Sunday, May 31, 2015

What-What?! Week of May 31st

I finally feel not terrible!  This week has been a long series of nights without enough sleep.  Yesterday evening, I basically couldn't do anything other than stare at the TV, because my head hurt so much.  But I am better today, so that's nice.

Yesterday, I took Saffron to a Girl Scout event, put on by the Society of Women Engineers.  The scouts talked about what engineers do, women inventors in general, and made three different projects.  The first project was a book holder, made out of toothpicks and gumdrops, which had to hold the book above the surface of the table (they were pretending there was a flood).  Saffron's was actually functional, and held up two books.  The next project, the scouts used marshmallows and dried spaghetti pasta to make a stand to test pasta strength; they tested dried spaghetti, linguine, and angel hair pasta (there's a better explanation of this project here -- it's sort of difficult to describe).  Last, the scouts each made a "robot hand", which they used to pick up a plastic cup from a distance (about a yard).  Saffron had a great time doing the projects and hanging out with her fellow scouts, and is quite excited about engineering now.  Next time we hit the library, I'm going to look for some kid's engineering and science books.  We do already have a few, but they're bio/geo science topics.

Oh!  Also yesterday, in the early morning, we saw a rabbit in our backyard!  An actual cottontail rabbit, not a jackrabbit like we'd always see in California.  What's more, it didn't look like someone's released pet, and upon researching more, it's probably either a Snowshoe or an Eastern Cottontail.  Didn't see him (her?) out there this morning, though now I know to look.

(Takes five minute break to get the GIANT SPIDER off the keyboard.  So many spiders. D: )

We had an electrician at our house on Thursday; now the kid's heater works, and the garage outlets are fixed.  So that's nice.

The husband has been working on getting all the nerdy stuff unpacked; roleplaying books, tabletop gaming books, miniatures, novels, history books, all that stuff.  It's mostly been sitting in boxes since we moved to this state, and how we have missed them.  At some point, we'll have to move all that very heavy stuff out again, so I can paint that room, but I don't have a timetable for that yet.

Tomorrow's my birthday, and while I had planned on making myself a birthday cake, this past week has basically blown that away.  The husband got me a cake from Costco instead -- a huge chocolate one. <3

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Art Thursday -- May 28th

"Cooking Set"
A promo for a kid's cooking class, which includes materials (upper righthand corner), and other activities (lower righthand corner).  It sounds like something Saffron would love to do.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

What-What?! Week of May 24th

This week has been extremely busy.

Sunday, we took the family to the Marysville library!  I said I would come home with books, right?  Well, I didn't.  I didn't even come home with many books for the kids, either.  The children's section felt very empty, and the children's nonfiction is mixed in with the adult's non-fiction, which makes it difficult to just quickly browse for some good non-fiction.  I also can't just send Saffron over to find a book herself, because then she'd be well out of sight from where I'm watching her brothers, and she's way more likely to run into topics and books that I'm not comfortable with her reading yet.  Also, there were kids' books on the top shelf.  Even I have to reach up to get them, how is a 7 year old going to do it?  We're going to try the Arlington library next time to see if it's any better, but I'm betting it will have the same organizational system.  We'll see.

I started doing other things instead.

I've started practicing code on a website called Codewars; it's basically a set of programming puzzles (the website calls them 'kata'), and solving them awards you better ranks over time.  I'm still at the lowest rank, though I have done a bunch (okay... 17, since Tuesday).  I was even up 'til about 1am one night fighting with a piece of code (RegEx can go sit in the corner for that.  Seriously).

In terms of classes, I started one over at Udacity covering Git and Github, which are sort of project management tools.  I already understand the why and general ideas of the topic, but the nitty-gritty details leaves me needing direction.  I had also started a Ruby class over at Codecademy, but have set that aside for now; I think I'd like to develop more depth of knowledge and practice in JavaScript before taking on a language which I have no experience with.  Also, Ruby is has some seriously weird bits.

I tried to go to a mommy meetup on Wednesday.  I've lived here almost a year, and still know no one, so I thought I would try a Meetup group or something.  The meetup was located at what the city's website describes as the centerpiece of the parks system.  It's HUGE; a barn with petting zoo, two playgrounds, walking trails, a garden, and so on.  Why am I saying that I tried to go?  Because I spent 30 minutes driving what should have been a 15 minute trip, and I still couldn't find the entrance to the park.  There's extensive roadwork on one side of the park, and between the lack of signage and the ambiguity of Google Maps, I couldn't figure out where an entrance was.  The city's website is unhelpful as well, because it just links you to Google Maps.  I wound up at a different park down the street, sitting alone while my kid played.  So that was a really nice experience. :(

And now for something completely different!

Davenriche European Martial Arts on Mainstream TV!

My brother-in-law studies European martial arts (sword fighting... and stuff.  Kicking butts.), and the dojo he goes to was featured on CNN's Somebody's Gotta Do it (hosted by Mike Rowe).  Skip ahead to just after the 18 minute mark to see it:

What is really cool about the whole thing is that in just a few weeks, my brother-in-law will be working there.  I am so happy and excited for him, because it is such a great opportunity.  Hit the link above if you want to read more about the dojo.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Art Thursday -- May 21st

"Lego Elves' House"
Lego recently started a new line which involves elves.  So now my child is obsessed with them.
Here they are in their house.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

What-What?! Week of May 17th

With all the moving and other things going on, life has recently been more running around putting out fires than anything else.  The husband and I put pictures on the walls a few days ago, so now the place is officially home; we never took our family photos out of the box at the Everett apartment.  That place was never really home (or homey) at all.  We did have my horseshoe out and over the front door this whole time, for good luck.  We need all of that we can get. :P

Yesterday, we hit up the hardware store and picked up more things; a new faucet for the bathroom (my middle child can't operate the current one), patching compound to fix some divots in the wall, and a lawnmower.  I had been looking for a used lawnmower on Craigslist, but had no luck; I did find goats pretty inexpensively, but we really don't need those.  Suppose to pick up a new range hood, but they didn't have what we wanted in store.

At Saffron's Girl Scout meeting this week, she was awarded the Snack Badge, for learning about nutrition, making a snack for herself, and making a snack for her family.  She was also awarded the Discovery Key, which focuses on the scout herself, what makes her special, and how she can help her troop and family.  When I get them ironed on, I'll post a picture of her with them. :)

Later today, we'll be checking out the local library, which I'm excited about.  Going to pick up some books to read, because I need to do something that's not working or being mommy.  I've started watching more episodes of Alton Brown's Good Eats on Netflix, which is good entertainment, and not a bad jumping off point for cooking.  I'm also debating signing up for some classes over at EdX, but those don't start until June.

Was browsing Reddit, and someone mentioned's One Hour of Code.  Turns out, this is mostly aimed at children, so Friday I sat down with Corwin and did the first 20 exercises of the Disney's Frozen set.  He did need some help with the number of degrees (90 vs 45, etc.) for his character to turn, but otherwise did it by himself.  He got this certificate out of it:
The next day, Saffron sat down and got her own:
They had such a good time that I'm planning on working through some of the other tutorials there.  Even if they aren't interested in programming in the future, the logic and planning skills are really valuable.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Art Thursday -- May 14th

"The Very Scary Fish"
This one was drawn by Corwin, an unusual specimen both for it's clarity, and it's lack of explosions.  I think it might be an anglerfish, based on the body/tail ratio, and sharp teeth.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

What-What?! Week of May 10th

Happy Mother's Day to all the mommies out there.  Have a great day! :)

This past week was mostly spent just running the house and keeping things going.  Our bathtub faucet has developed an intermittent leak, which is extremely aggravating -- it'd be nice if things could wait to break until we've fixed all the things that are already broken. :P

Osric's Birthday Celebration

Yesterday, we celebrated Ozzy's third birthday.  I made him a chocolate cake with buttercream frosting, themed after the TV show The Octonauts.  The cake is the character Kwazii, who is a pirate cat:
This cake was actually a bit problematic to make, mostly because we moved.  I couldn't find my frosting dyes, so I had to run out and buy more.  I have also lost my offset spatula, so the frosting isn't as smooth as it would otherwise be.
After blowing out the candles, he tried to eat it all himself, with no utensils.

Briefly, he shared his toys with his siblings.
Oz got a lot of toys; a Little People boat, a biting shark toy, Transformers, Legos, and Octonauts toys.  Everything but the Transformers and the Legos can go in the bath, and you better believe they've been there once already!  That little boy loves baths now.  While unwrapping presents, he was squealing with excitement.

I feel like this photo is pretty representative of my husband as a person: Doing manly-man things, but always with a novel in his pocket.
The husband barbequed hamburgers and hotdogs.  This doesn't seem particularly special, but it is quite an occasion for us; since moving into apartments, we've barbequed only once.  Barbequing was something that we did at our parent's houses, never at our place in California, since it was forbidden in the lease.  We did barbeque once last year at the Washington apartment, but that was pretty unpleasant.  Barbequing yesterday tasted like delicious victory; the freedom and privacy to do whatever we desire is exactly why we bought a house.
In other news, I received another royalties check from Amazon for my ebooks!  It's just $100, but it's still pretty gratifying to actually be paid for writing.  Between this and a check I got in October, I've made half again as much as I did the prior year.  I've also just had a boom of sales in the past month that's not reflected in this payment; because the info in my papers is pretty academic, I find that sales coincides with college finals and midterms.  After mid-June, I'll have a big drop in sales, then they'll pick up again in the fall.  I should get back to serious writing again.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Art Thursday -- May 7th

Since moving into a house, my kids have been obsessed with getting a pet.  A pet anything really, but most recently, a rabbit.
Also, it's still Thursday for the next 28 minutes, so this post isn't late. :P

Sunday, May 3, 2015

What-What?! Week of May 3rd

No, I have not died.

But I have moved house.  Nearly all of it, anyway.  Last weekend, the husband and I spent Friday moving boxes and Saturday moving everything else (with the help of the husband's friend, too).  Sunday, we unpacked a bunch of the kitchen and living room.
The window of the car, all over the ground.  The rest of it was all over the interior of the car.
Monday, our car was broken into while the husband was at work.  The back passenger window was totally broken to pieces, and the car was a big mess.  Luckily, the only things stolen were two small coin pouches, which contained a minimal amount of cash.  Getting the car fixed and dealing with a rental and all that jazz took up almost three entire days.
Whacking things.  Ozzy being grumpy it's not his turn.
Happily, we've had the time to enjoy our new home this weekend.  We have a bigger dining room now, which means that we can have family meals again.  It's been about 11 months since we last all ate at the same table at home.  We've gone out to play in the backyard anytime the weather has been good, and it has been a lot of fun.
Made a cornhole game out of a Costco box.  This was a big hit.
I wanted to talk a little bit about the house we've bought; it was built in the late 60's, and has been renovated at least once in the past.  Unfortunately, the renovations were terrible.  This stuff is the cheapest option, and more so, done poorly.  The poor painting in the bathroom reveals that it was previously an avocado green (it is currently very blue); I know that the medicine cabinet was painted some time before this, because it has green paint drips on the frame.  The shower/tub liner is a multi-part adhesive one (like this), and the adhesive gave up the ghost long ago.  It is now held together with mountains of caulking.  The kitchen has laminate countertops, which sport a giant ugly seam right down the center of the sink.  I stare at that seam while I do the dishes (so ugly).  There's a little 18 inch counter top on the other side of the kitchen, also laminate, but the pattern on that counter doesn't match the others.  Poor little counter, so lonely.  I'm convinced that it was a scrap piece from some other project, reused here for the cost savings.

None of this renders these rooms unusable, or even unpleasant.  But you better believe that I'm changing them... eventually.  Gotta finish unpacking first. :P

Thursday is Ozzy's third birthday, and this year he's old enough to really understand what's going on.  So he's is super excited, and constantly asking for new toys (oh my goodness, the "I wants"!).  Been so busy with everything else that I'm just now starting to plan his cake out, though.  I'm sure he'll have a good day no matter what, though. :)