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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I Love Pumpkin Guts

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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”

Start Holiday De-Stressing Now

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Holiday StressSome evil person posted this Elf meme on their Facebook feed the other day and I wanted to unfriend them but they are related to me and I like them.

Unfriending people can add additional stress at the holidays, and this article is all about holiday de-stressing.

 

In keeping with the 12 Days of Christmas, I am proposing 12 Steps to De-stress for the Holidays:

Step 1: To begin take a deep cleansing breath.

Step 2: After you remember to start breathing again, I want you to say these words, “Happiness is the greatest gift I can give. A stressed out me does not make a holiday happy. I will not add unhappiness to my holidays.”

See. Don’t you feel better?

Step 3: Write down one gift you will give yourself. (This does not have to be a material thing.)

Step 4: Make a list of all the other people for whom you want and/or need to get gifts. (These do not have to be material things.)

Step 5: Make a calendar of all events you KNOW will absolutely be on your agenda.

Step 6: Repeat Steps 1 & 2.

Step 7: Establish a budget.

  • How much will you spend on each person?
  • How much do you plan to give to your church or charities?
  • How much should you plan to spend on extra party foods and drinks?
  • How much are your travel costs?

Add those costs up.

Step 8: Repeat Steps 1 & 2. Continue reading “Start Holiday De-Stressing Now”

4-H – Showing Us the Future

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Ravyn showing in the ring.

It’s county fair season and the 4-H kiddos are showing us the future leaders and providers for our communities. My husband grew up showing hogs and cattle in the 4-H livestock shows and selling them at the auction to raise money for his future farming endeavors. It has clearly worked out, as we now have over 200 head of cattle and raise thousands of turkeys every year.

We are proud  and excited to support the 4-H tradition. Our county fair is held the weekend after 4th of July each year. It is always HOT and it always rains at least once. The 4-H Livestock show and other competitions are held on the first day of the fair. Starting at 7:00 a.m. members put a year’s worth of hard work on display.

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Kila showing her hog.

4-H members show steers, hogs, sheep, and poultry. Some show their workmanship in competitions for sewing, arts and crafts, photography, painting, pottery, woodworking, metal working, gardening, and other trades. Ribbons are awarded based on the successfulness of their projects and showmanship. Blue ribbons continue to be the coveted prize of choice. In the livestock show, presenters hope to be crowned Grand Champion. The Grand Champion is the choicest animal in the competition and usually brings the highest price.

Those that earn blue ribbons in the non-livestock competitions have the opportunity to move on to competition at the State fair. It is quite an honor.

Showing a fair animal starts a year in advance. The animals are selected when they are young so that the presenter has plenty of time to feed, care, and train the animal for showing. These fair animals become a part of the 4-H member’s family (almost), as they are a daily part of the presenter’s life. This is a powerful practice for developing future farmers and a strong understanding of dedication and hard work. After feeding, grooming, and practicing showing, the presenters often send out or deliver invitations to people in the community inviting them to bid on their animal. It is a terrific lesson in marketing and confidence for these young people. As the animals are judged, the livestock judges explain to the exhibitors and audience the qualities of a champion animal. (It’s a livestock learning experience for everyone.) Continue reading “4-H – Showing Us the Future”

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.

 

 

 

When the Tree is Gone

When the Tree is Gone via Daily Prompt: Gone

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Every year my children and I enjoy decorating our home for the Christmas holiday. Even my husband perks up at the sight of the lights. I try to not put the tree up too early so as to protect the magic its lighting brings. After the feast of the Epiphany (the wise men’s arrival), I dutifully take down all the decorations.

The emptiness created by the absence of tree, garland, and lights gives our home an incomplete feel. The rooms seem stark and the light seems cold. What is it about the time after the tree is gone that darkens our day?

When the tree is gone, the spirit of Christmas is not plainly visible. When the tree is gone, the remembrance of all those Christmas wishes fades. When the tree is gone, the twinkle of Santa’s magic dims and we forget about that whole peace on Earth and goodwill towards men thing. Plus, when the tree is gone, I find it a lot harder to just sit in my arm chair and read a book or watch my kids play. It’s as if the tree is a holiday anchor that holds us in place and reminds us to remain steadfast in the enjoyment of our home and family.

I challenge you to keep the Christmas spirit alive in your actions and words. Take time to sit in your favorite chair and read a book or snuggle with a loved one. Continue in your efforts to bring peace to the lives of those you encounter and yourself. Give the gifts of understanding and kindness in all you do.

Just because there isn’t a tree standing in your living room doesn’t mean you have to become a scrooge. Find joy in the simple elements of each day and you won’t have time to miss that silly old tree.

When the tree is gone, continue to shine as a light for others each day. Put some holiday in your heart and let your Intentergy keep the spirits of others alive and well.

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. If you still have your tree up, that’s cool.

Blessed are the Flexible – Wise Words Wednesday

Blessed are the Flexible – Wise Words Wednesday

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Flexibility is necessary in life. Flexibility is a special virtue this time of year.

We work so hard to fit all of the holiday shopping, meals, programs, parties, and family functions in that we forget to be flexible. This forgetfulness can lead to some major fits of stress and missing holiday spirit.

Allow yourself some breathing room this month. Give yourself the gift of flexibility.

Give the gift of flexibility to others. Remember we are all suffering from the season. Show compassion and patience for those who “mess” with your plans.

Flexibility towards yourself and others will lead to much more fa-la-la-ing and much less bahumbuging.

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. It’s ok to do some mental warm ups before you get too flexible. You wouldn’t want to pull anything before Christmas. Breathe deep… Focus… Flex!

Three Gifts from Santa

Three Gifts from Santa

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Every year Santa delivers three gifts for each of us. That is it. Three.

My children receive three things from the jolly old elf and are ecstatic. The gifts are usually three things from my children’s wish lists or fun things they will use.

When people hear that my children only receive three gifts Christmas morning, they are shocked.

Here are Santa’s reasons for the tradition of three gifts on Christmas morning at our home:

5. Santa is magical but he is also practical.

4. Santa wants the family to spend time together. He doesn’t want all of Christmas to be spent in separate parts of the house with our new things. He wants us together.

3. Santa wants our children to know they are loved and the number of gifts under the tree can NEVER amount to the measure of our love.

2. Children receive so much through out the year. He wants those three gifts to be special and memorable.

1. Santa remembers the first Christmas. At that first Christmas, a very special child received three very special gifts. He wants that same special message to be shared with my family.

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. Remember the Reason for the Season.

Things You Didn’t Hear at the First Thanksgiving

Things You Didn’t Hear at the First Thanksgiving

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Here are the Top 10 Things I bet you would not have heard at the First Thanksgiving.

10. “I can’t find the marshmallows for the sweet potatoes.” (Marshmallows were not invented until the mid 1800’s. Potatoes did not become a staple in American diets until decades later.)

9. “Is there Cool Whip for the pumpkin pie?” (While there may have been pumpkin, no ovens were used regularly in America for 20 years. No Cool Whip until 1966.)

8. “Pass the salt and pepper” (There probably weren’t many, if any spices. The meats would have been seasoned with nuts, fruits, and herbs. Much less sodium than today)

7. “What a Halftime show!” (Halftime shows did not come about until the 1920’s when Walter Lingo used halftime to help sell his pure bred dogs.)

6. “You have to sit at the kids’ table.” (The children probably sat on the ground.)

5. “Is that turkey organic?” (Everything was organic. Turkey was probably not even on the menu. Historians have recorded that some fowl was part of the meal but the main source of protein came from 5 deer brought as a gift from the Native Americans.)

4. “Want to watch “Bambi”?” (See note from #5.)

3. “God Bless America”(America was still a wild wilderness. Pilgrims were celebrating survival thanks to their Native friend. BTW – Irving Berlin wrote the song “God Bless America” in 1918.)

2. “I am going to put my Christmas tree tomorrow.” (Puritans did not celebrate Christmas. They believed it was a wasteful day created by selfish, greedy men.)

1. “I have to leave early to get to the Black Friday Sales.” (Black Friday probably meant Black Plague day and everyone died.)

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. I am grateful you were willing to read my post of things I don’t think were said at the First Thanksgiving.

Disclaimer: I was not at the First Thanksgiving to witness if these things were said or not.

Taking a Break from a Break

Taking a Break from a Break

Taking a break from a break

 

On our recent fishing trip, my kids could not wait to get out of the boat and climb the big rocks lining the shore. After a ton of whining and pleading, my husband gave in and pulled close enough for the kids to clamor out and explore.

They were wearing flip-flops and life jackets so climbing was not easy but they LOVED it.

With warnings like “Watch where you step,” “Look out for snakes,” and “Don’t throw rocks,” you would think their spirits would be dampened, but no way. My husband was so excited to fish with the kids and I think it was a little hard for him when they were less interested in catching the big one than they were in the monolithic rocks. I was more concerned with snakes hiding in the rocks, but we have to choose our battles (July Positivity Challenge).

After a bit I calmed down and reminded myself we were on vacation and it was supposed to be relaxing and fun. If the kids wanted to get out and roam over the rocks for a while, it might mean I get to relax while they rest up from their fun. 🙂

Soon they climbed as far as was safe and were ready to jump back in the boat. They had taken their break from our fishing break and were ready to get back at it.

In daily life, I often find myself so absorbed in my to-do list that I forget that it is ok to take a break or that a few extra minutes snuggling or drawing with my kids won’t hurt the unfolded laundry or unwashed dishes. We all need to give ourselves permission to climb and explore a little bit. We might find that it makes us more productive in the long run.

Give your intentions a new direction today. Let that direction lead you where your heart takes you, even if it’s only for a few moments. It will restore your positivity and increase your energy and that is what having Intentergy is all about.

By: Melanie A. Peters