Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Guinness Layout for Father's Day

This Father's Day layout was created for Big Daddy to upload to his computer as a wallpaper. The theme is Guinness. I started with a template, scanned a Guinness can to get good color samples, added a few beer-related elements and voila!

The greens tucked under the photos are extractions of hops. The two brads were created from classic images of Guinness coasters. And I thought the quote was a perfect fit for the page.

I did attempt to create a spilled beer effect in the bottom right corner. My PhotoShop skills are still fairly fledgling. The spilled beer started out as a glitter splatter from Flergs' Rough & Tumble kit. I applied a PhotoShop tutorial for a spilled liquid effect and adjusted the color to look more like dark beer. It may not even be visible on screen unless you click on the image to see an enlarged photo, but it looks more like shiny plastic than a wet stain to me.

Regardless of the stain, I like this page very much. It captures a little moment in Little Sprout's childhood that I'm sure he'll treasure when he's grown.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Catching up...

Since there are only a few more posts before my 100th milestone, I thought I'd catch up on the backlogged posts from May and June.

I've been waiting to upload an extremely dark (as in "low light," not "sinister") but hilarious photo of Little Sprout sleeping in his crib, but my trusty camera is holding everything on the memory card hostage. When I turned the camera on the other day I got this message: Memory Card requires formatting. I don't want to risk reformating and losing data on the memory card. So I wait for Big Daddy to either fix it or declare the photos on the memory stick walking dead.

UPDATE: Big Daddy has declared the memory stick unsalvageable. *sigh*

Remember that scene in the movie Saturday Night Fever where John Travolta's character shakes his disco booty in a white suit? That's how my sleeping angel was posed (pointy index finger and all). Oh, ha, ha, ha, disco's not dead, just sleeping! It was sooooo funny. Wish I had been able to show you. Oh well, I will be on the lookout for future snoozy poses to use as blackmail photos. Mwahahaha!

Breaking Comic Con News
I did not attend Comic Con in San Diego, CA, but I've been watching a few blogs covering news from Comic Con fairly closely. Here is a run-down of news announcements from around the Web I found to be of interest:

  • More Doctor Horrible
  • According to Joss Whedon there will be more Doctor Horrible. No details yet, but it seems that they’re looking to continue the Internet distribution.

  • Boom! Announce Farscape and Eureka Comics¹
  • Comic Publisher Boom! have signed Farscape creator Rockne S. O’Bannon to write a four issue mini-series which he refers to as “Season Five.”

  • Rose McGowan Will Be Red Sonja
  • On Thursday Robert Rodriguez and Rose McGowan confirmed previous speculation that she will be starring in a Red Sonja movie. The movie is set to begin filming later this year and Rodriguez says they are planning a 2009 release date.

  • I Am Legend Sequel?
  • Francis Lawrence, the director of I Am Legend is working to put together a sequel to the film. No details at this stage.
¹ Thanks, GeekBoy (gagglefrak) for posting the comic book mock-up cover!

Enough geeking from me. A la prochaine!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

She Had Me At...

Tea and Cookies, truth be told, because I'm such a fan of hosting tea parties or savoring a simple cuppa with a delectable cookie. (Biscuit, if you're British.) But this food blogger sealed the deal when she wrote about summer days and rootbeer floats.

Just today I was thinking about little ways my mom used to spoil us (her kids) and one of the things that came to mind was rootbeer floats on summer evenings while we watched The Wonderful World of Disney on TV.

I'll most definitely be sharing heady mugs of creamy rootbeer goodness with Little Sprout when he gets older. [Note to self: ask sister if she makes these for her kids]

Here's to a free afternoon spent on a perfectly inviting patch of grass, watching lazy clouds drift overhead. (No, wait! I see a bunny rabbit. Or a camel. Or Snoopy in a bi-plane...) And if you're really fortunate, you'll be surprised with rootbeer floats and feel like a kid again.

Thanks Tea!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Rocks in My Pockets

Something happened today I just had to tell you about.

On his afternoon walk, Little Sprout toddled gleefully through the grass, picking up rocks as he went along. He would examine them, carry them awhile and then discard them as a new prospect caught his eye. Quite by accident he discovered that he could put the rocks into his pockets instead of dropping them. And before long his pockets were laden with rocks.

An especially impressive rock weighed so heavily in his pocket that his pants kept falling down. But would he give up his prize? Heavens no!

When mommy got tired of hiking up his pants every few steps, we headed for home.

A few moments after getting inside the house his very heavy pants dropped to the carpet. Undaunted, he casually stepped out of them and proceeded to turn out his pockets onto the floor. The two hounds were riveted by his rock pile.

Once the rocks were all spread out on the carpet he put them back into his pants. (Inside the pants, not the pockets.) All I could do was watch and smile.

Late Talker = Autism?
I read in a parenting magazine that "any child who doesn't have a vocabulary of 50 words by the time he or she turns 2 should get a speech evaluation." Little Sprout is 17 months old and if the Speech and Language Pathology researcher in the article was referring to 100% clearly spoken words that include final consonants, then I can count Little Sprout's vocabulary on one hand.

I just can't get this statistic out of my mind.

Today Little Sprout decided to say "poo-poo." He was not referencing a willy, nilly, silly, old bear. "Poo" was his very first word, and at that time he was referencing the bear in the A. A. Milne stories. Either way, this isn't a huge language leap.

Is my son a late talker? He has seven months before he turns two. Plenty of time to build a solid word base, I think. (I hope!) He communicates well non-verbally and is a social child. Is he doing just fine? Only time will tell.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Joyeux 14 Juillet!

Today is Bastille Day in France. I have always held a special place in my little heart of hearts for le 14 Juillet, as it is known in France, and usually find some small way to mark the day.

So far today, Little Sprout and I have watched the Disney animated feature, The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Well, about the first quarter of it anyway. Little Sprout lost interest when it became clear that there were no puppies in the story. He liked the gargoyles though. We also read a bit more of his new book The Tale of Despereaux by Kate Dicamillo. Big Daddy has been reading it aloud for the past two nights. Don't you just love story time?

I'm feeling creative, so I'll devise a Bastille Day-themed meal today. And of course when we build towers with blocks today I'll most assuredly exclaim "Storm the Bastille!"

Well, Little Sprout just woke up from his morning nap, so I have to go liberate him from his prison cell crib. I leave you with the delightful words of Clotilde Dusoulier of Chocolate & Zucchini who also writes about the French national holiday. If you're not already a C&Z devotée, give her blog a once-over. There are many, many good things to see.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Chicken Pomegranate

I just finished eating a sublime dish that I had to tell you about. It blew the top off my "Sweet Mercy" scale; it was that tasty.

Rummaging around the top shelf of my kitchen pantry, I found an unopened bottle of Pomegranate Paste. Pomegranate Paste is a common ingredient in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes. So I made this recipe from the Sadaf.com website:

Chef Piero's Chicken Pomegranate

6-8 pieces of skinless chicken
4 Tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 ½ Tablespoons minced garlic
1 ½ cup white wine
½ cup pomegranate paste
Kosher salt to taste
1 cup white flour (approximately)

Salt the chicken pieces and lightly dredge through flour. In a skillet, heat the oil on medium to high heat. Sear the chicken until golden on both sides. Add the garlic to the skillet, stir for about one minute until golden, making sure not to burn it. Add the white wine and stir for 1-2 minutes. Add pomegranate paste and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the liquids reduce into a sauce.

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This recipe works equally well for chicken and fish.

Wanna try it, but can't get your hands on pomegranate paste? I hereby offer to mail you a bottle of pomegranate paste so you can try this recipe. I'm not kidding. Of course, you'll have to e-mail me your mailing address. (Don't leave your personal info in a comment, please.)

Spinach & Parmesan Foccacia Stuffing

2 eggs
Butter (or margarine)
Sage, Celery Salt, Thyme
1 cup chicken broth (or stock)

Step 1: Buy some tasty Foccacia (I used Spinach & Parmesan).

Step 2: Eat it until it starts to get stale. If you polish it off entirely, repeat step one.

Step 3: Break the stale bread into cubes, set aside.

Step 4: Moisten bread cubes with spray butter and season to taste with any or all of the following: sage, celery salt, thyme

Step 5: Spray a baking dish with cooking spray and add seasoned bread crumbs to baking dish.

Step 6: Add two beaten eggs to the seasoned bread crumbs and mix lightly to coat.

Step 7: Add 1 cup chicken broth to baking dish

Step 8: Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes in a 325-degree oven. Remove the foil and bake for 5-10 more minutes, until top begins to lightly brown.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Dr. Horrible's Sing-A-Long Blog

OK, I'm WAY behind on blog entries, but I have a little announcement to make.

No, I'm NOT pregnant. (Whew, glad that's out of the way.)

But I am a Sci-Fi fan. If you didn't know that previously...well, now you know.

I just had to post this quickly. The genius behind the TV show Firefly and its silver screen sequel Serenity is launching a new three-part Internet musical.

Joss Whedon's new blog project, Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, is the result of some brainstorming and networking during the television writer's strike. It will not be a normal movie release. It will be posted on the internet for FREE, but only for 20 days.

Here is how it will play out (source: Whedonesque):

ACT ONE (Wheee!) will go up Tuesday July 15th.
ACT TWO (OMG!) will go up Thursday July 17th.
ACT THREE (Denouement!) will go up Saturday July 19th.

All acts will stay up until midnight Sunday July 20th. Then they will vanish into the night.

Teaser from Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog on Vimeo.

Is that Doogie Howser all grown up, you ask? Why, yes it is. Neil Patrick Harris, I mean. Fans of Joss Whedon's work will also recognize Nathan Fillion and Felicia Day. Please join me in watching this three-part campy romp. It'll be fun!