Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Incredible Power of Love

Where We Are by Westlife
Another Sunday Post Another week gone by, and as the Country Music Contributor for Review-It, it's my privilege to introduce you to yet another beautiful song.

However, this week I hope you don't mind if I take you outside the country music genre to introduce you to one of the most powerful songs about losing someone you love you may ever hear.

It's such an emotional song, that I want to warn you that if you're feeling a little too emotional over the passing of someone you love, you may not be able to watch and listen to it right now. Having recently lost my dad, both my husband and I have weeped during this song. The music, the message and the story behind the song will deeply touch your soul. I'm sure of it.

The song was written and dedicated to two of the band member's fathers who passed away much too soon.
Memorial Wall Quote
You'll notice when you watch it, the two members in the middle only do the back-up singing during this song: Without knowing for sure, I suspect the song is in honor of their dads. I know for a fact I wouldn't be able to do any singing after the loss of my own dad. As with most families, none of us could barely speak, much less sing. This pain you can cut with a knife.

My dad passed away on March 5th, 2013, and there isn't a second that goes by that I don't have him in my thoughts. I've written so much about dad; some may think I've written too much, but when you've loved someone so deeply, and they've loved you unconditionally in return for your entire life, there's a part of you that will belong to them beyond a human existence, and 'til the end of time. Missing someone this much is almost like bleeding tears. Trying to find a way to explain it to others is hard, actually impossible. Only those who feel this, know this.

It's also the strangest pain. Although it's gut wrenching to miss a person this much, it's a feeling I would never trade. Without it, I would have never known and been loved so perfectly by the most wonderful dad a girl could ask for. So to have had this Father in my life for 78 years, I'll gladly take this pain now. I'm grateful and thankful to have been so loved. Because of his love, I work to spread a little more goodness wherever and whenever I can. When I'm feeling sad or wronged (which isn't often) I remember all the blessings in my life; my dad, my mom, my brothers, my children, my husband, my friends online and offline, and mostly the love I carry inside of me through all of life's challenges, no matter how big.

That is, for me, the incredible power, and gift of love.

Go hug someone you love today, I'll be sure to do it as well, many times.

In memory of my dad; wish I could hear your voice again. Thank you for always being there for me, for all of  us - You are my reason Dad.



By Barbara Tremblay Cipak Country Music Reviewer
Drageda.com - Don't Ride Alone, Get Emotional Daily Assistance


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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Halloween Desserts - Part II of Halloween Recipes on Review This!

Halloween party planning is in full swing. As part of our series for Halloween Recipes on Review This, I now feature dessert recipes for the fun of Halloween. And I found some for those amazingly creepy and ghoulish parties, as well as for those charming fun parties.

A Creepy Looking Snake Cake

This one, I just couldn't resist. Snakes are the one animal that really creep me out. That means a snake cake is perfect for a Halloween party dessert. Not only does this look incredibly real, but it will delight you guests with how good it is when you can actually break down and cut the cake.

The snake cake tutorial is from Sylvestermouse, so we know the instructions are easy to follow and the tips are perfect to make sure we can duplicate the look. She is always so careful about that. But, she did more than just this scary and perfect-for-Halloween-desserts snake cake.

 Halloween Ghost Castle Cake


Sylvestermouse has a great talent for creating unique and interesting cakes. Her Halloween Ghost Castle Cake is ideal for those parties that feature the fun side of Halloween. Charming, sweet and completely edible, this ghostly castle makes a wonderful centerpiece for your party table.

This Ghost Castle Cake would also make a perfect addition to the kids' school parties. Can't you just picture the children's faces of delight when you bring that cake into their party? 

And believe me, you can make this cake yourself! I know because I've done it. I followed Sylvestermouse's instructions carefully and it turned out perfect. So enjoy a little of the fun side of Halloween, too.

Ghoulish Chocolate Candy Molds 


As long as you are preparing fun stuff for your Halloween buffet, try adding in some brain candies, skull and cross bones shapes or even a few chocolate spiders. Halloween candy molds are easy to use to create some extra little desserts for your party guests. 

My favorite trick is to tuck some of these chocolate candies around and under the dessert platters and cake stands on my buffet table. Yes, I can creep out my guests with the spiders, but that's part of the fun of a Halloween party. 

(www.web-surfing-with-susan.com/halloween-candy-molds)

Spooky Spider Cupcake


No Halloween dessert review would be complete without cupcakes. Thanks to CherylFay, we have some spooky spider cupcakes for you. Of course, she makes it easy to follow her great tutorial. And these are easy to do. Using both Oreo cookies and M & M candies you end up with a perfect treat for just about anyone.

These cupcakes would make a great addition to your Halloween buffet table. Set them up on a cake plate stand so they add visual appeal to your table. Then stand back and watch your guests enjoy themselves. 

More Halloween Recipe Reviews


Be sure to check out more of the Halloween Recipe Review series. We started with Appetizers that will delight your guests. Some truly creepy and some just for fun. Keep a watch as we prepare you for the best Halloween party!



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Friday, October 17, 2014

Halloween Appetizers - Part I of Halloween Recipes on Review This!

Halloween Appetizers - Part I of Halloween Recipes on Review This!
Finding the best Halloween recipes and most appropriate food for our Halloween parties can often be a daunting task.  

Therefore, we will be focusing on helping our readers by featuring the delicious food for Halloween that we have found across the web.  I do believe there is something here for everyone.

We will start with the party starters themselves, appetizers!



Jack-o’-Lantern Sandwich Bites

Jack O Lantern Sandwich Bites Recipe
Jack-o’-Lantern Sandwich Bites by Frank P. at Delish.com

These cute little pumpkin sandwich bites are perfect for the whole family including children!   They are not too scary in appearance, but would be delectably delicious.  

Since they use our everyday favorite meat and cheese, they are sure to be a hit and something that the kids will also eat. 
 

You can find the instructions for constructing these cute little pumpkin sandwiches on Delish.com by clicking here.   

   

Halloween Deviled Eggs


Deviled Eggs are always one of my own personal favorite appetizers to eat, so I an constantly on the lookout for new and interesting ways to prepare them for parties.

For the Halloween party, I have found two ways to prepare Deviled Eggs to serve as appetizers.  You choose which one best suits your personal tastes in ingredients.  Either would be fantastic to look at sitting on the Halloween buffet table.  

 

Devils on Horseback



 Devils on Horseback by DecoratingEventsTo go with your "deviled" eggs, you may wish to also include Devils on Horseback.  

This is a completely new idea for my Halloween party buffet table.  I had never heard of Devils on Horseback until I read this article and recipe by DecoratingEvents.

The Devils on Horseback look perfect for a Halloween appetizer, but the recipe actually sounds delicious.   

In the article, she also includes a recipe for Devils on Horseback featuring shrimp instead of bacon & cheese.

The perfect combination for the Halloween party!


Wonton Bats 

http://www.firstforwomen.com/posts/wonton-bats-65988#.VD_Y2cnSn7F
Wonton Bats by First for Women
In my search for great Halloween appetizers for our Halloween party, I also discovered these cute little guys!

Bats and Halloween just seem to go together. Adding edible bats to my Halloween buffet seems like a wonderful idea.  

Now, I just wonder, will my guests be able to eat these cute little bats!  I might have to close my eyes to keep from looking into those little bat eyes myself.

When I consider my guests, I seriously do have images in my mind of them trying to "fly" the bats across the room at each other.   We do enjoy playing with our food, especially on Halloween.



Halloween Skull Veggie Platter

Now this Halloween vegetable platter is ingenious and was clearly created with the vegetarian in mind.

It is beautifully creative and artistically designed.  This will most likely be the food centerpiece on my Halloween buffet table at this years Halloween party.





More Halloween Appetizer Recipes

We are still searching for more great Halloween Appetizer Recipes.
 
If you have published a Halloween Appetizers Recipe that would be great additions to our table, please share you link in our guestbook below.   We are always on the lookout for great new articles to feature.




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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Quebec City through the Eye of a Camera


Before embarking on a Canada and New England cruise in September, I was able to spend two nights in the historic town of Quebec City.  I found Quebec City to be a photographers delight, from the historic buildings to the charming street scenes, everything just seemed to call out to me to photograph.

The photo above is the Chateau Frontenac which is located in upper Quebec high above the St. Lawrence river.  We stayed our first night in the hotel that is located within the Chateau Frontenac.  It was a lovely place to stay and a great location in which to take walks from and capture photos of upper Quebec City.

 Upper Quebec City

Here are a couple of scenes from our first evening in Quebec City. 

 The first is the 1640 Bistro where we had dinner and the second is the Chateau lit up in the evening.

Artists Street

One of my favorite places to visit in upper Quebec City is the Rue Du Tresor.  On this street artists hang their wares for all to view and purchase.  You can sometimes see artists at work too.

Lower Quebec City- Street Scenes

I really enjoyed walking the streets of lower Quebec City in the very French portion of the city.  Here are some of the street scenes I was able to capture with my camera.  The streets were charming with every entrance way taking on a different look.  There were still lots of beautiful flowers and greenery in the doorways in late September.  


 The building to the left has a mural painted on it depicting the four seasons of the year in Quebec City.  There were many small shops, restaurants, and art galleries throughout the area.

I have also written an article on my trips to Quebec City you can link to it here http://mbgphoto.hubpages.com/hub/quebec-city-2
For a scenic calendar with scenes from Quebec City stop by my Zazzle store. Click on the link below.



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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Best Animal Costumes for Halloween

Costumes for an Animal Theme Halloween Party




It's almost the witching hour now, as we are only 16 days away from All Hollow's Eve as it was known before being re-christened as "Halloween." I love Halloween because I love to dress up in costumes and see all the costumes and decorate the house and have a party! It really has evolved to be the gateway to the Holiday Season as it seems to add a sparkle to the air in the Fall.


spider web creepy

One year I had a Halloween party where we stipulated animal costumes so that was the year I started the scary spider theme as my Halloween decor of choice. Creepy right? Funny because I really don't like them in real life at all and border on arachnophobia! But what's Halloween without some creepy scary spiders and goblins and ghosts? So I like to decorate the lawn with scary spider decorations, and the windows too.


A lot of animal costumes showed up that year and I think it was one of my most fun parties so my daughter and I have decided to do another Halloween animal costume party this year. So far the best ones we've heard our guests are donning are a mix of expected and unexpected.


horse costume
The obvious animal costume where I live is a Horse, and sure enough someone is coming in a horse costume! There are actually quite a few horse costumes available too. Another one I'm not surprised by is a cat costume and we have heard two guests have chosen to be a cat for Halloween. (Many of our guests are under the age of 5)




But I'm pulling out my Peacock Costume and I hear there are lots of Ninja Turtles coming along with Batman and Spiderman who are sort of animal costumes so they count too. 



We're also going to have some doggie guests and one of them is going to be wearing a Spider costume so that should keep all the arachnophobics on guard. Especially if they are not dog lovers. 2 phobias in one!  


Yes I would say animal costumes are awesome for Halloween!


Happy Halloween to everyone!


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Monday, October 13, 2014

Recommended Reading for Small Space Gardeners

I am so excited that I can barely contain myself.   I have found something that I have to share with you.  I have found a nifty little magazine called Urban Farm: Sustainable City Living.  I am especially happy to have found this issue as the nights grow cold and the leaves begin to change in the mid-Atlantic.  Summer and gardening have begun to draw to a close.

All You Need wooden sign
Some of you are aware that I am a country girl, living in an urban (suburban) setting.  A few of you
are also aware that I try to grow a vegetable garden on my balcony and in my kitchen garden.  I'm not very good at it, but I've done great with tomatoes for two years in a row, and am currently having a great time finding uses for my sweet mint, rosemary, and jalepeno peppers.  

Over the decades, I have purchased many gardening magazines and how-to books.  Mother Earth News has been one of my favorite magazines.  But many times, with those magazines and books, I have had to read the articles and imagine the day that I own my own home again so that I can follow through with the things I've learned.  After all, no matter how much I plan and scheme, I cannot devise a way to raise chickens in my third floor apartment.

Imagine my happiness when I found this magazine that is dedicated to  folks who live in limited space but want a more self-reliant lifestyle.  

I purchased the September/October 2014 issue of the Urban Farm.  Some of the titles include:

  • Framing Out the Cold (small cold frames)
  • Storage Wards (storing your harvest without a root cellar)
  • Behind the Scenes Inside the Hive
  • A Dry Idea (how to dry and preserve tomatoes)
  • Wild Gardens (a foraging garden with wild edibles)
  • Shared Spaces (the urban farm movement)

Photograph by Ken Scicluna
All of the articles have been informative and interesting. I was especially drawn to the small cold frames article.  While I dream of own my own larger greenhouse, such as the one Diana Wenzel shows us how to Do-It-Yourself in her article, I have to deal with my reality.  And my reality is that I have a 9' x 5' balcony and one good but small space at my kitchen window for gardening.  I also live in Maryland.  I have a longer growing season than I had when I lived in northern Indiana, but it's still not as long as I would like.

The article in Urban Farmer shows "farmers" like myself how to use cold frames to make microclimates to extend the growing season.  While I've known about cold frames for years, I always imagine the large hoop style that commercial nurseries use.  There is one photograph in the Urban Farm article that shows a small cold frame insulated in snow with a single light bulb for additional heat and light. The remainder of the article and photographs already have me imagining and planning for my own cold frame on my balcony.  Extending my growing season has just become my new reality.  You can bet good money that I'll be out there before the end of the week, starting some sort of mini-cold frame.

If you are a gardener, no matter the space available to you - acres or inches - I highly recommend that you check  out this nifty little magazine.  Either at the bookstore or at Urban Farm Online.


Written by Dawn Rae

Disclosure: In affiliation with AllPosters.com, Dawn Rae is a blogger and content writer who may earn compensation from the sale of AllPosters products.   I am in no way affiliated with Urban Farm magazine nor do I profit from it's sales.  



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Saturday, October 11, 2014

There Must Be Something in the Water - Another Incredible Message from a Country Song

Something in the Water Via Amazon
How did another Sunday get here so quickly!

Assigned this glorious day to write about country music, it's my pleasure to give you a heads up on another magnificent tune headed straight to  number one, about love, life, change and mostly hope.
  
 If you haven't heard Carrie Underwood's latest single released September 29th, 2014, 'Something in the Water', well get those speakers ready and crank this one up!

Although the song has a religious reference to Baptism, the lyrics easily apply to anybody going through a major metamorphosis in life.

If you've journeyed down endless rocky roads, and without realizing it, found yourself wasting too much of
I Once Was Lost, but Now I'm Found
your life, then Carrie's gorgeous song of hope and choice was written for you.
(Lyrics) He said, "I've been where you've been before.
Down every hallway's a slamming door."
No way out, no one to come and save me
Wasting a life that the Good Lord gave me"
 

As we get older, and with a little bit of luck, many of us are invited to sit at the table of reflection

This coveted seat allows us to see the genuine value of living the life we are meant to live. We remember our own  idealistic spirit, the one we now see in younger souls coming up behind us, the ones now headed to the same table of reflection we've currently reached.

Looking in the eyes of youthful energy, the table of reflection calls you to pray that these young up-and-comers see their value and tap into their life purpose with as little pain as possible. All of us currently gathered around this table have come to understand one key point about life; in everything we do there is a choice, and ultimately, we are responsible for our own choices.
(Lyrics) "Couldn't fight back the tears so I fell on my knees
Saying, "God, if you're there come and rescue me."
Felt love pouring down from above
Got washed in the water, washed in the blood and now I'm changed
And now I'm stronger"

Take the Wishes Challenge!

If you were granted one wish, what would that wish be? If you're a 20 year old soul reading this page, I challenge you to write down that wish, then every five years ask the question again, write down that answer and do that every half decade you live. Keep those wishes safely tucked in a box, and when you're invited to the table of reflection later in life, look back to see how your wishes have changed. As Carrie's song expresses, 'I am changed, I am Stronger, I was blind and now I see'

May your Sunday be blessed with the joy of love, friends, and family and if you find yourself void of any of these then please accept my virtual hug of hope given in the lyrics of 'Something in the Water':



Have a wonderful day!

by Barbara Tremblay Cipak, Country Music Reviewer
Drageda - Don't Ride Alone Get Emotional Daily Assistance




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National Cookbook Month Continues with Chocolate

As we continue to celebrate National Cookbook Month on Review This, we go on to Chocolate Cookbooks. After all, if we're going to celebrate cookbooks, you just can't leave out the fabulous dessert ones.

It was a joy to review 4 different chocolate cookbooks for the website Completely Chocolate. (www.completely-chocolate.com/)   And of course, I just had to try out some of the marvelous recipes. Well, I had to make sure the cookbooks were as good as promised didn't I?

The featured cookbooks include the latest from the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company and a great one just for vegan chocolate desserts. Since I have a vegan daughter, I couldn't resist trying out those recipes. They did pass the decadent test.

Now, I will give you fair warning. Not all the recipes are easy to make. Some get quite complicated and require better chef skills than I have. These will take just a bit more practice on my part. But, even the failures were enjoyable to eat.

Each of the featured chocolate cookbooks also make great gifts. They each have beautiful
photographs, most that make your mouth water just looking at them. But, each cookbook also includes lots of extras. Things like how to work with chocolate, how to make chocolate gifts and plenty more.

Allow everyone of your family, friends and neighbors to enjoy National Cookbook Month with you. Get a copy of your favorite chocolate cookbook and try out a new recipe. A decadent dessert can work wonders for everyone.

More Chocolate Cookbooks:  www.completely-chocolate.com/wp/chocolate-cookbooks



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Friday, October 10, 2014

Halloween Apparel & Accessories to Wear All Day


Many of us enjoy celebrating Halloween all day, not just at night for parties or trick or treating.  Some of us even wear our favorite Halloween accessories throughout the week to work, to school or simply when we go to the grocery store.  There are many ways we can dress up an everyday outfit with Halloween jewelry, scarves, sweaters, t-shirts or perhaps by carrying a Halloween purse.  These items are all a fun way to extend Halloween beyond the evening costumes.


Halloween Earrings
Halloween Earrings

My personal favorite way to accessorize for all day Halloween fun is by simply wearing Halloween Earrings.  This is truly the easiest way to dress up an everyday outfit with a touch of Halloween that is not too overpowering.  Halloween earrings can often be worn to work or school, and they can certainly be worn to the grocery store for those of us who still have our regular daily responsibilities to attend to before the nighttime festivities begin.

For a selection of Halloween Earrings, you will want to visit:  Halloween Earrings

You May Also Enjoy:  Halloween Rings, which are another all day Halloween accessory. 



Halloween Shirts

Halloween shirts are also a great way to dress for the day or week to celebrate Halloween without having to don a full costume.

Halloween Shirts for Kids
We all enjoy wearing the comfortable t-shirts, but a Halloween t-shirt is especially a treat.  There are Halloween Shirts made just for children.  Kids will love being able to wear pumpkins, little ghosts, skeletons or a variety of other Halloween images created just for children.

Adults and teens will, no doubt, embrace these Funny T-shirts funny t-shirts that are sure to bring a smile to the faces of all of their friends.  Some will even make them laugh out loud.  

For the selection of Halloween T-shirts visit:  Halloween Shirts for Kids and Funny Halloween T-shirts.


Funny Halloween T-shirts


Halloween Scarves

Fun Wrap Scarves
If you live in an area where the temperatures have already turned cold by Halloween, you will want to accessorize with a fabulous Halloween Scarf.  These scarves can be worn with just a plain shirt which will provide the perfect background for them, or even with your coat.

Regardless of how cold it is in your area, a Halloween scarf is just plain fun!  It would also be the perfect Halloween item for parents to wear when they accompany their children while trick or treating.

For a selection of recommended Halloween Scarves visit:  Fun Wrap Scarves for the Holiday



Halloween Purses

Halloween Purses & Handbags
Halloween purses are another way to accessorize an everyday outfit, plus they are so much fun to carry.  

These Halloween purses are sure to elicit a ton of comments and compliments throughout the Halloween holiday.

For a selection of Halloween Purses visit:  Halloween Purses and Handbags








More Halloween Apparel & Accessories to Wear All Day

You can find more suggestions for Halloween all day apparel and accessories at Halloween Haven where the Halloween fun begins and continues throughout the year.  It is all about Halloween!





If you have published an article on Halloween apparel or accessories that for be appropriate for all day wear, please share you link in our guestbook below.   We are always on the lookout for great new articles to feature.




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Thursday, October 9, 2014

You Too can be a Lighthouse Keeper

Lighthouses are fun to visit.  They give you a sense of history and romance and are great places to relax and enjoy the views, but did you ever consider what it would be like to be a lighthouse keeper?

With modern technology most lighthouses are a thing of the past and are mainly restored and used for tourists.  There are a still a few working lighthouses around, but even those are automated and do not have a need for a daily lighthouse keeper.

This past week I went on a tour of one lighthouse where you can stay the night and imagine what it would be like to be a lighthouse keeper.  Rose Island lighthouse, pictured above, is on an 18 acre island just off the coast of Newport Rhode Island.  Guests can spend a week or a night and the island can also be rented for weddings and special events.  I was only there for an hour but I think it would be cool to stay in the lighthouse and experience it during the night.  

During past trips I have had the privilege of staying overnight in lighthouses in both Michigan and Minnesota.  I loved being able to climb the towers in the middle of the night and looking out to the ocean.  It was also a great way to capture photographs at all hours of the day and night. The photo below is from Big Bay Lighthouse in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  It is a Bed and Breakfast we stayed in for two nights.

The other lighthouse bed and breakfast we stayed at was in Two Harbors Minnesota.  We just stayed there one night but it was a great experience.   In the early morning I got out of bed and wandered onto the lighthouse grounds to take this photo just before sunrise.




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