From Tracie

Monday, September 29, 2014

Welcome To Honey Month (Or The Time I Cleared A Library Display)

It is honey month. I know this, because our library has round display tables and stands all throughout the building with collections arranged by topic. This month, there was a stand for honey bees.

Books and dvds abounded.

I wanted them all.

You see, I love honey. And I love honey bees.

I can't resist clicking on an article about Colony Collapse Disorder.
I'm concerned about living in a world that has less pollinators.
I sometimes think about how awesome it would be to keep bees.
(Not on a huge, professional scale, but just to have a few hives.)

So I started picking up books and dvds.

They all looked so good. The stack in my arms started growing.

"What are you doing?" Thomas whispered to me. It was a library after all.

"Look at all these great bee things. We are going to learn so much about bees! Here's a book Katarina can read for school, and the biography of a beekeeper, and more than one documentary we can all watch together." I responded, in a not-so-quiet whisper.

"You aren't supposed to take things off the displays. Or maybe just one thing. But not all the things."

"But. THE BEES, Thomas! Look at all the bee things."

Thomas wandered towards a librarian to ask a question about a book he had on hold (or possibly to get away from me and my bees).

As I stood near him, with a stack of bee things in my hands, I saw a women's history display. A book about female aviators for Katarina? Check. A book about Grace Hopper for me and another one about Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony? Check.

I now had two armfuls of books and dvds. As Thomas watched me pick up books from the second display, he just shook his head.

My arms started to feel tired.

"Are you seriously getting all of these display things?" he asked.

"Yes," I responded, and then to the librarian, " We are allowed to check out things from the displays, right?"

"Of course. Take as many things off of the displays as you want." the library replied, "We want people to check them out."

I shot a smile at Thomas, and picked up another bee documentary.

That night, I was doing some work, and Thomas and Katarina were discussing entertainment options. I heard her say, "We could watch a movie. Mom borrowed a lot of them from the library..."

Some rustling sounds followed as she looked in the library bag, "I think, I think these movies are all about bees."

Honey month, y'all. Go check out a book or dvd, and learn about bees.

It will be fun. I promise.


One of the bee books I checked out was (affiliate linkThe Beekeeper's Lament: How One Man and Half a Billion Honey Bees Help Feed America.

The Beekeepers Lament cover
It is the mix of the biography of beekeeper, John Miller, who transports his bees around the country for pollination, and the history of bees and beekeeping. I really enjoyed this book, and even though I have some difference in opinion with the author about the bee plight, I learned a lot of interesting things.

Including this honey-buying tidbit: If you turn a bottle of honey upside down, the rate the air bubbles rise to the top lets you know how pure your honey really is. It those bubbles go up fast, the honey has probably been cut with corn syrup, water, and other additives, even though the FDA allows it to still be labeled as "pure honey" and those other ingredients are not necessarily disclosed on the label. So, when you are buying honey, look for slow-moving bubbles.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Spreadsheets And Snooze Buttons

Come close. Hit the pause button on life for just a second. What good things are happening in your life right now? Let's take a second, and really allow ourselves to feel thankful for them.

yellow roses

Things that make you smile, like alliteration and small green leaves that curl around yellow roses. Things that bring joy to your heart. Or blessings that come unexpectedly.

Ten thankfuls from my life today:

1. The snooze button on my alarm.

2. Inspiring books. Especially when one is written by a friend.

3. Rainy days. We lost power for several hours yesterday after an extremely heavy rainstorm. That wasn't my favorite, but even so, it was beautiful. And the power came back on, bringing the internet with it, so I am thankful for that, too.

4. Internet quizzes. Yes, I love them. And I love it when a friend sends me links to particularly great ones on twitter.

5. Sitting up late at night, watching movies with Thomas (I have to admit that this is directly related to being thankful for that snooze button).

6. Every time I get tagged in a picture because it is yellow.

7. Spreadsheets. I'll out myself as a total geek here (as if you didn't already suspect that), but along with office supplies, I really love a great spreadsheet. And if it is a spreadsheet about books? I love it even more.

8. Magical raspberry jam, and people who make it.

9. PBS. To take that whole geek thing one more step...we are that family who sits at home on a weekend night (or any night, really) watching PBS, and loving every second of it.

10. Encouragers. I'm blessed to have several people in my life who are particularly gifted at this special power, and for each one of them, I am thankful today.

Bonus Thankful: I Believe, by Christina Perri.

What are you thankful for today? Tell me in a comment. Or write a post of your own, and link it up with Tamara and Roxanne at SITS for Back to Blogging, and then share it with Lizzi at Considerings this weekend.

Thankfulness is a powerful thing.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Fall Bucket List For People Who Don't Get Fall

I love fall. It is my favorite season. To kick off Back To Blogging at The SITS Girls today, Roxanne and Tamara have asked for a fall bucket list - all the things we want to do in the next three months to celebrate fall.

Unfortunately, I live in a place that knows no fall. Orlando, Fl.

Our leaves don't change. Our air does not get cool. There are no corn mazes, and pumpkin patches tend to happen in parking lots with sad pumpkins lined up on pallets. The closest we get to fall is buying a cinnamon broom at the grocery store.

This is why I have to break out my Pretend Fall Survival Kit. It is an essential tool for those of us living in southern states who yearn for the beauty and wonder that is fall, but are missing out on the required crisp, cold air to bring it about successfully.

Fall Survival Kit

Ingredients For A Pretend Fall Survival Kit

  1. Hats - Knit hats. Wool hats. Hats with buttons. Hats with ribbons.
    Hats are essential for giving you that fall feel.
  2. Fall-Flavored Drinks - I have Apple Cider and orange coffee on my shelf right now. Anything Pumpkin Spice flavor will also work. (You get bonus points if you have an orange mug with which to toast the arrival of fall.)
  3. Fall Books - Anne of Windy Poplars always makes me feel like fall is in the air.
  4. Fall TV & Movies - My family watches all the episodes of Gilmore Girls with changing leaves when we want to pretend it is fall. In movies, When Harry Met Sally has great fall scenes in it, and so does Stepmom. You've Got Mail also has some beautiful fall moments, including the line "bouquet of sharpened pencils" if you are willing to overlook the fact it is the movie that kills dreams. For other fall fun, and a movie that also is very much about pencils, check out The Odd Life Of Timothy Green, which is one of our new fall favorites.
  5. Fall Scented Candles - Pumpkin Pie. Apples and Cinnamon. Apple Pie (any pie scent is great for fall). Spiced Cider. Frosted Cranberry. Leaves. Vanilla Shortbread.
  6. Fall-Colored Accessories - You might not have deep, red leaves around you, but you can carry a deep, red purse.
  7. Boots - The only shoes I love that aren't flip flops.
  8. Scarves - I like to make my own, but that isn't required.
    You can't have fall, or pretend fall, without a nice scarf.
  9. Socks - Not pictured because they are currently on my feet. They are yellow with white stripes, and quite cozy. My friend Tia sent them to me. I've turned the air conditioner down extra cold, because there is no such thing as sock weather in Florida.
That's how we pretend fall is here at my house. It works pretty well - as long as we don't actually walk outside very often. 

What would you put in a (Pretend) Fall Survival Kit?

Sunday, September 21, 2014

When More Is Not Enough

I read a lot of books - fiction, non-fiction, science-fiction, YA, biographies, self-help, fantasy, art books, mysteries, coffee-table books, children's books, classics. I read them all. And sometimes, I get to read a book written by a friend. Those are my very favorite kinds. So when my friend Amy Sullivan asked me if I would be interested in an advance copy of her new book When More Is Not Enough, I said yes right away, and downloaded it excitedly.
When More Is Not Enough Book Cover
When More Is Not Enough falls in the category of non-fiction. But more accurately, I think it could be described as a pieces of Amy's heart formed into words on the pages of a book. There just aren't numbers for that in the Dewey Decimal System, so we will go with non-fiction.

So. What is this book about? It is about raising kids who are givers. Teaching your children (and yourself) to invest in your communities and changing your focus from consuming to serving.

I don't know if you have ever read Amy's blog. Yes, she is a blogger. That is how we met. But if you have, you will recognize her voice in this book. Not in an "I've read all these stories on her blog already, and didn't really get any new information from this book that I couldn't have gotten for free on her blog" kind of way. But in an "Amy is a real person, who doesn't hold back even when the story doesn't show her in the very best light, and is still learning how to do this life thing just like you and me" kind of way. Never preachy. Often funny. Always honest. Very real.

book quote - see the needs of others

Can we talk about practical, non-fiction books for a second? Sometimes these books are not very...practical. You pick them up, hoping for some answers, a new perspective, maybe a few action plans, and ideas that can actually be implemented in your life in simple and straight-forward ways. But you usually get a lot of inspirational talk mixed with nothing that actually applies to your life in a practical way. When More Is Not Enough is an exception to this. Amy shares stories from her family's experiments with serving and giving, and quite a bit of inspiration, but she also brings it all down to a very practical level of ideas that will fit into your life.

She doesn't pre-presume you already have answers, or are prepared to live a life of service this very minute. Changing the focus of your family from the consumer-oriented success the world offers to the service-oriented heart God offers is not a quick change. It won't happen in one day. There will be mistakes, projects that are less than ideal, and a learning process that takes time. But if you keep trying, keep praying, find causes that cry out to your heart, identify your talents, and focus on projects you can do as a family, you will find your heart and your family changed in forever ways. She also included lists of practical resources and start-this-very-second activities to help you get started.

book quote - shake off comfortable and start to act

I loved When More Is Not Enough. I read it straight through in one sitting, but it is a book I will turn back to again and again for ideas and inspiration. And to re-read the story of the time Amy gave birth on the side of the road, because that kind of unexpected fun (fun? FUN!) never gets old.

I know you will love it, too.

One more thing about Amy and When More Is Not Enough. All the proceeds (yes, ALL) are being donated to Transformation Village, a housing development for women, children, and families in crisis in Western North Carolina. I want to encourage you to follow that link, and check out the work Transformation Village is doing. It is a really awesome idea, and one that I would love to see duplicated in towns and cities across the nation.


Amy L SullivanWhen More Is Not Enough will be released on Amazon September 22nd.

About Amy L. Sullivan: For the past two years, Amy looked harder, loved stronger, and discovered more by fixing her gaze on something other than the person staring back at her in the mirror. Amy writes for oodles of print and online publications and loves speaking with groups of any size. Connect with her online at You can also find Amy on facebook, twitter, google+, instagram, and pinterest. (<---you'll love her!)

Saturday, September 20, 2014

RSVP For The Rugby And Reme Twitter Party 9/25!

Rugby And Reme Party
My friend Kelly is hosting a fun twitter party next week, and she asked me to help spread the word. Rugby and Reme is a super cute new website with two Bernese Mountain dogs that will wag their way right into your kid's hearts. They have apps, fun coloring pages, learning programs, and free online games and story books. There are even two films that are just out of pre-production.

My Katarina is a little old for this site (small sob), but I know a lot of you have younger kids who would absolutely love these two pups. So check out all the details for Kelly's fun twitter party, and go visit Rugby and Reme. You won't want to miss it!

Join Us for Rugby and Reme’s FIRST Twitter Party! #HiRugbyReme

To celebrate the recent  launch of, our favorite Bernese Mountain dogs are having a party—and you’re invited. Share the excitement over their website that features the animated versions of the cutest Berners we know and all their canine friends. Join us to chat about new friendships, favorite pets, and how animation brings poignant emotions to “life.”.

The Details

Date: Thursday, September 25
Time: 9 p.m. (EST); 8 p.m. (CST); 7 p.m. (PST)
Hashtag: #HiRugbyReme
@SavinSaidSimply —Hostess
@SeaWorldMommy — Hostess
@RugbyAndReme — Sponsor

Prize Packs

Five lucky winners will get Rugby and Reme merchandise prize packs, and the grand prize winner will get a prize pack, plus a $100 Visa gift card! (See prize descriptions below.)

  • Book Prize Pack — “The Ancient Adventure Begins” aka The Adventures of Rugby and Reme Book 1; 1 set Meet The Characters Playing Cards; 1 10” fabric Frisbee.
  • Movie Book Prize Pack — Rugby and Reme Movie Book DVD Books 1 & 2; 1 set Meet The Characters Playing Cards; 1 10” fabric Frisbee; Children’s Logo Baseball Cap.
  • Fun Prize Pack —“The Ancient Adventure Begins” aka The Adventures of Rugby and Reme Book 1; 1 set Meet The Characters Playing Cards; 1 10” fabric Frisbee; Children’s Logo Baseball Cap.
  • New Friends Prize Pack — Small Rugby Plush Toy; Small Reme Plush Toy; Children’s Logo Baseball Cap; 1 set Meet The Characters Playing Cards; 1 10” fabric Frisbee.
  • Facebook Prize Pack —Small Rugby Plush Toy; Small Reme Plush Toy; “The Ancient Adventure Begins” aka The Adventures of Rugby and Reme Book 1; 1 set Meet The Characters Playing Cards; 1 10” fabric Frisbee.
  • Grand Prize Pack — $100 Visa Gift Card; Small Rugby Plush Toy; Small Reme Plush Toy; “The Ancient Adventure Begins” aka The Adventures of Rugby and Reme Book 1; Rugby and Reme Movie Book DVD Books 1 & 2; 1 set Meet The Characters Playing Cards; 1 10” fabric Frisbee; Children’s Logo Baseball Cap.

How to Enter 

1. Share about this party on two social media platforms of your choice like Facebook and Twitter.
Sample Tweet: “Mark your calendar to say HI to new friends at a Twitter Party w/ @RugbyandReme on 9/25 at 6 pm PST/9pm EST. #HIRugbyReme
Sample Facebook Update: “Join the conversation on friendship, pets, and animated film at the #HIRugbyReme Twitter Party on 9/25 at 6 pm PST/9pm EST.
2. Follow @SavinSaidSimply, @SeaWorldMommy, and @RugbyAndReme

3. Tweet during the party (Thursday, September 25, 2014 at 7 pm PST; 8 pm CST; 7 pm EST). Every tweet is an entry to win! Don’t forget to use the hashtag in every post so it’s counted, and remember to add the Q# so we know which question you’re answering.

4. Fill out this form so we have your info.

5. To RSVP, leave a comment below that includes the Twitter handle you’re using at the party (and entered on the form). Include the links to your two posts (on whatever social media channels you’ve chosen).


The Rugby And Reme Twitter Party Contest on 9/25/2014 (contest) is open to US residents age 18 years or older. To be eligible for a prize, entrants must follow each item in the above section “How to Enter.” Tweets eligible for prizes must be posted during the 1-hour Twitter Party time-frame. Winners will be chosen at random (using from all participants’ Tweets, once eligibility is verified (RSVP recorded, two posts provided, form filled, hosts and sponsor followed, hashtag and Q info used). Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received.

This contest is not sponsored, endorsed or administered by any Third Party Service including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or any other third-party service. Entrants who choose to make posts on Facebook to share about the contest, acknowledge that the Contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook and that any questions, comments or complaints regarding the Contest should be directed to the Contest Sponsors and not to Facebook.