Sunday, January 31, 2016

What-What?! Week of January 31st

We did a buncha stuff this week!

Osric has is suddenly very interested in letters; he's been making them out of Legos, drawing them on the magna doodle, and pointing them out at the grocery store.  So that's cool.  It's odd sometimes how interests like that can just spring up from nothing.

Portage Creek Wildlife Area


Walking single-file to stay out of the mud.
Yesterday, we visited the Portage Creek Wildlife Area in Arlington.  It's a large wetland area, home to lots of birds and small mammals.  This time of year, it's pretty desolate; the tall grass is all dead, the many deciduous trees (mostly birch) have no leaves, and it's extremely muddy in places.
This place also happens to be near the airport.  We saw this plane go round several times while we were there.
We didn't see much wildlife, but what we did see was birds; some ducks, and a couple of songbirds.  The kids went back and forth between being excited to be there, and whining about going home.

Corwin was really excited about this fallen tree.
Later in the day, I asked the kids what their favorite part was.
Osric:  Using binoculars
Corwin: Seeing the birds
Saffron: Walking out to the pond
Overall, it was a good time.  The husband and I have decided that we would like to get back into hiking and those sorts of activities again, and this was a good start.

Klutz Lego Chain Reactions


My parents gave this book to the kids a few weeks ago, but we are just now getting it out.  Corwin and I sat down and started building, first making the Quintopple.  This one was pretty simple, and Corey only needed a bit of help.  He had a great time, and both he and his siblings are looking forward to making more.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Art Thursday -- January 28th

"The Land of Magica"
Map showing the various places in Magica, including the Dark Wood (center), Deep Dark Forest (upper left, where the dark wolves live), Ash Valley (upper right, with the dragon), Gor Dark (lower left, with troll), Way Lake, Sunway (middle right), and Grassy Village (lower right).

Sunday, January 24, 2016

What-What?! Week of January 24th

So this is really late, because I actually slept today.  I haven't had an overabundance of sleep this past week, and finally getting some is quite nice.

Other updates;  we're on week two of Osric not using pull-ups, so it's strongly looking like I won't be buying any more.  Crazyness.

Sylvia Ballet, music by Delibes, Choreography by Ashton

Friday, I decided to watch a ballet with Saffron.  I chose this one because I've heard parts of the music before, and absolutely adored it.  The ballet follows the story of Sylvia, a wood nymph who has forsworn love, and who falls in love with a shepherd after being cursed by Eros, god of love.  Then stuff happens, as you would expect.

The story itself is not the strongest; there are certainly ballets out there that have more complex, interesting stories.  However, the choreography and music hold it together well.  In fact, Tchaikovsky himself had remarked about how much better the score was for this ballet than for his own, Swan Lake.  The theme (leitmotif, in formal terms) for the wood nymphs is among my favorite pieces of classical music ever.  You can hear it in the first act, after the prelude.

The linked version above does have commentary and captions, which is a bit annoying, but not overly so.  I linked to this version, because the only other full version I could find on YouTube was kind of bizarre in terms of costuming and style.  A bit too avant-garde for me.  It is almost two hours, though, but it can divided into the three acts if you don't have that much time all at once.

That's it for today; more stuff next week.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Art Thursday -- January 21st

"I am surrounded by weirdos!"
The little girl at the bottom of the picture is trying to read a book, but her weirdo family keeps bothering her.  This may or may not be based on real life, and Saffron may or may not make that same face.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

What-What?! Week of January 17th

Today is momentous.  My youngest child has gone an entire week without wearing pull-ups.  The end of the diaper era is nigh.

I have somewhat mixed feelings.

On the one hand, screw diapers.  On the other, when did my kids get so big?

Time marches on.


In other news, Saffron has a new haircut:
It is short and poofy and adorable.  She'd been asking for such short hair for a while now, and we finally got around to making it happen.

Movie Review:  Mickey, Donald, Goofy:  The Three Musketeers

This is a film that's available on Netflix, and the kids just latched on to it.  It is the classic Three Musketeers, but (of course) completely different in every single detail.  For a direct-to-video film, it's actually quite good.  The jokes are funny and not irritating, and the plot is entertaining.  The part that I enjoyed the most, however, was the music; the film took seven classic songs, including excerpts from The Nutcracker, In the Hall of the Mountain King, The Blue Danube, and stuck new lyrics on them.  It also includes parts of The Pirates of Penzance as an opera that the characters attend.  It was entertaining, and I would recommend checking it out.


Thursday, January 14, 2016

Art Thursday -- January 14th

"Castle"
A castle, complete with a princess in the tower, guardsmen on the ramparts, a blacksmith, and a stable full of unicorns.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

What-What?! Week of January 10th

This week has been busy.  We took the kids to the dentist, and that went well; no need for fillings or anything.  Poor Oz was sad and unhappy about getting his teeth checked, but he had a good time with their toys anyway.  The kids have also been sick.  Corwin caught some sort of virus, and it's slowly made its way around the house.  Corwin was sick for about two days with a fever, then a few days went by and Saffron was sick with a fever for about two days, and now Osric is sick, but not with a fever.  So we've stayed home all weekend.

On the other hand, it's been a very productive weekend so far.  I spotted a good deal on metal shelving at Home Depot, so we bought two shelves and put them up in the garage.  Then we rearranged the kitchen, moved some stuff to the garage, and generally organized things.  The husband also took the Christmas tree to a recycling event, so our living room is significantly less cluttered now, too.

Apple Brown Sugar Dutch Baby

(No picture -- ate it too fast)
Earlier in the week, I wanted something sweet for dinner.  I normally make a dutch baby with cherries or cranberries, but I found myself without either.  Apples made a great substitute, and the brown sugar caramelizes while the dish is cooking, which really kicks it up a notch.  Some toasted almonds or pecans would be lovely addition for next time.

Ingredients
  • 6 Eggs
  • 2 tablespoons granulated Sugar
  • 1.5 cups Flour
  • 1.5 cups Milk
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 6 tablespoons Butter
  • 2 cups chopped Apple
  • 1/2 cup Brown sugar

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Whisk the eggs, granulated sugar, flour, milk, vanilla extract and salt until well combined but still lumpy.  Put aside.  In a 12-inch ovenproof skillet, melt butter, then add apples and brown sugar.  Let this cook on medium until the apples are soft and the brown sugar has started to caramelize, about five minutes.  Give the batter one more mix, then carefully pour over the apples, making sure to cover them completely.  Put the skillet in the oven and bake for 18-23 minutes, until the dutch baby is browned and puffy.  Enjoy!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

What-What?! Week of January 3rd

Saffron finally lost her tooth!  It's the teeniest, tiniest little thing.  She was very excited to put it in her tooth pillow, then even more excited to wake up to money the next day.  The husband and I took her out to Target later that day, and she spent her tooth fairy money, along with some other money she'd been saving up, to buy a My Little Pony toy.

I have messed up my shoulder, which has made my week somewhat problematic.  Sitting at the computer aggravates it, so my assumption is that I probably did something computer-related to cause it.  So I've been living on ibuprofen the last few days, though it seems to be getting better since yesterday afternoon.

Toy Review:  Play-Doh Star Wars Toy Sets


When I bought these, I thought they were nifty, but wasn't completely sold on the playability of them.  I've found that Play-Doh toys can be pretty hit or miss in terms of the play quality; we have a garbage truck set, and very rarely does Play-Doh ever touch it (instead, they use Legos, which is arguably not good for the Lego or the truck).  But these have been good buys.

Part of what makes them such a good buy is having the figures be the Play-Doh containers; this makes them sturdy and easy to hold.  Many sets are completely comprised of figures made of Play-Doh, who are floppy, hard to hold, and easily squashed by enthusiastic play.

Another good point is that there are so many accessories to make out of Play-Doh; blasters, droids, binoculars, Jawas, and Ewoks.  You can equip anything with a blaster, or a pair of binocs.  You can have a droid or Jawa or Ewok army.

Overall, these are good toys that keep the kids interested and encourage creative play.  I'll be buying more.