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Looking Back

Project Truck: Safety Gear

I received some safety gear – FSL Patriot Electronic Earmuffs – free from the company to provide feedback on their use. While they are great for the shooting range, they are also perfect for use when working on the project truck.

Every time we start to make real progress on Munchkin’s truck, we seem to have things happen that put it on hold or back in slow mode. After my injury, the progress slowed downed considerably. Once Munchkin and Daddy both started back up with school, well, progress was virtually non-existent. There isn’t a lot of time for large projects, so they continue on with little things here and there as time allows.

FSL Safety Gear - Patriot Electronic Earmuff

One of the larger projects that can be done a little at a time and doesn’t require huge sums of money is rust removal and prepping the truck for body work and paint. Whenever you’re working with paint and rust removal, it’s important to make sure that you’re using the proper safety gear.

Paint stripper – even the more eco-friendly stuff – is caustic. I forgot to get a regular paint brush and tried using foam brushes to apply the paint stripper only to have the paint stripper eat right through the foam brushes. It was rather amusing, but it did drive home the importance of making sure we were wearing safety gloves and a mask for the fumes.

Once the paint was basically off, it was time to put the safety mask back on as well as the mechanix gloves. Since Munchkin was going to be sanding and grinding with power tools and the process can get very loud, she put on the earmuffs to protect her ears. She says she doesn’t want to have hearing issues like Daddy. **grin**

The FSL Patriot Electronic Earmuff (affiliate link) provide great ear protection while still allowing you to hear what is going on around you. The electronic earmuffs use AA batteries which makes battery replacement easy because we always have them on hand. They have good volume control with an easy to use knob. The foam on the microphone is a bit thin, so you do get a little wind noise when the volume is up. The earmuffs fit comfortably over the ears and padded headband adjust easily to the head. The earmuffs are fixed, so the headband must be on top. The one big negative is they don’t collapse like some earmuffs, so they take up more space in storage.

Daddy likes the electronic earmuffs as it allows him to hear better while protecting his hearing. He said they worked nicely while grinding the surfaces. He was goofy and walked around with them on – testing out how well he could hear things with them on. He gave them two thumbs up except for the wind noise that he experienced at times.

Having safety gear while working on the project truck is important. Having proper ear protection is critical to preserve the already decreased hearing that D has and to keep Munchkin’s hearing at a solid level.

Fitness Friday: Working Through the Pain

“A muscle is like a car. If you want it to run well early in the morning, you have to warm it up.” Florence Griffith Joyner

Posing with my ankle brace

It’s been a bit of a crazy week around here, but my recovery is slowly moving along. I’m beyond ready to be able to function like a normal human being again. My shoulders are aching due to having to use the crutches for so long. The eczema on my hands is acting up thanks to the grips on the crutches – not fun.

Enough of the complaining… I have made progress – albeit painful progress. This week, I’ve been able to start putting weight on my ankle. I still can’t bear my full weight, but I can now walk on the ankle with crutches supporting a good portion of the weight. This process is quite painful, but not “you shouldn’t be doing this” painful. Part of the pain comes from not having walked on the ankle for so long.

Even with all of the precautions, I am still experiencing circulation issues, so I’m doing even more exercises to try to get the blood moving. Of course, actually walking on the ankle (albeit with lots of assistance from the crutches) is helping a lot. I have found that I need to wear the compression socks as my ankle swells like crazy if I don’t.

I’ve been enjoying a few more yoga poses and lots of stretching. I’ve been able to do some planks (on my knees) which at least makes me feel like I’m accomplishing a bit more. I’m attempting to add more movement to my day including more purposeful “walks”.

I still can’t do a lot of driving as breaking can be painful – especially when I need to hold the break down for extended periods of time. I’ve lost a lot of muscle tone in my bad leg which is frustrating to be sure. I also have an odd shape to my leg which puzzles me. I need to ask the doctor about it when I get the appointment set up.

It will be nice when I can get down to one crutch or a cane rather than two crutches. For now, it’s one day at a time and focusing on the positive progress that is being made rather than what I can’t do.

Wordless Wednesday: National Dog Day 2015

In honor of 2015 National Dog Day, I thought I’d share a bit of cuteness from our pups. They fill our lives with craziness, fun, and unconditional love.

Wyatt and Wiley hanging out in the cabin

Wiley welcoming us home at the door.

Wyatt just chilling by the log.

Wiley just relaxing on the couch.

Wyatt just relaxing on the bed.


Strategic Packing for a College Campus Tour

This post contains amazon affiliate links. Some items were purchased at a discount from the company in exchange for feedback about the product. These items will be marked with an asterisk.

Last week, Munchkin started her college career at a local community college, but next year, it looks like she’s going to be heading off to college. She has a school in mind which means that she needs to take a tour of the campus and see if it’s the place for her. Somehow, she’s going to need to balance her new classes here while going across country to check out the school. It will be an adventure.

Strategic Packing for College Tour Trip

In preparation for the upcoming trip, we’ve starting putting together the various items that she’ll need. Since the airlines have changed some of their policies for carry-on luggage, we ended up needing to purchase her a new carry-on bag. We’re trying to fit all her clothing and what not into her carry-on luggage, so we don’t need to pay to check any luggage. She ended up picking out this adorable owl pattern luggage from Rockland. Unfortunately, her laptop doesn’t fit in the smaller bag, so she still needs to figure out what she’s going to use for her laptop bag.

Luggage Tags

The luggage tags* from Bellerina are a fun way to make her luggage stand out. Let’s hope that, as these vibrant synthetic leather tags say, Munchkin will be able to travel happy. I had to smile as I saw the little saying on the luggage tag – “Life is a Journey” – as that is definitely how we view life.

Travel Tip: Secure your luggage tags with coordinating zip ties to make them more secure on the luggage.

Travel Organization

Since we’re doing the carry-on only thing, we need to be more aware of what is being packed and how it is being packed. Some serious strategic packing is required. I found these travel cubes* to organize her carry-on bag. By rolling most of her clothes, I’m able to fit a weeks worth of clothes in these cubes which then fit nicely in her carry-on. The shoe bag helps keep her clothes clean.

Travel Tip: Rolling clothes is a great way to save space in luggage. If done carefully, it can also cut down on wrinkles in the clothes.

I don’t know about you, but I hate having to sort and do all the laundry after a trip. While there is no way to get around having to do laundry after the trip, the zippered laundry bags* will at least make doing laundry much easier upon arrival at home as the laundry will be sorted ahead of time and kept neatly contained in the luggage. It will just be a matter of tossing the dirty laundry in the machine upon arrival at home.

Of course, since we’re going the carry-on route, we needed to make sure that all of the liquids in her luggage met the airline guidelines of not more than 3.4 oz per container. These silicone containers* are a lot nicer than the cheaper plastic containers. They’re easier to fill and use. All of the clear, zippered pockets on this travel organizer* makes it easy to keep toiletries organized and easily accessible.

I think we have everything set up and ready, but there always seems to be last minute stuff that we forget. Do you have any travel tips for strategic packing?

Fitness Friday: Ankle Rehab Kit

It’s hard to believe that 6 1/2 weeks have passed since I suffered this ankle sprain. I truly thought that I would be walking without crutches by now, but alas, I still can’t bear my own weight on the ankle. Crutches have become my constant companion. I’m definitely going to need to see a chiropractor after I get off the crutches as I know it’s messing with my alignment.

Ankle rehab kit

The good news is that I am able to put some weight on my ankle without the sharp pains shooting up my ankle/leg. It’s progress. I also found myself driving for the first time this week as Munchkin needed to get to her college classes, and she doesn’t have her driver’s license yet. It takes me some time to get in and out of the truck, but I’m able to drive which is a good thing. I knew that driving would be okay thanks to all of the ankle exercises that I’ve been doing over the last few weeks.

I have put together my own little ankle rehab kit for my at-home physical therapy. I still have a couple of things that I want to eventually add once I’m able to bear my own weight on my ankle, but for now, this kit serves me well.

Ankle rehab kit

My ankle rehab kit contains a stretching strap, exercise band, muscle roller massage stick, porcupine massage ball, yoga block, and a fitness foam roller. Of course, I also have my yoga mat and yoga towel.

The muscle roller massage stick helps with circulation in my leg. I can use this while sitting still which makes it a little easier to use than the fitness foam roller. The fitness roller works a little better due to the knobs on it as it really gets in a little deeper into the muscles, but it requires a lot more movement on my part. I use the muscle roller massage stick multiple times a day on my leg.

The use the stretching strap for working on ankle flexibility while the exercise band is use to strengthen the ankle. Because of using these two items, I knew that I would be able to drive. I also use these guys multiple times each day.

The porcupine massage ball keeps the circulation going in my foot. It also helps with the aches and pains that tend to come with not using your foot for long periods of time.

The yoga block is all about gradually stretching out my ankle. It’s much safer than using the stairs (which we don’t have). I’m slowly – very slowly – gaining a little more range of motion.

Right now, I’m trying to find the balance between the pain that comes with rehab and too much pain that signifies needing to back off. It doesn’t do me any good if I make things worse, but I also need to keep pushing in order to get better. I can’t wait to get off these crutches, so I continue to work hard with my rehab while being mindful of my limitations.