Category Archives: apples

Art, Environment and Health News

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“I loved the title for this short entry in the “Natural Awakenings”

magazine: “Looking at Beautiful Art Bumps Up Brain Activity.”

At Japan’s Oita University there were outstanding research results

and I will share them with you. Another part of this article will give

you some natural choices to replace antibiotics in fighting those

winter illnesses. While looking at locally grown foods, the pesticide

levels are less in those choices over the ones found in stores. Also,

an interesting find that I came across had two ecological and ‘green’

facts to make sure we contribute to a better world.

How did they measure the increase of brain activity ? You may have

guessed that in the Japanese study of MRI scans, (which are magnetic

resonance imaging screenings) were the source for the scientific

results found in this research study.

I enjoyed the comparison of slides shown of still lifes and landscape

paintings to the actual real artwork of paintings in a museum. The

39 subjects were shown slides of art and later, presented with the

paintings. Another element they were researching was asking them

to express their feelings of the element of beauty in the  slides and

then again, what degree of beauty they felt the actual paintings were.

The most “beautiful” in the subject’s ‘eyes’ of ‘real art’ were rated

significantly higher in the pre-experimental phase over the slides of

paintings.  They called the slides of the paintings, “corresponding

photographic analogs.”

“The MRI’s showed that during the experiment, portions of the brain’s

frontal lobe, related to emotions, memory, learning and decision-making

were activated.” (November, Central Ohio; “Natural Awakenings.”)

Final significant results were that when the researchers compared the

“positive effects of aesthetic appreciation of the art paintings versus

the photographs, they noted more activity at the back of the subject’s

brain.” Which means both areas of the frontal lobes and back part of

the brain were stimulated but the back part was raised at a higher level

of activity.  The location in the back parts were in the bilateral cuneus,

which is a part of the occipital lobe and the left lingual gyrus or ridge.

This means the basic visual processing location and the visual memory,

logical ordering and dreaming areas were the most stimulated with

it being verified on the MRI’s.

When we eat foods, such as fruits and vegetables, we need to make

sure we are getting them from a ‘safe’ source. I think this is a fact we

are all aware of but the interesting facts were presented once again,

which prodded me to share this information here. Conventionally

grown foods contain pesticide residues that are 3-4 times higher in

organically grown foods. This was found in the “British Journal of

Nutrition,” where they conducted 343 research studies and published

last June. Since from the farm to the market is a continually growing

industry, it is nice to have facts that support this movement. The ones

grown on organic farms also were found to have higher levels of healthy

nutrients such as minerals, vitamins and antioxidents. Ones that are

grown with phosphorus fertilizers and not including mineral nitrogen

in their practices were found to contain higher levels of cadmium. The

study’s results confirmed this in the following statement:

“Results indicate that switching from conventional to organice crop

consumption would result in a 20-40 % increase in crop-based anti-

oxidants and polyphenolic intake levels.

The emphasis on Honey and Ginger being such healthy and natural

curative power sources even fought the drug-resistant bacteria which

have a list of long names:

“Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli (E Coli) and Klebsiella

pneumoniae.” Also known as “Super bugs.”

* Further clinical examination is needed to standardize the amounts

in these two ingredients for cold, flu and germ fighting. The research

was conducted at Ethipia’s University of Gondar College of Medicine.

I concluded, we may as well include healthy doses of honey in our

diet, along with including ginger while cooking. I love sauces where

the sweetness is balanced by the spice ginger, along with making a dark

black tea, with some ginger added for flavoring, honey for sweetening.

India’s green project to improve their environment, is focusing on the

areas along their 62,137 miles of highways. India’s Rural Development

Ministry is following their kind of “Johnny Appleseed,” America’s

noted man of  spreading apple seeds along different areas. India’s

hero is named Jadav “Molai” Payeng, an Indian man who. all by

himself, planted 1,360 acres of forest.

This project has three focuses: to help provide jobs for the rural poor

people, include youth in employment and improving the environment.

The country of India has been suffering from severe air pollution.

The World Health Organization released unfortunate statistics of India’s

youth unemployment rate being 10.2 percent and #6 on a list of World’s

Ten Worst Cities with air pollution. The Prime Minister Narenda Modi

has announced a goal of spreading electricity to every home by 2019,

which will rely largely on solar power. Other areas of health concern are

also being targeted for cleaning the Ganges and Yamuna rivers.

 

Merry Christmas news for environmentally concerned:

“The Greenest Tree” is supporing buying locally grown trees,

preferable ones that will be grown outdoors, with a close

second being ones that are cut down in tree farms that are

purposely evergreens growing for resale.

Here is the reason:

85% of artificial trees are sourced from China and often contain

toxic chemicals.

Looking at the carbon trail is also important, meaning how much

effort and use of power and resources was used to get the tree to

your home.

Temporary sidewalk or street corner tree lots may be getting trees

where pesticides are used to create the Perfect Tree. These are not

good fro homes, again, comparing this to the natural sourced trees.

Sometimes, home-grown products are just about what we put into

our body for food, but what we breathe for a month while it is in

our living areas.

According to National Geographic Green Guide, Americans actually

discard 30 million cut trees after the holidays. Oh my goodness!

The wood is ‘wasted’ in landfills.  One state that is leading a better

way to go with old Christmas trees is in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana

where they collect them to combat coastal erosion. Way to go!

Locate tree growers by state and learn how to dispose trees responsibly.

There are great places and resources to check up on facts:

http://PickYourOwnChristmasTree.org

http://GreenPromise.com

http://Tinyurl.com/65oqh9

There are detailed steps for care and planting potted trees at

http://WikiHow.com and other locations of the Tinyurl.com

website.

Do you mind letting me know if any of these facts were helpful

or ones you learned today? Also, any other Green Choices or

healthy suggestions are welcome here.

 

 

Unique December Facts

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“The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”

The good news is December has been declared Bingo Celebration

Month! I used to love it when my family would play this, with

guests. Sometimes my cousins, sometimes neighbors, we would

be out on the picnic table with our chips and our Dad would be

the one to spin the wire caged wheel and pull out the wooden

balls with the letters, “B,I,N,G” or “O.”

Did you know this is an ‘ancient’ game? It has been around since

the 1500’s.

I used to love being the “Caller” for Bingo at the Arbors Nursing Home,

while my residents were always happy to call out, “Bingo!” The young

volunteers would run over and give them their quarter. When the whole

card got filled, we would start all over again. The reward for a filled card

was one dollar bill. This was a big exciting reward to the folks who lived

there.

 

On a much more solemn note, December 16, 1944 was the day the big

“Battle of the Bulge” was carried out.

 

The Official End of WWII was on December 31, 1946.

Peace on Earth, Good will to Men.

 

Did you know every day of the month has a food item?

 

DECEMBER DAYS OF FOOD (Beverage or Other):

Dec. 1- National Pie Day.

Eat A Red Apple Day.

 

Dec. 2- National Apple Pie Day.

 

Dec. 4- National Cookie Day.

(Every day is this one for me! smiles)

 

Dec. 5- Repeal Day ~ Prohibition Day (U.S.).

National Sacher Torte Day.

(In Vienna, Austria a man named Franz Sacher created this

delicious chocolate, light cake or torte, in 1832.)

 

Dec. 6- National Gazpacho Day.

(Associated with Andalusia, part of Spain, but its roots go back

into Arab and other ancient times. Cold, savory soup, made of

raw vegetables.)

Also, National Microwave Oven Day.

(I do appreciate this electronic invention.)

 

Dec. 7- National Cotton Candy Day.

(Why is this in our winter? Is this for places who have fairs and

festivals in December?)

 

Dec. 8- National Chocolate Brownie Day.

Dec. 9- National Pastry Day.

Dec. 10- National Lager Day.

 

Dec. 11- National Noodle Ring Day.

(This is hard to find its roots, but mainly described as

a circle of noodles with a cheese incorporated into it,

attributed to Germany.)

 

Dec. 12- National Cocoa Day.

 

Dec. 13- National Ice Cream Day.

(Why, again, are we eating ice cream in the cold weather?

This must be made up by people in warmer climates.

Also, National Violins Day.

 

Dec. 14- National Bouillabaisse Day.

(I enjoy this savory, warm soup. It originated from fishing

villages in France. Marseilles may have been its first place

of origin, with three kinds of fish and Provencal seasonings.)

 

Dec. 15- National Cupcake Day.

 

**Dec. 16- National Chocolate-Covered Anything Day!!**

Woo hoo!

 

Dec. 17- National Maple Syrup Day.

(This would be the perfect day or excuse to make pancakes

or waffles!)

 

Dec. 18- National Suckling Pig Day.

(This comes from mainly Chinese cuisine, but there are some

references going back to Roman times. This is a very young

pig, which has a lot of collagen in its skin, hard to ‘crisp up,’

while it is considered a delicacy.)

 

Dec. 19- National Hard Candy.

(What is your favorite hard candy?

My Dad’s was either horehound or cinnamon drops.

Mom’s was butterscotch drops. My favorite flavor is found in

either the caramel flavored Nips or Werther’s candies.)

 

Dec. 20- National Fried Shrimp Day.

(This makes me think of Louisiana cooking with crawdads or

prawns. This would be prepared as Shrimp Creole. I enjoy

the butter sauce with garlic infusion:  Shrimp Scampi.)

 

Also on the 20th- National Sangria Day.

“Ole!”

(You probably already know this is my Mom’s favorite wine

to sip on at bedtime, using a small juice glass. I have a

Spanish toast on another post…)

 

Dec. 21- National Hamburger Day.

Going from the red meat to fruit…

National Kiwi Fruit Day.

 

Dec. 22- National Date Nut Bread.

 

Dec. 23- National Pfeffernuesse Day.

(This traditional German spice cookie covered with powdered

confectioner’s sugar is one that takes me back to my Grandma’s

kitchen. It reminds me of the flavors of gingerbread cookies.)

 

Dec. 24- National Feast of the Seven Fishes.

(This comes from Italy, which celebrates the Wait or Vigil for

the Baby Jesus, by serving fish from the Mediterranean Sea.)

 

Also, National Egg Nog Day.

(I like this use of nutmeg, heavy cream and Irish whiskey or

other alcohol. Mom likes the non-alcoholic milky drink from

United Dairy Farmers.)

 

Dec. 25- National Pumpkin Pie Day.

(Just in case you didn’t get enough of this holiday pie at

Thanksgiving.)

 

Dec. 26- National Candy Cane Day.

Dec. 27- National Fruit Cake Day.

 

Dec. 28- National Chocolate Candy Day.

(Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Easter also celebrate

this national holiday- just being ‘facetious.’)

 

Dec. 29- National Pepper Pot Soup Day.

(There are recipes for this Jamaican cuisine along

with one from Philadelphia.)

 

Dec. 30- National Bicarbonate of Soda Day,

(Thank you for this Baking Soda Day. I like to use this

special rising ingredient in many baked goods, but can

taste it the most in homemade biscuits.)

 

Dec. 31- National Champagne Day.

(Say a toast to “Auld Lang Syne”  and Happy New Year, 2015!)

 

The research on some of these food items is not complete, but I did

look up the ones I did not know where the foods originated in. If

you would like to share a favorite family traditional food item in the

comments section, we would enjoy hearing about them. Thank you!

 

 

 

Spots Make Me Dotty

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I was looking for my favorite umbrella, which is black, with little spots all the same

size, in all kinds of colors. I loved that it had an overall bright look to it, along with

the main color of black mellowing it out. I felt dressy and fashionable with it, never

‘gaudy,’ despite its colorful polka dots of lavender, bright pink, turquoise, yellow, lime

green and orange. I retraced my steps and while doing this small town tour, popping

into the library to check its lost and found, stopping at the coffee shop on the corner,

going into the gas station, where I sometimes set my umbrella down to open one of

the refrigerator cases. Finally, going up the stairs of my apartment to ask the manager

if anyone had turned it in. I started thinking of the dozens, no more than that! Lots of

ways we use spots and dots in our everyday lives.

 

So, let me get us started. . .

When you get into a ‘jam,’ you are in a ‘spot.’  If it is a financial ‘spot’ you are in, you

may ask someone to ‘spot’ you some money. You may even ask a friend, “Can you loan

me a ‘spot’ of cash?”

 

Mom mentioned, as I was telling her about my lost spotted umbrella, over the phone,

“Stars are mere dots in the sky.”

I asked her if she remembered my old Reader book about Jane and Dick, didn’t they

have a dog named, “Spot?”

She replied, “Since Spot is one of the most common names (in the U.S.) to give a dog,

it may have been named, ‘Spot.’ I don’t remember.”

Do you?

 

It made me smile when she reminded me to tell my ‘blogging friends,’ that my brother’s

spotted Dalmatian was named, “Galaxy.”  When he wanted her to come, he would say,

“Come on, Gal.”

Wordplay is always something our family enjoys.

 

The children’s animated film, “101 Dalmatians” really had a lot of ‘spots’ in it.

Do you like spots on dogs?

 

Did you ever see ‘spots?’ Did this experience cause you to faint?

 

Many times, when thinking about food, you may imagine spots to be ‘bad,’ as when a

banana has ‘brown spots’ or an apple has ‘soft spots.’ Those darn mushy fruits make you

dislike ‘spots.’ I have a ‘soft spot’ for pineapple, which while choosing it, you do wish

the outer layer of green with brown triangles, to ‘give’ a little, showing it to be soft and

sweet inside, along with being ripe.

 

When I think of a positive way of thinking about ‘spots’ I change it to ‘dots’ and I do like

those chewy candy “Dots.” I also like the dark chocolate saucer-shaped candy with white

sprinkles on them which are called, “Nonpareils.” I used to buy a strip of white paper with

different pastel colored ‘spots’ or dots, made of sugar for pennies.

 

When I think of an ice cream with spots,

I think of chocolate chips or nuts sprinkled on it. One of my youngest daughter’s favorite

ice creams is Graeter’s Raspberry Chocolate Chip ice cream. My younger brother, Rich, just

tried and enjoyed “Blue Moo Cookie Dough Ice Cream” at UDF.  “Spots” placed on vanilla

ice cream in a cone become “eyes” in some children’s minds. Have you ever eaten

an ice cream cone with “eyes” on it? I used to order these for my children at Friendly’s

and also, our local Dairy Depot or Dairy Point with my ‘grandies.’

 

My favorite dress of all time, was one my Mom hand sewed. With its fabric being

called, Dotted Swiss, it was a light peach color. Those white soft, tufted spots

made me feel quite happy wearing and looking at it. The texture was one which

enticed me to smooth it down, running my hand across the surface, while sitting

in church.

 

When you have a ‘blemished record,’ you may have a spotty record.

(But you also could have a ‘checkered’ past.)

 

The positive thing about having those raised acne ‘spots’ or ‘zits’ as a teenager is,

you may have nice moist skin now, which appears young for your age.

 

Another set of ‘spots’ on your face, while we were growing up, would cause some

alarm, since it could be measles.

 

“X” marks the Spot, which is what is one of the best parts of a Treasure Map.

Have you played this with your children or grandchildren?

 

While driving in your car, you need to remember to check your blind ‘spots.’

 

Other ‘down’ sides of spots are when you have used the wrong dishwasher

detergent and your beautiful pieces crystal has ‘spots’ on them. The labels

to almost all of these products claim to produce “Spot-Free” dishes, silverware

and glasses.

 

In games, spots are often featured. There are ‘spots’ of white on black Dominoes.

The double colored spots in Candy Land, mean you get to travel past two of those

colored spots. You must beware, there is a sticky spot on the game board, too.

 

The saying, “Leopards never change their spots,” generally means that people

are also not likely to change.

 

In Art,  a technique of painting spots or dots next to each other, making it look

from a distance like they are connected is called, “Pointillism.” George Seurat made

this a famous way of painting, along with  Paul Signac. (Late nineteenth century.)

The style of making spots on canvas is a branch off the larger art category or genre

labeled,  “Impressionism.” When I was teaching Language Arts in middle school,

there was a fantastic, creative art teacher who connected art with music. She played

the Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, where it goes “Da da da daaah!” Those pounding

notes on the piano, brought the children to make dabbing splashes of spots on

their paper in art class to create their own pointillism examples. I enjoyed hanging

these up along the hallway, leading up tomy class for parents’ Open House Night.

These turned out awesome, as was the period she had paired sunflowers of Van Gogh

with the music of Electric Light Orchestra.

 

You may get into some ‘tight spots.’

Hope they are as fun as getting into a crowded VW or an old phone booth with your

boy or girlfriend.

 

Freckles look like the cutest ‘spots’ ever on the faces of red-haired children.

 

Young animals often have faint spots, like the robin on the white feathers under

the beak. The fawn, like Bambi, has white soft spots on their coats.

 

In England, at a British tea party, you might hear someone ask you,

“Would you like a ‘spot’ of tea?”

 

When you think of Lawrence Welk, do you think of polka dots?

 

When someone cooks a great country dinner with all the fixings,

you may exclaim, “This dinner really hit the ‘spot!'”

 

On a stage, there are certain “spots” that actors stand on, so the

lime lights will light them, while they deliver their lines. A director

may yell, ‘Everyone get on their spots!”

 

In marching band, you march to create patterns and it is very important

to ‘stay in formation.’ The band director may also yell, “Everyone get on

your spots.”

 

When I think of iconic “spots” I think of Lucy with a black and white

spotted skirt and Minnie Mouse, with her red and white spotted skirt.

 

When you think of a sore “spot,” you may picture your muscles or a canker

sore on your mouth. But, you also may think that someone talking about

a particular subject is rubbing a ‘sore’ or ‘touchy’ spot.

 

 

 

The Ink Spots may entertain you with one or all of these

songs:

“If I Didn’t Care”

“I Don’t Want to Set the World on Fire”

“I’m Making Believe” (with Ella Fitzgerald)

“Into Each Life, Some Rain Must Fall” (with Ella Fitzgerald)

“The Gypsy” their # 1 song.

By the way, they were inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of

Fame in 1989.

 

What tight or tough “spots” have you been in during your life?

For fun, what is a spot you like to head to on vacation?

Or please give us another example of the word, “spot.”

 

Finally, did I make you slightly ‘dotty’ over the usage of the word, “spot?”

Would you mind sharing about the bright “spots” in your life?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aside

These four simple quotes are meant to bring you some bright thoughts along with

your daily walk in life. Finding meaning in any one of these will make me feel good,

passing on some gems I found.

Please let me know what is bringing you special smiles around where you live lately.

 

~* There are 1440 minutes in  a day. Remember to use them wisely. *~

 

~* “How beautiful the leaves grow old. How full of light and color are their last days.” *~

(John Burroughs)

 

~* “Every leaf speaks bliss to me,

fluttering from the autumn tree.” *~

(Emily Bronte)

 

~* “Winter is an etching.

~* Spring a watercolor.

~* Summer an oil painting.

~* Autumn a mosaic of them all.” *~

(Stanley Horowitz)

 

This just reminds me of James Taylor’s song that begins with those memorable lyrics:

“Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall,

All you have to do is call. . .”

“You’ve Got A Friend.”

 

Simplicity While Seasons Change

Just Smile

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How do some people smile all the time, while carrying worries, concerns and other

challenges in their daily lives? This information will fill an aisle of books, in a large

bookstore and possibly be the sole purpose in some blogs and television shows. What

new ways can get your ‘groove’ back? I am not sure if any of these are particularly

“new,” but I am as sure as the “sun will come up tomorrow,” some of these may bring

you a new ‘lease on life!’ (Yes, “Annie,” the musical play and movie, does remind us

that it is a “hard knocks’ life,” along with how we should try to face every new day.)

 

Suggestions for getting happy feelings started in your mind, also getting your energy

revived and other ways for getting out of your funk will be found here. If I were a

speaker, I may try a joke:

 

“There was an elderly man who wanted his younger wife to become pregnant. It was

something she desired also. He went to his family doctor asking for him to suggest

ways of making this result come about. The doctor suggested going to a fertility expert,

so the man set up another appointment. He went on his own, since his athletic wife was

busy taking her tennis lessons.

The specialist’s receptionist gave him a specimen cup to take home and bring back the

next day. She explained what he needed to do to fill it, along with telling him to put it in

the refrigerator overnight. This would get the ‘ball rolling.’ No other way to find out what

level his sperm count would be until he brought this back.

The excited man left the office, with a little more pep in his step.

The patient came back with an empty specimen cup. The receptionist could see the man’s

deflated ego, his head was drooping. She did not ask him a thing,  since she could not

imagine the complications he had run into while collecting the specimen. She had the

dejected gentleman sit down, explaining to him that he must wait to see the doctor.

After reading a few magazines and the newspaper, the man was ready to leave the office,

irritated that such a simple action, which had produced children with his first wife, meant

he had to go through all this trouble again.

When he was escorted into one of the private rooms, the doctor came in and closed the

door behind him. The specialist asked when the empty specimen cup was given to him,

“What exactly was the problem?”

The frustrated man exclaimed,

“Well, I tried it with my right hand. . . nothing.

I tried it with my left hand. . . again, nothing.

So, my wife came home from her tennis lesson, she tried this with her right hand. . .

nothing!

She decided to try her left hand. . .same results.

Then, she used her mouth. . . nothing!”

The doctor stopped this, since he was really shocked at the lack of response from

any of these practices.

The impatient man nearly shouted,

“Wait, doctor, I have to tell you more!”

The fertility specialist paused and said, “Proceed.”

“Well, we were desperate! I ended up asking my wife to invite our neighbor over,

since she is her best friend. . .”

The doctor incredulous interrupted,

“Wait a minute, did you say your wife’s friend tried this, too?”

The man exasperatingly sat down, saying in a low voice,

“Yeah, and we still couldn’t get the lid off the freaking specimen cup!”

 

Here are a few “Prevention Magazine” suggestions for ‘tapping your

inner peace and bringing some joy into your life.

 

1. “Do something called, “the ho’oponopono.”

This is a source of Hawaiian calm and doesn’t mean you need to drink

some Mai-Tai’s or dance at a luau. It is simply repeating these words

in a chant, which helps spread some warmth into your life. Murmuring

the “ho’oponopono” mantra is all about forgiveness. You, your family,

your enemy and the ones who have made your stomach get in a knot.

It means literally, “I’m sorry, please forgive me, I love you, thank you.”

By saying this in a low, quiet way, you will ease your anger, untighten

your thoughts and body, along with lowering your blood pressure.

“Try this, you may like it!”

(Source, “The Hormone Cure,” by Sara Gottfried, M.D.)

 

2. “Spritz a scent.”

There are essential oils which can bring you vitality, exuberance,

evoke special memories. Go to your favorite natural products store

and sniff testers until you find a couple of them which give you that

“Ah-h-h!” all over feeling. Good ones which bring many pleasant

feelings are lavender, orange, sage, and ylang-ylang. I like to head

to the Yankee Candle Company, which I know there are some who

will tell you that burning candles means there are pieces of ‘wick’

floating in the air. (My sister in law told me this before I ever read

this!) But, you can get a candle warmer, choosing your favorite scent.

In the fall, I enjoy and savor pumpkin spice, Home Sweet Home, and

country apple… I also found “Woodland Walk” at Meijer’s which has

a very different scent and it doesn’t cause me to want to eat cookies!

 

3. In 2011, a Michigan State University conducted a study of customer-

service employees. They found that ones who smiled throughout the

day, by thinking positive thoughts, reported feeling more serene overall.

I certainly would feel great if the customer service people would carry

this practice out. But I also did not see in the study, that there must

surely be a reward. By smiling; you get smiles back. This perpetuates

the positive activity. “Psychological Science,” (2013) published the results

which include smiling lowers your body’s stress response and also, can

even overcome ‘road rage,’ if one tries to smile in traffic jams!

 

4. Plant something. (If you are in warmer season now)

or Rake some leaves or clean your garden out. (If you are entering the

cooler season, where your plants need to be covered, the remains of

stems and messes need to be ‘mucked out.)

According to research done in a recent study, gardening is an even more

effective stress reliever than reading a good book! This was done in Holland.

There is also evidence microbes found in soil, may lift your mood, from an

older British study conducted in 2007. If you wish to clean your garden out,

digging in the dirt can also be a good way to greet Autumn’s weather changes,

along with feeling like you accomplished a big task. For me, I love the idea of

building a big pile of leaves, after using physical effort which does get your

endorphins going, and asking your children/grandkids/ neighbor kids or

a silly adult friend or two, to jump into the leaves with you!

 

5. Pet a cat, dog, gerbil or ?

If you don’t have a pet to take care of, it is always uplifting to go to an animal

shelter and offer to walk a dog. If you are a cat person, you are always welcome

to pet the kitties, there may be other unusual animals to see and touch, too. I

have a good friend whose two cats came from a farmer who was over-run with

cats. They are adorable calico cats, which I will be cat-sitting in just a week and

a half from now.

 

6. Offering to read to someone’s child, at the library. Volunteering for a monthly

obligation of being a classroom ‘helper’ or a ‘library aide’ are other ways to get your

spirits lifted.

 

Baking cookies is always a treat for me, along with my grandchildren. I am going to

share a company called “Martha’s Chocolate Chip Cookies.” She has 400 employees,

over 2 million dollars sales in only 12 days of being located at the Minnesota State

Fair. Wow! People want cookies!! This retired elementary school teacher may be fun

to look up and get inspired.

 

Here are two books I can guarantee you will feel are ‘guilty pleasures’ but really will

entertain you! I did not skim nor read just the book jacket for these two FUN books!

 

1. “The Widow’s Guide to Sex and Dating,” by Carole Radziwill. It is considered Popular

Fiction. The author was on the television show, “The Real Housewives of New York.” This

is a very satisfying read, one that used to be considered a ‘Beach book.’ Why does it have to

be summer-time to choose an indulgent piece of fluff, which may surprise you with some

deeper meaning, more than you would expect from a ‘real housewife!’ She was, after all,

an award-winning former journalist/reporter. Her book, “What Remains,” was critically

acclaimed, about the memoir of her marriage after her husband died of cancer in 1999.

The widow may not be based on herself, but her wry sense of humor, her simple writing

without frills, will be possibly one of the moving, insightful books you will enjoy this year.

2. “Confessions of a Counterfeit Country Farm Girl,” made me burst into laughter, each

time a new chapter started. This woman, like Carole R. above, is one who captures your

imagination and pulls your leg, getting you to picture all kinds of lively challenges in an

uprooted lifestyle. She is Susan McCorkindale, one of my friends, in my mind! Here are

some of the chapters I loved, “Days of Whining the Big Wigs,” “Get Down on the Farm,”

and the “Chick in the Mail.” The author was really running with the big wigs being the

former marketing director of both “Family Circle” and “Sports Illustrated.” Her husband’s

choice of farm living to raise their boys, involves the whole story, including learning how

to buy appropriate footwear, helping her boys to not always be the dirtiest kids, and how

to order different products, fertilizer, seeds, and of course baby chicks.

 

Eight Simple Steps to Have All Day Energy: Mini-Meals

1. Get up every day at the same time and eat something OTHER than refined carbs.

Suggestion in the August, 2014 “Prevention Magazine,”

Try some hunks of cheese, fruit and a scrambled egg.

2. When you have another hour until lunch, your cortisol levels are dipping, as is

your energy. So, go ahead and have a second cup of coffee.

3. Adding nuts to your day, will help you stay ‘full’ longer throughout the day.

Recommended only 1.5 ounces of almonds. Oh my, I hope you know how to measure

this delicious snack!

4. Lunch time.

Meat, protein if a vegan, eggs, avocado (decreases people’s appetites by as much as

40%) some fiber and vegetables. A salad with chicken, tomatoes and spring greens,

with some whole grain crackers, instead of croutons. This meal is supposed to be your

‘main’ meal of the day. You still have time to wear off the calories when you walk around

the block, catching up with your kids, friend or husband.

5. Sip water or herbal tea, (I love Bengal Tiger Tea, which is aromatic, cinnamon

and has, I believe some chicory in it.) Dehydrated people report more headaches

and dips in mood.

6. Carrots and hummus, yogurt with blueberries and a drizzle of honey, …

Suggestions for a small snack to ‘beat’ the mid-afternoon slump.

7. Dinner.

Balanced but not heavy. Your meal should not include greasy or spicy food, particularly

as we age. This can interfere with your sleep and also cause heartburn. It may also leave

you groggy in the morning.

8. A light carb-rich snack is okay, according to a new Yale review and American Journal

of Clinical Nutrition. Include a banana, milk or something that is not too heavy. I like the

idea of cookies, my favorite one is oatmeal raisin cookie. (My real favorite one is white

chocolate macadamia nut but am sure this is not allowed on this good food plan!) Often,

I go against protocol, so a small bowl of ice cream or a ‘treat’ is what will make me smile

before I go to bed at night. . . or a small goblet of wine or hard apple cider!

 

Dean Koontz quotation:

“Happiness is a choice. That sounds Pollyanna-ish, but it’s not; you can make it or not.

Readers (of Dean Koontz), over the years, say what they love about my books is that they’re

full of hope, and that’s the way I see life.

If you always dwell on what went wrong in the past it’s almost hopeless.

So, I don’t dwell.”

Check out Dean Koontz’s newest thriller: “Innocence,” at bookstores or the library.

 

 

“Raise Your Glass” to Hard Cider!

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I have eclectic drinking tastes, which include some of those malt-flavored

drinks that resemble ‘wine coolers,’ from the seventies. I have an occasional

beer, support Fatheads’ micro brews, since they help my brother’s artistry in

their logo-painted walls. I enjoy wine, savoring the layers of flavor, such as

can be found in Lake Erie wineries. I enjoy the reds like Cabernet Sauvignon,

Merlot and Pink Catawba wine made from Catawba grapes. Recently, though,

I have ‘discovered’ the Cincinnati, Ohio company of Boston Beer Co. which

produces the biggest hard cider in the U.S. I think you will recognize, even if

you are not a hard cider drinker, the name of “Angry Orchard.” Business in

the hand-crafted apple cider area of beverages is booming! From 2007 until

last year’s total sales of hand-crafted hard cider, it went from $200 million

dollar business to a tripled amount of $600 million!

The largest areas producing hard cider can be found in New York, Michigan,

Washington and Oregon. Great locations for apple orchards and to create

this hard cider, you need to be close to where they grow. A man named Peter

Moon, used to have a shop in Columbus Easton Town Center called, “Color

Your World.” He has been working on his own personal recipe for hard cider,

seeing great potential in the Central Ohio area.

Historically speaking, we may consider the American apple pie an icon for

our country, but apple cider made into hard cider came over on the Mayflower,

with those Pilgrims. We can find records of barrels of fermented apple juice

packed along with all the other necessities needed to start a community in

America. This makes sense since apples were readily available to farmers and

the Pilgrims needed to ‘brace’ themselves, so to speak, for a whole different

World! This could be considered America’s first ‘drink’ they toasted safe arrival

here…

To go even farther, this article I found discussing apples being fermented into

hard cider, it is totally possible that the signers of the Declaration of Independence

had pewter goblets of this ‘brewed’ cider.

I am happy to soon ‘ditch’ the Angry Orchard brand of hard apple cider for a new

‘brew’ made by Peter Moon who is calling his cidery, “Mad Moon Craft Cider.” You

know my fascination with the moon? This means it is ‘fate’ that I travel southward

and check out this new place he has. I need to try this!

In a recent Columbus Dispatch article, introducing this new company, it mentions there

is a humble organization and simplicity in the Mad Moon company’s headquarters.

There is a sign hanging by the office,

“Cider for the People.”

It is representative of the company’s signature. These 4 words are a ‘take off’ of a Populist

slogan and sentiments from William Henry Harrison’s 1840 Presidential campaign. W. H.

Harrison was known to be a ‘hard-cider-drinking frontiersman.’ (Sept. 12, 2004 Columbus

Dispatch article.)

When Prohibition came along in 1920. hard cider lost its’ place in the people’s popularity

of beverages to imbide in. There was moonshine and illegal brews, but when Prohibition was

repealed, beers were the most popular drink.

Today’s society is always looking for something ‘new’ to discover and try. There are many of

the population trying homemade beer and apple cider brewing, along with winemaking.

They ‘crave’ unique beverages and as hosts and hostesses, offering a variety of choices.

In Columbus, Ohio we have around 13 beer breweries, some hobbyists and home brewers

are now opening ‘cideries.’ It is just a small beginning, the tip of an iceberg of beverages and

there is an ‘open market’ for this here.

Starting at the ground level, Peter Moon, has 750 gallons of apple juice fermenting in three

of Mad Moon Craft Cider’s 10 large tanks. The labels are still in ‘rough draft’ stage of the

business. I liked the bottle’s design in the photograph accompanying the Dispatch’s article.

Apples need to be originally grown from European seeds, what is considered “old seeds.”

They are stronger flavored apples, with savory and distinct ‘tones’ to their taste. Ohio farmers

find them to not be able to resist fungi and diseases. This seems to be a concern and a ‘work

in progress.’ So far, one of the farms that is selling their apples for hard cider has been able

to recommend the strength of ‘gold rush apples.’ I can relate to this search, when I make my

homemade apple crisp I like the softer apples of Rome, Gala and have tried others, too.

In Licking County, (Ohio), there is a hard cider being sold as, “Legend Valley Cider.”

This company has 50 accounts on their ‘books,’ so far. They await the end of the apple growing

year of crops to start their second year of production.

This is a stretch of my imagination, but I think Benjamin Franklin would have been proud of

the return to apple cider fermentation. It is what Early Americans would have respected. Freedom

to consume and continuing in the independent spirit of free enterprise, too.

So,  “Raise Your Glass” to toast the return of hard cider!

(Thanks to Pink, (2010) song, “Raise Your Glass!”)

 

What are you drinking?

If you don’t like alcoholic beverages, do you like apple cider?

I sure do associate apple cider with Fall or Autumn.

September 17th is Doubly Worth Celebrating

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September 17th celebrates two special days for everyone, especially Americans.

Both of these events can be loosely based on the fruit of an apple. . .

First of all, on this historic day in 1787, our Constitution came into “fruition.”

Sometime much more recently, we have delegated a day that doctors ‘approve

of,’ while teachers are happy for their pay ‘bonus.’

I am stretching this ‘fruity’ tie a bit, aren’t I?

Today is known to as both, “Constitution Day” and “Eat An Apple Day!”

There have been some politicians from both parties making the rounds

in the news and in a wide variety of locations, celebrating the United States

Constitution.

Teachers may have planned to serve apple cider, discussing how apples are

pressed to make this delicious drink. Or maybe they had children or middle

school aged young people chopping up apples and serving them with some

caramel dip or sprinkling cinnamon on them. They may have ‘gone all out’

in their celebrations of the apple, by having some students learn how to

make pie crust. I remember as a preschool teacher, finding this to be as

good as making play dough.

Since many people get the Constitution confused with the Declaration of

Independence, I will give you a ‘third grade’ review of this fine document.

The Constitution of the United States is the ‘supreme law’ of the land in the

U. S. of A. It is a set of rules that are enforced by the three levels of the

government. We have the Branches of the Legislative, Executive and the

Judicial levels.

The Constitution was originally written and created in September, 1787 but

did not get accepted, approved or ‘ratified,’ until June 21, 1778. In 1789, what

is called the “Bill of Rights” was added.  There are 7 articles with the #s 4, 5,

and 6th ones discussing the relationship between the States and the Federal

Government. This includes the rights and responsibilities of the now fifty

States. It discusses or defines the concept of Federalism in the articles.

Unlike other countries’ forms of Constitution, our amendments are not

inserted into the original document but are added at the end.

Here are some fun books to look up and read to children from Grades

Fourth through Eighth Grade:

“Our Constitution Rocks,” by Juliette Turner.

“We the Kids:  The Preamble to the Constitution,” by David Catrow.

“Shh! We’re Writing the Constitution,” by Jean Fritz.

 

Here are some fun songs, starting with one that is a ‘chant,’ using

arms and hand motions:

1. “Apple Tree”

“Way up high in the apple tree (Raise your hands up in the air.)

Three little apples looked down at me. (Hold up three fingers and can be dramatic

using your eyes and eyebrows lifted.)

I shook the tree (Pretend to shake your trees!) as hard as I could

Down came the apple. . .

M-m-m

M-m-m

It was good!” (You may rub your tummy to demonstrate!)

(Anonymous)

 

2. “Apple Tree”

(You may listen to this on a 4 minute ‘track’)

“Swing with me,

Underneath the apple tree.

We will swing,

We will sing,

Till the dinner bell.”

(Doesn’t it seem to need ‘ring,’ here?)

To and fro we will go,

flying to the sky.

Happily, merrily,

Up we swing,

With the birds we fly.”

(Author Unknown)

 

Now for some adult versions of songs with the name of apple

in the group or song. You will recognize most of these, which

you may be excited to know there are plenty more in a list on

the internet!

3. Doris Day’s lovely song, begins with a stanza about her true

love, Johnny leaving her and she is sitting by her lonesome:

“The apple tree

The apple tree

The apple tree,

Still sitting under the apple tree

With nobody else but me.”

 

(Why do I remember this as, “Don’t go sitting with nobody else

but me;  under the apple tree?” Memories play ‘tricks’ on me!)

 

4.  Louis Armstrong’s song, “In the Shade of the Old Apple Tree.”

 

5.  Dionne Warwick’s song, “As Long As There’s An Apple Tree.”

 

6.  The Ink Spots’ “In the Shade of the Old Apple Tree.”

 

7.  Alice Cooper’s song, “Apple Bush.”

 

8.  An American Country Music Band in 2002 was called, “Hot Apple Pie.”

 

9.  Bob Applebaum’s song, “The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From the Tree.”

(Isn’t this guy cool, has apple in his name, too!)

 

10. Jake Owens’ song, “Apple Pie Moonshine.”

 

Which is interesting, since this Friday, to ‘kick off’ our Fall weekend, I have written a post about

fermented apple cider. I really enjoy the flavor of “Angry Orchard,” hard apple cider made in

Cincinnati, Ohio. There is a new trend brewing apple cider, although the practice has been around

since the Mayflower ship brought the Pilgrims here, and even before then. . .