Wednesday, February 29, 2012

What to do with all those loyalty cards



Don't you get tired of all those plastic cards taking up space in your wallet? I can't believe how many stores have loyalty cards these days -- and while I love to earn points and save money, I was finding my wallet completely overrun with cards.  I remember seeing this project either on a blog, or in a magazine (can't remember where the inspiration came from -- this was before the invention of Pinterest, where I can now neatly save all my ideas) but it's a great idea.....


All you need is a hole punch, and a 2" loose leaf ring.  Punch a hole in the corner of the loyalty cards (line them up first, if you are anal like me, and want them all facing the same way) otherwise you might end up re punching some like I did.  Be careful not to punch through the swipe on the back of the card!


now you have them all gathered in one place, and can easily flip through them when looking for the card you need!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

I've been on a knitting spree!

Lately I can't seem to stop knitting!  Here are a few of the things I've been making....


I found this pattern on pinterest.  The original pattern uses a multi coloured yarn, which probably does show off the stitches better (just a random purl/knit pattern, nothing complicated).  I had some of this Patons Chunky yarn laying around so I used this. Here is a link to the original pattern:


original pattern found here

The next scarf I made in two different yarns.......  this one in a grey chunky yarn (I think it was Patons as well) is almost TOO chunky --- but very cozy on a cold day, and can be pulled up over your head as hood if you want to


I found this pattern at Ravelry, it's a great site with lots of patterns that are free.  The original looks like this:

find the pattern here

I also made it using a multi coloured yarn, this yarn isn't quite as thick as the grey, the scarf came out a lot stretchier and looser, which would be better on a not so cold day.


then I decided I wanted a capelet.....so I made up a pattern, and came up with this:



Limefreckle Jr. took a picture of me.....keep in mind, this is Sunday,  no make up or shower yet!



hopefully Spring will be here soon and I can start to wear this!  I'm currently working on another pattern that I found on pinterest, I'll post a picture when I'm finished.  This is the pattern:


red Heart Capelet pattern found here

I'm  using a multi coloured yarn and it's coming along very nicely.  If I stay up watching the oscars tonight maybe I will finish it!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

HOUSE TOUR - The family room

Continuing with our house tour, here is our family room, just off the kitchen.

Here is what the room looked like when we bought the house:


and this is the room now...


before....




and  now....




we painted the walls a bit lighter shade, it's hard to tell in the pictures, but it did brighten the room a bit (there is very little natural light ANYWHERE in this house....didn't really realize that till after we moved in!)  I also added drapery panels to the window, and that really helped to soften things up.  A few accessories in colours from the rug (found that at HomeSense) and I love the cheeriness of this room!

I also love my plate wall above the couch, such an easy way to bring some uniqueness to the walls.  So much more interesting than a painting, don't you think?


I've collected  a lot of china over the years, I was really into making mosaics before, and have a TON of stuff in the basement just waiting to be broken up and used again.  These plates survived the carnage....

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine, Schmalentine.....

I HATE Valentine's Day.  There, I've said it.  I've been perusing all  my favourite blogs this past weekend, and I've HAD IT UP TO HERE with Valentine's Day!  I haven't liked Valentine's day for a long time.....maybe because I was single for so many years, and the day was just a sad reminder that I was alone.  One year I broke up with someone on Valentine's day....that pretty much clinched it for me.....and now, almost 20 years later, although I'm happily married, I just don't care for the holiday.  I LOVE holidays.....Christmas is my time to shine, Halloween is fun, Easter I go into sugar overload, Even St. Patrick's day......no problem, pass the green beer.  But Valentine's day just seems to be a day filled with too much expectation and pressure.   The last time Mr. Limefreckle and I went out for a Valentine's dinner was so many years ago I can't remember -- it was to a restaurant that we normally loved, but they had a "set" menu that night so they could cycle as many people in as possible....the dinner was rushed, the food was bad, and it was a sad reminder of how commercialized the day has become.  I vowed after that dinner never to go out on Valentine's day again......we can wait till the following weekend for a dinner out. 

Of course,  I dutifully went off to Walmart and picked up Valentine's and chocolates for Limefreckle  Jr. to give to his classmates.......I'm not a total Valentine scrooge.....

February 15th update......
after Mr. Limefreckle and I agreed no Valentine's gifts, he showed up with cards, and gift cards in each from himself, Limefreckle Jr. and the dog.  Now I feel bad.  Will be taking him to a movie and dinner with said gift cards to make up for it!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Another Blog giveaway!

I decided in January that I would do a giveway each month, either here on my site, or thru other blogs that I read.  My giveaway for February is being hosted at a new blog I've been following, Born to Be Styled.   Laura picked the giveaway, and she decided to go with the same necklace from my contest in January.



  To participate in the giveway, go to Laura's Blog and enter.  You can get extra entries by liking Limefreckle on Facebook and by following my blog, you need to let her know that you've done these things in order to participate.  You can find all the entry details here

If you are a fellow blogger, and want to do a giveaway with me, please contact me and we can talk about it!


Friday, February 10, 2012

So Pinteresting!

OK, I can't take credit for that title, I saw it somewhere in blogland...but I thought it was the perfect title for my weekly pinterest roundup  of things I've found!  Here we go with my favourite first:


pinned here

I just think this is the COOLEST thing.  You can send in your child's artwork, and she will make a stuffed toy from it! Absolutely so creative......


pinned here


doesn't this look yummy?  Perfect for when you need a chocolate fix.  Of course, I don't have chocolate fixes anymore (said in case my trainer happens to read this blog) but just in case I did....this is what I would eat!




pinned here


I've always liked the concept behind Toms, but never liked the look of the shoes....THESE I WOULD WEAR!


pinned here

Such a cute way to carry your camera and lenses around! 



pinned here

We have an old birdbath at the side of the house that the old owners left.  I am DEFINITELY doing this when summer comes!



Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

House Tour - the Kitchen

I got a bit off track lately, and haven't posted any more house pictures, so here is the next stop on our tour.  The Kitchen.  We totally gutted and renovated the kitchen that came with the house.  When we moved, our previous kitchen was HUGE - I think I remember wanting to replace all the cabinet knobs and I needed about 70.....so we had tons of cupboard and drawer space.  In fact, here is a picture I saved from  when the house was listed.  I need to get myself a wide angle lens so I can take pictures of entire rooms like this!!!

The kitchen was one of my favourite places in the old house.  It needed upgraded counter tops, we never got around to doing that, and I had always wanted to take out the peninsula (not shown) and expand the island, there was lots of room to do that....but, again, never got around to it.    But it was a bright and sunny room, I had a TON of storage space.  There were 2 other banks of cupboards in the eating area.  I hand painted that quote above the stove....it said "Never eat more than you can lift" Miss Piggy....it always made me smile.....I wonder if the new owners left it there?


So when we looked at our new house, we were nervous!  There was probably less than half of the storage space, and we didn't think the kitchen was going to be large enough.  We only took a couple of before pictures, they don't really give you a full view, but they give an idea of what the cupboards looked like before:




The cupboards were in great shape, and very nice, but we felt that all that space around the top was valuable storage space that we could use.  I loved the backsplash too, but seeing as we were ripping everything out, we couldn't really work around it.  My friend had recently redone her kitchen, and she told me about Habitat for Humanity.  They came and removed EVERYTHING free of charge.  So the cupboards, which were in good shape,  weren't just thrown away, and we didn't have to do the demo ourselves, or pay anyone to do it!  They even disconnected the water for us so everything was good to go for our contractor.

Here's another pic of the old kitchen....



and here is the new kitchen:


I really have to hone my photography skills...you will notice each picture is slightly tilted, and I'm too lazy to go into photoshop to fix it....


I still need to find some sort of window covering, I've been thinking a dark brown bamboo shade of sorts might give some different texture.  The counter tops are quartz and I LOVE them!!  Oh, and that's what is called a money tree on the counter....our old neighbour brought it as a housewarming gift, I must call him and point out that NO MONEY has grown on it yet....


I love the glass tops, just a hint on these cabinets.  We had to reconfigure everything for a gas stove, and then find a microwave with a fan strong enough for a gas stove, so we could do this mounted microwave - I didn't want to lose any valuable counter space.  The old kitchen had a peninsula between the eating area and kitchen area that we removed.  That took away a bit of space, but I'm so glad our kitchen contractor suggested it, because I think this is more modern.

 

The whole kitchen is cream and brown, there aren't many accent colours except for this turquoise, which I think is a nice pop of colour.  That container for utensils is actually a planter, I find most containers made specifically for utensils are never big enough.  This works perfectly.


And this is the eating area.  We got the chairs at Costco, and the table was one of my Kijiji finds, I talked about those here.  the drapes are store bought panels, can't remember where I got them, I think Bowrings.

here is the old eating area....





And the new area.    That's a store bought message centre, and of course a TV, the old owners had one in that spot, so instead of covering up the hole, we put one there too.  It works well if I want to cook along with Rachel Ray.


I forgot I have one more turquoise accent -- this little hook that I got at Pier 1 - it holds the dog's towel by the door, because his paws get wiped when he comes back in!

So that's the kitchen.......please, let me know what you think!  I know it's not a DIY, but even though we didn't do the hard work of installation, I did pick everything out....that's gotta count for something!




Wednesday, February 8, 2012

My favourite foods

It feels so good to have bared my soul in blogland and received such positive reinforcement!  Thanks everyone for your kind comments on yesterday's post.  Today I decided that posting here more frequently about this weight loss journey would probably be an excellent way to keep me on track, while I endeavour to take off the next 30 lbs.  I'm going to start posting some of my favourite new recipes each week.  Our eating has really changed SO much since Mr. Limefreckle and I started this life change.  Veggies are in abundance around here, fruit (especially berries) no longer go bad in the fridge, but get eaten every day.  Greek yogurt is our new favourite dessert, I have some pretty much every night.  It's so ingrained in our routine, that just having a bowl of this signals "your done" to my stomach...and I find I don't struggle with hunger every night.  I have about 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt (either the flavoured kind, honey is my favourite) or I buy plain Greek yogurt and add a couple of squirts of agave nectar for sweetness.  Then I add about 1/4 cup of berries, either blueberries, raspberries or strawberries (or all 3 if I'm feeling adventurous) or I add 1/2 banana.  The berries are probably a better choice if you are concerned too much about the excess carbs.   Then, the secret for me, that makes this a little more "dessert like" is to add a couple of teaspoons of grape nuts.  To me this sort of tastes like I've added graham crumbs, and if I close my eyes I'm ALMOST eating cheesecake!  It's as close as I've gotten to cheesecake in awhile anyway, and it definitely satisfies my sweet tooth.  Another great snack I've rediscovered lately is frozen grapes.  Just lay grapes (removed from vine of course) on a cookie sheet and freeze overnight.  Then put in a Ziploc bag and serve (I try to eat only about 1/2 cup at a time...but beware, they are addictive!)

One of my favourite recipes that is on the menu almost every week around here, and will be the first recipe I post in my new weekly series, comes from a cookbook that my trainer recommended to me, called GOURMET NUTRITION.  I ordered mine from Amazon, you should be able to get it anywhere.  You can find more information on the author herewww.precisionnutrition.com


I've cooked a few recipes from this book, all have been excellent.  I'll profile more in the future. 

Today's recipe is TEXAS THIN CRUST PIZZA


Servings: 1 large or 2 small
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Prelude: Many folks have an almost instinctive love of pizza. However, on a rational level, they know it’s loaded with processed carbs and saturated fats. So, when you’d rather go with your head, choose this healthy thin crust pizza.
Ingredients:
Olive oil cooking spray
6 oz (170g) ground sirloin or extra lean ground beef
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
¼ cup yellow onions (small diced)
¼ cup red pepper (small diced)
2 teaspoons garlic (minced)
¼ cup tomato (small diced)
2 tablespoons BBQ sauce
1 whole-wheat tortilla
¼ cup pineapple (tidbits, or chopped)
½ cup aged white cheddar (grated)
Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F with.
Preheat a non-stick frying pan on medium heat. Lightly coat with spray and add the ground meat and season with salt and pepper. Sauté the beef until lightly browned and cooked all the way through. Add the onions, peppers and garlic and sauté for 1 minute more.
Add the tomato and BBQ sauce, stir until combined and remove from heat.
Lightly coat a baking sheet with spray and place the tortilla shell on the tray. Spread the beef and vegetable mixture evenly on the shell leaving the outside ½ inch for the crust.
Top with the pineapple and cheese and then place in the oven. Bake until cheese is melted and shell is nicely toasted (about 10 minutes).

Try to tell me that this is deprivation!  It's fantastic and, like I said, a weekly feature here! 

I have the cookbook, but I found this recipe, along with some others, on the Precision Nutrition website here

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

weight loss motivation

I saw this on pinterest the other day, and thought it was a great idea, so I made one for myself.

pinned here


So I went to the Dollarama, and picked up a few supplies:


I picked up 2 glass vases (I realized afterwards, I didn't have that many marbles to put in these ones, so smaller vases would have been fine).  But these are going to be useful in the future,, so it's all good!  I picked up some sticky letters in a font that I liked, and I raided my stash of mosaic supplies where I have a ton of glass marbles. These are easy to find at the dollar store too.  Total cost for the whole lot should be $5 or $6. 


and here's my motivation.  I'm a very visual person, so this kind of thing works very well for me.  I prefer the pretty pink colours in the originals that I found on pinterest, however this matches my kitchen, and I thought the kitchen was the best place to keep this project, so every time I go in there I see them, and might think twice before eating something I shouldn't.

My weight loss journey has been going on since August.  I haven't written about it here yet, so here's  the story:  In August, my husband started training with a personal trainer.  I have had a personal trainer over the years quite a bit, but had taken this summer off to stay home with my son.  I had been struggling with losing excess weight for awhile, and although I was good at getting in my exercise, I was NOT so good at eating properly.  I was my own worst enemy and I knew it, but I couldn't seem to change.  My husband on the other hand has willpower of steel, and when he sets his mind to something it happens!  He didn't really have any weight to lose (although he did anyway!!!) but he wanted to get into better shape.  And he wanted me to join him.  I was skeptical, but I thought I'd give the eating plan that his trainer had given him a try.

Well, I don't know what happened, why suddenly it "clicked" for me, but I started to lose weight, and it happened pretty easily.   I think having him  doing it with me was really the key.  By the time I started working out with his trainer in October, I had lost 30 lbs, just from cleaning up my eating, and the occasional Pilate's and yoga class.   We really revamped our eating, and started to eliminate carbs (not totally, but I really cut down) and just started to eat healthy.  When I started training with this new trainer, I stalled.  I don't know why, maybe I was scared of the change,  but the weight wasn't falling off of me like it had in the summer.  But it's steadily moving down, and so far I have lost 43 lbs.  I think I was plateauing a bit, and not trying as hard, because HEY, I HAD LOST 40 LBS!!!  That felt like a big accomplishment to me.....it WAS a big accomplishment for me.  But now I'm refocusing, and starting to lose again, I have about 30 more to go.  I feel really good now, but I don't want to lose sight of my ultimate goal.  So maybe blogging about it will help.  Here's a before and after:


I can't remember what year this was, but I know this was basically me at my heaviest weight, which I hit again this past summer.  I am NOT revealing that weight here, maybe when I hit my ultimate goal, but I'm just not that brave right now.....baby steps......


This is me this past October, 30 lbs down.  I have lost another 13, but don't have any current pics.  It amazes me how over the years I have not allowed myself to be photographed without my purse (or my kid) in front of me!   Trying to find a before picture was difficult,  because all the pictures of me were either deleted, or from the head up only!   I've been hiding....but no more.  The weight is coming off, and it's time to stop hiding.....I don't want Limefreckle Jr. to look back and wonder why there are no family pics of his mom!

So stay tuned for my weight loss journey, and if you are on one, please share your story!