The winter holiday season has arrived and many of us are thinking about gift-giving, which for folks who like to use their hands, means that the season of gift-making has begun. In my humble opinion, hand making gifts is, hands down, much more satisfying than shopping for gifts at the mall or online. If you’d like to give a handmade gift this season, there are two fun and interesting crafting options being offered by DBRL for you to try: basket weaving and needle felting with wool. Both are tactility and visually pleasing activities and if approached with a relaxed attitude (no hurrying yourself), then you might find the repetitive nature of this work to be a soothing agent to any holiday stress you’ve accumulated.
First up: basket weaving (or basket making, if you prefer). Everyone knows what a basket is, right? It’s a vessel or container, created by weaving pliable materials together. Probably every single one of us has at least one basket in our house, but most likely several or many of various shapes and sizes, used for storing something like dinner napkins, or for serving bread at the dining table. Baskets are a form of functional art and have lent beauty to the rituals of daily living for thousands of years. This ancient craft, dating back to at least as early as 12,000 years ago, can be done utilizing traditional materials (i.e. vines, grasses, pine needles, reeds, etc.) or using less conventional materials, like paper strips or wire. I’m intrigued by the idea of upcycling materials, such as worn out clothing, to fashion a basket, thereby making functional art from something that would otherwise end up in the landfill. If you’d like to weave a basket, come by Southern Boone County Public Library on Saturday, December 8, from 1-3 p.m. Materials will be provided. Continue reading “Winter Holiday Season Handcrafting Opportunities!”
We all have seasonal dishes that we relish and return to year after year as our favorite ingredients become available. There is nothing wrong with loving our preferences and repeating our efforts in the kitchen, especially since established traditions, particularly around food, bring us enjoyment and comfort, and lend some stability to our ever fluctuating lives. Yet, trying new recipes, or variations on tried and true renditions, can liven up our creative cooking sensibilitiesand invigorate our palates. I’ve whipped up this list of cookbooks, arranged by seasons of the year, for your perusal. Many of them contain exquisite photographs of the seasons’ best bounty to further engage your interest in preparing what lies within, whether for daily fare or for holiday gatherings. Take a look at their “autumn or fall” chapters to see what new recipes might interest you. I hope you discover some new favorites that you can add to your fall cooking repertoire. Bon appetit! Continue reading “Autumn Recipes Round-up”
Countless numbers of people suffer with illness, some acutely, some chronically, some with mild, non-debilitating symptoms and some with devastating symptoms that severely impact their ability to lead normal lives. Often we aren’t aware of it because they don’t appear to be sick — they have “invisible” illnesses.
At the same time, many suffering with invisible illness are “missing,” because they are incapacitated to the point of being home bound or bedridden. They may be able to engage in life to a certain extent, but the quality of their lives is significantly altered by not being able to participate fully. For instance, taking care of basic necessities may be possible, but then there is no energy left for things that bring joy, connection or build community. Continue reading “May 12: CIND International Awareness Day”
Some things you can’t plan for and some things you can, even if they are awful and you don’t want to think about them. It seems to me that properly preparing for the aftermath of a catastrophic natural disaster would be about as much fun as was preparing my last will and testament (that process was like having dental work done without novocaine). It wasn’t pleasant to consider my inevitable demise, imagine all the goodbyes I’d hope to say and decide how best to settle my estate and do all the necessary data gathering and paperwork to complete it. The sense of relief I gained from taking care of this important task, however, was a good thing to feel, indeed. Continue reading “Get Ready! Disaster Preparedness”
Here we are in mid-December with the winter holiday season fast approaching. But while most plants and animals bed down for a long winter’s nap, we humans are ramping up. In fact many of us continue on at an unrelenting pace rather than slowing down, turning inward and using this season to rest and restore ourselves (I’m guilty, too!). Surely this behavior contributes yet another layer of strife to a season that is typically full of stressors. So, whether we enjoy and welcome this time of year or not, most of us will eventually deal with some tensions, anxiety and/or depression.
There are many constructive ways to manage and reduce stress. One of my favorites is yoga. Simply defined, yoga is an ancient Hindu spiritual practice that combines physical postures, breathing techniques and meditation as a means to spiritual attainment and physical and emotional good health. It may not be the right option for everyone, but many people, me included, appreciate the positive benefits of yoga, particularly for managing life’s difficulties and promoting a sense of ease and well-being. Continue reading “De-Stress With Yoga”
Whether you have your own garden’s harvest or produce hauled home from a farmers market to preserve, the satisfaction of putting food by for later consumption is identical. A colorful cache of stored summer and fall bounty to choose from in the bleak gray of winter is a reassuring and splendid thing indeed. Continue reading “Put Your Harvest on a Shelf”
The autumnal equinox marks the debut of the autumn (or fall, if you prefer) season. This astronomical event occurs quietly and without much fanfare in the sky (unlike the total solar eclipse back in August!). But at this moment, the “solar terminator” (the ring circling the earth, where day meets night), is perpendicular to the planet as it crosses the equator, thus illuminating the northern and southern hemispheres in equal amounts. In other words, on the equinox, the day and night periods are of roughly equal duration (12 hours). After the equinox, daylight hours in the northern hemisphere continue to decrease until the winter solstice — the shortest day and longest night of the year, after which the days begin to lengthen once again.
This year the equinox is on Friday, September 22 at 3:02 PM, Central Time. But even in the ebbing summer heat of early September, portends of autumn’s pending entrance are evident. We see the sun set noticeably earlier and find spent garden plants to uproot and pitch in the compost heap. Black walnuts fall with a thud, littering the ground and perfuming the air with their acrid, peppery aroma. And if you feed hummingbirds, you see them fattening up (like little Vienna sausages!) with frequent trips to the nectar dispenser, in preparation for their arduous, their non-stop flight across the Gulf of Mexico, to winter quarters. Continue reading “Autumn’s Equinox”
It is now mid-August, which to me, is the reverse equivalent of mid-February. Rather than being done in by the dark and cold, the wicked heat and humidity is taking its toll on me. Do summer dog days have you down and dragging around, too? What are your remedies? Continue reading “Ice Cream Sandwiches to the Rescue!”
July 28 is the birthday of Beatrix Potter (July 28, 1866–December 22, 1943), author and illustrator of the famous and beloved “The Tale of Peter Rabbit.” Who doesn’t love this fanciful story about a disobedient bunny who miraculously survives his misadventures in Mr. McGregor’s garden?
I enjoyed reading “The Tale of Peter Rabbit” aloud countless times to my more-than-receptive boys in their early years. The actual book, from my own childhood collection (pictured above), now rests in its place on the book shelf in my younger son’s room waiting to see if it will find its way into the hands of a new generation.
When my older son was four, I snapped up an audio version of the book at a garage sale. As I played the old, scratchy LP he sat enthralled. But when the narrator came to the part where Peter is being chased by a rake-waving Mr. McGregor, my son was so terrified at the fate of the little rabbit, he ran and hid behind the living room curtains (just as Peter was scrambling to hide in the tool shed). Such was Potter’s ability to render a vividly dramatic scene with words! Continue reading “Beatrix Potter: Wonder Woman”
I’ve eschewed commercial soda most of my adult life, and in my growing-up years this product wasn’t on my mother’s grocery shopping list. Rather, my mother allowed my sisters and me to have an occasional “treat” soda (7-UP was my preference) when we ate out at a restaurant, which wasn’t very often. Perhaps her protocol didn’t allow me to develop much of a taste for soda, and I don’t recall feeling deprived from the lack of it. Knowing what I know now about the ill health effects of drinking soda, I’m glad my mother offered us mostly water, orange juice or milk to drink at home.
Maybe you already know commercial soda (both regular and diet versions) is loaded with sugar and/or other artificial ingredients linked to a long list of deleterious health effects. If not, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but better to be informed so you can consider your choices. Here is a little parade of health conditions linked to soda consumption: obesity, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer, asthma, tooth decay and osteoporosis, among other health impacts. Apparently it doesn’t take much to harm your health; drinking just one can of soda a day can increase risk of stroke by 16%. And since soda is consumed amply by many in the U.S., this data is rather alarming. These two books, backed with substantial scientific research, clearly illuminate the health dangers of soda consumption: “Soda Politics” by Marion Nestle and “Killer Colas” by Nancy Appleton and G.N. Jacobs. Continue reading “Kick Commercial Soda in F(l)avor of Healthier, Homemade, Thirst-quenching Summer Soft Drinks”