Search Chandra's Blog
Blog Tags
"Apparition" "Art of Spiritual Warfare" "Best in Show" "Body of a Girl" "Exposure" "Gone with the Wind" "Half a Life" "Husband and Wife" "My Foreign Cities" "Myth of You and Me" "Open Your Heart with Gardens" "Stiltsville" "Substitute Me" "Temptation by Water" "The Bird Sisters" "The Book Thief" "The Guardian Angel Diary" "The Heroine's Bookshelf" "The King's Speech" "The Language of Light" "The Love Goddess' Cooking School" "The Mobuis Striptease" "The Peach Keeper" "The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted" "The Wednesday Sitsters" "This House" "Unintended" 50th Book Club Prize Pack act 'as if' Adam Levine adoption adventure advice Alpha Male Ann Hood Anna Cole Atlanta attachment parenting authors autism babies babywearing bad reviews bats beach house believer Ben Bethany Hamilton Betty Smith Big Nate birderd birthdays biting Blizzards blog hopping blog tour blogging blogswap blurb body image book book clubs book tour Books and Books Boudreaux boys breastfeeding Bridget Asher brothers Buffalo News Caeli Widger cake California cancer caramel oat bars Caribbean Carol Shields Carolyn Haley cats Cayman Cayman Compass Ceausescu chameleon Charles Bukwosi Cherry Cheryl Chick Lit Plus Chickens childhood CHOP CHOSEN Christina Shideler Christmas Christmas cards chuffy Cinderella clothes coconut water color Colorado comedy community connected contests cooking co-sleeping cow milking craft criticism Crown Publishers cry it out Dakota Darin Strauss David Lipsky dawn Dawn Chorus Daybreak 27 Destined to Fail Diana Abu Jaber Diane Lockward DOG BLOG Dog Whisperer dogs domestic ritual Dr. Anna Leahy Dr. Karen Monroy Dr. Oz Due Uve editing editor education eggs Elizabeth Scarboro Emily Kennedy Erin Blakemore evening walk expeditionary learning Exposure Facebook fake it til your make it Falcor family family bed fan mail fans farm life favorite books feminism Fon Wang Forrest Free stuff friends friendship gardening geography gluten-free goats God Grand Family Grant Schnarr grey hoodie grief guest blog Gyllian Davis Hannah Shelton Harper HarperCollins Hayden HHarperCollins hockey Hoffman's Natural home homeschooling homework Hondiuras Honduras horses hospitals Huffington Post Huffington Post divorce editor ice hockey Ilie Ruby inspiration International Women's Day iPhone island living 'It Takes a Village' Ivan Jungé J Jane Austen jasmine tea Jeffrey Eugenides Jenna Blum Jessica Keenan Smith Jessie Jonah journals Judy Blume Julianna Baggott Kelly Simmons Kid History kids Kristin Kimball Labrador Laos Leah Stewart least favorite word letting go Lincoln Pierce Linda Davis Linden Lisa Belkin Lisa McKay literary agent live in the now living with less Lois Alter Mark Lori Odhner Lori Tharps loss Lost Boy love language love story Lucky jeans Maggie Nelson magic Maria Massie marriage Martha Beck Max Maya Ziv meat Meg Waite Clayton Melissa McNallan Melissa Senate memoir menagerie mentor Michelle McGee micro fiction mindfulness miracle Miranda July modern living mojitos momstinct money mothering MoxieMomma nachos NAIBA New Year Newfoundland Newfoundlands Nichole Bernier NRA Nutella NYTimes NYTimes Motherlode ocean Opening Heavens Doors optimistic orphanage paint Paleo Comfort Foods parenting patience Pay it forward persistence Perthes Disease Peter Pan phobia Piper pizza plot poetry ponies Portland Psychology Today publication publishing puppy puppy breath puppydom Pushcart Prize Q&A quilts Quinn readers reading Rebecca Gyllenhaal Rebecca Rasmussen Remy resolutions retreat review reviews revision ritual rockclimbing romance writer Romania running Sally Kim Samantha March Samoyed Sampson sangria school SCUBA secret confessions security senior project Sept 11 serendipity sewing sexting sexy SheKnows Book Club PIck of the Year SheWrites shopping short fiction SImon&Schuster simple life sister sister-cousin sisters slings smells snow snow day songs Sophie space exploration Spain Spanish spiders sshort fiction Starbucks stuttering style Summer reading sunset Susanna Daniels Swedenborg swimming teens Thanksgiving the climbing tree The Four Ms. Bradwells" The Grain Exchange The Name Game Thelma Zirkelbach Therese Fowler THUMOS TIME magazine tingarita Tourettes tradition travel Twitter two lives ugly dolls unschooling Utila wedding whale sharks white wine William Faulkner winter Wisconsin worry write your life writing writing and parenthood YA Fiction yoga Zulu

Chandra's Blog


Entries in gluten-free (3)


Favorites on Friday--Facebook

It has been snowing on and off for the last three days, coating everything in layers of ice and white. I've been out in it, to shovel, to sled with the kids and play some ice hockey, plus one quick emergency run last night for more marshmallows and crickets for the toads and sallies. But for the most part, I've been home. I've been reading, writing articles and reviews. I've been baking everything from pork roast to GF pizzelles, and I've been teaching the kids--science experiments on crystals, math measuring and more poetry. As a bonus project, inspired by my friend Beth, we organized pounds and pounds of little plastic Legos by color. (Strangely satisfying!)

This is typical January and like the three riled-up feisty cats (not to mention kids!) there's some cabin fever brewing. Yesterday I drank too much steaming coffee and ended up washing all the downstairs walls. And then the baseboards. I only quit because I shredded all the magic erasers.

This is why today I am thankful for Facebook--the ability to be here and gather information, to be passive, cozy by the fire, but connected... To play online word games and catch up. To get news--from the local (why schools were closed today when the snow is under control) to the global (this alarming link on the cyber-reaction to the situation in Egypt.) I can commiserate with others who lost power but have iPhones, drool at photos as a friend's garden in Florida flourishes, and briefly acknowledge or ignore the birthday of a classmate I haven't thought of in years. 

Last weekend my father-in-law was perusing vacation real estate and asked me if I could move to a remote Caribbean island with a population of less than two hundred, where groceries are intermittent and mail unreliable. I thought of all the books I still have to write, of the way our homeschooling makes travel infinitely more possible and I said, "Yes!" But it was on two conditions: that my family comes with me, and we have reliable internet. I need my Facebook. 







Favorites on Friday--Jules Pizza

There are many things I could choose for today's favorite, like the brotherly love as I watched Hayden teach Max to snowboard on our bunny hill. I could talk about how as homeschoolers, snow days like today have lost some mystique--friends come over at 10 am for cocoa and sledding and things like word hunts and fireside math estimations with piles of dried lentils nearly every day, but the white stuff swirling outside still makes things feel cozy and special.

Or I could sing the praises of the guys who came by to fix our heating system--with forecasted temperature highs that don't break freezing for days, this is really key.

And as with almost every Friday, I could write an ode to my husband.  J has been outside shoveling and using his genius homemade zamboni (specially constructed PVC + hose + towel) to flood and level our backyard rink (now with hockey lines!) several times today--did I already mention the temperature and the swirling white stuff? I love this man. 

But this week's favorite is Jules Pizza in Jenkintown, PA. My father-in-law arrived in town and wanted to take us all out to dinner, a tricky proposal for a GF family. There's always our standby Japanese place-- J and I are curious to see if Hayden's new affinity for lox will translate into him eating salmon sushi, thus adding a FIFTEENTH item to his narrow diet. And I am always up for our favorite hole-in-the-wall Mexican, but the kids are over it. 

Luckily we have newcomer restaurant Jules--a small trio of family-run pizza places that feature organic, thin-crust pizza, amazing salads, an eco-conscious attitude, and GF options. You eat your pizza on long wooden boards, drink complimentary water from compostable paper cups while serenaded by Sirius radio's channel, The Coffehouse. BYOB, which we never remember. Nice family place, friendly folks and lots of selection on toppings.

If you live in the area or find yourself knocking around north of Philly, check them out:

And don't forget the GF caramel oat bars from The Grain Exchange... wow. 




Word from the road... 

Atlanta Oct 26-29


I'm worried that this whole book tour thing is starting to seem a little silly. My bookstore event was spottily attended and it’s been awhile since there was someone in the crowd that I didn’t know was coming and almost every time there are people who I think are coming that don’t show. I am starting to wonder if touring means anything… if I get any exposure just by being on their calendars or having my books and poster up in the entry as a coming event, even when it’s the wrong photo. (Happened again—another Borders, another photo of an older blonde who looks angrier, drinks harder and is more beaten down by life than I have ever felt.)


But then there are the book clubs; they make it all worth my while. These are by far my favorite part of touring and I have to believe that this is they way a writer builds her career, a handful of dedicated readers at a time. They run late, the conversation is always interesting and I am fascinated by the different perspectives readers bring to the story. 


This time I also had the special treat of being a guest lecturer at Woodward Academy and I just have to say, if this is an example of teens today, then the kids are all right. What a courteous, interested, bright group of individuals!


Then there was the travel itself. This morning I got up at 3:40 am to leave my wonderful host’s house to drive to Atlanta and return the rental car, take the sky train and airport shuttle train, hustle through security, chew on a breakfast biscuit that was likely prepared two weeks ago and board a plane in hopes of being home with the rest of my family before they’d even rolled out of bed. It’s not glamorous or fun anymore, air travel. Hayden told me there was a man in the restroom with his pants around his ankles washing his man parts in the airport men's room sink, and added,  “I so did not need to see that at five o’ clock in the morning!”


But this, sharing a horrified laugh as we jog to security, him still in his pajama bottoms and hooded sweatshirt looking every bit like a sweet, sleepy-eyed forest creature from Star Wars is what makes this trip and all of the others worth my while, beyond the book clubs and the classes. Experiencing moments with my kids, and in this case, just the one, has been pretty magical.


I have enjoyed just being able to focus on my oldest these past three days, to be able to really listen to him when he tells me about the intricate plot twists of the cat clan book series he is reading these days, to watch with pride as he carries his rental skateboard out to the ramps and pipes at the indoor skatepark where he knows nobody, and sets up to drop in with the big boys. Nothing beats standing in front of that huge glass window at the aquarium for an hour as he pressed up against it and let the whale sharks--WHALE SHARKS!—and manta rays brush by him.


We will laugh over the memory of us casually strolling around checking out the Civil War monuments, the cannon and statues on the strangely empty campus of Woodward Academy, because unbeknownst to us, there was a tornado in the area and the whole school was in lock down. I loved walking through Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta with a son who is not yet too old or too cool to hold my hand. I loved being able to run with him down the ramp at the Aquarium because he had spotted, from the Beluga viewing deck, that in the tank below the Pacific octopus we had seen in her cave was surprisingly out and about. “This is really rare, Mom! She’s nocturnal!”



Traveling with Hayden is now easier than going alone. He has become an excellent navigator, unruffled so long as I stay on the blue line, able to switch easily between written and visual maps on my iPhone and tell me what to do next with more reliability than my Garmin.


I was proud to have him at my events, sitting through the classes as I talked and doing the creative writing exercises alongside the students, making easy conversation with adults and teenagers we met throughout the week. It touched my heart when we were at a bookstore in Lawrenceville and he found gifts to bring home to his little brother and sister, that he spent his own money at the Lego store to get something for Max.


Did we do all the busywork in his folder for the week? Not all, not yet. Did we stay on the gluten-free straight and narrow? Not even close. (0ur first-ever Cinnabon; utterly disappointing!) But we’re flying north and the sun is rising outside the airplane. We have the day ahead of us at home, and good memories tucked away in our hip pockets with our boarding passes, experienced travelers that we are. And I'm thinking, maybe this whole book tour is more than just the sum of the events...