Thursday, November 28, 2013

Our Thanksgiving trivia, part I

Take your guess to see how well you know us...and how our Thanksgiving went!!

Question 1: How many turkeys has Angi made this Thanksgiving season?

A) 0
B) 1
C) 2
D) 3
E) 4

Answer: E) 4. I made two turkeys for Trav's work and one for the family before finding out April was sick. Since we knew it wouldn't stay good for two days, cut to the fourth (and final?) turkey...


Question 2: What did Trav use to turn the pepper grinder into easy-access for whole peppercorns? 

A) Knife
B) Scissors
C) Power drill
D) Hands
E) Saw

Answer: C) Power drill. I had asked Trav to grab some whole peppercorns, and he came back with a small jar of peppercorns with a grinder on top. At least he was resourceful!


Question 3: Who was most fascinated by the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade this morning?

A) Trav
B) Jack
C) Angi
D) Zoey
E) Walter

Answer: B) Jack. He was loving the parade this morning, but the rest of us? Eh...not so much. Too much Broadway, too many teasers and not enough excitement!


Question 4: What in our house broke today?

A) Our toilet (and overflowed into the hallway)
B) Our washer (and left us with a soapy mess)
C) The garage door (requiring us to manually open it)
D) Our vacuum cleaner (thus leaving us with dirty, dirty floors)
E) Our furnace (bring your jackets if you're coming on Saturday!)

Answer: A) Our toilet! After watching a movie, we discovered that our downstairs half-bath had a broken toilet, thus overflowing water into the hallway. We have it under control but not fixed.


Question 5: Where did we go for a Thanksgiving meal?

A) Cracker Barrel
B) Houlihan's
C) Steak and Shake
D) McDonald's
E) Chinese buffet

Answer: C) Steak and Shake. Believe it or not, there isn't much open on Thanksgiving, including the Chinese buffet. No complaints, mind you. Just what it is! It ended up being a fine experience.


Question 6: Our Christmas tree is up and house decorated.

A) True
B) False

Answer: TRUE! We spent the better part of the evening working on it.


Question 7: What happened to Zoey this evening?

A) She slammed her finger in the car door
B) She tripped going into Steak and Shake
C) The tree fell on top of her while we decorated it
D) The vacuum cleaner fell on her foot
E) Walter scratched her

Answer: A) She slammed her finger in the car door. We had just come home from Steak and Shake, and while closing her door, she managed to get her finger stuck in it. 


Question 8: When did we change out of our PJs for the day?

A) 8 AM
B) 10 AM
C) Noon
D) 2 PM
E) Never

Answer: D) 2 PM. If you're following along, you would know that we went to Steak and Shake for one meal at some point in the day, but we stayed in our PJs for really the better part of Thanksgiving. 


Question 9: What figure can't we find for our nativity?

A) Mary
B) Joseph
C) Angel
D) Manger
E) Jesus

Answer: E) Baby Jesus appears to have been misplaced. Across five boxes of Christmas decorations, we were unable to find him. :-(


Tune in tomorrow, because I'm sure we'll have more "excitement" to share!

Monday, November 25, 2013


No, we haven't won the lottery.

And no, we wouldn't say even if we had.

But really - we haven't won the lottery.

Back to Wichita, when we had amusement rides galore, we also had some fun in the arcade.

Well, Zoey had fun: 

I don't have any pictures of Jack, mainly because he was with Trav. They ran all over the place whereas Zoey kind of walked around. Plus she focused on games that won tickets, while Jack cared about the fun games.

She ended up (somehow) winning a jackpot, and let me tell you, that was awesome!

She ended up something like 780 tickets, which is pretty impressive for a 6-year-old!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

My little math nerd

"I`m not good at math--I`ve never been good at math. I accepted it from a very early age. My teacher would hand me a math test. I`d just write on it, 'I`m going to marry someone who can do this.'"
--Rita Rudner

 That's pretty much sums up my math experience. I tolerated math, and with the exception of calculus and geometry, I was pretty good at it. I didn't enjoy it, but I was fine. Oddly enough, I love analytics now, but that's a different matter.

Back to the point at hand: math.

I always had a love/hate relationship with math, and I was never more excited to marry a former engineering student who truly geeks out on math.

As a result, I should find it no surprise that Zoey loves math, too.

By 'loves math,' I mean that she gets it. Girls are stereotyped to hate math and struggle with it. And all-in-all, there's still a good chance that in the coming years that she will struggle.

But right now, she just gets it.

If you ask her what 100-51 is, she'll say 49. Or try 75-30...she'll say 45. <> She gets that 2 and a half hours is 150 minutes. She understands that 12:40 is 20 minutes before 1:00.

She just gets it. As a little Kindergartner, she gets it.

There have been times when I've thrown out math problems for Jack that she's gotten right..whereas he didn't. I've asked questions out-loud for myself that she's gotten right.

Heck, she's even doing Jack's second grade homework!

I don't like bragging about my kids, but this is an exception. I have to, especially when I saw this commercial for a start-up company:

Zoey's watched it at least four times over the past several days. She loves it.

We've told Zoey that we want her to fly. We want her to have every chance to further her math-loving nature and maybe even turn it into a career.

And you know what? She couldn't be more thrilled.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Amusement rides just aren't what they used to be

Or maybe we just aren't what WE used to be!

In Wichita, we found an arcade/amusement park/fun-day-running-around sort of attraction. The day before it had snowed and sleeted, so it see sunshine and 50 degree weather was awesome.

And while there were a few rides that involved everyone, some didn't. Like this one:

Zoey soooo wanted to go on it, but alas...she was just too short:
The ride also happened to be an example of how Trav cannot do things he once enjoyed as a 10-year-old.

Further proof: Swing rides.

While the kids were having a blast...

Trav couldn't quite remember why he agreed to this ride!

Shortly after the ride ended, he spent a little time in the grass trying to keep his lunch down and room from spinning.

Make no mistake, there were plenty of other, nicer rides too!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Popcorn-picking we a'go!

When Trav told me that Grandma Suzie wanted us to go pick popcorn, I raised an eyebrow.

She wants us to do what?

Well, it turns out it was more exciting than I thought.

At first most of our group stuck to the outside perimeter of the field:

But then we got serious:

We were a serious, serious bunch of corn pickers:

Well, most of us (KaCHOOOOW!):

The end result:

However, getting a group shot in front of the corn proved difficult:

So, what happens after we picked the corn?

Good question!

Well, you use a corn kernel remover, of course:

What goes in...

Gets tossed around....
And results in lots and lots of kernels...

Oooo!! Corn kernels aren't just good for making into popcorn. They are also great for entertaining kiddos:

At this point, it still wasn't ready for us to just take home. We had to get all of the debris (read: husks and silks) from it. The process was simple--hold the bucket o'corn over a bucket o'nothing and pour slowly, letting the wind do the work:

Of course, nothing goes to wast here. Even cobs with kernels still on had to be removed by hand, which also proved entertaining:

Conclusion: Never question the motives of farm trips. This was awesome, and now we know how to pop our own popcorn over the stove!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Bag O'Fun!

Location: Walter's Pumpkin Patch
Subject: Zoey and the sack swing
Level of excitement: 10+

Monday, November 4, 2013

Portraits of Autumn

I kinda like my kids...and I kinda think they are super great, too!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

How to find the perfect pumpkin: Boys vs. Girls

Here is a quick guide to help pick out the perfect pumpkin:


Step 1: Find the first pumpkin with a solid stem and no massive soft sports/holes. Done.

Zoey (aka Pumpkin-locs)

 Step 1:  Find a pumpkin roughly 3/4 of your body weight. Attempt to pick up. Fail. Declare this pumpkin just too big.

Step 2: Find a much smaller pumpkin. Pick up up with little effort but then declare it as just too small. Big girls need big(ger) pumpkins than this one.

Step 3: Follow your brother around for a few minutes until you find one that's more your size. Look over for any flaws and take it through the "carry" test.

Step 4: Success! Now hand it off to the closest adult and run after your brother.

Pumpkin Patch #3 -- the one with the big slide

Okay, so I'm not going to lie.

We've gone to a LOT of pumpkin patches.

We started in early October with a free patch and then went to our favorite south-central patch (WALTER'S ROCKS!!) in mid-October. We had purchased an online deal to one closest to our house (and one of the most expensive), and since we had already purchased tickets, we figured...why not go?

The first time we tried to go, it was way too crowded so we went to the free patch in Lawrence (Shaake's).

The second  time we tried to go, it was just after 3:00 on a Monday we all had off. We thought that we would miss the crowds, and we did -- because the place closed at 3:00.

Third time was the charm, so we headed over. You would think  that going a little bit before lunchtime on a Saturday in late-October would be a bad idea, but it wasn't too bad.

Our biggest problem here was that Zoey was too short for some of the free rides. Our other problems? The lines were too long for the popular attractions and we were too stingy to want to pay for any of the pay-to-play attractions (read: it's our third pumpkin patch. Give me a break!).

This narrowed our options down by quite a bit. One of the biggest options was a huge, potato-sack slide. They waited in line patiently, but Zoey chickened out. The thing was easily 20 feet in the air, and she thought it was just too tall.

No problem. She stayed with me.

BUT once she saw how much fun the boys had, she wanted to go again!

They went on that ride no less than five times and loved every minute of it.

It's a good thing, too - the pumpkin patch was picked over, leaving us with few other attractions!

Even the pumpkin patch was picked over! But then again, it was 6 days before Halloween - there's a reason it as picked over!

Best photo of the day:

It's my favorite because Jack's face perfectly captures the original art piece.

Grade: C- (too expensive, too few things to do for free and other than the massive slide, really uneventful)

Pumpkin Patch #2 -- the one with Kaki and Papa Gary

Thanks to October Break (read: too many days off from school for parent-teacher conferences), we had a little time to spare. We were originally going to go to Texas, but those plans fell through. We still were itching to drive somewhere, so we made our way to Walter's Pumpkin Patch near El Dorado, Kan.

This time we weren't alone - we met Kaki and Papa Gary!

The place is awesome. I really suggest going there next year if you can. We have gone there for more than 3 years now, and it's rained for two of those years. Even so, it makes for a great day!

I mean, the activities included in the admission prices is awesome!

Of course, Zoey managed to catch a few moths/butterflies, too:

All-in-all, a great time! And oddly enough, we have yet to actually see the pumpkin patch. We spent 3 hours just running around the property, and by the time everyone could be ready for the pumpkin patch, everyone just wants to go home.

It doesn't mean we don't have fun though!
Grade: A