Tuesday, September 3, 2019

The Lochwood Estate

Dude has the Lochwood Estate LEGO set from the new Jurassic World movie.  Our dog, Ranger, dressed up as a dog-o-saur and made some new friends with the LEGOs.  Don't you think he blends in?

In the photo above, Ranger poses for the camera with his new carnivorous friends.

Ranger the safety guard makes sure LEGO Blue doesn't fall off the roof.  Now that's a good dog!  Um... I mean dog-o-saur.

Ranger is taking his security position very seriously, so he checks on LEGO girl Maisie while she cleans her room.

Awww... isn't that sweet?  Ranger nuzzles his new friend, but Blue has to be careful.  Kibble breath can be lethal!

What does your pet do with new toys?  Tell me!

Baby Girl

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Meow Wolf Museum

First things first, Meow Wolf is a crazy (and cool) museum that you can explore and get lost in.  There are slides in dryers, tunnels in refrigerators, and a maze of awesomely-creepy rooms and things to climb and crawl in.  The whole complex system of rooms comes from a house with objects that go to other places around the museum.  Below, we are in an interesting little room with bars, odd heads mounted on the walls, and a one story drop underneath the floor.

There was this room (quite refreshing to the eyes, after everything else that was like a color explosion) that was only black and white, with a ton of (obviously) black and white objects.

There was a mirror on the back wall, by the door.  Notice the swirl in the cupboard and the tea party theme.

Get real.  Who doesn't want to wash their hands with a dog's tongue?

I pointed out a slide in the dryer earlier, but you couldn't visualize it like it was.  The slide was lined with blue lights and had a small room with a bench at the bottom.  There were clothes in the walls, and swirling lights to make it seem real.

It was a tight squeeze for Dude, because it was an actual dryer (without the latch).

Of course, the slide was only about five feet long, but it was still fun.

There was a huge rat sculpture that you could go into in the back corner.  It really was gigantic.

There is always something wacky behind every door at Meow Wolf.  Make sure to look before you enter.

The picture is blurry, but those are a huge (fake) set of mammoth ribs that played notes when whacked with a stick.  Just like the fake glow worms, it changed light colors every now and then.

To finish this post, I really enjoyed Meow Wolf.  It was a mix of climbing, spelunking, and craziness. And one more thing, (SPOILER ALERT!) we noticed that each room reflected a toy, figurine, or other item in the kid's bedroom in the house.

What fun places do you go to?  Tell us!

Baby Girl

Friday, June 14, 2019

Building a Backyard Bike Course Part 2

If you have seen the first backyard mountain bike course post, it showed you how to start building a bike course. This post will show you how to add a little more advanced features to your trails. To ride most of the features described you have to be at least an intermediate rider. A full suspension bike with the saddle lowered is recommended. You should also wear a helmet, gloves, and padding.

Wooden features can add some diversity to your trails. Whether a little bridge over a ditch or a drop over a cactus, wooden features are fun and challenging. (To ride and to make.)

We don't bury our wooden jumps in the dirt because that would cause the wood to rot. Instead, we level the dirt in the area we are going to put the jump and pack in the dirt around the ramp. This keeps the jump from rotting and blowing over in strong winds, but you can still pick up and move the jump easily.

If you want to make a jump out of dirt but don't have a lot, then just make it shorter and add more lip to the takeoff. You don't even have to build a landing if you are really low on dirt.

If you are more of the cross county type, then building your trail will be a lot easier because you do not have to build all of the wood things and dirt jumps. All you have to do is add a bench cut here and there, which is fairly easy.

If your yard has lots of steep hills and traverses, then you could make a trail that sweeps through the canyon walls. Also, if you like to jump (like I do), then you could add a hip jump on the side of the hill. For a hip jump the landing has to be at a different angle then the takeoff, which forces you to do a small turn in the air.

What kind of awesome features will you build in your yard?


Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Minecraft Structures

In Minecraft, there are a few different natural structures. If you know where to look, you can find them almost anywhere. If you find any kind of structure, be sure to look around because most of them contain traps and treasure.
Villages are small towns found in plains, deserts, savannas, ice plains, and taigas. They are inhabited by villagers and iron golems. While you are in a village, you can collect food from their farms and trade with the villagers. If you are looking for treasure, then you should try to find a blacksmith. Inside there is a chest that can contain anything from tree saplings and iron tools to diamonds and obsidian. You can also find lava and furnaces in the blacksmith and bookshelves and crafting tables in the library. Village farms contain wheat, carrots, potatoes, and beetroots.    

Desert Temples

Desert temples are large pyramid like structures found in the desert. A lot of the time the temples are buried in the sand, so all you see is the top of a tower. There is two ways to enter a desert temple. you can go in the main entry or in a tower. The main entry is more direct, but if the temple is buried the tower is a better choice. When you walk into the main room, you will notice a pattern in the floor. Under the center of the floor there is a three by three hole in the ground that is very deep. At the bottom there is four chests and and a pressure plate. If you step on the plate, a whole ton of TNT will explode. To safely get down there, make a spiral staircase that goes around the perimeter of the pit. Some people use water buckets to make a waterfall but that brings you very close to the pressure plate. Your most common finds in the chests are emeralds, gold, bones, and enchanted books.


Jungle Temples
You can find jungle temples in, hence the name, jungles. They are rare and hidden well in the lush rain forests, so they are hard to find. A jungle temple consists of three floors. The entry is on the second floor, nothing is on the third floor, and all of the treasure and traps are on the first floor. On one side of the stairs on the first floor, you will notice three levers. If you pull these levers in the right order, a chest will appear on the second floor, but it is easier to destroy the levers and the wall behind them so you can get to the chest and the redstone mechanism powering the levers. On the other side of the stairs, there is a long hallway. Watch out for tripwires, because if you step on one arrows from dispensers in the wall will shoot at you. At the end of the hallway you will find a chest. The most common finds in both of the chests are gold, rotten flesh, and emeralds.


Ocean Monuments
Ocean monuments are large underwater pyramids made out of prismarine blocks. They are protected by guardians and elder guardians. There is no real entry point so you will have to bust though a wall. In the center of the monument you will find eight gold blocks encased in prismarine bricks. Most of the other rooms are empty, but there is a room containing sponges and three rooms with elder guardians. 

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Sunken Ships
Sunken ships are shipwrecks found in the deep ocean. you can find them sideways, upside down, right-side up, or any where in between. Inside you will find tables, chairs, and a chest or two. in these chests you can find almost anything. Iron, emeralds, paper, and gold will be your most common finds. watch your surroundings because drowned commonly spawn here. (Sorry, improper lighting made the picture turn out weird.)

Witch Hut
Witch huts are small houses that are built onto stilts over the murky waters of swamps. Inside you will find a Calderon, a crafting table, a furnace, and a pot with a mushroom. Witches will always spawn in their huts even if you killed the original one.

Igloos are small domed houses made out of snow. You can find igloos in snowy taigas and ice plains. Inside of an igloo you will find a bed, a crafting table, a furnace, and a redstone torch. Be sure to take out the carpet, because in half of all igloos you will find a trapdoor. If you climb in to the opening you will descend down a long latter. At the bottom of the latter you will find yourself in a small stone basement. The basement contains two prison cells. One contains a villager and the other contains a zombie villager. You will also find a Calderon, a flower pot, a brewing stand, and a chest. On the brewing stand you will find a splash potion of weakness. In the chest you will find a golden apple and a few other random things. Don't mine the walls of the basement because they are made out of silverfish stone.

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Woodland Mansion
Woodland Mansions are huge, three story houses found in roofed forests. Once you find the doorway, you will have the choice to go up stairs or to take the right or left hallway. The pattern of the rooms in a woodland mansion is random, so if you are looking for a specific room you will need to explore. In the mansion you will find bedrooms, mapping rooms, farming rooms, a room with a stream, rooms with huge statues, prisons, and many other random and weird rooms. While in the mansion you will see almost all of the overworld mobs, but you will also see three monsters that can only be found in these mansions. These are the vindicator, evoker, and vex. You can read about them in the hostile mobs post. In woodland mansions you can find anything from wood and leather to enchanted diamond armor and obsidian.


Abandoned Mineshafts
Abandoned mineshafts are old mines that can be found deep underground or at the surface in mesa biomes. Mineshafts are usually found intersecting caves and crevasses. Lava-falls and waterfalls are normally concealed behind the walls. Long railways wind through the maze of tunnels and it is very easy to get lost. Every once in a while you can find a minecart with loot in it. The main things you will find are tree saplings, pumpkin seeds, and melon seeds. You can sometimes find pickaxes and obsidian. Also watch out for spiderwebs and cave spiders.

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Dungeons are very small rooms made of cobblestone. They can be found almost by the surface or deep underground. You will normally find them bordering caves, crevasses, and even mineshafts.
Some of the features that stand out in dungeons is the chest or two and the mob spawner. The spawner can spawn spiders, skeletons, or zombies. Due to the lack of space it could be difficult to fight.

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Strongholds are very large structures found deep underground. They are always around 640 to 1,152 blocks from the X, Y, and Z coordinates of 0, 0, and 0. Strongholds contain empty hallways, jail cells, fountain rooms, libraries, and the end portal room. There are always two libraries in a stronghold. They contain bookshelves, spider webs, and a chest. Every once in a while, you can find a chest in a hallway or at the bottom of a staircase. There is no good way to find the end portal room of a stronghold quickly because it is like a maze in there. Sometimes you can find the portal room in a few minutes, sometimes it can take hours. There is only between one and three strongholds in a single world.

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Nether Fortress
Nether fortresses are huge castle like buildings found over the lava ocean in the Nether. Eighty percent of a fortress are empty hallways but other rooms include the lava fountain room, the nether wart room and the blaze spawning room. One in four of the hallways in the fortress contain a chest. There are a couple of mods that only spawn in nether fortresses. These are the blaze and the wither skeleton. Beware, both these mobs are hostile.

End Cities
End cities are gigantic jumbles of towers found in the outer islands. Most of the chests inside contain enchanted iron or diamond items. To get to these you will have to jump around a parkour type course and fight monsters while standing on a single floating block. The end ship also lies nearby. You will find an ender dragon head, an elytra, and two healing potions.

Now you know about every single structure in Minecraft and what lies within them. Which ones will you tackle? And which will you avoid?

(Stay tuned for the missing photos!)


Thursday, April 18, 2019

DIY Stress Ball

This project is so easy to make and so fun to play with.  I'm going to call it a toad ball, but that story is for later.  To make your toad ball you'll need:

  • A balloon in a light color ( I used yellow, but you can use any light color.)
  • A bottle with a small opening ( I used a running pack's bottle.)
  • Chia seeds 
  • A funnel that fits into your bottle's opening
  • A 1 cup measuring cup

Scoop out about a cup of chia seeds with the measuring cup.  Place the funnel in the mouth of your bottle.  Slowly dump the chia seeds into the funnel so they pour into the bottle.  Let all of the seeds fall into the bottle, then remove the funnel.

Inflate the balloon slightly.  It shouldn't be too big, but it has to be big enough to hold the chia seeds.

You may need someone to help you with this step.  Firmly hold the neck of the balloon shut so that air does not escape.  Open the hole of the balloon and carefully fit it around the neck of the bottle.  Take your fingers off the balloon's neck.

Grasp the area where the neck of the balloon overlaps the bottle's opening.  Flip the bottle and allow all of the chia seeds to fall into the balloon.

Pinching the balloon shut, remove it from the bottle and slightly release pressure on the balloon to allow the air to escape.  Firmly tie a knot, and cut off the excess if you want a neater look.  You could also decorate it with permanent markers.

Here's what a toad ball is.  Squeeze the ball between your fingers, and it "grows" black and white toad bumps!

This toad ball will help relieve stress, calm the body, and improve focus.  Who could say no to all those things wrapped in fun?

Tell me what you did to your toad ball!

Baby Girl

Saturday, March 30, 2019

A Day in the Life of a LEGO

Have you ever wondered what a LEGO does on a weekend?  Read on to find out!

Lucia McCarthy the LEGO girl starts her day at 5:45 a.m. by cleaning up and brushing her hair.  Lucia's cats, Luna and Lola, reluctantly wake up to join her.

Lucia's family always eats breakfast together, except for Luna and Lola.  Her dad, Michael, is a contractor; he leaves for work at 6:05 a.m.

Lucia's best friend, Ava, arrives at 7:30 a.m., while Mrs. McCarthy is washing the dishes.  Luna and Lola wander in to investigate.

Ava and Lucia play with Luna and Lola until Ava's mom picks her up at 10:30 a.m.  The kittens are grateful.

At 10:45 a.m., the house is quiet.  Lucia and her cats settle down for a smoothie and a nap.

What do your LEGO people do for fun?  Tell us!

Baby Girl

Friday, March 29, 2019

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

Are you looking for a dessert that doesn't have any gluten, eggs, tree nuts, or peanuts?  If you are, then this is the recipe for you.  Please note that vegan chocolate chips can be substituted for normal ones.

To make chocolate dipped strawberries you will need:

Melt the semisweet chocolate in a microwave safe bowl or large mug ( This makes dipping the strawberries easier).  Taking one strawberry at a time by the leaves, dip it into the chocolate to thoroughly cover most of the strawberry ( See picture).  Use a spoon to help spread the chocolate.  Lay the coated strawberries on a sheet of wax paper to dry.  Once the strawberries are slightly hardened, melt the white chocolate and spoon it into the snack bag.  Seal the bag and cut a small hole in the bottom corner, making sure to leave it nice and tiny.  Squeeze the white chocolate onto the strawberries in swirls, shapes, or zigzags.  Put the strawberries in the fridge for a few hours, or until the chocolate completely stiffens up.  Enjoy your allergen friendly treat!

What allergen friendly treat can you make?  Share it with us!

Baby Girl