Monday, August 11, 2014

An Evening at Lagoon

After spending a straight week+ of evenings working on the new deck we decided it was deserving celebration of it's completion. Off to Lagoon we went! I have taken the girls there at least once a week all summer long. It's a blast. Sometimes we meet up with friends, sometimes we hang at the water park, and most of the time we raise our hands in the air and ride the rides. Kyle has been a handful of times with us (and once on a man-date with Chad), but not enough! Once we got a free night, Lagoon was definitely calling our name.


We hung out in kiddie-land. Though Hailey was most excited to have Kyle with her so she could ride Bombora, a REAL rollercoaster, not the little dragon one. Hailey is big enough to ride it accompanied, Keira is not. So when we go poor Hailey looks fondly at Bombora and always comments that she'll get to ride it next time Dad comes with us.

Keira loves the whales, and raises her hands way up in the air and she goes up and down and all around.


I do think Keira's overall favorite ride is the cars. She is always super anxious to get in- she's even shed a few tears over having to wait her turn. Once it's her turn her face immediately lights up and you can't get her in that car fast enough. I'm glad she isn't 16 yet, we have some work to do on driving, she yanks that wheel back and forth as fast as she can- it would make anyone sick to ride with her driving!





I am NOT a roller coaster rider. I get car sick pretty easily. And I really don't like that stomach drop feeling (which Kyle says is a tickle). Hailey has been able to talk me into a couple of bigger rides, like Bombora. How do I say no to her? What am I going to do when she's big enough to ride the really big roller coasters!? Anyway... Hailey asked, so I rode on the pirate ship with her. Luckily for me there were restrictions on where Hailey could sit, so we were in the middle, the more calm area of the ride. That was a good spot for me. I don't know if I could handle the very back. It doesn't look that bad watching it, but something changed once we were on and suddenly it was a lot bigger of a ride than I had thought! Yes, I am a total whimp. 





Though I'm not big on riding the rides, I still love trips to Lagoon because I enjoy watching my girls have fun. I'm sad summer is almost over, what are we going to do without Lagoon!?


Friday, August 8, 2014

Yard Re-Do, Part 2: Deck

Before we first bought our home we paid for an inspector to come out and look it over. He mentioned to us that the deck needed some TLC. Really, it was pretty obvious it needed something. What he failed to notice or mention was that it needed more than just TLC, it needed to be replaced. After years of wear and winters of snow piled up on it, the support beams underneath had begun to rot, a couple of them nearly completely through. We didn't realize this until one day when Kyle stepped out on it and felt the decking begin to give way underneath him. It was then we decided it needed to be torn down and replaced.

Deck before. Kyle started working on taking it down before I got my camera out. So here it is at the beginning of deconstruction.
Here is some of the rotting wood we discovered during tear down.



After the deck was torn down the house sat for over a year with no new decking. Until this summer when we fully began to tackle our backyard transformation. While I was in Washington for my sister's wedding open house, Kyle and his dad put up the frame for the main portion of the deck. A few weeks later Kyle began work on the rest. Since we put in the patio last fall, we decided to shrink down the size of the deck to just a landing down to the patio, instead of clear across the back of the house.








We did a lot of back and forth on what type of material to use for the decking. Composite vs. redwood. It was a hard decision! Ultimately when it was time to make the decision we opted for the redwood. Composite has a lot of fantastic advantages, but we decided redwood was a better choice for us right now: Kyle understood how to work with it, we could stain it whatever color we would like, it doesn't get melt-your-feet-off-hot in the sun, and it costs half as much as composite. 

Look! A deck! No railing, but the decking is complete!

I love the wide stairs. They are the same width as the deck.



Once it was time for the railing the construction became a two man job. I got out my work gloves and Kyle set me to work cutting down the balusters.  




I didn't get any pictures of putting the railing up because I was busy helping Kyle by holding railing in place, checking that everything was level, and putting screws in place while Kyle came along with the drill to secure them down. It was a straight week of deck building in the evening. We would eat dinner and then head outside to work on the deck. Some evenings I wouldn't make it out until the girls were in bed, other times they went to Papa and Rara's house to play. Kyle and I would work until dark, until we really couldn't see any more. Then inside for a shower, quick TV show and then bed.

Now it's done. Another project to check off of our forever-long to-do list. 



And we love it! We still need to pick out a stain. That can wait for a little bit. We're just happy the construction is over and we have a functional deck once again!

Notice the addition of curbing? This yard is starting to come together! Next step: sod.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Adventures in Bowfishing

Our Saturday this past week was super fun. Way more fun than I had originally thought it would be. Kyle and I met up with Corinne & Taylor and Chelsie & Cody and ventured out into Utah Lake for some bow fishing. Yes, fishing with a bow and arrow. 

I really had no idea anyone did such a thing until we welcomed Cody into the family. Now look at us, out treading the murky lake waters in search of nasty carp. I really am no fan of fish. I don't eat it, I don't touch it. But yet... I had a blast trying to propel an arrow through it.

Kyle had been one other time a few weeks before. This was my first. Kyle amazed me. As we first made our way to the lake immediately he spotted a carp swimming at the water's edge. He walked right up (didn't even get into the water), took aim and hit the fish. I didn't even have the camera out and ready to go. One shot, one fish. And then the rest of us struggled to catch anything, or even find anything to shoot at. At the end of the day Kyle came away with 6 hits, and the rest of us a big pile of misses. That's ok, I didn't want to come up close and personal with the fish anyway. 




Chelsie, ready to for action.
Look at that not-so-beautiful water.
Corinne up to her knees in lake water.
 When Kyle came with Chelsie and Cody a few weeks ago the fish were hanging out near the shore. This time they were in a bit deeper water. That meant wading into waist deep (sometimes deeper) water. The boys were pretty advantageous and got down to business submersing themselves. Us girls hung back by the shore, keeping the water to the knees and below. Eventually I built up some courage and headed out to fish with the boys. I figured if I'm going to come out here to shoot a bow and arrow I had better go find myself a target. I didn't want to leave without taking a shot. So off I went.



 I was kind of nervous at first to shoot the fish. But once I got going, it was fun! I was very pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Hopefully we'll get back out there again sometime.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Oobleck, Popsicles and Friends

Making a mess is fun, it's the clean up that's terrible. We got a little stir crazy one day and decided to make a mess. A mess that cleans up in no time, so you can enjoy it even more. And because everything is extra fun with a friend, we invited over Carson and Brooklyn to play with us. 


We whipped up a batch of Oobleck and got our mess on. Hailey and Carson were into it. The two other littles preferred to play elsewhere. 



We also made some homemade popsicles, but I didn't completely think through how long it takes for them to freeze. So, instead the kids enjoyed Otter Pops. But, really, there wasn't any complaining. To a kid a popsicle is a popsicle, right?



And of course there was taste testing all around. Gotta try 'em all, right?



Friends, summertime and popsicles make for a great combo! I hope these kiddos stay friends for a long time. They are adorable together.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Curtis the Cheeseman.

I have a long lost brother who lives in North Carolina. 

Ok, he's really not long lost, we just don't get to see him often enough. North Carolina is too far away!

Luckily weddings bring family together. Curtis and Chelsea flew out for Corinne's wedding and stayed a little extra to play and visit. I'm so glad they were able to come! I really miss having them close. 


Curtis is the Cheeseman. For reals. He is currently working on his Ph.D. in food science at North Carolina State University. He is so smart. Just like my dad- so many good brains in those two. His research is dairy and cheese related. So he spends a lot of his time making cheese! Curtis and Chelsea haven't bought cheese in the 3 years since they moved to North Carolina. Curtis makes enough of it at work and brings home the excess he doesn't need for his research. Lucky ducks- cheese can be expensive!

My request while they were here visiting was to make cheese. Curtis recommended we purchase a cheesemaking kit from online because it had all of the necessary tools we would need, besides milk. It takes a whole gallon of milk to make just one pound of cheese. That's so much milk!


One afternoon we busted out the kit and made ourselves a pound of mozzarella. The kit says it has enough ingredients to make 30 one pound batches. That means we can make 29 more pounds of cheese! Yes!

Hailey started us off by dissolving the enzymes and citric acid in water.


Curtis added it to the milk and let it cook on the stove.


It felt like we did a lot of waiting for the milk to reach the proper temperature.


But then magic happened. The curds began pulling away from the pot.


When the curds were firm enough we drained them with cheesecloth. 


And squeezed out all of the excess liquid.



Back to the stove it went, just to heat back up in preparation for pulling and stretching.


Now our cheese is ready to be pulled. 


And stretched.


Just like taffy. But not as sweet. But still so delicious!


Ta-da! One pound of fresh mozzarella cheese. It was warm and delicious. Even a little bit addicting. I love cheese. :)


Now I really don't know the science behind it all. When I see Curtis I tend to pick his brain about all sorts of topics food and cooking related. I know I asked all sorts of questions wanting to understand the science of cheese. And now I've already forgotten it. I guess Curtis and Chelsea need to come back and make some more cheese with us. :)

I'm thinking the next time we make some cheese we should also make some pizza dough. And maybe even some homemade root beer or ice cream (or both!), and have a real homemade pizza night. Yes, sounds like a good idea to me! 

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