May 15, 2017

How DIYZ Helped Me Build a Beer Caddie

A couple of years ago, my brother gave me a beer caddie for Christmas. Just when you think he doesn't care at all about you, he goes and builds something that you wouldn't expect.  Since then, I have taken this beer caddie to every party I go to. Needless to say, my six pack is the envy of every room that I walk in to.

My neighbor has been eyeing my beer caddie for sometime. He periodically comes over to my house for a beverage or two or three.  Sometimes we lose count... we have kids after all and you just need to let loose every now and then. So I thought that since I am pretty handy, I'd make him a beer caddie so he wouldn't have to be jealous of mine any more.

When my wife and I first bought a house, I went out and bought a bunch of power tools. I had this idea that I would build all of our furniture, our kitchen cabinets, or maybe I would mill our own flooring from trees behind our house.  None of that ended up being the case. I've built things, but it never seems to be anything that my house actually needs. It's been a steady stream of half done projects and knick knacks over the past 17 years. But hey... I have power tools that look really nice in my garage and if I ever want to build ANOTHER garage, I'll be all set.

This time though, all I wanted to build was a beer caddie.  So I opened up my trusty DIYZ App and figured out everything that I needed to build a beer caddie.

The app gives you a list of tools that you will need as well as a list of supplies. While I had most of the tools, the DIYZ App works with Amazon to make purchasing any that you need fast and easy. Since I didn't feel it was necessary to buy ones that they had suggested, like a power nailer, I just used what I had a home. I have a lot of extra wood laying around (see half projects above) but I didn't have the type of wood that I wanted.  I could have built this beer caddie out of pine, but I wanted to give it a little extra something.  While my home center didn't have anything like walnut, I decided this beer caddie would look nice built out of oak.

I figured that this project would take a couple of hours to build, but what I didn't take into account was my own ineptitude. Once I tried to cut a piece of wood and for some reason the blade of my miter saw split the wood in half and little pieces went flying. Fortunately I listened to the DIYZ App and wore safety goggles throughout the process. But the damage was done (not to my eyes) and I had to make ANOTHER trip to the home center. After I built it, I realized that it was really too short to carry bottles (perhaps something I could have modified on my own) so I had to run back AGAIN and buy a handle.

The DIYZ app could not have been easier to use. With the instructions comes a little video that you can follow along.  I used it as a reference point and did most of the building on my own.  There was one point where one of the measurements did not add up.  But I noticed this before I made my cuts and altered it accordingly.

So while the project should have taken me a couple of hours to build, I had to run back to the home center three times in order to get things that made the beer caddie complete. First was for the wood that I split, second was for the handle, and third was for screws to hold the handle in place.  I could have avoided these extra trips if I did a little better pre-planning, but I have never been known to do such a thing (see half done projects above). In all it took me parts of two days to complete and really wasn't that hard to do. If you have the basic tools on hand, depending on the type of wood that you use, it's a project that will cost less that $50 and you will have a really nice way to carry a six pack around.

As for my friend, he now has a beer caddie that will make him the envy of all HIS friends and he will now have to build one for someone else.  While he isn't quite as handy as I am, perhaps with the DIYZ App... he won't need to be.

The DIYZ App is full of projects that you can complete around your home. It has a full library of projects ranging from how to build a beer caddie, to how to change an electrical socket, and even offers tips on how to tile a backsplash.  Obviously some projects are more difficult, but you also have the ability to talk with a professional contractor who can guide you through the process. It demonstrates the value of doing it yourself instead of hiring someone who will charge you much more.

Follow them on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram for some really cool DIY projects.

**Disclosure: This post was sponsored by DIYZ App. All opinions are my own.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


May 2, 2017

I Sleep to... Make Sure My Kids Have Everything

Or I guess you could say I DON'T sleep to make sure my kids have everything.

Like most parents, sleep has been an issue since the kids were born. I think that last time I got a full nights rest is the day my oldest son came home from the hospital after being born. Stupid me thought that he slept through the night and of course my wife looked at me like she wanted to kill me. Turns out he was up half the night and I just didn't hear him. I guess I was a pretty sound sleeper.

But things changed since that day.

While my wife did get up in the middle of the night more than I did (she was breastfeeding after all), I have had my share of sleep interruptions over the years. The kids always seemed to need something in the middle of the night, whether it's water, they need to pee, or they just need you to be by their side.  They are much more independent now, but I think the years of constant waking have really taken it's toll on me.

There was a point when they were both really little that my wife and I decided that I would take an early morning shift at work.  Out of bed at 1:00 am to be at work by 2:00 was probably the worst thing that I ever did to my body. For six years I seemed to function (or not function) on around four hours of sleep per night. It's easy to say that you will go to bed at 7:00 every night, but the reality is I just never could get to sleep before the kids did. Not to mention, in the summer it's just not natural to go to bed before the sun went down.

Eventually I quit that job to be a stay at home dad. While I would like to say that my sleeping habits improved, they really didn't. I went from getting around four hours of sleep per night to around six; much of that was my own doing though. I would stay up late blogging, watching TV, or folding laundry. The night time was my me time.

But even that took a toll.

I'm getting a little better now. As you can probably notice I don't blog as much as I used to, but I still stay up late watching TV. Most of the time though, I fall asleep in the middle of a show and wake up around 2:00 in the morning. I then drag my butt upstairs and plop down on my bed to finish off another crappy night of sleep.

It wasn't until I was sent a Beautyrest Sleeptracker monitor that I really started to notice how little sleep I was getting. After downloading the App and taking the 15 minutes to get the product hooked up and connected to my homes WiFi, I could now monitor my sleep, or lack there of.  I have tried various wearable devices over the years, but I always found them uncomfortable. Not surprisingly, I could never get a good nights sleep wearing one.  The difference with the Beautyrest Sleeptracker monitor is that it includes a sensor that slips between your mattress and frame so you don't even know that it's there. It then connects to your phone over WiFi and monitors how well you sleep that night.

On a normal day, I have to get up by 7:00 to get the boys ready for school. There is a setting on the Beautyrest Sleeptracker monitor that asks you when you normally wake up.  I set it to wake me up between 6:30 and 7:00 and wouldn't you know it woke me up at 6:43. Normally I would probably complain about not getting those extra 17 minutes of sleep, but the product knew when I was coming out of a deep sleep and that 17 minutes of restlessness were not going to do me any good.  I shut the alarm off the next day at woke up to another alarm at 7:00.  Wouldn't you know, I felt MORE tired that morning than when the product woke me up naturally.

The interesting part is seeing just how well you slept.

After telling it that I was waking up, the Beautyrest Sleeptracker monitorwas able to show me exactly the amount of time that I was awake, when I was in a deep sleep, when I was in a light sleep, and when I was in REM sleep.

It's kind of important to know these numbers to figure out if you got a good nights sleep. The App will tell you things that aren't good for you like electronics or TV before bed and suggest that exercise is good for you. It's like it's your mom, except it can provide insights as to how well you sleep.

Now that my kids are older and more independent, I guess I could change the "I Sleep to..." to something involving me. I'm not getting any younger and I have come to recognize the importance of a good nights sleep.

I sleep to make sure I stay healthy FOR my kids.

For more information on Beautyrest, follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and check out their website.

*Disclosure: I partnered with Beautyrest and Life of Dad on this promotion.  All opinions are my own.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?