Archive for April, 2015

April 12, 2015

It’s good to have a goal.

by Decemberbaby

Instant gratification is nice. Working hard towards a goal feels good in its own way, but there’s something fun and exciting about being able to start and finish a project in the same hour.

After installing the baby seat in our Bakfiets today, I took a look around the garage and noticed that I still had a bucket of PVC pipes and parts left over from a different project. I had intended to use it to build a bike rack for the kids, but I didn’t have enough of the right connectors for that, so I built this instead:

DIY soccer or hockey net no instructions

N has been really into street hockey lately, and R likes kicking a ball around, so I’m hoping this net will inspire some pickup games.

Want to make one yourself? It’s very, very simple. You need:

  • PVC pipe – 2 of each of the following lengths: 40 inches, 32 inches, 15 inches
  • PVC connectors – 6 elbow joints, sized to fit the above pipe
  • Netting – I used plastic netting that is sold in the garden centre, but use whatever you like. You’ll need a piece that’s at least 48″ wide and 48″ long.
  • Zip ties – these are sometimes called cable ties. Anyhow, pick up a bag of light-duty ties (should be about 50 in a bag.)
  • A pipe cutter for PVC (not expensive at all, or you can have the pipe cut for you at the store.)
  • Scissors

That’s really all you need. I feel like it’s a simple enough project that you don’t need a step-by-step tutorial, but for those spatially challenged folks among us, here’s a diagram of where everything goes:

DIY soccer or hockey netHappy building! I’m going out to play.

Advertisements
April 10, 2015

Loving the iPhone

by Decemberbaby

Those of you who are still with me (yes, all five of you) might remember my dilemma over moving up from a dumbphone and iPod to an iPhone. Well, I finally took the plunge, bought a used iPhone 5, and discovered that I had nothing to fear. Well, not much.

I got a pretty small data plan which allows me to check maps and such when I’m out and about, but doesn’t do much else without WiFi. At $35 a month, it’s only $5 more expensive than my previous talk-only plan. So on that score, it’s all good.

Now, as for my fear of using it all the time and not looking up from it: Since I’ve disabled most cellular data on my phone, there’s not much I can do with my phone when I’m out with the kids. I haven’t even installed Facebook, and I won’t. Frankly, the only time I pull out my phone when I’m out with the family is to check the time or use the camera.

Ah, the camera. I used to be the kind of parent who rarely remembered to bring the camera, and thus missed out on some very sweet moments. Not anymore. My phone’s built-in camera is actually better than the digital camera I was using before, and I use it all the time. Score one for the iPhone.

The very best thing about my phone, though, is the way it helps me externalize my brain. Let’s face it: four kids aged seven and under, including a newborn who doesn’t sleep through the night. Left to my brain’s own devices I forget all kinds of things. Appointments get missed. Follow-up never happens. Tasks fall through the cracks. But with my external brain – er, I mean, iPhone – all I have to do is push a button and talk to Siri:

“Siri, remind me to check on the brownies in 35 minutes.”

“Siri, schedule Dr. E at 9:15 a.m. next Wednesday.”

“Siri, show me my overdue tasks on my to-do list.”

And Siri does!

She also phones people for me, takes dictation, and tells me how long it will take me to get to my next destination. And she remembers everything I say. I think I’m in love.

Long story short: I love my iPhone. It makes my life so much simpler, less frustrating, better documented, and just better all around. If you’re fearing the smartphone like I was, take heart: it’s just an external brain. You get to decide how to use it – and how not to.