Friday, December 31, 2021

A New Year's Resolution Hallmark Movie Review

This is a delightfully uplifting movie to watch for New Years!

I have previously bypassed this movie several times because the trailers simply did not appeal to me.  This has taught me that I should never solely rely on the trailers to give me a real representation of whether I will like a movie or not.

True to Hallmark style, this romantic movie is somewhat predictable when Kelly Leone meets Tom Malone, but the story is unique.  

It is clear from the beginning that they are attracted to each other.  However, due to Kelly's New Year's resolution to say "yes" to more social event invitations, their relationship doesn't start with Tom asking her out.  He doesn't want her to feel forced to accept.  Of course, nothing says Kelly can't pursue Tom.  After all, Tom is not bound by any resolution.  Plus, they have several upcoming social events in common. 

Not only did I enjoy the romantic story, I also found myself laughing over several of the scenes.  Truly a nice break and a great way for Hallmark lovers to start the new year.

 

A New Year's Resolution Movie Synopsis

 A New Year's ResolutionCheck PriceKelly Leone is a dedicated morning show producer who has spent the last year working long hours and focusing on getting better ratings for her show.  Now that she has finally gotten the show in a safe zone, she decides it is time for her to focus on her personal life.  While her friends have been extremely understanding and patient with her busy work life, they do express how much they have missed her and want her back.  Kelly recognizes that she has really missed out on some of the changes in their lives, plus the combination of "small moments that makes up the big important stuff in life". 

Because of these revelations, Kelly decides to change her standard New Year's resolution.  She commits herself to her friends and vows that she will accept any social invitation offered to her until her birthday in February.  Her friends don't hesitate to start offering those social invitations, starting with a cold New Year's Day Polar Plunge into Lake Michigan.  Other social invitations include the Blizzard Obstacle Course, speed dating, curling, and facing her greatest fear, a magician.   

When the morning show cast hears of her resolution, they decide to make her the "star" of their new story.  They follow her through her events and film her experiences for the show.  Kelly prefers to be in the background, off camera, but she makes an adorable focus for the new series, as well as for this fun Hallmark movie.

Don't let the trailers keep your from watching this movie!  Why not join me and make it your New Year's resolution to ignore the trailers and watch the movie for yourself. 





Currently, "A New Year's Resolution" is also available on Amazon with a subscription to the Hallmark Channel.  
 


Hallmark Channel Subscription on Amazon


More Movies REVIEWED ON REVIEW THIS REVIEWS!
Available with Subscription to the Hallmark Channel






Check Out More Movie Reviews at
ReviewThisMovies.com



A New Year's Resolution Hallmark Movie Review Written by:
House of Sylvestermouse



 


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.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

The Best Affordable Programmable Large- and Small-Batch Coffee Maker

One of my husband's holiday gift wish list items this year was a coffee maker that he could use to brew just one or two cups of really good java. He had been looking online at small-batch coffee makers that brew and hadn't found a reasonably priced one that had mostly good reviews. After doing my own due diligence on his behalf, I chose to buy him a Ninja CE251 Programmable Brewer with a 12-cup carafe and a small batch setting.

It makes delicious coffee in a choice of two brew strengths, brews at an appropriately hot water temperature for great flavor without bitterness, can be programmed the night before (so you wake up to the smell and taste of freshly brewed coffee!) and comes with a permanent gold-tone filter that you can use instead of disposable paper filters, if you prefer. It's also easy to fill and clean.

Most importantly, unlike most of the other coffee brewers I reviewed during my research, this Ninja programmable coffee maker with a superior-performing small batch function makes just one to four ups of Joe that's just as rich, hot and flavorful as when you're brewing a full carafe for up to 12 cups. 

Whether you want to brew a full pot for several people or a party crowd, or prefer to brew just one or two (or three or four) cups for yourself and maybe someone else, you'll love this Ninja CE251 Programmable Brewer with small batch settings. 

Image of Ninja CE251 Programmable Brewer with text "Program & Brew Delicious Coffee for one person or a crowd!"
Ninja CE251 Programmable Brewer

You Don't Need to Be a Gourmet to Appreciate Good Quality, Hot, Freshly Brewed Coffee

I grew up with a dad who was a coffee connoisseur (dare I say coffee snob?). He was fussy about his beans, insisted on buying them freshly roasted and grinding them just before brewing them in a drip coffeemaker (although, late in life, he eventually replaced his classic Chemex drip carafe with a programmable coffee maker) and refused to drink coffee that had been brewed more than 30 minutes earlier and wasn't practically scalding hot.

To dad's dismay, for most of my life I drank coffee only with sugar and cream. Even with that dilution, it tended to upset my stomach, so I became primarily a tea drinker. Even so, however, dad did instill in me an appreciation for freshly brewed coffee made from freshly ground beans over coffee that was made with lesser-quality, stale beans or has been sitting in the carafe on a warmer for an extended period of time. 

Then, in 2019, after I adopted a ketogenic diet that helped me lose nearly 60 pounds, my husband and I read "biohacker" Dave Asprey's bestselling book The Bulletproof Diet and I started drinking "bulletproof coffee" most weekday mornings, using Asprey's official Bulletproof coffee recipe made with freshly brewed Bulletproof brand coffee frothed in a blender with grass-fed ghee (clarified butter) and Bulletproof Brain Octane C8 MCT oil. The fat keeps me full and satisfied for hours, and the C8 MCT oil not only helps burn fat as part of a very low carb or ketogenic diet but also helps keep my brain and attention more sharp and focused while I'm working, while the caffeine helps keep me awake and alert. This mixture is so smooth and creamy and the low acidity of the Bulletproof coffee beans agrees with my digestive system far better than ordinary coffee beans, so I no longer need to add cream. Instead of sugar, I sweeten it with one of my favorite keto diet-friendly sugar replacements, such as BochaSweet granulated or Besti monk fruit and allulose blend granulated sweetener.

My husband also has been drinking bulletproof coffee twice a day, a cup first thing in the morning and a second cup mid-afternoon. He finds that it helps tremendously with maintaining his mental acuity, focus and energy during his long and stressful workdays without making him feel wired and jittery, which regular coffee always does but Bulletproof brand coffee does not.

Integrated coffee measuring scoop on side of Ninja CE251 Programmable Coffee Brewer
The Ninja CE251 Programmable Coffee Maker has an integrated coffee measuring scoop

Don't Brew More Coffee Than You Need

Before I bought my husband his new Ninja CE251 Programmable Brewer, we were using my dad's 20-year-old coffee maker, which also had a 12-cup glass carafe but no small batch settings. Using it to make a small batch of coffee (4 cups or less) produced terrible coffee, so he would brew a full carafe's worth. Unfortunately, that was also the case for most of the coffee makers with small-batch settings I looked at that didn't cost a fortune, as well as the single-serve coffee makers that weren't inordinately expensive and didn't use K-cups or other coffee pods, which he have stopped using as we are trying try to minimize our consumption of single-use plastic disposable items.

Good Coffee Is Too Expensive to Waste

Good quality coffee, including sustainably grown, Rainforest Alliance Certified coffee beans that have been tested for mycotoxins (harmful mold toxins), like those in Bulletproof brand coffee, is expensive and a shame to waste. 

So, after brewing a carafe of it, my husband would pour out a cup of the fresh brew for himself (and one for me, if I was having some that morning), then let the rest cool in the carafe to room temperature, pour it into a couple of large hydration bottles and refrigerate them. In the early afternoon, he would decant and reheat a cup of the refrigerated Joe in the microwave it before blending it with grass-fed ghee and MCT oil to make his second Bulletproof coffee of the day.

Coffee Should Be Consumed as Soon as Possible After Brewing

Unfortunately, the coffee oils that give the brew its rich flavor and aroma oxidize when they are exposed to oxygen, both in the air and in the water used to brew it, especially when heated. So, the longer the coffee sits after you brew it, the more the oils oxidize, making the beverage taste more bitter and smell stale. So, the sooner you drink your coffee after brewing it, the better!

That's another reason not to make more coffee than you plan to drink in the next 30-60 minutes. 

Photo of Ninja CE251 programmable coffee brewer with 60-oz. removable water reservoir
The 60-oz. removable water reservoir is easy to bring to the sink to fill

Why the Versatile, Affordable, Programmable Ninja CE251 Is the Best Small Batch Coffee Maker Option

Here are the features and benefits that make the Ninja CE251 the best programable coffee maker for brewing both large and small batches without breaking the bank.

Delicious, Rich Flavor and Aroma, Whether You Make a Single Cup or a Full Carafe

Unlike most other 12-cup carafe programmable coffee makers with a small batch option, this versatile Ninja model delivers the same excellent, flavorful, piping hot brew when you use the small batch settings (for 1–4 cups) as when you make a larger 6–, 8– 10– or 12–cup batch.

Note: Virtually all electric coffee makers consider a "cup" of coffee to be 5 fluid ounces, not the 8 fluid ounces in a standard US measuring cup.  

Affordable

The Ninja CE251 Programmable Coffee Brewer was available on Amazon for less than $80 at the time this post was published, a great price for a coffee maker with such thoughtful design, excellent performance and consistent brew quality for both large and small batch brewing.

Two Custom Brew Strengths

A choice of Classic or Rich strengths and Ninja's Thermal Flavor Extraction® Technology produce hot, flavorful coffee with no bitterness. The Rich strength setting provides a darker, more robust brew and maintains its smooth flavor when you add milk or cream.

Removable Water Reservoir 

One of the things my husband and I really disliked about my dad's 20-year-old coffee maker that we had been using was the fact that the water reservoir was permanently attached to the machine, so we had to use the carafe to measure the water and then pour it into the reservoir, which was hard to do without spilling any. The water reservoir was also black opaque plastic with a window, which made it inconvenient to see the water level.

The water reservoir on the Ninja CE251 large and small batch coffee maker is see through, BPA-free plastic with clear, easy-to-read markings and indentations that make it easy for even small hands like mine to hold it securely when pulling it out to fill at the sink and carrying it back to reattach to the coffee maker.

24-Hour Programmable Delay Brew

You can program your brewer as much as a day in advance, so you can set it up at night to wake you with the aroma of fresh coffee. One of my favorite childhood memories waking up to the smell of Dad's strong, freshly ground and brewed coffee in the morning!

Flavor Straw and Mid-Brew Pause

The "flavor straw" keeps the coffee circulating as it's brewing so the heat and flavor are uniform throughout the batch, while the mid-brew pause lets you remove the carafe briefly to pour a cup or two while waiting for the rest of the batch to brew.

Adjustable Warming Plate

Although I highly recommend drinking your coffee within an hour of brewing it for the best flavor and aroma, the Ninja CE251 gives you the option of programming the warming plate to stay on for up to 4 hours.

Permanent Gold-Tone Filter

A permanent gold-tone metal coffee filter is included with this Ninja coffee brewer. You have the choice to use either the permanent metal mesh filter or disposable #4 cone paper coffee filters; do not use a paper coffee filter inside the permanent metal mesh filter.

If you use the permanent metal mesh filter, you will retain more of the coffee oils for a more flavorful, aromatic brew. If you fill it with ground coffee with a medium grind in the permanent metal filter, as recommended, there should be minimal sediment from the "fines" (finely-ground, powdered coffee too small to be filtered out by the metal mesh). 

Alternatively, you can remove the gold-tone filter and use #4 disposable paper filters instead, which will absorb a lot of the coffee oils and make the brew less flavorful and aromatic but also filter out more of the fines, if having even a small amount of sediment bothers you. I highly recommend using natural, unbleached #4 cone paper filters for both flavor and health and safety reasons. 

Twist-Lock Carafe Lid

Unlike the lid to the glass carafe of my dad's old coffee maker that we had been using, the lid to this Ninja programmable coffee brewer easily locks and unlocks with a simple twist. Now I don't have to risk breaking a nail to attach or detach the carafe lid!

Easy to Clean and Maintain

One of the things my husband hated about our old coffee maker was that, because the water reservoir was not removable, in order to clean it he had to put the entire machine into the sink, even though the built-in electronics needed to be kept dry. In addition, the opaque black plastic made it almost impossible to see whether it was properly cleaned or needed descaling.

The Ninja CE251’s see-through removable plastic reservoir can be carried to the sink for filling or cleaning while keeping the electronics well away from any water. 

Although it is preferable to hand-wash the permanent gold-tone coffee filter, the removable water reservoir and the glass carafe, all three are top-rack dishwasher safe. The manufacturer recommends using a ball-shaped, soft foam brush for thoroughly cleaning the inside of the glass carafe.

As with any electric coffee maker, periodic descaling is recommended to remove buildup from the heating element inside the machine. Although you can use a special descaling solution made specifically for cleaning coffeemakers, 16 ounces of ordinary white vinegar works fine and is significantly cheaper. Follow the simple instructions in the Ninja CE200 series product manual and quick start guide for pouring the descaling solution or vinegar into the removable water reservoir and pressing the Clean button on the control panel on the front of the coffee maker, followed by running a Classic brew cycle with just clean, fresh water. 

You Don’t Have to Be a Coffee Connoisseur to Appreciate the Difference in Taste!

My husband doesn’t consider himself a serious coffee enthusiast like my dad by any means, which is why he was surprised and delighted at how much better the same freshly-ground Bulletproof coffee “The Mentalist” medium dark roast beans tasted after being brewed in his new Ninja CE251 Programmable Coffee Brewer compared to the previous batches brewed in our old coffee maker.

A Great Gift for Any Coffee Lover

Although we haven't had our Ninja CE251 Programmable that long yet, so far we are both thrilled with this purchase. My husband couldn't be happier! It would make a great gift for yourself or someone else who enjoys a great-tasting cup of coffee, needs to brew small amounts most days but also appreciates the ability to brew a full 12-cup carafe when company comes, as well as ease of use and easy cleaning and maintenance. 

Close-up photo of Ninja CE251 Programmable Coffee Maker control panel
The control panel on this programmable large- and small-batch coffee maker is simple, intuitive and easy to read

For those of us who work from home, it's also a treat to be able to brew a small quantity fresh throughout the day.

The Best Affordable Programmable Large- and Small-Batch Coffee Maker by Margaret Schindel

Posts About My Keto Diet Journey

My First Year on The Keto Diet

Preparing to Succeed on the Keto Diet, Part One

Preparing to Succeed on the Keto Diet, Part Two

Low Carb Muffins & Cupcakes: Treats to Enjoy on a Keto Diet

Low Carb Keto Chocolate Yogurt Granola Chip Pudding Recipe

Good Dee’s Keto Cookie Low Carb Baking Mix Review

Hamama Microgreens Growing Kit Review & Success Tips

My Favorite Hamama Microgreens Seed Quilt Accessories

Keto Cheddar Cheese Biscuits With Chives Recipe

The Ultimate Keto Hot Chocolate Recipe

The Best Low Carb Keto Gift Ideas: Keto Gift Guide

The Best Low Carb Keto Cinnamon Muffins

Wholesome Yum Keto Bread Mix and Yeast Bread Recipe

The Good Chocolate 100% Organic No Sugar Dark Chocolate Review

The Best Advice to Maintain Your Keto Diet Weight Loss

My New Irresistibly Delicious Keto Cheese Crackers Recipe

Luscious Low Carb Keto Triple Peppermint Cheesecake Brownies Recipe

Quick & Easy Livlo Blueberry Scones Keto Baking Mix Review

Snack Better With The Best Healthy Keto Cookie Dough Bites

The Best Quick and Easy Low Carb Keto Pizza Recipe

The Best Quick and Easy Low Carb Keto Shortcake Cupcakes Recipe

Comparing the Best Keto-Friendly Chocolate Hazelnut Spreads - No Added Sugars

The Best Low Carb Keto Sandwich and Burger Buns Mix

Blueberry Biscuit Scones — New, Easy, Low Carb Keto Recipe

The Best Keto Pizza Crust Mix With 0 Net Carbs

Reviews of the Keto Diet by Barbara C. (aka Brite-Ideas)

My Personal Keto Testimonial

How I Stayed Committed to the Ketogenic Way of Eating

Read More Product Reviews by Our Review This Reviews Contributors

Read More Reviews About Health and Wellness by Our Review This Reviews Contributors




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.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Reviewing Caring For The Stunning Polka Dot Begonia House Plant

  

I recently rescued two Polka Dot Begonias from a garden center. I wasn't intending to buy any plants but walking past the house plant sale stand I spotted it and took a double-take at this beauty!

Even though they were looking a bit poorly and unloved and were in a dark corner of the store and I knew there was a risk of losing them both I just could not resist taking both home.

I picked up one then just had to go back for the other one. They were much reduced in price and I was worried the other one would die if I did not take it. 

Of course, I would have to give the wise advice to buy only well cared for healthy houseplants for a good chance of success and a long-lived indoor plant. However, I just cannot resist the challenge of bringing an uncared or unloved plant back to good health.

Sometimes I lose them but often it works so for me is worth the risk. 



What is The Polka Dot Begonia 

The polka dot begonia otherwise known as Begonia Maculata is a very striking unmissable indoor plant.

It has beautiful distinctive leaves almost in a wing shape, with very elongated graceful leaves.

The leaves are a very dark rich green and the top of the leaves are exquisitely dotted with brighter green and almost silvery spots or dots. Hence the name "Polka Dot " 

Underneath the leaves are a beautiful reddish colour. When young the leaves are a lighter fresh green and develop into a darker colour as they age. 

Other popular names for the Polka Dot Begonia plant are Angel Wing Begonia and I can see this due to the shape and the way it holds its gorgeous leaves like an angel would. Other common names are Spotted Begonia clearly due to the spots on all its leaves.

I have more trouble understanding the name Trout Begonia but then I do not know so much about fish. Perhaps it's thought by some to have the markings of a Trout? 

Also known as Clown begonia though I am not sure why it got this common name as personally I do not see anything clown-like about it, this plant is far too exotic and beautiful!  

For the purposes of this article, we will call it the Polka Dot Begonia plant.  

In Spring and Summer, it can bear little pink and white flowers, but I love this plant mainly for its striking and unusual leaves. 

Flowers grow on a single stem and you are more likely to get them if the plant is totally happy in its environment.

Perhaps conversely if we want flowers we should allow the plant to become slightly potbound as this does encourage flowering. I would certainly not be disappointed if there were no flowers, to me they are a bonus, not a necessity. 




Where to Place A Polka Dot Begonia

As with all houseplants, the best way to ensure a happy healthy plant and a chance of flowers is to place your plant in the right spot in the home and for that, we need to know the conditions of its native country.

It originates in Brazil and as you will know if you have read my other houseplant reviews once we take these plants into our homes we are totally responsible for replicating conditions as close as possible to their native environment. 

This plant likes bright light but it needs to be indirect light so is best near a window but not on a sunny windowsill.

Too much sunshine will burn the leaves and cause them to turn brown and there is little that can be done once this has occurred. 

So any sunlight must be filtered light via an obscured window or blinds or by placing the plant far enough away from the window or perhaps behind other plants.  

It can cope with a shady environment or even a little dark if we cannot provide indirect sunlight. However, in that case, we must accept that its leaves may be smaller and shorter than they otherwise would grow and we are unlikely to get any flowers, 

It does like to be at a fairly constant temperature of 18 to 30 degrees centigrade which is good news as most of our homes will be around these temperatures much of the time.  

The Polka dot plant can be very happy in bathrooms and kitchens as it will enjoy the higher humidity in these rooms.

It can also be fine in living areas as long as the humidity is kept high. We keep our two in our living room on large saucers of pebbles. One is in a group with other plants and the other is about a foot away from each of its neighbors. 




How To Provide Humidity For Houseplants 

Regular misting around the plant is important to maintain high levels of humidity but this I find it difficult to do properly as we should not be getting the leaves directly misted. 

An alternative and easier way of raising humidity is to have a couple of plants grouped together, as a few plants together raises humidity. 

In addition, I place the plant on a large saucer or plant tray of ordinary pebbles and keeping those pebbles moist gives a higher humidity.

Problems to look out for are powdery mildew. This can occur if the leaves get wet, so when watering avoid the leaves becoming wet. 

It is difficult when misting as inevitably in my experience the leaves get damp no matter how far away you mist and I cannot get this right.

I think a better solution for this plant is to set it on a tray of pebbles with water and site it near other plants to give that higher humidity it likes. This will usually do what is necessary.

If you have a lot of plants that need high humidity you can invest in a houseplant humidifier which I understand is worthwhile, but I don't have one of these and so prefer to use the pebble and grouping techniques. 



Warnings About the Polka Dot Plant

The polka dot plant is somewhat toxic so best to keep it out of reach of cats and dogs.

As a mildly toxic plant, they may need to chew on it and eat a fair amount to do harm, but I would not be prepared to take that risk and prefer to be cautious and keep it out of the way of any pets. 


Soil Conditions, Feeding and Watering The Polka Dot Plant 

Soil should be light not heavy or clay, but it does need to retain some water. A light houseplant-specific soil is good and adding perlite for extra free-draining abilities makes a good mix to make sure it is well-drained but retentive. The pot needs to have good drainage holes and this houseplant must never sit in standing water. 

The Polka dot plant needs to be fed regularly in its growing season which is Spring and Summer. The feed should be a good quality balanced feed and given about once a month or a little more often if you feel it needs it. 

Overfeeding this plant can also be harmful so better to err on the side of caution. There is no need to feed at all in autumn and winter just resume feeding again in April.

 The other important note to mention is that although it likes a moist soil, It is important not to get the water too soggy as this can easily lead to root rot which tends to be fatal for the plant. 

In the winter it will need less watering maybe about once every two weeks and in the summer once a week watering is usually sufficient. 

If it is very hot then water every four or five days may be needed. 

A good way to tell if it needs more water is simply to put your finger into the soil for a depth of about an inch. If it feels dry to this level then more water is required, if damp or wet there is no need for more water. 



Final Thoughts About The Polka Dot Begonia 

Personally, I would not say this is a beginners houseplant. We cannot get away with not knowing its needs or forgetting to check it.

For example, I was worried when I first got it that the lower leaves started to drop off when I learned that it does not like being moved let alone taken from a warm indoor store outside in the cold to my car then back into a different indoor environment. Essentially it suffered a little shock. However, by being careful not to move it too much since it came home it has recovered with no more leaf drop. 


A Spider plant or Mother-in-Laws Tongue for example is very forgiving of any mistakes and will tend most of the time to bounce back from neglect or mistakes while this plant is more of a challenge.

It is easier to care for in summer than in winter in my experience just because of light and humidity levels naturally occurring.

If you want to buy it as a gift do make sure the recipient is good with houseplants and do write out a simple care plan for them in case they do not know this plant. 

However, it is an exceptionally beautiful, really striking houseplant that is a pleasure to look at and makes a really beautiful plant to have in the home.

In my opinion, it is one of the more stunning houseplants and one of the most gorgeous I own. So it is worth learning about and looking after, as if we do get it right, even with the neglected plants I bought,  there is a good chance the plant will survive and thrive. 


More House Plant Reviews

Care Of The Intriguing Carnivorous Venus Fly Trap House Plant Reviewed.


















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.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Monday, December 27, 2021

Favorite Gadgets Of 2021

What a year! 2021 has been quite the year. I always love a good gadget and the end of the year is a great time to look for sales on gadgets you have been eyeballing and bookmarking, but haven't purchased. Also a wonderful way to spend holiday gift cards!




Petcakes



This little gadget to make bone shaped cakes was a winner! Easy to make, easy to microwave and the furballs loved this little cake. The bone mold is reusable all year long to make your furball its' own personalized birthday cake.

Solar Lights by Aootek



This solar light has been a trooper all year long in a state which struggles with alot of sun. That is the true test of solar lights. I've purchased a few in the past which did not hold up well to the test - no sun = no light. Not this solar light as it is a powerhouse and comes through with or without sun to power it.

Red Flyer Wagon by Sam Monaco

Who doesn't love a cute little red wagon! Practical, purposeful and just darn fun! Cherish old memories and make new ones with the classic Radio Red Wagon.

Mini Blender Chopper by Barbara Trembly Cipak

This handy gadget is a must have! I wholeheartedly agree that counter top space is at a premium and only gadgets that deserve a spot must be on the gadget winner list. This Black and Decker gadget has been going strong for 15 years - nuff said!

Garden Gnomes by Wednesday Elf

Do you have a soft spot for garden gnomes? I do. Quirky, fun and symbols of good luck. Find out where to find gnomes of all types with a guide by the Elf.

DIY Cat Bed by Renaissance Woman

What a great idea! Upcycle a drawer into a cat bed (fit for a queen!) Renaissance Woman can upcycle anything into a stylish addition to your household all while utilizing what was old is new again!

The 3$ Hack To Save Charging Cords by Margaret Schindel

Yes, this DIY Hack featuring Sugru, a moldable rubber glue, can preserve your charging cords. Learn how in Margaret's detailed tutorial!

Camera Lens Cap Holder by SylvesterMouse

This is a must have gadget for those using DSLR cameras! A handy gadget to keep track of your lens cap. I cannot tell you the amount of time (it adds up!) I spend searching for the lens cap I was sure I put in a safe place - or did I? Search no more with this practical and necessary gadget.

Electric Kettle Review by Dawn Rae

This review definitely put the electric kettle on my post Christmas search list. This easy to use and practically sized kettle is prefect for the office! 

Aging Gracefully Tools by Olivia Morris

A very practical guide to assist all in our lives who may need a little extra help navigating the home. Olivia guides you through a few of the most useful gadgets to make life just a little easier!

Power XL Air Fryer by Mary Beth Granger

If you've been thinking of buying an air fryer (me!), Mary Beth gives a thorough review of her new air fryer along with photos of new recipes that already look like winners. With so many different types of air fryers on the market it is so difficult to choose; the Power XL is a combo air fryer and slow cooker which sounds like a winning combo.

Fun & Fab Book Accessories by Treasures by Brenda

Fun & Fab is right! Enjoy a variety of book accessories perfect for all the readers in your life. Fun gifts and unique bookends will delight the book lovers of all ages. 

Lemon Pod Keeper by Lou 16

Fresh lemon fans take note of this Lemon Pod review to keep your fresh lemons fresh! The lemon pod adjusts to the size of lemon to increase its' flexibility.




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.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Sunday, December 26, 2021

To All Those We Lost in 2021 - We Love You, Thank You


When I think back to 2020, for us, it was an easier year than 2021 ... and that's hard to believe.

There is one connection in life that truly matters; it's love. We take it with us.

My Mother Passed Away - If You Suffered Loss, My Heart is With You

My brothers and I shared the day and evening with my mother as she left this world in late November. It was the most beautiful and terrifying experience of my life. I compare it to birth for those very emotions.

As a little girl, I remember feeling so scared that my mother would die. I would ask to sleep with her when my dad traveled for work. When I was eight years old, I finally told her why - "I'm scared you're going to die, mom."

As a grown woman with kids and grandkids, I somehow graduated out of that fear of losing mom. I'm confused about how that happened - how did I lose that fear? I'm grateful for losing it but am genuinely baffled how I grew out of it. Since mom passed, I have had this strange feeling that she's with me (inside me), and I think that's the reason? It's weird.

On the night she passed, I broke down like an infant. They were the sobs I needed, and my brothers and my sister-in-law were there to hold me through it. We each had our moments, and the beautiful side is that my parents raised a family that gets along and stands by each other. We're fortunate.

My Wish for Humanity - That 2022 Goes Easy on Us

We've all been challenged in unforeseen ways, some more than others. Despite the difficulties we've faced, including the loss of my mom, I'm the first to admit how fortunate my family is to have a roof over our heads, running water, plumbing, and electricity! There's so much unfairness and financial inequity in the world that those of us who live in a functioning society need to remember how blessed we are.

My hopes and dreams for all of us are inner peace, love, prosperity, and good health. May 2022 bring you balance in body, mind, and spirit.

Here's a song that beautifully honors all moms; this lyric resonates with me, "there's no safer place I've found than the shoulder on her white nightgown."

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year xxoo






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.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Saturday, December 25, 2021

Merry Christmas from Review This Reviews

 Merry Christmas to everyone from all of us here at Review This Reviews.

Merry Christmas Greetings


For me, Christmas is a time to be spent with the people you love and a wonderful time to create memories.  Everyone celebrates Christmas differently and has different Christmas traditions, one such tradition is the Christmas Tree.

Some people put the tree up as soon as Halloween is over and others on December 1st, when I was a child it was Christmas Eve in our household.   My brother and I tried to talk my parents into putting it up earlier and one year we thought victory was ours as mum relented and said okay we'll put it up on the Saturday before Christmas.

As it got closer to Christmas we realized that Christmas was on a Sunday which meant the Saturday before Christmas was, in fact, Christmas Eve!  When my daughter was younger we would put our tree up on the 1st Saturday of the school holidays.   This leads us to how you decorate your Christmas tree, there are lots of ideas that can be found on this Christmas Facebook page.   We used to have special ornaments that we put up every year, but some people like to create a new theme every year.

My brother and his family have a tradition of giving their children a present every Christmas Eve which is a pair of pajamas for them to wear that night.   They used to open the presents while still in PJs so it meant all the photos always looked good!

Growing up we would use pillowcases in lieu of stockings and when talking to some other ex-pats from the UK a few years ago we found that we had very similar things placed in our stockings each year!  There would always be an orange, a toffee dime from the Quality Street tin(how strange that this was the one that my parents didn't like from Quality Street - a must-have for any English household over the holiday season at that time!).   There would also be a book and/or a little game to entertain us and a nice outfit to wear.   

After waking our parents up at whatever time in the morning it was that we discovered Santa had been we had to go back to bed and weren't allowed up until 9am, hence the book/game.   Then we had to get dressed (hence the new clothes) and eat breakfast (which was usually porridge that took soooo long to cook!) before we were allowed into the front room to see the Christmas tree and all the gifts.   I can feel the excitement just recalling the moment when we could see the tree on Christmas morning. 

I have spent far more Christmases in the antipodes than I did in the UK so Christmas for me these days is in summer (I do still miss Christmas being in winter though I must admit).   Our family Christmases certainly look different to my childhood Christmases for one thing we usually watch Christmas movies (my daughter used to love Elf, whereas my husband and I are more Die Hard fans) in the lead up to the big day - when I was growing up we didn't watch much television.

Board games were a big part of our Christmases and I know they are for lots of other families as well.   I also come from a family of readers so there were occasions where after Christmas lunch was over we would all be stuck with our noses in books!  If you're after a book to read then be sure to check out our recommendations, and best of all most of these can be downloaded to your Kindle straight away (just in case no one gives you a book this year!)

Some people enjoy doing jigsaw puzzles, others build Legos whereas others take walks as a family or for people Downunder it often means being in the pool or playing backyard cricket.   The first Christmas we spent in New Zealand we went down to the beach and tried out fly fishing rods that mum and dad had got, then found a log and tried our version of tossing the caber, I seem to recall a jandal throw as well.   Our very own Christmas games on the beach!

Whatever you're doing and whoever you're spending Christmas with this year make sure you are making some fantastic memories.   Keep safe, have fun and goodwill to you all.




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.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Friday, December 24, 2021

The Bishop's Wife - Classic Movie Review

There are many messages packed in this one movie.  I've watched it dozens of times over the last 40 years.  With each viewing, I step away feeling blessed and reminded of what Christmas is all about.  

I'm not speaking of the commercial Christmas we are all so familiar with, or even the holiday season of family gatherings, but the real reason for Christmas.  The celebration of the first Christmas when Jesus was born.  As a Christian, I am always grateful for the reminder that I need not stress over decorations, gifts, or even a specific date.  I need only concentrate on Christ, my savior and the gift God gave all of us by giving us His Son.

We are most of the way through the movie when a visiting angel offers a beautiful message for all, the explanation of the symbols most often associated with Christmas.  The star in remembrance of the Star in the East; the gifts in remembrance of the gifts given by the Wise Men; and the bells that represent the cry of the new born child.

This movie was the inspiration of a family tradition I started in our home when our children were babies.  I always hung a stocking inscribed for Jesus alongside the stocking for our family members. I always wanted Jesus to be remembered.

I recently watched "The Bishop's Wife" again and I was struck by the reality of how we often want something and we ask for God's help.  He may not give us exactly what we ask for, but He always answers our prayers with what is best for us, regardless of what we think would be best.

I hope you will take the time to watch this movie and listen for the message it has for you this year.


The Bishop's Wife Movie Synopsis

 The Bishop's WifeCheck PriceCary Grant stars in this movie as Dudley, a visiting angel sent in response to the bishop's prayer.  The bishop, played by David Niven, is completely focused on raising money to build a huge cathedral.

Bishop Henry Brougham can't quite bring himself to agree to the stipulations of one of his parishioners in order to procure the hefty donation she is offering.  Throughout the movie, he continues to implore her to give the donation without unreasonable preconditions. He is so preoccupied with the cathedral fund that he forgets to be grateful for what he has already been blessed with.

It is Dudley's mission to help the bishop refocus on what is most important.  Of course, Dudley touches the heart of every member of the bishop's household with his kind words and thoughtful deeds. What is most unexpected for Dudley is that he is also affected by this mission.




 

I highly recommend watching The Bishop's Wife this Christmas season.  Even if you have watched it many times before, you too may find a new nugget of wisdom hidden within it.

Remember, "as you are walking though these streets of the city, you may suddenly look into a strange face. It may be the face of a murderer or it may be the face of an angel."  (Dudley in "The Bishop's Wife)




Check Out More Movie Reviews at
ReviewThisMovies.com



The Bishop's Wife - Classic Movie Review by:
House of Sylvestermouse



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.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Reviewing New Features in Photoshop

 

Some years we just don't get a lot of snow, and when we do it is not necessarily when I'm available to photograph it. In December I visited our historic downtown area in St. Charles and took a photo of their lovely, decorated tree and sleigh. I thought to myself that it would sure look great with a little snow around it.

Winter Scene in Photo Shop

When I got home and edited my photos from my trip on Main Street, I decided to try some of the new Neural Filters in Photoshop.  I opened my photo in PS and then went to the filter tab.  I clicked on Neural Filters and when that box opened up, I looked down the left column and clicked on the landscape feature.  I now had several options at that top showing various landscape scenes.  I clicked on one showing a winter scene with snow and it was quickly applied to my photo with the result you see in the photo above.  Here is what the original photo looked like.

I really think this feature could work well in creating a winter holiday card.  Here is another before and after in using this feature.  This one is a photo of the visitor center all decked out for the holidays.
Here is the before photo.
St. Charles Visitor Center


The photo below is after I applied the neural filter in Photoshop using the landscape feature and then choosing the winter scene.  I used it for a photo challenge called "cold as ice" and I certainly think it gives you that feeling.
Photo with Winter filter Applied


More Neural Filter Choices in Photoshop

There are quite a few different filter choices in the 2021 updates.  Along with the winter scene there are also landscape choices where you chose what season you would like to make your photo.  Here is a photo I took at a farm at the beginning of autumn before the colors were really popping.  I used the autumn filter to give it a real autumn color scheme.
Autumn at the Farm

Another series of filters in the neural filter line is the artist series.  In this group of filters, the styles are changed to fit various artists styles.  You might find a Monet style or a Van Gogh style among many other styles.  The artists are not listed, you just have to recognize their styles.  That is one thing I hope they will change in the future.  I would love to know what artists style each filter is emulating. Here is a barn door photo that I took at a farm and then edited it using the first artists filter available in the artist section.
New Artist Style #1




Purchase Creative Cloud Subscription


I love my Creative Cloud subscription.  It gives me access to Photoshop and Lightroom and gives me all updates as they become available.  It is cost effective at only $9.99 a month.





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.”


FOLLOW US ON:
Review This Reviews Quick View Home Page

The Review This Contributors



Cynthia SylvestermouseCynthia SylvestermouseDawn Rae BDawn Rae BMary Beth - mbgphotoMary Beth - mbgphotoBrite-IdeasBrite-IdeasWednesday ElfWednesday ElfOlivia MorrisOlivia MorrisRenaissanceWoman2010RenaissanceWomanLou16Lou16The Savvy AgeThe Savvy AgeMargaret SchindelMargaret SchindelRaintree AnnieRaintree AnnieTreasures by BrendaTreasures by BrendaSam MonacoSam MonacoTracey BoyerTracey BoyerBarbRadBarbRadBev OwensBev OwensBuckHawkBuckHawkDecoratingforEventsDecoratingforEventsHeather426Heather426Coletta TeskeColetta TeskeMissMerFaeryMissMerFaeryMickie_GMickie_G



Review This is Dedicated to the
Memory of Our Beloved Friend and Fellow Contributor

Susan DeppnerSusan Deppner


We may be apart, but
You Are Not Forgotten





“As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from purchases.” Disclosure Statement

X