Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Classic Berenstain Bears Book Series

The Berenstain Bears - Available on Amazon
A Review - Children's Books About Life Lessons and Why we Love The Berenstain Bears Collection

As a mom of four sons, I have to say The Berenstain Bears Books were a staple in our home. I use the term 'were', because I've since passed most of them down to grandchildren or in some cases, they've been given to schools.

The Titles Tell You Exactly The Lesson Your Child is About Learn

The title of these books make it very clear to us Mom's exactly what 'life lesson' we are about to teach our child. With titles like; Too Small for the Team, Learn About Strangers and Mama's Helpers, it's easy to see why we know what we're getting. After all, we're busy and the clearer the title, the better it is for us!

Teaching Life Lessons Seems Just a Bit Easier with a Storybook!

When the kids are growing up, it seems we're always in 'teaching' mode: Put this away; please share with your brother; turn off the lights; finish your homework please, and so on! Do these instructions sound familiar to any of you? I'm sure you've said these things and a lot more!

What I loved about the Berenstain Bears Collection of books was being able to teach the boys a life lesson without sounding like a preachy mom. When it's a character in a book learning a lesson, it's simply more fun for the kids to watch that character 'take the lesson' instead of mom telling 'them' what to do for a change! I like to think of these books as 'a break from life lessons while still learning a life lesson'. Oh, we moms can be sneaky!

They need a series now for teenagers and young adults! I can just pictured it; my teenage son sitting beside me while I read, 'Did the Berenstain Bears Not Teach You Anything! Clean Your Room Cause Mom is Older and too Tired to Preach! - Only problem is, they would probably loved being sent to their room for a time out, request extended time, then laugh about how they managed to get mom to read  them a story and bonus...sent them to their room!

Here's a Popular Berenstain Bears Book on Youtube - 'Forget their Manners'


By Barbara Tremblay Cipak

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Saturday, January 10, 2015

Collectible Lego Toys Under Review

It's time to shine the review spotlight on collectible toys, specifically Lego toys. Even more specifically, some of my favorites for my own collection of Lego toys. Yes, I am a collector of toys. Not just Legos, but others types as well.

My Lego collection started by accident. I inherited my younger brother's Lego toys when he headed off to college. But that one accident opened up a whole world to me. Now, I'm always on the lookout for additions.

Lego Toy Planes

I couldn't resist adding a Lego toy plane to my wish list. The trick was trying to pick out which one. Lego offers us toy options from a Ninjago Storm Fighter plane to a passenger plane complete with airport terminal. In true Lego fashion, the planes are built from the a combination of bricks.

Lego Planes and Helicopters reviews not only my favorite toy planes but plenty more, including some fun helicoptor choices. Any collector of Lego toys will lots to add to his or her collection.

Lego Goes Game With Minecraft

My granddaughter introduced me to the world of Minecraft. I was hooked quickly into building villages, called biomes, and saving my communities for the zombies and bombs. Of course, I wanted my Lego toy collection to include my new-found game world.

Lego Minecraft Sets helped me out. The full collection of Lego Minecraft sets is reviewed, giving me the information I needed. Well, needed to know I wanted to add all the sets. Yes, my Lego toy collection is growing.  

Collectible Lego Toys

Even if you aren't an avid toy collector, Lego is still a fun way to enjoy playtime. My Legos provide hours of great fun for me as I build each set, but they do more. Because they are toys, they are meant to be played with. That's great for my grandchildren as well as me. How many toy collections can boast that feature?

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Friday, January 9, 2015

"The Scapegoat" Movie Review
I absolutely love it when we discover a movie that both my husband and I enjoy.  Thus was the case with "The Scapegoat" and I knew I had to write this movie review and recommend this movie to all of our readers.

It was a bit of a fluke actually that we found "The Scapegoat".  No one had recommended it, neither of us had ever heard of it and the actors were not familiar names to us, but we felt we had nothing to lose by turning it on.  After all, if it wasn't a good movie, we could certainly stop it and select another.

Within moments, we were pulled into the British world of the past and completely enthralled in the movie plot.  

"The Scapegoat" Movie Plot Synopsis

By chance, a wealthy businessman meets an out of work teacher who looks exactly like him.  The businessman appears to befriend the teacher and plies him with drinks until he is quite drunk.  In the morning the teacher awakens to find that the businessman has taken the liberty of trading lives with him.  Even before he has a chance to fully grasp what is happening to him, a chauffeur, believing he is the businessman, has "helped" his employer to the car and they are fast on the way home.

We quickly start learning, right along with the teacher, what a deceitful, cheating, treacherously duplicitous character the businessman is in life.   It is easy to understand why he would want to escape his crumbling "house of cards" life and leave someone else to deal with the failures in business and his personal life.

But, what looks obvious is not the complete story.  

This is a must see movie that will appeal to mystery movie lovers as well as the romantics.

"The Scapegoat" Movie Based on a Book

I cannot tell you how surprised I was to discover this morning that "The Scapegoat" is based on a book written by Daphne du Maurier, who just happens to be one of my all time favorite authors.  

It made me wonder if I have previously read the book and simply did not recognize the plot in movie form.  As we all know, movie screenplays don't always follow the books perfectly, but are often more loosely based on a book.

Regardless, I will reading the book, perhaps for the first time, over the next few days and I am quite certain it will also be fabulous.

"The Scapegoat" Movie Rating

I highly recommend "The Scapegoat".  It really is a great movie and deserves a lot more recognition that it has received.

In my opinion, "The Scapegoat" is a 5 star, must see movie! 

5 out of 5 stars

One additional note:  The DVD that is available on will not play on most DVD players sold in the US or Canada.

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Thursday, January 8, 2015

Puzzle Review- Create a Puzzle from a Favorite Photograph

Do you have a favorite photograph that you would like to use for a gift?  How about turning it into a puzzle?

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Jigsaw Puzzles
Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Jigsaw Puzzles by lighthouseenthusiast
View more jigsaw puzzles

You can make your own puzzles on the Zazzle website or you can choose from a wide variety of puzzles that Zazzle shopkeepers have listed on their pages. You might choose a favorite photo from a trip or perhaps a photo of a flower from your garden.  Another great use for the Zazzle puzzles is to make a puzzle for a child with a photo of them on the puzzle.  

 The puzzle above was made from a photo I took of Cape Hatteras lighthouse in North Carolina.  This lighthouse is often called "America's Lighthouse".  I love the black and white spiral stripes.  It looks very classic.

Puzzle Features

Zazzle puzzles come in two different sizes.  The 8x10 size has 110 pieces and the 10x14 size has 252 pieces.  All of the puzzles are made of sturdy card stock and are mounted on chipboard.  They come in gift boxes and are easy to wipe clean.  

Here are some more puzzles I have made of my favorite subject Lighthouses.
The first one is on Hilton Head South Carolina.  This is a fairly modern lighthouse, having been first put into service in the 1960's.  It is often seen as the iconic symbol of Hilton Head.

Hilton Head Puzzles
Hilton Head Puzzles by lighthouseenthusiast
Browse more Hilton head lighthouse Puzzles at Zazzle
The next puzzle has a photo of Split Rock lighthouse in Minnesota.  This lighthouse sits high on a rock overlooking Lake Superior.

Autumn at Split Rock Lighthouse Puzzle
Autumn at Split Rock Lighthouse Puzzle by lighthouseenthusiast
Browse Lit rock lighthouse Puzzles
Nova Scotia has many beautiful lighthouses.  I photographed this one at Peggy's Cove.  It is said to be the most photographed lighthouse in Canada.

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Review of Canon PowerShot SX 130 IS~Best Point and Shoot Digital Camera!

Canon PowerShot photo of Venice
Basilica in Venice, Italy

My Review of the Canon PowerShot SX 130 IS Point and Shoot Camera

I used to hate taking photos because it was so hard and most of the time my pictures didn't come out that well. In fact out of a roll of film I would keep only one or two. I solved the problem years ago by buying postcards everywhere I traveled. After all, a photographer already got the perfect shot and it was cheaper than developing all that film and then throwing away most of the photos anyway.  So I would just buy the coolest postcards everywhere I went and always have great photos. But none of the photos had me or my family in them and that's a problem when you are doing scrapbooks.

Canon PowerShot photo of building in Rome, Italy
Old building by the Colosseum, Rome, Italy

So a few years ago when digital cameras came out, I thought maybe I could try again, because now when the photos are bad I can just delete them! No more wasted film and money. So I took the plunge. What I did was ask some of my photographer friends for suggestions and based on those, and my preference for a point and shoot camera,  I bought a Canon PowerShot SX 130 IS and I couldn't be happier!

Canon PowerShot photo of Hong Kong
Hong Kong, from Victoria Peak on a Misty morning

Now if you are a technical person who wants all the specs and that kind of stuff, you might not want to read my review of this awesome camera because what I love about it is that even someone like me who hates all that stuff and doesn't even know where to begin to talk about that can use it and take great photos! But I will say a few things about it anyway, for the non techie crowd.

Features of the Canon PowerShot SX 130 IS

 It has an auto setting and I just leave it on there and voila, good shots most of the time. It has a built in zoom, so I just adjust the zoom and it refocuses itself instantly! How cool is that? Now for those of you who understand the F stop settings and the like, it has those available too, but I never use them; I keep it on auto all the time. It has a built in flash and it tells you if you need to activate it! That just means raise the flash. (no light bulbs to buy either) And the thing I really like is that even when it says I need the flash, if I'm in a church or museum where they prohibit flash, I still am able to get a great shot most of the time. More coolness! It also has a huge viewfinder, basically the whole back of the camera is the viewfinder! The photo below was taken in a church where no flash is allowed. Can you believe that?

Canon PowerShot photo of Carcassonne
Rondele, Cathedral in Carcassonne, France

My husband has a Nikon top of the line digital camera and he even thinks some of my shots are better than the ones his camera takes. (He likes to play with the settings though, so that's probably the reason. I tell him to just put it on auto, but no, he has to be all fancy.) I have an iPhone and it has a camera, but the photos from this camera are way better so I will always carry it. ( It's not very heavy.) It was not an expensive camera either considering all its features and the quality of its photos; I got it on sale for less than $200!

Canon PowerShot photo of Sydney Harbor
Sydney Harbor Opera House, Australia

Another thing I like is that it takes regular AA batteries, not those lithium expensive ones that are hard to find. Just pop into any grocery or drug store and you are set to go. Really, it's been so fun to finally take photos that I'm happy to keep and can actually have some fun family shots too. So if you want a camera that takes great shots without having to know all the technical details of cameras, I highly recommend the Canon PowerShot SX 130 IS!

All the photos on this page are from my little digital camera so you can see the variety possible. 

Here are more of the photos I took on my trip around the world, 2014-2015 which I'm still enjoying! .

Canon Powershot photo of Albi France
Mary and Jesus, St. Cecile Cathedral, Albi, France

Canon Powershot photo of Albi street in France
Lights in Albi, France, Christmas 2014

Canon Powershot photo of Australia
Blue Mountains, Australia

All Photos © Heather Burns, 2014. Please do not copy.

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Monday, January 5, 2015

Toy Review: Great Gift for a Grandchild

I recently had the opportunity to visit my grandson. I am a long-distance Gramma, so this visit was long-awaited and much anticipated. He is already 19 months old and I haven't visited since he was a couple of months old.  

While there, I was able to see what toys he enjoyed most and what toys he already had before I went to the store to add to his toy collection.  I bought several things for  him and he seemed to enjoy everything I gave him.  But there was one toy that seemed to stand out as something he enjoyed more than the others. I have to say that I was surprised that of the things I bought for him, this little Laugh & Learn Sing-with-Me CD Player seemed to be his favorite.

Because it is made by Fisher Price, I expected it to be of good quality.  It is.  I didn't fear that anything would break while he played with it.  I suppose the "CD" door could pop off if pulled with enough force, but it didn't seem at all fragile while he played.

Laugh & Learn Sing-with-Me CD Player photo by Amazon
It is important to know that the name of this toy is slightly misleading. It does not play CDs.  The discs have titles of those sing-along songs that many of us learned as children.  The discs are for the child to insert in the slot at the top or to open the door and place them inside.

When the door opens, there's a little voice that says, "ooooopppeeeenn". She also announces when the door is closed.  He enjoyed triggering that voice.  The voice made me smile.  

The buttons, when pushed, light up and trigger music to play.  I sang along with the ABCs, 1 - 2 Buckle My Shoe, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, and more. Oh how he giggled with I sang Itsy-Bitsy Spider complete with the hand motions. 

This toy is clearly good for helping to develop his motor skills.  The handle is the right size for his little hands, and he enjoyed carrying it around. He enjoyed learning how to put the discs into the slot and into the door as well as learning to push the buttons on his own.  Putting the discs into the slot took some time and concentration. But for some reason, he stuck with it and enjoyed doing it.

If you are looking for a gift for a baby shower, your child, or your grandchild, I highly recommend this Fisher Price Laugh & Learn Sing-with-Me CD Player. 

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Sunday, January 4, 2015

Moonstruck Love in a Classic, Funny Nicolas Cage & Cher Movie

Moonstruck on Amazon
Snap Out of It! It's a Moonstruck Movie Review!

That's what Cher says to Nicolas Cage when he tells her he's in love with her, "Snap out of it!", then she slaps his face! It's a famous, classic scene in the 1987 movie Moonstruck starring Cher and Nicolas Cage.

A Movie about Love Centered Around 'Cosmo's Moon'

Moonstruck ranks as one of my personal all time favorite romantic comedies. If you haven't seen it, and you're a fan of funny romantic movies, then you're sure to enjoy this one! You know a movie ranks high on your radar when you start quoting lines from it all your life! Well, that's what this movie did to me!

Some of the famous movie quote lines from Moonstruck:
  • When you love them they drive you crazy because they know they can (A quote by Olympia Dukukas who plays Rose Castorini, Cher's (Loretta Castorini) mother in the movie
  • Rose Castorini asks, 'Do you love him Loretta? Loretta says, 'Yah Ma I love him awful', 'Awe gee that's too bad', says her mother
  • It's Johnny Cammareri <---It's the way Julie Bovasso who plays 'Rita Cappomaggi' says this - She plays Cher's Aunt in the movie
  • La Bella Luna!
  • Alla famigilia, Salut!
What is Moonstruck About?

The movie is about a thirty something woman, Loretta Castorini, played by Cher, whose boyfriend, Johnny Cammareri, played by Danny Aiello, finally proposes to her. She accepts because she feels it's time to be married.

Her mother Rose asks her, 'Do you love him Loretta', she says no Ma..she responds saying she only likes him and that he's a good man. Her mother is relieved to hear that, because as pointed out in the above famous quote, Rose tells her daughter, 'when you love them, they can drive you crazy'. Rose's husband Cosmo (Loretta's father in the movie, played by Vincent Gardenia), drives Rose crazy; she loves him, and suspects he's having an affair.

After their engagement, Johnny has to fly to Palermo, Italy to be with his dying mother, and he asks Loretta to go visit his brother Ronny (a brother she had no idea he had!) Johnny wants to resolve his differences with his brother, and asks Loretta/Cher to invite him to the wedding.

Loretta goes to see Ronny (played by Nicolas Cage). He's a funny dramatic caricature of a scorned man. Ronny blames his brother for the lose of his fiance five years previous. Loretta ends up going upstairs to his apartment to talk sense into him, and one thing leads to another and they sleep together, but even worse, they fall in love!

At the end, her mother asks her, about Ronny, 'Do you love him Loretta?' ...Loretta says, 'Yah, Ma I love him awful'...her mother says, 'ah gees, that's too bad'.

There are a lot of other 'love mix-ups' taking place, which make this movie pure entertainment to watch!

Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

What is Cosmo's Moon?

The movie centers around the moon, referred to in the movie as Cosmo's moon. Rita's brother, Raymond Cappommagi played by Louis Guss tells the story of when he was a young boy who saw this huge moon in the sky, so he proceeded to his bedroom window to look at it and he swears he saw Cosmo standing outside his sister's window. Apparently the 'ole wise tale is that the moon brings the woman to the man.

Here's the Movie Trailer:

Article by Barbara Tremblay Cipak

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Saturday, January 3, 2015

Reviewing Handmade Toys for Granddaughters

With 3 granddaughters, I'm always looking for something unique to give them. Standard toys are one thing, but handmade toys are special. And, of course, my granddaughters deserve those special toys. When I discovered a whole collection of charming handmade toys, I knew I wanted to review them here for you.

Charming Handmade Toy Collection

They come from a shop called Coastal Crochet Crafts on Etsy. It turns out the creator of these toys is our own Review This contributor Wednesday Elf. She's a grandmother like me, so she understands the need for those very special toys for the grandkids.

It was a tough time making my choices. There are so many adorable handmade animals, or Critters, as she calls them. But I did finally make my decision. And you'll notice that even though I have 3 granddaughters to give handmade toys to, I have 4 choices here. That's because this delightfulgiraffe is for me!

My choices for my granddaughters include this oh-so-darling honey bee. How could anyone, young or old, resist this little critter? I can just picture my granddaughter hugging this honey bee with a huge smile on her face.

Frankly, all of these handmade toy critters are fully hug-able. Wednesday Elf is an accomplished crocheter and it shows with the quality of her work. That's why the decision to get her creations wasn't hard. It was hard to decide which ones to get.

Making Choices with Handmade Toys

My next choice is ideal for my oldest granddaughter. She has an owl collection. This Grace the Grey and Pink Owl is perfect for her. It turns out Coastal Crochet Crafts has a number of owls in different color combinations. So every owl lover will be pleased with your choice.

That final choice turned out to be Cuddly the  Caterpillar. This was tough for me. Cuddly is another one that I wanted just for myself. But, being the good grandmother that I am, my little one deserves him.

I know my granddaughters will cherish their special new friends. Handmade toys hold such a special place in my own heart.

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Friday, January 2, 2015

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb Movie Review

Night at the Museum:  Secret of the Tomb Movie Review
If you are looking for a lighthearted, fun-filled entertainment, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb is the perfect movie for you!  

This is the 3rd Night at the Museum movie starring Ben Stiller and Robin Williams.  A terrific series!

It is a great family movie that, in my personal opinion, is appropriate for any age, young or old.  Rarely do we see movies that are purely original these days.  This is definitely unique in plot and fun.

It is rated PG, but I am not quite sure why.  I actually had to go in search of parental concerns to be able to address them in this movie review.  You can read the few statements submitted in the Parents Guide linked here.

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb Movie Plot Summary

If you have seen the original movie, Night at the Museum, than you are already going to know what to expect.  There is magic in the museum at night as the exhibits come to life.  

In the opening scenes of "Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb Movie" we are given a brief look at the discovery of the Tablet of Ahkmenrah, which is responsible for the current day "magic" at the museum.  

The movie quickly moves to current day and to the Museum of Natural History in New York City which is hosting a evening dinner when it all goes horribly wrong.  It seems the Tablet of Ahkmenrah is corroding and the cast has to go to London to visit the Pharaoh himself since he is the only person who knows the secret of the tablet.  Of course, they must take the tablet to London and bring the exhibits in the British Museum to life in order to talk to the Pharaoh.  

I have heard laughter is the best medicine and I completely agree.  This movie is quite entertaining.  I found myself laughing out loud often with the rest of the audience in the packed theater the weekend after Christmas.  I suspect we all needed a bit of a break and an opportunity to unwind.  This movie was the perfect solution.

A Remarkable Cast of Actors in Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb

"Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb" has so many great actors that it is actually difficult to know which actor is favored.  From admiring the still amazing dance steps of Dick Van Dyke, to battling a multi-headed snake with Dan Stevens (Sir Lancelot), Ben Stiller shares the screen with a cast of truly great actors. 

The movie is a tad bittersweet as we view a short scene that includes Micky Rooney, and we can't help but be reminded of our tremendous loss when we see Robin Williams as Teddy Roosevelt.  As always, Robin Williams makes us laugh along with him in spite of our grief.  Two great actors who will long be remembered for their decades of influence and entertainment.  They were both like old friends who we thought would always be with us.


If you haven't seen it yet, I highly recommend venturing out today to sit back, relax and enjoy "Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb".

In my opinion, "Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb" is a 5 star, must see movie! 

5 out of 5 stars

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year

Happy New Year 
from the Staff of
Review This
May 2015 bring you a year of Peace and Joy!

Lights from Garden Glow

Missouri Botanical Garden

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

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