Recipe: Buttery Pecan Cookies

1 Cup of softened butter

1 teaspoon of maple syrup

3/4 cup of sugar

2 1/2 cups of flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

an egg

1 small bag of pecans.

 

1.) In a mixing bowl, add the butter (softened) and sugar together. Continue mixing until the mixture is fluffy.

2.) Add in the (1) egg and maple syrup.

3.) In the same mixing bowl, continue mix the flour, baking powder, and salt.

The mixture at this point should seem like dough.

4.) kneed the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap. Then place dough into the fridge for 1 hour.

One hour later….

5.) Preheat oven to 375 degrees

6.) Roll it thin with a rolling pin, into shapes.

7.) Cookies go in until bottoms are a tad golden brown.

 

  • S.B

 

 

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My Christmas Traditions.

One thing I have been thankful for is that my family was rich with tradition. Growing up, during December, we had a special thing going on (almost) weekly. Christmas was my mother’s and my grandmother’s favorite time of the year. My grandmother would start putting up her Christmas village in November. Her Christmas village, as a child and even as an adult, was the most fascinating time of the year. This year, to my dismay, she is only putting up one table (her village typically is over five tables). Below I have listed my holiday traditions, that I have been doing since I was seven years old.

25 days of Christmas – Starting the first of December, I would receive a candy box, that would have chocolate hidden behind the numbers. Every day after dinner, I would search for the correct number (day in the month) and I would pop open the door and a small piece of chocolate would be there.

Kathy Treats – Last year I made a blog post all about Kathy Treats and how to make them. Everyone knew it was Christmas season when my aunt would bring home, salted pretzels, M & M’s and Hershey Kisses. This year, I did not shop early enough for the Hershey Kisses, they go into stores starting in November, and they stop selling the last week of November. They are impossible to find in December. Instead this year, I will probably find white chocolate melts, and do it that way.

St. Nick’s Day and Ornament giving – On St. Nick’s Morning, we would receive an ornament to place on the tree. This ornament would be specific to the year you had. The year I learned to play guitar, I got a guitar ornament and the year I learned how to drive, I got a steering wheel. The ornament would have my name on it and the year that it happened.

Christmas Eve – On Christmas Eve, we would get to open one gift. Which was always fresh new Pajamas to wear on Christmas Day.

Santa’s Hat – on Christmas day the person to hand out the gifts would be the person wearing Santa’s Hat. It was always really important to me, because I came from a huge family, and I was considered one of the youngest.

Tis the season to be merry.

  • S.B

Speak Love: Donation Post

In the next coming months, I will be able to make a greater impact in my community, specifically with my college. As many people know I am part of the movement called, Speak Love. Which is an all-inclusive group that focuses on love and accepting one another no matter what our walk of life is. Nick Jackson, who started Speak Love, is also my friend and mentor who has helped me through this journey with setting up the Gateway Branch. Although, we primarily focus on suicide prevention speeches at high schools and colleges, we would be taking a new route with Gateway.

Not only will we be focusing on suicide prevention, we would also be focusing on poverty within education. Many of the volunteers for Speak Love understand what it’s like to only have a few bucks in our pockets, trying to make ends meet. Hopefully, through donations we would be able to donate the little things that mean a big thing. These times would include socks, diapers, pencils, notebooks, ext. However, we cannot make this part possible if we do not have people willing to donate the items.

Which is why I am now asking those who read this blog to donate to this cause. Every penny counts and I know that Speak Love and Gateway would be grateful knowing that there are people out there willing to donate. Below is the link if you can do so.

 

With much love and respect,

 

  • B

 

https://www.gofundme.com/gatewayspeaklove

 

Speak Love – TIE

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Click the photo to see what exactly went on at Gateway today!

If you haven’t already make sure to subscribe to the YouTube Channel to receive more updates on Speak Love and it’s journey to Gateway!

 

  • S.B

The next chapter

As most people know, I have been house jumping for almost two years now. Straight out of high school I ended up house jumping at few different friends’ houses and had quite a few jobs to keep me afloat. Earlier this year Brandon and I decided that we would try and find an apartment of our own, and thus we would be roommates. It seemed far-fetched at the time, mainly because I had struggled to get approved by multiple different apartments. And at first, it was hard. Brandon and I started looking at a dozen different apartments, most were weeded out due to issues with pet policies or distance. However, after searching for nearly five months we ended up directly down the road to where we had currently lived. In August, we got approved at the apartment of our dreams. It had everything we were looking for, including some bonuses.

We have spent nearly two weeks in our new home, and everything is slowly but surely coming together. Our family has grown as well. We started out with just Alfred, the guinea pig, then in early August Brandon adopted a bearded dragon, named Glaurung. About three weeks ago, we needed up adopting a kitten, and her name is Nala. I never thought I would be anything but a dog person, yet here I am, taking care of a reptile and a kitten. All the animals get along, except for Alfred and Glaurung. It’s not that they are aggressive towards each other, it is just that, for a short period of time their cages were next to each other and that ended up causing some sort of conflict between them. Glaurung’s crickets that would make noise, Alfred getting up at 2 am and making all sorts of noises with his cage. That’s okay though, because Nala gets along with both Glaurung and Alfred.

On other notes, Brandon continues to work on his book, and I am still getting my poetry together and making notes about what the poems mean to me. Hopefully by Christmas or New Year’s I will have a rough draft of what I would like my first poem book to look like. I don’t really know when Brandon’s first book will be finished, but I know he’s also working on short stories and some other creative writings.

I still would like to continue to blog about new food places that Brandon and I go to, we just haven’t been able to get out of Northern Kentucky since we have moved into our new home. Financing our money is now a huge priority. However, hopefully soon we will be able to eat somewhere awesome and I can write about it. There are so many restaurants that I haven’t been to that I would love to write about, maybe even ones I have been to, that I just haven’t talked about.

Brandon and I, for the first time in five years, did not make it to comic-con. Rent is due this week, and therefore we had to make some budgeting cuts. We were both super upset, because so many people and vendors we love were going. However, there is always next year. It will always be a tradition, just like hosting Friendsgiving and Friendsmas. Which we do plan to host again this year. Which will also be documented just as the Christmas Recipes will be.

I am also a part of a really cool organization called Speak Love, which is an all inclusive group that focuses on loving and respecting one another, no matter our walk of life. I’ve known about the group for about five years now, and every year I go to the Anthony Munoz Conference, however Nick (who started Speak Love and is my mentor) came to me and told me that he thought I would enjoy volunteering with the group. He was right, I am not trying to start a branch at Gateway, so more students can be a part of it. Speak Love means so much to me right now, just because I struggled so much to find peace in my heart and now I feel like I have that.

All our friends are doing well as well. New chapters in their lives have begun and I couldn’t be happier to be a part of all of them. I don’t want to spill the beans on them, because a lot of our mutual friends have a more private profile, but I can tell you that Hypha is doing great (Also I know she reads this blog faithfully, so if I don’t at least mention her I know I am going to be in for it). Everyone in my life seems to be doing well, Phoebe started school a few weeks ago, and although I told her Kindergarten doesn’t last forever, that there are other grades that come after that, she still says she loves school. My grandparents are enjoying the traveling lifestyle, which I’m so happy that they are doing. My grandparents have done so much for all their grandchildren (especially me) the last five years, and now that all of us are all grown up, it’s time that they start thinking about themselves.

That’s about it with my life right now. Not really traveling, but still writing. Still (trying) to do well in school, although it’s hard with being a part-time worker and having other stresses. But I’m learning to cope with those stresses a lot better, through therapy. I am happy for all of my friends with their lives and how they are living. Overall, after a year of drought, I’m finally getting some rain, so now I’m just going to wait and see how many plants grow.

Until next time,

S.B

Dinner Conversations (Short Story)

     I’m sitting at the dining room table. It’s been a long day of school, and my parents expect me to say something more than, “It was boring.” Which, no matter how true it was, apparently saying it seems worse than telling a lie. “It was great. I learned new things.” I could tell them that, however that involves another conversation… which includes saying what I learned.

What did I learn today? In second bell Marcus decided to throw an eraser at Isabell, who then made a huge scene, which the teacher bought. In study hall, I finally finished my sketchbook, with my own version of Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night. At lunch, I again sat by myself, but that’s mainly because my group of friends no longer exist. Well, Maria still has my back. You rat a kid out once for cheating and suddenly you’re the snitch of the eighth grade.

It was at that moment that I realized that my parents were staring at me. I had a plate full of chicken, rice and broccoli and hadn’t touched it yet. It was father’s favorite meal, which meant mother was up to something. “Placement tests for the art school is a month.” My mother said, while looking at my father. This was an argument which they had been having for a month now. Mom wants the art school, and father wants the public school, which he attended. The issue with both was that I wanted to get far away and just live a bit. And as usual, they go off into their own conversation on why the other is right.

There is no time like the present.

“So, as it happens, I found a really good school for next year.” My parents look at me clueless. This had been the longest running conversation at the dinner table. The conversation about my future beat out our conversation on how we would beat the apocalypse. Which is a conversation we’ve been having for over a year now, due to all the apocalyptic shows my father watches.

“That’s good sweetie!” She’s trying to be supportive, but every word is cracking because she doesn’t want me to go to the district public school.

“Wherever you want to go, is where we will send you.” He says confident that I’ll pick the cheapest future for myself, go into the family business and still be highly successful.

There is no time like the present. I play with my fingers and scramble the words out. “There’s a boarding school, about four hours away, located in Nevada.” My parent’s jaws are dropped. For once they can agree on one thing, I was going crazy. I have an opportunity to live my life outside Roseburg, Idaho and be proud of it. I don’t have friends here and it will be hard enough going to high school.

Many moments pass.

I start to eat. I’m scarfing down my plate, so I can leave the table and go to my room. Nobody is talking. They both can’t be thinking that much, they barely think that much in general. As they continue to sit in silence, I get up. I push in my chair and clean my dish.

“Sweetheart, wait.” My father, holds out his hand. He’s going to give me that, father side hug and tell me what a huge mistake I’m making. That boarding school is for teens with issues. I don’t have issues, obviously, because I’m their little girl. But I please him and walk over. Leaving my dish in the sink.

“May I ask why you’d want to go to this boarding school?” If I knew he was going to ask questions, I would have prepared for them.

“Well… um…” How do I put something so cruel, into the nicest words for such fragile people? I’m fourteen years old, that’s not how the world is supposed to work.

“I want to move away, be on my own. I want to experience new people, and can say I enjoyed it. Staying here, where the sun hardly shines makes me depressed. I don’t have friends at school, my teachers keep sending home notes saying they need you to sign off on things, which I then sign. It’s not that you two did anything wrong, or that you messed up… But secretly I’m wanting more.”

My father hugs me, and for once he’s on my side. “Okay, I understand. I’m not hurt, and if it’s what you want then I’m sure your mother and I can get –” He’s cut off right in the middle of his heart warming speech. A speech I desperately needed from him. Why would my mother do such a thing? This may be the only time I get this from him.

“No.” The most understanding person in this room says. She gets up and walks out of the room. I sit down at the table once more.

Father looks at me and says, “Maybe next dinner she’ll be alright.”

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