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March on. Do not tarry. To go forward is to move toward perfection. March on, and fear not the thorns, or the sharp stones on life’s path. ~Kahlil Gibran

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First – let me apologize for TOTALLY flaking on the whole 30 Days of Creativity/Something new.  I WILL get back to it.

Truthfully I knew that because this is August and I teach, and I had to be back to work last week and the first day of school is one week from today, that my chances of sticking with it religiously were very slim.

This is always a really rough time of year with me.  I do not deal with stress well and unfortunatly there are a few things at school that cause me high stress.

I LOVE what I do but last year was a rough year for me.  There were some things that were above and beyond my control yet directly effected me every day.  Part of the problem was plain and simple disillusionment. So I am trying really hard to stay positive and keep a good  attitude.

So I apologize for those of you that have been checking her looking for updates on my 30 days and havent found any.  I’m gonna do my best to get a few of those typed up and posted over the next couple of days.

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On a sad note, the community where I live is dealing with a tragedy this week.  One of our students was killed in a 4-wheeler wreck on Thursday.  She was 12 and would have started the seventh grade this week.  Being a small community where everybody knows everybody and is related to half the town it has had a profound effect on everyone.  Mostly I worry for her class mates that have to deal with this.  12/13 is a rough age to begin with.  If you are the praying type please pray for the friends and family of “Smiley Riley”.  She was a beautiful and amazing girl.  I am proud that I knew her and will cherish the memories I have of her from the last 6 years.

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30 Days Day 6 and 7

Okay so I have to be the worlds biggest idiot! I mentioned back on day 5 how my camera battery was dead and I needed to let it charge so I could bpost pictures of the Zucchini Bread and the Wine Glass Charms.  I took the battery out of the camera and placed it in the charger.  There is a little light that turns green once the battery is fully charged.  I went to take a picture of yesterdays project which involved a pumpkin and a marker and realized that the green light wasnt lit up yet.  This was the first time I had let my battery go completly dead so I just assumed it wasnt done charging.  Todays creativity project was making a pen holder out of old floppy disks.  I have a tone of the things and not a single computer we own has a floppy disc drive.  Anyway the thing turned out pretty cool.  I went to retrieve the camera battery and to my dismay it was still not fully charged.  Well now I am realizing that something must be horribly wrong.  I am considering that new batteries like this must be very expensive when suddenly I realize the obvious.  The camera battery charger wasn’t plugged into the wall! DUH! So far my thirty days of creativity have made me feel very small.  Said charger is now plugged in.  Perhaps you will have 4 project pictures awaiting you soon!

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I didn’t forget! I swear! Yesterday and Today have been bizarre days to say the least.  My project for yesterday was another food project but I didn’t get started on it until after 8:00 last night.

Richie and I decided to go to Little Rock yesterday to do some clothes shopping for the upcoming school year.  Monday was our first “teacher day” of the year.  We don’t have to go back again until next Tuesday but when we do we are in it for the long haul so Monday was a stark reminder of why we look forward to summer break and that it was once again coming to an end!

So after hitting the gym we hit a few highly-overpriced boutique stores and then the mall.  We grabbed lunch at BlueCoast Burrito where I DEVOURED a Veggie Burrito! YUM!  I had to pick up something at Micheal’s for my day 5 bit of creativity and then we stopped at Sam’s Club.  We also needed to stop by Walmart to pick up a tube for my bicycle tire and some canning jars.  We finally made it home around 5.

Did I mention that after a summer of unseasonably cold temperatures(80’s) and amounts of rain for Arkansas that we finally hit upper 90’s with typical high humidity? Well it was a scorcher and I was ready for the pool when we got home.  I spent about an hour floating around before it was time to get out and take care of my farm chores and fix my bike.

Well it turns out the problem with my bike is the actual tire and not the tube so that project is tabled until I can get to a bike shop!  It was just after 8 when I finally went inside to relax.  And then I remembered 30 Days of Creativity/Trying something new and realized I had yet to do anything for the day.

I wracked my brain and all I could come up with was Zucchini Bread.  I know, LAME!  But I have 4 HUGE Zucchini left over from the farmer’s market that I need to use.  So I perused the internet and found a suitable recipe for two loaves which called for TWO CUPS of grated Zucchini.  I thought “GREAT, this’ll get rid of my Zucchini!” HA! Think again!  My huge zucchini are so huge that ONE alone yielded 3CUPS OF SHREDS!!!! Yeah!  So now what?

Well I made the bread and threw in the extra cup of shreds which proved to be fine.  The bread is delicious.  I ate a piece last night and one for breakfast.  I froze the extra loaf.  But now the dilemma is what to do with the 3 remaining gigantic zucchini!

But my night didn’t end there.  I’m finally relaxing on the couch and there is NOTHING on TV!  Finally Richie puts it on the WE network which is airing some bizarro show about Mail Order Brides.  The show end and a new episode comes on this time about “Free Love”.  TOTALLY WACKO!  Had to be the weirdest thing I have ever watched!

Anyway, 12:00 rolled around and it seemed like going to sleep was the thing to do.  Only when I got in bed I couldn’t sleep.  The moon was full and right outside my window and even with the shade down it was seemingly light enough to read a book.  After tossing and turning for and hour I went into the living room to sleep on the couch.  I watched a rerun of Friends and two reruns of That 70’s Show only it was the dumb ones after Eric leaves.  Finally around 2:30 I got back into bed.

5 seconds after I fell asleep I was awoken by my dog Lily nudging at my feet.  Now here is the thing about Lily.  She HATES thunderstorms.  But as long as she is inside and not out in the storm she is content UNLESS there happens to be a Tornado Warning.  She is like our own personal Doppler radar unit!  Seriously, every time I wake up with her nudging my feet there is a warning. 

The satellite was already on the fritz from the torrential rain so I pulled up the Weather Channel App on Richies iPhone and discover that there where TWO Tornado Warnings piggybacking our area until 4 AM! SO, I am back out of bed, gathering pillows and blankets to put in the bathroom, consoling, the dogs and cats, looking for shoes and flashlights, and trying to convince my husband to get out of bed and come “cuddle/huddle” in the tiny bathroom with me.  He opts to stay in bed stating that he should have time to make it to the bathroom if he starts to hear the ROAR! MEN!  So I “cuddle/huddle” with the cat and play games on Richies iPhone until just after 4 when the storm finally slows down.  I crawl into bed now realizing that it is Farmers Market day and I have to get up at 5:50!

At 5 am I am awoken once again to torrential rains and thunder.  Lily isnt at the foot of the bed so I figure I am okay so I toss and turn until the alarm goes off at 5:50.  I shut it off and decide to lay in bed for two more minutes.  Well as you can imagine that didnt happen and I didnt wake up again until 10:54!

I’ve missed the market, I slept horrible and I cant breath.  I decide to go blog about day 4 when I come in to find that DSL is down due to widespread power outages in most of the state.  So instead I veg on the couch for a few hours.

And that brings me to now! I know I live such a sad pitiful life!  My camera battery is dead so I have no pictures yet of the Zucchini Bread (day 4) or of my wine glass charms which are the project for day 5. 

I knew all of you mysterious people out there in cyberland were just dying to know what happened to me.  I have reported and HOPEFULLY later I will be back with pictures!

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Well for today’s activities I am trying something new!  In my garden this year I planted some banana peppers.  Mine are mostly small and my crop hasn’t been very good, but a friend was OVERLOADED with them and passed a big plastic bag full of them to me.  So I decided I would can some pickled peppers!  I love gettingbanana peppers on sandwiches at deli’s but they just aren’t something I would think of to buy for at home. I figured, I have jars, I have vinegar, I have peppers, why not?!

Last night, in preparation, I surfed the internet for a pickled banana pepper recipe.  Let me tell you there are HUNDREDS of them out there!  A lot of them called for sugar but I wasn’t really looking for a sweet pickle.  A lot of recipes were similar to one you would use for bread and butter pickles.  A lot were similar to recipes that you would use for dill pickles.  I just wanted something plain old pickle-y.

Finally I came across the site Canning Pantry where there was a recipe for Grandma’s Pickled Banana Peppers.  It was just the recipe I was looking for!

Grandma’s Pickled Banana Peppers by Jerry Ziehm

Sliced Banana Peppers
1 tsp. salt per jar
2 tbsp. olive oil per jar
1 quart white vinegar
3 quarts water

In a large sauce pot add water and vinegar.  Bring to a boil.  Slice peppers and add peppers, salt and oil to each jar.  Pack tightly.  Add hot liquid to jars.  Process jars 5 minutes in a boiling water bath.

*I added a glove of garlic to each jar for a little extra flavor.

So – only time will tell if this is a good recipe or not.  I canned 6 pints.

Also – I just picked up the lasted issue of Mother Earth News.  I love this magazine.  It is one of my favorites.  I really need to subscribe.  I was flipping through the pages and saw a tip for making homemade grape juice.  My husband loves grapes and I had an extra quart of Mars Table Grapes on hand from my friend Joy at the farmers market.  I decided to give it a try. The tip is on page 38 and is sent in by Suzanne Mullins of Charlottesville, Virgina.  She says that you can put 2 cups of grapes into a quart jar, add a cup of sugar, fill with boiling water and process 10 minutes in a water-bath canner.  After six weeks you strain out the liquid and mix with an additional quart of liquid for 2 quarts of juice!  WHO KNEW! So I gave this a try too! I will report back in about 6 weeks to let you know.

Here is a picture of todays bounty!

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Today my bit of creativity included drawing.  Drawing is probably my most favorite art method, particularly using pen and ink. I have also always been fond of doodles.  Last spring I came across an art technique called Zentangle.  Basically you draw a random shape and fill in the spaces created by the random shape with a variety of doodles. You can even get a whole Zentangle making kit over at zentangle.com. Zentangles are meditative in nature, hence the whole “zen” thing.  Just do a google image search for zentangles and you will find hundreds of glorious examples.  So for today’s little bit of creativity I created three zentangles of my own.  Enjoy!

 

These images are copyrighted to Julie Kohl. Please do not use, copy  or link directly to these images without my permission.

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