Top 26 Life Skills Teens Need Before Leaving Home

A friend recently asked for a list of things others thought a teen needed to know before they left the house. That got me thinking. There are a bunch of items that most of us have on our radar:

  1. cook (simple things like boxed mac & cheese, grilled cheese)
  2. cook meals
  3. bake from a box
  4. bake from scratch
  5. shop at a grocery store
  6. menu planning
  7. clean a bathroom
  8. clean a house
  9. paint a room
  10. hang a picture
  11. use an ATM card
  12. make deposits/withdrawals at the bank
  13. complete transactions at a grocery store
  14. return an item to a store
  15. do laundry

But here are eleven that I hadn’t given much thought to:

  1. spring/fall cleaning
  2. taxes, or at least the concept of :-)
  3. how to coupon and check grocery sales fliers
  4. how to make a service appointment
  5. use a drill
  6. adding windshield washer fluid
  7. change a tire
  8. check the car tire pressure
  9. what to do if you get a flat tire on the highway
  10. what happens in the case of a fender bender ~ safe steps to follow
  11. what to do if you are being followed

Can you think of anything I left out? Let me know in the comments section below!

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Goal, Motivation, and Conflict

Recently I brainstormed a new novel specifically using GMC (goal, motivation, and conflict). I won’t go over GMC here because Debra Dixon’s GMC book is simply perfect. I will clarify a few key points though that helped when I plotted my latest novel:

Goal: should be very obvious to the reader

Motivation: must be larger than life

Conflict: what keeps her from reaching her goal?

Keep in mind that the GOAL is the vehicle that keeps your story moving forward.

When you are done with the GMC charts, you can write the external and internal GMC in a sentence.

The format of the sentence: My hero WANTS [insert goal here] BECAUSE [insert motivation here] BUT [insert conflict here]. That sentence should sustain your entire novel, or at least from one related turning point to the next. For example:

My heroine WANTS her ex-fiance back BECAUSE he made a mistake dumping her, he was too stressed out in his job back then to make a valid life decision BUT it turns out that ex-fiance is already engaged to someone else, clearly he has moved on.

Remember that a characters GMC can change throughout the course of the book as long as you don’t change their GMC because the goal was too easy to accomplish :-) In the above example, Kimber WANTS to get her ex-fiance back, but she discovers that he is already engaged to someone else! Instead of forcing the issue and having her try to get this guy back for the whole book, wouldn’t she look a bit desperate?, I changed her external GMC after the first turning point.

After crafting my turning points, I am off to plot my new novel on a foam board :-) Please let me know in the comments section if this explanation clarified GMC for you!

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Crafting Turning Points or Disasters

Donald Maass states in his Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook that “A turning point in a story is the point at which things change.” Susan May Warren refers to this change in her Deep and Wide craft book as a series of disappointments (actually, each D gets more dire: disappointment, disaster, destruction, devastation.)

So, turning points or disappointments move your story forward with conflict. Each character has four to five turning points or disasters during the course of the story.

Turning points or disasters are sometimes so hard to get right. They are the moments where your character will come up against a brick wall and have to change their course.

Make sure the turning point or disappointment relates directly to the external conflict from your character’s GMC chart. Remember, your character’s goal should be obvious to the reader. So ask yourself what external conflict your character might face trying to achieve their goal. Make sure the conflict isn’t easy to overcome.

Finally, make sure the turning point or disappointment changes how things look or changes the direction of the plot. Let me know in the comments section if this post helped you! Happy writing :-)

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Extra Thick Apple Pie

baked pieIngredients:

2 frozen deep dish pie crusts
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
4 lbs of mixed apples (Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Fuji, Braeburn, Cortland, McIntosh), peeled and cut into 1/4 inch slices
1/2 teaspoon of grated lemon zest

  1. Mix 1/2 cup white sugar and 1/4 cup brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Peel and cut apples into 1/4 inch slices (I used an apple slicer (it cuts the apple into 8 pieces) then cut each slice lengthwise again.
  3. Add the apples and lemon zest to dry mixture and toss to combine.
  4. Transfer apples to a large, thick-bottomed covered pan or Dutch oven and cook, covered, over medium heat, stirring frequently, until apples are just tender when poked with a fork, but still hold their shape – about 15 to 20 minutes (but not so long for the apples to turn into applesauce).

    cooked down apples

    cooked down apples

  5. Preheat oven to 425°F with a baking sheet on a rack on the lowest rung of the oven. You will cook the pie on the lowest rung of the oven to ensure the middle of the pie isn’t doughy.
  6. Put apples in a colander over a bowl to drain excess liquid. Drain off as much juice as possible.
  7. Cook down the drained liquid in the Dutch oven.
  8. Arrange the cooked apples in one frozen piecrust. Pour the thickened apple juice over the apples.
  9. Sprinkle flour on a cutting board or granite countertop. Take the other pie crust from the pan, place flour on top of the dough. Roll. Cut in 1/2 inch strips to create a basket weave on the top of the apples.
  10. Fold dough strips under edge of the pan. Using a fork, flute the edges.
  11. Cut four strips of 2 inch wide aluminum foil. Cover the edges of the pie with the foil so it won’t burn.
  12. Set pie on preheated baking sheet (to catch any juices that may escape from the pie while cooking). Bake at 425°F for 15 minutes. Lower the heat to 375°F and cook for an additional 40 minutes, until filling bubbles in the center and crust turns golden brown. (I covered my pie loosely with foil 30 minutes into the cook time so the top would not burn)
  13. Cool, then cut into wedges and serve with vanilla ice cream.

Enjoy!

pie b4 baked

Uncooked pie ~ basket weave pattern crust

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Book Review: Aloha Rose by Lisa Carter

Want to hear ocean waves and smell salty air? Pick up Aloha Rose by Lisa Carter for an inexpensive jaunt to Hawaii!

aloha roseBackcover copy: When Laney Carrigan sets out to find her birth family, her only clue is the Hawaiian quilt—a red rose snowflake appliquéd on a white background—in which she was found wrapped as an infant. Centering her search on the Big Island and battling fears of rejection, Laney begins a painstaking journey toward her true heritage. Kai Barnes, however, is determined to protect the people
he’s come to regard as family. He thinks Laney is nothing more than a gold digger and blocks every move she makes toward her Hawaiian family. As their conflict escalates, it puts at risk the one thing that Kai and Laney both want most—a family.

From the moment Lacey met Kai at the airport, to the end of the novel, romantic tension swirls in the air. Though I loved the romance storyline, I most loved how broken Lacey was at the beginning of the novel, and the journey she endured through the course of the story. Lacey learns and fights and grows, very admirable traits. I also loved the setting: the constant sun, sudden storms, ocean waves, and salty air all made the read, during our chilly fall, more enjoyable!

Disclosure of Material Connection: As an influencer, I received this book free from Abington Press and the author. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

 

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Book Review: High-Stakes Holiday Reunion by Christy Barritt

higstakesholidayreunionIf you want a solid suspense filled read, pick up High-Stakes Holiday Reunion, you will not be disappointed!

Backcover copy: When Christopher Jordan sees the fear in Ashley Wilson’s eyes, he knows he can’t let her request for help go unanswered. Despite their tumultuous history, he’s the only person his ex-fiancée can trust to find her kidnapped nephew. But how can Christopher trust her when he finds out that Ashley’s “nephew” is actually his son, the one she never told him about? With a terrorist cell convinced Ashley holds the key to accessing top secret government files, time is running out. And Christopher will stop at nothing to bring their little boy home in time for Christmas.

I really enjoyed High-Stakes Holiday Reunion,with a well thought out plot, three dimensional characters, and solid writing, it was one of those books that was hard to put down at night. The chapters were fairly short, so I kept reading and reading and yes, was exhausted a few mornings in a row! I especially enjoyed the renewed romance between Ashley and Christopher, and the twist with the kidnapped nephew.

This was my first read by Christy Barritt and it won’t be my last. I see she wrote the Squeaky Clean mysteries (Hazardous Duty is free for the kindle at the time I wrote this review), they are highly starred :-)

Disclosure of Material Connection: As an influencer, I received this book free from Love Inspired and the author. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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Three Views Within Scrivener

There are three main views within Scrivener that relate to planning and story organization:

manuscript viewOne view is the Manuscript View. In the Binder it represents the overall book/part/chapter/scene organization your work follows. By creating a parent/child structure the binder really gives you a nice high level outline view of your work. More on the structure you create at a later date.

CORKBOARDVIEWThe second view is the Corkboard View, which lends a bit more planning ability by allowing you to take each scene, chapter, etc. and add a description to the title you already have.You can title the card, give it a quick description. The  cards look like 3X5 notecards tacked onto a corkboard, but in reality you can add as much or as little information as you need.

outliner viewThe third view is the Outliner View. It combines the best of the manuscript and the corkboard view to create a tree like structure (like the Binder) that contains the information from the note cards in it.

If you click into any of these views you can add new scenes with the Green + and new folders (chapters, parts, etc) with the new Folder button at the bottom of the binder. You can also reorganize using drag and drop and edit any of the visible text without switching views.

If you haven’t yet seen some basic information for Scrivener on the Windows platform, it is here.

As always, I highly recommend Scrivener for Dummies, it has tons of information you can use. There is a formal forum through Literature & Latte you can check out. And don’t miss the Scrivener for Dummies Cheat Sheet :-)

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Easy Mexican Stew

IMG_4563

Ingredients:

1/2 bag of frozen chicken tenderloins
block of cream cheese
can of corn, drained
can of black beans, drained and rinsed
can of Ro-tel (mild with green chilies)
white rice and/or tortilla chips

 

In a crockpot, place the frozen chicken, then lay the cream cheese on top. Pour the corn, beans, and ro-tel over the top. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, do not mix (you don’t want to break the cream cheese apart). When done, shred the chicken, mix, then turn on warm or serve over white rice or with tortilla chips.

[Note, previously I posted a Mexican Stew recipe that is VERY similar to this, but the prior recipe adds the cream cheese at the end. This recipe is much more simple!]

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Do You Doubt?

are you sure
This past Sunday, Stephen Davey spoke about 1John 5:13-14. These concluding remarks within the book of 1John were written so that we’d know we have been saved. It was written for believers. Kind of like a hug from God :-)

Pastor Davey stated that doubt:

  1. has more to do with feelings than with doctrine
  2. suffering can be a reason for doubting
  3. unconfessed sin ~ strips away confidence
  4. undisciplined spiritual life
  5. cultural influences
  6. false teachers
  7. enemy propaganda

I am going to expand only on the first thought. Doubt has more to do with feelings than with doctrine. Pastor stated that the closer we live to the Word, the closer we’ll feel to God, the more confidence we’ll have in our eternal destiny.

WOW. That makes such sense! The more time we spend with God (reading the Bible, praying, living out His commands, etc.), the more confidence we will have in the things God has told us.

Pastor Davey also said that we aren’t entirely certain what will happen in the next 24 hours, yet we have certainty where we’ll be a billion years from now. Rest in that certainty. Live in that certainty.

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Swiffer ~ So Many Uses

I use Swiffer sheets constantly. Here are a few examples

  1. In the laundry room there is tons of dust. I use a Swiffer sheet every few days and run it over the top of the washer and dryer, otherwise, a film of dust begins. I stick the used Swiffer sheet in the cabinet above my dryer and toss when it gets dirty.
  2. Swiffer sheets are great for cleaning ceiling fan blades because dust clings to them.
  3. Dust accumulates in our master closet for some reason, so I use a Swiffer sheet a few times a year. I just wipe the shelving down, using a ladder for high spots.
  4. Once a month, I use a Swiffer cloth on the moldings in our powder room, laundry room, and master bathroom ~ the most dusty spots in our home. By spending ten minutes every month on this minor project, our moldings always look bright and sparkly!

On another note, I have a Swiffer Sweeper, as opposed to a Swiffer Wet Jet. I attach a damp paper towel to my Swiffer Sweeper to damp mop my screened in porch. It works great! Optionally, you can purchase the Swiffer wet cloths for damp mopping, but I don’t need anti-bacterial cleaning on my screened in porch so my version is cheaper!

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