The Easy Way to Make Pineapple Whip at Home



If you're looking for a healthy and delicious snack and dessert, here's a good one that kids, adults, and everyone else in between love. Pineapple whip a simple, easy, and refreshing snack to make at home.  And since it's made with ingredients you gather yourself, you know exactly what's in it.  It's a healthy alternative to many frozen desserts out there.

Here's what you need:
  • 16 oz (1 lb) of frozen pineapple (I use the one from Trader Joe's)
  • 2.5 cups of orange juice
  • A high powered blender (I have a Ninja at home)
Directions:
  1. Place the frozen pineapple into the blender.
  2. Add the orange juice.
  3. Blend until the mix is blended thoroughly. It should have texture like soft-serve ice cream. (You might have to stop and push the pineapple pulp down if it sticks to the side of the blender reservoir.)
Enjoy! It makes about 4 servings.  If you'd like to make a pineapple whip float, just pour pineapple juice into a cup before piling the pineapple whip on top.

It's good any time of year, but it's especially refreshing on a hot day.

The frozen pineapple in the blender.
The frozen pineapple and orange juice blended together.
Pineapple whip!

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How To Thrive in the 21st Century Workforce



A few days ago, I went to a workshop facilitated by educational consultant Andrew Miller about PBL (Project Based Learning). If you've never heard of PBL before, it's a strategy where students learn skills and information by completing a complex project, usually finding solutions to a complex real life problem. The skills that they learn are relevant to the real world and will help them in their future careers. Students also learn content and skills from multiple subjects at the same time.  For example, students can learn about Social Studies, English Language Arts, World Languages, and Art by preparing a talk show exhibition about the experience of slavery and civil war through various viewpoints. Through the project, students also learn skills that are necessary to survive in the 21st century.  

Critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and creativity/innovation are the 21st century skills necessary for anyone to be successful, not just in the workforce, but especially in life. We have all of them to a certain extent, and there is always room to improve. During the workshop, I couldn't help but think about how these skills are necessary for everyone, not just students.  21st century skills are needed by every person in every career.

Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is defined as "disciplined thinking that is clear, rational, open-minded, and informed by evidence." It involves being able to think about anything from multiple perspectives. It helps people find multiple possible solutions to a single problem. People need critical thinking in order to break down a lofty goal into smaller not-so-overwhelming goals. It also helps people synthesize relevant information needed for whatever task is right in front of them. 

People need critical thinking skills to interpret data, create effective strategies, develop new products, or lead an organization.  Thinking critically is thinking one step deeper than surface-level thinking.

Collaboration

Everyone is going to have to interact and work well with other people in any career. It's almost impossible to have a career without the involvement of other people. There are supervisors, managers, colleagues, clients, and customers that we have to deal with in one form or another. In order to thrive, we need to be able to have positive interactions with other people.

If you are a manager, supervisor, or team leader, you need to be able to guide your group towards their goal. If you are a part of a team, you need to be able to work well with your colleagues and supervisors. If you work with the general public, you need to communicate with clients and have excellent customer service skills. Collaboration is the key to work smarter.

Communication

In order to collaborate, communication is a necessary skill. It makes expectations clear and keeps everyone on the same page.

Currently, communication exists in multiple forms (phone calls, emails, text messages, tweets, and face to face in-person dialogue) that change with time. Communication methods change over time. Also, everybody prefers to communicate and be communicated to in their own unique ways. Some people may prefer text messages over face to face conversation or vice versa. Being able to communicate with different types of people about various topics is a key life skill that will propel anyone's career.

Creativity/Innovation

Creativity is defined as "the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to createmeaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc."  It is being able to adapt old ideas to solve new problems or solve old problems in newer (usually more effective and/or efficient) ways. Innovation is defined as "something new or different introduced." It is being able to bring new and previously unforeseen ideas to the forefront.

Without creativity or innovation, we wouldn't have automobiles, airplanes, the iPhone, cloud computing, or any of the modern day luxuries that were unimaginable to people of the past. Creativity is how Michael McDaniel created the most innovative shelters I've ever seen. He was inspired by the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and drinking a cup of coffee.

...

With all this in mind, I've been inspired to challenge myself to grow in these areas every single day. I know I can be more creative with my work. When I'm unsatisfied with my work, it's not because I'm unhappy with it, I just know that I have the potential to have done better.  I definitely know I can be a better communicator (my apologies to those I haven't spoken to in a while).  As good of a collaborator I am, there are personality types I know I can have a better working relationship with.  And even though I like to think that I am really good at thinking critically, I definitely know that I'm not perfect; I can get better at it.  (I haven't solved all my problems yet.) It's probably a good thing I was in Andrew Miller's workshop; I'm reentering the workforce like a 21st Century Jedi.


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References

"creativity." Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com, n.d. Web. 23 May 2014. <http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/creativity?s=t>.

"critical thinking." Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com, n.d. Web. 23 May 2014. <http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/critical+thinking>.

"innovation." Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com, n.d. Web. 24 May 2014. <http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/innovation>.

Koh, Paul, and Kristin Russo. "Project Exchange." Envision Schools. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 May 2014.

Lamour, Joseph. "A Disposable Coffee Cup Has Inspired An Indispensable Idea." Upworthy. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 May 2014. <http://www.upworthy.com/a-disposable-coffee-cup-has-inspired-an-indispensable-idea>.

Larmer, John, and John R. Mergendoller, Ph.D. "8 Essentials for Project-Based Learning." Buck Institute for Education. (2012). Print.

Miller, Andrew K. "PBL and STEAM Education: A Natural Fit." Andrew K Miller RSS. 14 May 2014. Web. 21 May 2014.

7 Mini-Motivational Mind Hacks












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Fear Can't Be Eliminated; It Must Be Managed. Here's How To Do It.




Fear is an annoying little demon that likes to harass people daily. At some point, everyone has felt it.  No one is immune to fear.  Presidents, parents, firefighters, farmers, and everyone else all feel fear.  What makes people more successful than others is the emotional discipline to manage fear, not avoiding it.

Jack Canfield, author of Chicken Soup for the Soul, once said, "Everything you want is on the other side of fear." He is so right.  Fear keeps us in our comfort zone and away from growing.  I know that in my own life, fear keeps me from trying.  It holds me in a state of mental paralysis.  It's a daily battle for me.  Noam Shpancer, Ph.D. advises that the only way out of fear is through. Avoiding or attempting to go around fear is ineffective.  He argues that "On the psychological level, confronting your fear instead of backing down brings about a sense of accomplishment and empowerment." Exposure to what makes us fearful is the best way to confront our fears.  Avoiding fear is no way to overcome fear. Shpancer states that "... living in the prison of avoidance isn't easy either, and it isn't much of a life."

That means if I fear trying and failing, I need to try and succeed. Not trying is already failing.  It may seem obvious in hindsight or an outside perspective, but sometimes it isn't if I'm mentally preoccupied by my circumstance.  In order to increase my chances of succeeding, I need to make myself mentally tougher so I can handle whatever challenges are thrown (or hurdled) at me.

Geoffrey James of Inc. recommends these 4 mental tricks: value courage over security, differentiate between fear and prudence, treat fear as a call to action, and reframe fear into excitement.

Feeling secure in avoiding fear keeps us stagnant.  James advises to decrease the value of security and increase the value of courage.  Prudence is the rational fear that keeps us doing anything dangerous, immoral, or illegal.  Prudence is good to have.  Being able to distinguish the difference between prudence and irrational fear is a valuable life skill.  Knowing that the best way to manage fear is to go through it, think of fear as a call to action instead of a signal to stop.  Feeling fear is an opportunity to overcome it.  When you feel it, you feel an adrenaline rush that is physically very similar to feeling excitement.  It empowers you to change your perspective.  Instead of "feeling fear," tell yourself that you're excited.  You are excited to dive head first into a breakthrough.

There is an old adage that says, "Fear keeps us from love and love keeps us from fear." I wholeheartedly believe that's true.  Fear keeps us from moving towards a life full of love and vice versa.  Love keeps fear away.  Keeping focused on our goals moves us toward the life we love and away from what we fear.

After all, fear doesn't keep us from dying; it keeps us from living.


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References

Canfield, Jack. Chicken soup for the soul: 101 stories to open the heart & rekindle the spirit. Deerfield Beach, FL: Health Communications, 1993. Print.

James, Geoffrey. "How to Conquer Fear: 4 Mental Tricks." Inc.com. Inc. Magazine, 30 July 2012. Web. 17 May 2014. <http://www.inc.com/geoffrey-james/how-to-conquer-fear-4-mental-tricks.html>.

Shpancer, Noam. "Overcoming Fear: The Only Way Out is Through." . Psychology Today, 20 Sept. 2010. Web. 17 May 2014. <http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/insight-therapy/201009/overcoming-fear-the-only-way-out-is-through>.

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!


Today is your day! This is the occasion  to celebrate every mother: the love, the life lessons, and the lifetime of precious memories. This day is also for grandmothers, step moms, aunts, cousins, big sisters, or foster parents who took the time and effort to care for a youth as if s/he actually grew in her womb. 

This is a day to say THANK YOU for your endless love, patience, and compassion. For putting up with sleepless nights, temper tantrums, and all other growing pains, you are owed a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid. 

Being a parent isn't easy. It's often been called "the toughest job you'll ever love" and it's called that for a reason. It's challenging, often overwhelming, and at times, frustrating. It's also both physically and emotionally taxing. But despite all that, you still did your best. That's what really mattered. It takes a special kind of person to be a mother. 

Thank you for all the bedtime stories, sing-alongs, home-cooked meals, playtime, and sacrifices you've happily given. Thank you for keeping the scary monsters away, kissing boo-boos, being a source of advice, and doing everything out of motherly love. 

The world is a wonderful place because of mothers like you. Happy Mother's Day!




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