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, March 22, 2010

#435 - Inside Wild Island

Last summer, TLG and I spent a day at the water park at Wild Island in Sparks. It was awesome. I've been meaning to post this "new thing" for a while now, but a couple of weekends ago, TLG attended a birthday party inside the Coconut Bowl area at Wild Island. Having never been there ourselves, we all went... and were highly impressed! The main attraction of the party was an indoor, 3-story structure with foam balls, launchers, slides, stairs, and play areas. TLG and some of his friends from daycare were all over this place while the adults watched from outside. At one point, I went in to see why TLG was standing all alone, and when I discovered TLG and his friends were too short to put the foam balls in the launchers very well, I stayed a few minutes to help load it up. (It was lots of fun, but I didn't want to be one of those hovering moms so I tried not to stay too long.) After a pizza lunch, TLG and my wonderful hubby went with some of the other families outside to try the go-carts. My two boys rode on the big cars together, with TLG grinning the whole time his daddy drove. Then it was on to the little cars, which TLG was plenty big enough to drive by himself. TLG and the birthday boy had a race in the little cars, which TLG handily won (probably because he is taller and could reach the pedals better). I do hope we'll have a chance to take TLG back here again before too long. What fun!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

#434 - Swimming Lesson

Today was The Little Guy's first swimming lesson at Silver Bear Swim School. We took him down to see the school last Saturday and bought him a pair of goggles when we signed him up... he's worn the goggles in the bathtub every night since then! As it turns out, he's the only kid currently signed up for his level of class, so he had a private 30-minute class today with his teacher Amanda. We arrived half-an-hour before class started to get him changed and watch another class in progress, which was fun. TLG was so excited, and talking all about his teacher and what he was going to learn. When it was TLG's turn, he got right in. (We got to watch everything through the glass window.) They tried floating, putting his face in the water, and played a game picking up toys off a ledge. TLG even was able to push himself up onto the side of the pool by himself! We were so proud. And the best part: He's even more excited to come back next week.

Friday, March 12, 2010

#433 - Exercise Partner?

This evening, The Little Guy helped me exercise in our living room to my new Dancing with the Stars DVD. I recently purchased the DVD with Kym, Lacey and Dmitry that teaches the swing, jive and quickstep. TLG and I tackled the quickstep, and boy was it fun to do it together! For the first few minutes, TLG was even trying to do some of the moves/kicks/spins, which was pretty cute. After that, he started bouncing in circles around me while I did the dance moves. Then we both got frustrated and just made up our own dance moves. (I probably could have done the dance moves, but he was just so excited to be dancing that it was much more fun!)

Monday, March 8, 2010

#432 - Quick, Quick!

I was one of those nerdy kids who loved playing with the typing tutor game on my Atari growing up. (Was it Mavis Beacon? Something like that?) Anyway, I have discovered a new typing game online where you can race other people to see how quick you can type: TyprX Typing Races. My average is hovering between 88 wpm and 90 wpm, but my record is 108 wpm. You don't have to race people, either, if you'd rather just type and see your time... this is a huge time sink for me, I don't know why I've always loved to type fast but I could easily waste half a day on these races.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

#431 - T-Ball

Finally, we've had some good weather. Today TLG wanted to break out one of his new Christmas gifts: a T-ball set from his Aunt B. We set it all up and found that he's actually pretty good at hitting the (plastic) ball with the (oversized) bat when someone is just pitching to him... but when you don't have a grown-up around to pitch, the T-ball stand will work very well too. He can get the ball all the way across the yard (no balls into the neighbors' yards or anything yet). Thanks, Aunt B!

Friday, February 19, 2010

#430 - Lady with the Painted Veil

For lunch today, I joined some friends at the Cafe Musee at the Nevada Museum of Art. Afterwards, we took a quick tour of some of the headline exhibitions going on there, including seeing Raphael's masterpiece painting, "The Woman with the Veil," painted in approximately 1516. It was pretty spectacular, seeing something in such good condition from so many years ago. The woman seemed to be glowing in the painting, and the longer I looked, the more details I saw. They had this painting in a darkened room, with no other distractions, just the one painting under lights with a security guard nearby. We also saw an Italian triptech (a three-paneled painted altar piece from the 15th century); a set of quilts from Gee's Bend, Alabama; and a gallery of Amphora pottery pieces. There was an artist there setting up a future exhibition of statues made of furniture that's been stripped down and reassembled into animals, which looked fun and interesting. We also saw two groups of students on field trips. I'm not usually one to spend time in an art museum, but I really enjoyed seeing the different exhibits, and they seemed to have something for everyone.

Monday, February 15, 2010

#429 - Slugbug

Did you ever play Slugbug? We used to play a lot, I think I even remember playing in our carpool - maybe in high school? It's where you see the VW Beetles while you're traveling, you say "Slugbug!" and you get to hit/slap/punch someone else if you beat them to it. Well, today, TLG and I were driving around doing errands, and I taught him to play Slugbug. I don't know what made me think of it, it's been years since I even thought of the game. TLG wasn't very good at finding the cars, but he thought the game was hysterical! He even chased me up the eisles of the stores, yelling Slugbug! and slapping me on the arm. It was fun to share something so silly with him and it made me remember lots of good times with my carpool buddies.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

#428 - Biking

Yes, today was Valentine's Day, but we most of our V-Day celebration was all things we've done before. So I'll share today's new thing instead: this morning, my wonderful hubby fixed up my 10-speed bike's tires (the same bike I've had since I bought it at age 10) so I could ride with The Little Guy. TLG was thrilled, since that meant I could ride next to him instead of walking/jogging to keep up. *Note: we took photos/video, but haven't downloaded them yet... hopefully soon. TLG has training wheels so doesn't need help actually riding his own bike, but our court has a little bend in it and I like to see him at all times, just in case. We had a great 20-minute ride up-and-back, up-and-back, wash, rinse, repeat. I tried to see if he wanted to go around the corner and into our neighborhood a little more, but so far the answer is no. My bike does need a new seat (the padding in this old one is basically flat!) and some work on the brakes, but for something that's been around so long it worked pretty well. The last time I rode it was at least five years ago, and before that... well, I think I was still a kid myself. I hope TLG and I can get lots of riding in this spring/summer, and once my hubby's knee is all healed up (from his recent surgery) maybe he'll join us.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

#427 - (Not) Leaving on a Jet Plane

This evening, an old friend who's now a pilot flew into town for an overnight stay. He routinely flies LearJets full of famous people all around, and happened to be in town for the Super Bowl tomorrow. So after we took him out to dinner, he took our family to the airport so we could check out the jet! Wow, what a privilege it was to see the plane close up - and how excited The Little Guy was to go inside! My friend let him climb into the cockpit, turn on the lights, and even move the steering wheel a tiny bit. (While the grown-ups chatted, TLG was making flying noises and pretending to be the captain!) We stayed long enough to learn how the plane works, and hear some stories about what life is like when you're a pilot. TLG loved the special attention and seeing the gazillions of buttons and switches and lights and everything in the cockpit. Did you know it would only take 14 minutes to fly from Reno to Sacramento in a LearJet? Amazing. We had an amazing visit to the airport and this is something I doubt TLG will ever forget.

#426 - Event Volunteering

This morning, some ladies from the music fraternity and I volunteered to get the Note-Able Evening of Romance event ready for their big 400-person gala. The Note-Ables are a great local organization who provide music therapy to children and adults who need it, they also have a performing group. Their executive director, Manal Toppozada, is a new Patroness member of the fraternity, so we have been helping them this year so we can all get to know her better. As for this morning, I spent time using a cutting board, stringing icicle lights along the stage, and putting together goody bags. Here's hoping they have a great event and raise lots of money!

Monday, February 1, 2010

#425 - Wii Fit Plus

The second of the new Wii games we recently purchased is the Wii Fit Plus. One thing we didn't like about the regular Wii Fit was that it was always for one player only. The best feature about the new Plus games is the ability to take turns among players without having to go out to the main menu each time. There's also a few new games for the multi-player mode only, including a a fun snowball fight that TLG really enjoys, and an obstacle course game. (You still only play one player at a time, but at least you can take turns easier.) Much of the rest of this game is the same as the regular Wii Fit, with the yoga, strength training and games. But we're still really enjoying this new addition to our collection.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

#424 - Chicken Macaroni Casserole

We've been trying about one new recipe a week or so, and I have not been sharing them all here because this is not supposed to be a blog about cooking. But tonight we tried a recipe found in a family cookbook for a chicken-macaroni noodle casserole that turned out pretty bland. It has peas-and-carrots, and cream of chicken soup too. We followed the directions closely, hoping that since it was in a family collection it would surprise us with something great... but alas it was very mild and none of us were "wowed." I think we'll probably not make this one again, but I'm glad we tried it anyway.

Friday, January 29, 2010

#423 - Dinars

I have a friend from college who is a surgeon in the Army, currently stationed overseas. She was in the band and the women's music fraternity with me, and also lived in the same apartment complex. As you know, I am a pro at sending boxes overseas, so when I found out she had arrived in Iraq I asked for her address and sent a few things. Today, her thank you card arrived in the mail, containing a bill worth 250 dinars! I've never seen a dinar before so we had fun taking a look - and then I googled the exchange rate from this to an American dollar. Turns out her gift is worth about 11 American cents - I love it! I proudly display this bill in my office, where I pack the boxes, as a reminder of where so many great Americans are currently working/living.

Monday, January 25, 2010

#422 - Jalapenos?

Last weekend, I did the grocery shopping by myself (a rarity), and as I was picking out a few fresh bagels for this week, a fellow shopper asked me if I'd ever tried the jalapeno bagels. (Uh, no.) He told me they're not as spicy as they sound and I should at least try one someday. (Did he know about this blog?!?) So, this morning, I tried a jalapeno bagel with cream cheese. It didn't smell very appetizing to me as it was in the toaster, but I put my fear aside and gave it my all. The other shopper was right, it wasn't as spicy as it sounds, but it did leave a funny spicy taste in my mouth that made it hard to eat my grapefruit. I'm not a huge jalapeno lover regularly, but it was an interesting change-up to my morning routine. I think I'll probably stick to the bagels I know and love (sesame seed, plain, everything), but I can say I've tried it.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

#421 - Lanterns

Our house occasionally has power outages, most famously on Thanksgiving Eve a few years ago (leaving us with a houseful of people and no way to cook the food we had purchased!). Thinking ahead, my fabulous in-laws gave us two lanterns, the kind you would take camping with you. So last night, with our 6-hour-blackout, we used our lanterns for the first time! They are Rayovac 18-watt twin tube lanterns, and they worked great. Our power stopped at about 8:30, as I was typing up the lemonade entry for the blog... TLG was still awake and it was a little spooky for him. We got him settled in with his flashlight and got the candles lit downstairs, then set up the lanterns! They put out a lot of light, and we ended up having one downstairs and one up. We set the upstairs lantern near the stairs to use as a nightlight for anybody who needed it, which really helped all of us (since none of us slept well). The power came back on about 2:00am and TLG got up to ask for more batteries for his flashlight. This morning's "Arthur" program on PBS featured a storyline about a blizzard where the electricity goes out, and TLG knew exactly what they were talking about. Then he saw the lanterns sitting in our kitchen, and he wanted to figure out how they work. Very timely program, and what a help those lanterns are!

Monday, January 18, 2010

#420 - Toy Story Wii Game

Tonight we headed to Best Buy to choose a new Wii game (or three)... two of our choices are ones I will critique for you, the third (Indiana Jones and the "something something") is one my hubby will probably play without me. First up: Toy Story Mania Wii game. This game is based on the two Toy Story rides at Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure, so we knew I would like it - plus TLG likes these movies and remembers the rides too (see photo, left, taken last September on the ride at California Adventure). The Wii game game with two 3D glasses with the red-and-blue windows in them. I never did adjust to wearing them (but that could have been because I was wearing my regular glasses today and the 3D glasses didn't fit well). TLG loved the glasses. As for the game, we played for about 30 minutes, and all the games we remember from our trip to Disney showed up somehow - the "ring an alien" game featured in the photo, plus the balloon pop, the shooting gallery with the bullseyes, and some we didn't remember like the teacup switch and the whack-an-alien-with-a-hammer-to-shoot-him-into-space. The game was a definite "hit" at our house, considering TLG had a little tantrum when it was time to turn it off and go get ready for bed. I do believe we'll be playing lots of this one in the future!

#419 - Lemonade

Yes, it snowed all afternoon here. But on this Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, The Little Guy and I were home, and we needed a fun project. My mom gave me a Sesame Street cookbook for Christmas knowing that 1) I love Sesame Street and 2) I'm often looking for fun recipes that TLG and I can make together. We chose today to try to make lemonade from actual lemons (not Kool-Aid, Crystal Light or anything else - since TLG already knows how to make that by himself, without any help from me except reaching the Brita from the fridge). So we started by measuring 2 cups water, 1 cup sugar into a saucepan and I stirred it on the stovetop until it boiled. Then we spent a while squeezing juice from 5 lemons and removing seeds. OK, I was squeezing them, and TLG was licking juice off his fingers. (Hey, who said cooking with a 4-year-old was sanitary?) We mixed it all together, added more water and ice, and voila! This isn't nearly as easy as making Crystal Light, but it was fun to do this together and now we have a yummy drink to help us ignore the ice and snow by pretending it's summertime!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

#418 - Sacher Torte

There's a much funnier story behind this cake, but it's not for me to share with everybody... suffice to say that today we spent all afternoon trying a new recipe for an international-themed potluck for this evening: Sacher Torte, a Viennese chocolate torte with apricot filling, chocolate glaze, and whipped cream. We made it from scratch, thank goodness the new Good Housekeeping cookbook has very specific instructions because we've never made anything like this before. I even had to go buy a springform pan for this during the week! The pan itself worked great, and the torte turned out well. Then we heated the apricot preserves, strained out the liquid, and put it between the two layers and on top. Then a layer of chocolate glaze and YUM! There wasn't any cake to bring home after the potluck, so I think everyone else enjoyed it too, but it was a lot of work and I doubt we'd make it again on a whim.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

#417 - Hearts

The little guy got a ton of new games for Christmas and his recent birthday (thanks, everybody!). His newest favorites include Yahtzee Jr., Whack-a-Mole, Gator Golf, Cranium Cariboo Island and Dr. Seuss' Super Stretchy ABC game. But today he found a few tiny card games in the bottom of a gift bag he hadn't previously explored too closely. We decided to try a game of Hearts. Thank goodness there were instructions in the box, because even though I've played Hearts tons myself, explaining it to someone else sounded hard. It actually wasn't too bad, the rules are simple and TLG understands numbers that are "higher than" and "lower than" and he can count past 20 so there weren't any problems there. He actually beat me by quite a few cards! I will say we've played Yahtzee Jr. (the Toy Story version) a few times each day since Christmas, so it was nice to play something else for a few minutes.