Thursday, October 10, 2013

Gluten Free Cereals

It's been about 5 months since my official celiac disease diagnosis, and at first one of my biggest hurdles was finding a cold cereal. I used to eat Honey Nut Cheerios almost every morning for breakfast.  So I started sampling the gluten free cereals to see which I liked the best.

It wasn't always easy because many of the gluten free cereals have no fiber, so they didn't keep me full through the morning.  But I found several that I like and here are my favorites:

Honey Nut Chex has a great corn crunch and a wonderfully sweet flavor. It's also available in grocery stores and is very reasonably priced. Plus General Mills usually has coupons in the Sunday paper.

Van's Cereals are sweet and crunchy and very filling.  I'd eat them even if I didn't have celiac disease. I was so happy to find them at WalMart, so they're also reasonably priced.

Glutino Honey Nut O's are also very good, but their texture is a little lighter than I prefer.  I also have to order these through Amazon or Vitacost since they're not stocked at my local stores, so they end up being  more expensive.

Barbara's Honey Nut Puffins are a fun cereal to eat. They're slightly sweet and have a great crunch. Again, they're higher in fiber than other gluten free cereals so they keep me full.  I have to order these through Amazon or Vitacost since they're not available to me locally, either.

So now that I have a selection of 4, I don't feel deprived!!

If you click on the cereal boxes, they'll redirect you to Amazon. These are affiliate links so I'd earn a small commission if you bought cereals from Amazon.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Amanda Stevens

I really enjoyed this creepy book (that's a compliment) about a professional cemetery restorer, Amelia Gray, who can see ghosts. Our library has it marked as a Romance book, but I wouldn't put it in that category.

This is the first of a series, and I already have books 2 and 3 checked out from our library.  Amanda Stevens, the author, did a great job of leaving little tantalizing clues about hanging questions that could be answered in future books.

One of the best parts of the book(s) is the rules for interacting with ghosts that Amelia is taught by her father. The author makes these seem so realistic and factual that I found myself wondering if they were somehow based on experiences. Which also makes the books a little more creepy.....

 If you click on the book cover, it will take you to Amazon. This is an affiliate link and I would earn a small commission if you buy the book from Amazon

Friday, June 28, 2013

Karl Alexander

I love books about time travel so I wanted to read these two by Karl Alexander about H G Wells, his time machine, and Jack the Ripper.

I much preferred the sequel to the original.  I think Alexander's story telling has improved in the 30 years since the original was written.  Either that, or the sequel is much better edited.

I really enjoyed the story line of "Time After Time" and I especially liked the experiences of Wells in 1979 and what he observed about the technological changes.  Then in 2010 in "Jaclyn the Ripper" he gets to compare another 30 years of changes, i.e. computers and cell phones.

The area that Alexander improved in the sequel was expressing the thoughts and feelings of his female characters, especially Jaclyn, as "he" finds himself in a female body.

In the original, when Alexander tried to explain what Amy (Well's companion from 1979) is feeling, it's very flat.

I'd like to see the movie that was made from "Time After Time". I'm curious to see how it was adapted and what parts of the story line and dialogue were kept for the movie.

If you click the book covers, they will take you to Amazon. These are affiliate links and if you purchase the books, I'd earn a small commission from Amazon

Friday, June 21, 2013

Tasha Alexander

I just finished "And Only to Deceive" by Tasha Alexander, and I'm ready to read more of the series.

It's set in Victorian England and Lady Emily is a widow so that gives her more freedom(s) than married women have. Her husband died after they'd been married for six months so she hardly knew him.

In this "case", she's discovering more about him and his friends.  He collected art antiquities but there are some mysteries about his motives and intents that she's trying to uncover.

My sister gave me this book to read (bless her!!) and I didn't know it was a series until I searched the author at my library.  At this time, there are 7 total in the series, so I'll see how far I get.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

HTML Rotate

The free banner rotator service that I use for my websites  has stopped displaying ads and has notified me that they will probably discontinue the service. Bummer.

So I was on a scramble to find new software that would provide the same kind of functionality at a reasonable price (or free, preferably).

I found the free HTML Rotate script offered by, and decided to try it.  It's exceptionally easy to install and use.  It gives me all the flexibility I need for my banners by allowing me to create groups and any size that I want.

My web host is Linux, so I have SSI, but you could also use the HTML Rotate script in place of SSI (if your web host doesn't have it).

The Pro version (paid) will allow you to track stats for your banners (ads), but for now, the free version meets my needs.

(I'm not an affiliate for FocalMedia although they do offer an affiliate program that I may join in the future.)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Jennifer Lee Carrell

"Haunt Me Still" is the second in the series by Jennifer Lee Carrell featuring Kate Stanley who is a Shakespearian scholar who finds herself in a race to discover a lost Shakespeare play.

One of the things I enjoy about books, especially meticulously researched books, is reading the Author's Notes at the end of the book. They will usually give historical references and explain which elements and people in the book are real and which were fantasized for the plot.

This book has lengthy notes which was very impressive. Especially since all the elements combined so well to make the book thrilling, exciting, and kinda creepy. But when you're dealing with witches and MacBeth, it would tend to be that way.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

University of Chicago - Celiac Disease Center

I got the most amazing care package full of gluten free products, samples, and information last week from the University of Chicago - Celiac Disease Center

They have a program where  you can request a care package if you've been diagnosed with celiac disease via an intestinal biopsy.

It made me feel hopeful to see how many varieties of foods are available, especially those that taste good.  Being gluten-free for medical reasons can make me feel isolated, excluded, and frustrated, so  getting a wonderful package like this was a real delight.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Dustin Thomason

I read Dustin Thomason's book "12-21" last year, finishing it on 12/21/2012. Since the story deals with an apocalyptic disaster caused by an ancient civilization, I'd wanted to see if I could finish it before the pivotal date last year.

It was a fun book, but it wasn't spectacular. I liked Thomason's theory concerning viruses, but think it could have been presented in a plot line that would have been absolutely stunning.

When I read the Author's Notes and found that his theories were completely plausible, I was disappointed that he didn't construct a more medically-complex thriller.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Celiac Disease

I've recently been diagnosed with celiac disease, so I'm on a huge learning curve trying to convert to a gluten free diet.

For the past 6 months, I've been having weird esophageal and peripheral neuropathy symptoms. My doctors have been wonderful about trying to find the diagnosis.

Originally we thought it might be a wheat allergy but my allergy tests were negative for that. We tried GERD medications that helped somewhat, but I still had the strange "full esophagus" feeling that caused me difficulty swallowing.  Anxiety medications didn't help much, either.

An upper GI showed no physical restrictions, so we decided to have an endoscopy (since I needed my 50-year-old colonoscopy screening anyway). That way I could have them both at the same time.

A tissue sample from the intestine showed "marked villous atrophy" suggestive of celiac, but non-diagnostic.  So we followed up with the blood testing, and it was positive.

Now I'm trying to learn as much as I can. Thank heavens for so many online resources, and thank heavens for so many gluten-free products!!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Louis Bayard

I kept seeing  "The School of Night" by Louis Bayard in my book club magazine and always thought it looked really interesting, so while I'm in Elizabethan mode, I wanted to read it.

It's also another scavenger-hunt type of book dealing with clues about a lost letter written by Sir Walter Raleigh which mentions Shakespeare and the secretive (if it existed) School of Night.

It was very entertaining and page-turning. I love historical thrillers, especially those featuring real, notable people. This was the first book I've read by Louis Bayard, but I also have his book featuring Edgar Allan Poe on my to-read shelf.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Enrique Joven

I recently finished "The Book of God and Physics" by Enrique Joven and  enjoyed it.  It's a book about the Voynich Manuscript which is a 15th century manuscript written in code that has never been deciphered.

The book is written in the scavenger hunt style that I really enjoy, where one clue leads to the next, and so on. 

There are all sorts of theories about who wrote the Voynich Manuscript, who owned it, what the coded messages and drawings might mean. On Wikipedia, you can find pictures from the manuscript.  It's currently housed at Yale University. I wish I'd known about it since we lived near New Haven several years ago and it would have been awesome to see it (if it's on display).

The Voynich Manuscript and some of the same historical people are also mentioned in the book "Shadow of Night" by Deborah Harkness which is the second in the trilogy. It's mainly set in Elizabethan England. My sister gave it to me for a birthday present. Now I have to wait patiently for the final book.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

WYSIWYG8 WebBuilder

Since I was leaving Homestead's web design tool, in addition to Kompozer, I needed a web designer tool that would let me insert objects, size them, and  drag and drop them so I could design my layouts.

I also needed them to be intuitive and very easy to use. I didn't want to spend 3 months trying to learn the software.

So I downloaded and tried 12 different web tools.  I finally decided that the WYSIWYG8 program had the features I needed at a price that was reasonable.

I was able to install it and begin using it with no lengthy tutorials or instruction needed. So far, I've mainly used it to design layouts so when I'm in full redesign mode (or new design mode) I'll learn more of its capabilities.

(I'm in no way affiliated with Pablo Software Solutions. I'm just a happy customer sharing my views and experiences about a product I like)

Monday, April 29, 2013


I was looking for an alternate web design program that would work like Front Page and was free (if at all possible).  I found KompoZer and it had very good reviews and ratings from its users.

From the Kompozer site: "KompoZer is a complete web authoring system that combines web file management and easy-to-use WYSIWYG web page editing.

KompoZer is designed to be extremely easy to use, making it ideal for non-technical computer users who want to create an attractive, professional-looking web site without needing to know HTML or web coding."

It's very easy to use and was very quick to learn for the basics that I needed. I'm also still discovering capabilities and features. I'm especially liking the built-in FTP and that saves me alot of time.

(I'm not affiliated in any way with KompoZer - I'm just sharing software that I find useful)

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Louisville Cardinals 2013 Champions

I had to compliment the Louisville Cardinals on an incredible year.  I'm a Cardinals fan, since I graduated from U of L back in the 1980's. 

It was such fun to watch the team this year.  Since I play tennis, I understand the importance of mental toughness during the game. Watching the Cards bond as a team, overcome their lack of confidence, and become strong and supportive for each other was really amazing for a fan.

The fact that Russ Smith is staying for his senior year is also a tribute to the team cohesiveness. He will be the first in his family to get a degree. This decision just shows how the players are all maturing and becoming champions.

Friday, April 26, 2013

1and1 Web Hosting

After almost 15 years with Homestead web hosting, I had to cut the cord and switch to another host. I was having trouble with Homestead's new site builder and I couldn't get it to work correctly with Windows 7.

But as I found out, change is a good thing. I've liked 1and1's customer service and I've had all my domain names registered with them since about 2003. So I decided to try their web hosting for my sites.

It has been incredibly easy to set up and use. I now have unlimited web sites and storage plus databases for LESS than I was paying with Homestead.

I got the Linux packages so all the server side includes that I use on my sites work with no problem. I also use a free web designer called Kompozer and I'll talk more about that in another post.

There are so many other features that come with the package and I haven't had time to explore them yet.

The link above is a referral link. If you purchase any 1and1 product, I would receive a small commission. But I've been a loyal customer of theirs for 10 years and am thoroughly pleased with them.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Libre Office

I've always been a huge fan of Open Office, but when I upgraded to Windows 7, I'm having alot of trouble getting the Base program to work. By searching, I found Libre Office which is the more robust version of Open Office.

I downloaded and installed it, and my databases opened perfectly with no crashing. I'm reading that it will also open Publisher documents, although I haven't tried that yet. 
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