Saturday, May 21, 2011

ReKindled. Forgive the Pun.

When the Kindle first came out, I knew that eventually, we'd all have one. I love paper books, and I will never give them up completely, but I'm not so naive as to think they will always be the preferred medium for books. When the Kindle was first developed, I was resistant, swearing that I'd never have one, but it didn't really matter, anyway; they were expensive and constantly out of stock, and there weren't many e-books available. Now that you can get a Kindle or a reasonable knock-off for under $200 and nearly any book, newspaper, or magazine in an electronic format, I can foresee the end of the paper book era, and I find that I'm not so resistant to move along with the tide of the rest of the world.

My acceptance of the evolving world of print comes as a bit of a surprise for me. I have been resistant in so many other aspects of change in our literature and language. I am emphatic about proper spelling and grammar, even in text messages, even on Facebook. Just thinking about replacing entire words with their singular vowel sound horrifies me; I can't even joke about it without having minute tics (lol, u so crzy!!!1!) I don't read vampire novels (although I did read the first two books of the Twilight series, sue me) and I tend to shy away from anything that becomes too popular (see my post about Oprah Book Club books.) I suppose the difference between e-books and text speak (omg!) is the presence of logic. I love books, but even more than that, I love reading. A Kindle might not have the same feel or smell as a hardcover copy of my favorite book, but the content of that book is there, and that's what matters. The Kindle and other such e-readers take my favorite thing and make it more compact, more portable, more accessible. How can I be completely opposed to that?

I had an extra bit of money this weekend and almost bought myself a Kindle, but I decided to wait a while longer and put that money into my savings account. I couldn't justify the cost, even though they have become considerably more affordable. Right now, I read in one of two places: at home, or in my car (not while driving, of course.) It is not a problem for me to just grab a book and toss it in my bag before I head out the door. I also get most of my books from the library, and though I know that some e-books are available to be borrowed in the same way, I know myself well. I would take that Kindle and work fast to fill it up, spending money on books that I plan to read "someday." Right now, I buy books that matter to me, or books I absolutely have to read, but cannot get from my library. It's the only way I can keep my already massive book collection under control. Perhaps the biggest factor in my current lack of an e-reader is my propensity for dropping expensive electronics into water. I recently lost my BlackBerry this way, and I don't think I would be able to survive the heartbreak of such an accident with a Kindle.

So, no Kindle for me, not yet, anyway. Maybe I can talk myself into it in a year or two. My sister and blog co-author, Jen, just got one for Mother's Day, and I know she loves hers. I have to wonder if she'll continue to buy hardcovers or paperbacks, or if she'll just download them from now on. I wonder if it makes any difference at all, if I'm just being sickly sentimental. Is there enough love for paper books to keep them around much longer, or will they go the way of typewriters and become a whimsical collectible with no real relevance? Mp3s did not destroy music, and I know that e-readers will not destroy literature, but I can't help but worry about losing books. Maybe that's why I'm still reluctant to buy a Kindle: I'm hoping to keep books alive for just a little while longer.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Um, What?

I feel like I've been sucked up into a vortex of jet lag. Does that make any sense? Who cares. I'm out of the loop. A crazy sleep schedule will do that to you. I had a wedding to go to in Pittsburgh, but we only had one week to spend there. So we were playing a version of "Beat the Clock" in order to get everything done in such a short span of time. In the mix of all the confusion, our poor little blog went without one of my entries. Did you miss me as much as I missed you? I thought so ;)

So I had a thought that I wanted to share, because well, it's been bugging me. It might be the sleep deprived crazy leaking out of my brain, but it bugs me all the same. Avatars are everywhere. You have one for your facebook account, myspace, etsy, and all sorts of other sites. What I can't stand are those avatars where you see a girl trying to look sexy. Yeah, that's what I want to see most. A bedroom face, right? I beg to differ. I see only what has been dubbed "duck face" and a desperate call for attention when I see someone trying to blow a kiss at the screen in all seriousness. My thoughts are, "why is this chick trying to seduce me? Does she realize that her relatives will be grossed out every time she leaves a comment?" I say leave that up to professionals. They probably take classes on how to perfect your bedroom/duck face.

Another avatar that creeps me out is of couples in a lip-lock. I think there's probably only one instance that I actually want to see another couple kissing in a picture. That's right, a wedding photo is the only time I don't cringe seeing a picture of that. It reassures us that you are, in fact, happy with your decision to get hitched. But if it's you and your significant other, taking a picture "myspace style" with the camera held out at arms length, I want you to think really hard before posting that pic. Really, if some person was standing about a foot or two away from you, staring as you kiss your love romantically (I mean, staring with no blinking) would you not get totally creeped out?! Believe me, witnessing a kiss that close up rates just as high on our creep-o-meter.

So please, for the love of all things good, think twice about posting that avatar.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

Ah, Mother's Day. This day always makes me think of food, particulalry breakfast foods. Breakfast in bed, Belgian waffles, mimosas, brunches with scones and muffins and big glasses of orange juice. Nothing says "I love my mom" like showering her with breakfast foods, right? My own Mother's Day breakfast will be simple: a bowl of Berry Berry Kix. As a part of my Mother's Day gift, my in-laws have taken my kids, giving me an entire night and morning without the very beings who made me a mom to begin with. I know it may seem a bit ironic to celebrate part of this day without kids, but honestly, this is the best part of the holiday for me. These hours of total quiet and alone time are an amazing gift, better than jewelry, flowers, chocolate, and even breakfast in bed. My kids will be back later, and we'll all have dinner together, and it will be a fabulous day. I hope all you mothers out there have an equally fabulous Mother's Day. May your kids behave, may the house stay clean, and may you be woken up with the smell of fresh coffee and danishes.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Cooking with your kids: Chicken Nuggets

These chicken nuggets are exceptional! I love making these healthy nuggets with my daughter. They are very easy to make, and I love that I control what goes into them. Plus, you can usually make these with things you already have in your pantry!

What you will need:
Boneless, skinless chicken breast (tenderloins work perfectly as well)
Eggs, beaten (one or two depending on how much chicken you have)
Seasoning salt (or just salt and pepper)
Basil (fresh or dried works just fine)
Parmesan cheese
Unsweetened cereal such as:
Corn flakes
Bran flakes
Rice cereal
Plastic bag with closure
Cheese grater
Rolling pin
Cutting board
Sharp knife *for adult use only*
Baking sheet
Foil (optional)

I forgot to add the cheese grater to this pic. And no, she didn't touch raw meat.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a small bowl, beat the egg(s), set aside. Put two and a half to three cups of cereal into a zippered plastic bag. Have your child help you crush the cereal with the rolling pin. It helps to let out as much air as possible before you do this. Add about 1 1/2 teaspoons of the season salt, and 1 teaspoon basil to the bag. Grate some parmesan and add it to the bag. You'll need about a 1/4 cup. You can use regular parmesan cheese as well. Have your child shake the ingredients after you zip it shut to make sure they are well mixed.

She's ready to crush!
Rollin and shakin!

Cut the chicken into 2 inch cuts, and coat them in the egg. Have your child hold the bag open for you while you add five or six pieces of chicken. Next, zip the bag and shake until the chicken pieces are well coated with the cereal. Place on a foil-lined (to save time with clean up if desired) baking sheet, about an inch apart. Bake for about 25-30 minutes and until a meat thermometer reads 165 degrees when inserted in the chicken. Continue until all of your chicken is cooked. Serve with barbeque sauce, sour cream, salsa, guacamole, or whatever dipping sauce you prefer.

I mixed the eggs in the bowl, dunked the chicken, and slipped them into the bag.
Shakin, shakin, shakin!
Ready for the oven.