Fairy Tales – The things nightmares are made of.


Last night Eden wanted me to read to her from a very old nursery rhyme and fairy tale book she has. She opened it up to Red Riding Hood and we snuggled down in her bed for one of my favorite bedtime rituals.

Let me start off by saying that I did not realize I was reading the Brother’s Grimm version. Had I known that ahead of time I would’ve at least skimmed the story before I dove in headfirst.

Well it starts out pretty dang awesome. Red Riding Hood needs to go visit her Grandmother who is ill (blah, blah, blah), and her mother says,

“Come here, Red Riding Hood! Take this cake and bottle of wine to grandmother. She is weak and ill, and they will do her good.”

Come on! This story has it goin’ on!

Eden says,

“Uh… mom? That is not going to make her better. Cake… sugar! Wine… alcohol!”

Where does she get the idea that these are bad things?

Moving a little further on when the wolf finds the grandmother in the bed,

He went straight in and up to the bed without saying a word, and ate up the poor old woman.”

Ok, in the other versions I’ve read and been told, the grandma runs off, or the wolf puts her in the closet. Eden and I are quite silent after this line. We just look at each other and I ask her if I should keep reading. Of course, being spawned from me, she wants to go on. At this point I know that Red is going to get it too, so we’re not too shocked when she is swallowed up as well. Then along comes the huntsman. He is about to shoot the wolf when it occurs to him that the grandmother might still be alive inside of his belly.

“So he took and knife and began cutting open the sleeping wolf. At the first cut he saw the little red cloak, and after a few more slashes, the little girl sprang out and cried, ‘Oh, how frightened I was! It was so dark inside the wolf.’ Next the old grandmother came out, alive but hardly able to breathe.”

And here I’ve been praying against bad dreams.

How did it end? Well, clearly ‘slashing’ the wolf to pieces wasn’t enough to kill him, but Red filling him up with big stones so that when he woke up he couldn’t move worked like a charm.

Next in the book is Cinderella. Not really sure how I feel about that yet.


Oh, the book came from John’s previous boss. Not sure how I feel about that either.



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I hope my instructor has a sense of humor

I had to write a fake cover letter for a MS Word project today and this is what I did. She gave us the job position and company name… I made up the rest.

Chandler Bing

Absolute Date Corporation

Red Parkway Avenue

Boston, MA 48232 

Dear Mr. Bing

I am writing in response to the job opportunity posted for an Excel data entry and analyses in the Boston News on April 9th, 2010. I have many years of experience using Excel, including data entry, creating formulas, and if/then functions and my self-motivating work ethic is a good match for  your company mission, ‘Numbers are the only sure thing in life.’

 I have received both my Associates and Bachelors degrees in Business Management and earned the 2008 Excel award. I am goal-oriented and work well under time requirements. I arranged and maintained all financial statements for my previous employer, Enron Corporation. I believe I was a great asset to their company and will be one to yours as well. 

Thank you for your time. I look forward to having more correspondence with you in the future. I can be reached at xxx-xxx-xxxx 

Valerie Fowler


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Banana Cupcakes

So in the middle of the night I was thinking about the 2 over-ripe bananas waiting in the bowl above my microwave. I usually make banana bread with them but I thought I would throw caution to the wind and make cupcakes instead.

I’m just wild like that.

I used Martha Stewart’s Banana Cupcakes with Honey Cinnamon Frosting recipe, but only the cupcake part. Turns out they are more like banana bread than actual light fluffy cake. They really should be labeled as Banana Muffins. They’re good, but they’re not ‘cupcakes’. Reguardless, it gave me a reason to make buttercream and use my new star tip.

Martha Stewart’s Banana Cupcakes Muffins.

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (about 4 ripe bananas), plus 1 whole banana, for garnish (optional)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
    2. Make a well in center of flour mixture. In well, mix together butter, mashed bananas, eggs, and vanilla. Stir to incorporate flour mixture (do not overmix). Dividing evenly, spoon batter into muffin cups.
    3. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a cupcake comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan; cool completely on a wire rack


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    Photoshop Tutorial *Knock-off Depth of Field*

    Ok, so I really love photographs with creative depth of field, but my camera offers limited settings beyond portrait and micro modes. Such a shame, but Photoshop never fails to come to my rescue. Here’s how I fake it.

    Here are the before and after images. I love images like this with the focus on a single baby body part. Unfortunately this is not my baby. Another shame. No, I had to shamelessly borrow this image from GenevieveAlbert.

    So, beginning image:

    ARGH! The cuteness is too much! Taking a moment to recover…

    Ok, duplicate this layer. Either right-click on the layer and choose ‘duplicate layer…’, or click and drag the layer down to the ‘create a new layer’ button at the bottom of your layers palette.

    Apply a gaussian blur to this duplicated layer. You need to create a decent blur but make sure you can still detect the image. No over-kill needed.

    Now add a layer mask by clicking this button at the bottom of your layers palette.

    Make sure your mask, and not your photo, is selected by clicking on the mask rectangle.

    Now select a circle brush and set it roughly the size of the part of the photo that you want the focus to be on. Set the brush hardness to zero, and click on the area of the photo that you’re choosing to focus on. At this point you will probably do a few trial and errors till you get the look you want. Experiment with brush sizes and locations till you’re happy with the results.

    I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and find it useful!


    Filed under Photoshop, Scrapbooking, Uncategorized


    Working on my April portfolio at Sweet Shoppe Designs.


    Filed under Scrapbooking, Uncategorized

    Literature Review – 2nd grade edition

    Humpty Dumpty Climbs Again – Review by Eden Fowler, 2nd grade

    Humpty fell of the wall. You probibly knew that all ready. Then when the kings horse gets stuck on the top of the wall, Humpty gets brave again. And saves him/her. And now on  he does not go climbing with out proper safety equipment. or pants.

    I am to assume by the “him/her” bit that Dave Horowitz did not clearly disclose the gender of this particular horse.

    Link to book

    Leave a comment

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    Man small… universe big

    “Sometimes people say that they cannot believe that, if there is a God, he would take interest in such a tiny speck of reality called humanity on Planet Earth. The universe, they say, is so vast, it makes man utterly insignificant.

    Why would God have bothered to create such a microscopic speck called earth and humanity and then get involved with us?

    Beneath this question is a fundamental failure to see what the universe is about. It is about the greatness of God, not the significance of man. God made man small and the universe big to say something about himself. And he says it for us to learn and enjoy – namely, that he is infinitely great and powerful and wise and beautiful.

    The more the Hubble Telescope sends back to us about the unfathomable depths of space, the more we should stand in awe of God.

    The disproportion between us and the universe is a parable about the disproportion between us and God. And it is an understatement. But the point is not to nullify us but to glorify him.”

    John Piper – Don’t Waste Your Life


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