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

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!
 



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:

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.


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:

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.
 
https://amzn.to/3e2dmcW













Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:

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.

reviewthisreviews.com


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


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:

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!



www.reviewthisreviews.com


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!  




  



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:

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!








Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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



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

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





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

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

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

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

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







Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

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

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

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

Image by Susanne Jutzeler, suju-foto from Pixabay

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Home Made with Love, Christmas Crafts to Blow Your Mind

Christmas has already exploded on the scene and I usually don't jump on board until the First Week of Advent!  But, if you are crafting, you need to start before then!  Cricut, a product review!



Cricut is a platform that lets you make and style so many different materials that you can use to enhance the decor in your home for just about any occasion.

Because we are so close to Christmas, we will focus on this holiday for now.  Rest assured though, that Cricut is not just for Christmas.  You can craft all kinds of things for other holidays too.

So what exactly is Cricut?  

Cricut is a machine that cuts several different types of materials, from fabric, to vinyl and even some thin wood products.  You can cut letters, designs, logos and so much more with this handy machine.  

Paired with your computer, you can make your own designs and within the day have a whole series of items made with that design splashed on T-shirts, mugs, windows and more.  Your imagination is the starting point.

Personalized gifts are easy and the WOW FACTOR is what makes your gifts stand out.  

Do you need inspiration?  There are limitless possibilities with a Cricut, but if you are stumped there are literally hundreds of Videos available to twig your imagination into overdrive.



Any new technology can cause some trepidation, but once you own a machine you will find many videos on YouTube to help you get started.  There are so many videos available and also  help from Cricut itself.  There are idea books, downloads and more to help you organize and execute your first project without any difficulty!

I'm sure you have seen those beautiful signs with Quotes that just make your heart melt!  Well you can make your own using the Cricut machine.  




Cricut even has it's own blog, so that if you are stumped or need some extra encouragement, it is right there for you! 

You can join the Cricut family and open an account.  That will help you to see what is possible with your new machine. They will keep you informed on all kinds of new techniques and materials.  Everything from wall art, decals, t-shirts, mugs, greeting cards and more can be done with your new machine.  

The only thing that will be necessary is a willingness to learn and the time to execute your ideas.  Once you get started though, I'm sure you won't be able to stop!  

Just think of all the Holidays that you can make special with a touch of your creativity and the help of a Cricut.

Chirstmas, Valentine's Day, Easter, Spring, July 1st or 4th, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and so many more holidays.  And then there are the special occasions too that will have you crafting something wonderful.  An engagement, wedding, baby, new home, new job.  Birthday markers like 20, 30 and beyond, all of them are crafting times and a great way to use your new tools.  

I don't like to spend my money on a craft that I will only do once!  Cricut is a craft that you will do all year long and for a myriad of reasons!  

The beauty is, that if you can imagine it, you can also craft it and make it your own!  There are endless ways to make your home and surrounding a reflection of your own personal tastes.  Grab hold of some wonderful ideas and run with them.  I bet all your friends will be amazed at what you can do.



You might even find yourself using your spare time to create beautiful things to make and sell.  Before you know what happened, your hobby has now turned the corner and you could be enjoying self employment.  You just never know what can happen when you start to create with your Cricut and show the world what you have made.


The picture used in this post is my niece's home!  She has made signs, stockings and pillows to help her fill her home with Christmas!  And that is just a small sample of the things she has made.   What is stopping you?

Shop The Best Machine Prices of the Year 

Happy Holidays and Let's Get Creating Some Beauty!




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Warm Toes and Funny Socks are a Great Combination

Summertime has ended and it's now time to get out the woolies!  Cold feet are one of the first things I notice when the weather changes!  Here's a great Gift Idea!

Not many of us like cold feet and for me personally, it is the first thing that I notice as the fall becomes a fact of life.  I hate having cold feet! Add a pair of socks and I'm feeling warm well into the evenings after sundown.  Toasty toes are something that I really like.  


In the summer months that's not a problem, but once October rolls around, I'm scrambling to get my tootsies into something that will keep them and me happy. 

Bring on the socks!  

The days of putting your feet into a pair of boring socks are gone forever.  Today, many of us are choosing to use our feet to help tell our story! 

There are so many choices and some really fun ideas to keep the word "BORING" out of your sock drawer.  

My son's wedding a couple of years ago, was a great time to let loose, even though it was a very formal and "special" occasion, they still wanted to add some fun.

All the groomsmen were outfitted with Socks with Star Wars themes on them!  Both the Bride and Groom loved Star Wars, so it was fitting to add  little "Space Extras" into their day.


Novelty Socks have taken the market by storm.  Today you can get socks to show support for your favorite team or sport.  You can get socks that have funny sayings on them and lots with colorful patterns.  The best thing is that these are not just for the kids anymore.

These socks come in adult sizes for both men and women.  Oh children can still get some wonderful socks too!

Funny Socks really make a great gift for almost anytime of year. Even funny socks will be useful.  They aren't too expensive either.  So you can have some fun without breaking the proverbial bank!

When my grandchildren were younger I would buy them socks that were colorful and full of many different designs.  Sorting socks after washing became a game and some fun for them too.  It's so much easier to sort socks when there's a bold design on them, then just your regular white, grey or black sports socks.

Funny and Bold socks are just so much fun compared to what we have been used to.  Designs cover every holiday, sports teams, lifestyle choices and so much more.  You can even have socks custom made just for your and your family.

My best friend gifted me a pair of socks last year.  Looking at them you wouldn't think they were too outlandish, but when you see the soles of the socks, you just have to laugh.  She knows me far too well.

You can get some idea of the socks that are available on the link below.
Novelty Socks for the Whole Family

Novelty Socks are a great gift idea all year long.  Because they are affordable, you can send someone a gift without having to worry and with Amazon you can have it sent directly to the recipient.  Just remember to mark it as a gift at the check out!  

Are you and your best friends having a sports showdown?  Get them a pair of socks with their favorite team and let them walk the walk in style and support!

I like that you can send someone a pair of socks and you know that they will find them useful and I'm sure they will have a good laugh at your choice for them.  

My eldest Grandson would love the socks with sayings on the bottom!  His favorite would be " Do Not Disturb and I'm Busy Gaming" on the feet.  
These are the ones I have and the ones I'm getting for my grandson!

I'm sure you will find a time and a celebration that would be a perfect time to send some special socks to rock your family and friends.



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Plants That Need to Be Brought Indoors Need Special Care

Plants that need to be brought indoors need special care- A Garden Review


Summer is the time when we gardeners are itching to get our indoor plants outdoors for all the growth opportunity that summer sun and warmer temperatures brings.  But come the end of September, gardeners are counting the days until they need to bring all those tender plants back indoors!

I know I am scoping out all the window areas of my apartment for possible "growing spots", for all the plants I took out to my balcony in the spring.  

One of the most important parts of bringing our favorites back to the indoors, is making sure there are no hidden "bugs" hitchhiking their way indoors.

During the summer months outdoors your plants have been visited by many flying, crawling and maybe even jumping insects.  Believe it or not I had a grasshopper on one of my plants and we are on the 18th floor of our building.  So anything is possible.

When I am bringing my plants indoors, I like to un-pot them!  Yes you heard me right.  I take my plants out of their pots, set aside the soil they were growing in and move the plants into by bathroom.  

Then I shower them well with warm water, on both the top sides of the leaves and the bottom sides as well.  I check their roots and if there are roots that look decayed I will snip them back.  

I also check their stems to see if there are any scale insects that may have made their home on my plants.  One of my Ivies is infested with scale, so I will take cuttings from it and treat the cuttings with Safer's Soap spray.  Then I will root these cuttings and start with fresh soil in a few weeks.  They will be potted up only when I am sure they are free of the scale insects and have set new roots.

I do get the pots and clean them out with a good hot soapy water solution, and then let them air dry.  I will use fresh soil in these pots to give the plants and cuttings a good start in their indoor home.

With my plants, especially the orchids, I let them stay outdoors until the temperatures drop to about 10 degrees Celsiusor 50 degrees Farenheit.  Most orchids like a real drop in temperature for a few nights as it signals the plant to set flower bearing stems.  Do NOT let these delicate plants freeze!  If there is a chance of the temperatures going down close to freezing, bring them indoors for the night.  

By January you should be seeing lots of stems on your orchids that will surely lead to some gorgeous flowers.  One of my orchids starts blooming in January and doesn't stop till June or July.  They are truly one of my many joys.



Having said that, orchids do need special care.  Their leaves are tightly figured and can harbor scale or other bugs.  I make sure they are drenched with Safer's Soap Spray before they come in for the winter!  You can spray them once a week on both sides of their leaves.  Better to be safe than sorry.  If one plant comes in with a scale infestation, it can ruin all your plants in very short order.

Bringing our plants indoors is a time consuming endeavor if you are a crazy gardener like me.  If you only have a few plants(3 or 4) outdoors, you should be able to do this in a weekend.  If you are more like me, and have 8-10 plants to bring indoors, you might need a couple of weekends to finish the task.  

You don't need to be in a hurry yet, but don't leave this task till late October or November.  Then you will be scrambling to get it done.  Bringing in the plants without checking them well for pests, could be your downfall.  Take the time while the weather is still relatively nice and do it now.  Check them all closely and if you don't want to start with fresh pots and soil, you can also drench the plants and soil with the Safer's Soap.  It is better to do that then to just bring them indoors without any preventative measures at all.


 
This is the product I use on all my plants and I have never been disappointed in the results. It takes care of all the insect/bug problems you could have with moving your plants indoors.  I use this product on my plants all through the winter months(if I see a problem) and will be using it again in spring and summer of 2021.  Pests are always just waiting to get a hold of something they like and your houseplants could be on their menu.  Don't be disappointed, be prepared and have a great time in the winter enjoying your healthy happy houseplants while the snow flies outdoors.



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:


The Review This Contributors

Cynthia SylvestermouseCynthia SylvestermouseDawn Rae BDawn Rae BMary Beth - mbgphotoMary Beth - mbgphotoBrite-IdeasBrite-IdeasBev OwensBev OwensWednesday ElfWednesday ElfBarbRadBarbRadOlivia MorrisOlivia MorrisRenaissanceWoman2010RenaissanceWomanLou16Lou16The Savvy AgeThe Savvy AgeTreasures by BrendaTreasures by BrendaMargaret SchindelMargaret SchindelSam MonacoSam MonacoRaintree AnnieRaintree AnnieBuckHawkBuckHawkDecoratingforEventsDecoratingforEventsHeather426Heather426Coletta TeskeColetta TeskeMissMerFaeryMissMerFaeryMickie_GMickie_G

 

Review This is Dedicated to the Memory of Our Beloved Friend and Fellow Contributor
We may be apart, but You Are Not Forgotten

Susan DeppnerSusan Deppner

“As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from purchases.” Disclosure Statement

X