A Floor that makes “Cents”?

About a dozen years ago, my siblings talked me into buying a cottage with them. It has worked out great – we share the cost and the work among the four of us, and the property gets a lot of use! On the rare occasion we’re all there at the same time, it makes for eight adults and 12 kids enjoying all the good stuff cottage country has to offer.

Now, I’m not one to blog about home renovation or crafts, because I’m just not very “crafty” or “house-y”. But, I have a sister who is and she recently completed a DIY project at our cottage that is so fabulous and worth sharing.

IN HER WORDS:

Since the penny was being discontinued last year, I wanted to pay it homage with a special DIY home décor project. Our not-so-special bathroom  seemed like the perfect spot where the penny could live in our consciousness long after its demise.

What’s needed?

  • An ugly floor*, preferably vinyl or laminate flooring and small, depending on your commitment to this project
  • Wax stripper
  • Floor cleaner
  • Paint
  • Glue
  • Pennies, but if you’ve got deep pockets, loonies would be cool
  • Polyurethane cuz it’s a hard finish
  • A Sealer – I used BeautiTone Epoxy Clear Coat 2 part Sealer

*pennies also stick to pretty floors

 

How I did it

  • We started with a vinyl floor that was in pretty good shape so I didn’t have to remove it.
  • I stripped it of wax and gave it a good washing. 
  • I then painted it with a flat black paint, but you can use whatever colour you want to show through. 
  • I used Weldbond glue to adhere the pennies to the floor, but any good glue would work – don’t go with the super expensive stuff -  it really isn’t necessary since you’ll be sealing the whole thing down anyway.  The Weldbond was good because it didn’t dry immediately so I was able to fix any oopsies, but once it dried the pennies really stayed put.  Put a small dot in the middle of the penny.
  • If you’re fastidious, the trickiest part is laying that first line of pennies down.  Since it was a cottage, I wasn’t really fussed about the straight lines, and would be putting down quarter round to cover up the rough edges anyway.  If you start off with a straight wall, you’re laughing.  If not, you’ll have to draw a straight line on the floor.  At some point you’re going to have to temporarily remove the toilet in order to get a smooth look to the pennies around it.  Our toilet was raised a couple of millimeters so I was able to slide them under it.
  • Once that first line is down, it’s just a matter of continuing from there. 
  • As far as colour goes, you can wash all your pennies through various means: vinegar & salt, lemon, baking soda, coca cola, etc. to get a nice shine, or just live with their current patina.
  • You can create designs based on the colours of the pennies, but I just laid them down as they came to me.  Some were vandalized, painted red or white, they went down.  Some came from our friendly neighbours to the South, they went down.  We have Irish roots plus English and Australian relations, those pennies, though different sizes, made it into the corners of the floor.  We’ve got Queen Elizabeth from when she was a girl to her current state of being.  We’ve got King Edward.  We’ve got Maple Leafs and Rock Doves (yup, pigeons).  We’ve got a row of pennies representing each child with the year of their birth, tails up.  No matter what you do, it’s bound to be beautiful.
  • Once the pennies were all down, I covered them with a coat of high gloss polyurethane to make it hard and shiny.
  • Then the epoxy sealer.

Staying down there on the floor was hard on the back, but since it was the cottage I did it over the course of a week and took lots of breaks…trickier to do this on a floor that you use every day.  

Just make sure you let each stage thoroughly dry, (which I didn’t mind, because I did my waiting down on the beach.)

 

And there you have it! A floor that makes a lot of “cents”!  So what do you think? Are you ready to beg, borrow and steal pennies to create this thing of beauty in your home? What’s your favourite DIY or home décor project?

Because my sister is not only crafty, but a little crazy – her next “paying homage” DIY project involves a “Good-bye Letterman Clock”. I’ll let you know how that one turns out!

Smoothies-Smooth or Stupid Move?

Should you be a smoothie monster? It’s true that you can hide a whole bunch of fruits and vegetables in any blender, even disguising spinach in this trendy drink. But while a few sips of this stuff may be worth a whole serving or two of fruits and vegetables, are they all they are still a healthy food?

It depends upon your goals.  While many weight loss regimes are touting smoothies as the holy grail amongst the myriad of weight loss tips, if you’re using a smoothie diet as your weight loss regime, you may actually be working against yourself.  Most contain 400 + of liquid calories and liquid calories are not processed by the brain as effectively as food that needs to be chewed.  You are made to sit down and work for your fuel, chewing sends the right satiety message to your body and brain.

Another issue with drinking your calories is that even healthy smoothies can be high in sugar.  Many have jumped on the green smoothie as a part of a healthy breakfast but most people put a high serving of fruits in their green drinks to disguise the taste of the veggies. All of that fruit equals sugar-(yes,even if it is all natural and from fruit). And fruit smoothies without veggies, can be high in calories and will spike blood sugar even higher. For healthy smoothie recipes, keep portions small and focus on proteins as well as nutrients from low cal vegetables.  Munch on handful of nuts to engage your brain and help beat the satiety odds, or add them to your smoothie.

If your goal is to smack as much into a kid’s mouth before rushing out the door, then the story is slightly different.  You still want to make sure they are only getting 1 or 2 servings of fruit, but because they can be very high in sugar you also want to focus on protein source.  Whey powder seems to be the most palatable for kids and many brands are now lactose free.  For vegetarian recipes, be sure to choose organic if you are using soy protein otherwise you are likely getting a genetically modified soy. Brown Rice and Pea protein are growing in popularity and are terrific sources too, albeit more expensive. Hemp protein can be gritty and green but it is a very nourishing option. It would be great to rotate your type of protein powder so you don’t get too much of a good thing, just be sure you choose a brand that doesn’t have sugar or other sweeteners since they add empty calories.

Another way to make healthy breakfast smoothies is to sneak in a few leaves of baby spinach, kale or even parsley or mint for some chlorophyll, fibre and phytonutrients. Add cinnamon for its anti-inflammatory properties and plain, unsweetened cocoa powder (great if you need to hide a color- if it looks chocolate, it is more likely to be accepted). Feel free to blend in some yogurt, Greek is best with its high protein count for protein smoothie recipes, but be sure to choose an unsweetened brand.

Here is a list of ingredients to make healthy smoothie recipes. Ask your child to circle their own concoction. You can’t really go wrong with mixing and matching fun and the process gives them some control over the outcome. And you know how I feel about giving the eating power back to the one who will have to manage it for life…right?

Follow these tips and a green smoothie really will be a part of a healthy breakfast. Bottoms up!

Liquid

Protein

Fruit

Veg

Flavourings

Milk Whey powder Berries Spinach Cinnamon
Almond milk Organic soy Banana baby kale Cocoa powder
Rice Milk Pea protein Pineapple parsley Vanilla extract
Greek Yogurt Hemp Protein applesauce carrot juice nutmeg
Coconut water Rice protein Cherries fennel fronds

 

About the Author:

Theresa Albert

Theresa Albert is a Food Communications Specialist and Toronto Personal Nutritionist. She is @theresaalbert on twitter and found daily at www.myfriendinfood.com

Ainsley Doesn’t Play Well with Others

I was at the kids’ park playground the other day having a good ol’ time swinging, checkin’ out the twisty slides, and enjoying the sun. My daughter was there, too, and we were having a great time. Another cute couple arrived, a momma and her son. I’m all about my daughter being social but she’s at an age where she is always looking for friends. I mean EVERYTHING in her beautiful, innocent world is a potential friend, maybe even a stop sign if she wanted to (adorable!). Of course she wanted to say hello to the couple and sadly they did not reciprocate. Then the little boy went so far as to throw water at her when she was in his vicinity and his mom chose to be, what I like to call, a PPYP (a passive play yard parent).

You know the one I’m talking about: the parent who chooses to sit outside of the play area and yell at their kids while they are on the play structure instead of being active with them. Not only did it make my daughter upset it also put me in a bit of pickle—was I supposed to speak to the mom and say, “hey stranger, your child should work on being nice to my innocent mini-me”? Or should I just continue playing with my daughter to distract her from the fact that, in life, there will be the occasional jerk at the kids’ playground? Perhaps I should ask Ontario parks to post a list on kids getting bullied and how to play nicely at the playground for all to see so that we are all on the same page. In the end, we cut our play time short, which meant the little boy was left to play on his own and that made me kind of sad, too. My daughter and I learned a lesson that day—it can be tough making new friends (no matter what the age) and hopefully, in the near future, we will be able to find some other couples who frequent the kids playground and share the same ideas regarding play time, sharing, and being nice to others.

Now that I am learning all of these new rules and tips about being a parent, I am really seeing just how naïve I was about this whole parenting business. There is a whole crazy world out there that I feel completely unprepared for. Not only am I helping to mold my daughter into a reasonable human being, but I am also gaining all sorts of new insights about making friends myself!

I worry constantly that my daughter will be too much like me, labelled with, “does not play well with others” by primary teachers. (To this day my mom, and now my husband, still laugh at this.) As I grew up, that statement became inaccurate. I grew into a friendly person, my job requires that of me—that’s what customer service is all about. As a child, I was just more introverted, my parents weren’t worried about it and I am not going to worry about it either. If my daughter wants to read and play on her own I’m not going to stop her and hopefully there will be few instances in her young life where people don’t want to have her around.

As a parent, I didn’t realize that I would also have to make new friends, remind myself how to play nicely with others, and remember how to share. I am going to have to put more effort into looking for friends who are also parents, and I’m going to have to learn to share my daughter’s time, too. As adults, we forget that we are going to have to interact with other parents and, since I’m a full-time stay at home mom, I am really going to have to try harder. It’s different when you’re at work—you can’t just run away or throw sand when you don’t feel like interacting with others. At the kids playground, I sometimes find myself a little lost, but I have to start somewhere so. . . Hi, my name is Ainsley. Wanna come out to play?

I would love to hear more about how you interact with other parents and neighbours at the kids playground or elsewhere; any advice you can share about making friends or how I can find likeminded parents would be awesome!

 

About the Author

Ainsley Gelder was welcomed into the Mabel community back in 2012 – ready for a new job and pregnant the Team welcomed her (and her bump) with loving arms and now they can’t get rid of her! You may recognize her voice from communicating with her through the Customer Service Department, she’s here to answer questions or to chat about labels and loves to laugh. Ainsley is crazy for a good DIY Project on Pinterest and spending time with her family, she especially loves spending time reading books with her toddler and having dance parties in the living room.

You can find her on Twitter @ainsleyisdancin

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