Monday, January 23rd, 2017

I’m Nicer Now That I Meditate :)

Taking time to smell…

 
 
Meditation has profoundly changed me in many great ways… 
 
I’m ridiculously more calm, which is good for everyone.
 
I don’t freak out as much, and, if I do, I quickly stop myself before it gets out of hand. (Mindfulness in action.)
 
Food tastes better.
 
I feel like I’m “flowing” more through life. More “in the zone” moments. 
 
I smile a lot more.
 
I laugh more.
 
I sleep better.
 
I embrace aging (most of the time).
 
I’m nicer to other people.
 
I’m nicer to my self.

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Monday, January 9th, 2017

Using an Online Drawing Class with My Daughter for Homeschool

by Kristen Suzanne in homeschool, kamea, Motherhood

Getting ready for our online drawing class.

We are planning to move abroad (Worldschool here we come!), and even though we won’t be doing this for over a year, I’ve been diving deep into research to decide where to go.

Through my research I found a witty blogger and author, Christine Gilbert, who wrote a book called Mother Tongue which I am crazy eager to read. If the book is anything like her blog I’ll be entertained the whole way through as she tells her family’s globe-trotting tale.

So while devouring her blog, I learned that her husband offers an online drawing class for only $12 (looks like the price went up to $39 now but still worth it).

LEARN TO DRAW AND KEEP A SKETCHBOOK

Have you ever sat yourself in a cafe in some unfamiliar place just to people watch? Have you been thinking about keeping a visual journal of your trips? Make this the year you take your travel sketchbook out to sketch your travels, and start by learning how to put on paper what you see in the world.

Wow. Awesome.

This will be a super fun way to spend time with Kamea and improve our drawing skills. Kamea is a huge fan of doing art. It’s never been my forte but that’s because I suck at it. :)

Case in point: the assignment for the first day it was to look at a picture of yourself and draw it. By the time I was done I looked like I had drawn a monkey.

Don’t laugh. No, please, go ahead and laugh.

That’s going to change though. I’m already seeing progress.

The assignment for the second day had amazing results because of the technique used. We drew a picture that was presented upside down. It was trippy seeing the results when I turned my sketch right-side up.

Mine: left. Kamea’s: right.

Hard at some fun work.

I can see it now … Greg, who is very good at drawing, alongside Kamea and me, with our sketchbooks and pencils in hand … drawing what we see as we travel the world. I’m loving this dream.

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Sunday, January 1st, 2017

Welcoming 2017 With More Hands Free Mama Time

Happy New Year!

Happy 2017.

I’m starting off the year by still wearing the same clothes I wore for the past couple of days, which means I’m wearing the same clothes as last year – hehe. It’s just been one, or two, or three of those days.

All good though, because my lack of changing into clean clothes meant more time for me to plan our move abroad, in the sort-of (not sort-of) near future. So much more detail on that throughout the year as we plan our epic adventure, and OMG I’m beyond excited to Worldschool Kamea.

In other news, I am not loving my dark hair and feel the need for some highlights… And… I’m becoming a Hands Free Mama to spend more quality time with my daughter and husband.

Enjoying this book very much.

Enjoying this book very much.

 

Being a Hands Free Mama means more active listening and less thinking about snacks while people talk to me. Or, maybe that’s just plain being polite.

Yes!

Yes!

I stumbled upon this author’s website last week and it hit home.

I immediately started implementing the ideas.

I took my Hands Free Mama-ness seriously when I forced shined a smile while Kamea threw those pom-things everywhere and rolled in them, scattering them even more. My old normal reaction of, “Ok ok, cute, um ok can we clean those up now?” was put on hold for a good ten minutes while I played with her. Rolling in poms.

Pure joy.

Pure joy.

Sadly (because I didn’t do this with her until now) yet excitedly (cuz I see how I can be in the future), Kamea had one of the best times of her life giggling into fits as we played with the poms on the floor.

Creating a life with more moments like this.

Creating a life with more moments like this.

We will have a lot more funny crazy moments.

Case in point.

Life is too much fun.


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Friday, October 28th, 2016

We’re Go Girls! Field trips and Homeschooling.

by Kristen Suzanne in home school, Motherhood, travel
Here we go! Homeschool fun out and about.

Here we go! Homeschool fun out and about.

I’ve recently dubbed my daughter and myself, The Go Girls, as we have been just getting up and going for all kinds of activities lately.

Most of you know that we homeschool though I’d kind of lump us into the unschool category, which I prefer to call FUNschool. Our lives are about learning through fun activities. And you know what? It works.

She is learning to read, spell, and write by texting on her iPod and playing Words with Friends. We read books as well but there’s no pulling teeth with all of these fun alternatives. We learn math with cooking, board games, and simply talking about numbers out loud so she can see how to manipulate them to get the answers to questions.

When we have longer car rides to activities, it’s a ripe time for conversing about everything from zombies to politics (maybe that was the same conversation).

Kamea is full of questions every single day. Being able to answer them all in the moment, or help her find the information when I don’t know the answer, is a blessing.

 

Time to go global.

Time to go global.

I want to take learning to a global level in the near future.

I was recently inspired by the book Global Student, which has my brain’s gears thinking about living abroad for extended periods of time to immerse ourselves in other cultures, learn language and show Kamea the world. (This book is not just for homeschoolers.)

From Amazon.com about the book

In 2005, Maya Frost and her husband sold everything and left their suburban American lifestyle behind in order to have an adventure abroad. The tricky part: they had to shepherd their four teenage daughters through high school and into college. This hilarious and conspiratorial how-to handbook describes the affordable, accessible, and stunningly advantageous options they stumbled upon that any American student can leverage to get an outrageously relevant global education. 

Ready to ditch the drama of the traditional hypercompetitive SAT/AP/GPA path? Meet the bold American students who are catapulting into the global economy at twenty with a red-hot college diploma, sizzling 21st-century skills, a blazing sense of direction–and no debt.  

You’ll discover:  
• the one thing preventing your student from blasting forward
• why Advanced Placement isn’t so advanced
• why international programs fail to provide a truly global education
• the most critical time for your student to study abroad
• the best exchange program in the world ($3,000 or less per year)
• the strategic way to fast-forward through high school
• how to maximize a family sabbatical 
• how to live the life of your dreams abroad–and save thousands for college

 

I always knew we’d travel, in some way, someday, to other parts of the world.

Someday.

Upon completion of Global Student, it easily clicked as to how we would actually do it.

In 2018, we’ll sell some stuff, put the rest in storage, pack some suitcases and take off. I’m only in the very beginning of researching this but we’re considering south of France (and other parts of Europe), the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, and/or Costa Rica. Probably all of them eventually.

For now… here’s our world in Arizona. These are some things we’ve been doing to have fun and learn at the same time.

The various parks offer homeschool classes and family activities that are loaded with hands-on learning.

Kamea is feeding a sweet and hungry tortoise some prickly pear.

Watch your fingers - feeding a tortoise.

Watch your fingers – feeding a tortoise.

 

I’ve always thought snakes were cool and witnessing this king snake eat a dead rat was fascinating.

Mouse was dead prior to feeding.

Rat was dead prior to feeding.

We also saw a rattlesnake have her lunch, too, which was epic.

We like jumping at an indoor trampoline park. Great exercise and ridiculously fun.

Time to jump!

Time to jump!

 

Kamea is enjoying a Lego Engineering class where she built a battery-operated car.

Kamea in Lego Engineering class.

Kamea in Lego Engineering class.

 

We celebrated Dia de los Muertos in Phoenix which was quite the event. Now that I’ve had a taste of this locally, I can’t wait to visit Oaxaca to witness it there someday.

Dancing along with the others.

Dancing along with the others. #Diadelosmuertos

 

I’m grateful Kamea can experience some culture like this in Arizona. She sat at a table filled with Spanish-speaking kids, learning and having fun.

Art with other kids at Dia de los Metros.

Art with other kids at Dia de los Muertos.

 

We visited a pumpkin patch which was filled with activities and fun including a train ride, hay ride, games, animals, and horse rides.

Pumpkins with a desert backdrop.

Hmmmm which one?

Even though I’ve been in Arizona over a decade, I’m still not used to some holidays here. Seeing the cactus in the backdrop is weird different.

 

Horse riding time

Horse riding time

Kamea wanted to ride the horse so badly! When I got to the part where I could choose the non-mandatory helmet, I was struck with protecting my child’s brain in the event of a fall or saving her from potentially getting lice with this community-helmet (ewww). Obviously we went with the helmet but next time I’m bringing her own. 

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Wednesday, August 17th, 2016

Meet My New Best Friend: Instant Pot Smart

My new BFF in the kitchen - Instant Pot Smart. Book sold separately.

My new BFF in the kitchen – Instant Pot Smart. Book sold separately.

I’m a lazy busy mom, and this is my secret weapon.

The Instant Pot Smart

Back story: I have had an electric pressure cooker for years but I didn’t make much with it. That is until earlier this year I pulled it out when I learned that a pressure cooker is the easiest way to make hard-boiled “cooked” (or soft-boiled “cooked”) eggs. The shell peels away effortlessly 95% of the time. But… pulling out a pressure cooker just for eggs, I just don’t do it often.

However…

The Instant Pot came on my radar. This Instant Pot is a kitchen robot, basically, that has multiple functions including the main one as being a pressure cooker, using a stainless steel insert.

A multi functional kitchen appliance? Huh. I’m intrigued.

I started to look into it.

I learned the Instant Pot people had a new model that was dubbed “smart” because it connects via blue tooth. This means that I can write (and share) my own scripts (i.e., programmed recipes). Why is this cool?

Well, with this AWESOME function…

I put my food in and basically push a button (via the app – I use an iPhone these days) and it starts right up. The brilliance of this is that I don’t have to memorize the different times I use to cook different foods.

For example:

  • I like my broccoli to be under LOW pressure for only one minute.
  • Carrots… HIGH pressure for three minutes.
  • Those pesky-to-cook beets? I cook them under HIGH for 25 minutes.
  • Hard-cooked eggs for me cook HIGH pressure for five minutes, while soft-cooked they cook LOW for three minutes.
  • My rice cooks perfectly (brown rice 15 minutes, other rice varieties can be other times)

I can’t remember all of that, and I don’t want to pull a book out each time. Wth the Instant Pot SMART, I create the scripts and they’re programmed. Then, I just push a button.

Oh, and cooking spaghetti squash in 7 minutes under pressure? Um, yeah, awesome.

Effortless hard/soft cooked eggs with Instant Pot Smart.

Effortless hard-ish-cooked eggs with Instant Pot Smart.

Mega easy dinner anyone? Instant Pot Smart.

Mega easy dinner anyone? Instant Pot Smart.

 

I could go on and on and on and on about how much I’m loving my Instant Pot Smart. It has multiple functions and perfectly cooks rice, veggies, and whole chickens with ease and in a fraction of time.

This Instant Pot SMART makes yogurt(!) and is also a slow cooker (for the slow cooker they recommend the optional / additional glass lid). I’ve heard of some people using it for a sous vide too because it can hold a set temperature that you designate.

So many options with just one appliance.

It’s so amazing, I feel like Elaine from Seinfeld when she pushes people… GET OUT!

I sure wish I knew about this before I bought all of my slow cookers and my sous vide and my other pressure cooker. (By the way, even though I love that this is a slow cooker, who wants to slow cook when you can cook so much faster with a pressure cooker?)

Seriously… move over slow cooker, it’s time for something faster.

Hello, Instant Pot Smart. Can we hug?

Hello, Instant Pot Smart. Can we hug?

I figured there must be a catch, right? Where’s the yang that goes with the yin (that is everywhere in life)? Surely there’s something wrong with it – like maybe the nutrition isn’t as good or it’s hard to use? Something?

Well, I just can’t find anything wrong with it. In fact, I read that cooking under pressure is healthier. The quickness with which it cooks (and the process) keeps more nutrients available.

This Instant Pot Smart appliance has changed my life and I’ve only had it less than a month.

I leave it on my counter and use it daily, sometimes two or three times a day. I love how perfectly everything gets cooked and it’s mostly hands off, which means I have more time to do other things I love such as read.

My latest read. Gotta be prepared. #Parenthood

My latest read. Gotta be prepared. #Parenthood

Before buying an Instant Pot Smart, I’d over or undercook rice. Too many times to count. I’d ruin hard-boiled eggs. Too many times. I’d turn my broccoli to army-green mush more often than not.

Not anymore. YAY!

I love my INSTANT POT SMART so much that I just HAD TO TELL EVERYONE! (those links are affiliate, by the way, but I only rave and get cray cray over products that I use and love. And, if you should choose to buy it via my link then that’s awesome! As you might’ve noticed I haven’t been blogging as much. You could say I’m in the “space between stories” in my life right now. But with this friggin’ awesome Instant Pot, I had to get on my horn and write about it.)

Wait… did I tell you that you can make bone broth in like an hour??? 

It’s actually just a bit more than an hour. You have to add the time to get the Instant Pot to pressure. Plus add the time for it to come down in pressure – a quick release is fast though. This time-to-pressure and de-pressure vary by how cold the item is once it’s placed inside plus how much food there is in total. But it’s all hands off and that’s the important thing. And still, it’s waaaaaaay quicker than using traditional methods like the stove, sous vide, or slow cooker.

If you want to make bone broth and don’t have a pressure cooker then here’s my epic post on it.

Instant Pot Chicken Bone Broth in an hour.

Instant Pot Chicken Bone Broth in an hour.

 

I make the most delicious rice pudding in it. I had never made rice pudding before getting my Instant Pot Smart, but I make it regularly now. OMG so good and creamy with grass-fed whole-fat milk, unrefined sugar, pasture-raised eggs, vanilla, sea salt, cream and raisins and arborio rice. The first time I made it, Greg rolled on the floor in the fetal position because he loved it so much. I thought he was going to suck his thumb.

I make cheesecakes, too!

Yes. That’s right.

Cheesecake in a pressure cooker.

Gluten-free Greek Yogurt Cheesecake

Gluten-free Greek Yogurt Cheesecake

 

I make a lot of things in my Instant Pot Smart… most things in fact. But my favorite? 

Vegetables.

Having an Instant Pot Smart has made veggies a regular appearance, because they’re just so damn easy to make. I don’t know what it is about veggies but I can get so lazy when it comes to making them.

With my Instant Pot – Smart, I can make “baked” potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, squashes, etc in much less time. I don’t have to watch the oven and test for doneness a million times because I know that my pressure cooker will do the job.

Broccoli, cauliflower, and beets are a pleasure to make. I never thought that before. Is that just me or do others feel the same?

Before cooking... just throw the whole thing in there.

Before cooking… just throw in the whole thing.

After 1-min under pressure. Vibrant.

After 1-min under pressure. Vibrant.

 

And. Don’t forget to drink the vegetable tea that’s left behind. It has nutrients! I use Castle Rock Spring water when cooking veggies under pressure and then I drink it when the veggies are done cooking.

Broccoli "tea" - from pressure cooking.

Broccoli “tea” – from pressure cooking.

 

I also cook gluten-free pasta in it. No more filling my stove pot with water and waiting for the boil, then stirring frequently, yada yada yada.

Nope. I just toss some sauce and noodles (plus some water or broth) into my Instant Pot and it cooks easily. If I want to get a bit fancy, I can saute some onion and garlic first, using the saute function, then add the sauce, noodles, and any extra water that’s needed. (The Instant Pot has a saute and browning feature).

There is just so much that can be made with the Instant Pot Smart and I love how I can control it from my iPhone using their app. I’ll keep you posted on the progress. Speaking of the app, I think I can share my scripts on Twitter. I’ll look into it.

As you can guess, I wholeheartedly recommend everyone bring an Instant Pot Smart into his/her kitchen. You will be so happy did.

 

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Monday, February 22nd, 2016

Recipe: A Real-Food Nutritious Breakfast in Our Home: Cabbage n Eggs

Cabbage n Eggs n Black Coffee. Mmm mmm mmm.

Cabbage n Eggs n Black Coffee. Mmm mmm mmm.

I find there are days where it seems the only veggies getting served are at dinner.

That’s not cool.

In my attempt to get more veggies in our bellies, I have started adding them more often in breakfast meals. Today, I hit it out of the park with an easy, nutritious, one-skillet breakfast. My whole family was thrilled. I was thrilled. Everything in the world was good.

And… I decided that it’d make a super easy dinner the next time I need a nutritious meal on the table in under 15 minutes.

You know you want some. Trust me, it's easy n delish.

You know you want some. Trust me, it’s easy n delish.

 

Recipe: Cabbage n Eggs

Yield 2 good-sized servings

  • grass-fed ghee or grass-fed butter
  • less than 1/4 head of green cabbage, thinly sliced and chopped
  • sea salt
  • 4 organic, pasture-RAISED eggs
  • Optional toppings: fresh herbs, grass-fed full-fat yogurt, organic salsa
  1. Heat some ghee or butter in a skillet. Add the green cabbage, and season with salt. Stir it a bit while it cooks.
  2. Once the cabbage is cooked to your liking, crack in the eggs.
  3. Stir the mixture to “scramble” the eggs and let it cook until it reaches your desired doneness.
  4. Portion into bowls. Top with fresh herbs, yogurt, and salsa, if desired.
Kamea likes yogurt. :)

Kamea likes yogurt. :)

You could swap out the cabbage with onions, kale, shredded carrots, or Brussels sprouts. Just use whatever you have on hand.

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Tuesday, October 20th, 2015

Surviving the Holidays. Seriously Good Tips. Plus Recipes.

A 2014 Drambuie Christmas Toast with my husband.

Drambuie would “not” be in the healthy category (I don’t think). “BUT IT’S THE HOLIDAYS!”

 

I’m sharing with you some key holiday survival tips. What do I mean survive?

Well, basically, some tips to help feel well during the holidays by not eating too crappy. It’s easy to succumb to the excuse “It’s the holidays” and make it a free-for-all, right? (Guilty.) But when we let our hair down too many times and go crackers (that’s another way to say “cray-cray”) then, sadly, we welcome a weaker immune system and lower energy. Sigh. Am I a buzz kill already?

No! I’m not! I promise.

We still need to have fun. After all, “It’s the holidays!”

Here are few tips to help you survive.

Read More »

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Sunday, October 18th, 2015

A Hospital Tour For Those Planning Home Birth

by Kristen Suzanne in kamea, kids, Kristen Suzanne, Motherhood, pregnancy
Questions to ask a hospital on a hospital birth tour.

Questions to ask a hospital on a hospital birth tour.

No. I’m not currently pregnant.

But, as I wrote in a post recently that talked about all about breastfeeding, I’m sharing some other posts from my old Green Mommy Blog. This is another one… taking a tour of a hospital even though I originally had planned a home birth for my daughter.

Well. As some of you know, I did end up in the hospital for the delivery of Kamea, but it wasn’t the local one I toured. 

Here we go….

Read More »

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Friday, October 16th, 2015

My Life: Naked Dolls, Qigong, Lemon Water, Matcha, Hot Yoga

Lemon water did more than I realized.

Lemon water did more than I realized.

Here’s a day in my life.

700 am Wake up naturally. Sometimes I oil pull at this time.

715 am Drink some spring water with organic lemon juice squeezed in. I’ve heard about people doing this forever. I never got into it… til now. I read recently that drinking it on an empty stomach does something to help digestion, which helps you better absorb nutrients from your food later. Interesting. Okay, I’ll try. (The rule is that it’s on an empty stomach and you don’t eat for about 30 minutes.)

717 am Rebounding to start moving, getting the kinks worked, blood flowing, and because it’s fun. (Bellicon is the best rebounder.)

740 am Brew Upgraded coffee in my groovy Technivorm coffee pot. While that’s brewing I get other ingredients ready to make Greg’s and my Bulletproof Coffee (Greg likes his in a cold shake form), or I grab my Bulletproof Frozen Cubes.

745 am Make Kamea’s breakfast (usually gently scrambled eggs – something like this)

Read More »

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Wednesday, October 14th, 2015

Unconventional Ways to Celebrate Halloween

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween

As a mom who doesn’t give her kid candy unless it’s dark chocolate, Halloween is a tricky situation (pun intended)… until now.

To tell you the truth, we have a lot of things we do to celebrate Halloween and all without the traditional trick-or-treating.

HALLOWEEN DECORATING!

For starters, we begin the celebrating with decorations at the beginning of October. This includes wall clings, scary music, carving jack-o-lanters, hanging skeletons from the ceiling, and more. This starts at the beginning of October to ensure a healthy dose of Halloween-ness.

Halloween is a whole month celebration for us.

Halloween is a whole month celebration for us.

Kamea painting a small pumpkin for decoration.

Kamea painting a small pumpkin for decoration.

 

HALLOWEEN HUNT!

When the actual day of Halloween arrives, we have a Halloween Hunt where we hide dark chocolates and little trinkets, toys, stickers, etc around the house (or where ever we are).

 

HALLOWEEN TRAVEL!

Another thing we often do is travel during this time to make it extra special… with costumes, of course.

Travel to Flagstaff, AZ. A spooky town.

Travel to Flagstaff, AZ. A spooky town.

 

What kid wouldn't want to go to DISNEYLAND for Halloween?

What kid wouldn’t want to go to DISNEYLAND for Halloween?

 

16 months old as a fairy while traveling to Sedona, AZ for Halloween.

16 months old, as a fairy while traveling to Sedona, AZ for Halloween.

 

WEAR COSTUMES MANY TIMES!

We don our costumes many times(!) during the weeks before Halloween. Myself included.

I wear this costume pretty much every year.

I wear this costume pretty much every year.

 

Halloween Headbands are awesome.

Halloween Headbands are awesome.

 

HALLOWEEN STORE!

We check out the crazy Halloween stores that pop up every year. Sometimes we go more than once. #FieldTrip

Trying on a witch hat. "I'll get you my pretty…"

Trying on a witch hat. “I’ll get you my pretty…”

 

HALLOWEEN PARTIES!

We go to Halloween parties… like this one at her Karate Dojo.

Halloween Party with a light show and dancing.

Halloween Party with a light show and dancing.

 

MONEY FOR CANDY!

I remember growing up, my mom gave us money for the candy we collected trick-or-treating, which we always preferred over eating the candy. That’s another idea.

 

A walk down memory lane with Kamea’s first Halloween.

This was Kamea’s first Halloween costume. She was a Chipotle Burrito.

Baby as a burrito: Halloween

4 months old Kamea as a burrito: Halloween

We swaddled her in an organic blanket, first, and you can see the rest. Foil. Organic lettuce. I actually thought she’d hate it because she’s not big on the swaddle thing, but she was a real trooper in her costume as Greg took photos.

——————-

Halloween as a SCIENCE EXPERIMENT! From Mothering.com…

I loved candy when I was a kid, but when I became a mother, I worried about my kids eating too much of the stuff. Still, I’ve never banned it from our home. Now, when my children come home on Halloween night, examine their candy, and go to bed without asking to eat a single piece, it’s not because I’ve forbidden it. It’s because they have better ideas about what 
to do with it.

It began with a simple question three years ago, when I was overwhelmed by our collection of Halloween candy. An afternoon with too-generous coworkers, a church Trunk-or-Treat (i.e., collecting candy at every car in a full parking lot), and a subsequent trick-or-treating expedition up our street had provided my four-year-old princess and two-year-old cowboy with mountains of candy. But since the candies had been the gifts of kind friends, and of elderly neighbors on fixed incomes, I didn’t want to throw them all away. Instead, I decided to dole them out one piece at a time. Handing out pieces after lunch was painful—the bowl loomed enormous atop my fridge, and I knew that at this rate we’d be eating candy for months.

Then, as my daughter Katherine poured out a box of Nerds, she asked the life-changing question:

“What would happen if I put these in water?”

I almost missed the moment. I was cleaning up the lunch dishes, and didn’t want to get out another one. Besides, the experiment sounded messy and wasteful (even though I’d just been agonizing about how to get rid of the stuff). I brushed her question aside, hoping she’d forget it. Instead, she asked again. I got her a white, unspillable mug, filled it with water, and set it down in front of her. She poured in her strawberry Nerds, examined them, stirred them into something the color of raspberry lemonade, and examined the cup again. Then I dumped 
it down the sink.

That was our first candy experiment.

Now, that’s a good idea for candy.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN SEASON!

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