Disclosure: This post was sponsored by the DIYZ® app. All opinions are 100% mine.
If you’ve read my blog much before, you know I love to garden with my kids. Specifically, I’m a huge straw bale gardening enthusiast. Every spring, I order new straw bales to go under my fancy trellis, and the previous year’s bales get pulled apart and spread into a set of raised beds as a terrific compost.
What I plant in those beds has been somewhat hit-or-miss. However, some things really do grow great in there (potatoes and zucchini especially,) while other things just… don’t. I have yet to grow cauliflower or broccoli that is edible, and last year my peppers were pathetic.
So when my friends at DIYZ asked me to give their mobile app a try, I was excited to see that one of the projects included is How to Test Soil. It’s an area I knew nothing about — or should I say, I knew just enough to know that testing soil in my garden might be the key to figuring out what I should be planting and/or how I need to amend my soil to get the most out of it.
If you’re not familiar with the DIYZ app, here’s the gist; DIYZ (pronounced “D-I-WISE,” for “Do It Wise!”) features a large library of DIY projects. Each project provides DIYers of all skill levels with step-by-step guides and segmented videos that can help them tackle home improvement projects with confidence and ease. You get a comprehensive overview of the project, including difficulty, time, and cost, as well as a list of the tools and materials you need.
The DIYZ app is free to download and is available in the Apple App Store for iPhone and Google Play for Android. For a limited time, the video-chat feature is FREE, so download it for yourself now to check it out.
Speaking of the video-chat feature. The DIYZ app allows you to connect with a professional contractor, right at your fingertips via video-chat (or over the phone if you’re shy) to give you pro advice on more difficult projects. For my soil testing this wasn’t necessary, but I can think of many times I was rolling up my sleeves to do-it-myself and could have used some advice from a professional. DIYZ Pro Advisors are available from 6:00 PM to 1:00 AM ET Monday through Friday. On weekends, Pro Advisors will be available to help tackle projects from 8:00 AM to 1:00 AM ET.
I also liked how the app recommends all of the proper tools and materials to complete each project, and even provided the option to easily purchase without leaving the app, via Amazon. Super easy and convenient!
With our instructions in hand, I recruited my son Tucker to help me test our soil.
Check out a video of my son Tucker and I to see how we tested our soil:
As it turns out, after we tested our soil, it came out much better than I expected. I was ready to find out that my soil was either super-duper acidic, or not acidic enough. Looks like it’s just about right for most of what I would like to grow! Woot!
Be sure to download the DIYZ app from the Apple App Store or Google Play and try it for yourself. There are tons of projects, like How to Install a Pond, How to Pressure Wash Exterior Siding, How to Make a BBQ Spice Rack, How to Repair Drywall Holes, and everything in between!
I’ve never been much of a “car guy.” In general, when I’ve thought about getting a car, my thoughts have been for me mostly about practical necessity and price, and way less about engine specs, or any sort of brand loyalty.
That said, I do have opinions! I like what I like, especially now that I’m a busy dad hauling a family (and all of our stuff) around town. Often that means what works best for the family’s needs and budget is the priority, not the top speed, flashy color, or if it looks like James Bond might step out of it at any time.
So when I was asked by Kelley Blue Book and Life of Dad to join a bunch of other dads at KBB HQ, to test drive five of their “16 Best Family Cars of 2016” you can bet I jumped at the chance. And not only because it meant a trip to Southern California for a few days!
One of my strongest childhood memories was our family trip in 1985 to Orlando, Florida; our first pilgrimage to Walt Disney World. We did a lot of fun things, saw a lot of amazing sights, and ate a lot of good food. As one does on such a trip. And the strongest food memory I have?
What I’m about to tell you honestly started as something of a joke, to me. Someone posited the idea, and others got on board, and it truly sounded pretty awesome, but… there was just no way I could do it. No way. And so it was with that in mind I said to my wife that evening “Oh, honey, listen to this: some of my dad blogger friends are planning on flying to England next summer, and then walking 84 miles in a week across the country following the ruins of an ancient Roman wall. Doesn’t that sound awesome?”
But then came the shocker.
“Yeah it does!” she said, “You should do it! But that’s a long way, so only if you let me train you.”
And so here we are.
I’m so excited to be able to officially announce the Dads4Kesem Hadrian’s Wall Walk in July 2016, when I’ll be joining 11 other dad bloggers, writers, and influencers, as we walk together to raise funds for a new Camp Kesem chapter at the University of Maryland in honor of my friend Oren Miller, who lost his battle with cancer last year.
Here’s the sweet, sweet logo I had the privilege of making for the team:
I’m sure I will post a lot more about this adventure in the months ahead, as I prepare, raise funds, and try to get in better shape to survive this very long walk. 84 miles in a week means more than 10 miles a day, so I definitely have my work cut out for me.
The group’s website and fundraising page is Dads4Kesem.com, where you will be able to find out more about the walk, the team, and help us as we raise support for Camp Kesem.
Please note: All monetary funds raised will be going towards Camp Kesem’s new chapter, not to pay for the trip to England or costs associated with the walk itself. Each member of the team will be paying their own travel and other expenses.
Meet the Team!
- Phil Corless (Coeur d’Alene, Idaho) of Idaho Dad
- Jim Higley (Chicago, Illinois) of Bobblehead Dad
- Whit Honea (Los Angeles, California) of Dads4Change
- Brent Almond (Baltimore, Maryland/Washington, D.C.) of Designer Daddy
- Chris Routly (Portland, Oregon) of The Full Routly
- Michael Moebes (Atlanta, Georgia) of Dadcation
- Jeff Bogle (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) of Out With the Kids
- Jason Greene (New York, New York) of One Good Dad
- Brian Reasoner (Nashville, Tennessee) of Southern Bella’s Big Daddy
- Josh Misner PhD (Coeur d’Alene, Idaho) of Mindful Dad
- Doug French (Ann Arbor, Michigan) of Dad 2.0 Summit
- John Pacini (Houston, Texas) of Dad 2.0 Summit
About Camp Kesem!
Camp Kesem is a nationwide community, driven by passionate college student leaders, that supports children through and beyond their parent’s cancer. A program of Kesem, Camp Kesem operates over 80 free summer camps in 34 states for children ages 6 to 16 who have been touched by a parent’s cancer. This camping experience has a lasting impact on children by providing them a peer-support network that understands their unique needs, builds confidence and strengthens their communication skills. In 2016, Camp Kesem will serve over 6,000 children coast-to-coast – all funded by generous donations from individuals and corporate support. For more information on Camp Kesem, please visit www.campkesem.org, www.facebook.com/CampKesem, and @CampKesem on Twitter & Instagram.
Other than a Ninjago cake and LEGOS, the thing my son wanted most for his birthday was a baby.
He’s been asking my wife and I a lot lately when our family is going to have another baby in it, and has been a little dismayed at our answer of “Um… not any time soon.” So instead, he asked if he could have a baby to take care of himself.
How could we say no?
Introducing baby Bruce Rogers Routly*.
My son turned 5 this week, and (other than Ninjagos!) the thing he wanted most was a baby of his own. Here's the big moment when he got his wish. :-)—Music: Prelude No. 16 by Chris Zabriskie
Posted by The Full Routly on Saturday, January 23, 2016
I feel confident that Coltrane will make a fine dada someday. 🙂
* Yes, he’s named after the Hulk, Batman, and Captain America.
The tradition continues!
In the months preceding my (now) 5-year-old son’s birthday, I frequently asked him what he wanted me to make for his special cake. For a long time the answer was “Monkey,” his favorite stuffed toy. Then he changed his mind, and decided he wanted all of the Avengers. When I asked him to narrow it down, he decided on Iron Man, before again changing his mind and saying he in fact wanted Monkey again, only Monkey who has turned into the Hulk… which lasted right up until a couple of weeks before the party when he scrapped everything and said he wanted a Ninjago cake — specifically of LLOYD, the Green Ninja.
Suffice to say, I took that and ran with it. Here’s the result!
I could nitpick a lot about this in terms of how I saw it in my head and difficulties with sticky fondant and food-coloring, but altogether it turned out really well, I thought.
Thankfully, he and his friends loved it. That’s what matters. 🙂
Family traditions are funny things. We follow them for years, and often have no idea why.
Nothing hammers that home like getting married and having to navigate the combining of old traditions, even as you make traditions of your own with your partner and family. It often means taking a long look at the traditions you have, and why, and which are worth continuing. And no time of year has more tradition than Christmas.
Do you remember your first car? Of course you do. It’s one of those things you never forget, right?
I always hear about kids being given their first car as a gift, like these teens meeting this milestone in this new ad from Michelin USA…
Yeah, you heard me. I’m “raging” against Amazon Mom again.
It’s been a while. It was August of 2012 when I last wrote about how nonsensical it is for Amazon to continue to insist that they have to use “Amazon Mom” for their program — aimed at busy parents who would like diapers delivered to their door at a discount — because their only other option is apparently “Amazon Primary Caregiver.” What’s wrong with “Amazon Family?” I asked. I never got an answer. I encouraged people to sign a petition, put together by my friend Jeffrey, asking for Amazon to consider the change. But it never took off.
I wasn’t the only one writing about the issue though. Almost two years ago today, my friend Oren wrote about the issue as well. It meant something to him. A lot, actually. And it’s in his honor that I (and others) have decided to take up the issue again.
Because it’s time for this to finally change.
This week, Similac released a new campaign video that has been getting a lot of attention, and with good reason. It’s funny, it’s touching, and it sends a fantastic message about parenting: that we’re all in this together, and judging one another helps no one.
It’s really quite fantastic… right up until the last second, when they drop the ball. At least, if the idea is actually to support all parents.
I may have mentioned on here once or twice about that my 6 year-old Tucker has, for some time now, had his sights set on a future career as an astronaut. The dream lives on, and so I was really excited to be able to share with him yesterday in the excitement over the successful landing of the Philae lander on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko.
Part of the reason Tucker was excited about this mission is because the ESA (European Space Agency) created a fantastic animated series about it, that we have watched together a few times.
I don’t know why it just occurred to me to share this here, but if you have a kid who is curious what all the excitement is about, give these a watch together. You just might learn something too. 🙂
Part 1: Fabulous Fables and Tales of Tails
Part 2: Once Upon a Time…
Part 3: Are We There Yet?
Part 4: Preparing for Comet Landing
Now that Philae has landed on the surface, hopefully they put together some adorable animation about that too soon. If they do, I’ll be sure to add it here!
Leave it to Guillermo del Toro to produce an animated movie that looks unlike anything I’ve ever seen before in a major production. I just love the look of this movie, foregoing the recent “as photo realistic as possible” trend in animation and instead drawing deeply on the rich mythology and visual style of Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) to make something truly unique and beautiful.
I’m really looking forward to seeing what director Jorge Gutierrez has put together. Word is that when he started work on this film, he said to his designers and animators that his goal was to have the final movie live up to the incredible conceptual art that he so often saw in “The Art of…” books for many movies, but never seemed to make it to the final screen. From the looks of things, he has succeeded.
I’ve had this new NyQuil ad mentioned to me a few times recently, and finally managed to track it down. It’s short and basic, but I love it and really wanted to share it with you all…
After my first, in Washington, DC, back in 2012, I was determined to get more involved with the organization and double-down my work on getting my own local dad group in the Lehigh Valley, PA area, where I lived at the time, off of the ground. I did that, and then shortly after, I helped the NAHDN redesign their website. Last year at the convention in Denver I was elected to the Board of Directors.
So you could say that when it comes to the NAHDN and the At-Home Dad Convention, I’m a big believer in what we’re doing.