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Monthly Archives: September 2012

Spiced Pumpkin Bread (Gluten Free and Dairy Free)

Perfect bread for the Season!  Pack in lunch boxes or serve as an after-school snack.

Ingredients:

2 cups flour

5 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup pumpkin

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup apple juice

2 large eggs

2 Tablespoons vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla

 

Directions:

1.   PREHEAT oven to 350° F.

 2.   SIFT flour, Pumpkin Spice, baking powder, baking soda and salt into medium bowl. Combine pumpkin, sugar, Apple Juice, eggs, oil and vanilla extract in large bowl; stir well. Stir in flour mixture just until moistened.  Spoon into lined 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. (Reynolds Wrap Non-Stick foil)

 3.   BAKE for 60 to 65 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Take out of pan and cool with foil still on bread for 10 minutes; remove to wire rack to cool completely. 

 

Related Articles

Pumpkin and spice and everything nice.

Chocolate chip pumpkin bread

For the Love of Pumpkins

Pumpkin Palooza

 

 

 

Grandmother Musings 2012-2013.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

 

The Full Moon Effect

 

“It’s a full moon” is said to be muttered monthly by police officers, emergency room doctors, and teachers.  The full moon has been linked to murder; suicide, accidents, birthrates, fertility, and some even buy or sell stocks according to the moon’s phases. However, science has pooh-poohed the anecdotal evidence and concluded that the moon’s phases have no effect on the human physic.

In 1986, researchers from the University of Saskatchewan in Canada combined the results of about 100 studies and found “no causal relationship between lunar phenomena and human behavior.”  (Grant, 2008)  There are no changes to the murder rate, suicides do not increase, and craziness in general does not rise. This research shatters the myths that humankind has believed since the cave dweller.

There is a faction of the scientific community who believe that earthquakes and volcanoes increase before and after the full moon.  In an article in Discovery News, Geologist Bill Burton with the US Geological Survey says that this is unlikely that earthquakes are connected to the full moon.

“There are just too many factors that go into seismic activity to make that statement. I think you’d be hard pressed to see a difference in tectonic activity during different lunar phases.” (Rice, 2012)

 So why do these myths of the full moon still prevail?  Well, ingrained beliefs and superstitions are difficult to change.  When elders, the news media, and Hollywood continue to connect strange happenings to the full moon, the population tends to take on those beliefs.

It could be that because of the entire hubbub that surrounds full moon events, people are more observant. Consequently, if an unusual event occurs such as an accident, a person looking into the night sky may associate the unusual event as causal effect of the full moon. If the same event happened at another time in the moon’s phase the correlation or connection would be absent.

The next full moon will be on Saturday, May 5, 2012 and it is called a “super” moon due to its close distance to the earth. What “extreme” craziness will occur from this full moon? The fact remains, that as long as people believe that the full moon affects humans in a negative way, superstitions and myths will surround this monthly phenomenon. So the next time you hear, “It must be the moon.” Remember that it is only an idiom used since humans came out of their caves and looked up at the sky.

Works Cited

Arkowitz, S. O. (2009, Feb). Lunacy and the Full Moon: Scientific America. Retrieved from Scientific America.com: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=lunacy-and-the-full-moon

Grant, A. (2008, March 31). Does a full moon actually affect people’s behavior? Retrieved from Scienceline: http://scienceline.org/2008/03/ask-grant-fullmoon/

Rice, R. (2012, 3 18). No Link Between ‘Super Moon’ and Earthquakes. Retrieved from http://news.discovery.com/earth/super-moon-earthquake-no-link-110318.ht

Copyright © Jamie Nowinski and Grandmother Wisdom/ Grandmother Musings 2012-2013.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
 

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First and Third: A lesson on Point of View

     Whenever you sit down to write a story or even when you are reading a story, point of view decides how the story is to be told.  Points of view are divided into two main groups: first-person and third-person.

     In the first-person point of view, the narrator is a character in the story that tells the story as he or she experiences or understands it.  It is easy to spot the use of first-person point of view due to the use of the pronouns: I, me, we, us, my, and our.  For example, a story begins, “I was starving and had not eaten in three days.  My stomach twisted and grumbled at my lack of food.” Is told from the first-person point of view.

     When a story is told from the first-person point of view, the reader only knows the inside of the narrator’s mind.  All other characters are given to the reader from the narrator’s perspective, what the character says, and how the character acts.  Readers have to decide from those three clues what the other characters in the story are thinking. If the narrator were a little crazy, then it would make sense that the reader is going to have a skewed vision of the other characters.

     In the third-person point of view, the narrator is not one of the characters in the story.  The narrator stand outside the story and looks in to refer to the characters as he, she, his, her, or they. When the narrator says, “He made a decision to purchase his lunch from a hot dog vendor.” It is being told from the third-person point of view.

     Within the third-person point of view, an author has the choice to choose either omniscient (ohm-nish-ent) point of view or limited omniscient point of view.  The difference is that in omniscient point of view the narrator has carte blanche and is all knowing.  He or she enters into the minds of all the characters and tells the reader all of their secret thoughts. The narrator understands everything about every character.  When an author uses limited omniscient point of view, he or she gets into the head of only a few of the characters and tells the story only from those character’s point of view.  Limited omniscient point of view can even stick to one character that the author highlights throughout the whole story.

     When writing a story it is a good idea to choose the point of view that will best compliment your characters and plot line.  If you want to keep your readers guessing, you may wish to use the first-person point of view, and if you need the reader to see the problem in the story from all the characters you may wish to use a form of third-person point of view.  Happy writing.

 

 

 

Grandmother Musings 2012-2013.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

“Whip it to Shreds” The Blondie & Devo Review

Last night my husband and I went to see the musical show of Blondie and Devo courtesy of WXRT at the Chicago Theater.  My lucky hubby won the tickets from the radio station.  The tour is called “The Whip it to Shreds” and features  Debbie Harry, Clem Burke and Chris Stein, along with newer Blondie band members Leigh Foxx, Tommy Kessler and Matt Katz-Bohen and the original members  of Devo, Mark and Bob Mothersbaugh and Gerald and Bob Casale who took the stage with tour drummer Jeff Friedl rounding out the line-up.

Debbie Harry blasted on stage wearing her hair bleached blond and wild.  Her golden, glittering outfit was covered by a silvery overcoat.  Blondie played many fan favorites, but by the end of the night, Debbie was losing her stamina and her voice. The one song that I wanted to hear, “The Tide is High” never made the set list.  At one point, while she was singing “Heart of Glass”, it looked as if she had a crick in her side for she kept holding it as she sang.  Even though the crowd stood the whole time she was playing, there was not much dancing or jumping around.  I sat through most of it and caught myself up on emails.  Her performance was a yawn.

After an extra long intermission between Blondie going away and Devo coming on, the lights went down and the members of Devo walked one at a time on to the stage amid loud roars.  The crowd was still standing and moving to the punk rock music.  The spectacle reminded me of something from the Blue Man GroupIt crossed my mind that maybe the Blue Man Group copied from Devo to create their show. 

Devo’s pinnacle was when they performed “Whip it” and “Satisfaction” back to back.  The crowd was revved up and enjoying the show.  When the band threw “energy hats” to the audience, the fans went wild, jumping and grabbing to get the free hat.  Those hats, priced at $40, were on sale in the lobby.  Devo was definitely the hit for the night and made it worth the price of admission.  I enjoyed the Devo show.  The rocking de-revolutionists made me want to put my phone away, and never looked at it again.  Good going, Devo!

 

 Related Articles

day 236 & day 237 – blondie – one way or another & the doors – roadhouse blues

WXRT- Chicago

Devo – The Day My Baby Gave Me a Surprize (1979)

 

Grandmother Musings 2012-2013.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
 

Communication Breakdown

I wanted to call you

But I did not have a dime

I needed to talk to you

But I did not have the time.

 

How do we get it together?

Miscommunication has kept us apart

What level of connection do we need?

I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN THIS FROM THE START

 

Trapped by a string of gutless  proposals

The phone does not show your face.

I can only hear voice inflections

I need to travel to your place.

 

Phone calls, texting, and twitter

They are a sad replacement for the whole you

Technology has fooled me

Into believing you understand what I do.

 

 

 

Grandmother Musings 2012-2013.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly Writing Challenge: Mind the Gap

As I sat in the backyard drinking my evening cup of coffee and listening to the neighbor kids play tag in their yard, I mused upon the topic of this week’s writing challenge. I do not usually write political statements. I stay away from controversial topics on purpose. For one, I am not very good at arguing my point in politics, and two, I am not very good at arguing. However, this challenge has made me think that maybe it is time for a little grandmother wisdom to be shared.

The Occupy Wall Street protestors seem to be a gnarly, mixed-up bunch at their best. They have received bad press from the moment their movement came on the scene. It seems to me that they are trying to force a change of the status quo, and I believe that is good.  The problem is that they have not gone about their protesting in a way that inspires most everyday working people.  I do not feel connected to their protests. They come off as a bunch of whinny, spoiled kids stomping their feet to get their way. They are not positively making people care about their goals.

This dilemma then causes the talking heads of the world to rally their constituents to come out against the “Occupy Movement” causing a push and pull effect.  Consequently, nothing is accomplished, and the people and corporations whose heads should be on the chopping block skirt free while we watch the bashing of “The Occupy Movement” once again.

Like a magician’s sleight of hand, the powers that be wave a hanky with one arm and allow the banking fiasco with the other arm.  The evening news inundates us with footage of protestors and forgets to show us that our rights are being slowly taken away, our country is fighting two wars, and people are losing their homes, jobs, and dignity.  Moreover, the information that is spewed daily only incites Americans to fight against Americans, because they do not know who the enemy is anymore.  Is it the 1%?  Is it a neighbor, a sister or brother, or the woman at the grocery store?  Wait, look over here, is it the butcher, the baker, or perhaps the candlestick maker!

In my opinion, the “Occupy Movement” has not occupied any of the things that our great country represents. It is just another magic trick provided to keep the masses looking the other way while the politicians and the corporations rape our resources and ruin our systems. Meanwhile, in an election year, we have the Republicans blaming the Democrats, the Democrats blaming the conservatives, and the liberals blaming the Tea Party.  Yet, not one thing but fighting and protesting are actually being done to solve the woes facing the country.

Therefore, after much musing and coffee drinking, I have decided that until I see something positive coming out of the “Occupy Movement” that will work to bring our country together on an issue, I will not support it. I also will not support the argumentative loud mouths who dream of creating an end to the movement.  I think that both sides are wrong, and that they are detrimental to America.  It is all just more noise in a world that really needs clarity.

President Abraham Lincoln said it best, “A house divided cannot stand.”  If Americans cannot open their eyes and find a middle ground, then the country will not continue to exist.  We need to put the UNITED back into the United States of America.  

 

 

Grandmother Musings 2012-2013.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

4 Reasons to Eat Breakfast

The next time you are tempted to run out the door without eating breakfast, you may want to remember that there are good reasons for stocking up on granola bars and orange juice. 

Better Immune System

People who eat breakfast consume more essential nutrients (including calcium, fiber, protein and vitamins C, B1, B2, and D) than people who do not eat in the morning.  After fasting for 6-8 hours, the digestive system is primed to easily digest the nutrients eaten at breakfast.  Generally speaking, good nutrition means better resistance to infections.  When your immune system is fueled by the morning nutrients and vitamins it is better equipped to handle the job of protecting you from colds, flu, and cancer.

You will live longer

According to the University of California, breakfast eaters may live longer than those who pass on the morning meal.   Those people who were studied show significant difference in blood sugar levels and blood pressure than those who chose not to eat in the morning.  Breakfast lovers may simply be more likely to stay in shape and exercise than their breakfast skipping counterparts.  These factors could contribute to a long life for breakfast eaters.

Brain Booster

Studies have shown that test scores improved in inner city children who ate a healthy breakfast.  According to an article at the National Institutes of Health, “Six months after the start of the free school breakfast programs, students who decreased their nutritional risk showed significantly greater: improvements in attendance and school breakfast participation, decreases in hunger, and improvements in math grades and behavior than children who did not decrease their nutritional risk.” Therefore, it seems that eating breakfast can increase attention span and boost the brain so learning can take place.

Weight Control

Eating breakfast can help maintain weight and even help in weight loss. The idea is that keeping your body fed and fueled will aid in the ability to lose weight. It helps by controlling hunger.  “When you skip breakfast, says Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D. at the Mayo Clinic, you later become ravenous and are more likely to overeat.”  This can add up to weight gain.  Experts believe that skipping breakfast can add about 1 pound every seven weeks, which equals about 8 pounds a year, even if the caloric intake remains the same.

Quick Breakfast Ideas

Granola Bar and Orange Juice

Protein Shake, a Banana, and almond Milk

Yogurt, with almonds

Toast with peanut butter

 

Works Cited

A breakfast of meat and eggs or nothing at all linked to extra weight . (2003, 8 1). Retrieved from University of California: http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/article/5630

Katherine Zeratsky, R. L. (2011, 7 23). Weight Loss. Retrieved from Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/food-and-nutrition/AN01119

R.E. Kleinman, a. S.-R. (2012, 2 9). Diet, Breakfast, and Academic Performance in Children. Retrieved from National Institute of Health: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3275817/

 

Grandmother Musings 2012-2013.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Weekly Writing Challenge: Solitary

In the wee morning hours, perch fishing on the lakeshore of Lake Michigan in Chicago can be a solitary pursuit. This jaunt down to the lake did not produce a catch, however the experience for my grandson was memorable.

 

 

Grandmother Musings 2012-2013.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Congested Mind

When your mind is closed

Ideas fail to come in

When the eyes are shut

Darkness pervades

You can never know what lies beyond

If you never alter your reality

 

 

 

Grandmother Musings 2012-2013.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

The Campfires of Autumn

          The steamy, hot weather of summer has lost its kick, and the cooler fall-like weather has moved in to stay. This is the perfect time to gather the family for an evening of relaxation outdoors; it is easy to do if you have the right equipment.  With a little preparation, your campfire will be ready for roasting marshmallows in no time.

          If you are in an area where campfires are allowed (some townships have banned backyard campfires) you will want to purchase a fire pit from your local hardware store. These nifty little containers start at around $40 and can be set on your driveway or sidewalk.  A few sites on the Internet direct viewers on how to make your own fire pit.  At HGTV, instructions are given in the article, How to Make a Backyard Fire Pit; there is also a video on YouTube called Simple Backyard Fire Pit (fire pit) with Spit that may be useful for creating a campfire area.

           Once a receptacle has been secured to hold the campfire, setting it up is easy.  According to the web site, Love the Outdoors in an article named appropriately, How to Build a Campfire  a few simple steps will have you warming by the fire quickly and safely.

  • Gather wood and stack in separate piles away from fire area. Do not use green or freshly cut wood.

There are three different kinds of wood needed for a successful campfire

  • Tinder – small twigs, wood shavings, dry leaves or grass, dry needles, bark or dryer lint. This should start to burn immediately with a lighted match.

  • Kindling – small sticks 1″ around or less

  • Fuel – larger wood that keeps the fire going

DON”T FORGET ABOUT SAFETY!  Keep a bucket of water and/or a Fire Extinguisher close by to put out the fire.

Once the materials are gathered and you are ready, it is time to start the campfire.

  1. Place your tinder in the middle of a clean fire pit.  Light the tinder with a match.

  2. Once the tinder has begun to burn, slowly add the kindling.

  3. When the kindling is burning and a good fire is burning, add the fuel (Large wood) one piece at a time.

  4. To keep the fire burning, add fuel (Large wood) every so often.

          To roast a good marshmallow there needs to be hot coals in your campfire.  Watch a video entitled, How to Roast the Ultimate Marshmallow to learn the perfect tips. When you have conquered marshmallow making, you may wish to check out S’mores – How to Make S’mores for the perfect S’mores recipe.

          Singing around the campfire is a great way to enjoy the evening festivities.  At Sing Along With Me, you will find an alphabetical collection of traditional Guide, Scout, and Campfire Songs to sing.  Print out the lyrics and share them.  Make the time spent around the campfire memorable.

          The cool autumn evenings will heat up quickly when the logs burning in the campfire emit their primal warmth. Gather up your family and friends to sit around the campfire to sing some campfire songs, roast a few marshmallows, and enjoy a restful evening together. Soon the winter winds will blow and the season of campfires will be over, but with a little preparation, never forgotten.

 

Works Cited

How to Make a Backyard Fire Pit. (2012). Retrieved from HGTV:  http://www.hgtv.com/home-improvement/how-to-make-a-backyard-fire-pit/index.html 

How to Roast the Ultimate Marshmallow. (2012). Retrieved from You Tube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5QvvnETZ7c

Simple Backyard Fire Pit (firepit) with Spit . (2012). Retrieved from YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yMpNclW0G44

Sing Along With Me. (2012). Retrieved from Songs With Music: http://songs-with-music.freeservers.com/alphabetical.html

S’mores-How To Make S’mores. (2012). Retrieved from What’s Cooking America: http://whatscookingamerica.net/Cookie/Smores/Smores.htm

 

Grandmother Musings 2012-2013.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
 
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