31 December 2012

First LEGO Experience

-->
I can't tell you how happy this made me.
I was making some breakfast in the other room and she picked out this LEGO that Santa had brought (when she opened it on Christmas she said, "I just wish it was a girl set.") and had completed the first six steps in the booklet by herself correctly.  We did the rest of it together and even though it took quite a while, she was a trooper and kept working.  
Her comment afterward, "I didn't know LEGOs were so work-able."  Not sure exactly what was meant but I took it as a positive. 

Christmas 2012

What a wonderful end to the Advent season.  I have lots that I should probably write about, but for now I'll summarize it and say that I had a great trip back home.  homebase and I got in some last minute shopping and also our annual trip to Whole Foods to pick out all the buffet food.  Christmas Eve was a quiet affair for homebase, caboose & I.  We had a nice mass at the beautiful St. Patrick's church, seeing familiar faces and then watching It's a Wonderful Life when we got home.  Christmas morning saw the arrival of not just Santa, but also the Omaha family and we had a fabulous time full of a bountiful buffet, ping-pong games, present opening, cooking discussion, reading, playing reverse charades and just having a great time together.  Everyone dispersed pretty quickly this year but most of us were able to reconvene back at the farm the following weekend (with mi novia & isa this time) for a little more fun.  A full ping-pong tournament was held this time with stoppable and mi novia fighting out a close final before stoppable took home the title.  We had a little sledding and some delicious soups (Senate bean, chicken double noodle, tomato).  It was a great time and I was so happy for everyone to get some time to meet isa and get to know mi novia better. 
Thanks for all the fun, family!  Have a safe & joyous NYE!

27 December 2012

"We Goin' to the Game, Pop"

homebase and I saw this home video clip on the news while I was home for Christmas.  Came across it this morning on YouTube and saw that it has 4 million+ hits.  I don't think you can watch it and not smile.  I love how excited he was even when he thought he had gotten a new hat!  Almost makes me tear up.

19 December 2012

Maroon 5 - "Daylight"

In case you were looking for a feel-good, human experience, love-filled, real people video that comes with a pretty sweet new Maroon 5 song....

Gender Neutral Toys in the News!

After I took "Gender Role Development" as a May Term class at the end of my freshmen year at Simpson College, I felt like I was the spokesperson for gender neutrality in toys, clothes and books for children.  I've since relaxed in my vigilance.  But...that does not mean that I wasn't excited to see this article about a child's petition to Hasbro to produce the Easy-Bake Oven in colors other than purple and pink. 

18 December 2012

NFL Spike to the face

I seem to have a thing for blows to the head recently!  After that HS volleyball spike, I happened to catch sight of this story yesterday while I was at the Y.  An NFL receiver catches a TD pass (while his team is getting throttled), gets up and spikes the ball with every fiber of his body.  Unfortunately, the ball kicks off the turf and does some collateral damage to an older gentleman who was an usher.
Later in the game the player does a good deed and gets up after catching a 2-point conversion and hands the ball to the usher (although not the same guy.  He must not have been able to continue without his glasses, which were now in smithereens.)
[full disclosure: I watched that first video more than five times.]

Jingle Bells.

From Jorge, Alexa & Eliana.

17 December 2012

Christmas Baking Party '12

Christmas Baking Party (#0828)Christmas Baking Party (#0874)Christmas Baking Party (#0873)Christmas Baking Party (#0869)Christmas Baking Party (#0862)Christmas Baking Party (#0848)
Christmas Baking Party (#0847)Christmas Baking Party (#0846)Christmas Baking Party (#0843)Christmas Baking Party (#0839)Christmas Baking Party (#0837)Christmas Baking Party (#0834)
Christmas Baking Party (#0832)Christmas Baking Party (#0825)Christmas Baking Party (#0823)

Christmas Baking Party '12, a set on Flickr.
After a fun holiday show watching Tonic Sol Fa perform at the Hoyt Sherman on Saturday night, we had a big day on Sunday.
The first annual Christmas Baking Party took place after mass (I have to give kudos to the priest at OLIH for his sermon regarding the readings & the CT shooting events. Well done.) and lasted pretty much right up until all of our bed times. I know we will get more efficient about it as we get a few years of experience under our belts. We didn't even get to 2 of the recipes on our agenda, but we replaced them with the easy to throw together bars.
We had a lot of fun, made a lot of cookies, created an impressive mess and a formidable stack of dishes, did a lot of grazing & sampling, had a Jimmy John's break around 2 pm and were able to deliver one box in person to a neighbor in the evening which made was very nice. The rest we boxed up and sent to school today or shipped out in the mail.
If interested, ask me about the USPS Priority Mail setup. Pretty slick!
Happy Christmas Kitchen Greetings to you all.

12 December 2012

Mariah, Jimmy Fallon & the Roots

Love this. 

Civic Hero

I love hearing about anyone taking an interest in restoring, renovating or revitalizing their hometown or rural Iowa.  Builders/businesses are so quick to look to suburban corporate plazas, but it is so much nicer to repurpose a space and it makes such a difference to the community.  My college friend Joe Sheeley was the first to really get me thinking about these things.  And it is why I love Sons & Daughters of Imogene. 
This article by Chuck Offenburger and Becca Castle's efforts to reclaim the Johnson Bros. Mill building on Shenandoah's main strip is exciting and laudable. 
Good Luck Becca!

09 December 2012

Sink Scrubbing (#0799)

Sink Scrubbing (#0799) by regan76
Sink Scrubbing (#0799), a photo by regan76 on Flickr.
Pinterest is no joke!
Baking soda & vinegar and a scrubby brush.
Much needed.

08 December 2012

Cinnamon Ornaments

or "ormanents" as Isa likes to say.
We've been doing lots of projects lately and we were able to use our sick day to finish up our cinnamon ornaments yesterday.  I had to cut out of work a little early on Wednesday after getting informed that she was running a temp and not feeling good.  School policy is that they can't come back the next day either, so that meant a Friday sick day!  So I decided to take one too so we all could hang out together.  And it was a great decision.  Pancakes & eggs in the morning, tongue depressor snowflake decorations, lots of coloring, book reading and we put string in our cinnamon ornaments and put a few on the trees.
I remember having these great smelling ornaments growing up and when I saw them on Pinterest I thought it'd be a great little craft project.  I also liked that they added some glitter using Mod Podge.  We added some glitter glue designs too.  I couldn't believe how strong the cinnamon smell was while these were in the oven (two hours at 200 degrees.)
I hope all your trees are looking lovely and your Advent season is starting off fantastically.


Civil War Uniforms

I love uniforms.  (Not a man in uniform...just sports uniforms in general.) 
Turned on the "Civil War" this afternoon and started watching the Army-Navy clash and in the first minute, I was like, "Damn, those are those nice helmets that Navy is rocking." 
I came across this article a little later.  The detail, meaning and symbolism that Nike so beautifully intertwines while keeping the overall image and design amazing is completely awesome.  Oh, and it all is still top of the line-functional. 
Well done Nike.  And tip of the hat to all cadets and midshipmen.

03 December 2012

Brady Quinn on the Jovan Belcher tragedy

I came across this quote from KC Chiefs (and former Notre Dame) quarterback Brady Quinn following the tragic murder-suicide of Jovan Belcher and wanted to share it...
“The one thing people can hopefully try to take away, I guess, is the relationships they have with people.  I know when it happened, I was sitting and, in my head, thinking what I could have done differently.  When you ask someone how they are doing, do you really mean it?  When you answer someone back how you are doing, are you really telling the truth?  We live in a society of social networks, with Twitter pages and Facebook, and that’s fine, but we have contact with our work associates, our family, our friends, and it seems like half the time we are more preoccupied with our phone and other things going on instead of the actual relationships that we have right in front of us. Hopefully, people can learn from this and try to actually help if someone is battling something deeper on the inside than what they are revealing on a day-to-day basis.”

29 November 2012

Volleyball Headshot

Iowa high school volleyball.  This girl from Holy Trinity Catholic drops the hammer of Thor on this girl who has no chance of escape.  She drops like a rock and the trainer comes on to take care of the bloody nose.  That's some power.
As a bonus, if you watch the ricochet the ball gets under the feet of a fan making a trip to the concession stand and they hit the deck too. 

27 November 2012

Thanksgiving Update

So much going on lately, I can barely keep up! 
Thanksgiving break was wonderful.  I started it off with some shopping at Whole Foods and Trader Joe's on my way out of town on Wednesday.  As everyone made their way down to the farmhouse, the gathering just got more and more fun.  Homebase had a geat meal of French dips and a big stack of magazines waiting for everyone to enjoy. 
stoppable and I had a great four mile turkey trot the next morning.  We saw the sun come up, spied a turkey, a pheasant and two hawks and covered a lot of varied terrain including gravel road, dirt road, farm path, and corn field. LOTS of hills.  It definitely helped work up an appetite.  And the meal was fantastic.  So many delicious dishes and chocolate cheesecake to cap it off! 
We continued the tradition we started last year with our Change for Change bucket.  This year we were able to purchase bees and a "farmer pack" which is a cow and two sheep from Oxfam International.
Black Friday was a blast, as always.  This year we skipped Target and just went straight to the mall.  Lots of good deals, lots of fun.  I always enjoy our Starbucks break.  This year I picked up the "Holidays Rule" cd while we were there. (Only fair so far) and homebase treated me to a fun wintery travel cup!  While we were resting, homebase pulls out one of the Gap candles (the same one we get each year) and says, "Here's your candle!" To which I replied by pulling out one of the ones I'd purchased and said "Here's yours!"  We had each bought a pair and now had four candles!  After some laughs we returned two of them and got back to shopping. 
We made a couple quick stops at Dick's Sporting Goods and Rockbrook Camera and then headed to stoppable's house to watch the Iowa vs Nebraska game.  While I obviously wished the Hawks could've pulled out a win, I was happy with the level they played at and that they kept it respectable.  It was a season to forget and look towards next season.  Luckily the meatballs subs stoppable provided were delicious.
Saturday, homebase and I did a little crafting and had a little photography/iPhoto training session and a fun Skype session with Iowa Guru in India.  I heading back to DSM in the afternoon and was able to get lots done and made some delicious Gameday nachoes (using leftover turkey sauted with taco seasoning and pintos) for the big Notre Dame / USC game.  It was a solid performance by the Irish.  I loved their ground game and I'm still pinching myself that they are undefeated, #1, and headed to the national championship game! 
Sunday was pretty much consumed by purchasing, delivering, assembling and enjoying a new ping-pong table in minovia's basement.  There have already been some "lively" matches and it makes me happy to think how many more are in our future. 

21 November 2012

Notre Dame SI Cover

While I do think it is BEAUTIFUL, I am not thrilled about the timing.  The SI cover jinx is no joke and I'm already nervous for the USC game. 

16 November 2012

Ibra Outdoes Even Himself

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored a ridiculously incredible goal on Thursday as his Sweden team took down England.  Ibra scored all four goals in their 4-2 win, including this insanely optimistic 30-yard bicycle kick in stoppage time.  
His previous "best" goal, while he was with Ajax, is equally incredible, yet entirely different.

15 November 2012

Fall Mix 2012

1* The Scientist : Willie Nelson (Coldplay cover)
2* How to Know : Ulrich Forman
3* Woodwork : Marley Carroll
4* How to Love : School of Seven Bells (Lil Wayne cover)
5* Ho Hey : The Lumineers
6* Cherry Wine : Nas & Amy Winehouse
7* Heart Like Mine : Miranda Lambert
8* Bad Example : Pistol Annies
9* The Wind : Zac Brown Band
10* Radioactive : Imagine Dragons
11* Feel the Love : Hoodie Allen
12* Lady Killers : G-Eazy & Hoodie Allen
13* Sobredosis : Kat DeLuna & El Cata
14* Killin' It : Krewella
15* Clique : Jay-Z, Big Sean, Kanye
16* Hello : Karmin
17* Look at Me Now : Karmin (Chris Brown/Busta cover)
18* Closer : Tegan & Sara
19* Go Hard : Kreayshawn

Mr. Popper's Penguins

Mr. Popper's Penguins (#0865)Mr. Popper's Penguins (#0866)Mr. Popper's Penguins (#0867)Mr. Popper's Penguins (#0868)Mr. Popper's Penguins (#0869)Mr. Popper's Penguins (#0870)
Mr. Popper's Penguins (#0871)Mr. Popper's Penguins (#0872)

Mr. Popper's Penguins, a set on Flickr.
On one of our after-school stops at the public library, I recently scored a 25 cent copy of Mr. Popper's Penguins in the used book sale section.  What a treasure hidden amongst all the trash! How I did not already have a copy of this classic, I'm not really sure. But this one was so much better than a fresh new one. Hardback, library dust-cover, and old (I forgot to check the printing!), the paper is thick and slightly yellow instead of bright white. And best of all, the illustrations are sublime. I had to snap a few pix to share. I didn't take any of the ending so you don't have to worry about spoiler alerts. Such great fun with penguins, it has been a delight to read and enjoy!

Pumpkin Attack! (#0863)

Pumpkin Attack! (#0863) by regan76
Pumpkin Attack! (#0863), a photo by regan76 on Flickr.
The pumpkin has been compromised!
These pumpkins on the front step had suffered a couple small spots of gnawing as (I'm guessing) squirrels sampled their flavor. Then, last weekend, I saw that a full-fledged attack has been waged and they had broken through and pillaged the pumpkin insides. Isa & I were both pretty impressed.

12 November 2012

Darrell Royal Honored

The Longhorns honored coaching legend Darrell Royal (coach at Texas 1957-1976, 11 conference titles, 3 national championships) with flags at the stadium (named after him) at half-mast, a DKR inside the mid-field logo, and the same on their helmet logos (which they will wear for the rest of the season), but perhaps most fittingly, they team lined up in the wishbone formation for their first play.  Royal is responsible for introducing that formation to major college football in 1968.  Check out the video here. (and they ran a throw-back pass for 50 yards, sorry Iowa State!)  Most amazing fact after reading his Wikipedia page..he never had a losing season as a coach...anywhere, ever.