Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Internet Pornography

As the parent of young children, I take great care in monitoring the types of entertainment which is allowed in my home.  I am concerned about the increasing number of pornographic websites which masquerade as non-porn websites.  As such, I have created a White House petition asking President Obama to require all Internet Service Providers offer the option to block pornographic web content if users request it.  I hope all of my readers will not only sign this petition, but that you will share it with all your friends and family.

Here is the link:

Here is the text from my petition.

Require ALL Internet providers offer the option to block pornographic content.

Over the past few decades, great technological advances have been made to give individuals (and more specifically parents) more tools to control the types of media that enter their homes. Smart chip technology has revolutionized television viewing as individuals can set the rating for content allowed in their homes. Unfortunately, this is unavailable for Internet users, despite the fact that the technology is available to block pornographic content.
It is time for Internet providers to offer this optional service. Those who wish to have pornographic content blocks will be able to call their service provider (or manage their account online) to turn on or off this block. The block will default to "OFF" so users must request it (eliminating censorship concerns).

Friday, July 19, 2013

Cupcake Sandwich

My boys have become cupcake connisours since a local cupcake store opened a location near our home on the east end of the valley.  Michael created a new way to eat them to take full advantage of the lovely frosting on the cupcakes.  He created a "Cupcake Sandwich."

The Peppers Are Coming!

After my gardening adventure earlier this week, I was pleasantly surprised to find some new growth on my Gypsy Sweet Pepper plant.

It's an adorable little sweet pepper!  
I can't wait for more to come in, and it looks like I will have quite a few!

If you've never heard of Gypsy Peppers, they are cute little, multi-colored, sweet peppers like these:

My Japanese Eggplant has a couple more blossoms.  

And, finally, my spinach is thriving!!

Not Everything Goes As Planned... A.K.A. - A Disaster Area!

I was having a great day on Wednesday.  Dinner was ahead of schedule, the kids were happy, we had some friends over, and the dreaded caterpillars were gone.  Feeling as content as I was, I did something without thinking and created a gigantic mess!

Let me back up...

I was making Cafe Rio Beef (recipe here).  It was looking lovely, and I decided I should really make some beans to go along with it.  I found a recipe for Cafe Rio Beans (recipe here), but I didn't have canned black beans.  I did, however, have dry black beans and a pressure cooker.  I've pressure cooked dried beans many times, and they've always turned out well.

So I go along my merry way making the beans.  The timer went off, and I turned off the heat.  I don't know what I was thinking, but rather than release some of the pressure from the pot or let it cool sufficiently, I decided to press the button the unlocks the pot.  If there's still some built up pressure, it will release it and allow me to open the pan. 

Well, I learned the hard way that this is a VERY BAD THING to do (without releasing some pressure first)!  I didn't have any explosion or anything like that, but as the pressure cooker was releasing the pressure in the pan, liquid came out.  Dark brown liquid. 


All over my counters, the tile back splash, the stove, and the tile floor.  And all over me.  No burns or anything, but it made a big, BIG mess!  Actually the word "Big" does not even begin to describe it. 

Michael insisted on taking a picture "for the blog."  I was a little unhappy about it at the time (and I definitely was not planning to blog about it), but I think it is appropriate to capture the "not so fun" moments, so we can laugh about them later.

So here it is.  Please keep in mind that this does not even begin the capture the horror I was feeling in the moment.  The liquid was seeping across the stove and the counters, pouring onto the floor, spewing all over me.  As it seeped across the stove, the liquid was going into the area under the control knobs.  It was not a fun moment. 

A few minutes prior (to this picture), I was begging the kids to help by grabbing some bath towels, while mopping up what I could with paper towels (I went through the rest of the roll and it didn't even make a dent.)  They were AWESOME and ran to the rescue! 

We stopped the spread of the mess and cleaned it up.  (YEAH!  Thanks, boys!)  Then we realized that all the electric ignition (pilot light) for the stove (on every burner) were going off continually.  I googled the problem and read that this can happen when they get wet.  So I dried them off thinking that would help.

No luck...

So I tried turning on all the burners, thinking it would dry out faster if they were on.  No luck.  I read that sometimes it helps to turn off the breaker and then turn it back on.  No luck.

When John arrived home, he found someone who said you need to turn the breaker off for 24 hours, then turn it back on (after it's dried out), and that should fix the problem.  STILL NO LUCK!

I was getting worried.  We have a cooktop range, and it is quite pricey to replace.  Last night, I was so stressed about it when I went to bed, that I prayed about it.  I woke up still stressed. 

Well, the breaker for the cooktop is the same one for the microwave, and one of the boys needed to heat something up in it, so Michael went outside and turned it on. 

Lo and behold, I witnessed a miracle!  My stove was fixed!  No more incessant clicking!  No more guilt about ruining my cooktop!  I gave Michael a huge hug and called John with the good news. 

We are so grateful to our Heavenly Father for helping us and blessing us with a functioning stove! 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

New Growth

Yes the Tomato Hornworm Caterpillars ate through two of my tomato plants, but my other plants are doing well.

My Japanese Eggplant is blooming.

My sweet peppers are getting ready to flower.

As is my zucchini plant.


My lovely garden has been invaded!  First I had rabbits, then I had pill bugs (roly polys).  Now I have Tomato Hornworm Caterpillars.  If you haven't seen them before, they look like this:

They are HUGE!!!  And I was a little freaked out.  We weren't sure whether or not they were poisonous, so we exercised great caution.

Anyway, let me back up a little.  On Monday, I noticed a half eaten green tomato.  I couldn't see any bugs on my plant, and it was too high for the rabbits to get, so I thought the lizard I've seen around our garden may have chomped on it a bit.  Today I noticed three more half eaten tomatoes, so I examined it more closely.  I found a huge hornworm caterpillar.  It was eating one of my tomatoes.

We removed it and my dear friend, Kristina, and I examined it.  Here are some pictures and a couple of videos.  You can hear how squeamish I was!

No, we are not eating the caterpillar.  
We did not want to touch it, so we used utensils for our examination.

Kristina thought there were bound to be more of these creatures on my tomato plant, so her daughters examined the plants.  They found 4 more!  Here they are:

These caterpillars eat so much!  They decimated the top branches of my roma tomato plant and ate a lot of my heirloom plant.  Here are a couple of pictures.  Note that the branches are stripped of leaves.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Misc. Pictures, Or What It's Really Like To Ride The Carousel

Here are a few more pictures from John's iPhone.  He snapped these on the Disneyland Carousel (most while the ride was in motion).

Primary Temple Tour 2013

On Saturday, our ward Primary had a Temple activity which included a tour of the Los Angeles Visitor's Center and Temple Grounds.  AJ grumbled a bit about going, but he really enjoyed filling out the questionnaire and giving all the answers to the sister missionaries leading the tour.