Easter Eggs of the Past

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You must know that there is nothing higher and stronger and more wholesome and good for life in the future than some good memory, especially a memory of childhood, of home. ~ Fyoda Dostoyevsky

Oh, Easter Joy! Look at these little pretties that are pictured. I’ve been up since before the crack of dawn making them.

In my memory box from my childhood are recollections of the year my mother and my aunt Claire made my twin sister, two brothers and me, and our two cousins Jay and Karen (aka Meg) hand-crafted Easter eggs made out of mashed potatoes.  Yes, you read it right – mashed potatoes.

Although both my mother and my aunt (now in their mid-eighties)  have lucid memories of making these eggs, neither of them still have the recipe but I was able to track it down from A Taste of Home.

The candy is every bit as good and sweet as commercially made coconut-crème Easter eggs (sweet enough to send your preschooler on a jet propulsion sugar high until she/he graduates from college). Perhaps they do have a smidge more nutritional value since they are made with potatoes!

easter handmade chocolatesWhat a fulfilling morning I have had recreating a childhood memory by making my own hand-crafted coconut-creme eggs. Only thing missing was my mom and aunt by my side!  Mom & Claire – you are in my heart today and every day because of the memories you made for our family during our childhood.

Easter 4Readers, I share the recipe with you today while there is still time to make these candies for Easter for your family. They are really quite easy!

Recipe: Mashed Potato Hand-Crafted Easter Eggs from A Taste of Home

1/2 cup butter softened (I used no-salt butter)

1/2 cup cold mashed potatoes (cold is important) -plain – prepared without added milk & butter)

2 lbs confectioners sugar

1 1/2 cups flaked coconut

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 lb of dark chocolate candy coating (such as Wilton Candy Melts) – Walmart has these

In bowl, cream butter and beat in mashed potatoes. Add coconut and vanilla and then add in confectioners sugar. You may need less or more sugar until you have a somewhat stiff dough.

Line cookie sheet with waxed paper and dot with tablespoon size clumps of the mixture. Refrigerate 4 -6 hours. Once refrigerated the candy mixture will stiffen up and be easier to work with to shape into egg shaped forms.

In microwave oven melt candy coating according to directions and dip oval shaped (egg shaped) candy into the chocolate. Let excess chocolate drip off. Decorate with sprinkles or other candy decorations or leave plain. Place on waxed paper and chill once again until set. Store these in refrigerator until ready to serve. Makes approx 96 candies. The recipe can be halved easily.

Easter book promo

Return tomorrow there will be an Easter gift from me to you! You will be able listen to an audio narration of an Easter story from a chapter of my award-winning audio book Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected. The audio book is narrated by it’s author, Sue Batton Leonard.

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Grounded, Even at Sea

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“Without great solitude, no serious work is possible.” ~ Pablo Picasso

Taylor Batton 1Something completely different was planned for today’s blog but I just got wind of some  developing news, so I’ve changed my story!

On February 14, 2013, two years ago, I posted a blog called Songs, Taylor Made. The first time I featured young musician, songwriter and vocal artist, Taylor Batton on All Things Fulfilling, he was a student at Maine Maritime Academy. He has since graduated and he’s now navigating waters in places around the world piloting tremendous seafaring vessels – tugboats and such.

Batton uses his times of solitude to come to understand himself better and the world around him. His thoughts are used to create narratives through his music. As he says of his nautical life “You get a really strong sense of loneliness. At the same time, you feel a really strong and strange power. All of that kind of ties into how I go about writing the music. I just try and capture that feeling. ” Listen In.

portland tug taylor

I’m so proud of this young man. Taylor Batton recently signed with Goldship Records of Bristol, TN and his first full length album will soon be released.

taylor Batton 2

His journey has not always been easy. Yet he’s stared down adversity  and has attained each one of his goals,  all the while keeping his eye on what he’s been passionate about (maritime life and music) and not given up.

I look forward to learning more about the release of your new record label and the company who has signed you, Taylor. Hearty Congratulations!

This blog is penned by the award-winning author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected and Short Stories: Lessons of Heart & Soul.

Themes from the Bathtub

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When you are discontent, you always want more, more, more. Your desire can never be satisfied. But when you practice contentment, you can say to yourself, ‘Oh yes — I already have everything that I really need.”― Dalai Lama XIV

All week long our blogs have been focused on happiness, personal growth and success. But, we don’t always have to look at the big scheme of things to find fulfilling things in our midst. Contentment is not necessarily about career advancement, more money in our wallets, moving up the social ladder and having material things. It’s about incorporating little things that bring  joy into our lives.

There’s something that I deny myself that I need to give into. Allowing myself time to soak in the tub. I rarely do it. Only if have some ache or pain – and fortunately for me that’s next to never. There is something that seems time wasting about lollygagging in a bathtub. I am more of a power shower person than a soaker.

It’s not the first time this notion that I need to let myself linger in a tub for no reason has occurred to me. Every so often the thought comes along and then I  act on it a time or two, and then forget about it.
bathtub_reader 2Imagine how happy it might make me if I combined all my favorite things with drawing a bath. Add in teatime and reading and it sounds like a recipe for euphoria. I think I’ll go explore it.

On second thought, rather than read in the tub, perhaps I need to let my mind wander and see what ideas I can come up with for next week’s blog theme.

See you on All Things Fulfilling on Monday.

This blog brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard. Author of the award-winning memoir Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected and Short Stories: Lessons of Heart & Soul.

 

 

Thirsty Thursday: Art for Good

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chula beauregardOn this Thirsty Thursday, I will be sharing an interview I had with artist Chula Beauregard regarding her Art for Good Project. The good news  is Chula’s artwork goes to  support a humanitarian concern that she feels very strongly about. Read the interview to learn more about this young artist.

Chula Beauregard: Art for Good Project

 

 

Sue: Chula, back in the fall of 2011, I featured an article on All Things Fulfilling about the influences you have had as a young artist. We talked about your plein air and mural paintings. For those who missed it, here is the link. https://allthingsfulfilling.com/2011/11/08/influences-and-inspiration/.

Today, I’d like to discuss your Art for Good Project. But first, I’d like to ask you about your unique name – Chula. It has me intriqued.  Is it a family name or does it have special meaning?

Chula: It was a nick-name given to me by my Uncle Peter who had recently returned from studying in Mexico. At the time, it meant “sweetie” or “cutie.” My uncle influenced my life in another way when he served in the Peace Corps in the Solomon Islands. Two of his siblings also served: in Liberia then Micronesia, and Venezuela. You could say I come from a Peace Corps family!

Sue: Most of your paintings that I have seen at Wild Horse Gallery  have been beautiful Colorado landscapes. I know from our previous discussion that you particularly enjoy plein air painting over studio painting because of your love of the outdoors.

The images in your Art for Good project have a different kind of focus. For those who have not seen them, can you tell us a little about the art in this project?

Chula: I served in the Peace Corps in Gabon, Central Africa (1998-2000) in the agriculture program, making school gardens and raising rabbits. Along with these projects, I spent two hours every day making art. The images in Art for Good come from my collection of art from those years.

Sue: Why was it important to you to support the mission of this project through your art?

Chula: The stories and images I was seeing from the Ebola crisis really hit a chord in me. It looked so much like my village and the people I knew in Gabon. I imagined my good friends suffering like that, and it inspired me to do something. I thought about the art I had, and I realized that I could create something to raise money to send to the Ebola efforts.

Sue: How can others join you in supporting your Art for Good project?

Chula: One great thing about this project is that people can make a difference and also get something beautiful to share with others or put in their homes. All proceeds from the blank note cards and postcards goes towards the Ebola response. You can buy these cards and also giclee prints on my website www.chulabeauregard.com/art-for-good or at https://chula-beauregard-fine-art.myshopify.com/

Sue: What did you come away with as a Peace Corp volunteer that made the biggest impact on your life?

Chula: It is hard to quantify the impact my time in Gabon had on my life. It essentially helped form who I am today. The sense of gratitude I have for things like running water certainly has an everyday influence. It also helps me see the humanity in people from different cultures. I can imagine their families and their everyday lives.

Sue: I know you are the mother of two young boys. Do you see any artistic interests emerging in either one of them?

Chula: They both know how to be in an art gallery! They certainly have an appreciation for art and beauty in our world. My older son enjoys painting, especially mixing colors. They take after their dad, too, being oriented towards the mechanical and craftsmanship.

Sue: Is there anything that you hope your children will learn from you through your artwork?

Chula: One thing they are learning is that I am not just a mom but a person. I have passions and aspirations in my art career. I am grateful that it is a flexible job, so I can still be there for them. We are all enjoying the life of adventure that goes with landscape painting.

You, too, can help to support the e-bola crisis through the Art for Good project. Visit http://www.chulabeauregard.com/art-for-good/. In February, Chula will be at the Vail Beaver Creek World Cup ski races, painting en plein air. Her art work is also represented by The Cogswell Gallery in Vail, Colorado. Here is the event calendar for the World Cup Ski Races in Colorado. http://vailbeavercreek2015.com/events/#event-calendar. Stop by and say hello to Chula if you are in the area. Or if you are in Steamboat, Chula’s paintings are part of the permanent collection at Wildhorse Gallery in Steamboat. You can see them any time of year! 

This blog is brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, award-winning author of Gift of a Lifetime:Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected and Short Storie: Lessons of Heart & Soul.

Committing it to Writing

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“So let it be written, so let it be done.” ~ Cecil B DeMille from Ten Commandments

I love blogging on a daily basis. It’s my form of journaling. A crafting of sorts – putting together a blurb with a quotation and an image that helps tell the story.

In this new year, I aim to do something a little different on All Things Fulfilling. Every week I’ll attempt to track down a short story from another source that I feel needs to be shared with others. To my way of thinking, by sharing narratives with “sunny sides” to them, I am making a contribution to “the art of living positively” with our readers around the world.

Can I meet my goal throughout the year? I like to think of myself as an eternal optimist, so I feel that my commitment will be accomplished.

ScarvesHere is the first story of the year that I would like to share with you. It’s about providing warmth to those who need it. http://bit.ly/1AhozMR.

Stay tuned every “Thirsty Thursday.” It will be one day of the week on All Things Fulfilling when your desire for good news will be quenched.

 

This blog is brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, the award-winning author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected and Short Stories: Lessons of Heart & Soul.