Thursday, December 23, 2010

DIY Laundry Detergent

Are you still buying laundry detergent?  I'm not.  Not ever since I came across Jabs Homemade Laundry Detergent.  I was skeptical at first.  But I have to say when you read the site, the breakdown of the average store-bought stuff at 21 cents a load compared to 5 cents or less a load for this stuff, how can you not at least try it out.  I made it while sitting on my couch watching tv.  It really takes no time at all and saves a ton of money.

It's simple...1 cup of washing soda, 1 cup of borax and 1 bar of grated soap.  They say you only have to use 1 tablespoon, but I use the scoop from my old OxyClean's probably closer to 2 tablespoons.  I throw it in, run the hot water for a minute, then switch to cold and put my clothes in.  My friend adds some extract or tea oil or something for fragrance, but I'm fine with the no-smell approach. 

There are a million and one comments on their site, so read through and see the things people did and didn't like, and the substitutions they made.  (BTW I know I sound info-mercially but I just like to share the cool stuff I find.)

Friday, October 8, 2010

Jenn-Air Island Hood Review: Don't Buy It!

Remember back in September when I wrote that I loved my Jenn Air Island Hood...I've changed my mind.

It was great at first.  Not only pretty, but man it sucked up every last ounce of steam and smelly fumes of all kinds from my kitchen.  It rocked.  Seriously. 

Now I bought this way before I was ready to install it, so it sat around for a few months.  Then around a year after it was finally installed, it started working less and less.  You'd hit the button...and nothing.  Or you'd hit it and it would sound like it wanted to start, but nothing.  Or the lights wouldn't go on.  Or they'd go on and wouldn't shut back off. I finally had time to check the User only has a one year warranty!  I spend almost $2000 on this and it worked for barely a year?!  I'm not a happy camper.

I emailed Jenn-Air customer service to see what they say.  I know I've had it for over a year, but it hasn't been installed for over a year...not that they'll care. I bet they'll say, tough luck.  But I'm hoping they're better than that. I'll keep you all posted.

UPDATE:  So, basically their response was here's a number for customer service.  Here are numbers for people that service and/or repair Jenn-Air products.  Oh the best was the info on extended warranties. Hmm...not exactly standing behind your products are you Jenn-Air?  I bought this because Consumer Reports said it was great...and it is...when it works.  My advice to you remodelers out there...DO NOT BUY JENN-AIR PRODUCTS!

I will eventually write a post about American Standard...but let me just say this as a comparison...I bought one of their toilets several years ago and had a plumber install it since I was pregnant and couldn't do it myself.  A few months later, I noticed water coming from the ceiling under the toilet.  I called the plumber...he never called back, so I assumed he screwed up.  Well, a year or two later, I finally take the thing off so I could redo the floor and discover that the water was coming from the vent hole in the back of it.  So I write them a letter explaining what happened.  They called me back immediately, didn't request any proof or receipts or anything.  The rep said, I'm really sorry for the inconvenience, what color, size and style do you want?  I'll have one out to you by the end of the week.  And they did.  I will ALWAYS buy American Standard products.

UPDATE 5/6/13: Can you believe this is still going on?  So I looked into the repairmen list they sent...all had horrible reviews.  I asked for more, equally no good.  So I asked around myself trying to find someone to fix it.  But with the baby and school and a million other things, I gave up and just opened the windows when I cooked.  Then I did finally start calling and even double checked on their site who to call and guess what?  Not a single one of them actually fix Jenn-Air island hoods.  Well, I started doing some research and apparently a lot of people had the same kind of problems I'm having.  Something is wrong with the electronic panel...why no recall Jenn-Air?  So I tried ordering it from PartSelect...who I am not linking up, because when I ordered it, they didn't say they didn't actually have any in stock.  Two weeks later and nothing, I email and they say it's coming to the warehouse and will be shipped May 1.  They charged my credit card and everything.  I email today, and told them I emailed Jenn-Air who said they don't make that part anymore and amazingly they "just found out" that it's not available.  They are going to credit my account.  So back to Jenn-Air I go (I am going to post all the emails).  I ask them what can I do now and they want all my info so they can contact me.  Good sign?  They can't sue me for libel, I believe everything I am saying to be true and have documented it pretty well if I do say so myself.  I'll let you know if their reason for calling is another "next time consider an extended warranty" speech again.  And for the record, I've had my Kenmore appliances for a lifetime with no extended warranty and I've never had a problem.  Isn't Jenn-Air supposed to be higher end?  I guess more expensive doesn't mean higher quality...just saying.   I'll keep you posted.

UPDATE 5/8/13: So, I'm going to write a whole new post about this, but if you're here already, the short answer is that they want me to pay for a service call.  Now, if you Google this unit online, you will see that many people have had the same problems I had.  No recall?  Why not, who knows?  To repair this defective product you need a new electronic board.  The problem is Jenn-Air no longer makes it.  So they want me to pay for a service call so they can tell me that the part they no longer make is a problem.  Then what?  Well, then nothing.  Then they can document it.  WTF does that mean?  How does their documenting their defective product help correct the problem?  Obviously, it doesn't.  I'm going to write a new post and include their emails.  Hopefully I can help you lovely people out there not get screwed by Jenn-Air the way I did.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

New Garden Pics

We are overrun with cherry tomatoes.  The Peanut is the official picker and I have to say she does a great job...but won't eat any of them.

I have no clue what kind of tomatoes these are.  It's a mystery plant year.
Summer squash...mmm...I've been putting it in everything.

Layers and layers of cherry tomatoes.
This cantaloupe won't ripen.  It's making me crazy.

The acorn squash plant is getting big, there are always bees buzzing around it, yet we only have two squash.  What's up with that?

The spaghetti squash plant continues to take over, but the squash bugs are taking their toll.  The Boyfriend is putting in quite the valiant effort at eradicating the garden of them.  Stupid bugs.

No clue what these tomatoes are either.

Lots of bell peppers popping up. 

Fresh beans are so nice.  Def using trellises next year.

I love zucchini.

The plants up at the community garden are not doing well.  The pumpkins are okay, everything else, not so much.  I took the best four that weren't overrun with squash bugs home.  The Boyfriend built me another planter box and set up this trellis.  So far two out of the four look like they might make it.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tomato Hornworm

I was about to tie a top heavy tomato branch to the cage when I saw this thing and almost had a heart attack.  The Boyfriend picked it off, branch and all.  It ate an entire row of cherry tomatoes.  Well, not an entire one, you can still see a part of the last one on that row in this pic.

Look at its mouth!  I think it has big jaws and teeth!  Argh!
We didn't have the heart to kill it, so he relocated it across the street in the woods.  A little google-ing led me to discover it's called a Tomato Hornworm and would eventually turn into a huge moth.  Additionally, they leave behind poop droppings similar to rodents and can be found amidst your garden via black light at night.  There is also a man on gardenweb (I think) who will pay for the shipping if you mail him them.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

IKEAfans Video of New IKEA Kitchen Products

If you've never checked out IKEAfans site and you're doing anything w/ IKEA products, you're crazy. They are awesome and helpful and have tons of info on their site. They recently posted a link to a youtube video they did about the new kitchen products. Check it out!

IKEA NYC Fan Event

We almost didn't go because of the torrential downpour, but we parked in Hoboken, hopped the PATH and hoped for the best. We were early and being a mommy blogger didn't get me into the media viewing time slot, so we walked around the city for a while, then got in line. Yes there was a line. I wasn't expecting one...duh.

Let me say that I wish the people that worked at the IKEA in Elizabeth could be half as happy and friendly as the people working this event. Everyone was super nice.

Yes, that's us "in a drawer." When in Rome...

A lot of stuff makes it into my house. Not much makes it out.

Everyone writing about the new 2011 IKEA Catalog shows pics of these salt and pepper shakers. Their pics are better. I don't care. I'm posting my pic anyway.

Apparently kids like their own dining options. I like the pastel kid sized dining stuff, but I know, they're not new.

I liked these magnetic circles. Pretty pics. Great option if you like to print your photos but you don't necessarily want to stick them in an album.

I was sure these were picture frames. Now I'm not so sure...

New bathroom stuff for people with very small bathrooms.

I thought this was cute. My kid could hang her five million bead necklaces instead of leaving them on the floor.

There were drinks and hor d'oeuvres. Huge AC units working very hard to not let us die from heat stroke. A woman from Better Homes & Gardens spoke, as well as some IKEA people. Someone from IKEAfans was there, but we ducked out. It was getting too hot for me.

They even gave us some pretty awesome gift bags.

All in all a fun afternoon. But I have to say, I kinda underwhelmed by the new stuff. There wasn't a lot of new or innovative items. I struggled to figure out what to take pics of that you guys wouldn't have already seen in an old catalog.

They did give us advance copies of the new catalog. Again...okay. I think it's all that anticiaption for the new catalog that makes you expect a lot. A handful of new things just isn't enough.

Anyway, we ended out evening with a walk through Hoboken and dinner at Bangkok City Thai Restaurant....very good food btw.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Our Garden in July

When we drove down to pick up the baby, I was worried about how the drought would affect the garden. Well, it didn't...I came home to this jungle. It was pretty awesome.
(BTW if there's a big weird white box around the pics, I didn't do that. Idk what's up with Blogger but uploading pics is taking forever, so I had to do it through Picassa and the white boxes won't go away.)
The best part was finally finding out what I planted since I forgot to label the new batches of seedlings and it was all going to a surprise until stuff grew. I wouldn't recommend this method, but I got lucky that it all worked out.
Bell peppers. Great, but they seem to be getting brown splotches...
One summer squash and one zucchini.
I thought these two were cucumbers. Apparently, I know nothing.
I thought this was a zucchini but it turned out to be a acorn squash.
I have three pole bean plants, but two big ones have no beans and are being surrounded by spaghetti squash vines, while this little one won't stop growing beans.
Can you spot the two bean plants amidst the squash?
There's quite a few spaghetti squash but I noticed some squash bugs in there today. I should probably do something about that...
And man do we have tomatoes. Lots and lots of tomatoes. I don't know what kinds, but I guess we'll find out. So far the only red ones are the cherries.
It was so sad the beginning of the season when everything was so small. But now that it's all lush and full, I'm so loving it.

Friday, July 2, 2010

What's Growing in Our Garden

After we left to drop the Peanut off w/ the family in AL, many of my seedlings didn't do well. So I stuck a bunch of seeds in two ten gallon fish tanks. Worked great! Unfortunately my lazy ass didn't label anything so I have no real clue what's what. Here are my guesses...
Obviously tomatoes. I either have a bunch of varieties or...well, who knows.

I love these tiny bell peppers! Too cute.

I think we started with six cantaloupe plants. Four survived. They are slowly taking over.

Amidst this bunch is a cantaloupe, some kind of zucchini, I think and possibly watermelon.

The spaghetti squash is competing with the cantaloupe. I think they're going to wind up having a turf war. Or they're just going to scale the fences and make a break for it.

Peas. I should've planted more than the ten or twenty I did. Next year for sure.

Pole beans...string beans...french beans...I'm not sure...

It's hard to tell, but I have five? cucumber plants there...a couple of regular cucumbers and a couple of pickling cukes. Definitely going to pickle stuff this year.

If you were around last year, you know my garden was much smaller. The Boyfriend dug it's about 20x25. Give or take. I didn't plan it out as well as I usually do, but I figured this is a learning year. Once I get a better idea of the plants sizes, it'll be easier to create a more efficient layout next year. Regardless, I'm happy to have so much space!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Wanna Be Weed Free? Get an Action Hoe!

I kinda suck at weeding. All that squatting, hand picking nonsense. Blah But this year...look at my garden! Weed free, baby.
The Boyfriend came up with a pretend holiday...because I'm super cheap but he knows he can spend whatever on something for me if it's a holiday, yes, I'm aware I have issues...

So I told him about stirrup hoes, which I never heard of before. And he found this Ames Action Hoe at Home Depot. You basically just run it along the ground and it cuts the first inch of soil killing weeds that are there and preventing new ones from growing.

Stop by and I'll give you an infomercial-type demonstration of it! It's kinda lame how much I love this thing. Garden pics coming soon.

Friday, June 25, 2010

The 2011 IKEA Catalog Sneak Peek Fan Event

In case you missed it on my other blog, guess who's going? Me! And if you did see it, I thought I'd just rub it in a smidge more :P

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Spots on Your Squash Leaves?

I know I posted this a while back, but I just read an article about Downy Mildew becoming a big problem in Jersey, so I thought I'd repost it.

Last season, my squash plants were covered with this white powdery stuff and the leaves were turning a very sad yellow, so I called my mom, the only person I know that can eat any fruit or vegetable, stick its seed or pit in the ground and have it magically grow.

My Mom's Organic Fungicide

2 TBS baking soda
1 TBS oil (she uses vegetable oil)
1 tsp liquid dish soap (later restated it as a squirt or two)
32 Ounces of water

1. Mix together, then spray all the tops and undersides of the infected leaves.
(I did it early evening, I remember reading somewhere that baking soda can burn leaves if put on leaves during the day, but my Mom didn't know about that either way.)
2. She also said to cut off all the yellow and dying leaves and the ones touching the ground. And to bag those leaves and throw them away.  Do not compost them.
3. Make sure you wash whatever you used to cut the limbs off.
4. She said some other things, but now I don't remember...her explains can be long...if it comes back to me, I'll fill you all in.

Here's a tip from me: wear gardening gloves and long sleeves, and whatever you do, don't try to break off the leaves off of a squash plant with your unprotected hand. You'll wind up with a bunch of little, teeny, tiny, painful splinters. And make sure you spray both sides of the leaves!

The leaves that weren't badly infected cleared up right away, but the ones that were worse for the wear but not so diseased I thought they needed to be removed, took a few more days of spraying.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

My New Gardening Boots

I found these on Land's End Overstocks page. Free Shipping. On clearance. I paid about $21 down from like $70 or something. They're furry inside and very comfy.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, April 19, 2010

What's Happening in Our Yard

The spaghetti squash seedlings appeared overnight.
Here's my seed starting setup. I save plastic egg and berry cartons. Fill with dirt. Insert seeds. Write their names with black marker on top. Leave them on my IKEA shoe rack by my sliding door so they get lots of sun. It's also on top of a heating vent, which I think helps. Very fancy, don't ya think? ...Whatever, it works.


The thyme reappeared from last year.

So did the mint. It has spread over the years, but it seems happy to stay by the house and not take over the yard. Yet.

The pear tree has a fungus. I was going to use a fungicide (gasp! pesticides! I know...I hate to do it, but it's that or I have to cut down the tree). But you have to do it before the leaves appear and that happened over night and I missed my chance. So no edible pears this year. Again. At least it looks pretty.

I cannot believe how tall my grass is! Yikes! I better start mowing.

The strawberries reappeared too. I'm going to move them to a dedicated bed on the side of the house. I have too many things on my to do list.

And the Boyfriend has turned over more of the yard so I can expand my garden from about 15x 14 to 25x20. Three long rows as opposed to six 4x7 beds. I also have a plot at the community garden where all our squash, cantaloupe and watermelon will go.

We can't agree on how to do the fence. His opinion is, "Honey, tell me how you want me to do it, and I'll do whatever you want." That answer is why we'll stay together forever.