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

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Keeping Things Belted Up is Easy ~ A Product Review

There is one thing I really dislike and that is a belt that looks like it has seen better days,.  Belts are a necessity for many men, but they seem to get ratty looking before too long and that drives me to distraction.  

Well with Father's Day coming up just around the corner, I thought I would share a great new belt that my husband loves and it looks so good all the time.

This belt has a buckle, but the extra part of the belt that  goes through the loops, doesn't have anyholes in it.  It is a nice flat piece of leather. What holds it together is the ratchet like buckle.

Let me show you a picture to make you understand this better.

Normally a belt is a long piece of leather that may be tooled or smooth depending on the look you are trying to achieve.  There is a buckle with a tongue that goes into a hole on the other side and the belt is tightened to fit comfortably around the waist.

This new  "Ratchet" belt that we found has a buckle, but no tongue.  The extra portion of belt goes through the buckle and sits like a regular belt around the waist.  There are no holes in the belt.  There is no tongue on the buckle.  So the wear and tear on the belt is minimal.

It also allows you to tighten the belt in smaller increments than the 1 or 1.5 inches between the holes in a regular belt.

It looks neat and tidy all the time.  If you go out for dinner and eat just a little too much a quick flick of the wrist will loosen the ratchet belt enough so that you are comfortable at all times.  I am impressed with this fashion find for my main squeeze and he really likes it too.  Not only is it a great look, but it also comes in so many colors that one may just not be enough.  At this price point having more than one is easy.

Talk about a win -win situation.  It's affordable, neat, tidy and really looks good.  Holding up the pants with ease and style is a great thing. 

If you need another suggestion for a Father's Day gift, this just might be it!  I would say that every man should have at least one Ratchet Belt in his wardrobe.  

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

A Song of Silence, Steve N. Lee ~ A Book Review

 Everyone who has read some of my book reviews knows that I love historical novels.  I am fascinated with the World War II era, as it has impacted my family as well.

War  is horrendous and of that there is no doubt, but I think we all need reminding that war can turn "normal" humans into savage beasts.  

A Song of Silence is a book that is hard to read and harder to put down.  Steve Lee's characters are all based on true life people that were able to corroborate the "horrors" that were inflicted on so many people all over Europe, during the uprisings in 1938-1939 and beyond!

A Song of Silence is a love story and a story of unbridled heroism and self-giving. 

Mirek Kozlowski is running an orphanage for children who have been displaced by marauding Nazi henchmen.  Mirek takes in all the children that are brought to him.  People in his village know that he will take care of them and give them some much needed "normalcy" in a world gone crazy.  His orphanage houses over 80 youngsters,  Mirek feeds and houses them all and treats each one of them like they were his own son or daughter. There is the classrooms where Mirek insists the children learn to read.  It is what a child between the ages of 6 to 13 should understand, schooling!.  Mirek's hope is to give these children a loving and caring home where they should have no fears.  So many of them have already seen much more than a child should.  

His little town in Poland so far has not been noticed by the Nazi's and he hopes that it will stay that way until the war is over.  But, that will not be the case.  

Mirek knew it was a long shot that they could remain unscathed from the realities that was happening all over Poland.  But he was an optimist at heart. reality tells him to have the children ready for anything!  The worst case scenario would be to taunt the Nazi's with "Polish" sentiments and identity.  He needs to train the children on what to do if that worst case scenario actually happens.  Everyone has been trained on what to do in case of an "unexpected visit" by the Nazi's.

Everything Polish has been put away and all things German now fill the classroom.  It was a sickening sight for Mirek and the children, but needed to be done.  Safety of the children was most important and after all and this was just window dressing.

Ania (Anne Maria) Kisiell comes to work with Baba Hanka (the housekeeper) and meets Mirek for the first time.  Ania and Hanka work to keep the children fed and the house in a reasonable state of order.  Hard to do with so many youngsters.

This is the background of Mirek and Ania's story, the start of a love story that you will not soon forget. But I must confess that I won't tell you anymore now!  This book has to go on your reading list and I know that you will be touched by the self-sacrifice and love that both Mirek and Ania shower down on the children in their care.

I could not put A Song of Silence down and I have read many World War II novels over the years.  This one will be etched on my mind for a long time.  A Song of Silence is one book that you should not miss!

This book gets a ***** (Five) Star rating from me and I don't give those up too easily.  

It is out on May 12 and available to you through, Kindle edition and many national book retailers. Steve N. Lee is a masterful story teller, you will not be disappointed!

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

How to Organize and Digitize Old Slides EASILY ~ A Product Review

My other half and I had a big problem! We both grew up in the 1960's and 70's when cameras were filled with films that had to be taken to the store  and then processed.  We would have to wait a week or so until we knew whether the pictures were any good or not.  Most of the time we used our Kodak Brownie Cameras, as the better ones were way out of our price affordability.  Even our parents took pictures with those cameras. Now what happened to all those pictures and were they memories that we wanted to keep or were they just garbage photos?

Well it's spring time and that means cleaning up, clearing out and donating lots of things to various charities.

But one box had us in a quandry!  It was full of slides and negatives from who know when, where or how long they were in there. 

Could these be long lost family pictures or just a bunch of scenic areas that we would not recognize without some obvious sign posts?

This is the mess that we were faced with. We were pretty sure there would be some pictures in there that we would like to keep.  But, how do you do that without taking this mess to a dedicated service that will scan these?  And at what cost to us?

Looking into a professional service, we found out that it would cost us .25 cents to 1.00 per slide to be digitized.  

That was a cost that we just could not swallow.  You would pay for each slide whether they were worth keeping or just junk shots.  So this was not an option for us.

Thank goodness for the internet and Amazon!  A quick search and you can find out just about anything.

For just under 15.00 you can get a PICSCANNER !  What, you may ask is a Picscanner?  Well it's a small platform for your mobile phone.  The platform is about 3 inches away from the bed of the scanner.  This allows your phone to actually take a picture of your slide or negative. This is what the box looks like and you can see exactly how it works:

 Upload it to your computer and voila, you have a digital copy of what was a slide or negative. Just like this one:

old picture

This is a digital copy of a negative film strip. With a few programs on the computer it is easy to turn this negative into a proper picture.  Like this:

old picture

It works great!  What I really like about this easy to use slide digitizer is, that it is inexpensive and it lets you see what is on that slide or negative without having to print it first.  Once you see what's there, you just might decide that is is worth having it printed professionally!  But, I bet that most of them will just go into a Picture file on your computer. You have not spent hundreds of dollars on getting worthless (to anyone but yourself) pictures digitized.  

Today with our cell phone cameras and digital professional cameras, we can skip this step completely.  But again if you were born in the 50's , 60's and 70's, I'm sure that this Picscanner will be a valuable tool for anyone who has boxes and boxes of negatives or slides kicking around. Just imagine being able to take all those slides and negatives, organize them and keep the great ones and discard all the rest.  It's a job to do it, but, when it's done you will enjoy the fruits of your labors!

As an added bonus, this would make a great Father's Day Gift too!  Most of the Dad's I know are the techy types that love to fiddle with a new toy!  

Happy Photo Editing to all!

**These pictures are my own, the Cups in the Photos are "One of a Kind" handpainted and fired by my uncle!

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

Great Suggestions for Mother's Day in Long Term Care

Mom's love to be pampered at least one day a year and we call that day Mother's Day!  But if your mom is in long term care and has restrictions because of age and infirmity, you need to get creative!   Creativity needs to be tempered with Wisdom and Insights.   Not everyone ages the same way and things in their lives are subject to change.  If you are not sure, ask the floor nurse or the PSW (Personal Support Worker) if your ideas are in line with her care. 

gifts for mom

The first and most important gift you can give is some of your time.  A visit doesn't have to last long, but it has to happen.  If it can't be on Mother's Day, them find a day soon after or even before and spend some time with her!

Bring pictures of family and friends and have a great chat about these people and how they are doing.  What is happening in their families and any other interesting events.  If they have dementia it might just bring back some nice memories for them. You may even find yourself having a good laugh at something that happened in the past!

Here is a small list of things that everyone can use and it would make Mom's day just a little more special.

  • Scented Body Wash while many places like to be scent free, these are so subtle that they won't be offensive to other residents.
  • New Slippers, even if Mom is in a wheelchair she might like a new pair of slippers that would give her some choice in what's on her feet!
  • A Blanket Hoodie, When Mom is wheelchair bound, sometimes a chill is in the air, then this lovely Blanket Hoodie will keep her feeling warm and toasty!
  • Paper Pop Up Cards, mom probably got flowers in her earlier years, but now that might be too much trouble for her or the staff, so problem fixed with these lovely Pop Up Cards!  No water required!
  • Digital Calendar Alarm Clock, even when mom doesn't know where she is, she will know what day it is and what time it is too!  These make great gifts for those with memory loss.
  • Blanket Throw for Bed, I love sending my mother greetings so she knows I'm thinking about her and this Blanket Throw fits that bill perfectly!
  • Window Suncatcher, most Long Term Care homes make sure that every room has a view, a lovely suncatcher in the window would be a lovely reminder of you!
  • Solar Garden Cat Figurine, not just for the garden, but also for the window sill.  I know my mom still misses her cat, but this would be a nice reminder and it doesn't need to be fed either!
  • Decorative Angel, something to remind her of you.  Available in many different colors you can match the decor in her room or choose her favorite color.
  • Ceramic Jewelry Dish, this one can be used for anything (I don't recommend jewelry for Nursing Homes, (too difficult to keep track of that stuff).  But put some chocolates in there for mom to share with the PSW's or the nurse/doctor on the floor!

This is just a small list of the things that could make Mother's Day in the Nursing home just a little bit brighter and I'm sure any one of them will bring a smile to a face that you love.  Making memories is an ongoing task for all of us and this is one you won't forget either.

Oh, just a reminder for you, Mother's Day is on May 12 this year!

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Early Spring Seeds to Plant NOW! A Garden Review

 At this time of year every gardener I know has itchy palms and fingers that are just craving some dirt!  Yes, you heard me right,  DIRT!

It doesn't matter where you garden, whether above the ground or right into the ground, there are things that need to be done and then the fun can begin.

I'm going to take you to my balcony garden, because that is where I have been doing all of my "dirty" work!  I have containers and planters that I use for my flower beds and vegetable beds too.

What's great about this time of year is that you can start those flowers and vegetables that really prefer the cooler days.  And if you don't think there are quite a few of them, you would be wrong.

So let's start by taking a look at what loves to be planted outdoors NOW!


  1. Sweet Peas are my #1 cool weather seeds to sow!
  2. Marigolds (for protection from some bugs)
  3. Nasturiums (they can be eaten you know)
  4. Sunflowers (not for balconies)
  5. Pansy
  6. Rudbeckia or Black Eyed Susan
  7. Snapdragons

  1. Broccoli
  2. Cabbage
  3. Peas
  4. Cauliflower
  5. Beets
  6. Brussel Sprouts
  7. Carrots
This is just a little sample of what can be sown right into the planters right now!  If you are lucky enough to have garden space in the great outdoors, the list is even bigger and right now is the perfect time to start those seeds in the ground.  Check out West Coast Seeds for their great selections.

My balcony is not too big and yet it is also not too small, so I manage to plant quite a few on my favorites.  I don't plant more than two or three of any variety of vegetables, but the flowers I can go crazy if I choose to.

On the balcony the most important part of getting your garden going is probable going to be the watering!  Spring can sometimes be very wet or very dry.  The best way to check that is to push a finger into the soil and see how far down it can go before it feels wet.  Too much water and the seeds will drown and too little water will have them sprouting and then dying off.  So a good balance needs to be maintained.  

Keep your containers happy and the seeds will sprout and you will have a prolific garden all your own.  I love getting quality seeds from a reputable company.  I love West Coast Seeds because not only are they quick, reliable and cost effective, but they also have lots of videos and blog posts for any problems you might have.  There is always something to learn!

So if you have been holding back, it's time to let go and get those hands and fingers back into the Dirt!  Come and join me for some fun in the garden where ever that may be for you!

West Coast Seeds

Just for your information this is a Canadian Company and most of it's Non-GMO products are available for shipping to the US.  There are some exceptions and West Coast takes this into account when you order.

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

The Lake of Lost Girls ~ A Book Review

 The Lake of Lost Girls is a novel that will have you sitting on the edge of your seat right up until the very end.  

Stella and Rachel are two podcasters who follow up on cold cases involving murder!

book cover
Their followers are also tracking the evidence and speculations run rampant about the "Whodunit?"


Lindsey has been living in the shadow of what ever happened to her sister so many years ago.  All of a sudden out of the blue, the lake, the police and the crime scene tape is being played out yet again.

Body parts have been found by some young boys fishing in Doll's Eye Lake!  Could it be they are the remains of  Jessica (Jessie)?  Will her disappearance finally be solved?  Can Lindsey finally get out from under the cloud of grief and loss?

This story will have you turning pages and not wanting to put this book down for anything including coffee!

Jessica is a college student who comes home for a visit and her little sister is the last person to see her.  It took ten seconds for her to disappear and never be seen again!  How can anyone live with that kind of torment?  Lindsey was only 6 years old when her sister disappeared.  Twenty four years later body parts are coming to the surface.

Now back in the 1990's more than one college girl went missing, so could this be one of those girls or could it really be Jessie?  

Back in the day when these girls first were listed as missing, the police did not have enough evidence to charge anyone with a crime.  They also didn't have any bodies!  No evidence and only a lot of hearsay about some of the professors  and young men on campus!  

What was going on here?  

Well let me tell you, I had to read the book from start to finish in less than four days!  My husband was busy cooking, because I was busy reading!  He's great though and didn't mind.  He's also a great cook, but I digress!

What I'm trying to tell you is that this book, The Lake of Lost Girls, should be on your MUST READ LIST!

It is available for pre-purchase as it is only coming out on November 5th,  of this year.

If you have family or friends that love true crime novels, this one is for you!

I am a member of NetGalley ( and this book was made available to me for my honest review.  The Lake of Lost Girls,  does not leave you disappointed as you will engage with the disturbing and quick downfall of a responsible girl who does not cope well with college life .  The aftermath of her disappearance leaves her younger sister with emotional scars too.  All of this is very understandable and I think in a way relatable.

Bring in a few "shady" characters and you start to see how lost a young person can become when their lives change so quickly.  No one gets out of this mystery without being touched by it in some way!  

~ Mark your calendar for this release date!  November 5, 2024!~

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

What Happens When Life Isn't a Bowl of Cherries? From the Heart Review

Life with all of its wonders, hopes, dreams and desires is a wonderful thing.  But sometimes, life isn't that bowl of cherries that everyone would have you believe.

What do you do when that time in your life happens?  I promise it will happen to all of us at one time or another.  Are you prepared for those days when you just feel like you are at the end of your rope and the knot you tied in it is unravelling faster than you can hang on?


For years, women especially, have known that there are times when you have to sit back, count to 10 or 1,000, and just do nothing!  It's like taking a little time to push the reset button or restart button on your computer.

You can let everything go and concentrate on nothing else but the numbers.  

Self care is the "big  phrase" these days!  While I'm not an expert in any such field, I do know that many of us need to recognize that Self Care is important, especially during stressful and anxiety filled days.

There are literally millions of ways to take back a little time for some much needed SELF-CARE!

Review This Reviews. com is a great place to start!  

You will find hundreds of book reviews on all kinds of topics.  Pick one and just sit for an hour and read!  It could be a novel, a autobiography of someone you admire, a book of riddles or a book of cartoons, like my favorite Calvin and Hobbs!

Another great way to reset is to watch a movie and again Review This Reviews has a whole lot of very worthwhile movies to watch and you can find a list right here.  Movie Reviews let you know right away whether it is a subject you would enjoy and you won't spend a lot of time flipping through all the channels.

Maybe just maybe you'd like to learn something about what others do when life is overwhelming for them.  I suggest taking a look at From The Heart.

Baking or cooking can sometimes be the way out of a dark little spot in life and we have you covered there too.  Sam Monaco, Sylvestermouse Cynthia, Wednesday Elf and a host of others share some of their most asked for favorites.  Why not whip up some goodness to help you feel better?

Self-Care is not just one way to help you through the trying times in life, because everyone is different and self-care is just that, it is something that resonates with you personally.

I know that I'm going to check out some of those recipes and make myself something delicious and magical that I can share.

Then I'm going to sit back and read another chapter in one of my favorite books!  Who knows, by this evening I just might curl up with a good movie and let life just happen.

Life right now is not the bowl of cherries that I love, but I know that tomorrow or the next day my bowl will be full again.  With Faith in Tomorrow, I will make it through this too!

at the lake

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Wednesday, March 6, 2024

No Bed Sores or Discomfort for Us! ~ A Product Review

Caring for the Elderly brings you to all kinds of new ideas to make life comfortable and cozy, especially when most of the time is spent in bed!

If you have been following my blog posts you know all about how we (my other half and I ) are caring for my mother!  She is in her mid-90's and not in the best of health.  After a fall and a hospital stay, she is pretty much bed-ridden at this point in her life.

elder care

That is  not particularly  great for anyone but when you are elderly, it can be even more problematic.  Bed sores from constant pressure on certain body parts are a reality that must be dealt with.  

A while ago Margaret Schindel did a whole series on her new bed and the amazing mattress, you can read some of her review here..  She highly recommends it and what stuck with me was the memory foam layer in the mattress construction. 

We have a hospital bed for our Omi (that's her nickname), that helps us to position her so that she can watch TV, read, or just relax.  It also helps us to take care of her other needs as it raises and lowers so that our backs aren't quite so stressed.  But while those are great features, the mattress left a lot to be desired.

Within a month she was feeling pain in certain areas of her back, so we knew we had to do something to mitigate that pain.  Enter the Memory Foam Mattress Topper!

We decided to go with a 3 inch Gel Memory Foam Topper with a removeable cover.  With elderly people you have to be able to wash the cover often, but we also have mattress protectors for double insurance against leaks and other problems.

We love that this Mattress Topper is affordable and has some really great features as well.  It is made of high density foam that gives great back and general body support while still being breathable. 

Having the body supported fully lets the spine relax in a neutral position and the muscles also relax.  Sleep is enhanced and there is no morning soreness.

The Bamboo Fiber Cover is skin friendly and breathable.  It has adjustable elastic straps and an anti-slip surface so that once placed on the mattress, it will not move easily.

We like that it comes with a 10 year warranty.  The only downside was that when we first got it, we needed to let the topper air out!  It did have that new foam smell to it, but with it being placed out on the balcony for a day, that completely disappeared and we have not smelled it since.

All in all, this topper has been a life saver and Omi is no longer complaining about  soreness anywhere.  So we know that it is doing what it's supposed to do.

In our later years, we all want to be as comfortable as possible and this is a great, affordable and easy fix.  Bed Sores are not something that anyone would want to have and if they are left untreated, they can become infected.  So let's stop them from happening!  We have enough problems without adding ones that don't have to be there.

I hope this helps anyone else in our position, or anyone who has difficulty sleeping.  Try a Memory Foam Topper for your bed and see what kind of a difference it can make for you!


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Caring For Elders Requires Attention and Willingness ~ A Product Review

Life brings us all opportunities to learn something new everyday!  I'm learning about caring for a Senior that I happen to love dearly, but, is having difficulty with day to day activities.

Caring for Elders requires that you be willing to do things that you thought were impossible and yet you know you have to do those things anyways.  There is a willingness to go beyond what we thought we would be doing and learning to do those things that might be distasteful and generally keep us moving away from the responsibility.  

elderly care

But there are things that make all the distasteful things a little easier to complete and one of these are pre-moistened and good sized  Adult Wipes.  We happen to have found the one we like called Inspire Premium Washcloths!

Back in late January, my elderly mother had taken ill.  She was in hospital for almost a whole month recuperating from pneumonia and the flu.  These illnesses can be quite debilitating for the elderly.  While in hospital, the signs of early dementia, turned into true brain fog, with doctors hoping that once she was home, that fog would clear up.

Such has not been the case.  She is now bed-ridden and the leg muscles so weak that she can no longer hold herself up.  So, we are learning to cope with our new reality.

Incontinence has become the major "problem".  While we have all had our share of diapering babies, we never think of the possibility that we will be diapering our parents.  With a little humour we can get through this stage of our lives.  

What's that old joke about diapers and the elderly?  Why don't they call diapers for adults Huggies and Pampers?  Because it Depends on who is in the will!  Just kidding of course.

Caring for adult skin in the nether regions is important especially when they are elderly, bed-ridden and have other health complications.  Bed sores are nothing to be scoffed at and can become infected causing even more problems.

With caring for the skin in those intimate areas, dependable quality wipes are a must.  Tiny wipes used for babies just don't quite cut it when it comes to adults.  You need something that will hold up and yet be soft, strong, gentle and do the job!  

We found that the Inspire brand Wet Wipes for Adults, was just what we needed.  They are large enough (8 inches x 12 inches).  they are moist without dripping all over the place. Latex and alcohol free,  they are Ph balanced and have Aloe Vera and Vitamin E for skin health included in each sheet.  The only down side is that they are NOT Flushable!  But when you are dealing with disposable diapers, that is not a game changer at all, they just go into the garbage with the diapers.  Quick and easy, clean and neat all in one package.

premium wipes washcloths


For anyone who has a need for a quick, easy and strong washcloth, these disposable ones are the greatest.  I love that they are not overly scented, yet they have a nice soft feel to them and one or two do the work and hold up through whatever mess you are facing.  These can be used to clean a face, hands or a many different places that you will find them useful. 

I'm signing off for now, but I'm sure I'll have more to share with caring for the Elderly in another Product Review right here on

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

There's a New Game That Has People Talking! ~ A Product Review

fun new game
Have you heard of the new Game in Town?  TALKING POINT, It has everyone talking and actually interacting with each other!  

With all of the "Tech" toys that people have these days, it seems that we are talking to each other less and less.  If you don't TEXT someone, they are likely to ignore you completely because they are hard wired to the cell devices or their Tablets.

What ever happened to actually talking?

Well there is a new game in town to help you rekindle that ability to look at each other and find out what you are actually thinking, It's called TALKING POINT!  

My other half actually picked up a set of these cards in the hopes that it would foster some conversations with my mother.  She tends to be very quiet and lost in her own world, so he thought it would be a great way to get her to open up a little and see what is happening in her gray matter!

Now in our case, it hasn't worked the way it was intended to, but it sure has us (the other half and I) talking a lot more. Each card (and there are about 200 in each set) has a question on it and everyone gets a chance to answer.

Not everyone will agree with everyone else's responses, but it will definitely get you talking!

The first question I picked was: What household chores do like to do and which do you try and avoid? Now that really made me stop and think, because being the mom (now retired from that position), you always have chores to do and delegating some to the offspring is generally a great idea. Wouldn't it be so much easier if you knew ahead of time that your daughter doesn't mind doing the laundry, but hates hanging up the shirts?

The other question that I love in this family set of Talking Point cards is: How did your parents meet and fall in love?

I wonder how many children actually know those stories and how it might make them smile to know those little tidbits of family history.

Family time would be a great time to make some pizza, grab some drinks and sit down together and ask some of these questions.

Can you just imagine the looks on the kids faces and maybe even the parents'. I'm sure the discussions around the table would be interesting and maybe even open an eye or two.

How about a question for the kids, Like: Are friends more important than family? You might just be surprised by some of the answers.

All I know is that in this day and age when people are busy looking down at their phones, something has to happen to engage our families with each other. Camping nights and cottage visits would be a great time to take along a small box of conversation starters that will have everyone laughing and enjoying each other without any right or wrong answers.

Just answers that might shed some light on other parts of their lives, or be a way to open a door to more pressing concerns or just great conversation with those we love.  

These cards get a big High Five from me and seeing how many have been sold already, I'm guessing that they are a hit with a lot of people from all over the world.

This is a great way to enjoy FAMILY DAY in February!  And you have lots of time still to get a set!

I hope that it will help you to get to know each other better and have a little (or a lot) of fun along the way!

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Fantastic Kitchen Necessities You'll Wonder How You Did Without

A Product Review

This past year has been a struggle for our family and what was "normal" and "easy" is NOT so anymore.  Since bringing my mother to live with us, our lives have been turned upside down.  That includes doing all the things we took for granted.  I'm complaining, but not really complaining.  We are blessed that we can do what we are doing even though it causes some disruption to our routines or changes them altogether.

The point I'm trying to make is that we started to do things that don't take us out of our home as much. Mom needs constant supervision, so someone has to be with her.   Preparing for Christmas this year meant not going out so much.  We ended up  doing things in our home so that we worked together and got to include her as well.  She was more than a taste tester.  .

Baking was one of those things that we decided to do more of. .  We always baked, but this year saw us baking much more and sharing that baking with friends and family.

When you are gifting tins of cookies, you want to make them as presentable and pretty as possible. We are not professional bakers, but still like to make our gifts beautiful and a feast for the eyes.  Uneven and lopsided cookies just don't look or present themselves as nicely.  When your cookies are all the same thickness and baked just right, they make the gift that much nicer to present to your friends.

One tool that we found that has helped us immensely is this Adjustable Rolling Pin. 


adjustable rolling pin

All our cookies this year came out the same thickness thanks to this roller.  And the added silicone mat was helpful as well. 

It is filled with all kinds of information and size guides to make those pies just the right size.  A regular rolling pin just doesn't do that.  The baking mat has sizes in Imperial and Metric measurements too.  So that's a bonus for sure.

Made of stainless steel you can also chill it when working with pie crusts so that your crusts will be tender without being overworked.

I have been cooking for years and did not know that something this simple existed.  Well, let me tell you that baking will be something that we will do far more often now that we are truly kitchen tooled for the occasion.

The other must have that we love and can't do without is Parchment Baking Paper.  This was a game changer in our home.  I don't remember being able to get this wonderful paper years ago, but now it is available everywhere and I am thankful for that.  

Reynolds Parchment Paper

Clean up has never been so easy!  Lining baking sheets with this parchment makes your cookies slide off of the baking pan without having to grease and flour the pans ahead of time.  Step savers are always welcome in this kitchen.  We use it constantly now, not only for baking cookies but for anything that we bake in the oven.  Scrubbing baking sheets is a thing of the past.  

When you have the right tools everything is much easier and less complicated.  For us, these are two of our most favorite new gadgets.  They are in use weekly for sure and not relegated to some corner of the kitchen where they will never be used again.  I guarantee that once you have these you will wonder how you did without them.

Are you looking for a great cookie recipe?  Well let me tell you that the Linzer Cookies we made are so tasty and look so elegant that you will want to try them for sure.  With Valentines Day coming up, just imagine Linzer cookies in a heart shape for all the ones you love.  

You can do it and this is the recipe that I liked the best! 

linzer cookies
From Ali on Gimme Some Oven
See Her Recipe to Make These Cookies by Clicking the Link on the Picture

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

The Taverner's Son by Leslie Park Lynn ~ A Book Review

 The Taverner's Son is a well written deeply moving novel that has a beautiful story line that everyone can really sink their teeth into.  Family secrets, tragedy and a small village help to make this book a real page turner.  I love the characters and each one of their with own "quirks".  

The Taverners Son

What family doesn't have some sadness and misunderstandings that get in the way of family connections?  I don't think there is one family out there who can't relate in some way.

So it is with Will Kendrick.  He has lived most of his adult life away from the small town that was his home.  Misunderstandings and pride make it difficult to get through to the part where we still love each other.  And sometimes it's too late to do anything about it!  

Will gets a phone call letting him know that his father has passed away.   Living on the west coast for many years,  Will had not given his father too much thought.  Now he is in shock and trying desperately to make sense of it all, realizing that there is no more time left.

Will makes the plans to return to the little fishing village of Apalachicola.  First he had to make his way from California to Tallahassee and then drive from there to what had been his home.  As he drives the roads back to his "home" memories come flooding back to him. 

Of course there are the people of the town whom he had known growing up and many that had left the small town for bigger and better opportunities.  But there was also one of his oldest and dearest friends from his childhood who remained.  Jess, his long time friend from grade school, who had always been there during his childhood, made her life in the small town of Apalachicola.

Will is making his way around town and sees the tavern where he spent many days helping his father.  Homework was done on one of the small tables in the back.  Penny, the cook and keeper of the kitchen took Will under her wings when Will's mother had died.  Will was only 3 years old when his mother died.   Penny and her husband were the imaginary parents that Will wanted.  His father had become distant and depressed, withdrawn from his son and anything that reminded him of his beloved wife.  Will was the spitting image of his mother.  So that made things even harder for Will's father.  And now Will is standing in the Tavern that now belongs to him.  

Will has a lot to learn about the father he didn't know so well and more about his mother too. When you lose your mom at 3 years of age, you really don't know too much about her.    As you get into the book, the story takes on a life of it's own and you will be hard pressed to put the book down.  So many questions that Will has and so few answers, yet, there is something going on that doesn't make sense.

I don't want to give too much of the story away, but, I would encourage you to pick this book up.  It really is a riveting story of family, family secrets and how they impact the people who are being "saved from the truth".  This book is masterfully written, a love story with twists and turns that you will not see coming.  It is a page turner that you won't want to put down.

I received this book from VoraciousReadersOnly with the promise of sharing a review.  It was my pleasure to read this book and review it for you here.

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Sci-Fi Lovers, Project Hail Mary is For You! A Book Review

Anyone who has been reading my reviews knows that I am a typical Historical/Suspense novel lover.  Once in a while I get out of my comfort zone and delve into something completely different.  Project Hail Mary was one of those leaps into a genre that I normally don't gravitate towards!

I can imagine that anyone who loves Science Fiction and Mystery stories would absolutely love this book.  So if there is a Sci-Fi Lover on your Christmas List this book is one for them.

Project Hail Mary

 This book is a #1 Best Seller on Amazon and has won much acclaim!


Ryland Grace is the lone survivor on a mission that has been set into motion at some point in the past.  He's not sure exactly when or where and what the mission is all about.  He's been in a prescheduled coma for a while and his mind is kind of fuzzy.

Looking around he finds himself millions of miles away from earth with only his two deceased comrades for company.

What has happened and what is happening?  His memories are slowly coming back and he realizes that he has an almost impossible task ahead.  One that will be either the salvation of mankind or it's complete demise.

The sun is losing it's strength and the earth is cooling.  There is another ICE AGE on the horizon unless he can find a way to capture and/or disarm the alien entity that is causing this loss of heat energy.  

What else can possibly happen while Ryland is on this quest?  

I found this book to be a total all encompassing read.  While there were many parts that I could not wrap my head around, I think the author did an amazing job of making all of this believable, even though I don't necessarily understand all the science around it.  I let my imagination run with the possibilities!  

Is Earth the only planet that will suffer if the solution to the problem isn't found?  Are there other possible populations in outer space that will also suffer this fate?  It's time to pick up this book and find out.  I can almost guarantee that once you start, you won't want to put this book down again.  

I did have to re-read a few chapters in order to get a clearer picture in my mind's eye, but that was not a deterrent or a difficulty because I really wanted to understand the situation better.  

Would I recommend this book?  You better believe I will.  As I said earlier it's not my favorite genre of book, but I think I will need to make an exception in this case.  I might even have to get his other book, The Martian and read it too.  Broadening my horizons is part of why I love reading. 

I'm sure that a Sci-Fi lover would find this book totally engrossing and even the ending has a poignant cast to it.

I think my next read by Andy Weir will be The Martian, that's how much I enjoyed Project Hail Mary!

If you sign up for an Audible Trial you can enjoy both of these books free of charge.

Project Hail Mary

I'm sure that these books will become a favorite for any Science Fiction Lover!  Enjoy it, I sure did.


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Panda Girl ~ A Historical Novel by Lawrence V. Drake ~ A Book Review

 So I'm going to tell you a secret!  Historical Novels are one of my favorite genre of books. It doesn't really matter what the time period is, I just happen to be very adept at getting my mind into whatever period I am reading about!

Panda Girl by Lawrence Drake is one of these books.  Set in the period of the Second World War, just after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, this novel had me right from the opening few sentences of the Prologue.

Based on true life experiences, Panda Girl captivates and sheds some light on a part of WWII that many people don't know anything about.  It certainly was the case for me.  We think of the war as taking part mostly in Europe, but there was a whole contingent of the War that was taking place in  China, Burma, and India. 

Known collectively as the CBI Theater of WWII,  the Americans, while fighting Germany and the Japanese in the Pacific, also vowed that Japan would not overrun China.

Victor Dance (the main character) knows little about the world beyond his family's dairy farm in Montana.  He is reserved, shy, a hard worker and well liked.  He's also a talented artist in his own right.

When Pearl Harbor was bombed and the scope of destruction was realized, Victor and many of his friends enlisted in the Army to do their part for America and world peace.  Victor knew he wanted to fly!  It was a dream of his since he once witnessed Lindbergh flying over the family farm.  

When Victor and his friends had enlisted, their minds were full of thoughts of flying to France or England, they had never in their wildest dreams thought they would end up in India and  thought much less of the terrain they would be flying in.

Lawrence Drake does a wonderful job of bringing the realities of some of these missions to the pages of this book.  At times I felt that I was drowning in the heat that many of these pilots had to endure and just as I was getting comfortable in the heat,  I'd find myself freezing right along with them when they were flying at 20,000 ft.  I can't imagine the shock to the body when those kinds of extremes are happening within a short span of time. 

Missions over the Himalayas  were treacherous as winds, clouds and some of the highest mountains in the world stood between the pilots and their missions to take out Japanese tankers, railroads, bridges and transfer stations.  

Sometimes the only thing that kept these guys in the air and focused on their missions were the thoughts of those people back home who were counting on their success in this War. Letters from home were the only way many of these men kept going.  Hobbies helped too, as Victor in his "off time" was often drawing.  His talents as a pilot and an artist were in high demand, but you will have to read the book to see why.

War is never an easy thing and writing about it in a way that makes you fully understand the sacrifices is a real gift for us who have never had those experiences.  Truly it makes you even more thankful that we have not had to take part in this kind of "action".

If there is someone on your list of friends that enjoys Historical Novels, then this book gets a big Green Light from me.  I really enjoyed the story and came away with a much better understanding and thankfulness for all the sacrifices these men and women made for us.

You can get your own copy right here and I do hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Happy Reading, until the next Review!

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Outdoor in the Winter Can Be a Challenge! ~ A Product Review

Winter and the outdoors are not necessarily a good combination for many people.  Can I jump in here and say that it's a much better combination if you have some tools at hand to make it more comfortable.

For years we spent the better part of a Sunday afternoon freezing outdoors while watching our local Santa Claus parade.  Our children loved going and knew that mom and dad would do their very best to keep them warm while they were sitting on the street curbs waiting with great anticipation.  

Back in those days we did not have the technically advanced materials that are all the rage today.  We had to make due with the woolen mitts, hats, scarves and blankets to keep the chill from ruining our day.

Fast Forward to today and there are so many materials that have been developed to combat the cold and wet weather that typically happens in my part of the world.  

Try as much as we like, in winter when the temperatures hover at freezing mark or below, you need some special items to keep you comfortable and dry! Snow storms, shovelling the walkways and drives takes time whether you do it with a shovel or a snowblower.  So it's best to be prepared.


It doesn't matter how long you are out there, you'll know it's not summer and the cold just might have you thinking twice about going out there.  But it doesn't have to be like that.

Preparation is key to being outdoors in the inclement weather!  It's amazing how much you can actually do when the need arises if you have a great pair of gloves in your winter arsenal.  You might even find that you enjoy the cold weather because you are prepared and the cold just doesn't seem to bother you so much.

snow ski

Kids just never seem to get enough of the snow when it's flying and coming down.  They will grab whatever is handy and go out to play for hours.  Mom and Dad need a little more coaxing to want to join in.  That's another place where being ready for the worst can make the time out there much more enjoyable for all.  Memories are made when the whole family goes out to build that snow fort or have that one great snowball fight.

Back to being prepared.  A good pair of winter gloves are a must have.  My son, who happens to love being outdoors at all times, has requested a special pair of gloves this year.  Not only are they great for keeping your fingers warm and cozy, but they also let you get some serious work done too.  And if you are one to be teathered to your phone, these gloves even allow you to use your touchscreens without having to remove the glove from your hand.  In these times this seems to be a must for many people.

If you are an outdoors person I know that you will enjoy having your hands warm and dry while your dexterity is still intact.  These IRONCLAD RANCHWORX  gloves are an Amazon Choice with over 2,000 reviews.  In the past month over 400 pairs have been purchased.  That says a lot!  

When crazy winter weather arrives and you find yourself being in the middle of it all, wouldn't it be nice to have a great pair of gloves to keep your fingers nimble and flexible enough to do just about anything?  Snow storms can be notorious for knocking tree limbs down.  Someone has to go out and take care of those things.  If it's you, then you are prepared with your Ironclad Ranchworx gloves!

Happy Wintering to Everyone and if you need a little extra help to keep you nice and toasty in the Winter months, check out these added little wonders that make life in the North so much easier to enjoy

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

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