Monday, January 30, 2012

Do I have to paint you a picture?

My SiL is gone but not forgotten. We definitely miss her around here and not just because she did the laundry...

She was really good with the kids - especially since she's a school teacher and all. She helped them with their homework, tested them on their math, but also took our art projects to heart.

What I love is that she was on the same page as me as far as getting the kids to keep creatively thinking. She came up with projects for them to do like this one - she drew a squiggle and had the kids use the squiggle to quickly think up their own complete drawing in just a few minutes.

Here's the Kid's drawing:

Can you see the original squiggle?
Here it is:

And the Baby's drawing:

...and the original squiggle he started with.

This is a fun and easy way to keep the kids busy and creative!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

May the force be with you

When the Discovery Science Center first announced its Star Wars exhibit I was skeptical. After all it's a loooong haul to Santa Ana from L.A. But the more I heard about it, the more I was interested.

Finally a friend of mine convinced me to get buy a 'family pass' to the museum. After all the Discovery Science Center does have an amazing annual Bubblefest that we like to attend - but what sold me was that family pass members could buy tickets to attend special "Jedi Nights."

During Jedi Nights museum members get the run of the place. Even though I go to a lot of amusement parks, I loathe crowds, and the pass allows you to not only see all the exhibits privately but they offer up some pretty cool special events.

On this particular night the kids got to make their own lightsaber holsters. Never one to pass up crafts, this was a big hit.

They also got to do Jedi Training. THIS was the winner. Seeing as how the Baby has been overlooked every.single. time. we went to Jedi Training at Disneyland (grr) this was a no brainer. And finally he got to swing lightsabers with the best of them!

The Star Wars room was fantastic. Not only there were scale models and costumes on loan from Lucasfilm but they incorporated science and learning into the exhibits.

There was a make your own Lego station where you could build your own lego ship and push it along a magnetic track - essentially teaching kids about maglev trains.

Along the same idea of 'floating' aircrafts - they even had a hovercraft you could drive yourself! Seeing as how we had the exhibits to ourselves, the Baby got to 'drive' this thing about four times without waiting. Hurray for the Jedi Pass!

There was an exhibit about prosthetics in our everyday lives with both Luke and Anakin's robotic hands on display.

There were also games and many more 'build it' stations. Outside they touted a 'Ride on the Millenium Falcon.' We couldn't pass that up, but at $5 a person, I'm not sure it was really worth it. Though I did get this picture:

There were plenty of droids and costumed characters on hand who all lined up for an indoor parade, where the Baby led the way of course. And when Leia asked if there were 'any Sith Lords in the house' the Baby jumped up and down and screamed, 'Me! Me!' Should I be proud or frightened? Hm.

A lot of kids who attended came in costume and it was awesome to see a lot of little girls too. Many of them dressed in white Padme outfits carrying blasters. Kids were also allowed to bring their own lightsabers and we took full advantage of the opportunity.

My one beef is that the only food for sale at the museum is Taco Bell and seeing how I am anti-fast food this does not fly with me. Since that's the only option available, I brought food with us.

All in all the museum was beyond what I could have hoped for. The kids had plenty to do were never bored. And of course the best part was being able to do it all uninterrupted. That's my kind of museum visit.

We will definitely be back and even after the Star Wars exhibit is gone, the kids will be happy to visit the Discovery Center for many more events.

The Star Wars exhibit runs from now until April 15th at the Discovery Science Center in Santa Ana.

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Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Breakfast Club

Today is my SiL's last day with us. While we're sad, we're more sad that it's raining! *shakes fist*

Rain in L.A. is the equivalent of a nuclear meltdown. There's no point in leaving the house, the streets are flooded and the driving conditions are horrible. And that's just when it's about an inch of rain - this morning was a full storm.

So instead we sit. I decided to make her an early morning 'goodbye breakfast.' Breakfasts are big in our house, I usually do big ones on the weekend and sometimes we do breakfast for dinner.

There were brown sugar bacon twists...

...eggs (with the help of Darth Vader)....

...smoothies, of course....

...and pancakes.

It was a hearty meal and nice send off to the very helpful Auntie.

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Monday, January 16, 2012

Ferris: The place is like a museum. It's very beautiful and very cold, and you're not allowed to touch anything.

I love collecting colorful, quirky art that has a great sense of whimsy. I have a lot of talented friends and artists that I love and I always like to support them by buying their prints.

But where to hang them all? In my bathroom art gallery of course!
A lot of artists have online stores and Comic cons and indie galleries are also great places to find amazing art.

Steamcrow has adorable monster/steampunk themed pieces, Cakespy has cupcake art (!), Ben Walker draws bears with guns (what more could you want), Serpethes little girl walking a giant octopus is one of my faves.
Mike Maihack draws a comic called Cleopatra in Space and you won't find a more gorgeous view of outer space. His art prints are beautiful and affordable. They run the nerd gamut from comics to faeries!

He also drew my favorite piece - Wolverine at a Tea Party! Speaking of - I have a whole wall just dedicated to Wolverine art. Yes, I love Wolverine that much.
So far my Wolverine fan wall features Mike Maihack as well as the talented Jason Ho who took on an amazing task of drawing commissioned art to support Help the Cheerleader. I've also recently fallen in love with JSalvador's Super Emo Friends. Superheroes and Star Wars all inexplicably sad. So sad and so adorable.

I love my mini art gallery and I'm always on the lookout for more great pieces!

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Follow the leader

My SiL (aka temp-personal Nanny) is in full effect, learning to cook and helping the kids with their schoolwork.

The Kid had an extra credit assignment and one of the options was to make a favorite recipe. The choice was easy: Neapolitan Mochi Bundt Cake. He's made dinner for me before, so the Kid is pretty comfortable in the kitchen. My SiL helped with holding up the bowl and little things here and there, while I took pictures.

The Kid followed directions step by step, cracking eggs, mixing the ingredients. The hard part was changing the batter into three different colors but he handled it like a pro.

...and tadah! A beautiful mochi bundt!

This is one of the Kid's fave cakes and I'm glad that he was able to follow my recipe and pretty much do all of the work himself. A tri-color mochiko bundt cake sounds (and looks) daunting but if a 7 year old can do it, come on!

Neapolitan Mochi Bundt Cake recipe here.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Mary Poppins, practically perfect in every way.

My SiL is here from Hawaii and while she's 'vacationing' she is actually acting more like my personal nanny, which is much appreciated. She doesn't normally cook and so I'm showing her how easy it can be to make delicious dishes that don't take long to make.

We started off the week by couponing. I bought a 'picnic pack' of chicken: 3.5 lbs of drumsticks and thighs. The market had this on sale for 50% off - just $3, a bargain anyway but with my $1 off coupon the whole thing came to $2! And since we were going to use it for 2 dinners and the kid's lunches - it came to about 65 cents a meal! Quite deal.

First I had her use all of the chicken to make a simple dish in the crock pot (recipe here). A quick recipe with just a little prep and dinner is ready in 6-8 hours without even lifting a finger.

The next day the leftover chicken was used in Shoyu Gohan (recipe here). Again, a little prep and the whole thing is made in the rice cooker simple as that.

Two great meals, quick, easy and more importantly - affordable. Now that my SiL's got the cooking basics down, I'm going to take a long deserved nap...zzz....

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Sunday, January 08, 2012

If you want to view paradise, simply look around and view it

Perhaps you thought I was joking when I said O.G. loves chocolate. For her birthday everyone bought her chocolate. I mean...everyone.

Six pounds of Sees candy.

I think that's what has kept her alive for 91 years.

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Thursday, January 05, 2012

Bug and Wish

Back in the old days - um, last year when my kids were in Kinder - they taught the kids a tool for communicating, for solving problems, for direct resolutions. It was called..."Bug and Wish."

Basically it was two sticks, one with a 'bug' and one with a star or a 'wish' and here's how you use it: Say your brother takes your favorite Beyblade without asking (note: this is a purely made up scenario. Yeah, right) you can either resolve it by screaming, punching him or...

"It bugs me when you take my toys. I wish you would ask me first."

Huh. Interesting. At first I didn't think it would work but they kids really started using it to resolve their conflicts. My Aunt was over one day, saw the sticks and asked me about them. She thought they were genius communication tools.

Seeing as how my Aunt was my Secret Santa person, I made up some little bug and wish sticks for her. I simply printed out images from the internet, a yellow star and a bug (I happen to like Disney's Bug Life movie) and glued them to popsicle sticks. I even made a free pdf for you to download and try out for yourself, HERE.

I like to imagine my Aunt used her sticks to resolve possible holiday conflict with my Uncle:

"It bugs me when you won't help me put up the Christmas lights..."

Um. I'm not making any guarantees on these things.

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Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Happy birthday to you...

It's O.G.'s birthday week! Last year we did a HUGE blowout for her 90th, this year is a bit more low key. Chinese food and cake - those were her birthday wishes and I'm pretty sure they'll come true. As far as the Clippers winning a championship, that remains to be seen...

Because it's her birthday - if you order the O.G. Favorite Recipes comic-cookbook you will get an O.G. shopping notepad for free!

Happy birthday O.G.!

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