Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Hank Mossberg Private Ogre Series Reviewed

Detective Series With A Twist

ogre illustration
Ogre Illustration from Pixabay.com
Do you enjoy a good detective story? How about reading fantasy stories involving the fae? If you happen to be like me and enjoy both then I think you will enjoy the series Hank Mossberg Private Ogre by Jamie Sedgwick. You might already be familiar with Mr. Sedgwick from my previous review of another of his works.  

Imagine the present day world only with a difference. In this world we humans are also living with creatures once only found in fairy tales. In this series of books there is an entire civilization of elves, dwarfs, hobgoblins, fairies and a variety of other non-human creatures that we don't even notice. Kind of cool, right? 

The books take place in modern day San Francisco with the main character being Hank Mossberg. In the world of the fae, Hank is unique. You see he is the last of his kind. As far as he can tell he is the last living ogre. For centuries an ogre has always been selected as the Steward. A steward in the world of fae is basically the law enforcement. Since Hank is the only ogre the job has fallen upon him. One might say he was born into his position.

One of the reasons that the Steward needs to be an ogre is that the magic of the other creatures does not work on ogres. They can see through any spells, they are not stopped by enchanted weapons nor does a security shield of magic block them from entering an area. If you remember your fairy tales, ogres are huge and powerful. That is another reason that they are good for keeping the others in line.

Hank, who in my opinion, is a lovable ogre, has opted to work in both the fae community and the human community as a private detective. Humans can see Hank. Because we humans typically only see what we want to see, we see him as a large man with a slight skin condition. Remember ogres usually have a green tint to their skin.

This series involves cases where Hank needs to solve a case or two in each book. He might be working simultaneously with a fae case and a human case. I find the stories easy to read with just the right amount of mystery and a welcome touch of humor. There is a little bit of violence scattered within the stories but not so much that it is off-putting. Overall the books are an enjoyable reading experience.

I like the mingling of fantasy and reality and the creativity of the author in the fae community. As in any culture there are good people and bad people. There are rules to follow or disobey. Jamie Sedgwick has created an engaging world of plots and mysteries for us to solve as we turn the pages of the books in this series. I have certainly enjoyed following Hank, the last living ogre, as he solves the crimes presented to him. I think you might, too.



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Monday, January 30, 2017

Organic Pillows are Healthier for You and the Environment

Most all of us are concerned about our health. And many of us are concerned about the environment to some degree or another. I have recently thought about how my choice in pillows may be impacting both my health and the health of the earth. After reviewing some options, I am making the switch back to bedroom pillows that are better for my health and the environment. 


Why We Should Think About Our Pillow Choices


Recently, while passing by a dumpster, I spotted a large pile of pillows on top of the large pile of rubbish. I was struck by the amount of man-made trash laying in that one pile of textiles that was on the way to the dump. I wondered to myself how long it takes for pillow foam to break down at the landfill. 

In the process of looking up that information about foam in the landfills I learned that adding that bulk to the landfill may not be the only concern. Some of those synthetic materials may be released in my bedroom while I sleep for hours on end. Also, chemicals during the manufacturing process may be released into our environment.

I cannot comment on any of those things with any certainty. I can, however, let you know that I miss a goose down pillow that I had some time ago and have had an urge to replace it lately. That urge multiplied after doing some research about pillows in general.

Just a few of the chemicals that are reportedly present in our pillows and bedding are:


  • polyester - petroleum-based materials that contains ethylene glycol
  • memory foam - polyurethane (can release VOCs -volatile organic compounds)
  • synthetic latex - petrochemicals
  • wrinkle free textiles - contains formaldehyde
  • fire retardant materials - while it seems that we are moving away from fire retardant materials, exposure to fire retardant materials and the health results are being documented. It seems these chemicals enter our bodies and remain.


I will not go further into the chemicals present in synthetic pillows, wrinke-free materials, and flame retardant materials. These are huge topics with conflicting information and a textbook could be written about it all. You can research more on your own and narrow the research to meet your needs. 

Meanwhile, I will review a few organic pillow options.


Pillow Choices That Are Healthier for You and the Environment


Down Pillows


As a migraine sufferer, I believe that pillows can be a very important part of preventing migraines.  I do recall owning a down pillow that may have significantly reduced the number of my migraines. I had thought that I was more comfortable with how the pillow supported my neck. I had never considered, until now, that the natural materials could have been the factor that made the difference with my decreased migraines.  Unfortunately, that pillow is long gone.

A down pillow with an organic cotton cover may be a very good organic pillow option for you. 


Goose Feather and Down Pillow with 100% cotton fabric



Buckwheat Pillows


Buckwheat pillows seemed strange to me. But I had a roommate who wanted one so badly that I gave him one as a gift. He swore that the pillow was supportive and  extremely comfortable.  For the purposes of this article, I asked him recently if he still loves his natural Sobakawa Buckwheat pillow. He literally responded, "Love, love, love". 

Buckwheat pillows are made from buckwheat hulls and a cotton case. How much more organic than that can you get?
Sobakawa Buckwheat Pillow



Wool Pillow


Some pillows are stuffed with wool batting. I had not known that was an option and now that I'm aware of it, I think it is a great idea. I love wool socks. Wool blankets are warm - even when damp. Why wouldn't a pillow stuffed with wool be a good idea?  I think it is a great idea.

Holy Lamb Organics is a small manufacturing company that is focused on making "exceptional" bedding products with natural materials and "zero waste".   


Holy Lamb brand Woolly Pillow


Recognizing that organic pillows may not be for everyone


I am aware that natural fiber pillows may not be for everyone or every situation. Folks with allergies can have reactions to organic pillows and materials. I would not take a goose down pillow camping. I have a favorite camping and tiny house pillow that is made of chopped foam that is better suited to that situation. However, organic pillows may be a good choice for you and your home. You may want to make the switch as I am.  Every bit of health and environmental caution can help.











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Sunday, January 29, 2017

Happy Birthday Aquarius! A Fun Way to Decorate Your Room - Using Your Astrology Sign

Aquarians - It's your Time to Shine - January 20th to February 18th

There are various places online that claim Aquarius begins on January 19th or January 21st, so it's up to you Aquarians to decide. It's a conundrum!

With two Aquarians in our family, January 20th is the accepted date - they rule here. Well, not really, as a Leo, I rule ... but that's another story.

So Let's Brag You Aquarians Up!

You're the humanitarians of the bunch. You battle for justice when you feel a voice needs to be heard, yet despite your stubbornness are gifted with the ability to listen to the position of others. However, to get to the place of truly hearing an opposing view, you may withdraw or block it out for a little until you've decided it's time to listen or more importantly - that you want to listen. This Leo mother to an Aquarian Son knows what she speaks about!

You know how to pick your battles, and you're careful not to hurt those you love. Any hurt you may cause is mostly unintentional and again, usually a misinterpretation of your mood. You wear your emotions on your sleeve and sometimes that causes people to misread your heart. But you can be counted on for hugs and understanding especially when you're showered with them as well.

You're philosophical nature often guides you without even knowing it. However, since you often seek out the good side of life primarily because you're a fun loving person, you're depth of character doesn't overwhelm your personality. Best of all, when you're happy you're especially magnetic!

It's Not Over Yet - There's More Greatness About You

Lively - Independent - Creative and a Great Communicator! Yes that's you. You're independent nature shines through in almost all you do. Even as a child you sought an independent and often creative way to approach life. Your outgoing character and poignant way of expressing yourself started at birth, or so it seems!

Your social nature adds to your creative energy. Ruling by consensus is your absolute approach to group think, and when others don't play by that rule, you're not a happy camper.

Nobody's perfect right? But there's no need to harp on the darker angels of your sign, because after-all, the other 11 signs have their own problems too, so I'll end it here by reminding you to brag yourself up with home décor that reflects your sign.

Happy birthday Aquarius and Happy Decorating!












Go ahead and Funk Up Your House!


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Friday, January 27, 2017

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir ~ Best Movie of All Time

Review of The Ghost & Mrs. Muir
Scanned Photo of The Cover of My VHS Tape
Review of The Ghost & Mrs. Muir 
 
From the first note of the introduction music, "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir" captivates me and draws me into a world of the past. Gene Tierney is beautiful and her features are even more pronounced in black and white movies. 

This young widow, Mrs. Muir, mystifies me with her strength and courage to survive in a time when women were "strange" if they remained single. 

After a year of mourning her husband's death, she and her daughter, Anna, move away from her domineering sister-in-law and her mother-in law to live at the seaside. 

Against the advice of the realtor, she rents Gull Cottage, a home that is haunted by it's previous owner, a deceased sea captain.

This movie speaks to the eternal romantic


Synopsis of The Ghost & Mrs Muir

Only a Teaser ~ You Must See this Movie for Yourself! 

 Gene Tierney & Rex Harrison
Available on Amazon.com

She isn't living in Gull Cottage for long before Captain Gregg makes his presence known. Even after "showing" himself to Mrs. Muir, she is not scared away.

A friendship between these two is quickly cemented and a lifetime of a rather odd relationship ensues. They have conversations that no one else can hear and Captain Gregg dictates a book to Mrs. Muir in order to provide a living so she can stay at Gull Cottage and remain independent.

There are a few scenes that I find extremely entertaining. Even after seeing it dozens of times, I still laugh out loud when an unseen Captain Gregg "escorts" Mrs. Muir's rude in-laws out of Gull Cottage and another time when he releases the brake on the visiting realtor's automobile.

I never hear the nickname "my dear" that I don't think of Captain Gregg.

The Ghost & Mrs. Muir Photo
Available on Allposters.com
Simply Click the Photo to Purchase

Gene Tierney


See page for author [Public domain],
via Wikimedia Commons
Gene Tierney is one of the most beautiful women to ever grace the silver screen.  We are all quite fortunate that she chose to go into the acting world.  Since she was from a wealthy family, she didn't need the money.  She simply loved acting.  I believe that love is reflected in her work.  

Not only was she born into affluence, but she was blessed with great beauty.  Naturally graced with gentle features and demeanor, her appearance made her the perfect choice for the black & white classic movies, especially the mysteries that required exceptional acting and the ability to communicate with just a look. 

Even though they are beautiful in the black and white photos, what we can't see is the real color of  her gorgeous green eyes.   





Rex Harrison


 Rex Harrison 24X36 Poster Print
Available on Amazon.com
Sir Rex Harrison was the perfect male actor for The Ghost and Mrs. Muir.  He seems to have a natural aloft demeanor.  Coupled with is dark, brooding appearance, one could easily envision him as the captain of a ship.

During his sixty years of acting, Rex Harrison appeared in theaters on and off Broadway, as well as in movies made in both America and Britain. 

Harrison was not limited to any stereotype.  He starred in quite a variety of plays and films, including comedy acts.  You may remember him best as Dr. Doolittle or perhaps as the King of Siam, but for me, he will always be Captain Gregg.




What is a Monkey Puzzle Tree



By Norbert Nagel, Mörfelden-Walldorf, Germany (Own work)
[CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]
via Wikimedia Commons
One of the first "encounters" between Captain Gregg and Mrs. Muir was a dispute about the Monkey Puzzle tree planted on the property.  Captain Gregg loved the tree and Mrs. Muir thought it was ugly. 

Since I had no idea what a Monkey Puzzle tree looked like, I was intrigued and looked it up.  Personally, I find it fascinating.  Sorry, Gene, I have to side with Rex on this one. 

Here is what Wikipedia says:  "Araucaria araucana (Monkey-puzzle) is the hardiest species in the conifer genus Araucaria.  It is native to central Chile and west central Argentina, and is an evergreen tree growing to 40 m tall and 2 m trunk diameter. Because of the species' great age it is sometimes described as a living fossil. Araucaria araucana is the national tree of Chile."

You can read more about the Monkey Puzzle tree at Wikipedia.org 




The Ghost & Mrs. Muir on DVD




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The Ghost and Mrs. Muir Movie Review Written by:
House of Sylvestermouse





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Thursday, January 26, 2017

Review of Amazon Echo Dot

Echo Dot Product Details

Amazon Echo Dot

My husband received an Amazon Echo Dot for Christmas and we are having fun discovering all of the exciting features of this amazing little bit of technology.  The Echo Dot has all of the features of the larger Amazon Echo but with a smaller speaker and a smaller price.  Like the Amazon Echo, the Dot is a personal assistant that requires WiFi connection to connect to the cloud.  We found the Dot very easy to set up and we were using it in just a few minutes after we opened the package.

Fun with Alexa

The Dot answers to the name Alexa and you just say Alexa to ask questions, play games,  give commands or obtain information from the Dot. Here are some of the favorite ways we use our Dot.
  • "Alexa, Good Morning"  Our Dot is in our kitchen and each morning we go in and say Good Morning.  Alexa then gives us a bit of information for the day.  On January 20th she gave us interesting bits of information on the inauguration.  On Sunday she talked about the teams playing in the NFL playoffs.  Another day she announced that it was "National Hug Day" and encouraged us to give hugs for at least 10 seconds each.
  • "Alexa, what is the temperature?".  Alexa is always ready with the current forecast. If you want the forecast for another city, just ask and she will give that to you too.
  •  "Alexa, add milk to my shopping list. or Alexa, add clean basement to my to-do list."  Alexa keeps a running total of my shopping list and my to-do list.  When I am ready to do our grocery shopping the list is complete on my phone and I can just tick off the items as I put them in my cart.
  • "Alexa, play a song by the New Christy Ministrals".  Alexa takes requests for songs by genre, artist or a specific song.  I like to start off the morning by having her play an old Country Hymn like Amazing Grace or How Great Thou Art.
  • "Alexa, Let's Play Jeopardy"  Each day Alexa has a new set of questions based on the categories of that day's Jeopardy program.  We have fun seeing how good we do each day.
  • "Alexa, turn on the bedroom lamp"  We have purchased some special plugs for two of our lamps and all we have to do is tell Alexa when we want to turn them on or off.  There are other devises that can also be purchased to work with the Dot such as thermostats and light switches.
  • "Alexa, tell me a joke"  Alexa has a whole list of corny jokes she will tell you.
This is just a small sampling of the many things Alexa can do for you.

More Features added Weekly

Each week I get an email telling us of new features that have been added to Alexa.  We have only just begun to explore all that can be done with the wonderful Amazon Echo Dot!



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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

5 Valentine's Books for the Youngsters in your Heart!

As a Grandmother, Grammie, Nannie or whatever your little ones call you, I know how special it is when they receive a gift that was picked especially for them.  I like to send books, so I will share with you my Reviews of 5 of my favorites.  I know that sometimes with distances between families being bigger than just a block away, it is difficult to be there for all those special occasions.   But, I have good news for you!

The world is truly becoming a smaller place.  It is easy to send a gift from one end of the country to the other and have it arrive in time to put a huge smile on the recipient's face!  What child doesn't like to be remembered by a Grandparent or Favorite Aunt or Uncle?  Just like we enjoy getting mail our children also like to receive something special too!


Here we go with my Review of 5 Favorite Books for Little Ones.


https://pixabay.com/en/
boys-reading-children-book-kids-932821/
Books are one of my favorite gifts for young children and they are great to send across the miles too!  There are endless titles for young minds and stories that will take them to all corners of their world or the larger world too.  Toddlers love picture books or books that teach little life lessons and there are so many lovely titles available for little minds.  One of my favorites is written by a friend of mine and I purchased it for my Grandchildren.  It's a great story about co-operation, helpfulness, and friendship.  Just like the story, the book is a wonderful show of support for Ronald McDonald charities that helps sick children and their families.  So I feel really good about supporting such endeavors.  Susan Zutautas has a way with words and my Grandchildren love the story.

The Day Mr. Beaver meets a Moose is a great story, with lively illustrations and a cute story too!

I love to send books to my favorite little people that are fun to read, teach lessons and support a great cause. Boy, oh boy, does this book ever cover all those bases.  It also helps my friend become better known as a Children's Author!  So for me,  this is a winner!

Books that support a great cause make me want to purchase that book even more.  


Susan has another book available too, I think this one will be the next one I purchase for my Grandchildren. Called Mr. Beaver Plans a Party, it looks like it too would be enjoyed by my Grandchildren.  Who doesn't like the idea of planning a party?


Children's books are easy to send or order on-line to be delivered.  You can add a little note inside to let those children know how special they are to you.  As the years go by, hopefully,  the children will have realized how special those books that Grandma and Grandpa sent means to them.  I know I have some books that were my favorites from when I was a child.  These books are the ones that come out when the Grandchildren come to visit.  So I know that more than two generations have enjoyed the same stories and that they make the same impression on little lives.

These Last Three Books are all time Favorites of Mine!  Some are in the top 50 List of Books for Children.  

I promised you 5 books at the start of this Review This article and I'll give you the titles of the next three Because a promise is a promise.  Sticking to 5 books though is really tough.

The next book is one of my son's favorites! Herbert the Timid Dragon. by Mercer Mayer is a great story that everyone enjoys.  My daughter in law resorted to buying one used, my son's copy had disappeared over the years, and he really missed it.  It has become his daughter's favorite book too!

There are a whole bunch of Mercer Mayer books and all of them are really fun and easy to read to your children or for them to read by themselves.  You may find a lot of them are out of print, so when you go to flea markets or Bazaars keep your eyes open for these treasures.

Another book I love to give as a gift to children is a Dr. Suess classic!  Oh the Places You'll Go!  This book has such a nice story and it's written by one of the best children's authors ever.  Who hasn't indulged their inner child with the writings of Dr. Suess?  I know I have and will continue so long as I have more grandchildren coming.  This is a winner in every sense of the word.  Engaging and entertaining for young minds everywhere.

If you have a child that needs some encouragement, this last book is a great find. 


Last but not least on this Review is another favorite of mine.  I love animals and they are always a hit with kids too.  This book makes you giggle as Gerald the Giraffe finds out that he can do things that giraffes aren't supposed to be able to do.  It's a story of encouragement.  It will touch those young ones who are having a hard time or don't quite fit in. Gerald the giraffe gives them a dose of, "I can do it", in the nicest way possible. Giraffes Can't Dance will have your children and grandchildren smiling from ear to ear.

Conclusion:  If you need a good book for a little one, any of these 5 will be a hit!

So there you have it, the 5 books that are my favorites right now.
It's just a small installment of books that I would love to see sent to all children and grandchildren all over the country.  They have great lessons imparted in a way that doesn't seem like a lesson at all. Children of all ages love these books, and they are fun too!

Reading to children and having them read to you is one of the nicest gifts anyone can give a child.  Their imaginations will soar when written words are read and become part of their lives.  A child who reads and loves to read will become an engaged adult with a deep love for the written word.

What a great Valentine's Day gift that is indeed!

Olivia Morris is an affiliate member of Amazon.com, if you purchase a book through her links, a small commission is paid.




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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Puppy Potty Trainer Reviewed

When A New Puppy Joins The Family

cavalier puppy
Puppy Potty Trainer For His Future - image from Pixabay.com
A puppy potty trainer can be a big help when you find that your family has just increased by one with a new little furry member. 

My daughter and granddaughter have just welcomed a sweet little ruby coated Cavalier King Charles spaniel to their little family. He looks much like the image to the left. Oh, he is absolutely adorable! 

As with any puppy, he will need to be trained to do his little business outside and not inside their home. Potty training a puppy can be frustrating at times but there are things that you can do to help the process along. Helping them understand what needs to be done and where; might even seem a little overwhelming if you haven't gone through the process before. 

We have a lot more on the market now to help lessen the frustration for both pet and humans as we work through those weeks of house training our little furry babies. I particularly like this option: 

What I like about this system is that it can be placed right at the patio door and immediately gives puppy the idea that this is where he will need to go to let them know he needs a trip outside. Now, he is a puppy so it might take a little while for him to figure that out but I think this will help. I also like that it has a sort of astro turf to it, helping puppy to determine that grass is better than carpet when it comes to relieving himself.

The biggest selling point for me is the ability to easily clean it! Any liquid that puppy produces is drained to the plastic tray. The tray is easily cleaned with warm soapy water. I don't think that it gets much easier than that.

I also like the idea that it is portable and that when he comes to visit Grandma in these early weeks that my daughter can bring it along with her. It should be calming for him because it will be familiar and should help to instill the concept of where to go when he needs to.

We are so excited that this adorable little guy has joined our family and just know that all of us will enjoy many years of playing, cuddling and loving him. 



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Monday, January 23, 2017

Reviewing the Savings of a KitchenAid Artisan Mixer

Pink is only one of the MANY KitchenAid colors available
I have recently decided that I need to purchase a KitchenAid Artisan Mixer as soon as possible.  This is a complete change of mind about investing in a what I had previously considered "just another kitchen gadget". And to be more specific, another gadget that has a hefty price tag when you are budgeting every penny. But I have reviewed the many reasons of why the cost would be justified and have observed others using this important kitchen tool. Below, I will share the primary reasons that I have decided a KitchenAid Artisan Mixer is an important purchase to make, and worth budgeting for. 

Customizing Bread Recipes for Health and Savings


I am discovering the joys of homemade bread.  My first successful recipe was an easy Peasant Bread that consisted of letting it rising and punching it down more than kneading.  As I became proficient with that bread, I attempted another bread recipe - the Ultimate Bread recipe. This second bread recipe requires kneading. 

So far, I've done this kneading by hand and have had no problems. However, it is a bit time consuming and tiring. The older I become the more quickly my hands tire. I have decided to bake my own bread weekly and have done so recently but I'm learning that I need a bit of help.

Energy Savings - I am referring to my energy. I feel like there are not enough hours in the day and that I need to be twins in order to get everything finished that I want to finish on the weekends.  Making bread is a priority.  But as I am kneading, and my hands are growing tired, I think that "there must be an easier way". Well, there is.  It is a KitchenAid Artisan Mixer with a bread hook attachment. If the machine does the kneading I can save my energy for other tasks.

Money Savings - Have you noticed the prices of bread in the stores? I am a one-person household but I go through a good share of bread. I like toast and peanut butter sandwiches. I like to make grilled cheese sandwiches to go with my soup. With bread recipes that have only 6 ingredients, two loaves of store-bought bread can easily cover the costs of the ingredients to make many loaves of bread at home.

Possible Health Benefits - With 6 ingredients going into my homemade bread, I know what I am eating. The bread that I typically purchased from the store lists ingredients that I am able to pronounce. So there were no mystery ingredients. However, it also lists gluten. 

For folks who need gluten-free breads, or have preferences about the types of flours they consume, they can easily adjust recipes to suit their needs.

KitchenAid Artisan Mixer Reviews


There are many, many reviews online and much information about KitchenAid Artisan Mixers.  I will not reinvent the wheel and rewrite that information. Especially since I am not yet a proud owner of this important kitchen tool. 

Heather does own one and has reviewed her KitchenAid as well as shared important information such as the best time of year to make your purchases due to sales. If you are ready to learn more about these mixers from current owners, I would start with her review.



After reviewing the financial, physical energy, and health related savings, it becomes easy to see that a KitchenAid Artisan Mixer will be an investment that pays for itself fairly quickly. The most difficult part of the purchase will be choosing just one of the many beautiful colors. 





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Sunday, January 22, 2017

I Didn't Fall in Love With Your Hair - Proceeds Donated to the Canadian Cancer Society


"I Didn't Fall in Love With Your Hair, Up or Down Girl, I Really Don't Care" (Lyrics)

Standing in my kitchen last Fall with the radio blasting life's lyrics from my favorite country station, the ache in these words filled the air. After hearing them, the topic of the song was clear.

Perched along side the radio, the tears flowed.  So much circling my mind from those sixteen words ... thoughts of loved ones I personally know battling cancer, and memories of those passed on.
"Phone call came in from her doctor back home
The cancer had spread and she threw down the phone
She looked in the mirror, tears running down her cheeks
Said if it all falls out, baby what would you think?" (Lyrics)
For me, there's also a personal aspect. Going through some medical challenges, the loss of my hair was a real possibility. Although I've been blessed with my dad's very thick hair, I started to lose it by the handfuls last February.

Despite this, I was one of the lucky ones. I'm managing things much better, and my hair is as thick as it's ever been again. However, the choices I had to make and am still making will forever be a part of my life. And that's ok now, for now.

There are so many levels to medical challenges. With broad smiles, or as many as we can muster, we try not to let it be an all consuming time in our life. However, the waiting hurts .. The waiting to find out; the waiting for treatment results; the waiting for procedures to be completed, and so it goes.

Strength we thought we never had, we somehow find.

And thoughts of those we love ....

What will they do if? ... how can I tell them .... circle our mind more often than we can block them.

Then yes, the thought of our hair. I cried. It isn't shallow. It's just a part of the process.

Whether the fight is cancer or a chronic disease, we know medication plays havoc on our systems, and on our hair.

But those we love and who love us, remind us:
"The heart that's inside is why I stopped and stared
I swear I didn't fall in love with your hair" (Lyrics)
To those suffering much greater battles than mine I want to hold you so tight, and make it go away.

How can we take the pain away for you? We know we can't, but we want to.

If granted one wish, mine would be magical powers to take it all away, for everyone.

I Didn't Fall In Love With Your Hair by Canadian Country Artists, Brett Kissel  & Carolyn Dawn Johnson

A Collaboration with Philanthropist W. Brett Wilson for Cancer Awareness Month in September 2016.

Released September 9th, 2016, proceeds for the song between September 9th and October 28th 2016 were donated to the Canadian Cancer Society and matched by Brett Wilson.

You can find 'I Didn't Fall in Love With Your Hair' on Brett Kissel's sixth studio album, Pick Me Up.








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Saturday, January 21, 2017

Crafty Snowmen Celebrate World Day of the Snowman - A Wintertime Holiday Review

Jolly the Snowman
January 18 is 'World Day of the Snowman', an unofficial holiday begun in 2011.  The date to celebrate this symbol of wintertime was chosen because January is usually always cold enough and snowy enough to build snowmen. The number 18 was chosen because the number "8" represents the general shape of the snowman. The "1" stands for the stick or broom often used to decorate one. 



How the Snowman World Day Began


Cornelius Gratz, a German collector, began this 'World Day of the Snowman. He has a passion for snowmen, and is known to have the world's largest collection. He believes that the figure of a snowman brings joy and wonderful childhood memories of fun in the snow.
 



History of the Snowman


Building snowmen has been a popular winter activity since probably medieval times and has become a well-known theme for Christmas and winter decorations. They are loved in children's story books and songs (such as Frosty the Snowman) and in toys and costumes. Every winter the first thing kids want to do when snow arrives is build a snowman.





Snowman & Three Boys Art Print
Snow has to be at its melting point before it is suitable to build a snowman. Powdery snow won't stick together, so moisture in the snow is needed. One rolls the snow across the yard making a ball. Most snowmen are made with 3 balls of graduated sizes, the smallest for the head. In Asia, snowmen are usually made of two such balls of snow. Then the 'snowman' is decorated with sticks for arms and other items for the face (carrot nose, rock or coal eyes, etc.). Many a fun winter afternoon is happily spent building snowmen.


This "Snowman and Three Boys" Art Print of an original oil painting is the creation of Vicki Wade Fine Art on Etsy.
 
The world's largest snowman was built in 2008 in Bethel, Maine, standing 122 feet 1 inch tall.


Crafty Snowmen


My fellow artistic craftsmen have created replicas of snowmen in many fiber arts. A crocheted snowman (as seen in the opening image) is the only way I get to enjoy a snowman here in 'snowless' Georgia. Even the occasional brief snowflurries we get here in the South in winter seldom produce enough snow on the ground to build a snowman. 



Crocheted Snowman Doll



Amigurumi Snowman on Etsy


This crocheted snowman is handmade in acrylic yarn and stuffed with fiberfill. This adorable crocheted Snowman amigurumi has embroidered eyes, felt cheeks, and measures 4.4in tall and 3.7in wide.  He's  guaranteed not to melt when brought inside. :)

Crocheted snowman can be found in the Etsy Shop called SnacksiesHandicraft and is the original creation of Jai Tan from the sunny island of Singapore.


Snowman Kitchen Towel


Snowmen Hanging Kitchen Towel
Bring a snowman into your kitchen for a wintertime decor. This is a quality terry half towel with rows of snowmen on a white background. The tab top closure is a green plaid fabric with gold threads. It has a lining of flannel to keep it rigid and is is topped with a green button.  The towel buttons securely around your oven or refrigerator door, keeping it where it belongs and handy for you to use.

This kitchen towel with snowmen designs is the creation of Linda of Grandma Linda's House on Etsy



Snowman Accessories


Snowman Quilted Coin Purse


Snowmen abound on useful accessories perfect for winter, such as this quilted snowman coin purse.

Snowman Fabric Lanyard

Or perhaps this snowman fabric lanyard will be a cool winter accessory for January.  

Both items are handmade by Kathie, a talented quilter from Iowa, and featured in her Etsy Shop CutePurseNalities.


*A variety of snowmen-related items are found in this crafty Etsy Shop.


Snowman Decor


Snowman Door Hanger
Perfect door hanger for wintertime and holidays.  Handmade in plastic canvas and acrylic yarn with a Snowman Design on a midnight blue background with a star in the nighttime sky.

Snowman wears a bright red hat and a green & red scarf. Cute as his carrot nose, snowman door hanger will welcome your holiday visitors or just brighten up your door (inside or outside) on dark winter days. 


Snowman doorman measures 9 inches long x 3 inches wide.







The Abominable Snowman

 

Yeti, the Abominable Snowman

And let's now forget the Abominable Snowman.  A favorite from folklore and of kids who love monsters.  Today known as Yeti, this mysterious bipedal creature is said to live in the mountains of Asia.  But you can have your own Yeti in the form of a soft pillow pal sewn from sherpa minky fabric and filled with fiberfill.  He's the creation of Melissa from Denver and is featured in her Etsy Shop 'Warm Personality'.

 

World Snowman Day


So, however you celebrate the World Day of the Snowman this January, by building a real snowman in your front yard, or enjoying a plush snowman or snowman decor indoors, snowmen are a fun part of winter. 


(c) Wednesday Elf 







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


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Friday, January 20, 2017

Why Drink Peppermint Tea?

Why Drink Peppermint Tea - a Twinings Peppermint Tea Review
Twinings Peppermint Tea - Photography by Lou's Designs
As I review Twinings Peppermint Tea Bags let me also answer the question 'why drink peppermint tea?' - you might be surprised at the range of benefits this delicious beverage has.

I will admit to a bias - I love, love, love peppermint tea, but who wouldn't?  I touched very briefly on why I enjoy peppermint tea on my fun tea infuser review as I usually enjoy fresh peppermint leaves steeped in boiling water.

Sometimes, however you need another source and my go to commercial brand is Twinings Pure Peppermint tea bags.

When you're unable to use fresh leaves for whatever reason then tea bags are a great idea, but I've also just discovered (thanks to Amazon) that you can buy Twinings peppermint tea in K-Cups as well which I know a lot of people use.


Why Do I Recommend Twinings Peppermint Tea Bags?


Twinings Pure Peppermint is a tea that I really enjoy and I first came across it a few years ago when I managed to kill my peppermint plant - apparently they can't be killed, but as I've said to my daughter on numerous occasions there's no such word as can't!   I had to find a replacement as I'd come to really enjoy my cup of peppermint tea after lunch so I set off on a mission to find some peppermint tea bags.

Looking at my supermarket's tea selection I couldn't find the two brands that I had previously tried (when living in New Zealand) so it was really luck of the draw that I decided to try Twinings Pure Peppermint.  Well not just luck, but three very good reasons - 
  1. The name Twinings is synonomous with good tea
  2. They were available in a 10 bag size - ideal for sampling
  3. They were on a very good special
Once I sat down to my first cup I was very happy that I had decided on this brand as it really is delicious.   I work a few days a week in an office so I leave a few peppermint tea bags there so that I don't have to miss out on my peppermint tea when I don't have my plant handy (although making my own is my still my favorite way of enjoying this beverage).



Why Drink Peppermint Tea?


The main reason I enjoy drinking peppermint tea is because it's delicious and I love the taste!   There are lots of health benefits for drinking it as well, though and it's always nice when something that is good for you also tastes delicious!

Here's some of the benefits of peppermint tea -


  • Aids digestion, including bloating, cramping, vomiting & nausea - even motion sickness can be helped with peppermint tea.
  • Boosts your immune system - it has known anti-bacterial properties which means it can help ease symptoms of illness (especially colds, flus and sinus problems) and it can also act as a preventative.
  • Helps bad breath - it doesn't just make your mouth feel fresh and smell clean from the menthol (that's what gives you the minty flavor), but because of the anti-bacterial properties it can kill off germs that cause haliotis.
  • Helps with concentration - more on that below!
  • Can provide stress relief - menthol (an active ingredient in peppermint tea) has natural sedative and anti-spasmodic properties which combined together really helps to ease stress while the anti-inflammatory properties can help to lower blood pressure allowing you to relax.
  • Helps with headaches and migraines - because of how it helps with stress and sinus (two causes of headaches) peppermint tea can be very helpful.
  • Offers sinus relief - menthol is a natural decongestant which means it provides relief from sinus pressure, it also soothes a sore throat which is handy if the sinus congestion is from a cold or flu.   I've seen it recommended to add honey to peppermint tea for sinus, colds and flus, but I've never added honey myself.

There are lots more health benefits, it's almost sounding like a superfood isn't it?   I should add however that when taking herbal infusions for a medical reason you should always talk to your doctor.  Menthol has been known to cause typically mild allergic reactions in some people so if in doubt consult a medical professional.


Why I Drink Peppermint Tea At Lunchtime


I always enjoy my peppermint tea after eating my lunch (I sometimes enjoy it at other times, but this is my favorite time).  As I've said I enjoy the flavor, it leaves my mouth feeling lovely and fresh and I also think it helps with my digestion.

I have also discovered that I concentrate better in the afternoon if I've had a peppermint tea after lunch - no more '3pm fog brain' for me.  I had been wondering if this increased concentration was just a placebo effect, but apparently there have been scientific studies (and here was me thinking I'd 'discovered' this all by myself!).

A study published in the International Journal of Neuroscience found that peppermint tea can increase focus and concentration.   Another study by the University of Cincinnati found that the scent of peppermint was even better at boosting alertness, concentration and improving memory than actually drinking the tea.

Now I'm not going to just sniff the tea and not drink it, but I take the study to mean - sit down, relax, cradle your cup/mug of precious peppermint tea and inhale the scent while also sipping slowly on it. Once it's finished you'll be set for a very productive afternoon!

Twinings Peppermint Tea Bags
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