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

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Reviewing Vegan Holiday Cookbooks

Jennifer Katzinger Vegan Holiday Cookbook
As a vegan cook, the holidays are especially tricky. Most holidays including Thanksgiving, usually center around a big meat dish. Here I'll give you my reviews of the vegan cookbooks I've used throughout the holidays.

Some are better than others, of course. Some give you menus to work from while others have given me ideas to get me started on my own menus for the various holidays. Whether you want to serve a full vegan holiday dinner, or just need some good ideas for vegan dishes for your guests, you can find the recipes and ideas you need in each of these vegan holiday cookbooks.

My Favorite Vegan Holiday Cookbook

Reviewing vegan holiday cookbooks
Gluten-Free and Vegan: Celebrating the Year

My favorite, the one that I turn to most often, vegan holiday cookbook is by Jennifer Katzinger titled, Gluten-Free and Vegan: Celebrating the Year with Simple, Satisfying Recipes and Menus. I've reviewed it more extensively in an article for Cooking for the Holidays site, so I'll just summarize here.

Author Katzinger is a long experience vegan chef, but she's a baker by love. Her desserts are amazing. She shares her vegan and gluten-free versions of traditional holiday desserts. It's her Thanksgiving menu, with all of the simple recipes that I turn to most often to celebrate this holiday. Appetizers, main courses, side dishes and desserts are all combine to make a great Thanksgiving dinner.

reviewing vegan holiday cookbooks
Happy Herbivore Holidays

The Happy Herbivore Vegan Holiday Cookbook


Lindsay Nixon has made a name for herself as the Happy Herbivore. She has many cookbooks on the market, but her Happy Herbivore Holidays and Gatherings: Easy Plant-based Recipes for Your Healthiest Celebrations and Special Occasions is one of her best in my vegan opinion.

I was delighted at how easy her recipes are. Since I'm basically a lazy cook, I needed simple, yet tasty recipes. She has a wealth of them. And she doesn't require exotic ingredients in her recipes. That sure helps if ethnic markets are not close by.

Fair warning here. If you are already a Happy Herbivore fan and have others of her cookbooks, you will discover that she recycled many of her other recipes. But, these are organized for those big holiday celebrations.

The good news is that all of my non-vegan friends and relations enjoyed my vegan menus. Even my son-in-law didn't feel the need to rush to McDonald's for a McRib sandwich or two! Now that is a true compliment to the Happy Herbivore.

Planning Your Own Vegan Holiday Menus

Reviewing Vegan Holiday Cookbooks
But I Could Never Go Vegan

If you want to plan your own menus for the holidays or just looking for interesting vegan recipes, I have a favorite cookbook for you. But I Could Never Go Vegan, by Kristy Turner, is it. Forget boring standard fare, Turner gives you an amazing collection of unique and interesting recipes.

Avocado and Kale Florentine is one of those unique and interesting recipes. I've included it many brunch menus. Talk about a hit! Author Turner has plenty of these hits. Her vegan Cheesy Veggie Stromboli is usually part of my vegan Thanksgiving dinner. Savory Corn Cheesecake makes a stunning presentation of your holiday table.

Whether you want a full menu to make a vegan holiday meal, or just looking for something special to add to your table, any of these cookbooks could be your answer. Each one holds a special place in my cookbook collection.

You can always find more cookbook reviews at Review This! Books.


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


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Friday, November 7, 2014

The Thanksgiving Turkey ~ Part I of Thanksgiving Recipes on Review This!

CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 ~ Photo by Julie on Flickr.com

I absolutely love Thanksgiving and all of the Thanksgiving dinner recipes!  For as long as I can remember, Thanksgiving has been a family gathering time.  

My mother and I always prepare our traditional Thanksgiving recipes in anticipation of the family members flying, driving or riding in for the Thanksgiving holiday.  We never know exactly what to expect or what will happen when everyone is together, but we know what we will eat.


Preparing for Thanksgiving

The week before Thanksgiving, I go to the grocery store with my list.  The holidays are probably the only time of the year that I really enjoy grocery shopping.  Not because of the food I am buying, but because I know that food will be prepared for the holiday celebration and the people who make it all worthwhile.

My Grandmother & Brother ~ Holidays Past


Sometimes things get hectic and I get a little stressed, but I do try very hard to make the holidays easier by adhering to my own advice offered  in my article, Ten Ways to Make the Holiday Easier.

I want to enjoy the time I get to spend with my whole family and I want to have wonderful memories to reflect on throughout the years.  I also want them to enjoy the holidays in our home and to have fond, pleasant memories of time well spent.


The Main Course

When I was growing up, my grandmother and mother prepared the Thanksgiving meal.   Now, my mother and I cook the dinner.  Occasionally, my sister or one of my sisters-in-law will arrive in town early enough to help.  That is always guaranteed to be amusing and entertaining!

http://cookingfortheholidays.com/bake-a-turkey/

It is my job to prepare and cook the turkey.  I try to beat everyone else out of bed so I can shower and dress for the day.  By the time I am in the kitchen to start washing the turkey, Mom and Dad are usually here to chat with me while I get started.  Once the turkey is in the oven, Mom joins me and we work together for hours of cooking, laughing, cutting up and sometimes just talking.  It is a fabulous day.  I have always maintained that it is my favorite day of the year.  Sure, we get tired, but I wouldn't change a thing.

I share my recipe and tips for How to Bake a Turkey here:  Cooking for the Holidays


What's Next

Now that we have the turkey out of the way, be sure to join us here again next week.  We will be sharing the side dishes and desserts for the Thanksgiving Dinner Recipes Menu on Review This!


Be sure to check out additional Thanksgiving tips on Traveling Food - Holidays and Potlucks




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Friday, May 2, 2014

Holiday Cookbooks: Perfect for Mother's Day

Mother's Day is just around the corner, so now is the perfect time to pull out your favorite cookbook and plan a special treat for mom.  

If you or your mom love cooking for the holidays, or anytime, a holiday cookbook is also the perfect gift for Mother's Day.  I know I personally have a collection of specialty and holiday cookbooks that I absolutely love and frequently grab for reference.  I enjoy "pouring over a cookbook", as my own mother would say, reading recipes, making a grocery list and planning to try a new recipe.


The Pioneer Woman Cooks A Year of Holidays


Our very own pioneer woman, RenaissanceWoman2010, reviewed a fabulous cookbook for all of us recently in her article entitled, I'm Spending the Holidays with Ree.  I was so impressed by her review, that I simply had to purchase my own copy of The Pioneer Woman Cooks A Year of Holidays.

I have my own grandmother's Pecan Pie recipe that I use, but the recipe and featured photo were all I needed to see to know I had to have the cookbook!

The Pioneer Woman's Holiday cookbook is chock full of some great recipes and while I don't know Ree personally, I do know she will now be a part of my holidays too.


May You All Have a 
Happy Mother's Day!



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Friday, March 7, 2014

I'm the Cooking for the Holidays Contributor on Review This!

I am pretty excited about sharing holiday recipes! 

As the Cooking for the Holidays Contributor on Review This, I will not only be seeking and sharing awesome holiday recipes, but I  also plan to share the ways we prepare to serve multiple meals during the holidays, our time saving tips, as well as the sanity saving tips, that we all need when cooking for the holidays.


Websites are brimming with fabulous holiday recipes and special treats.  Many of which, have been handed down for generations.  Other recipes are straight from the pages of our favorite cookbook and they have been tried and proven for years.  

I love new recipes and new cookbooks!  We all want to be ready for the next holiday by having the right cookbooks on hand when needed.  So, I will also be searching for great cookbooks to recommend, as well as reviews to feature.

I would also love it if you would share your holiday preparation articles, time saving ideas, or survival tips for the holidays.  If you have published an article on either of those topics, awesome!  Simply share that link in our guestbook below.



I am waiting to hear from you!


Cookbooks & Recipes Reviewed Here on Review This 






For More About Sylvestermouse, Visit:  About Me




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Monday, December 10, 2018

Snowglobes are Great Gifts and Seasonal Decor

Holiday snowglobes on Review This!
There is something magical about snowglobes. It doesn't seem logical. After all, Snowglobes are simply water-filled globes of glass (or plastic) encasing some sort of item or scene. Shake the globe and the little flakes begin to "snow". But there is something special about that frozen moment in time surrounded by the movement of falling snow.

At this time of year, snowglobes always come to my mind. They are a wonderful part of holiday decorations. Because holiday snowglobes are offered in such a wide variety of styles they can also be very thoughtful gifts. Each one individualized to reflect special interests of the giver or the receiver. Snowglobes range from the tiny plastic trinkets that you can find at just about any souvenir gift shop to high-quality pieces of seasonal art that can be enjoyed and passed down for generations. 


Santa Claus Snowglobes



This review came to mind after recently purchasing a beautiful snowglobe depicting Santa's workshop. There was a piece of synchronicity that led me to thoughts of how special snowglobes can be. 

Scenes with Santa are my favorite snowglobes. And there are MANY Santa scenes to choose from:
  • Seated in his workshop with the elves, making toys. 
  • Flying in his sleigh through the snowy sky. 
  • Dressed in his suit with the huge bag of toys slung over his shoulder. 
  • Seated with a child seated on his knee
Santa's Workshop - musical snowglobe


Musical Snowglobes


Some snowglobes come with a music box option. Typically, the music box key is under the base of the snow globe. Simply turn the globe over, turn the key a few times, then place the snowglobe on the table to watch the snow and listen to the tune.

Tunes that are as familiar as Jingle Bells and as traditional as Oh Holy Night can be found with some snowglobes.


Religious Snowglobes



A variety of religious scenes are depicted in snowglobes. From angels to the nativity scenes (simple and ornate) a snowglobe reminding us of the "reason for the season" can be found.


Nativity - musical snowglobe



Snowglobes and Nature Scenes



In the areas of the world that have four seasons and the possibility of snow during the holidays, snowy naturescapes are reminiscent of Christmas. Trees drop their leaves and make unique silhouettes against the sky. Native backyard birds are easier to see against the white background of snow. Polar bears, penguins, and white hares are wildlife that are often associated with a winter wonderland. 


Penguin snowglobe - plays "Let It Snow"



Baby's First Christmas Snowglobe



Special occasions, such as baby's first Christmas, can be commemorated with an engraved snowglobe. And those globes can last a lifetime.

Baby's 1st Christmas snowglobe



Snowglobes with Favorite Movies, Places, Things



Perhaps your family has made a tradition of watching the Nutcracker during the holidays. Or watching the Wizard of Oz has become an annual event as the holidays approach. 

Maybe you've traveled during the holidays and want a reminder of those special places.


Whatever your holiday traditions include, chances are good that there is a snowglobe that gives a shout out to those special memories.

design courtesy of pixabay.com

Whether you are looking for long-lasting holiday decorations or a special gift for that special someone, snowglobes are a great choice. 

My love of snowglobes was recently renewed during an incident of coincidence. Or maybe it wasn't coincidence at all. I'm not completely sure. If you would like to read about how I came to own my most recent Santa Claus snowglobe you can read about it on my personal blog. 


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Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Christmas Inflatables Make Decorating Easy and Fun

In a Heartbeat, Thanksgiving is over and everyone is in Full Christmas Holiday mode!

Part of the whole fun of Christmas is decorating, both indoors and out!  I know many people are just chomping at the bit to get their Christmas trees up and decorated, so that they and their families can enjoy this holiday for as long as possible.
Christmas Decorating getting to difficult for you to handle?  Don't want to be climbing on ladders and such?  There is an easy way around that!  And you will feel the spirit with just a flick of a switch......
Photo courtesy of my niece Tara Hocaliuk!  One very talented lady! (Please do not copy without permission)

Children love getting into the "spirit" of the holidays too!  Schools and Church groups are busy making Christmas decorations or preparing for those Christmas pageants that every parent and grandparent love to attend.  Videos and pictures will grace everyone's favorite social media and the joy of our children will be shared everywhere.

For years we decorated not only the inside of our homes, but we would put up Christmas lights and boughs of evergreens on our porch with the Most Beautiful Wreath on our front door!  These sights would greet all our friends and family as they came for visits over the holidays and we had lots of visitors! 

 Christmas Decorating getting to difficult for you to handle?  Don't want to be climbing on ladders and such?  There is an easy way around that!  And you will feel the spirit with just a flick of a switch......
Photo courtesy of my niece Tara Hocaliuk!  One very talented lady! (please do not copy without permission)


Today, I would not ask my other half to get up on a ladder to attach lights to our gutters, even though he did this for years.  Decorating outdoors has become much easier!  Thank goodness for the ability to share ideas on Pinterest and other social media as well.  If you have the time, these ideas are all very doable and need not cost an arm and a leg.

If you don't have the time, then there is another alternative!  And it does not require anyone getting up on a ladder either!  

Christmas inflatables have become very popular and they are so easy to install and enjoy.  If you have a power source, you are ready to decorate in minutes.  You just need to take the inflatable out of it's box, and plug it in.  Done!  It can't be any easier and there are so many different styles to choose from.

The larger the inflatable, the more expensive they become.  Don't be discouraged, these inflatables can start at very affordable prices and make a big impact!  Santas and snowmen, trains and sleighs, polar bears and penguins are all very popular motifs for the holidays.  Many of them will come in several different sizes, ready to fit your decor ideas.  

Inflatables are a lot of fun, easy to install and enjoy.  Again the choices are many and varied.  Some of these inflatables are animated as well.  That just adds another whole dimension of enjoyment. The biggest problem (I hate to admit there might be one) is that someone may be tempted to steal it from your front lawn.  This is easy to remedy with a little forethought and a handyman or woman.  All you need to do is get a few metal tent pegs and a couple of holes drilled in the base of your inflatable.  Hammer the stakes into the ground and your worries are over.

The children and the adults as well will enjoy the sights that you have so thoughtfully prepared for the Holidays.  I'm sure more than one person will stop to admire your handiwork!  The best part, you didn't have to get up on a ladder and worry about falling off!

Christmas home decor is one of the fun parts of getting ready for the best holiday of the year.  Take a little time and let the whole world know that you still believe in the Magic of Christmas!






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Monday, February 27, 2017

Recipes for Real People a Site Review

Recipes for Real People is a recipe and kitchen website that offers recipes and food ideas that are quick, easy, and useful for everyday meals. From Aprons to Vegetables, you will find comfort food recipes, meal ideas, and kitchen gifts for you and your family.

Why I Turn to Recipes for Real People


I can't even begin to guess the number of recipe websites on the internet. So why would I turn to Recipes for Real People?  There are several reasons I look to this site for ideas. Just this morning I woke with many things on my mind. I have household chores to do, reports to write for work, and assorted things I would like to accomplish with my own website. I have to find a way to save some time today.

After unseasonably warm days, a thunderstorm rolled through last night and brought behind it a very cold and cloudy morning. I am craving comfort food and not sure what I have in the kitchen. After having spent the past few days driving around with the Jeep top open and enjoying the warm weather, I had no reason to buy ingredients to make chili or stew. But now it is very cold outside, the furnace is on, I am under the blankets, and I am craving something warm and filling. Something like stew or chili. However, to make either of those things, I'd have to run out to the store.

Thanks to a recipe found on Recipes for Real People, I have found a meal idea and won't have to go to the grocery after all.

I should clarify that I am writing this on Sunday and it will be published on Monday. On Monday I will be back at the office, hard at work - giving my time and energy to others. So I am especially thankful for time-saving ideas that allow me to spend more time on the weekends on myself. 

Hamburger Vegetable Soup Recipe


Susan's Hamburger Vegetable Soup recipe is just the type of thing I am craving.  Her four-ingredient recipe is easy and made from ingredients that are often found in the kitchen at any given time.  I do not currently have any fresh ground beef in the fridge. But I do have ground sausage. So I will substitute the sausage for the ground beef and have a filling, warm, comfort meal and won't have to leave the apartment today!  In fact, come to think of it, I have a few different cans of soup that I could use as substitutes for the vegetable soup in Susan's recipe. Perhaps I'll add the sausage to a can of creamy chicken soup.  I don't know. I will decide later.  But I am relieved that a trip to the grocery is something I can remove from today's full to-do list.  All thanks to Recipes for Real People.


 (photo by Susan)


A few more reasons I turn to Recipes for Real People


  • Recipes for Real People is a website owned by one of our Review This! contributors - Susan Deppner
  • I trust that Susan is sharing recipes that she cooks in her own home
  • these recipes call for few ingredients that are readily available
  • quick and easy prep recipes
  • leftovers are used in the Recipes for Real People kitchen - I am a firm believer in using leftovers



  • Susan's kitchen helpers are adorable


    Related Recipe Links


    The Review This! contributors share some of their favorite recipes on this site. The variety of recipes, meals, kitchen items, and food reviews that the contributors bring is amazing. From slow cooker beans and TexMex lasagna to buttery shrimp pasta and party menus, there is something to suit everyone's tastes. To see those recipes, use the Review This! recipes tab and scroll. Our own Sylvestermouse Cynthia enjoys food, entertaining, and the holidays.  She is the owner of two food-related sites Fun Food and Cooking for the Holidays.

    Fun Food focuses on "fabulous fun food". I swear some of the ideas shown are works of art!  From bright and colorful swirls of jello to snake cakes and food castles, these recipes are as fun to look at as they are tasty to eat.




    Cooking for the Holidays is exactly as advertised - meals, desserts, and appetizers specific to holidays and entertaining. This website is elegant and offers recipes that will likely never happen in my little kitchen for one but are perfect for those who enjoy celebrations and entertaining. 









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    Saturday, March 21, 2015

    The Crafty Month of March in Review



    March is 'National Craft Month', a month which also includes National Crochet Week

    This is the perfect time to look at some handmade crafty creations, including DIY projects and tutorials, and read some articles about the art of crafting to get you in the mood for creating.

     

     

    To Craft means to make or produce something skillfully.





    Craft in Green for St. Patrick's Day


    Crafting for holidays is quite often a popular endeavor.  Since the month of March includes the St. Patrick's Day holiday, crafters enjoy the opportunity to 'Craft in St. Patrick's Day Green'


    St. Patrick's Day Octopus

    Craft Ideas for National Craft Month



    • If you check out the Craft Section here on Review This, you will find many articles with crafts to try for all the other holidays during the year from Thanksgiving to Valentine's Day and throughout the year right back to the Fall Holidays which begin with Halloween!



    • Or try out one of these DIY Craft Books with projects and gift ideas for a large variety of holidays available on Amazon.

    • A fun example is the one for the next nearest holiday – Easter.  DIY Projects & Gift Ideas for Easter is filled with amazingly easy guided gift ideas for beginners to the more experienced (with pictures!) and is available in Amazon's Kindle Store. 

    Handmade gifts are such a joy to create, give and receive and this book will give you lots of crafty ideas.  There are homemade Easter crafts in the popular areas of Easter Eggs and Easter Bunnies and fun DIY Easter food, to name a few of the projects available in this book.


    More Easter Crafts


    Easter Egg Craft Tutorial
    Sometimes Easter is in March and sometimes in April, but March is never too early to start crafting an Easter project.

    For a quick Easter craft idea that combines the fun of an Easter Egg hunt with some non-candy treats that will encourage kids to enjoy crafts, check out this clever Easter Egg fillers craft tutorial by Corrinna Johnson.

    This Easter craft and many other DIY craft ideas can be found on Corrinna's delightful  blog, Glitter 'N' Spice.



    Time to Get Crafting...



    Handmade Pink Easter Bunny
    Bunny rabbit in crochet is hopping by to remind you that if you love to craft, but find life getting in the way and your crafting time getting put on a back-burner, circle the month of March on your calendar and use National Craft Month as a reminder to restore your creative self!  

    Crochet crafter Wednesday Elf uses National Crochet Week in March as her reminder.

    If you are a crafter and have a DIY tutorial to share with those of us who love hand-crafts, please feel free to share a link with us in the comments section. 
     
    Wednesday Elf on Etsy
    Follow Wednesday Elf on Twitter
    Crochet Blog by Wednesday Elf



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    Sunday, November 30, 2014

    How to Put Fun into Your Holidays

    Wouldn't we all love to put some fun back into our holiday preparations? Here are tips to help you do just that. Remember those days as a kid when the holidays were all about excitement, anticipation and just plain fun. It's time us grown-ups got to enjoy that as well.

    Shop Online for Some Fun


    Skip the crowds, the traffic, the lines and the surly salespeople. Shop online for just about everything you need from holiday decorations to gifts. The contributing writers for Review This put together a great holiday gift guide just to help you do that very thing. 

    You can get in the mood for some fun Christmas time while still
    curled up in your pj's and fuzzy bunny slippers. Just do it online. Christmas Time Treasures has lots of those great pages to help you with holiday decorations for your home, like pre-lit Christmas trees, festive kitchen towels, even holiday cats on decorative pillows (www.web-surfing-with-susan.com/christmas-cat-throw-pillows). 

    Get your Christmas tree decorated with personalized ornaments or something even more fun like Eiffel Tower ornaments (www.web-surfing-with-susan.com/eiffel-tower-christmas-ornaments). Holidays are definitely easier and much more fun when you shop online from the comfort of your own home. 

    Take Some Time to Relax


    Since you won't need to spend many extra hours fighting the malls and the traffic, use that time to relax and do something you love. For me, it's a long hot bubble bath with festive scented soaps (www.the-bubble-bath.com/get-in-the-holiday-spirit-with-a-festive-bubble-bath) and reading a great Christmas mystery book (www.mysterybookworldlive.com/holiday-mysteries/christmas-mysteries).  Now, we're talking relaxing. 

    Whatever you like to do to relax, do it. Your own holidays will be more fun. More like those days when you were a kid and the whole month of December was all about the excitement, anticipation and fun.





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    Sunday, May 25, 2014

    Kick off the Summer with a Party!

    Historic Falls Park, Pendleton, IN
    I do love the summer! Here in the Midwest, we might not have a gorgeous ocean and beach but we do have our own great summer sights. The flowers, the creek falls, the kelly green grass, the blue sky, the vitamin D filled sunshine and 3 fun holidays to boot wrap up our summer season!

    Memorial Day starts everything in late May, Independence Day is midway and the end of summer is signified by Labor Day every year.

    Memorial Day/Weekend Party or Get-Together

    Since we are smack in the middle of Memorial Weekend today, I thought I would take you through our celebration last year (this year's is tomorrow.)  Each year, my family gets together for and on Memorial Day. It's our "Kick Off to Summer Party" and one of my favorites.

    I know I have mentioned it before but here I go again... I am a military brat -- specifically the U.S. Navy. My dad was career Navy. My parents actually met when both were stationed at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida. Both my grandfathers were U.S. Navy veterans as is my only brother.

    Suffice is to say, we are a patriotic bunch! So, because the Memorial, Independence and Labor Day holidays are patriotic in nature, that's the theme we use for all three. It's a lot of fun and we leave some of the decor up all summer -- red, white and blue is very appropriate for a summer season boasting 3 patriotic holidays.

    Stars & Stripes -- Red, White & Blue

    The color combination is timeless. The primary color scheme is used by Countries for their flag, sports teams and schools for their colors, in home decorating (especially in the cottage, vintage and nautical decor themes) and so much more.

    Last year, I decided to use a "vintage feel" with the patriotic theme and loved the way it turned out. I wrote about it here: My Patriotic Buffet Table for our Summer party. Burlap, baskets, bandanas and mini flags come together to create a festive, fun and whimsical buffet table for our party. What do you think?
    My Patriotic Summer Buffet Party


    Summer Parties

    The summer is filled with parties, occasions and get togethers in addition to the holidays mentioned above. Do you have a traditional get-together each summer or a special occasion you'll celebrate this year? Could be anything, like:

    • Graduation Party
    • Neighborhood Block Party
    • Birthday
    • Wedding
    • Baby or Bridal Shower
    • Class Reunion
    • Family Reunion
    • Annual Luau Party 
    • Summer Picnics

    Think about sharing your ideas and experiences with others that want to hold a successful event. Do you have a favorite pot luck dish you always make or take? Are you throwing a shindig to celebrate your daughter's graduation or your son's wedding rehearsal dinner? Are you the "Picnic King/Queen"?

    Being the Party Planning Contributor on Squidoo, I can point you to a great outlet for sharing your experiences with others here on the world wide web. Best of all -- Squidoo is FREE!!! You might even earn a little you can put towards your next big party!

    Let me know (in the comments) if you write an article about a party so I can help you promote it! Most of all, have a wonderful summertime!



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    Wednesday, December 21, 2016

    Thoughtful Last Minute Hostess Gifts for Gardeners

    Christmas is Just Around the Corner.  

    Let's review some lovely Hostess gifts for your friends who love to garden.  

    If you are anything like me, even though we've had fair warning, Christmas seems to have been sprung upon us in very short order.  Along with Christmas coming so quickly, invitations to visit with family and friends have also been coming in quicker than the squirrels can empty the bird feeders.


    What can you do when you really know you'd love to visit, but refuse to come empty-handed?  The first thing is Don't Panic. Let this list help you figure out the best and nicest hostess gift to bring to your friends on your upcoming visit.

    Gardeners by their very nature love Plants!

    Everyone loves flowers, but gardeners love things that grow!  So a really nice idea would be to bring a potted plant to your host or hostess.  At Christmas time you will find lovely bulb sets that will surely be enjoyed by your gardening friends.  Amaryllis and Paperwhites are typically sold around this time of year as Christmas gifts, but they also make lovely and thoughtful Hostess Gifts.  Most of these are sold with a pot, all the planting media and the bulb which may already show signs of growth. All it needs is a lovely gift bag and a bow!  
    Amaryllis will grow for years after the initial gift has had its day and bloomed.  Gardeners will take care of the bulb so that it will bloom for them again and again in years to come. It will remind them of you and your thoughtfulness.
    gifts for gardeners who have everything. great garden gifts, best gifts for gardeners
    This plant will give your gardening friends something really beautiful to look forward to.  These blossoms are just out of this world beautiful.  I can't think of a single person whether they are gardeners or not, that wouldn't marvel at this beauty.  

    Can we spice it up a bit?

    Along with things that grow, you will find many herbs available at this time of year as well.  Rosemary makes a lovely scented gift that your gardener friends can use to make the kitchen smell really nice and they can use the herbs for cooking as well.  Just add a nice little pot and you have a lovely gift. Gardeners can get creative with the rosemary, as it prunes really nice and can be trained into shapes that are really quite interesting. Something to keep your gardening friends happy during the cold months of the year. 

    best gifts for gardeneres, gardeners best gifts, great gifts for gardeners who have everything

    How about something More Christmassy?

    Typically available at this time of year are Christmas Cactus.  Not at all prickly, they are usually covered in either white, pink or red flowers at the end of their scapes.  A very pretty and easy to grow plant that any gardener would enjoy wholeheartedly.  Give them some light and water and they will happily bloom for a few weeks or more.  These will also continue to grow throughout the year and rebloom the following year again on new growth.  Each year these plants become more beautiful and larger in size. They are easily contained though if space is at a premium.  
    best gifts for gardeners who have everything, great garden gifts, best gardening gifts

    Remember that Plants are Living and Cold will Affect Them.

    Just one word of caution, if you are bringing plants as a Hostess Gift, and you live where winter is cold, please take care to wrap your gift well so that it doesn't freeze or suffer from getting cold.  Preheat your vehicle and wrap the plant with two layers of plastic and tie or secure it shut so that the cold air doesn't touch the plant and all will be well.

    My friends already have too many plants, don't you have any other suggestions?

    If you don't want to bring a plant and would prefer another gift that is not subject to the weather, let me let you in on some little gift ideas that every gardener I know would appreciate. 

    Every gardener I know never ever has enough pairs of gardening gloves.  I have at least 4 pairs on the go at any one time.  So a pair of gardening gloves and a few packets of seeds done up in a little package will bring smiles of gratitude from your Host or Hostess.  

    A nice hand cream is also something that we can never have enough of either.  Hands even when protected by gloves, can become rather dry.  A lovely scented hand cream would be nice and not too expensive.  

    Another handy gift would be a thermal mug or cup for coffee, tea or water.  Sipping while you work in the garden is a luxury and much needed in the summer months.  Not having to stop what you are doing to get that sip of water is even better.

    Gardeners love a great apron.  One with pockets in them to hold the seed packets, clippers or gloves when they stop for a minute.  It also helps to keep them just a little cleaner while they are working away in their little paradise.  

    Do you need more suggestions?

    There are many more gifts for the Gardener Friends on your list. Just for your enjoyment and for their pleasure I am including another list of  Host/Hostess gifts that would be sure to please. So here goes:

    1. Garden Stakes or Markers
    2. A Small Watering Can
    3. Books or a Magazine subscription, Farmer's Almanac
    4. Funny Garden inspired T-shirts
    5. Bonsai Gift Set (available at Amazon)
    6. Garden inspired Coffee Mug
    7. Kangaroo Garden Bag (a collapsible compost bag, also available at Amazon)
    8. Gardener's Journal
    9. Windchimes or Suncatchers
    10. Willowtree (tm) Figurine "Angel of the Garden"
    All of these suggestions are under $25.00, and I know from personal experience that Gardeners who love to entertain, would enjoy any of these suggestions.

    Let the Friend who invites you over the holidays know how much you appreciate his/ her efforts in the garden and I'm sure you will see the biggest "Thank You" smile for miles around.
    Appreciation of family and friends never gets old and at Christmas time or over the holidays even more so.  

    May your Holidays be filled with good friends, and family!  May there always be smiles and lots of laughter!  Happy Holidays.

    You can read more about Gardening or Gardening Gifts on Review This or follow the links below!
    Pictures on this Review This Post all come from Pixabay in the order that they appear here!




    Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


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    Wednesday, October 3, 2018

    Cool Nights, Crafty Nights, How to Get Through the Fall

    When Summer gives way to Fall, all of a sudden we find ourselves looking for ways to keep busy indoors instead of outdoors.  It seems the older I get the more I like the idea of hunkering down in the quiet comfort of my home.  Let's Review some ways to make this time productive and fun!

    Looking back over the last few months I realize that I did not want to come indoors at all.  Summer was glorious this year, with warm sunny days and warm evenings too!  Alas, all good things must come to an end, especially when you live in the north!

    Fall is a great time to get cracking on all those things you wanted to do but didn't.  Fall is also that gateway to all kinds of Holidays that require your time and talents. It's a wonderful time to try your hand at making something crafty too.  Decorating your space was never easier, with themes provided by the Holidays.  So to that end, we will start getting all our crafts in order! Or we will try something new!

    hobbies, crafts, learn how to draw




    Crafting gives our hands a chance to make something unique and beautiful.  It lets us express some of our hidden talents.  We see something we like and we just know that we could do that too!  So when we are indoors instead of running around outside, we can sit and give our hands a chance to make something that we have never done before.

    Halloween and Thanksgiving are great times to try our hands at crafty ideas. We could start by  making special goodie bags for the children that visit our door on Halloween night.  If you have a little more time, maybe we could make something a little more personalized for our family who will visit during Thanksgiving.
    Both of these holidays can launch us onto a new hobby.

    Now unless you are reviving a hobby that you once invested in, I would not suggest that you go all out and purchase all the items you might be needing for a new hobby.  Head to your nearest  Dollar Tree! It's a great place to start a new hobby and you can do it on-line.  You just never know what you will find there that will twig an idea!  There are hundreds of items available that you might be able to use to fuel your creative genius.  From yarns, to paints, beads, canvases and findings, you know you will have a great time picking out the things that will be transformed under your hands.  Don't spend a lot of money on a craft or hobby until you are sure it is something that you will continue to do.  

    There are a great number of "How To" books that will walk you through all stages of a new hobby.  Knitting, crocheting, leatherwork, macrame, rug hooking, drawing and so many more hobbies can be learned through the pages of a great How To book!  I've chosen just  a few to get you started.  There are also many You Tube videos that will give you a "working" look at how to make some things.  I guess what I'm saying is that your indoor time during these upcoming cold months can be productive and fun.  You just might find that you have a talent for a certain hobby. 



    I have several writer friends right here on the REVIEW THIS team, that are so talented they have their own ETSY  shops, where they turn their hobbies into a small business.  All the contributors here are passionate about some form of hobby!  Greeting Cards, knitting, crocheting, photography it's all covered by our contributors.

    If you don't feel inclined to make things yourself,  I would suggest that shopping at the Etsy Mall will help you find something beautiful, hand made and will help to support someone who is working hard to make things beautiful.   

    crafts, hobbies, learn how to make anything





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    Saturday, July 23, 2016

    The Chocolate Days of July in Review

    Source: Pixabay

    The month of July is a chocolate lovers paradise. There are two official chocolate-related days to celebrate.

    July 7th is the official Chocolate Day. No one knows the origin of this day, but we wouldn't be surprised if it was created by chocolate confectioners! 

    It's a day to enjoy your favorite chocolate all day long.


    • Breakfast could be chocolate cereal or chocolate cream-filled donuts washed down with a little hot chocolate. If you would rather be a bit healthier, but still have your chocolate, check out Buckhawk's Chocolate Smoothies
    • Enjoy a mid-morning snack of a chocolate candy bar.
    • How about a glass of chocolate milk with your lunch.
    • Then you could eat healthy (?) and have chocolate covered raisins for your afternoon snack. This contains both vegetable and fruit. Chocolate is a vegetable. It comes from the Cacao tree found in tropical rain forests. True fact! 



    Chocolate Covered Fruit (Source: Pixabay)

     
    For more fruit and chocolate recipes, check out these delicious looking chocolate covered treats by Sylvestermouse, found on her Cooking for the Holidays Site:



    • Dinner would be delicious with chocolate flavored coffee.  Dessert could be your choice of chocolate cake or pie, or chocolate ice cream if you prefer.
    Brenda Little (Treasures By Brenda) brings us a special chocolate cake recipe which includes MY favorite chocolate dessert - chocolate pudding.  Check out her Chocolate Pudding Cake recipe for a mouth-watering dessert.





    More Chocolate Days


    If you missed Chocolate Day on July 7th, never fear.  Another chocolate holiday happens on July 28 - National Milk Chocolate Day. This is not an official holiday, but it is a favorite chocolate of millions of people and is enjoyed in candies and in baking.

    Many more chocolate holidays occur throughout the year, including the whole month of February, which is known as National Chocolate Lovers Month.  For a list of more chocolatey holidays, check out the chocolate section on the blog article by Wednesday Elf about National Candy Month.

    Chocolate Recipes Cookbook



    Chocolate Dessert Recipes


    If the recipes and suggestions here still leave you with a chocolate craving, this cookbook gives you 200 more reasons (and recipes) to enjoy chocolate in your favorite way!


    Happy Chocolate Days!






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    Friday, December 18, 2015

    I Miss You Most at Christmas Time - Music Review & Personal Narrative

    I Miss You!

    http://www.reviewthisreviews.com/2015/12/i-miss-you-most-at-christmas-time-music.html
    It is the week before Christmas and I am already surrounded by my family, but there is someone missing.

    9 years ago my brother died.  During the holidays, when he should be here with us, the grief washes over me and I, once again, mourn the death of my beloved brother.

    The holidays should be joyous and for the most part they really are festive.  There is a lot of family togetherness and laughter. Ironically, it is when we are all laughing that I hear the voice in my mind of one that is no longer laughing with us.  If ever there was anyone who loved to laugh, loved life, loved family, and loved Christmas, it would be my brother.

    I wonder if there will ever be a Christmas that I don't remember and grieve his absence.

    The photo above is from my own personal photo album.  It was taken on Christmas day, several years ago and is an actual photo of my brother and grandmother together.


    I Miss You Most at Christmas Time by Mariah Carey

    Several years ago, at Christmas, I heard "Miss You Most (At Christmas Time)" by Mariah Carey.My tenderhearted brother was with me then and we joined together as we cried and grieved the death and separation from our grandmother.

    It never occurred to me that his would be the next family death and that when I heard the song again, it would be him that I would be missing.



    Separation is for Just for a Season

    St Peter's Basilica Dove Stained Glass Window Photo
    St Peter's Basilica Dove Stained Glass Window
    After my tears are spent, I recall the promise made by our Savior, Jesus Christ, thousands of years ago and I regain the strength to step into the next moment of my life.

    John 6:38-40

    "For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent me. And this is the will of Him who sent me, that of all that He has given me, I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day."


    Comfort

    https://reviewthispersonalreviews.blogspot.com/
    My Brother's Monument
    I find great comfort in that scripture passage and in His promise.  I am not wishing my life away, for there is work yet for me to do, but I know that one day I will be reunited with my brother and all who have gone before me.



    My Brother's Monument
    My Brother's Monument

    About the Dove in the Photo & the Monument


    The photo of the dove is of a stained glass window in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.  I shall never forget the first time I ever saw that window.  It was brilliant!  I loved that window and took lots of photos before we left.  I can't adequately describe the magnificence and awe of seeing that window in person or the sense of longing and adoration it evokes.   The image of the sun lite stained glass dove stayed in my mind's eye long after we left Rome. 

    When we were designing my brother's monument, that was the image that came to mind.  As you can see, the monument artist was able to replicate the image on the monument from the photo.

    The inscription is a quote from the sonnet "Death, be Not Proud", written by John Donne.  I truly believe that it is death that dies when we wake eternally.   

    I wrote this article about myself and my own personal thoughts, but I also recognize that there are many among us who are grieving during the holidays.  It is my sincere desire that these words may also comfort others who are grieving.

    May the One who bottles your tears, comfort you now!

    Scripture reference: Psalms 56:8
    House of Sylvestermouse



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