likes red. :-p
Snacks (lots of snacks for the kids AND motivation for the adults. For adults – it’s important to have those Mother’s brand cookies – they are like animal shapes with frosting and sprinkles. :-p)
Coffee – the pre-bottled kind that you can keep in the fridge – it’s quick, easy, it’s better than an IV (any kind – double espresso shot? anyone? Yes, please!)
Stuff for the kids to play with (sidewalk chalk, bubbles, water squirters, coloring books, crayons, markers, tablets, dvd’s, books (though they never choose this option – probably due to the 4 year old bugging them – and don’t bring over library books – it gets you into lots of financial trouble…))
Work Clothes for the kids (yes, I put them to work many times when they say they are bored – keeps them from saying they are bored. :-p)

I will continue to add to this list as stuff comes up.

How I Met My Husband

marriageMeeting my husband was sort of like a mini Bachelorette show for me.  I know a lot of people don’t like that show but I happen to love it.  :-p

I used to be an IT consultant before I decided to stay at home with the kids.  I traveled for work and basically lived in hotels out of a suitcase.  I gave up my apartment in Houston, TX at some point b/c it didn’t make sense to have one since I was never there and I didn’t want to have to fly back and forth every weekend.  I was on a project in San Francisco where they were trying to get me to live to reduce expenses on the project but I just couldn’t see living there (I was there for 10 months).  Being from Texas, San Francisco was just way too different for me.  The cost of living was the biggest shock to the system.  I couldn’t imagine paying the prices they were asking for housing and the raise wouldn’t have been nearly enough to cover the expense.

In addition, I feel like there is such a different culture in San Francisco than I’m used to.  It seemed to me that many of the men weren’t ready to settle down or weren’t interested in women or they only ate salad (which was probably the worst thing).  :-p  I got a lot of funny looks for eating huge plates of meat and potatoes on dates and men eating tiny, extremely healthy salads (kale used to only be used for decoration, right?) – no thanks, I’m not a brontosaurus.  Not just funny looks though – sometimes looks of disapproval which bothered me.  I don’t care that much about my appearance or health (I should care more about my health) that I’m willing to be unhappy (aka – only eat salad).  And, with the men I was meeting, it seemed to me that they cared a lot about appearance and being healthy which would only drive me NUTS.  Now, I hate to generalize everyone (I didn’t date everyone :-p) there but that was just my experience.  Whatever the case, I was just finding it hard to “settle down” which is what I really wanted.

When I saw a project come up in St Louis, MO, I was extremely excited!  A few of my friends were already working there and I got word that they were in need of software testers.  I jumped on it.  I’ve always had a thing for the Midwest though I’d never really been there (unless you consider TX part of the Midwest – not sure).  You could say my type of guy is a Midwestern guy.  They not only had to have the Midwestern look (manly man type of look – I guess the opposite of metrosexual) but also the values b/c it’s the values that I find the most attractive (good old-fashioned family values).

I signed up online from California to do a pre-dating (just like speed dating) event in St Louis, MO about a week after I arrived there.  I thought it would be a good way to meet some St Louis people and maybe they could show me around.  I had no idea that I would meet my husband there.  Though I did pray that I would.

There were 13 guys and 12 girls.  The age range was 25 to 35 years old.  There I had an advantage b/c I was 26.  You spend about 6 minutes with each person and then the organizers ring a bell and the men switched tables.  The women got to stay at the same table.  The held it at a bar called Llewellyn’s in the Central West End.  I arrived a little bit late from work so I didn’t get a chance to get a drink – which was definitely a Godsend.  :-p  We talked about basic things – what do you do for work, for fun, etc.  They had some ice breaker cards on the table, but we didn’t really use them.

How it works is that they give you a piece of paper with everyone’s names on it and you select the people that you would be interested in seeing again and if they also selected you, then the organizer will give them your phone number.  Everyone I talked to was really nice and interesting so I selected 7 people to see again!  Well, they all selected me too so I had 7 dates potentially to go on!  I went from having no social life to a crazy social life!  :-p  Bryon only had one date to go on with me b/c he was more selective on who he picked. That is, maybe the choices weren’t that great – hence, all my dates. I think many of the women were on the older side of the date range which is a big disadvantage at these things if the men are younger and vice versa. It all just depends on the candidates that sign up.

So, needless to say, I was busy.  I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss out on anyone so I went out with everyone. See my post about searching for the magical unicorn – Lighter Shade of Gray – this is completely in line with my personality- or personality disorder. :-p

Bryon was the last guy to call.  I had already gone on a few dates by the time he called b/c some of the guys called the second after they got my number which I wasn’t too keen on (looks a little frantic and desperate).  But I was waiting for Bryon to call b/c I really liked him – I had written some good things by his name.  I wish I had kept that paper so I could remember what that was but he was definitely a front runner – he definitely would’ve gotten the first impression rose if this was the real Bachelorette.  ;-P

So, finally he called and we arranged to meet up at the Spaghetti Factory in downtown St Louis at the landing.  I was living at Gentry’s Landing in downtown so this really worked well for me – I guess that’s why he picked it – very thoughtful.  Except I suck at directions and even though I went downtown everyday for the past week to get to my apartment, I missed my exit to get there and ended up going across the bridge into Illinois.  I was already running late from work, so I had to call and tell him I was going to be extra late.  He was very nice and talked me through how to get there.  And he was waiting outside for me when I arrived at the Spaghetti Factory to give me a big hug.  That was nice.

We ate great food and had great conversation.  It was really nice.  Then, we went down the street to get a drink – I can’t remember where.  We had to end the date a bit early (early for me b/c I’m not disciplined and never had a set bed time) b/c we both had work the next day and we ended with a small kiss on the lips goodbye.  Perfect.

While we were on the date, he arranged for a second date (that’s how you know the date is going well :-p).  He finds it funny though b/c when he asked what I was doing on the following Saturday, I asked what time on Saturday?  This indicated to him that I had another date which I had no idea that that’s what it indicated to him but that was true.  :-p  I did have another date but I was willing to squeeze him in.  :-p  Which was probably not fair to that other date but at that point I didn’t care.  Bryon was the front runner.

Fast forward to Saturday.  I went on my “other” date.  It was not good.  The guy I went out with was ready to be married like that day.  He took me to an Italian restaurant on the Hill which was nice and had great food but everybody in there was much, much older than us – like I think I we were the only ones that didn’t have white hair.  I was thinking that if I dated this guy, this would be us.  He was talking about me meeting his parents (it was our first date!) and marriage.  I got really scared off and I drank waaaaaay too much wine during that date.  I thought this guy doesn’t care at all who I am, he just wants to marry anyone.  I was dying to get off that date.

After dinner, I had him take me back to my apartment b/c I had scheduled Bryon to pick me up at 9pm to go to a comedy club.  I think my date had figured we would do something after dinner which I hadn’t even factored that in to my thinking in my original planning of this night.  I kept checking my watch b/c I was cutting it very close.  I didn’t want the two of them to run into each other.  I basically got out of one car, barely got inside, when Bryon called that he had arrived.  It was REALLY close and stressful!  I’m pretty sure I had to be a bit rude to my first date in order to race out of the car (like, I basically dropped and rolled out of the car when he pulled up to the apartment complex), but I didn’t want to get busted.  Woops!!!!

This poor planning almost ruined my chances with Bryon b/c by the time he picked me up I had already had a couple glasses of wine to get through my first date which didn’t go well.  To him, I wasn’t the same person he had met on the first date we had b/c I was tipsy Denise which is different.  We went to the comedy club and had an OK time.  I could tell something was off.  Then, he dropped me back off at my apartment.  I knew I had to do something to reel him back in.  So, I invited him up and showed him pictures of my family on my laptop.  He realized that I wasn’t crazy, tipsy Denise.  I was the same person he’d met on the first date – so long as I didn’t drink.  And that is history.  We found our crazily ever after.  And, in this area of my life, I found my magical unicorn. 🙂 Still searching for it in all the other areas. :-p

Cajun Foil Packets for Dinner at home or Camping

If you know me well, then you know I love Cajun food! It’s my favorite thing to make and eat. Actually, I like Southern cooking, in general, but especially Cajun-style. I have to stop myself from putting Cajun seasoning in just about everything b/c I think it would make everything taste better, but I also don’t want everything to taste the same either so it’s a trade off.

My husband LOVES to camp. Me, not so much, but I try to make him happy and go every once in a while b/c I know he loves it. For me, it’s more that I don’t like bugs that I don’t like to go. And I cherish sleeping in a cozy bed with A/C.  And I like all the luxuries of having a bathroom nearby and being able to go to the restroom without a spider staring at me.  And so many other things, but the main thing is BUGS.

I seriously think that one day I will die of a heart attack from an ill-timed bug landing. But that’s another matter – maybe once I hit a certain age – I will have to refrain from going camping for safety reasons. :-p But, hopefully, right now I’m out of heart attack range – we shall see. Although, it’s also a safety hazard for those I’m with b/c I’m known to scare the pants off everyone around me as well when I scream like I’m being murdered so people might start banning me from going too.. :-/  We shall see.

But I do like the adventure of camping.  I think it’s exciting in some ways and fun stuff usually happens along with the bad stuff.  I remember a saying and I don’t know where it’s from but I didn’t make it up: the difference between an adventure and an ordeal is attitude.  So, if I keep in the right frame of mind, it is an adventure.  And if I don’t, it’s an ordeal for everyone which is not ideal.

Anyhoo, these foil packets are right up my alley for camping and even for not camping b/c I like real, hot food regardless of where I’m at. I think these foil packets are so easy to make for dinner that it’s also good for times when you are renovating a place. Of course, I learned about them on Facebook but I added to the recipe a little bit (cheese and sour cream make everything taste better, in my opinion).

I use regular frozen corn not corn on the cob b/c I don’t like to get messy. And after it’s done cooking, I add cheddar cheese and sour cream to the little packet and seal it back up so that it melts into it for about 5 minutes – it’s a must do! Then, you just spoon feed yourself directly from the packet. And each person gets their own individual packet so you can customize each one. My husband and 2 of my kids hate shrimp so I always do theirs with chicken and it’s just as good maybe even a little better, I dare say..

Ingredients:
-Shrimp or Chicken (cubed)
-Potatoes (cut up kind of small-ish – the smaller you cut them the faster they cook) – I get those small new potatoes from Sam’s club (prewashed) and cut them in quarters
-Smoked Sausage (cut up into bite-sized pieces)
-Frozen corn
-Olive Oil
-Cajun Seasoning (I use Tony Cachere’s b/c I think it’s the best) – copious amounts of this – don’t be scared. Well, for the kid’s packets go light on it b/c it can get spicy. But for the adults, let it rain!!!
-Sour cream
-Cheddar cheese

Directions:
Get a really long piece of foil – about the length of a baking sheet or a little longer and put the desired amount of food in the midddle (shrimp or chicken, sausage, potatoes, corn, drizzle of olive oil and desired amount (copious?) of cajun seasoning), then fold up all the sides and make sure it is sealed well (this seals in the juices so everything stays juicy and not that other word that everyone hates).

You can cook this in the oven or on the campfire. For the oven, place the foil packets on a baking sheet and cook at 425 degrees for 15 to 17 minutes – or until potatoes are soft and chicken is cooked through. It usually takes 30 to 45 minutes for me. You’ll start to smell the wonderful aromas when it is getting close to being done.  When done, open up the foil and add a dollop of sour cream and handfuls 🙂 of cheese, then close it back up and wait 5 minutes for the cheese to melt.

This can be customized in sooo many ways – I’m looking forward to trying all kinds of variations.  How about barbeque sauce instead of cajun seasoning?  YUMMM!!

Here’s a link to the original website where I found this recipe:
http://damndelicious.net/2015/08/26/shrimp-boil-foil-packets/

How to make caulk look new

Anyone who knows me knows I’m not really that into cleaning, but with rental properties I have become the cleaning lady (reluctantly) so I’ve learned a few tricks that I can pass on – through typing things like, “HELP! How to clean caulk easily, instantly, with absolutely no actual work via telepathic means or osmosis” into Google.

My husband always makes fun of me b/c I can’t say the name Dawn.  I pronounce it Don, not like he does – Dwaawnnn..  But I wouldn’t want to make that same mistake with the word caulk.  Isn’t that a hard word to say?  If you botch that word up – it becomes a not so appropriate word.  So, I’m extra careful with this word when I speak.  😀

Anyway, I’ve recently tried this trick using Bleach!!  It works on white caulk but I’m not so sure it would be good for tinted caulk – you’d have to test it first.  I get two cotton balls and soak them with Bleach, then place them on the caulk and let them sit there for 24 hours.

I use multiple cotton balls or whatever it takes to cover the opening of the bleach container – so I can just tilt it over to soak them.  One cotton ball would allow bleach to spill everywhere which wouldn’t be good.  It’s a bit tedious if you have to cover the whole area.  Usually, you only have to do certain spots, but with rentals it’s sometimes the whole thing b/c it gets so dirty.  It’s tedious but if you take the time to do it, you will see results. You have to wear gloves, of course.

How to get rid of the smell in the Fridge

So, some of my posts result from mistakes I’ve made and this is one of them.  Yes, it’s humbling.  Humility is a good thing so I can’t say it’s all bad.  :-p  I painted with an oil-based primer – which is not a bad thing in and of itself.  But the oil-based primer stinks really badly.

Well, I made the mistake of putting the paint roller in the fridge so I could reuse it the next day.  I do this all the time with my paint rollers and it’s usually no problem – I wrap them in several grocery bags and then I can reuse them.  Well, this is fine for latex paint though I will probably never do it again b/c I’ve been sufficiently traumatized.

The next day, I open the fridge and almost passed out from the smell.  I tried to eat a piece of pizza that had been in the fridge and immediately spit it out.  It tasted like paint-za.  Everything in the fridge was ruined.  The lunchables that I bought the kids to snack on, the milk, the sandwich meat, even the stuff in the freezer was ruined (the ice especially)!

I thought (or hoped) it would air out on it’s own but it continued to stink for weeks even after I took the roller out.  Everything I put in there got ruined so I knew I had to do something about it.  Here’s what I did to fix it:

1.) I had to throw out all the food, drinks, ice, etc which luckily wasn’t that much b/c it wasn’t full stocked just yet.
2.) I wiped the entire fridge down with the ammonia, vinegar, baking soda mix.
3.) I aired it out by leaving the doors open until the fridge kicked on and then once I heard the fridge kick off again, I opened the doors again and kept doing this throughout the day to get fresh air circulated into the fridge.
4.) Then, I also bought some activated carbon and put it in there on a plate on both the fridge and freezer side.
5.) I also put in some sliced lemons on a plate because I heard that soaks up the smell.

Finally, the fridge smells back to normal.  I really thought I’d permanently messed up the fridge.  It took a couple of days to get it fully aired out, but it’s all good.  Whew!