Thursday, May 26, 2011

Las Vegas Park Review #8: Goett Family Park

Goett Family Park, 10950 Southern Highlands Pkwy

- Outstanding walking trail, see details below.
- Two security guards on bikes were patrolling the path and park (on our second visit, which was just to the walking trail)
- Picnic areas
- Volleyball and basketball courts

Cons, and there are many:
- Filthy.  Seriously.  Condom wrappers, broken glass, and miscellaneous other trash littered the grassy space.  We would never play on the large grassy area.
- The playground looked nice and was fenced, but both gates were broken and swung open.
- Creepy teenager was camped out on the playground equipment.  I was intimidated by him and suspected he was on something
- No baby swings
- No water feature

We did not use the restrooms.  I was disgusted by the filth of the open space and creeped out by the teenager and didn't want to go in there.

Now, for the redeeming feature of this park, the trail.  It's actually built through a neighborhood along a flood wash and is pretty and green.  It was the perfect place to let C run wild since the sides are bordered by fences.  There's no way to get hit by cars or to run too far (into yards, for example).  The whole trail is lined with trees, and it was so pleasant to listen to the birds singing from them.  By the way, the entire length of the trail was clean. 

Broken gate #1 into the playground
filthy green space
playground equipment we would've liked to use
fitness challenge along the walking path
Somehow I neglected to take pictures of the walking path that didn't include C.  I'll take some on our next visit and repost.....

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Begin Each Day with a Wish

This is old, but I'm sort of in love with it.

from Fifty People, One Question on Vimeo via this life i lead

My heart breaks for the guy with cancer.  I wonder where these people are today.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

New favorites...

Gavin DeGraw, Not Over You

Sean Hayes, Powerful Stuff

OK Go, Lately

Monday, May 23, 2011

Medela Swing Product Review

Early on in my pregnancy I decided I would set a goal of breastfeeding exclusively for six months.  I expected the challenge to be first in getting established and second in returning to work full time when C was 10 weeks old.  Luckily, breastfeeding was easy for us, so that challenge was no biggie.  What I hadn't anticipated was mastitis after a little over two weeks.  Part of the solution for me (along with antibiotics and hot and cold compresses) was to start pumping sooner than I'd considered previously, so I set out to get a pump WITHOUT doing any research or really thinking about it much.  Hello, Target.  I went with the Medela Swing, and I honestly can't remember why, but I'm guessing it was because of the moderate price (currently $149.99), recognized name, and all-inclusive package (it came with two bottles/nipples/rings, two caps, extra membranes, the optional AC adapter, a breastshield, a bottle stand, and a drawstring bag).  In retrospect, if I'd had more time for research and had been in less pain, I would've opted for a double pump, such as the Medela Freesytle, but I have no regrets and saved some money.

In the beginning, I only pumped a couple of times a day, just to make sure I was properly draining each breast (my son fed best from one specific position, and I had overactive production), but when I returned to work I needed to pump throughout the day.  In this situation, the Medela Swing wouldn't work for most women, but I work from home and had the luxury of taking as long as necessary to pump, whereas most women would want to use a hospital-grade double pump to get it done as quickly as possible.  Anyway, I thought I'd make due with my Swing until I stopped breastfeeding at 6 months or until the pump gave out, when I'd just go rent one from the hospital to finish up.  However, my trusty Swing kept on going and going.  I experienced oversupply for several months before my body perfected the system and produced just about exactly what my son needed, so I was pumping a lot for awhile there.  Probably about six or seven times a day on each side for a month or two, dwindling down as time went on.  Soon the six months had passed and we introduced solids.  Things were going so well with breastfeeding, though, that I continued until my son was just over 13 months old before switching to cows' milk.  Oh, and I used it while traveling, too, since it can operate on battery power.  The Swing has now moved into storage, but it did the trick.  It was comfortable and easy and although it was time-consuming, it did the trick.  That $150 investment kept my baby fed for 13 months.  I'd recommend it to part-time pumpers for sure.  Full-timers, such as myself, might opt for a double pump, but if the Swing could handle my situation for 13 months with ease, it can handle almost anything.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Las Vegas Park Review #7: Red Ridge Park

Red Ridge Park, 7027 S. El Capitan Way

- Separate little kids' and big kids' playgrounds
- Cool water playground (zero depth)
- Nice looking baseball diamonds and disc golf course
- Well-maintained and clean
- A lot of grass (though by the time we left there were soccer practices going on and baseball games starting)
- Concession stands open during games
- Pretty mountain views
- Four baby swings

- We tried three times to go to this park.  Twice after school got out and it was swamped with kids and the entire neighborhood flooded with parents driving to get their kids.  The third time I finally learned and we got there at 7:00am on a Saturday and had the place to ourselves for awhile.  SO nice.
- Not great shady areas for lounging

We did not use the restrooms, so I can't vouch for them.  Also, I didn't see any security (though we felt very safe).  This is definitely one of my favorite parks. 

water features
water features

Terrible picture of the nice view past the baseball fields

1st Birthday Extravaganza

Way back in February we had some family out to celebrate C's first birthday.  We did a basic blue and white theme.

blue and white packaged treats for our guests, all from Rocket Fizz
the cake and sodas for the grown-ups
Sodas from Rocket Fizz, Straws from Garnish (I think)
Recipe/instructions from i am baker.  Clearly I should've done a test run first, but it's sort of a heart, right?
The cake in the pictures was topped with white icing, blue and white M & Ms, and white sixlets.  I should've taken more time when adding the candy, but it was late at night and I just wanted some sleep before the next day's party.  C's cake was from Jessica Seinfeld's Angel Food Cupcakes (which are low-sugar and include some pureed yellow squash) in her book Deceptively Delicious, and topped with homemade whipped cream I flavored slightly with vanilla.  I made it in a 6-inch(ish) baking dish.  He didn't do much smashing or tasting on his birthday, but liked it the next day with a fork.  He doesn't like to have messy hands.  I love my clean little guy. 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring

It might be more beautiful if it weren't an ad, but still, take a look...

Monday, May 2, 2011

Eat like it's 1968

Awhile back my mom gave me an instruction manual/recipe booklet from her old blender, printed in 1968.  This weekend I made the Mocha Frappe recipe:

1 T instant powdered coffee
2 T chocolate syrup
1 C cold milk
4 ice cubes

Blend!  I swear, although I was skeptical when I bought the coffee and syrup (let's not discuss the ingredient list on that syrup bottle), BB said it was better than the mocha frappuccino at Starbucks, and we love Starbucks.  I think I spent about $5 on the coffee and syrup, and will get a ton of frappes out of that.  Woot!

I think I'll try the recipe for avocado dressing next.

Also on the menu this weekend was Gnocchi with White Beans.  I was about to brag about how healthy the dish was, when I noticed the sodium in packaged gnocchi.  Hmm.  Well, it was delicious.

Photo from Taste of Home

Peter Lik, Tomas Mangelsen, Bobby Wheat

Yesterday we went to the new Tivoli Village shopping center in LV, which has a limited number of businesses open right now.  It's such a promising sign for Las Vegas to have something new opening for a change (as one of my favorite stores, EQ3 prepares to close).  I didn't have my camera, but they have some cool artificial flowering trees there and a nice little playground that C enjoyed.  I'm looking forward to the opening of Kidville (does anyone know how much the classes cost?).  Hopefully it'll be a better alternative for us than Gymboree. 

Tivoli Village is also home to Bobby Wheat Photography, which is reminiscent of Peter Lik and Thomas Mangelsen (a Nebraskan, by the way).   LOVE.
Bobby Wheat
Peter Lik
Thomas Mangelsen