Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Shari Lapena's What Have You Done? ~ A Book Review

Are you a Murder/Mystery Fan?  If so, this is a book that you should put on your radar!  Shari Lapena's  novel, What Have You Done? is a page turner and will keep you guessing right until the very end.  

what have you done book

Right now it is in pre-publishing and is scheduled for release on July 30th of this year.  

Shari does a masterful job in keeping the suspense growing in this novel.  The story begins in a small town where everyone knows everyone and nothing ever happens either!  The folks in Fairhill, Vermont are about to find out what happens when something happens......

A farmer's field and a tired farmer coming back to the homestead after a hard day in the fields, notices turkey vultures flying in the distance.  This can only mean something is out there and it could be some forest critter or something bigger.

Roy Ressler (the farmer) must go out and investigate, but he's not really looking forward to finding out  what those vultures are gorging on. He's not too fazed by what he's facing, after all he's a volunteer firefighter in the town and has seen some pretty nasty things, but nothing has prepared him for this find.

The small town is home to one high school, one grocery store and a hardware store.  There is not too much going on in Fairhill.  Until now!

This book had me reading into the late hours of the night.  I just had to find out how everyone was connected and who could possibly have caused so much tragedy in such a short time.

The author does an amazing job of making you feel like you would know these people and so you become invested in the story before the second chapter is complete.  I guess it's a good thing I'm not a great sleeper.  

Everything you ever thought about living in a small town is true in Fairhill.  No one worries about locking their doors, drawing the drapes or having a security system in place.  Everyone knows everyone and very little is ever out of place.

The kids hang out at the local graveyard telling ghost stories and spooking each other out.  But it is more comedy than anything else.

All of that is about to change.....Evan, Taylor, Riley and Diana (friends since grade school days) are about to have their world torn apart!

I don't want to give away too much of the story, so I will just let you know that there is some "colorful" language and a little bit of teenage dating angst in this story.  But nothing that is too "in your face".  

I'm sure that you will become totally involved in this story as I was. 

 As a member of NetGalley.com, I was privileged to read this book as "An Advanced Readers Copy".   I would give this novel 5 STARS *****!

 If you would like to join me and read lots of different types of books just click on the link above, but if you want to read a great book than click the link to Amazon to order your own copy!





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Play-Doh Airplane Explorer Starter Set Review

Know someone little or big who loves airplanes? Check out this fun airplane-themed Play-Doh set!

Play-Doh's Airplane Explorer Starter Set will appeal to the little and even the big folk who are enthralled with airplanes. What follows is a brief review of this set.

Released in 2024, this set is considered a starter set for children aged 3 and up and is perfect for airplane-themed creative play. 

It comes complete with a rolling airplane that stamps cloud patterns as you roll it along and that includes molds in the cockpit so that you can make a pilot or two. It also includes a world map-themed playmat, travel-themed molds to make shapes that are seen on the mat, a globe roller, a luggage roller and a camera that molds postcards. Of course, it also comes with the iconic modeling clay. In this case, there are four canisters in blue, green, orange and purple. 

Here's a peek at the set in action:


This set is good for little ones to develop fine motor skills, engage their imaginations and explore the world on a map.

It is a fun set for little ones but I think it would be a "made you smile" kind of gift for anyone who works in the aviation industry, too.  As Play-Doh says, "no passport is required" to travel with this set.

Find Play-Doh's Airplane Explorer Starter Set here on eBay.

See you at the toy store!

Brenda
Treasures By Brenda



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Monday, July 22, 2024

MeTV Reviewed

Quality television from days gone by (and this is a very good thing!) continues the run on MeTV, America's Classic Television station. Stream MeTV and revisit or visit for the first time high quality television whether it be a drama, comedy, western or family show.


There are many classic shows to choose from on MeTV.  Of course there are a few shows with sketchy acting, but you still love the darn show. 

Shows on MeTV

The MeTV line up is chock full of quality shows aka classic television. These shows include:

Mary Tyler Moore Show

Dick Van Dyke Show

MASH

The Carol Burnett Show

The Andy Griffith Show

The Honeymooners

My Three Sons

The Waltons

Star Trek

Leave It To Beaver

Classic Television Shows We Love To Watch

These shows are perhaps not shows with the highest quality of acting or plots, but we love them just the same!

Shows In Their Own Classic Category

The Love Boat 

Who can forget the theme song and the cast of regulars! The solid formula every week with a who's who of television stars of the decade. The guest stars were fun to watch even if their acting was sketchy at times. 

The Waltons

Solid, dependable and to this day fans love The Waltons. The series which stands the test of time for how many times can one watch the same episode! Considering The Waltons began airing in 1972 - that is many a decade of reruns for old and new fans!

The Crime Shows

Mannix, Matlock, Adam 12, Dragnet, and In The Heat Of The Night. All shows which had very successful runs with some of the most remembered actors of the decade.

The Westerns

Gunsmoke, Bonanza, The Wild Wild West, The Big Valley. 

Cutting The Cable Cord

If you are ready to discontinue cable television and jump into what free television offers MeTv should be on your radar. Quality television at no cost (or perhaps the cost of a digital antenna) is a treasure to find.





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Sunday, July 21, 2024

Why I Love The Science Fiction Movie, Lucy - 5 Stars

Why I Love The Science Fiction Movie, Lucy - 5 Stars

Introduction - The Movie Lucy

This movie is science fiction, so if you're into a creative approach to science fiction, "Lucy" hits the mark. With its imaginative storyline and top-quality cast, it's earned five stars from me! I've watched this movie about ten times.

"Lucy" is a 2014 science fiction action film directed by Luc Besson. The movie follows the journey of a young woman named Lucy, played by Scarlett Johansson, who inadvertently gains superhuman abilities after a powerful synthetic drug is absorbed into her bloodstream. Lucy discovers she can manipulate time and space as her brain capacity increases, gaining extraordinary cognitive and physical powers.

The Plot and Themes

The central theme of "Lucy" revolves around unlocking the human brain's full potential. The film starts with Lucy being coerced into working as a drug mule. The drug she carries, CPH4, is accidentally released into her system, leading to a series of transformative events. As her brain capacity increases, Lucy's abilities grow exponentially. She acquires knowledge instantaneously, develops telekinetic powers, and even gains control over matter and time.

The movie explores profound philosophical questions about the nature of human existence, intelligence, and evolution. It delves into the idea of what humanity could achieve if we could tap into our minds' unused potential, a concept that has fascinated scientists and thinkers for centuries.

The Cast

The film boasts a talented cast that brings its intriguing story to life. Scarlett Johansson delivers a compelling performance as Lucy, capturing her character's transformation from an ordinary woman to a being with god-like powers. Johansson's portrayal of Lucy's journey is intense and captivating, making her character's evolution believable and engaging.

Morgan Freeman plays Professor Norman, a leading researcher in brain capacity and cognitive function. His character provides crucial insights into the story's scientific and philosophical underpinnings. Freeman's authoritative presence and thoughtful delivery add depth to the film, making the scientific concepts accessible to the audience.

Choi Min-sik, known for his role in "Oldboy," plays the ruthless drug lord Mr. Jang. His menacing performance adds a layer of tension and danger to the film, providing a formidable antagonist for Lucy to confront as she navigates her new abilities.

Why I Loved the Movie "Lucy"

"Lucy" captivated me by exploring the human mind's untapped potential. The film's premise that we only use a small percentage of our brain capacity has always intrigued me. The idea of what we could achieve if we could access 100 percent of our mind's capabilities taps my curiosity.

While "Lucy" is undeniably a work of dramatic fiction, it tackles this intriguing topic in an entertaining and thought-provoking way. The movie seamlessly blends action and science fiction, presenting a narrative that is as intellectually stimulating as it is thrilling. 

In conclusion, "Lucy" is a film that entertains and inspires contemplation about the future of human evolution and the mysteries of our brains. 

Its combination of a gripping storyline, strong performances, and profound themes makes it a movie that I love and recommend to anyone interested in the human mind's potential from a science fiction perspective, of course!




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Saturday, July 20, 2024

Wild About Wildlife Month - A Holiday Review

In 1984, the International Fund for Animal Welfare named the month of July as Wild About Wildlife Month. It is a time to highlight the different kinds of wildlife around the world and encourage people to do their part in conservation efforts to protect the wildlife that is such an integral part of our ecosystem.


Image of a pair of Snow Leopards

On December 20, 2013, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed March 3rd to be World Wildlife Day.  This is an Awareness Day, along with the month of July, to raise awareness about threatened and endangered plants and animals.


Wildlife Conservation Efforts


The need for conservation efforts to protect our wildlife has been a critical part of the future of our ecosystem.


In 1973, the United States passed the Endangered Species Act. In 1993, the United Nations added more than a million species to the endangered section for the first time. By 2020, the population of about 21,000 mammals, birds, reptiles, fishes, and amphibians had declined by 68%. 

A species becomes classified as endangered when the total population drops to less than 250 mature individuals and shows a 50% to 70% decline in recent years.

So this Wild About Wildlife Month is a call to action.


Reasons for Wildlife Extinction and Endangerment


  • habitat loss
  • climate change 
  • invasive species 
  • overfishing and hunting


Some Recent Examples of the Benefits of Worldwide Wildlife Conservation



The whales of the Atlantic 

They were close to facing near-extinction due to hunting in the 1970s. Conservation efforts have brought the whale numbers back to their pre-70s state.


The beavers of England

Beavers had become extinct in the U.K. prior to 2008 until conservation efforts reversed it. 


The gorillas of Africa

The gorilla population in Africa increased from only 48 in 2010 to more than 100 in 2016.


The gray wolves of America

In 1960, there were only 300 gray wolves left in America. Conservation efforts have brought the population back to nearly 5,400 by 2010.


The tigers of India

India’s wild tiger population has seen a 33% increase since conservation efforts began in 2010.


Summary


With wildlife conservation becoming more important than ever, it’s nice to have a whole month set aside to help as a reminder for each of us to do our part. So, celebrate in whatever way suits you best all during Wild About Wildlife Month in July. 








July is Wild About Wildlife Month 

March 3rd is World Wildlife Day


For more holiday reviews, check out 
ReviewthisReviews: Holidays



*Holiday review for Wild About Wildlife Month was written by Wednesday Elf 




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Friday, July 19, 2024

Lego Sonic The Hedgehog Tails’ Workshop & Tornado Plane Set #76991 Review

sonic
Lego Sonic
This year for my husband's birthday, our son surprised him with a Lego set.  They sat at the dining room table that day putting it together and mostly chatting while our son assembled it.  Building Legos together has always given us an opportunity to spend time with each other while doing something creative and fun.

Our son put a lot of thought into this gift.  His dad loves airplanes, especially the older planes that have tail-wheels and single-engine biplanes. The Tornado Plane in this Lego set is obviously a biplane (two wings) with a single engine. 

In the photo, Tails the fox is the airplane owner and pilot while Sonic the Hedgehog is the daredevil wing-walker.  As you can see in my photo, Clucky (included in set) is also along for the ride.  Don't tell Tails, but I do believe I have seen Sonic flying the biplane in our home.

You may wonder how we know the plane belongs to tails.  That's easy!  His "tail" emblem is on the plane and hanger.

Okay, I admit it.  We are all huge Sonic the Hedgehog fans!  Even now, I can hear the rings sound and the theme song in my mind from the original Sonic video game.  


Lego Sonic the Hedgehog Set #76991

This Lego set is really cool!  If you love Sonic, Tails and Lego, this is a must-have Lego set, regardless of your age.

It has 376 pieces and is recommended for ages 6+.  

Not only does the set include the minifigures of Sonic and Tails, but it also includes the Lego pieces to make the airplane, Buzz Bomber, the workshop, a toolbox on wheels, tools, and a lounging recliner chair for Sonic to rest on while Tails is working.

The complete airplane measures approximately 5 3/4" wingspan, 5 3/4" length (propeller to tail), 4" tall including Sonic on the wing. 


 

The movie that shows Tails and Sonic flying!

 





Check Out More Toy Reviews at
ReviewThisToys.com
Or
Reviews on Lego Sets
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House of Sylvestermouse




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Thursday, July 18, 2024

Play-Doh Classic Clinic Medical Doctor or Operation-Themed Playset Review

Rare Play-Doh Classic Clinic medical nurse, doctor or operation-themed playset.

Here’s another wonderful Play-Doh set. This one reminds me of the traditional battery-operated game, Operation, and will appeal to little nurse and doctor wannabes and big folk who are or were in the medical profession. What follows is a brief review of this retired and hard-to-find set, which is perfect for medically-themed creative play. Bonus? It was deliberately made to have a retro feeling.

Your children will be able to create all kinds of strange illnesses using the doctor-themed tools that include a stethoscope, doctor’s mirror, clamp, syringe, scissors, slicers and tweezers all with which to cut, stitch and fix the patient. Yes, it comes with a patient, too and two cans of modeling compound and a mold for creating body parts and creatures.

Play-Doh used imagination when they advertised this one. “Screws loose in the head? Frog in the throat?” You can make anything happen with this fun medical set. Released in 2019, it is considered appropriate for children aged 3 and up.

As with all Play-doh sets, this one is good for young children to develop fine motor skills and engage their imaginations. It would also be a great gift, a sort of stress releaser I expect, for anyone working in the medical industry.

This set was an exclusive Toys R Us release and now that it is retired, is somewhat hard to find. You can look for Play-Doh's Classic Clinic set here on eBay. However, if you want to check out all of the medically-themed playsets including both doctor and dentist ones, try here.

See you at
the toy store!
Brenda
Treasures By Brenda

MORE PLAY-DOH

Retired, new, used and vintage Play-Doh sets in my eBay store.
Play-Doh's Campfire Picnic Playset.
The World of Play-Doh.
Rex the Chomper Dinosaur Play-Doh set.





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Wednesday, July 17, 2024

The Best Insulated Stainless Steel 40-oz. Travel Tumbler With Handle

The Hydro Flask® 40-oz. All Around™ Travel Tumbler with Handle is a premium beverage container designed to keep your drinks at the desired temperature for extended periods. Known for its robust construction and excellent insulation properties, this tumbler is ideal for those who need a very large drinking mug, whether on the go or for everyday use. It's also available in a 32-oz. size.

The Best 40-oz. Stainless Steel Insulated Cup for Everyday Use

I try to stay hydrated and sip on ice water or another cold drink throughout the day when I'm not drinking tea. Since I like a lot of ice in my water or other cold beverages and the cubes take up a lot of space, I wanted a larger insulated mug or tumbler that I wouldn't have to refill multiple times a day.

I had been thinking about getting one of the famous and popular Stanley 40-ounce Quencher Tumblers with Handle, but in addition to the high cost, I had concerns about the reported issues with leaking. After reading product recommendations from The New York Times Wirecutter, I ultimately decided on the Hydro Flask 40-oz. All Around Travel Tumbler with Handle, which they said leaks less than the Stanley Quencher and costs significantly less.

Hydro Flask insulated stainless steel 40-oz. travel tumbler with handle
In real life, my Hydro Flask 40-ounce travel tumbler is more mint green than turquoise

Design and Build Quality

The Hydro Flask brand has a reputation for producing durable and aesthetically pleasing products, and the 40-oz. All Around Tumbler is no exception. This tumbler features a sleek, minimalist design that is available in various colors, catering to different style preferences. The matte finish provides a good grip and doesn't scratch easily, and the handle is ergonomically designed, making it comfortable to carry even when the tumbler is full.

The tumbler is made from Color Last™ powder-coated 18/8 pro-grade stainless steel, and the build quality is outstanding. This material is both durable and resistant to rust and punctures. The tumbler is also BPA-free, ensuring beverages remain safe and free from any chemical contamination.

Insulation Performance

One of the standout features of the Hydro Flask tumbler is its insulation performance. The tumbler employs TempShield® double-wall vacuum insulation, which is highly effective at maintaining the temperature of your drinks. Cold beverages stay cold for up to 24 hours, while hot beverages can remain hot for up to 12 hours. This makes the tumbler perfect for a wide range of activities, from hiking and camping to long commutes and office use. It's also perfect for daily at-home use.

Usability

The 40 oz capacity is generous, allowing you to carry a substantial amount of your favorite beverage. This is particularly useful for those who need to stay hydrated throughout the day or for activities where refilling may not be convenient.

The tumbler is easy to fill and clean thanks to the wide-mouth design, and there is plenty of room for ice cubes. The handle is a significant addition, enhancing the portability of the tumbler. It is sturdy and well-attached, capable of withstanding the tumbler’s weight even when full. The leak-resistant lid is also a great feature, preventing spills during transportation and providing easy access to your drink.

Pros

Excellent Insulation: Keeps beverages cold for up to 24 hours and hot for up to 12 hours.

Leak-Resistant Lid with Built-in Flexible Silicone Straw: Helps prevent spills even if you knock the travel tumbler over and the soft silicone straw allows for easy, comfortable drinking.

Large Capacity: 40-oz. size is perfect for long outings or all-day hydration at home.

Ergonomic Handle: Comfortable to carry and enhances portability.

Wide Mouth Design: Easy to fill, clean, and add ice cubes.

Durable Construction: Made from high-quality 18/8 food-grade 304 stainless steel.

Easy to Clean: Washing by hand is a breeze if you have a bottle brush set that includes a larger brush with a long handle for cleaning the travel mug and long, thin brush for cleaning the straw. This bottle brush cleaning set has brushes for cleaning all types and sizes of bottles, cups, jars, and straws and is very inexpensive. This insulated travel tumbler is also…

Dishwasher-Safe: Unlike many other powder-coated insulated stainless steel mugs and tumblers, this one is dishwasher-safe, which I love! Although I tend to hand wash mine more often than not, I have run the tumbler and lid through the dishwasher several times and have not experienced any chipping or scratching of the powder-coated exterior.

Fits in Most Cup Holders: The bottom of the tumbler is narrower than the top, allowing it to fit most cup holders when you're on the road.

Excellent Value: The Hydro Flask 40-oz. All Around Travel Tumbler With Handle costs significantly less than the popular Stanley Quencher.

Nice Color Choices: This large travel tumbler is available in a wide selection of attractive colors.

Optional Large Closeable Press-In Lid Lets You Use This Insulated Tumbler With Hot Beverages: At the time of this post's publication, only the small closeable press-in lid was available on Amazon, but the large closeable press-in lid was available for $9.95 on the Hydro Flask website.

Cons

Size and Weight: When filled to the top with liquid (and ice, if desired), this large-capacity tumbler can be heavy, which might be a drawback for some users. However, there is also a smaller Hydro Flask 32-oz. All Around Travel Tumbler With Handle.

Conclusion

The Hydro Flask 40 oz All Around Tumbler with Handle is a top-tier product that lives up to its reputation. Its combination of superior insulation, durable construction, and practical design features makes it an excellent choice for anyone who needs a reliable and stylish tumbler. While it comes with a higher price tag and requires hand washing, the benefits far outweigh these minor drawbacks. Whether you are an outdoor enthusiast, a commuter, or someone who values high-quality drinkware, this tumbler is a worthy investment.




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Tuesday, July 16, 2024

A Review of Laundry Detergent Sheets





 

The older I get, the harder I find it to lift that heavy container of laundry detergent to put it in the machine.  I wondered if there was a better way one day while doing laundry.  I was tossing in a dryer sheet when the thought occurred to me:  if there are dryer sheets, could there be detergent sheets?

Hmmmmm.......so I sat down at my computer and pulled up Amazon.  I typed in laundry detergent sheets and was amazed to see there were many of them.  I browsed through them because there were specific things I needed in laundry soap.  I ran across a brand that had everything I was looking for and more:


The box I ordered from Amazon



1.  Safe for Pets and Kids 

2.  Hypoallergenic - perfect if you have sensitive skin like me

3.  Eco Friendly and Biodegradable including the packaging, no plastic!

4.  Light to pick up and portable - great for traveling!

5.  Takes up very little space for all the laundry that it does.

6.  Free of many nasty chemicals and other things that you will find in many other detergents like:  dyes, bleach, phosphates, paraben, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene.


How to Use Detergent Sheets

I was also impressed with the price, less than $10 for 200 sheets.  But I wondered, do you just use one sheet per wash?  The answer for that was right on the box.....probably in case you are rather forgetful, like me!  


Photograph off my own box

I decided to give it a try, so a ordered a box.  When it arrived, I loved the fact there was no plastic, and the box can be easily pulled open and pushed closed.  It's so small I just place it on a small shelf over my washing machine.  But the proof is the the washing, (so to say) so I started out with a hard test:  my husbands gardening clothes.  They would be a job for any detergent, but I didn't want to go soft on the first test.


My washing machine!

I used two sheets, and I was impressed with the job that it did.  It took out the sweat stains and the dirt and other stains that were on his t shirts and jean shorts.  It did a great job.  I also tried it on my own lighter and more fragile clothing and it did an equally good job using only one sheet.


Great for All Kinds of People

Carrying these small, light boxes is a blessing, but not just for me, they are also great for:

  • People with disabilities
  • People that live in an apartment buildings with washers in the basement
  • People that have to use a laundromat 
  • People that travel, either for business or with the family to a cabin for vacation
  • People that have to take public transportation or walk to the store to shop.
Think of how much easier it would be not to have to carry that big container of detergent around!  These sheets only weigh ounces, not pounds!

The box I ordered from Amazon

Recommendation

Zimwin's Laundry Detergent Sheets are a winner and something I will be using from now on.  They are so light and simple to use.  Just slide open the small box, take out a sheet, drop it in and you are good to go. They also do a great job cleaning clothes.  I highly recommend this product.




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Monday, July 15, 2024

Book Review: The Earthwise Herbal Books by Matthew Wood

In my quest to move away from drinking soda and multiple-ingredient drink powders, I am trying to transition to a variety of teas. My goal is to learn about herbal teas and to be able to grow or forage my own plants for teas with confidence. This desire grew as I learned that I like chamomile tea and experienced the benefits that tea provided at night. And the desire multiplied when I had a really good experience drinking cleaver tea. Who knew that this annoying weed found on almost all of my hiking trips and taking over the edge of my yard is a tasty, organic, and helpful tea?! Now I know. 

photo of The Earthwise Herbal book spines

Note: This is NOT a focus on purported medical benefits nor is this any sort of medical advice. Please see your doctor or trained expert for that sort of information. 

This review is about my desire find ways to accurately identify plants that I may enjoy for tea and ensuring that I do not use plants, or parts of plants, that might be contra-indicated for my body's needs. I definitely don't want to make myself ill by accidentally consuming toxic plants.

I had been watching videos on the internet about foraging and using beneficial plants when one day I saw a family misidentifying pokeweed as elderberry. While I know very little about herbs and plants, I was aware that they were showing pokeweed and were planning on processing it and consuming it as elderberry juice.  I asked them to pause and correctly identify the berries they had. I had always been taught that Pokeweed was toxic but I knew nothing in addition to that.  It was at that time that I became even more cautious about learning about plants on the internet. 

I learned that cleavers, this weed that annoys me with it's vines and fuzzy hitchhikers that are hard to remove from pets and clothing, is a plant that creates a tea with benefits. I began to research it's level of safety and how to identify it. After becoming more confident, I harvested some in the spring and drank the tea. I found that the tea really seems to agree with me and I experienced benefits that I won't go into here. BUT I still couldn't find more in-depth information about it.

For example, I didn't know when it could be harvested (only in the spring or through the entire year), which parts of the plant to harvest, how to best prepare it, how much to use for a glass of tea, and if it was possible to store it. Fortunately, I found many of the answers to these questions within the 592 pages of The Earthwise Herbal, volume 1.  

I found 4 pages of information about cleavers. That information included: plant family group, historical uses, taste (flavor), specific indications, cautions, and most importantly for my needs the preparation and dosage. I learned that there are no parts of this plant that is toxic and that it is best prepared in cold water. 

Volume 1 includes information for many other Old World plants such as dandelion, peppermint, clover, ginger, saffron, and the list goes on and on. The Earthwise Herbal, volume 2 provides detailed descriptions of 126 North American herbs. Now, I will admit, that I am confused a bit by this "New World/North American" versus "Old World" categorization of plants as I clearly have many of the "old world" plants growing in my yard and in my region. I have not yet read the section that discusses how those categories were decided. 

If you are at all interested in foraging or growing plants for teas, culinary, or herbal uses, I recommend that you add these books to your library. These volumes are packed full of information and are written in a way that is easy to understand.  Author Matthew Wood is a master's degreed graduate from the Scottish School of Medicine and is also a registered herbalist of the American Herbalists Guild. He is clearly trained, experienced, and is not mistakenly recommending toxic berries to others for consumption.


To read more reviews, get more information about the contents or author, and to check current prices, please click the links below (at the time of this writing, the books are 35% and 26% off respectively). 

The Earthwise Herbal: A Complete Guide to Old World Medicinal Plants (vol 1)

The Earthwise Herbal: A Complete Guide to New World Medicinal Plants (vol 2)





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Sunday, July 14, 2024

Why I Love the Movie The Lake House - 5 Star Review

The Lake House is a captivating romantic drama that weaves together the lives of its two main characters, Kate Forster (played by Sandra Bullock) and Alex Wyler (played by Keanu Reeves), through a unique and enchanting time travel narrative. 

Directed by Alejandro Agresti, this 2006 film is a remake of the South Korean film Il Mare and brings a fresh twist to the romantic storytelling genre.

The Storyline

The story begins with Kate Forster, a doctor, moving out of a beautiful lake house in 2006 to pursue a new job in Chicago. As she leaves, she writes a letter to the next tenant apologizing for some paw prints by the door and leaving it in the mailbox. Alex Wyler, an architect, receives the letter—but he is living in 2004. 

Initially confused by the letter’s references to events that haven’t happened yet, Alex replies, and the two start a correspondence through the mailbox, which mysteriously bridges their two time periods.

As their letters continue, Kate and Alex form a deep emotional connection, sharing their hopes, dreams, and challenges in their respective times. Despite being separated by two years, their bond grows stronger, and they fall in love. They also face the frustrations of their situation, yearning to meet in person but thwarted by the temporal divide.

Alex decides to renovate the lake house, making it a sanctuary for their love, and leaves clues for Kate to find in her present time. They try to set a date to meet in the future, but complications arise, including a tragic accident that threatens to derail their plans. 

The suspense builds as they struggle to overcome the barriers of time, leading to a climactic and heartwarming resolution that reinforces the power of love to transcend all obstacles.

The Cast and Performances

Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves deliver heartfelt performances that anchor the film’s emotional core. Even though they share very few scenes, their chemistry is palpable through their written exchanges. Bullock portrays Kate’s vulnerability and resilience with grace, while Reeves brings depth and sincerity to Alex’s character. Their performances make the improbable premise believable and moving.

Cinematography and Setting

The lake house itself is a character in the film, with its serene, picturesque setting providing a perfect backdrop for the unfolding romance. The cinematography captures the beauty and tranquility of the lake, enhancing the film’s dreamlike quality. The contrast between the bustling city life and the peaceful solitude of the lake house underscores the characters’ desire for connection and escape.

Themes and Messages

At its heart, The Lake House explores themes of destiny, timing, and the enduring nature of true love. It raises questions about the role of fate in our lives and whether love can truly conquer all obstacles, including time itself. The film’s narrative invites viewers to ponder the idea that some connections are meant to be, regardless of the circumstances.

Why I Love The Lake House

The Lake House holds a special place in my heart because of its romantic time travel element. It reminds me of the 1980 movie Somewhere in Time, starring Jane Seymour and Christopher Reeve. Coincidentally, Christopher Plummer is featured in both of these movies.

The idea of two people separated by time but united by love is magical and poignant. The film beautifully captures the longing and hope that come with waiting for the right moment and the belief that love can bridge even the most impossible gaps. It’s a reminder that sometimes, the most extraordinary love stories are written in the present and across the sands of time.

You Can Watch The Lake House on Prime




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