2014 Steam Holiday Sale Haul

by 11:49 AM


The Steam Holiday sale is my favorite time of year! The past two years Andy and I have built/upgraded our PC for Christmas and then spent the remaining Christmas budget for eachother on games.
Although Steam has dominated the PC market for years, there is a rising trend that they are no longer the cheapest place to buy PC games. Despite this Andy and I have always made out well in every sale.
The Holiday Sale started December 18th and runs through January 02. Even though there are a few days left, I think we have gotten everything on our list this year.  I am not going to go through the specifics of how Steam sales work, there are definitely methods to getting each game you want at the cheapest price. If you want to start getting into Steam sales I highly suggest r/shouldibuythisgame or r/steam on Reddit. People go through and list what is on sale each day, suggest games, and help all the people who are just starting know when to buy a game during a sale.

I have included what we picked up from the Steam Expedition Sale as well, this was back in November.

I guess I will start off with the game I have been playing most since November, which is Don’t Starve!


I picked this up during the Expedition Sale and seriously, you need to stop what you’re doing and buy this game. I think we paid 1 or 2 dollars for this game and have put in 33 hours so far and there is still so much to discover and do still. It is an extraordinary survival game, it will drive you insane because it is so hard! Also I am obsessed with the artwork, the game just looks so cool! 
One of my purchases this Holiday Sale was the DLC for this game Reign of Giants so I am very excited to be done writing this, to go play more. 
They also just came out with Don’t Starve Together, a co-op version of the game. It has been on sale this year but, I did not purchase it because once it is out of Early Access, it will be free to anyone who owns Don’t Starve and I am typically not that into Early Access.

Next thing we picked up during the Expedition Sale was the Valve Complete Pack, this includes all the Valve titles which is 25 games, this is all the Counter-Strike collection, the Half-Life series, Portal 1 and 2, Team Fortress Classic and 2, Ricochet, Deathmatch Classic, Day of Defeat and Day of Defeat: Source and, Left for Dead 1 and 2.. Normally it is $99.99 we purchased it for 24.99. If you are just starting to build your PC game collection I highly recommend this pack. I have been reliving 1998 lately, with playing through Half-Life, maybe I’ll complete the series and Valve will finally announce Half-Life 3...One can dream right! Andy has been thoroughly enjoying playing Counter-Strike.

Last and actually least from the Expedition Sale was Terreria, I was so excited to pick it up, it was $1.50 and with all the amazing things I heard I had to get it!


However, it fell flat for me. I am a huge lover of Minecraft and Andy and I could not wrap our heads around Terreria, they are so similar but, in my opinion Minecraft is so much better! Part of me knows I just need to play it a bit more to get used to it, but with so many other games I am loving right now, that probably won’t happen for a while.


Okay This has gotten to be much longer then I had originally expected, bare with me, we’re almost there.

Next up on the list for the Holiday Sale was a 2nd copy of Borderlands 2 which we picked up for $9.99, this is so we can put it on both computers and play together. I actually haven’t played it at all yet! But, I know Andy is loving it and my sister-in-law who is normally not too much of a gamer has been playing it with her husband. So, I’m excited to start!

Our next purchase I give you full permission to judge me for. Grand Theft Auto IV, we picked this up for $4.99, with the Grand Theft Auto V PC release hopefully right around the corner, I felt like I needed to go back and play IV again. Personally I have always loved the Grand Theft Auto games (again, judge away) they’re just fun! I will not include a trailer fort this game, since I wouldn't want to subject you all to that :)

Now for a complete switching of gears we also picked up Lego Lord of the Rings for $4.99.

  

I am a huge Lego games fan, I have played a decent amount of them and have loved them all. They’re just fun to play when you feel like playing a game but don’t want to put in the mental effort other games require, but still fun enough to keep you interested. 

Okay only 2 more guys!

Today was one of my last purchases from the Holiday Sale was Brothers- A tale of 2 Sons.
 

Andy doesn’t even know I bought this yet but, it was only $1.49 so who can blame me. This is another one of those games that is always suggested when a Steam sale comes around and I just hadn’t picked it up yet. It’s an adventure, fairy tale game but, the story and game play look great and again, I’ve heard overwhelmingly amazing things. 

Now I want to end with Battlefield 3 we didn’t even purchase this on Steam, but it is definitely one of the most exciting purchases of the week! We bought this through Origin for only $1! This is a great place to take a quick detour and mention how excited I am for Battlefield Hardline to come out! 


I was so excited and Andy has been playing a lot of it the past few days. This just brings me back to the point I made earlier, that although Steam sales are amazing, other PC gaming clients are starting to really bring up the competition for sales, which is going to be amazing for the PC gamers out there!

Brown's Brewery -The Walloomsac Taproom

by 7:18 PM
This "Friday Fave" is a little early because I needed to share this place with you all as soon as I could.

Last weekend Andy and I, along with my Dad and Amy went to the new Browns Brewery location in Hoosick Falls, NY. It was wonderful!  The building used to be a paper mill and valve factory, now turned taproom and brewery. Located right on the Walloomsac River, it is an absolutely lovely location.

Pumpkin Ale, Oatmeal Stout, Cream Ale

These lights are only a small part of the amazing interior


The view from inside

The view outside

The owners of Brown's Brewery, Gary and Kelly Brown, are dedicated not only to their own business, but to stimulating local businesses throughout Rensselear county. Porktoberfest, the event we attended, is just another confirmation of their dedication to the area. This event was not only about their amazing beer and food. Porktoberfest was charity event raising money for CiviCure, a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to revitalize Hoosick Falls. CiviCure is currently focusing on the Wood Block and restoring it to it's former glory. There is a lot of under appreciated history in Hoosick Falls and the surrounding areas it is wonderful to see not only 2 business owners, but an entire community stepping up to breath life back into the town. I think this is only the beginning of what is in store for Hoosick Falls.

If you are looking for a place to go, their official opening date was 10/15/2014, so head to Brown's Brewery. You will not only get opportunity to support 2 business owners dedicated to helping the local economy but,  to enjoy really delicious craft brews and a great atmosphere.





The One Where Andy and Heather Get a Lighting Kit

by 5:50 PM
Hello blog world,

I have missed you!

As you may or may not know Andy and I bought this lighting kit a few weeks ago, nothing terribly fancy but, enough for what we needed. For the price I have been super impressed!



Tonight we finally had the time to play around and take some shots. So I wanted to share with you a couple that I liked the best! We had so much fun taking these be prepared for more!




That's all for today! More exciting things to come soon!

Love you all!
Heather




The Best Spinach Artichoke Dip

by 4:00 PM
I decided to share the Spinach Artichoke Dip recipe after how much everyone loved it over Labor Day weekend! On Saturday it was all gone in about 15 minutes and Sunday it got nothing but rave reviews! Now, My sister-in-law Jillian is probably giggling while reading this, if nothing for the fact that after 5 years I’m finally writing this dang thing down. A little back story, I first made this for a Thanksgiving 5 or 6 years ago, this is the original recipe, however, I obviously changed it, but in true Heather fashion, I never wrote down those changes. So, over the last 5 years Jillian and I have made it a few times, continually asking each other what the heck we did to it. So, Jillian, here it is the official, written down, Spinach Artichoke Dip Recipe!

Photo Cred: Recipris

Prep Time: 20 min Bake Time: 20-25 min Oven: 350

Ingredients - 1 14 oz can Artichoke hearts, drained
- 2-3 cloves of garlic
- 1 16 oz Container of mixed Romano, Parmesan, Asiago Cheese
- 1 10 oz container frozen spinach, thawed
- 1 8 oz brick of cream cheese
- 1/2 to 3/4 Cup Heavy Cream
- 1 Cup Mozzarella Cheese


Grease a 9x13 pan and preheat oven to 350.
Take out cream cheese and let soften, if you forget this step like I always do, pop in the microwave for 10-15 seconds to soften.
Add garlic, artichoke hearts to food processor/blend blend until coarsely chopped.
In a Medium bowl mix softened cream cheese and spinach. Once mixed well add in Mozzarella, then add in mixed cheese. Once combined, slowly add heavy cream until smooth, you may not need all ¾ cup, you do not want too much liquid. Add in artichokes and garlic.

Place mixture in greased pan and bake for 20 min, or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

There it is! I hope you enjoy this and if you have any changes make sure you write them down in a comment, so you don't have to wait 5 years for a final recipe!



What a Lovely Weekend

by 2:33 PM
Andy and I took some much needed time off work this weekend and we were able to spend some lovely time with our families! Saturday we headed to Chris's house, grilled food, and celebrated Hannah's 18th b-day. It was so nice to get together with everyone (except we missed The J's and those 2 boys a lot, I always miss Jillian extra amount when the family gets all together, all of our first married holidays were spent with her and Josh!).
Then Sunday we celebrated my grandmother's 94th birthday! It was lovely to see my whole side of the family. Celebrating grandma's birthday is always such a wonderful occasion, that woman has been such a inspiration and a huge part of my life. I unfortunately did not take my camera on Sunday, however, I have quite a few photo's from Saturday! Here are a few!

Sierra thought Grammy needed some chips.
McKenzie wanted to show me her great painted nails! Also how great is Madelyn's face in the background!
GrandPop and 2 of his grandbabies!




 Game Time! The older girls ( Hannah, Abby, and Sarah) had sign up sheets and everything!) Blernsball, yeah that's a Futurama reference, was a success!







And finally! Happy 18th Hannah! The younger Hannah, made an awesome cake and Dad Cox made some awesome Ice Cream!



More Pictures of More Things!

by 7:19 PM
So its been awhile, okay so it's been a bit longer then a while....like over 2 months but, I'm back and typing so be prepared. A lot has been happening over the last few months business is super busy, which is great, life is busy, all those other excuses that have kept me from sitting down and typing stuff to the 5 people who read this (hey guys). In my defense this post has been written and sitting as a draft for about 2 months now...so I tried. 

Anyways, this week I wanted to share with you all a few of the pictures I took for my brother-in-law! I do product photos for him once in a while and I really love how these came out!






There will be more to see once his website is up and running, I will try my best to remember to actually share that! 

This summer in general has seemed to fly by (I know how cliche is that line) but, it has been awesome starting our business and getting to use the things I'm passionate about to make a living! God is so awesome for giving me the opportunities to do all of this! It still baffles my mind that our business is actually growing and that I get to do awesome things like this for a living! I know you guys may be tired of hearing all about our business ventures, but I am so dang excited about it, I can't not talk about it. 

I promise I will try to write another post sooner than two months from now!

Picture Posts: Local Beauty

by 6:00 AM
Taking time for myself has proven to be a bit of a challenge lately. Between all of our business ventures, dinner, and attempting to keep the house semi-clean in the process, I feel like I haven't  had a minute to spare. So this morning I woke up extra early (5:30am) to be out the door for some me time by 6am.

I headed on a short walk to the little pavilion and dock in Fort Ann, I have kind of fallen in love with it down there. It's always empty and it can be pretty peaceful. If you can ignore the fact that the water is brown and look past the empty beer boxes from some teenagers party there, it really can be a beautiful place. I really wish it was taken care of a bit more, I think I am going to start taking a trash bag with me each time I go down there.
I am sure I just made it sound terrible, so I'll show you what it can look like when you ignore those things, a picture is worth a thousand words right?









It was a very nice little break this morning, sitting on the dock snapping a few photos. I hope you all enjoyed!

Don't forget that this blog is sponsored by Amazon! If you're looking for photo equipment, instant video, or art supplies head to our affiliate store, it's no extra cost to you but it helps support the blog!
http://astore.amazon.com/makeart-20


Friday Faves: Grilled Chipotle-Lime Fish Tacos with Brown Rice and Bean Salad

by 3:06 PM
Monday night I made these fish tacos, they were delicious! They are Gluten Free, but those in extreme cases may want to substitute the Vinegar. 

So, I decided to share the recipe with you all as my favorite of the week. This does have a marinating time of 8-10 hours, I hate when I get excited about a recipe and realize it has too long of a marinating time for me to make that night and of course it doesn't say that until the bottom of the recipe after I've already put it together so, I'm saving you  from that experience now.

This recipe is for 2lbs of fish.


Marinade:


1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 TBS Distilled White Vinegar
4 TBS Fresh Lime Juice (about 3-4 limes).
4 tsp Lime Zest
1 TBS honey
4 Cloves of Minced Garlic (I just cut the garlic into small pieces since my garlic mincer somehow disappeared)
1 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Chili powder
2 tsp Chesapeake Seasoning (Such as Old Bay™)
1 tsp Black Pepper
2 tsp Hot Pepper Sauce (I used Sriracha)
2 lbs White Fish (the original recipe called for Tilapia, I used Pollock because that is what I had in my freezer)

A tip on juicing the limes, don't just cut them open and squeeze the juice out. First roll them on the table with the heel of your hand until soft. This will break up the lime before you cut it resulting in much more juice. 




Whisk all of the ingredients above together in a bowl (Minus the fish, obviously). Place the fish in a shallow pan (I used a 9x13 baking dish) pour marinade over fish and refrigerate 8-10 hours.

Cook the fish according to any package directions. I grilled it over medium/medium low heat for 7-10  minutes, next time I will definitely broil, since this was a very delicate fish and it fell apart all over the grill.

Chipotle Dressing:

I also made this in the morning and let sit in the fridge all day, I would do it at least an hour before to let all the flavors "Make a Marriage" as my mother-in-law would say (That's also the name of my wonderful Sister-in-Law's blog, if you click the link you can be taken there).

Originally I planned on making this with Greek Yogurt instead of Sour Cream, which I will do next time, but I promised I would make these to everyone in the house before I could get some from work. 

So,
First step, run to the gas station across the street because you forget to add sour cream to your grocery list.




1 8oz Container of Sour Cream
1/4 cup Adoba Sauce from Chipotle Peppers (the original recipe called for 1/2 cup, but this stuff is seriously spicy and not everyone in our house is a huge spicy fan. If you can only find the can with both the peppers and sauce that is fine but do not add the peppers unless you want serious spice, I'll show you what we did with the leftover peppers at the end.)
2 TBS Fresh Lime Juice
2 tsp Lime Zest (I omitted this and just added a bit more lime juice, I was having serious zesting problems and I did not add as much Adoba sauce as the original, it had plenty of lime flavor)
1/4 tsp Cumin
1/4 tsp Chili Powder
1/2 tsp Chesapeake Seasoning (Again I used Old Bay™)
salt and pepper to taste



Toppings:
You can use what ever you would like for toppings but this is what we had.
Tomatoes
Coleslaw
Avocados
Shredded Cheddar
Cilantro






Brown Rice and Bean Salad
This is a wonderful summer salad, it's cool and refreshing, and it tied together well with the tacos. I made it in the morning also and let it sit in the fridge all day. Let it sit at least an hour before serving, to chill.




2 Cups Cooked Brown Rice
1 (15 oz can) Kidney Beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15oz can) Black Beans, drained and rinsed
1(15.25 oz can) Whole Kernel Corn, drained
1 small onion
1 diced Green Bell Pepper (I used 2)
2 diced Jalapenos
Juice from 2 limes (original recipe called for 1 lime and zest, however, there were a lot of comments it was too dry, so I omitted the zest and added more lime juice, in the future I will add the juice from the second lime right before serving as it was still a bit too dry)
1/4 cup Chopped Cilantro
1 Clove Minced Garlic
1 1/2 tsp Cumin
Salt to Taste




I eventually gave up on the tacos shells and just tossed the salad in a bowl and put the fish and taco toppings on top, that was amazing! Anytime we do this in the future it will just be eaten "Burrito Bowl" style!


I actually cannot take credit for the idea on what we did with the leftover peppers, this was all Andy's idea, which he got from having this at his brother Christopher's house. So good job Chris.
We took all the peppers and placed them in a mason jar and filled the mason jar with Olive Oil, 10-24 hours later....Voila homemade dipping oil!



Original recipes can be found:
http://allrecipes.com/recipe/grilled-fish-tacos-with-chipotle-lime-dressing/detail.aspx
http://allrecipes.com/recipe/mexican-bean-and-rice-salad/detail.aspx

 

Weekend Happenings

by 7:32 AM
There are so many great things that happened last week, the highlight would definitely have to be Drew and Sarah's grand opening of Travel Well. First and foremost it was just excellent to spend a whole day with Sarah, it's been far too long since we got to hang out, sure we were busy doing stuff but it was still great! Also their store is just absolutely gorgeous, check it out:








Then I got to have a completely spontaneous hang out sesh with Hannah! It was also LARAC (follow this link for information on what LARAC is) this weekend so Hannah and I walked around for like 3 hours, got some super delicious kettle corn, and just caught up on life. I got to see her adorable apartment which I had not seen yet. I almost forgot that our awkwardness seems to quadruple when we are near each other and in public. I am pretty sure every single person that saw us thought we were complete crazy people. Seriously we somehow couldn't even use an elevator that only spans 3 floors properly and lets be real, stairs just weren't a thing we felt like doing. One of us probably would have ended up falling down them anyways (it's okay, I give you permission to laugh because you know that's true and yes Josh I would have gotten a concussion). I am going to get all real for a second, I feel like I don't always give Hannah enough credit because it's hard for me to not picture the little 11 year old girl I met when Andy and I first started dating. However, hanging out with her this weekend really got me thinking about how much she has changed and grown up. It's been awesome to see the person that she is becoming and who her and Tyler are becoming together.
Okay sentimental moment over.

I feel like I have been working so much I haven't seen anyone! So it was wonderful to have all of Saturday to just see people.
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