How to Build a Unique Wooden Gate Using Creative Ideas to Maximize Time

Building-a-Fancy-Wooden-Gate

Everyone knows that home improvement projects generally double in terms of money spent on the project versus the amount of value that the home gains from performing such upgrades. One of the most common outdoor upgrades that homeowners flock to completing is the wooden privacy fence. There is nothing like it; that is, having a backyard completely enclosed with nice-looking wooden slat fencing at sex feet tall, blocking the surrounding neighbor’s view into the happenings of your back yard festivities. Not to mention, adding a privacy fence can clean up the aesthetics of your property and can make it a much more appealing property for appraisers, neighbors, and passers-by. However, once the fence is completely, one must decide on the one part of the uniform fortress that sets it apart from every other wooden fence in the neighborhood: The gate. “Oh Wow! I love it!”

Yes, that’s right. The gate sets the fence apart. It is the only piece of the fence that will draw the eyes of the onlookers, making the imagination of these people wander in amazement. That is, as long as you provide a unique gate with a design that will set it apart from everyone else’s enclosure.

So, how do you go about building the perfect gate with the perfect design? You can, of course, use your miter saw (I used Hitachi C10FCE2 (review) to cut the wood, it’s a workhorse) to make decorative and perfectly-placed cuts in the wood that will adorn your pathway to backyard bliss. Think of a design that embodies your personality. For your writer, abstract designs would be the best approach to take. After setting up the standard gate with hinges, perhaps take some leftover wood and draw your designs on them. Then, cut these designs out with your miter saw, making sure they are appropriately traced so the design can be followed with every bit of detail.

Next, after you have used your miter to cut out these designs, chose the best way to affix them to the underlying basic gate structure. For instance, let us imaging that you wished to outfit the top posts surrounding your gate with diagonally-inward-facing triangles that would give your posts the appearance of spiked wooden tips. Then, after you have made the cuts for your designs, simply affix them to the appropriate area on your gate with wood fasteners.

In the end, you can probably get this project done in less than a day. By the time you are finished, you will end up with a gate that matches your personality or is maybe just a nice-looking distraction from all of the plain gates of your neighborhood. Either way you look at it, your fence will be as unique as you are, the value of your home will like rise by a few thousand dollars, and you will be the envy of your plain-gated neighbors! This is a win-win situation any way you look at it.

Tools:

  • 24″ level (or larger)
  • Drill w/bits
  • Tape measure
  • Miter saw and miter saw stand
  • Triangle
  • ratchet w/socket for bolts

Materials:

  • Wood
  • Metal hardware
  • bolts

PS: Make sure the bolts aren’t going to be longer than the thickness of your 2×4.

Building a fence gate | Instructables

Changing a Tire: Car Maintenance that Anyone Can Perform

Car-Maintenance-that-Anyone-Can-Perform
Automobiles are meant to have some maintenance that must be performed by the owner. This comes in the form of having the owner make sure to change certain parts as regular intervals, such as air filters, which are very easy to change and can be done in under 90 seconds on most vehicles. It also includes making sure to keep an eye on mileage when taking a car in for an oil change or changing the oil one’s self. Of course, giving your neighbor a jump start from your battery and changing a tire are probably the 2 most common “repairs” that one will come across when dealing with unexpected problems with a vehicle.

Giving or receiving a jump start simply requires a second vehicle or a battery booster and a pair of jumper cables. The cables must be hooked up to the appropriate ends of the battery terminal, and are usually color-coded “red” for positive and “black” for negative or ground. The vehicle with the dead battery simply restarts the vehicle while connected to the host car, and the drained car will start and charge the dead battery via the alternator while running. When this occurs, it is important to leave the car running and drive it a decent distance of at least 5-10 miles before turning it off in order to give the battery sufficient time to receive a charge from the alternator for the next start. Failure to give the battery the appropriate time to charge will result in a car that refuses to start the next time it is driven, just the same as before. However, as long as the battery is still good and able to hold a charge and as long as the car is driven for a few minutes, you will not have to worry about it going dead again unless you inadvertently forget to turn an accessory item off again and drain it for a second time.

Now, changing a tire is just as simple, as long as you come prepared with a floor jack and a spare time at all times. In fact, no one should drive a car without these necessary items, because driving comes with so many hazards. If you bought your car new, it will come with a best floor jack, but most people have much better experiences by purchasing a $30-dollar hydraulic floor jack with crank handle from an auto parts store. These jacks make it much easier to make these emergency changes, and provide a much more stable platform to work with. Now, to change a flat tire, simply find a secure spot on the frame of your car and allow the jack head to make contact with the frame when cranking it up into the air. Break the seal on the lug nuts before you get the car into the air. Crank the car up to a height that you know will allow for clearance of the spare tire. Once this is done, finish removing the lug nuts and remove the flat tire. Slide the spare on and tighten the lugs back onto the wheel. Lower the floor jack and remove it from underneath the vehicle. That’s all there is to it!

These are just a couple of do-it-yourself car repairs. There are others that range from easy to others — like changing transmission gasket and fluid — that are a bit more difficult but can still be done at home. It all depends on what your limits are for working with a car on your own, as well as how much money you are attempting to save. If you are able to stand the work, you will find that working on your own vehicle can be fun, a learning experience, and much more affordable than you think!

My Crazy Week With Some Amazing Purchases and Fall is Here

My-Crazy-Week-With-Some-Amazing-Purchases-and-Fall-is-Here

This week has been pretty crazy for us and the cold weather is making it really hard for me to get up at 0 dark thrity and run. It was a huge accomplishment for me to start getting up in the mornings but I’m afraid early and cold is another story. I am really glad however that I have signed up for two races that will require me to train through the cold weather. It is definitely going to be a challenge but one that I will take on with Exuberance and Gusto!

Last weekend we went to a birthday party for one of my lifelong friends daughter. We have been friends probably since we were about 2 or 3 years old and it is amazing that we are still connected! I think that says a lot to who we are and how important our friendship is. They live in the Charleston area and I can’t stress enough how much I love it down there. I lived in Charleston for a short time and would go back in a heartbeat! View going into their neighborhood! Spanish moss on trees is really romantic! Off their dock – the waterway at low tide. The kids really loved going out there and watching the water and the little crabs that run around. This was a total act on their part. G copies everything C does and then laughs.

They went on a hayride which was really fun and got to “bob” for apples. They actually just reached in and grabbed theirs.We got back late Saturday night and then I had to run 14 miles the next morning. I will say that I was exhausted all day long and sore, so I took an Ice Bath that night. Brrr!! Need I say more. (sorry this is a repeat from the post the other day.)We had a cuddle day and just hung out for the most part. As my babies get older I don’t get that snuggle time I use to so when they both want to I am more than willing to take it!Love when he wants me to Snuggle him during his nap

Monday resulted in a Rest day and we had the kids Fall Festival at school that night. They were absolutely adorable and C performed a song with his class. They both wanted to get their faces painted too! I had plenty of time on Monday too when the kids were in school to go buy us all a new pair of shoes, except my husband. He likes to pick his own and he already has some he thinks are fine. Either way it was a great day! Love my new Brooks Ravenna’s, they are just as amazing as my other pair! I love the box that Brooks has for their shoes! It just makes me smile!Tuesday was another unplanned rest day for what reason I can’t remember, but Wednesday I was up bright and early. I really do love the early morning runs when it is dark and quiet. The moon was incredibly bright and I’ve gotten accustom to seeing shooting stars almost every morning that I run early. I love it!

Wednesday I had to go to C’s class and show the kids how to carve a pumpkin so inevitably we had to do another one at home for G to help with. Their friends from next door came help too. We carved a face on one side and then a paw on the other for the Clemson Tigers! This is what my husband has to endure when he is home working. They kids attack him from every angle. Pretty rough if you ask me! He loves it! (Excuse the mess, our house usually starts out all picked up in the morning and by the afternoon you would think a tornado came through.) I went on a run Thursday when C was in school so I had to take G with me in the stroller. My sweet neighbor let me borrow her jogger (I sold ours a while back). It was very difficult! I really give all you mom’s that run with their kids mad props because it is a workout. I included some hills so I opted out of any speed work. I’m not sure if I could have even managed it to be honest.G really has it rough, snacks and a book on a beautiful day! I got my order of Energy bits just in time for my run on Thursday. Thank goodness I did because I needed all the extra energy I could get for that one. I’ll have a full review of them in a couple weeks for you guys as well as a Giveaway!

I have also been on the hunt for a great headband that won’t move on my head when I’m running. I really think I don’t have the right head shape to hold a band in place properly. But alas, I was proven wrong when I bought my Sweaty Band! It really doesn’t move an inch. I will be getting more of these for sure! A fun moment that C caught on my camera! He really loves taking pictures!Has anyone tried Wolfgang Puck’s soups before? I’m not a huge fan of canned soup but in the Fall and Winter I really like to have some on hand for when I need a quick lunch, plus this was Organic and Gluten Free. I was surprised by how good this actually was. I also got the Lentil soup to try.

Getting ready for the weekend and have to get the Halloween costumes picked out and done too. You guys will have to be surprised on Monday with what they are going to be!So excited that Fall is here and we get to do all these fun Fall activities!Good Luck to all those running races this weekend! How is the colder weather affecting your running schedule? What are you planning on being for Halloween or what are your kids going to be? What is your favorite cold weather food?I really love my Mom’s Chili all year but especially during the Fall and Winter.

I’m Over My Pity Party Now

spinach-and-beans-ingredients

Later today I’ll be making something I call Spinach, Beans, and Rice. Comes out like a big pot of stew, never comes out the same twice, and is purely made of whole foods. Other than burning it beyond recognition, there’s basically no way to mess it up. I use slightly different ingredients or proportions every time, but basically:

1) Sautee some garlic in a soup pot in a table spoon of olive oil. For added flavor, you can add/use butter but I like my olive oil. Also, I like a ton of garlic, so I’ll sometimes mince two full heads of it into the pot, but you can adjust to your own taste.

2) Add in 3-4 bags of frozen spinach. You can use fresh spinach or baby spinach leaves, but that costs a lot. The recurring theme in this dish is that you can customize to your own prefs.

3) Add in about 2 pounds of diced tomatoes. You can use cans to save time, but I like the flavor from fresh better. Also, some people dislike the skins and seeds, personally I just dice em up and throw it all in there.

4) Add in beans. Here is the most opportunity for customization. A standard configuration I use is 1 big (40 oz???) can of dark kidney, 1 big can of light kidney, and a regular can (16 oz???) of cannelini beans You really can’t go wrong here, I’ve used garbanzo, pinto, black, whatever beans you like, keeps it interesting.

5) Add water to achieve a consistency you like. Usually 1.5-2.0 cups, but I really threw out the recipe and just eye it up. If you want soupy, add more, if you want more stew-like, use less, just enough to prevent burning on the bottom of the pot.

6) Add salt and pepper to taste. Here’s another place to customize, I’ve gone through my whole spice rack randomly mixing stuff in here, this is such an easy and versatile meal to make, have fun.

7) Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a low simmer for min 45 minutes, longer if you want the flavors to mature better. You could do this as a slow cooker, but mine is too small for the size batches I make.

8) Make some rice of your choosing, best results if you add this to each bowl at serving time, prevents the rice from getting too soggy.

New Year, New Look

New-Year-New-Look

Welp friends, Christmas holidays are officially over, but all of the possibilities of a new year are upon us. I hope you all had a lovely holiday season filled with food and family, and if you’re in the southern hemisphere, sun!

Because the new year is all about change and looking forward to new things, I decided that the blog needed a little jazzing up as well. What do you think, it looks a lot nicer, no? I also added another page to the menu bar, above, in case you’re curious as to how the whole change came about. Ever the geek, I wanted to do it all myself, and the aesthetic page explains how my geekery was motivated.

Last year I wrote out some of my resolutions on the blog, but to be honest, I don’t really have that many this year. I do want to get a bit more fit, and possibly run a 10k, but my main goal is to just continue to settle in here in Melbourne, and perhaps explore and develop my personal style a bit more. Life so far has been pretty great to me, so I’m hoping to keep that momentum into 2013. Travel, make new friends, and enjoy where I am are my primary goals, as well as immersing myself further into my new job and company. Sounds pretty standard, right? Ah well, happy new year to you all, and here’s to another year of smiles!

Good at Many Things… Great at None. Until now!

Good-at-Many-Things-Great-at-None

I know the title of this may seem a bit negative but really it isn’t! I have finally found that one thing at which I know I can be Great!

I have always been one of those people that has had to try really hard at everything I do if I wanted to do well. I was never that person in school that just got good grades and passed tests without studying. There are people in this world that have some extraordinary talent or skill or something that they are Great at and Excel in. Then there are those that are just Good at many things but not necessarily Great at any one thing! That was me. I worked so hard to do well at everything I set my mind to that I think I spread myself too thin and never was able to focus on just one thing that I could Excel in. Maybe that’s because I just always wanted to do well in all that I tried to or because I never found that one thing that I just loved so much that the other things didn’t matter.

Until Now!! Next to being a Mother & Wife, Running has been one of the best things I have found! I am in love with Running and what it brings me. I have never found something that I have been so passionate about in my 32 years. That’s not to say it isn’t challenging and difficult at times because trust me IT IS! I have to work very hard at my training to progress to the paces I am currently running. I have a very long way to go to get to the place I want to be but I am 110% for the training and journey!

I have always been one to set extremely lofty goals for myself. However, I have always achieved what I set my mind to. This will be no different with my Running Goals! I am fully aware of the time it might take to get there but am so excited to work for it all!!If there is something out there that you want badly enough you have to reach for it and make it happen. I found that putting it out there makes it all more real for me. If I just think about it and don’t do any more then it is much harder to accomplish those Goals.

I have never been a super confident person in what I do so I make sure to surround myself with people who help to lift me up and inspire me to give it all I can. My family has been my biggest supporter and without them I wouldn’t be where I am. I have also brought on a Running Coach who has given me a lot to work with and has pushed me when I probably wouldn’t push myself. Lastly, running friends are invaluable! I have a few amazing girls that live in my neighborhood that also run and that have made Running even more incredible. Especially on those days when I’m just not feeling 100%.

After watching the Boston Marathon I was even more inspired to Run the best I can and to push through anything that may be limiting me. I can’t even begin to fathom running at speeds like Rita Jeptoo or Shalane Flanagan, but I hope to one day come close!Don’t let anything stand in the way of your dreams and goals! You are the only one that can make them come true!Is there something you feel that you are just Great at?What goals have you set for yourself that you are currently working towards?

My heart goes out to Colorado

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We’ve had a really busy weekend already here and I am wiped out! Got up again this morning at 5:40am. I am starting to get use to waking up early even on a weekend. Sort of Scary!

Ran 10 miles with a friend and didn’t even have to use my music! Another first! Especially on that long of a run.

My legs felt good, the weather was cool and overall it was a pretty easy long run.

My husband made a delicious Egg Fritata for breakfast with Salami, Goat cheese and skillet sauteed onions and peppers. It was a perfect meal for after my run. I did have to top it off with a cold glass of chocolate milk as a recovery drink.

We had a friends birthday to go to this morning which was a blast for the kids. I have now made her cake for the 4th year in a row. It means so much more to make for such good friends. The theme was Sofia the First!

Then we came home and the kids were wiped out so they took naps and I joined them. I was exhausted!It was such a beautiful evening that we let the kids paint outside. I’ll have to share their masterpiece when it dries.

I was reading the news and my heart goes out to the people affected by the flooding in Colorado today. I can’t even imagine how devastating something like that must be. I really like this quote though. It reminds us that even during the worst times there are always those who rise above to put others before themselves.

I forgot to mention that last week my son started soccer! He is actually pretty good for his first time. I was so proud and he was really cute out there.

Now it’s time for some Football!

What difficult times have you been through that you were thankful for someone else helping you through?

How is your weekend going?

Happy 2nd Birthday to My Sweet Baby Girl and VO2 Max Interval to Start The Day

Happy 2nd Birthday to My Sweet Baby Girl

I can’t believe it – my sweet baby girl turned 2 today! 7 days old! 2 years old today! Happy Birthday my angel.

I am not really sure where the time went. It seems that I was in the hospital just yesterday hoping for a perfect baby girl to be born. Luckily that is what I got!

She is her own little individual – a fireball and she keeps us on our toes for sure. I started her birthday off with a nice 5 mile VO2 max interval run. My fastest mile was at 9:14/mile pace.It was a wonderfully cool Fall morning which I was really happy for by the end of this run. My legs felt like Jell-O when I was done. The rest of our day has been about running errands, getting G’s cake for tonight, picking out her gift from her brother, and some other random things. We got a really late start since I think G must have known it was her Birthday because she slept in till 10:15. She hasn’t done that in months. She really does like to sleep.

Here is G’s short 2 years in a few bunch of pictures! I can’t believe this was 2 whole years ago! Her first week home! Our little Glow Worm! She had to be on a Bili Bed for her Jaundice for about 7 days. About 3 months old 9 months – She loved playing in the sand at the Beach! 1st Birthday! She loved the cake and can still pretty much inhale any dessert. Can’t imagine where she got that from. She loved C’s toolbench way more than her kitchen! She is a sweet girl but not girly at all.

She is definitely a water baby – she could swim for hours.1 1/2 years – I think she ate her weight in Strawberries. She wasn’t very helpful in filling up the basket. Go Tigers– About 22 months old. It’s hard to tell but the curls are out of control. I love them and hope she never looses them.

She absolutely loves our Dogs! We will be celebrating tonight with our little fam! She is so lucky to be spending the rest of the week celebrating too – her aunt and cousin are coming tomorrow, my mom is coming Thursday and C’s parents are coming Thursday night. What a lucky little girl. I guess we get to have cake every night this week!

How was your training today? What is the longest you have celebrated your kids birthdays? How has time gone by for you since having kids if you have any?

10 Ways to Get Out of a Running Rut

10-Ways-to-Get-Out-of-a-Running-Rut

In response to the RUT I have been in I decided to put together a list of sorts on how to get past this Limit in my Running!

Every runner, whether you are a professional or someone just starting out, you can easily get into a running rut. Here are 10 great ways that I found to help get you back on the right track.

1) Change up your Racing Distance
If you are constantly training for the same distance you can easily get burned out. Every distance has it’s set of challenges and mixing that up will keep you in good condition.

2) Don’t focus on the Bad Runs
It is so easy to hold onto the bad things about your runs opposed to the good. Once you get in that mindset getting out can be a real struggle. Focus on each run individually. Don’t focus on the past runs so much as the here and now and don’t stress out about the training runs to come. keep your mind clear of all the fog and start each run anew.

3) Change up your Location
Pull out a map and get “lost” in your run – don’t really get lost though.Running the same loop around your neighborhood or the same trail through the park can become very mind numbing and also cause you to get too comfortable on your runs. Changing up the location can offer a fresh perspective and also allow you to have different terrain.

4) Add another sport
Adding in another sport such as cycling or swimming will strengthen you as a runner and challenge other muscles. This will in turn help you to become a stronger runner and if being faster is your goal then this will only help push you to that point.

5) Run with Music
I have found that running with music has its place and that certain runs for me don’t benefit from music. However, if you are going on a long run a motivational upbeat song can really get you through the difficult miles.

6) Find a Running Buddy
Running alone can get lonely at times. All it takes sometimes is a friend to run with you to help break the silence. Talking can really help to pass the time much quicker and you don’t feel like you are working so hard. Plus, it is a good reason to get out the door on a day you may not want to.

7) Reward Yourself
Treating yourself to a special new pair of running shoes or new tops can help to motivate you to get out there. You can also always reward yourself after a long run to give you positive reinforcement! This is always a great way to help motivate you for your next run.

8) Vary your Intensity and Speed
Keep your mind engaged and your muscles alive by varying your workouts. By running the same pace every time you can easily get bored and constantly be thinking when will I be done. If you incorporate speed work, hills, intervals etc you will always be on your toes and by giving your muscles a different workout you will in turn become a faster and stronger runner.

9) Run for a Charity
For many, running for a charity can is a very rewarding experience. You are part of something bigger than yourself and you aren’t running for time and that PR usually. This can help to motivate you to get out there and log the miles while doing something very close to your heart.

10) Rest!
This word is dreaded among many Runners. I personally like my rest days but don’t always welcome them if that makes sense. However, resting can give your mind and body a break making it fresh and ready when the time comes to run again. By constantly pushing your body and mind you can easily get burned out and then you just shut-down. Which can be a whole lot harder to come back from then just a few days off.What do you do to get out of a rut in your fitness routine?

Have You Ever Seen a Turkey on a Bike?

Have-You-Ever-Seen-a-Turkey-on-a-Bike

So despite my completely unmotivated training week last week, we did have a great one otherwise.There was nothing especially eventful but here are some of the things that brought a smile to my face! (These are in no particular order of greatness – however, my kids always rank at the top of the list)I received in the mail my BAMR Band and can’t wait to try it out on my next run!

After lunch C & G decided they wanted to rest and watch a little show before nap time and wanted to be all cozy under the blanket. If you know my kids, they don’t stop! I mean they are constantly moving and to get a non-blurry picture is impossible! I did catch C with my tobogan on before he ran off. Love his smile! I received in the mail another awesome surprise! My Runner’s World Calendar and Training Log. I will be more accountable next year and can’t wait to use this little gem. We had a friend and her daughter over for Pizza night. My husband makes the best food but he has perfected the pizza with a special homemade sauce that is unbeatable.

My Father-In-law got these Turkey’s and sent them for the kids. They thought they were the best things ever. Hopefully they will last longer than a couple days. C finally finished the Soccer season up and got his Trophy – he was so excited! However, he didn’t want his picture taken at all so I guess the Trophy’s backside was somehow appropriate. This is what I peeked in on them doing the other night. I can’t even tell you how happy it makes my heart when they are playing so sweetly together. To listen to their conversation was too precious!We had our Annual Neighborhood Block Party on Sunday and C & S rode in the “Chariot” together. They have known each other since C was born. I absolutely love that we have such amazing friends and people that I considered family.My sweet boy and my friends daughter riding in the “chariot” behind the bike.

Lastly, Have You Ever Seen a Turkey on a Bike?

As a bet my good friend said she would wear this Turkey suit and ride down to the Block Party if a friend of ours ate healthy for a whole week. He has done an amazing job despite how hungry he said he is so she held up her end of the bargain. (Please excuse the poor camera action, I am no professional!) Did you have a fun family filled week? What goofy things have you been talked into doing on a bet?