January 31, 2010

Window shopping

Let's play a rousing round of Things Lisa Wants From Etsy!

This:
Ninjas vs pirates mobile - how awesome is that?!?

This and this:

Mama bird necklace is beyond adorable, and I'm in love with the mug styling.

This, this and these:

Groovy pinwheel bowls would be so happy on my table...and I'm positive my laptop would be happier in that bag...and my feet would be happier in those handpainted shoes.

You know, sometimes I'm glad I live on the other side of the world. Otherwise I'd surely spend half my money on that damn site.

January 29, 2010

Happy Birthday to me!

Well, happy birthday to me for yesterday, anyway (how bad is it that I'm not even on time with my own birthday wishes to myself?). I should have posted this last night, but I was too busy playing with Ben's gift:

People have told me for years that I'd like this game, but I'd never played it until now. I'm not quite sure what to compare it to - Risk or Monopoly or commodities trading? - but it rocks my socks. I think I may have a new obsession!

January 27, 2010

Bacon + brownies = awesome

I've been dying to try making bacon brownies since I first read about them, oh, a year or so ago. Tonight I worked up the courage and actually gave it a shot. I used this recipe from Bacon Today as my starting point, but ended up tweaking it a little here and there, as is my way.

Step 1: First up was a biggish tweak: cooking the bacon. I decided to forgo doing it in a pan on the stove, since I didn't think it would crisp up enough - Australian bacon is significantly thicker than American, so I sent Ben out to the BBQ with a load of the raw stuff and told him to cook it until it was dead. Or something along those lines. I know the recipe says not to cook it until it's crispy, but that's how I like my bacon, m'kay?

Step 2: Grab your brownie mix. Since these were supposed to be for a work event, I doubled the recipe (hence the two boxes).


Anyone from Tuesdays with Dorie who is still reading this blog may now clutch their pearls. Yes, those are BOXES of brownies. No, I didn't learn my lesson about how easy it is to make brownies from scratch. What can I say? I'm a lazy cook. Speaking of TWD, check it out - my logo design is on a pair of boxers. Kinda cool, eh?


Step 3: Mix up the brownie batter, then pour about half of it into a prepared pan:

Step 4: Press a piece of bacon into the brownie mix. Don't be shy - squish it on in there. Then repeat until you've covered all of the brownie.


Step 5: Eat the leftover bacon. Share with your husband if you're feeling generous.

Step 6: Pour the remaining half of the brownie mix over the bacon, and spread it out - you want the bacon totally covered.



Step 7 (optional): Grab some toffee sauce or caramel or what have you and drizzle it over the top. Draw lines through the drizzle if you think it will make it look prettier:

The close up kind of looks like something from Alien, doesn't it?

Step 8: Bake according to directions on the box. Mine recommended 25-30 minutes, but I decided to give it another couple of minutes since the bacon layer seemed to be making it take longer to cook.

Step 9: Admire how pretty your brownies are:


Step 10 (you might want to ignore this one): After letting them cool in the pan for a few minutes, flip the brownies out onto a cooling rack (yeah I know you're not supposed to do this, but it's just how I roll - and as you'll see, karma caught up with me for it).


Step 11: Realize that the brownies are still completely gooey on the bottom, and frantically try to flip them back into the pan so you can shove it back in the oven. Naturally, it will fall apart everywhere. Curse yourself for being a brownie rebel and trying to use a cooling rack. Scream for your husband to come help you, then scream at him to work faster to move pieces into place while your hands are covered in flaming hot chunks of half-baked brownie.


Step 12: Smash the gooey pieces of brownie back together with a spatula, then whack it all back in the oven. Give it another 20 minutes, after which time it will be fully baked (or yours could be done before this - frankly, I really don't know). If it's been disassembled and reassembled like mine, it will go from a pan of brownies that is a thing of beauty to a pan of brownies that looks like it was caught in a tragic farming accident:

Step 13: Eat a piece anyway. Especially if you just found out that you have gestational diabetes (holla!) and this will be the last dessert you'll be eating for the next three months. *sob*

It's a little hard to see where the bacon pieces are, so I've added some arrows for your viewing pleasure.

The Verdict: Not bad! The bacon added a bit of crunch and saltiness (although some of that may have also been from the seared hand skin that I peeled off the top - kidding, I'm KIDDING), but if I didn't know what the additional ingredient was, I'm not sure I'd actually have been able to identify it as bacon unless I pulled out a piece. It was actually quite subtle and tasty, and I'd recommend that you give it a try. Only maybe without the half-baked brownie fondling. Because that hurts like a mofo.

January 26, 2010

Lisa the Australian - Part VII

Today is Australia Day, which means it was also Lisa Takes the Citizenship Pledge Day! So, without further ado, here's a photo montage of yours truly becoming a true blue Aussie:



There I am, in all my windblown, chubby faced glory, preparing to say the oath. Second from the left. Just in case the 6-and-a-half-months-pregnant-with-twins belly didn't give it away.


With just 31 words, 19 of us became Australians today.



Getting my citizenship certificate from the mayor, who thought it was just about the most awesome thing ever that he got a three-in-one deal with moi plus the oz bebbehs.



I know I look kind of dippy...I SWEAR I was happy, but just SO tired. I'm telling you, if these kids don't start letting me get some sleep at night, they'll be grounded from the day they're born. Oh, and do you like my plant? They give you a native tree - or, in my case, shrub - that you're supposed to put in your garden...hopefully my legendary black thumb won't kill it off.


Poor Ben. He no longer has an exotic international wife. Again, I SWEAR I was happy!

 
Proof that, from this day forward, I forever reserve the right to agree enthusiastically with everything on this list.


And so, this is the end of the Lisa the Australian saga. Or is it the beginning? Time to go throw some snags on the barbie and celebrate!

January 24, 2010

Four more things

1. We spent another night in the living room last night. If the heat doesn't break soon, you may find me huddled in the corner, rocking back and forth and sucking on my elbow and with a disturbing eye twitch.

2. I started counting my stretchmarks this morning. I stopped after 12. On just one side. It was getting depressing.

3. Brangelina is over? This just so...so...doesn't impact on my life in any way whatsoever. And yet it's a headliner on news.com.au. Go figure.

4. In two days, I will officially become an Australian when I take the citizenship commitment pledge. Luckily, this doesn't mean I have to start eating Vegemite or the whole deal may have been off. Can I get an Aussie cheer?

January 21, 2010

Restoring sanity

It's about a million degrees, my feet have swollen up like fleshy pillows, none of my clothes fit, a mosquito was biting me all night long, and one of the cats keeps coughing up hairballs that need their own zip code.

But it's all OK, because I have a new haircut.



Ahhhh. Bliss!


P.S. Make these cupcakes. Your life isn't complete without them.
P.P.S. When you make those cupcakes, be sure to add the lemon juice to the batter, not just the zest. I didn't think it would be lemony enough with just the zest, so I chucked in the juice as well - so glad I did!

January 18, 2010

Quilt me

How geeky is it that I really want one of these?

It's a Genome Quilt. Beverly St Clair designed a quilting code that represents DNA bases, so a sequence like this:
GATCGCCCTT
TCCAACAGTT
GCGCAGCCCT

Becomes this:


And so on and so forth until it eventually becomes this:

Do you understand what this means??? I could have A QUILT WITH MY DNA ON IT.

I'm about to die of happiness from the sheer delicious nerdery.

January 16, 2010

Fraidy-cat

Ben is at an overnight LAN today (nerd alert!), and it's rainy and stormy right now - lots of thunder, lightening, the works. It'll probably be like this for the rest of the night, so even though the sun is still up, I just went and turned the hall light on upstairs so that I don't have to walk up there alone into the dark later tonight.

I don't like heading upstairs when it's pitch black and I'm home by myself. The boogieman might get me. Or a vampire. Or an axe-wielding homicidal psycho.

I'm a big ole chicken.

January 15, 2010

Heatwave

A good part of south-east Australia has been under a massive heatwave for the last week. Temperatures in the hundreds, roads melting into tar puddles…you get the idea.

One of the strange things about life in a country as hot and dry as Oz is the lack of ducted air conditioning in houses. This isn’t to say they don’t have A/C - they do, but it’s generally done room by room instead of the entire house, which means that it’s common for some rooms (like the living area) to be air conditioned, but others (like bedrooms and bathrooms) not to be. Since we bought a two story house, this problem is slightly magnified: the downstairs has air conditioning, but the upstairs – where the bedrooms are located, and where all of the heat rises to – is not.

After a few sleepless days of battling the heat in sweat-drenched sheets at night,  I threw in the towel: Ben dragged the mattress from the spare room down to the living room, and we camped out for the next two nights.


He was a bed model in a previous life. Can you tell?

BLISS. Sweet, pure, air conditioned, sanity restoring bliss.

But the day before we made this change, my husband very nearly lost his life.

I came home from work, nearly collapsing with exhaustion. The heat had kept me from doing more than lightly dozing for days on end – and while being hot and sleep deprived is bad enough under normal circumstances, being hot and sleep deprived when you’re heavily pregnant and already perpetually overheated and exhausted is a special kind of torture.

I dragged myself to the couch in the air conditioned living room and finally managed to fall asleep. A few precious hours later, Ben gently touched my arm, whispering, “Lisa…Lisa, wake up.” I blearily opened my eyes and looked into the gently smiling face of the man I love. “Are you awake?” he whispered. I nodded a little, still exhausted. “Oh good,” he continued softly, “...then can you make dinner now?”

The man was lucky to make it out of the living room alive. I don’t think he thought a pregnant lady could move that fast.

January 11, 2010

So a snake goes into a library...

No punchline. We had a snake at work today. About three feet long. Brown. Like so:

Not my picture. Didn't even try for one. [source]

That's an Eastern Brown Snake. It's one of the deadliest venomous snakes in the world, so naturally it lives in Australia. We're not quite sure how it made it into the building, but at around lunchtime there it was, just hanging out around the storeroom.

Gotta love this country.

January 10, 2010

Four things

1. If you're jonesing for biscuits and gravy (like yours truly, mostly because they're not available in Australia), this is the best biscuit recipe I have ever had. Hands down. Holy crap, these suckers are goooooood.

2. Has anyone else read The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters? Not bad, but I really wanted a different ending. Maybe it's just me.

3. I made apple pie from scratch last night, crust and all. I'm inordinately pleased with myself, especially because I did it while wearing a frilly apron (thanks, Myra the Awesome Stepmom!). Recipe: crust here, filling here.

4. This is one of the best shorts I've ever seen. Kind of disturbing, but awesome nonetheless:

January 7, 2010

I just have to say...

...that this guy has way, way too much time on his hands if he spends every morning doing stuff like this to his kid's lunch:


Also, I would like him to come pack my lunch. I feel that a Mr Incredible sandwich would significantly brighten up my workday.

January 3, 2010

I swallowed a beachball

22 weeks, 6 days down.

17 weeks, 1 day to go.

And right about now, I'm feeling like this:

Oh, Venus of Willendorf, you naughty minx, you.

I cackle wildly when I realize that I thought I looked big before...

I can barely put my socks on by myself these days. Plus, what the hell was I thinking when I decided buying a two story house was a good idea?!? Those damn stairs will be the death of me. And I swear to god, if Twin B doesn't stop kicking me in the ribs in the next five seconds, he's going to be grounded the minute he's born.

But on the bright side, we're over halfway there, right? Right.

January 1, 2010

Ringing in the New Year

It's now officially 2010, so this morning I thought to myself, "Self, what better way to ring in the New Year than with a recap of all of the heretofore unposted photos of horrible, dinner-plate sized spiders that you've found in the house in the last three weeks?"

I don't know what the hell is happening lately (maybe the sunny-one-day-rainy-the-next weather is driving the little buggers indoors), but we've had a veritable spider infestation in the last month or so. Well, OK - it was just three, but they were each big enough to count as at least 10 regular spiders in my mind. Oh, and I have to apologize for the poor quality of these photos. When you're dealing with eight-legged freaks the size of hubcaps, you don't pause to get the lighting or focus right.

Arachnid #1

This fine fellow was discovered on the inside of our screen door. I have no idea what kind it is, and frankly, I'm not sure that I WANT to know. If it can kill me in under thirty seconds, please don't tell me. Ignorance is bliss. I can tell you that it was bigger than the handle on the door. And that's never a good thing.

Arachnid #2

Notice the envelope held up for scale. It was right above my bedroom door. I'm convinced it was just waiting for me to walk under so it could drop on my head. I think I may have contributed some new words to the English language when I saw this one.

Arachnid #3

I'm sure you're all terribly disappointed that there isn't a photo to accompany this. It was hanging out in our bedroom above the window, and I'll need you to trust me when I say that it was significantly larger than either of the other two. When I first saw it, I let out a bloodcurdling shriek that brought Ben running from another room. When he realized the fuss was about a spider, he rolled his eyes and told me not to scream like that because he thought there must have been something really wrong. Are you effing kidding me? There WAS something really wrong! There was a spider. In my bedroom. That was bigger than my hand. I could have saddled the goddamn thing and ridden it around our yard. If that's not grounds for screaming, then I don't know what is. Right? Right.

Happy New Year, folks!

P.S. A couple days after Arachnid #3 showed had been disposed of, Ben casually informed me that after he'd flattened it, he'd flushed the thing down the toilet like a goldfish. Great. So now the toilet snakes are being fed. I suppose I'm just lucky that it didn't clog the loo.
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