Thursday, December 31, 2015

Art Thursday -- December 31st

"Candyland Fantasy"
A Candyland-inspired fantasy setting.
I don't know if the fairy is wearing a headdress, or if she also has a unicorn horn...

Sunday, December 27, 2015

What-What?! Week of December 27th

Happy holidays everyone!

Our first Christmas in our own house!  Yeah! :D

I have a million pictures.

Playing MarioKart with the family.  Ozzy is actually gunning for the husband here.
Early on Christmas Eve, we had the barest breath of snow.  The kids woke us up yelling "It's snowing, it's snowing!".  They were quite disappointed when it stopped.  But not too disappointed -- we played board games and videogames, and had a pancake dinner.

We had about a million presents this year (and we especially appreciate that our families out of state sent us so much!).

So, I have no pictures of children unwrapping presents, because it just didn't happen.  Would have been blurry anyway. :P

The kids played with their newly-gotten Legos extensively, though:
Corey and Daddy building Minecraft Legos.

Osric taking a break from building in order to savagely rip the head off his skeleton guy.

Saffron building a bed and accessories for her Lego girls.

Saffron is already on chapter two of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows!  You can also see the hand-painted bookmark that my brother made for her... more pictures of that next week, since all the photos I have of it right now are rubbish.

I got Corwin a Minecraft shirt, because how could I not?
My sister got the husband a Dorkness Rising shirt.  Which is awesome.

And she got me a Kiki's Delivery Service shirt, featuring Jiji.  Looking at the Wikipedia page, I have just found out that it is based on a novel.  Might have to pick up one now...

And she also gave us a squirrel bathmat, which is adorable.  My mother actually specifically asked for a picture of this after I told her about it over the phone. :B

And my husband got me some My Little Pony books... which is so nerdy.  I will talk about these more in another blog post.

Not shown is all the cooking things my parents sent us.  The husband used the chef's knife to carve our Christmas roast, and it was like going through butter.  Nice to have a sharp knife.  They also gave us some Bobby Flay dishtowels, which have a really nice texture to them.

Christmas Dinner

And as I've just mentioned, we had FOOD!  I didn't take any pictures of it, because we just ate it.  I don't think any of it was really too photogenic, though, except for maybe the Yorkshire pudding straight out of the oven (all puffed up!).  We had a beef roast, Yorkshire pudding, mushroom gravy, and cranberry sauce that was too tart for mere mortals (Saffron and I still liked it).  It was all delicious, and a nice change of pace, considering we haven't had a proper beef roast in quite a while.

For dessert, I made chocolate pudding pie, peach pie, and maple pecan pie.  The chocolate pudding and peach pies were nothing particularly special, though good all the same.  Next time I make peach pie I'm going to do a crumble topping instead of a pastry top, because it'll add some variation in texture.

The maple pecan pie is one I haven't made before -- I don't make traditional pecan pie because the recipe always includes corn syrup, which I don't keep in the house and can't be bothered to buy just to use once or twice a year.  I followed the recipe exactly, and it came out looking like a pecan pie.  The very top of the pie formed something close to a pecan brittle, which gave a nice crunch to offset the maple custard.  Overall, the flavors were very good, though it could do with a bit of help -- the recipe is a bit soupy.  The maple syrup/brown sugar combination actually soaked into the pie crust, which fused it to the pie plate.  We haven't been able to pull even one nice looking piece out of the pan.  I think maybe even just a tablespoon or two of extra cornstarch or flour would fix the problem.  Other than that, I was very pleased.  This is one that I will definitely make again!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Art Thursday -- December 24th


"Snow Scene"
Saffron (top), Osric (middle), and I (bottom) made snow scenes.
Happy Christmas!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

What-What?! Week of December 20th

This week was totally crazy -- recovering from Corey's birthday, getting ready for Christmas, still working and everything.

Corwin's 6th Birthday
We had Corwin's Minecraft birthday party last Sunday.  Unfortunately, because of scheduling issues, we only had one other family there.  Still, the kids had a really good time.

Corwin's cake was chocolate with vanilla buttercream.  It was a gluten-free cake mix so his friends could eat it, and it was okay.  The texture was dense, but the flavor was spot-on.

It took him a couple tries to blow out the candles, but he a had good time doing it. :)

The night before, the kids and I made up some Minecraft decorations.  That's an enderman, creeper, enderdragon, pig, and zombie.

He got a lot of presents.  I basically wrapped this at the last possible second, a mistake I am not making with Christmas presents.

It was neigh-impossible to get good pictures of Corwin unwrapping presents.  Very nearly all of them are blurry from him jumping around -- he was so excited!  Most of his gifts were Legos, which suits him just fine, but the one above is a working model of an engine.  I think they're going to work on it while Peter is home over Christmas.

We got a Christmas tree!  Picked it up from a local place on Tuesday.  It is in front of our movies, so we have to really want to watch one of them.  But it was the only reasonable space we had, so whatevs. :P

Everyone is looking forward to Christmas.  Peter is taking most the week off, so it'll the five of us here, hanging out together. :3

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Art Thursday -- December 17th

"Susan & Mina: Lazy Sunday Book"
Saffron was inspired by the Calvin and Hobbes comics to make her own comic about a little girl named Susan, and her stuffed rabbit, Mina.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

What-What?! Week of December 13th

Today we're celebrating Corwin's birthday!  He's having a Minecraft themed party, and is way excited.  I still have tons to do before guests arrive, like decorating the house and cake.
I had stacked up all his presents last night before I went to bed, so when he got up this morning, he could see them all.  He's just finished shaking all of them.  Most of them rattle like Legos. >.>

I wanted to show everyone Saffron's new shirt.  It says "sparkle glitter dazzle shine", and totally reminds me of Rarity.  It fits her personality perfectly.

Osric made this robot a few days ago.  He begged me to add a face to it, so we did two; a nice face on this side, and an angry one on the other.  Then his head spins around just like Bad Cop/Good Cop from the Lego Movie:

Anyway.  Next week I'll have lots of pictures of Corwin's party!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Art Thursday -- December 10th

"Nina, the Hunter"
Saffron has been on a character-building kick, so here's another one.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

What-What?! Week of December 6th

I am totally not ready for it to be December already.  I've bought a lot of Christmas presents already, so at least there's that.  The husband picked up some Christmas lights, which we're going to put up on the house, since we have a house to put them up on now. :)

We're going to have Corey's birthday party next Sunday, which will have a Minecraft theme.  I've worked out the cake with Corey, but I still need to figure out the rest of the decorations.  I have a feeling that I'll be cutting a lot of paper squares out...

Rabbit Tooth Pillow

Last week, I made Saffron a tooth fairy pillow:
It needs a face still, and its ears are floppy, but otherwise, it came out quite well.  Saffron has one tooth that is extremely loose, but is still hanging on.  I told her that she could wiggle it to get it out sooner, and she told me that she would absolutely not do that.  So eventually it'll come out, and she has a tooth pillow when that happens.

This last week, I needed to do something pointless and fun, because I was disgusted with all my other projects.  I made Twilight Sparkle, reading a book.  There's no real programming involved in making it, but there are some more difficult style sheet magicks going on.

That's it for this week.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Art Thursday -- December 3rd

"Rosetta, the Mouse Fighter"
One of the roleplaying games that Peter and I are currently playing in is set in a world similar to MouseGuard, so we're all mice.  This is Saffron's character sheet and character she came up with.  She rides a rabbit named Snowflake.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

What-What?! Week of November 29th

Happy weekend-after-Thanksgiving!

We've had our first Thanksgiving at our new house, which was immensely satisfying.  I am so thankful for all the help we've had getting here.
The spread, with waiting children.  They were super excited!
And I did a lot of cooking... actually, I should say that we did a lot of cooking, because the husband and I always cook Thanksgiving dinner together.

Dessert was pumpkin pie (not shown, looked like pumpkin pie), mini apple pies, and lemon tart things.  The pies were delicious!  I really liked being able to just pick up the apple pies and eat them out of hand.  I am going to do that again, for sure.  The lemon tarts were a disaster, because they fell apart and just needed help.  Next time will be different.  I already have a plan.  And a lot more lemon butter, too:
I still feel like I should've made a double batch, though.  The stuff is scrumptious.

Now, something that's not food... not food... Not?  Food?  Hm.

How about Legos?
Osric made all of these robots.  He builds robots all the time.  We had to clean them all off the dining table so there was enough space for Thanksgiving dinner.

In other news, my daughter has an extremely loose tooth, so today I'm sewing her a tooth pillow.  It'll be rabbit-shaped with some pink patchwork bits.  Will post a photo next week, for sure. :3

Sunday, November 22, 2015

What-What?! Week of November 22nd

We had another windstorm, and were without power again for a day and a half.  Didn't lose any food this time, which is nice, but there was some damage...
This is about fifteen feet of fence that was blown over.  Now it matches the 8 foot section that blew over on the opposite side.  The other side seems pretty easily fixable, but this side I'm not so sure.  The wood itself isn't totally jacked, but it needs new posts put in, and the existing ones are really in there.  We'd have to take apart a lot of it to get the old posts out, and at that point, it's worth exploring other ideas.
Our backyard tree lost five large branches, including this giant one.  Happily, none fell on the house, though one did hit the fence, but it was undamaged.  There are also about a million medium size branches strewn about, which I started cleaning up yesterday.

Peter had a friend from work come over with his truck, and they took the vast majority of the carpeting bits we ripped out of the house to the dump.  Now we have oodles of space in the garage.  I'm thinking we'll put some metal shelving up to hold canned goods, which will alleviate some of our space issues in the kitchen.  It's nice and cold out there, too, which'll help things keep.

Latest Project: Shadowrun Site

This is my most recent project, a website for the Shadowrun 2050 roleplaying game that the husband and I are currently playing.  Shadowrun is a cyberpunk world setting, and us players are a group of people doing less-than-legal 'runs' (jobs) to get money.  It still needs a lot of work in details, but the meat of it is done.  I have to completely redo the slider feature on the front page to make it work like I want, but I need to think about how I want to do that, and possibly look over other people's solutions.  Other things I need to do include updating the readme, and making an interface so it's easier to add information to the Updates, Runs, and Characters sections.

...And I need to start on other projects, too.

Next week is Thanksgiving, which means a four-day weekend, yeah!  We have yet to buy a turkey, because we simply have no space for it.  I made a joke about buying another freezer a month or so ago, and I keep trying to decide if I should take myself seriously.  Our freezers have been nothing less than packed for weeks, and I don't think that's going to change any time soon.  We just got a 40 pound order of chicken two weeks ago, and have another 40 pounds of beef ordered for next month as well.  No idea where we're going to put it.  But we won't run out of meat any time soon.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Art Thursday -- November 19th

"Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets"
Saffron made a movie poster.  That's Ron and Hermione on either side of Harry.  I thought it had nice composition, though the lightening bolt lettering makes it a bit hard to read.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

What-What?! Week of November 15th

Not too terribly much happened this past week.  It has been pretty cold here, with highs in the upper 40s and lows in the mid 30s.  And living in a plain 60s era house, this means that it's cold in the house as well.  Blah.

Lowe's Build and Grow

The kids did the Lowe's Build and Grow project yesterday, which was a pull back racecar.  Oz finished his first, then proceeded to drive it all over the rest of us while the big kids did their own.

I taught the kids how to play Checkers.  They've been having a good time with that.  It's also a nice change from the other games we have which use a million little cards, like Candyland.  Those always turn into a huge mess.

And now, how about some Legos?

This is Osric's robot, which is remarkable because it's the first robot he's build with moving parts -- he bends at the waist!

A tiny robot Corwin made.

And a catapult thing, because why not?

And his missile system, which features frequently in his robots.

Hopefully next week will be better.  It probably won't be warmer, though. :P

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Art Thursday -- November 12th

"Cars and Stuff"
Drawn by Osric.  The round thing in the middle is a monster face, which is why it has scary teeth.  And then cars, because he likes them, and a road on the far left.  One of the few times that he's made something that looks like something.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

What-What?! Week of November 8th

This past week has been nothing but miserable.  The baby and the husband are sick, and have been up every night coughing.  So none of us grown-ups have gotten any sleep, and neither has the baby.

We have eaten a lot of salads with dinner, though.  Of course, we've also balanced that out with lots of Halloween candy. :P

This coming week, we have a Lowe's Build and Grow event, and also picking up our 40 pounds of Zaycon chicken.  Since my father-in-law also brought us a bunch of meat when he was visiting, I have no idea how we're going to fit it in the freezer.  The husband and I keep joking about bringing them home and then putting 'em directly on the barbeque.  We'll see...

So I did this...

Yes.  I did this.

What is this?

This is Udacity's Front-End Web Developer Nanodegree.  It's a nine-month program that I've completed over the last five months.  I now have a portfolio, and a lot of projects, and a selection of what can only be described as bits and bobs.  In the middle of all this, I've done some freelance work, which I've also just completed.  My last client actually asked if he could pass my name along to some of his friends who are also business owners, so more work may be forthcoming from that avenue.  Of course, my expectation for freelance work is very similar to what's described on The Oatmeal's post, How a Web Design Goes Straight to Hell, but so far I've been pleasantly surprised.

So there's that.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Art Thursday -- November 5th

One of Saffron's original Halloween costume ideas before she decided on Hermione Granger.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

What-What?! Week of November 1st

Tried to type October in the title of this post.  I am not ready for it to be November!

This week has been incredibly busy.

Saffron Turned Eight!

Saffron had her birthday party last Sunday afternoon, and just turned eight on Thursday.  Her party was a proper kid party, and we had an extra four kids in the house, bringing the total up to seven.  With that and parents, it was a tight squeeze!
Saffron's cake was chocolate with mocha frosting, and decorated with Fruity Pebbles for a rainbow look.  Saffron helped with the Fruity Pebbles.
She got lots of presents, including (a lot of) books, craft kits,  and Legos.
About ten minutes after everyone left, she had started reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and had finished it by the next afternoon.  After that, she started on building her Lego sets.  She got two from the Lego Elves line, and has played with them intensely.  Like, she doesn't usually play with Legos for long periods of time, but she's spent hours with these.

Halloween 2015
Yay, everyone had a costume for Halloween!  It was close, as I was sewing armor circles onto Osric's jacket that morning. :P

As you can see, Corwin dressed as Darth Vader, Saffron as Hermione Granger, and Oz was Thor.  I made Saffron's skirt and scarf, as well as Osric's cape and jacket decoration.

We decided to try Trick or Treating at the mall this year, but we won't be doing that again.  It was just no fun -- stand in line and walk around in a big circle.  There was little that was exciting to do, so mostly it was drudgery.  After a bit, Oz started getting bored, so he and I did other things.  At one point, he climbed into a car ride, and while I was just going to let him sit there and play in it, when he pushed the start button, it started!
Then we looked through a toy store, and shortly after that, we left.  The kids were all tired and frustrated.  So, lesson learned.  No mall for Halloween for us.

Later, we went out Trick or Treating in our own neighborhood, which was a lot more fun.  There were a fair number of houses giving out candy, and a fair amount of kids out trick or treating, too.  After we were done, the big kids took turns handing out candy.  As the night wore on, it went from little kids, to big kids, to big kids not in costumes.  After the first set showed up without costumes, I decided we were probably done. :P

This weekend, we also have Peter's dad visiting us, which has been a lot of fun.  We haven't done a ton of exciting stuff, but just having him in the house has been quite enjoyable.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Art Thursday -- October 29th

"ZOOOOOM! Wildstyle, baby!"
Oz colored this picture, and I was really impressed with it.  Usually he only uses two colors (one for each hand), and scribbles.  Not with this one, though.  "Wildstyle, baby!" is the catchphrase of the Team Hotwheels guy that Oz likes, and the topic of the fight that led to the husband's computer taking the fall.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

What-What?! Week of October 25th

So, this week's big disaster:
That is the husband's computer and associated electronics and papers strewn over the floor.  My two youngest kids got into a heated argument over cartoon characters, when Oz, who had been sitting at the computer playing video games, decided to beat his opinion into his brother.  Oz became entangled in the cords of the computer, and pulled the whole lot off.  The electronics were not unscathed, but they are entirely functional, so it could have been worse.  No children were hurt.

In other news, Saffron got her early birthday present, a loft bed:
(Husband for scale)
It is very tall, with plenty of space underneath.  In the future, we plan on getting Saffron a desk and a small dresser to put under there.  She's gunning for a giant doll house right now, though.  We'll see if that happens.

On account of this, the both boys are now in the bunk bed:
Corey is very excited, especially considering that we had originally told him that he'd have to wait until he was six to go up top.  Oz is less excited, but he has told us that the real bed is much more comfortable than his toddler bed, so he doesn't dislike it at all.

Yesterday, I took Saffron to a Girl Scout disaster preparedness event put on by the Red Cross and partially (or fully?) funded by Disney.  They mainly discussed earthquake and fire safety, and provided booklets with more information about other emergencies.  The other thing that each girl got was a pillowcase to hold disaster preparedness items, which is emblazoned a list of all the things you should have in there.  The girls were allowed to color them:

Saffron didn't quite get enough time to finish her pillowcase, but I'm pretty sure that I have some markers that will work for it here at home.  If nothing else, I have about a million permanent markers.

Later today, we'll be celebrating Saffron's birthday, which we're really excited about.  She's turning eight, which is both wonderful and slightly terrifying.  Photos from that will be posted next week.