Thursday, July 31, 2014

Seeing your Home Town- Don't Forget the Camera

When you are out and about the town this summer be sure to remember to take your camera.  We always seem to take our camera on vacation but often we forget about taking photos when it comes to activities in our own town.

I am from the St. Louis Missouri area and when my grandchildren visit from Atlanta, Georgia I try to take them around and show them the sites.  I have taught them to take photos of the places they see and they love to look for photo opportunities.
Here are some photos of a recent trip to The Butterfly House.
The first was taken by Rachel who is 10.

Ella who is 8 also loves to take photos.  Here is one she took outside The Butterfly House
Taking photos of their home town and sharing them online is a popular activity.  Here are some
home town area articles.


Here is another photo from my hometown.  It was taken at the St. Louis Zoo.

Wherever you live I hope you will share your photos from your area in your writing. 



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


FOLLOW US ON:

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Getting Organized and Going Back to Work

Just the other day, a friend reminded me that it's only 24 weeks until Christmas. Do you wonder where the time has gone this year? Does time fly while you're having fun? Or, have you been too busy to notice?

It's been too busy around the Recycler household. The year started with the hunt for the perfect home. It took us a month of sorting through the list of foreclosures and estates sales in our town until we found a home, that, if we didn't look too closely, looked like the home of our dreams.

After the papers were signed, we had a short party and then spent the next three months getting the place in shipshape condition with An Environmentally Friendly Spring Cleaning Solution and a lot of pruning to recover from what was definitely not an example of how to Plant the Right Tree the Right Way.

Now that the hard work is done, it's time for us to get organized and go back to work. It's important that our home be organized and work-ready. Our dream home is not just the place where we eat, drink, and be merry. It is also our home office, art studio, and crafting room.

One corner of the house has been set up as a combination office and crafting room. In the middle of the room is a very large, pub-height table that we use as a computer workstation and a crafting table. I wanted a tall desk so that I could stand while working. I had experimented with standing at the kitchen counter at our old home and I loved it. I felt more productive and stronger by just standing for a few hours each day.

Finding the perfect standing height desk setup wasn't as easy as I had thought. There's a lot to consider before standing while working. How the standing height workstation will be used and personal health issues should be considered, along with preferences about the size of the desktop and the storage features.

Standing and working isn't a full-time gig for us. We keep a couple of comfortable stools next to the bar, excuse me, desk, so we can saddle up for some serious sitting time. It doesn't take a permanent standing height workstation to get the benefits. There are several Stand Up Workstation And Adjustable Desk Options that convert a standard desk into a temporary stand up workstation. Sometimes it just feels good to mix up the work routine.

With the crafting workstation in place, the place needed some organization. There must be a thousand and one Craft Room Ideas, Designs and Organization tips on the Web. Our workroom has plenty of bookshelves and cubby holes to fit art supplies, upcycle materials, and books. As we grow accustomed to our new workspace, we're learning what organization methods work best for our working style. Our organization style... Implement the best and toss the rest in the recycle bin.

Now that the neglected house we purchased has been turned into a clean, well-lighted home with an awesome workspace, it's time to give the old resume an update and a good polish. This girl needs to get back into the work-at-home workforce. And, create a few more Steampunk fashions on mom's vintage Singer sewing machine.

As we slide on into the last half of this exciting, changing, and busy year... reduce the stress, reuse the best, and recycle the rest.

Here's to your health and happiness!

Coletta



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


FOLLOW US ON:

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

When It Comes to Musical Styles, Where does your Passion Lie?

Music is the way to GO!

Choosing a Musical Style is something that everyone does in some way or other.  Each of us tends to like different styles of music for many different reasons.   That is the way it should be.

Wouldn't life be just so boring if everyone just liked Jazz, or Country, or Gospel?

Then there are our choices in instrumentation too!  I know that there are certain times when I can really get into a piece of music that has a terrific drum beat, and other times when something much softer like an orchestra playing Fur Elise, would just make me happy.

So what's your favorite style of music?  You can check out some of the best and newest country and western music with any one of  Brite-Ideas articles.  Her latest one is just so good and enjoyable.  A Country Song from Son to Father

Or if you haven't had a chance to hear some really good rock and roll,  you can always go to the 70's contributor "Fullofshoes" and check out some great early rock with her article about Please, Please Me!  My First Beatles Album, Please Please Me, $2.50

But that's just the tip of the musical chart, there is so much more to enjoy and listen to with ballads, and folk songs, one in particular that I really like, because he's from my own backyard, Gordon Lightfoot!  Canadian Troubadour


And when all is said and done, there are those special times of year, when we celebrate Holidays, my favorite being Christmas. So without too much ado, you can and should check out some oldies but goldies for the upcoming (it's less than 5 months away) Season.  Christmas Music That Stirs the Soul

Then there's all the Techno Pop and Rap that is flooding the airwaves these days.  If that floats your boat there is lots to choose from including Step Up 5, Step up 4 Revolution Movie, Soundtrack List

To top the list or end the list there are always the Top 10 Most Popular Songs of All Time

Either way there is lots to entertain you and open your ears to some new sounds, so enjoy.




  
 


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


FOLLOW US ON:

Monday, July 28, 2014

Maryland: A Festive Destination

With the recently passed Artscape Festival and the annual Chincoteague Pony Swim taking place now, I am reminded of the amazing cultural events and festivals that are held in this area. 

When I decided to move here, from rural Indiana, the decision to be near an urban area was in large part due to my desire to have easy access to large cultural events.  I have to tell you that I have not been disappointed. Late summer and autumn is my favorite time of year to attend these festivals.

Costume seen at Maryland's Renaissance Festival
Artscape has just passed. It is held annually and is advertised as “America’s largest free arts festival…”.  I have absolutely no reason to doubt that it is indeed the largest. It is an amazing festival. The food, music, shows, and tent after tent filled with artwork is a sight to see.    

While located in Virginia, not in Maryland, many Marylanders attend the Chincoteague Pony Swim – the annual event that was made famous by Marguerite Henry's book Misty of Chincoteague.  This year the pony round up occurred on July 26 and 27th and the Pony Swim will take place on Wednesday July 30th.  

Maryland’s Renaissance Festival is an amazing event. There is live jousting, a storyline each year that involves characters in costume, food, and entertainment.  So much of the entertainment, food, and crafts are based in that time period.  It is definitely a great way to spend a day or two.

SunFest is held in Ocean City September 18 thru 20th this year. It is the 40th anniversary of the event. I love SunFest since it occurs after the typical end of tourist season on Labor Day.  This festival stretches summer to it’s limit and yet the weather is typically still beautiful weather for the beach. There are crafts, kites, food, and the usual things to see and do while at the beach. 

Sept 6 and 7th 2014 are the dates for the Maryland Seafood Festival at Sandy Point. Sandy Point is a beach park that is located at the food of the Bay Bridge. This is a festival that features seafood in a state that boasts about it’s local crabs. Need I say any more?   

I think my very favorite festival is the National AppleHarvest Festival. Again, not located in Maryland but located not far across the Pennsylvania state line, the National Apple Harvest Festival is an event that I look forward to year after year.  I love wandering around the small county fairgrounds; eating, listening to music, and browsing all of the things there are to browse. The smells and the flavors are all things apple and smoked. The antique tractors and the car show is worth the price of admission alone. 

This is just a minute sample of festivals in this area.  There are music festivals, the Preakness, ethnic festivals, and so much more.  If you enjoy festivals, this is the place to be.

Image Credit: Images are mine ©Dawn Rae – All Rights Reserved (Click on photo for larger view)










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


FOLLOW US ON:

Saturday, July 26, 2014

The History of Chocolate

You learn the most interesting things on the Web. For me, it's the history of chocolate. OK, what else would it be considering I'm a major chocoholic. It also turns out, I'm a bit of a history buff, too. So lisadh's page, Who Invented Chocolate: The Sweet History of Chocolate was a treat for me.

The Cacao Bean


In case you don't know, chocolate is made from grinding cacao beans into a fine powder. Then that powder is mixed with liquid. Anything from oils to heavy creams will create the various types of chocolate. The more ground cacao bean in the mix, the darker the chocolate.

The cacao bean grows on a bush similar to the coffee bean. So I guess the question should be who discovered that grinding these beans will make something different? And lisadh tells us.

Thank You Christopher Columbus


More that I learned from Who Invented Chocolate was that we have lots to thank Christopher
Columbus for, including introducing the cacao bean to Europe. He brought the bean to Spain where the powder was used to make chocolate drinks.

Of course, that are many other people who had their hand in developing the confection that we now enjoy. Lisadh gives us a good overview of the various names that are credited with these developments.

Fun Chocolate Trivia Facts


Besides the amazing history of chocolate, lisadh also gives us some fun trivia facts. If you are a trivia fan, these are for you. My favorite is the last one. In the movie "Psycho" chocolate syrup was used as the blood in the famous shower scene. Can't you just imagine how great that set smelled? Yum.

Along with Who Invented Chocolate, you can find plenty of pages loaded with great trivia facts. I include lots of trivia in my pages as do many others. If you love chocolate like I do, you will certainly enjoy the trivia found by lisadh.

You can share you own favorite trivia facts, your favorite chocolate recipe, or just about anything you consider a favorite through Web pages. If you love it, you will write about it with passion and fun. And that's what makes a great page. So what are you waiting for?


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


FOLLOW US ON:

Friday, July 25, 2014

Live Like There is No Tomorrow!

When it comes to love and romance, I can't think of a better quote than "Live Like There is No Tomorrow!"  

We have all heard that phrase many times before, but the quote took on a whole new, very realistic meaning as I read Countrysunshine's article today.  

I was completely captivated as their years together and apart unfolded before my eyes in just a few minutes of reading Our Love Story.  

There are many thoughts and comments I could write here on the heels of reading the in-depth love story she shared, but I am not going to write them.  I want each reader here to have the time to read the article for yourself without spending one extra moment with me.  

May we all "Live Like There is No Tomorrow!"






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


FOLLOW US ON:

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Remember Special Times with Photos

Special Occasions are great times to take photos.  They also make great subjects for your writing.  I have written several pages about special times for our family and included our family photos on the pages.  We have a family christening dress that has been worn by all of the female members of three generations.  I found writing a page to be a great way to write about the dress and share it with my children and nieces and nephews.  Here is a link to the page I wrote about the dress.
Christening Dress


Many online writers like to write  about their parents.  It is a great way to put those memories from the past in writing.  When my Mother died last March my sister made copies of the lens that I wrote on Mother to have available for visitors at the funeral home.   We also sent copies to some of our out of town relatives.  Everyone said they really appreciated the piece.  My Mom a Very Special Lady










My grandchildren all live several hours away from me in another state so it is a big treat for all of us when they come to stay with us during the summer break from school.  We try to make this time special with visits to places around St. Louis where we live and special times with Grandma and Grandpa.  In some years I will make a photo book for them on Shutterfly and other times I write about the experience on Hubpages and include lots of photos.
Summer Fun with Grandchildren






Next time you are searching for a subject to write about, consider some of those special family memories and put them on a page to share with others.


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


FOLLOW US ON:

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Little League Baseball is Over 75 Years Old

Little League World Series Stadium, Williamsport, PA
Nearly eighty years ago, a man in Williamsport, Pennsylvania had an idea about establishing a baseball league for boys that would teach fair play and teamwork. His name was Carl Stotz and in the summer of 1938 he gathered up his two nephews and some of their neighborhood friends and they began playing some informal games. By the following summer, Carl and two of his friends were the coaches of a league of three teams, sponsored by different businesses in the area, and on June 6, 1939, the first 'league' game took place. 


The next year a second league was formed in Williamsport. It was the beginning of what would become Little League Baseball, which grew to become an international organization of nearly 200,000 teams in every U.S. state and over 80 countries around the world. Stotz' dream had come true.


Little League Used to be for Boys Only


Until 1974, Little League Baseball was for boys only. After a lawsuit, the rules were revised to allow participation by girls in the baseball program. Today, there are over two & a half million players in Little League Baseball worldwide, including both boys and girls in both the baseball league and the softball league.


Little League Begins Their World Series Championships


In 1947, the first Little League World Series was held. Today that event has become internationally known and is held each year in August at the Howard J. Lamade Stadium in South Williamsport, PA, where Little League began. My brother & friends have attended several times and say it is a most enjoyable time. 

Read a story about being in a Little League World Series


Available on Amazon
Play Ball (Little League) is an interesting story for ages 8 to 12 years about two cousins, one a pitcher and one a catcher, who grew up playing baseball and then find themselves in the Little League World Series where their team is on the verge of winning the championship.  

 







A Little League Baseball Batter
Not only is Little League an excellent training area for kids who love to play baseball, but many professional baseball players have come out of the program over the years. One of my favorites of the current players in the MLB is Lance Lynn, former pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals and now pitching for the New York Yankees. Little League Baseball is a wonderful organization and we salute them as they celebrate 75 years*.




*NOTE:  The Little League 75 Year celebration occurred in 2014.  The tradition continues to this day.



As a huge Baseball fan, I love talking and writing about baseball.  Did I mention my passion is Baseball? 





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


FOLLOW US ON:

Monday, July 21, 2014

Gardeners not only Know all the Dirt, they have the Best Tools to spread it around too!

The first set of garden tools ever created are right at the end of each of your arms.   I don't know a gardener anywhere,  who hasn't made use of those ten fingers to dig, pull, make rows, and then plant seeds.

Unfortunately, those ten fingers will only get you so far and then you need to bring in the big tools. Every Gardener that I know also has his or her own set of favorite tools that help in their task of creating beauty in the space they call home. If you are new to gardening, acquiring your first tools might just be a little easier if you do some reading right here!

Charlino knows how to get rid of weeds in a non-harmful to the environment way!   Check out her posting right here:  The Best Chemical Free Method Of Ridding Your Yard Of Weeds

If that's not a good enough start there is always some tools from other countries that might help you with any gardening chores you might have.  Check out Nejiri Kama, Japanese Sickle  or the other favorite Japanese gardening tool, one that I happen to really love and use daily:  Sharp Tools are Required, Sometimes

Among other things to do in the garden with your tools is to set up your space.  This of all things can be the most daunting.  It's not enough to have some dirt,  you do need to keep in mind what your plants are going to need as far as sunlight, watering and other needs to get you growing in the right direction.  Having a plan sometimes helps!  Books are a great resource and can help to kindle the desire to help nature be everything it can be.  Planning and executing can be the most interesting part of your new garden and can be done in the months that aren't quite spring or summer yet! Or if you have tried and weren't quite happy with the results, then some books can help you make it better next year.  Gardeners are the eternal optimists.  Whatever didn't work this year, will work next year for sure........

There is a host of good reading available at the Weekend Gardener's Contributor page Weekend Gardeners/Weekend Warriors


When you think you are ready,  it's time to move on to the real joy of gardening and literally reaping the fruits of your labor.  Here are some great tips for having the best tomatoes you could ever dream of.   13 Tips for Growing Better Tomatoes

Hopefully you will find something here that will make your time in the garden productive and pleasurable too!

Happy Growing!

p.s.  there is a ton of information for gardeners of all skill levels at the Weekend Gardener's page on Facebook, come and like us there or visit Pinterest  for even more!

Weekend Gardeners from Squidoo on Facebook
Weekend Gardener on Pinterest

Or better yet come and join us on Squidoo by clicking on the link right here






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


FOLLOW US ON:

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Making Chocolate Truffles in the Kitchens of Squidoo

Homemade chocolate desserts - delicious, homemade chocolate truffles - decadent! Of course, as your favorite chocoholic, I found those pages that are perfect for making your own truffles. These aren't difficult recipes either. That's important for our busy lifestyles. So come along with me as we tour those great pages for making chocolate truffles in your own kitchen.

How to Make Homemade Chocolate Truffles


When I first went looking for great chocolate dessert ideas, your could have knocked me down with a feather when I saw chocolate truffles. In my mind, truffles are one of the best ways to treat oneself. But, making them in my own kitchen? I'm not that good a cook, folks. That is until I saw this page from the author known as Whitemoss.

How to Make Homemade Chocolate Truffles gives you a great and simple basic recipe. It's 3 ingredients. That's it. Really! But this author didn't stop there. She tells us extra things to add in to make the basic recipe even better. The variations sound great, too. There's more, though. She tells us how to dress up our own homemade chocolate truffles to give as gifts.

Making Chocolate Truffles with Kids


Truly, I have to admit here. I was intrigued when I saw NanLT's page, Cooking With Kids: Making Chocolate Truffles. When my granddaughters come to visit, we somehow manage to end up in the kitchen making something yummy. So chocolate truffles sound great for this. She gives us a good basic recipe with good step-by-step instructions in how to make the little round confections.

I know what the next fun kitchen adventure I will have my grandgirls. Yep, making chocolate truffles in my own kitchen. All because an author shared her tips.




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


FOLLOW US ON:

Friday, July 18, 2014

Romantic Movies for Men, Reviewed by Men

It is rare to gain insight on what romantic movies we can get men to watch with us, and enjoy. Sometimes we can get our guys to watch a chick flick with us, but they don't really like the movie. They are watching it just to spend time with the women they love. Of course, we appreciate their willingness to sit through these romantic movies, but it would truly be more fulfilling for a couple if both partners could enjoy the picture. 

I really wanted to find some romantic movies to recommend that the guys would also value as a good movie. I am most grateful to the gentlemen who have reviewed a few romantic movies that appeal to a man. Since I have personally seen all of these movies, I know women will enjoy them too. 

So, without further ado, let's view the romantic movies that appeal to both sexes. 


The African Queen 

 The African Queen
We can always depend on Bogie to deliver!  

He possesses a unique attraction for both men and women and Katherine Hepburn certainly makes a strong female balance as his partner.  Together they seem to have an indivisible bound as they work side by side with a common goal.  

Tony Leather offers an exceptional review of The African Queen.  He wrote such an intriguing review that I had to watch the movie again, even though I have seen it dozens of times in the past.
 


It Happened One Night 

 It Happened One NightIn another exceptional review, Maugustine shares that this is "the film that made me fall in love with film".  Wow!  What a phenomenal compliment to any movie, but especially a romantic movie.  If only Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert could know the impact that they had with the one picture.

I am not a filmmaker like Maugustine, but I do love a great movie and It Happened One Night is definitely one of my own personal all-time favorites.  Not only is it romantic, but it is also funny.  A romantic comedy is simply the best!





Seven Brides for Seven Brothers 

 Seven Brides For Seven Brothers [DVD]
I am thrilled to know that this movie also appeals to men and I appreciate Rusty1430 for giving us a man's perspective of  Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.

I adore this film, but I had never even considered the impact of the brothers relationships to one another.  

Since I have 4 brothers myself, I truly appreciate this new insight and wholeheartedly agree with Rusty1430.





More Romantic Movies for Men
 
I know there are more romantic movies that both men and women will enjoy. These were just a few that I found that men have reviewed and recommended for us. 

I would love to invite more men to step up and share your reviews.  Please leave your review links in the guestbook below.

We could all use a little help. After all, we want our men to be happy with the movie selections too.






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


FOLLOW US ON:

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Using Photos to Tell Your Story

I think photos make a story so much more interesting.  Yes you can use your imagination when you read a story, but actually seeing a place or object can really bring it to life.

The photo below shows one of the beautiful butterflies at The Butterfly House in St. Louis.  When I wrote about this butterfly, I used lots of photos to tell my story. Paper Kite Butterfly .

Here are some  more ways that writers use photos to enhance their pages.

  • The photos on this recipe lens written by MissMerFaery really help you to visualize how to make the custard.  It also  makes you hungry!  Homemade Custard
  • Next time you get ready to write a page online be sure to look through your photo files and find the photos that will bring your subject to life.  





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


FOLLOW US ON:

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Building Teams and Growing Friendships

Online communities are everywhere. An overwhelming number of websites offers surfers a place to play, share, write, create, read, and participate any which way they choose. How do you choose the right place to spend your time? Join me on a tour of Squidoo. A great place to learn new things, to write about the things you know, and to make new best friends.

NOTE:  On August 15, 2014, Squidoo announced that it was being acquired by HubPages. I will forever appreciate what I learned during my time at Squidoo. So long, Squidoo. It's been good to know you! 

Thirty something years ago, I became a writer. For the first 25 years, I worked as part of a team. Accomplishing projects with the input of my co-workers and supervisors.

Then came the Internet and a concept called telecommuting.

For the first time in my writing career, I found myself an Independent Writer With No Team Of My Own. No team to brainstorm ideas, no team to keep the project on schedule, and no team cheer leading sessions.

Then I found Squidoo. And my whole world changed.

From the very beginning, Squidoo has offered me the opportunity to join a team. To become a part of something bigger. To contribute to making life better in all kinds of ways. I have enjoyed A Year of Storytelling on Squidoo and I hope to enjoy many, many more.

Squidoo's RocketSquid web writing workshop was my first opportunity to join a Squidoo team. Through RocketSquids, I met a lot of people and, unknowingly, the seeds of friendship were planted. During my first year, I joined more teams, met more people, and grew friendships that make my world a better place.

These friends have become my team members. We check on each other from time to time. We offer ideas when one of us can't nail down a story. We share our joys. And, we share each other's stories.

Squidoo was my online garden. A place with Plants and Flowers Where Friendship Grows.

Until next time, be happy and be well!

Coletta



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


FOLLOW US ON:

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Banish Summertime Boredom with Greeting Card Craft Projects!

"Hey Mom (or Dad), I'm bored! What can I do?"

 How many times have you heard those words in your lifetime? Summer is usually when those words ring out in even the busiest homes. The best advice I can give you is to have plenty of paper, glue sticks and colorful markers on hand. If you have a good public library, I suggest that you go to the "Arts and Crafts" section and look for books about greeting card making.

I recently found a delightful crafting book at my own public library.  Pop-Up Paper Structures: The Beginner's Guide to Creating 3-D Elements for Books, Cards & More is jammed packed with well-written instructions for making creative pop-up greeting cards for all kinds of occasions. The best part is that you can adapt any of the design concepts so you can use supplies that you might have on hand. Those are MY kinds of projects--the ones that reuse stuff!



I have a big storage box where I keep all of my hoarded paper supplies. (If you are a regular reader of this blog you might remember my post about re-using greeting cards. ) That big box is the home for the file with all those greetings card pieces. There is also a big zipper bag with my favorite tools and glues in that same big box.

I am sure your older children will be able to find a pop-up greeting in the book shown above, that they could figure out how to make. Just remember, dear parent, try not to be too critical and just go with the flow. So what if some of the cutting is not as straight as you might expect. Let your children be creative. Sometimes their ideas might just be better than yours.

If you are not in the red and green "holiday" spirit yet, you should read "How to make a Watermelon Card Invitation for Summer Parties", make the card then throw one! Not a watermelon--a party! You will still be red and green, but this card will not feature any holly or red noses!



greeting card craft projects
 "Creative Ways To Recycle Holiday Greeting Cards"
Have you saved a ton of cards, you most definitely should read Creative Ways to Recycle Holiday Greeting Cards. This page abounds with many of ideas for recycling those greetings. I particularly like the projects for a "Star Tree" and a "Woven Card" (see them above--Thank you AcornOakForest for allowing me to use your image!). You will be happy to know that there are wonderful photo tutorials to walk you through the steps for making both of these green crafty projects.

If you need a good crafting glue for paper projects, I highly recommend Elmer's Craft Bond Fabric and Paper Glue. I use it myself to repair books and make my own greeting cards.




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


FOLLOW US ON:

Monday, July 14, 2014

Mid-Atlantic Beaches

It is July and we are in the height of the summer vacation season. Summer travel on the east coast typically means that folks are heading to the beaches. If you look for information on the “best” beaches in the mid-Atlantic, the lists will vary somewhat. But some of the same beaches pop up on every list.

  • New York – Rockaway Beach, Main Beach, and of course, Coney Island.
  • New Jersey – Cape May, Wildwood Beach, and Stone Harbor
  • Delaware – Rehoboth Beach and Bethany Beach
  • Maryland – Ocean City, Assateague Island, and Sandy Point
  • Virginia –Chincoteague Island
  • North Carolina –  the many beaches on the Outer Banks


Some of these beaches are quiet settings with the main attraction being the sand and waves while other beaches are more festive experiences complete with boardwalks, carnival rides, and food stands every few steps.

Beaches are wonderful places for family vacations.  Katiecolette, on Squidoo, gives us great suggestions for activities with children while visiting the Outer Banks area. In addition to the Wright Brothers National Memorial, she gives us a list of at least 10 other things to do or see with your children as well as things to bring and places to stay.

LensbyLisa takes us with her and her family to the beach in Wildwood, New Jersey.  I have never had a Polish Water Ice while on a boardwalk, but I want one now.

Last but not at all least, Angelatvs enchants us with the tale of horseshoe crab number 270130.  We learn both of his story and of crab life in general. Thank you Angelatvs for sharing this with us.

If you are looking for a beach vacation, turn your eyes east and see what we have to offer in the mid-Atlantic.

Image Credit: Images are mine ©Dawn Rae – All Rights Reserved 






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


FOLLOW US ON:

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Theme Parties are the Best!

Party occasions come in all shapes and sizes but party theme ideas will always out number them. Themes can bring fun, whimsy and an opportunity to embrace a different time or place or can bring a fantasy world to life.

They can also be less dramatic but still there -- bringing cohesion to party organization, decorations and even the food (if you choose to go that far)!

During my years in the event industry, I was constantly asked if a theme was "necessary" for parties and events from birthdays and showers to reunions and weddings. The short answer is -- no, they are not necessary. The longer answer is -- a theme can actually help a host/hostess when planning a party.

What the heck do I mean by that? Let me explain...

Do I have to have a Theme for my Party/Event?

Certainly not. However, a theme can actually help with the planning and pulling off of a party. Parties are usually planned in advance and include some or all of the following elements:

  • Invitations
  • Set up and Decorations
  • Food or Meal
  • Cake or Desserts
  • Favors or Guest Gifts

The occasion of your event or party can give you some help or direction when planning but a theme can really bring it all together.

With a central theme, it narrows the vast choices out there for the above mentioned elements. It gives you a starting point and a finish line. And, it can help rein-in ideas and keep you focused on the big picture you are trying to create.

What is a Theme?

Kids birthday parties are definitely theme occasions but adult parties and events can benefit from a theme as well. A theme can be whole hog or subtle, your choice. But, most parties have some sort of a theme.

Even when you simply choose a color scheme and coordinate the above elements with that scheme -- that's a theme too. It's a subtle theme, but a theme nonetheless.

Theme Ideas Abound

Luckily for us and everyone searching for party/event ideas, here are some articles that share a plethora of information that can help. Do you like Tea Parties?  Christine shared her ideas for a child's birthday with a tea party theme in her lens, "Planning an Alice in Wonderland Tea Party".

Got someone that loves guitars and music? PartyBuzz helped plan and execute that theme for her grandson's birthday. The lens is titled "Teen Party Ideas: Guitars and Music Notes".

How about a Las Vegas theme? That one can be loads of fun, especially for adult events like birthdays, reunions, fundraisers and more!

Have you hosted a great theme party? I invite you to write about it. Use lots of photos too! As the Party Planning Contributor, I would love to help you promote your lens when it's finished.

What are you waiting for? Start writing!



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


FOLLOW US ON:

Friday, July 11, 2014

Romantic Picnics


https://sylvestermouse.com/My husband and I frequently share a romantic picnic, often in our own backyard simply because it is convenient, peaceful and our own personal temporary hideaway haven. 

I am blessed with a friend and partner in this life that doesn't mind slapping together sandwiches, grabbing a bag of chips, glasses of lemonade and heading outside. 

We spend hours laughing, talking about our co-workers, sharing our thoughts, hopes, wishes, dreams and ideas. We have had so many fun picnics in our backyard over the last few months, that he feels he personally knows all of the Contributors on Review This!  

You see, it is very easy for me to break from my computer work and head out for a picnic in the backyard with my sweetheart at lunchtime and then return to work. Therefore, my co-workers are often fresh on my mind. 

I won't share their personal life experiences publicly, but I will tell all of my readers that my husband hears about every success, every trial, every new home, every flat tire, every death and every life of my fellow writers. He laughs, gets appropriately angry when my friends don't get the needed help, and grieves right alongside me when tears are shed. 

This may not sound exactly romantic to some, but the bond created between my husband and myself as we share about our days, our friends, our experiences, is a bond that romantic writers only wish they would capture with words.   Having someone to share those everyday moments and feel what you feel is the true meaning of "romantic" and is what every forever hopeless romantic seeks in their own life.  

Now, lets plan your picnic!



Romantic Picnic Ideas

If you are interested in a good old fashioned picnic, complete with a picnic basket and blanket for sitting, you are going to love Mcgilwriter's article,  Romantic Picnic Ideas.  

Just reading the article brings back fond memories of planning for a lakeside picnic or park picnic ahead of time.  

I really liked his suggestion of a starry nights picnic!  Yes, I do see that in our future.

I also loved his proposal idea.  Quick tip guys, girls love this kind of picnic romance. 



Picnic Backpacks – Get Your Hike On and Take A Gourmet Lunch With You 

My husband and I love to hike!  We usually take our furbabies with us, but on my photo shoots or really long trails, we leave the pups home.  Those hikes would be the perfect time for a Picnic Backpacks!

Yes, I need one of these!  I have added it to my birthday wish list.  I bet I know one thing I will be getting for my next birthday now. 



How to Pack a Beach Picnic 

A picnic on the beach sounds divine!  I love the beach, the ocean, watching the sea life and even building sand castles.

ClassyGals not only tells us How to Pack a Beach Picnic, but she also shares excellent tips for a beach picnic and recommended beach picnic food.  

So, while we are building our sand castles, we will also be building a stronger bond with each other and lasting memories.






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


FOLLOW US ON:

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Creative Flower Photography

Flowers are everywhere and I have seen many pages online  where people include photos of flowers.  It may be a page about gardening, a product for flowers, or perhaps a vacation where you  enjoyed beautiful flowers.  Whatever the occasion you will want to make sure you have some great photos of flowers to include on your page.  Taking photos of flowers is easy and with a bit of creativity you can capture some great images.


This week as I was browsing through some of my own flower images I wrote this page on photographing flowers.

Here are some pages where writers online use flower photos 


  • On this page Sylvestermouse shows us the beauty of her own garden Gardens and Trees
  • Dawn Rae writes about travel in the mid atlantic states.  On this page she shares her flower photos on a trip to Longwood Gardens
I am looking forward to seeing even more great flower photos online.  Happy Shooting !
photographs on this page are my own-mbgphoto



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


FOLLOW US ON:

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Gardening is Therapeutic

Gardening is a wonderful way to spend time in nature without anyone or anything there to undo your sense of calm and contentedness.   Gardening is Therapeutic in so many ways!  Not only is it therapeutic,  but you get to create and enjoy the labors of your work.  Now that could be sitting by the garden and admiring all the beautiful flowers or it could mean having a nice fresh salad with vegetables that you helped to grow!

I can't think of a better way to have beauty and bounty all in one place at the same time.  Oh how wonderful it is to garden.



In order to get that garden to that state though requires some work, and work requires tools.  Oh of course we have our two hands,  but there are tools that Gardeners just must have and to that end I would like to make some suggestions, gently pointing you to some of the tools that we just can't live without!

Review these tools and if there is something that you really need, read on and put them on your "Gardening Bucket List"  who knows, there just might be a new tool to make your gardening chores easier and more rewarding than it already is......


No home should be without at least one of these. I have a couple, one for me and one for my other half, that way we aren't fighting for the same tool at the same time.......he has his and I have mine and we will battle the weeds together....The Best Chemical Free Method Of Ridding Your Yard Of Weeds


Having a Garden also means that sometimes you will need to dig. Nothing makes that job easier than a good Garden Fork. See for yourself how this tool will make some job easier.....A garden fork does many jobs

Those tools are for some of the harder work,  but there are tools that will help you to enjoy the beauty in the garden too.  Just see what a good pair of garden nippers can do:
Ratchet Secateurs

Then there are the tools that are used in other parts of the world, that have found a home here too!  One of my personal favorites is a Japanese Sickle.  I love this tool!
Nejiri Kama Japanese Sickle



This is a short list of tools that will make gardening a real pleasure.  If you have a favorite tool that you would like to see featured, then write about it and let me know so that after all is said and done, we will have a great list of wonderful tools for every garden everywhere.


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


FOLLOW US ON:

Monday, July 7, 2014

A Few Favorite Things

Review This! is a group blog, written by a double handful of women who are passionate about writing.  Our personalities and topics vary greatly but we are all passionate about a common thing. We all are excited about sharing information about the things we love.

As the someone who loves to wander around the mid-Atlantic region, I usually share the places I love to visit during my travels.  Today I’d like to share a few of my favorite things instead of places. Interestingly enough, many of these things have something to do with my adventures in this region.


I love simple and functional things like my Bubba Tumbler. As I write this, I am sipping an iced mixture of Cranberry-Pomegranate and water drink with a sprig of mint that was grown in my vertical garden on the balcony. I am not the most gifted gardener, add this to the logistics of my living in a teeny third floor apartment, and gardening is not always a success in my world.  But I’m not alone in gardening passion in the world of blogs.  There are many gardeners who write and I never grow tired of reading their helpful and creative ideas.  I probably would not have tried to grow mint on my balcony until I read about it from fellow writers. Now, I not only grow it successfully, but I use it daily.

When I’m not writing, I am often reading.  I read everything from children’s books about the places I see, like the magical ‘wild pony Island’ (our family nickname for Assateague Island) and the Scientists who care for the pony population to adult romances, dramas, and memoirs that are situated in the mid-Atlantic region.  My three favorite authors live and write this region.  The very talented story tellers gift me with plenty to do on the days I want to kick back and relax with a good book.

I think today is one of those days. 




Image Credit: ©Dawn Rae – All Rights Reserved 





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


FOLLOW US ON:

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Time for Luau, Tiki and Tropical Parties

Having Fun with Fruit and Veggie Displays
I live in the Midwest but that doesn't mean I can't attend a Hawaiian Luau or Polynesian Tiki party. Themed parties are great for transporting your guests to another time or place for a short time. We get to let loose and embrace our imaginations!

Mid-Summer is the perfect time for luau or tiki parties. Whether there is an actual occasion or not, is not important -- it's Summertime!

As usual, I ran over to Squidoo to see what advice lensmasters have shared about hosting a luau or tiki party -- and there is a ton of information! Here's a virtual lei for you to wear as we take a look at some of the lenses (articles) that could help anyone hosting one of these type of parties.

Aloha! Time to get Your Luau On

Lensmaster themeaparty has a wonderful lens full of luau party ideas titled Luau Summer Party Ideas. I love the little history lesson included explaining the origin of a luau.

Additionally, there are suggestions for drinks, decorations, food and more -- all necessary items for any party. Check this one out!

Luau Style Party Games

Halloweenkitchenwitch has a lens full of luau game ideas that can be incorporated at any tropical party in her lens Luau Party Games. The rules and how-to's for games like a hoolahoop or limbo contest, carnival style luau games and a "Pass the Coconut" game.

Whether your party is for kids or adults, there are some awesome games suggestions here.

Expert Advice for Tiki Parties

EditorDave is an expert on tropical parties. He and I have in common the fact that we lived on the island of Guam -- not at the same time. He shares lots of his first hand experiences from attending the Guamanian parties (referred to as "fiestas") as well as hosting lots tropical themed parties over the years.

In his lens "Tiki Party Props and Decorations!" he shares some of his favorite ideas for achieving that tropical look for a tiki party. He is spot-on if you want some authenticity added to your party. I always say, learn from those who have done! They are the best teachers.

Share Your Own Experiences

Do/have you hosted a tropical theme party? You have some great money or time saving ideas you can share with readers? Hop on over to Squidoo and join for free. Them, start writing your ideas. Don't forget to add lots of pictures from the luau(s) you have hosted. Pictures bring ideas to life!

As the Party Planning Contributor at Squidoo, I would love to help you promote and share your new lens about tropical parties or any other theme or type of party you write about. It's a blast! See you there!





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


FOLLOW US ON:

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Book In Some Crafting Time

There are some fantastic ideas, photos and tutorials online when it comes to kids crafts (and crafts in general). But sometimes, there's nothing like picking up a lovely craft book and flicking through for inspiration - especially nice when you're plotting your next project with your preschooler, as they can curl up on the sofa with you and get inspired from the pages, too! 

Some of the books that have made it into our library recently include the following four awesome volumes. 

Red Ted Art is one of my favourite blogs and the book of the same name is absolutely fantastic. Beautiful but simple crafts that are easy for little folk AND mums too, using materials that are easy and cheap to source. 


Fans of Thomas the Tank Engine (such as my daughter!) will love the ideas in the Thomas Make and Do Book. As well as a game and baking ideas, it has lots of tutorials for making trains out of cereal boxes and even the Fat Controller, mostly using recycled household items and stickers and cut outs from the book itself. 

Show Me a Story has some amazing ideas to combine art with storytelling, such as making story mats, story stones, story cubes and many other wonderful ideas. MeltedRachel has a review of this book here


Finally, we have just got a copy of The Artful Parent, the official book of another great blog of the same name, which we are just dipping into for some fabulous art and craft ideas. 

There are so many craft books out there aimed at children, but which to choose? That is where you can come in! Reviewing the craft books you have at home, that are tried and tested by your family, can help other mums and dads decide on which books would be best for them. 

Why not review one of the books on this list of the Best Craft Books for Toddlers and Preschoolers? Or if your favourite isn't on the list, review that instead, and add it to the guestbook on the lens! 

Happy crafting, and happy reviewing!






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


FOLLOW US ON:

Friday, July 4, 2014

Romantic Comedies Rediscovered

Sometimes we just need to be able to take a break, get away from the daily routine of work and stress. It is at those moments when I start plunging into the depths of the romantic comedy movie reviews, searching for just that right combination of love and laughter to help me sit back, relax, and lose myself for a few hours in a romantic tale that is sure to have a happy ending. 

There are dozens of romantic comedies to choose from, but today we are going to take a close look at only two reviews written by a couple of fantastic writers.  

Both of these movies were released over a decade ago, but it truly is a lot of fun rediscovering them.  It has been so long since they were originally released that it is almost like seeing them again for the first time!


Overboard


 OverboardSusan-Zutautas wrote an excellent review of Overboard.  In all honesty, I had totally forgotten this movie until I read Susan's review.

The movie was released in 1987, back in the days of waiting for years for movies to be offered on VHS tapes and before there was a video rental store on every corner.  Of course, even that has changed now and we can easily have a rental movie streamed right into our homes without ever moving from the couch.  Certainly makes watching a great movie at home a whole lot easier. 

Overboard was, and is, a very entertaining romantic comedy.  Once you have read the review, I have no doubt, you too will be "streaming" a bit of laughter into your home.



The Wedding Singer


 The Wedding Singer (Totally Awesome Edition)Our very own "Party Planning Contributor" takes us all back to the past by reviewing The Wedding Singer.  Oh, yes!  I do remember when this movie was released.   

I have to admit, I think I probably laugh more at the 80's references than anything else in this movie, but I do think it would be entertaining for any generation.  It is always a good thing when we can look back at our youthful selves and laugh a little.

I watched the clip that Decorating for Events shared in her review and I truly laughed at that short clip.  I think only Adam Sandler could sing  "all I want to do is grow old with you" and make me laugh.  It also gave me a renewed appreciation for Billy Idol.


I truly do love movies that make me laugh, especially if they have a romantic storyline.





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


FOLLOW US ON: