That Praxis Test

I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who wished me luck yesterday while I took my Praxis! I had planned for this to be a long Facebook post, but I felt it belonged better on my blog.

I took all three at once (math, reading, writing) and passed the reading with flying colors.

But I didn’t pass the math by 8 points. I was a little upset I didn’t pass, but then clarity hit and I cried because I was surprised and happy that I managed to just get the score I did.

For anyone who knows me well, you’ll know math has never been my strong point or anything I was ever interested in. I spent years failing math and thinking I just “wasn’t good at it,” but that’s not true. I aced math in college and for having not been around math since college and studying for the test since October, I have to say I was amazed I even managed to not pass by 8 points. I know that when I re-take the test I will pass it.

And math has become interesting to me. I am fascinated by how it’s being taught and I actually understand it more now than I did when I was kid. I even have a book about mathematics on hold at the library. I am no longer terrified of it.

Hard work pays off. Support helps. You all are awesome. Next time, when I take that test, I won’t allow any fear to creep into my head. I will study even harder and have that test be the only thing I have to think about in the testing room, not two other tests combined with it.

Basic Apple Cider Recipe


Happy Halloween everyone! I’ve had a blast celebrating it this year. First I attended a friend’s spooky Halloween party where I was dressed up as Inside Out’s Joy. I had never had so much fun creating a look.

Then last night I went to a 80s High School Reunion Murder Mystery Party. Is it bad that my outfit came mostly from my closet? I didn’t need to buy anything! I went for the big 80s hair and neon pink makeup. I felt a little sad when I washed it all off later that night. Long live the beautifully terrible 80s.

For the past few years on Halloween I’ve made mulled apple cider. And every year, I search the Internet for a recipe. I have no idea why I don’t write it down. It’s always the same. I stand looking into the Crockpot wondering what I put in there with the apple juice. I usually have cinnamon and oranges standing by, waiting patiently to be plunked into the juice.

This year, I decided to spice it up a bit more (pun intended.) I decided to search, once again, through the Internet for a mulled cider recipe including other spices, and here’s what I’ve learned: they’re all different. There are HUNDREDS are ways to make mulled apple cider. And I think it’s wonderful, even if it means I can’t find just the right basic recipe.

So I’m adding my own recipe to the mix of other wonderful cider recipes people are probably searching. I’m calling my “basic” because I decided to buy the spices listed on the back of a complete mulling spice package (I already had half of the spices at home.) If you’re one of the many searching for a basic recipe that mixes fresh and ground spices, well, I’m your girl!


Basic Mulled Cider Recipe

1 64 fl oz apple juice or cider

2 cinnamon sticks

3 orange slices

1/4 tsp cloves

1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg

pinch of black pepper

4 tbsp brown sugar

1/4 tsp allspice

1 star anise

pinch ground cardamom

  1. Pour apple juice or cider into Crockpot and add spices. Stir and cover with lid. Serve when hot.
  2. Keep leftover juice or cider in it’s original container. Will keep in the fridge overnight and probably for at least a day after.

“Big Magic,” A Book Review (Sort Of)

I just finished reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s book about creative living called “Big Magic.”  I don’t want to spoil what “Big Magic” is, so I’m leaving it to you to find out. I recommend it to everyone–because we’re all creative people, in our own way. What this book will teach you is how to become brave with your creativity, not care too much about it, learn to trust it, and then enjoy it.

I loved how she explained throughout the book that we shouldn’t choose the way of the creative martyr or tortured artist, but to consider a new way of taking on creativity: through the eyes and energy of a trickster: playful, fun, light.

Here are a few quotes from the book I wrote down to keep as a reminder to be unafraid of creative living and learn to work with trickster energy and not the martyr:

On fear:

” We all know that fear is a desolate boneyard where our dreams go to desiccate in the hot sun. This is common knowledge, sometimes we just don’t know what do to about it.”

(Isn’t that the best explanation of fear ever?! I thought so.)

On hiding behind your weakness or fears:

“Fear is boring because it is the same everytime: leads to nothingness. Because it’s the same thing everyday.”

She admits that sometimes we need fear (the kind that, keeps us from danger), and that it is inevitable–fear will always be there. Instead, she suggests allowing it to come with you and creativity, but that it has no power. You’re the one in charge. It just gets to sit there and watch. There’s a wonderful speech she writes to fear and it’s too long to type again here.Go get the book. Look for it. Copy it down and pin it up on your wall.

On trusting your creativity:

“Why wouldn’t your creativity love you? It came to you, didn’t it? …Creativity drew itself near, it wanted a relationship with you.”

“I don’t with for passion to strike. I keep working because I trust that creativity is always trying to find me, even when I have lost sight of it. ”

On the sacredness of your work, or not caring too much:

“What you produce is not necessarily always sacred, I realized, just because you think it’s sacred.”

“It was just a thing–a thing that I had made and loved, and then changed, and then remade, and still loved, and then published, and then put aside so I could go on to make other things.”

On being brave enough to be OK with interesting:

“Don’t let go of your courage the moment things stop being easy or rewarding…That’s the moment when interesting begins.

Every part of this book was insightful. I learned so much and now that I’ve returned it to the library, it’s going to go to the next person. I hope they are as touched by it as I was. I hope they decide to be brave and embrace their creativity.

And just a thought of mine: YOUR CREATIVITY IS NOT USELESS. It’s something you’ve been curious about, created, and have either kept it for yourself or have shared it with the world (which I hope you do!) But it’s something you made. Creativity came to you specifically to start and finish that project. It is never useless.

Make it Vegetarian: Thai Chickpea Pizza

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I found a recipe for a Thai chickpea and vegetable pizza from Veggies Don’t Bite while scrolling through Pinterest last night. I’ve had Thai chicken pizza before, and I knew that it could turn it out as a vegetarian dish.

Instead of making the peanut sauce the recipe calls for, we went to Trader Joe’s and settled on their Satay Peanut Sauce.

My boyfriend and I also decided to sprinkle the pizza with Parmesan cheese before putting it into the oven.

The outcome? Delicious. I loved the chickpeas as a topping and think I’ll try adding them onto my normal vegetarian pizzas every now and then. The only change we’d make for the next go around would be to add more of that delicious peanut sauce.

If you’re bored with your pizza night, try this recipe. It was fantastic!

How to Knit, Part 1

Want to learn to knit? It’s easy! Here’s how to get started.

First, you’ll need a pair of knitting needles and some yarn. I recommend size 10 aluminum needles. For yarn, I suggest Red Heart Worsted Weight (it’s usually about 3.50 at Walmart or about a dollar more at Michaels.) Choose a bright color of yarn so you will be able to see your knitting better than with a darker color.

Second, you need to find a good tutorial and books. Here are the videos that I watched over and over again:

One of my favorite books for knitting is “The Idiot’s Guide to Knitting.” It’s very easy to understand and includes great beginner projects.

One of the easiest things to make when you’re a beginning knitter is a scarf. I’d go with a basic stockinette stitch, which you’ll learn if you watch the above videos. It’s the basic two-stitch repeat for knitting: knitting one row and purling the next. By knitting a scarf, you’ll be able to get plenty of basic knitting practice while also making something beautiful.

This should be enough info to get you started. Happy knitting!

Basic Chia Pudding Recipe

Chia Pudding

Recently, I bought a ton of chia seeds for a fantastic price at a local grocery store. I remembered seeing chia puddings all over the place online: on Pinterest, blogs, FoodGawker, etc. I’d been wanting to try it again since I’d tried it once before and it wasn’t great.

There are tons of chia pudding recipes out there, but the most basic recipe I love came from the My New Roots cookbook. I’ve changed it up a bit, so here’s the recipe I use. It serves two.

Version 1: Basic Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding

2-3 tablespoons chia seeds

6 tablespoons milk of choice

1 cup yogurt (plain regular or Greek)

Sweetener of choice (such as 5 dates)

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 frozen banana or other frozen fruit (such as cherries)

Version 2: Basic Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding

2-3 tablespoons of chia seeds

6 tablespoons milk of choice

1 tablespoon vanilla

Additional spices such as: cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice

Sweetener of choice (dates, agave nectar, maple syrup)


For both: Except for the frozen fruit, add the remaining ingredients into a bowl with a good fitting lid. (I also like to use a mason jar.) Place in fridge overnight. In the morning, blend with frozen fruit until smooth and creamy. (It might be thicker or thinner depending on the amount of liquid you used. If you used the full 6 tablespoons, it might be on the thinner side.)

Make it Vegetarian: Cranberry Sauce Stuffed Vegetarian Bean Balls

I’ve made these vegetarian bean balls stuffed with cranberry sauce at least 10 times in the past three months. They take about 5 minutes to prep and 20 minutes to cook. Serve them with this delicious Brussels sprouts salad (I use feta instead of the blue cheese and slivered almonds instead of pecans) and oven roasted potatoes.

The bean balls were adapted from this recipe from Daily Burn for Cranberry Stuffed Chicken Meatballs.

Cranberry-Sauce Stuffed Vegetarian Bean Balls

1 can white beans, drained and smashed
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon Worchestershire
1 tablespoon ground sage
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
pinch of salt and pepper
Cranberry sauce (the whole berry kind or homemade)

1. Mix all ingredients except for cranberry sauce into a large mixing bowl.
2. Using clean hands, take out a tablespoon of the mixture (either eyeball it or measure with a measuring spoon) and put it in the palm of your hand. Using a teaspoon, scoop out the cranberry sauce and insert it into the center of the mixture in your hand.
3. Cover the cranberry sauce with another tablespoon of the bean mixture, and then work with it until it forms a ball.
4. Place the bean balls onto a greased baking sheet and bake in the oven at 425 for 15-20 minutes.