WW – Downtown Indianapolis

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From our recent trip to Gen Con. Downtown Indianapolis is beautiful.

Gen Con Debriefing

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We have been home for a few days from Gen Con and still have yet to recover. Very little is unpacked, and we go back to work Monday. Boo hiss!! But we had a GREAT time! Those four days weren’t nearly long enough, and Hermoine’s time turner would have been a huge help to make it to some events. I have a few blog posts in mind that I hope to have written within the next week. There was so much inspiration at Gen Con that I think I have enough project and ideas to keep me busy until July(Gen Con 2015!).

I think we are finally recovering from all the travel so I hope to get to my post Gen Con blogging within a day or so.

Gen Con Bound!

Well..almost. Only one more week until we head out for Gen Con. We have a few stops along the way but we will start our trek Saturday. I can’t believe it is finally here. We bought our tickets back in January and I have been planning for months for this. So why is it that I feel so unprepared?

Packing for a convention is different than just packing for vacation. We will arrive early at the convention center and leave rather late. So there will be no running back to the hotel since it is too far away. Whatever we might need, we will have to take with us. I have been gathering travel sizes of everything: deodorant, shampoo, body wash. Some of these items we will be taking with us to the convention center since I know the venue will be full of people, and it is bound to be warm at least part of the day. Feeling fresh is a great energizer since there are a lot of board games to play, there will be little time for sleep.

This is our first year, and our 8-year-old is coming with us. She will need some entertainment for the long days. There are many kids events that she will be doing. During the down time, we hope to visit the dealer’s room a lot as well as the spouses’ craft room.

I will share my Gen Con planning this week, and then after Gen Con I will have a lessons learned post as a follow up. Right now even though I feel unprepared, I think it is just nerves. Gen Con is almost here, and I have to trust that the month’s of prep work are going to be enough.

Trash Can Bags

Scenario: It’s hour three of operation Clean House. Your last task is the garbage. The end is in sight. You pack down the trash into the bag, remove it from the can, and then spend the next ten minutes looking for the trash bags.

Don’t let this happen to you!

Here is a simple tip that I picked up watching the cleaning crew at one of my former jobs. When you empty a garbage can, before lining it with a new trash bag, place a few bags in the bottom of the can. Next time you empty the trash, there is a new trash bag waiting right there. After a cleaning marathon, it’s nice to find a little nice gesture you have done for yourself that will get you finished with housework just a little faster.

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Look! Garbage cans! and so convenient.

Fresh Bread

To me there is nothing better than homemade bread. I do have a bread maker that I haven’t used in years but that’s beside the point. When I have used it, that warm, soft bread was the best I have ever eaten. Maybe it is because I know just how good fresh bread can be that I always want to buy the freshest loaf.

I have read the tips about the color coded bread ties. Bakeries make the bread and then use a colored bread tie that marks the day of the week the bread was made. The problem with this system is bakeries have their own system. One bakery may use green ties for Friday’s bread while another bakery uses green ties for bread made on Monday.

It was fun to catch stockers putting fresh bread out because then I could start piecing together the color coded puzzle together. After a while, it became quite tedious and unreliable as bread that should have been fresh just didn’t seem that fresh.

Last week when I bought bread, there was something different and exciting about the packaging. On the top in easy to read lettering were the words “best if used by” followed by a date. Now I need no longer worry about bread tie colors; I just need to check the date on the bread. As I had long suspected, the bottom row had the fresher bread. One row had a best used date of May 9th while the bottom row was May 13th.

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I felt really good about procuring the freshest loaf possible but was disappointed when I actually opened the loaf. The bread was not as fresh as I had expected. Now I am at a loss as to how to get a really fresh loaf of bread. There is always that bread maker…

The Orange Peeler

At work I saw a blast from the past – an orange peeler. My first thought was someone went to a Tupperware Party and all they got was this lousy orange peeler.I have about four. I can’t help it. I love Tupperware parties. My next thought was that the orange peeler really hasn’t changed design. Thanks to Amazon, I now know there is more than one type of orange peeler. I am talking about the pencil-sized one with a protruding end. I guess if something works, or if something is given away as a party favor, then there is no need to change it.

When I grab an orange, I also grab a paper towel not the orange peeler. My experience with orange peelers is that they work ok if you can break the zest with it. I always have difficulty with this step. This maybe the reason the orange peelers just sit in the kitchen drawer.

Tupperware may be offering up the same orange peeler year after year, but there are others on the market. I haven’t tried this orange peeler but it looks interesting. You put it on your finger and use the sharp part to break the zest and then use the smooth, flat surface to remove it. The reviews seem fairly positive.

The one advantage to using an orange peeler is not staining my fingernails from the juice. That only lasts until I wash my hands again so I guess I really don’t need yet another orange peeler even if it looks way more promising than the four I already own.

Air Filters

Having an upstairs is great most of the time. It isn’t great when you get up the stairs and then remember you left something downstairs. But for the most part we enjoy having an upstairs. The house has two air conditioners – so that means two air filters to change every month. Well, there is also a third air filter upstairs that is much smaller – so that is three air filters to change monthly especially in the summer months.

We have been lax about changing them every month this winter. In fact, it has probably been three months since we changed them last. So here is a picture of the three air filters after three months.

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The large one in front (behind the small filter) is the one from downstairs. The other is from upstairs. To me it is very telling. The upstairs one is very dirty compared to the one downstairs. We have used the upstairs unit a lot more than downstairs as the downstairs has a lot of winders. It is very hard to heat anyway.

When you have more than one air filter, buying in bulk just makes sense. It’s nice to know when it is time to change the air filters, we already have them. It’s the little things like have air filters on hand that can relieve the stress of taking care of a home.

Monkey Bread

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Monkey bread is a guilty pleasure. I love it but can’t make it that often because I will eat it all by myself. Monkey bread is super easy to make. I had found a simple recipe on Pinterest and ofcourse I didn’t save it. But monkey bread is so easy, who needs a recipe, right? If you do, then Google can probably find a one or 1,000.

The recipe I used called for 2 cans of biscuits. Knowing my problem with self control, I used only one can – a five biscuit can at that. Since I used less than the recipe suggested, I just used less of the other ingredients, too.

First you cut the biscuits into quarters. Then combine sugar and cinnamon into a Ziploc bag. For every 1/4 cup of sugar, add a little over 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon(or more if you really, really like cinnamon). Place the quartered pieces and shake until they are coated then place then in a bundt cake pan. I usually spray the bundt cake pan with Pam or some other non-stick spray.

To make the glaze, you will need brown sugar and butter. If you are making the monkey bread with two cans of biscuits, use a cup of brown sugar, use a stick of butter. You can half or quarter this if you are using less biscuits. Microwave it for about 30 seconds then pour over the biscuits.

Next cook in the oven on 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. If you have an electric oven and it cooks crazy fast (like mine) check it after about ten minutes. Then eat it while it is hot because that is when it is most delicious. Plus the more you eat now, the less tempted you will be to eat it later. So what if you are eating the same amount. If you eat it all at once – especially in the morning – then you have all day to burn it off. Right? Well it sounds good at least.

Hmmm..now I want monkey bread. I knew it was a bad idea to write about food.

Brown Grass

Winter has come and gone but remnants of it still remain like on our front lawn. The grass is still brown unlike the neighbor’s lush green. *sigh*

brown_grass

Part of the problem is the we haven’t been watering as we should. Last time we used the timed sprinkler system, it didn’t shut off. So we have been hand watering and haven’t done much of that. Plus there are a ton of leaves that need to be raked and as much as I hate to do it, it has to be done for the sake of the lawn.

Anyway I am hoping some TLC is enough to bring the lawn back. From what I’ve read, some water and a little attention should be enough. Then when it isn’t brown anymore, I may try a little fertilizer and some grass seeds to help fill in the bare spots. The back yard doesn’t look nearly as brown.

In a week I will post another picture to see if the TLC is really helping or hindering.

Electronics Swap

I love technology and electronics. But I am at a point where I have an iPad, an Android tablet, a Kindle Paperwhite, and an iPhone. So when it comes to mobile technology, I am all set. When a new tablet hits the market, I can’t help but to want it.

Right now all of our electronics work fine and support the latest technology. So there is really no reason to upgrade especially since we are saving money for Gen Con later this year. My husband did buy a Kindle Fire HDX a few months back, and I have to admit that I was envious. I do have the first generation Kindle Fire and loved it even though its flaws drove me crazy.

Lately my husband has been using my Android tablet more. Today I proposed that we swap electronics for a while or permanently. He agreed so now I get to play with the latest Fire and he gets to use an Android tablet he enjoys.

That is the beauty of living with someone who loves tech as much as you. You can swap electronics when you want to try something new.