THE BLACK BOARD
Do you remember the huge over-sized black boards
I do and I also remember cleaning them,
back and forth with the erasers, from top to bottom,
removing all the scribbles, math problems,
and words of the day. Then at the end of each week,
we would wipe them down with wet sponges
giving a black sheen to the entire board.
I can see it now; standing back looking up
at that clean huge black board
and wishing I could be the first one to pick up
a knew long piece of white chalk and write on it.
Such a silly and childish memory
but one that continues to remind me
how important it is to start each day
with a fresh and clean slate.
I believe, every so often, all aspects of our lives
need a good once over with a big wet sponge.
From our homes with their many junk drawers
and over-stuffed closets, to our emotional baggage
that so often smothers our joy,
we need to allow ourselves the opportunity
to clean away the old and start fresh.
When I see a brand new tablet or journal,
words immediately begin to swirl around
inside my head.
When I open a newly organized kitchen drawer,
I imagine a new recipe that will utilize
all the tools that had been buried
under a lot of nonsense.
Or when we take on a new career,
we realize how much further we can stretch
The same feeling of wonderment arises
when I meet someone new or nurture
a relationship that had been neglected.
It opens up new conversations, which in turn
enlightens my insatiable inquisitiveness
When the space around me is crowded, cluttered,
and impossible to see through,
I feel stuck and frustrated.
My daily responsibilities begin to feel
overwhelming and smothering.
I have always needed some fresh open space
to breath and feel alive.
The idea here, I have found, is that looking
at a clean slate invites new ideas and
stirs something inside of me
that makes me feel young, energized, and excited.
Without it, I cease to grow
and my days simply drift by.
This, my friends, is entirely unacceptable.
So give me a set of erasers any day
and watch how shiny I can make that black board.
Then step aside
as I let my little old imagination soar! ♡
“UNDERCOVER COLORS” is the brainchild
of four engineering students from NC University.
After several of their closest friends
had been drugged and raped, they realized
the problem was much larger than they had ever imagined.
What could they do?
How could they stop this from happening to anyone else?
Prevention. Armed with an idea and the support
from NC’s engineering department,
they came up with a plan.
How about nail polish?
A woman could simply swirl her drink
with the tip of her finger and if the polish changes color,
the drink has been compromised.
No special equipment needed. Simply Genius!!!
This clever product is still in its trial period
but these four men are doing everything they can
to get it out to the public.
Below is a link to their Facebook page and also the
article about them in the NC Engineering Department newsletter.
It is a fascinating story indeed.
Date rape is violent and disgusting and haunts you
for the rest of your life.
I can only imagine how many young women’s lives will be
saved when this nail polish becomes available to them.
This idea is bloody genius!!!
Maybe they can create a cute little straw to swirl
in a drink for the same purpose. ☺
FB PAGE: https://www.facebook.com/undercovercolors
If you are looking for a super moist
and refreshing summer desert, look no further.
This simplistic little recipe
takes almost zero effort and may turn out
to be one of your family’s favorites.
In fact, you may already have this recipe;
I hear it’s been around a long time.
Not sure why I was left in the dark all these years,
but now that I finally found it
I am sharing it with you.
Gosh, it is so good!!!
The ingredients are sitting on my counter for round two.
Here’s how I made it:
1 White of Yellow Cake Mix
4 Large Eggs
½ C oil
1 can crushed pineapple with juice (8 ounce)
1-8 ounce cool whip, thawed
1 can crushed pineapple with juice (8 ounce)
1 small instant vanilla pudding
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray or
grease and dust with flour.
In a large bowl, combine cake mix, eggs, oil,
and 1 can of crushed pineapple with the juice.
Mix well but do not over beat.
Pour into prepared baking pan
and bake for 25-35 minutes,
or until toothpick inserted in center of cake
comes out mostly clean.
Allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
In a medium sized bowl, fold together
whipped topping, box of vanilla pudding,
and 1 can crushed pineapple with the juice.
Spread over the top of cooled cake.
**May sprinkle with toasted coconut.
BRITAIN HAS VOTED TO LEAVE THE EU
Wow!! It really happened!
Britain voted to leave the European Union. (EU)
This vote will have profound economical, sociological,
and political consequences until the British people
find their footing, which I believe they will.
This is the most significant and courageous decision
the people of Britain have made in generations.
I believe this vote for independence speaks volumes
about how passionately the average person wants
to separate from the political status quo.
I am hoping and praying other countries follow
their example and speak up against corruption,
harassment, dishonesty, and manipulation within
Now that they have their independence,
they need to be very careful who they next vote
into office. Listen intently to their message.
Educate yourselves. Look into their past
and look beyond the political redorik that
manipulates and camoflauges their real intentions.
Preaching the words ‘hope and change’
can reverse much needed social progress and
destroy the integrity of a country.
A wolf in sheep’s clothing is still a wolf.
I am fascinated by the brave citizens of Britain
and will be watching intently
as they rewrite their new sovereign story.
There I was, in a crowded room,
not exactly sure who to talk to,
when a friend I hadn’t seen in a while,
walked up behind me, leaned in
and whispered in my ear:
“I just wanted to tell you
that I love reading your blog.”
I quickly turned to her,
gave her a quick warm hug and said
“Oh Kathy, Thank You So Much!”
I’m not sure we spoke again
the entire evening but it didn’t matter;
that quick little statement meant the world to me.
I smiled the entire evening.
Every body needs a kind word now and again.
Receiving a compliment when we least expect it,
makes it all that more special.
Don’t assume someone is full of confidence and joy.
We all have difficult days; some more than others.
So when you know something good
or see something beautiful – share it.
Don’t hold those thoughts inside.
Expressing kind words can change
a person’s entire outlook
and just may be what she needs to push forward.
So, until you hear something kind,
I’m here to tell you how special you are
and that when you smile, you look beautiful! ♡
SUMMER’S FIRST DAY ☼
Monday June 20, 2016 is our Summer Solstice
– the longest daylight day of the year!
It just happens to be my favorite!!
The sun rises at 4:45 AM and doesn’t fully set
until 10:34 PM at which time
our night is graced with the Full Strawberry Moon.
If you do nothing else today,
try to spend a few minutes outside;
during the daylight hours and then again
when the sun sets.
If the weather is clear where you live,
the moon promises to be brilliantly magnificent!
Beautiful nights like this one captivate me and
always lull me into a hypnotic mellow trance.
Please join me, for just a few minutes,
as we gaze upon one of the magnificent miracles
the earth offers us.
Thank you God. ✞
~ There is a little downside to this, though.
I’ll probably not sleep a wink due to the fact that the
moonlight coming through my round-top bedroom window
will make it look like the middle of the day.
Small price to pay for such beauty! ♡
WHAT’S FOR DINNER TONIGHT?
I absolutely love brussel sprouts
and I found them in the produce department today.
They may be my favorite vegetable to roast
and since I already had my sockeye salmon
defrosting in my fridge, planning my meal
for this evening was easy.
I threw a little rice in a pot and wa-la!
I had dinner ready in less than 45 minutes
and it was scrumptious!
When you don’t have much time,
roasting your vegetables along side any type of meat
(cooked in a grill pan) is a no fail way
of enjoying a delicious meal.
Taking a few easy steps can turn any vegetable
into a rich and tasty side to any main course.
When I’m expecting company,
I’ll usually roast several vegetables
on two large sheet pans.
They are always a hit and they go with everything.
Here’s I how do it.
1 – 2 lbs. of your favorite vegetable
2-3 Tbls. Olive or canola oil
sprinkle of hot pepper flakes (optional)
2 Tbls. graded parmesan
fresh chopped parsley
Pre-heat oven to 375.
Spray a large cookie sheet with cooking spray.
Thoroughly clean the vegetables either
with a brush under cold water,
or peeling and removing rough stems and tough skins.
Dry thoroughly between two paper towels to remove
all the water.
Cut into uniform sizes making sure
all the pieces on the cookie sheet cook evenly.
Drizzle with oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper,
cheese, and pepper flakes.
Toss together with your hands until all the
vegetable are coated with the oil and seasonings
then distribute evenly over the pan.
Roast in hot oven for approximately 20-25 minutes
turning vegetables half way through cooking time
to brown evenly. Sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley.
~ Toss with cooked bacon chopped into tiny bites
half way through roasting for a salty twist.
(This is so good!)
this gives the vegetables a little crunchy coating and more body.
~ Drizzle with a tiny bit of balsamic glaze half way
through cooking time for a richer flavor.
~ Squeeze half a lemon over vegetables when you
take them out of the oven for a fresh finish.
Pairs well with fish and chicken.
~ Mix several different types when cooking for a crowd
and serve them on a platter with some fresh bread.
Examples: red, green, and yellow peppers, eggplant,
asparagus, sweet onion, green beans, and mushrooms. YUM!!
I AM NOT GIVING UP
I hate to feel (or look) like a failure – at anything.
I am a very proud woman and
passionate about everything I do (even when I shouldn’t be)
so when something falls apart,
that I’ve put my heart and soul into,
I feel totally devastated.
Second-guessing and self-deprecation
becomes an endless reel of thoughts
going round and round inside my head.
It is exhausting.
Many times throughout my life,
I am faced with a choice.
Do I continue to struggle relentlessly
through a desperate situation or
do I choose a different path and call it quits?
Despite my stubborn nature, I eventually see
the writing on the wall and
it was within those heart-breaking moments of acceptance
that I realize I am not giving up – I am letting go.
When do I face the inevitable?
When I realize that:
1) I am only human,
2) I don’t have control over everything and
3) God has a different plan for me.
Many years ago, during a most devastating time in my life,
I remember my mother trying desperately to comfort me.
She was terrified for me and really didn’t have
any idea how to help me,
but what she said during a tearful phone call
changed my entire outlook.
As my frantic sobs poured through the phone,
she very calmly said to me:
“Claudia, sweetie, you’ve done all you can do.
It is in God’s hands now. Let it go and pray.”
I dried my eyes, took in a few deep breaths, and let it go.
She was right.
It all turned out exactly the way it was supposed to
and no – I never gave up – I just let go.
That was 14 years ago, and her loving words
have continued to guide me through life’s ups and downs.
I am still the same stubborn and passionate woman
that I’ve always been – except now I let God take the lead. ✞
These wonderful little summer treats have been
a part of my family’s summer menu ever since
I was a little girl.
Once you taste them you’ll see why they
are one of our favorite desserts – ever!
Be prepared to share the recipe with
everyone who tries them!
There are only 4 ingredients and
they are super simple to make!
(Go to my ‘tips’ page for the easy recipe.)
My mother, Arlene, has been making these sweet treats
since I was a little girl
and I’ve made them every summer (many times)
ever since I ventured out on my own.
Be prepared to share this recipe
with everyone who tastes them.
They are scrumpdileeishous!
RICE KRISPIES ICE CREAM SQUARES
1 Cup Peanut Butter (Creamy or Crunchy)
1 Cup Light Karo Syrup
6 Cups Rice Krispies
1/2 Gallon Neapolitan Ice Cream – softened
Combine peanut butter and Karo syrup in a microwave proof bowl.
Microwave on high for 15 seconds then stir.
Repeat 2 more times.
This will make the peanut butter smoother
and easier to combine with the cereal.
Stir in the Rice Krispies just until it is evenly mixed.
Divide mixture in half.
Line a 10” X 15” pan with parchment paper
and coat with butter or cooking spray.
Pat ½ of the cereal mixture into pan.
Carefully spread the entire container of ice cream
over the cereal.
Freeze for about an hour then spread the remaining cereal
over the top of the ice cream, pressing down gently,
watching that the entire surface is covered evenly.
It does take a little patience.
Cover and freeze for at least 3 hours or overnight.
Pull entire ice cream cake out of pan
and place on a cutting surface.
With a very strong and sharp knife, cut into squares.
Place on serving platter and keep frozen
until you are ready to serve them,
or you can place them in an air tight container
for up to a couple weeks. Enjoy!