4 Steps to fix a Sink Sprayer with low water pressure

Sometimes when you have used your Kitchen Sink sprayer for a long time, you will start noticing that the water doesn’t come out with as much pressure as it used to do initially. This could be due to a couple of reasons and you can determine it yourself without the help of any professional plumber. Just follow these steps and you would be able to solve the issue yourself.

Tools needed:

  • Pliers
  • Wrench
  • Water Container
  • Vinegar or Lemon Juice
  • A brush
  • Replacement parts

Method:

Step 1: Determine the Cause

The first step would be to examine what is the problem with your sprayer. Turn on the faucet and check if the sprayer is leaking or if the hose is leaking. It is most likely that if the hose is leaking water then your sprayer is jammed due to the mineral deposits and you will need to clean it to free it of all dirt and grime. But if your hose also doesn’t leak water, then there might a clogging in the water valves and you would need to get that cleaned or replaced. Finding what the cause of the low water pressure is essential to find a solution.

Step 2: Disassemble the Sprayer

Once you have figured out the issue and you find out that the low water pressure is due to the sprayer or its hose, then you would need to detach the sprayer from the sink and the faucet. But before you do that, remember to switch off the main water so that you are not sprayed with water when you disassemble the sprayer. You would need to use a pair of pliers or the wrench to separate the hose from the base.

Step 3: Solve the issue

Now that your sprayer and hose are detached from the sink, you can check the diverter first. A diverter is responsible for letting the water flow to the sprayer instead of the faucet and if this part is worn out, it might be the reason for the low water pressure. So check what the issue with the diverter is, if it is clogged with debris you can simply remove it and soak it in a vinegar or lemon juice solution to clean it of all the debris. If it is a more difficult clog, you can use a brush to clean it free.

If it is not the diverter which is creating the low water pressure, then you would need to separate the sprayer from the hose and check both the parts for any type of damage. If the hose is damaged and worn out from places, then chances are you need to replace the hose. But if you notice that there is some clogging in the hose then use the vinegar or lemon juice solution to free the hose of all the buildup.

If you notice a clogging in the spray head’s aerator, then clean it in the similar way as the diverter and the hose. Once you have cleaned all the parts, make sure all the other parts are not missing and replace any part which is. If the faucet seems to be beyond repair then you can find the reviews for the best faucets out there at https://homeguyd.com/best-kitchen-faucets-reviews/.

Step 4: Reassemble the Sprayer

Once you have cleaned and replaced the faulty parts, re-attach the sprayer and the hose to each other and the sink and turn on the main water to check if the sprayer is still facing this issue. Make sure you tighten all the joints to avoid any future leakages.

Daily Diptych: 62/365 (And a look at 2014)

My New Years Eve was very lively, as you can see.  Okay, so we did go out to a friend’s house for a bit, but we were home by 9 (still much too late for Sunny who was sobbing about her missing sock…why don’t you just keep them on your feet?) and Craig was in bed by 10 as he’s working an early shift today.  So it was just me and Kristan Higgins (who is pretty good company).  I actually tried to get to sleep just before 12 but didn’t manage, thanks to the local fireworks enthusiasts.
I’m feeling pretty good about my resolutions for last year, here’s a recap:

– To keep my house cleaner:  I kept my house really clean until gardening season, and then eased up a bit,  but in general my house has been much tidier.  In large part due to me working towards minimalism and drastically culling the girl’s toys.  It’s not spotless, but I can be company ready in around 15 minutes.

– To lost weight every month:  Well, it wasn’t that regular, but I did lose over half of the baby weight, thanks to THM.  Very happy.

– To cook smarter, not harder:  Definite win here.  I’ve been menu planning regularly, cooking more for the freezer, and cooking more simply overall.  I do still cook complicated food sometimes, but I have embraced easy, healthy meals a lot more.  As an added bonus, this has made it easier to bless other families with home cooked meals!

– Exercise regularly: Yes!  Thanks to Katy Bowman, I have been taking 1-2 half hour walks or hikes every day (sometimes 3).  I’ve also been stretching regularly and can touch my toes for the first time in my adult life.

– Go to bed on time: No perfect still, but I am sleeping more on average.  I’m still at 7-7.5 most nights though, and I really want an hour more.

– Get more illustration work: Yes, I worked much more regularly in 2014!  Hoping to grow even more this year!

– Take a photo of the girls every week: Nope, this was the fail.  I took a lot of photos, but I just can’t remember a weekly project.  It’s daily or nothing, so I am back to daily and loving it!

Bonuses for 2014:

– 2014 was a big year for learning about my health.  I feel like my eating, movement, and mental health all improved by leaps and bounds this year.  It feels really good.

– This year I finally decided that I was ready to go pro with my photography (as people kept giving me money to take photos).  I still have a lot to learn, but I’m having so much fun capturing memories for people.

– I started pursuing minimalism more mindfully at home (I really need to write a good post about this, soon)

2014 was a good year, I’m excited to see what 2015 will bring!  Did you accomplish any of your resolutions in 2014?

21 Day Sugar Detox: Week 2

A couple days late, but we are finished with week 2 of The 21 Day Sugar Detox (read about week 1 here).  Only 5 more days!  Hooray!

I can’t lie, I was pretty happy at the beginning of the week, but by the end I was super bored of eating this way.  It’s just so much effort.  I would like to be able to at least add some rice back into our diet.  And potatoes.  Lunches especially are feeling like a lot of work.  I’m tired of the weaksauce soups with no starches, and my veggies patties are always soggy with coconut flour instead of rice flour.  There seems to be  a lot of eggs for lunch (quiche, frittata, chef’s salad) which is a lot of egg after our daily breakfast of eggs (which I love, no complaints there).

Part of my dissatisfaction is because I foolishly stepped on the scale and found that I’ve actually gained two lbs.  As I’m pretty sure I eat my weight in vegetables every day, this is a bit annoying.  Not a big deal, but not a great motivator either.  Also, I still have mild heartburn.  I’ve had it since Christmas and I really thought this would kick it.

Here’s what we’ve been eating for suppers this week:
– Homade sausage with roasted cabbage and salad
Spaghetti squash sesame noodles (without the edamame and using coconut aminos) with asian burgers
– Roast chicked with chimichurri sauce, root veggies and salad
Vietnamese style chicken cabbage salad
– Cauli-rice stir fry
– Leftover chicken salad
– Meatballs with chimichurri sauce, mashed rutabaga and salad.

I’ve also eaten out a couple times, and here’s what I’ve learned:
– you can order a poached egg, a side of ham and a side of hollandaise, and it’s almost like an eggs benny.
– Big salads with chicken are a good restaurant lunch (although I think there was honey in my dressing…oops).
– Apparently an unsweetened London Fog at Starbucks is an Earl Grey Misto and costs half as much.  But the matcha late still has sugar in it, even if you get it unsweetened (I learned this on the first day of the detox).  So in the future, I will be getting it unsweetened!

A couple people have asked me what my first meal will be when I’m done.  I’m pretty sure it will be bacon and eggs, same as always, with a yummy green smoothie.  But there will be honey in my tea!

Homemade Deodorant

Sunny is my youngest daughter.  She is snuggly and lovely and hilarious.  Not long after she was born, I realized that she had brought a much less welcome gift along with her.  The gift of stink.  That’s right, postpartum Hanna smelt funny.  I used Secret for years and it always worked just fine all day long.  Suddenly it was only working for an hour or two.  So embarrassing!  I tried a few other brands, including natural ones, but nothing worked.  Sad, sad times.

I did some research, trying to figure out if this was a normal postpartum thing (it is), if it was temporary (sometimes) and what brand I could count on working.  Eventually my research led me to Angry Chicken’s homemade deodorant.  Homemade deodorant?  Well, why not try, it’s not as if the store bought stuff was doing me any good.  I read all the comments and made a couple adjustments to the recipe.  For example, I use arrowroot powder instead of cornstarch.  I’m not wild about rubbing GMO’s under my armpits every day!

This recipe made a 1/2 cup and that lasted me nearly a year.  It hardens fairly solid, depending on the temperature, so I just scrape a little out with the back of my finger nail and it melts against my skin.

You really should try it, it works so much better than store bought deodorant, and is aluminum and chemical free!

Homemade Deodorant
adapted from Angry Chicken

Ingredients
3 tablespoons Shea Butter
3 tablespoons Baking Soda (for the stink)
2 tablespoons Arrowroot Powder (absorbs some moisture, but this isn’t an antiperspirant)
2 tablespoons Cocoa Butter
2 gel caps, or a dropper full of Vitamin E (nice for your skin)
a few drops Tea Tree Oil (antibacterial)

Optional – you can add a few drops of another essential oil for fragrance.

Directions
Melt everything but the oils in the microwave (or a double boiler on the stove).  It took me about a minute.  Give it a good stir and add in the oils.  Stir again and pour into your jar of choice (I use a 1/2 cup canning jar).  Stir once or twice as it hardens to keep it from separating.

Posted in DIY

Which Egg is Best

Since we started eating Primal, we go through a lot of eggs!  Like 4 dozen a week.  I know that some people’s reaction to that is to buy the cheapest eggs they can, but my feeling is that if eggs make up that much of our diet, I want them to be the most nutrient dense eggs I can find.  There are a ton of different eggs to choose from these days, and a lot of them are marketed as being really great for you.  So which is the best choice?  I bought five different kinds of eggs (which was all I could find in town, I’m sure there are more) to compare for you.

1. Local Farm Eggs
These eggs were bought at the fruit stand.  They are from a small farm in a neighbouring town (we don’t do much beyond backyard agriculture in my town, too many mountains!) and are grade A, Free Range.  The label says “Our Eggs are from Free Range Hens that have access to outdoor pastures and have unlimited access to feed and water”.
Price per Dozen: $5.50
Colour: These eggs are the second palest of my round up.  They still have decent colour, and may have more so in the summer, it was still a bit cool when I bought them.  Still, I expected them to be darker, and an orange yolk is a sign of a nutrient dense egg.  This tells me that they aren’t eating a perfect chicken diet, probably a fair bit of feed as opposed to bugs and scraps.
Ethics: It sounds like these chickens aren’t treated cruelly but probably don’t actually roam free all day outside.  Access to the outdoors doesn’t mean they are spending their lives outside eating bugs and worms.  I’m supporting a local farm with my money, and buying them through a local business, so that’s great.

2. Omega-3 Eggs
Omega-3 eggs are from hens who are fed a higher ratio of flaxseed, this gives them a yolk higher in Omega 3’s and often darker in colour.  They are probably conventionally farmed (or else they would be bragging about it) but with better feed.
Price per Dozen: $3.79
Colour: The yolk is darker than the conventional eggs and darker than the farm eggs (perhaps the farm should be feeding the chickens flax?).  This is the omega-3 rich feed coming through.
Ethics:  While these eggs are slightly healthier for you, they are still a product of industrial egg farming.  The chickens did not have a happy life and you are sending your money further away through a larger grocery chain (in my case) and to a industrial farm.

My niece loves her chickens!

3. Backyard Coop
These eggs came from my brother’s family.  They have chickens in their backyard.  And I mean literally in the backyard because they keep escaping and wandering around.  They hang out in trees.  It’s hilarious.  I should have taken a photo because Jen (my SIL) always arranges the carton with the green and brown eggs in a pretty pattern.
Price per Dozen: Now, mine were a gift, but many people do sell extra eggs from small coops like this.  The price ranges anywhere from $3-$6 around here.  Jen says that it costs them $3.22 a dozen eggs in the Winter when they go through more feed, and $1.20 in the summer.  Of course they had to get the chickens and build the coop as well.
Colour: These eggs are bright orange, they are gorgeous.  I know that they eat some feed but also a ton of scraps and spend their days outside bugs and worms (just think of that as chocolate to chickens, they love it).  The colour doesn’t lie, these are the most nutrient dense eggs.  Also, the dark colour means a stronger eggy flavour which I love.
Ethics:  It’s hard to beat backyard coop eggs.  Not only are the chickens super happy, these are heritage breeds which large scale farming has pushed towards extinction.  If you buy these eggs you are supporting a neighbour.

4. Organic Free-Range
So Organic means that they are feeding them certified organic feed, and that they are treated humanely.  Free-range means they have some access to the outdoors.  This is better than “Free Run” by the way, which just means they aren’t caged and wander around in a big barn.
Price per Dozen: $5.70 for medium eggs, the rest I compared are large.
Colour: These had the second best yolk, brighter than all the other yellow yolks but not orange like the backyard eggs.
Ethics:  I think these chickens were pretty happy, based on the certification and the yolk colour, but I don’t know anything for sure because I have no way of tracking where they came from.  And again, the money I spend on them is mainly leaving my community.

My shopping sidekick. That’s how she smiles.

5. Conventional Eggs
These are your standard grocery store eggs.  They make no claims to greatness, because they have none.
Price per Dozen: $3.39
Colour: Pasty pale.  They have a very mild flavour.  The birds ate boring food and produced boring food.
Ethics: The chickens are battery birds from a huge farm.  They spend their lives in cages, and those cages are small.  They have their beaks cut to prevent them from pecking each other, which is easy to do and they are all stacked in together.  Your money spent on these eggs supports this.  Sorry, but it just does.

Results!
Find some backyard eggs to eat!  Seriously, I usually get the local farm eggs from the fruit stand and I think I just convinced myself to try harder to find someone with a coop to sell me some eggs on a regular basis.  And I don’t think I’ll be buying those Omega-3 eggs again.

5 Tips for Eating Paleo while Breastfeeding

Ria and I got off to a rough start with nursing (like many first time moms).  She had a bad latch and a big appetite that combined left me bloody nippled (sad but true) and weeping for the first six weeks or so.  Then we got the hang of things and had a happy nursing relationship until she self-weaned at 17 months, when I was three months along with Sunny.

Sunny was nursing solidly with a decent latch at 20 minutes old.  I was sooo happy!  Instead of six weeks of pain killers to help me manage nursing, I took advil for two days when my milk came in.  Instead of nursing day and night and day and night for hooooours like her big sister, Sunny was an efficient nurser from the start.  I was relieved that everything was so much easier this time around.

Then at six weeks, Sunny got a brutal diaper rash that just wouldn’t fully clear up.  Soon after she ended up with eczema all over her little body.  After some research and chats with my doctor, I decided she must be allergic to something in my breast-milk.  To figure out what it was, I went on an elimination diet.  I cut out wheat, soy, and dairy.  And that’s when I starting playing around with the Paleo diet.

I was a bit concerned, because my best friend had done a Whole30 and lost her milk supply, so I was very careful with my eating habits.  I kept my supply up and starting losing the remaining baby weight.  Dream come true!

This is what worked well for me but remember, I’m not an expert in nutrition or breastfeeding; I’m just sharing my experience.  Also, most of this advice holds true for any real food diet, whether it’s paleo, primal, gluten-free, whole food, whatever!

My top five tips for eating Paleo while Breastfeeding:


1 Listen to your body
Now this is just good advice all the time, but it’s especially important when breastfeeding to pay attention to your hunger cues.  I found that when my girls were in a growth spurt (and the first 2 months in general) I was starving all the time.  So eat something.  But don’t just get into the habit of eating more, pay attention and have smaller portions when your aren’t crazy hungry.  Your caloric needs are going to fluctuate way more than a non-breastfeeding individual’s because you are feeding someone else, and they don’t eat the same amount everyday.  I think this is the number one way to keep your milk up while losing weight.  Don’t attempt to lose the weight faster by staying a bit hungry, baby needs those calories!

2 Eat like an athelete
If you look at some of the paleo diet advice, they tell you to cut down (or cut out) on the starchy carbs like potatoes or white rice.  These seem to be paleo grey areas.  They say that you should stay away unless you’re an athlete.  I vote that being a nursing mother is similar as you’re burning so many more calories (although it’s Sunny who tries to do acrobatics while nursing, but that’s another story).  Have a baked potato.

3 Coconut is your friend
Now, once Sunny’s little tummy grew up enough to handle dairy, I switched back to my full fat – raw if possible – dairy products (I try to keep it local, and I love cheese).  But for a few months there, coconut products pretty much saved me.  I had a coconut milk with coconut yogurt and berry smoothie nearly every day and used a lot of coconut milk and oil in my cooking.  It turns out that coconut products are not just a handy substitute for diary, they are full of great things for your baby.  Read more about it in Nina Planck’s great book about real food for babies.  It’s a favourite.

4 Snack Smart
I snack a lot when nursing.  I need a solid bedtime snack (we eat dinner at five around here, it’s just to early to be my last food of the day) and when I’m nursing at night I am starving!  So I try to make sure to have good snack choices on hand and ready to eat.  Some of my favourite paleo options are:
– Sliced apples with almond butter
– Hard boiled eggs
– A coconut milk smoothie (make it ahead and keep it in the fridge, you’ll want to give it a good shake before drinking).
– Roasted nuts
– Dried fruit (also good for some other postpartum worries!)

5 Don’t worry so much!
Do the best you can, but if you end up needing takeout one night – or if your neighbour brings you a thoughtful and very unpaleo casserole to welcome your new baby – just go with the flow and eat better tomorrow.  Being a new mom has enough stress without beating yourself up over a poor snack choice.  And besides, chill moms often have better milk supplies!

Grain-Free Chocolate Birthday Cake

Sunny turned one on Sunday and we had birthday cake for her on Monday.  I’ve been working on this grain-free chocolate cake recipe, and I love how it turned out.  It’s incredibly moist and very chocolately.  Not too sweet, especially with the raspberry whipped cream and mascarpone frosting.

The cake is made with coconut flour and honey, so it is primal, grain free, gluten free, and processed sugar free.  I use greek yogurt so it’s not strictly paleo, but it’s easy to adapt if you don’t do dairy.   The texture is not identical to a wheat cake, it’s a bit denser and fudgier, but it’s very good.  If you’re looking for a non dairy frosting, check out my paleo chocolate frosting.

GRAIN FREE CHOCOLATE CAKE
adapted from Paleo Spirit
Ingredients
1 cup coconut flour
3/4 cup cocoa
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
5 eggs
1 cup full fat greek yogurt (you can substitute 4 more eggs for the yogurt)
3/4 cup melted butter (or coconut oil)
1 cup liquid honey
3/4 cup strong brewed coffee (or 3/4 cup water and a tablespoon instant coffee)
2 Tablespoons vanilla
Directions
Preheat oven to 350.  Prepare two 9 inch round cake pans by greasing them (I use my butter wrapper) and lining the bottoms with parchment paper.  This will make the cakes come out in one piece!
Combine coconut flour (sifting if lumpy), cocoa (ditto on the sifting), baking soda, and salt in a mixing bowl and set aside.
Beat eggs in a medium mixing bowl.  While beating, add in yogurt.  Once fully mixed add butter, honey, coffee and vanilla.  Mix for about a minute and then add the dry ingredients, a bit at a time.  Continue to beat for 3-5 minutes, until it begins to get fluffy.
Pour into prepared pans, half in each, and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes.  Start checking to see if an inserted toothpick comes clean at around 20 minutes, just to be on the safe side, but this cake is very moist and I think a few minutes over won’t do it any harm.
Let cool in the pans for 10-15 minutes on wire racks, then carefully remove from cake pans and finish cooling on the racks.  I place the rack on top of the pan and quickly but smoothly flip the whole thing over, the cake should come out easily.  Let cakes cool completely before frosting.
RASPBERRY WHIPPED CREAM FROSTING WITH MASCARPONE CHEESE
Ingredients
1 pint whipping cream
1 small tub mascarpone cheese
1/2-1 cup raspberry jam
Directions
This is not an exact science, so I’ll be pretty general.  Adjust the amounts to what tastes best to you!
I like my filling to be firmer than the frosting on top so I started with 2/3 of the mascarpone and about a half cup of whipping cream.  Beat until it is fully combined and you have stiff peaks.  If it feels too thick to spread easily, add a bit more cream and continue beating.  Add about a 1/4 cup of raspberry jam and beat until it’s completely mixed in.  Have a taste, if you’d like it to be sweeter, add more jam.
Once you have a filling you like, place your bottom layer of cake on your serving dish.  Scoop out all your filling and smooth it into an even layer, coming close to the sides but not going over.  Carefully place the second layer of cake on top.  This cake is dense, moist, and a bit fragile.  Place the layers carefully because you won’t be shifting them once they’re down.
Now, add the remaining whipped cream and mascarpone into the bowl.  Whip until it is light and fluffy with stiff peaks.  It should be fluffier than the filling was and there will be more of it.  Again, add a 1/4 cup of the jam, mix it in and have a taste.  Adjust as needed.
Top the cake with the second batch of whipped frosting, smoothing it to the edges with a spatula.  It should last at room temperature for a couple hours, no problem.  It’s winter at the moment, however, so I can’t vouch for how it will do in the sun.  Probably best to refrigerate if it’s a hot day, or frost it right before the party.

Sunny loved her cake, and was a bit in awe of the candle.  Happy birthday, baby!

Carrot Latkes with Feta and Dill

I love soup.  We eat it nearly every day for lunch when it’s cold outside.  I used to make biscuits or sandwiches to round out the meal but since we cut out grains they are a treat, not an everyday thing.  I posted last week about my tuna melt patties, which I love for vegetable heavy soups, and today I’ll teach you to make carrot latkes, which are awesome with a meatier soup.

I use a bit of rice flour and feta cheese, but you can make them without to have a completely paleo side dish.  Sunny loves these, but when she was just starting on solids I made sure to cut them up into bite sized pieces. The longer strands of carrot can make a baby gaggy if they’re just starting with baby-led weaning.

Carrot Latkes with Feta and Dill

Serves 4 a side dish
Ingredients
2 cups shredded carrots
1 egg
1/8 cup feta cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons rice flour (optional)
1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped finely
Salt and Pepper
Butter for frying
Directions
Combine all the ingredients (except the butter) in a medium bowl.  Heat a cast iron or nonstick skillet over medium heat.  When the pan is hot, melt a bit of butter in it and then plop three or four little piles of the carrot mixture in with a fork.  Flatten the piles into little pancakes and cook until golden on the bottom, then flip and continue cooking until golden on the other side and cooked through.

These are nicest eaten still hot, and I love them with a dollop of sour cream or creme fraiche.

Grain-Free Almond Butter Cookies

I love to bake cookies.  I find it oddly therapeutic.  Something about the mixing and the rolling the dough in my hands.  So, while we’ve given up wheat, I’m not ready to give up cookies.  Ria loves to help stir and to roll the dough balls.  Her balls are a little deflated and not very circular, but she loves them just the same.  And you know what?  I can’t always tell the different when they come out of the oven.  When I put the chocolate chunks on each cookie so would point to the one that needed it’s chocolate next.  “This one! aaand this one! aaaaand this one!”  I love baking with this kid.

These cookies are very simple and are grain and peanut free.  They taste a lot like classic peanut butter cookies but are a bit less chewy (unless you eat them still warm from the oven, which is the best!).  You could do chocolate chips easily, but I didn’t have any in the house.  I’ll do some more experimenting and see if I can do a honey version, but for now I used organic cane sugar, so I feel okay about it 🙂

GRAIN FREE ALMOND BUTTER COOKIES
Ingredients
1 cup almond butter (I prefer smooth)
1 egg
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1/2 a bar of dark chocolate (optional)

Directions
Preheat oven to 350.  Mix all ingredients thoroughly.  I always use my hands, then I know there’s no weird lumpy bits.  Make into 1 inch balls and place on a cookie sheet at least 2 inches apart.  These are fairly spready cookies, so give them some breathing room.  If using chocolate, chop it into decent chunks (little slivers just melt away and get lost.  It’s a waste of chocolate, frankly.) and press a piece into each cookie ball.  Bake in your 350 oven for about 10 minutes.  Keep a close eye as they tend to brown quickly.  Try to keep toddler from burning fingers because she’s so excited to eat her cookie!

Also, I hadn’t intended to feed these to the baby (I try to avoid sugar before one), but Ria’s on a sharing kick these days (only with food, heaven forbid you try and get her to share a train) and I keep catching Sunny crawling around with bits of food.  There are cookie crumbs all over my house, I guess I should go sweep those up!