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.”