Hello Friends. Kristen here. I haven’t been feeling good recently, so I have not done any baking or crafting. In fact, I have two big bags of apples sitting in the kitchen, calling my name that need to be turned into applesauce like, yesterday. So that will be my big project tomorrow- hopefully made easier by the cool apple peeler/corer/slicer I got from Pampered Chef! I am completely at ease with the idea that my house will smell like cooking apples and cinnamon tomorrow.
As my daily life has not been terribly interesting lately, I’ve kind of been at a loss as to what to post. Ilana pointed out that October 20th was Why I Write day. Although I am a few days late to the party, I thought I’d share what writing has meant to me throughout my life.
My first memory of me writing is not really me writing at all. I am really little, maybe 3 or 4, sitting at my parent’s wooden kitchen table, trying to make a dog book out of construction paper. I think I was trying to copy pictures from a book about Jack Russells and I remember feeling a little disappointed that my scribbles did not look anything like the pictures inside the book. My parents kindly stapled all of my construction paper together. I think it was blue.
My next memory of writing is sitting at my parents’ first Mac computer with my dad. It was a little gray box with a tiny rainbow apple on it. Does anyone remember those? We had that computer for a long time. My dad was helping me write a story and I was thrilled to hear the computer read my story back to me.
I think as a child, I loved making books and trying to write stories because I loved hearing stories so much. Every night before bed, I’d be tucked in with stuffed animals and a yellow lab draped across the foot of my bed and my parents would tell me long stories. There were a few recurring characters, but they always featured me and some friends going on adventures.
My parents took me to the library a lot when I was little. I would be allowed to check out a bunch of picture books that they would read to me over and over throughout the week. My favorite was Maggie’s Moon, by Martha Alexander. Sadly, her books are out of print right now, but you may get lucky and find them at the Library or on Amazon. I think many of us would agree that there is almost nothing more enchanting than a really well written children’s book with beautiful pictures. I am growing my little collection nicely.
Although I struggled to read as a kindergartener and first grader, my parents were always there to help me, and to make sure I had independent reading time each day. It was not a big formal thing, it was just part of our routine. Thankfully, due to my parents’ dedication, I did not struggle for long. I grew to love reading more than doing almost anything else. Jo March, Jane Eyre, Elizabeth Bennett, Betsy Ray, and Anne Shirley- these characters all became good friends of mine. Interestingly enough, many of them liked to write as well. Writing was always just something I did as an extension of a love of reading. My parents have done a lot of stapling of construction paper, and computer paper over the years.
In elementary school, I used to love to journal. That started in a little marble notebook in school. The teacher posted a silly or thoughtful writing prompt on the board, and invited the class to respond. These assignments were the perfect experience for capturing the imagination of creative young minds, although now that I’ve taught, I know that these were also a lot of fun for the teachers to read. I recently read my little brother’s fourth grade journal. It involved defeating Freddy Krueger with his own sharp nail, and it is the best. Teachers, please never get rid of journaling. Sometimes, we’d share our journals with the rest of the class. I love how unselfconscious we all were with sharing. I used to be nervous about speaking in class, but never nervous about the sharing my journal part. I sometimes wish we could all share our creativity just as boldly as adults.
I also journaled at home. I think I have one of them up in my attic, as well as a two notebooks filled with poems. I remember writing about daily life, as well as my inner life and worries. I wish I kept all of my journals. I think I felt embarrassed by them once I was a little older. If I could go back I’d say, “Young Kristen, keep your journals. The only thing you should be embarrassed about is your AOL away message right now.”
So as I grew up, writing was always just something I did. What I wrote changed as I got older. Less stories and more essays for school and love letters to my now husband. Every now and then, I’d write a story or part of a short story. My husband sometimes finds little descriptions or story parts written on scraps around the house now. I also write down some of my prayers and letters I may not send. They are not for anybody, just me. It’s all very fragmented. It is hard to finish a story, isn’t it? I think I am still figuring out what to say. If you put all of those fragmented bits together though, I think you’ll find they make up a girl who loves to read, and can’t help but write.
I will leave you with a muffin recipe. This fantastic recipe is from Table for Two and is a fall tradition for me. I just changed the recipe to make the muffins nondairy and I add as many chocolate chips as I want! I’ll be making these once I feel completely better.
Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chunk Muffins
1 2/3 cup all purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 large eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup of soft (not liquid) coconut oil
Chocolate Chips- the recipe calls for 6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, rough chopped. I use chocolate chips and add them until the batter looks chocolatey enough.
Mix the dry ingredients together in one bowl, and the wet in another bowl. Combine the two, and bake your batter at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.