The Recipe

While running errands today, I found this van in a parking lot and thought they were pretty ingenious to advertise this way.

©imagesbyregina

I can’t remember the last time I had a Girl Scout cookie but I sure like them and having some sure sounds good right now.  I’ve always thought the Girl Scouts was a good organization (no, not just because they have good cookies).  It teaches girls skills that they probably don’t learn in school and gives them a sense of pride and community.

Ready for a little history of the cookies?

In 1933, Girl Scouts of Greater Philadelphia Council baked cookies and sold them in the city’s gas and electric company windows. Just 23 cents per box of 44 cookies, or six boxes for $1.24 helped girls develop their marketing and business potential and raise funds for their local Girl Scout council program. In 1934, Greater Philadelphia became the first council to sell commercially baked cookies.

 

©imagesbyregina

I actually found one of their earliest cookie recipes:

An Early Girl Scout Cookie® Recipe

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar plus additional amount for topping (optional)
2 eggs
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder

Cream butter and the cup of sugar; add well-beaten eggs, then milk, vanilla, flour, salt, and baking powder. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Roll dough, cut into trefoil shapes, and sprinkle sugar on top, if desired. Bake in a quick oven (375°) for approximately 8 to 10 minutes or until the edges begin to brown. Makes six- to seven-dozen cookies.

Get out the baking sheets but don’t forget to support the Girl Scouts in your area and buy some cookies. They freeze very well.  I wonder if there are any sugar-free varieties this year.  Unfortunately, the regular kind won’t help with weight loss.

Namaste.

Memos From Your Child (repost)

Let me just start out by saying that today’s post is courtesy of another blogger, Leigh, who posted this on her blog.  I’m borrowing it because I found it to be so poignant and and it really struck a chord with me. With all that goes on these days and people being so busy, I wonder sometimes if kids don’t get lost in the shuffle.

The photo is one of my granddaughter.  It’s one of my favorites of her; so innocent and full of wonder and freedom.

MEMOS FROM YOUR CHILD . . .

Don’t spoil me. I know quite well I shouldn’t have all I ask for. I’m only testing you. Don’t be afraid to be firm with me. I prefer it. It makes me secure. Don’t let me form bad Habits. I have to rely on you to detect them in the early stages. Don’t make me feel smaller than I am. It only makes me behave stupidly ‘big’. Don’t correct me in front of people if you can help it. I’ll take much more notice if you talk to me quietly in private. Don’t protect me from consequences. I need to learn the painful way sometimes. Don’t make me feel my mistakes are sins. It upsets my sense of values. Don’t be too upset when I say “I hate you.” It’s not you I hate. It’s your power to thwart me. Don’t take too much notice of my small ailments. Sometimes they get me the attention I need. Don’t nag – if you do, I’ll have to protect myself by appearing deaf. Don’t make rash promises. I feel badly let down when promises are broken. Don’t forget I can’t explain myself as well as I’d like. This is why I’m not always very accurate. Don’t tax my honesty too much. I’m easily frightened into telling lies. Don’t be inconsistent. It confuses me and makes me lose my faith in you. Don’t put me off when I ask questions. If you do, you’ll find I stop asking and seek answers elsewhere. Don’t tell me my fears are silly. They are terribly real to me. Don’t ever suggest that you’re perfect or infallible. It gives me too great a shock when I find out you are neither. Don’t ever think it is beneath your dignity to apologize to me. An honest apology makes me surprisingly warm towards you. Don’t forget I love experimenting. I can’t get on without it, so please put up with it. Don’t forget how quickly I’m growing up. It must be hard to keep pace with me but please try.

– Author Unknown

 

Proceed with Caution

Ever had one of those days where you have a conversation with someone and you can just feel something bubbling up?  Warning! Warning! You know you should proceed with caution.  You know that whatever you say is probably not going to be welcomed in the spirit in which you intend.

Hmmm … that’s what happened to me today and the funny thing is, I saw this sign on my way home from having that conversation.  I wish I had seen it on the way over there.  Life should come with an instruction manual because sometimes there are more questions than answers.  So I think I’ll just let the bubbling begin and see what surfaces.

With the energies of this year coming in like they are already, I have the feeling I might be heeding this sign more often.

When the ego is in charge, the conflict reigns. I’m learning I can ask my ego to take a short vacation. Then I can just let go of the need to be right.  Now THAT feels good … and peaceful.

Namaste.

How to Take Your Photos from Snapshot to Art

Anyone can take a photo, but only those who truly invest themselves in the shot will produce pictures that wow everyone. With a bit of practice and the right information, you can finally take the kinds of photos that get noticed.

1. Move in tight, and allow your subject to fill the majority of the frame. I learned a long time ago (by trial and error) that good photos don’t usually include my subject’s feet. If you’re taking a group photo, get in close enough to see faces, heads and shoulders. With today’s digital SLR cameras, point and shoot cameras and camera phones, you can afford to take lots of shots to practice this technique.

2. Carefully compose the photo, and pay close attention to the background and distractions that can ruin the perfect shot. Sometimes you want to take a photo of someone or something that’s in front of a busy background. If you can’t move your subject, you’ll just have to make the best of it. If you have a setting on your camera that blurs out the background, you should use that. (See your camera’s instruction manual to get more information on that or look it up online. It’s called Bokeh, meaning shallow focus).

3. Make sure you are focused on your subject.

Tight Focus/Blurred Background

That means that when you look through your viewfinder or at your LCD display, your subject should look very clear; no blur.  If you do see a blur, try changing your camera’s settings. A landscape photo will have a different setting than a close-up  of a person or a flower.

4. Pay close attention to lighting to ensure that shadows and highlights are falling properly on your subject. This can take some practice, especially if you’re used to taking snapshots. Moving your photography to the next level will require learning how light affects your photos. A good rule of thumb about natural, outdoor light is to take photos during the golden hours … the hours around sunrise and sunset. Around sunrise your photos will have more blue light and around sunset the light will be more red. Pictures taken at high noon tend to look flat and/or create unwanted shadows on faces.

5. Experiment, and think outside the box. We all would love to find that perfect shot; the one that wows everyone who sees it. To get it, you will need to practice, practice, practice. Why not? If you don’t like what you see, you can always delete it.

The perfect shot requires a bit of thought. Take the time to properly set up your photo, and you will have a better chance of capturing that image that you see in your mind’s eye.

Dog Lovers: Mastering the Art of the Canine Walk

You love your dog and want to spend more time with him, but the minute you try to take him for a walk, he becomes unmanageable.  Sound familiar? Let’s face it, no human wants to be dragged down the street by their four-legged friend. Below are the steps that you need to take to get Spot in line and out the door.

1.  Get your dog in command mode by making him stay still at the door. This sounds so simple and yet most dog owners never do it. Once your dog sees the leash he usually gets so excited that you can’t get to the door fast enough and the minute you open it, his head is out and you’re behind. Practice putting on the leash with your back to the door so your body is blocking the door while you’re doing it. That sends a message to your dog that you’re in charge. Once the leash is on have your dog sit before moving toward the door. This makes him calmer and gets him used to obeying your commands. I’ve had to practice this one a lot with both of my dogs because the minute they know we’re going for a walk, the excitement begins.

2.  Walk through the door ahead of your dog to show him who is boss. This is very important as it sets the tone for the rest of the walk. Dogs like to lead and if you let him, he will take over as the pack leader and whose job is that? Yours!

3.  Do not use a flex leash.  You need a leader collar and regular leash. I’ve never used a flex leash because I live in Arizona and if I let my dogs have too much leash, they could run into all kinds of dangerous creatures such as rattlesnakes, biting lizards, cactus, etc. Even if you don’t live where your pet could experience these dangers, a regular leash is the best tool for walking, even after your dog has learned to walk at your side. You can always stop and let them sniff, water the trees and fire hydrants at a later time after they’ve learned the art of the walk.

4.  If your dog has too much energy, get a doggie backpack and weigh it down. This works extremely well for the high-energy breeds who need to burn off that excess energy and for pets who need to lose some extra weight. (Gosh, maybe I should use one of these on me!) You can use plastic 16 oz. water bottles filled with water, cans of food or whatever you have that will fit. We have an 80-lb. mixed breed who can handle two bottles on each side and our smaller dog, a border collie mix, does well with one bottle on each side. Start small and work your way up if you have to. Keep an eye on your dog for fatigue so you’ll know if the pack is too heavy. The first time you use this method, you will probably notice that, after a short time, your dog will feel that he has a job to do and just start moving forward with his pack. It’s amazing to watch this take place.

5.  Keep a loose grip on the leash. If you keep tension on it, your dog will feel it and keep pulling. Think of the leash as an extension of your arm. Send positive energy down your arm, into the leash and into your dog. If you find yourself being tense for any reason, stop, have your dog sit by your side, take a couple of deep breaths and then continue on more relaxed.

6.  Reward your dog with treats. Buy some of those small training treats at your local pet store to use on your walk. When your dog does well, reward with a treat. Any commands you want to teach your dog can be practiced on the walk. For example, you walk 30 or 40 paces and then give the command to sit. Reward with a treat as soon as he sits.  Walk 30 or 40 more paces, give another command. Reward again with a treat.

7.  Be patient with your dog at all times. Depending upon your dog’s age, limit your training time to no more than 10-20 minutes at a time. You’ll be surprised how soon your dog will pick up on what to do and how to please you. Don’t give up and remain consistent.

Follow these steps and Spot will be walking side-by-side with you in no time.  Enjoy spending more quality time with your newly trained four-legged friend.

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