20 The Inspired Cook

Exploring uncovers a sweet surprise

Two summers ago, my sister Beckie’s coworkers had been raving about a tea room in our birthplace of Athens. Wanting to see what all the hoopla was about, she and I set out one Saturday afternoon to find this mysterious place called The Geranium House Tea Room.

Despite our growing up only 12 miles away in Eustace, neither of us knew that this place even existed. To our surprise, we discovered it just a few blocks off State Highway 31, which cuts through the heart of downtown.

We found it quietly nestled among trees and with open fields behind it. The old home stands majestically on the corner of Wood Street and Old Highway 31.

Ah ha! We didn’t realize that there is an Old Highway 31. That’s why we didn’t know where it is.


Property tax burden Is crushing the Texas dream

Everything is bigger in Texas - including, unfortunately, your property tax rate. In fact, Texas has one of the highest effective real estate tax rates in the nation. Only Illinois and New Jersey beat us. Let that sink in. Illinois. And New Jersey. That's unacceptable.

Texas is still the envy of the nation. With our strong economy, overall lower costs of living and high quality of life, Texas remains the best place to raise a family, build a business and create greater opportunity for all.

Your hard-earned dollars still stretch further here; you can buy or rent more square footage with them than in many other states.

And the Texas dream is still within reach for many. For now.

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How to Waterproof Matches

Boy Scouts learn to make waterproof matches, so it isn’t rocket science. If you’re going to be doing any camping, hunting, or fishing, learning to waterproof matches is a skill you need.

The first and most important thing is to get the right matches. You must have “Strike Anywhere” wooden matches.

You can tell them from any other kind of matches because they have a bright red head with a white tip.

The white tip is a phosphorus compound that will burn from friction. When it burns, it ignites the red compound, which in turn starts the wooden matchstick burning.

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Keep it to yourself

To begin with, let me say I can't stand people who moan and groan about their illnesses.  Keep it to yourself, I say!  No one wants to hear it! 

So here's my story:

A couple of months ago, my 90-pound dog Gideon trampled my foot in his haste to run out the door.  I didn't think much of it at the time, but the next morning I couldn't move my foot or curl my toes, and there was no walking.  I managed to hop, hobble and shuffle my way through the day, and the next.  My neighbors loaned me their crutches (and it's not every neighbor who has those, so I was really lucky).  Finally, after 3 days of soaking, elevating and icing, First Husband took me to the doctor.  

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Growth is a good thing

Although school hasn't officially started yet, educators across Texas are already in back to school mode. From the first day of instruction, students are preparing for the ultimate measure of achievement; the STAAR test.

The STAAR test is the current gold standard of student achievement. Classroom instruction is largely structured around the STAAR test. The test is a formidable hurdle that students must clear to be considered academically competent.

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The Inspired Cook

Column 18 of The Inspired Cook for the Van Zandt News

Teaching children to cook

Summertime is the perfect time to teach your children to cook. If you are wondering how old your child should be to start learning to cook, experts say that children first start showing signs of interest in cooking about the age of two or three. Therefore, any time after that is appropriate.

                For young children, make sure that whatever task you give them that they will be successful doing it. Give them lots of praise and encouragement. Doing so will help to build their self-confidence.


July is colorful fun at G.S. Library

Throughout July we will have a different giveaway each week for children who visit the library. Giveaways include origami bookmarks, newsletters, activity books, glow in the dark cups, and a special giveaway from the Grand Saline ISD PTO. 

During June we had a large mandala coloring poster for everyone to help us color.

For July we have a floral coloring poster for everyone to color and a library coloring sheet that people can take home to color. 

July is budget season and we need your support to let our elected officials know that funding the library is important to you. 

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Keeping eyes wide open as VZC Grand Jury Foreman

On June 21, I completed one of the most eye-opening and rewarding experiences that I have ever had as I finished a six-month term serving as the foreman for the Van Zandt County Grand Jury.

When I received my jury summons soon after the Christmas holidays in early January, I did not pay a whole lot of attention to the “fine print” on the summons notice.

I knew that I had an appointed time and date to report to VZC District Judge Teresa Drum’s court for what I thought at the time was going to be a petit jury trial selection.

When I arrived in the district courtroom at the VZC Courthouse in Canton, myself and 40 other individuals who showed up that day were informed by the judge that the selection involved picking individuals to serve on the VZC Grand Jury.

Out of the 40 citizens present in the courtroom, VZC District Judge Teresa Drum announced that there would be 12 individuals and two alternates that would be chosen to serve on the VZC Grand Jury.


Use bicycles for emergency transportation

It comes down to this: In an emergency or a disaster when no internal combustion-engined vehicles are available, would you rather walk or ride a bike? I’ll take the bike!

At home I have more than a dozen bicycles. I fix up bicycles and give them to kids. That means I have good bicycles, fair bicycles, parts bicycles, and parts of bicycles. It doesn’t take mechanical genius to work on a bicycle. Probably most of you reading this article know how to fix a bicycle tire, tighten a chain, adjust a brake, etc. Bicycles are easy to fix.

It’s possible that these skills, and the bicycles, might be valuable someday. I have a friend whose driver’s license was suspended. I gave him a 10-speed bicycle, and he used it for six months. He told me what he learned.


Patriotic Treats

With the Fourth of July inching closer with each passing day, I’ve been pondering what recipes to share with you to help you celebrate our national holiday. So, I’ve chosen one newly formulated recipe and an old favorite that I’ve made for years.

                An idea that I found on Pinterest inspired my new recipe that I call salty-sweet patriotic treats.

Originally designed as a snack for watching the Super Bowl game, the salty component consists of pretzels, and the sweet comes from candy melts and M&M’S®. For football games, the M&M’S® are supposed to represent the colors of the two teams playing the game.

                To make the patriotic treats, I used red and blue M&M’S® and white candy melts. Before inserting an M&M® into each softened candy, I added more festive color by shaking on some red, white, and blue sprinkles.


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