Pinterest Addicts Need Not Apply…Themselves

It’s International Creativity Month. Oodles of noodles, what do I want to create? Wouldn’t it be funny if this one came with the condition that you can’t use Pinterest? Seriously, if I got a quarter every time somebody mentioned something from Pinterest…Wait, Ben Silbermann is doing that already.

Pinterest case in point: Right before Christmas, I had a friend who left burnt bread in my fridge. He said it was a new recipe he’d tried from Pinterest. It was called “Good Bread,” and the recipe consisted of slathering butter on both halves of the bread and broiling it in the oven to blackened perfection. My husband said, “Hey, maybe we can find a recipe on there that tells us how to put meat and cheese on the bread!” Novel thought, that.

English: , a science fair experiment. Utilizes...Actually, I’m kind of out of creative ideas at the moment. This is science project month—to help those prepare who are going to Regional. I decorated for our science banquet by making kits for simple experiments to do at the table. (I didn’t even look at Pinterest. Really.) No, there was nothing chemically toxic to mix and nothing that required flame. We were all able to experiment and eat simultaneously. It made for great conversation pieces at the very least.

So I’m all done inventing. Okay, I’m never done inventing, but I’m finished inventing this post. Have a creative day, friends!

Eat More Pie, Half-Pint

Apple pie
Apple pie (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s National Pie Day—the edible kind with the ‘e.’ Please don’t make me watch another video with a song to memorize 3.14…blah, blah, blah—and what is the point of knowing all those numbers again?

My favorite pie was once Peanut Butter. I had a boyfriend in college who told me he tried to make a peanut butter pie for me but accidentally dropped it while taking it out of the oven. I still think he was lying because any peanut butter pie connoisseur knows it’s a chilled dessert, and the few that touch the oven should only do so at the crust stage. But what do you say to a guy who makes up something he thinks will please you? You kindly say nothing—and then you begin to wonder what else he might be coming up with just to make brownie points. (Looking at it from his point of view, it would’ve been a good idea to get out of a relationship with a paranoid girlfriend.)

My favorite pie is Apple now. Very American of me, eh? My quest for the perfect apple pie began when the kids and I read Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Almonso’s family ate apple pie for breakfast and lunch. They were always eating apple pie. I thought if they could do it, so could we. So we did. We ate thick servings of mouth-watering, tart Granny Apple slices topped with a beautifully browned lattice crust and cooked in caramel sweetness.

I make one a month on average. I tell myself they are much better than the Oreos and powdered donuts that my husband and kids would eat if I didn’t. When he calls from work to check if I’m still alive, I like tell my husband, “There will be apple pie when you get home!” Then I feel like I have my own Little House on the Prairie.

 

Is That a Squiggle or a Letter?

This is National Handwriting Analysis Week. I don’t know why analyzing handwriting has always intrigued me, but it has. I’m the same way about dream analysis. But here’s the thing: the more I look into reading things in handwriting, interpreting dreams, and that sort of thing, the more the meanings seem to conflict with each other. Does an open ‘o’ mean someone is generous or just plain lazy? Does that squiggle on the tail of the ‘y’ mean reticence to conformity or someone’s just doing a happy dance on paper? I’m glad I’m not hand-writing this blog. My handwriting is a bit hard to read anyway.

Example of vertical handwriting
Example of vertical handwriting (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I definitely think one’s handwriting says something about what he/she has experienced. Once, I had a boss who was a liar and had a terrible temper. All of my ‘s’s and letter tails began to take on swirls. The swirls began by going around once, and by the time I got out of that job, my swirls had three rounds in them. I never noticed it until I went back and found them in my journal. I’d never done that before, and I haven’t swirled my letters since. During that time in my life, I felt trapped. My frustration showed itself in that tiny set of rounds. In one handwriting series, a swirl is interpreted as being deceptive. Well, I can certainly stretch the idea of feeling trapped to the idea of being deceptive in the sense that I couldn’t be myself in that situation, but just think if my new employer had studied my handwriting and decided not to hire me because he/she thought I would be deceptive!

Part of handwriting analysis is context. When someone studies another person’s handwriting, already knowing his/her personality, it’s easy to pinpoint certain written characteristics to fit the person’s character. To predict what a person will do is more subjective. When it comes to revealing someone’s personality by the way they scribble their letters, it often feels like one is listening to a psychic. The results of an analysis are bound to touch on aspects that are true. “From his ‘m’s it’s clear he likes to be in control.” Isn’t that a bit vague? All of us have some need to control something in our lives, right?

Yeah, I’m a skeptic. You can tell it by the way I write my ‘s’ ‘k’ ‘e’ ‘p’ ‘t’ ‘i’ ‘c’.

Thoughts on a Great Moral Leader

It’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day! MLK was an incredible public speaker. He had a profound influence on his community, his state, and his country. In my opinion, history textbooks don’t portray the essence of his message or his understanding of the innate rights God has granted to humankind. King rose up and spoke against cruelty and injustice committed against Black Americans. He believed in acting out of love, and he believed that meant never backing down when an innocent citizen’s rights or freedoms were withheld or taken away.

Martin Luther King leaning on a lectern. Deuts...
Martin Luther King on March 26, 1964 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve lived in southern states all of my life. King’s image in my formative years was that of a passionate man of hero status. Growing up, I thought everyone had the freedoms King fought for. I assumed everyone understood it is wrong to treat any man, woman, or child—created in God’s image!—as inferior to another man, woman, or child. Now I know that devaluing one innocent human life is the devaluing all of mankind as a worthless, disposable mass. King explained this within the context of society in a country: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” We are all “tied in a single garment of destiny.”

MLK wasn’t a perfect man, but he didn’t let his mistakes stop him from using his influence for good. His Letter from Birmingham Jail is a chock-full example of his heart, his bravery, and his compassion. There was so much he’d seen and experienced in his life to make him bitter and angry, but he committed to acting morally in the face of injustice. His words inspired hope in his listeners, and they continue to inspire hope. It begs the question: If moral leaders inspire hope, what do immoral leaders inspire?

Apple Goodness with an Apricot Twist

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Voila! Scrumptious Baked Apples – but next time I’m cutting around the stem of the apple to prevent cracking. 😛

It’s Apples and Apricots Month! I made this cozy, healthy recipe for breakfast, replacing the sugar-free apricot jam it called for with puree canned apricots (adding a little agave nectar). I also replaced the apple juice with frozen apple juice concentrate to make up for the sweetness I took out by not including the sugar.

20130107aMaking this was completely kid-friendly, but it doesn’t compete with Peanut Butter and Chocolate Puffs cereal. The consensus was that it was good, and that’s all. (One would’ve gone with ‘meh,’ but was persuaded to change her vote by the kinder votes of her siblings.)

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Warmed the leftover apricot juice and added a cinnamon stick to that, too. The picture wasn’t complete without bunny ears.

My rating system is ever partial to foods that taste a little more real. So I gave it five stars, and my vote counts as ten. It’s a wonderful way to start a crisp January morning—warm and wholesome-tasting. And the aroma of cinnamon and apples that wafted through the house was incredible!

Also Known as “Give Your Child an Extra Hug” Day

It’s Birth Defects Awareness Month, my friends. This is a heavy topic that leaves my heart sore. We all know families who’ve prepared for the birth of a child, who would enter the world to undergo a series of surgeries. I’ve been part of the number praying for a tiny one scheduled for heart surgery or surgeries to correct cleft palate. I remember crying with my dear friend when she learned her toddler had cerebral palsy. I’ve listened with my heart full to a friend’s confidence about the struggles she faces daily in caring for her child with Fragile X.

I’ve also been blessed to see the irrepressible glee in the smiles of friends with Down syndrome. I’ve witnessed the devotion and love shining through the eyes of parents who daily fight for the life and well-being of their precious, precious child. These children and their families inspire me with their determination, strength, and faith, reminding me that there is love to be found through heartbreak—and patience to be found through adversity. And hope. There is always hope.

I’m sooo giving my children extra hugs today.

Falkor*, Take Me Away

Today happens to be Appreciate a Dragon Day. This tradition was started in 2004 by Dragonspell author, Donita K. Paul. No, you don’t have to appreciate all dragons, just a dragon. I’m not sure if I properly appreciate the grumpy, igniting ones.

Have you ever researched dragons? It’s quite fun. In one of my dragon-curious moments, I found a great book, How to Raise and Keep a Dragon. It discusses a few of the known types of dragons, their general temperaments, and the life expectancy for each dragon type. (It varies because, you know, some are land dragons and some are aquatic dragons. Some are social and some are reclusive. Some don’t like red meat, and some will eat nothing but.)

The Dracorex Hogwartsia got me started on dragonlore. (The original skull is flatter than the link above portrays, by the way.)

Dracorex hogwartsia
Dracorex hogwartsia (Photo credit: RobDurdle.com)

Dracorex inspired me to write about Kapyn, my wyvern-influenced dragon in Dragonfly Prince. From there, a whole world unfolded, and I’ve been exploring it ever since.

So I’ll be appreciating Kapyn today—his faceted eyes with ruby glow, his two sets of wings, and his craving for the Itra stone. Even if he is a grumpy, fire-breathing nuisance at times.

*Falkor is the luckdragon from The Neverending Story, one of the coolest movies ever.