Thursday, January 29, 2015

Art Thursday -- January 19th

"Digimon!  ...Again?"
Yes, we've cycled back around to Digimon.  The kids are watching the Digimon Fusion now, and it's positively awful.  But they like it, so there's that.  This picture is the best use of perspective I have seen in my daughter's art.  I am actually quite impressed by it, especially the striping on her sleeves.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

What-What?! Week of January 25th

The last week of January!  How did that happen? :P

This week, the husband and I had a big parenting achievement; we gave the littlest one a bath without huge amounts of screaming and crying.  I always thought that my middle kid was the worst for baths, but then we had Ozzy.  He always screams like he is dying the moment he touches water.  It is so loud that it makes my ears ring for a while after he's done.  Just horrible.  But with the combination of daddy holding him in the bathtub, bubbles, a whisk (we have the weirdest bath toys), and a little luck (he was in a good mood), we made it through with very little crying.

The husband and I have also started house shopping in the area.  There's not a ton on the market yet, being January and all, but there are already a few options.  We're probably not going to wind up living in Everett, but the surrounding towns are pretty nice, and quite close, too.

My middle kid made friends with a librarian when we went earlier in the week -- the guy was shelving books in the children's section, and Corey just started talking to him.  His first question? "Are you a big kid?".  Ha!

Cooking:  This Aint' No Yankee Cornbread and Corn Dog Casserole

Last time I hit up the grocery store, the husband suggested that picking up some cornmeal in order to bake some homemade cornbread.  Usually, we pick up a boxed mix for cornbread, but I figured 'why not?'.  We use masa to thicken soups and stews, so even if the cornbread venture went poorly, it wouldn't go to waste.

With that backstory, this is a two-fer; the cornbread itself, and the casserole.  I'm going to review each separately.

The Cornbread:  This is one of the simplest recipes I found.  The recipe makes for a very hearty cornbread, but the next time I make it, I will probably "Yankee" it up a bit by adding some brown sugar.  It was just the tiniest bit bitter, and I think the addition of either brown sugar or honey would offset that nicely.

The Casserole:  Like the cornbread, the next time I make this, I'm changing it.  The idea is good, but you can do a lot better than hotdogs.  I think something like a kielbasa would be brilliant in this casserole, and the addition of some fresh or frozen corn would add a nice bit of texture.

These two recipes were perfect for my "I haven't defrosted any meat and don't know what to cook" day, and I'm definitely keeping them in mind for the future.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Art Thursday -- January 22nd

"Winner of the Race"
A racecar driver with trophy is being carried by a single person.  I don't know what the letters are for (they spell "Semo" -- his name?).

Sunday, January 18, 2015

What-What?! Week of January 18th

The husband and I took the kids to the zoo yesterday.  Last weekend, we had decided to go, even if it was cold or rainy.  And it was cold and rainy.  But there were few people out walking around, which made it a nice, quiet trip.  The indoor areas were pretty packed, though, especially the indoor playground thing.  What was really great was getting to see the animals along the northern trail of the zoo, which is themed around the taiga (boreal forest) biome, in their winter coats.  The coats on the wolves were extremely thick -- very different from when we had visited in the summer.  It looked very comfy.

Saffron has yet to finish her next cross stitch, though it is nearly done.  Also nearly done is the collection of Little House on the Prairie books that my parents gave her for Christmas.  The kid has read over 600 pages!  She's even read other books during that time, too.  Makes me happy.

I have started another cross stitch myself.  This one is larger, and for someone's birthday... and since that someone reads this blog, that's as much as I'll say.  You'll like it, you someone. :P

Speaking of projects, I painted something!  In fact, I painted something that goes with exactly none of my décor.  If I had any décor out, that is.  My wall things are all still in boxes.  Anyway.  This is acrylic on canvas.  What is it?  I'll tell you.  This is the symbol of Lordaeron, one of the human nations in World of Warcraft.  Yeah, I like history even when it's not real history.  This is what it looks like in game:

Mine looks a bit wonky because I hand drew it on the canvas.  That's okay, though, it gives it character, or something.  I'll probably just stick it in a box with all my other wall art.  D'oh. xP

Google Flu Trends

For something that will make you want to stay home, take a look at Google's flu tracker.  It's based on search terms, and follows the CDC's data pretty well.  Nationally, it seems like we've hit the peak of infections, but here in Washington, it's still heading upward.  Pretty interesting stuff; make sure to hit the link and read through the "How does this work?" page.

(img from wowpedia)

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Art Thursday -- January 15th

"The Escaping Train"
This one is by Corwin.  It's a train escaping a giant cage.  No idea what the floating thing is, though.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

What-What?! Week of January 11th

Peter had to work this week.  It was lonely (due to a typo, this almost said 'lovely' -- oops!).  But making money and paying bills are good, so I guess that's okay.

Food wise, this week has been excellent.  Thursday, I made chicken and dumplings, based on The Pioneer Woman's recipe.  If anything from that recipe, the addition of corn flour to the biscuits is a unique touch that is worth doing.  I added masa to a recipe Bisquick biscuits, 'cause I don't look down on cheating. :P  If it's cold where you live, make this.  It is so, so good.

After that, on Saturday, the husband and I made a German-themed dinner of spatzle and schnitzel (no recipe for that, sorry).  This time, rather than making it "off the board" as is traditional, I used a flat cheese grater, which I pushed the batter through with a heat-proof spatula.  This made my spatzle much more consistent in size, and was much easier to do.

I started teaching Saffron how to cross stitch early this week, and she completed her first little motif:
She did most of the stitching herself, though I had to pull out sections sometimes for her to re-do (one time, there was a HUGE knot).  This next week, I think she's going to start on a cat one.

A picture of it in progress:
My project isn't finished yet.  I have to go to the store and buy supplies, since I've apparently lost stuff during the move.

The stages of making German helmets. (Introduction section)
For a somber read, I suggest looking through the WWI photos over at The Atlantic.  There are a lot of pictures there, including many showing somewhat unusual content, like animal hospitals, horse gas masks, and the soldiers from Middle East theater.  Some of the historical commentary is a bit untrue (like the sheer ridiculousness of Austria-Hungary's demands to Serbia), but for the most part it is very good.  Keep in mind, though, these are photos of war, and can be graphic in nature.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Art Thursday -- January 8th

"Ponies and Things"
This one I saved for the scary pony eyes.  I don't think she's ever drawn them that way since.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

What-What?! Week of January 4th

I have now been blogging for a two years!  Wow.

Tomorrow, my husband goes back to work.  The last two weeks have been a nice break from the monotony of life.  It's also nice to be reminded that I can see him all day, every day, and I still want to see him.  That I just saw him two minutes ago doesn't make me less excited. <3

Friday, it actually snowed for maybe an hour.  I put my littlest down for his nap, and by the time he awoke, it had melted.  He was extremely disappointed when he woke up from his nap, as he had wanted to make a snowman.

Adventures in Cross Stitch

Over the course of a few evenings, I decided to do a cross stitch.  I haven't done any needlepoint in probably ten years or so, but I did have all the supplies sitting around.  The aida cloth that I have is very low count (that is, a very coarse weave), so the stitches themselves are quite large.  I had actually bought a pattern to use, then discovered that my cloth pieces weren't large enough for it.  Oops. :P

That said, I did really enjoy making this.  I have another project in the works for right now, but when that's finished, I plan on picking up some finer weave aida cloth and making some other things.

While looking for patterns, I spent a lot of time on Etsy and Craftster, with mixed results.  Finding patterns that aren't sort of old fashioned, overly cutesy style, or reminds me of the puff sleeves from 80s prom dresses, is a bit of a challenge.  The blog Don't Call Me Becky actually has a great list of designers that, while expensive, are just fantastic.

If you don't follow that link, one that you absolutely have to check out is Satsuma Street.  Her series of "Pretty Little..." cities screams vintage Disneyland to me.  That's San Francisco above.

Yeah, I might have to buy it.

That's what I get for a restarting a hobby.