it”s the last day of April and it’s been a long month…do something fun today and enjoy


Dear Mom- I have exams and I’m totally stressed out- what can I do? Wish me luck.

GOOD LUCK!! some exam anxiety will actually help you do well on the tests. But there’s a fine line between too much and the right  amount of anxiety.

  • Study enough so that you feel comfortable that you know or have reviewed all of the material, but try not to work up until the last minute.
  • Don’t go to the exam too early.  Other people’s panic can be contagious.
  • Right before the exam don’t try to think of everything that you could have possibly missed.
  • Stay calm even if  you don’t immediately know the first few questions. Read the questions slowly and carefully. Many times the questions will give you clues to the answer.
  • When you get nervous take a slow, deep breath. Focus your mind, “I can do this”, as you breathe out.
  • If you’re not sure about an answer use the question to begin your response and write about something that you know about that’s as closely related to the right answer as possible. You may be closer than you think to the answer.
  • Focus only on the question in front of you: ask yourself what you’re being asked, role play it in your head. “In real life what would I do?”
  • If you’re getting too nervous look ahead and find questions that you’re sure of and do a great job on those.
  • Remember to breathe, slow deep breaths.
  • If every questions counts equally don’t spend too much time on something you’re not sure of. Do the best you can or come back to it. Hit the questions that you really know out of the park.
  • Don’t think of it as a test, think of it as a “show” and this is your chance to perform. Show that teacher how much you know- SHOWTIME! Give it all you’ve got…

better butter recipes

who knew butter could be so good…

lemon garlic butter


  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons fresh minced garlic
salt, to taste
  • freshly ground white pepper, to taste


In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the lemon juice to a boil and reduce to the consistency of honey. Set aside to cool. 

In a food processor, blend the lemon syrup and garlic with the butter and season to taste with salt and pepper. Reserve.

Cajun butter


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 teaspoon parsley
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons Cajun pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder


In food processor or mixer, combine all ingredients. Process until well blended, about 30 seconds. Scrape butter onto a large sheet of plastic wrap. 

With rubber spatula, smooth butter into a cylinder shape about 1/2 inches in diameter. Roll up, twisting both ends to seal. Keep refrigerated. Can be frozen up to two months. 

Keep in refrigerator or freezer. Serve with grilled meat, poultry, or fish. Also good for stir frying, sauteing vegetables, making sauces, or enriching soups.

cheddar butter spread


  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt


Combine all ingredients. Serve with warm bread.

chive butter


  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped


Combine ingredients until well blended. Roll up in wax paper to form a log shape. Refrigerate until firm 

Delicious on corn or potatoes.

Italian butter


  • 1/8 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon basil
1/8 teaspoon rosemary
1/8 teaspoon or a little less kosher salt (use according to your taste)
fresh ground black pepper
1 dash red pepper flakes
1 clove garlic (crushed)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil


Mix together your dry spices. Add crushed garlic to the dry spices. 

Place on small saucer. Pour olive oil over mixture. Dip with your favorite hot French bread.

honey butter


  • 1/4 cup honey
1 cup margarine
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar


Combine all ingredients, blending well. Store in a airtight container in refrigerator.

garlic parsley butter


  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon sea salt


In mixing bowl, combine all ingredients. Using a wooden spoon, mix together for 2 to 3 minutes until the salt has dissolved. Taste and adjust the seasoning. 

Garlic butter is good on bagels or English muffins for breakfast, fresh sourdough or pumpernickel for lunch, biscuit or rolls with dinner.

what do you know about butter?

most of us never spend much time thinking about butter, but there are good butters and better butters! The butter facts below will help you learn a little bit about butter and then try some “butter recipes” that’ll help you cook with and use butter in better new ways…

Unsalted butter: Sometimes called “sweet cream butter,” use it for  every cooking job, from baking to sautéing. Made from only milk or cream, or sometimes both.

Salted butter: Just like the original, but it has salt! Perfect for buttering bread, but most recipes call for unsalted butter.

Organic butter: Comes from cattle raised without antibiotics or growth hormones and given 100 percent organic feed grown without toxic pesticides or synthetic fertilizers. It’s available unsalted and salted.

Whipped butter: This variety has air or some other gas, such as nitrogen, added to it to make it less dense than standard butter, so a little goes a long way. The increased volume results in fewer calories per tablespoon (often half) and a lighter texture. Best for spreading on toast and finishing dishes, not recommended for baking or cooking.

European-style butter: Loaded with extra milk fat—82 to 85 percent for most brands—European-style butter has less moisture than standard butter and so produces extra-flaky pastries and tender, fluffy cakes. Because it is made with fermented (also called “cultured”) cream, it has a slight tang. European-style butter can be used for all cooking tasks.

Spreadable butter: A combination of regular butter and vegetable oil (and sometimes other flavorings and fillers), it has a  soft texture even when refrigerated. It’s not recommended for baking or cooking.

Light butter: This option has half the calories of standard butter because it contains less milk fat—40 percent at most. The rest is made up of water, lactic acid, and other fillers. It’s not recommended for baking or cooking.

Butterlike spread: Often marked with the label “buttery spread,” this has a similar soft texture to spreadable butter but contains far less real butter—at most 5 percent and sometimes none at all. Instead, it’s usually made from a blend of vegetable oils and other fillers. Its benefits include fewer calories, less fat, and just a trace amount of cholesterol. It’s not recommended for baking or cooking and it’s not butter.


“The more one worries, the older one gets; the more one laughs, the younger one feels.” Chinese proverb


black, white and read

if you’re not reading your newspaper there are lots of other things you can do with it:

smelly lunch box or thermos- if you left food in your lunch box or thermos longer than you should have get rid of the smell after cleaning it out by stuffing a ball of newspaper inside and let it sit closed overnight

packing- use crumpled up newspaper instead of styrofoam peanuts for packing breakable things

glass cleaner- newspaper is the best thing for cleaning windows, glass on pictures or anything made of glass. Dip newspaper into a solution of one part white vinegar and one part warm water.

emergency gift wrap- newspaper and raffia are perfect for a doing quick gift wrap

vegetable drawers- use newspaper to line the refrigerator vegetable drawers, they will stay dry and smell fresh

wet shoes inside and outside- leave a pile of newspaper at the door and take off your wet shoes or boots at the door, leave them on the pile of newspaper to absorb the water, and if your shoes are wet inside too put crumpled up newspaper inside overnight

tomatoes and bananas- ripen tomatoes quickly by wrapping each one individually in a piece of newspaper and leave it at room temperature, or wrap your bunch of green bananas in newspaper to ripen them at room temperature


what you should know

Hi Ask Mom- I’m starting my first job soon and I don’t know what questions to ask my boss about starting the job. Can you give me some ideas what I should ask?

When you start find out the basics, but be a little bit careful which questions you ask your boss, and which questions you ask the people you work with- they’ll usually give you the inside scoop…good luck

  • What time do most people get here? What time do most people leave?
  • Is there a dress code?
  • Is there an office routine? Should I check in with you each morning?
  • How often will I be reviewed? Who reviews my work?
  • Are there regular meetings?
  • Are compensation and bonuses tied to performance?
  • Are there opportunities for career advancement?
  • Is there a mentor assigned to me?



rise & shine Earth Day 2013


do some easy earthy things today and keep doing them…

have a picnic (picnic inside if it’s snowing or raining where you are!)

take your own bags to the store

clean with “green” products or make your own (check back at some of my ideas)

grow vegetables from seeds in pots or your garden or start a community garden

buy locally grown produce whenever you can

shop at small locally owned stores instead of “big box stores” and buy locally made items

more ideas:








sip some iced tea

I know that there are still places where it is snowing so it may not be iced tea time in those places yet, but it will warm up later  rather than sooner…turn up the heat and sip some iced tea

Rooibos Tea (with lemon verbena or mint) 


  •             2 tablespoons loose rooibos tea
  •             2 tablespoons dried lemon verbena or dried mint
  •             2 quarts cold water
  •             Honey or sugar, to taste


  • Place tea and lemon verbena or mint on a square of cheesecloth. Tie into a bundle with kitchen twine. Place tea bag in a large glass jar, and add water. Cover, and steep in direct sunlight for 2 hours.
  • Strain tea, and discard solids. Stir in honey or sugar. Serve immediately, or refrigerate up to 3 days.

(Martha Stewart’s recipe)

Southern Iced Tea (aka House Wine of the South)


  •  3 cups water
  •  2 family-size tea bags
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  •  7 cups cold water


  • Bring 3 cups water to a boil in a saucepan; add tea bags. Boil 1 minute; remove from heat. Cover and steep 10 minutes.
  • Discard tea bags. Add sugar, stirring until dissolved.
  • Pour into a 1-gal. container, and add 7 cups cold water. Serve over ice

(Southern Living recipe)

Earl Grey Orange Iced Tea


  • Peel of 1 orange, plus orange wedges for garnish1/4 cup(s) loose Earl Grey tea or 12 Earl Grey tea bags
  • 4 cup(s) boiling water
  • 3/4 cup(s) orange juice
  • 1/4 cup(s) sugar
  • 4 cup(s) cold water


  • Steep loose tea (or tea bags) and orange peel in boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Strain the tea (or remove tea bags and orange peel) and pour into a large pitcher. Stir in orange juice and sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Add cold water. Refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours. Serve over ice with orange wedges, if desired.

(recipe origin unknown!)

(iced) tea time

You may not like drinking hot tea, but the spring and summer are perfect for iced tea…there are 4 main types of teas and if you really want to drink like the experts use filtered water!

black tea- strong and rich tasting enough to add milk and sugar, beat way to brew: bring water to a rolling boil and steep 1 bag or teaspoon per cup for 3 to 5 minutes

green tea- light color with a sweeter, earthy taste, best way to brew: take the water off the heat before it boils or it has boiled wait 10 minutes before you use it- if the water is too hot the tea can taste bitter, use 1 bag or teaspoon and steep for 1 to 2 minutes.

oolong tea- smoky taste and medium flavor, best way to brew pour the water into the cup as soon as it begins to boil, use 1 tea bag or 1 teaspoon, steep for 3 to 7 minutes

white tea- very light color and flavor, most expensive tea, best way to brew: heat the water the same way as for green tea and steep 1 teaspoon per cup for 3 to 10 minutes

you can also try flavored tea,  flower tea and tea that costs up to $1,000 per pound…go on a tea hunt and enjoy