On Wisconsin!

I am usually not one to get political.  Why?  I think I am cursed as a Libra to always listen to both sides, and try to come to a compromise.  I don't like to rush to conclusions or make sweeping statements about other people.

That being said, I think what is happening in my home state is both deeply disturbing and extremely inspiring.
If you want, you can read a bit about what is happening in this Journal Sentinel article, or from this op-ed piece in the New York Times.

I could not be more proud of my friends, family members, and former teachers & professors who were out at the Capitol this last week protesting.  Close to 70,000 showed up on Saturday - in the cold - and peacefully protested.

Wisconsin Budget Repair Bill Protest from Matt Wisniewski on Vimeo.

Honestly, this video brought me to tears.

I am a teacher.  I pay taxes like everyone else.  I did not go in to teaching for the money, and I will stay in teaching because I care deeply about the future of our country, I want EVERY child (whether or not their parents have money) to have a chance to succeed, and I care deeply about the future of the arts.  If I wanted to make money, I would have gone to school for something else.  Whatever your political inclinations are, I hope you take the time to think about the implications of such drastic changes before it is too late.

Wisconsin "Budget Repair Bill" Protest Pt 2 from Matt Wisniewski on Vimeo.

Smoothie Time

Hi all,
Amidst the craziness of the last few weeks, I've been enjoying making smoothies with my homemade yogurt.
plain yogurt
They are really simple to make and are a great way to make your day a bit brighter and healthier.


  • 1 Cup Plain Yogurt
  • 1 Banana
  • Handful of Frozen Blueberries
  • 1/4 Cup of Milk (or you can sub in a few ice cubes)
  • Tbsp Honey
Put it in your blender and you are done!  Makes 2 servings.

Blueberry Banana Smoothie

Puppies & Paintings

Our friends Giles and Angie got a new puppy!  His name is Bilbo:
I had a nice 'study' session with Angie - we made smoothies and were mostly distracted by the little fluff-ball.
I love this photo, his little nose looks like a heart!

In other not so cute news, I did a quick painting on Sunday.  Sometimes I just like to do a quick study, especially after putting 30+ hours in on a looong painting.
This one is watercolor:
068 - bunny
It is nice to do a low stress painting every once and a while!
070 - bunny
That's it for now!  Hope you all had a wonderful Valentines Day!

Homemade Yogurt!

This week's cooking accomplishment has been homemade yogurt!  I was prompted to finally try making my own after reading a post on my future sister-in-law Amber's blog here: Don't Be Afraid of Real Yogurt
I know it may sound a bit scary, but homemade yogurt is actually fairly easy to make - granted you follow the directions closely until you get the process down.  It is really cheap to make as well - I made a pint of yogurt for about $0.75.  Basically all you do is heat milk to 180 degrees, cool it to 110, add some plain yogurt from the grocery store with live cultures (this is the bacteria that causes yogurt to form), and keep the yogurt at about 110 degrees for 7-8 hours until it solidifies.  Once I worked out the kinks of making it the first time, it only took about 10 minutes to make it all the second time.  
yogurt #2
I didn't use a fancy yogurt maker or have to buy anything besides a $10 heating pad.  I used this video tutorial:  How to Make Homemade Yogurt.  There are three parts to the video, and I followed it pretty closely.  I only changed a few things.  I used the low setting on my heating pad and covered the pot with a blanket to insulate it.  This kept it at a perfect 110 degrees.  I think the next time I make it I will pour the milk in to mason jars before I put it on the heating pad - this way I can transfer them straight to the fridge, and not have to mix up the yogurt (which thins it) before I cool it.  I just bought a set of Ball Storage Caps to use for the jars instead of the metal lids.  
The yogurt that you get is plain yogurt - which is really nice because you can choose the amount/kind of sweetener that you add to it.  Store bought yogurt literally makes my teeth hurt after I eat it because there is so much sugar in it!  I like to eat my homemade yogurt with a little honey and granola, or a dollop of raspberry jam!  We've also made some really great smoothies using yogurt, honey, strawberries, and bananas.  Yum.

If you are looking for a few good blogs to follow I'd recommended checking out Amber's blog here:
Coffee Table Reads
And, my sister Molly's blog here:
Molly Jo Cooks

Dark Days and Comfort Foods

I've been a little stressed lately - I'm spending a lot of time working, and little time in my studio.  I think there's got to be a correlation there.  The house is messy and I've got an unending to-do list!
Cooking has been my solace as of late.  I think it has something to do with the weather, and my general mood.
Soba Noodle Soup
I made this soup last week, and again yesterday.  It is simply cooked (and well rinsed) soba noodles, veggie broth, 1/3 inch tofu cubes, cilantro, chopped green onions, and a tiny dash of garlic powder and ginger powder. Usually when I make soups like this, I make a lot, and eat it for lunch multiple days.  I love cooking, but I also love homemade leftovers.
099 - snow plow!
It has also been very snowy here - which is to be expected in South Dakota.  I think the difference between here and Wisconsin/Illinois is that the snow doesn't ever really melt.  Usually in Wisconsin we'd have a couple of freak days each winter where the snow would melt away leaving a gross muddy slush everywhere.  I specifically remember one Christmas in Wisconsin where all of us cousins were outside at my aunts house playing basketball in t-shirts because it was 65 degrees outside.  Those days where you could feel the sun and be reminded that summer will in fact eventually come back were so revitalizing.
At least now I am working from home, and get to see the sunshine every day.  When I was living in Illinois for grad school, I remember the second winter I was there my schedule was so intense that I rarely got to see daylight!  I taught an 8am class, and would be either on campus (in a windowless room) or at my studio (also windowless) and by the time I'd leave at around 7 or 8pm, it would be pitch black outside.  That was a hard winter.  I'm thinking I need a vacation someplace warm!
On the plus side, I got these sweet pyrex mixing bowls at the thrift shop last weekend!
053 - Crazy Daisy Pyrex Mixing Bowl Set
Nate was a sweetheart and went thrifting with me.  I'm pretty sure it may have had something to do with the fact that I let him bring a drum kit in to the house.  :)