Chocolate and Video Games

July 7th was Chocolate Day, so we decided to have a chocolate-themed weekend to extend the chocolate fun. We decided to be daring by trying some savory chocolate foods.

On Friday, we made chocolate cornbread and chili with a bit of cocoa powder. The chili was good, but there is a reason chocolate corn doesn’t exist. We saved the cornbread on Saturday by turning it into chocolate cornbread bread pudding, which was really good with ice cream. In addition to this, we went to the Chocolate Sanctuary and had very chocolaty food. I found out that I evidently like cocoa barbecue sauce when I had it on chicken wings for the first time. I have also never had Chicken Mascarpone and Savory Cocoa Fettuccine until Saturday–it was interesting, but I don’t think I would do it again. We also had salad with a chocolate vinaigrette, pork sliders with more chocolate barbecue sauce, cocoa-spiced butternut squash soup, a turkey flatbread sandwich with cocoa-candied bacon, and then truffles for dessert! Overall, most of the savory stuff was okay. The barbecue sauce was really good. The truffles were great!

On Sunday, we made chocolate pancakes for dinner. I kind of put in a bit too much vinegar, but we fixed it with some baking soda. Saturday was also Video Games Day, but we thought it was Sunday so we celebrated a day later. Time to get past a couple of dungeons!

Happy Independence Day!!!

Happy Independence Day everyone! This holiday about celebrating America’s freedom is fairly hectic. Tons of people do barbecues on the 4th of July, preparing for the wild fireworks to come late at night. Red, white, and blue parades gather a lot of people, too. All this excitement can take your mind off the heat of the day.  Here are some fun facts to also entertain you:

Did you know that the Declaration of Independence was drafted on a “laptop,” a small, lap-sized desk?  Another rare fact is that only John Hancock (so far proven) signed the Declaration on July 4th.

Some other facts include:

Hope everyone has a safe and fun July 4th holiday!

Happy Springy-Spring!

20170422_172825Yea, it’s been spring for a while now, but for once it actually feels like it! Spring has a lot of holidays, a few of which were this past Saturday. First off, there was Earth Day on April 22. We went around our neighborhood picking up trash and recyclables. It didn’t look like much improvement at first, but we had two big bags when we were finished.

Next, to celebrate Record Store Day (also on April 22), we drove out to a small record store to try to find a few albums, but to no prevail. It was fun to get to sort through all the records, though, and see what all was there. Half Price Books also had some records, so we went there in search of both records and books. My dad got his records, I had fun looking for horror books, including Cujo, Frankenstein, Dracula, and a couple of Ray Bradbury books.

Tie-Dye Day was also on April 22, but we weren’t in the mood to do shirts. Instead, we celebrated by making coffee filter flowers. We used water color paint to color the flowers to look like tie-dye, let them dry, then bunched them up to look like flowers and secured them with pipe cleaners. The flowers look very cool on our mini-tree.

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1a) Paint the filter with water color and a brush.

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1b) Or you can put a bit of water on the filter and dip the filter in water color so it wicks up some paint.

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2) Let the filter(s) dry.

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3) Fold/crimp/roll your flowers together and secure with pipe cleaner at base. Should look ruffle-y.

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Pretty flower tree!

(Had I done this closer to Easter, there would have been an eggs-travagant amount of egg puns while looking back on all the egg-traordinay egg-ventures from the past few years. So I guess it can be looked at as a blessing that you only had to deal with three. ;P )

Happy New Year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!! Yeah, I know it’s almost a month late, BUT Chinese New Year is still in the future – January 28th, in fact. 2017 is the year of the rooster, the Chinese Zodiac occurring every 12 years. The Chinese New Year’s date always changes since its based off of the Chinese lunar calendar, unlike our traditional new year based on the Gregorian calendar. The years of the rooster are often thought of as unlucky years even though the people born in those years are supposed to be pretty good, but I think this year will be alright. (For some other fun-facts, go here.) I hope all of you had a good start to 2017.

Speaking of China, my school is doing a play centered in China: Disney’s Mulan (Jr.) It’s been going pretty good so far with the practices, but we haven’t reached the frantic stage yet. We are hoping that this year will end up being a lot better than last year’s play (let’s just say it was beyond hectic). We have been trying to figure out ways to pull off Chinese decor without spending a lot of money, so if you have any ideas, please drop it in the comments.

There are a lot of differences between the movie and the Junior Play. First of all, I would like to point out that Mulan is considered a Disney Princess, but she is not born into royalty nor does she marry into royalty. She is considered also to have a prince, but no prince is present until the sequel and Mulan does not marry the prince (sorry that always bugged me).

  • In the movie, Mulan has to disguise her body so the soldiers won’t notice she’s a girl. In the play, the whole thing is that the soldiers should not be able to see her hair. The solution? Oddly enough, a “boyish ponytail,” quoth the voice-over. Then they put the ponytail in a helmet, but not until later.
  • Next off, Mulan is scared to death in the movie when the guys go into the lake to bathe, because she doesn’t want the soldiers finding out. In the play, she has to play a game of strip mahjong (yes, the play gets away with this, but it’s offstage) and win so she wouldn’t be exposed.
  • The way she is found out in the play isn’t as heroic as it is in the movie. Her helmet legitimately just falls off, whereas in the movie she gets stabbed saving the captain and the doctor stitches her up and finds out. There also isn’t as much fighting (if any) in the play.
  • THERE ARE A LOT MORE SONGS IN THE PLAY. THERE’S ONLY FOUR IN THE ORIGINAL MOVIE WITH THREE IN THE SEQUEL (yes there is a sequel to Mulan, it’s really pretty good). THERE’S SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO MANY SONGS IN THE PLAY. Of course, I guess it was converted into a musical of sorts…Otherwise, the drama teacher wouldn’t have picked it.

On that note, I hope you all enjoyed your 2017’s start and will enjoy the Chinese New Year!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!

Hi everyone! I hope you all aren’t too stressed this time of year, because it’s time to celebrate… and to remember! Thanksgiving is all about being thankful, and food, but mainly being thankful.

I’m thankful for my family, my friends, my home, and my life. Those are fairly common things to be thankful for. I’m thankful for my family because they put up with me and are supportive of me. I’m thankful for my friends because they don’t abandon me. My home is basically where my life has taken place, besides school. My life has given me the ability to exist. I’m thankful for other things, such as music and video games. Both provide a distraction or escape from reality and are really fun (music is fun to sing with and video games are fun to play, even when you get stuck in a dungeon in Ocarina of Time and your playing info. is lost [true story]).

Food, food, where do I start? There’s definitely an array of food at this time. Pumpkin pie and turkey are probably what comes to mind when Thanksgiving comes up, but I prefer green bean casserole. I don’t understand why turkey is the main meat of this holiday, though. At the first Thanksgiving, Native Americans and Pilgrims were eating quail and fish. I’ve never tried quail and I don’t like fish, so I guess I’m fine with turkey.

I am upset that Thanksgiving doesn’t seem to be a big holiday anymore. It always seems to be Halloween from August to October 31, and then on November 1, it’s straight to Christmas. Thanksgiving should be more important, even if Black Friday is right after. If it hadn’t been for the first Thanksgiving, America might have been a lot different… just something to think about.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends, appreciate everything you have, and don’t each too much food!

Everything SPOOKY!

Happy (belated) Halloween and Day of the Dead! Did you guys see any ghosts? Speaking of which, that reminds me of my science project on the paranormal! It definitely was a weird topic to have, especially since it isn’t a real science (yet). In this project, I had to research a lot of stuff, including what “paranormal” is, why it isn’t a true science, and what has already been disproven/proven in the field of the paranormal. Of course, that wasn’t all. I got to hold an experiment of sorts to test my classmates for “extrasensory perception” (telepathy, aka mind-reading) and I had to write a fictional story about the paranormal. It was a fairly fun project, but very long and tiring to do.

The reason this ties into Halloween is, of course, ghosts! They are a type of paranormal, not yet proven but possible within the laws of physics and nature. I think that was my only tie to Halloween with my paranormal project, since vampires, zombies, and werewolves would be more under the supernatural aspect of unexplained phenomena. But Halloween ties to horror movies, including PsychoThe Shining, and The Birds.  Now they may not all sound like horror movies, especially by the title The Birds, but they all are horror movies (or just plain out weird/creepy to the point of horror). This was the first time I had seen these movies, and I thought they were really good. I don’t have a favourite, though.

halloweenfest

At the park district’s Halloweenfest, I worked at a game where kids could reach in and grab prizes. We had A LOT of kids play. My costume was a broken porcelain doll–wearing a volunteer vest.

Sadly, we did not get the chance to carve a pumpkin. However, we did do a lot of Halloween activities. I helped the park district with their Halloweenfest and repeated the same thing about 28 million times (ok, maybe not that many, but close to it). I also trick-or-treated with my friends after one of them came back to visit. It was a really fun October this year, even without the pumpkin guts!

PUMPKINS!!!

Pumpkins are one of my favourite things about autumn. There is pumpkin pie, pumpkin spice, jack’o’lantern pumpkins, eyeball pumpkins, twine pumpkins, fake pumpkins, virtual pumpkins, the Pumpkin King, the Great Pumpkin, and the list goes on and on! We like to carve our pumpkin and keep the seeds. I don’t know what our pumpkin will look like this year, but we have been getting more adventurous each year.

Miscellaneous Pumpkins

Skyward Sword: Pumpkin Landing/Lumpy Pumpkin

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Twilight Princess: Pumpkin Patch at Ordon

 

 

 

 

When I say virtual pumpkins, I really mean virtual pumpkins. In Legend of Zelda (LoZ), pumpkins show up in a few games. In Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword, both of which I have played, pumpkins contain hearts and rupees (the LoZ currency). In Skyward Sword, there is a pumpkin diner of sorts. In Twilight Princess, there is even Pumpkin Soup in one of the dungeons/temples! You can do a lot with pumpkins in real life, too, but I doubt you’ll find a heart or money in them.

Food Stuff With Pumpkins

I have a recipe of sorts that we use for baking pumpkin seeds. First, make sure that your pumpkin seeds are rinsed/cleaned well and dry. Lay them out on a cookie sheet covered in aluminum foil. Sprinkle brown sugar on them as evenly as possible and as much as you would like. Bake them between 350-400 until they are crispy, but not too terribly crispy. They taste really good when they are done.

We have also madepumpkin-funnelcake pumpkin funnel cakes and pumpkin-cookiespumpkin cookies. With the pumpkin cookies, we followed the recipe on the link, but we added some maple syrup with the glaze to make a maple-vanilla cream glaze. They were delicious, but now they are gone! In our pumpkin funnel cakes, we didn’t really change anything. They pretty much tasted like normal funnel cakes, but with a little bit more spice than normal ones. They were still good, but I think I’d rather make the cookies again.

How to Make A Fairy Garden!

Hi guys! I just got done creating a fairy garden with my dad, and it was really fun! I have a how-to video showing just how we made ours. There is a list of what you need in the description. Have fun!

Fairy gardens are actually fairly popular, partially because they are easy to make and also because they look really neat when they are finished. They can also serve as homes for butterflies, hummingbirds, and dragonflies depending on the type you make. There a tons of ideas out there, especially on Pinterest.

I made mine because I am a huge fan of fairies and have been since I was little. We figured it would fill an empty and dull-looking patch of dirt and I had always wanted to make one, so we got to work on our garden.

Happy Easter!!!

Hey everybody! Happy Easter! Did you know that Easter is the first Sunday after the first full moon occurring on or after the vernal equinox and that it can be delayed a week if the first full moon is on a Sunday? I didn’t until I looked it up today, but it’s still a cool fact for those of you who didn’t know. My favourite part of Easter is doing a lot of family stuff, like making an Easter Egg Hunt for my parents and going to my grandparents to celebrate. But I also like to learn new facts about the holiday.

Here are some fun facts about Easter: Continue reading