Friday, November 19, 2010

Garden Thoughts 2010

I am finally done with all things garden this year and wanted to record my thoughts for reference for next year.

What went well:

  • Tomatoes, they grew almost too well. I planted 12 roma tomato plants. One per square. I had buckets of them left on the plants when the time came to worry about them freezing. I pulled off all the green ones hoping they'd ripen and I could use them. Only the ones that were close to ripening worked. The rest just went mushy or moldy before they ripened. 
  • Watermelons. I planted three seeds in the center of a 4x4 box and I got 4 good sized watermelons.
  • Raspberries. The canes from last year produced at the beginning of the summer. New canes produced from mid summer till even now. I just pulled off 1 1/2 cups of berries. I was able to make 12 jars of raspberry jam and some raspberry/strawberry fruit leather.
  • Strawberries. The everbearing plants from last year did awesome this year. Some just kept on producing and I probably have some strawberries and I pull off right now. 
  • Green beans were easy again this year. 
  • Cucumbers produced pretty well even though I only had one or two plants.
  • Cantalope did okay. I got two decent melons off the vine.
  • The boys planted Red corn in their square and even though we only ended up with a few ears they tasted good, unlike last year.
  • Onions were very prolific. They were easy to grow, they are harvested early and I still have a bunch of little ones left to use.
  • My potatoes didn't have brown spots inside every one this year. I did have a couple with brown spots but most were good and I got a bunch.
  • Zinna flowers. The boys picked these out for their box and I loved clipping them and putting them in a vase on the table. They remind me of gerbera daisies but more wild.
  • The spinach I planted last fall started growing again this spring and I ended up with a bunch of it early on.
  • The carrots I planted this spring grew well and I really enjoyed cooking them and eating them.
What didn't go well:
  • Peas, I think I planted them a little late, not all of them sprouted and I only got a few pods off the plant. They were also hard to open and get the peas. 
  • The Peppers had issues this year and just didn't grow. They may have gotten too much shade from all the tomato plants. I probably only picked about 4 good ones off of 3 plants. Last year I picked probably 3 times that much.
  • Lettuce just didn't work out for me this year. It smelled and tasted bitter and I just wasn't motivated to pick it. 
  • I planted 4 broccoli plants and none of them actually produced a head. Lame.
  • The carrots I planted last fall started growing again this year. But either I waited too long to pick them or they grew woody over the winter. They were no good after all.
  • I planted a couple cabbage plants. One actually grew a little head, not too impressive though.
What I will do differently:
  • Plant less tomato plants, not so close together. The plants in the center didn't quite produce as much as the ones on the edges. Also I need to stake them better the ones on the edges got so big and heavy with fruit that they fell over despite my cages.
  • Plant more red corn. Yum. Space out the plantings so they aren't all ready at the same time. 
  • Plant more cantalope, and maybe try starting it inside if they can be transplanted.
  • Don't grow vining green beans. By the time they start producing the bush beans have already been at it for a while and I'm sick of them by the time they are there and they are a pain to take off the trellis.
  • Maybe plant pickling cucumbers. I actually don't like fresh cucumber all that much and they tend to go bad before we use them all.
  • Start the peas earlier or try a different variety.
  • Watch the strawberry runners better and keep their boxes more tidy.
  • Try different lettuce and broccoli.
I'm sorta burned out on the garden right now. Luckily it is winter now and by the time spring comes I'll be ready.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

To All Yahoo Email Users

I know I am not the only one getting spam from my friends who use yahoo email. I also know that often they don't even know that their email was used to send spam to all of their contacts. If you used yahoo email it is almost certain that your account has been hacked, possibly more than once.

Do you know why? SC Magazine does.. Hackers are using a security hole in Yahoo to access a login credentials page that allows unlimited attempts to login. They probably use some bot to try password after password until it works. Apparently the hole described in the linked article has been known since September 2009. Hello! You'd think Yahoo would have fixed this by now.

Also the attacks have only been escalating. I remember getting these emails back in the spring, only once in a while. This week I have deleted at least 8 emails from people that I know and people that I have happened to email in the past for some reason or another. In one case I deleted one from the same person 3 days in a row!

What do you do then? There are a couple of options.

1. Drop your yahoo account. Open a gmail account or some other more secure one. Export or copy all of your contacts down and forward any important emails to your new account. Strip the yahoo account of all contacts and emails. See if you can forward new emails to your new account or set up a vacation message with your new email.

2. If you keep your yahoo account first change your password to something really difficult. Lots of letters, numbers and special characters. Even then you are not completely safe. Get rid of any sensitive emails. Maybe empty your contacts too and keep them on a file on your computer to use when you need to send an email.

There is not much else you can do. It's not a virus or a malware attack that you can clean up off your computer. Yahoo is aware of this but seems to be pretty silent about it. When you do a search for this problem not a lot comes up. Except the article I linked to and this blog post, The guy in this post has been in contact to some extent with Yahoo and has not had much success. Interesting.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

My Heroes

Is your land in danger from an evil king, sith lord, emperor, or magician? Never fear! Call 1-800-MY HEROES and we'll provide you with the right hero for the job.

The hero, Andrew Who Could Fight always has the right weapon for the job. With his magical sword, super hammer, bombs, and arrows, he is ready to fight both dungeon bosses and evil magicians.

 If a samurai ninja is more your style, we have Ninja Isaac to protect your people.

With Scottish heart and fighting skills, William Wallace is ready to free your people from the tyranny of kings.

Do you have a Sith Lord Emperor plaguing your galaxy? What your rebellion needs is a good Jedi Master.

Does organization, structure, and cleanliness bog you down? Pumpkin Boy with pumpkin power will fix that with his ability to empty cupboards and throw food. His signature mess of pumpkin innards lets organizers know who's in town.

Is your city overrun by mental crime bosses? We also have special relations with a bat obsessed group who can put those criminals behind bars. Sign up now and we'll include a free signal light.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Best Dinner Ever

Through a combination of a raffle and work incentive KC "won" a new BBQ grill and a gift card to Omaha Steaks. So the other night we decided to try the new grill out and grill up some filet mingnons. After using to research grilling methods KC fired up the grill and turned out some good looking little steaks. KC made such a fuss over how good they tasted that the pickiest eater in the world (Andrew) wanted to try some. I quote,

" Daddy, I can't stop thinking about that meat, it tasted so good." 

I bet my mother just passed out, because no one who knows him would ever expect to hear that boy say anything like that about anything but pizza. Isaac then wanted to try some, and he said,

"That meat makes me feel so awesome." 

I also made some yummy baked potato wedges and a salad to go with the steak. Andrew eats the potatoes and says, I quote,

" I could eat these forever they are so good."

Isaac finishes his food and says, "Mommy, that was the best dinner ever you should make it again."

"What was your favorite part?" I asked.

He says, "The carrots." 

Make sense of that.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Disneyland and Cruise

After KC and I went on a little Mexican cruise early last spring he started talking with his friends about doing a cruise again but this time with friends and kids. So we ended up planning the same cruise for six months later, but this time we'd hit Disneyland before hand and be with a lot more kids and friends.

We dropped Will off at Grandma's house and our two families with 2 kids each squeezed into our van and drove down to California. We spent two fun but exhausting days touring Disneyland Park and Disney's California Adventure Park. Then we went to Newport beach and played in the surf. Then it was time for the cruise. We left Monday when we met up with another of KC's friends and his 5 kids and spent one day at Catalina Island and another day in Ensenada before the ship headed back. The boys loved being with the other kids and in the kids program on the ship. They of course LOVED Disneyland and want to go back next week. Andrew's favorite rides were, Soarin' California at DCA and Space Mountain. Isaac really liked Big Thunder Mountain and Pirates of the Caribbean. KC loved Indian Jones and Screamin' California. I liked Space Mountain and Screamin' California the best. We all love watching the boys and their friends participate in the Jedi Training Academy. (video to follow)

So after a ton of money spent and 5-10 pounds gained we are back and feeling the post-vacation blues. Here are some pictures to make you jealous and us more depressed.

The photo from the Tower of Terror, I don't know how KC convinced me that Isaac and Andrew should go on this ride.

We made the time to wait in line to see Mickey at his house.

The kids waiting to see Captain EO. Not sure what they thought of it.

Newport Beach. Not that warm of weather and the water was cold, but the boys still had fun.

The whole group outside the ship in Mexico.

We took the boys horseback riding in Mexico, at the same beach we went to before. They loved it. It was sorta windy and chilly.

We made signs ahead of time to help ensure that the boys got picked. Before fighting Darth Vader or Darth Maul they did some "training" learning the sequence of moves that they do to fight them. The costumes and "acting" were done really well. It was blast to watch.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Cast Off

The cast finally came off yesterday. Before they took us to the cast room, Will was happy as a clam since he had full access to the computer.

Or so he thought, darn password protection.

Then they took us to the cast room, but Will thought it was the torture room.

After a few minutes his leg was finally free.

But it wasn't over as we had to go to torture room number 2, the x-ray room. Then mommy wasn't allowed to let Will down on the ground until the doctor reviewed the x-rays. Torture for both Will and mommy. Finally we were free to go and we could get candy.

Won't this make a great keep sake?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Of Course

Will is walking finally!

Wait... scratch that.
Here he is the day after he broke his left leg on a trampoline last Friday. He needed some Motrin for a couple of days, but he's in no pain now as far as I can tell.

And here he is yesterday after he got is cool blue waterproof hard cast. So Will won't be doing any real walking for 3 more weeks. He can sorta crawl. On the bright side he has developed a nice way of telling me he's awake in his crib without having to cry. The hard cast makes a nice loud sound on the bars of the crib, so when he's bored and awake he just bangs away.

Monday, July 19, 2010

A Motivating Factor

Through the grace of the exercise god, (is that blasphemous?), I managed to get a free month of unlimited exercise classes at our local community center.

Being one not to let anything go to waste, I got up at 5:25 on a Monday morning to go to the first exercise class of the week. The class only had one description, it's name, PUMP. Not knowing exactly what to expect I showed up and got my butt kicked. This is why I like exercise classes. They push me to do what I would never willingly force myself to do exercising on me own. I would never do that many squats and lunges with extra weight. I wouldn't do that many bicep curls or tricep extensions. I would give up at the first sign of my muscles working and figure that's enough.

Now I can barely hold my arms up enough to type this post and you know what, I feel better for it. Although I might be a little tired today and a little sore tomorrow, I'll feel better about myself and more productive knowing that I did something good for me and knowing now that I've started I can keep on doing it.

I posted the above 3 paragraphs on my private weight-loss group blog today. I feel compelled to offer an invitation to any of my blog reading friends and family to join up with us. Basically it's a website that helps us cheapskates do the Weight Watchers program without paying the dues and going to the meetings. There are a lot of web resources out there to help so I point you to those and offer some downloads. My weekly to bi-weekly posts are there to motivate and keep on track as well. Let me know in the comments if you're interested in gaining access.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Catalog Living

Did you ever wish your life were like the ones depicted in design catalogs? Perfect scenes where people must be living the perfect easy life, may not be all they're cracked up to be.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Many Faces of KC

It was Mustache May at KC's work. He decided to take the less creepy looking route and start with a goatee. I thought it looked sorta distinguished, though it wasn't fun to kiss.

The guys at his work started complaining about the itchy mustache's so they ended it early. It was time for KC to shave. First he went with the handle-bar style. I wish we had a cowboy hat lying around it would have looked perfect.

Then he took the plunge and shaved it into a more typical mustache. I gotta say, it's not the best look for him. After the picture was taken the rest of the facial hair was gone and we were back to the clean-shaven normal. Yay!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Problem Solved

"Mommy, Will turned off the TV!"

"Will, don't change the channel!"

"It's too loud! Will turned it up!"
Problem Solved.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Twilight Zone

I wonder how the rest of today is going to be. It sure started out odd. It was 7:50 am I was still in bed asleep even though the sun was up. The house was oddly quiet. KC had gotten up to work an hour before and was in his office. The garbage truck woke me. I needed to get the trash bins to the street today they were really full. After rushing through the quiet house and donning shoes and a jacket, I went out into the bright, cool morning and lugged the bins to the street. Mission accomplished.

Once back inside I thought, "Almost 8, Will must be awake." Now Will is an interesting baby, for the last few months when he wakes up in his crib he doesn't cry. He doesn't make noise. He just sits there and plays with the blankets and stuffed animals. I could leave him there for an hour and he'd not cry, not that I've done that, no way. Maybe after two hours he'd make some noise and cry. I haven't fully tested this one. Anyway I couldn't hear him but that didn't mean he wasn't awake. He's always awake by now and usually I have no idea how long he has been.

I go upstairs and look in on the older boys. Still sleeping, even though Isaac was up at 6:30 with a leaky pull-up, but he wanted to go back to bed so I didn't argue. Fully expecting a happy baby smile when I opened Will's door, instead I see a baby still zonked out sleeping on his belly. I'm not one to wake up babies unless necessary so I quietly shut the door and went back downstairs not sure what to do with myself because it was almost 8 am and I wasn't getting bottles or bowls of cereal and refereeing requests for the TV.

So I decided to blog. The magic of course only lasts for 5 minutes before Isaac came down then Andrew but it was there. As KC said though, by Saturday they'll be back to their usual thing of waking up at 6:30 and making plenty of rukus.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Pink Cake for Isaac

Isaac has finally turned 4. Now when people assume he's 4 almost 5 at least they will be right that he is 4 years old instead of 3. He had a friend party last year so this year it was just family. We went swimming at the community indoor pool. The boys just finished swimming lessons so they were excited to be able to play there as much as they wanted. We then picked up some pizza for the birthday dinner then had cake and ice cream.

A word about the cake. KC wanted to hang out a little with Isaac on his special day so they went to the store together to pick out a toy and his cake. Originally Isaac had been saying he wanted a chocolate cake with blue frosting, but they came home with a strawberry cake with strawberry frosting. Isaac really loves strawberries so I guess he couldn't resist it. I didn't think much about it until later when I realized this kid who is very much boy was going to have a pink cake. Oh well it tasted great.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Screen Free Week Results

After the boys helped me do some Saturday morning chores and after we had some lunch I declared Screen Free Week to be over. It is now almost 3 hours later and they are finally using a screen. I would say that this week was fairly successful.

My purpose in torturing myself this week was to help the boys get more used to finding entertaining activities to do without resorting to the computer, TV shows, or video games. This last week I heard "Mommy, I'm bored" plenty of times but soon they got used to playing with toys, making up games, and playing board games. Here are a few highlights for the week:
  • Andrew and Isaac learned how the play the card game War and love it.
  • They played, Sorry, Mouse Trap, Chutes and Ladders and Memory.
  • They spontaneously read books in their room.
  • Andrew took a book down to the basement and joined his Daddy who was studying
  • The boys spontaneously cleaned up their toys once.
  • Isaac willingly helped me vacuum and do the dishes.
  • I was entertained with puppet shows for nearly an hour.
  • They both willingly let me cut their hair. Isaac actually said " I want a haircut."
  • KC got more studying done than usual since he wasn't tempted to watch TV in the evening.
  • I read 3 books. (probably didn't help with the productivity)
So in the future I think we will do this again. Maybe not once a month, but as needed.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Screen Free Week

Beginning this week, on Monday April 5th, our family is going to attempt to institute our first SCREEN FREE WEEK. If any of you have kids like mine they are often either on the computer or watching TV or playing a video game. If any of you are like me you are often on the computer, checking email, blogs, and Hulu. Heck, even my baby watches Baby Einstein.

Typically this isn't a problem but sometimes I find that me and my boys become too attached to our screens. Case in point my boys earlier were fighting because on was watching something on the computer and the other was on the TV. The problem was that they each kept on turning their show up louder because "they couldn't hear."

So we are going to have a week of screen detox for the family. KC can only partially participate because of his job, but told him that he can't do any extracurricular screen stuff while working. There it is KC, you now have to follow it, ha!

So I'm going to print off my SCREEN FREE WEEK signs and tape them on each screen. Why don't you join me? Click the sign for a larger version and print it off.

Assuming we don't strangle each other by the end of it we are going to do this the first week of every month. Wish us luck!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Family Photo

For the first time in over 2 years my family, my siblings their spouses and all their kids were together for long enough to take a big family picture. It is surprising but not so much when you think about it, how hard it is to get 9 kids 6 and under to hold still. You'd think that the "babies" would be the hardest but it was the older kids (my boys) that gave us the hardest time while taking the pictures. Even after 10 photos I still had to use Photoshop and switch out a third of the faces.
(Can you imagine how hard it was to get everyone to hold their pose at the same time?)

We were also able to get a picture done of our family that included Will. I can't decide which photo I like best. Of course our older boys were getting restless and had a really hard time holding still to look at the camera at the same time.

So these are the two best.
Which should I print?

It was a little easier to get the boys to hold still for individual pictures, especially since I let them climb the trees.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sweet William

It was William's birthday this week. He didn't know what was going on, but he loved getting lots of cupcakes. The photo is of him after his third cupcake. I think the older boys enjoyed his little party more than he did.

We have really enjoyed having Little Will in our family. He is so excited and full of life. I can already see him being a fun loving kid. He loves to do silly things with his body and make odd noises with his mouth. His feet are almost as important to him as his hands. He loves to slam his feet on the ground continually (you can see that in the video of him crawling) and almost as soon as he could clap with his hands he started doing the "foot clap" which I will share in a video.

Happy Birthday Will, we love you.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Motherly Instinct

KC has developed a strong motherly instinct. G.I. Joe needn't ever to go hungry.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Crawling With A New Doo

William is 1 year old this week. Wow, time flies! A couple of weeks ago he got is first hair-cut. That baby hair was just crazy all the time. He looked like a little mad scientist.

He looks so much older now.

The week after that he finally started crawling, much to the dismay of his grandma who was babysitting him for a week. She was hoping for a happy stationary baby. Oh well, we can't stop progress. I'm sad he won't be walking at one like Andrew was, but I am also happy he won't be walking at one. More time to baby proof the house. I'll share pictures of his little birthday party. I'm sure he'll love his cake.

Here he is showing off is crawling skills along with his waving skills. He's pretty narcissistic as I can always guarantee a wave if he sees himself in the mirror.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Vacation Hang Over

I am experiencing a vacation hang over. It's not the first time either. Why is it when you look forward to a vacation, especially one sans kids, that you expect to come back all refreshed and ready to face life head-on? The reality is that you come back unused to the kids and their "energy" and unused to housework, and it can be overwhelming.

I woke up this morning, my first full day back and I didn't want to get out of bed and couldn't think of a good reason to. All last week I didn't have to make anyone a meal, I didn't have to wipe any bums, pick up anyone else's clothes, clean up anyone else's messes, or even make my own bed. It is almost depressing to come back to normal family life after that. So I call it a vacation hang over.

One good thing about coming home after a vacation is the bed. Oh how I love my bed. It was sorely missed every night we were away. Literally, my hips and back were sore. Yes, I'm spoiled, bedwise at least.

Where was this no kids, no cooking vacation you ask? KC and I thought we'd try to get away to warmer weather by going on a short cruise out of LA. We stopped for a day in Catalina and then in Ensenada, Mexico. It was fun, there was more green and a little more sun, but it wasn't that much warmer since the wind was chilly. At least we tried.

Besides the vacation hang over I am still a little dizzy sometimes as my head is trying to sort out the unmoving earth vs. moving boat thing. When will it end?

Pictures? Here you go.

Here is KC looking good.

Some seals by Catalina Island. We were on a whale watching excursion that ended up being a seal and dolphin watching excursion.

We went horseback riding at a beach near Ensenada. Highly recommended. More padding for the saddle if you have a bony bottom like me is also highly recommended. Ouch, one hour was plenty.

Here's me looking okay, it was windy. My horse looks crazy.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Ships Ahoy!

This year it was Andrew's turn to have a friend birthday party. Thanks to some help from my mom with the pirate themed goodies and decorations it turned out great. Andrew invited a bunch of boys from his Kindergarten class and his cousin Matthew. A house full of 8 boys is a crazy house, let me tell you. I made a desert island cake complete with ocean. The kids each made an ocean in a bottle, they got a paper pirate hat if they didn't bring one, we fished over the side of the boat for fun surprises, played Cannon Ball Blast with black balloons, decorated cupcakes, and ate pizza.

One mishap was when I realized I didn't check to make sure I had candles, which I didn't. Some quick thinking and we ended up with 6 votive candles floating on the ocean.

For how fast this first 6 years went by, I won't be surprised when he turns 12 in a blink of an eye. One thing to look forward to when that happens - I'll have a free babysitter, YES!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Kindergarten Romance Update

Andrew is still developing his kindergarten crush. Despite not really wanting to make a special valentine for Purple Coat girl (I'll call her that because she wears a purple coat), he told KC the other day that he would like Purple Coat girl but KC couldn't have her because she was born at a different day. I think he means that she is too young for KC. KC pointed out to Andrew that he has already found a special girl so he didn't need to worry about daddy. Did Andrew just stake his claim? Is it like how male animals in the wild will say to all the other males.. hey this one is mine!?

The next day while driving to a family outing Andrew announces that he thinks he loves Purple Coat girl.

"Andrew, what do you like about her?" I asked.

"I like her hair," he sighs.

"What else to like about her?" I continued.

"I like her face. And her smile. I like it when she smiles. I think she likes it when I smile. I think she loves me too."

KC and I had to hold back the giggles and shock at the romancer we are raising. KC says his first crush wasn't until 2nd grade. I can't remember if I even had a crush in elementary school. All I can say is that we are going to need to watch this kid he is going to be a ladies man.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Change of Heart

Andrew has a lot of simple child-like faith. Sometimes he adds odd requests to his prayers. He prays that no one he knows will ever die or that he will always live with his mommy and daddy. With his faith, the fact that he prayed for it, no question, it will happen. For the first request I told him how everyone dies eventually, so he amended his prayer to say only let the old people die. That's nice of him.

Regarding the second prayerful request I've told him that when he gets married he'll want to move out of the house, but he could stay with us forever if he wants. His response is that he'll never get married. No big deal, right? Of course we all know that when finds the right girl and wants some independence that would change, I just didn't think he'd change his mind so quickly.

Enter the new girl. Only a week after the new girl came to Andrew's kindergarten class he told us that he was going to marry her. He would talk about her sometimes and he made a Christmas card for her. I thought he might have forgotten about her since he has been on winter break and track break, but just last week after reading the scripture telling us to love one another he mentioned again that he was going to marry the new girl. KC didn't realize that he'd already need to be dishing out advice on girls, but here we were. KC advised Andrew not to mention marriage just yet, he didn't want to scare her off. He suggested that instead he be friends with her. Good advice Daddy. Andrew says he still likes boys better than girls, I mean he still 5 years old, but there is something about this girl than made Andrew peg her for his future wife. Go Andrew.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Goals For The Week - January 11th

Spiritual - Go to the temple.

Home - Declutter and clean master bedroom and bathroom.

Family - Do learning time with the boys.

Health - Exercise!

Preparedness - Get food for 72 hour kits, and shop case lot.

(I figure if I post my goals for the week, I'll more likely get them done.
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