Posted by John on February 21st, 2013
Hey guys! Hope you all had a great week. I’m still making progress with our built-ins. I’m working on the doors for the bottom cabinet at the moment. Hoping I can pull off a quick how-to video on the door construction. It’s not terribly hard, but writing an understandable procedure is probably a bigger challenge. This weekend I may back burner the built-in project for a few hours to work on the Pinterest Challenge next week. One of our favorite bloggers, Michelle from Decor and the Dog, is co-hosting it. Today, I wanted to show you a couple homemade toddler proofing fixes we’ve added.
This will be the third time we’ve posted on our baby or toddler proofing measures. The last post was just a couple weeks ago. We actually had more items to post about, but we figured we’d break it up into more than one post.
One thing that stinks about kitchen cabinet locks is they’re a real PIA to install. The screws they give you are crappy. All the cabinets need to be pre-drilled too because they’re a hardwood. Oh and all the work needs to be done while you’re sitting on the floor holding a 7lb drill over your head for 20 minutes. No fun. To add insult to injury, it’s pretty much impossible to add the door locks to top drawers.
Cabinet door locks have one part that goes on the door or drawer and one part that goes on the cabinet. The photo above show the receptacle piece that gets mounted to the cabinet. It’s easier to install these for cabinet doors since you have the entire space below it to install it. Most top drawers, however, are only 4″-5″ wide and you just can’t fit a normal drill in there. You could go out and buy a $100 right angle DeWalt drill that you’ll use once. Could do that.
Or, you could do what we did. I took a small piece of wood I had left over from our sliding drawer project and pre-mounted the receptable to it, pre-drilled a couple holes into it and then mounted the block into the cabinet from inside the cabinet. So I was able to move my drill from an impossible angle to a spot that was much easier to get to.
How’s it work? It works great. It’s actually a little harder to open these drawers, even for “non-toddlers”, but it beats our daughter opening this drawer up every five minutes.
Other child proofing measures we added are topple restraints to the dressers and night stand in her bedroom. Kids like to climb. Any piece of furniture that can be knocked over by a child climbing it or touching it, needs to be secured to the wall. Ikea provides small kits to attach their products to the wall and so do a lot of furniture manufacturers. These restraint kits literally save lives everyday.
We came up with our own version of these with some zip ties and a couple angle brackets. We used long screws and made sure they were fastened to the meaty part of the Hemnes dresser. We’re not recommending anyone DIY this safety like we did, we’re just showing you how easy it is generally to keep the furniture attached to the wall. In fact, you shouldn’t DIY this. Use the appropriate hardware that came with your furniture.
Last item on our list: keeping the electrical cord slack away from our daughter. Cords are a known strangulation hazard so, we used a zip tie to keep the slack up and out of the way. If the zip tie is tight enough, she won’t be able to pull the slack out.
The things ya gotta do to keep kids from hurting themselves. Ridiculous.
Any exciting weekend plans?
Posted in Baby Stuff,DIY Projects,Kitchen. Tagged in ,kitchen cabinets, toddler proofing
Posted by John on February 5th, 2013
I promised more than a couple posts this week and I aim to deliver. Lately, we’ve been re-evaluating some of our child proofing measures. Child proofing or toddler proofing is a moving target, at least for us anyway. As soon as our daughter started walking last year, I went around the house and added padding to the table corners and locks to the kitchen cabinets. At first I only needed to add a lock to the lowest drawer or door. As she’s gotten older and more mobile, obviously her reach grew. Now she can reach items on the countertop! Oh and she ripped off all the corner pads from the tables. So we’re at the point where I need to add a few more things to keep up with her. I’ll be showing you a couple ideas I have for custom solutions in a later post, but for now, here’s a list of safety items we have around the house that work for us.. so far.
How We Toddler Proof our Home
1. Toddler Proof Door Knobs. Yes. Totally necessary. Especially if your kid is smart like a Velociraptor. We have one on all the bathroom doors and on the inside of her bedroom so she can’t walk out after we put her down to bed. We need to add one to our pantry door now as she opens it every time she wants a snack, which is around 30 times a day.
2. Cabinet Locks. If you need these locks, buy the bottom ones. We installed a set of the locks in the first photo and a few of them broke the rest wouldn’t latch very well. Every drawer and cabinet door in our kitchen needs one of these. They are a snap to install, but I haven’t been able to add any to our top drawers yet. The drawer space is too small for my DeWalt drill. I have an idea on this though, so stay tuned. If you have any suggestions, let me know.
3. Bed Rails. We added these Vikare bed rails from Ikea that are designed to work with Ikea beds, like this Hemnes. Even though it’s not a far drop, better safe than sorry. There is one on each side of the bed. They don’t run the entire length of the bed, but they should still catch her. I love the fact that they clamp on and don’t mar the finish.
4. Baby Gates. These things are great. We actually installed the first two several months before our daughter was even born to keep our dog from wandering around ripping up the place. The first gate photo is a Munchkin and is by far our favorite. It’s rigid, tall and nearly impossible for a child to open since the handle is high up. You need to lift the handle pretty high while swinging open the door. Even an adult can’t open it terribly fast.
The other hall gate is from Summer and it’s okay. Not nearly as sturdy. The gate action is fairly weak. It could probably stand to be tightened up on our end though. So far so good though.
The bottom photo is the gate at the top of our stairs. What I love about this unit is it doesn’t need to be screwed into the wooden newel posts on either side. It gets strapped and taped on. The gate has a bottom and a top catch for added rigidity. We got it at Babies R Us, where we bought the other two.
5. Strapping furniture to the wall. Hugely important. Apparently there have been hundreds of kids killed by furniture falling on them. We’ll show you how we prevent this in a later post. If you tether the furniture to the wall, you can easily prevent this sort of accident.
Since I don’t want to end this post on a somber note, how about a picture to encourage everyone to switch to round knobs…
Posted in Baby Stuff,Kitchen. Tagged in ,baby, baby proofing, toddler
Posted by Lisa on October 18th, 2012
Hey guys! I hope you all had a great week so far. It’s almost Friday, so I thought I would share some of my favorite cleaning items!
Cleaning for the most part is a chore for John and I – I do like organizing so that counts as cleaning, right? I have tried keeping up with a daily cleaning list but after a first few days I get so proud that I cleaned for three days straight that I reward myself with some days off… haha! Two places that are always clean are my kitchen and bathrooms. Most of the cleaning products help me with those daily chores.
My favorite cleaning product by far is Dr. Bronners. There is about 29,763 uses for this cleaner. I love it for making my own counter top spray, foaming hand soap, and to remove stains from fabrics. It’s extremely safe – you can even brush your teeth with it! – and that’s why I love using it, especially around the little one. Dr. Bronner’s also comes in different scents. I currently have the scent-free (labeled as Baby Mild), Tea Tree (good for disinfecting), and peppermint. Seriously, you can make anything with this stuff – laundry detergent, shampoo, soaps, sprays, and disinfectants.
Another product I like is anything from the Method line, which is sold in a variety of stores, but I buy mine at Target. I really like their Grapefruit counter top spray. I usually make my own, but when the Method grapefruit is on sale, I usually pick up a bottle or two. The smell is a great grapefruit scent and I love everything citrus, especially in the kitchen! If you have granite counter tops, Method has a great daily granite cleaner as well. It makes our faux granite/laminate super shiny and smells great too!
Nature’s Miracle is the product I use when there are stains from either animals or humans on the carpet. If you have pets, you know they sometimes have accidents and they’re just too cute to be mad at. Nature’s miracle helps kill the odor and removes the stains of whatever you pet has left on the carpet.
Dusting and polishing is super easy with Murphy’s Oil Soap wipes. I like the wipes since they let me dust and polish in one step, which makes this dreaded chore done a lot quicker. When I have the time, I also use the original Murphy’s Oil Soap mixed with water to clean my cabinets – I love the way they look after they’ve been washed.
My favorite two items to clean the floors in our home are the Haan and my Dirt Devils (yes that is plural, I will explain). I use the Haan floor steamer and sweeper on the hardwood floors and tiles. I love using the Haan because it sanitizes the floors without any harsh chemicals. Also, you reuse the cleaning pads and they can be washed in the washing machine. In the kitchen I use the super lightweight Dirt Devil to clean under the cabinets and under the table every couple of days to pick up crumbs. I also use it on our area rug in the living room. On the stairs, I use a small handheld Dirt Devil to vacuum the carpets. Upstairs, I use the traditional Dirt Devil vacuum for the bedrooms and closets.
So that’s it – just a few of my favorite cleaning products that help me get cleaning done quicker. I do want to mention that I am not being compensated for any of these products, they’re really just my favorites!
Have any cleaning products you love and want to share!?
Posted by John on September 10th, 2012
So, last week as you may recall, we added a reverse osmosis system (ROS) to our kitchen sink. How do we like it so far? We love it. The water tastes great and we don’t have anymore plastic water bottles collecting dust all over the house. Wasn’t terribly difficult either, although there were a few tricky steps, like drilling through the stainless steel sink and adding a section of pipe for the drain.
Now, I’m generally a cautious guy. Whenever I mess with plumbing, I usually keep an eye on it for a little while to make sure it doesn’t leak. With the water supply lines, you usually don’t need to do that. They are pressurized and they’ll either leak immediately when the water is turned on or not at all. They CAN have a slow drip, but even those usually materialize sooner than later.
The drain pipes on the other hand, can take a while. They aren’t under any pressure and leaks can be painfully slow to develop. The photo above is our kitchen sink the day after I installed the ROS. See that paper towel and the water pail? Yep. We sprung a leak. The entire left side under our sink had a nice puddle of water in it. The culprit? The right side p-trap. What’s weird about that? I modified the left side p-trap in our ROS install and didn’t even touch the right one. Apparently, I must have bumped it or something when I was messing around with the left side.
How to Fix a Leaking Sink
After a close inspection, I was able to feel a lot of water around the topmost p-trap fitting. So, the first thing I did to remedy this whole situation was to just put some muscle into that fitting and crank it down tight to see if that helped. Since this is a slow drip, I put a dry piece of paper towel under the p-trap and left it alone for a couple minutes. After a little while, I noticed the paper towel had some wet spots. Crap.
The only real option I have at this point is to replace the p-trap and the maybe the tall pipe that has the dishwasher port on it. They readily sell these at home supply stores and they’re very inexpensive. I paid under $10 for both of these parts.
I started the fix by removing the old p-trap. It comes out very easy. You just loosen the two nuts that hold it in place. They’re almost always hand tight. You don’t really need to use a wrench for any of this.
That long pipe came out next. Same deal as the p-trap. Once it was out, I laid it next to the new one and marked the new one so it had the same length. To cut it, I just used a pair of tubing cutters, but you can also use a hack saw.
With the straight pipe cut to the correct length, it gets installed the same way the old one came out.
With the straight pipe in place, the new p-trap is up next. Very simply installation.
So our finished photo looks identical to our first photo. Only difference is this one doesn’t leak. To be sure we corrected the problem, I left another piece of paper towel underneath the sink. This time, I left it under there for a couple days. No drips!
What was wrong with the old one? Hard to tell. It’s possible it got bumped and then maybe messed up one of the seals. Who knows? I’m not losing sleep over it.
So, that wasn’t very exciting, but hopefully you learned something about your sink!! Fix ay problems at your place lately?
Posted by John on September 5th, 2012
It’s time to say goodbye. It’s been a long time coming. This relationship is wasteful. There are better options out there. It’s true. We’re finally kicking the bottled water habit and switching to a reverse osmosis system (ROS). At any given time over the past year, you could find 5-10 empty bottles of Dasani or Aquafina lying around the house. On our dressers, on the kitchen counters, on the bathroom sinks. Everywhere. On top of our water bottle consumption, we own a Brita filter. It’s okay, but it’s not as good as bottled. We’re getting rid of Brita. I’ll let Vaughn take it from here…
Now, since this is a commercially available product (we bought it at Lowes a while back) with its own set of instructions, I’m not going to get to detailed with the how-to instructions. I thought it would be helpful if we showed you what’s involved.
Adding a Reverse Osmosis System
Since these units are installed either in a basement or underneath a kitchen sink, we’ll start there. We picked our sink instead of the basement.
Then we cleaned out underneath our sink. I’ll need the room.
The ROS takes up a good amount of space. We’ll reorganize it once we’ve finished. I’ll also need to turn off the water supply valves.
The ROS takes the water right from the cold water line under the sink. I added a tee between the water supply hose and the faucet pipe.
To add the actual ROS faucet we have the option of either using the existing hole for the sprayer or drilling another hole. Since we do actually use the sprayer once in a while, we drilled another hole.
It’s not easy to drill a hole through 1/16″ thick stainless steel, but if you go slow and use the right bit, it’s doable.
ROS’s also cycle out the waste that gets removed from the water and actually drains it into the p-trap. The existing drain piping needs to get modified to accept it. That’s not too hard though.
You can see the added pipe in the photo below along with the filter assembly and the reservoir tank. It’s all a part of the system. Not exactly sure how it works. Just trust it.
The water lines are just flexible tubes that basically get pressed into connections. It’s really, really easy to make those connections.
The faucet gets bolted to the sink top. We picked a chrome unit, despite the fact that our sink is stainless steel and our main faucet is brushed nickel. Weird right? Well, we’re probably going to be getting granite or some other solid surface in the next few years and we’re going to be switching the sink and maybe the faucet too. Besides, the main faucet doesn’t even match the sink anyway. We don’t mind the clashing in the meantime.
How’s it taste? Great! Well… as great as water can taste. It doesn’t have any odor or chlorine taste whatsoever. Good stuff.
How do you drink your water? Do you take it bottled or filtered?