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BRAINSTORMING TO BECOME A BIG-TIME BLOGGER (OVER BREAKFAST)

While trying a new recipe, hoping for our first Pinterest Proven Project, an idea hit me about changes to make to become a Big-Time Blogger!  When I say “idea,” I mean tupperware, jammed into my highest shelf leaped at my forehead and splashed into the crockpot – soaking before cleaning.

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My creative closet of “ideas”!

My first thought wasn’t home organization, remodeling or brighter home lighting.  I realized the rarity that I’d been afforded uninterrupted brainstorming on a weekend morning with my kids at home. More time means more assembly and prep time for recipes, and blog posts! What granted me this luxury to make Breakfast Crack Casserole?

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Bottom of skillet – Roll of biscuits

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One trick: Butter in skillet while heating oven means nothing stuck!  

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BEFORE: Dump it all in skillet – EASY!

1) MORE SLEEPOVERS

One naturally assumes that 2 kids + any friends = CHAOS.  Ironically, it works the opposite! When friends occupy my kids, my mind doesn’t constantly flip through the Masterful Mom rolodex of ideas to entertain, mitigate, or heal them. Without whining and bickering streaming from their mouths, creativity floods my brain’s bandwidth. Plus, with more tasting buds around, the “proven” rank increases in value.

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2)  FULL TRANSPARENCY

For the steady flow of friends, waivers, disclaimers and photo releases must reiterate to parents that when I’m suddenly free to blog, their child could appear in a post!  Parents must clarify – real/nick/no names, full/no face shots? One must disclose potential food allergies and sign extra forms for high-action posts.

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3) PROHIBIT PRIVACY PIRACY

When creating or writing, part of the joy comes from finding your boundaries and bounding through them. However, my kids show me I’m pushing it, hence the wacky or straight face photos.  Though they’re down for repeat adventures, they get fed up when I can’t get the photo right the first time. Obviously certain rooms provide rewarding respite.

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OK, really SNL Kristen Wiig, a great influencer of fun faces.

4) GRATEFUL GOALS

Some of my goals include: More social media followers than followees; Pushing positivity; Invitation to getaway; Writing my future. Yet, I’m grateful anytime I get a new idea, don’t burn a new meal, or share a great experience with my kids. Don’t forget to celebrate each little accomplishment and when I say “celebrate,” I mean dance in the endzone!

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AFTER – Where’s my sriracha?!

With Breakfast Crack casserole fueling the kids, they’re off and running! I try to keep up big time!

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WTF: Warm, though furry! Safe to come out now?!

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2015 Academy Awards Movie Haiku + Grey Bonus!

While I was on my 8-week leave from work, my kids loved to remind me that I was, essentially, on my summer break. They came home sourly asking if I’d done anything all day while they slaved away at school.

So, here’s my “What I did on my summer break!” report. With a new movie buddy en tow, I finally saw all of the Academy Awards 2015 nominated films for Best Picture – and a few more. The best part was lingering in conversation or online research afterwards to really submersed myself in each film.

Here are my thoughts after loving each film! I’d love to hear your film comments below! To buy them, click the titles (they’re worth a repeated re-watch, trust me).

2015 Best Picture Nominees Photo: TODAY.com

2015 Best Picture Nominees
Photo: TODAY.com

BEST PICTURE
American Sniper
Focused fight abroad
Fought to return home wholly
Evil was too near

Boyhood
Two hours, Twelve Years
The growth of these characters
Redefined filming

Birdman
(The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Runs too and from self
Looking for proof he mattered
Ignorance is bliss

Selma
One man led many
Learn what textbooks skimmed over
Still now, we march on

The Grand Budapest Hotel
Fail or fly, Darling!
Lobbying on own behalf
Loyalty pays off

The Imitation Game
War and Enigma
Him being one, he cracked one
Unfair cost for task

The Theory of Everything
Numbers can’t explain
Mind outgrew body’s limits
Live life, love fully

Whiplash
“Good Job!” serves no one
Each beat bore holes in his self
Bled out own rhythm

SOME FROM OTHER CATEGORIES
BEST ACTRESS
Gone Girl
Search for missing wife
Can’t clear him with muddy truth
Who’s the real victim

Still Alice
Insight to illness
She fights to stay for others
While losing herself

Wild
Hiked peaks and valleys
Faced fears, mapped wild heart alone
Load lightened each step

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Into the Woods
Forget fairy tales
Perhaps the happy ending
Lives outside the songs

BEST ANIMATED
Big Hero 6
Boy and his friend prove
Even artificial hearts
Help people soar, heal

The Boxtrolls
Misjudged trolls teach us
Life isn’t packaged neatly
Live in light, not dark

…and for fun (if you are into that stuff),
50 Shades of Grey
He is hot, she’s not
Eye-rolling sex and banter
Untie mess, sequel

Still hungry for more Grey?

#Oscars #AcadamyAwards #BestPicture #Nominees

VIRGIN HANDBOOK

His radiant smile attracts one’s gaze as the wind flutters through his hair. His British accent draws one in rendering people far less willing to resist. His irresistible confidence, magnetic energy and passion for everything he touches keeps us unable to avert our gaze! In a minute, I would turn myself completely over to him. I want to live inside his mind and see things through his eyes.  Richard Branson fearlessly leads the Virgin Empire with 400 company conquests worldwide. His experience and philosophy makes people yearn to be Virgin.

From Richard’s mouth to your heart, here’s how he stays on top:

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1.    Don’t be afraid to try anything at least once
Live life to its fullest – do what is fun! Test the boundaries so long as you won’t be embarrassed or imprisoned. Forge new paths where previously none existed! Don’t be afraid to take to the air!  Set your eyes on the most apparently impossible challenges then you’ll be forced

Here is how Branson waterskiis

Here is how Branson water skiis

2.    Let others watch: Restricting someone excites them more!
When people tell you something isn’t possible, become more enthusiastic and determined to show them they’re wrong.  Don’t let failure dissuade you: Identify the flaw, find a solution, and try again… and again.

The most attractive point - an open mind!

3.    It’s what’s inside that matters
Trust your gut.  Consider your customer’s first time – planning how to make a good first impression and keep them coming back for more could be far better than complicated, impersonal analysis.

Don't be afraid to redefine what's possible!

WTF: Wave to Fishies
Don’t be afraid to redefine what’s doable!

4.    Know who’s at your backside
Businesses are like busses, there’s always another one coming. Take the competition seriously (but not yourself).  If someone isn’t sure how to do it – or not doing it well – take control, make him or her over as your new pet project

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5.    Don’t pay money for love
Follow your passion in a way that serves the world and you. If it’s just about the money, you probably shouldn’t be doing it. Don’t separate work and play – it’s all living. Don’t do anything with the feeling that one must do it – enjoy every minute!

As a child, someone labeled Branson as a future prisoner or millionaire. Branson blew past both predictions and never looked back.

“Screw it, let’s do it!”

Bucket List: Go to Necker Island!  Bonus: When Richard is hanging out!

Bucket List: Go to Necker Island!
Bonus: When Richard is hanging out!

WORST END OF SCHOOL YEAR MOM EVER

Thank you, Jen Hatmaker, for making me laugh when I want to cry!

Whether you have kids in school or are in school yourself…

WTF?! When’s the finish? Counting down – 9 school days left….

MUST READ –>  Jen Hatmaker – Worst End of School Year Mom Ever.

Celebrate Saturday – because it’s not a school day!!

FULL STEAM AHEAD!

Facing down the peak of 8 loads of laundry that came out of 4 suitcases that occupied the living room floor this week, I ponder my day.

Finally having a Saturday and filling up at the 7-11 before hitting the day. I’m not full-steam ahead yet, but the high octane blend put together by my daughter will help.

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My son is already at scouts working to warmly welcome eager 5th grade webelos, my daughter is cleaning her room before softball practice hoping to have a play date (simultaneously at their house while her buddy’s brother comes here) before my son’s baseball tryouts this afternoon – all in the next 6 hours.

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Embraced in my hands
A warm rainbow of creamer
And sun in a mug

SALT WATER CURE

Whew! The first post-holiday weekend of 2013! What did you do to relax and recover from the holidays?! Start new resolutions? Take some time for yourself? Did you start your 365 day project for 2013?! If so, feel free to post a link to your project below so we can follow along!

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(Thanks to my pal Lulu for sharing the pic!)
*Since I just got back on land I promise my first 6 entries by tomorrow night!!

DID YOU GET HIGHLIGHTS?

I have a friend who, whenever our group of gals get together, asks all of us what our highlights are. Most of us groan (somewhat jokingly), some leave the room, change the subject or act like we didn’t hear. Whether startled by the sudden change in perspective or perhaps uncomfortable with the idea of giving ourselves praise (after cheerleading every other cause and person we live with) we try our best to squeak one out. We can’t just use our get togethers with her and the gals as a highlight (although I do count every year of our 25+ year old friendships as highlights).

This year she pointed out that highlights may be lowlights since often the challenges we face are the greatest gifts. Also, she kept emphasizing that people must find their own voice, we can’t go along with something someone pointed out for us as a highlight.

With 2012 wrapping up, I thought this would be a great time to discuss my blogging highlights that occurred within this my first year!

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Highlights:
I wrote a lot! as opposed to previous years where I said “I will write,” I did write. While my plan wavered as I wandered, I still improved my quantity of writing by leaps and bounds from the last few years. It refreshed my spirit and worked my creative muscles a lot! The practice of purging then limiting my words fine tuned my writing.

People wandered by! 10,000+ people wandered along with me (WTF: Wow, Thanks Friends)! I’ve mentioned before how much I love round numbers, well hitting the 10,000 for me this past week was a great achievement! Some other great milestones were a high of 125 readers in one day and that I had no days with zero readers since the time where my posting became less frequent while applying for, financing and finishing my first semester of grad school. I thought making the decision to return to school would kill my blog but was so grateful for those who kept wandering across my path leading me to complete this, my 200th post!

I just renewed my URL for another year! I have things left to do and questions left to answer! I want to take my new outlook on life and explore many more wide open spaces.

I am grateful for everyone you wandering along with me and love to hear from you as well! Your words have often lead me to dig deeper or straight up inspired me!

So what does 2013 hold for you? I plan to do a 365 day project. Wanna do one with me? Do you have one or are you afraid of the commitment?

Mine has to be an abbreviated effort with school starting in the end of January, so consider doing a haiku a day with me!! Just a 3-line poem with 5-7-5 total syllables in the 3 lines. Either write in my comments when I post mine or write on your own blog and let me know when you do so we can support each other’s efforts!

Now the bad news… I won’t be posting my first one ’til the second week of January as I am on holiday and won’t be near reliable/affordable Internet til then.

Until then, I hope that your holiday festivities continue and that you have an unforgettable New Years!

With that, my parting haiku…
2012 ends,
Wandering with friends, I turn
To ask your highlights

Drop by next year!

FCW: TRUST OTHERS, BUT STILL KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN

Fortune cookie wisdom – as usual – comes in a timely manner!  I’ll share what it meant to me, but I’d love to hear how you’d apply this to your life!

How would you apply this to your week?

This cookie wisdom came just as I was gripping the wheel trying to turn this car without brakes known as my Graduate School Masters in Communication Management Program.  I’ve known a few guys in my day who love to drive FAST and they always taught me “Accelerate coming out of the turn!” So I anticipated that when we came off of midterms with new groups that things would only get faster!  Nobody told me that it wouldn’t lose any speed in the turn!!!

So nonetheless, here we are with 2 brand new groups, 2 groups lingering from before, plus a few alliances that I’ll be forever grateful for.  But I was CONFUSED!  So this week’s fortune cookie rests on my list I’d just finished for myself for my 4 different groups: who is in what group, when we’re talking next, what assignment we have this week, and by when!

My wisdom is to trust in the group!  I wasn’t sure coming into this degree program if I’d like working in groups because I’m usually a “if you want it done right, do it yourself” kinda gal.  However, thanks to the wonderful people in my first groups, I’m now fairly laid back and if people want to work a certain way, I’m easygoing! I’ll throw ideas out there but am not offended if people don’t go for them. I speak up when I have contributions or opinions, but again, it’s a group decision as to what we’ll use or not.

Still, keeping my eyes open suggests to me in this context that I’d better still be doing the work on my own accord and staying in touch with things, although we do sometimes have the luxury of splitting up work or reading and such.  Also, to me it implies to be proactive! Lastly it means to make sure that there is still a touch of everyone involved easily recognized in the finished work!

How does “Trust others, but still keep your eyes open” apply to your life this week?

WEEKLY WRITING CHALLENGE: COFFEE MUGS – From Mundane to Meaningful

My reputation precedes me. Around these parts I’m known as the Most Caffeinated Gal in the West.  Triple lattes in the morning then a Grande booster around 3pm would get me through the day.  Although I’ve lowered my octane, settling for drip coffee, my simple goal remains… to stay awake longer than my kids!

So today, a child-free weekend morning, rather than settle for whatever jet fuel comes in a paper cup, I allowed myself the luxury of a slower start. I foggily shuffled my feet towards the coffee machine, aiming to boost myself enough to swim this afternoon after tackling school financial aid, creating a writing desk, and sifting through the house preparing for a garage sale.  Besides the pool, the rest wasn’t very inspiring but when I’m fully caffeinated, I just jet around til it’s done!

About 12 years into my 13 year marriage, we bought ourselves some beautiful dishes. I’ll admit I pushed the agenda with these. It was a beautiful parting gift.

I opened my cabinet to grab for a mug and lowered my reach from my top-shelf matching jewel-toned mugs, to the more colorful selection of mugs on the well-used every-day shelf.  As the coffee brewed, I glanced through the shelf to see if any could retire to the garage sale box.

Just Grab One, they all hold coffee just as well…

First, I saved my favorites, chosen initially because they hold the most coffee. Today, as I searched the darker parts of my cabinet, my vision grew clearer and I realized the treasures it held.  I picked up each mug, wrapped my hand around the cup, weaved my fingers through the handle, and felt the weight of the memories that each one held.

First couple – elegant but don’t take themselves too seriously while perfectly complementing each other!

Some came from friends and family providing the warmth of snuggling up with them for great conversation – even when they aren’t there.

Best gift from a warm friend, two mugs and hot chocolate! Although the partner shattered long ago, this one connects me to her in between long stretches of actually seeing her!

Others sent a shot of inspiration – far more effective than espresso shots.

This gift from my sister has grown more valuable with every relaxing and reflective read!

A few mugs represented life highlights and unique experiences.

Recalling on my fondest memories playing in Imagineering and my character experience while reading the new Pixar book! For a Diznoid, it doesn’t get any better.

Some reminded me of the joy from favorite adventures.

What a sisterly bonding day was spent at ellen! Visiting Graceland on my first “business trip”! No work trip has matched that fun level yet…

Even my children agree that ice-cold milk, insulated with a heart-warming shot of nostalgia, tastes better out of the glossy mug than out of their child-proof plastic cups.

Lovely reminders of my son’s childhood sporting adventures and my daughter’s sense of fun and adventure – Arrrgh!

I am so grateful this morning for the side of sentiment served with my morning coffee.  I vow to relish more than just the rich blend of coffee, but the rich memories!

SERVER DETECTED SPAM MUSUBI

I’m half-Korean. People don’t quite know where to place me. My skin is too dark to be white (You can’t spell Caucasian without Asian…), my green-ish eyes aren’t Asian, my Hungarian cooking scrambles their brains. Honestly, not being brought up Asian, and turned off by some stereotypes for Asian women, I identified with American Indians, because I used to fantasize about riding my horse all day in the sun over the open plains, or got a kick out of people who ask if I’m Hawaiian. Sure, I can go for that!

Today, I’m embracing my Hawaiian roots and in the effort of finding PB&J substitutes for the kids’ lunches, I’m attempting Spam Musubi!

ExSPAMple A: less messy, easier to eat in cut rolls
NOTE: I prefer thicker Spam – 8 slices/can.
The right one is 10 slices/can.

Simple as it sounds, it terrified me some. Most of the terror came from shopping for the ingredients.

Proof that I am way too Americanized and have passed that along to my kids.

To me, reading this stuff is about as easy as reading QR barcodes

Tough to decipher, simple to assemble.

I brainlessly cooked 2 cups of rice in the cooker – push one button!

One button – done!

I sliced the spam experimenting with width of the meat in the finished product.

Heated some Sesame Oil in the cast iron skillet,

Sesame Oil – LOVE IT to season anything.

added some teriyaki and browned it.

Spam became popular in WWII as a meat ration and became popular in Hawaii.

How brown you want it is up to you. Most of the color is from the cooking teriyaki sauce, not from burning.

The most complicated part is assembly, but thanks to my great friend, I have a sushi/musubi mold! Sometimes it’s all about the gear and then you feel like a pro musubi maker!

Acrylic box open on both ends with a press. May be called sushi or musubi maker. What’s your gadget fave?

It’s all a matter of layering:

Rice – fill the maker near ½ full

Press Hard – don’t want it to fall apart

Rice Seasoning – seaweed and sesame seeds (no fish flakes) – your preference how much you want to use. Doesn’t dominate flavor, it’s an accent flavor.

Try it on plain rice too!

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Perfect fit! No additional cutting at all!

Rice Seasoning – next time, I’m going to try wasabi on this 2nd layer instead of double rice seasoning

WTF: Way to flavor!  It’s like glitter on food, seriously!

Rice – fill in the blanks and press hard!

Very Simple, Very Easy — Chef Tell

Wrapped up in a pretty seaweed wrapper. This brand was the perfect size for my musubi maker. Wet fingers with some water to “glue” the sheets together if the steam from the rice doesn’t seal it.

This Nori (dried seaweed) was so easy to work with!

It was so easy and turned out so beautiful thanks to the press that I almost felt like I cheated!

Almost like I try to cheat and get a local discount when visiting Hawaii, but the locals can see right through me and know I’m not Hawaiian. Maybe next time I’ll come armed with my Spam musubi and they’ll reconsider.

ExSPAMpleB – Less rice and seaweed, harder to eat.
Green Lightsaber chopsticks ensured I’d get 2 thumbs up from my kids who were too busy with friends to rate me.

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