New Hardwood Floors Makes Our Home Feel New Again!

Manic:  Trying to keep our 11-year-old carpets clean and looking nice in a busy home that houses two teenagers and four cats!

Managed:  Decided to have 99% of the carpet removed so that real hardwood floors could be installed. The result?  Wow!  What a difference new flooring makes.  The house looks and feels like a new build again! Check out our beautiful before and after pictures!  And a big thank you to the very talented, very professional and hardworking Excalibur Hardwood Floors Company!  These guys rock!  We hired Excalibur and they were top notch to work with from start to finish.

Several days before the home flooring makeover job, the company delivered the flooring to be stored inside our home.  This is because real hardwood must sit at room temperature for a few days to become acclimated to the climate.  Receiving the shipment was the very exciting first step to our new flooring. stack of wood shotWe selected and purchased the Garrison II Hickory Chateau flooring because we love the shade and this particular color hides dirt very well.  Our floors have been in for over a month now and that has been very true.

We were pretty excited the following week when Excalibur arrived, set up their professional work trailer and began the work of tearing out that old worn carpet that was also contributing to our trailer

As the carpet was pulled out, I could see just how beaten down it had become and I was anxious to say good riddens to the stuff!  A busy family puts a lot of wear and tear on carpeting.  That is for sure!ripped carpet shot

Even though the stairs still looked nice and the carpet wasn’t a total eyesore, I just couldn’t believe the difference the new hardwood made, especially when I looked at this before and after picture….stairs before and after

Wowza!  I truly can’t believe the amazing change!  And check out our master bedroom before and after pictures!  I really did love the Berber carpet before but what you aren’t seeing is how the entrance points to the room were frayed.  And it never failed, just weeks after professional carpet cleaning was done, a new stain would appear.  No more stains with these gorgeous wood floors!  The room feels bigger, clean and newer, too!  I don’t miss the Berber at all even though I am still a fan.  I love the wood so much more.bedroom resultsWe also did the hallway.  As the Excalibur professionals did the work and began laying the new floors, I was already impressed with how good it was looking even before completion!  If you decide to have hardwood floors installed, know that the baseboards have to come off.  We decided to go ahead and repaint the boards and do touch up paint on all the walls since we were moving stuff all around anyway. It feels and looks great! guys workingAnd check out the hallway before and after photos.  Here it is before….b4 hallwayAnd here it is afterwards.  So warm and inviting I think.after hallwaySo pretty and updated.  I just love this and I think it looks bigger.  We are still in the process of putting things back as is evident with all of the stuff that is sitting in the very front room of the house. We are getting there.  And having to move everything out and around has been totally worth it!

I have to mention that the Excalibur guys were terrific.  They worked hard and kept their projected timeline of completing the job within two weeks.

I will let you know that the odor of paint thinner and glue can be a bit overwhelming so be sure to open all of the windows and maybe even wear a mask if you plan to be there during the hardwood installation job.

The Excalibur team was so impressive that I asked them to pose for a picture towards the end of the job.excalibur guysAnd the thumbs up they gave me is exactly right because this job went perfectly!

I also really love how great the downstairs looks from the upstairs.  The new hardwood compliments our existing tile perfectly!  I am very happy with how it looks together.  It flows beautifully! living room front doneBut my favorite room now has to be the room that I use as my office that sits right off the master bedroom.  The french doors were nice before, but the lovely hardwood really gives this area a designer look! french doors shotI am thrilled with this room now and find myself working in there more than I did before.  The new floors make me feel productive and relaxed at the same time.

We also had hardwood laid in several other rooms but those rooms belong to my teenagers and are a bit too messy to photograph at this point.  My daughter is remodeling her room this summer so I will save those pictures for that home decor redo article, so stay tuned for that!  Home improvement projects are such fun to blog about as we have waited over 10 years to finally do some updating.  It has been worth the wait!

Probably the best thing about our stunning new floors is that our allergies have all but disappeared.  So I am very happy to report that it is not our beloved cats who made us sneeze.  It was the carpets that trapped not only pet dander, but dust and other allergens as well!  The felines seem to like the new flooring, too!  And cleaning up their cat fur is much easier than when we had the carpeting to keep tidy and nice.  A quick run of a Swifter takes care of the job.  These three cute cats approve I think….
cats on stairsNow I am going to return to putting our home back together and treat my feet to these news floors as we put the mirror doors back on the closets and continue the process of putting all of our stuff back.  That part takes time but is worth it. feet on floor shotTaking these steps to put in brand new hardwood floors has put us on the path of an allergy free beautiful home that feels brand new again!  Meet my happy feet and our perfect new flooring!  I highly recommend Excalibur Hardwood Floors.  It was worth every penny that we saved to put in these new floors.  Love love love!

Our One Big Change & One Small One for Allergy Relief!

Allergy season has arrived!  Ah choo….watery eyes, scratchy throat…ugh!  No fun!  So our family tried two remedies, one giant one and one small daily change (a drink recipe) and both have made a difference.  I have actually been off Claritin for three months now!  Check out these ideas out that I showed in my recent KTVK 3TV segment on the “Your Life A to Z” show.  Plus some healthy eating ideas, too!  If you want more information about the remodel hardwood floors, click here on Excalibur Hardwood Floors.


Family Wellness Ideas That Have Been Working For Us!

From my KTVK Channel 3 segment on the “Your Life A to Z” show that aired today….

The main reason I blog is to share ideas on how to make our manic lives a bit more managed and when I find natural remedies that work, I get really excited and I can’t wait to share on this blog! remedy pic 1

Let’s Go from Head to Toe…

Stuff for Stuffy Head

*Allergies – Boy have allergies become a big issue in our desert.  It didn’t used to be this way and it is believed that a big reason is because so many people discovered our beautiful Valley of the Sun, moved here and planted their favorite flowers and plants from back home.  Whatever the reason, I have been a big allergy sufferer to the point where my runny nose and sneezing would wake my husband.  He asked me to try to figure out my allergy relief plan, for both of us.  We also have four cats so that contributes a bit, but testing proved that most of my allergies are plant related and food related.  I cleaned up my diet first and foremost with a lot less sugar and bread and that made a huge difference for sure.  Two more changes followed.

First getting rid of our carpet and I mean a lot of it!  We recently installed beautiful hardwood floors and things are better for sure.  We hired Excalibur Hardwood Floors and the difference is both visually beautiful and physically appreciated with less allergy problems!  Carpet traps and holds dust, pet dander and more so it makes sense that wood or tile floors would help with allergies.  And just look at how much better and cleaner our bedroom looks!  Love this….b4 after floors

I also started drinking a little concoction that our show’s makeup artist, Karen Hall told me about and she looks and feels amazing.  She doesn’t even begin to look her age, which is somewhere in her 60s.  So I always put a lot of stock in her recommendations.

She told me to try apple cider vinegar mixed with honey.  I was thrilled to find that Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar With A Honey Blend (this is how it appears on the label) is sold at Sprouts Farmers Market.  Every day I mix about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the vinegar with 8 oz of water.  It tastes like apple juice and I have been amazed with the results.  Since I started drinking this twice a day, my allergies have disappeared.  I have been off Claritin for over three months now.  I have also avoided any sinus issues thus far that I almost always have every year.  I am hopeful that this will carry me through Spring, when our allergy season kicks in to high gear.  I will report back on my blog if it does and for now I am thrilled with this natural remedy!  Definitely try incorporating the Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar with Honey Blend into your diet if you are an allergy sufferer.  Be sure to dilute it with a lot of water since the acidity can damage tooth enamel.  Drinking it straight is not recommended. As always, whenever trying any new remedy, double check the ingredients with your doctor to make sure that an ingredient isn’t present that may interfere with a current medical condition.

And speaking of sinus issues…

*Sinus Issues – For the last several years now, I take a special bath at the first sign of sinus pressure and this remedy has worked wonders.  I put a capful of Kneipp Eucalyptus Sinus Relief Herbal Bath in a hot bath under the running water and soak for about 15 minutes.  kneippIt works wonders and really helps to open and relieve my sinus pressure.  I buy mine on Amazon for around $15 a bottle and it is worth every cent.

Healthy Meals for the Mouth

*Quick & Healthy Breakfast Idea – I found a terrific instant oatmeal that I approve of and like, but it isn’t sweet enough alone for my family, so I experimented with three simple ingredients to sweeten it myself.  My family loves it and I feel good about providing this super quick, tasty and healthy breakfast to everyone before we all head out to another crazy busy day. remedies

I use the Better Oats Oat Revolution Steel Cut Instant Oatmeal with Flax brand.  I recently noticed this brand the last time I was at my grocery store, so I bought it to give it a try.  I love that the packets are filled with ingredients that only include steel cut oats, flaxseed and salt, with no added sugar, so each packet only contains 1 gram of sugar.  Compare this to many other brands and you get 9 grams of sugar and a bunch of ingredients that I can’t pronounce.  No thanks.

So here is the 2 step prep that I do to naturally sweeten it.  These steps are kid and teenager approved….

Step 1 – Simply boil water or heat milk, if you choose to use milk.  The handy oatmeal packet has a measuring water line so you know the exact amount to add to your oatmeal.  However, I just eye the amount of water or milk.  I think almond milk would be so tasty to add to this, but my daughter is allergic to tree nuts, so I use water.

Step 2 – Add 1/2 a banana and mash into oats and water.  mash itTop with cinnamon and you have delish and healthy oatmeal that was made in under 3 minutes and is kid approved! done oatmeal

*Farm Fresh Local Foods for Dinner – I just love when I find healthy new tips for families, especially when it comes to cooking nutritious and tasty dinners.  I am SO excited to tell you about the new meal kits that I have been receiving that come from a local and organic farm! Sunizona Family Farms now ships dinner kits that contain everything you need to make a healthy, organic and tasty meal.  Plus I have been trying to prepare and eat more plant based meals and this service makes it easy and tasty, which I am thrilled about.

One of my favorite Meal Kits from this farm contained organic whole food ingredients to make yummy veggie Queso nachos that actually used eggplant, garlic, seasoning, red bell pepper and other surprising ingredients to create nachos that tasted hearty and fantastic! Wondering how this works?  It is super easy!

Every Tuesday, I go to my favorite local healthy cafe, Pomegranate Cafe to pick up my weekly Sunizona Family Farms Flavor Crate which is filled with the organic and fresh produce and foods that I ordered online over the weekend.  Recently Sunizona Family Farms added the Mealkits.  I preorder over the weekend and pay online.  Each Meal Kit costs $22 with a subscription option available.  For that very fair price, I receive a box packed with every fresh whole food ingredient needed to make a meal and a side dish, which may be a salad and sometimes a healthy dessert, too.  Some of the other Meal Kit recipes I have made, that my family loved, include the Minestrone Soup which also came with items to make a nice tossed side salad and yummy whole grain garlic bread.

Skin Stuff

 *Dry Skin – With our temps warming up again and our super dry climate, dry skin continues to be a problem for a lot of us.  Our triple crown plan has been coconut oil, oatmeal baths and a product with a funny name called Toe Juice.

Coconut oil just rocks because it can be used for all types of issues from head to toe.  I cook with it a lot and I always dab a little on my lips, nails and hands.  I do a lot of hand washing and my hands always start to get little eczema spots, so I have been able to stop the rash in its tracks with pure organic virgin coconut oil. I also make sure to apply hand cream nightly before I go to bed.

Oatmeal bath – Sometimes eczema develops on my daughter, around her legs and arms.  It is definitely getting better as she grows up and she is now 14, but when she does get a flare up, she immediately takes an oatmeal bath with Aveeno Oatmeal packets that we get at the drug store.  This has helped a lot.

Toe Juice – I discovered this product a few years ago and I love it for all over skin issues, especially for my dry heels that are back again now that flip flop season has returned.  Toe Juice with DermaVine was developed by a high school chemistry teacher for his infant son’s split, cracked feet. Doctors and pharmacists didn’t have a solution that worked, so he used a combination of well-known plant extracts to create the solution. Looking to avoid the messy, greasy issues of available creams, lotions, and salves, he pursued a liquid application. I apply it to my own dry heels and then use a pumice stone to get the cracked dry skin right off for silky smooth heels.  toejuicebottleWhen I blogged about this, I had several readers to tell me that it worked wonders for their skin issues, too!  Toe Juice can be purchased at

For Feet

 Speaking of feet, when I write about my foot injuries, I always get a good response.  I guess foot problems are a popular topic.  I broke my right ankle three times in 25 years, had plantar fasciitis and recently sprained the top of my foot.  My poor foot has taken a beating, yet I have never had cortisone shots and I am still running around, sometimes getting 20,000 steps in a day on my Fitbit.  So here are my blog’s most popular tips for healthy feet…

*Use Boiron Arnicare Arnica Gel to reduce bruising and inflammation following a foot injury.  My bruising went away significantly faster every time I remembered to apply this gel that is paraben free, non sticky, unscented and nongreasy.  Arnicare-Gel-5thPanel-left-800It is a homeopathic ointment that my Mom first told me about and it works great.

*My physical therapist sent me to an athletic locally owned shoe store called Sole Sports where the experts on site actually have you run on a treadmill to evaluate your gait to see which shoe best suits your needs. The Adidas Supernova Boost tennis shoe has shortened my recovery time because this shoe gives me the support my fragile foot needs.  adidas-ultra-boost-womenI paid $129.99 at Sole Sports and it has been worth every penny.  Make sure you are in the right shoe for your foot.  Also look for a good supportive sock like the Feetures brand which provides light padding and arch support and is made with wick moisture fibers to keep feet dry and odor free. feetures-elite-light-cushion-no-show-tab

*Before trying the cortisone shot, ask your podiatrist about the alternative natural treatments that we did with ultrasound and more.  It is worth trying that first and it worked for me.

*Wear better high heels.  I have actually found orthotic heels that are stylish and supportive enough that I can still wear heels to events that require me to be on my feet for an extended amount of time, like a wedding, for example.  The line that I love and has been interesting to my readers is the Ziera line. I purchase my orthotic high heels from Foot Solutions.

What are your wellness ideas?  Share here in the comments section because we love to share tips to help all of our make our manic lives a little more managed….and healthy, too!