Can you believe it? Amelia Bedelia turns 50 this year. But honestly, she looks exactly the same, as you can see at the left. HarperCollins just released a special edition of the original book by the late Peggy Parish complete with the simply adorable illustrations by the great Fritz Siebel.
I wondered if my kids, ages 5, 7 and 7 (twins), would like Amelia Bedelia, or even get her. So we read her antics last night. I had a blast reliving this childhood favorite that my mother, a first grade teacher, often read to me.
Just a refresher: Amelia Bedelia shows up at Mr. and Mrs. Rogers’ house in her maid uniform, eager to get started on her first day of work. The Rogers’ give her a list of tasks, and then they drive away in their green car. First thing, Amelia Bedelia makes a lemon meringue pie as a sweet surprise. Then she consults her list.
“Change the towels in the green bathroom,” she reads. So, of course, she gets out her scissors and starts cutting them up wondering why Mrs. Rogers would want to change them. My children giggled. “That’s not how you change towels!” my 5-year-old son said. (He added, “That’s not respectable,” but I’m not sure if he knows what that meant.)
We went on to find out that Amelia Bedelia dusted the furniture by putting something like baby powder all over it, and she “dressed” the chicken in nice green boy clothes. “You’re not supposed to do it like that!” my 7-year-old said. “It’s a good thing Amelia Bedelia baked that pie,” she added. Yes! I was elated that the kids understood Amelia Bedelia‘s literal-mindedness, and, even better, they found it just as funny as I did.
“I think Amelia Bedelia is a really good girl, and she’s very nice,” my daughter said. “She’s kind of silly, though!”
This special anniversary edition includes gems of Amelia Bedelia history in the back, including information about Peggy Parish’s inspiration: her third grade students. I liked the timeline on the last page that shows how Amelia Bedelia has been drawn from 1963 to 2013.
Good news: There are new Amelia Bedelias, too. The author’s nephew has been writing the books since Parish died in 1988. This month, Herman Parish released the first chapter books about Amelia Bedelia when she was a child. In Amelia Bedelia Means Business, her ever-patient parents tell her that a new bicycle will cost “an arm and a leg.” Amelia Bedelia decides she doesn’t want to give up her limbs for a new set of wheels, and more chaos ensues. Another similar title Amelia Bedelia Unleasedwas also released. These books are geared to ages 6 through 10.
If you haven’t checked Amelia Bedelia out in a while, she’s a real treat. Not a piece of candy! I mean she’s just as delightful and fun as ever.
How can that happen? You have to be that special person who can move your (many, many) fans to pre-order. And that’s just what Melton did. Read her thoughts below on how her gangbuster week has been going. And listen to her wise advice: She thinks we moms should Forgive Ourselves Everyday. Melton is brilliant. Don’t miss her wit and wisdom below:
KK: Congrats on your pre-sales! How surprised were you at your early success? GDM: I was shocked and awed. The Monkees of the Momastery (my readers) are mountain movers.
KK: What are you doing to celebrate? GDM: There are two rugs on my bathroom floor that my dogs have peed on. When I heard that Carry On, Warrior hit the Amazon top five bestseller list, I drove straight to Target and bought two new rugs. I brought them home, laid them down, and my dogs immediately peed on those. Now I have four peed on bath rugs, which I suppose is what I deserve for celebrating so excessively.
KK: How do you juggle your writing (blogs, books) with motherhood? Do you have any advice for moms of young kids who are chasing their own dreams? GDM: I am one of those really bad jugglers who keeps hitting other people and her own feet with the balls. I juggle poorly and clumsily and I make a hundred big and small mistakes every day. I disappoint people and I forget birthday parties and I miss deadlines. Motherhood, whether I’m with my kids all day or not, is just impossibly hard for me. I don’t think that means I’m doing it wrong, though.I think it’s just hard. Thankfully, we can do hard things. My advice is to forgive yourself over and over again forever and ever.
KK: In two sentences, what is your hot new book about? GDM: Carry On, Warrior is about what life can be like when we come out of hiding and become shameless truth tellers. It’s about how brutal and beautiful are recovery, marriage, parenthood, friendship and faith.
Want to jumpstart 2013 with positive thoughts, new goals and increased happiness? May Cause Miracles may do the trick for moms who enjoy self help books and can devote 5 to 10 minutes a day to this project. (That’s really all it takes–I’ve been reading right before bed, and I get all calm and relaxed.) I’ve completed Gabrielle’s Days 1 and 2, and she’s inspired me to face my biggest fears–and not be so scared of them. I can’t tell you if it’s going to work until I do 38 more days, but I’m digging it. Who doesn’t want to kick anxiety to the curb? Or add a little happiness to life? Count me in! I’ll totally drink that water.
My husband loves when I get on these kicks. He abides by the most basic rule in the universe: When Momma is happy, everyone is happy–and vice versa.
What’s so successful about May Cause Miracles is its accessibility. Gabrielle takes complicated, multi-layered philosophical ideas and breaks them down so they make perfect sense. Her easy, friendly style makes her relatable and irresistible. She’s grounding her advice on old but sound psychological and metaphysical ideas, especially a program called The Course. She writes that our fears are just limiting beliefs. “They’re just smoke and mirrors, a bit of mental sleight of hand that leads us in the wrong direction in life.” In order to create everyday miracles (meaning positive thoughts, a can-do attitude and happiness), we need to label what scares us, be willing to change our beliefs, to surrender to to a higher power (God or your inner self or whatever inspires you), to practice and to forgive. “Finally, there is love,” Gabrielle writes. “Where there is fear, there is no love…living with an open heart and embracing love as our true purpose is essential to living a miraculous life.”
Gabrielle just started a live class in NYC last night, but it’s also available online, and you can download yesterday’s lesson. She’s personally presenting and teaching from her new book in this May Cause Miracles Live Course ($178). But the book is only $12.99 (see the May Cause Miracle trailer below), and there are also affordable meditations on the website. I love her fun and reassuring Spirit Junkie app, especially because it’s $1.99.
How I adore you, self help. This is a hot category right now (definitely check out Help, Thanks, Wow), so at least I know I’m not alone in my devotion. Are there any books that got you jazzed up recently?
When Dr. Ian Smith offered to write a guest post for me, I wisely let him go right ahead. I blogged about his popular book SHREDrecently. His no-fuss, fool-proof, get-healthy, diet-and-exercise plan is sitting pretty in its third week as a New York Times #1 Best Seller.
So here you go. Dr. Ian Smith shares his Top 5 Weight Loss Tips (check out #5, it’s my favorite):
Keeping hydrated can help you consume less calories – simple as that. Just keep reminding yourself that drinking a glass of water will make your stomach feel fuller which will help suppress hunger and appetite. Make sure you drink one full glass of water before drinking your meal. Try squeezing a lemon in there and that can help suppress the appetite.
2. Strategic Snacking Remember that snacks are bridges between meals, they are not full meals. It is best to try to keep your snacks to 150 calories or less and this will help you from consuming too many calories when you sit down for your regular meal. You can find a list of more than 200 snacks in the back of the SHRED diet book.
3. Fiber This is a secret weapon in weight loss, and Americans don’t eat anywhere near enough, approximately 30% less than what’s recommended. Most people should be consuming between 25-30 grams per day. The best sources are beans, whole grains, brown rice, crunchy vegetables, berries, and bran cereal.
4. Detox We have all been hearing a lot lately about detox. I do believe that cleansing can be an important part of losing weight. SHRED has a week of detox but it is a healthy detox, done by eating the right foods. Detoxing your body means activating enzymes in your liver that helps purify your blood. Increasing your fiber can also help with a physical cleanse. A 7-day cleanse just twice a year can make a world of difference. Remember, a cleanse and a fast are different. A fast eliminates entire nutritional categories whereas a healthy detox means eating natural foods that do the work.
5. Calorie Ups and Downs – Roller Coaster If you mix up your calories, your body responds better in its weight loss efforts. Eating the same level of calories all the time leads to weight loss plateaus that can become frustrating and can discourage a dieter. On the SHRED Diet, I purposely moved the amounts of calories up and down all the time. And, the best part is, you don’t even know it.
If you like big portions and healthy food, Dr. Barbara Rolls‘ book The Ultimate Volumetrics Dietis for you. I’ve been writing about Dr. Rolls’ advice for years for Cosmo and Glamour and other magazines. I follow it myself. There’s a reason why Dr. Rolls, a scientist at Penn State, is a #1 New York Times bestselling author.
Her basic idea is that you can find foods that satisfy your nutritional needs and your hunger. You get to decide what to eat based on how many calories you want to consume (calorie density). For example, for a 500-calorie lunch, you could have 1.5 tablespoons of peanuts, 2 ounces of pretzels and a cup of lemon-lime soda. Or you could choose this option: a large bowl of vegetable soup, a salad with vinegar and oil, a few pita chips, a large bowl of melon balls and a glass of water. I’d definitely go with the latter.
Dr. Rolls wants people to eat healthy, enjoy foods they want and still lose weight. She’s a researcher, and her methods are backed up by studies. Volumetrics is not so much a diet as it is a way of eating. Her latest book includes a 12-week plan filled with delicious foods. Here is one dinner recipes to give you a taste of what Dr. Rolls is all about. Click to the jump for a great pancake dish.
Below is her healthy take on General Tsao’s Chicken (and how much you can have pictured at left versus the portion you could eat on the right.) ”I enjoy making stir- fry dishes because they cook up so quickly and can be made with whatever combination of vegetables I have in my refrigerator,” Dr. Rolls writes. “Don’t be afraid to get the wok or skillet nice and hot.”
Chicken Broccoli Stir Fry with Water Chestnuts and Carrots (pictured at right)
Makes 4 servings (390g each), 11⁄2 cups chicken and vegetables plus 1⁄2 cup rice each: Good for leftovers
2⁄3 cup (125g) brown rice
2 large (950g) heads broccoli, cut into florets (about 6 cups)
2 medium (201g) carrots, peeled and cut into thin rounds
3⁄4 cup (180g) low- sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons (8g) canola oil
1 tablespoon (10g) finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
3 (9g) garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
12 ounces (340g) skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 1- inch pieces
2 tablespoons (31g) reduced- sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon (20g) hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon (8g) cornstarch
One 8- ounce (227g) can sliced water chestnuts, drained
1⁄2 teaspoon (3g) sesame oil
3 (45g) green onions (scallions), white and light green parts, thinly sliced
1. Cook the rice according to the package directions. Keep warm.
2. Meanwhile, micro wave the broccoli, carrots, and 1 ⁄4 cup of the chicken broth in a large bowl, covered, for 3 minutes. Set aside.
3. Spray a wok or large skillet with cooking spray. Heat the canola oil in the wok over medium- high heat. Stir-fry the ginger and garlic for 30 seconds to soften. Add the broccoli, carrots, and liquid from the bowl and stir- fry for 5 minutes, until just tender.
4. Add the chicken, the remaining broth, the soy sauce, and hoisin sauce. Cook for 4 minutes, stirring often.
5. Combine the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water in a small bowl. Add to the wok along with the water chestnuts. Simmer for 2 minutes. Drizzle with the sesame oil and garnish with the green onions.
Serve with the rice.
Nutritional Information per Serving
Calories 330 • CD 0.85 • Carbohydrate 43g • Fat 7g • Protein 26g • Fiber 8g
Traditional General Tsao’s chicken
How we lowered the Calorie Density
• Added more vegetables
• Reduced fat and sugar in the sauce
• Switched from fried, skin- on chicken pieces to chicken breast fillet
• Decreased the portion of rice and switched to brown rice