Category Archives: Maggie AAR

April was Autism Awareness Month

autism-awareness-ribbon

Now that the month is closing out I thought I would mention what was special about April: It is Autism Awareness month. For those that don’t know, here is a brief description of autism, taken from Wikipedia:

Autism is a disorder of neural development characterized by impaired social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior. The diagnostic criteria require that symptoms become apparent before a child is three years old. Autism affects information processing in the brain by altering how nerve cells and their synapses connect and organize; how this occurs is not well understood. Continue reading

The High Cost of Being A Girl

vanity tableRecently I went to my favorite makeup counter to pick up some lipstick. I left empty handed. By the time I was done hearing about the possible “free” gifts and pricing out the products I was interested in I didn’t know what to do. Should I go with just the lipstick? Or by spending just thirty dollars more should I maximize my purchase by getting $100.00 of free product I hadn’t been interested in ten minutes ago? The only other product I was truly interested in was $80.00. Now what? Spend $100.00 to get $100.00? I brought my tired brain home so I could do the math in peace. No decision has been reached. Continue reading

Earworm of the Day: Thriftshop by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis featuring Wanz

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QK8mJJJvaes[/youtube]

Warning: Strong Language

This song seems to get almost constart air time in my city and as a result is my earworm of the week. I find it intriguing not just because of the catchy tune but the subject matter. Thrift shops don’t tend to be the subject of popular music very often. I can’t help but wonder if that is some kind of statement on our current economy. Has thrift store shopping become a part of our daily living? I don’t know – but I sure do like the song.

What is your earworm of the week?

- Maggie AAR

Are You a Bag Lady?

shopping bag

Once upon a time I used to request “paper” at the grocery store. But my mother convinced me that storing paper bags attracted spiders and one too many handle breakages on the way home convinced me that paper didn’t work for me. I switched to plastic and stored and recycled the bags.

Recently though, I got tired of using up valuable space to store a recyclable item that I could replace with already existing items. I had been given numerous cloth shopping bags over the years that I used to cart books, lunches, and whatnot about. I yanked several from their closet and took them to the store with me. Instant joy! Not only did I not come home with numerous irritating shopping bags, my cloth bags held more and ripped less. And I got a small credit at the store!

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Which Ones Do You Play?

zynga

My father in law received a tablet for Christmas. Since then I have played numerous games of Words with Friends and Draw Something with him. I also play my brother in law but since he is a nasty cheat :-) I don’t like to think about that. Those are the only games I play right now and family are the only people I play because honestly, it is way too easy to lose hours to internet games. But I would love to have the time to explore more games.

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Movies That Meet (or Exceed) the Book

breaking dawn

There is always controversy when movies are adaptations of beloved books or plays. Films such as The Hobbit, which use outside source material to extend a revered original, are dissected as fans determine which moments, if any, should have remained untouched. But I felt nothing but delight with the changes made to Breaking Dawn Part 2. Be warned, I am heading into spoiler territory here so if you haven’t seen the film, quit reading.

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Touching Moments

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xEF4QKWGmNU[/youtube]

A friend sent me this link (scroll to bottom of screen) of a video which contains the song played above. I fell in love with the music. I must have watched the video half a dozen times. The song expresses so completely the love you can feel for someone – a baby, a special needs child, a patient with Alzheimers – who might not always be able to show love back. The love is always there, though, and I thought the song and pictures captured that fact beautifully.

What moment touched your heart this week?

- Maggie AAR

Colorful Candy Bar Cookies

teacookieslgI am always looking for something new to include in my Christmas baked gifts. I’ve been playing with this particular recipe for awhile. The initial recipe called for refrigerated Pillsbury sugar cookie dough. Disaster! The cookies did not turn out at all. This worked much better.

Colorful Candy Bar Cookies

3/4 stick Crisco® Baking Sticks Butter Flavor All-Vegetable Shortening
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
2 cups All Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup finely chopped candy bars of your choice (Twix not recommended)
Colored (red or green) sugar

Directions

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Beat shortening, brown sugar, sugar, milk and vanilla in large bowl of electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Beat in egg. Combine flour, salt and baking soda. Mix into shortening mixture at low speed just until blended. Stir in 1/2 cup crushed candy. Shape into 1-inch balls. Place 2-inches apart on ungreased baking sheet.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately sprinkle each cookie with about 1/4 teaspoon colored sugar. Cool 2 minutes. Remove to rack to cool completely.

This is a recipe that has been tweaked from one I found at allrecipes.com and another I got through Taste of Home. Last year I posted my favorite quick recipes for Christmas treats which can be found here. The holiday pretzel rings and brownie mountain described on that page are still my favorite Christmas items from the kitchen.

- Maggie AAR