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

Friday, December 11, 2020

A Fabulous Anti-Theft Designer Backpack Reviewed

Backpack Review

I stopped carrying a purse decades ago. For many years, I simply carried my wallet & keys in my jeans pockets. However, during the last year or so, I have enjoyed keeping my iPad with me so I would hear Ring camera notifications, could check maps, or simply read articles on the internet. It is really nice to have my iPad with me in the car or when I visit friends or family.  

I also like to keep my Propel water with me at all times.  Plus, my car now has a fob instead of a key.  A fob is more bulky in pockets than a key.  Sometimes I hook the fob on my jeans belt loop, but that is not very attractive and I don't always wear pants with loops. 

Unfortunately, now that I carry my iPad, my key fob & water everywhere I go, I need something to carry it all in instead of trying to carry them in my hands.  I tried a tote, but I really prefer having my hands free.  So, I went in search of a backpack.

I found exactly what I wanted and my parents gave it to me for my birthday!  Now that I have carried my backpack for a few months, I love it and can recommend it for many reasons.

 


My Westbronco Anti-Theft Backback - A Great Gift

It is hard to know where to start when reviewing this backpack.  Not only is it attractive, but it has a lot of wonderful features that recommend it over other backpacks.  Here is a list of the features that really matter to me.

 
  • Anti-Theft - the zipper opens in the back instead of the front
  • Attractive & Soft PU Leather
  • Water Resistant
  • 3 Pockets Inside (1 is a zipper pocket)
  • 2 Side Pockets (perfect for my water bottle)
  • 2 Exterior Zipper Pockets (on front side under the fold)
  • Top Attached Handle for Grab & Carry
  • Backpack Straps, plus a separate Detachable Shoulder Strap
  • Available in Several Colors 
  • Great Size for Women 

 WESTBRONCO Women Backpack PU Leather Anti-Theft Fashion Designer Backpack Ladies Shoulder BagCheck Price

 

The backpack came in a dust cover which is an awesome storage bag when I am not using it.  It truly does keep the dust off of the backpack while waiting for our next adventure.

I highly recommend this backpack for anyone who needs to carry several small items and doesn't like carrying a purse.  The problems I have had with backpacks in the past are eliminated by having the entry zipper against my back instead of accessible to anyone standing behind me.  I also prefer this smaller size that is big enough to hold an iPad, wallet (in the interior zippered pocket), key fobs, cellphone, water bottle and more.  I can even add my Kindle Fire so I can play my games when I am away from home.  

This backpack would also make a great overnight bag!







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Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Baking Clay a Hobby for All Ages and Stages of Life - A Gift Review

This year I will learn a new Hobby!  I will share it with the world and my granddaughter!

If we have learned anything this year, it's that our hobbies will keep us from climbing up the walls when we can't do the things that we are used to doing.  Pandemics and the need to keep ourselves isolated from harm, can do some strange things to people's psyches.  Don't fall into that trap or let the isolation rule you.  Learn to do something new and interesting to keep the depression/isolation at bay.



Crafting has long been a way to fill in "spare time" or do something that we enjoy.  It could be knitting, crocheting, baking or a host of other activities that will keep our minds and hands busy.  Photography, painting, leather crafts and paper crafts all fit that bill. You will find a host of "Hobbies" on Review This Review right here!

Today I'd like to offer another way to do that and it could be a way to connect with our children and grandchildren.  Time spent together is always time well spent.

Getting ready for the holidays is another way that we connect with each other.  This year though we may not be able to do quite as much of that as we would like to do.  But don't despair, there are other ways of connecting that will give you just as much pleasure.  You might even find in years ahead, that this was one of the best ways to connect with our loved ones.

So let's get on with it, shall we?

One of my Granddaughters this year has made a request that I really like.  Not only because she asked for this, but it will let her creativity and imagination come out in something physical!



Using her hands to create something that is in her mind, will help her and us to appreciate what a crazy imagination and vision she has.  There is no right or wrong with creating what is in your mind's eye.   Purple Polka Dotted Cats or Dogs are acceptable!  It is a place where everyone can let loose and show the rest of the world what is happening in your own personal space.  So what is it that will let her do this?

Well, it's not new, although it is much improved from the last time I looked at this product, and I like it much better than Play Doh (sorry playdoh)!  It allows you to create and  oven dry your creation, so that it is a finished product!





I love this oven dry clay, that comes in so many different colors (that's one of the improvements)!  This starter kit has 46 different colors of Oven Bake clay!   It is neatly organized in a container that keeps the clay and tools all in one place!  It has a whole range of tools and  findings (earrings, necklaces and brooches) so that her creative side can be "showcased" in something she has made for someone special in her life.  Mom, Grandma or friends can be "gifted" with one of a kind creations made by yours truly.  Or she can make something for herself!

But here's the twist!  I'm ordering two of these sets.  Why?  Well, one will be for my granddaughter and the other one for me!  When she and I are ready we will Facetime or Zoom and I will create something for her and hopefully she will create something for me!  I know she will enjoy this exercise in creativity and I will wear whatever she makes with the pride!  

You can bet that every time we are together (media wise) I will don my granddaughters gift so that she knows how much I enjoy her talents.  Hopefully the feeling will be mutual when she sees what I make for her.

These are the gifts that make hearts sing and add to memories that just can't be exchanged for "things" that you can buy.  I imagine that we will spend a great amount of time sharing our creativity and the joy of making something that no one will be able to copy!  One of a kind gifts that provide something to do and teach a new talent to young and old minds alike are winners in my book!

When all of the pandemic is over (hopefully soon) and we are able to come together again, I'm sure we will laugh about our "seeing" each other in all our creative glory!







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Monday, December 7, 2020

Reviewing Gift Ideas for People Who Crochet

People who learn to crochet often get hooked (pun intended) and always desire more yarn,
more supplies, and more time to crochet. We joke about our excessive hoards of yarn but would go shopping for more in the blink of an eye. My dream is to someday go on a Crochet cruise vacation (yes, those existed prior to social distancing limits) and if anyone would like to gift me a crochet cruise I'd happily accept. However, there are many great ideas for crochet gifts with smaller price tags. 



Crochet Gifts

There are so many gifts that can be given to someone who crochets. From Tshirts and mugs with messages that make yarn lovers smile to items that make the process of crocheting easier there is something for every crocheter. I've compiled a few samples in this review. 

Crochet sets. There are sets that include a little bit of everything. This set by BeCraftee is a good example: case, stitch markers, yarn needles, a set of hooks, and more. This is a great option and would be an appreciated gift. 

Crochet Set by BeCraftee

Yarn Bowls. What are yarn bowls?  They are wonderful "bowls" (usually made of wood or ceramic) that hold the balls of yarn that is currently being used. Why is this important? Because nothing is more irritating than knots in your yarn while you are crocheting or the balls of yarn rolling off the table or your lap while you are working. A yarn bowl holds the ball of yarn in one place while allowing it to spin freely while crocheting. A very functional item that is also a pretty gift.

Yarn Bowl by Athena's Elements


Round Knitting Looms.  Round looms aren't quite knitting or crocheting. With a bit of yarn, a hook, and a round loop almost anyone can make cute hats! I love my round knitting looms and use them when I want to add a bit of variety to my crafts or take a break from a large crochet item. I love my round looms so much that I wrote a separate review and you can see that here.

Round Loom Knitting Set

T-Shirts. This is a T-shirt that people who crochet will understand. There are others to chose from, with a variety of yarn and crochet messages. Some messages are funny, some a bit naughty, but this one fits me (and many people who crochet) perfectly!

T-shirts for Crocheters


Coffee Mugs. There are some really funny, and some really bawdy, coffee mugs with messages that suit crocheters perfectly - including a coffee mug that matches the T-shirt listed above. The message on this mug made me laugh and sums up 2020 perfectly.

Crochet Coffee Mug

Crochet Books

There are many books about crochet; stitch and pattern books galore! One of the best crochet books ever isn't about the stitches or patterns, it is about a young crochet phenom named Jonah Larson. You may have seen him on social media or talk shows with celebrities. I had. Even so, I didn't fully know his story. This book about this young man is a wonderful story and would make a wonderful gift. You can read my full review here

Hello Crochet Friends by Jonah Larson


This list is a small sample of the many pattern and crochet stitches books:

A to Z of Crochet: The Ultimate Guide for the Beginner to the Advanced Crocheter

Dog Sweater Crochet: Step by Step Guide to Get Crochet Sweater for Your Dogs

Big Book of Christmas Crochet 

Cats in Hats: 30 Knit and Crochet Hat Patterns for Your Kitty


Gift Cards !!!!

Does my list of options make your head spin? Are there too many options? If so, you can never go wrong with gift cards. Amazon offers many crochet and crafting items. Joann Fabrics and Michaels are two of my favorite crafting stores. All of these cards are available through Amazon - which is an convenient way to give long-distance gifts. I especially like (giving and receiving the Amazon gift cards in the holiday tins. Others prefer the digital/emailed gift cards.

Gift Cards

Crochet Stocking Stuffers

Like many people who crochet, I feel that I could always use more hooks, stitch markers, measuring tapes, round counters, and other small items. These items make excellent stocking stuffers.

Dedicated Scissors or Yarn Cutter. There is nothing more annoying than crocheting and having to get up to look for scissors. I eventually bought a pair of dedicated scissors that are supposed to be used for crochet only. However, they still sometimes wander off. Also, I have found that pointed scissors in my project bag sometimes snag the yarn. So, my crochet scissors are currently blunted tipped scissors (like child's school scissors). I would very much like some of the ornamental "embroidery" scissors or this yarn cutter pendant by clover! Such a great idea. And ends the frustration of not being able to cut yarn when I need to.

Yarn Cutter by Clover


Locking Stitch Markers. Stitch markers are such a little thing but such a huge help. They are small, plastic pieces that work very much like a safety pin. But because they are plastic they do not snag your yarn. I never knew how much I needed stitch markers until I bough some. Now I can't do without them. I like them so much that I wrote a review that you can read here

Locking Stitch Markers


Counters. Another little gadget that helps keep track of rows or rounds, that I'm not sure how I managed without for all of those decades of crochet, is a counter. No more misplaced slips of paper trying to track what row or round I'm on in the pattern. Such a helpful tool to have.

Click Counter

 

Vacations for People Who Love Yarn

Cruises: Prior to 2020 and related pandemic restrictions, I was trying to determine how I could go on a crochet cruise. Mikey from the Crochet Crowd provides some of my favorite online video crochet tutorials. I was THRILLED when they began offering crochet cruises. Currently, of course, cruises are not being offered. But I am including this link for future reference. 

Fiber Festivals: An internet search for "Fiber Festivals" provides a list of festivals where yarns and crafting supplies are the focus. During normal times (when travel and gatherings are not restricted), you could plan a day trip to a local festival or a full vacation that includes a festival in the area you are visiting. 

Farm/Ranch/Fiber Mill Tours: Many people who love yarn crafts also want to know more about the fiber animals, spinning, dyeing: all of the steps in the process of creating natural yarns. Again, an internet search can locate Farms, Ranches, and Mills that are open for tours and sales of the fiber. In just a few moments, I located Mountain Meadow Mill (sheep/wool in Wyoming) and Mountain Hollow Farm Store and Studio (cashmere goats/yarn, classes, and more in Tennessee)





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Friday, December 4, 2020

Stocking Stuffers for Crafters & Sewing Enthusiasts Reviewed

As I was making my gift list for Christmas this year, I couldn't help but think how I wish "Santa" would fill my stocking with craft and sewing supplies. Yes, I have a craft room full of supplies, but when it comes to sewing or crafting fun, I can never have enough. 

As I mentally filled my stocking, I thought of several items I would wish to have added to my stocking.  The first thing that came to mind was small clipping scissors. 

The last time I was sewing, I looked in my machine drawer for my thread clipping scissors and could not find them.  I had to set my fabric aside, get up and get scissors from my sewing basket.  That was fine, but I hate breaking from any task.  It seems like it takes so long to get back to where I was, physically and mentally, after a break.

I also seem to easily misplace measuring tapes.  I would love to have a retractable measuring tape!  At one time in my life, I had one, but I have no idea what happened to it.  

As I continued to daydream about this fabulous stocking full of craft & sewing supplies, I added one item that I have always wanted to my list, an iron finger.  In case you are wondering, that is a tool that can be placed under or between fabric for smooth ironing.  It has one end that is shaped like a spatula with a pointed corner to push and hold fabric corners in place when ironing.  I really need an iron finger

I know I am not alone.  I personally know several crafters and sewing enthusiasts. Besides a love for all things sewing and crafting, we also share the insatiable desire for more.  Before my wondrous daydream ended, I had a jumbo stocking filled with awesome supplies that I am not sure how I have survived without.  

If you have a crafter or sewing enthusiast on your gift list, you may want to consider filling a stocking or gift basket with supplies.  I am certain it will be their favorite gift received.  Well, second to an enormous engagement ring. 

 

Recommended Craft & Sewing Supplies for Crafters & Sewing Enthusiasts
to Fill Stockings or Gift Baskets 

As an avid crafter, as well as a nonprofessional seamstress, I have a list of supplies I always need, as well as a list of things I would love to have.  Many of the items on my list are small enough to fit in a stocking.  Of course, a picture of a larger gift (like a new embroidery machine) would also be a fabulous surprise tucked inside a stocking.

If you don't sew or craft, some of these items may look or sound odd, but they will certainly be appreciated by the crafter or seamstress in your life.

  • Needles  (assorted sizes)
  • Sewing Machine Needles    
  • Straight Pins (with pretty heads for fun) 
  • Wristband Pin Cushion
  • Quilter's Thimble (even if they don't quilt, these thimbles are awesome) 
  • Needle Threader
  • Soft Measuring Tape
  • Retractable Measuring Tape
  • Seam Gauge
  • Wood Handle Seam Ripper
  • Small Clipping Scissors 
  • Thread (basic colors are always needed) 
  • Bobbins and/or Bobbin Case
  • Magnifiers 
  • Stitch Witchery
  • Iron Finger

 

     For The Crafter  (in addition to all of the above)

  • Assorted Bags of Beads
  • Assorted Ribbon 
  • Assorted Bags of Rhinestones
  • Assorted Bags of Pipe Cleaners, Wiggle Eyes, etc
  • Aleene's Crafter's Glue

You will be amazed by what wonderful crafts are inspired by the assorted bags of beads, rhinestones, pipe cleaners, ribbon, etc. listed above.


Additional Unexpected Craft & Sewing Gift Suggestions

Fingernail files (emery boards) are also something I keep in my craft room and sewing basket.  Some fabrics snag easily and they always seems to find that one nail that is starting to break.

Top off the stocking or gift basket with a sewing or crafting Christmas tree ornament.  Long after the supplies are used up, the recipient will have the ornament to remind them of your thoughtful gift that was clearly selected just for them.   

 Old World Christmas Ornaments: Spool Of Thread Glass Blown OrnamentsCheck Price Inspired Silver - Crafter Charm Ornament - Silver Pave HeartCheck Price Enesco Sew Happy It's Christmas Ornament, MulticolorCheck Price

 

 

For Shopping Convenience, I have created a Gift Idea Board on Amazon.  

Simply Click the Collection Of Your Choice Below

  

 






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Wednesday, December 2, 2020

How to Make A Christmas Cookie Gift Set...Without Baking

How to Make A Christmas Cookie Gift Set...Without Baking

When you think of Cookies at Christmas, what comes to mind? Probably a few good recipes and some great memories. What about a great Christmas cookie cookbook? A beautiful children's picture book? A Christmas apron or a cookie jar or a plate or even a coffee mug? That's what you'll find on this page. No recipe, just my tribute to the yummy Christmas cookie and a host of ideas for you to use to create a cookie themed gift set with no baking required though obviously fresh cookies would be a fabulous addition to any cookie gift set.

A COOKIE COOKBOOK


Rose's Christmas Cookies by Rose Levy Beranbaum

ROSE'S CHRISTMAS COOKIES


Let's start with this beautiful cookie cookbook by Rose Levy Beranbaum who is famous for her many beautiful baking books. Almost too beautiful to use, this one would make a very impressive Christmas gift for anyone who loves to bake. Find your copy of Rose's Christmas Cookies on Amazon by clicking here.

OUR CHRISTMAS COOKIES


One year I did the unthinkable. I didn't make our traditional Christmas cookies. My sister-in-law visited and she baked and that meant we had plenty of sweet treats in the freezer. I simply did not need to bake and so I didn't. I thought nothing of it and no one said anything, until a few months later when one of my sons referred to the Christmas when they didn't have any of their favorite Christmas cookies. I felt so bad and I will not be repeating that faux pas ever again though this Christmas, Christmas 2020, the year when we cannot have people drop by to say hello, I will definitely be cutting back since there are only two of us to eat cookies.

With the exception of that well-remembered year when I did not make any cookies, we normally have three kinds of cookies on hand at Christmas: the best-ever ginger crinkles, the best ever M&M cookies with Christmas colored M&Ms and the best-ever brownie bites. They're all easy, they're all yummy and they all freeze beautifully. Best of all, they offer a nice variety and when I put a plate of cookies out and I am fairly comfortable that I can please not only my family but anyone who drops in during the holidays.

The Best-Ever Brownies Recipes
Love chocolate? How about brownies? If you are looking for the best brownie recipe, you will find it here. Actually, you will find three of the best brownie recipes here. The first is for miniature Brownie Bites. They are perfectly simple,...

The Best-Ever Ginger Crinkles Molasses Cookie Recipe
We love these ginger crinkle cookies. There's nothing like their slightly crispy exterior and chewy interior with a cold glass of milk!

The Best-Ever M&M Cookies Recipe
This best-ever M&M cookie recipe makes irresistible cookies. Don't bake them unless you are prepared to eat them until they are all gone. 

A CHILDREN'S COOKIE BOOK




Paul Galdone's The Gingerbread Boy

Here are three great cookie-themed picture books for children. The first is not actually a Christmas story as The Gingerbread Boy makes his break for freedom in a season that definitely is not winter at least in my part of the world. Paul Galdone's version shown here is one of the classic versions and was my family's favorite. Featuring a barnyard full of critters and one foxy fox, the gingerbread man is unfortunately and as always undone in the end. You can find my complete book review of The Gingerbread Boy here or read more about the book on Amazon by clicking right here.

Christmas Cookies: Bite Size Holiday Lessons by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

The second book, Christmas Cookies: Bite Size Holiday Lessons by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, introduces your young child to new vocabulary words like 'tradition' and 'celebrate' in the context of good manners in certain social situations. It is a beautiful combination of wisdom and artistry. You can read my review of Christmas Cookies: Bite Size Holiday Lessons here or you can read more about it on Amazon by clicking here.

If You Take A Mouse To The Movies by Laura Numeroff

The third and final book, If You Take A Mouse To The Movies, is a special Christmas edition featuring that cookie-loving mouse that was created by Laura Numeroff in If You Give A Mouse A Cookie. The Christmas version has all sorts of extras including a CD and recipes. You can read my review If You Take A Mouse To The Movies here or you can buy it on eBay by clicking here. At the time of writing this post, I was unable to find it on Amazon.

A COOKIE APRON


Christmas Cookie Baking Team apron

An apron is such a practical and affordable gift idea. If you or someone you know spends a lot of time in the kitchen at Christmastime, you (or they) should definitely own a Christmas apron and there are so many great ones available. I love this Christmas Cookie Baking Team apron from Etsy and the fact that it can be personalized for all of the members of your baking team.  You can find it on Etsy by clicking right here.

A CHRISTMAS COOKIE JAR


A Christmas Cookie Cookie Jar

Nothing could be more fun than a cookie jar especially when it is full of cookies. I found this beautiful but simple glass cookie jar on Amazon. I love the idea that it will hold your Christmas treats and, when they are gone, go in your dishwasher for easy clean-up. You can find it on Amazon by clicking here. Gift it empty or even full of your favorite Christmas cookies.

A COOKIE PLATE


Waechtersbach Santa's cookies plate

This Waechtersbach Santa's cookies plate is perfect for leaving cookies out for Santa or simply serving cookies throughout the month of December. It would make a fine tradition for any family.  We love using the same plate every year. To find this plate and a few other Christmas-cookie themed ones, look to eBay  by clicking right here.

A COOKIE MUG


Disney's Mickey Mouse Cookie Coffee Mug

Yes, there's such a thing as a cookie mug and I don't mean a mug with the image of a cookie on it but rather a mug that has a pocket for holding your cookie. This is a fun one featuring Disney's Mickey Mouse and promising to deliver holiday cheer. Find it on Amazon by clicking here.

A COOKIE BAKING SET

A children's cookie baking set
Finally, I will close with this fun Stephen Joseph Christmas child-sized baking set, which you can find on Amazon by clicking here. Whether you offer it on its own or team it up with some of the other great gift ideas on this page, the choice is yours. Maybe you could create a set for the family with this set for the children.

So how about it? Is there something sweet in this batch for you? Are you a smart cookie who likes to assemble gift sets cookie themed or otherwise?  

Life is
what you bake of it!
Brenda, Treasures By Brenda

More Christmas Reading:








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Tuesday, December 1, 2020

5 Wildlife Gift Ideas Reviewed

Bird In Tree By Raintree Annie
It is wonderful to buy a gift that will be appreciated and be of use and joy to the receiver long after the day it is given. 

If your loved ones are interested in wildlife or like gardening with wildlife in mind here are some beautiful gifts they will enjoy for a long time. 

These gifts are perfect for helping our wildlife and give hours of happiness and interest to your loved ones. They will enjoy watching the birds, carefully observing the many insects and spiders and learning about the fascinating world of wildlife. 

Many of these gifts are suitable for children to seniors and will keep on being of interest, not just when they open the gift but for all year long.  Here are a few ideas of wildlife gifts from my own experience.

1. Insect Or Bug House. 

These are fantastic for attracting all manner of insects and spiders. You simply hang it up in a sheltered spot away from winds in the garden and ideally about 6-7 foot high. I find it is ideal to place an insect house near a pond if you have one, or a hedge or trees or a mixed flower bed. 

You will know that you are providing a lovely home for all manner of insects such as lacewings, ladybugs and butterflies that will make it their home or resting place and often provide beneficial activities for the garden in terms of predating and pollinating. 

Gardeners will love it as it will attract beneficial insects to help them in the garden and anyone interested in insect life will appreciate being able to observe the bug hotel filling up! I have one and although it takes a little while for the insects to know it is there once they find it they move in!


 A lovely gift for a young child interested in bugs through to an adult gardener. 


2.Wildlife Books

A wildlife book for a child just starting on the discovery of nature is a beautiful and thoughtful gift. When introducing children to the fascinating world of wildlife you want the book to be fun educational and interesting.

 A book like this can be the very start of a lifelong love of nature and wildlife that will bring joy, understanding, fun and interest to children and develop a deep love of wildlife and conservation that can last a lifetime. A beautiful thoughtful and truly giving gift.
  


If gifting to an adult a beautiful wildlife book gift is Kate Bradbury's "The Wildlife Gardener."I have given this book as a gift myself and it was very well received. I then ordered another one for myself it was so good! You can read more about it in Diary Of A Wild Country Garden Why I Bought The Wildlife Gardener Book Twice! 


3.Bird Bath 

One of the most important things we can provide to wildlife is fresh clean water. It is essential for birds to drink every day and bathe to clean their feathers every day for their good health. 

In towns and cities especially, birds need birdbaths with fresh clean water in as many gardens as possible. If you have a birdbath in your garden you will attract a wide variety of birds all year round and once they know it is there it is likely to become very popular!

Our birdbath has bird visitors from robins, sparrows, blue tits and blackbirds to name a few every single day all year round!

This is a fantastic gift for many people from the enthusiastic birdwatcher, to anyone who simply enjoys watching the antics of the birds, to the bird photographer who can gain many opportunities to take amazing photographs of birds in action at the birdbath throughout the year.

Many of these birdbaths are also very beautiful decorative pieces for the garden.

 


4. Bird Feeders Station
 
Especially in winter but really all year round birds need additional food to help them survive. A bird feeder set will be lovely to look at, help the birds and give immense pleasure all year round to anyone who loves birds and enjoys watching their antics or learning more about them.

 Great if a young birdwatcher is learning about how to identify different birds as they will visit birdfeeders again and again and with luck will attract a wide variety of birds to learn about.

For anyone, it is beautiful to spend some relaxing time simply watching the birds and often getting to know regular visitors.  I can spend hours simply watching the birds without realising how much time has gone by! It adds interest to the day and a wonderful connection with our wild visitors.
 
A very useful addition to this gift is to give with a supply of good quality bird feed so that they can get started right away on Christmas day!    

There are various ideas and gifts for attracting birds to a garden along with various birdfeeder products in this post from Diary Of A Wild Country Garden Wild Birds Visiting Our Garden 

Baby Robin By Raintree Annie


5.Birdbox.

Many people like to attract wildlife to their gardens and a great way to do this is to hang up a birdbox. Smaller birds like bluetits often love to use these and I have had success in my own garden.

Anyone of any age interested in wildlife can spend ages watching the birds bringing in nest material and identifying them. If fortunate, they may see the baby birds fledge all the while learning more and appreciating wildlife!

Simply hang the birdbox in a sheltered shady spot far away from any birdfeeders or birdbaths so that it is not too busy or noisy for the nesting birds to raise their brood. Ideally, it should be sited in a place where it will not get too hot as this may be difficult for the baby birds to tolerate. 

Then it is a matter of waiting to see if you can attract a breeding pair and raise young in the garden. I feel it's a good idea to have bird nesting boxes in place by early January at the latest so that the birds have time to get used to a new feature in the garden and can assess it long before nesting time. 

It is amazing to watch and highly educational for young people and a real pleasure at any age. 
 



Whichever gift you choose for your loved one, if they love birds and wildlife they will love the thoughtful nature of your gift to them. 




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Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Christmas Family Fun, Incredible Memories are Made of This-Gift Ideas

That time of year is coming upon us very quickly now.  You know the one holiday that everyone has been gearing up for since the beginning of the month.  No, it's not Thanksgiving, although that is just a day away! Rather it's the holiday that features good Ole St. Nick, eight tiny reindeers, singing carols by candlelight and sharing our love for one another!  Christmas is just a month away!

This is a gift and application review, to help make Christmas a little brighter for everyone!

Image by Susanne Jutzeler, suju-foto from Pixabay

We all know that this year 2020 has been full of challenges and many missed opportunities to be with our families and friends.  Everyone is feeling kind of glum over restrictions that have been put into place to keep the spread of COVID down.  (Nothing beats staying healthy)

But that doesn't mean that we can't still have our fun!  We just need to look at different ways to make our holidays special within the safety of our homes, while still sharing the joy!

Many families will not be able to get together this year as they have in past years, but that is not a reason to give up on being with each other.  There are ways to still be in each other's presence without being "right there"!  ZOOM meetings can be arranged ahead of time, so that family in all parts can "tune in" at a certain time and share the excitement happening all around.  Just click on the ZOOM to download the application for PC's.  

Just think of the fun you could have with everyone done up in their Christmas PJ's, sharing the morning eggnog with Gramma and Grandpa, Aunts and Uncles and Cousins who live far away. It can be done!

Make it a plan that every family will join the ZOOM MEETING in their Christmas Pajamas. Set the time to meet and designate one person to extend the invitation to all other members of the family.  So that when you are all ready, it's a matter of joining the meeting and everyone will be able to see and talk to each other.  

There is time on your hands right now to order the "Special" PJ sets for each family unit, so that on Christmas morning everyone is decked out in their finest matching Pajamas.  



When the time is right, everyone will be online in their finest and ready to share in the fun.  I'll bet there will be more than one camera grabbing pictures of everyone and really letting the joy of the morning come through.  Matching pajamas can be had in many different styles and colors.  Christmas themes are everywhere and you can choose to mix and match within a family, or just match everyone in one family!  The fun is in seeing everyone donning their best Christmas outfit and being relaxed and comfortable at the same time.

If PJ's aren't your thing, think in terms of Christmas sweaters or sweatshirts.  Some of these are very nice and other's fit into that "UGLY Christmas Sweater" category.  The choices are up to you and the fun is for everyone.  Getting everyone organized is the key.  

Call or email your family members and get a consensus of what everyone would like to do, and then plan and execute the idea in a timely fashion.  Like right after everyone has had their Turkey!  

Orders should be in before too long so that everyone who is participating can be ready for their Christmas debut flaunting their own special outfits.  

When everyone is all decked out, make sure you take the time to get a good family picture and share it with your whole extended family where ever they may be.  Holiday times are the best and sharing pictures from year to year will make those memories even better.  

I love the idea of being in my Pajamas, relaxed and cozy, while all the grandkids and other "bigger" kids are having a blast as well.  It's nice to be able to sit back and enjoy the fun and the smiles that are sure to be a part of this great holiday time.

While we are called to take care of everyone, by staying within our family "bubble" safely, don't let Christmas pass you by without reaching out with every method possible to be with our loved ones.  





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