Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Delicious Triple Chocolate Cake

This cake really is awesome.  It is a dense cake but so sweet and moist.  It is not low calorie by any means but that's what makes it taste so good.  It's a doctored cake so it's easy to make.

Delicious Triple Chocolate Cake
1 box of Devil's food cake mix
1 small package of instant chocolate pudding mix(sugar free is fine)
1 cup sour cream(light is fine)
1 cup canola oil
1/2 cup milk
4 eggs
1/2 cup warm water
1 package of semi sweet chocolate chips

Mix all and add the chips for last.  Fold those in.  Bake at 350 degrees in a greased 9x12 pan for @50 minutes.  You may frost any way you like.  Powdered sugar is enough or you can go for the sugar rush and add frosting:)


Mix it all together:

After about 2 minutes:

Fold in chips:

Spread in greased pan:

Baked and out of the smells so good:

A frosted piece:

I haven't met anyone who hasn't loved this cake.  My mother-in-law in NY actually had this for breakfast with me while visiting, lol.


Work on The Van and Traveling From TN To Texas and Then Florida

This will be my last story from 2016.  First we did out trip up to visit family in NY and back to TN. Then Mike and I left TN in October last year to make a trip to different parts of TN, down to AL, to MS, LA, and then to TX and back to Florida.

But first Mike had to work on the van...

It's crazy what RV companies do.  On our van the drinking hose hookup is in the same compartment as the sewer hook up.  How gross is that?  So Mike is going to fix that for us.

He has to take out all of the old outside plumbing:

All of this is not needed:

The compartment is clear and ready to be fixed:

Mike runs new water lines and adds a water filler to a new spot:

Tightening the water line:

Our new water connection:

Niki at Mike's mother's house in NY.  She stays in the laundry room....until she sneaks her way into the kitchen:)

Getting ready for our long trip.  The night before:

Mike enjoying breakfast at our first rest area:

Niki and I hanging out at our first campsite in Crossville TN:

Mike enjoying some fishing:

A stop at Lenoir City Park for lunch and a break:

The Lost Sea in Sweetwater TN was the neatest place we saw on our trip.  It is a cave but with a 6 acre lake underground which is the largest in the US.  We got to ride in a boat inside the cave.  The Lost Sea


Outside in their little village:

Then it was off the the Mayfield Dairy Tour...Yum.  BTW, there is a new ice cream flavor for chocolate lovers, Extreme Moose Tracks.  Check it out:)

We drove from TN into Alabama and stopped at some parks to see the waterfalls.  Sadly because of the drought everything was no falls to see.

Next we drove through Mississippi and they have the most awesome rest areas we have seen.  Behind the buildings they have small sites with a table and grill.  Niki likes it:

From there we drove through LA and into TX.  We spent a few weeks traveling around Texas.  Sadly it is not a state for Mike and I.

We did stay at a park that had a flea market attached...we were the smallest ones there:

Next we drove along the coast and back to Florida.  We have done this trip before so we didn't really see anything new.  Although Mississippi has a beautiful road right along the beaches where you can pull over and enjoy.

A goofy picture:

Mike's turn:

Our very cool campsite in Pensacola.  We lucked out as this is the only site like this.  It's the beach site:

Mike at the big Cruise In in Panama City Beach:

We went with our good friends toSilver Springs State Park:

View from the glass bottom boat:

Back at the campground we got to see turtle laying and burying her eggs.  First she digs the hole:

And then lays her eggs:

After that she spread some dirt over the top.  It would have been cool to see them when they hatched but we were long gone by then.

That was the condensed version of our trip.  I didn't want to bore you with every detail.

Next up....back home for 2017.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Kitchen Counters, Spare Bedroom, Painting Floors and Redoing Shelves

This should wrap up last year's projects.  And then we can get to more current things.

I love islands in the kitchen and we were going to add one awhile back but never got to it.  Finally we decided to do this and add new countertops.  We ordered a textured laminate countertop and left my old cabinets since they are in good shape.

Then we added two new 30 inch base cabinets to make an island and extra storage:):)  I also got a new 5 burner stove.  Now I can do lots of cooking:)

My new countertops and island...I love it:

The spare bedroom that has been so many different kinds of rooms over the years and needed a change.  Since we had the furniture and bedding from the lake house we decided to make the room nicer than it was.

First we started out by raising the closet in the alcove area:

It always looks worse before it can get better:

After Mike cut down the old doors he reinstalls them:

Now for some very light spray texture.  We found for a small room it was easier to put a pvc tube in the spray texture gun instead of that big and heavy hopper.  We mixed up the joint compound with water to a milkshake consistency and poured it into the tube.  Then Mike sprayed it on the walls:

And then the finishing touches.  After the spray texture dried we painted.  Mike did the rolling and I did the cut in.  We decided to do an accent section in the alcove using the colors from the bedspread. The rest of the walls we did a very light grey.

We also took out all of the ceiling tiles and painted those.  That was a very tedious job.

Mike putting the painted ceiling tiles back up:

The new wider trim going in:

An updated cleaner spare room:

and onto other jobs:)

The shipping container floors have never been painted so that is next:

Almost done and looking much better:

Now we can start working on the shelves.  We dismantled the shelves when we moved back from the lake house.  Now it's time to put them back together.

Mike nailing the legs to the shelves:

Three of them are nailed back together:

Mike repairing some of the holes from the bad wood.  After that I painted them so they will be nice and fresh in our new buildings:

That pretty much wrapped up last year's projects.  We left early last year for an extended road trip. I'll tell you about that next.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Mike and His Shipping Containers

Mike is obsessed with shipping containers.  I'm surprised he hasn't tried to talk me into turning one into a house, lol.  Anyway for us it is always a problem with getting them up to the top of our land.  Mike "thinks" we can get them up but the last time we did there was no fence.  Ah...this should be fun.

Mike found a place to order one trip containers from.  That means they crossed the water only one time so they should be like new.

Now it's time to prep the area for them.

I made 8 concrete blocks filled with rebar for the corners of the containers when they arrive.  That is a lot of hand mixing.  Seriously with all the small concrete jobs we do we should get a mixer, lol.  Oh right....that is usually me ha, ha.

Next Mike had a delivery of gravel.  The containers will sit in the back yard where my old garden was.

We borrowed a friend's site level and Mike is setting it up so we can get each of the 4 corners level:

Spreading and adding more gravel where needed.  Mike and his tractor:

And the bad boys are here.  We had to have them delivered to the "store" since they came together on one big truck:

Next we waited for our local towing company.  The driver went over to the entrance to our property to see how to get them in.  We told them to back in as the swing room will be wider for them and we may have to take out a pole that is hanging out in the road.

I was too nervous to take pictures at that time but they got it done and the truck and container are in the right-of-way.  Woo hoo:

The man who delivered "both" containers decided to stay and help until they were both on spot.  He is an excellent driver so his help was greatly appreciated.  Backing in the first container:

One down and one more to go:

And back to the store to do it all over again.  This time we know it can be done.

It's still spooky watching big things go to the top of our land:

And the second one going in place:

Mike is a happy man now.  Now he has more places to fill and organize.  We really don't have that much "stuff" but Mike likes it all spread out.

We hired a company to build a metal roof connecting the two containers.  This was we have covered storage for vehicles.

They start with the frame pieces:

Those are up:

Mike watching and learning although sometimes he can teach the ones doing the work:

All finished and being used:


Next up...back to the inside of the house and more projects:)