Posts Tagged ‘household’

Sleeping positions

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,
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How do you like to sleep?

Since Panda sleeps much earlier and I sit in bed on my computer, I’ve noticed some strange sleeping habits and positions that he’ll get into. He loves to be tightly tucked in under the blanket, complete with a tight tuck under his chin. It shuts in the hot air so much that he’ll sweat at night and I recently observed a drop of sweat making its way down his face and neck (ick). I prefer more air flow and will sometimes lay on top of the thick blanket with a light blanket or have various body parts sticking out of the blanket (typically my feet or one leg). I also like to have one leg bent up and one straight out. Since I leave a low light on, Panda will sometimes find creative ways to block the light – usually he’ll crook his elbow over his eyes, but I’ve found him with my nightgown wrapped around his head like a turban before.

There are some commonalities we share though – for one, we both like to sleep with our arms laying next to our heads, elbows bent. Perhaps we like airing out our armpits? We also like to take up a lot of space. For me, this generally means spreading out and draping my leg over him if necessary (he hates that). For him, it’s usually some strange contortion he managed to get into while twisting in his sleep. I’ve had to provide photo evidence of his transgressions to prove how he overran the bed and left me no space!

cat sleeping on bed with body twisted in strange positionI also like to keep things fresh by changing where we sleep in the bed. At first we’d swap sides every now and then. A few times we oriented our heads and feet the opposite way. Most recently we are sleeping sideways, parallel to the wall that the bed is against. Each time we change, Panda complains and hates the idea, but I’ve found that if I keep pushing, he tries it out and ends up enjoying it. Then that new spot is the default and the next change is another little battle (it’s like he forgot he didn’t want his “spot” the last time we changed either).

Even the cats have their funny sleeping preferences, like Smokey’s “happy nap” where she lays on her back in the middle of the floor, belly up and all paws facing the ceiling. As soon as she notices someone trying to take a picture of that, she quickly rolls over and runs off. When she’s in boxes, she loves to prop her chin and one paw over the edge. Meanwhile Missy is a huge fan of crawling in under the covers to snuggle up next to you. Or, if she’s on top of the blanket she’ll often end up belly up, chest to the side, and head twisted back. That’s when you know she’s really sleeping well. 🙂

So do you also have your own sleeping quirks?

Homegrown Collective March 2015 review

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Homegrown Collective is trying something new and instead of printing out inserts with the projects for the box, they’re posting all the info on their site! I think that’s a great idea and it certainly offered them a chance to share a ton of information. This month’s theme is “Vim & Vinegar!” and they showcase three types of vinegar, all with amazing uses. This is great timing since Panda and I were planning on some spring cleaning this weekend.

The Homegrown Collective GREENBOX is $39 per box + $9 shipping (or as discounted as $429 for an entire year, with options in between) and comes with fun and easy projects to live a more sustainable lifestyle. Boxes are sent monthly with no option to skip. They offer a referral program you can apply to join.

contents of the homegrown collective march 2015 box with vim & vinegar theme note in the homegrown collective box indicating no more paper inserts

Project #1, orange peel white vinegar: I can’t believe I never considered infusing vinegar with other scents to help with the odor. I’m pretty sensitive to the scent, so cleaning with vinegar has been something I avoided. This is perfect and I can’t wait to see how the orange peel helps with the vinegar smell! I won’t have to hold my breath when using white vinegar to clean. 🙂 They also laid out over a dozen ways to use it, from removing scents to conditioning hair and of course plenty of cleaning remedies. A spray bottle of this stuff is going to be a total life saver around the house.

Project #2, baking soda & white vinegar cleanser: Combine two power cleaning products and the effects have got to be amazing! I’ve heard of all the things baking soda can do, so it totally makes sense for both of these to be key ingredients to cleaning just about anything. Surprisingly, I haven’t tried using them for removing stains before. I really need to try that on the ones the cats have created.

Project #3, apple cider vinegar: Wow, they wrote up another extensive list of ways to use this kind of vinegar. I’m totally adding this to my daily drinking habit (I go through a good 10 mugs of water and/or tea on weekdays). I never knew it could be good for digestion! Maybe it will help with my stomachaches. Other uses that jumped out at me were skincare related, including using it for a facial toner, applying it to work against acne, and rubbing it in to help with cellulite. The hair care benefits reminded me of what I learned from the January box.

Project #4, pasillo pepper spicy vinegar: The final use is about infusing vinegar, which takes advantage of the balsamic vinegar. I did a cold infusion before, so this hot style will be new and should provide a strong flavor. I’ve never tried pasillo peppers and I hope they aren’t too spicy or I’ll have to give this to someone else to actually consume.

What an assortment of vinegars and their respective uses! This will certainly keep me busy for awhile, trying out all the ways vinegar (and baking soda) can power my cleaning needs. I love the simplicity of these natural items that are so easy to buy.

Subscribe to the Homegrown Collective today and start living a greener lifestyle!

[This post contains affiliate links. Signing up through them helps support my subscription and I’d be ever so grateful. 🙂 All opinions are my own and I received no compensation for this review. I just purchased this box and wanted to share what I got!]

Smokey’s calming collar

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses, stories,Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
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Sometimes, Missy and Smokey will get into wrestling matches. I can’t quite tell who is instigating it and who is causing more damage, but Smokey is larger, so just putting her weight on Missy is potentially dangerous. For a long time, I’d just make a loud noise when the fighting appeared to get aggressive. One day, Panda suggested we put collar back on so she can’t sneak up on Missy. We decided to give it a try and we found a surprising result: Smokey appeared to be much nicer overall with the collar on!

smokey cat sleeping on body pillow with red collar on

Look at how angelic she is! She’ll even touch my leg when she’s sleeping.

Not only did she and Missy fight less, but she was less aloof and more tolerant of being held or picked up. It seems that she became more docile, as if it exerted control over her and kept her bad behavior at bay. What a curious effect. It ended up being far more effective than we’d imagined, so now whenever she acts up, we put her collar on. She’ll sit there frozen as we strap it in and then calmly strut around, not looking for trouble. When she sleeps, she actually looks happy. Not alert, or wary, or downright uncomfortable/unhappy. It’s like she’s finally at peace.

This usually works for 2-3 days and then I start to feel bad because she can’t hide from Missy and I also notice her starting to kick at it. So by and by, I remove it and let her be free (but perhaps more prone to attitude too). At least we’ve found something simple that can help curb her issues if they escalate again! Overall she’s getting better at letting us pet her and even hold her at times. I’ll retrain her yet!

Caulking those cracks

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For awhile now, Panda’s been talking about caulking the cracks we’ve been seeing. The builders left us with a tube of it, which we have been meaning to use. So two weekends ago, we went shopping and got a caulking gun. We opened up the caulk tube and got to work in the coldest part of the home – the stairway leading up to our unit. It turns out that I’m far better at it than he, so I ended up doing a lot of the work. I even had to fix some of the caulking he did (what would he do without me? ;)). The cats were also super fascinated by this activity, so they sat around watching. Panda was a bit worried that they may try to sniff and then lick the stuff, but they didn’t seem that interested in it.

Have you caulked your home before? We still have plenty to go and I keep putting it off. Would you hire someone for jobs like this or do it yourself like us?

crack by stairs of home prior to caulking

These were the cracks that we tackled.

caulk gun poking hole into caulk tube for use

We poked a hole to let the caulk get squeezed out, but eventually it clogged and came out the back end so I just scooped it out with my finger from the other end.

midway through caulking process with globs of caulk covering crack

Putting the caulk on in all its globby goodness. We tried smoothing it with a plastic card, but I found it easier and faster with my finger.

two cats sitting on stairs watching caulking project

The cats love to oversee our home improvement projects.

crack by stairs of home concealed after caulking job

Finished product! Looks pretty good, doesn’t it?

The most adorable bowls

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses, photo blog,Tags: , , , ,
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Since I’ve been volunteering at the Natural History Museum consistently, I decided to check out some of the nearby places that I’ve been meaning to try. A few months ago, I went to get boba at Teaism. Since then, I’ve eaten there, gotten more tea, and shopped around in their store next door. That Teaism Shop is my new weakness. I’ve bought fancy chocolates there and now, these freakin’ adorable bowls. If I keep going, I’m sure I’ll end up with a variety of teas and accessories as well. I love the size of these, which encourage smaller portions. Plus, the little animals are impossibly cute. I’ll definitely be making these my primary bowls of choice from now on.

set of three mini bowls with a pink bunny, yellow monkey, and blue pig designs small bowl with cartoon monkey design inside small yellow bowl with cartoon monkey design on side small yellow bowl with back of cartoon monkey outline on side small bowl with cartoon pig design inside small blue bowl with cartoon pig design on side small blue bowl with back of cartoon pig outline on side small bowl with cartoon bunny design inside small pink bowl with cartoon bunny design on side small pink bowl with back of cartoon bunny outline on side

Hardwood floor repair

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Some time ago, Panda messaged me and sent this picture to show me how he had damaged the floor when he dropped the cutting board. It has a metal handle on the side, which is what I presume bashed the wood here. He quickly went out to a home improvement store to get this filler stuff and pens in two shades, since they didn’t have a match for our cherry wood color. He insisted that I do the repair since he was convinced I could do it better.

When I finally got around to it, we documented the procedure. Filling in a small hole in your hardwood is pretty easy! Now we just need to get something to make that spot glossy like the rest of the floor. Otherwise, you’d never know it was ever repaired to begin with. We didn’t even need to try to blend the two shades of wood color, so he was able to return the unused one. We’ve kept the rest of the equipment for future accidents.

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Cutting board vs. hardwood: the floor loses.

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Testing out the filler on some sample wood.

2014-07-12 12.37.31 HDR

Patching up the dent.

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Gotta protect that from the cat and vice versa!

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Now testing out the filler pen.

2014-07-26 18.45.03

Sanded it and then colored it. Now you can’t even tell where it is anymore. 🙂

Freaking out

laelene Posted in stories,Tags: , , , , , ,
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Tonight, Panda and I changed up Smokey’s litter because she didn’t like the lightweight one we were using. We’d gotten a more normal type that she was quite happy with and we haven’t had any accidents since we got her the new litter. With another litter box and a pan, we decided to add the new litter and see how she reacts. Right after the change, she came around to sniff the pan. She started to get in, sniffing hard, but then decided to go into the litter box she favors most. We waited as she kicked around and then did her business. As she was coming out, she was furiously kicking the litter.

Suddenly, she plopped out of the box. Like her butt landed on the ground and she was curled up with her rear tucked up under her. I thought her foot got caught, but then she stayed like that and suddenly I thought she hurt her foot. Horrible thoughts of paralysis and diseases raced through my mind as we watched her start to drag herself along, butt scraping the floor. She left little poopy drag marks. As she made her way down the hall to the bonus room (our giant room the size of a 2-car garage), Panda and I stared in shock. What was going on?

We then realized that she was rubbing her butt because it somehow didn’t feel good. When it looked like she was going to continue her duty on the carpet of the bonus room, I quickly went to try to pick her up. She stayed in that awkward vertical position, making it difficult to carry her. At first she meowed her sad, complaining little meow, but then she hissed at me – that’s the very first time I’ve ever heard her hiss. I quickly let her down and we managed to get her in the hallway again, where she continued dragging her toosh on the ground. Finally, something came off and she ran off to lick her wounds.

I guess she’s not getting enough fiber, because that’s one odd issue that I’ve never seen before. I wonder what would have happened if Panda and I weren’t there to observe. Thank goodness we were, and quickly cleaned everything up. Smokey then sulked around for much of the night, before collapsing in exhaustion and sleeping the stress away. What a little worrywart.

cat curled up in circular wooden tray with one foot sticking out sleeping

Before the chaos, I was admiring how cute she is.

New furniture!

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I’m so excited about the newest additions to our home – a (real) TV stand and a dresser! Panda and I got a chance to put everything together today, so I feel super accomplished.

pieces of tv stand furniture before assembly

I came home from volunteering to find Panda starting to put together the TV stand.

box for tv stand

We got it on Brookstone’s website because we had a Groupon to use.

instructions for building tv stand and nearly finished product

The instructions were stapled on the right corner. Who does that??

new tv stand with tv and cable box set up

Yay, new TV stand all done! Now the other table that came with our sofas can actually be used as a table.

box for room essentials black 4-drawer dresser from target

Next up was the dresser we got at Target for like 40% off.

pieces of dresser in open box

This was sooo heavy we just let the pieces slide as we opened the box.

cat sitting on pieces for dresser yawning impatiently

Smokey was already impatient for her new playhouse, aka the drawers.

sides of drawer put together

Pushing together those drawer pieces.

pile of screws, dowels, cams, and other hardware for dresser

That’s a lot of screws and cams and whatnot.

cat sitting in newly built drawer for dresser

As soon as we had the drawers made, Smokey made sure to test them out.

cat sleeping in corner of drawer with face squished

Soon enough, she was passed out in another drawer. Must mean they passed QC!

adding drawers glides to side of dresser wall

Things got a little confusing when we started adding the drawer glides.

frame of dresser created and cat sitting on upside down drawer nearby

We were getting close and Smokey decided she needed to try the support of the drawer from the underside.

black 4-drawer dresser newly assembled but with one brown drawer

Alright, dresser! It wasn’t until we put the drawers in that I realized one of them didn’t quite match… looks like I’ll be calling for a replacement piece.

cat laying in open dresser drawer

We’ve designated one drawer for Smokey’s enjoyment and I finally get to move my underwear from a suitcase to a drawer!!

Homegrown Collective June 2014 review

laelene Posted in reviews, subscriptions,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I am constantly amazed at how the folks over at the Homegrown Collective come up with these awesome projects month after month. This box comes perfectly timed for the summer months and I was so eager I started one of them even as we left for Pittsburgh Thursday night.

The Homegrown Collective GREENBOX is $39 per box + $9 shipping (or as discounted as $429 for an entire year, with options in between) and comes with fun and easy projects to live a more sustainable lifestyle. Boxes are sent monthly with no option to skip. They offer a referral program you can apply to join.

inside of summertime & the livin's easy homegrown collective box with the info sheets on the inner lid contents of the homegrown collective june 2014 box with summertime & the livin's easy theme

cat sniffing aloe included in homegrown collective june 2014 box with summertime & the livin's easy theme

Smokey was a big fan of this box too.

Project #1, after-sun aloe lotion bars: Ducky molds?!! I LOVE IT. How playful and fun are these? I really look forward to making them and playing around with my little ducky lotions. So adorable! And of course these will be super useful in the summertime to help soothe the bites and scratches that seem inevitable.

the homegrown collective june 2014 project after-sun aloe lotion bars info card the homegrown collective june 2014 products for after-sun aloe lotion barsProject #2, all natural insect repellant: This is the project that I already have underway and just need to finish up today. What perfect timing – Panda and I went out catching fireflies last week and got bites all over, so next time we go out we’ll have protection against those bugs. I sure hope this is super effective at repelling mosquitoes since we both seem to taste extra good to them.

the homegrown collective june 2014 project all natural insect repellant info card the homegrown collective june 2014 products for all natural insect repellant

Project #3, all natural organic sunscreen: Woo hoo, a third project again! I hope they keep this up so I can play around with even more projects. Making my very own sunscreen is fantastic. I wonder if it will have that “sunscreen smell” that we’re all too used to? I doubt it, and that is a very good thing indeed. I had no idea soybean oil could be so useful for bug spray and sunscreen! Fascinating.

the homegrown collective june 2014 project all natural organic sunscreen info card the homegrown collective june 2014 products for all natural organic sunscreen

Can you say summer soothing in a box? This is amazing. I can’t wait to see how effective everything is! And those ducky molds are precious. I feel like making jello with them… 😛

the homegrown collective june 2014 aloe vera info card

You know you want to get in on this action! Just subscribe to the Homegrown Collective and you can enjoy these fantastic projects too. 😀

[This post contains affiliate links. Signing up through them helps support my subscription and I’d be ever so grateful. 🙂 All opinions are my own and I received no compensation for this review. I just purchased this box and wanted to share what I got!]

Adventures with a new neighbor

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This morning, I received a picture from Panda after he had left for work. It seemed like we had a snail chillin’ on our front door. I figured it was probably out after the rain last night, but then I found out what it really was… take a look for yourself here:

small wasp nest on door frame of front door

Could be a snail, right?

Well, turns out it was a wasp nest. This black, red, and yellow wasp was happily working away at its nest, not even caring that I was sticking a camera in its face. I didn’t have time to deal with it before going to work, so we just left it.

black and red wasp on wasp nest in doorway

Nasty fellow.

In the evening, Panda and I decided to take down the nest before that wasp got too comfortable and produced offspring or attracted other pests. I got a bag to capture it in and set to work. We tried spraying it a bit to scare it off, but that just seemed to get its wings wet and make it stay in place. We tried sticking a yard stick through the door cracked slightly open to shoo it off, but it just climbed on the yard stick! I then got gloves and put a plastic bag around it. The first attempt was awful and I did not capture it. Luckily, it wasn’t upset with me and just went back to its home. I had Panda bring me a chair to give me better leverage. This time we got it stuck in the plastic baggie and I managed to tear off the nest. I zipped it all up and cleaned off the residue on our door frame. I then took the wasp to the porch and opened the bag partway so it could find its way out. At first it flew to our railing and took a break, but eventually it moved on. I hope it doesn’t return! We’ll have to keep a close eye on our doors now.

catching wasp from Mary Qin on Vimeo.


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