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, June 30, 2008

#249 - Letter to the President

This evening I drafted a letter to the president of my alma mater, which I will mail in the morning. It's been all over the press that my University is having some trouble deciding how to cut it's budget, and today's news reported that they are making plans to cut the marching band. I am very upset about this idea, as it was an integral part of my University experience. What kind of first-rate University has no marching band? Would Notre Dame or USC ever think about cutting their marching band? NO! Here I go again, getting all riled up. I don't know if my letter will help the situation at all, but at least I feel better now.

#248 - Macaroni Crackers

One of my coworkers let me try a new snack in the office today: Kraft Macaroni & Cheese crackers. They were shaped like a cross between small Cheetos and an actual macaroni noodle, and were covered with a strange, intensely orange powder. The texture was much like a cracker should be, and I was surprised with how Kraft cheesey the taste was. I don't know how often I would eat these myself (I'm a devoted Cheez-It snacker) but I bet the little guy would like them, if I ever saw them in the store and brought some home. He loves a good mac-n-cheese!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

#247 - Photoshop Disasters

In the past few weeks, I discovered the website Photoshop Disasters. Since I took a class in editing in college, and have a little history with desktop publishing, I love this site. Photoshop can do amazing (and scary) things! Tonight I sent in a submission to the site, taken from page 45 of the July 7, 2008 People magazine (see photo). I think the singing girl's right leg looks like somebody erased half of it, and it's creepy to look at. I hope they agree and will post my submission in the future - but in the meantime, take a look at the site for some other terrible things that have been published... I always get a good laugh.

#246 - Family Traditions

I've been thinking a lot about family traditions as we plan an old-school 4th of July trip to California to see home-grown fireworks in the street. (I'm really excited about it - what a great new thing to share with the little guy!) Tonight for dinner, we made a recipe out of a great book of family recipies from my wonderful hubby's side of the family. The book itself was a wedding gift from my amazing mother-in-law, who wrote out all of the family favorites for us to use. This evening with our pork chops, we made a simple fried rice recipe that I know my hubby has eaten many times (the final product was familiar to me too). TLG enjoys fried rice in all its forms, so tonight's experiment was a great success.

#245 - Butcher Boy Caters! Who knew?

To my knowledge, before yesterday, I'd never eaten food from a Butcher Boy, though I know they have locations in Reno and Sparks. But yesterday I attended a birthday party where the catered food was from Butcher Boy, and it was tasty! They had a giant pan full of chicken with Hawaiian-style vegetables, another of just stir-fried vegetables, and a plate full of delicious BBQ ribs. I could have eaten the ribs all night long (though I only had a couple). The party was fun, too, and Jimmy had an adventure in playing with older kids (there were lots of them, and he was the youngest except for a 7-month-old baby). The photo shows us in our Luau clothes... Happy birthday to my wonderful friend, and thanks for a good time at the party!

#244 - I'm a Wanderer

From the Adventures in Parenting file comes today's new thing: our little guy has figured out that he can get out of bed and come find us when he wakes up. Our first experience with this new thing was yesterday afternoon, when he came to find us after his nap (we were sleeping, too). This morning, he gathered up his two favorite blankets and his travel-size pillow (all sleep necessities, don't you know), and wandered all the way downstairs by himself to find his daddy, Grandma and Grandpa all gathered to start working on our next home project advenure. His advice to them: "Shhh, Mommy is sleeping!"

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

#243 - Have Some Sup and Eat It, Too

Thanks to some recommendations from a few different friends, today I ate lunch with a friend at Sup, a fairly new local restaurant that serves homemade soups, sandwiches and desserts. Though I would like to report that I tried the vichyssoise (which was an option!) I opted instead for a carrot ginger soup with a turkey pesto half-sandwich. My lunch was served with a small (but tasty) salad with strawberries on top, and a cookie. We bought a large dessert to share but ended up being too full to eat it, so I tasted a little as an afternoon snack - I'm not entirely sure what all it's made of (coconut, nuts, dried cranberries and apricots, other crunchy stuff all held together with honey). Next time I'll skip the extra dessert and just concentrate on my yummy lunch. Thanks to my friend Mindy for the great company and terrific lunch-destination-suggestion!

Monday, June 23, 2008

#242 - Big Boy Bed Construction

The saga of the big boy bed continues... we got all the furniture upstairs and put together (thanks, Grandpa and Grandma!) and tonight is the little guy's real first night in his new bed. My hubby and his dad took out all the old furniture from TLG's room while I was on a conference call, and Grandma played outside with TLG while we all discussed how it was all going to fit. Once we are done with the changing table everything will fit a little better... Plus there's still a spare nightstand in there (see the photo). But the new furniture looks great, and I think I organized enough of the clothes to just put everything away in there tomorrow. (There's quite a bit of mess in the spare bedroom tonight, so it's a good thing we aren't expecting guests for a while!) TLG was very happy about his new bed and seemed to go to sleep right away - though that could have been because it was an hour past bedtime when we finally were done. I am happy and sad about this new bed, because he's officially not a baby anymore. Now if we could just get the potty training to work!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

#241 - Buying Furniture

Today we bought furniture at a new store we've never been to: Ashley Furniture. If you're a regular reader of this blog, you know we have been working on the transition to a big-boy bed for a few weeks now... today we bit the bullet and went shopping. Ashley Furniture was recommended to me by a former co-worker, who bought a couch there at a reasonable price. It was the second store we went to, and the saleswoman who helped us was very helpful. She gave us a great deal on a discontinued set of furniture - so we ended up bringing home a ton of new furniture, enough for the whole room! So the little guy has a new bed, mattress, nightstand, dresser, and mirror, all in a light wood color. (Now we just have to get it upstairs and put it all together. And find space for all the old furniture! And sort of all the stuff that's in the old furniture to put into the new drawers! What were we thinking?!?) I digress. The folks at Ashley usually make people order their new furniture and pick it up later, but because we were buying the floor models, they took it partially apart and helped us load it in the trailer we brought in case we found the right bed today (fresh from the recycling place). TLG's favorite part of the trip were the car-shaped "stroller" that he got to ride in - ours was red. He gave it two kisses before we left the store.

The photo shows the little guy playing in one of the drawers, pretending it's a boat.

#240 - Recycling Center

One of my early posts to this blog was when we finally got recycling bins for glass and plastic at our house. Today, we took a trailer full of cardboard to the local recycling center. We've been saving boxes for over six months to fill up the trailer, so the three of us drove down there together. It turns out they aren't open on Sundays, but they have plenty of giant bins out front where you can leave your recyclables, so we worked together to flatten the last of the boxes and sort them appropriately. The little guy was a huge helper, he loved being in the trailer to push out boxes. It was a good family outing for us.

#239 - Newsies

How, I ask you, did I live all these years without seeing the Disney musical "Newsies"?!? Last night (and this morning) I finally got a chance to check out this great little movie, starring many of my early-1990's favorite actors including Bill Pullman, Max Casella (the best friend from Doogie Howser) and David Moscow (from the movie "Big"). Directed by Kenny Ortega (who went on to direct a little movie or two called "High School Musical"), with music by Alan Menken (from "The Little Mermaid")... well, this movie basically had everything I want in a musical: cute kids, hummable songs, good plot and acting. Family, friends, if you haven't seen this one, I urge you to add it to your Netflix queue right away. You won't be sorry.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

#238 - Water Balloons

Our daycare held their annual picnic in Manzanita Park today, so the little guy and I attended - and we got to try out some water balloons! Ours was (I believe) the last unpopped balloon, because TLG didn't really understand the concept and he kept handing it back to me instead of throwing it. Finally it sprung a tiny leak and I got to chase him around the park, giving him a "shower" (even though he wasn't really getting very wet). We also enjoyed a yummy lunch, fun company, and Otter Pops together. It was a nice afternoon in the park for both of us.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

#237 - Macaroni Grill at Home!

Tonight we tried a new Hamburger Helper-like product from Romano's Macaroni Grill. This was actually a Chicken Helper-like meal in a box, with garlic tomato sauce, penne pasta, and some special spices to give your chicken some zip. I really liked it - it was easy (we used pre-cooked chicken, so it took all of 20 minutes to make) and I thought it tasted just like something I would have ordered off the menu at Macaroni Grill. TLG liked it too, though he ate around most of the sauce and just ate the noodles. My wonderful hubby thought it was OK too, and would eat it again if I made it again.

Monday, June 16, 2008

#236 - Honey Bear for the Doggies

Our doggies had a new adventure this weekend, staying in luxury at a kennel we've never tried before: Honey Bear Kennels. The kennel we used to use was small, dark and seemed a little creepy to me... though I never saw the cages where the animals were kept. Honey Bear came recommended by a friend, and it seems like our puppies enjoyed it very much! Penny, our newer dog, destroyed her bed while she was there (par for the course, because she eats all sorts of non-toy items at home). But they became friendly with another black lab in the next cage, and the owners tell us that they let all three dogs into the play yard together to have fun! We will definitely be going back to Honey Bear and I'm so glad that the pooches got to have some fun this weekend, too.

#235 - Ouch!

Yesterday, my wonderful hubby and I took TLG to Lake Tahoe to enjoy the water (even though it was really cold). We had a wonderful time and loved every relaxing minute. And tonight, we had to torture TLG by taking seven splinters out of his feet. I hate it when he cries, but it's even worse when I have to hold him down and cause him pain! He had one monster splinter and six smaller ones (total in both feet), and it was pretty awful to have to get them all out. I tried just once to use the tweezers/sterilized needle, but found I'm too gentle and took way to long. Thank goodness we got the job done and TLG can start to heal back up.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

#234 - Texas Hold 'Em

I am not a poker player, but yes I have played before in my life. Tonight, however, my family gathered together for a Texas Hold 'Em tourney, complete with all sorts of strange betting terminology (big blinds? flops?). Thank goodness my stepdad is a good poker player and doesn't mind going over all the poker basics for us (what's higher, a 3-of-a-kind or a flush? and how do we bet again?) I was the second person to run out of chips, but it still was fun to all do something together.

#233 - Big Boy Bed #2

The house we're staying in at Lake Tahoe has bunk beds, and the little guy thinks they're pretty awesome - so last night he slept in a real twin-size bed for the first time. Yes, we brought the inflatable bed from home, and he slept in it Friday night. But after napping well in the bunk bed, we decided he should give it a try. He did great, slept in later than usual (though that could have been because he was up late last night, too). I see some serious bed shopping in our future.

Friday, June 13, 2008

#232 - Rummikub

My extended family met for a long weekend at Lake Tahoe today, and I learned how to play Rummikub. This is a game that's like Gin Rummy, only you use plastic tiles instead of playing cards. My mom, uncle, and I took quite a while to get the hang of it, and I think it was more stressful than fun... maybe if we had more practice with the game it would be more enjoyable. (When I learned to play euchre years ago, I felt the same way, but I enjoy that game quite a bit now.)

Monday, June 9, 2008

#231 - A New Bed for TLG

Last night, TLG slept in a big-boy bed for the first time. It's really a toddler-sized inflatable mattress with raised bumpers around the edges. He tried it for his nap in the afternoon, talked about it all day, and made a big production out of showing it to me when I got home from the airport. He slept great in it last night, didn't even try to come out of his room or anything. This morning when we heard him moving around in there, we checked on him, and he was just lying there - wide awake - with a huge grin on his face. I think we have a winner.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

#230 - Mormon Tabernacle Choir

This morning, I attended a free performance of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in Salt Lake City. Since 1929, the choir has performed each Sunday in a live performance of the radio/TV show "Music and the Spoken Word," which was today's performance. During the summer months, they hold this show in the convention center which holds 21,000 guests, so we didn't see the actual Tabernacle. But the convention center was pretty awesome as you can see in the photo. The organ has 8,000 pipes in it, and is smaller than the one at the Tabernacle! I enjoyed the musical selections and the inspiring Make-a-Wish fulfillment they had at the end of the performance as well.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

#229 - Find Your Sleep Number

Last night, at my hotel in Salt Lake City, I slept on a bed where you program in a "sleep number" to determine how firm/soft you want your bed to be. At home, we have a waterbed, so on a scale of 1-100, I chose the number 30 to try as my sleep number. I'll admit it was still pretty firm, and the loud whirring noise it made as it inflated/deflated was a little intimidating. If I had more nights to try to find the right firmness (or lack thereof), this might be a nice feature... but for a beginner, I don't think I had the right one this time around.

Friday, June 6, 2008

#227 & #228 - A New Destination and Hawaiian Food

Today I travelled to Salt Lake City (I've never been here before) and ate at a new restaurant. First things first: on first impression, the city seems smaller than I thought, for a place that hosted the Winter Olympics in 2002. The part of town I am staying in has the Olympics logo on everything, but I just can't imagine this place inundated with so many international people everywhere. But the city is clean and even the mall on a Friday night didn't seem too crowded.

I walked just a few blocks from where we are staying to the Gateway Mall, where we tried a meal at a place called Rumbi Island Grill. I think this is maybe a Hawaiian-type of food? Maybe Jamaican? I don't know, I tried the orange chicken with rice platter, it was delicious and a little spicy. I felt a little guilty not having any vegetables at all, but I got over it.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

#226 - Fashion Show!

Today I volunteered at a work-related fashion show. Having never been to a "real" fashion show before (only 4-H shows back in the day), I wasn't entirely sure what to expect - would they have professional models? Clothes from lots of different designers? Today's event was sponsored by Coldwater Creek, so all the clothes came from there. The models were staff members and volunteers from my organization, ranging in age from 23 to 85 (!) and they were adorable. I was not a model, but a runner for the raffle portion of the event. But they had so much fun, maybe next year I'd consider it. Who knows?