Friday, December 30, 2011

Elle Walks Her Baby

Elle got a new baby stroller from her Uncle Bill and Aunt Erin for Christmas and it turns out her Baby Huggums (a previous gift from Aunt Sandy and Uncle JC) fits perfectly!

Thursday, December 29, 2011


I've been somewhat interested in the iCade since it was released last year. It's an arcade cabinet with a real joystick and real buttons that works via Bluetooth with the iPad. But at $100.00, it was just too expensive to justify. That's until I got a chance to buy it for nearly 70% off. I jumped at the chance!

It's no wonder they went on sale, the boxes are huge. A real storage hassle for retail stores.

The iCade comes unassembled out of the box. The cabinet panels and joystick feel solid and well-made.

It took about 30 minutes to assemble.

It was easy to pair with the iPad via Bluetooth. The first game I tried was Missle Command on the Atari's Greatest Hits app. It worked well. There are 100 other Atari games available.

There is a growing list of games that work with the iCade. The thing feels solid and it really does feel like playing at an old school arcade.

My favorite game for iCade so far is Super Mega Worm. It's like you're controlling the worm from the movie Tremors!

I highly recommend iCade if you like the feel of classic arcade games, and if you can find it for under $50.00.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas 2011: A Retrospective

We had a memorable holiday season this year filled with activities with friends and our extended family sprinkled with just enough "us" time to keep us sane.  Capturing it all in a blog post would be impossible so here are a few collages along with some of the greatest hits...

 Cookies, reading, sisters, a beautiful baby girl, the Polar Express in 3D...
Santa (Elle didn't mind Santa at all but being more than 3 feet from Mom was tough!), tree trimming, friends, our first bath together, elf jammies and an Angry Bird hat...

Another highlight of the season was Rick DeBruyn's first pedicure!

Santa obviously had a little extra time in our house - probably due to all the food Jack put out for the reindeer this year (Rudolph even got some extra)

Friday, December 23, 2011

Zoo Lights!

We went to the Folsom zoo last night and Jack ran into both Santa Paws...

and Santa Claus!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Domino's Artisan Pizza

Domino's Pizza has a new kind of pie out called the Artisan. It's a wood fired type pie that is more oval than round. There are several flavors. I tried the one with several kinds of peppers and sausage and picked most of the sausage off.

I made the above mostly as a joke since the Domino's manager failed to sign my box. In reality the pizza was very good and I would recommend it.

Merry Christmas from the Little Cowbell!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Elle's Birthday and More

Elle had a small birthday celebration as she turned one.  The poor thing has been battling a nasty ear infection strain and is on her third antibiotic with the hopes that this will be the one to knock it out.  She's a trooper.

We scaled down the size of her first birthday significantly compared with Jack.   Why?  Well - we are more seasoned as parents perhaps.  Her birthday is in Winter as opposed to Summer???   It certainly isn't because we love her any less though!

In other news, Jack has learned to wolf down pasta based meals.  He always starts out saying he doesn't like them... then, after a little Green Eggs and Ham talk he digs in!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Bowling League!

Jack and his friends went bowling for the first time today.   Here's a good group shot!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Friday, December 09, 2011

Look Elle! There's Santa!!!!!

Tonight was Polar Express night. Started and ended a bit rocky with Elle but there were some great moments too.

Jack loved his hot, hot, hot - hot chocolate!

Jack Invents a New Branch of Mathematics: Same Math

Jack, on the easel in his bedroom, has developed a new branch of mathematics he refers to as "same math".    Essentially Same Math consists of all equations which contain only 1 unique number.   A generic example would be as follows:

Though there are other more straight-forward examples:  5 + 5,   3^3, etc...

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Week-end Fun

It was a busy week-end that began with both kids going to breakfast with Daddy in Old Folsom.  They were doing face painting so Jack got "Spiderman" He inquired about having a garabage truck painted on but the lady didn't know how to do it...

We then went to a birthday party where Jack had a ball!

And we did Santa pictures and gave Elle her first real bath!

More on those things later.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Really? Almost time to Feed the Reindeer Again!

Here's Jack last year putting out the reindeer food to help make sure Santa stopped by our house. As I recall, it worked!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Subway Biscuits & Gravy

I tried biscuits and gravy at Subway. It's not too bad for fast food. I'm not sure if they bake the biscuits in the store or not. They were a bit cold, although the hot gravy warmed them up. The price was $1.99 for two biscuits which seemed like a fair value.

Monday, November 28, 2011

A Proud Baby!

Tonight, without much prompting, Elle started walking so long as she had something to hold herself up on. She started with one of Jack's garbage trucks so Steph ran and grabbed our official baby walker. Elle loved it as the pictures clearly show.

Look at me!

This is fun!
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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Elle and Clifford

Occasionally Elle begins her day at school with a ride on Clifford, the big red dog.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Facebook Ads are Quick

Immediately after posting this bourbon reference I was presented with a bourbon ad...

Will be interesting to see how long the register and misrepresent me as a bourbon connoisseur!

Hail to The Sparties ?!?*?!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Turkey Chase

I saw a rafter of wild turkeys in a field and tried to get up close with my camera. The turkeys were afraid and ran away. Happy Thanksgiving!

Turkey Trot

The turkeys are on the move...headed to Thanksgiving dinner presumably.

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Picture actually from May 2011.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Arkansas State to the Bowl!

Arkansas State has become one of the first teams to accept a bowl bid this year.  Strangely enough, they've accepted a bid to the bowl when, in all likelihood, the will be the Sun Belt Champs and the champs tend to go to the New Orleans Bowl...  GoDaddy is a late bowl - January 8th...

Friday, November 18, 2011

Garbage Trucks! What Jack does NOT need for Christmas!

Jack boasts one of the more impressive collection of garbage trucks in the country. With nine trucks in his collection, Jack creates and transports lots of garbage to his multiple dumps.

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Because he likes them so much the trucks are always out and we've run out of space to store them in our living room.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Jawbone UP

For my birthday, I told Erin I really wanted a Jawbone UP. It's a high-tech health band that just launched. The UP tracks motion and exercise as well as sleep patterns using sensitive motion detection. It syncs to an app that runs on any iOS device like iPhone or iPad. You sync the UP by removing the cap and plugging it into the headphone jack. The app also allows you to track what you eat, make friends via a social aspect, and participate in health challenges. The band can also remind you to be active via a vibration if you've been passive for too long. The same vibration can be set to act as an alarm clock that wakes you up at the optimal time during your sleep cycle to leave you feeling less groggy in the morning. The thing has a rechargeable battery that lasts for 10 days and charges via an included USB cable. It's also water resistant. It costs $99.00.

I got the UP a few days ago and couldn't wait to try it out. I synced it up to my phone and started wearing it. I'd sync after walking the dog or exercising and it seemed to work pretty well. The sleep pattern tracking also seemed pretty cool, but I found that this data would not reliably sync. Some days I'd wake up and it recorded no data at all even though I had the thing in the right sleep mode. I figured this was a bug in the app and assumed they'd update it.

And then one day it wouldn't sync at all. I'd plug it in just as I had been doing, and it just gave me a sync error. I ran through the list of troubleshooting recommendations and nothing worked. I searched the Jawbone UP website forums and found many people were also having similar problems with their UP. One guy had gone through four of them and they had all failed. My UP had transformed itself into a hundred dollar rubber bracelet in just four days time.

I checked and luckily still had all my boxes and receipts. I took it back to the AT&T store where it was purchased and they gave me a full refund with no questions asked.

I have since decided that I'll just track my steps via my $12 state issued pedometer and call it good.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Fiber One Chocolate Brownie - Reviewed!

They've got a neat ad. The one where the pretty lady pushes her way passed the brownie bouncer to join the brownie party with her Fiber One Brownie.

Well, they showed up at work and I had to give them a try. All in all, it was a bad experience. This thing isn't a brownie. It is dry, crusty and even a little card boardy tasting. The chocolate "flavored" chips enhance all these things making you thankful to be done with the brownie. If it is fiber you are after eat some fruit and some wheat toast. If it is a brownie you are after then make a pan from scratch or even a $2 box mix twice a year.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Yuki's Squirrel Suit

We may as well keep the Halloween posts coming! This year Yuki surprised trick-or-treaters as his favorite animal, the noble squirrel. Normally he is quick to tear out of the silly things we dress him in. For some reason, the squirrel suit was different. He left it on all night.

2011 Halloween Haul

Here is Jack's candy haul from Halloween.

It is interesting to compare the haul from the same shot, featuring Kodak, two years ago. Reese's continues to dominate the landscape with Hershey's falling off somewhat.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

The Making of the Horse Arms

A few months back, I saw a nifty horse head mask on the web for about 25 bucks and decided to buy it. Here it is.

The mask by itself was great, but for Halloween I wanted to add something else to the disguise. Namely, horse arms with hooves. After thinking about it for awhile, I came up with a plan.

For the structure of the arms, I found a big tree branch on the ground while walking Yuki. Here it is in the garage after I carried it home.

For the hooves, I used two Ben & Jerry's containers which I painted black.
I also bought a cheap brown fleece blanket, some craft glue, and some fuzzy brown yarn.

I sawed off stick arms from the branch. Here they are by the painted Ben & Jerry's hooves.

Next I attached the hooves to the arms.

I secured them with black with black electrical tape.

Next I cut the fleece to cover the arms.

I coated it all with a lot of glue and rolled it up like a burrito. It stuck surprisingly well.

Next, I glued a few strips of the furry yarn down one side of the arm to give it the true barnyard look .

Here are the completed arms. I let them dry overnight.

Here's the completed costume. I held the arms with my hands and pulled the sleeves down over them. It was a big hit. Many people thought the arms were store-bought, which I took as a compliment.

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