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Showing posts sorted by date for query Baseball. Sort by relevance Show all posts

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Ken Burns Country Music Film Reviewed

A Ken Burns Film You Shouldn't Miss

Country Music the Ken Burns documentary film now being aired on your local PBS station is one, in my humble opinion, that you shouldn't miss. My husband and I have sat spellbound as each two hour segment has been presented.

ken burns country music
Some of the legends in this Country Music Mural are featured in Ken Burns film
image courtesy of pixabay.com
Mr. Burns has a way of telling us about pieces of our history and our diverse cultures that not only inform us but entertain us as well. His latest creation about Country Music doesn't fall short on those notes, in fact I think it might be the best one he has done to date. That is saying a lot when you consider his work on the Civil War, Baseball, Jazz, Prohibition, WWII and the Viet Nam War.

It is more than just the music


One of the quotes that is repeated often is from Harlan Howard. He once said, "Country Music is three cords and the truth." I think that is probably why I have always loved Country Music; so many of the lyrics in the songs are about my truth, your truth or our truths. Some songs make us want to move our feet, others remind us of the happiness of loving someone while others break our hearts. There is literally something to listen to no matter what your mood might be. 

The segments that will total 16 hours by the time all are shown cover the history of the music that is uniquely American. We hear portions of songs but it is the backstories that I find the most fascinating. Ken Burns and his incredible crew of people tell us about the artists who made the songs popular and the people who wrote the songs. We find out about how they grew up (some of 'em will just break your heart!); how they got started and portions of their careers that might surprise us. 

I have always been a "words" kind of gal. Yes, I love to dance but it has always been more about what the story in the song says to me. I think that is why I am drawn to the people who write the songs. Those poets who don't always get a lot of recognition but can sit down and put words together that touch us in some way. In the documentary we find out quite a bit about those songwriters. Some performed their own music while others wrote for others. It has been fascinating!

Honestly, even if Country isn't the genre of music that you prefer to listen to; this Ken Burns film is one that I think you will enjoy. After hearing the history of the it; you might even be converted to a fan. There are segments that will make you smile, move your feet and touch your soul. I don't know if they will repeat this series soon or not. Don't despair if you have missed the first episodes. It is available in DVD and Blu-ray.





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Saturday, September 14, 2019

Rainbrella Golf Umbrella and Grabber Hand Warmers Review

Source: Pixabay

It was a quite chilly and very rainy Saturday with the youth baseball tournament games in full swing. With no time for make-up games, the games had to be played. This resulted in wet & chilly ball players and even wetter parents in the stands and on the sidelines.

I was working at Ace Hardware in our small Iowa community that day. As the wet morning wore on, we were inundated with parents coming in to purchase umbrellas and hand warmers.  Before noon, we had completely sold out of the Rainbrella Golf umbrellas and the Grabber Hand Warmers. 


Rainbrella Golf Umbrella


Rainbrella Golf Umbrella

These large umbrellas by Rainbrella (available in 42 inch and 60 inch diameter) are perfect for golf outings and any other sporting event (such as our local youth baseball tournament). The umbrellas are multi-colored and collapsible. 

Large umbrellas can definitely save the day and these Rainbrella umbrellas were much appreciated by the kids and parents alike at the ball park on this particular day. 


Grabber Hand Warmers



Grabber Hand Warmers

An assistant coach to one baseball team came in to Ace and bought dozens of 2-pair packages of the Grabber Hand Warmers for the kids sitting in the dugouts waiting for their turn at bat and on the field.  He told me the boys' hands were freezing and he needed to keep them warm so they could play.

These portable heat in the palm of your hand Air-activated Grabber Hand Warmers keep hands and fingers toasty for over 7 hours. No shaking or kneading required; just open the package and put the Warmers in your glove or pocket for a few minutes to start the process. All Grabber Warmers are designed for one-time, disposable use. 


Summary


While the umbrellas and hand warmers worked out well for our youth baseball games, they are also very handy for other outdoor sporting events such as football games. Plus, they are perfect for hunters and fishermen on similar cold and wet days. So best to stock up ahead of time and not wait until bad weather forces a run on them.  Since we were the only store in our small town carrying these umbrellas and hand warmers, we sold out quickly. 

These products are available in a number of places, such as Ace Hardware, Walmart and online at Amazon.






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(c) Wednesday Elf Review 9/14/2019





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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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Saturday, August 31, 2019

Field of Dreams Travel Review

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Thirty years ago, the Universal Studios movie Field of Dreams was released. It was a film about baseball, but, more than that, it was a magical fairy tale for anyone who has a dream they wish would come true. 


The movie makers used the century-old Lansing Family Farm location in Dyersville, Iowa, located 30 minutes west of Dubuque and two and a half hours from Des Moines. 

After the movie was done, the baseball field the main character (Kevin Costner) creates in his corn field (because of a message he receives “If you build it, he will come”) was kept by the property owners and turned into a tourist attraction. 

To this day, you can visit the Field of Dreams for free, bring your ball, bat & glove and play baseball on the field or watch a pick-up game from the stands. 

August is the best time to visit because the corn field behind the baseball diamond is at it's tallest and fullest prior to the Fall harvest. 


Our Visit to Field of Dreams


The year after the movie was released in 1989, we visited Dyersville, Iowa and saw the Field of Dreams. This past week we returned for another visit. It was just as enchanting as it was the first time. Especially for this baseball fan who loves the movie. 

A few changes have been made over the years. The original owners sold out to another owner who later sold the rights to the area to 'Go the Distance' Baseball, which has owned and preserved the site since December 2012.   A gift shop has been added (I bought a T-Shirt that says “Is this Heaven? No, it's Iowa” (another iconic line from the movie), which brings in operating revenue for maintaining the site. The original house, in which several scenes were filmed, is now available to rent for the night. Plus, Go the Distance has hosted several events, such as the “Ghost Players game”, and have more events planned. Under this new ownership, attendance has nearly doubled to over 100,000 visitors a year. 


Our Day at Field of Dreams in Photos




Field of Dreams Outfield


Visitors  playing pick-up baseball
on the Field of Dreams

Wednesday Elf on the Pitcher's Mound

Field of Dreams view from the Cornfield
The cornfield from where (just like in the  movie)
Shoeless Joe & the White Sox Players
enter the field.
Farm House at the Field of Dreams

MLB at Field of Dreams


Just recently it was announced that in August, 2020, MLB will play a major league game (the first ever held in Iowa) at a temporary field being built for the event. Since the movie is based on the book Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella about Shoeless Joe Jackson of the 1919 White Sox coming to play (as a ghost) at this Iowa baseball field with his teammates, this MLB game will be between the Chicago White Sox and the New York Yankees. 

A new stadium, with seating for 8,000 fans, began construction right after our visit and will be ready next August for what is being billed as “MLB at Field of Dreams”

Don Lansing, owner of the Lansing Farm, was recently interviewed by Phil Roberts for The North Scott Press in Eldridge, Iowa. Lansing was quoted as saying he thinks the MLB venture will be a huge success.

Like Terrence Mann (James Earl Jones) said in the movie to Iowa farmer Ray Kinsella:


"This field, this game, it's a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good and that could be again. Oh people will come, Ray, People will most definitely come."

Field of Dreams baseball field is here to stay! 





(c) Wednesday Elf  8/31/2019






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Sunday, May 26, 2019

Father's Day Gifts Reviewed on Review This

Treasures from the Archives of Review This!


 Father's Day Gifts Reviewed on Review This
Warm weather beckons us to enjoy our favorite outdoor activities which makes June the perfect month to celebrate Father's Day.  When I think of  baseball, camping, swimming, boating, fishing, hunting, four-wheelin, motorcycles, bicycles, or even washing cars, I think of my dad.  As a child and young adult, all of those summer activities included my father.  In fact, as an adult with adult children of my own, my dad is still a part of all of those family activities and more.

The Review This contributors recognize that not all fathers are the same or enjoy the same activities listed above.  Some dads prefer video games, radio controlled devices, woodworking, or other hobbies.  Many play golf like my father-in-law.  One thing every man I know enjoys, is eating!  Some may enjoy cooking as well, but they all love food.

Because we have over a dozen contributors on Review This, we have dozens of hobbies, entertainment, and activities that our own fathers, husbands, brothers or sons enjoy to use as a reference for reviews of excellent gifts for men. 

So many wonderful memories in our lives include our fathers.  Let's be sure to remember our dads on Father's Day with a phone call, visit, a card, perhaps dinner, and even a specially selected gift.  Either of those things would be considered a "gift" to your dad because it will be you taking time to express your appreciation and love.    




A Review This Pinterest Board - Father's Day Gifts Reviewed 

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Tuesday, March 19, 2019

The Widow Series Reviewed

Interesting Drama Series

jungle scene
The Widow searches in the Jungle
(image courtesy of pixabay.com)
My husband and I just finished watching The Widow, a drama series that we streamed from Amazon. I thought you might be interested in a review of the series.

We thought that this eight episode series was fascinating to watch. The episodes are each around 45 minutes so it didn't take too awfully long to watch. 

The story begins with Georgia Mason (played by Kate Beckinsale) suspecting that her husband Will might actually be alive after a plane crash three years before in the DRC (Democratic Republic of the Congo). The reports of the crash stated that there were no survivors of that crash and Georgia has spent three years in mourning her loss. A broadcast of a riot in the DRC shows a man that looks very much like her husband that begins her search to find him. She can't see the man's face but he is wearing an orange baseball cap just like the one her Will wore. 

As you can imagine, Georgia decides to go to the DRC hoping to find her husband. She had been there before just after the crash and had befriended a man who had lost his wife in the same crash. Georgia meets Emmanuel again on this second trip; asking for his help to find out if her husband somehow survived that crash. 

The series is filled with suspense and action as Georgia encounters people who knew Will. As viewers we see corrupt people taking advantage of the poverty stricken people of the region. We find out about smugglers and the recruitment of children for rebel militias. While watching each episode we are given a hint of what it might be like to live in the Congo as a person with some means and as a person who is barely surviving. 

My husband and I liked the several twists in the plot as the story unfolds. There were some flashbacks offered to explain some of what drove the different characters in their choices and those were interesting, also. Overall, each episode kept us interested and wanting to see more. We have found that we very much enjoy the original series that Amazon has produced.

If you like suspense and action that occurs in a place you might never be ever to see, I think you will enjoy this series, too.




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Saturday, March 16, 2019

Review of Spring Training in Baseball

Source: Pixabay
Spring Training is a period of training and exhibition play beginning in late February and lasting up to Opening Day of Major League Baseball.

For about four weeks, experienced players and rookies alike train and play at small parks in Arizona or Florida, getting ready for the beginning of the baseball season.  It is a unique baseball experience for fans, giving them up-close access to favorite players and a chance to see blossoming prospects who could go on to be the next big star. 

For me, the Baseball Contributor here on Review This and a huge baseball fan, Spring Training is a sign that the long, cold winter is nearing an end and warm weather and the joys of baseball season are about to begin.  I believe in the quote:




Spring Training



Spring Training is nearly as old as baseball itself, although it was not the big business it is today with designated parks just for Spring Training games and winter excursion packages to games in Arizona and Florida for snow-weary fans. 

In bygone days, training games were held locally to save money, training indoors in inclement weather. Later, teams began training in the south, but there were no organized training leagues until after 1910.  Today it is as much a marketable enterprise as the regular baseball season with two distinct leagues, one in Florida and one in Arizona.


Cactus League in Arizona


Source: Pixabay

The Cactus League holds spring training in the desert for teams from both leagues (American and National). These teams are generally located around Phoenix and include:


  • Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
  • Arizona Diamondbacks
  • Chicago Cubs 
  • Cincinnati Reds 
  • Cleveland Indians 
  • Colorado Rockies 
  • Chicago White Sox 
  • Kansas City Royals 



Grapefruit League in Florida


Source: Pixabay

The Grapefruit League holds spring training in various parts of Florida, both the Gulf coast and the Atlantic coast. This league includes the following teams: 


  • Atlanta Braves 
  • Baltimore Orioles
  • Boston Red Sox 
  • Houston Astros 
  • Miami Marlins 
  • Minnesota Twins 
  • New York Mets 
  • New York Yankees 
  • Philadelphia Phillies
  • Pittsburgh Pirates 
  • St. Louis Cardinals 
  • Tampa Bay Rays 
  • Toronto Blue Jays 
  • Washington Nationals 


Following is a famous quote by Roger Hornsby, the well-known second baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals (1915-1919), that definitely says how I feel when there is no baseball.




Summary


Will  you be attending any Spring Training games this year, or have you done so in the past? Leave me a comment telling me where you went and what team you got to see. 



Mary Beth Granger
*Blog Note:  Mary Beth Granger, our own MbgPhoto here on Review This, travels with her husband to Jupiter, Florida each February to attend their beloved St. Louis Cardinals Spring Training games.


For the rest of us, join me in welcoming the beginning of the Major League Baseball season and the fact that this represents an end to winter and the return of the 'Boys of Summer'. 




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Saturday, August 4, 2018

Baseball and the Star-Spangled Banner

Baseball Sports Decor Wall Hanging
Reviewing how the Star-Spangled Banner became associated with sports. 

September 14, 2014, marked the 200th anniversary of the “Star-Spangled Banner”.  

It originally was a poem called "Defence of Fort M'Henry" written by Francis Scott Key 0n 9-14-1814 after witnessing the bombardment of Fort McHenry during the War of 1812. Key was inspired by the American victory and by seeing the American flag flying over the fort.  The poem was later set to music and published under the name “The Star- Spangled Banner”.

The song gained popularity throughout the 1800s and was played by bands during public events.  On July 27, 1889, Secretary of the Navy Benjamin Tracy made it the official tune to be played at the raising of the flag. 

In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson ordered that "The Star-Spangled Banner" be played at military and other appropriate occasions. 

And on March 3,1931 President Herbert Hoover signed a law officially adopting “The Star-Spangled Banner” as America's National Anthem.


How Did Our National Anthem Become Associated with Sports?



The National Anthem
So, how did the song become associated with baseball?  It happened during the 1918 World Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Boston Red Sox.  A band had been hired by the Red Sox owner for each game in the World Series and, as a tribute to enlisted players and other soldiers in Europe during WWI, they played “The Star-Spangled Banner” during the seventh inning stretch.  The song was many years away from becoming our national anthem, but players still stood at attention and saluted the flag during the performance.  Servicemen in the crowd found themselves cheering and everyone burst into applause at the end of the song.  

Near the end of that World Series, the tune was played before the first pitch at Fenway Park and it was the beginning of a tradition that became a baseball game standard during World War II.  Eventually the playing of the American National Anthem became a custom adopted by other American sports and continues to this day.

This reminds me of that oldest of baseball jokes: "What are the last two words of the national anthem? Play ball!" 



Custom Baseball Flag Shirt on Etsy




(c) Wednesday Elf, the Review This! Baseball Contributor





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Saturday, March 31, 2018

Baseball Facts & Favorite Moments Review

Image Source: Pixabay
Hello once again from the Baseball Contributor here on Review This!  It's Springtime, which means the thoughts of baseball fans everywhere turn to the start of the new MLB season.

Anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE baseball. It consumes my time from Opening Day to the last moment of the final game of the World Series every year.  During the season, the first thing I do every morning is check the baseball listings on TV ~ then plan my day around the times the game(s) are broadcast. I am a died-in-the-wool FANatic, and proud of it. 

In the winter I 'pine' for baseball season and spend my free time reading baseball books and watching baseball movies

My very favorite quote is by Bill Veeck:

There are only two seasons – winter and BASEBALL

Therefore, as we enjoy Opening Day and all the baseball games this year, I'll share some baseball moments and a few baseball facts to get you in the mood for the Major League Baseball season and any Minor League games you might be fortunate enough to be able to attend.


Baseball Honors Number 42 on Jackie Robinson Day


Jackie Robinson (Wikimedia)
April 15th is known as 'Jackie Robinson Day' throughout baseball, celebrating the life of Jackie Robinson and the retiring of his number 42. April 15, 1947 was the date of his MLB debut for the Brooklyn Dodgers.

In 1997, the 50 year anniversary of Robinson's debut, his No. 42 was retired across all of Major League Baseball. Only one player at the time was wearing that number (Mariano Rivera) and he was 'grandfathered' in and was the only active player allowed to wear No. 42 until his retirement in 2015.  Since then, no other active player will ever again be assigned number 42.  Instead, on April 15 each year, all players and teams throughout baseball wear number 42 on their uniform honoring Jackie's major contribution to baseball, which was that of breaking the color barrier.  In addition to the honor, celebrations are planned at many stadiums.

Jackie's 'legacy' lives on through 'Jackie Robinson Day' each April 15. Number 42 was special. 


The Shift – in Baseball


Normal baseball positioning
I've been watching baseball games all my life, yet there are still terms I haven't heard and/or don't know what they mean.  Most baseball terms have been coined over the years by sports writers and announcers as they reported the action on the field or the results of the game.

Baseball has its own ever-changing language, so its not surprising that even long-term baseball fans still have to look things up in order to understand what the broadcaster said.

The term 'shift' has been part of baseball terminology for many years, yet I can't recall it being used as often as it has in most recent years of baseball.  “The Shift is on”, the sportscaster tells us.  All of a sudden it seemed to me as if it was happening in every game I watch.  Finally I got out my trusty Baseball Dictionary and looked it up!


The 'Shift' means “to change fielding position;' to move defensive players from their traditional positions in the field to defend against a particular batters' way of hitting, or to be in a better position for a double play.”

All individual players move left or right to step into the path of the ball for fielding, But the shift in most recent years seems to involve half the players on the field moving to another position all at the same time before the batter even hits. I've begun paying closer attention to this move now that I know what they are talking about. My baseball education continues..... 


Doubled Off First Base


I watch a lot of baseball, following the games and players and listening to the announcer's descriptions of the action on a regular basis.


Derek Jeter at Bat  (Wikimedia)
On a Saturday afternoon in August 2014 I was watching the Red Sox-Yankees game being played at Fenway Park. Derek Jeter was on first base and took off for 2nd base when Jacoby Ellbury hit the ball into the outfield.  Unfortunately, the ball was caught and Derek was too far off base to get back safely.

The announcer stated that Jeter had been 'Doubled-Off'.  I basically knew what it meant, but even though I've heard the term often, I never really thought about the definition.  Suddenly quite curious, I got out my Baseball Dictionary to look up the exact meaning.  


To be 'doubled-off' means 'caught off base and put out before tagging up after the batter has flied out, resulting in a Double Play!'   


This 'doubled-off' double play was a most unusual happening for Derek Jeter.  Not to worry, his two-run double in the third inning sparked a 4-run inning, and the New York Yankees won the game 6-4.


Minor League Memories


Rochester Redwings Frontier Statium (c) Personal Photo

My family are fans of the Rochester Redwings, the top Triple A minor league baseball team for the Minnesota Twins located in Rochester, NY, and we go to their games often.  A long ball was hit one night directly toward where my family was sitting.  Everyone is jumping up & down hollering "I've got it, I've got it", except my mother who remained sitting down.  Like a 'heat-seeking' missile, that ball headed straight for my mom and hit her right over the heart. She wasn't badly injured, but had a huge bruise for weeks.  My brother really wanted to have the baseball, but mom wouldn't give it to him, saying she had the badge of honor proving she'd caught it.



Source: Pixabay

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Thursday, January 25, 2018

Review of Facts and Photos of the Northern Cardinal

Male Northern Cardinal
The Northern Cardinal is one of my favorite birds.  They frequently visit my backyard feeders and birdbath and I never get tired of photographing them.  I find both the male and female to be very photogenic.

Fun Facts About the Northern Cardinal

  • State bird of 7 US states
    • Illinois
    • Indiana
    • Kentucky
    • North Carolina
    • Ohio
    • Virginia
    • West Virginia
  • Diet consists of seeds, insects and berries
  • Also known as redbird
  • Featured as the name of numerous athletic teams including my favorite St. Louis Cardinal baseball team.
  • Beautiful songbirds who sing year round.  Loud whistling song that has many variations including: cheer,cheer,cheer and purty,purty,purty.
  • Male sings to defend nesting territory.
  • Cardinals do not migrate and live their entire lives within a few miles.
  • Cardinal lifespan can be up to 15 years.
Thanks goes to my granddaughter Kate for sharing some of her Cardinal facts with me.

Differences between Male and Female Cardinals


The male Cardinal is perhaps the mostly widely recognized bird in the USA.  Male is completely red except for small black mask and a black chin.  These birds have heavy bills to deal with their diets.

Although the female is duller in color, I think they are equally beautiful.  They are a tawny brown with a small amount of red on the crest, wings and tail.  I love their bright orange/red beak.


Photos of Cardinals in my Backyard

This little guy is all puffed up against the cold winter winds.


I like the look on this Cardinals face.  He seems to be saying "it's my turn here now...stay away!"

Products with Northern Cardinals

Because they are such a colorful and popular birds you can find numerous products that feature cardinals.  A search on Amazon will show you toys, household decorating items and much more.  Here are a couple that caught my eye.

I love this colorful Cardinal trivet.  What a great way to bring this colorful bird into your home.


                                                           
If you are looking for some decorations with Cardinals for your deck or patio this beautiful wind chime is just for you.  I love the sound of chimes in the wind and I'm sure you will love this colorful decoration.
                                       

Cardinal Magnet from my friend Vicki's Zazzle store




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