DIY Archives - Kohler Created

Ramen with chicken bone broth, pork shoulder, soft-boiled egg & greens - kohler created

Paleo Beef Bone Broth

By | Food, Healthy, Paleo, Whole30 | No Comments

Is bone broth a winter staple for you?

Use the promo code “KOHLER15”, and receive 15% off your first order with Kettle and Fire!

Paleo Beef Bone Broth - Kohler Created

You might not believe it, but Neil and I used to live on canned soup. I shudder to think about it now, but with a busy life and schedule, that was often our go-to meal, and especially so if we thought we were coming down with a bug. I used to literally slurp chicken soup, from a can (I know don’t judge me!) when I was sick because I definitely didn’t feel comfortable making my own. But when I came down with a really bad cold a few years ago and happened to glance at the ingredients on the back of the soup can, I decided that I had to try something else.

If you haven’t heard of bone broth, it’s been gaining a lot of popularity the past few years, especially in the fitness community. If you’ve made your own soup broth before, the whole idea is quite similar. Grab a pot, throw in some animal bones, cover it with water, and simmer for a long time. By doing so, you extract all the nutrients from the bones into a digestible form called gelatin. It’s this gelatin that contains many amino acids that’s perfect for bolster your immune system and improving your overall digestive health.

Because Neil and I are always looking to save money, we’ve learned to make our own beef broth and find it to be absolutely delicious and comforting, especially as the temperatures drop. It uses just a few simple ingredients and simmers all day long making the house smell of delicious beefy richness.

Paleo Beef Bone Broth - Kohler Created

While we would always like to make our own sometimes it’s tough to find the time to do so. Fortunately, there are quite a few pre-made options. I personally prefer the bone broth from Kettle and Fire. It’s made from organic ingredients and grass-fed beef bones, and has a super rich flavor I haven’t found in other brands. The best thing for me is that they’re also non-frozen and shelf stable, so I can always have some in my pantry for when I’m short on time. Check out their online store and if you use the promo code “KOHLER15”, you’ll get 15% off your first order. That’s more than enough incentive to stock up for a good chunk of this winter.

Paleo Beef Bone Broth
Recipe Type: Soup/Beverage
Cuisine: Paleo/Primal
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 32-35 oz
  • 3-4 lbs of mixed beef bones (oxtail, knuckles, neckbones and/or short ribs)
  • 2 medium carrots (coarsely chopped)
  • 3 celery stalks (coarsely chopped)
  • 2 medium onions (coarsely chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 bay leaf
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Place bones in a single layer on a sheet or roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil to evenly coat.
  3. Roast for 30 minutes, then, flip each bone over and roast for an additional 30 minutes.
  4. Chop the vegetables while the bones are roasted and put them with the bones, bay leaf and cider vinegar in a large crock pot or soup pot.
  5. Cover completely with water and bring to a high simmer.
  6. Reduce the heat to low and let simmer for 12-24 hours. Throughout simmering, add water as needed to keep all the ingredients submerged.
  7. Once the broth has reached a dark rich brown color, remove from heat.
  8. Discard the bones, vegetables and bay leaf and strain through a cheesecloth.
  9. Cool the pot to room temperature.
  10. Once at room temperature pour into jars and let cool in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
  11. Skim the condensed fat off the top of the cooled broth and heat to the desired temperature.

Ramen with chicken bone broth, pork shoulder, soft-boiled egg & greens - kohler created

We try to always keep some broth in the freezer and ready, but having a stockpile of our Kettle & Fire is nice, especially as the temperatures drop and you just want something comforting to sip on. For this round, we decided touse it to make an easy ramen.

Ramen with Bone Broth, Pork, Soft-boiled Egg & Greens
Recipe Type: Soup/Appetizer
Cuisine: Asian
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4 servings
  • 4 eggs
  • 2-2 1/2 cups ramen noodles
  • 32 oz bone broth
  • 2 large handfuls shredded spring greens
  • 4 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 2 cups fresh sprouts
  • Chilli oil, to serve
  • Pickled chilli to taste
  • 1 tablespoon shallots, to serve
  • For the Ramen seasoning:
  • 1 tablespoon mirin
  • 1 tablespoon saké
  • 4 tablespoons Japanese soy sauce
  1. Boil the eggs in a pan for 6 mins, then remove and put in ice water to cool.
  2. Boil the noodles in a large pan, stirring so they don’t stick, until al dente, about 3 mins. In the final minute of cooking, add the greens. Drain and divide between the bowls.
  3. Mix the ramen seasoning ingredients in a small bowl. Slice the pork and add to the bowls.
  4. Pour the broth over each and add the spring onions and sprouts.
  5. Peel the eggs, slice in half lengthways and place in each bowl with a dollop of pickled chilli & shallots, if you like. Pass round the ramen seasoning and chili oil to serve on top.

Hope you enjoy these recipes, and definitely check out Kettle and Fire!

Kettle & Fire Logo

Disclosure: I am participating in the Kettle and Fire Affiliate Program and have been provided with feedback and additional media to use in this blog post in addition to the codes and benefits of being in the program.

How-To: 02-2008 Jeep Liberty window regulator replacment

By | Automotive, DIY, How-To, Jeep | No Comments

If you have a Chrysler/Jeep anywhere from 2002-2008 I guarantee that at some point you are going to one day try to roll up the window, hear a pop, and the window no longer goes up or down with the switch. Almost every time this is a window motor regulator that has failed. Where it has failed can vary, but most commonly some of the plastics in the lifting mechanism has broke or come apart.

Unfortunately Chrysler/Jeep does not sell window regular parts and you must replace the whole window regulator. Taking apart your door and replacing the window motor regular may seem like a daunting task, but it is very easy and will save you hundreds of dollars.

Jeep will want over $400 to do this service in most cases, and a new window regulator can be had for under $125 in most cases. That is a significant savings.

So today I will go over exactly what you need to do this job and how to replace your rear window motor regulator in my 2006 Jeep Liberty. The front is not very different so this guide can also help you if you are in the position that you need to replace the front regulator.

Tools you will need:

10mm socket and socket wrench
Small flat head screw driver
Medium Phillips screw driver
Plastic pry to assist removing door panel (optional but helps)

Jeep Window Regulator – Make sure you get the proper type of regulator for your year Jeep. I would have your VIN ready to verify which type you have. There are two types, and the difference is the window lift plate that the window glass connects to.

Type 1:

Type 2:

The Process:

Disconnect the battery from the car to prevent any possible damage to electronics. Next, locate two screws that hold the door panel to the door. There is one in the handle, and one in the door latch.

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The next step you kind of have to carefully pry the door panel in the bottom areas and they will pop loose, and then you will need to lift up to get the door panel off of the top of the window sill. A plastic pry tool like these will help a lot to minimize any damage.

The areas in RED you will want to pry off outward. Once you have those loose pull the door panel up to release the area in GREEN

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Once the door panel is off you will need to release the door latch cable. You pry it CAREFULLY (it is made of plastic) off of the latch as you can see here:

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Next you will need to remove the speaker. Three easy screws and a simply speaker wire clip and this comes right out.

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Then you have the door plastic cover which you just gently pull off the metal door. This has sticky tar-like glue holding it on which should mostly stay on the plastic. It is tacky and will easily re-attach when you press it back on.

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From here you will push the window down in order to access the lift plate as seen in the Type 1 and Type 2 photos. Type 1 is very easy to remove as you just take a flat head screw driver and pull off the metal clip. Type 2 is a bit more difficult and requires you to remove the black rubber piece . In either case if you damage the lift plate your new regulator should come with one so no worries.

After you have removed the window from the lift you will loosen and remove the bolts in green below. You will need to unplug the regulator from its power wire clip. This can be a little tricky. The orange piece pictured below slides out to allow the harness to be removed with a flat head.

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After removing the power harness move the window to the full up position and fish out the regulator unit. It takes a little finesse but should come out eventually.

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Install the new regulator in the opposite fashion. My regulator replacement came with new bolts so I installed those.

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To attach the window back on to the lift plate for Type 1 you simply press the window peg against the metal clip (do not remove the new metal clip) and it should pop right into place. For Type2 you slide the window down into the plastic piece and there should be a round clip that pops into the hole in the window.

Reconnect the power harness to the regulator and then connect the battery to the vehicle and test that the window rolls up and down.

From there you just put back together the plastic sheet, the speaker, and then the door panel. I also went ahead and cleaned the window in the areas that you cannot get to without the panel off.

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WP_20141107_003 (Medium) (2)

Congrats you just saved yourself a couple hundred bucks!

DIY CrossFit Parallettes

DIY PVC Parallettes for CrossFit Workouts

By | 2nd Trimester, CrossFit, DIY, How-To, Pregnancy | 2 Comments

DIY Parallettes - Kohler Created

As you might have seen in our “Murph” post and a few of my weekly pregnancy recaps, I’m currently doing push-ups with the assistance of PVC parallettes. They allow me to feel more secure in reaching full-depth without getting my growing belly close to the ground. We have a set at the gym, but over the past few weeks I really wanted to tackle making a set for the house. Why not? They are inexpensive and easy to make, and push-ups are something I can easily do more of at home. Plus, these DIY PVC Parallettes go nicely with my kettlebell and there are an infinite number of workouts I can do on the fly at home with them.

DIY CrossFit Parallettes - Kohler Created

What’ you’ll need:

  • 1 – 10′ x 1.5″ PVC pipe
  • 1 – Can PVC cement
  • 4 – 1.5″ 90 degree elbow joints
  • 4 – 1.5″ T joints
  • 8 – 1.5″ PVC caps
  • 1 piece of sandpaper (optional)
  • Rubber gloves (optional)
Cut the PVC to the appropriate sizes:

The first thing you have to do is cut the 1.5-inch PVC down into pieces. You will need:

  • 8 – 5″ pieces
  • 4 – 8″ pieces
  • 2 – 24″ pieces

Most hardware stores (Ace, Lowes, Home Depot) will cut the PVC for you if you know the measurements. If they don’t cut it perfectly straight, it’s not a big deal, just make sure the ends are nice and clean and sanded if you’d like (optional). We used the sandpaper to rough up all the edges for gluing, as it gives the glue a better surface to stick to.

Build the top:

Starting with the central horizontal piece (where your hands go), add glue/cement to the outside of one end, around 1 inch in depth. Add glue to on 90 degree elbow joint and attach it to the end. Repeat the process for the other side and lay the glued piece on the ground to be sure it is flat. You can also use a level to do this, but it’s not essential.

DIY CrossFit Parallettes - Kohler Created

Build the supports:

To assemble the remaining pieces into the supports, complete the following:

  1. Sand one end of 2 5″ PVC pieces, and glue caps to one end
  2. Sand one end of 1 8″ PVC pieces, and glue into top of 90 degree T-joints
  3. Take each of the capped 5″ PVC pieces from #1, and sand and glue into the sides of each T-Joint from #2

DIY CrossFit Parallettes - Kohler Created

Assemble the Parallette:

To complete assembly, you need to connect the top with your supports. Sand and glue each base into the 90 degree elbow joints on either end of the support. I would do one at a time, then check to be sure it lies flat and dries before moving on to the next.

DIY CrossFit Parallettes - Kohler Created

Repeat this process for the 2nd parallette.

25-26 weeks pregnant - Kohler Created

Now I chose to go the PVC route, but if you are worried about the strength of the PVC because you’re packing more size/muscle than I am I’d go the solid metal/steel route. I wanted mine to be light and easy on the wood floors, but if yours are purely going to be in the gym, then they may be the better fit.

Easy Quiche - Kohler Created

House project baby steps

By | 2nd Trimester, Bathroom, Bedroom, DIY, Food, House, Pregnancy, Weekend | One Comment

Breakfast burritos...hmmm

Huge working weekend for us last weekend preparing the house for baby, alternatively titled “stuff we should have done much sooner.” And while we didn’t get it all done, we definitely covered a lot of ground. After coaching my favorite 8 AM Free CrossFit class on Saturday morning and a breakfast of egg burritos, we immediately went to work clearing out Kaitlan’s future room. It was still the dumping ground for so many random things…

Future Nursery - Kohler Created

We finished the closet over last weekend (finally!) and so we wanted to start patching and prepping the room to paint. This includes the ceiling and all the window trim. We got everything patched and taped, so it’s ready to go for next weekend.

Future Nursery - Kohler Created

We also picked the color. I’ve loved the idea of a darker blue/teal forever, so when Neil picked it out while we were at the hardware store, I was thrilled. Her room is going to be so fun!

We bought a new toy, a Go Pro. It had been on our list to buy for a while, and I’d been hoarding my birthday and Christmas money specifically for it.  A good deal came up at Best Buy, so it was the perfect time to buy. With Neil’s current set-up for racing not really cutting it (too many vibrations despite our efforts to damper — leading to completely useless footage), us wanting to film our kid, as well as the always film-able stuff happening at CrossFit, it seemed like the perfect addition to our arsenal.

We of course couldn’t resist testing it out on Matilda…

Go Pro Dog Mount - Kohler Created

While Neil played with the Go Pro, I finished re-organizing all our personal and business files. I also put together a file box for all Kaitlan’s documents. Baby’s first office supplies!

Dinner on Saturday night was an easy sausage and egg crustless quiche. YUM!

Easy Quiche - Kohler Created

After dinner, we finished patching and taping the bathroom to paint Sunday. I was so excited for this room to have a fresh coach of paint. I don’t know what they used, but it had yellowed and was completely gross. I actually took to cleaning it with my Swiffer mop. we also patched and taped the trim in Kaitlan’s room.

Future Nursery - Kohler Created

Sunday was a whirlwind of bathroom painting, cleaning, food prep, and attempted yard weeding. I have seriously neglected the yard (don’t even have flowers or the garden started), so I’m trying to get it all cleaned up in spurts. It’s definitely getting uncomfortable to bend and squat for long periods of time, but I’m determined to make up for negligent.

The bathroom turned out great. Yes, it’s just white, but it just feels so much more fresh.

Bathroom Repaint - Kohler Created

We finished Sunday off with some grilling and episodes of Cosmos.

BBQ - Kohler Created

Needless to say, going back to work almost felt like getting a break.

How To: Change the differential fluid on a Nissan 350Z

By | Automotive, DIY, How-To, Neil | No Comments


Today I will show you what you will need to change the differential fluid on a Nissan 350Z. Mine is a 2003 but this tutorial will work for any 350Z and 370Z and will translate well to many other vehicles.

Most people do not know that your differential needs fresh fluid bi-annually, especially if you have a limited slip differential (LSD woah dude). Keeping fresh fluid in the differential will not only extend the life of your LSD but will also make it perform more consistently. This is one of the easier maintenance items to do so I highly recommend keeping the fluid fresh.

Tools you will need:

The Process:

1. Put some wheel chocks or a brick or something in front and behind the front wheels so that they will not roll as you jack up the car.
2. Jack up the car. I typically jack up the back by the rear differential and then put a jack stand on either side of the car.
3. Locate the differential drain and fill holes.


4. Loosen the drain hole and drain into your pan. Notice that the drain plug has a magnet on the end of it. Clean any metal shavings off of the magnet.


5. After drained, put the drain plug back in and torque down to 22-28ft/lb.

6. Open the fill plug and attach your fluid pump to the fluid bottle. Mine does not fit the gear 300 bottle, but most other bottles will fit the pump.


7. Once you have filled around 1.5 quarts, the fluid will start to come out of the fill hole and you know you have put in enough.

8. Tighten the fill plug to 22-28ft/lb and you are done!

The End of an Era

By | DIY, House, Technology | No Comments

Well that sounds kind of foreboding doesn’t it? It’s actually a good thing! As of yesterday, all of the ’80s kitchen appliances are GONE!





As expected, the old Jenn-Air didn’t go down without a fight.

  1. The gas line was placed right up next to the wall making getting a pipe wrench on it impossible. To remedy this we had to cut out a square in the drywall to allow for room.
  2. The gas line was capped off and it appears the cap was glued, or fastened in a permanent way so the 12 inches of iron pipe had to be replaced.
  3. Once replaced, due to code, we had to put on a flow valve at the top of the pipe (now behind the stove).
  4. The past oven range was electric and ran on 220v that wired right in to the oven. The new oven is all natural gas, and the only thing that requires electricity is the display and the lighters. This means that it runs on standard 110v. For now we are running the cord through the floor and will get an electrician to remove the 220v and put a wall outlet in behind the stove.

Big props to Neil, who not only took almost the entire day off Monday (the original scheduled delivery day), but yesterday as well to make sure this went in okay. Here are a few more pics:




It makes our kitchen finally look somewhat intentional. Much better! And of course, I can’t leave out the chicken nuggets setting we were so enthralled by in the store, which we couldn’t resist making use of last night:


Trying out the chicken nuggets setting, we couldn't help ourselves...

Our new stove is a Samsung 30″ Self-Cleaning Freestanding Gas Convection Range (Model: FX710BGS) I’d like to say that we specifically sought this model out, but it was really the best one that Best Buy had that met the size and format qualifications. While I’m somewhat sad we couldn’t meet our original goal, I’m already so much happier just having something that does everything like it’s supposed to — and well!


By | CrossFit, DIY, House, Verizon Voices, Weekend | No Comments

Disclosure: I am participating in the Verizon Health and Fitness Voices program and have been provided with the Motorola Razr HD and six months of service in exchange for my honest review and opinions about the product.

First, thank you so much for your kind words about my grandma and new job direction. Admittedly, I have never been good at expressing myself, nor have I ever really been a blogger who pours her heart out. Maybe it’s a side effect of years of technical writing, or just growing up in the Midwest, where it’s ingrained from birth that life is all about enduring and keeping your head down. Anyhow, for as much as I snark on bloggers for unnecessary overshare and being melodramatic, it is definitely not easy to put yourself out there, and I am glad that I did.

I enjoyed my first normal weekend in what I feel like has been a long time — meaning that I didn’t work on one or both days. Our big goal for the weekend was to get the porches and deck cleaned, prepped and sealed. This has been the mildest summer I think we’ve seen in a long time, so we gave the deck plenty of time to settle and then some because several of the weekends we had hoped to seal ended up being rainy, super humid or both.

Because the cleaning process involved bleach and a lot of scrubbing, we opted to leave our camera inside — so enjoy this shot of my breakfast instead:


After cleaning the deck and working a bit around the yard, I got a little ahead of myself and purchased this:


Our old mailbox fell and broke during deck construction, and since it’s in a covered, well protected spot, I thought something prettier was justified. What do you think? A bit of a tangent: I’m still completely up in the air over what colors to paint the doors and garage. I want something brighter, but I don’t want the garage to be too bright since the drain backs up sometimes when it rains. I know, old house problems. Can the garage and doors be two different colors? Oh I am so indecisive!

I also started packing up my home office to return to work. Yes, I am that dorky.


I also couldn’t resist some new paper goods. I have so many notebooks, but I couldn’t help myself. Martha Stewart’s line at Staples is impossible to resist.


Saturday evening was the first practice for the kickball team me and a few of the girls from CrossFit Fringe decided to join. I’ve been chomping at the bit for the chance to avenge my awkward childhood of never getting picked for anything, faking injuries to get out of gym class, and ducking and hiding from any kind of active game play. The bad news is that I’m still really awkward, but I’m faster with self-deprecating humor, so maybe that will save me. Otherwise I’ll just buy everyone beer.


I even get a t-shirt to play in, so official!


Afterward, Neil started the painful (for him) process of teaching me DOTA. With The International ending last weekend, and all the live streams he’s constantly watching (especially now that we have the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 around to play with — thanks Verizon!), I decided that it was time I gave it a try. It’s got quite a bit of learning curve, but I’m getting the hang of it. We also tried out the new Final Fantasy MMO that is in its last week of beta. It’s too early to tell, but I think it’s going to be fun!

Sunday morning I headed over to CrossFit Fringe early to take pictures of the Attitude Nation Seminar with Jon North. I was bummed about not getting to participate (need to save some $$), but excited to cover it for the gym and be there to help out. It was so awesome it necessitates its own post, so for now, here are a few pics…




The remainder of Sunday was spent sealing the deck. Because we were eager to get started, we didn’t take any immediate “before” or equipment shots. It’s fairly straight forward, so I’ll just say that we opted to use Sikkens Translucent Cetol SRD Exterior Wood Finish in the color “natural.” It went on absolutely beautifully. I can’t say enough how beautiful it looks. Take a look!






It feels so good to have this project checked off the list. It’s so much more vibrant now — so much so that we definitely need to get on painting the doors and garage so that it doesn’t seem so overpowering. In any sense, this weekend was amazing, it feels good to have them back!

Disclosure: I am participating in the Verizon Health and Fitness Voices program and have been provided with the Motorola Razr HD and six months of service in exchange for my honest review and opinions about the product.

Taming the terror.

By | DIY, Furniture, House | 3 Comments

My mom is currently in New Ulm visiting my aunt and uncle, and she asked if I would take a few pictures of the furniture we received from my grandparents estate as it looks in our house. Even though it’s forever a work in progress, things are shaping up quite nicely over here, so I thought I’d share the progress with you too. Let’s start with the dining room…


Here is the view as you’re coming out of the kitchen. We only have two pieces in here, my grandma’s dining room table and the matching buffet she received as a wedding gift. They are in amazing shape, and they fit this room perfectly. Still working on accessories, and I can’t wait to paint in here. I hate the flesh-colored paint.


A shot of the buffet. I was cleaning in here when I stopped to take pictures, so that’s why the vacuum and furniture oil is out. Ignore the sticks and the weird love ornament, they are for something I’m working on. Oh, and we’re also looking for a wall-mounted wine rack, any suggestions?


A shot from the other side looking into the kitchen. I someday envision it looking like this.


And the living room. The green looks really bright in these pictures, but I’ll take it.


I’m so indecisive that we’re still without curtains, any suggestions? Obviously probably a solid or really faint pattern? I’m so paranoid about things clashing or not looking good, that I just don’t do anything, which looks equally as bad! Next year I’d like to finally replace the car-sized couch with something grey and a little bit more demure.


Incidentally, we just finished the final requisite task to making some more furniture swaps around last night. We received the last of the server supplies from Newegg and Neil got everything set up downstairs, eliminating the last cord we had running from the TV to our computers upstairs in the loft. So now we can ditch the metal TV stand and replace it with the buffet that used to be in the dining room.


The current media center configuration, total cord city right? Such is the life of people who work in IT…

Remember the “Terror Room”? It’s looking a little better these days as well…


Through some miracle, we managed to find the one angle that allowed us to eek this couch into this bedroom. We had to remove the door, and we lost some paint on the door frame, but that’s all fixable right? We’ve come to the conclusion over the past few months that apparently old houses weren’t designed with furniture-moving in mind. Apparently in the magical era known as the ’50s, furniture just appeared in rooms. You also only needed on income to live off of. Fantasy I tell you. We have some patching to do, but it was worth it. This couch was in my grandparents basement, and we had more late-night slumber parties and holidays down there than I can count. Hope our future children like it because it is likely to never leave this room again. For now, this room is going to be a cozy den for us  to watch movies and game in.


Another angle. The side chair and table are a nice tough. Eventually I’d like this room to be kind of bright and funky, yet softly-lit, like this.


And lest you think I totally have my shit together now, let me let you in on a little secret. The closet is still FULL of our pictures and wall-hangings. Yup, still haven’t hung a single thing.

So looking better, yes? Any suggestions for us?

Hit the brakes! How to replace your brakes and rotors yourself

By | Automotive, DIY, How-To, Neil, Racing | 4 Comments


In our persistent pursuit to save money and cut unnecessary expenses wherever possible, few areas have net us both extreme success and failure quite like car maintenance. While Neil’s skills in the garage have enabled us to do roughly 98% of our own maintenance (saving hundreds of dollars in labor + equipment), his auto racing hobby definitely tests how well we can stretch our dollar. This weekend was a juxtaposition of just that, as preparations for racing season are officially underway.

On Saturday, we spent the afternoon changing the brakes on the Jeep so it can take on a new role — to pull the Z, which is no longer safe for the streets.


If you’re new to the blog, Neil’s Z has undergone a major transformation over the past two years. What started as a nice car to enjoy weekend cruises in is now a gutted track-only racer, with some medieval looking hardware. His full series on its transformation can be found here.

Although do-it-yourself car maintenance can save you money ($150-200 for the average four-wheel brake job), it’s definitely time intensive, and not something you want to undertake without research  and knowledge of the various areas and parts you’ll be working with. Because each vehicle is different, it can be difficult to predict exactly what tools you will need. Here is a list of general tools to have in any garage:


  • Complete socket set with 3/8 and 1/2 inch drives
  • 3/8 or 1/2 inch breaker bar
  • Rubber mallet
  • Hammer
  • Phillips and Flathead screw drivers (sizes may vary)
  • Disc brake caliper service tool set (as seen here)
  • Car jack
  • Two jack stands
  • Multi Purpose Respirator (Important! See here. Get a good one and not the paper type masks)
  • Wire brush*
  • One bungee cord*
  • Torque wrench for lug nuts*
  • Factory Service Manual for the vehicle you are working on*

*Optional, but a good to have


  • Old rags or towels
  • Rubber gloves
  • Disc brake quiet (as seen here, or any major auto store)
  • Penetrating Spray for stuck bolts like PB Blaster
  • New brake pads
  • New rotors

To begin, loosen the lug nuts of the first wheel.

Raise your vehicle using a jack stand per the Service Manual’s recommendations of proper jack points and jack stand points. ALWAYS have at least 1 jack stand AND the jack in place when working on a vehicle.

Remove lug nuts and wheel.


Now is a good time to put on your Respirator Mask. This will protect you from inhaling any brake dust that can contain lead and/or asbestos.

First, we need to remove the caliper. There are typically two bolts that hold the caliper on to the bracket. You can see Neil pointing to them in the picture below.

Remove these two bolts and slide the caliper off of the bracket. This may take some finesse and a couple well-placed whacks with the rubber mallet, but the caliper will eventually slide off.


Caliper sliding off!


Use the bungee cord to hang the brake caliper so that it is not hanging by the brake line. Allowing it to hang is bad for the brake lines.

Remove the old brake pads from the caliper bracket and set aside.


Next, to remove the rotor, you must remove the caliper bracket. These are typically held on with two larger bolts you can see me pointing at below.

These bolts can often be tough to remove so use your penetrating spray and let it work for a few minutes before attempting. Your breaker bar can also come in handy at this point to get more leverage. Neil also finds that tapping on the bar with the mallet helps getting stuck bolts loose.


Once the bracket is removed in most cases the rotor will slide off the wheel studs. Some rotors have a single screw that holds them onto the wheel hub so check this just in case. If your rotor happens to be stuck, spray it with some penetrating spray and try hitting it with the rubber mallet at the 12, 6, 9 and 3 o’clock positions. Sometimes rotors can be quite stubborn.


Clean up the hub surface with your wire brush and slide the new rotor on.

Next, bolt the caliper bracket back on and torque the bolts to recommendations (in factory service manual)


Before you install the new brake pads you need to apply the disc brake quiet grease to the back of the pads. Use as much as you need to get a good coat on them.




Slide the pads into the caliper bracket, or caliper depending on your vehicle’s configuration.



This is where your caliper tool comes in handy. When you press your brake pedal, a piston on the caliper pushes out and squeezes the pads against the rotor. This friction enables you to stop.

Through use, the brake pads are worn down and the piston is uncompressed further to make up the difference. You will find that you cannot slide your caliper back onto the bracket because the new pads are thicker than the old ones. You will need to use the caliper tool to press or twist the piston back into the caliper.

The caliper tool should come with directions, however it is a pretty easy process. Find the correct adapter for your caliper and use the spreader to push or twist the piston back into the caliper. We shot a few pictures of the process below:



Eventually you will push the piston back enough to slide the caliper back onto the rotor and bracket. Once that is done put the bolts back in to hold the caliper on and tighten to recommended spec per the Service Manual.


Slide the wheel back on the wheel studs and tighten down the lug nuts by hand as well as you can before removing the jack stand and lowering the car down onto the ground.

Torque the lug nuts to between 80 and 90 foot pounds using your torque wrench.

Congratulations, have a beer! One out of four wheels is done! Thankfully, the process to change rear brakes is similar to the front.

When you are finished with all four wheels you will need to take the vehicle out for a spin to “bed in” the brakes. Bedding in brake pads and rotors properly mates the new brake pads to the new rotors and ensures even wear occurs for the life of the brakes. This is a pretty important process, and not one to take lightly.

Here is what HAWK recommends:

After installing new pads make 6 to 10 stops from approximately 35 mph with moderate pressure. Make an additional two to three hard stops from approximately 40 to 45 mph. Do not allow the vehicle to come to a complete stop.When completed with this process, park the vehicle and allow the brakes to cool completely before driving on them again. Do not engage the parking brake until after this cooling process is compete.

It feels good to have a skill that enables us to be self-sufficient and save a couple hundred dollars every time brake maintenance rolls around.

Have you ever learned a new skill or undertaken a project on your own to save money?

Weekend Recap: Taming the Terror

By | Cats, House, Interior Design | 11 Comments


A couple weeks after moving in, we dubbed this room “The Terror Room.” I’ve been told every new homeowner has one. It’s the extra room or spot where stuff ends up when it doesn’t fit anywhere else or requires more time than you have to sort out. The stuff you put off unpacking, gifts you don’t know where to put, artwork you haven’t hung yet. Ours has it all. Or did. We finally took care of it this weekend, well somewhat. But now we need some help from you. But first, the clean-up:


Huge piles of small, random stuff. Hands down the most annoyingly tedious to stuff to clean up.


I organized all of our gardening accessories and antiques into boxes for now. Hopefully with some shelving in this closet, we can store things a little better until we actually get to decorating.


Look, my wedding bouquet! Ladies, I have no idea what to do with it! Obviously it’s probably worth keeping, but is there anything I can do with it besides let it hang?


All of our blankets and bedding, now in one place. I’m thinking a huge blanket fort might be in order this winter, if for no other reason than to see how far we can get it to stretch around the house. (Note: I tidied them up after taking this photo.)


Neil found a whole bag of his socks. How he didn’t know they were missing illustrates another problem altogether. Is there such a thing as too many socks?


We have tons of art and frames to sort through, for now they are still stacked against the wall. Definitely have to start painting now that the temperatures are cooling off.

As we cleaned, we noticed a few things that definitely need to be addressed, right after we finish scratching our heads and asking why and how and why people end up making the decisions they do:


Cables through a random place in the plaster, great choice! And how about that outlet sitting on the floor? Why put it in the wall like like a conformist when you can have it hanging out and mismatched to boot? And what was the logic behind removing the molding?


This also totally necessitates cutting through the molding. Totally.

When we finished, we hauled tons of boxes and trash out:


And were left with this:


Ever finish one project to find you have about five more? That’s how we feel right now, but we are excited to finally have this room ready for — something? That’s where we need your help. We put our guest room upstairs with the second bathroom, and we already have an office and a TV room, so what should we do with this room?

It’s nicely located right off the kitchen, maybe another lounge area? I mean *eventually* it could be a kids room, but for now it’s just hanging out semi-empty. We need ideas before Felix fully claims it as his new room:


Are you there God? It’s me, Felix. I’ve been a good cat this year, please let this be my room, please!?