Friday, March 13, 2015

Review: Get Hosed Apparel Recycled Fire Hose Belt

Like most firefighters, 374 appreciates a good fire themed gift for any gift giving holiday or birthday. I've done the normal t shirts, patches, and other various novelties. I wanted something a little different for Valentine's Day this year. I wanted to get him something that was useful and different from anything else he's been gifted in the past. Valentine's Day came and went, I had to make up a small excuse for why his present was not here on Valentine's Day - telling him I couldn't make up my mind wasn't going to cut it.

I wracked my brain trying to figure out what I could get him that he would love and use often. I was scrolling through my Instagram feed one day, and there it was. A belt. He needs a new belt badly. He only had one and he wore it for everything. It was cracked, peeling and at the end of it's road. This wasn't just any belt, this belt was made from recycled fire hose. JACKPOT. It's fire related, useful, and he needed one badly.

I had seen fire hose belts in the past from other companies. They were usually colorful and had wording on them. 374 is pretty simple. He doesn't wear a lot of color and would appreciate something more subtle. When I saw the picture of the Get Hosed Apparel belt in my feed, I knew it would be perfect. I ordered the black rubber hose belt with the wide buckle for him. I also added white stitching which is available for a small up charge, but definitely worth it in my opinion. I chose black because it would go with anything in his wardrobe - he wears a lot of grays, blues and black. The belt is available in two buckle styles and various other colors as well.

The shipped quickly after I ordered. When I pulled it out of the package, I knew I had made the perfect choice. This belt is high quality and durable, but most of all it looks great. I knew 374 was going to love it, and he did. His face lit up like a kid at Christmas when I told him what the belt was made of. He ripped off the old belt and this one was put on in a flash.

He wore it to work the next day and showed it off to his coworkers. He works a somewhat physical job, and many of his friends are volunteer firefighters as well. They all were very impressed with the belt. He got the same reaction at the station for work night - as soon as he told them it was made from recycled fire hose, everyone's interest was piqued.

What I love most about this belt is it looks good with whatever he wears - a pair of work jeans for work, a nice pair of jeans for a night out, and he's even tried it on with his dress uniform and it looks nice on those pants as well. It is very well made and has stood up nicely. After about a week's worth of wear to work and at home it still looks brand new.

Get Hosed Apparel sells more than these recycled hose belts, they also sell radio straps, glove straps, and wristbands made from hose, they also features bags made from purposed bunker gear. You will also find all these and  lots of other items including a clothing line on their Get Hosed Apparel website. Jay's website, Instagram (@get_hosed_apparel) and Facebook are well worth a visit and bookmark. Get Hosed Apparel has excellent customer service and we will definitely be repeat customers!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Wordless Wednesday --- Daddy/Daughter Dance!

Here are a few more pictures I took while she got ready for her Daddy/Daughter Dance. 374 got ready at my mom's house. He showed up at our house, knocked on the door to pick her up, and even had a pretty corsage for her. She will know how a boy should treat her!


Who would have thought the life of a fire wife would have been easier for me in the earlier days than they are 5 years in? When 374 joined the department, the kids were almost 3 and 5 1/2. When he would run out the door, being home with them was not a big deal. They played together. They could entertain themselves while I made dinner. Going places with the two of them was relatively easy on my own.

This post has been mulling around in my head for a while. Not because I couldn't find the time to write it, but because I don't want it to be taken the wrong way. I've struggled with the guilt of my feelings. I've been trying to process it all on my own, but maybe just getting it all off my chest will help.

The kids have aged to 7 and 9. We also have a little one who will be 1 in a matter of days. 374 has picked up more responsibility at the station - not only in the office, but as a driver for the EMS as well. His EMS duties are scheduled. His office duties are time sensitive. He enjoys everything he's doing. So why am I having a harder time with him out of the house now that I did in the beginning?

I like to tell myself it's because of the baby. That being home with three kids is more work than just two. At the end of the day after taking care of the baby and getting the kids to and from school and activities sometimes I just want to hand the reigns to him, and some days I can't. It might be meeting night, work night, time to do reports, or he may be on call with the squad. I can feel the nagging "You'd rather be there than at home..." feeling creeping in. It's a normal feeling for a fire wife from time to time. I know I've even spoke those words out loud to him a few times. It makes me feel bad. It makes me feel like I'm not being the supportive wife I said I'd be.

I've decided that I need to stop resenting the fact that he has these obligations and again find the pride in what it is he's doing with his time. Life is fluid, things change. What matters is how we adapt. Now is my time to get back into my groove. I'm sure there will be more changes in his fire career. Duties will shift, obligations will arise. It's not that he is doing this to avoid his family. I have to remember he is doing it FOR his family. He wants his children to learn to give back. I need to remember my part in his life of service. Sometimes it's hard, but all I can do is keep pushing through.

I'm hoping by being more active here again will help. We are getting excited for our family trip to FDIC. Maybe that will help kick my mind back in gear.

374 and Sassy before her Father/Daughter Dance last weekend

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Daddy and his Beauty Queen

Labor Day weekend in our town means our little homecoming festival. Sassy always enters the pageants. 374 always drives a truck through the parade. Here's our first runner up with her Daddy before the parade. She was also in the parade on a pageant float.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Tasty Tuesday: Crockpot Chicken Taco Soup

"What do you want for dinner?"

"I don't know, what do you feel like?"

"I don't know, I'm just hungry and I want to eat."

"Well I don't know either, just make whatever you want."

Common discussion in our house that usually ends with both 374 and I annoyed. I dread the "dinner debate", so I've been trying to come up with new dinners that are both easy (both kids have started back into their school year routine of Boy Scout and Girl Scout meetings - on the same night) and everyone will enjoy.

We have some pretty different tastes in this house - from not being able to handle too much spice, to being picky about vegetables, and one of us doesn't really like much meat. It's hard to please everyone with one dinner, but that's my main goal.

Tonight we are trying a new recipe for the first time. I'm hoping it goes well. It's a taco based dinner, which is always a hit here. I'll post the recipe here, and then come back tonight and update -- hopefully with it being a success!

Crockpot Chicken Taco Soup

*2 cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
*1 can of corn, drained
*2 cups chicken broth
*1 can cream of chicken soup
*3-4 (depending on size, I used 4) boneless chicken breasts (I used frozen ones)
*1 small onion, diced (because of my picky eaters, I opted for eyeballing some dried onion flake, but would have preferred an onion)
*1 packet taco seasoning (i prefer the lower sodium one)
*1 can diced tomatoes (with or without green chilies -- again to oblige picky eaters i opted for without)
*shredded cheddar or taco blend cheese
*sour cream
*crumbled tortilla chips

In your crockpot layer the onion if you used onion, then the chicken breasts on top of that. If not, I laid my chicken breasts down first, then sprinkled the dried onion on top. Add corn and beans on top of chicken. In a separate bowl mix together the chicken broth, soup, diced tomatoes, and taco seasoning. Pour over the top of your beans, chicken and corn in the crockpot. I plan on cooking this on low for 6-8 hours (my chicken breasts are frozen). You could do high for 4 hours, but I'd only do that if you are using thawed chicken. about an hour before serving I plan on pulling the chicken out and shredding it, and adding it back in.

I will serve this topped with the shredded cheddar cheese, a scoop of sour cream and some crumbled tortilla chips.

I will be back with an update later this evening!

This soup was a huge success! Seven and a half hours cooked on low was perfect for this dish! Everyone had seconds. The only thing I was worried about was the diced tomatoes. I knew it would set radars off with Sassy and Bubby -- but much to my surprise they are them up without a word! This will definitely be added to our regular meal plan. I am loving being able to add soups to our options for the upcoming cold months!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Review: Blauer 6'' Clash Tactical Boot

About a month ago I was contacted by Blauer to gauge 374's interest on a review for a new line of tactical boots they were rolling out. For anyone not familiar, Blauer is a company that has been offering uniform garments for law enforcement, fire and EMS professionals since 1936. We were more than willing to partner with them for this review, their products are high quality and well known. We appreciate their offer, and are happy to have the opportunity to provide this review for them and our readers!

We chose to review the 6" Clash Waterproof Boot in black. The boot is constructed of a full grain polishable leather, suede and nylon outer. After a month of wear on countless fire and EMS runs, as well as 374 wearing them a few times to his full time day job constructing ambulances, these boots held up nicely and still look brand new. Any dirt or wear is easily polished off and their new out of the box shine and appearance is restored. The nylon allowed for his foot to breath nicely in our humid summer climate.

The sole of this boot offers a non-slip rubber and hybrid traction tread that offers superb stability and grip on just about any surface. 374 ran them through their paces with gravel, dirt, muddy ditches, and car fluids leaked on pavement at accident scenes - just to name a few scenarios these boots found themselves in. 374 reports they are very light weight and easy to maneuver in. Most notably he appreciated this when lifting patients on EMS calls when your concentration needs to not be on your feet, but on the task at hand.

The Clash boots hugged his feet providing confidence in every step he took. This was provided by the heel patch on the back of the boot as well as the polyurethane foam insoles and heel cup. The one comment I heard over and over was he felt like there was never a "break-in" period - from the get go these boots felt like they were molded to his feet to provide the utmost comfort. One of first few days after receiving the boots, he wore them to his full time day job to really test their comfort. He runs around a plant on concrete floors assembling ambulances - crawling in, out and under them for hours on end. When he came home at the end of a nine hour day he enthusiastically reported the Clash boots were far more comfortable than his regular athletic shoe he typically wears.

One of the main features of this boot is the Boa™ lacing system. The Boa™ lacing system features steel laces, nylon guides and a mechanical wheel that allows for a glove like fit. 374 found it easy and quick to slide his foot into the boot, and turn the wheel to tighten the boots to his desired fit. In a volunteer firefighter profession, seconds are crucial in their response time to the station. He found himself getting out the door quicker with these boots. Removal is just as easy - pop the wheel out and the laces let go and loosen. No knots to untie, no laces to pull out.

Another feature to note is the waterproof membrane that allows your foot to stay dry in the elements. While 374 did find himself out in some rain, it was no where near enough to really test this feature. We are very interested in seeing how these boots hold up this winter in our snowy area. Given the quality of all the other features offered by Blauer on this boot, we are sure his feet will stay dry and we won't be disappointed.

After experiencing the ease of use and comfort of the Clash boots, 374 has retired his previous tactical work boots he previously wore. He is very happy with their performance and quality. At a price point of $144.99 you really get a lot of bang for your buck. He would gladly buy these boots for himself. As much as he'd like to have some constructive criticism for these boots he finds himself at a loss for anything negative about them. Blauer has produced a great qaultiy boot with some top notch features. If you or your firefighter are in the market for a new pair of boots, we highly recommend checking these out!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Bubby's Duck Dynasty Birthday

Over the winter, Bubby decided he wanted a Duck Dynasty party for his birthday this spring. With all the Duck Dynasty merchandise you can find in stores, I thought it might be a bit easier to come by supplies for this party. I didn't have much luck in our local stores, and everything I could find online was more than I cared to spend.

Again, I hit Pinterest. Seriously, how did I function before Pinterest?!? Bubby sat with me at the computer a few times, and we compiled all our favorite finds. I think this party was one of my favorite ones we've done.

For his paper items, I found camouflage themed stuff at Walmart. We used the cake sized plates, table cloths and birthday banner. I like to use regular paper plates for the food at our parties because it's so hard to fit much on plates from the party isle. I found a poster of Uncle Si on eBay that read "Hey Hey it's party time Jack!" which I ordered and we used for his banner over the present table. A "Duck Commander Buck Commander" sign even hung on the outside door, just like at their office.

Speaking of food, this was one of my favorite parts of this party. We did themed food this time -- using meals or foods that have been featured on the show. On the menu was Miss Kay's Mac n Cheese, Miss Kay's Baked Beans, Miss Kay's Boudin Sausage Bites (Little Smokies in the crockpot with BBQ sauce and grape jelly), Ham Sammiches, Chips and Yuppie Dip, Uncle Si's Sweet Tea, Phil's Lemonade and More Pretty Yuppie Food -- the cake!

Like always I made the cake. The inside was camouflage (brown, tan and greens all mixed in together). I decided to make my own buttercream icing this time. It was amazing. I won't admit to how much I ate from the bowl as I was assembling the cake. I also tried my hand at the Duck Commander logo, which I think turned out pretty good for my first time with anything like that.

Other additions to the party was a Willie pinata from the lady who did the Llama Llama pinata. Like Sassy, Bubby requested Willie not be used as a pinata, so he stood guard over the party as decor. I ordered iron ons for the girls' custom shirts which read "I ain't no yuppie girl Jack!" and they had custom Duck Dynasty hair bows as well. Bubby wore a Duck Dynasty shirt as well as his hat.

The favors consisted of Duck Dynasty cups, with beards I made from card stock and popsicle sticks, homemade duck calls from camo duck tape and whistles, ducks and bucks tattoos and of course some candy. These were a big hit!