Thursday, January 25, 2018

Our Hurricane Harvey Story

While it's been 5 months since the hurricane, it's still fresh as a daisy covered in horse shit in my mind.

I'm so angry for so many reasons - losing everything, anger at the landlord for lying about area flooding, the craptastic crackerbox we lived in that flooded like it was made out of paper towels.

So                     Many                Things

We had been in Central Texas for five years after my husband was transferred for a job there. He then was transferred back to close to Houston. We moved 4th of July weekend 2017. It was a great time because we just found out we were living in a home with black mold and were getting no where with the landlords, in Central Texas. Part of the ceiling caved in due to water damage we didn't know about; that added to a long list of repairs which the landlords never fixed. It was a nightmare that I am still trying to rectify with landlords ignoring our every request. At this point, I feel like giving up because my health has gotten somewhat better and it's wasted energy on my part to keep fighting this.

We found a home in Conroe for rent. Conroe, because I was not wanting to live any sort of 'city' life. It was a 2ooo sqft one story home in a large property that I thought felt perfect. It was country livin' with our own pump house and septic system. It was cute, quaint, private. It had a huge front porch that I couldn't wait to get decked out and drink my morning coffee on. I put up several bird feeders to watch humming birds, blue jays and cardinals visit. our dog was getting used to having a HUGE yard all to herself  and acquainting herself with the ginormous but totally friends neighbor dogs next door. We were getting in the swing of things.

Some getting used to, but in the little over a month we lived there we started to enjoy life again. I finally got the living room pretty much completed after my new bookshelves got delivered. The kitchen and dining room were coming together. I even envisioned where all my Christmas decorations would go.
Never got proper photos of the dining room. And thank goodness
never got my grandmother's table and chairs moved in yet.

I refinished a vintage table and made an acrylic floral
arrangement for what I wanted to become a little window reading nook.

The living room was coming together.

Adorable 'greenhouse' window for my daughter's
plants that she loved so much.

My grandmother's dresser made the perfect storage piece
for my kitchen. Thank the lawd I was able to save this.

It didn't come without challenges - like bugs ...BIG bugs every day and
night, cracks in the tiles, septic issues and the above.
The guest bathroom shower was clogged via the prior tenant that
called for digging up a mess for more than two weeks leaving us to all share
one bathroom. 

In between burning boxes, we even made s'mores in the
sweltering heat because we could...and that's what was 

Then comes hurricane season.

Now, I've lived through every tropical storm and hurricane that has hit Houston since 1970; including Hurricane Alicia, TS Allison, Hurricane Ike. I've never lost anything except electricity and one time part of a fence. I've never been flooded in my home and never lost belongings. Harvey would change that.

We, like everyone in the area, were trying to gear up for the impending hurricane. I got water, candles, flashlights, food. Moved everything off the porch to inside. Secured yard tools to the house. The handyman came by to check the trees. We moved all the vehicles to the back of the driveway where it was the highest. I secured all the yard tools to the house. Made sure we were prepped with food. All the things I've done for years.

Sunday morning, August 27th 2017, my husband woke me up saying we had to get out. Just like that. "The house is flooding! We have to get out!"

The house was indeed flooding. I quickly jumped out of bed and ran to the kitchen to see water flowing inside like a river. I ran to the laundry room, the very back of the house, and it's flowing in more. At this point it was ankle deep and rising.

I go to my daughter's room and wake up the kids and tell them to get up, we have to leave. They had just followed us down from Central Texas. We all had still had things in boxes on the floor in rooms. The attic had a lot of stuff in it that the handyman hadn't cleared out yet.

We're all frantically packing a bag - I grab my computer, camera bag, as many photos as I can while everyone else is packing clothes. Then we grab the dog and the cat and all pack in my husband's car. The one thing I forgot to do in preparation, was get gas in my truck.

We tried to make it out of the neighborhood, but were met with dead ends at every turn.

We eventually lost the car to flood waters and pushed it to higher ground where we were saved by Fire and Rescue who took us to a nearby hotel.

Then shock set in.
We were relieved we had our animals and each other.

If we didn't laugh, we'd cry - my husband had to walk our dog
with my sports bra as a leash because I never grabbed it
out of the house.

We stood and watched the rain for days.

We were at the hotel for about three days. I don't think I slept but maybe a half hour in those three days. I just sat in a chair in the corner of the hotel room with a blanket and stared. My heart beating out of my chest thinking of everything we just lost.

We were able to make it back to the house after a couple of days when waters receded. It was a nightmare. I know other's had far, far worse than we did...and I'm truly sorry for them, I can't imagine their anguish. This was just a first for us. It was empowering to see my city come together to help each other and watching Mattress Mack, Jim McIngvale, come to the rescue of so many victims and first responders gave us all hope. The lives that were lost are truly heartbreaking.

New furniture, personal belongings, things we've had for YEARS...just put out on the street. Everything else inside was getting ravaged by mold and mildew, so we had to work fast.

We could see the patchwork when we moved in and were told
it was all recent renovations and perfectly fine.

However, it wasn't and fell in which allowed the higher part of the
house not ravaged by flood, to be infiltrated with water from the hole
and water damage everything in the room.

We still had so many boxes from moving and the flood waters
toppled and soaked through everything.

The smell was horrendous and it was just awful to walk through each 
room looking at what was just trashed.

We saved what we could - dishes and some photos. A lot was just over taken by mold and mildew and just gone.

What hurt worse was seeing just how bad the house was to begin with.

This hole wasn't cut to allow these cords in, it's a hole that was there all

As I was walking through the house taking photos for our insurance, I started to notice daylight. All those holes where you see sunlight are just that - HOLES. This was throughout the house! After the repair people who the landlord hired began to cut away at the drywall (which the water damage went way above their cut line by the way) all these holes became visible.

Then I went outside to see the wood rotted away.

We truly believe if the house was properly maintained, as we were led to believe before renting it, we'd not be in this mess. If we were told that the house was easily flooded, maybe we would have moved everything to the higher level. I don't know, but seeing daylight through every portion of the house was frightening.

On top of all the personal things we lost, I lost everything to do with my business, sans my camera. All my product, inventory, molds, tools, packaging, shipping and labeling. I'm SLOWLY replacing everything to re-open my store and ship out the last orders prior to the hurricane. They were all ready to be shipped on Monday, until the hurricane took them on Sunday. I returned everyone's money but I'm determined to get their orders back out to them. Slow going...but I"m determined to rebuild everything I lost.

One thing that didn't get lost was a painting I was commissioned to do for a new restaurant to be opened up near Dallas, The Wharf. I was able to get it out of the house shortly after the hurricane and just do some touch up work on it. It's not happily hung in it's forever home.

Upset and anger just sits in my gut and still does. Moving back and trying to get settled and just being in the house for barely over a month to just lose everything? Yeah, sticks in my gut like a lead weight.

I'm sure, over time, it may fade to feel more like a lead potato....maybe. So, we'll see.

We're still displaced as my husband lost his job a little over a month after the hurricane, as did many at his company, due to the hurricane. It's been tough all around. So, we just gotta suck it up and move forward.

Friday, June 9, 2017

DIY Laundry Detergent

I've made my own laundry detergent since last October and have never looked back. I've tried several recipes and have found that this one works best for me.

I realized I didn't have a tutorial for this so after I made Snapchats of me doing the process for a friend, I decided to download them and string them together. LOL So I apologize for the lackluster video you're about to view.

The recipe makes ten gallons of concentrate that you can store as is, or dilute it at a half to half ratio into ten 1-gallon jugs.

I store mine in the bucket and dilute it in a pitcher as needed.

I've even used some of the concentrate as a stain pretreater! It's gotten blood, grease and dog puke out of clothes.

You can add a scent via essential oil or fragrance blend, but I leave it as is because it already smells so clean!

The cost is virtually pennies per load. It takes me about a half hour to make the concentrate, and it is ready to dilute the next day!  Come on, it's too easy NOT to do this!


1 Bar Zote Soap (14.1oz)

2 3/4 Cups Borax

2 3/4 Washing Soda (NOT baking soda)

1 1/2 Oxygen Cleaner

3 Tbsp Glycerin

*Optional - Scent Essential Oil

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Year In Review

Click below to view our Moody Year In Review blog!

Here is our Year In Review....I was afraid to hit POST because I might have to update the celebrity death toll...I don't think I can take anymore.

Monday, December 26, 2016

I got my very first tattoo in 1997.

I was 26 years old. My daughters were 9 months old and 3 1/2 years old and I was 3 months into a divorce thrust upon me by their father.

I felt like I was in a tornado of emotion and depression. I went from a married mother of two, to a single mother of two after being told to leave my home by my husband because I caught him cheating.

I felt like my life was held together with string the strength of wet noodles. I was sure of nothing and had trust in no one.

The only thing I was sure of was my daughters and my love for them. I decided to get a tattoo of their initials with a heart. I said, "Men may come and go, people may come and go, but my girls are my blood and we'll always be."

Almost 20 years on my skin.
Always in my heart. 
The reason I got the tattoo may not have been
destined as I thought, but the love
is still there. 

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Easiest and Cheapest Christmas Stocking Ever

I'm known for forever redoing Christmas stockings. I always say I want a set of matching stockings. I've had them before...and they last a few years. Then I switch them up...again and again. It's a habit now.

I wasn't going to do any stockings this year at all. I did semi new ones last ones, I guess you could call them. But then I found myself at the Dollar Tree....go figure....and I saw the cutest stockings.

Cutest by dollar store standards. They are gunny sack material with a red glitter stencil.  I was taken aback because this didn't seem like dollar store quality...or look. They aren't glitzy or over done. They're not tacky or really cheap looking.

Gunny sack fabric on the front and felt backing. All I had to do was monogram them.

The first thing that comes to mind to a lot of people is, "Go get some glitter glue!!!"  Trust me. I have to fight that voice. Come on....who doesn't love GLITTER GLUE?!?  I have to tell myself that I'm a grown up now and do some adulting in this DIY project. (ʘ‿ʘ)

 I got five stockings. That's FIVE BUCKS, y'all. And I walked out. I didn't even go to the glitter glue aisle. I adulted my way out of the store.

I came home and held on to them for a few days. I wanted to mull over if I was going to do monograms or stencils or entire names or glue on felt. But the more I looked at the stockings, the more I wanted to go SIMPLE. Again...fighting the glitter glue voice. Must....Not....Get....Tacky.....

I decided on a monogram. While we have three 'J' names in our family, I always hang the stockings in order of age. They know who's is who's.

The next decision was font. I like to customize things when I can and I always try to find a way to do it all myself. Easiest way was my printer and computer. I played with fonts and sizes until I found what I thought looked good and printed out the letters. Then, with an exacto blade, I cut them out (saving any inside pieces needed for the stencil).

After that, I just lay the paper down on top of the stocking and paint. I used a sponge brush for the ease of 'doppling' the paint and gold paint I had. With the three 'J' stockings, I was able to use one printing of the letter. As long as you don't use globs of paint, plain paper stencils will work great!

All in all, it took about half an hour from beginning to finish, including printing and cutting out. That's not bad at all for a project that cost me $5.oo and came out looking my opinion.

And even though they came out cute as buttons....I had to fight that voice again. "You have a TON of glitter in your desk! Go get it!! SPRINKLE IT ON!!!"  I fought the urge.

I know I'll end up at Michael's buying some sort of trim or something for the toe. I can't just leave them like this. I know I should, but I think I get possessed by Liberace and am compelled to add glitz. HALP.

I ended up adding one more element, miniature garland at the seam under the monogram. Simple, but it finished them off perfectly. I really like them hung altogether on the mantle.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

What We Did For Halloween

We've been in our 'new' town for about 4 years now. We've never had one trick or treater. It's our neighborhood, firstly not a lot of children live here and secondly it's literally a one street neighborhood. One street that's a 'U' shape. It's not like kids are going to go down the busy main road to come here. Also, there's a LOT of Trunk or Treats done in this town. Next year, I think that's what I want to do. I miss passing out candy.

So, as per my usual....I cooked a Halloween supper and made a dessert. I didn't decorate at all this year. My body is just working against me at every turn and I've just not been in the holiday mood this year. Two things that worry me a lot because it's just not like me. It's just been a crappy year too.

I usually have a cookie decorating night with our awesome neighbors, that didn't work out this year either. So, I just did the bare minimum.

I made a gross zombie meatloaf head and a cute flower pot dessert.

The meatloaf was can you go wrong with bbq bacon?

Onion eyes and teeth, wrapped in bacon and
brushed with bbq sauce. Mmmm....

Then I made something I've made more than once for my kids when they were little. It's crumbled cake up to about a third way of the cup, then topped with pudding and that's topped with chocolate cookie 'dirt' from cookies going through the food processor.   I stick in a straw then slide a flower in the straw. Usually it's done in a flower pot, but I did everything last minute today so cups it was.

My daughter worked most of the day, but she wore her kitty ears and did a cat face. Then came home and in her true artistic and creative way, painted her face for the evening.

And I didn't dress up, but I worked on my photo editing skills and made myself a walker.

And we watched The Walking Dead and The Visit. Now it's November 1st and Christmas should be getting started....but I doubt I'll do anything for that either. I just don't seem to have it in me anymore.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

DIY Liquid Laundry Detergent

The older I get, the more I say, "If I can make it, I'm not going to buy it!"  Then I challenge myself to do so.

Soap, lotion, bug spray, shaving soap, lip balms, jewelry and more. I've done it. I think my lip balms are the best. I can't keep enough stocked!

My next dive into the DIY realm was laundry soap. I researched many recipes. Dry and liquid recipes are abundant online. I decided to bypass the dry detergent because I loathe it. Period. I don't like dry powdered soap left behind on clothes and I hate washing...then re-washing dark clothes because of residue.

And the recipe is fine in cold water or hot and for older and front loading washers.

The recipe I found couldn't be easier at New Nostalgia ....basically if you can boil water, you can make this detergent. The ONLY thing I changed is the amount of cold water just to make a little more concentrated detergent...we have pets and stains and smells.....I want power. LOL

I haven't done the math on how much per load this is...but I'd have to guess it is pennies. And comparing the LOW cost of this soap to the store bought detergent with chemicals and rashy scents they comparison.

Ingredients are :

3 tbsp Washing Soda
3 tbsp Castile Soap
3 tbsp Borax
4 cups boiling water
10 cups of cold water
Essential Oil for scent (completely optional)

PS - I'm working on dishwasher detergeant soon as I have it mastered, I'll be posting that as well!

Watch the video below