DIY Repurposed Buoys

While beach combing in Maine we came across some old lobster buoys. They are the quintessential symbol of life on the upper east coast and my children insisted they have them, along with twenty pounds of wave worn stones, fragments of seashells, and the jackpot colorful shards of sea glass. But these dingy lobster buoys...I wasn't so sure, but then I had another flash of brilliance. I know, I'm full of them it lately. But hey I have to enrich these kids, yanno? Anyway...paint the buoys. Make them our own. A cylindrical canvas to paint a quaint ocean scene on. A souvenir. Ingenious.

After I hosed them off and let them dry in the sun, I primed them with some basic white paint. I could have taken it a step further and applied something a bit "stronger" to seal or otherwise contain the grittiness, but the kids were eager to get to painting.

And then, my role in the process was over.

They sketched their ideas with pencil and painted away! I used a roll of duct tape to provide a "base" so to keep the pointier side down for that orientation.

Now to find some rope and hang them on the wall and forever remember a fun vacation on the shores of New England.

What finds do you make your own? Do share!

Drink up: PB & J

This is the Peanut Butter and Jelly Smoothie I make when I'm feeling nostalgic (and I generally can't stomach gluten free bread, never mind that it often has some kind of added sugar in it.) Bonus for the littles, I sneak spinach and cukes hidden within- they blend up invisibly.

The question was, “What would grapes be like in a smoothie?” I hesitated, the skin I thought, the skin wouldn’t work. It would be all texture-y on the tongue. Sometimes that works in a smoothie, though a more fitting name than smoothie would be appropriate.

Nix the grapes in a smoothie. The mood was peanut butter and…something… strawberries, ah yes, they’d work. Raspberries ditto. Pretty much any other kind of fruit that has ever inspired a jelly or jam, except for grape would do just fine. Sorry, I’m not peeling grapes. I will however chop up a few strawberries, scoop out a spoonful of peanut butter, peel a banana and add a few splashes of our favorite milk alternative then blend for about a minute. Tossing in some veg when no one's looking. Yep, I can do that, quicker than you can say Peanut Butter and Jelly Smoothie. Okay, almost.

And it lived up to its promise, a creamy, smooth slightly sweet, slightly salty version of a favorite lunch time classic.

Any favorite smoothies you've adapted? Do share!

With Wings

“You were born with potential

You were born with goodness and trust
You were born with ideals and dreams
You were born with greatness
You were born with wings
You are not meant for crawling, so don't.
You have wings
Learn to use them, and fly.”

- Rumi (1207 - 1273)

The venerable poet Rumi proposed this truth over 700 years ago. and I am here to share it again. We easily forget our innate goodness. We need to hear it again and again. Beneath all our life experiences this is who we are. Good. Loaded with potential. Beautiful.

The emotions and feelings we attach to events in the past no longer serve us in the present. The experience itself that prompted our reaction may serve to as a reminder of some terrible thing we dare not repeat, but the turmoil we cause ourselves as we relive the anger, sorrow, guilt, resentment does nothing but diminish us in this moment. 

So Rumi reminds us to release our fetters, spread our wings, and fly.


A Delay is Not a Denial

The manuscript is done. The queries are out. And another story is there, waiting. And another. But I remind myself to be patient. To give this one the opportunity to laugh for the first time, smile, cry, and maybe find its way into print.

The Plunge

I'm sitting with these words while at the same time feeling intensely moved by them. Much like in yoga practice or when surfing, I feel a well of serenity and driving energy to jump in feet first to that mind-filled creative place and write, write, write. But it is summer, the kids are home, and there are chores to do never mind waves to ride. Fortunately, there are twenty-four hours in a day. Thank goodness for that.

Dani Shapiro has written seven books of fiction and non-fiction. Her forthcoming book, Still Writing: The Pleasures and Perils of the Creative Life will be on shelves in October. 

WriteOnCon -- Heads up!

Mark your calendars. Tuesday & Wednesday August 13-14, 2013. Visit  WriteOnCon for more info.

And...Miss Snark's First Victim Secret Agent Contest is hot on the burner! I entered my manuscript- so please check out lucky #45.


Happy Independence Day & Patriot Pop Recipe

Happy 4th to you all...we froze up these cool little *SUGAR-FREE* treats to celebrate. They are also vegan, gluten free, and totally delicious. Here's how.

Patriot Pop- vegan, gluten free, sugar free, and dang good. 

The great things about these is you can play with the fruits and quantities and create your very own favorite blends. 

Number one- Freeze as many ripe banana coins as you can. For this recipe I used about 6 bananas. The concept is very similar to banana soft serve. Never made banana soft serve? Oh eee. You are missing out my friend. There are recipes abound, but basically, freeze bananas, blend in food processor. Wonder why you've been eating dairy ice cream and getting a fart belly for so long. Oh, you can also add chocolate, peanut butter...other fruits. Delish. 
Use paper cups if you don't have Popsicle molds. I'm going totally ghetto here. 
Here's the part that requires just a smidge of thought. But your smaht like that so it should be easy peasy.
First blend about 2 cups fresh strawberries with 1 cup of bananas. If your mixture is too thick (as in ice cream, you'll want to thin it a bit. I used coconut milk for this, but pick your fave. However, if you want the aforementioned banana soft-serve, freeze those berries too! Pour this first mixture RED into your cups. 
Insert Popsicle sticks. My RED was just thick enough for them to stand up. I had to delicately adjust them, but I got them upright. 
For your WHITE I used about 2 + cups froze bananas, half a tin of coconut milk , and  2 tablespoons of coconut shreds. Blend. Add. Adjust the sticks. Freeze again. Do you see the layers forming?
Almost time for the BLUE!
I foraged for these berries, for my BLUE, so you could say I really earned my pop, but they're so full of flavor! They taste just like summer. Blend another 2 cups of banana coins, about 2 cups of blueberries, it's fine to use frozen, just adjust the thickness with some liquid, such as coconut milk. Freeze one more time!

When they're all done, unwrap from the paper cup, like those old twist and bake rolls from childhood. 

And I just have to say,  with pop in hand, I'm thankful for all of our freedoms in this great nation. 

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