July 9, 2013

Journey of 1,865 Days: The Fear Of Going For It

by katie: normal girl

To my wonderful WordPress.com readers:

I’ve recently moved to wordpress.org and will not be posting here regularly. If you’d like to continue following the normal girl journey, you can sign up using the subscribe box at my new home.

Thanks for following along with me, I always enjoy reading your comments and thoughts!
-Katie.

P.S. If you’ve already signed up to receive email notifications of new posts, you will be transferred automatically.

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Journey of 1,865 Days-The Fear of Going For It from katienormalgirl.com

It’s a month into my new Journey of 1,865 Days and I have a secret to tell you. Sometimes when I think about it, my chest swells and fills with such excitement that I feel like I might actually burst. Drumroll, please…

…read more

July 4, 2013

Gratitude Picture Journal: Fourth of July

by katie: normal girl

Today I'm Grateful For…{ creative wonder } from katienormalgirl.com

Today, we briefly set aside our divisions, our trials and our controversies to come together and celebrate the American Spirit in it’s purest form, that of the pioneer, of opportunity and of freedom.

And tonight as people gather together, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with mouths slightly agape  …read more 

July 3, 2013

Party Treat: Flavored Ice Cubes

by katie: normal girl

Flavored Ice Cubes-Part I from katienormalgirl.com

These yummy ice cubes can be used in your lemonade, mixed drinks or brew some sun tea for a fun summertime treat. The unique flavors will be a fun addition to your summer parties and picnics.

For recipes and flavors, head over to my new digs.

June 28, 2013

Godzilla Returns! A new Nature Walk Post

by katie: normal girl

The Nature Walk Project - Urban Juxtaposition from katienormalgirl.com

For those of you who haven’t been to Florida, my little lizard friend above may look intriguing but once you’ve been here for a while you kind of stop noticing them. Unless, of course, they’re scurrying across the sidewalk directly in your path and you have to do a less than graceful hopping/falling down maneuver to avoid obliterating them. I saw this little guy on a concrete overpass behind a chain link barrier (below). His only interest in me seemed to be the bit of shade my shadow provided while I was trying to snap his picture. Check out the rest of the urban/nature fun at my new locale.

June 26, 2013

Healthier Bit by Bit: Sun Hats

by katie: normal girl

Wear a Hat in the Sun from katienormalgirl.com

Summer is officially underway! It’s time to get outside for picnics, beach trips or just sitting in the park, sipping on sun tea and reading this summer’s best-seller.

When you’re making your way out the door this summer, don’t forget your hat. It’s one of the easiest (and in my opinion, most fashionable) ways to stay safe in the sun. But how does it actually help, you may wonder? read more

June 3, 2013

“When a Haircut is More Than a Haircut” and The Month Ahead

by katie: normal girl

I once read that you carry the memory and knowledge of your life’s journey in your hair. Up until recently, I had the journey of 1,865 days in my hair.

Handwritten word-journey of 1865 days
I sat in the salon chair with the stylist standing behind me, her left hand holding the 12-inch ponytail, her right hand holding the scissors, poised just above the hair-tie. She asked one more time, “Are you ready?” I answered without hesitation, “Yes”. This journey was over and I was ready to release the bad and keep the good. As she started to cut, the ponytail fell away and took with it, 1,865 days, two new apartments, one new job, one new car and one new blogging…read more (you’ll be directed to my new site, more about this exciting change later)

November 27, 2012

A Year of Full Moons – November

by katie: normal girl

he moon has reset and will soon start to wane.  This is your monthly reminder that now is the time to release any bad habits or negative thoughts you might be holding onto.  As our view of the moon shrinks, sliver by sliver, let it take that which you wish to release.  Allow yourself the freedom to let go.  It’s during this lunar phase that the growth of leaves on plants and trees starts to slow, because as the moonlight fades, the plants push their energy down to the their root systems.  Focus on strengthening your own roots, the part of you from which everything else grows and flourishes.

The quote on the photo above is from one of my favorite books, The Girl Who Chased The Moon by Sarah Addison Allen. The story is enchanting and always inspires me to go out and chase the moon.  I took the above photograph during our full November moon in Orlando, Florida, United States on November 27, 2012 at 6:14 p.m. EST, using my iphone.

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Check out more from A Year of Full Moons

November 13, 2012

Handcrafted Holidays: Thanksgiving Pine Cone Turkeys

by katie: normal girl

From the archives: this project was originally published last year but it was so much fun that I wanted to share again!

y kitchen sink is stacked with dishes, my dining room table is a mess, there’s food everywhere, and I had the best time!  I invited my family over for a crafting day and we revived a holiday tradition from my childhood…Thanksgiving Pinecone Turkeys.  Normally we would craft these before Thanksgiving Dinner, but this year I invited everyone over for an early crafting day so I could share this tradition with you in time for this year’s Thanksgiving celebration. You can see all of their wonderful creations in the Inspiration Gallery, at the end of this post.

These adorable little birds can be made by each guest before Thanksgiving dinner and used as “place cards” on the holiday table.  While guests are snacking on appetizers and waiting for dinner, have them gather around the table and create their own personalized Pinecone Turkey.

Set up a folding table, which you can cover with a plastic tablecloth if you prefer.  Then you’ll need:

  • Pinecones – 1 per person, medium sized.  If you’re lucky enough to have pinecones in the backyard, then save the gathering activity for the kids when they arrive for dinner.  I didn’t have pinecones, but before heading to the craft store to buy them, I asked my family to bring some.  I also put up a notice at work and a co-worker was more than happy to bring me a large bag full!
  • Craft Glue – several small bottles
  • Pipe Cleaners in a variety of colors – the kind with bumps
  • Wire cutters (to clip the pipe cleaners, scissors usually won’t do it)
  • Fancy Paper for name tags
  • 1 or 2 Paint Markers that coordinate with the name tag paper you choose
  • Googley Eyes
  • Any additional embellishments that you can’t live without!  (My family also likes to use small craft feathers in a variety of colors.)

Making Pinecone Turkeys

1. Start by shaking out the pinecones to make sure they are free of bugs and debris.  Set the pinecone on its side, in a position where it doesn’t wobble back and forth.

2. Use the wire cutters to cut the pipe cleaners between each bump.  I like to do this part before everyone arrives.
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3. Select a pipe cleaner bump and bend it in half to form a drop, and then twist the ends slightly so they stay together.

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4. Dab a little glue on the end and tuck it into the back (the larger end) of the pinecone.

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5. Continue to do this, making several rows until you’ve formed the turkey’s tail.

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6. Next you’ll want to add the turkey’s head. Choose a pipe cleaner bump and bend it into a loose “S” shape and glue one googley eye on each side of the head. Then dab glue at the base of the head and tuck it into the front of the pinecone.

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7. Add any additional embellishments that you like!

You can add wings to the turkey’s side using pipe cleaner bumps or small craft feathers, which you can also tuck into the tail.  There were some pine needles in with the pinecones, which a couple of people used as embellishment.  Some of us used very small feathers to create a “wobble” under the turkey’s chin and my mother even created a green feather fascinator* for her turkey!  For a final touch, use the paint marker to write your name on the fancy paper and have your guests display the name in front of their turkey, tucked into the turkey’s back or, like some of my family did, glue it to the turkey’s “butt”.

I hope you enjoy sharing this holiday tradition with your friends and family and feel free to send me pictures of the fun!

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*If you’re not in the “know” about fascinators, those are the tiny embellished headpieces worn by the British at high society events…like the royal wedding.

Inspiration Gallery

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November 12, 2012

Mushroom and Green Bean Soup with Gremolata

by katie: normal girl

This week’s recipe was inspired by a recipe from Vegetarian Times magazine.

was in the mood for soup this week so I went combing through all of my recipes and found this great one with noodles, mushrooms and green beans…some of my favorite foods.  This is another recipe that is easy to whip up if you have a last minute vegetarian or vegan guest coming for dinner.  It also makes a great, low-calorie, low-sodium meal for anyone who’s trying to watch their waist line before the holiday eating season begins!

From the Pantry:

  • 2 tbs. olive oil
  • 6 c. low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 3 c. no-egg wide-ribbon noodles (these are similar to egg noodles which are vegetarian friendly but not vegan friendly, feel free to substitute with your favorite noodle)
  • ¾ tsp. dried Herbs de Provence seasoning mix (if you can’t find a premade mix, use any combination of earthy flavored herbs like, sage, rosemary, thyme and savory)
  • kosher salt to taste

From the Garden

  • 2 ½ c. (6 oz.) portabella mushrooms, chopped into large chunks
  • 1 medium sweet onion, diced (about 1 ½ cups)
  • 1 ½ c.  green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • ¼ c. fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 2 tsp. grated lemon zest

Use a large soup pot to saute the onion and mushrooms in the olive oil until the onion is soft and slightly browned.  Add the Herbs de Provence and the green beans and allow them to cook for 1-2 minutes.  Pour in the vegetable broth and bring to a boil.  Add the uncooked noodles and allow them to boil gently for 7-8 minutes (or the time according to the package directions for the noodles that you have selected).  While waiting for the noodles to cook in the soup, make the gremolata by finely chopping together the parsley, garlic and lemon zest.

Once the soup is ready, serve hot and top each serving with 1-2 tsp. of the gremolata.  The original recipe called for a scoop of mascarpone cheese to be stirred in just before serving but I wanted to keep the recipe vegan and low-cal.  You could top the soup with a bit of shaved parmesan cheese but then you’re not vegan anymore (but still vegetarian).  It’s up to you how if you’d like the cheese but I thought it was quite tasty without it.  Just a bit of kosher salt sprinkled on top and I was happy!


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Care to learn more about being a vegetarian?  Click here to read my mini-series: When Veggies Come to Dinner

November 11, 2012

Homemade Holiday Gifts: Cinnamon Peanut Brittle

by katie: normal girl

I have studied herbalism for many years and enjoy using the knowledge that I have gained to create both simple and complex herbal remedies, delicious teas, tisanes and brews, and to make natural skin and hair care products.  I get to share a lot of this knowledge in my weekly column on hellogiggles.com as The 21st Century Herbalist.  Once a week I like to repost the column here, just in case you missed it!

Original publish date: October 11, 2012

s we continue to celebrate the multi-generational traditions of women, I can’t help but think of all of the wonderful recipes that have been passed down through the women in my family.  This time of year always puts me in the mood for peanut brittle but not just any peanut brittle, I look forward to my great-grandmother’s cinnamon peanut brittle.  It’s that little bit of cinnamon that makes this treat feel unique to my family and always makes me nostalgic.

The cinnamon tree is native to India and can now be found in many parts of the world.  The bark has long been used as a delicious flavoring in many types of food but it also has many medicinal benefits too.  This spicy bark is warming and works as a mild, yet effective, digestive aid.  It also has antiviral properties that make it great for fighting infection.

There are so many peanut brittle recipes out there, so feel free to just add a bit of cinnamon to one of your favorites.  If you don’t have a favorite, then I’d love for you to share in my family’s tradition and make the version below.  It makes a yummy treat that can be wrapped up and given as treats to your co-workers, family and friends.

…read more (you’ll be redirected to my column on hellogiggles.com)

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