Token-Spell Mushrooms

This past week we have been working on the new card game that we have been code naming "Magic, Inc." Currently it is in a playable but by no means complete stage. It is a puzzle-based game in which you try to use the cards you have available to create machines that generate resources and then create more machines that turn your resources into points. We are enjoying it.

Last week, if you recall, we dogsat for the family Mike home teaches. To thank us, they gave us a WalMart gift card. That was so kind of them, and since Mike refuses to set foot in WalMart, Alison told the girls that they could have half the money for helping so much with the dogs. They were looking for My Little Pony coloring books, but instead found a My Little Pony story book with 12 toy ponies and a playmat. They absolutely love it and have been playing with it every day for a week. With the rest of the money, Alison picked up some tubes for Rea's pedal bike, and she ended up spending all but 2 cents of the money on the gift card. Perfect!

Since they have a lot of ponies all of the sudden, we have been playing a lot of my little ponies recently. My pony name is Muscle-Sparkle, and I know all of the names and temperaments of the ponies so I am practically a Brony.

Timmy has been a bit better about being set down recently, but Alison is in the habit of letting him watch a Signing Time DVD while she's milking the goats to try and cut down on the screaming. Somewhat to her surprise, with almost no adult input (his sisters watch the movies with him), he has learned the signs for "more," "water," and "mommy" (although the last two look identical). It's very cute and also very exciting that he could learn that while Mommy milks the goats.

Timmy is also starting to pull to standing on handy furniture and Alison has seen him take a step or two holding on to things. However, he's still convinced that he is much put-upon and screams direly if he has to crawl more than two feet to get to something he wants. So we are not encouraging him to stand until he mans up and starts crawling properly. (Alison is getting a little frustrated with having to carry him all of the time.)

We didn't really have any plans for Friday, but we're trying to go on a kidless date every week, so we got a babysitter for an hour and went to Home Depot. The kids get very impatient there, so it was nice to be able to talk and plan and do math without their distractions. We bought the supplies to convert one of our low cabinets into a dish cupboard with slide-out shelves, so that the girls can be completely in charge of setting the table for meals.

On Saturday Mike made another Blue-Brie Cheese while Alison took Timmy with her to the Stake Relief Society day. This time the make went more or less correctly (as opposed to the last time we tried, when literally not one step actually followed the recipe), so we are hopeful that in a few weeks we will have a good new cheese. Alison is storing up some blue cheese recipes. Mike also managed to get the new dish cupboard almost done while Alison was gone.

Saturday afternoon we joined Scott, Sheila, Max, and their new baby Shilo for a mushroom hunt in the wilderness. Apparently Max bravely tried a button mushroom in a Chinese dish and decided that he loves mushrooms and wants to hunt them. It's a little early for mushrooms, and with the crazy winter weather we're not sure whether this will be a good year for them, so we weren't too surprised that we didn't find any. But it was lots of fun to go for a walk, and we got to pet some horses.

Sunday Alison woke up with a nasty sore throat. She managed to not have to lead singing time at church and is trying not to talk, in hopes that it will heal soon. She made Mike take Monday off work to help her with that. So we did not make it a whole week without being sick. At least the kids are doing better.

Mike is also working on preparing for the Ion Award competition. He has to present each game to a panel of judges, so he's been rehearsing his presentations. One game company owner just posted online a document of "What I like and don't like when people pitch games to me," so he's using that as his guideline. We are very, very excited for this! Only a few more weeks!

Once this post was written we asked Rea and Sara what to name the post. If they hadn't come up with a name it would have been named 'practically a brony', but their chosen name was 'Token-spell Mushrooms'.

Before publishing this post, we decided to taste our two cheeses that were due to be opened this week. First up was, du du da... the Terror Cheese! "Terroir" is a French word meaning earth, and in the context of food it refers to the individualized flavor due to the environment in which the food was raised (and aged, in the case of cheese and wine). Our Terror Cheese was our first attempt to allow wild molds that are in the air of our house to colonize the outside of our cheese. Up till now we've waxed all cheeses out of fear that the wild molds would make them inedible, but "natural rinds" (the official name for wild-mold cheeses) are the traditional way to make artisan cheeses, so we decided to try it. The attempt was not made without fear and trembling, however, which had something to do with its name.

Somewhat to our surprise, the Terror Cheese turned out to be very good! It must have been a Derby to start with, because it tastes distinctly cheddar-y. But blue molds must have colonized the rind, because the outside edge of the cheese has a distinct, though faint, blue flavor. It was more of the texture of a Parmesan than a Cheddar: dry and crumbly. That's probably due to not enough humidity where it aged, since with no wax the water could escape much more easily. But all in all, it was an excellent cheese, and the girls absolutely loved it.

The second cheese was a four week old Brie. Our book says not to age Brie above six weeks, but this one is not terribly flavorful and still too acidic, both of which additional aging would help with. So we will age Bries longer in the future. The girls don't like Brie in general, and this was no exception. Oh, well. It looks lovely, and it will be good in recipes, if not as amazing as we hoped.

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