Vending Machine Jackpot!

Vending Machine Jackpot

When something great happens, we just have to share it!

I put in the appropriate amount of change, typed in the assigned number (305), and pressed the “Select” button. As I waited the spiraling of the dispenser stimulated my salivating taste buds. When the spiral had reached the end of the shelf, Woohoo! TWO packages of peanut M&M’s fell into the dispensing tray. I HAD to take a picture of my vending machine jackpot. (There is no better inspiration for a post than free candy.)

Great things happen in our lives everyday. Surprises and blessings occur when we least expect them. Keep your heart and mind open to recognizing these “jackpots.”

I shared my winnings with my friend Christina. Sharing my story and the candy was my second double bonus of the day.

If you find yourself with a vending machine jackpot, a lucky penny in the parking lot, or stumbling across a shareable success, double your money and deal out some luck to someone else. Be sure to share your loot with someone who could use a win. ūüėČ

png 1 Have you ever hit a vending machine jackpot? What did you win? How did you celebrate your victory?

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. The candy really did just fall out. I did not shake the machine or anything.

P.P.S. Personally, I am scared to shake vending machines because I am afraid they will set off an alarm and everyone will know I was trying to rob the vending machine.

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Vacation Food is…better

 

Sunny Salmon and Aspargus Salad

Sunny Salmon and Asparagus Salad from Bahama Bistro in Osage Beach, Missouri

I LOVE food. My BFF loves food. We always love food, but on vacation…food is just better.

The beauty of vacation eating is that it is usually:

a. fresh

b. made by someone else

c. free of dish washing duty

d. something you don’t usually get to eat

As we embarked on our annual girls retreat, my BFF and I savored the menu planning portion. (Did I mention we love food?)

Our dining plans included two new recipes (guacamole and brushetta), picking up fresh eats from the local deli, and taking in the tastes of local restaurants.

Most of our snack and meal choices were healthy, but we made sure to pick up the necessary sweets to add to the vacation’s taste value. Continue reading “Vacation Food is…better”

Angel food Cake – A Tradition of Grace

Angel food Cake – A Tradition of Grace

Graceful Tradition

 

Angel food cake has always been a dessert I enjoy. For my birthday I often request it or gooey butter cake for my treat. When spring or fall suppers roll around at our church, I usually bake one or two angel food cakes for the dessert table and country store. This was a tradition shared by Miss Grace, one of the sweetest ladies I ever met.

Grace was a petite woman with a huge heart. She grew up in Loose Creek, less than 10 miles from the home where she and her husband Albert raised their 11 children. Miss Grace was kind and devoted. She was steadfast in her faith and worked until a job was done. She was a picture of simple dignity.

Miss Grace passed away a few years ago and her loss was a huge hit to her husband, children, grandchildren, and our parish family. The first spring dinner after her passing I made my usual angel food cake. As I dropped my cake off at the country store, one of her daughter-in-laws hugged me and said she was so glad to see an angel food cake on the table. That cake reminded her of Grace.

Up until that point, I did not realize that I shared Miss Grace’s angel food tradition, but I fully20170326_065239.jpg recognized the importance of keeping it going. This spring I made two cakes. One was for the country story and one was for the dessert table; they were both for Miss Grace.

I like to think of Miss Grace, in her angel wings, smiling down on my efforts. It makes me really happy to know she is there with Albert, her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren at our parish functions. This tradition of grace is one that I look forward to perpetuating. I hope you have a graceful tradition that enhances your life.

When you find someone or something in your life that is worth making into a tradition. Make that tradition happen.  Share your traditions with others. Energy and intent provide validity and vigor to your practices and makes life worth living.

png 1¬†Please share your traditions. What do you do to help keep your family and friends’ celebrations alive? How do you preserve the impacts of those you have encountered? What is your Tradition of Grace?

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. We can’t all make angel food cakes. We need¬†some other desserts. What would people say if all we had to sell was angel food cake? I call dibs on angel food cake for the fall supper.

 

 

 

Why is it “easy as pie”? Pies are stressful!

Why is it “easy as pie”? Pies are stressful!

Not just a pie

Pies are easy to eat…they are not as easy to make.

With spring comes the start of church picnic season. My small, country parish has our spring chicken dinner this weekend. Each family is asked to bring homemade bread and baked goods for the meal and to sell at the Country Store. I enjoy baking and eating the desserts, but sometimes making them takes away from their sweetness.

Making the crust is a great stress reliever. First you kneed and roll the dough and get out all your frustrations, but then you have to get that beautiful crust into the pan with out making any holes in it. (Stupid holes!) Once the crust is filled with fruity goodness, you have to make your top crust look just right, because you know the ladies working the dessert table are going to judge you on your crust designing skills. (Judge lest ye be judged, ladies!)

The dessert table ladies aren’t the biggest concern though. What if your pie isn’t pretty enough for Pumpkin Pie 17.jpganyone to buy at the Country Store? Continue reading “Why is it “easy as pie”? Pies are stressful!”

So I accidentally ate some chocolate…

So I accidentally ate some chocolate…wp-image-421246380jpg.jpeg

I have established clear and determined intent to abstain from chocolate. It is Lent and I LOVE chocolate so it is the one thing I purposefully give up each year.

TWICE! TWICE! I have inadvertently eaten chocolate in the first 7 days of Lent. Aaauuuggghhhh!

My first infraction came with lunch on Ash Wednesday (of all the days!). I opened my yogurt while checking emails and scarfed it down. (I was really hungry from abstaining.) Then I turned to eat my peanut butter sandwich and realized that, I, in my state of “starvation,” ate a yogurt with chocolate and coconut. I felt so guilty! I didn’t even allow myself to each chocolate on the following Sunday (The one day a week that we are allowed to indulge during Lent)¬†because of my guilt.

My second mistaken consumption occurred this Wednesday. Hubby and a crew of guys were pouring concrete for our new porch steps. I thought it would be nice to make lunch and treat them with cookies. I opened a tub of cookie dough and started scooping. Before placing the first dough ball on the cookie sheet, I did what I always do for “quality control;” I tasted the cookie dough. IT WAS CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE DOUGH!

My guilt was unbearable! I was¬†supposed to be sacrificing. Jesus DIED for us and I can’t go 7 days without chocolate. Oh my goodness! Continue reading “So I accidentally ate some chocolate…”

Worms in your Ice Cream

Worms in your Ice Cream

wormy-ice-cream-2

After taking my kiddos to their annual well visits, we headed to the local frozen yogurt shop. This place is so cool! Not only can you make your own frozen yogurt sundae or shake, but you can also sing karaoke or tie-dye a t-shirt.

With my help, each kiddo selected¬†chocolate frozen yogurt, of course and then dashed to the toppings buffet. There were lots and lots of toppings. There were¬†healthy, fresh fruits, not-so-healthy sprinkles, candies, cookies, marshmallows, and syrupy toppings. It was a sundae lover’s dream. I was surprised by many of their choices but said nothing because I didn’t want to hinder their excitement. After their bowls were filled to the brim, they had the shop owner weigh their bowls and headed to our table.

It was then that I went to make my sundae. Of course this distracted my little sweeties from eating their own frosty treats and all three had to follow me around and learn from my expert sundae building skills.

Sadly, they did not like my choice of peanut butter yogurt. They loudly protested when I added nuts, but when I made it to the fresh fruit, they realized there was no fresh fruit in their bowls. Things went sour from there. Continue reading “Worms in your Ice Cream”

Feast

Feast

Feast from Family (2).JPG

Vegetables shared with us from our aunt and uncle. Potatoes provided by my father-in-law. Bananas and oranges from the grocery store.

We have an aunt and uncle who garden. By garden I don’t mean a few raised beds and a couple of hanging baskets on the front porch. I mean they GARDEN. Each year they plant four or five vegetable gardens.

They start the seeds in February or March in their home and then transplant them into the long, tilled rows of their various produce fields. They grow sweet corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, lettuce, potatoes, zucchini, squash, peppers, and more. Their bounty flourishes with their generosity towards us.

As the summer months roll along, I often come home to find a pile of zucchini or corn inside the front door. Sometimes there will be a bucket of tomatoes or a bag of cucumbers on the front porch. We are SO blessed that they share their garden goodies with us!

To show our thanks, I often bake them zucchini bread or angel food cake (Uncle loves this.) Sometimes I will take them a turkey dish or just sent a thank you card. This is all they ever allow me to do in the form of payment for the awesome summer treats.

Summertime really does provide a feast for us (thanks to Aunt and Uncle’s labors and kindness).

It doesn’t always take a box of tomatoes or a bag of sweet corn for us to feast on the blessings our loved ones provide for us. People in our lives grace us with tremendous gifts each day. Take time to identify and realize the wonderful ways your life is enhanced because of the actions your friends and family make.

Take time today to thank someone in your life for the blessings they serve you. Say a prayer of thanksgiving for the opportunities provided to you by your parents or friends. Make plans to do something that shows your gratitude for someone you care about.

Put your energy into positively pursuing your intents of gratitude, and you will surely find yourself feasting on love and added blessings.

By: Melanie A. Peters

 

Mama Catches Happiness

Mama Catches Happiness

Mamas Catch.jpg

After I caught this crappie at Truman Lake, my husband told my kids, “Now Mama is happy.”

I made them take my picture. I was proud of my catch and I wanted my kids to see my pride.

Heavy storms with lots of thunder and lightening blew through two of the three nights we were at the lake. The storm fronts seemed to have scared off the fish because we only caught about 15 fish the entire trip. My contributions to the fishing came in the form of this and one other fish caught, keeping the boys from falling in the water, and having minnows ready to bait my daughter’s hook. I just happened to catch this guy during one of the quieter moments of our excursion. I fished with my¬†youngest son on my lap so he could “catch” one too, but he couldn’t stand the wait so we never snagged one for him.

Fishing with my kids is stressful and scary for me. I am afraid of water.

Water has frightened me since I was a teenager. As a camp counselor, I had to rescue two girls after they tipped over their canoe in a deep and restricted part of the camp lake. A year later I had to provide first aid to a man who sustained a head injury at a local water slide when he flipped off the mat (on which he was supposed to remain seated). People who are not afraid of water get hurt. I am afraid of water.

On our fishing trip, safety precautions were my number one concern. Appropriately fitting life jackets, secured seats, swimming lesson reminders, and safety whistles were all in place. ¬†The waters were calm and my always zen husband sat confidently as he drove the boat. I clutched my youngest son for dear life. Continue reading “Mama Catches Happiness”

Ice Cream for Breakfast

Ice Cream for Breakfast – Happy Birthday to ME!

Ice Cream For Breakfast.jpg

It was my birthday and my kids and I added ice cream to our breakfast menu. They were so tickled at the idea of eating something so bad for breakfast. (I am usually “mean mom” and make them eat fruit, eggs, or cereal for our morning meal.)

Since my daughter’s first birthday, we have celebrated birthdays with a breakfast cupcake. Due to the fact that I am the only one who is old enough to bake cupcakes (and I didn’t get any baked the day before), ice cream was definitely the next best option for my special day.

Upholding the breakfast treat tradition is important to my kids and I. Upholding any tradition that adds special emphasis to life events is always important to uphold.

Think about a tradition you celebrate with your family and friends that is unique to you. Savor those memories and make plans to keep them alive and well in your relationships. The dependability of those simple gestures or actions enhances your connections with those that share them.

png 1 What is your special tradition or ritual? How do you make special days extra special with those that you love?

If you don’t have a tradition, I highly recommend ice cream for breakfast. ūüôā

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. Ice cream is awesome for breakfast.

 

 

Soup in Summertime

Soup in Summertime

Summertime soup.JPG

I don’t make soup very often in the summer. I don’t know why.

Yes, it is hot outside, but thanks to the miracle of air conditioning, it is plenty cool inside.

Summer is when the perfect ingredients are fresh from the garden and it is so easy to have a bowl of soup with a salad and be on our way.

We eat meals every day at home. I believe firmly in cooking and eating together, so soup is perfect. My kiddos can help prepare and add the ingredients and then we can enjoy the fruits of our labor together. Plus left overs can be a life saver on a busy day, and soup is often better the second time around.

The message of today’s post is this: Take time to consider options that are available to you¬†which¬†you wouldn’t normally take advantage. If there is a free service or program, check it out. Enjoy the things your community has to offer like park programs, nature talks, free concerts, art shows, car shows, or patronize a farmers’ market.

If fresh fruits and veggies make themselves available to you, be grateful for the source and share in the wealth. My father-in-law brought us a bucket of zucchini and potatoes from¬†his garden. I¬†prepped¬†and froze some zucchini¬†for us, grilled some, and shared the rest with our neighbors. Continue reading “Soup in Summertime”