Friday, October 31, 2014

Yet Another Walmart Fail

Wifey had her mom's birthday cake made at Walmart today.  It wasn't ordered as a rush order.  It didn't have any difficult words,  designs nor decorations.  Yet Walmart screwed it up.

They should strike for more money like the fast food folks... they deserve it.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Trunk or Treat - Community Building

Treats abound
It's the time of year when our church has Halloween events and one of our kids' favorites is the annual Trunk or Treat.  Basically everyone meets at the church and parks their cars in such a manner that all of the vehicles' trunks face towards each other in a big circle. 

Then we trick out the trunk space of our cars with Halloween decorations. As the event begins,  we hang out in or near our trunks as all the children do the traditional trick or treating by going car to car and saying "Trunk or Treat!" 

Face painting
We hand out candy treats until our cache runs dry and the event ends.  

This year we had an indoor festival of sorts inside the church prior to the outdoor event. There was a cake walk,  photo booths,  craft tables,  bean bag toss,  and face painting.  I  stood by with pride as I watched my three older girls take command of the face painting table. 

It was an enjoyable evening with an opportunity to mingle with like-minded neighbors and the whole family had a great time. 

The Queen and Flower

Wifey with Flower and Monster


Sunday, October 26, 2014

One Egg... Two Yolks

Just sharing an unusual event at our house.  One of our chickens seems to be only capable of laying one giant egg every few days.  It is much larger than our other eggs and always has two yolks. 

Have you guys seen this before?

 If I bought an incubator,  would this large egg hatch two chicks?

Much larger

...with two yolks!
 Doesn't look like the video below is working quite right so I did some screenshots of the size and double yolks.


Friday, October 24, 2014

You Have to Pay to Pee in California.

Time to head back home to Arizona.  We are now at our third stop looking for a restroom where we do not have to pay to use the facilities.

First, we stopped at a Subway to have some sandwiches. We ask to use the restroom and they told us they did not have one. The only restroom in the shopping center was in the pizza place next door. Wifey walked over there with some of our girls and was told it was 50 cents per person to use the restroom.

As we headed out of town we stopped at the nearest Jack in the Box. Wifey again took some children into the store and found out again you have to pay to use the restroom.

Now on our third attempt, the family has walked into the CVS Pharmacy to look for a restroom where you do not have to pay to relieve yourself.

California is so far gone you could not pay me enough to live here.


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Tie-dyed Disneyland Family Shirts

Wifey has done these for past visits but we lost thm in our house fire. Having everyone in similar shirts makes it much easier to identify everyone in a moment's notice.

I also attempted some panoramic pictures from the viewpoint of rider's seat on a few different Disneyland rides.

Thunder Mountain Railroad panoramic photo
Pirates of the Caribbean (inside the ride) panoramic photo
ESPN Zone serves you while sitting in a recliner watching sports
And who could pass up plinking away at the old western shooting range...

Macky sporting her master plinking skills.
Today is our last day at the park. We'll be loading up the van tonight and driving back tomorrow.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

More Homemade Disneyland Dresses and Outfits

Wifey received the embroidery machine of her dreams a few months ago. I'm hoping that she can turn it into a part time business someday but until then...she just has fun making stuff for our girls.

She bought a few Disney patterns like one that says "Boo!" in Disney font. She embroidered it onto material in such a way that she could incorporate it onto the front of a dress she made.

Maybe someday I'll have a camera that does this stuff justice.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Homemade Disneyland Dresses / Costumes

Here's some of the outfits that Wifey made for our Disneyland trip:

Jake and the Neverland Pirates
Frozen - Sisters Forever - sun dress
Anna from Frozen - dress
Sis & The Queen in matching shirts

aka "peasant shirt" w/ elastic neck

If you are interested in How-To's or videos on how she made these,  where she bought the materials,  etc... just leave a comment.  I keep telling Wifey that she should blog this stuff but she doesn't think anyone would be interested. 

Oddly enough,  at least half a dozen people who saw the outfits at Disneyland asked her if she sold them.  That's half dozen out of the 30+ folks who commented on the outfits. 

Headed to the pool...


Ridemakerz is like Build-a-Bear for Boys!

That's what a little girl was telling her mommy as  I walked into the Ridemakerz store in Downtown Disney shopping center. I had wondered in to find out for myself what was going on in this place. It was practically next door to Build-a-Bear, which was where all my little girls were getting teddy bears custom made to order.

Turns out, this cool little store allows you to pretty much follow the same business model as Build-a-Bear. You get to pick out a body style like a car or truck. Then you get to customize it with shiny wheels, different size tires, and lots of accessories.

Packed into the family van
My girls made me a monster truck with a supercharged engine, chrome winch, monster tires and a flashing light bar on top. She's fire engine red and will be on display in my office as soon as I get back to work.

Oh, and since she's remote controlled, I'll be obligated to run it up an down the office halls a few times.


Monday, October 20, 2014

She's the Artist, I'm the Engineer

Grizzly River Run
They say spouses should compliment each other to be successful. I'm not sure how true that is but Wifey and I tend to compliment each other with our different skill sets from time to time. Most recently, she made several hand-sewn costumes for our girls to wear at Disneyland for Halloween.

The last dress to be made was done in our hotel room...and it was left on the hotel bed to dry. Before the puffy paint could cure and harden, another unfortunate child sat on our hotel bed...which was where the wet paint was drying...and they did so wearing THEIR new outfit.

With a glass of hot water and a fistful of Q-tips, Dad comes to the rescue. In about thirty minutes, I had most of the smears wiped away and reapplied a new layer of paint. There is definitely an art to applying puffy paint which I have little experience. Nevertheless, we have a newly repaired costume that needed to be dried pronto.

But how to dry the dress with such a short time remaining?

Pinpoint heating system (and hands free!)

We're off to Mickey's Trick or Treat!


Friday, October 17, 2014

Ebola and Disneyland!

It's been one... crappy.. long... year for our family but things are getting better.  October 26th will be the one year anniversary for our house fire and rather than sitting around our rental house and thinking about it.. I'm taking my family to Disneyland. 

We've saved up all year by eating homemade chicken noodle soup ($6 feeds 8 people) and other inexpensive homemade meals.  I should admit to an occasional Sam's Club dinner where giant hotdogs with a soda are only $1.50 per person.

Nevertheless,  by the skin of our teeth,  we are going and it will be our first family vacation in four years.  For Team Bravo (our three little ones) this will be their first time to Disneyland.  Team Alpha (now high schoolers)  remember past trips and are SUPER excited.

Now,  let's just hope ebola doesn't beat us there.  After all,  Disneyland is one giant mixing bowl of germs from all over the world and everybody touches the same stuff...


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Ebola Buzz at my Hospital

I'm starting to hear a lot of chatter about ebola at my hospital.  Two weeks ago they held an educational seminar about viruses in general (which focused on ebola). Then I read in the local newspaper how we were planning for the possibility of receiving ebola patients (as a precaution). 

The buzz is getting louder.  What do you guys/gals think? Are you concerned?


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Home Business - Dillon Ammo Reloader 650

I've been interested in reloading for several years. A friend from work has both the Dillon 550 & 650 at his house.  He offered to show me how both work in an attempt to help me make a decision on a future purchase.

I found the 650 to be quite comfortable to use. I found out that there is an 1150 model which lends itself more to mass producing on a small business scale but the warranty isn't as good as the smaller models.

I'm interested in casting my own lead bullets too.

Do you have experience or comments in this arena?


Saturday, October 11, 2014

Garden Boxes from Pallets and Hoop Garden

Hoop garden skeleton frame
I spent some quality time in the backyard today. Lots to think about and working with my hands seems to help. I had already taken multiple pallets apart to supply enough planks for two 3x3 raised bed garden boxes.

I flipped them over and used more planks to cover the bottom. I filled them with pine needles since there's an abundance on the ground. I used them mostly to fill in the cracks on the bottom of the boxes. Then I mixed in some of the coffee grounds I was collecting from the coffee cart at work. They just throw away all of their grounds so I figured I'd bring some home. I know it makes the soil very acidic so I won't use very much.

Free pallet wood makes me happy happy happy.
I filled the garden boxes about 1/3 full and plan on putting soil from the chicken coop in the rest. That soil will be mixed with plenty of chicken manure and should be a nice medium to experiment with during the next growing season.

I drove some rebar in the ground and bent some 3/4" pvc pipe to meet at the apex using a 45 degree elbow.  Right now, I'm just building a mock-up of the structure. When I get everything in place, I'll take it apart and glue it all for strength.

Dried pine needles and coffee grounds
I'd like to think I could put a heat lamp under the cover of the hoop garden and try to grow something over the winter months.

Anybody know of anything that can be grown in Nov/Dec/Jan just for fun?


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Any Thoughts on Twin Falls Idaho?

As Wifey and I continue to research a location for our perfect homestead in the future,  we were told how wonderful Twin Falls can be for liberty minded homesteaders like us.

But we've never been to Idaho.  I was wondering if any of you have input on this topic?


Saturday, October 4, 2014

A Teenager's First Job - Congrats Sis! Go UPS!

Sister bleeds brown now.
She's 17 years old and wanted to get a "real" job to earn her own money. I was torn in regards to her comment as this was my oldest little girl. It didn't seem like it was time for her to join the workforce. I was tempted to tell her to stay home and focus on her grades. But I couldn't help but reflect on all the articles I've read over the past few years complaining about all the Millennials who were sitting around their parents homes playing video games and going nowhere in life.

I recognize, however, that this is a terrific learning opportunity for her. Lessons to be learned on the value of earning a dollar, the disappointment of how much comes out for taxes, being punctual, loyal and hardworking. But most of all it will start her down the path of personal finances. She'll learn how to budget and plan for the future and how quickly the money can be spent if not careful.

She wasn't too picky on where she wanted to work. She mentioned the local Sonic drive-in which, actually, is where my father got his first full-time job but I didn't like the thought of her being out late and dealing with possible drunks on late night binges. I snapped her up an application at the local ranch store...which is where I wanted her to work. I imagined having the inside scoop on sales and clearance items before the general public. Yeah, I'm selfish like that.

But a better opportunity came up. The local UPS store that we use for our post office box had an opening and I had gotten to know the owner and a lot of the employees over the past year. The employee base is made up of high school or just out of high school aged young folks. They get to dress casual and on occasion wear jeans.  They are all very friendly and act respectable.  Most of all, I like that they aren't open on Sundays.

Wifey helped her fill out the application and I double checked all the deduction stuff. She turned in her application and had an interview the next week. We role played with her a little on how to answer the common questions in an interview: "Why do you want to work here?" and "Why should we hire you?" and the ever popular "Tell us your strengths and weaknesses" question.

She was hired on the spot! Her first part time job is at the local UPS store and we're celebrating when we pick her up at 2 o'clock today by patronizing one of our favorite places: Panda Express. My little Princess is coming to the end of her high school years, working her first job and talking a lot about going to college.

Where does the time go....