Monthly Archives: February 2014

February Vocabulary Words

One of the goals on my 2014 manifesto was to learn a new vocabulary word each day. With the help of daily emails from, this goal is super easy to accomplish. These are the words for February:

February 1:

galligaskins \gal-i-GAS-kinz\, noun:

1. leggings or gaiters, usually of leather.
2. loose hose or breeches worn in the 16th and 17th centuries.

February 2: 

slake \sleyk\, verb:

1. to allay (thirst, desire, wrath, etc.) by satisfying.
2. to make less active, vigorous, intense, etc.: His calm manner slaked their enthusiasm.
3. to cause disintegration of (lime) by treatment with water.

February 3: 

posy \POH-zee\, noun:

1. a flower, nosegay, or bouquet.
2. Archaic. a brief motto or the like, as one inscribed within a ring.

February 4: 

inglenook \ING-guhl-nook\, noun:

a corner or nook near a fireplace.

February 5: 

farceur \fahr-SUR\, noun:

1. a joker; wag.
2. a writer or director of or actor in farce.

February 6: 

neologize \nee-OL-uh-jahyz\, verb:

1. to make or use new words or create new meanings for existing words.
2. to devise or accept new religious doctrines.

February 7: 

schuss \shoos\, verb:

1. Skiing. to execute a schuss.

1. a straight downhill run at high speed.

February 8: 

maw \maw\, noun:

1. the symbolic or theoretical center of a voracious hunger or appetite of any kind: the ravenous maw of Death.
2. the mouth, throat, or gullet of an animal, especially a carnivorous mammal.
3. a cavernous opening that resembles the open jaws of an animal: the gaping maw of hell.

February 9: 

dulcify \DUHL-suh-fahy\, verb:

1. to make more agreeable; mollify; appease.
2. to sweeten.

February 10: 

blatherskite \BLATH-er-skahyt\, noun:

1. a person given to voluble, empty talk.
2. nonsense; blather.

February 11: 

sooth \sooth\, noun:

1. truth, reality, or fact.

1. true or real.

February 12: 

albumen \al-BYOO-muhn\, noun:

1. the white of an egg.
2. Botany. the nutritive matter around the embryo in a seed.

February 13: 

pluvial \PLOO-vee-uhl\, adjective:

1. of or pertaining to rain; rainy.
2. Geology. occurring through the action of rain.

1. Geology. a rainy period formerly regarded as coeval with a glacial age, but now recognized as episodic and, in the tropics, as characteristic of interglacial ages.

February 14: 

schatzi \SHAHT-see\, noun:

Slang. sweetheart, darling.

February 15: 

ailurophilia \ahy-loor-uh-FIL-ee-uh, ey-loor-\, noun:

a liking for cats, as by cat fanciers.

February 16: 

chirk \churk\, verb:

1. Informal. to cheer (usually followed by up).
2. to make a shrill, chirping noise.

February 17: 

august \aw-GUHST\, adjective:

1. venerable; eminent: an august personage.
2. inspiring reverence or admiration; of supreme dignity or grandeur; majestic: an august performance of a religious drama.

February 18: 

bestiary \BES-chee-er-ee, BEES-\, noun:

a collection of moralized fables, especially as written in the Middle Ages, about actual or mythical animals.

February 19: 

moiety \MOI-i-tee\, noun:

1. a half.
2. an indefinite portion, part, or share.
3. Anthropology. one of two units into which a tribe or community is divided on the basis of unilineal descent.

February 20: 

Salchow \SAL-kou\, noun:

Ice Skating. a jump in which the skater leaps from the back inside edge of one skate, making one full rotation of the body in the air, and lands on the back outside edge of the other skate.

February 21: 

toothsome \TOOTH-suhm\, adjective:

1. pleasing to the taste; palatable: a toothsome dish.
2. pleasing or desirable, as fame or power.
3. voluptuous; sexually alluring: a toothsome blonde.

February 22: 

razz \raz\, verb:

1. Slang. to deride; make fun of; tease.

1. raspberry; any sign or expression of dislike or derision.

February 23: 

columbine \KOL-uhm-bahyn, -bin\, adjective:

1. dovelike; dove-colored.
2. of a dove.

February 24:

malinger \ muh-LING-ger \  , verb;

1. to pretend illness, especially in order to shirk one’s duty, avoid work, etc.

February 25:

sciamachy  \ sahy-AM-uh-kee \  , noun;

 1. an act or instance of fighting a shadow or an imaginary enemy.

February 26:

fusty  \ FUHS-tee \  , adjective;

1. old-fashioned or out-of-date, as architecture, furnishings, or the like: They still live in that fusty,gingerbread house .

2. having a stale smell; moldy; musty: fusty rooms that were in need of a good airing .
3. stubbornly conservative or old-fashioned; fogyish.

February 27:

deipnosophist \ dahyp-NOS-uh-fist \  , noun;

1. a person who is an adept conversationalist at table.

February 28:

aubade  \ oh-BAD, oh-BAHD \  , noun;

1. Music . a piece sung or played outdoors at dawn, usually as a compliment to someone.

*All of these words were copied directly from the daily emails


“The Magician’s Nephew” by C.S. Lewis


This year I will read all of the books in the Chronicles of Narnia series– five of them, and will complete a goal on my 2014 Manifesto. So curl up with a cup of hot coffee, your fuzzy socks, and a blazing fire, and let’s get reading.

The Magician’s Nephew is a fantasy novel for children (and adults) written by C.S. Lewis and published in 1955. It was the sixth of seven novels in the The Chronicles of Narnia series (1950–1956); but it is volume one in recent editions, that are sequenced according to Narnia history- which is why I’ve read it first.

Thanks to Wikipedia we know that Lewis began The Magician’s Nephew soon after completing The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, spurred by a friend’s question about the lamp-post in the middle of nowhere. This story includes several autobiographical elements and explores a number of themes with general moral and Christian implications including atonement, original sin, temptation, and the order of nature.

*spoiler alert*

If you haven’t read the book and would like to find everything out on your own, stop reading!

The Magician’s Nephew is set in England and features two children caught in experimental travel via “the wood between the worlds”. These children, Digory and Polly, are playmates who stumble into Digory’s Uncle Andrew’s ‘forbidden’ study. Uncle Andrew knows a bit of magic and tricks Polly into touching a ring that takes her out of our world. Digory is upset and indignant, knowing he will have to take another ring and go and fetch Polly. Digory meets Polly in “the wood between the worlds” where various pools that one could take a dip in takes you to another world. The children argue, and decide to visit another world before going back to regular boring life, and after some experimentation they arrive in ‘the deplorable world’. Here they awaken the Queen, and she follows them in their escape.

This is where the story gets really interesting. The Queen meets Uncle Andrew and demands he be her slave so she can conquer their world. She is loose in London, with Digory and Polly fretting over what to do. They finally get their opportunity, and take the whole gang (with some innocent bystanders) back to ‘the wood between the worlds’. They go into another pool, but this one leads to an empty world. Uncle Andrew tries to get the children to take him back, but something is happening. The group witnesses the creation of the Narnia world by Aslan the lion. Havoc ensues as Uncle Andrew continues his attempts to get the children to take him back. This causes the Queen to throw the part of a lamp-post she had pulled in her immense strength from a lamp-post in London. The metal piece grows into a lamp-post that springs from the ground as Aslan is singing things into being. The visitors then participate in the beginning of Narnia. These events explain the origin of foreign elements in Narnia, not only the lamp-post but the White Witch and a human king and queen, (one of the bystanders and his wife), as well as the magical cabinet we come to know in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

The story also has a very heartwarming sub-plot with Digory’s mother, and the ending is absolutely amazing. We not only get a story of general moral and overarching Christian implications, but one that follows those lines of love and friendship and their meanings in our lives.

I very much enjoyed this book, and would definitely recommend it!

February Recipe Test with Anna!

The recipe test for February was another dessert- a very easy and light dish that is easy to make and a mess to eat! We made Strawberry Wonton cups from Giada’s recipe, and while they turned out pretty tasty they have an overwhelming citrus taste. If I were ever to make them again, I would have a lighter hand with the amount of orange juice and zest added, and would perhaps experiment with adding another type of spice.

The cast of characters:


Following the directions:

The finished dessert!


Strawberry Wonton Cups with Orange Mascarpone Whipped Cream



  • 2 cups strawberries, hulled and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons orage juice, from 1/2 medium orange
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
  • Cooking spray
  • 24 wontons wrappers

Mascarpone Whipped Cream

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Zest of 1 medium orange


For the wontons: In a large bowl combine the strawberries, orange juice and powdered sugar. Allow the strawberries to macerate for 20 minutes.

Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 24-count mini muffin tin with cooking spray. To create the wonton cups make a small fold in the center of each wonton and push it into the muffin cup, leaving a cup empty between each wonton. Bake the cups until the edges are golden, 5 to 6 minutes. Cool the cups while you make the whipped cream.

For the whipped cream: In a bowl using an electric mixer, combine the heavy cream, mascarpone, sugar, vanilla and orange zest. Whip until the cream has soft peaks, about 2 minutes.

To assemble the cups: Drain the berries, reserving the macerating liquid. Place a few berry slices in the bottom of each cup. Fill the cup with a tablespoon of whipped cream and top with additional strawberry slices. Drizzle with the reserved berry juices and serve.

Don’t be ‘Normal’ – Motivational Monday!

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Welcome to Motivational Monday! A safe space to lay it all out on the table- no one is perfect, and every one needs a boost now and again. What time is better than on Monday, that sunny little bright spot of the week? Pull up a chair, keep an open mind, and let’s start this week right!

This week’s Motivational Monday is brought to you by the lovely Sprinkle of Glitter- her non-paraphrased post can be found at her blog here.

Do you ever feel a bit like you spend half your life trying to be cool? I do. I regularly wish I could suck back in the weird thing I’ve just said or not have made the unfunny joke or not done a little dance when over excited or not laughed so loudly. On a daily basis I try to be breezy. I try really hard to be as ‘normal’ and good as everyone else and pretty much every time I’m met with failure. My inner weird just gets out. To clarify, I’m not talking about that oh-so-desirable ‘weird’ that you might call ‘quirky’. I’m talking about an inability to edit my thoughts-words and a scewed sense of what is socially acceptable.
I’m giving up. I’m not breezy. I’m slightly neurotic. I like fast responses to texts. I like my imaginary island. I like sucking crisps. There. This week I urge you to let your inner weird out. I know it’s in there. I know you secretly do a lot of weird stuff and I know you want to do it freely. Wouldn’t a world of freely weird women [and men] be better than hoards and hoards of stressed out repressed crazies? Yes. It would. Edit yourself less. You think that joke is funny? Say it. Even if you’re the only one that laughed, at least someone did!

What can we focus on this week? Just be yourself!

2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi! (My favorite things/Closing Ceremony)

There were incredible moments of athletic greatness, plenty of competition, and stories of heartwarming human character all from the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. I watched the games online at work, and at home every evening. DVR’ing what I couldn’t watch broadcasted. While it’s been fun, it will be nice to get back to ‘real life,’ and also to anticipate the next Winter games in Pyeongchang, South Korea!

These are a few of my favorite things from the games:

These are a few of my favorite things from the Closing Ceremony:

Go, USA!!

The best is yet to come – Motivational Monday!


Welcome to Motivational Monday! A safe space to lay it all out on the table- no one is perfect, and every one needs a boost now and again. What time is better than on Monday, that sunny little bright spot of the week? Pull up a chair, keep an open mind, and let’s start this week right!

When we have a bad day or are just not happy at the time, it is both amazing and comforting to know that things will get better and that we are going to have better days than today. The reality of life is that we will face trials, sorrow and grief but with the right perspective we can move forward boldly to embrace our future. We can take charge of our own day, keep that chin up and go get em’!

So what can we focus on this week? Keep up hope for the future, and make today the best day you can!

A Day at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art!!

One of my favorite things to do in Kansas City is to go to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art- and this January I spent an entire day there! It was a fun day of culture with my dad, soaking in the art, eating the fantastic food in the Rozzelle Court Restaurant, and walking around the gardens. It was a really fun (if freezing cold) day- and I completed a goal on my 2014 manifesto!

We started in the Bloch Building (art itself) where we saw the Islamic Art and Impressionist France exhibitions. The first stop was in the ‘Echoes’ gallery- Islamic art with a focus on contemporary artists-  it was interesting to see the current work, there were some aesthetically beautiful and political exhibits.

The reason we came in the bitter cold gribs of the Midwest winter was the ‘Impressionist France’ exhibition, which was fabulous. It held true treasures of the period- and suprisingly many photographs taken by the artists as well. Apparently being ‘An official photographer of Paris’ was an actual job. So jealous.

Lunch at Rozzelle Court was so delicious (per usual)

On the way to Rodin we had to stop and say hi to an old favorite- ‘Saint John the Baptist in the Wilderness’, 1604-1605 by Michelangelo Mersi, called Caravaggio. We just sat and looked at it for awhile, finding new things in the painting, and reflecting on how alive  it feels- I even looked up the history of it on my iphone.

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We went up to the Rozzelle Balcony for the Rodin Exhibit after. It featured sculptures from the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Foundation. It was very interesting- especially his study of hands. Another thing to note- how he created individual sculptures and then incorporated them into larger pieces. It was a wonderful collection.

We made our way to the permanent exhibitions afterward, and took a tour of the Asian art. There are some truly impressive works here, and we had a great time exploring. My favorite area is in the Chinese Temple, which is a draw for art lovers from around the world.

Then it was time to move on to one of my all time favorite areas- the permanent Egyptian exhibit. I’ve always been very interested in mummies and the culture, so this exhibit is a treat for me every trip out to the Nelson-Atkins.

We march seamlessly into European art- another of my favorites at the museum.

We had to visit my favorite- Claude Monet’s Water Lilies, ca. 1916-1926. (I had the great fortune of being able to visit when all three paintings in this Triptych were displayed. That was a truly awe inspiring sight.)

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We had a wonderful day! Here are a few more shots from here and there:

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”

-Thomas Merton

(Check out our last day at the Nelson-Atkins here!)