Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Bacon Powder!

I was told we needed to stop at the grocery store to pick up some bacon powder. 

I had never heard of it before and I thought this whole bacon craze was getting overboard but I didn't question her shopping needs.

As we headed for the checkout I reminded her to get her bacon powder. She picked up a small container from our cart and asked if I was talking about the BAKING POWDER.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

YouTube of the Week (archive)

This week I chose one of my own videos for this post.
This was from 2007 and was on this blog at that time.  But I didn't upload it to YouTube and the old link has currently faded into history.  I have uploaded the video to YouTube and here it is, way back from 2007.

The myth is that Drano Crystals can be mixed with pregnant girl pee to predict the sex of the child.  Here we are conducting the test.

Yeah.  It was accurate.

Friday, July 27, 2012

I'll Wait

My boss asked me to take care of putting together some data for him.  After putting this together for him a few times I realized it could be much easier if I could use another report.  I asked him about it on Monday and he said he would research it.

On Thursday I emailed him to ask if he had found the report I requested.  I immediately got a response that he did find the report.

There was no attachment of such report nor was there a following email with any more info.  I sat and stared at my inbox for a few minutes.  Was I supposed to email him back and ask for the report?  Was he working on getting the report?  Nothing was happening with my staring.  I went back to work.

I guess I'll wait.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Chore Chart

Maybe it's being a manager at work, or maybe it's just that I want to see things get done.  Either way, I came to the realization that kids need to start getting some more work done around the house.  Simply requesting this of them was not enough.

It was time for the Chore Chart!  I opened up a spreadsheet and made a color coded chart, printed it, and then brought it to dinner to announce the new rules.
For each day they are required to do their highlighted chore and initial the box.  Allowances are based on getting your work done.  If you fail to complete a task and someone else did it for you then you have to pay them for doing your work.  Simple.

The chore chart has been a success.  They are always checking on it, and on each other.  They even have to remind me to print the chart once a week.

Now if I can get them to understand that "dishes" means you will clean the kitchen.  We go over this every night and still, when they say they are done I go take a look.  At this point every night the kitchen is not clean.  I walk them step by step through all the things that they forgot and have them try again.

Maybe it's being a manager at work, or maybe it's just that I want to see things get done.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Weekend at Home

After our adventures in the mountains last weekend we stayed home this past weekend.

Here's a few photos of my adventure.

Playing with Play-Doh:
Some outside time:

A game indoors:
Putting the kids to work:
 Finding a new pet:

Proof that you don't have to drive an hour to find adventure.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

YouTube of the Week - maybe

I think everyone has made a video of this song with custom lyrics.  This is one of my favorites.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Sam Knob Trail

Last Saturday we decided to go hiking.  I knew the place I wanted to go.  I wanted to go to the Blue Ridge Pkwy and head near the Black Balsam Knob area.  Unfortunately there was a giant blob of rain on the radar so we sat around thinking of other options.  Around 10:30 I checked the radar again and the rain had left.
"Get in the car!"

There are several trail options from the parking lot and I decided I wanted to try the Sam Knob trail.  One that I haven't been on previously.  Sam Knob is recognizable in this area from the twin bumps at the summit.

The first part of the trail is along a ridge with views out toward Black Balsam knob and Shining Rock Wilderness.

Before long you enter the second area of this trail.  As you emerge from a wooded area you enter into a meadow with tall grasses.  With Sam Knob as a background, this meadow is an awesome place to walk through.  As we walked, I thought about the Sound of Music.

The final part of this trail takes you up the mountain through a wooded area.  Near the top you can choose to go to the left peak or the right peak.  We chose left, and when we arrived at the top, found an open area with amazing views.

All along the way the youngest was sure to tell everyone she had candy in her backpack.  Then she started asking hikers if they had candy in their packs.
 On the way down she had no intention of avoiding puddles.  She did her best to stomp every puddle and splash anything in a five foot radius of her.

If you would like to see some more photos they can be found at this LINK.

This has always been one of my favorite areas to hike.  Exploring the Sam Knob trail with my family just added another reason to love this area.  I can't wait to go back.

Oh, and that pasture that reminded me of the Sound of Music caught my attention on the way back down too.

The hills are alive!!!
Things just got crazier from there. . .

Someone better check me for ticks.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


We are often encouraged to share with others.  This is something that we are taught at a young age and reminded of continuously.  Maybe because it's easy to be selfish, we need these reminders.

Well I got the message loud and clear.

A few nights ago I was getting comfortable in the bed.  Fluffing the pillows, adjusting the blankets just right, the whole deal.  Then Cari gets into bed and starts pushing me toward the side of the bed.  I complained pretty loudly that I had just gotten comfortable.

She responded with a complaint of her own, "That's my half."

I was quick to point out that she was wrong.  I even offered to get a Sharpie and draw lines on the sheets to show where the halves were.

Sunday, July 15, 2012


Pig tails.  Check.
 Cute dress.  Check.
 Boots.  Check.
Bag of puzzle pieces. Check.

Friday, July 13, 2012

A Better Direction

Now that DirecTV and Viacom are arguing we've lost a handful of channels that actually got used in my house.  You know, with the 380 available options there is usually no more than 2 decent things on at any given moment.   The 17 or 26 or whatever number of channels they removed did matter because they often were one of the two choices (mostly for the kids).

My question is this.  Does losing these channels result in DirecTV breaking their contract with ME?  They don't think so.  Not at this point.  They said that they are still technically in negotiation with Viacom.  Instead of cancelling my stupid contract they gave us a $10 discount per month and threw a bunch of movie channels at us for free.

I'm still not happy.

In fact, next Spring we will be cancelling DirecTV and replacing it with an over-the-air antenna.  Free TV.  We had talked about this over the past few months anyway, but DirecTV has helped push us this direction even more.

I'll miss watching SPEED channel for Formula1 and NASCAR but here's where I see television going. . .
Viacom knows they have power in being the owner of the content.  DirecTV is only the pipe to get it to the customer.  The internet is becoming a more realistic option for delivering that content every day.  Have you ever been to Hulu.com?  You can pretty much watch what you want on there.  Hulu is owned by the content providers (networks).  In addition, several networks offer their programs on their websites.  So with the growth of technology the "pipe" isn't as necessary as it once was.

In the next five years I believe we're going to see more and more options to watch what we want on the internet.  I would pay SPEED a fee to be able to watch the Formula1 races on their website.  Let's skip the middle man and let me give my money to the content owner.  Who is DirecTV without the content providers?  Nobody.  They are space junk waiting to fall back to Earth in a flaming heap.

The content providers know this and can start to muscle that power a little more now.  The cable and satellite companies better get ready to change their business model.  You've already seen it happen in music, books, and newspapers.  Do these "pipes" really think they are immune to the future?

They can resist all they want, but this is the new direction for television.  A better direction!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

They Are On To Me

On the way home from church this past weekend I asked the kids if they wanted to have a party.  The youngest instantly screamed yes.  The two older kids looked at each other and then replied, "what kind of party?"  They had been here before.

"Don't you want to have a party?", I questioned.  I was avoiding their question.  Randy decided he wanted out of this deal and declared that he wasn't interested.  The youngest protested his veto on my party and begged him to change his answer.

He told his sisters, "This isn't a real party. Don't fall for this."  With this, Meredith was now voting with her older brother. They were on to me and it was time for me to take control of the moment.

I explained that it wasn't up for a vote.  The party was happening.  We were having a CLEANING PARTY when we got home.

From the back I heard Randy say, "I knew it!" while his sisters moaned.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Multi-Task Your LIFE

We are taught to be multi-taskers. At work we must be more efficient, sometimes working three different projects at the same moment. At home we are making phone calls and making dinner -- ok, that one might apply to you, but it's not me. We are getting as much done in the shortest amount of time. Our smart phones help us along this path with apps that want us to multitask. Where else do you multitask? Do you like pumping gas and washing the windshield at the same time? Pumping gas is an easy one. Start the pump and then start doing something else while you wait.

Having said that you will now understand my frustration when I recently stopped for gas. I swiped my credit card, selected the cheap stuff, put the nozzle in my gas tank, and then realized the gas station had removed the metal lock notches on the handle. WOAH! Mr. gas station owner is crimping my style! Being forced to stand still and hold the pump handle at the back of the car was torture. My windshield was dirty! My radio station was playing a horrible song! I left my smart phone in the seat and couldn't post to Twitter!

I have to multitask every moment of my life (I'm watching a race as I type this and there are five browser tabs open). I know I'm not alone in this fight to get it all done, so who's with me? Let's force gas stations to either 1. Leave the lock notches in the handle as God wanted it to be or 2. Post a GIANT sign warning customers that they will be forced to stand there and hold the pump handle.

The only other option would be to slow down for two minutes and mono-task. Who's pushing for that besides gas station owners?

Saturday, July 07, 2012

St. Augustine!

One of the final adventures in Florida was a day in St Augustine.

First stop was the Castillo de San Marcos.
 The fort construction was started in 1672!

The fort is made mostly of coquina, which is a type of limestone made of shells.  The coquina was mined from land across the bay.  
 Cari and I had been to the fort many times when we lived in Florida, but it has been a long time since then and the kids have never been.  We had a great time touring the fort and got to see a demonstration of firing a cannon.
 Next we hit the town and started doing some shopping.  This was our hottest day of vacation and we were really feeling it.
 We found a shop that does cool photos.  We all got dressed up and staged a scene.  The photographer printed it out in sepia for us and it looks great.
 Before leaving St. Augustine we had to visit the FOUNTAIN of YOUTH.  During the stop, Randy encouraged Cari and I to drink as much as we could.

Ponce de Leon was the one who discovered (after the Indians) the fountain of youth.  The fountain at one point was a bubbling spring but is now a well and the water is pumped up.  This is due to the water table dropping as the population grew over the past several hundred years.  

 Me and Ponce hanging out in the park.

 peacocks putting their stuff on display for us!
 Please don't peck my little girls' eyes.
 Um. . . there is a cannon behind you. . .
After a week long adventure in Florida we headed back home.  We had a great week visiting family and seeing some cool stuff.  St. Augustine was a great way to end our trip.  Lots of history to explore.  One of my favorites.

Oh, and here's the result of that photo I mentioned earlier. . .

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Dad's Life

I would have put something like this for Father's Day but I just discovered it.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Atlantic vs Gulf Beaches

Our Florida adventure took us over to Daytona Beach where we visited with family and spent some time at the beach.

The Gulf beaches offered lots of opportunity to collect shells and wonder into the water but the Atlantic beach offered us big waves and smooth sand to run and play on.

While we were all there we thought we would get one of those cool pictures where everyone jumps up into the air at the same time.  Easier said than done!
In the first shot you can see one of the adults trying to coordinate the stunt.
1. 2. 3. JUMP!
Let's try that again. . .
1. 2. 3. JUMP!

This next one HAS to be in the blog too. . . "AH! The water! It burns!"
We had a great day at the beach (and nobody got hurt).