Friday, May 19, 2017

Random Tid Bits

I'm going to try and think up what we've talked about this week. Welcome to our sick, twisted way of thinking.

  1. We went to Tractor Supply Company. We were walking around just looking at things. All the sudden we came to the section where there were a bunch of axes.

    Mica said, "Oh this is the spot where people get axes to hack up little children." Say what?! I laughed, but wondering if I should be worried. 

  2. I was driving, and saw someone with their arm stuck out of their window. I thought to myself, That's disturbing when people do that. What if they got side swiped? They'd no longer have an arm. I told Travis that when I got home. He said, "Only you would think that way." I said, "Just think about all those single shoes you see on the interstate, or highway. It's always just one shoe. What if there were lonely arms laying around like that?" By that time I was laughing so hard tears were flowing from my eyes.

  3. Isaak's love for paper continues. He now likes cutting out paper chain dolls. I happen to love this about him. I love that I find them in odd spots. He's all boy, but gets into sparkly gold, and crafts. I like that he's not afraid to be himself. 

  4. I had Travis draw a line down my face to see how crooked my nose looks on the outside.

    I left the line on my face for 1/2 a day. Travis is like, "Are you ever going to take that line off?" I said, "Maybe." One of my old students posted this:

    I was cracking up! Maybe I'll have nightmares. I look like an alien or the late Michael Jackson in the first one, and a Gorge character from Fraggle Rock in the second one. 

  5. Gorge Character from Fraggle Rock

  6. The Education Director asks me for my files for my Friday class every time when she's going over them on Thursday. She says they are missing. I reply back with, "That class hasn't happened yet." May I can get a DeLorean, and time travel to get my final grades, video, review, and test results just to get her my files early. It was seriously funny the first time. Now it's a moment in time where I want to slap my forehead and say, "Jeez-us!"

Happy Birthday Isaak!

Isaak you turn 9 today! Next year you'll be double digits!

It's so stressful that I had you almost on the last day class (it is the last day this year), and Mica on practically the first day of class August 10! What was I thinking?

You love basketball and soccer. You jumped in to help Mica's soccer team when they were way low in players.

If given the choice you pick basketball to play!

You started to do something new this month. That is reading on your own accord. I was reading Wonder and Auggie and Me with you. The book that got you hooked is, The Million Dollar Shot. You also love, Captain Underpants and Dog Man.

You really dislike two things this year: Kisses and getting your photo taken - without me asking first.

Your best friends are: Jacob, Daniel and a new kid from Argentina named Benjamin. If people are nice to you, you have their back for sure. If they cross you, or your friends you let them know that, that isn't ok! 

You've figured out ways to communicate with Benjamin, since he primarily speaks Spanish. You draw, and have actions to communicate with him. You picked out a movie that is in English, but has Spanish subtitles for Ben to watch on your birthday. Mr. Peabody and Sherman was the winner for that. *Let's hope Ben comes! This is about the 3rd time we've asked him over. He's a maybe for the birthday RSVP.  

You still gets into crafts. Mostly paper. You were super excited that you got to make a pop-up book in school. I got a kick out of this mask and paper dolls that I find in funny spots around the house. 

Your favorite food must be donuts! You got all excited that I picked a donut shop for Mother's Day breakfast. You made a Donut card for Dunkin Donut workers. I sure hope they send you something special for the card! ;)

You love the outdoors, are willing to get your hands dirty, and tear holes in knee area of every pant leg.

You still love sparkly shimmery shiny gold. 

I hope you have a golden birthday! 



Thursday, May 18, 2017

MAX 2: White House Hero Blu-ray Giveaway! Plus Exclusive Run Game!

**“Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post. The opinions I share are my own.”**

The All-New Original Movie MAX 2: White House Hero Is Available on DVD, Blu-ray™ Combo Pack On May 23, 2017 & Digital HD Now.

About MAX 2: White House Hero:

In the brand new original family film, Max has a new assignment that brings him to Washington D.C. where he’s on a highly-sensitive mission that will push Max’s specialized skills, intelligence and loyalty to the test.

Duty calls again, and our hero dog Max returns to action in Max 2: White House Hero. His new assignment brings him to Washington, D.C. to serve on the U.S. president's Secret Service detail. When a foreign leader arrives with his precocious daughter Alex (Francesca Capaldi), tensions arise between both countries. First Son TJ (Zane Austin), along with Max and Alex, uncover a dangerous plot that puts both kids and both nations in jeopardy. A highly-sensitive mission will push Max’s specialized skills, intelligence and loyalty to the test.

It’s an adorable film that the whole family will love!

Max 2: White House Hero RUN GAME Blog App:
  • Help Max save TJ and Alex! 
  • Click anywhere on the game screen to jump over obstacles and make your best time. 
  • Watch the trailer and buy Max 2: White House Hero on DVD & Blu-ray May 23.

To celebrate the release of Max 2: White House Hero, we’ve created an amazing game where you can help Max save TJ and Alex! Click on the game screen via the app to jump over obstacles and make your best time.

ask your readers to play the RUN GAME and post their results in the comment section! We will give you a copy of Max 2: White House Hero on Blu-ray to giveaway to one lucky reader as well as one for yourself!


Now it's your chance to win Max 2: White House Hero! *Note: Only open to US readers and no PO Boxes. This giveaway ends 6.2.17 You must claim your prize after 48 hours of my email. After that I email a different winner.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

10 Varieties of Gourmet Avocado Toast

Do you love avocados? I sure do! I like that they can be prepared differently.

At the Apel House We Have Avocados on and in:

  • Salads
  • With Tacos
  • Southwestern Egg Dishes
  • Smoothies With Mango, Kale Powder, and Orange Juice
  • Guacamole

I Also Use the Avocado Seeds in Smoothies:
  1. Slice the seed with a knife. Be careful it's slippery!
  2. Run the seed under warm water, and start to peel the dark brown peeling off the seed.
  3. Cut the seed in 4 sections. 
  4. Grind a section in a coffee grinder.
  5. Add it to a smoothie. 
*Note: the seed of an avocado lasts a really long time, much longer than an avocado its self! I keep the unused seed in a bag in the refrigerator.

10 Ways to Make Gourmet Avocado Toast:

*Note: I got the test and pictures below from this site. They asked me to share their article. It is edited by me.

I never knew that avocado toast was a thing. Now that I know about it, we're certainly going to have it in our house!

This combination of avocado on toast is super easy to make. It is creamy, rich, and full of flavor. You might be surprised at how easy it is to make gourmet avocado toast. Of course, before you can start working on these (and your own) gourmet avocado toast creations, it pays to quickly refresh ourselves on the quickest and easiest ways to get into an avocado, remove the seed, and prepare it for toast. It might seem elementary, but you’d be surprised at the number of people who approach cutting avocado the wrong way. I know my husband has corrected me a time or two. View the graphic below for the steps involved. You’ll note the graphic suggests either slicing or mashing the avocado before applying it to your toast. This is a personal preference. Suggestions: Lemon, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and chili flakes below, but there are no limitations to seasoning. We even like paprika on ours.

10 Ways to Make Gourmet Avocado Toast - Preparing Your Avocado
Source: blog

To Spark Some Inspiration, Below is a List of Ten Non-traditional Ideas:

1. Eggs Benedict 

For a hip take on a traditional American brunch, make Eggs Benedict Avocado Toast. Toppings Include: Canadian bacon, poached egg, and hollandaise sauce. You could use a toasted English muffins for the base.

If you’ve never poached an egg before, don’t worry. It’s actually pretty easy! Start with a pot of water. About two to three inches should do the trick. Add a splash of lemon juice or vinegar to boost the acidity; this will help the eggs stay intact. Heat the water to a rolling boil, then bring it back down to a simmer. Add the eggs with a metal measuring cup or ladle. After five minutes, scoop them out and serve.

2. Goat Cheese + Chives

If you love the creaminess of avocado, you’ll adore the richness of goat cheese. To combine the two, add chunks of goat cheese to avocado toast. You can also swirl softened goat cheese with mashed avocado for a mouthwatering marbled effect. Complement the dish with a pinch of chives. Lucky for us, we have chives coming up in our garden already. :)

*Did you know - Goat cheese and Feta cheese are more tolerable than most cheese for people with lactose intolerance. They are both filled with calcium.

3. Tomato + Mozzarella + Basil

Fans of classic Italian food will adore this yummy combination. Simply add tomato slices and fresh mozzarella to avocado toast. Small cherry tomatoes work best. Top it off with fresh basil and a drizzle of olive oil. Enhance the Italian vibe by using thin slices of ciabatta bread for the toast.

4. Goat Cheese + Pomegranate Seeds

Goat cheese is an amazing complement for sweet flavors. On avocado toast, its rich, tangy taste can really take things up a notch. It can be added in chunks or swirled into mashed avocado (brie would also work amazingly here). Finish it off with a handful of vibrant pomegranate seeds; your taste buds will love it.

5. Salsa + Corn + Cheese

Turn your love for Mexican food into a fancy avocado toast. Start with a layer of your favorite salsa. You can even use mango salsa for a fun summer twist. Add a spoonful of corn followed by a layer of grated cheese. Cheddar works best, but use what you love or have on hand. If you would like, add a dash of taco seasoning and lime juice. The result is one big tasty nacho.

10 Ways to Make Gourmet Avocado Toast - 5 Types of Avocado Toast
Source: blog

6. Quail Eggs + Tomato + Parsley + Sunflower Seeds

Nothing says “gourmet” quite like quail eggs. These delicate and delicious eggs are a little more difficult to source, but worth it for the taste. Of course, if sourcing quail eggs is too tricky, regular hen eggs will work. Eggs and tomato pair perfectly in many breakfast combinations, but the magic here is in the texture of the sunflower seeds and the sharp freshness of the flat-leaf parsley (fresh, not dried!).

7. Cream Cheese + Manzanilla Olives + Tomato + Herbs 

This combination will give avocado toast a delicious Mediterranean spin. Marinated olives and tomatoes are a must, especially if you want to bulk it up. For easy serving, chop up olives, into small cubes. For added flavor, finish it off with oregano, dill, or mint. Toasted pita bread or flat bread can be used as the base.

8. Blueberries + Spinach + Lime + Sea Salt

If you’re looking to get the best nutritional bang for your buck in an avocado toast combination, look no further than this. Blueberries, or in our case June Berries. Spinach. Avocado. The added bonus is that this vitamin-packed combo tastes great. The acidity of the lime juice will cut through and complement the creamy avocado, while the spinach and blueberries will provide texture and added flavor.

9. Mango + Red Cabbage + Lemon 

Mango and lemon can add a summery touch to any meal, and avocado toast is no exception. This idea calls for mango slices, chopped red cabbage and fresh lemon (plus the zest, if you’re feeling particularly, well, zesty). Complementary spices include ground black pepper, basil, and cilantro. You can also prepare a mango relish ahead of time. It is a deliciously easy way to up your daily fruit and veggie intake!

10. Crab Meat + Corn + Chipotle Powder

Inspired by the notes of Caribbean cuisine, this arrangement is full of personality. Imitation crab meat is perfectly fine if you don’t have access to fresh crab. It’s easy to find and budget-friendly. To make this version, mix chunks of crab meat with corn and chipotle powder. Cayenne pepper, mint, and cilantro are also excellent choices.

 This list is just the beginning. Look for inspiration in your favorite meals and dishes. By using unconventional ingredients that you know and love, gourmet avocado toast will just be a slice away.

10 Ways to Make Gourmet Avocado Toast - Capturing the Ripe Window
Source: blog

No article on avocados would be complete without some hacks on how to capture the elusive “ripe window”. We’ve all been there; an avocado is too hard to use on toast one day, and then overnight it’s brown and overripe and unusable. It borders on criminal neglect to allow a good avocado to go to waste, so before we send you out into the world to make your own avocado toast combinations (and the ones we’ve suggested), we thought it imperative to create the illustration above, to show you how to buy, store, and preserve the ripe window of avocados for longer.

Happy shopping, slicing, mashing, and toasting!

How would you use avocado on toast?

Artit 12 Piece Paint Brush Set Review

Have I ever said how much I love reviewing art supplies? Well I do!

I just got a 12 Piece Paint Brush Set: to review.


  • The long handled brushes are easy to clean because they are made out of nylon.
  • The art brushes can be used for acrylics, watercolors, oils, face painting, collage & more.
  • The set includes a portable case & an array of paint brushes, and a palette. You can take the set just about anywhere.
  • The set works for pros & kids. Kids will need a lesson on taking care of the brushes.
  • The set has slots for the brushes, so they stay contained. 
Caring for Your Brushes (Water Based Paints): 

Use a pallet knife or popsicle stick to mix the paint. This will make your brush last longer.

Wet your brush(es) with luke warm water before use.

Only get paint in the bristle part of the brush. If paint gets into the metal also known as ferrule then it can make it difficult to get the paint out of the bristles. That in turn breaks up the glue that holds the bristles in, and makes the bristles so they are no longer soft.

If you are taking a break, wipe the brush on a paper towel and rinse it! Lay the brush sideways across your water container.

Once you are done painting wipe your brush on a paper towel to remove as much paint as possible and rinse it. Clean the brush with soap, or a bought brush cleaner. Remove all the pigment out of the brush. This may take a few steps of loading it with soap, painting the inside palm of your hand, and rinsing it with luke warm water. Read the brush cleaner (if that's what you are using). Some act as a leave in conditioner. In that case you'd leave it in the last step. Reshape the brush with your fingers. Lay the brush flat to avoid distorting the bristles.

Caring for Your Brushes (Oil Based Paints): 

Caring for your brush when using oil based paints is similar as water based paints like acrylics, tempera, watercolor, gouache, or even watered down glue used for collage.

You wipe as much paint away on a rag or paper towel.

Pour a small amount of thinner on a rag or paper towel. I use Gamisol because it's safer for those with allergies and asthma. Wipe your brush some more. Do this until most of the paint is out.

Wash your brush with soap and water, or brush conditioner. Read the brush conditioner to see if it's a leave in kind. Reshape the bristles, and leave it flat to dry.

Important: Don't mix oil based paint with water based paint. You will have a mess. My students that have done this think that something is wrong with their paint.

Rule: You can use acrylics and oils in the same piece.

The rule is acrylics first (dry), and oils can be used on top. The other way around will cause your paint to crack. Plus oils without additives take a long time to dry!

There are exceptions to that rule, but you need to know the technique to break the rule.

Exception: Oil paint mixed with a turpentine (again I use Gamisol) makes a oil wash. Let it dry! Then acrylics can be put on top.

You can do an oil wash, spray it with Crystal Clear (a clear acrylic spray), and add another oil wash. Building up layers like this is super fun!


Price: $35.90, but it's on sale for: $16.77.


With acrylics you can build up layers on a palette. Once you're annoyed with the build up, peel it up. Some of the really cool paint peelings I keep. I cut them, and glue them or paint them into pieces. You can also throw the dry acrylic away.

Oils dry SLOW. That can be good. Artists love mixing time. Oil colors are truer from wet to dry than any water based paint. Water based paint dries darker. Leave the oil paint on the palette for longer, and keep using it. It will be usable for days. When you're done wipe it up with a paper towel. If you let it dry it will be hard to remove. I like to use a sheet of glass for an oil based palette because if the paint dries I can use a razor blade to scrape it up. With plastic I can't do that.

Downfalls of the Set: 

There is no palette knife. I use one to mix my paint. I find my brushes last longer if I use a palette knife. I'd rather have a palette knife then a palette. I tend to be that crazy artist person that grabs the nearest thrown away box to use as a palette.

I really don't use a fan brush. Maybe some people do or did *Cough Bob Ross - But I've never seen anyone migrate towards using a fan brush. I could see the perk of using one for spiky hair, or fur. I like more control than what I get with a fan brush.

When was the last time you've painted? Painting walls counts. Ha!

Disclaimer: I received this Artit Paintbrush Set to assist with this review. I wrote this post, and was not influenced at all with an opinion. I only review things that I find interesting, or that would benefit my readers or my family.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

WW: Crow {Linky}

I've been working on this mixed media piece for quite some time now. I'm doing a series about something beautiful with something being destroyed. I had envisions of  a crow smoking, but a cigarette butt in it's mouth looked so hokey. Even when I cut it down length wise it looked really stupid. 

I thought about stitching wire by it's feet - like the bird was caught, but got out. The problem with that was that crows are really smart. They wouldn't get themselves in a situation like that. 

In the end I went with the drops I started in the background by adding more and more drops - acid rain. It's more of a loose concept, but will still fit into the series. 

It's a really long piece! That makes it a bit hard to see. Click on the images to see them larger. I got comments that putting them extra large makes them impossible to see in the phone view. 

Here's a close up of the face. The eye has light blue thread stitches on it.

Some of the drops are in the background. I added some too. I put clear acrylic on glass one drip at a time. I let it dry. Then I scraped them up with a razor blade. I added a dark color under the drips, and a highlight.

The legs are stitched.

The back of the canvas:

Next I'm working on the owl that can't sleep because of city lights and noises, but I want to start a cute squirrel playing in plastic bag + a jellyfish that is stuck in a jelly jar with other jelly fish around it. I may have a few pieces going on all at the same time.

Do you like to paint, or do you get into any other art form?

Monday, May 15, 2017

Mother's Day

I hope if you're a Mom that you had a great day yesterday! 

Mine started out with a heart card from Isaak that folded out to look like a flower. Isaak said, "Ok now everyone else give her gifts, and cards." He's the only one that had something. I told him, "Isaak that's ok. I don't expect anything. Thank you for your card. I love it!"

I try and make the day as low key as possible. Sometimes Father's Day gets bumped up a bit, but that's only because my birthday lands on it at times. Double whammy, double the fun. ;)

I've been wanting to try out a local place for donuts. We went to LaMar's Donuts. They exist in KC as well, so not exactly just here in Omaha. Close enough. I've heard they are super good. They were offering 1 free Red Velvet Donut with cream cheese frosting, and a coffee. I took it! Everyone picked out their choice of donut, and I got a Butterfinger Donut for us to all split.

Then we stopped by somewhere fast to get a Breakfast Burrito.

I chose to watch an episode of Little House on the Prairie. It's been a year or more since we've watched that. It's crazy how we've taken steps forward, and steps backward with our world. Medicine, scans and care have all gotten better than ever. Back in the pioneer days neighbor's had each other's backs, doctors would care for people even if patients couldn't afford it, doctor's would barter for care, they'd make house visits when needed, you didn't have to have health insurance, or worry about prices going up, they did what they had to do to survive.

Are we better - more advanced today then we were back then? My answer is in some ways we're better, and in others we're worse. What's your answer?

Isaak and Mica went with Travis to the park to practice their mad soccer skills. Mica's struggling. Travis felt like he picked up some things working with him one on one. He stays with the ball, but doesn't kick it hard. He more or less plays patty cake with the ball. That's what coach calls it. I'm just proud of him for trying. He's never asked to try any sport until this year. Way to go out of your comfort zone Mica!

I finished a painting on Mother's Day. I've had it nearly done for quite some time, but the idea sort of looked lame. I had to go a different route. I think it works. I'll try and share it tomorrow.

Then I made homemade Chicken Enchiladas. Travis said, "Are you sure you want to make those? It's Mother's Day." I said, "Certainly! Now go take care of laying the mulch down outside." ;) I made extra - for when I have surgery. I've been saying I'm going to start making extra dishes for that, but it hasn't happened until last night. Life is busy. It's not going to get any less busy, but maybe I'm holding things off to the last minute. Ekkk! Anyhow they were oh so good! I should have photographed it to share a recipe, but I was too hungry, and didn't think about it. Even the boys that usually say, "It's too spicy gobbled them up!" By the way they are both growing. Maybe that's why I can't seem to make enough food! Isaak and Mica ate 2 whole Enchiladas. We had side dishes as well.

My goofy boys and I:

What did you do for Mother's Day?   


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