Kamala Harris: Shattering The Glass Ceiling

Its inauguration day.

Thank you, Kamala Harris.

You may not agree with her politics. Sure, there are many policy debates to be had. A multitude of issues to address and vote on.

But today, this day, my daughter watched a woman become the Vice-President of the United States.

That glass ceiling has finally been shattered.

Today we watch the glass rain down in sparkling brilliance. Women cheer together with pride.

Not just for her.

But for those women who were cut, and bled, and fought for every small crack in that glass.

Women who never gave up.

Who looked around their world and saw no female scientists, no female doctors, no female politicians and thought-“Why the hell not?”

Because of them, that burden, that ceiling, has been lifted off of the heads of my daughter and her generation.

They will grow up learning about the woman who works in the White House.

It will be so incredibly ordinary for them. So stunningly normal. So amazingly commonplace.

I can’t help but tear up as she practices giving political speeches on her karaoke machine.

These little girls will have their own work to do. Their generation will pick up the fight.

Because the fight goes on.

But today… this day, we stand with Vice President Kamala Harris, and we climb through that broken glass together.

We rise above it and close our eyes, breathing in the fresh air.

The sun shines on womankind.

A blue sky of limitless possibilities.

The Heroes’ Journal

For “Respawn Point” January, we are talking about positive changes, habits, and routines that you can start right now to make yourself happier and healthier!

I want to talk to you about Journaling.

There are many ways to journal. And it doesn’t take a lot of time, energy, or money to get started!

So grab a notebook that you have laying around, and your favorite pen, and let me tell you about my new Journal. It is called The Heroes’ Journal and brandishes the tagline:

“Give your goal a quest”.

Let me tell you why I love this little Journal! You may decide to pick one up yourself (see the link below). Or, you might just be inspired to use part or all of the format of the journal to help yourself get started.

https://shop.theherosjournal.co/collections/all

Each day of the year has its own two-page spread, thoughtfully and artistically laid out for you with 7 writing prompts to get those mental juices flowing!

So, lets go through each of the features, one by one!

“Today I’m grateful for”

In this section, you are given 3 lines to write what you are most thankful for on that day.

Because this journal doubles as a day planner, I like to fill mine out first thing in the morning while I drink my coffee. It has improved my mood tremendously as I find myself focusing more on those positive things as I go through my day.

Day Planner

Here you will find an hour by hour schedule where you can plan out your day!

If you work from home, like me, it helps you to organize the things you need to do to keep you on track.

As a stay at home mom, it is so easy to sit down at the end of the day and feel like you didn’t really accomplish anything. By writing down all of the things you do, believe me, you will feel like a super hero!

If you do have sections of your day blocked out for work or school or other things, just having that visual will help you see where in your day you have time to do things for yourself!

No matter what your life looks like, by holding yourself to the standard you set in the morning, you are going to not only improve productivity, but you are going to feel happier!

“Today’s Allies”

No adventurer can accomplish their quest on their own! This section is similar to the “Today I am grateful for” section because it again asks you to look around for the positives in your life!

Maybe your ally is your partner, your kid’s teacher, one of your collegues, etc.

Whoever you have in your life helping you accomplish your goals for the day, it is nice to take this moment to acknowledge them in writing. After doing so, you may find yourself remembering to thank them in person too!

“My Quest”

This is your overarching goal for the day.

When you go to bed this evening, what do you need to do or feel in order for your brain to tell you “mission accomplished”?

It could be something very specific. For example, today my quest was to finish this blog post. It was something I had been trying to finish for a few days, and I knew that I would feel so much better if I could get it done today.

It could also be something more vague, a feeling you hope to achieve. Maybe you want to “feel healthy” or “Be a great mom” for example.

That brings us to the next section directly under your quest.

“To Seize the Day”

This section is a check-box style list that gives you a spot to write the 3 things you can do to accomplish your quest as featured above.

In the example of “Feel Healthy” you could say

  1. Work Out
  2. Take my vitamins
  3. Cook and eat a healthy meal

I love check lists because of the satisfying feeling you get when you check off the items one by one.

My favorite part of this little section is the famous quotes from nerdy books or media. There is a different inspirational quote every day from places such as the Harry Potter series, Tolkien, the Cheshire Cat, C.S Lewis, and many many more. I look forward to reading them every morning!

Dot Grid

This simple dot grid takes up a third of one of the pages.

It is a great place to draw, create, and be artistic! You can always use your phone as a day planner (and I do that too) but there is something inspiring about writing and doodling in a real, physical journal.

Just the act of writing gets the creative juices flowing and make you feel connected to your thoughts and feelings.

“Today’s Threats”

Every adventurer must face enemies or traps along the way.

This final section is a chance for self reflection and a quick dose of reality.

Maybe the enemy is within yourself. I personally suffer with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and find myself paralyzed by anxiety or just exhausted by it some days.

The enemy could be outside of yourself, a difficult co-worker, or even the weather!

Every day, there will be roadblocks in the way of you reaching the goal that you set. By writing them down, you call those enemies out of the shadows.

Because to defeat your enemies, you have to see them.

To sum it all up, I am really happy with this little journal. It is well laid out, well made, and visually appealing. My days have improved since using it, and I hope that reading this has inspired you to start a journal of your own!

Remember that your mental health is important and requires time and attention, just like your physical health.

So, take the time to be with yourself, talk to yourself, and encourage yourself. You deserve it!

Upcycled Popsicle Stick Bracelets

Have an obscure fandom that you want to display proudly, but can’t find any cute merch? Why not make your own???

These recycled popsicle stick bracelets are wearable by anyone, and oh sooo easy!

Here’s how to do it!

  • You’re going to need some popsicle sticks. You can purchase a bag of them at any craft store if popsicles aren’t really your jam.
  • Bring a pot of water to a boil.
  • Add your sticks to the boiling water and “cook” for 5 minutes. Make sure to boil MORE sticks than you need in case you have any issues with breaking or splintering later!
  • After cooking, turn off the burner and cover the pot with a lid. Let the sticks sit in the hot water for 20 minutes.
  • Once they are done soaking, you will be able to remove them from the pot and start “molding” them into the bent bangle/bracelet shape. If they give you too much resistance, you can repeat the boiling/soaking procedure again. I ended up having to do it twice.
  • Once the sticks are pliable enough, you will use a cup or jar to hold the sticks into the bracelet shape.
  • Let the bracelets dry completely. We had ours sitting overnight and they were ready in about 24 hours.
  • After drying, you can use the entire stick to make a bangle, or cut it in half to make more of a bracelet (don’t forget to round the corners to match). I found the bracelet worked better, as my stick wasn’t quite bent enough to stay in the completely rounded shape. I think some trial and error would lead me to use a thinner cylinder shaped cup to dry the sticks, making the bangle smaller. But I was really happy with the bracelet version!
  • Next you will need to drill 2 holes for the string of your bracelet. I used a small hand drill, but make sure you are VERY careful not to split the wood as you drill. It was precarious and I was very glad to have extra bracelets!
FAIL
  • Decorate your bracelet! I had these cute Baby Yoda stickers I got in my Christmas stocking, so I used those and a permanent marker to make my own adorable Mandalorian Merch! PRO TIP: I used a brown permanent marker to color the edge of my piece, giving a more finished look!
  • Thread your bracelet string. I used some left over yarn from one of my knitting projects, but I think leather string would be really cute too! Whatever you use, having a yarn sewing needle makes the job a breeze! They are only around a dollar at the craft store, so its definitely a smart purchase. I use it for lots of different projects!

That’s it, you’re done! Pair your new bracelet with a couple other cute bangles and beaded bracelets for a fun Boho Chic look!

Did I mention my daughter had a blast making them too and that they would make such cute gifts??

Have fun creating, and fly that geek flag with pride!

Why You Need a Motivational Water Bottle

For our first installment of “Respawn Point”, our New Years theme for the month of January, I would like to talk to you about a little thing called… water!

I had picked up a lot of bad habits in quarantine, so I decided to kick off this month with something so simple that I couldn’t really mess it up.

And “drink water” is as simple as it gets. Doctors recommend adults drink 8 glasses of water every day. We’ve all heard it. However, I could not seem to get my act together. By the end of 2020, I wasn’t drinking a single sip of water most days.

You heard that right.

I was filling my day with cup after cup of black coffee, or soda, or the occasional Starbucks. Not that there is anything wrong with any of those things. But if you looked at my Mana Pool, you would have seen that it was bone dry. I was walking around, looking normal, but feeling drained of all energy.

As a Christmas gift I received this SUPER CUTE motivational Harry Potter water cup. It is the kind with the times down the side to keep you on track throughout the day. It also has a strainer in the lid, if adding fruit to your water is your jam.

It was a game changer!

Now drinking water became a game. And I’m good at games. I wanted to win! So, I filled it up one morning, and made a very important decision…

I WAS NOW THE TYPE OF PERSON WHO DRINKS 8 GLASSES OF WATER A DAY.

And I did.

And here is how it went!

Day 1: “Finally got through all of that accursed water. I kept forgetting to drink it, or forgetting my cup in the other room and had to chug a bunch every hour or two to keep up. This afternoon I actually noticed that I was thirsty for the first time in what seems like forever. HAVE I BEEN LIVING MY WHOLE LIFE DEHYDRATED??”

Day 2: “I forgot the freaking cup at home during my morning errands so had to play catch-up all afternoon. I drank less coffee and soda than normal. Not because I am intentionally cutting down, but because I didn’t have time. Had to take an afternoon nap to deal with lethargy. How do people live without caffeine??? SO. MUCH. WATER.

Had to get up in the middle of the night to pee twice because I drank so much in the later part of the day. Lesson learned…”

Day 3: “Today, whenever I started feeling hungry, and I would normally grab something to eat, I would look at my water bottle and realize that I was falling behind on my drinking. By the time I chugged water to catch up to where I should be, 9 times out of 10 I wasn’t hungry anymore. Its weird how your body confuses the two.”

Day 4: “Not sure if I’ve lost weight (didn’t weigh myself at the beginning because that wasn’t really the point of this exercise), but definitely feel less bloated. Tummy feels flatter, and pants fit better. Actually felt like eating healthy and planning healthy meals for the first time in a very long time. Just generally feeling more motivated to be healthier. I have more energy today, even without my normal 3 cups of coffee and 2 sodas. This was the first day I finished my water EARLY. Honestly was not expecting to acclimate to drinking this much water so quickly. Also peeing, like, a lot.”

Day 5: “I drank all of my water by dinner time… then drank another half a bottle in the evening. Actually craving it for the first time. Its weird.”

Day 6: “Drinking all of my water is already becoming a non entity. Its just starting to happen naturally without having to think about it!”

Day 7: “I was planning on doing this day-by-day for 2 weeks, but I started feeling noticeably better much faster than I originally thought possible. I only had half a cup of coffee today, no other stimulants. And I had TONS OF ENERGY. I cleaned my whole house. And my skin is clearer as well, which is such a nice bonus! I wish I had started this sooner!”

One week.

That’s all it took to break free of my caffeine addiction and start drinking more water. And guess what? You can do it too!

Grab a glass. Start RIGHT NOW.

If you want a cute nerdy one like mine, here it is on Amazon!

Because here is the thing. A week ago, I was not the type of person who would drink 8 glasses of water a day. But today, I am.

And it doesn’t stop there.

What else does the type of person who drinks 8 glasses of water a day do?

That person eats healthy food. They take multivitamins. They floss. They go for walks. They encourage their family to drink more water too!

Its the Rube Goldberg Device of health! Start with one, small, seemingly insignificant thing. You might be surprised where you end up!

It’s Finally 2021… Now what?

After a holiday break with my little family, I am so excited to be back here at Dice Mom to continue our journey in parenthood, geekiness, and nerddom.

2020… Well, THAT happened.

We’ve been saying for so long, “I can’t wait for this year to be over!!” And, now that the chiming of the midnight bell is upon us… one question seems to be hanging in the cold, winter air… what are we supposed to do?

The pandemic is still here, for now. But that doesn’t mean we have to let allllll of the negativity of 2020 bleed into our new year. The vaccine roll out is happening, the light is THERE. Right at the end of this twisted sewer tunnel we are calling life right now.

So… now what?

January 1st is that special day of the year where you (in gamer terms) get the chance to reset, respec, and respawn. We can make goals. Think about what we want to be. What we want to bring with us, and what we want to leave behind.

After this hell scape of a year, how refreshing is that?!

So, for the month of January, our theme will be “Respawn Point!” We will be discussing some of my 2021 goals, and review some nerdy gadgets, gizmos, and games that I plan to use on my journey! Some goals are pretty cliche, others are more personal, but (most importantly) they are all attainable! Take a look! Maybe you will be inspired to get started on your own list today!

  • Drink more water.
  • Exercise every day.
  • Start journaling.

And while we’re at it…

  • Get more sleep.
  • Give myself grace.
  • Feel beautiful.
  • Do more of the crafts I love.
  • Hug my family more.
  • 100 Blog posts!
  • Never take the things we lost during COVID for granted again.

That last one is weighing the heaviest on me as I sit here on this chilly December afternoon.

Going out to eat. Hugging my grandma. Sending my daughter to school. Date nights. Going to the gym. Playing DnD or boardgames with friends around a table. Taking a vacation. Hanging out with my family on Christmas… It is all the more precious now.

So lets all take a deep breath and take the plunge into 2021 together! You may not be feeling motivated to join in with me just yet. And that is okay! Hopefully my “Respawn Point” series this month will inspire you to enter the new year healthier: mentally, emotionally, and physically. Whatever that looks like for you. We will probably have a few screw ups, complete fails, and some laughs along the way, but whatever happens, its sure to be an adventure!

Sembian Honey-Glazed Rothe Ribs

Here is another decadent recipe from this month’s featured cookbook Heroes’ Feast: The Official Dungeons and Dragons Cookbook. If you haven’t picked up your copy already, follow the link below so you can get more amazing recipes like this one!

When I think of ribs, I normally think of hot summer days, and ice cold beer. However, this sweet, sticky, recipe is just rich and savory enough to make the perfect winter dish.

The meat does have to cook in the oven for around 2 hours, so it is best done on a day that you are going to be home. However, the actual prep time is very minimal. The recipe says it serves 4 and we found that to be pretty accurate. My husband and I got two meals out of it.

I already had most of the ingredients for the sauce in my kitchen, which is a big thumbs-up from me with any recipe.

So, here is what you are going to need:

  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon oil (I used olive oil)
  • 1 Yellow onion, finely grated (I just chopped it finely)
  • Kosher salt
  • 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • 4 1/2 to 5 pounds baby back ribs, membranes removed if desired. (there are instructions in the cookbook on how to do this if you choose to). I used St. Louis style ribs because that is what my grocer had available. It worked just fine!
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced for garnish

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees with a rack in the middle of the oven
  • Line a large cookie sheet with foil and set a wire rack in it. (I really appreciated the foil during clean up as there was quite a mess on it at the end)
  • In a small bowl, whisk together ketchup, honey, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, and mustard until well blended. Set aside.
  • In non-stick skillet (I used a cast iron skillet) over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the onion and about 1/2 tsp. salt and cook, stirring, until the onion appears “drier”, about 4 minutes. The onions will look more clear when they are ready.
  • Add the garlic, chili powder, smoked paprika, and cayenne and cook, stirring constantly until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Add the ketchup mixture to the pan and bring to a simmer, stirring consistantly. Continue to simmer, stirring, until the sauce has thickened slightly and the flavors have blended, about 5 minutes.
  • Set aside off the heat to cool briefly, the mixture will thicken as it cools.
  • Sprinkle both sides of the ribs generously with salt and pepper.
  • Brush about 1/3 cup of the sauce on the bone side. Turn the ribs bone-side down, and brush the meaty side with about 2/3 cup of the remaining sauce. Put the rest of the sauce in the fridge.
  • Keeping the ribs bone-side down, roast until meat is extremely tender and the meat between the bones in the middle of the racks registers about 205 degrees. Roasting takes between 2.5-3 hours. Mine was ready at around 2.5 hours.
  • Check after 2 hours and cover with foil if the top is getting too dark.
  • When roasting is completed, adjust the oven temperature to 425 degrees. Brush the remaining 1/4 cup sauce on the exposed (meaty) side of the rack and continue to roast until the sauce heats through but remains sticky. Usually 8-10 minutes.
  • Transfer the ribs to a cutting board and cut as desired.
  • Sprinkle with scallions and serve hot!

I served my ribs with mashed potatoes and a leafy green salad with red wine vinaigrette. The starchy and salty sides really complimented the sweet sauce quite nicely!

If you are looking for other dinner options, check out this Traveler’s Stew Recipe also from Heroes’ Feast!

Enjoy your holiday season!

Hero Forge Minis: Creating the Characters You Love

My Dice Mom custom Hero Forge mini came in a perfect little cube shaped box on my front porch, and I couldn’t wait to lay eyes on her. I had chosen everything. Her clothes, her face, her hair, her accessories. She was beautiful. And she was me. Unique. One of a kind. Badass.

If you play DnD, or any other RPG, and have never visited heroforge.com to checked out their custom mini building software, you are in for such a treat!

Dice Mom is not my first mini from them. My first was actually a gift from my brother/Dungeon Master. We were running Curse of Straud (a DnD 5th Edition campaign) when he purchased each of us a Hero Forge mini of our then 5th level characters. Each of us had picked up unique, and sometimes quirky, items and baubles along the way, and each of our minis reflected those things.

It wasn’t just a mini. It was the story of where we had been together.

Whether you are playing in a classic DnD setting like Forgotten Realms, or a modern or post modern setting like Shadowrun, or even the Old West or Victorian England, the outfit choices and combinations are virtually endless!

I cannot stress this enough: there are so many character options! You have 44 races to chose from including all the player races and many monster races as well. You can also make most human-like races with slight modifications like horns or vampire fangs.

These minis also come with a variety of poses and facial expressions to really bring out your character’s personality!

If you are like me, you have spent hours online or in your local game store perusing for the perfect mini to match your new character. However, the choices available will never be exactly what you had envisioned. This program is the absolute best way to make those characters who are so unique that finding a premade mini just won’t cut it.

When I went to create Dice Mom, Hero Forge had added the new color option to their site, allowing you to create and purchase your mini in full color.

As much as I enjoy painting my own minis in real life, I wanted to try this new feature out myself. Because, lets face it, the thought of trying to paint, and then messing up on, a $40 mini is absolutely terrifying!

The color turned out really nice. The fill is even and the color doesn’t bleed over into areas its not supposed to (like so many sloppy pre-painted minis you get from the store). There isn’t much in the way of detail work. The face doesn’t have painted eyes, and shading is minimal. However, for a “pull out of the box” painted mini, it is very well done.

These special little minis make great Christmas or Birthday gifts for your friends! You can make a mini of their character in your campaign, like my brother. Or, you can make a mini of THEM, like I did with Dice Mom. Either way, the DnD player in your life will absolutely adore it.

One day soon, we will dust off those minis and dice bags. We will all be able to gather and play in person again, whether in our homes or in our favorite little Main Street game store. Until then, as always, safe adventuring, my friends. And be well.

Apple Cinnamon Baby Yoda Ornaments

Its time to make some ornaments! We decided to make these because:

1. We are obsessed with baby Yoda. (I mean… who isn’t??)

2. They smell AMAZING!

and

3. It was super easy and fun for our 6 year old to make for her teachers and family members.

We made apple cinnamon ornaments last year in my daughter’s kindergarten class, and they were so simple. In that batch we mixed in glitter and used star cookie cutters.

This time I wanted to do something a little geekier for my dice rolling fam, so we settled on baby yoda!

Here is what you will need:

1 cup of apple sauce

1.5 cups of cinnamon

A small amount of flour

Large bowl, rolling pin, cookie sheet, wooden skewer, and parchment paper

Angel shaped cookie-cutter

Acrylic paint in Baby-Yoda-Green, white and black (or a black sharpie) and brushes

Yarn or string for hanging

That’s it! You may not even need to buy anything to make these ornaments. If you are a mini painter like me, you can raid your mini painting station for the paints you need!

Directions (This is the way):

  • Preheat the oven to 200F
  • In a large bowl, mix together cinnamon and apple sauce. It will need to be a ratio of approximately 1 cup apple sauce to 1.5 cups cinnamon. This is something that you will have to tweak depending on how many ornaments you want to make and how the dough feels. You and your kiddo will really need to get in there with your hands and mix. It should be the consistency of playdough. If it is too wet, add more cinnamon. If it is too dry, add more applesauce.
The cat was very excited to help as well.

Willow really liked this part, even though she is usually averse to getting her hands messy. I think it helped that it smelled soooo good. She kept commenting on how nice it smelled.

  • After you have your dough ready, sprinkle the flour onto your work surface so that the dough doesn’t stick to the table when you roll it out. You will also want to add some flour to your rolling pin, as we found that the dough tended to stick to it also.
  • Roll out your dough. You want it approximately 1/4 inch thick.
  • Once your dough is rolled out evenly, use the angel cookie cutters to cut out your shapes.
  • Using a butter knife, carefully remove the angel’s heads (we pretended they were Weeping Angels from Doctor Who so we could feel less bad about it). The angels wings will now be Baby Yoda’s ears, and the torso will now be his cute little face!
  • Roll out the leftover dough and repeat the process until you have all the ornaments you want.
  • Take a wooden skewer (or even just the handle side of one of your small paint brushes) and make a small hole at the top of Baby Yoda’s head for the ornament hanger.
  • When the ornaments are ready, carefully place them on a parchment lined cookie sheet.
  • Place the cookie sheet in the oven for 1.5 hours.

The house will smell amazing. You’re welcome!

  • Remove the cookie sheet and allow the ornaments to cool completely. They should be rock hard now.
  • Paint the head of the Baby Yodas green. Allow the paint to dry.
  • Using black paint, make his big adorable eyes. Since Willow wanted to do the eyes, we used a permanent marker instead for extra control.
  • Taking a small paintbrush, carefully add a small white dot to each eye to really make them pop!
  • Finally, thread the yarn or string through the hole at the top of your ornament.

And voila! You’re done!

I was really impressed how much a 6 year old could actually do themselves on this project. I really had to do very little after giving some basic directions. She was very proud and excited to give them out!

Have fun making your ornaments, and don’t forget to follow dicemom.com to see more from our “Make the Holidays EPIC” series!

Traveler’s Stew

Here we are a little over a week post Thanksgiving cooking marathon, and we can’t live on the leftovers anymore. Some of you may find this disappointing. Or, if you’re more like me, you are super over turkey… at least til next year.

So, the question looms, what are you going to make this weekend? I tried out this delicious stew recipe that can be found in the “Heroes’ Feast” official Dungeons and Dragons cookbook. Its currently on sale on Amazon, so its the perfect time to click the link below and pick it up!

You can find my full review of this cookbook here: https://dicemom.com/2020/11/06/heroes-feast/

Super simple directions, quick to throw together, and easy to find ingredients make this recipe the perfect dish for a lazy weekend. Just put it in the pot, let it simmer, and make your house smell AMAZING.

And this recipe has a fun twist-BEER!!

Here is what you are going to need:

  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (I used olive oil because, as an Italian American, this is what I use in almost everything)
  • 1 cup dark beer (I used Guinness Draught Stout)
  • 4 cups low sodium beef broth (I used regular beef broth because I already had some in my pantry. I just made sure to use less Kosher salt)
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch rounds
  • 3 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, 1 teaspoon of salt (I used garlic salt because I love garlic), and several grinds of pepper. Add the beef and toss to coat well.
  • Warm the oil in a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook for about 5 minutes, turning to brown all sides evenly. The recipe says to do a little of the meat at a time in batches, to be sure not to overcrowd the pot, but I was impatient and just did it all at once. I kept a close eye on it and it turned out fine. Just had to stir more often.
  • Take all the meat out of the pot. It was at this point that I put a little meat to the side for my super picky eater so that she could have “plain” meat to eat if she didn’t like the stew.
  • Pour the beer into the empty pot and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits. Most stew recipes use wine, but the beer in this recipe gives it a nice earthy, malty flavor.
  • Return the browned beef to the pot and add the broth and paprika.
  • Adjust the heat to low, cover, and cook at a simmer until the meat is very tender. 1.5-2 hours.
  • Add the onions, carrots, and potatoes to the pot, and continue to simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes.
  • Stir in the parsley and season with salt and pepper as needed.
  • Serve hot!

Traveler’s Stew was a huge hit at our house. Hearty, warm, and thick, it was the best way to warm our souls on a chilly winter’s day. The leftovers were just as delicious! We had enough to make 2 or 3 meals out of it, so that was a really nice treat later in the week.

We served our stew with buttered bread, or you could make warm rolls to sop up the dark beer-infused broth.

For the DnD nerds among us, the “Heroes’ Feast” book has a wonderful little description of the inspiration for the dish:

“Nothing is more welcoming to the battered, trail weary adventurer than the unmistakable scent of beef and ale wafting from a bubbling, flame-licked cauldron. Find a seat near the inn’s blackened hearth and take a load off-warmth and safety are finally at hand.”

If you are on the hunt for more great dinner recipes, check out my take on Sembian Honey Glazed Rothe Ribs also brought to you by Heroes’ Feast!

Enjoy your time bundled up with the ones you love, and stay safe my friends.

Must-Have Stocking Stuffers for the Nerds You Love

I don’t know about you guys, but I really enjoyed transforming my house this weekend into my own little Christmas wonderland. Pulling out all my daughter’s ornaments she has made, seeing my Doctor Who Christmas stocking, shaking my Star Wars snow globe… the whole thing just brightened the house right up! And after being stuck in for weeks now… boy did we need it!

Like many of you, we also sat down to write our Christmas shopping list. Then we got online to try and get as much done from home as possible!

So, if you have a special nerdy friend or family member in your life and need some fresh ideas for holiday shopping for this year, I’m here to get you started!

With Cyber Monday upon us, snuggle into your favorite Christmas sweater, make a piping hot cup of hot coco, and settle in! Here are my top 20 favorite geeky stocking stuffers from Amazon!

The Dungeons and Dragons Player

This gorgeous piece of jewelry is perfect for the Gamer Girl in your life! I have one of these, and it’s so fun to switch out the d20 to coordinate with different outfits!

Does anyone NEED a d100 die? No. No, they don’t. But who wouldn’t love to have this baby in their stocking??? It’s just so cool.

I love this classy looking dice bag. It also doubles as a dice tray, to save your table from all that rolling!

And for that special Dungeon Master in your life that already owns every DnD thing imaginable, these funny little coasters will be a fun addition to their gaming space.

The Star Wars Enthusiast

If you know someone who can’t stop talking about the new show The Mandalorian on Disney Plus, (and we all do), these little guys are the perfect desk accessory.

And what is a perfectly stuffed stocking without a pair of adorable socks? These guys are unisex, so you can grab them for anyone!

This salt and pepper shaker set is so vaguely nerdy, that you might not even notice they come together to form the Death Star! So chic!

The Marvel Fan

What is cooler than Deadpool wielding candy cane daggers. Nothing. The answer is nothing.

You can never have too many refrigerator magnets. And look at these little guys! Look at tiny Nick Fury! They’re so cute!

The Hobbit

This beautifully engraved bookmark is the perfect gift for the bookworm in your life.

The tree of Gondor is one of the most elegant symbols of the Lord of The Rings and Hobbit universe. This stopper is a very classy gift for your wine drinking friends!

And for that special lady elf in your life, Arwen’s necklace will absolutely enchant her.

The Gamer

These metal Legend of Zelda coaster are so gorgeous, most guests won’t even realize they’re from a video game!

This adorable Minecraft Redstone Ore statue is just tiny enough to fit in a stocking and it glows… just like in the game!

If they own a Nintendo Switch, I guarantee you there is a game out there that they want to buy. A gift card may not seem personal enough to give as a full on gift, but it makes a perfect stocking stuffer!

For a more practical gift, consider a pair of Blue Light Filter Glasses. They’re the perfect accessory for anyone who stares at screens for any length of time!

The Sci Fi Nerd

We are huge fans of tiny notebooks in our house, so when I saw this Star Trek Captain’s log tiny notebook, I knew it would be a big hit!

It’s everyone’s favorite character from Adventure Time, BMO! This cute mousepad will roll up nicely to stuff inside a stocking!

I have a good feeling that masks will be the “go to” stocking stuffer this year. Let’s face it, the ones we have been using are getting a little worn out. So why let their geek flag fly! This Doctor Who mask is not only nerdy, but it’s actually really pretty too!

For my X-Files fans (I know you’re out there), this classic little cuff bracelet is just a touch of nerdy and a whole lot of chic!

I hope this list gets you excited to shop for those amazing, nerdy people in your life! Don’t forget to head back to dicemom.com for all of your geeky Christmas inspiration needs!