Saturday, September 17, 2016

A Tasty Review for National Cheeseburger Day - September 18

Cheeseburger for National Cheeseburger Day September 18
Cheeseburger (Source: Pixabay)

National Cheeseburger Day is one of those 'unofficial' holidays with no known source, although several restaurants have laid claim to it over the years going back to the 1920s.

As the story goes, Lionel Sternberger supposedly invented the cheeseburger in 1926 while working at his father’s Pasadena, California sandwich shop, “The Rite Spot”.  During an experiment, he dropped a slice of American cheese on a sizzling hamburger.

Other Possible Origins of National Cheeseburger Day

  • In 1928, O'Dell's restaurant in Los Angeles served a cheeseburger smothered with chili. It cost 25 cents.
  • Kaelin’s Restaurant in Louisville, Kentucky says it invented the cheeseburger in 1934.
  • It's said that a trademark for the name “cheeseburger” was awarded to Louis Ballast of the Humpty Dumpty Drive-In in Denver, Colorado in 1935, and Gus Belt, founder of Steak n' Shake is known to have applied for a trademark for the word in the 1930s. 

Whatever it's origin, the cheeseburger, America’s favorite sandwich of a hamburger  topped off with a piece of cheese, is enjoyed by millions every day.  Somewhere along the line, September 18 was designated as "National Cheeseburger Day".

Having your Cheeseburger in a Restaurant

Source: PIxabay
If you plan to go out to eat a cheeseburger on September 18, here are some free cheeseburger discounts and coupons compiled by Go Banking Rates website to help you celebrate National Cheeseburger Day.  For instance, Steak 'n Shake is offering a Philly Cheese Double Steakburger and Fries for just $3.99 with the coupon in this article until October 23. And by searching the web, you can find other special deals and freebies offered by a variety of places aimed at helping you enjoy a Cheeseburger!  Some of these offers are good for several days or weeks after the event.

What is a Cheeseburger?

Image Source: Pixabay

Well, naturally, we all know a cheeseburger is a hamburger usually made with ground beef, with a slice of cheese on top. Usually the cheese slice is added just at the end of cooking the 'burger' so it melts on top.  But, many people add a selection of  popular toppings, which include lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, bacon, sauteed mushrooms and more. 

A Different Cheeseburger Recipe

Image courtesy of mbgphoto
Mary Beth Granger (mbgphoto here on Review This!) gives us a wonderful alternative to a cheeseburger on a bun. 

Here's her recipe for Cheeseburger Soup!

Cheeseburger Cookbook

Available on Amazon

If you are looking for more cheeseburger recipes, this cheeseburger cookbook recipe collection will show you how to dress up your everyday cheeseburger and take it to the next level of 'deliciousness'.  

The pages are filled with 37 mouth-watering cheeseburger recipes.  Try them all until you can decide which is your favorite! 

Crafty Cheeseburgers!


Cheeseburger Potholder Set in Crochet on Etsy
Cheeseburger Potholders in Crochet
Since I'm a crochet crafter, I decided to create in yarn a set of potholders which, when stacked together, look like a cheeseburger. If you'd like to make your own, I put together a tutorial for a free crochet pattern for these Cheeseburger Potholders

If you don't crochet, but would like a set, one can be ordered in my Etsy Shop Coastal Crochet Crafts. The latest set has sold, but a custom order can be created just for you.

These cheeseburger novelty potholders are sure to be noticed and talked about when displayed in your kitchen. They are also a very practical addition to your kitchen helpers.

Happy Cheeseburger Day!

National Cheeseburger Day September 18th Postcard


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, September 16, 2016

Sully Movie Review - True Story of the Miracle on the Hudson

 The movie Sully shows us something there was no way we could see on 1/15/09 or the following days. It gives us a front row seat to how heroes are revealed.
Sully is an excellent movie based on the emergency water landing of US Airways Flight 1549 piloted by Captain Sullenberger, aka Sully.   After losing both engines due to a bird strike, there was little time to decide the best course of action.   As you will see in the movie, there were many people in authority who criticized and tried to second guess Sully's decisions.  However, at that most difficult moment, Captain Sullenberger made a judgement call that saved the lives of all 155 souls on the flight, as well as countless others on the ground. 

Few movies that are based on actual events honestly present the facts as they actually happened.  Most directors take a poetic license to "grow" the characters or add to the drama.  However, in the case of "Sully", there was no reason to inflate the character of the man.  Nor was there any reason to increase the drama surrounding the flight crew and passengers on that plane that day.  

This movie deserves more than applause and awards for the portrayal of actual details and accounts of the actions taken that day by the entire crew and rescue workers who immediately responded.  It also shows the stress and judgement the crew members were forced to endure as their decisions were probed and analyzed by a board of individuals safely sitting on the ground. 

Clint Eastwood has always been one of my favorite actors, however he excels even beyond those expectations as a director.  Paired with an outstanding performance by Tom Hanks, who plays Sully, this movie stands heads above any other drama I have ever seen or reviewed. 

"Sully" Facts and Details - Not Just An Ordinary Movie

 SullyThe real facts and the movie depiction are the same.  On January 15, 2009, US Airways Flight 1549 departed New York's LaGuardia  airport in route to Charlotte, NC.   Approximately 3 minutes into the flight, the plane struck a flock of Canadian Geese causing both engines to fail.  It is the only time in aviation history that there has ever been a duel engine failure on a passenger carrier caused by external factors.  An emergency landing was imperative, but there were no obvious options for a safe landing. 

While receiving rerouting suggestions for a runway landing at nearby airports from air traffic control, Captain Sullenberger and First Officer Jeffrey Skiles made a cool headed and well considered decision to land the plane in the Hudson River near boating terminals.  In an amazing, unprecedented glide landing on water, Sully landed the A320 jet, and the crew started an immediately evacuation of the passengers.

Also accurately depicted in the movie and almost as unbelievable as the safe water landing, NY Waterway ferry Thomas Jefferson, commanded by Captain Vincent Lombardi arrived to help with evacuation 4 minutes after the plane landed.  It was followed by several other boats, rescue divers, and emergency response teams who were all ready and willing to help save lives.

The fact that all passengers and crew members survived truly was a "Miracle on the Hudson".

"Sully", The Movie

Many of us saw the news reports and watched the miraculous rescue in real life, but the movie fills in the blanks.  It shows us something there was no way we could see on Jan. 15th or the following days.  It gives us a front row seat to how heroes are revealed.  

We witness what will most likely be the last 3 minutes of the lives on-board that plane.  We watch the excruciating agony of the helpless on the ground through the eyes of the air traffic controllers.  We quickly realize the horror that New Yorker's are once again being forced to watch unfold.  

Staring out the cockpit windows of the fast approaching freezing cold water, we find ourselves bracing for impact.  Then in a few brief moments, pulling from all previous flying experiences and training, an extraordinary pilot does the improbable.  He safely lands the jet on water.

The crew oversees the evacuation and Sully, himself, walks the length of the plane to ensure all of the passengers are out before he will step outside of the plane.  It is clear that his first concern before he lands the plane and afterwards was for the safety of the passengers of Flight 1549.

Now, you think that is all of the story, but it is not! 

All aviation accidents are investigated.  Determining who or what is at fault becomes the focus.  Not that the pilot and crew saved lives by their actions, but whether or not those actions are considered "appropriate".  This is the part of the story most didn't know until they see the movie.   

After you see the movie or read the book, I would love for you to return and tell me how you felt, what you thought, how you would like to respond.  

Personally, I have a renewed admiration for the pilots of all aircrafts and their determination to succeed in that industry.   

I'm going to close by saying something I have never said in a review before.  If you haven't seen this movie yet, go!

Read More Movie Reviews On

"Sully" Movie Review Written by:
House of Sylvestermouse

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, September 15, 2016

Reviewing Hobo Costume Ideas, Head to Toe

A hobo costume is easy to put together and one of the most effective when it comes to hiding your true identity. Here we review hobo costume ideas for men, women, boys and girls.
How to Make the Best Hobo Costume Ever, From Head to Toe

Since I was a little kid, one of my favorite homemade costumes for Halloween has been a hobo costume. My mother was always good at creating costumes from whatever we had around the house and this was one of her specialties.

A hobo costume is easy to put together and one of the most effective when it comes to hiding your true identity, which I think is the most fun part of any costume party.

So if you're a boy, girl, man, or woman looking for a way to win the local Halloween costume contest this year, you've come to the right place because I'm ready to reveal some of our favorite hobo costume ideas, head to toe.

Hobo Costume Ideas From Head to Toe

Two hobos walking along a railroad track after being put off of a train. Public domain photo.
Two hobos walking along railroad tracks.
Public domain photo.
Actually, let's start in the middle. Since hobos were homeless, traveling itinerant workers, their clothes had a tendency to become tattered and worn. Traditionally, one pictures a hobo in overalls or jeans with patches, wearing a worn work shirt. So, an old pair of overalls with patches sewn on and a wrinkled, tattered shirt are the most important items of clothing to start with as you put together your hobo costume. Check in the back of a drawer or the closet for old jeans or overalls. Add a worn leather belt or suspenders if you can find them. Choose a shirt that is a bit over-sized to accommodate the first of my mom's secret hobo costume props, a small pillow. Add the pillow to your upper back, inside your shirt or t-shirt. Use safety pins to attach it to your shirt so it won't slip. Read on to learn why the pillow is so important.

If you can't find what you need in your own closet, check with a family member or friend. Or visit the local thrift store where you'll likely find inexpensive items that will work well. Any hobo worth the name would have a small sewing kit in his satchel, so if you want to and have time, cut patches out of another old shirt or pants and sew those to the knees or elbows of the pants or shirt you've chosen for the costume.

Hobo Shoes or Boots and a Hobo Hat

If you can find old shoes with holes, definitely go with those. If the shoes are too big, try stuffing them with newspaper which you can arrange to show through the holes, definitely a nice - and authentic - touch. Likely you'll be able to find an inexpensive pair of boots at the thrift store that you can scuff up for the occasion.

For a boy or man, look for either a stocking type cap or, even better, an older style hat with a brim. Think 1960s or Freddie the Freeloader (or the photo above). For women, a kerchief around the head will be fine. A typical big red bandanna, nicely wrinkled, will cover your hair and contribute to your disguise. Check the local dollar store if you don't have a bandanna lying around the house. Either way, try to hide your hair to help hide your identity.

Important Hobo Costume Accessories

Stereotypically, a hobo would carry what few belongs he had wrapped in a bandanna satchel or perhaps his spare shirt, tied to a stick which he would carry over his shoulder. If you use a stick, just use caution around other people's eyes.

Another secret to a prize-worthy hobo costume is a walking stick or a cane. For the very best effect, make the stick short so that you have to stoop over to use it. Remember the pillow inside the back of your hobo shirt? Leaning over the walking stick with a pillow "humpback" will help to obscure your face by bringing it down below eye level and will be a huge addition to the character. Cut a broomstick or find a good-sized piece of tree limb for the stick, or use an adjustable cane. Wear an old pair of work gloves to cover your hands, again so you won't be recognized.

Makeup or a Hobo Mask Adds a Finishing Touch

This silicone old man mask would be the crowning touch of your hobo costume. From themasker on Etsy.
Old man "Bertrand" silicone mask from themasker on Etsy. 
For trick-or-treating, some powdered black eyeshadow or face paint for a beard (for a guy) or streaks of dirt (for a girl) is recommended since makeup won't obstruct your vision. However, for a costume party and for the very best effect, a mask is a must. A pullover latex or silicone, full-face mask is the ultimate, or find a good frontal face mask. An old man or old woman mask works perfectly to create a convincing hobo character.

If you disguise your identity with a mask, either a man or a woman can play the part of a hobo. You'll find an awesome selection of very affordable old man masks on Amazon. If you're going all out and have a good budget, a professional silicone old man mask, like this "Bertrand" mask from TheMasker on Etsy, will totally hide your face and neck and completely fool anyone who knows you as long as you don't talk.

The Secret Ingredient to a Perfect Hobo Costume

Which brings us to the most important secret to the best hobo costume ever: Don't talk. Enter the costume party with your hobo costume intact, leaning over your walking stick. Walk slowly and simply don't say a word. I can tell you from experience, this is the most fun part of the whole costume.

Mingle among the guests and do some one-hand grazing of the refreshment table if you like, but keep quiet. Everyone will be talking about your character and wondering who it is inside such a perfect hobo costume. Continue the ruse as long as you can, or at least until the costumes are judged. Enjoy the role and have fun!

What Is a Hobo, Anyway?

Two hobos ride the rods on the underside of a boxcar. Public domain photo
Two hobos ride the rods on the underside of a boxcar.
Public domain photo
Ever wonder about hobos and if they still exist? defines a hobo as one who wanders from place to place without a permanent home or means of livelihood.  The term "hobo" sprang up during the depression as men lost their jobs and began wandering door to door seeking work.

I remember a hobo coming to our door back in the late 1950s, but until this year I wasn't sure that people who call themselves hobos actually still exist. They do! In fact, they even have conventions. If you're interested, learn more about real-life hobos and the hobo convention at these links:

Britt Hobo Days, the Hobo Convention
Hobos on Wikipedia

So tell me. How do you like these hobo costume ideas? Would you consider dressing up as a hobo for Halloween or for the next costume party that comes around? I love the idea and I'd love to know what you think.

Read more of my reviews here.

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, September 14, 2016

Garden Review: Outstanding Spring Gardens are Planned Out in the Fall


Outstanding Gardens don't just happen, they are planned out by gardeners who know what to plant and how to plant it!  Now is the Time!  Spring Planting must be done in the Fall, for beauty next year when the snow has melted.

Here is the List of Bulbs that I plan on planting this fall, for a radiant, colorful garden.  I love to have flowers blooming all the time.  So I plan these bulbs accordingly.  There are many bulbs that will grow in early spring, mid-spring and late-spring almost summer. 



Grammie Olivia's List

  1.  Tulips (some of these will be early, mid-spring and late)
  2.  Daffodils or Narcissus
  3.  Crocus
  4.  Hyacinths (they smell incredible)
  5.  Anemones
  6.  Alliums 
  7.  Muscari or Grape Hyacinths
  8.  English Bluebells
  9.  Galanthus or Snow Drops
  10.  Iris

This is just the starters list.  From here I will go and pick out the Tulips that will grow at the different times in the spring and I will also decide on what colors I want.  I will plan to plant these in groups of 3 or 5 or 7.  Always, always plant in odd numbers!  Any master gardener that I have spoken to has reiterated that Rule!  Think about that when you are purchasing as well.  If you buy a dozen tulips, you will have 4 groups of 3 bulbs to plant.  That will also make a nice show in your garden.  Do the same thing with the Daffodils/Narcisus that you plan to purchase.  Figure out how many of each kind you will need to fill the spot in your garden and then try to make it an uneven number.   If you can't I would prefer to see 4 planted in the same spot as opposed to 3 in one spot and 1 all alone.  Even gardeners will make exceptions to the Rule!

Beautiful Spring Bulbs

Planting the bulbs is a little more tricky than just plopping them into a hole in the ground.  Although that might work with some bulbs, it is not an encouraged practice.  Once you have purchased your bulbs, make sure that you have the time and instructions for how deep these bulbs should go in the ground.  A rule of thumb is about 3 to 5 times the size of the bulb is how deep the hole should be!   Now that gives you some playing room too.  If you plant tulips 4 to 5 inches deep, then when back filling the hole, you could actually plant some smaller bulbs on top at the three inch level and then fill the hole right up.  Doing this will fill in your garden with color as these bulbs start to grow.  You can also use this trick if you are planning on using bulbs in containers.  Different sized bulbs get planted at different depths.  Just remember that 5 times(roughly) the size of the bulb, is how deep you want to plant it.

Picture courtesy of
Bulbs generally are planted with the pointed side up and the more rounded side down into the ground.  This picture is just to show you that and not to be used as a guide to depth of planting.   These are grown in a greenhouse with totally different conditions than you will have. 

As you can see Tulips and Daffodils come in several different colors and combinations.  So many plants now are bred for their color and growing characteristics.   All of these are beautiful.  Planting bulbs is an activity that the children and grandchildren can easily help you with.

It's even easier if you are doing it in containers.  Here are some instructions for you to make it easier!   Make sure your planter has drainage holes, bulbs don't mind being cold over the winter months.   So plant a container full of bulbs to make your springtime even better.   Follow the depth planting chart found here so that you know your bulbs will be planted correctly.  Do plan your container in such a way that the bigger bulbs are at the bottom and the smaller ones towards the top.  Keep this container in a garden shed or garage in a cooler, or surrounded with a batt of insulation.  They don't mind getting really cold, but they don't want to be frozen and thawed and frozen and thawed again.  They need to stay dormant, until the days start warming up.  When it's the end of February or so, you can un-blanket your container give it a drink and move it into a sheltered spot in the garden.  In a few weeks time, you will be rewarded with green sprouts coming out of the planter.  


This chart comes from

It is a comprehensive guide to all kinds of bulbs that I have mentioned here in this post as  well as others that you might consider growing.

Planting bulbs is a joy for you and for all your family and friends that will enjoy the fruits of your labor.

If you look at the chart you will see that it is full of information about the differences between bulbs, corms, rhizomes and tubers.

There is a detailed zone map for  your particular zone.  Just look on the map and co-relate the color to your Hardiness Zone.

If you are in Florida, there will be plants that won't do as well as if you are in Colorado or elsewhere.

It also reiterates what I have told you earlier in how deep to plant all your bulbs.

This chart also takes you through bulbs and corms that can be planted in summer and fall as well as spring.

The only time of year when you do not want to plant anything is in the middle of the winter.  By then the ground is frozen and you really don't want to be outside for any length of time anyways.

If you forgot to plant bulbs in the fall and you  want to plant them, try planting them in a pot as large as possible and keep them in a garage or some sheltered area.  They may just surprise you and grow, or they will die.  If they manage to grow you are a winner and if not, you really haven't lost anything more than you would have by not trying.

Please feel free to join me on Pinterest where there is a host of information for gardeners of all levels of expertise.

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.”


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Reviewing DelGrosso Sloppy Joe Sauce

Tasty Sauce For Easy Sloppy Joe Sandwiches

sloppy joe meat
Sloppy Joe Meat Image From Wikimedia Commons
If you are like me, you probably grew up having Sloppy Joes once in a while in your home. DelGrosso Sloppy Joe sauce is an easy way to make the most delicious version of this American favorite.

Just in case you are not familiar with a Sloppy Joe sandwich, it is a concoction of loose ground beef, tomato sauce and other seasonings served warm on a hamburger bun. Most sources concur that the sandwich originated in Sioux City, Iowa in the 1930's. A guy named Joe was the cook in a cafe in that city and he offered a loose meat sandwich to his patrons. By the 1940's variations of Joe's original sandwich could be found in dining facilities across the country and recipe books offered many variations that could be made in the home.

Generally speaking serving Sloppy Joe's is an inexpensive way to serve a meal to your family. Busy Moms find it a quick and easy way to prepare dinner for everyone while stretching more out of a pound of ground beef. If Mom prepares her own sauce, it may take a little longer and the cost may be more. Since the 1960's different companies began offering a pre-made sauce in a can or jar making Sloppy Joes even quicker to make and cheaper, too.

A few months ago, my husband was doing the grocery shopping for us and found our new favorite sloppy joe sauce.

The first time that I made our sandwiches using the DelGrosso sauce both of us were hooked. The flavor made both of us travel back in time remembering the sandwiches that we had as kids. The combination of seasonings used in the sauce are just remarkably delicious. Some of the ingredients in the sauce are brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, dijon mustard and worcestershire sauce. It also has cinnamon and ginger that really brings a delightful flavor to your palate!

I should warn you that if you are allergic to fish, there is anchovies paste in the sauce. We find the addition quite tasty but if you are sensitive to fish you might want to avoid it.

We recently had an informal family gathering and I decided that sloppy joes might be a fun way to feed several people for not very much money. Let me tell you, it was a hit! My daughters loved it, my Dad said it was the best sloppy joe sandwich that he had ever had and even the grandchildren ate all of their sandwich and wanted more. So, the next time you are at the grocery store look for the DelGrosso brand or you can order it online from the link above. I do not think that you will be disappointed!

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, September 12, 2016

Writing Jane Austen Book Review

Writing Jane Austen Book Review

How Would You Feel About Writing Jane Austen?

Imagine if you were given a chapter of a seventh Jane Austen novel. A novel, that is, which she never finished. Then imagine being asked to finish the book for her and you will have a basic understanding of what this book is all about.

Georgina Jackson, a struggling but published American author living in England, is given Jane Austen's unfinished novel to finish and the only problem is that she has never read a single solitary Jane Austen novel. She knows nothing of Jane Austen's work or her time period.

"You don't understand! I've never read an Austen novel in my life. Not a single one. And what's more, I don't intend to start now..." cries Georgina early on in the book and it is a cry which I could have echoed at least before I read this book.

I've literally just put down Writing Jane Austen: A Novel and I must say that I truly enjoyed it. It is another light and entertaining book with some interesting Austen elements thrown in. You will learn a bit about the much loved author, her books and the setting of her books, all from a modern perspective.

And if, like me, you have never read a single of Austen's books, fair warning that reading WRITING JANE AUSTEN may have you at least momentarily interested in reading them but that's not a bad thing, is it?

Plot Summary

The story in Writing Jane Austen revolves around an acclaimed young author by the name of Georgina. However, Georgina is stuck on the first chapter of her second book and her agent is on her trail. It turns out the agent is offering her the job of finishing an unfinished manuscript by Austen that has only been recently discovered.

Georgina knows nothing about the author and is only stopped from going home to America by her roommate Henry and his teenage sister, who happens to be a serious Austen fan. Knowing that she has to pay the bills, Georgina signs the contract but finishing the book is another issue altogether.

More Reviews of Writing Jane Austen

Writing Jane Austen by Elizabeth Aston on  

Writing Jane Austen has 622 ratings and 182 reviews. Liralen said: "Hmm. I liked that this was not a sequel to an Austen book. That isn't a criticism..."

Writing Jane Austen, by Elizabeth Aston - A Review on Austenprose

"Readers will be entertained by the quirky humor of Georgina's dilemma, charmed and annoyed by the well-crafted supporting characters and surprised by the eventual outcome. However, if you are expecting a drawing room drama punctuated by romance..."

Reviews of Writing Jane Austen on Amazon include comments like those from bkc327 who says she'll need to re-read the book again to revisit the characters and I agree, I need to do so, too. This book will do that to you. TeensReadToo said that this is an entertaining book, which takes a humorous look at the difficulties of writing including those employed by Georgina in the book - the need for a lot of breaks, what methods to employ to avoid writing, how to hide out from unwanted visitors. Finally, a reviewer writing as Austen Lover said she enjoyed the new direction this book takes set, as it is, in modern times. She calls it a light and easy read and it is. Lovely.

Does Writing Jane Austen sound like a book you might enjoy? You can read more about it or order your copy on Amazon by clicking right here.

Happy Reading!
Treasures By Brenda

More Book Ideas:

Order Writing Jane Austen from Amazon.
Austenland Movie Review
Lost in (Jane) Austen Movie Review

Author's Note: Previously published in 2011.

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, September 11, 2016

Remembering 911

Memorial Plaque
 & Country Music Songs about Loss Here
The loss, the pain, and the memory of that September morning remains fresh in our minds. It will never leave us, and for those who experienced personal loss, we know the burdens you carry are for as long you live, and the loving hearts in this world hug you tight.

We all have a story of what we were doing that day, and when you ask someone what they were doing on September 11th, they remember. It's a painful moment in time we all share.

That morning, where I live, just outside of Toronto, the sky was clear, the air was fresh, so I bundled up my baby Jesse to go on our lovely long morning walk. Jesse was just over a year old and a little bit into the walk had fallen asleep. I remember looking up to the sky thinking, 'what a gorgeous day', and also thinking how lucky we were to live in this part of the world (I honestly had that thought on that day at that time). Of course, that moment of peace would end quickly. As I parked the baby stroller in the garage, my husband came to the door and said 'the US is under attack!' I screamed what! and ran to the family room to look at the TV ... and like the rest of the world at that moment.... my heart fell to the floor. Even typing this brings back those tears.

Nothing we say can make it better for those who have suffered loss. Loss never heals, we simply learn to live life differently, with that loss.

Blessings to all and to this world ... love thy neighbor - Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning, by Alan Jackson

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, September 10, 2016

Halloween Haven - Website Review

Halloween Haven's Safety Tips
Reviewing a website is always an interesting job for me. And the website Halloween Haven proved to be that and more. Since the site is so specific to a single day, I was delightfully surprised with the amount of information I found. Certainly costumes and party goodies for the ghoulish annual event, but plenty more ways to celebrate this event. Halloween Haven shows itself to be the place for everything Halloween.

Let the Fun of Halloween Begin

Certainly in the U.S., but in other parts of the world as well, Halloween is considered a holiday. Not one where everybody gets the day off work and the banks are closed. No, not that kind of holiday. Rather one that lets those who enjoy it, celebrate it.

Many, myself included, truly enjoy the event of Halloween. We start early planning:
  • parties, 
  • costumes,
  • home decor,
  • trick or treating.
So it was great news for me to wander around Halloween Haven and find all sorts of ideas and suggestions. It's never too early to start planning for Halloween.

Even Off-beat Ideas for Halloween

Halloween Haven
Halloween Haven caught me by surprise, I have to admit. Not just the usual stuff, but some good Halloween Puzzles. Now who would have thought that? If you are part of the crowd that greets trick or treaters, you know how much time you spend waiting for the knock on the door. As the author suggests, working through a jigsaw puzzle is a great way to pass the time.

And she found plenty of fun Halloween jigsaw puzzles to keep us happy. So let me add another suggestion. Set out one of those puzzles on a card table at your Halloween party. Some of your guests may have fun just fitting a few (or more) pieces together.

Halloween Jewelry for Some Added Costume Fun

One of the fun discoveries I made on the website Halloween Haven was a whole category for Halloween jewelry. I wandered through the world of poison rings (those nifty little devices where a deadly powder can be discretely poured into an enemy's drink), cobweb bracelets (with the spider wrapped around your finger), and ear-wrapping dragon earrings.

Granted this whole site is around Halloween, but I found some fascinating jewelry that works well for other events and lifestyles. Lace collar necklaces can work with many an interesting outfit, not to mention the joy of dressing goth-style.

Start Your Planning on Halloween Haven

The website Halloween Haven is a place worth checking out as you start planning. It's well laid out, easy to navigate and comfortable to read. The visuals of the site are right in line with the holiday. I found myself getting excited to start my own planning.

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, September 9, 2016

Reviewing How To Draw Spongebob: Step By Step

Every Kid Likes To Draw Spongebob Squarepants

If you've been looking for some type of craft project or creative outlet for your child, then you can't go wrong with a How To Draw Spongebob Step-By-Step Guide.
Nickelodeon's Spongebob Squarepants hit TV screens on May 1, 1999.  Since then Spongebob, along with his pet snail Gary and his best friend Patrick Star, have starred in more than 400 episodes of this popular cartoon.

If you've been looking for some type of craft project or creative outlet for your child, then you can't go wrong with a How To Draw Spongebob Step-By-Step Guide.

Kids already know all the characters on the show and what kid doesn't like to draw?  This book will show him step-by-step exactly how to draw his favorite - Spongebob Squarepants.

How to Draw Nickelodeon's SpongeBob SquarePants

 How to Draw SpongeBob SquarePants: The Bikini Bottom Collection (Licensed Learn to Draw)
Back Cover Shown Here - Front Cover shown in Introduction
If your child can hold a pencil, he or she is old enough to follow the steps in this book.

Even if they can't read yet, kids can have fun learning how to draw Spongebob Squarepants.   This colorful book shows them every single step they need to take.

How hard can it be?  The guy's a sponge!

That's why this is the ideal first "How To Draw" book for kids who want to learn how to draw cartoons.  Spongebob is basically just a collection of shapes - circles and squares and rectangles.  Put them all together in the right order and Voila!   Spongebob Squarepants! 

Easy, Step-By-Step Guide: Anyone Can Draw Spongebob Squarepants

 Learn to Draw The Best of Nickelodeon: Featuring characters from your favorite TV shows, including SpongeBob SquarePants, The Teenage Mutant Ninja ... and more! (Licensed Learn to Draw)Drawing is fun no matter what your age.  At the end of a stressful day it very relaxing to sit down for a few minutes with a pencil and paper and start sketching away.  You forget all about what went on at the office.  You stop worrying about the kids and their homework, and you just get lost in the simple act of doing something creative.

Kids get even more benefits from learning how to draw.  First, by following along with the steps in this book, they learn how to follow directions.

They also learn what it feels like to try something new, something that forces them to use their imagination and creativity, and they learn what it feels like to accomplish something special.  In our home, I have several framed sketches that our son drew when he was really young.  My mother even framed a drawing he drew for her when he was still in elementary school.  These framed pieces of artwork are cherished treasures to all of us.

You may also enjoy:  How to Draw Monsters Books for Kids

Don't Forget the Drawing Pads, Pencils and Coloring Pencils!

Every kid loves Spongebob.  And most adults do, too.  What better way to introduce your child to drawing than by giving him a guide to draw his favorite cartoon character!   

However, don't forget the drawing and coloring pencils.  Most children use a regular #2 pencil when they doodle on their homework, but they will enjoy art pencils more.  For one thing, they can add color to the sketch.

Now Parents!  
Get ready for the beautiful, frame-able artwork treasure.

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"How To Draw Spongebob: Step By Step" Book Review Written by:
House of Sylvestermouse

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, September 8, 2016

Reviewing Harley Quinn Halloween Costumes

Harley Quinn Halloween Costume Ideas - perfect for ComicCon, Halloween or any fancy dress event! The most popular Harley Quinn Halloween costumes are based on the character of DC Comic’s Harley Quinn and these are the costumes I’m going to look at on this page.

From the origins of the ‘classic’ Harley Quinn costume and how it has evolved through time to become the edgy street look that Margot Robbie wears in the movie Suicide Squad.

The name Harley Quinn is a play on words harking back to harlequins and DC Comics aren’t the first to make this reference – Agatha Christie features the Mysterious Mr Harley Quinn in some of her stories.   
In the comic world Harley Quinn is a female and actually began her life in the comics as Doctor Harleen Quinzel.   

The graphic novel Mad Love recounts how psychiatrist Dr Quinzel falls in love with the Joker while he’s her patient at the Arkham Asyllum.   She ends up as his on-again, off-again sidekick – Harley Quinn.

When I was growing up a harlequin was like a court jester and wore an outfit that consisted of diamond shapes.   A regular character in pantomimes, there was always something mysterious and mischievous about the harlequin.  (You can check out some Court Jester costumes on my Halloween blog)

The classic black and red costume of Harley Quinn is more than a nod to the historical harlequin of the 17th century English Harlequin (which was an evolution of the Harlequin from France first written about around the 11th century).

The Paul Cezanne painting of a Harlequin (middle picture) could possibly be the inspiration for the red and black combination traditionally used in Harley Quinn’s costume.  Between 1888 and 1890 Cezanne painted four different pieces focusing on the Harlequin .

In the Mr Ellar as Harlequin theatrical portrait (top picture) you can see the idea for Harley’s original mask.  I believe that the ruff featured here also probably influenced the white collar used on the original Harley Quinn outfit as well.

The bottom picture of the court jester has the hat that Harley Quinn sports in her first costumes.  The shape is very much the same, although Harley's has just two 'points' on her hat instead of the traditional three.

Here’s an original Harley Quinn costume for you to purchase for Halloween or any other fancy dress event you have in your calendar.

Harley Quinn Classic Costume

The court jester style outfit has been changed over the years with changes being made to her mask, collar & hat.   It has even become a two piece so that some midriff could be shown.

Harley Quinn Cosplay Costumes

The Harley Quinn Arkham Costumes

In Batman: Arkham Asylum (the 2009 video game), the colors are changed from red and black to red and purple.   The traditional outfit is also changed to a an asylum nurse's outfit......mind  you I don't think you'd see a nurse dressed quite like this in any hospital I've ever visited!

We also see the jester hat retired and Harley's blonde hair is worn in two pony tails.  The hat hasn't, as yet, made a re-appearance and I quite like that because the jaunty, blonde two pig tails are a great look on Harley.

As we can see Harley Quinn is no longer looking like court jester, but is developing into a comic book sex symbol!

In the sequel game, Batman: Arkham City, released in 2011, Harley reverts back to the black and red color scheme we all love.

The blonde ponytails remain, but the tips of them are dyed - one side red and the other black in a fun homage to her old jester hat.

She's no longer masquerading as a nurse, but has put a much grittier spin on the traditional harlequin costume. In keeping with her sex symbol status her midriff is showing and the top looks rather like an under-bust corset and bra combo.

Check out the officially licensed Arkham City Harley Quinn costume below.   The outfit has a leather look about it that is designed to show some attitude.   In reality this costume is a mix of polyester, vinyl and latex.

Yet another video game sequel was Batman: Arkham Knight which saw the next outfit change for our Harley.

She kept her trademark red and black colors and wore her blonde hair in pony tails with the black and red tips, but her actual costume resembled that of a french maid gone bad!

The skirt is in the style of a french maid, but is black, her black corset actually covers her midriff now.  Out of the video game reincarnations I think this is probably my favorite.   I love the leather look choker and the fact that the midriff is covered - I think it's a very edgy costume and does justice to Harley's attitude.

Yet another rebirth of the DC characters occurred in 2016 which included changing Harley Quinn's costume once more. This time the familiar red and black was changed to red and blue and Harley Quinn along with members of the Suicide Squad were to star in their own movie as anti-heroes saving the day.

Harley Quinn Suicide Squad Costume

I must admit that I loved the Suicide Squad Halloween costumes and Harley Quinn really did get a great look that is proving very popular with fans.   No more court jester, Harley Quinn just got a punk inspired, edgy street look that I predict will be extremely popular this Halloween.

Brought to life on the big screen by Australian actress Margot Robbie Harley Quinn still has her blonde pigtails, but the ends are dyed pink and blue instead of the black and red.   She's wearing the type of hot pants that fellow Australian Kylie Minogue made famous, although Harley is sporting hers over the top of fishnets!

High heeled sneakers, smudged make up and a jacket thrown over a t-shirt gives Harley a real 'don't mess with me' look.............or that could be the bat she's wielding!

Harley Quinn's outfits have certainly come a long way when you look at the original and the latest next to each other, but they do say that we have to evolve and she's certainly done that.

Collection of Harley Quinn Halloween Costumes through the years
Harley Quinn Costumes through her various incarnations

The images above are from a range of photographs of Harley Quinn costumes in the public domain that have been modified, if you want to check them all out individually we have -

Classic Harley Quinn, Harley Quinn Nurse, Arkham City Harley Quin, Arkham Knight Harley Quinn & Suicide Squad Harley Quinn.

Do you have a favorite Harley Quinn Halloween Costume?

I love the edginess of the Suicide Squad Harley, but I have a nostalgic fondness for the classic Quinn, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Which Harley Quinn costume would you wear

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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