The Hidden Connection:Discover What’s Keeping You from Feeling Happy, Healthy and Symptom-Free by Kathleen DiChiara

fpoThe Hidden Connection. Finished 7-8-15, rating 4.25/5, health, 167 pages, pub. 2015

The body doesn’t lie. At the root of all chronic health issues is an immune response to something in your environment, often leading to poor gut health, nutrient deficiencies, and internal inflammation.

The modern system of medicine has created a paradigm in which it’s normal to suffer from many conditions. You have been taught how to “manage” disease rather than uncover the root cause of the symptoms. This book will awaken the health detective in everyone, by teaching you how to listen to your body’s messages and discover what’s feeding your disease. It invites us to consider the functional approach to nutrition by looking at the systems of the body to correct imbalances and dysfunction.    from Barnes & Noble

I met this warrior mom at the Autism One conference after I listened to her presentation.  This was the description of her workshop…

Using the D.E.A.P.™ approach to wellness, Kathleen will take you through a journey of hope and triumph as she demonstrates the power of food as medicine that she used to reverse 21 chronic health conditions in her family, including PDD-nos, fibromyalgia, IBS, severe food allergies, chronic pain syndrome, endocrine disorders and more. She believes the body has the greatest ability to heal when we “lift the burden.” Her personal story, nutrition expertise, and insatiable curiosity will awaken the health detective in you.

She started on her healing journey after she had been put on disability because of her health issues and one of her sons was diagnosed with PDD-nos (Gage’s diagnosis).  This book is a great primer for what you need to know to start working toward better health.

I’ve read this book once and will read many sections again.  She will teach you what symptoms mean, digestion, the roles of our  body systems, common disorders, allergies, supplements, how to shop for real food, and how to detox not only your body but your home.  Sounds like a lot, doesn’t it?  She makes it easy to understand and each section gives you the highlights and how you can take action.

In my own journey to restore Gage’s health I have let my own decline with excess weight gain, terrible eating, and too much stress.  This book will be something I’m going to be working through a little more in the next few months as time allows.  My first goal is the elimination diet she outlines. The diet itself only last 10 days of eating basically fruits, meat and most veggies – wish me luck!  I did get a chance to meet her when I bought the book and she even gave us moms some kid friendly alternatives to unhealthy favorites.

Honestly, I recommend this to anyone, especially those with chronic conditions.  She and her family were in the same boat and this is how she plugged the holes and made the boat whole again.

This is her website and this is a 5 minute talk on YouTube that gives an overview of her outlook on health.

Mailbox Monday – I’m back!

mmb-300x282Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week.Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

I’m back! It’s Gage’s first day of Pre-K and I have six hours to myself!  Woo Hoo 🙂

Here’s what’s shown up at the house in the past month.

IMG_4117The kids books, movie (Big Sur) and The Language of Hoofbeats by Catherine Ryan Hyde arrived from the generous Vicki (I’d Rather Be At the Beach). Thank you Vicki!!

PokerGeist by Michael Phillip Cash arrived with a deck of cards and a poker chip key chain arrived from Red Feather Productions.

Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave arrived from a Good Reads win!

Epitaph by Mary Doria Russell and Doc by Mary Doria Russell I picked up at the author signing last month.

Son-Rise:The Miracle Continues by Barry Neil Kaufman and Let Me Hear Your Voice by Catherin Maurice are both autism books that I bought used at the library.

Did anything fun arrive in your mailbox?


Sundays with Gage – Pre-K

Mom life these first 4+ has been exciting, fulfilling, and stressful, and I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve said or thought, “When he’s in school all day…”  As a stay-at-home with a son who has food allergies, tummy problems and who benefits from various therapies, I have been operating on DEFCON 2 for many years just looking forward to some rest.

Tomorrow is pseudo-finish line that I’ve been aiming for as Gage starts full day Pre-K and I find myself surprisingly tearful and sad.  The summer is over and I’m sending my guy to school for 6 1/2 hours a day. That’s six+ hours that I am not cooking, chauffeuring, obsessing, getting frustrated…and I thought I’d be celebrating I in the streets. Instead, I am feeling resistant to be handing off these duties to someone else for the day.

.baby gage 023Remember this guy?

IMG_4015This is him last weekend at bedtime storytime at Great Wolf Lodge.

So, today I am sad, but tomorrow when I come home after dropping him off at school I may feel differently. I have a feeling that I will start decluttering the house at a feverish pace or I’ll take a nap. I’ll keep you posted.

This was taken at the botanical garden last week on their “zip line”. He looks ready to conquer the world right?


The 3rd Woman by Jonathan Freedland

The 3rd Woman: A ThrillerThe 3rd Woman. Finished 7-15-15, rating 4/5, thriller, 480 pages, pub. 2015

The first two murders went unnoticed. The third will change everything. . . .

She can’t save her sister.

Journalist Madison Webb is obsessed with exposing lies and corruption. But she never thought she’d be investigating her own sister’s murder.

She can’t trust the police.

Madison refuses to accept the official line that Abigail’s death was an isolated crime. She uncovers evidence that suggests her sister was the third victim in a series of killings hushed up as part of a major conspiracy.

She can expose the truth.

In a United States that now bows before the People’s Republic of China, corruption is rife—the government dictates what the “truth” is. With her life on the line, Madison must give up her quest for justice—or face the consequences. . . .

Los Angeles and the rest of California has become a dark, dreary place thanks to the smog and Chinese military bases along the coast, placed there after The U.S. defaulted on its debt.  Maddy, award winning journalist, publishes a expose at the same time her little sister is murdered and the already high-wired writer starts an immediate investigation.  She knows her sister did not do heroin but she’s having a difficult time convincing the police of  this and when she finds a connection to other murders her life starts to spin out of control.

It was around this point in the story that Maddy, as a real person, lost me.  She took maybe five minutes out of her life to tell her distant sister and then check in with her sick mom.  Finding Abigail’s killer was all she could focus on, with little regard for the family she had left, and it made her seem cold.

Now, aside from Maddy not being a character I understood or much liked, the story of the murders of young blond women, the Chinese takeover, and the political intrigue made this an exciting thriller.  The internet could bring people together to stand up to the powers that be, even of the all of the things that are wrong with politics now are still wrong in this new world.

I liked the premise since I can see a version of it happening and there were so many twists and turns that I was always excited when I found time to read it.  Maddy was a kick-ass lead character and the end did not temper her, but she remained true to herself and I can respect that.

Jonathan Freedland is an award-winning journalist, a number one bestselling author, and a broadcaster. He is the Guardian’s executive editor for Opinion and also writes a weekly column. He is a regular contributor to the New York Times and the New York Review of Books, and presents BBC Radio 4’s contemporary history series The Long View. In 2014 he won the Orwell special prize for journalism.

Thanks to TLC Book Tours for having me as a tour host and providing the book 🙂

Traveling the States with Gage – Indiana and Arizona

I had the best of intentions of working our way through many states this summer, but as  the first days of school looms we have managed only two.

fpoExploring the States:Arizona, the Grand Canyon State

This was the first state that Gage chose himself and I have no idea why, but was happy to see him take an interest.  We started by reading through the book and then I chose some  5-10 minute activities over the three days.  My goal is really just two activities  for each of the three days and then a book or two.


  1. Traced the state map, marked the capital and put on some stickers having to do with Arizona (thank you Jill!).  Wrote Arizona.

2. Colored the state flag, state reptile (ridge nosed rattlesnake) and state flower (cactus blossom).

3. We made our own cactus blossom using this pin as an inspiration.  We used a brown paper wine bag since it was brown and we could cut it to make it stand up.  First we painted his hand green (he looked very Hulkish), then he used the dot paints to make the flowers.  After the paint dried he added the ‘ouchies’, wrote his name at the bottom (any excuse to get him to practice), and he cut along the line I drew.  Wha-la!  a perfectly lovely cactus blossom.IMG_3832IMG_3836IMG_3843

4. Since the state coloring page included a snake we used this pin and made our own snakes.  Here’s Gage making his.  This activity is great for fine motor. First he cuts the strips, then he has to make a chain.  He had to concentrate but he did it.  We drew on eyes an a tongue and had snake fights.IMG_3899IMG_3903IMG_3905

5. Kay sent me this great book and it’s an Arizona spin on the Three Little Pigs.  fpoThe Three Little Javelinas was PERFECT for learning about Arizona.  Javelinas are sometimes called wild pigs, they are related to swine and hippopotamus and instead of them running from the Big Bad Wolf they are on the run from a coyote.  The two brothers and one sister use traditional southwest things for their three houses; tumbleweed, sticks from inside a cactus (called saguaro ribs), and adobe bricks.  Along the way you learn a few Spanish and Native American words and about how the traditional things are made or where they come from.  The illustrations were wonderful and Gage loved it!  So did I – thanks Kay!  32 pages and perfect for ages 3-7.

fpoExploring the States:Indiana, the Hoosier State

I found myself very uninspired by Indiana when we did this state so we didn’t do as much as I would have liked.

  1. Traced the state map, marked the capital and wrote Indiana.
  2. Colored the state flag.
  3. Drew lots of racetracks.  IMG_3036
  4. Watched the movie Cars.IMG_3066
Yes, I know, lame.

Keep sending me ideas for your state – especially book ideas!

Our Michigan activities. Ohio activities. Pennsylvania activities. West Virginia activities.

Film disappointments – Sandra Bullock

I love Sandra Bullock and have ever since I saw her in Speed and While You Were Sleeping.  No matter what the film, she was always likeable and fun to watch.  In addition to those first few I’ve loved her in The Proposal, The Heat, 28 Days, The Lake House, Crash, Miss Congeniality, Murder by the Numbers…you get the idea.  I even liked her in the bomb Forces of Nature!  I think, in all, I’ve seen her in 24 movies.

So, I brought All About Steve, co-starring Bradley Cooper, home from  the library.  I know it was panned by the critics when it came out but I figured Sandra could really pull off anything, especially if it was supposed to make me laugh.  I was wrong.  She was so completely miscast in this disjointed 2009 movie.  She was very strange and that’s okay because I’ve always considered normal pretty boring, but not strange in much of a real way.  Also, I know she looks young, but I’m not sure what age she was supposed to be pulling off.  It was very disappointing, even with the overriding message of it’s okay to be different.

Has one of your favorite actors or actresses let you down lately?


The Tenth Justice by Brad Meltzer

fpoThe Tenth Justice. Finished 7-15-15, 4/5,  thriller, 389 pages, pub. 1997

Unabridged audio read by Scott Brick.  14 hours.

Fresh from Yale Law, Ben Addison is a new clerk for one of the Supreme Court’s most respected justices. Along with his co-clerk, Lisa, Ben represents the best of the fledgling legal community: sharp, perfectionistic, and painstakingly conscientious – but just as green. So when he inadvertently reveals the confidential outcome of an upcoming Court decision, and one of the parties to the case makes millions, Ben starts to sweat. Big time. Ben confides in Lisa and turns to his D.C. housemates for help. They offer their coveted insiders’ access – Nathan works at the State Department, Eric reports for a Washington daily, and Ober is an assistant to a leading senator – to help outsnake the blackmailer who holds Ben’s once-golden future hostage. But it’s not long before these inseparable pals discover how dangerous their misuse of power can be, even when accompanied by the very best of intentions.

from Goodreads

For much of this book I didn’t understand how Ben, a supposedly brilliant Yale grad and newly touted Supreme Court clerk, could do and say so many dumb things.  He was likeable enough, but not the brightest star in the sky (a star’s a star though, I guess) and he frustrated me.  He and his three best friends had a lot of confidence in his brilliance but I wasn’t convinced.

Aside with how doltish Ben seemed for much of the book, I really liked it. The Supreme Court is always a draw for me, as is the Washington DC setting, although there was little political intrigue for a DC thriller.  What there was though were enough secrets and behind the scenes negotiations, crosses and double-crosses to keep me riveted.

I liked the relationship Ben and his three best friends from high school shared and was sad when one of their fates was less than happy.  It added a little bit of reality to an otherwise outlandish story.

This is my second Meltzer book but the first one he wrote and I was impressed with his debut into the novel publishing business.  Have any of you read any of his newer books that you’d recommend?

Sundays with Gage – late addition

This summer has officially kicked my butt and it’s still a month until school starts.  I knew I wouldn’t have much time to myself this summer since I haven’t replaced any of Gage’s ABA therapists. They came to our house for 2 hour sessions so I would have  time to do a load or two of laundry, read, write a blog post or visit your blogs 4 times a week. No more of that.  The summer has been full of medical mysteries and mishaps so I’ve spent lots of time researching and in doctors offices or hospitals.  I don’t usually share these things but I do share things about Gage and this is how life goes with a 4-year-old.

First, let’s start with when I first noticed this in June…

IMG_3635[1]Do you see the bump behind his right knee?  After an x-ray and ultrasound he was diagnosed with a Bakers Cyst.  Might get bigger and might not go away until his late teens.  It was a long 4 days from first seeing it to a benign diagnosis.

Then almost 3 weeks ago Gage started having acid reflux/hiccups  Seriously, from when he wakes up until he falls asleep.  He says they don’t hurt but they are taking a toll on his mood.  Doctor said to put him back on Zantac and after an ER trip last night because the reflux/hiccups were so bad when he went to bed that he threw up, another doctor said to try Prilosec.  Oh, and he took x-rays too.  The medical protocol is always pharmaceutical to mask when the problem might be.  Both of these doctors literally shrugged when trying to explain what might be going on.  Gage has a complicated and mysterious gut that I have spent hundreds (thousands?) of hours trying to puzzle out and I hope I can find an answer soon because it is frustrating not be able to help. (We did try the Zantac for 3 days but it was no help)

And if we’re friends on Facebook you might have seen that Gage was at nature camp this week when one of three boys going through the woods together stepped on a hive in the ground and Gage got stung 5 or 6 times by yellow jackets or hornets.  I am lucky that I did not get pulled over or cause an accident the 15 minutes it took me to get to camp!  He was fine, eventually, but the trauma of it caused lots of crying every time he talked about it.  The kid has guts though and looked at me like I was crazy when I asked if he wanted to go back the next morning.  No fear in my guy and he was back the next day walking through the woods.

I don’t know if I’ve properly expressed how much stress I’ve been under this summer (Gage actually seems to be handling it all fairly easily by comparison!).  I have visited a few blogs and will keep visiting as time allows, but just wanted to let you all know what’s going on here in Cleveland.  Jason did take me to a nice dinner and comedy club on Friday night so there are always bright spots 🙂