All posts by Catherine

About Catherine

I've played around with a lot of blogs over the years and have finally decided to settle down with one that is all me. There will be books, there will be crafts, there will be discussions on current events, past events, and possibly even future events.

From NPR News

Teachers With Student Debt: These Are Their Stories http://n.pr/2vllX0p
And this is where I reveal that I have decided to go back to school to get that degree in Elementary Education (masters). And brag about my student loans.
I borrowed $20,000 for UVA. I started repaying that 6 months after graduating in 2011. I currently owe less than $4000 and have MORE than enough in my bank account to pay that off tomorrow. My next actual loan payment isn’t due until September of 2019. Let me repeat: 2019! This includes a 6 month stint where I deferred my loan payments because it took me 2 years after graduating to start working 1 day a week and another year to get to full time with benefits. 
I had started out with $2000 in my bank account when I graduated college. This was from me working only 2 of the 4 summers before, at (or below) minimum wage. My dad helped me pay off my student loan debt by deferring my rent/grocery payment until I had income and loaning me some money before I got the deferrment. Yes, I paid him back earlier than scheduled.
How did I accomplish this feat? ALWAYS pay more than the minimum payment. My loans’ minimum payment is $167/month, so I’d send $200, even when my funds were limited. 
…..will continue after work…

Editable Calendar/Planner

So, I’ll be starting school again at the end of August! This will eventually get me a masters in elementary education with initial licensure so that I can teach in Virginia.

I know I’ll need a calendar/planner to help me keep track of classes and homework. At first I was going to buy one that had all the features I want, but I hate spending money on something that I won’t use to it’s fullest, so I decided that I’d go with a printable version in a binder that I already utilize for my postage stamps.

I knew that I wanted a monthly spread with squares that are big enough to actually write in. Most of the monthly calendars I found online only utilized one sheet of paper, meaning that the squares weren’t particularly big. I didn’t want a heavily decorated page, either, but the plain ones were very plain.

I like the way a purchased planner goes onto a two page spread. So, not finding exactly what I wanted, I turned to Google Docs (my preferred word processor). Using just the Table tool, I was able to create a two page calendar spread that I think will work nicely. There is plenty of space on around the perimeter for jotting notes or adding decorations.

Here’s the link to the calendar I’ve created. You should be able to edit it, but I have a feeling that the way that editing is set up, you’ll actually be altering my original document, so please try not to delete anything of real importance because then it’ll be gone when the next person comes by. I do encourage you to customize the fonts, update the months and feel free to leave it with your changes. I just don’t want to lose the Tables and their respective pages because that way we know they’ll print out correctly.

If you don’t want a “cover page”, you’ll still need to make sure that the first page is blank or else you won’t get a proper spread when you print double sided. If you are printing single sided, this is less important.

You’ll notice that the squares don’t have numbers in them. I did this because I didn’t want to spend ages typing something that will just have to be redone next year. I don’t mind writing in the dates as I set up my calendar for them month.

Edit: So apparently July 2017 is a huge month! I was writing the numbers in for my personal calendar and found that I don’t have enough squares for the last week (days 30 and 31). I’ve debated adding another row of squares to the calendar template I’ve shared here and decided not to. Months like this are relatively rare, so I don’t want to take up space with a row of squares that will often be unnecessary.

For my calendar, I’ve just put 30 and 31 in “invisible boxes” where they’d be. Because of the margins of the paper, if I were to put the extra row in, all the boxes would have to shrink or these two squares would be smaller than the rest which would look weird. Since my boxes are invisible, they’re theoretically the same size as the rest of my boxes.

You can always divide the box into two as happens in many wall calendars. I know you can put a diagonal line in the box with Excel, but I haven’t been able to figure this out in Google Drive.

How to teach math in elementary school in six easy steps.

First, find a fantastic middle school Algebra teacher.

Second, ask them what are the most important skills necessary for learning Algebra.

Third, have them teach you Algebra, highlighting skills the student should already know.

Fourth, find a fantastic high school Calculus teacher.

Fifth, ask them what are the most important skills necessary for learning Calculus.

Sixth, have them teach you Calculus, highlighting skills the student should already know.
I STILL get pissed at my fourth grade teacher (who I otherwise loved) because she told me I had to do fractions vertically instead of horizontally! I still think this was/is the stupidest math lesson ever! In every subsequent math class I took, all the way through calculus, equations are done across the page (horizontally) and can sometimes take over the entire whiteboard. Learning to do fractions vertically was really a stupid waste of time!

Of course, math equations are solved by continuing vertically down the page, but even then, the combinations (which can include items that are division problems, which are what fractions are!) are done on a horizontal basis. You work across and bring the answer down.

In high school, I got annoyed with my friends’ teachers of years past because they’d come to me with pretty basic algebra problems and be completely thrown by the variables. While a blank is okay for lesson one, lesson two should be that x, y, and z are all alternatives to the blank and the blank should be quickly weaned away in favor of proper variables.

One of the most important things a math teacher ever told us was that stuff you learn in math class will only make sense 2 or 3 years after you first learn about it because that is when you learn to apply it to the real world. Too bad this was my Calculus teacher talking and I was nearing the end of my journey with math. I think we are misguided to try to save kids interest in math by keeping them away from the bigger picture while they learn the basics. 

Telling or showing kids why they’re learning a skill is THE  single most important thing you can do as a teacher. “Because it’s important” is a crappy cop out answer that should be banished from your vocabulary! If you do not know WHY you are teaching your students a skill, you should NOT be a teacher!! 

My dad would chant: “fractions, decimals, money, they’re all the same thing” whenever my homework was on one of these topics. I didn’t  understand him because I was too focused on giving my teacher exactly what she wanted.

Now, I literally go from fractions to decimals in the seconds between measuring and cutting (the paper cutter uses decimals, my line gauge fractions).

1/8=.125

1/16=.062

1 flippen 32=.031

And yes, I will sometimes need to go even smaller to get a border to match! .005 movements aren’t fun!
Oh! One of the interesting byproducts of this quick mental conversion I use at work is that when I’m writing down my measurements I will seriously write: 8. 5/8. You see that superfluous decimal point? Yeah. Honestly, I can’t for see how that hurts anything when teaching fractions and decimals because it really means the same thing. 8 and five eighths? 8 point five eighths? 8 point one two five? I wouldn’t make a point to teach this this way because it is messy and you CANNOT have messy in calculus, but it would be a good bridge between fractions and decimals, which is really all just division!

As for metric, my favorite machine uses these. I just flip my line guage over because it has that scale on it, but a coworker took the time to do the conversion with the same results (of course ☺). I don’t use millimeters often enough to use them in everyday life, but I do like that everything is in whole numbers when I measure for this machine. There’s two reasons for that: the machine doesn’t accept fractions and a half a millimeter is too small to make a difference on this machine. Still, mremorizing fractions of millimetres on the line gauge are EASY: 6/10= 0.6; 1/10=0.1 😉

 I still have trouble memorizing 7/16=.467? No. I checked; it’s .4375. The paper cutter can do a four function calculator’s job, so I usually just add up the pieces until I get it memorized because of repetition. Or in this case, I’d probably do .5-.062, but I don’t do math in my head, especially subtraction. Being quicker like that does NOT mean you’re smarter! It is only one skill that not everyone has. So long as we all get the right answer eventually, life is good.

Deciding Who to Vote For

Tomorrow is primary day in Virginia. Since we have open primaries here, you don’t have to be a registered Republican or Democrat in order to vote in the primary; the only rule is that you can only have one ballot on a given day, so if both parties have their primaries on the same day (like tomorrow), you have to pick which ballot you want. If they were held on separate days, you could vote in both.

I only decided that I’d vote in this primary a few days ago. The main reason for my ambivalence was that I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to vote Democrat or Republican. I mean, I know which candidate I want for Governor, but I expect him to get the nomination, so it felt silly to actually bother voting in the primary. It was receiving a fabulous pamphlet in the mail (addressed to my husband, actually) that made me really care about the state delegate race. The reason I normally don’t care about the state delegates because the candidates usually don’t care; plus, I’m from Norfolk where the districts are usually not very competitive.

Since I was drawn towards voting for a specific candidate, deciding which ballot to choose tomorrow morning was easy: Democratic.

So, what follows is me examining the candidates to show why I will vote the way I’ll vote. And since I’m a glutton for punishment, I suspect I’ll be doing a similar review for the Republicans, though there will be a lot more partisanship for that one!

Governor:

The Democratic candidates for the Governorship are Ralph Northam and Tom Periello.

I’m 100% for Ralph. I’ve liked him ever since he ran for state senate. He doesn’t run negative ads and this is important to me. Yes, Political Action Committees (which I feel should be illegal) do send out negative ads to support him, but honestly, the one I have next to me right now from “Virginians for a Better Future” that says that Perriello “supported the controversial amendment to the Affordable Care Act that would have barred health insurance plans that cover abortion from receiving federal assistance”, which is true (Perriello doesn’t deny it), even if it is old. In the grand scheme of things, this isn’t that negative! If we divide a (roughly) 8.5×11 double sided ad into 4ths, 3/4ths of the ad is on topic while the negative is the last 4th. This is very different from most ads of the same size which are so entirely about the “bad” candidate that you don’t even know who you are supposed to vote for!

When I’m evaluating a candidate for voting, the only things that matter to me are good investigative journalism and their website. Negative ads will make me dislike a candidate, but sometimes they’re alright (I couldn’t get mad at Hillary’s negative ads about Trump because it was all shit he’d actually said).

A candidate’s website should have a minimum of two things: a good biography and a thorough issues page. I count too much reliance on news articles and videos as a negative.

I prefer that the issues be broken down into bullet points rather than long paragraphs. This is because in the real world of governance there will be compromise and I’ve found that it is more effective to start with simple ideas and hash out the gray areas during the debates. Too much detail implies that there won’t be enough room for compromise.

Really, Perriello and Northam end up looking very similar on their websites. It comes down to my own previous feelings on it and an issue I have with Perriello implying that he has an endorsement from Obama this election when he’s really using endorsements from his previous (successful) Congressional campaign. I don’t like subterfuge like this. For me, endorsements expire after the election is over and must be actively renewed to be valid. This is because the candidates are different for each specific election and if we were to assume that endorsements are always “the best of the options available” then changing the collection of candidates will change the dynamics of the options. If a candidate is the best of everyone conceivably possible then they will get an important endorsement every time it’s requested! Yes, it is important that Obama didn’t endorse Perriello during this cycle! I will not speculate as to the whys and it wouldn’t matter if we’re talking about the former president or the local newspaper: a lack of endorsement is a lack of endorsement.

Lt. Governor

This is the race that I’m really undecided for. I’m currently tempted to vote Republican for the November General Election, though it will depend on the actual candidates involved then.

Justin Fairfax, Susan Platt, and Gene Rossi are the candidates for this position.

First thing to note: McAfee is throwing up a warning about Susan Platt’s website. This is a wee bit concerning, but without knowing exactly what McAfee considers “risky behavior”, I can’t make a judgment one way or the other.

Let’s start with Rossi’s website because I’ve already looked at it earlier today and wasn’t impressed. His “priorities” page involves only 4 topics. Sorry, but he needs to have opinions on and plans for a lot more stuff and not just additions hidden within these 4 overarching topics. The other issue with Rossi is that this is a Virginia election. I was reading through his biography and realized that most of what he was saying involved Connecticut, where he was raised. Sure, he moved to Virginia in 1989, but the only thing it appears he’s done in Virginia is graduate 3 kids from a public school, work as a federal prosecutor, with a minor sentence about being on the board of a program that helps women after incarceration. Honestly, I think he should be running for FBI director!

Susan Platt’s website is still giving me fits. Now, it appears to have one of those “pop-ups” that has darkened the background to emphasize itself and is playing some kind of audio (there’s a video auto-playing), BUT I cannot locate the “pop-up” itself in order to close it and bring the main screen back up to full brightness.

User-friendly webdesign is really important to a good campaign! What’s funny is that this website worked fine on my tablet earlier today. Ooh! Esc worked to at least brighten up the page (closing out the hidden annoyance?). Still, she’s getting a frowny face right now from me.

I like that she has lots of work experience both in Washington and in Virginia. I feel that there are some jobs that benefit from a lot of specific experience in a few choice positions and some jobs benefit from a resume that appears to spread yourself too thin. For the higher levels of government, I think it’s important to have your hands in a lot of different pots simply because it indicates that you’ve interacted with a lot more people and are more prepared to work with people who have differing opinions.

Note: it looks like all 3 Democratic candidates for Lt. Governor are relatively new to elected positions in politics.

I love that Platt’s list of issues is extensive while being concise.

Okay, now for Justin Fairfax’s website.

He has way too much reliance on news articles! His “Frequently Asked Questions” is written in 3rd person and I don’t like that. I don’t want to know what other people say about him, I want to know what he says about what he’ll do. The saving grace of his website is that it is possible to find his campaign literature, which includes a concise, bullet pointed list of issues which sound like they could come out of his own mouth instead of being written by a friend about him. The problem is that you have to hunt and peck for this pdf.

I think I’ll vote for Mrs. Platt for Lt. Governor tomorrow.

State House: 64th District:

Rebecca Colaw, John Wandling, and Jerry Cantrell

I’ll start with the easy one: I had to use Google for Rebecca Colaw’s website because for whatever reason VA’s election commission didn’t have a direct link for her. This is a problem! I think that a state’s election commission should always be a person’s first stop for investigating the candidates and in 2017, not submitting a web address in time for it to go on their website is inexcusable.

Her work experience is the Air Force and being a lawyer, which is fine, but remember what I said about spreading yourself thin being an asset here? Yeah, some extra curriculars would go a long way.

As for her platform, it has many topics, is bullet-ed, but generally is too vague. Yes, apparently I’m very picky about this. There is being open to compromise, but there is also not having a solid plan to start with.

Anway, moving on.

John Wandling is a blogger (amongst other things). Hmm…This kind of turns me off. I mean, bloggers are great, but it doesn’t mean that we’re the best choice for government. This is because bloggers have their soapboxes. They have their rant-inducing issues. I know what mine are! But this is not necessarily good for governance! Remember that compromise thing?

His issues page only has 3 topics and ends with him telling us to go to his blog to see his opinions “on many subjects that might interest voters”. Uh, why not give us a concise and extensive list of these subjects and opinions right here on the page that is supposed to do this? I call this laziness in favor of an easier format.

I don’t want to make this final criticism, but I must. He’s an IT consultant, but his website looks like it belongs on Netscape…I guess I’m showing that I’m a millennial because I expect better from people working in the technology industry. Whereas Platt had too much, Wandling needs more.

Okay, I’ll finish with the guy who made me want to vote tomorrow. I didn’t look at his website earlier, so let’s hope that it’s as good as the pamphlet he sent.

Damn. How the heck did I pick the most Christian candidate available?!? Haha. Discalimer: He’s a Mormon, which I understand isn’t Christian according to many denominations of Christianity, though I certainly consider it Christian. He’s noticeably omitted any reference to women’s reproductive rights, which is unfortunate, but not unexpected. But, when you compare these three Democratic candidates, he has the most information on what he will do for healthcare and it is a very liberal platform. Only Colaw says that “women have the right to make their own choices”, but that’s it and it makes me uncomfortable to assume that this statement means she’ll approve broad protections for women when it could just as easily mean passing laws that close Planned Parenthood locations because their hallways are 6 inches too narrow so long as there is one location that exists in the state (Roe only provides that women be allowed to get abortions without unreasonable inconvenience, but doesn’t define what is unreasonable). Just because women have the choice doesn’t mean that the choice is an easily obtained one. This is why it’s important to write what you mean!

This is a relatively conservative part of Hampton Roads, VA, so I’m not surprised by any level of conservativeness on the part of Democrats. I prefer this middle ground.

 

 

“Bible Study on Wisdom”

I love snail mail and as well as writing to pen pals all over the world, I participate in my swaps via Swap-Bot. Generally most of these swaps are to move around Friendship Books, swap out my craft stash, and write the occasional themed letter, but every once in awhile there’s a swap that gives me a chance to be a bit of an activist. This is one of those.

The swap coordinator gave us 10 questions to use to delve into the Bible on the topic of Wisdom. Here’s my answers that will go to my partner:

Bible Study on Wisdom

  1. What is the wisdom from above like? (James 3:17)

Since I prefer to study the Bible using 2 versions, I have the KJV and NIV open in Bible Gateway. As usual, the words used differ in each translation. The KJV describes wisdom from above as: “first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.” while the NIV says it is: “first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.”

I’m not an English major, so for me the differences are slightly nit-picky, but they are still noticeable. I react differently to the idea that wisdom from God should be without hypocrisy than I do to the idea that wisdom from God is sincere. In humanity, there are plenty of very sincere people who are complete hypocrites and don’t make for very good advisors.

As a definition of what wisdom is, this does a poor job. It’s much too open-ended and non-specific.

2. What is the wise of heart called? (Prov. 16:21)

Huh. KJV: Prudent. NIV: Discerning. Merriam-Webster has similar definitions for these words, however, I read prudent as being cautious about decisions, whereas discerning is being very discriminating about understanding. I find the second half of this passage, in both translations, to be the more interesting. The KJV says “and the sweetness of the lips increaseth learning” while NIV: “and gracious words promote instruction”.

For me, “increaseth learning” feels like an internal discussion (it’s the wise person who keeps learning) while “promote instruction” is an external action (it’s the wise person who teaches others). This, of course, makes the use of “prudent” and “discerning” important because I feel that the prudent person is very introspective about what they know whereas the discerning person is comfortable enough in their wisdom that they feel that they can teach others what they know.

3. Who is it that gives wisdom? (Prov. 2:6)

God. There is no disagreement here in translations (except for some -eths)! But, to whom does God give wisdom? Solomon below implies that it’s only those who directly ask for it, but this doesn’t happen often in reality. Most people only get called wise once they’ve garnered a lot of experience and learning, though there are many young people who are “wise beyond their years”, though I’d argue that this is because they spent their childhood learning about the world while their peers played.

4. Why did King Solomon ask for wisdom from God? (1 Kings 3:5-9)

Because he felt young and unprepared to be king…

5. What is the wisdom of this world from God’s perspective? (1 Corinthians 3:19-20)

Foolish…

But, this is an overly simplistic description! And one that is increasingly used by some religious people to dismiss realities of the known world! I mean, there are some people who honestly believe that the Earth is only about 6000 years old because that’s the number calculated from the Bible and these people think that scientists have pretty much made up the idea that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old! In 2017, these “Young Earth Creationists” are the ones who look  incredibly foolish for their willfull ignorance of science!

6. What does Prov. 11:30 tell us about evangelism?

Well, these translations are completely different. KJV says that the evangelist who is saving souls gets to call themselves wise whereas the NIV says that the evangelist is wise and will saves lives. This ends up being functionally opposites, though in both cases the label of “wise” is handed out a bit like candy.

7. What does Prov. 13:20 say about our companions?

Having wise companions leads to being wise whereas foolish companions harms the individual. However, without a definition of wisdom, the overall effect is the obscure idea that you should hang out with the “right” sort of Christian and everyone else is going to Hell.

8. What is the virtuous woman’s speech like in Prov. 31:26?

She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.” (KJV) vs. “She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.” (NIV) “Faithful instruction” is of course very different from “the law of kindness”.

9. Why should we listen to advice? (Prov. 19:20)

Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end.” (KJV) vs. “Listen to advice and accept discipline,  and at the end you will be counted among the wise.” (NIV) It’s interesting that Merriam-Webster has “obsolete” next to the definition of discipline where it means “instruction” (I was under the impression that the NIV was supposed to modernize the language of the Bible).

Of course, for me, it is more important to be able to identify good advice than to understand that one should get advice.

10. Why is it foolish to boast about tomorrow? (Prov. 27:1 & James 3:13-17)

Do not boast about tomorrow,  for you do not know what a day may bring.” (NIV) Of course, this is actually a good example of sound advice :-).

I’m glad that We’ve gone back to James 3 because I’d skimmed it before answering Question #1 and feel like this Bible Study would have gone better had we started here:

“13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.” (NIV)

This finally seems to answer the very practical question of what wisdom is and how the average person can recognize a wise person…sort of. It does involve “using the word within the definition” (“you can recognize the wise because they act with wisdom”), which means that everyone can define wisdom by their own standards.

But, I do like that it specifically calls out anyone claiming to be wise who secretly harbor envious and selfish ambition! For me, this gives me Biblical based reasoning for why a Clergy member should be scorned when they live in a mansion and otherwise live a life of wealth. I feel that a vow of poverty is the most important thing a Clergyperson does because it shows that they aren’t in it for the money. The Clergy make their living as a salary derived from collections from the faithful who would obviously prefer that their donations go towards the needy and not a Lexus for the Clergy!

Of course, “wise” people (illustrated by  this passage) can earn such vast wealth, but clearly, what matters most is what they do with it and profit sharing plays a large part in illustrating their humbleness (sharing wealth rather than hoarding it for themselves).

———————————————–END—————————————–

Obviously, I’m not a Christian. I’m a Deist. This is also my first Bible Study and I’m more curious about how this ranks as such a thing.

I feel like the specific questions asked are supposed to guide a person to a specific conclusion. Is this normal? I just found it annoying! I mean, I was expecting an in depth discovery of what the Bible means by having wisdom (meaning that there would be a lot of questions dealing specifically with definitions) and instead the questions led me down a trail of the obvious (of course God is the source of wisdom! This is a Christian Bible Study!). I could have answered half of these questions without opening a Bible!

As for analysis, you can see from my short answers, there didn’t seem to be much room for analysis outside of an overarching question of “what is the point of this question?”.

I’ve heard many Christians complain that non-Christians will all too often attack the Bible using choice picked verses that are “taken out of context”, but this entire Bible Study feel like nothing but verse mining. It felt like the author had searched for the word wisdom in a searchable Bible and picked the passages that sounded most relevant without thought about the overarching idea. If nothing else, I wish that there had been bigger sections called out for analysis!

On a related note, this felt a lot like the assignments I most hated in school. “Fill in the blank with the missing word taken directly out of the passage highlighted.” Honestly, I don’t think that the people of this Bible Study are actually supposed to think about anything but the simple answers to simple questions. If otherwise were true, the questions would have been better.

I think that a proper Bible Study should deal with only one section (as big or as small as necessary) while drawing upon any other relevant passages as necessary. They should not, for any reason, require lots of jumps around to look at single solitary verses.

By the way, you’ll notice that I happily utilized two different versions of the Bible for this study (to give me something to analyse). I’m curious as to what will potentially happen if people involved in this swap receive a Study that uses a Bible that isn’t their own version (since version seems to be very important to many people). Will it force some people out of their comfort zone?

Not Wasting Food

For about a month, I’d been craving a meaty hand-pie. I have no idea why, since I’ve never had them before. I guess it was too much time spent watching documentaries on historic British “houses” (more like castles or palaces) and thinking about the food of Harry Potter.

Since I’m a timid soul who doesn’t like exploring new restaurants on my own (and my husband has a tender stomach), I knew that I’d have to make these pies on my own. And since I’m cheap, I knew I’d be making the pie crust by hand (because why should I buy something that is just flour, butter, water and salt, all of which I always have on hand even though I don’t bake that often).

In my head, I knew that I wanted the crust to be chewy, not the flaky stuff that is traditional for most kinds of pie. When I looked up a recipe for the pie dough (because while I know the ingredients I don’t know the proportions) a peirogi dough immediately caught my eye. I thought it would have the perfect texture for what I wanted.

I have a (relative) lot of homemade jams and jellies that were given to me as a gift for Christmas, so I figured that while I was making meat pies, I could make some fruit ones as well, using the jam as filling.

I made a fabulous meat filling using some pork chops (diced up), grated cabbage (out of a bag of coleslaw mix because I can’t eat a whole head of cabbage), some grated carrot, onion, and some sweet potato (in retrospect, I should have left out the sweet potato). I cooked the pork, onion, and potato fully before stuffing the pierogi dough. I wanted the veggies to stay crunchy figured they’d cook enough in the oven.

This is where I seem to have made the critical error. I’m a lazy cook and love to just throw stuff into the oven and have it come out cooked. I have bought frozen pierogies 3 times before and have used all three cooking methods recommended on the box (saute, oven, and boiling) and had already determined that boiling was the ideal way to cook them. I did NOT take my own advice after making a pierogi dough for my meat pies.

I stuck those suckers in the oven and what came out was a tasty rock. Well, not a rock, but they definitely took some serious chewing to eat (I’d also miscalculated on my fruity pies which leaked and seemed to not have enough filling, either).

So, I found myself the unfortunate owners of some pretty, but not the tastiest meat and fruit hand pies. Did I mention that the meat pies were quite dry because I hadn’t included a gravy? Yeah…

After a couple days in the fridge, I knew I had to do something with them. I hate the idea of wasting food, though, so I didn’t want to throw them away without a second chance. So, I cut 2 of the meat pies up  into bite sized pieces and threw them into a pot of chicken stock. The pierogi dough sucked up that liquid beautifully and finally got the texture that I’d craved. I had enough to cover my lunches for work for the rest of the week. I put 2 more meat pies into the freezer for future enjoyment.

By the end of the week, I knew I had to do something with the fruit pies, and I found another meat pie that I’d packaged for my lunch before realizing that I needed to do something better. So, I cut the fruit pies up into pieces  and put them into a baking dish along with an apple I’d cut up and a can of sliced peaches (including the light syrup). This I put into the oven for like an hour and a half at 325 (stirring occasionally and looking for the fruit to be tender, but not completely mushy).

The result was delicious! Kind of a deconstructed fruit pie.

As for the “final” meat pie (since I still have 2 in the freezer), I chopped it up and threw it into some left over canned baked beans. Also delicious! And not one bit of my cooking adventure ended up in the trash!

But I think that the next time I want to make a meat pie, I’ll use a traditional pie dough and I think I’ll get some personal sized pie dishes to make them in so that I can enjoy some proper gravy.

Birthday Card

I am entering this card into 2 challenges this week. The first is Seize the Birthday–Anything Goes.

The second is As You Like It Challenge–Favorite Colour (and Why). My favorite color is orange because it’s kind of the non-conformist color. I mean, it doesn’t rhyme with anything (?) and I think a lot of people are afraid to wear orange because it’s a very bold color. But see, orange can play nicely wit everyone :-).