Happy Mother’s Day

Today is the day we celebrate Mother’s Day. I read about the origin of Mother’s Day on History.com.  What I found interesting is that a number of people promoted celebrating Mother’s in the late 1800’s.   In 1868 Ann Reeves Jarvis organized “Mothers’ Friendship Day,” at which mothers gathered with former Union and Confederate soldiers to promote reconciliation. It was actually her daughter, Anna Jarvis, who conceived Mother’s Day as a way to honor the sacrifices mothers made for their children.  In 1908, the first official Mother’s Day was held in West Virginia.  Anna did not get married or have any children of her own; yet she pushed for Mother’s Day to become a national holiday.  What’s strange is that once it did, she later fought to have it removed as a holiday because she thought it was too commercial. Much like today, both the floral and card companies were a part of Mother’s Day celebrations. According to Statista.com, in 2014,  jewelry and dinner/brunch were the two largest planned expenditure categories in the United States for Mother’s Day (more than $7 billion!). Flowers were $2.35 billion.  At my dad’s church, everyone whose mother is alive wears a red flower, usually a rose or carnation. For those whose mom is deceased, they wear a white rose or carnation. This tradition is meant to honor all mothers. We rarely go out for Mother’s Day. Instead, my dad, you know the master chef (at least that’s what he calls himself) always cooks dinner.  This year, we had baked salmon, lobster mac and cheese, and salad. I made the red velvet cupcakes (see the recipe below).

Duncan Hines Decadent Red Velvet Cupcake

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Cupcake Ingredients: 2 Eggs, 2/3 cup of water, and 1/4 cup of oil.
Frosting Ingredients: 2 teaspoons water and 8 tablespoons butter.

This recipe is so simple all you have to do is follow the instructions on the back of the box:

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Salt Dough Handprint

I also made a simple craft. My brother made one of these for my mom when he was in the second grade. I’ve always been a little jealous that she’s got one of his hands (and she keeps it on her dresser and puts her jewelry in it).  Now she has one of mine too (and mine is much bigger than his!).  Ha, take that, Jacob!  I found this recipe on Mommymoment.ca

Ingredients: 1 Cup Flour; 1 Cup Salt; 1/2 Cup Water

Instructions:
Mix the salt and flour in a large bowl.
Make a well in the salt/flour mixture and add the water.
Knead until smooth and shape into a bowl.
Place the mixture in a tin pan and imprint your hand.
I pressed my hand into the pan but it did not make a good imprint. So I wet my hand and tried it again. This time it worked.
Decorate with food coloring.
I baked it at 200 degrees F until dry.

 

 

Last Week of April

It’s the last week of April.  This month has been so busy; I haven’t had time to write.  Since Easter, I stepped outside of my comfort zone and went to an open call dance audition for the Oklahoma Contemporary Dance Festival; my siblings and I got all dressed up to take family pictures; we celebrated my big sister, Ashley’s, 25th birthday; I had a band competition and went to an amusement park with my bandmates; and today I went to the Arts Festival to see the girls from my former dance studio perform.  On top of all of that, I have the usual school and dance three times a week.  We also had testing at school this month.  It has rained like crazy all month long, but it is spring…..and in Oklahoma spring means thunderstorm and tornado season, so the weather has been pretty normal this month.  Besides, there is a saying that “April showers bring May flowers.”

April is the fourth month of the year, according to the Gregorian calendar, which is used almost everywhere in the world today.  The Romans called the month Aprilis.  According to some sources, the Roman name comes from a word meaning to open.  Others say that it comes from Aphrodite, the Greek name for the goddess of love.  April was the second month in an early Roman calendar, but it became the fourth when the ancient Romans started using January as the first month.  In the Temperate Zone of the Northern Hemisphere, the appearance of the outdoor world usually changes more in April than in any other month of the year.  Snow and ice melt, grass grows green, and leaves appear on bushes and trees.  In the Southern Hemisphere, however, people enjoy mild autumn days during the month of April.

April
By:  Ralph Waldo Emerson

April cold with dropping rain
Willows and lilacs brings again,
The whistle of returning birds
And trumpet-lowing of the herds.

Take a look below at the pictures that I took today at the Arts Festival.  We visited the Botanical Gardens and Greenhouse.  Oh, by the way, this July, I will be performing in one dance at this year’s Oklahoma Contemporary Dance Festival!

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Happy Easter

Happy Easter!  Today is the day that Christians celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Last night, I decorated eggs using a new technique. Rubber bands!  The eggs turned out different, but I liked them.  I also decided to make some PHILADELPHIA Easter Mini Cheesecakes for the brunch my family will be having today. They look like little bird’s nests. Philadelphia creme cheese is used in a lot of dessert dishes.  You can find this and other PHILADELPHIA cream cheese dishes at creamcheese.com. Of course, Easter would not be complete without candy! My family likes chocolate bunnies and lots of varieties of eggs.

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PHILADELPHIA Easter Mini Cheesecakes

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Easter Eggs

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Easter Candy

EASTER EGGS

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Boil and dry eggs.

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Using rubber bands, carefully wrap the eggs using different designs. Then dip each egg in the dye solution. The results were pretty cool….

PHILADELPHIA Easter Mini Cheesecakes

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1 cup graham cracker crumbs
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. sugar, divided
3 Tbsp. butter, melted
3 pkg. PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese (8 oz. each), softened
1 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. coconut
54 speckled chocolate eggs

HEAT oven to 325 degrees.
MIX graham cracker crumbs, 2 Tbsp. sugar and butter; press into the bottoms of 18 paper-lined muffin cups.
BEAT cream cheese, vanilla and remaining sugar with mixer until smooth.
ADD eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each just until blended. Spoon over crusts.
BAKE 25 to 30 minutes or until centers are almost set. Cool completely.
Refrigerate for 2 hours.

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TOP each cheese cake with 1 Tbsp. toasted coconut shaped into a nest.

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Fill each nest with 3 speckled chocolate eggs.

An Anniversary Is Better Than an April Fool!

sunStay in the light

Hi everybody,
Guess what today is?  Besides April Fool’s Day, that is.  Today is my anniversary – or should I say, my blog’s anniversary?  I made my very first blog post on April 1, 2014 – a year ago today.  During this time I’ve published a total of 154 blog posts.  That’s a lot!  When I first started writing “What Ainsley Likes” what I wanted to do more than anything was just to write – which I love to do.  And what better to write about than my ordinary life as a tween girl?  I am a dancer and I go to public school.  I love, love, love to read.  I like arts and crafts and cooking.  And I am VERY into fashion.  I live with my parents, my brother, and our dog, Ziggy.  I am also close with my older sister (she moved out after she graduated from college) and my grandma who has been taking care of us kids our whole lives.  My family is pretty normal and sometimes kind of crazy, but we do EVERYTHING together.

Sometimes I write about serious subjects like current events – things that are happening in the world that are important to me.  Other times I write about things that are going on in my life – with teachers or friends – things that make me happy and sad and angry – things that I think other girls can relate to.  And to tell you the truth, writing about what bothers me helps me to get it out and almost always makes me feel better.  I hope everyone who reads my blog enjoys it and maybe some of you will find it to be interesting (at least a little bit), or inspiring, or just something that will put a smile on your face.  I think that sometimes it’s hard to be a girl.  I hope that girls more than anyone else find hobbies that make them happy, learn to handle adversity (I’m still learning), try not to be hurt by those people who are mean and treat you unfairly (their problem not yours), be positive influences on other girls, be kind, don’t let anyone or anything steal your spirit, and always stay in the light!
Love, Ainsley

March – In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb, But There’s So Much More To It Than That………………….

Lion and the lamb
There’s something about the last day of March that seems like it should be more important than it is.  For the last few years or so, I’ve used the end of March as a sign that things are about to change.  Today is March 31st, and even though the official first day of spring began on March 20th, you really know spring is here by the time April 1st rolls around.

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Sunday, March 1, 2015 – 34° High, 26° Low, Mostly Cloudy

And once it’s April, that means that there are only two months of school left.  Two months and I will have made it through my first year of middle school, which I absolutely dreaded, as you may remember!  Once April is here, I’ll be able to look forward to blue skies and warmer temperatures and green grass and trees.  Dance recital, the end of the school year, and summer!  Sleeping in, no homework, and staying up late!  I can focus on my first year of summer dance classes at my new studio.  I can read more, which I don’t do as much as I’d like because of homework and being so busy during the school year.  I’m looking forward to it.  It’s been a long year for this 12 year old 6th grader and I’m kinda over it all by now.

March 31

Tuesday, March 31, 2015 – 85° High, 59° Low, Sunny

Just the thought of today being the last day of March puts me in a better mood.  The last day of March holds meaning for me.  It makes me happy and it reminds me that all things must change and all things (good and bad) must come to an end, just like the month of March.