How to Fix Your Washing Machine

Crystal and Co. linked a post a few weeks ago about a clogged trap in her washing machine that was causing a "Suds" error in her front load washer.

Wouldn't you know that about a week after I read her post I began seeing that same error reading on my own Whirlpool Duet?! I went back to re-read her post then I googled it and discovered that it is a very common problem, an easy fix, and not something that is mentioned in the owners manual at all!

Well, The Big Guy figured out how to fix it and I took pictures to help all the other families out there in the world struggling with this same problem. There is no need for a costly repairman!

This is how the lower front panel of the washing machine looks. Under that lip at the bottom of the panel are three screws with a head like that of an allen wrench (square, not like an ordinary Phillips or Flathead screwdriver):

Look under that lip to find the screws and unscrew them, The Big Guy has a screwdriver set that has attachments that fit that square screw head:

This is what your washer will look like with the panel removed:

You can see the "trap" when you look closer, unscrew it and empty out the contents. Depending on how recently you have run your washer, you may have to put a container or towels under the trap before you unscrew the cap to contain the water that may come out:

Replace the trap and put the front panel back in place. Get on the floor and drop the screws 25 times while sweating and swearing while your wife takes photos for her blog. Your goal here is to replace the three screws...or two screws if one rolls under the washer:

I had no idea, but you should also clean the inside of your washing machine periodically to keep ahead of soap build-up. Tidy Mom shares how to clean the inside of your washing machine HERE


To Vaccinate or Not to Vaccinate, that is the question...

The new-ish HPV vaccine has had lots of media exposure over the past few months after presidential candidates Rick Perry and Michelle Bachmann disputed it's safety and/or risks during debates.

The New York Times reports a federal advisory committee has now recommended that boys and men should also be vaccinated for HPV. The paper goes on to explain:

HPV infection is the most common sexually transmitted disease — between 75 percent and 80 percent of females and males in the United States will be infected at some point in their lives. Most will overcome the infection with no ill effects. But in some people, infections lead to cellular changes that cause warts or cancer, including cervical, vaginal and vulvar cancers in women and anal cancers in men and women. A growing body of evidence suggests that HPV also causes throat cancers in men and women.

The HPV vaccine must be given in a series of 3 shots and costs upwards of $300 out-of-pocket since most insurance companies do not cover the cost.

It's Feedback Friday...

How do you feel about the HPV vaccination?

Do you think the vaccine should be added to the list of state required vaccinations?

Do you think insurance companies or the government should cover the costs of this vaccine?

Are your children, boys or girls, vaccinated against HPV?

**Interesting point brought up in the comments - do you think of this as a vaccine against Cancer or a vaccine against STD's?


Pinterest Pass or Fail? Getting Fit!

This week I tried to incorporate this Quick Workout originating from the Getting Fit Tumbler Page. I pinned it to my Workin' on my Fitness board. This quick workout takes about 10 minutes to go through it 2-3 times and it works! It's a great go-to workout for days when I'm too rushed to devote to an hour long class. My heart rate was up, I was sweating, it was a great mix of cardio and resistance...I give it a "Pinterest Pass"!

Shelley tried Biscuit Pizza Rolls and liked them:

Did you try any Pins this week?


Glow-In-The-Dark Flag Football?

While planning my youngest son's birthday party last month, he kept coming up with all sorts of off-the-wall creative activities he wanted to play with his friends. We figured out how to create the Life-Sized Angry Birds game, angry birds pinata, and a birthday cake made entirely out of doughnuts:

Another thing he wanted to do was to play glow-in-the-dark Flag Football...oh, and I had one day to do it.

I ended up making skinny pockets from some old curtain sheers, I used the hem that was already sewn! I sewed across the hem with my machine several times to make 12 "pockets" and cut apart each one.

Next, I sewed one side of the Velcro to the back of the pocket and the other side to a length of rope long enough to tie around each child's waist. Each pocket Velcro-ed to a rope "belt".

Repeat 12 times...

Slide a glow stick into each pocket:

Now, PLAY!

Each team tries to pull the glowing flag from the opponent's belt. Moms, it's really hard to get a picture of this!

**Scroll down to join in on the Tutorial Tuesday party and teach me something!**


Tutorial Tuesday!

Thank you for linking up in record numbers last week! I loved so many of your tutorials, but here are a few that really stood out:

Candy Corn Fudge:

Loopy Wreath:

Fabric Pumpkins:

Funnel Cake:

CLICK PICKS (last week's most clicked links):

#1 Modestify a Dress

#2 Breakfast Burritos

#3 Finger Knitting

Now it's YOUR turn:

Please... (this is the part at the end of the commercial when the announcer talks real fast)

* Link up using the link to your actual post (not your general blog address) using your name and a the subject of your tutorial to generate interest.

* Add my button or a clickable link back to this post so everyone can join in.

* Visit and comment with all our friends. Show them some love! Meet some new friends! Learn something new!

Ready? Teach Me Stuff!

Hope Studios

In-Your-Face Wall Calendar

I needed a big way to organize my three boy's schedules...and I'm not good at remembering to look at a calendar...and I'm cheap.

Enter "Chalkboard" Contact Paper! An in-your-face calendar right on the wall of my office that I can customize and can't help but see when I leave the room.


Chalkboard Contact Paper

I attached my Contact Paper directly to my wall and drew a calendar grid using a Liquid Chalk Marker, leaving room on the one side for notes. Each month, just wipe with a damp cloth and begin again.

Mark in your dates and fill in with what you need to remember - Easy Peasy! My PTO will be so happy I remember to attend their meetings each month!

How do you stay organized?



Childbirth as Art?

The Today Show covered a story of a new performance art exhibit, "The Birth of Baby X" planned by artist Marni Kotak. After the birth, she plans to expand the exhibit to include "Raising Baby X". Above, you can see her in the birthing suite she has designed for the "performance".

Do you think childbirth is legitimate performance art?

Would you ever want to see such an exhibit?


Cinnamon Pull Apart Bread - Pinterest Pass or Fail?

This lovely Cinnamon Pull Apart Bread is pinned to my Cookin' Mama board. This recipe originated from Joy the Baker (oh, how I want to be her friend!).

Here is my attempt:

A little wonky, but very delicious! This Pin Passed with flying colors! Click here to try Joy the Baker's Cinnamon Pull Apart Bread.

Some of you took me up on my challenge. Here are some of the "Pins" YOU tried last week:

Paulette made a Jug Skeleton.

Jenn tried her hand at this Halloween Wreath:

Patti tried this Crock Pot Mac and Cheese:

Leave a comment to let me know what "Pins" you tried this week!

**(There is still time to join this week's Tutorial Tuesday Linky Party)


Bread Clips as Organizing Tools?

Please tell me I'm not the only one to find a tangled ball of earphones every time I open my junk drawer? Simple, ordinary bread clips saved the day.

Want to see how Unpluggd.com uses bread clips?

Brilliant, right?

**Scroll down to join the Tutorial Tuesday Linky Party already in progress!**


Tutorial Tuesday!

With over 200 links to choose from, I had my work cut out for me last week. Here are some of my personal faves:

Ogre Toes:

Giant Painted Wall Clock:

Why Pay for Annie Sloan's Chalk Paint?

Jessica Baby Shoes:

CLICK PICKS (last week's most clicked links):

#1 50 Ways to Save Money

#2 Rose Trim Bracelet

#3 Shirred T Shirt Makeover

Now it's YOUR turn:

Please... (this is the part at the end of the commercial when the announcer talks real fast)

* Link up using the link to your actual post (not your general blog address) using your name and a the subject of your tutorial to generate interest.

* Add my button or a clickable link back to this post so everyone can join in.

* Visit and comment with all our friends. Show them some love! Meet some new friends! Learn something new!

Ready? Teach Me Stuff!

Hope Studios

Time to Make the Donuts...

My youngest son is a HUGE fan of doughnuts. He talks about doughnuts, he writes homework papers about doughnuts, he dressed up as a Krispy Skreme Doughnut Zombie for Halloween.

Imagine how upset he was when all our area Krispy Kreme shops closed (he really hates Dunkin'). He was in doughnut mourning. I think he wore black for a week.

Enter How Does She... with a great semi-homemade doughnut recipe that was said to resemble our beloved K.K.! Well, we got right to work and I now have a happy boy!

Gather up your ingredients for:


1 can of Grands Homestyle Biscuits
Crisco or oil to cover bottom of pan 1/2 inch deep


Heat oil on med/hi heat for 8-10 minutes.

Separate biscuits and cut holes using a cookie cutter or any other round object on hand (Gatorade lid?). I like to wait until my oil is hot before beginning this. I want my dough to be nice and cold when it hits the oil.

Carefully set dough into hot oil and cook for 20-30 sec. per side. Use a fork to flip. Mine got a little "floaty" when they were ready to flip.

Remove and cool on a rack.

When you can comfortably touch them, dip doughnuts in glaze (I like to totally cover the whole doughnut.)

Or chocolate ganache (1 cup milk chocolate chips + 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream. Microwave in 30 sec. increments. Stir til smooth.) You can then dip in sprinkles if you don't live in an anti-sprinkle home like I do.

They passed the taste test. Here is the verdict, straight from the doughnut connoisseur himself:

"Pretty good! They aren't as good as Krispy Kreme, but they are better than Dunkin'! Can we make them again tomorrow??"

We tried them later when they cooled and they were still pretty good and moist! These are a great option for a special occasion breakfast around here.


Too Old for Trick-or-Treat?

My local radio station covered a story this week about the town of Saltsburg, a borough near Pittsburgh, that has an age limit of 12 years for those permitted to trick or treat.

I had never heard of limiting those allowed to participate, but after some research, I found that cities in the states of Illinois, Virginia, South Carolina, Mississippi, and Maryland have similar ordinances limiting the age of trick or treaters.

Though they are rarely enforced, there are fines of up to $100 and/or jail time as a penalty for trick or treating over age.

Some of the same ordinances also prohibit anyone over the age of 12 from wearing a mask in public on Halloween and every other day of the year.

It's Feedback Friday...

Do you agree with setting an age limit for trick or treat?

How old were you when you gave up trick or treating?


What's Up With Hope Studios - the shop?

Things have really started to pick up at The Shop in the last month as Fall weddings come up. Here is just a week's worth of work - some custom and some new things for the shop.

I'm always looking for new quotes that speak to me, and here are a few examples of quotes that did just that:

Love Story

My Heart

I am always looking for inspiration, what is your favorite quote?


DIY Facial Peel: Pinterest - Pass or Fail

Like many of you, I have jumped on the Pinterest bandwagon with both feet. I. Am. Obsessed. I want to Pin all the time! As we accumulate all of our Pins, it's easy to put off actually trying them because now we know just where they are...for later.

This is my new weekly challenge: Let's all attempt to try at least one Pin a week and report back our successes or failures. You game? I'll start by posting my weekly Pin and grade it either Pass or Fail. You can join in with your own experiences. You can either comment below or let me know if you want me to set up a linky party.

This week's Pin can be found on my Juniper Style Board, where I keep all my fashion, hair, and make up tips.

Full Face Pore Strips Mask originating from Petit Elefant.

Allison teaches us how to make a Peeling Pore Cleaning Mask from two ingredients:

1 Tbsp. unflavored gelatin
1-2 Tbsp. milk

1. Stir, then microwave for 10-15 sec.
2. Immediately spread onto face (Allison used a popcicle stick, but I just used my fingers).

3. Let dry for at least 15 minutes.

Now peel!

I liked the easy recipe and it felt nice going on.

Mine was still tacky after about 25 minutes in some spots and crunchy in other spots. This could be user error with uneven application.

Peeling the mask was very painful on most of my face as it was really stuck on there! I felt like I was peeling off the whole top layer of skin. Most times I just had to rip it quick, like a Bandaid.

The little fine hairs around my jaw line all pulled out by the roots and I had to get into the shower to really get all the residue off.

My face was very red afterward, especially in the areas where hair had been pulled out:

This morning I have little red sore bumps along my jaw and my skin is tender.

I'm going to have to give this Pin a Fail. I could Pass this tutorial if used only in the T-zone, I think.

What Pins have you tried this week?

**Don't forget to scroll down to join the Tutorial Tuesday Linky Party this week!**

Your Skin Fix, December Edition