Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Christmas Bake Off

The Ward Christmas Party was last Saturday, and they decided to have a Bake off, the rules were pretty simple, it had to be a home made desert, and anyone could enter.

I couldn't let a challenge like that go by...So I tried to think of something that would represent the Holiday Spirit.  This is what I came up with.

Randie decided to flex her creative muscle as well, and entered some really cute Cake Pops. (I think they lasted about 2 minutes before all 45 of them were gone)

All in all the LeBaron's did really well, Randie won "Best Presentation" and I got "Best Overall"

It was a fun night, can't wait for next year!!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Have your cake and eat it too!

I remember vividly when my two boys were born, both were born premature, and after all the stress of the birth there was that one moment when time seemed to stand still, and everything in the universe focused on you standing in the infirmary watching them lying in the incubator struggling to live, so tiny and so small and you realize that your life has suddenly changed almost overnight, and nothing will ever be the same again. Not sure what's going on, or even what you should be doing. You feel all these responsibility's that you never dreamed even existed before, and now all of a sudden your a father. 

When my daughter was born, I thought "I've had two kids, I know what to expect"  WOW!! was I ever wrong.  Sarah was born premature also, after all the complications, and the dust had settled, and the doctors said we could actually touch her, I reached in the incubator just to touch her tiny little hand, and she wrapped her little fingers around mine, and at that moment she became my daughter, my heart melted and she has had me wrapped around her little finger ever since.

So it is no small leap that when she came home last week and said that she was in charge of the food for the "Young Women in Excellence" program and "Daddy, could you please make a cake that would go with the theme "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory"....it wasn't as hard as I made it sound  that I said I would see what I could do.

Cake ingredients for a 3 tier ALL chocolate cake $40.00
Additional expenses for Cake equipment $20.00
Life is made from memories, knowing that this will be one she will always have is Priceless.

Special thanks to an Amazing wife, who made suggestions on the decorating, and who put up with a huge mess for 3 days.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Lawn Mower Blessings

I've never had to purchase a lawn mower before, when we first got married we received a hand me down mower from one of our parents, and over the 20+ years that we've been married we have always been able to fix it up or nurse it back to health, and it has served us well.... last week it took it's last dying breath.

We knew this was coming, so it didn't come as a complete surprise, lately in order to get it started I would have to remove the filter, and put some gas in the carburetor, and even then it would still take several pulls and the risk of a hernia to get it going. Once you did get it started the engine had a mind of its own, sometimes it would run really high, and other times it would sound like it was going to die at any moment, and you never knew if you where going to be able to finish the lawn or not.

It was its time, it had fulfilled its destiny, so no tears.

Randie and I had talked a couple of times about possibly needing to get a new mower, and were hoping we could get one more season, and maybe we could get a break on the price as they closed out the year.... because right now it just wasn't in our budget.

But things seldom work out like we want them to... and it was time to buy our first mower.

I wasn't sure were the best place would be to go to look for a new mower, A couple of stores came to mind.... Home Depot, Sears, and Lowe's.

I felt impressed that I should try Lowe's first, when I pulled into the parking lot, I noticed that there was a small awning set up by Troy with some riding mowers on display...of course a picture of me mowing the lawn on a riding mower flashed through my mind, and I found a little humor in how it would look mowing our relatively small yard on a big riding mower. I thought I might as well see what they had and see if anyone was there.

When I reached the display there was a man there who I quickly learned was a vendor for Lowe's and was there checking their inventory...we had a brief discussion about mowers, and he pointed me to some mowers that were chained up in the back, not readily noticed. He said these were last years models, and that I might be able to get a better price on those, but would need to check with a Lowe's associate to get pricing (as they weren't marked)

I told him I wasn't looking for anything fancy, just a good solid mower, he pointed out 3 possible candidates and I quickly ruled out two of them as they were gear driven and I knew they would be more expensive, but told him I would be interested in the third one...it was a Troy built with a Honda Motor, and an Automatic choke. It looked like a nice solid mower. He said it was a variable speed and that the speed varied on how fast you walked and pushed it. (so no bells and whistles) He offered to find a Lowe's associate for me, and said that normally he thought it sold for about $250.00

I knew going into this that I was probably looking at that price range, and wasn't thrilled with the idea of paying that much... but I told him yes I was interested, who knew maybe it would be less.

Shortly he was back with the sales person covering lawn mowers, she said she needed some information and jotted down some numbers on the mower, and said she would be back in just a minute.

A few minutes went by, and she came out saying that I must be the luckiest guy in the world, apparently when she asked her manager about it, he said that he wanted to clear it out, and to take 50% off the price.

I got the mower for $125 dollars.

A lot of people would think coincidence, that I was just lucky, and I just happened to be in the right place at the right time.

I've learned however over the years that when I'm paying an honest tithe, and doing my best to keep the commandments that there seems to be a lot of "coincidences" that happen in my life.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is true, and when we live the gospel, doors open that often we didn't even know where there, or weren't expecting, and we get a lawn mower that fits exactly into our budget.

Summer is finally here

Spring made a really poor showing this year, we pretty much went straight from Winter to Summer, and as a result it made getting a garden in very difficult. Finally all the plants are in the ground though and have started to respond to the warmer weather.
Because of the altitude here in the springs, we have a pretty short growing season, some things do really well, like Zucchini, it grows like a weed and one plant will feed a small army, others not so much.
Every year I struggle with my tomatoes, Just when they are starting to really produce, the season is over, and I end up with several vines of green tomatoes hanging in my garage. When I saw the nice big tomato plants in Costco (3 for $15.00) a couple of weeks ago I thought "I'm going to get a jump on the season this year, I'll have tomatoes by July 4th"...yeah I bought the tomatoes, and it's not going to happen.

For those not familiar with Colorado Springs weather we get about 2-4 hailstorms a year (very frustrating) and needless to say about 2 days after planting my nice big tomato plants, we had a hail storm, which pretty much wiped them out...It has taken almost 2 weeks for them to finally recover, and now it looks like I'm behind the season again.
For the last 2-3 years I've been contemplating what I can do about the hail... and this year I finally took action... I have constructed a shelter over all my planting beds that is covered with 1/4 inch wire mesh, so it still allows the sunlight through and hopefully will stop most of the hail (I just finished it yesterday so I won't know for sure how it will work until the next hail storm)

I also planted a "giant" pumpkin this year...Had major problems getting it to sprout, finally after several failures (which set my timeline back by at least 3 weeks) I have one sprouted and growing. So it will be interesting to see if we can get a fruit from it before Halloween.

The other change we made is we decided to see if we could grow Artichokes, have never grown them before, so I'm interested to see what they do. Apparently they grow to be a pretty big plant, right now they just look like a big thistle, if I didn't know what they were and found one growing in my garden it would have been gone a long time ago.
At least everything is growing now, hopefully the "Hailinators" do there job, and we can look forward to some fresh vegetables this year.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

1st Place Art winner

Sarah recently entered an Art competition that was sponsored by one of the local Credit Unions, she has been doing really well with her drawings and I guess it has paid off. Out of the 9 School districts included in the competition Sarah entered a black crayon drawing that she did of a giraffe with an African motif for a background and took first place in her grade (7th Grade)...they had an awards ceremony Thursday, and presented her with a check for $75.00