One New Thing Every Day

From the day I turned 29, I tried to do one new thing a day... it took a few extra months, but I did it! Now I'll post new things randomly as I try them.

Monday, December 31, 2007

#92 - Not the Same Auld Lang Syne

Tonight, around 5:45-ish, we celebrated New Year's Eve with the little guy (TLG) - complete with noisemakers and hats. The daycare had put on a little party today too, so he came home with a noisemaker already, but when the three of us started playing all together, it was a lot more fun. We made some cupcakes yesterday, and I promised if he ate all his carrots at dinner time, he could have one for dessert... and cake, coupled with hats and taking lots of photos could only mean one thing. So TLG started singing "Happy Birthday!" It was adorable and even though he only ate a few bites of cupcake, the sugar rush lasted for quite a while. I don't know why my hubby looks so intense in the photo, but anyways, Happy Birthday! I mean, Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

#91 - Non-toxic, thank goodness

During our delicious dinner tonight (see below), both of us adults turned our back for a second... and during that time, the little guy decided to eat a crayon. This is the first time we've had to deal with him trying to eat a non-food item that I can recall (though I'm sure it won't be the last). It wasn't an entire crayon, just a large hunk off one end, and of course it was red so it looked terrible in his mouth! When he spit some out, we thought at first that he had lost a tooth and was bleeding everywhere. After a mild heart attack, we both decided that the crayons were non-toxic and he spit out some of it. So we think he'll be OK. But we need to remember to either put everything out of reach at dinner time, or keep a better watch on him!

#90 - Adventures in Salad

Tonight, for dinner, we made Chinese chicken salad using a bunch of new products... the most exciting of which were the pre-made dressing seasoning mix that was a Christmas gift (thanks, AW & UK!) and the pre-cooked and sliced chicken breasts I bought at Costco yesterday. We marinated the chicken anyway according the the directions, and the final product was delicious! The dressing was great and I'm glad that there were a few packets in the box so we can enjoy this meal again later. Two notes to self about the recipe, though: 1) it makes enough for an army so cutting it in 1/2 would work fine, and 2) don't bother with the saifun noodles, they don't add anything and actually make it harder to eat the salad.

#89 - Saying Goodbye, Why Is It Sad?

Yesterday, I spent a little time making a good-bye card for a very good friend who's moving across the country with her family. This isn't new, except that it made me so darn sad to do it! I don't remember ever being so upset when making gifts for friends/family. This particular friend is one of my oldest friends, and one I'm lucky to have... and I'm excited for her and her family, but upset with myself for not making more of an effort to spend time with them these past few years. Life's funny isn't it, you take things for granted and then all of a sudden things aren't the same anymore. I felt very similar when my sister moved away earlier this year. *big sigh* Anyway, last night, we went to their going away party and it was so nice to see them before they packed up and left town. My wonderful hubby took TLG home around 9:00 but I stayed until almost 11:00 myself, just talking and giggling about nothing. The photo is TLG playing with my friend's sons' toys (and loving every minute of it).

NOTE: The title of this post is stolen from the first line of a song in the Muppets Take Manhattan movie. At least that helps me feel better.

Friday, December 28, 2007

#88 - Funny Face

I've watched a lot of musicals in my 29 years, but I'd never seen "Funny Face" until tonight. Since it was mentioned in one of my favorite TV shows (Gilmore Girls), I've wanted to check it out... so tonight, I did. This film, released in 1957, featured Fred Astaire and Audrey Hepburn in the odd pairing as people who fall in love in Paris. I'd like to comment now on the strangeness of this pairing. Anyone who's met my wonderful husband knows I have no bias against a younger woman with an older man... but according to IMDB, Mr. Astaire was born in May 1899, making him approximately 56 during the filming of "Funny Face." Ms. Hepburn was born in May 1929, making her about 27. Didn't anyone think that was odd? Though I ultimately liked the film, which featured the music of George & Ira Gershwin, I saw no romantic chemistry between the stars. This reminded me of "Easter Parade," released in 1948, where Mr. Astaire was about 47 years old, and Judy Garland (who was about 26). Come on, Hollywood, what were you thinking? These pairings were about as believable as Harrison Ford (age 56) and Anne Heche (age 29) in "Six Days Seven Nights," released in 1998... in my opinion, one of the worst pairings in movie history.

But I digress. "Funny Face" was a good movie despite the age difference. I always love to see Fred Astaire in his dancing prime, and it was nice to hear Audrey Hepburn's real singing voice (since she was over-dubbed in "My Fair Lady"). I knew a few of the songs already, being Gershwin, so that was a treat.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

#87 - Scene It? Disney

I love board games, and I'm usually quite good at trivia games involving entertainment. Scene It? the regular movie editions are among my favorite newer board games, and we play it often (though not as often as we did before we became parents). My sister gave me the new Disney 2nd edition Scene It? for Christmas, so tonight, we tried it out. And I was not good. OK, I beat my wonderful hubby two games in a row... but this is a man who's never seen "Little Mermaid" or "Toy Story" or even many of the older classics. I need a whole lot of Disney brushing-up before I'd be ready to play against anybody who's a Disney fan, that's for sure. Perhaps a visit to Disneyland is in order! Yay!

#86 - Christmas New Thing

TUESDAY, December 25
Most of our Christmas traditions were intact today, including opening gifts with family, having a delicious brunch together, and taking naps in the afternoon. It's hard to mess with these traditions to do anything new! But in the middle of the fun, our little family returned home from out-of-town, and by the time dinner rolled around, we were too pooped to pop! So instead of fixing the traditional family meal, we had hamburgers for Christmas dinner! I'll admit, I missed having ham, potato casserole, bing cherry jello salad, etc. with my family for the big Christmas meal... but since it was just the three of us (one of whom doesn't eat many of those types of "big boy foods" yet), we went with something easier to fix. I didn't mean to do new things involving food two days in a row, but our traditions are near and dear to me, and you can't complain about that.

#85 - Christmas Eve New Thing

MONDAY, December 24
We were with family for Christmas Eve, but we didn't have dinner tonight. At least not in the sense of a normal family holiday-type get together. For the first time, our family admitted to our obsession with appetizers, and we just had appetizers, fudge and Christmas cookies for dinner. Many of our favorites were there: hot artichoke dip, spinach dip, shrimp cocktail, and cookies, cookies, cookies (thanks to my brother-in-law, the world's best cookie maker). Sure, there was a burrito bar, and some tamales and enchiladas available for those who wanted something more substantial... but who noticed when there were yummy appetizers to be had? Not me!

NOTE: The photo is the little guy having a piggyback ride, and peeking into the dining room where everyone had gathered to munch. We had all sorts of fun, and stayed up way past bed time!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

#84 - Dee Vee Arrrr

Today we had a HD DVR installed! I'm so excited to learn how it works... we're testing it by taping the new Elmo Christmas special tonight. This is something I've been interested in learning more about, and decided to buy it for a Christmas gift to my wonderful hubby, who loves TV as much as I do. Merry Christmas to us!

#83 - The Circle of Life

NOTE: If you are an extreme animal lover, please don't read any further (AW, this means you!)

Last night, around 11:30, I was sleeping when one of our dogs came noisily into our room. When the noise didn't stop right away, I opened my eyes to see our puppy near my side of the bed, holding something in her mouth. Being somewhat blind in the dark without my glasses on, I couldn't tell what it was... and even after she put it down and turned on a light, I still couldn't tell. I summoned my wonderful hubby from downstairs (where he was watching football on TV) by telling him I thought she had brought in something from outside. Ew, ew, ew, she had brought in a rabbit, which was in fact, already deceased. (Some facts to note: we have a lot of open space near our house where wild rabbits play, the puppy is a notorious "mouser" much like a cat, and my hubby said earlier this week that he thought there might be a bunny around.)

Being an entirely new experience, I froze up. I couldn't help my hubby with anything because I felt like I might lose my dinner. I just stood out in the hallway, where I wouldn't see anything. It was awful. Once my fabulous hubby was done, I tried to go back to sleep... and couldn't. Ugh, I know the circle of life exists, but it was slapping me in the face. I'm sure the puppy didn't mean to do anything - probably, she wanted me to fix her friend so they could keep playing. I've been thinking about this little creature all day.

Friday, December 21, 2007

#82 - Songs of the Season

Growing up, my family loved to play a home-grown version of the board game Scattergories. My mom also tells the story about how when she was younger, she made lists of things in different categories to bone up in order to beat my grandfather at this game. So in honor of this family tradition, I propose to make a list of all the Christmas songs/carols I can think of off the top of my head. Ready? Go:
1) Silent Night 2) Carol of the Bells 3) Sleigh Ride 4) Winter Wonderland 5) Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer 6) Frosty the Snowman 7) Wonderful Christmas Time 8) Hark! the Herald Angels Sing 9) All I Want for Christmas Is You 10) All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth 11) Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer 12) Santa Baby 13) Santa Claus Is Coming to Town 14) White Christmas 15) Ding Dong Merrily On High 16) Jingle Bells 17) Jingle Bell Rock 18) Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas 19) The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire) 20) Baby, It's Cold Outside 21) Last Christmas 22) Blue Christmas 23) Little Drummer Boy 24) Hallelujah Chorus 25) Christmas Shoes 26) We Three Kings 27) O Christmas Tree 28) Deck the Halls 29) Auld Lang Syne
It's been ten minutes and nothing else is coming to mind. This is harder than it looks...

Thursday, December 20, 2007

#81 - Online Gaming

This evening, I downloaded a random game from the Internet and played the demo version for one hour. The game I chose was called "Wedding Dash" and it was my job to be a wedding planner, seat all the guests and serve them the courses on time. It was a funny little game, and I enjoyed it though there were two separate songs playing the whole time (which I found distracting). I haven't played any computer games in a really long time, and this was a nice little game that didn't take much thought on my part to be successful. If I had more free time, I might consider playing again sometime.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

#80 - A New Photo project

I meant to post this yesterday but didn't get a chance... I'm getting really excited about Christmas coming up, and I've got a great present for one of my family members. I don't want to mention who, or what the present actually is (though I pledge to re-visit this post and tell you all about it). Last night, I sorted through a bunch of photos to get them ready for Christmas, and I played with this Christmas gift for quite a while! Sorry for the vagueness of this post - but it's an awesome gift, and I just know it will be a hit.

Monday, December 17, 2007

#79 - A Fortune for the Taking?

Today's mail brought a Christmas Card with this crazy number of stamps on it. I've never seen most of these stamps before, and I wondered if some of them were old enough to be worth anything besides what was written on them. So I did some internet research on collecting stamps. Of course I'd seen the Navajo jewelry stamps before, since they are modern. But I found a great website called Arago, which is part of the National Postal Museum, to help me look up the other stamps. As it turns out, the blue "Champion of Liberty" 4-cent stamps were issued in 1958 and were part of a series honoring some of the world's leaders (these feature the President of Czechoslovakia). The black-and-red International Geophysical Year stamps were issued in May 1958 to commemorate the launching of satellites from mid-1957 through 1958. The 3-cent magenta Polio stamps were released January 15, 1957, and the green International Naval Review stamp was released June 10, 1957. Are they worth anything? I guess it depends on who wants them... but I think they're really cool regardless.
UPDATE: The friend who sent this card saw my post and sent me the story behind them, and said it was OK to share it here. She says: These stamps were collected by me as a kid. They are not worth anything except face value. At the time, the PO mistress lived across the street from us at our summer home in the Catskills and she saved some of these stamps for me. I came across the book when I was cleaning out my basement and was told to use them as they had little value. So, I decided to use them on my Christmas cards this year. I know several people will laugh at this, but it took me a long time to add them up and paste them on envelopes. Now they are all used up.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

#78 - Pillow Fight!

It's getting close to Christmas and today I went out to try to finish my shopping. I went to buy one thing for my sister, and ended up leaving with about $250 worth of other stuff for us! I was at a home furnishings store, and I should mention that I'm not really one for decorating my house. A good portion of the stuff at our house arrived "accidentally" (hand-me-downs, etc.) and so we don't really have a theme, other than "comfortable." Today I bought some great oversized throw pillows and a new blanket for our t.v. room that actually match the couches, and are quite comfortable, to boot. I think I was just so pleased that they spruced up the room that I forgot all about what it all cost! Now if we can just find a better way to organize TLG's toys and books so we're not tripping over them all the time...

Saturday, December 15, 2007

#77 - Come On Baby, Light my Fire

I made a candle today. Actually, I made two candles - one with a Christmasy smell, the other for the rest of the year. I was so glad to complete today's new thing with my dear friend (who I miss working with!) - it was her suggestion to go, and she went with me to show me the ropes. There's a place in town called Flicker where you choose the shape/size, scent, and colors, then you arrange chunks of colored wax and they fill in the holes with the scent you choose. NOTE: I picked up my creations on Sunday because there was a birthday party in there at the same time, and there were lots of candles being made. It was so exciting to see the finished product!

Friday, December 14, 2007

#76 - Bye, bye bottle (bonus post)

We had TLG's 2-year-old checkup yesterday and were encouraged to stop giving him bottles, particularly at bedtime (but they really meant at any time). We were told to stop this a year ago but couldn't bring ourselves to do it. Tonight, after the hair-drying episode (see below), we offered him a cup of water and read two books, then put him to bed, sans bottle. He took it quite well, no crying or fussing, and so far has been silent (though it's been less than an hour, so we'll see how he does through the night... I have my fingers crossed).

#75 - Hair today...

This evening, as part of the little guy's new goodnight routine, we dried his hair using a hair dryer. At first, TLG didn't really want to come near the dryer, since it was so noisy. But after I let him hold it and play with the switches for a minute, he thought it was fun and wanted to do it himself. (Doing things himself is a routine we're getting used to around here, anyways.) We didn't get much of the back of his head, but he did sit in my lap and play with the warm vs. cool air for quite a while. If this becomes part of the nightly routine, I can stop worrying that he'll catch a cold from going to bed with wet hair. Gosh, if I didn't have something to worry about, what would I do with myself?!?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

#74 - Homemade birthdays

The daycare won't let us bring homemade treats for any celebrations in TLG's toddler room. I'm pretty sure this is because they don't want other parents to worry about what's in the treats, though it may have something to do with some standards, rules or regulations. For today's party, I brought store-bought chocolate cupcakes to share with all TLG's friends and teachers. Both my hubby and I have memories of sharing homemade goodies, so this rule was foreign to us, but times have changed and there are plenty of good reasons to be careful in today's society. Still, it's a little sad that I couldn't participate in the time-honored tradition of making cupcakes for TLG's friends. Good thing I got to bake the cake last weekend!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

#73 - Tantrums

Our family dealt with our first major kid meltdown at the grocery store tonight. This close to his birthday, our little guy decided to show his true opinions by having a total tantrum in the middle of Raley's because he wanted to play with a big toy truck (still in the box, naturally) instead of shopping. I knew this day would come, I just thought it would be later. We tried to diffuse things in steps:
1) explain why we couldn't play with the truck
2) try to distract him with something else
3) put him in the cart and try to keep shopping, and finally
4) Mommy and TLG went - kicking and screaming, literally - out to the car while Daddy paid for our items.
Since I was doing the carrying, I got lots of looks from the other Raley's patrons, though I saw more understanding looks than I expected... perhaps this is because I kept repeating loudly, over and over, "OK, we're done, let's go to the car." The two of us just sat in the car, as TLG's screaming continued, until Daddy came to join us a few minutes later. (Note to self: until further notice, make sure there is always a pacifier in the car!) TLG was so mad at us, he kept screaming all the way home and as we removed his jacket/hat/shoes and until we finally let him calm down on the couch to some TV. Eeeek I hope this doesn't become a regular thing!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

#72 - Gonna paint my wagon...

We celebrated the little guy's birthday today, and Poppy gave him a great wagon which was the hit of the party. But we got enough snow last week that it's still all over the ground. So for the rest of the day, we played with the wagon indoors. I don't remember if I owned a wagon growing up, but I'm not very good at steering it just yet. Though I got lots of practice this afternoon and it will be old hat before long! Thanks, everybody, for the great gifts!

#71 - Let them bake cake

Last night, the little guy (TLG) helped me bake his birthday cake. He loves chocolate, so once it was mixed, I handed him

a beater from the mixer. He didn't know what to do with it, so I took the other beater and showed him... and we proceeded to make a grand mess of things after that! The photo was taken near the beginning of our messy session, so it got much worse... but by then, I needed my hands free to help clean everything up.

Friday, December 7, 2007

#70 - Steamroller magic

I was in Sacramento yesterday to attend the Mannheim Steamroller concert at Arco Arena. I've never seen Mannheim Steamroller before, but I grew up listening to their Christmas music (as well as their regular music, such as the Fresh Aire recordings). The concert was wonderful - we all enjoyed it, even my stepfather who wasn't necessarily looking forward to it. (I saw him tapping his foot more than once.) Our seats were fantastic, right up front, and the music was just as it should be... Christmasy! I loved the village and scale-size train they had set up in the back of the arena. Spending the evening with some of my loved ones (unfortunately, not the little guy or my wonderful hubby) was a special treat mid-week. Let the season begin!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

#69 - Language translator

I've been thinking about how strange it is to have so many languages on the same planet. I mean, when Adam and Eve came to the garden of Eden, there was only one language. Somewhere along the line different languages became necessary. And now, many people only speak one language. Today I played with an Internet-based language translator to see how different languages really are from one another. I asked it to translate the phrase "I try to do one new thing every day." and here's what I got:

Intento hacer una nueva cosa cada día. (English to Spanish)
J'essaye de faire une nouvelle chose chaque jour. (English to French)
Ich versuche, eine neue Sache jeden Tag zu tun. (English to German)
Eu tento fazer uma coisa nova cada dia. (English to Portuguese)
Provo a fare una nuova cosa ogni giorno. (English to Italian)
Я пытаюсь сделать одну новую вещь каждый день. (English to Russian)
Προσπαθώ να κάνω ένα νέο πράγμα κάθε ημέρα. (English to Greek)
私は毎日1 つの新しい事をすることを試みる。(English to Japanese)
나는 매일 1개의 새로운 일을 한것을 해본다. (English to Korean)
我設法做一件新事每天。(English to traditional Chinese)

None of these seem particularly similar to me, though the Spanish and Portuguese have a few words in common. No wonder people across the globe don't get along - we can't even communicate very well.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

#68 - Mexican food, ole!

Tonight we made chicken enchiladas for dinner. I didn't actually help a whole lot with the preparation, save for letting TLG pour stuff in the blender and supervising him while he turned it on (and off and on and off and... you get the idea). The recipe was borrowed from a friend and it tasted delicious. In our ongoing quest to find quick, easy dinners that aren't the same 8-10 things we normally eat, this one ranked pretty high, though the prep time was longer than we expected somehow. Still - yum!

Monday, December 3, 2007

#67 - Good clean fun

The little guy (TLG) and I played with colored soap paints tonight in the tub. We have noticed how much TLG loves to color and do art-related stuff, so I bought these soap paints in red, blue and green to play with. I was trying to save them for an upcoming holiday, but they were just so darn cute I brought them out early. TLG really liked them, especially when I brought in a hand-held mirror so he could see his own face. I had fun seeing how he would embrace a new creative way to play, and we took tons of cute photos in the process.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

#66 - A "dressing" party

(Sorry for the multiple posts today - I've been doing plenty of new things but have been so busy, today's my first time to post!)

We had chicken nuggets for dinner, with barbeque sauce. When we were just about done, I noticed the expiration date on the sauce had passed. This prompted me to look at the other bottle of barbeque sauce in the fridge, and lo and behold, it was also expired. (If you have a weak stomach, better stop reading now.) So then I started looking at all the bottles of salad dressing and other condiments. EEK! We had one good bottle each of ketchup, mayo, mustard and salad dressing. All of the others were past their prime! Ewwww! What else could we do but have a "dressing" party where we emptied them all in the sink? I checked the bottles and took the lids off, TLG did the primary pouring, and my hubby did the rinsing. It was absolutely disgusting, and TLG loved every minute of it. All the different colors of sauces mixed together in the sink, plus a bunch of water everywhere? It's a two-year-old's dream come true!

#65 - Jingle Bells

Last night we all dressed up and the whole family (even the little guy) went to see the local Philharmonic's Christmas concert. Grandma came with us and we all had a great time! The concert also included performances by a handbell choir, some tap and ballet dancers, and some Russian acrobats... so there was plenty for TLG to watch. And when he started to get fidgety, it was time to color a little bit, which worked out fine. The best part for TLG was the giant balloons that fell from the ceiling at the end - we took two home and have been playing with them all day. If the Philharmonic continues with this Christmas tradition, we may have to make it a tradition for our family too, since we all enjoyed it.

#64 - Their fate is in my hands

At work on Friday, I got to sort through and rank some job applications I received as chairperson of the search committee for a new position being created. I've never been chairperson of a committee like this before. I have served on similar committees, but somehow that felt more collaborative somehow. Seeing all these people interested in the new position made me excited at the prospect of finding the right candidate, and I wanted to read everything slowly so I wouldn't miss any pieces to the puzzle. I can't wait to hear what the other committee members think and meet some of these folks in person. It's very exciting to have this under way.