Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The American Revolution, Circa 2016

America is in the midst of a revolution.

Taxation without representation is alive and well. Representatives do not represent. This presidential election process has brought the entire political system into question. Or maybe the entire political system has brought this presidential election process into question. Either way, more and more people I speak with, especially but certainly not restricted to young adults, feel as though this mechanism in it's current form, is rigged. It's about the will of the party elite, not the will of the people. Closed door strategy sessions, Super PACs and Super Delegates. Lions and tigers and bears, oh my.

Across party lines, in different ways, Americans are revolted. And revolting.

One party is just throwing a wrench into the works, the other is spitting into the wind.

The American Revolution, Circa 2016. Wrench vs. Mensch | www.BakingInATornado.com | #politics

On the Republican side, enter Donald Trump. I look at the narcissism, bigotry, bullying and vitriol of the Trump campaign, at how it divides people, legitimizes hate, and I can't help but think that his millions of votes are a pretty clear wake up call to the party establishment. Are they listening? Anything but. Instead, through closed door meetings, SuperPACs and even robocalls, they are strategizing to manipulate, cajole and control.

They have an opportunity to show good faith. There is a legitimate Supreme Court nominee. They didn't want there to be one, but there is. It's actually fortuitous, a way for them to show a willingness to abandon their 8 year long obstructionist strategy. They don't even have to confirm him, mind you, just put on a show, hold the damn hearings. Instead a judge's professional life has now become a pawn in their power play. They're not giving an inch, they're digging in their heels and not even pretending to play the game.

And amongst the masses, discourse has been replaced with disrespect. Fueled by anger and frustration.

Pan the cameras over to Ted Cruz, who seems to be running for Pastor-in-Chief, not President, and who appears to be despised by his own party, many of whom are now backing him. Well, if you call asking people to vote for him (asking, mind you, with a "who farted" look on their faces) not because they can even tolerate him, but just to stop Trump. And many politicians are putting it in those terms, they're not even pretending.
A high ranking Republican, Lindsey Graham, actually said that he would rather lose the election than lose the party. Take a minute to consider the enormity of that admission. And the validity of his assessment of the current political climate.

This is not an anomaly specific to one party. The Democrats are doing the exact same thing via Bernie Sanders. Despite being saddled with the Socialist label, he is undeniably winning states. Is his party listening? No, not the Democrats either. The voting public not doing what the party elite want? No problem, if it comes down to it they'll just whip out their Super Delegates and steal the election. What they're refusing to see is that whether he can win the nomination or not, his anti-establishment message is connecting.

The messengers may be polar opposites, but the message is quite the same.

It seems to me as though, on top of all the other issues, the entire infrastructure of the voting system is fractured. In some states the delegates are winner take all. In others they're assigned based on percentage of votes and in still others delegates are forfeited if a specific percentage level is not achieved.

All over the map, not only the procedure for earned delegate assignment but even for voting is inconsistent. In each party, some states have caucuses, some ballot voting and some you can choose either/or. In some states you have to be registered for the party in whose process you participate, in others you don't and in yet others you can register then and there. In some caucus states you can get in after it's started, in others they lock the door and tell you you're too late. Navigating the convoluted maze leaves most of us scratching our heads and many of us quite literally left out. Ironic that the only perceived fairness lies in the fact that those who actually are able to participate feel that it's ultimately for nothing. Thanks to Super Delegates, Super PACs and easily manipulated rules of the contested convention, their vote counts about as much as those who don't vote at all.

And don't get me started on the Electoral College . . .

This election cycle we, the voting public, are being treated like naughty children who need to be manipulated onto the approved course by those who are out of touch with our reality. But we're daring to question that course. Who is it best for? Us? The country? Or is all this closed door scheming really just to push forward an agenda that benefits the party not the people?

It doesn't bode well for our future that so many of us, especially the wide eyed optimists with their newly minted voting cards are becoming apathetic. I have one son who's newly eligible to vote but will most likely not. I'm not surprised that millions of us are staging this revolution. I have another son, also a new voter, who has decided to participate but overwhelmingly feels cheated. I mean, after all, we believed that we were living in a democracy. To most of us the road to making that concept a reality is pretty simple, one vote per person. Period.

I've been watching and reading a lot of election coverage. Since it's often biased, I do so in a multitude of places. The spin is fascinating. And like with all issues, each side has some nugget of perspective I find myself considering. But each party is also equally capable of infuriating me.

I happened to have been watching CNN when a Democratic vice-chair, Donna Brazile, was addressing the issue of Super Delegates. I'm paraphrasing here, but what she basically said was that this is how the system is, this is how it's been, this is how it works and people (meaning those of us who don't count and only get one vote) need to accept it. She went on to say that Super Delegates earned that right and deserve the privilege.

"Condescending" was my thought. "Arrogant was Hubs'.

Seems none of us are falling for the smoke and mirrors illusion being shoved down our throats that there is anything at all fair about this election process. And, on an even broader scope, that those we elect have any intention of truly representing our vision. Tax us, yes. Represent us, not so much. 

And the harder We the People push, the harder the party Red Coats push back.

I'm once again thinking back to the words of Lindsey Graham and it makes me wonder, do we continue the status quo just in the name of preserving the status quo? At what expense? Can the party leaders really continue the archaic practices that are widely perceived as the thinly veiled intention to circumvent the will of the people? Or do we take steps to ensure that our political system is reflective of the intent of our forefathers, to allow us all, equally, the freedoms inherent in living in a democracy?

I don't know about you, but I'm heading for Boston harbor. And I'm filling my luggage with Chai and Oolong.

Baking In A Tornado signature | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

Friday, March 25, 2016

Funny Friday: What the Heck?

Today’s post is March’s Funny Friday, a regular feature published on the last Friday of every month. Funny Friday is a collaborative project. Each month one of the participants submits a picture, then we all write 5 captions or thoughts inspired by that month’s picture. Links to the other bloggers’ posts are below, click on them and see what they’ve come up with. I hope we bring a smile to your face as you start your weekend.
Funny Friday | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

Here’s today’s picture. It was submitted by Spatulas on Parade

Funny Friday, a humorous monthly challenge. One picture, five captions. Picture by Dawn of Spatulas on Parade | Brought to you by www.BakingInATornado.com | #humor #funny

1. Is it a bird? A plane? Umm . . . I don't know what the hell it is . . .

2. I'm selling this on ebay as a piece of Stonehenge. Who's gonna say it's not?

3. Mom: Yes, darling, it's a beautiful art project.
Four year old: Do you know what it is, mommy?
Mom: Well of course I do, honey, how could I not?
Four year old: What is it?
Mom: Oh . . .  umm. . .  quick, I almost forgot, come into the kitchen, I made cookies.

4. Wife to husband: You bought me this for my birthday? At an art gallery? Are you sure you didn't pull it out of a dumpster? Umm . . . I mean thank you dear, very thoughtful, you shouldn't have. And I mean it, you shouldn't have.

5. Woman to self as she runs out of the museum: I don't know if that's a person who ate a rock or a rock who ate a person, but I'm not waiting around to find out.

And on that note . . . now for something yummy:

Treat Filled Cookies, a rich chocolate cookie with a few surprise treats baked in | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #cookies #chocolate

Treat Filled Cookies
Treat Filled Cookies, a rich chocolate cookie with a few surprise treats baked in | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #cookies #chocolate

Baking In A Tornado | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

Treat Filled Cookies
Printable Recipe

1 stick butter, softened
1 stick margarine, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
3/4 cup baking cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup (about 12 cookies) Golden Oreos, crushed
10 soft caramel candies

*Unwrap and, using a sharp knife, chop the caramels into small pieces.
Cream the butter, margarine, both sugars, the egg and the vanilla. Carefully beat in the flour, baking cocoa, baking soda and salt. Mix in the cookie pieces and the caramel pieces. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate one hour.
*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
*Roll dough into approximately 3/4 inch balls. Bake on prepared cookie sheets for about 14 minutes. 
*Allow to set on the cookie sheets for 3minutes before removing to cool completely.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

It's Spring

It's Spring! It's Spring!

Spring started 54 hours ago. Finally! And I should know, I've been counting down the months since Fall. OK, I've been counting the weeks . . . ummm days . . . alright, the hours. Not the minutes, I swear. Even I don't have that kind of time on my hands.

It's Spring: A humorous look at rushing the season | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

And I bet I'm not alone is saying that I love Spring. In fact, let me be the first to give this season a warm welcome (get it? warm? no? lame? OK, never mind). What exactly do I love about this Spring? Let's see . . .

Spring is coming out of winter hibernation with all that extra weight. No, that's not it.

Spring is coughing, sneezing and itchy eyes. Not that either.

Spring is spiders climbing my leg while I sit outside. Umm, no.

Spring is sinking into mud as the snow melts into my lawn. Not this one.

Spring is putting on capris for the first time and blinding the neighbors with the whiteness of my skin. No, that's not it.

Spring is cooking out without slipping on the ice on the porch. That's better.

Spring is running out barefoot to grab the paper from the driveway and not having my skin freeze to the concrete. Getting there.

Spring is blasting the car stereo and driving around with the windows open so I can share my mad singing skills. Closer.

Spring is buying ice cream again. Exactly.

Spring is picking out flowers for my pots. YES!

Spring is wearing sunglasses. There's another one.

Spring is that flip flops beat boots any day.Word.

Spring is Spring Break. Bingo!

Speaking of Spring, I developed this recipe with warmer weather in mind:

Banana Split Pie and Parfait: All the flavors of summer in this dessert that can be served as a parfait or frozen as a pie | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #dessert

Banana Split Pie and Parfait
Banana Split Pie and Parfait: All the flavors of summer in this dessert that can be served as a parfait or frozen as a pie | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #dessert

Banana Split Pie and Parfait: All the flavors of summer in this dessert that can be served as a parfait or frozen as a pie | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #dessert

Baking In A Tornado signature | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

Banana Split Pie and Parfait
Printable Recipe
2 cups finely diced walnuts
3 TBSP melted butter
4 TBSP brown sugar

1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 TBSP powdered sugar

vanilla instant pudding mix
2 cups milk, divided
1 can (8 oz) crushed pineapples, drained well but reserve juice

2 bananas
strawberry creme instant pudding mix
6 strawberries, cleaned, hulled, chopped

chocolate syrup
maraschino cherries
multicolored jimmies (sprinkles)

*Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
*Mix the diced walnuts, melted butter and brown sugar. Press into bottom and just barely up the sides of a springform pan.
*Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
*Beat the heavy cream 1 minute. Add the powdered sugar and beat until stiff peaks hold. Remove about 1/3 of the whipped cream and place in a plastic bag in the fridge for decorating the top of the pie.
*Whisk the vanilla instant pudding mix with 1 cup of milk until it thickens. Mix in the drained crushed pineapple. Fold in about 1/2 of what is left of the whipped cream. Pour evenly into the pie crust and refrigerate 1/2 hour.
*Slice the bananas into thin slices. Dip in the reserved pineapple juice. Place the slices on top of the vanilla pudding layer.
*Whisk the strawberry creme pudding mix with 1 cup of milk until it thickens. Mix in the chopped strawberries. Fold in the remaining whipped cream.
*Layer the strawberry pudding over the bananas. 
*To serve right away as a parfait: Spoon the pie into a large glass dish. Be sure the crust comes out last so the toasted nuts are on top. Drizzle chocolate syrup over the pie, pipe with the remaining whipped cream. Garnish with maraschino cherries and multicolored sprinkles.
*To serve as later as a pie: Freeze at least 3 hours or until hard. Carefully remove side of springform pan, drizzle chocolate syrup over the pie, pipe with the remaining whipped cream. Garnish with maraschino cherries and multicolored sprinkles.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Fly on the Wall: One if By Land

Welcome to a monthly Fly on the Wall group post. Today 11 bloggers are inviting you to catch a glimpse of what you’d see if you were a fly on the wall in our homes. Come on in and buzz around my house. At the end of my post you’ll find links to this month’s other participants’ posts.

Fly on the Wall | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

I often make fun of laugh at tease Hubs in these posts, but this past month when it came to not thinking straight . . . it was all me.

The Purdue basketball team has had a great year. PurDude didn't get to all the home games, but he got to quite a few. One night we knew he had tickets and we'd be watching on TV.

I hadn't turned it on yet and Hubs came up from the man-cave to tell me to turn on ESPN, they were showing students entering Mackey Arena.

Me: Oh, it's a home game?
Hubs: No, your son went to class, ate dinner and then drove to Michigan in the last half hour.


Fly on the Wall | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

Same night, minutes later, Hubs goes into the kitchen, comes back out, and looks at what I'm watching.

Hubs: I thought for sure you'd have the game on, searching the crowd for a glimpse of your son.
Me: I just switched to CNN but look, it's not on yet.
Hubs: Well, why don't you try ESPN instead of CNN, you may have better luck.

Duh! Seriously, either Hubs is contagious or I need to get more sleep.

Fly on the Wall | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

I always watch the Purdue games on TV and when it's a home game I'm always complaining because those damn camera men focus on the players when they should be very slowly panning the crowd. Screw the game, I want to see my kid.

One night the Purdue team was in our state playing a game here. I'm watching the game on tv, more interested in the game since I know my kid is 500 miles away. Part way through the game I hear that I have a text:

PurDude: I'm watching for you.
Me: Huh?
PurDude: You're at the game, right? I'm looking for you.
Me: Let me know if you find me.

That should keep him busy and out of trouble!

Fly on the Wall | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

We were expecting snow and needed to run an errand. Neither one of us wanted to go out. Hubs asked if I wanted to do best of five rock/paper/scissors for it. Of course I did.

Played once and he won. Again and we tied. Third time I won, next round we tied. Final round and Hubs won.

Me: OK, go do the errand.

Hubs: But scissors cut paper. 
Me: But food beats starving. 

Food for the win!

Jelly Bean Cake Rounds, Cake and jelly mixed, stuffed with a surprise jelly bean and coated with candy melts. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #Easter #dessert

Jelly Bean Cake Rounds
Jelly Bean Cake Rounds, Cake and jelly mixed, stuffed with a surprise jelly bean and coated with candy melts. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #Easter #dessert

Jelly Bean Cake Rounds, Cake and jelly mixed, stuffed with a surprise jelly bean and coated with candy melts. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #Easter #dessert

PurDude came home for Spring Break last weekend. I was worried I wasn't going to see him because there was a possibility he'd be going somewhere with friends, but they didn't make any plans in time so I flew him home.

You know how excited I get when I know I'm going to see him. This was the conversation the morning he was flying in:

Me: PurDude is coming! PurDude is coming!
College Boy: You know Mom, just in case you forgot to tell someone, maybe you should head up to the window.
Me: Window?
College Boy: You know, to spread the word like they did back in your day. One if by land, two if by sea.

Fly on the Wall | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

Finally the day arrived and PurDude did come home. He went into the laundry room, put his shoes in his locker, walked out into the kitchen and proved that his mama doesn't choose his clothes any more. Or do his laundry . . .

Fly on the Wall blog post | College Boys don't care if their socks match | www.BakingInATornado.com | #humor #funny

Second verse (day 2), same as the first:

Fly on the Wall blog post | College Boys don't care if their socks match | www.BakingInATornado.com | #humor #funny

 Fly on the Wall | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

A Fly on the Wall would have seen me do the impossible this week. I shut down, and by "shut down" I mean completely silenced the conversation in the kitchen.

Hubs and the boys were getting a snack and chatting. I was in the den off the kitchen. You know how sometimes you say things out loud that you just kinda don't realize you've said out loud until you stop traffic, so to speak?

So I'm reading through my FB feed and apparently said out loud: "What is it with older women feeling the need to discuss every detail about their vagina? That information should be "need to know" and honey, I want to be kept completely in the dark."

And it all stopped. Hands with food stopped in mid air from the counter to mouths. Conversation ended. Dead silence.

OK, so maybe I shouldn't have said that out loud. On a side note I've finally found out that stopping time is apparently my superpower.

Fly on the Wall | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

I had made my Homemade Hot Fudge and had saved some in the fridge. Hubs was out of town, College Boy and I were home alone so it seemed the perfect time for sundaes. I took the pot out of the fridge and stuck it on the stove to come to room temp while we had dinner.

After dinner I was on my laptop for a while and went into the kitchen to start dessert.

Me: Hey, what the hell, you stuck your finger in the fudge.
College Boy: No I didn't.
Me: You certainly did, I'm not stupid.
College Boy (laughing): Really, I didn't. Why are you blaming me?
Me: Well, you're the only one here.
College Boy: I didn't do it. Where's your proof?
Me: I'm sending this Homemade Hot Fudge to the police for finger print analysis.
College Boy: There won't be any left, I plan to eat the proof.

Fly on the Wall, a peek into life in the home of a blogger. Fingerprint in the Homemade Hot Fudge | www.BakingInATornado.com | #humor

Fly on the Wall | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

Me (looking into pantry): What the HELL happened in this pantry. It looks like a tornado hit in here. Someone better clean up this mess.

I'm sitting on the couch and from the kitchen I hear wrappers and crunching. I make the mistake of looking and piled on the counter are cookie containers, chip bags, candy wrappers . . .

Me: What are you doing? 
College Boy: I'm eating. 
Me: Why are you eating all those cookies? And fortune cookies? And chips? And candy? Hey, I bake with that candy . . . 
College Boy: I'm cleaning out the pantry. Why did you ask me to clean it out if you're just going to get mad at me?

Fly on the Wall | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

Me: That is quite a sweet tooth you've got.

College Boy leaves the room, comes back and hands me a mirror.

Me: What's this for?
College Boy: So you can see where I got my sweet tooth from.
Me (handing back the mirror): Smart Ass.

College Boy doesn't take the mirror, just stands there.

Me: Why won't you take this back?
College Boy: You may need it. In case you're wondering where I got the "Smart Ass" from . . .
Now click on the links below for a peek into some other homes:

Baking In A Tornado | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

Jelly Bean Cake Rounds
Printable Recipe
1 box white cake mix and ingredients mentioned on the box
3/4 cup seedless jelly, berry flavor of your choice
about 35 fruit flavored jelly beans
1 package (12 oz) candy melts, color of your choice
1 cup multicolored nonpariels

*Spray a 9 X 13 baking pan with non-stick spray. Preheat the oven according to the directions on the box.
*Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and place in the fridge.
*Mix the cake according to instructions on the box and bake. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 1/2 hour.
*Place the jelly into a bowl and whisk vigorously until smooth.
*Break the cake up into a large bowl, add about 1/2 of the jelly and mash together (I just use my hands). If the cake is the correct consistency to hold together when you form it into 1 inch balls, don't add any more jelly. If not, add more of the jelly until the cake balls hold their shape.
*Form the cake mixture into rounds, working a jelly bean into the center of each ball. Make sure the jelly bean is completely encased. Place the cake rounds onto the baking sheet in the fridge. Cool for one hour.
*Melt 3/4 of the package of candy melts until smooth (I use a microwave safe tea cup). One by one, drop each cake ball into the coating until completely covered. Remove from coating by placing a fork under the round and, holding over the mug, allow the excess to drip off. Place back onto the baking sheet, sprinkle with nonpareils and repeat with all of the cake rounds. Melt more of the coating as needed. Allow rounds to set completely.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Be My Guest: Sparkly Poetic Weirdo

I'm honored again today to present the next post in my Be My Guest series. Jenn is in the house and that means we're all in for a treat. Although she writes the blog Sparkly Poetic Weirdo, don't let the name fool you, there's nothing weird about Jenn, she's 100% genuine.

Every now and then a voice comes to the blogosphere and social media that stops you in your tracks. Jenn has one of those voices. She's honest and uplifting. Her message is always one of peace, but written from a place of strength. She believes in empowerment, and that it comes from within.

Be My Guest: A series of Guest Posts on www.BakingInATornado.com | #blogging #bloggers #MyGraphics


I was only maybe a quarter of a mile in when I dropped my glove, for the third time, and wanted to quit. While it was true the hiking was causing me to work up a sweat it was my addiction to snapping photos that made my hands itch to be free of the thick, warm, insulated gloves. So, into my pockets I shoved them, or thought I did . . . until I realized, yet again I missed my picket and left it on the snowy trail somewhere behind me. Truly, I debated leaving it there. I mused that I could have just shoved my hands in my pockets while overnight winter camping. Worst case scenario, I'd lose a couple of digits and at that point I was kinda okay with it. Instead I backtracked AGAIN, said a slur of curses, bent down slowly balancing my 30 pound pack, mostly full of kind bars and idiocy, and snagged the damn glove.

My friends were ahead of me unaware that I kept dropping my gloves. Thankfully so. I did not want them to wait for my slow as molasses ass. I did not want them to coddle me or treat me like the winter hiking virgin I was. I wanted to hike and hurt. I wanted to feel my muscles slightly ache from pushing myself. I wanted to fall in love with the sunset while drawing the cold air into my lungs. I wanted to be amazed and blinded by the glistening glitter shining from the snow.

Really I just wanted to be.

To be alone with my thoughts.
To be alone with my inner dialogue.
To be open to nature around me.
To be open to myself and what I could accomplish.
To be one with my surroundings.

Where was I?

Oh yes, the quitting. I had wanted to quit. I was annoyed with everything. I was not a hiker. I waas not fit, I was not fast, and I was trying to convince myself I was not going to have any fun. It was better to just turn back now and break into the truck and sleep there for the night than keep going towards what was going to be a failure of a trip to me. I was *sure* I was going to drop the glove(s) a million more times, I was going to have to pee outside, I was going to get lost, I was going too slow, I couldn't do it and of course, I might fall.

Falling always seemed the worst to me.

 It meant that I had placed my trust in the wrong foothold, that I thought I was so sure yet failed myself with a miscalculation, and it meant I was down on my ass, again.

But there I was, turning around on the trail, pack on my back, glove clutched in my hand, ready to keep going. Because I had already gone that far. I had already shattered misconceptions about myself by even agreeing to go. I was ready for a small adventure. I was ready to try something new. I was ready to be awed.

When I began walking again, I finally felt it. I felt the awe come over me.

The blue sky winked at me through the chaotic canopy of the naked branches that clung to one another over the forest floor, the stark contrast of the white snow against the dark bark unleashed the butterflies in my stomach that fluttered all the way up to my heart, the sound that seemed void yet amplified caused my mouth to dry and eyes to water . . . as I realized my trail waited to welcome me with packed down snow and promises of memories I would never make anywhere else.

Winter hiking picture by Jenn of Sparkly Poetic Weirdo | Guest post on www.BakingInATornado.com

How sad would it have been to give up and talk myself out of falling in love with the world around me? It would have been a detrimental disservice to my soul. 

For the record, I did not drop either of my gloves again.

My friends blazed the way, waiting for me only at forks in the trail and at the sand dunes. We laughed, joked, ate and drank. We made camp 100 feet or so from Lake Michigan and fell asleep to the crashing waves kissing the shore while the stars poked through the velvety midnight sky and serenaded us with a lullaby that only the beauty of nature can provide.

Winter hiking collage by Jenn of Sparkly Poetic Weirdo | Guest post on www.BakingInATornado.com

The next morning we packed up and took off ready to go home. The wind was whipping, my ass did not like being exposed to the cold air in the morning, but
I trekked a couple miles in the snow, camped outside in winter, in Michigan, and was alive. My friends once again were in ahead of me - die to my insistence - and while descending my last sand dune before the trail. I biffed it.


I fell face forward then rolled down the dune and ended up like a turtle on my back. I was stunned. I did not know what to do. I had done what I feared most and . . .  I was okay. While laughing I rocked myself upright, dusted myself off and got back on the trail.

Here's the thing, the falling was to be expected. Not planned necessarily but there will be moments in life where we get knocked down out of nowhere leaving us confused and unsure what to do. Falling was not the worst thing to happen to me.

Did it scare me? Sure.
Did it hurt? A bit.
Worst thing? Oh, heck no.

It is the getting up part that is the bitch. Because you are not sure how to react. You are not sure what to do. You are not sure what your next step is. But as long as you are willing to take the next step and keep going that is all that matters.

Life is messy. It is not perfect nor is it meant to be. There is no clean way in and out of everything. There is no planner or itinerary of how things are supposed to go. They just. . . go. They happen. The be . . . and become. There is a lot of readjusting, recommitting and retrying. But no quitting.

It is okay, always okay, to decide a new path to try if you do not like the one you are trekking but to stop the journey altogether? No. You would be robbing yourself of opportunities to find out who you are, what you are made of and what you can do.

As for me, I am going to keep hiking. I will hopefully always decide to keep going even if I drop my gloves twenty times. I will continue to laugh at myself when I bust my butt. Which, I am sure, will be a lot. That being said, I will also remember it is okay to pause my journey, sit on the ground and cry for a bit if that fall scares the shit out of me.

But I am going to keep getting up because goodness only knows what else is out there waiting for me.

About the author:

Annoyingly nice. Science lover. Wife. Daughter. Mother of a fur baby named Rufus. Writer. Shenanigan finder and firm believer in kindness.
Visit her blog, Sparkly Poetic Weirdo
Join her on Facebook.

Baking In A Tornado signature | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

Friday, March 11, 2016

Use Your Words: One Brick Short

Today’s post is a monthly writing challenge. If you’re new here, this is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once. All of the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the recipient will take them. Until now.

Use Your Words | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

At the end of this post you’ll find links to the other blogs featuring this challenge. Check them all out, see what words they got and how they used them.
I’m using: quality vs quantity ~ safety ~ wide load ~ jobs ~ lucky

They were submitted by: Spatulas on Parade .

I'm usually really lucky with these Use Your Words posts. Whatever the words are that I end up with, they speak to me. It may be right away, it may take days but eventually they tell me where to go with them. Something about the list jumps out at me and I know just where to go.

Today, not so much.

The first few words were leading me to talk about cliches. But I really didn't want to do that. One of my most popular posts ever, The Whole Truth, featured not just on my blog but on The Huffington Post, the TODAY show parenting team, ArtisanLife, Daily, and even mentioned on a friend's blog's Saturday Spotlight Series, was about cliches (and a whole lot more, if you haven't read it, you should . . . if I do say so myself).

So, as much as I didn't really want to talk about cliches, the words seem to be demanding it. And sometimes as writers our jobs are not to reason why, ours is but to do or die. Or something like that.
OK, cliches. I use them, but I hate them. For a few reasons. First of all because even if they're true, they're so over-used. Half the time people just roll their eyes, I mean I do. But they are cliches for a reason, because they do happen to be a one-size-fits-all way to express what you're feeling. People know what you're getting at when you use them. And they give us an easy way out when we're at a loss for what to say. I hate them because they're a conversational no-brainer, but . . . confession time . . . I do sometimes end up using them myself.

And then there are the ones that just aren't necessarily true. Like quality vs quantity. Quality is not always better than quantity. Many of us, meaning me, are so much better off having had a number relationships, good and bad, before choosing a life partner. How can you really appreciate one good man without having had your heart ripped out and stomped on a time or two?

Or like "better safe than sorry". Because sometimes safety is overrated. Who wants this on their tombstone: "She didn't have a whole lot of fun, but she stayed safe"?

"Absence makes the heart grow fonder". Even if this is true, is this really what you want to hear when you're sad and missing someone?

"Unlucky at cards, lucky at love". Damn, just lost all my money but that's OK 'cause it means I'll get laid? 

Or I'll get lucky and my family will love this new recipe idea?

One Pot Chicken Dinner: Chicken pieces of your choice, veggies and potoes cook in one pot in the oven for an easy and flavorful dinner | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #dinner

One Pot Chicken Dinner 

One Pot Chicken Dinner: Chicken pieces of your choice, veggies and potoes cook in one pot in the oven for an easy and flavorful dinner | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #dinner

going in the oven 

One Pot Chicken Dinner: Chicken pieces of your choice, veggies and potoes cook in one pot in the oven for an easy and flavorful dinner | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #dinner
coming out of the oven

And now we've reached the point where this whole post blows up in my face. I've got one more word grouping to use and I'm in jeopardy of having to delete this whole post and start over. Right at the very end, how frustrating is that? But it seems I'm one penny short of a pound, one rung short of a ladder, one fry short of a Happy Meal, one brick short of a wide load. I bet at this point I'm looking like a lost dog in a meat house. Whatever the hell that means . . .

Links to the other Use Your Words posts:
P.S. I'm on the Huffington Post again this week with Pi Day Pie. Eleven recipe options including chocolate, fruit, and no-bake for your Pi Day (3/14) celebration. Stop by, leave me a comment and tell me which one(s) you'll be trying.

Baking In A Tornado signature | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

One Pot Chicken Dinner
Printable Recipe

1 1/2 cup Bloody Mary mix
1/2 cup olive oil
3/4 cup white wine
1 large onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 roma tomatoes, chopped
6 - 7# chicken pieces, bone in
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
5 new potatoes, sliced
1 sweet potato, peeled and sliced
1 tsp paprika
1/2# baby bella mushrooms, quartered
1/2# green beans

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
*Spray a large dutch oven or extra large baking dish with non-stick spray.
*Place the Bloody Mary mix, olive oil, wine, onion, garlic and tomatoes in the dish and mix.
*Mix together the salt, pepper and garlic powder and sprinkle over the chicken. Add the chicken to the pot and press into the sauce. Top with the potato and sweet potato slices. Sprinkle the potatoes with paprika.
*Cover tightly and cook for one hour. 
*Carefully remove the cover, mix, cover again and cook another 45 minutes.
*Carefully remove the cover again. Temporarily remove the chicken pieces to a plate and mix the mushrooms and green beans into the sauce, then place the chicken on top. Sprinkle with garlic powder and paprika. Cook another 45 minutes, uncovered.