Pack rats, and snakes and scorpions OH MY!

Last week it was a pack rat, this week we had an even more dramatic reminder we live in the desert.

In the past few weeks we have found five bark scorpions IN the house and many outside of the house as well. I am not generally afraid of them as they usually abide by the “If I don’t bother you, you don’t bother me” rule but now that I have a baby I’m a bit more skeptical. We have found multiple scorpions just feet from James’ bed. Needless to say we have scorpion proofed his bed as much as possible by pulling it away from all walls and placing glass jars under the legs so they can’t crawl up in his bed.

We also had a snake that decided it wanted to join us IN he house as well. Thankfully it was a king snake and not a rattlesnake but I am not a fan of snakes in the house. It was just a baby, but also very close to James’ room. However, we let him go close to the house because he and his mommy who live on our porch do keep rattlesnakes from residing near our front doors.

There is no doubt we are living in desert creature territory and they are not afraid to remind us of it constantly.

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Operation Treadmill

My parents have had a treadmill that has been collecting dust for some time now. Originally my dad bought it for my mom as a Christmas gift. It was used for awhile but has not gotten any real use for too long to justify keeping it. I have been telling them that I would be willing to sell it for them if they wanted to get rid of it. They finally gave me the go ahead so I posted it on Craigslist.

I had a few bites, but then I finally had someone to commit to it. The day she was going to come and pick it up I went to clean it off and make sure everything was running well. It has been stored on their back porch for awhile now as it was just taking up too much room elsewhere. After I hosed if off, and scrubbed it down I wheeled it inside. I then plugged it in. It turned on. Everything seemed to be going well so far.

Then I tried to do a practice run on it. The belt did not run. Hmmm. Every other button worked; fan, incline, calorie counter etc. but not the belt. I decided to do some investigation into the motor area. As I opened it up….

Pack rat nest. Talk about the good life.

Yikes! There was a pack rat’s nest. I am quite used to pack rats in this area of town but did not expect this. This explains why it wasn’t running, the pack rat must have chewed through the wires. My husband being the Mr. Fix-It that he is said he would take a look. As he took off the plastic cover we discover….

Hard to see but there it is. Super fatty.

EEEEKKEKEKEE!!! The PACK RAT IS STILL IN THERE! Is he dead??!!?? Is he alive??? Not sure. But this thing is in the house either way. Lets get it out!

We roll it back out and turns out the pack rat is still ALIVE!! He really had made himself a nice quarters in there complete with a large nest, pomegranates that had fallen off our tree, and dog food. Austin gets a brilliant idea to get my dad’s BB gun to shoot the rat. And so he does. No more rat.

Now we had to get the thing cleaned out and running. With the help of my dad cleaning it out and Austin rewiring it we got it up and running! Works like a charm.

The question is now, should I tell the person who wants it about this??? Anyone want a treadmill?? I’ll give you a great deal : )

Another Man Project

My husband is almost done with assembling one of his projects that he has been working on since months before James was born: a TRICOPTER.

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The mostly finished tricopter. Please note the amount of wiring and small parts it takes to make this thing work.

Austin always has new ideas and is wanting to create new things. One day he came home and proclaimed, I am going to build a helicopter. Some of his ideas are quite lofty, so being the supportive wife I said, “sure honey.” (To be fair he really has talked about buying a build your own plane kit to assemble with his friends in a rented hangar.) Once he explained to me he did not mean a real helicopter and that it was an inexpensive adventure I said go for it.

This project has turned out to be more detailed and intricate than any other project he has tried to figure out so far, and that is saying a lot considering all the projects Austin regularly takes on. Anyways, after hours and hours on forums, waiting super long for parts to come in that were ordered online and many trips to Hobby Town USA he almost has it working.

It really is a cool toy, but don’t tell him I told you it is a toy, he has filed it under business investment as he could potentially make money using his camera and getting sweet shots with it.

I am sure he will have it up and running very soon and you can request some sweet footage for your next event. I can just see it now: BAUMS TRICOPTER TOURS. I am sure he already has bought the domain name.

Check out these sweet videos that were created by tricopters.

Tricopter on the beach.

Tricopter tours the countryside.

*Caution: These are not child proof and Austin has already received cuts and gashes from playing with this toy.

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Hard at work.

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At the park giving the Tricopter it’s first real go.

Balance and Direction

Sometimes I feel as I there are so many things I would like to blog about but when I sit down to write I just can’t muster up anything good. Since having James, the blog has turned into a baby blog for the most part which is great for grandparents and family, but I want my blog to be more than photo updates on James and a baby diary. I want substance and deep thought, funny moments, delicious food, the every day life, faith and of course a bit of baby in there too. I guess I’m just trying I find a balance and it overwhelms me when I sit down to write it all.

For now I will give you a few snapshots of what is going on in life.

-We are still living at my parents. It is so fun seeing James interacting with Grandpa and Granny everyday. We are so grateful that we even have this option. Still not sure what our next housing step is at this point. Prayers appreciated!

-Austin’s sister got married on August 25th. It was a beautiful wedding and lots of fun too. James was digging all of the attention everyone was giving him.

-I started my small group with my college girls again. We are doing a study on the book of Nehemiah. I LOVE these girls so much and LOVE growing in the Lord with them.

-Osa is having some health issues. What can I say she is OLD!!! I am just trying to make sure she is happy which it seems she is. I love that dog no matter how stubborn and strong willed she is!

– We spent the past weekend in San Diego with my Aunt, cousins and Dad. James got to go to the beach for the first time. Super fun trip!!

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Congrats Mr. and Mrs. Faulkner!

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James’ first U of A game! GO CATS!

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With the family in San Diego at the Midway.

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My cousins finding a fish on the beach! Super exciting!

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Getting coffee with Clem, Erin and Oslo.

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This baby LOVES the water!

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Handsome Morales Boys! Those are some good genes!

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James playing with his friend Rob. “Playing” mostly consisting of rolling on each other and sticking each others hands in each others faces.

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James’ first time on the beach.

6 Months

Sweet baby James is six months today. He continues to be such a joy. He is healthy and happy. His doctor is continually commenting on how big he is. He is currently 18lbs 4 oz and 28 inches long. His favorite new things are giggle wars, in which you laugh which will cause him to laugh and it just keeps going. Super fun.

Mini Tarts

I love a good tart. One of my favorite tarts is from Beyond Bread which I live close enough that I could get it any time, however I decided I wanted to try my own hand at it. Here is the recipe I used. They turned out deelish!

Ingredients
  • Tart Crust:
  • 1-1/2 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), chilled
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • Cream Filling:
  • 2-3/4 cups milk (I use 2-1/2 cups nonfat milk + 1/4 cup whipping cream but any type will work)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions
Crust:
  1. Combine flour, sugar and salt in food processor. Cut butter into 8 slices and add to flour, pulsing several times until mixture resembles oatmeal. Add egg yolk mixed with cream. Pulse until all ingredients are moistened but not yet a solid ball. (Add additional drops of cream if dough seems too dry.) Lightly press into a ball, cover and chill 30 minutes.
  2. Spray molds generously with Baker’s Secret or something like it. (Baker’s Secret is an aerosol spray that mixes flour and oil.)
  3. Pull off small amount of dough roll into a ball. Using a rolling pin, roll dough between two pieces of plastic wrap into a circle slightly larger than tart molds. Press into mold with fingers being careful to keep thickness consistent. Use a knife to trim off any extra at the top. Freeze for at least 30 minutes or even overnight.
  4. Place frozen tart shells on cookie sheet and cook at 400 degrees for 12-14 minutes. Watch carefully as the time can vary according to the thickness of the crust.
Cream Filling:
  1. Add milk, sugar, cornstarch, salt, and egg yolks, and butter to medium sauce pan on medium-high, whisking until smooth.
  2. Add vanilla and mix until it is evenly dispersed.
  3. Set aside and let the filling cool.
Assembly:
  1. Fill each baked tart shell with cream filling. Top with fruit of your choice.
Notes

1. If dough in food processor seems too dry to press into a ball, add a teaspoon or two of milk, cream or yogurt.
2. Tarts are best eaten the day they are assembled.

3. The crust is difficult to get into the perfect shape. Leave an edge around the mold so that the crust does not sink in. You can also freeze the crust before you bake it but this is much more time consuming if you ask me!

4. If the crusts puff up in the middle, use your thumb to gently press it down. Some people prick them with a fork.  Do this BEFORE the crusts start to turn brown to avoid breakage.

5. Turn the crusts out of the pan within 3-4 minutes after coming out of the oven. Do it quickly, but gently.  These are a bit fragile.

Good Luck and happy Baking!