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

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

There are Big Celebrations Coming our Way - Show Your National Pride!

Whether you live in Canada or the USA, July is a month for Celebrating! 

Celebration Products Reviewed!


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July 1st is Canada Day followed very closely by July 4th Independence Day in the USA!

Those are two big holidays that just happen to fall in a great place this year.  Thursday July 1st and Sunday July 4th make it quite possible if you live close to the border, to enjoy each other and our holidays together.

After all the close downs, it will be nice to be able to travel even if its just down the road a ways.   I'm looking forward to that as a possibility!

Now whether or not that happens, don't let the holiday pass without getting some enjoyment from it all.

I love putting out my flag a week to two weeks before our holiday and then I leave it in place for the whole month.  Many Americans have their flags waving all year round, so it's a great time to make sure your flag is in tip top condition!  There is nothing sadder to me than seeing a tattered and tired flag.  There is no excuse!  Take a good look at it now and if it needs replacing then do the right thing and replace it!  Everyone will appreciate seeing a new flag flying. 

What I love even more than seeing a flag flying in the breeze during these holidays, is people getting their community spirit up by the wearing of "flag" inspired clothing!  Yes I love seeing the tee shirts and shorts, bathing suits and fitness gear all decked out in colors that represent your favorite place on earth!  After all this is the place you call home.

Cents of Style does a great job with T-shirts that reflect that patriotic notion.  And they do it in a great size range too!  




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 T-shirts are a summer standard and everyone knows you can never have too many!  Are you getting the whole family together?  Can you just imagine the photo opportunities with everyone decked out in their finest deeply patriotic T's?

My bet is that everyone will be taking a picture of the whole bunch of you enjoying yourselves to the fullest.  Isn't that what these holidays are all about?

Now I'm sure that there will be food involved in all this celebration with family and friends, but did you know it's real easy to make something spectacular for everyone without breaking the proverbial bank?

Food and Family go together like a hand in a glove.  So be prepared ahead of time by getting some ice cream sandwiches (you know the ones with the chocolate cookies on the outside and vanilla ice cream in between).  Dip the outside edges of the ice cream with red and blue sprinkles to give them that holiday feeling.  Or dip pretzels sticks or ties into white chocolate and sprinkle them with red and blue to give them that Holiday feel!  Easy to do and can be done days ahead of time too.
4th of July Pretzels by craftcreatecook.com
                                                                       Linked Photo & Directions on craftcreatecook.com

Can you tell that I'm looking forward to this special time?  I enjoy the holidays, especially after the last couple of years when many festivities needed to be curtailed.  It's time to stretch out our wings and fly with the flags that are waving their hellos to the world.  Won't you come and join in the fun?

To all my friends Canadian and American who are celebrating these wonderful holidays,  May I wish you all the best from the bottom of my heart and my hopes that our tomorrows will always be brighter!





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Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Wonderful Tools to Help You Age Gracefully-A Product Review

Aging is not for the Faint of Heart, but it's better than the alternative! 



This is a quote that many older folks often say and as I'm getting older I would have to agree with them.  There are so many things to be thankful for when we reach that "Golden Age"!   But (and now comes the truth), there are also many things that start to go wrong! Things that we never noticed in our youth.  Like the effects of arthritis on our joints especially hips and knees, fingers and such.

My other half and I look after two more elderly than us, relatives.  My uncle turns 91 today and my mother turns 90 in August!  While we "look after" them, they are still both in good health (relatively speaking) and only require help with shopping, doctors appointments and such.  So we are blessed that they both still have their wits about them.

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One thing that they both complain about is getting up and down.  Stairs and getting up off of the couch or chair causes them both some measure of discomfort.  They are both showing signs of age related arthritis that can be very painful at times.  That seems to be their most difficult and constant complaint.  They can't get up as easily as they used to!

So we started to look for things that would raise their chairs and couches up a little bit more so that they didn't have to work so hard to get up.  What we found were several options that were affordable, easy to install and provided that extra lift!


Buying new furniture was not an option for either of them or we might have suggested that!

Now my uncle is tall (over 6 ft.) and my mother isn't a shorty either, so we decided to go with something that would give them enough of a lift so that when sitting their knees were at 90 degrees to their hips. Right now, without these risers, their "bottoms" are lower than their knees, making it hard to rise up out of the chair or couch. 

Medical equipment specialists, have chairs that will electronically almost stand a person out of the chair when activated, but that was over doing it where my family was concerned and they are very pricey ($400+).  

Furniture risers seemed to be a great answer and we decided to try it ourselves first because I have very bad arthritis in my knees and was having the same problems that they were having.  We ordered and installed the "iPrimio Furniture Risers" and it could not have been easier.  Simply lift each leg and slide the riser under the foot of the couch and place it back down again.  No holes to drill, no marking up the floors, no slipping either as they have a rubber foot that doesn't slide.  Within minutes our couch was 3 inches higher than it was before.  

reviewthisreviews.com These are the risers that we have installed on our couch.

Added bonus is that now it is even easier to vacuum under the couch.  With that extra bit of space underneath, the vacuum head easily reaches under the couch!  

You can see in the ad, that there are also risers for bed frames too.  No need to buy a whole new bed assembly, just lift and install the risers and I know you will hear words of thanks coming from your loved ones.  

Bathrooms are also problematic.  Just recently toilets are being  made to what is called a "comfort height".  If they live in their own homes you could hire a plumber to install one of these but again be prepared for a cost that is not average.  A regular standard height toilet will cost  about $150. dollars without installation.  You can get regular height toilets that can cost much more for "decorator styles".  Comfort height toilets will start at $270. plus!  Again that is just for the toilet, installation will cost extra. 

But, when getting up and down is a real effort or causes pain, then you have options that can help your loved ones live life easier with just a few modifications. Safety and comfort for our aging population are important as we try to keep them as independent as possible.

I hope that my experiences with these really easy additions might help you with whatever joint related issues you or one of your loved ones might be having.  

The risers are wonderful and you would never guess that they were added after the fact!  Everyone who comes to our house enjoys sitting on the chairs and couch, not realizing that the extra height makes it so much more comfortable.  Rising from them is no longer a pain in the knees or anywhere else.











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Wednesday, May 12, 2021

In Two Short Weeks Gardening Will Become Everyone's Favorite Pastime!

For many Gardeners, waiting till the 21st of May is a ritual!

Garden centers all across the United States and Canada will be open for longer periods of time during that First Long Weekend and business will be brisk I'm sure!  Everyone knows that the chances of frost after this date is rare, so the plants you buy now will prosper without worry about weather conditions.



Everyone and their friends will be lined up to buy their bedding plants and vegetables that they plan on planting in whatever space they are gardening in.  

Did you know though, that you could be planning many ways in which to help your seedlings and bedding plants get off to a great start, right now?

How? 

Well let me take this opportunity to help you all become better gardeners and also become more ecofriendly too!

I'm sure that in your household there are many times through the week that you will be preparing eggs, either for breakfast or lunch or maybe in some wonderful baking.  Well, what do you do with the egg shells that are left behind from all this acitivty?

Don't throw them away!  

Egg shells are great in the garden!  


If you throw them away, you have lost a great opportunity to feed your plants naturally with what you have at hand.  I keep a metal bowl in my kitchen to catch all those egg shells.  It doesn't matter if I have shells from hard boiled eggs or from fresh eggs that I use in baking or frying.  They all go into the same bowl.  

You can keep some of the egg shells as they are and use them for potting up seeds, The shells will hold soil and you can water them easily, When you plant them in your garden the whole little shell pot goes into the soil.   I personally don't do this but you can without any problems!

When the bowl is full or I'm ready to deal with them, I take the shells and bake them for 30 minutes in an oven set to 350 degrees.  I do this to kill any bacteria (salmonella) that could be present, especially in the raw egg shells.  Once they have been baked, the shells become much easier to pulverize or to break into smaller bits.

You can use either white eggs or brown it makes no difference in the garden, just remember to bake them before adding them to your plants.



Now, here's the part that I really like.  Egg shells broken up in small bits like the ones in the picture above can be used around the base of your plants to keep slugs and snails at bay.  They really don't like the sharp edges of the shells on their tender foot!  

Eggs are a great source of calcium and your plants will thrive with that added natural fertilizer and it doesn't cost you anything more than the time to save, break, and bake them.  (Who knows, you might even use breaking up the shells as a therapy for anxiety during these times!)  

But that's not the only use that egg shells have.  If you love birds and have bird feeders in your backyards, add some broken shells into the feeders.  The birds will enjoy an extra treat and again you don't have to spend any money to give them this added bonus.  The calcium in the eggs is great for all outdoor birds.  

Is your soil a little too compacted?  Adding egg shells will act as a natural way to add some aeration to your soil mix too!  If you are like me and add worms to your garden beds, egg shells will feed your worms and the worms will feed your plants.  It's a win-win situation!  

Egg shells are totally organic and there is no need to waste them by throwing them out with the trash.  Do yourself a favor and start using them for the birds and the flowers and veggies that your are growing this year.

Add a worm farm to your garden this year if you really want to up the WOW in natural fertilizing!  I was amazed last year when I added worms to my balcony containers.  My tomatoes and cucumbers just went wild for the added benefits that the addition of the worms made.  

There are many different styles of worm farms available, or you can make your own by following the instructions on YouTube.

If you are looking for a finished worm farm set up, you can get one on Amazon right here!

This one is inexpensive and will do the trick quite nicely!


 


 If you need worms (the red wiggler ones), let me know I have thousands of them!

We need to become aware of ways in which to garden efficiently and with an eye to being as eco-friendly as possible.   Mother Nature is counting on us to do our part.

If you want to read more about worms and my garden efforts you can do that right here! Then you will understand why you need the red wigglers too!
 
Happy Spring to everyone and Happy Gardening too!
 





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Wednesday, April 28, 2021

The Cotillion Brigade: A Novel of the Civil War - A Book Review

 Historical Novels seems to be my latest niche for reading!

I love reading stories of bygone times and how life was lived in those days.  It takes me a while to get my mindset on the times, but once I 'm there, it's like I'm living it right along with all the characters in the book.  To me, this is part of what makes reading so enjoyable.  

The Cotillion Brigade by Glen Craney, is the latest Historical Novel that I have slipped into.  
 
Cotillion Brigade



Set in the South, this book will take you on a "tour of duty" that several  Southern women joined.  Now everyone has pictures in their minds of the South during the time of the Civil War.  Large plantations, huge homes, gaily dressed ladies who spend their afternoons doing needlepoint or watercolors, or some such hobby, while their homes are being looked after by the slave help.  No one in the South thought that this "silly" war would last more than a few months.  They were wrong, so wrong!

Grand parties and lots of social engagements are the norm for the plantation owners and their families.  But something is afoot!  There is talk about abolishing the Slave Trade and all of the Southerners are in Disbelief that anything like this could happen.  Even with the Underground Railways and slaves being moved to the north, no one thought that a Civil War would last any length of time.  

Well today we know what happened and that the South lost the Civil War and slavery was indeed abolished.

During the War though, there was much  discussion about what would be happening to their so well ordered lives.  No one thought that the war would last for 4 years at the onset.  But it did and the men of the South were gone from their homes and families, leaving their wives and girlfriends alone.

Who was going to protect them?  Certainly not the slaves as they were very eager to be free.   So what was to become of these plantations during the invasions of the army from the North?  

Well as genteel women did not do any kinds of manual work, it was up to a small handful of "progressive" thinking women to organize themselves.  They needed to be able to defend what was theirs.  After all, they were alone and everything that was theirs could become part of the invading army's arsenals.  But who was going to teach them how to defend themselves, especially under these circumstances.

Glen Craney takes us on a journey with the Women of the South and their determination to protect their homes and themselves!  

The "Nancy Harts" were a group of women from LaGrange Georgia, who when their husbands and brothers had all left for the war, organized themselves to protect what was theirs.  While many of them had never needed the skills to shoot a gun, when left to fend for themselves, they needed all the help they could get.  Nancy Morgan Hart (whom this band of women were named after) was originally from Pennsylvania (not historically proven).  She was a strong woman who had the skills that her contemporaries were lacking!  She was adept at using what was at her disposal to feed and help the women to survive!  She was a great marksperson and taught her friends to shoot.  While they were not officially part of the army, they trained and trained as if they were! These women were always to be at the ready, for invasion from the North.  
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                                                                                    Photo taken from Wikipedia!  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nancy_Hart


Not only did they protect their homes and town, but they also learned how to take care of their wounded soldiers as well.  

These women managed to keep their town from being ravaged by a war that was going on all around them and even to capture some of the Yankees!  

Glen Craney has done a great job in taking us into the heart of what it must have been like for these "genteel" ladies, who had been left to care for themselves.  It is an interesting and very well written story that we don't think too much about today.  

The Nancy Harts, did themselves proud during four years of deprivation and managed to spare their homes and families until the end of the war!  

This book is well worth reading and I'm sure you will learn something about the history of this time period as well.  

Thanks Glen Craney for a book that was easy to sink my teeth into!



  


 
 
 If you would like a copy of the book it is available right here!

This book was made available to me by Glen Craney, and an honest review was promised!




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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Deepening Your Faith with "The Chosen" A Movie Series Review

There are very few things on Television that excite me!

The Fact of the matter is that I gave up watching Television for almost 5 years.  I was disappointed in most shows and felt that most of what I was watching was not making my life better, but rather causing me a lot of distress.

So just as we can be masters of our own worlds, television became something that was watched only on limited occasions and most often for a good Hallmark movie (many that our own Sylvestermouse Cynthia has reviewed) or some special that just could not be missed.

My other half would watch sports hockey and basketball and of course the Olympics when they were being televised.  I spent most of my time either reading or writing.  Making and learning how to do things that I never tried before.

I was happier for a long time with this new reality.  People would ask me if I had heard about certain things that were happening in the world and I was totally and blissfully unaware of the many hurtful things going on around me.  I was living with blinders on and I was able to sleep peacefully at night.

Now I have found a reason to put the TV back on.  It's not for "regular" television shows, but rather for an amazing series that really speaks to me!




We are a Christian Family and I don't make any apologies for that.  What I will say is that while I feel I know my faith, there is always some way to make it deeper and more meaningful on a daily basis.

Last year, during a time when my husband was busy looking for ways to help our Bible study group delve into Scriptures more fully, we came across an advertisement for a new Series on the Life of Jesus.  It sounded interesting and we made it a point of watching it.


Now this is not regular Television in the sense that you can turn on the channel and see this series.  You need an "app" or you can watch it on You Tube as well.  Here is the link for the first two episodes on You Tube! If you would like to watch through the "APP" you can find it right here for Apple and right here for Android.  If you have a "Smart TV, you can watch these episodes through your TV, otherwise you may have to watch on an iPad or Android tablet.

For anyone who is interested in having the Scriptures come alive, this series is one that you will truly enjoy.  The sets, costumes and the characters come alive in a way that reading scriptures cannot quite make happen.  Scriptures, while they are the backbone of the Christian faith, can be very dry and lacking in details.  The Chosen has made much of what we read in the Scriptures come alive. 
 


The Series must be watched from the beginning, as each subsequent installment builds on the previous one.  The Chosen has just started the Second Series and it promises to be just as wonderful as the First.




Director and Creator of the Series Dallas Jenkins has made this series his very own way to deepen his faith life and shares it with anyone who wants to do likewise.  The "App" is free and watching is free too (see the links above).  

The only downside to this Series, is that because it has been made free for anyone to watch, there are a certain number of "ads" done by the director in order to find the funding for this project.  It's a small downside, because if you feel as I do that this is worth your time to watch, you won't mind listening to a little bit of fundraising to make these episodes available to everyone.  After all sharing our faith belief is what we are called to do. 

I chose to Review this series because I have watched it several times and I am always drawn right into the story again.  I see something new each time I watch and it never gets old.  I love that the series highlights the "women" of the Bible .  Sometimes they are glossed over when you set to only read the words.  

This Series is for all Christians without exception. It is even for those who are not Christian but would like to understand what Christianity is about.   Dallas Jenkins has on his team of writers many Biblical Scholars and Jewish Scholars as well.  The story has to be correct and possible.  It brings the humanity of the times to life and the way life was in those Biblical times.  It really makes the Bible come alive!

If you want to own the series for your family, to watch whenever you want, it is available in a two disc set and then you don't have any Advertisements to deal with!  The Chosen is one movie that will stand the test of time!



Please take the time to check it out for yourselves and let me know if you enjoyed it or not. 

***All the pictures used here are from The Chosen Media page. 



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Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Spring Into the Garden, Give Nature a Helping Hand! A Garden Review

 

Spring has sprung!  Gardeners and Conservationists are all jumping for joy! A Garden Review.

But wait a minute, before you get all excited about getting your hands dirty and your gardens in shape, let's take a few minutes to think and see what Mother Nature would have us do instead!

Many gardeners are just itching to get their gardens cleaned up and looking tidy and I can't say that I blame them.  After a long cold winter, making things (garden beds) look nice is a job that many gardeners love to do.  Why wait?  Well, would it help for you to know that many bees are still hibernating within the leaves and debris that is in your garden?  We have a serious problem with declining bee populations, so anything you can do to help them would be a welcome thing to do.

I'm not advocating that you leave your gardens in a messy state, but rather wait just a few weeks before getting to the "mess".  That will be time enough for the bees to wake up from their winter slumbers and start looking for those first dandelions for food.

That brings up to the second thing that gardeners should really stop doing in the springtime.  Did you know that dandelions are one of the first spring flowers to come up in your gardens?  Well they are and they are full of good nutrition for the bees who wake up hungry.  Leave those flowers alone, let them bloom and welcome the sight of those bees that are doing the hard work!  If you don't want a proliferation of dandelions in your lawn, just watch the flowers and when they have all been pollinated, and start to produce their seeds heads, go out then and cut them off and dispose of them so no seeds are flying around the garden!  The parent plant will produce another flower for the bees and then you can do the same thing again.  Pluck the spent flower head before it sends it's seeds everywhere.  This way you will be providing food for the bees without dandelions taking over your gardens.  Easy peasy!

Spring comes on quickly, so you need to be ready for all kinds of wonderful things that will happen during this time.  Number three on my list of things to do (or not do) is check for migrating birds in your area.  Hummingbirds are the Number One bird everyone is looking forward to seeing.  They too will come to your gardens hungry from their travels north!  You can check out this Hummingbird Migration Map to see when they will arrive in your area!  

So what can you do to help those Hungry Hummers?


Have your hummingbird feeders out a week or so before they are due in your area.  Keep them clean and available with fresh nectar that is changed weekly!  Why do you need to change the nectar?  Well as with anything left out to the elements, nectars can go "bad".  That means they will get moldy and rancid.  The idea is to feed those hungry hummers, not to harm them!  So clean fresh nectar is a MUST!  (p.s. nectar is simply four parts water to one part sugar, NO DYES)  In the early days of their migration you can make up nectar and keep it in the fridge.  Just put a small amount in the feeders until you know they have found you!  Once you know they are around, then you can fill up those feeders to a cup of nectar and again keep the nectar fresh!
                                                                                  Ruby Throated Hummingbird

           
Migrating Birds, what you need to know!

 Along with the bees, migrating birds are also having "human" problems!  What are those, you might ask?  Well in large urban areas where skyscrapers and really large windows are the norm, many migrating birds fly into those windows and drop like stones onto the pavement below! They suffer broken necks, wings and sometimes are just so stunned that they don't recover.  This is truly a sad situation for birds that fly so far to get to their northern nesting areas.  Large windows are almost invisible to the birds, so their tracking is off!  How can we help them?  It's easy, first is awareness and then there is something as easy as placing "cling decals" on the windows so that they will see them and avoid crashing into them.  You can easily purchase these decals in many styles, some are transparent to the human eyes or others are decorative and produce an ambience in your homes as you look out those windows.  It's a small price to pay for the benefit of the birds and possibly for you to enjoy them as they make their homes in your yards. 

Did you know that there are several species of migratory birds in North American?  Taken from All About Birds.org:
  • Magnolia Warbler by Gerrit VynLong-distance migrants typically move from breeding ranges in the United States and Canada to wintering grounds in Central and South America. Despite the arduous journeys involved, long-distance migration is a feature of some 350 species of North American birds.

  • Learn More About Bird Migration

  • If you want to know more about Bird Migration, there is a wonderful website by Cornell University that follows and updates information on all kinds of migratory birds!  You can find it RIGHT HERE!  This is excellent reading material for any bird enthusiast!  Don't stop with dedicated Birders, get your young ones involved in becoming Bird Ambassadors, they will learn and do so many things in a fun and really rewarding way.
  • There are great books available for children and adults too!  Easy to read and understand, they will teach you everything you need to know and look for when searching the skies and yards for those feathered friends.


Yellow Rumped Warbler

This Easter, instead of just filling our children with chocolate and candy, let's feed their minds with some easy and interesting ways to keep their future in balance. Add some of those window decals or a bird feeder to their Easter basket for an Eco-Friendly alternative to chocolate or candy! 

Happy Easter to Everyone!
 



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Wednesday, March 17, 2021

March 17th St. Patrick's Day Some Facts and Fiction You May Not Know!

So Today is St. Patrick's Day and I hope you are sporting the wearing of something Green!  A Holiday Review.

So what do we know about St. Patrick and what is just added fun for all of us?

Truth be told St. Patrick was a 5th Century missionary from England, sent to bring the message of the Gospels to Ireland.  St. Patrick's Day is celebrated today because it was the day he died in circa 492 (no one is sure about the year).  
                              Stained Glass Window of St. Patrick from Junction City Ohio , found on Widipedia

Patrick's start in Ireland was not a pleasant one,  he was captured by Irish pirates and brought to Ireland as a slave.  He was about 16 years old at the time and not a particularly devout follower of the Christ.  His time as a slave in Ireland would lead him to find his faith as a Christian and from that point onwards he was quick to declare that Christianity and belief in God was the way to live.

Historians are not sure of too much regarding Patrick, as much of the written works that speak of him no longer exist.  The earliest writings seems to be a letter to Pope Boniface IV around the year 613.  

So how do we have all these "symbols" that are used extensively to celebrate St. Patrick's Day today?

Patrick is credited with teaching the Irish about the Holy Trinity using the shamrock as a way to explain the ideology/theology of 3 unique persons in 1 God.  The pagan people in Ireland had many triple deities, so using the shamrock aided him in his evangelization efforts.  

Patrick is also given the credit for ridding Ireland of it's snakes.  If you look at historical texts you will find that another Irish saint should have that credit(and even that is questionable).  It was only in the 13th century that credit seems to have shifted to St. Patrick.  In fact there evidence that Ireland never had snakes, so there was nothing for him to banish.

There is also the tale of his walking stick.  No doubt as he travelled, he used a staff or walking stick to aid his footsteps.  As he was moving from place to place in Ireland, he came to a place now known as Aspatria.  Legend has it that he stuck his walking stick into the ground and it took so long to teach the people here, that his stick had taken root by the time he was ready to move on.

What is certain is that there isn't a whole lot of St. Patrick's Story that can be held as truth, but the 300 churches and hundreds of thousands that were baptized by him helped make Ireland a Christian nation.

Today we are not so religious about St. Patrick's Day, rather we love to hang onto the "fun" side of Irish culture and traditions.  Because St. Patrick was given credit for using the Shamrock for teaching purposes, and its green, both of these became stalwarts of the Irish identity beyond the borders of Ireland proper.  One of Ireland's claims to fame is that it is the land of a thousand different shades of green!  If you have ever seen an picture of Ireland from the air, you will know that is true.

But let's have some fun now....Why do we wear green on St. Patrick's Day?
Well, this hails back to the belief in Leprechauns, which is said to come from some of the Druid folklore (pre St. Patrick).  These Leprechauns were: little people, with magical powers that could serve both good and evil. The Celtic folktales, told of  their trickery that would keep their much fabled treasures safe.  It is also said that the wearing of the green is directly related to these little creatures in that they are not able to see the color green.  Therefore you were safe from their trickery if you wore the green!

                                                                          Photo credit Spencer Platt/Getty  New York St. Patrick's Day Parade 2015


Everyone seems to be wearing green with sayings like "Kiss me I'm Irish!"  In past years, when there isn't a pandemic to keep us away, there were parades and music marking St. Patrick's Day.  The first St. Patrick's Day parade according to History.com was held in New York City in 1895. (There is a debate that there may have been a St. Patrick's Day Parade held in St. Augustine, Florida earlier than 1895) No doubt many Irish immigrants (who came during the potato famine in Ireland 1845) were the inspiration for this reveling  of cultural identity in their new home.  It was a balm to them to celebrate their heritage even though time were tough and not everyone welcomed the Irish.  


While we think of corned beef and cabbage as being a typical Irish Dinner, the truth is that in Ireland they will have Ham and Cabbage. When the Irish came to America, many were very poor so they substituted Corned beef for the Ham (it was cheaper).  Today, this is a staple meal to serve for St. Patrick's Day Dinner.

As with many things in North America, we have made St. Patrick's Day our own.  We can see people enjoying green beer or drinking the traditional Guinness while enjoying Irish step dancers and marching bands.  

Chicago even dyes their river green in honor of St. Patrick's Day.  Now that is a clever trick worthy of any leprechauns in the city.

St. Patrick's Day has become a day not just for the Irish, but for anyone who loves a good time, a great party and a reason to celebrate.  You don't have to be Irish to enjoy all the sights and sounds of a wonderful day that just happens to come on March 17th.  



After a long winter, it's nice to have something "Green" to celebrate.  Wear your Shamrocks and Green with pride and have a Happy St. Patrick's Day!











Some lovely items for your home to help you celebrate everything Irish.


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Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Too Early to Plant, So Take a Trip Through a Garden Instead! A Book Review

March has arrived!  It's too early to plant, so take a nice trip through the outback of Australia with this memorable book!  

 

Many of us are getting very itchy fingers!  We all want to start digging in the dirt!  That's not a bad thing, but here in my neck of the woods, it is far to early to even think about starting all those seeds!  So what's a bonafide gardener to do?  My suggestion, is read a book!  

By accident, I came across this book, "The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart" by Holly Ringland.  I was itching to get my hands dirty, I knew it was too early, yet I needed something to take that itch away.  Talking about flowers seemed to be a good idea.  I must confess that I got this book from the library (thank you Libby app.).  To say that it piqued my interest is putting it mildly.  Alice Hart's life is a story that has been lived by many people in some form or other.  Using her love of flowers, helps her to grow, learn, heal and above all live her life!  The flowers just help her with their stories and meanings.  They help her to express what she sometimes doesn't understand or can't put words to.  

I have always wanted to travel to Australia, but I'm pretty sure that I will only be doing that virtually, especially in these times.  So, I was getting rid of two itches at once (gardening and travelling) while delving into the pages of this book.

Trying to get rid of the itch to garden too early can be difficult, but this book took me away to places I have only dreamed of.  That helped me a lot.  Alice Hart (the main character in the book) grabs you right away.  You want to hold her hand as she traverses a new normal amid family secrets and stories that make life "Okay" again.

So many things are not spoken, and through the language of flowers, Alice finds a way to embrace what is going on in her life. 

Do Flowers have a language?  Oh yes indeed they do!  The first book I read about the Language of Flowers was a book reviewed right here by our own writer, Renaissance Woman!  I was so taken with this book that when I found The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart, I knew I had to read this book too!

While enjoying the story, I also learnt of trees and flowers that require a "burn" in order to spread their seeds, birds of the Australian landscapes and flowers that we will never be able to grow here in the north.  In addition, the need to keep our hands off of flowers that will die when we pick them.  

I'm sure that you will enjoy this book as much as I did and it just might help you get through that itch, that for us is starting far too early.

Waiting till April will make our efforts of digging in the ground much more fruitful and successful too.

You can learn a lot by reading and hearing the stories set in far away places. When they are  a novel that is fictional, but interspersed with truths of gardening and the habits of flora and fauna of distant places, you know you will be changed.

Here's hoping that spring will come along in due time and our itches to get our hands in the ground will be fruitful and result in beautiful gardens for the year to come.
 
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Wednesday, February 3, 2021

The Push by Ashley Audrain - A Book Review

 




During these days when we are called to remain indoors unless necessary, I find that I spend a lot of time reading.

I love to read historical novels and spy thrillers, murder mysteries and some autobiographies if the person is someone I admire.  In 2020, I made myself a promise that I would expand my reading genres.

So far I think I have accomplished that task and will continue to expand into other genres just for my own interests.

The Push by Ashley Audrain was a book that I really wasn't sure I would like. It was made available to me through #Netgalley, as a  pre-published book.  The only requirement to being able to access this book, was that I provide a review when I was finished reading it.  

Personally, I'm a very sensitive person, and I don't like things that upset my sense of balance.  Psychological Thrillers are among the types of books that tend to really upset my life, but I was willing to give this one a try. Suffice it to say that it turned me upside down and inside out, yet I could not put the book down.

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My husband would chuckle when I would be getting ready to sleep for the night and be repeating the mantra "It's only a Story!" , over and over again.

This book is a must read for those who like this genre of deeply disturbing mentally challenging type of books. It is haunting but at the same time very understandable and possible.  This book has been read and acclaimed by many authors and found it's way to the New York Times Best New Books List.  It already has over 1500 reviews and is highly recommended  by many different authors.

Author Claudia Dey puts her thoughts on this book as follows:  

“A meteoric debut. Ashley Audrain’s The Push is a force of nature, an unforgettable arrival that will linger in your heart—shimmer, darken and then haunt you. Every sentence is just so achingly alive. Audrain descends with near pointillistic precision into the gore of motherhood and love. Perhaps if Stephen King had experienced motherhood—the singular exaltation and morbid terror of that state—he might have been able to dream up this book. Wise, monstrous, and tender, The Push operates at a different frequency. It seemed to pulse in my hands. I could not put it down. I could not look away.”
—Claudia Dey, author of Heartbreaker and Stunt

That is the draw of this book, even if you don't like mentally jarring books, you cannot put this one down.  

This book has just been published and it is #6 on Amazon Best Sellers this week.  It is a book that book clubs and mothers will be talking about for a long time.

All of the thoughts on motherhood, marriage, child raising and everything we think we know is in question.  Haunting is a great adjective for this book.  


I haven't really told you any of the story and I don't think I will.  It is one of those books that you just have to get a copy of and read it for yourself.  Trust me, you won't be able to put it down. 

Should you decide to get this book, I'd love to know how you reacted and what you thought. 

**I am a member of NetGalley and as such have access to many books that have not yet been published.  These books are given to members electronically, and the only requirement from members is an honest review!  


Professional Reader


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Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Heart of a Runaway Girl - A Book Review

Heart of a Runaway Girl is a novel that keeps you turning pages!

Trevor Wiltzen is the author of this book and he has made it available to me pre-publishing for an honest review! 


Heart of a Runaway Girl is his debut novel featuring Mabel, a single mom, with a penchant for "reading" people.  She's a hard working mom, whose own life is difficult given her circumstances, but that doesn't stop her from helping someone in need.

Blue River is the community where she lives with her two sons and her niece.  She has a full plate with her family and the motel/restaurant that she runs.

The two biggest employers in the town are the mines and the sawmill.  Both see their share of casual laborers who come and go as the wind may blow.

In the midst of all this, Mabel still has time to get to know and observe the comings and goings in her small town.

What she doesn't like is that this town also has a dark side.  There is one school with about 30 kids and each one of those kids wants to leave town as soon as they can.  There just isn't anything here for them.  




The town is ripe for a drug dealer to get his contraband into the hands of people looking for some fun.  With only one law enforcement officer in town, drug dealers are able to go about their "business" unchecked.  The dark side seems to have the right to do whatever it wants, with a blind eye turned in their direction.

Enter a young man and his girlfriend.  Things are not quite right with these two.  During a meeting of the two in the restaurant, Mabel notices both of them and wonders what is going on.  The young lady is sad, angry and upset, while the young man is at a loss at what to do.

Trouble begins when it's the last time she is seen alive.    

Winston (the young man) the last person she has been seen with, is picked up and charged with her murder.

But Mabel, having watched the two of them together is convinced that there is NO WAY that Winston did what they allege he did.  Deep in her heart, she knows that this young man is being railroaded by a bunch of bigots and bullies.

Oh Winston is no saint, that's true, but he's not capable of committing the heinous crime he has been charged with.  Mabel just can't sit by and watch this young man's life go to waste.  No one else seems to care what happens to him!



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I don't want to give away too much of the story, but suffice it to say that this book was an enjoyable book to read. 

Since I was given the book, it has now been published and you can get it for yourself on Amazon.ca or  on Amazon.com.  This book is available either in Kindle or paperback form on either site.

If you enjoy the book you can go to Trevor Wiltzen's Website and sign up for his newsletter so that you will be the first to know when his new books are coming out!  




  



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Wednesday, January 6, 2021

The Carry-All Wagon That Will Make Life Easier For Everyone in 2021! A Product Review

We have always been on the look out for something that will make our chores easier!  After all we are seniors! 

The wonderful thing is that when searching for things that will make senior life easier, we sometimes stumble on things that are useful to everyone!  

We are in an apartment and so when doing our grocery shopping, we often take a bundle buggy with us, so that bringing up our purchases can be done in one trip.  Hauling groceries to the elevators 2 or 3 bags at a time just doesn't appeal to me or my other half.

grocery shopping, carts, shopping carts



Sometimes though, that bundle buggy just doesn't cut the mustard, so to speak, and we are left tripping up and down the elevators ad nauseum.

There has to be a better way!

Well, I think I have found it.  Bundle buggies take up a lot of space in the trunk of the car.  When shopping is the order of the day though, you need to find that space.  No questions asked, you will need a way to get those groceries to your doorstep as easily as possible.

Now I have found that there are these really great collapsible wagons that can do the job as well or better than a bundle buggy.  They are compact, take up little room in the car, and open up to reveal a substantial amount of space to place all your groceries and any extras you might have picked up.

What I really like about this wagon is that it is not just for groceries or for older folks.  This wagon is useful for everyone. 

Families when they are going on a picnic, or to a sporting event with their children, can load this wagon with chairs, extra toys for the children that aren't on the field, snacks, drinks, blankets and any other possible need to keep the kids out at the park for the duration.  No need to be running back and forth to the car for extra things.  It's all in the wagon, ready for you!

Going to the cottage would be a fantastic time to use this wagon as well.  Just think of unloading the car, with blankets, food for the week, drinks, water toys, bathing suits and the like.  Pile it all into the wagon and I'm sure you will have fewer trips back and forth.  Even the children can pull the full wagon without too much difficulty.  Help is on the way in more ways than one.

Gardeners and garden lovers, can use this cart to move around new plants, soil, compost, tools and so much more.  All of it just goes into the wagon and it goes where you need it.  How wonderful is that?



 

Collapsible wagons come in a variety of sizes and styles.

There are a few things that you should discern before you purchase one of these wagons!  What is the ultimate use for the wagon going to be?  If you are using it for transport from one location to the next, you might want to check out the specific size and weight of load  the wagon can handle.  

Are you going to use it just for carting things from the car to an apartment, or are you going to walk to the store and use it to carry your purchases on the way home?  You might think this is a silly idea, but let me tell you, some of the "attributes" of the wagon you choose could make the difference between a good hike home or not.  Do you need brakes on your wagon?  How about an adjustable handle?  For our purposes, the adjustable handle is a must have.  I'm 5'7" and my other half is 6'5",  My arms and his are not the same and our ability to grab that handle and go with it would need adjustment.  There are a few different options on these wagons as you might expect and it's good to think about that before you buy one.

If you are going to use this wagon year round, you might want to go with wheels that are a little larger to get you through snow easier.  Some have rotating wheels that makes it easier to move it about!  You can either pull it or push it.  

These wagon/carts can be opened up with one hand and it can collapse with one hand too!  Their footprint is small so that your trunk isn't all taken up with the wagon in it's storage position.  But it is there when you need it.  You can also purchase a tarp to carry things that might overflow the body of the wagon.  

Just imagine a coach of a soccer team with 24 or more soccer balls.  They would all fit into the wagon with the tarp overlay keeping everything secure!  How's that for a time saver and trip saver too!  


As I get used to having this new tool at my disposal, I will keep you up to date on more uses for this handy wagon.  I know I will make good use of it especially on the days that I walk to the grocery store or those days when recycling needs to be disposed of.  No more trotting back and forth, it will get done in one trip!








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