July 2010> There shall be eternal summer in the grateful heart.> > > ~Celia Thaxter Summer is such a time of joy for many of us. For those of u

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July 2010

There shall be eternal summer in the grateful heart.

> ~Celia Thaxter


Summer is such a time of joy for many of us. For those of us with children who have been set free from the walls of schools we enter a completely different lifestyle. Gone are the early morning bus rides, rushing to get homework done, and planning and packing lunches. In their place we get days filled with sun, swimming, picnics, and just plain playing.

Remember when you were a kid and you didn’t have a care in the world? You just headed out the door and found something to do. It didn’t take much to make it fun. A stick, a rock, some water could all be excellent places to start. Dancing in the rain was always a fun one.

Just yesterday I took my kids downtown to Chicago to visit my husband on his lunch and to check out the Taste of Chicago. We made our way through the sea of people and tried out all the different kinds of foods. It’s amazing that you can even eat fairly healthy at something like this. I ended up with a lobster tail, chopped salad, sweet potato fries, and cherries. Yum.

After we tired of the action of the taste we headed off to Millenium Park and the kids splashed in the water park they have there. We had seen this pond that was made for dipping your feet and my 12 year old wanted to check it out so we wandered over there. I was a bit worried the little ones were going to get bored so I decided to plan on spending a short amount of time there.

I was in for a surprise. The kids had a ball. They were just sitting there, splashing their feet. They started playing a game by picking up the coins that were in there with only their feet. When that got old they started having contests with tossing the coins. We sat there for a long time.

It made me think about the creativity of children and the ability to play. Somehow we lose the ability to just let loose and have fun. We forget how to live without all the rules and structure and create our own games. It’s something we could all connect to from time to time to give us that youthful energy.

Play Exercise
During the month of July I invite you to conjure up your youthful and fun inner child. Find ways to just play. Run through a sprinkler, collect lightening bugs, make sand castles, search for toads, climb a tree, or make up your own game. Just have fun.

Do it with the kids or without. You can invite your significant other to join you. Have fun playing in the mud or racing through a field. Set up a fun adventure with a group of friends and see if you can get them to join you in the experiment of fun.

Be sure to let me know all the fun ways you played this month.


Affirmation of the Month

Each month I will share a positive affirmation you can use throughout the month. Try saying it to yourself throughout the day. You can go to my website and print a copy of it and tape it up in spots around your home, or create an inspirational piece of art or a collage. Be creative and make it your own!

As always, I encourage you to share how it works for you. Send me a note or a picture telling me how you use the Affirmation of the Month and you might just find yourself featured on the Real Living Today Blog.

July Affirmation

Food Focus



In her book, Animal Vegetable Miracle, Barbara Kingsolver tells a funny tale about the overflowing bounty of zucchini that emerges out of the garden in July. She writes: “Garrison Keillor says July is the only time of year when country people lock our cars in the church parking lot, so people won’t put squash on the front seat. I used to think that was a joke.”

If you are lucky enough to have some growing in your garden you probably know what she is talking about. For the rest of us, we can head over to a local farmer’s market to stock up on some of this delicious summer squash.

Even though the name is Italian, zucchinis are actually Mexican natives. They were brought back to Europe by the Spanish explores and embraced in all parts of the continent.

They come in many shapes and sizes including green, yellow and “white” varieties which are actually a pale green color. Look for firm zucchini with shiny, tight, unblemished skin with no bruises or brown spots. They can be stored in the refrigerator for about 2 days. Keeping them in a ventilated bag in the crisper will keep them fresh. Don’t wash them until you are about to cook them.

Zucchini can steamed, stir-fried, baked, sautéed, braised, grilled or eaten raw. They can be sliced, grated, chopped or halved lengthwise. They can be made into appetizers, stuffed for main dishes, grated into salads, spiraled into noodles, or made into sweet treats like cookies, breads, and muffins.


Recipe of the Month

This recipe is slightly adapted from the book Animal Vegetable Miracle. It was created by her daughter Camille during the bounty of zucchini. What a great way to sneak in some veggies!

Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies
(Makes about 2 dozen)

• 1 egg beaten
• ½ cup butter, softened
• ½ cup brown sugar
• 1/3 cup honey
• 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Combine in a large bowl

• 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
• ½ teaspoon baking soda
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
• ¼ teaspoon nutmeg

Combine in a separate, small bowl and blend into liquid mixture

• 1 cup finely shredded zucchini
• 12 ounces chocolate chips

Stir these into other ingredients, mix well. Drop by spoonful onto greased baking sheet, and flatten with the back of a spoon. Bake at 350 degrees, 10 to 15 minutes.


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Michelle Signature

About Michelle


Michelle is Certified Holistic Health and Wellness Counselor, accredited by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners. She received her training from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City. Here she studied with some of the leading authorities in nutrition and wellness like Dr. Andrew Weil, Deepak Chopra, Dr. John Douillard, Geneen Roth and Julia Cameron to name a few.

Michelle is also an Emotional Release Practitioner specializing in assisting clients get to the root of a core issue and clearing it out at the cellular level. She believes that true healing takes a holistic approach and she is passionate about combining these modalities to offer the highest healing possible for her clients.

For more information, visit her website at www.RealLivingToday.com