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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Inexpensive Home Comfort Fix: So Easy a Six-Year-Old Can Do It

This past week, we had a whole house energy audit. If you haven't heard of these, they are pretty cool. We had ours done through a Rosie-certified contractor (all Arizona homeowners should know who Rosie is). The purpose of a home energy audit is to find out how energy efficient your home is. Here's the process.

First, a big fan is hooked up to the front door. All ducts are tested with a pressure sensor, the AC unit is tested, windows and doors are

Sunday, June 11, 2017

DIY Stained Glass

Three years ago I wrote an article about being a real life long learner. The two skills that I had recently learned at that point were milking cows and making stained glass. At that point, I had only made a turtle after one session of stained glass work, but I really enjoyed it. My mom had supplies, a friend had several boxes of glass, and I had a table in the garage that just needed a future project to sit on it. And sit on it the supplies did, for three years.

Then, this past spring, my wife and I were looking at this ugly curtain that covered a south facing window above our sliding glass door. The curtain came with the house, I think it had once been white but was so covered in dust that its color was indescribably filthy, and the window was just screaming for some class. We had talked about doing something with stained glass for that space, but the window is about five feet by two feet, and the turtle that I had previously made was about four inches by three inches. I didn't know if I was ready to

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Stained Glass and Coffee: What to Do When It's 3 A.M. and You Can't Sleep

It's 3:30 a.m. and I can't sleep. I've been laying in bed awake for an hour, and while I know I'm exhausted because it's the end of a school year, my mind just won't shut down. We've all been there before. When I was a kid, it was the Tetris dream. You know the one. You have a game of Tetris playing in your head, and you have all of the pieces perfectly stacked. Then you get nothing but random zig-zag pieces that don't fit and you wake up in a cold sweat. Please tell me that I'm not the only one who has had these Tetris dreams before.

Is this random? Yes it is. Remember the part where I said that it is 3:30 a.m.?

I'm not having random Tetris dreams now. I have school schedules running through my head. And kids birthday parties. And gardening and house projects and date nights and banking. So while my body is tired and in need of sleep, my mind is like a three year old at a birthday party. It just won't stop.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

DIY Bathroom Remodel: Whirlwind-Speed or Slow-and-Steady?

In my life BK (Before Kids), I loved doing whirlwind weekend projects, especially when my wife was out of town. One time, when she was gone for three days, I drywalled in a doorway to the family room, cut out an opening between the living room and the family room, and installed french doors connecting the two rooms. During another trip, I gutted our bathroom, refinished the walls (pulling down salmon colored wall tile and drywalling significant portions of the walls), painted, and installed all new fixtures and a new vanity. It got to the point where I had set myself up for some amazing project completion when she was gone, so that I had to find something to do with each trip.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Spicy Oil: Add Some Kick to Your Food

I like spicy food. I REALLY like spicy food. One time in college I entered a jalapeño eating contest. I won first place, eating 33 jalapeños in 2 minutes. While I haven't repeated that experience ever (although I still proudly talk about the t-shirt that I won), I often find that I can't get enough spice in my food.

Enter the pequin.

"What is a pequin?" you may be asking yourself. It is a small pepper that looks like an orange tic tac, and it is 13-40 times hotter than a jalapeño. This little guy packs a punch.

My older brother had a pequin bush in his back yard. I took a clipping from his plant and now have my own pequin bush that is more than six feet tall and six feet wide. I have more spicy orange tic tacs than I can use.

Dried pequins