Monday, November 30, 2015

Ishmael: An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit Book Review

Ishmael: An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit Book Review
I'm not sure that I have ever written a review of a book that I did not like. That I struggled to read. That I forced myself through.

Why? Well, because in the first place I likely would not read a book all the way through that I did not like unless it was assigned reading for school or, in my case, for a book club reading selection and secondly, I would be unlikely to want to write about a book that I did not particularly enjoy.

So why am I writing about a book that I did not like?  I am doing so because sometimes you have to push yourself out of your comfort zone, because Ishmael offers up a lot to think about and because the fact that I did not care for a book does not mean that others will not.

In the case of Ishmael, 67 percent of Amazon's readers gave Ishmael a 5 star rating and only about 18 percent gave it three stars or less. Unless, of course, more people are likely to leave a good book review than a bad review. (Like me.) Anyway, I guess I fit in the 3 stars or less portion since I would give it 3 stars at least in terms of how much enjoyment I received from the book. Maybe I would give it more stars because of the thought provoking subject matter...

Ishmael: An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit was written by Daniel Quinn and was winner of the Turner Tomorrow Fellowship.

Here's the storyline, straight from the book:

The narrator of this extraordinary tale is a man in search for truth. He answers an ad in a local newspaper from a teacher looking for serious pupils, only to find himself alone in an abandoned office with a full-grown gorilla who is nibbling delicately on a slender branch. “You are the teacher?” he asks incredulously. “I am the teacher,” the gorilla replies…

Ishmael shares his wisdom about and knowledge of the life of the earth from the very beginning to the end. He makes that lesson difficult and he asks the questions, “Is it man’s destiny to rule the world? Or is it a higher destiny possible for him—one more wonderful than he has ever imagined?”

This simple short, two-minute video, well presented by a reader on a typewriter, sums up the book Ishamel quite nicely:



Ishmael definitely provides a lot to think about though maybe no answers. It's a book to be read carefully. It's not a light read, which is normally what I prefer. I usually use reading as relaxation time and therefore choose something that is more entertaining. Sometimes, however, it is good to have something that makes you stop and think, like Ishmael.

So, is Ishmael recommended by me? I guess it is. If you are looking for a thinking book and not an entertaining book.

How about it then? Are you up for the challenge? If you read Ishmael, be sure to come back and let us know down below in the comment section what YOU think.

See you
in the book aisle!
Brenda
Treasures By Brenda

Quick Link:

Buy Ishamel on Amazon in whatever form you read your books.
Discover fascinating new, used and vintage books in my eBay store.







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Saturday, November 28, 2015

Childrens Classics ~ Book Reviews

Grandson Jacob reading a storybook

The dictionary defines 'classic' as something of enduring significance.  In literature, a classic work is generally considered to be of the highest excellence ~ a work recognized as definitive in its field.

In the field of children's books, there are dozens of stories whose origins go back many years and are still considered favorites today.  


  • If you were to go back to ancient times, probably the most well-known is 'Aesop's Fables'.  
  • In the early 1700s, the most famous stories today remain 'Gulliver's Travels, Robinson Crusoe, and the Tales of Mother Goose.   
  • Nineteenth century writers brought us more than four dozen stories considered 'classics' to this day, such as The Swiss Family Robinson, Treasure Island, Black Beauty, Heidi and Little Women.

Here's a few modern children's classics from 20th century authors that are most special to me... and some fascinating facts about the authors.



Winnie-the-Pooh... and Friends!


A.A. Milne's beloved Winnie-the-Pooh character has been delighting children since 1926. The author's son, Christopher, was the inspiration for Pooh Bear's buddy, Christopher Robin.  I loved these stories so much that I even named my first-born son Christopher.

The author began his Pooh Bear stories initially just to entertain his son ... and they became 'words of wisdom' and expressions of love & affection for generations of children. 



Anniversary Edition on Amazon

Winnie the Pooh and his friends from the Hundred Acre Wood delighted our generation and that of our parents. Now our children can snuggle under the covers and listen to the timeless adventures of Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, Eeyore and Christopher Robin!


For nearly 90 years, Winnie the Pooh and his friends from the Hundred Acre Wood have delighted each generation of children... and, of course, the grown ups who get to read the stories to little ones...


Winnie the Pooh quotes have become famous.... the one below says it all ~



“Friendship," said Christopher Robin, "is a very comforting thing to have."
                                                   ~A.A. Milne


Dr. Seuss' Favorite Cat! 

 

It's the "Cat in the Hat" of course!




The Cat in the Hat changed the way our children learn how to read with fun rhyming words. 


How the 'Cat-in-the-Hat' Came About


Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss) wrote 'The Cat in the Hat' in 1957 at the request of the educational division of Houghton Mifflin publishers who were looking for a more entertaining primer for early childhood literacy because the current ones (such as the Dick and Jane series) were ineffective.


Geisel tells the story of being frustrated with the word list from which he could choose words to write his story, so he decided to scan the list and create a story based on the first two words he found that rhymed. The words he found were cat and hat.

 

Bambi


Of all the classic stories made famous by Disney, Bambi is the best. I watched the Bambi movie as a child, then took my children to see it. Now my children take my grandchildren. Both the storybook and the movie are truly classics.

Bambi Book on Amazon


Since 1942, Bambi and his friends Thumper the Rabbit and Flower the Skunk have been animation favorites, one of the 10 best animation classics of all time.

The story was originally adapted for film from the book "Bambi, a Life in the Woods" written by Felix Salten in 1923. 





The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams – 1922

 

“Real isn't how you are made,' said the Skin Horse. 'It's a thing that happens to you.'

     ― Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit   

 

Amazon Editions Available in Hardback, Paperback and Kindle
This is the story of a stuffed rabbit and his desire to become real through the love of his owner.  I think it's one of the sweetest fairy tales ever written.

This is a special 75th Anniversary edition of the original story and artwork of a classic tale first told in 1922.

According to an online poll taken in 2007, this book is one of the National Education Association's  "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children. 





Curious George by H.A. Rey and Margret Rey

 

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"This is George. He lived in Africa. 
 He was a good little monkey, and always very curious."


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With these words, the tales of a curious monkey named George began.....
 
Available on Amazon

Curious George was brought from his home in Africa by "The Man with The Yellow Hat" to live with him in a big city. The first book in the series (Cecily G and the Nine Monkeys) was published in France in 1939.


The story was written by Margret Rey and illustrated by H.A. Rey.  As wartime approached France, the couple fled Paris in June 1940, on self-made bicycles, carrying the Curious George manuscript with them.

The Curious George series of books have been adapted into several television series and films and each book has been in continuous print since first published.



Classic Children's' Tales




Grandsons Tyler & David - reading!
These classic stories of a honey bear, a special rabbit, a curious monkey, a sweet deer fawn and a funny cat are instantly recognized by children today and have become 'classics' in the world of children's literature. 

Whether reading a classic tale or any favorite story, children everywhere love books.  My two youngest grandchildren, David (6) and Tyler (18 months) enjoy reading every day. 


For more reviews of children's books, check out 




(c) Published 11/28/15. By Wednesday Elf




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Friday, November 27, 2015

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 Movie Review

The movie started where The Hunger Games:  Mockingjay Part 1 ended.  For the Resistance, it is to take their attacks straight to the capital and President Snow.
It will come as no surprise to any of you who have read my Hunger Games book review that I was in line for my ticket on opening day of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 movie.   Since I had read the entire book series several times, there were no stunning revelations for me in the movie, but I wanted to be there nonetheless.  I sat in a packed theater with great anticipation, as if I didn't know what was about to happen.

If you haven't seen the previous movies, especially "Mockingjay Part 1", then this movie will be rather confusing.  It is not a stand alone movie.  Because there is no description or explanation at the beginning, a new viewer would be clueless about the sequence of events that lead up to the opening scenes much less the subsequent actions.

The movie started where The Hunger Games:  Mockingjay Part 1 ended.  The opening scene is a doctor checking the severity of the damage done to Katniss's throat and vocal cords during the attack by Peeta who nearly strangled her to death.  If you are familiar with the movie, you will remember that Katniss did not fight back when Peeta attacked because she knew that he had been tortured and somehow brainwashed by President Snow.  But now, she has an even stronger desire for revenge against the capital.


The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 2 Review

Review Written by Cynthia Sylvestermouse


Katniss & Peeta Dolls
Although Peeta recognizes the people around him, he has been so completely brainwashed that he truly believes Katniss was responsible for everything bad, including his families deaths.  Because he has been "programmed" to kill Katniss, he is placed in isolation where he will undergo medical attempts to reverse the psychological damage he has suffered.  Peeta doesn't remember that he loved Katniss so much that he willingly placed himself in harms way several times to protect her, or that she also protected him.

For the Resistance, the time has come to take their attacks straight to the capital and President Snow.  Katniss wants the honor of killing President Snow herself.  She is assigned to a troop led by Boggs, the right hand man to the president of the resistance.  Boggs was previously assigned by President Coin, leader of the resistance, to protect the Mockingjay.

Katniss's troop of soldiers also include Gale and Finnick.  Much to everyone's surprise, President Coin decides to send Peeta to join their troop when the mission is well underway.  In addition to trying to carry out their objective, the team now finds themselves having to watch over Peeta, but they know the "real" Peeta, not the monster that Snow has created.  They truly desire to help Peeta overcome the demon in his head and try to help him discern what is real and what memories are not real.

One of the first tragedies of this movie is when Boggs is killed as they enter the capital city.  While he is dying, his last words are spoken directly to Katniss, "Don't trust them. Don't go back. Kill Peeta. Do what you came to do."   Katniss then assumes the leadership role of the troop and the members of the troop choose to follow her straight into the capital city and into harms way.  They each have their own score to settle with Snow and they are prepared to die in order to help Katniss achieve her goal.

That's it!  That is all I am going to tell you.  You absolutely must see the movie for yourself. 


My Personal Note About The Hunger Games:  Mockingjay Part 2 Movie 


I expected this to be my favorite of the movies.  By all rights, it should have been since it is the end to the actual Hunger Games and an end to President Snows "reign".  Plus, Katniss is finally able to lay down her bow of defense and start a life of her own choosing.  All those things happened, but there was such overwhelming sadness over the deaths of some of our favorite characters.  Of course, they died in the book too, but there is still something really different about seeing it happen on the big screen.

I also want to note, even though Haymitch, played by Woody Harrelson, did not join Katniss and the Star Squad on the mission to take the capital city, he is still very much a part of the movie.  Plutarch, the game maker, which was played by Philip Seymour Hoffman in his final role, was also featured in The Hunger Games:  Mockingjay Part 2Both Woody Harrelson and Philip Seymour Hoffman are exceptional actors who really brought personality and flair to their respective characters.

Even though Katniss, Peeta and Gale are the primary roles in The Hunger Games, the movies would not be as fabulous without the talents of all of the actors and actresses who made it a phenomenal success.  Each one became the face of the character from the book, and each one establishes a place in your heart just for them.  I might add too, that while we don't "love" him, Donald Sutherland did an outstanding job playing the role of President Snow.


The Movies You Should See Before You Watch The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2





In all of The Hunger Games movies there were some differences from the book.  Some I did not like.  Some I did not think were improvements, but overall they did not harm the integrity of the story.  Still, I would have preferred it if they had not changed the origin of the Mockingjay pin and the character who helped Peeta initially in his recovery to regain his real memory.  


The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 Movie Review
House of Sylvestermouse



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Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving from Review This





Today is Thanksgiving in the USA and the staff of Review This would like to take this opportunity to wish you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving.

Heather Burns shares her favorite Thanksgiving song with us.  Her message would just be to thank  everyone who makes her life so wonderful! Her family and her friends around the world. Please take a moment to listen to this beautiful song.


Cynthia Sylvestermouse shares with you the picture and sentiment below.


Beverly Owens gives us this Thanksgiving thought.

 "Today we have gathered and we see that the cycles of life continue. We have been given the duty to live in balance and harmony with each other and all living things. So now, we bring our minds together as one as we give greetings and thanks to each other as people. We give thanks for our family, friends, and fellow human beings." It is part of a Thanksgiving address that the Iroquois recite.

Barbara Hart Radisavljevic shares with us her thoughts with this photograph.





Olivia Morris

Wishing all of my American Friends a wonderful, Blessed, and grateful Thanksgiving Day. May you and yours be blessed! Olivia aka Grammie Olivia Here is a link for you to send a free Thanksgivng Card. http://www.crosscards.com/.../thank.../thankful-for-you.html


Mary Beth Granger (mbgphoto) 

As a photographer I am constantly thankful for the beauty in the world around us.  On this Thanksgiving I would like to share with you through my photos some of the things for which I am thankful.
I am thankful for the beautiful scenery as in this photo of a lighthouse and a mountain off the coast of Washington.
I am thankful for the men and women who died to secure our freedom. The photo below is a veterans cemetery overlooking San Diego bay.
I am thankful for the changing of seasons.  This photo depicts the beautiful fall colors.
I thank God for my family and friends and the life He has given to me.
The photo below is a sunrise in Jupiter, Florida.




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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

A Board Game to Encourage Your Better Self

A Board Game that Encourages Positive Action & Thought

Are you looking for a family game or party game to help inspire and encourage the better side of people?


There isn't anything that says we have to continue to feed into the overwhelming negativity that seems to be infecting our lives and our playtime

Many are consumed with violent video games and even board games that promote the not-so-nice side of people. Although game lovers will never stop playing violent and vulgar games (and yes, they can be fun too!), it's nice to know that, once in a while, we can actively switch things up to something that leans positive.

With Thanksgiving approaching, 'Better Me' is a game the whole family can play. It encourages us to expose the better side of ourselves to others.
"Better Me is a new approach to relationships and personal development. The game encourages it's players to take real action after the game has ended to better themselves in this life. It uses the basic principles of positive psychology to help strengthen relationships and to help tap into the better side of the human condition"
Better Me helps you to quickly get to know people as well. If you're hosting a party and need a game to encourage conversation, this game does it in a positive, constructive and forward thinking way. You'll get to see the inside of people very quickly just by their responses to a variety of life questions and scenarios. 

The fundamental play of the game involves Players completing their five areas of life; Heart, Mind, Body, Tangibles and People. You earn points by passing along a true compliment, sharing a story where you learned a positive lesson, and even committing to taking a positive step in your life when the game ends.

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Holidays - Have Fun, Be Happy

by Barbara Tremblay Cipak
Owner - Funkthishouse.com






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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Review of Dollhouses and Dollhouse Accessories

My Cousin Edna Surprised Me With a Dollhouse for Christmas

My Cousin Edna could think up the best surprises for me. One of them was my dollhouse. I only had vague ideas about what I might want but she always knew what would make my eyes sparkle more than I did myself. 



Review of Dollhouses and Dollhouse Accessories
My Family and My Dollhouse
Photo Is from Family Collection

Both my grandmothers died when I was a child. One I'd never known except for a total of about ten days. She lived in Oklahoma, and my parents had only taken me to visit my father's parents once. My mother's mother was closer and I have some early memories of doing things at her house, but she died when I was seven. It was Cousin Edna, my father's mother's first cousin, who filled in for my grandparents. The magic she worked in my life made her seem more like my fairy godmother.

My dad had promised his mother that he would act as a son to Edna, who had never married. She lived about thirty miles from us, and we visited her every Sunday afternoon unless we had invited her to our house. We also visited her on Christmas and Easter. After Santa (or the Easter Bunny) had visited me at home, we would then go to dinner at Cousin Edna's to see what he had left at her house. He really outdid himself there.

It was on my fourth Christmas that I discovered Santa had left me a dollhouse under her tree. Cousin Edna must have realized I would need something quiet to do since I was still convalescing from scarlet fever. There were no antibiotics back then and I had to limit my activity to get completely back to good health. That dollhouse was just the right medicine. I loved dolls and I had a vivid imagination. You  can see me with my dollhouse that morning with my parents in the top photo. 

Back then, we did not have television. That meant the media didn't tell us what we needed to make us happy. To make a Christmas list, one actually had to look through a paper catalog, magazine, or news ad or visit an actual store. I never would have thought to ask for a dollhouse. I'm not sure I even knew they existed before I found mine under the tree. But it was love at first site.

So often today, children only know to ask for what their friends are talking about as the “coolest” toy or what they see advertised on television or the internet. Sometimes they will even tell you they want something because the other children they know are talking about it – not because they really want it. Some children, like me, can be even happier with something that a loving parent or grandparent who knows them well, picks out to match their interests. Perhaps there's a special little girl in your life who wants a dollhouse or princess castle and just won't know it until you give her one. Or maybe there's even a boy who would like to be lord of his own castle or the father of the house. 

Everyone in my family knew how much I liked to play with my dolls. Cousin Edna usually gave me a new one every Christmas. It's no wonder Cousin Edna thought I might be delighted with a dollhouse, and she was right. I was.


Like Any Other House, a Dollhouse Needs Furniture


Review of Dollhouses and Dollhouse Accessories
Interior of My Dollhouse, from Family Photo Collection
Cousin Edna saw that my dollhouse was fully equipped so that I could start playing with it immediately. It came with its own baby doll and a furnished nursery. It also had a finished kitchen, dining room, and living room, complete with a grand piano downstairs. The bedroom, bathroom, and nursery were upstairs. I'm guessing Cousin Edna had a lot of fun setting this up. You can imagine all the fun I had playing with it.

Today one can buy even prettier dollhouses. You can buy almost any style at Amazon. After reading through endless reviews,  I have recommend the dollhouses below for young children. The Fisher-Price Loving Family Dreamhouse comes with its own family -- male, female, school-age girl, and baby. It seems to be the easiest dollhouse to assemble and requires a Philips screwdriver and three AA batteries. Reviews by users state it took them ten - fifteen minutes to get the job done.

This dollhouse has a flushing toilet, doorbell, and other sound effects, and has lights that light. Very little furniture comes with the house, just enough to start playing. You may want to purchase more. There is no kitchen, but there is a room for which you can purchase kitchen appliances. Although this model has a Caucasian family, you can also get it with an African-American family. Read the complete reviews on Amazon and watch the videos, including that by a purchaser, for a wealth of information and answers to commonly asked questions.

The KidKraft dollhouses accommodate dolls up to the size of Barbies, but do not come with their own dolls. They do, however, come with more furniture than the Fisher-Price Loving Family Dreamhouse. It is a large dollhouse and some models have rooms completely open to the outside to make the pieces easier to play with from outside. The larger size makes this ideal for more than one child to play with at a time. Read the complete descriptions and watch the video and other reviews when you click through to discover the unique features of each dollhouse. The Kidcraft dollhouses do take more assembly time -- hours, not minutes, and some suggest a helper would be useful. If I were assembling this, I would not wait until Christmas Eve or whatever day you want to give this to a child before beginning to assemble. I always expect things to take longer than stated. Murphy's Law always seems to apply when I do something with my hands. According to the reviews, the work is worth it because the children love these dollhouses.



Many dollhouse styles are available -- even a castle  or two. There are also more Victorian, dolls of different ethnic origins, royal families, medieval figures, and princess dolls -- any kind of doll your child needs for imaginative play. If a dollhouse has a garage, you can be sure there will be a car you can add on to go inside of it, and maybe even a roadtrip set to add on.

I have included some fold and go wooden dollhouses below. These are more portable when entertainment is needed away from home, or even in a different room. These dollhouses also may be more appealing to boys, especially the castle with its medieval figures and horses. Children can be kings, queens, knights, squires, etc. The regular Melissa and Doug Fold and Go Wooden Castle comes with six play  figures. The Medieval Castle doesn't have dolls included. Reviewers were very happy with the Schleich Knights, Dragons and other action figures they purchased separately. Other reviewers thought the cheaper set of ten Safari Ltd knights and dragons that have a carrying tube were just right. I have also suggested the Melissa and Doug Princess Castle Accessory Set for the castles.

When you click through to a product page, you will see several suggested accessories such as additional furniture, dolls, cars, pets with their own housing, etc. Use your own creativity to put just the right package together to give your child years of imaginative play. The possibilities are endless. Be sure to check age recommendations if you are buying for a young child. Some items in the suggested related products may be for older hobbyists.



I was still an only child back in the 1940's, and I depended upon my imagination and books for amusement. I could play out endless scenarios with my new doll in its dollhouse. Television was not even being talked about yet, and it would be years before the first one appeared in our neighborhood. Children read or played with toys. My favorite toys were dolls, and that included the one that came with my dollhouse. It was many years before I stopped playing with dolls and my dollhouse, but I kept it to pass to my own daughter when she came along.

Today, with all the available electronics, many children haven't experienced enough of the imaginative play they need. Most children will be able to enact many scenarios from their life experience in a regular dollhouse. This kind of play helps them try on different roles and outcomes. If you get your child a castle, it's a great way to familiarize him with a different period of history. Maybe you could stick a book like The Knight at Dawn (Magic Treehouse #2) or one of your favorite age-appropriate medieval stories, inside the castle, to get his imagination going. Read it aloud to young children. Those ages 6-9 may be able to read it themselves.

 If your child is very visual, try A Year in a Castle from The Time Goes By series. It's appropriate for any child of kindergarten age and up. Even older children will get lost in the intricate illustrations of castle life, and all readers will learn what activities were a normal part of castle life and the names of what you might find as part of or inside a castle. Either of these books will provide enough for a child's imagination to make good use of the new castle dollhouse in his play.

Whether your child wants to be a princess, a parent, a knight, a king or queen, or even a dragon, playing with a dollhouse will provide hours of happy and imaginative play. Why not put one under the Christmas tree for a child you love?



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Monday, November 23, 2015

Wham-O Frisbee Review: If It's Not A Wham-O It's Not A Frisbee!

Wham-O Frisbee Review:  If It's Not A Wham-O It's Not A Frisbee!

Genuine Official Wham-O Frisbees 


If you're looking to buy a  Frisbee, you've come to the right place! This page features the genuine, official Wham-o Frisbee. You will discover what to look for when you are choosing a Frisbee and, as a bonus, learn a bit of trivia about Frisbees.

Wham-o Frisbees are available in various sizes and styles from mini ones to professional tournament ones. They are available for use recreationally and for use competitively in sports like Ultimate, Disc golf, Freestyle and Dog competitions.

Did You Know...

  • That the word Frisbee came from the Frisbee Pie Company in Connecticut?
  • That the game of Frisbee began with a pie plate?
  • That in 1957, Walter Frederick sold his idea for a toy flying saucer to the Wham-O Company in California? That they created a plastic disc that was almost impossible to break and they called it the Frisbee?

What To Look For When Buying A Frisbee


A good Frisbee should be comfortable. It should have a feeling of thickness and strength. You probably know that cheap Frisbees are readily available and can be purchased for as little as a dollar at the dollar store but they do not last and they do not fly very well. We personally have a bin in the garage full of cheap Frisbees but once you have used a real one you discover that the cheap ones really are bad.

If you are asking yourself what kind of Frisbee is the best for me and you are a recreational player, choose a basic Wham-O Frisbee.

If you are looking for a Frisbee for your child, it should be small enough for your child to grasp and hold comfortably.

If you haven't already read it, you might enjoy my page, A Beginner's Guide to How To Throw A Frisbee.


Wham-O's 50th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Series Frisbee Disc SetWham-O's 50th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Series Frisbee Disc 


2007 marked the 50th anniversary of the original Frisbee disc. Wham-O produced this collector's item in celebration. This set includes a 175 gram UPA approved competitive frisbee with graphics celebrating the 50 years. These discs are definitely softer. They fly better and are easier to catch than cheap Frisbees. No longer readily available at retail outlets, you can still find this set on eBay:


Frisbees Are Affordable Fun 


I am amazed at the low cost of Frisbees. Well, not I suppose if you consider that they are just pieces of plastic. Still, for less than $10 you can buy an activity for that is easy and fun and encourages physical activity. It is easy to grab a Frisbee and take it along wherever you are going and playing with a Frisbee does not require any other equipment. What better choice could we make for our families and our friends in this day and age? Frisbees are fun for everyone. You don't have to be tall, strong, young or old! Just grab a Frisbee and go!  You can find Amazon's complete collection of Wham-O Frisbees here.

Brenda
Treasures By Brenda

More Frisbee Reading:

Meet Walter Frederick Morrison: The Inventor Of The Frisbee
A Beginner's Guide to How To Throw A Frisbee

Author's Note: This post was originally written elsewhere in 2009.






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Friday, November 20, 2015

Thanksgiving Menu of Recipes Review

http://reviewthispersonalreviews.blogspot.com/
Cooking for Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of the year.  For many years, Mom and I have cooked the day before Thanksgiving prior to any of our house guests arriving.  It was like the calm before the storm.  That day has always truly been a day of fun and laughter as we taste tested our way into sheer exhaustion that never felt better.

This year, several family members are coming in early, so Mom and I will be sharing the kitchen with a few others.  I already know I am going to miss that special time for just the two of us, but, like all things, we will adapt and no doubt, still enjoy fun and laughter.  In fact, I am already mentally devising ways to annoy my sister, who will be one of our early birds.

This year it will be more like the days of our youth when the girls in the household will pack into the kitchen like a can of sardines to cook, while the guys brilliantly stay out of the way.   Now that I think of it, I wonder, what do those guys do?  Perhaps I will spy on them this year and I can report back to you all later.

Note:  You can click any of the photos to see the actual recipes.


Breakfast Breads


As much as I enjoy cooking, I do not like to cook first thing in the morning.  I like to drink my coffee and wake up slowly.   How my morning begins has always affected my entire day.  If I wake up late, that stressful feeling of being rushed doesn't seem to leave me even as the day changes into early evening.  If I wake up to immediate work, I never seem to find that peace and I tend to be irritable all day.  Therefore, I prefer to either cook something the day before or something that can quickly be mixed together and stuck in the oven to bake while I drink my coffee and wake up fully.

Here are a few muffin and bread recipes that our contributors on Review This have shared with me and I, in turn, will share them with you.



 Festive Broccoli Salad Recipe

Festive Broccoli Salad


Anything that can be prepared ahead of time, especially the day before, is going to be a real winner in my book!

BarbRad's Festive Broccoli Salad sounds like a delicious recipe, plus it looks like one I could make ahead and leave in the refrigerator.   If someone gets hungry before the complete Thanksgiving dinner is ready, this salad is something they could easily help themselves to without ruining their appetites.

It would also be a very pretty addition to the Thanksgiving dinner table, provided you have any left after your guests know it is available while they wait.


The Thanksgiving Turkey


For as long as I can remember, the turkey has been one of the main dishes on our Thanksgiving table.  I cook it the same way my mother prepared her Thanksgiving turkey.  It is always delicious, tender and moist.   After all, not one enjoys a dried out turkey!

I share all of my secrets for  How to Bake a Turkey on Cooking for the Holidays.


 Turkey Noodle Soup Recipe

Making Another Meal with Turkey Leftovers
 
Since our guests stay for nearly a week, we need meals on the days after Thanksgiving.  No one really feels like cooking huge meals the following days or spending a lot of time in the kitchen.  Recipes that can be created with leftovers are the perfect solution to the days after Thanksgiving dinner dilemma.

Susan Deppner has shared her recipe for Homemade Turkey Noodle Soup.  This is such a great recipe for those turkey leftovers, especially for those cold, damp days that always seem to follow Thanksgiving.



Wishing You All a Wonderful Day, Delicious Meals, and Safe Travels this Thanksgiving Holiday!
http://houseofsylvestermouse.com/







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Thursday, November 19, 2015

Slow-Feeding Dog Bowl Review

Daisy is a bit suspicious of her new  Outward Hound Fun Feeder slow-feeding dog bowl.
Daisy is a bit suspicious of her new
Outward Hound Fun Feeder slow-feeding dog bowl.
Is your dog a chow hound, determined to set speed records every time he eats his meals? Or perhaps you have a dog (possibly a large breed) that has problems with bloat or regurgitation.

If so, then your precious pet could use a slow-feeding dog bowl such as this one that we recently bought for our Labrador Retriever, Daisy. Here's my review of the Outward Hound Fun Feeder.

Daisy is a sweet girl, always curious, never wanting to miss anything that the humans in our family are doing, especially when it involves food. She's a begger who loves people food (and yes, I take full responsibility for that, but we're doing better). Her habit is to rush through eating her dog food so she can spend the majority of the dinner hour at my feet, waiting for me to cave in and share what's on my plate.

Fortunately, Daisy doesn't have a problem with bloat, but many dogs are prone to the condition. Bloat happens when dogs gulp their food, filling their stomachs with air and food, causing the stomach to twist or rotate. Bloat is a serious problem and can cause death, so it's important to take measures to slow your dog's input of food. Regurgitation, when food backs up into the esophagus and into (and out of) the mouth can be caused by medical issues, but eating too much, too fast is a common cause as well.

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

The ridges and valleys pattern in the Outward Hound Fun Feeder separates the food into small sections that require the dog to slow down when eating.
The ridges and valleys of the Fun Feeder bowl
forces the dog to eat more slowly as he
accesses small quantities of food at a time.
If your dog suffers from bloat or frequently regurgitates her food, a slow-feed dog bowl can be very helpful. How does it work? Look at the pictures I've included with this review. The ridges and valleys pattern in the Outward Hound Fun Feeder separates the food into small sections that require the dog to slow down and find the food, reaching into the narrow sections to eat just a few pieces at a time. In fact, the product information claims that your dog will eat up to 10 times slower with this bowl and, after using it with Daisy for a couple of weeks now, I have no doubt that that's an accurate figure.

Now when Daisy eats, she actually works her way around the bowl, slowly seeking out each section and each individual morsel of food. In our case, if I feed her at the same time I feed our family, we can eat in peace while she's peacefully eating. Plus, since digestion has already started, she's satisfied and feels full sooner which cuts down on the begging (yay!). Since the food is able to travel to the stomach a little at a time, the bowl certainly helps with prevention of the bloat or regurg problem.

Daisy works her way around the Fun Feeder as she slowly eats her dog food.
Daisy slowly works her way around the bowl,
eating just a few morsels at a time.
Interestingly, Daisy seems to find the Fun Feeder entertaining. She tends to be wary of new things, and she did eye the bowl suspiciously at first, but when we tried it out with a small amount of food it didn't take long before she figured out exactly what she had to do to eat.

Another thought we had going into this dog-feeding experiment was that she might just use her big paws to tip the bowl and pour the food out onto the floor. Nope, didn't happen. This well-designed, well-made bowl has a non-skid rubber base plus it's heavy enough that I think even a much bigger dog would have a hard time tipping it over.

The bowl holds 4 cups of food (Daisy's daily ration is about 3 cups). The Fun Feeder is also available in a 2 cup capacity size for use with smaller dogs. Besides the flower-looking design (perfect for our Daisy) there's also a swirly and a maze design if you'd like to change up the food dispensing from time to time or for multi-dog homes.

I should add that the bowl is top-rack dishwasher safe, made from BPA, PVC and phthalate-free plastic. Designed in Colorado USA, manufactured in China. Available in three colors and two sizes.

Bottom line, Daisy and I award this slow-feeding dog bowl 5 stars. It works perfectly to slow her eating and she actually enjoys using it. Little does she know, it's good for her digestive tract, too. I hope your chow hound likes her new bowl, too.

UPDATE: It turns out that many dogs gulp their water, too, often leading to annoying hiccups or (worse) regurgitation of both food and water. By request, I've added a link below for a very well-reviewed anti-gulping bowl, also available in several sizes and colors. 

QUICK LINKS: 
eBay has excellent prices on slow feeder dog bowls
Outward Hound's Fun Feeder from Amazon
Anti-Gulping Bowl (to slow down drinking or eating)

~ Susan Deppner
Read more of my reviews

P.S. A slow-feed dog bowl is a great gift idea for any dog owner! 


Thank you for pinning and sharing with other dog owners.
Is your dog determined to set speed records at dinnertime? Does he have problems with bloat or regurgitation? Then try a slow-feeding dog bowl. Here's my review of the Outward Hound Fun Feeder.




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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Reviewing Totes For The Bride

A Bridal Tote (When you know she will need it)

We were thrilled last month when our daughter's special guy popped the question and she said, "Yes!". So, now there is a wedding to be planned and I am already thinking ahead. Obviously, my daughter and her fiance will do most of the planning so that their day will be perfect for the two of them, but there are things that I can prepare for that they may not think of. For instance, I know that a tote for the bride will be something that she will need but won't think of.

I love my daughter dearly but she did not inherit my organizational gene. Then again, she might have but has suppressed it because I drove her crazy as a child with my lists for everything! Let's be honest, on her best day she forgets stuff like what she needs from the grocery or a shopping trip. She makes more trips than necessary because she didn't write down what she really needed to get which results in not having the very thing she needed to cook or perform a task with. I can't tell you how many times I have seen "that look" come over her face and I will say, "What did you forget, Sweet Pea?"

Knowing this about my lovely daughter, I think that a special Bride's Tote will be one of the gifts that I can give her for the wedding. The morning of the wedding, I can help her pack it with all of the things she will need to take to the church. You know like make-up, slippers to wear while getting dressed, hair supplies, tissues and all sorts of bridal necessities. (I'll make a list!) This will not be a day for her to realize that she forgot something that she will really need!


I like the sample shown above because it is a nice size and has some inside pockets for placing small items in. I also like the simplicity of it. The tote looks pretty sturdy and should hold everything she will need to take in order to get ready to walk down the aisle.

There are many options when it comes to a bridal tote and you can even get ones that are for the wedding party. I might suggest that to my daughter as a gift for her attendants but that will be up to her. She can get one that matches the one I give her or she can pick one that is totally different. There are so many sizes and styles to choose from. I do plan to look on Zazzle also because I know there will be some unique and different styles to choose from there.

I plan to give this tote for the bride to my daughter at one of the showers that will be held for her. I'll pack it with some fun things and use it as the "gift bag" so to speak. There might be a few things that I think she will need for the day of the wedding but I'll also put things like her favorite lotion, bath salts and spa type items that she can pamper herself with before the wedding.

As I have begun my search for the perfect Bride's Tote, I have noticed that it is important to read the descriptions and the reviews. Sometimes, pictures are deceiving as to size so make sure the tote will be a good size for your bride. Construction (sturdiness) is important. I noticed on a few that I thought were pretty nice that the people who purchased them were disappointed because the tote was not of good quality so pay attention to all of those things.

I already know that she will be a stunning bride on her special day and if I can help her not be stressed about little things, well, that is my job as the Mother of the Bride. Along with her super organized Matron of Honor, we will help her get through the preparations and be able to walk down the aisle knowing that she didn't forget one thing.







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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Review of The Replacement Wife by Eileen Goudge



The Replacement Wife, by Eileen Goudge, attempts to answer the question, “How would it work out practically if a wife with a terminal illness tried to select the one her husband should remarry after her death?

Camille is a professional and very successful matchmaker. She has been to the weddings of many happy clients. So when she learned her cancer, which had been in remission, had returned and even spread, she began to lose hope that she would live to see her two children grow up. Her doctor gave her a 3% chance to live, and that was only if she submitted to another stem cell replacement transplant. She was not sure she wanted to go through that kind of fight again with so little chance of winning.

She is so upset by the prognosis, that she stops off at a bar on the way home. Her physician husband Edward has left a message saying he has to work late again, and she knows the children are home alone, with her fourteen-year-old daughter in charge of her nine-year-old brother, Zach.

Her memories flash back to her own childhood. Her mother had died when Camille was only fourteen, the same age as her daughter Kyra. Camille's father was a traveling man, gone three weeks of every month. Only their live-in housekeeper Rosa, who could barely speak English, was there for her and her eleven-year-old sister Holly. Her grandmother Agnes lived on the other side of the country. Agnes called often, suspicious that her son never seemed to be there. Camille had manufactured an imaginary friend of her mother's so she could give Agnes a name when she demanded to know who besides Rosa was looking after them. She was afraid of having herself and Holly reported as being left on their own and placed in foster care. She found herself taking charge of the household the way her mother had, making sure her father remembered birthdays, meetings with teachers, etc. She never wanted Kyra to have to go through what she did.

Camille's husband Edward had been a rock to her during her illness. But that illness had also disrupted their relationship to the point where he no longer looked forward to going home. Camille's illness had been in remission so long he now felt things were finally able to go back to normal. While Camille had been getting her bad news, he'd been visiting a travel agent, getting information on places they might vacation to celebrate their approaching 20th anniversary. He felt that could be a new beginning for them.

When Edward and Camille were finally alone after the children went to bed that night, Edward was devastated by Camille's news and he urged Camille to fight for her life. Camille was reluctant since there were no new experimental drugs she qualified to try. She had another plan. She decided she would use her professional skills as a matchmaker to find her replacement as Edward's wife and as a mother for her children.

Edward was not receptive to this idea. He insisted he only wanted Camille. He was not eager to remarry. She insisted the children needed a stable life and someone there for them when they came home. She envisioned them coming home to an empty house as their dad continued to work late almost every night. She didn't want Kyra to have a childhood like hers. She insisted Edward come to the next “meet and greet” she threw for her single clients so that he might find someone. It all seemed very logical to her.

What she hadn't counted on was the human element. People like making their own decisions. She also hadn't counted on getting into a new drug trial that put her cancer back in remission. You will have to read the book to find out what happened to all concerned.

The plot intrigued me. What married woman with children would not wonder what would become of her family if she died? But I also wondered how trying to play God with relationships in this situation would work? It's one thing to know and even hope your husband would remarry. It's quite another to try to find another woman to marry him shortly after you are gone, and have her spending time getting to know your husband and children while you are still alive and watching everything -- even to have her along on family vacations.


I would recommend this book to anyone who is intrigued with human drama, how relationships, marriages and families work, and what cancer patients experience not just physically, but emotionally. I believe the author took a question – How would it work if a wife picked her own replacement? – and turned it into a well-thought-through novel. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, though I might have wished for a different ending.  



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