Poor Paul The Psychic Octopus

Posted in animals, Current Events on November 13th, 2010 and tagged , , , , , , , , ,

No play on words necessary  for this blog post – there really was a Psychic Octopus named Paul who lived in Germany, and he recently passed away at the ripe old age (for an octopus) of 2½ years.

In his lifetime, however short is seems to us humans, Paul made himself famous with his uncanny ability to predict World Cup game winners correctly!  Before games, Paul would receive 2 boxes of mussels, one each with a flag of the countries of the two teams who would be facing off in the World Cup.  The country whose box was eaten out of by Paul first was declared Paul’s pick as the winner of that match, and he predicted correctly an astounding 100% of the time (8/8) for his World Cup predictions, and 86% (12/14) overall.

RIP • Paul the Octopus • 2008-2010

Farm Frenzy

Posted in games on February 11th, 2009 and tagged , , , , , , , ,

You might have noticed a decrease in the frequency of my blogging.  I am still super-busy with my 4 kids, but now that the horrible months-long-lasting illness has run its course through our house, I have more energy and time than I’ve had in a long time…  so why am I posting less?  Because I’ve gone and gotten myself addicted to a video game, of all things!

It’s called Farm Frenzy Pizza Party, and it’s addicting to play!  Basically, you get this little plot of land where you choose what animals to buy and manage.  Each different kind of animal drops a type of product, and you can either use these products to make other products, or you can sell them.  You can upgrade your warehouse to make it store more products, you can upgrade your factories to produce products more quickly, and you can upgrade your vehicles to make them faster.  The game is surprisingly complicated, yet easy to learn.  Ultimately, the more difficult levels consist of making pizzas, and each pizza is made up of five types of product.  Complicating the game player’s goals is the fact that some of the pizza components are made up of two different products themselves, so you have to choose which animals and factories to buy and it what order to make the products with the funds you have.  There are also bears that drop down from the sky that eat your animals and even trample your factories!  It’s really fast-paced (you get rewarded for completing the levels in a timely fashion also), and like I said, it’s very addicting.

I was looking for a hobby, but this is ridiculous.  I could have chosen something a little more productive than sitting on my butt and playing a video game.  But this is  fun.  And I haven’t let myself indulge in a hobby that’s non-productive in a long time…  Usually in my spare time I organize our family photos or work on our kids’ school memory books or things like that…  What’s that you ask?  What about my blogging?  Well, ok, I see your point.  So I have a few hobbies now; they’ll have to compete for my time.  And right now, Farm Frenzy is winning!  Here is a screen shot:


Diving For Victory

Posted in games on January 10th, 2009 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

For those habitual readers of my blog who couldn’t make it to our regular game night last night due to the blizzard, you missed an ‘event’ – one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen.  I’ve been chuckling about it all day!  But before I get to that, I will start at the beginning of the evening.

One of our guests showed up with a dog.  Not just any dog; our dog Beesly.  If you’ve read my blog post called Pet Roll Call, then you know that Beesly is an escape artist.  But imagine our friend’s surprise when he came across Beesly a few blocks away from our house as he was walking over for game night.  He was glad he remembered her name, and he brought her back to her grateful family who didn’t even realize she was missing.  Maybe we should have named her Houdini…

So then we played some games, including a new one a friend brought called Left, Right, Center.  I really liked it; especially because it was very simple and easy to learn.  And then we brought out Pit.  We don’t play Pit very often because it’s not really appreciated by some members of the game night crew.  It’s a very loud game that is played at a frenzied pace.  I really like to play it, but I don’t think I’ve ever won a hand of Pit.  My friend had the same issue, but last night while we were playing, she finally got a winning hand.  In Pit, when you have a winning hand, you are supposed to ring a little bell, much like a bell you’d ring for service at a front desk of a hotel or at a store.  My friend (who shall remain nameless; I don’t want to embarrass her, but I’ll give you a hint – her name rhymes with “feral”) was extremely excited to have a winning hand, but there was one problem – she couldn’t reach the bell from her seat.  So what does she do?  This sweet, very quiet, normally passive person lunges…  no wait, let’s be honest.  She dives across the table for the bell.  I mean, it was a feet-off-the-ground, laying-on-the-table, horizontal, head-first dive across our dining room table, and she landed on my arm in the process.  She was immediately embarrassed and apologized profusely, maybe because I was crying.  But mine were tears of laughter because her behavior was so shocking – my arm was fine.  I guess Pit is such a crazy game that it can bring out the insanity in anyone.  And by the way, she did win the round 🙂  So congrats, _____, on winning your first round of Pit.  Please forgive me for publishing this story on the internet, but I thank you for giving us such a fun memory.

I’m sorry it snowed, but I’m glad our absent friends stayed safe.  We missed you a lot, and we really hope to see you next time!

Road Kill Etiquette?

Posted in Kids on December 16th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Saturday morning started off completely crazily of course – it was the morning of our oldest daughter’s ninth birthday party.  We were running around like lunatics, trying to take care of our own 4 kids and getting last minute details for the party worked out – we didn’t even know how many kids were going to show up since people refuse to RSVP, but that’s a separate post altoghter.  I had invited 25 kids – I know that sounds completely crazy, but my daughter’s school has a rule that you have to invite the entire class if you’re handing invitations out at school (understandable, don’t want any kids’ feelings hurt) – so with the 17 in her class + Brownies + outside of school friends = meant almost 30 eight and nine-year-olds could have shown up at my house on Saturday.  But thank goodness, only about 6 or 7 showed up (they never stood still long enough for me to count them), which is another reason why I invite every kid my daughter knows – if we had only invited 5 kids, none of them would have been able to come probably.

So Saturday morning was hectic, to say the least.  Various kids were melting down in anticipation of the party, and adults were scrambling to decorate and plan games for somewhere between 5 and 25 kids.  My husband is brilliant and came up with an idea to do a craft, and luckily we have a pretty big supply of craft items.  So we threw a bunch of stuff together, and the kids made Christmas ornaments out of small red plastic cups and whatever else we found and had an awesome time doing so.  I was feeling much better after the craft idea was hatched, because it was almost time for kids to arrive and now everything was ready.  My dog started barking, so I went to the window to see what the barking was about this time.  Just as I got to the window, a squirrel ran out in front of a car and got hit – right in front of my house and my eyes – ugh.  What an awful way to start a birthday party – I’m really sensitive about those kind of things.  I wanted my husband to go out and move it – it was right in front of our house – but he refused.  I can’t say I blame him, I wasn’t going to go near it for anything, and I made him tie the party balloons out front.  But I knew at the very least, kids (especially boys) would be talking about the dead squirrel for the entire party.  At least it wasn’t warm out, which would have increased the chances of the party spilling outside, further leading to more attention on the poor unlucky squirrel.  So I don’t know, what’s road kill / birthday party ettiquette?  Should we have removed the squirrel?  Never had to deal with THAT problem before.  And I hope I never have to again; it cast a terrible shadow over my day.  But as it happened, no need to worry about the squirrel – by party time he was flat as a pancake and no one noticed him.  By the end of the party, he had disappeared completely.  I’m just glad none of my kids had to see it happen; I think that would have been rough on them.  And I’m happy to report that the birthday party was a HUGE success with several kids exclaiming that it was the best birthday party they had ever been to…  of course one of those comments came from a kid who was at his first birthday party ever.  But we did catch one kid lying about calling her grandma to come pick her up.  She said grandma wasn’t home but it turns out that she had never dialed – I’m glad I’m well-informed of that trick now.  This same kid’s grandma didn’t show up last year until an hour after the party was over, hmmm…  As President George W. Bush would say – Fool me once, shame on…  fool me twice….  if you get fooled, you’ll be fooled again.

Happy 9th Birthday Taylor!

The Mole – Week #7

Posted in TV Shows on July 23rd, 2008 and tagged , , , , ,

The following is a synopsis of the Mole episode that aired Monday, July 21, 2008.  It contains spoilers – do not read ahead if you don’t want to know who was executed!

My daughter is away this week and didn’t get to see this episode, so we won’t have her guess.  Darn, she was really getting into the show too, and it was fun to see an 8-year-old’s perspective on it.  But anyway, I thought Craig and Nicole both seemed very mole-y during the challenge; there were times when it seemed that they both tried to sabotage the numbers they were collecting.  I didn’t notice any suspicious behavior from anyone else.  Then there was a game where the contestants answered questions about their loved ones, and another contestant was re-quizzed about their answers.  The loved ones appeared in a train, and If they got enough answers correct, the doors would open for a reunion.  So of course whoever the mole is didn’t have the heart to sabotage this one – which means it’s NOT Nicole.  Just kidding.  Anyway, the train doors opened for everyone, thank goodness, and the anticipation was pure agony to watch; especially Mark’s wife (in 19 years of marriage we’ve never been apart this long) and Paul’s wife and especially his little girl.  I knew there was absolutely no way they would disappoint a little girl like that, and I wonder what they would have done if enough questions were not answered correctly?

I’d have to say Nicole’s mom is a bad influence on her – she really wanted Nicole to quit and even justified her reasons for doing so (it’s not really quitting, it’s not like this is your job).  It’s clear that Nicole really cares a lot about what Mommy thinks because she lied and said she was going to throw the quiz, and she also apologized for disappointing her mom by not quitting.  So I’m guessing that she can just explain it away to Mommy later by saying, “I disobeyed you because I was the Mole so I couldn’t quit the game.”  And, if she can lie that easily about throwing the quiz, it will be no surprise that she was lying the whole game about being the Mole.

So, the guesses remain:

Taylhis – Nicole

Chris – Paul

Jamiahsh – Paul

Jubilee Time

Posted in Kids on June 18th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

It’s time for our town’s annual summer fest; they call it the Jubilee.  Every year I’m compelled to attend, even though I become more disenchanted with the whole affair as years pass.  I just really like summer fest atmospheres, and I can’t resist going when we live within blocks of it.  It’s fun to take all the kids there without having to pack up everyone in the car, spend a few bucks for gas to get there, or haggle over parking.  But as every cost in our economy rises, the Jubilee is no exception.  And if the kids had lots of fun, it’d be worth it, but every year it seems the Jubilee finds ways to cut corners and disappoint my kids. 

Take this year, for example.  “Wrist band day” was on the first day of the carnival; a day when you buy a wristband for one “low” price (now $16, up $2 from the $14 it cost last year) and it gets you on “unlimited” rides.  I think they planned wrist band day on the first day of the carnival for a reason – before anyone could get to the carnival and look around to see that some of the usual rides are missing.  Not only that, but for small children, because of height requirements, there are only about 4 rides they were able to use their wristband on.  My 4-year-old is a little daredevil and wanted to ride everything, including the “Kamikaze”, a ride that goes upside down.  She was too small to ride that one of course, and I completely understood the rhyme and reason for that rule, however, when she got excited about the Ferris Wheel only to be turned away, I began to lose my patience.  Seems the rules require that she ride with an adult, no problem there, my husband would have rode with her even though he’s not crazy about ferris wheels…  except that the escorting adult had to have 3 tickets to ride!  And at $1.50/ticket, we’re talking about spending an extra $4.50 for one ride, on top of the $32 we had already spent on wristbands for my 2 daughters – just for my daughter to follow their rule and be escorted on the ferris wheel – no thanks.  So after 2 disappointments, we went over to the other side of the Jubilee and found the “scrambler” ride, so my daughters went on it and had a good time.  They got in line to go again, and 4-year-old Sammie was turned away because she wasn’t tall enough – apparently she shrank while waiting in line to go a second time?  Again, I’m all for abiding by safety rules, etc., but they need to adopt a uniform policy that will be in place the entire run of the carnival.  Try explaining to a 4-year-old that she isn’t tall enough to ride a ride that she just got finished riding!  We actually ran into the same problem at Disney World, but they were very sympathetic and understanding and offered us ride passes as compensation.  And as if all this at the Jubilee weren’t enough, my daughters have a favorite “ride” at the Jubilee every year – the funhouse.  They actually usually have 2 funhouses, but for whatever reason, my girls have their favorite.  So they’re standing there on the steps of their favorite funhouse, waiting to get in, and the ride operator is trying to tell them something, and that’s when I see the signs.  “No wristbands or tickets.  This ride is $2”  WHAT?!?  Why would they do this?  To make money obviously, but that funhouse had no one there all night, was it really worth it to disappoint all the kids who go there year after year and look forward to that funhouse?  And like I said, since wristband night was on the first day of the Jubilee, we didn’t have an opportunity to tour the grounds to see what would be included in the purchase of the wristband – regrettably.

Despite all the disappointments, my daughters took them all in stride and still had fun.  We ran into some friends, so we decided to take one of their daughters home with us for a sleepover.  Even though we had bought the wristbands that were good until 11, we just wanted out of there after all the disappointment and money wasting.  I did get my Dippin’ Dots, but the vendor forgot my root beer float this year 🙁  I was pretty happy with the cookie dough that my husband got for me, and it was actually better than I remember.  Not worth going back to the Jubilee for more, but still good.  I think we’re done with the Jubilee already this year.  We usually go back Friday night for the karaoke contest and Saturday after the parade, but I think we can find something better (and cheaper!) to do this year.  Next year, maybe we’ll plan a vacation for Jubilee week and skip it all together!


Posted in Kids, Sports on June 12th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

In case you’ve been wondering where I’ve been lately (or even if you haven’t) – Grandma has helped us get one last little vacation before baby arrives.  We were going to head to New York, but decided not to do that, thank goodness.  Admittedly, the gas prices were the original deterrent, so then we explored taking a Greyhound bus there, but in my huge condition, I didn’t see any opportunity for good rest on a long bus trip.  I am really glad we declined the big trip, though, because my feet have been killing me, just from everyday tasks, like cleaning or shopping.  I would have had to cut short all of our sight-seeing in New York or rent a wheelchair for the week.  And staying home had afforded us time to do much needed catch-up work around the house.  We’ve been making landscaping plans, and I will be very excited to see how that turns out in a few weeks when it’s finished.  We cleaned out the famous closet o’ games, and we didn’t even need to knock down the wall to expand the closet as I was talking about in another post.  We found enough room for all of our games by sending all the kids’ games upstairs to their room.  Our house has lots of built-in shelving and drawers, and the kids had a huge cabinet in their closet that wasn’t even being used.  So, up went all the kids’ games.  I am a little concerned that they will tear apart their game collection and scatter pieces and whatnot, but they will have to be taught somehow that this is not going to be tolerated.  Most importantly on our vacation without the kids, we acheived the cleaning of their room.  It is a huge bedroom, and we have all 3 of our girls sharing it, but until we cleaned it, they could barely fit in there because they had so many toys.  Whenever we’d make them clean it, we noticed that they would play in there for such a long time afterward because they actually liked having all the open space.  So we donated about 90% of their toys to charity while they were visiting with Grandma.  It might sound mean, but we kept the important stuff, and like I said, they actually enjoy their room and the things in it much more when everything is picked up and they have fewer thins to appreciate.  I will keep you posted on how well (or not) this is received when they get home.  They will probably forget exactly what toys they once had, and by donating everything, more kids can enjoy them.

Even though it took an entire day of cleaning to reach the bottom of the toy pile in their room, we have managed to fit in lots of fun for just hubby and me.  We’ve gone shopping several times, and yesterday we were in Toledo all day getting good food, seeing a movie, and taking in a Toledo MudHens game.  If you’re not familiar, the MudHens are minor league baseball.  I’ve been wanting to get to a Chicago Cubs game last year or this year, but with the baby coming, I’ve ruled it out until at least next year.  So, minor league baseball it was, and we had a blast – I got my live baseball game fix for awhile…  there’s just something about hearing the crack of the bat, the slap of the ball in the glove and the other sounds of a baseball game in the beautiful summer night air.  And it was a great game.  Seems a player from the Detroit Tigers was rehabbing with the MudHens, so we got to see a major-leaguer pitch for a few innings.  The Hens were up 3-0 early in the game, then they let Indianapolis tie it up, only to hit a walk-off homer in the 9th with 2 outs to win the game – awesome!  And if you’re not from the area and want to experience food that is uniquely Toledo, I recommend a restaurant called Tony Packo’s to you.  Their menu is somewhat limited; there aren’t very many choices, so pass on it if you’re a picky eater.  But if you’re like me and you like to try all different kinds of ethnic food, give it a whirl.  They serve Hungarian food, namely sausage, cabbage rolls, and chili mac over dumplings.  It’s really good and a unique dining experience.  It’s also really interesting how we heard of the restaurant in the first place.  We were in a thrift store and I saw this stuffed baby in a diaper with a tomato head.  I thought it was really cute, even though it creeped my husband out, but it was only 5¢ so I bought it.  Turns out, it’s a character from Tony Packo’s as labeled on the rear end of the baby tomato.  I googled Tony Packo’s, found out it was a restaurant an hour away from us in Toledo, looked at the menu, and we decided to give it a try.  The guy who works their marketing in the gift shop really liked that story.  What’s weird though, is that while gutting my kids’ room this week, the baby tomato never surfaced.  Hmmm, I wonder what happened to it?

Sometimes you get more of what you want from a vacation by staying home.  In this age of the horribly high gas prices, the media has even coined a new word for the ‘vacation taken at home’, but I can’t recall what it is.  If you know, post it in my comments – it’s bugging me that I can’t think of it.  Anyway, by staying home, we saved a ton of money on gas alone, and we got some things done around the house that we will appreciate for months or even years to come, all while having a great time with just each other, no kids!  Thank you, Grandma!

The Mole Week 2

Posted in TV Shows on June 10th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , ,

After getting to watch week #2 of the new Mole season UNINTERRUPTED by kids since they’re with Grandma this week (can’t put a price on that by the way, it’s funny how simple pleasures like watching a favorite tv show uninterrupted can feel really nice :)), I am going to change my mole guess from Clay to Kristen.  I don’t really have a good reason why; she was just acting kind of moley.  And her way of sabotaging the task could have been to get that chain to keep falling off the bike, cuz that was unfortunate.  Clay had like, one comment during the whole episode, and I just don’t think they would shove the mole into the backround like that.  And I have to add that I just knew this week was going to be the end of Liz somehow.  Chris thinks the mole is Paul, going with his first week’s guess.  I guess what I will do is give everybody a point for every week they guess the mole correctly at the end once we find out who it is.  Do you have a guess this week, Jamiahsh?  I got your comment on my other mole post, and I will repost it here:

After watching the first 2 episodes. It is definitely NOT BOBBY. Trying way too hard to draw attention to himself with his ‘overexertion. It could be Alex… unless he really did leave his journal behind by mistake.

Interesting comment.  We too, think that Bobby is drawing way too much attention to himself to be the mole.  He’s just coming across as a lazy jerk, and it’s not fun to watch.  I will go with Chris’ theory on him – he is trying to throw off other players by acting like the mole.  I see Alex as the guy who wins everyting – there’s always one of those on every reality show – and I don’t think he’s the mole.  I don’t know whether or not he left his journal laying around on purpose.  He could have done so or he could have left it accidently and just tried to cover it up with the explanation of trying to throw others off.  But anyway, another good episode, and here is where we stand on mole guesses:

Lisa – Clay, Kristen

Chris – Paul, Paul

Jamiahsh – Clay, ?