Minor irritants

Jesse discovered our drip line hose tubing was separated and probably has been since they installed the rocks in the grape area.

So most likely the grapes have been getting their water from the grass watering system. Fairly irritated about that. Also mad that we have tons of weeds in our yard and the guy who owns the landscaping company said it’s not their problem. He went on to list a litany of steps they took to prevent weeds and Jesse and I are pretty sure none of those steps actually happened but we don’t have any proof either way. We also have random dead patches where we’re thinking we may just sprinkle some grass seed there and see what happens. The company we had do all the work basically seems like they are done fixing their own problems. I am not going to leave them a shining review. In fact, it will be fairly scathing.

We tested out our new battery-powered lawnmower and it works a treat.

We need to sign up for a green waste yard bin. We pretty much filled up our regular garbage can with grass trimmings from the front and back yards and while we don’t usually have enough trash to take it to the curb weekly, I still think it’s a good idea to keep green waste separate.

We bought a new pooper scoop and I love it!

I don’t have to bend over to use it, it’s effective, and I can use those plastic grocery bags that just seem to multiply. I highly recommend this model if you are looking for a raking scoop system.

We bought the best cherry pitter!

I haven’t eaten cherries in forever because I hate dealing with the pits but I’d been thinking about canning some cherries lately so bought this pitter and then bought some cherries at Harmon’s. Those cherries were fantastic!

You just load up your stemmed cherries into the tray, one goes into the shoot, depress the plunger where a steel rod pits the cherry and the pitted cherry rolls into the bowl! Easy peasy! We have noticed that it’s not 100% reliable as a few of the cherries still had the pit but overall it’s a very useful tool and I’m happy we purchased it. Ezra has been on a cherry-eating crusade so we bought more cherries are Costco. Fingers crossed they are as tasty. A part of me thinks I wouldn’t mind having a cherry tree but then you have to deal with all the birds snatching the goods before they are ripe, or they fall to the ground and make a mess. Probably no cherry trees in our future.

I got a call the other day that Ezra made it into the gifted/Spanish dual language program!

He will be going to a brand new school full time this year. I think he’s excited but I am pretty sure after a couple weeks he’ll be all, oh man, I have to go AGAIN?! I’ve told him he has to go everyday of the school year until he graduates from here on out but I don’t think he can fathom that far in time.

We’ve also decided the kids need to eat better so I’ve told Ez that after all the fruit snacks and chips are gone we won’t be restocking. I’ve told him he’s going to get more snacks like fruits and veggies and that he’ll be eating dinner with us. He seems on board so far but I know when it comes down to it he’ll be resistant. Every night I tell him about it (at his request, he always asks to know how we’ll be eating) so hopefully when it actually starts we won’t have to fight him too much.

Leo eats ok but could be better. We got rid of his high chair so we don’t have a way to force him to sit at the table now. Generally he eats a few bites and then gets up and runs away. I figure by simple lack of other food they will be eating what we eat in short order.

I made a low-carb tortilla recipe that ended up turning out more like crepes. Not sure why it was so much thicker but I definitely wasn’t able to pour the batter and swirl it around the pan like she could. They were still pretty tasty, though, so I used them for bacon and egg wraps.

There is a new documentary out called What the Health that I kind of want to see but mainly don’t want to waste my time as I understand it’s filled with either junk science or manipulated data taken from bad studies. I mean, if you want to eat a vegan lifestyle, go for it, but don’t expect to convert me with bad science. I agree feed lot animals are a poor choice of protein but until more ranchers read about managed rotational grazing and how it can reverse dustbowls and methane gas production, I’ll just have to be more cognizant to choose from conscientious producers.

I want to have some movie under the stars nights, so we purchased this projector to try out.

We bought a drop cloth and Jesse is going to build a frame so we can hang it on the deck posts. We are going to have movies outside! Now we just need to buy a speaker set so we can hear the audio. Because, you know, audio is important when watching a film.

July 2017 keto log

7.11.17 – I started eating keto again this month so it’s been a couple weeks now.  I was up to 249 again by the time mom and Jim left so decided it was time to get back to it.  I was down to 241 and decided to throw some fasting into the mix and today is day 2 of fasting.  I think I last ate around 7pm on 7.9.17 but don’t know the exact time.  I downloaded the Vora app and started using that yesterday but it’s about 10+ hours off because I didn’t start tracking until early yesterday morning.

That first day was ROUGH!  I mean, eating keto is supposed to go hand in hand with fasting of any kind but and while I did feel pangs of hunger throughout the day it’s definitely more of a mental challenge for me than a physical one. There were so many times throughout the day I told myself that it would be ok if I didn’t make it the full seven days (my goal) and that maybe OMAD (one meal a day) style of eating would be just as beneficial.  But come on, not only am I looking for weight loss I also want that beautiful autophagy to do some spring cleaning on a cellular level.  I’m sure I have tons of cellular garbage that need to be taken care of.

I ended up have a few sugar-free mints, a nibble of ham lunch meat and one jelly bean throughout the course of the day.  Today I’ve just had water and I’ll see if I can keep it that way.  I joined a 7-day fasting challenge on FB yesterday to help hold me more accountable.  We’ll see.  I think a big challenge will be if/when I make food for the boys.  It’s hard to not just want to eat what’s been prepared.

7.15.17 – I ended it up making it just about a full four days of fasting before I broke my fast with a steak, chia seed pudding, mac and cheese, McDonalds, candy bars, and a bowl full of Cheerios.  Not the best stuff to eat after a fast.  Granted, that was over the span of a number of hours but still not ideal all in all.  Yesterday I had a Cafe Rio salad and then cheese breadsticks from The Pie for dinner.  The Pie is amazing, I couldn’t turn it down though I still wasn’t too hungry at that point.  A weakness of mine.  I am fasting again today, day one.  My skin hurts to be touched.  Pretty sure this is carb inflammation at its finest.  Go team.  Not sure how long I will fast this time.  I was thinking maybe I’d go two days and then eat, two days and then eat.  But, a part of me still wants to see if I can hit seven days.  So, we’ll see.

7.16.17 – Yesterday was actually pretty easy, I was surprised.  A few flare ups of hunger but nothing I couldn’t handle.  This morning has been easy but then again I’ve only been awake for 1.5 hours.  Hopefully it maintains as the day wears on.  Mainly it’s not a physical hunger, I’m just bored and when I’m bored I eat.  Fasting is a good way for me to break bad habits.

7.18.17 – My last fast was just shy of two days. Jesse grilled these amazing chicken thighs that we’d put in a brine the night before. Brining fowl is a revelation, man. If you haven’t tried it, you definitely should. Adds so much flavor! Anyway, I ate regular keto yesterday until the evening then turned into a carb monster. Fasting again today. Weight is 238.

7.30.17 – As always, this month has been up and down. I reached a low of 233 and then started eating like crap again when we had visitors, went up to 243, and now with keto eating am back down to 238. Good times.

There should be a title here

If you have not seen Atomic Blonde, I highly recommend it. We saw it last week and it was great! Charlize Theron hadn’t been in much lately but she’s starting to crop up again. She plays a kickass MI6 agent set in 1980s Berlin right before the wall comes down. The movie has a great soundtrack as well. Two thumbs up.

Jesse and I have been talking about how to get better quality meats/seafood into our diet. Pretty sure we’re getting a quarter cow and half a pig from the farm nearby. We’re hoping to get a deer or elk this fall as well. We just purchased a case of wild-caught salmon from Zaycon that should be delivered in November. We’re kind of talking about maybe decreasing our protein intake as well, at least from animal sources. That idea freaks me out a bit because I love my meat, so that is just a tentative idea for now, but something like Meatless Mondays might be doable. I’ve been fasting fairly regularly lately so that has really cut back on food needs around the house. Now that I think about it, simply fasting decreases my meat consumption, so Meatless Mondays might not need to happen! Huzzah!

I’ve been watching a lot of canning and dehydrating videos again. I remember my grandparents giving us canned food for a snack and it was always way tasty. I would like to do that for my kids as well. One problem is that if your land doesn’t provide the produce it’s usually cheaper to just buy whatever the canned item is from the store. Cheaper but not necessarily better for your health. So it may be time to hit up some farmer’s markets and see what they have. Or at lease keep my ear to the ground for some great sales. Canned cherries have been on my mind a lot.

We’re having game night at Velvet’s this week and the potluck theme is “salad” so everyone is to bring a salad of some sort. I didn’t want to bring a lettuce salad because I figure someone else will have that covered so instead we’re trying our hand at a marinated cauliflower antipasta salad. Fingers crossed it turns out ok.

We’re going to see Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets tonight. The trailer looks good and it’s gotten pretty good reviews. Velvet and I are on this app called Meetup and we joined a group where they frequently give away free advanced screening tickets to upcoming movies. That’s how I see the majority of my films now. Usually you watch the movie and once it’s over you can give them your feedback. I think the studios do it to get soundbites to use and also to gauge interest as to how many theatres it should go to. Pretty fun.

You’d think our yard work would be over by now, wouldn’t you? Well, you’d be wrong. Little things are still cropping up that need to be managed. And how the heck do we have weeds already?! They told us that a healthy lawn will block weed growth, and yet here we are. I’ve reached out to Jonathon but haven’t heard back yet. Such a surprise.

Ezra has made friends with a couple of the neighbor girls. I only know one of their names and while they’ve been at our house almost every day this week I don’t know that they know Ezra’s name. It’s always, “Can *he* play?” To be fair, I don’t know if Ez knows their names either. One of them lives two house down from us and all I know about the other one is I’ve seen her around so she must live in one of the houses in the culs-de-sac. Parenting at its finest, folks.

July 2017

How the heck is it July already?!  It was March and I blinked and now it’s July.  Crazy crazy.

Our yard is finally complete!  Well, almost complete.  Technically everything is done and in place but we keep finding little things that are incorrect and have to have them come out and fix the issue.  It’s almost like a nightmare that doesn’t end but just slightly not so bad.  We have a HUGE backyard.  It’s really large and while I knew it was big it just looks so much bigger because it’s all usable space now.  I told Jesse it looked like a golf course.  We’re not supposed to play on the sod too much at this time because it’s still trying to attach itself but I’ve been out there a few times and it feels nice to the feet.

We have weeds growing in our front strip that they scraped bare.  They placed weed cloth and large rocks as a barrier and I’m not happy that we already have weeds since everything they did should have prevented to growth of weeds.  Not sure if that’s something they should be fixing or just a fluke that weeds will grow where they can.

Our front flower bed is completely strewn with weeds as well.  They didn’t dig out as much dirt as they should have or fill with new dirt so now we not only have weeds but also grass growing in what is supposed to just be a flower bed.  Not sure how to remove the grass aspect.  I’m thinking that anything that will kill the grass will kill the flowers already growing.  Might just wait until the fall and then simply kill everything in the bed and start again in spring.

The Fourth of July was fairly fun.  I say “fairly” because while we were able to go to a BBQ with friends and family, Leo puked a few times while we were there and then was all projectile style on the way home and he was just miserable.  Then I was so tired the next morning that I decided to call out from work on Wednesday, and then Jesse got sick in the wee hours of Thursday morning so *he* called out of work and spent Thursday and Friday recuperating.  I technically ended up having a four-day weekend but it certainly didn’t feel that way to me.

I had the best of intentions to pack up a bunch of items and take them to be donated but that didn’t happen.  I think the most I got done this weekend was taking the cats in for their shots, grocery shopping, and doing some laundry.

Speaking of cats, for having purchased them so cheaply they sure are costing us money.  It was $100 for their shots and then it’ll be $42/ea for their spaying coming up and we’re going to do booster shots and microchipping at the same time which will be like $15 and $32/ea respectively.  If I lived on a farm and had tons of cats I would definitely learn how to give shots and just do it myself.  I couldn’t do the spaying myself, though…

We finally have Benny back at the house!  He was so excited to see us when we went to pick him up.  The kittens completely had forgotten about him and were FREAKED OUT when they saw him again but it’s been a few days and they are pretty chill around him now.

Jesse commented that Benny seems calmer and I joked it was because there were so many animals around and Jesse said that he read somewhere that really can calm down animals when they are in a pack because there is the order hierarchy and everyone has a place.  So then I “joked” that we should get another dog, this time a small one.  At this point it’s the more the merrier, right?  Probably not in the cards for us.

I bought a new phone because my Samsung Galaxy S5 was draining battery life like crazy and it was just acting weird.  I ended up getting the LG Stylo 3 mainly because I felt Jesse was giving me shit about wanting the Samsung Galaxy S8 because it cost so much.  And really, it’s a $700 phone so the price point was an issue for me as well.  Anyway, I am NOT liking the Stylo 3.  Mainly I want a phone for a couple games and to take photos.  I’d say the camera is the most important aspect for me and this camera is for shit.  The specs of the camera seem like it would be good but you *and* the subject both have to be stock still to get a clear image.  Any kind of movement and it’s grainy/blurry.  Jesse says I should just get a little handheld pocket camera but to me that’s the whole point of having a camera, to have less electronics to cart around.

On a certain level I recognize how much of a first-world problem this is but still, I paid good money for something I expected to work well and it’s not living up to my standards.  I decided it had been less than a month so I was going to return it and upgrade to the S8 but apparently Boost Mobile only has a 7-day return policy and I was at 12 by then so I was screwed.  Velvet says I can still get the S8 and then sell my Stylo 3 on eBay but meh, too much of a hassle.  So it sounds like I’m just going to deal with a budget phone until maybe next year.  Of course the phone companies will have new models out by then so the S8 will be cheaper but you know I’m going to want the latest model and not last year’s cast offs.

 

And the bear slept on

Ezra has this story about a bear who is hibernating in his cave and all these little animals come in and they start having this party and the bear sleeps through it. And every time a new critter comes in and they have a new activity the bear sleeps on. It’s a cute story but becomes kind of tedious because the bear just keeps sleeping. This is how our landscaping job is starting to feel. It’s still not done yet.

They have several more modifications to do to the sprinklers, we need more topsoil to be placed, the sprinkler force needs to be adjusted, and then the sod needs to be laid. They are now more than a week behind schedule and we still don’t have our dog with us. In contrast our deck has been demolished and replaced from bottom to top and it is completely finished. It looks great! We are very happy with the end product.

We had a very nice visit with Mom and Jim while they were here.

Mom, Velvet, and I all got pedicures as is our normal treat when we are all together. Mom and Jim stayed at our house this time and we had the boys double up in Ezra’s room for the first time. Leo had a hard time staying in bed and getting to sleep the first night but after that it was subsequently smoother each night.

We finished up our Broadway season tickets last week with the performance of Dirty Dancing.

I think it’s probably my second-favorite performance that we have seen this season. I’m very glad we decided to get season tickets to the theater and that we have renewed them for next year.

Velvet is very excited to see the performance of Hamilton and while I think it’ll be a good performance as well I don’t have as much intense interest in it as she does. We got extra tickets to watch The Book of Mormon this summer and I am very excited to see that!

Our kittens are getting bigger and it occurred to me that this would have been the perfect time to get them both spayed since Benny is not in the house to agitate them during their recovery.

But upon doing a bit of research it looks like they have to have their shots for at least 14 days before the procedure so we’ll have to get that pushed off for a couple weeks.

It has been a very busy summer so far and it doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon! I wish I had more time off on the same days as Jesse so we could do things like go on hikes or go fishing or go drive around in the mountains. But with our days off not matching up it’s a little difficult to spend much quality day time together.

I got a new phone the other day, the LG Stylo 3, and I’m not quite sure that I’m liking it. As a phone it seems to be doing well, much faster processing than my Samsung Galaxy S5 but the camera kind of sucks. So I keep going back and forth on whether or not I want to return the phone and get something more high-tech like the Samsung Galaxy S8 but the problem there is those phones are roughly $700 and I don’t know that I want to spend that much on a phone that I will probably only have for two years. Jesse keeps telling me to just get a small handheld camera but isn’t that the whole point of having a camera on your cell phone? So you don’t have to have multiple electronics? I need to figure it out soon, though.

I recently watched the Batman Lego movie and it is really quite humorous for adults as well as children. Ezra is really into the Lego series like Ninjago right now so I got him the Batman movie and he just loves it.

We went to Taylorsville Dayzz on Friday night and it’s part of a three-day series but we only did the one day because we had the play on Thursday and then on Saturday we just thought it would be too much for Leo; we basically have to keep him strapped into a stroller because he has a runner.

Leo was pretty cute when it was time for the fireworks he just kept gasping in and covering his mouth like he was so surprised. It was adorable!

Ezra and I were talking about how long this new deck should last us and I was telling him that it should last for something like 20 years and he said that it should still be standing by the time that he and his girlfriend Kelsey get married and have a cute baby. I’m like whoa! Cool your jets, kid!