Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Las Vegas Park Review #11: Paseos Park

Paseos Park, 12122 Desert Moon in Summerlin

- Awesome splash pad
- Acres of green space
- Walking path
- Large, well kept playground equipment
- Ball fields (for small kids...go too far in the oufield and you hit pretty substantial hills on both fields, one up and one down)
- Awesome offroad bike path for little kids
- Sand to play in **see cons
- Picnic areas and sand volleyball

- No swings
- Crowded (we arrived around 9 am on a weekend and it was quiet.  By 10 am it was packed)
- A couple let their dogs play on the splash pad.  Hopefully that's a rare occurance
- **Sand had several pieces of trash in it.  We wouldn't let C play in it.  It had potential, but wasn't worth it since it was kind of dirty.

Once again, we didn't go in the restrooms, so I can't judge them.  This is a terrific park, and we'd love to go there more often.  The only drawback that would change that is the popularity of the park.  It just got too crowded, to the point of being unsafe on the splash pad for my toddler.  Older kids were darting through the crowd and nearly took out my kid a time or two.  Next time we'll go earlier.

A word about the splash pad:  This is a large splash pad in great condition.  Next time we go there I'll put C in a swim diaper and turn him loose.  Unlike other area splash pads, it is impossible to play here without getting soaked (part of the fun, right?).  My former favorite splash pad - Red Ridge Park - is in considerably worse condition than it was when I reviewed it.  I suspect that they don't do major upkeep until it closes for the season, but we won't go back until it's been repaired (some of the mat is torn up, leaving a large chunk of exposed, slick pavement and a large cup that continuously fills and spills has been broken off).  Conversely, the splash pad at The Paseos is in perfect condition, as far as I could tell.

Dirty-ish sand

view of Red Rock

kids' bike path

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Las Vegas Park Review #10: Dr. Harry B. Johnson's Rose Garden Park

Las Vegas Park Review:  Dr. Harry B. Johnson's Rose Garden Park
Somerset Hills Ave. (Southern Highlands) between San Sicily St. and Lago Tierra St.

- Pretty rose garden
- Double fenced playground and green space
- Well-maintained playground equipment
- Little splash pad (though we were there too early to use it*)

- Spiders
- *Splash pad doesn't operate until 10 am
- No swings
- Playground, while rated for kids as young as 2, was really more for bigger kids

This is a really nice little park.  We had it all to ourselves, with the exception of a couple of people playing with their dogs in the green space.  The playground equipment was really nice, if a bit too big for C.  C was disappointed that the splash pad didn't operate until 10 am (we were there around 8), but he loved looking at the birds and running around in the rose garden, smelling flowers.  I loved the trees and flowers, but hated the spiders.  There was an enormous one on a slide and webs all over in the garden.  That probably wouldn't bother a reasonable person, but I'm afraid of spiders and you can't convince me to like them.  There were restrooms available, but we didn't use them.  We felt completely safe, although there was no security.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Band Battle for Bite 2011

Mix 94.1's Band Battle for Bite will be held September 15, 2011 at the House of Blues.  Bands making the top 8 of all entries will compete to be among the top 4 who get to play for thousands at Bite of Las Vegas in October 15!  Local bands, it's not too late.  You have until August 31, 2011 to enter.  Go here for details.  Everybody else, go see the Battle and root on your favorite local band.  Who knows, in a couple of years you might have to pay $150 to see any one of these bands in concert.  Why not see them as they get their big chance?

Stay tuned, the line-up for Bite, with the exception of the local bands, will be announced on Monday morning (08/29/11)!  I hear it's a good one.   

More Books for Toddlers

A few months ago I found a clearanced DVD of children's stories put out by Scholastic at TJ Max (still available for quite a lot more here). 

Each story is under 10 minutes long, and it's great because C feels like he got to see a movie, and he's really only been in front of the TV for a few minutes.  Included on the DVD is The Paperboy, written by Dav Pilkey.  C loves it mostly for the dog, but to me there's something is so lovely and nostalgic about it (it could be that newspapers are rapidly dying, and with them goes the classic childhood job of paperboy).  Anyway, it's possible that much of the allure is in the masterful narration by Forest Whitaker and accompanying music bed, but the illustrations (also by Pilkey) are enchanting, so I suspect the book would be pretty great, too.  This is my favorite line: "...instead he is thinking about other things.  Big things...and small things...and sometimes he is thinking about nothing at all."  And this one, "All the world is asleep except the paperboy and his dog, and this is the time when they are the happiest."  There is something so innocent about it that I love, especially when it seems that children are growing up far too soon.  A boy, his dog, the moon and stars, and a boy's thoughts.  So sweet.

Incidently, The Paperboy won a Caldecott Honor Award.  Fun fact:  Some of the illustrations were inspired by Vincent Van Gogh's painting, The Starry Night.

Next up is Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson (author of another good one, Sleepyhead) and illustrated by Jane Chapman (also an award-winner).

This one is a fun story about a group of animals that take refuge from a storm in a sleeping bear's lair.  They have a party, and the bear wakes up.  It's both adorable and fun to read.  C loves the mouse in particular.  Here is my favorite illustration:


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Las Vegas Park Review #9: Ridgebrook Park

It's been a long time coming, but here's park review #9:  Ridgebrook Park, 3600 Ridgehollow Dr

- nice grass
- well-maintained playground equipment
- tidy
- seriously the friendliest people go there *see below
- toddler-sized and themed splash pad
- shade, glorious shade
- nice looking tennis and basketball courts

- um, is this a neighborhood only park?  is it okay that we were there?
- ants
- *seriously, the snottiest people go there.

* Okay, so right when we arrived at the park two ladies darted by us (they were walking laps) and shot us dirty looks (perhaps this is a park intended only for neighborhood use??) when I said hello.  They proceeded around the park and shot eye daggers at us each time.  HOWEVER, a lady, her mother, and two adorable twin daughters were playing at the park and were delightful.  C and I thoroughly enjoyed their company.  What did they say on The Facts of Life?  You take the good, you take the bad.....

Once again, we didn't go into the restrooms, but the building itself seemed nice.  The park is very much in a neighborhood, with houses all around.  We felt safe (on a weekday morning), though I didn't see security of any kind. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Surviving pregnancy unscathed

I've said before that I was blessed to have an incredibly pleasant pregnancy.  There are a thousand things to worry about during pregnancy, and somehow I was lucky enough to avoid them all.  A few matters, though, I took into my own hands.  I'm no expert, but the following saved me from some of the unpleasantries of pregnancy:

1.  I worked out 4-6 days per week (**do so only under the guidance of your physician**).  I'd been doing so for a few years prior to my pregnancy, and I continued with my workout regimen for several months into my pregnancy.  Around week 28 I reduced my weight lifting (I had been taking BodyPump, with some adapted forms for pregnant women) because one knee started bothering me and replaced it with additional cardio (often an elliptical trainer since my center of gravity changed and I felt most stable on the elliptical).  I also quit playing tennis (BB had been teaching me) right away and stopped riding my bike after about 4 months.
2.  I ate only organic produce and dairy products, mostly organic meats, and mostly wild seafood to protect my baby.  You'll hear a lot of naysayers when you mention organics, but no one can make a solid argument FOR consuming chemicals/pesticides/etc.
3.  I used Burt's Bees Mama Bee Belly Balm daily.  I can't prove that this did anything other than reduce the itching many women feel when their skin starts stretching, but I ended up with only two small stretch marks that showed up during the last few weeks when the baby dropped.  My belly rarely itched.
4.  I ate Kashi Go Lean cereals every day.  I'm positive that this saved me from some uncomfortable and sort of embarassing problems.  You know the ones I mean.  The taste and texture were fine for me, but could take some getting used to if you normally eat sugary cereals.  I also liked to carry either an apple or Fiber One bar in my bag when we were out and about.
5.  I paid close attention to the ingredient list on everything I ate.  Common sense.  There were a few exceptions, like the fiber bars (I didn't suffer from cravings, but I did have a week or so where I wanted Cheetos.  I had them.)
6.  I went to every doctor's appointment without exception. 
7.  I never let myself think that I shouldn't be accountable for everything I did or ate because of my "condition."  I often hear people blame irrational or irresponsible behaviors on pregnancy horomones.  BS.  Of course pregnancy horomones will come into play, but it's no excuse for lashing out, eating uncontrollably, or otherwise behaving in ways that could hurt the baby or mother. 
8.  I read pregnancy blogs and books and took classes.  Preparation breeds empowerment.
9.  I was easy on myself.  I let myself worry in short doses about the future and untold numbers of terribly possibilities (IN SHORT DOSES, then I moved on). 

All of this, plus some good genes and good fortune led to an enjoyable pregnancy.  Obviously these things won't work for everyone, and yes, bad thing happen to good people, but it worked for me.

There are a few ways in which I could've made my pregnancy easier and more fun.  In retrospect, we shouldn't have been shopping for and buying a house at that time - it was stressful.  I also should've asked BB to help me (he would've been glad to, but I never asked and ended up doing the cooking and cleaning and errand running I always did throught my pregnancy) and should've babied myself a bit with a few massages, etc.  Still, no complaints.

Any tips I missed?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Tiffany blue

I've been considering switching from navy to Tiffany blue accents in my bedroom, so of course I had to visit the Tiffany web site.  You know, just to get the color right in my head.  Anyway, I accidently found a few things I may need......

Tiffany Infinity Ring, $125

Tiffany Twist Bow Ring, $250

Tiffany Twist Ring, $475
I regained control after looking at a few rings, though I'm sure I'll be back for more "window" shopping soon.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

DIY car seat cooler

When we switched from a backward to a forward facing car seat that would stay in the car, I started looking for solutions to the inevitable bun burn that occurs upon returning to the car after even just a few minutes on a 100+ degree day.  Here in the desert we have months of 100+ degree days and a few 110+ degree days just for fun every year, and it's easy to get actual burns from seat belts, etc. when you get in the car.  Enter the ladies at eighteen25.  Also desert-dwellers, they posted a tutorial to make an adorable car seat, which I promptly pinned

** Important note:  I'm no seamstress.  I can sew a straight line.  Sometimes.  I don't know proper sewing terminology and I don't like to measure.  If there's a sewing shortcut, I'll take it, however ill-advised.

I used laminated cotton so I could just wipe it down.  The fabric is Nicey Jane Laminated Cotton Lindy Leaf Blue from (currently $15.98/yd). 

Using the car seat as my guide, I cut the fabric to roughly 39" x 56".  I cut it 56" wide so I could just fold it over and save myself one seam. 

the layout

Next I cut six slits through one side (which will be the "back").  These will eventually be the slots for freezer packs.  In order to prevent the slits from fraying or ripping, I made bias tape from some scrap white cotton and sewed it on (I think it could be classified as bias tape.  Am I wrong??). 

Slits to insert ice packs
My car has head rests in the back seat, so next I sewed ribbons to the top inside edge of the cover so I can tie it to the head rest bars so it won't just slump down into the seat. 
ribbons to tie to head rest
 Next step, I basically sewed the whole thing into a pillowcase, leaving a gap at the top (between the ribbons) so I could turn it right side out.  Then I sewed closed the gap.
the back after sewing sort of a pillowcase
 At this point I thought I was some sort of genius.  I'd had no problems despite winging the whole thing.  Ahem.  I'm no genius.  The next step was to sew vertical and horizontal lines to hold the ice packs in place.  All I needed was three vertical lines (one down the middle and one on each side - the ice packs would go between the lines, three on each side) and three horizontal lines.  It turns out the laminated cotton wouldn't feed through my sewing machine.  Apparently a walking foot would've worked, but I don't have one.  I attempted to get some traction by laying down a strip of blue painters tape and sewing over it, but it still didn't feed properly and the tape didn't come off well.  It really loosened my stitches when I removed the tape.    Foiled by straight lines.  In the end I pulled my fabric through, which resulted in ugly, uneven stitches, but stitches that held.  I also sewed the bare minimum required to hold the ice packs (rather than sewing all the way across).

Done, folded, and tied.  Ready for the freezer.

In the car
 Listen, I'm first to admit that this wasn't well thought out, but it didn't turn out to be a total disaster.  It'll work, and it is cute unless you take a close look at the stitches and puckering.  In retrospect, I should've read up on laminated cotton before I bought it.  It wasn't a total bust, though.  C's bottom, back, and arms are oh-so-comfortable while I steer with a kleenex barrier between my hand and the steering wheel. 

Read more tales of pins coming to life here:

bower power
style by Emily Henderson
making a house a home
young house love (which links to a lot of other completed, Pinterest inspired projects)

*Follow-up, August 16, 2011.
We've been using this awhile now, and it's actually pretty great.  I made it wide enough and long enough to cover the entire seat and sides, and that, my friends, was a wise decision.