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

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Get Your Socks Wet and Keep Your Feet Happy Too! - A Product Review

Wherever you are in North America or North of the Equator, I think it is safe to say, "That Summertime is Here!"

Everyone is especially happy about that!  The weather has finally warmed up and we can get outside without all the layers to keep us warm.

What can make a fun time at the beach a little disturbing to little ones, is the temperature of the sand when the sun has been beating down on it all day.  I know I've done what I call the "Beach Polka", where you literally run over the sand as quickly as possible, looking for possible cool spots, so the bottoms of your feet don't burn. Once you reach the water's edge you are safe!  

Now for parents with a whole family of little ones, this can be a difficult dance to do while carrying the kids to the water's edge.  No need to do that dance unless you really want to!  I've found the perfect solution.  There is this neat product called water socks or water shoes!  They are meant to be used in the water either on the beach or in the pool.  

For children they come in all sorts of really cute prints and colors.  Boys and girls will love designs on these water socks.  You won't have to fight with them to keep them on their feet. With dinosaurs and unicorns, octopii, sharks and rainbows, there is a design for every one of your children. Once they find out how nice it is to walk along the beach without having your feet burn they will happily wear them.  

These water socks/shoes have 36 different colors and prints available, so that even if you have 2 or three little ones, they can all have different designs on them! I personally love the unicorn socks!  They are just so cute!

Cute is only part of the story.  These water socks will help your children be a little safer on the beach because they have a nice rubber sole that will protect their little feet from any sharp objects or rocks hiding under the sand.  The rubber soles even help them to stay secure on things like boogie boards, surf boards and even piers where slipping could be a problem.

There are no laces or ties of any kind to worry about either.  Kids can slip these onto their feet usually without any help required.  They get wet easily and they dry very quickly too.  

I think one of the best parts is that these water shoes/socks can be worn just about all summer long.  Even if the kids are playing in the driveway, their feet will be a little safer for having something covering them up.  Boating and beach volleyball are easier and a lot more fun with a nice pair of water shoes/socks on their feet!  Even splash pads are more fun without getting stubbed toes or athlete's foot! Just having your feet covered keeps you that much safer from these summer woes.   That anti-slip sole can make all the difference in the world!  No more slipping and sliding on possibly wet and greasy feeling areas.  Splash pads are notorious for that greasy feeling.  All the sunscreen creams make for an invisible slick area sometimes.  

Beach safety and water safety in general are very important to me!  I like to know that my grandchildren can have fun without possible harm in every summer situation.  I'm a big believer in safety around the water for our children, without making them fearful humans.  It's great to have the summer months to make great memories while relaxing our guard just a little.


A couple of years ago I wrote about Personal Flotation Devices for children and I still would recommend that this is of the utmost importance.  Never ever let your guard down around children and water!

With water socks/shoes, you can at least relax a little bit more and not worry about stubbed toes!  They are well protected just by being covered.  



Happy Summer to all and Stay Safe!

All pictures courtesy of  Pixabay.com







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Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Spies, Wars, Winners and Losers, It's All So Intriguing To Me!

Reading is a wonderful Summer pastime, one that will take you to places that you've only dreamed of and so much more.




Image by Terri Cnudde from Pixabay

There are so many titles available,  but sometimes you just need someone to point out a book or two that you know will  be enjoyed from the moment they open that first page.  This is a Book Review of The Huntress, by Kate Quinn, published Feb. 2019.

My preferences lie with books that will keep me turning pages until the darkness of night and sometimes even till the morning light seems to be upon me.  I have been known to read until my eyes are literally streaming with tears to keep them lubricated enough to continue turning pages..

Recently, I got caught up with some spy thrillers, and historical novels about World War II and all the turmoil after the war was over.  Lives that had been shattered, families that lost loved ones and the most intriguing to me, the ones who just disappeared!

I have read all of these books and each one held me and my imagination from the opening pages to the very end.  I found myself even going back into the books to re-read chapters that had really captivated my yearnings to know more about this time in history.

Now I must remind you that these are all novels, but you know from in depth investigations after the war, that some of these scenarios are quite possible and not just figments of an authors musings.


The Huntress had me hanging by my fingernails, wanting to know what was going to happen next.  The cast of characters is so believable that I'm sure they could be neighbors of mine.

 From a group of young Russian women pilots (known by the Nazis as the Night Witches), to Nazi wives and/or lovers, to a couple of guys who are determined to bring down a high ranking German "killer".  This story has you spellbound within the first two pages.   


Image by Ella_87 from Pixabay


I should have known that I would be totally engrossed with The Huntress, because I have read Kate Quinn's, "The Alice Network", with just the same amount of interest.  She just writes so well that you are taken right into the heart of the story before you have finished the first chapter. You just need to know what is going to happen next.

The other book that I really enjoyed from this same time frame in history is Pam Jenoff's The Lost Girls of Paris.  What could possibly be in a suitcase left on a train stations platform?

If you want to enjoy a trio of books that will make your summer reading enjoyable, I would highly recommend that you start with any one of these three books.  Each one is amazing in it's own right.  I'm sure you will spend some quality time at the beach, pool, or just sitting in the yard enjoying both the good weather and a great book too. 

The best part of all this reading material is that there are options for you if you want to read them for free.  Life doesn't get any better than that.  You will have to check out these options for yourself !  

Happy Summer and Happy Reading!





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Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Father's Day Gift Ideas That Won't Break the Bank!

It's a great time to start thinking about Father's Day.


Although many of us have not been able to get together with family like we have in the past, it's no reason to forget Father's Day which is coming up shortly!  

June 21st is the third Sunday and the one dedicated to those men who have the honor of being the Father or Father Figure in our lives.  Just so you know, this can also include Grandfathers, Uncles and Step Dads  as well.



Dads can be really hard to buy for!  (Moms tend to be easier, chocolates and flowers every year works.)  Not so much for Dad!  Tools and Dad stuff tends to be more expensive somehow!  But check below and see some really inexpensive alternatives!

10 Great Gift Ideas for Dads


  1. Family Manicure Kit, not just for the ladies anymore.  
  2. Car Stickers (some are really funny, like this one) But there are many others that can work for your Dad!
  3.  iPad Protector (there are many to choose from but this is an Amazon Choice with 5 star rating)
  4. Father's Day T-Shirts (this one says it all, but there are many more to choose from)
  5. Fisherman or Hunter Dads (great tools to use while out in the wilderness)
  6. For the musical Dad, Guitar Picks (sing me a song)
  7. A Special Key Ring 
  8. A Special Book
  9. B.B.Q. Tools
  10. Man's Apron
This list is Dad Approved by both my other half and my son (who happens to be Dad to 3 children).  They looked it over and each of them without being asked said they would love any one of the items in this list!   

 
  



Now these are great gifts for dads on their special day, but there are so many more things that Dad would love to have and might not indulge himself with.

If you need some help trying to figure out what to get your Dad for Father's Day,  ask yourself some questions...........


If Dad loves to read, there are hundreds of books available from Amazon or your favorite book retailer, like Chapters.

Does Dad love taking pictures?  How about a new Camera Strap with a bonus, you can read about it here!  Sylvester Mouse Cynthia found a great way to make this even better.

Does Dad love to build?  How about a new tool or a magazine with all kinds of neat ideas that Dad could try to make?

Does Dad like to run, walk or exercise in general?  Maybe a pair of Nordic Walking Sticks would be the ideal gift.

Is your Dad a sports fanatic, then there are literally hundreds of items big and small that would make a lovely Father's Day gift.  Pick your team and off you go!

Sometimes Dad's are just happy with a nice card.  You can make or buy one that will suit your Dad to a "T".  


Father's Day is the  21st of June this year.  Don't let the day go by without some lovely acknowledgement for all the things Dads do every day of the year.









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Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Easter Sunday is Over, But There are 50 More Days of Easter to Come! A Holiday Review!

Easter, the chosen, olivia morris, faith

Easter 2020, will probably be remembered by many as the Easter that wasn't.  Let me explain, Easter still happened, but not in the way that many of us Born Christians would recognize.  So we have had to find some creative ways to celebrate the Greatest Holy Day of the Christian Calendar.

To that end, my husband and I have been searching for ways in order to make Easter come alive again!  We don't have any problem with following services on You Tube, or Facebook, but Easter calls us (personally) to dig a little deeper into our faith.

I am a Christian and not at all ashamed or embarrassed to admit it!  I'm sure I'm not alone.  The thing that always surprises me is that after Easter is over, many Christians think Easter is a done deal.  One day, Easter Sunday and then everything goes back to "normal".  (Well 2020's normal will be different than most.)

Many people don't understand that Easter Sunday is just the beginning of the Easter season.  It does NOT END until 50 days later at the Feast of the Pentacost!

That gives Christians a whole 50 days to deepen their faith and strengthen their belief system.

bible, jesus, easter, celebrations, Olivia Morris
The trouble is that you can only read the scriptures for so long and then hopefully have a good discussion on what was read.  Our God speaks to each of us through these scriptures and each of us will take away lessons that are meant just for us.  Each will take away a lesson that speaks to them personally, and it may not be the same message that you get!  The Bible is alive and speaks to each of us in a way that we will understand in our hearts.

Being in house arrest has given us some time to look for other ways to celebrate our faith and grow at the same time.

We are so lucky that we can search out lots of different ways to celebrate our Christian Holidays.  You Tube, Facebook and the Internet offer us unlimited ways to enhance our faith journey.  Alan and I were blessed to spend 3 months in the Holy Land in 2018.  We were there from the middle of January to the Middle of April, which just happened to be Easter of that year.  What an experience that was and it still resounds with us today.  If you would like to see where we lived and worked during that time here's a You Tube video about the region and why it was so important to Christians all over the world.  https://youtu.be/Jcfkn9zivis

After having spent that time in Magdala, we came back home really driven to look into our faith, deeper, so that we are well informed Christians.

Now, during this time in our lives, that has us more upside down, than right side up, we are looking again for ways in which to make our faith "come alive".  To that end, both of us have been trying to figure out who the person of Jesus was and who His followers were too.  We have had many lively discussions on this aspect of our faith and really haven't come to any conclusions.  What we see in the Scriptures can look pretty cold and too Godly or shall we say Jesus sometimes come off as unreachable.  But that is not the Jesus we want to believe in, we want a Jesus that is just like us, happy, sad, funny, serious and a whole lot more....He is the Jesus we could relate to!

Thank goodness that I found a series that really delves into the "humanity" of Christ!  This series has 8 episodes and each one of them is really so well done.  The series holds true to the Biblical Christ, but also opens up the Humanity of him who is known as the Messiah.

I would like to share with you a link to get to this series and I'm sure that you will be moved just as I was.  This series is not available on DVD or any other media other than at the APP store.  I have a link for you right here.  It is called The Chosen.  This is an 8 part series each one is about an hour long and focuses on the beginning of Jesus' life and ministry.  While following Biblical texts, there is a lot of interpretation allowed in this series.

Not only are we treated to a "human" Jesus, we are also treated to the characters who become his Apostles and Disciples.  His mother and other relatives also play a role in this series.  I found it to be very interesting and profoundly moving.

My hope is that you started your Easter celebrations with Cynthia Sylvestermouses' Review of Jesus of Nazareth!  And I hope you continue your Easter reflections with The Chosen.

Please come back and tell me what you thought!  I know for myself personally, this series was a valuable tool in more ways than one.  It brought so many characters to life that I had not connected with through just reading the Scriptures.  My faith is alive and new ways of understanding that faith are always welcomed.  You can watch the official trailer for The Chosen right here!

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, meme, possible text that says 'I was one way, and now I'm completely different. And the thing that happened in between... was Him. TheChosen.t'

**Please note: at the end of every episode there is a bit of "advertising", but you can skip that and move to the next episode easily.  If you are touched by this series you can PAY IF FORWARD.  But please don't feel that you must do this.  I want you to enjoy this series as much as I have and that is my sole purpose in sharing this with you.  I make no commissions or any other reward for sharing this with you.  Happy Easter for the next 50 days at least.....







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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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