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

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Snorkeling in Hawaii Requires the Right Tools

Snorkel Mask Review - Snorkeling is a fun thing to do in the warm places of the earth!  

Hubby and I just got back from a long overdue holiday to Hawaii.  We had been planning to do this trip for our 50th anniversary, but decided to do it a little earlier, as both he and I are having mobility issues.  So we celebrated 48 years together with this trip of a lifetime. 

snorkeling, full face mask, holidays
Image my own!
This was our beach on the Island of Maui.  The hotel had a nice pool, but an even nicer beach.  You could go out just a few feet and see hundreds of schools of fish.  (Sheraton Hotel)   There were even sea turtles seen by some of the guests, but we did not see any for ourselves at this location. 

What made the snorkeling so much fun was the full face mask that my son had given to us to use.

So you are thinking to yourself, "Big Deal, a full face mask!"  What's that all about?

Let me tell you, this full face snorkel is so much better to use than the traditional two piece mask and snorkel! I had only used the two piece equipment in the past and always had difficulty with swimming under water with my gear. Water always, always got into the tube and I ended up choking more than once. Not so with the one piece full face mask.


What makes this so much better?


Let's just say that technology has gotten so much better with these new face masks in several areas.
  1. The breathing tube is fitted with a one way valve that let's you go underwater without getting a mouthful of ocean water. 
  2. The silicone around the face mask is comfortable and gives a really good seal, without pinching anywhere.
  3. Anti-fog face lens lets you breathe normally and still maintain   clarity in the water.
  4. There is a mount on the breathing tube for a camera.
  5. There is no need to clench your teeth together in order to hold the breathing tube securely.
  6. With the full face mask, you can breathe through your nose or mouth.
Due to the comfort of the fit, you will be able to snorkel longer.  Believe me clenching a breathing tube in your mouth is very tiring and can cause pain in the jaws.  This problem is totally gone with this one piece face mask.  

I just remembered another bonus with this one piece mask,
The full face mask wraps around your head differently than a traditional mask, thus giving you  a much better field of vision.  It really is comfortable and easy.

Many of these one piece face masks also come with an adapter on the tube to mount a GoPro (or similar) type of camera.  So now you can snorkel with the fish and you can also take their pictures too!



Are You Snorkeling With Family?  

Don't worry,  these masks are made in sizes for children and for adults. Size is determined by the length of the face from the bridge of the nose to the bottom of the chin.  Can you imagine your children being able to see the amazing creatures under the sea?  I'm sure that the first time would be so much fun to see their reaction to things that they probably have only seen in movies or educational shows.  It just isn't the same thing as seeing it with your own eyes.  Once you have outfitted your family with these masks, I bet you will be looking for places  where  snorkeling is one of the best activities listed.

Now, I must add just a little addendum, facial hair can sometimes be problematic, so if you have a beard, you might want to check out the seal you get before you pack this mask into your suitcase. 


full face mask, snorkeling, underwater adventures
Image from Pixabay
At the start of this article you will notice that I said both my husband and I were having issues with mobility.  That is true on land, but in the water, we are both like little fish!  I know there will be more snorkeling in our near future and hopefully I'll get better pictures to share with you too!


https://www.amazon.com/WildHorn-Outfitters-Compatible-Panoramic-Traditional/dp/B07C5FJ8VC/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ll1&tag=grammieo-20&linkId=42cf183e993a13431efc3322f493a1c9&language=en_US

WildHorn Outfitters Seaview 180° GoPro Compatible Snorkel Mask- Panoramic Full Face Design on Amazon






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Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Not All Sunscreens Are Equal - Looking for A Friendly Product - My Review

Sunscreens are necessary, but make sure you are buying the right one!  Not all are created equally!  My Review!


It's the beginning of February and depending on where you call home, you just might be getting a little antsy for some warmer and more hospitable climates.  I know I will be.  So along with heading to the south, I need to think about my  wonderful other half, who is very prone to getting sun burnt.

Being a natural red-head, his skin is typically prone to burning under the rays of the sun.  We have already had a few bouts of melanoma and don't want to have any more of that.  So in order for him and me to enjoy the sun, we are fully committed to sunscreen for our health and well being.

Now, did you know that not all sunscreens are created equally?  On another trip south, we were going snorkeling off the coast of Mexico.  Our tour guides took one look at our sunscreen and would not allow us to use it.  Why not, you might ask?  Here we were out on the ocean, sun shining down on us and no sunscreen protection.  Our guides, while sympathetic to our needs, let us in on a secret.  Many sunscreens contain chemicals that are really bad for the ocean environment.

We were left with no choice.  Thank goodness that day just happened to cloud over enough that we were not left looking like overdone pieces of bacon.

This year we again are headed to the south.  We are going to Hawaii and planning on doing some Island hopping.  Needless to say, sunscreen was on our minds again.

Travelling by air nowadays, makes you follow certain safety regulations.  We are not allowed to bring lotions/liquids that contain more than 100 mls.  If you do, they will be confiscated at your boarding location.   So now we are looking for a sunscreen that is eco-friendly and comes in a size that is acceptable for all safety regulations.

Thank goodness for the Internet and Amazon.  First we did as search on acceptable sunscreens.  We love Mother Nature and don't want to add unwanted chemicals to our water.  So a search on the Internet led us to several brands of sunscreen that do no harm to the oceans.  Then we ordered from Amazon and now two days before our trip, we have what we need.  Two tubes of sunscreen with less than 100 mls in each tube.



One tube of sunscreen for my other half and one for me and our bags are packed.  There will be no sunburns on this vacation, just good memories waiting to be made.  And with an SPF of 50, we should be able to do lots of walking, swimming, and just soaking up the sunshine without worry.  Now that makes for a happy holiday.









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Wednesday, January 8, 2020

2020 A New Year of Reading Materials to Discover!

Woman on the Edge, Book Review, psychological thriller, review this reviews
My New Years Resolution!
At the start of 2020, I made a decision to not only read more, but to vary the types of books that I sink my teeth into.  So here is a new author and a new book for my Review This Review Today.

As a member of Goodreads, I saw that my list of preferred books seems to be either mysteries or spy thrillers.  Added into that mix there are also some historical romances.  What I realized looking at my list, is that there are so many more categories of books that I have not delved  into.  

So, along with a new year and a new decade, comes the promise to rectify that situation.  And so I offer you a new author and a new genre of books for me.  


My New Genre is a Psychological Thriller!

Now you might ask why I haven't tried this category before now, and the answer is rather simple.  Psychological thrillers, while they keep you on the edge of your seat, they make me uncomfortable.  I find that I can't get these stories out of my head.  They (these types of thrillers) keep me from sleeping well.  I don't watch these types of movies either.  After Silence of the Lambs, I did not sleep well for weeks.  I don't know what that says about my character, but I know that sleep deprivation does not look good on me!


A New Year and a New Decade means there are changes afoot!

 
I love starting the new year off with a bang.  So beside the fireworks that lit up the sky, I found a new author and a whole different genre of reading to go along with it.

Samantha Bailey is the author of Woman on the Edge.  It's fresh off the presses and will be available in paperback,  after the 3rd of March this year.  If you are an Audible member it has the best price tag ever. $ 0.00 for Prime members or if you start a trial membership. 

thriller, new author, canadian,

There are so many twists and turns in this novel, that you just won't figure out who's behind all the mystery.  It is a page turner that will have you losing sleep, because you just can't put it down.  As her debut novel,  I think Samantha Bailey has a real winner on her hands.  It's a novel that all women can relate to.  Motherhood, sleep deprivation, secrets from your youth and so much more are all part and parcel of Woman on the Edge!

Just a couple of the reviews that are being posted about this book:


“One woman’s struggles with motherhood and another’s desperate desire to be a mother collide in this explosive debut. Woman on the Edge is a white-knuckle read that welcomes a bright new talent to the world of psychological suspense.”
— MARY KUBICANew York Times bestselling author of The Good Girl

"Gripping from the first page to the last, Woman on the Edge had me nail-biting and breathless all the way through. But even after you've turned the final page, this riveting and deeply felt thriller from debut author Samantha M. Bailey won't relinquish its hold on you." 
— LAURA SIMS, author of Looker

I could post more but I don't want this to be a spoiler for anyone.  One of the things I loved about the author is that she is Toronto based!  Everyone loves hometown celebrities and I'm no exception.  It thrilled me to read her book and be able to geographically know where she was.  It's a small thing that resonates with me.  If you aren't from Toronto, it will not detract from the story in any way,  I just was amused that I knew these places.  


So What Else is in Store for 2020?  

 
I don't know just yet, but rest assured I will be looking into some of the genres that I have been ignoring.  The world is just so much better with so many books to choose from.  








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Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Merry Christmas and Blessings for a Happy New Year!


Merry Christmas and Blessings for a Happy New Year
Christmas morning has arrived and before all the hustle and bustle begins, I would love for you to take just a moment for you!

Close your eyes, and remember the first time you held your baby.  If you don't have children, the first time you felt that spark of love.

Hold that feeling in your heart for the day and really, really enjoy those around you!

May your Christmas be Blessed, by the Child Jesus in whose name we celebrate Family, Friends and the love we should have for all of our human family.

God Bless you all!

May music fill your heart and soul with the love and peace of the Season!


 Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


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Wednesday, December 11, 2019

My Christmas Confession! Heart Warming Stories Make Me Happy!

Yes, I have a confession to make.  

Since my husband and I decided to get into Amazon Prime, my Television watching has increased by 100%.  I thought I'd take a moment and review why my TV habits have changed.

For years now, our television set was just a big black screen that we would show our family pictures on.  Neither myself nor my other half were interested in anything that was being shown for entertainment purposes, on most cable channels.  So our TV became our picture show instead.  Our cable was cancelled and the only thing he missed was his hockey games.  I did not miss anything about the TV.  I did start reading a lot more and that was not a bad thing either.  Then............

That all changed when he signed up for Prime!  Initially he signed up so that our items would ship for free and quickly.  He's the impatient one in our family.  What he did not fully realize when he signed up, was all the added bonuses that came along with his membership in the Amazon Prime community.

Because we have Prime, we are now able to watch many varied and wonderful shows that cable companies don't offer.  I haven't even scratched the surface of what's available on Amazon Prime.  

So here's part of the confession:  I go to Prime Movies and look for fun and new Christmas Specials.  After all, it is that time of year.  There are so many movies that I have never heard of before.  There is a category called Family and Kids Movies!  That is exactly what they offer!    I know when I pick something from this category, that I won't need to worry about the content being for "adult audiences".  

Family Movies is full of wonderful films that are good for all ages.  There are animated movies and movies from all over the world.

I just happened to come across a movie called the Christmas Story.  I expected the usual Santa Claus story and while it was along that line, it was a whole new story to me.  This one had a twist in it that made it a real heart tugging movie.  Filmed in Finland and Lapland, the scenery is breathtaking and the actors are pretty good too.  There is no one in the movie whose name I recognized, but, there is talent out there in the world too.



Prime not only offers you TV that you will enjoy watching, but books (with membership you get 3 free books a month), and music.  So these have all been added bonuses for us.  My other half just wanted to save money on shipping and time.  What he got was a whole lot more!  

All together I would say that getting Prime for your family would be a gift that will keep on giving long after Christmas is over.  Those are the kind of gifts I like and would really enjoy!  I'm sure there is someone out there that feels the same way and has not yet taken the plunge into the world of Prime.

I had given up watching Television for over 4 years and now that we have Prime available to us, I know that when the itch to watch something hits, I can get a show that I  know I will enjoy.

If you don't have Prime yet, consider it for your family.  I'm sure that you won't regret it.








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Wednesday, November 27, 2019

How to Encourage Pre-Teens with Angst Issues-A Book Review

Being thankful when your hormones are raging can be down right difficult or near impossible.

Navigating the waters of growing up can be difficult at times.  There will be moments of joy, for sure, but, there will also be times when whatever you say will NOT be the right thing to say, no matter what!

We have all heard the saying "Little Children, Little problems, Big Children, Big Problems".  During this Thanksgiving time, we all look back and remember the good times.  Mixed in with those good times are some of the challenging moments in our lives that we would all like to forget.  Everyone has had their share of both!

When our children are going through their own "tough" times, we look for help to get them through these sometimes painful episodes of growing up.

Getting lost in a book can sometimes be the way to unlock some truths that our preteens and teens need to understand.  To that end I'm going to recommend two books that I feel are great and written especially for this age group.  Middle schoolers (Grades 4 to 8) are just starting to feel their way around life.  Yet there can be curves in the road.  Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus, by Dusti Bowling (she holds a Bachelor of Psychology and a Master of Education)   will open up some doors to many situations that children may already be experiencing.  Making friends, being a friend and going through life's experiences with those friends starts in Grade School.  *It actually starts much earlier, but is usually done with parental supervision.*  Grade School is where children start making choices for themselves without the watchful eyes of a parent or guardian.  What you have taught them will come into play when they are out on their own for the first time.   Understanding that everyone is different and accepting those differences will make life for our children much more interesting and exciting.  Learning to see through eyes that accept people for who they are will open doors to friendships that you may never have thought possible.  Today, we are encouraging everyone to include those who are different or have abilities that are unlike our own.  Diversity has always been part of our lives, yet, we have failed many times to celebrate that diversity.  Let's help our children now, by teaching empathy and decency for everyone they come in contact with.



Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus is the first book in a series of 2 books!  Each book stand on it's own merit, but as a series, they are even better.    The second book (Momentous Events in the Life of a Cactus), opens up some new life events for our main character "Aven"!  These events throw her for a loop. Moving from Middle School to High School  is never easy.  New friends and new experiences are opening up for everyone!  But when you are Aven, this might not be something to look forward to.  It's like starting all over again!



Explaining yourself over and over again to anyone is no fun.  Aven, our main character was born without arms.  That has not stopped her from doing all kinds of things that we take for granted.  Her adoptive parents are encouraging her all the time to do things for herself, even though it may be different than the way they do things.  Using her feet like arms, Aven does indeed manage to do all the things that able bodied people do. It may take her longer to accomplish some tasks, but she manages anyways. High school though, is a whole new world.  While everyone is trying to learn the ropes of being in High School, our main character finds herself even more alone and struggling to find her place in this new situation.  The only constant in Aven's world right now is her friend who is also "different".  He looks out for Aven and helps her with some daily tasks to make school easier for her.  Aven looks out for him too!  They both know they are different, but are ready to accept each other and others too.    When you are different, you stand out among the crowd.  Teens in High School often do not welcome "standing out" or being different.

Add hormones to the mix and you get a volatile situation at times.  If you are not a strong person to begin with, this can knock you down and send you into a dark place.  Self doubt, and anguish take the place of joy and excitement.  All of a sudden stomach aches, headaches and fear rule the teen's life.  Parents need to be aware that stress in teens can take the form of real pain.

Being able to talk about their anxiety and angst is one of the biggest ways we can help our children.  Giving them books to read with messages of encouragement and acceptance is a way to open doors to discuss their own personal "issues".

Our children (of all ages) need to know that we are supporting them in their everyday experiences and that they can talk to us about anything.  If you want more information on Mental Health Issues in Teens there is a great article by HealthyChildren.org 

Opening doors to communication is the best way to keep our children learning about themselves and their peers.  Whether they are able bodied, disabled, gifted, special needs or just plain awesome, we need to celebrate our Diversity and accept everyone for who they are.

Let's all make pre-teen and teen angst a thing of the past.

Happy Thanksgiving to all, may you celebrate your Similarities and your Diversities with Joy!




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Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Reading, The Gift that Keeps on Giving in So Many Ways

Reading is a gift, a renewable, ever changing, gift that covers all ages and stages of life.

There is no doubt that many of the writers here at Review This Reviews love to read!  You just need to take a quick look at all the Book Reviews to know that there are many readers with varied tastes in subjects to read about.  There are even some authors on our Review This Reviews pages too!

What I am most interested in sharing with you today is  some timely ideas to help youngsters become avid readers.  

Why?  Well it is well known that reading is the basic building block for a lifetime of learning.  No truer words were ever written, and it bears repeating!  


READING IS THE BASIC BUILDING BLOCK FOR A LIFETIME OF LEARNING!

What's the best way to start a child on this road to learning?

That's an easy one to answer!  There is no time like the present to begin a child on a path to explore and learn new things.  Children are magnets for learning and giving them the tools can't start too early.  One of the best gifts you can ever give any child, is books.  You night not expect that books would be a great Baby Shower Gift, but I'm here to tell you differently.  So many times the new parents are inundated with cute outfits, booties and all the paraphanalia needed for their babies.  Give them a gift that will stand out!  Books, Classic Books that will become favorites for their children as they years go by.  Books that can be read by the parents and grandparents.  Books that will fuel their creativity and at the same time become the basis for their language skills.

Here is a list of Classic Books that will be a great start to any child's library:
  1. The Tale of Peter Rabbit
  2. A Bear Called Paddington
  3. Little Golden Books
  4. The Velveteen Rabbit
  5. A Treasury of Curious George
  6. Elmo's Big Book of Friends
  7. My Favorite Berenstain Bears Collection
  8. Classic Storybook Fables
  9. On the Night You Were Born
  10. The Very Hungry Caterpillar
The last two books on this list are "modern" classics.  The other 8 suggestions are stories that have been around since you were a child.  They are the "Classics" that really should be in every child's library.  They have withstood the test of time and are still found to be entertaining and full of great life lessons. 

How to keep your child entertained while reading:


Our goal as parents and grandparents is to keep our children motivated to enjoy the story we are telling them.  At the end of a long day, make time for reading.  Set the children's bed time for a half hour earlier than when you actually want them to close their eyes.  This time is set apart for reading!  Unless they are sick, make sure that you do this on a regular basis.  If not every day, then maybe 3 days a week.  Make the reading time not just a page turning experience, but be expressive in reading so that by your tone, they will know something exciting is going to happen.    Using the pictures in the story to keep our children's imaginations fueled will go a long way in them wanting you to turn more pages.  




What happens when they have a favorite book and they just don't want you to read another?


First of all don't worry, that is perfectly normal.  Certain books just have that quality that makes children want to hear the story again and again.  This is actually a great time to teach them to sight read certain words, because they already know the story off by heart.  Pointing to the words and showing them how the word sounds out, will help them to recognize that word in other stories too.  When our children would ask for the same story over and over and over again, we got creative in telling the story so that we would not be bored to tears.  I can remember one night in particular, when it was Dad's turn to read, he was so tired of reading story the way it was written, that he took the book and read it backwards.  Starting at the last page, he worked his way to the front and the children laughed and laughed so hard, that I needed to get up and see what in heaven's name was going on.  Well, needless to say from that point onwards, the children wanted the book read forwards and backwards.  Bedtime or reading time was just increased another 15 minutes to accommodate the extra reading.  What a great way to make them enjoy their stories in a whole new way.

Other Great Ways to Get Children Started on Reading!  


Reading starts with children grabbing a book and turning the pages.  As I said earlier, you can't start this habit too early.  So get your babies/children books that are make especially for them.  There are soft books made of fabric, that can be put into cribs or playpens.  They are usually filled with colorful pages and pictures.  Even babies love to turn pages that have something special on them.  Books with flaps that lift, tabs to pull and bits and pieces of sensory friendly fabrics are a must have for little hands.  Tactile fabrics, squeakers  or buttons that you can push are extras that little hands just love to play with.



So much fun in a book for little hands and growing minds.

 For Parent's Who Love to Tell Stories


For Parent's who are natural story tellers, there are also some really great picture books that will help you tell stories and get your child to interact at the same time.  Our children loved the "Where's Waldo" books.  They would sit for long periods of time looking at all the different pictures and looking for Waldo, who, you knew, was hiding in the pages somewhere.  What made these fun and interactive was the places and situations that Waldo would find himself in.

Richard Scarry books are also great for young readers.  They can learn about trucks and trains, planes and places.  His wonderfully illustrated books make it easy for parents to tell the story and sometimes segue into stories of their own.  Your imagination and the help of these books will fuel your child's world and widen their perspectives on everyday things around them.

We are our children's first educators and we teach them by spending quality time with them in a number of activities.  Reading is one of the most important activities.  It's the start of a life long love of books, that will see your children expand their horizons and will help educate them too.

It all starts with ABC and it will take them anywhere their minds can imagine and more.  Avid readers are the start of a life long love of learning new things.  They will develop a critical mindset that will help them in their everyday lives as they grow and mature.  Reading will never ever go out of style or popularity either.  Books will remain part of their lives from now until they are reading to their children too!

Will your favorites as a child, become your children's favorites too?

It could happen, but they might also find a story that is their own favorite and that is okay too!  There isn't one book that is "better" than another.  Everyone needs to find their own favorites and expand from that point on!  Books will give your child more than a 30 second sound bite of information.  Let's encourage our children to make good choices in how they spend their leisure time by having some great books for them at all stages of their reading skills.











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Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Why Do People Think Personalized Labels are a Good Idea?

Labels are all around us and they tell us all kinds of information!  Useful information that we need to know! (A Product Review)

Labels will let us know what we are eating, where a product is made, if the product is on sale (I have to buy this now) and a host of other information.

Labels can also be used to show people that it is hand made, organic, or new and improved.  Labels are all around us we just have to open our eyes to see the vast array of labels that are waiting for us to "notice".  

But, here it comes, the big BUT!  Many labels are not there for you to notice, rather they are there to identify what belongs to you Mabel's Labels makes this an easy chore!

There are innumerable reasons why you should want to label things that belong to you!  All age categories from young children to the elderly have reason to label their belongings.

Day Care and Schools

Let's start with the younger set!  If you have children that attend a Daycare or Nursery School, applying labels to their belongings will make it easier for the caregivers to identify items belonging to a specific child.  You don't want your child's favorite toy or blanket to inadvertently be given to another child.  Changes of clothing should be labelled as well, so that if an accident happens you know that your child will be sporting their own clothes.  

School age children are always tossing their belongings into the closet and when it comes time to go out for recess or time to go home, they just grab whatever looks like their hat, mitts, boots and more.  If it is labelled there will be no mix ups!  Mabel's Labels has specially designed Back to School Packs of labels just for them.

Of greater importance with school aged children is the possibility of food allergies.  Label their lunches and snacks with specially designed labels!  No more worrying about them getting into someone else's treats, with the resulting visit to a doctor or hospital.  




Organized Sports, Dance and Music Classes

When they start getting into organized sports, the purchase of equipment is a major investment.  Keep their gear easy to recognize and keep it coming home!  No parent wants to keep replacing what they have already bought once before.  For children who take dance classes you can label their shoes and clothing items that may be required.  The same can be said for band classes.  Every instrument and case should be labelled with the name of the musician. No more mix ups with the instruments.

Personalized Labels for Seniors

Now let's move on to those of us who are looking after aging parents or relatives. 
Many seniors are no longer able to live on their own. The family may decide to move their parents into a care facility.  When this happens, labeling belongings becomes an important issue.  Glasses, dentures, hearing aids and so many more small items are not only expensive, but easy to lose.  Sometimes our seniors have dementia or Alzheimer's, and they forget where they put something.  If it is labelled there will be no doubt to whom the items belong.  The labels are very nice to look at and easy to apply.  Shoes, clothes and coats and a myriad of other labels are available.  The seniors themselves learn to look for that label that they recognize.  It helps the staff at the facility and ultimately it will help you too!



Seniors Label Pack


Labels for Everyone Else!

There are labels for you too if you are feeling left out.  Mabel's Labels has a really nice Book Stamp that can be used for those books that you want to keep in your collection.  Place a nice stamp on the inside cover and chances are it will be returned to you after having been borrowed.  How many times do I forget who that Great Book belonged to before I got my hands on it?  If it was labelled, I know I would return it to it's rightful owner.  Mabel's also has a nice Return Address Stamp as well.  So you no longer have to write out your address!  One quick tap and it's all there in black and white.  So easy, neat and clean.

There is one place that you will spend much less time in and that is the LOST AND FOUND!  When things are labelled the chances of them being lost for very long is greatly diminished and so is your frustration and angst.  Make your life easier by using Labels in everyone's belongings.

**Olivia is an affiliate of Mabel's Labels through Shareasale and a small commission will be generated when you use these links.






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Wednesday, October 2, 2019

The Amazing Rocky Mountaineer The Trip of a Lifetime

The Rocky Mountains in all their splendor is something that everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime! A Travel Book Review!


For years my other half and I have dreamed of travelling to far away places that will give us memories that will last for the rest of our lives.  After all that is one of the benefits of living a good long life.  But I digress.  We chose to have our children early in our marriage so that once we were done with raising our children, we'd still have enough energy to go to all those places that we could not afford to see earlier.  And we are doing just that.  We are in the midst of planning a vacation to the West Coast of Canada and on the way, stopping in Alberta to visit family in Jasper!


rocky mountaineer, trip of a lifetime, travelling in Canada
The Rocky Moutaineer Train courtesy of Wikipedia
Jasper has been on our must see list for a while now.  When we see pictures of the mountains and lakes our eyes and jaws just pop open.  It looks so beautiful.  It doesn't help that almost every other day our nephew is posting pictures of all this beauty too!

trip of a lifetime, travelling, viewing gardens
Parts of Jasper National Park 

Can you tell I'm excited!   What prompts this review is the train trip that is contained within this holiday.  We are starting our escapade in Jasper and staying for 6 days to see all the sights (I'm sure we won't see it all).  Then we are hopping on board the ROCKY MOUNTAINEER TRAIN for a two day trip through the mountains on our way to Vancouver.  The train will stop in Kamloops, British Columbia for the night and early the next morning we continue to Vancouver.  All we need to do during this two day mini-trip,  is sit back and relax!  Oh, and take lots of pictures of course.

The Rocky Mountaineer travels between Jasper and Vancouver or you can go the other way too.  You can board the train in Vancouver and end up in Jasper if that fits your travel plans better.  There are different levels of "cars available" to travel in while on the Rocky Mountaineer, so do your homework.  


Travelling by rail has it's limitations, but it also has is "up"side .  You can sit back, relax, and not worry about taking a wrong turn   You are free to look out the windows as much as you like!  No road warrior stresses to manage as someone else is doing the driving.  Meals are prepared and there is always someone new to meet.  I'm sure there will be people from all over the world taking in the sights as the train passes through some of the most beautiful scenery and mountains in this part of the world.

While you are reading about my escapades (and hopefully dreaming of your own), we will still be in Vancouver.  Being a gardener, I am looking forward to seeing the beauty that autumn has to offer in the Beautiful Stanley Park!  I'm glad that my suitcase allowance does not allow for the packing of garden implements.  Just as I'm sure the gardeners who take care of this public park will be happy as well.  No rogue gardeners are welcome to do their "thing" in these Gardens.  Just as well, it is a holiday after all.  If you don't know these gardens here's a sneak peak at what you are missing.  I'm not sure what our timing will be like, but there might be a side trip to the Butchart Gardens as well.  The gardener in me just won't let me say NO!  After all we might as well make that little side trip while we are on the west coast.  It's a long way to go if you miss it the first time.  



stanley park, totem poles, history
Totem Poles in Stanley Park


Be prepared, I'm sure there will be lots of pictures coming that will make any traveler or gardener just a little green with envy.   There will be so much history, geography and photography going on the whole time I'm away!  

butchart gardens, viewing gardens, trip of a lifetime
Water Feature in Butchart Gardens, Victoria













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Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Autumn Chores: Planting Trees Now It's the Right Time! A Garden Review

Autumn chores in the garden should include planting some trees! A Garden Review for you!

autumn tree planting, guide to trees, planting trees for success


Now don't get your knickers all in a knot!  Some people think that fall is the time to stop gardening, clean out the flower beds and put everything to sleep for the winter months that are fast approaching.  I'm here to tell you that you are wrong, so wrong!  Those are some of the jobs that will need doing, but right now think about trees!

Autumn is a great time to plant trees and shrubs.  There are several reasons that you should be doing some tree planting at this time.  Trees are the lungs of the earth and healthy air around your home is a must! 

In the fall the ground has been nicely warmed up.  Summer heat gets right down to the deeper parts of the ground.  The soil is warm and generally moist.  When you dig a hole for a new tree you will see for yourself that the soil is nice and warm .  When you plant a tree in that warm soil, the roots that have been bound up in a root ball, will nicely ease their way into that warmth.  You can wait till spring, but have to wait until the soil is frost free for best results.  Late April or early May are target times for spring planting.  In the fall you can plant right up till the first signs of snow.  The ground will keep it's warmth even with a snow cover.  The snow, believe it or not, is a great insulator.


In the fall, trees naturally go into a state of dormancy.  The saps run down into the roots and the leaves fall. The energy of the trees are already in the lower parts of the trees.  So placing them into warm soil will make them very happy.   Autumn rains will also help get those roots to stretch out and grab hold.  But proper planting techniques are still a good rule to follow.

Before you start to think about planting a tree, make sure you know what kind of tree you want in your space.  If you have a large area, then plant whatever you like, but, if you live in an urban area, you may have to think about this a little more.  Do you want a lot of shade in your yard?  Are you looking to mask the sounds of traffic, or are you wanting some fruit for your efforts.  All these questions should be asked and answered before you buy and plant anything.


Some trees have deep roots, some have shallow ones!  Planting a tree close to foundation walls is never a good idea.  Nor is planting a tree that gets very deep expansive roots.  Some research is necessary if you want to have a good result.
 

Trees have different shapes and natural heights that they will grow to.  Depending on what you want from the tree, you will have to make some educated choices.  I like this link from Arborday.org, for some really good information, so that once you decide to plant the trees, you will have made the right decisions.  

Trees are a wonderful addition to any landscape and will give you years of beauty.  The birds, bees, and small critters will thank you and grace you with their presence.  Mother Nature will appreciate your help in keeping the air fresh and clean as well.   

Put this book on your shelf, so that you will have easy access to some of the best information and suggestions for picking, planting and maintaining your trees as they mature.


It is wonderful to be able to reach the information you need in the garden when you are busy with the task at hand.

Happy tree planting and here's to your healthy!  I hope you enjoy your happy gardening space.




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Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Head Injuries, Head Trauma, How to Prevent Injuries

A  grandparent's worst nightmare is getting a call asking you to come and stay with your grandchildren while another one of them is being transported to the local Children's Hospital.

Image by Iatya Prunkova Pixabay


This Review is all about Safety!  Head Safety to be precise.  Products that will help to ensure your children are able to stay safe while still having fun!  What prompts this review is a really upsetting event that happened in my life just this past week.  One minute everything is fine and even wonderful and the next minute, disaster strikes.  This is my granddaughter after her horse threw her!  Black out and concussion and brain bleeds.  It was not a pretty picture!  But I assure you that she will be alright because she was protecting that most important part of her body, her brain!


Helmets are a necessity for many sports that our children partake in.  You wouldn't think of sending your child to play hockey without a proper helmet in place.  BMX biking, motocross, general cycling, skateboarding, skiing, horseback riding, and so many more sports should never be undertaken without proper Head Gear!  Many organized sports will not let you join without the proper attire, and that includes protecting the most important part of your body, your brain. 

Years of studying brain injuries has led many doctors, scientists and just the general public to understand the necessity of protecting your head.  Football, hockey, wrestling and other sports have had their share of injuries, but head injuries were one of the most overlooked in past years.  Think about how all those blows to the head affected Mohammed Ali.  Now we are starting to understand the impact that these injuries can have on just about anyone.  Concussions are the most common injuries and most of us don't understand exactly what happens when our brains get bruised.  

When a child's brain gets bruised, you need to know what to do and to do that quickly.  Here are some guidelines that will help you understand the nature of a head injury and it's immediate results.

It is so important to know that if your child loses consciousness, an ambulance should be called.  There is NO room here for second guesses.  You cannot see what is going on in their heads.   Better to be safe than sorry!  An x-ray will tell if there is immediate need for more intervention.

If your children are active (and I truly hope they are) then you need to learn how to fit helmets properly for every activity your child is involved with.  Bike helmets and other sports helmets are not interchangeable.  Be specific with your helmet purchase!  FYI here is a link for your to find how to properly fit a bike helmet!  I've included this because this is one thing that children and adults can do together and it's a popular activity for the whole family.  Even if your child is on a training bike, they still need a helmet!  Check here for fitting instructions!  I've chosen to show you this helmet, because it has the added feature of a light at the back for evening rides.  It pays to be seen while riding. 



Every sport has a special helmet, they are not all interchangeable!  Baseball, football, hockey, and horseback riding each helmet has a specified job to do and so the requirements for protection are different.  Do not buy a helmet second hand!  Once a helmet has been banged around it needs to be replaced.  Remember that your brain needs proper protection.

I'm hoping that with writing about my experience with my grandchild, I will make you stop and think about your own children and grandchildren.  Nothing is more important than their safety especially when at play. 

**At this time, my granddaughter has been released from hospital and with an extended period of rest, she should be back to her normal active self.  TG!   Her parent's are aware of the use of her picture.  They would like everyone with children to know how important it is to protect your children even when they are at play. 

  









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Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Unplanned: The Movie, a Review!

Unplanned, is the most controversial Movie of 2019.  

Here's my Review!

Now before I get into the Review proper, I must tell you that I am a Christian and this subject is very personally repugnant to me.  But, having said that, I think this is a movie that should be shown to every "adult"  person.  Why?  Because there is so much misinformation out there about abortion.  There is also so much anger and polarization about this topic.  This review may seem one sided, but that is my point of view.  After seeing this movie you can make up your own mind. 

The Movie is based on the book Unplanned by Abby Johnson!  It is a true story and there is nothing added or taken away from her experiences.  The movie is very emotionally charged in all aspects. Happiness, sadness, anger, hope, joy and so much more.

 

I personally have not read the book, but have seen the movie and the book is on order. I like to read and re-read on this topic because I feel it is so important to be completely clear on all the information and implications. After all this is supposed to be helping women and looking after their health care. There is so much information that gets twisted by the emotional aspect of the subject.

Now you may be wondering what the heck the subject of this Movie and Book are.  Well, there's no easy way to say it's about ABORTION, and the whole abortion industry. (Make no mistake, it is an industry.)

Abby Johnson, the author, should know the industry better than anyone.  She worked for many years as a Director of a Planned Parenthood facility in Texas.  She had worked her way through the system from handing out flyers to college kids, working as a volunteer at the clinic and ultimately becoming the clinic's director.  She was so good at her job that she was awarded the Planned Parenthood highest accolades, Employee of the Year at their annual convention.

Coincidentally, this is the moment that Abby finds out that Planned Parenthood's  mission statement is a lie! In one meeting she goes from Employee of the Year to questioning everything she has always believed.

I don't want to give away too much of this story, because I really want you to see it!  Many movie theaters will not show this movie because of it's controversial topic.  Not to worry,  you can get to see it on Hoopla!

Hoopla is a free service and you can borrow movies, books, and so much more.  Tracey, one of our writers let us know about this service and I'm so thankful to her for sharing this with me.

I also don't like movie theaters telling me what I can and cannot see!  There are so many questionable movies out there that are readily shown to the public, but,  when a movie takes a moral stand, they deem it inappropriate and don't allow it to be seen in their venues.   So in order to understand this, I watched this movie using Hoopla!

Please be aware, you might want to watch this movie first before sharing it with your family,  It is a very emotional topic, but one that really needs to be understood from all sides.












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Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Mid Summer Heat and Your Garden, It's Time to Rejuvenate!

Oh the Summer of 2019 will probably go down as one of the better ones we have had in a long time.  But, the heat can do some pretty mean things to your garden.  Let's do a quick review on how you can make those baskets and annuals look a little nicer than they do right now!

When May and June rolled around, everyone was just so happy to see the weather become warmer.  Garden centers everywhere were busy selling plants of every kind under the sun to people who had the worst cases of itchy fingers ever!

Who didn't go out to buy at least one or two hanging planters with bright colored geraniums or petunias?  I know I did and the garden centers thanked me.  

This is what they looked like when I bought them:

*photo from pixabay

Now that we are well into August, they are looking tired and sparse.  The stems that were so full of flower buds, have elongated into wisps of bare stems with maybe a flower or two at the end of the stem.  Nothing at all like they looked when I first purchased them.

                                            portulaca looking sad

But wait a minute, these plants can be revitalized with just a little tender loving care.  I'm here to help you make the next two to three months much nicer again with the same plants that you already have.

How to Revitalize Your Plants 

Let's get started.  

Cut back the long strands of petunias, calibracoas, or moss roses (portulaca). Dead-head your geraniums so that more flower heads will appear.  

1. Let the plant dry out just a little, so that you can remove it from it's hanging pot.
When you have the plant out, place it (soil ball and plant) into a pail of water.  You will notice that the soil around the plant has probably gotten very solid and holds the shape of the pot it was in.  That is part of the problem.  When you water this plant, the water just falls right out of the bottom of the pot.  The soil no longer holds any water close to the roots.  We need to fix that!  

2.  Take the roots and gently pry them apart (or if you are not too scared, take a knife and cut the root ball into quarters)   Do this inside the pail and place the pieces back into water.  You may notice that some of the old soil is starting to fall away from the roots.  Don't worry, that's what you want to have happen.  

3.  Get some fresh potting soil.  I like to use Miracle Gro soil.** I'll tell you why later.  Now take those quarters and place two or three back into the hanging pot.  Fill the rest of the space with fresh soil and water well.  You can even bury the crown of the plant in the new soil.

4.  Leave these plants in the shade for a day or two, just to give them some time to get over the shock.  Keep them watered well, but not drowning.  

5.  In a week, you should be able to see new growth coming up from the original root system.  In two weeks they will look like brand new plants, even though there isn't a garden center around with fresh planters.  

6.  Sit back, relax and enjoy your hanging baskets for another two months or more.  

If your hanging baskets are full of annuals, they will  keep blooming until frost arrives and that could be late October or November even.  They will slow down in blooming naturally once the long summer days are done, but they will bloom!  They will also look so much nicer than those long wisps with only one flower on the end of each stem.   

Now why do I like Miracle Grow Soil?**  I told you earlier that I would explain.  So here it is:
Purchased hanging planters from Pop-up Garden centers use plain potting soil for their planters (it's cheaper).  Miracle Gro soil is not just soil, but Sphagnum peat moss, perlite and compost.  It is also infused with Miracle Gro fertilizers that are time released for better blooms and healthier plants.  I have used this for years and I can't remember ever having a summer of disappointment with my hanging plants.  Now that I am in my apartment, I use this type of soil in all my balcony planters too. 




Annual plants are wonderful for their color, long lasting blooming period and they are not too expensive either.  So you really get a good bang for your buck.  At then end of the season, remember to compost your annuals or if you are really keen, start seed saving so that next year you can make your own hanging baskets with Miracle Gro soil from the start and seeds that you have saved.  

You can find out more about seed saving on another review right here: Let's Review The Best Proven Seed Saving Practices





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Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Summer's Bounty How to Make the Best of It!


Reviewing the Gardenmaster Food Dehydrator 


Summertime is here and the abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables is upon us!  Let's review how to enjoy all of this goodness now and later too!   Food Dehydrators are not new, but they may be new to you!

If you are a gardener, I'm sure that your little (or big) plot is starting to show signs that there will be a good crop of some fruits and vegetables coming soon.  If you are anything like me, you can hardly wait for that first ripe tomato.  Everyday you go to the garden to see its growth.  Then it starts to turn red and the excitement is almost palpable.  Okay, I'm a little crazy for my fresh fruits and veggies.

Right now we are in the height of strawberry season, so you know where I will be.  Off to my closest "pick your own" patch to indulge in early summer sweetness.  After I have eaten my fill, made some jam and eaten some more, there will still be strawberries that I need to process somehow.

Now this is where my product review starts!  


Have you ever thought about buying a Food Dehydrator and drying the rest?  There are several ways that you can make the freshness of this seasons fruits and vegetables last through the year.  Making jams, jellies and chutneys are one way.  Preserving and canning is another. But wait, there is still the other option and that is to dry the goodness for use later!  Easy and quick too!  No more wasting your food dollars.



We purchased a  Food Dehydrator a couple of years ago, when my other half decided to make his own beef jerky.  Yes, you can make your own beef jerky, but that is not what I do.

I use this dehydrator to keep all my herbs, tomatoes, carrots, peppers and all other manner of fruits and vegetables for my winter time cooking.  I get the same flavor as I would if I had just harvested my garden.  I can also take advantage of the farmer's markets and buy more fresh produce, both for use now and for dehydration and use for later.


These pictures show you how I just finished drying a whole bunch of parley and basil.  It took less than an hour and my parsley flakes are beautiful in color and smell.  The basil dried to a light brown, but the smell is incredible. I will use these throughout the fall and winter in my recipes.


No more buying fruit roll ups with their questionable ingredients.  Make your own and you will know exactly what is in that delicious dried fruit.  To make fruit roll ups you will need to purchase some non-stick sheets that fit into the dehydrator.  This will keep the fruit from falling through the grids in the different layers.  You can make different fruit bars all at the same time.  Fresh and flavorful with no additives and preservatives.  Just plain really good fruit!



Save money by letting less of your food dollars go to waste!

We in the West are known for our mishandling of our food dollars.  So much of what we buy ends up in the garbage, wasted and useless.  Don't let this be your story!

Preparing foods for dehydration is not a difficult task.  Just wash your veggies and fruits well, cut them up, place them into the trays and set it on!

Your fruits and veggies will be ready in a few hours depending on what you are drying. Beef jerky takes a little longer, but oh my is the taste ever delicious.  It has store bought beat hands down.


Food Dehydrator and Recipe Book included!


Don't be afraid to try new things.  This food dehydrator will have you saving all those fruits, vegetables and spices without thinking twice.  No more buying fresh herbs for a recipe and then throwing away the rest.  Dry it instead, so that next time you need it, it is there for you!  Once you get the hang of it, you will find that you will waste less and really enjoy the fresh taste of homemade!


The only Accessory you might need:


If you are making fruit roll ups, you will need the non-stick mats that fit right into the trays.  Because of the sugar content in fresh fruit, you will have a sticky mess without these sheets.  They are inexpensive and will help you make better use use of the dehydrator!


I hope I have given you something that you can work with and enjoy for many years to come.  Fresh food and flavors that are just out of this world, can be yours, with a little work!  Your family will enjoy the benefits and the healthy snacks that will be made right at home in your kitchen.  










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