• 25Apr

    Easter with the Luzas has shifted over the last few years from a BBQ feast–with a lot of wee-hours-of-the-morning cooking–to a hamburgers/hot-dogs lunch. It’s not as yummy, but it’s a lot less work, especially for a devoted few.

    Last year, I honestly don’t remember what I ate. I probably took veggie patties and soy dogs.

    This year, we were only going to be there for the one/big meal, so I opted for veggie packets and fruit kabobs. Along with chips, this was our contribution to the family meal.

    Veggie Packets


    • Chop onion into ~8 sections; with it’s natural layers, grabbing a wedge for each packet will be easy.
    • Chop or slice vegetables for ease of scooping 1/4 cup portions.
    • To make ~40 packets, this took me ~2 hours.


    • two layers of foil
    • 1/4 cup diced potatoes
    • 1/4 cup sliced zucchini
    • 1/4 cup sliced yellow squash
    • 1/4 cup sliced carrots
    • 1 small wedge of onion
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1/4 teaspoon rosemary
    • a pinch of thyme
    • salt & pepper

    Double-fold the packets along the top and then fold in the ends.


    • Grill over a hot fire for ~15 minutes.
    • Our grills were VERY hot that day, so we put them on the top rack.
    • In our case, they were done when the foil started to change color.

    Fruit Ka-bobs

    Thanks for my friends on Twitter and facebook, I knew what fruits would grill well!


    Clean and cut fruit into wedges big enough to slide onto skewers and not fall between the slats on the grill. This took me about an hour.


    • apples
    • pears
    • strawberries
    • pineapple
    • mango (given the size of the mango pit, this was by-far the hardest to work with)


    Soak wooden skewers in water to keep them fire resistant. Some also advised soaking the fruit in water to prevent burning.


    • Have each person assemble their favorites into a ka-bob.
    • Sprinkle a little sugar on each ka-bob.
    • Grill over a hot flame for ~5 minutes, turning one time.
    • You know they are done when the fruit has grill marks.

    The apples and pears will taste like bites of pie. The strawberries are unlike any I’d ever had.

    I can’t speak to the pineapple or mango since I can’t stand the stuff, but it was quickly claimed when we packed up after lunch and divided all the leftovers!


  • 13Apr

    This is a funny little example of the way our world works.

    As we were leaving the house for Easter…
    Emil: Turtleor is upset that we’re leaving. She thinks we are going to bring her a baby brother or sister.

    As we were driving into Dime Box…
    Lori: I hope we don’t find another turtle. Two might be a lot more work, but I won’t be able to leave it there.

    As Emil was reaching into the water cutoff to make sure the water was turned on…
    Emil: “Baby, you aren’t going to believe this.” Then he hands me the tiniest Red Eared Slider I’ve ever seen. She had been stuck in the valve area for a while, was emaciated, and was so dehydrated she could not open her eyes.

    As we battled getting the water turned on at Dime Box, I checked on her from time to time. I also texted a picture of her to Twitxr, which showed up on facebook. Name suggestions included Dribble and Speed Bump. Emil suggested Valvet since we found her in the valve. I suggested Turtleand and Turtlebut to go with Turtleor….but ultimately Valvet is the most telling/descriptive name for our new addition.

    Turtleor has made it abundantly clear that she is the alpha with the fluttering of her front feet. At the same time, she seems to “cuddle” Valvet under her belly in a protective way. Valvet hasn’t eaten, yet, but it took Turtleor ~3 days to eat when we brought her home, so I’m not too concerned about that, yet.

    Pictures to follow, of course.

  • 13Apr

    This may have been my favorite Easter ever. It was certainly the nicest one I’d ever had at the Annual Luza Family Easter Camping Trip.

    The weather was perfect. The days were only a little cool, requiring long sleeves, while the nights required only a sheet and light blanket.

    For reference:

    • We have camped at Easter when it was 80+ degrees with close to 100% humidity. We were all miserable.
    • We have also camped at Easter in ~20-degree weather with sleet/ice—in the same weekend when we battled rattlesnakes. Again, we were miserable!
      [ Don’t you just love Texas in the spring??? 😉 ]

    The new barn/shed Mom had installed is amazing. I expected a wood pavilion with nothing more than ~four posts and a nice roof, but the metal-sided building she selected has six garage doors. It’s perfect for keeping stuff safe there during the year (we justifiably worry about simple things like water hoses) as well as providing shelter to us if there is wind (which we needed this year) or rain.

    Turtleor got a new baby sister: Valvet, which is it’s own story for our blog.

    Our nephew, Chad, and his friend, have not only built a bunch of new trails for four-wheeling and hiking, they also have started constructing a shower area (with the help of our great-nephew Andrew and great-niece Ashlyn), and have planned a zip line!

    After (my insistence and others’) encouragement, Chad also took us on the “First Annual Hayless Ride” around the property. Just before the little Luzas had to head to bed, we loaded up the flatbed trailer with blankets, made sure we all had drinks/snacks, and embarked on a journey around the property that belongs to Emil’s mom. Kids (by age and at heart) all had a great time and deemed this the new annual Friday night tradition to replace when the family used to run to the bridge to get blown away by the late-night train[1]. Thank  you, Chad!!!

    Happy Easter, everyone.

    [1] The bridge was moved from the tracks to a historic location in town less than one year before I started camping with Emil’s family. When we arrived at Dime Box—via the back roads, so we passed the bridge’s old location—that year, Emil was a bit devastated. He couldn’t explain to me what that tradition had meant. Like most things “Aggie”, it followed the pattern: From the outside looking in, you can’t understand it. From the inside looking out, you can’t explain it. Emil was crushed that I’d never experience the train the way they had all those years.