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I truly enjoy hearing from you. Please do leave a comment or pop over to Facebook and chime in on the conversation–there’s always conversation!

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Helpful, Interesting, Laugh Out Loud Funny Things

The ever-incredible Internet has, yet again, offered a wide variety of good reads to me lately. I hope you’ll take a look at a few of these and let me know what you think here in the comments or over on Facebook—for I do enjoy chatting with you!

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* ‘I hate C. It’s definitively the worst number.’ –this conversation between a  Mom and her 4 year old cracked.me.up. Must read.

* ’Social Media is killing books? I’m not buying it.’ – a great article about how a book lover (like me) enjoys her reading time.  ‘I’m not wasting my time. I’m not being lazy. I’m tending my soul.’ << her quote, but I know I’ve said the same thing in so many words so many times.

* The Difference Between a Sensory Sensitivity and Disliking Something –all too often folks without sensory issues (or unacknowledged ones) blame sensory issues on simple refusal…this article written by one affected by sensory sensitivities does a good job explaining the difference.

*’Those veggies and meat cuts look vaguely familiar, but you have no functional memory of how one takes raw ingredients and combines them into a dish…’ – 5 ways to get back into the meal planning groove. I needed this nudge, for while I’m all about the eating, I have been sooo lacking in the get-it-together-and-cook-it department lately.

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**Extra! Extra!**

Round-Up: Five Things to Help Better Your World 

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Wanted: A Fresh Hobby

 

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Lately I’ve been a part of several different conversations in which the desire to seek out a new hobby was mentioned but the person in question had no clue about where to start. Being that I have a list at least mile long of things I want to do, this isn’t a problem I’ve ever encountered, but their questing made me ponder…where do you start when seeking out a new hobby?

I think the first thing to do is to ask yourself this question:

If you could do anything at all as a hobby, what would it be? If time and money were no object, what would you pursue? 

On one hand, that question seems like a moot point, because clearly time and money are a consideration for most of us–but the idea is to first just brainstorm and think about what you’d truly enjoy, then find a way to enjoy it on an affordable scale.

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For example, if you’d love to travel to faraway places and take incredible pictures but circumstances prevent you from doing so, you can still indulge that dream by learning to take incredible pictures from right where you are. All you need is some kind of camera—even a smart phone camera–and you’ve got a new hobby. There are thirteen bazillion free websites that give all sorts of photography tips, local clubs, library resources and—most of all—experimenting is free.

Also, you can enjoy the planning part of an affordable, exciting trip to be taken when you have the time and money to do so. I’ve known folks with the hobby of planning trips they might or might not take, but the details of learning about it and planning it are a fun pastime for them, especially with the Internet and how we can virtually visit places so easily.

Another question to ask yourself is: Do you want your hobby to be physically active, relaxing or mentally stimulating?

Folks seek out new hobbies for a variety of reasons. Perhaps you now have more time—the kids need you less, the new job is less demanding, you’re making sure to take time for yourself. Maybe you’re seeking a physical activity to free your mind yet occupy your body or reduce stress/worry/pain. Are you looking to learn something new, stimulate your brain? Is relaxation your goal?

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Consider what your goal is in seeking a new hobby and that will help you decide. Maybe it’s taking up a new sport or a making list of books set in Ireland to read through. If you want to start a collection of something—of first edition books or Indian artifacts–or pursue a 5K goal, you can do these things on your own, with a partner or you can connect with folks from all over via websites and forums as well as local clubs.

The point is to choose a hobby that will bring you joy as well as fill your time. Don’t over think it, pick something that sounds fun and stimulating and give it a try. The possibilities really are endless.

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Do you have a favorite hobby? Have you started a new one lately—or are you thinking about doing so? I’d love to hear about it here in the comments or over on Facebook :)

 

 

 

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Summertime Reading

What Are YOU Learning? 

 

The Kids Are Alright: Reading

Let’s talk about kids and reading. In conversations I have about kids and reading, there are three questions that come up every time.

How do I raise a reader?
What about technology—isn’t it hampering reading?
What if my child hates to read?

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Raising Readers

There are a zimbobazillion (say that out loud, it’s fun) and six theories out there on how to raise a reader. Having raised two avid readers, I’m here to tell you that raising a reader is not complicated.

 

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If your family lives a well-read life full of reading and language, your children will be readers. (This is where you might have consider your definition of ‘reader’–which we’ll talk about sometime.)

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It’s simple-kids these days are digital natives, the digital world is their world. By the time a child has the fine motor skills and the cognitive ability to find his way around digital devices, he’s ready to use them.

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Don’t shy away from technology, but instead help your child to find what works best. If paper books are preferred, no worries—paper books it is. If digital versions are preferred, no worries—there are many options for reading on gadgets. Most kids will use both to some degree. Research and experiment with your kiddo to find what works.

‘I Hate Reading!’

In a previous post I’ve talked about what you can do if your child doesn’t like to read and even declares that he hates reading—rather than repeat it here, I’ll just link and you can check it out. Take heart, all is not lost when a child is frustrated with reading.

All of this to say…the kids are gonna be alright :)

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**I love to hear from you, so please do leave a comment or pop over to Facebook and chime in on the conversation–there’s always conversation!**

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Kitchen Ponderings…

The other day I was in my sunlit, cozy kitchen (what is with this cold weather we’ve been subjected to in nearly mid-April??) cooking up comfort food in the form of chicken n dumplin’ casserole (The recipe will magically appear after you’ve read this post)  :D

As so often happens throughout my day, my mind wandered to an article I’d read recently— about habits. Whilst perched on m’stool in front of the table, chopping fragrant cooked chicken, I considered how we all have our particular habits and daily grooves. These things are typically comforting and familiar, entertaining and enjoyable.

This has nothing at all to do with the post, but…brownie edges!

Moving about my kitchen, I was thinking about a habit of mine, how I enjoy it and how it’s often one of the first things I do each morning. (Hey! Quit being nosy, what it is specifically doesn’t matter.) I had a revelation amid stirring the roux for the cream of chicken mixture—letting it bubble up just so, whisking and whisking. I realized that even though I thought I was enjoying the habit in question, it has often been leaving me feeling irritable and uptight—like I’ve wasted my time. I asked myself what benefit was I gaining? As my casserole filled the kitchen with savory smells, I sat down and made a few notes with my favorite red pen.

With no small amount of effort, a lot of pondering and scribbling notes over the following days, I slowly but surely set a new groove–with a mix of old faithful habits and fresh new habits–that not only makes me happy during and leaves me feeling good after, but gets me closer to not just one, but several personal goals.

Do you have something that you keep on doing out of habit despite negative feelings it leaves you? What will you gain if you replace that habit with something else? More time to focus on something you truly enjoy doing? More time with the kids/spouse/friend?

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Chicken n Dumplin Casserole Pin (for Pinterest junkies)

Chicken n Dumplin Casserole Recipe (I make my own cream of chicken mixture and leave out the bouillon and sage but otherwise pretty much follow the recipe…mostly…)

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Book Review/Suggestion: Zips Goes Wandering

Zips is a zebra…and a curious one at that!

While I don’t do formal book reviews, I do enjoy talking about books and am always happy to share titles I think you might enjoy. Zips Goes Wandering was brought to my attention recently and I agreed to share about it here.

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Told in a fun, lyrical way with whimsical illustrations, Zips Goes Wandering is a page-turner for little ones. Children will enjoy the animal friends Zips runs into along his way back to his family while also learning how wandering off from loved ones when out and about isn’t a good idea. A story such as this one is a great way to open a conversation with little ones about staying close in public places in ways they can understand and remember.

For more info about the book and the author, check out the Savannah Friends website.

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**Extra! Extra!**

**EXTRA! EXTRA! Read all about it!**

Three of my favorite authors have brand-new books! This, coupled with my fresh library stack, has me planning to read and read some more all day today—oh wait, that’s my plan everyday! :D

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Barbara O’neal  is one of those writers I enjoy so much that I buy her books just because she writes them. I look forward to each story she writes, knowing I’m going to fall in love with the characters, with their compelling and imperfect lives that include meaningful connections with family and friends. Barbara is interactive and fun to chat with on Facebook, always talking about something interesting in daily life. An interesting person makes for interesting stories, in my opinion. Her latest release The All You Can Dream Buffet promises to be an exceptional story and I cannot wait to read it!3DAllYouCanDream-216x300

Fallen Beauty is another new release I’m excited about. I read Erika Robuck’s Hemingway’s Girl awhile back and really liked it. I’ve read a lot about Hemingway in the past, being a fan of sorts, and this Hemingway-inspired book was a beautiful read. Fiction, yet clearly something that could likely happen in Hemingway’s world. I’m looking forward to reading Fallen Beauty, about the poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, and expecting an intriguing story that sets my imagination aflame.

Last, but far from least, I’m eagerly anticipating reading The Moon Sisters by Therese Walsh. Therese is active in social media, connecting with her fans, thus bringing us to care about her and about her stories. The Moon Sisters has been compelling me since I first heard about it—I can’t wait to get a copy!

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Are you reading any new releases you’ve been waiting for? Do tell me about them–in the comments here or join the conversation over on Facebook–I love to hear from you!

You know where to find me, my friends>>> right over there in my sunny spot, book/phone with Kindle app in hand.

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