Water30

Pouring Water

Every morning when I wake up, I kiss my wife and daughter goodbye and I get in my truck to head to work. On my way to work, I stop at the gas station and grab 2 red bull’s a Pepsi, and a piece of pizza. This is how my day starts and I hate it. I’m not proud of this, but these are the facts, and something has to change.

I’m not good with change. Especially a lot of change. When I try programs like the whole 30, I don’t do well because it’s a lot at once. So I’m trying something bold, but manageable. I’m only drinking water for 30 days. Only 28 more days after today.

My biggest challenge with this is I love flavor. Or perhaps I’m addicted to the sugar that most drinks use in sugar. I’m not sure. All I know is when I start adding flavors to my water, It becomes a slippery slope. I start justifying to myself that, oh, It’s just a little squirt of flavor. What’s another squirt of flavor? And thus begins the rabbit whole.

A new year, A new set of goals

2017 ithas a year for the record books. Well, my record books anyway. The year was full of ups and downs. From everything from loosing my mom to cancer to purchasing a house and getting married. I’m destined to make this year even better, and I’m going to start with my health goals. I have 3.

  1. I want to run 365 miles this year
  2. I want to hike 10 mountains
  3. I want to eat 780 healthy meals

These are lofty goals but they are easy to tackle if I do them correctly. I’m going to take these goals on the same way you’d eat an elephant, one bite at a time. (No pun intended for goal #3).

Goal #1: Running

I think running be the most physically challanging  for me. At 365 miles, that’s 1 mile a day to run, provided I don’t skip any days. Today is already day 2/365 and I have run 0 miles. In the past when I ran, I did anywhere between 1-3 miles. I am predicting that once I get into a routine, I will increase my distance traveled during each run. To stay on track, I need to be at about 30 miles by the end of the month. I’ll let you know how the progress goes.

For my running, I’m going to use my newly acquired Apple Watch. I purchased the series 3 Nike+ with the hopes that it will help me and encourage me to meet my goals. I’ll post at least weakly updates on how the running went.

Goal #2: Hiking

Hiking is near and dear to my heart. Ever since I was in Boy Scouts in my youth, I have always loved hiking. The outdoors, the challenge, the quite, the peacefulness, you get the point. Everything that typical hikers say about why they hike. I try to get out and hike but with work, family, and being lazy, I don’t get out as much.

When I do I drag Roni along and we both end up being miserable. I try to push the envelope and try the hikes with the great view and the vertical incline. This becomes a miserable experience for the both of us, and even more so if we bring Ezra along. For that reason, I’m going to start small this year. Do a couple flat wooded walks, then scale up. My ultimate goal this year is Mt. Chocorua. Roni and I have tried twice unsuccessfully to summit this mountain. This year, I’m going to do it.

Goal #3: Eating

Eating healthy is going to be the hardest for me. Between my addiction to caffeine and sugar, and the convenience of fast food and snacks, I get sucked in. We have tried several of the “Fad” diets through the last 4 years together. The one keep returning to is the “Whole 30.” We saw some success with this diet as well as some alterations to how my body handles dairy now. More on that later. In my personal opinion, diets don’t work. I need an overall lifestyle change. In stating this, I came up with the following Idea: Eat 65 healthy meals a month. This totals 780 healthy meals for the year.

As I stated before, this is going to be the hardest for me. It’s also the one with the most grey area in the rules. What do I consider healthy? Does it have to be “Whole30 approved”? No. Does it have to be dairy free? No. Does it have to be sugar free? No. Healthy to me means staying within portions and making the right choices. No Soda. No extra sugar. Basically the old addage: Everything in moderation.

That’s it

Those are my 3 easily obtainable goals. Ok, easy may be a stretch but I can do it. For a starting point, I will work on a post later this week with my starting body measurements. That will give me a benchmark for where I started.

DIY: How to Build Raised Planters

Above Ground Planters

It’s official! We have a real garden this year! It doesn’t look like much, but we’re getting there. And it’s also given Andy a really great reason to build something other than a wooden sign for an order. He was over the moon when I gave him the go ahead to build a set of raised planters. Guess he was so excited that he decided to build TWO above ground planters for the garden at his mom’s house where we’re gardening this year.

I admit, he did a really great job. And I have to say, he did a lot of research on what is the best planter set up for what we are growing this year. The list currently includes lettuce, kale, tomatoes, onions, green peppers, and I think there has been some talk about pumpkins, but we’re still figuring that one out. He said he needs a tons of room for one pumpkin plant and I’m not sure what “tons of room means.” I guess we’ll find out.

Anyway, Andy made two beds: one is 8 feet by 2 feet, and another that is 8 feet by 4 feet. Three Home Depot trips, a delivery of soil, and a lot of patience resulted in two pretty awesome beds. Below you’ll find instructions on how to make the 8 foot by 4 foot bed. Use the sample principles to make the smaller bed, just different measurements for the sides.

DIY Raised Planters

What You’ll Need

DIY Raised Beds

First, measure two of the boards and mark 4 feet from the edge. It should land in the middle of the board. Mark and cut the two boards at the 4-foot mark with your saw. These pieces will be the ends of your planter.

Take your 6-foot 2×4 and measure 14-inch sections. Mark and cut with your saw. These pieces will be your corner braces and help you attach the two levels to your bed.

Next, lay two of your 4-foot planks flush to each other, aligning the shorter ends. Then, place two of your braces at the ends of the wood so it overlaps both pieces, but is flat to the edges. Using your drill, screw through the planks into your braces, four screws per side. You should use 8 screws total for this. Repeat this with your other two 4-foot planks.

For your 8-foot planks, you will place your braces three feet from each end. Screw in your braces. Repeat with your last two 8-foot pieces of wood. These will create your longer sides.

Using your carpenter’s square, make a corner with one of your 8-foot sides and one of your 4-foot sides. Screw the ends, then repeat with each corner, making sure your braces are on the inside of the frame.

After you build the frames, place them in the location you’d like them to finally end up. Use your shovel to create an outline around the bed, digging in enough to know where your frame will be when it’s removed from that space. Then remove the frame and dig out the grass within that rectangle (see picture below). You’ll want to dig down about an inch, so that you remove the layer of grass from the soil.

DIY Raised Beds

Replace the frame over the soil. Make sure the fame is level to the ground, then you may start filling in the frame with soil. As you add the soil, it’s good to have one person use a hoe or rake to help level the soil around the bed. Do not pack down the soil. We used a local farm that provided us with local soil that is mixed with compost. But using any garden soil will do. Your local Home Depot or Lowe’s should have various options for vegetable gardens to choose from if you can’t purchase local soil.

Raised Garden Beds

Now you’re ready to plant! Good luck and let us know how your own beds came out. What did you plant?

Raised Garden Beds

Toddlers With Green Thumbs

 

So I guess I have to eat my words, we’ve found who has the green thumbs in the house. This year, we’re actually growing vegetables. They’re only seedlings right now, but it’s farther than we’ve gotten any year. The little green stalks are starting to peek up from the dirt. We’ve even been able to transplant the starter pods into biodegradable planters to get one step closer to planting in the ground.

We’ve learned that Little Miss Ezra has a knack for growing plants. For the last few years, Andy and I have tried our best at growing vegetables. Between the two of us, we thought we had no green thumbs. We took classes at the local library to learn how to garden better, read blogs online, and even tried planting in our front yard. Turns out, we might just have been overthinking this whole gardening thing.

Like every year, we started plants inside and this year Ezra was old enough to actually help us. So we let her put seeds in the dirt, water the plants and make sure they got enough sun. We even gave her random seeds at one point to let her “play” gardener. I’ll get to that later, but as a spoiler, she has a green thumb, possibly two green thumbs.

So instead of planting our garden at our house this year, we’ve decided to take over the front yard of Andy’s mom’s house. It gives us a chance to go over and visit, but also let us have actual room to grow. At our house, we have to plant above ground only, as we currently rent. So we’re taking a chance this year and trying outdoor gardening again. We have tomatoes, green peppers, even pumpkins are on the list. I’m hoping we actually grow more than just a single cucumber. It would be nice to actually have enough vegetables to cook at least one meal. Maybe even make a salad.

 

Gardening In New Hampshire: Time to Plant!

We don’t have a green thumb. Not a one. We are not what you would call the gardening type. Every year, we try to plant a small garden, full of vegetables. And every year, we find our plants have wilted – despite all the love we give them. Last year, we even took a gardening class at the local library. We both took diligent notes, followed up with questions, and learned all the different ways potted plants need extra attention. It didn’t help.

So this year we took things a little more seriously. We went straight to Wentworth Greenhouses. The are the sweetest people with the most patience. I even overheard them trying to explain to a woman that yes, indeed, all plants need sunlight. Who knew?

After many, many laps of the greenhouse, a few extra circles through the exotic plants, we found a small plant for Ezra’s bedroom window and one for Andy’s office. They even repotted the plants for us. (A good thing, because, honestly, we probably would have killed them in the process.)

Feeling a little overconfident, we started our vegetable garden today as well. Every year we get a little bit closer to actually having plants that survive. Andy’s gardening app told us we had to plant our peppers and tomatoes today. So that’s what we did. I think Ezra might have put a few too many seeds in each tray. We think she was just trying to make sure at least one seed would grow. She’s a little optimist.

For now, the seeds are tucked under the windows in our living room. Andy might try to build an above ground garden box for us. If the plants make it out of stage one, then he’ll get the green light. Until then, please send positive gardening vibes our way.

Little Gardening Tips

DIY: Children’s Activity board

As most of you know, Ezra is becoming quite the active toddler. She’s now opening doors by herself, helping Roni turn on the light switches, and so much more. The other day I was browsing the Internet and I came across a board on Pinterest with activities for toddlers. There were so many activities! Naturally, I found the one that involved me building something; a latches and hooks activity board.

I instantly needed to make one for Ezra. This was a relatively easy project. So I grabbed my notebook and started jotting down what materials I needed. I have included a material list below. After I had my list, I stopped by the big box store and picked up what I needed. Once I arrived home, I was too excited to start building I didn’t even take the time to change out of my work clothes. I ran to the wood shop, grabbed the scrap wood and drill, and proceeded to layout Ezra’s new activity board.

Photo Mar 03, 5 55 07 PM

DIY Latches and Hooks Activity Board

Materials:
(1) 2x10x2 board (make sure it’s not pressure treated)
(1) Barrel lock
(1) Entry door spring stop
(1) Slide Bolt entry door chain
(2) Hook and eye latch
(1) 3.5″ Hinge
(1) Gate Hasp
(2) Eye bolts
(1) Gate handle
(1) 2′ section of chain
(6) 6 small s hooks for attaching the chain.
(1) Handle
All hooks should come with screws for installation

Make sure to sand all edges and surfaces of your board before starting. I used 120 grit sandpaper for this, then moved up to 220 for a smoother finish. At this point, you may choose to paint your board, however I preferred the unfinished look.

You can use any size board you’d like, I happened to have a good sized piece of scrap around. First lay out all of the pieces on the board before screwing anything in to make sure there is enough room for everything to freely sit. Once board the is prepped and you’ve decided where you’d like to put all the pieces, attach your hardware!

Secure hardware, making sure to align hooks before drilling screws. Once you complete yours, don’t forget to send us photos! We’d love to see your rendition!

Birch Bird Feeders

A long time ago, Andy started collecting birch branches and logs. I didn’t say anything, because, honestly, he’s the wood worker in the family. But we hit a point where we needed to start making things out of the wood or it needed to find a home. What I didn’t expect was for Andy to come up with something as cute as this. I only expected him to cut it into coasters. Read More

Ezra’s Little Christmas Tree

Every year, we cut down our own Christmas Tree. Last year, our tree was just a little fuller than that of Good Old Charlie Brown, so when we went this year, we set our hopes somewhere in the range of the Griswolds. There’s this little farm near our house that my mom and I have been going to for years to cut down her tree, so this year we took Ezra to pick out a Christmas tree.

We found the perfect one, had it cut down, and hauled it back home. However, that wasn’t before the owners offered Ezra her own pint-sized tree, for FREE. You should have seen her face light up. She was so proud to show it off to everyone. Turns out at tree farms, there’s a lot of little trees that get cut because they are growing too close to another tree. They either get thrown out or burned. So we gave it its own home, Ezra even offered to drive it home on top of her car.

We got a kick out of strapping it to the roof of pink and purple car and letting her drive around with it. I think she enjoyed it a bit, too.
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Chirp… Chirp…

Feeder

Ahh yes, spring! The snow is melting, the temperature is rising, seeds are growing, I love this time of year. Another reason I love it is for the birds. Growing up, I would love to go to my grandparents in the spring. I would love to go so I could see all their amazing birds that would come to my grandfather’s feeders.

Now it’s our turn to feed the birds. For Christmas last December, Moemoe bought Ezra window bird feeder. While it does serve its purpose of serving the birds, the squirrels seem to be enjoying it as well! We did set up a feeder for the squirrels but they have yet to notice the yummy corn we have put out for them.

It’s spring time…

It’s spring time! You know what that means? Time to plant. I haven’t ever planted my very own vegetable garden before. Growing up, we planted a few tomato plants and probably a few other things, however our primary source of veggies was either the store or my Grandfather. Two years ago, I started some seeds but never ended up planting them due to the move back to Rochester. Last year, I was on the go too much and didn’t feel I had the time to dedicate to taking care of them. This year however, I’m happy to say that with my job schedule and new house, I think I might just be able to pull it off!

A few weeks ago, I picked up some organic seeds from the store. Wasn’t really sure what I was going to plant or how much room I had to dedicate to planting my garden but I bought what I thought we would use. These included, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, green onion, squash, and more. I also picked up some herbs while I was at it. After I had my seeds, the research began.

I started out by planting the herbs first. Little did I know they actually needed semi-warm tempters to grow, so to Roni’s excitement, the heat was now set at 65, instead of 55. To my excitement, the herbs have started to pop up from the soil! That’s always an exciting feeling. So far so good. I’ve remembered to water them daily if they need it, and I keep turning them to rotate the sunlight.

I’m pretty optimistic about my veggie garden so far. That is, if Roni stays far far away from it. We all know how her carrots came out last year.