Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Demolition Zone

So the tile demolition hit a snag last weekend. The one room went rather smoothly with the tiles popping up. So Hubby moved into the dining room to find that the tiles were attached to the floor with something quite a bit stronger than the previous room. He was getting about 35 tiles an hour popped up in the first room and about 1 tile an hour in the dining room. Poor guy looked absolutely defeated. So I called the local rental store and explained our predicament. They had a machine called a Bear Cat Stripper than is used to strip linoleum, carpet and tiles. It didn't sound strong enough but we thought what the heck. So I went in and rented it. While I was there I wanted to see what else they had in case the Bear Cat thing didn't work. Second option was a demolition hammer. Then if that didn't work they had a jack hammer. The jack hammer was the last possible option since it might damage the slab.  So I decided to rent the Bear Cat stripper and the Demolition hammer, hoping one would work.

Hubby tried the Bear Cat thing first to find it just wasn't heavy duty enough to do the job, it got a few tiles up but not any faster than the air hammer he was using in the first place. The he tried the demolition hammer. Jack pot! He looked like a kid on Christmas morning he was so happy. It tore right through those tiles like they were butter. Of course the poor guy was getting quite the work out having to be the brute strength behind the tool. He got all 170 tiles chipped up in three hours. We are officially done taking up the tiles! Next step is to rent a concrete grinder to grind down all the uneven places where the foundation work was done, tear up the old carpet in areas and put down new carpet!



The strange thing about this video is that the kids are completely unphased by the sheer destruction and NOISE going on in the next room. They are just playing away like nothing is happening. Bizarre.

video

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Picnic

Sean's company picnic was yesterday so we loaded the kids into the car and headed out. It was held at a farm that has been converted into place you can rent for such occasions. We actually had been here for the last picnic three years ago. The difference between yesterday and three years ago? We have two walking, active children. No stroller needed this time. It was really fun, despite the 103 degree temperatures. It had a lot of hiking, a nice playground, games to play, a stocked pond, a petting zoo, pool, paint guns and hayrides. They had a big lodge that was air conditioned that we cooled down in periodically. It was fun and the kids had a blast. Hope you all had a nice weekend!

Peek-a-boo!

Sean and his MiniMe.

What ever Dad can do...

...I can do too!

We are eating and I look over to see Greta sitting like this pointing....

...to the wall of dead animal heads. She loved it!

She doesn't look thrilled, but she really enjoyed this thing.

Wesley and I on a hike.

Fearless child crossing a flimsy bridge.

More fearless people crossing the bridge of death.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Catch up

What a long, hot weekend it was. We had our very first garage sale over at Jessica's house. It was the city wide garage sale weekend so we hauled out all of our unused, well loved baby gear, clothes and toys. I couldn't get over how many people came! We sold all but a few things and those things I sold this morning from Craigslist. You wouldn't believe how cleaned out the garage is, it's wonderful! It's so nice to know we are done with babies and are able to get rid of big stuff like the stroller, high chair and portable crib. I also cleaned out all the old toys from the basement. I never knew there were that many toys down there. Ugg. Trash bag after trash bag was loaded in the truck. It was so invigorating! Made a little cash too, a win win situation!


Jessica with the giant amount of baby clothes.

 Hubby started working on tile removal in the middle of the house this weekend. We bought a cheap little air hammer last year and he was able to get about 35 tiles and hour chipped up. These are being removed because of the foundation work we had done. They had to place piers under the foundation and slab and had to remove large chunks of tiles (none of which I can find replacements for). I'm so excited to have this project finished and nice new carpet put in it's place. It will be glorious.



Wesley enjoyed watching Dad work, always had his safety goggles on.

Home improvements are on the brain apparently. We've rented some scaffolding from the local rental place and plan to start tearing down more rotten siding. It's a big job and one that hubby isn't looking forward to. Plus it's been raining all the time lately. Our spring rains came late this year. It's been difficult finding a weekend with no rain in the forecast.

Greta is officially eating at the big table now. No more high chair for our baby girl. She loves being  part of it all and it's nice having the table full.


Enjoying her first ice cream cone! Yum!
 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Another use for duct tape

I have to admit I'm a bit obsessed with the garden this year. I really like gardening! It's my zen part of the day, when the kids aren't around and it's just me and the plants. I've also declared war against the squash beetle this year. I've researched all I can research online about the dreaded pest and have educated myself about the different organic methods of removal. The best method I've found is mechanical means. I go out there twice a day and bend over each plant and pluck off the adults (they are usually mating on the under side of the leaf) and then scrape off all the eggs I can find. This started about two weeks ago and I was finding about 30 adults a day. I'd put on my gardening gloves and just pick em off, take them over to a stump and smash them with my flip flop. But over the past few days I've found an even better method. Duct tape. Take a loop of it and with the sticky side out, put it around your first two fingers. This is an awesome way to get rid of those eggs. No more popping eggs between the fingernails. Yuck. Now I'm finding about 5-8 adults a day. Definitely winning this war. So far anyways. I also spray the zucchini squash, yellow squash, cantaloupe, watermelon and butternut squash with insecticidal soap once a week. Whew, this is a lot of work for squash. Better be delicious!

Greta of the corn.

Greta likes the garden....she likes to stomp around smashing stuff that is. She's crouched between a row of zinnias and yellow squash (intermingled with radishes). 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Funday Sunday: Lemon Delight

I was on the hunt for a unique lemon cake recipe when I ran across this gem. My mom loves lemon and this fit the bill for her Birthday cake.  It's called Lemon Delight and it's simple and delicious for a summer cake. Try it out!



Lemon Delight

Ingredients: 
  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package lemon cake mix
  • 1 (11 ounce) can mandarin oranges, with juice
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 4 eggs

Topping:
  • 1 (3.5 ounce) package instant French vanilla pudding
  • 1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).Grease and flour a 9x13 inch pan.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the cake mix, sour cream and eggs until smooth and creamy then mix in the mandarin oranges with juice. Beat well to break up the oranges.  Spread batter evenly into the prepared pan.
  3. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  4. To make the topping, stir together the pineapple and instant pudding mix in a medium bowl. Fold in whipped topping. Frost cooled cake.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Big Trucks

Parents as Teachers was putting on their annual Big Truck Show for the youngsters last night so we took the kids. My two kids were a little slow to warm up to the idea but once they started climbing all over fire trucks and ambulances they warmed up fast.

Who knew three youngsters could fit in a Bobcat?

Playing in the cherry picker.

Wesley got to shoot the fake flames out of the windows.

Couldn't pry the kids from the Gator.

The big scoop

Cute little thing.

Greta really liked the school bus......and Aunt Jessica.

Tractors and suckers....boys two favorite things. Alex is super silly.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Darn Pests

Whenever I complain about the dogs, whenever I get mad at them for barking at nothing or jumping up on the counters, whenever I curse at them for running through the garden or waking me up in the middle of the night to go outside.....I need to stop and remember what they did this weekend. They killed a really big. freaking. snake. I went into their pen to turn on the water and almost stepped on the chunks of body of this dead snake. There were pieces everywhere, they had way too much fun dismembering this poor snake. I'm glad it's gone, I'm not a snake fan.





Then I went out to the garden this evening and spent an hour scraping insect eggs off the underneath my zucchini leaves. I've been spraying all the squash plants weekly with insecticidal soap and they still managed to get in there and lay their eggs. I think I'm going to have to give up the idea of organic gardening if I want to actually harvest any zucchini squash this year. When I looked it up online it said that certain varieties of squash aren't often affected....including butternut squash. Sure enough my butternut squash don't have any eggs on them, either do the yellow squash. We'll see if manual removal of the eggs is enough. There was a whole lot of squishing going on this evening. Yum.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Weekend Rewind

We've had three days now at 100 degrees out. The grass already crunches under my shoes and watering has become my second job. Summer is here. The time had come for a pool, so this weekend I went and bought one. Wesley couldn't be happier! He's been in it all weekend and is all smiles. Greta is a little apprehensive at the idea of placing her little toe into the cool water, so for now she plays and splashes big bro from the sidelines. I think if I got in then she'd get in....so this week I'll be donning a swim suit (gasp!) and joining the kids.



In the meantime, Miss Greta has found the water table and is quite at home playing in the water that way. She loves to wash rocks and show me how pretty they are.



It was such a nice day that the chickens got to come play in the dog kennel, in the shade of course. They are currently molting and look horrible. There is one that seems to be in a constant state of molt and gets picked on often. Poor chicken. I guess that's where the term "pecking order" comes from. I remember reading in one of my poultry books about how you want your chickens to look a little rough and disheveled...it's the sign of a good layer. If that's the case, then I've got the best layers around. They are still giving around 7 eggs a day. I tell my "laydies" thank you each and every day.


I couldn't not add this cute picture of Coco. She's the most curious and inquisitive little goat ever. She likes to lie, flat out, next to this wood fence then stretch a little until her head is under then she squirms a little and poof! She's on the other side of the fence with all the yummy backyard goodies to eat. I'm a little afraid I'm going to come home one day and find her back in the garden. I think a string of electric wire on the bottom of the fence will keep curious little goat from sliding under. She sure is a cutie.


Hope everyone had a nice and relaxing weekend! Here's one last picture, aren't my kids too cute?!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Wednesday Write Up

Boy it's been a week since I've blogged. I've become one of those bloggers. It's really just because I have so little to blog about. Nothing new around here, same old same old.

-The garden is growing well. It's scary how much work is needed to keep it looking good and weed free. The mulching method is not working as well as it did last year. I'm using the same mulch as last year and so it's a bit more composted and thus weeds are sprouting from the mulch this year. It's frustrating. So next year I'll be rototilling in the old mulch and putting down new stuff, this is for the birds. I keep walking past the garden plants at our little local grocery store and occasionally I take pity on the poor little wilted, dried out veggie plants and take a few home. I then scour the garden for an open spot to cram it. I've now added brussel sprouts, more watermelon, and red and green cabbage to the garden this way. We aren't really cabbage people but the chickens love the stuff, so if it produces heads of cabbage then the chickens will be super happy.

-On a financial note, if you all weren't aware our mortgage rates in this country are at an all time low......like 3.5%. So if you were at all thinking about refinancing your house, now is the time. That's just what we are in the process of doing and we'll be free of a mortgage payment before Wesley graduates high school. That's so exciting!

-Summer is finally here. Can you believe it's June? Last week we were still in sweaters and jackets, what a cool spring it's been. The kids love being outside. We live outside during the day. Greta wakes up from her afternoon nap and immediately says "side!!".Then you must take her out there without delay or she'll scream at you for the next hour. Then once she's outside she walks over to my flower beds and yanks out my flowers. She thinks she's helping me weed. She likes to bring over the carcass of the pulled flower (roots and all) so I can praise her for her awesome weed pulling ability. Hard to get mad at the little darling.

-I just ran across a really great product and want to share. We pay quite a bit for our home phone service, not enough to replace them with cell phones like many people do, but still quite a bit for just home service. Over $50 bucks a month. Verizon just released a product called Home Phone Connect. It's a little box that you plug your home phone into and it uses the cell phone towers to provide your home phone service. You don't use your phone lines in your house. It's $19.99 a month for unlimited minutes (including long distance). We looked at the reviews and they were glowing. Some people said they would take this little box with them on vacation, plug it in at their hotel room and have home phone service where ever they went. You can even use it in your car if you have a place to plug it in. Imagine using your home telephone in your car. How funny would that be? I'll let you know how it is, ours should be showing up via UPS tomorrow. Isn't technology amazing?