The Peanut Butter Brownie Latte (Blind Spot Monthly Series)

The Peanut Butter Brownie Latte (Blind Spot Monthly Series)

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In August 2015, I started working at my school’s on-campus coffee shop, The Brewin’ Den. I loved that job. From behind the counter, I met so many students that I otherwise would have never talked to. I loved brightening each student’s morning by making coffee for them.

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As a barista, I could be creative with flavors. The statement, “make me anything with an extra shot” made my day.

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I got free food, and trust me — day-old scones are SO edible!

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And I got paid. Yes, even minimum wage (plus tips) looks good as a college student!

It was an all-around great job.

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Perhaps one of the biggest results of the job was that I slowly grew to like coffee. As I played around with flavors, I realized that black coffee is simply a canvas for flavorful artwork.

So step into my studio…

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Ingredients 

  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon Blind Spot Peanut Butter Brownie
  • 1/2 tablespoon honey, or more (depending on desired sweetness)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup fresh hot espresso or strong coffee

Directions

  •  In a small saucepan set over medium heat, combine the milk, peanut butter, honey, and vanilla, stirring until smooth.
  • When mixture is steaming, whisk in cocoa powder.  Continue whisking until mixture is frothy.
  • Pour the hot coffee into a mug.
  • Add the frothy milk mixture and serve immediately.

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Recipe adapted from I Love Peanut Butter.

Top Ten Tuesday: Student Teaching Bag

Top Ten Tuesday: Student Teaching Bag

This is the bag of a student teacher.

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It is capacious, sturdy, colorful, and (like every good school bag) eats school supplies.

You can tell a lot about a person based off of what is in their bag.  For example, if you were to look into my bag, you would learn…

  1. That I have lots of plans–so many that I have two planners.20170205_182529
  2. That I will be guiding the class through several science experiments this week..and that certain people in my family eat lots of peanut butter (me) and drink lots of coffee (Mom).
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  3. That I lead a lot of guided reading groups.  A lot.
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  4. That I am always prepared for the rain.
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  5. That I am about to teach a unit on the Civil war…
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  6. and that I need to make a lot of copies before we can start that unit.
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  7. That I only have one textbook (although I teach 5 subjects), and it is older than my students.
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  8. That I explained number 7 on the math worksheet very poorly, and I have not determined yet how I will grade it.
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  9. That I color code my lesson plans with different colored pens.
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  10. That I still like to decorate my notebooks as if I was in middle school and that I see student teaching as a grand adventure.
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S’mores Oatmeal

S’mores Oatmeal

Looks like today will be full of apologies.

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1. I am sorry that I have posted so little this month.  Although I spend all of my spare time writing, I doubt that y’all want to read a month’s worth of 5th-grade lesson plans.

2. I am sorry that it is the end of National Oatmeal Month, and I am just now sharing an oatmeal recipe.  I actually planned this recipe before Christmas, but I didn’t make it until Saturday.

3. I am sorry that there are so few pictures (and that the pictures are so bad). I made this recipe at home, but my camera was at school.  In my rush to eat the oatmeal, I didn’t realize that the white balance on my phone-camera was really off.  These are the only two photos that were somewhat salvageable.

Now that all of those issues are out of the way, let’s eat some oatmeal!

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Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup oatmeal
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup marshmallows
  • 1 graham cracker sheet
  • 1 fun size Hershey bar

Directions

  • Combine oatmeal and water in a microwave-safe bowl.  Microwave on high 45 seconds.
  • Stir in 1/2 of the marshmallows.  Microwave an additional 30 seconds.
  • Top with remaining marshmallows, crushed graham cracker, and chocolate bar.

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Sea Salt Peanut Butter Fudge (Blind Spot Monthly Recipe Series)

Sea Salt Peanut Butter Fudge (Blind Spot Monthly Recipe Series)

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Congratulations.  You are about to see some photographic gems from one of my favorite family vacations.

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In the late spring of 2004, I visited Mackinac Island with my brother, parents, and grandparents.

We spent the entire morning riding our bikes through clouds of gnats.  Yes, clouds, so  thick that you couldn’t see, so dense that you felt the bugs smacking against your face.

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By lunchtime, we were so hot and sticky that we didn’t want food.  I believe that my lunch consisted of a soft drink and Payday candy bar.  (Side note: I must have really liked my bicycle helmet.  This is the only picture of me on the island where I am not wearing my purple helmet.)

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When afternoon came, we bought souvenirs. I selected a purple t-shirt and a key chain. But the real treat was the iconic Mackinac Island dessert.

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Fudge

Fudge’s rise in the U.S. can be traced to Mackinac Island in Lake Huron, between Michigan’s Upper and Lower peninsulas. This vacation spot has been linked to fudge for more than 85 years, so much so that northern Michiganders often refer to tourists—out-of-towners in search of fudge—as “fudgies.”

Lisa Wong Macabascoq

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Ingredients

  • 2 tbs Blind Spot Sea Salt Peanut Butter
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp honey

Directions

  • Heat all ingredients up in a small saucepan over medium heat until stir-able. Stir ingredients together.
  • Pour mixture into shallow dish or ice cube tray. Freeze for 2 hours.
  • Eat and enjoy!
  • Store leftovers in the fridge or freezer.

Original recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie.

I Already Broke My New Years Resolution

I Already Broke My New Years Resolution

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I thought that it was a good, attainable resolution.  The plan was to run a 10k on April 22, the day after I finish student teaching.  Ten kilometers is less than 6.5 miles, so it really isn’t that hard of a run, and I have nearly four months to prepare.  I printed off a mild training guide (3 days of running, 2 days of cross-training, and 2 days of rest every week), and I filled out the application for the race.

 

The first week went really well.  I did every single workout, getting decent times on my runs.  I hit a set-back at the beginning of week two when the world was covered in snow, but I was still determined to keep at it.

Then yesterday came, Friday of week two, and I did NOT want to go to the gym.  I did not want to run on a treadmill.  I wanted to skip my workout.

So I started to analyze why:

  • I was tired.  However, most people are tired, so I didn’t count that as a valid excuse.
  • I felt rushed.   Every day after student teaching, I had to rush to the gym, change quickly, and run as fast as I could so that I could make it to supper on time.
  • I didn’t enjoy the runs.  In fact, I would run on the treadmill overlooking the pool and think about how much I would rather be swimming.
  • I missed my old workouts.  I missed swimming, Pop Pilates, Zumba, and slow jogs through Old Salem.

I gave in.  I didn’t go to the gym.  I didn’t run.  Instead, I went to my dorm room and wrote lesson plans.

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I didn’t completely throw yesterday’s workout to the wolves.  Later last night, I did  PIIT while watching Chopped, and it was great.  It was relaxing, fun, and everything that a workout should be.  I even went to the gym this morning…to swim, and it was everything that I missed.

Yes, I broke my New Year’s Resolution, but I am glad that I did.

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…in an ironic turn of events, a blog hat I frequent just posted, “92% of people fail to maintain their fitness resolutions be the end of the year.”  At least I am in good company 🙂

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Thinking In Pictures

Thinking In Pictures

I think in pictures, not words.

You say “banana.” I think:

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You say “lighthouse.” I think:

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You say “week.” I think:

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You say “God.” I think…well, here is where it gets confusing.

Sometimes, I think:

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Other times, I think:

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But the other morning, I thought:

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To be honest, that morning God seemed so far away. I’m on earth with sin and struggles; He is in Heaven with perfection and worship. It seems like an endless sky separates me from Him.

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When I feel far from God, I tend to make regulations that I must follow–cages that I must climb in order to reach God.

But Colossians 1:20-23 says:

If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, “Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!” (which all refer to things destined to perish with use)—in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in  self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence.

 

When I reflect on my self-imposed rules, I realize that this false asceticism is worthless. The rules may improve peoples’ opinions of me–she is so kind, so self-disciplined, so good–but no law of my own can move God closer to me.

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;  not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. — Ephesians 2:8-9

God isn’t behind a fence that I need to climb or through a jungle that I must chop away. He is ever-present and ready to hear from his children.

Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. – Psalm 139:7-8

So when you say “God,” I cannot picture anything. He is not just a righteous Judge, or just a good Father, or just a gracious Savior. He cannot be defined by my finite imagination.  He is above all, before all, and beyond all that we can picture.

For  by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He  is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. – Colossians 1:16-17

Top Ten Tuesday: 2016 Photos

Top Ten Tuesday: 2016 Photos

Determining my favorite photos from 2016 was next to impossible because I took pictures of so many different things!  I took literally thousands of photos throughout the year for…

But, after agonizing decision-making, these are the ten photos I chose.