Love is…sometimes saying no.

3 Apr

One of the hardest things about being a good parent is saying NO. We want to be a friend and to be loved, but what our children really need is for us to be the patient disciplinarian. Strong boundaries help to make a child feel secure.

Creativity is best served by telling your child to entertain themselves, to go outside and play, or to figure it out on their own. Let them get dirty, let them build and explore, but then make them clean up when they are done.

Love your child, by having high expectations. Failure is part of learning, let them fail and then help them learn to succeed and persevere. Help them be the best they can be, but not somebody else’s best.

Tell them about God’s love. Sometimes, God says no. Often, God makes us figure it out on our own. Always, God wants us to be the best we can be. And, even when we fail, God’s love never does.

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A child needs a father

27 Feb A child needs a father like a fish needs water.

In our headlong rush to provide opportunities to girls–something I am in favor of doing. We have forgotten how important men are in children’s lives. The statistics are frightening. Having a father present, makes it less likely that boys will drop out of school or end up in jail, but it also makes it less likely that girls will engage in dangerous activities and early sexual relations. An intact family is much less likely to be or stay in poverty. So, I made up a quote and an early father’s day card. I think it would also be appropriate to say—Like a child needs The Father!

A child needs a father like a fish needs water.

“A child needs a father—

like a fish needs water.”

Amy Wombwell

Bikini Body Ready Just in time for Spring break

25 Feb

Here is an article I wrote for examiner.com. I have read so many diet books over the past decade, and wanted to share the good advice in a short simple way. I have also been able to keep the creeping pounds at bay using these methods. I have published a bunch of dessert recipes lately, but obviously, I can’t eat a bunch of sweets and stay thin. I find cooking and nibbling works well. For some reason, when I cook I don’t need to eat as much, go figure! I will be adding some delicious recipes ideas that follow the rules for losing weight, particularly belly fat. I would love any links to High protein, low carbohydrate recipes You have!

Thanks and Good eating to you!

Just click on the link below!

Bikini body ready for spring break

Apple Pie Perfection

8 Feb Apple pie in the Apple

Sarah’s 18th birthday is today!!! How did the time go so quickly? I think it went quickly because she has been so much fun. She likes to bake and craft, so of course we had to make a special treat to take to school. Sarah has IB Calculus first block and it is a small class with a great teacher–not just because she let’s the girls bring in goodies, but she loves math and helps the girls love math too (it is an all girls school in case you were worried about the boys being ignored.) I linked this up over at Hollie Rogue’s Photo Friday link up party. It is a great place to see and be seen. click on over there to see what’s new.

So what should we make? One of Sarah’s favorite desserts that I make is an apple custard tart. I’ll definitely be making that for the blog sometime, but we have been seeing these adorable apple pies baked in the apple on Pinterest. We saw one at Testado, Provado e Aprovado , it looked both easy and wonderful, so I only changed it a little. Our test Pie was delicious, even though it broke open. I think we carved the inside out a little too much. Here is our version:

Pie crust: adapted from the kitchenaid manual.

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup shortening –I use coconut oil, which is solid instead of Crisco solid.
1/3 cup  cold  salted butter
5 or 6 Tbs. cold water, add a very little bit more if the dough won’t hold together.

Put all ingredients except water in bowl. With either the paddle attachment on the kitchen aid, or a pastry cutter, cut shortening into flour until it is  like crumbly pea gravel. Then slowly add water and blend until the dough just holds together. Gather it in a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and place it in the fridge to chill.

Now cut the tops off the apples, not too far down. Cut the apple top up and peel the skin off those pieces. Now leaving the apple skin intact with about 1/4″ of apple left to give it some strength. First cut out the core, throw out the core pieces, and save the rest. We sprinkled lemon mixed with a little water on the apple pieces to keep the brown down. Make sure your apple pieces are cut up into small pieces. You will have more apple than you need, so don’t worry about doing it perfectly.

Mix in a bowl, not with apple yet:–for 8 apples, obviously less for fewer more for more!

1/2 cup sugar –I like raw sugar it has more flavor.
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
1  tsp vanilla

In a small bowl put a heaping 1/2 cup of apple bits and 2 Tbs. of the sugar flour mix. Mix them until the apple is completely covered. Put the coated apples in one of the hollowed out apples, add some bits of butter on top about 1/2 Tbs per apple. Repeat with the other apples and set aside while you roll out the pie crust dough. Pre-heat the oven to 375*

   

Separate the dough into two pieces, on a floured surface roll out half the dough until it is about 1/8″+ thick. Try to roll and handle the dough as little as possible, so that it stay flaky. We used a circular plastic container that was about 5″ in diameter as a cookie cutter, cut out as many tops as you can with the first batch of dough. Add the leftover dough to the second half, and roll it out again and cut out the rest of your tops.

 

The tops need a small vent to let steam escape. We use a mini flower cookie cutter and then put the scrap back on the crust as decoration. Put the tops on the apples, don’t worry about pressing them in place they will naturally fold around the top as they bake.

Bake for about 40 minutes, when the crust looks golden brown in a bubbling syrup they are done. Let them cool for at least ten minutes  before serving.

I love you S’more!

7 Feb I Love You S'More!

I Love You S'More!

Really wonderful s’more cookie recipes have been floating around pinterest. These would make great Valentine’s Day treats, or just good snacking fun. the basic idea is, A graham cracker base with chocolate cookie dough on top with marshmallows and a Hershey’s Bar piece. Because marshmallows can make this a little too sweet, I adjusted my cookie dough recipe a little. It is pretty easy, and theywere a big hit for SuperBowl.

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 375*

Lightly grease or line with parchment 2 cookie sheets. Line sheets with graham cracker broken into squares.

Mix dry ingredients,

2 1/4 cups flour,

1 tsp salt,

1 tsp baking soda

–set aside

Blend

1 1/2 sticks of butter,

1 cup brown sugar,

1/4 cup regular sugar

until creamed.

Add 2 eggs, and 1 tsp vanilla continue blending.

Slowly add dry ingredients

Now add blend in 1 cup of chocolate chips.

I decided about 4 marshmallows per square was better than the 2 per square I show here. Press a heaping Tbs of dough onto the marshmallow topped graham crackers. let the marshmallows peek out the sides.

Bake for about 6 or 7 minutes,

Now bake for another 5 to seven minutes you want the cookie dough cooked, but still soft. Then cool break them apart and enjoy. And did we ever enjoy them.

Awesome Valentine Art to Make and Share

6 Feb

Love sees more

You can make this personalized word art as a gift for Valentine’s Day. Tagxedo.com will take your words, in a shape you choose, in colors you pick and even in a fonts you choose.

Here is how:

1. Go to Tagxedo.com

2. Go to the create page, the tab is on the top right

3. At the top of the left hand side pick “Load”

4. In the lower half of the box, type in any words you want, like, love, joy, spouse, Friend, partner… Any words you want to stay together type as one word, ValentinesDay, HappyBirthday,

5. Hit submit. See the note at #7–Also, any time you get the theme, font, or orientation just right, click the lock button by that attribute to save it.

6. Then most of the way down the box on the left click “shape” a bunch of options will pop up. Pick any which  strikes your fancy!

7. Tagxedo will fill it with your words. Don’t worry if they’re not all there right now, and there are no number. We will get to that later.

8. Click Theme, a selection of color pallets will pop up, try a bunch until you find the right one. Also, clicking on the same button will change which color is most dominant. You can also do this by clicking color on the left side menu.

9. Just above the Twitter and Facebook options, click : “Word/Layout options…” First click the Word tab.

10. This is where you tell it to recognize numbers, or punctuation. Play with these options choosing yes and no and see how it changes your word art.

11. Next go to the Layout tab. Emphasis is how many big words you have, and how big they are, the higher the number the bigger the words. Maximum word count is the total number of words in your shape. The higher the count the more words, try it with lots and only a few. Tightness is how closely packed your words are. Play with the other options until you’re happy.

12. Now go up to Font, near the top on the right hand side. See if changing the font makes it even better. If you like it, lock it!

13. Next try the various orientations, when you are happy, Lock it!

14. You should be about ready to save your art to your pictures on your computer. At the top, click–save, share, print. Save it as you would a picture, you can even pick the size–more pixels, bigger picture! Then print it off, Or better yet order your art to be made as a T-shirt, or Tote etc. There are some advanced options such as loading pictures which I haven’t tried yet. But I can’t wait!

By the way, I made all these images in about a couple of  hours with no directions, it is that easy! This site is so much fun, think what great gift you could make for friends or grandparents. The prices seem fair to me for the products, and while I’d love for them to sponsor me; they don’t even know I exist!

Happy almost Valentine’s Day, I have some recipes to share, but I was having so much fun with this that I won’t get them up until tomorrow!

Amy

I Love You–Pink Marshmallows

31 Jan

For Emma Kate’s 5th Birthday—this recipe is for you!!! These are the best gourmet marshmallow ever, ever, ever, really they are that good. I promise. Hollie Rogue has a fun photo contest on Fridays, there are lots of fun pictures over on her site.

I Love You--Pink Marshmallows, the best marshmallows of all time!

Marshmallows became a fixation for me when my sister made an amazing sweet potato casserole for Thanksgiving dinner topped with homemade marshmallows. They taste better and have more character than store bought marshmallows. I developed marshmallow envy. Even when something is really good, I have to make it better. So how does one make something as simple and sinfully sweet as marshmallows better? Well, my first rule for great cooking. Rule #1–Always use the best ingredients available. Actually, use better ingredients than the recipe calls for!

Start with a good basic recipe and add to or modify it to suit your tastes. Pinterest, my new addiction, had some beautiful homemade marshmallow pictures and recipes. I started with this “Baking Bites” recipe. There are three main ingredients, gelatin, sugar and corn syrup, plus water, salt and vanilla. 1st try, I decided that I would add some butter, because rice crispy treats have butter and they taste better. This was an epic fail, not so much because of the butter, but because I failed to notice that my box of Knox gelatin was past its “use by” date. It made the marshmallow smell slightly off—hello, garbage can. I also worried that the butter made the marshmallows too runny.

Second try, marshmallows are just sweet, but just sweet isn’t good enough. Sweet plus some flavor is better. Back to Rule #1, what ingredients could be better? How about honey, clover honey is very mild but it has a distinct flavor. If you prefer one of the stronger flavors, that should work equally well. And raw sugar has slightly more flavor than white sugar. Also, adding more salt balances the sweetness of the sugar. Vanilla pairs well with cinnamon, and cardamom, so a little of those will add the final touch without overwhelming the soft sweetness of marshmallow. And since it is my niece, Emma Kate’s 5th birthday and valentine’s day is just around the corner, they need to be pink; so you definitely need to add some food color. Below is the new and improved “I love you—pink marshmallows.”

In the bowl of a stand mixer add,

½ cup cold water
3 packets Knox gelatin (0.25 oz. each)—sprinkle on top of water

Allow the water and gelatin to gel for about 10 minutes.

In a 2 quart sauce pan add,

2 cups sugar
2/3 cup honey
¼ cup water

Slowly bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Keep it at a full boil for one full minute—I had to take the honey mixture off the burner to keep it from boiling over, when I made this with corn syrup it didn’t boil over. While still boiling, pour it over the gelatin. Using the whisk attachment, whisk on high for 7 minutes. It should become opaque and very fluffy.

Fluffy Pink and wonderful--Keep mixing

Add,

1Tbs. Vanilla—real vanilla!
1tsp salt—sea salt is very good!
1tsp cinnamon
1tsp cardamom
and food coloring if you want them colored—6 or 7 drops to get good pink

Continue to beat on high for another 7 minutes.

While your mixer is working and you are waiting, lightly but completely oil two pieces of plastic wrap or parchment paper on one side. They should be big enough to cover a 10”x15” cookie sheet. Place one in the bottom of your baking sheet, leave the other out. When your marshmallows have been totally whipped, pour the mixture onto your cookie sheet spread it out with a spatula which has been wiped down with oil. Cover with the second sheet of oiled plastic and let them set for 4 hours or overnight.

Smooth marshmallow out evenly on the cookie sheet with a spatula

When thoroughly set, turn the marshmallow out onto a cutting board. You my cut them with a lightly oiled pizza cutter or cookie cutters—maybe a heart-shaped cookie cutter. Dust well with powdered sugar, and enjoy!

Pink Marshmallows cut into bite size morsels and covered in Powdered sugar

Feta Spinach Puffs

26 Jan

Spanakopita are wonderful spinach Puffs. How hard could they be to make? As it turns out, not that hard at all.

I made two types of puffs, salsa, cream cheese and avocado which I saw on Pinterest; and a spinach, feta mix.

I just made up a recipe for the spinach one, but they tasted great!

Here is my recipe for the Spinach filler to make 8 large or 16 mini puffs, preheat oven to 350* ( I actually only made half this much, since it was for my lunch)

½ cup or about 4 oz. of cream cheese
½ cup of ricotta cheese
½ cup feta cheese
1 cup chopped fresh spinach
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. crushed garlic

Mix these ingredients well.

 

These are the ingredients for the avocado, salsa puffs, just add about a teaspoon of each and close the pastry with wet fingers.

 

Roll out your puff pastry sheet.

 

Cut rectangles that are the finished width you want and twice as long, –about 2″x4″ for mini puffs and 4″x8″ for regular size ones.

Add heaping 1 tbs. to the mini puffs and 2 to the large puffs. Wet your finger and run it around the edge of the pastry. Fold the long side over to create a little pillow, press the two side together to seal it well. You can bake it right away or chill them and bake them later.

Place on a greased or parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until puffed and golden brown.

Enjoy these for an appetizer or lunch. They are delicious and easy.

 

Easy Cheesy Quiche

25 Jan

Good quiche should be fixable from what you have on hand. I don’t really use recipes for quiche. I just throw in whatever is sitting in the fridge. Quiche is my—I don’t feel like going to the grocery fall back meal. Here is a basic recipe—that was really delicious—but add in your own goodies to make it even better.

Preheat Oven to 350*

6 eggs
½ cup cream
½ cup ricotta cheese or cottage cheese or even cream cheese
½ cup flour
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
½ tsp. rosemary
½ tsp. crushed garlic
pinch sage and red pepper
½ cup shredded sharp cheddar
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
4 strips cooked ’til crispy bacon

1 pie shell—recipe below or use a pre-made one—9″ deep dish.

Bake pie shell for 15 minutes. While it is cooking throw all your ingredients in a bowl and blend really well. This is one of those recipes where a kitchen aid makes it extremely easy. Pour the batter into your pie shell and cook for approximately 45 minute or until lightly browned with small fissures along the top.

Options: add some lightly steamed broccoli or spinach. Add ham or chicken instead of bacon, add more cheddar or even Swiss cheese instead. Use whatever is in the fridge. I think using cream or at least ½ and ½ makes it better. This will serve six and a small salad or steamed veggies make it a great and easy meal. It keeps well in the fridge and can be reheated in the microwave one slice at a time. I even like the leftovers for breakfast.

Pie crust:

2 ¼ cups flour
½ tsp salt—3/4 if you don’t use your bacon grease.
1/3 cup butter–cold
1/3 cup cold shortening—bacon grease is best for a savory pie, you can pour your hot grease in your pie pan and put it in the freezer for a few minutes to chill. Then scrape it up and add it to the flour mixture. The little bits of bacon only add flavor and character.
5 Tbs. cold water—possibly one more if your ingredients don’t hold together

With a pastry cutter blend shortening and butter into the flour and salt until you have little peas of dough. Slowly add water and mix—you want to mix as little as possible while forming dough. Form it into a ball, wrap it in plastic and let it rest for at least 15 minutes in the fridge. Roll it out on parchment or wax paper—again less work will yield a much flakier crust—place it in your pie pan and bake as directed above.

 

 

 

 

Bridge to the Vatican

13 Jan

DH000011

Here is one of my favorite photos from a trip to visit our eldest daughter during her semester abroad in Florence, Italy. I hope some visitors will post links’ to their blogs with pictures of favorite trips and places.

We took the train from Florence to Rome that left the station at about 5:30 a.m. Thank heavens a friend had recommended really comfortable walking shoes, because my husband, who loves to walk and has a very long stride, decided we could walk Rome in a day. And we did. We walked from the train station to the Coliseum, to the Pantheon, and Trevi Fountain, passing at a near jog endless lesser ruins and monuments. I was an art history major, and my husband knew, that if I stopped at an obelisk or statue for too long we would never get it all in. It was now probably 10:30 a.m., and we had covered ancient Rome.

On to the Vatican—early November was a wonderful time to be in Rome. The wait in line for St. Peter’s was about 10 minutes. Just enough time to scarf down a sandwich and bottle of water. The weather was cool, not cold and sunny. We actually stopped to wander and wonder in St. Peter’s, that one man Michelangelo, could be responsible for such magnificent art and architecture is awe-inspiring. The incredible vastness of the domed space, built without any modern tools. There are these beautiful doves with olive branches on the columns, simple and perfect. Then the Pieta, it almost glows with perfection.

There is an elevator most of the way up the thousands of steps to the top of the dome of St. Peter’s, but we are not the sort to waste time and money on such things. So we climbed them, all 1 or 2 million of them it seemed, around and round we went. If you walk on the inside it feels much shorter, only a mile or so of steps. Invigorating? The view is actually worth the effort. Then the last section, is a narrow low stair up the inside of the dome. I imagined the workers hauling the stones up these last stairs to complete the dome. It was built for men who were my size 5’5” not a modern man’s height. IMG_2215_0008

There is no way for a picture to convey the view from the top,so  this will have to do. If you look closely, at the end of the road leading up to St. Peter’s are the Bridges from Rome to Vatican City.

Having lingered at St. Peter’s, we soldiered on seeing the Vatican museum in about an hour—which requires that you almost run.I had to yell stop ever so often when we were about to pass a true masterpiece without so much as a second glance. Then stopping to marvel at the Sistine Chapel. I wish you could lie on the floor and look up. We stayed until our necks could stand it no longer.

Our day ended watching the sun set from the Spanish steps. I was too sore to find it romantic, but we will return and linger at the places we rushed through… someday.

Pinterest, You Got Pinned

11 Jan

Pinterest, what a wonderful new site.

Anything you like to do, other pinners like it too.

I am going to link some great Craft Ideas from Pinterest. The ones I hope to do next. If only there were more hours in the day for me to create. If you like crafts, art, sewing cooking, baking or sharing great quotes or even books there is wonderful stuff there just for you. Go to the site (Linked below), type in my name, or the name of anyone else who might be pinning and discover a whole wonderful new way to save great ideas. If you follow me, I’ll follow you. It is the best way to find great new ideas!

http://pinterest.com

This is a link to a beautiful bowl made from buttons glued together. This bowl shows how an artist can take an inexpensive utilitarian object like a button and repurpose it.

http://bonkersaboutbuttons1.blogspot.com/2010/12/knoop-button-bowl.html

Melted Crayon Art. Wow–who knew you could actually do something useful with all those broken and discarded crayons. Again, the real artists shine through. I hope my attempt–this weekend–looks even half this good!

http://lindseydanielladidit.blogspot.com/2011/09/melted-crayon-art.html

Tie-dye with Sharpie markers–Okay this is for a t-shirt–how about sewing a silk scarf and then tie-dye decorating it?

http://theartgirljackie-tutorials.blogspot.com/2011/10/tie-dye-t-shirts-with-sharpie-markers.html

I hope you will try one of these crafts. Let me know What you think, and other ones I should try!

Happy Pinning–Pictures to Follow–as soon as I figure out why the image uploader doesn’t like the URLs I’m putting in–oh well, another day another lesson from my Tech associate. It is always something really easy, and I feel silly for not knowing it!

Also, I now have a twitter account, but I don’t know how to get to it the name is TTTCGM and whatever makes it twitter. Hopefully, My techie in residence will show me about that too.

You Too Can Chan Luu: How to Make a Beaded Leather Bracelet

8 Jan

These beaded leather bracelets are all the rage, while they take time to make—about an hour per row of beads. It is not that complicated. If you follow the step by step instructions below, you can make one this week.

You need 2 pieces of leather or ultra-suede lacing, each approximately 30” long. (2mm diameter leather)

Onto a metal button thread one of the lengths of leather, slide the button up until it is in the middle of the leather.

Secure this on your board with a clip and or straight pin.

Place the other length—also folded in half—behind and just below the button, secure with a straight pin.

You now have four 15” long strands of leather cord. You will braid these just over an inch.

Cross the left outside leather over the strand just to the inside.

Now cross the right outside strand over the next 2 inside strands. Repeat these steps, approximately, 5 times. Until you have braided about 1 inch. Secure with a straight pin.

Make sure your needle and thread fits easily through your chosen beads TWICE. There are a number of different threads and silk beading cords you can use,* NOTE—many stone beads have very small openings. There are also many needle options, there are even wire needles whose eye will collapse as it passes through the bead. You need a couple of needles. It is not uncommon to break a needle. Also, pliers can help you pull a needle through a tight bead hole.

 

There are 2 main methods I use.

If you are using a 2mm round leather cord, you will be wrapping your thread or Beading cord around the leather cord. For this method a thicker silk cord gives the most professional look.  (I have used the blue ultra-suede because it is easier to see than black or dark brown leather)

Secure your thread/cord with a knot around the middle 2 leather cords. Keep the knot on the back side of your bracelet. Add a small dot of glue to secure it.

 

The pattern is to come up from the bottom, around the outside of the far left leather cord.  Sew through your bead, under the next leather cord, around the outside and back up then through the same bead a second time, ending with the cord below the outside leather. This forms a figure eight with the leather cords inside either loop and the bead around the middle. Repeat until you have about 4” of beads. Then repeat between the next 2nd and 3rd strands, and then, the 3rd and 4th strands.

                                                  The picture below is to show you the path the string will take, making figure eights between the leather cords         with the bead where they cross in the middle

Braid your ends 2 times using the same method you used for the beginning of the bracelet. Tie off with this knot—take one of your leather strands, wrap it 360*(degrees) around the other leather, tuck the end through from the top and pull tight. This will have all three strands pointing down. Place your finger between the strands, 2 above and 2 below, knot again with the same knot used above, repeat with a second knot using a different strand. Add a dot of glue before pulling the knot tight.

If you are using a flat ultra-suede cord, you will be sewing through the cording. A thinner thread and sharper needle will be better for this. Also, pliers can help you pull a needle through many layers of ultra-suede.

Knot the end of your thread. Sew up through the middle 2 strands at the end of the braid.

Now your needle is on the far left. Add a bead and start your first row. You will have one bead between each strand of leather, plus beads on the outside row if you choose. Press the needle barely through the first strand, add a bead. Press it barely through the next strand, add the middle bead. Press it barely through the next strand and add the last interior bead for that row. Press it through the far right outside strand and add another bead. Stitch down to start the next row.

This will create rows of beads instead of columns as the method above does. You also will have—if you choose—beads on the outside edges of bracelet. You are only sewing through each bead once with this method. So it is a little faster; it is not quite as strong.  

To tie off, use the same method as above.

You’re done!

“Helpful” Hints and Tips for Technology Impaired Moms:

6 Jan
  • “There’s this thing called Google, mom!”
  • Commenting on your own blog, before anyone else, would be like “liking” your own status on Facebook, mom.
  • Don’t try to explain technology to others when you barely understand it yourself, mom.
  • If you fear what I will write on YOUR blog, maybe you shouldn’t have asked me to set it up and given me the password, mom
  • Just because the Internet page offers a million options doesn’t mean you need to use all of them, mom.
  • Just because “that’s what other people do” doesn’t make it right, mom.

  • LOL means laugh out loud, not lots of love, mom.

  • I’ll help you, but you should seriously consider learning how to do this all by yourself, mom.

  • First go to…oh, forget it, I’ll do it for you, mom.

  • Don’t push me, I brought your Blog, Facebook, Pinterest, and Etsy accounts onto the web, and I can delete them anytime I want to, mom. 
  • I know this seems harsh right now, but you’ll appreciate it one day, mom.

Love,
Your Daughter/Technology Associate

Sarah


From Cold Kernels to Kettle Corn in 5 Easy Minutes: Why I Love my Whirley-Pop

5 Jan popcorn

Perfect kettle corn, which is lightly sugared popcorn, is a wonderful treat. I like mine with a few spices. Caution, this popcorn is addicting! Here is the place for disclosures—to the best of my knowledge—no one at Whirley-Pop has ever heard of me, and I am receiving no money for writing this—although I would love it if someone wanted to pay me! Here is a link to Whirley-Pop, they cost about $25, and you will need one to make this tasty treat. The Whirley-Pop is also a great gift for families with young kids, or any popcorn lover.

http://www.popcornpopper.com/

FIRST:

My secret recipe:

salt, vanilla, sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves

Mix together:

1 cup sugar

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. cloves

1 tsp. cardamom

1 tsp.vanilla

Stir together all ingredients and then sift to remove clumps. I suggest a sift with a spinning handle, this will save you from sore hands. The “Secret Recipe” can be made days in advance and stored in a plastic tub or clean jar. This is also a great topping for strawberries or toast. The longer the sugar sits the better it tastes, because the spices’ flavors meld together.

SECOND:

To make the delicious popcorn, you will need:

3 Tbs cooking Oil

½ cup popcorn

½ cup “Secret Recipe” sugar

If you have an electric stove, turn it on to medium heat while you get your ingredients out.

virgin coconut oil

Also, Instead of cooking oil, I used virgin or unrefined coconut oil. It adds a faint coconut flavor and smells like the beach when you open the jar. If you don’ like coconut, don’t use coconut oil. It is a solid, so I melt it in the microwave for about 30 seconds. It is also, a poly-unsaturated fat, one of the good ones.

Put the oil, popcorn, and “Secret Recipe” in your Whirley-Pop. Turn the handle at a slow constant pace. When the corn stops popping, after about 2 to 3 minutes, pour it onto your cookie sheet (I put parchment paper on mine) to cool, then into a bowl to serve.

Popcorn is a great movie night treat, and if your children are old enough and safe around the stove, they can even turn the handle for you. If you don’t like sweet popcorn, don’t add the “Secret Recipe,” just add salt and/or your favorite spices.

Lucky for us, Sarah’s first video didn’t work out, so we had to make a second batch, YUM! I still don’t know how to edit or post a video, but luckily my son is home. In exchange for some Kettle corn, he helped.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2MDMwOjXUzc&feature=g-upl&context=G25749f4AUAAAAAAAAAA

Technology Background… or Lack Thereof

3 Jan

Unbeknownst to my mother, I am writing her first post. I plan to give a little background on my mother and her “hopes” and “dreams” for this blog…

Well, where do we begin? First, my mom literally is clueless and helpless about most things on the internet; once she learns something though, she’s hooked. For example, in my mother’s free time, she likes to make jewelry, lots and lots of jewelry, and she finally decided she should try to make a profit from it. I was excited about the prospect of selling things I had made and making a little spending money, and quickly and thoughtfully offered to help my mom with the worldwide web. I set up an Etsy shop for her and took all the pictures of the jewelry. Not only did I “waste” hours of my summer, we have yet to make a single penny. In fact, we have lost money because you have to pay to put items on Etsy… (I’m sure you would all love to help us get that first sale so please check out our shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/BillyGoatBaubles I’m begging you, please look at it). Next, I made a Facebook page for Billy Goat Baubles, our wonderfully unsuccessful shop. Now, I planned on having my mother take over the simple responsibilities of her new investment, but that did not happen. However, she was hooked on the new idea; unfortunately for me, that meant more “wasted” precious hours of summer. Of course, being the brilliant (and clearly favorite) daughter that I am, I tried to find Facebook followers and keep our shop up to date. Easier said than done…

Then, I signed my mother up for Facebook in hopes that she would learn how our Facebook page works. Well, that’s not quite what happened… Instead of being helpful, my mom became a Facebook fiend, and not with the Billy Goat Baubles page; I would’ve welcomed that. I’m not going to lie, I was certainly a little obsessed with Facebook when I first got one…four years ago! But this woman I call my mother spent more time “stalking” people on Facebook than she did talking to her family. It was beyond ridiculous, luckily she’s cooled off a bit and is finally less consumed by the wonders of the Facebook world.

Just as I thought I was done introducing my mom to all the “new” things on the internet, my aunt, my mom’s younger sister, invited her to Pinterest… I did not think it was possible for her to become more engrossed with a website than Facebook, but she has certainly proven me wrong. She has started “pinning” left and right and trying soooo many new things. Now this is not all bad. I have gotten to enjoy New York Times’ best cookies, pretzel bread, and some kind of cinnamon bread; oh, and I plan to enjoy many more new dishes as well. After cooking and baking for a few days, my mom decided to try some new arts and crafts she “pinned.” Now I don’t mind being dragged into some of these projects but it is these exact projects that have led to this blog…

My mother has decided that she needs to share with the world the things she cooks, the things she bakes, and the things she makes. She has decided she needs to blog. Her first question was of course, “how do I make a blog on, on the internet?” and my first answer was of course, “there’s this thing called Google, Mom.” Fortunately for my mother, I set up this blog for her even though she could have gone to Google, just as I did, and figured it out for herself. Now why did I do this? I would like to say it’s because I am loving and caring and always willing to help, but it’s not. I offered to help my mom because I already knew I would get dragged into her new technological discovery no matter how hard I tried to stay away, and I may as well learn how to blog so when she asks me a gagillion questions, I can answer them. Plus, she was leaving to tutor someone, giving me the perfect opportunity to write her first blog and give you my mother’s real technology background… or lack thereof.

You can expect to hear from me again sometime in the future, but next time you have a question, leave your busy children alone, and remember, “there’s this thing called Google, Mom.”

-Sarah

Nominalizations Are Zombie Nouns – NYTimes.com

25 Jul

If you or your child has ever felt that they were just not smart enough to understand high school or college texts, here is why. Read this delightful article on writing. I have pasted a short piece of it below.

Nominalizations Are Zombie Nouns – NYTimes.com.

 George Orwell played this game in his essay “Politics and the English Language,” contrasting a well-known verse from Ecclesiastes with his own satirical translation:

I returned and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

Here it is in modern English:

Objective considerations of contemporary phenomena compel the conclusion that success or failure in competitive activities exhibits no tendency to be commensurate with innate capacity, but that a considerable element of the unpredictable must invariably be taken into account.

“I Just Want My PEACE” (EA…IE) | The Official Website of Deion Sanders

22 May

“I Just Want My PEACE” (EA…IE) | The Official Website of Deion Sanders.

This is a different “Press” from me but I thought Deion Sanders thoughtful words were worth sharing. I hope you will enjoy them and give him some love for sharing!!

Matt Ridley on Schizophrenia, MS, Bacteria, Viruses and Parasites | Mind & Matter – WSJ.com

11 Mar

Matt Ridley on Schizophrenia, MS, Bacteria, Viruses and Parasites | Mind & Matter – WSJ.com.

This is an important look at the surprising causes of various illnesses.

Homemade Gum Drops

11 Feb

Cooking time 10 minutes, cool 3 hours and cut out with cookie cutters–Brilliant

Homemade Gum Drops.

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