Night at the Zoo

Over the weekend, I was able to take the girls for a zoo overnight trip. We spent the night in the aquarium area and learned about the aquatic species of the zoo as well as some of the behind the scenes workings.

Highlights of the evening and morning included:

Going to the top of the shark tank. Hannah got to lay down and look over the edge.

Pizza delivery at 8:30. It was good pizza, too.

Seeing a starfish (sea star) up close. Emma did not like when it vomited out its stomach.

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Learning different ways sharks sense their prey. Just make sure you don’t move and you might be OK.

Learning about enrichments for the animals (things that keep their brains active in captivity)- one such thing was a frozen baby mouse snowcone of sorts for birds of prey, ewww, another was bubble bath for the tiger pool

Sea turtles. Enough said.

The rays in the estuary tank were very friendly and would wave at you.

Hannah got to touch sea urchins.

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Sugar cereal in the morning. Mom doesn’t buy that stuff, so it was awesome. Mom had Cheerios. I’m not a hypocrite.

Penguins swimming in a tank in the breakfast room. They were totes adorbs.

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Seeing the holding tanks for new animals.

Relaxing by the coral reef exhibit.

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Free t-shirts. OK, we probably paid for these, but we got t-shirts anyway.

Also, we didn’t get eaten by sharks. I’m sure Emma would like me to add that.

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Skinny jeans are a gateway pant

It was time to get ready for bed. I was ready. You see, the night before and much of the morning had been spent being puked on by a little guy who thinks garbage cans are for people without mommies. I was running low on comfy clothes because I just don’t own very many sweat pants. So, I was wearing leggings. As pants. But just at home and only because all my other elastic waist pants were in the laundry. Typically, leggings are only for under skirts because it’s cold in Minnesota. Bryan looks at me and suggests I change into pajamas (some were clean again) because leggings seemed uncomfortable, squeezing my legs and all. But he was wrong. Leggings are VERY comfortable which is why skinny jeans were a terrible idea. I have never worn skinny jeans because, well, mostly because I don’t think anyone needs to see the full outline of my silhouette, but also, because I knew where they would lead. We had tight ankle jeans in the 80s and early 90s. They were hard to get on. Some had ankle zippers so you could get the stupid things over your feet. Skinny jeans are the same exercise in frustration which is why they have morphed into Jeggings. Jeggings are a problem because they do even more silhouette hugging than skinny jeans, placing them firmly in the category of “not pants”. Furthermore, they are a danger to society because, due to their superior comfort and ease of wear, people will want to wear them if they are available. However, people are fooled by their denim pant-like appearance into thinking they don’t need to wear a dress, skirt, or for-the-love-of-eyeballs at least a tunic top. This is why I cannot ever wear skinny jeans. Also, I don’t have 15 minutes to put on my pants. I’ve got things to do.

Leggings are not pants. Viva la Revolution.

Posted in Random | 2 Comments

Amazing Life Hacks

Those random bits of information to make life easier.

  • Car won’t start?  Pour a small bit of soda pop on the front tire. It won’t help your car to start, but you’ll be able to enjoy the rest of the soda while you wait for a tow truck.
  • Cold popcorn? Stop being a prima donna and just eat it.
  • No potatoes for dinner? Get some eggs! And then just make scrambled eggs for dinner, because you’re probably missing even more ingredients.
  • Toilet not flushing? Make sure it’s not a display toilet in the hardware store. Beyond that….no idea.
  • Unsure how to use your BlackBerry? Bet on the St. Louis Cardinals winning the 2006 World Series since you’ve managed to time travel. Use the winnings wisely.
  • Need to transport a bagel?  That’s oddly specific. Are you planning your whole meal around old office stuff you happen to have laying around?
  • Need shoe polish but don’t have any? This isn’t the Maltese Falcon. They sell shoe polish many places. What situation are you in that scuffed shoes are absolutely critical to fix and you can’t go to the store?

There you have it folks!  What Life Hacks do you have to add?

Posted in Family Updates | 2 Comments

Dropping Illusions

Valentine’s Day is a holiday marketed with a ton of illusions.

According to various ads, all you need for a Happy Valentine’s Day is a date, flowers, candy, dinner reservations, dress/suit/tie, fancy underclothes, alcoholic beverages, fancy desserts, romantic movies, hotel reservations, expensive jewelry, etc. Your kids should have pin-worthy boxes and handmade Valentine’s. But this isn’t really true. With all those expectations, you’re actually more likely to be unhappy on Valentine’s Day than happy. With that in mind, let’s get rid of some illusions and unrealistic expectations today, so we can be a little happier, shall we?

Every kiss begins with Kay. I think we can all agree that there would be far less kissing if we had to wait for expensive jewelry every time. In fact, when I have tiny babies, I kiss their little faces about a hundred thousand times a day, and all they give me is lack of sleep, dirty diapers, and interrupted meals.

After kids, the romance is dead. Not so.  I hope you all can have a date every so often, but even if you cannot, husbands can still open doors for you (mine does). He can still bring you flowers. I remember my dad bringing my mom “just because” flowers at work. And after kids, romance just expands because suddenly getting up with the sick kid in the middle of the night or doing the dishes while you put the kids to bed become terribly romantic.

“Romance” novels. The title there is just a total illusion. The name of these books should be “what women wish men were like” novels. I won’t tell you my suggested title for more explicit versions of these books. But, in any case, the audience of these books should probably not be women but men because then women wouldn’t build up unrealistic expectations and men would be able to surprise women with ridiculously sappy behavior. Win-win

Homemade Valentine’s are what all the kids are doing. My kids got one Pinterest worthy Valentine for 9 store-bought with tape Valentine’s. That’s when I decided to not feel guilty for buying instead of making this year. Valentine’s are fun to make if you like crafts and have time, but really, kids are looking for the candy here. You could just throw sugar in the general direction of their mouths, and they would be happy.

And finally, I am never going to get the rest of these sent out.

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These are my Christmas cards. If you haven’t received one, don’t feel bad. I probably have an envelope addressed to you somewhere around here or at my mother’s house. Whether I intended to include a personal note to you or stick in some family pictures, the truth is, these things are not getting sent out. It’s ridiculously late. If you REALLY REALLY want one, go ahead and leave a comment, I’ll send it out next week and you can treasure it for a day or two before you throw it away. Know, that even if you didn’t receive a card, I still have been thinking of you. But now, it’s time to stop pretending that I’m going to carve out several hours to send out cards that are two months overdue. I need to get some birthday cards that are only two weeks overdue in the mail instead. I want to blog and update you all on what is happening now. I want to take a nap without thinking about these things. Remember, though, I love you all. Next year, the kitchen renovation should be done, and I’ll just assign addressing the envelopes to the children for a school project, probably, maybe, I make no promises.

So tonight, we’re having a little heart-shaped pizza with strawberry shortcake and Skyping some grandparents. What are you doing for Valentine’s Day?

Posted in Random | 5 Comments

Want to give a Valentine’s App instead of a card this year?

Last year it was really hectic around Valentine’s Day.  I didn’t have time to run to the store and pick up a card.  So instead I created an app for Amie. It was an extremely simple app, just one screen that scrolled and showed pictures. The Android Development team at Google even provided the base framework as an example.  I grabbed some photos, wrote some words, and stealthily put it onto her phone.  Micah had a doctor’s appointment that morning.  But Amie was super excited to see it on her phone.  She even showed the old couple sitting by her in the waiting room, even though they probably didn’t have a clue what “smartphone” or “app” meant.  Amie still has it on her phone to this day.

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This year, I’d like to offer you the same opportunity to impress your significant other this Valentine’s Day.  First, they need to meet these two requirements:

  1. They must have a smartphone (Android and iPhones both work!). I previously didn’t include iPhones, but I found a solution that should work.
  2. You have to be able to get into their phone.  If they have it locked and you don’t know the password, you can’t load the app.

Do you meet those requirements?  Good.  Then what I need from you is the following:

  1. Pictures that you’d like in the app and the words, if any, you’d like to go with the pictures.  Don’t forget to include a good picture for the launcher icon.  People have been using around 6-10, but that’s not a hard requirement.
  2. The name of the person you’d like on the app.
  3. If the person uses an Android phone or an iPhone.
  4. $10. This can be paid via Paypal.

Turnaround should be pretty quick, but the sooner the better.  Here’s what the app would look like:

Screenshot_2015-02-03-13-35-26And that would just scroll through all the pictures. Think of it like a digital card.

And here’s what they’d see on their homescreen:

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Once the app is ready, you’ll need to go into the phone’s settings, enable apps to be installed from outside the Google Play store, and then download the link I provide to you and install the app.  If you wanted sound to play when they open it up, that can be arranged also for an extra $5.

Sound like a good alternative to the paper card?  If so, drop me an e-mail at bryan@loganapps.com

If you’d like to see the other apps I’ve done, check out http://loganapps.com/ or you can find Logan Apps on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Posted in Apps | 3 Comments

New Year

I read a lot of mom blogs because, well, I’m a mom, and right now many ladies are checking in with their different goals and challenges. And, I have to say, I’m feeling a bit left out because all I did in January was recover and get back to normal. After working to finish the kitchen and working to make Christmas happen and working to school my kids and working to feed and launder and clean, I was done, burnt out. After coming home from visiting family, I had to evaluate each little opportunity because adding one too many caused heartburn and sleeplessness. But happily, I’m feeling much better and the house is looking quite recovered despite a Super Bowl party with six extra kids in attendance. I’m even working on a little freezer cooking, go me!

So while one person goes on a spending freeze, another has a pantry challenge, another has mapped out a year worth of goals, another is doing a Whole 30, etc., we can cheer them on because many of those things will be good for them. However, don’t feel guilty if you need to take a 30 Day Hibernation Challenge to refresh, reevaluate, and reinspire yourself (I made up the last “re”, it just seemed like the right thing to do). It’s OK to stay in, to eat good food, to read your Bible, to pray, to say no to almost everything, to take naps, to read good books, to love on your people, and to do the things that refresh you.

In any case, I’m back and I’m declaring my 30 Day Hibernation Challenge to be a success.

Do you hibernate?

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How to watch the big game on your TV without cable or antenna

We don’t have cable or satellite at our house. We thought we might try to get an antenna for Super Bowl and the Olympics. It didn’t get many channels, and some were still flaky.

For the last few years, the networks have been broadcasting the game on the Internet for free. If you have a mobile device, you’d better have Verizon too, because they have exclusive rights to the game on mobile. If you have friends over, huddling around the iPad isn’t going to be fun. You could go to the NBC Sports on your desktop or laptop, and that might make the screen a little bit bigger. But you probably want to watch in your living room.

If you have the right cables, you could hook up your laptop to the TV and set it as a second screen, drag the browser over, and maximize.

If you don’t want to move your desktop, another option is to get a Chromecast device for $35 (Best Buy has them in stores since Amazon’s 2-day shipping won’t be sufficient before tonight). It plugs into a HDMI port on your television and then you use an app on your phone, tablet, or computer to connect it to your WiFi network. The setup app is available for Android, iOS, Mac, and Windows.

s5-productheroThen from your desktop, bring up the Chrome browser (not other ones), and go to Google Cast extension for Chrome and install that. In the upper-right, you should see this icon (the rectangle with the curves on the bottom left):

Screen Shot 2014-02-02 at 6.23.18 AMClicking on this will allow you to send your current browser tab to the TV. Have the current tab be screened on the TV, and then start the streaming video and maximizing it by clicking on the bottom-right of the video (the rectangle with the lines by the corners).

Screen Shot 2014-02-02 at 6.26.35 AMMake sure the sound is turned up on the video itself (the speaker icon above). At this point, you can turn off the sound on your desktop (the system sound, not the video sound). Go to your TV, turn up the volume, and you’re watching the big game.

We use our Chromecast to watch YouTube videos on the big screen and watch movies/TV shows from Google Play. But developers can also create their own apps using Chromecast. Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go all support Chromecast. I’ve dabbled in it a bit. Logan Apps will probably have something eventually. Follow Logan Apps on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ to keep up with the stuff we come out with.

loganappslauncher147x147Last year we could receive Fox over the antenna, but it didn’t come in good later.  Luckily, we were able to switch over to online streaming and watch the rest of the game.

How do you plan on watching the game?

Posted in Technology | 3 Comments

Happy Birthday, Bryan!

My sweetie gets a year older today, and I got to spend a little bit longer with him which is always a treat. So, I thought I would share some of the things that I think make Bryan great.

  1. He will help shovel you out if you’re stuck in the snow.
  2. He will move his schedule around to let his wife get things done or just go have some alone time.
  3. Computer stuff is automagic with him. “Hey, Babe, my phone/laptop/tablet is doing [insert wrong thing].” “OK” *takes phone/laptop/tablet* 30 seconds later “Here, that should be fixed.”
  4. He really doesn’t seem to mind when EVERYONE asks him to help with their computers.
  5. He is so funny. It’s really why I’m on Twitter. Just to follow Bryan because he’s hilarious and makes my day.
  6. He will eat ice cream with you late at night. He’ll even suggest it or run out for it.
  7. He will never complain if the house isn’t clean, or dinner is late. He’ll just ask if we should go out for dinner.
  8. He pillow fights with our kids, so I don’t have to.
  9. He also builds sweet Lego contraptions for them to discover downstairs.
  10. He plays “let’s hide under the blanket” with the kids so I don’t have to make my hair SUPER static-y.
  11. He will paint someone’s finger or toe nails.
  12. He is great at explaining math problems that a kiddo and I can’t work out between us.
  13. As shown above and for many other reasons, he’s an awesome dad.
  14. He’s a good foil to the emotional meltdowns that happen in a house with three females.
  15. He will respond to your email in 5 minutes or less most of the time.
  16. He finds great videos on YouTube and shares them with me and sometimes the girls.
  17. He always knows the appropriate time to play a song from the 80s or 90s.
  18. He will dance to said song.
  19. Even in the grocery store.
  20. He will encourage you to take a nap if you need it whether you are 3 or 33.
  21. If it’s the weekend, he’ll even take one with you.
  22. He is an efficiency expert.
  23. He never calls you crazy and shows amazing patience when you take your time choosing backsplash tiles even when the toddler is going a little crazy in the home improvement store.
  24. He’s always thinking and processing things.
  25. He doesn’t get sad when the parking garage attendant thinks I’m one of the kids and gives me a lollipop. He just rejoices with me. Unless it’s butterscotch or cream soda.
  26. He’s always up for a science experiment.
  27. He reads the news so I don’t have to.
  28. He’s been reading the news since junior high or high school so he’s really, really good at 90s Trivial Pursuit.
  29. He doesn’t pick his nose and eat his boogers contrary to the lies spread on Frozen.
  30. He looks pretty snazzy in a suit and tie.
  31. He has amazing eyelashes and passed them on to 2/3 of our progeny. Well done!
  32. He also has perfectly straight teeth. Hopefully, one of our kids got those.
  33. He’s good at getting out splinters.
  34. He’s also good at removing hair from the drains.
  35. He’s my favorite.

Want to guess how old he is today?

Posted in Family Updates | 2 Comments

My bid for the White House

People go out and drink on their 21st birthday, because it’s the first time they can (legally) do that.  I never did that because I’m not really a fan of drinking.  I also didn’t smoke at midnight on my 18th birthday (or ever).

But today I’m 35. So what milestone do I have left?  Well, obviously it’s running for the President of the United States.  I know you have to make frequent trips to Iowa, but it’s very close to here, so I’m thinking this should be easy.

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No Need for a Slogan, Just Vote Logan

But, I need a platform.  So here’s what I’d do:

  1. Tipping becomes 100% optional.  Seriously, we need to enact this at the national level to get rid of our messed up tipping culture.
  2. Agree to paint the White House white.  Sssshhhhh…..this is a secret thing I plan to pass and then declare bipartisanship. #evilgenius
  3. Internet connectivity becomes regulated like a monopoly. The Internet is just as important as phone service now, so we’re going to stop treating it like it’s optional and not let companies charge through the roof for it.
  4. Declare war on North Dakota. Apparently the crime has really gone up over there.  So let’s go to war with them.  Oh…..they have oil?  Really?
  5. Require salt to be used on Interstate roads. Yes, it rusts your vehicle a bit, but it’s night and day when you cross state lines.  Salted roads just feel more safe.
  6. Remove the stigma of soda in the morning. I’m sure I could do a PSA or something so people don’t think it’s weird.
  7. Daylight savings abolished.

I’m pretty sure I couldn’t get the Democratic nomination (especially if they vetted their candidates).  I probably couldn’t get the Republican one either.  But I’m not going to run under one of those established third parties.  Nope, I’m running under the “Pizza Party”.  Genius, I know.

That’s all I have for now. What law would you propose?  And I say that in a “totally not fishing for ideas because I don’t have my own” way.

Posted in Humor | 3 Comments

Trix

Those kids were right.  Rabbits shouldn’t eat people food. It’s probably not good for them.  While Trix probably aren’t the greatest for kids either, they’re part of a “balanced breakfast”. Basically, that means you have to have a bunch of other stuff because Trix isn’t going to be the complete source of all your needs.

Those kids were also wrong. “Trix are for kids” isn’t exactly sound logic for taking away Trix from the rabbit. The statement merely means that kids are one of the receivers of Trix.  It doesn’t necessarily mean it’s exclusive to kids. It’d have to be “Trix are for kids and only for kids”.  Trix are for adults too.  At least I hope they are because it’s a delicious treat that sometimes ends up in the cart if I get sent to the grocery store and peruse the cereal aisle.  Why do I peruse the cereal aisle?  I don’t know.  Maybe I’m crossing over to the cheese section on the other side.  If some kids tried to take away Trix from me saying, “Trix are for kids”, I’d have either one of two responses:

  1. I’m your dad and I paid for these Trix, so I’m going to eat a sweet bowl.
  2. Who are you and what are you doing in my house? Get out of here.

Of course, the response is really dictated by who says it.  Besides, if a rabbit can talk, he can probably just go on Amazon and order his own Trix. I mean, seriously, it’s not like the UPS driver is going to know what’s in the package and be a jerk to him.

Do you eat your kids’ cereal?

Posted in Family Updates | 4 Comments