Sunday, September 30, 2018

An Alternative to a Double Oven when Cooking for a Crowd

Counter-Top Roaster Ovens - "Very handy to have on hand"
Counter-Top Oven Roasters are a Practical and Affordable Solution

If you don't own a double oven it can be tricky to cook for a large crowd. 

For most of our life our homes have had one oven. Our family is quite large and cooking for family events, particularly Thanksgiving and Christmas, takes creative planning.

It's certainly possible to plan a large dinner with one oven, but having an extra oven makes the job so much easier. 

For 20 years or more we've owned a counter-top roaster oven. It's stored away for most of the year, but come the Fall the oven gets hauled out and used.

I Didn't Want One!

Not being one for a lot of kitchen appliance clutter, I was against getting another kitchen gadget. Clutter is not my thing.

However, I was absolutely wrong.

Our counter-top oven roaster has been one of the best choices in kitchenware we've ever made. Big family meals would be impossible for me without it now! Don't take my oven-roaster away.

The Brand We Use is 'Nesco'

I've featured a few 18 quart Nesco oven roasters below.

An 18 quart oven roaster typically fits a turkey up to 22 pounds. The non-stick cookwell is also removable which makes it easy to clean. If you use it to cook a large chilli for a party, put the entire oven on the table and keep the temperature on low. You can also remove the cookwell and bring it to the table.

In terms of the temperature gage, it operates like a standard oven. As an example, for our Turkeys, I start cooking the Turkey at 400 and then after about an hour turn it down to 350 to 375.

I'll also put oil and butter on the top of the Turkey and it does brown enough for our taste. However, if the top isn't brown enough for you, just lift the cookwell out and place it in the oven to broil the top to the color you like. The roaster also comes with a rack with handles allowing you to safely remove your Turkey.


It's over 20 years later, and I'm still using our Nesco Oven Roaster. Come to think of it, we've never had one single problem with it. That's rare. Hopefully the newer models last as long as my older model has. As far as my own experience, 'reviewed and recommended'.


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Saturday, September 29, 2018

Review of the Holiday National Name Your Car Day

Source: Pixabay
October 2nd is 'National Name Your Car Day'.  There is no real origin or reason why October 2nd was chosen, but it's the perfect day to give your favorite car a name if it doesn't already have one.  We spend a lot of time in our cars, and caring for them, so they deserve a name.    Just remember, cars have feelings – so don't give your 'ride' an embarrassing name!

Guys with 'muscle cars' or sports cars should go with strong names that reflect the car and the owner.  “Chick” cars need sweet names.  Luxury cars probably need a formal or regal-sounding name. 


Some Famous Movie Car Names



  • Herbie, the Love Bug
  • Lightning McQueen from Cars
  • Kit from Knight Rider
  • General Lee from The Dukes of Hazzard
  • Bandit from Smokey and the Bandit





Our Cars 



(c) Personal Photo
We have had a lot of different cars over the years, but our favorite were the Volkswagen Beetles.  We had a succession of Bugs, one after another, ranging from Bugs to Campers to Vans.  The last ones we had included a Super-Beetle (the blue one in the picture) and our son had the Orange one.  The Orange VW was the only car with a real name.  We called it ~ appropriately ~ 'The Pumpkin'.

Do you have a name for your car(s)?  Come tell me what kind of car and what you call it. 


Happy 'National Name-Your-Car Day'





For More Holiday Articles, check out

(c) Wednesday Elf.  Article originally written on 10/01/2013 for another site and updated for Review This!





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Friday, September 28, 2018

Inexpensive Disposable Rain Ponchos Reviewed

Inenpensive Disposable Rain Ponchos Reviewed
Rain Ponchos can save the day!  When you are at an outdoor event and it starts to rain, would you pay $1.75 to stay dry and continue enjoying the outing?  Most of us would be happy to give a very small fee to anyone selling a rain cover for our hair, clothing, totes, and cameras. 

We recently went to an outdoor arts and crafts fair. We had planned our attendance for over a month and I was pretty excited when the day finally arrived.  I enjoy walking around, looking at all of the new crafts talented people have made and are willing to sell.  I admit, I don't always buy a lot, but I still love going.  Plus, pronto pups seem to call me from miles away.  In our region, there is always a pronto pup stand (or two) at every outdoor event. 

What I don't like, is to get caught in the rain unprepared.  A wonderful day outdoors can quickly become a horrible experience that includes mass numbers of fleeing bodies, followed by ridiculous traffic jams of cars filled with wet humans anxious to get home and get dry.  However, armed with a handy disposable rain poncho, I can cover myself quickly, then stand back and watch the attendees desert an event, leaving me and the few other prepared attendees, enjoying a much less crowded function.


Why I Carry Disposable Rain Ponchos to Outdoor Events


 Rain Poncho: Disposable Emergency Rain Ponchos
for Adults  
Including Drawstring Hood and Thick Material
(10 Pack, Clear)
Check Price
Let me use the arts and crafts fair as an example.  The tents are set up and tables are filled with wonderful handmade creations and art.  These types of events cannot be postponed due to a little rain.  Toss a few thousand people in and you have crowded streets.  Everyone is laughing and having fun, but it is hard to see all of the tables.  Some of the most popular tables are completely surrounded by people who are taller than me.  Then it happens!  The promised rain comes and people start leaving in droves, some actually jogging to their cars.  

Within 30 minutes, the crafts fair and 100+ tables covered with wonderful things, belongs to me and a hundred or so prepared festival attendees.  It becomes extremely easy to visit each table and really thoroughly peruse the merchandise.  Even when the rain stops, few people return to the event.

Oh, and with the rain ponchos, my hands are free to eat, drink & shop!

Recommended Disposable Rain Ponchos   

I prefer the disposable rain ponchos for several reasons.
  1. Easily carry a prepackaged rain poncho in jeans back pockets, purses, vests, backpacks, etc. and pull it out if needed.
  2. Toss a wet rain poncho directly in the trash, even before getting in the car.  Thereby avoiding getting seats and automobile interior wet.
  3. Rain Ponchos cover my hair, clothes, and everything I have around my neck (like my camera) or that I may be carrying.
  4. Featured Rain Ponchos have drawstrings in the hood for fit 
  5. Easily keep 3 or 4 in the glove compartment of the car to be handy when needed.

One Note:  If you purchase the featured ponchos, be sure you tie a knot in the ends of the strings in the hood.  Otherwise, they will come right out and the hood will be hard to keep up.


Where to Use a Disposable Rain Poncho

 Rain Poncho: Disposable Emergency Rain Ponchos for Adults In Bulk Including Drawstring Hood and Thick Material
(5 Pack for Colors or 10 pack for Clear)
Check Price

  • Any Outdoor Festival or Event
  • Outdoor Sports Events
  • Fairs, Amusement Parks, Disneyworld  (great for water rides!)
  • Outdoor Concerts
  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Zoos 
  • Botanical Gardens 
  • School Field Trips
  • Vacations when packing limits apparel
  • Protect Halloween Costumes when Trick-or-Treating
  • Even indoor events when you just need to get to your car without getting wet!

If you pay an admission fee, do you really want to leave simply because of rain?


Additional Rain Ponchos Available - Choose Your Favorite!



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Thursday, September 27, 2018

Explore St Louis-The Gateway Arch

Gateway to the West
I have lived in the St. Louis area for most of my life and I never get tired of telling people about my home town.  There are so many wonderful landmarks in the area and over the next few months I hope to share several of them with the Review This readers through my photographs. 

Reviewing The Gateway Arch

The most well known landmark in St. Louis is the Gateway Arch.  The arch was built during my high school years and I still remember hearing about the construction.  The arch was built as a monument to the "Westward Expansion" of the United States.


Construction on the arch began on February 12, 1963 and was completed on October 28, 1965.  It was located on the site of the founding of St. Louis on the west bank of the Mississippi river.  The arch stands at 630 feet tall.  It has a museum below the arch that tells of the history of the area and the westward expansion.

I have been to the top of the arch several times and it is always thrilling (and a bit scary) to ride the jerky little elevator to the top and then look out over St. Louis through the little windows.
See small windows at top of Arch
Over the years the arch has become the iconic symbol of St. Louis.  Whenever I travel whether by plane or car and I am returning home when I see the arch it brings a smile to my face.

Photographing the Arch

Over the years the arch has been photographed over and over.  It is always a challenge for a photographer to get a unique photo of the arch.  It has been photographed from every angle and most July 4th's you will see wonderful photographs of fireworks framed by the arch.  They are set off on a barge in the river and people gather on the arch grounds to watch the spectacle.  

In early September my husband and I went to a Cardinal ballgame one afternoon and before the game we walked the several blocks over to the arch grounds to photograph the arch.  It was a beautiful sunny day with some fluffy clouds in the sky.  The two photographs above are ones that I took that morning.  The first photograph was taken from the top of the steps of the Old Courthouse just across the street from the arch grounds.

That trip got me excited to take more photos of the arch and I decided I would love to capture it in the early morning light just before sunrise.  A couple of weeks later my friend and I got up early and took a drive downtown.  Here are a few of the photographs I got that morning.



Once the sun came up it was too bright to photograph the arch from the front.  I had heard that they had added a reflecting pond during a recent renovation of the arch grounds so we took a walk to look for the best angle to capture the arch and it's reflection.  Here is my favorite shot.


My Arch Photos on Zazzle

Here is a poster I made on Zazzle the includes several of my St. Louis photos.  You can find more of my work by clicking on the link below the poster or going to www.zazzle.com/mbgphoto.

St Louis Landmarks Poster
by mbgphoto 
I also have several other items showing the arch on Zazzle.



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Wednesday, September 26, 2018

The Weird Sisters Book Review

The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown, A Book Review


Most of us are aware of at least some of the personality traits that come with birth order. The oldest often assumes more responsibility as a child, the middle often feels like they need more attention, the youngest often seems to be more doted upon. The Weird Sisters embraces, among other topics, the topic of birth order as it shares the life of three sisters in small town Barnwell, Ohio.

Eleanor Brown’s first novel's title does not reference weird as you and I might think when we first see the book. As a matter of fact, the sisters are not weird at all.  Brown’s meaning is as in wyrd from old English. Fate or fated. Destined, which sort of suits the book given the presence of William Shakespeare’s books throughout the story line though that difference was not obvious to me when I picked up the book.

The oldest sister in the trio is the stereotypical eldest sibling. She is a reliable, predictable woman who held a caretaker role over her sisters when they were all children and, though now a successful math professor, never left their hometown and never gave up her role as family caretaker.

The middle sister is a woman who wants to impress, throwing herself into everything she does with gusto in an attempt to stand out and be noticed. Sound familiar? She has a successful career in New York City but is fast-living and promiscuous and, underneath all of her expensive veneer, is ashamed of who she has become. Her failed attempts to maintain her lifestyle has her packing her designer goods and heading for home.

The youngest sister, the stereotypical spoiled younger sibling, is a real vagabond. She floats from experience to experience, town to town, job to job and cannot figure out what she wants to do with her life. Events in her world have her grabbing her backpack and heading for home, too.

Their father is a famed Shakespearean professor who cannot keep his head out of a book for a minute and their mom is equally obsessed with and distracted by books. Growing up, the family did not own a television. Instead, reading was their source of entertainment. Everyone in the family embraced the love of books and became avid readers though as adults some of them did not want the world to know that fact. Brown’s interwoven references to and quotes from William Shakespeare are interesting but will not in any way take away from your enjoyment of this book if you are not a fan of his writings.

Coincidentally, the sisters return home at a time when their mother is suffering through a cancer diagnosis and the resultant treatments. While helping to look after her, there is a whole lot of learning and growth done by all three. They learn who they are and who they want to be as well as to trust in themselves and in each other. You will have to read the book if you want to find out whether or not they stay at home or pursue lives outside of Barnwell.

Obviously, one of the strong themes in this book is that of birth order. The New York Times says the book seems drawn from a Sociology of the Family textbook, which made me smile because yes, I thought that when I was reading the book. It does include some of the stereotypes of birth order. Other themes include coming of age, boomerang children, family conflict and love.

There is no violence and minimal foul language in this book. There is however, sex and adultery as well as drug and alcohol use though I believe that they are presented in a manner that is not offensive. They are an important part of the story of these women who are trying to find themselves.

The Weird Sisters is an entertaining novel and HIGHLY RECOMMENDED by me. It is my first book by Eleanor Brown, a New York Times, national and international bestselling author and it will not be my last. You can buy your copy or read more about it on Amazon by clicking right here.

Be sure to let us know if you have read it or if you will be reading it and, of course, what you thought of it.

See you
At the book store!
Brenda

Quick Links:

Buy your copy of The Weird Sisters on Amazon.




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Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Pumpkin Carving Kit Reviewed

Carve A Pumpkin Like A Pro

carved pumpkins
Carved Pumpkins image courtesy of Pixabay.com
It is just about time to start our pumpkin carving for Halloween this year. Did you know that there are kits that will help you carve like a pro? Let's review an option that is available to help us go from a lame looking jack-o-lantern to a creation that will make the jaws of our little trick or treating visitors drop in wonder.

Over the year's I have tried to be creative in my pumpkin carving endeavors. There has not been many times that I could exclaim, "Nailed It!" In fact, most years I am afraid that it was more of an occasion to bow my head in shame with a sincere "Fail". 

I know that in year's past the problem has been that I didn't have the proper tools to accomplish my goal. It really takes more than a hope to carve something cool. Honestly, it takes more than a couple of carving knives from the kitchen to do it, also. So, this year I plan to try a pumpkin carving kit. 

First, I am going to ask my sweet hubby to sketch a neat design. He is a pretty good artist so I will leave that part to him. The kit includes a tool that I can then use to poke little holes around the design. That should help me use the special carving blades to cut around the design. There are blades that have larger teeth for the heaving cutting and blades that are finer that can be used for the detail work and the smaller areas of his design. 

Of course there is that messy part of scooping out all of the insides of the pumpkin. Yuk! The kit also has a large scraper and scooping tool that should make that job much easier. 

Once the pumpkin carving is complete and I have cleaned up all of the tools; I will have a nice little bag to store all of the supplies in for the next year. Hopefully, I can have a jack-o-lantern on my front porch to be proud of and I can say that we did it ourselves. 


What do you think? Does a kit to carve your pumpkins for Halloween seem like a wise choice or are you one of those gifted people who can do it with the tools you already have?


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Monday, September 24, 2018

Reviewing Mrs. Meyer's Soap

Reviewing Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day products.
My son and daughter-in-law use Mrs. Meyer's soaps and cleaning products. It has been during visits to their home that I've used Mrs. Meyer's products. I like the soaps and have ordered my own. Mrs. Meyer's is a line of cleaning products and hand soaps that are made with essential oils rather than harsh chemicals. I like products with essential oils - and try to avoid chemicals if I can.


Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day


Mrs. Meyer is a real person, not just a brand name/gimmick. Her site lists her as an Iowa homemaker and mother of NINE. The story goes that her daughter was shopping household cleaners and wanted something that "cleaned like the dickens" and smelled good. Oh boy, I can relate to that. I want clean, but why does the chemical stench have to come along with the clean?  Good news, it doesn't.
"Lets make cleaners that smell nice, like my mom's garden, but still work like the dickens on daily dirt and grime." - from Mrs. Meyers - Our Story
While visiting, I used Mrs. Meyers hand soap (sunflower) and the Lemon Verbena dish soap. I liked both very much and have since ordered my own. The dish soap worked well with degreasing. And the hand soap did not dry my hands. And like many essential oil products, the scent is "nature" and does not trigger my migraines.
radish

My daughter-in-law has since added "radish" to her collection and lists that as her favorite. Because she has such good taste in cleaning products, I've ordered radish dish soap for myself. 

I prefer natural products for not only my health, but also for the environment. When camping, my used water is thrown out onto the ground. While I am slowly making the transition to more chemical-free products in my apartment, I use natural products almost exclusively when camping. I am thrilled to add Mrs. Meyer's soaps to my supplies.

Important note: You can order your Mrs. Meyer's soaps directly from their website or from Amazon. I ordered from both sites. I do want to recommend that you check out the prices on both sites, as I saved several dollars ordering from Amazon.  I saved $3 with the coupon and $6 on shipping with Amazon Prime. 


Related Links:

My preference for soaps made of essential oils began long ago with my love of Dr. Bronner's Castile peppermint soap. For my review of that soap (I most often use it for bathing, camping chores, and migraine relief) click here

Our Louanne is our Arbonne essential oils expert. Maybe you are farther along in the essential oils and aromatherapy journey than I am and need a regular supply of essential oils. If that is the case, check out Louanne's Essential Oil Holiday Set article or scroll down through her list of articles to find information about specific oils or a variety of uses for the oils. 





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Sunday, September 23, 2018

Song Lists to Help Find the Best Songs for Family Dedications and Special Occasions

Song Lists for Families
Finding songs for special occasions, to fit a mood or to tell a story is a passion of mine.

Searching for the right song can soak up countless hours online, and unless you like listening to the lyrics of mountains of songs, it can cost you several days to find the right one.

Sure, there are a lot of topic based song lists online, however I've discovered that a lot of these lists repeat the same songs from one search to another.

I've taken it many steps forward and actually listened to every word of every song to determine if it works for a person, event or mood. You will find some of the songs I recommend mentioned on other lists online, but that's only because I've listened to it and determined it belongs there.

Many of the song lists provided by others online, in my opinion, include songs that either shouldn't be on the list and rarely include newly found gems.

That's where I come in.

I've spent countless hours listening to songs and categorizing them as per their message and what event they would be suitable for. Much of that work can be found on my country music website, Drageda.com.

However, I wanted to introduce you to another place where I compile song lists: On HubPages.

Below is summary of several of my additional song lists to help you find the right song for your needs. I'm always adding new songs, so be sure to check back there from time to time.

When you visit the page listed below, you'll see a list of suggested songs, a short review of it, and a video to watch it.


If you need a song for a mother-son wedding dance or to celebrate another mother son special occasion, be sure to check out these 14 recommended songs.

Father and Son Songs

Here you'll find 12 suggested songs. The twelve songs are selected based on a variety of different types of relationships that can be had between father and son. Not all relationships are good, and you'll even find a song for that.

Father and Daughter Songs

This list features 10 choice songs. Again, they'll fit multiple types of relationships and occasions. However there's one song you absolutely have to listen to regarding a broken relationship between father and daughter; it's gut wrenching.

Mother and Daughter Songs

We've all heard that a mother and daughter can have a complicated relationship, however in my experience most I know have been good. The songs featured here reflect the positive side, however there's one song about a mother, sung by a famous American Idol contestant, that will make you cry.

Grandparent Songs

These ten songs range from topics of aging, loss, and living life to the fullest. If you need a song to celebrate grandma or grandpa, be sure to check out this list. There's a beautiful song by Ed Sheeran wrote for his grandmother that you'll want to hear.



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Saturday, September 22, 2018

Reviewing an Essential Oil Holiday Set

Purchase here!
Arbonne have just brought out their holiday range for 2018 and this year it includes a gorgeous essential oil set.   If you're interested in using essential oils then this is a great way to start your selection.

The set comes in a gorgeous holiday themed gift box which makes it a perfect gift for someone who is interested in aromatherapy.

Let's have a look at what's included in the set...

What's in Arbonne's 2018 Essential Oil Gift Set?


The set features all of Arbonne's single essential oils which are lavender, lemon, peppermint & tree tea as well as two of Arbonne's combination blends - Harmony & Focus.

I believe that if you're starting your aromatherapy journey then the first three oils you should get are lavender, lemon and tea tree so this is a perfect set.

Arbonne's Essential Oil Holiday Set
Arbonne's Essential Oil Holiday Set


Lavender Oil


Lavender oil is the absolute Queen of essential oils, it's referred to as 'a first aid kit inside a bottle' because of how many things it's really good for.   Now essential oils should always be diluted before being used on your skin EXCEPT lavender oil - it is powerful enough to do a whole heap of things while being gentle enough to be able to use neat.   I should note that I do still dilute it personally.

Some of the common ailments that can be relieved with lavender oil include headaches (find out how in my article on naturally relieving headaches), stress relief, insomnia, insect bites and burns.

It can also be used for making bath bombs, you can add a drop to your hand cream for a beautiful fragrance and it also combines with lemon oil to make a cuticle oil - find out more here.

Around the house you can make your own carpet deodorizing powder simply add a few drops of lavender oil to baking soda as well as using it in these ways -



Lemon Oil


Lemon oil has lots of great things going for it, the citrus scent is very uplifting and it also has both anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties which means that as soon as any viruses start doing the rounds I pop a few drops of lemon oil into my diffuser to ward them off!

It's also a great essential oil to help you stay alert, perfect for long trips in the car, when working overtime or studying.

More ways to use lemon oil ...


Peppermint Oil

Peppermint oil is so soothing and refreshing I absolutely love it!  When one of my late friends was going through chemotherapy he was suffering from really bad night sweats and asked if there was any natural products I could recommend.  I told him to try adding a few drops of peppermint oil to a cool bath and see how that worked - I did caution him that as well as cooling properties peppermint was also invigorating so he may find he couldn't sleep afterwards.   It worked really well to cool down his body so he was able to sleep.

Peppermint is more commonly used to help muscle aches and pains (diluted in a carrier oil or ointment base) or to help with a sinus headache.   Now I have seen a lot of places online suggest putting a drop of oil on your fingers and massaging your sinus points - please do NOT do this.  The only oil that can be used neat in this way is lavender oil, always dilute peppermint oil.

If you do suffer from sinus problems including headaches I would get a small roller bottle and add a carrier oil with a few drops of peppermint oil in it and keep that with you so that you can apply it throughout the day.

Peppermint oil is also regularly used in a foot bath as it's cooling on swollen feet and also helps with foot aches.  When I worked in a health food shop we had concrete floors which meant at the end of the day (especially on late nights) my feet were often sore so I would add a few drops of peppermint oil into my foot spa and rest my feet while enjoying a cuppa and a few chapters of a good book when I got home.

Tea Tree Oil


Now I love using tea tree oil, and have actually written and article extolling it's uses ...

Tea Tree Oil UsesReviewing Uses for Tea Tree Oil
After being introduced to tea tree oil over twenty years ago I have embraced a few different ways of using it, let's review just a few uses for this potent essential oil.


Harmony Blend

The Harmony Blend smells divine, it's been blended together to help give you a sense of harmony and I think it does that very well.  It includes uplifting citrus oils like orange, tangerine & grapefruit which I always call the happy oils as they really do raise the spirits.  Also included is lavender for it's relaxing properties along with essential oils like rosemary, eucalyptus to really help you feel grounded.

This is a great blend to add to a bath or a diffuser to really create a spa like atmosphere in your home.  It's also good to use in a massage oil or even to pop into your favorite body lotion.

Personally I think it's lovely to pop into an aromatherapy necklace if you have one as it would be a lovely aroma to inhale throughout the day and keep you feeling centered.

Focus Blend


If you're having problems with focusing on the task at hand, then perhaps you need some focus blend!  I have written a post all about how and when to use this blend -

Focus Oil Aromatherapy BlendReviewing Arbonne's Focus Blend
Arbonne's Focus blend is a combination of pure essential oils that aid with focus and concentration, excellent for students, people who have problems focusing and for long car journeys.



If you're not as keen on aromatherapy or you already have these oils then why not check out some of the other holiday gift ideas that Arbonne have to offer as there are some lovely things available and of course we've reviewed lots of other gift ideas for you too.


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Friday, September 21, 2018

Animal Shaped Memo Clip Holder Note Pad Dispenser Organizer Review

Animal Shaped Memo Clip Holder Note Pad Dispenser Organizer Review
I am always writing little notes and reminders for myself, as well as for my family.  These little notes help me tremendously to stay on schedule.   They also serve as reminders to take out the trash or refill a prescription, or other mundane chores I would rather forget.  I rely heavily on them everyday.  Sometimes I even write myself a little reminder about an upcoming holiday so I can remember when offices and stores are closed.  That helps me avoid being annoyed if I try to reach someone on business only to get an answering machine.  Needless to say, my laptop is often decorated with colorful post-its.  

Until recently, I didn't have a great place to leave a note for a family member, or for something that was unrelated to my computer work.  Seemed like my little notes ended up on the floor or covered by other "stuff" rendering them useless.

That was all before I bought my rabbit memo clip holder!


My Rabbit Memo Clip & Note Pad Holder


To say I love animals, would be an understatement.  I have rabbits, mice, squirrels, bears and even a giraffe included in my home decor surroundings.   They are beautifully displayed on pillows, afghans, magnets, and more.  Plus, I have cookie jars and teapots in the shape of animals.  Not to mention my beloved plush animals that decorate my craft room and our bedroom.

 Chris-Wang Multi-functional Plastic Animal Figure Memo Clip Holder Stand Note Pad Dispenser Organizer, With 200 SheetsCheck PriceOne day I was browsing Amazon, searching for shaped post-its when I spied a  rabbit shaped clip holder.  Yes, I had to have that memo clip holder!  

Now, my pretty blue rabbit chomps down on my daily reminders, receipts, or even my outgoing mail.  She keeps those slips of paper and envelopes front and center on my kitchen counter.  Therefore, the notes are no longer "lost" under other things or blowing to the floor unnoticed.  My blue rabbit has become my most useful home office helper.  

She also features a cut out space that is the perfect size for a pad of post-its.  She came with a blue note pad, but once they were all gone, I replaced them with a pad of post-its.  She can hold a post-it as well as any slip of paper.  I simply use post-its more often, but someone else might well prefer the less expensive note pad replacements.

In addition to the blue rabbit style that I selected, there is also a dinosaur, a giraffe, a donkey, a elephant and a hippo available.  I have to sit on my hands to keep from buying them all.  I think they are all adorable, but I really only have a place for one and I have a special affinity for rabbits.  However, you might prefer one of the other animal shaped memo holders so I have displayed them all below. 

 

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Thursday, September 20, 2018

The Ragged Edge of Night - Book Review

The Ragged Edge of Night - Book Review
What Others Are Saying About This Book
Nazi Germany.  1942.  A priest in search of redemption.  A widow seeking provision for her fatherless children.  A people desperate for relief—relief from oppression, from evil, from hopelessness.  Olivia Hawker's new historical novel, The Ragged Edge of Night, is a revelation.  To immerse ourselves into Anton and Elisabeth's war-torn lives is to see glimmers of unimaginable beauty beneath the desolation of loss, shame, failure, and fear.

As the story begins, Anton is still reeling from the abrupt end of his mission as a Franciscan friar.  To be wrongly stripped of his life's calling has been painful, but even worse, he cannot forgive himself for being powerless to save the children who were in the church's care.  When the Nazis loaded up Anton's students, he was overcome by an overwhelming sense of having committed the unforgivable sin.  Though there was nothing Anton could have done to save the children's lives, the guilt is crushing.


While Anton wrestles with his demons, Elisabeth, a young mother of three who is still grieving over the unexpected death of her beloved husband, is in the midst of considering the hardest decision of her life: whether to remarry in order to provide for her family.  Elisabeth feels great shame as she struggles to reconcile the feeling of being unfaithful to her first husband.  If there was another option, she would gladly choose it.  Alas, the harsh realities of wartime force Elisabeth to publish the following personal ad:
Good churchgoing woman, widowed, mother of three.  In need of a humble, patient man, willing to be a father to my children.  Interest in legitimate marriage only.  I have no money, so those who think to profit need not reply.
 In coming across Elisabeth's plea for help, Anton is immediately struck with a new sense of purpose.  Though his first choice would be to eventually return to his Franciscan order, and while Anton remains true to his sacred vows, he feels that supporting Elisabeth and her children is the right thing to do.  This opportunity has the potential to fulfill Anton's deep need to be useful, to find forgiveness, and to protect those who need it most (addressing his need for redemption due to the loss of the children snatched up by the Nazis who shut down Anton's school and religious order).

The soul of this book is revealed in the simplest, and yet loveliest of ways, as two faithful individuals remain true to their vows, their principles, their hearts, and all that defines a life worth living, and for which they are willing to die.  When Anton's involvement in the resistance movement against Hitler brings danger into his new family's life, relationships will be tested, and the true nature of love will be revealed.

Based on the real life experience of one of the author's family members, The Ragged Edge of Night is a timely story that is sure to inspire every reader who is concerned about the extreme tensions that are being felt in today's world.  This is a moment in history when every single one of us can take heart as we consider the difference an ordinary person like Anton can make in the lives of those who are hurting.  I was deeply moved by this book and highly recommend it.








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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Halloween Costumes: Important Tips for Everyone's Safety

Kids everywhere are already discussing what they will dress up as for their favorite holiday,  Halloween!  

Let's review some important safety tips so our children/ grandchildren can continue to enjoy this holiday.

Even though the end of September is quickly coming, adults and kids alike are getting into the Halloween spirit.  Everywhere you look there are dozens and dozens of costumes just trying to get your child's attention.  At the end of October every neighborhood will have dozens of Superheroes, Doctors and Nurses, Witches and Werewolves prowling about.  

Halloween safety tips, halloween costumes, childrens safety
These are my grandchildren, Miss BoPeep and her Sheep!
               

The excitement of  all the Treats has most youngsters just chomping at the bit to get out on Halloween night.
  
Let's just take a minute to review some important safety tips to keep our children/grandchildren safe during their escapades.

1.  Never ever let your children go out alone and unsupervised.
-team up with some neighborhood parents  and share the role as supervisors.  There are always some big kids that will take advantage or prey on younger children that are alone.  Instead of having fun, they are robbed of their candy and may even suffer some physical injury.

2.  Make sure their costumes allow them to walk without tripping, climb stairs without "face planting" on the next step and just see where they are going.  

3.  If they have chosen to be a witch, zombie, ax murderer or some other very dark creature, make sure that somewhere on their costume there is reflective tape or better yet, a  bright flashlight that will illuminate them in the dark.

4.  Rather than masks, try using makeup to augment their costume.  If you slather them with cream before makeup application, it will be much easier to come off later.  Makeup does not hinder their ability to see what's around them.  Masks tend to slip, dip and drop and the children are more interested in keeping that mask in place, than looking at where they are going.

5.  Keep the children off the roads.  One accident is one too many.  Check your route, and see that you do one side of the road and then cross to the other side.  Cars and kids running amok are not a good combination.

6.  Don't allow any treats to be consumed until they have been checked over.  With food allergies and treats being tampered with, eating on the run is never a good idea.

7.  Have fun and take some pictures along the way!  They will make some great memories in the future.

If you are looking for a great flashlight for your children to use on Halloween night, I would suggest this one:



I  like this flashlight because it can be used at Halloween, but it can be used at other times of the year too.
It is an Amazon Choice and has three light settings.  It's a regular flashlight with a powerful beam, it's a reading light with a softer and wider light surface and (here's the reason I really like it) it has a powerful red flashing emergency light too!  That would add just another facet to any Halloween costume out there.

We have three of these in our apartment and they really work well when there is a black out!  So after Halloween, keep these flashlights in and around your home, so that if the power ever goes out, you are prepared.


Halloween Safety Tips, Halloween costumes, Keeping children safe








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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Ant-Man Costume Reviewed

Most Likely A Popular Halloween Costume This Year

Will these ants help Ant-Man? Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
I have a feeling that the Ant-man costume will be one that many children will want for Halloween this year. At least I will be surprised if I don't have a least a few show up at my door to trick or treat!

Our dear Cynthia reviewed the Ant-Man movie for us back in July. My husband and I just watched it this weekend. If you haven't seen it, you really do not know what you are missing. I wasn't so sure that I could get into the whole concept of a Super Hero being an ant. Ants are not even close to being on my favorite list. After reading her review, I decided that it might be a movie that I could enjoy and I knew my husband would like it because it is from Marvel. I have to tell you, this was probably my most favorite of the Super Hero movies from Marvel. It was action packed but it was also very funny! The ants (as much as I don't like 'em) were pretty incredible! 

A little factoid: There about 1 million ants for every human in the world. (That is a lot of freakin' ants!)

Anyway, back to the costume. I do think the children who have seen the movie will want to be the Ant-Man for Halloween. He really is a pretty cool and easy to relate to. Above all things he is a very loving Dad. 

So, the costume is relatively inexpensive as costumes go and it comes with everything a child would need to be his or her new favorite hero. There is a jumpsuit with attached boot tops, a belt and a mask. I was glad that it is just a mask because if it was an over the head helmet, I think some children would struggle with wearing it. As it is, they can have fun wearing it for Halloween and they can also play with it after they have gone from door to door.

Do you know a child who would enjoy dressing up as a Marvel Super Hero?


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Monday, September 17, 2018

Reviewing Forgotten Ellis Island

Forgotten Ellis Island.
I recently reviewed an interesting book that was set on Ellis Island in 1911. While reading that book I realized how little I knew about the early days of Ellis Island. Immediately after finishing the book, I looked for more factual information about immigration via Ellis Island in the early days.  I found Forgotten Ellis Island based on multiple recommendations. And I'm here to recommend this documentary to you.

In the novel, A Fall of Marigolds, I learned about Nurse Clara and what her job entailed on Ellis Island. That brief visit piqued my interest. I wanted to know more about the doctors, nurses, and healthcare provided in those early days. In the days before antibiotics. While some immigrants arrived with diphtheria, cholera, trachoma, and other severe physical ailments.

Forgotten Ellis Island is a PBS documentary that shows us the inside of the abandoned medical buildings of Ellis Island. Did you know there are 3 islands that are a part of Ellis Island? I had not known that prior to reading this book and watching this documentary. In the documentary, we learn about the medical center being used as the first defense, and attempt, to stopping contagious diseases from spreading through the country. We hear about the treatments used - before medical knowledge grew and provided better treatments for diseases. Specifically for trachoma. 

I enjoyed seeing the photos of the nurses, touring the inside of the buildings, and seeing the fashions during that time period. If you are interested in this time period, in "the great wave" of immigration, or in early medical care, A Fall of Marigolds and Forgotten Ellis Island is a wonderful combination that brings this time period alive. 

There are many ways to view this video; television, streaming apps, or purchasing the DVD. I want to mention that I watched it for free via Amazon Prime. Also, I watched it on my Insignia Roku television. With all of these free and nearly-free shows and movies, I'm LOVING this tv!






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Sunday, September 16, 2018

5 Items for the Home to Ward off Evil Spirits

Halloween is on the Way! Time to think Protection, Protection, Protection

O.k. not really, but just in case here's a review of items for the home that are said to protect your humble abode from all things evil.

1. Horseshoe Home Décor Accessories

When it comes to protecting your home, the best place to put a horseshoe is on your front door as a door knocker. However, if you're unable to place it on the door, go ahead and place them inside your home. A horseshoe in the home is said to attract good fortune, and in doing so, evil gets knocked on it's butt. Some people believe it's better luck to hang the horseshoe with the ends pointing up so that all the good energy has a place to pool inside the horseshoe.

2. Use Cinnamon Scents in Home

Did you know that Cinnamon is associated with prosperity. Besides baking, you can incorporate cinnamon in your home using cinnamon oil or cinnamon sticks. During the holiday season include cinnamon scented pine cones in a center piece, or decorate using cinnamon sticks in wreaths. Place cinnamon Crystal Allies Materials: 1lb Bulk Rough Black Tourmaline Crystals from Brazil - Large Raw Natural Stones Reiki Crystal HealingWholesale LotCrystal Allies Materials: 1lb Bulk Rough Black Tourmaline Crystals from Brazil - Large Raw Natural Stones Reiki Crystal sticks in all your wreaths. If you don't want to see the sticks, simply tuck them in so they're not visible.

3. Feature a Rosemary Wreath

For those who enjoy the history of witches, witches believed that hanging rosemary on your front door would ward off burglars and intruders. It was also used as a way to rid a room of illness during the time of the plague. If nothing else at all, between the rosemary and cinnamon in your wreaths, your home will smell lovely.

4. Display Gemstones Throughout Your Home

The topic of gemstones is a rather in-depth one. Feature in a centerpiece or in a lovely decorative bowl the following gemstones to ward off bad energy: Tourmaline, Agate, Emerald, Labradorite, Black Onyx, Peridot and Emerald. If you need to pick one, choose Tourmaline as it's said to be the most effective for dark energy.

5. Smudge Your Home With Sage

I know a few people who do this in their home. It's derived from the Native American belief that the smoke from sage will cleanse a space and clear negative stagnant energy. Spread the sage clockwise around your home and while doing so, visualize positive intentions as you clear every room. Reiki Practitioners are known to clear the energy in their home or office with Sage after a session with a client. It clears the energy for the next client so their treatment can begin anew from a cleansed room.


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