I’m In Over my Head!

Which of my loyal readers knows how many times I’ve mentioned in blog posts that I am electronically technology illiterate? I’ve never pretended to be otherwise!

Well, now I’m officially in over my head!

I’ve recently been watching an online streamer play a game called Sims 4. She’s been building and decorating a house there, and I have had so much fun suggesting ideas for decor and furniture placement, and she has taken many of my suggestions. With my usual inability to sit still for long periods of time, I have been mentally invested in this fun for over 2 hours at a time without realizing that over 2 hours has actually passed!

This sweet young lady, who knows I’ve never played a video game and tend to get bored watching, saw how much enjoyment I was having, and graciously provided me with her information so that I could download the game on my PC and play it on my own! So I downloaded what she sent me.

However, I’m frightened by it already! It may be on my computer now, but I still know literally nothing on what to do with it now! Because it’s under her name, I have great anxiety about doing something with it and having it affect her game! So, I suspect that it will do nothing more than take up some space on my hard drive.

On top of that, I’ve been invited to take part in a Zoom get-together. Now, I think I safely assume that I need a microphone to be able to talk to the other people in real time. Okay, I suspect that a camera would enhance my being there, but I’m more than okay with not showing my face. To be honest, I don’t really like my voice so I’ve been happy with being able to type in chat what it is I want to say. However, I don’t think that’s an option, so the microphone is necessary. Which microphone? Where do I plug it in? How do I use it?

I’m not against learning new things. It’s just that I’ve always learned best when being taught by a hands-on approach. I even watched a YouTube video on Zoom and was overwhelmed in under 5 minutes! I need someone sitting beside me who knows all of the ins and outs, telling me how to do things and watching me while I try them. Even then, I’d need to make notes because I’d quickly forget much of it without some reference the next time.

I usually detest people who tend to play ostrich and stick their heads in the sand rather than confront something. But that’s exactly what I feel like doing! At the foundation of it all is the fact that I’m afraid I’ll do something to “break” my laptop and end up having to buy a new one. This one has lasted me longer than most – almost 2 years! – and that’s a record for me. During these economic times, I’d prefer not to have to spend money to purchase yet another laptop that I’ll eventually break!

HELP! I’m in OVER MY HEAD!

Finally Making Use of Time

It’s been many months now since COVID-19 came to completely change our lives. For some, the sheltering-in-place was a good time to clean out closets, do small household repairs, tackle bigger household projects, etc., etc., etc. Of course, we found time to whine and complain about the barriers of the pandemic as well!

As someone who routinely cleans out closets, who rents so she never has household repairs or projects to do, the days haven’t been any different for me than they would otherwise be. I’d see the occasional thing that needed to be done, but they were all insignificant things. Like sewing on a button to a winter top that will be months until I’m ready to wear it again. Like regluing loose pinecones on the pinecone wreath I made and hung two years ago. I’ve managed to keep up with the routine household chores in the way I’ve always done, limited, of course, to what I can do with my shoulder/arm at any given time.

I’ve returned to reading more and watching stuff on Amazon Prime to pass the time this past few weeks. I looked at those ‘projects’ but gave no thought to actually putting action into them.

Today, I finally did. I had a project that I’d been wanting to do which required me to dig out my hot glue gun, and since I also needed to take care of those loose pinecones, it seemed like the right time. Mission accomplished!

Well, that felt good – to have that one inconsequential thing taken care of! Finishing my project on the same day I started it was a major accomplishment, and I only considered once about letting it go to finish in the near future. Little bits of tidying up – like organizing my junk drawer, for example, are things I’ve started to do a few of daily. My two BIG projects still loom – finishing scanning photos into my computer and then transferring them to a disc drive so I can empty the boxes of unorganized pictures and going through three large totes and four shelves of crafting pieces and projects and making decisions about what might actually get done and what needs to be given away. Both of these projects require massive amounts of time, and both of them must occur in my spare bedroom, which is not air conditioned and gets warm even with a fan blowing over me.

Meanwhile, what time I can tolerate in this room has also been productive. I’ve cleaned out so many files on my computer, for starters. I’ve also done some research into recipes, like how to make risotto which I’ve never had but would like to try. I’ve spent time on Amazon comparing prices for grocery items I can purchase (and have delivered to my door!) versus what the same items cost in the grocery store (which I have to lug to my car and then lug into my house!)

I’ve been slowly looking at and starting to purchase Christmas gifts. Two years ago, I would have been 99% or more done with the shopping part, but last year I learned that I shopped too early and then found something I liked better as a gift after I’d bought something else.

Is any of this astounding? Nope! But I’m often very skilled at procrastination, so no matter how insignificant and menial these tasks may be, a feeling of accomplishment is a feeling of accomplishment after all! It’s not like anyone but me knows anything is different – for example, how my junk drawer looks now compared to what it looked like before I organized it. No one else would have even noticed the loose pinecones on my wreath. No one else knows how many and of what files I had on my computer to know that it’s been cleaned out.

But I know! I get to pat myself on my own back in acknowledgement of success and finishing a project that is important to no one but me. It’s kind of like darning a whole in the heel of your sock – no one knows the hole was ever there so no one knows you repaired it. But you can feel it when you wear that sock!

We all deserve to feel accomplished! Sometimes it’s as simple as putting fresh sheets on the bed! Congratulate yourself!

The Authenticity Project

The majority of books I’ve read or that are still on my looming ‘to-be-read’ pile are purchases from thrift stores, library book sales and book-swapping sites. It is extremely rare for me to purchase a newly published book; that is largely why I never do any kind of book review. However, my dear friend, Prin (aka Marnette), recently recommended a book to me in a responsive comment to my blog post “Lost and Found”. Prin is an avid reader, and her word alone was enough reason to make that kind of purchase. Thus, The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley recently entered my home.

I tended to have a preset idea that this book, while fiction, would be deeply psychological in nature. And, at the conclusion of reading it, I did take a few minutes to look more deeply at the characters from a psychological perspective, but didn’t dwell on the story from that view.

The story itself is charming. The author does a great job at introducing each new character to the story and with ‘fleshing out’ each character as the story progresses. The reader is given the ability to know something deep and dark about each character as the story unfolds, and, while each character is genuine in act and word, the reader quickly discovers that each is also hiding an even more authentic part of their persona. The hiding part is always brought about by fear of judgement and unacceptance.

I don’t want to tell too much of the story because I don’t want to give out any spoilers. It is an enjoyable read.

Although it was a lovely read, I was able to pull from it what I think Prin intended on a personal level. Knowing each character’s hidden authenticity did not distract me from liking each of them for who they were. None of the character’s fears about what they didn’t want being found out changed my perception of any of them; it made them even more human to me and, ironically, allowed me to like them more.

As these hidden secrets were revealed, the other characters responded with the typical emotions – anger, mistrust, fear. Sitting on the sidelines of the story, I could imagine myself reacting that same way. I admit, it made me trepid, though, about how people would react to ME when I revealed my own hidden secrets. I did feel validated that my own fear – in real life – was practical.

I would easily rate this book a 4.8 out of 5 stars. There was a small point – probably less than 20 pages – where the story began to lag for me, and that’s the only reason I didn’t give it a perfect 5 star review. Otherwise, it was an enjoyable read. And men, who might be looking for more insight into themselves, would also benefit from this book.

Thank you, Prin, for this excellent recommendation. I appreciated the story for the story’s sake itself, and I appreciate the glimpses I got of myself through others’ (even fictional characters!) eyes. In a way, reading it made me feel more ‘okay’ about myself, and I suspect that was your intention! Well played!

Around-the-House Hacks – IV

Did you realize that 99% of the meat packages you buy at your local grocery store come on Styrofoam trays with shrink-wrapped plastic? The Styrofoam tray is used to cushion the meat so that packages can be set upon each other without compromise to the appearance to the meat in each package. And, of course, we appreciate that and don’t give it much thought. And think about all of the take-out/to-go containers you get that are also made from Styrofoam!

Did you also know that Styrofoam is non-biodegradable? So that means that when you open the package to use the meat product and toss the tray in your trash, it is going to end up in a landfill where scientists believe it will remain in solid form for at least 500 years!! The very building block of expanded polystyrene foam (the name Styrofoam was trademarked by the Dow Company) plastic is petroleum, which is neither renewable nor sustainable.

So, why not find some creative ways to recycle/reuse this product? Sure, it’s most likely still going to end up in a landfill (people have burned it in campfires and the like, but it releases several toxic emissions when burned and shouldn’t be handled that way), but if we can get several uses from it before tossing it, we’re at least not creating additional landfill matter from using something else where Styrofoam can be reused.

The trays are easy to wash, usually fairly clean except for raw meat having touched it – nothing that hot, soapy water can’t erase. And there are so many ways in which the trays can be reused!

Having an outdoor picnic? We all know how flimsy paper plates can be, so why not offer your guests an appropriately-sized foam tray to use instead? They’ll surely appreciate the extra sturdiness while filling their plates. The larger trays also make good food platters for what you’re serving. Afterwards, if you don’t want to wash and reuse (and that’s the purpose of paper plates anyhow), you’ve gotten at least one extra use from them before they hit the landfill.

Have budding artists at home who like to paint? Foam trays make an excellent palette for dabs of the various paint colors they want to use, again, being much more sturdy.

Foam trays are also useful when you’re working on a project that requires separate colors of small beads. Using a hot glue gun on a metal stand? Put a piece of foam tray under the nozzle when the gun is in resting position and it will catch any small drops of melted glue from the nozzle between uses. Teaching a child to sew? Punch holes in a foam tray and fill a large-eyed blunt needle with yarn or multiple strands of embroidery floss and have them learn in an easier, more visual way! Draw and cut out patterns from your cookie cutters and let the kids decorate them for tree ornaments! And I’m sure many crafters could think of ways to use these items for their projects.

For the gardener, foam trays are great as disposable knee pads! Sure, they aren’t as cushiony as the pillowy-type knee pads you buy, but they do provide an extra layer of comfort and save your knees/pants from any mud or dirt. Use the trays to line the inside of your wooden garden walls, providing an extra layer of insulation for the garden.

Going on vacation and need an easy way to pack the jewelry you want to take with you? Use a piece of foam with holes for your pierced earrings and place the entire thing in a zippered plastic bag. They will stay secure in single pieces without becoming a tangled mess and you’ll be able to see right away each pair you have to choose from.

Foam trays are great for putting under planters that have drainage holes in the bottom. They will hold any excess water from watering the plant, as well as allowing that water to be pulled back in when the roots get dry.

If your feet get tired easily, grab clean foam trays and cut insoles for inside your shoes or boots. You’ll get an extra layer of cushioning for free!

Props for Halloween or party games can easily be cut from foam and then painted or decorated as needed.

And, when you’ve run out of ideas…. check out: https://www.foamfacts.com/recycling/ to see if there is a recycling center near you.

Happy reuse/recycling!

Freda

This was written by my brother in tribute to our maternal grandmother. It is an accurately true and vivid description of the angel on earth that she was!

commonsensiblyspeaking

In Grandma’s eyes is where I see

The happiest of memories

This woman who loved me so

Had the greatest heart to show

The caring, loving, little things

The pulling at your apron strings

Every need for your attention

Never felt like a distraction

You could stretch every penny far

Cupboards filled with mason jars

Hand-rolled dough to make a pie

Better than one could ever buy

Plain gingham dress of every day

A little Dutch in the words you say

Your laugh when something tickled

And those bread and butter pickles

Scrapple, pot pie, and apple butter

Kitchen skills like no other

The garden where you would kneel

Your strength put into every meal

Of grandkids, you would always boast

But I am sure it’s me you loved the most

You, the caring I always knew

I hope you know, I loved you too

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Weight Loss Fads and Scams

(NOTE: I’ve had this post written for a while, just waiting for the right time to publish it. I saw a new ad on social media today for yet another ‘weight loss patch’ and decided I really needed to get this out to my readers who are as gullible as I have been about the alleged easy cure to being overweight.)

I’ve been thin once in my life. I remember it clearly. I was in 7th grade – my first year in junior high school. We all experience that one growth spurt, where we add several inches in height in a relatively short span of time, and when mine happened, I looked very thin. My 7th grade school photo actually shows it (as well as the cat-eye glasses that were popular at the time!).

Of course, that was only temporary. When I look at photos from my earlier childhood, I wasn’t terribly chubby, but I wasn’t scraggly either. And honestly, for many years into my adulthood, I carried a bit of weight on my bones, but it wasn’t enough to qualify me as “fat”. I got bullied more for wearing glasses and for wearing clothing that my mother picked out, which belonged on her generation and weren’t trendy for mine. During high school, dress codes had started to relax but I still owned more dresses than anything else. Jeans were definitely out of the question – although I did have one or two pantsuits for more casual occasions. I was so proud of myself when, in college, I bought myself the first pair of jeans!

Anyhow, over the years, I didn’t regard anything about food other than did it taste good? We weren’t rich by any means, so starches like bread, potatoes and noodles were a part of every meal. Portion control was never considered – we simply ate until we were full (and sometimes overfull). My mom didn’t like leftovers taking up fridge space, so, subconsciously I think, we all ate until whatever was served was gone.

And the pounds packed on. I was already destined to have weight issues based on my maternal side’s genetics. I learned early on that I didn’t like raw vegetables, so salads were always bypassed. While I still didn’t consider myself fat, I would admit to being chunky. I’d never really worn tight or form-fitting clothes, so my clothing masked a lot of it. The gain was slow, unlike that vertical growth spurt, so I didn’t pay a lot of attention to it.

I’ve known, in my brain, that the biggest keys for weight management were portion control and healthy choices. I’ve seen the many ads for weight-loss plans like Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, etc. and the portions they sell to you as an entire meal are equivalent to what we eat as the two sides to our meals. Many programs stress going lean and green – high protein and healthy (raw, if possible) veggies. Yea, sell that to someone who would rather scrub the floor than eat a salad! Don’t get me wrong – I like and eat a lot of chicken – but plain chicken is boring! Things like cayenne pepper are good seasonings, assuming you like hot, spicy food (I don’t!).

When all of the ‘magic’ weight loss pills hit the market, I admit the idea appealed to me. What if there really was a way to lose weight that didn’t demand exercise and/or being careful about what you ate and how much of it? I watched dozens of videos and ads about different products. There were two major reasons I didn’t jump on that bandwagon. First and foremost was that I didn’t know anything about the ingredients or what their side effects might be, especially with the medications I was taking for other health issues. Second was the cost. Somehow, $79.98 for a month’s supply seemed outrageous to me! I still watched, and read the miraculous reviews from alleged users, and dreamed of it being that easy.

Then, about a year or so ago, a new fad was brought to the market – one involving placing pads on your stomach that would ‘naturally’ shrink belly weight! Woah, hold up a sec! You mean all I have to do is put this patch on, leave it in place for the prescribed amount of time for maximal shrinkage? No worry about side effects? Well, sign me up!!!!!!!

The first product I tried was called The Wonder Patch. It seemed simple enough and I liked the idea of it covering the whole tummy area, hitting all of my trouble spots.

I was excited when it arrived and read through the instructions carefully. The cut-out for the navel made it very easy to place in position. Removed as instructed and reapplied a new one the next day. Taking off that one seemed a little more inconvenient, as it seemed to be adhered enough to cause a little bit of effort and tug on my skin as I did so. Days three and four were similar to day two, though by the removal of the patch on day four, I could see pink areas on my skin from irritating it while removing the patch. Undaunted, I decided a little bit of skin irritation was worth it to shrink my belly fat. I even tried moving the placement of the patch a little to the right or left each day so the same skin wouldn’t get irritated. By day eight, my skin that was raw started to tear. I’d also developed ultra-dry skin beneath the entire patch, which flaked off by simply touching it. Wanting to believe nonetheless, I stepped on the scale. I couldn’t really see any changes but maybe…. You guessed it – no change. I mean, the good news is that I hadn’t gained any weight, but neither did I lose a single ounce. So the pain was not worth the gain – or lack of loss in this instance.

A few months later, I saw a new ad for a different kind of patch. This one was adhered only to one’s navel, and made the same promises to help shrink belly fat.

Okay, this didn’t seem so bad. I admit that I wondered how it could possibly work, since I’m an ‘innie’ but I was willing to give it a chance. I didn’t have any reactions on my skin from it, so I continued to use it – for 28 days. The supply was provided for 30 days, so certainly, at 28 days, I could expect to have some result. Again, I couldn’t visually see any change, but the scale would tell me whether it was working. Again, zero weight loss – actually, I’d gained almost a half-pound. Discouraging!

One more product ad came out and I was gullible enough to believe that “the third time’s the charm” – or else it was going to be “three strikes and you’re out”.

This product was a bit different than the other two. You could use as many patches as you wanted to and place them in the areas that you wanted specifically targeted. This product didn’t cause any skin irritation, but peeling the adhesive guard off in order to use them was difficult and offered its own irritation. As I’m sure you can suspect by now, the results were zero, zilch, nada. (On the bright side, I hadn’t gained anything!)

Logically, I wasn’t 100% surprised to have found myself tossing money away in the search for the easy way out for something that has no easy way out. I mean, I’ve watched dozens of episodes of My 600-pound Life (on TLC) and know that even weight loss surgery requires a change in eating habits. And again, it comes back to portion control and healthy food choices. I’ve actually toyed with the idea of hypnosis that would make me like – even crave – salads and raw veggies. I have no problem liking high protein foods, and I like a lot of cooked vegetables. But I also like pasta and rice and potatoes in any form. I like a lot of fresh fruits, too, but have to limit them because, even though it’s natural, fruits have a lot of sugar.

I’ve pretty much accepted that there is no magical and easy way out for dealing with my weight. I do know that my portion sizes have changed quite a bit. Where going to a buffet used to have appeal, I recognize that it would now be a waste of money because I get full so quickly. I’ve even not finished an side order of French fries because I was full (French fries are my favorite food!). I toss at least half of a hamburger bun away and honestly, prefer to have my burger without a bun. This is also true for hot dogs.

The purpose of this post is to hopefully alert people who have tried any kind of assisted weight loss. That is true for things like Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, the Atkins plan, etc. It’s not easy, but you can learn to limit your portion control on your own and without the cost of purchasing pre-made food. You are in control of the food that comes into your household, so avoid the snacks and sweets at the supermarket and they won’t be in your house to tempt you! One of the biggest things I have learned, which helped me slowly drop 30 pounds which will NEVER come back, is to learn the actual feeling of being hungry and to stop eating the moment you no longer feel hungry. If you eat until you feel full, you’ve eaten too much. And yes, I occasionally over-indulge and eat too much, but certainly not like I used to!

Don’t be like me and waste your money on gimmicks that promise to do for you what it already in your own power and control to do for yourself. Accept that there IS no easy way out and decide if you want to lose weight badly enough to make the changes necessary. Start with small steps, by cutting back your portions by just a little bit. Get in tune with your body’s signals for food and eat only enough to answer the “I feel hungry” command. Don’t graze mindlessly – sit down and focus on eating and consciously savor and enjoy each bite for taste and texture. Don’t eat because everyone else around you is eating – if gathering at a family function centered around a meal, put one or two bites of the things you like on your plate and focus on the people instead of the food.

It’s work, people, and it’s a slow process, but again, remember, it all starts with you!

Slow and steady wins the race!
You didn’t gain it all in one day – don’t try to lose it that way!
Make weight loss a habit by working on it every day!
The race to success isn’t timed!

Random Ramblings

In the past 4 days, I have written and trashed 4 posts. My life seems touched with only little tidbits of things right now and there is nothing to flesh out of any of them.

Last week was the anniversary of the day I was born and it was as quiet as I expected and said I wanted it to be. Ever since a ‘surprise’ birthday party 14 years ago which was just short of sheer torture for me, I’ve insisted that my birthday celebrations be no muss, no fuss. I’m at the age now where shared experiences and memories have far more value than tangible gifts. The pandemic has stopped in their tracks any ideas of experiences, so my wish has been granted. When asked what I want for my birthday or Christmas, my mind draws a blank.

Although I did mention to my chiropractor about his fierce political conversations with patients in my presence, there was another one recently. I found it largely hilarious, though. He and another patient were in agreement that the entire COVID-19 pandemic was initiated by the Democrats in order to discredit Trump from being reelected and that, in their minds, the end of the pandemic would happen in mere days after the November elections. How could I not laugh? The mere audacity to think that one political party in the United States has so much power that it could create a virus that is infecting, and killing, people all over the world is preposterous! Seriously? Seriously???

I am, nonetheless, not happy that Joe Biden is waiting so long to pick his running mate. I don’t know that I think it’s fair to his party or his supporters to not know whom that will be this close to the elections. To be honest, it was 100% Sarah Palin who kept me from even considering John McCain for the position. I couldn’t get past worrying that, should something happen to McCain, she would be left “in charge”.

The heat and humidity upon us here right now also has me in a fit. I suffer in humidity, regardless of the temperature, and when it’s already 80F by 7 AM, I know it’s going to be a scorcher. I miss having central air conditioning! I have window units in my living room and bedroom, but, even with open passageways, that cool air doesn’t ever reach the back of my apartment, where my spare bedroom/office, bathroom and kitchen are. That explains why I haven’t done much cooking – even just using the toaster oven instead of the full oven makes the space warm. When I do cook, which is maybe once or twice a week now, I make enough to have several days of leftovers which can be warmed in the microwave. I made a big serving of a fresh fruit salad last week, gave the bigger half to my bestie and her family and have managed to eat my way through the smaller half in a matter of days. Lunchmeat and cheese with crackers has also become a popular meal for me.

The worst part for me right now is that I’m bored and simultaneously antsy. Lack of energy and boredom do not go well together. The news, as well as TV shows in general, are the same old, same old these days. Add in a still recovering shoulder/arm and lack of central air and I get why I’m a hot (and literally, as well as figuratively, in this instance!) mess!

I have things I should get done, and I have things that would give me a great sense of accomplishment if I’d get them done…. and a voice in my head reminds me that, once I do those things, I won’t have anything left to do and then I’ll be twice as bored. I’m still reading, but not finding it easy to get as caught up in a story line as I usually do, so I read in bits and pieces. I flit between the recliner and couch in the living room and my bed so that I’m always somewhere with cooler air. Time spent on my computer has dropped significantly. Online streams bore me quickly, even the music ones I usually adore.

My mind keeps envisioning the people I thought were “old” back in the days when I didn’t qualify for the word, and how mindless and numbing their days must be. I was right! I’m ready for the cooler days of late September and October where I can at least get out without feeling like a wet rag within moments. And, maybe by September or October, we’ll have a better handle on the coronavirus and be able to enjoy more and more activities without concern for safety.

On the bright side, though – I got a manicure/pedicure and a haircut, and I got a slice plus one bite of good pizza as a birthday treat. I got to keep my appointment to donate blood to the American Red Cross. I do have books to try and read. I’m doing a lot of ‘window shopping’ on Amazon to try and come up with ideas to both give and get for Christmas.

I guess it could be worse?

Hacks from my Happy Place – XVII

Although our area is officially in the ‘green’ zone, I’m not in a big hurry to be around a bunch of people for any reason. However, it’s been since Labor Day, 2019 since those of us known as “The Wentling Clan” were all together, so we were seriously passed due. All of us are in a NASCAR betting thing, where everyone picks a driver for the season and pays according to how their driver does in the race. I was the last one of the 5-member clan to get in, and knowing nothing about NASCAR racing other than a few drivers’ names being familiar, I chose Kevin Harvick. We save all of the race money in a pot and then decide to do something together as a group. Since it’s become more and more difficult to find things we can all physically do as well as all enjoy, we’ve turned our money into paying for food for our get-togethers. Obviously, we missed Memorial Day due to the lockdown, but we all decided to get together for July 4th. I, of course, can not go anywhere with food empty-handed, so I offered to bring dessert. While my “Death by Chocolate” is always enjoyed, I decided to go much lighter and make an angel food cake (from a box! Egad!). While I was getting the box out of the cupboard, I saw my box of food coloring. Now, I have used food coloring in several instances when making an angel food cake. Once the batter is ready, you simply divide it evenly into as many bowls as you’re going to use colors. I put a 3rd in one bowl and added red food coloring, a 3rd in another bowl and stirred in blue food coloring, and kept the remaining 3rd white in the original mixing bowl. Then it’s just as easy as placing dollops of batter in a random pattern as you fill your tube pan, strategically doing it in layers and varying where the colors go with each layer. Bake according to directions. When the cake is sliced, you will see the colors throughout, making it look more exciting than just a slice of a plain white cake!

For mine, I took along a can of cherry pie filling and blueberry pie filling as possible toppers since angel food cake is rather dry on its own.

Perfectly Patriotic!

This can also be done with a white cake mix, whether you make cupcakes, a sheet cake or even a layer cake. Just frost as usual (or add food coloring to your frosting if you’re feeling really adventurous!).

I made deviled eggs for a Christmas party last December, and did the same thing with the yolk mixture. I divided it in two and put red food coloring in one half and green food coloring in the other. For extra fun, I sprinkled paprika on the green ones and crushed dried parsley flakes on the red ones, then staggered them in the serving dish.

So, I began thinking about food coloring and all of the many foods in which it can be used. Kids can be picky eaters, but using food coloring to tint a food, like mashed potatoes or the macaroni in mac ‘n cheese, might help them become more open to try other foods despite their appearance. We use food coloring to color the shells of hard-boiled eggs for Easter, but what if you peeled the eggs and put food coloring in water and dropped the peeled eggs in so the white changed color? Make egg salad in batches for each color and let the kids decide what color egg salad they want on bread for their lunch. Make pancakes or waffles regularly for your kids on the weekend? Let the kids take turns deciding what color the batter will be.

I truly believe that the more you open up a child’s willingness to eat something that doesn’t look like it’s supposed to, the more open they will be to trying things they don’t like the look of by sight alone!

Think about how you can use food coloring for a dish you’re taking to a host/hostess’ dinner party that will stand out for its uniqueness. The guests will talk about how pretty or unique it was even if was the same old something someone always brings! Remember, our taste buds use sight and smell as well as taste for markers of how much we like a food. A few drops of food coloring can make a big difference in how someone reacts to the taste for the taste alone!

So, who’s got some other unique and/or fun ways to use food coloring in food?

Food coloring! Its’s not just for eggs anymore!

King of Anything

I heard this song for the first time today, even though it was recorded 10 years ago! As I spend more time listening to live music streams, I’ve re-developed an appreciation for other music besides my beloved country and, as always, I get pulled in by the lyrics. It seemed providential somehow that I should stumble upon these lyrics at this time, while I’m enmeshed in a period of self-growth and self-discovery. I wanted to share them because they really felt empowering to me!

The song is called King of Anything and was recorded on the album entitled Kaleidoscope Heart. Kaleidoscope Heart is the third studio album by American singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles, which was released on September 7, 2010 through Epic Records. The lead single from the album, “King of Anything”, was released digitally on May 10, 2010.

King of Anything

Sara Bareilles

Keep drinking coffee, stare me down across the table
While I look outside
So many things I’d say if only I were able
But I just keep quiet and count the cars that pass by

You’ve got opinions, man
We’re all entitled to ’em, but I never asked
So let me thank you for your time,
And try not to waste anymore of mine
And get out of here fast

I hate to break it to you babe, but I’m not drowning
There’s no one here to save

Who cares if you disagree?
You are not me
Who made you king of anything?
So you dare tell me who to be?
Who died and made you king of anything?

You sound so innocent, all full of good intent
Swear you know best
But you expect me to jump up on board with you
And ride off into your delusional sunset

I’m not the one who’s lost with no direction
But you’ll never see
You’re so busy making masks with my name on them in all caps
You got the talking down, just not the listening

And who cares if you disagree?
You are not me
Who made you king of anything?
So you dare tell me who to be?
Who died and made you king of anything?

All my life I’ve tried to make everybody happy
While I just hurt and hide
Waiting for someone to tell me it’s my turn to decide

Who cares if you disagree?
You are not me
Who made you king of anything?
So you dare tell me who to be?
Who died and made you king of anything?

Who cares if you disagree?
You are not me
Who made you king of anything?
So you dare tell me who to be?
Who died and made you king of anything?

Let me hold your crown, babe

Create Time to Create

This was another thing stored in the “Future Blog Ideas” folder that I’m hoping I can do justice to. DISCLAIMER: While this specifically mentions “women”, it applies to all genders; while this specifically mentions “writing”, it applies to all artistic endeavors.

How do you – or do you – schedule time in which you give in to expressing yourself through creative means? Are you like those novelists who sit down every day with the intent to stay there until you pen a specific number of words, sentences, paragraphs or chapters? Are you an artist who fills a pallet each day with assorted paint colors and stares at a blank canvas until your mind releases its idea for what you should paint? Do you pick up your knitting/crocheting every day and pre-determine how many rows you will accomplish before you can put it down?

Or, like me, do you wait for an idea to come to you of its own free will and then rush to gather the tools you use to create your craft and plunge in, working until your energy is zapped or until the idea becomes fuzzy and vague? Do you ever go back to your project later and realize you don’t like what you’ve begun and erase it, unravel it, paint over it, just completely trash it? When you’re working on your craft, do you focus more on wanting to make sure it pleases others who may see it or simply because it pleases you to see it?

There are people who create/craft purely to please themselves. There are people who create/craft with the primary reason as a source of income. Some bloggers, for example, have a large enough following that advertisers pay them for the privilege of adding ads to their posts. Some crafty people make things solely for the purpose of selling them at craft shows or on sites like Etsy. But unless you are a famous novelist, painter, sculptor, etc. and people will buy your next book or painting or sculpture because of your status as such, is it really viable to make a sustainable income by working your craft?

I’ve stated before how I am dependent upon a muse to inspire me to create – and that my muse takes vacations without notice. I’ve talked about the self-pressure I sometimes put on myself when I feel unable to come up with words I think are worthy of writing. I’m envious of my brother who has found his niche in writing poetry and has committed to posting a poem in his blog every day for at least an entire year. And yet, I’m not in any way envious of the pressure he must certainly feel at times for keeping up with that commitment!

So I look at those words about us needing to not let our ‘should do’ list override our time to be creative. I don’t think I agree, at least not for me. When I have a desire to pen words in my blog, there is nothing that will stop me from doing so… but I can’t imagine committing to writing every day and forcing myself to write something for that reason. Kudos to those of you who have the ability and the courage to generate something every day. It’s just not me.