Google WiFi

When it comes to my home internet I’m a bit obsessive. I check my speed several times a day, and I am very cognizant of latency. I’ve read deeply into cable modems and the “channels” they can handle as well as twisted pair DSL, and Fiber.  I digress into something more helpful.

I have always felt that 20Mbps should be enough for most homes, and my plan is currently at 200Mbps!  Even at these speeds my Netflix was buffering, and when I have multiple kids on Minecraft and the Wii the network feels like dialup. We have been through so many wireless routers that I have a graveyard of the ones that didn’t get returned. (anyone want a nighthawk?)

Mesh network technology has been around for a long time in internet years. It’s a sound technology and usually reserved for complicated setups and administration in businesses, and especially warehouse spaces. So when I was reading what Google and Eero and other companies were doing I was intrigued, but not enough to keep messing with my routers and my settings.

Then one fateful day I was walking through Lowes with Tina and we ended up in the home automation section (not shocking). I was explaining the various devices and how we should probably get some more Nest smoke detectors, when we came to the wifi devices. As I explained to Tina how these work,  it all clicked for me. Why would I NOT be using these!  Google had just conveniently discounted their 3 Pack to $269  I could not wait to find the time to install them.

The install took about 20 minutes. That is, from the time I opened the box to having placed the devices and we were up and surfing!  Our perceived bandwidth went from slooooooooow to almost predictive. Facebook on iOS no longer lagged on loading below the fold, Netflix was crystal clear…the whole show, and no one wondered when I paused their internet, if it was me or Comcast. Reliable home internet! Yay!

Buttermilk Brined Fried Chicken

Buttermilk-Brined Fried Chicken

Ingredients

3 cups buttermilk
1/3 cup kosher salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 1/2 pounds meaty chicken pieces (breast halves, thighs, and drumsticks)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 cup buttermilk
Half-Gallon Peanut oil

Directions

In a resealable plastic bag set in a bowl combine the 3 cups buttermilk, the coarse salt, and sugar. Cut chicken breasts in half crosswise. Add all chicken pieces to the brine; seal bag. Turn bag to coat chicken with brine mixture. Chill for 2 to 4 hours; remove chicken from brine. Drain chicken; pat dry with paper towels.

In a large bowl combine flour, the 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Divide flour mixture evenly between two shallow dishes. Place the 3/4 cup buttermilk in another shallow dish. Dip chicken into flour mixture in the first shallow dish, turning to completely coat. Dip flour-coated chicken in the buttermilk, turning to coat. Coat again with flour mixture in the second shallow dish.

Meanwhile, in a deep, heavy Dutch oven or kettle, (or a deep-fat fryer) heat 1-2 inches oil to 350 degrees F. Using tongs carefully add a few pieces of chicken to Dutch oven. (Oil temperature will drop; maintain temperature of 325 degrees F.) Fry chicken for 12 to 15 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink (170 degrees F for breasts; 180 degrees F for thighs and drumsticks), and coating is golden, turning once. Drain on rack, otherwise it gets soggy!

Keep fried chicken warm in a 180 degree F oven while frying remaining chicken pieces. Makes 6 servings.

Sunday Supper
Sunday Supper

Additional fun:

Spicy Buttermilk-Brined Fried Chicken:

Prepare as above, except add 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper to the flour mixture.

Pecan Buttermilk-Brined Fried Chicken:

Prepare as above, except, reduce the flour to 1-1/4 cups and add 3/4 cup ground pecans to the flour mixture.

Nutrition Facts per 3 ounces chicken: don’t worry about it.

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Chicken:
3-4 Chicken Breast Tenderloins
1 cup flour
1 cup cornstarch
1 cup pineapple chunks
2 cups bell pepper chunks
1 cup pearl onions
Salt and pepper
2 large eggs, beaten
1/4 cup canola oil

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. While the oil is heating, cut the chicken breasts into 1-inch pieces. Season with salt and pepper. Place the cornstarch in a gallon-sized ziploc bag. Put the chicken into the bag with the cornstarch and seal, tossing to coat the chicken. Whisk the eggs together in a shallow pie plate. Dip the cornstarch-coated chicken pieces in the egg and place them carefully in a single layer in the hot skillet.

Sauce:
3/4 cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons ketchup
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon garlic salt

image

Quick and Easy Alfredo Sauce

INGREDIENTS:
1/2 cup butter
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 cups milk
6 ounces grated Parmesan cheese
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
DIRECTIONS:
1. Melt butter in a medium, non-stick saucepan over medium heat. Add cream cheese and garlic powder, stirring with wire whisk until smooth. Add milk, a little at a time, whisking to smooth out lumps. Stir in Parmesan and pepper. Remove from heat when sauce reaches desired consistency. Sauce will thicken rapidly, thin with milk if cooked too long. Toss with hot pasta to serve.

Ham and Cheese Crepes

2013-03-18 10.01.40For the crepes:
250 ml whole milk (1 cup + 2 TBS)
125 grams AP flour (1 cup + 2 tsp)
2 large eggs
1 tsp kosher salt
5 grams unsalted butter, melted & reserved

1. Combine eggs & milk in blender and pulse to combine.
2. With motor running slowly add flour and salt, blend till completely combined.
3. Chill for 30 minutes to overnight.
4. Heat an 8″ nonstick (or crepe pan) over medium high heat.
5. Add butter, when melted add to batter and pulse to combine.
6. Add batter to pan, tilting and swirling to cover bottom of pan.
7. Cook until edges are slightly browned, approximately 1 minute.
8. Turn and cook for 15 seconds. Remove to plate till ready to use.

For the filling:
1/2 cup ham (preferably NOT smoked), diced
1 cup gruyere cheese, grated

For the sauce:
1 Pint mushrooms (white, crimini, shitake or blend), sliced
1 shallot, minced
1/2 clove garlic, minced
2 TBS flour, AP
1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
Butter for pan

1. Heat a large saute pan over medium high heat. Add butter to melt.
2. Add mushrooms and saute until light brown, add shallot and mushroom and saute until just softened.
3. Sprinkle flour over mushrooms and stir to combine.
4. Add milk/cream stirring to combine. Bring to boil and reduce to simmer.
5. Season with salt.

Crispy Fried Chicken

2013-03-17 18.29.312 1/2 – 3 lb. cut up frying chicken
Crisco for deep frying

SEASONED FLOUR:
1 1/2 c. flour
1 tbsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. poultry seasoning
Combine all ingredients. Set aside.

CRISPY BATTER:
2/3 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 beaten egg yolk
3/4 c. water

Combine flour and seasonings in a bowl. Combine water and egg yolk. Gradually add to dry ingredients. Heat Crisco to 365°F in deep pan or fryer to a depth of about 2-inches. Moisten chicken pieces. Dip in seasoned flour then into batter then back in flour. Fry in hot Crisco for 15 to 18 minutes or until well browned. Drain on paper.

5 to 6 servings.

Happy Birthday Marine!

•To the Shores of Tripoli (1805)

•Fortitude (1812)

•From the Halls of Montezuma to the Shores of Tripoli (1848)

•By Sea and by Land (1850’s)

•Semper Fidelis (1883)

 

Formal Colors of the USMC

•Scarlet

•Gold

•Forest Green

 

Official Marine Music

•The Marine Hymn (official song)

•Semper Fidelis (official march)

•The Marine Version of The Navy Hymn (official hymn)

 

Uniform Colors of the USMC

•1775 Green with white or buff facings

•1779 Green with red facings

•1798 Blue with scarlet facings

•1833 Green with white facings

•1840 Blue with scarlet trim,in force from 4 July 1840

 

Unusual Customs and Traditions of the Marine Corps

•Marines take the right of the line or head of the column when in formation with elements of the other sea services (i.e., the Navy and the Coast Guard, not to mention NOAA).

•All Marine posts have a bell, usually from a decommissioned ship of the Navy.

•In the US Navy, when “Abandon Ship” is ordered, the last person to leave the vessel before the captain is his Marines orderly.

•On a warship Marines do not man the rail.

•Whatever the regulations say, Marines do not use umbrellas.

•The Marine Hymn is the oldest official anthem of any U.S. military service.

•The Marines always stand at attention during the playing of the Marine Hymn.

•The Marine Corps March, “Semper Fidelis” by J.P. Sousa, is the only march authorized by Congress for a particular service.

•The “Mameluke” Sword, first adopted in 1826, is the weapon with the longest continual service in the U.S. Armed Forces.

•In the Marines, the phrase “I wish…” or “I desire…” uttered by a senior is considered an order.

•The crowns of Marine officer’s service caps are decorated with an embroidered quatre foil, a heritage of the days when such designs helped Marines in the rigging identify their officers on deck below.

•Since 1850 Marine sergeants have been the only NCOs in the U.S. Armed Forces to have the privilege of carrying swords on ceremonial occasions, a weapon of a pattern that makes it the second oldest weapon.

•Officers and NCOs of the Marine Corps wear scarlet piping on their trousers, said to honor the blood shed by the Marines who stormed Chapultepec Castle in Mexico City on 13 September 1847, and traditionally called the “Blood Stripe”.

•In combat Marines never leave behind wounded comrades, and attempt to recover their dead as well.

 

Three Traditional Names for the Marine Bulldog

•”Sergeant Jiggs”, used between WWI and the 30’s

•”Smedley”, used for the Corps’ bulldog from the 30’s to the 50’s

•”Chesty”, used for the Corps’ bulldog from the 50’s to the present

 

One Famous Marine Duck

•”Siwashi” accompanied the 2nd Marine Division into action on Tarawa,Saipan and Tinian, after which , she in the meantime becoming a mother was sent home to the US.

 

A Notable Comment about the 1st Marine Division

•”The 1st Marine Division is the most efficient and courageous combat unit I have ever seen or heard of”, MG Frank E. Lowe , US Army , 1950

 

Daily Ration Allowance in 1775, Continental Marines

•1 pd bread

•1 pd meat

•1 pd potatoes or turnips, or .5 pd pease

•.5 pt rum

 

Unusual Honors of the Marine Band

•The Marine Band is the oldest musical organization in the United States.

•Since 1869, the Marine Band has serenaded the CMC at his quarters on the morning of 1 January, after which they are invited in for hot buttered rum and breakfast.

•The Marine Band has played at every Presidential Inauguration since 1801, and is known as ” The President’s Own.”

Barstow-Calico KOA

Barstow Calico Koa

35250 Outer Hwy I 15 N
Yermo, CA 92398
(760) 254-2311

As we headed out on our first RV trip and making this the first KOA we have ever stopped at, it was a decent experience.  The park had good clean facilities.  The hookups were solid, and the playground was new.  It was easy to pull in and out of, and was far enough off the highway so noise was not an issue.

Valentine’s Day before the Saint

In ancient Rome, February was the official beginning of spring and was considered a time for purification. Houses were ritually cleansed by sweeping them out and then sprinkling salt and a type of wheat called spelt throughout their interiors. Lupercalia, which began at the ides of February, February 15, was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.

To begin the festival, members of the Luperci, an order of Roman priests, would gather at the sacred cave where the infants Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, were believed to have been cared for by a she-wolf or lupa. The priests would then sacrifice a goat, for fertility, and a dog, for purification.

The boys then sliced the goat’s hide into strips, dipped them in the sacrificial blood and took to the streets, gently slapping both women and fields of crops with the goathide strips. Far from being fearful, Roman women welcomed being touched with the hides because it was believed the strips would make them more fertile in the coming year. Later in the day, according to legend, all the young women in the city would place their names in a big urn. The city’s bachelors would then each choose a name out of the urn and become paired for the year with his chosen woman. These matches often ended in marriage. Pope Gelasius declared February 14 St. Valentine’s Day around 498 A.D. The Roman “lottery” system for romantic pairing was deemed un-Christian and outlawed.

What is Flag Day?

On June 14th, 1885, Bernard J. Cigrand, a 19 year old teacher at Stony Hill School, placed a 10 inch, 38- star flag in a bottle on his desk then assigned essays on the flag and its significance. This observance, commemorated Congresses adoption of the Stars and Stripes as the flag of the United States on June 14, 1777. This observance was also the beginning of Cigrand’s long years of fervent and devoted effort to bring about national recognition and observance of Flag Day. The crowning achievement of his life came at age fifty when President Wilson, on May 30, 1916, issued a proclamation calling for a nation wide observance of Flag Day. Then in 1949, President Truman signed an Act Of Congress designating the 14th day of June every year as National Flag Day. On June 14th, 2004, the 108th U.S. Congress voted unanimously on H.R. 662 that Flag Day originated in Ozaukee County, Wisconsin.