Showing posts with label Gifts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gifts. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Reviewing The Love Of A Friend

Honoring Friendship

My review today won't be about a product but instead will be about the love of a friend, a long time friend who was given her wings this weekend. She will no longer be here physically to talk to but she will always be in my heart. How could she not be in my very soul? We were friends for 56 years! Almost 6 decades of wonderful memories. Times of laughter, times of sorrow, times of struggle, and times of triumph; we shared them all.

love of a freind
There is nothing like the love of a friend
image courtesy of pixabay.com
Our friendship had an odd beginning. It began the year we entered 7th grade. We both came from small towns in small school districts. Those two districts had consolidated bringing us together that first year of consolidation. We had a lot in common before we ever sought each other out. We were both the oldest child in our family and we were both being raised by a single Mom. In 1964 divorce wasn't at all common, not in our area anyway. Up until the day our two schools merged, both of us were the only family in our school whose parents had divorced. Neither of us had someone to talk to about how we felt; to understand what divorce does to the kids. We both felt a little lost.

Oddly, my Mom had a date with her Dad. As far as our parents are concerned, that part of the story fizzled out pretty quickly. What did come out of that random date was a friendship that bonded the two of us quickly. Suddenly there was someone who understood! There was someone who cried with you when you missed your Dad. A person who didn't say dumb stuff like, "I'm not allowed to hang out with you anymore because you don't have a Dad." We would laugh about that one, of course we both had fathers; they just didn't live with us anymore. Comments like that seem odd in today's society but back then we both heard it a lot.

Looking back, I think we were meant to be friends. The connection was instant and strong. It almost seemed like in the matter of 5 minutes we were soul sisters. We were pretty much inseparable from that first day. There wasn't much we didn't do together. Trust me we did a whole heck of a lot together! It is probably best if most of that behavior is not mentioned here. 

We planned our weddings together, we had children together and raised them at the same time. As time passed we lived away from each other and there might be spans of time that we didn't see or speak to each other for months. You must remember that back then we didn't have cell phones or computers to connect with. A phone call to your friend was long distance and cost money to make; money that was short in supply in our early married lives. My granddaughters don't even know what a long distance phone call is! Anyway, my point is that after months of not seeing or talking to each other we would begin like we had just seen the other the day before. 

friendship
Friends hold your hand through life
image courtesy of pixabay.com

It is pretty special to have a friend that loves you through it all. They know all your faults and love you anyway. Her friendship was special like that, it is something I have always treasured and been in awe of. I've had many friends throughout my life but none quite like her. She was special.

When her daughter called me last week, things went very quickly. I wasn't able to go hold her hand one last time. I didn't get to tell her how much she has always meant to me. At first that broke my heart but then I realized that she of all people knew. She knew I wouldn't be able to come because of the restrictions the world is going through and she also knew that I loved her. It was more important that she be able to spend those last few days with her children, her grandchildren and her family. I'm glad she got that time with them. 

As much as it hurts to lose her, I'm finding comfort in that she didn't have to suffer very long. She had a rare form of cancer that took her quickly. I'm glad she was spared months and possibly years of pain and those horrible treatments. God was going to take her anyway, I'm actually thankful He took her before she had to go through much of that. Those of us who love her have lost her physical being but her spirit lives on in all of us. We have our memories to cherish as we continue on without her. I don't doubt for a minute that our souls will reunite. She is waiting, she is getting things ready, she will be standing there with open arms when I meet her again. Her fight is over but her memory will live on through all who knew her. Rest in peace my sweet dear friend!

My final message in this post is to remind you of that special friend you have shared your life with. Reach out to her or him and let them know what they mean to you. I don't care if you just spoke yesterday, tell them again today. Tomorrow is not a guarantee for any of us, make sure that those you love know how you feel today.






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Saturday, February 8, 2020

Reviewing the Perfect Valentine's Day Card

What is it that makes the perfect Valentine's Day Card?   Do you know?  I do!


the perfect valentines day card


What makes the perfect Valentine's Day card is YOU!   Knowing and caring for your special person means that whatever card you choose will be the perfect Valentine's Day card.

There can be so much pressure on new couples around February 14th as they try and find the perfect card, the perfect gift or the perfect date.   I've even known someone who always broke off his relationships (if he happened to be in one when February began) just so he didn't have to deal with Valentine's Day!   Luckily he has now settled down with the love of his life and they don't celebrate Valentines Day at all.

My husband and I don't usually celebrate Valentine's Day as it's only a week after our wedding anniversary, but when we first started dating we did and I couldn't tell you what gifts I received, but the cards were the important thing.  My husband always says he's useless at choosing cards (and I must admit I do wonder where he goes sometimes until I open them up!), but he always finds one that says the perfect thing (for me that is) or a blank one when he's feeling like writing me a few paragraphs about what I mean to him.

So what is the perfect Valentine's Day card?   It's the one that shows the person you care for how much you care by either knowing what they love or by expressing your feelings for them or both.

If the person you love enjoys poetry by the likes of Poe then they may appreciate a Gothic Valentine's Day card, if you first bonded over the Walking Dead or on a Zombie walk then check out some of the Zombie Valentine's Day cards available.

Maybe your partner is a math geek or loves the Doctor in which case one of these Geeky Valentine's Day cards might be up their street.

If I was purchasing a card for my husband this year then any dog Valentine's Day card would be a winner, but this one would probably get him misty eyed -




If my daughter was getting her partner a Valentine's Day card (and I suspect they will be) then she'd probably get either a car one or one like this -




Would you guess they both love boxers?   Whereas my hubby is a total sucker for any Staffy type of dog.

The perfect Valentine's Day card is one that says I know you, or I'm listening to you.   So what type of Valentine's Day card would be perfect for the special person in your life?


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.”


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Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Puzzles for Puzzle Day or Any Day: A Review

Puzzles for Puzzle Day or Any Day: A Review
Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay 


I love puzzles. I especially love jigsaw puzzles. It satisfies me to find the exact puzzle piece to fit into the space designed for it. I'm delighted when I finally finish a puzzle -- especially if it's a large one. Are you a puzzle fan, too?


Puzzle Day is January 29


If you didn't plan ahead or don't have time to work a puzzle on January 29, why not celebrate by buying a new puzzle you love, instead. Then enjoy it on any convenient day. Or have a puzzle party with your family or invite a friend or two to help you work your new puzzle. There are many excellent reasons to spend some of your leisure time working jigsaw puzzles.

Here's What Working Puzzles Can Do for You

  • Working puzzles can help you relax. When we work puzzles, we focus on our process instead of on our problems and the things that add stress to our lives.
  • Working a puzzle offers a welcome break from electronics and media. It lets us work at a slower pace and really focus instead of having our attention constantly refocused.
  • If you live alone, working a puzzle can keep you so absorbed you may forget you are lonely. Put on your favorite music and have a party for one. It beats television.
  • Working puzzles helps keep your brain working well. It keeps both sides of your brain busy and since both sides need to work together to complete a puzzle, the connections between the right and left sides of your brain grow stronger. The left side helps you sort pieces and figure out where to put them. The more creative right side uses your intuition as you consider where pieces may fit into the big picture or the individual section you are working on. Exercising your brain with puzzles may delay the onset of dementia or slow it down. The brain also produces dopamine when it's helping you work jigsaw puzzles.
  • Working puzzles together can foster closeness in families and between friends. Working a puzzle together is a social activity that puts people together who have a common purpose – working the puzzle – for an extended time. They may start by planning how to work the puzzle, deciding who will do what, but later they will naturally move on to subjects they probably wouldn't usually have time to discuss. Contributor  Dawn Rae has also written about her experience with puzzles paving the way for quality time. 
  • When children begin working jigsaw puzzles, it helps them develop many important skills. Among these are fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, problem solving skills, color awareness, spatial relations, concentration, and working towards a goal.

Jigsaw Puzzle Strategy


Like most jigsaw fans, I have a strategy. Mine is pretty common.
  • Turn over all the pieces first so you know what you have to work with.
  • Find the pieces with straight edges and make the frame by forming and  connecting the edges.
  • Make sure everyone working on the puzzle can see the cover on the box as they work.
  • Try to complete one section of the puzzle at a time until it comes together to complete the picture.
Do you also use that strategy?

Finding the Right Puzzle

For the happiest puzzle working experience, you need to choose the right puzzle for your time, your skill level, and your interests. You will be looking at that puzzle for a long time. If you're a beginner, choose a smaller puzzle of about 200-300 pieces to develop your skills before moving on. Chose a puzzle with smaller blocks of color and many shapes instead of a puzzle with lots of sky or water that's the same color. That makes it easier to figure out which pieces fit.

I like nature. I created this puzzle from one of my photos of the sunset at Larry Moore Park. It comes in many sizes, but for a beginner I'd choose the 252-piece size. There is enough  variation in color and the tree branch shapes to make it easy to see how pieces may fit together. (Check out some of the other California places I made into puzzles.)




As you become more proficient, choose more challenging puzzles with more areas the same color or less pronounced subjects or designs. Or choose a larger puzzle of 750 pieces or more with a design you love and may want to frame afterwards. (Contributor Bev Owens reviews a great way to preserve puzzles you want to frame.) I love books and cats. This 750-piece puzzle by Buffalo Games is one I'd love to have on my wall. Buffalo Games makes quality puzzles. If you click through, you will see what makes them so special.





If you want to get your preschooler off to a good start, you can't go wrong with a Melissa and Doug puzzle. I used to sell these at homeschool conventions and there is a wooden puzzle to fit every interest and ability level. I like these sets for children 3-5 years old. Children this age love color and animals. The puzzles in the first set have both. These puzzles come packed in convenient wooden trays. But if you want something more educational, the pegged set has puzzles that teach the alphabet, numbers, and shapes. The pieces in this set have pegs to make them easy to lift out so that children can find the attractive pictures underneath each puzzle piece.







Puzzles Make Great Gifts

When you gift someone with a puzzle, consider the receiver's age, interests, and previous experience. You can even use a special photo to make a personalized puzzle at Zazzle, such as the one I made of the tree in the sunset I showed you above. Just click that puzzle. It will take you to the product page. Click “customize” on the top right of the page under “Designed for You.” It will show you many options. The first allows you to substitute your own photo. You can also add text if you wish.

Puzzles make great gifts for grandparents and older friends who live alone. It will help them keep their thinking sharp and give them something fun to do by themselves or with a friend.

Give a young child a puzzle and you will be helping to develop that child's brain. Give a puzzle with a related book for a double treat that will let the child be thinking of the book as they work the puzzle.

Maybe you should also gift your own family with a new puzzle to work together.
Whatever day it is, happy Puzzle Day.







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.”


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Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Monopoly Unicorns vs Llamas Game Reviewed

A Different Game of Monopoly

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

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

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

Slightly Different Play in the Game

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

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

Board Games Encourage Family Time

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

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





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.”


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Wednesday, December 4, 2019

I Like Big Books and I Cannot Lie Gift Ideas

I Like Big Books and I Cannot Lie Gift Ideas


I LIKE BIG BOOKS AND I CANNOT LIE


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


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

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

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

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

T-SHIRTS


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

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

I Like Big Books Women's T-Shirt


HOME DECOR


I Like Big Books and I Cannot Lie Cushion

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

I Like Big Books and I Cannot Lie Print

Upcycled I Like Big Books Quotation Print

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

COFFEE MUGS


I Like Big Books and I Cannot Lie Coffee Mug

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

I Like Big Books Coffee Mug


ENAMEL PIN AND UPCYCLED BOOKMARK

I Like Big Books Enamel Pin


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

I Like Big Books and I Cannot Lie Bookmark


TOTE BAG


I Like Big Books and I Cannot Lie Tote Bag

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

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

See you
At the bookstore!
Brenda

Quick Links:

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










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.”


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Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Reading, The Gift that Keeps on Giving in So Many Ways

Reading is a gift, a renewable, ever changing, gift that covers all ages and stages of life.

There is no doubt that many of the writers here at Review This Reviews love to read!  You just need to take a quick look at all the Book Reviews to know that there are many readers with varied tastes in subjects to read about.  There are even some authors on our Review This Reviews pages too!

What I am most interested in sharing with you today is  some timely ideas to help youngsters become avid readers.  

Why?  Well it is well known that reading is the basic building block for a lifetime of learning.  No truer words were ever written, and it bears repeating!  


READING IS THE BASIC BUILDING BLOCK FOR A LIFETIME OF LEARNING!

What's the best way to start a child on this road to learning?

That's an easy one to answer!  There is no time like the present to begin a child on a path to explore and learn new things.  Children are magnets for learning and giving them the tools can't start too early.  One of the best gifts you can ever give any child, is books.  You night not expect that books would be a great Baby Shower Gift, but I'm here to tell you differently.  So many times the new parents are inundated with cute outfits, booties and all the paraphanalia needed for their babies.  Give them a gift that will stand out!  Books, Classic Books that will become favorites for their children as they years go by.  Books that can be read by the parents and grandparents.  Books that will fuel their creativity and at the same time become the basis for their language skills.

Here is a list of Classic Books that will be a great start to any child's library:
  1. The Tale of Peter Rabbit
  2. A Bear Called Paddington
  3. Little Golden Books
  4. The Velveteen Rabbit
  5. A Treasury of Curious George
  6. Elmo's Big Book of Friends
  7. My Favorite Berenstain Bears Collection
  8. Classic Storybook Fables
  9. On the Night You Were Born
  10. The Very Hungry Caterpillar
The last two books on this list are "modern" classics.  The other 8 suggestions are stories that have been around since you were a child.  They are the "Classics" that really should be in every child's library.  They have withstood the test of time and are still found to be entertaining and full of great life lessons. 

How to keep your child entertained while reading:


Our goal as parents and grandparents is to keep our children motivated to enjoy the story we are telling them.  At the end of a long day, make time for reading.  Set the children's bed time for a half hour earlier than when you actually want them to close their eyes.  This time is set apart for reading!  Unless they are sick, make sure that you do this on a regular basis.  If not every day, then maybe 3 days a week.  Make the reading time not just a page turning experience, but be expressive in reading so that by your tone, they will know something exciting is going to happen.    Using the pictures in the story to keep our children's imaginations fueled will go a long way in them wanting you to turn more pages.  




What happens when they have a favorite book and they just don't want you to read another?


First of all don't worry, that is perfectly normal.  Certain books just have that quality that makes children want to hear the story again and again.  This is actually a great time to teach them to sight read certain words, because they already know the story off by heart.  Pointing to the words and showing them how the word sounds out, will help them to recognize that word in other stories too.  When our children would ask for the same story over and over and over again, we got creative in telling the story so that we would not be bored to tears.  I can remember one night in particular, when it was Dad's turn to read, he was so tired of reading story the way it was written, that he took the book and read it backwards.  Starting at the last page, he worked his way to the front and the children laughed and laughed so hard, that I needed to get up and see what in heaven's name was going on.  Well, needless to say from that point onwards, the children wanted the book read forwards and backwards.  Bedtime or reading time was just increased another 15 minutes to accommodate the extra reading.  What a great way to make them enjoy their stories in a whole new way.

Other Great Ways to Get Children Started on Reading!  


Reading starts with children grabbing a book and turning the pages.  As I said earlier, you can't start this habit too early.  So get your babies/children books that are make especially for them.  There are soft books made of fabric, that can be put into cribs or playpens.  They are usually filled with colorful pages and pictures.  Even babies love to turn pages that have something special on them.  Books with flaps that lift, tabs to pull and bits and pieces of sensory friendly fabrics are a must have for little hands.  Tactile fabrics, squeakers  or buttons that you can push are extras that little hands just love to play with.



So much fun in a book for little hands and growing minds.

 For Parent's Who Love to Tell Stories


For Parent's who are natural story tellers, there are also some really great picture books that will help you tell stories and get your child to interact at the same time.  Our children loved the "Where's Waldo" books.  They would sit for long periods of time looking at all the different pictures and looking for Waldo, who, you knew, was hiding in the pages somewhere.  What made these fun and interactive was the places and situations that Waldo would find himself in.

Richard Scarry books are also great for young readers.  They can learn about trucks and trains, planes and places.  His wonderfully illustrated books make it easy for parents to tell the story and sometimes segue into stories of their own.  Your imagination and the help of these books will fuel your child's world and widen their perspectives on everyday things around them.

We are our children's first educators and we teach them by spending quality time with them in a number of activities.  Reading is one of the most important activities.  It's the start of a life long love of books, that will see your children expand their horizons and will help educate them too.

It all starts with ABC and it will take them anywhere their minds can imagine and more.  Avid readers are the start of a life long love of learning new things.  They will develop a critical mindset that will help them in their everyday lives as they grow and mature.  Reading will never ever go out of style or popularity either.  Books will remain part of their lives from now until they are reading to their children too!

Will your favorites as a child, become your children's favorites too?

It could happen, but they might also find a story that is their own favorite and that is okay too!  There isn't one book that is "better" than another.  Everyone needs to find their own favorites and expand from that point on!  Books will give your child more than a 30 second sound bite of information.  Let's encourage our children to make good choices in how they spend their leisure time by having some great books for them at all stages of their reading skills.











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Saturday, November 2, 2019

Lego City Fire Station - Reviewing Lego Set #7208

"Lego Set 7208" "Lego City Fire Station" "Lego Fire Station"
Buy Lego City Fire Station here!


For new readers, I used to review Lego sets years ago and my favorite range was definitely the Lego City range.   I even had an alter ego called Leo who has made a surprise appearance on Review This Reviews while reviewing the Lego Creator Holiday Bakery set.

Now I know that all things fireman related are always popular with children and I can relate as when I was younger my dad was a fireman so I got to ride in a fire engine for real and even go down the fire pole (yes it is as fun as it looks!).   It's no surprise then that the Lego City Fire Station would be a popular set.   Why don't we review it now?

Lego City would not be complete without a fire station and they have a great one with Lego City Fire Station (7208)!

This Lego City set contains 662 pieces and once completed provides hours and hours of fun (much like the rest of the Lego City range).   The fire station is fully manned with a whole shift on duty at any given time - this means that you get not 1, but 5 firemen minifigures which is just fantastic in my opinion.

The set also includes a fire truck that has a ladder which actually rotates - just what you need to rescue people from the top of a burning building.   There is even a cat and a tree that it can fit in so that the fireman can 'rescue' it.

No expense has been spared by Lego City in making sure their fire fighters have everything they need including a second vehicle which is a much smaller one that's ideal for their rescue work.

There are lots of little inclusions in this set which are fun like a coffee machine, a television and a table with a computer.  I always think that it's often these little extras which are important when it comes to playing with the set after it's been built.


Lego Fire Station Set
Lego City Fire Station with a Fire Engine & Fire Rescue Truck


Now once you've got the Lego City Fire Station you can rest assure that the citizens of Lego City will all be safe, but I'm a great believer in that you can never be too careful so if you wanted to you could get more fire sets such as a fire fighting helicopter to keep any bush fires on the outskirts of the city under control!   If you want to check out all of the Lego City fire sets then you can find the best selecion at - Lego City Fire Sets.


A Couple of Warnings for This Lego City Fire Set

The first one is that once they have this fire set many children will then request one of the Police Station sets (unless they already have them that is)!  I mean do you know of any cities that have a fire station, but no police station?

The other thing to be aware of with this set is that once it's built it shouldn't be moved.   The downside is that it's not built on one of the larger base plates so when you try and move it you'll find it breaks and has to be rebuilt.   What this means is if you have room build it in situ so that your child can play with it where it is, if you don't have room then build it on a tray or something that it can be carried on.

Lego Sets Stimulate Children's Minds & Imaginations

Lego sets are great for children as the process of building the set stimulates their mind into figuring out how to build it whether your child chooses to follow the instructions or try and figure it out on their own.   Actually putting the set together is good for their fine motor skills which is invaluable.

Lego also helps a child to learn patience and perseverance as they have to take their time to build the set before they can play with it.

Once a set is built Lego keeps giving as now it's time to play and there's nothing like a Lego City set to stimulate a child's imagination and they can spend hours playing with them.

What Do You Think Of Lego?


Do you think Lego sets make great gifts for children?   Or do you enjoy them yourself?   If you love Lego yourself or have a Lego fan to buy for then why not check out all of our Lego Reviews.


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.”


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Monday, July 8, 2019

A Dog's Life By Peter Mayle


Are you ready to smile? Smiling, laughing and nodding are the side effects from reading this delightful book, A Dog's Life by Peter Mayle. This book is actually two books in one with the engaging illustrations by Edward Koren. So onward with a two books in one review!

A Dogs Life Book Review


The Point Of View

This is a story of a rescue dog in Provence named Boy by his new parents. What is different about this narrative is the tale is told by Boy ... in his own words.

Boy is thoughtful, introspective, funny, witty, dry and very on point with his observations of the household, his city, his new furry sisters, his parents and how life rolls in Provence.

I'm still laughing over his description of rolling in the grass, why it is a good idea, why he likes to roll over smelly 'things' in the grass and then the consequences of the behavior. Which leads us to ...


The Other Point Of View

Boy is also a philosopher and keen observer. As he says one of his best strengths is his keen ability to observe then adapt; definitely a strength when being adopted into an established household.

I very much enjoyed Boy's take on his new humans, siblings and household. In A Dog's Life he tells his story enhanced by his view of what others are thinking, the why behind their actions and how he will fit in his new home.


The Furry Topics 

Boy runs the gamut of topics he finds interesting but are also of interest to dog parents. He answers those human questions of "Why would...?" "How could ..." "Did you really do that...?" of:

  • Picking The Dog's Name (and lifelong implications)
  • Dog Birthday Parties
  • Rolling In Stuff!
  • Baths
  • Cats
  • New Siblings
  • Food Bowl Etiquette
  • Tasting Parties
  • The Art Of Communication

and much more!

The Illustrations

I love hand drawn illustrations and the illustrations by Edward Koren are fabulous. The illustrations are an integral component of A Dog's Life and can be enjoyed on their own merit. I liken the illustrations to editorial cartoons drawn from a dog's point of view.

Recommendation Of A Dog's Life

I highly recommend this book for all dog owners or dog fans. It is a perfect gift for all occasions including a fun gift for the new dog parent. Smiles and are guaranteed throughout the book along with frequent nods of agreement as to why dogs are so special, so beloved and so part of the family.

More Dog Reviews

Favorite Dog Harness - The Puppia

Kong Cloud Collar




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Saturday, June 1, 2019

Zazzle's Grocery Tote Bags Make The Perfect Library Bags

owl grocery tote bag adult library bag
Purchase through Zazzle
Today I'm going to review how great Zazzle's grocery tote bags are as adult library bags.   I recently came back from a visit with my mom that prompted me to write this review as she is still using a bag I designed for her (that can be found in my Hooting Owls Zazzle Store) back in 2013.

My mum has always loved owls so I decided to create a tote bag for her with an owl design on it for Christmas 2013.   When I gave it to her she decided it would be her library bag.   Now my mum is an avid user of the library, not only that when I stay with her, my brother stays with her or her grandchildren stay with her we all use the library ... and her library bag.

Now this bag has had it's strength severely tested over the years as it has been extremely overloaded with books especially when a few of us have been staying at the same time!   It is still going strong and there's no sign of any distress whatsoever.

It has been washed on countless occasions over the last five and a half years and I do believe that the design may be a little faded (although it looked more faded in real life than the photos when it was brand new), but I can't be sure.

There's only been one occasion when this bag caused any distress and that was when my mother thought she'd lost it.   Luckily it's a distinctive design and one of the local ladies at the supermarket recognized it when mum left it in the trolley and gave it to her the next time she saw her!   Definitely a great reason to get a customized tote bag!

I cannot recommend these tote bags enough, in fact I've already reviewed them here on Review This, but having recently used this bag again and realizing how long it has been regularly used I felt it needed to be reviewed again.


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Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Four of the Best Father's Day Gifts for the Handy Dandy Dad Reviewed

The next big event on the horizon for everyone to get excited about is Father's Day!  I know my teacher friends are already busy getting the craft ideas ready so that Dad's will get a nice surprise on June 16th.  

Key finder,Tile,  father's day

I'd like to bring your attention to some interesting handy gifts that any Dad will want and enjoy too.

Whether they are true handy men or not, these tools will stand the test of time and usability.  I know from experience that even mom's would appreciate this gift. (What does that tell you?)

So what do I have in  store for you? Let's see!


Number One Father's Day Gift


Vitorinox, better known as the Swiss Army Knife, comes in a wide variety of styles. This one shown has a 5 out of 5 star rating and it is the one that my husband got many years ago from his children. He is never without it. I cannot tell you how many times he has tightened a nut and bolt on the kids' bikes or used it to pry out something that was stuck where it should not have been and so on.  This knife is small, but fits nicely in his hand to use and into his jeans when he's done.  I think the only time he's without it is when we are at a wedding or a function where we are all dressed up.  Even then, this knife is so handy that it  would fit into his jacket pocket without being too bulky.  It truly is a handy and useful tool that every father should have.  You just never know when you might need it.  It will not replace his tool box, but in a pinch the Swiss Army Knife is ready to do the job.


Number Two, Three and Four

There are countless father's out there that on a busy morning have forgotten where they put their keys or their cell phone. 


 Let's get that crazy picture out of our heads and find a way to make that scenario a thing of the past.  There is a new gadget out there that will help to make Dad's life a little easier.  It's call the "Tile"




It's a little gadget that will really get used!  Just this past weekend I was with my grandchildren and Dad misplaced his keys.  Frantic running around ensued, when his  lovely wife says,  "Tile your keys with your phone!"  Lo and behold, his keys started "chirping" and the sound was getting louder till one of the kids came up with the "lost" keys.  The whole search process lasted less than a minute, and dad was on his way. Everyone had smiles on their faces too!




This item is Number two, three and four, for good reason.  With this package you get Four Tiles.  They are small,so they can be attached to several different objects!  Most people use them for their keys, but you can attach the Tile to almost anything.  If your briefcase isn't where you thought it should be, you can add a Tile to that.  It has a small hole in one corner so that you can attach it with split rings to almost anything.  Afraid someone will notice the "Tile" on your briefcase?  No problem, mount the "Tile" in the briefcase and no one but you knows it's there.  Problem solved and future problems averted!  This is a #1 Best Seller.

**Now the only thing I dislike about this package is that this model of the "Tile" only lasts one year.  Newer models are made with replaceable batteries but will cost you about double what this package runs.  If you are not sure that this would be a workable item for your Dad, you could always try it for the year and then decide if you should upgrade to the newer models.  It would be something to think about.  
**This is my own personal opinion!

 Fathers all over the world will be proud of their families and best of all,  they will all be Handy Dandy Dads with your help!

Father's Day, Gift ideas for men, Swiss Army Knife, Tile





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Monday, May 6, 2019

Lava Stone Bracelet Review

Reviewing my beautiful Basalt bracelets.
I recently purchased a pair of lava stone bracelets and am very happy with them. They are available on Amazon. As another reviewer says, "don't be fooled by the price".  At this price, I half expected to receive cheap synthetic trinkets. But I was surprised to receive beautiful stone bracelets. These bracelets are a great gift to give and an awesome treat for yourself.


Lava Stone Bracelets 


I was shopping for Lava Stone specifically. So I was thrilled that there were many options to choose from: lava stone, tigers eye (brown or blue), malachite, wooden beads, and howlite. 

These bracelets are fully adjustable due to the sliding knot. Pull each end of the cord to tighten. Pull each side of the bracelet to loosen. I have a small wrist - just under 7".  These bracelets snug up to fit me perfectly.  Open to it's widest, my bracelet measures approximately 13". 



There are many places to purchase a Lava Stone bracelet but I purchased mine on Amazon by M MOOHAM. My pair of bracelets arrived quickly. They were packaged in a soft drawstring bag and inside a cardboard box.





Reasons to Buy a Lave Stone Bracelet


Yoga Bracelets:  People seem to use the term "yoga bracelet" to mean either as a Mala for meditation, as stones that are thought to have healing or calming properties, or as some combination of those two things. Malas are used in meditation by counting along the string of beads during a chant. Malas and other jewelry are often made from stone beads. Those stones are thought to have properties that benefit us.  
For example:
"Lava Stone is a grounding stone that strengthens one's connection to Mother Earth. It gives us strength and courage, allowing us stability through times of change. It provides guidance and understanding in situations where we may need to "bounce back". A calming stone, it is very useful in dissipating anger"            -- from CharmsofLight.com

Wearable Essential Oil Diffuser:  Many people like essential oils either for the fragrance or for the calming properties. Lava stones can be used as a wearable oil diffuser. Simply rub a drop or two of your favorite oil onto a lava stone.  Allow the oil several minutes to dry before wearing.

Fashion Accessory:  Wear these lava stone bracelets just because they look good. 

My interest in lava stone (also called Basalt) is increasing because of my recent purchase of a Basalt stone bird bath. I fell in love with the stone and decided to purchase a basalt bracelet to wear.

Related Link:

Our Louanne shared a review about her essential oil diffuser necklace. She includes "how to" photos in her article about this functional and beautiful piece of jewelry. If you prefer necklaces to bracelets, her necklace may be just what you are looking for. 


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Friday, February 8, 2019

Stonewall Kitchen Pancake Mix, Maine Syrups & Gift Set Reviewed

Stonewall Kitchen Pancake Mix, Maple Syrup & Gift Set Reviewed
I love cooking for my family, therefore a gift for my kitchen is always the right gift.  

When I received my Stonewall Kitchen gift set this year from my husband, I was immediately thrilled by the pretty blueberry batter bowl.  I admit, my one weakness is mixing bowls.  I love them, especially if they have a spout.  

I was also pretty excited to try a new pancake mix.  Turns out, I prefer the Stonewall Kitchen pancake mix to any other that I have ever tried.  That is rather surprising since I have used a popular grocery store brand for decades and have always liked the flavor and texture of the store brand.  However, the Stonewall Kitchen pancake & waffle mix has a better taste. 

The gift set also came with Wild Maine Blueberry Jam and Wild Maine Blueberry Syrup.  By now, you have probably guessed it was a blueberry themed gift set.  He also gave me a bottle of Wild Maine Maple Syrup separately.  Actually, he probably bought that for himself, but it was included with the gift.


Stonewall Kitchen Farmhouse Pancake & Waffle Mix


 Stonewall Kitchen Farmhouse Pancake and Waffle MixCheck Price If you love pancakes, and you prefer using a mix, you will want to try the Stonewall Kitchen Farmhouse Pancake & Waffle Mix.  As I said in the introduction, I was extremely surprised to find that I prefer it to the brand that I have used for a lifetime.

The mix requires that an egg, milk & melted butter be added, but I always have those on-hand, so no problem.  I quickly whipped up the batter and made our first batch of pancakes.  I wasn't sure what to expect since the batter was a lot thinner than other pancake batters, but my fears were unfounded.  The pancakes were delicious.

When we sat down to eat, neither one of us was talking, we were too busy eating!



My Preferred Method for Cooking Pancakes


 Oster Electric Skillet, 16 Inch, Black/Stainless SteelCheck PriceIt is important that I note how I cook the Stonewall Kitchen mix pancakes.  I use my electric skillet, set to 350°, with about a half-inch of Crisco vegetable oil covering the bottom of the skillet.  In effect, I am frying my pancakes in oil, uncovered.  I turn the pancakes when bubbles start to form on the side that is up.  I only turn them once.

Because the clean-up is easier, the second time I made these pancakes, I used my Cuisinart Griddler.  I can also cook more pancakes at one time since the Griddler opens out flat which allows me to cook on two grills at the same time.  I didn't expect there to be much difference, but there definitely was a difference.  The pancakes were simply not as good.  They still tasted okay, but after the first batch cooked in the electric skillet, they were disappointing.

Therefore, from now on, I will always cook my Stonewall Kitchen pancakes in oil in my electric skillet.


The Stonewall Kitchen Syrups


I am a huge fan of blueberry syrup when it is really good, but I hate it if it tastes artificial.  My husband prefers Maple syrup, but like me, he is selective.  It has to be real maple syrup.

Few blueberry syrups live up to my standards.  Stonewall Kitchen Wild Maine Blueberry Syrup is, by far, the best I have ever eaten!  

Believe it or not, my husband has said that the Stonewall Kitchen Maine Maple Syrup is the best maple syrup he has ever tried.  Big wins there for Stonewall Kitchen!  We are both very picky when it comes to our pancake syrup.

Oh, and the bottles are really cute too!



 Stonewall Kitchen Breakfast Gift Baskets and Sets (5 Piece Blueberry Gift Set)Check PriceMy Stonewall Kitchen Blueberry Gift Set


Yeah, I know.   Now you all want my gift set too.  Well, you can't have mine, but you can have one like it.  I can tell you from experience, this is a great gift for the cook.

Do note though that the blueberry set comes with blueberry syrup.  You may also wish to purchase the Maine Maple Syrup separately like we did.

The gift set includes everything you see in the picture and comes wrapped in the cellophane bag tied with a Stonewall Kitchen ribbon like mine in the top photo.  

Gift Set Includes:
  • Farmhouse Pancake & Waffle Mix
  • Blueberry Batter Bowl
  • Wild Maine Blueberry Jam
  • Wild Maine Blueberry Syrup
  • Blue Spatula

 

 
Stonewall Kitchen Pancake Mix, Maine Syrups, & Gift Set Reviewed

 

Related & Relative Articles


I am not the only blueberry loving Contributor!  Olivia has previously revealed her love for the fruit too. Plus, you may have recognized the phrase I used in the introduction, "my one weakness".  That is actually a quote from Lark Rise to Candleford.  Dorcas Lane uses that descriptive phrase several times in the movie and it always tickles me to hear her say it.

You may have noticed the Stonewall Kitchen Pancake Mix is also for waffles. Literally, it is named Farmhouse Pancake & Waffle Mix. You can make those waffles in a really cute heart-shaped waffle maker that was reviewed here by Bev Owens.

Olivia reviews some of the best recipes, as well as a cookbook recommendation, for all of us who love to consume this delightful bit of heaven on earth!

Lark Rise To Candleford ReviewLark Rise To Candleford Review

Enjoy Lark Rise To Candleford the BBC series which inspires, enlightens and entertains the entire family. The Lark Rise to Candleford series is based on the semi-autobiographical novels by Flora Thompson

Mini Muffins- Bake Ahead and FreezeMini Muffins- Bake Ahead and Freeze
Mary Beth shared her own personal recipe for blueberry apple oat muffins here. She also gave us the basic recipe for her bake and freeze muffins which could include many different fruits & nuts.

Heart Waffle Maker ReviewedHeart Waffle Maker Reviewed
Bev reviewed this heart shaped waffle maker to make our waffles in the shape of a heart as an expression of our love. Small and lightweight this heart shaped waffle maker can be a fun addition to any kitchen.




Stonewall Kitchen Pancake Mix, Maple Syrup & Gift Set Reviewed Written by:
House of Sylvestermouse





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