Hello! Thanks for writing. We may get a little bit of traffic from Bob Vila Nation, but I don’t think it’s very much. That may be partly because you can read the whole blog post on Bob Vila Nation without clicking over to our site. I’m glad you found us, and thanks for reading!
It’s winter. Put your hand up to an electrical outlet or light switch in an exterior wall. Do you feel some cold air coming in? If so, there is a quick and easy solution. Pick up a pack of foam outlet and switch covers from a home store and put them behind the plates. No more air infiltration. If your electrical boxes are set behind the drywall, it is really that easy. If you have remodel boxes that sit just proud of the drywall like the one shown above, I find it helps to trim the foam down to size so the plate can fit snugly against the wall.
I put the foam onto the receptacle, press on it to make an imprint of the box on the foam, and then cut around that imprint line. I leave about an extra millimeter or two around the line to make sure it’s a snug fit and no air can get through. The edges can be tucked into the box. If you haven’t turned the power off to the circuit, just be careful not to touch the sides of the receptacle so you don’t get a shock.
Once the plate is back on, it looks just the same as it did before, but no cold air comes through. It’s a simple and inexpensive way to save a little on heating costs.
Can you see the difference between these two receptacles? The one on the right is tamper resistant. If you look closely, you can see the two slots look white. There is a plastic shield behind the slots, and it only moves aside when something pushes evenly into both slots, such as your standard electrical plug. This prevents children (or anyone really) from sticking something into one of the slots and getting shocked.
When we got our cover inspection for the kitchen circuits, I learned that TR receptacles are required by code for all new installations. I had to change them all and ended up with this gallon sized bag of replaced receptacles.
After replacing the receptacles, I called called for another inspection. I almost passed, but not quite. The inspector didn’t like our random wires sticking out of the walls. Although they’re not connected to any power source, the wires were a deal breaker. They had to be terminated in boxes with plates. So we went from this in the kitchen:
And in the living room, from this:
Ok, so we still have some work to do on the drywall, but the point is that we tucked all those wires into the wall and appropriate boxes with covers, called the inspector back, and passed the final inspection. I guess it’s nice not to have wires sticking out of the wall too. We had run those wires for future installation of porch lights outside the front door and back door, only because the inside of the wall was accessible back when Matt was replacing all the siding and putting insulation in the walls. We’ll finish wiring those porch lights eventually.
The kitchen wiring (except lighting and associated switches) is all finally final. With the cover plates on, they look so official. If you ignore the obvious need for drywall mud and window trim. We have learned to look past those things for now.
I’m a little proud. And now we’ve moved on to the next electrical project: the bathroom. We’re installing a ventilation fan/light, a new vanity light, switches of course, and two outlets. Until now, we’ve had zero outlets in the bathroom and no fan. This will be a huge improvement. I’ll provide an update on that project soon. It feels great to get stuff done even though there’s still so much to do. Progress is progress.
Something in Sherry’s post today on Young House Love resonated with me so much that I had to pass it on. She was responding to questions about how to deal with criticism that is an inevitable part of putting oneself out there in the world via blogging or other venues. It seems especially true on the internet.
I agree with the entire post, but I especially love #4: “Do everything with love.” Somewhere along the way in life, I too came to the realization that I don’t know what is going on in other people’s lives or what is motivating them at a given moment. I try to be generous in my reaction and give others the benefit of the doubt. More than likely, if they’re doing something mean or inconsiderate, even if it may be directed toward me, the reason behind it has nothing to do with me and everything to do with them. Remembering that is helpful because I’m sensitive and otherwise it’s hard not to take things personally.
This has really changed my outlook and made me more compassionate toward others. It also gives me peace because I’m sending out love instead of anger or frustration at what other people are doing. You can’t control what other people do, but you can control your reaction to it and it makes a huge difference.
Happy Friday! I’ll be back soon with some updates on electrical work we’re doing. Hello bathroom ventilation fan (finally)!
As I mentioned yesterday, it’s been snowing all week and practically the entire city of Seattle called a snow day yesterday and today. Snow is a big deal here because it hardly ever happens and we’re just not all that prepared for it when it does. I turned on a local TV station to see how much snow different areas had (it’s highly variable even within town) and the station had canceled the showing of The Price is Right and whatever soap operas they normally show in the middle of the day so they could show more footage of cars stuck in snow banks, people snowboarding down hilly city streets, and fallen trees across power lines and roads. A lot of people are staying home from work. No school. No traffic. I’m pretty sure my neighbors a few houses down the street left their driveway on a snowmobile. Through the miracle of technology, Matt and I both still have to work because we can do our jobs just as well from home as in an office. That is fine with me because I don’t get paid if I take the day off. Sadly though, I had to decline when a friend who lives nearby called to ask if I would like to walk to the park to play in the snow with a cute 1-year-old.
Later in the afternoon, I did manage to find a break in my work schedule and Matt and I decided to venture to the dog park. It rocked. There were just a few dogs there to play with, but the wide open expanses of snow seemed to put an extra bit of spunk in their frolicking. This is the off leash area in Magnuson Park in North Seattle, our regular place to go. It’s huge and we practically had the whole place to ourselves.
Max (by the way, this is pretty much how he always looks at the dog park, just without snow)
Returning home from our lovely outing
I took video at the dog park, but somehow it disappeared when I downloaded my photos. Matt may have some video to share later - I hope he has some of Sonny pestering/trying to befriend a beagle, which was hilarious.
I wore my snowpants, sort of. I could only zip them up a couple inches. I just left them that way, covered by my coat, and they didn’t fall down while we walked around the dog park. Eh.
At 22 weeks, my belly is getting so big and I still have four months to go! How big can it get, and how will I manage? Eek!
After the dog park, we ate some leftover veggie chili, which is one our favorite meals and so perfect after coming in from the cold. Then we got back to work at our computers. I had a decaf vanilla chai tea with almond milk while working by the warmth of the fireplace. What a wonderful day!
We have so much news to share!
We secretly (well, secret from the internet) went on a trip to an exotic place far, far away. We’ll share more details soon, but for now here is a sneak preview. See if you can guess where we went. Scroll down for the answer.
2000 year old rice terraces and Ifugao elders in traditional clothing
20-week belly at the beach
We went to the Philippines and it was amazing! Details and more photos to come.
After we got home, we had an appointment with our midwives and an ultrasound. At 21 weeks, baby and I are both healthy as can be. And we found out our little one is a boy! We would have been happy either way, but it is exciting to know and start thinking of names. We’re also starting to get serious about signing up for birth classes and gathering some baby gear from friends and freecycle.
Head/face in profile (facing up and to the left)
Over the weekend and throughout this week so far, Seattle has received a lovely dusting of snow and then several inches. Snow is rare here, especially snow that sticks around for days, so everyone is excited / freaking out. Schools are closed, most people are staying home from work, and I’ve seen very little in the way of traffic on our usually busy street.
The dogs are loving it. Even Max, who usually doesn’t spend a lot of time in the yard unless there is fetching involved, has been staying out to play.
Maybe we will get outside to play a little this afternoon.
And on top of all that, we have managed to work on a few little house projects before and after our trip. Aside from having a cold all last week, the first few weeks of 2012 have been fantastic.
January through March has always been a great time to grab some parsnips out of the garden. Practically the only thing out there besides some kale and oh what a treat! Just a little nub of green is all that really remains above ground from the prior growing season so it’s always a bit of a challenge to know which are the biggest ones and which should be left for later (or even later to let them grow a bit in the spring). Anybody who cooks or likes parsnips is a rockstar in my book.
Potatoes / Parsnips / Olive Oil / Salt / Pepper