Sunday, September 10, 2017

Basic Cupboard Storage Ideas to Consider When You're Doing a Kitchen Makeover

Photo Via Pixabay
Kitchen Renovations Begin in the Mind - If You've Ever Tackled a Kitchen Renovation You Know Exactly What that Means

Once the reno-bug bites us, our thoughts are consumed with trying to add all the things we've always wanted in our soon-to-be brand new kitchen.

Let's review a quick list of the basics to consider when you first start the project.

Break down your kitchen cupboards into categories, then search out the options for each.

See the Pinterest Photos below for Examples of Each.

DISHES (Plates, Cups, Mugs, Casseroles etc)
  1. A pull-out China cupboard. Check it out below in the Pinterest board! It looks very similar to the pullout shelves you see in a pantry cupboard, except the pullout shelves are designed to store your dishes.
  2. Large deep pull-out drawers that fit your plates, saucers and bowls.
  3. Open slots where your plates simply slide in and are revealed in the room, adding a decorative component.
POTS & PANS & COOKIE SHEETS
  1. Pull-out drawers are a standard solution, however there are various designs to decide upon. Check them out below in the Pinterest Board.
  2. A pull-out shelf in a cupboard where you can easily access your items. There are various styles of pull-out shelves to consider; some are metal with funky sorting slots, and others are simply open so you can organize them any way you choose.
  3. Keep them out in the open as a decorative feature by hanging them on a specially designed wall or above a center island.
  4. For all your cookie sheets and long narrow pans, add a section where you simply slide them into a cupboard for easy access. You'll see several ideas in the Pinterest Board below.
SMALL APPLIANCE STORAGE
  1. Create a small appliance storage cupboard in your kitchen, easily accessible from the counter. Include shelves that utilize the entire height of the kitchen cabinetry and fill the closing cupboard with your daily items; blender, coffee machine, vitamix, toaster, and all the other funky small kitchen appliances.
  2. Create a Coffee Serving Cupboard - They're so Cool! Take a look at some of the ones featured below in the Pinterest Board. Have all things coffee included in your coffee cupboard and simply close the cupboard for a clean finished look.
SPICE CABINETS
  1. Spice storage tends to come in two options, vertical and horizontal. Pull-out cupboards beside the stove tend to be the most popular choice, but you can also consider a pull-out drawer with slots for each spice to fit for easy label reading.
  2. Construct open shelves on the backsplash that hold all your spice needs. You'll see an example of several below.
  3. Create a narrow shelving system built onto the inside of a pantry door that holds all your spices. Again, you'll see an example in the Pinterest board below.
FOOD STORAGE
  1. When a full pantry isn't an option, try upside down wire racks installed on an angle inside your cupboards to hold your canned goods. You'll see an example of one below in the Pinterest board.
  2. Designate one section of cupboards from top to bottom with pull-out shelves to hold all your food items.
  3. Use the inside of a small pantry door to hold a good portion of your food items.
A Unique IDEA if Your Kitchen Space Allows:

If you've ever watched HGTV you may have already seen this: A Kitchen without upper kitchen cabinets.

The upper section of the kitchen simply features open shelves on the wall that highlight decorative useful items.

But where will all your 'stuff' go? In your huge walk-in pantry that's where!

Design a pantry (Butler's Pantry) that's almost like another small kitchen. Include a wine fridge, shelves for all your dishes, small appliances and food. Put the microwave in there too. Be sure to check out some of the Butler Pantrys featured below, they're awesome!



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Saturday, September 9, 2017

I Know This Much: From Soho to Spandau

Gary Kemp (Spandau Ballet) Autobiography
Image and Review by Lou16
Let's review 'I Know This Much: From Soho to Spandau', an autobiography of Gary Kemp, lead guitarist, song writer and heartthrob of 80s New Romantic band Spandau Ballet.

If you just want to know who the song True was written for then this is the book to read! "Why do I find it hard to write the next line?" because you're tongue tied in love Gary! Who to? Well trust me this book reveals all which could be why Gary has used a line from his mega hit as the book title - I Know This Much.

If you're not interested in the song, but want to reminisce about the 80s and the New Romantics especially then you'll love to read this memoir from Spandau Ballet's Gary Kemp. Gary Kemp has a knack with words and I found myself laughing as he described the first time he saw a wok and cringing when he mentioned certain fashions.

Towards the end of Gary Kemp's autobiography I found myself in tears - his writing of a particularly sad event was so good I could feel the emotion jumping off the page at me.

 I Know This Much: From Soho to Spandau by Gary Kemp
Confession time - I'm a huge Spandau Ballet fan and I thought I had quite a lot of knowledge about them and the beginnings of the New Romantic moviement. Even with this background I learnt a lot from Gary Kemp's Memoirs

I Know This Much is definately a book that brings back memories of names that you'd forgotten about. I loved the trip down memory lane.

Gary Kemp is also quite brutal about himself and some of his actions - it's a no holds barred autobiography from trying to murder his brother (anyone with a younger sibling can probably relate to that!) to being a total snob and a control freak.

The book also contains a few pages of photos which also help take you back in time - oh the fashions!


Who Was True Written For?


Spandau Ballet's worldwide hit ballad True really was the love song of the 80s, but who was it actually written for? I had heard Gary Kemp say that he had written True for a girl who never realized how he felt. I've never known who he was talking about until I read the book where all is revealed. I won't ruin it for you here, you can read the book instead!

From Islington to Highgate 

Gary Kemp's I Know This Much Autobiography 


I Know This Much by Gary Kemp starts off with his very working class East End upbringing and an unwanted Christmas gift - a guitar. It continues through his chid acting and early foray into music before moving onto the Blitz Kids and Spandau Ballet. The story of Gary Kemp's own contribution towards the break-up of the first New Romantic band is told in blunt honesty.

Gary's life past Spandau Ballet, the reformation and the death of his parents are all dealt with extremely well. if Gary Kemp ever decided to write fiction I think he would be consistently on the bestseller list.

A quote from I Know This Much by Gary Kemp (the 80s defined!)


There were so many lines in this book that stuck with me, but this was my first laugh out loud line as it struck me that back then a wok wouldn't have been something I knew about either. We tend to forget that things we use so often and can be found in many homes around the world were an unusual thing to have in your English home back in the 70s and early 80s.

Gary Kemp Reads Excerpts from I Know This Much



Other Spandau Ballet Autobiographies 


Other members of the band have also written their autobiographies. Martin Kemp (Gary's younger brother) was the bass guitarist for the group and was the first to write his autobiography.....

   True: The Autobiography of Martin Kemp
Martin Kemp's autobiography was called True and was written after he survived two brain tumours.

The book was written in part as therapy for himself and also because he wanted to write something for his children who were babies when he was first diagnosed with brain tumours.

 To Cut a Long Story Short: My Autobiography
Tony Hadley was Spandau Ballet's lead singer and the next member to write his autobiography.

Tony choose to use a different song title for his autobiography - To Cut A Long Story Short.

Gary Kemp was Spandau Ballet's lead guitarist and songwriter and is the latest one of them to write an autobiography which is what I have just reviewed for you.

Let me know what you thought of the book, did you cry near the end like me, or are you made of sterner stuff?

An 80s pop idol's autobiography, inside the life of Gary Kemp from Spandau Ballet


Spandau Ballet had five members in total which means that two stories have yet to be told. John Keeble and Steve Norman let me know when you've started your memoirs and I'll be more than happy to read them!


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Friday, September 8, 2017

How to Add Tabs to the Top of a Blogger Blog - Step by Step Instructions

Add a Navigation Menu to Your Blogger Blog


How to Add Tabs to the Top of A Blogger Blog Blogger offers a great way to start a free blog, but there are a few things you may want to do to improve the navigation of your blog. One of those things is adding category tabs to the top of your Blogger Blog to make it easier for guests to find subjects of interest by category. This horizontal line of tabs is often referred to as a Navigation Menu or Bar because quite simply, it helps visitors navigate your site and find exactly what they are seeking. 

As you add new posts to your blog, you will discover that it becomes really difficult for visitors to find your older articles. Therefore, labeling your posts by category and than creating tabs at the top of your blog becomes essential. 

Be sure to bookmark these easy to follow instructions for adding tabs to your blog. As your blog content grows, you may wish to revisit and change your tabs. This article will then serve as a great refresher on how they were initially set up, therefore you can easily see how to change or add to them.


Easy Instructions on How to Add Tabs to Blogger 


I am going to take you to the layout of Review This to show you step by step how to create your navigation menu.  This is the method used to create our top navigation menu that is a simple list  of our Contributors names.  If you click on either name, you will see that it redirects you to posts that have been published by that one author.  You decide what category labels best suit your blog.  For instance, a recipe blog might have labels for Appetizers, Main Course, Desserts, Snacks, and More.


How to Add Tabs to the Top of a Blogger Blog - Step by Step Instructions


The secondary navigation menu of our categories is a drop-down menu.  A separate tutorial on creating a drop-down menu will be published at a later date.


(See Tutorial Images in Slideshow Below Written Directions)


  1.   Add a Category Label to Each Post.  Labels are on the right side of each post draft under Post Settings.
  2.   Go to the Layout Tab on Your Blog Dashboard 
  3.   Click "Add a Gadget" in the Cross Column Section under the Header Section
  4.   Select either the Labels Gadget or the Page Gadget.  We used the Page Gadget on Review This because we had Page Links we also wanted to add to our Nav Bar in addition to the labels.  (Contributors & Quick View Home Page Links)
  5.   If you Use the Label Gadget, simple select the labels you wish to have as tabs, and save.
  6.   If you Use the Page Gadget, select the pages you want to use, plus add other labels as external links, save link, and save gadget.  
  7.   You can change the order of the tabs by simply dropping & dragging them within the gadget.
  8.   View Your Blog in "Preview" to See Your Arrangement  
  9.   Save Arrangement (button in upper right corner of layout page) 

 

CONTROLLING THE SLIDESHOW ABOVE
Use the Arrows at the Base of the Slideshow to Move Through the Images
and the stop button to pause the playing slideshow on a specific image

 

More Tips & Tutorials for Blogger
(Including Instructions to Create an Image Slider Like I Used Above)




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Thursday, September 7, 2017

Music Reviewed on Review This

Treasures from the Archives of Review This!


 Music Reviewed on Review This!
For most of us music is a way we express ourselves. The songs we choose to listen to on any given day, are often a reflection of what we are thinking or feeling at that moment. Sometimes, we even turn on music to brighten our mood and lift our spirits. Other times, we want music that will cry with us or express that deep sense of loss that we are currently experiencing ourselves. Many couples have "their song" because the lyrics of that song say exactly what they think and how they feel. For couples who have been together for decades, just hearing the song play takes them back 

Preference in style or music genre is as varied as humans themselves.  Actually, even an individual's preference can change somewhat as they age, or experience major life changes.  For instance, someone who has always enjoyed listening to smooth love songs, doesn't want to hear the first note of a love song if they are in the midst of a break-up.  They are going to be much more likely to wish to listen to songs about revenge or moving on happily without someone.

Not only do tastes vary in style of lyrics and voice, but some people prefer instrumental music.  The beat is what touches them, or the cry of a string instrument is what soothes their heart and soul.

Like anyone, the contributors of Review This have their own personal preferences and we love to write about them!  We invite you to join us when we listen, then review our favored songs or artists.   If you see something that appeals to you in the articles shown below, simply click the image to read our review.  Pinterest automatically redirects you to the published review.  

Review This! is the very best resource for wonderful music reviews on the web!


Welcome to Our Music Library!




A Preview of the Pinterest Board - Music Reviews 


Music Reviewed on Review This!

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



Read More Book Reviews at
ReviewThisMusic.com











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Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Meet Mr. Bear Squash-You-All-Flat: A Book Review

Why Is This Book So Popular with Children?

I first met Mr. Bear Squash-You-All-Flat when I was about seven. I was already reading by then, but Mom still read it to me. It had been a gift from my Cousin Edna, who was the first to read it to me. I liked the book so much I kept it. When my brother came along about three years later, both Mom and I read it to him as soon as he was old enough to understand it -- about three. He loved it and couldn't get enough of it. We had to read it over and over. The author, Morrell Gipson, has a real feel for what appeals to children. The illustrator, Angela, evokes just the right emotions with her watercolor paintings.

Mr Bear Squash You All FlatMr Bear Squash You All Flat


Why do young children love this book so much when it might seem violent to an adult? Young children often feel small and helpless, just like the animals who watched Mr. Bear squash their houses. They can identify with those animals who run and hide when they see Mr. Bear coming toward their homes. Then they can rejoice when Mr. Bear gets what he deserves at the end of the book. 


Encourage Interaction As You Read Mr. Bear Squash-You-All-Flat Aloud


This book is full of the repetition that children love.  Adults can help them build anticipation by asking them what they expect to happen next. Adults can make the book for fun by imitating Mr. Bear's voice as he issues his warnings. By the time the child has heard the book read several times, the adult can invite him to repeat the warning with Mr. Bear. The adult can also ask children toward the end of the book what they think will happen when Mr. Bear tries to squash the tire house. Those are just my ideas. You will think of many more ways to interact with the child you read to. 


Meet Mr. Bear Squash-You-All-Flat: A Book Review
Check Price for Mr. Bear Squash-You-All Flat
I scanned this book cover from my own copy. 


Meet Mr. Bear Squash-You-All-Flat

Mr. Bear Squash-You-All-Flat got his name because he liked to squash things -- especially the houses of smaller animals. He was too lazy to build himself a house. 

Most of the time Mr. Bear lived peacefully and didn't bother the other animals. He would sleep quietly under the trees since he had no home of his own. When the moon was full, though, all that changed. That's when he would get really grumpy and go on a house-squashing rampage and squash every house he saw. You can see how he does it on the cover of this book. (See it above.)

The Illustrations

The edition I owned almost seventy years ago is out of print. I was happy to see this new edition bring it to new generations of readers. It has the same illustrations by Angela that I loved. Although they reveal Mr. Bear's grumpiness and anger, they aren't scary. Sometimes there is even a touch of humor. The artist does a great job on the facial expressions of all the animals. You can check out more of the book's illustrations on its Amazon page by clicking to Look Inside.

The Plot

Whenever Mr. Bear decides to squash a house, he gives fair warning by stating who he is and that he intends to squash the animal's house after he counts to three. That gives the animal inside time to run away and hide. Then the homeless animal goes in search of another house. On the day described in this book, he squashes three houses. After each house he squashes, he feels less grumpy, and on this day he felt cheerful enough after squashing the third house to go take a nap. 

Meanwhile, the homeless animals discovered a very large tire and moved into it together. They were quite happy there until after the next full moon when they saw Mr. Bear approaching their new house. The baby rabbit spotted him first and ran to warn the mouse and the chipmunk. They ran to hide behind a large oak tree, hoping Mr. Bear would leave their house alone. Not a chance! I'll leave it to your imagination what happens next.

Get Mr. Bear Squash-You-All Flat for a child you love now. 



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Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Toy Archery Set Reviewed

Developmental Skills Practiced During Play

Archery image courtesy of Pixabay.com
I would like to review a toy archery set for you today as a possibility for a gift for a child on your gift giving list. We recently had a birthday party for our little granddaughter and she received a toy archery set as one of her gifts. At first you might think this would be an odd choice for a little girl, but it actually has a lot of benefits that are hidden by play.

I have always loved toys that help a child develop skills why disguising their uses as just something to play with. What I love about the archery set is that it covers several aspects of skill sets in one toy. 

Their dexterity is improved as they learn to place the notched part of the arrow onto the string and hold it in place while pulling back the string to release the arrow. Eye-hand coordination is improved as the child learns to aim for a target and shoot the arrow. Even their upper body strength is improved as they use their little arms to pull back the string to shoot the arrow. All the while, the child just thinks they are playing!

Now, the archery set that was given to our little granddaughter does not have any sharp points on the arrows. The tips are rubber and will not penetrate anything. Of course, we picked out targets like trees and explained that you should never shoot the arrow at a person or pet. We explained that even though the tip was soft, it could hurt someone if it hit their body. 

We had so much fun playing in the backyard with this bow and arrow set! If the arrow is shot strong enough, you can even hear a whistle as it flies! I think the adults had just as much fun as the children did.

I also like that you can get the archery sets for girls or boys. It encourages outdoor play while having fun and honing some of those body skills that other toys may not address. We even worked on a point system that helped our little grandchild work with numbers and math skills. It was great fun for the entire family!

With the holidays approaching, this is a great gift idea for any young child on your gift list.




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Monday, September 4, 2017

Happy Labor Day from the Contributors at Review This!

Today, in the United States, many are celebrating Labor Day.  This federal holiday originated from the increasing need to address the terrible working conditions during America's industrial revolution in the 19th century. A march in New York city took place on September 5th, 1882  - thus becoming known as the first Labor Day parade. Not until 1894 did it become a federal holiday. Today, Labor Day continues as a holiday to celebrate and recognize the hard-working people in the workforce and to enjoy a three day weekend as summer ends.


The Brief History of Labor Day


On the History website, there is a nice little synopsis of how Labor Day came to be. It is where I obtained the dates in the opening paragraph. I could recall why Labor Day came to be, but I could not recall exactly when.

In reading historical fiction, I've always been struck with how children were laborers in early American history and how working conditions were so very unsafe for both adults and those children. I am in awe of the rich history of how newcomers to the United States worked so extremely hard to create a life for themselves and their families.


Thoughts about Labor Day


Labor Day has a special place in my life for several reasons. I love the changing seasons that I've experienced living in both the midwest and on the east coast of our great country.  Labor Day weekend often signifies the cooling air and water temperatures - summer is winding down. I begin to think of autumn.

Across the Labor Day weekend, I often marvel at things such as train tracks (and the people who built them), the full roadside fruit stands (and the farmers who grew that food), and all of the truck drivers I see on the roads (the people who transport our goods). It is impressive to me how things have been created and invented through the hard work of others.

Most importantly to me, I notice the schools that are opening, the school buses that are practicing their routes, and the notices to drive safely to protect our children who are returning to school. I believe hard work is an important part of raising our children into responsible adults. But only a part. And I'm glad that our children are being sent to school rather than working long hours, at extremely young ages, to earn only pennies as they did in the past. Working with my father in his business and working on the farm at an early age was an extremely important part of my development. Experiences that I am thankful for. But those experiences were nothing like the children depicted in the photographs of Lewis Hine.


A look at child labor - by Russell Freedman and photography of Lewis Hine 



Happy Labor Day to You


Labor Day has morphed from a march to address unsafe working conditions in the 1800's to a long weekend with parades, picnics, travel, and back-to-school sales. Whether you celebrate Labor Day or not, the contributors at Review This! wish you a happy Monday on this day. And we thank you for your work and contributions to our lives.


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Sunday, September 3, 2017

7 Creative Ways to Utilize the Space Under Your Staircase

Photo by Pixabay
When we're doing a re-design or trying to figure out how to add another useable space to our home, rarely do we think to use the open space under our staircase.

So long as there's a floor and wall area under your stairs and you're willing to tackle a re-do, you're only limited by your imagination.

Let's Review Seven Creative Ways to Use Your Staircase Space:

1.  A Pantry - What a Cool Idea

If you've always wanted a kitchen pantry but lacked the space to put one in, your staircase (upper or lower) can serve as the perfect place to store your kitchen goods. Be sure to scroll through the Pinterest board below to check out exactly what it could look like. Have the exterior match your walls, include a door, lighting and put multiple shelves around the space. Include a rolling tray for portability.

2. An Indoor Dog House - Check out the Gorgeous Design Ideas Below

Cut-out a doggy door to create a full fun dog house under the stairs. Finish the space off any way your heart desires. Add a large soft comfy bed for your fur baby, add lighting and decorate the outside wall with your doggy's name and other personal doggie decorating details. Leave it open for Fido or add a mini-doggie-barn-door as featured in one of the doggie stair case rooms below!

3. An Extra Sleeping Area - When Space is at a Max, Make more Space

When guests come to visit, a sleeping station under the staircase can serve as an alternative area for the kids to use when their room is being used by company. The kids will love to cozy-up in the cubbie under the stairs. Add lighting, book shelves, leave it open to the room or add a barn door to close the space off. Be sure to check out the artistic examples featured below in the Pinterest Board.

4. A Desk Working Area or Homework Station - Perfect for Under Lower Level Staircases

Of course you can create a desk station under an upstairs staircase as well. Depending upon the space you're working with, add a smaller desk with shelves above and below, or add a wrap around desk that includes a few chairs so that more than one person can use the space at the same time. Below you'll see several desk-stair design ideas.

5.  A Washroom - When Space is a Premium

When you need an extra washroom but have no idea how to fit it into your limited space, then be sure to assess whether it can be added under the stairs. Assuming plumbing isn't an issue, add a toilet, sink, flooring, trim, a door and décor and you now have another washroom. You'll see an example of washrooms under staircases below as well.

6. A Reading Nook - A Place to Quietly Read and Write

Include a comfy built-in couch with soft cushions, a throw blanket, shelves stacked with your favorite books, adjustable lighting and you're all set! You'll see several examples of just how cozy these areas can be featured in the Pinterest Board below.

7. Storage - There are Many Design Ideas for Extra Storage

Below you'll notice a number of different storage ideas for under the stairs. You can build just shelves, partial shelve or both shelves and drawers. You can finish the look with elegant trim, add doors, or make the storage drawers and shelves pull out for easier access.




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Saturday, September 2, 2017

Review of Our Favorite Seafood Dip ~ with Recipe

Family Game Night Snacks (c) Elf

Homemade Clam Dip & Chips
 
The gathering of family and friends over holidays, for special events and celebrations, or for card & game nights, calls for finger food type snacks. The quickest and most popular of these type of snacks are what we all like to refer to as 'chips & dip'.


Many years ago our grocery store carried, along with your typical onion dip and guacamole dip, a creamy cream cheese type dip with clams. The seafood lovers in my family absolutely loved it. Somewhere along the line the store-bought clam dip disappeared from the dairy section, probably due to lack of popularity as not everyone likes clams. (Can't imagine that, but it's true!). :-)


We really missed not being able to buy clam dip any more, so I got to pondering on it and figured out it couldn't be that hard to come up with my own version. Using some suggestions from an appetizer cook book for seafood-type dips, this 'homemade clam dip' is what I 'invented'. My family and friends liked it so much that it has become the 'expected' snack item at our house for any time we get together. It's best served with ripple-style chips and/or pretzels because it is a bit 'stiffer' than some dips and the regular chips break apart too easily while 'dipping'.


My son recently called me long distance because he couldn't find his copy of my recipe and needed a review of the ingredients for the batch he was making. Others have asked for the recipe too, so I decided to share it here. Hope you enjoy it at your next gathering.


RECIPE For Clam Dip


Ingredients
Ingredients


  • 1 (or 2) 8-ounce package Cream cheese, softened
  • 8 ounce tub Sour cream, Use 'light' version, if desired
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Lemon Juice, bottled or Fresh
  • 3 or 4 Scallions or Green Onions, chopped
  • Dash Pepper
  • 1 or 2 cans Canned Clams, drained
  • Large Bag Ripple-style Potato Chips and/or Pretzels


Instructions


  1. Place opened package of cream cheese in a medium bowl to soften.
  2. Finely chop 3 or 4 fresh scallions (or green onions). Amount depends on your personal preference.
  3. When cream cheese is soft enough to work with, add the chopped green onions, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice and pepper. Stir to mix.
  4. Add the sour cream a few spoonfuls at a time, stirring into the cream cheese mixture.
  5. Continue adding sour cream until the dip is the consistency you prefer. Some like it stiffer, somewhat like a spread you could serve on crackers; others like it soft enough to use with chips and pretzels.
  6. When the dip is mixed to the consistency you like, add the clams (drained, but allow a tiny bit of clam juice to remain for a nice extra flavor).
  7. Cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight to allow the flavors to nicely blend. Stir once again before serving with the chips and/or pretzels.
+Cook's Note: I often double the recipe, depending upon the size of the group I am serving it to, as you will find it gets eaten quickly! :)

*Extra Note: We like lots of clams in our dip, so I prepare it with two cans, but one can works just as well.



Cook Time

Prep time: 30 min

Ready in: 30 min

Yield: Serves 4-6 people

Clam Dip ready to eat and enjoy!






Cream Cheese

Available on Amazon
KRAFT PHILADELPHIA CREAM CHEESE BRICK ORIGINAL 8 OZ PACK OF 4

Cream cheese dips, clam and otherwise, are my favorite kinds of dip.

I made a batch of my clam dip for a recent visit from my son & family. It's our favorite snack and is always expected.




 

 

Chips and Other Dips!




Source: Pixabay

If clams are not your favorite, there are lots of other kinds of dips from spinach and guacamole to onion dip to salsas. Any dip and combination of chips (potato, tortilla, pretzels) make great finger food snacks for any kind of party or get-together.







Dip Cookbook




Available on Amazon


Dips is a dip cookbook with more than 40 recipes ranging from quick & easy dips to fancy party dips.  A cookbook filled with dip recipes for any party or occasion.


Are you a fan of 'chips & dips?'  What is your favorite kind of dip? 


For a variety of other kinds of appetizers, check out these fabulous appetizer reviews compiled for your snacking pleasure here on







National Chip and Dip Day is


March 23


Originally written © 2013 Wednesday-Elf.  Updated for Review This! on 3/8/2019




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Friday, September 1, 2017

Thirteen (2016 TV Mini-Series) Reviewed

Thirteen (TV Mini-Series) Reviewed
This is one of the best mistakes I have ever made!  I was searching Amazon Prime Video for a show I could watch while working on mundane site code.  I quickly clicked on the second season of a different tv series and the show started.  Not realizing I had inadvertently started a new miniseries, I keep thinking, who are these people?  But, soon it didn't matter because I was totally hooked on Thirteen.  

Thirteen would not have been a series I would have selected intentionally.  Child abduction is a subject I try to completely avoid on tv, in movies, or even in books.  It is a parent's worst nightmare and even though my own children are grown, not knowing where my child is, not hearing their voice on a regular basis, or not knowing they are safe, still sends me into panic mode.  

I said all of that because I want you to know that in spite of my own worst fears and horrors, Thirteen in one of the most riveting miniseries I have ever watched and I highly recommend it.


How "Thirteen" Begins


 Episode 1 of ThirteenThe miniseries begins with a young woman, 26 years old, running from a house, finding a pay phone and calling the police.  She claims to be Ivy Moxam, an abduction victim who hasn't been seen in 13 years.  The police are skeptical because over the years two others have claimed to be Ivy.  However, after DNA tests, it is confirmed that this woman is in fact the girl who was kidnapped when she was 13.  

It is immediately clear that Ivy is overwhelmed, insecure, scared, resistant to talk, and easily confused by too many people with too many questions.  This is understandable because she had been chained in a cellar for 13 years without any communication with the outside world.  Plus, her formal education had ended.  In many ways, she was still 13 years old.  

Her stress and anxiety are only heightened when the police find the house where she was held all those years.  Because her clothes are found in her abductors' bedroom, the police don't know what to believe.  They question the validity of her story and press her for answers she can't give.  After all, the kidnapper is still at large and the police would really like to arrest him.

In the first episode of the series, we discover that several people's lives suffered collateral damage.  Her parents are separated, her father has a mistress, her best friend, Eloise, left town, and her boyfriend, Tim, has married, but is still haunted by the past.  

The family strives for normalcy in order to give Ivy a secure, familiar home.  They are elated to have Ivy back home, but it is a time of readjustment for all.  Her father moves back in, hiding his secret from Ivy.  Her mother hurries to put things in the house back the way it was 13 years ago.  Ivy's sister was initially skeptical, but once the DNA test confirm her identity, she wants to help her sister.  She puts Ivy's needs above everything else, including her fiance.  

In an effort to reclaim her life, Ivy contacts her old boyfriend and invites him over.  He doesn't have the heart to tell her he is married now.  His own confusion is clear as he struggles to choose between the past and his present.   Neither Tim, nor her family, want to do or say the wrong thing.  They simply want to protect her.


Ivy has only been home for a few days.  She is struggling to find her place, remember who she is or is supposed to be, reestablish relationships and survive the constant pressure from the police to help them capture Leonard, aka Mark White, her kidnapper.  That pressure intensifies exponentially when Mark abducts a 10 year old.


My Opinion and Recommendation of "Thirteen"  


As I said in the the introduction, in only a few scenes, I was completely hooked on Thirteen.  Instead of having a tv show as background noise while I worked, I ended up setting aside my work and watching the miniseries.  I did not break between episodes.  I was so ingrained in the plot, that I watched all five episodes (5 hours) that night.  

The girl who played the part of Ivy did such an extraordinary job that I found myself siding with her completely.  Her facial expressions alone conveyed a world of anguish and uncertainty.  I could easily believe she was Ivy Moxam, a child who had been abducted, mentally and physically abused for 13 years.

This miniseries does an excellent job of showing how people can be trapped in the past, yet somehow manage to live on.  How so many things change because we can't just stop the progression of time, but how we can instantly be thrown back into time by simply having someone from our past return to us. 

From the very beginning, I was on Ivy's side.  I believed her and I believed in her strength of survival.  I was not disappointed in her final actions at the end of the 5th episode.  I believe you will definitely want to see this miniseries for yourself.

 Thirteen - Complete Mini-Series
on DVD
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 Episode 1 of Thirteen - Amazon Prime Video
Free with Prime Membership
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Thirteen (2016 TV Mini-Series) Reviewed Written by:
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