Showing posts with label Brite-Ideas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Brite-Ideas. Show all posts

Sunday, January 19, 2020

6 Ingredient Banana Loaf - Mix and Bake

6 Ingredient Banana Loaf
There are so many banana loaf recipes online that I'm hesitant to add another to the mix.

However, some people may appreciate this simple 6 ingredient recipe. It's easy to remember, and the items are what most people have in their cupboard.

This recipe has been my quick go-to solution for using up ripe bananas for over thirty years.

"This is a no egg, no milk recipe"

The Basic Ingredients:
  •  3 mashed ripe bananas
  •  1.5 (one and a half) cups of flour (I use white flour)
  •  1 cup of sugar
  •  2 tablespoons of butter (on the softer side but not melted)
  •  1 teaspoon of baking soda
  •  1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
For Chocolate Chip Banana Loaf, add a 1/2 to 3/4 cup (your choice) of chocolate chips.
For Banana Nut Loaf, add a 1/2 to 3/4 cup of your favorite chopped nuts.
For Cherry Banana Loaf, add a 1/2 to 3/4 cup of jarred cherries (only the cherries, not the liquid)

Directions:

Everything goes into one bowl. 

Mash the bananas, then add the other five ingredients. Mix it together. It's ok if the butter isn't completely dissolved. You can bake it as is, or go ahead and add any of the suggested items above, chocolate chips or nuts or cherries. 

Put the mixture in a non-stick loaf pan. Personally, I've never used a pan that's not non-stick, so if you plan to use one, spray it with non-stick cooking spray or rub a layer of butter on it.

Bake at 325 for approximately 1 hour or until it's fully cooked. With my oven, it will cook faster. I check it at about the half-hour point by giving it the touch test on top. When I think it's fully cooked, I'll put a knife down the middle, and if it pulls out clean, it's done.

Adjustments:

Over the years I've altered the recipe from time to time. I've used more bananas (four) and sometimes fewer bananas (two). Also, the size of the bananas can call for small adjustments. If the bananas are small, then I'll use four without adjusting the flour content.

When I use four large bananas, I tend to add a bit more flour. Generally, I go by the feel of the batter. 

When I feel the batter needs additional moisture, I'll add a bit more butter - a third heaping tablespoon.

Slicing Your Banana Loaf

I always cut-up my banana loaf, then display it in a cake dish. It's a visual thing and entices the gang to eat it. 

I've cut the loaf in two ways: 

1. Once it cools, you can cut it in horizontal one inch wide pieces like you see in a bakery, then display it in a pretty cake dish.

or,

2. Cut it in two-inch wide horizontal pieces, then cut it vertically down the middle giving the pieces a larger square look.

My family prefers the chocolate chip banana loaf - Here it is, cut in larger squares as described in point number two above.




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, January 12, 2020

Life's Changing Perspectives - A Twenty Year Review Through Poems


How have you changed in twenty years?

I've declared 2020 the year of Body, Mind, and Spirit, with the main focus being on feeding my spirit to bring all aspects of my life into balance.

Remember Who I Am - Life Reflections Then and Now

Nearly twenty years ago, I wrote a poem called, "Remember Who I Am." The poem isn't about begging to be remembered, but rather about acknowledging the mistakes I made in life, and how ultimately I learned from those mistakes.

Looking back twenty years ago, when the video poem featured below was written, I clearly see my personal growth since that point in time.

I'm a different person at 59 years old than I was in my 30s. I suspect that's quite normal. God willing, if I get to 80 years old, I imagine my outlook will further change.

The most significant change inside of me is a grander understanding of inner peace, and what inner peace truly is.

There's so much I want to type about inner peace right now, but honestly, I don't think I can explain it? Let me say it this way, with these powerful words:


 "In the end, everything WILL be O.K."  - I get this now.


We're still dealing with some of the same life struggles we faced when I was in my thirties. Even though those struggles are still quite significant, I now see how mundane they are, and rarely pray on those. In the grand scheme of life, they don't rate.

When I was in church last week, I started thinking about my prayers from those times, and how I've grown to understand that the secret to solutions is within us - and that prayers for souls, the human condition, our community, those we love, and visualizing the good, is where ultimate peace rests.

I feel I'm awake now. 

As though I've been handed a book with some of life's secrets in them. I'm looking forward to the next book in twenty more years if I'm so blessed.

I've mastered forgiveness.

Without giving away anything overtly personal, I can unequivocally state, I've got this one down. What I understand most about forgiveness is that it's not up to me to 'forgive' others. It's lessons learned, from all sides.

I approach the mistakes others make that hurt me, family, friends, or strangers, as people who are either lost, dark, or learning at their pace. Life is school, and some of us are in pre-school while others have PhDs. No judging. Letting go.

Also, I don't agree with the saying, "I forgive, but I'll never forget."  For me, if I have to hold any grudge, including 'never forgetting,' it's not forgiveness. You can read a bit more about this in an article I wrote, many years ago called, "The Secret to Life."

Despite life's changes over the past twenty years, the words to this poem I wrote so long ago, still stand.



Angels on Duty - Starting Our Day with a Helping Hand

Again, I wrote this one about twenty years ago. Of all the poems I've written over the past fifty years, this is one of my favorites.

The poem was written to create a visual of how Angels begin their daily work, helping us, as soon as we wake up.

It's about waking up in the morning, swinging your legs over the edge of the bed, bending over with your hands over your face, as you pause thinking about the challenges you face today, and wondering if you have the strength to do it. Without knowing, there's an Angel present, whispering affirmations, and confirmations that 'everything will be ok' and that you're not alone, and yes, you can do it.


Towards the end of last year, I achieved a bucket list item: I published a book featuring 50 years of my poems. Change, perspective, growth - it's all good. #bethechange #spreadthewordofgood





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, January 5, 2020

How NOT to Binge Watch a Series - The Three Rules of Survival

How NOT to Binge Watch a Series!
Save Yourself Before It's too Late
Tongue in cheek. Well, sort of. I kind-of mean every single word.

In the scope of life problems, this doesn't even rate. But that's why I'm writing about it. Since there's too much going on in the world, mindless drivel is temporarily appealing, almost necessary.

So, you probably guessed by now that I'm the recent victim of binge-watching a series. I can feel the professional binge-watchers rolling their eyes. Still, the pros need to remember, they were newbie-bingers once.

Let's Review the Three Rules:

1. Don't Pick a Series With Only One Season

For gawd-sakes, before you even scroll through Amazon Prime or Netflix, decide that any series with only one season is off-limits.

Want to know why?

Because when you're finished watching Season 1, you'll be googling to find out when Season 2 is coming out.

Then you'll toss your perrier in the fireplace when you find out it hasn't been renewed for a second season. Or if it has been renewed, that filming doesn't start until March of 2020, which means the fall of 2020 before you get to watch it again - one darn episode at a time!

Yes, I binge-watched 'Another Life' on Netflix last night and yep, one season only, and season two doesn't start filming until March 2020. I have this uncontrollable urge to see if they'll hire me on the crew so I can get a heads-up on the story. I need help.

Since I mentioned the series 'Another Life,' are you wondering if I recommend it? Well, if you like Sci-Fi with a connection to Earth as we currently know it, then I hate to say this, but you're going to love it.

Warning, resist it because you'll only want more. Or go ahead and keep me company for a year until season two starts. I'm already looking forward to Fall 2020, how sick is that?

2. Don't Start Binge-Watching at Midnight

Yah. I did that too.

So there I was, scrolling Netflix for a movie. You know, one that's maybe ... like ... 2 hours at the most. I had noticed 'Another Life' before, and that it was a 'series,' and avoided it for that reason.

Last night, I was powerless. I gave in to my 'no series' rule and couldn't fight the urge to not click 'watch next episode' all.night.long.

I figure if you start watching around 7pm and decide to binge, then there's a good chance you'll be heading to bed before 4am. Plus, there's also the chance that life intrusions will prevent you from watching every episode at once! At midnight, there's no one awake to rag on you.

Ok. I did have some discipline, I only watched eight episodes and viewed the final two this afternoon. I can't get this show out of my head, can you tell? I'm so curious about the next season. Grrrr.

3. Don't Be Afraid to Use the Pause Button

It seems logical, right? When you need to take a break, hit the Pause button, and go do your thing. I mean, we're not Gremlins that can't be fed after midnight, are we? But come to think of it, I was more like Stripe last night.

Apparently, that's too much common sense for me, and I held it way too long. Sheesh, I wasn't even stuck in a vehicle.

So, pause your series for snack and pee breaks. When you're really into your show, you'll resist stepping away, and all I can say is resist the resistance -  'taint good for the bladder.

Here's the trailer for Another Life, to lead you into temptation :)



Is There a Series with More Than One Season that I Recommend?

Omg, that's a screaming YES!!

My all-time favorite program in the history of programs is the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon! I know I'm screaming again. It's based on the books, and it.is.absolutely.fantastic. The fans, me included, are chomping at the bit to watch Season 5, which starts in February of 2020!

So guess what, if you binge-watch all 4 seasons of Outlander, you'll be able to start watching Season 5 right away with the rest of us crazies.

I'm so obsessed with this show that I follow it on Twitter and Instagram? I need an intervention.

Oh, here's a heads-up warning:

When you get to the episode called 'The Wedding,' umm, watch it without kids in the room. The wedding night is very, very very and very physical with a lot of nudity. If that's not your thing you can skip it, but I must say, it's pertinent to fully appreciate Jamie and Claire's connection.

I'm leading you into temptation one more time with the Trailer for Outlander Season 1, but this show has 4 seasons to consume your life - a much better way to get lost in space.




I'll close by saying that I don't watch a lot of TV. Don't laugh, it's true. However, when I do watch, I apparently go all in?

So let's summarize the three rules:

1. A show with more than one season
2. Don't start binge-watching at midnight
3. Take breaks

Or ignore them, and watch what you want, when you want :)


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 29, 2019

2020 is Body, Mind, and Spirit - Complete Life Balance, A Personal Commitment

2020 - Body, Mind, Spirit

Have you decided upon a new year's resolution for 2020? Do you prefer to avoid making one? When you review 2019 for you or your family, how does it rate?

2019 has been a challenging year for our family, and I know for many others. I'm looking forward to putting this year behind me.

I've made a resolution that I'd like to share here. It's about balance, but it's not about work-play balance. The balance I'm seeking is to nurse all three of these aspects in my life carefully.

Body, Mind, Spirit
Sounds corny right?

Not to me, not at this stage in my life. I've neglected my spirit. Even though it seems like I'm in a state of constant prayer, I still feel I haven't been feeding my soul properly.

The section on Spirit isn't meant to be about religion; I'm simply sharing what I do to expand my soul. However, whether you believe in God, a higher power, regardless of faith, or are a non-believer, we can all connect with our inner self, and free our minds with a little spiritual exercise.

I'm not an overtly religious person, but I do feel connected to a world beyond this one. It doesn't matter whether we feel that or not, what matters is that we make an effort to deepen our connection with humanity.

How I Personally Exercise Mind, Body & Spirit

The Mind

This one is pretty easy for most of us.

Chances are if you're reading this, you spend time online and probably have a blog, website, work for a company, or go to school. Just the amount of reading and learning we do to stay up-to-date with the above can give our mind a workout.

Most of my mind exercise comes from online reading. It seems I'm in a constant state of learning. If you're not online enough to be learning that way, then, of course, there are the usual, crosswords,  puzzle books, reading actual books and best of all, stimulating, productive and positive conversations with friends.

The Body

We all know that respecting our bodies can be pretty tough at times.

Eating healthy, exercise, and keeping ourselves free of substances not prescribed by a doctor are the common areas to focus on.

Personally, for health reasons, I made significant changes with my body in 2019. I decided to try the Keto Diet. I hate calling it a diet because, for me, it's not - it's a way of eating. I started May 4, 2019, and to date have lost 50 pounds; another 25, and I'm at my goal.  Anyway, I won't get into all the details of Keto; that isn't my point, taking control of my health is.

Sometimes caring for our body means relaxing more, enjoying ourselves more, and if we're healthy, merely being happy with the body we have.

The Spirit

In 2019 I did focus fairly successfully on Mind and Body, but I neglected spirit.

I started around December 12th, 2019, to do the soul work I should have been doing all year. The work I do is more than prayer. You can use the general concepts I use and convert them to fit your belief system. It's never my intention to push religion on anyone. I'm merely sharing the way I personally enhance inner-peace.

At night, a lot of people listen to meditation tapes, music, and audiobooks to fall asleep. If what you're doing is feeding your soul, keep doing that.

What I Do to Personally Feed My Soul

I was seeking a greater connection.

Six years ago, I came across a YouTube video Channel called Off The Left Eye. I had listened and followed them for several years, then life got in the way, and I drifted.

Off The Left Eye examines life through spirituality and faith, through the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg's (1668-1772 - Theologian, Scientist, Philosopher) personal experience with the afterlife.

Swedenborg was a famous scientist. After his otherworldly experience, he wrote ten thousand pages on his journey through the veil. Consequently, he was shunned by the scientific community of his day.

When I'm tucked in for bed, I listen to the videos featured by Off the Left Eye. Despite all of life's challenges, I do consider myself a peace-filled person. However, watching these videos expands my horizon and brings me to an even deeper level of understanding. Also, when I'm having a bad day, they're a must for rejuvenation.

These videos are erasing that persistent horrible feeling that another shoe is about to drop. I hate that feeling! I'm mastering its eradication with the help of these videos.

I love the metaphors that the Host, Curtis Childs uses; he has such a fun way of getting you to understand a concept that may seem too complex to grasp through Swedenborg's writing alone.

At any rate, for me, understanding the bigger picture is grounding. Letting God in, blocking out dark energy, and constantly praying (lol) makes for a happier me.

Whether you use music, quotes, other religious teachings, yoga, or meditation, it doesn't matter as all of it will feed the inner you.

Here's the very first video, from six years ago I tripped on by Off The Left Eye (It's a short inspirational summary of humanity):



Here's to a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2020. Happy New Year!





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 22, 2019

Happy Birthday Capricorn! Let's Review How Wonderful You Are

Happy Birthday, Capricorn - Dec 22 to January 20
The Goat

For the proud Capricorn, the Goat is not an acronym lol (greatest of all time - sorry!). If your birthday falls between December 22nd and January 20th, you were born under the sign of Capricorn. 

Since I'm a fan of astrology and often on the hunt for funky home decorating ideas, I've added a section on Funkthishouse called 'Astrology Home Decor.' Each astrology sign is featured with suggested home decor items for creating a zodiac-themed bedroom. 

When decorating a bedroom to reflect your astrology sign, don't restrict yourself to just the sign name and symbol. Each sign has several other aspects; lucky numbers, birthstone, your sign's lucky days, your ruling planet, your sign's element, and more. Here are some suggestions for Capricorn's room.

Capricorn: Practical, Realistic, Persistent, Disciplined, Intelligent, Caring, Analytical, and Organized.

Traits: Capricorns tend to be rule-followers and prefer systems and boundaries that are clearly defined. If you're looking for a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants type, it's likely you won't find that trait in a Capricorn. 

Work: Preferring structure makes them ideal candidates to climb the corporate ladder. Whether they climb that ladder or not, they approach their profession seriously and with dedication.

Home: Capricorns are a bit fussy about their home and how it's presented. Hey, there's nothing wrong with that is there? 

Responsibilty: If your significant other is a Capricorn, they might be the banker of the family. Since they can be counted on to abide by structure and are detailed, the family finances are probably in good hands with a Capricorn. 

Love: In relationships, they're committed and will focus on doing what it takes with a partner they can count on. Since they prefer structure, a stable relationship that offers that has value to them.

Capricorn 2020

As one year ends and another begins, I visit my favorite Astrologer on YouTube, Kelly Rosano. She offers up fun and interesting videos for each sign. Her presentations are broken down in an easy to follow format. 

She's completed an annual 2020 summary for all twelve signs and also features a monthly summary for each. I'm a Leo, and I found her projections for 2020 to match almost everything I had been planning and thinking. Interesting!

Capricorn, if you're wondering how 2020 may look for you, check out Kelly Rosano's video below:







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 15, 2019

7 Ways to Maximize Space and Get Your Home Organized

7 Ways to Maximize Space in a Small Home or Apartment

With the New Year approaching, you'll soon be into cleaning and organizing again.

If you're like me, you may already be thinking ahead to a few changes you want to make to maximize the square footage in your home.

Let's review some creative ideas:

1. Chairs that Convert to a Bed

That's right; there are chairs that fold open and turn into a bed. These are ideal for small apartments or small rooms where you need a place for company to crash. Here are some examples of various styles; some unfold, some fold down, and others sit and fold directly onto the floor.

2. End Tables That Double as a Pet Crate

These are especially handy for smaller homes. They're an excellent solution for apartment dwellers with pets. They range in style, design, and color. Put one or two on either side of the couch, and you now have a place for the fur babies and coffee tables all in one piece.

3. Plano Storage Unit for Crafts and Supplies

Wednesday Elf from ReviewThisReviews discusses how she uses the Plano Storage Unit to organize her crafting supplies. If you're not interested in spending too much money but need an efficient organizational unit, this one works. We use these as well. Ours is in the basement, holding our Christmas decorations. They're also handy in garages.

4. Elaborate Ways to Use Space Under a Staircase

If renovations and a good-sized budget are in your organizational future, check out these design ideas for using space under the stairs; a reading nook, a washroom, extra sleeping space, a playroom, a dog house, and the list goes on.

5. Space Saving Table and Chairs

These aren't your grandmother's table and chairs, although some of those were pretty nice. Today's space-saving tables come in a wide variety of colors, shapes, sizes, and designs: There are the standard folding leaf tables, chairs the tuck directly under each part of the table, bench type seats, and more. These are the perfect solution for a tiny kitchen or enclosed porch and balcony.

6. Creating Additional Storage in a Bedroom

Here you'll find five suggestions on how you can add more storage space to the bedroom. My personal favorite is the bed skirt organizer. It's an actual bed skirt with plastic storage inserts for both sides. If you don't want to see the clutter in the bed skirt, add a bedspread that covers it, or put a cloth bed skirt over it. Other suggestions include a bedside cubby that stores items and fits under the mattress, ottoman storage, over-the-door storage units, and under-the-bed storage.

7. Loft Beds for Adults

Check out these funky designs. Living in an apartment in a city usually means that the square footage is minimal. If that's the case, you'll want to consider one of these lofts. Designs vary with some featuring desks, a table and seating area, and daybeds. Going vertical solves the small space problem, and these designs do precisely that.


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 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?






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 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.



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, November 24, 2019

How to Write a Riddle? Six Basic Tips

A Review of 6 Tips on How You Can Write Your Own Riddles

Have you ever written a riddle? It's a crazy knack I happen to have. Today I'll share some of the riddles I've created with a few tips on how you can write your own.

Why Riddles?

Along with sayings for greeting cards, I've been writing riddles for most of my life. The ability to toss out one-liners seems to be a genetic anomaly in my family. My dad could make people laugh on a dime; he was hilarious! That chip landed on my brother, and he too can toss out funny lines anywhere, any time.

It seems the verbal skills possessed by my dad and brother transferred to me in writing form.

So why riddles? Here's why: This world is too serious right now, so to break-up the constant barrage of negative coming at us, I decided to create books about riddles, quotes, and sayings. But in this article, I'll be sharing some tips on how to write a riddle.

An Example of One of My Personally Written Riddles:

I am a word that has three letters,
but I'm actually six letters long,
I'm used when thinking or trying to figure
what may have gone wrong,
here is a clue that may help you,
four of my letters are the same,
and the first three letters spell a body part, 
or an animal's name,
What word am I?

(Take a guess in the comment section - try not to peek at other comments in case they've guessed the answer correctly!)

How to Write a Riddle

1. Choose the Answer First

Start with the answer. Pick the word you want to write the riddle about, then go from there.

2. Choose a Word that Has Multiple Meanings or can be Expressed Multiple Ways

It's easier to write a riddle about a word that has more than one meaning (spelled the same, or spelled differently). For example, Aunt/Ant, Fly, Park, Plant. These types of words give you the ability to create the riddle from various angles.

Here's an example of one of my riddles with an answer that has multiple meanings:

It's said we all have one
those who believe never doubt,
that everyone is included,
no one is left out,
we also say it to mean
"there's only one,"
and when it's spelled differently
we use it to run,
wait, don't be confused because
I'll give you some pity,
when spoken out loud
it's the name of a city,
What word am I?

3. It Doesn't Have to Rhyme

Some people can rhyme anything, and others, not so much. Your riddle will work either way. If you're not great at rhyming, think about writing the riddle with a rhythm.

Here's an example of another of my riddles using rhythm:

You write them
you get them
you give them
you hate them
you love them
you dread them
you need them
but you probably
never ever want them
What am I?

4. It's Easier to Write Riddles About Things You Can't Physically See

Try writing a riddle using a word that represents the unseen such as, thoughts, ideas, gravity, love, grace, nasty, and so on. Think 'invisible' - You get the picture.

5. Think About What People Can Relate to with the Word/Answer

When you're writing your riddle, think about how people relate to the word. As an example, the riddle in point number three above is obscure and can technically have more than one answer (although there is a specific answer to it).

In riddle two, the meanings are different, the answer is spelled multiple ways, and the clues are more specific. As an example the specific clues are; everyone has one, it means just one, you use it to run, it's the name of a city.

6. Test Your Riddles Out on Your Friends and Family

See how difficult it is for your people to answer; if they never solve any of them, they're probably too complicated. Mix it up, create both easier riddles and more challenging riddles. For Thanksgiving, my family used my riddles for a fun after-dinner game. The game was to see who could solve them the fastest. It was quite comical to hear them yelling over each other.

If the above riddles are frustrating you, there's more where that came from here, and you'll be guided to the riddle answers from that page as well.

Your Assignment:

Write a riddle that has the answer, "Park" - have fun!

By the way, in my book (A Party Game #STUMPED), you'll find my riddle for the word "Park" on page 70 (it's riddle 56).


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, November 17, 2019

Six Easy Christmas Tree Alternatives

Alternatives to Standard Christmas Trees


There are alternatives to putting up a fully decorated Christmas Tree. When time, health or motivation gets in the way of decorating the way you used to, check out these options:

1. Christmas Tree Art Drapes

You have to check these out; they're gorgeous. These drapes are full floor to ceiling curtains featuring 3D holiday scenes. The entire drapes are an art canvas, except instead of being on canvas, the art is on cloth. If you have a large window or sliding patio door, remove your existing drapes and put these up for the holidays. 

2. A Tabletop Christmas Tree

A tabletop tree is the easiest way to bring a little cheer into your home during the holidays. One of ReviewThisReviews writers, Dawn Rae, provides several creative suggestions here. Of course, tabletop trees can also be used to accessorize a fully decorated home. They also make an excellent hostess gift.

3. Freestanding Cardboard Christmas Trees
When you need a simpler
decorating plan

Of course, this particular choice is better utilized as party decor. However, there are several ways to incorporate cardboard trees into the home. For those who like to feature multiple trees but don't have the energy to go all out, these fun designs are an alternative. Also, you can use them as a way to add a safe festive feel to a child's room or playroom. 

4.  Christmas Tree Wall Decals

If you have a little more energy and enjoy decorating the walls, then you'll love this idea. Wall decal Christmas Trees are a fun way to add festive art to a room. When the holidays are over, simply remove them. Since they have more of an artsy animated look to them, they're ideal in a room where the kids tend to gather, even their bedroom. How nice would it be to read holiday bedtime stories with a fun Christmas Tree decal front and center in the little one's bedroom?

5. Pull Up Christmas Trees

These are an absolute must for people who don't have time for anything elaborate during the holidays! They fold completely flat into a storage bag. You may have to buy the storage bag separately. When the holiday season rolls around, unzip the bag and pull up the pre-lit, even pre-decorated Christmas Tree. That's right, most of them come fully decorated. A couple of these trees will eliminate a ton of work yet still give your home or office that lovely holiday feel.

6. Christmas Trees or Decor Featured on a Rug

If the wall, a tabletop, or draperies are out of the question, how about a bit of the holiday spirit on the floor? These holiday-themed area rugs feature various scenes that you can easily incorporate into your home. The nice thing about a carpet is the ease of taking it out and putting it away. Feature a festive rug in your foyer, one in the kitchen or living area, and add a small table-top tree or Christmas tree ornament, and your decorating is finished. You've decorated without a lot of effort. With a rug, there are no boxes to unpack or carry; store it in a closet or under a bed until the season is upon us.

As we get older, decorating the way we used to can become challenging. Our hearts may want to go all out, but our bodies won't let us. So don't hesitate to seek out something easier that works for you and your life. These days, there's something beautiful about going 'small.' It's like getting back to the basics and focusing on what Christmas is really about; love.



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, November 10, 2019

10 Reasons to Consider a Combination TV Stand and Fireplace

Electric Fireplace TV Stands

Even though we have a gas fireplace in our family room, we've had a combination electric fireplace tv cabinet for several decades. The photo on this page is the actual unit we purchased. 

Ten Reasons to Consider a TV Electric Fireplace Cabinet:

1. A Secondary Heat Source

Currently, this unit is in my office. The room gets chilly in the winter, so this solves that problem. Of course, it houses a TV as well, which is ideal on those days I prefer to work while watching the tube. 

2. To Save Space

If you'd like both a fireplace and a TV in the room but don't have space for it, you'll want to consider a unit like this. They come in various shapes, sizes, and designs, so you're sure to find one that ties into your existing decor.

3. To Add a Fireplace Where None Exists

If your home or apartment doesn't have a fireplace, it's the ideal solution; you add to
Electric Fireplace TV Stand
in my office
the ambiance, decor, and practicality with one piece of furniture.

4. To Warm Up a Finished Basement/Recreation Room Area

Often times finished basements don't have or can't have a gas fireplace. An electric fireplace solves the problem. It brings additional heat in the room, provides extra storage and of course, is a place for the TV.

5. When You Move, Take it With You

Renters, in particular, benefit from moveable TV Fireplace Stands. Now you don't have to eliminate apartments without fireplaces; just add one of these units, and you'll achieve that cozy feel you're seeking.

6. It's Easily Relocatable

We've had our fireplace tv stand in multiple places in our home over the years. In fact, it was in our master bedroom for over five years before we moved it to my office. Previous to that, it was in the living room. 

7. Add a Gaming System to the Stand

Some tv fireplace stands come with enough room to hook-up a gaming station. In our particular unit, there's a Play Station attached to the TV for kids and grown-ups alike. On the side of the unit are glass doors where we place the controllers and games.

8. Extra Compact Storage Space

Some units come with cupboards and others with convenient storage areas. At the bottom of this article you'll see a link to a page that features various designs and styles; take a look at all the choices.

9. A Fireplace Remote

Ok, pretty much all electric fireplaces come with a remote control. However, it's especially convenient when you're in bed, on the couch or at your desk, and need the heat on! Reach for the remote and start-up your fireplace.

10. It's A Lot More Affordable than Installing a Fixed Fireplace

Although the prices of fireplace tv stands vary from lower to higher ranges, they're less expensive than hiring a contractor to install a gas or electric unit.

Various Designs and Styles

Unfortunately, I can't give you a link to the fireplace unit in our home as it's been there for decades. We've never had a problem with it either. It certainly was worth the money. It cost us approximately $1200.

However, I did put together a collection of various designs and styles from multiple stores. You'll notice there's a broad range in prices, colors, and styles to fit just about any decor theme.


Just a reminder, if you have little kids or pets, don't let them touch the fireplace! Like any fireplace unit, gas, or electric, it gets hot!

Stay Warm



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, November 3, 2019

3 More Tips from a Newbie Self-Publisher

3 Additional Newbie Self-Publisher Tips
From a Fellow Newbie's Experience
In the previous few articles, I reviewed my newbie experiences with self-publishing. Since I've published my third book, and still have some hair left, there's more to share.

Again, I'm not a publishing guru, I'm just sharing tips as I go through the process.

If you've published paperbacks, you understand that your book can then be uploaded in digital format as an eBook.

I started in reverse. My first book was an eBook. After publishing an eBook, I learned to publish paperbacks.

However, once I mastered (yeah right) the ability to publish a paperback, I changed the order I publish books in:

  •  My books are written for Paperback publishing first
  •  Then that same book is uploaded as an eBook

I prefer doing paperback books first. The physical copy is usually more detailed and takes a bit more care in its design.

When doing an eBook, you upload your completed book document to KindleCreate. Again, read this article for a little bit about KindleCreate and eBook preparation.

Three Tips to Pass Along: 

1. Kindle Create - What I learned the Hard Way with the Third Book

If your manuscript/book document has anything in List Format, as an example, 1, 2, 3, etc., when you upload it to KindleCreate, KindleCreate doesn't let you modify Lists. You have to have it exactly as you want it before uploading, or don't use a list format. 

My book had 160 items in List Format. To get around the lists for the eBook version, I typed the numbers in brackets and put them above the typed item. I didn't use the auto-format of 1.2.3. in the toolbar. However, beware; even if you type 1. versus using the word processing numbering format in the toolbar, you still won't be able to modify that list in KindleCreate.

Oh, and the same goes for Tables in KindleCreate: They can't be modified once uploaded to KindleCreate.

Maybe KindleCreate will change these restrictions down the road?

2. Get Your Amazon Author Page Completed

To get started, read the general instructions on the Amazon help page here. It's easy to understand.

I decided to wait until I had three books completed before doing my Author page. However, there's no need to wait. If you only have one book, go for it.

The Author page has five key elements:

  •  Upload your photo, or any photo(s) you prefer for the page
  •  Add your books to the page (easy, automatic process)|
  •  Write a Bio on yourself - Take some time to do this (see the tip below)
  •  Upload any videos you have that relate to you or your books
  •  Add an RSS feed from your blog, or Pinterest or another place that connects to your Business


Regarding the Amazon Bio, don't miss this article, it's filled with excellent tips. It provides guidance on how your Bio should sound, and what you should say. You can follow me on my newly created author page If you prefer a video tutorial on how to complete an Author Page, this one is helpful:




3. The Size of Your Book as it Relates to the Book's Spine

I haven't used a professional graphic artist yet to create covers. For now, Amazon's Cover Creator is still my go-to tool. What I learned with this third book is that size matters. If you would like your book to have written details on the Spine, you need to ensure it's approximately 100 pages. This last book was less, about 65 pages, and thus couldn't have the title on the Spine. 

To avoid this, I'll be keeping most of my books to at least 100 pages. You don't have to if you don't want to, it's up to you.

Here are my article tips to date:


Here's my completed third book, and yep, working on the fourth.

Note: I'm an Amazon Associate
But my Associate ID is not in the above Link





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, October 27, 2019

5 Helpful Tools from a Newbie Self-Publisher

5 Helpful Tools Discovered by a Newbie Self-Publisher

In the past two weeks, I've talked about lessons learned as a newbie self-publisher. My first attempt was an eBook and the second a Paperback. Like I said in those articles, I'm not a guru! I'm learning the ropes and sharing the climb.

Was it easy, no way! I can honestly say I'm lacking sleep, and this so-called brain of mine has been reduced to mush. But I love the feeling: You know when you've overcome something and earned a sense of moving forward.

In this article, I'd like to share some of the convenient tools I've found online to help you with your own self-publishing journey. I spent a lot of time researching various aspects of the writing and publishing process and have saved my favorite tips and tools for future projects.

Here are five handy tools/tips I discovered along the way:

1. Choosing a Title for Your Books

I'll start by saying that my titles aren't genius. Lol, but as most of you know, a title is vital. My second book is all about fun, it's a party riddle gamebook. Yah, I know, who writes riddles, right? It's a crazy freaking knack that I have, go figure?

I wanted to create interest with my title and have the title say precisely what the book was about, and what the book could be used for.

I researched some of the most potent action words for marketing and tripped on several helpful articles. The article I ended up saving for future reference was "277 Action Words to Supercharge Your Writing."

2. Kindleprenuer - Be Sure to Check it Out

Kindleprenuer is filled with handy writing tidbits. It's written in a straightforward format, and the tips are easy to implement. They also suggest useful tools to help you along your learning process.

Don't miss their article on 'How to Title a Book,' it's worth your time!

3. Title Generators - These are Handy

A title generator auto-generates suggested title ideas based on your entry. I'll admit, the title for my latest book didn't come from a title generator; however, the title generator did inspire my final decision for the title.

This title generator is a ton of fun and a little addictive! Go ahead and put in the details and see the choices it spits out. It's also a recommended tool by Kindleprenuer.

Here's another helpful title generator. As I mentioned above, it did inspire the title creation process.

4. Setting Up Your Amazon Author Central Page

Since I only have two books published, I haven't set my page up yet. However, you guessed it, I've researched the topic already.

When you're ready, check out this article on how to set your Author Page up, it's helpful.

5. Choosing Your Subtitles - Bold, Clear, and Specific

No, I didn't come up with that criteria. It's part of the excellent advice you'll get from Kindleprenuer. I mentioned them above. They also offer a helpful article on 'how to select a subtitle that sells'.

______________________

Here were my challenges:
  •  It's a riddle book
  •  The book is designed and suggested as a fun game for parties
  •  The riddles are geared towards teens and adults (all clean of course)
  •  I needed a branded name to use on future riddle books
As I researched naming my book, I had quite the challenge trying to get these points established on the cover: A party game book, a riddle book, for teens and adults as well as finding space for an action word.

Here's what I decided:
  •  "A Party Game" stated at the top since that's the point of the book
  •  #Stumped is my branded name that will be on future riddle books
  •  'Instant Party Riddles for Teens and Adults" is the sub-title
  •  The word "Instant" is my action word
  •  The back of the book features an actual riddle 
I'm not saying my choices are the right ones, or that they can't be improved. In fact, I may change the cover down the road. What I learned is that the process for choosing a title, sub-title, and design is time-consuming and crucial to the overall final product.

That's enough for today on my journey into self-publishing, here's my second book. There's an eBook version as well, but it's in the approval stage. It should be showing in a day or so. 

Oh, and yes, I've started the third book: It's not poetry, it's not a riddle book, it's not a novel, oh what could it be?

Here's book number two. Available on Amazon.
Note: I'm an Amazon Associate, but the above link
does not have my Associate ID in it.




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:


The Review This Contributors

Cynthia SylvestermouseCynthia SylvestermouseDawn Rae BDawn Rae BMary Beth - mbgphotoMary Beth - mbgphotoBrite-IdeasBrite-IdeasBev OwensBev OwensWednesday ElfWednesday ElfBarbRadBarbRadOlivia MorrisOlivia MorrisRenaissanceWoman2010Renaissance
Woman2010
Lou16Lou16The Savvy AgeThe Savvy AgeTreasures by BrendaTreasures by BrendaMargaret SchindelMargaret SchindelBuckHawkBuckHawkDecoratingforEventsDecorating
forEvents
Heather426Heather426Coletta TeskeColetta TeskeMissMerFaeryMissMerFaeryMickie_GMickie_G

 

Review This is Dedicated to the Memory of Our Beloved Friend and Fellow Contributor
We may be apart, but You Are Not Forgotten

Susan DeppnerSusan Deppner

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

X