Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Snorkeling in Hawaii or Some Tropical Place Requires the Right Tools- A Product Review

Snorkeling is a fun thing to do in the warm places of the earth!  

Hubby and I just got back from a long overdue holiday to Hawaii.  We had been planning to do this trip for our 50th anniversary, but decided to do it a little earlier, as both he and I are having mobility issues.  So we celebrated 48 years together with this trip of a lifetime.  But,  I digress.....

snorkeling, full face mask, holidays
                                               Image my own!
This was our beach on the Island of Maui.  The hotel had a nice pool, but an even nicer beach.  You could go out just a few feet and see hundreds of schools of fish.  (Sheraton Hotel)   There were even sea turtles seen by some of the guests, but we did not see any for ourselves at this location. 

What made the snorkeling so much fun was the full face mask that my son had given to us to use.

So you are thinking to yourself, "Big Deal, a full face mask!"  What's that all about?






Let me tell you, this full face snorkel is so much better to use than the traditional two piece mask and snorkel! I had only used the two piece equipment in the past and always had difficulty with swimming under water with my gear. Water always, always got into the tube and I ended up choking more than once. Not so with the one piece full face mask.


What makes this so much better?

Let's just say that technology has gotten so much better with these new face masks in several areas.
  1.   The breathing tube is fitted with a one way valve that let's       you  go underwater without getting a mouthful of ocean water. 
  2.  The silicone around the face mask is comfortable and gives a   really good seal, without pinching anywhere.
  3.  Anti-fog face lens lets you breathe normally and still maintain   clarity in the water.
  4. There is a mount on the breathing tube for a camera.
  5. There is no need to clench your teeth together in order to hold the breathing tube securely
  6.  With the full face mask, you can breathe through your nose or mouth. 
Due to the comfort of the fit, you will be able to snorkel longer.  Believe me clenching a breathing tube in your mouth is very tiring and can cause pain in the jaws.  This problem is totally gone with this one piece face mask.  

I just remembered another bonus with this one piece mask,
The full face mask wraps around your head differently than a traditional mask, thus giving you  a much better field of vision.  It really is comfortable and easy.

Many of these one piece face masks also come with an adapter on the tube to mount a GoPro (or similar) type of camera.  So now you can snorkel with the fish and you can also take their pictures too!

Are you snorkeling with family?  

Don't worry,  these masks are made in sizes for children and for adults. Size is determined by the length of the face from the bridge of the nose to the bottom of the chin.  Can you imagine your children being able to see the amazing creatures under the sea?  I'm sure that the first time would be so much fun to see their reaction to things that they probably have only seen in movies or educational shows.  It just isn't the same thing as seeing it with your own eyes.  Once you have outfitted your family with these masks, I bet you will be looking for places  where  snorkeling is one of the best activities listed.

Now, I must add just a little addendum, facial hair can sometimes be problematic, so if you have a beard, you might want to check out the seal you get before you pack this mask into your suitcase. 


full face mask, snorkeling, underwater adventures
                                             Image from Pixaby

At the start of this blog post you will notice that I said both my husband and I were having issues with mobility.  That is true on land, but in the water, we are both like little fish!  I know there will be more snorkeling in our near future and hopefully I'll get better pictures to share with you too!

full face mask, snorkeling, underwater
                                           Image from Amazon.ca 




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

An Easter Egg Hunt For Jesus Book Review

More To The Holiday Than Eggs And Bunnies

I found a wonderful book to include in the little one's Easter Basket this year. An Easter Egg Hunt For Jesus will be a nice way to help her understand what we are really celebrating during this special holiday. Just like with Christmas, children need to know the real 'reason for the season.'

easter egg hunt
Egg Hunts are fun for kids
image courtesy of pixabay.com
I will admit that it is fun to color the eggs with the children and even more fun hiding those eggs for them to find. How often do we stop to let them know why we Christians celebrate the Easter Holiday? Depending on their age, it might be difficult to explain the Crucifixion and Resurrection in a way that doesn't disturb them . I remember my oldest coming out of her Sunday School class one Sunday near Easter being absolutely horrified over their lesson that morning. She was about 7 at the time but she had grasped all too well the story of Jesus on that cross. She kept saying, "They killed him, Mommy! Why would they do that?" I kept trying to explain that He had to die so that he could come back to life but I didn't do a very good job of it. I also remember thinking the teacher shouldn't have ended the lesson that day without telling the children at least something about what came next. Maybe she did, but my daughter couldn't get past the part of his death on that hill. I wish that I had been able to prepare her for that lesson with a book like An Easter Egg Hunt For Jesus. It hadn't been written, yet.

Forest of Faith Series 

A series of books have been written to help children understand better, in ways that they can relate to, the meaning of both Christmas and Easter. The stories take place in a forest with adorable little animals who learn more about their faith. The books are written for ages 4 through 6 and have been illustrated beautifully by Lee Holland with the stories being written by Susan Jones. I really think they would be a wonderful addition to the library of books we have to read to our little ones. 

Little Bunny is excited about the special egg hunt taking place in the forest as are all of the creatures who live there. In his enthusiasm to find the 'special egg' he makes a mistake that he believes has ruined the fun for his family and friends. They all come together to help him understand about the Resurrection of Jesus and the celebration over the new life that He offers to all of us. It is a sweet little story! 

I recommend this book to share with the small ones in your family!




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Monday, February 17, 2020

Reviewing the Muscle Max Massage Ball

The Muscle Max Massage Ball looks like a gimmick. It looks like an over-sized, hard rubber tennis ball with grooves. However, it is somehow much more than that and has helped me immensely with pain relief. After the first time I used one I knew I had to have one of my own. 


Reviewing the Muscle Max massage ball on ReviewThisReviews.com


The Backstory


I have had migraines and a constant daily headache since the late 1980s. Relief has been elusive. And costly. The causes of migraines are as individual as each person that has them. In my opinion, that is what makes them difficult to treat. I have recently found pain relief with treatment and the Muscle Max Massage Ball by Epitome Fitness is a part of that treatment. 

I have started treatment that has included chiropractic, dry needling, stim/heat treatment, stretching and exercise. With this treatment, I'm experiencing greatly reduced pain and actually have some days with no pain at all.


The Muscle Max Massage Ball


The physical therapy portion of my treatment began with the initial focus of loosening me up and increasing range of motion. The pain over the decades had kept me in a constant state of gritting teeth and shrugged shoulders. When the PT staff handed me this little rubber ball, I was so skeptical that I nearly laughed. But I did as instructed.

Standing against the wall, I placed the ball between my back/shoulders area and leaned back. As I moved my body up and down or side to side, the ball gave a deep muscle massage. I could adjust the pressure by how hard I leaned back. Finding a knot in my muscle, I pressed back and rubbed until I could feel the knot loosening.

It was so effective that I left my appointment and hopped on Amazon to order my own Muscle Max Massage Ball.  

A few descriptive blurbs from the Epitome Fitness site:

  • high density rubber
  • trigger point massage grid
  • provides Myofascial Release therapy (MFR)
  • relaxes contracted muscles
  • improves blood circulation

The Epitome Fitness site also highlights a few different ways to use the ball.

Clearly, the Muscle Max ball is only one piece of my recovery. I would not say that it alone cured my migraines. I would say that it immediately feels good and I can feel improvement each time I use this strange rubber ball. With daily use, the tension in my shoulders has released dramatically and my range of motion has increased noticeably.

Important Note: I am not a doctor or physical therapist. If you have chronic pain or health problems, as always, consult your provider before beginning a new treatment or exercise. 





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Sunday, February 16, 2020

White Cake with Coconut Topping - Another Family Favorite

White Cake with Baked Coconut Topping - A Family Fave

I don't know what's with me lately, but here I am again this week talking about another recipe my family loves.

As I mentioned in the other recipe articles, of course, I can cook, it's just not my favorite thing to do. What the heck, I'll keep the recipe sharing going until this phase wears off.

Here's this Sunday's recipe for y'all: It's the most amazing simple white cake evah!

Much like the simplicity of my previously shared recipes, this one only has six ingredients, and it's so good! It has a topping as well, so the total ingredients are actually nine. You've done the math, so I guess you've figured out that the topping has three.

We actually don't have a name for this recipe, we just call it 'White Cake with Coconut Topping.'

Cake Ingredients:

  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Cup of White Sugar
  • 1 Cup of Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Cup of Milk
  • 1/4 Cup of crushed Walnuts (optional)
(Did you notice these ingredients are similar to making pancakes?)

Mix all the ingredients together, but don't put the walnuts in, they go on top. Don't over mix. Just get everything nicely blended. Pour the ingredients into an ungreased 8.1" square baking dish (2 quart). Sprinkle the top of the batter with the crushed walnuts. Bake the cake for approximately 25 minutes at 350 degrees. However, check it at 20 minutes.

The Topping

  •  6 Tablespoons of Butter
  • 10 Tablespoons of Brown Sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons of Cream or Canned Milk
Melt all ingredients in a pot on low heat. Once melted, add 1 Cup of baking coconut (the coconut you buy in the baking section of a grocery store).

Finishing the Cake


I usually poke about ten or so tiny holes into the cake using a toothpick. Pour the topping over the cake. Put the cake back in the oven under the broiler until the coconut on top turns into a nice golden color. It doesn't take long, watch it the whole time, don't walk away!

This is one of my favorite cakes. When my mother makes this cake, I cannot resist it. Although, yes I have resisted it for 10 months since I've been on Keto. Before my commitment to the Keto way of eating, I was all over this cake! I'll have to find a way to make this one Keto friendly.

Previous Family Recipes


Here are those other recipes I was speaking about:



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Site Review ~ Dinner, then Dessert, a Recipe Website

https://www.reviewthisreviews.com/2020/02/site-review-dinner-then-dessert-recipe.html
Source:  Pixabay & Fotojet

The other night I decided I wanted to fix Egg Foo Young for my dinner, as I had some leftover ham to put in it.  I almost always order Egg Foo Young at a Chinese restaurant, as it is my favorite. Since one doesn't often 'eat out', I sometimes fix restaurant favorites at home.  

I have made Egg Foo Young often over the years, but, while good, it just never tasted the same as my favorite at a Chinese restaurant or Chinese Take-out. And I never knew why. So I decided to look online for a new recipe to see if I could duplicate my favorite. Much to my surprise, I discovered that I have been 'cooking' my version incorrectly.  I would beat the eggs and add the ingredients (vegetables, and  sometimes meat or seafood) and cook it all at once like an omelet.  Aha ~ THAT was my mistake.  I discovered you cook individual helpings like a pancake! 

When I did a Google search for a new Egg Foo Young recipe, I accidentally came across a recipe blog called Dinner, then Dessert, and I am SO glad I did.  The author is a trained professional cook who worked as a Private Chef for 10 years, and all the recipes on her site are her own. Not only are her recipes delicious, but her presentation is attractive and easy to follow and her writing is delightful. Her name is Sabrina Snyder. 


Meet Sabrina Snyder



Sabrina Snyder, Professional Chef
Author of Dinner, then Dessert
Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years. 

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches, before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef. 

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook a family's entire week of dinners one day a week, including all grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning up, and leave them with instructions on reheating each meal.

As a private chef, she cooked for private parties in family homes in the evenings.

Sabrina enjoyed this lifestyle for 10 years, until her life and kids became her priority and  she stepped away from other people's kitchens to stay in her own kitchen.

In  2015, Dinner, then Dessert became an online recipe website where Sabrina began posting recipes she had shared with clients over the years. 

In addition, she still has private chef clients she cooks for.  Sabrina treasures her distinction of being a trained professional  chef. 


Sabrina's Egg Foo Young Recipe



Sabrina Snyder's Egg Foo Young Recipe
Sabrina's Photo from Dinner, then Dessert

Egg Foo Young is a Chinese egg omelet dish made with  vegetables with an easy gravy topping. I share her recipe here:

Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Chinese

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total  Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

8 eggs
½ onion, chopped
½ cut carrots (chopped and steamed)
¼ cup green peas
½ cut green bell pepper, chopped
¼ cup bean sprouts, cut in half
½ cup mushrooms
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
3 tablespoons sesame oil, divided

Instructions:


  1. Add the eggs, onion, mushrooms, bell pepper,  bean sprouts and soy sauce together in a bowl and whisk to combine.
  2. In a large skillet, heat 1 teaspoon sesame oil at a time for each pancake you cook on medium heat.
  3. Add about 1/3 cup of mixture per pancake and cook for 3-4 minutes on the first side and 1-2 minutes on the second side.


Egg Foo Young Gravy

1 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 tablespoon dry sherry
1 tablespoon cornstarch

Add everything to a small sauce pan and whisk well before the liquid heats up.  Cook and whisk until thickened. 


Recipe Notes from Sabrina about this Egg Foo Young Dish:



Egg Foo Young is sort of the classic leftovers meal made into a restaurant favorite. At our local Chinese restaurant the classic egg version of the dish comes out with a different assortment of ingredients mixed in almost every time we go.
I’ve asked our favorite waiter (who puts up with our circus of a family) why the fillings change and he explained to me that Egg Foo Young is a leftovers recipe and that when they have more or less of certain vegetables they just adjust the filling to what they have.


My Recipe Notes:



Cooking my version of Egg Foo Young
from Sabrina's Dinner, then Dessert site
Photos by Wednesday Elf, using a Fotojet collage

Following what Sabrina learned  about this Egg Foo Young recipe filling being adjusted, I made my recent version using only fresh mushrooms, diced onions and ham diced up from a leftover ham slice. I briefly sauteed the ham, onions and mushrooms in butter prior to adding them to the egg mixture.

I used only 3 eggs and cooked my pancakes one at a time in a small pan, as I was only making enough for myself. I chose NOT to make the gravy, as I like my Egg Foo Young plain. 

I then served the Egg Foo Young pancakes on rice. The  image below is of my result. YUM!


My Egg Foo Young Dinner

PS: In addition to learning the proper way to COOK this dish as pancakes, I think the other secret to getting homemade Egg Foo Young to taste more like a Chinese restaurant version is using sesame oil to cook it in. 


Site Review Summary


Having now discovered this delightful online recipe website by Sabrina Snyder, I will be visiting Dinner, then Dessert frequently to try out several of her other delicious-looking recipes  from her Main Dish, Desserts, Appetizers and Slow Cooker lists. Her 'Easy Chicken Parmesan' recipe is already calling my name! 

Quick Link:

Dinner, then Dessert Recipe Website

For more Chinese Takeout dishes to  fix at home, check out this cookbook:







(c) Dinner, then Dessert Website Review by Wednesday Elf, written on 2/15/2020





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Friday, February 14, 2020

Togo (2019) Movie Review

Togo (2019) Movie Review
Soundtrack Image/Link
Are you familiar with the name "Togo"?  What about "Balto"?  Does that name ring a bell?  What do you really know about these two dogs.  

I readily admit, I was surprised by the real facts when I recently watched the Disney movie, Togo, which prompted me to research the true history.  My previous knowledge of the legendary serum run to Nome was clearly very limited and had been shaped around the stories of Balto.  Imagine how shocked I was to learn the truth.

Since I love dogs, I am often drawn to movies about dogs, especially when they also feature a favorite actor like Willem Dafoe. When I saw the awesome dvd cover for the movie Togo, I was immediately drawn in and had to watch the movie.  The dvd picture is only the introduction to Togo and Leonhard Seppala.  Just look at that dog!  Isn't he gorgeous!!!  The real Togo was every bit as beautiful as the dog in the movie.  After hearing his story, all I could think was, who wouldn't want that fabulous pup!

One note of warning, ladies get out the tissues!  This is a real tearjerker that even guys will watch with you. Actually, come to think of it, bring extra tissues for them.


Togo The Lead Sled Dog of Leonhard
RDShahriar [CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]



Togo (2019) - Disney Movie Synopsis


The movie is based on the true story of Leonhard Seppala and his lead dog, Togo.  Unlike many movies, Togo seems to follow the truth closely, if not completely.  It dramatizes the challenges, the sacrifices, and the risks this team took in order to bring a life-saving serum to the children of Nome, Alaska, as well as gives us a factual account of the real Togo's life. 

Togo was the runt of the litter and expected to die.  Leonhard Seppala thought it would be kinder to put the pup down, but his wife did not agree.  She personally nursed the puppy to health and Togo repaid them with a deep love and devotion that only a dog can give. 
 
Leonhard Seppala was a renowned expert musher and trainer of working sled dogs.  Due to his small size and health issues, Seppala was certain Togo could not be useful.  He actually gave him away twice, but both times Togo was returned, or made his own way back home.
 
Togo was determined to be with Leonhard whether he wanted him or not.  Much to Seppala's surprise, the other dogs were willing to be lead by Togo, even into mischief and against their masters commands.  When Seppala relented and tried Togo as the lead sled dog, they were both rewarded with a win-win compromise.  


Size didn't matter to Togo.  He had the heart and spirit of a born leader.  

In 1925, when Togo was a mature 12 year old dog, the town was hit with a diphtheria epidemic. The children of Nome, Alaska desperately needed medicine.  Due to the weather, an airplane was not an option and the train from Anchorage only went as far as Nenana, Alaska.  The city council asked Leonhard Seppala to make the trip to Nenana to pick up the serum.  

Now, think about that for just a minute!  Over 650 miles round trip, in −30 °F weather with a wind chill of −85 °F and white out storms that no man could possibly see in, on a dog pulled sled.  Only an animal with a fantastic ability to navigate a blizzard could survive.  At 12 years old, the trip alone would most likely kill Togo, but Seppala knew he was their only chance of getting through to Nenana.  No other dog in his kennel possessed the drive and ability needed in such an intense storm.  But could Seppala knowingly sacrifice his beloved Togo to save the lives of the children and adults in Nome? 

Leonhard Seppala, with Togo in the lead of his dog sled team, set out for Nenana.  While in route, the city council set up a relay to intercept Seppala and shorten the length of time it would take to get the medicine back to Nome.  


The Facts about Balto & Togo


Balto was hailed as the hero because he was the reported lead dog that brought the serum into the city of Nome.  In the end, over 20 men (mushers) and 100 dogs were involved in the relay.  Most, including Balto, ran approximately 30 miles of the trek, but they all deserve credit for their part in the mission.  

Leonhard Seppala & his winning dogsled team
during 9th_All-Alaska Sweepstakes dogsled race

University of Washington [Public domain]
Ironically, Balto was also owned and trained by Leonhard Seppala.  Seppala's wife allowed another musher, Gunnar Kaasen, to borrow Balto for the relay.    

Togo and Seppala, along with the rest of their dog team, ran 260 hard miles.  They were the team that crossed the dangerous iced-over Norton Sound and endured 3 days of blizzard weather. The team survived due to Togo's exceptional ability to navigate to safety in a ground blizzard.  If not for Togo, his dog team, Leonhard Seppala, and the serum would have been lost and dead.

Even though they passed the serum off for the last miles into Nome, I think it is clear who deserved the credit for getting the lifesaving serum to Nome.

You can watch the factually accurate movie yourself to see if you agree. 

One note of interest that the movie did not include, is that Seppala had an 8 year old daughter at the time of the serum run.  I have no desire to take away from Seppala, but as a parent myself, I suspect the fact that he had a child affected his decision to make the run for their lives and to use Togo as his lead in spite of the dogs advanced age.  After all, he had the option to use Balto himself.

At the time of publishing this review, Togo is only available for viewing on the Disney+ subscription channel.  No DVD release date has been announced.

The phenomenal music from the movie is available for purchase and downloading. 




Check Out More Movie Reviews at
ReviewThisMovies.com



Togo (2019) Movie Review Written by:
House of Sylvestermouse



 


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Review of Bird Photography in the Snow


I love photographing birds and in the winter a snowy day can give a wonderful backdrop for my bird photographs.


Female Cardinal


As I reviewed articles online in preparation for writing this article, I found many tips on photographing in the snow.  Most of these talked about protecting your camera, wearing gloves with the fingers cut out and that type of tips.  I have a different setup for photographing birds right from the comfort of my own home and that is what I will be sharing in this article.

Photographing through Glass



The photograph above, as well as all of the photos on this page were taken through glass.  I have tripods set up in my home that I use to photograph the birds in our yard.  The photograph above was taken through our sliding glass doors in the kitchen.  I often get a surprised reaction when people hear that I photograph through glass, but it has worked well for me.

               When photographing through glass
                be sure to keep the glass clean.

I keep a cloth handy to quickly wipe away any smudges on the glass.  On a snowy day I will frequently open the door to wipe away sleet or drops that have formed on the glass outside.

                Set up the camera as close to the
                glass as possible.

I have my cameras set up on a tripod just inches away from the glass.

My Setup


I have two cameras that I use to take my bird photography.  Both are set up on tripods.  
  • Sony A57 DSLR set up with a Tamron 200-600 zoom lens.  This camera is perfect for getting the birds that are at a bit of a distance.  I use these when the birds are at my far feeders, up in the branches of the trees along the back of our property or in the bushes.
  • Sony a6300 mirrorless camera.  This camera set up with a 70-210 zoom lens is perfect for the birds on the deck and in the closer feeders.  I use it in connection with a wireless remote so that I can sit at the kitchen table and trigger the shutter release when I see a bird.  I used this setup in photographing the BlueJays pictured below.













Bright Colored Birds on a Snowy Day


I love to photograph all birds but catching some of these brightly colored birds against the snowy backdrop are my favorites.




















Dark-eyed Junco or Snowbird


Another favorite of mine is the Junco which is commonly called the snowbird.  It has a dark top and white underside which looks great on a snowy day.


Zazzle Products from my Photographs





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

What Beavers Do - Review of Beaver Valley by Walter D. Edmonds

Beaver Dam: Review of Beaver Valley by Walter D. Edmonds
Image by Jerzy Górecki from Pixabay  I added text.

What Skeet Sees


My photo of  book cover
Skeet is a young deer mouse who lives in a burrow on a spruce knoll above a swamp in a peaceful valley. A brook runs past the knoll toward a pond. Skeet lives with his mother, his sister Samantha, his baby brother Loopey, and his grandfather, Overdare.

One day while he's getting a drink in the brook, he hears something making a loud splashing sound. He was curious, so he drew nearer to the sound. He heard a high-pitched whistle. The splashing stopped. Then he saw a dark brown head looking cautiously around an edge of grass. He had never seen such an odd creature as that which emerged. He thought it looked comical with its large orange front teeth and its paddle-like tail. Skeet stopped being afraid because he could see this awkward creature would never be fast enough to catch him. The creature was soon joined by five more like it.

Skeet ran home to ask Overdare what these creatures might be. “'Beaver!' exclaimed Skeet's grandfather....'I hoped I'd never see in my lifetime when beaver get into this valley.'” (p, 7)

Overdare confirmed the beaver weren't dangerous to mice, since they didn't eat meat. So Skeet couldn't understand why his grandfather didn't want them around. Overdare explained:

“Beaver...think they know the way everything ought to be in any place they settle down. If it isn't that way, they make it so, and they don't care a bit what happens to anyone else in the process.” (p. 8)

What the Beavers Do


Grandfather hopes the beaver will leave, but curious Skeet hopes they hang around long enough for him to watch. And watch he does. He sees the beavers build a dam, chop down trees, raise the level of the pond, build a canal for transporting logs from the places where they had felled them, and build a second dam. The water level kept rising higher and higher.

Photo of p. 16-17, Beaver Valley, Leslie Morrill's illustration, text by Walter D. Edmonds
Photo of p. 16-17, Beaver Valley, Leslie Morrill's illustration, text by Walter D. Edmonds


What Author Walter D. Edmonds Thinks of Beavers


Edmonds was raised in upper New York State in the small town of Boonville. He frequently observed beaver at his family home, Northlands, along the Black River . He personally saw how negatively the beavers impacted the ecosystem when they moved into an area.

Beavers have always fascinated me. Most of us who have never seen one in the wild think of them positively because they are such industrious animals. Teachers often hold up the hardworking beavers as examples their students should follow. Edmonds seems to see them as industriously destroying their environment to please themselves.

He reveals this attitude in one of the book's last sentences. He describes a mother who had brought her young son to the spruce knoll for a picnic to see the beaver ponds. She wanted to teach her son some natural history. She didn't seem interested in all the dying trees whose roots had gotten too wet. She was only interested in all the work the beavers had done building their dams, their home, and their canal. Let's eavesdrop on her:

“Isn't it wonderful, Tommy?....They're as clever as engineers. They're just like men.” (p, 69)

Should You or Your Child Read This Book?


Whether you love beavers or not, you will learn a lot about their behavior in this book from one who has observed beavers over time. Older readers will pick up the author's attitude. The book would be perfect to read aloud as a family and discuss. 

The author shows us each step in the beavers' transformation of the valley, and suspense builds as the water level rises. Skeet at first is just curious. But as the water level continues to rise, he realizes that animals in burrows on lower ground will lose their homes. Some don't get out in time and are trapped to die. Skeet and his family wonder if they, too, will have to find a new home.

The copy of the book I have is illustrated by Leslie Morrill. I love her drawing of the beavers and the mice. Her hand-drawn maps help readers keep track of the changes in the valley.

Photo of p. 10-11, Beaver Valley, Leslie Morrill's illustration
Photo of p. 10-11, Beaver Valley, Leslie Morrill's illustration


This is chapter book is at a grade 3-5 reading level. It's a great book for homeschoolers. Almost any age from kindergarten on will find it interesting. Why not get a copy for your home library?

This book is out of print. It is still available at Amazon

All quotes and book illustration photos are from this book: Beaver Valley by Walter D. Edmonds, illustrated by Leslie Morrill; Little, Brown and Company, 1971.

Learn more about beavers and other wild animals in my review of Nature's Everyday Mysteries. I review some of my favorite picture books about animals here. You may also enjoy fellow contributor Renaissance Woman's review of Deep Creek.  





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Stuffed Bunny For Easter Reviewed

A Gift For Easter Or Anytime

I've been checking out my options for a stuffed bunny as a gift for Easter this year and would like to review one that I am considering getting for the grandchildren. Oh, I might just get one for me, too. I think this one is a real cutie and I do love stuffed animals and if I order it soon, it might help with some inspiration on the book I am trying to finish.

stuffed bunny
A stuffed bunny of a different sort
image courtesy of pixabay.com
One of the reasons that I began to look for a bunny as a gift was because the current book that I'm working on involves a cold case that happened around Easter time a few years ago. In the second book in the Babbs Bennett Mystery series, Sydney becomes alarmed when she sees a stuffed bunny on display in the Holiday Book Store. She begins to explain that she does not like bad bunnies because they take things. As Babbs gently questions the girl, she discovers that Sydney witnessed something at a local Easter Egg Hunt that might help solve the disappearance of a young girl.

Babbs becomes curious and more than a little outraged when she hears that the police talked to Sydney at the time about what she saw and then seemed to dismiss the girl's account. Her assumption is that they did not take the girl seriously because she was born with Down Syndrome and Babbs just can't tolerate the rejection of her little friend when she clearly saw something important. She convinces her friends Priscilla, Elizabeth, and Marjorie to help solve the case of the missing child. Babbs wants to ease the fears that Sydney has about rabbits, prove her point about the police being more sensitive to all witnesses and most importantly find out what happened to the little girl. 

Looking For Inspiration In Odd Places

When I began to write the second book in the series, working title is Brazen Bunny, I wanted to stay with the theme of the series of a book store that decorates for the holidays that are celebrated each month. Since the first book involved Valentine's Day, I thought Easter would be the next logical holiday to have the story revolve around. So, then my mind began a journey about what kind of mystery could involve Easter. It came up with the idea of a child actually being afraid of the Easter Bunny because they saw someone dressed as one do something bad. That is where the plot became to form in my brain. We are still working out the details!

A stuffed rabbit begins the unfolding of what Sydney saw that day, so, I have had stuffed bunnies in my head for a while now. When it came time to think about what to get the kids for Easter, a stuffed bunny pushed itself to the surface. 

I found a cute one. He is manufactured by Checkered Fun and measures about 20 inches tall. His bottom is weighted so that he can sit if you choose for him to do so. He is soft, cuddly and well, cute as a bunny! He is the perfect size to cuddle and snuggle with at bedtime or anytime. I think he deserves to become a new friend to my special girls and he might need to sit and help me finish my book. 




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Monday, February 10, 2020

Dog Agility Reviewed!

It is winter here in the Midwest and I already thinking warmer weather and fun activities in the yard with my pup and dog agility!

A backyard agility course for your dog is fun with a F! Fun for you, fun for the dog and a fun activity both you and your fluffy friend can enjoy.

The Agility Obstacle Course


Dog agility is the running of an obstacle course. The sport originated in the late 1970's in England. There have been many organizations through the years as the sport has evolved; the goal of the organizations were shared, though the rules and obstacles slightly differed.

Years ago when agility was a relatively new sport I enrolled in a dog agility class. The difference between the backyard agility equipment and professional equipment is size. As you can see from the video below of a professional agility competition the obstacles are BIG!

Backyard agility obstacles are smaller, portable and easy to assemble. The starter kits are easy to set up, store and all you need is grass! The agility kits are easily transported so if a backyard is not available any nice sized section of grass will work.

The Beginner Backyard Agility Sets


Staples in a backyard agility kit are the jump, tunnel and weave poles.

Tunnel


The tunnel is usually one of the first obstacles to teach your dog. A few treats and encouragement and the tunnel can be easy to master for the confident dog. As with every new activity a little practice goes along way and the dog will give you cues as to how comfortable they are with the tunnel.

I have seen very skittish and less confident young dogs who at first look at the tunnel as a looming foreign object turn into tunnel loving runners with the right encouragement and practice.

Jump


The jump is adjustable and can be set very close to the ground to begin acclimating your dog to the desired height. Dogs who love to run and jump can take to the jump quite quickly. I happen to have a dog who loves to jump so the jump was quickly mastered and the height could be increased.

To teach and acclimate the dog to the jump you can see in the photo below the dog is on a leash and I am gently guiding the dog through the jump with a treat in hand ( why the dog is looking to my hand).



Last Fall we had a few doggie buddies over for backyard fun. 

The three Amigos

Within a few minutes of practicing individually we put the medium size dogs sitting at the start line and were amazed as they took off together taking the jump in unison!




 It was a race to the treat and the owners.

Because of size, as one of the three amigos was only six pounds, she was an observer while the two medium sized dogs navigated the obstacle course, and we practiced with her separately. 

She enjoyed watching and learning from afar however!



Weave poles

Weave poles can be tough! Where my dog took to the jumping very quickly, the weave poles not so much. The poles are set up for the dog to zig zag - weave in and out in a straight line. We are still working on the weave poles, but in the spirit of this is purely for fun, I think the pup and I have decided ... no on the weave poles.

But weave poles are alot of fun to watch. The video below shows a full sized Agility Course and look at those pups weave!

Sit stay box

This is a great exercise , especially for younger dogs, to practice sit/stay and down/stay. The “box” is either a marked area in a box or an actual raised solid box.

The dog either enters the box or jumps up on the box and does a sit/ stay or down/stay for a set number of seconds. If training a young dog, this exercise works right into practicing sits and stays.


Dog Personality


Of course it is imperative the personality and physical capabilities of your dog are of the greatest importance when considering agility obstacles. Dogs of any age, breed or height can participate in dog agility. The obstacles are 'sized' to the dog.

Age: Agility courses are not for puppies as their growth plates must be fully developed. Obviously this varies per breed, per dog. Pre agility exercises such as the sit stay exercise are pup friendly.

Does your dog love to run ? Try new things? Enjoy activity? Loves to figure out a puzzle? Agility may be a great fit.

Is your dog apprehensive to try something new but with proper training enjoys a new activity ? Agility could be a great confidence booster !

Backyard agility can just be plain ole good fun for the owner and pet. No need to compete, just enjoy the obstacles your dog likes and making a home agility course provides great exercise for you and your pet.

Where To Find Backyard Agility Kits


Online is where the kits can be found, this is a beginner kit I like.


DIY ers  can also make agility equipment! Here is a good resource in making obstacles for a backyard agility course .

I’ve been lucky enough to have dogs which naturally seem to enjoy agility which makes training much easier!

Whether it is one obstacle or a backyard of obstacles, I highly recommend dog agility for a few hours of amusement, exercise and bonding with you furry friend.


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:


The Review This Contributors

Cynthia SylvestermouseCynthia SylvestermouseDawn Rae BDawn Rae BMary Beth - mbgphotoMary Beth - mbgphotoBrite-IdeasBrite-IdeasBev OwensBev OwensWednesday ElfWednesday ElfBarbRadBarbRadOlivia MorrisOlivia MorrisRenaissanceWoman2010Renaissance
Woman2010
Lou16Lou16The Savvy AgeThe Savvy AgeTreasures by BrendaTreasures by BrendaMargaret SchindelMargaret SchindelBuckHawkBuckHawkDecoratingforEventsDecorating
forEvents
Heather426Heather426Coletta TeskeColetta TeskeMissMerFaeryMissMerFaeryMickie_GMickie_G

 

Review This is Dedicated to the Memory of Our Beloved Friend and Fellow Contributor
We may be apart, but You Are Not Forgotten

Susan DeppnerSusan Deppner

“As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from purchases.” Disclosure Statement

X