Tag Archives: blogging

Kitty’s Virtual Brownie Sharing Circle

“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.”
Psalms 34:8

Yes, you read that right, this second VBSC post brings Kitty to the table. Her human of choice is writer and yarn (he)artist, L. Marie, a native Chicagoan. She earned an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults at the Vermont College of Fine Arts and continues to write, submit manuscripts and encourage others pursuing the writer’s path.

Actually, she encourages others, period. Skilled in crochet and knitting, she often yarns-up gifts for those she feels need a little unexpected lift or surprise.

Case in point, a few days ago, I discovered the owl featured in the photos below roosting in our snail mail box. I’m sure Kitty is relieved that she has one less ‘friend’ she’s obliged to share brownies with, but I’m touched at the thoughtfulness of my blogger buddy.

However, ‘owlie’ does not yet have a name…heck, (s)he doesn’t even have a gender designation. Soooo…if any ideas come to mind, please mention suggestions in the comments below along with any other thoughts this post may inspire.

Don’t forget to take a peek at L.Marie’s blog and maybe try out the brownie recipe at the end of this, her guest post.

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m L. Marie. My blog is El Space: The Blog of L. Marie. Many thanks to Laura for inviting me to participate in her Virtual Brownie Sharing Circle. And thank you to Heather who wrote the original post that inspired Laura.

Kitty and her friends. Not that she thinks she’s above them. But pictures don’t lie. . . .

Kitty and her friends. Not that she thinks she’s above them. But pictures don’t lie. . . .

Actually, Kitty, who is sitting here staring at me, feels she was the inspiration behind the sharing circle, because she’s trying to turn over a new leaf. Less crime, more altruism—that sort of thing. In fact, she thinks it should be renamed the Kitty and Friends Virtual Brownie Sharing Circle, since she coerced invited two friends to join her in a photo op.

Though she doesn’t consider me a friend (more like a slave, really) she expected me to do all of the brownie baking while she did all of the tasting.

When it comes to brownies, I’m not much of a baker. A year ago, I made a box recipe that was supposed to be kindergarten easy. But the brownies turned out dry and about half the height they were supposed to achieve after baking.

Picture 3

Ginger and her son, Johnny

 

My good friend Ginger makes great brownies. I’ve known Ginger for many years. Not only is a she a great wife, and mother to three offspring (two of whom are in college), she is also an administrative assistant at Covenant Classical School in Naperville, Illinois.

As if her life weren’t busy enough, Ginger also deals with Celiac disease. I’ll let her tell you about that.

 

 

 

El Space: How long have you had Celiac disease? What led to that diagnosis?

Ginger: Five years on February 21! I had a rash on my legs that never went away for over two years! I consulted many doctors and we tried many topical creams, but it never went away. Then I started having pain in my stomach that was constant, day and night. It was never sharp, but it was always there. The doctor ordered blood work and an endoscopy and I was diagnosed with Celiac disease.

El Space: How has having this disease changed your life?

Ginger: When I am not cooking at home, I have to make a plan of what I am going to eat. I have to read labels and bring food everywhere I go. I even have my own pans and toaster so there is no cross contamination in the kitchen. I feel so much better, so this makes it much easier to stay gluten free. I would say that the biggest change is a mental switch that social events are not all about the food. This has required a whole new way of thinking about meeting friends, holidays, birthday parties, and outings.

El Space: You’re one of the most cheerful, encouraging people I know. How has this life-changing event enabled you to encourage others?

Ginger: I have a greater sense of understanding what it feels like not fitting in and feeling left out. It points me first to Christ and remembering how my identity is in Him first. I am not alone. My compassion toward others has grown immensely. I have a greater understanding for others that may feel like they may not fit in for a variety of reasons.
I have had the benefit of having my family and friends include me in their meal plans or pick up something gluten free for me. Since this has meant so much to me, I have made attempts to do the same for others with a variety of dietary restrictions. This has challenged my culinary skills, but I have learned a lot in the process. I had some successes and failures, and most importantly, connected with others.

Thanks, Ginger. Now, here’s the recipe Ginger follows for making her brownies:

Picture 1

Yes, Kitty, you must share…

Ginger’s Gluten Free Brownie Recipe

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ heaping cup of gluten free flour

Add in if desired (I love making the brownies extra special with candy, nuts, etc.)

  • Pecans or walnuts
  • Chocolate chips
  • Reese’s peanut butter cups
  • Andes mints

Directions:

  • Spray an 8×8 glass pan with cooking spray.
  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Mix together melted butter and cocoa powder until well blended.
  • Add sugar, eggs, and flour and any mix-ins desired!
  • Pour mix into pan and spread evenly.
  • Bake 24-28 minutes until sides looked baked and toothpick comes out with just a bit of batter on it.

Virtual Brownie Sharing Circle #1

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him
Psalms 34:8

Dizzy loves her brownies!

Dizzy loves her brownies!

One morning after baking a batch of my ‘loaded brownies minus one ingredient’* I sat down in front of the computer with my cuppa joe in one hand and a bit of warm brownie in the other. Settling into my blog-reading I noticed over at dinosaursdonkeysandms that one of Dizzy’s suggestions for helping someone with anxiety was baking them brownies. (Dizzy’s favorite gluten-free recipe is here).

How serendipitous. Not that I was experiencing any sort of anxiety at that moment, but I got to thinking why not spread some brownie-induced happiness with Dizzy and her blogger friends? So in the comments, I offered a virtual brownie to any and all who needed one that day.

Dizzy always makes me smile, even when she’s cranky, which isn’t very often (and she and Heather have lots they could choose to be cranky about dealing with MS).

I credit her for inspiring me to begin my very own Virtual Brownie Sharing Circle (VBSC) series. Maybe knowing that will make Dizzy smile… Continue reading

NOMA: what are those round-y, tilted buildings?

Photo seen on my Manc* buddy Andy’s blog
(oh, yes, he’s a published poet, check out his books here – perfect for gift-giving, IMHO)

Manchester Cundall Light4“Whoa, what are those odd round-y tilted buildings?” I asked him in the comment section.

To which he responded with a link to something called NOMA Earth Tubes.

NOMA? What the heck is that?

He further elaborated,
“The atrium is fundamental to the building’s ventilation strategy. Each of its three corners houses one of the building’s vertical service cores. Some 50m3/s of fresh air is sucked into the building from its landscaped forecourt through three giant earth tubes buried beneath the building; this helps temper the air, cooling it in summer and warming it in winter. Air is heated or cooled in a huge basement plant room before giant fans push it up the service cores to the floor plates.”

Huh?

Sufficiently curious, I clicked on his link reference thus beginning a fun google research journey for this lady on a pleasantly cozy, rainy Saturday afternoon. Continue reading

Belated Blogiversary: the fourth

 

South Carolina Tulip Tree Leaves

South Carolina Tulip Tree Leaves

Sometime around the end of August, beginning of September, my 4th blogiversary made an uneventful appearance.

It came and went.

Meh, life goes on.

(Evidenced by these few fall photos)

Colorado Aspens Rainbow Lakes

Colorado Aspens, Rainbow Lakes

 

I’m noticing many blogger-buddies are entering into their own 4th and 5th years of regular posting; with plenty of re-decorating, re-purposing and de-cluttering of earlier website/blog incarnations. I say: Good for you, guys!

Me? I still can’t figure out how to update my 3.6 WP to 4.8.2 WP without losing precious data that’s supposed to be ‘forever’ on this ole internet superhighway. Case in point: just using that terminology shows how long I’ve been on-line. You know, back when it was only universities and ‘professionals’ that truly surfed the net along with doing all that research, networking and exchange of ideas/ideals. (remember the LuteList, anyone?) Continue reading

Totally Awesome Totality

Yep, this is a bit on the late side. I realized I kept commenting on other blogs about my personal experience with Totality but held back from crafting a post for my own blog. The key here is in the word ‘craft’ as in: taking time to make it blog-worthy.  Just saying ‘wow, that was cool’ or ‘it was the experience of a lifetime’ isn’t my type of blog-worthiness, but the ‘awesomeness’ of the event just doesn’t translate well into words.

Me, before Totality

Me, before Totality

At least for me.

And while I’m more inclined to craft a poem rather than labor over prose, I’m running low on the patience factor for that sort of creation these days.

So pardon me as I fulfill the urge to post my own reactions via placing those comments via bullet points here:

  • Total Eclipse Dillon Park, Sumter, South Carolina

    Total Eclipse Dillon Park, Sumter, South Carolina

    We went to Dillon Park in Sumter…let me tell you – the absolute BEST! Chicken me even took off those glasses for the ‘safe’ 90 plus seconds. And just for the record, the sky was midnight blue not black during totality, we got to see Venus as well as the corona and we were bathed in more of a type of ‘moonlight’ softness. Geez, I really should do a blog post on this! HA!

Hubby, after Totality

Hubby, after Totality

  • Still glowing in solar bliss…we went to Sumter, SC a stone’s throw from the venue where I gave my SwS presentation June 3rd (about 50 minutes from where we currently live)…and got to see it at 100% totality! I had been prepping myself to buck up and just take those darn glasses off during the ‘safe’ time, (such a counter intuitive thing to do) so with a little ooohing and ahhhing encouragement from hubby, I had ’em off and: WOW!
    Not a pitch black sky, more a midnight blue and felt like moonlight on a clear evening…crickets started chirping – then just as suddenly stopped!
    The whole camera thing is way over-rated, nothing’s like the real thing!!!! I really should blog a bit about the experience, but maybe I’ll simmer on a song for later?

I’ll end it there, with the possibility of a future composition in the works…

Happy Okay-Mom’s Day Musing

 “World’s Okayest Mom”

I saw that phrase at a blog I follow – she has the t-shirt and everything – I really related; albeit I’m not in the trenches of hands-on childrearing anymore, it still rings true. At least for me – an older gen Mom. Yeah, I’m a GrandMom, too, but not hands-on due to circumstances way beyond my control (sigh – it is what it is) so that’s why maybe memories of being a younger Mom still resonate loud and clear.  Here’s the poetic part of her blog post (be sure to visit it for the rest of the story)

World’s Okayest Mom, by Angelica Battista Bonin of Comically Quirky  Continue reading

Slowly but Surely, Revising My wordpress Pages

Anyone who has had any on-line presence for any length of time – blogging or otherwise – knows the importance of periodically updating one’s static pages. It’s amazingly easy to just let content lie as is and hope it’s adequate.  I admit to holding onto that faint hope.

However, the New Year brought forth a personal campaign to make a few changes on my wordpress website/blog. 

Here they are – not immediately noticeable, but notable. (I like the sound of that last phrase – kind of catchy, eh?)

The beginning of this year, I began revising my soon-to-be four year old wordpress website pages. I figured it was time for a refresh. Continue reading

Giving Voice: Cancer, Survival and the New Year

note: I came across this post and felt it needed to be passed on as ‘giving voice’ to someone who needs to know that their voice counts.

Survival

There is nothing funny about cancer. Continue reading