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Wednesday 11/05/2014
Cooler weather brings us to outside activity
Posted: November 05, 2014

This is a popular time of year around these parts because it’s finally cool enough for us all to step outside for a bit and enjoy the ever-so-slightly crisper air. And while there are definitely increased events and festivals happening around town, the turn of the season also marks a great time to explore a bit further. With that in mind, I thought I’d share three day trip destinations that are perfect for fall.

Apple Annie’s Produce and Pumpkins, located at 6405 W. Williams Road in Wilcox, is a fabulous family destination. My kids love the fact that they can not only choose their own pumpkin straight from the patch, but unlike grocery store pumpkin bins, the gourds at Apple Annie’s have to be cut straight from the vine. It doesn’t get much fresher than that, folks. In addition to the pumpkin patch, you’ll want to be sure to meander through the corn maze and then try some sweet corn as a reward for making it to the end. There are also fresh veggies available for purchase along with artisan honeys, dressings, sauces and spreads. Don’t forget to take your camera for some awesome photo ops.

Sonoita/Elgin – Just about an hour to the south and east of Tucson there is a true Arizona treasure for those of us with an affinity for wine. Visitors to the area can stop by one of several local wineries for tastings and the opportunity to meet the winemakers. The cost of tastings ranges from about $5 to $12 with discounts given when you bring a glass from a neighboring winery. My husband and I have visited the Sonoita wine trail many times. Some of our favorite wineries to visit are: Dos Cabezas, Lightning Ridge Cellars, Kief-Joshua Vineyards, Callaghan Vineyards and Arizona Hops and Vines. Visit Arizonawine.org for a full listing of vineyards and a helpful map.

Chiricahua National Monument – Located roughly two hours from Tucson, Chiricahua National Monument is a virtual playground for nature enthusiasts. Less adventurous types might opt to drive the eight-mile scenic loop and then settle in for a picnic, whereas energetic families can hike to their hearts’ content. What makes Chiricahua interesting is its balanced rock formations and pinnacles. Desert-dwelling kids will be awed by the trees and wild animals while mom and dad might just appreciate the quiet or the opportunity to get the kids out and about to expel some energy. Either way, the fall is a great time to visit. Be sure to bring a light sweater or jacket.

If you’ve got fall fever and are itching to get out and explore, you might try one of these options. All three are family favorites for us.

Posted in Blogs, Such the spot, Deserttimes on Wednesday, November 5, 2014 4:00 am. | Tags: Cooler Weather , Activity , Outside , Apple Annie's Comments (0)

A hefty helping of humble pie
Updated: November 17, 2014 - 4:02 pm

My husband and I recently had the opportunity to sneak away for a weekend alone. It marks only the second time we’ve done so since our son was born eight years ago and so, as you might imagine, it was a treat of the rarest kind. Our destination made it all the better; we flew to Providenciales, one of a string of islands that make up the Turks and Caicos Islands in the Caribbean. We were guests of the all-inclusive Beaches Resorts. The experience was luxurious in many ways, which of course, I had hoped it would be. While I thoroughly enjoyed being pampered, this particular trip opened my eyes to something I’m not entirely proud of: with age and increased financial security, I’ve developed into a rather spoiled and bratty American.

The purpose of the trip was to attend a social media event for mom bloggers. Beaches Resorts hosted just over one hundred of us and used the opportunity to flaunt their gorgeous properties and impeccable service. I think it’s safe to say their mission was accomplished; I came away with a clear picture of just how top-notch their accommodations are, due in part to the fact that I stayed in another hotel for a single night prior to the start of the event. The first night’s accommodations stood in stark contrast to those at Beaches. 

Upon check-in at the first resort we made our way to our room and opened the door to be met by a most pungent, musty smell. And heat— a wall of hot, wet air met us at the door. I walked in and found a spot for my suitcase, noticing a suspicious trail of what I suspect was black mold near the floorboards. Because I’m a bit of a germaphobe, my next stop was the bathroom; I wanted to sanitize my hands after having maneuvered through the airport and customs. To my dismay, the water from the faucet came out more of a muddy yellow color than clear. To make matters worse, it never got hot, no matter how long it ran. Based on the condition of the room, you might be thinking that we hightailed it out of there as fast as our legs could carry us. Not so. It was late and we were without the means to book another room, much less travel to one. And so we stayed. We went to great lengths to avoid touching anything unnecessarily. We closely inspected the sheets before precariously lying down in the bed for one long and uncomfortable night of tormented sleep.

I wish I could tell you that I took the whole thing in stride. I wish I could tell you that I chose to see the glass half full. We were, after all, on vacation in the Caribbean—something that not everybody gets to do. The sad truth, though, is that I whined. My husband was left with no doubt as to whether or not I wished we had just stayed home. My complaints were getting on even my own nerves but still they spilled forth from my mouth faster than I could compose myself and just shut up for the love of Pete. It was not and still is not one of my proudest moments.

The following morning we woke with the sun and didn’t so much as dare brushing our teeth before putting as much distance between ourselves and that dive hotel as we could. Without the means to call a taxi, we quite literally started walking—dragging our suitcases behind—towards Beaches Resort. Luckily we weren’t far into our journey when an off-duty taxi driver happened by and offered us a ride. We eagerly accepted and he delivered us, as promised, to what at the time seemed like the gates of paradise. We checked-in to our room at Beaches, properly brushed our teeth with crystal clear water and then promptly made our way to the nearest on-site restaurant for made-to-order omelets and a mimosa (or three). It was then and only then that all was right in my perfect little world.

As someone who has done a fair amount of traveling, I’ve always taken a certain degree of pride in being humble—in being grateful for the opportunities with which I’ve been presented. This experience opened my eyes to the fact that I’ve got a lot further to go when it comes to truly setting down my very American expectations and living each and every day gratefully, in spite of temporary circumstances. 

I recently attended a conference during which I learned that there are children in Africa who don’t even own a pair of shoes. Often times, they own just a single shoe and they will switch it back and forth between feet when one grows too scratched up or calloused. They walk ten minutes to fetch water and then walk ten minutes back home and have to boil the water over an outdoor fire in the family’s makeshift kitchen before they can even think about drinking it or using it to wash their faces or brush their teeth. They sleep under nets to protect themselves from the risk of mosquito-borne disease. They have access only to the foods they harvest or barter for. All of that and here I am wincing over a musty smell in a Caribbean hotel.

It’s easy to forget how fortunate we are to live where we do and have access to the things we have access to. I only hope that this experience helps me to remember. 

And be better.

Posted in Such the spot, Northwest chatter, Foothillsnews, News on Wednesday, November 5, 2014 4:00 am. Updated: 4:02 pm. | Tags: Humble Pie , Social Media Comments (0)

Wednesday 10/01/2014
Such The Spot: My daughter got inked
Posted: October 01, 2014

Recently, my young adult daughter texted me a picture of a tattoo so new that it was still red and puffy around the edges. The tattoo had been freshly applied to not just any ribcage, but my daughter’s ribcage. Forevermore the flying silhouettes of Peter Pan, Wendy, Michael and John with Tink hovering nearby will remain inked on her side.

Despite my fondness of all things Disney, this mama was not happy.

Rather than texting me a picture of the damage already done, I would have preferred a phone call prior to. Call me crazy, but after twenty years of blood, sweat and tears I feel as though I deserve at least that courtesy. A heads-up, if you will. Hey Mom, I’m here at the tattoo parlor about to get inked. I just didn’t want you to find out on Facebook. Love you! But no. By the time I learned of her very permanent decision, the pigment had already been set.

And I thought the sleepless nights of the newborn stage were hard. I’m finding that the oh-my-goodness-what-is-she-going-to-do-next stage is even harder. 

My situation is made all the more difficult by the fact that I was so young (sixteen) when she was born. Most of my peers—my friends—have children who are much, much younger. While they’re in the trenches with elementary or middle-school aged children, I’m dealing with entirely different troubles. There isn’t a lot of been-there-done-that information being passed along as encouragement and I find myself struggling, thinking I’m the only parent who has ever felt this way.

In my head, I know that I am not the only parent who has ever felt this way. The heart, though, is much tougher to convince.

When—as mothers—we pour our very souls into our children, we do so with the expectation that they will grow and go and value the contributions we’ve made to their lives and that those contributions would earn us a certain degree of respect. Maybe I’m only speaking for myself when I say that I assumed that my daughter would value sound advice offered in love and with her very best interests at heart. That has not proved to be the case and it’s a hard truth to swallow. 

I remember being young and sure and determined to go my own way. As I sail these treacherous waters, I’m clinging to the hope that what I’m going through with my daughter now is not a permanent condition but the result of a temporary headwind—a stubborn headwind at that. I’m hopeful that we’ll both emerge from these years without any permanent marks.  

Well, besides the obvious one, that is.

Posted in Such the spot, Deserttimes, News, Northwest chatter on Wednesday, October 1, 2014 3:29 pm. Comments (0)

Wednesday 09/24/2014
Such the Spot - My daughter got inked
Posted: September 24, 2014

Recently, my young adult daughter texted me a picture of a tattoo so new that it was still red and puffy around the edges. The tattoo had been freshly applied to not just any ribcage, but my daughter’s ribcage. Forevermore the flying silhouettes of Peter Pan, Wendy, Michael and John with Tink hovering nearby will remain inked on her side.

Despite my fondness of all things Disney, this mama was not happy.

Rather than texting me a picture of the damage already done, I would have preferred a phone call prior to. Call me crazy, but after twenty years of blood, sweat and tears I feel as though I deserve at least that courtesy. A heads-up, if you will. Hey Mom, I’m here at the tattoo parlor about to get inked. I just didn’t want you to find out on Facebook. Love you! But no. By the time I learned of her very permanent decision, the pigment had already been set.

And I thought the sleepless nights of the newborn stage were hard. I’m finding that the oh-my-goodness-what-is-she-going-to-do-next stage is even harder.

My situation is made all the more difficult by the fact that I was so young (sixteen) when she was born. Most of my peers—my friends—have children who are much, much younger. While they’re in the trenches with elementary or middle-school aged children, I’m dealing with entirely different troubles. There isn’t a lot of been-there-done-that information being passed along as encouragement and I find myself struggling, thinking I’m the only parent who has ever felt this way.

In my head, I know that I am not the only parent who has ever felt this way. The heart, though, is much tougher to convince.

When—as mothers—we pour our very souls into our children, we do so with the expectation that they will grow and go and value the contributions we’ve made to their lives and that those contributions would earn us a certain degree of respect. Maybe I’m only speaking for myself when I say that I assumed that my daughter would value sound advice offered in love and with her very best interests at heart. That has not proved to be the case and it’s a hard truth to swallow.

I remember being young and sure and determined to go my own way. As I sail these treacherous waters, I’m clinging to the hope that what I’m going through with my daughter now is not a permanent condition but the result of a temporary headwind—a stubborn headwind at that. I’m hopeful that we’ll both emerge from these years without any permanent marks.

Well, besides the obvious one, that is.

Posted in Such the spot, Northwest chatter on Wednesday, September 24, 2014 10:44 am. Comments (1)

Friday 09/12/2014
Such the Spot - A case of the HOA blues
Posted: September 12, 2014

Before I lived in one, I always thought that neighborhoods with Homeowner’s Associations were better than those without. I imagined manicured lawns and pride of ownership and major curb appeal—all great things when it comes to resale value. I’m here to tell you that I was wrong. Now that I own a home and am subject to CC&R’s, I get to see the good, the bad and the oh so very ugly.

My husband and I own a home outside of Tucson’s city limits among the tumbleweeds and cacti of the dusty desert. Our community is gated, but that is about the extent of the amenities our neighborhood affords its residents. There is no community pool. No clubhouse. We don’t even have stinking sidewalks, for Pete’s sake. Still, we pay fees to the HOA monthly. From what I can gather, most of the fees go towards fixing the perpetually-broken gate and paying postage for the nastygrams that the HOA is so fond of mailing out every two weeks or so. My husband and I have been on the receiving end of several nastygrams over the course of our nine years in this neighborhood.

Pull your weeds! Hide your trash cans! Don’t park there!

I often wonder if the senders of these obnoxious little violation letters have, you know, actual jobs to do or whether they indeed collect a salary for noting every single infraction of every single article of every single paragraph in the CC&R’s. I suspect it’s the latter.

Most recently, we received a notice informing us that we were in violation of the rules because the easement (the common space between our property and the street) was showing signs of erosion. We were told that it is against the rules to “obstruct or otherwise alter” the easement. The notice arrived in the height of monsoon season. You know, about the time of year that we can count on heavy rains to fall almost every afternoon. Those rainwaters had washed away some dirt and resulted in a small gulley. It was less a matter of us doing anything to “obstruct or otherwise alter” anything and more a matter of, um, rain? Nevertheless, my husband begrudgingly set about the business of filling in the gulley with dirt from another part of our property. He did so precisely two days before that major storm came in from Phoenix. That storm, as you might imagine, effectively washed away every last piece of gravel that my husband had just placed. I probably needn’t bother telling you how thoroughly excited he is at the prospect of starting over again.

Meanwhile, a neighbor down the street and around the corner has submitted an application to build a massive, free-standing garage. A garage, mind you, that violates several articles in the CC&R’s. I have it on good authority (okay fine, the other neighborhood moms at the bus stop told me) that the application is likely going to be approved. Despite the fact that it violates several articles in the CC&R’s. Makes perfect sense, right? Rules are made to be broken, it would appear.

All of my HOA troubles have taught me a very valuable lesson. That is: Maybe having neighbors with a few stray weeds and lingering garbage receptacles aren’t so bad after all. Considering the alternative.

Posted in Such the spot on Friday, September 12, 2014 3:25 pm. Comments (0)

Monday 08/25/2014
Guest Column - Suing the President or impeachment for life?
Posted: August 25, 2014

Suing the president or, as we call it, “impeachment lite.” So why is the House suing the president? First, you understand the House is made up of lawyers and suing is what lawyers do. Secondly, it is because they know they cannot impeach him. The last time the Republicans tried to impeach a Democrat president, the press crucified them. That Democrat went on to be disbarred from the practice of law for lying to a Grand Jury and then, for no reason intelligent people could ever understand, became the darling of the Democrat party. Thirdly, even if they were successful with articles of impeachment, that would leave us with what has been identified as “impeachment insurance,” Joe Biden. So they are left with only this attempt to embarrass the president.

Let us now examine the real reason for this lawsuit. We are being told that the suit is because the president is attempting to enact laws and change already written laws by executive order bypassing Congress which they say is against the law. Well he is and he is obviously not the first president to do so. The problem for me is the laws he is actually attempting to enact or change, not the fact that he is doing so.

It should come as no surprise to you that I am no fan of this president or of his policies. But that having been said, he has been elected and reelected by the people. If he is guilty of lawbreaking, then Congress should remove him. Otherwise, just keep quiet and work to defeat such policies in the next election. This lawsuit is nothing but political theater, period. It will be a gigantic waste of time and money designed to take voter’s attention away from the real issues facing us and creating a story for the press to follow. It is a lot like the old carnivals which used to come to small towns. The dancing girls would come on the stage in their scanty outfits while the pickpockets moved among the crowd fleecing the gawkers.

Does anybody really think that this lawsuit will ever go anywhere? And even if it did, what would the Congress win? We already have a book of rules. We already have a Constitution. What we need is to have people in positions of authority who know and understand the law and work to enforce it. Our Congress passes numerous laws to stack upon the laws which we already have but no one seems interested is enforcing the laws already on the books. Incidentally the House of Representatives holds the purse strings for the entire government and could, if they were truly serious, stop any action by any president by refusing to fund it.

Clearly we don’t elect emperors. We don’t elect kings. We elect presidents and they represent all the people, not just the forty per cent who voted for them. Our laws should be enacted by the Congress as the Constitution requires. The President’s only role is to sign the law or to veto it. The Congress then has the authority, by that same Constitution, to override his veto.

Suing this president might make some headlines but it is going to end up being a fiasco. Thoughtful, intelligent people need to sit down and figure out a way to get along for the good of the country and get on with the business of governing. Let’s leave theater to actors, not silly politicians.

Ron Scarbro

Posted in Such the spot, Northwest chatter on Monday, August 25, 2014 10:44 am. Comments (0)

Such the Spot - Tips for packing kid's lunches
Posted: August 25, 2014

By now, most school-age children have returned to the classroom. I know that there exists an entire population of parents who rejoice when the back to school bell sounds for the first time. I, however, am not among them. For our family, the school year signifies a return to busy weeknights filled with sports practice or clubs or extracurricular activities. It means that dinner is rushed so as to squeeze in time for homework. The return to school also means that we have to get up early and zip through the morning routine of teeth brushing and dressing and eating breakfast. My biggest complaint about the school year, though? Making lunches. The daily drone of packing the lunchbox exhausts my creativity. Still, I persevere because I’ve witnessed what they serve in the cafeteria lunch line and I’m here to tell you that tater totz and chk’n nuggets do not a healthy meal make. No sir. If you, too, have already fallen into a lunch packing rut, here are some suggestions on healthy (and relatively easy) items to pack in your child’s lunch.

  • o Whole-wheat English muffin pizza
  • o Black bean, tomato, corn and avocado salad with organic blue corn tortilla chips
  • o Hummus and multi-colored pepper strips
  • o Watermelon cubes on a stick
  • o Peanut butter-filled pretzels
  • o Caprese salad kabobs with cherry tomatoes, mozzarella and basil
  • o Plum slices
  • o Baby carrots with buttermilk ranch for dipping
  • o Hard-boiled egg
  • o Fruit salad
  • o Whole-wheat pita stuffed with cucumbers, tomatoes, olives and feta
  • o Peanut butter and banana roll ups in a whole wheat tortilla
  • o Green apple slices and cheddar cubes
  • o Kiwi slices
  • o Whole-wheat pasta spirals in basil pesto
  • o Whole-wheat tortilla quesadillas with black beans
  • o Pear slices with cinnamon cream cheese for dipping
  • o Ham and cheddar kabobs
  • o Mini cucumber sandwiches
  • o Blueberries and strawberry slices
  • o Veggie roll-ups with shredded carrot, cucumber, leafy greens and ranch
  • o Cashew and raisin trail mix
  • o Celery boats with peanut butter
  • o Pineapple spears
  • o Broccolini with hummus
  • o Bacon, avocado, lettuce and tomato spring rolls
  • And here are a handful of tips for ensuring that the healthy foods you pack in your child’s lunch end up in his or her belly, as opposed to the school dumpster:
  • o Use mini cookie cutters to cut soft foods like cheese and cucumber slices into fun shapes
  • o Include a little note in your child’s lunch (extra credit for knock-knock jokes!)
  • o Try not to include the same foods day after day – keep it exciting and fresh!
  • o It’s perfectly acceptable to pack a little treat. Think along the lines of fresh raspberries stuffed with a dark chocolate chip
  • o Do include ice packs – nobody likes wilty cheese sticks

Hopefully these suggestions will get your school year lunch making off to a great start!

Posted in Such the spot, Northwest chatter on Monday, August 25, 2014 10:37 am. Comments (1)

Friday 08/15/2014
Such the Spot - Using our nice words
Posted: August 15, 2014

I caught a snippet of The Today Show this morning. I gave up watching that show years ago but it did pop up on my screen this morning briefly as I was starting my workout DVD. The hosts (who I didn’t recognize) were discussing something they referred to as “skinny shaming”. From what I gathered, it was in reference to a GAP ad in which a very gaunt model is depicted in a plaid dress. Apparently the Twitterverse responded adversely to the photo, making disparaging comments about the model’s physique. She is too skinny, apparently.

The comments stand in stark contrast to the last major episode of public body type shaming I can recall. In that case, it was Jessica Simpson who was being called out not for being too thin, but for weight gain. It amounted to a public “fat shaming,” if you will. We Americans, it seems, are nondiscriminatory in our shaming.

It’s a disturbing trend to say the least. A random sampling of Tweets would surely reveal ugly comments aimed at people of every size, every sexual orientation, every race. Not that the thoughts themselves are anything new; mean people have always thought mean thoughts. The difference in modern times is that now mean people have a microphone and a global stage from which to spew their blech. It’s a sad state of affairs.

Here is why it disturbs me (and why it should disturb you, too): the generation coming up now and those that will follow are subject to these rampant criticisms all. the. time. Short of burying their heads in the sand, they’ll be hard-pressed to escape the constant stream of judgmental people exercising their freedom of speech.

A friend and I were recently talking about how much harder it would be to grow up with Facebook. Imagine if we had access to the comments people made about our bad yearbook photos. For impressionable young people who are so desperate for acceptance, those kinds of comments could be terribly hurtful. People don’t seem to understand that whether they’re typed or spoken, words have a lot of power—both to build up and to tear down.

Screens are similar to cars in many ways. Think about it. How quick are you to honk at (or make hand gestures to) a fellow driver? The separateness of being in one’s own car seems to take away a degree of humanity, doesn’t it? Consider how much more kindness we extend to neighbors at the grocery store, when we’re behind the wheels of shopping carts as opposed to steering wheels. Screens seem to have the same effect on us. We type words onto a keyboard and—for whatever reason—we forget that there are real people out there reading our words.

For years I’ve been telling my kids this one thing: words matter. This society of ours would be a much kinder place if only people would consider that before they type their next 140 character tweet. When in doubt, consider whether you’d say what you’re about to post to the face of someone behind you in the grocery store checkout lane. If not, I offer some wise words of wisdom from my grandma: If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

Posted in Such the spot, Northwest chatter, Columns on Friday, August 15, 2014 11:46 am. Comments (1)

Thursday 08/07/2014
Vacation season is over, time for school
Posted: August 07, 2014

Vacation season might be wrapping up as children everywhere prepare to head back to school soon.  The lucky ones among us, though, might be able to squeeze in one more quick trip.  For some, that means air travel.  Having completed my fair share of that already this summer, I wanted to share a list of five things you should never do on an airplane.  Many of these things seem like common sense, but so does not ironing in your sleep and yet they still have that warning on the box.  I am not kidding when I tell you that I’ve witnessed each and every one of these actions taking place on a flight.  And so I’m doing what any writer would do and voicing my frustrations in writing for all the world (or my captive Southern Arizona audience, at least) to read.  It might be a passive aggressive act, but some things just need to be addressed, don’t you agree?

Dogs, for example.  I understand that several airlines now allow dogs to fly in the cabin on the flight.  Fine.  I’m not thrilled to be sharing recirculated air with the Chihuahua two rows up but fine.  I have to draw the line though at people who remove aforementioned Chihuahua from its carrier and proceed to walk it up and down the aisle.  Seriously?  It’s all just too reminiscent of the buses in developing countries—you know the ones, with the luggage strapped precariously on top and every kind of foul blocking the aisles and spilling out the windows.  

 Tuna sandwiches.  Don’t even get me started on the stinky food people see fit to bring aboard the airplane!  What really floors me, though, is when you see the offender casually passing time prior to boarding the flight, saving the stinky food for the plane instead of scarfing it down before boarding.  Because surely every single passenger wants to smell your tuna all the way from Orlando to Vegas.  Gross.

Lap layers.  These are the passengers (usually men, in my experience) who recline their seat as far as possible until they are practically lying in your lap.  Lap layers have to be my number one most dreaded fellow passengers.

Seat hogs.  Seat hogs are my number two.  These are the folks who—clearly—ought to purchase two seats on the flight because their girth cannot be fully accommodated in a single seat.  I may be small, but I paid for my whole seat and I’d like to be able to use it, thank you very much.

Porn watchers.  I kid you not.  Within the confines of a small aluminum tube in which 200+ people are forced to sit knee-to-knee, you really can’t help but notice what might be showing on your neighbor’s iPad screen.  Leave the porn at home people.  It—and your stinky tuna sandwich—will be waiting for you when you get back.

Posted in Such the spot, Deserttimes on Thursday, August 7, 2014 4:08 pm. Comments (0)

Tuesday 07/08/2014
Such the Spot - Why you shouldn't judge a book by its cover
Posted: July 08, 2014

We started reading to my son when he was six weeks old. It sounds a little strange, I know, but I’d read about the benefits of reading to a baby and so I insisted that we do it. We started with simple board books that contained mostly colorful pictures of oversized objects—shoes, balls, animals—and slowly progressed to books with simple story lines. Our reading time quickly became a treasured part of my son’s daily schedule. After we successfully got his sisters off to school each morning, the two of us would cozy into a spot on the rocking chair in his room. He’d choose a pile of books from our home library and stack them as neatly as his chubby little toddler hands would allow, by the chair. Eventually his attention span grew and we were able to complete lengthy series. I think that he was under five years old when we completed all seven books in The Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis.

We certainly didn’t stop there.

Some of the books we read together wouldn’t surprise you. We read books that boys love—tales of pirates and cowboys, stories about Indian figurines that magically sprung to life upon being placed in a special cupboard. He always favored fantasy and adventure. Being a lover of books myself, I didn’t want to stop with those expected choices. I wanted him to get lost in stories that would grow his horizons. To that end, we started a series most well-known for appealing to young girls: The Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Having never read that particular series as a child, I didn’t know quite what to expect. I feared he might not appreciate or enjoy the more feminine tones of the stories. He surprised me. The books did, too. Hardly feminine, The Little House books are accounts of brave pioneers. They overflow with adventurous characters, rich relationships and heartbreaking loss. Once we’d finished all of the books about Laura Ingalls Wilder, we moved on to the next series that chronicle the life of Laura’s daughter, Rose.

I credit our ritual of story time for instilling in my son a deep love of literature. He’s going into the third grade this year and already he’s an accomplished reader; he just wrapped up the final book of the Oz series on his own. I’m thrilled about that part, of course, but that in itself isn’t what I find most encouraging about his love of books. Rather, I love the fact that he can wander into a bookstore and find a book in just about any genre and waste away hours reading.

The stories he’s heard read aloud and those he’s read on his own have given him an impressive vocabulary, a deeper understanding of the world around him and—I believe—empathy for people in all ages and stages of life. If you happen to be the mother or father, sister or brother, grandmother or grandfather of a little one (even a newborn!) don’t underestimate the power of a book. And—please— don’t judge the appropriateness of that book by the gender of the character on the cover; the stories might surprise you.

Posted in Such the spot, Northwest chatter on Tuesday, July 8, 2014 12:32 pm. Comments (1)

Oro Valley Audiology

Oro Valley AudiologyAddress: 2542 E Vistoso Commerce Loop Rd, Oro Valley, AZ 85755Phone:(520) ...

Darcie Maranich
  • Darcie Maranich
  • Darcie Maranich was a teen mom long before MTV made it the next big thing. In the 18 years that have passed since, she's gone on to build a life bold and beautiful here in Tucson. A self-described rebel with a lifestyle blog, her posts at Such The Spot reflect on the ups and downs of life as a mother to four, including one daughter who rocks three 21st chromosomes (or has Down syndrome, in layman's terms). Her passions for handcrafted food, inspired travel and back-to-basics living make her someone to keep an eye on. She's @medarcie on Twitter.

Wednesday 11/05/2014

Cooler weather brings us to outside activity A hefty helping of humble pie

Wednesday 10/01/2014

Such The Spot: My daughter got inked

Wednesday 09/24/2014

Such the Spot - My daughter got inked

Friday 09/12/2014

Such the Spot - A case of the HOA blues

Monday 08/25/2014

Guest Column - Suing the President or impeachment for life? Such the Spot - Tips for packing kid's lunches

Friday 08/15/2014

Such the Spot - Using our nice words

Thursday 08/07/2014

Vacation season is over, time for school

Tuesday 07/08/2014

Such the Spot - Why you shouldn't judge a book by its cover

Wednesday 07/02/2014

Such the Spot - The impact of constant connectivity

Friday 06/13/2014

Such the Spot - It really is a small, small world

Thursday 06/05/2014

Such the Spot - Literally Speaking

Wednesday 05/28/2014

Such the Spot - Moving my daughter across country

Wednesday 05/07/2014

Such the Spot - Inclusive fun benefits all Such the Spot - Did the Easter bunny make it to your house this year? If so, you have me to thank. Let me explain: Such the Spot - Loose lips sink ships

Tuesday 04/22/2014

Such the Spot - Three mom code rules I wish every mother could agree on Such the Spot - What the teen who sued her parents really needs

Friday 04/11/2014

Such the Spot: Prom yesteryear vs. prom today

Monday 04/07/2014

Such the Spot - The trouble with volunteering as a little league coach

Monday 03/31/2014

Such the Spot - Spring cleaning checklist

Monday 03/17/2014

Such the Spot - A lesson in dream chasing

Friday 02/28/2014

Such the Spot - A mom's take on a legalized prejudice bill

Friday 02/21/2014

Such the Spot - Three fresh ideas for packed school lunches

Monday 02/17/2014

Such the Spot - Dental anxiety

Thursday 02/06/2014

Such the Spot - Seven foods for seven days

Monday 01/27/2014

Such the Spot - How I undid years of parenting in one sentence

Thursday 01/16/2014

Such the Spot - What I learned from watching MTV's 'Catfish'

Sunday 01/12/2014

Such the Spot - My phrase for the year

Sunday 01/05/2014

Such the Spot - A lesson in movie going

Monday 12/23/2013

Such the Spot - Are Christmas Cards not a thing anymore

Tuesday 12/17/2013

Such the Spot - Gift ideas for the entire family

Tuesday 12/10/2013

Such the Spot - Elf on the Shelf shenanigans

Monday 12/02/2013

Such the Spot - America's moral decline

Thursday 11/21/2013

Such the Spot - Thanksgiving is coming - send help

Monday 11/04/2013

Such the Spot: What to say when you don't know what to say

Friday 11/01/2013

Such the Spot: Embracing the candles on the cake

Tuesday 10/29/2013

Such the spot: An anniversary dinner splurge

Friday 10/11/2013

Such the Spot - Six things every husband should keep in his car

Monday 10/07/2013

Such the Spot - Confessions of a football convert

Thursday 10/03/2013

Such the Spot - On not sweating the small stuff

Friday 09/13/2013

Such the Spot - Why I take my children to church

Thursday 09/05/2013

Such the Spot - Getting acclimated to the desert

Tuesday 08/27/2013

Such the Spot - A rose by another name

Friday 08/23/2013

Such the Spot - Somewhere between couch potato and adrenaline junkie

Monday 08/12/2013

Such the Spot - Age appropriateness for household chores

Monday 08/05/2013

Such the spot - My secret criminal life

Monday 07/22/2013

Such the Spot - Teaching my daughter to drive. Again

Monday 07/15/2013

Such the Spot - It's back-to-school time already

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