A 1 in 4 Chance

1 in 7 men will also encounter some sort of domestic violence. So, out of 600, that means 85 men will experience domestic violence. For women, it is 1 in 4. Using the same 600 that means 150. More personally, my graduating class had 222 women in it. That means, out of those women, 55 of them would experience domestic violence in their life time. Sadly, one of them was me.

In December, I considered myself lucky. I thought, those numbers would never be me. You see, the older generation, taught the next generation that, yes the world is cruel and full of unfortunate things but, we are lucky enough that we only see it on the news. That only big cities, or people who walk near alleyways are going to get hurt. We tell ourselves that we should feel safe, that we have no reason NOT to feel safe. But we never truly know how unsafe we are. The cruel world that we see on the news, is just around the corner. Things like domestic violence, assault and battery, they don’t just happen to people in alleyways. They don’t happen to people who keep their doors unlocked. They don’t just happen to people who live in big cities. On top of that, it’s not always committed by people that you don’t know. Sometimes it’s people you willingly invite into your home. People who you trust and even care for.

On January 4th at 8:30 am, Assault and Battery happened in my kitchen and dining room. By people I’ve known mscreen-shot-2017-01-18-at-1-22-46-pmy whole life. Since that moment, all I could think about was, “why”? I had a personal connection to these people, it’s something I would have never seen coming. At night, I don’t close my eyes counting sheep anymore. When I close my eyes, I see myself being hit, repeatedly. I see myself being thrown to the floor, my head pounding against the hardwood and my back being kicked.

Everyone tells me that my bruises don’t look bad, but when I look in the mirror, all I see is the purple and blue marks that now cover around my eye. A nice warm hug seems nice, until I realize that I’m trapped within someone’s body. It’s the little things that I loved doing that now seem so scary. All because I was told, “It would never be me.” Because I was told, that good kids like me don’t get hurt like that. That obviously, only people who throw punches receive punches.

I refuse to think like that anymore. I have children, young ladies looking up to me. If I told them, that the cruel world is miles and miles away from where they slept. I would be lying. That world is right outside our doorstep. In these past days, I’ll admit I let this one incident consume my life. Because I was… I am scared. It’s not a matter of “If” it happens to me, it’s a matter of “when” it happens to me. Nobody should have to live like this.

I can’t just let what go happen to me. I shouldn’t be asked not to press charges because someone might get upset or hurt. What happened to me is unacceptable, and naive to think that it would never happen again. I am 1 in 4, and eventually I’ll be okay.

For more information about types of violence, please visit the websites below:

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence 

Andrew D. Stine: What’s the difference between Assault, Battery and Domestic Violence? 

30 Shocking Domestic Violence Statistics That Remind Us It’s An Epidemic 

Violence Against Women 

RAINN

To seek help, please visit:

Women’s Crisis Center

The City Mission 

The National Domestic Violence Hotline

A How To: White Elephant

White Elephant is a fun Christmas gift exchange game. It’s sibling game is known as the Yankee Swap. The difference between the two however is that, instead of finding someone to swap your gift with, you take it from them.

This game requires more than four people, I would recommend as little as six. Once you have your friends picked out, make sure you know each of their personalities. You want to establish rules that will not offend other players. For instance, I have made it a rule that anything offensive towards religions will not be an acceptable gift. If friends are uncertain about a gift tell them this, “This is who is coming, if you feel like your gift would cause someone to be uneasy when opening it please do not buy it.” There is a difference between rude funny and just plain rude and insulting.

In a hat or bowl put numbers on a sheet of paper. Make sure that they are folded so when people pick from the container they cannot see which number they are getting. Each number should have a twin number to the gift. Before your friends (and you) draw from the container make sure that each gift is placed in a single row. Nobody but the buyer of the gift should know what is in the gift bag or wrapping.

When the game begins, going one by one each player will have a turn. Player one will choose a number from the container. The gift with that number (the twin number) is what player one will receive. They will unwrap the gift and show everyone what they got. Player two will have the option to steal player one’s gift or open the gift identical to the number they drew. This will be the options up until the very last gift is opened.

 

Basic Need To know Basic Rules

The Retired Rule: Once a gift has had it’s third owner, nobody else can have that gift.

Person One: Since the very first person did not get to pick or steal a gift, they will have the opportunity at the end of the game to steal a gift from another player.

Peeking: Peeking is NOT allowed, nobody should know what other players bought. If they find out they cannot have the item they know about.

Money: The white elephant gift should not exceed over $25.00. The Gift should range from $5.00-$25.00. No more no less.

 

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Why Girl Scout Camping?

Why is Girl Scout Camping Important to Girls?

  1. ) It really does build Confidence and Courage.

2.) She will want to try new things

3.) She will gain skills that she might not be able to gain at home.

4.) She will actually make friends that last a life time

5.) It’s all girls, counselors included!

6.) She will be surrounded by nature.

 

How about its an environment where women can go to feel empowered to do whatever they want(however they want) without the pressure of society’s standards that are typically placed upon women in everyday life, or even in co-Ed camps.

I would say it’s the best environment for girls to challenge themselves without fear of failure. It’s a very supportive environment where you can see how much you’re capable of!
It also provides structure and teaches team building. You get to learn and experience things you wouldn’t otherwise be able to do and it’s all in a fun environment where you get to make lifelong friends! It also allows for a love of the outdoors, camping, singing, campfires, etc. I could go on and on!

Growing up, I looked forward to the camp sessions I would attend. By the end of May, I would have all of my bags packed and I would be ready to go. My favorite part of camp was being about to challenge myself and make myself a better person. I loved being a camper so much, that when I turned thirteen, I went into training to become a camp counselor. I aspired to be exactly what I looked up. And I did.

In the year of 2013, I became a Girl Scout Camp Counselor. I stayed for the following summer and to this day, try and make it into my schedule to go back to camp. Although for the past years I haven’t been able to go, I still donate to the camping fund. I still believe that camping is essential to the growing process.

For a week out of the two month summer, your daughters can enjoy an electronic free week. She’ll learn how to tie knots, build a fire, and canoe. She’ll do fun activities like rock wall climbing, swimming and stargazing. She’ll be able to make friends, she’ll call pen-palls.

I’ll never forget my very first night at camp. I remember the smell of the cabins and the tents I stayed in and all the songs we sang. When I smell a campfire it takes me back to Thursday Nights, as all the units came together for one last night. I also remember my very first unit, with girls terrified of the dark. I remember staying up with them until they fell asleep, because they trusted me.

Don’t take away those special moments. Find out the closest Girl Scout Camp near you and register her today for the 2017 Camp Sessions.

Visit: Girl Scouts of America 

Wilderness Road Council 

 

Christmas Recipe #2: Gingerbread Cookies

Ingredients:

6 full cups of All-Purpose flour
1 Tablespoon Baking Powder and Ginger
1 teaspoon of Nutmeg, Cloves, Cinnamon and vanilla extract
1 Cup Shortening, put in microwave for 40 seconds.
1 cup fully packed brown sugar
1 cup molasses
1/2 cup of water (hot)
1 egg

 

Directions:

1.) Mixing:

In another bowl, mix the ginger, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, flour and baking powder.

In a larger bowl, mix together slightly melted shortening (the more liquified the better), molasses, brown sugar, water, egg and vanilla extract. mix together until smooth.

When smooth slowly start to mix in the other bowl with the dry ingredients. Mix until Dry mixture and Liquid mixture are completely smooth.

2.) The Dough:

Divide dough into 3 pieces, evenly round, wrap into plastic wrap.

Refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

3.) Baking and Making:

Preheat oven to 350 Degrees.

Use each individually wrapped dough one at a time. Do NOT mix into one big dough role.

Cute into desired shapes (I made Star Wars themed cookies, you can buy those cookie cutters on Wish.com)

 

Other baking info:

If they are bigger cut outs place them 1 inch apart onto an uncreased cookie sheet.

baking time is in-between 5 – 10 minutes.

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Christmas Recipes #1: Kathy Treats

Origin:

Way back when I was about six years old, my aunt introduced these fan favorites to my brother and I. She told us, that she had a friend named Kathy who would make them during the christmas season. They didn’t have a name for the treats, so my aunt just started calling them Kathy Treats.

The fun thing about these, is that you can only bake them when it’s the winter season. They require Hersey Hugs, which only go on sale from November to January. They are known as a “deluxe” Hersey candy. However, although they are supposed to stay in stores until January they sell out extremely quick. I start buying the Hersey Hugs around the second week of November, mainly because they are super cheap in the beginning, whereas near the end of their shelf life they jump up one or two dollars.

 

What You’ll Need:

At least 4 bags of Hersey Hugs . (There are roughly 50 Hersey Hugs in each bag)

1 Salted twisted Pretzel Bag (different from the featured image)

4 bags of original M & Ms

2 cookie sheet pans

Cookie Containers

 

Directions:

1.) Prep:

  • Preheat oven to 350 or higher. Each oven is different. Some heat up faster than others. I typically preheat the over to 375 because the hotter the oven the quicker the Hersey’s will melt.
  • While the oven is preheating empty at least two spaces in your freezer. It needs to be as big as a cookie sheet pan.
  • unwrap all the Hersey hugs you are going to use for the first batch. Make sure the foil does not stick to the chocolate. Also dump the M & Ms into a bowl (for easy access).

2.) Baking:

  • Lay out the non-broken pretzel pieces onto the cookie sheet pan. You want as many pretzels on the pan as possible.
  • On top of the pretzels place a Hersey Hug in the center.
  • Put in the oven
    • Keep a close eye on the Hersey Hugs when in the oven. When they start to sink/melt take them out of the oven.
    • There is not a set time for how long it will take them to melt, mainly because it depends on how hot your oven is.
  • After they come out of the oven, quickly place the M & Ms in the center of teh HErsey Kiss
  • Place the batch in the freezer for them to cool.

3.) After Baking:

  • Every other batch is when you should take the Kathy Treats of the sheet pan in the freezer.
  • Put them in a container and place in the fridge, until ready to eat.

 

200 Hersey Hugs = 16 or 17 Dozens 

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes

*Bake/Cool Time: 15 minutes (each batch)

 

*Time differs for each baker.

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving

On this day, I have so many things to be thankful for. Looking back at these past eleven months, so many people have helped me become a stronger woman. In the past year, I graduated high school, started college, got a job I actually enjoy going to and so much more. No matter what my journey was or what my current journey is, I know that I’m not doing it alone. I have a wonderful support system, that is literally on standby any time I need them.

There is so much negativity in the world right now, that today I’m happy to be sharing it with positive people. 2016 has been through a lot as well. A flower was grown in space, and NASA started their project to send a probe to jupiter. Leonardo DiCaprio won an oscar, J.K Rowling wrote another book and the Star Wars Saga was revived.

This year my friends and I are getting together for a Friends-giving. We get so busy throughout the year that sometimes it’s easy to forget what brings us all together. I hope that while we enjoy the turkey and the pumpkin pie, we remember the little things in our lives that have made it worth living.

Sixteen reasons I’m thankful for 2016:

1.) Second chances, because sometimes all you need is a double take.

2.) NDA for preparing me for college and for my college advisors who sit with me for hours, so i can pick my perfect schedule.

3.) Stress Relief lotions and Sleep Candles.

4.) The guy that road the bus with me for three months, to make sure nobody followed me home. Also, because when it stormed really badly, my school supplies would have gotten soaked, had he not given me his only umbrella while waiting for the bus.

5.) To the woman who sold me my first car. Thank you for letting me buy it in October instead of January.

6.) My health.

7.) My job and co-workers. (plus the company I work for )

8.) Photo albums, that remind me of great memories and stories to tell.

9.) Daring myself to push the limits and get out of my comfort zone. Which ultimately made me a better person.

10.) The followers and the viewers. Whether it be social media or this blog, thank you for always listening to what I have to say.

11.) I’m thankful for the military that keeps my country safe, so that I may live a life full of opportunities.

12.) That Pope Francis is highly involved with the 2016 culture.

13.) Being able to donate blood every two months. I’ve saved five lives so far, and receiving those letters make my day.

14.) For those who entered my life and then decided to leave. You have made me a stronger person.

15.) Hypha, who spends up to an hour of her day editing these blogs before they go public.

16.) Britney Spear’s album Glory.

 

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Day One: Christmas Recipes

Within the last week of November, I start my holiday baking. Typically each year I pick a set of friends and family that I bake for; typically it’s around two families, a few friends and a couple teachers. I do this to show appreciation towards them. A thank you, for all that they have done for me in that year.

In November, I type up the thank you notes and get all of my supplies together. By the first week of December I am baking. Lastly, right before exams happen, I bring them to school, friends and family.

I hope that everyone this year finds peace and joy this holiday season. There has been a lot of negative talk, I thought we could use some positive vibes. Baking is known to relieve stress and help those with anxiety. It said that while negative activity surrounds the mind, being able to make something positive out of simple ingredients, helps the mind with ease. While baking you can listen to music, or watch tv. Which also helps soothes the mind.

This year I will be sharing which recipes I will be baking this year, and why i chose to bake those (because yes I have reasons for which cookies and bake goods I use). I will also be sharing pictures of what they look like. Typically I only bake one kind of sweet treat and I call it a day. This year I have decided to pick three to four sweet treats to give a more diverse box of goods.

I will start sharing recipes after Thanksgiving. I am still a strong believer in enjoy each holiday in the order they come. The Recipes will come within a few days of each other, for bakers who enjoy cooking all at once, like I do. If you’d like to read about why baking is good for the mind, please click the link HERE. The article I found my information was by Gabriele Fantelli and was posted in February of 2015.

  • S.W