Sunday, June 13, 2010

Living Green and Thrifty

Hi there.  Shellie here on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon, getting ready to blog.  I had a phone call recently from a good friend in California (my home state).  She and her husband are trying to tame their budget but value living as environmentally friendly as possible.  I've found our family in a similar boat.  Sometimes it seems difficult to live frugally and maintain that standard of environmental awareness.

Fortunately, I've been reading over a couple books that tackle this very subject.  I was pleased to see that we had already made some of the shifts that the books call for (cooking at home, buying in bulk, making our own green cleaners).  But it was nice to get more ideas.  Here are the titles that  I have been using and will pass along to my friend as she starts her "living frugally green" journey.

Be Thrifty: How to Live Better with Less by Pia Catton and Califia Suntree  This book is a great go-to guide with a little bit of everything.  It has great simple recipes for both entertaining company or just packing a healthy lunch.  It also has easy recipes for making your own green household cleaners that cost next to nothing.  This book is wonderfully comprehensive and will get you on the path to living better on less!

Shift Your Habit by Elizabeth Rogers  This book is interesting because the author actually recruited real families to make shifts in their living and spending habits.  She includes their stories throughout the book.  Her chapters include:  Home and Garden, Kids, Pets, Work and many more.  It's also very helpful that she shows you how much you save per year with each "shift". 

I loved the "Be Your Own Barista" tip.  Coffee chain cappuccinos were one of the first things that I gave up when we started watching our budget.  How thrilled was I to see that we are saving hundred of dollars a year by this simple change?  I totally gave myself a pat on the back!

Hope these are as helpful to you as they were to me.  I know for sure that I will be referencing both titles in the months to come. 

We have an awesome section in the store called:  Sustainable Living and it's filled with enviromentally friendly titles.  Come by and check it out!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Books that wander

Hello.  Shellie here.  I hope that everyone is having a glorious weekend.  It sure is pretty outside! Although, I have so much yardwork waiting for me tomorrow...well, let's just say I'm glad that I get a quiet day indoors today. 

Have any of you ever noticed that when you call the bookstore to ask about a particular book, we will typically ask you to hold on while we physically find the book and hold it in our hands?  Are we eccentric?  Well, sure.   But we're practical, as well.

You see, the books around here, they wander off.  Wally has likened them to socks in the dryer.  It's happened to us on more than one occasion.  A book will be pop up in our inventory as being "in-store" and then upon investigation--no book! 

Where do they go?  Do they have a favorite hiding place?  It's a mystery.  I like to imagine that perhaps they enjoy getting lost and found...a little like hide-and-seek.

Speaking of socks in the dryer, all of this reminds me of a wonderful picture book that we have called Smitten by: David Gordon.  It's the wonderful love story of a sock and a mitten.  Hope you love it as much as we do!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The weekly conversation

Hello everybody.  It's Shellie and it's time for my Sunday blog.  I heard through the grapevine that I actually have people reading this.  This is so exciting for me!  I thought I was just whistling in the dark every Sunday.  But let's get down to business, shall we?

In our house, usually around 5:30pm but sometimes as late as 6:00pm, there is a conversation that regularly occurs between me and my husband.  It goes thusly:

Me (with a heavy sigh):  What sounds good for dinner?

Husband (with an equally heavy sigh):  I don't know, what sounds good to you?

Me:  Well, what do we have?

Husband:  I don't know.  Check the pantry.

At this point, our children start circling us like hungry wolves howling their chorus of: "Mom, I'm hungry!  What can we eat? How long until dinner?"

Enter the book that I am absolutely fascinated with this week:  SOS! The Six O'Clock Scramble to the Rescue: Earth-Friendly, Kid-Pleasing Dinners for Busy Families By Aviva Goldfarb.

There is a lot to love about this book.  First of all, the recipes are both reasonably quick to make and healthy. 

I love that the recipes are separated by season!  This makes them both economical (it's cheaper to buy in-season) and earth friendly (you are more likely to find your fruit and veggies at a local farmer's market).

Lastly, this book has a wide assortment for vegetarians (like yours truly) and non-vegetarians alike.  I love the fact that the recipes are delicious and have a touches of global cuisine, for example:  Greek Pasta Salad, Tandoori Chicken and Huevos Rancheros.  But they are still simple enough for the beginnner.

I think this would make a wonderful present for the harried mom (or dad) you know and love.  Who knows?  They may be so grateful, they may even cook for you!  Have a great week!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Brontë Sisters Power Dolls

Sunday, May 9, 2010


Hello there everyone!  It's Shellie and it's time for my Sunday blog. 

Lately, I've been trying to transition our two older boys from our usual picture book stories to beginner chapter books.  I've found that the best "transition chapter books" are a good combination of pictures and text.  It gives our boys a break from just reading and gives them something to look at.  If you have a child in your life who is on the verge of making the leap from picture books to chapter books, here are some good ones we have at the store.

Mercy Watson to the Rescue by Kate DiCamillo

Who is Mercy Watson?  A pig, of course!  She has all sorts of fun adventures in her stories.  The chapters are short and the pictures are darling.  Kids just love these!

Ivy and Bean by Annie Barrows and Sophie Blackall

This series is all about two little girls who are best friends.  They have a lot of fun trying to break world records and ghost hunting.  The chapters are a little bit longer than the Mercy Watson series, but not so much as to overwhelm young readers.  Plenty of pictures, too!

A Nest for Celeste by Henry Cole

This a sweet little book about a mouse who loves to weave baskets...but she has to watch out for the sneaky cat of her house.  Beautiful illustrations, my kindergartener loves this one!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The wheat from the chaff

Hello everyone,

It's Shellie here posting today.  If I haven't met you yet, I'm the bookshop's newest bookseller.  I'm writing to tell you today about how dilligently we try to pick out the best possible new titles for the store.  I think it's safe to say that we are all voracious readers here and we happily attack our stack of ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies) that we get from publishers on a regular basis.  It has been my delight to discover an author's debut novel and get it into the store for our customers to enjoy--specifically, The Wives of Henry Oades by Johanna Moran.  This book was wonderful!

But let me tell you, folks.  It's not always a walk in the park.  I recently read an ARC that was so poorly written.  It was only because I am an absolute sucker for Tudor-era England that I stuck through to the end.  What was the major issue, you ask?  It was the narrator's constant battle with her own stomach acids!  At every turn, the protagonist was either "feeling the bile come up into her throat", "combatting waves of nausea", or "swallowing the sickness that rose up inside her". 

As Wally aptly said:  "Somebody get that woman an antacid!". 

Now, I understand that during Henry VIII's reign many perfectly disgusting things were done that would certainly make a modern person cringe.  But to read--page after page--of this character's urpy exploits...Well, it was a little much for me.

But you know, it's all part of the job.  We separate the wheat from the chaff--always keeping our beloved customers in mind and thinking of what you will like best.  Happy reading!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Answer to April 23rd Poetry Challenge- Final Poem of the Day

So, this is our last Poetry Challenge answer. We will be announcing the raffle winners at our Open Mic Poetry Reading, which will be taking place tonight, April 24th, at 6pm. Come in and read a poem or just listen. Hope to see you all there.

Kubla Khan 

by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

IN Xanadu did Kubla Khan 
    A stately pleasure-dome decree: 
  Where Alph, the sacred river, ran 
  Through caverns measureless to man 
    Down to a sunless sea.         5
  So twice five miles of fertile ground 
  With walls and towers were girdled round: 
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills 
Where blossom'd many an incense-bearing tree; 
And here were forests ancient as the hills,  10
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery. 
But O, that deep romantic chasm which slanted 
Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover! 
A savage place! as holy and enchanted 
As e'er beneath a waning moon was haunted  15
By woman wailing for her demon-lover! 
And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething, 
As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing, 
A mighty fountain momently was forced; 
Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst  20
Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail, 
Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher's flail: 
And 'mid these dancing rocks at once and ever 
It flung up momently the sacred river. 
Five miles meandering with a mazy motion  25
Through wood and dale the sacred river ran, 
Then reach'd the caverns measureless to man, 
And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean: 
And 'mid this tumult Kubla heard from far 
Ancestral voices prophesying war!  30
  The shadow of the dome of pleasure 
    Floated midway on the waves; 
  Where was heard the mingled measure 
    From the fountain and the caves. 
It was a miracle of rare device,  35
A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice! 
  A damsel with a dulcimer 
    In a vision once I saw: 
  It was an Abyssinian maid, 
    And on her dulcimer she play'd,  40
  Singing of Mount Abora. 
  Could I revive within me, 
  Her symphony and song, 
To such a deep delight 'twould win me, 
That with music loud and long,  45
I would build that dome in air, 
That sunny dome! those caves of ice! 
And all who heard should see them there, 
And all should cry, Beware! Beware! 
His flashing eyes, his floating hair!  50
Weave a circle round him thrice, 
  And close your eyes with holy dread, 
  For he on honey-dew hath fed, 
And drunk the milk of Paradise.