Sunday, August 24, 2008

Daniel Visits (warning: this is a LONG post)

Last week Daniel came up to visit a few days. It was really nice to have him here. For the most part things went pretty smoothly (although we did have to take away the air freshener...) and we didn't have any mention on hamburgers! To see the pictures from his visit, go to here. (It will take forever to upload all of these pictures. For some reason blogger hates me and my large files.)

On Tuesday, I took Daniel to this new museum in downtown called Marbles. It was really cool, but a little too young for D. We went any way and when he wasn't saying, "Too old" he seemed to have a good time. The museum is basically a glorified playground and craft center for kids under 10 years of age. They had several different areas with themes. The downstairs area had a place for very small children that was a little town where they could dress up, go shopping, go to work, go to the doctors, etc., etc. and was geared at learning social things. In addition to the town, the water exhibit was downstairs. There was a little pool with running water and toys for kids to play with (with plastic poncho type things to keep them from getting too wet) and a bunch of aquarium tanks with interesting fish. Daniel was totally disinterested in either exhibits, so we went upstairs.

Upstairs, they had an exhibit that was all about creating things. There was a place where you could make your own car (with wooden erector set looking things) and then race them pinewood derby-style, there was a place that you could make whatever you wanted our of recycled materials. They actually had real tools (ie. hammer, nails, screws, saw....) that the kinds could use and Daniel enjoyed sawing away at a piece of wood for a while. Also in that same area, there were giant lego blocks and other wooden building blocks where a couple of kids were working on a pretty impressive tower (using step ladders and such) and finally, there was a place that had scraps of fabric and scissors and templates where you could make your own clothes. Pretty cool (I was seriously interested) but Daniel kept saying, "Too old".

The final exhibit was a temporary exhibit that was all about the Olympics. They had all sorts of activities you could do and a scorecard to keep track of your progress. There was a long jump, a basketball hoop, javelin throw, bean bag toss, vertical jump, and two really cool stations. One of them was a big replica of a hockey rink with a very waxed floor and goalies nets. It had a video of the Carolina Hurricane's team talking about hockey and then the kids could grab a puck, a stick and slip on some socks (if they didn't already have any) and slide around playing hockey. Daniel was a little interested but I thought it would be better for him to watch in stead of participate (there were a lot of kids in there and most of them very small). Also, they had a small gymnastics mat, just like the ones they use for real gymnastics floor events, some hula hoops, some scarves, ribbons on sticks, and a balance beam sitting right on the ground. I picked up the ribbons and started dancing around with them (the other parents gave me some odd looks, but whatever) and Daniel loved it. He picked up some ribbons of his own and started waving them around. I got of video of it. I also got him to walk on the balance beam (it was literally sitting on the ground). I held out my hand to help him balance but he kept pushing it away. I kept my hand there, ready to help him if he needed and by and by his pushing my hand away turned into him using my hand to balance, using only one finger of course. He also really enjoyed the javelin throw (which was a pool noodle cut in have with some fins attached at the end for you to throw at a giant painted bullseye) and the bean bag toss.

Close to the sports area, they had some coloring stations. One of them was a "make-your-own-flag" station. They had examples of real flags and suggested making up your own flag. Initially, Daniel didn't want anything to do with it, but when I suggested coloring the Scotland flag, he was all about it! He did a pretty good job. After that, thought Daniel was finished saying, "Too old," more and more often. So we left.

On our way home, we stopped by the Harley Davidson dealership that is close to our house. He had a great time looking at the motorcycles and when I asked which one he liked the best, of course he happened to pick the most expensive bike in the place. It was one of those cross country affairs with the big cushy seats, the big dashboard and lots of buttons. We wandered back into the accessories section and started looking at helmets. Daniel kept saying, "Wayne get for me, four-wheeler... Love it, for me," and talking about how great all of the helmets were. Of course he loved the one that had a microphone built into it with the full face shield.

After the motorcycle dealership, we went to the farmers market where Daniel picked out a watermelon for dinner. It was a huge thing for 2 bucks!! He picked a good one too and proceeded to carry it over his shoulder. Afterwards, Daniel dutifully went grocery shopping with me a pushed the cart for me. It was really sweet.

So, all in all, it was a good visit, although next time I think I'll try to find something a little more age appropriate. :)

p.s. - I'll work on trying to get the video to work. We've had some trouble in the past getting video to actually appear on our blog, so we'll try to work out the kinks. :) Cheers!

Friday, August 15, 2008

I've been tagged

I've been tagged by Mary. So here are four things.

4 Random Things I love about my husband:
1. The way he looks at me when I get excited about something
2. He cleans the kitchen
3. His head (scars and all)
4. He's like an electric heating blanket

4 Jobs I've had:
1. Goodberries
2. Summer Camp Counselor
3. Receptionist/Customer Service Rep/Office Assistant
4. Lab Monkey

4 Movies I have watched more than ten times:
1. Princess Bride
2. Beauty and the Beast
3. The Man Who Knew Too Little
4. Zoolander

4 TV Shows I watch:
1. The Office
2. Burn Notice
3. Psych
4. Gilmore Girls

4 Places I have Been:
1. Brisbane, Australia
2. The Fox Theater in Atlanta
3. Sundance Resort
4. Calgary

4 People who e-mail me regularly:
1. Matt
2. Mom
3. My boss
4. Megan

4 of my favorite Foods:
1. Spaghetti and Meatballs
2. Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches
3. Spinach Artichoke Dip
4. Squash (any kind)

4 Places I would like to visit:
1. Disneyland
2. The Great Pyramids in Egypt
3. Seattle
4. Europe

4 Things I am looking forward to in the coming year:
1. School
2. IFT
3. Graduating
4. Christmas

4 People I tag:
I'm not sure anybody actually reads this other than Mary and she's the one who tagged me. So, whoever reads this can be tagged! (Let me know in the comments if you choose to accept this mission!!)

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The State Fair Saga: NCSU Ice Cream

While my current school has some short comings... *cough football cough* I can firmly say that their food science department is one of the top ten on the East Coast, if not in the nation. Our facility is awesome and we have the greatest professors. In addition to having an awesome fruit and vegetable lab (read: totally wicked tricked out kitchen), there is a meat processing pilot plant and a dairy on the premises. This is where the take the milk that the animal science's cow's produce and turn it into creamy goodness.

There are several different flavors of ice cream available for purchase at The Fair including the traditional chocolate, vanilla and strawberry, while also including some truly delicious flavors, such as pecan crunch, cookies and cream, cheesecake etc., etc. This past year they increased the total fat content in the milk (which means more cream, less milk) which in turn increased the amount of fat soluble flavors in the the ice cream and making the consistency more creamy. Both good improvements in my opinion, even if that means that it has a few extra calories. :)

The NC State ice cream booth is manned by students in the food science club on campus. The students aren't paid directly. Instead, they're earning points toward a monetary refund at the end of the year. This refund can be put towards any kind of school related expense, like for example my upcoming trip to Anaheim next year. Hopefully I'll be at the fair every day scooping for some amount of time (my hands and wrists are going to kill me, but if it means a free trip to California I'll do it!!) which is a dream come true for a true Fair Fan. We, the students, do a good job of giving you your money's worth ($4 for a cup or cone) and you get service with a smile. :)

So, if you're going to come to The Fair this year, I implore you to stop by the NC State Dairy Bar and get some ice cream! I know you won't be disappointed.
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