I'm currently on week 2 of my daily green smoothie fix and loving it, although some combinations taste (and look!) better than others. A surefire winnI'm currently on week 2 of my daily green smoothie fix and loving it, although some combinations taste (and look!) better than others. A surefire winner is cherries/bananas/spinach and almond milk--just the right amount of sweet. I think I overdid it on spinach with the first few tries so the flavor wasn't the best (especially with certain fruit combinations and maybe the almond milk), but I've never made anything I can't drink, and now it's become a daily habit! My only issue is I've made smoothies by the recipe, and most don't look like the picture...they're a lot uglier (usually brownish, when combining a red fruit [cherries/strawberries] and the spinach. My husband and parents have made MANY comments about the undesirable color of my smoothies, but who cares? They're delicious and nutritious! I can't wait to try new recipes--the book has a ton!
One more small irritation with the kindle version- it doesn't have an index, so i guess you have to just search for an ingredient you're looking for, like peaches. Give me an index, Kindle!...more
I recently read "Bringing up Bebe," about the American mom bringing up her kids in Paris, and when I saw this in an Ollie's, I thought--oh, it's likeI recently read "Bringing up Bebe," about the American mom bringing up her kids in Paris, and when I saw this in an Ollie's, I thought--oh, it's like that book, but with the Amish! And when you think of Amish children, if you think of them at all, you think of them as well behaved, responsible, respectful, hard-working, and good-natured (well, that's what I think of them, at least). So I was definitely intrigued, and it was worth my $4.99.
But this book was about a lot more than just Amish child rearing--it was really about the entire Amish culture, and how that culture is responsible for creating children with value (and note: not just happy). The Amish's focus on community (in this case, in rural Ohio) and how they depend on each other, the value of responsibility and pitching in, even from a very young age, and the value of hard-work and respect--hell, I'm not close to being Amish and I want my children to be raised with those values! The community aspect made me feel definite longing, because my husband and I are fairly isolated after moving to a new city and haven't made many friends yet, and all of our family and most of our friends are 7 hours away in North Carolina. So the fact that Amish people are so dependent on each other, and feel less isolation was very intriguing to me. I was also impressed by Miller's discussion of technology, and mainly how INTENTIONAL the Amish are about using technology--not phobic, but they will choose when it benefits the community thoughtfully (even regarding cell phones and using computers at work, which are approved on occasion). They just don't believe that the amount of technology modern society uses is beneficial to the person or the community. And while that's a hard line to take, when I see how families and individuals are affected by technology and the busyness of modern life, I can completely see why they've made that decision. And I think incorporating less technology into our hourly (not just daily) existence, and being aware and intentional about how it's used in families (even 2-person families, like spouses) is more positive than mindlessly using it.
Mostly, I want to raise secure, curious, kind, thoughtful, hard-working, disciplined children. I'm not going to go Amish (or Mennonite), but I think some principles of the Amish way of life could be adopted and embraced for our family to create these kinds of kids.
Overall, I was surprised at how profound I found the book and how I'm still thinking about it days later, and it's led to some good conversations between the hubs and me (and indirectly, I've left the TV off the last few nights when I've gotten home from work). I learned a lot and it dispelled a lot of misinformation I had about the Amish--I really enjoyed reading it....more
One of the more exhaustively researched and cited books on diet I've read, and it makes inherent sense to me--i'm definitely surprised it's not more rOne of the more exhaustively researched and cited books on diet I've read, and it makes inherent sense to me--i'm definitely surprised it's not more respected/used in Western medicine. Taubes knows his stuff. Low carb, high fat. That's the bottom line. I won't say that I've adopted that diet, but after trying it in the past, it's good to know it's an option to me without feeling like I'm "dieting" and calorie counting, which DEFINITLY doesn't work....more
Absolutely charming memoir about a woman's experiences bringing up her kids from birth in Paris. While the book could come off like "Americans are stuAbsolutely charming memoir about a woman's experiences bringing up her kids from birth in Paris. While the book could come off like "Americans are stupid, the French do it better," she gives some great examples of how the way our parenting has changed in America (being more "helicopter" parents than ever before) have not been to the benefit of our children. In a nutshell, the French method of parenting is really about giving kids autonomy, not rushing in to fix their problems, and not making them the center of the universe. My husband actually recommended this, and these are all principles he agrees with and relates too--he grew up really independent (he was hunting with his dog with a gun at the age of 5!), had a lot of time to himself, and learned he wasn't the center of attention. My parents were probably more hands-on, but I don't remember them chaperoning me everyone, or getting involved in my academic scrapes (like an unfortunate grade) or getting in the way of friend squabbles. Druckerman says the French expect their kids to understand their parents (even as infants), to eat food that adults eat, to behave themselves without being entertained, to be responsible for certain things (even some of the cooking)--really to explore who they are, and how they work, while still understanding that the parents are in charge and the authority. And intuitively this all makes sense to me.
I really loved Druckerman's stlyle of writing--very self-aware (she may not be French, but her children are getting there) and very journalistic. It was easy to read, but packed with good research bits and great stories from her French parenting counterparts. I'd heard about this before reading it, and it delighted as much as I thought it would....more
You know, when I first finished this, I thought it was cute and fun (I loved American Wife and think Sittenfeld is talented). But the more I thought aYou know, when I first finished this, I thought it was cute and fun (I loved American Wife and think Sittenfeld is talented). But the more I thought about it (and honestly, I read some other reviews, so maybe that’s unfair of me), the more disappointed I was with it, and frankly--I think Austen should be left well enough alone. The way Sittenfeld updates the book (set in modern day Cincinnati) was pretty clever, and I enjoyed figuring out how she was going to write the well-known characters (like Wickham, in particular). But it's really missing the chemistry of the original, and left out important descriptions about how characters felt and acted to make it really pop. Most notably I saw it in the scene where Darcy tells Lizzy he loves her the first time. This is a big deal. A huge deal. It completely shocks Lizzy. And yet, there was no idea of HOW Darcy felt--what his reaction was in the moment, no descriptive adjectives just a lot of dialogue. It was just written like another scene. And while that scene has lasting impact in the story, the scene itself lacks description.
And the last arc of the book revolves around a reality show which was not nearly as clever as the author thought, and got fairly tedious and long-winded (and I did not buy that Jane would be involved with it).
One of the biggest complaints is that the characters are fairly 2-dimensional. The author introduces a transgender character and a black character who really have no other purpose besides pissing off another main character, and for the author to educate her audience as if this were an after school special. They really felt shoehorned into the story for political reasons. The characters themselves were Very. Nice. People. That’s about all the depth they have. Oh, look how nice and normal they are! They'd make a good love interest! And what makes zero sense is how those two very nice characters partner up with two sisters who are basically dreadful from the beginning with few to no redeeming qualities. There’s really no reason these two characters would attract these nice guys, and just because Sittenfeld says so (in the instance of one couple, that they love each other completely) doesn’t mean I believe it. And even Lizzy herself seemed like a sad sack stuck in an unfulfilling relationship and a job she’s ambivalent about. I think of P&P Lizzy as much more independent and kickass. This version of Lizzy is not particularly appealing.
And then the last chapter of the entire book, after all the romantic resolution happens, focuses on MARY! Absolutely dreadful Mary, for God's sake. I don't even care that that's a spoiler--who gives a crap about Mary? She’s awful, and in this version she’s SPECTACULARLY awful for no particularly good reason (that’s a description of most of the characters: “spectacularly awful for no particularly good reason.”) What a weird way to end an homage to P&P.
This review has mostly been complaints, and yet the story itself was very readable and the take-off overall was pretty clever. But American Wife seemed much better written and the main character (from what I remember) much more richly drawn. I wonder if Sittenfeld felt hemmed in by the source material and how closely she’d have to hew to it. It’s come off as fluffy, which is perfectly fine, but when you’re talking about P&P, which is just a delightful read and still holds up a few hundred years later, it’s not really a contest. I spent a weekend in NY reading this, and it certainly wasn't a waste of time, I just expected more. ...more
I heard Peggy Orenstein on NPR's Fresh Air (which seems to be the way I'm hearing about a lot of new books/authors) and she was talking about this booI heard Peggy Orenstein on NPR's Fresh Air (which seems to be the way I'm hearing about a lot of new books/authors) and she was talking about this book. I absolutely had to read it, and it was both fascinating and disturbing. My big takeaway is that with all the strides from feminism, one of the negative effects is that girls think they can act like boys sexually, being more sexually aggressive and less "romantic" (and our culture promotes that), but not only are they getting the raw end of the deal (girls are still labeled sluts, and we still have a puritanical culture where girls are concerned), their pleasure and their bodies are not even taken into consideration. Teenage girls are warned by adults about pregnancy and rape culture, but they're not told how their bodies work, what they deserve in a romantic/sexual relationship, and to ask for their pleasure. Girls are really not told even to expect pleasure (Orenstein notes that even at a young age, their sexual organs don't even get a name. They're "literally unspeakable.") And because sexuality is more acceptable these days, boys have no problems asking for what THEY want (and getting it--head, sex, naked text messages) without thinking they need to treat women with respect and explore their sensuality in return. It's incredibly one-sided. Orenstein's suggestion that we do more than just "sex education", that we really have frank conversations with our girls about their sexuality, development, and pleasure, is something that i know will make most people uncomfortable, but that doesn't mean it should be avoided. This is one of those areas where I think (and Orenstein cites) Europe does it better. I think she cites Swedish parents, as one example, that have these kinds of conversations with their daughters (and sometimes allow their boyfriends to stay the night...yikes), but rates of pregnancy, sexual violence, and low self-esteem are much lower here than in the States. That's something to seriously consider.
I think Orenstein's research methods are solid--she interviews 70 girls from ages 16-20, but she includes no footnotes except some end notes at the end that aren't directly marked. I wanted to see more research scattered throughout the book, because I know there's plenty. I have to dock a star for that, but otherwise the book is readable, well-written, and incredibly timely. As a person who wants to raise children, i want to know that my potential daughters aren't going backwards and asking for less than they deserve in romantic relationships, and that my potential sons aren't taking their own pleasure for granted (or as primary), at the expense of their partners. That's just unacceptable to me. Our girls deserve better....more
I swear, this is the first book I've finished since I've moved to Baltimore, and that is some sad stuff. But hey, it's been a challenging time with aI swear, this is the first book I've finished since I've moved to Baltimore, and that is some sad stuff. But hey, it's been a challenging time with a new husband, new job, new city, blah blah blah. I'm grateful I was able to finish SOMETHING!
I saw a promotional event where Laura Prepon was discussing this book, and there was something about it that seemed different than other healthy diet books. Prepon and her co-author's Elizabeth Troy's approach was vastly different from my usual interest in autoimmune/paleo cookbooks. Troy here focuses on the gallbladder and the liver, and they have a 3-point plan where broth is one of the points--and I love making broth and have not seen it so prominently displayed as part of a healthy diet in other cookbooks. Usually it's just a mention. And the second part of the plan is specific stretches to benefit the gallbladder and liver, which is ALSO something I'm not used to in cookbooks. Usually healthy diet books are focused just on the food. So I really liked the inclusion of those two things as a priority in a healthy diet.
And then let's get to the food. I love the idea of this "grab your stash" and go--the food is basically mix and match, it's well-balanced, and it's designed to be made on only a few days a week. I think this book offers a unique perspective in this genre.
However, I haven't actually TRIED any of the recipes, so I can't speak to the tastiness of the food, but I like the ingredients and the way it's prepared. Also, I feel like this is easier for a single person to implement than a couple or family--it strikes me as perfectly designed for a singleton. My husband does a lot of the cooking (which is great, and we often have leftovers that I take for breakfast/lunch), and I'm not sure if he'd be on board with the food, but I'd like to try it once a week when he's in class just to get back into the swing of cooking.
Overall, I think it's a smart "system" for healthy cooking, and I look forward to digging into the recipes more. And the tone and stories of the two authors was very engaging. I enjoyed reading it, and it had a lot more to absorb more than a usual cookbook....more