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.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Myddfai Reiki: Guided Meditation for Self-Healing

I found this link at Healing Hands Hub:  http://healinghandshub.com/guided-meditation-for-self-healing/ 
 Hopefully the video link will work, but if it does not, follow the link above to the original post. :)
 Namaste







A healing meditation you can use every day

Science has proven that we have the power to help heal ourselves with our thoughts.  This gentle, easy to use meditation can be used every day.
This mediation contains advanced brain wave therapy and guided meditation combined with positive mind expanding visuals to inspire and heal your mind, body, and soul. Namaste. Featuring art by Alex Grey, Josephine Wall, Xavi, and more.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWB9YT-Zq-shttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWB9YT-Zq-s

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Ellie's Kitchen: Spaghetti squash with homemade spinach pesto

Made this for dinner Friday nite, and it was loved by all!

 

Spaghetti Squash with Spinach Pesto and Sun-Dried Tomatoes


  • 1 medium spaghetti squash
  • 5 cups fresh baby spinach
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts (I used almonds)
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, plus more for sprinkling, optional
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.)
  • ¼ cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
1 | Preheat oven to 375°F. Cut spaghetti squash in half, and remove seeds with spoon. Place squash halves face down on baking sheet, and roast
1 hour. Scrape with fork to release strands. Transfer strands to bowl.
2 | Combine spinach, oil, walnuts, Parmesan, and garlic in food processor, and pulse until mixture has consistency of paste. Add to squash, and mix well. Divide among six plates, and top each serving with sun-dried tomatoes. Sprinkle with additional Parmesan, if using.

Vegetarian Times October 2015 p.13 
 http://www.vegetariantimes.com/recipe/spaghetti-squash-with-spinach-pesto-and-sun-dried-tomatoes/

Library Loot #1: Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her by Melanie Rehak

      I have never read a Nancy Drew book. Ever. There. I have said it out loud. (Okay, typed it, but close enough.) I know who she is, I knew that Carolyn Keene was a pen name for the mysterious mystery author, but that was about the end of my knowledge. Well, that and the fact that 'Nancy Drew' was wildly successful, being in print for , what, 50 years? So the opportunity to learn whet went on behind the scenes was pretty intriguing.
    What I learned was that Edward Stratemeyer was a brilliant planner: he created a slew of story arcs and characters (the Hardy Boys, the Bobbsey Twins, Rover Girls, and Rover Boys are just a few of them) but the real genius behind Nancy Drew and her success was an author and journalist names Mildred (Augustus) Wirt Benson. With the exception of four of the thirteen original titles, MWB turned out adventure after adventure, captivating girls (and boys) the world over, helping to make the Stratemeyer Syndicate the success that it was. (Another longtime writer, Leslie McFarlane, the genius behind the writer known as Franklin W. Dixon, played a major role in the Syndicate's success.)
      I also learned that Stratemeyer died quite young, and his daughter Harriet Stratemeyer Adams managed to step into her father's role as the head of the Syndicate quite successfully, especially considering that her parents sent her to college because it was 'the thing to do,' but refused to allow her to work. Essentially, she went to college so she'd be a good catch in the marriage market. Having no experience, HSA managed to run the Syndicate with considerable success, though relations between her management and several of the writers became strained, and ultimately ended, such as the contracts with MWB. However, years later, Nancy Drew is still going strong: in the 80's there were several spin-off series, and just the other day at my library while looking for a Nancy Drew to read, because I want to have a look at what immensely successful juvenile fiction reads like, I found the first four original stories, re-released by Grosset & Dunlap (the original publishers, now owned by Penguin Group) in the original format from the 1930's. (In the 80's, in an effort to boost sales, HSA re-worked and abridged several stories, to limited success. Okay, to no success. She should have left MWB's work alone.)


(I'll post a review of The Secret of the Old Clock at some point, probably under Library Loot, as I'm not reading it to Liam. Hardy Boys will probably go under Lulu's Library.)

Lulu's Library #2

Goatilocks and the Three Bears by Erica S. Pearl
This is hands-down, one of the funniest books you will ever read. If there is a person in your house that can affect an outraged southern-granny accent while reading Baby Bear's lines, so much the better. Goatilocks is the kind of book I wish I had written.


My New Friend Is So Fun! by Mo Willems

We are a Mo Willems household. We love the Pigeon books (can't wait for the next one!!) and Elephant and Piggie are just about the best pals any beginning reader could have. There are 25 of these books altogether, and I think we've only missed four...in fact I'll be ordering them from my library after I post this, having just looked the entire list up on Amazon. The text is simple, the stories laugh-out-loud funnie (check out Listen to My Trumpet) and the books are the perfect size for little fans to carry a couple copies around with them. With Mo around, you really can't go wrong. :)

Henry Builds a Cabin by D.B. Johnson
I have a confession to make: I find US history incredibly boring. World history, ancient history, yep, I'll dive right in. US history, not so much. (This is especially terrible considering I live only an hour away from Lexington. And no, I've never been to the battlefield.) Certain persons in history, however, do capture my interest, such as Louisa May Alcott, and her Concordian neighbor, Henry David Thoreau. My children do not know about my aversion to US history, and thanks to D.B. Johnson's excellent 'Henry' books, they won't. Henry Builds a Cabin is about a bear named Henry who one day decides to leave the center of the town of Concord and build himself a cabin in Walden Woods. He has several visitors while he's hard at work: his friends Emerson and Alcott stop by to lend a hand, and Miss Lydia (of the Lydia Maria Child persuasion) stops by to critique his dancing hall. Informative and fun, this set of books (other titles include Henry Works, Henry Hikes to Fitchburg, Henry Climbs a Mountain, and Henry's Night) is a wonderful way to introduce children to history...and even parents who find it boring will manage to enjoy the stories.




Myddfai Reiki: "Tree-Time Therapy"

A simple practice called 'Forest Bathing' could help nurture your health and fend off sickness; by Elizabeth Barker, for Vegetarian Times Magazine:

   Taking a walk in the woods and soaking up the lush scenery, clean air, and supreme quiet of a forest could do more than refresh your mind and recharge your energy. Thanks to a do-it-yourself therapy known as forest bathing or shinrin-yoku (a Japanese term that means "taking in the forest atmosphere"), spending a few serene hours in the woods may give you a long-lasting health boost.
   A form of eco-therapy practiced in Japan for several decades, forest bathing has been found to reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and increase anti-cancer proteins in recent studies. Those health effects most likely have much to do with stress-soothing, according to Qing Li, associate professor at Nippon Medical School in Tokyo. However, certain environmental factors may also play a part in forest bathing's impacts on health. For instance, says Li, breathing in phytoncides (a class of compounds released by trees) appears to rev up immune activity.
   When heading out for a  forest bathing session, keep in mind that "the key things are to slow down and engage your senses," advises Amos Clifford, director and founder of the association of Nature & Forest Therapy Guides & Programs, based in Santa Rosa, California. While joining a group-led trek can ease you into a slower pace, starting off with a period of stillness can also help you make that shift.
   "Slowing down can initially be stressful for many people, but finding your way to a beautiful spot and just sitting for about 20 minutes without any distraction can help you unwind,' Clifford says.
   For more hints on making the most out of forest bathing, visit http://www.shinrin-yoku.org/

Forest Bathing Basics

  • Aim for a three-hour-long session, including up to a mile of walking. Some research shows that benefits build up over time, so turning the practice into a weekly habit should deliver greater health gains.
  • For help in honing your attention, jot down your observations about all the sights, scents, sounds, and textures around you.
  • To enhance the anti-stress element of your forest bathing experience, researcher Qing Li suggests adding in relaxation techniques like deep breathing and meditation. Some forest bathers even incorporate yoga, tai chi, or barefoot walking into their sessions, says forest-therapy practitioner Amos Clifford. 
http://www.vegetariantimes.com/


 
Doesn't this look like a lovely place to be? Photo of the Quabbin Reservoir, New Salem, MA by NKP

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Autumn resolutions:

   The festival of Mabon is coming this week; for those of you who are not Pagan, this would be the Autumnal Equinox. Autumn always strikes a tone within my soul; it's not lost on me that I was married beneath a blazingly scarlet tree on November first...beside a cool New England river, no less. I get more housewife-ish: breads and stews pour band tumble from the kitchen, I am caught ironing curtains and pillowcases...yeah, weird, I know.
   It's not just me, though. Cultures the world over celebrate their new year in autumn: Pagans, Jews, Muslims, many Native American tribes and African countries all observe the new year in the autumn. Aspects of this have carried over into today's life: how many of you do a massive fall cleaning? How many of you take the time in the fall to loosely plot the year ahead, probably while putting up fruits and vegetables harvested from gardens? I just drew up my Mabon 'To Do' List, and will tackle the first thing tomorrow (mild food poisoning willing, that is. Cheese is the enemy.)
   On the blog The Art of Simple, I came across a great post about forming Autumn Resolutions. It's too good not to share, so:


Create autumn resolutions to discover more everyday joy


by Katie Clemons

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Set autumn resolutions for a richer new season
I placed the kettle on the stovetop this morning and made some hot tea. It’s the first morning I’ve done that in weeks. The cool autumn air is here. Plants are withering from the first frosts of autumn. And all the cars and RVs racing into Yellowstone National Park have been replaced by one lone yellow school bus, navigating down the meandering highway.
If you’re like me, it’s a refreshing change to see the gentle transition after a full (and very hot!) summer. I feel like there’s finally time to pause and sip a cup of tea. This time of year, we’re allowing ourselves to exhale. Whenever I have a cup of tea, I feel this intrinsic need to journal. The beauty of combining tea and journals is soothing. It’s a lullaby to our busy minds, urging us to pause, reflect, and feel gratitude.
It is no surprise that autumn is the season when we most count our blessings. We start gathering around the table for more meals. We have ritualistic traditions—Thanksgiving, football, crunching leaves, bringing home pumpkins—to savor with the people who bring us joy.
Back in 1949, Katharine Elizabeth Fite wrote in Good Housekeeping, “What we need in autumn is an emotional or spiritual shot in the arm.” She urged her readers to start a new September tradition: create personal and positive resolutions this month. Don’t wait until January, she argues. That’s when you are “worn out in spirit, body, and pocketbook, and have no real urge to do anything but rest.”

There’s a lot of pressure behind New Year’s Resolutions. Just thinking about them makes me exhausted, because maybe, instead of a resolution to check off a daily to-do task or drop a certain number of pounds, we should be making our resolutions be all about pleasure, joy, and gratitude.

“Why don’t we make the effort that would provide something new in our lives?  Why don’t we do again some of the things that we used to enjoy?” Fite asked. An autumn resolution is something simple like journaling about what makes you happy, inviting friends over for dinner, setting aside time for things you enjoy doing with other people, or just slowing down a little. (I enjoy this journal by myself and want to keep this journal with my son.)
This approach to resolutions is already feeling better, isn’t it? No one else has to know about your autumn intentions, either! They’re a little secret we can each carry in our chest pockets, folded against our hearts in order to craft a richer life, instead of comparing and competing with one another and ourselves come January 1, when we really just need the silence to unwind.
create-autumn-resolutions-AoS
Photo by Katie Clemons
To craft your autumn resolution, pick up a journal or take a walk as you think about these questions:
  1. What could I add to my life this season to bring me more pleasure?
  2. What could I take away from my life so that I feel more pleasure and joy this season?
  3. Is there anything I can add to my life this season to experience more gratitude?
  4. Can I take anything out of my life this season in order to feel more gratitude?
(Create autumn resolutions to discover more everyday joy is a post from The Art of Simple.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Myddfai Reiki: Warning signs your chakras are out of balance...and what exactly does THAT mean, anyway??


 
 
Warning Signs Your Chakras Are Out Of Balance
 


There are 7 main energy centers in the body, known as chakras. Each chakra is located throughout our body so that it correlates to specific body ailment and physical dysfunctions; each energy center also houses our mental and emotional strengths. When we have a physical issue, it creates weaknesses in our emotional behavior. When we release the stale energy from the body, it can undo any tightness, stiffness, or malfunction of that area.
The clearing of the energy can also balance our emotional state of mind. The Chakra Mind-Body Balance is a two-way street: if there are certain fears and emotions we are holding on to, we experience physical restrictions, too.
If you have achiness or stiffness, or certain reoccurring emotions and fears, read along and you may find out which chakra is affected or blocked.
1st or Root Chakra
Sits at the base of your spine, at your tailbone.
Physical imbalances in the root chakra include problems in the legs, feet, rectum, tailbone, immune system, male reproductive parts and prostrate gland. Those with imbalances here are also likely to experience issues of degenerative arthritis, knee pain, sciatica, eating disorders, and constipation.
Emotional imbalances include feelings affecting our basic survival needs: money, shelter and food; ability to provide for life’s necessities.
When this chakra is balance, you feel supported, a sense of connection and safety to the physical world, and grounded.
The lesson of this chakra is self-preservation; we have a right to be here.
2nd or Sacral Chakra
Located two inches below your navel.
Physical imbalances include sexual and reproductive issues, urinary problems, kidney dysfunctions, hip, pelvic and low back pain.
Emotional imbalances include our commitment to relationships. Our ability to express our emotions. Our ability to have fun, play based on desires, creativity, pleasure, sexuality. Fears of impotence, betrayal, addictions.
When this chakra is balanced, we have an ability to take risks, we are creative, we are committed. We are passionate, sexual and outgoing.
The lesson of this chakra is to honor others.
3rd or Solar Plexus Chakra
Located three inches above your navel.
Physical imbalances include digestive problems, liver dysfunction, chronic fatigue, high blood pressure, diabetes, stomach ulcers, pancreas and gallbladder issues, colon diseases.
Emotional imbalances include issues of personal power and self-esteem, our inner critic comes out. Fears of rejection, criticism, physical appearances.
When this chakra is balanced, we feel self-respect and self-compassion. We feel in control, assertive, confident.
The lesson of this chakra is self-acceptance.
4th or Heart Chakra
Located at the heart.
Physical imbalances include asthma, heart disease, lung disease, issues with breasts, lymphatic systems, upper back and shoulder problems, arm and wrist pain.
Emotional imbalances include issues of the heart; over-loving to the point of suffocation, jealousy, abandonment, anger, bitterness. Fear of loneliness.
When this chakra is balanced we feel joy, gratitude, love and compassion, forgiveness flows freely, trust is gained.
The lesson of this chakra is I Love.
5th or Throat Chakra
Located at the throat.
Physical imbalances include thyroid issues, sore throats, laryngitis, TMJ, ear infections, ulcers, any facial problems (chin, cheek, lips, tongue problems) neck and shoulder pain.
Emotional imbalances include issues of self-expression through communication, both spoken or written. Fear of no power or choice. No willpower or being out of control.
When this chakra is balanced, we have free flowing of words, expression, communication. We are honest and truthful yet firm. We are good listeners.
The lesson of this chakra is to speak up and let your voice be heard.
6th or Third Eye Chakra
Located in the middle of the eyebrows, in the center of the forehead.
Physical imbalances include headaches, blurred vision, sinus issues, eyestrain, seizures, hearing loss, hormone function.
Emotional imbalances include issues with moodiness, volatility, and self-reflection; An inability to look at ones own fears, and to learn from others. Day-dream often and live in a world with exaggerated imagination.
When this chakra is balanced we feel clear, focused, and can determine between truth and illusion. We are open to receiving wisdom and insight.
The lesson of this chakra is to see the big picture.
7th or Crown Chakra
Located at the top of the head.
Physical imbalance include depression, inability to learn, sensitivity to light, sound, environment.
Emotional imbalances include issues with self-knowledge and greater power. Imbalances arise from rigid thoughts on religion and spirituality, constant confusion, carry prejudices, “analysis paralysis.” Fear of alienation.
When this chakra is balanced, we live in the present moment. We have an unshakeable trust in our inner guidance.
The lesson of this chakra is live mindfully.
After reading this, you (like me) may feel that more than one chakra is imbalanced or blocked. This is because when one is blocked, the other chakras begin to compensate and either become overactive or under-active.
The best way to start balancing them is to start at the root chakra and work your way up to the crown chakra. Start here for 6 Simple Ways to Balance Your Root Chakra.

Wordless Wednesday #1


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Lulu's Library #1

Lulu's Library, offering you reviews, descriptions, and thoughts on children's literature:

The Curious Garden by Peter Brown

One of my son's favorite things about this book is that he and the lead character have the same name. That being said, this is a beautiful book with winsome illustrations by the author about a boy who lives in a concrete-and-brick city where people rarely go outside. Liam likes to, though, and on his many ramblings he discovers a mysterious staircase. And at the top of that staircase Liam finds a garden as curious about the city as he is...and they live happily ever after.

A World of Food by Carl Warner

My sister, who is a chef and baker, found this book, performed a happy dance in the bookstore, and gave it to my boy for his birthday. I believe there are other titles in this collection, and I really should look them up because we read this book at least 4 times a week. Aside from gorgeous photos of amazingly arranged food landscapes, the story is written in rhyme, each landscape focused on color. And at the end, Carl Warner reminds children how amazing it is to live in a world of many colors, foods, and tastes. On our first grocery shopping trip after reading this book, my Liam was so interested in everything, pointing out new-to-him fruits and veggies, and even asking about nutrition.

Puff the Magic Dragon by Peter Yarrow ; Illustrated by Eric Puybaret


I must admit, this story/song is not a favorite of mine. Eric Puybaret's illustrations are beautiful, though, and Liam and I had a good time looking over each page and pointing out the things we liked. (I particularly liked the dolphins in their striped pajamas.) Our copy came with a cd, performed by Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul, and Mary; some libraries my have this particular copy, but if not, the pictures are worth checking out.

My favorite month is coming...


so I give you a Hades-esque poem. Oooo...creepy. 
 
The  Curse by Nicole Kapise Perkins

Malicious, Persephone’s gaze
on my soul,
watching as I wander
warm, free, 
eating honeyed winds
and pomegranate clouds.

Eurydice sings a wailed curse
and I walk backward,
never looking behind.

Naked, I swim the Styx,
my hunger Charon’s lust.
No coin in my mouth,
my payment made in Flesh, 
the white heat of love
                        lived in Death’s embrace.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Ellie's Kitchen: Easy Baked Pumpkin Donuts!

Gleefully borrowed form the geniuses at Passion for Savings:

  Pumpkin Donuts Recipe with Powdered Sugar!

Pumpkin Donuts Recipe

This Pumpkin Donuts Recipe with Powdered Sugar is an easy Pumpkin Recipe for Fall and Winter!
Christmas, Thanksgiving and Holiday Desserts will be so much better with this Pumpkin Donuts Recipe! Super easy to make and your whole family will enjoy this new holiday tradition! Keep in mind that you can add 1/2 tsp. of Cinnamon to the batter if you would like more of a Pumpkin Spice taste but my kids loved these with just the powdered sugar! Be sure to check out even more Thanksgiving Recipes with some of my favorite pumpkin and caramel desserts!
Pumpkin Donuts from Cake Mix

Pumpkin Donuts Recipe

Pumpkin Donuts Easy RecipeIngredients:
1 Box of Yellow Cake Mix
1 Can of Libby’s Canned Pumpkin
1 Cup of Powdered Sugar
Pumpkin Powdered Sugar DonutsDirections:
Combine Cake Mix and Canned Pumpkin in a bowl and stir until well mixed.
Place batter in a Pastry Bag and cut off the end so you have about a 1/2″ opening.
Pipe batter into a Baked Cake Donut Pan.
Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes at 400 Degrees.
Place Hot Donuts in a Paper Bag filled with the Powdered Sugar and shake well until donuts are coated.
Pumpkin Donuts Recipe with Powdered Sugar
Note: You can add 1/2 tsp. of Cinnamon to the batter if you would like more of a Pumpkin Spice taste but my kids loved these with just the powdered sugar!


Pumpkin Donuts There are super simple and quick and easy to make. Throw these together for any fall party or special Holiday party or occasion! Your friends will love this pumpkin recipes and easy dessert! Plus, be sure to pick up a Mini Donut Pan like I used to make these fun treats for kids!
Pumpkin Spice Chai Tea
Plus, be sure to check out this Pumpkin Spice Chai Tea Recipe! This is a great fall drink recipe and a homemade treat you can make for any occasion!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Changes...

   There have been some changes here in Ellie's home, and some of these will directly affect my little blog-- in a positive way, I assure you. First and foremost, having become burned-out, disgruntled and despairing, I finally flipped my lid and quit my job. There shall be no more "40-hours-a-week-scrambling-to-find-childcare-living-in-near-squalor-because-I'm-too-tired-to-do-anything-except-order-take-out" avoidance and excuses for not writing. (And as an aside, take-out didn't happen all that much. Finding the phone amid dishes, laundry to be folded, overdue books and scattered mail was too difficult. My boys have been eating cereal for dinner. I really have sunk that low.)
   The second big lifestyle change here @ Home was my little one beginning school. He oh-so-proudly marched off to kindergarten last week with his head held high and a firm grip on my hand. In honor of his new 'growner-up' stage and in support of children's literacy (the foundation of all learning), readers will now find features from 'Lulu's Library': reviews of books my little guy and his grown-ups are reading. My husband and I read to our son each night, sometimes a book or two (or 7), and sometimes a chapter in a children's novel we're working through. (Currently Josh and his Mini-Me are reading Tony DiTerlizzi's The Search for Wondla. These reviews (named in honor of a Louisa May Alcott collection: there's some trivia you can toss out at your next party) will come regularly-- I won't say daily, just to be safe-- but it's much easier to give a thoughtful review on a 28 page children's book than it is on the behemoths I've been known to read.
   And speaking of...under the title 'Library Loot' you will be subjected to the labyrinthine lanes of my literary leisure, from fiction to fact to flat-out fantasy. (Isn't my alliteration amazing??) While I am going to put some effort into reading only one book at a time, I am currently reading three, and you will hear about those soon.
   'Ellie's Kitchen' will focus on all things food, as I will resume feeding my family. (And for those of you who are overworked and overwhelmed and treat yourself to cereal for dinner once or twice a month, or even once a week, please don't think I look down on you. I love me a bowl of Rice Krispies anytime. But my sons had cereal for dinner four times last week. I have never been so ashamed of myself. And in defense of my husband: I get home from work at least three hours before he does, which is why I cook dinner 90% of the time. Otherwise, the boys would have been better fed. Poor boys.)
   Finally, I have made mention several times of being a Reiki Master without actually doing anything about it. Under the post title 'Myddfai Reiki,' the name of my business and FB page for said business (https://www.facebook.com/myddfaireiki ), you will receive background and information on this wonderful healing technique, acupressure, EFT Tapping, meditation, the Akashic Records and other health and wellness tidbits. I will not advertise my business...the FB link is for you to take a look at what's there if you are so inclined, because I have linked to many wonderful health and wellness sites via FB, and am happy to share the wealth. And I won't inundate you with health updates. However, this is a lifestyle blog of sorts, my lifestyle, so I'm going to share things I'm loving, things I'm learning, and things I'm loathing, such as the fact that I need to wash the curtains soon. You'll see all of this though (well, not the curtain washing-- I'll spare you that particular drudgery) and more, such as 'Wordless Wednesday': a weekly photo update idea from http://www.5minutesformom.com, in which all that one posts is a photo or two. I'm liking the idea. Could be fun. Could be inspiring. Could turn out to be a bust. We'll see. Also, Tackle-It Tuesday: exactly what it sounds like, tackling and conquering those tasks that just keep laying around (why can't the bills and receipts sort them selves??) as opposed to actual housework. I'll start small.You can start small with me. There will also be poetry and short stories here and there, as I'm still chasing down a writing career. Words are my stock-in-trade, after all.
   And to be completely up-front, I haven't stopped working entirely. I'll be picking up per diem hours in a healthcare facility I worked in previously, so I'll have plenty of craft ideas to share as well. Such is the exciting existence of the Activity Assistant.
   So, dear readers, thank you for sticking around even when my updates became sporadic, then non-existent. If it weren't for you, I'd just be a frustrated, teary-eyed wanna-be writer pointlessly spending too much time in front of a computer pouring back can after can of Coke. Because of you, it's worthwhile, and I'm drinking pots of tea instead. Thanks for being you, and for encouraging me to be me!

Upcoming posts:

Library Loot:  Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her by Melanie Rehak

Lulu's Library: The Curious Garden by Peter Brown
                         A World of Food: Discover Magical Lands Made of Things You Can Eat! 
                                             by Carl Warner

Ellie's Kitchen: Soup Makes the Meal by Ken Haedrich

Thursday, September 10, 2015

September 9-15 is Suicide Prevention Week

Tell your loved ones you love them, tell your friends you care, and tell all of them that you are there for them. Love saves lives.



Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Sappho: a Poem



Feeling nostalgic tonight, caught up in decisions and planning. Digging through files, trying to clear up some memory, I came across this poem, written in my college days. My inspiration was less Sappho's work, and more that only fragments of her work remain. And so, fragmented:




--an idea, a feeling.

Love.

Sappho’s words,
two thousand years of desire, need.

Love,
still blossoming, honey-sweet,
heavy on the tongue,
flowing through the heart.

A diffused glow,
alabaster skin glows golden rose--
 
release, fulfillment.

Love’s flavor a dream
filling the mouth:

taste of it on lips weary with regret-- 

savoring the ideal.