24 January 2012

Another blog?

Happy Tuesday morning to everyone!  

First, a quick note - a few people yesterday commented that sour milk is gross, icky, etc.  Let me reassure you that it's name may make it sound bad, but I found nothing off in the taste of the pancakes.  It's a perfect substitute when you don't have buttermilk in the fridge, which for me is always.

Now, onto the real reason for today's post.  As you know, I am currently working on my Masters in Library and Information Science.  For one of my courses this quarter, our final project is a young adult literature/resources review blog. I am really excited for this project, as I love YA literature and I am a fan of writing book reviews.

I Claim Them All  will be updated regularly in the coming weeks, and I'm hoping to continue writing reviews on it after the course is finished.

I need to select a genre to focus on for a large chunk of my reviews.  At the moment, I am leaning toward fantasy, as I read a lot of fantasy books when I was younger.  Anyone have any young adult selections in this genre to suggest?

23 January 2012

Sour Milk Blueberry Pancakes

I decided to whip up some pancakes the other morning, but I didn't want to make the usual plain pancakes.  Can you say boring?!  I opted to do a little variation on the plain old buttermilk pancakes recipe that's in Better Homes & Gardens.

Sour Milk Blueberry Pancakes
adapted from Better Homes & Gardens

1 cup white flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 tbs granulated sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 1/2 cups sour milk* or buttermilk
3 tbs melted butter (you can sub oil, but I love me some butter.  Paula Deen and I will soon have diabetes in common)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2-3/4 cup fruit

In a large bowl stir together flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, & salt.  In another bowl use fork to combine egg, milk, butter, & vanilla.  Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture.  Stir in fruit.  Stir just until moistened (batter should be slightly lumpy).

For each pancake, pour 1/4 cup batter onto a hot, slightly greased griddle.  Cook over medium heat until pancakes are golden brown, turning to second side when pancakes are bubbly & edges are slightly dry.

Serve warm with whatever toppings make your heart sing.  For my husband, that means (homemade) whipped cream and maple syrup!  If you've never eaten homemade whipped cream, you're missing out.  It's 1000x better than store bought.

*MAKING SOUR MILK: For each 1 cup of sour milk, place 1 tbs of lemon juice or vinegar in a glass measuring cup.  Add enough milk to make 1 cup total liquid; stir.  Let it stand for 5 minutes before using.

19 January 2012

Haaave You Met Stella?

I received a thoughtful and gorgeous gift for Christmas this year made by my loving husband.  Let me introduce you to my girl, Stella.  Tyson built her and I stained her.  It was a family affair.

She's half the size of her big sister, which is housing the majority of our books in the guest room, and fits perfectly next to our tv in the living room.  I also now have an area to display all of the sparkly crystal and glassware we received for our wedding.

Celtic glassware.  Gotta show a little Irish pride!

Say it with me, "Ohhh pretty!"

Just a few shots of my pretties that are now proudly on display.  I may sound crazy but I find myself looking at the bookcase more than the tv when I'm watching a show.  She's just so pretty and really makes the room feel closer to complete.

On top of my Stella is our happy toad that Tyson just couldn't say no to when we went to gallery night downtown a couple months ago.

He's such a happy little guy.  One look at his face and you can see why Tyson couldn't pass him up.

So there she is.  Stella and all of her pretties.

18 January 2012

Words on Wednesday: Little Red Notebook

When I was studying for the GREs, I knew that the vocabulary section was going to slowly and painfully nibble at my soul.  Unfortunately, I didn't account for this when I scheduled the exam and opted to take it less than 24 hours before my Latin final.  Poor planning, I know.  Latin is a very useful language to know (one of my resolutions is to pick it back up this year), but attempting to cram Latin, GRE vocab, and GRE math into my brain during the same time period turned out to be rough.

To help keep my GRE vocabulary separate from the vocabulary of the Ancient Romans, I began writing every word from my study guide into a little red notebook.  I included words that I had no idea what they meant, words I had heard before, but was unsure of the exact definition, and words that I knew, but wanted to solidify in my head.

Terrariums over a month after the replant are going strong!

After I took the GREs, I decided we had gotten too close for me to just dump the LRN.  So, for the last couple of years (I can't put a number on it or I'll cry at how long ago college was), I have continued to write down words I come across that stump or intrigue me.  Hit the jump for this week's WoW!

11 January 2012

Words on Wednesday: Noisy birds

And we're back!  This week, I've selected a Word on Wednesday that has been popping around my head for the last few days:

cacophony, noun

        1.harsh or discordant sound: DISSONANCE
        2. harshness in the sound of words or phrases

This week's definition comes from my tenth edition Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary.

I'm not entirely sure why this word has been in my head lately, but I do have to give it credit for sounding like its meaning.  The hard /k/ sounds that start out this word immediately grind the ears, just like discordant sounds or noises would.  It reminds me a little of a crow - caKAW!  Honestly, who likes crows?

Source: Ebird.org
Continuing on this crow train, it always amazes me how intelligent crows and their cousins, ravens, are.  And then I think they're going to rise up in some crazy Hitchcock-to-real-life bird revolution.  And then I don't go outdoors for a few days.

Check out the differences between crows and ravens at Ebird.org.

08 January 2012

Shark Bait - Oo Ha Ha

I have a few fears, okay, maybe many fears, but one of my biggest is open water and sharks eating me.  I think they are beautiful, powerful creatures, and love to catch a shark show on Discovery (Oh, hey, Shark Week), but I am terrified of one taking a bite out of me when I am in the ocean.

I remember watching Jaws about 600 times when I was younger and thinking to myself, "Oh, Hell no.  Every shark is a giant killer that just wants to rip me from my happy, yellow raft and eat my dog."  Thanks, Mom and Dad, for letting your impressionable child watch that pants-wettingly scary movie over and over and over.

Things I wish I had known when I was 10...
Anyone seen the clip from Planet Earth where that Great White flies about 40 feet out of the water, snatching an innocent seal in his enormous jaws?  No?  Well, here ya go:

Pee your pants a little bit?  Yeah, so did I.  Moving on....

Now that you know this fear of mine, I must admit my quiet obsession with shark teeth.  I bought myself a shark tooth necklace at the Baltimore Aquarium 4 years ago and wear it when the mood for extra shark power strikes.  This past weekend, my husband and I went to the GULFARIUM where I made a point of buying a shark tooth woven into a pretty blue bracelet.  I even made the two very hungry Marines wait an extra 5 minutes for me to get this bracelet.  If you know anything about hungry Marines, then you know I was putting my life at risk.

I totally wanted to dolphin-nap this big guy.
Unfortunately, my excitement to hug maul my husband for no reason yesterday afternoon led to my precious shark tooth snapping in half.  I don't know my own strength...and I didn't know I could weep so strongly over an inanimate object.  Kidding...sort of.

Now that my bracelet is gone, I've gone on a hunt to find shark tooth jewelry that might last more than 18 hours.  Check out some of my favorites:

Source: Etsy
This bracelet would be a much sturdier and cooler replacement for the one at the bottom of my trash can.

Source: Sears
There are tons of simple pendant shark tooth necklaces out there, ranging from real teeth to metal copies.  This sterling silver pendant was one of my favorites.

Source: UsTrendy
I'm definitely not hip enough to wear this bolo style necklace, but that doesn't mean I can't like it.

What are your thoughts on shark teeth?  Does wearing one make you feel imbued with the power of the great shark?  Or would you rather keep the dangerous beasts as far from you as possible?

04 January 2012

Writing Resolutions

Happy 2012, everyone!  I apologize for going MIA the last 2 weeks.  My husband and I traveled North to visit my family for Christmas, then we popped over to Louisiana to see his side of the family to celebrate the New Year.  A lot of family and a lot of traveling make for one tired Mo, so I don't have a post for this week's WoW, but I promise WoW will be back next week.

As a majority of people do in January, I have created a short list of resolutions for the new year with an emphasis on my writing.  Maybe not this year, but one day I want to say that I have started and completed a story that is all my own.  Yepp, you can lump me in with all the other author dreamers because I want to write a novel.

1.  Write for 30 minutes every day.  (not blog related)
2.  Blog at least twice a week.
3.  Learn Latin.  I took one semester in college and I have hauled the textbook around with me since I graduated (that would be through 3 moves), so I should finally put it to use!
4.  Write a handwritten note to someone (family or friend) once a month.  I recently watched the BBC miniseries of Pride and Prejudice (fantastic version), and was reminded of how beautiful the art of letter writing is.  My hope is that I'll enjoy doing this so much that I will end up sending more than one out each month by the time 2013 rolls around.
5.  Read one book a month for pleasure that is not related to school.

There it is.  A short list, but I'd rather not over commit and fall short.  Learning Latin will be a bit rough, but I'm hoping that semester will come flooding back to me once I begin.   (I tried to teach myself French in 2010, and that went nowhere.  If Latin in 2012 goes well, maybe I'll retry French in 2013!) 

Keep me honest, blog readers, and whenever you see me, ask how I'm doing with these.  I'll also write update posts to help keep myself on track.  Bring it on, 2012!

I'll be back later this week to show off my favorite Christmas gifts and gush about my extremely thoughtful husband.