Blueberry Ketchup

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Image via Pixabay

It’s summertime-hot, sticky summertime-and blueberries are on sale.

Some of my fondest summer memories have included those plump, velvety berries. I remember hiking along a mountain trail as a young child and stumbling across a patch of wild blueberries. I stuffed my little jacket pockets full, anticipating the pie my mother would make when we got home. The berries did not make it back intact.

I can still smell the blueberry buckle my mom used to make. Crisp, buttery, and filled with juicy berries, it was one of my favorite breakfasts. And I loved it when she read Blueberries for Sal, the berries “plink, plink, plink”-ing in her bucket.

I found myself buying three pounds of blueberries at the store this weekend, most of them earmarked for my family’s favorite blueberry zucchini bread. It freezes beautifully! But what to do with the rest (besides eat them, of course)?

Blueberry ketchup.

I know, it sounds strange, but trust me and try it. It’s sweet and savory, and oh so good with sweet potato fries. Even my kids gobbled it up! If you try it, let me know what you think.

This summer is a little sweeter and a whole lot stickier with all the blueberry ketchup-stained faces in my house. Sweet summertime memories.

 

 

 

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O Say Can You Sing?

I can’t. That doesn’t stop me from trying, though. Especially today.

Today is one of my favorite holidays. Sure, I love sparklers, fireworks, and family picnics, but those things are just a bonus. I was raised in a military household that instilled in me a respect for God and country.  You can’t shake my family tree without a few soldiers-from almost every branch-falling out. See what I did there?

I am proud of and grateful for each and every one of them. Most of all, my Pop. My dad taught me the proper angle for a crisp salute and how to properly care for an American flag, but that’s another post.

 

Today, especially today, I try to sing that anthem to the best of my ability. I practice singing it around the house  while I’m doing dishes or folding laundry, and I cry. I cry because that song reminds me of when I used to untie my Pop’s combat boots when he came home from work. It reminds me of 9/11. It reminds me of strength. It reminds me of soldiers coming home.

Sing it with me. Sing the only first verse, or sing them all.

God bless America, land of the Free, and home of the Brave.

 

The Star-Spangled Banner

O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight
O’er the ramparts we watch’d were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there,
O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream,
’Tis the star-spangled banner – O long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a Country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand
Between their lov’d home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with vict’ry and peace may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the power that hath made and preserv’d us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto – “In God is our trust,”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Blackout Poetry

Have you ever tried your hand at writing a poem? It’s not easy. Even if you have a set form, like a haiku or a limerick, sometimes the words just won’t come to you. I found a form of poetry that provides all the words-you just have to put them in the right order! It’s called Blackout poetry.

Blackout poetry is fun and fairly easy to do. Have a newspaper lying around, a book you don’t care for, or want to recycle that beloved, crumbling copy of The Hobbit? Using a marker or a pen, you can black out the words you aren’t using, cross them out, or even doodle over them. Some people even use paint. Watch these videos here or here, or read more about how to make your own poem here. Try it for yourself! Below are some examples that I have composed.

 

 

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“Sense in men and women never did exist.”

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Hope lets the almost empty fight on.”

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“He could feel the fire. Her smile was flirtatious; love was ablaze.”   

Movies About Writing

 

If you are watching a movie that is based on a book, the movie will always be better. Always. But what about movies about writing books? Here are some of my favorites.

  1. Finding Forrester.  This movie is about a reclusive writer and the boy who befriends him, or at least draws him out of his shell. Plus, who doesn’t like Sean Connery? I teared up at a few points, earning this movie a solid 8/10.
  2. Miss Potter. Beatrix Potter ( played by Renée Zellweger) struggles to be taken seriously as a female author and artist in a world dominated by men. Heartwarming and heartbreaking, this movie also gets an 8/10.
  3. Dead Poets Society. Ah, Robin Williams at his finest. “O Captain! My Captain!” sends chills down my spine every time. Although not strictly about writing, this movie follows the life of several students and the teacher who challenges the way they look at the world and themselves. One of the few movies I give a 10/10.

I’ll leave you with this quote:

“So avoid using the word ‘very’ because it’s lazy. A man is not very tired, he is exhausted. Don’t use very sad, use morose. Language was invented for one reason, boys—to woo women—and, in that endeavor, laziness will not do.” –Dead Poets Society.

Bread and Jam

Hello Reader.

It’s been a while. In the rush and hurly-burly of life in a new house, I’m afraid I’ve neglected to take the time to write. I could blame it on the fact that my washer suddenly stopped functioning mid-cycle, or that my children monopolize too much of my time, or any number of excuses, but that is exactly what they would be: excuses.

Truth be told, I’ve been baking.  My youngest sister and I both bake when we are stressed, and I often bake  or cook to avoid other responsibilities (such as this blog). I have two loaves of bread cooling on a wire rack, and a creamy, strawberry dessert solidifying in the fridge. Yesterday my children and I made fruit gummies and triple berry syrup for homemade, summertime sodas. I had intended on trying my hand at toffee this afternoon, but I left my candy thermometer at my mother’s house, so now I am forced to sit down and write.

Writing, for me, is a private thing. It is a peek inside my head at the (wo)man behind the curtain, the innermost thoughts and functions of an introverted bookworm. I don’t like putting my writing on display for everyone to see. It’s frightening. So I put it off.

I don’t know why.

When I finally do start writing, it feels..transcendent. I can almost hear a symphony orchestra playing Peer Gynt’s Suite no. 1, Op. 46: Morning Mood. I pour all my energy into the piece; angels harmonize and life is good.

But that’s just the first draft, of course. Editing is another story (pun intended). Still, it feels good to put pen to paper, fingers to keyboard, and let the words flow.

Meanwhile, I’m going to have a slice of fresh-baked bread, smeared with butter and Daniela’s delicious Saskatoon jam. I wish you all a transcendent weekend.

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Image via Pixabay.

 

 

Please Forgive My Absence

I’m posting this from my phone; please bear with me through this trying time. You see, we’re moving. Well, moved. Mostly.

When we first visited this potential dwelling place, it was Norman Bates creepy. Outside, there was a deer head hanging in a tree, two deer carcasses with their guts in old dog food bags left out by the driveway, and a pond full of leeches. Inside, the carpet was rotted in places, animals had urinated all over(they had cats, dogs, bunnies, fish, a turtle, AND birds), and the back porch was dilapidated, buried under a good foot of kitty litter and excrement. On the first walkthrough, we didn’t let our children touch anything. They called it, “the scary house” and my son insisted it was full of monsters and ghosts.

We, my parents, and occasionally my brothers, have been spending every spare minute gutting, painting, and deep, DEEP cleaning every inch. The new owner had fresh carpet and laminate put in. We filled two semi trailer large dumpsters full to the tippy tip top with the junk the previous owners left behind. We have put a little blood, a lot of sweat, and at least a gallon of tears into this place.

My children are now impressed with the new look. My son has pronounced our house no longer scary, and ghost free. Apparently, a couple monsters haven’t left yet, but we’re working on it. Now they call it, “the Farm” or, “our house.” We have named the lone Canadian goose that likes to look at his reflection in the leech pond. He’s Prince Albert. Occasionally we’ll spot Benjamin, the lone bunny, nibbling his breakfast underneath the trees. It’s starting to feel like home.

Now to unpack a mountain of boxes.

Why Now?

 

I’ve wanted to start a blog for a while now. So, why start now? Well, I’ve been participating in a fun and challenging contest on Instagram hosted by Slap Nutrition called “Slap 90 Days.” If you want to participate, it ends May 1st, so hop to it! The rules are posted here. In my personal experience (not sponsored or being compensated in any way!), Slap Nutrition has the cleanest, best tasting supplements; try the strawberry protein powder, the salted caramel BCAA’s, or Slapuccino pre-workout. Or everything. It’s all delicious.

As part of the contest, we were asked to post goals-physical, mental, etc,-that challenged us to be a better person. I chose two physical and two mental goals. Physical: Lose 15 pounds, and walk 10,000 steps a day. Mental: Write 1,500 words a day, and read two books a week. Lofty goals, to be sure. Did I crush those goals? Not exactly.

I lost ten pounds. My fitbit started irritating my skin, so I didn’t log all my steps. I wrote quite a bit, but didn’t always hit 1,500 words. I read at least one book a week. I had great days where I ate clean, worked hard, and connected with some awesome people, and not so great days, like when I broke a tooth and ugly cried in front of the receptionist at the walk-in clinic. Now we are in the process of moving to a new house. Life happens!

Even though I “only” lost ten pounds, it wasn’t easy. I got up before five am most mornings and ran around in the basement like a crazy person because I couldn’t get to a gym and it was too cold outside. I started lifting weights. I made Hannah’s protein pancakes (give her a follow, she’s the best). I started these goals for a contest to win supplements from an amazing company, and ended up doing it for myself. I didn’t hit my goals. But I changed myself for the better. I found the confidence to start this blog. I bought new jeans. I wore a shirt without a jacket or cardigan to cover up my arms. That’s a win in my book.

I’ve started diets and programs before. Some have worked, temporarily. To be honest, I’m not sure why this one clicked, but it did. Even though the contest ends in less than a week, I’m going to keep improving myself, keep growing, and writing.

I’m getting a root canal tomorrow, and I couldn’t be happier.

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