Words effect our point of view

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When one of my children was little, I heard many words to describe her and most had a negative connotation due to issues she was dealing with. Over time, I began to describe her the same way and realized it was making me view her negatively. I struggled with how to help her with her issues and not allow others to put her down. Now I don’t believe anyone ever did so intentionally, they simply saw her behavior and used words to describe it that came to mind. Finally, I read a book that gave a simple solution which took effort to implement (and I admit I still struggle with) but it made a huge difference in how I personally perceived her.

For example, if I were to say she was a strong willed child, is that a positive or a negative word? Generally I picture a child who refuses to obey and wants everything their way. Yet if I say a determined child, I picture a child who knows what they want and will work to get it. Now isn’t that really the same thing? All I had to do when someone used strong willed to describe her was to come back and say “yes she is a determined child isn’t she?” and I would see a look come across their face. Often their face would soften, a smile would form and they began to find the positives in her behavior. To see this visually, I typed strong willed child and determined child into google and checked out the images that popped up. Overwhelmingly the stong willed child was depicted as pouting with their arms crossed. Yet the determined child was happy and laughing.

Strong willed child

Strong willed child

Determined Child

Determined Child

Examine the word audacity, it is defined as “boldness or daring, especially with confident or arrogant disregard for personal safety, conventional thought, or other restrictions.” The part I want to focus on is arrogant disregard. When someone has audacity it is never seen as a positive, quite the opposite in fact. Yet if we scroll past the definition and read the synonyms, we get a totally different take as the words “nerve, spunk, grit” are seen positive traits. How can a word imply a disregard for others yet easily be replaced by traits we admire such as spunk and grit? It all comes down to point of view.

So what does this mean for me, my family, my job or my business? I would like to challenge you to sit down and write down all the negative words you use to describe yourself in a column. Once you are done, write down the positive version of that word. For example, persnickety might become detailed or obsessive might become focused. Once you have all those words written down read them out loud and say “I am….” We can be so critical of ourselves and others that we need to retrain our minds to focus on our good attributes. You will be amazed at how different you feel just by reading the list out loud.

Now do the same thing for someone else that you struggle with. Maybe it is a coworker who annoys the tar out of you, or the child whose personality is so different from your own you wonder how they can be yours. Once we change how we perceive ourselves and others, we naturally change how we interact. If you have a strong willed child you are constantly in a battle of wills. Yet a determined child is one you can direct to use that determination in a positive way.

So you made up yet another list, what are you going to do with it? How will changing the words you use effect how you parent or run your business? It won’t if the list gets lost somewhere in the pile of papers you are trying to hide on your desk. Keep them where you can see them every day and it will remind you to mentally change those words when you hear them or are tempted to say them. Change doesn’t happen overnight, but it will happen. And I would love to hear how this worked for you.

Squirreling Away Walnuts

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I love nuts of any kind and the prices in the store right now just kill me. So when I do find them cheap I enjoy eating every little piece and squirrel away as much as way as I can.

Sorry, my mouth is full

Sorry, my mouth is full

My friend calls me up last week and asked if I wanted to get some free walnuts. It took me a whole .005 seconds to say “YES!” Christine pulls up I her hot rod (aka high mileage sedan) and we cruise to a nearby town and meet a gentleman with a walnut orchard. I hope I have that much energy when I am 81! This guy has a great racket going. We pick whatever walnuts we want, give him half, and call it good. He sorts and dries his half to sell and we take ours home. Winner winner of an idea don’t ya think? Anyways, he handed us these Nut Wizards that looked like a whisk on a 4 foot pole. I had never seen one before but even I could manage this baby. All you do is roll it on the ground and it picks up all the nuts for you. No bending over required. (I have mentioned I am lazy, haven’t I?)

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We ended up picking twelve, 5 gallon buckets worth. Not a bad haul for a couple hours work. We decided next time the girls are all coming with us because not only was it easy, but they couldn’t bruise the fruit like they did our apples. Hey, don’t knock slave labor!

We even got a cart to pull behind the riding lawn mower.

We even got a cart to pull behind the riding lawn mower.

Many of the nuts were already hulled, others needed a little work. When walnuts grow they are surrounded by this green husk. Once they fall on the grown, the husk begins to turn black. These husks are easy to remove, but one thing to remember is they are used to create dyes, so I suggest wearing gloves when doing so. This should be sone as soon as possible after picking your walnuts.

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Once the nuts are hulled, place them in a bucket and cover with warm water. Using your hand, agitate and stir those nuts till the water turns black. Repeat until the water stays clear. This removes the coating left on the nuts from the husk.

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Once the nuts are clean, drain and lay them on a cookie sheet and allow them to dry. If the wether is nice, you can place them outside. Smallville rains all of October so that wasn’t going to happen, so I moved onto option 2, the oven.

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The first batch I did it how I found online and I think it cooked the nuts and was not happen with the result. This was to leave them in the oven for 1-2 hours and I think it was a far too long. The second batch I only left in long enough for the shells to dry, then removed the cookie sheets. I turned the oven to warm and kept the oven door slightly ajar. I also used my handy dandy toaster oven for 2 small trays. (I love my toaster oven) In less than 10 minutes all the trays were dry enough to remove.

I know it is dark, that way you can't tell I need to clean my oven.

I know it is dark, that way you can’t tell I need to clean my oven.

For long term storage, they went into a cardboard box. For the next week I will keep them in my kitchen so I can stir them up every day. This is to ensure that they really are dry and will keep.

Drooling over all the ways I am going to use these this winter.

Drooling over all the ways I am going to use these this winter.

Now I certainly don’t intend to crack nuts every time I want to bake this winter. That is where my slave labor force comes in. Guess what they will be doing while watching Netflix? Shelled nuts will go into quart sized Ziplock bags and straight to the freezer. Now I just need to find a use for all those shells…….

GRILLED SKIRT STEAK

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I love good steak, unfortunately I can’t afford to buy it. So when the rare opportunity to buy skirt steak on sale + 50% off arose, I somehow found room in my freezer for 10 packages. Yet even a good steak can be rendered bad if not done properly. This includes over seasoning the beef. I want to add flavor not cover it up. This marinade does just that. Since it was Mother’s Day we pulled out the grill and fired it up.

INGREDIENTS
2lb SKIRT STEAK
1c WORSTERSHIRE
1/2 c OIL
3 TB HOSIN SAUCE
2 TB GARLIC

Hosin is a thick, brown sauce found in the Oriental section of your grocery store. It is sweet with just a tiny kick.

In a zipper bag combine all the ingredients and mix by smooshing the bag. Open the skirt steak ams place into the nag. Push out much of the air ams zip it closed. Mush the bag some more to make sure it.gets all over the meat. Allow to marinate at least an hour but longer won’t hurt.

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Allow the bag to set out of the fridge about 20 minutes before grilling. Steak should never be cooked ice cold.

So if you are one of those modernist with a propane grill you need to adjust the temp to what works best for thin steaks. I am still stuck in the dark ages with my charcoal. Which I piled about 25 coals together and waited till I saw a nice ash.

Place the steaks directly over the coals till you get a good sear. Then move slightly to the side for a few minutes to cook. Flip the steaks and return to direct heat to sear. Move to the side and cover. Now you have an oven and the steak will slowly cook to desired doneness.

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Typically your steaks will be thicker on one end. I prefer this as my kids prefer varying degrees of donenes. By the time one end is medium rare tjw other is medium. Remember to remove the steaks BEFORE they get to where you like them as the rest for a few minutes before carving they will keep cooking.

Use your. Thumb to test doneness.
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Starting at the bottom is how a well done steak will feel. As you move further up towards the joint you will feel the softness if a rare steak. Remove from heat and cover about 5 minutes before carving. This keeps the juices from all running out. Be sure to slice thin strips against the grain.

Tonight I grilled up some rolls to get them warm and a little crusty.

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I hope you give it a try this summer.

ALMOND JOY ULTIMATE POPCORN

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I Remember the first time I had chocolate covered popcorn. I thought itwas a disgusting idea. But I gave it a try and boy was I wrong! Whenever I make it The Boy calls it Ultimate Popcorn and I rather like it. And because sometimes you feel like a nut, I came up with this.

INGREDIENTS
8 c Popped Popcorn
8 oz Melted Chocolate
1/2 c Almond
1/2 c Coconut

Line a cookie sheet with either wax paper, parchment paper or a silicone mat. Spread the popcorn out in a layer. Drizzle the melted chocolate over the popcorn and gently but quickly begin to toss it. Add the nuts and coconut and toss a little more. Allow to cool an hour till the chocolate is hard and eat.

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You can see by the photo I don’t drench it in the chocolate.  If you want every kernel totally covered you will need to double up on the chocolate.  Use whatever kind you like best, I used milk chocolate today.

S for the almoss I left them whole but slivered and chopped work too.

This time I used shredded coconut but flake definitely offers more pop.

Store in a Ziploc bag.

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Mow see if you can Headed it without singing “Almond Joy’s got nuts, Mounds don’t …..”

KEEPING ICE CREAM

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Growing up we had goats and that meant an ample supply of milk and cream. That of course was why we never bought ice cream. Homemade all the way baby!

When I got married and bought a carton the frozen gunk on top would drive me nuts. Then I saw a simple solution on TV one day and gave it a try. By George it worked and I have been doing it for 20 years.

You need 2 things. Ice cream (preferably dirt cheap)

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and Serane wrap.

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Simply rip off a piece and push it down onto the ice cream. Air is what causes that nasty gunk and the plastic wrap needs to completely cover the ice cream to keep it out.

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And that’s it, perfect ice cream every time.  Now I am going to get myself a scoop.