Showing posts with label Olivia Morris. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Olivia Morris. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Funny, You Don't Look Autistic-A Book Review

April 1st, is that day that many of us dread.  Will we be tricked or will we impose a trick on someone else?


Now because of the current climate within our communities and world in general, the joke seems to be on us all.  There will be no pranks to play on anyone, if you are being socially responsible and socially distant from others and I hope you truly are.

So instead of doing a whole write up on practical jokes and such, I decided to go in the exact opposite direction.

Instead of bemoaning my isolation, I decided to learn something new!

It's fitting that it also falls in line with one of my New Year's Resolutions.  I promised myself that I would read more and at the same time look at many different genres that I might not have done before.  To that end, I picked up a book that really was entertaining and informative in so many ways.

Funny, You Don't Look Autistic, caught my eye.

It is an autobiography of a young man who early in his life (age 5)  was diagnosed with Autism.  What made this book catch my eye is that one of my granddaughters has been diagnosed with this disorder as well.  I wanted to understand it better so that I could have some meaningful conversations with her, her parents, and her siblings as well.  

Michael McCreary is the young man at the center of this book. He is very open about his life, family and what it means to be autistic.  

Now let's be clear, this is not a clinician's book, it is the story of a young man, who with the help of his family and a diagnosis of autism, is trying to find his way in the world.   Michael is very blessed in that his level of autism is high functioning in the ASD (autism spectrum disorder) scale.  The things he does are not things that all autistic children will be able to do.  His parents learn how to integrate Michael's abilities with his inabilities.  This makes for a very adaptable world for Michael.  Not all autistic children are that "lucky".   There are so many different levels of autism and we just don't understand all of it.  We are making great progress, but there is still much that we don't understand.

Most of you will remember the movie Rain Man (starring Dustin Hoffman), that was my first real glimpse at autism.  His level of autism is called Savant.  Savants are another whole level of Autism.  Yet it is so much more complicated and varied than what was presented here.

There are so many different levels of Autism

As I mentioned earlier Rain Man (a Savant) had a level of autism that allowed him to understand numbers to the point of being able to figure out a date, and being able to know it was a Monday or Tuesday....you get the picture. But autism has many different levels and with those levels people have certain abilities or lack thereof. 

Autism is here and with our growing understanding of the condition, children that are diagnosed with this can look forward to a better understanding from both parents and the educational system.

Sensory overload is a common trait in autistic children.  They either have too much or not enough sensory responses.  They may be bothered by the feel of clothes on their bodies, noises that we generally are able to push into the background , are like bells and whistles going off in their minds.  So their reactions to these stimulii is completely different than ours would be.  I know my granddaughter always has one leg of her pants rolled up to her knee, she just cannot handle the cloth rubbing on her leg.  One of my nephews needs headphones to block out sounds that are overpowering to his mind.  These are just some small examples of what having an autistic child can look like.  There are many and "Autism" is a misnomer.  The true way to speak of this disorder is to call it the Autism Spectrum.  Spectrum, lets us understand that there are just so many levels of this disorder in the general population.

Reading This Book Has Helped

Michael in this book has made me see what it is that can undo an autistic persons demeanor.  I did not understand sensory overload at all.  But reading about it through his eyes, it made more sense to me.

Autistic children, at least high functioning autistic children, usually have a gift of some sort.  Michael's was being on stage and making people laugh.  He fed off of the reactions to his "story" and made sense of his time with those reactions.  It also helped a lot of people who did not understand Autism to take a second look at what that means.  

If you want to learn more..........

I really recommend this book.  It is light-hearted, optimistic, funny, and yet opens some doors and windows into a disorder that has many parents, grandparents and the general public wondering.  I found it to be entertaining as well as informative and that to me is a double bonus.

If you are interested or want to delve into an Autistic life a little further, this book would make a really good read.  I'm glad I stopped to pick it up and I'm sure you will be entertained and learn something new at the same time.  It really is a winner in my books.

If you want to learn more about Autism there are many websites devoted to the subject and I offer a few here:



Now just in case you were wondering....April 2nd is World Autism Day.....Happy April Fools Day!








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Wednesday, March 18, 2020

A Time to Grow, Now is the Time! A Garden Review!

growing, garden, review best practices

If there ever was a time to look forward, it is now.  

Don't be stuck with the majority looking for doom and gloom, there is life out there and we gardeners mean to have it to the full extent we can.  

To that end, I am offering you some "jobs" that need to be done before the growing part can start!



My Spring To Do List!

  1. Clean out the pots! Seedlings 2020 coming up.
  2. Trim Bushes
  3. Check Foundation Beds
  4. Select the flowers and vegetables that I want to grow this year.
  5. Make sure I have all the necessities (to avoid frustration)
  6. Plant, Mark and Place in the Sun
  7. Watch patiently as Mother Nature does her magic!

 

This is Just the Beginning, Now Let's Get Started!

 

1.  Cleaning out last years pots is necessary.  You don't want to carry over any diseases or bugs from last year into this year.  So empty the pots of their ground, but don't throw it away!  Place it into your compost bins!  The heat generated in the composting will kill off any bugs or disease so don't worry. 

When the pots have been emptied, take them into the shed, or garage or whatever work space you have and sanitize them as well.  A Bucket of warm water with bleach and a good scrub brush are all that's needed.  Mix your solution approximately 9 parts water to 1 part bleach and soak your pots for at least 10 minutes.  The warm water will soften the mineral deposits and dirt from the pots for easier scrubbing.  Use a stiff brush or a pot scrubber to remove any deposits on the pots .  If there is still some residue, you can soak your pots in dish detergent to remove any other debris.  Let your pots air dry before refilling them with new soil. If you like you can watch this video on cleaning pots it's only 3 minutes long (How to Clean Pots)

While your pots are air drying, get outside and check out how the garden fared through the winter months.  It's a good time to pull back any debris that you did not remove in the fall.(See #3)  Now BEWARE,  you should check your own climate to make sure that no further hard frosts will happen.  Be ready to cover young growth in case of really cold nights that might still happen.




2. Before the weather gets really warm, you can trim some of your flowering bushes!  Again, be knowledgeable you don't want to trim those bushes that will flower early in the spring, especially lilacs and forsythias.  If you trim these in the spring, you will likely lose all the flowers for that year.  A rule of thumb to follow for good results is this:  If it flowers in early spring (lilacs, forsythia, azaleas and such) do not prune until after they have flowered for this year.  If the bushes flower later in the year, early spring is a good time to trim and resize.  These bushes will have plenty of time to set buds for this coming 2020 season.  The Farmer's Almanac is a good guide just click on the link: When to Prune Shrubs

3.  Your pots are drying and you are doing a foundation check.  It's a great time to look at the flower beds, see what is sprouting already and gently pulling back on the ground cover (leaves) that you put there in the fall.  Look for bees that are coming out of dormancy and leave them some mulch to use as blankets at night when it's still cool.

4.  When you have done all this cleaning and spotting what's new in the garden, you just might need a little rest.  All work and no fun is not a good way to garden.  The Fun comes from checking out all the seed catalogs for new and exciting plants you want to try to grow for this year.

There are numerous garden centers that offer seeds and you should check out your local growers/suppliers for their catalog.  If you don't have any local suppliers, you can try Veseys, Dominion Seed House  and many, many more.  The Spruce offers 60 free seed catalogs where you can either get a hard copy catalog or view it online. 

5.  What are the necessities?  Well, you are going to need fresh garden or potting soil.  If you are doing seeds, then a good seeding mix would be a good idea.  You have your clean pots and hopefully you have some old saucers or containers to use for catch trays (please make sure these are clean as well)

You need the seeds, so hopefully you have had some time to check out what's new for the gardens this year.  Or maybe you have kept seeds from last years harvest.  Good for you! 

Clean tools are also needed.  You don't want to spoil all the hard work you have done, by plunging a dirty trowel into your newly cleaned pots. 

6.  Plant markers, unless you are a master gardener and can spot a bean sprout from a pepper sprout, then marking your seedlings is a must.  Maybe you are trying a new variety and want to log it's growth and more, then plant markers are a must!  Even for flowers, I find that I can't rely on my memory to tell me what I planted in which pot.  (Brain Fog comes to me naturally, so I rely on my markers)  These can be home made by cutting up white plastic and using a waterproof marker to label the pots.  If you are creative there are many other ways to make some really nice markers. I've included a video here!  Making Garden Markers 

7. Now you can sit back and relax, watch a video or two, and dream.  Hopefully there are some nice sunny days coming your way.  Find a nice little sheltered spot where the sun shines and just sit back and let your body get it's quota of Vitamin D. 

Now it's time to order whatever it is you still need to get those seedlings started.  New soil is the Number 1 item that should be on your list and if you are a Prime Member, you will get it tomorrow.....





This is my favorite potting medium and I get free shipping with my Prime Membership.  Miracle Gro has been around for years and it has a 5 star rating, do I know it's a good choice. I still don't like having to lug these bags of soil around, so shopping online is the way I get mine.  It comes to my door and that makes me very happy.  My garden this year will be off to a great start.  Join me!



growing, spring, garden review




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Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Spring Forward, Renewal, Rebirth, Revival and Joy!

March 8th is Spring Forward Time! A Garden Review!

 

spring, bird feeding, bees
Image from Pixabay

Yeah, for all our Naturalists/Gardeners/Backyard Enthusiasts and those who are patiently (or not so patiently) waiting for Spring's arrival.  From my own personal experience I know how most of us are feeling right about now.  We can't wait for longer days and warmer temperatures and getting our hands back into the soil.  We want to poke around to see what's about to spring up out of the ground.  We also look up to see where the birds are too.  That first robin or yellow finches just make us so happy.  Our time is coming quickly!


Things Outside are Changing Quickly!

 
Now that it's March, we can look forward to longer daylight hours (it's already light at 6:00 in the morning)!  The bugs and the bees are waking up from their long winter slumber and looking desperately for a food source.  Even the birds are making a comeback.  

Those of us who love hummingbirds will be watching the Hummingbird Migration Maps for 2020!  They are already in parts of Florida and coming to your neighborhood soon!  Be the first one in your neighborhood to mark the map with the first sighting in your area. 


Spring, so much to do and so much pleasure in doing it too!


If you hang out bird feeders, now is the time to get them ready.  Clean and disinfect them all carefully.  We want to feed the birds and not harm them.  Clean feeders are a must!  Pathogens that can harm them can and might live over in the winter months.  There is need to be extra vigilant in making the birds source of food a safe source.  

Wash down all bird feeders, clean out birds nests from last year and give this years birds a really good chance of thriving and surviving.  Clean them out with a mild bleach solution (1/2 cup bleach to a sink full of hot soapy water).  Make sure you rinse them well and let them air dry before setting them out again.  

 

Special Care for Hummingbird Feeders!


Many people give up on putting out hummingbird feeders because they do require extra care.  It may seem wasteful, but their nectar needs to be changed every week.  Spoiled nectar in feeders can cause their death.  No one wants to be responsible for that!  So in the early spring, before you even see them, you need to change that nectar every week.  

Make only a cup of nectar at a time, so as not to waste all that sugar water.  And remember, red dyes are NOT NECESSARY  to attract those little flying gems.  Your hummingbird syrup should be roughly 1 cup of sugar to 4 cups of water.  The measurement does not have to be exact, but close is good.  Use only 1/2 to 1 cup of syrup in your feeders (keep the rest in the refrigerator) until you are sure the hummingbirds have found you!  Once you know they are coming to your feeders, go to town and fill it right up.


Maybe this is the year you decide to help the birds and the bees.

 
You can easily do this with bird feeders, bird houses and even bee houses.  The birds and bees give us so much enjoyment, it's the least we can do to make them welcome in our yards.  Our own Renaissance Woman will even teach you how to make your own bird feeders if you feel so inclined.  It would be a great spring time activity for your children or grandchildren.  Check it out right here: DIY Mason Jar Bird Feeder!

Building bird houses is also a lot of fun and an easy craft to share with your family as well.  The most important thing to remember is that certain birds require different housing.  Some are solitary breeders, while others love to be in community.  You might have to do some research to find out what kinds of birds come to your neighborhood, before you start building.  This review might help you get started! What you need to know about  Basic Bird House Construction!


The Bees are Getting a Lot of Press Lately!  The Key to Success

 
Science has let it be known that the bee population is in trouble.  If we don't have them as pollinators our whole food sources are at risk.  So let's help those pollinators by growing gardens that feed them all spring, summer and fall.  It's not hard to do and I'm sure you will enjoy the efforts that you put into making a beautiful "bee" friendly garden. 

There are a few guidelines that will help you to help the bees!  
  • Plant a garden that will give lots of blooms all season long.
  • Plant single flowered species rather than the big double and triple flowers.  The singles produce more nectar and the bees can easily get to it.
  • Plant lots of different annuals as well as perennials.
  • Build a bee house.
  • Have a water source available too!

Do you need more information?  I like this website for all inclusive information about bees and keeping them happy!  The  Honey Bee Conservancy  I like to keep my family happy, so, with my son-in-law being a beekeeper, this is for him!  I try to do my part in helping him help the bees and I get to enjoy some of the honey too.

Spring is a time of Renewal, Revival, Rebirth and Joy!  Let's make an effort to help Mother Nature in all of this,  by doing something to help all her little creatures.

feeding the bees, helping Mother Nature, hummingbird feeders
Image by jggrz from Pixabay








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Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Snorkeling in Hawaii Requires the Right Tools

Snorkel Mask Review - Snorkeling is a fun thing to do in the warm places of the earth!  

Hubby and I just got back from a long overdue holiday to Hawaii.  We had been planning to do this trip for our 50th anniversary, but decided to do it a little earlier, as both he and I are having mobility issues.  So we celebrated 48 years together with this trip of a lifetime. 

snorkeling, full face mask, holidays
Image my own!
This was our beach on the Island of Maui.  The hotel had a nice pool, but an even nicer beach.  You could go out just a few feet and see hundreds of schools of fish.  (Sheraton Hotel)   There were even sea turtles seen by some of the guests, but we did not see any for ourselves at this location. 

What made the snorkeling so much fun was the full face mask that my son had given to us to use.

So you are thinking to yourself, "Big Deal, a full face mask!"  What's that all about?

Let me tell you, this full face snorkel is so much better to use than the traditional two piece mask and snorkel! I had only used the two piece equipment in the past and always had difficulty with swimming under water with my gear. Water always, always got into the tube and I ended up choking more than once. Not so with the one piece full face mask.


What makes this so much better?


Let's just say that technology has gotten so much better with these new face masks in several areas.
  1. The breathing tube is fitted with a one way valve that let's you go underwater without getting a mouthful of ocean water. 
  2. The silicone around the face mask is comfortable and gives a really good seal, without pinching anywhere.
  3. Anti-fog face lens lets you breathe normally and still maintain   clarity in the water.
  4. There is a mount on the breathing tube for a camera.
  5. There is no need to clench your teeth together in order to hold the breathing tube securely.
  6. With the full face mask, you can breathe through your nose or mouth.
Due to the comfort of the fit, you will be able to snorkel longer.  Believe me clenching a breathing tube in your mouth is very tiring and can cause pain in the jaws.  This problem is totally gone with this one piece face mask.  

I just remembered another bonus with this one piece mask,
The full face mask wraps around your head differently than a traditional mask, thus giving you  a much better field of vision.  It really is comfortable and easy.

Many of these one piece face masks also come with an adapter on the tube to mount a GoPro (or similar) type of camera.  So now you can snorkel with the fish and you can also take their pictures too!



Are You Snorkeling With Family?  

Don't worry,  these masks are made in sizes for children and for adults. Size is determined by the length of the face from the bridge of the nose to the bottom of the chin.  Can you imagine your children being able to see the amazing creatures under the sea?  I'm sure that the first time would be so much fun to see their reaction to things that they probably have only seen in movies or educational shows.  It just isn't the same thing as seeing it with your own eyes.  Once you have outfitted your family with these masks, I bet you will be looking for places  where  snorkeling is one of the best activities listed.

Now, I must add just a little addendum, facial hair can sometimes be problematic, so if you have a beard, you might want to check out the seal you get before you pack this mask into your suitcase. 


full face mask, snorkeling, underwater adventures
Image from Pixabay
At the start of this article you will notice that I said both my husband and I were having issues with mobility.  That is true on land, but in the water, we are both like little fish!  I know there will be more snorkeling in our near future and hopefully I'll get better pictures to share with you too!


https://www.amazon.com/WildHorn-Outfitters-Compatible-Panoramic-Traditional/dp/B07C5FJ8VC/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ll1&tag=grammieo-20&linkId=42cf183e993a13431efc3322f493a1c9&language=en_US

WildHorn Outfitters Seaview 180° GoPro Compatible Snorkel Mask- Panoramic Full Face Design on Amazon






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Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Not All Sunscreens Are Equal - Looking for A Friendly Product - My Review

Sunscreens are necessary, but make sure you are buying the right one!  Not all are created equally!  My Review!


It's the beginning of February and depending on where you call home, you just might be getting a little antsy for some warmer and more hospitable climates.  I know I will be.  So along with heading to the south, I need to think about my  wonderful other half, who is very prone to getting sun burnt.

Being a natural red-head, his skin is typically prone to burning under the rays of the sun.  We have already had a few bouts of melanoma and don't want to have any more of that.  So in order for him and me to enjoy the sun, we are fully committed to sunscreen for our health and well being.

Now, did you know that not all sunscreens are created equally?  On another trip south, we were going snorkeling off the coast of Mexico.  Our tour guides took one look at our sunscreen and would not allow us to use it.  Why not, you might ask?  Here we were out on the ocean, sun shining down on us and no sunscreen protection.  Our guides, while sympathetic to our needs, let us in on a secret.  Many sunscreens contain chemicals that are really bad for the ocean environment.

We were left with no choice.  Thank goodness that day just happened to cloud over enough that we were not left looking like overdone pieces of bacon.

This year we again are headed to the south.  We are going to Hawaii and planning on doing some Island hopping.  Needless to say, sunscreen was on our minds again.

Travelling by air nowadays, makes you follow certain safety regulations.  We are not allowed to bring lotions/liquids that contain more than 100 mls.  If you do, they will be confiscated at your boarding location.   So now we are looking for a sunscreen that is eco-friendly and comes in a size that is acceptable for all safety regulations.

Thank goodness for the Internet and Amazon.  First we did as search on acceptable sunscreens.  We love Mother Nature and don't want to add unwanted chemicals to our water.  So a search on the Internet led us to several brands of sunscreen that do no harm to the oceans.  Then we ordered from Amazon and now two days before our trip, we have what we need.  Two tubes of sunscreen with less than 100 mls in each tube.



One tube of sunscreen for my other half and one for me and our bags are packed.  There will be no sunburns on this vacation, just good memories waiting to be made.  And with an SPF of 50, we should be able to do lots of walking, swimming, and just soaking up the sunshine without worry.  Now that makes for a happy holiday.









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Wednesday, January 8, 2020

2020 A New Year of Reading Materials to Discover!

Woman on the Edge, Book Review, psychological thriller, review this reviews
My New Years Resolution!
At the start of 2020, I made a decision to not only read more, but to vary the types of books that I sink my teeth into.  So here is a new author and a new book for my Review This Review Today.

As a member of Goodreads, I saw that my list of preferred books seems to be either mysteries or spy thrillers.  Added into that mix there are also some historical romances.  What I realized looking at my list, is that there are so many more categories of books that I have not delved  into.  

So, along with a new year and a new decade, comes the promise to rectify that situation.  And so I offer you a new author and a new genre of books for me.  


My New Genre is a Psychological Thriller!

Now you might ask why I haven't tried this category before now, and the answer is rather simple.  Psychological thrillers, while they keep you on the edge of your seat, they make me uncomfortable.  I find that I can't get these stories out of my head.  They (these types of thrillers) keep me from sleeping well.  I don't watch these types of movies either.  After Silence of the Lambs, I did not sleep well for weeks.  I don't know what that says about my character, but I know that sleep deprivation does not look good on me!


A New Year and a New Decade means there are changes afoot!

 
I love starting the new year off with a bang.  So beside the fireworks that lit up the sky, I found a new author and a whole different genre of reading to go along with it.

Samantha Bailey is the author of Woman on the Edge.  It's fresh off the presses and will be available in paperback,  after the 3rd of March this year.  If you are an Audible member it has the best price tag ever. $ 0.00 for Prime members or if you start a trial membership. 

thriller, new author, canadian,

There are so many twists and turns in this novel, that you just won't figure out who's behind all the mystery.  It is a page turner that will have you losing sleep, because you just can't put it down.  As her debut novel,  I think Samantha Bailey has a real winner on her hands.  It's a novel that all women can relate to.  Motherhood, sleep deprivation, secrets from your youth and so much more are all part and parcel of Woman on the Edge!

Just a couple of the reviews that are being posted about this book:


“One woman’s struggles with motherhood and another’s desperate desire to be a mother collide in this explosive debut. Woman on the Edge is a white-knuckle read that welcomes a bright new talent to the world of psychological suspense.”
— MARY KUBICANew York Times bestselling author of The Good Girl

"Gripping from the first page to the last, Woman on the Edge had me nail-biting and breathless all the way through. But even after you've turned the final page, this riveting and deeply felt thriller from debut author Samantha M. Bailey won't relinquish its hold on you." 
— LAURA SIMS, author of Looker

I could post more but I don't want this to be a spoiler for anyone.  One of the things I loved about the author is that she is Toronto based!  Everyone loves hometown celebrities and I'm no exception.  It thrilled me to read her book and be able to geographically know where she was.  It's a small thing that resonates with me.  If you aren't from Toronto, it will not detract from the story in any way,  I just was amused that I knew these places.  


So What Else is in Store for 2020?  

 
I don't know just yet, but rest assured I will be looking into some of the genres that I have been ignoring.  The world is just so much better with so many books to choose from.  








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Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Merry Christmas and Blessings for a Happy New Year!


Merry Christmas and Blessings for a Happy New Year
Christmas morning has arrived and before all the hustle and bustle begins, I would love for you to take just a moment for you!

Close your eyes, and remember the first time you held your baby.  If you don't have children, the first time you felt that spark of love.

Hold that feeling in your heart for the day and really, really enjoy those around you!

May your Christmas be Blessed, by the Child Jesus in whose name we celebrate Family, Friends and the love we should have for all of our human family.

God Bless you all!

May music fill your heart and soul with the love and peace of the Season!


 Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


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Wednesday, December 11, 2019

My Christmas Confession! Heart Warming Stories Make Me Happy!

Yes, I have a confession to make.  

Since my husband and I decided to get into Amazon Prime, my Television watching has increased by 100%.  I thought I'd take a moment and review why my TV habits have changed.

For years now, our television set was just a big black screen that we would show our family pictures on.  Neither myself nor my other half were interested in anything that was being shown for entertainment purposes, on most cable channels.  So our TV became our picture show instead.  Our cable was cancelled and the only thing he missed was his hockey games.  I did not miss anything about the TV.  I did start reading a lot more and that was not a bad thing either.  Then............

That all changed when he signed up for Prime!  Initially he signed up so that our items would ship for free and quickly.  He's the impatient one in our family.  What he did not fully realize when he signed up, was all the added bonuses that came along with his membership in the Amazon Prime community.

Because we have Prime, we are now able to watch many varied and wonderful shows that cable companies don't offer.  I haven't even scratched the surface of what's available on Amazon Prime.  

So here's part of the confession:  I go to Prime Movies and look for fun and new Christmas Specials.  After all, it is that time of year.  There are so many movies that I have never heard of before.  There is a category called Family and Kids Movies!  That is exactly what they offer!    I know when I pick something from this category, that I won't need to worry about the content being for "adult audiences".  

Family Movies is full of wonderful films that are good for all ages.  There are animated movies and movies from all over the world.

I just happened to come across a movie called the Christmas Story.  I expected the usual Santa Claus story and while it was along that line, it was a whole new story to me.  This one had a twist in it that made it a real heart tugging movie.  Filmed in Finland and Lapland, the scenery is breathtaking and the actors are pretty good too.  There is no one in the movie whose name I recognized, but, there is talent out there in the world too.



Prime not only offers you TV that you will enjoy watching, but books (with membership you get 3 free books a month), and music.  So these have all been added bonuses for us.  My other half just wanted to save money on shipping and time.  What he got was a whole lot more!  

All together I would say that getting Prime for your family would be a gift that will keep on giving long after Christmas is over.  Those are the kind of gifts I like and would really enjoy!  I'm sure there is someone out there that feels the same way and has not yet taken the plunge into the world of Prime.

I had given up watching Television for over 4 years and now that we have Prime available to us, I know that when the itch to watch something hits, I can get a show that I  know I will enjoy.

If you don't have Prime yet, consider it for your family.  I'm sure that you won't regret it.








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Wednesday, November 27, 2019

How to Encourage Pre-Teens with Angst Issues-A Book Review

Being thankful when your hormones are raging can be down right difficult or near impossible.

Navigating the waters of growing up can be difficult at times.  There will be moments of joy, for sure, but, there will also be times when whatever you say will NOT be the right thing to say, no matter what!

We have all heard the saying "Little Children, Little problems, Big Children, Big Problems".  During this Thanksgiving time, we all look back and remember the good times.  Mixed in with those good times are some of the challenging moments in our lives that we would all like to forget.  Everyone has had their share of both!

When our children are going through their own "tough" times, we look for help to get them through these sometimes painful episodes of growing up.

Getting lost in a book can sometimes be the way to unlock some truths that our preteens and teens need to understand.  To that end I'm going to recommend two books that I feel are great and written especially for this age group.  Middle schoolers (Grades 4 to 8) are just starting to feel their way around life.  Yet there can be curves in the road.  Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus, by Dusti Bowling (she holds a Bachelor of Psychology and a Master of Education)   will open up some doors to many situations that children may already be experiencing.  Making friends, being a friend and going through life's experiences with those friends starts in Grade School.  *It actually starts much earlier, but is usually done with parental supervision.*  Grade School is where children start making choices for themselves without the watchful eyes of a parent or guardian.  What you have taught them will come into play when they are out on their own for the first time.   Understanding that everyone is different and accepting those differences will make life for our children much more interesting and exciting.  Learning to see through eyes that accept people for who they are will open doors to friendships that you may never have thought possible.  Today, we are encouraging everyone to include those who are different or have abilities that are unlike our own.  Diversity has always been part of our lives, yet, we have failed many times to celebrate that diversity.  Let's help our children now, by teaching empathy and decency for everyone they come in contact with.



Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus is the first book in a series of 2 books!  Each book stand on it's own merit, but as a series, they are even better.    The second book (Momentous Events in the Life of a Cactus), opens up some new life events for our main character "Aven"!  These events throw her for a loop. Moving from Middle School to High School  is never easy.  New friends and new experiences are opening up for everyone!  But when you are Aven, this might not be something to look forward to.  It's like starting all over again!



Explaining yourself over and over again to anyone is no fun.  Aven, our main character was born without arms.  That has not stopped her from doing all kinds of things that we take for granted.  Her adoptive parents are encouraging her all the time to do things for herself, even though it may be different than the way they do things.  Using her feet like arms, Aven does indeed manage to do all the things that able bodied people do. It may take her longer to accomplish some tasks, but she manages anyways. High school though, is a whole new world.  While everyone is trying to learn the ropes of being in High School, our main character finds herself even more alone and struggling to find her place in this new situation.  The only constant in Aven's world right now is her friend who is also "different".  He looks out for Aven and helps her with some daily tasks to make school easier for her.  Aven looks out for him too!  They both know they are different, but are ready to accept each other and others too.    When you are different, you stand out among the crowd.  Teens in High School often do not welcome "standing out" or being different.

Add hormones to the mix and you get a volatile situation at times.  If you are not a strong person to begin with, this can knock you down and send you into a dark place.  Self doubt, and anguish take the place of joy and excitement.  All of a sudden stomach aches, headaches and fear rule the teen's life.  Parents need to be aware that stress in teens can take the form of real pain.

Being able to talk about their anxiety and angst is one of the biggest ways we can help our children.  Giving them books to read with messages of encouragement and acceptance is a way to open doors to discuss their own personal "issues".

Our children (of all ages) need to know that we are supporting them in their everyday experiences and that they can talk to us about anything.  If you want more information on Mental Health Issues in Teens there is a great article by HealthyChildren.org 

Opening doors to communication is the best way to keep our children learning about themselves and their peers.  Whether they are able bodied, disabled, gifted, special needs or just plain awesome, we need to celebrate our Diversity and accept everyone for who they are.

Let's all make pre-teen and teen angst a thing of the past.

Happy Thanksgiving to all, may you celebrate your Similarities and your Diversities with Joy!




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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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Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Why Do People Think Personalized Labels are a Good Idea?

Labels are all around us and they tell us all kinds of information!  Useful information that we need to know! (A Product Review)

Labels will let us know what we are eating, where a product is made, if the product is on sale (I have to buy this now) and a host of other information.

Labels can also be used to show people that it is hand made, organic, or new and improved.  Labels are all around us we just have to open our eyes to see the vast array of labels that are waiting for us to "notice".  

But, here it comes, the big BUT!  Many labels are not there for you to notice, rather they are there to identify what belongs to you Mabel's Labels makes this an easy chore!

There are innumerable reasons why you should want to label things that belong to you!  All age categories from young children to the elderly have reason to label their belongings.

Day Care and Schools

Let's start with the younger set!  If you have children that attend a Daycare or Nursery School, applying labels to their belongings will make it easier for the caregivers to identify items belonging to a specific child.  You don't want your child's favorite toy or blanket to inadvertently be given to another child.  Changes of clothing should be labelled as well, so that if an accident happens you know that your child will be sporting their own clothes.  

School age children are always tossing their belongings into the closet and when it comes time to go out for recess or time to go home, they just grab whatever looks like their hat, mitts, boots and more.  If it is labelled there will be no mix ups!  Mabel's Labels has specially designed Back to School Packs of labels just for them.

Of greater importance with school aged children is the possibility of food allergies.  Label their lunches and snacks with specially designed labels!  No more worrying about them getting into someone else's treats, with the resulting visit to a doctor or hospital.  




Organized Sports, Dance and Music Classes

When they start getting into organized sports, the purchase of equipment is a major investment.  Keep their gear easy to recognize and keep it coming home!  No parent wants to keep replacing what they have already bought once before.  For children who take dance classes you can label their shoes and clothing items that may be required.  The same can be said for band classes.  Every instrument and case should be labelled with the name of the musician. No more mix ups with the instruments.

Personalized Labels for Seniors

Now let's move on to those of us who are looking after aging parents or relatives. 
Many seniors are no longer able to live on their own. The family may decide to move their parents into a care facility.  When this happens, labeling belongings becomes an important issue.  Glasses, dentures, hearing aids and so many more small items are not only expensive, but easy to lose.  Sometimes our seniors have dementia or Alzheimer's, and they forget where they put something.  If it is labelled there will be no doubt to whom the items belong.  The labels are very nice to look at and easy to apply.  Shoes, clothes and coats and a myriad of other labels are available.  The seniors themselves learn to look for that label that they recognize.  It helps the staff at the facility and ultimately it will help you too!



Seniors Label Pack


Labels for Everyone Else!

There are labels for you too if you are feeling left out.  Mabel's Labels has a really nice Book Stamp that can be used for those books that you want to keep in your collection.  Place a nice stamp on the inside cover and chances are it will be returned to you after having been borrowed.  How many times do I forget who that Great Book belonged to before I got my hands on it?  If it was labelled, I know I would return it to it's rightful owner.  Mabel's also has a nice Return Address Stamp as well.  So you no longer have to write out your address!  One quick tap and it's all there in black and white.  So easy, neat and clean.

There is one place that you will spend much less time in and that is the LOST AND FOUND!  When things are labelled the chances of them being lost for very long is greatly diminished and so is your frustration and angst.  Make your life easier by using Labels in everyone's belongings.

**Olivia is an affiliate of Mabel's Labels through Shareasale and a small commission will be generated when you use these links.






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Wednesday, October 2, 2019

The Amazing Rocky Mountaineer The Trip of a Lifetime

The Rocky Mountains in all their splendor is something that everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime! A Travel Book Review!


For years my other half and I have dreamed of travelling to far away places that will give us memories that will last for the rest of our lives.  After all that is one of the benefits of living a good long life.  But I digress.  We chose to have our children early in our marriage so that once we were done with raising our children, we'd still have enough energy to go to all those places that we could not afford to see earlier.  And we are doing just that.  We are in the midst of planning a vacation to the West Coast of Canada and on the way, stopping in Alberta to visit family in Jasper!


rocky mountaineer, trip of a lifetime, travelling in Canada
The Rocky Moutaineer Train courtesy of Wikipedia
Jasper has been on our must see list for a while now.  When we see pictures of the mountains and lakes our eyes and jaws just pop open.  It looks so beautiful.  It doesn't help that almost every other day our nephew is posting pictures of all this beauty too!

trip of a lifetime, travelling, viewing gardens
Parts of Jasper National Park 

Can you tell I'm excited!   What prompts this review is the train trip that is contained within this holiday.  We are starting our escapade in Jasper and staying for 6 days to see all the sights (I'm sure we won't see it all).  Then we are hopping on board the ROCKY MOUNTAINEER TRAIN for a two day trip through the mountains on our way to Vancouver.  The train will stop in Kamloops, British Columbia for the night and early the next morning we continue to Vancouver.  All we need to do during this two day mini-trip,  is sit back and relax!  Oh, and take lots of pictures of course.

The Rocky Mountaineer travels between Jasper and Vancouver or you can go the other way too.  You can board the train in Vancouver and end up in Jasper if that fits your travel plans better.  There are different levels of "cars available" to travel in while on the Rocky Mountaineer, so do your homework.  


Travelling by rail has it's limitations, but it also has is "up"side .  You can sit back, relax, and not worry about taking a wrong turn   You are free to look out the windows as much as you like!  No road warrior stresses to manage as someone else is doing the driving.  Meals are prepared and there is always someone new to meet.  I'm sure there will be people from all over the world taking in the sights as the train passes through some of the most beautiful scenery and mountains in this part of the world.

While you are reading about my escapades (and hopefully dreaming of your own), we will still be in Vancouver.  Being a gardener, I am looking forward to seeing the beauty that autumn has to offer in the Beautiful Stanley Park!  I'm glad that my suitcase allowance does not allow for the packing of garden implements.  Just as I'm sure the gardeners who take care of this public park will be happy as well.  No rogue gardeners are welcome to do their "thing" in these Gardens.  Just as well, it is a holiday after all.  If you don't know these gardens here's a sneak peak at what you are missing.  I'm not sure what our timing will be like, but there might be a side trip to the Butchart Gardens as well.  The gardener in me just won't let me say NO!  After all we might as well make that little side trip while we are on the west coast.  It's a long way to go if you miss it the first time.  



stanley park, totem poles, history
Totem Poles in Stanley Park


Be prepared, I'm sure there will be lots of pictures coming that will make any traveler or gardener just a little green with envy.   There will be so much history, geography and photography going on the whole time I'm away!  

butchart gardens, viewing gardens, trip of a lifetime
Water Feature in Butchart Gardens, Victoria













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Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Autumn Chores: Planting Trees Now It's the Right Time! A Garden Review

Autumn chores in the garden should include planting some trees! A Garden Review for you!

autumn tree planting, guide to trees, planting trees for success


Now don't get your knickers all in a knot!  Some people think that fall is the time to stop gardening, clean out the flower beds and put everything to sleep for the winter months that are fast approaching.  I'm here to tell you that you are wrong, so wrong!  Those are some of the jobs that will need doing, but right now think about trees!

Autumn is a great time to plant trees and shrubs.  There are several reasons that you should be doing some tree planting at this time.  Trees are the lungs of the earth and healthy air around your home is a must! 

In the fall the ground has been nicely warmed up.  Summer heat gets right down to the deeper parts of the ground.  The soil is warm and generally moist.  When you dig a hole for a new tree you will see for yourself that the soil is nice and warm .  When you plant a tree in that warm soil, the roots that have been bound up in a root ball, will nicely ease their way into that warmth.  You can wait till spring, but have to wait until the soil is frost free for best results.  Late April or early May are target times for spring planting.  In the fall you can plant right up till the first signs of snow.  The ground will keep it's warmth even with a snow cover.  The snow, believe it or not, is a great insulator.


In the fall, trees naturally go into a state of dormancy.  The saps run down into the roots and the leaves fall. The energy of the trees are already in the lower parts of the trees.  So placing them into warm soil will make them very happy.   Autumn rains will also help get those roots to stretch out and grab hold.  But proper planting techniques are still a good rule to follow.

Before you start to think about planting a tree, make sure you know what kind of tree you want in your space.  If you have a large area, then plant whatever you like, but, if you live in an urban area, you may have to think about this a little more.  Do you want a lot of shade in your yard?  Are you looking to mask the sounds of traffic, or are you wanting some fruit for your efforts.  All these questions should be asked and answered before you buy and plant anything.


Some trees have deep roots, some have shallow ones!  Planting a tree close to foundation walls is never a good idea.  Nor is planting a tree that gets very deep expansive roots.  Some research is necessary if you want to have a good result.
 

Trees have different shapes and natural heights that they will grow to.  Depending on what you want from the tree, you will have to make some educated choices.  I like this link from Arborday.org, for some really good information, so that once you decide to plant the trees, you will have made the right decisions.  

Trees are a wonderful addition to any landscape and will give you years of beauty.  The birds, bees, and small critters will thank you and grace you with their presence.  Mother Nature will appreciate your help in keeping the air fresh and clean as well.   

Put this book on your shelf, so that you will have easy access to some of the best information and suggestions for picking, planting and maintaining your trees as they mature.


It is wonderful to be able to reach the information you need in the garden when you are busy with the task at hand.

Happy tree planting and here's to your healthy!  I hope you enjoy your happy gardening space.




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