Category Archives: Our Saturday Morning

DIY: Replacing Outlets

My husband and I are in the midst of a major overall of our 1979 home. One of the millions of tasks on our list is to replace the old outlets, which are ugly and barely hold onto the cords we put in them. Last Saturday morning, I tackled the first room and replaced all the outlets in it! As it turns out, it’s not that hard. It just takes a few supplies, watching a some You Tube videos, putting on your thinking cap, and rolling up your sleeves. Here’s how.

Supplies (you really do need ALL of these):

  • new outlets
  • voltage sensor ($20 at Lowes)
  • outlet tester ($5 at Lowes)
  • needle nose pliers
  • flathead screw driver
  • wire strippers (You may not need these, but I did.)

Instructions:

Before you begin, schedule a manicure (or plan to give yourself one as I did). After a few hours of this, I had total man hands.

First, watch a few You Tube videos on how this is done. (You can learn anything on You Tube these days! Thank you, self-filming handymen.)

Next, go to the store and get your supplies. No skipping on the voltage sensor or outlet tester! No one wants you to become a vegetable because you touched a live socket, and we don’t want you to burn your house down because you unknowingly wired the outlet wrong.

Now you’re ready to begin. Find your breaker box and turn off the breaker that leads to your outlets. Instead of running back and forth through the house, I plugged in a radio to the outlet I wanted to kill. Test that there is no juice coming to the outlet by holding your voltage sensor up to it. (Test the little booger first on an outlet that you know is hot.)

voltage sensor

Testing the outlet after I’ve turned off the power

Once you’re certain the power is off, unscrew the outlet from the wall. Gently (but firmly too, if that makes sense) pull the outlet away from the wall. If your outlets aren’t that old, you can just unscrew each of the wires. Mine were old backstabbed boxes (learned that new term while doing this project), so I had to cut the wires out with my needle nose pliers and then strip the coating off the end of the wire. Put the white wires off to the left side, the black wires off to the right, and the ground to the bottom of your opening.

Old outlet out of wall and ready to be clipped

Old outlet out of wall and ready to be clipped

Now put the wires onto the new outlet. I found the best way to do this is to make a little shepherd’s hook on the end of each wire. Then it slides right in behind the screw…sometimes. The wires can be kind of a pain to get onto the outlet. Once the wire is in, hold it taught and tighten the screw. Do this for the remaining four wires. (This part gave me man hands!)

Now that the new outlet is wired up, gently but firmly place the wires back into their little box. I found this to be really hard. I pretty much gave it everything I had to get the stupid, I mean, functional wires back into place (more man hands). Once everything is back in box, screw the outlet back onto the wall.

New outlet with tester showing it was wired correctly

New outlet with tester showing it was wired correctly

Insert the outlet tester you bought for five bucks. Now go turn the power back on. Use the little color codes on the tester to see if you’ve wired the outlet correctly. If so, congrats! Replace the decorative plate, kill the power again, and move on to your next outlet.

Time for that manicure…

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Filed under Decorating, DIY, Our Saturday Morning

Saturday Morning 3.9.13: Wedding Bouquets

Happy Saturday morning to you!

Jeanne spent her morning making bouquets for a friend’s wedding. The look for this wedding called for a bridal bouquet of red roses and baby’s breath.

Bridal bouquet made by Jeanne this morning

Bridal bouquet made by Jeanne this morning

Jeanne is a fantastic amateur florist. She was taught by her mother who had a floral business for several years. The skill and joy that comes along with it is contagious, and I’ve tried my best to pick it up over the years, doing the flowers for several friends’ weddings (with my mother on the phone, of course). For Laura and Chad’s wedding, she tackled the bridal bouquet, coached me through the other bouquets, and instructed Sasha and a few girls from our family through the other arrangements.

Laura's bridal bouquet made by Jeanne

Laura’s bridal bouquet made by Jeanne
(photography by Angela Frances)

Simple flowers in a mason jar give a warm, vintage feel to the ceremony

Simple flowers and herbs (from Jeanne’s yard) in a mason jar give a warm, vintage feel to the ceremony

There’s something about caring for and arranging flowers for someone’s special day that adds an extra touch of love to the occasion.

Flower arranging can be intimidating at first, but it’s really not that hard once you try it. Making bouquets can be great fun and save a lot of money. As with anything these days, there are countless articles on how to make your own bouquets. Here are a few good ones from A Practical Wedding¬†and The Knot.

Saturday morning for the rest of the gang included P90X at 5 am for Sasha (go girl!), knitting and a plyometircs workout for me, and a road trip to Chattanooga, TN for Laura (and Chad).

Ruby Falls in Chattanooga, TN

Ruby Falls in Chattanooga, TN

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Filed under Event Planning and Hosting, Our Saturday Morning

Saturday Morning 2.23.13

Wynn’s birthday was yesterday, so I made a yummy birthday brunch for us. And, I discovered a new easy recipe in the process.

The menu: Maui grown coffee (from my recent trip), campari tomatoes and tangerine slices with a balsamic reduction, French vanilla custard, and fresh strawberries

Confession: The French vanilla custard started out as spinach quiche. The plan changed when I grabbed the French vanilla half and half instead of the regular stuff on accident.

New (EASY!) recipe: Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 9″ glass pie pan. Whisk together seven eggs, one cup cake flour, and one cup French vanilla creamer (I used Organic Valley French Vanilla Half and Half). Pour in pie plate, bake for 35-40 minutes, slice, and serve warm or at room temp. Voila! Temporary crisis averted, and new great recipe created in the process.

Laura spent her morning curled up with a homemade latte and her favorite magazine, Southern Living (it’s the favorite of all of us!) She loves making lattes and tea because she LOVES her fantastic collection of adorable, vintage tea cups (courtesy of TJ Maxx — another favorite of ours, we love a good deal).

Jeanne spent her morning relaxing in front of the fire at her wonderful lake house on Lake Hartwell, South Carolina. (OK, so it wasn’t all relaxing — there was a water leak, a security alarm issue, and all the chaos that comes with those things. At least she can laugh about it.)

Relaxing by the fire and watching Argo

Relaxing by the fire and watching Argo

Sasha was the only one of us who had a productive morning. After a healthy breakfast of egg whites and berries, she set to painting her bathrooms. I’ve also done a lot of painting lately, and we’re here to tell you — there is NO other way than to use a high quality paint + primer combination. A second coat is hardly needed.

Valspar Signature paint plus primer (Bonus: low VOC too!)

Valspar Signature paint plus primer (Bonus: low VOC too!)

We hope your Saturday morning was filled with smiles, love, and fun!

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by | February 23, 2013 · 9:30 pm

Saturday morning: 2.16.13

It’s Saturday evening but let’s just pretend it’s Saturday morning for a moment. Today was my responsible day to gather photos and post the Saturday Morning blog for the group. It started off well. Chad always liked a really big breakfast on the weekend and he is cooking one big one. Nice way to start the morning, Laura.

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Chad cooking Laura a big Saturday morning breakfast

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Two fried eggs over easy and four slices of crispy bacon

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And breakfast is served!

Nurse Sasha is working this morning. It’s one of those crisp, sunny, blue sky days. I know she is wishing she was out and about but it’s an illusion. It’s cold, windy and freezing outside. Work hard, Nurse Sasha.

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Then Brooke awoke on island time. She’s relaxing in Maui this week. A hop, skip and jump away from cold Alaska. Enjoy your hot sunshine, Brookie Baby.

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Brooke is relaxing and watching the morning sea.

This morning was the day, the one I’ve been dreading for months. Time to clean out one, two, three, four(count them) closets! Yes, it took most of the day.

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The before picture. Shoes everywhere lead to frustrating mornings and hunting for that right shoe to make a pair (does this relate to the missing sock issue?)

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The After photo!!!!! Shoes that I haven’t seen in months and each pair is together. I felt like I was shopping at a shoe store.

I’ve been finding treasures all day long and feel like I’ve been on a shopping spree. Happy Saturday Morning, girls!

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Saturday Morning 2.9.13

Staying true to our name, we hope to share a little piece of our Saturday Mornings each week.

Jeanne is enjoying the beautiful Georgia day and working in her garden, which is adorable! (a combo of her amazing taste and great construction by Pro Mow Landscaping)

 

Jeanne's seeds

Jeanne’s seeds

Jeanne's new garden goodies

Jeanne’s new garden goodies

Sasha and Ben are taking a stroll with Baloo, the world’s largest weimaraner, to one of Atlanta’s many beautiful cemeteries.

Sasha, Ben, and Baloo on their morning walk

Sasha, Ben, and Baloo on their morning walk

 

Laura is enjoying all the delicate new blooms in her yard. The annual Cherry Blossom Festival is just around the corner!

cherry tree

Laura’s blooming cherry tree

And way up north in Alaska, I’m preparing to throw a couples baby shower for my besties, Katrina and Trent, tonight.

Basket of party goodies for the baby shower

Basket of party goodies for the baby shower

 

We hope your Saturday morning was full of love and fun!

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by | February 9, 2013 · 8:06 pm