Friday, January 05, 2018

December fun

Erik is Snape
December flew by in a whirlwind. I'm still not sure where it went. We had 2 birthday parties in December. Sarah had a Harry Potter birthday party complete with a scavenger hunt for horcruxes, potions class, painting wands, and pizza and cake. The kids loved the party and I did too (I'm not a muggle!) Erik was a convincing Snape as well!

Platform 9 3/4
 For Jenna's birthday party we went to see Star Wars the Last Jedi and then to Bibibop for lunch. I took several girls with me and they all had a great time. These last two Star Wars movies are shaping up to be really good - way better than episodes 1, 2, and 3. Although that's not saying much.....
Jenna's party
 I also snapped a picture of Matthew painting his pinewood derby car. It is something he has been working on with Erik. I love that they are working together on this project. The race is in March so they have plenty of time to get it going fast.
Matthew painting in action
 Over Christmas Dave, Becca, Charlotte, baby 2 (Alex?), Joel, Megan, and Grandma and Grandpa were here. We had a full house and plenty of fun! It is so wonderful to spend time with with Erik's family - they are amazing! Dave and Jenna happened to be wearing the same nerdy shirt on Christmas morning so I had to snap a picture.
Dave and Jenna are twins!
 We all received fantastic gifts but the best part was being together. We played tons of games (sometimes until 3:30am!), took the kids to several fun places, and ate a LOT!
One of Jenna's favorite signs
 Sarah got her ears pierced over Christmas break. They did one ear at a time and in between Sarah teared up. She didn't want the other ear done but finally agreed. Seeing Sarah cry made Charlotte hesitant to want her ears pierced too (it made me hesitant and mine are already pierced!). I'm glad Sarah was brave!
Ears pierced!
 Another important thing we did was have a frappuccino tasting. We got 5 drinks and I made everyone taste them and fill out tasting sheets.
Frappuccino tasting
Obviously I created a spreadsheet and calculated that Dairy Queen had the best drink and especially best taste/prize/oz

Drink Price Size Price/oz Average Ranking Taste/price/oz
Diary Queen  $ 4.99 24  $  0.21 1.875 1 15.03
Starbucks  $ 5.25 26  $  0.20 2.500 2 12.38
Tim Hortons  $ 3.49 16  $  0.22 2.750 3 10.32
McDonalds  $ 3.49 22  $  0.16 3.625 4 8.67
Dunkin Donuts  $ 5.49 32  $  0.17 4.250 5 4.37

 Jon and Michelle came up to visit on Thursday. We loved having them here. Jon lit some brandy on fire and poured it over Christmas plum pudding cake that he made. It was divine! Several other guys came over for a poker night which was a blast for Erik!
Jon lighting up a Christmas plum pudding cake
 After the poker night Jon, Michelle, Dave, Joel, and Erik drank a lot of scotch.
drinking nasty scotch
 Charlotte, Sarah and Matthew enjoy cooking and the three of them made cinnamon bread. It turned out really good even though I left them to do it by themselves. Sarah is a great reader so I assumed it would turn out good (ie no eggshells in the bread).
making bread
 The last day everyone was here we had a pizza tasting. We got 4 pizzas

Donatos won this taste test but it was a difficult choice.
Pizza Price Average Ranking
Donatos  $ 14.00 2.000 1
Massey  $ 17.00 2.000 2
Flyers  $ 12.00 2.714 3
Jets  $   9.00 2.857 4

As expected, Matthew needs glasses. He actually needed glasses at the beginning of the year but the eye doctor said that he would probably lose them. Now the school called me and said he really needed glasses. We took him to the eye doctor and his eyes were pretty bad. So he got his first pair of glasses today. He was so excited and said he looks smart now. He also said "I think this is how God sees things." SO CUTE! Then at dinner he ate all his dinner (much to my amazement) and said it was because he could finally see his food.
Matthew's glasses
December just flew by and now we are in 2018. Time to make New Years Resolutions. I have the same resolution to do 2 pull ups. I will have that resolution until I actually accomplish it!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Our new bedroom!

For our Anniversary I got Erik a sword. When we got married I got him a sword, then I got him one on our 10th anniversary and this year another one on our 20th. So he decided he was done with the baby blue color of our bedroom (who knew?) and wanted to make our room into a castle. I'm down with that! Buying one sword turned into scope creep.

So we got wallpaper that looks like stone for one wall. It actually looks like stone! Then painted the rest of the room gray. We bought a new bed, new dressers, lamps, nightstands, and decorations. Here are some before and after pics:
Our bed - we didn't even have a frame!

old hand me down dressers

Got this dresser used when we got married 20 years ago!
 And we present - the transformation!!
Notice the tapestry above the bed

Doesn't that wall look sweet!

The swords on the wall
We are pretty excited about how this turned out. The curtains we bought block out the light. And one Saturday I slept in until 10! Yipee!! I actually think I get better sleep with these curtains.

This is the first year I didn't get a picture of the kids prior to trick or treating. It was because Jenna went with a group of girls, Sarah went with a group of girls and we only had Matthew at home. Erik took him around. They still had a great time and we have tons of candy. Jenna was a crazy cat lady, Matthew was Captain America, and Sarah was a hufflepuff. 
This picture is so Jenna

Matthew as Captain America

Sarah as hufflepuff
 Our neighbor gave us tickets to the OSU-Penn State game. These were the best seats I've ever had. We had seat backs and were so close to the field. The game was incredible too - we had a great time! Even though it was freezing ;)
Our seats!

In other news:

  1. Erik went to England for 2 weeks for work. He had a fabulous time (I'm not sure he actually wanted to come home). He went to a board game club in the town he was staying twice. He won 3 out of 4 games. He also played D&D with a group of people from the office as well. Who knew there were so many nerds in England? On the weekend he rented a car and drove around to see castles. The only bad thing was that the food was not great. 
  2. Every 25 weeks Erik and I have a weight loss contest. I have won most of them and have picked activities such as going on the hocking valley train ride, going to transiberian orchestra, taking the whole family to the cheesecake factory, etc. Erik picked buying a doorbell last time. Our reward has to be less than $200. I just can't decide what I want this time. I thought of getting a pogo plus which helps you get pokemon faster or a subscription to kindle unlimited for the year. I just can't decide!
  3. I've rated a few books on goodreads for their annual readers choice awards. The best part was that Oathbringer (Brandon Sanderson's new book) was one of the finalists before it even came out!
  4. Our book club is reading Oathbringer. Yay!!! I'm also reading the newest Shadowhunter book by Cassandra Clare, the Bear and the Nightengale, Of Mess and Moxie by Jen Hatmaker, the next Monster Hunter book, and Forest of a Thousand Lanterns. So I've got a lot on my reading list now. 
  5. This semester I've had a lot of trouble with Android studio. Several students have not been able to get it working on their machines. It actually requires a good machine (not a laptop/tablet hybrid one of my students has - GAH!!). I've been working with IT to set up an environment for students. After testing it this week I think it is good to go! I actually thought about setting up my own server (amazon services) to do this but getting our own IT to do it is better and free for me.
  6. Can't wait for Thanksgiving tomorrow. I love lots of food and lots of family and friends!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Lots of trips!

The past several weeks Erik and I have traded traveling. He went to Chicago and Seattle for work, and I went to Geneva on the Lake (for fun) and Indianapolis for work. Now we are finally home, and hopefully home to stay! My Mom came to visit for her birthday. I made her a cherry chocolate cheesecake and zucchini lasagna rollups. She seemed to like it. We also went to spinning and body pump together at the Y. The teacher for body pump walked up to my mom and said she could leave at any time if she couldn't do it. Ha! She doesn't know my mom. My Mom is hard core. She can run circles around some of those 20 year olds. 
Happy 70th Mom!
 When Erik is traveling we tend to eat a lot of vegetables. Not everyone in my house is as excited about it as I am. I made pea soup one day and leek and potato soup another day. This is Sarah's face when I served the pea soup. She couldn't wait for Daddy to come home so she could eat bacon.
yum! Pea soup!
 My sisters, neighbor Sarah and her friend Leah all went to Geneva on the Lake for a girls trip. We had a fantastic time. On Saturday we went to 4 different wineries. I'm not a huge wine drinker but I loved the scenery. I tried a little of the wine and some I liked more than others. We ended up not eating lunch because we drank so much wine (probably not a good combination).  The five of us stayed in a little cottage right by the lake. The view was spectacular. We also got pedicures which I enjoyed!
Wine tasting

Us at a vineyard
 For dinner we went to the Old Mill restaurant. For an appetizer they had pierogi pizza which is basically pizza with mashed potatoes and a garlic butter sauce on it. Of course I had to try and duplicate it. I made mashed potatoes and homemade pizza crust. Then I put the potatoes along with some sauteed onions and 3 varieties of cheese on the crust and baked it. The mashed potato pizza was good but not great. Not as good as the restaurant's version. It was very heavy too. I also made a regular pizza for Matthew since there was no way he would eat mashed potato pizza. I'm not sure this experiment was successful.
Mashed potato pizza

Right on the lake
Those who know me know that I am an oreo connoisseur. I bought the new mystery oreos (which taste like fruity pebbles) and submitted my entry to win oreos. Because I need more oreos. 
Mystery oreos
Wednesday - Saturday the IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference was held in Indianapolis. This is a prestigious conference for Engineering Educators. I was excited to present my work on adding the raspberry pi to my CEIS100 course. The presentation went really well and I made a ton of contacts. I made several contacts at Ohio State which is good for collaboration or in case I need a job! Actually a woman from the University of Cincinnati tried to recruit me to teach there. She asked if I was happy at Devry. Ha! Not moving to Cincinnati.

Going to this conference made me realize how big makerspace is now. So  many universities are getting 3D printers and giving students pis or arduinos to create. Students like hands on and it really gives them an opportunity to be hands on. I've got some ideas of how I want to use the raspberry pi in my classes as well. In addition gamification is huge in education right now. I would love to figure out a way to add gamification to my online courses.

Unfortunately as soon as I left Sarah got strep throat. So she stayed home from school. Luckily Erik works from home so this wasn't too problematic.
A student project, 3D printed light scaffold from University of Florida
 I was in Indianapolis by myself but that didn't stop me from playing pokemon one night. I did 2 Entei raids and then started walking back to the hotel. One of the guys playing started walking with me and we were talking about our legendaries. Then he asked if I was married and said he was lonely. Dude I'm just here to play pokemon! Well and go to the conference. I do hope that my going to this conference and speaking raised the prestige of Devry in academia. That's my goal!
Me at the presentation

This upcoming session and the upcoming January session are going to be HARD! I have a new Advanced Visual basic class I'm teaching. I made videos explaining all the labs but still - it is an online course and that can be difficult (especially the first time you teach it). I'm teaching my mobile app class. This class is SO challenging because Android is quirky and Android studio can be a pain. So I need to meet with each student in a webex. I have 5 hours of webex a week scheduled for this. There are 20 students in the class so this is going to be difficult. I also am teaching a software engineering class I haven't taught before. I'd like to add github into the class because knowing version control is a good thing for students but this class is new and I'm not sure. I am still going to do it though. Finally I'm teaching onsite Friday nights CEIS100. Yuck! Friday nights!! At least this class is only 2 credit hours and I should be out of there at 9pm.

I need some prayer this session!!

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Cub Scout Campout

I snapped a few pictures of Sarah and Matthew sparring at tae kwon do. Yes Sarah is sparring in a skirt. That's my girl! The kids are doing great and really getting good at sparring. I enjoy sparring Erik. It should be required for all couples as marriage counseling.
Sarah and Matthew sparring

Another shot
 Matthew is outside ALL the time. After school every day he goes and plays in the backyard making a path through the woods that is poison ivy free. This happened after he got poison ivy twice this summer. All of the kids are doing well in school. Jenna (obviously) is doing fantastic. Sarah is doing amazing as well and Matthew is doing so much better. He got 23/25 on his last spelling test. So he is definitely catching up.
Matthew's path

Matthew working on his path
 We went to COSI and got a picture of Sarah riding the unicycle. She did a great job and wasn't scared at all even though she says she is afraid of heights.
Sarah on the unicycle
 Last weekend we had our first cub scout campout. I am the leader for all 22 first grade boys. This campout was for all elementary kids 1st - 5th grade. Our whole family went and we camped in our tent we haven't used in 10 years. It was SOOOO cold! 44 degrees at night. I'm trying to figure out how we can bring the camper next year. Sarah's best friend (and in fact the only person she seems to hang out with now!) is a boy named Alden. He was at the cub scout campout and they played together the whole time. Here is a pic of Sarah and Alden. They write stories together on google docs and get along really well.
Sarah and Alden
 The campout was fun. We sang songs, performed skits and our den earned our bobcat badge. This was a HUGE difference from girl scouts. We sit in a circle and do crafts at girl scouts. I couldn't get these boys to even sit still on the bench. They started jumping on the tables and acting bananas.

Playing phase 10
In other news:

  • Joel's book is the bomb diggity. I love it!
  • I'm reading Tower of Dawn, the 6th book in the Throne of Glass series. It is good - not as good as the others
  • My craft show is Saturday. I have a ton of jam ready for it, and I hope I sell more than last year.
  • Next session I'm teaching Advanced Visual Basic (a new class), Advanced Software Engineering (another new class), and Mobile App Development (a class I developed but is a difficult one to teach). So next session will be crazy for me. Not to mention the session after that I have 2 new classes as well. Yikes!! 
  • Sarah is now playing the viola. She seems to like it - we will see as the year goes further. I remember when Jenna played the viola. The 4th grade strings concert was not a melodious sound.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Outdoor woman again!

Matthew is officially a Tiger Cub Scout. Yay! He is also now selling popcorn if anyone wants any??? 
I am (of course!) leading his den. I also have a nifty shirt to wear. I thought leading two girl scout troops was not enough so I wanted to lead Matthew's den. Yikes! Also I planned on leading his troop the way I lead my girls troops - with crafts and coloring. Something tells me that might not work as well with 6 and 7 year old boys. 
Matthew as a cub scout
 This weekend I went on my Women in the Outdoors weekend with NWTF. It was a blast! I went with Michelle and we had a fantastic time. It was in a new location - Pleasant Hill Camp. I just love the variety of classes at this camp. This particular camp is very gun/hunting focused whereas camps in the past were more watercraft focused. This camp even had a field to freezer class where they actually took a deer and cut it up. I did not take that class.
Camp selfie

The cabin we slept in
 The classes I took were:

  1. Defensive knife - This class really made me think about the usefulness of carrying a knife. They are handy in many situations. So I bought one. 
  2. Shotgun - I like shooting clay pigeons. Out of 18 shots I hit 4. This is not a spectacular percentage but better than last time.
  3. Kayak - Yes! I love kayaking but we only were on the water an hour. I would have liked a longer kayak trip. It was still nice though.
  4. Archery - boooyah! This is my favorite. I have picked archery every single time we have done WITO. I love it. Please note - I put a bow and arrow on my amazon wish list.
  5. Automotive maintenance - this class was ok. I thought we were going to take apart cars. Instead they just talked about how to change a tire, oil, etc. I like hands on better. 

Michelle shooting

Me shooting

Hilarious spatula
The group
 This weekend is always a great getaway weekend for me.The new location is nice however there were only 8 showers for 105 women. Not enough. We had to ration our shower time. However the food was really good for a camp. There was a taco bar for lunch - yum! And french toast casserole with pure maple syrup they made there for breakfast. YESSSSS! I love going and want to go next year too!

I got back Sunday afternoon and we went over to Matt's surprise birthday party. It was at my new friend Megan's house. She is my secret twin. When I went to her house I saw she had the same bread machine and bread cookbook as me. SAY WHAT? Yes - she truly is my secret twin. Then she tripled her bread dough recipe in her bread machine. I told her she was out of her mind but she did it anyway. Yikes! It turned out great though. She and I have read almost all of the same books. I brought my cookies too and one of her sons said "I knew these cookies would be good because you are my mom's twin so you must be a good cook."
Wow that's a lot of ingredients

Megan and the bread machine

In other news:
  • I finished Monster Hunter International by Larry Correia. This is just a silly book and I loved it! I'll be starting on the second book after I finish my new round of books.
  • The newest book in the Throne of Glass series came out and it is at the library waiting for me. So I'm going to pick it up ASAP. Rumor is that it isn't as good as the 5th book. Bummer!
  • Instead of sleeping while I was at the Women in the Outdoors weekend I read Legend by Marie Lu. It was a great book! I got the second book in the series on kindle as well.
  • Our Cooper book club is reading Joel's latest book about Spaceman Steve. This book is FANTASTIC! Seriously! It is his best book and very well written. He could do a series on Spaceman Steve and I would read every book. 
  • I'm preparing for the classes I'm teaching next session. It should be a fun session with Advanced Visual Basic.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

New School Year

This is the year I have been waiting for. This is it! The year that all my kids are in school full time. Last year Matthew's kindergarten schedule was Monday/Thursday every other Wednesday. Somehow we figured it out. This year in first grade Matthew goes to school every day. It has been somewhat of an adjustment but he is doing well. Jenna is in 7th grade, Sarah in 4th with Mrs. Sheehan and Matthew in first with Mrs. Shaw. Jenna doesn't have just one teacher. She has many teachers and is all over the school with her schedule. It's been a good start of the year.

Jenna's first day

Matthew and Sarah's first day

Matthew and Mrs. Shaw

Sarah and Mrs. Sheehan
 We've been walking to school quite a bit which has been good. I walk to and from school at 0.8 miles each way. 0.8 *4 = 3.2 miles a day. Nice! Although I'm also back in my workout routine so I'm going to the Y every morning and taking all types of classes (bootcamp, body pump, spinning, zumba, etc). It's great since I've missed the Bible study at the Y. We have a 45 minute workout and then a 15 minute Bible study (which is actually always longer than 15 minutes!). Then after that one of my friends and I work on our pull ups. My goal is 2 pull ups and her goal is 1. I love the women in this workout Bible study.

The eclipse was August 21 and I went to a party at one of my friend's houses. She has a huge telescope and is a big nerd (like me!). She is also level 40 in pokemon go (the highest level). Both women on either side of me are level 40. We go on raids together even though I'm only level 32. They still take me along! I love these women too!
My pokemon buds
 I know I recently posted about my favorite oreo flavors and now there are two more at the grocery store to try. However these will most definitely not make the top 10. The Jelly donut oreo would be in the bottom 3 in fact. It is not good. However, this will not deter me from my mission to try all the oreos.

 I have been searching for a soup kitchen that will allow kids. Most you have to be 14 years old. We found one called the Bridge which works with refugees and has a soup kitchen on Tuesday evenings. We took the kids and they were really helpful. They served everyone there with a smile and even helped clean up. I'm planning on more trips like this in the future. One of the people we were serving said to the kids "thank you for doing this, you could be out riding your bikes and here you are serving us." That was awesome!

Jenna may also do her silver award project here. She has to do 50 service hours but they can't just be service hours. She has to include education and sustainability. She thought about fixing up their playground (shown in the picture).

Playground at the Bridge
In other news:
  1. Our book club just finished All our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai. It was fantastic. It was a book about time travel and the main character had many faults but it wrapped up so nicely. 
  2. I am reading Monster Hunter International and love it! This is a humorous fantasy book that I would call brain candy. It's just silly and a fun read.
  3. Yesterday we went to the Renaissance Festival. I didn't get any pictures but we had a great time. It was hot so we bought 8 bottles of water to cool us down. I think Erik drank 4 out of the 8 bottles. Labor day weekend is the best weekend to go since it is kids get in free. Kids are $10 apiece and adult tickets are $22.50. The shows are so much fun and we always have a great time. 
  4. Tomorrow is our 20 year anniversary. We got married 9/6/97. SO long ago! We are going to the Cheesecake Factory to celebrate. Grandma is going to feed the kids dinner. Their dinner will not be as good as ours ;). 
  5. Jenna's saxophone teacher moved to Tennessee. This is very sad since we LOVED her! Hopefully Jenna will like her new saxophone teacher. She is a really good player so we want to continue her lessons. 
  6. I am not teaching this session but I have quite a bit lined up. I'm presenting at the Frontiers in Education conference, have a couple of trips lined up including Women in the Outdoors and am selling my jam at a craft show. So it will be a busy session. Not to mention in January I'm teaching 2 new classes. They are graduate classes so they will be wonderful. I LOVE teaching graduate classes. All the students work hard and turn in their assignments. Yay!