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

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Reviewing the Moon Hare

Have You Seen The Moon Hare Or Moon Rabbit?

Have you noticed the Moon Hare or the Moon Rabbit instead of the "man in the moon"? I still remember being on a date many years ago and being introduced to the rabbit on the moon. The guy I was with at the time pointed it out and ever since then I no longer see a man's face but a rabbit or more specifically a hare. Little did I know back then, that there is a place in Asian mythology for that Moon Hare. 

moon hare
Hares and rabbits have been on my mind
image courtesy of pixabay.com
A few weeks back, I wrote about fear and how rabbits seemed to be hopping into my mind a lot, lately. Well, I'm still sort of consumed with the furry little creatures. Turns out there is a reason why. I'm currently working on a new book in a new genre (for me anyway) and the hare is playing a significant part in the story. (More about that later.)


Moon Hare In Asian Mythology


As I have researched the hare for my book, I have discovered a few things about the creature. First of all, a hare is different from a rabbit. The hare is larger, has longer ears, and tends to be more solitary than its cousin the rabbit. Hares live above ground instead of below. They do share a lot of the same characteristics.

Most of the time the mythical hare in the moon is said to be using a mortar and pestle. In Chinese folklore the Moon Hare is pounding the elixir of life for Chang'e the Moon Goddess. She brought the hare with her when she moved to the moon after having drank the elixir of life. She wanted to forever watch over her husband Houyi the archer. In Japanese and Korean folklore the Moon Hare is pounding the ingredients for rice cakes.

Having this information helped me to firm-up an idea in my head for the character of Jipsee who is sent to Khenlee to be her wisdom companion in her journey through life as a healer and Shaman. Khenlee is special and she is given a special spirit animal. The girl is of two races of her world. So, I wanted something that was special to at least two different cultures. The hare fit perfectly. I've mentioned the Asian mythology but the hare is also significant in Celtic mythology, too. It was seen as being supernatural and associated with the moon. They were looked upon as mysterious and magical by the Celts. Seemed like a good fit for an animal guide for young Khenlee. The hare was also special to the Northern European Saxon Goddess Eostre. (Easter was named after her).

Building a World and a Story


So, as I build a different world I'm having good and bad 'hare' days. The book will be in the YA Fantasy genre which is turning out to be a lot of fun to write. The working title right now is Khenlee of Alerassa, although, I might change that up a bit. The gods have spoken, they want Khenlee to be the next Shaman/healer for the village of Alerassa. She is 12, she doesn't want to be a healer, and she struggles with the same angst that girls of her age do here on Earth. She also faces the prejudice of people due to her dual heritage. When Jipsee comes to her, they don't exactly fall in love with each other. The hare is disgusted that she is meant to work with a child that appears to be less than bright. The girl doesn't even know the difference between a hare and a rabbit. How in Ethoria can she become a wise woman who heals the bodies and souls of mortal creatures? It is beyond Jipsee's understanding. Khenlee believes the gods are playing a practical joke on her. How can she depend on a creature who is afraid of its own shadow?

The two will travel and grow together throughout the story. They will help each other and they will argue with each other but in the end they will become what they were destined to be. 

So, anyway, I've shared a little about the Moon Hare from a few cultures. I've given you a short look into the world in my head. I think I might need to get myself a stuffed animal to sit on my desk as I type out the words. I thought this one was kind of cute....




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Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Reviewing My Own Fear Factor

Admitting You Have Fear Is A Beginning

I've been struggling with some personal fear in the last several months. Maybe a review of my journey might help others begin to face their own fears. I know I'm not alone; most of us have fears that overtake us from time to time. With the recent events that have gripped the world, many have found new things to be afraid of. Fear is normal but sometimes we aren't ready to admit that we are afraid. I am a firm believer that admitting something is the first step in beginning to overcome and move forward.

fear factor
We all have fear, overcoming it is the trick
image courtesy of pixabay.com

What I have realized in the last few days is that I've been almost frozen with fears just below the surface of my consciousness. I haven't been walking around thinking about being afraid or thinking that I was scared but the emotion had been there for quite a while just waiting for me to do something. I've decided to start working on what I'm fearful of; kick those debilitating thoughts to the proverbial curb, so to speak.

There were hints that went unnoticed


As I have worked through some of my feelings in the last few days, I realized that there were some subtle little hints back in December. A tiny little flag was waving in the distance, I just didn't notice it for what it was trying to warn me about. I think it started when I had the idea for a new book that would be about a rabbit. More specifically, an Easter Bunny that did something bad. It was the rabbit that should have alerted me that fear was dwelling deep down in my psyche. 

Now, before you shake your head and think that I've gone off the deep end, let me explain. The message of the spirit animal rabbit is about fear. Real rabbits are fearful little creatures and often become frozen, unable to move, when their fears take hold of them. We humans can experience this phenomenon, too. I missed the significance of a rabbit being so active in my mind. 

About the same time that the idea for the book was consuming my thoughts, my Dad fell and broke his elbow pretty badly. Fear did swell up to the forefront of my thoughts for his well being. There were life threatening complications that obviously caused a great deal of stress and fear for him. Taking care of my Dad sort of pushed the writing completely off of the burner. 

As Dad began to slowly get better, we (the world) find out about the virus and learn words like social distancing and stay in place orders. I will admit the idea of Dad being exposed scared the daylight right out of me. I wasn't fearful for me but for him. Rabbits come into play again. I discovered the book Watership Down, it is all about rabbits. Another hint? I think it might have been. 

I'll fast forward a bit, an idea started niggling in my mind about a totally different story that felt like it needed to be written before I finished the other one. It is a young girl who is called to become the next healer in her village. She is faced with prejudices, an unwillingness to be a healer and some adventures along the way. It is customary in her world for a healer or shaman to be assigned a spirit animal. She doesn't get to choose, the gods decide what she will need. She is appalled when she meets the hare (big rabbit) that will travel with her in her journey of becoming what she was destined to be. Of all the creatures for the gods to give her they give her a rabbit. What the heck good is that going to be? She is supposed to gain wisdom from an animal that is afraid of it's own shadow? Hmmm!

There it is again, a rabbit consuming my mind! Finally the light bulb comes on in my addled brain. Rabbits in my thoughts, looking up rabbit behavior, real rabbits hopping around in my yard. I can't get away from the freaking rabbits! Fear is the message of the rabbit. Do I have some fears to overcome? Well, apparently, I do.

What are my fears?


Turns out, I have several that I have ignored for a while. I guess that is why the rabbit has come as a messenger. I can't move forward until I face some of them head-on and let them go. I won't go into what they are exactly, that is a little too personal. Suffice it to say, I have identified some big ones and have begun to work on hopping around them. As I work on my journey, I have found a new motto. It is summed up best on this coffee mug:



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Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Easter Sunday is Over, But There are 50 More Days of Easter to Come! A Holiday Review!

Easter, the chosen, olivia morris, faith

Easter 2020, will probably be remembered by many as the Easter that wasn't.  Let me explain, Easter still happened, but not in the way that many of us Born Christians would recognize.  So we have had to find some creative ways to celebrate the Greatest Holy Day of the Christian Calendar.

To that end, my husband and I have been searching for ways in order to make Easter come alive again!  We don't have any problem with following services on You Tube, or Facebook, but Easter calls us (personally) to dig a little deeper into our faith.

I am a Christian and not at all ashamed or embarrassed to admit it!  I'm sure I'm not alone.  The thing that always surprises me is that after Easter is over, many Christians think Easter is a done deal.  One day, Easter Sunday and then everything goes back to "normal".  (Well 2020's normal will be different than most.)

Many people don't understand that Easter Sunday is just the beginning of the Easter season.  It does NOT END until 50 days later at the Feast of the Pentacost!

That gives Christians a whole 50 days to deepen their faith and strengthen their belief system.

bible, jesus, easter, celebrations, Olivia Morris
The trouble is that you can only read the scriptures for so long and then hopefully have a good discussion on what was read.  Our God speaks to each of us through these scriptures and each of us will take away lessons that are meant just for us.  Each will take away a lesson that speaks to them personally, and it may not be the same message that you get!  The Bible is alive and speaks to each of us in a way that we will understand in our hearts.

Being in house arrest has given us some time to look for other ways to celebrate our faith and grow at the same time.

We are so lucky that we can search out lots of different ways to celebrate our Christian Holidays.  You Tube, Facebook and the Internet offer us unlimited ways to enhance our faith journey.  Alan and I were blessed to spend 3 months in the Holy Land in 2018.  We were there from the middle of January to the Middle of April, which just happened to be Easter of that year.  What an experience that was and it still resounds with us today.  If you would like to see where we lived and worked during that time here's a You Tube video about the region and why it was so important to Christians all over the world.  https://youtu.be/Jcfkn9zivis

After having spent that time in Magdala, we came back home really driven to look into our faith, deeper, so that we are well informed Christians.

Now, during this time in our lives, that has us more upside down, than right side up, we are looking again for ways in which to make our faith "come alive".  To that end, both of us have been trying to figure out who the person of Jesus was and who His followers were too.  We have had many lively discussions on this aspect of our faith and really haven't come to any conclusions.  What we see in the Scriptures can look pretty cold and too Godly or shall we say Jesus sometimes come off as unreachable.  But that is not the Jesus we want to believe in, we want a Jesus that is just like us, happy, sad, funny, serious and a whole lot more....He is the Jesus we could relate to!

Thank goodness that I found a series that really delves into the "humanity" of Christ!  This series has 8 episodes and each one of them is really so well done.  The series holds true to the Biblical Christ, but also opens up the Humanity of him who is known as the Messiah.

I would like to share with you a link to get to this series and I'm sure that you will be moved just as I was.  This series is not available on DVD or any other media other than at the APP store.  I have a link for you right here.  It is called The Chosen.  This is an 8 part series each one is about an hour long and focuses on the beginning of Jesus' life and ministry.  While following Biblical texts, there is a lot of interpretation allowed in this series.

Not only are we treated to a "human" Jesus, we are also treated to the characters who become his Apostles and Disciples.  His mother and other relatives also play a role in this series.  I found it to be very interesting and profoundly moving.

My hope is that you started your Easter celebrations with Cynthia Sylvestermouses' Review of Jesus of Nazareth!  And I hope you continue your Easter reflections with The Chosen.

Please come back and tell me what you thought!  I know for myself personally, this series was a valuable tool in more ways than one.  It brought so many characters to life that I had not connected with through just reading the Scriptures.  My faith is alive and new ways of understanding that faith are always welcomed.  You can watch the official trailer for The Chosen right here!

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, meme, possible text that says 'I was one way, and now I'm completely different. And the thing that happened in between... was Him. TheChosen.t'

**Please note: at the end of every episode there is a bit of "advertising", but you can skip that and move to the next episode easily.  If you are touched by this series you can PAY IF FORWARD.  But please don't feel that you must do this.  I want you to enjoy this series as much as I have and that is my sole purpose in sharing this with you.  I make no commissions or any other reward for sharing this with you.  Happy Easter for the next 50 days at least.....







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Sunday, April 12, 2020

An Original Easy Homemade Pumpkin Loaf Recipe Tweaked From A Banana Loaf Recipe

Modified a Banana Loaf Recipe to Make a Pumpkin Loaf
Quarantine is bringing out the creative baker in me. Not really, but I'm trying.

The Boys Ate All The Bananas. The Hunger Games.

I wanted to make a Banana Loaf using my favorite personal recipe, however, the boys ate all the bananas. Guess what ... no bananas at the grocery store! Really ... bananas? I've seen the flour aisle cleaned out, but missing bananas was a first.

The Boys Ate All The Apple Pie. Hunger Games the Sequel.

Apple Pie was planned for our Easter Sunday dinner, but guess what? The boys ate all the pie.

So I opened the cupboard to see how I could modify my Banana Loaf recipe and found a can of Pumpkin Pie Filling - not expired, thank goodness.

My Revamped Banana Loaf Recipe Turned Into a Yummy Pumpkin Loaf Recipe

I've never made a Pumpkin Loaf, but how hard could it be right? lol.

After searching online for a Pumpkin Loaf recipe, I decided I didn't like any of them - too complicated.

My Banana Loaf recipe is six freaking ingredients, all in one bowl! Easy peasy. Thus began the experiment to modify my fave recipe to make my very first Pumpkin Loaf.

The biggest challenge was trying to determine how much Pumpkin Pie Filling to use to replace three medium to large bananas in a banana loaf.

After googling around a bit, I determined that one half plus a heaping tablespoon of a 540ml can of Pumpkin Pie Filling should work. Actually, I had no idea - it was a cross-your-fingers-and-toes guess.

The original banana loaf recipe is here.

My Pumpkin Loaf Recipe - Modified:

. 1/2 CAN plus 1 heaping Tablespoon of Pumpkin Pie Filling (Full can was 540ml which is 2.28 Cups - so use about 1 and 1/8 Cups of Pumpkin Pie Filling)
Here's the Pumpkin Pie Filling
I used - Any kind should do

. 1 and 1/2 Cups of Flour

. 1 Cup of White Sugar

. 1 Teaspoon of Baking Soda

. 3 Heaping Tablespoons of Softened Butter (not melted)

. 1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract

For flavor, in the same bowl, I added:

. 1 Teaspoon of Ground Cinnamon
. 1 Teaspoon of Ground Cloves
. 1/4 Teaspoon of Allspice
. 1/4 Teaspoon of Nutmeg

Mix everything in one bowl. Put it in a regular-sized Loaf Pan. Bake in the oven at 325 degrees for 45 to 60 minutes depending on your oven. Check it after 30 minutes (or before that if your oven is on steroids or something).

Since this was a trial variation of one of my recipes, I didn't add anything else - like raisins or nuts. However, it turned out beautifully, so I'll be adding raisins the next time. I plan to boil the raisins in water to soften them first.

This plain pumpkin loaf is delicious with butter, cream cheese, jam or peanut butter.

Homemade Pumpkin Loaf by Barbara




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Friday, April 10, 2020

Jesus of Nazareth Movie Reviewed

Jesus of Nazareth Movie Reviewed
I remember when the movie "Jesus of Nazareth" was first released in 1977.  Even though that was over 40 years ago, it seems like yesterday.  It was the first time I had ever seen a visual depiction of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.  

Of course, I had seen still pictures, statues, and had the mental images my own mind created when reading the scripture.  But none of that was as impacting as watching our Lord being led down the Via Dolorosa.  Then seeing Him nailed to that cross while he was mocked and murdered.  

One of my favorite passages in the Bible is when Jesus told the thief on the cross next to him, "today you will be with me in paradise" (Luke 23:43).  The realization that all that is required for salvation is accepting Jesus as the Son of God, your savior, is phenomenal.  It is recorded that the thief defended Jesus saying "He has done nothing wrong" and then the thief said “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom!”  

What a glorious revelation to the world!  So much was required of Jesus, but so little is required of us.


Jesus of Nazareth Movie Synopsis
Scriptural Accuracy vs. Artistic License


To this day, this is still my favorite movie about Jesus, and I have seen several.  There are some areas where the movie deviates from scripture.  Perhaps, that is for dramatic effect, or scripture interpretation.  It may well be nothing more than combining scripture passages into one event.  Regardless, it can be distracting.  I recommend reading the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) for the complete truth.

 Jesus of Nazareth
(40th Anniversary Edition)
Available on Blu-ray, DVD, VHS, or Prime Video
Check Availability Now
In spite of the directors artistic liberties, I still recommend this movie.  The main reason I prefer "Jesus of Nazareth" over others is because it starts before Jesus was born.  Acknowledging the virgin birth and Joseph's obedience to God is unique and extremely important.

It includes Mary visiting Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist, when they were both with child.  The Bible says "When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb".  (Luke 1:41)  That is truly a significant moment when you know that as an adult, John was a prophet that proclaimed the coming of the Messiah.  

The movie includes the baptism of Jesus, preformed by John the Baptist. (Matthew 3:13-17)  However, the movie takes some liberties here that I am not too thrilled about.  Scripture says:  "As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him.  And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”   Instead of being scripturally accurate, the movie had John speak instead of God.  That is a major difference for me.  God did not speak through John. 

For the most part, I liked the depiction of the disciples, as well as the choice of actors to play the parts.  I know of nothing in the Bible that depicts Judas as graciously as this movie does.  It is possible that Judas was tricked and deceived by people, but I haven't found that supported by scripture. 

The last discrepancy that I would note about the movie, is with the discovery of the empty tomb.  Scripture tells us that John and Peter ran to the tomb when Mary Magdalene told them the tomb was empty.  (John 20:1-18)   Sadly, that verification by John & Peter was omitted in the movie. 

Scripture also records in John 20:17, "Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God."  Only a portion of this scripture was quoted in the movie.

I would also recommend reading about the multiple accounts of Jesus appearing and interacting with the disciples after his resurrection.  This is an example of how the movie combined several events into one.


Why I Recommend Jesus of Nazareth 

In spite of the discrepancies above, I would still recommend watching "Jesus of Nazareth".  The movie is a reminder of what happened on Good Friday and Easter.  It also serves as an introduction that will, hopefully, cause anyone to seek further knowledge of Truth through the scripture.


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Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Yankee Candles for Easter

Yankee Candles for Easter 

It is a different world that we live in as I write this post on March 30, 2020. Most of us are living 'physically distant' or practicing 'social distancing' from family and friends as together people throughout the world attempt to slow down the spread of this virus by reducing contact with others. I know that in my home Easter is going to look different than it has in the past. We are not very religious but we celebrate Easter as a way to come together with those who are important to us and, of course, close enough to visit. This will be the first Easter dinner we have eaten with just the two of us present in almost thirty years.

We usually start the day with an Easter egg hunt or, given the fact that we are all adults, a look-under-your-bed chocolate Easter bunny hunt.

The rest of the day is spent with a walk and a few board games. For supper we normally share a feast of scalloped potatoes, baked ham, fresh asparagus and some sort of yummy lemon dessert.

My husband and I spoke briefly recently about what we would do this year given that we are in self isolation and it will be just the two of us. Arbitrarily, I decided we did not need a chocolate Easter bunny, which removes the necessity of my husband going to the grocery store. The deal in our household is that I will be the one person to go to the grocery store once every two weeks. This reduces our contact with other people and lowers our chances of catching the virus.

However, I am hoping to make a smaller version of the Best-Ever Creamy Scalloped Potatoes recipe and some acceptable substitute (though I do not know what it looks like yet) for my Best-Ever Baked  Ham recipe. In substitution for the chocolate bunny, we will make ourselves a special homemade treat, which will fill time as an activity and could well turn out to be better than a chocolate bunny. Yes, chocolate lovers that is possible!

We will pull out a few of our Easter decorations. We do not have many but we do have a few and they will help make the day brighter.

I love the idea of a Yankee Candles in an Easter scent like Sweet Bunny Treats, Bunny Cake, Easter Basket and Jelly Bean.  I wrote on another blog about the very trendy Peeps scent. The candles shown on this page are the large 22 ounce jar candle and they generally retail for less than $30. Depending on the scent and how you use your candle, they will provide 110 to 150 hours of enjoyment. You can check out Amazon's complete collection of Yankee Candles for Easter by clicking right here.

How about you? I assume that you are also facing an unusual situation for Easter this year. Will you prepare a special meal? Have a chocolate bunny rabbit? Put out a few decorations?

However you choose to mark the day remember to stay home, be safe and keep on smiling. We are all in this together and together we will flatten the curve and get through this. As they say in French Canada with the picture of a rainbow and a smile, "Ça va bien aller."

Brenda
Treasures By Brenda


Quick Links:

Check out all of Amazon's Easter scented Yankee Candles.
Find my complete Easter Dinner Menu Plan.
Learn a bit more about Yankee Candles with Easter themes and find the PEEPS candle here.




Yankee Chocolate Eggs Easter Candle

Yankee Easter Basket Candle for Easter

Yankee Jelly Bean Candle for Easter

Yankee Sweet Bunny Treats Candle for Easter


Yankee Sweet Bunny Cake for Easter




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Tuesday, February 18, 2020

An Easter Egg Hunt For Jesus Book Review

More To The Holiday Than Eggs And Bunnies

I found a wonderful book to include in the little one's Easter Basket this year. An Easter Egg Hunt For Jesus will be a nice way to help her understand what we are really celebrating during this special holiday. Just like with Christmas, children need to know the real 'reason for the season.'

easter egg hunt
Egg Hunts are fun for kids
image courtesy of pixabay.com
I will admit that it is fun to color the eggs with the children and even more fun hiding those eggs for them to find. How often do we stop to let them know why we Christians celebrate the Easter Holiday? Depending on their age, it might be difficult to explain the Crucifixion and Resurrection in a way that doesn't disturb them . I remember my oldest coming out of her Sunday School class one Sunday near Easter being absolutely horrified over their lesson that morning. She was about 7 at the time but she had grasped all too well the story of Jesus on that cross. She kept saying, "They killed him, Mommy! Why would they do that?" I kept trying to explain that He had to die so that he could come back to life but I didn't do a very good job of it. I also remember thinking the teacher shouldn't have ended the lesson that day without telling the children at least something about what came next. Maybe she did, but my daughter couldn't get past the part of his death on that hill. I wish that I had been able to prepare her for that lesson with a book like An Easter Egg Hunt For Jesus. It hadn't been written, yet.

Forest of Faith Series 

A series of books have been written to help children understand better, in ways that they can relate to, the meaning of both Christmas and Easter. The stories take place in a forest with adorable little animals who learn more about their faith. The books are written for ages 4 through 6 and have been illustrated beautifully by Lee Holland with the stories being written by Susan Jones. I really think they would be a wonderful addition to the library of books we have to read to our little ones. 

Little Bunny is excited about the special egg hunt taking place in the forest as are all of the creatures who live there. In his enthusiasm to find the 'special egg' he makes a mistake that he believes has ruined the fun for his family and friends. They all come together to help him understand about the Resurrection of Jesus and the celebration over the new life that He offers to all of us. It is a sweet little story! 

I recommend this book to share with the small ones in your family!




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Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Stuffed Bunny For Easter Reviewed

A Gift For Easter Or Anytime

I've been checking out my options for a stuffed bunny as a gift for Easter this year and would like to review one that I am considering getting for the grandchildren. Oh, I might just get one for me, too. I think this one is a real cutie and I do love stuffed animals and if I order it soon, it might help with some inspiration on the book I am trying to finish.

stuffed bunny
A stuffed bunny of a different sort
image courtesy of pixabay.com
One of the reasons that I began to look for a bunny as a gift was because the current book that I'm working on involves a cold case that happened around Easter time a few years ago. In the second book in the Babbs Bennett Mystery series, Sydney becomes alarmed when she sees a stuffed bunny on display in the Holiday Book Store. She begins to explain that she does not like bad bunnies because they take things. As Babbs gently questions the girl, she discovers that Sydney witnessed something at a local Easter Egg Hunt that might help solve the disappearance of a young girl.

Babbs becomes curious and more than a little outraged when she hears that the police talked to Sydney at the time about what she saw and then seemed to dismiss the girl's account. Her assumption is that they did not take the girl seriously because she was born with Down Syndrome and Babbs just can't tolerate the rejection of her little friend when she clearly saw something important. She convinces her friends Priscilla, Elizabeth, and Marjorie to help solve the case of the missing child. Babbs wants to ease the fears that Sydney has about rabbits, prove her point about the police being more sensitive to all witnesses and most importantly find out what happened to the little girl. 

Looking For Inspiration In Odd Places

When I began to write the second book in the series, working title is Brazen Bunny, I wanted to stay with the theme of the series of a book store that decorates for the holidays that are celebrated each month. Since the first book involved Valentine's Day, I thought Easter would be the next logical holiday to have the story revolve around. So, then my mind began a journey about what kind of mystery could involve Easter. It came up with the idea of a child actually being afraid of the Easter Bunny because they saw someone dressed as one do something bad. That is where the plot became to form in my brain. We are still working out the details!

A stuffed rabbit begins the unfolding of what Sydney saw that day, so, I have had stuffed bunnies in my head for a while now. When it came time to think about what to get the kids for Easter, a stuffed bunny pushed itself to the surface. 

I found a cute one. He is manufactured by Checkered Fun and measures about 20 inches tall. His bottom is weighted so that he can sit if you choose for him to do so. He is soft, cuddly and well, cute as a bunny! He is the perfect size to cuddle and snuggle with at bedtime or anytime. I think he deserves to become a new friend to my special girls and he might need to sit and help me finish my book. 




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Monday, April 29, 2019

Reviewing the Basalt Birdbath by Stone Age Creations

My birdbath on a West Virginia ridge.
I have been eyeing these beautiful carved stone birdbaths for years. Only last week did I finally splurge on one. The Basalt stone bird bath by Stone Age Creations carried what I consider a hefty price tag but I think it is worth every penny.  This unique stone bath speaks to me, it is a perfect addition to my "yard", and it will be appreciated by the birds that visit me at The Shack for years to come.

Why Bird Baths are Important


Not only are bird baths wonderful lawn ornaments but they also provide water for the local birds. Birds need water; most birds drinking daily. And birds bathe in order to clean their feathers. Cornell Lab of Ornithology provides important information about proper upkeep of healthy bird baths and why birdbaths are useful. 

Birdbaths also attract a variety of birds to your yard. If you enjoy backyard bird watching and want to attract more birds, you'll love Mary Bath's gorgeous photographs and story about her own backyard birdbath. I always look forward to seeing her photography of her feathered visitors.

What is Basalt?


By looking at and touching the birdbaths at Sun Nursery (where I purchased my birdbath), I could guess that Basalt was some sort of stone. For the purpose of this article, I looked up more information.

Basalt - "the dark, dense igneous rock of a lava flow.... often displaying a columnar structure"  - dictionary.com 

Basalt is also described as
  • as heavy as granite, sometimes heavier
  • high in iron content
  • as durable as granite
  • aesthetically interesting due to the iron content
  • is a stone that has been used in architecture for centuries
  • in addition to landscaping and architecture, basalt is used as massage stones and as healing stones in jewelry
And an interesting bit of trivia is that some of the iconic "head" sculptures of Easter Island are carved from Basalt! I don't know very much about those Moai carvings but I have always thought they are made from beautiful stone. 


Easter Island Moai stone carvings
(photo credit: public domain courtesy of Aurbina)

A Basalt Birdbath at The Shack


I wanted this particular bird bath for several reasons. It is beautiful. The rustic stone exterior and super smooth interior portion of the dish is interesting in appearance and blends perfectly with the rugged ridge landscape.

It comes in two pieces. Each piece is still quite heavy, but the two pieces allowed me to haul it in the Jeep and carry it to it's spot under the apple tree.

My beautiful basalt birdbath
The bowl is quite shallow. During my next visit I am going to add a flat rock to the bowl - giving the smaller birds another spot to perch or use as a step. I really like that this bowl is flat-bottomed and Cornell Lab recommends shallow bird baths. 

The deer are into every single thing that is outside at The Shack. I am hoping that they are not able to knock this heavy birdbath over if they decide to help themselves. Also, the wind blows quite hard coming up and over that ridge. I am sure this bird bath will not blow over.

My land is at the top of the ridge. The terrain is rocky and dry. There is a creek somewhat nearby but it is at the bottom of the hill. I'm sure the birds will be appreciative of a convenient water source.

Related Link: 

During my last trip to The Shack, it rained a lot. So much so that I didn't get much done. I wasn't able to prepare a spot so the bath sits level. But I did have an opportunity to take a hike. If you want to see the photos from that hike, click here

I have wanted this bird bath since discovering Sun Nursery years ago. Sun Nursery has a HUGE selection of plants and staff that are both helpful and knowledgeable. If you are near the Maryland and DC areas, Sun Nursery is well worth a visit. 

Stone Age Creations makes some gorgeous items. I am partial to their birdbaths, benches, and boulder owls. If there is not a distributor of their items in  your area, you can find some of their items on Amazon. 





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Saturday, April 6, 2019

Do You Send Easter Cards?

cute vintage easter cards, fun easter cards and easter cards for dog lovers
There are some absolutely gorgeous Easter cards available and living away from our family it is nice to exchange cards at this time of the year.   There are lots of different cards to choose from including bunny cards (which I love) and bilby cards - the Easter bilby delivers our Easter eggs as bunnies aren't allowed in my state!  There are also a myriad of vintage cards, chick cards and religious cards.

Do people still send these cards though?  It seems more and more that people are just sending greetings through social media and e-cards which is such a shame as it really is nice to receive a card through the mail.

Let's have a look at some of the beautiful cards that are available to send Easter greetings to your friends and family around the world.

Cute Vintage Easter Cards

I do love cute Easter cards and some of the vintage designs really lend themselves to cuteness


I do love this one as it looks like the rabbits are begging the little girl for Easter eggs!  At least that's what I see when I look at this fun and cute card.   There are lots of other cute vintage cards that are based solely on bunnies, but I do like seeing a little girl in this one.

Custom Easter Cards That are Gorgeous

I know as a mum that when our children are little they really like personalized things and the idea that the Easter bunny would leave them a personalized card, well .....


My parents lived in a different country to us so my daughter was always sent an Easter card and a gift - I remember one year she was sent a gorgeous bunny soft toy that actually smelled of chocolate.   For years that chocolate aroma lingered, she loved that bunny!

I think a custom Easter card like this one would put a smile on any child's face.


Fun Easter Cards for Dog Lovers

There are lots of different Easter cards featuring dogs to choose from including gorgeous Golden Retrievers, Pugs, Dachshund and even this cheeky looking Boston Terrier -


I'll admit I'm a dog lover from way back and as far as I'm concerned I am and always will be a dog mum!   I would absolutely love an Easter card that gives a nod to one of my 'babies' and I'm sure I'm not alone in that.

I could not believe the variety of different dog breeds that are represented in Easter cards, definitely pop on over to Zazzle and have a look you will not be sorry!

Which Style of Easter Cards Do You Like?


So which type of Easter card is your favorite.   I could be here for hours looking at cards which is why I have only added a few, but I have to say I love cute Easter cards whether they are modern or vintage. 

Before I go let me ask you two questions - do you send Easter cards?   What type of Easter cards do you like to receive?

Happy Easter!


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Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Easter and Church A Simple Way to Make It Easy for Children

Children and Faith, Our Duty as Christian Parents and Grandparents During this Holiday Season.

In the last 30 years Church attendance has dropped significantly.  Christians still want to attend services at special times of the year and one of them is coming up very shortly.  There are two major celebrations in the Christian community.  Christmas being the first.  Easter is the Second.  Both of these times in the year are  Holidays, and important in the life of a Christian community.  Christmas we celebrate the Birth of Jesus Christ and at Easter, we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus from the Tomb.  Both of these "Holy Days" are usually marked by increased attendance at your local church's worship services.

Easter Church Services

Attending Church services with our family is one of the most wonderful times in a parents and grandparents lives.  It's a great time for us Parents and Grandparents to acknowledge our faith and share it with our families. 

The Question remains, how do we get our children (many of which haven't participated in regular Church Services) to sit quietly at the Services we are attending?  Every parent enters the church with trepidation and fear that their little ones will be disruptive during the Easter Service.

I'm here to tell you that with a little planning ahead, children can and will behave in a way that will not put you to shame.  But it does take some planning.

So let's get to it. Prepare, prepare, prepare!


First of all let's find out how long the church service will last.  Sometimes it will be 30 to 45 minutes and other services may last a few hours.  Knowing how long you need to keep your children engaged will help you plan better. 

Let's assume that services will be about an hour long.  That 60 minutes of quiet time that your children need to get a handle on.

Let's Pack a Church Bag* to take with us to services.  Inside will be all kinds of quiet activities that your children can do when they become restless.  So these are the things I would take along:

*Contents of a great Church Bag

  1. Books, depending on the age of your children, they can be picture books or story books.
  2. Stickers and some paper for them to make their own picture of the Bible story they  will hear.
  3. Coloring books with crayons. (if you have more than one child, make sure you have a book for each one of them!)
  4. Puzzle books, find the words, or crosswords are great!
  5. Small soft Easter type toys, stuffed bunnies, chicks or eggs. You can find some really cute ones here at Coastal Crochet Crafts! 
DO NOT PACK Candy of any Kind.  That would be setting you up for a sugar rush and you don't want to have that during this quiet time.   You should prepare your children ahead of time.  Make it a game to see how long they can be quiet at home, before the Church event happens.  Small rewards for being able to be quiet can help you to increase the time span.  Tell them that they are practicing for the quiet time that they will have to adhere to while Church services are happening.  Practice whispering to each other if conversations need to be had.   Bringing electronic toys to church is not a good idea.  They are very distracting to your child and to others around them.  Even adults are distracted by electronic toys.  Better to stick to bringing a book or two.  Picture books are great and children are always enchanted by stories that they can read.  I happen to like Easter Books that tell the Story of the Resurrection.




There are several available and they will help you to explain to your children what this Season of Easter is all about too!  Children learn from their parents and grandparents about their faith beliefs and it is up to us to encourage that faith.    After Church Services are concluded, I'm sure there will be time for the infamous Easter Egg hunt.  Children especially like this part of the Easter festivities.  Dinner on Easter Sunday will be a gathering of all the family at the table to share in the wonderful foods and desserts that have been lovingly prepared for us.  After all Easter is a whole season of REJOICING!  Everything is new including the seasons.  Everything is in bloom or will be soon.

Please know that most Christians are very happy to see the little ones at church services!  They are a delight to us older folks who remember all to well taking our own children to Services.


Happy Easter to all, The Lord is Risen, He is Risen indeed!




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Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Wicker Basket For Easter Reviewed

Useful After Easter

wicker basket
Wicker basket image courtesy of pixabay.com
Have you ever considered using a wicker basket that is not necessarily promoted to be used as an Easter Basket? Walking down any aisle of a store, we can see several options of baskets to be used on Easter morning. We can find them made in a variety of materials and most are extremely cute but will they last beyond a day or two?

I will admit that I have a penchant for baskets as a whole. I can't honestly say when my love for them began or even why. It might be from memories of my Grandmother using different baskets to complete chores with. She had a basket for gathering eggs, one for picking items from the garden, one for the apples and pears and a few others for specific duties around her home. All of those magnificent baskets were worn from use but sturdy and helpful to her.

It occurred to me the other day as I was looking at an option for baskets this year for my grandchildren that I really didn't want to give them one that was commercially produced for the occasion. I just realized that they looked as inexpensive as their price tags indicated. I would rather give them something that could be used again for another purpose. Perhaps something they could smile at one day when they remembered that Grandma gave them that basket.

I think I found a nice solution for this year. I like the idea that the basket I have chosen can be used to store items in if they want. I can picture my youngest using it to keep her crayons, markers and colored pencils in. My oldest could store her music CDs or other items in. I like this idea much better than a basket that will end up broken and in a landfill somewhere in the near future.

How about you? Would you rather place your Easter goodies in a wicker basket that can find multiple uses for after the holiday?




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Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Lego Easter Egg Hunt Set Reviewed

Fun Idea For Easter Basket Stuffer

easter eggs
Add some Lego Fun to the Basket
(image courtesy of pixabay.com)
It is a good two months before those Easter Egg Hunts take place but I am already looking for some fun ideas to add to the baskets. Of course there will be eggs to be found. I always look for some different sorts of sweets to add but I like to hold that sugary stuff to a minimum. So, I start searching for non-edible ideas rather early. I have found something fun for this year. 

Those that know me might remember that I love to play with Legos. My brothers and I built things with those plastic bricks when we were little. Hours of fun were spent with my daughters with them. This grandma still plays with the colorful plastic pieces with her grandchildren. I even have a display of the Big Bang Theory done in Legos in our family room. 

Imagine my thrill when I found a set of Legos that creates a scene for an Easter Egg Hunt! It is a small little set with only 145 pieces so the box will fit nicely in the kid's baskets. The set allows you to build three separate locations (to hide the 3 eggs). There is a carrot garden, a flower garden and a hen house. Two figures come with the set; an adult and a child. There is a wheelbarrow, a cute little basket and a magnifying glass. Well, it is just down right adorable! 

As with most of the Lego sets once this one is assembled the different locations can be easily added to any other display you might already have on display. We rarely tear our finished sets down in this house. They are fun to pull out and play with when the kids come or Grandma goes to their house. 

If you are looking for something to add to an Easter Basket that won't throw your child or grandchild into a raging sugar high, consider a set of Lego fun with the Easter Egg Hunt.
  



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Sunday, January 13, 2019

Add Love in Your Home Decor for Valentine's Day

Love Themed Home Décor Items
Love Décor for the Entire Year

Most of us rarely think about adding home décor that relates to a love theme. It's a beautiful way to honor our families and each other.

Here are some ideas for you:

1. Add a Heart Themed Rug to a Room

The nice thing about a heart themed rug is that it works no matter what time of year it is. If you have someone celebrating a birthday in February, it makes a terrific original gift. You'll notice there are many styles and colors in heart rugs to choose from. One of my personal faves is the pompom heart rug for a child's room. Be sure to check them out, you can find them here.

2. Add a Love Themed Wall Decal to a Room

There are countless wall decals that speak about family and love. A famous quote we've heard over and over is "All Because Two People Fell in Love". Add this quote to any room in the home, including a child's room. In fact, if someone you know is having a baby, this wall decal makes an excellent gift. You can find several featured here.

3.  Redecorate a Room with a Love Themed Bedding Set

With spring coming up, you may be feeling the itch to redecorate. If so, why not create a room that's all about love.

It can be a child's room, a guest room, or the master bedroom. Love themed bedding will stand the test of time. If you're not into changing your existing comforter, put a new duvet over it. That way when you tire of the love themed bedding, you can remove the duvet and get your room back to it's original state.

A guest room or child's room is an ideal place to go to town with a love theme. In fact you can incorporate the rug and wall decal suggestions featured here to complete the look. Check out a few lovely bedding sets here.

4. Put a Kindred Hearts Light Box in a Room

These are great! They serve a double purpose, ambient lighting and inspiration.

It's a decorative box that lights up. However, the best part is you can collect pre-made quotes and art to insert inside the box.

Collect a bunch of them and change them up for every holiday or special occasion. There are countless inserts to collect: birthdays, holidays, inspirational quotes, valentines day, Easter, Christmas, fun, jokes, patriotic holidays and more.

The inserts make an excellent small gift to bring to someone who you know has the light box already. Keep adding to their collection. Place one of these light boxes in your love themed bedroom and feature a quote about love.




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Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Whimsical Throw Pillow Covers Reviewed

Fun Ways To Cover Your Pillows

throw pillows
Pillows image from Pixabay.com
Today, I would like to show you a fun option to cover your throw pillows in an economical and whimsical way. If you are like me, you have several around the house that could be changed with your mood or even the season of year. 

I love the thought of covering pillows that I already have instead of having to go out and buy more pillows. Getting a few pillow cases that match the size of my pillows is an easy solution. 

I should mention that if you don't have many throw pillows, you can purchase the cover and a form to use. That just is not a problem in our home because I own more pillows than most already. 

For less than ten greenbacks you can surely find at least one pillow cover that you like. The option that I found has 43 different patterns to chose from. There are several that have a phrase about books and reading but there are also some for the different holidays during the year like Easter and Christmas and even some nice ones with an autumn theme. 

The cases or covers that I found fit 18 by 18 inch pillows and do not come with the pillow insert. They are made from a cotton linen fabric and are machine washable. The printing is on one side only and did I mention that they are really inexpensive? I did? Well, it was worth noting again. 

These are so fun that not only will I be getting one or two for myself but they will make a great gift for Christmas or a house warming party. 

What do you think? Do you like the idea of being able to have a few pillow covers to change the look of your throw pillows? 



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Thursday, August 30, 2018

Gifts Reviewed on Review This Reviews!

Treasures from the Archives of Review This Reviews!


 Gifts Reviewed on Review This!
We all buy gifts for many different occasions.  The Contributors of Review This Reviews frequently review the gifts they have purchased and given, as well as gifts they have received and loved.  Therefore, you will find a wide range of recommendations by exploring our gift reviews, for a wide variety of recipients.

Whether you are searching for gift ideas for women, men, children, friends, co-workers or even pets, you are sure to find some excellent suggestions on Review This Reviews!  

From birthdays to Christmas gifts, Father's Day, Mother's Day, anniversaries, and even gifts for communions, these gift reviews and more, are all included.  There are reviews for specific personal preferences like "Gifts for Tea Lovers" or "Gifts for a Vegan Teen" that make it easier to identify what someone will like.  

Most often, you will find the gifts we have reviewed are unique.  They are not the items you normally see listed in the gift category of many shopping sites.  Yet, they are the items we have given or received that have made a bit hit with the recipients.  We hope our reviews make your gift shopping easier and fun.  Don't be surprised if you find a few things you want yourself.



Welcome to Our Gift Library of Reviews!



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There are dozens of gifts reviewed on Review This Reviews!  This small board features the most recent 50 reviews. 




Links to Additional Pinterest Gift Boards from Review This Reviews! 


Birthday Gifts Ideas & Suggestions

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Gifts Reviewed on Review This Reviews!

For a written list of the gifts reviewed on Review This Reviews, please visit our Site Directory and select "Gifts" from the "Fast Click" category tabs on that page.




Read More Product Reviews at
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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Outstanding Gifts for First Communions and Confirmations

April and May are the typical months for many "spiritual" exercises in the Roman Catholic Church, so let's review some appropriate and outstanding gifts for these special occasions!

gifts for religious occasions, Holy Communion, Confirmation,
Spring is that time of renewal and rebirth!  Everything seems to be coming to life again and so with Easter behind us, it's time to help our youngsters grow in their faith too!

Along with the profession of their First Communions and/or Confirmations, many families opt to host a small party for the child who is taking this big step.  Often times if you are invited to this kind of celebration, it is difficult to know what an appropriate gift would be for the child. As the parent and grandparent of a few children that have made this testament to their faith,  I can help you out!

Holy Communions and Confirmations are religious events,  unlike birthdays or other celebrations.  Gifts should be in keeping with the tone of the event.  For parents and grandparents, they may choose to give the child a Prayer Book and/or Rosary.  A nice cross on a chain for them to wear would also be appropriate.  Other invited guests may choose monetary gifts because they have no idea what an appropriate gift would be.

I like to give books and believe firmly that a child will enjoy a book given for a special occasion and maybe even treasure that book well into their adult life.  To that end, I'm going to suggest a  book that I really like and would be lovely for either First Communion or Confirmation


Brother Sun and Sister Moon is an adaptation from St. Francis of Assisi's song to God, by Katherine Paterson!  The original version was written in 1227!  This particular book has beautiful illustrations that are actually hand cut outs of paper by Pamela Dalton.  Each picture is a marvel in and of itself. This book is wonderful in both content and design.  The gorgeous pictures and beautiful words,  will be a nice reminder for any child of that special day in their lives. The illustrations are just so well done and an art form that we don't see too much of.  I had seen this book at the library, and I was taken by surprise at the beauty of the illustrations.  Mind you, I also happen to love St. Francis of Assisi!  He is the patron saint of gardeners (my other passion) and naturalists. 

The Bible Made Easy - for Kids,  is a great starting point for dialogue about faith.  When the children read what is happening in the Bible stories,  in language that they understand, discussion about faith topics is so much easier!  The Bible (while wonderful in its original form) is not a book that is easily understood.  Giving children the opportunity to read the stories and understand their meanings is a great way to start some interesting discussions about the life and faith lessons that we need to learn.

Encouraging children to read and ask questions makes their faith life come alive.  It's not just something they do on Sundays anymore. 

So let me see if I can make it even easier for you to decide on the appropriate gift!  Here's a list that works for me:

Holy Communion or Confirmation Gifts:

1.  Faith based books! (Geared to the age of the child)
2.  Cross for Child's room
3.  Bookmarks with spiritual sayings
4.  Picture frame for the "Special Day Photo"
5.  Rosary (if they are Catholics, you can never have just one!)
6.  Necklace or charm with a religious tone (angels, wings, crosses etc.)
7.  Small statue of their favorite saint or namesake.
8.  Donation to a favorite charity in the name of the child.
9.  Child friendly Bible
10.Gratitude Journal

These are just my suggestions, I'm sure that you can come up with more! Teaching and passing on the faith we believe in is part of our duty as parents.  Milestones in that faith formation should be celebrated with loved ones.  Truly, it is home where our sense of faith begins and it is home where milestones should be celebrated too.
Holy Communion gifts, religious gifts, faith based gifts from family

You can read more about these sacraments and appropriate gifts in another review I did a few years ago.  Click Right Here and read some more if you feel so inclined!  Bless you all!




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