Fun times, fun times.

Recently, Kate and I have been having some fun doing something revolutionary that we haven't done before, and that only a handful of people do; roleplaying in a roleplaying game.

As many of you know, Kate and I both play World of Warcraft, a MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game). A few days ago we created two new characters on a new server (which will remain unnamed, to protect the innocent). We had a grand ole time, actually; relaxed in a nice little bar, met some people and made some friends. Yeah, roleplaying in a roleplaying game; who knew it could be fun?

Seriously though, this is something Kate and I have wanted to do for a long time; we both enjoy RPGs and were both, I think, disappointed at the lack of roleplaying in WoW. Indeed, RP is somewhat looked down on as somewhat stupid by the majority of players. Those are the same people that I would classify under the "twitch-happy spazbot" label and proceed to do my best to avoid. WoW even has specific servers which they designate "roleplaying" servers and even on those ones you still get people who complain about it. I don't understand why people act surprised when they play a RPG and people want to Role Play. Too many people out there just don't think.



Much has been happening this past week.

We were getting ready for the arrival of our newest little one, Rosie, when she decided surprise us! With herself! Panic ensued.

But seriously, no, she's here, she's happy to be with us and we're happy to have her with us, too! Here's some pics. First off, me and her in the hospital together; skin-to-skin contact is very important with babies like Rosie that are a little early.

Second, a picture of her looking at us, she has beautiful dark grey eyes, and hair that seems to be more my color of brown than Kate's.

And finally, Rosie in her car seat snuggled in tight (look at those chubby cheeks!) and her favorite toy, Sisseahorse. Kate thought up the name and picked up the toy LONG before Rosie was born, she's been playing it occasionally for Rosie while she was still in her.

So that's the big news from us, we'll keep you updated and make sure to post more frequently now that things are starting to get settled down!


Update on Rosie

Less than two months left to go, and I can't wait! I want this baby out of me, and I think she wants out, too--she's constantly kicking and punching me, as if to say, "Hey! Let me out! It's getting crowded in here!" (It really is.) I'm looking forward to being able to hold her in my arms... and I suspect I may even sleep better after she's born, given how much her kicks keep me awake.

Yesterday we went for a growth ultrasound and non-stress test--both went very well indeed. Rosie was quiet enough for the ultrasound (though even when she's barely moving the techs always seem to think she's being unusually wriggly) and we got to see a lovely picture of... her foot. She's face-down and kind of squished in there, in the same position as last time (when we also got a nice foot view), so it's likely there will be no more cute pictures until after she's born. We did get to see her exercising her lungs, though, which was quite interesting.

The non-stress test was especially interesting, as it was the first one we'd done, and I wasn't sure exactly what to expect. The rooms they normally use for it were all full, so since the test was done on the Labor & Delivery floor we got to use one of the regular rooms, which was very nice and now I have a better idea of what to expect when Rosie's born. For the test, they had me lie down on the bed and strapped two monitors to my belly, one to listen for the baby's heartbeat, and one to measure any contractions I might have. The test was to last 20 minutes, and they wanted to see two accelerations (Rosie's heart rate going up from her usual 130ish to 150 or so) in that time... I was warned that for some people it could take up to a couple hours to get enough accelerations.

Well, Rosie is not 'some people'! By the end of the 20 minutes, there had been 9 accelerations recorded... and no one was quite sure whether I'd had any mild contractions or not, since she was kicking the monitors the whole time, so hard that we could see them moving up and down. (It didn't help that I was laughing a bit... she's feisty, and very protective of her space it seems.) So, it seems our little girl is doing very well indeed. :)


The mystery of the pancake cookies

Apparently I'm not the only one who's had problems with the basic cookie recipe on the back of the chocolate chip bag--I really should have done my research before I started last night, but I wanted something soft and chewy that would work well with nuts, and I thought that it couldn't get any simpler. Well, I was wrong... I ended up with 32 thin and lumpy chocolate-chip pancakes that refused to come off of the pans (and yes, the recipe does say to use an ungreased baking sheet!) While this could have been averted by not following the recipe (using shortening instead of butter) or simply chilling the dough first, I seem to have come up with a rather unorthodox solution.

You see, I have this pan.

It's a dark pan, so I never ever use it for baking. It has raised edges, making it absolutely wonderful for when I want to bake potato wedges, heat up breakfast sausages and toast, make chicken nuggets, bake ribs, etc. I love this pan.

So last night when I had used the last of my nice light-colored insulated cookie sheets I sighed, got out my favorite pan for the last dozen cookies, and hoped they wouldn't come out too burnt.

They were perfect.

Love conquers all? ;)


"Fast" Food

I decided to go for a different sort of theme with Jon's lunch didn't turn out quite as I'd hoped (we didn't have any ketchup packets, and I think Jon might have been disappointed at the lack of a cool toy) but for the most part I'm pretty happy with it:

Chicken patty on a bun with lettuce and mayo, another hippo cookie, potato wedges, blood orange slices, green grapes, and cherry tomatoes.

I still feel like I'm over-using the cherry tomatoes, but they're just so handy...and I already had a cup of grapes, it would have looked weird to use those instead. One potato's worth of fries wasn't quite enough to fill to the top of the box, I should have baked another half potato or so, and the blood orange slices ended up not looking too exciting. I still have a couple left, so for next time I will look for ideas to make it really stand out--maybe peeling and segmenting the fruit instead of slicing it?

I'm not sure yet what Jon's lunch is going to look like tomorrow, but I did practice a fun kiwi cut on my lunch today, so that may play a role...maybe some banana, too. Maybe I'll make a big pot of rice tonight to last us the rest of the week in lunches, that keeps things fairly simple!


Bento + Bonus Baby Belly

I don't always do fancy, pretty lunches for Jon...those are just the ones I like to show off. Here's his lunch for today--much simpler than the other ones I've posted! (It's a little sad that my fridge has better lighting than my kitchen, don't you think?)

Baby carrots, sliced pickle, peach with yogurt and brown sugar, cold cheese sandwich, and a chocolate hippo cookie--simple and super fast, I was done in under 10 minutes. (And yes, that's homemade bread--I love my bread machine!)

Anyway, I have been scolded for not putting up pictures to show just how large I'm getting, so here I am, posing for the camera:

All right, so I'm not really a whale, but I'm certainly starting to feel like one! Even most of my maternity clothes are too small...and the ones that still fit are a little tight. Thank goodness Jon has plenty of comfy shorts and t-shirts for me to borrow!

Here's a real picture of me--my dad sent the awesome shirt, I love it. :D It's only been a week and I already think my belly's gotten bigger...

And here's a bird's-eye view, proving conclusively that I no longer have feet:

I want it to be April already! =p


This is becoming a habit

but I don't think Jon minds. ;)

Pickle springs (I got the idea while flipping through this book at the mall, though it uses cucumbers), more of that ranch chicken (Jon loves it!), cherry tomatoes, pasta sauce in the heart-shaped container, a big slice of apple, spaghetti, and some little hearts made from mozzarella cheese and red pepper.

I've noticed that a lot of my lunches tend to lean toward a red and white color scheme, when really there should be a bit more variety. I think part of that can be blamed on a lot of my accessories being red, but then again, I do pack Jon an awful lot of tomatoes and apples. I think next time we buy fruits and veggies I'm going to make more of an effort to get some other colors, too--maybe some broccoli, kiwi fruit, and pineapple. I also need to get some sauce containers that aren't red!


More bento fun :)

Jon's lunch on Friday...after he'd eaten part of it, there were more carrot sticks and cheese pieces to begin with. Bagel quarters with spinach-artichoke cream cheese, heart-shaped carrot sticks, apple heart slices with banana, cherry tomatoes, and heart-shaped cheese pieces. The heart box holds three raspberry Hugs--yum!

I did a lot of things the hard way here. Instead of slicing the apple and then using my large heart cutter, I tried to cut the whole apple at worked, but it took a while. The carrot sticks were also problematic, as the cutter wasn't really the right size anyway, and I should have just used a knife to begin with. The banana and cheese were easy, though I probably should have just had cheese slices to fill the apple instead of using banana, it would have been prettier. Still, Jon liked it, and I got to try out a bunch of my new cutters.

This was Jon's lunch today, his second one in the new box (I really am in love with it). On the left we have rice with flowers made from celery and colored peppers. The brown at the bottom is a soy sauce packet, and makes a pretty good mound of soil--a very nice coincidence! On the right are celery sticks, a flower-shaped cup with peaches (I tried to arrange the slices in a petal pattern), and leftover ranch chicken with a decorative pick. I wish I'd had a flower-themed pick (maybe next time) and I could have added some cherry tomatoes to fill in the gaps a little tighter, but overall I'm thrilled with how it turned out. Definitely my favorite so far!


Pirate Mac 'n' Cheese

I slept in a little late this morning and had to rush to put Jon's lunch together--I really need to make my carrot sticks ahead of time. He sent this picture from work:

Leftover mac 'n' cheese, some carrot sticks, a clementine, and some cherry cake. The cake is one of the German foods I picked up at World Market, it's kind of dry so I thought it would handle being in a bento pretty well (a lot of things end up soggy). There's way, way too much orange going on here, but I expect that it tasted just fine. :)

This is Jon's new bento box; the hardcover book, while Jon probably did not intend it for this purpose, shows its size pretty well. It was a lot more fun to pack into than a sandwich box, though I do need to get used to it being a little shallower. The decorations are all things I picked up at Michael's: The cheese cutouts were made using mini butterfly and tulip shaped cutters (I need to start keeping some white cheese on hand) and the pirate flag and cupcake paper came as a set.


His & Hers Lunches

I've been making bento lunches for Jon just about every day, but this Wednesday was the first opportunity I had to make one for myself (it seems a little silly to pack one when I'm not going anywhere, after all). I had a lot of fun putting these together, though I put way, way too much time into getting everything perfect, and it would have been better to make the pancakes ahead of time. The apple bunnies took a while, too, though they turned out pretty cute--it was my first time making them, and I really should have practiced earlier.

Jon's is the larger sandwich box on the top, mine is the little blue one from Dollar Tree. (It has a picture of Bob the Builder on the lid, but it's pretty much the perfect size for me, so I just ignore that.)

Jon's lunch: Rolled omelet, baby carrots, mozzarella and grape tomato mini-kabobs, apple bunnies with sliced apple underneath, pancakes with butter (syrup is in the sauce cup), and a couple peppermints left over from Christmas.

My lunch: Rolled omelet with soy sauce and bacon bits (yummy! Jon wants his this way next time), clementine segments with an apple bunny on top, a baby carrot and one mozzarella and tomato mini-kabob, jam and pancake sandwiches, and a peppermint. I ended up hiding a slice of sharp cheddar under the pancakes to keep them from moving around once I put the lid on.

As for why I needed to pack myself a lunch, Jon's mother and I went up to Portland to visit the Container Store and pick up new lunch boxes for Jon and his dad--here's what we decided on. We also stopped in Keizer on the way back, and I got some mini cookie cutters at Michaels that I think will be fun to use for lunches, along with some cute picks and other goodies. (We also visited the World Market store... Jon was very pleased to discover that I'd picked up a big jar of German pickles for him.) Anyway, it was a fun day, and I can't wait to try out the new lunch supplies I seems like there are only going to be a few things I'll end up buying online, so maybe I'll sneak a few snacks into the order as well. (If I could get it more often, I would have a serious addiction to Pie no Mi.)


I made Jon a bento...

but he eated it.

Back before I met Jon I became fascinated with bento lunches, ordered a bunch of extremely cute supplies online, and then decided it was far too much work to make cute lunches just for myself. Now that I have a test subject... er, audience... I once again find myself wanting to experiment. Luckily Jon is a good sport about it (or has been so far--he gets to try my first attempt for lunch tomorrow, so we'll see what he thinks after that). The idea of a tasty, attractive boxed lunch is very appealing to me, and I admit that while I've been making sure my darling husband gets a good breakfast and dinner, I've been leaving him to fend for himself on lunches, which means he either comes home hungry or ends up buying lunch at work. If I can get the hang of this, it'll be a great way to use up leftovers, keep Jon fed, and save us what he would have spent on burritos and sandwiches. Besides, it's a great excuse to look at cute bento accessories online (not that I really need an excuse, of course).

My old bento box is just a little bit small for Jon, so for this Lolcat lunch I just used a basic sandwich-sized container. I used lettuce for dividers since I don't have any plastic ones; I have no idea if Jon's going to eat it, but it looks pretty and keeps things neat. I tried to stick with what I know about proper proportions for this kind of lunch--3 parts rice (leftover), 2 parts fruit and vegetable (cucumber, tomato, and carrot mini-skewers with a layer of red grapes underneath), and 1 part meat (leftover meatloaf). Actually, come to think of it, I'm pretty sure that's supposed to be 2 parts just vegetables, but given how many carrots this guy eats, I'm not going to stress over it. ;) With the lid on, nothing moves around (except a lone, rebellious grape) so I'm feeling pretty good about the whole lunch.

I wasn't planning on decorating it, but once I'd finished, everything but the veggies did look a little plain. I cut a slice of cheese with some vague notion of adding a bit more color, then realized it was roughly cat-shaped and knew just what I was going to do. :) I managed to get the cat shape and all of the letters out of just one slice of cheese (the paws, for instance, are each half of the triangle from between the ears), the cat's eyes are coriander seeds, and the nose is a carob chip. Pressing the nose into the cheese made it crack, but I covered that up by making a few extra cuts to show whiskers--I'll have to be more careful next time. And there will definitely be a next time, I'm already having fun thinking of what I'll make for Jon's lunch on Wednesday!