Our Main Floor Plan

We have so many projects to share with you in the coming weeks and because they are strewn throughout the house and we haven’t done a proper house tour since the renovations, I though posting our main floor plan might help you understand where everything is and exactly what we are working with.

So let me introduce you to our house, a 864 square feet bungalow built in 1961 on a 6000 square feet lot.

AudreeLeeBlog - Our Main Floor Plan

Of course the plan above demonstrates the current layout of our house. It didn’t change all that much since we bought it aside from the stair railing that we removed and replaced with a half-wall in order to add an entire section of cabinets to the kitchen (read more about that here).

We love our house so much, it is perfect for our needs and it feels so much more “us” with every bit of renovation/project/DIY/hard work that we put into it. But it also has its challenges in terms of how small our space really is and how we organize and use every square inch available, luckily we have many plans to counter those “problems” so stay turned for that.

We will eventually show you our basement plan too along with all the details of the renovations we plan to do there but for now we are focusing on completing the main floor.

Do you have any favorite house plan? Would you ever live in a small bungalow like we do or do you prefer a big two story house?

Growing Bell Peppers (How To)

Lee definitely has a green thumb, which she gets directly from her dad; the man can truly grow anything. His house is full of plants, everything from trees to cactus to fruit plants and even hot peppers (it’s to be expected, they’re Trinidadians after all).

Lee has been adding plants to our house slowly since we’ve moved in, testing different kinds, in different areas and seeing the cat’s reaction to them too (they like to eat our plants until there it nothing left of them). So when I got home from work one day and saw these on the kitchen window sill, I wasn’t too surprised.

AudreeLeeBlog - Growing Bell Peppers (How To) 01

She explained that she saved the seeds from the orange bell pepper we had cut up and eaten for lunch and “planted” them in these clear disposable plastic cups. She simply crumpled a facial tissue in the bottom of the cup, moistened it with water and dropped the seeds in.  She used clear plastic cups to ensure the seeds would get as much sunlight as possible and set them on the kitchen window sill (which gets great exposure to the sun in the afternoon). Then every second day, she added a few drops of water, ensuring the facial tissue stayed moist.

I didn’t think the seeds would ever turn into anything given they were taken from peppers bought at the grocery store and refrigerated until we ate them. For some reason I assumed that would have prevented them for ever germinating.

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Within a couple weeks I was proven wrong when Lee excitedly showed me the first few tiny roots growing from the seeds. Fast forward a couple more weeks and our seeds had turned into baby little plants.

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Lee indicated that as long as the seed was still attached to them, the plant was taking nutrients from it (along with water from the facial tissue) but once the seed fell off, the plant had nothing more to feed on and needed to be planted in soil in order to continue growing. So when we noticed a few plants had “lost their seed”, Lee transplanted each one into it’s own clear plastic cup filled with soil.

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We crossed our fingers that the plants would continue to grow happily in their new home (sometimes transplanting can be a shock to a plant and they can have trouble adapting and/or die) but luckily they all seem to be quite happy in their new homes. We put all nine cups on a tray on the dresser in the second bedroom for now as it gets great sun exposure.

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Lee has since started the same process with yellow and red bell pepper seeds. She is hoping they will be big enough to transplant into the backyard garden we plan on creating this spring. Here’s to hoping we will get to eat some of our very own bell peppers this summer. Not bad for an absolutely free project given that we already had the potting soil and clear plastic cups on hand and that the seeds were leftovers from an everyday grocery staple.

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Have you ever tried growing something from scratch? What was it and did it work? Were you able to transplant it outside in your garden afterwards? Do you have any tips for us?

What’s in our gym bags?

I mentioned in this post that Lee and I had made it a goal to start working out more throughout 2016. In fact, we joined a gym together with my mom last October and only ended up going once before the rush of the Holidays kicked in. With the new year upon us, we gave ourselves an ultimatum, either we go a few times a week or we pay the cancellation fees and call it quits, enough tossing money out the window for a membership we don’t use.

Obviously exercising at the gym meant the need for gym bags and a few basic essentials.

AudreeLeeBlog - What's in our Gym Bags

Ipod shuffle | EOS LipbalmLock | Face Wipes | Headbands | Hair Elastics | Water bottle | Deodorant | Bobby Pins | Gym Towel

Of course, we add our running shoes and work out clothes too 😉

We usually head to the gym right after work then head home for a much needed shower rather than use the paying showers from the gym which eliminates the need for toiletries in our gym bag. With that said we are currently averaging 3-4 times a week at the gym on top of our weekly ball hockey game and it feels great. We are only on week two but we both already noticed an increase in our energy levels and general moods. Plus, after working out, we tend to reach for healthier foods which is bound to help as well.

Have you made any health/exercise/fitness related resolutions for 2016? Are you keeping up with them so far?

How to Replace Old Thermostats

We recently upgraded all of our main floor thermostats for new programmable ones (which had been on our to-do list since we first bought the house) and it is seriously one of the best upgrades we’ve done this winter.

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Our old ones had yellowed (the one pictured bellow was one of the whitest one) over time and were not accurate at all. To have a comfortable temperature throughout the house, we at to set most of them at 15°C and one at 25°C. We were constantly turning them up or down to try and even out the temperature in every room. This I’m sure is as big factor in the massive cost increase of our electricity bills during the colder months of the year.

We decided on these TH303 Aube programmable thermostats (which I can’t seem to find online aside for the owner’s guide).

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The installation process was really quite simple and we had all 5 switched out in about an hour. First and foremost, you want to turn off the breaker of the thermostat you are working on. Since our house is older, our panel barely has any indication of which breaker is for what so we went with the simple more secure route and turned off the main breaker which cut power for the entire house.

Then, we removed the cover cap of the old thermostat, unscrewed the two screws which held the main part of it in place to the wall and pull it away (TIP: it may be helpful to use a box cutter around the perimeter of the old thermostat before pulling it off the wall to avoid peeling paint off with it – remember ours had been there for years and had seen many coats of paint making this steps absolutely necessary). To disconnect the old thermostat simply remove the twist-on wire connectors, and pull the wires apart.

Take your new thermostat and twist the ends of the wires around the wires from the wall.

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Screw on the twist-on wire connectors (we discarded the old ones and used the ones provided with our thermostat).

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For a little bit of added security, we like to secure everything with electrical tape therefore preventing anything from moving while pushing everything back into the wall.

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Pushing everything carefully back into the wall, level the thermostat and screw it in place using the two provided screws.

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Put the cover in place and screw the bottom screw to hold it securely in place and voilà!

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We played around with the settings for the next few days until we figured out what temperatures worked for us at what time. We love having the ability to set temperatures for different times (weekday – wake-up, weekday – leave for work, weekday – arrival back at home, weekday – overnight and weekends). We have really felt the difference in our home and it is so nice to come home to a perfectly tempered house in every room. It was well worth the investment since we no longer have to worry about it and constantly adjust our thermostats, even the cats seem to notice the difference! We can’t wait to see if this change will impact our electricity bills and if so, by how much.

Have you done any thermostat replacement in your house? Did it affect your heating bills? As anyone tried the Nest thermostats which you can control from your phone no matter where you are, are they worth the expense?

A Late Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Wow, December just flew by for us! Both Lee and I had to work during the holidays which made this holiday season even more chaotic for us but we made it through. We spent Christmas with my side of the family and were able to sneak away from work for a few days (to Toronto) to spend New Year’s with Lee’s family even though an unexpected snowstorm delayed our drive there by a day.

AudreeLeeBlog - A Late Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

Now that the Christmas decorations have been put away, that our real tree has been picked up by the city (to be turned into wood chips) and that we’ve settled back into our regular routine, it is time to share our goals and resolutions for 2016.

Blogging goals

  • Blog more regularly and consistently; we have a ton of projects we need to take pictures of so we can share them here, I hope to bring this little blog up to date to our current projects as well as post a full home tour by the end of the year.
  • Grow our blog; we started this blog mostly for us, to keep track of our projects and progress with the house, a journal of sorts, which means we didn’t really share it with our friends and family, but, a few of you somehow found our little blog and it has been so exciting and such a great feeling to have comments from you and feel like we aren’t just talking to ourselves.
  • Finalize our blog design; as mentioned above, we launched this blog mainly for ourselves, never really expecting anyone to read it so we didn’t put too much efforts into tagging and categorizing our posts or even filling out our about page which is still blank…These are things we want to improve on.
  • Get social; since we hope to share our blog with people this year, it only makes sense for us to get our little blog on social networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and even Ravelry.

Of course we also have some personal goals such as exercising more, learning more about our SLR cameras, travelling (we may have 1 or 2 trips in the works), getting a better control of our schedules in order to spend more time together, and even maybe plans for opening an Etsy shop.

Are you the type to set goals for every new year? What are your resolutions for 2016?