Car Seat Safety

A couple of weeks ago, here in Las Vegas, a 9 year old was killed and their 6 year old sibling was seriously injured while riding in their minivan. All of the seats had been removed from the back - so not only were the kids not in child safety seats, they were not restrained AT ALL. I immediately felt sick to my stomach when I saw this on the news. This is a tragedy that was totally preventable.

Update - Hello Mint SIM!

True to my word, this is the follow-up article to my original Hello Mint SIM! post from September.

After a month of no major issues and even more drama with Teri's T-Mobile account, I switched Teri to Mint Sim in October. We've both been using Mint SIM without any major issues. Calls, Texts, Internet,  Android Auto, and Tethering all worked great with Mint SIM.

Thanksgiving Meal "Easy Button"

Happy Holidays everyone! We genuinely hope that everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving shared with family, friends, and yummy food. We had an amazing day - my Mom and Dad, also known affectionately as Grammy and Grampy, came over for the 2nd year in a row. 

Groovebooks

Every once in awhile, someone shares something helpful or cool. Groovebook is one of those things. We take A LOT of pictures and were regularly spending $50 to print them at our local Sam's Club. Sam's has a great photo department (we created our birth announcements there and will be ordering our Christmas cards from there as well), but the spending was getting out of control. So, when I heard about Groovebook, I immediately checked it out and was really surprised.

Helpful Books For Dad

I wanted to share a couple of book titles that have been invaluable to me as a new father. Both are written by Armin A. Brott: The Expectant Father: The Ultimate Guide For Dads-To-Be and The New Father: A Dad's Guide to the First Year.

Personal Update / Anxiety

Hello Everyone!

I know it's been awhile since we've posted, so I wanted to check-in and let you all know how things are going.

First of all, let me say that I am not the best about sharing personal stuff and I am even worse at self-care.

Date Night - Echo & Rig

John and I had our anniversary not too long ago, and we wanted to go out to a nice (but not too expensive) dinner together to celebrate. I have a never ending list of restaurants of all kinds that I want to try or go back to, and I left it up to him to choose where we went. He made a great choice and we had dinner at Echo and Rig in Summerlin at Tivoli Village.

OpenTable Affiliate Referral Links - Part 1

Teri recently applied and was accepted as an OpenTable Affiliate, so that we can provide the convenience of online OpenTable reservations to our readers. What we received is a useful branding press kit, some branding requirements, and the credentials and URIs for accessing a RESTful API. I love the opportunities to work on my Python skills, as well as learn new things, but I'm a bit baffled why OpenTable doesn't offer a simple WYSIWYG widget builder for affiliates that are restuarant gurus not programmers. Obviously, the RESTful API is awesome for programmers and the Warmest Robot, but the Warmest Human thought it was a bit much to ask of a non-technical user. With a widget builder, OpenTable Affiliates could build a referral link that meets branding requirements without having to ask an INTP for help. I've decided to help others on the net by posting my method and code in series of articles.

Family Friendly Activity - Moapa Valley Corn Maze

Since it's October, it's safe to say that the start of the holiday season is officially here! This year will be extra exciting for us - first because I am not pregnant and can enjoy hot apple cider, hot spiced wine and all of the other great adult treats. Second because we have baby Rosslyn and we are really looking forward to starting family traditions for each holiday. We've already picked out her Halloween costume - let's just say she's going to be the cutest pumpkin in the patch! We also have a special outfit for her to wear on Thanksgiving. We'll only get to experience these "firsts" once and we are jazzed!

There are tons of great family friendly activities this time of year and I am happy to share with y'all our experience at the Moapa Valley Corn Maze.

Grief

It has been a rough week + here in Vegas. As you all have heard, a horrific event happened during the Route 91 Harvest festival here on October 1st. While I was not at the event, at least 10 very close friends, some that I consider family, were in attendance. As the news started breaking about this tragedy, I will never forget the feelings that I had knowing that they were there and waiting for them to let everyone know that they were out of danger. 

Baby Product Review - Graco Pack 'n Play Playard with Nearby Napper

It's time for another product review! As I mentioned in my last review, raising a baby takes a lot of work. It is possible to be very successful at parenting with minimal items (all of the special gadgets just aren't necessary). However, I believe there are certain items that are mandatory and help make life with a new baby much easier. One of these items is a Pack 'n Play Playard.

Update - Debian 9.1 Stretch

I wanted to post a short update about some other interesting discoveries that I've made since I have revisited Debian as my open source operating system of choice. In my previous article, I referred to Debian as Debian Linux. While Debian is one of the oldest and most mature distributions, it would have been more apt (excuse the pun) on my part to refer to it as a universal operating system, which is how they now brand the project.

Slow Cooker Copycat Recipe - Zuppa Toscana

The weather is (finally!) starting to cool down and Fall is on its way! I absolutely love this time of year - it means scarves, hoodies and making homemade soups. I absolutely love using the slow cooker, and my appreciation of this appliance has continued to grow since baby was born. One of my favorite dishes to create in the slow cooker is a copycat of Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana. If you aren't familiar with this soup, it's a hearty dish featuring Italian sausage, potatoes and kale and it's really delicious.

Date Night - Carbone

We've been really good at choosing restaurants lately, because one again we had an absolutely amazing experience at Carbone! I am not one to just go to the Strip and am just as happy at local hidden gems, but I am certainly glad we decided to eat at Carbone. This was our first date night after baby was born and my Mom was nice enough to babysit so we could enjoy a few hours out of the house. We were also celebrating my birthday and I was excited to be able to enjoy a glass or 2 of wine with dinner. We both love Italian food and were excited to try out this restaurant. We made our reservations via OpenTable and notated that we were celebrating 3 special occasions - Rosslyn's birth, our recent nuptials, and my birthday. I guess we like to cram all of our celebrations into 1 dinner!

Debian Linux 9.1 (Stretch)

Linux has become a necessary tool for me as both a systems engineer and developer. Linux is an ideal development platform in many respects, as it includes tools, shells, and apps that are much more suited for out-of-the-box software development than a stock install of most mainstream commercial operating systems like Windows and macOS. This is why I felt it was time to write an article about my recent switch from Linux Mint to Debian.

Baby Product Review - Infant Optics DXR-8 Monitor

Preparing for baby can be quite overwhelming. There are so many products marketed towards new parents and it can be hard to know what is necessary. One of the things we knew that we would absolutely need was a baby monitor. John is most definitely the technical expert in this house, so we decided he would research different options.I ended up getting a head start on things and discovered a lot of great options.

Instacart Grocery Delivery

If you've had a child or have been stuck at home for any reason, you may understand that sometimes you need help. There have been times where we are missing ingredients for dinner and I am unable to run to the store because baby is sleeping or whatever. We regularly use Prime Now, but there are a lot of things you just can't get with them. Enter Instacart, which is a fairly new grocery delivery program/app.

Date Night - Marché Bacchus

John and I had an absolutely PHENOMENAL experience at Marche Bacchus. I am not sure if it was the company, the atmosphere, the food or the service, but it was simply wonderful.

I had wanted to try this place for quite awhile, but hadn't been able to make it in. It was my turn to plan date night and I figured this would be the perfect place to take John, as we both enjoy good food and wine. It ended up being more than I imagined and we both had a fabulous time. 

Hello Mint SIM!

Teri and I recently had a very disappointing experience with T-Mobile. We both were 10+ year customers with grandfathered plans that were well below September 2017 new customer prices. Our problems began when we attempted to consolidate our separate phone plans to a 2-line family plan. I was told by customer service that it would be 20 dollars per month more than my Grandfathered rate of $65/month, so about $85/mo total, to add Teri to my existing plan. No problem, right?