Monthly Archives: January 2013

Guacamole and Growing an Avocado Plant from Seed

We just made some great guacamole from a very simple recipe. I chose the easiest recipe that I could find online because I needed to throw it together very quickly. At first I was a bit leery of trying this because it calls for garlic powder and salsa instead of the traditional, whole ingredients. That being said, it was done and on the table in a few short minutes and everyone was happy with the results. Even my just-turned-two-year-old liked it. Another nice thing about this recipe is that it is easily adaptable to any number of avocados that you may have on hand, so you can make it with as little as one avocado.

Most importantly, we saved the seeds in order to attempt to grow our own avocado houseplants. We found information on how to grow and care for an avocado plant on the California Avocado Commission (CAC) website. A glass of filtered water and three toothpicks later and our seeds were prepped and ready to grow. Now all there is to do is sit back and wait. Let’s hope these babies sprout!

Avocado seed

Robot Part Roundup #3

Robot

Today we have an old toy toaster and a broken kiddie cup. The toaster is solid upper body material, while the cup lid looks like it may make a good helmet. The kitty is already wary of this whole situation, which, on a side note, reminds me of a fun game that we play on the iPad called Robot Wants Kitty.

Robot Roundup 3

Previously:

Robot Part Roundup #2

Robot Part Roundup #1

The Conjoined Bananas

Conjoined bananas

While gathering materials for my previous post, my kids and I made a really important discovery: conjoined bananas. We had been going through all the bananas at the supermarket trying to find just the right ones for our tattoos.  A nearby employee was stocking fruit, and I couldn’t help but notice that he looked like he was having a miserable day. The sight of my daughter and I rifling through the neatly stocked bananas clearly irritated him further, so I made an effort to stay out of his way.

When we discovered the conjoined bananas, the disgruntled employee overheard our oooh’s and ahhh’s and came right over to see what all the fuss was about. He immediately perked right up. Like us, he’d never seen a such a thing in real life before. Surprising, actually, since he works around fruit all day.

We were pondering whether it would be two separate bananas on the inside, when he said, “Maybe we should open it up to find out,” to which I responded, “Yeah, man, go for it dude!” It wasn’t. It looked pretty much the same on the inside, which didn’t really matter because it was just so just exciting to see him open that sucker. Once peeled, he didn’t know what to do with it, so he offered it to us for free, and my banana-loving son happily ate it all before we were out of the produce section.

The employee ended up being a real nice guy, and I’m glad I was there for what was surely the highlight of his shift. After that, we didn’t have much else to say to each other, so my kids and I went on our way. It was an interesting and memorable interaction between a few strangers in a grocery store, momentarily brought together by a freak piece of fruit.

Tattoo a Banana: A Butterfly, Curious George, and C3PO

I found this Tattoo a Banana video by multimedia artist Phil Hansen, and I couldn’t wait to try it out. All you really need to do this is a banana, a thumb tack, and some imagination. My daughter did some ABC’s and stars on a large banana and also chose to tattoo a butterfly on a cute little baby banana.

Butterfly Tattoo 1 Butterfly Tattoo 1 I waited until the kids were in bed to start on my C3PO banana tattoo. That way I could work uninterrupted. I made the mistake of trying to work on the backside of the banana, which meant I had to constantly turn it and also hold it steady for an eternity with my left hand. As I should have guessed, my hand started cramping up after a short while. Then my phone (which I was using as my time-lapse camera) began ringing, so I conveniently took this as I sign to bail on C3PO and start fresh.C3PO Banana Tattoo

For my second attempt, I made sure to lay the banana down flat on its side and I picked something  less complicated: Curious George peeling a banana with a tattoo of himself holding a banana, and on that banana….uh, you get the idea.

Curious George Tat

Here’s the time-lapse video:

This is the first of many projects in Phil Hansen’s book, Tattoo a Banana: And Other Ways to Turn Anything and Everything Into Art. It sounds awesome and you can bet that I’ll be picking up a copy!

Knits for Nerds: Mission Accomplished

Finished Dr. Who Scarf

The Doctor Who scarf project from Knits for Nerds is finished! Seven hundred and seventy-four rows of knitting later!

Scarf chart

It is roughly ten feet, or, a four-year old girl, plus a two-year old boy, plus a medium-sized beagle/boxer doggy long.

Scarf Length

It feels great to have finished this project, and I’m so glad that I tackled it, even though It was pretty a serious project for a first-time knitter. Now I have a new skill in my arsenal, not to mention a very warm neck, or even a makeshift rope in case of an emergency. While I don’t have any other knitting projects on the horizon, I’m certain that I will knit something else at some point in the future. In the meantime, I have the rest of winter to wear my handmade Doctor Who scarf as a badge of pride.

Scarf roll

Previously:

Knits for Nerds: Update #3

Knits for Nerds: Update #2

Knits for Nerds: Update #1

Knits for Nerds: The Prequel

Farewell, Sweet Tooth!

The final issue of Sweet Tooth, by Jeff Lemire, hits the store shelves today. Sweet Tooth became my favorite monthly comic since I started getting back into them again as an adult over the last year or so. Last October I attended my very first convention, the New York Comic Con (NYCC), and there I had the opportunity to meet Mr. Lemire and get his autograph on my mighty wallet! I had previously promised to post a picture, so here it is. Isn’t he cute?

Sweet Tooth Wallet

Between Halloween and Thanksgiving, when I had heard that the Sweet Tooth adventure would be wrapping up, I fashioned some fan art from leftover Halloween candy as a small tribute. The kids loved it, of course, because they got to eat him. Here it is again.

Candy Sweet Tooth

Click here to read more on my Sweet Tooth candy art. The next project on the horizon for Lemire is a sci-fi love story called Trillium, which looks and sounds awesome. I’m excited to be on board from issue number one for a change, since I’ve been late to the game for a bunch of other great comics. In the meantime, I plan to catch up on Lemire’s collected Essex County comics, which I received as a Christmas present this year.

Farewell, Sweet Tooth! It’s been a great ride!

DIY Look and Find Tube

Look and Find Tube

I keep a supply of nuts and a container of Sunsweet Ones (individually wrapped prunes) on my desk for grazing throughout the day. I know how this sounds, and to give you a balanced picture, let it also be known that I have been on a quest for the perfect hot dog and hamburger for quite a few years now. I like to balance working out with pigging out.

Anyway, I recently finished off the last prune and found myself staring at the empty canister, wondering what I could use it for. It had definite potential to be repurposed for something else… Robot part? Shaker? Drumstick holder? All viable uses. What about a look and find tube? Bingo! It would make a perfect look and find tube! Really, you can use any plastic container that you wish, such  as a soda bottle.

I consulted with my wife about dying rice for the filler, sine she had recently died pasta for another project. I used her technique and it worked out great.

The tube held two cups of rice with a little room to spare, so I divided that into five ziploc bags, adding about a teaspoon of rubbing alcohol and about four drops of food coloring to each bag. Then I let my daughter shake them to her heart’s content. We spread out the rice on a foil lined pan and  left it out to dry while we played outside in the snow.

Died Rice

Later that day, I looked around for tiny items to hide in te tube. I thought about putting little miniature people and animals in it, but I didn’t want to have run out and purchase anything since I had already made everything else from what was readily available. My list of found treasures is below. I mixed them with the rice and dumped it all into the tube, using super-glued to seal it. I’d also recommend some packing tape on the lid. This is one toy we do not want to break in the car!

  • Saxophone lapel pin
  • Pink Pez
  • Blue M&M
  • Brown M&M
  • Mini green M&M
  • Flintstone vitamin
  • Chalk
  • Pistachio
  • Cocoa dusted almond
  • Broken red crayon
  • Goldfish cracker
  • Red bead
  • Pair of googly eyes
  • Pencil eraser
  • Black pen cap
  • Red paperclip
  • Washer
  • Drywall screw
  • Penny
  • Nickel
  • Dime
  • Match stick
  • Yellow paperclip
  • Hair clip
  • Large nut
  • Small nut
  • Dog treat
  • Pushpin
  • Pen spring
  • Tiny yellow hair band
  • Blue gem
  • Toothpick

When my kids get board of finding item from this lists I’ll cut open the container, throw in some different tiny treasures, and seal it back up in a new container. You can also take a picture of all the items so your  kids can know exactly what they are searching for (I wish I would have thought of the BEFORE I sealed the lid).

Here Fishy Fishy

E.T. Is Back!

E.T.

E.T. was spotted by my family outside of a Sweet Frog frozen yogurt, in the back seat of a Subaru Outback.  It made for some lively family discussion:

“WHAT THE!?” -Mommy

“The windows are up. He’s all alone. Should we call Alien Protective Services?”  -Daddy

“Mommy, why can’t E.T. have ice cream, too?” -Daughter

“I bet there is an app for phoning home.” –Daddy 

“I’m glad to see that he is buckled in, at least.” -Mommy

“Is this foreshadowing of a reboot?” -Daddy 

Points and stares but is rendered speechless. -Son

We’ll never know the full story. In any case, it made our day!