Thursday, December 12, 2019

Book Review- The School of Essential Ingredients

Are you looking for a good book to read that is just a bit different?  The School of Essential Ingredients has a delightful main character, an interesting take on cooking and a look into the lives of a wide variety of cooking students.
Apples are one of my Favorite Basic Ingredients

When our book club picked this book to read for the monthly meeting, I was not sure if I would like it.  I enjoy a good mystery or historical fiction and this book did not fit into either of these molds.  However, it only took me one chapter to get hooked on this book.  The author has such an interesting way of writing that I instantly got involved in the book.

Lillian, the main character owns a restuarant and conducts a cooking school in the back rooms.  She has a very unique way of cooking that instantly got me interested.  She didn't use recipes but rather concentrated on the basic ingredients for each dish and explored with her students how to make the most of the ingredients.  Lillian surely was a true artist when it came to her cooking.  She had a way of making everything magical and made me want to get in my kitchen and experiment.

The book is set up with a chapter for each student of the cooking class.  As the dish for that evening is explored we also learn a little bit about each of the students and why they came to the class to start with.  Each student had their own story and they were a very diverse group.  Lillian not only had a way with the food but also with each of her students.  She seemed to bring out the best in people and helped them to explore the situations in their lives.

                                                             
I don't want to spoil the story line for you.  But I will tell you if you enjoy cooking and reading you must try this book.  I highly recommend it.


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Wednesday, December 11, 2019

My Christmas Confession! Heart Warming Stories Make Me Happy!

Yes, I have a confession to make.  

Since my husband and I decided to get into Amazon Prime, my Television watching has increased by 100%.  I thought I'd take a moment and review why my TV habits have changed.

For years now, our television set was just a big black screen that we would show our family pictures on.  Neither myself nor my other half were interested in anything that was being shown for entertainment purposes, on most cable channels.  So our TV became our picture show instead.  Our cable was cancelled and the only thing he missed was his hockey games.  I did not miss anything about the TV.  I did start reading a lot more and that was not a bad thing either.  Then............

That all changed when he signed up for Prime!  Initially he signed up so that our items would ship for free and quickly.  He's the impatient one in our family.  What he did not fully realize when he signed up, was all the added bonuses that came along with his membership in the Amazon Prime community.

Because we have Prime, we are now able to watch many varied and wonderful shows that cable companies don't offer.  I haven't even scratched the surface of what's available on Amazon Prime.  

So here's part of the confession:  I go to Prime Movies and look for fun and new Christmas Specials.  After all, it is that time of year.  There are so many movies that I have never heard of before.  There is a category called Family and Kids Movies!  That is exactly what they offer!    I know when I pick something from this category, that I won't need to worry about the content being for "adult audiences".  

Family Movies is full of wonderful films that are good for all ages.  There are animated movies and movies from all over the world.

I just happened to come across a movie called the Christmas Story.  I expected the usual Santa Claus story and while it was along that line, it was a whole new story to me.  This one had a twist in it that made it a real heart tugging movie.  Filmed in Finland and Lapland, the scenery is breathtaking and the actors are pretty good too.  There is no one in the movie whose name I recognized, but, there is talent out there in the world too.



Prime not only offers you TV that you will enjoy watching, but books (with membership you get 3 free books a month), and music.  So these have all been added bonuses for us.  My other half just wanted to save money on shipping and time.  What he got was a whole lot more!  

All together I would say that getting Prime for your family would be a gift that will keep on giving long after Christmas is over.  Those are the kind of gifts I like and would really enjoy!  I'm sure there is someone out there that feels the same way and has not yet taken the plunge into the world of Prime.

I had given up watching Television for over 4 years and now that we have Prime available to us, I know that when the itch to watch something hits, I can get a show that I  know I will enjoy.

If you don't have Prime yet, consider it for your family.  I'm sure that you won't regret it.








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Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Monopoly Unicorns vs Llamas Game Reviewed

A Different Game of Monopoly

I love to play board games with my grandchildren and Monopoly is one of them. Monopoly Unicorns vs Llamas is one I think I should have so that my youngest grandchild can play, too. The standard version is a little more than she can handle at her age but this new release would be right up her little alley.

monopoly game
Monopoly: a great family game
image courtesy of pixabay.com

The new release of an old favorite is geared more for the younger set. I know my little cupcake will enjoy playing it and I can tell you right now which team she will chose to support. The unicorn team, she is wild about those mythical creatures!

Slightly Different Play in the Game

Instead of individual play in this new edition of Monopoly, the game is played with teams. Players decide which team they want to play for, the unicorn team or the llama team. Properties aren't purchased but instead as you move around the board you collect titles for your team. Things like the Sweetest, the most colorful, or my personal favorite the twinkliest eyes. You know when the game is over when all of the titles have been collected. The winning team is determined by the team who has the most titles. Now, I'm asking you. Doesn't that sound like loads of fun?

This game can be entertaining for children ages 8 to 88. Although, I love playing the original version of Monopoly, it can take hours and hours to play. The nice thing about the Unicorns vs Llamas game is that the time-frame for the game doesn't take forever for someone to win. 

Board Games Encourage Family Time

When my girls were little, I loved playing games that we could all play together. Can I tell you how many times I've played Candy Land? It wasn't so much the game that we were playing but the family time we were spending together. Once the grandchildren began to arrive, I've kept up the tradition. 

How about you and your family? Do you play games together? If you have small ones, I think a nice round of the Monopoly Unicorns vs Llamas might be enjoyable for all.





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Monday, December 9, 2019

Shipt Delivery Service Review

The groceries are here! Yes, in the driveway and I never entered the store. How fun is that! If you dislike grocery shopping (raising my hand) then Shipt is a service which can lighten the burden, save time and make life just a little easier.


What Is Shipt?

Shipt is the home delivery service in which groceries and essentials are delivered  to your home. The items are ordered via the Shipt app or the desktop version and can be at your home within 2 hours.

How Does Ordering Work?

You are virtually shopping on the computer screen and adding items to the cart. The interface is very user friendly and the screens are self explanatory through the ordering process.

After the cart is filled you "check out" and select a delivery time frame. The delivery window is by the hour.

The shopping order is then processed and waiting for a shopper to accept the order. Once a shopper accepts the order you are notified via text or within the desktop screen.

The Delivery

Delivery is free if a minimum of $35.00 is spent. Orders under $35.00 are charged a delivery fee.

Thus far the deliveries have been very smooth with only one 'bumpy' order. The shoppers have been very communicative, courteous and pleasant. This is a real time collaborative shopping experience with the shopper. The shoppers can (your option) communicate with you during the order via text should any stock problems arise.

I have ordered items by 1 p.m. and the groceries have been on the driveway at 2 p.m.,  the deliveries have been very expedient.

I have been impressed thus far and one of the reasons I have been trialing Shipt is to vet the service for a homebound neighbor. This could be a very valuable asset to have in the toolbox for caregiving, not just the convenience factor of home delivery.

What Stores Participate In Shipt?

In my urban area (where big box stores are in great abundance) the participating stores are Target, Meijer and Petco.

What Is The Cost Of Shipt

I have been participating on the trial which is free. 
The annual fee is $99.00 a year; however I have seen sales for the service for $49.00 a year.

Delivery Or Pickup?

Thus far I have only used the Shipt delivery service; however the Pickup option can also be utilized. Because I do live in an area where it is not unusual to find multiple stores within 5 miles, the Pickup option can be very useful. I have frequented other services which offer the pack and pick up service and I have found this service to be a huge time saver.

Pros

User friendly screens
Fast service
Courteous shoppers
Reasonable annual cost
Convenient, easy to use
Free trial offered

Con


This  one area I would like to see an improvement is the stock in store versus the stock reflected on the app screen. Just as happens with an in store shopping experience items are not always in stock. The majority are, but sale items are in high demand and the shopping app stock is not always reflective of the actual stock found by the shopper.

Recommendation 


I've definitely enjoyed the service and would recommend using the trial offered by Shipt to explore if this would be a useful service for your lifestyle. I do plan on giving Shipt as a Christmas  gift this year!





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Sunday, December 8, 2019

5 Inspirational Theme Songs for 2020

What is your life theme for 2020? 5 Life Theme Songs 

Last week I reviewed five inspirational quotes to carry you through 2020. This week's review is about musical inspiration.

Which one of these five areas in life do you feel you need to or want to focus on in 2020?

COURAGE

For me, strangely enough, for 2020, it's courage. It's strange because I've always been a doer, a person who steps-out, steps-up, and gets things accomplished. I've always had the courage to fight for others, and help them with their tasks and build their goals. However, if I'm honest with myself, my weakness is in fighting for my own goals. It's scary when you're only doing for yourself! To keep myself on track and accountable, I've created a specific plan and told most of my family what it is.

More than ever before, I'm feeling a sense of independence. I can't explain it, except to say that to complete my 2020 career-related goals, I need courage and the discipline to follow the plan I've laid out for myself.

Celine Dion's new song 'Courage' is about her new life without the love of her life, her husband, Rene, and the courage needed to step out of her own comfort zones. However, there are lyrics within the song that speaks to exactly how I feel:

"Courage, don't you dare fail me now,
I need you to keep away the doubts
I'm staring in the face of something new
You're all I got to hold on to
So, courage, don't you dare fail me now"



BELIEF

Whether you're trying to achieve a dream, accomplish a goal, or want to believe in the power of good, Rascal Flatt's Olympic Version of Unstoppable is your song. A few New Years ago, I wrote about this being a choice song to start fresh.

Belief gets us to where we're going. It's hard to hold onto, especially when things come crashing down around us. That's when we have to dig deeper, and believe that there's sun on the other side. Mastering self is the hardest battle we'll fight.

Belief for me begins with realizing that the only person I can control is myself. We can't change other people, we all know that, yet we spend so much mental energy trying to. Letting go, in my opinion, that's the road to self-belief.



HOPE

Is 2020 all about holding onto hope? If so, you'll want to add Natasha Bedingfield's song 'Hope' to your new year's playlist.

Holding onto a positive outlook isn't always doable, that's why we have music. The right song, with the right message, can wake us up and help us see things from a different perspective.

My word is Hope. What's a personal word? It's the word that you choose to govern your life by. My children have even selected their own life words. I'm wearing a necklace with the word Hope written on it; it was a gift from one of my closest friends. I never take it off.



KINDNESS

Is kindness your major theme for 2020? Are you planning to seek out more of it? Or are you going to lead by example and be the best person you can be? I imagine most of us think of ourselves as mostly kind anyway. Maybe resisting those moments we want to be unkind is a way to stretch that kindness goal a little further. Most of those tests are within families, and sometimes online.

If you're looking for a song for 2020 that can help stay within the margins of kindness, add Tim McGraw's gorgeous song, 'Humble and Kind' to your playlist.


GRATEFUL

Are you choosing 'Grateful' as your theme for 2020? Get the tissues out and listen to Josh Groban's song 'Thankful.' The lyrics remind us that each of us must find our truth and that it's so long overdue.

As we look into the face of those we love, and smile, we don't always grasp that, that alone is enough. Appreciating all that we have, it's as easy as that isn't it? Would you agree that understanding the concept of being grateful comes more into focus with age?






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Saturday, December 7, 2019

Bake Cookies Day, December 18 – Holiday Review

Bake Cookies Day (Source: Pixabay & Fotojet)
  'Tis the season for baking cookies, so how appropriate that Bake Cookies Day is held every December 18th right in the middle of the holiday season. 

The word 'cooky' or 'cookie' comes from the Dutch word “koekje”, meaning “little cake”. Cookies arrived in America along about the 17th century, although they may date back as far as 7th century Persia! Today they are a global phenomena, coming in more varieties, flavors and styles than you can possibly imagine.

The writers on Review This Reviews often write on the subject of food and have reviewed recipes for many varieties of cookies. It seems appropriate for Bake Cookies Day to share a few here. 


Cookie Varieties and Recipes on Review This Reviews


Cookie Recipe Reviews on ReviewThisReviews!












  • If you want to give a gift of cookies, but don't have time to bake your own, try out  Byrd's Famous Cookies reviewed by Wednesday Elf. They are delicious.



Other Cookie Days



Source: Pixabay

There are other dates throughout the year that celebrate 'cookies'. 


  • National Chocolate Cookie Days happens on August  15th.
  • National Homemade Cookies Day is October 1st.
  • National Gingerbread Cookie Day is November 11th.
  • National Cookie Day is December 4th. 



Summary


So, enjoy Bake Cookie Day December 18th, or any of the other fun cookie days all year long. And don't forget to leave a couple cookies out for Santa on Christmas Eve! 



(Source: Pixabay)


Bake Cookies Day
December 18







(c) Wednesday Elf 12/7/2019




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Friday, December 6, 2019

Rubbermaid Brilliance Food Storage Container Reviewed

Airtight, Leakproof, Microwavable & Freezer Safe Storage 

 Rubbermaid Brilliance Food Storage Container Reviewed
I recently purchased 3 Rubbermaid Food Storage Containers. I needed an airtight container for rolls & crescents so they would last longer. I selected the 9.6 cup size which was perfect for my needs. As it turns out, there are many more uses for these containers than just bread storage. 

During the recent holidays, I discovered these containers will hold liquid or dry food.  Since they are leak-proof due to their tight seal, they will even store leftover homemade soup.  Plus, they are microwavable when it is time to reheat the leftovers.  Therefore, there is no need to transfer leftovers from their storage container to heat.  Less clean-up is always appreciated.

I love my faithful Tupperware, but sadly, if I can't see it, I am likely to forget it.  So much fruit is discarded simply because it is forgotten once it has been stored away.  Because these containers are transparent, it is easy to see at a glance what is stored in which container. 


 Rubbermaid Brillance Food Storage Container Reviewed


Rubbermaid Food Storage Containers


 Rubbermaid Brilliance Food Storage Container, Large, 9.6 Cup, Clear, 3 PackCheck PriceNot only are they clear, airtight, leak-proof, microwavable and freezer safe, their flat design makes them stackable in the the refrigerator, freezer, or pantry.   

Since we don't have to worry about the spilling, transporting food from one location to another is easy.  Of course, if you are dropping off food, you might not get these nifty containers back. The recipient will be tempted to forget where they came from originally.

Now that I have had experience with the larger containers, I will definitely be buying the smaller single serve size as well.  That will make lunchtime so much easier! 

To use in the microwave, simply lift the locks for venting.  

The only possible negative that I have found with these containers is that they seal so tightly.  It takes more effort to remove the lids than it does with a snap lid.  But, after a few uses, I knew what to expect.  Now I grip the container with one hand and remove the lid with my other hand.  In my opinion, that is a simple inconvenience to enjoy the airtight storage.

Oh, and did I mention, the price is right!  No wonder they named these containers "Brilliance".








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Thursday, December 5, 2019

Won't You Be My Neighbor - Movie Review

Watch on Amazon Prime Video
I might as well lead with my truth: I love people who dare to be way out there—the kind of out there that is called for when convention just doesn't cut it.  And if ever there was someone who defined outthereness, it was Mister Rogers.

Who else could have led the revolution of neighborliness that transformed the lives of millions of children?  It seems the least likely among us are always the ones who rise up to do the right thing that should have been obvious all along.  I thought I knew this unlikely rebel, but it turns out the man in the cardigan was so much more than any parody.

Watching Won't You Be My Neighbor, the top-grossing biographical documentary ever made, was more than enlightening.  Just as this biopic was one of the genuine surprises of 2018, one of Time Magazine's Top Ten Movies of the Year, the man, Fred Rogers, turned out to be the biggest surprise of all.

Yes, Mister Rogers was a puppeteer.  He loved children and treated them with great respect.  His manner was gentle and kind.  Empathy was one of his greatest gifts.  Young children adored him.  We knew all of that, right?  What more do we need to know?

Every television personality is born of context.  It is the context I wanted to know.  What made Mister Rogers the man that he became?  Who was Mister Rogers the child?  How is it that Fred Rogers was able to remember what it was like to be a child?  How did that knowledge—that essence—inform his interactions with both young children and the child in each of us grown-ups?

Learning that Mister Rogers had a rich solitary life as a child was one key piece of that context.  Hearing that he was bullied, called Fat Freddy by his peers, told me something vitally important about Mister Rogers' inner child.  Knowing he had been a sickly youth who dealt with frequent bouts of asthma added to the picture.

Then there were the epiphanies that resulted from the discovery that Rogers was an ordained minister.  Things were really beginning to make even more sense now.  And those 200+ songs he wrote for Mister Rogers' Neighborhood?  Surely his degree in Music Composition, and the fact that he began playing the piano at the age of five, had something to do with that.  Music was in his soul.

There is so much more, but I will leave it to you to engage with Won't You Be My Neighbor and to have your own epiphanies.  After all, isn't that what makes a movie memorable?

I very mindfully chose to spend time immersed in this documentary in preparation for going to see A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.  They are two very different takes on Mister Rogers and the impacts of his humanity on others.  Both films spoke to me, but in entirely distinctive ways.

One sure common element of the two explorations into the persona of Mister Rogers is this:  You will feel Mister Rogers reach out to you.  He will meet you where you are.  He will appreciate the beauty of you.

Oh, how I wish Mister Rogers was my neighbor.  I wonder how I might become the kind of neighbor he would be to me.

It occurs to me that what we need most in the world right now is more of Mister Rogers' brand of neighborliness.  He, too, was living through tumultuous times when he created Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.  The themes of his trailblazing show are more current than ever: embracing differences; treating others with kindness; loving others for exactly who they are; and not being afraid to talk about the things that matter.

I highly recommend both of these films and will be publishing a separate review for each.  Stay tuned for my upcoming reflections on A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.  Coming soon to a blog near you.













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Wednesday, December 4, 2019

I Like Big Books and I Cannot Lie Gift Ideas



I LIKE BIG BOOKS AND I CANNOT LIE


You other readers can't deny
When a good book walks in with
A good plot base
And a big spine in your face
You get sprung!
Wanna get out your notepads
'Cause you noticed that book
Was dense.
Deep in the book I'm reading,
I'm hooked and I can't stop
Speeding, through Baby
I wanna get that literature,
And Instagram that picture,
My teachers try to train me
But that book you've got
Makes me so brainy!
(Baby got books!)


I know the meme is not new. It started with the reworking of a song called Baby Got Back, which was about an obsession with a part of a woman’s anatomy. The new version, Baby Got Books, embraces the love of books and has spawned the creation of endless videos and creative versions of the lyrics.

Yes, I love to read as is evidenced by the reviews I have written here on Review This and yes, I like big books. Ken Follett’s Century Trilogy, anyone? That one will keep you reading for awhile.

Drawn in at first by the cover and the thickness of the spine, if a book is engrossing and if it offers up a good plot with intriguing characters and an interesting setting, I am definitely going to be found curled up with a throw blanket, a cup of tea and the book in question. Live a different life via a book? Heck, yes! Learn by seeing the world through someone else’s eyes? For sure and the bigger the book, the better.

Anyway, if you or someone you know loves books and suffers from Big-Book-Picker-Outer Syndrome, you will be interested in this page of fabulous and fun gift ideas all of which are available from Etsy and all of which contain the quote, I Like Big Books and I Cannot Lie. There is something here for everyone!

T-SHIRTS


Let’s start with a t-shirt. I believe that they are practical and useful gifts and that they are a great way to declare to the world that you love to read and of course, they are available for both men and women in a variety of sizes and colors.

I Like Big Books and I Cannot Lie Men's T-Shirt

I Like Big Books Women's T-Shirt


HOME DECOR


I Like Big Books and I Cannot Lie Cushion

I found a number of options for your home décor including this cushion and two art posters. The cushion is available in a wide range of sizes and in three fairly neutral colors. Be aware that you are buying the cover and will have to provide the actual cushion for inside. Find the cushion cover here in Modernality's Home Decor shop on Etsy.

I Like Big Books and I Cannot Lie Print

Upcycled I Like Big Books Quotation Print

The first poster is a digital download for you to print at home. It features all of the words to the rewritten song. You can buy it and print it almost instantly at home, if you have the capability to do so, or at your print shop.  Find it in Doodling for Days' Etsy shop here. The second picture is an upcycled print that features the title of the song printed on an old dictionary page. You can find it in Whisker Print's Etsy shop here. Both are very appropriate artwork, I think, for book lovers!

COFFEE MUGS


I Like Big Books and I Cannot Lie Coffee Mug

If you know me, you know I have a fascination with coffee mugs and mugs as gift ideas. So many fun images that are customizable to the interest of the recipient. In this case, I love the perfectly nerdy design on both of these mugs, the first more appropriate for the female nerd and the second an acceptable choice for a male or the female book nerd. The ceramic mug shown above is both microwave and dishwasher safe but the tin one shown below requires hand washing and is not microwave safe but it is also not breakable. You can find the first mug in Foxy Mug's Etsy shop here and the second mug in Rabbit Print's shop here.

I Like Big Books Coffee Mug


ENAMEL PIN AND UPCYCLED BOOKMARK

I Like Big Books Enamel Pin


I think that both the enameled pin shown above and the upcycled bookmark shown below are totally adorable. They would be great add-ons to any book lover’s gift, make a wonderful stocking stuffer or even make a simple, inexpensive gift idea for someone who you know loves books. Find the pin here in Literary Emporium's shop and the bookmark here in Stamp and Soul's shop.

I Like Big Books and I Cannot Lie Bookmark


TOTE BAG


I Like Big Books and I Cannot Lie Tote Bag

Finally, gather the components of your gift set together and ‘wrap’ them up in this simple, attractive and inexpensive canvas tote bag. It is more practical and environmentally friendly than wrapping paper and will make many, many trips to the library and the bookstore! Find it in the Sewing Laboratory.

How about it? Do you love big books or do you prefer your books short and sweet?

See you
At the bookstore!
Brenda

Quick Links:

Follow this link to Etsy’s Gift Guide and yes, if you purchase a product through a link on this page, I may receive a small affiliate commission.
How to Build a Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Gift Set.
How to Build a Frosty the Snowman Gift Set.










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Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Reviewing Progress On A Series

Author's Progress Report

A few weeks ago, I reviewed my plans for next year as far as my writing journey goes. I thought it might be fun to give a bit of a progress report on how that is going. I mentioned that I would be introducing a few new series as I move forward. One that will be introduced first is the series that will involve a Babbs Bennett Mystery.

progress on series
Series progress
image courtesy of pixabay.com

Introducing Babbs Bennett

So, my plan is to publish one book a month next year and I'm already working on achieving my goal. The first book to be published in January will be Valentine Vengeance. You will be introduced to Barbara Bennett who is affectionately called Babbs by her family and friends. She is a retired librarian who has returned to her hometown to help her cousin Harlan Holiday as he recuperates from an accident. 

Harlan owns a book store in the small town of Appleton, Indiana. Babbs plans to see to his recovery while running the book store for him in his absence. The two were born only 9 days apart 67 years ago which makes their relationship more like brother and sister than cousins. On her first visit to check on her cousin, he tells her that he didn't fall but was pushed into a ravine. He also mentions a girl who died some 50 years ago. Babbs suspects that the pain medication he is on is causing him to have some rather wild dreams that he thinks are real. 

As the days begin to pass by in the story, readers will be introduced to a cast of characters that I hope they will love as much as I do. Readers will meet Sydney Miller a special needs girl of 16 who comes to Holiday Books each day after school. She believes she is working for Mr. H but there is actually a different reason she comes to the shop each day. 

Babbs has kept in touch with her three best friends over the years and soon asks them to help her solve a 50 year old cold case from their own past. Marjorie, Lizzie (Elizabeth), and Cilla (Priscilla) agree to help her try to figure out what happened to the beautiful girl all those years ago while trying to see if there is a connection to the accident Harlan has experienced. You will have to read the book when it is released to find out what happens and if the Fearless Four can solve the mystery.

Moving ahead...

I have finished writing Valentine Vengeance and even have a cover design for it. I will try to release it as close to January 1st as is possible. Currently I'm working on book 2 of the Babbs Bennett series which I plan to release in February. 

As an author, I enjoy all of the characters that I write about. I must admit that I have really had some fun with Babbs and her friends, we are all the same age. The character of Cilla makes me laugh! I'm hoping my readers will love everyone in the books, too. 

I know many of our regular readers have read at least some of my books already but if you haven't you can find them on my Author's Page on Amazon. I hope if you have read any of my books, you will take the time to leave a review on Amazon. It only takes a second of your time and means so much to me. Reviews help other readers decide whether they want to read the book or not, that is why they are so important. 






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Monday, December 2, 2019

Reviewing the Kuppet Mini Clothes Washer

A friend recently gifted me a Kuppet Portable Clothes Washer. This tiny machine is amazing and I am so thankful to have it! If you wash clothes by hand, prefer to wash your clothes at home, live in a small space, want to conserve water, or just try to avoid public laundries at all costs this may be perfect for you too.

The Kuppet portable washing machine


The Kuppet Portable Clothes Washer is everything it advertises and more. It is portable. I place mine in my bathtub for easy use. At only 22 lbs. it is easy to lift in and out of the tub. I am also considering purchasing a small kitchen cart on wheels and use it at the kitchen sink. Either way, I will need to purchase a hose adapter to fill the washer from a faucet, but that's okay. That will be easy enough to do (it comes with a fill hose, but without the faucet adapter I need).

Currently, I place the washer in my tub. I fill it with only the amount of water needed using a small bucket. Thanks to the transparent front of the machine, I can see exactly how much water that is. 

The control panel is on top of the machine. A timer for the wash, a dial to choose drain, and a timer for the spinner. 

I fill the washer side with warm water, soap, and my clothes and set the time.  The agitator moves the clothes well.  It spins in one direction, pauses, and spins in the other direction. I am amazed at how energetically the wash moves.




A small load of 7 shirts and less than
3 gallons of water (compared to the
15 - 30 gallons used in most high-
efficiency washing machines).


After washing, I set the dial to drain. After the water has drained, I refill the wash side with clean water and allow it to rinse. When that cycle has finished, I drain the machine and move the clothes to the spin side.

THE SPIN CYCLE IS AMAZING.  Yes.  I'm yelling. If you've hand washed, you know that it is hard to get the majority of water wrung out of the clothes.  This spinner spins so well that the clothes do not drip at all when you hang them. They are only damp. Some of my thinnest t-shirts are all but dry. They dry after only an hour hanging on the balcony. However, please don't be mistaken as one you-tube reviewer was: this is a spinner - not a dryer. 

At less than $100 this machine will pay for itself in no time (versus $3 loads at a public laundry plus gas, time, and effort). Oh how I wish I had this washer when the kids were young and wore small clothes but had to be changed multiple times through the day! I was lugging their clothes to the laundromat back then. This would have been a wonderful thing to have in that situation.

Finally, I could see that this machine would also be very useful in homes that have a full-sized washer and dryer. At some point, we all have wanted to wash just a couple of items and hopefully we all cringe at the idea of wasting water by running an extremely small load through a full-sized washer. This Kuppet mini clothes washer would be an awesome addition to any residential laundry room for convenience and water savings. 

Note: The cord is relatively short. From the bathtub, it reaches only to the floor just outside of the tub. You will need a 3-prong extension cord if you use you machine in the bathtub. 





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Sunday, December 1, 2019

5 Inspirational Quotes to Carry With You Through 2020

5 Motivational Quotes to Carry with You Through 2020

Get ready for 2020 with a positive and productive mindset. We can't change the world, but we can control, change and work on ourselves. 

We can all agree that there will always be problems, heartache, and struggles. However, the cosmic duality of yin and yang dictates that the opposite is also true; life is filled with beauty, promise, joy, and love. 

Here are five inspiring quotes to put on the wall, fridge, or store in the notes section of your mobile phone, and carry with you through 2020.

1. "You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete." - by Buckminster Fuller, 1895-1983, American Architect, Inventor, Author, Designer, Futurist

This is currently my favorite quote. In fact, in my poetry book, "We Will Have Morning Smiles", I reference this quote on the closing page as a message to my own children. These days especially, this quote offers essential advice. When we're having an issue, no matter the nature of it, the best approach is to not focus on solving the issue but to think in terms of building a new path that makes the problem itself obsolete. 

2. "There are two wolves fighting inside all of us; one is evil, the second one is good. Which wolf will win? Answer: The one you feed. - Old Cherokee Saying

This comes from an old Cherokee story of a grandfather teaching his grandson that there is a battle going on within each of us. There's another analysis by the Cherokee grandfather offered and that is feeding them both keeps life balanced and one from overtaking the other. This interpretation says that if you feed them both, you avoid an internal struggle of one or the other working for your attention. You're balanced. I'm not sure how I feel about the second analysis but I do understand the point.  For 2020, feed the wolf seeking the good.

3. "You cannot swim for new horizons until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore" - by William Faulkner, 1897-1962, American Writer and Nobel Prize Laureate.

This is the ideal 'take-action' quote. If you've been holding back and feel a sense that it's time to get things accomplished, carry these words with you. Simply choose to break those chains, and in 2020 go for it. Personally speaking, this is my primary go-to quote for 2020.

4. "It's amazing how a little tomorrow can make up for a whole lot of yesterday." by John Guare, Born 1938, American Playright

When our day or life hasn't proceeded as we thought it could or should have, let's remember what this wise quote says; tomorrow is a new day, and anything is possible. Every day we wake up, is another chance. Let's take advantage of all 365 chances in 2020.

5. "Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom" - by Aristotle

Being honest with ourselves about who we are isn't always easy. Only we know the depths of who we are. One of the messages I've delivered to my kids over the years is that lying to yourself is the biggest lie. When we're not honest with ourselves, we only hurt ourselves.  When we've made mistakes, and we all have, we need to forgive ourselves, seek atonement, never repeat them, and move on. So simple, but many of us spin our wheels over this one. Let's make 2020 the year we stop spinning our wheels. You can read more about this approach in a poem I've written called Times Gift.

Let 2020 be your year.



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Saturday, November 30, 2019

Reviewing Lego City Airport | Lego City Set #3182

Lego City has grown so much since it's inception in 1969 that it needs an airport like this one -
lego city airport 3182
Lego City Airport from Amazon

This Lego City set includes an airplane, airport terminal along with arrival & departure signs, crew and passengers.   It has a revolving door which is pretty neat, a VIP lounge, a baggage claim area and a check-in area complete with an x-ray machine.

There is even a baggage cart in this set to allow you to transfer the bags from check in to the airplane and from the airplane to the baggage claim area.

There are 5 lego mini figures in this Lego City Airport set and they are a pilot, flight attendant, steward, service man and passanger.

Lego City Airport #3182 on Amazon
The Lego City Airport #3182 set contains 703 pieces and has great playability after the building is completed.   Personally I love all of the little details like the soda machine and the computer behind the ticketing counter.

Now although I feel that this is a great set and would be loved by any Lego fan the biggest disappointment to me is the lack of mini figures.   Honestly if I went to an airport and found I was the only person there to catch a flight , well that's never happened!   Luckily when it comes to passengers you can use mini figures from other sets.

Let's look at airport staff next.   You do have a pilot and stewardess so that's good and I have been on smaller planes where that is all the staff, but in the actual airport?   That's a different matter.   We have one person to do passport control, check baggage, issue tickets, answer any enquiries, work in the control tower etc.   When it comes to outside there is only one person to drive the baggage out to the plan, load the plane, check the engine and fill up the fuel as well as signalling the plan to direct it when taking off and taxi-ing in.

Having said all this about the mini figures I guess it's a great excuse to buy some more!

There are lots of Lego City sets available and I do have to admit that Lego City is by far my favorite theme:



Lego City Fire Station - Reviewing Lego Set #7208
Lego City Fire Station - Reviewing Lego Set #7208
This Lego City set contains 662 pieces and once completed provides hours and hours of fun (much like the rest of the Lego City range). The fire station is fully manned with a whole shift on duty at any given time


Reviewing The Lego City Construction Site Set
Reviewing The Lego City Construction Site Set
Lego City is a hive of activity as new buildings have been approved by council - have you seen everything that's happening on the Lego City Construction Site? It's lots of fun with Lego Rollers, Lego Cranes, Lego Dozers and more 


Check out our other Lego reviews here - Lego Reviews on Review This Reviews.




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Friday, November 29, 2019

The Captured Bride Book Reviewed

Daughters of the Mayflower - Book 3 in the Series


The Captured Bride: Daughters of the Mayflower Series - Book 3 Reviewed
Every book in the Daughters of the Mayflower series is fabulous!

I started reading through this series several weeks ago. I wasn't sure how cohesive the series would be since the books were individually written by different authors.  The first book, The Mayflower Bride, was written by Kimberley Woodhouse, a new author to me.  The second book, The Pirate Bride, was written by Kathleen Y'Barbo.  I have read several books by Y'Barbo, therefore I knew it would be a great book.  The subject of today's review, The Captured Bride, was written by Michelle Griep, another new author to me.

Thus far, I have loved every book in this series and I have been thrilled to find new authors (to me) that I can trust to offer excellence in writing without explicit, gory, or less desirable content.  Simply, pure literary entertainment that is well worth reading.



Background on the Daughters of the Mayflower Series


As you may already know, or have guessed, these books are filled with American history references and characters.  The historical accuracy is part of what makes them so fascinating.

Starting at the beginning of American history with the Mayflower, the authors have created a family lineage that carries down through each book.  In the Mayflower Bride, Mary Elizabeth Chapman marries William Lytton, thus the beginning of the subsequent stories.

Each book places a Lytton descendant in a pivotal, or important, place in the history of America.  The characters and plots are all compelling. Even though the series was written by different authors, the books have a cohesive thread.  I can detect a bit of author individual style in the books, but it is not so obvious that it is detracting from the stories. 


Daughters of the Mayflower Series - Books



The Captured Bride Book Synopsis
1760 - French & Indian War


One could hardly write a series about American history and omit the American Indian heritage.  

 The Captured Bride: Daughters of the Mayflower -
Book 3
Check Price
Mercy Lytton is the daughter of a Mohawk Indian and a captive white mother.  Because of her mixed race, Mercy has loyalties to both the English and her Native American tribe, which are aligned against the French.  Her keen eyesight and ability to move throughout the woods without detection make her the perfect scout for the English.  For years, Mercy has worked closely with Captain Matthew Prinn.  She scouts and he has her back, always protecting her.  

Mercy and Matthew are assigned to transport gold from one fort to another.  Since it must be moved by wagon, they are to pose as a father, daughter and husband.  However, who is the husband?  Much to Mercy's disdain, her designated "husband" is a prisoner of French heritage.  They are instructed to never give Elias Dubois a gun.  He is simply being transported along with the gold.  

On their journey, it becomes necessary to form a fragile alliance with one another in order to survive, but Matthew & Mercy are hesitant to fully trust Elias.  They hold to their orders and refuse to give him a gun.  However, Elias proves to be a formidable foe without a rifle.  Unbeknownst to them, Elias has his own agenda that, for now, is served well by being aligned with the traveling scouts. 

At least, that is his plan until the unthinkable happens!



My Personal Opinion of "The Captured Bride"


I always love a book that surprises me and holds me captive.  Thus was the case with "The Captured Bride". 

While the name of the book gives some expectation of what must take place, the how, who and why, was still rather unforeseen.  This book takes the reader on a journey of their own, full of adventure, intrigue and completely unexpected events.  

Yes, I was fighting sleep because I simply had to keep reading.  It was a sad moment, yet satisfying, when I realized I had read the last word. 

As I said earlier, this author was previously unknown to me.  However, after reading "The Captured Bride", I will be seeking out more of her books.  As for "The Captured Bride", I highly recommend this book!



The Daughters of the Mayflower Series





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