Monday, January 28, 2013

Happy 30th!

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Happy 30th Birthday to my little brother!  Not so little anymore!  I like this picture (1st grade) as I think I can sort of see Adam in it.

Documentaries

I have been working on some documentaries I recorded awhile back. 

Decoding the Neathandrals
This was pretty cool - very intrestinjg use of modern DNA/genetic mapping to look at this question of what happened to the Neathadrals!

In Search of Christmas
This is also pretty cool - looking at the history around the story of Jesus' birth as well as how religion has used it/changed it. 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Who wears it better?

So have you seen those stories, "who wears it better" on stars who wear the same dress? Well, here are two superstars - in the same stunning snowsuit!  Who wears it better?  And can you tell them apart?

Making Cards

Adam made all his own thank you cards this year!
His output! (plus two more he made later)

Making cards

Of course, Andrew had to make a few as well!

Andrew's cards (plus two more) - I'm keeping them for May, he's got a heads start!

"Tattoos"

Auntie Andrea sent Adam some Phineas and Ferb tattoos for his brithday. You know, the rub on kind.
Adam with his two "tattoos" plus a Perry shirt - he was "Perrified!"


Andrew, of course, had to have one as well!

Adam's Snow Experiment Results

It did freeze after a few hours - Adam was happy!

New Scrapbooking Toy

I got a new toy - a Cricut!  This is a dye cutting machine so it can make cut out any image/letter for you if you have the right computer cartridge. I really wanted it for letters for scrapbook pages. It is normally like $200 and I got it on sale for $80!  I was very happy!
You can see the cut outs it was doing!
It did all the letters on here!

I also had to start a second scrapbook for Andrew!

Week 2

I made it through 2 week so the Couch to 5K!  Here's to keeping it up!  That's the kicker!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Scarf

I started this scarf for my brother in 2007 when I was pregnant with Adam for his birthday in January of 2008...so this year, January of 2013, he finally got it! His 30th birthday, by the way!  This is just garter stitch, but it is finally finished!

Snow Removal Help

Daddy had quite the help shovelling the driveway!



Videos

What I'm Watching!

I'm currently watching the Nova episode on the great Gothic cathedrals.  I am also reading a book on the medieval city, which has a chapter on the cathedrals, so this is really fun!  It is so amazing both what they knew and yet what they didn't.  It just amazes me what they managed to build without modern tools!  Just cool!  Definitely worth watching (or reading!).

I also watched Presidential Prophecies (my review is the link). Not as good, but kind of fun.

Homemade Ice Cream


For Adam's birthday, I made my normal cake and frosting (I gave him the choice...he wanted a round, brown cake with 5 candles...he was easy!)

I had gotten an ice cream maker for Christmas from my in-laws, so I decided that I was going to make the ice cream for the party in it.  I went with the chocolate and vanilla to start and from my manual as a good starting place.  I made half recipes of each, which I'm glad I did as even half was a LOT of each.  Plus my ice cream maker says not to fill over 2/3rds full....and honestly I think that a full recipe would be more than this, which, in my opinion, is dumb....to me, the manual should give the right amount. That's the entire point!  But they did both turn out well, despite some siezed chocolate! 

Modified from my ice cream maker's manual
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp corn starch
1/4 tsp salt
7 cups milk
5 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 tbsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups half and half
2 3/4 cups heavy cream
Mix sugar, cornstarch, salt and milk in a large saucepan. Turn on over medium heat and stir constantly. Very slowly add the eaten eggs and continue to stir. Reduce heat to low and cook until thickened slightly. Slowly add vanilla, half and half and heavy cream.
Pour into a large glass bowl and refrigerate for 2-4 hours or until chilled (really overnight is better....I made this first and did it just 2-4 hours....the other one, I made that night and processed the next day, which I think was simpler and then I knew it was fully chilled).
Pour mixture into canister and follow directions on ice cream maker.
This makes like 16-20 cups (I got 8 cups of custard out of 1/2 the recipe and then it expands a little after being made into an ice cream).

Chocolate Ice Cream
Modified from my ice cream maker manual
2 3/4 cups sugar
2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
6 cups milk
4 eggs, beaten
6 squares semi-sweet chocolate, melted (so 6 oz)
2 tbsp vanilla
1 1/3 cup half and half
2 cups heavy cream
Mix sugar, cornstarch, salt and milk in a large saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly until milk is simmering. Very slowly add in beaten eggs and stir until thickens slightly.
Slowly (really....I did this too fast and my chocolate seized, so my ice cream was grainy although tasted fine) stir in melted chocolate and whisk until all combined and smooth. Slowly add vanilla, half and half and heavy cream.
Pour into a large glass bowl and refrigerate for 2-4 hours or until chilled. Pour into ice cream maker and follow your directions.
Makes about 16 cups of custard so a litlte more than that of finished ice cream.

Soy-Ginger Chicken

This was another crock pot winner. We really like Asian flavors and this is a great one and since it uses chicken, it is cheap and everyone will like it. 

Soy-Ginger Chicken
Modified from Simple and Delicious

2 1/2 lbs chicken (they used skinless, bone-in chicken thighs and skinless drumsticks...I used boneless, skinless, chicken breasts as I don't like dark meat)
2 medium carrots, sliced
1/2 cup onion, diced (they used green onions)
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 inches of fresh ginger, sliced (I didn't like this as the ginger then was gross to eat as it is so fibrous...I plan to either used powdered next time or grate this into it rather than slice it)
5 minced garlic cloves
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp cold water
Hot cooked rice
Place chicken, carrots and onion in crock pot. Combine soy sauce, sugar, ginger, garlic, vinegar, coriander and pepper in a small bowl. Pour over the chicken and veggies. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours.
Remove chicken to keep warm. Pour juices into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Combine cornstarch and water and gradually stir into pan. Bring to a boil, cook for 1-2 minutes or until thickened.
Serve with chicken and rice.
Makes 4 servings.

Asian Ribs

We've had a slew of great recipes, which is a nice change from a bunch of so-so ones.  I'm always looking for new crock pot recipes and this was a definite winner. Ray loves ribs, but I'm not a huge fan (too fatty), but we both liked these.  I tend to like sweet sauces, which this was.  We put it over rice and that meant I only made half of this (ribs tend to be more expensive per person than other proteins) and had plenty with leftovers for Ray and I. 

Asian Ribs
Modified from Simple & Delicious
6 lbs pork back ribs, cut into serving-size pieces (they used baby backs, I just bought back ribs as they were on sale at the grocery styles...country style ribs are the cheapest, but Ray doesn't like them as much.)
1 1/3 cups brown sugar
1 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup sesame oil
1/4 cup minced fresh ginger (I actually grated this as I don't like the taste/texture of the cooked ginger so I want it to dissolve...hence I used powder or grate it)
6 minced garlic cloves
1 tsp crushed red pepper flake (I just had ground cayenne, so I just sprinkled some on)
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water
green onions/sesame seeds for garnishing (optional, I didn't do it)
hot cooked rice (I added this as I like this over rice)
Place ribs in crock pot.  Combine sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, oil, ginger, garlic and pepper flakes in a small bowl. Pour over ribs.  Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours or until tender.
Remove meat and keep warm.  Skim fat from cooking juices and put into a saucepan. Bring to a boil.
Combine cornstarch and water and then gradually add into pan.  Bring to a boil and cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. 
Serve with ribs and rice. 
Serves 6.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Finally!

So I ordered calendars for Christmas presents from Wal-Mart in early December.  They didn't come....so I emailed...they had no explanation, but said cancel and reorder....so I did.....still never came!  Never got out of "processing" either time!  So I called this time...still no explanation....said they'd put it "up" a level and get back to me....never did. So I cancelled and reordered again...from Shutterfly. They actually came through!  Now I've ordered a lot from Wal-Mart photo over the years, but I'm really annoyed because making a calendar takes an hour or so and so redoing it was a pain in the butt.  Just proves that while Wal-Mart is fine when they work....they have absolutely no customer service! Their solution is just to give you your money back...which is fine, but doesn't help when you actually want the item in question!

We actually got snow!

We actually got some snow! The boys had some fun out in it!


Some videos:

Playing with Daddy's Ships!

Hauling Wood

The power company was trimming trees, so we hauled the wood they left to the back so we can do campfires (which Adam is into) this summer.  I made the boys help!

Building Rockets

Adam got these rockets for his birthday.  They are pretty cool, but are a pain to shoot off because you have to be just right and have to wash and dry between uses.  But Adam likes them.


Old RHS

Demolition continues on the old high school.  I really wish they could reuse better, but they did strip it first!

Pittsburgh Childrens' Museum

I took the boys up to the Pittsburgh Childrens' Museum last Monday.  Way too many people,  but they had fun.
Making a whirlpool


Climbing up the wall!

The Boys

New LRSC shirt

Crocodile slippers!


"Pirate" Andrew

Playing play-do with a friend

Doing a puzzle - he's up to 48 pieces on his own!

Gaming Fun

Adam's new game, Fruit Ninja. We also now have a version on the Kindle Fire!

Andrew playing the "mole" game - noisy, but they enjoy it!

Making towers

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Making Cookies

We made cookies for Adam to take to school to share for his birthday.



Adam wanted to use the rolling pin!

Decorating


Adam's finished cookies

Andrew's