Tag Archives: coffee

DP: 32 Flavors


Naples Noodle Headbeer barCookieslicoriceRaw Fish AnyoneKoper Dinner

Daily Prompt for 32 Flavors; Vanilla, Chocolate, or something else entirely.

When I joined the Navy in 2000, I had unknowingly become an anthropologist. Little did I know, that 10 years later, I would set out to go to college to become one, an anthropologist. An anthropologist studies humans and their origins, race, culture, societies, development, and a list of other things. There are 4 fields in Anthropology – Cultural, Physical, Linguistic, Archaeology.

Most of those in the military, especially the Navy, are unaware of their involvement as an anthropologist or that they are in a way more than diplomatic ambassadors, but they are also anthropologist. They travel to foreign countries as part of their duties, eat food from another country, talk to someone in their home country, shop in another country, walk around on soil that is foreign to them; it is all about submerging themselves into another person’s culture or society. I’m like a sponge, I love to soak it all in.

Before we pulled into port, we would have an idea of the things that we could see and do. A group of people are sent out before we pulled into port to find things that would be entertaining. Plus, they would locate the areas that weren’t safe for us and let us know. They would have tours set up and ready for us, names of a few places we could visit, and names of the shopping plazas nearby, as well as passing out a few maps of the city we were pulling into, and most importantly, they would bring bankers on board so we could exchange our currency.

The first thing some of us would look for once we got on dry land is food. It isn’t unusual to find a McD’s in most of the places we pull into and since some personnel are accustomed and habited to eating there, that’s the first place, and sometimes the only place that they’ll head to for sustenance. I actually look for something local, as I’m not bothered in trying new food. I especially looked forward to touring Italy and eating oven baked pizza and home made pasta. I even had the pleasure of eating tiramisu while I was in Italy, to which I loved immensely. Next thing I had to try was Italian coffee, then gelato.

I believed I spoiled myself, that when I came back home to the states, it was something that I searched for. Olive Garden was as close as I could get to Italian food, but I had some trouble finding Greek food, unless I traveled out of my way.

There were a few things that I tried overseas that I didn’t like; camel meat is on the top of my list to never try again, Greek burgers aren’t anything like American burgers, and I’m not sure what kind of burger meat I ate in Portugal. I’ve heard that camel is an acquired taste, or that the person who served it didn’t cook it right. To put it in the daily prompt’s words, it was definitely “something else entirely”.

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Winter Fever, Cabin Blues…


Or is it ‘Cabin Fever, Winter Blues’?

Either way, it’s another fine winter day, stuck indoors. I’m actually being a bit sardonic, but who wouldn’t be unless you could be outside enjoying the weather. Though there aren’t any slopes here for me to grab my snowboard and head out to. Nor is the ground covered in snow, for mini me to go sledding. Instead, the ground is covered in ice that has been melted and frozen, again, and again, over the past few days. Today, our forecast called for a snow and rain mix, which didn’t began falling until late morning. It just made everything that much more slippery. I decided to stay home with my daughter, since I have to drive North where the roads would be much slicker.

Though I have driven in wintry conditions, it is very different here in Arkansas, especially when you’re surrounded by drivers who cannot drive on ice and/or snow. Some cannot even drive when it’s raining, so I find it best to stay clear by staying home. My daughter finds serenity in watching the snow fall. We have a large picture window in the living room with a wide window sill for her to lean on and to also give her plenty of space to play with her toys.

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On days like this, I find myself in the office, on the computer, trying to finish up homework, or work on the next research paper for a class or two, or do a bit of writing. I think if I redecorated this office, it would have more of a calm, soothing atmosphere where I can be more creative. I think it’s the only room that still has the fake wood paneling from the 1960’s, covering it’s walls. Plus, the photos that cover the wall space above grandpa’s desk are decades old and could be upgraded.

I think I may have found my next summer project…to redecorate and rearrange the office.

I mostly find my creative energy in a mixture of places, such as, bookstores, coffee shops, libraries, front porch. Sometimes, the recliner in the living room, next to our picture window is a perfect spot for writing, especially on days like today. Anywhere my mind can roam freely.

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Lately, I’ve been spending most of that free time between classes, in my college library. Just yesterday, I had my headphones on, music going, and I was able to finally finish editing chapter one of my young adult novel. This is the same novel I had tried querying agents last summer for, but without success. It’s a tough job, being an author. Tough market, actually. Some of them were very close in saying yes, adding tidbits of helpful info that would make the next round of querying a bit more successful.

So, I began working on it….again.

There was originally a prologue, but I had cut it out entirely. Now, I added it back into the novel, but instead of it being a prologue, I made it the beginning of chapter one’s story line. I then moved some of chapter three into chapter one, so the next on my to-do-list is to edit chapter three.

I’m coming up on 60K words total…on the manuscript that is. I’m going to make that a goal that I must achieve. Once that’s done, I am finished…I hope, cross my fingers and knock on wood. I’m looking forward to seeing it finalized once more and also hope that I can send it off to the publisher very soon. I think I’ll try querying agents again, if not, I know a few small publishers that wouldn’t mind publishing it for me.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Containers


I love this photo challenge. It makes me think of my daughter. I think of children as containers – containers of mass quantities of energy.

My daughter is naturally hyper and can go, go, go from the moment she gets up until several hours after she’s been put to bed – yes, you read that correctly. She lays in bed most nights, talking to herself, or singing, or telling such creative stories to her stuffed animals she’s gone to bed with.

I have also added cups (containers that hold important liquids, such as coffee).

Have a blessed day!

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Homemade Starbucks Mocha Frap Recipe


 

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found on google images

This morning I decided to buy the Starbucks Mocha drink mix while I was out shopping at my local grocery store. The price for the drink mix is about the same price for just one of their medium sized drinks, so why not save money and make my own at home.

When I got home I noticed it didn’t have any recipes on the carton, nor any websites for the buyer to go to find homemade recipes using their mix. I spent twenty minutes searching the net for a good recipe when I kept coming up on the same homemade recipe that everyone is using that didn’t ask for the mocha mix. Instead, they asked for you to brew a cup of coffee, add several cups of milk, a cup of ice, 3/4 cup of sugar (REALLY?? That’s a lot of sugar for just one cup of coffee), then add chocolate syrup or cocoa powder. Hmm, so not what I was looking for. I then decided to just make up my own recipe, though with the help of the Oregon Chai recipe (found on their website, as well as on the side of their cartons).

I did go to one of the few Starbucks websites looking for recipes, but found one of their websites that looked more or less like a training site for their employees. Their main page just shows what’s on their menu and you can also shop for coffee or buy one of their coffee machines. I guess their recipes are Top Secret or they would rather you spend your money on having one of their employees making you one from their store.

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found on google images

 

I have a NutriBullet blender, which is for smoothies, but when I make fraps they come out foamy, rather than creamy. Here’s the recipe that I have tried so far:

1 cup of ice

1/2 cup of the coffee mix

1 cup of milk

1 teaspoon of cocoa powder

1 1/2 teaspoons of sugar

If you have a better recipe, please leave it in the comments below.

Sleepless in…well, here


I’ve been a light sleeper since 2000 when I joined the US Navy. I was a hard sleeper before I joined, that I could sleep right through my alarm. A few days of boot camp cured me of that. After I got out, four years later, I became a restless sleeper, with some insomnia issues; the insomnia slowly dissipated over the next few years, but I have never gotten over being a light sleeper, especially when my daughter was born in December, 2009.

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My daughter, curled up in my bed, ready to go to sleep.

Lately, my daughter has been sleeping in bed with me. I already knew that once I became a mom, I would never have a peaceful nights sleep for the rest of my life. I somewhat knew that my child would have to end up sleeping with me at some point. It started two years ago when I had her sleep with me for a few nights so I could monitor her. She had been really sick with a high fever and throwing up and I thought it would be best for the both of us if she stayed with me so that I can be there for her. I actually ended up taking her to the ER around 5AM that morning because I couldn’t get her fever to go down no matter what I did.

Within a few nights after that she went back to sleeping in her own bed with no problems. Every once in awhile she would sleep with me, but only when she was really sick. Now she’s four and she sleeps with me more now, than she does in her own bed. She usually wakes in the middle of the night from a night terror, I would get up and hold her, then carry her to my bed. Lately, she just gets into my bed, skips the whole routine of her starting in her bed and ending up in mine.

I’ve stopped drinking Red Bull’s completely, to which was my ‘must have’ can of energy every morning. I actually traded them in for coffee. I found that it is cheaper, plus coffee isn’t as bad for you as Red Bull. Most morning I feel like I may need an ivy drip, though with coffee in it instead of saline.

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Found on google images

There is a perception of what you think it would be like when your child sleeps next to you, but the reality of it ends up with the child having a peaceful nights sleep, while the parent looks like a zombie in the morning. That’s due to the child tossing and turning all night. Not to mention limbs flying all over the place. There were a few times where I would finally fall asleep and my daughter would roll over and an arm would come flying at me with a fist punching me in the nose or eye. I’ve been kicked, slapped, elbowed, punched, kneed, I looked like I went a few rounds in the boxing ring. When that occurs, I calmly carry her back to her bed.

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found on google images

 

Now I’m out of ideas on how to get her to start going back to sleep in her own bed, starting from when I say “It’s bedtime”. I used to tell her that bid girls sleep in their own bed, but that stopped working months ago. I’ve even rewarded her with stickers, nope that stopped working too.

 

I enjoy reading other blogs written by parents with toddlers and I found this one blog cute, yet humorous, only because I know how the parents feel, especially when the toddler takes over the bed, leaving the parents a small portion to sleep on. Click here to read their blog.

Book Signing at the Taste of Bryant


ImageTuesday night was a very busy night. I set up a booth for a book signing at the Taste of Bryant event that drew a crowd of almost 900 people. A few of those people even included some politicians. At least three of those politicians stopped by my booth and chatted with me. One politician, Asa Hutchinson, Republican candidate for Arkansas Governor, chatted with me and bought one of my books for his grandchildren. It was an honor to have met him in person and have a chance to chat with him for a few minutes. He is really a great guy!

ImageThe Taste of Bryant seemed to have been a popular event as I watched a constant flow of people visiting each vendor table. The aroma of BBQ, salsa, coffee, cooked meats, and other spices nearby only teased my senses, drawing even my attention to the vendor tables. My mother, who joined me for the event, continued to bring back samples of food from each vendor, telling me how delicious each one was. She brought back a few samples for myself, one of which was chips and dip from Moe’s Southwest Grill. The cheese dip and salsa was a little spicy, but it was really good!

ImageThe crowd was finally starting to dwindle and it was time to pack up and leave. I enjoyed chatting with everyone that visited my booth. It was a successful night for the Taste of Bryant, including myself as I sold a handful of books. I’m looking forward to setting up a booth at the next big event in September.

Disney Day Two


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Day Two – We got up early the next morning and stood in line to get into the park. The fun part was riding the monorail to the Magic Kingdom. We ate breakfast inside the park again, mini Belgian waffles with fresh fruit, which was really good.

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ImageWe found our way to the tea cup ride where we met Alice from Wonderland. Dublin was excited and greeted her with cheerful, “Hi Alice!” They chatted for a few minutes about finding the White Rabbit and then Alice signed Dublin’s autograph book before we went to ride the tea cups. Seeing my baby’s face when the ride started was priceless. She smiled and giggled and shouted “Wee!” the entire time the ride was going. When we got off the White Rabbit was hanging out with Alice and we had to go stand in line again just to meet him.  We continued to ride rides and meet characters, especially her most two favorite characters Merida and Tinker Bell.

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The best part was the fast passes. My brother in law, James, would go get our fast passes while we stood in line for another ride. The fast pass had a time on it where we could go back to that particular ride and cut to the front of the line. Most of the rides had signs saying how long the wait was. The worst part was how expensive everything was. I knew that it might be expensive before I got there, but Starbucks coffee is considerably cheap compared to coffee at Disney. But $2.50 for a 20oz bottled water and $4 for a small bag of cotton candy? We actually agreed on McD’s for lunch outside of the park, followed by a nap…for us adults. Though the nap was cut short due to an anxious three year old who wanted to go ride more rides.

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On our way back to the park we rode the Ferry instead of the monorail, then caught the train to the northern part of the park where Dublin and I rode the magic carpet ride. It was similar to the Dumbo ride except there’s a camel that’s spits water. It didn’t matter to Dublin, she was still enjoying herself, until the fireworks started. We had caught the light show parade, which was beautiful. Dublin pointed out to a few of the floats, shouting their names. It was great to see Pete’s Dragon again. The last time I saw Pete’s Dragon was…uh, a really long time ago. After the parade we met up with my sister and brother in law and made our way to Cinderella’s castle. The fireworks pre-show was absolutely amazing! They fly Tinkerbell out to the castle where she tosses some fairy dust onto it and the castle starts to change it’s appearance. Dublin was sitting on top of her uncle James shoulders, watching the show. Her face was just priceless that I had tears.

There was a few minutes interlude between the castle show and fireworks, which gave us some time to move closer to the exit. As soon as the fireworks started, everyone stopped moving and stared up to the sky. It was beautiful. Dublin started to get a little fussy as the sound of the fireworks echoed throughout the park.  All and all day two was wonderful. I was looking forward to the next day.