Friday, March 31, 2017

Cleaning Your Dryer Vents and Filter

The smoke alarms are screeching and you panic. Where's it coming from? Where's the fire extinguisher? It's coming from the laundry room...

Did you know that almost 3,000 home clothes dryer fires occur each year? And the leading cause of those fires is not properly cleaning them? (source)

 I don't know about you, but with 4 little kids running around my house, it feels like the laundry is always going. My dyer is a working all the time, so making sure it is well cleaned out is super important to me! As you're going about your spring cleaning, be sure not to forget this important place to clean. Here's how to give your dryer filter, vents, and ducts a good cleaning!

I started on the outside of the house. Find where my dryer vents to the outside and carefully remove the cover. Clearly, a good cleaning was much needed!

 I used THIS brush to brush out the ducts as far as it could reach. Another option would be to use a shop vac and blow it out from the inside.

Some bird got some super fluffy nest padding from this duct...

Then I went inside to clean the dryer. Now, I clean the filter after EVERY load. All of this is further down. I took out the filter and then removed the screws that held the filter 'guard' onto the machine. Ok, so obviously I have no idea the technical name, but once you get this off you can reach further down in the machine and get more out. I got everything out with my hand, then used my vacuum to get the small debris. 

You could also use a brush like THIS

or a flexible vacuum attachment hose like THIS to get further into the machine.

Lastly, I pulled the dryer out from the wall and removed the duct I used the brush to sweep all the lint out. And also did this for the duct in the wall.

Another very important thing to do before returning the dryer is to make sure there isn't a lot of extra ducting. This is how it was from the previous owner, but the kinks and turns in the ducting can catch and trap lint, potentially causing a blockage.

Cut down and reattach the ducting so it is as short and direct as possible for your space.
Oh, and I forgot to take pictures but run your dryer filter screen under some water. Some fabric softeners and dryer sheets can leave a residue on the screen. Give it a good scrubbing with a natural cleaner to make sure it is clear and clean. 

There you go. Now your dryer filter, vents, and ducting should be nice and clean. You may even notice your dryer working more efficiently and doing a better job.
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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Cleaning Vent Covers

Other spring cleaning posts you may like:
 Clean and Disinfect a Pack N Play
Clean and Disinfect a Pack N Play
Disinfecting with Basic G
Clean Kid's Toys w/o Bleach

 It's starting to feel like spring here and you know what that means! Spring cleaning! If you've followed me for a while, you probably know that I (for the most part) enjoy cleaning. Really I just enjoy having a clean home.

Something new to this home is having the air vents in the floor. It's not like that in Vegas. So I made sure to include them in my cleaning. I removed the vent covers and made sure to vacuum real well inside the vent and then I took it one step further and washed all the vent cover and air return vents.

I did this by filling my bath with water and adding a squirt of Basic H2. I figure if I'm going to go to the trouble to clean, why would I use harmful chemical cleaners with fumes to do it. I want my air to be clean too. Basic H2 is super concentrated and is all natural. It is by far my favorite cleaner ever! Then I ran the jets to get some good suds. If you don't have a jetted tub, you could agitate by hand or use a shower sprayer to create suds.

 I let the covers soak for a bit to loosen dust, then took an old toothbrush to scrub them clean.

Once I got through them all, I rinsed them and then laid them on towels to dry. Once fully dry I returned them to their spots. Super easy, but I think it's something that can be easily over looked.

You can see all the grime that came off them!


What are you spring cleaning this week?

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Friday, March 3, 2017

New Developments In My Hemophilia Story...

 (me and my favorite little bleeder :) )

Imagine living your whole life with a genetic disorder you never knew you had. In fact, for most of your life it was believed that women couldn't even have this disorder, so there's really no way you could have it...

About 5 years ago, I first shared my hemophilia story. You can read about that HERE

Well in May 2016, my story changed. I went from simply being a carrier of hemophilia to actually HAVING hemophilia.

 If you don't know, hemophilia is a genetic bleeding disorder. People with hemophilia don't bleed more, they just bleed longer. I grew up around it because my dad has it. He would get nasty bruises, called hemotomas, if he had a fall or bumped into something hard. Once he was jumping on the trampoline (on his knees) with my cousin and I. He did some yard work and later that day his knee was swollen (filled with blood) to the size of a cantalope.

Until recently, my dad didn't really manage his hemophilia well. (It's true dad, don't try and argue! ;) ) But thanks to my adorable son, we got him to come to clinic with us for the first time in his life!

But back to ME :)

So back in May 2016, we went to my son Ben's clinic and decided we would have his levels retested because they seemed strange compared to what my dad's levels are. Typically factor (blood clotting factors) levels within a family are all pretty similar. At the same time, we decided to have myself and baby Dash tested as well. Dash, we just simply didn't know if he had inherited my defective X gene or got the good one. For me, we just wanted to see what my levels were since I tend to bruise.

Well when the results came back, sure enough, I only have 45% of factor IX (9) levels. Anything under 60% is considered to be hemophilia.

So there I had it, at 29 years old and after carrying and birthing 4 children, I was told that I have hemophilia.

We have been blessed that both my son and I are pretty mild. Even though his levels put him in the 'moderate' category he has had never required an infusion to stop bleeding but he has gotten some ugly goose eggs.

Like a couple days before the first day of preschool lol

This was the bump that promoted us to find a hematologist after our move. We went to clinic a little while after this.

For me, I have always seemed to have unexplained bruises on my legs and hips.  Here's one I noticed a few weeks ago on the back of my thigh. I don't remember what I bumped it on.

As far as other woman things, I've never noticed that to be an issue. Not super heavy. The only time my hemophilia may have come into play was with the birth of my daughter (#3 and my first natural delivery). The doctor did have to administer something for bleeding when she was born, but as I've told my hematologist, the OB was a in a hurry to get back to the office (I came in right before 8am) so he tugged a bit on the placenta. No clue if that had anything to do with it or what. But overall, life has been pretty normal.

We are fortunate, some people with hemophilia require regular infusions. Some even need a port directly into their body so they don't have to find a vein every time. There have been some really great medical advances for hemophilia, just in my lifetime and I am grateful that my son's quality of life will not be diminished.

March is Bleeding Disorders Awareness Month. You can go to the Hemophilia Federation of American website to learn more, get involved, or donate.

Thanks for coming by and reading my update! Follow me on any of these platforms for more updates and upcoming projects! I've got some home decor projects, kid's sewing tutorial, and some product reviews coming up that you don't want to miss!
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Monday, January 30, 2017

Laundry Room to 'Mudroom' Makeover

I have died and gone to heaven!

Laundry room organization heaven that is!

I am so excited to be sharing our most recent project with you! This was a labor of love. I knew I was going to love the end result or I seriously might not have finished it. lol.

It wasn't overly complicated or hard or anything. It was just a lot of trips to the hardware store and trying to find a time to work on it between naptime/bedtime (loud saws and hammering) and keeping the kids out of the way.

So technically, I don't know if I should call this a mudroom. I mean it is still my laundry room, but when someone says 'mudroom' this is the image it invokes.

Our laundry room is a small room that you pass through when coming into the house from the garage. The washer and dryer are awkwardly situated behind the door to the garage and there is a large utility sink that, as much as I love using it, sticks out too far into the room and is too close to the washer. The door actually bumps the sink most times I open/close it. We had a 'nine cube' for our shoes and other miscillaneous things. There was already a rack for hanging coats but it goes over the sink and as useful as it is, the coats hang down into the way of the washer/sink.

So my desire for some kind of mudroom shelf/bench/built in was born. I knew we needed space for shoes, coats, backpacks, and somewhere to put gloves/hats/scarves in the winter to be easily accessible but also not on the floor.

After telling my husband about my idea, he hit Pinterest (I know, right?!) and started finding ideas and inspiration that would work for our space. We combined the look of a couple different projects, but ultimately we used Ana White's Smiling Mudroom as a basic guide for the bench and shelves because it was really the only site that had actual plans. Then modified it to the length we wanted it and added shelves to the shoe part for even more storage.

First I removed the baseboard and quarter round in the are we were going to be working in. We started with the beadboard, our area needed two sheets. We got plywood from Home Depot and had them do the long cuts for us and I did the rest with circular saw and miter saw. I painted everything (for the shelves and bench) before assembling. I painted in my 1st graders room while he was at school so I could lock the door to make sure no one made a mess.

 We didn't have a pocket hole jig so we just made due with either seeing the screws or got creative about hiding them. Here's one of the dividers for the shoe shelves. We used a 1x2" to make a brace for the shelves.

Here you can see we also cut the corner of the bench to allow space to pass through when coming in the door. 

Like I said above, we didn't have a pocket hole jig so we had to figure out how to cover the screws, especially on the top of the bench where we attached each of the dividers. We got a sheet of super thin plywood, 7/32" thick. I had Home Depot cut this down again to the strip we needed for the top of the bench. I took it home and stained it, then glued it down to the top of the bench, and added 1x2" around the edge to finish it.

Next we built the upper shelves and focused on securing those to the walls.

As you can see I had a bit of trouble finding studs lol. I even bought a new stud finder but it just wasn't jiving with the beadboard so I resorted to more 'manual' options. I poked the holes in a place that was going to be covered by the shelf so it wasn't too big of a deal.

 So to attach the shelves to the wall, I first put a 1x4" on the wall, attached to studs, for the shelves to 'rest' on. while I held it, my husband drove screws through the back of the shelves (also 1x4"s) and into the studs. This was actually really hard, beadboard is a beast to get through. I highly recommend pre-drilling with a bit slightly smaller than the screws you are using.

Don't forget to test that it's secure....😉

From there, we finished the look with 3 more horizontal 1x4"s; one flush against the bench, 1 for the large coat hooks, and one for the smaller coat hooks.

Then we ran the 1x3"s vertically (6 of them) to line up with the shelves above and below. These were just punched on with a nailgun. Then came the hooks. And lastly a whole lot of caulk/woodfiller and then painting or touching up any last bits.

Now there is a place to sit and put on/take off shoes, hang coats and bags, and a place to put shoes so we're not tripping over them. I absolutely love how it turned out and I love that it actually makes the space feel more open than what we had in there before. I put some bins up in the cubbies that we already had to store hats and gloves in for now. In the summer, I'll put their sunglasses, sun hats, sunscreen, and any of the other summer essentials for quick access on the way out the door.

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