June was National Safety Awareness Month

safety cones


Did you know that June was National Safety Awareness Month?

It’s true.  And although summer is speeding by and we’re already into the month of July, I wanted to share some safety tips with you.

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DIY PROJECT :: Making a Set of Cornhole Boards

Cornhole is STILL the Craze

Right after video games, cornhole has become the game of choice for kids (and parents t0o).  We see tons of them every weekend at the lake.  Campers bring along their family, food, their pets, AND their cherished corn hole games.

Making Corn Hole Boards

 A Great FAMILY Project

Making cornhole boards is a great project for you and the kids.  Even the youngest ones can help in some way.  Just BE SAFE!  Keep power tools unplugged when not in use and out of the reach of small children at ALL times.  We want this to be a fun project — not a trip to the ER. :-)

About a year ago, Nate and I made a set of cornhole boards.  You can see one of them in the photo below.  (And as a personal side note:  Wow, doesn’t the backyard lawn look nice and green?!?!)

Okay, on with the story. :-)

Several members of our family are IU (Indiana University) fans.  So…as home-grown Hoosiers, we opted for the old Cream and Crimson design.

Our boards turned out great.  For first-timers, this project went very well — from beginning to end.  Let me just say:  good instructions make ALL the difference.

Let’s get started!

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Homekeeping :: Wednesday Wipe Down

Wednesday Wipe Down


It’s the middle of the week and time for some basic homekeeping chores.

Like many of you, our house cleaning chores (vacuuming, dusting, bathroom cleaning, etc.) take place on the weekend.

By taking a few minutes in the middle of the week, you can save some time on your weekend cleaning routine.

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#LightMyWay :: Energizer Headlights are Great Tools for Around the House!

DISCLOSURE:  I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias and their client.  All opinions are mine.

Quick: What’s the first thing you think of when you hear the words “beam headlights”?

Sure…you think of the headlights on a car or truck, right?

Quick: What’s the second thing you think of when you hear the words “beam headlights”?

Perhaps:   camping or spelunking (look it up)?

On a recent trip to my local Walmart, I came across these super-cool headlights.  And, yes, they were in the camping section.

 LightMyWay headlights in cart


But…I had other plans for them.


Rule No. 1:  Don’t judge a book by its cover

Some things are very multi-purpose.  You just have to think a bit ‘out-of-the-box’ sometimes.

To wit:

You know how sometimes life would be SO much easier if you had a light or a flashlight to shine on what you’re working on?  Or looking for?

And you know how sometimes YOU are the only one around?  As in, there’s no one there to help by holding a flashlight?

Yeah.  That’s been ME many times.

So I decided to do something about it.

A few weeks ago, I was elbow-deep in a plumbing project.  And ALL plumbing projects turn out to be more complicated than they should be?  Agree?

I just wanted to change a faucet in the downstairs bathroom.  Simple project, right?  Not so much.

It was a total pain the drain.  Pun intended. :-)

First problem:  you have to be super-skinny to fit underneath the sink.  That’s not me.

Second problem:  you CANNOT see what you’re doing once you cram yourself in the small space.

Third problem:  you need both hands to do the work.  Plus…you could really use a work flashlight.  (And there’s no extra room for a helper to crawl in there and shine a light where you want it.  Trust me:   I tried that.)

The Energizer headlight is the PERFECT tool for the job.  Strap it on your head.  Turn it on.  Position it so the light shines where you want it to.

Bam!  You’re in business.

Like this:

plumbing project 550

Now, THAT’S what I’m talking about.

The headlight was just $14.88 at my local Walmart store.

Honestly, I would have paid twice that.  Just to be able to see what I was doing.  Seriously.

Rule No. 2  The power WILL go off and you’ll be in the dark.

Don’t be caught in the dark.  These headlights are the right tool when the power goes off and you need to go to the basement and check the breaker box.  (Or make sure your basement isn’t flooding since the sump-pump is out of commission.)

breaker box 550


Rule No. 3  There is NEVER enough light in your garage.  Or…why do they install landscape light timer boxes in places that a human cannot access?

landscape timer box 550

Our landscape light timer boxes are tucked in a corner of the garage.  On wall.  Under a shelf.

Where only a munchkin or small child could reach.

I’ve not seen any munchkins around these parts.  And…my kids are as big as I am.  So that’s not an option.


I become a contortionist when I need to change the “on” and “off” times for the landscape lights.  There’s the summertime setting I use and the wintertime setting.

It has ALWAYS been a pain to crawl back in the dark, spider-web-laden corner to make the adjustments.

The bending and twisting I (somehow) deal with.  The spiderwebs are creepy, but I deal with them too.

But once I’m back in the dark, dark place.  I cannot see what the dials say.  There is absence of light.


Energize headlight to the rescue.

Seriously, why didn’t I think of this before?

It makes a world of difference when you shine some light on the subject.

Rule No. 4  #LightMyWay is the way to go when you need to see what the heck you’re doing.

P.S.  Your kids are gonna love these too.  TRUST ME.

That’s why I bought Pro 6 model and got the LED Headlight for the boys to fight over.  And they will.  TRUST ME.

P.P.S.  Learn more about these super-handy tools by visiting the Energizer Facebook page and by following them on Twitter.




Planning is a GOOD Four Letter Word!

500x500 tipstricks plan your week ribbon

This is big.

Probably the biggest and best thing you can do for yourself on the weekend is to make plans for the upcoming week.  The payoff is huge.

I know:  it cuts into your weekend free time.  But once you get in the hang of it, it really doesn’t take that long.  And I’m telling you, you will be SO glad you did it.

What kind of plans, you ask?  The important ones:  meals and kids are the two biggies.  Work and social obligations are also items worthy of a good planning session.

Sitting down on a Sunday afternoon and plotting out the next week takes some time.  And it takes time to make the habit stick.  But, take it from me, it is a habit worth creating.  You like to eat don’t you?  You don’t want to leave you son or daughter stranded at school do you?  Didn’t think so.

There’s nothing worse than sitting at your desk at work when 4:30 rolls around and you’re wondering to yourself, “what are we going to have for dinner?”  My wife and I have been there and done that a few too many times.  You too?

But we’ve gotten better.  A lot better.

To get a handle on the new week, here’s what we look at on Sundays:

Food plan (grocery lists, cooking schedules, etc.)

We do most of our grocery shopping on the weekend.  Before we drive off to the food market, we make a list of all the items we’ll need.  Going to the grocery store without a list is asking for trouble.  Trust me.  : -)  My wife and I figure out the meals for the weekend and (at least) Monday and Tuesday’s dinners too.  Many times, there’s leftovers from the weekend that will get eaten up on Monday night.

Weekend Food Prep

This weekend, we make two meatloaves, a big pot of chili and shredded taco chicken.  I also made up a batch of chicken salad (love that stuff).  I’m doing the low-carb diet these days and chicken salad is a great option for me to have around.  By the way, you can follow my low-carb journey here.  Yes, I’m blogging about it.  I’m sort of that way:  when I really get “into” something, I have to create a website and blog about it.  I’d love to see you tune in.  Comments are ALWAYS appreciated.

Appointments (doctor, dentist, etc.)

Life is busy.  There seems to be at least one appointment during every week that we need to plan for.  With a family of four, that’s not unusual.  Especially with the horrible cold and flu season we’ve had this winter, it seems like one of us is at the doctor’s office every week.  It’s crazy!  (Note to self:  add “I appreciate my medical insurance” in your gratitude journal tonight.)

School (sports practice, band concerts, etc.)

Okay, so with two boys (one who is infatuated with sports) there’s ALWAYS something going on.  Matt is on the middle-school wrestling team (much to his parents’ chagrin — a topic for an entirely different blog post).   He has either a practice or a wrestling meet pretty much every day after school.  And sometimes on Saturdays.  Intense.  That’s our Matt — intense! :-)

Since I work 45 minutes from home, my wife handles 90% of the transporting needed to get people where they need to be.  (Thank you honey!)  Even so, we both keep our calendars in synch with the week’s activities.  Things come up and if she needs to stay late or meet with a client, I can pinch hit and make sure Matt gets picked up.

Winston Churchill once said,”Failing to plan is planning to fail.”  And boy was he right.

Your turn:  how do you keep track of all the things you have to do?  Share your tips in the comment section below.



The Power of the To-Do List

todolistwithcheckmarksWe try so hard to keep all our ideas, thoughts, and tasks in our head.  Why?  That’s really not what a brain is for. Paper (or, in this case, a short-stack of index cards) is a MUCH better place to capture all the ‘stuff’ you need to do.

I carry one of these around with me all day long.  Every day.  At work. At the grocery store.  Everywhere.  Because I never know when a thought will cross my mind.  And I really only want it to cross my mind ONCE.


Writing things down frees my mind for what it’s really supposed to do:  think, process, create.

I encourage you to find a way to empty your head of all the appointments, tasks, to-dos, and grocery lists.  All it takes is a few index cards and a binder clip.

Low-tech is sometimes best.  Just saying.

Your Turn:  What is your favorite way to keep track of your ‘stuff’?  Leave a comment below.

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