Saturday, October 25, 2014

Patio Makeover

I should have posted this project a long time ago.  We’ve been enjoying our back patio makeover for quite some time now.  Oh well, better late than never! Ignore the backyard that needs to be cut.  Actually, I  think it's too small to be categorized  as a backyard, but it definitely needs trimming.
Before I get started, here’s what you’ll need:
  • Galvanized plumbing pipe cut to the appropriate length for your space
  • Attachement pieces: 2 flanges, 2 nipples, 2 Elbows and screws. Make sure you take the length of these into consideration when measuring for your pipe.  They take up about 2 extra inches on each side.
  • Drill
  • Curtain rings with clips
  • 2 packages of painters canvas (1 canvas in each package)
  • Ladder
  • Friends to help!

Our little patio was so unwelcoming I just had to do something to fix it up. The good news is that the whole list of stuff – minus the drill – cost only $85! That being said, my patio is very small, so depending on the amount of space you’ll want to cover, it could cost more.  The pipe is the most expensive part of the whole project. You’ll need 2-3 people total to put up the curtain rod, so make sure some of your friends are available BEFORE you start the project … unlike me, who realized that hey, I can’t hang this huge pipe by myself! 

1) So, after you get your patio measured and your pipe cut.  Place the curtain rings on the pipe.  Attach the nipples and flanges. Because this is a galvanized pipe, you may need to play around with the placement of the attachment pieces so everything lines up. 

2) With everything now attached, screw in one side of the pipe to the beam of wood.  Now do the other side. Good! Now you have a galvanized pipe curtain rod! 

3) Attach the canvas drapes.  You’ll have to play around with spacing a little bit on this to get it even, but it’s pretty easy. Don’t worry about the wrinkles, they will eventually come out.  The Canvas drop cloth I bought was 6ft x 9ft so I just folded it over at the top and it turned out great! 

I also strung white christmas lights across the ceiling, that way we have lighting outside without using the glaring florescent patio light.  I spaced the hooks for the lights about a foot apart.  All I had on hand was one strand of 300 count lights and one strand of 100 count lights.  It worked out perfect for the space!  Just run them across the ceiling until you run out, making sure you pull the chords tight so they won't droop.  

I found this bench on craigslist for really cheap.  It was really REALLY rusted, so I sanded it down and then went over it with some rustoleum spray paint. A super easy and quick way to add some cute seating!  

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Stairway to Heaven (Haiku Stairs)

Nervousness, excitement, determination, those were the feelings on the morning of May 10th as our group prepared to hike the Haiku Stairs.  2:30 AM is no joke.  There was no backing out if you had second thoughts once we hit the road.  Our Crossfit group is an adventurous bunch, and everyone was ready but 3922 stairs and 4,000 feet is bound to make even the most ambitious a little concerned.  Although some people say the staircase travels straight up, the average slope is about 30 degrees, however there are many steep sections!

A little background on this thrilling hike.  The stairs are locate on the Winward side of Oahu and although the stairs are not open to the public, recently in the news it appears they might reopen the stairs with a managed access point at Winward Community College.

So why were the stairs built?   A powerful radio station and antennae were needed by the U.S. Navy to transmit signals to Navy ships that were operating throughout the Pacific.  They decided to use an Alexanderson Alternator, an enormous piece of equipment that required an equally sizable antenna.  The antennae were stretched across the Haiku valley.  Access was needed in order to finish the job.  The staircase was built, although originally a cable car was available for the workers to ride to the top instead of having to make the climb.

We started early to avoid running into the guard that is stationed by the entrance and had no problem arriving at 3:45.  I have had friends though that went to hike at that time and the guard was already there.  I guess we got lucky!

Hiking under a full moon, we were able to see everything clearly without headlamps. It turned out to be a perfect morning for the hike since there were no clouds.  The sunrise was incredible!

It took us about 2 1/2 hours up and 2 hours down.  We rested for quite a while on the first platform that you come to.  The distance from the bottom of the stairs to the first platform is the longest stretch.  Talk about quads being on fire!  All the pain was worth is for the sunrise though and the fog just poured off the mountains!

I'm so glad to have done this hike, and with such a great group of friends.  Hopefully, they will reopen the stairs and make it a "legal" attraction again on the island.  

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New favorite breakfast!

I  eat a lot of eggs and usually have one plus some egg whites with breakfast.  The only problem is that it gets a little boring. Mini quiches were just the thing!  These muffin-sized, bacon, spinach and tomato bites are incredibly delicious and easy ... and paleo, for any of you people out there that follow that.

You can really add anything you want to this mix, or come up with your own favorite blend of ingredients!

What you need:
8 eggs ( or more if you want to double/triple the batch)
1/2 cup of milk (I used canned coconut milk)
1/2 cup - 1 cup of bacon bits
1 cup of chopped cherry tomatoes
1 cup of chopped, fresh spinach

Preheat the oven to 375 and lightly grease a twelve cup muffin tray.  Bake for 20 min or until the eggs look slightly brown on top and are cooked through.
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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Christmas Inspiration!

I have not posted in a really long time! That's about to change, folks.

Christmas is as good a time to start back as any, sooooo how about some Christmas decoration inspiration? I love decorating for Christmas and usually go all out. Not so much this year, but it's still satisfactory since I came up with a new way to use Christmas ornaments!

I was really sad at first for two reasons.  1) It is hard to jump on the Christmas bandwagon when the temperature outside is between 70/80 degrees and you can hardly wear a pair of jeans without them sticking to you. I know all you people experiencing snow right now might be jealous, don't be. At least you have seasons! Reason 2) when I realized that I had no chandelier to hang Christmas ornaments from.

Hanging a wreath from the light fixture just looked very, very weird. I didn't really want floating greenery hovering above the table. Floating Christmas ornaments though, that I could do!

This looks so ... Pinteresty. Is that a word? Oh well. You get what I'm saying. The great thing about this is it is pretty cheap and super easy to make ... Like everything else thrifty and cute on Pinterest, right? :)

Materials you will need:

  • Screw in hooks
  • A cheap, fake garland
  • Fishing line
  • Ornaments of different colors/sizes
  • Scissors

The decoration:

Twist your hooks into the ceiling around your light fixture (I used three). Fold your garland in half and twist it around itself so that it's nice and full. Fold it again but in the shape of a circle and just twist the ends together. Place it on the ceiling hooks.

Now you're ready to start hanging the ornaments. This was the most time consuming part. I did a spiral pattern, but hanging the ornaments at different lengths would be pretty too! Simply decide the pattern you want and secure the fishing line to the ornament and then the wreath.

This is such an easy and eye-catching decoration for your dining room! You can stuff some ribbon in the wreath too for some extra sparkle!

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Monday, July 8, 2013

Diane's Hummus

My mother-in-law should have her own cooking show ... or at least write a cook book.  Her vegan dishes are amazing. This hummus recipe is so much better than anything store-bought.  I had never had anything but grocery store hummus and now I'm never buying it again haha!

1-2 garlic cloves
1 1/2 cup cooked or one can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup tahini
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cayenne (add less or don't add any at all if you don't want it spicy!)
2 tbsp olive oil
sweet or smoked paprika for garnish (optional)

In a food processor, process the garlic until finely minced.  Add the chickpeas and tahini and process until smooth.  Add the lemon juice, salt and cayenne.  With the machine running, stream in the oil and process until smooth.  Taste, and adjust the seasonings if needed.  Store in a tightly covered container in the fridge.

Yield: about 2 cups

We doubled the recipe and ended up with about as much as you get in a tub at Sam's Club.

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Racing the Sun to Koko Head

As we were about half way up the crater at 5 am, I started to wonder why we decided to get up at 3:45 do this.

Trust me, it's definitely worth it coming to the top dripping with sweat to feel that cool breeze from the ocean on your face, cooling your skin.  The view is breathtaking, and I find it so amazing how the clouds make shadows on the top of the water.

Looking out over this incredible display of God's creation brought to mind Psalms 95:3-7,

"For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods.  In his hands are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him.  The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land.  Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care.

We live in Wahiawa, which was about a 40 minute drive down to Koko Head District Park.  Sunrise is around 5:45 or so and you'll just have to time it depending on where you live.  It took us 25 minutes to get to the top without  many breaks.  For some people it takes them an hour or longer and really just depends on your fitness level.  I wouldn't recommend doing this with kids just because it's very strenuous and going back down would be difficult.  I'd say, to experience this in the morning, it's worth waking up extra early and!  

The address is:  
423 Kaumakani Street, Honolulu 96825

You can visit their Google + page here

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Waimea Valley

This is a really nice, easy "hike".  I say "hike" because it's not really one at all ... more of a paved stroll through botanical gardens. Actually, that's exactly what it is and extremely beautiful.

They have different pricing options for groups, and you can check it out on their website here:

Basic admissions:

Adults $15
Children $7.50
Seniors $7.50

Military Adults $10.00
Military Children $5
Military Seniors $5

The valley is open seven days a week, operation from 9am-5pm.

This is about a mile and a half if you walk to the waterfall and back.  You do have the option of riding to the waterfall as well.  It's really amazing to see so many different type of plants, some of them look so fake!

This is definitely an easy, fun choice for a late Saturday morning.

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