Saturday, October 13, 2012

Sweet Potatoes

I planted my sweet potatoes last spring for the fun of it. I didn't really think I would get any for our table but the vine is pretty. I needed a cheap filler for the front bed and I had a couple of sweet potatoes that wanted to sprout. They were an unknown variety from the Commissary but they grew like crazy in the front bed.
Our first frost was predicted for last week - It never happened. I knew I needed to start the fall cleanup before the frost so I started pulling out all the potato vines. I ended up filling our dumpster with them. I only planted two little starts. Two. That's it.
They really really liked the front bed. Really. As I made my way to the heart of the vine I found a wonderful surprise. I actually had sweet potatoes! I was able to dig up a basket full from just one plant.
I love my little surprise harvest! I think I may actually try to grow sweet potatoes next year in the garden.

My flower bed looked really ugly after I pulled out the vine.

I still have a lot of work to do in order to get this flower bed ready for winter. I am collecting seeds for next year and trying to mark were the perennials are planted. I have a terrible memory and I know come spring I will be trying to figure out what is a weed and what is a flower.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Pantry Update

I am finally done canning for this year. I did a lot more than I usually do but I still did not get to put up tomatoes. I decided to post a few pictures of my hall pantry. It is normally a mess so I wanted to take a few pictures before everything gets moved around and mixed up!
David keeps teasing me and telling people I am preparing for the "Zombie Apocalypse." I don't really believe in Zombies, but I do feel good knowing that I can feed my family during hard times.

My Pickle Shelf - Pickled Peppers, Dill Relish, Sweet Relish, and Bread and Butter Pickles.

Jelly, Jam, and Butters!
Apricots, Peaches, and a few jars of dried Strawberries and dried Carrots. I can not wait to try the carrots in soup this winter!

Thursday, October 11, 2012


Dallas has found a new hobby. He is geocaching. He compared it to a pirate treasure hunt! Last night we found our first Cache. It was an easy one but he had so much fun following the GPS and giving us driving directions. It was a very educational experience.

Dallas had to have Daddy get the box out of the tree.

Dallas had a hard time getting the box open.

Going through all the 'treasure'.
He chose to keep an army man and he put in a small name tape from his Dad's uniform.
He is already searching the site for his next trip. I am sure it will be really really soon!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Technical Research

Technical research is usually used at work to help solve problems, make decisions, or answer questions (Smith, 2010). Technical research uses many of the same techniques that are used during high school or college but the focus of the research is not to just write a paper. The document written will have effects far greater than the grade book.

Secondary vs. Primary Research

All technical research begins with what you already know. After considering this information the researcher needs to consider the audience, purpose and scope of the paper. Then the author needs to gather and evaluate the new information and form their own conclusions. All research is either Secondary or Primary.

Secondary Research is indirect reports of information. A reporter in Texas writing about an earthquake in California would be using secondary research. Secondary research also gives a starting point for new research. "Larmar Reinsch argues that poor preparation promotes reinventing the wheel rather than building on prior knowledge gained through business and technical communication research." (Kim, 2000) Some places to start looking for secondary research are :
  • work archives
  • work correspondence and emails
  • library catalogs
  • periodicals
  • general reference materials
Primary Research usually starts with secondary research. The information gathered in the beginning of a project can lead to unanswered questions and to find those answers, primary research is required. Some examples of primary research are :
  • Surveys
  • Interviews
  • Observations
  • Experimentation
After gathering all the information, an author can have a difficult time deciding what research to use and what research is just some one's ramblings. There are several factors to consider when evaluating these sources.
  • Who wrote the paper?
  • What was the author's objective?
  • Was the author knowledgeable?
  • Did the author accurately use the research provided?
  • Was the research or paper relevant?
  • When was the paper written?
If any of the answers cause alarm or suspicion then the paper or site is probably not a reliable source. Another quick way to evaluate a website is the last three letters of the web address. If the last three letters are com the site is a commercial website and they are biased to the information they provide. These sites are usually trying to sell a product or idea to their audience and can omit or twist their research to better accomplish this task. If the site ends with gov, mil, org, or edu, then the research should be evaluated further and might be an appropriate research site.

Documentation and Plagiarism

After gathering all the information needed, the author then needs to write out their conclusions and give credit to other researchers who influenced their work. "Documentation is a system of giving credit to another person (writer or speaker) for his or her work. It is using a citation system to not whose ideas or words the writer is using and where he or she found them. Responsible writers document ideas and materials they borrow or use."(Smith, 2010) When using a quote, paraphrase, or summery, internal citations direct the reader to the appropriate bibliography. The citations allow others to follow your road map to continue and evaluate your research. This also helps an author avoid plagiarism.

Plagiarism in school can result in a failing grade or suspension from the University. Plagiarism in work can have far worse consequences. Not citing references at work can result in loss of job, lawsuits, and a ruined reputation. All of this can be avoided by properly citing others work within a paper and including a bibliography at the end. It is as simple as that.

Technical research has become part of most jobs in the American workforce. Everyone is required to help develop work techniques or to pass on information to coworkers and customers. Proper research could help someone get a promotion and sloppy research can lead to the exact opposite.


Kim, S.C. (2000). Research methods course work for students specializing in business and technical communication. Journal of Business and Technical Communication, 14(2), 223-241. Retrieved from

Smith-Worthington, S., & Jefferson, S. (2011). Technical writing for success (3rd ed.). Mason, OH: South-Western Cengage Learning.

Upcoming Post

One of my assignments in my current class is to create a blog and make a post about technical writing. Instead of polluting the Internet with another blog, I received permission to use my current blog. Feel free to ignore the next post from me - Or read it and leave me great comments to help influence my professor!

I promise I will post again soon!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

My New Hobby

I have starting teaching myself how to crochet. It is really challenging for me and I don't really have anyone to show me what to do. I have a couple of books and you tube videos that are helping but I am not the most coordinated person. I end up with knots, and kinks, and loops, and everything I am trying to avoid. I do a couple of stitches and then rip it all out. I start over more than I would like to admit.

Today I completed my first real project! I made a rug for my bathroom. It is just a simple Double Crochet but I used three yarns at the same time. I love the way it turned out.

I am really enjoying learning how to crochet. I just need to learn how to keep the boys from 'helping' me! I am tired of rolling up my yarn after they stretch it all over the house.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Tackle Football

and Dallas do not belong in the same sentence. I know I am just being a Mom but he is so small. Well, he is small until he puts on all the pads and his helmet. He ages five years in the time it takes him to get dressed. How can a game that requires so much safety gear be fun?

Time to stop being a scared Mom - He loves it. David and our friend Evan are coaching Dallas' team this year - The RedSkins. We have mostly third graders while the other teams have mostly fourth graders. It does not seem fair to me but I guess that is the way city sports are done.

Huddle time- Alex (in red) thinks he is as big as the players. He really wants to play football with them and they are wonderful with him. He gets to tackle and push them through out the practices.

It's not the best picture - David and Dallas practicing 'pushing'.

Dallas in White.

Crazy Life

I feel like every time I mark one thing off the To Do List, I end up adding five more. I am running in circles and can not get off this crazy ride. David was in the hospital, Dallas is playing Tackle Football, and Alex is being a normal two year old. All I want is five minutes without hearing "MOM!"

Since I am so far behind on my blog I thought I would start with a few short updates. My front flower bed looks nothing like it did in April.

I have tried to keep the Sweet Potato Vine in check. I only planted two small starts in June but you can not tell it when you look at the flower bed. I need to dig them up sometime this week. Just one more thing on my To Do List!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Tomato Worm

I have only had one tomato worm this year. I guess you need to have healthy tomatoes to have tomato worms! When I saw the damage to my plants, I asked Dallas to help me find the 'little monster'. It only took him a few minutes to find it and then came the question I hear every year.

"Can I keep it?"
Photo retrieved on Aug. 24, 2012 from Wikipedia.
 I now know how my Mom felt so many times. I should have him kill the thing but how can I say no to him. Out came our 'bug jar' and in went the worm and a few branches from my tomato plant. Dallas took care of it and tried to feed it fresh leaves every day. My poor plants started to look a little thin. Then the day before our Anniversary trip, Dallas' worm went into its chrysalis. He took it with him to Granny's just in case it came out.

Last night, while cleaning up the kitchen, I heard something strange. The moth had finally emerged. It would do this at 10 pm on a school night. I woke Dallas up and we went outside to see what his little pet had turned into.
Dallas carefully opening the top.

Our 'little' moth.

Dallas playing with it. I think he was as surprised as I was with the size of this moth.

The silly little thing stayed around. It was on our fence today. Dallas just had to play with it one more time. I know I will probably see its offspring in my garden in a week or two but it is totally worth it.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

First Day Of School - 2012

Where did the summer go?

Dallas started school on Tuesday (August 14). He is in the Third Grade. I still can not believe it. I love his new teacher...No really. I LOVE her. She teaches dual language in a self contained classroom so, for the first time, she is his only teacher. He is very concerned with this idea. How can one teacher teach him everything? Mrs. Duran has so much energy and she really seems to like her job (and I think that helps a lot). This is her first year teaching 3rd grade - she has always taught 5th grade - and I think she will be a good match for Dallas.

But I have gone of track a little bit! Dallas' first day of school was like all the other (when Dad is home) with a few minor changes. He wanted to ride the motorcycle to school. Yup. Right. My thought exactly. It isn't really scary when David takes him around the block but traffic is a totally different thing. They ganged up on me and they won. "Why did we buy him a helmet if I wasn't going to let him ride the bike?" Nope. I didn't have an answer either!

Alex helping Daddy get the bike ready.

David and Dallas ready to go to breakfast.

Breakfast at McDonald's. It is their first day of school tradition. I would rather stay home and fix a real breakfast!


Finally at school. Yes - I followed them in the car and held my breath for every turn and stop. Dallas did great and loved every minute.

When did he grow up?

Attitude. I guess he was tired of me taking pictures!

I  convinced him to let me take just one more.

He actually let us walk him in and even gave me a hug before I left. I know it won't last much longer but maybe I will get one more year.

Sunken Gardens

Our Anniversary is usually very predictable. Every year we do the same thing. This year was no exception. David always takes me to a Zoo and we have a nice dinner somewhere. It is simple, but it is our tradition. Since this year was our 10 year anniversary, David decided to spoil me. My parents kept the boys and his Dad kept our dogs for a whole week while David and I relaxed in San Antonio, Texas. We did the Zoo, but we kept missing our boys. Everywhere we looked there was something they would have loved. I think I am too attached to them.

The real star of our 'Zoo Day' was the Japanese Tea Garden or Sunken Gardens near the Zoo. A little history for everyone:

The Sunken Gardens were developed on land donated to the city in 1899 by George W. Brackenridge, president of the San Antonio Water Works Company. The ground was first broken around 1840 by German masons, who used the readily accessible limestone to supply the construction market. About 1917, City Parks Commissioner Ray Lambert visualized an oriental-style garden in the pit of the quarry. His engineer, W.S. Delery, developed plans, but no work began until individual and private donors provided funds in 1918. Lambert used prison labor to shape the quarry into a complex that included walkways, stone arch bridges, an island and a Japanese pagoda. At the entrance to the garden, Mexican-born artist Dionicio Rodriguez (1891-1955) replicated a Japanese Torii gate in his unique style of concrete construction that imitated wood. In 1919, at the city's invitation, Kimi Eizo Jingu, a local Japanese-American artist, moved to the garden. In 1926, they opened the Bamboo Room, where light lunches and tea were sold. Kimi and Miyoshi Jingu maintained the garden, lived in the park, and raised eight children. Kimi was a representative of the Shizuoka Tea Association and was considered an expert in the tea business nationally. He died in 1938, and 1941 the family was evicted with the rise of anti-Japanese sentiment of World War II. For years the garden sat in neglect and disrepair, becoming a target of graffiti and vandalism. Due to limited funding, the city threatened to close the garden, but the community and parks supporters rallied and lobbied to keep the park open. In 2005, the City used about $550,000 in bond money to reroof the pagoda-like Pavilion and the Jingu House. In 2007 they began a $1.6 million restoration campaign to restore the ponds and waterfall in conjunction with the City of San Antonio. For the public re-opening on March 8, 2008, Jingu family members returned to San Antonio. Mabel Yoshiko Jingu Enkoji, the sixth child of Kimi and Miyoshi Jingu, who was born at the Garden, was the senior Jingu family member at the event. In 2009, the San Antonio Parks Foundation and the City of San Antonio began work on the $1 million restoration of the historic Jingu house. Work was completed in October 2011. The building is now being operated as a restaurant by Fresh Horizons Creative Catering, serving light lunches as the Jingu family did in the 1930s.  (Wikipedia, 2012)
David really did not want to see the gardens but, once we were there, he was amazed. They are beautiful. I could have spent all day just walking around the flowers, ponds, and waterfall. I can not picture the huge, empty pit it was originally.


Wikipedia (2012) San Antonio Japanese Tea Garden, retrieved on 16 Aug 2012 from

Friday, August 3, 2012

Anniversary and Blog Break

I married my best friend ten years ago today and I thank God everyday for such a great husband. I am truly blessed to have him to share my life with. We decided to do something very different this year to celebrate - we are on a vacation without the boys. Dallas is almost 9 and this is the fourth time I have gone anywhere without him. Alex is almost two and I have only left him three times. Thankfully they are with my Mom and I know she will take great care of them....but I am still a nutcase.  I feel guilty and a little lost.

We are in San Antonio, Texas. Our hotel is by the river walk and our room is beautiful. I actually slept all night without having to get up with Alex or the dogs. It has been three years of middle of the night cries and I was exhausted. Then today David surprised me with my first massage and I think I am hooked. We did a couples Swedish massage and it was the most relaxing hour of my life. I wish we lived near a big town. I don't know if our little area even has a place to get a massage.

I was completely shocked by how long it has been since my last post. I have completed a lot of projects but they just haven't made it on here, yet. We installed a sprinkler system in the backyard last weekend and we survived with just a few fights. Tank escaped from the backyard and ended up at the zoo. Thankfully I was able to find him and he is now home safe and sound. School starts in two weeks for just about everyone. Dallas is going into the third grade. Where did the time go? It seems like yesterday when I was walking him into kindergarten. David and I start our college classes again this month. Hopefully we will finish our degrees before Dallas is in college!  And poor little Alex has another appointment with his ENT to find out if he will have surgery next month. They think they can help with his sleep issues but I am not so sure. Maybe sleep is over rated......

It is getting late and I really hate typing on the iPad. I will try to catch up on everyone's blogs this weekend and to catch up my posts soon. I hope everyone is having a great summer!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

18 July 2012

I actually like my front flower bed now that the giant sunflower is gone. Everything is in full bloom and looks great. Just a warning - There are a lot of pictures. 

I grew these marigolds from seed I collected last year. Dallas LOVES marigolds so I plant more than I should every year. This is only two plants.

Not the best picture but here are some of my Zinnias I grew from seed, along with Marigolds, Petunias, Russian Sage, Sweet Potato Vines, and one of my baby Ficus tree in the pot.

Cosmos and another view of my Sweet Potato. It is filling in the bare spots very quickly. I think it will become one of my regular plants for the front bed.

The bird bath that was hidden by the giant sunflower.

The other side of the bird bath. This is probably one of my favorite flowers. My Dahlia has moved three times with me and continues to look better every year.
I keep trying to get a good picture of this Zinnia but for some reason it is camera shy. So this is the best I have so far. I grew most of my Zinnias from seed this year and this one really surprised me when it opened its first flower. It is hard to see in this picture but it is almost pure red. I have a lot of orange Zinnias but this is the only red.
I love it!

I don't want to see the ground in my flower beds. I love the way it looks when the plants are mixed together and over flowing the sides of the bed. Unfortunately I have to leave a walking path through this bed. It is too big to work in without it. Maybe I will get used to it but I doubt it.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Giant Sunflower

I can not believe how long it has been since I posted. The summer is just flying by. I have been working in the yard but mostly in the early morning or late evenings. We are just too hot.

Yesterday I asked my Dear Hubby to cut down the sunflower. It was huge and had starting killing all the plants trapped under it. I did not plant it but it really liked the front flower bed. The neighborhood toddlers loved to hide behind it and play in the bird bath. They were so cute splashing around back there when they thought we could not see them. I am sure they will miss the huge thing more than I will.
Giant Sunflower

Dear Hubby by the Sunflower.

Carrying off the plant. He didn't want to stop and let me take pictures. I am just glad he was home to cut it down for me.