Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Library Loot #3

   Sooo...the ear infection and tonsillitis and sinus infection and...and...and...well, they won, and my amazingly awesome boss gave me today off to recuperate. Last night after work I had a craving for double dumpling soup, and decided that I would spend my day reading Anna Karenina while drinking pots of jasmine tea. (Yes, that's POTS)
   Soup ingredients? check
   Jasmine tea? check
   Anna Karenina? Anna? Hellooooo? Is Anna here? Nerp. The library's copy was so battered (it wasn't me, I swear) that it has been discarded. No Anna? What am I supposed to do with myself now?? (This as I'm standing in a library full of books...) What to my wondering eye should appear, but a shiny brand-new copy of The Complete Sherlock Holmes. Published by Walking Lion Press in 2011, it contains, in chronological order: A Study in Scarlet (1887); The Sign of Four (1890); The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1892); The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (1894); The Hound of the Baskervilles (1901); The Return of Sherlock Holmes (1904); The Valley of Fear (1914); His Last Bow (1917); The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes (1927).
   Incidentally, in a discussion group I recently held at work in honor of Sherlock's birthday (December 1, the day A Study in Scarlet first appeared in print) the residents and I learned that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle rather emphatically loathed Sherlock Holmes, whom he felt took attention away from his more serious, worthy works of literature. And it was news to me that Sir Arthur had written anything other than Sherlock. So much for my literary genius. Anyway, a pot of tea accompanied me on my adventures in a Study in Scarlet last night, and later today (okay, as soon as I finish typing this) I'm going to curl up with a pot of tea and Dr. Watson and ...that doesn't look very good :P (Actually, to be perfectly flip, in the Granada Television Series The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, the very dashing David Burke plays Dr. Watson, and I would not mind curling up with him AT ALL. Just sayin'.) SO, I am going to curl up with my tea and MY BOOK and go on an adventure with Dr. Watson and Mr. Holmes.  I bid you adieu, mein dear friends, until I have another free moment to actually update this blog.



And for those of you that are Sherlock Holmes fans of the caliber that I am, here is an image of the David Burke (sigh) and Jeremy Brett television series from Granada Television. I watched this faithfully every Monday night at 9 PM on A&E all thru high school.







    

...and a close up of the BEST Sherlock Holmes EVARR (and the very dashing Doctor Watson!!!)



   


Double-Dumpling Soup:

Another Rachael Ray creation, adapted by me and loved by my family! (And especially tastie when you're feeling under the weather)

Double Chicken Dumpling Stoup

February 2007 by Rachael Ray
 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 4 ribs celery from the heart, chopped
  • 2 onions, chopped
  •  
  •  2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 carrots, shredded (1-1/2 cups)
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  •  
  • 1 package Cooked Perfect Italian-style frozen meatballs (or make your own)
  • 1 10 ounce package frozen chopped spinach
  • 1 1 pound bag frozen corn 
  •  1 1 pound package  gnocchi
  • Flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped (a couple of generous handfuls)
  • Crusty bread, for dunking
Directions
  1. In a soup pot, heat the EVOO, 2 turns of the pan, over medium-high heat. add the celery, onions, garlic, carrots and bay leaf, season with salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the broth, cover the pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Add meatballs to the stoup. Simmer for about 20 minutes while you wash up. Add the gnocchi to the stoup and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the spinach and corn and parsley and cook for 2 minutes. Remove the stoup from the heat, discard the bay leaf and let cool for 5 minutes. Serve with the bread.
Tip PAIR WITH
  • Georges Duboeuf Regnie Flower Label 2005 (France) (Tho I am in no shape to be drinking any kind of alcohol at this time....)

Wordless Wednesday #7

...because there really are no words to describe how weird my children are.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Myddfai Reiki: 5 things to do when you can't sleep due to stress or anxiety

We all need our sleep, and plenty of it. As I mentioned before, everyone in my house is sick (with the exception of the goldfish) and part of why the adults aren't getting any better is because we aren't sleeping properly. He and I keep getting up to tend to sick children, and we are sick ourselves. See the pattern? If you're short on sleep because of the holly-day rush, or any other stressful factors, read more from Elise Moreau:

Practically everyone knows what it feels like to be kept up at night by their own thoughts. Whether you’re analyzing the events of the past day or worrying about what’s to come tomorrow, the inability to calm and control your racing mind so that you can actually get some shuteye can be enough to feel nearly torturous.
Ensuring a good night’s sleep, even when your daily life is busy and frantic, starts well before you turn in for the night. A few critical things to keep in mind include:
  • Staying regular with your sleep time (and wake-up time).
  • Cutting out all caffeine in the late afternoon and evening.
  • Limiting exposure to light-emitting screens an hour before you go to bed.
  • Creating an optimal sleep environment that’s dark, quiet and cool at night.
  • Doing something relaxing right before you hit the hay (like reading a book, stretching, taking a bath or listening to some calming music).
These are all good habits to develop and maintain, but they don’t exactly help when it’s the middle of the night and you’ve been lying there wide awake for an hour or longer. So when you need to fall asleep, like right now—but your mind won’t let you—here are at least five things you can do.

1. Grab a notebook and a pen to write out what you’re feeling.
Instead of trying to suppress your thoughts, try releasing them through journaling. Use a pen and piece of paper to write out whatever’s currently flowing through your mind. Don’t try to type out your thoughts on a laptop or anything else with a screen since the blue light will only keep you awake longer.
Journaling will help you clarify your thoughts and feelings. You may be able to really focus in on what the problem is and maybe even solve it. And even if you don’t solve it, journaling will at least help you get some of that negative energy out of your system.

2. Turn on some ambient music that’s specifically designed to help you fall asleep.
If you find it difficult to be left alone with your thoughts while it’s so quiet, you may be able to use music to distract you, drown out your negative internal voice, and calm you down. The perfect type of music to listen to when you’re trying to sleep is instrumental ambient music, ideally with a 4/4 beat at 90 beats per minute, set at low to medium volume.

3. Follow a guided meditation geared toward stress and anxiety relief.
Meditation relaxes both the mind and body while quieting the mind and bringing you back to the present moment. To find a guided meditation that targets your problems of stress, anxiety and insomnia, get up and grab your phone or laptop (making sure to turn the brightness way down on the screen to avoid excess light exposure) and search for free apps or YouTube videos that offer them.

4. Turn your worrying thoughts into thoughts of gratitude.
This certainly isn’t easy to do, but it’s very powerful if you can do it—especially during those tough times. Force your mind to shift toward thinking about everything you’re truly grateful for in your life, and if you want, you can use your negative thoughts as a starting point. For example, if you’re stressed about a project at work, try thinking about what it is you love about your work, the great people you get to work with or the accomplishments you’ve made.

5. Try a mental exercise to take your mind off of what’s keeping you up. 
Maybe all you need is some distraction. Simple mental exercises take your focus off your worries and are easy enough to do. For example, with your eyes closed, you could try thinking of all the fruits and vegetables there are that start with the letter “C.” Or you could try to recall each and every dog you’ve petted over the past five years. These are some good ways to exhaust your mind and eventually help you drift off to sleep.
If falling asleep and staying asleep is a regular problem for you, then you should talk to your doctor about it. Depending on what’s causing it, you may need some other forms of treatment (in addition to good sleep habits). Regardless of what’s keeping you awake at night, the above tips are still powerful enough to help just about anyone.

Related Articles
10 of the Most Productive Ways to Nap
10 Bizarre Ways to Reduce Stress
7 Unexpected Benefits of Unplugging from Technology
 


Myddfai Reiki: 5 Benefits of Mandarin Oranges

My household LOVES these lovely little gems of goodness, and I'm on a massive health spree lately because we're fighting the flu, ear infections, sinus infections, tonsillitis, and bronchitis in this house. (And sadly,it seems we're losing.)

Mandarin oranges have become one of the most popular pleasures of the festive season; we pile the beautiful orange gleaming fruit into large bowls and stuff them into children’s stockings.
Did you know that mandarin oranges, satsumas, tangerines and clementines are all different varieties in the mandarin family? They are all smaller than oranges with a looser skin, making them easier to peel.
Below are 3 tasty and simple recipes for your pleasure.  First, let’s learn how good they are for us.

5 Health Benefits Of Mandarin Oranges

1. Reduces Risk of Liver Cancer
The National Institute of Fruit Tree Science studied a Japanese population who ate a high number of mandarin oranges. In another study, a team at Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine studied patients with hepatitis who drank mandarin juice for a year. Both of the studies showed that mandarin oranges reduced the chance of liver cancer.

2. Inhibits the Growth of Leukemia
Mandarin oranges contain tangeretin, a flavone found in citrus peels which studies have shown help reduce the risk of leukemia.

3. Reduces Risk of Hardened Arteries
Tangerines contain a powerful flavonoid known as nobiletin, which has been shown in a study to lessen the hardening of arteries, especially in diabetics.

4. Combats breast cancer
Both tangeretin and nobiletin were found to fight breast cancer cells, according to a study using the extract of the peel.

5. Full of Nutrients

They are an excellent source of Vitamin C, which is an antioxidant that helps prevent chemical damage to cells and helps keep the immune system healthy. They are also a good source of vitamin A, and a source of B-complex vitamins.
Mandarin Orange Green Smoothie
Mandarin Orange Green Smoothie
Mandarin Orange Green Smoothie
This is a super easy green smoothie to make with only 3 main ingredients, so there’s not much shopping to do. I love a green smoothie for breakfast. Learn 10 Reasons to Eat Green Smoothies.
Ingredients:
2 – 3 Mandarin Oranges, peeled and sectioned
1 cup Kale or Baby Spinach
1/2 Avocado
A few Strawberries (Optional)
Clean water
Directions:
  1. Start with blending mandarins till liquefied.
  2. Next add the strawberries and avocado till fully blended.
  3. Then add kale or spinach slowly till blended in.
  4. Add just enough pure water to be able to add more spinach.
  5. Blend till smooth; use the liquefy button on the blender.
  6. Drink immediately.
Refreshing Fruit Salad with Mandarin Oranges
Refreshing Fruit Salad with Mandarin Oranges
Refreshing Fruit Salad with Mandarin Oranges
It is so easy to make a refreshing fruit salad for breakfast or a snack at any time of the day.
Ingredients:
1 Apple
1 Banana
1 Mandarin Orange
Handful of Blueberries
Handful of Pomegranate Seeds
A few Grapes
Directions:
  1. Very simple—chop and mix fruit together.
  2. Serve and eat.
   2 Servings
Mandarin Orange with Kale and Veg Salad
Mandarin Orange with Kale and Veg Salad
Mandarin Orange with Kale and Veg Salad
This is a smart way to get kale into a meal. Adding the mandarins along with the sweet bell peppers makes this a very healthy and tasty salad.
Ingredients:
1 pound fresh Kale
2- 3 Mandarin Oranges, peeled and separated
1/2 Red Bell Pepper, sliced
1/2 Yellow Bell Pepper, sliced
1 small White Onion, sliced (optional)
1 -2 Green Onions, chopped
Olive Lemon Juice Salad Dressing
Directions:
1. Wash and trim kale.
2. Toss peppers, oranges, and onion with dressing.
3. Serve and enjoy.
Related:
13 Health Benefits of Oranges
Celebrate With Healthy Foods This Christmas

Brussels Sprouts, More Tasty Tips and Recipes
 


Myddfai Reiki: 5 Foods and Herbs that Eliminate Pain

Pain is a part of life as much as we would like to avoid it. A headache, a sprained ankle or aching joints are unwelcome occurrences in the lives of most people. But what happens when pain becomes a daily experience and starts to affect our quality of life? According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), pain affects more Americans than diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined. An estimated 25 percent of Americans have suffered from pain that lasts longer than 24 hours. It’s the most common reason Americans access the health care system. Chronic pain, defined by the NIH as any pain lasting more than 12 weeks, is a leading cause of disability in the United States. It’s also a major contributor to health care costs in the United States.

Because pain is a subjective experience, there is no “one size fits all” solution to dealing with it. Pain—whether acute or chronic—comes in many forms and is big business for drug companies. Unfortunately, many anti-pain prescription drugs, such as opiates (oxycodone/OxyContin) or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS like Celebrex), include unwelcome and potentially dangerous side effects. Oxycontin, for example, can cause: nausea, vomiting, addiction, weakness and dizziness, to name a few of its side effects.
Nature, in its infinite wisdom, has created powerful anti-pain medicine that we can take in the form of fruit, spices and herbs. Combined with other non-drug pain management techniques like massage, pain sufferers have viable and delicious options that contribute to a healthy, fulfilling life. Here are five edible solutions to eliminate pain.

Bromelain: This enzyme is most commonly linked with fresh pineapple and has a long history of combating pain and inflammation. In a study reported in Clinical Immunology, researchers from Duke University Medical Center found bromelain reduced production of several pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines that are elevated in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and play a role in the progression of IBD as well as pain linked to the disease.

Cayenne: This popular spice gives food a spicy kick; however, it’s also proven to increase circulation (which can aid in the healing of physical injuries) and reduce pain. The pain-fighting ingredient in cayenne is capsaicin, a known analgesic and anti-inflammatory compound. A 2013 study out of Australia National University concluded that capsaicin produced anti-inflammatory effects that were comparable to diclofenac, an NSAID prescribed for mild to moderate pain, symptoms of osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, menstrual cramps and migraines. While cayenne can cause stomach upset in sensitive people who ingest too much of the spice, this symptom is typically far less dangerous compared to the side effects linked with diclofenac.

Cherries: Consuming cherries instead of pain drugs? Sounds like a no-brainer. This delicious tree fruit contains compounds called anthocyanins, which are antioxidant flavonoids found in many colorful plants, such as berries, grapes and cherries. The antioxidant properties are linked with numerous health benefits, and researchers at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore found that tart cherry anthocyanins have a beneficial role in the treatment of inflammatory pain.

Ginger: This delicious root has been used for thousands of years in the Ayurvedic medical traditions of India as a natural pain fighter. Check out my article Ginger is Better than Drugs for Pain. Ginger is a great addition to many meals, including Indian and Thai-inspired curries, as well as hot and cold teas. While ginger is available in supplement form, the fresh root is really your best bet for fighting pain. It’s also a great digestive aid.

Turmeric: a staple of Indian cuisine, turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a yellow spice grown primarily in India and Indonesia. It can be found in its raw form in most grocery and health food stores and is available in supplement form in a standardized extract. The main therapeutic ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, which has been shown to deplete nerve endings of substance P, a pain neurotransmitter. Depleting this substance interrupts pain signals and reduces the sensation of pain. Turmeric also inhibits pain using a similar mechanism as drugs such as cyclo-oxygenase (COX-1 and COX-2) inhibitors, common forms of NSAIDS with unsavory side effects.
For acute pain, four tablespoons of turmeric powder mixed into water or honey can be taken every day. Turmeric is bitter on its own and the honey can make it more palatable. In supplement form, up to 1500 mg of curcumin daily is safe; however, if you are taking blood thinners, you should consult your physician before supplementing with curcumin.

Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM, is an international best-selling and 18-time published book author, whose works include: The Probiotic Promise: Simple Steps to Heal Your Body from the Inside Out (DaCapo, 2015).

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Myddfai Reiki: 7 Ways to Fight Seasonal Affective Disorder This Winter


7 Ways to Fight Seasonal Affective Disorder This Winter

Posted by Christiane Northrup, M.D.

As our daylight hours in the Northern Hemisphere are waning, and as we turn back the clocks to accommodate this change, it’s easy to forget that most of the people on Earth lived without electricity as little as 125 years ago! Despite being able to “change time,” I know that this transition is difficult for many of you. Being without light is difficult for me, too. Light is, after all, a nutrient.
If you are one of millions who experience seasonal affective disorder (SAD), don’t let anyone tell you it’s all in your head. It’s not. SAD is real. It can also be a nudge from Mother Nature that something in your life isn’t quite right.

Why We Feel SAD In Winter

Your body needs a minimum of about 30 minutes of sunlight a day. (Two hours is ideal.) However, after 48 hours, all of the nutrients and energy you receive from the sun are depleted. Depending on where you live, you may go through long, cloudy periods during the winter where you don’t get direct sunlight every day. This can make you want to sleep more. And there is a good reason for this. For one thing, circadian rhythms, those that govern the sleep and wake cycle, are different in winter than in summer. In addition, our bodies make more melatonin in the winter. Melatonin is a natural substance created by your brain when it’s dark. It aids with sleep. Of course, too much melatonin can leave you feeling sluggish and mentally foggy.
For millennia, our ancestors honored the natural rest cycle that winter brought. This meant sleeping more in the winter. (Even the earth rested—very little grows in winter, although the trees send nourishment to their roots, so the cycle can begin again in spring.) We, however, have become accustomed to living a 24/7 lifestyle. Much of our world is lit up when our bodies intuitively know we should be sleeping. And most of those lights we encounter today are still incandescent and florescent. Over exposure to these types of lights can cause symptoms that, in addition to lack of sunlight, contribute to SAD, such as eye fatigue, hyperactivity, and stress. Incandescent lights in particular put out a yellow-orange frequency. If your body becomes overdosed or sensitive to this frequency, you crave carbohydrates and more sleep. You may even experience changes to your menstrual cycle. Many people become irritable and depressed. Finally, you may experience a weakened immune system and notice that you catch more colds or even the Flu.

Words of Wisdom

Lack of ultraviolet light during the winter is the single biggest reason for seasonal depression.
- See more at: http://www.drnorthrup.com/7-ways-fight-seasonal-affective-disorder-winter/?utm_source=9988964_A_CN&utm_medium=email&utm_content=5612&utm_campaign=email_Newsletter_Northrup_2014&utm_id=5612#sthash.jrU9b20w.dpuf
Featured Blog Light Mood Issues & Stress
As our daylight hours in the Northern Hemisphere are waning, and as we turn back the clocks to accommodate this change, it’s easy to forget that most of the people on Earth lived without electricity as little as 125 years ago! Despite being able to “change time,” I know that this transition is difficult for many of you. Being without light is difficult for me, too. Light is, after all, a nutrient.
If you are one of millions who experience seasonal affective disorder (SAD), don’t let anyone tell you it’s all in your head. It’s not. SAD is real. It can also be a nudge from Mother Nature that something in your life isn’t quite right.

Why We Feel SAD In Winter

Your body needs a minimum of about 30 minutes of sunlight a day. (Two hours is ideal.) However, after 48 hours, all of the nutrients and energy you receive from the sun are depleted. Depending on where you live, you may go through long, cloudy periods during the winter where you don’t get direct sunlight every day. This can make you want to sleep more. And there is a good reason for this. For one thing, circadian rhythms, those that govern the sleep and wake cycle, are different in winter than in summer. In addition, our bodies make more melatonin in the winter. Melatonin is a natural substance created by your brain when it’s dark. It aids with sleep. Of course, too much melatonin can leave you feeling sluggish and mentally foggy.
For millennia, our ancestors honored the natural rest cycle that winter brought. This meant sleeping more in the winter. (Even the earth rested—very little grows in winter, although the trees send nourishment to their roots, so the cycle can begin again in spring.) We, however, have become accustomed to living a 24/7 lifestyle. Much of our world is lit up when our bodies intuitively know we should be sleeping. And most of those lights we encounter today are still incandescent and florescent. Over exposure to these types of lights can cause symptoms that, in addition to lack of sunlight, contribute to SAD, such as eye fatigue, hyperactivity, and stress. Incandescent lights in particular put out a yellow-orange frequency. If your body becomes overdosed or sensitive to this frequency, you crave carbohydrates and more sleep. You may even experience changes to your menstrual cycle. Many people become irritable and depressed. Finally, you may experience a weakened immune system and notice that you catch more colds or even the Flu.

Words of Wisdom

Lack of ultraviolet light during the winter is the single biggest reason for seasonal depression. 
- See more at: http://www.drnorthrup.com/7-ways-fight-seasonal-affective-disorder-winter/?utm_source=9988964_A_CN&utm_medium=email&utm_content=5612&utm_campaign=email_Newsletter_Northrup_2014&utm_id=5612#sthash.jrU9b20w.dpuf
Featured Blog Light Mood Issues & Stress
As our daylight hours in the Northern Hemisphere are waning, and as we turn back the clocks to accommodate this change, it’s easy to forget that most of the people on Earth lived without electricity as little as 125 years ago! Despite being able to “change time,” I know that this transition is difficult for many of you. Being without light is difficult for me, too. Light is, after all, a nutrient.
If you are one of millions who experience seasonal affective disorder (SAD), don’t let anyone tell you it’s all in your head. It’s not. SAD is real. It can also be a nudge from Mother Nature that something in your life isn’t quite right.

Why We Feel SAD In Winter

Your body needs a minimum of about 30 minutes of sunlight a day. (Two hours is ideal.) However, after 48 hours, all of the nutrients and energy you receive from the sun are depleted. Depending on where you live, you may go through long, cloudy periods during the winter where you don’t get direct sunlight every day. This can make you want to sleep more. And there is a good reason for this. For one thing, circadian rhythms, those that govern the sleep and wake cycle, are different in winter than in summer. In addition, our bodies make more melatonin in the winter. Melatonin is a natural substance created by your brain when it’s dark. It aids with sleep. Of course, too much melatonin can leave you feeling sluggish and mentally foggy.
For millennia, our ancestors honored the natural rest cycle that winter brought. This meant sleeping more in the winter. (Even the earth rested—very little grows in winter, although the trees send nourishment to their roots, so the cycle can begin again in spring.) We, however, have become accustomed to living a 24/7 lifestyle. Much of our world is lit up when our bodies intuitively know we should be sleeping. And most of those lights we encounter today are still incandescent and florescent. Over exposure to these types of lights can cause symptoms that, in addition to lack of sunlight, contribute to SAD, such as eye fatigue, hyperactivity, and stress. Incandescent lights in particular put out a yellow-orange frequency. If your body becomes overdosed or sensitive to this frequency, you crave carbohydrates and more sleep. You may even experience changes to your menstrual cycle. Many people become irritable and depressed. Finally, you may experience a weakened immune system and notice that you catch more colds or even the Flu.

Words of Wisdom

Lack of ultraviolet light during the winter is the single biggest reason for seasonal depression. 
- See more at: http://www.drnorthrup.com/7-ways-fight-seasonal-affective-disorder-winter/?utm_source=9988964_A_CN&utm_medium=email&utm_content=5612&utm_campaign=email_Newsletter_Northrup_2014&utm_id=5612#sthash.jrU9b20w.dpuf

Happy Thanksgiving!



         To all my American friends, I wish you  a wonderful Thanksgiving! And for all my friends from around the world, have a wonderful day. I'll be thinking of you!    Much love, Nicole Kapise-Perkins

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Dinner TRIUMPH!!!!

I made this up for dinner the other night,and had no leftovers.My 18 year old liked it so much that he has asked for a copy of Rachael Ray's Just in Time cookbook so he can have the recipe forever. I decide that the only thing to do was share this delicious happiness with all of you.

 Elsa's Cider Beef...from Rachael Ray

This recipe comes from Rach's mom, Elsa Scuderi. Apple cider is the key to this hearty beef, served over smashed potatoes.
  • Serves 4 Servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 pounds top sirloin, trimmed and cut into 2-inch cubes (or stew beef...save a step)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 pound turnips, peeled and chopped
  • 6 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups good quality apple cider (the dark cloudy ones always taste the best)
  • 15 oz can beef broth

Preparation

Pre-heat oven to 375°F.

Place a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add EVOO and butter. Season the beef with salt and pepper and add to pot. Brown on all sides, about 6-8 minutes. 
Add onions, carrots and turnips, and cook for 4-5 minutes. Add flour, stir to combine and coat.
Add the apple cider and the beef consomm√©, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, cover and place in the oven for 1-1 1/2 hours. (Mine simmered at 250 for about 3 hours, and the beef was so tender that we could cut it with the back of a spoon. Nummmmm!)              Enjoy!!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Lulu's Library #4

Here dear friends is an update from my family's reading. Again, a few (new) favs for Lulu's Library:


Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin: TOO FUNNY! This fabulous book is a nearly step-by-step guide to hosting the perfect dragon party. Just make sure you don't forget to serve tacos, because dragons LOVE tacos!!!



What Forest Knows by George Ella Lyon (with a nod to Illustrator August Hall!): The best word to describe this book is 'beautiful.' Beautiful illustrations (very, I might add), simple but beautiful text, this book about the changing of the seasons and what the forest 'knows' has become a bedtime favorite, and my little guy loves to point out details of the pictures and discuss them. Check this one out: I'm sure it will become a favorite.


Good Night Yoga by Mariam Gates: This sweet bedtime story is written as a series of yoga poses, guaranteed to get your little one interacting, but in just the way you would want them to at bedtime. Colorful pictures, simple text, and gentle stretches combine to make a truly unique bedtime book. We've been practicing this regularly since taking the book from the library.


A cup of tea...

    Despite my best intentions, my blog has again been neglected: work has taken a 360 and I've been left somewhere in the dust (can you see me waving?). My supervisor, who is a very good friend, is leaving the facility we work at, moving on to new adventures, and guess who gets to fill in for her in the meantime? Yep. Yours truly. Do you have any idea how much stuff goes into being an activity director???? I didn't either. I don't think I can manage half as well as she has, but I'm going to try my best. It is, after all, the best that I can do.
     Today I have a rare day off, with no plans except grocery shopping and returning overdue library books. I am finding this rather wonderful. True, there are a dozen things I could do today: the living room corners are so cobwebby that the spiders can't find vacancies (though this means I don't have to decorate for Halloween...maybe this isn't so horrible after all...), my little boy's room is so messy I can't find his bed, my bureau is stuffed to bursting, half of the contents fit only for summer, the goldfish would probably appreciate fresh water, but then again being goldfish probably haven't really paid much attention either way....as well I have articles and outlines due, assignments for online classes looming, and right now, I don't care. I am sitting here, visiting with you, with a lemon poppy seed scone from the Second Street bakery and a pot of tea close at hand, perusing emails in between fixing the spacing mistakes here because my cat broke the space bar on my keyboard.Thanks, Momo. The husband and the little boy are away at their respective jobs, the biggest boy still sleeping, and the cat nowhere to be found. All is blissfully quiet and tea-scented.
     How is it we manage to get so caught up in all of the day to day tasks and chores that we fail to do things for ourselves? I love writing. I love writing in my journal, writing poetry and stories, the articles I write for SageWoman, and the posts for this blog. And yet, when I take a good look at everything, what is the first thing that falls by the wayside when I get busy? Writing. It's as though because I don't make a profit from it, nor does it directly benefit my family in a tangible or visible way, it is unimportant. I am reminded by the magickal, inspirational, wonderful SARK that life is all about 'living juicy':



Things have been pretty dry around here. This week, I'm going to try my best to 'bring out my best most magic self.' How about you?

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Myddfai Reiki: Hydration!

How Much Water Should You Drink Each Day?

How Much Water Should You Drink Each Day? via DeliciouslyOrganic.net
How much water should you drink each day? This topic is discussed constantly and before we answer how much, I think it’s important that we understand just how incredibly important water is to the body.
Water is the most important “nutrient” in the body. It makes up about 55-60% of our total body mass and is found in all tissues. You can go about eight weeks without food, but only a few days without water.
The roles of water in the body are pretty incredible.
Here’s a list of some of the important things water does to support the body:
Improves oxygen delivery to the cells
Transports nutrients
Enables cellular hydration
Cushions bones and joints
Regulates body temperature
Removes wastes and flushes toxins
Prevents tissues from sticking
Lubricates joints
Improves cell-to-cell communications
Maintains normal electrical properties of the cells
Empowers the body’s natural healing process
How Much Water Should You Drink Each Day? via DeliciouslyOrganic.net
As you can see, daily water consumption is essential for a healthy body.
Did you know that a dry mouth is the very last sign of dehydration? This means that if your mouth is dry, you’re not just thirsty – your body is telling you that you are experiencing extreme dehydration!
“The pains of dehydration include dyspeptic pain, rheumatoid arthritis pain, anginal pan (heart pain on walking, or even at rest), low back pain, intermittent claudication pan (leg pain on walking), migraine and hangover headaches, colitis pain and its associated constipation, and false appendicitis pain.” Dr. Batmanghelidj
So how much should we drink?
A good rule of thumb is to drink half of your body weight in ounces of water each day. So, a person weighting 150 pounds should drink at least 75 ounces of water each day. Keep in mind that alcohol, coffee, tea and caffeine-containing beverages don’t count as water.
Here’s an easy way to get in the habit of drinking more water:
  • Drink a cup of water as soon as you wake up.
  • Drink 1-2 glasses of water about 30 minutes before breakfast.
  • Drink a cup of water about 2 1/2 hours after breakfast.
  • Drink 1-2 glasses of water before lunch.
  • Drink a cup of water about 2 1/2 hours after lunch.
  • Drink 1-2 glasses of water about 30 minutes before dinner.
  • Drink a cup of water before going to bed.
A good way to tell if you’re getting enough water is to look at the color of urine. “A well-hydrated person produces colorless urine—not counting the color of vitamins or color additives in food. A comparatively dehydrated person produces yellow urine. A truly dehydrated person produces urine that is orange in color.” F Batmanghelidj, M.D.
Don’t underestimate the power of water for your health! Water is the cheapest form of medicine for a dehydrated body

(from Deliciously Organic)

My favorite holiday is coming, so I have for you an original story!



All Hallows Eve:

                       A Tale of Terror

                              sort of.


                              By

                 Nicole Kapise Perkins






                       ‘Twas All Hallow’s Eve
and all through the house
everyone was cowering in fear
of a vampire mouse.

Ragged socks hung dripping
by the fireplace with dread;
we hoped Jack O’Lantern
wouldn’t stuff them with shrunken heads.

The dumb supper was set out,
a plate of bread and a horn of stout;
carved pumpkins glared ghastly grins,
guarding those that slept within.

From the woods there came a howl and a shriek,
on the steps a creak;
I dove to the floor and rolled under my bed,
dragging a quilt to hide my head.

Something slimy snuffled and burbled,
my stomach quivered and gurgled.
Mom told me not to eat so much candy;
now a monster will hear it and eat me, isn’t that just dandy.

An evil green glow lit the floor
between me and the door.
I told myself to escape
before it was too late.

“Now come, little boy, come out and play.
We’ve only a few hours till the break of day.
Our fangs are sharp, our claws are long.
Come out and play little boy, before it’s dawn.”

The bed was picked up and tossed aside;
a sight so awful met my eyes I nearly died.
A goblin, a troll, a demon from the gloom
were standing in the middle of my room!

Eerie white light ghosted along in the hall,
from the noises downstairs all kinds of beasties were having a ball.
It was clear these monsters wouldn’t let me go.
I decided to join them. Hey, you never know.

The goblin slid down the banister,
then an afreet and a litch.
A ghost walked through me
and I didn’t even twitch.

Kobolds cavorted on the couch,
a golem gamboled on the lawn;
the leaf piles had been kicked everywhere.
I hoped they’d clean up their mess before dawn.

Amid all the chaos
I beheld a sight quite dear:
sitting at the dumb supper
Grammy and Gramper, both dead many a year.

I tiptoed across the rug
past a sleeping werewolf to say hello.
They smiled and nodded silently;
soon they’d have to go.

The ghosts and beasties
would fade away
with the coming of the sun;
and dawn would bring an end to all this fun.
Cthulu suggested a round of Twister;
a chorus line of zombies began doing Thriller on the deck.
I won the game of Twister
but gave myself a kink in my neck.

We sang along to The Corpse Bride
and toasted marshmallows in the fireplace.
Unbeknownst to us,
the sun rose at a steady pace.

Goblins and beasties began to fade away.
The sun rose brightly on All Soul’s Day,
and All Hallow’s Eve became
a memory for a later day.

As the last ghost faded from sight
a hollow voice echoed from far away:
“Be ready for a Twister tournament on the next Hallow’s Night,
and many blessings to you on this All Soul’s Day!”










Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Library Loot #2 :)

I just placed a big order at my library the other day, but decided I needed something to read while I was waiting, and so dug around in the biographies, and was rewarded with:








 A Woman of Valor: Clara Barton and the Civil War                                                                                                      AND:



The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II                                                                                      I'm finishing Dean Koontz's Brother Odd, but I've only got a couple chapters to go, then on to history! Herstory!

Wordless Wednesday #3


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Ellie's Kitchen: Home Remedies

These aren't true recipes, but I doubt you keep this stuff in your bathroom, and our great-great grandmothers did make up all kinds of home remedies in their kitchens, so......(these are from my fav blog, Hello Natural)

Feel Better Faster with 8 Natural Cough + Sore Throat Remedies

I don’t know about you, but to me coughing and sore throats are probably the worst cold symptoms—worse than all the others combined! When I get a sore throat in the winter months, it’s a surefire sign I’m about to be feeling like crap for a few days, and the pain can be unbearable. (When you can’t even swallow because it hurts—ugh.) A hacking cough isn’t any fun to deal with either.
Of course, the first line of defense against sore throats and coughs is to keep your immune system working properly through eating the right foods, getting plenty of rest and managing your stress level. But, when the inevitable sore throat or cough strikes, here are 8 natural ways to kick it to the curb:

8 Natural Cough + Sore Throat Remedies

1. Saltwater Gargle

I always opt for this attack as soon as I feel the first tickle in my throat. Dissolve 1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt in a glass of warm water and gargle as long as you can possibly stand. (Don’t eat or drink anything for a few minutes afterwards.) This easy treatment can soothe your throat and relieve swelling. Repeat every couple hours if your symptoms return.

2. Honey

Raw, organic honey has antibacterial properties, and can help reduce swelling and inflammation in your throat. It’s also used as a cough suppressant (although you shouldn’t give raw honey to kids under 2). Take a couple teaspoons as is, add a drop of oregano essential oil, and/or add it to a mug of hot water. Even better, make a hot toddy by adding the juice of half a lemon and an optional tablespoon of brandy or whiskey to your hot water and honey. Not only will it soothe your throat, it’ll help you stop coughing, relieve sinus congestion and help you sleep. If you do include the booze, use this remedy in moderation, of course ;)

3. Garlic, Straight Up

A friend introduced me to this trick years ago, and it works! When you first feel a tickle in the back of your throat, eat a raw garlic clove, making sure to chew it throughly so all the allicin (a powerful antibacterial compound, which is released for a short time when raw garlic is crushed) is released right into your system.

image: http://i2.wp.com/hellonatural.co/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Garlic-Cough-Remedy.jpg?resize=650%2C977
Garlic | 8 Natural Cough + Sore Throat Remedies Know that this method is not for the faint of heart. The garlic is hot, and if I do it on an empty stomach, I usually end up nauseous. Mix it into some honey if you need to, and repeat every 4 hours or so if needed.

4. Boycott Sugar (and Maybe Dairy and Caffeine) Immediately

It never fails. The day after Halloween, the day after Thanksgiving, the day after my mom’s annual holiday cookie-baking day and the day after Christmas, I wake up exhausted with an awful sore throat and the sniffles. You might not have the same reaction, but for me sugar is often the culprit when I get a cold—probably because taking in too much simple sugar like alcohol and sweets (especially if you’re not consuming it a lot normally) depresses the immune system.
If I avoid sugar— sticking to veggies and soup for a day or so—without fail it goes away much more quickly than if I kept gorging on Mom’s sugar cookies. It disappears even faster if I stay off dairy and alcohol, too.

5. Homemade Cough Drops

It’s easy to feel like you’re living on cough drops when you have a cough or itchy throat, and the sugar hangover from the store-bough kind is not very pleasant. Good new, though: With a few pantry ingredients you probably already have on hand, you can make soothing lemon-ginger homemade cough drops that won’t put you in a cherry lozenge sugar coma.

6. Homemade Cough Syrup

You can also make homemade honey-thyme cough syrup if you’re not a fan of choking down (and being knocked out cold by) over-the-counter cough suppressants. Boil 2 cups of water in a pan. Remove from heat and add 3 tablespoons of fresh thyme. Let steep for at least 10 minutes, or until cool. Stir in the honey. Continue stirring until dissolved. Strain out the thyme, if desired, and transfer to a glass jar.

image: http://i0.wp.com/hellonatural.co/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Natural-Cough-Syrup.jpg?resize=650%2C975
Honey Thyme Homemade Cough Syrup | 8 Natural Cough + Sore Throat Remedies Immune-boosting DIY elderberry syrup helps soothe inflamed mucous membranes and stop coughing; it can be made for a fraction of the cost of store-bought.

7. Make a Green (or Red or Yellow) Juice

Mom might have given you OJ when you felt under the weather, but the sugar in OJ can offset any vitamin C benefits. Instead, make a fresh juice with immune-boosting and cold-fighting ingredients like lemon, turmeric, ginger, beets and greens. Here are 3 cold-busting recipes to get you started.

8. Tea

Seriously, what isn’t tea good for? In addition to making your throat feel instantly better, herbal teas like lemon balm, rooibos, mint and ginger (which contains antihistamines) can speed up your recovery and tame that annoying cough. If you’re not avoiding caffeine, the antioxidants in green tea will help boost your immune system as well.

Read more at http://hellonatural.co/feel-better-faster-with-8-natural-cough-sore-throat-remedies/#Fem2M2mtyvAkz82q.99

Monday, September 28, 2015

Lulu's Library #3: Sharing this from ReadBrightly.com

I haven't read any of these yet, but if Brightly says they're a go, them I'm game. My husband and I are trying to get our little guy (who is 6 on Friday) to branch out and begin reading 'chapter books' with us. This looks like a good place to start. And Kate DiCamillo is, well, Kate DiCamillo. The Tale of Despearux. Need I say more?


9 Super Series 6–8 Year Olds Are Buzzing About


by Kari Ness Riedel


Photo credit: Westend61/Getty Images
When you ask a kid what kind of books they read, you can see the beam of pride when they answer “chapter books.” They’ve graduated from “leveled readers” and have a whole new world of mystery, humor, adventure, and friendship stories open to them.
This transition, which often happens between the ages of six and eight, is an important point in a child’s independent reading life. Making sure they pick books that allow them to experience reading as a pleasure, not a chore, is essential. Series abound for this age group and getting hooked on one good book in a series can lead to hours, days, and even weeks of fully engaged reading awesomeness.
There are many well-known series like Magic Tree House, Judy Moody, Junie B. Jones, Clementine, and The Boxcar Children. Here are nine other “kid-approved” series that you may not know about but come highly recommended by young readers on Bookopolis.com, an online community where kids share reviews of favorite books.
  • Mercy Watson

    by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by Chris Van Dusen
    This series centers on a charming, buttered toast loving pig, Mercy, and her human owners Mr. & Mrs. Watson. Silly escapades and good-natured characters make this wildly appealing for kids and parents. As Michelle, 8, says, “Try these books if you want a good laugh.” Leana, 7, adds, “The Mercy books are so good, I can’t wait to read them all.”


  • Geronimo Stilton & Thea Stilton

    by Geronimo Stilton and Thea Stilton
    Kids love the unexpected adventures of a mild-mannered mouse journalist, Geronimo, and his sister Thea. Written in a highly illustrated style that is super engaging to kids and great for helping them learn new vocabulary. Zoe, 7, says, “I love the excitement and action. I would suggest these books to everyone.”


  • Fly Guy

    by Tedd Arnold
    Kids adore this series about a boy and his pet fly. The best part for Josh, 6, is “the friendship between Buzz and Fly Guy.” Slapstick humor and silly illustrations make this popular series perfect for emerging readers. New books in the series cross over to the nonfiction genre where Fly Guy introduces cool facts about things like dinosaurs and sharks.


  • Ivy & Bean

    by Annie Barrows, illustrated by Sophie Blackall
    Emma, 8, says, “This is a really good book if you love to get into trouble, love playing with your friends, and love making new creations.” Ivy and Bean are the dynamic friend duo who prove that opposites attract. Kids are drawn to the adventures and mysteries that take place whenever these girls get together.


  • Weird But True

    by National Geographic Kids
    “This book has amazing facts. Did you know that there was a Chinese soup with bird nests in it?” says Joshua, 8. Young readers go crazy for these wacky fact books. The information is so entertaining that they don’t know they are learning something. Great for both reluctant and enthusiastic readers.


  • Lulu and the Brontosaurus

    by Judith Viorst, illustrated by Lane Smith
    Meet Lulu, a pushy, spoiled yet lovable little girl who throws a four-day tantrum to get a brontosaurus for her birthday. Lulu’s surprising adventures totally engage young readers and keep them laughing and guessing as to what will happen next. As Luke, 8, says, “Lulu is a pain but these books are awesome.”


  • Ranger in Time

    by Kate Messner, illustrated by Kelley McMorris
    A time-traveling golden retriever, need I say more? This is a new series that follows Ranger, a retriever who can’t sit still and finds himself unexpectedly traveling back in time to historic places. Kristina, a third-grade teacher, sums it up well: “For those that like history, this is a great read.” Kids unwittingly learn a ton about the places Ranger goes like the Oregon Trail and Ancient Rome.


  • Shelter Pet Squad

    by Cynthia Lord, illustrated by Erin McGuire
    The perfect book for animal lovers, as noted by Ella, 8. “I love dogs and I loooooved these books.” This new series relates the tales of a group of charming kids who find homes for animals in need. There’s a heartwarming feel to these books that is highly appealing to kids and adults.