Category Archives: Tips

Learning How To Do It Right

It’s no secret. When it comes to learning how to do something new I turn to YouTube. That’s what I did recently to figure out how to install a basketball hoop for my girls. I wanted to get it done now so they’d have the whole Summer to use it.

I watched every installation video I could find… even those for different hoops than the one I’d be installing. Just for good measure I watched a few flag pole installation videos too. I figured it was pretty close to the same thing I’d be doing.

The plan was to dig a hole and cement in a metal sleeve. After the concrete cures the basketball hoop pole is meant to slide into the sleeve. That way it isn’t permanent installation and I can store it in the garage rafters during the winter months.

Creating the concrete form and digging the hole went as planned. After all, I was armed with a ton of information from YouTube. In fact, I was done and ready for concrete when my Father-in-law pulled up. He was going to help with the project.

Basketball Hoop Installation Concrete Form

Seeing the hole completely done I’m sure he felt as relieved as I do when I pull onto his farm yard and see an empty hay rack. Neither one of us is afraid of hard work… but hole digging and throwing hay bales is hard work that we’d gladly forgo if given the chance.

I was glad he was there to help. I had never mixed my own concrete before and wanted expert in-person advice on the correct consistency. If I didn’t have him to help, I would’ve probably enlisted the help of a professional like Pebblemix to talk me through concrete and the different types. I mentioned I was a concrete newbie as I was working up the first bag of concrete mix. He was surprised and mentioned that it looked like I knew what I was doing. All those videos paid off!

We got the concrete all mixed, poured, and the sleeve set and leveled. All that was left was the clean up.

Basketball Hoop Installation Sleeve cemented

I thought I was smart and put all the dirt from the hole into an old kiddy swimming pool we had laying around. It seemed like a good idea and a way to keep the driveway clean. What to do with the dirt was never covered in any of the videos.

Basketball Hoop Installation

In my mind this a good idea. I discounted using the wheelbarrow because that’s what I was going to use to mix the concrete in.

In actuality, this really wasn’t a good idea because putting the dirt in the pool created extra work! When we were all done I had to shovel the dirt a second time from the pool into the wheelbarrow to transport to the garden.

It would have been much easier to take the dirt from the hole to the wheel barrow right in from the beginning.

This isn’t the first time I’ve chosen the hard way to learn how to do something the right way!

Ever had a similar experience?

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13 Pieces Of Graduation Advice I Wish I’d Gotten

High schools all across the country are holding graduation ceremonies this month. It’s the last time most seniors and their classmates will all be in the same place at the same time.

Most will hear speeches from the valedictorian, high school staff, and maybe someone from the community. All will probably share an inspiring message but it might not necessarily be practical advice. Some might even opt to get their photographs taken by professionals such as Senior portraits photographer Allison Van Zanten instead of having them taken at school. If this is the last time you’re going to take a photo like this during your high school years, why not make it a good one! Anyway, after your high school graduation, you need to decide if you want to further your education to college. Progressing through college could lead you to graduate school. If you’re not sure if this level of education is for you, perhaps trying a Grad School 101 Workshop would be beneficial to see if it suits you. Anyway, here are some nuggets of graduation advice I wish I would have gotten before heading off to college.

1. It’s great to make new friends… but don’t forget the ones who were with you all through grade school and high school. I wish I had stayed in better contact with my high school friends. Facebook and Twitter make it easier to keep in touch today than when I was in college.

2. I know you’re getting away from home (and that’s great) but don’t forget where you came from. Go back and visit every once in awhile. As a bonus you can do laundry! And be sure to visit your grandparents.

3. Don’t save all your laundry until you go home and don’t try and do it one load at a time in the dorms. Do it at a laundromat. Figure out when the off time is and you’ll be able to do several loads at the same time. Plus, you can study while you wait.

4. Try not to schedule any classes before 10am on Mondays. This will give you extra time if you’re coming off a rough weekend.

5. Try not to schedule any classes after 3pm on Fridays. This will get you a jumpstart on the weekend.

6. Work study is great… but you’ll make more money and probably have more flexible hours if you get a part-time job off campus.

7. There will be great food at the cafeteria but you don’t need to eat it all.

8. Stay active. Join an intramural team. Utilize the gym and workout facilities on campus.

9. Don’t skip class! Do the math and see what each class costs. Not for the semester but each individual class period. It’ll make you think twice about skipping.

10. Take advantage of everything your college provides. Your tuition covers more than just school. There are plenty of other activities that as a student you can attend for no extra cost. Go to sporting events, plays, vocal performances, lectures, etc. Get a calendar of events from the campus activities board.

11. If you’re a person of faith attend worship regularly. Many campuses have special services just for students. There are plenty of temptations at college. Church will help keep you grounded.

12. Have a budget, balance your accounts, and save money! You’ve got the benefit of years and years of compound interest. Use it wisely. It might be worth saving money before you even go to college so you can get the right equipment for your studies. I would recommend getting a credit card too but if you’re not sure how to go about doing this, Google something like “credit cards no credit check” and you’ll be able to find a good option for your current financial situation.

Depending on what you study, you may need quite a lot of equipment or nothing at all; regardless, it’s best to prepare and do your research. For example, We’ve researched a lot of laptops and screened out some best laptop for medical students on Laptoplex if this is the avenue you’re going down. There’s plenty of laptops on there for other purposes too!

13. Find a balance between work, study, and play. Work hard and study… but don’t forget to have a little fun too!

What advice do you wish you would have gotten at your high school graduation?

This song has always been a favorite of mine… and contains some great advice too!

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Tuna Melt Quesadillas

I’ve shared meal ideas before.  The kind where it’s not really a recipe but more an idea that you can take in whatever direction you want. Here’s another one:

Tuna Melt Quesadillas.

The basic idea starts with only four in ingredients; tuna, tortillas, salad dressing, and shredded cheese.

Tuna quesadilla ingredients

Drain 2 cans of tuna and add to a bowl.  Mix in about a cup of shredded cheese and some salad dressing.

Tuna Mixture

I don’t bother measuring the dressing. Just be sure to use enough to make it spreadable on a tortilla.

Spreading tuna mixture on tortillaEven though you could spread it on the entire tortilla and top with another one I’ve found it’s easier to work with in the pan if you fold it over.

Cooking tuna quesadilla

Cook two at a time over medium heat to golden brown, turning every so often.

Browned tuna quesadilla

Move to a plate and cut with a pizza cutter.

Cut tuna quesadilla

The number of quesadillas you get depends on how thick you spread the tuna mixture. I usually get about 6.

That’s it! Pretty easy.  One of my daughters likes to dip them in sour cream.  The other likes them plain.  Either way they are delicious.

Here’s where you get to be creative… you could mix up the type of cheese.  We’ve used mozzarella, cheddar, cheddar jack, and colby-jack.  All work great!

You can even switch up the dressing.  We prefer ranch or Italian.

Other options would be to include diced onion, peppers, spinach, mushrooms, or any mix-in’s you like.

This is an inexpensive, quick, and easy meal idea that kids love.  The best thing is we almost always have all the ingredients we need in our pantry.

Have you ever made something like this? What’s your favorite thing to make with tuna.

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