Long Term Radon Test

If you couldn’t do a radon test prior to purchasing a home, there are also long term radon tests that are far more accurate. These will test your air for about three months or more.  I bought a radon kit for Little House before purchase, but I did it wrong.  I put it on an upside down drawer to make it 4 inches off the ground.  The home had no utilities so I couldn’t read the directions in the dark and my memory from reading it in the car was incorrect.  It wasn’t supposed to be placed that low to the ground.  Also, the home was unoccupied for a year, so radon builds up if a home is closed up with no air escaping.  My short term test came up with 2.1 which is okay, but in reality it is probably much lower.  So I purchased a long term test off of amazon.com after reading Consumer Reports.  I bought this one: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003C5BZYA/ref=oh_o01_s00_i00_details

I have yet to tape it up on my walls, but I will update the results down the road once it gets a long enough read.

Accustar Alpha Track Test Kit AT 100


Check Out Our New Crapper!

It took me a while to decide which toilet to buy.  We first grabbed a toilet with a dual flush with differing gallons per flush for solid waste and liquid waste. On our way to the check-out, there was a display of two other toilets that were not in the toilet aisle.  The one on display was a .8 gallon per flush toilet! We ended up going home with that  one  – Glacier Bay 2-Piece Ultra High-Efficiency Elongated Toilet in White Model # N7717B/N7715T SKU # 169564.  I picked one that was EPA approved with a WaterSense sticker.  It was going for $150.

This toilet was $50 more than what I originally picked, but 1.2 gpf vs .8 gpf was worth the $50 to me.  Over time it will save a lot of water.  Toilets consume a lot of water for every flush.  According to the EPA, toilets are second to outdoor water use.  Since people don’t just change out their toilets unless they were ratty to begin with, I want to make sure that several years down the road when even more efficient toilets are being sold, my toilet is still doing a good job conserving water.



Here is a video about the toilet!  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wBRH-H-Sg2E

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!  From all the work we have been doing the past week, I feel like I completely blew past the new year and didn’t even get the opportunity to reflect on 2011 or set any goals for the upcoming year.  I did take a mini-break and went to a friend’s house party.  I feel like I have barely been home and I catch myself getting a little anxiety sometimes.  I usually have to regroup in my room by straightening things up, cleaning, and planning out what I have to do.  Since I didn’t get to do any of that, there has been a little stressor that is lurking and ends up making me feel anxious if I ignore it for too many days in a row.

What have we done so far?

  • Put primer all over the floors
  • Picked paint colors
  • Painted first coats in the living room and hallway
  • Picked flooring and picked up flooring (2 trips)
  • Put in flooring in all rooms and closets except for one (closet)
  • Demolished the old vanity in the bathroom and took it to the curb!
  • Bleached the bathroom floor
  • Bought lots and lots and lots of things from Home Depot.  I need to look at all my receipts.  This stresses me out because I kept having to buy things that were not planned.

Some things I would advise based on my experience:

  • Buy LOTS of plastic jungle gift cards to Home Depot…I didn’t buy nearly enough.  I went through hundreds of dollars already and a lot of it was not planned.
  • Go to the post office to ask for a movers pack which has a bunch of coupons in it for moving services, Home Depot, Lowes, TV service
  • Do yourself a favor and just buy the 5 gallon Kilz.  I ended up buying several 2 gallon buckets at various intervals.  Especially if you end up hating a color you painted a room – like I did.
  • Buy ahead things you know you will need off of amazon.com or craigslist.  I ordered some things, but then ended up needing so much other stuff because I didn’t really know.  If you read my posts, I list things you would most likely need to use for projects, so if you can, just buy any of the materials up front.  That way you have time to price hunt!
  • If you like a paint color at the store, go with the next shade lighter because your lighting at your house may be a lot darker than the store!

Things that I learned about myself and stresses that I didn’t think about that will come up during these kinds of projects:

  • Even if I try to deny being Type A and try really hard not to be, I think I am definitely Type A.
  • If your significant other is not Type A, you may find yourself getting very frustrated.  Prepare!

Flooring Tips

We finally finished putting in the St James African Mahogany flooring.  It took three days. This isn’t the first time with snap-and-click for Ben, but it is for me.  It could just be the specific flooring I purchased, but I think it should be more appropriately named “Snap, beat with a hammer and block over and over until the pieces actually, Click.”  I ended up unprepared and had to buy an installation kit midway through to make the process easier.  The kit contained 50 spacers so that I didn’t have to make my own spacers with left over pieces of tack board from the carpet removal.  Taking them out once you finish a room is difficult and you may end up breaking some of the pieces to get them out –  we did!  The best thing in the kit however, is the pull bar.  When you’re trying to push the last laminate piece that is closest to the wall, you have no room to push or pull on the edge of it to get it to click into the other piece.  So the pull bar fits into the narrow space between the laminate and the wall and also has a flat end that you can tap with your hammer or mallet.


  • Wall perimeters
  • Floor square footage including closets (if you want the flooring to be uniform through closets)

Useful tools:

  • Laminate flooring installation kit
  • Hammers/rubber mallets
  • Thick wood blocks
  • Circular saw
  • Ear plugs
  • Safety glasses
  • Knee pads or the foam pads you sit on when gardening


  • Your choice of flooring
  • Quarter Rounds to hide the 1/4 inch gaps between the laminate and the walls
  • Baseboard along the bottom of the walls
  • The baseboard combined with the quarter round looks like this: