24 April 2014

Band of Brothers

Band of Brothers was the TV miniseries I watched last year with my dad, brother, and sister.  It recounted Easy Company's 101st Airbourne and its men.  Their ups and downs, and everything in between.

I appreciate this series for many reasons.  The first being it's strict adherence to the facts, and how well it portrays the selflessness and comradry of the troops during WWII.
It brought the war to life and helped me better grasp the heroism and hearbreak that occured in those years.  Even though there is quite a lot of language, and some other objectionable content, the posotive features of this series outweigh all of that in my eyes.
One other point is that Band of Brothers contains an abundance of violence which to some may be too intense.  However, if the violence was not in Band of Brothers it would have defenitely seemed fake, and also would not have made such an impact on me concerning the sacrifice that the soldiers in WWII made.

All in all, it was a great miniseries that contains many amazing and humoring facts about the great feats the 101st airborne accomplished and I will definitely watch it again!

19 April 2014

Chocolate Eclair Cake for Easter!

o    1 cup water
o    1/2 cup butter
o    1 cup all-purpose flour
o    4 large eggs
o    1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
o    1 large box (5.1 ounces) vanilla instant pudding
o    3 cups milk
o    1 8 oz. container cool whip (just enough for a thin layer. I don't use the whole container) or one batch of homemade whipped cream
o    chocolate syrup or homemade chocolate sauce

       Preheat oven to 400. Lightly grease a 9"X13" glass baking pan.
                For the Eclair Crust: In a medium saucepan, melt butter in water and bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Stir in flour. Mix in one egg at a time, mixing completely before adding another egg. Spread mixture into pan, covering the bottom and sides evenly. Mixture will be very wet. *If the sides of your pan are too greased you won't be able to get the mixture to stay up the sides so make sure to just lightly grease. No big deal but I like the crust to go up the sides a bit.
                Bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown (Mine only took 25 minutes.) You may want to check it occasionally-you don't want to overcook the crust, it will ruin the cake! Remove from oven and let cool (don't touch or push bubbles down).
                For the Filling: Whip cream cheese in a medium bowl. In separate bowl make vanilla pudding by beating the pudding mix and the milk for 3 minutes and put in the fridge until set. Make sure pudding is thick before mixing in with cream cheese. Slowly add pudding to cream cheese, mixing until there are no lumps. Let cool in fridge.When the crust is completely cooled, pour filling in. Top with layer of cool whip however thick you want it. Serve with a drizzle of chocolate syrup. *If you want to make this even better use homemade whipped cream.
Source: Debbie Mortensen

Although mine isn't very pretty (the chocolate sauce was very... saucy) you could make your's look much nicer!
Enjoy your Easter!!

The Grapes of Wrath: John Steinbeck's Hope

After reading The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, I had to write an analysis essay.  Below are the two questions given, and my essay response.

Grapes of Wrath Analysis
Did Steinbeck present a vision of hope or despair for the future in the novel The Grapes of Wrath?  Was Steinbeck optimistic or pessimistic about the future of America’s working class?

In John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath there was a theme of courage versus desolation.  Through the whole book they were searching for some kind of stability and hope for the future, but they were always looking in the wrong places.
The beginning of The Grapes of Wrath shows farmers all over Oklahoma being driven out of their land.  Having their livelihood taken away from them, and being forced to face an unknown future.  Their circumstances took control of their lives and they became a group of unwanted people.  When the Joads first discovered that they had to move, their idea of California was ideal.  It was filled with acre upon acre of ripened fruit waiting to be plucked for an outstanding wage.  At one point Grampa states, “they’s grapes out there, just a-hangin’ over inta the road… I’m gonna pick me a wash tub full of grapes,” (95).  All their hope in was in California.  However it was a hope that proved faulty and eventually broke their family apart.
Once the Joads traveled past California’s luscious valleys they found themselves in Hooverville after Hooverville.  Looking for job after job, only to find that there were never enough jobs for the thousands of migrant workers.  Pa states, “I ain’t got no hunch we’ll find work.  Guess we got to look, though.  We don’t even know where’ at to look,” (331).  Men and women across America where thinking the same thoughts.  They had to find work, even if they did not know where to look.  Most of them traveled looking for work even if they knew they would find nothing.  Their search for work became their occupation and without it they felt an growth of uselessness.
The government camp became their next hope.  Even though they didn’t have much work while they were there, they felt a sense of belonging and trust that they had not found anywhere else.  They believed that if there were more camps like this America would become a thriving nation once again, and the ruling businessmen would not have as strong a control over the common people.  However there could never be a perfect camp such as the government camp they stayed at.  With humans living in it and managing it, there always will be some type of lawbreaker and peace disturber.  However, Steinbeck did not believe this.  He had no true idea of perfection, and as a result he tried to create his own perfection.  He tried to create his own peace.  He tried to create his own hope. 

Sadly there were those who believed in his false ideas.  They put their trust in false hopes of a perfect world in harmony; a world that was run by the people and for the people without any higher being; in other words, without God.  This brings me to Steinbeck’s last hope.  He believed that if everyone worked for one great cause, the world would become perfect.  Even so, his idea could never work without a Devine Being to rule over the world, to keep it, and save it from its downfalls.  Since Steinbeck’s hope rested in worldly matter and thoughts of world unity.  To me the ending did not give hope for the future, but instead an outlook of despair.

18 April 2014

Strange Sizes

We had a peculiar egg today come in from the chicken coop.  It was super tiny.

A little bit random, but still its a post!

17 April 2014

E-mail Background

Hello all!

I have a cool g-mail background that I made.  Olivia had scanned a piece of wallpaper, and I edite it on Picasa 3, and this is how it looks as a g-mail background-

If you want to make it your background, download here.

I heard it was supposed to be around 66 on Sunday!
Have a wonderful Easter and rest of the week!

11 April 2014

Hotel Showers... My experience.

          This weekend I am attending (Friday 11- Saturday 12) the MACHE Do Hard Things conference.  Yes, it has been fun. . .other than the fact that all day I've been walking in no-walking shoes (my stupid idea :P) or sitting in really uncomfortable chairs (not my idea XD).  Anyway!  What I wanted to talk about... it's just a random story for the week I guess.  My experience with the Hotel shower.

          For me it was exciting... a cool shower with different settings!  Hoorah... however what I didn't notice while I was changing the shower setting is that the shower head itself shifted... in the wrong direction.  That was the problem.  While I was taking my shower part of the water was... well... cleaning the floor so to speak.  It had been hitting the shower curtain and pouring (not exactly in a literal sense) out of the shower.  I didn't even notice until I had actually gotten out of the shower that the floor was covered in about a 1/2 inch of water... and was also leaking out of the bathroom into our hotel room.  Anyway... we did get it cleaned up (with five extra towels) and thankfully no damage done.

I hope you are enjoying your weekend to it's fullest, as I am just chilling in a hotel room at the moment... preparing myself for another big day at MACHE.

07 April 2014

GIMP Photo Editor

Hello all!
          Yes... I'm doing another review.  Only because I really wanted to share this program with you.It's called GIMP and it is one of the most amazing photo editing programs out there... for free!
           One of my first projects using GIMP was taking away bags and dark lines from under eyes... Elleanna had an excuse for them: she had to get up around 4:00 am that morning for work :-/  However!  here is an example of what wonders GIMP can do:

       That is just one the many amazing things GIMP does.  You can also easily and cleanly cut objects out of one photo and place them in another photo without it looking tacky ;).
So, if you want a nice photo editing program, that has almost everything on it, download GIMP here!

Enjoy the warmer weather!

06 April 2014

Maple Tapping and Syrup

          Our latest escapade has been tapping our dozen or so Silver Maple trees.  This post will be all about our findings and how we turned (above Picture) to (below Picture) and how you can do it too :)

What You'll Need:
  • A beautiful warm spring day (40 degrees and up).  And a night before which has gone below freezing.

  • About 10 or so  concrete blocks (unless you are doing your boiling inside) and Either a huge metal pot (for inside cooking) or a couple of those barbeque pans (shown in first picture of Where to Start section of post).
  • Some Pex tubing, or other tubing (you should research what type you want to use) that can be found online.  (We used 1/2 inche although it is recommeded that you use something smaller since this could damage your tree)

  • Several empty and sanatized milk jugs (you can also buy different types of jugs for the same purpose online at a rediculous price... XD)... this one doesn't look very clean, but it is on the inside (and just got some dirt on the outside from sitting on the ground)

  • A Utility Knife

  • Some copper wire or other string (to keep the milk jugs hung up.)

  • A shovel (again, if your are planning on boiling the sap outside)

  • A Hatchet and Chainsaw (unless your wood is already cut, or you are doing the boiling inside)

  • A lighter & Some twigs, branches, and logs

Where to Start:

          It may be best to begin by setting up your fire pit and making sure your blocks are the correct legth away from eachother, so that your barbeque pans can fit in between.  One thing you may want to research is how to get a stove pipe for the smoke connected.  This may be useful in keeping smoke and ashes out of your boiling sap.
          Make sure your blocks are 2 high so that you can build a fire underneath the pans.

          Once that is set up you are ready to put your buckets up.  You will need to drill a hole about three feet from the ground to put your tubing in (and you can research more about that process online here).  Next take your jugs and cut open a piece to stick the tube through.

          Now you have all the sap you need for boiling!  Most people say 40 gallons of sap to 1 of boiled down syrup, but we did 12 gallons of sap to about 5 pints of boiled down syrup, and its great!  Anyway, you need to strain the sap when putting it into the pans for boiling, because there is going to end up being all sorts of junk in there.

Once that is done, and you are pretty sure you've had your sap boiling for long enough and down to the right amount, you can bring your syrup/sap inside for the delicate testing ^-^
This process pretty much consists of boiling your syrup/sap until it reaches 220 *F
Oh that's something else that might be useful (haha I totally forgot...) a candy thermometer.  You don't need one, but it helps... and that way you don't have to keep testing it... and waiting for it to cool off before you test it ^-^

Once you know for sure that it is as you want it, the you are ready for the canning stage.  Here you pretty much,
A. boil the jars so they are sanatized,
B. funnel the syrup into the jars, and tighten for storing!
C. Take pictures and enjoy your maple syrup!

          One thing that I must mention... do not go out making maple syrup only after reading this post (not that anyone would get super inspired by a blog post of mine haha) but first research more about the points I may have been unclear on.  I hope this helped you see how easy it is to make maple syrup!  Enjoy this beautiful spring weather :)

05 April 2014

World Time Server

                                                                                       Picture Source

          This newest website review came because I have a friend who had to go to Taiwan.  And... because I didn't think of looking up the time difference between Taiwan and Minnesota, I looked up a timezone calculator.  Then I found The World Time Server.
It was at first a bit hard to navigate because I accidently set my time zone to Taiwan, and it started reading the difference between "my time zone" and Mexico... Anyway.  When you get to the front page, all you have to do is look at the left hand side of the page and click on the United States link.

Then you scroll down to find your state (which brings in the calculations of eastern time central time, etc.).  From there it is pretty self explanitory ;).

Have a wonderful day!

04 April 2014

Conversations... Chanting what?

We have some of the weirdest conversations here at the Wiering houshold... and here is an example in script form.

EVAN: Have you guys seen White house down?
OLIVIA: With who?
ME: No... but you told us about it...
EVAN:  Oh yeah... With Channing Tatum.
OLIVIA: Channing Potato?!
ME: haha.  Did you say Chanting Potatoe?

so yeah.  Just one of our goofy conversations.

Have a wonderful evening!

CSG Test Grader

Hello all!
Over these past two semesters I have been recieving assignments graded out of 20.  Since that is a bit irregular for a grading rubric, I thought it would be nice to see what kind of "Letter Grade" I generally have.  So I looked up "Test Grader converter" and found a great website.  CSG Test Grader not only converts number grades to letter grades, but also has a calculator to add all your recent grades together to figure out your current grade.  Enough talk then!  Here's the link: CSG Test Grader

Hope you find this helpful as I did!
Have a wonderful day (and hoorah, because the snow is melting ;) )

03 April 2014


          Spies, espionage, and misplaced trust envelope the 1963 film, Charade.  Set in Paris during the Cold War, it includes everything a suspenseful romance mystery should, plus more! Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant star as the leading roles of Regina “Reggie” Lampert, and her mysterious no-name friend.  Many people (including me) believed that Charade was an Alfred Hitchcock film because of the amazing way Stanley Donen directs this thrilling masterpiece.  Consequently Charade has earned the reputation of being, “The best Hitchcock film Hitchcock never made.”  I think for a movie over 50 years old that is a great reputation.
Charade begins by introducing the audience to Regina Lampert, the wife of an exceedingly rich Swiss man.  However, she was not happy with her life of money and leisure.  She was tired of how her husband never told her anything (not even who is relatives were), and was considering a divorce because, “[She didn’t] love Charles.”  That evening when she arrived home at her apartment, Reggie found that her husband was dead and had been involved in a great crime.  Reggie struggled throughout the movie to discover who she could trust and how to fight through the lies that clouded her mind.

          Nevertheless, during the film Reggie discovers that her husband was not the only one who was dishonest to her.  This was demonstrated during a conversation Reggie had with Mr. Dyle.  He stated,
There's an old riddle about two tribes of Indians -- the Whitefeet always tell the truth and the Blackfeet always lie. So one day you meet an Indian, you ask him if he's a truthful Whitefoot or a lying Blackfoot?  He tells you he's a truthful Whitefoot, but which one is he?
This confused Reggie.  Her desire to trust Dyle, conflicted with her situation, and became a continual inner struggle inside her.
I noticed that throughout Charade, the camera angle tied into the atmosphere a lot.  For one example during the scene of Charles’s funeral, they show the image of a record playing music.  However, a couple seconds later there are rows of empty chairs during a funeral service.  This was to set the mood and show how alone Reggie was after her husband died.  It was a truly great way to connect Reggie’s loneliness with our mind’s-eye of her.
Charade is over 50 years old, and although strange at times, it significantly portrays the film industry at the end of its golden age.  When thinking about a film’s greatness, years do not matter.  Instead, a realistic atmosphere and down to earth acting are what make up a classic movie.  Charade matches these criteria and holds a place in many movie-lover’s hearts.  It is, in fact, one of the best films of its time.

          Hope you Enjoyed!  Oh, and also, Charade is in the public domain, so if you have an extra hour and 45 minutes in one of your days, you could find and watch it on the internet!

Have a Nice day!