Happy Pancake Day

Food = amazing. While I don’t usually care for the various made-up holidays, I happen to love to eat. Since an early age, pancakes were my favorite breakfast. My mom made them every Sunday and it was the one day a week that we truly gathered as a family in the mornings and had a happy time. Today is the IHOP National Pancake Day. When you visit a location, you will get a free short stack of buttermilk pancakes. In exchange, you can donate money that will go to charity.

If you didn’t go by an IHOP on time, there is always February 28 next year. In the meantime, I would like to share my grandma’s recipe for European pancakes – the same crepes my mom made me.

Whisk in 2 large eggs, 1 cup of milk (or even water) and about eight tablespoons flour. Spray a 9″ pan with cooking spray or add a tablespoon oil. Pour a thin even layer of the mixture. When the crepe starts detaching easily from the pan, flip over and cook another minute or so. Voila! Wipe down the pan and repeat. You can fill the crepes with jam, jelly, Nutella or make them salty with cheese or cut cold meats – the latter may sound crazy, but trust me it’s worth a try. Enjoy!


Plate Principles

More learning about vehicles keeps coming my way. Definitely not a good kind of learning, either. As part of our mail today, came an envelope addressed to me from the City of Dallas. Come to find out, it’s a ticket for not coming to a complete stop at a red light. Mind that, in all my driving years, never have I had a traffic violation of any kind.

The license plate on the vehicle in the picture matched the numbers from my old car that I traded in when purchasing my current Nissan. So, someone either did not transfer the plates correctly or simply stole them. Great. After calling the dealership, all they said was that I should have taken down my plates, because they are not responsible if those get stolen from a car left on their lot. Why should they pay attention to that?! Lesson being, if you sell a car, take your plates along. (I got my first vehicle with plates and just transferred them, but I guess you never know)

Now, I await business hours tomorrow, to dispute the incorrect charges and then call the Dallas PD. Happy Monday.

Broadening Horizons

Some varied lessons came in view this week.

Forming New Power

Once again, I faced the power of young minds and how accidental inventions can turn into the most important ones. Apparently, a 10-year-old Clara Leisen from Kansas City discovered a new chemical compound in class. Her chemistry teacher posted an assignment to combine nitrogen, oxygen and hydrogen atoms and molecules. Leisen’s formed a compound that could help in developing new methods for collection and conservation of energy, as well as produce a new kind of explosives.

The Closest to Being on Another Planet While on Earth

Travelling has always been my passion and truly any destination sounds fascinating. Regardless if I went to a small village in Bulgaria or Disney World in Orlando, Fla., I can find magic. Recently, a parent at my preschool told me about their trip to Beijing, China that slightly makes me rethink how long I want to spend there if I ever visit. Apparently, the pollution and neon lights dominate the landscape so much that you stand in a constant state of a milky, lit-up fog. Also, blond, blue-eyed children are a rare sight, so when one fairer child visits, he or she immediately becomes the center of attention in the crowd. While I love just finding new things on the spot, researching a destination before arrival still seems the smartest way to get the most of your vacation and stay safe, especially when traveling as a family.

Of Brushes and Strokes

For her birthday, my mom-in-law requested no gifts but some help around the house, namely helping her change the color of her office. As a painting newbie, lessons were plentiful. When you use a roller, you must ensure even amounts of paint on the entire surface, because if the brush is not coated uniformly, spots will show on the wall. Also, be that with a roller or a regular brush, while painting on the first coat you can paint in a V-shape (to get in the crevices if the wall is textured), but just up and down on the second. Additionally, on every final stroke (before you remove your brush from the wall/ceiling) you must brush up or down at a flowing motion without coming to an abrupt stop but letting the brush just roll off, quite as an eccentric artist. Best advice? Always have someone with at least minor experience painting to get a better result.

Screen Smarts

Thanks to my electronics-wiz husband, I learned something brand new about my laptop today. We attach our PC to a larger monitor on the side so that we have two screens making it easier to multitask. Well, when you unplug the monitor, usually the laptop immediately recognizes that it only has one screen and displays everything on it … until today. To fix it, you need to go into your desktop’s properties, click on settings and then on screen number 2, uncheck the box stating “Extend my Windows desktop onto this monitor” and apply the action. Your device should restore to its original one-screen setting. This helps in my case, but it can also aid if you use a work laptop at home and want to hook it up to personal computer and view information on multiple screens.

And the … goes to …

With the Academy Awards being presented tonight, the nerd and the pop-culture ignoramus that I am, I learned how the Oscars got their name. History gives many explanations, the earliest of which states that an Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences worker named the award after her “Uncle Oscar” in 1931 because the statuette resembled her relative.

Of Alligators and House Hunting

Random. As organized as I am, random is the way I like the things around me to flow. So are my lessons of today.

Did you know that alligators feel threatened by you if you are on land or inside a boat and so they most likely won’t attack? It’s a whole different story if you fall in the water, though…

Also, in my steps to finding a perfect home, I just discovered that I do not directly pay my Realtor, who helps me buy a house. Apparently, the listing agent gets a commission, usually 6 percent of the final sale price, and splits it with my Realtor, since he or she brought in the buyer.



Keep it Safe and Spicy

My sister, the science nerd that she is, enlightened me on a new fact today.

Most of us know that when we purchase milk from the store it’s been pasteurized. It means that the substance has been heated long enough at a specific temperature to reduce the viable bacteria numbers and eliminate the harmful organisms, making milk safe to drink. That process, however, does not mean that the liquid has been sterilized, which would kill all living microorganisms. So, my little sis mulled over the fact that she could get sick from drinking store-bought milk. Although that may be true, pasteurization kills more than 90 percent of harmful bacteria, which should mean that chance of food-borne illness are minimal.

Looking over my sister’s dilemma, I saw a huge debate happening online between the regulatory agencies and all-natural food consumers who advocated drinking raw milk. While I love food as unprocessed as possible, raw milk is just flat out dangerous. As humans we continue living to the age that we do, because we process our food in some ways. In my life, I have grown both fruits and vegetables, taken care of chickens and milked a cow. Through all those processes, my family and I have taken steps to make our food safe. Numerous times have we bought milk “straight from the cow,” but we always boiled it before consumption. Nothing compares to taking the cream out of the milk by yourself but always protect your health.

Keeping up with the subject of food, I learned some cool things about peppers. Apparently, a pharmacist named Wilbur Scoville devised the so-called Scoville Organoleptic Test that measures the hotness of various peppers, now standardized as the Scoville scale. It is based on how many times you dilute a substance concentrate until it stops tasting spicy. The original 1912 test included five human testers trying alcohol extracts of assorted pure ground peppers in sugar syrups. Of course, a downfall to the experiment is the subjective nature of the feeling of heat. To register, three out of the five participants must taste the spice. The common bell pepper registers at 0 on the scale and pure capsaicin stands at 15 million Scoville units. The jalapeño reaches 4500 to 6000 units, the habanero 350,000 and Bangladesh native Naga Jolokia pepper registers at 1 million Scoville units, approximately 400 times spicier than Tabasco. Now that would make some smoke come out of your ears…

Age-free Learning

Lessons sometimes come from the unlikeliest sources. Today I learned a neat planet fact.

Just wondering – what do you think when you hear astronomy? Potentially visualize planets or the unending universe, and the scientific information probably came from an instructor, a Discovery Channel TV show or some fancy article. Well, this afternoon I learned that Saturn has 22 large moons. A four-year-old told me. After looking it up, I discovered that the child happens to be correct. While the gas giant has 62 moons orbiting it, only 22 are significant in size and are its satellites. The same four-year-old knows the dates of his, his parent’s, most of his friends’ and my birthday. The majority of children that age lack this kind of memory capacity.

Remember my Saturn story and just as I will try, never forget that no matter how many years you accrue, age is irrelevant when it comes to providing learning and inspiration.


Stick It With a Smile

Every day might be filled with lessons, but sometimes what we remember are the comedic memories from the past 24 hours. If you have ever watched The Office (or work at a place like mine) you know what I mean. Yep, the stapler in Jell-O – been there, seen that. Today, practical jokes took a new, enormous step up.

What do you see here?

Yep, a stuck Post-It.

Here is what that Post-It fashions in the entirety:

If you look closely at this one, you can see nice notes written for the owner of the pictured office – our amazing boss.

So, if your supervisor has a sense of humor, you could try this, in reality quite useful, wall outfit. Overall, the general effect appears almost pleasant and simply brightens your day:

Smile more.