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

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Two of the Best Products for Alzheimer's Patients: A Product Review

dementia, alzheimers, help for caregivers, tools
Dementia and Alzheimer's are two very real illnesses of our day.   Memory starts to change and we are left with someone who might or might not have the ability to remember.  There are products that can help people who are in the different stages of this disease.  Memory and remembering things are two different sides of Dementia/Alzheimer's.  People that are affected sometimes remember things in the past, like they were yesterday, yet they cannot remember what day it is today.  Taking care of someone who is losing their ability to remember the smallest of tasks, can be terrifying for the person who can't remember and for the family of that person too! If you are a care giver, for someone you love, it is heartbreaking at times.  It's also really hard to come to terms with the changes that we see in the person we knew so well.

I have many friends who are in the same boat and we have found that simple tools can help the person who is having troubles with their memory.  This clock is one of those tools.  It has a nice look to it and will help the person see what day it is, what time and whether it's morning or evening.  A quick look and you are already one step ahead.  It may not seem like much to you and me, but the person who is having difficulty remembering will find this tool useful.  No more answering the same question over and over again.  What day is it?   What time is it?  etc.etc.etc.




Being able to figure out what day it is, seems like a reasonably easy task.  For Alzheimer's patients it is not easy at all.  This clock helps though.  With it's clear, concise display, there will be no doubt what day it is and whether it's morning or evening.  This clock also has the capability to set up to 5 different alarms.  These could be for medications, bathing, or getting ready to go out.  All of the possibilities will depend on your own needs.

The second tool that I would recommend is an Erasable White Board!  



This Board is inexpensive and will give you a great place to write down all those appointments that need to be taken care of.  Doctors appointments, Dentist, going shopping, social times, all of them can be easily written on the board with dates and times so that there is no second guessing about where you are going and what you are doing.  Most Alzheimer's patients are still interested in doing things even though they can't remember at times.

These two tools will make life a little easier for the caregiver.  The clock is #1 and the white board for me is a great #2.  They are not cures, unfortunately there isn't one, but they are solid reminders for the mind that has trouble focusing from one minute to the next.  


Caregivers need as much help as possible when walking down this road with their loved ones.  In some places there are even social clubs where Alzheimer's patients can be taken and they can enjoy an afternoon with others.  These are supervised short term respites that caregivers need to recoup and get themselves back on track. 

In the United States you can find a local chapter of the Alzheimer's Society, where they offer advice, programs and support.  Anyone who is looking after a loved one with Alzheimer's needs all the support they can get!  Check it out at Find your Local Chapter.


In Canada there are also support groups and you can find them online or click on this link: https://www.alz.org/ca/dementia-alzheimers-canada.asp

Alzheimer's is a disease that slowly (or sometimes quickly) changes the ways we deal with our families as they age.  It is frustrating, upsetting, life altering (for everyone), and nothing makes sense anymore.  There is help to deal with this disease and the first part is knowledge and then tools to help you along the way.  The links I've included above have great reading material to help those who haven't yet been touched by this disease, understand it a little better. 

Caring for our loved ones as they age is a beautiful responsibility, but, with Dementia and Alzheimer's, there are extra burdens.  Help yourself and your loved ones by being informed and having the tools around to help you, help them.  

caregivers, dementia, alzheimer's, tools for people with dementia





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Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Grandmothers Love to be Remembered Come Mother's Day (A Book Review)

Being a Grandmother is one of the most satisfying jobs in the world.  We get to have fun with our Grandchildren and not have the day to day responsibility of raising them.  (We have done that already!)

We are the ones that love to see our children and their children in settings that are remembered with much fondness.  I know I enjoy seeing my son and his children doing some of the same things that we did when he was a youngster.  Grandpa loves watching them play road hockey! Some of the funniest memories come from when he played with his children.  They still laugh an awful lot about some of those times.

When Mother's Day rolls around (and it does every year), sometimes Grandmothers get overlooked.  But, I must say this, when we are remembered, it is a wonderful feeling.

We grandmothers are called upon to look after little ones when Mom and Dad just need some "quiet" time on their own.  Date nights can be a rarity when you have little ones that are always on the go!

I'm just getting back from a week at their house, while mom and dad headed south for a 10 year anniversary "get away"!  Believe me, grandmomming for a week at a time can be a workout!

Having said that, I came across a great book for Grandmothers (and there is even one for Grandfathers), that makes being the "Grandparent" a special treat!  It would make a great little gift for that special "Grandma" in your life!  Especially great at Mother's Day!



This is a book that every grandmother should have!  I love the story and how it reverses the roles of the sitter and the one being babysat!  This Grandmother in particular, loves reading books to her "grands", so this is a shoe in for me.  Whenever I am in charge of looking after my little ones, reading is one of the pastimes that we all enjoy.  This book makes it even easier, because the little ones enjoy the role reversal.  They are the ones looking after Grandma!

With the cost of greeting cards these days, I would much rather receive a book like this one and the cost is not much more!  Being remembered by your children on a day special to all mothers (and grandmothers) makes your heart swell  just a little bit and you get a great story to share with those that you love so much.  Try it out for your grandmother and see if there isn't just a little twinkle in her eyes.  Shared love and sharing a great story are two of the best things in life, at least for this grandma!





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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Bats, the Good, the Great and Why You Want Them!

April 17, 2019 has been designated as "Bat Appreciation Day" by those wonderful folks at the Days of the Year!  So let's do a review on Bats and why you would encourage them to become part of your backyard and garden areas!

Bats have had a bad reputation for many years and much of it comes from not understanding this mammal and all of it's wonderful attributes.  Halloween, scary stories, murder mysteries and more have used scenarios with bats as a harbinger of bad things to come.  Stories of bats becoming entangled in people's hair and attacking at night have added to the fear many people have when it comes to this animal.  Vampires and other "horror" scenes have reinforced the idea that bats are "bad news". I'm here to set the record straight!


Let's start with what we know about bats!

Bats are found almost everywhere where people are.  If there is a food source around, there will be bats as well.  The only place where bats have not been found is in Antarctica!  

Bat are mammals that hibernate like bears in the winter months.  Once the weather starts to warm up and the bugs come out of the ground, you will if you are lucky, start to see bats as well.  

Bats feed on bugs, fruit, beetles, and insects and there are a few species that will drink blood too  (this is where their bad reputation comes from)!  None of these blood suckers make their home in North America, so don't worry.

Bats eat up to 50% of their body weight in bugs every evening.  Yes, you should re-read that statement.  Bats eat up to 50% of their body weight in bugs every evening.  





Bats are the only flying mammal with great eyesight and the ability to echolocate their food!  No bats don't fly into your hair accidentally.  They have food to locate and eat.  Bat's are evening creatures that do most of their living while we are sleeping.  As morning comes Bats just want to go into a dark place to sleep.


Bat's with their voracious appetite help our farmers cut down on the need to use pesticides!  That is a GOOD thing.  

Unfortunately, Bats are in trouble!  They need our help.  Many bats have been dying because of a disease that is called  "White Mold Disease" and it attacks the bats as they are hibernating.  When they come out of hibernation they are sick and quickly die.  There are many efforts being made to help the bats through this debilitating disease and providing them with clean and safe places to hibernate, is one of these initiatives.

Of all the animals that you can have in the garden (and all of them have a job to do), I would be encouraging bats to find me.  Having a bat box ready for them is step #1.  These are easy to build and can be fastened to a nice cozy dry spot.  Just under the eaves is a great place. 


Here are some books that you can share with your children and get them on board to helping Mother Nature take care of her bats!  You can also build your own Bat Box and see if they will come!  Sitting on the patio in the cool evenings will be a lot nicer for you and your family when there are bats around to take care of all those nasty mosquitos.  It's a win-win situation.




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Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Easter and Church A Simple Way to Make It Easy for Children

Children and Faith, Our Duty as Christian Parents and Grandparents During this Holiday Season.

In the last 30 years Church attendance has dropped significantly.  Christians still want to attend services at special times of the year and one of them is coming up very shortly.  There are two major celebrations in the Christian community.  Christmas being the first.  Easter is the Second.  Both of these times in the year are  Holidays, and important in the life of a Christian community.  Christmas we celebrate the Birth of Jesus Christ and at Easter, we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus from the Tomb.  Both of these "Holy Days" are usually marked by increased attendance at your local church's worship services.

Easter Church Services

Attending Church services with our family is one of the most wonderful times in a parents and grandparents lives.  It's a great time for us Parents and Grandparents to acknowledge our faith and share it with our families. 

The Question remains, how do we get our children (many of which haven't participated in regular Church Services) to sit quietly at the Services we are attending?  Every parent enters the church with trepidation and fear that their little ones will be disruptive during the Easter Service.

I'm here to tell you that with a little planning ahead, children can and will behave in a way that will not put you to shame.  But it does take some planning.

So let's get to it. Prepare, prepare, prepare!


First of all let's find out how long the church service will last.  Sometimes it will be 30 to 45 minutes and other services may last a few hours.  Knowing how long you need to keep your children engaged will help you plan better. 

Let's assume that services will be about an hour long.  That 60 minutes of quiet time that your children need to get a handle on.

Let's Pack a Church Bag* to take with us to services.  Inside will be all kinds of quiet activities that your children can do when they become restless.  So these are the things I would take along:

*Contents of a great Church Bag

  1. Books, depending on the age of your children, they can be picture books or story books.
  2. Stickers and some paper for them to make their own picture of the Bible story they  will hear.
  3. Coloring books with crayons. (if you have more than one child, make sure you have a book for each one of them!)
  4. Puzzle books, find the words, or crosswords are great!
  5. Small soft Easter type toys, stuffed bunnies, chicks or eggs. You can find some really cute ones here at Coastal Crochet Crafts! 
DO NOT PACK Candy of any Kind.  That would be setting you up for a sugar rush and you don't want to have that during this quiet time.   You should prepare your children ahead of time.  Make it a game to see how long they can be quiet at home, before the Church event happens.  Small rewards for being able to be quiet can help you to increase the time span.  Tell them that they are practicing for the quiet time that they will have to adhere to while Church services are happening.  Practice whispering to each other if conversations need to be had.   Bringing electronic toys to church is not a good idea.  They are very distracting to your child and to others around them.  Even adults are distracted by electronic toys.  Better to stick to bringing a book or two.  Picture books are great and children are always enchanted by stories that they can read.  I happen to like Easter Books that tell the Story of the Resurrection.




There are several available and they will help you to explain to your children what this Season of Easter is all about too!  Children learn from their parents and grandparents about their faith beliefs and it is up to us to encourage that faith.    After Church Services are concluded, I'm sure there will be time for the infamous Easter Egg hunt.  Children especially like this part of the Easter festivities.  Dinner on Easter Sunday will be a gathering of all the family at the table to share in the wonderful foods and desserts that have been lovingly prepared for us.  After all Easter is a whole season of REJOICING!  Everything is new including the seasons.  Everything is in bloom or will be soon.

Please know that most Christians are very happy to see the little ones at church services!  They are a delight to us older folks who remember all to well taking our own children to Services.


Happy Easter to all, The Lord is Risen, He is Risen indeed!




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Wednesday, March 27, 2019

What You Need to Know about Basic Birdhouse Construction

birdhouses, building birdhouses, learning about birds

Basic Birdhouse Construction, What you Need to Know.


For years I have built birdhouses for friends and family and for myself.  Why?  Well let's just put it this way, I love my garden and I love nature.  When I'm working outdoors there is nothing more special than being able to watch the birds and the bees while taking a short break.

To say that I enjoy their antics would be an understatement.  You will find me out in the garden at almost any hour of the day, just to see what there is to see.  Most of the time it is the birds and the insects that I purposely attract to my garden that give me the thrills of the day.  And because I love them so much, I want my friends to enjoy them that much too!

I want to focus on birdhouses in this review, because, while everyone loves birds, enticing them into your garden is a special thrill!   Seeing them rear their babies is even more fun.  If you have children or grandchildren, it is also a wonderful time to teach them some nature lessons and life lessons too.


Birdhouse Basics

If you have a yard, you have a great place to start.  Flowers, shrubs and a tree or two would be ideal as well.  A water source or a bird bath will surely entice some lovely feathered friends to come for a visit.  After that, if you want to build some birdhouses, that will help them to target you for their next place to live!

It is said that if you build it, they will come! (Taken from the movie ............The Field of Dreams.)  This may be true for birdhouses and it may not be true.  Some birds really don't care what their homes look like, but they are particular about the size and the placement.  Other birds will readily nest in any dry and sheltered spot, Robins in particular will nest in a dry space and not really need or want a birdhouse.

If you are hoping to attract certain kinds of birds to your yard, you need to build a house that they will really like.

Placement of that birdhouse will also be important.  Some birds require homes set at a certain height and proximity to other essentials  for their welfare.  Water and food sources being the most important ones.

Some birds are solitary nesters and others need to live in community.  So again depending on the birds you want to attract, you will need to take these things into consideration as well.

I have found this book on Amazon will help you build birdhouses, but also takes into account each different species likes and dislikes.  Working with an ornithologist, these plans have been made for specific birds.  It doesn't help you to build a house that no one wants to occupy.  So build something that you know they will appreciate and you will be rewarded with the lovely sounds of birds thanking you.


Here you will find plans to make up to 19 different types of birdhouses. Each one can be executed by the novice as well as the expert woodworker. These are great projects for Moms and Dads to make with their children.  The basic houses are wooden and can be left plain or dressed up with colors.

Three things that you should never do!

While we are on the subject of attracting birds to your garden, I want to make absolutely sure that you don't do these things:
  1. DO NOT put out lengths of yarn for birds to use as nesting material.  
  2. DO NOT put out dryer lint for the birds
  3. DO NOT put out pet hair for their use either.
You may ask WHY NOT!
Here are the reasons,  yarn, unless it is cut up into tiny (less than an inch long) pieces, can actually act as a noose that works it's way around baby birds necks.  When they try to fly out of the nest, they strangle.  Birds are used to  scavenging for nesting materials and they know what they want in there.  If you feel inclined to help them, rake up your grass and leave little piles of dried grass for them to find.  

Dryer lint is also a definite no-no.  Most people use fabric softeners of some sort with  their dryers and the chemicals in those sheets or liquids also ends up in the lint.  These chemicals may harm the babies either by contact, or by ingestion.  Don't do it!

Pet Fur is also a no-no.  If your pet is taking medications, or you use flea powders or flea shampoos on them, their fur is also "contaminated".  Baby birds are naked (just like human babies) when they are born.  Anything that cause a reaction to their tender little bodies should be avoided at all costs.
birdhouses, building birdhouses, watching nature
Naked baby birds!


It would be much better for you to spend your time reading a little about what they would appreciate and then building a nice house for them to enjoy.  The most perfect part of this whole idea is that you will build one house, but that two families will get to enjoy it.  The bird family and your family too!

More about Birds from the writers at Review This Reviews:


You can read more about the life cycle of a Robin at Tracey's Review of that incredible sight at her home.
Birdwatching and Photography go hand in hand.  One of Review This Reviews writers, Mary Beth Granger, has shown and taught us how to capture some beautiful pictures of the birds in her area. If you love Bluebirds you can read up right here!  Or if Woodpeckers tickle your fancy, you can check out some great pictures and facts Review of Woodpecker Facts and Photography 





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Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Birds Butterflies and Bees in the Garden, What you Need to Know

How to successfully attract birds, bees and butterflies to your garden and enjoy them all season long!

Everyone that I know is so tired of winter.  Once the clocks have moved ahead for Daylight Savings Time, all of us are just counting down the days until we see those first signs of spring.
I have not yet had the delight of my first Robin or Blue Birds.  I know though that they will be coming very shortly.  And I am ready to welcome them all with some special treats that I know they will love.
birds, butterflies and bees in the garden, attracting wildlife, garden birds
Monarch Butterfly and bee on Asters
                                          

Three Basics That Are Essential

If you want the birds, bees and butterflies to come to your yard, you need to provide some of the things they will want.  
Like any other living creature, these little marvels of nature are looking for shelter, food and water.  Those are the essentials for any living being that you would care for.  Garden visitors are no different in that regard.  The only other thing that they may be looking for, would be a safe place to nest.  Trees and bushes are great for that!


Flowers are food!

Bees and butterflies and yes even the birds are looking for flowers to feed their appetites.  Pollen laden plants are a bee's best friend.  Butterflies and bees like nectar laden flowers too.  Birds are more attracted to seed heads that will come later in the year.  But they will use petals, and leaves to line their nests.  


Attracting different kinds of birds.

If you set out bird houses, you will certainly get some feathered friends calling your yard their home too.  Feeders for finches and hummingbirds will almost guarantee their arrival at your doorstep.  Plant the right kinds of flowers and you will have an abundance of these lovely little creatures to watch and enjoy.

Butterflies, birds  and bees will enjoy a bird bath.  The birds will splash around cooling themselves off in the heat of the summer, while the butterflies and bees will also stop for a drink and a little rest.  Butterflies and bees can also make use of the sugar water that is in your hummingbird feeders, so don't be surprised to see them there too. 

Having a place that is rich in flowers and shrubs with a few trees for their safety will make all of these creatures very happy to call your home, their home too!

Picking the flowers and shrubs to enhance your garden!

If you really want the butterflies, bees and birds in your garden, here is a list of some of the best ones to plant.

  1. Butterfly bush, as the name indicates is a magnet for many different types of butterflies, but they are also a magnet for hummingbirds too!
  2. Sunflowers, their flat heads are wonderful landing pads for all garden critters.
  3. Coneflowers will attract bluebirds, bees, and butterflies as well.
  4. ServiceBerry Bushes will attract cardinals, robins, cedar waxwings and more.
  5. Phlox is another great plant to attract birds and butterflies.

If you enjoy having these critters in the garden with you, make their lives easier by planting lots of the flowers that they love.  The list above is just a small sample of what plants are great to encourage wildlife in the yard.  It is by no means a complete list.  For that I refer to my book produced by Birds and Blooms Magazine.  


Gardening for Birds, Butterflies and Bees!



You can get your own right here! It is a great resource book and one that you can come back to and reference for future garden projects or additions.

You might also like to take up photography when you see how beautiful it is to have these creatures in your garden.  Mary Beth (another writer on Review This) shows us what it's like to take pictures and how to do it too!  You can check out her article right here: Bluebird Facts and Photography

Having a natural flower filled garden will surely bring you and all the visitors to your garden a lot of joy and happiness.  The colors and scents, along with all the activity will inspire you to enjoy the beauties of nature.

butterflies in the garden, attracting butterflies into the garden, garden flowers
Swallowtail Butterfly
attracting bees into the garden, garden bees, garden flowers
Bee with sunflower






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Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Educated: The Life Story of an Amazing Backwoods Girl

Everyone who has paid taxes and continues to do so, has  dreamed of living "off the grid".  Educated, is the memoir of Tara Westover, who because of her family,  did just that!

Let me start by saying that this book once opened and in your hands, will be hard to put down.  So be prepared to let everything else slip, while you get drawn into this memoir.


                                                              Photo from the New York Times



Tara and her family live on Buck's Peak in Idaho.  They are a tight knit family not because of undivided love, but rather necessity.  They are a large family of seven children. Living off the grid is not easy and Tara's father has long held that government and modern times are both evil.  These are to be avoided at all and any costs.  The family does not have strong ties to the community which is small at best.  But they are strong in their faith life.  Reading from the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and the Mormon prophets is their only entertainment.

Mom is an herbalist, with a love for natural healing from the abundance around her.  Tara and her mom are always working to prepare the family for the inevitable downfall of all humanity.  Dad speaks to "God" and has his own visions of what needs to be accomplished to keep his family safe in the trying days to come.


While running his scrapyard, he is also consumed with the coming Y2K debacle and the end times.  He is constantly preparing bunkers with food and water, staples and gas so that when the inevitable last days arrive, they will be safe and saved. 


                                            Buck's Peak in the Fall

Tara never goes to school proper.  She and her siblings are home schooled. Mom make tinctures and creams.  These will be their only forms of medicine, because Dad doesn't believe in Doctors.  Mom also becomes the local midwife, after learning from the elderly woman who has been the midwife for years.  All of this is kept very quiet as they don't want any interference from the government.  Every birth is punctuated with worry that things will not "go" according to plan.  Heaven help them if a mother should die in the birthing process.  

Tara's brothers are a mixed bunch.  Some take care of Tara with tenderness and love, while one of the eldest has a mean streak the width of a country road.  While Tara is terrorized by him, Dad and Mom just keep on working and ignore any of his actions and the subsequent injuries that Tara has received at his hands.  Even such simple things as birth certificates were not issued for the children.  All were home birthed and never registered anywhere.  Not until one of the brothers wants to get a driver's licence does Tara's mom start the process of registering the birth of her children.  

Tara's story is unique in that it takes place today.  With all the means of communication and learning, the Westover family knew none of it.  

Despite her lack of many material things, Tara is gifted with a tenacity that will not let her fail.  Once she has made the decision to leave the mountain, there is no holding her back.  Educated is a story that is real, interesting, happy and sad at times, but never dull.

I read this in three days and just hated when my eyes were so tired they could not read another page.  


Educated is a story of re-birth both physical and emotional.  It's a story of choices and the possible breakdown of all that you knew to be true.  Tara is like the caterpillar turning into the butterfly.  Change though can be painful too and you will see that in the pages you are reading.  

From a seventeen year old girl, who has never entered a classroom before, to a young woman who has a PhD and has studied at Cambridge and Harvard, she certainly has learned that you and you alone can become "Educated" 

For your reading pleasure you can start a free trial with Audible and get to read "Educated" for the best price ever $0.00! 








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Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Gardeners and Valentine's Day What a Great Combination Reviewed

There is no doubt about it, when February comes calling, gardeners are already itching to get into the "dirt" of the matter!

#gardeners gifts #valentines day gifts for gardeners #winning combinations for the gardener
Valentine's Day and Gardeners are a great combination.  Around every corner you will find something that will satisfy and excite the gardener in your life.  All gardeners are spending much of February pouring over Seed Catalogs and planning to attend the local Garden Shows that are sure to be happening in March.  I know that I am planning not only my flower gardens, but my vegetable garden too!  I can hardly wait for that first snowdrop or even (heaven forbid) that first dandelion!

What it means is that Old Man Winter is leaving and the warmth and loveliness of Spring is on the way.  Even dandelions with their yellow heads are welcome after a cold and dreary winter season.  And the ladybugs are just an added bonus.  

Valentine's Day is a great time to think about those things that will make the gardener in your family really happy.  There is a list and it can go on and on.  But let me help you make some good decisions when it comes to the gifts that a gardener would really love to have.  

First on the List is Books! 

I don't know any gardener that would not love a beautiful book that highlights not only plants, but gives great instructions on growing them too!  Along with books would be a subscription to Gardening Magazines of which there are many to choose from.  You can find magazines specific to your area and growing zones. You can also go to more general magazines that will cover a multitude of plants, vegetables, trees, shrubs and in gardening zones around the world.  Sometimes pictures are worth the time to dream!

Second on the List is Plants!  

Your local garden center will have a multitude of plants available, especially since it is coming close to Valentine's Day.  You don't need to buy cut roses to make a gardener happy.  Primroses, potted tulips and daffodils, even indoor tropical plants are a welcome addition to the household.  They are reasonably priced and will last a lot longer than any cut flowers.

Third on the List is Pots! 

I personally love pots that are beautiful to look at!  My indoor plants always look amazing because they are in pots that match or contrast with my decor.  It makes a plain plant look amazing when it stands out as a focal point in a room.  And the added bonus is that the indoor plants do a great job of cleaning the air indoors.  This is particularly important in the winter months when windows and doors are shut up tight to keep the cold out.  When you have some really good indoor plants working for you, the air never gets that winter "stale" feel.

Fourth on the List is Garden Tools! 

Every year I know there is another garden tool that I want.  It never fails.  From hoes, rakes, wagons, potting benches and saws to hand tools and garden hoses, there is always something I need.  Make it part of your conversations and I'm sure you will find there is something needed or wanted that would make a unique Valentine's gift.  You can find some great reviews here: Review This Gardening

Fifth on the List is Hand Soaps and Creams! 

Most gardeners are always fighting with dirt under the fingernails and hands.  Playing in the dirt can be very taxing on the skin as well.  A good hand cream/balm and some really fine soaps would be welcome by every gardener that I know.  Even though we love to play in the dirt, we also like our hands to be clean and our skin soft.  There's no need for calluses even though we work with our hands.

Sixth, Seventh, Eighth and Ninth on the List!

If none of the above floats your boat, then there is this extended list too......
6.  Garden lights, Tiki lamps, outdoor fireplace
7.  Garden seating, chairs, umbrellas, tables
8.  Bird Feeders, hummingbird feeders anything that will attract birds and bees.
9.  Bird baths, Fountains, running water.

Last but not Least the Tenth!

10.  I know I mentioned tools, but there are other things that would help a gardener that are a little less obvious.  How about garden hoses, timers for lights, Outdoor glassware (non-breakable),  or a good water bottle to keep that gardener hydrated!

This list is by no means complete.  There are always new products and garden decor that can change just as the seasons do.  It's a great starting point for anyone who wants to make a gardener they love happy at Valentine's Day, that's for sure.  



The products I have chosen to show are just a small sample of what's available.  Just remember that Gardeners love anything that will help them to grow something beautiful or delicious and sometimes both.  
Happy Valentine's Day
   May your garden overflow with the love that you pour into it.
valentine's gifts for gardeners, 10 great gift ideas for gardeners, Valentines Day and Gardeners a great combination





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Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Are You in Charge of Someone Else's Health Care?

How to Effectively Be an Advocate for Your Loved Ones

Today many people find themselves in "charge" of a loved one's personal and medical needs. This could be a parent or another relative, or just a really good friend who has no one else to advocate for them. I am in that position on two different fronts. I have my mother and my uncle who are both in their late 80's and finding daily tasks to be more difficult everyday.

While they are in good health generally, there is much that needs to be tracked to keep them that way.

When an emergency hits, then you are in real "trouble", so to speak. And this is why I am here to let you know about a resource that will help you in those stressful times.

What do you do in an emergency?


Just recently I had to call an ambulance for my mother. She could not walk, she was in a lot of pain and she had just been diagnosed with an auto-immune disease that came up out of nowhere. To say I was a little stressed was the understatement of the year. The EMT's (emergency medical team) were wonderful. When they arrived though, they had questions that I should have been able to answer at my fingertips. Because of the stress of the moment, there were things that I forgot about, or did not have the answers too! Who knows if that would have made a difference. All I know is that I was very upset with myself for NOT having all the answers to their important questions. Because of this incident, I have been looking into ways to keep track of her symptoms, medications, dates of surgeries, prognosis (es) and such.

She has seen many different doctors for different episodes in her life, and they are all important!

When the answer to a situation is calling an ambulance, then it is much better for you and for your loved ones, if you have all the answers to all the questions right there in front of you.


Do NOT Rely on Your Memory!


I have called an ambulance for my mother on three different occasions and each one was a "medical emergency". Now you would think that having to call an ambulance would solidify that date in your mind. Well I'm here to tell you that it does not. I had to really rack my brains in order to come up with the year(s) that each of these episodes happened. This is not a good scenario when it comes to emergency medicine. They need to know everything about this person's health in the last 20 years. So unless you have a photographic memory, you should have a written record of each of these episodes readily available. To that end, I have found what I think will work really well for my mother and my uncle. It is a Medical Records Journal!  I cannot stress enough, how important this is.

Keep your Journal Up to Date!  It doesn't help if you don't keep the records for all doctor's appointments.  


I like this Medical Records Journal because it has pages that are removable(for things you don't need, like baby immunizations) or places to add pages(like when they had a flu shot or other procedures).   It  has a place for all the different times that she has been to the doctor for regular check ups and extra space for those times when something else has happened to change the direction of her health care. There are pages for specialists that she has seen, medications that they have prescribed and on-going return visits. I wish I had had one of these just a few weeks  ago.  There is even pages for emergency responses so that you can keep track of who and when they were transported to a hospital.  These are all very important things that you as a care-giver should know and have access to.  No more guessing if the heart attack happened in November of 2010 or January 2011. 


                                              

There are pages in this Medical Journal to keep track of all the information regarding the different physicians that have treated her.  There is space for their names, phone numbers, addresses and more.  You may not think that is important, but I'm here to tell you it is!  


There are pages with envelopes attached where lab results, blood work results and more can be inserted.  Pages of information regarding the patient's "medical issues" and ongoing care can be inserted into the proper spaces too.  Things like blood sugar levels, heart rhythms, kidney dialysis
days, and more.  Everything is in a really nice binder with a clasp, so that nothing goes missing.

https://amzn.to/2DkZd7K. medical journal, keeping records of illness

It is a great resource not only for doctors visits, but for you as well.  I know I listen intently when we are at the doctor's, but I often find myself going over the instructions in my head.  It is much better for you and for the patient, if you have everything written down. When all the emotional upset has cleared, you can revisit exactly what the doctor recommended.  What you hear and what your loved one has heard may be two different things altogether.  Written instructions are the much better alternative.

It is a great responsibility and pleasure to be able to care for a loved one but, it is also stressful.  When they are healthy it's great, but when something out of the ordinary happens, you have to be prepared.


Here's wishing you a Happy Healthy New Year with all your loved ones.

**I am not a doctor, what I have written here comes from my experience. If you are not sure ask your doctor for his/her recommendations.  I am sure they will agree that this is a great resource for you and for your loved ones.








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Wednesday, January 9, 2019

What's Bugging Your Plants And How To Solve The Problem

Winter has set in for the long haul and if you live in Canada or the Northern United States, the plants you brought indoors for the winter months are probably showing some signs of distress.

Why does that happen and what can you do about it? 

Simply put, your indoor space as nice as it may be, is not the "great outdoors".  All gardeners wish they could just bring the summer inside so that they can survive those crazy cold winter months.  Alas, that is not possible.  We all have some plants that we love and want to "overwinter" in our homes.  I know I have a few that I just love and I always start early in the fall to get these favorites ready for their move indoors.


Olivia's Brugmansia

This is my all time favorite flower.  It is really more like a tree and in the southern states it grows to be as big as a tree.  Here in the north, with proper care it can also become quite large, but keeping a plant this big indoors over the winter months is not an easy task.  So I prepare early to bring in cuttings from this amazing plant.  It roots easily in water and once the cuttings have a good root system I plant the cutting in soil and bring that indoors.  You can also go through the process of keeping these in a cool cellar over the winter months, but that is another whole process.  I find it easier to keep just a few cuttings and watching them grow ever so slowly in the winter.  

What's the biggest problems with keeping plants indoors over the winter?

There are really three problems that will cause plants to decline over the winter months.
  1. Light, not enough of it.
  2. Water, too much of it.
  3. Pests, hitchhikers that you didn't expect to give a home to.
Today we are going to discuss the "Hitchhikers"!

There are six common pests that can attack indoor plants and most often they hitchhike in the soil.  They may be dormant for a little while, but once January comes around they seem to explode on the scene.  Let's find out more!

The six pests are:
  1. aphids
  2. soil gnats
  3. scale insects
  4. white flies
  5. spider mites
  6. mealy bugs

There are a few pests that can literally take over in a matter of a few days.  In the summer months when the plant is outdoors, it has the advantage of natural pest controls.  Ladybugs, praying mantis and just better growing conditions can make these pests less of a problem.  Once indoors the natural controls are no longer there.  Additionally, if you bring in the plant with it's soil from outdoors, you are probably giving the hitchhikers a first class ride into their winter residence as well.

Whenever you bring a plant from the outdoors in, you should take steps to make sure the pests are not coming in with them.  There are several ways to do this.  One is to drench the soil with neem oil products (natural and organic controls).  Spray the leaves and undersides especially to knock off the aphids and wipe out any eggs.  Or you can take cuttings that will be rooted and planted in fresh soil.  

If you notice a plant not doing well, leaves that are falling off, discolored leaves, tips that are browning and not growing, you know you have a problem.
The next step is to isolate the plant (most pests will gladly jump from one plant to another if they are in close proximity), and seek out information on what kind of problem you have.  Some of these pests are easy to find if you know what to look for.  Others might be a little harder, but you can get help if you need it from a reliable nursery.  Bring in the plant, or a leaf and see if they can help you identify the pest, then you can also purchase what you need to help control or get rid of your "problem" before it becomes an all out infestation.

Most people know about aphids, controlling them is rather easy.  You must be consistent but a good blast of water will dislodge aphids and within a few weeks your problem should be over.  Every three days check your plant, if you see aphids, get them into the shower and give them a good hard spray with lukewarm water.  Wash them all down the drain.  Keep your plant segregated until you see no more signs of aphids.  

Soil gnats are not really a "problem pest" in that they won't kill your plant.  They are rather annoying though.  When you disturb the plant, you will see little black flies come out of the ground and fly around and then go back into the ground.  Water your plants with neem oil added to their water and keep the soil on the dry side until you no longer see these little flies.  Over watering is one of the biggest mistakes made when bringing plants indoors.

Scale insects are much more difficult.  They are sneaky and if you don't know what to look for, you will miss them completely.  Scale insects like to hid under leaves and in the meeting of stem and leaf.  They can also attach to flowering stems.  One of my orchids has a scale problem and what set me to find this was a stickiness on the leaves.  This stickiness is from the scale excreting honeydew after sucking the plant juices.  Scale look like little bumps on a stem or leaf and can look like part of the plant.  If you scratch the edges of the scale, you will find it will lift off of the plant.  The easiest way to get control of scale insects is with rubbing alcohol and a Q-tip or cotton ball.  The rubbing alcohol will damage the scales outer shell and expose the bug for removal.  It is important to watch a plant with scale as they will suck the life right out of the plant in short order.  Check the plant weekly and remove any scale using this method.  
Scale insects on leaf and stem. (Picture from WikiCommons)

White flies are also a nuisance.  They attack the undersides of the leaves of many plants.  They also multiply readily, so an infestation is quite possible in a few days time.  Like aphids the best way to keep these under control is to knock them off with a good spray of water.  Do this every 2 to 3 days and then treat the soil with neem oil so that any eggs that may have fallen into the soil will die.  You can also purchase Yellow Sticky traps for these pesky white flies.  They seem to be attracted to the yellow color.

Spider mites as their name implies are very much like spiders, but they are tiny(almost microscopic) and you could need a magnifying glass in order to see them.  What you might see before you actually see the bugs, is a webbing all over the ends of the plant stems.  Imagine tent caterpillars in miniature.  The effect is similar.  When you see those webs all over the plant you will have to get that plant into the shower and wash them off.  Again the undersides of the leaves and the ends of the plant are favorite spots for this pest.  

Mealy Bugs like scale are harder to control and require that you actively search your plants for their presence.  They like the scale have a hard outer shell that will keep them firmly attached to the plant.  Using rubbing alcohol will dislodge them and kill them as well.  

If you want to know more about houseplant pests a great website is from Colorado State and you can find it right here!  They also have some great pictures of these pests if you want to know what they look like or you are not sure if what you are seeing is a pest or not.

I personally have a great collection of Rubbing alcohol and cotton swabs and cotton balls for my houseplants.  Once a month I water all of my plants with Neem Oil added to the water as a preventative measure to keep my plants happy.  Spring and Summer are on their way, but until then, keep a close eye on your favorite plants.  Make sure that no pests will spoil your indoor gardening period.

For your convenience I have included my must haves for over-wintering my favorite plants and keeping them healthy until they can go back outside again in Late Spring and Summer.  Hope this helps you keep your favorite plants happy too!










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Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Why Should You Have a Beautiful Advent Wreath?

We are in the full season of Christmas and part of that in our family is lighting the Advent Candles on our Christmas wreath.

The meaning of the candles and the wreath as a meditation for Christmas and beyond.  


Most people recognize an Advent Wreath when they see them.  They can be made out of many different types of materials.  The most common are evergreens, but there are many other beautiful options.  The wreath (round just by it's name)  usually has 4 candle holders spaced evenly around the wreath.   These four candles are usually in purple and pink( 3 purple and one pink), for religious celebrations of Advent.  Some have a central larger candle in White.  Other Advents wreaths can have red or white candles or whatever color you happen to like.

What's the significance of the colors in a Religious Advent Wreath?

Advent is a time of waiting and preparation.  Purple is the color of both Advent and Lent in religious ceremonies.  Both  of these seasons Liturgically are waiting periods.  Advent we wait for the coming of the Saviour in the stable and Lent we wait for the Resurrection from the Grave.  Let's focus on Christmas and Advent right now.

Each candle has it's own meaning.

  1.  The 1st Sunday of Advent is for Hope (purple)
  2.   The 2nd Sunday is for Peace (purple)
  3.   The 3rd Sunday is for Joy (pink)(it's pink because the light of the two other candles illuminates this week a little bit more and joy is bright)
  4.   The 4th Sunday is for Love (purple)
  5.   Christmas Day the center candle is lit, if you have an Advent wreath with 5 candles.  This central candle (usually in white) represents the Christ, the Saviour whose birthday we celebrate at this time.
The way we use our wreath, is to light one candle on the first Sunday, two on the second Sunday, three on the Third Sunday and all four candles on the Fourth Sunday.  For this reason it is advisable to use a good sized candle or long tapers.  After 4 weeks the first candle will be considerably smaller than the other 3.

If you want to increase the religious aspect of Advent, you can use Bible verses as a meditation for each of the four weeks, or sing some Christmas carols that speak more to the coming of the Saviour rather than  Santa Claus.  There are also some lovely Advent prayers to be found on You Tube and I have selected one for you with music.  The sound is soothing and a reminder of what Christmas is all about!  Check it out right here, and bookmark it if you like so that you have it for all 4 weeks.



Quiet Meditative Time 


Christmas with all it's hustle and bustle can sometimes overwhelm children, parents and other members of the family.  Do you ever wonder why you seem to see so many children having emotional meltdowns at this time of year.  I personally think it has a lot to do with sensory overload and children not having the coping mechanisms in place to deal with it all.

You might find yourself in that position of having to back away from all the noise, lights, music and people.  Taking some quality quiet time for yourself during this hectic time, is not only a great idea, but a necessity for some.  Everyone is different and will relate to the stimulus differently too.  One thing I do know from my own experience is that taking the time to light one candle for every weekend before Christmas is necessary for my well being.  It's a quiet meditative time for me and a way to refresh and renew my sagging spirit.

If you want to know more about sensory overload or aren't sure if that's what has you in it's grips, there is a great article here on Healthline.  It's worth the time it takes to read it. Not only will it help you to understand this malady, but it will also give you some coping mechanisms.  If you are looking for a more "spiritual way" to cope then I would recommend this article on Seasonal Depression and coping.

When you are faced with this "overload" and you know which methods of coping work for you, then it's time to put it into practice.  This is where my Advent Wreath plays a central role.  For me, coping with the seasonal overload means finding some quiet time, and meditating(some might call it praying).  Christmas for me has always been a "spiritual time" and while I love some of the more secular things about Christmas, I still try to keep it as a spiritual time in my home.  I have to do this for my own peace of mind and you might just find some peace if you try this too!



Why Should You Have a Beautiful Advent Wreath?  www.reviewthisreviews.com




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Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Christmas Inflatables Make Decorating Easy and Fun

In a Heartbeat, Thanksgiving is over and everyone is in Full Christmas Holiday mode!

Part of the whole fun of Christmas is decorating, both indoors and out!  I know many people are just chomping at the bit to get their Christmas trees up and decorated, so that they and their families can enjoy this holiday for as long as possible.
Christmas Decorating getting to difficult for you to handle?  Don't want to be climbing on ladders and such?  There is an easy way around that!  And you will feel the spirit with just a flick of a switch......
Photo courtesy of my niece Tara Hocaliuk!  One very talented lady! (Please do not copy without permission)

Children love getting into the "spirit" of the holidays too!  Schools and Church groups are busy making Christmas decorations or preparing for those Christmas pageants that every parent and grandparent love to attend.  Videos and pictures will grace everyone's favorite social media and the joy of our children will be shared everywhere.

For years we decorated not only the inside of our homes, but we would put up Christmas lights and boughs of evergreens on our porch with the Most Beautiful Wreath on our front door!  These sights would greet all our friends and family as they came for visits over the holidays and we had lots of visitors! 

 Christmas Decorating getting to difficult for you to handle?  Don't want to be climbing on ladders and such?  There is an easy way around that!  And you will feel the spirit with just a flick of a switch......
Photo courtesy of my niece Tara Hocaliuk!  One very talented lady! (please do not copy without permission)


Today, I would not ask my other half to get up on a ladder to attach lights to our gutters, even though he did this for years.  Decorating outdoors has become much easier!  Thank goodness for the ability to share ideas on Pinterest and other social media as well.  If you have the time, these ideas are all very doable and need not cost an arm and a leg.

If you don't have the time, then there is another alternative!  And it does not require anyone getting up on a ladder either!  

Christmas inflatables have become very popular and they are so easy to install and enjoy.  If you have a power source, you are ready to decorate in minutes.  You just need to take the inflatable out of it's box, and plug it in.  Done!  It can't be any easier and there are so many different styles to choose from.

The larger the inflatable, the more expensive they become.  Don't be discouraged, these inflatables can start at very affordable prices and make a big impact!  Santas and snowmen, trains and sleighs, polar bears and penguins are all very popular motifs for the holidays.  Many of them will come in several different sizes, ready to fit your decor ideas.  

Inflatables are a lot of fun, easy to install and enjoy.  Again the choices are many and varied.  Some of these inflatables are animated as well.  That just adds another whole dimension of enjoyment. The biggest problem (I hate to admit there might be one) is that someone may be tempted to steal it from your front lawn.  This is easy to remedy with a little forethought and a handyman or woman.  All you need to do is get a few metal tent pegs and a couple of holes drilled in the base of your inflatable.  Hammer the stakes into the ground and your worries are over.

The children and the adults as well will enjoy the sights that you have so thoughtfully prepared for the Holidays.  I'm sure more than one person will stop to admire your handiwork!  The best part, you didn't have to get up on a ladder and worry about falling off!

Christmas home decor is one of the fun parts of getting ready for the best holiday of the year.  Take a little time and let the whole world know that you still believe in the Magic of Christmas!






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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

"Surprise", the Latest New Trend for Little Girls!

I love Surprises, don't you?  Well let me tell you L.O.L. Surprise will be the next BIG thing for little hands to play with!

Okay, I have to admit something right here.  I'm just a big kid, that wants to get in on all the newest things for little kids, both girls and boys.  I am also a grandmother!

It's so much fun for me when I hit upon the next "big" thing that my grandkids are interested in.  Guess What?  I think I have found it!

I can remember when my granddaughters were into the latest fad of Shopkins.  They just could not get enough of these little pieces and share or trade their "doubles" with friends.  We spent hours with the girls trying to come up with the names of these characters and the girls would laugh and laugh as we (Poppa and Grammie) inevitably got the names all wrong.


childrens toys, little girls toys, christmas toys, fun toys
Because we had so much fun with those little figures,  I know in my heart, that this next generation of toys for little girls will be just as big as the Shopkins were.

Let me introduce you to L.O.L. Surprise!

Now you might be asking yourself, what the dickens is she going on about now.  Well let me tell you, there is a reason that these toys are on the "Amazon's Choice" list!

First and foremost, there are several different choices when buying these little toys.  You don't have to spend a fortune to put a smile on your grandchild's face.  These "Surprises" are a little more interactive than the Shopkins were in my humble opinion.  These toys are little people, with faces, and characteristics that make each one different.
They have a style and a little pizzazz for little hands and accessories that they can put on or take off.  Each one is different and each Surprise comes in a neat package with some figures, accessories and outfits.  And they are affordable (which once you are retired becomes of utmost importance!).



Sets of L.O.L. Surprise start at less than $10.00 and you just know that there will be some delight when they see what's inside. That for me is one of the highlights of this little gift. You just don't know what's in it until you open it up!  So it's a gift and a surprise all at the same time.  

For all you grandparents who will be seeing family over the Thanksgiving weekend, this is a great time to have all your presents ready for those family members that you won't be able to see over the Christmas holiday.  Your grandchildren will delight Christmas morning when Grandma and Grandpa have their gifts under the tree already. 
lol surprise, grandma, granddaughters, toys for girls


Childhood is about all those "little" things that make the memories that will last a lifetime. 



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