Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. - II Timothy 2:15

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Box Tops for Education and Other Guilt Trips

Is there anything in the world more deserving of mixed emotions than Box Tops for Education?

I know it's a great program (not firsthand since they don't give money to homeschoolers) and I'm sure lots of good schools have benefited from the 10 cent contribution they get for each pink and blue rectangle sent in, but I get a sinking feeling every time I pick up a box (or bag or can) and see it staring me in the face.

My inner gripe immediately throws a fit: "What have you done?? Don't you know you have to cut that out??"

 It screams because it knows I will.

I have to.

Heaven forbid that a school be deprived of 10 worthy cents because I'm too lazy to walk across the kitchen for the scissors.

And of course I must use scissors.

Those infernal things must be carefully snipped along the dotted line because if I try any other means of detaching them from their packaging they rip down the middle and not only do I have to go for the scissors anyway, I must get the tape as well.

And they're unavoidable. Box Tops for Education is taking over the grocery industry like blowing up New York has taken over the movie industry. They're on everything. Tissue boxes, biscuit cans, Chex mix, soup. I remember watching my mom cut those labels off a Campbell's tomato soup can with a knife.

The biscuit cans were a brilliant idea. Not only are they cylindrical (making it impossible to get a pair of scissors inside) they're made out of thick, foil-lined cardboard that cuts like plate glass.

And the tissue boxes? So convenient for everyone who has a scissors sitting around in the...umm...bathroom. Yeah...Because that's where I keep mine. And nail scissors don't count. They aren't strong enough to go through cardboard.

All this for the satisfaction and pride of pitching it on the pile in the desk drawer and forgetting to take it anywhere to do anyone any good.

Yet I still feel a twinge of guilt when I chuck one into the trash.

Why do I do this to myself??

It's the same feeling I get when I return a cd without listening to the entire thing even though I didn't care for it in the first place.

When I force myself to finish a book I'm not enjoying just because I'll feel like a quitter if I don't.

 When I pour out bottled water because it's so much more nutritious than what comes from the tap.

When I use a tissue for only one blow.

When I print off a sheaf of papers in error and don't shove them in the scrap drawer.

When I throw away a piece of candy instead of forcing myself to finish it.

When I discard the slivers of soap in the shower that might have sudsed one more washcloth.

There are things in life, I think, that one must learn to let go.

But then there's this...

What persuasive argumentation...


I'll go get my scissors.

Till next time!

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Friday, October 11, 2013

12 Cups of Tea

I am so excited!! After sighing over The Republic of Tea's overwhelming assortment of divine teas for way too long, I found the sampler page and went to town. This is so fun! You can choose either the 12 bag assortment (6.95) or the 24 bag assortment (13.90). There are other sampler options, but these two are the most affordable options for budgeted tea-junkies like me. =D

I chose the 12 bag box and dove in. I was initially disappointed because you can't choose from EVERY flavor they have, but once I scrolled through the sampler selections a few times, I had no difficulty filling my box!

Here are my selections (and yes, I am going to fill you in on my personal commentary. Beware!)

#1 - Earl Greyer
I have no idea what makes this Earl Grey greyer than your traditional grey, but that is not for me to question. All I know is that I LOVE Earl Grey tea. It's my morning tea because it's caffeinated and wakes me up. I usually brew it overnight until the oils come to the top (not because I prefer the oils but because I'm usually in bed by the time it's done brewing) and then stir in milk and honey. I've tried a lot of Earl Greys (my favorite being Ahmad's loose leaf brand, but Twinings is delicious too) and am really excited to see how the Earl Greyer compares.

#2 - Hibiscus with Coconut
This is the first of the 3 Hibiscus sisters. I've never had coconut in my tea, so this should be interesting.

#3 - Hibiscus with Pineapple/Lychee
 This is a lychee:
I have no idea what it tastes like by itself, or if you're supposed to eat the middle thing, the white stuff (the pink stuff looks inedible) or all of it, but it looks really cool. The pineapple is what really caught my interest, though. Pineapple Hibiscus tea...with bonus lychees!

#4 - Hibiscus with Key Lime
I am in the hopes that this will really, really taste like lime.

#5 - Blackberry Sage
This was the bag I was most excited about. Sage seems so...dusty. I'm curious to see how they make it taste good with blackberries in tea!

#6 - British Breakfast
I'm a black-tea junkie but I haven't yet found a good English tea that I love (except for the kind I had at a ladies tea years and years ago and didn't get the brand - one of my greatest regrets). We shall see what The Republic of Tea can do. It's tea time, chaps!

#7 - Twenty Herbs
20, huh? Let's take a gander at the ingredients: Rooibos (not sure what that is, but I've seen it in a lot of teas), allspice leaves (I know allspice - generic name, isn't it?), cinnamon (check), black limon (I'm thinking that's not a typo for "lemon"...), peppermint (hmm...hope it doesn't overpower everything else), wintergreen (this might taste like gum!), birchbark (what kind of flavor will that add??), hibiscus (ooh, red!), lemon balm (why add the balm?), allspice berries (ok, we've got leaves and berries. Isn't that sort of cheating?), chamomile (hopefully the other 19 herbs will overpower it), carob (wait, chocolate?), vanilla extract (good, good), lemon grass (lemon grows grass? Who knew!?), anise seeds (oh great. Licorice. They have to sneak that into everything.), sweet blackberry leaves (as opposed to sour blackberry leaves?), chicory (I've heard of that but am not sure what it tastes like), rose petals (haha, good luck tasting those), eleuthero (sounds like a Greek god), linden flowers (Der Lindenbaum: a famous poem by Wilhelm Muller. Here is an English translation.) 
This is going to be one very interesting cup of tea. I can tell already.

#8 - Coconut Cocoa
The Republic of Tea's chocolate mate tea is one of my favorites. I'm assuming this is the same thing but with coconut. What can be better??

#9 - Strawberry Chocolate
Another flavor I'm dying to try. I see they've snuck Rooibos into this too. I'm thinking I ought to educate myself. Since you're already here, you might as well be educated too. From Wikipeidia: Rooibos is a broom-like member of the legume family of plants growing in South Africa's fynbos... And then again, they do say that ignorance is bliss...

#10 - Cranberry Blood Orange
I have high hopes for this one. I don't know why, but I do. 

#11 - Honey Ginseng
I am not sure how they get honey into tea before you put it in yourself, but I'll be cautious when opening this overwrap...

#12 - Ginger Peach Green
I've had the black version - in large quantities :-/ - so I'm curious to see if the green tastes any different. Maybe it'll be better!

Well, now that I have actually photographed all of these for you and cropped them and edited them and found them all in my hard drive...

I can finally drink one!!!

Till next time!
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