Sunday, January 12, 2014

Lego Projects: "Trick-Or-Treating" (2013)

For the past two years, I've put Lego displays in our front window on Halloween night for trick-or-treaters to see as they approach our front door. The displays always seem to surprise our young guests (and sometimes the parents, too) -- maybe because you don't expect to see Lego in a Halloween display. (The people next door have about a dozen 6-foot-wide inflatables in their yard. So that's, I guess, normal.)

Anyway, I want to preface this by saying I threw this display together in less than an hour. I already had the house built. I just put some baseplates together, added some trees and leaves, then dug through my collection of minifigs, searching for ones that looked like they were wearing a semi-typical Halloween costumes. Then I searched for things for them to carry their candy in (buckets, backpacks, satchels), added colorful 1x1 rounds for candy, and set it all up in the front window.

In order for the display to be seen, I had to shine several lamps on it, from the side and from behind. It was hard to get a good photo of it. But afterwards, I took some shots with good lighting so you can see what I did. I'm not saying this is one of my best builds (not by a long shot!) but I thought it might be something kids could build around Halloween. Just about any minfig from the collector's series (those ones you get for $2.99 in the mystery bags) would make a good "costumed kid." Give it a try! It's a quick & easy build.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Oregon Zoo In Lights

(Previous posts in series: Oregon Zoo In FallOregon Zoo In Late Fall)

Each year from late November to early January, the Oregon Zoo lights up. The zoo stays open for special hours and boasts a world of dazzling illumination called ZooLights. Of course, this isn't the best time to see the animals, since only the indoor ones can be seen then, and most of them go to sleep when it gets dark. (I did get some good pictures of the bats, though -- I'll post those in my next zoo photoblog.)

Here are some shots I took at ZooLights during my recent visits:

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Oregon Zoo In Late Fall

I've been back to the zoo multiple times since my visit in October. One day in mid-November, I visited the zoo with the hopes of seeing the lion cubs out & about before the weather got too cold.

There's a lot of construction going on at the zoo these days. Here, the zoo lights have already gone up, and the stage (where they used to do the bird show and other shows) is in the midst of coming down.

I spent all of my time that day in Africa.

I'd heard a rumor that the lion cubs would come out around 1. I staked out a spot near a viewing window and waited. Finally, around 1:30, in went the Daddy Lion and out came Mama Lion & her cubs!

The cubs were frisky, and Mama went around trying to keep order. She'd attempt to pick them up by the scruff of their necks, but they were already pretty heavy and she couldn't seem to do it anymore. The cubs frolicked and pranced and delighted the crowds.

It was a great day.

Books I Read In 2013

* * * Books I Read In 201* * *
  • I began the year with Beverly Cleary, reading or re-reading Fifteen, Jean & Johnny, Mitch & Amy, Ellen Tebbits, Henry and the Clubhouse, and Two Times The Fun (a compilation of her picture books.)
  • Re-read Sara Crewe and A Little Princess, available for free on Kindle.
  • Read Pollyanna and both parts of Little Women (also free.)
  • Read Quiet by Susan Cain. Very insightful look into the relationship between extraverts and introverts (and those who fall somewhere between.)
  • Read The Real Diary Of A Real Boy and Letters Of A Woman Homesteader, both available for free on Kindle. Great glimpses into life back in the day; very entertaining.
  • Started, but have not yet finished, Mansfield Park. 
  • Between May and July, I re-read the Harry Potter series for the... yeah, I've lost track of how many times.
  • Read one Nancy Drew book and one Baby-Sitters Club book, which I reviewed on this blog.
  • In the Fall, I re-read most of the Ramona Quimby series. I also read Henry and the Paper Route.
  • Started re-reading, but have not yet completed, The Time Machine.
  • Read the entire Love & Capes graphic/comic series, including What To Expect.
  • I re-read The Giver, by Lois Lowry, then went all out and read the rest of the series (Gathering Blue, The Messenger, and Son.) Also read The Silent Boy and Gossamer by Lowry.
  • Started on the Little House On The Prairie series. Currently reading Little Town On The Prairie.