Thursday, January 21, 2016

Tips for Healthier Cookies




What I do (for any recipe)....


  • Use whole wheat flour exclusively.  With that much sugar you can't really tell a difference when they are fresh, they just get dry and crumbly faster.  But when they are hot--taste just the same!

  • Which brings me to my next idea.  I freeze individual portions of cookie dough (big portions, mind you) so I can cook myself one HOT, FRESH cookie per day.  Day old dry cookies aren't nearly as good anyway.  Why bother?  Just enjoy one big hot one!

  • Cut the sugar amounts bit by bit from the recipe until it doesn't taste right.  With a dark chocolate cookie you'll be surprised how much sugar you can really cut out and still have them taste good.

  • Use REAL butter.  I believe in REAL foods including REAL fat.  And it tastes so good.  And I think it is good for you.  I got some of my crazy ideas about this from this book.







Wednesday, January 20, 2016

I Don't Regret Rejection




About 10 years ago, I sold Mary Kay cosmetics.  It was at a stage of my life where I was juggling two babies, trying to be a good mom, but desperately young and insecure and seeking validation.  Where I found it was in a "coach" who started me into sales of these products.  It was a good fit we decided because I was already a customer and the hooks they used to convince me I needed this "job" fit right into what I wanted to hear at that stage of momming.

The first thing I want to say is I don't regret doing it at all.  In fact I learned more about sales and my own self in such a quick way I wouldn't trade it.  However, many of those things I learned because I learned what I did not like about myself and who I *didn't* want to be.  I learned I was good at telling a story with my life experiences in order to sell a pitch, but the accuracy and emotionally honesty about it went out the door when trying to wrap up a messy life into a palatable "story."

I learned that sometimes the people who can least afford your product will be the most loyal to buy it because you are selling friendship and a feeling.  So you can be good at sales and feel like you are bad at life.  It wasn't long after I realized this that I stopped selling.  Hey, I do have a conscience after all ;).  Once the futility of honest sales was realized I did the math to know quickly that I needed to get out fast.  I sold back my inventory to the company (at a loss for re-stocking fees of course) and barely within their 1 year window, but thankfully I was blessed to come to the realization in time to cut my losses.

The people whose sales numbers depended on me were very upset about my quick turn and said that selling back the inventory was the worst thing I could do.  But they didn't approach that argument with hard numbers or stats (like I had reached my decision with).  Good ol' fashioned shaming and social rejection were their tools.  I think this was a hugely pivotol moment for my brain development.  Of course pivotal moments for me usually look a lot like grief and sadness and loneliness.  They usually start that, at least, until the beauty of time wears away their edges and shows me a wider world view.  When the world view started changin' I started making sense of group think, and cult phenomenons and what makes you susceptible to those things in the first place.

But what made me think of all of this today was REJECTION and the good things that have come in my life by being willing to face it.  While I was going to meetings and getting heavily "trained/brainwashed" about Mary Kay sales techniques one of the motivational speakers encouraged us to make a poster to get to 100 No's.  In essence the plan was to look at cold calling or asking for sales in a way that you aren't fearing rejection, but expecting it.  And expecting to be fine with it.  As a very anxious person I found that exciting -- that there was a way to try sales and overcome that crippling fear.  To be honest, I haven't used it that much.  I hate sales!  Hate it.  And I've learned to be okay with that because a lot of it has to do with  my ethics.  But this new knowledge did help me frame things in my mind that I am nervous about in a more hopeful, less anxiety producing way.

What have you learned from a terrible/scary/weird/life changing experience?

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Homeschool Computer Desk Ideas


We are getting to a life stage where most of the kid's homework and creative work (several of mine like architecture software) takes place on a computer.  This is a major reason I haven't been blogging much.  My time with the computer is very limited.

Also there are a number of games the kids would like to have multiple computers playing so they can go against each other or something :).  It has me dreaming of the perfect handmade furniture to use if we purchased or put together multiple screens.  Here are the ideas I could find but none look quite like what I have dreamed up in my head.


I think this is the closest to what I am picturing but about double the size with two more computers and chairs.  What I like about it--that it's open and light--could also be a problem with cords going everywhere and unsightly things all over under it.




What I like about this one (above) is that the desk seems suited for a number of different uses, like the sewing machine.  This might be nice for homework that needs a writing surface rather than computer.  Bonus points for using the file drawers as the bases!  All the paperwork could be filed away.






This raw wood that looks like pallets on the side seems the most like our style and what my husband would create.  I would still put it against the wall and make it long, though, rather than a table with two sides.







 If you see something that's better send me a link!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Living Room Update


It's been awhile since I've brought you a post about our own projects.  My husband finished up the stone fireplace this weekend.  When I took the updated (but dusty, sorry!) picture I realized a few other changes in the years:





When you live in it, and it's real life -- not TV, these things take years.  It's sometimes easy in the process of living to forget all we've done.

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