Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Girl's Guide to Buying Tires

Although this is out-of-the-norm, I wanted to share this information because I couldn't find just one website which provided all the information I needed to help me select a new tire. Even when I asked Abel what everything meant, he admitted that he knew at one point but had forgotten. Atleast now we'll be able to access this information the next time we need to buy tires.

Tires are tricky business but the first thing to remember is that each number means something. My tires are P265/65R17. You can determine what kind of tires are on your car by looking at the tire itself or (more easily) by going to a tire distributer's webpage and entering the details of your car.

For more help, about.com has this wonderful illustration showing where you can get all the numbers from:

The "P" means a passenger tire. These tires are usually softer for a smoother ride. A tire with "LT" is a light truck tire and somewhere on the tire it will say the load capacity. If you have a "LT" tire, you need to also take into consideration how much weight you're going to be pulling.

The "265" is the width of the tire (in millimeters) from sidewall to sidewall. The larger the number, the wider the tire.

The "65" is the tire's ratio of height to width. This number is also indicative of the tire's purpose. Numbers lower than "70" have better steering and handling because of the shorter sidewall.

The "R" means that it's a radial tire. If your tire was purchased in the last few decades, it's a radial tire.

The "17" is the rim diameter measured in inches.

Sometimes these numbers are followed by a two digit number and letter (like "89V"). This number is part of a code which tells you the load capacity. Remember the number is per tire, so if you want the maximum capacity for the car, you'll have to multiply the number by four. The letter tells you the maximum speed the tire was designed to run for extended periods of time.

For the maximum load capacity per tire, you can check a table located on any number of websites including: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tire_code

Here is a list of the tire speed codes:
S 112 mph
T 118 mph
U 124 mph
H 130 mph
V 149 mph
W 168 mph
Y 186 mph

Once you know what kind of tire you have, you can compare tires by using the Uniform Tire Quality Grading Standards (UTQGS) ratings. UTQGS ratings are based on three categories: treadwear, temperature, and traction.

Treadwear is rated on a scale of 20 to 620. In general, the higher the number in treadwear, the better the tread. A tread rating of 200 will last twice as long as a tread rating of 100. In my short research experience, I would consider tread ratings in the 500-600 area as good. You should be aware that tread ratings were too expensive to be done by the government, so each tire manufacturer determines their own tread ratings and then justifies its rating to the government. This means that you're not necessarily comparing apples to apples when comparing different brands, but it does help.

Temperature is graded in the form of A, B, C (with A being the highest). This represents the tire's resistence to the generation of heat.

Traction is graded in the form of AA, A, B, and C (with AA being the highest). This represents the tire's ability to stop on wet pavement. It does not take into consideration acceleration, hydroplaning, or cornering.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Tribulations of Being a Mother

I decided that the easiest costumes for me to do are Raggedy Ann and Andy given the amount of time I may or may not have in the coming weeks.

I went to Joann's yesterday to pick up some fabric so I could get started. By the time we go to the check out line, Noah was poopy and screaming. Then I turn around to find that Bella had spilled an entire 1 pound bag of M&Ms. It couldn't be the small individual-sized bags...and of course it had to be the peanut ones so that they rolled all over the place. The check out line turned into a giant Easter egg hunt. Because there's no "clean up on aisle 4" option at Joann's, both cashiers and the woman behind me in line had to come and help pick up. Bella quickly ate all the M&Ms she could find.

Before leaving, the woman behind me says "Honey, we've all been there." I can't wait to tell that to someone else.

Afterwards, we went to McDonald's so that Bella could play on the playground and I could just sit with some chicken nuggets in peace. Whoever came up with the indoor playplace deserves the Nobel Peace Prize. If only Subway were as innovative.

Both kids crashed by the time we got home and between then and bedtime, I managed to finish Bella's skirt (a trial run for a birthday gift for one of Bella's friends)--I think the skirt needs pockets--a hat for Bella's costume and a penafore (which I will hand embroider if I have time). The morning I finished her pantaloons. Proudly, all were completed without a pattern.

Bella's skirt was my wardrobe refashion project for this week--made out of a recycled shirt and pants.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Saturday Morning Fun

We're on the hunt for a stove top, microwave, vent, light fixtures, ceiling fans, and an air compressor. Being the bargain hunter that I am (and the amount of items taht we have to buy), I decided to try a few garage sales this weekend.

Unfortunately the people at the first garage sale had some great items but needed a reality check in their pricing.

The second sale was at a beautiful multi-million dollar home. People were lined up outside the house a half hour before they started and all of the items we needed were snatched up before I could get kid #2 out of the car.

While we were inside snooping looking at housewares, I heard Bella screach "Oh my gosh!". Immediately I turned around worried she had broken something and I noticed her eyeing this dress.

The proportions are wrong (especially since it is supposedly size 6), but Bella loves it regardless. It'll made a good play dress or a nice decoration on display in her room.

I also found some linens--most will be used on her bed since they are girly flowers and mismatched (Bella said they were "so cute"). I ended up with two sets of sheets and seven pillow cases for $3.

I also purchased ten towels and two towel-like bath mats for $1.25. Although they aren't necessarily colors I would have chosen and they don't really match, we have four bathrooms to stock so these will work beautifully for now.

We'll see what next weekend brings...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Nap Time

This is why I have such a hard time keeping Noah and Bella asleep...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Halloween Costumes

I'm torn about costumes for the kids this year. Here were a few ideas I was thinking:

Tinkerbell and the Alligator
Raggedy Ann and Andy
Hansel and Gretel
Princess and Dragon (or frog)
Chef and Pillsbury Doughboy
Little Bo Peep and a Sheep (Gunner would be a wolf)

I have to decide soon because I need to get started on their costumes. We're going to Bates Nut Farm on October 17th, so they have to be finished by then. Yikes!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A Rare Sighting at the Parade

Bella was in the Poway Days parade with her dance class. Since the kids in the 2-3 year-old classes were too young to walk and dance in the parade, they rode in wagons pulled by the dads. It was Bella's dream--pink shirts, fluffy bows, purple ribbons, metalic pom-poms all enjoyed in the comfort of her wagon (which was made extra-comfortable with the donation of my pillow).

Noah also participated by riding in the jogging stroller (which I was pleased to learn fit the car seat nicely).

Lurking behind us was a sight rarely seen in California--a San Diegan Cowboy. Complete with hat, jean shorts, and John Deere boots. You have to love the dimple. That's one cute cowboy.

Bella enjoyed the goats and we were glad we didn't have to step over goat poop. Like every parade, the horses were in the front, so we already had our fill of land mines to leap over.

Now is that a true dad or what? Holding the sippy cup, pom-pom, and pulling a purple wagon with a pink kid. One sexy beast. :)

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Energy is Up

So I finally have more energy and although I can't say that I'm a pro at handling two kids, I'm definitely getting more things finished during the day. I took my sewing machine into the shop to be worked on, so in the meantime, I only have my mother-in-law's machine to work with. I've definitely been spoiled with my machine and, as they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder. :)

Bella has a parade on Saturday and we've been making preparations. She must wear her dance t-shirt and black shorts. I made the pair below (nothing major) from a thrifted t-shirt and used a pair of her shorts for a pattern since all of my patterns are in storage. In hindsight, I should have used a cotton material and made cute shorts with a ruffle on the bottom. Oh well.

We also FINALLY put the clear coat on her wagon. Four coats painfully lovingly sanded between coats. It looks beautiful.

And what was Noah doing during all of this? Sleeping in Bella's doll bed (which also needs a clear coat).

I've also started working on refinishing a bench that we bought off Craigslist. It'll go in the pool area for our new house. To do this, I enlisted the help of a certain two year old. Using her is always recommended unless you wish to return to a tornado in your living room.

I'm certainly going to do a much better job finishing it than what was done before. Yuck!

And we also purchased a chandelier for our house. This was an amazing $20 find off Craigslist.

I deserve a lot of chocolate.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Birthday Blowout

Noah celebrated his 1 month birthday with a blowout--literally. Now that's something exciting to wake up to. He also celebrated by sleeping 2.5 to 3 hours between nighttime feedings. Although it doesn't sound like much, I'm starting to feel a lot better in the mornings. This morning I actually woke up at 9:30--the earliest morning yet!

To celebrate his milestone, we also took Noah for his first train ride. Bella loves Thomas the Train so much, we thought taking some of her friends to Poway park would be a great treat. We first ate at The Hamburger Factory and then took her on the old steam engine. She loved waiving at everyone out the window.

The Hamburger Factory. Bad picture, but I wanted to share the stained glass engine.