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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Where is Denial?

There is a new commercial for Sonic Drive-Ins. The commercial is advertising a special price on one of their value meals. One of the guys enjoying his meal says he had not enjoyed that price since college. The other replies, “No. I was in college. You were in denial.”

My kids wanted to know where “denial” was.

How do I explain denial to my kids?

My wise response was, “Denial is when you don’t or won’t accept or realize that you don’t know something.”

My son’s response was, “Huh?”

Seriously, how do we explain denial to our children? I tried again.

“You are in denial when you refuse to accept something is true or you won’t believe something because you don’t want it to be real.”

My son’s reply, “Like when I didn’t want the Chiefs to lose tonight?”

My response, “Sort of.”

I don’t think lessons about denial are strictly for our children. I believe denial is a concept which we all need to know more.

When there is a bad habit or an unhealthy relationship in our lives, denial is a much easier route to follow than the realize-your-problem-and-move-on path. The worst part of denial is that others can recognize our denial before we can. It is up to us to serve as the anti-denial GPS for those we love.

As we enter the season of holiday cheer, shopping, and family functions, take time to identify what you may be denying about yourself and your relationships. If you find that you have put your family connections on the back burner because “they will always be there,” realize that your time with them is precious and let go of the denial that we are all growing older. When it comes to shopping, don’t let the whole, holiday sale price thing entice you into overspending. Next month’s rent, car payment, and insurance sure won’t be in denial when it comes time to pay the bill. Be honest with yourself about what you can spend and what is truly valuable in what you give.

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. Denial could be a good school, but how do you know if you graduated?

via Daily Prompt: Deny

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”

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. 😉

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.

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!”

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”

Truly Golden Fish

Truly Golden Fish via Daily Prompt: Fish

Gold Fish.JPG

Jesus carried out one of his greatest miracles when he divided the 2 fish and 5 loaves feeding over 5000 hungry followers. Can you imagine the wonderment of the those he fed that day?

In modern times, these Gold Fish crackers provide their own kind of miracle. Contentment.

Nothing keeps my kids quieter in church or the car than Gold Fish. We use Gold Fish crackers for math homework and art projects. They make terrific Valentine, Easter, and Halloween treats because kids love them and Moms know the magical powers those cheesy crackers possess.

For a while our local grocery store did not carry Gold Fish. I am pretty sure Moms across the county were crying in anguish over this shortage. Fortunately the crackers have miraculously reappeared on the shelves in a multitude of flavors. Thank goodness!

While they may not provide the best nutrition, Gold Fish crackers provide contentment and stimulate imagination. Rarely do my kids eat them without making at least one swim into their mouths or having two of the fishy faces kiss one another. It is deliciously sweet.

There are many things in our lives that bring simple contentment. You don’t have to fish too hard to find them.

I encourage you to bait your focus for finding satisfaction in the simple pleasures of the day. Reel in the warmth of the sun as you make your way to work or class. Fill your net with compliments and kind words that have been tossed your way by those you meet. Hook onto people who are positive and swim in the positive encounters.

Contentment floods us with calm and allows us to wash away our worries. Set sail with your Intentergy poised to latch onto the good in life and may your energy be cast far and wide. Let your positive attitude flow and influence those who need some simple pleasure in their lives. Cast away!

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. I am not a spokesperson for Gold Fish crackers.

 

 

Feast

Feast

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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