The Ladybug Chronicles, (Matt Got A Job!)

I’m so proud of my son-in-law, because he did the work and got himself a job! He is now a paid intern for a engineering company, and he did it rather easily. He took care of business and is doing the business of taking care of his wife. Wow, what a proud mama I am now. It’s so nice to know they did things in a good order, first they finished their trade at job corps, and now finishing Jr. college and then starting state college, and working and looking for work, and then hopefully starting a family. I’m a huge fan of godly order.

1 Corinthians 14:40 ~ And do everything in a decent and orderly manner. ~ NET Bible

Being the mother of an adult child, who has taken mature steps in being a grown up with her husband makes me feel so comforted. Living at job corps for the past 2 years has helped them get situated and now they can leave campus and begin to really start living like a married couple, taking care of each other. I’m so excited about this new chapter for them, so many new things happening for these young people, makes my heart glad.

Romans 15:13 ~ But The God of hope shall fill you with all joy and peace by faith, that you shall super abound in his hope by the power of The Spirit of Holiness. ~ NET Bible

white ladybug sign

WPC: McDonald’s Wallpaper & Floating Roses

McDonald's wallpaper.
McDonald’s wallpaper.

Trying to take pics of depth conjures up many things in my mind, and from the examples of other blogs I’ve really got nothing substantial here to work with. Although, it’s the trying I guess that counts, at least that’s what I’m telling myself right now…

Thai restaurant floating roses.
Thai restaurant floating roses.

Coconut Rice and Black Eyed Peas

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 cup basmati rice or brown rice
1/4 cup white wine
1 cup vegetable stock or chicken stock
3/4 cup coconut milk
1 can black eyed peas or a half a pound of peas from scratch
2 tablespoons freshly minced cilantro leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Directions

In a medium saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. Once hot add the minced garlic and the chili flakes, saute until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat. Add the white wine and stir. Add the vegetable or chicken stock and the coconut milk. Give the rice a good stir and bring to a gentle boil. Once the rice just begins to boil, lower the heat and allow to simmer for about 20 minutes, (45 minutes if using brown rice) until the rice is cooked and all the liquid has evaporated. Fluff with a fork and stir in the black eyed peas and the cilantro. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Recipe courtesy Guy Fieri, 2008

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/coconut-rice-and-peas-recipe0.html?oc=linkback

Put Down That Mouse and Pick Up That Book!!!

My first New Year's resolution book/image; rainbowresource.com
My first New Year’s resolution book/image: rainbowresource.com

I was listening to a sermon the other day, and the pastor said, My father was an avid book reader and always had something interesting to talk about to his children and grand children,” and I decided this is something I should start doing with no looking back. I want to have something interesting to talk to my future grand children about, and the only way to make this happen is to do more reading. Why? Because non readers, only tell the same stories over an over again, and drive their relatives crazy repeating, washed up, boring repetitive stories, they forget they already told you because of their dementia. So, if I open my mind I will have something new to say in my old age. Since I caregive for someone who doesn’t read and should have read when they were younger, I now see why reading is truly important.

Also, because I’m turning 50 years old in a little over a week, I need to get started, being from the era of the television and not being encouraged to read more as a youth. Which I regret, but I’m going to change all that now and by golly, I’ve started already. So the first book I started reading last year that I’ve just picked up again to finish is, Hinds’ Feet on High Places, by Hannah Hurnard, this book is an allegory. I will probably review it as well but not sure if I will on my blog yet, I haven’t decided. I’m also simultaneously reading a daily devotional by my old pastor, John MacArthur, called, Daily Readings from the Life of Christ, volume 2.

Simultaneous reading/image: amazon.com
Simultaneous reading./image: amazon.com

This is a heavy undertaking but I’m going to do it. For my future grand kids sanity.

Big Eyes*

big-eyes-5
A. Adams as Margaret, and C. Waltz as Walter/image: variety.com

 Amy Adams is a very gifted actor with lots of little nuances about her technique which keeps her acting fresh. She can keep the audience invested even if the role she’s playing is somewhat weak, withdrawn, non confrontational, and lacks confidence. And in this movie she articulates this beautifully. She’s hesitant, restrained, and yet, somehow in your face all at the same time and makes this role Oscar worthy. It’s interesting when an actor can pull all this off, while convincing you she’s not acting. 

The Premise…

Margaret Keane's work/image: writtenignition.com
Margaret Keane’s work/image: writtenignition.com

Centered on Margaret, Adams, a young woman with a daughter that she takes with her, leaves her first husband in the early 50’s something that wasn’t very popular or looked very highly on if the woman was the was the one leaving. So in desperation she moves to San Francisco near her single girlfriend, DeeAnn, Krysten Ritter, for moral support. There she meets a man, Walter Keane, Christoph Waltz who is very chipper and a fast talking fellow artist. And as she seeks to reinvent herself they become fast friends and she begins to gain confidence to pursue her painting talents, by his urging. Then Walter asks her to marry him and begins selling her work, as he tries to sell his own, but the problem is he’s a fly in the ointment and not after her best interests but his own.

With the ubiquitous chauvinistic 50’s women felt pressure to have a man define them. And it’s intriguing to note how wolves know a sheep when they see one and pounce on it, and in this scenario, Margaret is the sheep and her future husband is the wolf. Which is a sad commentary on the 50’s since women were even more burdened down when they were a divorc­ée. So with that the story took off from there.

The Sum Up…

The real Margaret Keane now/image: usatoday.com
The real Margaret Keane now with Amy Adams to the right/image: usatoday.com

It was refreshing knowing that Tim Burton directed this movie and Johnny Depp wasn’t in it. It was unusual to not see special effects and eclectic costumes, which made you forget you were watching a Burton film, and I appreciated his restraint and maturity in his directing style. Keane, Waltz, was somewhat convincing as the fast talking, con man. But this movie was all Adams, she played this role in such a way that all you could think of was, less is definitely more. So my score for this film is, B ~ NOTE WORTHY, see either in theaters or on DVD but see it. The reason I didn’t give it an A is because, Waltz was too over the top and he seemed like he was acting and Tim should have used a different actor to play the single girlfriend, DeeAnn, Ritter was terrible, and thank goodness her scenes where short and few. No Safety Alerts here, but this movie is not for kids under 12. With good directing, and decent writing it’s a go see. This movie is rated PG13.

Exodus: Gods and Kings

exodus-gods-and-kings-movie-poster-9
The chase scene/image: apnatimepass.com

The last few movies I’ve seen, like Birdman, and Horrible Bosses 2, seemed like such a chore to review, because of the silliness of the movies, so I didn’t. Unlike this movie which was a chore because it was so bad. With its huge budget, spectacular costumes, and special effects, and my too high of expectations, the movie gave very little for the $5 I spent to see it and thankfully this is all I spent.

The Premise…

Since most know the story of Moses, Christian Bale, and his humble beginning, this film picks up at the pinnacle of the story, where we see Moses as a very successful second to the newly reigning king of Egypt, Ramesses 2, Joel Edgerton. Since Ramesses is a hardened prideful Egyptian man, he’s easily influenced by and trusts Moses’ loyalty completely, as Moses on the other hand, is fast becoming a man of God and is finding he loves the people of God more and is disdainfully aware that his allegiance lies with those enslaved by Pharaoh. So as he becomes more of an ally to the Jews, he escapes Pharaoh and is the catalyst to freeing the Jews and leading them out of Egypt.

The base story was all there and should have been strong enough to make for a good movie but unfortunately nothing could help this movie. Not the actors, with the lackluster hodge podge of a cast, some British, some Australian and some American, but all wrong. It made a big hot mess, even the messenger of God a young boy, Isaac Andrews, who was a good actor, just seemed mean and angry.

The Sum Up…

An uninspired 2½ hour messy mess. There however were some moments of brilliance, the breathtaking cinematography and beautiful horses. The horses acting was exceptional and more interesting to watch. As were all the scenes with Ramesses, riding in his chariot. I will say the most interesting actor to watch was Edgarton, but the writing was really bad, and I’m getting a bit bored with Bale, he’s starting to play the same guy in every role. So my film score is, D ~ DON’T EVEN BOTHER, not worth the time and effort to even put the DVD in the player; or click to stream on your desktop, laptop, tablet, or smart phone!! This movie is rated PG13

Black Mirror, Netflix Original

Black Mirror
T. Kebbell as Liam in The Entire History of You, series 1 episode 3/image: vulturehound.co.uk

Black Mirror a British TV series I stumbled upon on Netflix. Something I kept seeing pictured and finally decided to give a try, as I’ve also in the past enjoyed watching the actor Toby Kebbell pictured above. I also like the synopsis because it had the words sci-fi, and The Twilight Zone, in the description, two-word phrases that could make any TV watching experience more clever, and interesting. Also, in my opinion, since British acting, and writing is some of the very best, I thought, “yep this series could be worth my time.” And it was!!!

The Premise…

With its six episodes, three in 2011 and three in 2013, the show does have a Twilight Zone vibe to it, minus the narrator. The stories are futuristic and focus on social media and how it could affect us in our interaction with one another. It takes some clever liberties with what might be our lot in the future and shows us some cautionary scenarios that could be terrifying in a “what if,” kind of way, and shows how important it is to pause, and think about how far we could take this whole social media thing and how easily it could stunt our lives.

black mirror 3
Liam in Black Mirror/image: spin.com

For instance, in series 1 episode 3, The Entire History of You, we see how having a memory chip installed in our brain, can make it very difficult to get away with lying to each other. Especially since the chip allows you to download, rewind, fast forward, and re-watch your memories. Memories of what just happened a few moments before or a very long time ago, on a screen which pulls up in any square frame so anyone can view with you with your permission, or if looking at memories inside your head on your own, you don’t need a screen your eyes just go cloudy. The device is something a parent can have installed in the child as a baby and something you can only opt out of with surgery. Which can cause you to be treated like an outcast because you don’t have the chip, not to mention it’s a painful difficult surgery to remove.

The Sum Up…

With cleverly themed episodes, the series really had legs, using very familiar British faces, and great writing, and directing, you are kind of bummed when you’ve watched all the episodes, wanting to see more. The creator Charlie Booker has his stamp on each episode reminiscent of Rod Sterling, and shows us how easily this fast social media blitz can get out of hand. This show also has, a huge SAFETY ALERT warning, because as I’ve mentioned in other posts, British TV doesn’t have the same parental advisories as American TV, so their’s a lot of language, sexual content, and adult themes being exposed here! Which means, take heed parents when letting your children watch Netflix! I give this show a score of A for creative TV writing, acting, and directing, this show is not rated.

Gluten Free Real~Deal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Author: Danielle Walker ~ AgainstAllGrain.com
SERVES: 1 dozen

Ingredients:

¼ cup palm shortening, ghee, or grass-fed butter
¼ cup coconut palm sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1 large egg, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
1½ cups blanched almond flour
2 tablespoons coconut flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ cup dark chocolate pieces (just chop up a dark chocolate bar)
¼ cup Enjoy Life chocolate chips (optional)


Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. In a food processor, cream the palm shortening, coconut sugar, honey, egg, and vanilla for about 15 seconds until smooth and fluffy.
  3. Add the almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda and sea salt and mix again until combined, about 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl if needed in order to incorporate all of the flour. Pulse once or twice more.
  4. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand.
  5. Place golf-ball sized balls of dough on a cookie sheet lined with parchment or a SilPat. Using another sheet of parchment on top of the dough, flatten them slightly with the palm or your hand or a spatula. The cookies don’t spread much so create the size and thickness you want prior to baking them.
  6. Bake for 9-12 minutes, until slightly golden around the edges.

WPC: A Summer Sky and A Tree Converge

I took this pic with my camera phone in late August, 2014, it was about 100° F,  when Crepe Myrtle Trees are in full bloom all around Northern CA. The sky was so picturesque and I just love the colors that I tweaked on picmonkey. Anyway, this is my rendition of Converge.

Crepe Myrtle Tree

Garlic~Dijon Vinaigrette

From website: Eating Well

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup red-wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 4 small cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

PREPARATION

  1. Combine oil, lemon juice, vinegar, mustard and garlic in a blender, a jar with a tight-fitting lid or a medium bowl. Blend, shake or whisk until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

TIPS & NOTES

  • Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week.

NUTRITION

Per tablespoon: 38 calories; 4 g fat (1 g sat, 3 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 1 g carbohydrates; 0 g protein; 0 g fiber; 70 mg sodium; 7 mg potassium.

Exchanges: 1 fat