Luna's Landing

Another day, another lesson learned


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Tofu Strawberry Smoothies the Kids will Love

I’ve been missing from my blog for a while.

I graduated from my Masters program, started applying for doctorate programs, and forgot all about this little space that I have.

But I am back with a new recipe that both I and my kids are loving!! This Strawberry smoothie is packed with protein, thanks to the tofu, can be altered to be any berry or fruit smoothie that suits your family, and can be frozen to create a sorbet to snack on another day. Also, smoothies are nearly impossible to mess up, and don’t need exact measurements, meaning they can be made in a jiffy.

Here is what you need…

Ice (~1 cup)

Frozen Strawberries (~1.5 cup)

Silk Tofu (~1/4 of a block)

t. Vanilla extract

Optional Sugar

Milk (1 cup or more depending on how thick you want them)

*None of these measurements need to be followed precisely, take these more as a guideline.

Throw them all in the blender, and viola! Yummy healthy snack for the kids, and a punch of protein for those picky eaters!

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Homemade Bread

Homemade bread always reminds me of my grandfather’s home. His house always smelled of freshly baked bread (and was a zillion degrees!). Making bread at home with the kids is not only nostalgic, but also teaches them how to properly use the kitchen, and shows them how rewarding homemade gift giving is!

I have been asked by a few people for the recipe I use to make my homemade bread. This recipe is super easy and fast, and makes great white bread. I like to make a lot at once and freeze the extras! We never buy bread anymore! It is also a great gift for neighbors, friends, and family. This recipe yields 4 loafs of bread.

What you need:

4 cups warm water

2 TBSP yeast

2/3 cup & 1 TBSP sugar

11 cups all purpose flour

1.5 cup powdered dry milk

2/3 cup canola oil

1 TBSP salt

Instructions:

Using a whisk, start off by dissolving your 2 TBSP of yeast and 1 TBSP of sugar in the 4 cups of warm water (in a LARGE bowl). Set this bowl aside (it needs to rest for a minute or two). In another large bowl, mix 8 cups of flower with the 1.5 cup of powdered milk.

Going back to the yeast mixture, add the rest of the sugar, the canola oil, and salt.

Next, add the flour mixture to the yeast mixture. You can do this in a machine, however, I like the good ole messy way, doing it with a spoon and my hands. Mix until the flour mixture is sticky and evenly moist. Slowly add 3 cups of flower to the mixture. I like to add one cup at a time to make mixing easier. (At first it may seem like you have too much flower, don’t worry, keep kneading, it will mix in!!).  If you do choose to use a mixer, when you are done adding the 3 cups of flower, take the dough out and knead by hand for a few minutes on a lightly flowered surface.

When you are done kneading the dough, shape it into a ball, and place it in a greased bowl. Cover the bowl (I use aluminum foil, and I grease the foil to prevent sticking after it rises).

Let this rise until it doubles in size. This takes between 60 and 90 minutes.

Again on a lightly floured surface, take the dough out of the bowl and punch it down. This releases the air in the dough.

Next, cut the dough into 4 even pieces. I like to roll the dough out in a long strip and about 6 inches wide, this isn’t science, its just what I prefer to do so that making a loaf shape is easier. Next, roll the dough into a cylinder, and press the ends.

Place the loafs into greased loaf pans and cover them (again, I grease the cover). Let this sit until the dough rises just above the top of the pan (this can take any where between 30 minutes and an hour).

Bake the bread in a preheated oven at 350 degrees until the internal temperature is 190 degrees. This usually takes around 20-25 minutes. If you do not have an internal thermometer, there are other ways to know if your bread is done, but they are never as reliable. Bread should be golden brown with some dark spots. If the top is still pale, it is not done. The crust should be firm, and I have read (but never tried) that if you flick the bottom of your loaf, it should sound hollow when it is done.

When you take the bread out of the oven, let it sit for 10 minutes before taking it out of the loaf pan. Once the loafs are out of their pans, butter the top and sides, this makes the bread softer (don’t worry, it will not make your bread soggy!).

 

Here is the bread I made tonight!

Here is the bread I made tonight!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And you are done! Great fresh bread to eat, share, and store!

Tell me what you think in the comments!

 


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5 Years: What I have Learned

On Valentines Day my husband and I will have been married for 5 years!

On that same day we will have been together for 9 years, nearly a decade….

Jason and Darcy

So here is what I have learned so far:

1. Compromises are crap. I shouldn’t have to give up on my beliefs, values, or wants in my relationship, and neither should   my partner. Instead, if we disagree I should ask him why, understand his point, and he should do the same. Together we should find a solution that works for both of us. Yes, sometimes we have to compromise, but that is never our goal.

2. Your partner should not be your best friend. This sounds terrible right? Its not. In today’s relationships we expect too much from our spouses. They have to be our intimate partner, our best friend, our caregiver, our therapist. This is too much to ask for from one person. My partner plays many roles for my family and I, and my best friend plays different roles for us, and I like it that way. Want another opinion on this? Click here!

3. Do not compare your marriage to others. I learned this from a good friend. This friend is a transgender woman, married to another wwedding2oman. They are the epiphany of different, and yet they are the most loving, most caring and beautiful couple I have ever met. My marriage is my own. We are different, we go through different stages at different times, and we happy that way. We do not own a home, we do not have a ton of married friends, we do not go on date nights once a week. We do what we think is right at the right times, and that is ok!!

4. Stop mind reading. Or at least stop pretending that you can. You do not know anyone in the world well enough to read their mind. When you are in an argument, or any tense situation, do not assume that you know what they are thinking. Instead, do this simple thing called asking. Communication is key, we all know it, but we don’t do it. Ask what they think, how they feel, and why they feel this way. Listen. Put yourself in their position, and then reconsider attacking back. This doesn’t mean you don’t have feelings, it is just acknowledging that they do.

5. Get naked when you are arguing. Seriously. Try it. Life Changing. Here are some more tips on arguing effectively.

6. The loss of passion does not equal the loss of compassion. Passion dies out. Many people do not want to believe this. But it does, and that is ok! You may go a while with no passion, and then you have a spike in your marriage filled with passion, then again maybe you don’t. One thing to remember is that you still have compassion for each other. You still care for them, you still love them, but you are freed from they anxiety that comes with the thought of separation from your partner. Its a beautiful thing really!

While 5 years has nothing on 25 or 30 years, I have still learned a lot! Here is to another 5 years of craziness!

wedding

OH YEA!


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The Interview

Credit: Terlayn Pilgram

Credit: Terlayn Pilgram

You know that dream job or internship that you always wanted?

Then when it came time to apply you knew you were shooting for the moon.

Well I applied… because you know what they say…

“Shoot for the moon, even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars”

The stars and beautiful and all but I really wanted to land on the moon…

About a month ago I applied for the internship of a lifetime. It is everything I want in an internship, and a future job! It matches my skills, understanding, and most importantly, my passion. Now, I knew when I applied that I would be one of thousands to apply, but hey, if you never try, you never succeed.

Today I received the email that I was selected to be interviewed.

I called my husband and shouted “I landed the interview! I landed the interview!” I texted my mom, I posted on Facebook asking for positive vibes and thoughts. Oh man I was excited!

Now it is time to calm down and think about the interview.

The interview…

Thats scary…

How do you prepare for interviews? What are your best interviewing tips? What are your interview no-no’s?

I hope my blog after the interview is a good one…


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Blogging: Why and How for SPC 213

So why do we blog? What is the purpose?

According to Sara Kjellberg, a blogging researcher, scholars blog to share, to have a place to be creative, and to feel connected.

According to NY Times, businesses blog to build their social media footprint, establish their brands, and position themselves in an area of expertise. Ny Times also said that blogging may even be the most effective social media tool for businesses to use!

But why should students blog? Start out by doing a little research yourself. Go ahead, google “why should college students blog?” You will find things such as:

  • Improving writing skills
  • Building confidence
  • Improving online visibility
  • Preparing for a career
  • Stress and creative release

So now that you know why, here are a few tips…

Image: masmettnn

Image: masmettnn

Blogs are not papers. Do not write in long paragraphs. People have short attention spans… how much have you skipped in this post already??

Use images. Again, short attention! We like pictures, they are fun, and help get the point across. They also make it seem like there isn’t so much writing.

Proofread. Then proofread again. Nohing is worse then bad gramer… seriously… You want to look professional.

Pick creative titles. Because “Blog 1” does not catch anyone’s attention.

Choose a topic that interests you. If it is not interesting to you, it will not be interesting to your reader. You have to write these blogs, so have fun with them. Find something that relates to your major, a piece of current news that captured your attention, or something that inspired you today!

Writing a blog, believe it or not, can become a hobby that helps you land a job. So with that, good luck, I look forward to reading your blogs!


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Feminism is a Dirty Word

I sat starring at my computer for about 30 minutes trying to figure out how to write this blog…

So to start, here is what inspired me to write this post

Take THAT feminists

While scrolling through my Facebook, a friend posted this picture with the comment “Take THAT feminists”

I was ANGRY!!

In my anger I went to google looking for the right image to post in my feed to show that feminism is more than “blaming men for everything.”

Then I closed Facebook and decided not to.

So why do people, not just men, hate the word feminist? The person who posted this does not hate me (a feminist). Actually, he is someone I am quite fond of. He is funny, creative, and intelligent. He does not hate feminists.

He does not know what feminist means.

So what does being a feminist mean??

Well to some, they think it means this…

Image

To others it means that we blame men for every hard time we have.

To me… it means equality, opportunity, love for one another. It means not blaming victims. It means loving men. Loving women. Loving our children. Loving the ability to make whatever choices make us happy.

In my experience, those who believe that Feminism is a dirty word are also people who do not know why we need feminism.

Why do we need it?

We need it because women make 76.5 cents to a mans dollar (National Committee on Pay Equality). We need it because African American women make 64 cents to a mans dollar, and hispanic women make 55 cents to a mans dollar (National Women’s Law Center). We need it because women are told that “they asked for it [rape]” when they wore too short of skirts or drank too much alcohol. We need it because when women fight to be equal, they are told that they are ruining families, killing children, practicing witchcraft, and destroying nations.

Feminists do not just fight for women’s equality.

We fight for equality.

For you. For your children. For every group, race, gender, sex, and individual.

So is feminist a dirty word?

To me, its the word of empowerment and change.

Why do you need feminism?


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Saving Money While in Grad School?????

Is it possible??

Here is what I have found out…

To start off, I would like to share a little back story..

I met my husband when I was 14. We were high school sweethearts! I took college classes in high school, and graduated high school early to keep up with him (cus we were so in love… bawww). I was in college for 4 years. In those four years my husband and I got married, and had two children. I missed one week worth of class for each child (while still breastfeeding!), and have never taken a summer off. I am now in my second year of my master’s program, and again took summer classes. I am a teaching assistant for my university, in which I get to teach the classes entirely on my own. My tuition is waved for my masters, but I had to take out student loans all four years of my bachelors.

I have lots of student debt… but i am not scared!!!

So here we are now.

My husband and I have now been together for nearly 9 years, and we are ready to buy a home, and stop living pay check to pay check.

If we want to start living this way once I graduate, we have to start saving now… like this very second.

Let me let you in on a little secret… I do research for a living.. I am pretty good at it… so I have done my homework here. I wanted to know:

How can I save each month?

Can I get a home loan with student debt?

What are banks looking at when they assess you for a home loan?

How much of a home loan can I afford?

And of course…. what kind of jobs can I get with a master’s degree in human communication (research focus on the LGBTQ community).

There are a bazillion tips out on the interweb on how to save money, but about for every 1,000 tips, I can use 1. Well, one is better than zero right?

So here are my tips after much research:

1. Write down your finances. Every penny. Start off with delegating your bills out to each pay check. For example: my charter and electric bill come out of my first check each month. My rent comes out of my last check each month. Next, total up how much you make and subtract how much you spend on bills, gas, and groceries. How much do you have left?? Can you put 10, 20, 30, 50% of your leftovers into savings? If so, do it!!

2. Bite the buck and buy groceries, lots of them. Get the kind of groceries that you make meals from scratch. You would be amazed at how much this will save you. Also, always make a little extra to take to work with you for lunch the next day. Eating a brown bag lunch every day will save you hundreds!! Also, buy store brand… you wont taste the difference. Remember, these meals do not have to be betty Crocker, just a filling meal. Extra tip: Aldi’s has the cheapest veggies, and Walmart has the cheapest chicken!

3. Get netflix… so this is $10 a month, how will that save me money?? Well a movie ticket is also $10.00 and it is just one part  of entertainment for one night!! Instead of going out with friends, invite them over, have everyone bring a snack to share, you can make some from your groceries, and watch a movie on netflix. Not enough? Start watching series on netflix that you can get addicted to. I like Walking dead, Lost, Downton Abbey, and a few more. Wanting to watch the next episode may keep you in and save you on gas, food, a movie ticket and more. Maybe you can get some class work done between as well!!

4. Stop using credit cards. If you can not afford it when you swipe it, you can not afford it. If you can not afford it, you will pay payments. If you pay payments, you are paying interest. If you are paying interest, you are spending more and more and more. Stop it.. now. Its a slippery slope…

5. Do not clip coupons. These are scams… did you know that??? “What a great deal!! $1.00 off something I wont need for three months, then I will forget I have it!” or “$2.00 off 2 of the same thing, I will have to get that, even though I have never used this brand before and would not have bought it if I never had a coupon.” No… Just no. You are spending more than you would have if you never had the coupon. If it is for free… fine, use it. If it is for something you buy regularly and you need, use it. Otherwise, THROW IT AWAY!!

6. Call your tv service and electric company. Are you paying the lowest rate you could be paying? Probably not. Charter reduces my bill every time I call.. I call about once every 6 months. Most electric companies can give you a set rate on your bill each month; is it lower than what you are paying now? If so, take advantage of that!!!

These are my 6 golden tips for now. I am hoping to find more!! I am saving a lot each month just by following these tips.

Do you have any more tips? Comment them below!

Do you want me to write tips on the other areas I have been researching? Leave me a comment, I will get to it ASAP!!!

Thanks for reading!