Outdoor Movie Fun

Spring is such a great time of the year. The days are getting longer, it’s warmer, and all the plants are budding/blooming/greening. We have hosted a few “late nights” at our house in the last few weeks with all the neighborhood kids. Two weeks ago we had 15 kids 10 and under in our backyard until 9:30. We played Red Rover and Freeze Tag. This weekend, we decided to throw an outdoor movie night. We invited three other families over to watch Despicable Me projected to a large white sheet. We started around 8:15pm and had a great time eating popcorn, quoting lines / songs, and laughing during the movie. It was a big hit not only with the neighborhood kids, but with their parents who came over and enjoyed it, too.

We projected the movie onto a large white sheet we hung between our portable volleyball poles.

We projected the movie onto a large white sheet we hung between our portable volleyball poles.

The kids and parents were scattered out in camp chairs and on blankets.

The kids and parents were scattered out in camp chairs and on blankets.

The warmer weather also means we are out on the green grass with the kids more, which means an opportunity to take pictures. The boy was the latest victim of mom-tographer Jen while I was at work this week.

Austin Austin

The cold-weather plants have all been planted (spinach, peas, onions, kale, potatoes) and we have a number of starts growing aggressively in the house. It’s a great time of the year!

Home Before and After – A Sample

During my last post, I got to looking at “before” pictures of our house and property and it’s pretty fun seeing what we’ve changed and updated. As we looked at some pictures, Jen turned to me and asked, “We bought that place?” Now, mind you, these are comments based on perspective. We saw potential in this house the first time we walked through it and have been slowly chipping away at projects to improve and update it. We had to make some of the changes immediately due to pet … uh … residue. I really don’t like cats, especially ones who do their business all over the house and who have owners who don’t seem to care. That would describe our previous owners.

Anyway, I snapped a few photos today in an attempt to replicate some of the pictures we took the day we looked at the house for the first time (July 2012). This is just a smattering of some of the projects (kitchen, basement bathroom, family room) and doesn’t include a few other rooms we’ve dramatically altered. Nor does it include any of the yard. More to come at a later date.

Kitchen: The changes in the kitchen included a raised ceiling, all new lighting, new faucet, an over-the-range microwave, paint, molding, blinds, and gel staining all our oak cabinets to a dark, java color. Oh, and all new flooring (12″ x 24″ tile). Speaking of lighting, I’ve added or updated 17 recessed can lights in this house, all that use LED bulbs. Most were purchased with a $20/rebate per light from Rocky Mountain Power. The two pendant lights in the kitchen are also LED bulbs.

HouseBeforeAndAfter HouseBeforeAndAfter1 HouseBeforeAndAfter2

Family Room: The changes here were minor; new paint, molding, drapes, stain the mantle, and new carpet. In the process of painting, Jen fell in love with the “Repose Gray” color from Sherwin Williams and we painted a lot of the house that way. With white large-ish molding (5.25″ tall) throughout now, it gives the house a much more updated look.


Entryway: We frosted the window in the front door, tore out the old flooring, and put in engineered hardwood. We also stained the oak balusters the same java color as the kitchen cabinets.


Basement bathroom: This was a major project, but I don’t have a lot of good before pictures. It’s a pretty small bathroom and hard to take pictures in that confined space. We gutted this room down to studs and rebuilt it. New flooring, window, toilet, vanity, mirror, entirely new tile shower, paint, vent fan/light, light fixture, and molding. Despite its small size, it took me a year to actually complete this project, mostly because I had to learn how to do some of this stuff, in particular build a shower pan and do some new plumbing.

HouseBeforeAndAfter7 HouseBeforeAndAfter6

These additional pictures show the bathroom, but without any before photos.




Thumbs are Greening

Here’s what the side yard looked like when we looked at the house the first time (July 2012):

Looking East

The closer of the two trees has since been cut down and stump removed

Looking South

Overgrown shrubbery and neglected grass

I’ve written about how we started the leveling project to prep for garden boxes and a shed. We’re essentially done with the (literal) heavy lifting after today.


Looking South

We plan to put an 8′x12′ shed between the retaining wall and the garden boxes


The boxes are 18 square feet each and made of cedar fence pickets. We will utilize the “square foot garden” technique because we had good success with it in West Jordan before moving.


The boxes are currently half full of fresh compost I picked up from the Davis Landfill today. The remaining space in the boxes will be filled with peat moss.

Load of Gravel

This is my second load of “inch-minus” gravel, which I picked up from the South Weber Geneva Rock pit right at the mouth of Weber Canyon.

Materials and costs:

Retaining wall (~$250)

  • 4″ x 6″ x 8′ pressure treated lumber @ approx. $14/each; I purchased 12
  • 2′ x 3/8″ rebar to help hold the retaining wall in place @ $1.50 each; I purchased 16
  • 10″ lag bolts to secure the multiple layers of timber together @ like $2.50 each; I purchased 25

Garden boxes (~$70)

  • 5/8″ x 5 1/2″ x 6′ Cedar fence pickets @ $2.45 each; I purchased 24 of them (6 per box)
  • 2″ x 4″ pressure treated stud for interior corners @ $6 each; I purchased 2
  • Outdoor treated screws; I already had some!

Ground cloth ($30)

  • I bought a single roll that covers 500 sq. feet from Costco

Gravel ($40)

  • I got one load (“load” is defined as what my half-ton truck could hold w/o dragging the hitch on the ground) of inch-minus gravel from the quarry for $40
  • I went back for a partial load and she let me have it for free. Sweet.

Compost ($26)

  • I got one load of compost from the landfill for $25 + tax

Tools ($45)

  • We finally purchased one of those landscape rakes that’s 3′ wide and makes leveling ground much easier.

In total, this setup ran us over $400, and that doesn’t count the peat moss yet. Now I just need to get a shed, which will run us $1000+, so maybe I’m not in such a hurry!

New Flooring

These days it seems like we’re doing home improvement at our house … or at my parent’s house. We’ve finished our basement bathroom remodel (pictures to come someday), started the upstairs bathroom remodel, and decided to put in a shed and raised garden beds. None of those activities is a minor undertaking.

In the meantime, my parents decided to remodel about a quarter of their house — literally. They’re doing a completely new kitchen and removing a wall between it and the family room to make one large, open room. I’ve been providing some labor assistance during this process (some demolition, runs to the dump, hanging sheetrock, and flooring so far). This last Saturday we laid about half the flooring they’re putting in, and we had a great crew helping. I’m the only able-bodied Clark boy left in the state, but we’re lucky to have able-bodied Pugh, Mohlmann, and Lanham boys who married Clark girls to step in for the Clark boys who left the state!


On Level Ground

Jen and I decided it was time to put in garden boxes and a shed. Our last home had a 10′x16′ shed and I didn’t realize just how valuable that shed was until we moved and no longer had it. With two cars, bikes for four kids and me, lawn mower, snow shovels, table saw, and etc., our two-car garage was a bit tight.

Before we could put in the raised garden boxes and the shed, though, we had to prepare the ground. We have a large side yard but it slopes gently up to theĀ  neighbor behind us. I had the dude who used his back hoe to pull my tree stump out come over and give me an estimate on leveling the ground — he quoted me “a couple hundred bucks.” I talked to another neighbor about it and he just happened to have a smaller back hoe in his backyard digging out a trampoline pit. He offered to come over and give the leveling a try.

This thing did most the leveling

This thing did most the leveling

We made a large pile of dirt from the leveling efforts. I bet I probably hauled 100 wheelbarrow loads of dirt to various places in my yard to get rid of it. Needless to say, this has been a very tiring, working weekend. While I was moving dirt on Saturday, Jen spent the day in Elk Ridge helping paint my parents’ newly-remodeled kitchen/living room.

The dirt was very useful in certain places in our yard to help re-contour some of the land. We have a large cement pad that houses our basketball court and one of the edges had a pretty dramatic drop-off; we’ve now remedied that drop and will eventually put some sod down to cover the dirt.

Some pictures:


A few years ago, my sister-in-law sustained an ankle injury while running. She runs a lot, especially when compared to me. I remember hearing about her injury woes and the damper it put on what she wanted to do, which was be physically active and exercise. I can now officially empathize with her — kinda.

Two weeks ago I was exactly one mile into a run when my left calf immediately seized up. Sure, the muscles in my legs were tight before the injury, but I attributed that to the fact I had just climbed a hundred feet or so on my run. It was on the way down that my calf decided my run was over. It was an immediate and sharp pain and I could barely stand. I tried to stretch it out a bit but to no avail. I hobbled home (while listening to John H. Groberg talk about his mission in a random conference talk from 2004) and applied the R.I.C.E. first aid idea. Continue reading

My baby (girl) is seven!

Last year it was “Lolo’s Family Restaurant.” This year, with the current craze over Disney’s Frozen, it was “Frozen Ice Cream Parlor.” Lauren is very creative and wanted nothing more than to serve her family on her birthday. Here are a few pictures of the parlor she designed.

Happy 7th birthday, Lauren!

Lauren loved her 7th birthday and all the attention she got

Here is the entrance to the parlor

Here is the entrance to the parlor

Jen and Lauren designed and created the menu.

Jen and Lauren designed and created the menu.

A glimpse inside the parlor with customers enjoying their frozen treats.

A glimpse inside the parlor with customers enjoying their frozen treats.


We aren’t Baskin Robbin’s 31 flavors, but we’re sufficient