Monopoly: The Most Popular Game in History

I recently found myself playing a game of monopoly with my family. A game I haven’t played since I was a kid, I didn’t even remember the concept! I decided I would learn as we played. What I realized was that the more I learned, the less I wanted to play.

monopoly

 

Monopoly is a game that really makes you think.

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Back to School Blues

When you’re a student, there’s this wonderful thing called summer vacation, and the younger you are, the longer it seems to be. You get out of school in June and the summer stretches before you like a vast ocean, so big you can’t see the other side of it. You get blissfully lost in the days, enjoying every minute of relaxation, doing all the fun things you didn’t have time for during the school year, and generally forgetting that such a thing as school actually exists.

back-to-school-the-escape-place-blog

But then August rolls around, and your parents start talking about school again. “Isn’t it exciting?” your mother says. “You’ll have a new teacher, a new classroom, maybe some new kids you can make friends with. And you’ll be studying new subjects — won’t that be fun?”

 

Moms can be so naive, getting excited about school that way. You shrug your shoulders and change the subject, trying to make the summer last as long as possible by refusing to think about school.

 

But, truth be told, there is some excitement when the first day of school arrives. There will be some new people to meet, a new classroom, maybe a subject or two that could prove interesting. You reconnect with friends you haven’t seen all summer; you check out the new teacher; you think about making friends with that new girl or boy. It’s all very exciting, for a week or so.

 

But then it dawns on you that this is in fact, school, and there are rules and regulations you have to follow. It’s not summer anymore, when you could sleep late, eat whatever you wanted for breakfast, spend the day on whatever fun thing you could think of to do, and then stay up past your bedtime watching scary movies. No, this is school, and it’s a whole different animal than summer vacation.

 

You’ve got the back to school blues.

The Joy of Reading a Good Book

Today, it seems far too easy to get caught up in things that take us away from our own imaginations, or at the very least, give us time to relax and ‘get lost’ for a while. From smartphones to hectic schedules, and everything in between, it’s an unfortunate rarity that we get the chance to sit down and read a great book simply for pleasure. Perhaps, though, that’s part of what makes reading a good book so much more enjoyable in the first place.

Most of us start reading fiction books as a child, and are carried away into stories of far off places, invested in the lives of fictional characters, etc. But, as we get older and our lives get busier, we don’t seem to have as much time to get lost and carried away by the characters or stories in a book. We tend to lose the ability to let our imagination drift off simply because we don’t have time for it, or don’t see any benefit in it.

However, even as adults, there are countless benefits to sitting down and enjoying a good book. Not only have studies shown that staying mentally stimulated by reading each day can reduce the risk of diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Dementia, but reading also allows us to continue learning at every stage in life: It expands our vocabulary, improves memory, improves focus, and gives us better writing skills. To say there aren’t any practical benefits to reading isn’t only wrong, it’s an unfortunate way of thinking when there is clearly so much to gain.

If you only need one reason to enjoy a good book, though, enjoy it for the tranquility it brings. Finding time to experience the joy of a good book is a source of stress relief and peace, and if you allow yourself to get ‘taken away’ by that very book, even for a short while, it will add so much to your day filled with chaos, noise, and distractions. Plus, unlike many other forms of entertainment today, reading a book is basically free, if you use your local library, or very inexpensive if you purchase one.

There are so many benefits to reading a good book, but the most important is simply finding happiness and joy in what you’re reading, letting your imagination take over again, and finding a bit of quiet time for yourself to truly enjoy what you’re reading without having to think about anything else.

The Best Dish To Keep You Warm On Cold Days

The weather outside is getting colder and it’s getting darker early so that means that winter is fast approaching. With the temperatures dropping, you’ll want to keep yourself warm and there’s no perfect dish than some warm soup! Steaming hot soups are the perfect staple for a cold winter night. Soups are perfect because they warm up your insides with every spoon you eat and will have your taste buds craving more.

Soup has been around for centuries and they are fairly easy to make and are delicious. With so many different kinds of recipes, there’s a soup for practically everyone! And since many catch colds or get sick in winter, soups are the perfect feel better meals that the whole family will love. You can make them with your favorite ingredients and save them for later in freezer bags for the next chilly night. But regardless of the type of soup you make, it’s the perfect dish for a cold winter night! Here are two soups to keep you warm on cold days:

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup shredded Monterrey cheese
  • 1 avocado pitted and sliced
  • 1 8” flour tortilla grilled and cut into thin strips
  • 1 cup roughly chopped cilantro
  • 2 limes juiced
  • 3 chicken boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 14.5 ounce can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 14.5 ounce can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 2 jalapenos diced
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 small onion diced

Directions:

  1. Get a large saucepan and heat the vegetable oil
  2. Ass in diced onions and then cook for two minutes
  3. Then add garlic and jalapenos and cook for 1 minute more.
  4. Pour in the chicken broth, beans and tomatoes into the pot and bring to a boil.
  5. Once it starts to boil, lower the heat to simmer and add in the chicken breasts. Cook for 20 to 25 minutes then remove from the pot once cooked.
  6. Cool enough so that you can shred it and set aside.
  7. Add in lime juice and cilantro to the pot.
  8. In a serving bowl, add in a mound of shredded chicken and then ladle soup over it and top with a lime wedge.
  9. Top with the grilled tortilla strops, cheese and avocado slices.

The Awesomeness Of Microwave Popcorn

When you go to the movie theater, the first thing you probably do after walking inside is to hit the concession stand to get your popcorn fix! A movie night is nothing without a bag of popcorn smothered in butter, right? We love how it’s the perfect snack to eat while enjoying your movie and the fact that you can opt to buy regular or add some flavor to it with some seasoning, which many theaters are now providing as a delicious option.

 

microwave popcorn

And just as you’d buy a bag of popcorn when you’re seeing a new release in theaters, a movie night at home is nothing if you don’t have some microwave popcorn to accompany a relaxing night in. Microwave popcorn has come a long way with various options on your grocery shelves like extra butter, no salt, low-fat and so much more. It’s an easy snack to make and literally is ready in a matter of minutes. But the key to really making delicious popcorn and for getting the whole bag to pop is using your microwave’s “Popcorn” setting instead of punching in the time yourself. When you follow directions on the package, you usually either get burned popcorn, which leaves a nasty smell in your home, or popcorn with lots of un-popped kennels at the bottom of the bag.

A great way to add more flavor to your popcorn is by adding seasoning on top. You can either buy them already packaged or simply use a bit of garlic salt and Parmesan cheese for some added kick!

Here’s a delicious recipe for rosemary, garlic and pecorino popcorn:

Ingredients:

  • Bag of microwave popcorn
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • ½ freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese (or simply use Parmesan)

Directions

  1. Melt butter in a small pan over medium-low heat and then add the garlic and rosemary and cook for about 2 minutes until the garlic is slightly brown. Remove from hat.
  2. Pop the bag of popcorn in the microwave
  3. Pour the butter, garlic and rosemary mix over the popcorn and toss gently.
  4. Add the cheese to the warm popcorn and enjoy!

Carnival Glass and Its Wonders

Carnival glasses are molded, pressed, or patterned glass with distinct metallic and iridescent surface shimmer caused by the application of metallic salts while in the process of hot pressing.

carnival-glass

The first carnival glass was produced by Fenton Glass Company in 1907 with the aim to produce an elegant yet less expensive competitor of the iridescent art glasses created by Tiffany and Steuben. Since then, the sheer elegance of these unique pieces of home accessory has been taking the fancy of collectors. Check out this post to learn more about the carnival glass’ rich history, and why it’s a favorite piece among collectors and homemakers.

History

Carnival glasses first gained remarkable popularity in the 1920s. Although the demand for carnival glasses has significantly reduced at present times as compared from when it first hit the market, these glass pieces still continue to catch the eyes and interest of collectors and homemakers alike.

Back in the 1920s, the demand for these glass pieces has been so high that massive volumes were produced and some were even priced low enough for an ordinary household to afford. By allowing common housewives to adorn their homes with fancy and elegant-looking vases and decorative bowls, carnival glass began earning monikers such as Taffeta, Cinderella, and Poor Man’s Tiffany.

It was in the 1950s that this glassware earned the name “carnival glass” from being constantly used as prizes at carnivals, fetes, fairs, and festivals. And while some people were led to believe that carnival glasses were distributed mainly through this method, certain studies showed that the majority of these pieces was actually purchased by housewives to add glow and light to their homes during those times when bright electric lighting can only be afforded by families with higher monthly income.

Characteristics

Aside from the iridescent shimmer and the artistic carvings of these glass pieces, another thing that carnival glasses embody, if not the best attribute they own, is the uniqueness of each design.

Despite coming from the same mold, one carnival glass cannot be 100% identical to the other pieces. For example, while one of the three carnival glasses from the same mold will turn out to have a perfectly symmetrical shape, the next could come out folded inwards while the third could be curling outwards.

The edge of each piece can also vary from plain, frilled, pie crust, furrowed, or bullet, depending on the mold pattern. Some of the pieces have also been hand finished by meticulous artisans. These pieces are more sought by collectors nowadays.

Functionality

Aside from its unique characteristics, carnival glasses also offer functionality on top of being an eye-catching piece of home décor.  Some of the most popular functional pieces include flower vases, cups, drinking glasses and water pitchers, bowls, plates, and other types of specialized tableware.

Colors

Carnival glass can have different colors, shades, color combinations, and variants which have been officially classified at over fifty variations.

Each glass possesses their respective base color and this factor alone is a crucial element in the creation of a carnival glass. The base color is determined by looking at the area of the glass where no mineral salts have been applied. One can easily identify this by putting the glass up towards the light and looking through that specific area. This goes without saying that the base color greatly affects how that specific piece will appear once the mineral salt and the final firing, also known as post doping, has been executed.

The most common color would be marigold which also comes in lower prices in the market. Other  base colors include, amethyst, blue, green, red, and amber. These base colors also come in variations of shade, depth of color, as well as color combinations and variations.

Patterns

To address the ever-growing craving of collectors and customers for different and unique pieces, carnival glass manufacturers also aim to provide glass pieces in different designs and patterns.

This brought upon unique and distinct patterns from the region where specific carnival glasses are manufactured. Some of the most popular designs and patterns include; the distinct flora and fauna of Australia; swan, hen, and dolphin figures from England; geometric patterns from Germany which was coupled with stained bands of figures on an even marigold by the Czech Republic. Other distinct designs that came from other parts of the world include; ash trays and the Jeweled Peacock Tail vase from Argentina; and the elephant, fish, and hand figural sections on top of trumpet-shaped vases and highly complex goddess vases from India.

Now that you can buy them online, it’s not surprising that the number of collectors who are after these products are growing in number.

Do you see yourself as an avid collector of carnival glass? Share your thoughts with us!