Why we LOVE summer!

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Participating in walks

Summer is nearly gone, so we thought it was time to share some of our favorite things to do in the summer.

Rosa:  No school – when I was younger!  And the SUN!

Don:  Cook-Outs

Taylor:  Going to Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin and shopping at Cabela’s

Richard:  Going to summer camp

Cheryl:  Flowers

Susan:  It’s nice out!

James F:  I like growing vegetables.

more-smore-fun

We love making S’Mores!

Diana:  Going swimming and also watching the flowers grow.

Denny:  Camping

Gary W.:  Fishing & Cook-Outs

Twila:  Going to Okoboji

Luke:  Eating outside

Stacey:  Swimming

Eric:  Going on walks and riding bikes

Tony:  I like the heat and I like storms

Michael B.:  Biking

waterfight-fun

WATER FIGHTS ARE FUN!!

Tabitha:  Hanging out with my friends and swimming

Sarah:  Shopping

Brandon:  I like to go out into the community!

I like the freedom of art!

image by Dan Phillips Photography - Cedar Falls, Iowa

image by Dan Phillips Photography – Cedar Falls, Iowa

My name is Rosa and my name means pink in Spanish.  I like it when people spell my name with a Z (Roza).  My birthday is in March and I am from Olean, New York and I grew up in Pennsylvania.  For a while I lived with my grandma in Florida – I loved the beach, but I didn’t like many of the people there.  So far Waterloo is my favorite place to live and I plan to retire here when I am older.

I live in an apartment in Waterloo with my three roommates – I am pretty good friends with two of them.  We cook supper together and sometimes we cook-out for special occasions.  I am the only roommate that gets to come to wonderful North Star.

I like to watch T.V. – I like “Two Broke Girls” and “The Andy Griffith Show.”  We play a lot of cards and we play games like UNO, Skip-Bo and Phase 10.   My favorite color is magenta.  I like dogs and horses and I liked the movie, “Secret Life of Pets.”

I really like art!  I like to make word collages.  I like the freedom of art and I can let my mind explode on paper.  Whatever I am thinking or feeling can go on paper. I got to be in North Star’s art show and this is what I made for it.

Rosa's Word Cloud

Rosa’s Word Cloud

I like movies!

IMG_3332My name is Taylor P.  I went to River Hills School and live in Waterloo with Mom & Dad.  I have three brothers, Trevor, Jordan, and Dakota and one sister. She’s a cheerleader at West High School.  One of my brothers works at Hy-Vee and has his own apartment.

I was in Employment Services, but started in Day Habilitation on Monday.  Yesterday we got to go on an outing to Hansen’s Dairy.  The calves were licking my fingers.  They had twin calves named Star and Wars.  I like all the Star Wars movies; “Return of the Jedi” is my favorite.

I get to watch the dogs and my sister’s dog grabs shoes and then gets in trouble.  I take the dogs outside to go.  This morning it was raining and we have to clean their paws off.

I LOVE to go to the zoo!  My favorite is the Omaha Zoo and I like the gorillas!  One time one of the gorillas at the zoo broke the glass on their window.

We went to Orlando in 2009 and 2013.  I went to Disney World – you should visit it!  And Magic Kingdom has the “Small World.”  We found a vacation home in Florida with a huge tub!  And Florida has palm trees and we ate at Chili’s.

And I went to San Antonio, Texas to see my uncle.  There was the River Walk and Sea World.  I saw the Marine Mammals Show and there was a walrus with big tusks!

Also we went to Walker, Minnesota.  There was a candy store and we got pizza at Benson’s (Emporium) and went to Reed’s.

I like movies.  I like the five Ice Ages movies.  I want to see “Storks” this fall and “Trolls” in November.

I like to crochet!

DianaI am Diana.  I have lived all my life in Waterloo.  I live in Waterloo with my husband, James.  My birthday is in August when it is hot outside.  James’ birthday is in September.  We have a two-bedroom, two stall garage house that we rent.  The landlord does a good job of fixing stuff and keeping it up-to-date.  We get someone to shovel because I can’t do it no more with my arthritis and bursitis.

I have been married for 15 years!  Me and James got married at the courthouse.  I met him at Joker’s and he wanted me.  He does everything with me.  James cooked for me – he made a diabetic bake with cauliflower and parmesan cheese – reduced fat parmesan cheese.  He isn’t diabetic, but he eats the same as me – it’s good for him to be healthy too.

I found a website with good, healthy recipes.  I saw one to make tacos with Manwich Sauce and you put a little cheese on them.  I want to try that.  Simple.  I make meatloaf out of turkey – you have to put some stuff in there to make it stick together and then I put it on parchment paper on a cookie sheet in the oven.

I like to bake too.  I make cookies out of diabetic brownie mix.  Did you know you could do that?

I got an Iowa Hawkeye Rose Bowl t-shirt at Hy-Vee.  It was cheaper than the other stores – only $8.  Me and my husband got one.  It was our Christmas present together.

My older sister gave me her Timex watch, she didn’t want it.  She is 57 and she has arthritis too – it runs in my family.  I also have a younger brother and a brother in Heaven.  My grandparents on both sides and parents are gone now, but I go and visit them.  I have their wedding picture by my bed.

I like to shop.  I like to go shopping for crafts.  I crochet.  I make potholders, and I made me a scarf.  I made a Hawkeye throw blanket and now my husband wants one, too.  I sometimes use a wooden crochet hook for when my hands get sore – you know arthritis.  I also like to do beads – I made a bracelet and necklace.

Jordan reports on the Holidays

Jordan’s Cornerjordan

Holiday traditions vary widely around the world as well as within our little community of North Star. This month I decided to learn about some of these traditions. I researched several countries and interviewed both staff and consumers to find out what they do for the holidays. This is what I found:

Food during the holidays is as important as it is diverse. Jerry C. (consumer from Advantage) likes the traditional holiday meals. Turkey, potatoes, stuffing, and scalloped corn are his favorites. In contrast, traditional Catholics from Southwest India typically fast (don’t eat) from December 1st to the midnight service on December 24th. That’s almost a whole month of not eating!! A traditional Romanian Christmas dish is the ‘ciorba de perisoare’ which is a slightly sour vegetable soup made with fermented bran and pork meatballs. I don’t know which is worse, not eating or eating that! I’ll stick to the turkey and mashed potatoes, thank you very much.

Many families play games around the holidays. Rachel (Advantage coordinator) plays a game with dice and gifts. They put all the gifts together and if you roll a set of matching numbers you get to pick a gift that you want. One year they were throwing around glass dishes!

In China, a tradition that is becoming popular is giving apples on Christmas Eve. The apples are usually wrapped in colored paper. Jerry C. said his favorite gift he ever received was a boombox with ‘Journey’ CDs. Georgia D. (consumer from Advantage) once received a Viking t-shirt and a Waterloo Blackhawks coat that were her favorite gifts.

Everyone knows about Santa Claus. However in Germanic folklore there is Krampus, a beast-like creature who shows up to punish the naughty children. Just the sight of him is really punishing. Today, young people dress up as Krampus and roam the streets of many Balkan countries to frighten young children.

Religion is very important for many during the holidays. In Egypt, Christmas Eve is celebrated in January. Coptic Christians go to church for a special service that typically lasts from 10pm to midnight but some can go until 4am. Christmas Eve is very important to Mark (Executive Director) and his family because his father was a minister. Mark enjoys singing in the Christmas cantata at church, going to the Christmas Eve service then going home to open gifts.

One thing everyone, everywhere can agree on is the importance of family during the holidays. In Zambia, Christmas is celebrated with few decorations and fewer gifts. The gifts tend to carry a deep cultural significant and remind the recipient to nurture and care for their family.

Steve W. (consumer from Advantage) remembers when his sister was born on Christmas as his favorite memory. Mary A. (Director of Advantage) remembers fondly when her son-in-law got down on his in his knee in front of the whole family and proposed to her daughter.

Have a safe and happy holiday season!!!

What we’re thankful for

What some of the participants at North Star in Waterloo are thankful for this year!

What the turkey's grateful about!

What the turkey’s grateful about!

Arnie: Alvin and the Chipmunks
Bill: family, roommates, girlfriend
Blaine: North Star
Brandon: turkey
Breyon: Mom
Brittany S.: My job
Brock: turkey and Thanksgiving
Carrie: Mom
Charlie: Gallagher Bluedorn and our volunteers
Chase: going shopping in Iowa City with my mom
Cheryl: that I live in a nice home
Courtney: Chelsey
Crissy: roommates
Denny: staff
Diane: food
Don: Chad Hackenmiller, my brother, Mary Beth, and mom
Doug: church, Christmas, turkey and pie
Eric: our country, family, and staff
Gary We.: pie
Gary Wi.: being here and my girlfriend, my staff, a house, and my family
Haley K.: health, family and my kiddos
James Ha.: turkey and Thanksgiving
James Ho.: nothing right now
James S.: food
Jeff H.: food
Jeff T.: food and Dad
Jerry: family, North Star, Newel Post, and church
Joe: Mom, Dad, and my new job
John: that I stay with my sister
Kelli: horses
Kenneth: monster trucks
Kylie friends and family
Larry: family, niece and nephew
Lee: pizza!
Luke: everything we have
Megan B.: my mom
Mike D.: what God gave me
Mike O.: family and staff
Mike R.: food!
Pam: Thanksgiving and North Star
Phil: father and sister
Randy: being here and learning, and also turkey
Richard: turkey and potatoes and dressing (“dressing’s good stuff!”)
Richie: family
Rosemary: turkey, cranberries, and pumpkin pie
Roza: art
Sandra: my brother, sister-in-law, nephew
Sarah: my aunt
Sheri: my mom
Sheryl: my health
Shirley H.: health, family, and friends
Susan: Life – “you know, that we’re alive”
Tammy: my mom, dad, sisters, brothers, and my niece and nephew
The Turkey: To be alive and not on the plate!
Tony: my family and friends
Travis: staff and being able to draw
Twila: the stuffing, cheesecake and pumpkin pie
Wendy: my brothers

I love cars!

IMG_7169I am Courtney.  I was an elephant in North Star’s play, “The Jungle Book.”  I enjoyed that and would do it again next time.  In this picture I am in my costume and make-up.

I was born in Osage, Iowa and I grew up a lot of places like McIntire (kind of by Riceville) and Mona, Iowa and also in Lyle, Minnesota – right on the border of Iowa and Minnesota.  When I was growing up we had a lot of dogs and cats.  My favorite was a Rottweiler that was named Gigolo; he was a big boy and could get a bowling ball in his mouth!  I have four brothers, one is older and three are younger.  My mom lives in Austin, Minnesota.

Now I live in Waterloo in a duplex.  I have a roommate named Rose and also a man that lives in the other part of the duplex.  I have a cat name, Finch and I used to have a betta fish named Larry.  But one day my cat knocked over his bowl.  She just watched him flop around on the floor and when I got home he was just lying on the floor.

I have a job.  I really like it, probably because I really love cars!  I work at Dan Deery Toyota in the detail shop.  Usually I do the vacuuming.  Yesterday I got to detail a 2012 Charger!  And, once I got to detail a 2003 Mustang – that one was pretty souped-up!

At home I like to play video games, like Grand Theft Auto.  I also have 17 racing games and a casino game.  The casino game is really hard.  I watch T.V. – cartoons mostly.  I like the Simpsons.  I have a blu-ray player and I like the Fast & Furious movies.  I have the whole series and #7 comes out this week.  I heard maybe they were going to make a Fast & Furious 8.

We usually do the cleaning on Friday and take turns with the chores.  I do my own grocery shopping – I like to buy ice cream and could probably eat a whole gallon in a week!  My favorite is salted caramel gelato.  I also cook for myself – staff helps Rose cook, because she is like 50!

On Friday, when my boyfriend Lonnie comes over I will make him pizza or spaghetti. We want to get married, maybe in about two years.  Then our dream is to buy a 70” plasma television and build a log cabin in the middle of nowhere.  I am going to have to start saving money!

Some of my other favorites are the Texas Longhorns and the color blue.  I like to listen to all kinds of music.  I build model cars – I like the Chevy Nova.  I can play guitar – I would like lessons, but they are expensive.  I am good at art.  I did take some art lessons and learned how to make pottery.

 

 

I am a Dragon Ball Z fan!

Blaine JohnsonI am Blaine J.  I am tired today – I stayed up until 11:00 last night!  I am almost 25 years old.  My favorite color is blue and my favorite team is the Minnesota Vikings.  I have two brothers and one sister – they are all younger.  I was born in Waterloo, but I moved all over, I graduated from a high school in Allamakee County.  The diploma is on my wall.

I live in Waterloo now, in my own apartment. Friday is my day off from North Star.  Sometimes my aunt will take me grocery shopping then, but I will probably watch T.V. or play video games.

I do my own laundry.  And I do clean my apartment – at some point.  I can cook.  I like to make pizza and sloppy joes.  For sloppy joes I buy the stuff in the can.  It is easier for me because there is no recipe.  For pizza:  if I am tired, I make frozen, but I like to make homemade pizza sometimes.  You can just buy the crust and the stuff to put on it.  I cook it in my Pizzazz.

I like to drink pop.  My favorites are Wild Cherry Pepsi, Mt. Dew, Orange Crush, and Strawberry Crush.  And, I also like the white Mt. Dew, but I don’t like Code Red Mt. Dew.  I also don’t like plain Pepsi or Grape Crush.

I love to play video games and watch movies and T.V.  My favorite movie is the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  My favorite T.V. show is Dragon Ball Z.  Goku is my favorite Dragon Ball Z character.

My favorite video game is Dragon Ball XenoVerse.  In the game you have to save the history of Dragon Ball Z.  I beat the game, but I keep playing it to get more stuff unlocked.

I like Pokémon too.  My favorite Pokémon is Pikachu.  I also like Power Rangers – my favorite is Jason David Frank – he played the Green Ranger, Red Ranger, and White Ranger.

I also like wrestling.  My favorite wrestler is John Cena.  I also like Randy Orton, Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, Dolph Ziggler; but not Seth Rollins because he is a jerk.  For wrestlers that don’t wrestle anymore I like Diamond Dallas Page and The Rock.  I guess The Rock quit because he is in movies.  My favorite Rock movies are G.I. Joe Retaliation and Fast & Furious 6.

I like to listen to music.  I like rock, rap, and hip hop.  My friend Russ told me about Avenged Sevenfold and the song “Hail to the King.”  I also have some CD’s from Five Finger Death Punch, Linkin Park, and Disturbed.  I really like Nickelback – my mom got me into them.

I like to draw and I like to color, too.  I can draw my Dragon Ball Z avatar, but I can’t draw the other characters, I would have to trace them.

I really want to see the new Vin Diesel movie, “The Last Witch Hunter.” He says, “You know what I am afraid of?  Nothing.”  It looks kinda awesome!!!

Camp Courageous is the best!

jordan at campThis summer during the last week of July, I went to Camp Courageous.  Camp Courageous is in Monticello, Iowa and is for people with disabilities.  I left to go to Camp on my 24th birthday, which is on July 26th and I came back on July 30th.  I was in Group One with four other girls and five counselors.  I got to go swimming, camp out in a tent overnight, do arts & crafts, Super Zip, Burma Bridge, and much more fun things.  Going to Camp Courageous in the summer for a week is the highlight of it.  My week at camp during the summer is the best week of my entire life!!!  I look forward to going to Camp Courageous every summer.  By Jordan N.

I like to watch basketball and hockey!

georgia flowerI am Georgia.  I am 57 years old.  I live with my sister, Cheryl and we just moved to Jesup.  My other sister is JoAnn and she lives over off of Hackett and my other sister is Donna and she lives in Jesup.  I have lots of nieces and nephews and I like to go to their basketball games.  I am a Don Bosco fan!  I went to River Hills School and my favorite color is red.

I like to watch movies.  I like movies.  My favorite movie is (shhhh….) “Magic Mike!”  I like to eat at Applebee’s and I always order chicken strips, French fries and Diet Pepsi.

In October I am going to go to the hockey game.  I like basketball and hockey games.  I am good at exercise and I go to the YMCA and on Friday, I walked at Young Arena.  I like to ride my bike, but I stay on the sidewalk to be safe.

Cheryl and I get groceries in Independence at Fareway.  I help by dusting my room.  Sometimes Cheryl cooks, but sometimes I cook.  I can cook eggs and stuff and I make cookies.

I like to do the  Special Olympics:  race walking, the relay, softball throw, and basketball skills.  Sometimes I go bowling.  I was in North Star’s play.  I was a flower in “The Jungle Book.”