Sunday, August 20, 2017

Thousand Star Hotel

Thousand Star Hotel is a book of poetry by the poet, Bao Phi. I usually don't gravitate toward poetry, but this book caught my eye. I'll tell you why when I tell you what I think of the book. (Hint, keep reading!)

The Poems

Phi's poetry tells his experiences as an Asian American immigrant. His life growing up in Minneapolis. He writes about how the color of his skin has affected his life. His views on the world are based on his experiences. He shares his dreams for his daughter. And he shows how different the life she is leading than the one he shared growing up. He shows a world most of us don't think about often. 

What I Think

I enjoyed reading most of these poems. First, because I lived in Minnesota as a child. And the Asian community of immigrants in The Twin Cities is a big part of that time. As I read some of the poems where the writer describes having racial slurs thrown at him, I thought to myself, I didn't know these individuals had to go through that. I knew, but it didn't really sink in until I read the poems. Yep, I felt a little ignorant.

Racism is a huge issue in this country right now. And sometimes it feels like we are being beat over the head with the conversation about racism. But the I think these poems reminded me, that there are two types of knowing. There is the kind of knowing that is in your head. It's the cognitive knowing. And then there is the knowing that is in the heart. That's the emotional knowing. I think you need both in order to really confront issues of racism. And Bao Phi has managed to write poetry that makes those connections in Thousand Star Hotel.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

2000 Calories

2,000 calories is the standard set by the USDA for food consumption. It's pretty liberal, you can eat quite a bit of food throughout the day if you eat healthy.

Now, I am not a calorie counter. I eat things that I like, and I try to make sure they are healthy. If it sounds tasty, I will give it a try. And I enjoy a wide range of foods. This makes things pretty easy when you go to a restaurant.

So as I browsed through the menu at a local restaurant recently, I thought to myself that this creamy pasta dish sounded wonderful. It had cheese it had cream it had meat, it had everything including the kitchen sink. And then I looked to the side of the description of this pasta dish. It said 1960 calories. I exclaimed 2000 calories! My dining partner asked what? I pointed out the item, and asked isn't that all of the calories you are supposed to eat in a day? So when the waitress came I ordered one of the items with 730 calories. And I had mixed feelings about the way that dining establishments had begun to put the calorie count beside items on their menus.

Friday, August 18, 2017

The Crap Car

Have you ever owned a crap car? One that no matter how well you treated it, just seemed to give you trouble right and left? I did. It was this car.
It was cute. It was sporty. It was something every college girl needed. But I owned it three days and something went wrong. The water pump went out. This was the beginning of a cycle. Once a month I took that car in for repairs. I was determined that the crap car was not going to get the better of me.

It just never worked on a regular basis. But I stuck with this cute little car. I racked up credit card bills right and left repairing this vehicle. I paid my monthly loan payment. I dream of the day when this car would be paid off.

I put a new engine in the vehicle, and I of course thought it will be paid off someday. Someday, there will be a time when I will no longer have payments on the crap car. And it did happen, I paid the car off two months after it emitted it's last fume.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Angel's Hand

I went with a friend of mine to Crown Hill Cemetery last week. If you like to explore cemeteries this is one you really need to check out. John Dillinger is buried there, as well as Benjamin Harrison. It's located in Indianapolis, and it's pretty easy to find. While I was there I wanted to find a tombstone with a great angel. You know one of those sculptures that can only be found in one of two places. One of the places is a church, and the other is a cemetery.

I found one. This tombstone was a life size angel. It was missing the angel's hand though. I thought about how an angel could loose it's hand. I mean a real angel not one carved in stone. Can there really a one handed angel who has fought some ethereal battle? I don't know the answer to that question, but I really liked the statue of this angel.
Let me know what you think of the photo.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Our Father's Fought The Second World War

The past couple of days, I've been thinking of that song Allentown by Billy Joel. In fact, I've really been thinking about one line in the song. Our Father's Fought The Second World War. My father did fight that war so it does have a little meaning to me.

These lyrics have been on my mind due to the events that occurred this past week in Charlottesville. An event where Neo-Nazi groups protested. An event where hateful slurs were yelled at counter protesters. An event where a member of the Neo-Nazi group utilized the tactics used in London by terrorists. He drove a car into a crowd of counter protestors.

I struck me as odd, that a member of a group of people who claims they don't want members of other races and other religions in their country would employ the tactics of another group of twisted individuals. And I thought to myself, these far right individuals have one thing in common with some of the individuals they claim to hate. The commonality is they only want to hate and injure.

My father fought against Nazi's in that war of the past, and I wondered to myself what would our fathers who fought the second world war think of the events of that day. Is that what they fought for?

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Sugar Skull Bear

I know there are people who think I'm a pack rat. They are probably right. I do enjoy my thrifting. But I do use the items I thrift, and I create new items. And a few months ago I found a paper mache bear. I knew I wanted to do something fun with it. And I decided to go with a sugar skull theme. Here's what I made. It's the sugar skull bear.
I like the way he turned out, let me know what you think of him.

Monday, August 14, 2017

August Star Blog Hop

I used to tell everyone that the longest day of the work year is the day before your vacation begins. This past week I've wondered if that's really true. Because it seems like this year the longest day of the work year was the day I returned from vacation. It just drug on. Enough about that my vacation was wonderful, and it's Monday time for the blog hop. Please share your posts, and

by Angie Ouellette-Tower for photo YoureTheStarHopLarge_zpsncuylahd.jpg

Welcome to week#3 of the August "You're the Star" Blog Hop!
Before we continue onto the Linky party I wanted to share this post from my blog:
This past week I shared a post called Simple Inspirations. Take a look at it, and let me know what you think.


WELCOME to FAMILY feature week of the
August "You're the STAR" blog hop!
Meet your FAMILY week Host & Cohost 
by Angie Ouellette-Tower for photo YoureTheStarFamily_zps6gnkp7zk.jpg
This week is FAMILY feature week
Swing by the Family hosting team's blogs:
Miranda @ The Myrabev Life
Linda @ Country Loving Mom
Elizabeth @ Family Farm School
This is a month long Linky party featuring YOU!
There will be 4 different features each week and 4 different feature categories.  Just to be clear - this is NOT a themed party - you may link up ANY family-friendly blog posts any day of each month. 
The "theme" occurs in our weekly features:
WEEK#3 FAMILY - parenting, fitness, health, finances & inspirational (this can include anything about children like: education ideas for children, also self help, beauty etc -  anything family friendly)

by Angie Ouellette-Tower for photo ShopHoppingFeatured_zpsf9fab123.jpg

(These features were chosen from the July "You're the STAR" blog hop)
 Homeschooling:  It's Not Meant To Be Easy by Homeschool Insights

New York City - The MOMA & More by Not In Jersey
The MOMA & More

DIY Rustic Tic Tac Toe Board by Welsh Design Studio

Looking After Your Body by Comfort Spring

If you've been featured then please grab a STAR button below:

You're a STAR
We are in need of more Cohosts (click HERE to view a list of our current hosts/cohosts). 
If you are interested in joining us as a Cohost then please click HERE & fill out the form.


All Hosts/CoHosts will post this blog hop on every Monday of each week.
Please link up your family friendly blog posts below!
It wouldn't be a linky party with YOU!
(IMPORTANT NOTE: by linking up you understand that you might be featured next month and if so, we will use some of your photos from your post - rest assured - we will always link back to your lovely blog.  We might also share your fantastic posts on social media.  Also, you may link up as many family-friendly posts as you like & YES - other blog hops &/or giveaways are welcome {giveaways and blog hops will NOT be featured though}  Thank You & ENJOY! )


What I've Been Watching This Past Month

I realized that it's been a while since I shared with all of you the movies I've been watching. So I'm sharing some of the ones that stick out most in my mind.

Atomic Blonde

If you are a female that likes action movies, then this movie is for you. There is loads of actions, and hey it is so great to see a female take over kind of a James Bond role. She is great! And the plot has a few twists and turns that you will love. You think you know the whole story, but make sure to watch that last scene because you really don't. This is a great summer movie! And one of the things I really liked about the movie. The heroine uses items in her surrounding to fight with, a freezer door, a hose, whatever she can find. It is cool!

The Last Word

There are those individuals in life, that seem to never get the praise they are worth. Harriet is one of those individuals. She decides that she needs to have someone write her obituary, and well the writer can't find anyone that has something good to say about her. But Harriet decides to do something about all of this. And she decides to change lives. And she does. This movie is more of a chic flick. But it is fun to watch, and it reminded me that we shouldn't judge a book by it's cover.

Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?

There is a reason some movies are called classics. They have a great story line, and they are acted out perfectly. This is one of those movies. I've found that most people haven't watched the movie. If you haven't you should. It's the story of a sibling rivalry that has gone all so wrong. I watched it on youtube. So take a look at it. Bette Davis and Joan Crawford are excellent in it.

So, these are a few of the movies I've been watching this past month, what's been on your viewing list?


Sunday, August 13, 2017

Brown Rice and Beans With Ginger Salsa

It's time to cook again, and you don't want to run to the store. You want to be able to just use items you have on hand. And of course you want the meal to be healthy. Brown rice and beans with ginger salsa is a super easy meal that fits all or most of the criteria listed above.

Here's What You Need

2 Tablespoons olive oil,
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup brown rice 
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 15 oz cans black beans
1 cup vegetable broth
1 garlic clove
1 Tablespoon chopped ginger
1 Tablespoon grated lime zest
2 jalapeno peppers
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 avocado, halved, pitted and chopped
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

Here's What You Do

Heat your olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add 1/4 of the onion and cook until it is softened. Add rice and stir it to coat. Add two cups water  to the mixture. Cook until the rice is tender. Remove this from the heat and let it stand cover for about 10 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork, and add a 1/4 cup of the cilantro.

While that rice is cooking add a little oil to a saucepan. Add 2/3 of the remaining onion and cook until it is softened. Add the coriander and cumin and follow that up with the beans and broth. Bring this all to a boil and reduce the heat.  Allow it to simmer until the sauce thickens. It should be 8 to 10 minutes.

Now add the chiles, garlic, ginger lime zest and lime juice into a food processor and pulse it. 

Finally take the rice put it in a bowl, top it with beans, salsa, avocado , cheese, salsa and lime wedges.

It's such a simple meal that tastes wonderful. And of course brown rice and beans with ginger salsa is so healthy. Let me know what you think of the recipe.

Now add your 

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Thrifty Finds Week 26

This weeks thrifty finds seem to be a hodge podge of items. Some are very practicle, and then there are some that were just whimsy.
As you can see from a distance there are a lot of items. There are a lot of paper items. And my faithful followers know my love of paper. I just can't resist picking some up if I see it. I did restrain myself a little though. But there is a really practical item in this find a shopping cart. It will come in handy when I am moving things back and forth from sales. And it was two dollars. It was a steal!
I actually found the wine glass. I mean I paid nothing for it because I found it outside. Those are the best deals of all aren't they? I loved the postcard with the horses on it. And there were some embroidered pillow cases I picked up to. I love these old pillow cases. They are always extremely soft because they have been broken in by someone else.

I think this was my absolutely favorite find of the week. The He-Man's Cookbook is so kitschy. I found it at an estate sale. It's published by Ford Motor Company for their employees. And I have to admit I truly love the cover of this. I think I am going to use it as part of a gift for a friend of mine who loves to cook. 

So what thrifty finds have you come up with this week?

Friday, August 11, 2017

The Borgen Project

Today, my friend Gloria, is going to present a guest post, about a project that she has been working with. It's called the Borgen Project, and well give it a read, and decide what you think of it.

Hi! I'm a friend of Heidi's and this guest blog post is about my internship for The Borgen Project.

One of the things I really like about this internship is that they hold us accountable! Every week there is a list of things to do, and I really like that. I'm also learning about search engine optimization. At first it seemed complicated, but then I realized what they were getting at. It would have made more sense if they just said, make sure your SEO phrase is in the name of your article. Then, mention your SEO phrase once every hundred words. That's it! There was a bunch of other complicated stuff, but with a lot of things, it helps to keep it simple, especially if you are not a techie!

So, about my internship. Part of my duties is to raise some money for The Borgen Project. What this organization does is raise awareness, initiate policy change, and raise money to fight extreme global poverty. While they do care about poverty here, the organization chooses to focus on global poverty. If everyone on earth has what they need to survive, it helps them and it helps people in first world nations. Being self-sufficient means less foreign aid.

Speaking of that, here's a mind-blowing statistic. Less than one percent of the U.S. Federal Budget goes to foreign aid. The United Nations estimates it would take $30 BILLION a year to eliminate poverty worldwide. That seems like a huge, insurmountable sum of money—but it isn't. Why? Well, because the United States spent $663 BILLION on military spending.

I'm not saying military spending is not important. Some of you may have friends or family serving, and to serve one's country is a very honorable thing. However, some of that spending is very wasteful. The United States buys tanks it doesn't really need. With advanced technology, especially drones, tanks these days are rather pointless.

You might read this and think, “well, I'm no billionaire. My paltry amount won't do anything.” That's where you're wrong. How much do you make on a typical day at work after taxes? $80? $120? $50? According to the World Bank, in 2011, 17 percent of the world's population lived on $1.25 or less a day. There has been a dispute as to how valid those numbers are, but whether it's $1.25, or $2, or $10, we can agree that is not a lot of money.

Based on the $1.25 amount, a donation of just $25 to The Borgen Project would mean one person would have 20 days wages. Economies are different all over the world, and what seems like a very small amount to us goes a long way somewhere else.

So if you are reading this, please consider donating something to my fundraising campaign. Here is a link to my page:

The Borgen Project was started by Clint Borgen, who volunteered in Kosovo in 1999. He started The Borgen Project in 2004, and it wasn't until 2014 that he became a full-time paid member of the organization he founded. Until then, he worked night jobs in restaurants, and worked full-time during the day, for free, for his foundation.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

And The Mountains Echoed

I recently grabbed the book And The Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini. I read two of his other books, The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns. They are both excellent books. But I hadn't read the book I picked up. So I decided it was time to give it a read. So here's what I think of the book.

The Story

This is the story of how many lives are intertwined. But the story begins with two children named Abdullah and Pari. They is an unusual connection between the brother and sister. The story follows the children through life, and it shows how events twist and turn in each of our lives. It begins and Afghanistan, and follows individuals around the world. In this book you see how the lives of two individuals are connected to so many others.

What I Think

I liked this book. I liked that this book is about individuals, and how they affect so many different peoples lives. I like that while this book is about Afghanistan, it doesn't focus on the horrible events that occurred in that country. He states in the book, that those stories have already been told. And it's true. There is much more to that country than those few years. I like that he shows that life has gone on for the individuals from that country. 

I also liked many of the characters in the book. I like how it shows that we often hurt the individuals closest to us. I would have liked for the book to have a little happier ending. It wasn't a bad ending, but it didn't have that happy ending we all love. Instead, it had a realistic ending. And there was a happiness in the way it turned out.

So I would recommend this book to individuals who are looking for an intelligent read with gret characters.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Simple Inspirations

Some days you just need some sort of simple inspiration to get you started. These words of wisdom can get your day going, and hopefully they will inspire you too look at life a little differently.
"Nothing is impossible; the word itself says, "I'm possible!"
Audrey Hepburn

"Luck is when an opportunity comes along and you're prepared for it."
Denzel Washington

"I always say don't make plans, make options."
Jennifer Aniston

"The Constitution only guarantees the American people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself."
Benjamin Franklin

"I really don't think I need buns of steel. I'd be happy with bns of cinnamon." 
Ellen DeGeneres

"The secret to staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age."
Lucille Ball

"Who begins too much accomplishes little."
German proverb

So what words of wisdom are the simple inspirations in your life today?

Monday, August 7, 2017

Monday's Star Blog Hop

This Monday is a vacation Monday. It's one of those Monday's where I just don't have to worry about anything. And on top of that it's my birthday! So other than that I don't have much to share today. I hope everyone enjoys the hop, and please share all of your posts.

by Angie Ouellette-Tower for photo YoureTheStarHopLarge_zpsncuylahd.jpg

Welcome to the second week of the August blog hop called "You're the Star"!
Before we continue onto the Linky party I wanted to share this post from my blog:
I thought I would share a simple DIY for your skin. It's so easy to make, and your skin feels wonderful.
DIY Mint Skin Toner


WELCOME to CREATIVE feature week of the August "You're the STAR" blog hop!
Meet your CREATIVE week Hosts 
by Angie Ouellette-Tower for photo YoureTheStarCreative_zpsvodufzbt.jpg
This week is CREATIVE feature week
Swing by the Creative hosting Team's blogs:
Colleen @ Butterfly in the Attic
Darlene @ Let It Shine

Anna @ Cuddlebug Cuties
Angel @ Sew Crafty Angel

This is a month long Linky party featuring YOU!
There will be 4 different features each week and 4 different feature categories.  Just to be clear - this is NOT a themed party - you may link up ANY family-friendly blog posts any day of each month. 
The "theme" occurs in our weekly features:
WEEK#2 CREATIVE - arts & crafts, music, writing &/or dramatic arts (this can include sewing, yarn work, dance, art history, handmade jewelry, painting, computer art, fashion etc - anything creative while remaining family friendly)

by Angie Ouellette-Tower for photo ShopHoppingFeatured_zpsf9fab123.jpg

(These features were chosen from the July "You're the Star" blog hop)

Newly Crafted Patriotic Ornaments by Debbie-Dabble Blog

Altoid Tin Padded Box Topper by Reviews, Chews & How-Tos

DIY Bunny T-Shirt by Keeping It Real
A new bunny T-shirt DIY

Pretty Lil Pocket Packs by Stone Cottage Adventures

If you've been featured then please grab a STAR button below:

You're a STAR

We are in need of more Cohosts (click HERE to view a list of our current hosts/cohosts). 
If you are interested in joining us as a Cohost then please click HERE & fill out the form.


All Hosts/CoHosts will post this blog hop on every Monday of each week.
Please link up your family friendly blog posts below!
It wouldn't be a linky party with YOU!
(IMPORTANT NOTE: by linking up you understand that you might be featured next month and if so, we will use some of your photos from your post - rest assured - we will always link back to your lovely blog.  We might also share your fantastic posts on social media.  Also, you may link up as many family-friendly posts as you like & YES - other blog hops &/or giveaways are welcome {giveaways and blog hops will NOT be featured though}  Thank You & ENJOY! )


Saturday, August 5, 2017

Jackfruit Gyros

So I decided it was time to add a little adventure to my dining routine. Recently, I have been cooking the same things. I decided to try something I had never tried before. I decided that I would try Jackfruit. And I would make Jackfruit gyros.

Now, many of you are saying what is a Jackfruit? Here's the trivia. It's the national fruit of Bangladesh. And it looks a little something like this.
Obviously, this isn't something we see at our local grocery store. Since it is an Asian fruit, you will probably need to go to your local Asian food store to purchase it. Or order a can of it off of Amazon. It's up to you.

So why make jackfruit gyros? It's simple. Jackfruit can be used as a meat substitute. It's low in fat, and it kind of picks up the taste of the items it is served with.

Here's What You Need

1 Tablespoon butter
1 large onion sliced thinly
1 20 oz can of jackfruit in brine.
3/4 cup of vegetable broth
4 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons oregano
1 teaspoon low sodium soy sauce
3/4 teaspoon ground coriander

Here's What You Do

Heat you butter in a skillet over a medium heat. Add the onion and saute it for three or four minutes. Add the jackfruit and cook it 20 minutes  or until is it browned and caramelized. Add your brother half of the lemon juice, oregano, soy sauce, and coriander. And cook until the liquid is almost evaporated. Then add the remaining lemon juice. Serve it up in a pita.

So let me know what you think of the jackfruit gyros.

Friday, August 4, 2017

The Deutsch Braid

We've seen all of those videos and pictures of really cool braids, they look so simple to do. But a friend of mine once told me they make it look so easy, but it never is. So I decided to test a few of them out. The first one is the Deutsch Braid.
Looks pretty cool doesn't it? So where do you start?
The first thing I did was to use some hair spray. I didn't have a good hair volumizer. So I used the hair spray in my house. The next thing I did was put my hair into a high pony tail.
That is simple. If you can't manage a pony tail then you probably shouldn't have long hair. Next I pulled the pony tail over the top of my head. And I began braiding. 
The braiding part is really easy. It's taking the picture of it while you're doing it that is the hard part. This is the best one I came up with. Once you have the braid complete, secure it with a band. That's pretty much part of any braid isn't it? 
The secure it close to your ears.
It will look something like this. 

Honestly, The Deutsch Braid is so simple to do. It just takes a couple of minutes, and It looks super cool. So this one is just as easy as the videos make it look.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

August Goals 2017

July rolled around, and I just didn't feel like setting any goals for myself. I thought that maybe I had enough of pushing myself. And I needed to see where I would go without the push. And I did accomplish some things in the month, but I didn't get the feeling of accomplishment I get when I set goals. So I decided it is more important than I thought for me to set some goals for each month.

Here are the goals I want to accomplish this month.

The Chair

I found a really cool chair. I liked the design, but I didn't like the color of the chair. I have started sanding it down.
As you can see I have started it, but I want to complete it. The sanding is almost finished. I want to have it sanded, primed and painted by the end of August. Those of you who share short attention spans know this is a big task.

Update Blog

I looked at my About page on my blog the other day, and I realized, I really need to update this. So look out world, you're gonna see an updated About page on this blog.

Take a Day Trip

This one is going to be super easy to achieve I believe. I have a little more time this month since I have vacation. I so need the vacation. But I want to see some other things in the world at least for one day of my vacation. It's going to happen, 


Yes, I have been working on my basement. The progress is very slow, but I want to paint part of the basement this month. This is a big project, but I believe I can get quite a bit accomplished this month.

So what do all of you want to accomplish in the month of August?

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Cast In Stone

Have you heard that phrase cast in stone. I looked up the other day, and thought of this phrase when I saw the stonework on this building. I thought of how something that is cast in stone has a permanent quality to it. And I thought about the person that made this piece of artwork. What was the person thinking when they created it? Were they excited about their work, or were they simply going through the motions? I'll never know, but it was fun to think about.