Thursday, May 16, 2019

In The Spotlight ~ Poetry Day From A Beautiful Youth


Hello and welcome to our Thursday segment. I know it has been a while since we've been on but we've had a lot going on around here. We'll make up for our MIA status today as we have something very special.

My children have started getting very into writing and appreciating the books they read. And my youngest has started getting into writing poetry, which is something I don't do very well so I'm so proud.

So, let's get right to it. Here is my daughter's latest poem.

I hope you all enjoy it and feel free to leave a comment (she likes comments).

Happy reading!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Roses are red, 
Violets are blue, 
Your heart is broken,
I will help you.
No matter how upset you are,
I promise I will never be far.
I love you and I don't know what I would do without you.
You mean the world to me.
I will always be by your side.
I will never leave you no matter what happens.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

In The Spotlight ~ A Review of The War That Saved My Life


Hi everyone. I know it has been awhile. We've had a lot going on around here but we're still kicking strong.

So, for today, my sweet baby mini-me, Sophie, is doing her own book review of The War That Saved My Life. I am so proud of her. She has no fear of expressing her feelings and opinions. I truly hope she aspires others to do the same. This is a post about family loyalty...for what it really is...love and respect. I am so proud of my baby girl.

Enjoy!

~~~~~~~~

The War That Saved My Life is about this little ten-year-old girl named Ada who has a clubfoot. She has never left her apartment. Her mean mam does not let her go outside because she is too humiliated by her foot. But one day, when her little brother, Jaimie, is sent out of London to escape the war, Ada sneaks out with him. Ada and Jamie get forced to live with a woman named Susans smith. Ada does not like her all that much. But Susan has way more money than their Mam. At Susan's house, Ada learned how to ride a pony name Butler, read, write and she watched for spies. Eventually, Ada begins to trust Susan. And Susan, who once only had herself to care for, begins to love both Ada and Jamie.

(I would like to tell you more, but I don't want to spoil the ending. But this is definitely a book you want to read. I loved it a lot and I'm sure you will too.)

I, personally, love this book because things are so terrible for this little girl but they start to get better. Like, for example, last year my mom was in the hospital for almost a month. It was hard for me because she was the one who cared for us when my dad was at work. And when she was gone, it was just me, my two sisters and my brother. Dad was there too but was almost always at work. And not only was it hard for me, but it was also hard for her. She missed my Birthday, my sister's Grade Nine graduation and my brother's  Grade Six graduation. She wanted to be there so bad, but, unfortunately, couldn't. She missed me so much and I missed her so much. But the happiest day of my life was when I came home from school one day and saw my mom sitting on the couch. We both ran to each other and hugged.

The point of my review is that things might be bad. Things might be terrible. But...just wait. Things will get better. It might take time, but trust me, they will get better.


Be yourself, love yourself and remember...things will always get better.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Foodie Friday ~ Recipe Ideas From An Awesome Teen Chef

Okay, look. I know that we haven't been able to get on the blog as often as we usually do. Not only am I trying to get three books out on the shelves, but I am also trying to finish my double degree in Psychology and Criminology. Why, people, am I doing this to myself?

At any rate, my wonderful children have offered to help me with my blog (with pay, of course) so that I can focus on a few other things. Today, we have my 14-year-old Jordy doing her contribution to our Foodie Friday segment and I think she did a great job.

She shares three great recipes for young people who want to get cooking but who may not be quite sure about their culinary skills. Jordy's attitude has always been, "Ah, well. You don't know until you try."

I love that about her.

So, without further ado, I introduce Jordy and her FABulous ideas. I think we may have this kid on here more often. ;)

Bon Appetit!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Welcome to Friday’s segment! As a student, I am glad for the free time that (usually) comes with the week’s end. You have more time to go out, shop, and of course, make well thought out meals. Because don’t we all get bored with bagged sandwiches and leftovers that come with a work week?

But not all of us out there can be Master Chefs. I know that I alone have managed to overcook pasta and turn cookies into bread. In other words, it’s hard to find recipes that are considerate to the lesser experienced. Ones that don’t include words like ‘confit’ or ‘chiffonade’. So for us today, I have compiled the three perfect recipes for an afternoon of eating.

The first obviously has to be a nice snack. Though chips may be one’s go-to, I think something such as a peanut butter dip is way tastier. As well as being way healthier. I first saw a recipe for this on the Buzzfeed website a few months ago, and cannot express enough how much I loved it. I should mention that the recipe I’m about to give is going to be adapted from the original one. Enough about me though, here’s how you make it:


Ingredients:




  • 1 cup of plain Greek yogurt

  • 3 or 4 tablespoons of creamy peanut butter (or any other food spread that you like best, like pea butter or almond butter)

  • 1 or 2 tablespoons of honey

  • Any amount of fruit of your choice (I like apples best!)

           
            Directions:

  1. Combine the yogurt, food spread, and honey into a smaller bowl until completely combined.
2.            Peel and cut your fruit (if need be) in a manner you enjoy.

And that’s it! It’s truly that simple and is full of enough good nutrients to keep you decently full until your next meal. Speaking of the next big meal, dinner can also be uncomplicated. Especially if one wants to make something edible.  There are a wide variety of items that are simple enough to make, but something that is perfect for any time is rice. Because I truly don’t believe that there is a person out there who can say they don’t like a good rice dish! Anything can be paired with it, vegetables, meat and all! As you may be able to infer, the next meal I’m going to propose is stir fry rice.


Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of white rice

  • 2/3 cup of peas

  • 2/3 cup of sliced bell peppers (any colour)

  • 1/2 cup of finely sliced white onion

  • 1/2 cup of sliced mushrooms

  • 2 chicken breasts

  • 2 tablespoons of olive or sunflower oil

  • 1 1/2 cups of water

  • Soy sauce

  • Preferred spices

Directions:

1.         In a medium-sized pan, put 1 tablespoon of oil and cook the chicken for approximately twenty minutes, or until it is fully cooked. Cover the chicken and place the chicken to the side once it is done.

2.            Put 1 tablespoon of oil in a separate, larger pan, and wait for it to heat up. At the same time, put on a smaller pot of water at the max temperature to boil it.

3.            At the time the water is boiling, the oil in the pan should be heated too. Add the rice to the water and cover. Also, put in the vegetables in order of longest to cook to least in the pan.

4.            While the other ingredients are cooking, cut your chicken into thicker strips.

5.            In 10 to 15 minutes, both the vegetables and the rice should be done cooking. Turn off the burner for the rice, and combine the chicken and the rice into the pan with the vegetables. Heat for about two minutes.

6.            Serve with a light soy sauce, and the spices of your choice!

            Of course, any ingredient can be substituted, added, or taken away at the cooker’s will. This is just a basic recipe that I usually stick to. I don’t know about you, but dessert is truly a perfect way to finish the day. So save some room, because this milkshake recipe is the absolute best!


            Ingredients:


  • 2 cups of mango (frozen or fresh)

  • 1 cup of milk

  • 1 tablespoon of sugar

  • 1 cup of vanilla ice cream

  • 2 or 3 ice cubes (if you like thicker shakes)



Directions:

1.         Peel and remove the pits of the mangoes if you are using fresh mangoes.

2.            Place the ice in the blender first, then the mangoes.

3.            Put the ice cream and sugar next, then finally, the milk.

4.            Plug in the blender and blend for 1 minute, or until it is at the consistency you want it. The longer you blend it, the thinner it is!

            And there you have it! I hope you enjoy it all these GRATE recipes as much as I do. Haha, I’ll stop before it gets bad. Have a safe weekend, and eat lots!

Thursday, April 11, 2019

In The Spotlight ~ Book Review of Mosquitoland From A Youth


Hi and welcome to our Thursday segment.

This is a very special post because my daughter, Jordy, is doing a book review. We do many of these on the blog, as you all know, but this one is special. Not just because my kid is doing it but more because she is reviewing a book for youth as a youth on some very heavy subjects and she does it with openness, honesty, and respect.

I am so proud.

Without further ado, here is her review. I strongly recommend this book, by the way.

~~~~~~~~~~

Mosquitoland
         
“I am Mary Iris Malone, and I am not okay.”

Loneliness. It’s one of the hardest human emotions that anyone can be put through. For protagonist Mim Malone, it is a feeling she has never had the feeling to shake. Author David Arnold’s novel, Mosquitoland, depicts that hardship through Mim’s thousand-mile journey to relate to others through being the hero in her own story.

Mary Iris Malone, who prefers Mim, isn't like other teenage girls. She is one who has struggled with her internal struggles of anxiety, depression, and possible psychosis since a very young age. This is all worsened when Mim’s parents split up and move far from each other. Before she knows it, her entire life disintegrates in Ohio, and she is forced to move in with her dad and stepmom in the wasteland of Mississippi. Before she gets a chance to settle, she finds out that her mother in Ohio appears to be not okay. This is the last straw for Mim. Nabbing a wad of saved cash from her stepmom, Mim ditched the ‘wastelands’ to embark on a long journey back to the one person who gets her. Without spoiling the main ideas, I will say that she endures a great load of hardships and unexpected turns along the way, from events and people alike, which all open her eyes to truths and qualities she had not noticed before.

An unreliable source, such as the first person narrative of a person who may or may not be
suffering from psychosis, can be a challenging point of view to maintain without confusing the intended audience. Arnold, though, makes it work well in his story. Mim comes alive through her so-called flaws and mishaps, bringing ups and downs that leaves a reader stuck to the pages. He also excellently covers the themes of mental illness and overcoming loneliness through two different voices that are conveyed in the chapters that are Mim’s letters, and her first-person narrative. The way that he writes to include her weaknesses alongside her strengths gives the story a deeper meaning, one that is more accurate to the real world.

The only criticism that I feel that I am able to fairly give Arnold, is the bit of misconception from Mim of the Cherokee people. Though the touch of culture appropriation through her ‘war paint’ routine was intended by Arnold to strengthen Mim’s voice, it is still may be a tad offensive for the inclusive mindset encouraged in this day and age. As well as the exploration of many challenging subjects throughout the plot, including psychosis, sexual assault, divorce, depression, suicide, intellectual disability, and, of course, friendship and first love. There are some really intense scenes too explicit for some readers, from fist fights to a deadly bus crash, finally, to a child molester who attacks two teen girls.

Despite those very minor details, this is an ideal pick for any teen readers who appreciate well-written stories about self-discovery. I truly believe that readers everywhere will be able to relate to this young adult novel. Whether they suffer from mental illness themselves or not, I can guarantee that Mim and her acquired companions will be unforgettable characters that will change their life.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Music Mantra Monday ~ Remembering With Tears In Heaven



Welcome to our Monday segment! It's a bit later than usual but at least I'm getting it out. :)

I had an entirely different focus for today's post, but I think I'll save that for tomorrow. Just as I sat down to research songs for my original idea, my aunt texted me reminding me that my favorite Uncle's Birthday was today. I reached for the phone for our usual Birthday jab call then remembered...he isn't with me anymore.

My Uncle Craig passed away in September 2017. I barely recall hearing the news, but I will never forget the impact the news had on me. I literally dropped to my knees and sobbed, "No! Not Uncle Craig!" as my aunt comforted me from a distance. Of all the losses I've endured in my lifetime, his will be one I will never completely get over.

He was more than 'just an Uncle' to me, and I was more than 'just a niece' to him. We had that special bond you don't get with many people where you just knew when the other person needed you. I don't remember a time in my life when he wasn't there for me. He was my greatest supporter and ally. I used to kid with him how I should have hired him to help me with book promotion. He was the first person I'd call when I had good news, when I needed advice on something difficult I was going through or when I just needed a little pep talk. He made sure I always stayed on the path I needed to be on and whenever I'd veer off a bit, he'd only let me go so far down before reaching out to guide me back. He made me laugh, he consoled me in tough times and gave me some of the best life advice I've ever been given. Most importantly, he constantly reminded me that my existence in this world and my contributions to it mattered...I mattered, even when I didn't believe that myself.

I talked to him the day before he passed away. He didn't sound right. I knew something was wrong, but he joked and kept the subject away from him. Then he said something that didn't register at the time: "Keep moving, Tammer. You always do best when you keep moving. And don't forget that even though I'm a few miles away, I still got your back. Watch for those bluebirds." (That's a whole other short story...coming very soon.) Then he told me that he loved me and he'd talk to me soon.

That was it.

As hard as today is, I'm okay. Even though I can't give him his Birthday jab call, I know he's still right there waiting for it.

This song is for you, Uncle Craig.

Video trailer for BLACKBIRD FLIES!


Video Trailor for JUST SHUT UP and DRIVE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RRr-vJ8W7YA