Category Archives: Fun

Just the Two of Us…


Rose and I attended our 1st “Two of Us” camp at the Girl Scout Camp Menzies last week.  It was Rose’s 1st experience at camp and the 1st in a looooong time for me.  The only thing I really remember about the bible camp I attended as a kid was the stomach flu that swept though the campers. Ew.

I’m fairly sure that my outgoing, older girl loving, friend gathering, kid would do fine on her own but I selfishly wanted to share in her 1st camp experience.  Luckily our local Girl Scout camp has a parent/child week where you can come and have the camp experience with your daughter.

 She only deemed to sit once with me at the campfire.  Then it was all about the friends.

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We did crafts (Rose’s only breakdown was when I told her she couldn’t make her lanyard while walking down a steep rocky trail), canoeing (and canoe water fights), horseback riding (I got the ex packhorse that didn’t want to go unless nose deep in the horse in front of him), slept under the stars (and woke up drenched with dew), sung songs (and more song and even more songs), ate good food (except the one night the cook must have had off and everything was burnt/dry), and made friends (both of us).

Holding my coffee cup to get warm after sleeping under the stars

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I learned how to make a friendship bracelets, lanyards, lots of new songs, how easily little girls are distracted when there are tiny frogs hopping about in the grass, and how to accidentally soak your daughter’s back during a canoe water fight.

Soooo many lanyards…

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The other moms (and the few dads) there formed a sort of comradery as our daughters reached various stages of exhaustion/over stimulation and broke down.  It was a little heartening to see just about all of them reach that point and know it’s not just my daughter that had to cry it out in the shower stall because “mom’s mean”.  It must be tough for these little girls to have to be “on” all day for 4 days.  So many kids and counselors and adults to impress is exhausting.  Luckily for me, Rose reached the breaking point after the 1st full day and was fabulous the rest of the time.  I did have to tell her a few times that when she goes back next year without me, the counselors WILL tell her what to do and keep her on track and make her go to bed.  I’m still not sure she believes me.  lol!

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In the end, I think Rose liked me being there about 70% of the time.  I call that a win and can’t wait to go back.


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Filed under Fun, Girl Scouts, Motherhood, Rose

Things I Learned on a Trip to New York City

I recently took a trip with some girl friends to New York to visit a friend who moved there (or to New York City adjacent).  It was my 1st trip to The Big Apple (it’s been on my Bucket List for years) and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see it with someone who actually knew her way around.  I would have gotten lost so many times in the subway system if it wasn’t for her!

I made a few observations as we wandered around the city:

1.  There are sections of the city you don’t want to take a stroller, especially during the holidays (I was kid free, wohoo!).  We visited Rockafeller Center two weeks before Christmas.  Even on a Sunday night it was nuts balls there.  Like shoulder to shoulder, inching along the road number of people.  There were people attempting to push strollers through that madness.  One lady had a double!!  Not only is it going to be really difficult to go anywhere, its dangerous with that many people surrounding you.  I think a kid could have been taken out of a stroller and the parent wouldn’t know for blocks.  Put your kid in a front pack, on your shoulders, in your arms.  Anything but try to push a giant stroller through 1,000 people.

2.  At Tiffany’s, even the cheapest thing is still expensive.  But so pretty…


3.  So many people, so many germs.  Germs germs everywhere.  EVERYWHERE!!  Pack a lot of hand sanitizer.

4.  It’s really disturbing to see people taking smiling selfies at the World Trade Center memorial.  Just don’t.

5.  When you get a precious seat on the subway you will automatically be perfectly positioned at crotch height for the guy standing in front of you.  Thank goodness for phones so you can stare at them instead.

6.  Perspective is interesting.  New York City is full of some crazy tall buildings but when your standing next to them, even One World Trade Center, it’s not that impressive.


7.  Unlike popular belief, the city is not over-run by rats bigger than dogs.  I didn’t see a single one.

8.  Make sure to check the museum collections before visiting.  I missed a bunch of famous paintings at The Met that I didn’t know were even there until after I left.  Boo.

I did get to see this beauty.


9.  I don’t know if there is a name for having a fear of walking over grates (sewer, ventilation, subway, etc) but I have it.  It gives me the hebegebees to walk over them.  Well, I was forced to confront that fear one zillion times (estimated) over the long weekend.  There are so many (seemingly) bottomless grates all over the city, it was impossible to avoid them.  I’d like to say it got me over the fear.  Wishful thinking…

10.  Eat.  Eat eat eat eat eat.  So many yummy things.

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11.  If you don’t pay to take a boat to the Statue of Liberty, she will be reeeeeally far away.


So there you have it.  Helpful, and some not so helpful, hints for your next trip to New York.  🙂

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Filed under Fun, Tips, Travel

Fairytale Town (the sequel)


Rose was off with Nana and Papa doing some canoeing so we decided to take Evelyn for some fun of her own.  What better place to take an active 2 year old then Fairytale Town.  We’ve taken her a few times before but usually with Rose and Rose definitely likes to be in charge, to put it mildly.  When she was a temporary “single child”, she just thrived.  All the parent attention was hers!!

She wants to go down a slide?  Sure thing!


She wants to play on the Little Engine that Could?  Sure thing!


She wants to walk the Crooked Mile 3 times?  Sure thing!


She wants to drag her Daddy down a small concrete tube?  Sure thing!


  Plus, unlimited Daddy back rides! (Isn’t that the cutest thing ever?)


 Look!  I was there too!


And no trip to the Land Park area is complete without a Vic’s cheese dog sandwich (and a chocolate shake).

imageIt reminded me of when we took Rose there about the same age.  Same full on, pure happiness that only a 2 year old can have when allowed free rein.

Just to add to the cuteness.  Evelyn in her element.  Tiny and in charge!

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Filed under Evelyn, Fun

Engineering is cool #1 – Machine in Concrete

Machine in Concrete

We took Rose to The Exploritorium last week for the first time.  Oh my.  She was like a kid in a candy store.  So many things to play with!  At 5, she isn’t quite ready to hear “how” everything work (she pretty much ignored us when we tried to explain it. lol) but completely enjoyed manipulating everything.  If you are ever in San Francisco with your kids (or even without them), go there.  Seriously, go there.  It’s filled with tons of examples of interesting science/physics/engineering with easy to understand explanations of “why”.

I was in engineering heaven.

Out of the literally hundreds of exhibits, the Machine in Concrete fascinated me the most.  The motor runs at 200 rpm but after 12 pairs of worm gears which reduce the speed by 1/50th for each gear, the output shaft rotates so slowly, it will not make a full rotation for 13.7 billion years.  Yes, you read that right, 13.7 BILLION years.  Whoa.  The output shaft was able to be encased in concrete with no stress on the drive train.  Seriously….whoa.

Engineering is cool ya’ll.

Just for fun, I found a guy on Reddit that did the calculation for what would happen if worm gears worked in the opposite direction (they don’t so you can’t turn the output shaft and the anything turn on the drive train so this is a hypothetical calculation).  Have I mentioned I love engineering?

“And even if you ignore the worm gear issue, if you turn the final gear at 1mm/s, the first gear will move at 814365469 times the speed of light. [5012 / (c * 1000) = 5012 / 299 792 458 000 = 814365469]

To make something move at the speed of light you need an infinite amount of energy. So if you try to turn the final gear there will be a high amount of resistance, infinite to be exact, because the first gear can’t turn that fast. It’s almost like the first gear is now also trapped in concrete (although this is a speed restriction and not a movement restriction), except that concrete is made of “Unobtainium” and cannot break. (The gears will also have to be made of Unobtainium because they will strip long before you reach the speed of light.)

Staying with the same scenario you should be able to turn the final gear at 0.12 picometers/second and the first gear will turn at only 0.1 times the speed of light. (The radius of hydrogen atom is 25 picometers.)

EDIT: The energy needed to get the first gear up to 0.12 picometers/second (assume no friction) would be about 1.12*1015 Joules or 1.5 Hiroshima nukes.”

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Filed under Engineering, Fun, Technology

Evelyn showcases her talent

Evelyn shows off her 2 year old powers by singing the ABCs while eating a banana. I bet she could win America’s Got Talent.

This girl is getting such a sense of humor.  And my mom’s laughing just can’t be beat.  🙂

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Filed under Evelyn, Fun, Nana

Tinker Bell the Mechanical Engineer

Anyone other parents as thrilled as I am over the Tinker Bell movies?  I mean sure, her skirt is a little too short, and some of her friends are a little stereotypicaly ditsy but dang, that girl (woman?) is an ENGINEER!  Yep.  Tinker Bell is an engineer, a mechanical engineer non the less.  (woot!)

I had actually resisted watching the Tinker Bell movies at first.  Rose had started to watch them on Steve’s phone (Netflix) and while I was getting certain dialog memorized, I hadn’t been able to get myself to watch what I was sure was another silly movie with silly characters.  Finally she asked to watch it on the tv and I was pleasantly (and happily) surprised by how intelligent her character is and to see all of the cool things she creates.

Long lost sister can’t visit because she’s a winter fairy and can’t get warm?  No problem, she designs a snow machine.

Tinker Bell Snow Machine

Everything is messed up and spring may not come because the other fairies can’t gather all the spilled acorns in time?  No problem, she designs a industrial size vacuum out of a glove and a harmonica.

Tinker Bell Glove Vacuum

Need a boat to take fairy dust to remote outposts?  She’s your girl.

Tinker Bell Boat

Sure she messes up sometimes in her eagerness to build things but it’s ok.  She just goes back to the drawing board and tries again.  Seriously great example of a “don’t give up when things don’t go your way” attitude.

Armed with a new appreciation for the awesome engineering powers of this little fairy, I scoured the toy aisle on Rose’s birthday to find something that would play off her new obsession and encourage her own “tinkering”.  Nothing.  Nada.  Nilch.  Lots off jewelry, tea party sets, and makeup.  Lots of clothing too.  Some of which depict Tinker Bell as down right sexy.  Anything at all that had anything to do with her engineering?  Nope. 

Seriously Disney?  You have five (soon to be six) movies that actively encourage girls to use their minds to create and build and you don’t have anything for them to implement that desire.  Instead all you give them is things to make them “pretty”.

Multiple studies have shown that the earlier girls are introduced to and encouraged to explore engineering concepts, the more likely they are to pursue engineering or some other STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math)  fields as a career choice.  Thing is, you can’t force these things on kids.  I know, I’ve tried.  Last week I took Rose to Target to choose a new toy with her Christmas money.  As we wandered the aisles she immediately turned around when she got to the section that wasn’t full of pink.  “Mommy, lets go back to the girl toys”.  Nothing I could say would convince her that she couldn’t choose something in the “boy toy” section.  Those girl toys?  They were all dolls and dress up.  Luckily she found a Brave bow and arrow set (in purple of course) that turned out to be a pretty fun hands on toy.


So here’s my idea.  Disney has already teamed up with Lego for a number of other movies and just released a “princess” set.  Lego is actively trying to capture the girl market with their “girl legos” but they don’t go on adventures, just to the store/salon/restaurant.  What about Tinker Bell legos?*  You could build her cart or the boat or any of her many inventions.  I know that Rose and thousands of other little girls would jump at the chance to “tinker” on their own.

Better yet, team up with Goldie Blox!  Their whole business model is based around encouraging the next generation of female engineers by creating toys that tickle the creative mind while appealing to the seemingly ingrained “girl toy” desire.  It’s almost tailor made for Tinker Bell.

So Disney, if you happen to come across this blog post and want to take this and run with it, I hereby wave any and all rights for this idea.  I would be more then happy to just have toys like this on the market that encourage our young girls to use their brilliant minds to design and build.  Pretty please?

*Update: I came up with a solution to the lack of Tinker Bell Lego sets.  Create your own!

*Updated #2: As of May 2015, there is a live action Tinker Bell movie in the works.  Fingers crossed she is an engineer!!


Filed under Engineering, Fun, Toys

Friday Ranch Day October 9, 2013

The girls and I headed down to the garden to start winterizing this weekend and while Rose helped me to pull the onions, Evelyn wandered around as 15 month olds are known to do.

Evelyn – “While Sissy is off pulling onions, I’m gonna esplore.”


 “Outta my way Mommy, I’m esplorin!”


“Diggin, diggin, diggin in the dirt.”


“Dis flower is so butiful!”


 “It may be pretty but does it taste good?”


 “Oh my god!  This leaf ripped right off when I pulled!!!!!!!”


 “This place is falling apart around me.  I’m outta here!”



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Filed under Evelyn, Fun, Gardening, Gardening, Rose, The Ranch

Funderland with a capital F

Oh my, it’s been years since I had been to Funderland.  So many in fact that it didn’t even occur to me to take Rose once she hit the magical of 2 (you need to be 2 years or older to ride the rides).  Luckily her Nana and Papa remember the fun we had and took her last Friday.  She had such a great time that we all trooped over this Sunday to go again.


To say that Rose loves riding on roller coasters and the such is bit of an understatement.  This girl has defiantly inherited her Nana’s amusement park loving gene.  She dragged us all over the park requesting rides on everything there.  The rest of us had tons of fun as well because you can’t help but have fun when hanging with a giggling toddler.  I think we will be getting her a season pass next year.


The rides are all reasonably priced and even better, last for a fairly long time.  So long sometimes that I wondered if some of the little kids would get sick from going around and around so many times.  🙂


 I think she really thought that she was driving this ride.  She beep beeped her way through the entire drive.


 They even have a little log ride that Uncle Dusty took Rose on.


Of course there is a train ride.  What little kid amusement park would be complete without one.  Although this one is defiantly kid sized since Steve was just a little smooshed.


The only ride Rose didn’t go on with her grandparents was the plane ride since it looked too small for an adult and they figured she wouldn’t figure out the stick control.  Luckily her cousin Jackson was more than happy to give her a ride.  He is such a great pilot.  Even looking back and making sure she was having fun.


The roller coaster is a BLAST!  It goes quite fast and the drops actually lifted me off of my seat.  Rose laughed the whole ride and even put her hands up at the end.


Filed under Fun, Rose

A fantabulous toddler birthday

Sure Rose was only turning 2 years old and will no doubt remember absolutely nothing about her birthday but that’s no reason not to give her a fabulous day.  There were scrabbled eggs and little trains and books and big trains and train rides and toy trains and ice cream and long naps and pancakes and chocolate milk for dinner and snuggles with daddy well past a normal bedtime.

Starting the day off right with a book on the way to the California State Railroad Museum.
The train museum!!  Smiles in the dinning car.
“I can move the trains with these buttons?  Heaven!!”
“Trains we can play with too?  Yay!”
“That engine is huge!  Woo Woooo!”
“Snuggles with Daddy are the best part of the day.”
“Vic’s ice cream??  I’m in heaven!!”
“That’s all folks!”


Filed under Fun, Rose, Trains

My little stand up comedian.

Wednesday night we all trooped over to the Auburn State Cinema for an event honoring the efforts made to raise money for its restoration.  Once the presentation was over and the audience left the room, Steve brought Rose up to the stage and let her explore.  After playing the piano and doing a little dance, Rose noticed the podium and microphone.  Her language has really taken off the past few weeks and she had a blast repeating words into the microphone.

“Choo-choo”, “kitty”, “daddy” and “duuuude” all echoed through the room accompanied by loads of giggles.

Then a devilish grin spread across her face.  She opened her mouth and……

First, a quick back story.

A month or so ago, Rose and I were goofing around and she lets out a little fart.  Since I was feeling in a silly mood I said “toot!” then continue on with our play.  Little did I know I had created her new favorite word.  Some time later, she passes gas again and this time she pats her bottom and says “tut!” with a grin.  Ever since, whenever she passes gas she will pat her bum and say “tut” with a big smile.  While amusing, I have had to pretend selective toddler language ignorance when she does it in public.  This also has the added benefit of letting us know when she needs to go potty.  The higher the frequency of “tuts” the more likely she needs to use the bathroom.  🙂 

“Tut!” “Tut, tut, tut!”  Soon, a steady stream of “tut, tut, tut, tut, tut!” filled the room all said by a grinning 2 year old.  I think, “Is she saying what I think she’s saying?”  Then I looked at Steve’s laughing face and knew he was thinking the same thing.  My daughter was telling her first potty joke.  Little did we know we were raising a stand up comedian.

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Filed under Fun, Humor, parenthood, Rose