Archives for June 2011

Homemade French Fries

I like my new french fry cutter from Bed, Bath & Beyond. I got a gift certificate to there for my birthday last month and this is one of the things I bought with it. Last week I made sweet potato fries and last night I tried it with regular potatoes. It had been quite a while since I’ve had fries and they sure were yummy.

The first time I used it I wasn’t sure I was going to be all too happy with it because it was harder than I thought it would be to cut through the potatoes. I was pushing down on the handle so hard I thought I might break it. But this time I cut the potatoes in half lengthwise first and it worked much better having less surface area to cut at once.

Peeled potatoesFrench fry cutter

Then I tossed them in some olive oil and spread them out on a cookie sheet. I added a little seasoning of salt, black pepper, and a little red pepper.

Seasoned fries

I think they turned out great. I just need to work on perfecting my oven temperature. With the sweet potatoes I had the oven at 350 for about 30 minutes and they seemed to be a little undercooked. This time I did them at 400 for about 40 minutes and they were better, but they weren’t all very crispy even though they looked done. I guess we’ll just have to keep eating fries until they turn out perfectly. Any suggestions?

French fries

Homosassa Springs State Park

Vacation encore? Sure, why not?! Jesse’s parents are staying with us until Monday. We really wanted spend some time doing something fun with them before they go back home. It took us a while to decide, but we finally landed on visiting Homosassa Springs State Park. We had never been before and we really enjoyed it. The only thing that could have made it better was if it wasn’t quite so HOT!

Homosassa Springs

The park is about an hour long drive from our house. We parked at the visitor’s center and then took a boat ride over to the park. We floated down the creek looking at fish, turtles, and alligators in the water.

Boat ride

I’ve lived in Florida for a long time now, and still had not seen a manatee before today. That was our first stop when we entered the park. The staff fed them full heads of romaine lettuce and bok choy and they came right up in front of us to gobble it all up. They are such funny creatures. Just big blobs, they don’t ever move very quickly even when they were coming for their food.

ManateeManatees eatingFish

Then we saw a hippo. They are so funny too, their super fat bodies on their tiny feet. I remember a Sunday school teachers saying that we know God has a sense of humor because He made hippos.

Hippo swimmingHippo eating

Next we headed over to the reptiles. They pretty much creep me out, all the slithering snakes. I did like the cute and tiny alligators climbing all over each other. I also had to laugh at the father/son camera action. They pretty much both looked like this the whole time we were at the park. There were so many great photo opportunities.

SnakeAlligatorsJesse and Jerry

Our last section was the birds. They were neat, but that whole section was very stinky. I like the owls the best. This little owl was sitting with his back to us and kept turning his head from one side to the other to check out all the people looking at him.


By then I was pretty worn out from being in the heat all day. We took the boat ride back to the visitor’s center to soak up their air conditioning before heading out to the hot car. I could definitely spend longer there if it was less hot. Fun day though!

Family with manatee

California, In Pictures

I’ve already posted some pictures of our vacation to California, but there are so many more! Jesse was taking pictures like crazy and his turned out really great with the fancy camera. Here’s a few (or a lot) of our favorite things:

It’s hard to pick, but I think my favorite parts of vacation was visiting all the places we used to frequent years ago. I’m a very sentimental and memory loving person, so seeing my old house and old town was high on my priorities for while we were there. Plus I wanted Jesse to see all my old favorite places.

Rancho sign

A walk down memory lane, our old neighborhood

Jesse and me at the lake

The family at the lake

Jesse and me appreciating the mountains

Andrew and Nicole chasing birds

We loved seeing these purple trees everywhere

We gawked at the Bugatti Veyron and the fancy shops along Rodeo Drive

Jesse thoroughly enjoyed his Pink

We took a drive through Hollywood

The family overlooking the Hollywood hills

We were all so excited for the graduation events. We managed to score front row seats for both the hooding ceremony and the graduation ceremony. I’m pretty sure Ashley’s friends thought we were a little crazy. We had our seats so early that we got to watch the rehearsal too. Dad was giving all Ashley’s classmates high fives as they passed us to take their seats. But our craziness paid off with some great pictures!

The main event

Ashley getting hooded

Ashley after hooding

Dad checking Ashley's hood

Ashley hooded

Ashley laughing at our crazy family

Ashley's hand shake

Ashley receiving her diploma

Ashley exiting graduation

Ashley with proud parents

Ashley with proud siblings

After the graduation festivities, Ashley was able to join us for more site seeing and remembering of memories.

The beach we loved going to for years

Beautiful beach view

Mom and Dad enjoying the beach

We've always laughed at this triangular house, no piece of land goes unused

View driving down Pacific Coast Highway


La Jolla Cove waves crashing

La Jolla Cove seals soaking up the sun

La Jolla Cove beach

Jesse and me at La Jolla Cove

Hang gliders over the ocean

The bridge to Coronado Island

We thought the valet parking for boats was too funny

Andrew and Nicole at Coronado Beach

The girls on Coronado Island

The boys on Coronado Island

The boys being told to take a funny picture... Andrew looks the same

The boys being told to be funnier

Me shopping on Coronado Island

View of the San Diego runway from the top of the famous parking garage

Jesse and me imitating the famous Unconditional Surrender statue

Is that enough pictures for you? Do you feel like you were there too? We really had such a great time. Now we are back home and back to real life. However, not back to our normal sleeping schedule. Adjusting to the time change has been much more difficult coming home than it was when we got out there. It was really hard to get up this morning, but I’m still up later than normal again. Just think, in three years Ashley will be getting her doctoral degree and we’ll get to do it all over again. We loved California!