Wednesday, February 21, 2018

no more slippery rugs

We have a ranch style house and so our entire first floor encompasses most of our living space. All the rooms except the two bathrooms have hardwood floors. So it goes without saying that we have rugs in every room. Some of our rugs have a backing that prevents them from slipping. Others don't. Or else, the backing is cheap and has become worn, so the rug now slips.

Such is the case with the hallway rug. I got this at Target years ago (not available anymore). Since the original backing wasn't strong enough to grip the hardwood floors, I initially bought one of those off-the-shelf cheap plastic pads that go underneath rugs. That worked fine for maybe a year, but I always worried about the damage it might cause to the finish on my hardwood floor. I also didn't like the fact that these cheap rug pads are made overseas and are filled with toxins. However, I didn't know I had a choice!

Enter RugPadUSA. When they reached out to me to do a blog post on one of their rug pads with my honest opinion, I took a look at their web site and was impressed by the facts that their pads are made in the USA; are made from rubber instead of plastic; the materials used won't mar any floor finish; the pads don't include any phthalates; and because they use fewer and high quality ingredients in their pads, they last longer. 

I was also impressed that there was a variety of pads to choose from, depending on floor type (hardwood, laminate, stone or tile and even carpet), material (there's even felt pads!) and function. And, these pads are not a "one size fits all". They're custom cut depending on the measurement of your rug. No more buying standard size and then having to trim a pad yourself to fit.

Since my hallway rug was constantly slipping ~ especially when the cats tore down the hallway in a crazy game of chase ~ I chose the anchor grip, as this was one of the choices for "exceptional traction". It even has a 20-year warranty!

We've had this pad in place for about two weeks now and the rug has not budged one iota. Not with all the foot traffic or crazy cats chasing each other down the hallway.

We are so impressed by the quality and function of this rug pad (not to mention the attributes mentioned at the beginning of this post), that I will be ordering a pad to go underneath the slippery, non-padded rug in the spare room...

and another for the slippery, vintage rug by my back kitchen door.

RugPadUSA is kindly offering my readers another 5% off the already marked-down 15-20% off pads until March 14, 2018 using the coupon code COMFYHOUSE at checkout. I hope you will take advantage of this offer and try out a rug pad for your own home!

Disclaimer: I received a rug pad from RugPadUSA in exchange for my honest, personal opinion.

Monday, February 19, 2018

natural ways to keep your home healthy

At first I was going to talk about how to keep your home healthy this winter, but then realized not only is winter almost over (whew!), but it doesn't matter what season it is ~ a healthy home is important year-round. 

One way to keep your home healthy is to diffuse essential oils. Just make sure you're buying pure, quality oils - not fragrance oils. Some recommended brands are NOW, doTERRA, Young Living, Edens Garden, Rocky Mountain Oils, and Mountain Rose Herbs. (Disclaimer: Consult with your veterinarian before diffusing essential oils in any household with pets.)

To purify the air with antiseptic and antibacterial properties, make your own combination of Thieves Oil using clove, lemon, cinnamon, eucalyptus, and rosemary oils. You can find a variation of recipes here, as well as the history of Thieves Oil. You can also use these recipes as a disinfectant spray or a massage oil.

This is my box of essential oils, so far. I'm building my collection! I love this wooden box ~ it holds my 1 oz bottles perfectly and is very sturdy. It also comes with labels for the tops of the bottles, which is very helpful. This isn't a sponsored post; it's just something I love and thought I'd share. You can find this box and labels here

 I have a diffuser in the spare room where I'm often on my laptop or doing yoga. I know this diffuser isn't particularly pretty, but I got it for free (in exchange for a honest online review) a couple of years ago, so I can't complain. ;-) 

Wiping down all the surfaces in your house that get dirty and where germs collect ~ countertops, sinks, faucet handles, refrigerator handle and doorknobs ~ is an important task to do every day to keep your home (and yourself) healthy. Please do not use disinfectant wipes such as Clorox or Lysol. They are simply loaded with chemicals which are not only bad for your own health, but the environment. See the list of ingredients from The Environmental Working Group and more information on the ingredients and dangers of these wipes at Women's Voices

It's best (and easy!) to make your own natural disinfecting spray using essential oils, or to buy a brand with the most natural ingredients, such as Dr. Bronner's, Aussan Natural, Eco-Me, or Better Life. One of my go-to homemade disinfecting sprays takes less than two minutes to make. You can use this cleaner on kitchen counters, stove, appliances, floors, mirrors, and in the bathroom. At first, I was skeptical about using this cleaner on mirrors, but I can attest to the fact that it cleans better than Windex ~ which is another cleaner that's full of chemicals. Just make sure you don't use this cleaner on granite or marble as these surfaces are porous and can be damaged with vinegar:

1 cup purified or distilled water
1 cup white vinegar

1/4 cup witch hazel
20 drops essential lemon oil

Instructions: Using a funnel, pour all ingredients into a spray bottle. Shake before using.

More easy disinfecting spray recipes:

Of course, one of the most important things you can do in order to keep your home healthy in the first place, is to wash your hands with plain soap and water frequently, especially after being out in public or around sick people. Skip the antibacterial soap as they contain harmful ingredients and help create drug-resistant mutant germs. Click here - ABC News for just one of the many news or medical articles out there on this subject.

If you have other ways you help keep your home naturally healthy, please share with us!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

mid-february ~ snow and valentine's day dinner fail

 We got a whopping of snow this past weekend. It didn't seem to stop. Every day, there was a fresh layer. It looked pretty at first, but I'm sure glad I didn't have to shovel, as both Brian and Tim were around when the porch, sidewalk and driveway need shoveling.

 As pretty as the freshly fallen snow is, there's also the reality side (besides the shoveling). For all of you in warm climates that don't get snow, here's what the garage looks like after a snow-covered car has been parked there. Why they didn't build this garage with a drain in the floor is beyond me.

And then there's the snow mountains on the sides of the driveway that seem like they'll never melt.

However, today dawned beautiful and sunny and it's now 40 degrees. I can't tell you how good that temp feels after being used to temps in the single digits. The birds were actually out in droves at the feeder this morning and they were chirping and singing. A sound I hadn't heard in months. You don't realize how delightful that sound is until it's new to you again. I opened the living room window so the kitties could see and hear the birds, too. Bonus: The house got a nice airing-out.

So, it's Valentine's Day. No big deal around my house, really. We just exchange cards and I like to make a nice dinner.

I had that nice dinner all planned. I was going to make the pork tenderloin recipe found here along with combo-mashed potatoes (sweet and Yukon Gold potatoes) and steamed broccoli. I even remembered to take the pork tenderloin out of the freezer last night to thaw. I'm so organized, right? Yay, me.

Ha! I went online this afternoon to check the cooking instructions for the pork tenderloin. I wanted to see how long it was going to take to put together and cook in the oven, as I wanted to time it with the mashed potatoes. That's when I found out it was a Crockpot recipe! I was supposed to put the pork in the Crockpot this morning. Oops.

Looks like pizza or Chinese take-out for our Valentine's Day dinner!

Monday, February 5, 2018

for today

For Today

Looking out my window ~
I see hazy morning light and snow on the ground. So does Monkey.
After getting 5" of snow yesterday, it's frigidly cold here again. It was -3F when I woke up this morning. We're due for more snow this afternoon into tonight.

I am thinking ~
About the day ahead of me. I have homemade chicken stock going in the Crockpot; I need to do my yoga practice, clean cat boxes, do laundry, and work on an ongoing project in the basement. This afternoon, I need to start dinner, which will be a vegetarian jambalya. 

I am thankful ~
That I don't need to run any errands today.

One of my favorite things ~

Fresh flowers in the house, even in winter. Especially in winter!

I am creating ~
{whether you are a knitter, mixed-media artist, enjoy scrap-booking, etc., share}
A cozy corner in the spare room. This is a naked IKEA chair. The slipcover was dirty and dusty from this chair being stored in the basement, so I washed it yesterday and now it's hanging to dry. The slipcover is the original that came with the chair - it's black - so next time I go to IKEA, I'm picking up a white slipcover.

I am wearing ~
Yoga pants, a long-sleeved cotton shirt with a tank top underneath, thick socks.

I am reading (read) /watching (watched) / listening to ~
{share favorite titles, give a book review or pass along a current movie, podcast, music video, or television series you are enjoying}
Just started The Story of Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg last night. 

The only TV show I watch is This is Us. Did you see last night's episode after the Super Bowl?!

Music...I've been listening to "coffee table jazz" on Spotify, playing it through the Bose speaker in the living room. The music is very relaxing.

I am hoping ~
that the groundhog was wrong and that there won't be six more weeks of winter.

I am learning ~
that chopping vegetables can be very cathartic.

In my kitchen ~
{share your kitchen adventures, weekly menu, as well as recipes}
Chicken carcass and vegetable scraps for broth...

Paleo blueberry muffins (made with almond flour and pure maple syrup)...

Chopping vegetables for homemade soup yesterday...

Getting ready to make the veggie jambalya...

The jambalaya recipe is from this cookbook...

Post Script ~
{add a favorite link that you would like to pass along. It can be someone else's website, etsy shop, instagram feed, facebook link OR it can be your own}
I love this house! It's a cottage in Little Rock, Arkansas designed by Kathryn J. LeMaster. The colors, design and collections are so charming.

Shared Quote ~
{share a favorite quote}

"I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude." ~ Henry David Thoreau

A moment from my day ~
{share a picture with us of your daily-ness}
Monkey on top of the clean laundry I'm supposed to be folding.

If you're interested in participating in doing a post for The Simple Woman's Daybook, see the guidelines here

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

for the love of plants

There's not many January days in the Midwest where the sun is shining and temperatures are in the 40's. But when it happens, you take advantage of it. Because, heat wave. At least, that's what it feels like when you're used to frigid temps. In this case, we headed up to Milwaukee, Wisconsin this past Saturday ~ one of our go-to places to explore and hang out.

(St. Hegwig - Three Holy Women Parish, Milwaukee)

We always stop at the Public Market to browse the different vendors and sometimes get a bite to eat for lunch. 

One of my favorite stores in Milwaukee is Mod Gen ~ they have all kind of unique products and kitschy gift items, plus they have a fabulous selection of plants. And when I saw they were having a 20% off plant sale, well, let's just say I wanted to buy out the store.

So, what came home with me? I restrained myself and only bought two plants:

A Money Tree (which needs to be repotted)...

and a little red air plant.

Another houseplant I picked up recently (at IKEA) was this Gold Dust Croton. If you have an IKEA near you, they have a decent selection of plants and great prices.

Most of my plants are in our spare room because of all the wonderful light this room gets, but it's getting a little crowded in here.

I'm going to be working on some rearranging and also thinking vertically ~ meaning, hanging a plant or two in front of the windows. Hmm, maybe I can find a cool, retro planter like this one!

(Brewed Cafe, Milwaukee)

How about you, do you have a green thumb? Do you have houseplants or perhaps succulents (which I love, but can't keep alive) in your home?

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

vintage findings

Yesterday it was damp but temps were 52 degrees - which is basically a heatwave for us in January. I opened my living room and kitchen windows to air out the house. The air smelled like the promise of spring. The cats kept sticking their noses in the open windows, too, sniffing all that crisp, fresh air.

Today, we woke up to this.

Ah, Illinois keep us on our toes.

This weekend, me and my mom popped into one of our favorite antique shops. Not only did we find some pretty treasures, but everything was 20% off. This vintage tablecloth is in perfect condition and fits my kitchen table just right. Monkey gives his approval.

Don't mind the tags sticking out of the back of the chair cushions. Those are new ones from IKEA and I wanted to make sure we really liked them and wanted to keep them before removing the tags. We do indeed like them - they are very comfortable and I think they look good - so the tags are now cut off. Just a heads up to anyone looking for kitchen chair cushions: you can't beat the price at IKEA. These were only $5 each. Our previous foam filled cushions were from Bed, Bath and Beyond and were $15 each. The foam in the cushions flattened rather quickly and became hard and uncomfortable. 

Close-up of the tablecloth. Looks spring-like, doesn't it? Only 55 more days, but who's counting? ;-)

I hesitated about this Limoges dish. I've always been attracted to Limoges. I love the patterns, the delicacy, the gold rims. Limoges was my maternal grandma's favorite, too. I'd never seen a piece like this before.

One edge curves seductively up. So unique. So, why did I hesitate about buying this? After all, the price was only $8. Because I didn't know where I was going to put it. I've been more aware of what I'm bringing into the house, especially since I've been working on decluttering and donating. I had the owner of the shop put this aside for me to think about as I looked around. In the end, Limoges won. And now sits on top of a table in our spare room, showing off its delicate charm and beauty.

Isn't this a cool vintage tin? It was made in Massilly, France. I'm using it to hold pens, a dry highlighter and sticky page markers. It sits on top of my current reading pile and notebook on the coffee table in the living room. Pretty and handy all at the same time.

In a little nook in the back of the shop, sat this rag rug on top of the worn carpet. I didn't realize it was for sale until I saw a tag. The rug was dirty from customer foot traffic, but my mom said I could easily throw this rug into the washing machine. I loved the colors and had a feeling it'd look good in my kitchen. Sure enough, it washed fine and I hung it to dry. I think it looks great by my side kitchen door and it adds cheery color and texture to the room.

Have you found any vintage treasures lately?

Monday, January 15, 2018

light, comfy and serene ~ and my car news

 Good morning from snowy Illinois! It started snowing late last night and we have a few inches on the ground right now. I am sitting on the couch in my living room and all I can see is a big tree with the snow gently falling. I have to admit, it's very peaceful looking. 

Ever since I took down my Christmas decorations and January rolled around, I knew I wanted my house to feel and look lighter. I guess it's the whole "clean start" feeling of January. I've even been cleaning out drawers, files, and a closet.

Lighter doesn't have to mean sterile and cold. You can still make a room feel warm and inviting with the use of texture, layers, throws, candles, and twinkle lights.

Last week, I had a lovely visit with a neighbor whom I'm getting to know better. We've known each other on a casual basis for many years, but lately through social media, we've gotten to know each other more. We decided to have tea and chat at her house. We were discussing our homes and decor. She said, "I get the feeling that your house is serene." I hope it's both comfy and serene!


Maybe I'm also craving a fresh feeling in my home as we go through these long, dark winter nights...but yet are now moving towards more light.

It doesn't matter what decorating trend or colors you like and incorporate into your home; what matters is that your home is your safe refuge from the world. Your nest. Your serene and comfortable place to relax and just be.

In other my last post, I had written about my 2001 Honda Accord misfiring. I was waiting to hear from the mechanic and hoping it wasn't bad news; i.e., something expensive, like the engine. Turned out to be good news! It only needed some tune-up parts. The expenses were reasonable. However, last week the rear wheel locked up while Brian was driving the car into a tire place to get one of the tires looked at. Turned out to be the rear brakes. Since this was an emergency situation, we had to get the car fixed there. That wasn't pretty. These chain places are known to inflate their prices and try to upsell. Instead of getting upset about the bill, we let it go because we knew there wasn't anything we could do. We were just thankful that Brian didn't get into an accident, that he was right near a car shop when the wheel locked up, and that my car is fine now. Hooray - no car shopping just yet!

Have a blessed, light-filled, serene week.