Creating the Perfect Outdoor Kitchen

Upgrade and Save on Your Water Bill!

Mom Central Disclosure

Delta Corrente Toilet

I’ve been in the middle of a bunch of DIY projects as I’m getting my old house ready to put on the market and now I’m looking into upgrading the toilet in the hall bathroom. Delta’s line of Corrente toilets are sleek, virtually clog free and help eliminate leak points with their SmartFit connector and secure mounting components.

It’s probably weird to be excited about a new toilet, but I’m thrilled that the new Delta Corrente toilet comes with an EZ Out removal kit to make removing the old toilet simple and reduces the risk that I’ll do any damage to the bathroom in the process. Not to mention that these WaterSense labeled toilets can save up to $90 a year on your water bill since they use less water per flush.

Check out the Delta Corrente toilet at HomeDepot.com or at DeltaFaucet.com so you can get started on this easy weekend DIY project!

Updating the House with #GELighting

We live out in the middle of the woods so my husband installed a video security system when we first moved here and ever since then we’ve had this big ugly hole in the front porch ceiling and no light out there at all.  The way our house is situated toward the driveway nobody ever uses our front door so it really hasn’t been a big deal until lately.  Our 80 pound lab mix “puppy” (she’s only 9 months old!) doesn’t like to go out at night in the dark so we realized it was beyond time to get that particular project finished.

The original fixture was removed so hubby could use the wires for the camera and it got broken in the process.  Since we needed a new one I had planned to swing by a hardware store and get one after doing some shopping for light bulbs and other essentials at Walmart.  I was really pleasantly surprised to find out that Walmart had a decent selection of very affordable light fixtures to choose from and I went ahead and bought this simple yet elegant fixture for about $12.

While at Walmart I wanted to pick up some light bulbs for the new porch fixture and for the master bathroom ceiling fan.  Wow, the selection of light bulbs is incredible!  I knew that I wanted energy saving compact fluorescent bulbs, but beyond that I wasn’t sure so I spent some time comparing.  The fixture doesn’t take a standard size bulb so I made sure to bring one with me for comparison.  I chose GE Energy Smart 100w replacement Instant On Mini Spirals with an 11 year life for the front porch and GE Energy Smart 60w replacement Instant On Mini Spirals with a 9 year life for the ceiling fan.

The lighting in my bathroom was previously pretty dim and the light was cold and blue, not really the best for the green walls or for putting on my makeup in the morning.  The new GE Energy Smart mini spirals really brighten up the room with a warm white light but the most exciting thing is the instant on feature!  I had previously put CFLs in that fixture but they took forever to warm up – if you turned on the lights on your way in to use the facilities they would often warm up to full brightness about the same time that you’re ready to leave the room.  I’m so excited about GE Lighting‘s instant on CFLs that I’m planning on putting them in every room in the house!

Another thing I’m excited about is the cost savings achieved from replacing incandescent bulbs with the more energy efficient CFLs.  The CFL bulbs do cost more up front, but they last for years longer and use much less energy.  The estimated energy savings as listed on the package is $41 for each bulb used in the bathroom, and $97 for each bulb used on the front porch.  Use this handy free online calculator to determine your estimated savings from going more energy efficient.

You can learn more about energy efficient CFL and LED light bulbs in the video above and about GE by following them on Twitter and on Facebook.

Disclosure – I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community. This content has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ and GE Lighting.  All thoughts and opinions are completely my own. #CBias #SocialFabric

How to Make Your Own Hula Hoop

Okay, it’s confession time guys!  I’ve really been looking forward to the Brandcation blogging conference next weekend at Portofino Island and all the planned activities including the Blogger Olympics and an exciting day at Adventures Unlimited.  Well I just recently found out that there will be a hula hoop competition and while I’m not averse to making a fool of myself in public, especially with a group of other participants, I’m not really willing to put the evidence on YouTube so I bought a hula hoop and started to practice.

I figured that I’d have plenty of time to master the hoop and this way I wouldn’t let my team down or risk making it onto the Today Show for a completely different reason than I had imagined!  I’m actually pretty embarrassed to admit that I tried for three days (not ALL day people!) and couldn’t get the hoop to go around more than three times in a row.

Refusing to give up (or miss the conference!) I went online in search of tips and found out that my $5 hoop was really “child sized” and would be the most difficult thing for an adult to learn with or use.  To determine the proper size you stand the hula hoop up on the ground and the top should reach somewhere between your waist and your chest.  The standard size for an adult is 42″ diameter, 36″ diameter for a small adult, and 32″ diameter for a child.

When I searched Amazon for fitness hoops (that’s what they call the adult version) they were $30 to $40 so I thought I’d make my own instead!  At Home Depot I bought a 25′ coil of 3/4″ 160 PSI PVC tubing, two 3/4″ nylon couplings (see connector pic below), and a roll of red duct tape for $26 – this was enough to make two hula hoops so they were $13 each.  I was so excited to try out my new hoop and I’m thrilled to report that the difference is amazing! (on a side note, my abs really hurt today!)

I watched this video to learn some hoop techniques and the two sisters who do the videos are incredibly fit and the hoop is so much fun that I believe I’ve found my new workout!  It’s definitely not easy which makes it an exciting workout, and it’s good for all your parts since you’re moving your hips and legs and holding your arms up at the same time.

How to Make Your Own Hula Hoop

Materials Needed:

  • 3/4″ irrigation tubing (120 to 160 PSI for adults, 100 PSI for kids)
    • 42″ Adult – 11′ length tube
    • 36″ Adult – 10′ length tube
    • 32″ Child – 8′ 4 1/2″ length tube
  • 3/4″ nylon coupling
  • Duct tape or electrical tape in color of choice

Use a PVC cutter or handsaw to cut the tubing to the desired length and insert the coupling into both ends.  If it is a tight fit then run the ends of the tube under hot water to soften before inserting the coupling.

Place a 3″ to 4″ length of duct tape around the coupled area to hold securely in place.  To finish the hoop, decorate it and give it a good weight wrap tape all the way around the hoop on the diagonal.

Do It Yourself Make Up

There are a few things in life that most women cannot go without. Yes, men of the world, only a few things. Aside from the reckless splurging on the 75% off Coach clutch or the home décor that is on major sale and completely necessary to pull the room together, women spend on their appearance, especially make up. The problem though is that, unlike the handbags and curtains, make up and beauty products rarely go on sale. What’s a girl to do? A girlfriend recently introduced me to a brilliant (and economical) plan – make your own!

Now I know what women think when they see a DIY (do it yourself); it looks like a great money saving idea, but we don’t like putting the effort forth to go out and buy the materials and make it. But the good thing about DIY make up and other beauty products is that most women have the necessary materials in their homes. If not, the ingredients are no farther away than a short trip to a drug store.

I have found a few websites that give recipes for home beauty products including DIY body scrub, perfume, shave oil, and facial masks, as well as lip/cheek color, eyeliner, and even bronzer! What I love about all of these home concoctions is that they isolate the necessary materials to make the beauty product, but leave out all the unnatural preservatives. So with these products, you will know exactly what’s going on your body, and you’ll be making both a healthy and inexpensive choice.

Now trust me when I say that these are easy to do. Nothing took me more than 15 minutes to make; some were even as simple as buying one natural oil and putting it on. As far as money goes, you could buy a bottle of activated charcoal for DIY eyeliner for $5 and that would make enough eyeliner to last nearly two years. But, as I said before, the majority of the ingredients are basic items found in any kitchen.

So ladies, go out and explore the possibilities of DIY beauty products. The best way to find these websites is a simple Google search. Check out “How to make your own beauty products from scratch”. That will give some general products, but the more specific your search is, the more specific your results will be. Make sure to experiment and share with others – that’s the beauty of it all.