Friday, July 19, 2019

The Cowboy's Redeeming Love Historical Fiction Book Reviewed

The Cowboy's Redeeming Love by Chloe Carley


The Cowboy's Redeeming Love Christian Historical Fiction Book Reviewed
My favorite book genre is historical fiction romance.  I've read a few books in that genre written by Chloe Carley and love them all. I previously reviewed one of her other books here on Review This, "The Stubborn Sweet Bride". Therefore, I was recently thrilled to discover  "The Cowboy's Redeeming Love" while searching for a new book.  

I expected The Cowboy's Redeeming Love to be a good book with a somewhat typical "all's well that ends well" story-line.  However, it turned out to be a unique and excellent historical romance.  

Chloe Carley has once again written a fiction book that tells the story of a young woman who meets evil face to face here on earth and goes to extremes to get away from it.


The Cowboy's Redeeming Love Synopsis 


Brianna Tompkins' previously wealthy father decided to move his family to California so he could quickly restore his families worth via a gold mine.  Apparently, he believes the gold is just lying around waiting to be claimed and would be an easy way to get rich again quick.  Without fully knowing, or considering, the environment he would be taking his privileged wife and daughter into, he loaded a wagon and headed west to stake his claim.

 The Cowboy's Redeeming Love:
An Inspirational Historical Romance Novel
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Having been raised in affluence, with servants attending to her every whelm and need, Brianna is scarcely prepared for the changes she would be required to endure.  Her lifestyle had previously protected her from the harsher elements, work, and vices of the world.  She had only known abundance, silks, refinement, ladies and gentlemen.  


Neither Brianna nor her mother wanted to go, but Brianna's father assured them all would be well.  They would make their fortune quickly and return home, back to the lap of luxury. 

Since readers have the benefit of historical knowledge, we already know, the Tompkins family is in for a rude awakening.  However, even we wouldn't expect both parents to die, leaving Brianna in the hands of a mercilessly evil man who stakes his claim on her.  With her refusal to readily accept Percy Smythe, he has her brutally beaten and held captive, allowing her time to embrace her new reality as his wife. 


The Cowboy


The Sutter family is leaving their home in Kentucky and moving to California to help Mr. Sutter's aging brother, Otis, on his ranch.  Along with his wife, Cora, Mason Sutter and their 3 grown sons, Morgan, Spenser & Riley, packed up their wagons and headed west.  The family stopped along the way to visit Cora's sister and found her sister recently widowed.  Cora and Mason decide to stay on in Missouri to help Cora's sister, but send the boys on ahead.  After all, Otis Sutter is expecting them to help him through the upcoming winter.

The Cowboy's Redeeming Love Historical Fiction Book Reviewed
Since it was just the 3 young men now, they were able to move much faster, stopping in small towns along the way for rest and supplies.  However, they found some small towns were not "friendly" or "inviting" to outsiders.  That was the case in Percy's Crossing.  Even though it was only 20 miles from their uncles ranch, they needed to stop for the night, but Percy's Crossing was not an option for them.  They rode another mile before they settled in for the night with a warm fire, to sleep under the stars.

When a small figure entered their camp and set down in front of their fire, only one of the sleeping brothers was awakened by this nearly silent intruder.  Morgan expected a child when he slipped up on the little intruder.  Instead, he discovered a badly beaten woman and she had either fallen asleep or passed out when he reached her.  He decided to let her rest and covered her with a blanket.  The following morning, as the sun started to rise, the little intruder was terrified when she awoke and found herself surrounded by 3 big men.  She had no way of knowing the three brothers would not harm her.  All she knew was that she had to get away, and stay away, from Percy Smythe.

Morgan offered to let her travel with them to their uncle's ranch, where she would be offered a safe haven.  She reluctantly accepted.  After all, Brianna didn't have anyone else to help her and she had no where else to go.


Are You Ready to Read the Book Yet?


I have only given you the set-up for the story.  I'm sure you already suspect that Percy Smythe is not going to just let Brianna disappear into the night.   The title and book genre will likely also tell you that one of the brothers will fall in love with Brianna.  What is not obvious is that they are not allowed to just live happily ever after.  Evil continues to dog them in the hopes of possessing it's prey.

 


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Other Chloe Carley Books Reviewed on Review This!


The Stubborn Sweet Bride Book ReviewThe Stubborn Sweet Bride: A Christian Historical Romance Novel Reviewed

An excellent Christian historical romance that transfixes readers with Molly's story of loss, betrayal, survival & desperate decisions. Highly Recommended!





House of Sylvestermouse




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Thursday, July 18, 2019

Paws and Pals Dog Ramp Review

Finn's New Dog Ramp
As I approach the second anniversary of bringing Finn, my special needs/strengths dog, home from the animal shelter, I find myself reflecting on his extraordinary capacity for achieving things he wasn't supposed to be able to do.  Finn has grown well beyond the initial confines of his physical disability, which compels me to provide him with more and more opportunities to do as much as possible through his own initiative and power.  Yesterday, I bought Finn a portable dog ramp that will provide him with more freedom to access his world.  This review shares our first impressions and experiences with the Paws and Pals ramp.

Finn, like all of us, has his own way of approaching new challenges.  I've gotten better at understanding his learning style and anticipating Finn's insecurities (before they kick in), which helps me to be a more effective trainer.  A good starting point today was to take Finn to his favorite park for the first lesson in using a ramp.  I wanted Finn to be relaxed, and for him to associate good things with the pet ramp.

Step One - Explore the Ramp Flat on the Grass
First, to allow Finn to discover the scent, texture, and sound of being on the ramp, I laid it flat on the grass.  This was a very nonthreatening way for him to check it out.  I brought a high-value treat to reward Finn's every success (cheese works magic).  By strategically placing three cubes of cheese on the ramp, it was very easy to entice Finn to take his first steps up onto and across the ramp.  From his second crossing on, I could tell by reading Finn's body language that he was already feeling confident, and even enthusiastic, about this new game.  After the third ramp crossing, I didn't even have to offer a treat.


Having mastered the low-risk, no fear element of ramp exploration, I decided Finn was ready to take it to the next level.  I found a broad tree stump with a height a few inches above ground level.  Because I thought the surface of the plastic ramp might be a little slippery when elevated, and because Finn is very sensitive about his footing, I covered the ramp with some inexpensive rubberized shelf liner.  The new ramps come with sheets of grip tape, but the gently used model I bought did not have that option.  My solution worked perfectly.  Finn climbed the gentle slope with no hesitation.

Nonslip Liner on Ramp
Since Finn appeared to be having fun with our lesson, was having complete success, and didn't appear mentally or physically fatigued, we forged on.  Had that not been the case, I would have spread these ramp lessons over several sessions on different days.

Next, I used a park bench to elevate one end of the ramp about 14 inches off the ground.  We were now approaching the level Finn would need to master to use the ramp for getting into a low vehicle, or for getting up on furniture.  One great thing about this dog ramp is that it can be used indoors or outdoors.

Park Bench Height Ramp Elevation
I lured Finn up the elevated ramp by leading him with a piece of cheese.  It was important to keep him on a short leash and to walk alongside him on this first climb up a steeper angle.  I didn't want Finn to be tempted to jump off the side of the ramp.  We took it slow and he had no problems making it up onto the bench.  At that point, I felt Finn had done enough for day one.  As always, Finn accomplished even more than I had planned for him, and he laid to rest any concerns I had about whether or not a dog with only partial use of his rear legs could balance on, and ascend, a fairly narrow elevated ramp (it's thirteen and a half inches wide between the rims).

Finn will mostly use his Paws and Pals ramp inside the house.  My vehicle is not really conducive to having Finn load himself, although I won't rule it out until I let him give it a try.  He's sure to surprise me.  A car, van, or hatchback vehicle would be more ideal for the use of this ramp (nothing requiring too steep an incline).  I mainly want Finn to be able to get up and down off the bed for starters.  From there, we'll work on graduating to ever greater challenges worthy of Finn's capabilities.

Light, Compact, Easy to Carry and Store
Given such fast success with the ramp, especially for a cautious dog, Finn and I are giving it a Four Paws Up rating.  I really like all of the main features:

  • Folds up compact for storage (15.5" wide x 10" long x 16.5" high).
  • Lightweight (just eight pounds).
  • Made of a durable, easy to clean plastic.
  • Easy to carry with the attached handle.
  • Simple to use (no assembly required).
  • Long enough for typical uses without being too bulky to handle (60" when fully extended).
  • Strength rated for up to a 110-lb. dog.
  • Multiple applications for indoor or outdoor use.
  • Good value and quality for the price (least expensive ramp I found).
Who could benefit from a pet ramp?  Senior dogs, puppies, injured dogs, disabled dogs, small dogs, convalescing pets, and any weak dog or cat.  It is also a major help to those who care for animals (especially those who are physically unable to carry or load a large, heavy dog).  Even totally healthy animals enjoy using ramps.  It's good, stimulating exercise for a pet to try new ways of balancing and climbing.  

We'll keep you posted and continue to add photos as Finn becomes the master of his domain.  I'm sure he will continue to push the boundaries and to constantly redefine what it means to be a special strengths dog who just happens to have been born with legs that work differently.  Finn acts as though he has no limitations.  I feel it is my responsibility to give him as much rein as possible and to not do for Finn the things he can do for himself.  We're learning together how to be the best versions of ourselves in ways that elevate one another.



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Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Review: Should Homeschoolers Sell Used Curriculum at Homeschool Used Book?

Review: Should Homeschoolers Sell Used Curriculum at Homeschool Used Book?
Some of the Books I'm Selling at Homeschool Used Book, © B. Radisavljevic

A New Site for Homeschoolers to Shop and Sell


Before I started blogging, I was a homeschooling mom. When Jason died in 1991, I became a homeschool vendor, exhibiting at conventions on both coasts. That adventure ended in 2015 when Hubby's knees gave out. So I turned to selling online.

I built a website, and sold on many used book listing services.  In 2014 I had neck surgery and couldn't ship in a timely manner. I had to take my books offline. It's amazing what two months without a web presence can do to your customer base. So I retired the business and started blogging. It hurt to have to sell the same books sitting in my warehouse as an Amazon affiliate instead of selling them direct and shipping them.

That's why I was so happy this week to discover a new way for homeschoolers to shop for and sell their curriculum and living books: Homeschool Used Book.com. Since I still have a house and shed full of books, I read the vendor friendly terms and signed up to sell. I have temporarily turned half the guest room into a shipping area until I can redo my office.

I started listing on July 13 and sold my first book the next day. Homeschool Used Books sent my shipping label the next night and I shipped the book the next afternoon. I couldn't be happier.

Review: Should Homeschoolers Sell Used Curriculum at Homeschool Used Book?
Book Labeled and Ready to Go, © B. Radisavljevic


The Pros of Selling on Homeschool Used Book

First, Homeschool Used Book is not for selling just any used books. It's a specialized marketplace designed for homeschoolers to help each other out. Those who are homeschooling know what is useful to homeschoolers. They know what's popular and what's hard to find. They list what they have used or thought they would use and list it when they no longer need it. It is not a place for general booksellers who have not been part of the homeschooling community to expand their markets.

These are the reasons I believe Homeschool Used Book is a good deal for vendors.

  • They don't have to build their own sites
  • They don't have to collect money
  • They don't have to pay for a shipping account to print postage and drop off packages without standing in line at the post office
  • They don't have to maintain a database themselves
  • The listing interface is simple and easy to understand
  • Payments can come either through PayPal or as credit to buy books on the site. 
  • Vendors pay fees only when they sell something. No listing fees. 
  • When a sale is made, the vendor gets the listing price minus a 12% commission. 
  • Each vendor gets a "store" space to introduce themselves and let customers see all their books in one place.  
Because Homeschool Used Book absorbs most of the overhead I had selling on other sites, it's ideal for me. One reason I quit selling was that my website had become obsolete and I had to rebuild. That's hard with a 600-page website. I didn't want to do it. I also had to pay for Endicia's shipping program to get the best shipping rates, print labels at home, and skip the line at the post office. 

To get my merchandise into one of the large used book selling sites online (ABE Books, Amazon, etc) with the least effort and fees I needed to use a listing interface that allowed me to upload easily to one or more sites and keep track of inventory and customer data, print packing slips and invoices, and help make catalogs. 

Until 2015 I used a version of Booktrakker that did all I needed and more.  I could install the program on my computer and get the new updates for a one-time price. Every couple of years there was an additional charge for a major update. About the time I recovered from surgery, there was a major update. I could no longer use the version I had to upload to the various sites.

Instead I would need to subscribe to an internet version. I didn't want to start paying a monthly fee with no guarantee I'd sell enough to cover it. I don't need my own database to sell at Homeschool Used Book. That saves me $20 a month in fees that I pay whether I sell anything or not.

I calculate that I save at least $40 on monthly charges by selling on Homeschool Used Book. I also save by not needing to accept credit cards directly. What's not to like?

The Cons of Selling on Homeschool Used Books


So far I haven't found many. Because I'm so new, I haven't experienced a payday yet. My one sale did not total the $50 needed for a payout. I can live with that just as I do on every other site that pays through PayPal. I have no reason to believe I won't be paid what I'm owed when it gets up to $50. 

Parts of the site are a bit clunky in the vendor area. I've had the most trouble getting my vendor "store" to look right. Be that as it may, I doubt if that will keep someone who wants one of my books from buying it.

While trying to compare my prices to those of other vendors and to see if the book I want to list is already there, I've used the search function a lot. It returns a lot of inaccurate results, but that could be due to vendors putting their products into too many categories just to get them seen by more people. 

Another con may be limited traffic. I have no idea how many homeschoolers search here for their materials. I made one sale quickly. I see others are making sales, as messages pop up saying who bought what when, but some of the sales reported were over a week old. This is probably not the first place homeschoolers go to shop -- yet. As more people begin to list, it should attract more buyers and increase sales for all the vendors. I hope this post will help get the word out. 

The thing I liked least when making my first listings was not knowing how much weight is allowed for packing material. I used to be able to weigh the complete package before printing a label. Now the site takes the weights I've provided for individual items, adds them, and estimates how much my packaging will add to that. If they guess wrong, the package can be returned for not enough postage. I've just found out they calculate two ounces for every additional one to two pounds. So it might be a good idea to adjust your weights if you anticipate your packing may weigh more than allowed in the estimate. Shipping more than one product to a customer may mean the difference between using a bubble bag or a box that needs extra padding. 

I checked at the post office today and discovered there's no way I can pay extra at the post office before shipping if the package is overweight. It's hard to predict which items may be combined in an order going to one customer and whether that will mean shipping in a box or a padded bag. So I'm now adding extra weight when I list something that may require non-standard packaging.

So Far It's Been a Smooth Experience

Review: Should Homeschoolers Sell Used Curriculum at Homeschool Used Book?
My Hall Bookcase Stores Part of What I'd Still Like to Sell.  © B. Radisavljevic


I'm actually enjoying being a bookseller again. This abundance of books has stolen a lot of my joy, not to mention how much of my house I can use. I want my living room back. If you need children's books or homeschooling materials, I hope you'll visit my store at Homeschool Used Book. While you're there, you can check out the other vendors, too. And if you've got used curriculum to sell, give the site a try. You've got nothing to lose and you may have much to gain.



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Tuesday, July 16, 2019

A Murder in Helvetica Bold Book Review

Thistlewood Star Cozy Mystery Series

newspaper printing machine

Helvetica Bold might be found in these print blocks
image courtesy of pixabay.com
Late last week, I finished A Murder in Helvetica Bold. Today, I'll be offering you a review of the first book in this Cozy Mystery Series written by Jessa Archer another Indie Author.

The series is called Thistlewood Star Mysteries and currently has three books published. Each title includes a different typeface from the old fashioned way of printing a newspaper. Of course with the advent of computers those old machines aren't used any longer and we don't refer to them as typeface but fonts. Still, the typeface or font titles intrigued my curiosity. 

They mystery in book one takes place in a small town in Tennessee. Ruth Townsend has moved back to her hometown after her marriage ended abruptly. As a young girl she worked for the local newspaper and learned the art of producing a newspaper with an old printing press. Her former boss and the owner of the Thistlewood Star passed away several years ago and the newspaper office sat neglected. Ruth buys the building and the paper in hopes of reviving the little paper. Currently it has about 12 subscribers but Ruth wants to change that.

While visiting her best friend, Wren, for lunch one day they hear a scream from outside. A elderly neighbor has been found dead at the bottom of the stairs in her home. Ruth and Wren can tell by the position of the body and the look of surprise on Edith Morton's face that it most likely was not an accidental fall. 

Ruth had been a reporter for a newspaper in Nashville before returning home to Thistlewood and Wren is the town's only mortician. Both women have experience with dead bodies and this one doesn't look right to either of them. How will they be able to convince the local sheriff that it wasn't an accident? He does seem inclined to just brush it aside and close the case.


My Recommendation for A Murder in Helvetica Bold


I thoroughly enjoyed this book and plan to read the other books in the series. The characters were interesting and diverse. The plot flowed nicely and there were a few twists along the way. I'll give a little spoiler that won't tell you anything about the solving of the mystery. The use of the typeface names is really kind of clever on the author's part. The tradition of the newspaper's former owner was to do each obituary in a different lettering. He kept records of each one used in the past. Ruth uses Helvetica Bold for Edith Morton's to keep up the tradition. 

There were some funny scenes in the book and a little suspense. Overall, I loved the book and think you will, too. I did see a review that I found interesting. The reviewer had taken offense in the author's descriptions of some of the older characters. The reviewer called it a case of ageism. Being a not so very young chicken myself, I wasn't insulted. I thought her observations of senior citizens was sometimes amusing and also realistic but not insulting. Anyway, I loved the premise and the book. It is well written and kept my interest until the end. The author also surprised me as to who "did it". If you love Cozy Mysteries, I think you will enjoy this book.




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Monday, July 15, 2019

Reviewing the NuWave Gourmet Accessory Kit

NuWave Air Fryer Accessories
With my recent purchase of the NuWave Brio air fryer I also purchased the NuWave Gourmet Accessory Kit. At first I thought the little pan and cooking rack were over-priced and I felt silly for spending that extra money. But after using them for nearly every healthy meal - multiple times a day - I consider them invaluable.

If you aren't at all familiar with the NuWave Brio air fryer, you can read my review here. The Gourmet Accessory Kit is sold separately here


NuWave Gourmet Accessory Kit


Because I am typically cooking only for myself I purchased the Gourmet Accessory Kit.  It sounds much more fancy than it is. It is really just a 6" x 6" square pan (2 Qt) with a handle and a 6" x 6" cooking rack.  Rather than cook my foods in the pan included with the machine or on it's existing rack, I use the little pan the most often. 

Easy Clean Up: The pan has been keeping mess to a minimum. The juices and splatter stay in the accessory pan. It is non-stick so it is easy to lift out and wash off. 

Portion Control: The Gourmet Accessory Kit also helps with portion control - without leaving me feeling deprived. The pan holds just a small amount. I cook that small amount and after a bit, if I'm still hungry, I can quickly cook a bit more in the Brio air fryer. However, I haven't felt like I needed that second portion very often.

Cooking Items Separately: I can also cook two different items at the same time. I place one item in the pan - sitting on the original rack in the machine - and cook veggies on the original rack next to it. I have not yet cooked a meal large enough to have to use the Accessory rack in addition to the original rack. But it's good to know that I will have that extra space if I need it.  

Weight Loss: After loosely following the eating habits recommended by the Embry family in Living Proof and using the NuWave Brio air fryer, I have lost 4 lbs in approximately 2 weeks. That doesn't sound like much, but I am thrilled with that much loss after just changing what I eat. 





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Sunday, July 14, 2019

5 Steps to Help You Pre-Plan Your Dorm for Maximum Organization and Comfort

5 Steps to help you maximize space in your dorm
If you're planning to live in a Dorm, you already know that managing space is critical to creating a comfortable, livable room.

Step 1 - A Checklist of Needed Items

Before deciding upon how you'll furnish your dorm room, you'll need a college checklist of things to bring. If you don't have a list, there's a convenient ready-to-use list at BigFuture. Their list breaks down suggested items you'll need by category.

Here's a Summary of the Categories on the BigFuture Checklist:
  •  Items for the Room's Décor and Storage Considerations
  •  Linens and Laundry Supplies
  •  Your Office and Desk Supplies
  •  Electronics
  •  Items You'll be Sharing with a Roommate
  •  Toiletries and Clothing 
  •  Household and Kitchen Items
Be sure to head over and check out their ready-to-use checklist, it's very detailed. You'll find the site a helpful resource for your college planning.

Step 2 - Acquire a Layout of Your Dorm Room

Take a dorm room photo or acquire a floor plan layout from your college or university. Get or take the measurements of the room itself. Be sure to mark or know where the main door, closet doors and windows are located in the space. Mark them on your photo or floor plan.

Step 3 - Do You Have a Roommate?

You'll know the answer to this fairly quickly. As basic as it sounds, it's critical to maximizing space in your dorm. Determine which items you'll both share and where the dividing line in the room will be. Is the window centrally located and accessible to both or will one of you have the side with a window? How about the closet or hopefully closets?

Step 4 - What Furniture Comes with the Dorm? Can It be Replaced With Your Own?

Is there a bed and a desk in the space? Do you like them? If not, can the school's items be removed and replaced with your own? Does the Dorm come with a mini-fridge and or microwave? If not, can you bring your own?

Step 5 - Where Can You Maximize Storage Space?

Traditionally in dorms, you create storage under the bed or by going vertical. If you want to see how some of the pro's have done it, check out these designs. You'll see ideas for mini-fridge and microwave storage, raised beds to create storage space and hutches above the bed and over a desk.

What Size and Style of Storage Bins or Containers Will Work Best?

Bringing a bunch of storage containers without knowing where they'll go and if they'll fit is unwise. Double check what will work for your dorm's design. The way to do this is by measuring your space, your furnishings, and knowing ahead of time the bed you'll be using.

Here are options for different types of storage items:
  •  Over-the-door storage hanging units
  •  Under the bed storage containers (what size, how big - check under the bed height)
  •  Benches that double as storage
  •  Hanging wall storage items
  •  Cabinets with storage
  •  A hutch over the desk for storage
  •  Shelving units for the wall
  •  A bed headboard with storage
View a collection of the above items plus many other storage product ideas here.







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Saturday, July 13, 2019

Reviewing Arbonne Essentials Herbal Tea

Arbonne Essentials Herbal Tea - Arbonne's Detox Tea
Arbonne Essentials Herbal Tea photo by Louanne Cox
I was first introduced to Arbonne's Essentials Herbal Tea as part of the 30 days to healthy living program which literally changed my life.   Since finishing the 30 days program I have continued to drink this tea every day for two reasons: it tastes good & it's good for me.

This tea is part of Arbonne's Essential range and is just called herbal tea here in Australia, but in some other countries it goes by the name detox tea as it works on the eliminatory organs.   Let's have a look at exactly what is in this tea -



The combination works really well with the flavor as dandelion root can be bitter on it's own and yet the combination of licorice root adds a sweetness and the peppermint stops that sweetness from being too strong while adding a refreshing flavor.   Basically it works to create a delicious tea that is lovely to drink on it's own.

Personally I drink mine in the morning as I just like to have a hot drink first thing, but as it's a caffeine free tea many people choose to drink it before going to bed.

A little tip from me - I drink a mug of this tea and I will keep the tea bag and make two mugs out of the same tea bag which means that my box of 20 will last me 40 days if I drink it just once a day.

Dandelion Root - What Are The Benefits


Dandelion's are highly nutritious and have been used for centuries,   Dandelion root is dried and used as a tea, in fact the first time I tried it the root was made into a granular form and you made it up like instant coffee - I found it way too bitter on it's own (mind you I was still a teen with a very sweet tooth!).

It is high in a soluble fibre called inulin that supports the growth and maintenance of healthy intestinal bacteria which are essential for your gut health.

It's been promoted as helping to support your liver for many years (one of the reasons I was first introduced to it years ago was as a liver tonic).

There are many other benefits often cited for dandelion root including anti-inflammatory properties, anti-oxidant levels, helping the digestive system, the list goes on.   I personally believe it's been included in the tea because it helps support and protect the liver as well as aiding gut health.

Peppermint Leaf - Benefits


As you may already know I love peppermint tea and used to drink it every afternoon.   I will admit I don't drink it every day now, but I do still have it regularly and it is always in my cupboard.   I talk more about it below.

Why drink peppermint teaWhy Drink Peppermint Tea
I love the taste of peppermint tea, but that's not the only reason I drink it, peppermint tea also has a lot of benefits including aiding digestion and helping with concentration which is why I enjoy it after lunch when working.

Parsley Leaf - Health Benefits


I first tried parsley leaf tea in my early 20s as it was touted as being great for kidney health (it's use as a diuretic doesn't appear to have been tested by scientists however so I'm not sure where I got my information from).   It was very easy to make, but at the time I didn't really like the taste and my husband wasn't very impressed with me using the parsley in my tea instead of him using it as a garnish!

It turns out that the dried form of parsley (used in this tea and other commercial herbal teas) contains 17 times more antioxidant properties than it's fresh form (reference)

Parsley is high in antioxidant nutrients and is also believed to help regulate blood sugar levels and hormone levels.

Elder Flowers - A Traditional Heath Tonic


I must admit I don't recall ever trying elderflower tea although I had heard of it as it was traditional health tonic drunk in the UK.  I may very easily have been given it without remembering.

This tea is traditionally drunk to keep colds and flus at bay and a study published in the Online Journal of Pharmacology and PharmacoKinetics in 2009 backed up the effectiveness of elderflowers in treating the flu.

It appears that the anti-oxidant levels in elderflowers combined with it's anti-viral properties work really well to keep the immune system healthy.

This could be part of the reason why my immunity has been really good for the past 18 months since taking this tea daily.

Sweet Fennel - The Health Benefits


I first came across sweet fennel tea when I was working in a Health shop in my 20s, we used to recommend breastfeeding mothers drank it if their babies had colic and we had very positive feedback on it's effectiveness with the local midwives regularly sending new mothers to us.

With this experience I'm not surprised to find that it's known to improve digestion, is anti-spasmodic and can relieve symptoms of IBS.   It also helps keep your liver and kidneys healthy while boosting immunity, reducing inflammation and balancing hormones.

Licorice Root - Sweet & Healthy


Did you know the Egyptians used licorice root tea as a cure-all concoction?   This tea has been used for centuries by the early Europeans and the Chinese for it's health benefits.

Today licorice root tea is used to promote digestive, respiratory and adrenal gland health and you will find it included in herbal tea blends that promote both bronchial wellness as well as cleanse and detox.

Summing Up My Daily Herbal Tea


I have taken this tea every day for the past 18 months except for 2 weeks when I was on holiday (I think it's good to take a break occasionally when you're regularly using herbs).   I have made a number of lifestyle changes and have attributed my results to using the whole range of the 30 days to healthy living program that Arbonne have.

When I look at the individual benefits of the ingredients in the herbal tea I can see how they have applied to me.   In all honesty I don't believe a tea alone can do all this, but in conjunction with other changes I have found the following has happened to me personally -

My hormones are more balanced (I am going through menopause and the symptoms (crankiness, night sweats, hot flushes, etc) have abated.

I have an autoimmune disease (Rheumatoid Arthritis) and haven't even had a little flare up, plus I've been able to go back to the gym with no problems for the first time in decades.

My immune system has dramatically improved - I had been getting sick constantly before starting this tea, I can joke now that someone just had to sneeze in a 10 block radius and I'd get the flu, but it actually did feel like that was happening at the time.

There are lots of other things I could say, but I will just mention one thing if you want to try the Arbonne Essentials Herbal Tea and you don't like it Arbonne have a 45 day money back guarantee, so try it for a couple of weeks and if you don't like it send it back!


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Friday, July 12, 2019

Spider-Man: Far From Home Movie Review

Spider-man: Far From Home Movie Review
Spider-man is one of the best known Avengers.  All over the world, people recognize Spider-man and love him!

If you are a Marvel comics fan, most likely you knew the names of all of the Avenger superheroes long before they became superstars on the silver screen.  However, movie-goers have been entertained by the friendly neighborhood Spider-man for decades and he has been able to stand his cinematic ground all alone.  Multiple actors have had the opportunity to don the suit and become our favorite young hero.  However, none of the previous actors have represented Spider-man better than Tom Holland.

In Spider-Man: Far From Home, we are reminded that Peter Parker is a teenager still in high school and not a "man" as his superhero name would imply.  He simply happened to be the one bitten by that radioactive spider when he was 15 years old.  He may have the physical strength of some of the other Avengers, and he may be extremely smart like the Hulk or Tony Stark, but he is still "just a kid".  If you have seen The Avengers Infinity War, you will recall that Tony Stark (Ironman) loved Spider-man for his intelligence, his enthusiasm, his natural defender instincts, and his natural physical abilities, but Tony also tried to protect Peter.  

Unfortunately, Peter Parker no longer has his Ironman protector and he has to face a fierce opponent without the aid of any of the other Avengers.  Plus, he has some really hard personal decisions to make.


Spider-man: Far From Home Movie Synopsis


 Spider-Man: Far From HomeCheck PriceAs Peter Parker is making plans to go on his class trip to Europe, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) is calling.  We all know, when Nick Fury calls it is important, and you better answer.  However, Peter doesn't want to "play" superhero this week.  He wants to go on his trip with his classmates.  So, he ignores the phone calls.  He even intentionally does not pack his Spider-man suit.  Peter is determined to enjoy his trip!  But, as they say, the best laid plans of spiders and men often go awry.  (You know they say "spiders"!)

When Peter is stopped by customs and his luggage is searched, he sees that his Aunt May added his Spider-man suit for him, like any good parent or guardian would do, of course.  That turns out to be a good thing, because Peter isn't in Venice for long before he needs that suit.

When Venice is attacked by a water monster (Water Elemental), what appears to be a new superhero, flies into the scene to defend the city.  However, Spider-man is soon needed to help protect the people in the area and his suit is back in the hotel.  Peter realizes he can't just let the surrounding buildings fall on his friends and other tourists.  He goes into action with only a carnival mask to hide his identity.

Once the Water Elemental is defeated, Peter finally meets with Nick Fury who gives him a gift that was left to him by Tony Stark.  It seems Ironman has entrusted Peter with his most precious legacy.  (No spoilers here.  You will have to watch for yourself!) 

Peter is also officially introduced to Quentin Beck, who has now been publicly dubbed Mysterio since he so heroically saved Venice from certain destruction.  Peter is relieved to have another superhero around to talk to and to fight alongside.  It seems Beck is content to be Peter's new mentor.

For comic fans, you will already know all about Mysterio.  You will recognize him immediately.  However, for those who only follow the stories through the movies, this film will reveal several tremendous revelations for you.


A Must for Avenger Fans


There are many reasons to love the movie, Spider-man: Far From Home.  It is delightful, funny, and entertaining, but for Avenger Fans, it holds greater significance as a continuation of the beloved Avenger movies.  The Endgame was definitely not the end!






FOR A LIST OF AVENGER MOVIES AND THE RECOMMENDED WATCH ORDER, CLICK HERE



More Marvel Movies Reviewed Here on Review This!


 
Avengers: Endgame movie provides fans with opportunities to laugh, cheer out loud & a few unexpected moments that reduced us to tears.



In the movie, we discover the background story to how Carol Danvers becomes Captain Marvel and aligns herself with the Avengers.



Marvel fans love Avengers: Infinity War!  All of our favorite Avengers, plus the Guardians of the Galaxy join the battle to save the world from evil domination and genocide by Thanos. Expect some very shocking and even upsetting deaths in this movie. Real Mavel fans will need Kleenex!


The movie Doctor Strange is based on the Marvel comics character. A fabulous fantasy fiction movie that is quite accurate with the depiction.



Guardians of the Galaxy is a truly fabulous Marvel movie that I would recommend for anyone! The movie is a mix of sci-fi, great animation, engaging stories, & witty dialog.



Ant-Man & The Wasp Movie ReviewAnt-Man & The Wasp Movie Review
Paul Rudd (Ant-Man), Michael Douglas (Dr. Hank Pym), and Evangeline Lilly (The Wasp / Dr. Pym's daughter), join together in battle. However, this time it is against a very unexpected mysterious foe, while also having to elude the FBI.



Ant-Man Movie ReviewAnt-Man Movie Review
Dr. Pym (Ant-Man suit inventor) & his daughter, Hope, train Scott Lang to work with ants and to become Ant-Man in preparation to "defeat" Darren Cross and his Yellowjacket invention.




The movie Iron Man sets the foundation for all of the following Avengers movies. Every Marvel fan, old or young, needs to see the movie Iron Man.





House of Sylvestermouse



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Thursday, July 11, 2019

Review of Attracting Birds to My Backyard

                                                    

Black-capped Chickadee


I have often been asked how I attract the large variety of birds to our backyard.  In the past  several years I have documented 31 different types of birds.  I believe that the wide variety of food that I put out for the birds helps to attract different types of birds.  These birds provide hours of entertainment for my husband and me.  In this post I will share with you the different types of bird food.

Mixed Variety Bird Seed

In several of my bird feeders, I use a mixed variety of bird seed. This type of mixture includes sunflower seeds along with other mixed seeds.  I have not found any one brand that seems to be better in attracting birds, so I usually buy whatever is on sale.  Here is the type that I purchased last.

                                                   



In the photos below you will see the variety of birds that enjoy the mixed bird seed that I keep in several different feeders in our backyard.





Nyjer Bird Seed

I have a finch feeder that I keep filled with Nyjer seed.  These seeds are small black seeds that don't fall through the small mesh of the feeder.  This feeder attracts many different birds, but it is particularly popular with finches.  In the photo below you will see Goldfinch enjoying the Nyjer seed.


The birds in this photo look like they have spotty or dirty looking feathers.  That is due to the fact that this photo was taken in early spring and they were still molting.

                                              


Suet Nuggets

This year I have started to put suet nuggets in a feeder.  This food has become very popular with woodpeckers.  Downy woodpeckers are frequent visitors of the nugget feeder.




I sometimes put whole peanuts in this feeder.  They last longer than the nuggets but I find it hard to tell when the feeder is empty because the empty peanut shells are left behind.  Here is a Red-bellied Woodpecker enjoying the peanuts.




                                                            


Suet Cakes

Another popular bird food is suet cakes.  I keep one hanging in my backyard feeding area year round.  They are frequented by a wide variety of birds.  In the photo below you see a Grosbeak that visited the suet cake this spring.


Hummingbird Feeder

Each spring I look forward to seeing my first Hummingbird of the year.  I hang out the feeder starting in early  April.  I make my own food for the feeder boiling 2 cups of water and 1/2 cup of sugar in my microwave.  After cooling the mixture I add it to the feeder.  It is important to change the mixture every week to ten days and more often in very hot weather.



Bird Bath

In addition to the various bird feeders I provide a bird bath on our back deck.  This gives the birds a place to get a drink and in the case of Robins to take a bath. This spring I looked out one day to see a whole group of Bluebirds lined up on the edge of the bird bath.

 I love to see the Robins splashing in the bird bath.








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Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Let's Review Some of Disney's Pook-a-Looz Plush Toys

Disney's Pook-a-Looz Plush Toys

Disney's Pook-a-looz Plush Toys Are Too Cute!


If you're reading this page it is probably not because you do not know what a Pook-a-looz is but rather because you are seeking one or the other of Disney's tremendously popular line of Pook-a-looz. But just in case you don't know, let me make an introduction. Pook-a-looz are a group of plush toys considered in the words of Disney, "too cute for their own good." They are soft and cuddly and collectible and they present the Disney characters you know and love in a slightly different format than we are used to. Pook-a-looz are popular with all ages including because they represent classic Disney characters with a modern twist.

If you've been searching for a specific Pook-a-looz or for that matter any Pook-a-looz, you will find a large selection on this page of wonderful, colorful, fun Pook-a-looz toys. ENJOY.

I first discovered the Pook-a-looz via a series of short, fun advertising videos that started with this one, called Gentleman Caller:




Mickey and Minnie Mouse 
Mickey Mouse Pook-a-Looz


Minnie Mouse Pook-a-Looz

Wikipedia says that Mickey Mouse was first created by Walt Disney in 1928, which means he is getting to be near a hundred years old. He's anthropomorphic. That is, an animal, though in my mind he barely resembles a mouse, dressed in human clothing. Here are Mickey and Minnie Mouse in Pook-a-Looz form. Both done in their classic Disney style. Which one is your favorite character? Which is your favorite Pook-a-looz?

Toy Story 

Toy Story Buzz Lightyear Pook-a-Looz

Toy Story Woody Pook-a-Looz


Toy Story continues to be a particularly popular franchise. My children grew up with the first and second movie and, therefore, I quite enjoy the characters, Woody and Buzz Lightyear. If I had to pick one, I could not because they are both important to the movie and in my mind you cannot have one without the other. Who do you love better? Which is your favorite in Pook-a-looz form?

Alice in Wonderland  

Alice in Wonderland's Cheshire Cat Pook-a-Looz


The Cheshire Cat character from the book and the movie versions of Alice in Wonderland is a very popular character and I think this bright and cheerful pink striped version by Pook-a-Looz is well done. As a matter of fact he's one of my favourites from this story franchise. That's not to say that I don't like the others, of course. Other Pook-a-Looz from the Alice in Wonderland story line include Alice, the Queen of Hearts and the Mad Hatter, as shown below. Who is your favorite Alice in Wonderland character? Which Pook-a-looz version do you like the best?

Nightmare Before Christmas  

Nightmare Before Christmas Pook-a-Looz


The Nightmare Before Christmas has attained cult status and is another movie that has been reproduced by Disney in Pook-a-looz form. Here you can see your favourite characters, including Jack Skellington, the Santa version of Jack Skellington, the Oogie Boogie and Sally. Which Nightmare Before Christmas Pook-a-Looz do you like the most? Which is your favorite character from Tim Burton's movie? Do you like these ones?

The Muppets  


The Muppets Pook-a-Looz
Well, you will not find all of the Muppets made into Pook-a-looz dolls but you will find Kermit, Fozzy Bear,Gonzo and Animal. I found those characters on Amazon but had to turn to eBay to find Miss Piggy. If you are interested in buying Miss Piggy or just in seeing the Pook-a-looz version on eBay, just click here. Anyway, I am a particularly big fan of The Muppets so once again hard pressed to pick a favourite in Pook-a-looz form. How about you?


Winnie The Pooh and Friends 


Winnie the Pooh Pook-a-Looz
Yes, Disney has recreated the Winnie the Pooh characters as Pook-a-looz and shown here are Winnie the Pooh, Eeyore and Piglet versions. I love them all. I think that Eeyore is very realistic, don't you? At least as realistic as he can be.  Which one is your favorite Pooh character? Which is your favorite in Pook-a-looz style?

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs  


Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Pook-a-Looz
Fans of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs will not want to miss these Pook-a-Looz dolls. I do not know if all seven of the dwarfs were produced in Pook-a-looz form. I have been able to find Dopey and Grumpy and, of course, Snow White, as shown above. They're both adorable, don't you think?

More Pook A Looz Plush Toys


As Disney says, these Pook-a-Looz are too cute! There are many Pook-a-Looz available and I have just shared a few here with you. You can also find Tinker Bell, Peter Pan, Dumbo, Chip N Dale, Lilo and Stitch,  Pinocchio and more of both Mickey Mouse and  Alice in Wonderland's friends. Are there any specific ones that you are searching for?

You can see Amazon's complete collection of Pook-a-Looz by clicking right here and if Amazon does not have the ones you are looking for, you might also check eBay. I notice that the Snow White pair have commanded the highest price on eBay recently followed by Mickey and Minnie as Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus and then Dumbo. The highest price in the past year went to the alien Stitch from the movie Lilo and Stitch, who sold for a whopping $170. Mary Poppins, a pink Angel version of Stitch and Oogie Boogie from the Nightmare Before Christmas all fetched around $50.  In general, however, these toys have not yet become extremely expensive so at this time you can start building or keep building your collection. See for yourself what Pook-a-Looz are available right now on eBay by clicking right here and happy shopping!

See you
in the toy aisle!
Brenda

More Disney Gift Ideas:


Disney Gift Ideas
Disney Frozen Gift Ideas
Disney Coffee Mugs








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