15 June 2016

2016 Reading Challenge Update

This Challenge was put up through Goodreads and I originally posted back in January on the 21st. Today is just an update. Halfway through the year, I thought it might be a good idea to review my progress!

Read a book that takes place on each continent, or is written by an author from that continent (fiction or non-fiction)
1. North America - Spanish Dagger by Susan Wittig Albert
2. South America
3. Africa
4. Antarctica
5. Europe
6. Asia - Aunty Lee's Chilled Revenge by Ovidia Yu
7. Australia

8.   A book on Pennsylvania history
9.   An award winning book (Pulitzer, Hugo, Man Booker, etc.)
10. Memoir/Autobiography/Biography
11. A dead author's last book
12. An Irish genealogy related book
13. A book your favorite author loves
14. A retold fairytale
15. A Young Adult book
16. A history book (fiction or non-fiction)
17. A book where you have seen the movie, but not read the book
18. A book from the NYT Bestseller list
19. A book with the point of view of an immigrant
20. A controversial book
21. The first book you see when you walk into a library or bookstore
22. A classic
23. A debut novel
24. Published this year (2016) - Aunty Lee's Chilled Revenge by Ovidia Yu
25. Based entirely on the cover
26. Own but never read
27. A book by an author you never read before - Aunty Lee's Chilled Revenge by Ovidia Yu
28. A book recommended to you by a friendly librarian
29. A book by a Nobel Prize winner
30. Mythology (not just Greek)
31. A book written by someone born the same year as you
32. A business book - Miller's Bolt: A Modern Business Parable by Thomas Stirr
33. Reread of a favorite book
34. A book about books
35. Book published the year you graduated high school
36. A book a child/teen/someone younger than you loves
37. A book about/set by the sea Widow's Tears by Susan Wittig Albert
38. A book with two authors
39. Author from your own state, province, or country
40. A book about a trip (road, cruise, around the world)
41. A book with the name of a person in the title
42. Science Fiction
43. Fantasy
44. Wild card - Spanish Dagger by Susan Wittig Albert
45. Wild card - Cat's Claw by Susan Wittig Albert
46. Wild card - Mourning Glory by Susan Wittig Albert
47. Wild card - Widow's Tears by Susan Wittig Albert
48. Wild card - Death Comes Quickly by Susan Wittig Albert
49. Wild card
50. Wild card
51. Wild card
52. Wild card    


© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2016

30 May 2016

Review: Death Come Quickly by Susan Wittig Albert

Death Come Quickly (China Bayles, #22)Death Come Quickly by Susan Wittig Albert
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another great little China Bayles mystery by Susan Wittig Albert. She kept juggling this time round with two murders years apart yet related, some government bribes and blackmail, and art fraud. Several plots all mixed together nicely.

View all my reviews

(c) Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2016

19 May 2016

My New Venture: Therapeutic Thymes

Eleanor Roosevelt once said, "Do something every day that scares you." Well, yesterday I did something that both scares and excites me ... I officially, legally began Therapeutic Thymes. 


Therapeutic Thymes will be a zine that will be dedicated to a more natural and therapeutic way of life. Subjects will cover essential oils, herbs and gardening, crystals, healthy recipes, and healthy living in general. 

The Facebook page is set up at https://www.facebook.com/TherapeuticThymes/. Other social media will be set up once I decide on an email that I like. I am still laying out the website as well so stay tuned! This is only the beginning of our healthy, natural, therapeutic time together!

(c) Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2016

16 May 2016

Lancaster East Side Market Opened for Season

The Lancaster East Side Market opened for its 2016 season yesterday. The Market, located in Musser Park in Lancaster City, will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Sunday through 16 October.

It took some effort getting there yesterday. There was some Streets festival going on which literally had the city cut in half. Traffic was even more horrible than usual. I would have given up and gone elsewhere after the cops waved me past the park. Parking was also difficult since Chestnut Street was closed but we found a spot in the alley, though to be honest I am not sure our spot was actually legal. Fortunately my husband was driving because it was a nice time.

Vendors were: The Baker's Lover, BeeBee's All Naturals/Stoudt's, Renewal Kombucha, The Raw Spa, GMO Free Lancaster, Fresh Starts Nursery, Whistlestop Café, Horseshoe Ranch, Fudge-o-lutely, Calicutt's Spice Co, Lancaster East Side Market stand, Neighbor Made, Isabelle Cuisine, and The Global Kitchen.

Renewal Kombucha, based in Lititz, offered probiotic natural iced tea. They had a couple different types there to sample. My husband enjoyed the White Tea with Lemongrass while my daughter preferred the Hibiscus Mint Green Tea. Their website is www.DrinkRenewal.com.

GMO Free Lancaster had an information stand at the market. This coming Saturday, the 21st, GMO Lancaster will hold its annual March Against Monsanto. The March will begin at noon at Penn Square in the city.

Fresh Start Nursery
Fresh Starts Nursery had a limited supply of plants for sale. The vegetable plants were just $3 each. My husband selected a couple Cherokee Purple Heirloom Tomatoes and Purple Beauty Bell Peppers. While we were there, Brendan also mentioned an initiative in the city for roof gardens! Their website is still under construction but you can read more about them on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/freshstartsnursery/.

Horseshoe Ranch is a small organic farm in Willow Street. They offer vegetables and eggs for CSA as well as local markets, like the one yesterday. We spoke with Brittany and Bryan (only Bryan was there Sunday) last weekend at the Herb & Garden Faire at Landis Valley and she explained CSA to us. CSA is Communtiy Supported Agriculture. In a CSA people buy a membership into the program and that gives them a share of the farm’s products each week during the season. They do a great job explaining how a CSA works and how to take part in it on their website,  http://www.horseshoeranchpa.com.

Who can go to Market and not eat, right? Well, we certainly could not especially with all the delicious temptations that The Whistlestop Café had to offer! The Café itself is located at 16 E. McGovern Avenue. After sampling some of their goods yesterday, the Café has definitely made it on my “to visit” list. Check out their website at http://www.whistlestopcafe-pa.com/ for a list of their goodies!

You can follow the Market at https://lancastereastsidemarket.com/ or on its Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/LancasterEastSideMarket/.



© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2016

08 May 2016

Book Review: Widow's Tears by Susan Wittig Albert

Widow's Tears (China Bayles, #21)Widow's Tears by Susan Wittig Albert


Widow's Tears connects a historical event (the Galveston Hurricane of 1900) with her current day characters. A great read. A page turner. Not Susan Wittig Albert's normal China Bayles murder mystery novel. The main story was not set in China's herb shop, as normal. It did not involve China stumbling across a murder or a mystery herself. It was however a fresh change of scenery and of time.

The mystery of poor Rachel Blackwood, who was left a childless widow after her husband and their children died in the hurricane along with Ruby Wilcox's (China's best friend and business partner) great grandmother Colleen, was the main plot of this novel. The mystery was determining what happened to Rachel and her family and why was Rachel's spirit trapped.

There was a murder in the novel - Bonnie Roth, a bank teller shot by a modern day Bonnie and Clyde duo. However it was solved immediately and was more of a tidying up tool for Kitty and Sam Rawlings, the caretakers of the Blackwood Mansion.

China did not solve the mystery. Ruby did this time. Again that was refreshing.

As usual there are recipes in the back. They are generally of no interest to me since I do not enjoy cooking or baking. The bibliography was great, as was the list of the symbolic meanings of various plants and herbs mentioned throughout the novel.

All in all - another great novel!

View all my reviews

(c) Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2016

07 May 2016

Excited for today's Herb & Garden Faire

Today (as soon as I drop the girls at work) I am heading to the 2016 Herb & Garden Faire and I am SO excited. I have wanted to go for awhile now but every year I forget until the last minute or have other plans. Not only has my scheduled allowed me to go today but my husband actually wants to join me there!

There are various relevant lectures throughout the day, plant vendors, garden related craft vendors and more. Over 80 vendors are scheduled to be in attendance. There will also be someone there to speak about the Heirloom Seed Project.

The Herb & Garden Faire is held at Landis Valley Museum, off Oregon Pike in Manheim Township, Lancaster County, PA. It was yesterday and today and runs 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. There is a $10 admission fee.

“This is a popular event—rain or shine—that appeals to both the novice and experienced gardener,” said Cindy Kirby-Reedy, the museum’s special events coordinator, in a press release from the Museum.

Vendors will sprawl out over the historic village area with a wide range of herbs, annuals, perennials, native plants, vegetables and shrubs along with herbal and all-natural products, garden art, tools and locally made handcrafts.  The Heirloom Seed Project Marketplace will offer thousands of plants, including roses and many varieties of tomatoes.  There will also be a food court, with vendors serving healthy menu options throughout the day.  

The Herb and Garden Faire is the main fundraiser for the Heirloom Seed Project, which started in 1985 with the purpose of preserving historically significant vegetable, herb and ornamental seeds.  Some of the plants featured at the faire date back to the early nineteenth century.  Seed varieties not offered as potted plants, such as beans, corn, and flax, can be purchased at the Landis Valley Museum Store, along with a wide selection of gardening books and other items.

Situated on 100 acres in Lancaster, PA, Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum is a living history village that collects, preserves and interprets the history and material culture of the Pennsylvania German community from 1740 to 1940.  The museum, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is administered by the Pennsylvania Historic & Museum Commission with the active support of the Landis Valley Associates (a registered charitable organization).  

(c) Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2016

05 May 2016

Majoram essential oil soothes sore muscles

Yesterday I wiped out at the nursery. The floor was wet from watering flowers and plants under the roof. We were rearranging and I was so glad to be moving around and changing out things again. I love displaying all the colorful blooms, especially the sale items.

Anyway, I turned direction too quickly and slid on a puddle. Have you ever hydroplaned in a car? Well that is exactly what I did. I was more embarrassed than hurt at the time. Two co-workers were there and one customer and the sound of me hitting the cement floor …

When I got in from work last night, I was finally starting to feel the muscle pain. My husband – God love him – rubbed majoram oil on my back and my legs and my right arm and my neck. Then I slept. I’m not going to lie – I hurt this morning, but I was able to get some sleep and relief.

Why majoram? Majoram essential oil is an antispasmodic, antiseptic, sedative substance. It also, according to several sources, is an “analgesic, antispasmodic, anaphrodisiac, antiseptic, antiviral, bactericidal, carminative, cephalic, cordial, diaphoretic, digestive, diuretic, emenagogue, expectorant, fungicidal, hypotensive, laxative, nervine, sedative, stomachic, vasodilator and vulnerary substance.”

Its scientific name is Origanum majorana. The essential oil is extracted from this popular herb by steam distillation of its leaves.

Other essential oils that are good for fighting inflammation and relieving muscle pain are: chamomile, clary sage, eucalyptus, frankincense, ginger, juniper, lavender, peppermint, rosemary, sandalwood, thyme, and yarrow. Perhaps a cup of chamomile tea would be good as I head out to work this morning!

If you are interested in essential oils, click HERE and you will be redirected to Young Living. You can either choose to be a distributor or a customer. You can also contact me directly via email if you are interested in learning more. You can also comment here with your questions or comments!

Disclaimer: Please consult a medical professional before changing your diet, exercise program, or before trying any natural remedies.

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2016