Sunday, January 27, 2013

What-What?! Week of January 27th

This last week has been busy; my husband had his wisdom teeth taken out, and school started for me.  Most of this week, I didn't cook real dinners, opting instead to have things like sandwiches, eggs, macaroni and cheese, and so on.  I made spaghetti once.  I need to plan better for next week.
On Writing: Squidoo and School
I had some happenings with Squidoo this week; a few new articles, some squid-likes and comments.  My lowest ranked article is at about #124,000ish, which is a far cry from the 20,000 ranking that is my goal (that's when the money happens), but much better than many of my others, which are in the 300,000 range.
I'll be doing a lot more writing in general now that school has started, but I'm hoping that some of the assignments will lend well to incorporating onto Squidoo.
Food:  Lemon Butter via Tasty Kitchen

This I did do.  I don't have a real double-broiler, so I had a pot of water with a bowl over it, and that worked out okay.  It still came out amazing!  So delicious!

Osric’s Birthday:  Hot Air Balloon Ideas
After making cake bites last week, I decided to go looking for other hot air balloon birthday ideas.  Here's some of what I found:

I found these brilliant woven paper hot air balloons.  They are so cute!  The pattern doesn't look that hard, so I might try them sometime.

This hot air balloon cake is a pretty blah by itself, but I think the idea has potential.  I could see maybe doing a group of them, maybe creating some kind of scene?  Marshmallow clouds could work.

Rainbow Hot Air Balloon Birthday Party
These little cake pop guys on the left have some potential as well. (if you follow that link, beware the million pictures).

News:  Tips for Getting Your Product in Big Box Stores via Entrepreneur
Not much by way of news this week, but I thought this article was worth a read.  It's pretty fantastic that small businesses can get stocked at large chains, but her discussion of the required infastructure you need to have ready is somewhat staggering.  What she doesn't talk about are all the services that help you with that infastructure; you don't have to develop a national warehouse system or worry about shipping your items to stores, because businesses like UPS will do that for you.

Well, that's it for this week.  Hopefully next week I'll something a bit more substantial.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

What-What?! Week of January 20th

On Writing: Publishing eBooks
This week, I published a short eBook on Amazon; it’s basically a reprint of a paper that I wrote for school a couple of years ago.  It’s pretty short and basic, and I published it mostly to get an idea of what the publishing process on Amazon looked like.  If you want to check it out, it’s here, available for $2.99: Trader Joe’s versus Whole Foods Market.
My Squidoo articles have basically done nothing.  I’ve applied to one Squidoo database in order to get some backlinks, but I need to do more to work them up.  I have a couple that I need to update more by adding more information and fixing things.
Food: Pork Stir Fry
So, I’d had some foods already picked out for this week…and then I didn’t do any of them.
Instead, I made pork stir fry, using bok choy, cilantro, mushrooms, carrots and bell peppers.  I wrapped it up in rice paper, and made summer rolls.  This last Christmas, Peter got me a mandolin slicer, which I decided to use for cutting veggies.
And then, like a doofus, I cut my finger on it. :P

So, moral of that story is to be careful using a mandolin slicer.

This article is well worth reading; it discusses how tax return fraud works with e-filing and direct deposit or payments, and what to do if it happens to you.  Unfortunately, this seems to be one of those things where the government’s technology hasn’t kept pace with fraudsters, and there’s little that you can really do to protect yourself.
Something cute:  R2-D2USB Cufflinks

Okay, so this is pretty useless, and expensive, but it is very cute! :)

Food:  Cake Bites, ala Bakerella
A couple of years ago, Peter got me Bakerella’s (that is, Angie Dudley) Cake Pops book.  It’s a great book, and very nice to look at, but I’ve never made any of the pops because it just seemed like too much work.  Saffron, my eldest, found it the other day, and asked if we could make some, so I decided “what the heck?”  Because I’m still myself, though, I decided to do it using the least amount of actual work.

Rather than hand crumbling the cake, I quartered it and put it into a gallon sized plastic bag.  Then, the kids and I mushed it up, which did a pretty good job.

Then, rather than using a spoon to mix the frosting in, I used my Kitchenaid mixer, with the beater attachment.  I put it on Stir for a minute or two, and then it was perfect consistency.

Peter and I picked up some chocolate molds from the craft store, and Saffron helped by putting the balls into the cups that I’d filled with chocolate.
After that was done, we dipped the tops into some red candy melts, and then Saffron put sprinkles on for us.
Everyone thoroughly enjoyed them, though Peter thought that they would be better without the chocolate pedestals. I think, in the right colors, it would make for a brilliant hot air balloon themed party. I have high hopes for my littlest boy’s first birthday party. Unfortunately, it’ll probably be ruined by my capstone class. Sorry Ozzie, your first birthday party will be after May 17th. D:<
(Photos via Bakerella, Amazon, and Squidoo).

Sunday, January 13, 2013

What-What?! Week of January 13th

On Writing: Squidoo
This week has been busy!  I’ve still looking for internships in the area, and so far not coming up with much.  It seems that most of the big companies here in the Silicon Valley only employ interns during the summer, so since I’m looking for something before the summer, I have to look elsewhere.
Other things that I’ve been working on include starting on Squidoo; I posted most of my old articles from eHow (which are no longer available there), and I’ll probably add some new ones as I get time.  Other websites I’m looking at writing for includes Text Broker and Demand Media.
I went ahead and started a page on here with links to the articles I have up on Squidoo and FireHow.  As I expand my article list, and try other websites, I’ll add additional links.
Tasty Kitchen Blog: Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole. Guest post by Erica Kastner of Cooking for Seven, recipe submitted by Terri of That's Some Good Cookin'.
We tried this recipe a while ago, to much success; everyone very much liked it, though my husband thought that it was too rich.  Because I knew it was going to be a heavy meal, I made it with a simple salad, no other sides.  I highly recommend adding the lemon to this recipe; it gives it a great little zing that really makes the sauce special.
I made this the other day as a special treat for my daughter.  It was so easy and delish!  I admit that I didn’t measure anything properly, but it still came out fine.  I subbed out the cocoa powder for more Nutella, and it was delightfully chocolately and moist.  Like some of the comments say on the recipe page, this is too much for one mug; I am glad that I mixed mine up in a bowl, because even my largest mug would have been too small.  The amount is just right for two people, and worked perfectly for us to share.
Movies: Willow and Common Sense Media
One of the art nouveau heroines I saw last week was Sorsha, from Willow.  This week, the kids and I watched it together; I thought that maybe the baby stealing would be a bit much for them, but overall they did fine.  I keep having to remind myself that my kids aren’t as scared of things as I was at that age.
One website that I’ve started checking pretty regularly is Common Sense Media.  They provide reviews and age recommendations on all kinds of media, though I’ve only read reviews from the movies and TV section.  I’ve been finding that what I think is okay for my kids is just a bit older than their suggestions, but it’s great to have this resource available anyway, so I get an idea of what kinds of things are presented in the movie or show.
The bestest “oh no, I’ve made a terrible mistake” I've seen was probably this one woman’s review I read on Netflix, for a film titled Sleeping Beauty, directed by Catherine Breillat (no longer available on Netflix, but is on Amazon Instant).  This film is unrated, which is the first clue, and just looking at the cover, it looks dark and scary.  The best clue, though, would probably be the nudity.  In her review, this lady actually said “I thought the first flash of nudity was a fluke”.  WHAT?  A fluke?!
Sadly, you can’t see the review anymore, but when it was up, it was pretty good reading.
This is pretty cool; the maker, Worldwide Aeros Corp, has created this 36,000 pound airship for the U.S. military.  It is a hybrid zeppelin/plane, with a rigid aluminum structure, that can lift straight up; ultimately they hope for it to carry about 66 tons.  When I asked my husband how much a tank weighs, he said about 60 tons.  So, obviously not so much for transporting tanks, but it could carry a lot of smaller vehicles and such.
(Images from Tasty Kitchen, Kirbie's Cravings, IMDB)

Sunday, January 6, 2013

What-What?! Week of January 6th

First up, our recipe: Sausage, Kale and Potato Soup, via The Pioneer Woman
This has become one of my go-to soup recipes for the winter.  Instead of using crumbled sausage, I usually use Aidells Chicken and Apple sausage, and brown them lightly for some nice flavor.  I leave out the red pepper flakes, and use whatever milk or half-and-half I have sitting around.  Even with substitutions, it has always come out delicious!
The verdict:
  • Husband:  Peter likes it just as much as I do. :)
  • Kids:  The big kids just aren’t in to soups, and they particularly don’t like kale.  I always plan on feeding them something different when I make this.
(photo via The Pioneer Woman)

Item Review:  Bulleit Bourbon
Pete and I picked this bourbon up from Bevmo about a week ago.  Funny enough, the brand is owned by Diageo, the same company that owned the winery Peter worked for eons ago.  It came highly recommended from friends, and is well rated by experts as well.  That said, I’m not sure I like it as much as other bourbons I’ve had.  It has an almost overpowering oaky flavor, probably due to its long aging process.  I’ll be the first to admit that I could just be me, though, as I haven’t had bourbon at all since before Peter and I were married (almost 6 years).
(photo via

Blog: Epbot’s January Art Roundup

Jen over at Epbot just posted this fantastic Art Roundup.  This wrapped Millennium Falcon reminded me of my childhood, stealing my brother’s Star Wars toys, as well as Peter’s experience falling from a bunk bed onto their Millennium Falcon (yeah, what a horrific shame D: ).

The Oswald piece that she posted is a bit frightening to me, rather than cute.  I think it’s the one big eye.  It just looks evil. D:

She posted a great piece by Amy Mebberson, who I know more from her Pocket Princesses series.  While I find that some of her comics are a little derived, there are clever strips, and I do enjoy the idea of the Disney princesses interacting with each other and the funny moments that could ensue.

The one thing that I have to make a dig at, though, is the steampunk Art Nouveau Batgirl, but then I’m just kind of tired of steampunk.  I don’t think this had to be steampunk to do this, and have it be so good.  On the non-steampunk front, I was quite delighted by these Art Nouveau princesses.  They reminded me of quite a few movies that I need to watch with my kids. :)
(photos via Epbot and Pocket Princesses)

News:  Patrick Dempsey buys Tully's Coffee
Patrick Dempsey (who most people know from Grey's Anatomy, but I know from Enchanted) stole Tully's Coffee out from under the likes of Starbucks and BaristaTV, buying the bankrupt company for $9.15 million dollars.  I know I'm very interested to see what he does with the brand, and how it competes against all the other players in the coffee industry.

And now, I leave you with a war that never happened, thanks to Wikipedia.
Until next week!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Introduction to the What-What?!

My name is Isabeau, and I am a full-time business student over at California State University, Monterey Bay, as well as being a stay at home mother to three young kids.

I set this blog up mostly so I have something to do each week.  I spend a lot of time poking around and thinking about things, but have no place to reflect and deposit the information I find.  It is my intention to post every Sunday with a variety of new information, including recipes, product reviews, news articles on a variety of subjects, and general geekiness.
On January 22nd, I head back to school full-time to finish my degree in business.  While this might cut down on the time I have to devote to this blog, I think that a weekly post will remain well within my abilities.

My first post will appear tomorrow, January 6th.