Sunday, February 17, 2019

A Country Song About Homelessness - A Moving Reflection in Words

A moving empathic country song about homeless
Somebody's Daughter by Tenille Townes - A Song Review

I love the rasp and uplifting ache in Tenille Townes voice as she sings this song. The story and lyrics paint a clear picture of a person whose life wasn't easy. It reminds us that, except for our circumstances, we're all the same.

This country song is about homelessness. It's about those moments we pass by someone at an intersection holding up a cardboard sign asking for money, for help.
"Oh I don't know the reasons why I'm the one whose driving by and she's the one on the corner of 18th street...bet she was somebody's best friend, back when she was somebody's sister counting change at the lemonade stand"
This mid tempo song will touch your soul.


I remember first hearing it on the radio in my kitchen, and because I wasn't listening very closely to the lyrics, the song passed me by without a notice. For me, ninety-nine percent of the time, it's the story first the music second.

The next time I heard the song I happened to be driving. It's then I took the time to listen to the story behind the words.

The Inspiration Behind Tenille Townes Writing This Song

The tune was inspired during a drive Tenille Townes took with her mom while in Nashville, Tennessee. They saw a homeless person standing with a sign and began wondering out loud about this person's life story. Personally I've wondered the same myself. I suspect that's the reason this song touched me so deeply.
The song reminds us that "she was somebody's best friend, somebody's first kiss, somebody's daughter".
What do We Do When We See Someone Standing With a Cardboard Sign Asking for Help?

Many times I've handed out a bit of money. People have said to me, "oh that's a con, they're lazy, they're not deserving". Well I'm sorry, but the onus is not on me to prove their truth. The recipient has to deal with the truth of the situation. I'm not prepared to conclude that every single soul who does this isn't being honest. I believe most are truly suffering. I would rather be kind than be judgemental about that situation, but that's me. I just give, you never know who you've helped.

Who is Tenille Townes

Tenille Townes is a rising Canadian Country Music Artist from Grand Prairie, Alberta, Canada. In 2011 she was nominated at 17 years old for Canadian Country Music Female Artist of the Year. Her career is off and running. In 2018 she opened for Miranda Lambert and Little Big Town on The Bandwagon Tour. 

Her Grand Ole Opry Debut

She's also recently enjoyed the honor of performing at the Grand Ole Opry. That was a big deal for her family and friends! Watch and listen to Tenille Townes in her own words describe her amazing experience. She's a class act.



Big Hearts for Big Kids - Her Cause
In over nine years, she's raised $1.5+ million dollars for Sunrise House, a shelter for homeless youth in Alberta Canada. A cause she generously dedicates her time and name to.

Here's a brief video on her 2018 Fundraiser, Big Hearts for Big Kids:



Homelessness - The Stats and Where to Learn More 

It's roughly estimated that between 150,000 and 300,000 people in Canada are homeless at some given time. In 2017 approximately 5 million people in Canada lived in poverty. Canadians can learn more about homelessness and what can be done here at The Homeless Hub.

According to the Voa.org, in the United States in 2017 approximately 553,000 Americans were homeless on a given night, 40 million struggled with hunger and 40.6 million officially lived in poverty. The US population is approximately 325 million. To learn more about poverty in the USA and how you can help, visit the Voa.org/homeless-people.

"I believe those who suffer the most teach us the most" - by me
The Heart of Country Music








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


FOLLOW US ON:

Saturday, February 16, 2019

National Gumdrop Day Review


Image Source: Wikipedia (and Fotojet) 
There are over 1500 'unofficial' National Holidays throughout the year that enjoy recognition for one reason or another.  This one for February 15 ~ National Gumdrop Day ~ was begun to recognize this colorful, chewy, fruity or spicy, gelatin candy coated with sugar we call the Gumdrop. 


Who Invented the Gumdrop?


The gumdrop was invented by a chemist and candy maker named Percy S. Truesdell.  In 1915 he changed the texture of this sugar concoction.  By adding starch in a formula he developed at Ohio State University, he changed a hard candy into a smooth, chewy delight.  He later became known as the “Gumdrop King”


Uses for Gumdrops



Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
Besides being a tasty candy, gumdrops are a popular addition to cookie recipes and as decoration for cakes and cupcakes.  No doubt the most well-known way gumdrops are used as decorations is on Gingerbread Houses. 





Crafty Gumdrops



Gumdrop Penguins
Gumdrops are also often used in crafts, such as these adorable gumdrop penguins by Linda on her fun and fascinating crafty blog called “Crafts a la mode”.  The blog is filled with her  sweet and simple delights in both crafts and recipes. 





DIY Gumdrops


Image Source: Mkreal on Flickr
You can also make gumdrops yourself. You'll need powdered fruit pectin and fruit juice, along with vegetable oil, sugar, corn syrup and food coloring.  Several recipes can be found at a selection of sites throughout the internet.  Click here.


Other Gumdrop Tidbits



Candy Land Game Available on Amazon


An interesting sidelight is the fact that the classic board game Candy Land features both a Gumdrop Pass and a Gumdrop Mountain.  





Then there is the song by Barney called "If All The Raindrops" (The Raindrop Song) with the line:


If all the raindrops were lemon drops and gumdrops, oh what a life I would lead. 


Gummie Bears Image Source: AMAZON

A more modern offshoot of the original gumdrop are today's popular 'gummies' in the form of gummy bears and gummy worms.   Kids seem to love these gelatin-based chewable sweets.






Summary


So, enjoy a gumdrop, or two or three, on National Gumdrop Day, February 15, or any day of the year this chewy treat appeals to you. 


Happy Gumdrop Day!










(c) Gumdrop Holiday Review by Wednesday Elf written on 2/15/2019





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


FOLLOW US ON:

Friday, February 15, 2019

Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa K-Cups Reviewed

Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa k-cups are the best hot chocolate in a k-cup. After trying several brands, I finally found a delicious milk chocolate hot cocoa mix k-cup.
When I am chilled to the bone by the winter cold weather, I seek out my Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa k-cups for my Keurig coffee maker. There isn't anything better than a cup of hot chocolate on a cold day, especially when I need it fast!

I was hesitant to try the Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa simply because I don't normally like hot cocoa.  In most cases, I much prefer hot chocolate.  But, I really wanted a hot chocolate k-cup that I could make quickly when needed to warm up.  So, I kept tasting and testing.  My search is now finished and I extremely surprised that it has ended with a hot cocoa k-cup instead of hot chocolate. Regardless, I am thrilled the search is over and I have a k-cup that meets, and exceeds, my requirements.


Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa K-Cups 

Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa K-Cups, Milk Chocolate, 72 CountSwiss Miss Hot Cocoa K-Cups, Milk Chocolate, 72 CountCheck PriceI tried several different brands of hot chocolate k-cups, but most of them tasted like nasty hot water.  As I said, I was hesitant to venture into the hot cocoa k-cups.  I really didn't wish to waste my money, again.  However, the Swiss Miss cocoa is a real winner!  

The Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa from the k-cup has a nice rich and delicious taste.  Plus, it really does have a milk chocolate flavor just like the package states.  Since it is made with water, and not milk, it isn't as thick as a homemade cup of hot cocoa, but it doesn't have that cocoa aftertaste.

Now, when I come in from the cold, I have a fast and easy hot drink to warm me up.  Oh, and it is extra delicious with those little marshmallows added. 



Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa k-cups are the best hot chocolate in a k-cup. After trying several brands, I finally found a delicious milk chocolate hot cocoa mix k-cup.

 

The Snow Leopard Mug

Snow Leopard Coffee MugSnow Leopard Coffee MugCheck PriceThe snow leopard mug you see filled with the Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa in the photo, is available on Zazzle.  It is one of my own personal photos that I have made available on a variety of Zazzle products.  The Snow Leopard mug does seem totally appropriate for warm hot cocoa on a cold day.  

Visually, I think the marshmallows bring out the beauty of the Snow Leopard's gorgeous fur.  



My mug is a little different from the one that is offered on Zazzle.  In my desire to feature the snow leopard face, I didn't realize I had off-centered the image until I got my own mug in the mail.  At that time, I went back into the Zazzle mug image set-up and centered the image on each side.  


Grab Your Mug of Swiss Miss Cocoa & Join Me Today!


Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa k-cups are the best hot chocolate in a k-cup. After trying several brands, I finally found a delicious milk chocolate hot cocoa mix k-cup.


 

Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa K-Cups Reviewed Written by:
House of Sylvestermouse





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


FOLLOW US ON:

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Review of Bluebird Facts and Photography


I have long been a fan of Bluebirds but until this year I have not been able to  capture any photographs that I really liked.  During a very cold spell in January a group of Bluebirds visited our backyard and I was able to capture some nice photos.  I had a camera set up on a tripod in front of our glass doors and I snapped away as the Bluebirds checked out our feeding spots.  For those interested I am using a Sony A57 with a Tamron150-600 lens.  My camera is set to A (aperture mode) and I'm using a 6.5 aperture in most of these photos.



Eastern Bluebird Identification

These birds are small thrush type birds with a round head and big belly.

Male Bluebirds

The male Bluebirds are particularly bright in color as you can see in the photo above.  They have a bright blue colored head and back along with their tail feathers.  Their throat and chest are a bright rusty color.

Female Bluebirds

Female Bluebird

The female bluebirds have the same color pattern as the males and they are a similar size, however their coloring is much more subdued.  Their head appears an almost grayish color as you can see in the photo above.

Juvenile Bluebirds

The juvenile Bluebirds have spotting on their backs and chests and some blue
beginning in their wings and chests.

Feeding Behavior and Diet


From spring to early fall the Bluebirds diets consist of mainly insects.  In the winter they rely mainly on fruits.  As you can see in the photo above they will also resort to seeds in the winter.

I have found that if I do not clean out my flower containers after blooming season the Bluebirds and other birds like to rummage through the dead plants.


Nesting

Although Bluebirds will use a nest box they also like holes in old trees, particularly old woodpecker nests.  They fill their nests with grass and other plant material.  A Bluebird usually lays 4-5 eggs and they are inculpated by the female for 11-19 days.  The fledgling birds leave the nest in about 19 days.

References

I gathered my information from several online sources as well as from my book Backyard Guide to the Birds.  Here are my references.
  • allaboutbirds.org/guide
  • Audubon.org
  • wild-bird-watching.com

                                              



Zazzle Products from my Photos





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


FOLLOW US ON:

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

My Visit to Ronald Reagan Presidential Library: A Photo Review

Up the Long Road to the Reagan Library at the Top

Visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library with Me: A Photo Review
When we visited in June 2011, the library grounds were full of flowers. 


We visited the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, as part of our 47th Wedding Anniversary celebration.  The library is easy to access, since it's in a part of California that so far does not have the traffic problems of larger cities. You can find library hours and directions here. The driveway was long and curvy as it climbed to the library buildings at the top. This is what we saw when we got there.

Visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library with Me: A Photo Review

The view below shows the other side of the entrance.

Visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library with Me: A Photo Review

On the way up we passed this picnic area just before we got to the buildings. If you look toward the back of the photo below you will see part of the enormous parking lot. Parking is free, but some spaces require a long walk up to the building.

Visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library with Me: A Photo Review
Picnic Area at Reagan Library


The Library Entrance through the Courtyard


This is the way to enter the courtyard that leads to the main entrance. You pass through the shadow into the light, where you see the fountain in the courtyard.

Visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library with Me: A Photo Review
Through the Shadows and into the Bright Courtyard


Here is a better look at the fountain. You can pick up this view at Zazzle as a postcard, a puzzle, blank greeting card, magnet, or beverage coaster set.  I show it here as a puzzle. You can click the image if you want to purchase it or see the other products.

As you approach the door, this statue of Ronald Reagan himself greets you.

Visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library with Me: A Photo Review
Ronald Reagan Statue


Once inside the door, you can pay for your admission and proceed to the exhibits. There is an order to it. I went accidentally the wrong way, so I didn't see the displays in the order I should have. But it was still a  wonderful walk through Reagan's life - personal, professional, and political. (Note: The docents were wonderfully helpful at getting me back to where I took the wrong turn.)

Ronald Reagan's Early Years


The library's archives reveal that Ronald Reagan grew up in a poor family. He just didn't realize it at the time. His father was a shoe salesman and the family didn't own a home. When young Ronald was 14 he got his first job - digging ditches. Later he worked as a lifeguard during the summers. He saved his money toward tuition to supplement his college scholarship for Eureka College.

Reagan was raised in Dixon, Illinois, and his mother was a devout Christian and a member of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ.) His father was Catholic. Nelle Reagan was known in her church as a prayer warrior. She maintained her ties to the Dixon church even after she moved to California. Her Bible is on display at the Reagan Library, along with many family photos and other family possessions in the exhibit on Reagan's early life.

Visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library with Me: A Photo Review
Nelle Reagan's Bible


The Air Force One Pavilion

I think the most impressive exhibit was the Air Force One Pavilion. I was overwhelmed by the spaciousness of it when I walked in. Whereas most of the exhibits were enclosed by walls on both sides as you walked the path between them, the Pavilion displaying all the means of presidential transport was wide open and multistoried. Its glass outside walls allowed one to survey the surrounding valley as far as the eye could see. As you look at the photos of Air Force and Marine One, and gauge their size, you realize just how big this pavilion is to house it all. The library makes some space in the Pavilion available for public events. 

Maine One

The photo below of Marine One shows you how large it is in comparison to the tables you see in the background that are often used at events. 

Visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library with Me: A Photo Review
Marine One


Below is a closer view of the front of the Marine One helicopter. 


Visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library with Me: A Photo Review
Another View of Marine One


Air Force One

Those of us who have only taken to the air in commercial planes can easily be impressed when we board Air Force One and see what those fly on private or special government planes are treated to. Air Force One is a flying office, command center, and a place to entertain guests and the press corps. Library visitors not only tour Air Force One, but they can also get their pictures taken as they exit. One cannot take pictures aboard the plane legally without official permission. The exterior is impressive enough!

Here's the front of Air Force One

Visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library with Me: A Photo Review
Front of Air Force One


Below is the tail section of the jet that carried President Reagan and all who traveled with him. I took the photos from the second level of the Pavilion. At the back on the lower level you can see the mural depicting all the air transportation presidents have used. 

Visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library with Me: A Photo Review
Tail of Air Force One


I have included this official video  from the library to give you a better view of the Pavilion. It takes a video to do it justice, but you really can't take it all in unless you actually visit. Honestly, it is truly awesome. 



The Motorcade

The Pavilion also houses the land vehicles the President and those that protected him rode in.  You will find President Reagan's 1984 Cadillac limousine and a "follow-up" or "chase" vehicle -- a 1986 Chevrolet Suburban. That vehicle handles on-site communications and transport for the agents protecting the President. I had not realized that when the Presidents travel outside the country, these secure vehicles are transported by air to wherever the President will be .  Both vehicles are in the photo below. Please click to see a larger view.

Visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library with Me: A Photo Review
Part of the Presidential Motorcade


I just had to add this photo with the limo's Gipper license plate. They sure keep the limousine shiny. It might as well be a mirror.

The "Gipper" License Plate



The Berlin Wall


Perhaps some best remember Ronald Reagan for his appeal in a speech: "Mister Gorbachev, tear down this wall."  As we know, the wall finally did come down. One of the displays that really hit me was the reconstruction of part of the Berlin Wall. Here is one view of it. The hole is there for children to crawl through to explore.

Visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library with Me: A Photo Review
Berlin Wall Exhibit


Here's a genuine piece of the wall that is displayed outside of the buildings so you can see both sides.

This is the drab side that would have faced inside the wall.

Visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library with Me: A Photo Review
Genuine Berlin Wall Fragment


This is the other side, facing outside, where people drew pictures and wrote messages. I believe this part is particularly beautiful.

Visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library with Me: A Photo Review
The More Artistic Side of the Berlin Wall Fragment


 I made of two different views of this Berlin Wall panel as postcards . They are for sale in my Zazzle store, Barb's California Card and Gift Gallery.



Here is Reagan's famous "Tear down this wall" speech.




Last Photos


These photos didn't fit under the headings above. One exhibit reflects Reagan's love for horses. I'm not sure if it depicts his favorite horse, El Alamein, or not. I read that El Alamein was buried on Reagan's Santa Barbara Ranch. On the wall around this exhibit there is a life-size photo of Reagan riding his horse. That is not visible in this photo.

Visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library with Me: A Photo Review
Reagan loved his horses. 


A fitting image to complete this post is the final resting place of Ronald Wilson Reagan, who died on June 5, 2004. The lettering on the monument is too light to read in the photo, but this is what it says:

"I know in my heart that man is good
That what is right will always eventually triumph
And there is purpose and worth to each and every life"
The poster below and a postcard with the same image are in my Zazzle store.

 I hope you have enjoyed this mini-tour of the Ronald Reagan Library. If you ever get the chance, I hope you will go see it. Some of the exhibits I didn't have room to mention here are very moving. There is a video of the attempted assassination, and other videos reveal how much Nancy and the President loved each other. The final one left me in tears. I hadn't thought to bring tissues, but a docent was handing them out after I finished watching that video.

Many exhibits deal with Reagan's relationships with the leaders of other nations. You will also see a full-size replica of the Oval Office with Reagan's desk. You can even get your picture taken behind Reagan's podium with his seal. Do you recognize those who who are listening?



If you visit the Reagan Presidential Library, be sure to leave enough time to enjoy it all. You should be able to get through all the exhibits in three to four hours. If you are hungry, there are two dining options available -- a cafe and a pub. You don't need to pay admission to visit the cafe, but the pub doesn't have an outside entrance for the public. You will also probably want to leave some time to walk the grounds.

SEE ALL TRAVEL TIPS & DESTINATIONS REVIEWED

All photos and text are © B. Radisavljevic





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


FOLLOW US ON:

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Floor Liners For Jeep Reviewed

Dressing up A New Ride

jeep liberty
Hubby's Jeep Liberty
Last week my hubby traded in his old jeep for a newer model. You can see it pictured at the left. It is a pretty little thing, isn't it? It rides much better than the older one, too. 

So, he has a birthday approaching and I thought that it might be fun to get him something for his Jeep. The old floor liners are pretty sad looking even though they will fit this year and model. I went on a quest to see if I could find some new floor mats for him.

Sure enough, they were not difficult to find. I searched for floor liners for a Jeep Liberty and found the color that I thought would go well with his interior. To my surprise a pop-up appeared asking me to verify that the liners would fit the vehicle. It turned out that the ones that I had first picked would not fit the floor configuration of his year of Jeep. What a convenience! It would have certainly been a disappointment to me as the gifter and to him as the recipient if those new mats wouldn't work!

What I like about this particular brand of floor liners is that they are digitally measured and molded to fit the interior of specific models of vehicles. This line of mats is more than just a flat little piece of protection for the carpet of the car. They are molded to the contours of the floor board giving more protection. These will not slip around and allow mud and dirt to get under them. I like that because I really don't like having to vacuum those floors and my sweet hubby is a bit of a "Messy Marvin" when it comes to tracking in mud and dirt (in his vehicle and our home). The floor liners that I have decided to get for him are much nicer and sturdier than his previous ones. I think that he will be extremely happy with them.

Obviously, you may not have a Jeep but it doesn't matter what make or model of vehicle that you drive. You can find these well designed floor liners for any make and model feeling certain that they will fit your ride. These will be a birthday present but they would also work for Father's Day.



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


FOLLOW US ON: