Book Review: The Traveling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa #BookReview @BerkleyPub

The Traveling Cat Chronicles

by

Hiro Arikawa

(Translator – Philip Gabriel)

20181024_053056.jpg

From Goodreads:

Sometimes you have to leave behind everything you know to find the place you truly belong… 

Nana the cat is on a road trip. He is not sure where he’s going or why, but it means that he gets to sit in the front seat of a silver van with his beloved owner, Satoru. Side by side, they cruise around Japan through the changing seasons, visiting Satoru’s old friends. He meets Yoshimine, the brusque and unsentimental farmer for whom cats are just ratters; Sugi and Chikako, the warm-hearted couple who run a pet-friendly B&B; and Kosuke, the mournful husband whose cat-loving wife has just left him. There’s even a very special dog who forces Nana to reassess his disdain for the canine species.

But what is the purpose of this road trip? And why is everyone so interested in Nana? Nana does not know and Satoru won’t say. But when Nana finally works it out, his small heart will break… Continue reading “Book Review: The Traveling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa #BookReview @BerkleyPub”

Throwback Thursday: The Horse Whisperer by Nicholas Evans

Throwback Thursday is a weekly meme created by Renee @ It’s Book Talk. This meme is an awesome way to share old favorites that were published over a year ago or even books that you’re finally reading after much time has passed. I have plenty of those to share! If you have your own Throwback Thursday recommendation feel free to jump on board. Please link back to her by using the link above.

BeFunky Design

Today’s Throwback:

The Horse Whisperer by Nicholas Evans

850422.jpg

From Goodreads:

He is the stuff of legend. His voice can calm wild horses and his touch heal broken spirits. For secrets uttered softly into pricked and troubled ears, such men were once called Whisperers. Now Tom Booker, the inheritor of this ancient gift is to meet his greatest challenge.

Continue reading “Throwback Thursday: The Horse Whisperer by Nicholas Evans”

Shabby Sunday: Grizzwold by Syd Hoff – 1963

collage-2017-08-10-5

Shabby Sunday

I have a lot of old vintage books and one of my plans when I first started blogging was to do a post every week or so that shared one of my cherished vintage books. Then I thought there might be other book bloggers out there that have some vintage books, heirlooms, or maybe some old books from childhood that they might want to share. I decided to start a weekly meme titled ‘Shabby Sunday’ for those who would like to participate and share some of their old vintage books. Do you have some shabby books you’d like to share? If so, please feel free to participate as anyone can join. Feel free to use the picture I’ve provided if you’d like to. If you decide to do this meme, please consider linking back to me so that I can see the book you’re sharing.


Today’s Shabby Share is:

Grizzwold (An I Can Read Book)

by

 

20180708_075616.jpg

Syd Hoff is one of my absolute favorite illustrators and this story goes way back to my own childhood. It’s an “I Can Read” book from 1963 that my children still enjoy reading today.  Continue reading “Shabby Sunday: Grizzwold by Syd Hoff – 1963”

Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book: Gluten Free/Dairy Free/Egg Free Cherry Pancakes – The Doggie in the Window by Rory Kress

Hello! How’s everyone doing this week? I’m amazed to be back this Wednesday with another Breakfast and a Book post. I found this wonderful recipe for gluten free pancakes that I tweaked up a bit and had to share! The original recipe is from Chef Rosa on YouTube (be sure to check her out), but I changed this one up quite a bit and used what I had on hand. These came out like French toast! I hope you guys are ready for a delicious gluten free, dairy free, egg free pancake!

dog

Gluten Free/Dairy Free/Egg Free Cherry Pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup gluten-free flour
  • 1 TB baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 TB sugar (I used brown)
  • 1/4 banana
  • 1/2 to 1 TB coconut oil
  • 1 TB vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cups almond milk
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • A scant handful of cherries

Continue reading “Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book: Gluten Free/Dairy Free/Egg Free Cherry Pancakes – The Doggie in the Window by Rory Kress”

Shabby Sunday: Nature’s Flying Janitor by Victoria Cox and Stan Applebaum – 1974

collage-2017-08-10-5

Shabby Sunday

I have a lot of old vintage books and one of my plans when I first started blogging was to do a post every week or so that shared one of my cherished vintage books. Then I thought there might be other book bloggers out there that have some vintage books, heirlooms, or maybe some old books from childhood that they might want to share. I decided to start a weekly meme titled ‘Shabby Sunday’ for those who would like to participate and share some of their old vintage books. Do you have some shabby books you’d like to share? If so, please feel free to participate as anyone can join. Feel free to use the picture I’ve provided if you’d like to. If you decide to do this meme, please consider linking back to me so that I can see the book you’re sharing.


Today’s Shabby Share is:

Nature’s Flying Janitor

by 
20180617_081131.jpg

This is my first Shabby Share that I actually had to add on Goodreads because it hadn’t been listed yet. I had no idea how easy it was to do that and it was a fun experience…

Continue reading “Shabby Sunday: Nature’s Flying Janitor by Victoria Cox and Stan Applebaum – 1974”

Eugenie Clark “The Shark Lady”

9cdeab_15d46f858e57405fa4c03417eb253416.jpgWe recently came across a few books on Eugenie Clark, the ocean scientist who had a fondness for sharks. We enjoyed learning about her as her story was so inspiring.

From a very young age, Eugenie was told that her dreams of studying sharks and becoming a scientist were not possible. She was told by many that she should do something else with her life. Fortunately, Eugenie did follow her dreams and because of her courage we know more about sharks. People once believed that sharks were stupid and dangerous. Eugenie encouraged people to look at sharks differently.

88939_990x742-cb1424898755.ngsversion.1425057971006.adapt.590.1.jpg

Throughout her life she received many awards and honors for her work and made many discoveries, including new species of fish. She was a scuba gear pioneer and conducted scads of submersible dives, traveling around the world and leading more than two hundred field research expeditions. She worked on television specials and even helped with creating the very first IMAX film.

Eugenie Clark continued diving well into her 90’s and conducted her last dive in 2014.

Eugenie wrote two books, Lady with a Spear (1953) and The Lady and the Sharks (1969), which I’m looking forward to reading. She also wrote well over one hundred scientific articles.  Continue reading “Eugenie Clark “The Shark Lady””

A Dramatic Family Reunion

For about two years, I was the caretaker of a little girl that belonged to a family friend. We would take care of her roughly three to four days a week and had to regularly deal with her parents who were split up. It was difficult dealing with them because they didn’t get along at all and stress seemed to always be heightened. If she would get a scraped knee, or a bruise, I always felt like I had to have this explanation to prove everything because her parents were hyper-vigilant. Living in the country, you just expect that your kids are going to have injuries sometimes from running around in the woods or getting into things. In general, kids get injuries no matter where they live. I finally decided that after two years of babysitting, I needed to stop. I told her parents that they would have to find someone else for a caretaker because I couldn’t handle the stress anymore and felt that I needed to concentrate on my own life and children. I decided at that point that I didn’t want to be responsible for someone else’s child anymore.

Then, last September, our dog Cynder had puppies. Those who follow my posts know that we kept one puppy (Bowie), and the other two have homes not far from ours. When Fig was purchased, his owner mentioned letting us see him again and I finally got the text last week asking if we wanted to dog sit for the weekend. The kids were elated and after discussing it with my husband, we decided it would be okay. We were going to see Fig again! How lucky could we be?

12113.jpeg
Baby Fig with Rambo the cat.

Continue reading “A Dramatic Family Reunion”

The Magic Finger by Roald Dahl – Book Review

The Magic Finger

by Roald DahlQuentin Blake (Illustrator)
20180224_081256

 

Summary from Goodreads:

What happens when the hunter becomes the hunted?

To the Gregg family, hunting is just plain fun. To the girl who lives next door, it’s just plain horrible. She tries to be polite. She tries to talk them out of it, but the Greggs only laugh at her. Then one day the Greggs go too far, and the little girl turns her Magic Finger on them. When she’s very, very angry, the little girl’s Magic Finger takes over. She really can’t control it, and now it’s turned the Greggs into birds! Before they know it, the Greggs are living in a nest, and that’s just the beginning of their problems…

My Thoughts:

The Magic Finger by Roald Dahl is a story about a girl with a magic finger. She lives next door to the Gregg family who like to hunt for fun and this makes her very angry. She doesn’t think it’s right for people to hunt animals for fun and when she gets angry, her finger takes control. Her magic finger has a special lesson in store, but the big problem is not knowing exactly what will happen when she uses it.

24811762

The story teaches a huge lesson to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. I read this with two of my younger children and we all enjoyed it. It’s certainly thought-provoking and inspired an entire conversation with my family about eating meat and how we should be responsible and care for the animals we have. It will also get you thinking about why it’s important to control your disposition because actions always have consequences.

5*****

Find this on Goodreads and Amazon
big

 

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Puffin (July 2, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141346515
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141346519

Continue reading “The Magic Finger by Roald Dahl – Book Review”

Happy Birthday Steve Irwin (1962-2006)

Steve Irwin was a Australian zookeeper and conservationist who’s life was sadly cut short when he passed in 2006 after an encounter with a Stingray. Today would be Steve Irwin’s 56th birthday.

I can still remember the first time I saw Steve Irwin on Animal Planet and how my family fell in love with his enthusiasm for wildlife. He quickly became a favorite.

ithopoioi_kentriki

To honor Steve Irwin today, I thought I’d post a clip of one of our favorite episodes with Steve exploring Komodo dragons. I’ll never forget my oldest son’s excitement as Steve ran next to the Komodo as he followed him. This isn’t the whole episode, but you can watch it for free on YouTube if you’d like.

Steve and the Dragon

Continue reading “Happy Birthday Steve Irwin (1962-2006)”

The Last Panther by Todd Mitchell – Book Review & Author Interview

A few weeks ago I read The Last Panther by Todd Mitchell. I was lucky to also  get an interview with the author to share with everyone. You can see my review of the book and the author interview below. I do hope you enjoy!

tod

The Last Panther

by Todd Mitchell

DSC_0016.JPG

The Last Panther

Blurb: For fans of “The One and Only Ivan” and “Hoot, ” this is the uplifting story of a girl who discovers a family of panthers that were thought to be extinct, and her journey to save the species.

Eleven-year-old Kiri has a secret: wild things call to her. More than anyone else, she’s always had a special connection to animals.

But when Kiri has an encounter with the last known Florida panther, her life is quickly turned on end. Caught between her conservationist father, who wants to send the panther to a zoo, and the village poachers, who want to sell it to feed their families, Kiri must embark on a journey that will take her deep into the wilderness.

There has to be some way to save the panther, and for her da and the villagers to understand each other. If Kiri can’t figure out what it is, she’ll lose far more than the panthers she’ll lose the only home she s ever known, and the only family she has left.

My Review:

Kiri lives with her father, who is a conservationist, in the ghost forest near a dangerous swamp. He’s considered a waller (city dweller) and not far from their home are the fugees, the original habitants of the forest. Wallers are considered the wealthy ones and have what they need to survive while tending to preserve the environment and the species that are still living, while fugees consistently need to search for food so they won’t die of starvation or sickness. Fugees will do whatever it takes to feed their community and that includes killing whatever they can catch, including animals that are endangered, if need be. They don’t have much of a choice as the damaged ecosystem they live in has left them with little resources.

Kiri’s mother, who has previously passed away, was once a fugee and Kiri is now caught between two worlds having a waller for a father. The fugees detest the wallers and they simply don’t agree on anything. For this reason, Kiri doesn’t want to be considered a waller and would rather keep the peace between both groups. She doesn’t necessarily agree that the fugees should be hunting these ‘once-were’ creatures, but she understands them concurrently. When Kiri surprisingly discovers a panther she’s never seen before–a beautiful creature she connects with and knows she must protect–not only does she need to protect the panther, but she has to find a way to keep her cubs safe too. From this point, Kiri goes into survivor mode and does all that she can to stop the hunters and trappers from killing the panther, even it means she must go against her father’s wishes. What will Kiri do? She’s a courageous and spirited young girl, always standing up for what she believes in, but will she alone be enough to protect the last panther and its cubs?

After seeing the beautiful cover and reading the blurb, I took a chance and bought a copy for our home library. I’m always in search of stories that I can read with my children, especially those I can enjoy myself. I particularly relished the sweet parts in the story from Kiri’s companionship with Snowflake, her pet rat, to her friendship with Paulo. I found it compelling and full of action and adventure. The mystical world and rich plot that Todd Mitchell has created draws you in and makes you feel like you’re part of Kiri’s journey. It’s un-predictable and written well. I also appreciated that the story provokes questions about climate change and brings attention to the importance of caring for our environment now, as animals are experiencing high levels of endangerment as our world is ever-changing.

This is one I’m pleased to have for my family and I’m overjoyed that it turned out to be such an awesome read. This is a perfect middle-grade read for classrooms and libraries, but essentially, it’s great for all ages. I honestly can’t wait to see what other books Todd Mitchell writes in the future.

My rating: 5*****

Find this book on Amazon and Goodreads:

  • Age Range: 8 – 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 – 7
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (August 22, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399555587
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399555589

Continue reading “The Last Panther by Todd Mitchell – Book Review & Author Interview”

Shabby Sunday: The Call of the Wild Illustrated Classics by Jack London (Mitsu Yamamoto) 1989

collage-2017-08-10-5

Shabby Sunday

I have a lot of old vintage books and one of my plans when I first started blogging was to do a post every week or so that shared one of my cherished vintage books. Then I thought that maybe there might be other book bloggers out there that have some vintage books, heirlooms, or maybe some old books from childhood that they might want to share. I decided to start a weekly meme titled ‘Shabby Sunday’ for those who would like to participate and share some of their old vintage books. Do you have some shabby books you’d like to share? Please feel free to participate. Feel free to use the picture I’ve provided if you’d like to. If you decide to do this meme, please consider linking back to me so that I can see the book you’re sharing.


Today’s shabby share is:

The Call of the Wild (Great Illustrated Classics)

by Mitsu Yamamoto (Adapter)Jack LondonPablo Marcos Studio(Illustrator)
20180204_090326.jpg

Continue reading “Shabby Sunday: The Call of the Wild Illustrated Classics by Jack London (Mitsu Yamamoto) 1989”

A Bear’s Life by Ian McAllister and Nicholas Read – Children’s Book Review – #NGEW2018

A Bear’s Life

by Ian McAllister (Photographs)Nicholas Read (Contributor)
34412154.jpg

Blurb: Black bears, grizzly bears, and spirit bears all make their home in the Great Bear Rainforest. A Bear’s Life uses Ian McAllister’s stunning photographs to follow these beautiful animals through a year in the British Columbia wilderness–catching fish, eating berries, climbing trees and taking long naps.

 

My Review:

A Bear’s Life had my children and me captivated from the very first pages. The book is an adventure from start to finish, containing photographs from the Great Bear Rainforest including black bears, grizzlies, spirit bears, wolves, and other wildlife.

This is a simple read for elementary students and easy enough for three to four year olds to understand when reading aloud. Along with each photograph, facts are shared and readers will learn what the bears eat, how they socialize, what other animals live there, how they hibernate, and much more beginning with spring and following through to winter again. Our most favorite parts in the book included facts about spirit bears (black bears with cream-colored fur) and how special they are with roughly a 1 to 10 ratio compared with black bears.

I appreciated that even the location of the rainforest was shared in the beginning of the book so young ones can get an idea where it is on the map. I think the map would’ve been better located on an actual page versus the front inside cover because it’s easy to miss.

Overall, we loved A Bear’s Life and can’t wait to read other books in the My Great Bear Rainforest series.

5*****

Continue reading “A Bear’s Life by Ian McAllister and Nicholas Read – Children’s Book Review – #NGEW2018”

Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book – The Last Panther by Todd Mitchell – Raw Cookies & Homemade Almond Milk

Hello everyone! How’s your week going? Are you reading anything good? I’m back today with a book I’ve started this week and a recipe I’ve been wanting to share since last year! Hope you enjoy 🙂

collage-2018-01-24

I decided yesterday that I wanted to have raw cookies for breakfast this morning. It’s been some time since I made these because my dehydrator was in the process of being fixed. I have a love hate relationship with my Sedona dehydrator because it functions very well, but it’s required repair three times since I got it five years ago! When I say fixed, I mean they send me the part and I fix it, haha. So, my warranty is up now and I’m hoping that I’ll at least get another good year out of it.

This particular raw cookie is my own creation. I’ve made so many different recipes and finally just decided to make them the way I want, with the ingredients I enjoy. Here’s what I did.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups Almonds
  • 5 Dates (Pitted)
  • 2 TB Raw Honey
  • Half cup soaked raisins (soaked overnight in water – save the water)
  • 2 TB Coconut Oil
  • Half tsp. cinnamon
  • Dash of salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • Cacao nibs (roughly 1/4 cup)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • Chopped dark chocolate (roughly 1/4 cup)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

The first thing you do is put your almonds into a processor and give a few pulses until you get a course meal.

Now add in your coconut oil, honey, a few tablespoons of your raisin water, and the dates. Blend this up until it gets nice and sticky.

20180124_063712.jpg

20180124_063844.jpg

Dump this into a bowl and add in everything else until well blended. I use a microplane to grind up fresh nutmeg. Also, Bob’s Red Mill has a nice shredded coconut that doesn’t contain sulfites.

Continue reading “Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book – The Last Panther by Todd Mitchell – Raw Cookies & Homemade Almond Milk”

Animals at Night by Anne Jankeliowitch and Delphine Chedru: Children’s Book Review #NGEW2018 #2

Animals at Night

by Anne JankeliowitchDelphine Chedru (illustrator)Eve Bodeux (translator)
35058597

BlurbWhat do animals do at night?

For humans, the setting sun marks the end of the day and signals to us that it’s time to go to sleep. But while people are quietly dreaming in their beds, there’s a whole world of animals that’s just waking up! Who are they, what do they do until morning, and how do they move, see, and hunt in the dark?

Features glow-in-the-dark content on all 32 pages!

 My Thoughts:

Animals At Night is a glow-in-the-dark book about nocturnal animals and their activities at night. It covers nocturnal animals in the forest, rivers, beaches, ponds, mountains, fields and orchards, and even animals you might find in your local neighborhood, on country roads, or on a farm.

20180120_124914(1).jpg

This is a perfect bedtime book due to the glow-in-the-dark pages. It’s also jam-packed with facts about animals with short descriptions for each. Kids will learn about the mysteries of some of these animals like why birds sing when they do, why these animals like the night in the first place, how they see in the dark, and why owls are such good hunters.

The book has an interactive feel as each section asks a question about something in that section and the answers to those questions can be found in the back of the book.

The age level for this book is listed at grades 3-7 which seems about right. The text is pretty easy to read, but might be more difficult for preschool through first graders to read all by themselves depending on their reading level. We loved the illustrations and using the book in the dark. Because I’m reviewing this one late, we were able to get a hardcover version to enjoy.

Thanks to Netgalley, the publisher, and the author’s for a review copy in exchange for a review.

4****

Continue reading “Animals at Night by Anne Jankeliowitch and Delphine Chedru: Children’s Book Review #NGEW2018 #2”

Throwback Thursday: Paw Tracks in the Moonlight by Denis O’Connor

Throwback Thursday is a weekly meme created by Renee @ It’s Book Talk. This meme is an awesome way to share old favorites that were published over a year ago or even books that you’re finally reading after much time has passed. I have plenty of those to share! If you have your own Throwback Thursday recommendation feel free to jump on board, and you’re welcome to use Renee’s pic as well. Please link back to her@It’s Book Talk.

throwback-thursday

This Week’s Pick:

Paw Tracks in the Moonlight

(Paw Tracks #1)

by Denis O’Connor

4008050.jpg

Blurb: The heart-warming story of one man and his cat

When Denis O’Connor rescues a three-week-old kitten from certain death during a snowstorm, little does he know how this tiny creature will change his life forever. Against all odds the kitten – who he names Toby Jug – survives and forms an unusually strong bond with his rescuer.

Set against the rural splendour of Northumberland, “Paw Tracks in the Moonlight” charmingly chronicles the adventures of one man and his Maine Coone cat. From an invasion of bees at Owl Cottage to the case of the disappearing tomatoes, life with Toby Jug – who believes himself to be human – is never dull. Nevertheless, it is only when Denis and Toby Jug embark on a summer camping trip on horseback in the Cheviot Hills that a new world opens up for them both.

Cover illustration: Richard Morris

My Thoughts:

I first noticed this book after my friend Leila was reading it on Goodreads and then I noticed that Luis Carlos Montalvan had rated it highly and reviewed it as well. I got online and ordered a copy and was pleasantly surprised to obtain a signed copy. I’m so happy to have found this gem of a book! It’s one of the best cat stories I’ve read.

This book is the true story of Toby Jug, a Maine Coone kitten rescued at the age of three weeks old from the barren winter by the author, Denis O’Connor. The book highlights the author’s experience with trying to save Toby Jug with limited resources and knowledge. Denis O’Connor shares the story of the relationship they build together over the course of a year and beyond.

Toby Jug proved to be a unique cat who was both curious and adventurous but remained loyal to Denis throughout his life. I loved reading about their adventures together, including car rides and walks through the garden. It reminded me of my own cats and the time that we spend together outside when I come out into their world and the unique relationship we can have with animals if we only let them lead the way. Not only that, I admired the way the author describes the countryside in Northumberland, England, and at their place of residence, Owl Cottage. It’s quite fascinating and I began to reflect on how much I appreciate the seasons as each season from Toby Jug’s first winter, spring, summer, and fall is described in beautiful detail. All of their adventures together from an infiltration of bees into Owl Cottage, to riding horseback through the countryside are described in this book. When reading, parts of the book seemed boring, but they really aren’t if you take the time to appreciate the beautiful prose. The ending of Toby Jug’s life is saved for the epilogue and can be skipped entirely if desired.

I do plan on reading the next two books in the series. My rating on this book is 5-stars.

Continue reading “Throwback Thursday: Paw Tracks in the Moonlight by Denis O’Connor”

Cynder’s New Life With Puppies

I thought I’d do a quick update for those who are interested in how Cynder is doing with her three new puppies. It’s hard to believe that they’ll be three weeks old on Tuesday. They’re doing great and getting huge!

20170920_083237.jpg

Cynder has adapted well to motherhood, but she needs a lot of breaks. I thought that having puppies might slow her down a little bit, but she seems to be even more hyper with an abundance of energy. She was already back to playing and herding the day after having the puppies. It’s like she never had puppies.

20170929_125208[1].jpg

We have names for the three pups. The merle puppy that reminds of us Winston we decided to name Bowie. She’s the biggest out of the three, although not by much. We can already tell that her eyes will more than likely stay blue like Winstons. This is the puppy we chose to keep. Here are some pictures of her below.

Bowie

20170927_133214.jpg

Her eyes both opened last weekend. She’s already starting to play and growls and barks a little bit. This is a picture from a few days ago. Her eyes are already lighter.

115341.jpeg


The second pup born is a boy and it looks like he’ll be tricolor. Mainly black and white, with some brown above his eyes and a little on the sides of his face. He’s so different! His eyes are dark and we think they’ll stay amber/brown like Cynders. We named him Fig.

Fig

20170927_131345.jpg

20170927_132257.jpg

The third pup born is the runt, or should I say ‘was’ the runt. She’s a little smaller than the first too, but huge compared to what she was when she was born! She’s just about the same size as Fig. We named her (Little) Lotus.

Lotus

20170927_132216.jpg

She had one eye left closed that just finally opened a few days ago in the picture above. It appears that her eyes will most likely be brown. She reminds me so much of Cynder and I think she’ll look just like her.

20170926_091730.jpg

They’re doing well! They’re still not able to get out of the kiddie pool. When that happens, we’ll move them to a different location. I’m thinking maybe 2 weeks tops and they’ll need to be moved.

Winston enjoys checking on them throughout the day, but he still isn’t sure of them.

Continue reading “Cynder’s New Life With Puppies”

Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book – Funky Monkey Cacao Smoothie – Paw Tracks in the Moonlight by Denis O’Connor

Happy Wednesday! I have a new book to share this week along with a newly discovered delicious smoothie!

collage-2017-09-20

This recipe comes from a book I’ll be reviewing later on. So far, the book is amazing and I’ve enjoyed a few recipes which will be keepers. If you’d like to add this book, you can find it on Goodreads, Amazon, and many other retailers. Mine is the hardcover edition.

Healing Tonics, Juices, and Smoothies

100+ Elixirs to Nurture Body and Soul

35422860.jpg

Find it on Goodreads and Amazon


I decided to make this Funky Monkey smoothie because I absolutely love Cacao!

23289542246_66dd12ed9d_b.jpg

For those of you who don’t already know, cacao beans are fully raw cocoa beans. It’s the purest form of chocolate that you can consume and it’s delicious! It’s truly one of my favorite raw foods. We are using the nibs and powder in this recipe.

The Ingredients:

1 cup mylk (how it’s spelled in the book)

1 1/2 frozen bananas

1 Tbsp raw cacao powder

2 Tbsp almond butter

1 Tbsp Raw Honey or other liquid sweeteners

1 Tbsp raw cacao nibs

Here’s a picture of the ingredients and directions:

20170920_092738.jpg

Here’s what I did:

20170920_090728

I added in my soaked almonds for the milk and the frozen banana.

20170920_090857

I added in the cacao powder. I can’t give you a brand because my label is gone, but there are many brands online. I picked mine up from a health food store.

20170920_090934

20170920_091142

I added in the almond butter.

20170920_091248

I just found this new raw honey at Costco. Great price!

20170920_091427

Blend it up well.

20170920_091558

Then, I added in the nibs and blended for just a few seconds to crunch them up a bit. You want the smoothie to be a little chunky. Here’s the brand I use.

20170920_092531.jpg

20170920_091902.jpg

20170920_091916.jpg

Continue reading “Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book – Funky Monkey Cacao Smoothie – Paw Tracks in the Moonlight by Denis O’Connor”

#Blog Tour #Book Review – The Spell of the Horse by Pam Billinge

I was very lucky to be able to participate in the blog tour for The Spell of the Horse, a book written by Pam Billinge. This blog tour is organized by Blackbird Digital Books.

 

The Spell of the Horse by Pam Billinge

Stories of Healing and Personal Transformation with Nature’s Finest Teachers

35840482

Blurb:

The ability of the horse to sense emotion, energy and spirit is way beyond what most of the human world realises. A must-read for those wishing to understand the spiritual connection between horses and humans.

When Pam’s mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer, she began to notice the way her horse responded to her emotional turmoil. Thus began an exploration into the spiritual relationship between horses and humans and their infinite capacity to help us heal. Building on her remarkable discoveries, Pam began her pioneering work as a horse-led coach and therapist. By sharing her own path to redemption through personal tragedy, and other stories of healing inspired by the incredible interactions she has observed between horse and human, Pam puts forward her uplifting insights about the true nature of the horse, setting out some simple principles to help the reader transcend life’s challenges.

Discover the lessons which horse behaviour have taught the author about

* managing anxiety
* surviving bereavement
* letting go of fear and finding courage to live with joy and purpose
* listening to inner wisdom without over thinking dilemmas, allowing the right things to happen in life without force

This memoir will appeal to fans of The Outrun by Amy Liptrot, The Wild Other by Clover Stroud and H is For Hawk by Helen Macdonald. Pam Billinge is a body psychotherapy professional and leadership coach at the top of her game in the UK field of horse-led therapy.


My Thoughts:

I’ve been a horse owner for part of my life and have always found the relationship between horse and human to be something very special. After reading this book, I understand even more how horses can sense our emotions because we are transparent and they react to them in many different ways. I’ve suffered from anxiety and depression in the past and I’ve discovered first hand how animals, including horses, can assist us in many ways. They are there for us in our time of need and can help us discover our true self. They have the power to help us heal.

“My body and soul were moving to a different rhythm. The self-pity had gone. My vitality was back. I was thankful for every breath I took in this incredible world. I was under the spell, the spell of the Horse. Healing had commenced.”

Pam Billinge has written a book about her own journey to heal and achieve happiness. She writes about her experiences with horses and horse therapy. While struggling herself, she works with people who are having problems in their lives and the horse, in turn, helps them discover what’s wrong. Horses respond to their emotions and after working with them, they begin to ask themselves what they need to change in their own life trajectories and why things are the way they are with their family, relationships, career, or life in general.

I found The Spell of the Horse emotional at times, especially when it seemed that the author’s life was in a downward spiral. The book contains some of the author’s experience with challenging relationships, tragedy, love, death, and mourning. Some of my favorite parts in the book involved the discovery.

“Our spirit, our essence, is about being. It is the life that pulses and ripples within us. It is what is left when the heart beats no more. It is something that is sensed, and something of the senses. It is something which resonates, which vibrates. It is a silent music, and the emotions and feelings that animate us during life are the notes, the chords, and the crescendos of that symphony.”

The Spell of the Horse can be cherished by those who work with horses or enjoy horses in general, but it can also help anyone discover that healing is real. Readers will discover how others have changed their direction in life and have become happier people because of it. They’ve taken control, and all because of the spell of the horse.

My rating is:

images

 

Find this book on Amazon and Goodreads

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Blackbird Digital Books (September 18, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0995473552
  • ISBN-13: 978-0995473553

About the Author:

image.jpg

The first horses which Pam became fascinated by were ridden by the mounted policemen she would see passing her childhood home in Liverpool on the way to supervise football matches. Little did she know, then, how these magnificent creatures would influence her adult life, not only supporting her through a number of personal tragedies, but also leading to her pioneering work in horse-led psychotherapy and coaching.

In her first book, The Spell of the Horse, Pam shares her memoir and other stories inspired by the incredible interactions she has observed between horse and human. Thus she reveals the true nature of the horse whilst delivering some simple principles to help the reader transcend life’s challenges to live with purpose, self-belief and joy.

Find Pam Billinge on:

Facebook | Website | Goodreads | Twitter

Continue reading “#Blog Tour #Book Review – The Spell of the Horse by Pam Billinge”

Q&A with Lu Picard – Co-Founder of ECAD – Educated Canines Assisting with Disabilities – Luis Carlos Montalván & Tuesday

 

collage (1)

In May I discovered a children’s book titled Tuesday Tucks Me In by Luis Carlos Montalván. After learning about service dogs and the relationship that Luis and Tuesdayluis-carlos-montalvo-600x400.jpg developed, I wanted to learn more. I went on to read every book I could find regarding Luis and Tuesday and learned all about how important service dogs are to our wounded veterans, veterans living with PTSD, people with physical disabilities, and even children with autism. If you’d like to see my original posts regarding these books which include videos and many pictures of Luis and Tuesday, you can find them by clicking the links below.

Luis Carlos Montalván – A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him

Tuesday’s Promise and Tuesday Takes Me There by Luis Carlos Montalván

An Interview with Bret Witter – Co-Author of Until Tuesday, Tuesday Takes me There, and Tuesday Tucks Me In.

 

In the book Until Tuesday, Luis discusses where Tuesday came from and explains a little bit about Lu Picard, the co-founder of ECAD, where Tuesday was trained. Lu Picard was kind enough to answer some of my questions regarding ECAD, and a few regarding Luis and Tuesday. I’ve included some information about ECAD below as well as my Q&A with Lu Picard and hope that everyone will enjoy reading and learning more about it.

What is ECAD? 

logo.png

ECAD stands for Educated Canines Assisting Disabilities and is a non-profit organization founded by Lu and Dale Picard. ECAD provides highly skilled Service Dogs to assist people living with disabilities.

How did ECAD get started?

After Lu Picard’s father suffered from a stroke, she discovered how she could train their family dog to help her father become independent again and more like himself. She decided that this was what she wanted to do: train service dogs for those that needed them. She started ECAD in 1995 and a year later her husband became involved full-time as well. They now have training facilities in Connecticut and New York.

Making a Difference

Here are two amazing videos from Marlo Thomas on her “The Hero Next Door” series which highlights Lu Picard’s story and gives viewers an idea of some of the training that goes on at ECAD and also how Lu Picard has helped children with disabilities get involved with training dogs.

 Continue Reading for the Q&A!

Continue reading “Q&A with Lu Picard – Co-Founder of ECAD – Educated Canines Assisting with Disabilities – Luis Carlos Montalván & Tuesday”

Q&A With Bernard Jan – Author of A World Without Color: A True Story Of the Last Three Days With My Cat

 

collage-2017-07-24

A few weeks ago I came across a book on Goodreads titled A World Without Color: A True Story Of the Last Three Days With My Cat and knew right away I needed to read it. It’s a memoir written by Bernard Jan pertaining to the loss of his beloved cat Marcel. Bernard was very kind to offer some of his time to discuss his writing and some other questions I had about the book. You can see my Q&A with Bernard Jan below.

If you’d like to see my previous post including my review for the book, you can click HERE. 

Click the cover to add on Goodreads, or pick it up on Amazon by clicking HERE.

Kindle Unlimited members can read this for free!

35560756

 

Continue reading “Q&A With Bernard Jan – Author of A World Without Color: A True Story Of the Last Three Days With My Cat”

Q&A With Author Carol Buckley – Founder of The Elephant Sanctuary & Elephant Aid International

collage-2017-07-04 (1)

Earlier this year I read a few books about an elephant named Tarra. The first one I read was titled Tarra & Bella written by Carol Buckley. It’s a book about an elephant (Tarra) and the unlikely relationship she had with a dog named Bella at The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee. After reading it and learning about Tarra, Carol Buckley, and The Elephant Sanctuary, I had to learn more. I picked up Travels with Tarra, a book about Carol Buckley and Tarra before her life at the sanctuary, and Just For Elephants, another book about an elephant named Shirley who is retiring from a zoo and being moved to The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee. If you’d like to see my original reviews/posts on these, you can click on the titles below.

bella-and-tarra.jpg


Tarra, an Asian elephant, was brought to America in 1974. Tarra was purchased to live at a tire store and the owner specifically purchased her in hope of increased sales. Not long after, Carol Buckley met Tarra for the first time. She instantly had an interest in Tarra and became a permanent fixture in Tarra’s cage.

tarra-_tire-store1974_cropped-clean_med.jpg

Carol began studying her and wanted to know everything about her. As time moved on, Carol began training Tarra and believe it or not, Tarra became a performer in the circus. At one point, she learned how to roller skate! Because of her talent, she made multiple appearances in movies like Annie and even popular TV shows. If you’d like to see a video of Carol and Tarra from 1984, Click HERE.

In 1995, Tarra was moved to The Elephant Sanctuary, founded by Carol Buckley. It’s an Elephant retirement sanctuary where elephants can live as they are meant to, with other elephants, and in the wild. In the beginning it started as 200 acres and progressed to over 2,700 acres of land where elephants can roam and be free. Since then, other elephants have been moved there.

14102392_1243891985641160_5241255125438502958_n.jpg
From Left: Bella, Carol, and Tarra.

Carol has been working with elephants for over 40 years and has developed new standards of care for elephants in captivity. She is no longer with The Elephant Sanctuary and founded Elephant Aid International in 2010. She remains a protector of elephants in captivity and works to ensure that they are being treated humanly.  Currently she is working in Asia with Mahouts (elephant handlers) and is helping them train elephants properly while keeping them out of chains. Carol has created multiple projects including:

chained.jpg

  • Elephant Foot Care – A program that helps owners and handlers understand elephant feet and the care they need to remain disease free.

hqdefault.jpg

  • Programs to support and train Mahouts (Elephant Handlers) – Programs that help support Mahouts and their elephants by giving them tools, equipment, supplies and education for the care of their elephants. The training program uses Positive Reinforcement Target Training (PFTT) and teaches compassionate elephant training.

Carol-teaching-mahouts-foot-care_Nepal2_med.jpg

“Lack of space is the reason for most of the ailments that captive elephants are suffering from.” – Carol Buckley

 

Continue for my Q&A with Carol Buckley…

Continue reading “Q&A With Author Carol Buckley – Founder of The Elephant Sanctuary & Elephant Aid International”

A World Without Color: A True Story Of the Last Three Days With My Cat – by Bernard Jan – Book Review

A World Without Color

35560756.jpg

My Review

A World Without Color: A True Story of the Last Three Days with my Cat is a short memoir about one family’s experience of losing a beloved pet, a cat named Marcel. Bernard Jan lays out his experience with Marcel’s last 3 days of life as the emotions pour out of him on screen.

I found this book on Goodreads this morning after reading one of Bernard Jan’s blog posts and it sounded like a must read. As a person who has many pets, I sometimes think about what it’ll be like when the time comes to let them go. I wonder when, how, and what sort of choices I’ll have to make. In this book, the author tells his whole story about what his cat Marcel’s last 3 days were like interlaced with memories of the past. He writes about the effects of losing a best friend for himself and his family.

At multiple times I cried and could feel his emotions. He expresses what he’s feeling physically, his thoughts and emotions, everything so raw and real. Despite the sadness, I love the way this author writes.

And wherever I go, whatever I do, I will try to let you also feel a touch of the world through which we will walk together. I’ll be your eyes. My heart will beat for you. My lungs will soak up the scents of the seasons, and the music from the radio will lull us to sleep together.”

At first, I wasn’t sure about the additional ending. I felt like the fact that it was a true story meant that it should end the way the real story did, but it was unique that the author included an alternative ending for those that wanted a different outcome.

The events Bernard Jan experiences are something no pet owner wants to endure. Every once in awhile you read a book by an author and you wish you could give him a hug. This is that book…

Star_rating_4_of_5

 

If you’re a Kindle Unlimited Member, you can read this for free! For everyone else it’s only $1.99 right now on Amazon.

Click HERE to grab a copy.

Continue reading “A World Without Color: A True Story Of the Last Three Days With My Cat – by Bernard Jan – Book Review”

Lost – A True Story…

I told the kids to let you both out. It was a busy day and I had no time for anything. I was a little stressed and hadn’t managed my time very well that day.

I’m not sure how much time went by, maybe ten or fifteen minutes, but I realized you weren’t in the house. I realized that I forgot you guys were even outside.

I opened the door and you were nowhere to be found. I called you both and a minute later Winston came running up to the house from the woods, black and murky from head to tail.

I knew you guys either ran to the pond or maybe the ditch. Judging from the fish water smell, I guessed the ditch because the stench was almost unbearable. But, why weren’t you coming home?

I wasn’t surprised that Winston ran home so fast. He’s a home boy, but not you. You’re one of those dogs you see in the commercials on TV, running through fields of freedom, a hard working dog that can run all day without a break. Like the hard working dog on the Sesame Street video from when I was a kid.**

I continued to call for you and by that point, I started to panic. From the look on everyone’s face, it was obvious what they were thinking. I’d really screwed up this time. Where had you gone?

My first thought in my mind was that if someone found you, we’d never get you back. All it would take is one look in those big brown eyes. You’d be gone forever. How could I have done this?

We called and called and clapped our hands. All was quiet. We checked the pond and walked to the ditch. You weren’t anywhere in sight. I knew if you heard us calling your name, you’d bark. You always do that to let us know you heard us. I realized you must’ve been really far, but where?

I hopped in the car and began to drive. I realized that I’d been so busy, we never got a chance to play Frisbee with you guys. It was still cold out too. Why didn’t I take the time to run you out today? Had you eaten? Shoot, you didn’t even have your identification collar on.

I drove all over from block to block looking for you. I glanced over at every field. It was sunny, but cold, and absolutely nobody on the road. I pulled over and got out. I called for you. After about twenty minutes, the tears started. I began to panic.

I continued to drive. I was hysterical and the tears were flooding my eyes to the point where I couldn’t see well. I pulled over and began to pray. “Please God, bring her home. I screwed up. I’m so mad at myself. Please bring her home safe. Please, God, don’t take her from me.”

It was 3:45pm and at that point it had been over a half hour. The humane society closes at 4pm daily and I needed to call to report that you were lost, otherwise they wouldn’t know to watch for you.

First, I called animal control and left a message. When I called the Humane Society I could barely hear the guy. There were so many dogs barking in the background. I couldn’t describe you to the man. I was losing it and entered a totally panicked state.

I gave him your description through my broken voice. “She’s a black and white border collie, 2 years old, on the smaller side.” He asked your name and that’s when I really lost it. He told me, “We’ll call if she shows up or we hear from somebody.” I could hear the reassurance in his voice, but it still didn’t comfort me.

I had to call mom. Who else could I call? I knew she would ask me why I left you out. She would ask, “How did you forget?” She loves you too.

I told her the truth, that I was too busy doing other things. My mind was lost somewhere between the internet and washing clothes. I cried and couldn’t sit still. I wasn’t breathing right. I paced around the house.

We probably had about forty five minutes of daylight left. I began thinking about the boy that showed up late one night last fall and asked us if he could look around our property for his dog. That night I was thinking, “that poor guy.” Now, I might be in those shoes.

As my mind kept analyzing what to do next, mom was talking into the phone, but I was barely processing anything she was saying. I couldn’t concentrate. Every word went in one ear and out the other.

I started thinking about what life would be like without you. I’d miss your herding behaviors around the house. You wouldn’t be at my feet anymore. No more hugs and smiles. You’re the only dog I know that truly smiles.

As I stood in the hallway with my back to the door, I began to put my shoes back on. I was going to have to drive some more. I wasn’t coming back home without you. I had plans to start asking door to door.

I went to open the door and there you were. I could see you standing just behind the glass in the door. My heart dropped into my stomach. I let out a long sigh.

You were so dirty and had icicles hanging off your fur. While I’d been panicking, you were running free and having the time of your life. I knew you must’ve been swimming in the ditch. I bet it was really fun for you, all that freedom.

When I brought you in and saw the mess, I knew it would take hours to get you clean. You had burrs throughout your whole coat of fur. You were shaking and breathing hard. I was so happy to see you. I wasn’t mad at you.

I put you in the tub and began cleaning you up. I continued to cry and was still very angry with myself. I thanked God repeatedly for helping you find your way home. It was a close call and it was going to take me awhile to get over this, even though you were home. I was so thankful.

I enjoyed every minute of grooming you that day. I appreciated every second of it. I stopped to reflect on just how much you meant to me. I reminded myself that this incident could never happen again.

Every time I bathe you, I think about that day, the day we almost lost you. I won’t ever forget it, Cynder Rae. I’m not going to screw up like that again. I’ll be sure to remember your Frisbee time from now on too.

-Mischenko

 

Continue reading “Lost – A True Story…”