November 21, 2015


I found the following written on a piece of paper that had been folded and put in the back of an old copy of “The Dore Bible Illustrations.” I’m not sure what to make of it; I myself don’t have any spell books or magic keys. So I’ve transcribed it here, since I find these instructions intriguing and thought others might, too. 

 There is another world, the world of magic. You can control it, but you cannot see it. What good is that? Would it not be better to see what we are attempting to control?

 I have discovered a way to make visible the magic contained in the words of spells. I obtained it from an apprentice to the High Wizard himself, and can vouch for its accuracy.

 To do this, you will need a complete book of spells. If any spells are missing from the book, it will not work, so check for torn or burned pages.

 Once you have the book, take the table of contents and sprinkle the pages with a solution comprised of the decayed flesh of a waterfowl and fresh water from a moving body, such as a river or creek. Then sprinkle the pages with each substance separately.

 Next, you will need two webs from the same spider and two figs from the same tree. Soak one of the webs in the blood of a servant or slave who is the child of a servant or slave. Wrap it around the fig and place the bundle on an earthen plate. Put the plate into a string net. Wrap the second fig in the second spider’s web and put it also into the net. Sprinkle the net with a solution made from the sweat of a slave who is the child of a slave. Very quickly, open the net to ensure the figs are still there and that only one sits atop the plate, then close the net again. Set the net atop the table of contents in the open book. (If the list lasts several pages, set it atop the first page, though all pages should be sprinkled with the fowl-and-water solution.)

 Be forewarned, the source of these ingredients matter. The servant and spider must belong to your own household. The figs may come from a tree grown elsewhere, as long as both come from the same tree.

 Now, open the net. Demand to see the answer you seek, repeating every word twice, as “I I demand demand to to see see the the magic magic in in this this book book!”

 The solution sprinkled on the table of contents should make the name of each spell in the book appear before you without turning any pages. Touch the name of the spell you wish to see and aloud bind the pages of that spell to yourself. Many words and symbols will appear before you. Ignore them all except the spider web. You will need a piece of ice at this point.

 Every magical vision must be named. Create a name for your vision by saying it aloud. This name should be unique – you may only use it once and never again. As you say the name, throw the piece of ice at the spider web.

 In order to create the vision, you must get the book’s permission to see inside its spells. For this, you will need a Wizard’s Key. The apprentice from whom I learned this spell gave me a copy of his key, and I am giving you a copy of that. Do not make a copy of this key unless you have the permission of the one who gave it to you! This is the trickiest part of creating a magical vision, and without the correct permission, all will fail.

 Place the key inside the book, between the last page and the back cover. If permission has been granted, nothing will happen. If your key is false and the book rejects you, it may shut itself and never let you open it again, or make all its words invisible to your eyes, or some other such dismaying event.

 Since I know the key I give you is good, you should have no trouble.

 The final steps must be performed outside, with no structures nearby. An open field is an ideal location. Load the book and everything you’ve used to create the spell so far into a box and shut the lid. Point at the box and repeat the same demand you made previously.

 Now it is time to see the fruit of your labors. Say the name which you chose for your vision. The spell and all its secrets and inner workings should appear before you.

 As long as you keep everything inside the box, you can conjure this vision at any time. You may move the box to a more convenient location, even bury it, and the spell will still work.

 If you wish to see inside another spell from the same book, simply follow the steps described here. You will not need a new key, and for conjuring any subsequent visions you will not need to take the box outside. Open the box, remove the book, and follow the instructions above regarding touching the name of the spell, creating a new name for your new vision, and sealing it with ice. Then, replace the book in the box, close the lid, repeat your demand, and call the new vision.

 You may conjure several visions from the same book. How many varies from book to book, spell to spell. All I can tell you is, be prudent. Do not try to see inside too many spells from the same book or the book itself may be destroyed and its spells along with it. The High Wizard’s apprentice told me that a good rule to follow is, conjure no more visions from a single book than you have fingers on your right hand.

 Should the book or box come to be destroyed - for whatever reason - save the key. The key cannot be destroyed and may be used over and over again, and passed on when you are finished with it.

 May the magic be with you, your vision clear and full of wonder.

October 14, 2015

Halloween Apple Treat

I saw this clever healthy treat on Pinterest and thought it looked like something that a) I could probably make and b) my kids might actually eat.

Silly Apple Bites from Fork & Beans

This past weekend, I had to bring "a salad" to our parish Fall Festival. I thought apple slices would be easy and kid-friendly, and would give me a chance to try this out.

I think they turned out really well! I used peanut butter & store-bought eyes instead of the allergen-free items recommended in the original recipe. I also only made 3 because that made the plate look festive without taking too much fussy effort.

October 9, 2015

Shortcut Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte

I am not ashamed of my love for the PSL. When the weather dips below 70ยบ I'll drink one every day, given the chance. Since I work from home and am not made of money, I've learned to make my own.

The basic (no pun intended) PSL spice recipe is a 4:2:1 ratio of cinnamon to ginger to cloves. This is pretty easy to eyeball: I just sprinkle about the right amount in my hand, toss it in my mug, and add sugar. But first thing in the morning, even that can feel like too much work.

My favorite PSL recipe is more complicated. It's a paleo recipe, but I've found it works fine even with a lot of adjustments to the ingredients. Coconut oil & maple syrup are really delicious, but you can also use plain old milk & sugar. I wanted to be able to make this quickly and easily without searching for 5 different spice jars, so I put together my own spice blend by doubling the quantities in the recipe linked above. I added some sugar to make it easier to sprinkle.

Shake it up well, and you've got a ready-made PSL shortcut in your spice cabinet!

Now I have everything I need to enjoy my favorite coffee drink at home, even if I'm not fully awake yet!