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The garden (and yardwork) pt.3 – And company

2 Jun

Finally a free Saturday! Jordan decided to make a few measurements and such to get my garden going. Austin decided to take a brak and hung out with us so I put them both to work. lol Just kidding. Here Lydia is helping them figure out dimensions.

For those of you unfamilliar with such a tool, this is a post digger (I think lol).

This view is taken from the garden. The bedroom window is the master bedroom. That is the back of the house.

My tree trimmimg job.

Before and after raking  pictures.

Around on the west side of the house.

Lydia taking a break.

The back of the house.

btw…there are just 2 doors in the back. The door in the top picture (closest to the right) is the same door in the bottom picture (on the left hand side).

More tree trimming pictures. Demonstration 0picture of an untrimmed tree and of a trimmed tree.

Then later Jordan invited Steve and Esther Hyde over for dinner. They brought the two youngest, Adam and Lincoln. I had had a chocolate lasagna recipe that I was wanting to make, so I decided to go ahead and put it all together. It was supposedly a copy cat recipe of Olive Garden’s Chocolate Lasagna, but it didn’t taste ANYTHING like the real deal. I halved the cake recipe part, and here is what I ended up with.

Yeah, still a 4 layer cake! And the icing was WAY sweet! I need to find some better buttercream recipes to play with.

I do like the chocolate chips though. 😀

It was set to be a nice evening. We had pizza that the Hydes brought, and chocolate cake.

And…unexpected company.

Austin had noticed a mouse earlier in the day. The mouse came to visit at dinner. We were eating and talking about the mouse, when Steve looked over and casually remarked “oh, there he is.”

Commence shrieking and fainting and climbing up on chairs.

Okay, not really.

The mouse scooted under the refrigerator, and so the men all joined hunt.

Austin (leading the charge) started bringing out everything he could to get to the mouse.

Boxes, glue traps…

…Poles, etc. This must be a male dominated sport.

Most of us returned to dinner to finish. Meanwhile, Austin chased the mouse from the refrigerator to the stove, and managed to capture it after it headed back  to the refrigerator and out again. He trapped it in a box, and took it outside where he disposed of it with a good African tribal death…death by the metal pole pounding.


We all enjoyed the chocolate cake.

Poor Squeaky.


Not really.

The first ice cream churn of the summer!

13 May

My sister Sarah sent me a newsletter back around Christmas time, telling of how she had been making ice cream that previous year, and that inspired me to make some of my own. It just sounded so yummy and refreshing. I checked out the various ice cream books at the library, and I had picked up the Ben & Jerry’s official recipe book for their ice creams. I wanted to share it with Jordan’s family, where we usually eat between services on Sundays. So, taking inventory of my ingredients, I decided on Ben & Jerry’s Banana Peanut Butter Ice Cream.

Boy was that good! I sweetened the peanut butter with honey, and I used a raw cane sugar for sweetener. I know, I just made all you food junkies groan, but one can have health and sweets intertwined.

So the ice cream was going to be my project, but Jordan decided he’d better lend his expertise to the event, so I was more than happy to hand him the ice and the rock salt. (Mental note: never give a man ice and rock salt, especially large quantities of rock salt, especially around an ice cream machine.)

Lydia was quite interested in the whole deal (plus she got to be outside), and this strange thing that made a lot of noise and moved around had its intrigue.

We used up all of the ice in my ice maker, which I had been stocking up on as I knew I had wanted to make ice cream sometime in a short period of time.

Lydia stole what ice she could (and what ice that wasn’t salty), and made off with it, usually throwing it down on the ground because it was cold, regardless of the fact that she had a cup she could have put it in.

Then came the inevitable picking up of the ice that was thrown down. *sigh* Oh well, as my dad has pointed out to me, ice cleans itself.

MMmmm…ice cream!

The Garden, pt 1

21 Apr

Jordan and I have decided to grow a garden this year. After much hard work, we have some plots dug to fill with good stuff to make the plants gown. (Y’know…manure, dirt, various soil supplements, etc.)

Here is Jordan working on the other part of the project, to help keep the plants safe: a fence. He’s figuring out how much fencing we will need to go around the garden. Lydia is searching for airsoft pellets. *sigh* I hate those things!

Here is 2 of the 3 plots that are dug, with a 4th one that is going to be dug where that big pile of dirt is. the plots are approximately 18″ wide, 12″-18″ deep, and 5′-6′ long. Yes, I do keep an eye on Lydia when she is around the holes.

I’m excited. I have seeds to plant, so I’ll get to watch them grow from start. Watermelon, Cantaloupe, Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Basil, Cilantro, and many more things are planned for the garden.

Later that day, Jordan and Lydia were having some Father-Daughter time.

Lydia has figured out that earphones have sound. They are enjoying a TED video. I thought it was so cute! 😀

Newsletter time!

24 Mar

This year I took on the task of writing a newsletter, sickness just like my Mom always did. Fortunately, I did get some assistance.

Here our editor in Chief walks around contemplating the choice of words that I used.

Our faithful Public Relations Specialist works diligently on making sure the first printing goes out to the correct people. What would I do without him? 🙂

Lydia wears Mommy’s favorite apron & Playing the piano

3 Feb

Lydia saw me wearing this apron, there so she had to put it on herself. 😀

Or at least she tried to.

Daddy helped her out!

Daddy and Lydia touring the kitchen.

Lydia “Playing” the piano. 🙂


Cute picture of Lydia and Jordan

26 Jan

Lydia and Jordan having some Daddy-Daughter time. I was enjoying watching them interact. 🙂

Helicopters and Cannons

1 Dec

We headed up to Tampa from Clearwater to go stay with some friends, and ended up detouring along the way. We headed to Fort Desoto, only to be sidetracked by a vision of a helicopter hovering over the water. We pulled into a resort parking lot to where we proceeded to watch the helicopter hover over a boat in the water for probably 10 minutes. We don’t know how long it had been there, or how long it remained there, as it was still hovering after we left.

The resort seemed to be very pretty, with a Cabana…

…a Marina…

…and the beautiful water line.

We stopped by Fort Desoto, a little outpost near St Petersburg. As I have been to the St Augustine Fort, I was not expecting such a modern fort. It was used during the Civil War up until WWI if I remember correctly. They have some artillery there that is the only known remaining pieces of that kind.

Jordan goes into one of their ammunition rooms.

They had HUGE chains sticking out of the wall. The chains had rusted into place (or were saudered to keep people like myself from seeing if they moved). The chains were probably 1.5″-2″ thick.

They had a total of 8 large cannons, 4 in each section. At this point, they only have 4 remaining on site…2 in each section. They rotated a full 360 degrees, used 83 pounds of powder for EACH shot, and the projectiles were 1,000 pounds!

Look at the spring system on the cannon!

The inside of the muzzle.

After admiring the Fort (build into a mound), we walked a path to the Gulf, just a few hundred feet away.

A very romantic sand drawing by Jordan!

Jordan with Lydia waving hello.

Admiring the Ocean.

Getting a second look at the water.

Me walking barefoot along the water.

Seashells washed ashore.

Oh yes…and the Direct TV blimp. 😀

More kitchen inspiration

14 Nov

So I roped Austin in to helping me in the kitchen to get things finished up. (Actually, nurse Jordan volunteered Austin and Zachery to help me. :D) Zachery worked on salad I think, ask and Austin had the fun job of working on dessert. Zachery and I ended up coercing Austin to put on the outfit to go with the task.

He reluctantly very graciously posed for it.

Meanwhile, nurse Jordan was very patiently waiting for us goofs to finish up in the kitchen so that he could eat dinner!

Dessert was stuffed apples (two kinds, one had graham cracker crumbs, butter, apple and cinnamon, while the other had cream cheese, peanut butter, apple and honey. WOW!).

Hunting Camp

14 Oct

I have now lived! (according to my family-in-law including my new cousins the Wallaces). Why have I just now lived? Because I’ve been camping out of doors. Jordan, Lydia and I attended the annual Wallace Hunting Camp, and we quite enjoyed ourselves. We arrived shortly before dusk driving 4.5 hours from Tucson to the hunting camp, minor distractions being stopping for gas, an explosive diaper, and a herd of elk beside the road.

We located the camp, and soon Jordan had our spot picked out for our tent, and him and Benji a friend from Nevada set up our tent. Everything was going good until Jordan went to set up the air mattress, only to find that the “pump included” had “batteries not included”. At that point Benji started edging away from the camp hinting that he needed to go take care of something in his camper. He was joking of course, but none of us wanted to be the one to pump the queen sized air mattress exclusively by our very own set of lungs. Fortunately, Jordan had a set of used batteries in a flashlight that mostly did the job, but believe me when I say I was very glad when he got a brand new set and finished the job up by the next night!

The first night was soup and salad, and it turned out quite nice by the variety of soups that were brought. All of the meals were very nicely coordinated by the Camp Assistant Director, Head Director of Meals Aunt Elisabeth.


The next day the highlight was the selecting and lumberjacking of the tree that would be used for the fuel for the campfire. Bro Armano Dominguez was our lumberjack, and when he started heading into the forest with his chainsaw, I grabbed my camera and headed after him, along with nearly everyone else in the camp.

A few tense moments, as he started sawing on the tree, and then everyone saw where the tree was and where it was started to sway and very quickly moved out of the way (we would have been fine where we were at.)

I decided I wouldn’t be able to get good pictures of the tree felling, so I took video instead. I was very impressed. I heard stories of how good Bro Armano was, and how one year he landed a tree mere feet away from someone’s RV. (Fortunately the person was away, the tree was moved fairly quickly, and all they had to go by was other peoples stories as well as branches that littered around their RV entrance).

Afterwards came the dismantling of the tree,

as well as a few aspiring (young) hunter/woodsmen that huddled around the base of the tree while some of the older ones helped them count the rings on the stump of the tree. It was neat. 🙂

The teenage/young men loaded the log pieces into a trailer attached to a 4-wheeler and they hauled them back to the campsite…

where a few other of the young men took turns at the axe to proof their manhood by how many strokes it took to split the logs apart.

I figured out of all of the guys there, Kenneth Zimmerman would have been the best log splitter as he was formerly Mennonite and surely he would have split wood to provide warmth throughout the winter, but when questioning him, he laughed and said “No, we used a [mechanical] splitter.” So much for that! He still turned out to be the best log splitter, and someone decided to try to tease him into splitting more wood for the fire (as it was getting low) by telling him “Y’know Kenneth, I bet you can’t split a log in under 10 strokes!” He turned and looked as if to say “Who said that?!” and then realized what the guy was doing, and he started laughing.

Josiah McLearn and Kenneth Zimmerman…

…as well as the fruits of their pride labor.

One of the cutest parts of the camp was Jude Murray’s little boys. Thomas, Reuben and Jeremiah were all having a blast at camp, as well as the fact that they had their own little tool. Thomas and Reuben both had pocket knives, while Jeremiah had a “torch” (Australian for Flashlight). They were so proud of their tools, and loved to show them off! 🙂 I had them pose for a picture with their tools, when suddenly Ethan Steinke came running up to get in the picture. I couldn’t pass it up. 🙂

The even more humorous part is while Jude’s boys were enjoying their new toys…Jude was enjoying a new (to him) toy of his own…a nice Nissan Titan!

Twigs, pine needles and dirty knees in all, I think Lydia quite enjoyed camping. She got to taste all of the above too (much to my chagrin).

I think she’d go camping again. I have decided that (done a little differently next time) I will enjoy camping again as well. After all, there’s just something in a little kid about tents that I don’t think entirely goes away when they get older.

I think Jordan and I are going to put in for Elk hunting next year. Maybe one of us will get drawn, and we’ll have to get a huge deep chest freezer to keep our delicious, untouched-by-man meat in to enjoy the following year. Maybe next year I’ll not only have a blog about hunting camp again, but also a blog on how to butcher a full sized elk. 😀 (I’ll be sure to forewarn you, as I know not everyone enjoys the gruesomeness of wild living such as butchering your own food. I love you Mom! :D)

Bouncey Seats and Breakfast

17 Sep

Lydia likes her bouncy seat toys. I’ve discovered that she also likes to try to climb into the seat to get to the toys.


The irony is, when I put her in the seat and buckle her in, she doesn’t want to be there long. She’s getting good at climbing up on things.

Jordan was really sweet and made me a lovely breakfast.  


A loaded omelette…

…fruit salad and fried potatoes.

He was a bit sheepish that I was going to take pictures and brag about him, but I had to. 😀