Photos of the week: Robin fledging

IMG_4623 Robin2 Robin3

Here is a great resource for knowing what to do with baby birds –


Movie Review: Saving Mr. Banks

saving-mr-banks-featuredThe  meaning behind an artist’s work is most often interpreted differently by its audience. This is what writer P.L. Travers  grapples with when giving the rights of her book, Mary Poppins, to the famous Walt Disney.

In this award-winning movie Travers, played by Emma Thompson, struggles to let go; unwilling to depart from her ideas of how the story should be imagined. She relentlessly puts down one  idea after another that the production team proposes. This includes her demands to get rid of Mr. Banks mustache (which Mr. Disney specifically requested).

This well-cast feature Saving Mr. Banks explores the steps of turning a story into a film. Along with this portrayal of the film-making process is a glimmer of what inspired the original story. Together these plot lines weave together an entertaining tale. However, don’t forget your Kleenex  this one will likely have you weeping! Despite several tear-enticing moments there are plenty of humorous situations that keep this movie light-hearted. I would highly recommend this one for a Friday night flick!

Recent* Craft Project

WreathsilkOne of my friends after her wedding gave me many of her leftover silk flowers. Naturally I couldn’t turn them down, you never know when you might find a good Pinterest craft that utilizes flowers. A few weeks later I ended up picking up a grape vine wreath and decided to use some of these beautiful flowers. I had a lot of fun figuring out which ones would work well together. I ended up just weaving the flowers into the vine (I was happy I didn’t even have to warm up the glue gun).


Guest Blog: Sushi night – without breaking the bank

02SushiGreetings guest-blog readers! It has been over a year, but I have once again been asked to guest-blog on a subject near and dear to my heart. No, not video games (she wouldn’t let me), but food, specifically sushi.

While living in Chicago, I developed a serious appreciation for this particular category of food and recently, after receiving some help from some good friends, I tried my hand at creating sushi at home.

The process is a bit labor intensive (though not to the same level as brewing beer), but in the end, I think it is worth it. It is also a whole lot cheaper to make sushi at home; last night, for a total of probably about $10, I made five rolls (admittedly a bit much for two people), which would likely run at least $40 at a nice restaurant.  Basic equipment includes a sharp knife and a bamboo rolling mat. A wooden paddle is also common, though in truth, I don’t see why a standard silicone spatula wouldn’t work.

The most time consuming process is probably making the sticky rice. Sushi is made with a shorter grain rice than your average Uncle Ben’s, which, after it has been properly washed, cooked, seasoned, and cooled, is both fluffy and sticky. Working with it is a bit of a pain as well, which is why every sushi guide recommends keeping a bowl of water on hand in which to dip your hands (and eventually, your knife) to keep the rice sticking where you want it and not to your hands.

Fillings are all pretty basic. We have used carrot, cucumber, avocado, and cream cheese. Seeing as how we cannot easily obtain sushi-grade fish (flash-frozen to a point low enough and long enough to kill any microbial critters)  in our small town, we have been using imitation crab sticks (not great, but certainly not terrible) and smoked salmon (found in the deli section).

Once you have stuck a layer of rice on the nori (seaweed wrap), the fillings are layered in, and it is time to roll. The roll is not as tricky as it sounds once you get the hang of it. If you try this for yourself, you may consider initially attempting an inside-out roll (with the nori on the outside, not the rice) as it is easier to work with. Another helpful tip I was given is to wrap the rolling mat in plastic wrap. This keeps the sushi from sticking as much and makes cleanup much easier.

Once the sushi has been rolled, proceed to the board and cut into anywhere from four to eight pieces, depending on the size of the nori. It is also essential here to wipe off your knife on a damp rag and dip it in the water between every slice. It is amazing how much of a difference this makes!

Once you’ve mastered the process, feel free to experiment with all sorts of fillings. If you get really adventurous, you can try this, though you may want to practice on a roll or two before taking a stab at this one.


Scholastic Book Fair

Do you remember those thin, newspaper-like sheets you would receive from your elementary school teacher? They were used to order new books from Scholastic… Then every once and a while you would have those suitcase-like metal shelves of books that would visit your  school? Well, the metal shelves still exist! Last week I actually helped out with a book fair at a neighboring library and I was introduced to many of the newer children’s books and young adult fiction. The excitement on many of the visiting kids faces were price-less, it really took me back to my younger years.

I thought I would share a few of the children’s books that I found to be quite delightful. Enjoy these  book picks!

A foldout book about various animal nests.

A foldout book about various animal nests.


A  tale of one tiger that can no longer handle ordinary.

A tale of one tiger that can no longer handle ordinary.