Thursday, February 27, 2014

Art Thursday - February 27th

A Fairy and a Pony.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

What-What?! Week of February 23rd

I haven't had work this week, which means I've gotten the time to work on other things, like reading, crochet, writing, cooking, and decluttering.  The husband and I have worked pretty hard to get a lot of things listed on eBay, which will hopefully empty out our house a bit over the next few weeks.  Unfortunately, my wrist has slowly started hurting again, which has put a bit of a damper on certain things, like crochet and playing on the computer.

 

News: An Archeologist's Dream:  Exploring Camp Asylum via The State


This is really interesting; a civil war POW camp is set to be developed upon in South Carolina, so a team of archeologists are doing a last-minute excavation to uncover whatever is left behind.  The article linked above tells a pretty good story of how the camp came to be, and on the development of the dig, while this Yahoo! News article talks about what the archeologists are doing right now.  Definitely a good read if you're interested in history.  There are lots of pictures, too, so be sure to take a look.

Cooking:  Oatmeal Banana Chocolate Chip Bar Cookies

I wanted cookies.  But not just any cookies.  What I really wanted was some of my mom's oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, but there was no way I was going to call her and beg, so I had to make some myself.  I actually hate making regular cookies, because there's switching pans in and out of the oven, cooling racks, and just a lot more dishes to wash than I can be bothered with.  That's why these are bar cookies.  One bowl, one pan, forever and ever, amen.  These are fantastically delicious.  The slight banana taste goes well with the oats and chocolate chips, like a really mild banana bread.

Ingredients
1 stick Butter
1 large ripe Banana
3/4 cup Brown Sugar
3/4 cup Sugar
Egg

1 heaping tablespoon Baking Powder
1 cup Oats (rolled or instant)
1 cup Flour
1/4 cup Wheat Germ
1 cup Chocolate Chips
Pinch of Salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees, and line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper (or wax paper).  Cream the butter and sugars together, then mix in the banana and egg.  Add dry ingredients, and mix until just incorporated.  Spread onto the prepared pan, and bake for 15-17 minutes.  Let cool, then try not to eat it all while cutting.  Makes about 24.

Don't forget to check out my husband's blog; we got a big box set of miniatures this week, which I'm looking forward to painting.

(img via thestate.com)

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Art Thursday - February 20th

This picture is hilarious.  I'm not entirely sure where Saffron's seen wine glasses before, but these ponies definitely look like they are having some fermented grapes.  Perhaps they're having a "mare's night out"? :P

Sunday, February 16, 2014

What-What?! Week of February 16th

This week, I don't know what happened.  Mostly, I think the household was in survival mode.  We received a box of packing peanuts and toilet paper.  It also had ork miniatures, so you know, there's that, too.  I posted a new article about children's board games, because we've accrued a collection of them.

I haven't felt much like writing lately.  I don't get a lot of time to cook, either.  When I do cook, it's mostly just quick and easy stuff, and because it's the end of the week, the cupboards are a little bare.  Yesterday, I made a quiche using leftover pork, frozen vegetables, onion, cheese, and Worchester sauce.  Basically, dinner from the freezer, without being a frozen dinner (ha!).

Food Review:  Ecopia Farms Salad Kit -- Farmhouse Citrus Salad


My husband came home with this for our dinner yesterday.  The photograph above really does not do this salad justice; it's not just a salad, but an experience.  The kit comes with the salad greens, fresh herb mix, glass canisters of quinoa, blood oranges, and feta cheese, cotton baggies of toasted sunflower seeds and sea salt, as well as a small glass bottle of dressing.  You open the bag and start pulling more and more ingredients out, each beautifully packaged.  Assembling the salad is easy, and because you are the one mixing it up, you can choose how much of each ingredient to include.

This salad truly made the meal.  The blood oranges had a great citrus flavor, and dark, deep red color.  The dressing was suitably light, and combined well with the other ingredients.  I enjoyed it greatly.  Once the salad is gone, you are also left with these nifty glass containers, which are perfectly reusable.  I see homemade spice mixes in my future, or perhaps I'll use one to hold miniature bits.

The kits are on the expensive side, but for a special occasion or as a treat, I can totally see buying one again.  Ecopia sells at the Los Gatos and the Saratoga farmers markets, and delivers throughout the Bay Area.  If it's near you, I highly recommend you try it.

Movie Review:  Disney Cars Movie


A few weeks ago, I got a special offer from Disney Movie Rewards, to get this film for the cost of shipping.  My kids love the Mater's Tall Tales shorts that are on Netflix, so I decided that it'd definitely be something to pick up.  We'd never seen the original film or any of the sequels, but I know that it'd largely received good reviews.

My kids loved it.  I, however, was sadly disappointed.  The story was predictable and pretty unimaginative, which I can forgive to a certain extent; Monsters, Inc. and Ice Age are basically the same story, as well as Rango and Flushed Away, and so on.  The worst problem in this film was that the main character, Lightening McQueen, was just too unlikable.  In some of the behind the scenes features on the first Toy Story film, Sheriff Woody was originally a very unlikable character, which was changed, because no one was going to root for someone that despicable.  I suspect that this same thing happened with Lightening, but the creators didn't go far enough in making him likable.  Even after he's been reformed, I still had a lot of trouble liking him.  Alternatively, the problem might be that Mater is too funny, and it's just too much for the rest of the cast to absorb.  Either way, I can't get past Lightening being a jerk.  I'll keep watching Mater's Tall Tales, but not so much Cars.

(images via Ecopia and Pixar.wikia.com)

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Art Thursday - February 13th


Disney Fairies this week.  Tinkerbell is over on the far right, but I don't know the other names; last time I asked Saffron, she gave me a 30 minute description, detailing each fairy's likes, dislikes, job, and name.  Kid likes her fairies. xD

Sunday, February 9, 2014

What-What?! Week of February 9th

Crafts:  Painting a 'Mech in Five Minutes via YouTube


This is a great quick tutorial on how to paint battlemechs quickly, while still looking pretty good.  I plan on using this method on some of our cheapie plastic miniatures, because why not?  I do particularly like how the man in the video refers to washes as "instant skill".  Too true!

News:  Why Walmart is Getting Too Expensive for the Middle Class via Yahoo! Finance



This article makes kind of a funny point: Walmart is now becoming too expensive for its main clientele.  Even though the economy is growing, jobs are being created, and unemployment down, the recovery has been pretty hollow.  Disposable income keeps ticking downward, and this is especially apparent in the dropping incomes of the middle and lower class.  This article seems to infer that most of the bump in retail spending has been by those in the upper class  While it's old news that dollar stores have become fierce competitors for discount retailers, it'll be interesting to see how Walmart reacts to all these factors.  I don't really expect it to turn into a more premium store, because that would take a lot of infrastructure improvements, like making the stores look nicer, hiring more employees, and so on.  No, I expect that Walmart will just become more hardcore in its low cost strategy.  I can't say I envy Walmart's suppliers, because you know those are the ones that will feel the pinch first.  Time will tell, I suppose.

Cooking:  Hot Cocoa Oatmeal

We ran out of other things to eat, so I made this.  I was pleasantly surprised at how delicious it is, while still somewhat healthy (there are oats, so...).  Simply make however many servings of oatmeal you'd like, then add the same number of hot cocoa packets (or scoops from a tin).  I added a little bit more sugar to mine, but otherwise it was plenty delicious.  Some cinnamon and nutmeg would make a lovely spiced cocoa oatmeal.  I suggest topping with marshmallows, sliced banana, and a splash of half-n-half or milk.

Don't forget to check out my husband's blog, A Wizard's Rambles.

(img via Wikipedia)

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Art Thursday - February 6th

 
Lego Ninjas today.  I like the setting sun near the bottom of the picture.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

What-What?! Week of February 2nd

Unfortunately, I'm not able to write a lot for this week, because I'm stuck using one hand.  After falling off my skateboard and hurting my arm, I've spent most of the week with it in a sling.  While I'd like to say that this is more problematical at work, it isn't; being home with a toddler who wants to be held and cuddled is much harder to handle without hurting myself more.

Also, everyone who knows me is now like "a skateboard?!?".  Yes, I decided to learn how to skateboard.  I was doing pretty well, too, until I decided I needed to start practicing different ways to stop, which is when I fell.  Apparently starting and going on a skateboard is much easier than stopping on a skateboard.  Luckily, my boss had a sling in her car, which is what I've been wearing.  So that's nice.

Learning How to Skateboard:  The Nerdy Way


Maybe I should have titled this the "I have no friends" way. :P  After much digging around, I've spent a few hours both reading skateboarding guides, as well as watching many YouTube videos.  There're a couple of different guides that I found that were useful, but the most useful one was at this UK site, Board-Crazy.  As for videos, this set over at YouTube is one of the best, as well.

...Just in case anyone else is interested. ;D

Film:  The Lego Movie via WSJ.com


This is an interesting article about the upcoming Lego movie, titled The Lego Movie.  When I first read about this film, I was somewhat confused; why is this the Lego movie?  What about The Adventures of Clutch Powers?  Granted, this film is debuting in theaters, rather than home video like all of Lego's other films, but even Lego's home video pieces have been pretty high quality.  I do like that this Lego movie spans all of Lego's sets, mixing any and every theme available.  While this isn't something I think I'd go to the theater for, I will almost definitely be picking it up on DVD.

Oh!  Don't forget to check out my husband's blog, The Wizard's Rambles.  He's posted twice since last week, once discussing miniatures, and once about his classes, which started this week.