Crazy Ideas, Volume I: The Jellimussant


I don’t know how to explain the full awesomeness of the Jellimussant.

It is a jelly doughnut, inside a croissant, inside a muffin.

And I am sure it is awesome…

I wouldn’t know. I’ve never made one.


My brother and I came up with this idea years and years ago, but it never came to any fruition.  And then I was diagnosed with Celiac, so I can’t even taste-test them, so I’m not even going to bother.

NEVERTHELESS, I am sure this is a GREAT idea!  And I just found all my notes on it buried in some old file folder on my computer.

This is the Great White Buffalo of my ideas.

It was the one that got away.


Show and Tell Time, folks!

Jellimussant Flairs (which are absolutely amazing)

I. Raspberry jelly

II. Chocolate muffin with chocolate chips

III. Butter Croissant, with raspberries on topChocaRaspbero


I. Chocolate filled

II. Chocolate muffin

III. Butter Croissant, with dark/white chocolate swirl on topChocaHeavenThe next best thing to Spanish Gold


I. Lemon custard filled

II. Cranberry Orange muffin

III. Butter croissant, with citrus glaze, and little orange/lemon rinds on topCitrusiliciousAn exotic fusion of the tamed pastry and the wild fruit


I. Boysenberry filling

II. Lemon zest muffin

III. Butter croissant, with boysenberry and white frosting swirl on topBerriwinklefancy-line

I. Apple filling

II. Apple and cinnamon

III. Butter croissant, with cinnamon swirl on top Fruit of EdenYou cannot resist the temptations that lurk within


I. Cherry filling

II. Blueberry muffin

III. Butter croissant with white frosting swirl on topCherry Spangled BannerPatriotism comes in many delicious flavors.


I. Almond (amaretto?) custard

II. Almond poppy seed muffin

III. Butter croissant, cream cheese icing on top with brown sugar swirlsFor the nut in you.


I. 1/2 cheesecake, 1/2 strawberry (or kiwi?)

II. Strawberry muffin

III. Butter croissant, with cream cheese frosting on topSweetheartOur darling pastry


I. Vanilla Custard

II. Banana Nut muffin

III. Butter croissant, with baked almonds and honey glaze on topBananeMiel écrous

(banana honey nuts)For the nutty French in you


I. Blueberry filling

II. Poppy seed muffin

III. Butter croissant, with BluePavot

(blue poppy)


I. Cheesecake filling

II. Carrot cake muffin

III. Butter croissant, with honey and baked almond glaze on topCarrot24 carrot taste, with a hint of white cheesecake gold.


I. Mocha custard filling

II. Chocolate muffin

III. Butter croissant, with chocolate covered sliced coffee beans on topTop o’ tha MarninA perfect compliment to your marnin’ joe.


I. Plum custard filling

II. Cinnamon and Raisin muffin



I. Peach custard filling

II. Bran muffin

III. Butter croissant, plain


I. Blueberry filling

II. Blueberry muffin

III. Butter croissant, Blueberry HillNot recommended for curious little girls named “Violet”


Jellimussant recipe:

Jelly Doughnut:



    * 1 cup warm milk (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)

    * 1/3 cup water

    * 1 egg, beaten

    * 3 tablespoons margarine, melted

    * 3/4 cup white sugar

    * 4 1/2 cups bread flour

    * 1 teaspoon salt

    * 1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg

    * 1 tablespoon active dry yeast

    * 3/4 cup any flavor fruit jam

    * 2 quarts vegetable oil for frying


   1. In a bread machine pan add the milk, water, beaten egg, melted butter, sugar, bread flour, salt, nutmeg, and yeast in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Set machine to the sweet dough cycle.

   2. Once cycle is completed, turn dough out onto a floured board and let rest for ten minutes.

   3. Roll dough out to 1/4 inch thickness. With floured cookie cutter, cut into 2 1/2 inch rounds.

   4. Place 1/2 teaspoon jam or jelly in center of half of the rounds. Moisten edges with cold water; top with the remaining rounds, pinch edges together firmly. Place sealed doughnuts on an greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise until doubled in a warm place, about 45 minutes.

   5. Heat oil in deep fryer to 375 degrees F (175 degrees C). Fry one layer of doughnuts at a time. Turn doughnuts as they rise to the surface until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from oil, being careful not to poke doughnuts. Drain onto paper towels.






    * 2 cups all-purpose flour

    * 1/2 cup white sugar

    * 3 teaspoons baking powder

    * 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest

    * 1/2 teaspoon salt

    * 3/4 cup milk

    * 1/3 cup vegetable oil

    * 1 egg


   1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C). Grease bottoms only of 12 muffin cups or line with baking cups.

   2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, lemon zest and salt; mix well. In a small bowl, combine milk, oil and egg; blend well. Add dry ingredients all at once; stir just until dry ingredients are moistened (batter will be lumpy.)

   3. Fill cups 2/3 full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 1 minute before removing from pan. Serve warm.






Here is a remarkably simple method of making croissants that closely resemble the traditional ones the French serve for breakfast. You cut firm butter into flour, then blend the mixture with a yeast batter. The resulting dough is marbled with pockets of butter that form flaky layers when the croissants are baked. Best of all, you can store the dough in the refrigerator (up to 4 days) until you are ready to shape and bake the rolls.

1 pkg. active dry yeast

1 c. warm water (about 110 degrees)

3/4 c. evaporated milk

1 1/2 tsp. salt

1/3 c. sugar

1 egg

About 5 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

4 tbsp. butter, melted and cooled

1 c. (1/2 lb.) very firm butter

1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp. water

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in water; let stand until bubbly. Add milk, salt, sugar, egg, and 1 cup of the flour. Beat to make a smooth batter, then blend in melted butter; set aside.

In a large bowl, using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut the 1 cup firm butter into 4 cups of the remaining flour until butter particles are the size of small peas. Pour yeast batter over top and carefully turn mixture over with a spatula to blend just until flour is moistened. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 4 days.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board, press into a compact ball, and knead briefly to release air. Divide dough into 4 equal parts. Shape 1 part at a time, leaving remaining dough (wrapped in plastic wrap) in refrigerator.

On a floured board, roll 1 part of dough into a 14-inch circle, adding flour as needed to prevent sticking. Using a sharp knife, cut circle into 8 equal wedges.

Loosely roll each wedge from wide end toward point. Shape into a crescent and place, point side down, on an ungreased baking sheet. Repeat until all croissants are shaped and placed, 1 1/2 inches apart all around, on ungreased baking sheets. Cover lightly and let rise at room temperature in a draft-free place. (Do not speed rising by placing in a warm spot.)

When almost doubled (about 2 hours), brush with egg-water mixture. Bake in a 325 degree oven for about 35 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve warm, or let cool on racks. Makes 32 croissants.


Inspiring Easter Side Dishes


“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”

Charles M. Schulz


As we finish the season of Lent, the phone numbers of chocolatiers may be on speed dial for some of us.

For our home, we had “40 Days of Health,” where we focused on not only nutrition, but also on our physical health and good food choices. Should we only have toast in the morning, or can we add fruit to our breakfast as well? For lunch, maybe a sandwich is more sustainable than a corn dog? Dinners were seen in a better proportion of meat and vegetables, rather than being carb-heavy for convenience.

Also, believe it or not, we have all been exercising more regularly. Even to the point that we are enjoying it!

These times of discipline teach us many things in life, particularly where we can improve on. It is so easy to get into a slump in our day to day agendas. During times, such as Lent, we can look forward to periods of pruning the lazy, distracted parts of our lives and refocus on being deliberate and enthusiastic about what we are doing!

And it is so nice to feast together at the end of it!!

1) Easter Appetizers

Appetizers are the ice breakers for a meal.  They set the mood for the table, and invite your guests to relax before sitting down. And when it comes to breaking the ice…if you have never served your guests smoked salmon bites with horseradish, then now is your time to shine. I might enjoy the looks on my guests’ faces when they bite into the horseradish…a little too much. But I love, love, when they reach for another!

2) Southern Easter Side Dishes

I don’t mean to be too pedantic about this, but the while the roast is the main character of the meal, the side dishes are definitely the stars that stand out. This year, why not shake things up a little bit and try something from the south? From cheese grits soufflé with mushroom gravy, to hot potato salad…the south will never let you down with down home cooking!

3) Easter Side Dishes To Compliment Lamb

Although ham has become the popular main course for Easter dinner, lamb has been a traditional dish for hundreds of years. However, you can’t just serve side dishes that go with ham, such as baked beans or creamed peas. Try your hand at side dishes that compliment the rich, savory flavors of lamb!

4) Easter Salad Ideas

The problem I have with holiday meals is making things a little too heavy. Sure, au gratin potatoes are fantastic, but a delightful salad on the side will help you from falling asleep after dinner. I have to admit that Martha Stewart kinda knocks it out of the park with these salad ideas. Surprise, surprise.

5) Easter Desserts To Lift The Hearts

Celebrating the end of Lent with desserts?? I don’t mind if I do! Honestly, the speckled malted coconut cake with the same colorings as a robin’s egg sold me immediately. Or the blackberry lime creampuffs, which may tempt me a bit too much. But I concede that the swirled meringues with blueberry sauce must be my favorite. With 75 choices, I am not entirely sure how I am going to pick!

Harvard Bound. For Serious.

There really is just no way to make this real to me, so I am going to just keep on going like it is normal, at this point.

However, I have scheduled myself for 2 classes out of Harvard this summer. They are paid for, and I have a schedule.

One class I am beside myself excited to death over, because it is a literature course covering American poetry ranging from the Civil War to Modernism. Which are my jams. That is the period of history that resonated with me the most, and through which I saw the biggest transitions in American history.

From the art world turning from Romanticism, to Rococo, to Classicism….to Impressionist, to Cubism…the artist was able to see the world from a completely different perspective than any other time. It was revolutionary for the world of art.

Similarly, literature was coming out of a time when authors were trying to tell the stories of the events around them, such as Mark Twain or Henry James. Suddenly, you have this influx of shifting character studies from Kate Chopin. Edith Wharton wrote about what she saw in her elite life in “The Age of Innocence,” and “The House of Mirth,” but she also wrote “Ethan Frome,” and its companion novella, “Summer,” where she scalpels her own life into the contexts of small towns filled with hopelessness, abortions, whorehouses and attempted suicides.

What happened in the crux of the century which drew out the intense human spirit? What freedom did the nation receive after the end of slavery? How did women see themselves pre-1920, and post-1920, and how did this shape the female character in poetry during this time? Was the poet inspired when ee cummings broke down the structure of the stanza, and did the structure have any influence on women’s rights? Was society able to see a different perspective for their future after Modern poets threw out the rhyming line altogether, and said, “this is my word, and my word is my voice.”

Although I am excited on levels I have never experienced before about attending Harvard classes, I will be completely honest in admitting that it is the information and shared experiences that I am even more greatly anticipating. There is no other vault of literature I would rather touch than the vaults of Harvard, which have kept our literary treasures safe through times of war and times of prosperity. These literary vaults have inspired poets and writers for hundreds of years, and it is my enormous privilege to dip my toe into those waters.

There are so many things I am looking forward to this summer, and these classes are paramount to them all.

Especially the mandatory on-campus class which will be the highlight of the year.

My biggest fear is crying during class.


So You Want To Get A Bunny This Spring…Here Are 5 Things You Need To Know!

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There is little use building a fence around the garden to keep out the rabbits.
-Yugoslavian Proverb


I have avoided getting rabbits as a pet my entire life.

Not because they aren’t the most adorable, fluffy, friendly, cuddly little munchers, but because they’re so much faster than I am…and I am having trouble keeping the deer/squirrels/slugs out of my garden, as it is.

There is something about pet rabbits that speaks to the heart. Something tender and gentle.

I asked my daughter, “Why are rabbits wonderful?” and she replied, “Because they are fluffy, adorable, and you can dress them up as a fancy bunny. I like bunnies a lot.”

And yet, we are still a bunny-less home! Honestly, we just have too many wires around the house, and too many plants in our garden outside, and one bunny could eat them all.

However, we have many friends who love bunnies. Some have outdoor hutches…some have indoor homes…some let them run loose in the backyard and some let them jump throughout the house.

Spring is definitely a season when families start thinking about gardens, growing plants and getting rabbits!

Before you move on to the local pet store or farm this spring, read up on what kind of bunny is best for your home, whether or not they should be an indoor or outdoor bunny, and how to get them to work for your garden!


Homemade Granola


A tree hugging, free spirited hippie minus all the drugs.

That was a pretty good definition of me.

Which is why when in the midst of making granola today, I couldn’t help but have the best laugh…

Because my laughs are naturally gluten free.

Anyway, I really try not to be that person that reads the ingredients on the back of cat food…

and yet, here I am.

Being Celiac has weird advantages, funny enough. Since I have to read the ingredient list for every food item I buy, I get to see exactly what is put into the packaged food. Most of the time it isn’t “end of the world” stuff. But one thing I look for in particular is “Genetically Engineered” food.

It’s a little conspiratorial…but I’m just saying it’s a little too much for me. Because I’m granola.

So, there is no harm in making my own granola!

Here’s What’chu Do:

  • 8 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup finely chopped almonds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups of raisins or craisins
  •  1/4 cup vegetable oil


    Here Ya Go

    1. Preheat the oven to 325F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment or a liner.
    2. Take the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl and mix together.
    3. Then, stir the honey, oil, and vanilla in a small bowl. Pour this over the oat mixture and fold until the oats are thoroughly coated.
    4. Spread the mixture in a thin (thin) layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, then stir…you are going to have to stay in the room and keep stirring every 15 minutes until it’s done, which should be about 30-40 minutes.
    5. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let it cool until the granola is room temperature…Then add the craisins. But keep stirring it every so often, it’ll get hard as it cools.
    6. When the granola has fully cooled, and after you have had an incredible test bowl, put it into a container with a lid…it’s good for 2 weeks. I really doubt it will last that long.

    Illustrated Directions! 

    First, stir together all the dry ingredients.
    I used my KitchenAid, because it’s not arm day today.
    This worked pretty well, but if you turn away to help the kids with a writing assignment for 2 minutes, you’re going to come back to oatmeal on your counter.
    Next, stir in the vanilla, honey and oil.
    I would work this in batches, otherwise you are going to get sticky oatmeal on your counters.
    Now, spread the granola thinly onto a covered cookie sheet. I sprayed PAM on the sheet, because you don’t want to mess around with baking oatmeal.

Bake at 325F for 15 minutes…then stir…then bake for another 15 minutes…then stir…then another 10 minutes….

  • IMG_6027

Then you’re done!  1 tablespoon ground cinnamon


Now you can add the cranberries, and eat with gusto!!


Aye, It’s Tartan Day!

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“One hour of life, crowded to the full with glorious action, and filled with noble risks, is worth whole years of those mean observances of paltry decorum, in which men steal through existence, like sluggish waters through a marsh, without either honour or observation.”

Walter Scott

So sayeth the Scottsman!

Sir Walter Scott was the man who created not only the infamous trilogy, Ivanhoe, but he was also the inspiration for Tartan Day, believe it or not!

Sir Walter Scott’s passion for romantic medieval history began in his youth, when he had suffered through a bout of polio and was sent to his aunt Jenny’s house for treatment. Jenny read him tales and stories about Brittain’s  legends, figures and battles from yesteryear.

From then on, he devoted his life to the printed word, culminating in the rich pages of Ivanhoe which brought back to life the life of medieval Brittain, Richard the Lionheart, Robin of Locksley and the noble Saxon family of Ivahnoe.

However, in his later years Sir Walter Scott believed that the nation of Scotland needed something even more than an epic novel for its literary history.

Scotland needed a day to celebrate the tartans which clothed the lands.

In 1822 when King George IV visited Scotland for the first time, Sir Walter Scott managed to create a parade of tartans for HRH.

When prescription of tartan was repealed, there was an upsurge in its use, even by Lowland Scots. So when Sir Walter Scott stage-managed the visit of King George IV to Edinburgh in 1822, tartans, kilts and bagpipes burgeoned. “ 

Tartan Day has been celebrated with great flourish ever since!

1. Scotland: The Official Tartan Day Page

It says the origins of Tartan Day is 1998…and although this is officially true, according to the official records, the first parade was in 1822. Tartan day has hosted Scottish notorieties such as Sir Sean Connery and Michael Bloomberg. They also acknowledge the Tartan Day of Canada, and their expatriot Scottish brethren!

2. The History of Tartan

The history of the Tartan cloth is as intricately woven as the history of Scotland: filled with brave souls and partnered with broadswords. The tartan was originally the day to day wear for Highlanders, particularly during the period after The Dress Act of 1746, ordered by George III. The lowland Scots, being closer to England, complied with the official order, as breaking this law would have them plucked out of Scotland and shipped off to “his royal majesty’s plantations beyond the seas.” However, Highlanders, being Highlanders, refused to comply, and thus the tartan became the symbol of Scottish liberty and freedom.

3. A Brief History of Scotland

As you can see, if you want to understand the Scottish soul, you kind of have to understand the history of Scotland. From understanding the importance of Hadrian’s wall, to the Declaration of Arbroath which signed Scotland’s freedom and independence in 1320 (it didn’t last long. They’re still working on it), to seeing how indiscriminately incorrect Braveheart was…the history of Scotland is anything but boring!

4. Traditional Scottish Recipes

There is more than just haggis!! Now, I will be honest with you: I have made haggis before. It is smelly, and ugly, and it tastes like fermented liver. But somehow…in an endearing way. But don’t stop there! You must try the Caledonian Cream!!

5. How To Brew A Proper Pot of British Tea

Finally. There is a proper way to make tea. And there is an improper way to make tea. All I’m saying, is that if you ever visit Scotland and you leave your teabag in your cup while you are drinking it, they might pluck you out of Scotland and send you off to work on her royal majesty’s plantations beyond the seas. It’s kinda a big deal over there.

Easygoing Glassblowing!!


I like to think that for all of my misgivings (see: laundry), my main strength is my resourcefulness.



Totally not kidding! I found these classes out of the Glass Museum in Tacoma, and nearly lost my mind.

So, I signed up the older two kids and Ben and me and we spent last weekend creating our own glass projects!

So, here’s how it worked.


IMG_5817First, we had to show up to the Glass Museum! This place is beautiful, and amazing. Not only do you get to see the incredible pieces of artwork in the museum, but they also let you sit in the gallery of their hot shop. There are always guest artists building their pieces here, and I could just watch them for days.

Which is why when I found out about their classes, in their hot shop, I was on it like white on rice.

This is the hot shop, and it is way bigger than you’d expect! They have 4 or 5 furnaces, each for a different purpose. Some are just to heat the project, some are to collect molten glass, some are for other things that I wasn’t paying attention to…

But the work area was spacious and fantastic.


First we were given our poles and had to heat the first step of our glass piece. This would be the colored part in the middle, so we dipped the glass on the pole into some bowls of crushed colored pieces, and then put it back in the furnace to melt the colors into the glass.


Then we rolled the pole on some bars to shape it a little.


Then we took tools and started manipulating the glass.

We pulled, twisted, pinched and molded the colors until we were happy with it.


After this, we dipped it into the glass again to make the outside portion…cooled it a little, and put it in the oven to cool for a few days.

And that was it!  It took a few hours, but honestly it felt like a few minutes. Every artist there helped us with every step, and were the greatest team to work with. The kids talked about how much fun that was for days, and admitted that now they have done it once…they kinda want to do it all the time, now.

And THAT is the beauty of art 🙂 The part that fills your soul with joy from creating something incredible. For all the wonders of technology, there is nothing that will replace the fulfillment of making something with your own two hands.

So, these are our creations!






Hopefully this is only the first of many trips to the hot shop!!

Book Review: “Originals: How Non-Conformists Move The World”


“To explain this peculiar phenomenon, Jost’s team developed a theory of system justification. Its core idea is that people are motivated to rationalize the status-quo as legitimate.”

We’ll begin there.

I have never been one to accept the status-quo as a reasonable reality, in any situation.

Granted, the status-quo has its usefulness: it provides stability through groupthink, and entire institutions have been built upon the status-quo to support the principles and ideologies which turn the (very slow and broken) wheels of progress.

Where would we be if we didn’t have the status-quo of “workplace attire”?  Would East Coast banking institutions have the same credibility if they did not require their employees to dress professionally in a gray fitted suit? Agree or disagree with dress codes, but they are put in place to provide the environment with a familiar, safe and stable culture through which individuals can work as colleagues.

Similarly, artists are taken more seriously if they arrive at the studio in more creative, relaxed apparel. It doesn’t make any sense arriving to your workbench dressed in slacks when you are just going to get paint/clay/sweat on you during the day.

Like it or not, there is a time and a place for everything, and everything has a different time and place.

However, the status-quo can work against people in constrained environments.

As Matt Wagner puts it, “Internally, the impact of the status quo is a stagnant culture that pushes away top performers. Your best employees are driven by the need to do something great. When they run into obstacles that don’t make any sense to them, they start thinking about greener pastures. Of course, the opposite is true of your bureaucrats and your go-along-to-get-along employees. They hope to milk the status quo for as long as possible. They hate change.”

So, what do you do if you thrive on change.

How do you survive in an environment that refuses to hear alternative methods.

What does a person do when they are faced with a reality which presents obstacle after obstacle of stifling conformity, blatant unwillingness to adapt to disruptive innovations, and stand firmly rigorous in bureaucracy?

Sure, some crazy people might jump ship. That is definitely the easy way out.

Others build a better reality.

Others, like Originals.

I was sold on this book by just the title, alone. Once I started devouring the contents, I’m sad it is only 257 pages. This book is so densely packed with information, experiments, sidenotes, observations and conclusions…you are just hit in the face with situation after situation where people are succeeding, failing, or learning.

I love it.

My favorite chapter is 4, “Fools Rush In: Timing, Strategic Procrastination, and the First-Mover Disadvantage.”

This chapter is mostly about start-ups, which I love.

But the questions it asks in this section revolve mostly around “when.” “When do you take original action? When you’re preparing to row agaist the tide, you have choices about whether to start at the crack of dawn, wait until midday, or hold off until twilight. My goal here is to overturn common assumptions about timing by examining the unexpected benefits of delaying, when we start and finish a task, as well as when we unleash our ideas into the world.”

I am a person chock full of ideas. I have ideas brimming over the cup and coming out my nose. I can stay awake all night just coming up with ideas, and then rabbit trails off those ideas on how to improve the original idea, and conquer the world.

Which can make me a little more on the impulsive side…and I beat that force down with all the strength I can muster. For the greater good.

So, the qualitative notion that planned procrastinating can actually benefit your cause, rather than kill it, was an incredible idea. For example, one scientist they interviewed “used procrastination as a form of incubation to stave off a premature choice of a scientific problem or solution. Often when I am procrastinating, I really have something on the back burner and I need the time to work it through…some ideas just need time to mature.”

I have fleets of things on the back burner, so this new definition of procrastination was delightful. Instead of being a slacker and just ignoring the problem, sometimes a problem needs time to ferment and become something bigger…something more structured and more hearty than the original concept.

There is also the differing concepts of Young Geniuses, and Old Masters.

Young Geniuses are the superstars of history. Einstein published his revolutionary paper in his midtwenties. Mozart wrote his concertos in his youth. The Beat Poets changed the course of literature and poetry in their 20s. And here am I, 38, and I have one book to my name.

Fortunately for the rest of us mortals, Old Masters are highly respected, as well.

Robert Frost wrote his greatest poems after 40. Hitchcock made his most popular films in his 50s and 60s.

The difference between these two types of geniuses, is the young are generally “conceptual innovators,” focused on big ideas; the older are experimental innovators, keen to solve problems across the course of their lives. “Conceptual innovators are sprinters, and experimental innovators are marathoners…innovation can be done quickly, because it doesn’t require years of methodical investigation…experimental innovation can require years, or decades, to accumulate the requisite knowledge and skill, and it becomes more sustainable source of originality.”

This is a relief for me, who is taking learning and creating through the length of my life. I’m not slow, I’m just pacing myself!

All in all, every page in every chapter was fascinating.

If you love the information and analysis of Malcolm Gladwell, and are fascinated with how people work, and how things work, and how things fail, and how people succeed…

you will love this book.

Go buy it-Amazon.



Single Ladies: Marriage Isn’t A Sleepover.


Marriage is more of a “I love having coffee together” than “let’s braid each others hair”


The other day I saw a post on a (younger) friend’s facebook wall that said, “Can’t wait to move into a simple apartment with the love of my life & cook dinner with them & have random midnight trips & be spontaneous.”

And the only thing I could think is, “So, you want to have a sleepover.”

My husband and I met in the same grade in high school, and we got married 3 years after we graduated. He tells people that he was ready sooner than that, but I “made him wait.”

Which is kind of true…we both come from dysfunctional, broken homes and we met in high school.  That is just fraught with statistics saying the relationship wasn’t going to last; so, I wanted to get married after I turned 20. I didn’t want to get married as a teenager. That was my condition, and, so, 6 days after my 20th birthday he proposed to me and we were married a couple months later.

We have been together for 23 years, as of this May, and we have been married for 18 years, as of this July.

And I don’t really have the heart to tell girls, who are  in their early 20s and have Pinterest pages dedicated to their future husbands, how it isn’t going to be.

Marriage is great.

My husband and I have been able to conquer things together that would have been impossible on our own.  When I was 20, it was my husband who happened to see a poster in a doctor’s office explaining different types of seizures, and he went to every EEG and MRI with me when I was  finally diagnosed with epilepsy.  Before then, I just thought I was crazy; you see, I didn’t have grand mal seizures. I didn’t haven have complex seizures that result in a physical seizure. I had partial simple seizures, so my aura is panic and my symptom is hallucinating; and I had been having them ever since I was 11, after a car accident; I just didn’t know what they were.  As a junior high and high school kid, I had to accept that I was crazy, and I was afraid to tell anyone, or I would be “sent away.”

I had warned him  that something was wrong with me before we got married, and I told him he needed to be prepared for it.

However, I wasn’t prepared for the unconditional support he gave me in finding a diagnosis, and ways to control the epilepsy. It has been with his support and his holding my hand the whole way through that has gotten me through the worst times, and by now I haven’t had a seizure in about 9 years.

In our marriage we have never gone to bed at the same time. He stays up to study and work late in the garage, and I tend to wake up much earlier than he does.

In our marriage we have put each other through college, work and start-ups life, and stayed up together to watch “Blacklist” after we put the kids down for bed.  We haven’t had spontaneous midnight trips to…I”m not really sure what’s open past 9, so it would be a spontaneous midnight trip to realize everything is closed at midnight?  He doesn’t braid my hair while I am watching  a movie, and I don’t fetch him beers while he watches F1 racing.  We don’t have pillow fights in our pajamas, and we don’t paint our fingernails while talking about friends.

We do go exploring with our kids a lot, and we do spend hours on the front porch drinking whiskey and talking about theology.

We do ask the other person what they think about what we are wearing…and what we aren’t wearing. I love cooking dinner for the family, and he loves taking the kids hiking in the forest.  We enjoy laughing together and debating together, and living together.

Marriage isn’t a sleepover. I’m sorry to break it to you.

But sleepovers end when the sun comes up; marriage lasts past morning coffee, and that is what makes it great.

Drowning the Shamrock

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The traditions for St. Patrick’s Day are far and wide, ranging from anything green to anything gold.

Truth be told, my family is Scottish. So, we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in the same way that a distant relative might. We celebrate it, but hardly with the fervor of Ireland.

And, with any distant relative, it is important to remember what traditions are important besides the obvious (see: corned beef).

I think the most interesting tradition I have learned in my familial research has been the fact that, according to “Lenten prohibitions against the consumption of meat were waived and people would dance, drink and feast–on the traditional meal of Irish bacon and cabbage.”

Wait, wait, wait…Irish bacon and cabbage??

I thought it was corned beef and cabbage!!

According to WiseGeek: “The term Irish bacon has confused many an Irish person, as well as most from the UK. In Ireland and the UK it is simply referred to as bacon. This food is a close relative to what those in the US think of as Canadian bacon…”

So, why are we eating corned beef for St. Patrick’s Day? According to Irish Central:

Beef was not readily available in Ireland and was considered a luxury and that’s why the traditional Irish meal centered around ham, the bacon.” When many Irish immigrated to America, they found that corned beef was now the meat they could easily afford, and thus the tradition became.

Furthermore, at the end of the night the Irish had the custom of “drowning the shamrock,” by putting a shamrock into the bottom of their cup and drinking a toast to St. Patrick, who had brought Christianity to Ireland.

So, a toast to St. Patrick, and may the luck of the Irish be with you!

1) 5 Non-Alcoholic Green Drinks For St. Patrick’s Day

This is a really fun way to enjoy something green today! You can enjoy these at home, at work or with friends! Some of the easy recipes are “basil lemonade,” a “cool kiwi mocktail,” or a “green tea mojito,” which is only green tea, lime juice, mint leaves and sugar. This is a fun way to spice up the end of the week!

2) Alton Brown’s Corned Beef and Cabbage Recipe

Well, when in America, have beef. This corned beef recipe is fantastic, hands down. Corned beef is such a tough piece to cook, since you need a low temperature and lots of time. You absolutely cannot rush corned beef…however, Alton Brown has a little trick up his sleeve. The total prep time for this dish is 243 hours and 30 minutes. Yes, you read that right. You are going to spend 30 minutes preparing a brine, and 10 days marinating your brisket in the fridge. So…maybe this is more of an “end of the month” dish than “tonight.” But it is so worth it.

3) Slow Cooker Guinness Beef Stew

Total prep time: 15 minutes. Total prep time: 8 hours. That is a little more reasonable, and something you could get going after you finish your morning coffee, and will be able to enjoy for dinner in the same day! This is a delightful recipe which not only incorporates the flavors of Ireland in its malted Guinness, but you get a hot dinner at the tail end of winter. How lovely!

4) St. Patrick’s Day Snack Ideas

If you need some ideas for snacks, these guys have you covered. There are ideas you could use for work, for school, for a potluck, for after-school, after-work, or during a movie after dinner. I am kind of a sucker for lime Jell-O, so that one stuck out in particular. But the lime sherbet floats also may have caught my eye…

5) Enchanted Learning: St. Patrick’s Day Crafts

Sometimes it is fun to jump in to some good, old-fashioned paper crafts with the kids on holidays. Enchanted Learning has always been a great resource for finding these treasures. Looking for a kissable Blarney stone? A rainbow streamer made out of a paper plate and crepe paper? A leprechaun marionette? They got you covered!

Sona Lá Fhéile Pádraig!