{ No Worry Curry }

I liked the theory of the Instant Pot, but had my doubts about throwing everything in for a one-pot meal.

I tried it tonight…and it worked!

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The brown rice looks like curly noodles in this photo.  But, it’s brown basmati rice, which cooked to perfection.  Nothing was overcooked; the scallions are even still green.
No Worry Curry

[curried chicken and brown rice in the Instant Pot]

Serves 6-8

7 cups chicken stock

2-3 cups cooked chicken, chopped

3 ½ cups brown rice

4-6 finely sliced scallions (green onions)

1 cup carrot matchsticks

1-2 Tablespoons curry powder

1 T garlic granules

2 Tablespoons coconut oil

Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Combine all in Instant Pot and stir.
  2. Cook on high pressure cooker set for 6 minutes.
  3. Allow 20 + minutes for the entire pressurizing, cooking and venting process.

© Lisa M. Luciano

 

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{ Un-Saintly Samples }

The light bulb went on recently.

I am a homeschool educator and if I’m going to spend time writing these “Daily Word Prompt” posts, I should probably pass along the learning and inspiration to my students (my children.)

Duh.

That way, I can

  • Justify spending time in writing exercise
  • Share and pass along the learning
  • Give them the opportunity to exercise their writing muscles

Most of all, I want them to see that you can just dive into writing.  Do it regularly. Don’t stare at a page for wasted minutes, just move your pen or mouse and start writing.

Very important: Spelling doesn’t matter in these exercises. The focus is to loosen up the flow of writing, making it fun & easy.

During the last week, I have shared the “word prompt of the day” with them.

Then, I give them one other challenge, such as:

  • use one of your spelling or geography words in your paragraph
  • include a few hyphenated compound words
  • Use “island” or the specific name of an island (we are studying islands this year.)

Someone even asked for the new word prompt today before breakfast!

They are allowed to bring up their laptops and start in.  This gives them something to do while everybody migrates to the work table…and it gives me time to make that second cup of coffee.

They are allowed around 15 – 20 minutes at the beginning of our school day for these writing exercises.

Today’s word: saintly.  They can use the negative “unsaintly” also.

(Most everyone liked using “unsaintly” instead of “saintly.” Hmmm….)

Today’s extra challenge: use at least one of this week’s geography vocabulary words.

  • Marco, age 10 wrote this:

The unsaintly, unshaven robber stole some money from the Commerce Creek Bank.  He hid it inside the hollow tree.  An alarm went off.  The police came.  They found no evidence or fingerprints.

  • Here is another, by 9-year-old Gianny:

Hello, my name is Daniel.  I am camping with my dad, next to a humongous waterfall.  Some people think camping on a Sunday is unsaintly.  I don’t think so because when I look at a waterfall, I can praise God for what He made. 

  • Ava, age 12 is a prolific writer and here is an excerpt of today’s work:

Thunder rumbled, lightning flashed, rain pounded on the rooftop.  Little Marie tossed and turned in her bed.  She could never go back to sleep in the middle of a thunderstorm, knowing that the creek just in back of her house could easily swamp their house as soon as it got too high.  Marie could finally take no more.  She pushed the warm, fluffy covers away from her and slid her feet into her white cotton slippers.  It was dark in the room, despite the angry flashes from outside…

  • 13-year-old Mo has the beginnings of a novel. Each day’s challenge builds on the story the day before.
  • 14-year-old Clara writes an excellent “how to” / step-by-step piece every day.  Her work is amusing and well-crafted.

This experiment has me surprised and happy.  They really like taking this time first thing to write.  They look eager, but relaxed. It’s a great way to start our school day.

I wish we would have started this in September.

© Lisa M. Luciano 😊

{ Almost-Empty-Pantry Cake }

It’s Monday, and it appears that we diminished our food stockpile over the weekend.

I need to buy groceries.

Though the pantry is bare, we can still eat cake.

It won’t be bursting with fruit or chocolate, but with a patina of flavorful glaze, this dessert is sweetly satisfying (and easy to make.)

cake
I made my cake with coconut oil (didn’t have butter- used it all up over Thanksgiving) & I used water (didn’t have milk.) This is a stock photo. Ours looked similar. But, everyone ate it up before I remembered to take a photo.

Almost-Empty-Pantry Cake

Cake Ingredients:

  • 1 c sugar
  • ½ cup fat (butter, coconut oil, shortening)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 ½ cup flour
  • 1 ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ cup milk or water

 

Glaze:

  • ½ – 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • Enough lemon juice whisked into the confectioner’s sugar to create a pourable glaze
  • If you don’t have lemon juice, use milk or water with a few drops of flavoring.

 

  1. Combine dry ingredients.
  2. Beat sugar and fat together. Add eggs, milk and vanilla.
  3. Mix dry ingredients with wet mixture.
  4. Place in greased 9 x 9 pan and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes.
  5. When cake is cooled, pour glaze over.
  6. Eat and enjoy.
  7. Now go buy groceries.

 

© Lisa M. Luciano 😊

 

 

{ Toilets Didn’t Flush Themselves }

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I am old enough to remember when

Toilets didn’t flush themselves

And soap dispensers didn’t

Self-ration pea-sized dollops.

And I could do errands in peace

Without

An interrupting phone call.

 

I am old enough to recall

Shelves stacked with pop

Like Fresca

But no bottled water

(Who would pay for water?)

 

We had to wait for the mail

From pen pals

And when the letters came

All their doings

Were already done.

But it was fun to get

Real letters,

Anyway.

 

© Lisa M. Luciano

Word Prompt: AGE

 

 

 

 

{ Who Am I? }

I was ready for Black Friday this year. I bought the:

Instant Pot DUO80 8 Qt 7-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Steamer, Saute, Yogurt Maker and Warmer.

instant pot

My tech-savvy son told me the most popular item throughout the cyber weekend zoo was the

DNA Ancestry Test Kit.

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With this kit, you can:

  • “Uncover your ethnic mix” and
  • “Connect with relatives you never knew you had.”   (Is that a positive thing?)

 So, people are curious about themselves and their background.

And the Bible is full of background.

It lists more than a few genealogies.

And the records don’t leave out the unsavory relatives. They inventory the kings, the scoundrels, and the heroes.

If church people today were given the task of writing Jesus’ background, we might be tempted to skip a few people on the list.

It doesn’t look holy to include:

  • Rahab the harlot
  • Tamar the schemer
  • Ruth the foreigner

Yet, there they are.

Jesus’ arrival turned everything upside down.

  • He didn’t come to earth in a golden chariot, he came as a helpless baby.
  • He wasn’t born in a palace, but in an animal barn.
  • He didn’t boldly grab power, he chose to give up his life.

 

The Bible tells me about my background.

It says:

  • I’m made in God’s image — Genesis 1:27 So God created man in his own image…
  • I’m a sinner by nature —  Romans 3:23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. 
  • He chose to redeem me — Ephesians 1:7  In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses according to the riches of his grace… 
  • He calls me His child — Galatians 3:26 For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 

So, I don’t think I will purchase the DNA kit. Black Friday is over and besides….

…I already know I’m half Norwegian, a quarter German and a snippet of English, Irish and Scottish.

Deeper than that, I’m a redeemed image-bearer and a child of God.

© Lisa M. Luciano 🙂

Word Prompts:  snippet and zoo

{ Eye-Opening Encounter }

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I came far-off,

Two-faced,

Half-mast,

Happy-go-lucky,

Eating up sin

Like ice-cream.

Then I had an

In-depth,

Head-on, high-speed

Collision with a

Larger than

Life-Sized

Person who had a

Send-off from Heaven

Just to rescue true-blue sinners

Like me.

No give-and-take here–

I’m empty-handed

Except for my worn-out soul.

Now I have a long-term,

Ready-made

One-way home

In heaven.

This news is so

Red-hot,

Spine-chilling,

Mind-blowing–

I can’t keep it

Hush-hush.

 

© Lisa Luciano 😊

 

Word Prompt of the Day:  One-Way

List of hyphenated compounded words taken from: http://theleomsun.blogspot.com/2014/09/hyphenated-compounds.html

Photo Credit: Greg Rakozy

{ Books in 2017 }

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The following books have had a percussive  impact on my life in the last year:

grieving

What Grieving People Wish You Knew…About What Really Helps and What Really Hurts By Nancy Guthrie

When do we ever take a class on how to help the grieving?  We don’t.  Yet, we can be pretty sure we will encounter grieving friends and family members throughout life. 

My husband and I listened to the audio and we were both very inspired. It’s a touching, gentle primer on the art of friendship to the grieving.  We now consider it an important book for every family member to digest and practice. 

 

love does

Love Does by Bob Goff

This will make you laugh, cry and rejoice that you got your hands on it.  Listen to the audio version, read by the author. 

It’s funny and moving and spiritual in a fresh, exciting way.  Get ready to become “secretly incredible!”

listening photo

The Lost Art of Listening by Michael P. Nichols, Phd.

This is one of the most helpful books I have read this past year.  I have opportunities every day to succeed (and fail) using the ideas I’ve found here. Listening is an unselfish gift you give to your friends and family.  Listening can be hard work.  When you listen with all you’ve got, you will often be rewarded and not bored, even if people drone on.  If you think you’re already a good listener, this book will encourage you; if you know your listening skills need work, this book is a great place to start.

judas do

What Would Judas Do? By John Perritt

I am still finishing this one.  Simple but profound, the book explores how each of us, deep down, can relate to the ultimate traitor. Examine yourself with this book: am I a true believer, or just along for the ride?  It’s humbling, insightful, and suitable for a family devotional read.

magnetic

Why Nobody Wants to be Around Christians Anymore: And How 4 Acts of Love Will Make Your Faith Magnetic by Thom and Joani Schultz

I found myself in this book.  I mean, it was like looking in the mirror when they mentioned unloving Christians.  Ugh. 

But it didn’t stop at that, and the book wasn’t condemning. It prompted me as a follower of the ultimate King of love to want to truly love others.  Not just as a project, or in a surface way. 

If you know me, please be patient with me as I seek, powered by God, to see people and treat people the way Jesus would.

writing tools

Writing Tools by Roy Peter Clark

As you see on this blog I am trying to write regularly to learn to write well. It’s slow going.  

This book helped by giving me some unique things to try.  Unlike a dry textbook, the expert author made his tips easy and fun to read.

I read it a few months ago, though, and I feel like I am forgetting already – maybe I should review a chapter every now and then!

My Bible

This is what I read the most — the living, breathing, inspired Word of God.  Its prophecies have been fulfilled, though the gap between the giving and the fulfillment took hundreds of years, and were written by authors who never knew each other.

This book will never be boring and I will never outgrow it.

I see myself in its pages and Jesus is there from start to finish.

Try it 😊

© Lisa M. Luciano

Word Prompt of the Day:  Percussive

Definition of percussive

1: of or relating to percussion; especially: operative or operated by striking

2: having powerful impact

Photo credit: Eugenio Mazzone

{ Turkey Bowl XVIII }

My husband — the Commish — started an annual tradition after we moved out to the country.  Every year, he heads up a football tournament on the weekend after Thanksgiving.

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After a quick massage, the Commish does some pre-game stretching exercises.

It’s called The Turkey Bowl.

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He hosts 10 teams, divided up into two main brackets: The Gold Division and The Top Gun Division.

The tournament support team is busy in the kitchen, where the oven is bursting with muffins, cookies and hot sandwiches.

IMG_20171125_094939When the first vehicle turns into our long driveway, someone gives a shout.

The young, the old, the underdogs and the superstars arrive around 9:00 a.m. through sleet, snow or sunshine.

Clad in tights-under-shorts, the brave warriors place their snack offerings in the spacious garage and head out to the field.

The Commmish has it all planned as written on the huge white board.

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At 11:30 they break and The Commish will give his annual speech and designate someone to give a blessing on the tournament.

Turkey Bowl XVIII has begun.

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The Commish is 58 years old.

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(c) Lisa M. Luciano

Word Prompt of the Day: underdog

{ Drone Rescue }

Mo got his drone yesterday!  Coming from China, it was hard to track in the mail.  The suspense has been palpable here for a few weeks.

When the mailman handed it over, Mo was…thrilled.  I want to be thrilled with him.  But I don’t want it flying much around the house.

He wanted to fly it outside where I could watch from my cozy indoor spot. It makes me cry to think about it, because thirteen-year-olds are seldom so jubilant.

I watched and cheered along with other family members.

Then it got stuck in a tree!  We all mourned together.  Gino climbed very high to get it.  My emotions bounced from drone enthusiasm to shock, to hopefulness and then fear as big brother scaled the tree.

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Drone Rescue

When it was all over, Mo smiled again as he steered his drone into a flip.

(This is an important drone move.)

I kept watching, but felt like I needed a nap after all the commotion.  After all, I’m still getting over two Thanksgivings and the busy weekend isn’t over yet…

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Lishi L-6056 Drone Pilot

 

© Lisa M. Luciano 😊

{ Last-Minute-Lisa? }

I like shopping early on Thanksgiving Day.

I am among kindred spirits—those carefree souls who waited until the last hour to secure stuffing and napkins.

I just did two rare things: bought a newspaper and greeted the produce guy.

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Cozy Caribou Coffee.  Wish I could stay awhile, but I have an appointment with a turkey.

A crooked and sleepy line of shoppers is pleased that Caribou Coffee is open for limited holiday hours. We stumble in and answer the appropriate question of the day for 10 cents off our orders:

Q: What’s the name of the ship that brought the Pilgrims to America?

One bed-headed shopper boldly strolls in wearing his pajama pants. My favorite cashier Stephenie dressed herself up pretty for Thanksgiving.

To the world, I might look like last-minute-Lisa.

But I promise–my turkey is baking in the oven at home.

© Lisa M. Luciano 😊IMG_20171123_073734