Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

October Fun - Pumpkin Patch

What is October without a trip to the pumpkin patch? Well, it would still be October but not as fun.

In that spirit we packed up into the "magic van" and went to explore a new pumpkin patch, The Big Horse Corn Maze in Temecula, CA. We are so glad we did! 

The kids were able to try their hands making butter, check out all the pumpkins, and feed corn to a bunch of plump and happy chickens.

Then it was on to the face painting booth! The kids have only had their faces painted a few times, but this was by far the best.

This pumpkin patch is technically a farm, and it boasts the largest corn maze in southern California. At over 11 acres, this thing was intense!

Before braving it, we took a tractor ride around the perimeter of the maze. The kids were in heaven, as you can see from the cuteness overload.

The corn maze was fun. For about 30 minutes. Then the kids were hungry, sweaty, and over the adventure.

The highlight of our day was when we walked by the band. Gabe stopped to watch them tune their instruments and they noticed his interest. These awesome gentlemen invited him up to sing a tune with them! You can see the full video in our earlier post. He was so excited and talked about it non stop after.

It was a great day and we will definitely be making this a new October tradition.

Do you have a special October tradition? An incredible pumpkin patch that puts all others to shame! Share it with us! Leave a comment here or on our Facebook page. We love to hear from you!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Use a Cheap Pair of Locking Pliers to Hold Your Hood Up!

Normal hood support rod's are $20+.  I got a 3 pack of locking pliers for $1 from Home Depot!  $19 in my pocket, I still have 2 extra locking pliers, and I don't have to fear for my head!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Gabe Has a Found His Calling!

This past Saturday we took the kids to the Big Horse Corn Maze & Harvest Festival in Temecula.  The BEST pumpkin patch we've been to by far!  As we were on our way to go through the corn maze (which took an hour) we passed these musicians tuning their instruments.  They invited Gabe up on stage to sing a song.  Boy's got talent!  We'll do a post with pictures soon, but until then watch and laugh.

Getting Dirty : Tips for a Mud Run

A few weeks back I wrote about my good clean bubble run. While getting clean and sudsy during a 5k was fun, life is about balance. Here is a recap and some tips from my recent dirty, rough, mud-caking Mud Run.

I had been looking at mud runs since January of last year. Most of them seemed intimidating, as at the time I had just started running and was in poor shape. Huff and puff after a mile, can't do two push ups kind of shape. 

One day I came across the Del Mar Mud Run, and before I could wuss out I handed over my money and prayed I would be able to run more than 2 miles by the time the race came around. Eight months later I ran it, survived it, LOVED it!

Honestly, other than continuing my typical work out routine (run 5-6x a week, cross train 3 days) I did no extra research into this type of run. That being said, here are my tips learned from experience.

#1 DO NOT WEAR COTTON! Cotton absorbs water. It will get heavy, and cause chafing. Instead wear gear that was specifically designed to be moisture wicking. This includes your socks. Feet can get chaffed too.

#2 Wear tight leggings. The mud sucks into every crevice, pocket, and cranie of your body and clothing. I wore tight capri running tights and drawstring pocket-less running shorts. I would have just wore the leggings, but I was worried about them becoming sheer when wet, and I was too cheap to buy a black pair before the race. Surprisingly, I was very comfortable and the extra shorts didn't hinder me.

#3 When it comes to your shirt, tight would be best. I wore a loose fitting, sleeveless performance shirt. While it dried quickly and felt comfortable while running, I think something more form fitting would have prevented rocks and dirt from getting under my shirt during the mud crawl parts. Every time I would swim through a mud bog the dirt would chafe my stomach. Owie.

#4 Wear trail shoes, or an old pair of running shoes. Please do not wear your awesome $150 shoes for a mud run. Please? Pretty please? The mud may or may not wash off, and is that really worth the risk?

#5 Practice at a play ground. I mean it. In a mud run you will rely heavily on your upper body strength to get through the obstacles. Monkey bars, rope swings, pull ups are all parts of mud runs. Playgrounds can supply ample opportunities to work on this. Now when I go to the park with my kids, they get a giggle out of mommy messing around on the monkey bars.

#6 Please don't tape your shoes. I know a lot of websites recommend you duct tape your shoes onto your feet and ankles.I saw dozens of runners with their tape falling off from the wet mud, and plenty of people standing on the side of the course so they could peel useless duct tape off.  Also, to me this seems like you are asking for an injury by restricting you natural movement.

#7 Bring a change of clothes, including shoes, towels, and a few gallons of water. The gallons of water are important if you are facing a long line at the showers after the race. Just wash yourself off with the gallons you brought along, camping style.

That's it folks! Come prepared and then all you have to think about is the fun! Mud runs - the most fun you will have paying to play in mud.

Friday, October 25, 2013

New Mailbox!

Our old mailbox was rotting at the base.  After letting it go for....too long, we decided it was time for a change. 

We looked around this new thing called "the internet" looking for inspiration.  When we found this mailbox and both loved it, we knew it was our stopping point. 

At home depot we picked up these supplies:

8' 4x4 post
Post Cap
60 lb concrete 

We also used some of our scrap for:

2x4 cut to 17" 
Fence picket cut to 10 1/4"x3" (decorative plate)
Fence picket cut to 18"x5 5/8" (base)
Fence picket cut to 17"x5 5/8" (base)

We cut the 4x4 to 70".
  • 14" underground
  • The mailbox starting 36" above ground
  • 10" tall mailbox
  • And we wanted the post to come 10" above the mailbox
After cutting the fence picket for the decorative plate, I used a penny as a guide to cut the rounded edges out of the bottom corners.

The mailbox has a 1" recess on the bottom for mounting, so we needed to make a base fill the void.  

I cut a fence picket piece 18"x5 5/8" which was  1/8" less then the dimensions of the mailbox's opening on bottom.  The next piece I cut to 17"x5 5/8" so there would be clearance for the mailbox to open.  I applied deck stain to the insides of both pieces, clamped and screwed them together, then stained the rest.

Megan sanded and stained all of the other pieces, and the next day we ripped that old sucker out!

Using a San Angelo Bar I pried out the old concrete base easily.  Our first time dealing with concrete that was easy, HOORAY!  I roared with victory!  I dug the whole a little deeper to about 14". 

I attempted to measure the water with my bucket for the concrete, but it had been left out in the sun and became very brittle.  

So instead I winged it, mixing the concrete to the consistency of chunky peanut butter.  Once mixed, I poured a scoopful into the hole, then placed the post in. 

My lovely assistant held the post while I shoveled in concrete, occasionally stabbing it down to release air and condense it down. 


Looking good!

Once it was level, we tamped down the concrete with our hoe and my feet.

I let the concrete set around the post for 24 hours before moving on. Even with just a post it was looking good!

I was still really excited about how easy the concrete was to remove!

Day 2
I started the assembly by screwing the bracket to the decorative back. To avoid visible screws, I screwed through the back of the plate into the back of the bracket.  I also screwed the 2x4 into the the top of the bracket.

Next, I clamped the plate/bracket combo and the 2x4 to the post. 

I should have used my Kreg jig before connecting everything, but I was just so excited to see the pieces together.  It was interesting trying to get the angle right for the clamp since the bracket is curved.  I screwed these pieces in with pocket holes, and put one 4" screw through the center of the bracket into the post below.

I may still wood putty and stain over that screw. Or not.

During this assembly, Gabe found the box for the mailbox and transformed into ROBOT-GABE!

After this was all together, the Chargers game started.  So....TO BE CONTINUED!  I had work after the game (yuck), but got back to finishing the job that night at 9 PM.  My neighbors love me!  I dry fit the mailbox and the base so I would know where to screw it into the 2x4.  

Best picture ever!  Of course my phone's battery was too low for flash and I was suffering from lazyitus to go and find the camera.  But it still shows the platform, and the gap on the back for the mailbox to sit into.  Screw the base into the 2x4, put the mailbox on, and screw it in!


I love driving up to the house everyday.  And checking the mail.  It's the best looking mailbox on the street.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Clean a Scratched DVD with a Banana!

To breathe new life into a scratched CD or DVD, take a banana and rub it into the shiny side.  Rinse off the banana with water gently, and wipe with a soft cloth.

 Works like a charm!  With our kid's grabby fingers, this remedy comes in handy often.

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Friday, October 18, 2013

DIY Pac-Man Costume For Under $15!

For Halloween I wanted to be Pac-Man.  Figuring it out took a little ingenuity, but overall wasn't too bad!  

$0 Cardboard
$1 Roll of cheap duct tape *had this already
$1 Bag of Glue Sticks
$8 Quart of True Lemon Yellow Paint (Walmart brand)
$3 Black Paint (sample would be plenty) *had this already
$1 Black mesh *had this already
$14 Total, I payed $9 because I had most of these supplies.

Hot Glue Gun
Box Cutter
Paint Brush

I found an image of Pac-Man someone used for an algebra or trigonometry class.  I measured the diameter to be 2 3/8", and the length of the mouth to be 1 1/4".  

I got all my cardboard for free at Costco.  Usually there will be some slip sheets in their metal box bins, but if there isn't just ask around.

My first attempt was a 25"  circle with a 60 degree 13" equilateral triangle cut out of it.  To create the circle, you can use my tutorial from our Minnie Mouse Bean Bag TossAs you can see it was a little small.  OK A LOT SMALL!  Time for attempt #2. 

The next attempt I used a 36" circle with an 18" triangle.  For the triangle, draw an 18" line.  Next line up a protractor and mark a dash at 60 degrees.  Draw another 18" line from the end of the first line, through that dash.  Connect the two lines.  

Once you have your circle and triangle, place the triangle on the circle, lining up two corners to the outside of the circle.  Trace it, and cut out the lines.

For the arm hole, I took a couple different plates and saucers and matched them up with my arm until I found one that worked, traced it and cut it out.

Copy and cut for the second side.

For the connecting center, I measured from shoulder to shoulder which was 16."  I added 1" to be safe (I regret doing this because it doesn't sit directly on my shoulder), and 1" for the connecting kerf.  Cut your connecting center so the cardboard is horizontal.  This way it can roll and take shape.

Once you have your center cut, roll it up so it will take shape easier.  Next make a line 1/2" in on each side.  Take a blade and make cuts up to that line, bending inward as you go.

Begin your assembly.  I hot glued and duct taped the pieces together.  The top mouth section was the same as the rest of the center pieces, except I used stiffer cardboard (unbent), and I cut a rectangle out so I would be able to see.  The bottom I cut a piece 23"x18," and rolled 5" worth of it.

Once all the assembly was complete I finally got to the fun part!  PAINT!  I got a quart of Walmart's True Lemon Yellow paint and  I had some left over black chalkboard paint for the mouth.  

For the eyes, I wanted them to look like a backwards Pac Man. 

It took a couple different saucers and bowls to figure out a good size for them.  I drew a circle, measured to the center point, and drew a 60 degree triangle from it.  I wish I had done this before assembly and painting.  

Finally, I hot glued black mesh to the eyes and the front viewing rectangle.

Pac-Man in action!  
It was a lot of fun making it, and even more fun wearing it!  I did bump into a car at one point while trying to pick up a balloon that was running off in the wind.  The peripherals aren't great, but it's a small price to pay for a awesome costume!

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Here's a reader-made costume for her son that she posted on our Facebook page!  So flattered that it worked out great for him!


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Bubble Run 5k: Have a Good Clean Run

Ever long for a fun run that left you feeling refreshed rather than dirty and exhausted? The Bubble Run is just that!

Using my go to resource for fun runs, Groupon, I found out about and signed up for a local Bubble Run. 


Run through colored bubbles in the middle of a heat wave? I'm in! 

Gabe had been asking me for days if he could run in the bubbles with me. I was worried about him being run over in the bubble bog pits and I do not own a jogging stroller. But the morning of the run I looked at that cute face and I couldn't say no. We pulled out an old graco stroller, put some sunglasses and a bandana on him, and away we went.

The run (ha, ha, see what I did there?) down: 

Distance: 5k (3.1 miles)
Fun stuff: 5 different colorful bubble bogs where a machine spews bubbles at you
Swag: Bubble run t-shirt, temprary tattoo, and a plastic visor as well as a water bottle and granola bar after the run
Bonus: Each bubble bog station had creative names such as "Ring, Ring....Yellow", "It's Not Easy Being Green", and "Rolling in the Pink". 
Bummers: Not much to do after the run

Every bubble bog would result in Gabe being completely buried. He was thrilled! We would pull the bandana over his nose and mouth before each bog, and he came through unharmed.

The bubbles were surprisingly dry. In that, you didn't slip around and once you were a few feet out of the bog you were dry. No slimy bubble residue. And on a hot summer day, the cooling bubbles felt awesome! My new official opinion is that all runners should be doused in bubbles every 1/4 mile. So, run planners, get on that. Okay?

We were left a little tye died after the run, especially our feet where the squishy bubblieness took longest to dry.

Yes, you may need a pedicure after this run. Or a manicure for all the gentlemen out there. But unlike the Color Run, this dye washed off easily in the shower.

I would do this race again in a heart beat. In fact, next year Gabe and Abby both will be running through the bubbles with me! Who knows, maybe we can even convince Trent to join us (hint, hint, wink, wink).

Thank you Bubble Run for a Good Clean Run!

Do you have a favorite fun run? Please share!! I need inspiration and motivation to lace up my running shoes five days a week.  And don't forget to follow our blog for more interesting content!