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

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:

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

When is the Best Time to Learn Something New? September Sewing Month

September is Sewing Month and a Great Time to Learn Something New!

Fall Season has arrived and the evenings are getting so much cooler that spending lots of time outdoors isn't quite as appealing as it was in July.  So what are you going to do with all those evening hours?

If Television isn't your thing, then learning a new craft just might be.  I know I love to keep my hands busy and sewing is one of the ways I do just that.
                                                  
Image by Larisa Koshkina from Pixabay

Now, I must admit to you that sewing had been a big part of my life.  Before my retirement I was a designer/dressmaker for many, many years.

I was taught the craft by my mother, and by several courses taken from my early teens and beyond.  Each course building on what was taught previously.  

My grandfather used to say, "Learn something that you can do with your hands so that if need be, you would have a "job" using your talents. No one can take that away from you."    I think he was pretty wise with those thoughts.

Sewing is a talent that everyone can develop if they have the will to do so.  I know my very first attempts at learning how to sew, were used to make my room, mine.  I loved pillows and crazy colors.  So with my need to personalize, my mother wisely let me choose some fabrics that I loved and encouraged me to experiment with her sewing machine.  Of course I had her help (I was only seven or eight years old at the time). 

My point is that if a child shows a willingness to learn something, we as parents or grandparents can help them along by imparting our knowledge to them.  Arts of any kind require an inquisitive mind.  Children are always curious about all kinds of things.  It's a great time to teach and have fun without pressure!  At the same time, our kids learn that originality and creativity can go hand in hand in many different ways.  

While sewing and sewing skills are geared more for girls, I think that boys should have the ability to learn too, if they are so predisposed to do so.  Many of our esteemed fashion designers are men!

To help with this avenue for creativity, there are several kits available that girls and boys may find interesting.  I like these two for a starting point.  Pictures feature both girls and boys making and sewing their own creations.


The first book is geared to teaching some hand sewing techniques, while the second book includes the use of a sewing machine as well.  Depending on your children's motor skills and how well they can handle each task, you may like one better than the other.  **I will add a caution hereParents and/or Grandparents should be able to sit with the children while they are making these items.  There are sharp instruments involved and extra precautions should also be in place.**

If they are new to sewing, start with the first book and then when they have mastered or expressed that they really like this kind of craft, you can move to the second in the series.

Who knows if you will be the one to spark a new hobby, that could lead to much bigger and more beautiful creations.  

What started out as a pillow in my case ended up with me designing and executing some beautiful gowns, dresses, suits and so much more.  I made a nice living doing something that I enjoyed and also gave pleasure to my many customers over the years.

You never know the power you have to guide and form a new designer, they could end up on Making the Cut! (Our own Tracey, did a review on this show and it is quite a revelation in how many got started in the sewing and tailoring business)

Children love to learn new concepts and this is one that they can take with them into adulthood.  Mending and remaking clothes for the budget conscious may just become a "vogue" idea again.  Our days of "throw away everything" have got to stop.  Who knows where and when these skills will be put into practice as our children grow.  One thing is certain, there will always be a need for clothes and if you learn how, you can become quite a master!


I went from Pillows and Bedroom Decor to making beautiful gowns like this one!  Just one gown from my archives!  This was for a graduation and it's still one of my favorites.

Whatever you do, don't underestimate the joy that spending quality time with your children and grandchildren can have.  It will be memories for you and for them and teach them a really important life skill.  




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 2, 2020

Why are Teddy Bears the Best Gift Ever?

According to the Days of the Year.com, September 9th is Teddy Bear Day!  It's coming up soon, so you have time to get ready!

Now I just have to ask, "Who doesn't Love Teddy Bears?"


Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay

In our family Teddy Bears have always played an important role.  Starting with my Uncle, who has in excess of 80+ bears in his collection, and my Mother-In-Law who collected bears for many years right down to our grandchildren who have their favorite bears, we are a teddy bear loving family.

When you hear that someone is expecting a baby, one of the first things that baby will receive as a gift is a Teddy Bear.  Everyone always loves to give that Teddy a squeeze or two before it goes home with the new baby, you just can't help yourself.

What makes these bears so lovable?

Let's start with a bit of history!  Teddy Bears got their first real stroke of fame after 1902!
Then, President Theodore Roosevelt, refused to kill a bear while on a visit to a Natural Area in Mississippi!  They had chained a bear so that it would be an easy kill for him.  The President refused to shoot him.  A toy maker in New York, loved the story so much, he made a toy bear and asked the President's permission to name him "Teddy".    Hence the first Teddy Bears bore the name "Teddy" in his honor.

Fast forward to today, we are still in love with this icon of a toy!  In fact I don't know a single child who hasn't had a teddy bear somewhere in his life.  

It's a great toy for either boys or girls and sometimes even for the young and the young at heart.  When we were in Jasper (Alberta, Canada) last year, the only thing my uncle wanted was a Teddy Bear!
We didn't fail in our attempt to bring him one either.  The Jasper National Park had a Gift Center and Teddy Bears (Black Bears) were there!   The purchase helped raise money for on going Naturalist Programs in the National Park.  So we purchased a bear and felt good that we were fulfilling two wishes with the one purchase.    

There isn't a celebration anywhere that can't be enhanced by the addition of Teddy Bears!

Baby Showers, Gradations, Weddings have all been settings where Teddy Bears have had a place.  

Even in hard times, Teddy Bears can make life easier, especially for children.  I know my own granddaughter took her Teddy "Alfie" with her when she needed her appendix removed.  Having his comfy, stuffed body close to hers made going to the hospital a little more "bearable".   The nurses at the hospital even had a tiny hospital gown for the bear!




There is something about their plump, plush bodies that seem to give comfort to an ailing child.  Many a child has used their bears as a "confidante" or a reading mate.  Children are even encouraged to bring their favorite Bears to school.  Show and Tell time would be pretty dull without at least a bear or two. Even riding in the car is more fun when you share your Car Seat with your favorite friend.



The Police and Ambulance workers in our city carry Teddy bears with them on patrols!  If a child is in need of comfort, there is a Teddy Bear ready and willing to be with the child in need.  Traumas can come in many different places and the Teddy Bears are there just waiting to help.  One size Bear fits all!  

Social workers use Teddy Bears with children in some very hard and dark places in their little lives.  The children seem to relate to the bears and will tell them all kinds of things that they may not tell an adult.  To many children, their teddy bears are their best friends!

September 9th this year is Teddy Bear Day.  Why not have a great Teddy Bear Picnic at your house for all your furry, fluffy and stuffy bears (and whatever other animals you have)!  Invite the Grandchildren to bring theirs along too!  

You can then tell them the story of the Teddy Bears Picnic and if you still have time for some fun, put on the music too!  

If you are really interested in Teddy Bears as a collectible (and some are) then you could invest in a book. 



 The Teddy Bear Encyclopedia is one book that we had purchased for my Mother In Law when she was setting out to collect her bears.  She knew everything there was to know about what made them collectible or not.  This book is a great resource for everything you could want to know about Teddy Bears!  I bet you didn't know there was such a book!

My own collection of Teddy Bears is pretty neat I think.  Inherited from my mother-in-law is the one Steiff Bear, he's little, but oh so lovely!  Steiff Bears are definitely collectibles and are easily known by the "button" you find in his left ear!  If you buy one of these for your children, do not remove that stud!  You can find  out more about Steiff Bears right here!  Some of the bears pictured below are from my own childhood and they still live with me. 



Teddy Bears have all kinds of facial expressions and sometimes it\s hard to find that one that just speaks to your heart.  This bear is an Amazon Favorite.  He just has so much character in his face and the size of the bear is just perfect for little kids and bigger ones too!

Philbin as this bear is known, is the same one my granddaughter has, she renamed him CoCo!  I love the character that comes through his facial features.  He just is so much cuter in person (so to speak)!  He's soft and squishy, molds easily to a little ones face or body and is just cuddly.  He's one popular bear for those reasons and more.

Of course there are also many hand made Teddy Bears that are also special in their own way.  Someone took the time to craft a bear just for you!  It is a "one of a kind" and will always be that.  How special could your next Teddy Bear gift be?

One of our contributors here at REVIEW THIS REVIEWS, makes hand made bears and other animals all available at her Etsy Shop, just click the link  CoastalCrochet Crafts !  I'm sure Miss Elf (as she's known here) would only be too happy to send you one of her "special bears".  

There are many days in the year dedicated to celebrating Teddy Bears and I love to celebrate often.  It certainly has made 2020 more enjoyable.  Teddies don't worry about spreading anything but love!










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, August 19, 2020

Vacuum Packing Made Easy-One Great Kitchen Tool!

Vacuum packing is not new, but it is a wonderful tool to have in your kitchen. ~ A Product Review




If 2020 has taught us anything, it's that nothing stays the same!  While the world is healing slowly, we
are left with finding ways to make our budgets go further.  I don't know if you have noticed, but food prices are on the rise again.  

For my family that means buying vegetables and fruits when they are in season.  You get twice the bang for your buck by doing this.  First you get the freshest of fruits and vegetables and because they are in season, the price usually reflects the abundance, by being much lower than when imported.

I prefer to go out and shop at my local farmer's markets, or when I visit my Sister's family, we make a trip out to the St. Jacob's Market, in St. Jacob's Ontario.  This is a great place to visit for a day trip or if you live close by, to shop at!  You know you are supporting local farmers and the Mennonite Community as well. (I digress!)

We try to buy our vegetables when the season is high.  They are the freshest and tastiest vegetables that you could ever want.  Picked at the perfect time and very cost effective, you just know you are getting nature's best.  But, if you don't have a way to keep them, all that goodness is missed.



With our new Vacuum Sealer, we can purchase more of these vegetables and bring them home.  My husband and I sit and clean, divide and package the goodness either the same day or the day after.  Once they are all vacuum packed, they go into the freezer.  Summer fresh goodness is ours even in the middle of winter.

We don't stop at the fruits and vegetables though.  When we go to market, there are many farmers who make homemade sausages. Some farmers have,  cattle, chickens, pigs and lambs.  Yes we love our meats!  There is a real pleasure involved in bringing home the freshest, grain fed, and antibiotic free meats.  You know you are eating the finest quality foods available.

With our Vacuum Sealer, we separate our meats into family (for us it's two) sized portions. Some of the  Roasts and chicken get treated with spices and then packaged. 


When it's time for dinner, out comes a package and while it is defrosting it is also marinating in the spices.  We save a lot of prep time, by having everything already put together.

Our Vacuum Sealer is getting a really good workout. We have a roll of freezer sleeves, that can be custom sized so there is no waste in the plastic.  It is entirely up to you how small or how big you make your bags.  The sealer seals both ends, one before you fill and one after you have filled the bag to your liking.  Then you have the choice of just bagging it and sealing it, or bagging and vacuum sealing.  Both are options.



This is the exact model that we have purchased and we are delighted with the ease in operation.  We spend a day or so with the prepping, but once it's done, we can relax and just enjoy. 

When we purchased our Vacuum Sealer we also purchased extra rolls of plastic because we knew that we would be making great use of this new addition to our kitchen.  This Sealer is so much better than plastic wraps and easier to use too.  We have even frozen leftovers for use at a future date.  

Now, just a word of caution, you still need to prepare your vegetables like you would normally do.  Wash them, blanch them and then pack them into the freezer.  It couldn't be easier than that.

If you are a baker, then you will love this sealer too!  Bake breads and buns, some for today and some for a later date.  Freeze them and when you are ready, it's like you just baked them that day.


I don't like clutter in my kitchen, and have found that many gadgets are "extra" stuff.  However, I would highly recommend that you think about getting one of these Sealers!  If you are interested in saving money,  buying food that is fresh and wholesome, even freezing your herbs, then you won't be disappointed.  Gardeners will love this Sealer!  When the cabbages, cauliflower, broccoli and your other vegetables are ready, there will be no waste!  Use what you can and freeze what you can't!  This really is a winner in my books.






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, August 5, 2020

Totally Natural Healthy Ways to Increase Your Garden's Growth - A Garden Review


It's mid-summer and everyone who has a garden is starting to reap the rewards of their spring labor.  Now I must confess, I did not do a whole lot of back breaking labor.  I live on the 18th floor of an apartment building and digging in the ground is not an option for me.  So I have three Rubbermaid Tubs on my balcony.  These are my "garden" and that is my space to grow my tomatoes and cucumbers.  




Don't go feeling sorry for me, I like it this way.  I gave up my "home garden" a few years ago, but missed my fresh tomatoes so much, I had to find a way to grow some higher up.  

When we first moved into the apartment, I tried to grow tomatoes in smaller pots (10 inch diameter), I would water, feed (with fertilizer) and talk to them daily.  I was somewhat successful that first year.  My husband would eat his balcony fresh tomato and say, "that was a lot of work for this tomato, you can buy them cheaper at the farmer's markets now that they are in season!"  

He was right, the first year, even though I did my best at caring for these plants, they did not produce anything that would have made a gardener's heart go pitter-patter!  Our garden produced a few tomatoes that we did enjoy, but overall we were disappointed.

Fast Forward to today:  My balcony garden has been expanded (no more little pots) and I have found the secret (I think it's the difference between the first year and now) to keeping my garden happy, healthy and producing more fruits than ever before.  


So do you want to Know What Made the Difference?

As a gardener (we share what works and what doesn't work) I will tell you!  I have NOT used one ounce, tablespoon, teaspoon or any other measuring device, of fertilizer this year!  Yet, I have already picked, eaten and enjoyed at least 10 cucumbers since the beginning of July, and countless cherry tomatoes!

As you can see in the picture above and the ones below, there is no lack of little tomatoes for us to enjoy in the next little while.



Our balcony garden has been prolific in producing these cherry tomatoes for our enjoyment.  I attribute it all to the help I have procured for my containers.  The "help" is totally organic, pesticide free, natural and abundant.

What is this help that I keep mentioning? 

Red Wigglers (they get all the credit)  have made all the difference in my containers this year.  

As I mentioned earlier, I have used NO chemical fertilizers in my containers this year.  A dear friend of mine (Cheri Kochir Salt (owner and operator of  Mobius8Organics.) and I have been trying our best to minimize our carbon footprint on the earth.  Many people are interested in doing this and have no idea where to start.  If you are a gardener, you could start right here.
 
In many discussions with her, I found that red wigglers can make all the difference in the world to your gardens (whether in the ground proper or in a container). Helping the earth to renew, means (for me anyways) not adding any extra chemicals and getting rid of organic wastes, without adding to landfills.  

When you have red wigglers in your containers you can do both of these things.  Red Wigglers love to eat all your organic waste (peels, cores, egg shells, coffee grounds, tea bags and even your paper products).  Yes you should read that list again (and it's just a small list, there is much more they could eat if you have an outdoor garden and compost heap.)
These are just a few of my "Red Wiggler" family, who are enjoying their home on my balcony!  I have uncovered them for you to see how these guys and gals (actually worms are both male and female scientifically known as hermaphrodites) work.  Their home usually looks more like this picture below:

Red Wigglers and earthworms in general do not like the light!  They work best in a dark, damp environment.  So, I make sure that they are happy by covering the soil surface with damp cardboard or my weekly newsprint flyers!  You can also see coffee filters with the coffee grounds still in them on the surface of the soil.  My worms, like myself,  seem to love coffee.......

Now the only absolute must that you have to maintain is a certain level of moisture in your containers.  You cannot let them dry out, or your earthworms will dehydrate and die as well.  So far in my experimentation this year, that has not been a problem.  I water regularly and sometimes the rain helps too.  My worms seem to be happy and multiplying without any further help from me.  

What do these worms do that makes the garden grow so well?

Earthworms and red wigglers in particular are prolific at eating  organic waste.  When they eat this waste, the worms then expel the waste(worm poop) and if your garden is in a container, this waste becomes part of the soil composition. Vermicomposting is the "proper name" for working with worms in the garden.  For you homesteaders who are looking for a cottage industry growing  worms and selling Red Wigglers for both fishermen and farmers is a growing industry (no pun intended).  Once you have your vermiculture set up, there is nothing more for you to do!  

The worms will provide you with deep rich soil, full of nutrients and depending on how you set yourself up, you may even have worm compost tea to feed your plants.  This worm tea (my version) is the best fertilizer you could ever want.  It's rich in nutrients, has no odor and your plants will thrive. This worm compost tea won't burn the roots of your plants either.  I have a set up on my balcony that allows me to enjoy collecting this worm tea and if you are interested you can do this too. 

Behind the picture of my worm tea, you can see my garden tower.  It has 50 different pockets to plant and a nice tower in the center to add organic waste without disturbing your plants.  There is a drawer at the bottom which collects all the extra water and worm tea (again my version).  The castings remain in the tower for your plants to thrive on.  You can watch a video here and see the difference between this and other vertical gardening options: Garden Tower 2 Project

There will be no need for Chemical fertilizers!  Chemical fertilizers, if they are incorrectly mixed  can sometimes do more harm than good.  Save yourself the time and trouble by using an Earth Friendly Natural Way to fertilize your plants. I know that this has made the difference between my first attempts at gardening 18 stories up and this year's attempt!  We've had a great year so far and I'm sure it will continue to prosper and grow well into the fall.

If you want to know more about Vermiculture or Worm Farming there are several really good websites and YouTube Videos that you can watch. 
Basic Vermicomposting or 
How to Compost are just two of the really good sites to learn from. 

If you want to get started you will need a good bin.  I use these ones for both growing my garden and I will use these for my worm farm too! 

My own experiment will continue in the fall as I try to bring my worms indoors so they won't freeze over the winter months.  I will let you know how it goes come spring of 2021.
 
Stay tuned there is more good sound ecological information coming up!



***All of the pictures in this Post are from my balcony garden, taken August 4, 2020.  




 




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