What Color Are Your Pancakes?

Blue Pancakes (6)

Blue pancakes are the usual in our household (when we have pancakes). I usually like to keep my breakfast dates with friends (when I can schedule breakfast dates). This past week my friend Erin and I had a breakfast date planned, but my sitter situation became bleak. I offered to make breakfast at my home (if Erin didn’t mind the three-ring circus running around while we visited). She was cool with hanging out at my house so we kept our date.

Blue Pancakes (7)As I was whipping up the pancakes, my youngest son asked if the pancakes would be blue. My daughter soon chimed in that she really wanted blue pancakes too (after all our pancakes are usually blue). I wasn’t sure how Erin would react to blue pancakes, so I left half the batch plain and the other half was blue. When Erin arrived, the kids stampeded to let her in and were in full three-ring circus mode. It seemed only right that there were blue pancakes.

In true awesome Erin fashion, she said, “I’m down with blue pancakes,” and happily ate blue and plain colored flapjacks with my family.

What color are your pancakes? Do you have a special breakfast tradition in your household?

As we begin the season of holiday feasting, think about the traditions that been upheld by your loved ones. My mom’s side of the family has had chicken and dumplings at every family function since time began (that maybe a bit of an exaggeration); it just isn’t a Frank family holiday without chicken and dumplings.

Is there something special your family will eat that is a unique tradition this Thanksgiving?

Traditions, such as blue pancakes and chicken and dumplings, make special days “special.” My hope for you is that you are able to remember and (if you can) enjoy the food feasts that make family “family” this holiday season. Be sure to share your traditions with friends and tell the stories of your childhood to your kiddos. Savor the meals and memories that have made you who you are and be grateful for the events that enriched those memories.

Remember not everyone has “picture perfect” holiday plans. Be considerate and kind (and inviting, if you can) to those who have less to be thankful for.  Make your newest tasty tradition be one that dishes out meaningful memories for yourself and all those for whom you love. Who knows, maybe blue pancakes will be your new Thanksgiving brunch or chicken and dumplings your new tradition of choice. Whatever it is you serve, whether it be food or memories, make them positive and full of energy that inspires grateful intent.

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. If you are making blue pancakes. you will need to pick up some blue food coloring.

Blue Pancakes (1)

 

 

 

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What if You Wrote a Book?

What if you wrote a book

What if you wrote a book? Would it be fiction or nonfiction? Would it be funny? Would it be a suspense-filled mystery? Would it be a romance novel? Would your book be a children’s classic or a self-help for struggling parents? Would you write your autobiography (a story of you)? What if you wrote a book?

This past weekend I had an amazing day with two of my sisters and our activities (of course) included a delicious and relaxing lunch. At our meal, I told my sisters of my goal to finally being writing the manuscript for a book idea that has been moldering around in my mind for awhile now. They were supportive and joked about if the book were about us.

In the book about us, each sister would get a chapter. My youngest sister’s chapter was titled something like, “We only had two beers, but I swear we were talking to an Angel named Holly and then he was gone.” (There is a story behind this title that will appear in a future blog post. Promise!) The other chapters are still to be determined but A LOT of great brainstorming went on with our second glass of wine.

I have written a few children’s mysteries and have gone so far as to talk to some artist friends about illustrating with me, but never pulled the trigger on getting those books out. I know there will be a time and a place for them in my writing future.  Continue reading “What if You Wrote a Book?”

Don’t Knock Jokes – Funny Friday

Don't Knock Jokes

Teaching the art of joke-telling is a healthy and happy way to develop communication skills.

Every week I share a joke with the 1st and 2nd graders at our school library.  The students keep a journal of the jokes and their answers. I also always invite the students to share jokes of their own.

The 2nd grade teacher recently thanked me for getting the kids excited about reading, in particular for their excitement about reading joke and riddle books. She said, “They just can’t get enough jokes or joke books. It’s fun to see them laugh and try to tell the jokes.” It is great to see my silly habit of sharing jokes is contagious.

When kids tell jokes, they are able to laugh at themselves and their message. Too often kids are hounded with seriousness. If we can use humor to educate and provide experience, we can inspire happier learners.

I have given speeches and had opportunities to be a public speaker for most of my life. When I started public speaking in 5th or 6th grade, I learned that the best trick for breaking the ice was to tell a joke first.

  • If you can tell a joke, and tell it well, you can speak to anyone.
  • If you can identify where to add inflection or pauses, you can communicate a message.
  • If you can identify where to add inflection or pauses, AND make your audience laugh when you want them to, you can communicate anything.

Continue reading “Don’t Knock Jokes – Funny Friday”

What’s That in Your Persimmon?

Persimmons (2)

Wives’ tales are one of my favorite meteorological practices. I love the idea of watching for woolly worms’ colors and seeing how much rain falls in the first seven days of a year to predict the potential forecasts for the upcoming seasons. Persimmons also hold a tell tale story in their seeds.

Each fall my kids and I trek across our farm to the various persimmon trees that line our pastures. By this time of October they don’t have many leaves left and their peachy-colored fruits are the only sign of life on the trees. Taking turns, I lift my kiddos up to pick a few fruits from each tree. When we have had our fill of persimmon picking, we rush back to the house to split open their seeds.

Last fall’s findings were a little unclear. The shapes in the centers of the seeds weren’t very distinct. We found some knives with a few forkly shapes. As last winter was a mild one, with a few icy patches, those indecisive centers were a pretty accurate reflection of what the weather was to bring.

Persimmons (1)There were no ambiguous shapes this year. This season we found spoons in the center of every seed.

So what do the clear cut spoons mean for this year? Well, according the wives’ tale, we will be digging ourselves out of snow this winter. This prediction thrilled my children.

While the idea of piles of snow may not please you, I hope you will take time to enjoy activities like persimmon picking with your family. It is a great way to get outside, make memories, and use imagination. Put some energy this week into enjoying time together and maybe telling some wives’ tales of your own.

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. I am not a licensed meteorologist, so if you do not like this forecast, blame it on the persimmons.

I Love Pumpkin Guts

pumpkin guts (5)

I love pumpkin guts! I love how they feel, how they smell, the seeds that we pull out of them, and the jack-o-lanterns that take form after they are removed. I love pumpkin guts.

In 2016 almost 150 million Americans said carving pumpkins was a part of their Halloween plans. That makes for A LOT of pumpkin gut removal.

pumpkin guts (4)While many find the slimy, sticky, and stringy gourd guts to be gross, there are plenty of people out there that enjoy the icky investigation for seeds.

The scraping of the sides can be a stress reliever. When you have your big bowl of pumpkin guts staring you in the face, you can say, “Wow! I cleaned all of those out!” 

Once the insides are removed, creating spooky, silly, and sometimes unrecognizable shapes is what turns jack-o-lanterns into joy. Roasting the separated seeds is always a fun and a pretty healthy snack. My kids think the roasted, salty seeds taste like popcorn and those toasted kernels don’t last long at our house. Continue reading “I Love Pumpkin Guts”

Invisible Success – Wise Words Wednesday

Unseen Success

You can’t always see success. via Daily Prompt: Triumph

Everyday I surmount innumerable tasks. Laundry is washed and folded. Dishes are done and put away. Kids are taken to and from school with water bottles, snacks, homework (completed), and supplied with jackets when needed. Farm book work is logged. Cows are checked. Dog is fed and watered. Papers are graded. Lessons are written. Friends are called. Groceries are added to the list. One task at a time I am conquering the world.

I am not alone in my conquest. Each and every person is successful in ways you cannot see.

Unseen Success 1Every time you buy a loaf of sliced bread, you are unknowingly celebrating the success of Otto Rohwedder. Rohwedder was the man who invented the “power-driven, multi-bladed” bread slicer in 1928. (Nix 2015) His bread-slicing success did not happen overnight. It took multiple tries and the determination to get past skeptical bread makers to bring his dream of ready-sliced bread to reality. Those shelves filled with pre-sliced loaves today are a shining example of silent success. When you hear the saying that something is “better than sliced bread,” you can thank Otto Rohwedder for that analogy and be grateful that you don’t have to slice bread for your breakfast toast. Continue reading “Invisible Success – Wise Words Wednesday”

Thoughts on Fear – Thoughtful Thursday

Thoughts on Fear

I am always impressed by the way some individuals are able to encapsulate the emotions that are shared by literally millions. The sadness that has invaded our lives and hearts in recent weeks has largely been caused by fear.

The following are posts or lyrics of others that I have found quite profound. Hopefully their words will eliminate any insecurities that you may have about isolation and separation because of the fear that has invaded your thoughts and emotions.

Kelly Sanders Smith, a friend and fellow teacher, shared this thought on Facebook and opened my eyes to a sad reality about what the generations after mine sadly consider as common place.

Fear Post 1


Cami Walker, my friend and author of 29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life, recently shared this post on www.29gifts.org. I love how she is taking tragedy and turning into a positive challenge of love.  Continue reading “Thoughts on Fear – Thoughtful Thursday”

Don’t Let Them Witness Failure

Dont Let Them Witness Failure

Tripping over your own feet. Accidentally shooting yourself with water at a water fountain. Noticing your zipper is unzipped or a shirt button is in the wrong hole. Forgetting someone’s names as you greet them.

These are small but impactful mistakes. It isn’t really the mistake that makes the failure; it’s our attitude. Our “Oops” are only failures, if we allow others to witness us wallowing in our faux pas.

When we make mistakes, we provide ourselves with jumping off points for humor, improvement, and growth.

While we may never stop tripping over our own feet and we can NEVER control the pressure of some water fountains, we can control how we prevent failure from being part of our self-perception.

When we do something right, we LOVE witnesses of our greatness. When we make a mistake, witnesses are worse than the error itself. The truth of the matter is witnessing success is not nearly as powerful as witnessing the triumph of overcoming a potentially fantastic failure.

My children witness me making some pretty terrible mistakes. These massive mistakes allow me the opportunity to show what it looks like to make an “Oops” into an “Oh yeah!” It’s totally okay is they see me fail at an attempt, it’s not okay to let them see me defeated. (I am not saying it’s not okay to suffer a defeat now and then, we just can’t remain defeated.) Every time I wipe out, it is important for them to see me get wipe myself off and try again (sometimes the mistake warrants trying something new all together). Allowing others to see us move on makes that mistake a victory.

If you find yourself in an “Oops” situation, acknowledge the “Oops” and give any witnesses the opportunity to say “Oh yeah!” as you find a successful way on to the next attempt or adventure. Don’t let them witness failure. Give them a front row ticket to the fabulous fortune in your endeavors.

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. I tell myself that I make a lot of mistakes so that I can make a lot of successes. You tell yourself whatever it takes to make your failures into victories. 😉

 

 

Responsible Reading and Radical Listening – The Time I Met Will Schwalbe

There were so many things I wanted to title this post… “Long Live the Tree Books,” “Becoming a Watch Deputy,” and (the title that almost made the cut) “Buying Books We Knock Over.” (I call dibs on all these titles for future posts.)

This past spring Aunt Carol recommended that I read The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe. The End of Your Life Book Club is a memoir of the books Will and his mother read and bonded over during her diagnosis and treatment for Stage IV pancreatic cancer.

I am not gonna lie. Reading this book made me feel smarter because Will and his mother Mary Anne read some AMAZING stuff. (I have an entire Goodreads book shelf dedicated to books I learned about in The End of Your Life Book Club.) It wasn’t so much the knowledge about the books they read that increased my intelligence; it was the way Will conveyed the powerful life lessons fostered by their reading, conversations, and the tremendous responsibility assumed because of their reading that made me feel smarter.

Will SchwalbeWill was announced as the author of the 2017 Capital READ in June. I was so excited! The date went immediately on my calendar and I ordered a new hardback copy of The End of Your Life Book Club from Amazon Marketplace.

Will Schwalbe 2When my copy arrived, I discovered that I had unwittingly ordered an autographed copy. I was bummed because I wanted my copy to be signed when I met Will. (Silly thing to be bummed about, right?) My signed copy ended up being a cool thing. Continue reading “Responsible Reading and Radical Listening – The Time I Met Will Schwalbe”

Basically good…like everybody else

Basically Good

Every night when I go to bed my mind floods with the shortcomings of my day. Most of the time my distractions stem from my own mistakes. The snippy words barked at my children in frustration. The letter I forgot to send. The phone call that I meant to make. The laundry in the washing machine never made it to the dryer. Did I feed the dog?

If I let my mistakes run rampant, my mind never lets me sleep. The only consolation I find is in the knowledge that I am basically good. Yeah, I am weak. Yes, I am full of mistakes. But, for the most part, I am basically good. Continue reading “Basically good…like everybody else”