Thursday, March 22, 2018

Secret Child Book Review

Secret Child Book Review
Secret Child (2015) is a true story from a time when individuals of different religious backgrounds could fall in love but not easily marry and where children born out of wedlock were considered unwanted and considered 'the unfortunates.'  Most women who found themselves pregnant and unmarried in 1950s Dublin, Ireland were unable to keep their children.

Secret Child tells the story of Cathleen, a woman who found a forbidden love and lost it because of the divide between the Protestant and Catholic religions and then found herself pregnant. She was one of the fortunate few to stumble across Regina Coeli, which may have been the only home for unwed mothers in Dublin at that time.

The author does not know how his mother came to find this facility but it was definitely because of the Regina Coeli that his mother, Cathleen, managed to keep her son and hide him away from her family and the rest of the world until he was eight years old. This accomplishment of course was only done with great hardship when she worked long hours and left her young son in the care of a reclusive caregiver at the facility.

Some may have called these children the unfortunates but the children did not see themselves in that light and Gordon, according to Mail Online, considered the hostel paradise. It was, after all, his childhood home where he lived until the age of 8 when his mother eventually reunites with and marries her original love. As a family, they move to London, England and this move perhaps improves their life slightly but also brings with it a host of other challenges, which includes leaving Gordon's Regina Coeli family behind.

This book gives a glimpse into life in the 1950s in Dublin and the early 1960s in London. It is told from the point of view of the child, Gordon Lewis, and written with the assistance of ghostwriter Andrew Crofts. In the book, Gordon returns to Ireland as an adult to uncover the story of his childhood home, which was a happy place in his eyes, and to learn the story of his mother's prior life, which was unknown to him. His cousin asks why he wants to dig up that old history and advises him to let it be. For Gordon, however, it was important to put the story together and understand both his family background and his mother's story.

I recommend Secret Child for those wanting an interesting look into those times in Ireland and a serious subject matter though the book is not a difficult book to read.  Though this story took place in Ireland, we all know that such religious divides existed elsewhere and that unwed mothers faced similar situations in many different parts of the world.

If you are interested, you can read more about the book or order your copy of Secret Child from Amazon by clicking right here.

IMDB says this story is being created as a short film called The Bridge by the author and due for release in 2018.

See you
at the bookstore!

Quick Links:

Order your copy of Secret Child on Amazon.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Easter Reviews on Review This!

Treasures from the Archives of Review This!

 Easter Reviews on Review This!
Easter is always an opportunity for fun!  From decorating the house with cute bunnies & ducks, to dressing up in new beautiful spring clothing, and of course, Easter egg hunts, we all look forward to celebrating this holiday in style.  

There are also some really fabulous Easter crafts that can be made ahead of time or with the whole family on Easter day.  Making something together always ensures wonderful memories.  Oh, and be sure to take pictures!

As you already know, Easter is always on a Sunday.  The date changes slightly each year because the day we celebrate Easter is based on the spring equinox.  Click here to read this article and the history on Why Dates for Easter Change Each Year.

Since it is a religious holy-day for many of us, we start our Easter morning with a special breakfast and a worship service.  It is often a day for the family to spend the afternoon together in celebration. 

Easter parties are not uncommon events.  They usually include Easter baskets and Easter egg hunts. 

Because our team of Contributors come from various countries, backgrounds, religious beliefs, and traditions, we each celebrate Easter in different, yet similar ways.   Because we are all writers, we publish articles based on our beliefs and celebrations.  I'm sure you will find something for everyone in our treasury of Easter articles featured on the Review This Easter Pinterest board below!  

Welcome to Our Special Easter Library of Reviews!

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Easter Reviewed on Review This!

For a written list of the Easter related articles reviewed on Review This, please visit our Site Directory and select "Holidays" from the "Fast Click" category tabs on that page.  You will also find additional holidays articles under that category along with the Easter reviews.

To see all of our Easter articles on Review This!, simply click the Easter tab in the sidebar menu in the right sidebar.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Food Storage With Egg Holder Trays Reviewed

Convenient Food Storage Especially For Eggs

Need a place for your Easter Eggs?
With Easter rapidly approaching it might be time to think of food storage ideas that will accommodate those colored eggs you will have around after the "hunt" takes place. Eggs are not the easiest to store with their rolling tendencies. Know what I mean? 

One of the things that I like to do with those eggs that the kids find is to make deviled eggs with several of them. That requires a special kind of storage, too. I have a solution for those storage needs whether it is at Easter time or any time that you have hard boiled eggs or deviled eggs to store in the refrigerator. These little storage units are also useful for other types of foods but I particularly love them for storing my eggs.

Let's see what you think:

There are actually two layers for storing your eggs in! One layer sits comfortably on top of the other and then sit nicely on your refrigerator shelf. So, it acts as a space saver, too. That is really convenient when it is family dinner time and there is a lot of food to be stored.

What I love is that I have options. If I want to store hard boiled eggs to use later for egg salad or a different recipe these storage units work. I can also make my deviled eggs and store them until they are ready to be served. Either way the eggs are safely on the shelf and not taking up a whole lot of room in the fridge.

I've used this little two layered unit for transporting cupcakes too. It just comes in real handy when I have some taller foods that I don't want to get squished during transport. The other nice thing is that when I am not using these little containers in the refrigerator, they do not take up much room on my cabinet shelves.

I love my food storage containers with the egg trays and use them often. They make a great gift for a bridal shower or a house warming gift, too. How about you? Do you think you would use food storage with egg trays much?

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Reviewing Locking Stitch Markers

Locking stitch markers.
People who crochet and knit know that accuracy plays a role in having a good-looking finished product. I have crocheted off and on for years but only just discovered these fabulous and inexpensive stitch markers. I have noticed that using these little gadgets improved the looks of my finished items immediately and gives them a more professional appearance. Stitch markers completely take the guesswork out of the next round or next row.

Locking Stitch Markers

While watching a video crochet tutorial, the talented crochet artist was using stitch markers to mark the beginning of her round.
Note: when you crochet in circles, such as some ponchos, slippers, etc, that is called a round. Round is a row that connects the end to the beginning. 
The light bulb went on. That was a huge Aha moment for me. I've always had trouble connecting the rounds correctly - ending up with too many or too few stitches, or having a section that doesn't look like the other sections.

This flower is an example. It may be a very small issue that some would not notice, but the inconsistency in the appearance bothers me. The arrow shows where I joined the row, but didn't join it to the correct stitch. Every time I look at the flower, I notice that irregularity.

The little green stitch is not joined to the correct stitch

Prior to owning these little gadgets, I'd typically not mark the stitch at all. That led to problems with the finished item not looking correct (like the photo above). Or I'd use items like a paperclip or a piece of yarn to mark a stitch.  The problems I had with using those things were that I'd end up crocheting over the piece of yarn and make a mess. Or the paperclip would snag my item... or just fall out of the place it was meant to mark. 

Using stitch markers has already improved the looks of my finished items. 

I prefer the little plastic "safety pin" (locking) type. They stay in place, don't snag the yarn, and are easy to use. You simply use it like a safety pin, marking the first stitch in a round (which typically is the stitch you join the last stitch of the round to). 

Of course, there are other varieties if you don't care for the locking style. Other styles include: split ring, bulb safety pin, and even bulb safety pins with Swarovski crystals - for a little bling with your yarn.
Crystaletts stitch makers

Related Links:

Bev Owens shares a review of the Crochet Plain Blanket Pattern. It is a gorgeous two-color plaid blanket. In that review, she shares how to find both the free written pattern and the video tutorial. I agree with Bev, Yarnspirations and The Crochet Crowd are great places to get wonderful crochet patterns and instructions.

Wednesday Elf shares a review of a book Baby Crochet. I know that the internet is a quick and easy place to obtain crochet patterns and instructions, but I've had favorite crochet patterns that are lost because the site is no longer available. Avoid that problem with your own printed copy of the crochet patterns. 

My crochet adventures are located on my own blog Treasures, Travel, and Tales. There you can find an eclectic collection of how I spend my time, as well as the crochet flower pattern review from the photo above. You can also find a post about my newest passion, round loom knitting. Making hats for the grandbabies is great fun!

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

5 Ways to Brighten Up Your Home - Get Ready for Spring and Summer the Easy Way

Brighten Up Your Space - Blonde Wood Flooring Opens Up the Room- Photo Via Pixabay
Where fall and winter had us craving darker, richer tones, spring and summer reverses that and brings out our need for a cleaner, leaner, brighter, fresher environment.

Go From Drab to Fab

When a total renovation is out of the question, you can still try any one of these five simple ideas to lighten and brighten your home:

1. Update Your Light Bulbs

You can acquire light bulbs in various shades. If you haven't tried 'Daylight' bulbs you'll want to give them a go. They emulate natural outdoor lighting and come in a number of styles, such as traditional, candle, spotlight, miniature and more. They're also useful for those who suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

2. If Your Room is Already Lighter in Shades, Add Some Black or Charcoal Accents

Sounds weird doesn't it? However the darker accents help the lighter aspects to pop and become front and center in the room. Add them in subtle areas, not as major pieces. As example the book spines in a very white cabinet could be black (or darker colors), subtle wood trim in the room could be black or charcoal, as well as a few black picture frames. However the most effective use of this darker shade is in items that are thin or long - chair legs, long arms on lamps, or the pole of a floor lamp.

3. Wall Mount Lamps

These work well in bedrooms above the end table. Choose lamps with a light cheerful lamp shade and a dark base that attaches to the wall. The light lamp shade on a slightly contrasting wall can help encourage that blended feeling a bright room often exhibits. As an example, a coastal blue wall color and lovely large white lamp shade with a black arm and mount can look outstanding.

4. If Draperies Aren't Needed, Skip them, or Use them to Frame the Window

If you live in an private area and can leave your drapes open most of the time, then do that. If you plan on never or rarely ever closing the drapes, then you can either place a light drapery panel on each end, or go ahead and put a full set of drapes, essentially left open. Choose black or charcoal drapes to frame the window ends .... with white trim and black panels on each side, you'll add to that linear look of dark accents explained in point number two.

5. The Most Obvious: Decorate Using White

White reflects light back into the room. It doesn't absorb color. If you want to have the lightest room possible, paint the walls and ceiling white, keep the floors as light as possible and kick it up to another level of brightness by using white accents, lamps and even furnishings. In the case of a bedroom, this is a fairly easy project to tackle; white bedding, white rugs, white dressers, white end tables, and white lamps. Once you've tackled the main areas, then add light pops of color in metallic, gold or chrome.

There you have it, five simple ways to brighten up your home. Scroll to view these white items to add to a home:

If you decide these suggestions are too complicated, or too much work, just change the light bulbs, open the drapes and give the room a good clean. You could also temporarily remove dark area rugs for spring and summer. Exposed floors provide a lovely consistent flow through a space, and thus removing rugs can add to that open, crisp, bright design.

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Bone Box by Faye Kellerman – A Book Review

Latest Decker/Lazarus Novel by Faye Kellerman
 A Decker/Lazarus Novel

I just finished reading the latest Faye Kellerman novel starring the team of Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus.  Bone Box is the 24th book in the series which Kellerman began in 1986. 

Peter Decker, an LAPD homicide detective and his keen-witted beautiful wife, Rina Lazarus, have dazzled mystery fans as a riveting investigative duo for over 30 years. Through most of the series the action takes place in Los Angeles.  By the last 3 or 4 books, Peter has semi-retired and taken a job as a detective in a small Upstate New York area.  The town may be small, but it has its share of crimes to solve and keeps Peter and his partner, Tyler McAdams busy enough. 

Synopsis of Bone Box

One September morning, Rina takes a walk in the nearby woods and stumbles upon human remains once buried deep in the forest. Naturally, she immediately calls her husband, Peter, at  the local Greenbury Police Department. They discover that the skeleton is that of a young man who has been buried for at least ten years, thus there is almost no  physical evidence at the gravesite.  With further investigation, Decker and his partner, Tyler McAdams soon realize they are probably dealing with a missing student from the nearby Five Colleges of Upstate.

It's not long before more human remains are found in the same area.  The rest of the bodies all appear to be college age women and the investigators suspect they will match up with some missing women from the colleges.  Decker and McAdams, along with Rina’s help, find a number of suspects among the academics at the colleges and it becomes increasingly apparent that the killer is still around.

This police mystery fiction story starring Peter and Rina, with a few side stories of their family and friends from earlier books, will thrill all Decker/Lazarus fans. 

Author Faye Kellerman

Faye Kellerman
Born in St. Louis in 1952, Faye is a mystery novel writer married to Jonathan Kellerman, also a fiction writer well known for his Alex Delaware novels. They have four children and oldest son, Jesse, is now a published author in his own right.

Faye Kellerman and her family are practicing Orthodox Jews and Faye's writing often deals with Jewish themes and characters, incorporating them into the framework of the traditional mystery.  I have found this fascinating. 

Enjoy Faye Kellerman's latest offering in Bone Box!

Read More Book Reviews at

Book review of Bone Box by:

Wednesday Elf

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Friday, March 16, 2018

Clever Travel Companion Hoodie Jacket With Multiple Concealed Secret Pockets Reviewed

Clever Travel Companion Hoodie Jacket with Concealed Secret Pockets Review
With winter turning to spring, I recently found myself seeking a light-weight jacket to wear instead of a heavy coat.   Imagine my surprise when I discovered that my favorite apparel company, Clever Travel Companion, is now making a hoodie jacket with tons of secret pockets.  Since I love my CTC pants/leggings and shirts, I bought the Clever Travel Companion jacket immediately!  

I have been so thrilled with my secret pocket shirts that I am really not shocked by how much I love this hoodie jacket.  While it seems unnecessary to have both a shirt and a jacket with hidden pockets, there are occasions that call for one or the other.  When I wear the jacket, it is no longer necessary to wear the tank top as an undershirt or to wear the t-shirt.  But, I know summer is coming and I will once again grab those tank tops and t-shirts first.  However, for the next few months, I choose my Clever Travel Companion Hoodie Jacket.  When summer is over and fall arrives, I will once again be seeking out this fabulous jacket with secret pockets.

Features of the Clever Travel Companion Hoodie Jacket

 Clever Travel Companion Smart Travel Hoodie With Multiple Concealed Secret PocketsThis jacket is well made and serves the normal purpose of any jacket in spring, fall or on a cool night by keeping you warm.  Since it has a hood, it is also wonderful when those spring showers pop up and catch you outside without an umbrella.  Of course, the hood also provides additional warmth.   The jacket has the traditional hand-warming pockets on the front too.  But, what makes this jacket better than most are the 4 hidden zippered pockets

  • Zipper Front Jacket with Hood
  • 2 Front Hand Pockets 
  • 2 Interior Chest Pockets (large enough for credit cards or phone)
  • 2 Larger Interior Pockets (large enough for an Ipad or Kindle)
  • Unisex
  • Available in Navy Only

Honestly, the only downside to this jacket is that it is only available in Navy.   Personally, I would have preferred black, but the navy does go well with blue jeans.

Replace a Purse, Tote Bag or Backpack with this Jacket

I haven't carried a purse in years, but I do carry a small backpack when I go out to take pictures.  On my last trip to the zoo, I left my backpack at home and slipped my extra camera battery in the small interior pocket.  Since I also had my cell phone and my wallet in my interior pocket, I really was able to completely focus on taking my pictures and not worry about pickpockets or dropping anything.

While it may look odd to others due to the weight of the lens, I can also carry my smaller camera lens in the larger inside zipper pocket.  Very nice indeed!

More Travel Related Articles of Interest

Security is my #1 concern when I shop, travel, hike, bike, or just walk around the block. These leggings give me the safety of 2 hidden pockets and allow me to retire my purses completely.

Pack Right, Pack Light My traveling motto is “To Pack Right, Pack Light.” After you have made you travel plans, one of the hardest things to do is pack your suitcase for the trip. Here are my best packing tips!

Tips from an Experienced Traveler! In this article, I will share my best travel advice and tips for traveling to help reduce the stress related to travel, which will help ensure a successful vacation.

The Clever Travel Companion tank tops and t-shirts with secret pockets are perfect for everyday wear as well as travel.


House of Sylvestermouse

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Thursday, March 15, 2018

Product Reviews on Review This!

Treasures from the Archives of Review This!

Treasures from the Archives of Review This! Over the years, many products for home, pets or personal use have been reviewed on Review This! The Contributors of Review This have tried, tested and reviewed hundreds of products. We are not limited to specific categories with our product reviews. If a product is sold, we will test it and review it for our readers. 

Over the years, we have reviewed kitchen appliances, select home decor or renovation products, electronics, clothing items & accessories, pet products, and so much more. You can even find home & auto cleaning products, plus oral hygiene products reviewed on Review This!

Because our contributors vary in home styles and size, as well as age and stages of life, we offer quite a variety of products that have previously been reviewed.  As we test new products (not necessarily new to the market, just new to us), we will review those here as well, so be sure to check back often.

The contributors of Review This have their own personal product preferences and we love to write about them!  We invite you to read our reviews.  If you see something that appeals to you in the articles shown below, simply click the image to read our review. Pinterest automatically redirects you to the published review.  

Because it is the most honest, Review This! is the very best resource for product reviews on the web!

Our product reviews are based on personal experience.  The reviews have not been bought or paid for as advertising. 

Welcome to Our Product Library of Reviews!

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There are over 300 products reviewed on Review This!  This small board features the most recent 50 reviews.
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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Nature's Everyday Mysteries: A Book Review

The Mysteries of Nature

I've always loved learning more about nature. My library is full of field guides and other references to help me learn all I can about the natural world I see in my yard and in the wider area around where I live. That's why I couldn't resist picking up Nature's Everyday Mysteries: A field guide to the world in your backyard when I found it at a thrift store. It's part of The Curious Naturalist Series, and I'd like to get the rest of the series because I enjoyed this book so much. Let me tell you why.

Nature's Everyday Mysteries: A Book Review

Let's Consider Porcupines

I have never personally seen a porcupine up close. I've never seen one at all except in a zoo. Most of my information on this interesting animal came from reading The Adventures of Prickly Porky by Thornton Burgess when I was a child. Learn How I Learned to Love Thornton Burgess Books . That work of fiction was written by another naturalist. In his animal stories, the animals were dressed in human clothes and talked to each other, but their animal habits were accurately portrayed. Usually the animals interacted only with each other, with an occasional human encounter.

Sy Montgomery, in her Curious Naturalist Series, shares her own research and animal interactions. She says we can tell individual porcupines apart by their faces, just as we tell humans apart by theirs. This makes them easy to study because it's easy to follow individuals. Also, they won't run away from you unless you seem to threaten them.

Nature's Everyday Mysteries: A Book Review
Photo Courtesy of Pixabay

Ever wonder how porcupines mate? Montgomery reveals that mystery. Did you know that porcupines can not only quill other species, but also themselves and other porcupines. They can quill themselves when they fall out of trees. And, yes, they do occasionally fall out of  trees. God protects the porcupines from such incidents by putting a natural antibiotic in their quills so their injuries won't get infected. This also helps people who get quilled, not that you want to experience that. Montgomery tells you how to safely remove a quill if you need to.

Porcupine quills can kill. They do it by working their way farther under the skin by means of microscopic barbs until they puncture vital organs. Some African porcupines have quills a foot long.  One naturalist found 600-pound tigers that porcupines had killed this way. These are just some of the things I learned about these creatures from this book.

How the Book is Arranged

This book is arranged by season. The chapter "A Porcupine's Private Life" was in the spring section, where one can also learn about bird courtship, ferns, frogs' mating rituals, and the life that can survive in various types of dry mud that come to life when rains liquify them to wet mud again. The author also discusses various kinds of edible wild plants here

One of my favorite chapters in the summer section was "Messages in Spiders' Webs." It seems that E.B. White wasn't as far off as we thought when he wrote Charlotte's Web, but it's only garden spiders that leave these messages in their webs. I didn't know all the other ways spiders use their webs until I read this book.

Nature's Everyday Mysteries: A Book Review
Spider Catching Fly, © B. Radisavljevic

Another fun summer chapter was "Never Sleep with a Skunk." This section also suggested activities kids can do with fireflies. In addition I discovered a lot I didn't know about tide pools, mosquitoes, fossils and rocks, invasive plants, and lightning.

The autumn section actually has a chapter "In Praise of Flies." As I wrote in another post here, I'm more interested in How To Trap Those Flies That Drive You Crazy than I am in observing them, but I still learned some interesting information. I enjoyed the chapters on mushrooms, animal migration, fall flowers, beavers, chipmunks and squirrels, and wild turkeys more.

Nature's Everyday Mysteries: A Book Review
Squirrel at San Miguel Mission

The winter section features many subjects I'd not thought much about before. Did you know that you can discern the history of some regions by looking at the trees in the landscape? I didn't. I was more familiar with what I read in "Tidal Treasures: Exploring the off-season beach." What I learned about the crow and the snowy owl was fascinating to me. I've never seen a snowy owl, but I have certainly seen crows. I didn't know how intelligent they really are.

The winter section finishes off with information on reading animal tracks and sign, how small mammals like the shrew survive winter, and the life below pond ice. I've never lived with ice and snow, so these chapters were all new to me.

My Review of Nature's Everyday Mysteries

Although the book calls itself a field guide to the world in your backyard, its illustrations are sparse -- only eight pen and ink drawings in its 152 pages. The drawings are detailed and of high quality. Since no other illustrator is credited, I'm assuming Montgomery illustrated the book herself. The book is actually a compilation of a series of nature journal columns Montgomery wrote for the Boston Globe

Rather than being an actual field guide in the usual sense of the word, the book is actually an aid to understanding the sights we normally don't think much about as we pass them. In the Introduction, Montgomery explains how she came to write the chapter on mud (originally a monthly column). One March the sights outside seemed boring. It would appear almost nothing interesting was happening to write about. Everywhere she turned she only seemed to see mud. She thought of visiting her friend's farm in the next town, but then she remembered that her friend's steep driveway was probably all mud. It was then she remembered how full of life dried mud became when water was added and got the idea for her column. When you read it, you will  never look at mud season the same way again. 

I recommend this book to anyone who loves nature and wants to look beyond the surface one sees. Its short chapters were just right for entertaining reading when I only had short amounts of time to spend. Like most nature books, it helped me better understand the intricacies of God's creation. I plan to read as many other books by this author as I can afford. 

You can find these books by this best-selling nature writer at Amazon.

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Irish Mug Reviewed

For St. Patricks Day Or Any Day

Irish Scene image courtesy of
I have been looking for an Irish mug to add to my cupboard for a couple of reasons. As I write this we are fast approaching St. Patricks Day so there is one reason that I would like to have one. The other reason is that I have been working on my genealogy in the last few months and it turns out that I have several Irish ancestors. 

When I got my DNA testing results back the report indicated that about 22% of my DNA is from Ireland, Scotland and Wales. To be honest, I was a little surprised by those results. Now, that I have spent so much time looking for ancestors; I am a little surprised that the numbers aren't higher than that 22%. The chart did show the entire area of Ireland but then it was also quite specific for Ulster, Munster and Connaught. As I plodded through the hints of possible people who belonged in my family tree at first I was only finding people who came from Ireland but their origin was not very specific. Then one day I found it! Well, eventually I found several "its". It may seem silly but I got really excited to find family from those areas that were specifically mentioned. I am still amazed that the DNA results could be so exact especially since those connections go way back in time.  I am not talking a couple of hundred years, folks. Those family members go way back to the 200's, 300's, 400's and 500s in the Common Era! My ancestors came from those areas of Ireland when Ulster, Munster and Connaught were kingdoms in and of themselves. 

So, I have become quite fascinated with Ireland and its history. That is why I have been looking for things pertaining to Ireland which led me to wanting an Irish mug to drink my coffee in. I found one that I particularly like. 

As I continue to work on my genealogy, I can enjoy my coffee in a colorful cup that reminds me of where many of my people came from. I also like that the Irish blessing can inspire my day:

May the road rise up to meet you
May the wind always be at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face
and rains fall soft upon your fields
and until we meet again
May God hold you in the palm of His hand. 

I am thrilled that I took the DNA test and am finding ancestors from several countries, not just Ireland. It has been quite an interesting journey into my family's past. How about you? Do you know for sure that you have Irish ancestry?

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.