Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Living with LED bulbs, a year in review...

Last year I started a partnership with Home Depot, they so kindly offered to send me enough LED bulbs to switch out 97% of our lights to LED...I wasn't sure if I would like them but I had nothing to lose by trying them...
I would have to say as a family we are kind of picky with our lighting well my husband likes a warm amber/orange light and I tend to like a warm white light.

You can find my original post HERE 

After living with LED bulbs for a year I am 100% a convert. 
I bought a new lamp yesterday and I was bummed all I had were my old left over bulbs from before the switch, I will have to go grab an LED bulb soon. 

One of the things I have definitely noticed is that I have not changed out a burnt out bulb this entire year....prior to the switch I was changing kitchen pot lights on the regular... talk about annoying, I have to get out a full ladder to change those. 

The lighting I selected was warm white, not cold at all...but there are many versions of light to suit your preference. There is a great display at Home Depot so you can see all the options and choose what you like. 

The two brands I have been able to test drive are the Philips and the Cree bulbs...I give both an A+

SO how did it impact my electric bill....I was expecting a big change...but I think it is tough to say really how much these bulbs saved us in consumption...The cost of electricity has gone up...and in general our consumption has gone up. But that can be that we use electricity differently now. 
Our bill isn't broken up into usage...have you really read your electric bill is confusing to say the least...I just get the bill gasp and pay I what it is.

2013 February $83.77 for electricity = $172.39 (after all the fun add ons)

2014 February $95.31 for electricity = $207.26 (after all the fun add ons)

2015 February $98.44 for electricity = $238.99 (after all the fun add ons)

By fun add ons I mean retirement funds, delivery, taxes etc...let's just say I sure am glad we switched out our bulbs to LED because I am sure it would have been much worse. 
I think our increase in consumption is due to charging all of our iPhone's and devices, I also put in an automatic lighting for outside that is a night of lighting, maybe I should be done with that. 
It is what it is I guess...we are not big energy savers, well I am but the rest of my family is not.

In conclusion I love the LED bulbs, I am glad we have them, I love the lighting and I love that they last and last...and although in a 12 month period they don't show to have saved us obvious amounts of $ I know they are right for the environment and in the long run they do make a difference. 

 *I was given the bulbs by Home Depot this is a sponsored post but the opinions are mine 100%

Thursday, February 12, 2015

linen closet organization

 This is the first house we have bought that has a linen closet...I can't blame anyone for that because I had them removed at the building stage to create more room in the bedrooms in both of our first two homes. But this home had a real spot for a linen closet a big linen closet compared to the usual one skinny door closet.
I recently wanted to get a second vacuum, I mean I love my Dyson but it is heavy for me to carry up and down the stairs especially since my ankle sprains so I looked for a cordless vacuum. I tried one for just over a year but it didn't stand up nor could it replace my Dyson so I started to research other options. I really wanted another Dyson but I found a Hoover Air cordless vacuum that had really long battery power and it seemed to have the features I was looking for. I wanted this new vacuum for our main floor that is mostly wood floors. I found the Hoover Air cordless at Lowes for a really great price about $200 less than the Dyson so I figured it was worth a try so I bought it. So far so good but I still wonder how I would like the Dyson cordless stick vac.

There was more than enough room for the new smaller vacuum in the main floor pantry closet as it was, but I had to make space in the upstairs linen closet to keep the Dyson because there was no way to fit it in there.
Truthfully my linen closet was a massive mess, so many unused linens and things I didn't even know were in there. I was ruthless and cleaned it out. Somehow I can keep the rest of the house tidy but give me a closet and it will be a mess.
Notice my sad 20 year old ironing board...don't you like the blue paint tape floor protection sad. I went into Target and found a nicer newer ironing board, it was about time.

 Here is how this space looked when we moved in. Yes that's right, subfloor, raw railings and no doors on the closet.
Looking better with some flooring these things take time... to be truthful I still need to do a sanding and another top coat up here...I sure am dragging my feet.
 Stained floors, finished railings. I think adding doors to this closet was going to be $300 through the builder and as a DIY project it was only $100 with hardware and trim. Stay tuned because in the spring I have plans for that little hallway that leads to my kids rooms.
So much prettier, in fact I love this upstairs hall.
 Here is how I adjusted/customized the closet to fit our Dyson.
 I trimmed down the shelves and added this end piece with pocket holes, this was made so easy with those corner clamps I simply used a multi saw to trim off the excess shelf braces and filled all the damage.
 I thought it was worth switching out the metal brackets to these nice Ikea brackets I actually had laying around. The metal ones were functional but adding pretty brackets is an easy way to up the design appeal.

 I edged all the shelves with cheap pine, this cost about $20 and makes this closet look much more finished and substantial and it adds another 1/2" of shelf depth.
 Everything got a fresh prime and paint.

I love it when I finally get to finishing a space even a space as over looked as the linen closet.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Food for thought...making health a bigger priority

If you have been following along with my blogs over the years you will see every so often I will get focused on health/weight for a post or two...well it must be that time again...hey at least I haven't given up completely right...I am more concerned with health but lets just say I would love to be thinner...not tiny not skinny but thinner I think that is OK to admit. 
Usually I am trying to rewind all the bad habits just in time to get back into a swim suit for a family vacation...cram desperate weight loss...I hate the thought of wearing a swimsuit...I know I'm not alone!
I don't think I have ever admitted this before but when I have birth to my daughter 16.5 yrs ago I was 217lbs...I gained 79 lbs while pregnant...when I think back I just followed the directions given to me, eat when you're hungry...I ate but not tons, I definately gave into cravings without a second guess but up until then I had never had a weight since then it has always been a struggle.
I have to admit I am kind of uncomfortable admitting this....deep breath. See I'm 5'3".... so at that weight I was unrecognizable...I only have a couple of photos of that time and I have considered destroying I had just given birth and I did have insane amounts of ademia and after about 2 weeks I lost 30-40 lbs of water weight and a whopping 6lbs of baby. 
Over the first year of my daughters life I just embraced motherhood and honestly I didn't worry to much about my weight but after she was 15 months and we had just moved into our first house I made a lot of changes and lost about 103 lbs...I got everything under controll then I got pregnant wasn't in the plans at the time. I actually had wanted to enjoy being thin and fit again, but of course I was thrilled to be pregnant and I'm glad to say I did not gain that much weight during my second pregnancy, probably more than many but not by any means a small amount.
I have struggled with my weight on and off over my adult life...most of which I can directly trace back to a life event, moving, trauma, loss, stress, moving again...I guess we can safely say I am a stress know when people say I'm too stressed/upset to eat, yeah that's not me...
This wasn't going to be a confession post, I'm not even sure if I will publish it...if you are reading this then I decided to put it out there...I know I'm not alone.
 I wish I had it all under controll but I would never stoop to unhealthy actions just to be thin, so it has been a roller coaster of being thin and not so know what I really don't like is how I let it affect the things I do, where I go, and how I feel about myself at the people who judge you not know you are always there judging yourself thing that makes me crazy is when people who struggle with weight judge others for their weight's not OK.
Sometimes I am amazed that people who have their weight under controll at all times think people with extra weight don't have the knowledge or don't eat well or don't like healthy food...I like good food, healthy food but I also like junk food and sweets...I just need to work on balance...I have decided to get back to what helped me lose all those pounds back after I had my kids.
For me that is low carb...but I kind of coupled my plan with food combining which is eating certain things with other types of food and not mixing certain food with others. Confusing? Honestly I can't go into the details here but if you want to know more you can find it all in a book called Fit for Life.
Here is my typical breakfast fresh fruit and fresh pressed or squeezed juices. Fit for life is a book and plan of food combining that my husband and I followed in our early 20's.
This is a great go to lunch its called a goodwich, its a whole wheat wrap with vegenaise, sauted mushrooms, veggies chopped and shredded and pickles, not dairy not meat...its really good.

I have pulled out my juicer because fresh juice is just so good .
I've noticed a big trend people are not eating fruit or eating very little fruit, on my plan I start my day with fruit on an empty stomach every day, in theory it extends the fasting process and nutrients are absorbed easily and directly without anything messing up the digestion...makes sense to me.
This took some getting used to because I was so used to starting my day with an egg on an english muffin.
I have been loving that on instagram so many people I follow are doing paleo and or low carb, it's really cool to see what others are eating, there's power in numbers.
Soup...well I will toot my horn about my soup skills, this was just veggies and broth spices and a little bit of chicken, served with a little parm and greek yogurt...see I'd rather give up the breads, pastas and rice over meat and dairy any day, but that's a personal preference, everybody is different. The first weeks getting off the grains and refined sugar was tough.
The book really just based on health and nurtition it's not really a weigh loss book and it has been around a very long time, and through my own trials it works for me.
I of course had to try this Veggetti...I was hearing good things about it and it definately is a great little gadget.
Mason and I thought this zucchini pasta with basil avocado sauce was really good. If you would like  to check out some great recipes you can go to my project health/low carb board on Pinterest.

Another great breakfast with my perfect smoothie, 2 oranges freshly sqeezed, 1/2 cup frozen dark cherries and 4-6 fresh strawberrie...blend and enjoy
Mini naan with avocado and sauted mushrooms.
My smoothie recipe.
Fresh apple, carrot & ginger juice with asparagus and parm.
Chicken with beans and caulimash and a gravy of deglazed chicken cookings.
Meat balls not bread crumbs.
Another goodwich.
Lots of fresh fruits and veggies.

Caulimash with leftover meatbals.
Caulimash, med boiled eggs celery and cheese.
My perfect smoothie, again, sorry but it's good.
Chicken, caulimash and carrots...ok I should tell you about this chicken, I put a little olive oil in the pan and cook frozen chicken breasts on med, I sprinkle the top side of the chicken with Club house tex mex cook for 5 min or so then flip and sprinkle the back side with club house onion plus, keep flipping till fully cooked, set aside chicken breasts, add 1/4 cup of chicken stock to the pan and deglaze... it is an amazing flavourful sauce for the chicken and any veggies.
Banana ice cream is so good especially when sweet treats are off the table, although the rule I follow is only fresh fruit in the morning sometimes you just need a little treat and this is a good one, I like to add a little frozen cherries and a tsp or two of cocoa.

We entertained the other night and did a full low carb meal, I made these appetizers...well the cheese mixture. I piped onto cucumber and chirizo sausage. I used this boursin cheese about half the pkg and 1/3 of a pkg room temp cream cheese, mix them together add a pinch of red pepper flakes, smoked chipotle chili powder just a pinch or two and a tsp of dill...mix it with a mixer well and pipe it onto anything veggies, meat crackers if that works for you.
Now to my cheat day...that's normally Saturday mid far it's been Mucho Burrito burrito's because I have mad love for beef burritos...I eat well all week and then I have a totally indulgent meal...that will help me stick to good choices all week long.
It's a monster I know, after that I am not usually able to eat a really dinner...I have tried Chipotle and Jimmy Guaco's but nothing compares to Mucho Burrito for flavour, value and topping...
Another meal I miss and I go for on the weekend sometimes is eggs cheese and bread and of course bacon...I can eat all of these on my plan but not together in this combo.

In conclusion I feel good. I had been suffering with a lot of reflux and that has completely diappeared and did right for the weight I didn't weigh myself, I know how I felt and how things fit before I started this journey...and I will see very clearly how I am progressing in my clothes, I'm not going to let myself get caught up on numbers. 
I am on week 4 and I can see positive changes besides feeling better and being less hungry.
There is no deadline, no trip to get in shape for...I just want to be healthy and happy.
I am not saying anyone should eat the way I am nor am I asking for help to do things in another way because at a certain age we all know what works and what doesn't work, right. 

A few months back I found a lump in my breast and I went right in to have it checked out, there are so many people my age who are dealing with breast cancer so I never for a second thought about ignoring it. I had a mammogram on both sides and ultrasound, honestly I was some what scared of a mammogram after a life time of hearing they hurt...well they don't, it's a little uncomfortable but nothing at all to worry about. I was told they didn't find anything by the Dr and I left so relieved.
Until the following day when I was called back in because they saw something on the other breast, they wanted to take a look. Terrifying.
Well they found an enlarged lymph node in my right breast...they said they wanted to watch it and follow up in 6 months I am to return for more testing...I will admit I don't like the idea of waiting at all. Here's the thing though I know exactly where it is and I can not find it or sense anything at all. 
I am hoping they are going to find that the lymph node is no longer enlarged...
So you can see I have a lot of great motivation to get my health in order...
I'm not sharing this for any other reason then to hopefully encourage someone who has been putting off a mammogram or self exam, or Dr go, don't be scared.
One thing that is very comforting to me is that I went in, I didn't wait becuase women here in Canada don't get typically get a mammogram until the age of 50 so I was able to get testing done 9 years I will wait (patienly) and I will get in to have this checked as as soon as they will allow, I have my fingers crossed that it will be nothing to worry about but we all know some of us will have this cross to bare and finding things early and taking action is definately the way to approach these challenges. 

Thanks for letting me share my very personal stuff....we'll be back to all things home and DIY very shortly...this was not a sponsored post in any way all the opinions are my own and I am just sharing things that I think, love or that I am using that work for me.