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Scary books for elementary kids

November 30, 2013 --

Ms. Nancy’s Library Blog

Boooooooooy howdy, do I wish the Goosebumps series had never been created. In my first library (at a school with students grades 6-12), I had a few Goosebumps books, and a number of Goosebumps videotapes. What? Moving along to library #2 (K-8th grade students). The students fought over the Goosebumps books and things turned a little horror show-ish. (“Mine!” “No, mine!” riiiiip went the pages.) It was sort of a Goosebumps story come to life.

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How to pick the perfect book

November 28, 2013 --


by Erika Weisensee
Book Lover

Take it from an avid reader and member of two book clubs, there are a lot of great books out there. When I turn the last page and read the last words of a really good book, I am always sad that the experience is over. On the flip side, it is really disappointing to commit your time to a book that drones on—a book that by page 50 makes you wonder, “Why am I reading this? Will it get any better?”

So how do you choose a great book? Well, it’s easier than you think, but don’t just rely on best sellers lists and book reviews. Here are some ideas for finding literary magic:

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5 truly hideous Thanksgiving desserts

Winter design for looks, warmth

November 25, 2013 --

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by Julie Nolta
Julie Nolta Design

COZY UP TO WINTER

The cold and rainy season is upon us again, and we find ourselves spending much more time indoors. At the end of a long day, we want to come home to a warm and safe haven from the bluster outside. If your place doesn’t feel as snug and welcoming as you’d like, here are a few things to try this fall and winter:

Throw on a sweater: Add a soft throw and pillows with fuzzy, sweater-like textures to your bed or sofa for a spot of color and some instant coziness. Replace your cotton sheets with flannel or jersey knit bedding. Keep your toes off the cold floor with an area rug. Whether or not you have carpet, a rug can add texture and visual warmth to the room. Pick one in deep, rich colors to help banish the “drabs” of winter.

Turn on the light: Bring in decorative candles in your favorite scent and an extra lamp or two to lighten up the room and enhance your mood.

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Choosing online shopping over Black Friday

November 22, 2013 --

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by Shannon Ables
Portland writer

The Simply Luxurious Life

The big shopping weekend of the year is nearly upon us, and with more than 140 million shoppers expected to shop online for Black Friday through Cyber Monday deals, I wanted to share a few tips for taking advantage of the benefits of online shopping whether it’s during the holidays or throughout the year.

Personally, as someone who lives in rural Oregon, online shopping is a life-saver. While I would prefer to shop in person for many items from clothing to decor, when this option isn’t available, shopping online can work just as easily, and often better. Let me explain:

Benefits of Shopping Online:

1. Endless Options – often online shops have more selection than what is found in stores which enables you to get exactly what you want in the proper size, color or style that you desire.

2. Buyers’ Market – with the endless options, you can compare prices and make sure you are getting the best deal on the precise item you want.

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End of the Garage Sale Era?

November 20, 2013 --

yard sale
by Jamie Brazil, Portland

Her blog
Author of Prince Charming, Inc.

Turn on the TV, open any lifestyle magazine, and chances are America’s new thriftiness has grabbed your attention. From “Storage Wars” and “Pawn Stars”, to Flea Market Style Weddings, the new-to-you market just keeps growing. And while secondhand may never be sexy (unless there’s a Goodwill Gone Wild in the offing), it’s a sizzling hot industry with sales in the billions.

But an article in the weekend paper made me pause, and wonder if my favorite weekend hobby of garage sale shopping might be coming to an end before long. Enter The Garage Hunters. Hosting a garage sale takes days out of the seller’s life with pricing, nailing up signs, selling, and then later hauling the leftovers to a donation site… so why not sell everything in one lot to the highest bidder?

According to Yazen Haddad, founder of Garage Hunters, the average household makes about $1500 for their cleanout effort. The buyers, who own thrift stores and similar outlets, will resell the goods for a profit. Everybody wins.

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Learning to love Mondays

November 18, 2013 --

monday

Amee Foster
Certified Family Life Educator, Oregon
This Great Adventure Blog

It’s Monday. Know how I know? I know because I found B’s gym clothes on the laundry room floor this morning, after he left for school. I know because I realized J didn’t have lunch money, after he was on the bus. I know because while getting T and C out of the car at the elementary school, we realized C’s backpack was still at home, even though I was sure I had picked it up myself. Ugh. It’s Monday.

Why does Monday get such a bad rap?  Is it because we would rather sleep in like the weekend?  Is it because various items such as backpacks, jackets, and half of each pair of shoes has gone missing since Friday?  Maybe it’s because we have to deal with a job or people we would rather avoid.  Maybe it’s because it’s the furthest from the next weekend.

I must confess, I rather like Monday’s.  After a crazy weekend with the kids, I have the house to myself.  I run around like a tornado getting it in order (and getting my exercise), then I have a quiet afternoon.  It’s delicious.  When I was teaching, Mondays  were fresh and new.  It was a blank canvas on which I painted my week.  Usually things are so orderly, goals set, lists made, and I’m off!  Friday’s are the days which are disappointing.  Not all the goals are met, I have lost steam, and the boys will be home all weekend…how will I get the rest of my list checked off?

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What would you put on your life’s Coat of Arms?

November 15, 2013 --


Carolyn J. Rose
Oregon writer
Deadly Duo Duh Blog

A few years before he died, I watched my father using a drill to shave away a sixteenth of an inch of plasterboard in a bathroom ceiling.

My father was a carpenter, so this wasn’t an act of born of ignorance. Rather it was an act of expedience. The exhaust fan almost fit. It was almost time for lunch. He was almost out of patience. Using the drill was quicker than going to the garage for a saw.
“If our family had a coat of arms,” I told him when the fan was in place, “it would have a picture of a man using a drill for a saw.”
“And a picture of a woman holding a drill behind her back while denying she’s done the same thing,” he shot back.

True. I had done that. Several times. I am, after all, my father’s daughter.

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How to define true luxury…

November 13, 2013 --
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by Shannon Ables
Portland writer

The Simply Luxurious Life

“A good response to consumerism might be not to sacrifice these pleasures and live without lobster and lemons but to appreciate what really goes into providing them.  Our desire to have luxury cheaply is the real problem. If the route to your table were dignified and ethical at every stage, a lemon would cost more, of course. BUt maybe then we’d stop taking lemons for granted and find their zest all the keener.” – Alain de Botton for the Wall Street Journal

The gift of living a luxurious life is to live in a state of great comfort. To an outsider the idea of living luxuriously may appear extravagant or unnecessary, but it is interesting to note that defining what comfort or extravagant is changes depending upon one’s time in history, one’s circumstance, one’s personal economic situation and the world’s economic situation.

In Alain de Botton’s recent article “Art for Life’s Sake”, Adriaen van Utrecht’s painting Banquet Still Life is analyzed as Button points out that to bring such bounty to the table, it is necessary to appreciate its journey and not ignorantly dismiss the gourmet feast that is presented. What a wonderful lesson for life and the riches too often taken for granted until they are no more.

Today I’d like to share a list of 36 true luxuries – some are tangible things and some are anything but tangible and can only be experienced. The commonality that each of the items has is that in order to appreciate the riches when we are presented with them, we must be mindful of the journey that brought them into our lives. Such a simple lesson and one of the primary keys to living a simply luxurious life.  Here we go . . .

Read the full article and discuss it »

Veteran’s Day: A Mix of Triggers and Honors

November 11, 2013 --

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Welby O’Brien, Oregon writer
Love our vets blog

Veteran’s Day and other patriotic holidays can really catch us off guard. Ironically, the one day of the year set aside to honor our veterans often is one of the most difficult for many of them. Especially those with PTSD. And the sad thing is that most people do not get it. So how do those with Post-Traumatic Stress and their loved ones best survive this time of year?

Yesterday I was looking for Veteran’s Day cards at our huge local super store. Three complete aisles and four end displays of greeting cards, including rows and rows of Halloween cards (that in itself would be another blog another time). Could not find the Veteran’s Day cards.

So I asked an employee (who had worked there for 15 years). She had not even heard of Veteran’s Day! What? Excuse me???

Finally I found them. Just a few cards. Down at the bottom. It made me mad. And sad. So I bought a whole bunch (if you ever need one, call me.)

For the first time, I realized that I too am more susceptible to being triggered this week. Do not be surprised if our vets and those of us who love them seem more irritable than usual this time of year. Symptoms of PTSD may be much more hot-wired (sleep disturbances, anxiety, substance abuse, withdrawing, outbursts or emotions, hyper-vigilance, flashbacks, suicidal thoughts, etc.).

Read the full article and discuss it »
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