Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Valentine's Day...after 12 years

I'm not a chocolates and jewelry kind of girl. This year we attended the Minne Maker's Fair in St. Paul, Minnesota. 

J. playing life-size Operation. The fellow who made this found the idea in Make Magazine and put it together the night before so the kids would have something to do. We appreciated it.

The Minne Maker's Fair was held at a place called The Hack Factory. Basically it's a building with all kinds of tools and stuff open 24hrs a day for people to come work on their projects. It's a club for people who like to make things. This guy likes homemade replicas: light sabers, guns, helmets, all kinds of things.

This guy rewires old toys so that you can play them like instruments. 

This guy created this huge one-man electronic band. He had CDs. He also had an homemade electric cello and made all kind of weird noises with this thing. 

It made the guy across the way with the spirit-catcher a little more creepy but the boys went over anyway. His was just a recreation of a 1903 spirit-catcher and he told them it wouldn't work but it was interesting. 

Then, because that wasn't really a great reason to drive 3.5 hours for boys in the 5-11 set, we went to Mall of America for dinner and entertainment. 

Valentine's Day for my husband? The Minne Maker's Fair. Valentine's Day for my children? Fast food, people watching, the giant Lego store, and video games. 

Valentine's Day for me? Staying in my pajamas all day Sunday, baking, reading, puttering around. 

I think everyone was happy. Sometimes ya just gotta know how to love someone. 

Friday, February 5, 2010

Music Meme

List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they’re not any good, but they must be songs you’re really enjoying now, shaping your winter. Post these instructions in your blog along with your 7 songs.

My husband sent me this from another blog he was reading and I figured I'd toss it out there since gardening is a bit slow right now.

1. Love and Happiness by Al Green --Classic. I love when the band starts up. I always want to rewind back to that part. It does that here and there throughout the song. Never boring. I've heard of a lot of new music this year but somehow the old always grips me the best.

2. Hometown Boy by Over the Rhine--I think people I know are getting tired of me talking about Over the Rhine. Lately I've had the Ohio album in the car and its kind of like discovering it all over again. Since I can't find this song I'll include a link to another from that album.

3. Even in the Darkness by Rue Royale--Started out as a Christian folk band in the Chicago area. Now is a more general folk band based in England. I love her voice, its truly beautiful, but its fun to hear more of him on more recent songs like 'Blame.'

4. Tables and Chairs by Andrew Bird--a one-man band of violin, whistling, and guitar. Quirky lyrics. From Chicago. I'm not sure I could resist. I love how he plays all the parts by using pedals to loop each part, creating layer upon layer.

5. Farewell to the Fairground by White Lies--even though it was released in 2009 this is so '80s retro. My Dad is probably right, you do get more sentimental towards music similar to what you heard in your childhood.

6. Braille by Regina Spektor--I did like Spektor before this year, but I don't think it was until over Christmas that I noticed how gutsy and talented she is. She has such a strong sense of herself and what she's writing.

7. A Glass Can Only Spill What it Contains by mewithoutYou--I'm folky. You turn the guitars up too loud and I'm fine, but it doesn't really touch me inside. mewithoutYou is one of the exceptions to this rule (although their most recent album was pretty tame compared to their first few). It has the hippy Jesus People freegan thing going, oh, and some punk. Okay. I like it.

8. Beats 4 U by My Morning Jacket--It just gets in my head. No other reason.

9. Blue Ridge Mountains by Fleet Foxes--Another 'this group reminds me to the incredibly harmonized soft rock my dad listened to when I was a kid.' Just a good song.

10. On the Edge by The Clogs--more traditional music, reminds me of celtic.

Okay, I took 10. It's hard to break out of the decimal system.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Review: Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day

I bought this book last week, with my birthday money, because I miss baking. I'm in school right now and between school and Luke I just don't have the time to knead, fold, and proof everything so I took a chance on this.

I made the basic whole wheat (4c wheat, 2c white) without vital wheat gluten (I didn't have any) and I made loaves on day 2, 4, and 7.

Day 2: This dough is very wet. Very wet. It spreads more than it rises during the 90 minute proof before you bake it. I love proofing it on the silpat I got for Christmas. I just slip it onto the hot baking stone and I'm done. The finished product is wide (spreads more then raises) and flat. Flavor is bland (to me). Dh and boys like it.

Day 4: I made rolls hoping it would help. So wet its hard to form. I used oil to keep it from sticking when I formed and that worked well. Again, did not rise much (because of the lack of wheat gluten) but rolls were wonderfully crunchy! I did like this better because it was so soft inside and crunchy outside. Eaten very quickly. Taste: okay.

Day 7: There was some liquid on the top of the dough. I tipped it into the sink and baked as usual (sourdough does this as well). This time after I formed it I put a plastic container over the top and that kept it from spreading too much. Still not very high but better. Crumb beautiful. Taste still slightly off but better than the first time. Ah well.

I think that there was too much yeast in the recipe (2Tbl). I think that's part of the bland ick I taste. Next time I will greatly decrease the yeast suggested so a better, more wheaty flavor comes through.