Wall Pictures Tell Your Story
By Alice Inoue

According to Feng Shui, what types of pictures should I have my home?

The types of pictures you have in your home should depict something with a positive message. Many people don’t realize it but the pictures you have on your wall are “speaking” to you, constantly pouring the energy of what is depicted in those pictures into your home. The more time you spend time there, the more your subconscious picks up the pictures’ messages.

Do you have pictures that depict desolation, emptiness, loneliness, turbulence, and fatigue, or do you have images that depict life force, abundance, vitality, peace, and harmony? I’ve noticed that there are often times correlations between what is going on in people’s lives and what is on their walls.

Pictures: A consultation story

My most memorable consultation involved a man in his mid-forties, who had been divorced for seven years, and thought feng shui might help him find a relationship – the only thing he felt was lacking in his life. He mentioned that he had minimal opportunities to meet women, and those he did meet seemed to “take off,” sometimes for other men and sometimes for other cities.

Observation of the space

In feng shui, the bedroom represents relationships, so that was where I anticipated most of our feng shui work would be done. When I walked into the bedroom, the most interesting things in the room were the two pictures on the wall.

Pictures tell a story

The first picture, placed directly over his bed, was a large photo of dried, cracked earth. It looked desolate and grey, lacking any feeling of life. On the other wall, which he could see while lying in bed, was a picture of an airplane taking off. The two pictures specifically reflected what he said to me in his living room: he had a lack of women in his life (black and white photo of dry earth), and the women he did meet seemed to “take off” (airplane taking off)!
I suggested that he display pictures that represent relationship energy, such as, items shown in pairs, and images depicting vibrancy, life force, abundance, and love. I also suggested that he decorate his bedroom to make it as warm and welcoming as the rest of his home.

Use your walls for energetic support

Take a look at the images on your own walls. If they remind you of a time you would rather forget or from which you would like to move forward, or if they emit the kind of energy you do not want around you, then take them down and find pictures with inspiring energy, and hang those. When in doubt about what to hang, pictures showing nature, landscapes, happiness, vitality, favorite places, and cherished items are a great place to start. Commit to using your walls not just as structural support, but as energetic support as well!

About the Author

Alice Inoue is a life guide that uses the modalities of feng shui, astrology and spirituality in her work. Her offerings include award-winning, mind-body-spirit themed books, as well as a series of feng shui instructional DVD’s. For more information visit www.aliceinspired.com. Sign up for her newsletter to receive monthly articles on feng shui, astrology and life wisdom.

*Image courtesy of ©istockphoto.com/aliceinoue.*

Celebrate the weekend with family & friends by making a traditional Le Gruyère fondue in the comfort of your own home! Choose a variety of dippers, including a crusty loaf of bread, carrots, broccoli, and other crudites, to enjoy this heavenly fondue.

Classic Le Gruyère Fondue

Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds Le Gruyère, shredded
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 2/3 cups dry white wine (or apple cider vinegar, for a non-alcoholic version)
Small loaf crusty bread, cut or torn into 1-inch pieces
24 bite-sized new potatoes, boiled until tender
2 apples, cored and cut into 1-inch pieces

Preparation

Toss Le Gruyère and cornstarch together and set aside. Bring wine to a boil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in cheese and cornstarch mixture. Lower heat to medium-low and cook, stirring constantly in a figure-8 or zigzag motion, until cheese is melted and the mixture thickens slightly, 5 to 10 minutes.

Place a fondue pot in the middle of the table. Pour cheese mixture into the pot and place over a gentle heat source. Arrange bread, potatoes and apples on a platter and serve with the fondue for dipping.

*Recipe and image courtesy of Whole Foods.*

Chic, eco-conscious moms travel in style – to the Bahamas or just to the neighborhood pool! This sturdy, bohemian-esque Travel Bag from Danielle-Nicole is made from natural straw with a double top grip handle and additional shoulder strap for an extra heavy load! The roomy interior and drawstring closure is perfect for carrying a towel, sunscreen, magazines or book! In addition, a smart inside pocket helps to organize small essentials while a zippered off bottom compartment is idealfor storing sandy flip flops or children’s items!

The Travel Bag is part of the Natural Selection collection at Danielle-Nicole, and retails for $98.

*Company provided images and information for this review.*

Clogged By Clutter
By Alice Inoue

Where do I place a fountain to bring in more opportunities? Will hanging a crystal enhance my career? Should I paint my room green for better feng shui? These are frequently asked questions, yet small things like this will hardly make much of a difference, and even if they do, their effect will be short-lived. For the long-term, the foundation of your energetic environment will have the greatest impact.

Alice’s Basic Rule #1
So where do you begin? The first thing I say is to minimize your clutter. When I mention this in presentations, some people sigh, others groan, and many nod knowingly. Most everyone relates to clutter, no one seems to like having it, and yet, unless someone is spring cleaning or a move is imminent, it’s rare to get motivated to clear it out.

Everything in our environment is a reflection of what’s going on in our inner environment, and a cluttered home is directly correlated with the mental and emotional clutter we hold inside. You will often hear me say, “clear your clutter, clear your mind.” By sorting out your clutter, you sort out your life, which results in a release and renewal of your own life force.

Why we hold on to clutter
Clutter is woven into our emotional energy and it drains us. It ties us to the past instead of allowing us to live in the present moment, yet we hold on to it for various reasons. How many of these clutter scenarios do you relate to?

Clothes that don’t fit
By keeping clothes that don’t fit, you constantly have a visual reminder that you are not where you once were. If you can accept where you are with your size in the present and let go of the clothes that represent the “old” you, you will have an opportunity to create a “new” you.

Expensive but unused items
Have you ever purchased something that cost “a lot” of money and later realized it wasn’t a wise purchase? Keeping these items constantly reminds you of your “mistake”. Each time it’s in view, you subconsciously judge yourself, which holds you in the past. Let it go.

Keeping things “just in case”
Do you have five umbrellas but only two people in your home? Do you have a closetful of shopping bags that you’ve been saving from years ago? Holding onto everything that comes into your possession shows an anxiety about the future and a lack of trust that the Universe will provide what you need when you need it. When you open up space in your home or office, you open up the possibility that something new can arrive.

Items from a past relationship
Getting rid of possessions after a break-up or a death is always difficult because it means you really have to come to terms with your grief and loss. There is no set time when things “should” be cleared out, but the sooner you are able to clear out possessions associated with a past relationship, the sooner you are able to live in the present moment. It’s fine to keep items to remember the positive aspects of a person’s existence in your life. Clearing out others’ things is for when you need to let go and move on.

A gift you are not fond of
A gift you don’t like from someone you do like is one of the toughest things to deal with gracefully. I always say to honor the intent of the gift and be appreciative of the love that the person has for you, then donate it or give it to someone who likes it and can use it. Feng shui-wise, it doesn’t make sense to keep something that does not resonate with you.

Tied to your clutter
Imagine being tied to everything in your environment by an invisible thread of energy. As such, you are literally tied to your clutter, even if you can’t see it. Can you believe that you drag your clutter around, no matter where you are or what you are doing? You are losing your energy to it!

Clear your clutter
There are many methods to clear clutter but the simplest is using the theory of relativity. It states that whatever is closest to you affects you the most, so start clearing from where you spend the most time. Your bedroom? Your office? Your car?

Mark your calendar
Thinking about clearing your clutter is not effective. Make an appointment with yourself, just like you would with a good friend. It is totally worth it because at the end of the day, you will feel far better than if you spent it at the spa or out on the golf course.

About the Author

Alice Inoue is a life guide that uses the modalities of feng shui, astrology and spirituality in her work. Her offerings include award-winning, mind-body-spirit themed books, as well as a series of feng shui instructional DVD’s. For more information visit www.aliceinspired.com. Sign up for her newsletter to receive monthly articles on feng shui, astrology and life wisdom.

Nothing beats fresh risotto cooked to perfection in the comfort of your own home! Try this lovely melody of vegetables, chicken and cheese for an evening meal this summer!

Summer Squash Risotto

Ingredients

• 2 1/2 cups Chicken Broth
• 2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
• 200 g Shallots
• 2 medium Yellow Squash (aldi)
• 1/4 tsp Dried Thyme
• 1/4 cup Arborio Risotto Rice
• 1/4 cup Yellowtail
• 1/4 cup Parmesan Reggiano
• 4 oz Chicken Breast

Preparation

1. Place broth in a medium saucepan; bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat so the broth remains steaming, but is not simmering.
2. Cut chicken into strips, sauté. Set aside when browned.
3. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in squash and mushrooms; cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms give off their liquid, about 5 minutes. Add thyme, salt/pepper to taste, and pinch saffron (if using); cook for 30 seconds. Add rice; stir until translucent, about 1 minute. Add wine (or vermouth) and cook, stirring, until almost absorbed by the rice, about 1 minute.
4. Stir in 1/2 cup of the hot broth; reduce heat to a gentle simmer and cook, stirring constantly, until the liquid has been absorbed. Continue adding the broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring after each addition until all the liquid has been absorbed, until the rice is tender and creamy, 30 to 40 minutes total. Add chicken with last addition of broth. Remove from the heat and stir in cheese.

Serves: 2

*Recipe courtesy of LiveStrong.com.

Image: Keattikorn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.*

Magic, adventure, and excitement await your young reader this summer (or perhaps, you!) in the Magickeeper Trilogy. For those looking to engage their child or themselves in a series of books that are irresistible, the three books in the Magickeeper Trilogy will not disappoint! Enter to win this magical history-filled series!

Nick was thirteen when he when he discovered his destiny as a Magickeeper: a member of a family of magicians who fight to keep the evil Shadowkeepers at bay. As Nick and his stage magician father settle in to life at the Winter Palace, an opulent hotel in Las Vegas filled with Russian history, polar bears, a Siberian tiger, and real magic, Nick begins to learn about his own talent for magic and his new family.

In The Eternal Hourglass (May 2009) and The Pyramid of Souls (May 2010), Nick encounters artifacts that have been in the possession of Egyptian Pharaohs, Alexander the Great, P. T. Barnum, and Edgar Allen Poe.

In The Chalice of Immortality (may 2011) Nick must race against time to find an artifact that has passed through the hands of Shakespeare and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, in order to save his father’s life.

Want to know more? From June 24th – July 1st, you can enter to win this thrilling set daily on Tiny Green Mom!

First, leave a comment below to let us know why you would love to win the Magickeepers Trilogy Giveaway.

To obtain extra entries:

Follow Tiny Green Mom on Twitter. Leave a comment with your Twitter name to let us know that this has been done. This is only valid for one entry.

Leave a comment on another Tiny Green Mom post. Leave a comment below with the name of the post you commented on. This is only valid for one entry.

Follow the author Erica Kirov on Twitter. Leave a comment with your Twitter name to let us know that this has been done. This is only valid for one entry.

Blog about this giveaway. You must have a link to this giveaway in your blog post. Please leave a comment with the link to your blog post. This is only valid for one entry.

The Magickeeper Trilogy Giveaway ends on July 1st, 2011 and is open to the US and Canada only. Please leave your email address in each comment, and make sure to leave a separate comment for every each and every entry that you make so that they will count for you!

Thank you! “Mom” at Tiny Green Mom can’t wait to announce the winner of this fabulous giveaway!

Yes, you read correctly! All-natural soda! Just in time for your 4th of July celebration, stock up on zero-calorie, all-natural and effervescent soda sweetened with nature’s sweetener, Stevia! With a flavor to rival any store bought sugary brand (Mountain Zevia or Lemon Lime Twist, anyone?), Zevia is a welcome and refreshing drink this summer. No more sugar blues after drinking regular soda, or feeling guilty over the artificial sweeteners you are consuming by choosing to drink diet soda. The company touts Zevia as “what soda should always have been” and “Mom” could not agree more! Now, you can let yourself and your family enjoy a soda without worry, and have that root beer float with organic vanilla ice cream as a special treat to stay cool!

Zevia is available in 12 flavors, including Black Cherry, Caffeine Free Cola, Cola, Cream Soda, Dr. Zevia, Ginger Ale, Ginger Root Beer, Grape, Grapefruit, Citrus, Lemon Lime Twist, Mountain Zevia, and Orange. “Mom’s” favorites are the Dr. Zevia and Orange – both are simply delightful with just the right amount of carbonation. Plus, the Orange is not artificially colored, and is actually clear in color, so if you have children, this is a big plus when it comes to spills!

To locate a retailer near you, visit Zevia.com.

*Company geneorusly provided images and samples for this review.*

Germiest Places in Daycare Facilities and Tips for Keeping Them Clean

Childcare facilities are known to harbor germs. Considering children touch their hands to their faces nearly 40-60 times an hour and are consistently coming into close contact with one another, germ control in these settings is crucial.

By implementing some simple recommendations, daycares can help protect kids from the places most susceptible to lingering germs:

1. Water fountain buttons – Public drinking fountains can harbor as many as 2.7 million bacteria per square inch on the spigot. Supply and encourage children to use paper cups when drinking from fountains.
2. Doorknobs – They are high-touch points contaminated with germs from students and staff entering the room who do not follow proper hand hygiene. Cleaning doorknobs to classrooms, bathrooms and main entrances can help reduce the spread of germs. Keep hand sanitizers near the doorways and encourage kids to use them.
3. Pencil sharpeners – Because bacteria can live on surfaces for as long as 72 hours, there is more than enough time for microbes to be transmitted from one person to another on one of the most-used devices in the classroom.
4. Desks – The average desk has 100 times more bacteria than a kitchen table and 400 times more bacteria than the average toilet. Instead of depending on overworked custodial staff, have students help out by going over their desks with a disinfectant wipe each morning.
5. Restrooms – One of the germiest places of all. E. coli and other fecal toxins are often found on nearly every surface. Reinforce good hand hygiene habits by encouraging students to liberally use soap and wash their hands long enough to sing “Happy Birthday” at least two times. Kids should also be encouraged to use paper towels to turn faucets off and on and to close the toilet lid before flushing.

Microfiber cleaning cloths are superior to cotton or other fabrics or disposable paper, proving to be 99% more effective at capturing and removing bacteria and soils. (Be sure to turn and change cloths often; also, cloths should be color-coded and devoted to a single, designated area to prevent the spread of germs through cross-contamination.)

Empower teachers, staff and students by using flyers, emails and meetings to reinforce the need to minimize germ transmission. Stress effective hand washing, and keep sanitizing stations visible and well-stocked. By combining effective hygienic cleaning and hand care education, you’ll reduce health risks and minimize absenteeism this summer.

About the Author

PETER J. SHELDON SR., CBSE, an expert in the Building Services Contracting industry brings over 20 years of experience to his position as Vice President of Operations & Development at Coverall Health-Based Cleaning System. Sheldon works closely with the Coverall sales and operations teams to spearhead initiatives that further the Company’s strategic objectives and help the company develop the most efficient and innovative cleaning processes available.

*Image Image: graur razvan ionut / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.*

A myriad of fresh, seasonal vegetables grace this pasta salad, and fresh mozzarella mixed with fresh basil just makes it even more delightful!

Pasta Salad with Grilled Summer Vegetables

Ingredients

• 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
• 8 oz Yellow Squash And Zucchini
• 2 cups Red Bell Peppers
• 12 oz Fusillo No. 27
• 2 cups Spinach, Baby
• 6 oz Fresh Mozzarella
• 1 cup Grape Tomatoes
• 1/4 cup Red Onion
• 2 tbsp Fresh Basil
• 1/2 cup Balsamic Vinaigrette
• 1/4 tsp Sea Salt
• 1/2 tsp Black Pepper

Preparation

Preheat grill to medium heat. Brush squash and peppers with olive oil and grill, flipping once, until just charred in parts and tender. Transfer to a plate as done and set aside to let cool. Cut into bite-size pieces. (This can also be done in a pan)

In a large bowl, toss grilled vegetables with pasta, spinach, mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, vinaigrette, salt and pepper.

Serves: 6

*Recipe and image courtesy of LiveStrong.com.*

If you have a toddler, then you need a step stool for all those hard-to-reach places, such as the bathroom sink to wash their hands or brush their teeth. But for most parents, finding even a semi-stylish option that doesn’t clutter a small space or look extremely obtrusive can be difficult! Plus, baby blue and pink seem to be the most common color, which ultimately may not match your decor. Enter the Jahgoo Stool, born out of necessity by parents who wanted a sleek, stable stool that would blend in with the rest of the home, not stick out like, well, a bulky step stool!

Available in white and lime, the Jahgoo Stool features anti-slip prevention grips on the top of the stool, and is sized just right for growing toddlers. Sturdy and functional, it will be used by both children and parents alike at home to safely get to out-of-reach places and items (and possibly things that should not be reached!).

To purchase this ergonomically-designed and price-sensitive stool, and any other hip necessities for little ones in the Jahgoo Baby Hardware line, visit www.kastelinternational.com.

*Company generously provided samples and images for this review.*