Putting The Fun Into Labor…

Posted in Travel on September 6th, 2009 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Well, it was a last-minute attempt at a Labor Day outing with friends, and even though we strayed from our original idea of going to a Lake Erie-area haunted house and drive-thru zoo, we had LOTS of fun!

We went to the Toledo Zoo, always a great zoo, even if this Labor Day Saturday of 2009  equated to being one of the most crowded we’ve ever seen that zoo.  It was just over 80°, so the animals weren’t all that active, but we did get to see Louie, the “baby” elephant (who is now 6 years old and awaiting the completion of construction of his very own zoo exhibit area) lying down and taking a break, which was cool.  We also saw one of their huge hippos swimming in the underwater hippo-quarium, which is always a treat because you can see a humongous hippo swim right past up close.  After the zoo, we ate at one of our favorite places in the Toledo area – Nick’s Cafe on Reynolds (not sure if it’s actually Toledo or the suburb of Maumee).  But the place is just north of Ohio’s turnpike, I 80/90, and they have great food and almost unimaginable portion sizes – are they used to feeding GIANTS?!?  Unfortunately for Nick’s, the place was empty, but this is (just) one of the reasons we go to Nick’s when  we’re in the area – they have GREAT food.  Besides, you try withstanding the crowds to get a table at the Olive Garden on a Saturday evening, especially with 4 starving kids!

After dinner, we were going to head to another nearby Toledo suburb for a free exotic animal / magic show, something right up our alley.  But the combination of the big weekend, crabby kids and crowds at the zoo caused our driver and his wife to veto that great idea, so luckily we hadn’t told the kids since it sounded like fun and they would have been disappointed (no matter their exhaustive state) to miss it.  But we’ve learned that over-doing it with little kids along is always regretful, and so we happily prepared for our journey home after we gorged ourselves and piled leftovers into boxes at Nick’s.  But we grew distracted by a strip-mall across Reynolds from Nick’s Cafe, and that’s how we finally discovered what Nickel World of Toledo really is…

We had seen it in the strip-mall before, but we had always busily assumed that it was the 2009 incarnate of the early 20th century 5 and dime store.  On Saturday night, we discovered that Nickel World is actually a family entertainment place, filled with many arcade, skill, and video games!  They have a unique business model – they charge an entrance fee of $2.50 per person, and then they sell $5 bags of nickels for use on the games.  Most of the games are just one nickel to play, some are two, and there’s even a large selection of FREE games!  The place is so cool; what a great concept!  For about $25, our party of 4 adults and 5 kids were easily entertained for at least an hour, PLUS the kids took home quite a bounty of prizes with the 5,000 tickets they were able to rack up in just that hour!  Nickel World has just about every type of video game you can think of – two  types of Skeeball, multiple Crane Games, ball-roller games, basketball shooting games, racing games, Bozo Buckets, even air hockey as well as FREE! vintage arcade games like X-Men, Bust-A-Move, Dueling Dragons, and many more…  We had a GREAT time, and Hubby and I are dying to return on a date night to fight, race and out-shoot each other without distraction from the kids!  The only thing is that they are closed on Tuesday nights when we have our date nights…  oh well, perhaps we can reschedule.  If you are in the Toledo area, you have to check out Nickel World on Reynolds (US 20) – a rarity for an awesome value in family entertainment in this day and age of recession!  And while I’m on the topic, Nickel World reminded me of another cool arcade-type place in South Bend, Indiana.  Megaplay has two indoor mini-golf courses, as well as lots of video games (some of the classics are free) and even an inflatable  jousting area where they hold tournaments.  I’ve never had the pleasure of participating in something like this, but it looks like lots of fun.  If only I had discovered this sport before my sense of balance expired…  I did see an indoor inflatable jousting space at another place in Toledo that we visited a few months ago.  This place was pretty cool – they had adult-sized bouncy slides and ladders to climb, and my husband and I bounced down the slides and ran around like little kids until the unfortunate voices of reality (muscle strain and fatigue) made it loud and clear that we had better take it easy…  But I can’t remember the name of that place or where exactly it is, and I can’t find it on the internet.  Probably a bad sign that we were the only ones there at the time, I hope it hasn’t closed down, but that’s a lot of why it was so much fun – my kids weren’t getting run over by eager older kids, and hubby and I weren’t laughed out of the place by nasty teenagers…

So…  back from my tangents.  We had a really nice and safe Labor Day weekend free from any of the speed traps we encountered in previous years.  Hope yours was safe and fun also!  God Bless!

For Those Born Between 1930-1979

Posted in Fun Forwards on March 3rd, 2009 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The following words of wisdom came to me in an email forward.  However, I have to disagree with some of it since I was born near the end of the window and I did have some of the things growing up that the email says I would not have had.  So, I put my personal comments about this email forward in italics.

THOSE BORN 1930-1979

READ TO THE BOTTOM FOR QUOTE OF THE MONTH BY JAY LENO . IF YOU DON’T READ ANYTHING ELSE—VERY WELL STATED

TO ALL THE KIDS WHO SURVIVED the 1930’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and 70’s!!  (I can barely get credit for surviving the 70’s.  After all, I only experienced the 70’s for a year and a half!)

First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they were pregnant.  (Well, ok, maybe everyone reading this survived some of that, but that doesn’t make it right, of course!)

They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn’t get tested for diabetes .

Then after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright colored lead-based paints.

We had no child- proof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when  we rode our bikes, we had no helmets.  Not to mention the risks we took  hitchhiking.  (that is definitely before my time.  I’ve never hitchhiked.  And the only people I know who have are either deceased or over the age of 50!)

As infants & children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, booster seats , seat belts or air bags.  (Ok, I remember this – every kid I knew whose parents had a station wagon would ride in the back of it for long trips, no seatbelts.  I think kids should be buckled up, but I think the whole booster / car seat until they’re 8 years old is just plain ridiculous!  Ah, the effects those lobbyists have on Congress is purely amazing, isn’t it?)

Riding in the back of a pick up on a warm day was always a special treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle.

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this.

We ate cupcakes, white bread and real butter and drank Kool-aid made with sugar, but we weren’t overweight because WE WERE ALWAYS OUTSIDE PLAYING!  (Well, a few people I went to school with DO have heart problems, but…)

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.

No one was able to reach us all day. And we were OK.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We did not have Playstations, Nintendo ‘s, X-boxes, no video games at all (umm, I beg to differ.  My generation had Atari, Intellivision, the Commodore, the Tandy, the original Nintendo, and even some hand-held electronic games), no 150 channels on cable, no video movies (again, not true.  I remember the day my family got our VCR.  I was worried my big sister would be mad because she was at a sleepover when we got it and the whole event was so exciting.  We rushed right out to the video store to rent a video.  But all the good ones seemed to be in BETA, not VHS…) or DVD’s, no surround-sound or CD’s (but we had records, casette tapes, and walkmans!), no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet or chatrooms…….

WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.

We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.  (Nor did the gum we swallowed stay in our tummies for seven years – hehe)

We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls, and although we were told it would happen, we did not poke out very many eyes.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend’s house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them!

Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn’t had to learn to deal with disappointment.  Imagine that!!  (Nowadays, we’d be lucky to get enough kids to have to turn them away, not that we would, but the point is, many kids are busy playing video games or causing trouble…  or their parents are just too busy to let them commit to anything extracurricular)

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!  (Nowadays kids are charged as adults, so parents aren’t often given the option to decide what’s best for their own child!)

These generations have produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever!

The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned HOW TO DEAL WITH IT ALL!

If YOU are one of them CONGRATULATIONS!

You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the lawyers and the government regulated so much of our lives for our own good.

While you are at it, forward it to your kids so they will know how brave (and lucky) their parents were.

Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn’t it?!

The quote of the month is by Jay Leno:

‘With hurricanes, tornadoes, fires out of control, mud slides, flooding,severe thunderstorms tearing up the country from one end to another,and with the threat of bird flu and terrorist attacks, are we sure this is a good time to take God out of the Pledge of Allegiance?’

For those that prefer to think that God is not watching over us…go ahead and delete this.

For the rest of us…pass this ON!

Ok, I’m not a big fan of passing on email forwards…  But this one entertained me, so do with it what you will, and remember that my contributions are the ones in italics, so thanks for reading my commentary!

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:

farmfrenzy