I'm really digging this new Bamboo Tablet! It was totally worth the cost! For anyone who's looking for an inexpensive tablet that's very sensitive, I would highly suggest the Bamboo Create. I would not go any smaller on the active area then that, or you will likely end up frustrated trying to draw and color in such a tiny space!
Here's a little preview of what I've been working on the last few days...
Shading takes forever, but it's turning out nicely! I really should be working on coloring that contest piece if I hope to turn it in before the February second deadline, but this dragon is so much more fun!
A little more then a week ago, I got a frantic text from Matt and 10:00 PM, asking me to go to Walmart and buy a water pick, and some emergency dental cement. His wisdom tooth, which has had quite a cavity in it for some time, but wasn't yet hurting, up and decided to break apart. He got it extracted yesterday, so the situation is all taken care of! It's hardly even hurting right now, he says!
While I was at Walmart, I went and browsed through the bedding. See, Matt and I sleep in what is apparently an unconventional way. We don't use sheets at all, besides a fitted sheet to cover the mattress. And we each have a separate comforter! Why do we do this? Because this is roughly how we sleep:
We call it 'Burrito-ing'. We roll ourselves up in our comforters like little burritos for maximum warms! I have found I tend to sleep better in this fashion anyway then with traditional sheets and a tucked in comforter- I can move the blanket around however I want, and even throw it off of me if I get hot without having to worry about tucking all those sheets and blankets! Much less hassle when I want to make the bed, I can just re-spread the comforters!
The problem is that I've been using an old twin sized blanket for forever. All the stuffing in it has started to clump and it was made with a weirdly thin fabric so wherever there wasn't stuffing the air would come straight through!
There's an older shot of it, but the stripey blanket was mine. On top of being chilly in general, being a twin blanket, whenever I rolled over I would have to readjust where it was laying so it would continue to cover me. All in all, it was very annoying to sleep with.
So while I was at Walmart, I bought a new one! It's an inexpensive comforter, but I bought a KING sized one! I've always wanted a king sized blanket. Having all that extra burrito-ing room in there is fantastic. Really, if I could build a big nest of blankets and pillows in a basket and burrow in it, I totally would. I'd have bought Matt a new comforter as well, but he insists he loves his too much.
But the new comforter came with some weird side effects. Taco decided she loved my new comforter with all her heart, sleeping only there, all day, for about a week. She would not leave the blanket when we got up for the day and stayed there for hours! She even slept with me under the covers for about two hours this early morning.
The weirdest part though started the first night I had it. Matt and I were laying in bed with Taco, having our before sleeps chat, when suddenly Taco viciously and unexpectedly sank her claws into my side through the comforter. She attacked me for several more seconds before I deposited her, gently, on the floor. What the heck cat?
The next night, the same thing happened, and I sat up in bed, in the dark, to try and see just what she thought she was doing. I ran my hand over the blanket to see if maybe there was something weird on the comforter she was getting after, and a curious thing happened. There was a flash of light! I glanced up at the window to see if maybe a reflection or something had come through, but the blinds were firmly closed and the curtain drawn. I ran my hand over it again, several times in different locations, and the same thing happened. Flash!
My new comforter is unbelievably static-ey! It literally sparks when you run your hand over it, but you can only see it in the dark. That's what Taco was getting after- she must have seen some sparks, pounced them, and her movement just caused more. And it hasn't gone away yet either, it's still filled with static electricity. So weird!
At our house, we eat a lot of leftovers. With it just being the two of us, we always end up with a lot of leftover food from the night before, which makes for some pretty tasty next day lunches! Sometimes I even cook large portions on purpose so we can eat the leftovers for a few days afterward!
The worst is when it comes to meats. I often buy the largest container of ground beef or chicken breasts I can find, portion them off, and freeze them. This significantly cuts down on the cost of meat, which is astronomical! Have you seen how expensive a pound of bacon is anymore?? Sometimes though, I'll just cook an entire package with the intention of eating them the next day, which is what I did with the pork chops I bought the other day.
It was a seven pack of thin cut, boneless pork chops- they were on sale for two dollars off since they were dated to be tossed the next day. I breaded them and fried them up real fast, and we had fried pork chops, rice-a-roni, and green beans for dinner. But the next day those pork chops aren't looking so hot... And I'm not relishing the idea of reheating and eating them plain. I could smother them in gravy... or I could be more creative!
Brunn's Leftover Fried Rice
Leftover Meat, preferably pork or chicken.
1 cup Fresh Vegetables diced (I used Carrots, Onions, and Celery)
1 1/2 Cups Instant Rice
2 eggs, scrambled
Garlic Powder, Salt, Pepper
Soy Sauce (Whatever's your favorite)
Oyster Sauce (Optional)
Sesame Oil (Optional)
Note: Quantities will change depending on how much meat you have left- I only had two thin cut pork chops left, so I didn't make a TON of fried rice lol.
Cook that rice- I use the microwave, you can use the stove, whichever you prefer. While the rice is cooking, dice up your vegetables small, and place in a bowl, then dice up your meat. Heat oil in a non-stick skillet or wok on medium high heat, then season and saute vegetables until carrots are starting to soften and onions are transparent.
Once the veggies are getting done, add in the diced meat. Remember, the meat is already cooked, you just want to get it heated through. I also add a splash or two of soy sauce, and a bit more seasoning right now. (Season as you go, it helps to create layers of flavor!)
Once the meat is heated, slide it all into a bowl, add a little more oil to your wok, and let it reheat. Dump in your rice and fry 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently and adding seasoning. Once the rice starts to brown, scoot it all to one side of the pan and dump the scrambled eggs in the empty side.
Cook the eggs just like you would if you were scrambling them for breakfast. It's fine if you end up getting rice mixed in it while they cook. Once the eggs are scrambled together, stir them in with the rice, give it a few splashes of soy sauce, and stir it all together. Dump the veggie/meat mixture in, give it a few stirs, and drizzle the oyster sauce over the top of that. Mix it in, remove from heat, and ENJOY!
This is a great way to use leftover cooked meats and it simple and easy to prepare. So long as you don't burn anything, you can't really screw this up! Pretty much any meat or veggie will work with this. I also do the same thing as a stir fry, using spaghetti noodles instead of rice. It's simple, uses what you have, and requires very little time. I love making dishes like that, such as pot pies from leftover roasts, or casseroles from cooked veggies.
In other news, I'm busy working on an art piece for an art contest! I've never entered an art contest before, but I thought it might be fun to give it a shot. I doubt I'll win anything, but I really am enjoying working on the piece and putting so much effort into it. Here's a little preview of what I'm working on...
I just had the best time ever cooking dinner! Matt and I worked together to make a fantastic meal! I'm pretty sure Matt has come to expect "Let's cook together!" with me doing most of the cooking, and him doing the boring chores like peeling the potatoes.... And while he did peel potatoes, he also did some seriously bad-ass cooking! Together we whipped up Fried Cube Steak, Mashed Potatoes with Home Style Gravy, and Green Beans in Oyster Sauce!
I'm sure a lot of you just went "OYSTER SAUCE??? EEEWWWWWW!". Don't worry, that's pretty much what I thought too when we first got it. We tried it with some asian stir-fry when it was suggested in a recipe. It tastes pretty funky by itself, but when it's cooked through with things develops a pretty tasty salty-sweet flavor that really makes a dish pop!
Brunn's Fresh Green Beans with Oyster Sauce
Around a pound of fresh green beans, cleaned
3-5 white mushrooms, sliced thin
Cooking Oil (I use a mix of vegetable and sesame oil)
Salt, Pepper and Garlic Powder to taste
Splash of Soy Sauce (Optional)
Clean your green beans thoroughly an cut all the little nubby ends off. Blanche the green beans in boiling water 3-5 minutes, drain, and put into an ice bath. You want to get the beans cooked through just a tad so they don't come out crunchy, or burn before cooked through. Give the mushrooms a quick slice while you heat the oil in a skillet on medium-high heat. Saute the mushrooms until browned and sweating, then add in the green beans, salt, pepper, and garlic powder and saute another 5 minutes or so. Turn down the heat to medium and drizzle the oyster sauce over the top, and add in your soy sauce if wanted. Stir and cook another minute or so, and serve!
Notes: I use a mix of vegetable oil and sesame oil, because sesame oil has a VERY strong smell that likes to linger a long time if you use a lot of it, and it's very expensive comparatively. Using a mix lets you get the flavor without the cost, and much less stink! I always try to brown mushrooms first, as they cook better before adding in salt and other things, and since they tend to drink up the oil before releasing it back out, your other ingredients can burn before this happens. Plus those mushrooms really pick up a nice sesame flavor from the oil this way! If you wish to add soy sauce, be very careful with how much salt you add in while cooking! Soy Sauce usually has a very high sodium amount, and it's very easy to over salt.
I'm not sure where I came across this recipe, it was from somewhere online. I really enjoy the distinctive and very different flavor it has from the rest of the 'normal' side dishes we tend to have. As a plus, it's also very convenient, as a bottle of oyster sauce will last you quite a while, and you can buy fresh green beans in 12 oz bags at Walmart in their fresh prepped section, even when it's not in season!
After all that cooking fun, Matt and I sat on the couch and watched some TV with the Cat, and partook of some leftover birthday cake. Oh yes! On Saturday we spent the afternoon at my Grandparents house having my favorite Beef Stew in celebration of my 24th birthday this next Monday! It was super fun, and I got some new cookbooks from my aunt as well, not to mention a ton of delicious stew! (Recipe for the stew can be found in this post!) It was a ton of fun!
After we left there, Matt and I decided to spend some of my birthday money! We went over to best buy and bought me a new tablet! 0.0; I know, I don't usually spend money on myself like that, but since Matt's little brother works there we got a great deal on it with his discount!
It's fun having a shiny new toy, and the tablet is a SERIOUS upgrade from what I had! It is TWICE as sensitive as my other tablet, meaning I can much more easily vary the width of the lines I'm drawing. I was somewhat scoffing at how this would really affect things, but my jaw literally dropped when I started using it. It's just...insane how amazing it is! I'm so excited! This tablets much better designed anyway- it fits the desk better, the cord comes out of the side instead of the top (Where it gets in the way of everything!), and at some point I can buy an adapter for it that will make it wireless! It's pure pleasure to draw with, I couldn't be happier with my purchase!
And with that thought in mind, I will leave you with this picture of Taco...
Howdy to my new followers! I'll pop by your blogs soon and say hello! Thanks for following!
For the past few nights I've been going to bed with visions of tomato plants, and cucumber vines dancing in my head... Hey, it's past Christmas! The sugar plums have moved on. Anyway, I've been so excited since I made up my mind to try and grow some veggies this season, and it's been so warm recently. With the temperature outside being in the 60's and 70's for the past few weeks despite it being winter, I'd even remarked to Matt that if this holds for the rest of the season, I may as well start planting now! And almost as if mother nature was spiting me for my comment, it decided to snow last night!
Not a ton of snow, just some heavy flurries for a couple of hours. It covered the roofs and the grass, but the concrete was still too warm for it to stick there. I was still giddy with excitement!
You see, I love snow. Like, a lot. I'm not really sure why, as snow usually seems to exist just to be of great annoyance to everyone. I think memories of snow days from school, going out to play in it, sitting inside and watching it come down and cover everything in a layer of white, drinking hot cocoa.... I'm pretty sure those little wintry vacations filled my head with unreasonable expectations of snowy awesomeness! Because this is usually what happens:
This is not wintry awesome. This is me freezing my tail off trying to get my car out of the snow! Not nearly as enjoyable as building a snow man!
What's worse is my absolute terror of ice, which has a tendency to show up in the wake of snow. I have no balance what so ever. If there's ice on the street, it's as insurmountable for me as a sheer cliff- I just have no way to get past it. Patches of slippery ice others will stroll right over are like death traps for me- I walk across them at a snails pace, slipping and sliding, and horrified the entire time. I once spent nearly ten minutes trying to walk slowly across a short path to get to the bus... which pulled away before I could get to it, leaving me standing in the middle of an ice patch for no reason!
So honestly, I don't know why I like snow so much! But I am always sad when it melts the next day.
I turn into this when I get woken up early from a nap. True Story.
About a week ago, I was doing the dishes... Well, that's too late in the story to start. You see, I have these cups I like. Love, really. They're the perfect size, the perfect shape, and best of all- They're Star Trek cups!
Burger King released these back in 2009 when the new Star Trek movie came out. They were a set of four different cups, one each of Kirk, Spock, Nero and Uhura. I was super, duper excited, and desperately wanted them. Matt and I were super poor college kids then however, and when we finally had a little extra money to afford some lunch and two of the cups, all they had left were the Captain Kirk ones. I'd really wanted a Spock, but I settled for two Kirks, and off we went.
In any case, they quickly became my favored cups, the only ones I will use really. They hold the perfect amount of drink for me, and I love them to pieces. Which brings me back to a week or so ago.
I was doing the dishes, merrily (Or as merry as one doing dishes can be) taking mugs and plates and setting them into the cabinet above the dishwasher. This doesn't really require much thought, as the dishwasher sits right underneath the cabinet where all of that goes. As I pulled out one of our plastic cups and moved to place it up into the cabinet, I heard a loud crash!
For a few seconds I just stood there in shock. I knew something had broken, and that it was glass- mostly because it had shattered across my bare foot. I knew in the back of my mind what it was; deep in my soul I felt the death throws of one of my beloved Star Trek Cups. But I had work to do.
I carefully extricated myself from the shattered glass which was all over the kitchen floor. Working quickly before my super sad panda mode activated, I snatched up the cat and stowed her in the bedroom so she wouldn't get her curious paws in all that glass! After that I came out to survey the damage. My poor cup was mostly shattered- I picked up the large chunks and tossed them in the trash after wrapping them in several Walmart sacks, then vacuumed up what was left. ( I need to buy a broom and dustpan for such events; our previous apartment had carpet in every room so we never needed one!) After cleaning up the mess, I retreated into the bedroom to mourn.
Super Sad Panda Mode in full swing, I texted Matt and very long, whiny, upset text about how I'd broken one of my favorite cups, and I only had one left now, and woe is me, woe is me. I honestly thought I was going to cry... It really does suck when you break something you really, really like!
A few minutes later I got a text from Matt- he had bought me not one, but TWO whole sets from a vendor on Amazon! Squee! I'd been waiting for them excitedly for days, and they finally came on Monday!
Now I have two of Nero, Uhura, and Spock, and 3 of Kirk! Woot! Matt was pleased, remarking on how he can use the Star Trek cups now too. All in all it worked out all right! Besides living through the mental anguish of the shattering of my Star Trek Cup that is....
It's been a few days since my last post, but nothing much has been going on. I'm enjoying my new job, although it's been a little less than stimulating. It's been slow because of winter (Apparently, library use always slows down in winter) so my designated sections to shelve are often finished long before my exceedingly short shift is finished. This is somewhat frustrating as it leaves me with little to do unless another section for someone who won't be there the next day is backed up. It wouldn't be nice to leave them with no work, but since I can't just go home... Meep! With luck this mild winter will merge quickly into spring, and things will pick up!
Last Friday I had to go back down to Stillwater to get another check-up at the eye doctors. Everything was good, and the eye drops they had given me to try had successfully lowered the pressure in my eyes, although he'd like it to come down just a little bit more. He gave me a prescription for the medicine, and I'll be going back in three months time for another checkup!
After the appointment, mum and I went out to eat at Chile's (She had a gift card from Christmas) and both ordered steak fajitas! They were tasty! Neither of us would have gone to Chile's without a gift card... Every time I've been in the last year the service just gets worse and worse. This is the first time in months I've received a meal that's been the proper temperature or hasn't had something drastically wrong with it!
After eating, Mom and I then went over to Hobby Lobby where I found this:
It's PERFECT, is it not??? I love little cute chefs, and want to do my kitchen up with them, and decorative vegetable paintings! Really, I could totally decorate the entire house in decorative food and vegetable paintings, but that may be pushing it a bit... I also picked up the bear rug I used to have in my bedroom to use in our kitchen; it's been sitting in their garage in a box along with all the rest of my things.
Also on our New Years Day celebration Mom and Dad fetched me down my old night stand as well. We had been using one of those plastic chest of drawers thingies, which worked fine, but only one of us had bedside storage, and it was me since I have glasses and earplugs to keep next to the bed. The nightstand only fit on my side, and since the plastic one is considerably thinner, we moved it to Matt's side as it fits between the bed and the door there.
And this last Saturday, Matt's Mom and Stepfather brought us some goodies!! I assume they've gotten some nice new furniture, so we get some awesome hand me downs! Woot! They brought us a couch which is considerably nicer and much less... erm, destroyed then our old one was! We also got a footrest-tabley thing, and a nightstand that matches the large chest of drawers we have in bedroom. We can't fit two night stands in there since the space is so confined, so we ended up setting it next to the couch. It's excellent for storage and works as a great side table! And now I have a nice place to set the small lamp I had just kinda hanging out in the bedroom unused.
Our living room looks much, much homier now! I absolutely love how our apartment is slowly becoming a wonderful, if mismatched, home! The nicer furniture really does make it feel better! I can't wait for the day when we have a full house!
I have also reached a conclusion as to what I want to do with the patio... I'm going to slowly make a container garden! For vegetables!!! I know, I know. It's outdoorsy- and I hate outdoorsy. But vegetable gardening is the only type of outdoorsy activity I have ever been driven to do. I think because my Grammy and Pawpaw always had vegetables growing. I used to love getting cucumbers form their garden to eat. Not only did they taste super fresh and much better then any cucumber I'd ever eaten that was store bought, there was something so satisfying to go out and pick the thing I was eating right off the vine.
I figure I'll start very small with just some cucumbers, tomatoes, and some herbs. Fairly easy to grow, with big yields. I may also try carrots, cause I just really, really fancy growing carrots. In any case, even if I end up admitting defeat as a vegetable grower in a few years, I'll just use the containers for regular plants. I intend to do something with that patio, gosh darn it!
I'm so excited by the idea I want to get started now, but I have to remind myself that it's technically still winter despite the extremely nice weather we've been having. After having been in the 60's and 70's for the last two weeks, I suppose I'll have to give up on snow for this season! Aw well!
Yesterday we had a little family get together! Nothing too fancy, Matt and I went over to my grandparents house; mom and dad came down, and my aunt, uncle, and cousin (And her hubby) were there. We had black eyed peas, ham, cornbread and some scalloped potatoes. My Dad baked a chocolate cake they brought down with them. It was a fun time and delicious too!
Before Mom and Dad headed down to the city to meet us, I asked them to bring my Mistborn books series I'd loaned mom to read a month or two ago. I hadn't read them yet, and I wanted to get to them soonish! I also asked if she could bring me any other books I'd left there or hadn't read yet. She happily agreed! Excited, I packed up the books I was trading to her, and we were off to my grandparents house...
You see, THIS is what I was expecting:
Yeah, something like this. Just a couple. The Mistborn, the Dragon Riders of Pern stuff, and maybe that Dragon Nimbus series.. Not too bad!
But THIS is what I got!
Now, don't get me wrong! I'm certainly not complaining about books! I love books! And I'm pleased to have all these back (Although now it'll be much harder to justify buying more books to Matt...). The problem is, THIS is the state of my bookshelf:
Pretty much full up, besides the shelf at the bottom for oversized books. Honestly, I kind of despise oversized books... they just don't fit well on shelves! I'm really at somewhat of a loss on this. I just don't really have any room for them. Sure, I can pile them all up in front of each other on the shelf. It just does not look tidy at all, and makes it hard to browse your book collection!
I'll have to get myself another bookshelf at some point. I've no real idea where I'm going to put it, but it must be done. Matt's hinted around at maybe selling some of them back to a used bookstore, or some such... But I loves them all! I suppose for now I shall heap them onto the shelf and deal with the overcrowded-ness of them all!
In other news, Since Matt and I are now both working evenings, we've been tending to stay up quite late at night, and then sleep in during the morning. At least that's the idea. You see the blinds we have in the house don't keep out enough light at all- the latest I've managed to sleep in has been 9:30-10:00, and that's with actively trying to go back to sleep when I awaken. it's just so bright in there during the day! And there's also the problem of my cat, who likes to climb into the blinds while we're asleep, and since I sleep with no shirt on.... Needless to say, I don't want to awaken with the blinds half open and my blanket thrown back!
So last night Matt and I bought a blackout curtain and a tension curtain rod, and put that up. It's just a dark blue curtain (Really cheap actually) and I dared doubt it's effectiveness. This morning when Matt came in to wake me up, I groggily wondered what time it was. Judging from the light in the room, it seemed to be maybe sixish? You know, that gentle, super low bluish light you start to get just before sunrise? Nope, it was nearly ten thirty! Blackout curtain worked wonders! Woo!