Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Save up - the website and saving money

I have been pretty good with money but lately I am stressing over my credit card balances... I have always been conservative in what I spend but I am looking at too much debt right now. What to do? Well of course, spend less, use cash and pay off debt. But that is sooooo boring... enter a website I found called It allows you to play for prizes based on the money you save or pay down on your credit card. Great prizes like cash or groceries or cars...If you use the code here I actually get points too.. no money but points. If you are looking for some motivation to pay down debt and save more money (and who isn't?) try this....

Saturday, March 17, 2012

I have added a recipe page!


You might have not noticed it but I am starting to build out this website and I have added a new page to get it going. I have a link now to recipes that I create or adapt from others and that I want to share with people.

If you click on that link it will take you there. One thing that I have a hard time with is measuring. I don't really do it and "eyeball" most of my cooking.. it can be a little disconcerting for those of you would like order in their cooking. (This is why I don't bake!) But trust your taste buds and as you do it more, you will get the hang of it.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Thanks Everyone ! The dogs found a home!

Just an update on the stray dogs my dad had, they found a home with a neighbor of my parents. This is really good news! Thanks to all of you who spread the word to get these cuties a home. I find it is a good barometer of a person's character to watch how they treat an animal, even one they don't know.


Sunday, March 11, 2012

How to Change a Toilet Seat - Super Easy!

We had a toilet seat where one of the bolts had broken off and sitting on it required a certain amount of balance so you didn't end up on the floor. (Nick said it was a game for his friends, but I just kept imagining my mom falling off and the grief that would cause.) I had to fix it before anything happened.

This is probably one of the easiest tasks you can do on your own as a homeowner, with the hardest part being to get the right seat size. There are different sizes of toilet seats, some are "round" and some are "elongated" or oval and some are even padded! What I did before going to the store, was to get a tape measure and hold it over the toilet seat and take a picture with my camera in both directions, width and length. That way when I got to Home Depot I could get the right shape and size without having to try and remember the dimensions. It worked like a charm except the person working at Home Depot looked a bit dumb-founded when I showed him the picture. He actually said, "You did that?". Sigh... sometimes it is hard to not kick a person who so desperately deserves it.

After you get the right size seat, next is to take the old one off...your first instinct is to grab the nut under the seat and try to undo it that way. Don't do it...where the seat is connected to the toilet, flip open that little hatch and use a screwdriver instead. This is how you will connect it again as well.

Use a screwdriver from the top, not a wrench from the bottom.

Then you will have the seat off and it looks like this... I cleaned it really good at this point because well, that is just me but you never get a chance like this very often.

Old Seat Off
The new seat will only have a couple of things in there - the new seat of course, a plastic bolt and a locking nut. There are no spare bolts so be careful with them!

Bolt and Locking Nut

Flip open the new seat latches
Take the new seat and flip open the latches and line the holes up on the toilet.

Drop in the plastic bolt and screw on the nut underneath just to get it started.

Then use the screw driver to tighten it up while holding on to the nut underneath. Make sure you just get it to steady and don't screw it down too tight. If you over-tighten it, you will snap the plastic bolt and be right back where you started!

Done- just close the hatches.
See how easy that was? It cost about $25 for the seat but you don't have to have a handyman or worse, a plumber in to fix these kind of things. I think a lot of people don't try these things because they are worried they will do it wrong but my philosophy is to try it first, and call for help if it doesn't work out. Trying new things that are easy like this, give you the courage to try something a little bit harder next time.


Saturday, March 10, 2012

Two Cute Dogs Need a Home!

My dad has taken in two stray dogs and we are trying to find a home for them. They are young, probably less than a year old and have a very sweet disposition. They get along with people and other dogs and don't seem to bark much. They are bonded to each other and are probably brother and sister so hopefully they can find a home where they can stay together.

My dad lives in Madera, and between him and I we could bring the dogs anywhere from Bakersfield to Sacramento or the Bay Area. If you have a place for them, email me at

March 3rd 2012 - Boys Weekend

For the first time in a long time, Nick and his friend Jason came up to the house with me.. I appreciate it because they can do things I really shouldn't be doing, like load up firewood on my rack etc. 
I did change a toilet seat and of course, worked on the trees some more. I am going to do another post on the toilet seat instructions, super easy...

One thing I find interesting is how much stuff they find to do outside when we don't have internet or video games etc. They were down by the fire pit and saw the old flooring there waiting to be burned and some tree stumps and decided to build a bench.
The boys building a bench
 I didn't help at all! Nick is really comfortable with tools so he got the circular saw and cut the boards up for the slats. They both worked on the support pieces and it took about 2 hours for them to get it all together. The biggest delay was how hard the wood was... those are 2 year old dried oak stumps and the 2 x 4's have been outside about as long drying out... the drill just couldn't do it. But they kept after it and were so proud they sent pictures to all their friends.

One nice thing about Nick being there was I got to use his fancy camera... he has a Nikon D3000 that takes great pictures. I was hoping to take pictures of all the birds I keep talking about but we need a much bigger lense for that. And they aren't cheap! But I did take some that I will share here.


Mushroom Pretty sure this is one you don't want to eat
ATV Trail leading to the marsh area

Casey hunting quail

Quail flew away
Morning Light - view from the deck

Marsh Area
 Casey has found her inner wild dog at this place. She killed a gopher a few weeks ago, surprised it when it popped its head up... and of course brought it to me all proud. She didn't want to go home and actually walked away from the truck back to the front door when we were loading up. She loves it but she is old and having issues with the stairs.. she keeps tripping on them. Oh well, I will be that way some day too and as long as she is healthy and happy , so am I.