The Lost Art of Play

23 - Childhood

I have always been a hoarder collector.  As a young child, I had a rock collection, a Hello Kitty collection, a Kelly Doll collection, a “nature” collection, a Beanie Babies collection…the list goes on.  One of may favorite collections, however, was my magnetic Polly Pocket town.  I had every piece of the set (except for the candy shop that the eBay seller failed to ship), and it was ubiquitously set up on a table in my bedroom. 

I remember asking my mom to play with me one afternoon.  “I’m not good at playing dolls,” she replied, but she sat down on the floor next to me and picked up a small, bendable girl.  At the time, I did not understand how someone could be bad at playing dolls.  It was a simple pleasure in my juvenile mind.  You simply selected a doll, named her, and pretended.

Tonight, a three-year-old girl asked me to play dolls with her.  I selected a baby, named her Katy, and pretended.  I now know what it is like to be bad at playing dolls.  My doll was too realistic.  She wanted food.  She wanted to sleep.  She cried for her mom.  The young girl I was playing with constantly corrected my “baby talk” and pretending skills. 

When did I forget how to play?  When did dolls change into objects instead of friends?

When did my day-dreams turn from make believe stories of princesses to mental to-do lists? 

When did I lose my ability to believe in the impossible?

Top Ten Tuesday: Thrifty

boots

On my way to college of Friday, I stopped at a thrift store.  What better way to relieve the back-to-school blues than shopping?  Some people don’t understand my love of thrift stores; they view second-hand shops as dirty, cheap, and difficult.  However, there is no where I would rather shop than a decent thrift store.  Here are ten reasons that Goodwill is my go-to.

Top Ten Reasons to Buy Second-Hand Clothing

  1. You will save a TON of money—why pay more?
  2. It is good for the environment
  3. You can get clothes that no one else will have–no more matching the girl across the room!
  4. You can buy more clothes because you are paying less per item
  5. You can alter the clothes without the fear of ruining an expensive piece (yay! refashioning!)
  6. It is fun to dig through bins, rifle through racks, and peruse shelves.  I love the hunt!
  7. You will get a good laugh at some of the ridiculous items you find.
  8. Thrift shops are a great place to people-watch.
  9. College students often consign their clothes—you are paying for someone’s education!
  10. Most of my favorite pieces are second-hand.  (Like the awesome J. Crew rain boots that I bought Friday for $5)

Tongue Thai’d Oatmeal

thai

It’s been too long.  How long? A whole month!!  I haven’t posted an oatmeal recipe in a whole month!

Don’t be too alarmed; I’ve been eating oatmeal.  I have even created some new recipes.  I just failed to write them down and take pictures.

In honor of my return from the oatmeal-less underworld, I am blazing a new path for myself: savory oatmeal.  I’ve always been a sweet, fruity oatmeal person, but I really wanted something savory this morning.  I racked my brain for a delicious sounding flavor, and I came up with this Thai-inspired savory oatmeal.

Don’t let the odd combination of Italian, American, Asian, and Latin flavors scare you.  They all come together to create what could possibly be my favorite oatmeal yet.  Go ahead.  Try a bite.

 

Thai Oatmeal

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 tbs. Italian dressing
  • 1 tbs. peanut butter
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. soy
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 1/4 tsp. ginger
  • 1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)

Directions

  • Bring water, dressing, peanut butter, honey and soy to a boil
  • Reduce heat to medium and stir in oatmeal and ginger
  • Continue to boil 5 minutes
  • Remove from heat and top with red pepper flakes, if desired

 

What is your opinion of savory oatmeal?

Fumbling for Order

path

It’s official.  I am back in the dorms for another 9 months. 

Back to class.

Back to friends.

Back to cafeteria food.

My mind is already tired, and I haven’t even been here a whole day.

Generally, I have everything in control.  My classes are caught up.  My room is clean.  My clothes are planned for the next week.  I like order, rules, and consistency.  Independent and strong-willed, I make sure everything works out perfectly.

God does not want me to live in this state of self-reliance, however, and He makes this clear to me everyday.  He wants me to rely on Him.  His timing.  His direction.  His purpose.

Sometimes I think I cannot take it.  I cannot handle the unknown plans that He has drawn out.  Not only do I want to see His blueprint, I want to be the one who designs it.  I don’t seem to have the faith that those in Hebrews 11 had, and I would never step out of a solid boat onto the crashing waves like Peter.

Rather than trust God’s providence, I too often find myself struggling to do everything alone.  It is impossible.  I can only handle so much, and then I am fumbling, trying to keep everything in the peaceful order I created.

“Jesus said, ‘Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust in me.  I leave you peace; my peace I give you. I do not give it to you as the world does. So don’t let your hearts be troubled.”  John 14:1,27

Lord, help me to rely on You.  Give me your peace instead of the worldly peace I so often seek.  Show me that Your plan is far better than anything I could try to organize.  Teach me that You alone satisfy.

Top Ten Tuesday: Rice Cakes

Rice cakes get a bad rap.  Take the following conversation, for example:

Mom: Kat, I know you put rice cakes on the grocery list, but I didn’t buy any because I didn’t know what flavor you would want.

Dad: Flavor?  Rice cakes?  That’s like saying that you couldn’t buy saw dust because you couldn’t remember our favorite flavor!

While plain rice cakes do tend do be dry and dull, toppings and seasonings can transform the treats.  Here’s ten sweet, savory, or simple ways to morph a boring rice cake into a delectable snack.

 

Ten Ways to Top a Rice Cake

1. Cucumber Melon

  • Watermelon flavored yogurt
  • Cucumber slices

cucumbermelon

2.  Strawberry Banana

  • Mashed banana
  • Strawberry slices

strawberrybanana

 

3. Caramel Cream

  • Caramelized dates (2 dates, pitted and chopped, microwaved in 2 tsp. milk for 30 seconds)
  • Milkdates

* This combination treats the rice cake like a single, large piece of rice cereal

4.  Huevos Rojos y Verdes

  • Hard boiled egg
  • Green salsa
  • Red salsa

huevos

5. Good ‘Ole Raisins and Peanut Butter

  • Peanut butter
  • Raisins

gorp

6.  Sugarplum

  • Fresh plum slices
  • Honey

sugarplum

7.  Banana Nut

bananaalmond
8. Green Nectarine

  • Pistachio pudding
  • Nectarines

greennectarine

9. Black Apple

  • Apple jelly
  • Blackberry preserves

blackapple

10. Triple C

  • Cottage cheese
  • Cinnamon
  • Coconut

c-cubed

How do you top your rice cakes?

Homemade Almond Butter

almondbutter

I am under the impression that if something can be homemade and you have the time to make it, it should be homemade.

Today I challenged myself to make almond butter, and it turned out delicious.  All you need is a food processor, almonds, and about 10-15 minutes.

Since this butter is homemade, you can determine how crunchy you want it.  To store it, simply put it in an airtight container and keep it in the refrigerator.

 

Homemade Almond Butter

Ingredients:

  • Almonds

Directions:

  • Place almonds in food processor and pulverize for 10 minutes.
  • There is no need to stop the food processor at any time unless the sides of the bowl need to be scraped.
  • Eat and enjoy!

DIY Dorm Organization

dormdecor

With college starting in a few weeks, many freshman are seeking ways to organize their new rooms.  However, purchasing dorm kits can get expensive, and if there is anything that a freshman needs to learn, it is how to save money.

Instead of paying high dollars for the typical dorm kit, use sites like Pinterest and Dollar Store Crafts to inspire DIY organization. Here are a few of my personal tricks.

1. For under-bed storage, wrap shoe boxes with dollar store wrapping paper or contact paper.

2. Buy a second-hand mini-fridge. If you don’t like the color, you can wrap the door (or the entire fridge) in contact paper.

3. Re-purpose high school locker shelves into desktop book storage.

4. Decorate tin cans to store pens, markers, and pencils.

 

What are your tips for cheap college storage?