A Groutable Vinyl Self-Stick Floor

Welcome to the latest in the never-ending saga of home improvements at our house, a groutable vinyl self-stick tile floor in our kitchen!

My hubby and I were blessed to be able to double the size of our kitchen about 3 years ago. We finished and painted the walls, installed new cabinets and appliances….and that was it. Fast forward three years and 5 house flip and we have been living with cement board floors and plywood counters (covered with brown sticky tiles). I have been okay with this arrangement as it is such a huge improvement over our previous kitchen.

Also, we have had so many compliments on our countertops, which always makes me smile! I think people just see a dark brown, suede-like finish and don’t look that closely.
Well, we are finally at the point where we can finish working on our own house, and boy is there a lot to do! Without even adding in funhouse stuff from Pinterest, we need to maybe drywall a bit and need to paint the entire downstairs (other than the kitchen). We also need to refurbish our lighting and install new flooring. In the kitchen, we needed to install new flooring and a backsplash, finish the opening for our skylight and install a new door and window trim. We also need to put in a new sink (we are leaning towards copper) and a faucet; we need to add some electrical outlets to the island and get a new countertop.

Right now, the downstairs flooring and countertop are out as they are big-ticket items. For the floor, I want a dark antiqued bamboo floor from Lumber Liquidators. It is much more durable than wood, which will be good with my doggies and it’s just plain pretty! For a countertop, I think we have settled on quartz, although I may bring up granite to my hubby, so that’s still open for discussion.

So, over the last couple of weeks we installed our backsplash (to be featured in another post), changed out the electrical outlets, and switches on that wall (also in another post) to better match the backsplash, and put in a floor.
I first saw this type of flooring at a friend’s house a couple of years ago- her tile looks awesome too! Now, this isn’t my “dream” floor (bamboo is) but it’s pretty sharp looking and practical and it’s only $1.29 a square foot!! It’s difficult to get a floor that’s this nice looking for a price like that. Now, just a note- it isn’t necessary to lay cement board to do a floor like this, but three years ago, we thought we would be laying ceramic tile, so in our case, the cement board is a bit of overkill.

So, if you’ve never heard of a sticky tile that you can grout, I’ll take you through the process.
These tiles are one foot by two foot and I told my hubby I wanted to lay them in a running bond pattern, with each row offset by ½ half of a tile.

We used spacers to keep our grout line consistent. The spacers worked so well, that upon laying the tiles on both sides of our large island and getting to the other end, we didn’t have to adjust horizontally or vertically. The tiles were right on. That was amazing and a miracle!

We also used a vinyl floor roller to ensure we were getting all the air bubbles out so that our tiles would have a good “grip” throughout their length.

I would wipe and rinse and wipe and rinse. Then I would get a new bucket of water and repeat, and repeat and repeat. I’m not sure how many times I had to wipe over each section of flooring with clean water or how many times I dumped my bucket and refilled it but it was a lot. In the end, I finished with a sponge mop, rinsing it between each swipe, and then my hubby used a damp paper towel to wipe the rest of the haze off of the tiles. There isn’t any way to speed up this process. The more the grout dries, the less residue you pick up and redistribute back onto the tiles.

The only thing that was left to do was to seal the grout. We picked a better sealer that will keep the floor sealed and protected for 20 years.

I am very happy with how my floor turned out, and better yet, have discovered a nice looking, economical alternative for my house flips! If you didn’t know better, would you think this was a ceramic tile floor?

Easy Scrumptious Chicken Enchiladas

These enchiladas are a family favorite. My mom got the recipe many years ago and passed it on to me. I’ve made some minor adjustments – one thing I love about this recipe is that the measurements don’t have to be precise, I usually just eyeball it.

Chicken Enchiladas

20 oz canned chicken
1 cup of salsa
1 cup Monterey jack cheese
1 tbs chopped green onions
2 tbs chopped green peppers
1 tsp garlic powder
Tortillas
Sour Cream

  • Mix all the ingredients (except tortillas and sour cream) together in a medium bowl.
  • Pour milk on a plate. Lay tortilla on the plate and then turn over the tortilla so both sides get dipped in the milk. (This softens the enchiladas so they won’t be crispy after being cooked.)
  • Add the chicken mixture to the tortilla (a spoonful or two).
  • Add a dollop of sour cream, roll the tortilla into the shape of an enchilada, and put it in a casserole dish sprayed with Pam.
  • After filling the casserole dish with the enchiladas, pour the milk still on the plate over the enchiladas. If you want, put some grated cheese over the top too. Cover with aluminum foil.
  • Bake in a 350-degree oven for about 20 minutes or until bubbly.

Bonus: Any extra chicken concoction tastes excellent on Ritz crackers.

I wanted to add some more vegetables to this meal, or maybe I just needed an excuse to use this great idea to cut cucumbers.
As you can see, these “cookie cutters” are actually for fondant, but the medium size still worked well on the cucumbers. It’s rather pointless but still fun.

Freebie Tips

Finding Freebies

You can use websites to stay on top of new freebies to request. Another idea is to follow your favorite brands via their social media networks (Twitter, Facebook, and so forth). If they have a freebie to offer, they will probably share that via social media and if you follow them, you’ll get the heads up. It’s also a good idea to pay attention to the promotional messages you get from your favorite brands in your inbox. I know it’s always tempting to just delete promotional emails without reading them, but those emails are a great way to learn about upcoming freebies.

Understand That Freebies Run Out Fast

Freebies are popular. Once a freebie goes live, it’s not at all uncommon for that freebie to be G-O-N-E within a day’s time or even in some cases just a few minutes! There are some very popular freebie and deal websites out there with thousands of readers who broadcast the availability of these freebies and they get snatched up. This happens fast because there is usually only a limited number of freebies available in the first place. Don’t get frustrated, just keep trying. Some you’ll be lucky enough to grab and some you won’t.

Should You Request Every Freebie?

Don’t request the ones you know you’ll never use. For example, if it’s a freebie for hair dye and you don’t dye your hair, there’s not much point in requesting that freebie even though it is free. But if you know someone who will use it, why not request it for that person? That is the way I normally look at freebies. I request the things that I know myself or someone else will use at some point.

Using an Alternate Email to Sign Up For Freebies

Speaking of promotional emails, you may not want these coming to your personal inbox. While these emails can be useful, they can also clutter up your inbox in a hurry. Signing up for freebies often means that you opt into the various newsletters these brands might send out. If you don’t like all the emails, then you may want to set yourself up with a free email account at a place like Gmail or Yahoo! and just use that email for requesting freebies.

When Freebies Come in Handy

Freebies, especially the travel-sized items, are wonderful to take with you on trips. The small size makes them very portable and in most cases, you won’t be staying on your trip long enough to require taking a full-sized version of something anyway. I also can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to turn to my freebie stash when I’ve run out of something at my house! It happens — you run out of toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant, etc. and realize you didn’t pick up any extra last time you went shopping. This is when you’ll be thanking the lucky stars you had a freebie on hand you could use in the meantime.

Another idea is to keep your free samples in an extra bedroom or bathroom at your house. If you have a guest room or a bathroom you use primarily for guests, you can keep free samples of things in those rooms so that your visitors can use them if they ever need to. Just throw them all in a big basket and place it on a counter or a dresser for easy access.

Crockpot Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

5 Benefits of Oatmeal and One of My Favorite Oatmeal Recipes

I am usually a smoothie girl. However, as the season’s change and temperatures drop, I like to enjoy a hot breakfast! Oatmeal is EASY to prepare and offers some awesome nutritional benefits:

  • BOTH soluble and insoluble fiber to keep you full and regulate blood sugar
  • 6 grams of protein per serving
  • Studies suggest it lowers LDL cholesterol
  • Includes many important vitamins and minerals such as zinc, iron, copper, and folate
  • Studies suggest it can help aid in the production of breastmilk in nursing mothers
  • IT’S YUMMY!

Please enjoy one of my FAVORITE oatmeal recipes. It is made in the crockpot! So, you can make it at night and wake up to a hot breakfast and the aroma of apples and cinnamon throughout your home!

Crockpot Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups Old Fashioned Oats
  • 2 Apples (I would recommend a tart apple such as Honeycrisp)
  • 4 Cups Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp crushed cloves
  • 2+ tsp cinnamon( I don’t usually measure, I just sprinkle on top of the apples and oats)
  • 2+ TBSP Brown Sugar( Add more Brown Sugar if you prefer sweeter Oats)

Directions: Spray the bottom of your crockpot with non-stick spray or grease with butter. Cut and peel apples. Chop the apples into small pieces(cubes). Place in the bottom of the crockpot. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Next, spread the oatmeal over the apples and sprinkle with salt, cloves, cinnamon, and brown sugar. Pour 4 cups of milk into the crockpot. Set on low and cook for 8-hours.

Serving: Serve warm and add desired toppings such as:
chia seeds: extra antioxidants
slivered almonds: Vitamin E and Extra Protein
milled flaxseed: Omega 3 Fatty Acids and Extra Fiber
dried craisins, raisins, raw honey. maple syrup, brown sugar: additional sweetener

Happy Fall Everyone! Enjoy this special time of year!