Thursday, May 10, 2018

Review of Daniel Boone Home Site in Defiance Missouri

Daniel Boone Home
On a recent April morning a group from our photography club visited Boonesfield Village on the grounds of the Daniel Boone Home in Defiance Missouri.  This area includes the area where Daniel Boone lived his final days and a village of shops, a church, schoolhouse and homes all built in the 1800's in mid- Missouri and moved to the Daniel Boone site.  The buildings are set up to give us a peek into what frontier life was like in 19th century Missouri.


A Bit of History

Daniel Boone was born in Pennsylvania in 1734, into a family who made their living from hunting.  When things became too crowded in the northeast, they moved to North Carolina and then to Kentucky.  In Kentucky Daniel Boone made his reputation as a great hunter and explorer.  He also held several government jobs and he flourished living in Kentucky.  By 1799 Kentucky was becoming too crowded so Daniel Boone and his family moved to Missouri.  Daniel Boone was 65 when he moved to Missouri.  He lived their until his death in 1820.

Peace Chapel

Peace Chapel

The Old Peace Chapel was built in the 1800's as a dance hall and general store in New Melle, Missouri.  At the turn of the century a German Evangelical church purchased the building and remodeled it into a church in 1983 it was moved to the Daniel Boone site.  Today it is a focal point in the village of 1800's buildings.  It is often used for weddings and renewing of vows.
Here are a few photos I took inside the chapel.

One Room Schoolhouse

I found the one room schoolhouse to be very interesting.  My father attended school in a one room school house in rural mid Missouri and I imagine it was much like this one.  

Inside there is a chalkboard that goes across the front of the classroom.  Across the back of the room is a wood burning fireplace, which is the only heat for the building.

Can you imagine going to school in this tiny schoolhouse where all grades were educated in one room?

Sites around the Village

Here are photos of several of the other buildings in the village.  An old covered bridge is on the property.

Here is one of the barns.



How would you like to use this washing machine on laundry day?
This is the Newton Howell Home


Beautiful Spring Flowers

I loved all the spring flowers that brightened up the village.  The vase of wildflowers in the last photo was sitting in the window in the general store.



For more information on the Daniel Boone Historic site and directions to the property go to The-Historic-Daniel-Boone-Home

Zazzle Card

Here is a notecard made from my photos.




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Wednesday, May 9, 2018

The Dirt Tooth Powder: A Review for Those Tired of Toothpaste

What on Earth Is The Dirt?


I first saw The Dirt advertised on a website I was visiting and I was intrigued. I discovered it was a more natural way to clean my teeth than the Sensodyne toothpaste I'd been using for decades. I had never really liked all the chemicals it was putting in my mouth. The Dirt is different.

The Dirt Tooth Powder: A Review for Those Tired of Toothpaste
Get The Dirt Here!


Why Do I Like The Dirt Better than Toothpaste?


The Container: We could start with the tube. First, a tube is rather awkward to store. You want it handy, but it never really looks neat on the counter, even when you can stand it on its head. It isn't a great fit for a medicine cabinet, either. Then there's that old controversy about whether or not it should be rolled up or just squeezed. When you have old arthritic hands, either method can be a literal pain.

The Dirt container is just a little over two inches in diameter. It takes almost no space on the counter and the cap screws on and off. Easy-peasy! And it is also attractively packed. I prefer the three-month jar you see in my photo, but you can get a six-month supply in a little glass mason jar that also looks nice on a bathroom counter. Click through to the website to see all the sizes, flavors, and container styles for The Dirt, as well as a complete list of the ingredients.

The taste: The Dirt is clay-based and has all natural ingredients. The taste I chose is a pleasant but mild orange cinnamon spice flavor -- a bit like the original Constant Comment Tea I love so much. (By the way, Amazon has a great price on Constant Comment if you buy a four-pack.) I like the taste of The Dirt much better than the chemical taste of most toothpastes I've tried, including Sensodyne. If it makes a difference to you, The Dirt is also a Paleo tooth powder.




Remineralization: The Dirt helps remineralize your teeth. It also helps whiten them and it does this gently. There are more details when you click through to the product page. See link under photo below.

The Dirt Tooth Powder: A Review for Those Tired of Toothpaste
Get The Dirt Here!

How Do You Use The Dirt?

First you wet the toothbrush and shake off the excess water. I use the Waterpik Sonic Toothbrush that is part of this set.

I tilt the jar a bit so that I can easily dip the entire bristle surface into The Dirt. Then I gently dip the wet brush into the tooth powder and shake the excess back into the jar. Your brush will look a bit like mine in the photos. Brush your teeth as usual. When you are through brushing, rinse your mouth out with water to remove any remaining tooth powder from your mouth. While you're at it, use some of that water to rinse the tooth powder residue from the sink. Then enjoy how fresh your mouth feels. 

My Results

My dentist had told me when I was in college that I should use Sensodyne because of my receding gums that make my teeth really sensitive. At the time -- think back over fifty years -- there wasn't much else on the market to do the job. The Dirt wasn't around back then. I used Sensodyne regularly for all of these fifty plus years. My teeth are still sensitive and I still get cavities. Would it have been worse if I'd brushed my teeth with something else? Who knows?

In the four months I have used The Dirt I have not noticed my teeth getting more sensitive. I chose The Dirt because it is supposed to actually remineralize the teeth. I still need to see my dentist to see if my teeth have gotten any worse by changing. They don't feel any worse than they did before. But my mouth feels cleaner after brushing that it did before.

About a month ago I ran out of The Dirt and had to go back to Sensodyne while waiting for my order to come in. What I noticed was that my mouth got sore when I switched back. It's possible that I was sensitive to one of the chemicals in the Sensodyne. After a couple of days, though, the soreness went away.

What's Not to Love?


Actually, not much. One fault I might find is that the color of The Dirt traces still on my white sink after I brush are really visible. I take care of that easily with a quick rinse after brushing or a swish of a sponge. It doesn't stain the sink. It will, however, be likely to change the color of your toothbrush. You need to thoroughly rinse it after each use to remove all residue, but even then there still may be a tinge of color left.

The only other thing is that when you are almost out of tooth powder, it takes some creativity to get the entire brush surface covered with The Dirt. That's why slanting the jar is so important. If I'd thought ahead I could have taken care of that problem by reordering The Dirt before I ran out. Then I could have put what was left in the old container right onto the top of the new.

These are small inconveniences I don't mind  in exchange for the clean fresh feeling in my mouth after I brush using The Dirt. I hope you will try it for yourself. Why not order today while you're thinking about it?









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Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Cafe Bustelo Espresso Style Coffee Reviewed

For Those Who Like A Strong Cup of Coffee

Rich dark coffee
If you are a fan of espresso or just like a good flavorful strong cup of coffee, you might be interested in the Cafe Bustelo line of coffees. I recently tried the Espresso style from this company and I really like it! It is bold, it is rich and it satisfied my taste buds!

The advantage to using the k-cup version is that you can opt to have a closer version of espresso depending on how much water you use in the brewing process. If your brewer allows a 4 oz cup of coffee, you will get pretty darn close to a real espresso. Selecting the 8 oz brew will give you a good strong cup of coffee which is a little watered down from what a true cup of espresso would be. I have tried it both ways and loved both. It kind of depends on my mood.

You can trust the Cafe Bustelo brand for an authentic Latin American type of espresso. Back in 1928, Gregorio Bustelo immigrated from Spain to East Harlem, New York. He was quite taken with the type of coffee found in many of the Latin American cities that he visited; especially in Havana, Cuba. He began to save his money to get his own roaster and eventually became a very prominent name in the Latin coffee community. As they say, the rest is history.

I tried the k-cup version of this coffee and I love it. You also have the option to purchase ground coffee if you prefer brewing your coffee in a pot. My guess would be that with the ground version you will be able to achieve a truly good shot of espresso especially if you have an espresso machine.

So, if you are a fan of good strong coffee; I highly recommend trying Cafe Bustelo Espresso style coffee. It is now one of my favorite brands to choose for my morning cup of coffee.


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Monday, May 7, 2018

Michael Crichton's TRAVELS, A Book Review (1988)

Michael Crichton's TRAVELS Book ReviewI have just returned from a trip around the world. A few of the more exotic countries that I visited were Thailand, Maylaysia, Bonaire, Ireland, England, Tanzania, Jamaica, New Guinea and Pakistan. On these travels, I climbed mountains, swam in the seas and slept with fleas. I mingled with elephants, felt the breath of gorillas on my face and swam among the sharks. I travelled off the beaten path and in some very rough conditions.

This trip was another armchair travels trip that I took via Michael Crichton's nonfiction book, Travels. It was a book club book that I recommended to the group. Fortunately, most of the group enjoyed the book more than I did.

I did enjoy parts of the book though I expected something different than I received from within the pages of the covers. It turned out that the title Travels was a little more general than I took it to be. It was meant to encompass Crichton's life adventures, which included literal travel but also spiritual adventures and medical training.

eNotes.com called Travels a "patchwork of pieces salvaged from a writer’s bottom drawer" and that is certainly how I felt about the book and why I was not keen on it. It does a good job of sharing Crichton's experiences individually but I would have appreciated it more if it had flowed as a single story rather than a series of short stories. In terms of writings, I suppose one might consider it a journal or diary of sorts.

On Crichton's website, it says that the book started as a series of travel pieces though he never intended to write about his travels thinking of them as just "something he did for himself that wasn’t work-related and wasn’t supposed to amount to anything." I understand how an author would not always want to chronicle everything in his life. Anyway, when Crichton discovered that some of his most important experiences happened on his trips this book was born and, when the book became autobiographical, he added the medical stories.

I am sure you have heard of Michael Crichton. He was a very successful novelist, screenwriter and film director. It is interesting that he wrote and sold books while he was studying to become a medical doctor though perhaps odd that he made it through the entire training program before he decided he did not actually want to be a doctor. In his 66 years, he wrote eleven books and more than 200 million copies of them have been sold in the science fiction, thriller and medical genres. In 1994, he had an unbelievable trifecta that included a number one movie, a book and a television show. Namely, Jurassic Park, Disclosure and ER. I am sure you will have heard of a couple of those, too.

Do I recommend Travels?

I guess so, reservedly. I would not recommend this book to someone looking for a page turner or an engaging novel. This book is as I have said before, a group of stories.

If you like to travel, you might enjoy the unusual destinations in this book whether or not you would choose them yourself. If you do not travel, you might enjoy visiting these places via the pages of a book.

Whether or not you believe in psychic phenomenons like aura reading, spoon bending, out-of-body trips and exorcism, you might enjoy learning about them and the various experiences Crichton had in the metaphysical world.

If you are interested in the human body or in being a medical doctor, you might appreciate the first chapters more than I did. If you red the book, you will discover how medical students are assigned cadavers and what follows.

But do not let my lukewarm recommendation be the deciding factor about whether or not you read this book for I have read many reviews by people who really enjoyed it and the majority of my book club members found Crichton's adventures interesting.

Reviewer Patricia Bosworth said in a 1988 New York Times book review, "I was ultimately swept away (by this book), not just by Crichton's richly informed mind, but his driving curiosity. Satisfying your curiosity takes guts."

Shangri-La anyone? The Shangri-La Michael Crichton visited is not the one you might have in your mind's eye. I thought of Shangri-La as an earthly paradise of sorts. Apparently the version I was picturing comes from a 1933 book called Lost Horizon. The real Shangri-La, as experienced in Travels, is quite different from that pleasant image in my mind and a good example of the unusual destinations in this book.

You can learn more about Michael Crichton's Travels on Amazon by clicking right here. If you do read the book, be sure to come back and let us know what you think of it. You might also let us know what your perception of Shangri-La was before you read this post.

See you
at the book store!
Brenda

Quick Links:

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More armchair travel book reviews.
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Sunday, May 6, 2018

8 Creative Flower Planter Ideas for Inside or Outside

Have a lot of broken down cars? Or just one?
There it is, a car planter, with the body as Art
Bring out your inner artistic side to display flowers and plants.

If you're stuck in a rut on the way you feature plants in and around the home, this list is designed to trigger an artistic spark so you can break that chain, and try something different this year.

1. Use An Old Wooden Toolbox
Old Shoes as a Planter?
Hmmm Yes? No?

If you have an old wooden, distressed toolbox - the ones with the handle across the top are especially nice - fill it with dirt, flowers, plants or spices. Place it anywhere you choose. Move it around from time to time.

2. Use Window Boxes Indoors

You've seen window boxes on outdoor railings, porches and the exterior of windows, however you can use a window box inside as well.

Find the window box that works best for your space, and simply duplicate what you would do outdoors. You can also spruce it up with decorative rocks and variety of rock garden plants. 

3. Old Tea Cups or Mugs

Old tea cups and coffee mugs are a creative way to display small plants or spices. If your kitchen has an area to display a set of cups or mugs, use them as a decorating accent or a place to hold your kitchen spices. Get each mug in a different color to add a little funk to your plant area.

A Large Cup of Flowers
4. Old Metal Boxes

You can use a new metal box as well. Any metal container in your home, that's the right size for your needs, can be filled with dirt, rocks, flowers, spices or plants. 

5. Ladder Plant Display

There are a number of ways to display plants on a ladder. You can secure the plants to each rung, or rig it so that each rung can hold a planter box. If doing it yourself isn't an option, you can get an already made free standing ladder that's designed to hold planter boxes. 

6. Drawers from Old Furniture

Rather than toss out your old dressers, use a drawer or two or three to plant flowers in.

Put the dirt directly in the drawer and plant what you want, or use it as a holder to place smaller pots already planted.

If you're able, turn it into a family affair by letting the kids paint a drawer and take care of their plants in their drawer.

7. The Top of a Birdhouse

Create edging around the roof of your birdhouse, fill it with dirt, then plant what you want in the area. It will look lovely, and the birds will appreciate it.

8. An Old Bicycle as a Home for Plants and Flowers

Position an old bike against a wall, tree or in a garden and use it as a prop for planting flowers and other plants. If it has a basket, fill it with hanging flowers. Use the wheels to grow flowers and plants that need a support to tie onto.



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Saturday, May 5, 2018

Reviewing How Aromatherapy Can Help Relieve Stress

Lavender oil for stress
Buy Your Lavender Oil Here!
I love using aromatherapy and it's awesome for many different things, but one thing that aromatherapy is often used to help with is stress.

I thought it would be handy to showcase which aromatherapy oils are the best to help relieve stress and how you can incorporate them into your lifestyle to make stress a thing of the past.

The best stress-busting essential oils that aromatherapy has to offer are:
  • Bergamot
  • Lemon
  • Lavender
  • Gerarnium
  • Chamomile
The best thing about these five oils is that they also smell absolutely divine too (a win/win).

Bergamot Oil


Bergamot oil is a very uplifting oil and is great for keeping you feeling positive and avoiding stress.  I love the smell of Bergamot - it always puts me in a 'happy' mood.

Bergamot can help with -
  • depression
  • nervous tension
  • relaxation
  • general well being

Lemon Oil

Lemon oil also has uplifting properties (most of the citrus oils do) and gives you a feeling of positivity.  Lemon oil has the advantage of being anti-bacterial and anti-viral so if your immune system is feeling the effects of too much stress, lemon oil can help.

Lemon oil can help with -
  • relaxation
  • nervous tension
  • general well being

Lavender Oil

Lavender oil has so many properties that it really is the super oil of all oils, often referred to as a first aid kit in a bottle.  Combine that with the fact that the fragrance is just as beautiful you're onto a winner!

Lavender oil can help with -
  • depression
  • headaches
  • high blood pressure
  • migrane
  • insomnia
  • nervous tension

Geranium Oil

Geranium oil is one of the few that can be blended with nearly any other oil.  It goes extremely well with rose, however and all of the citrus oils.

Geranium oil can help with -
  • depression
  • nervous tension
  • nervous pain
  • anxiety

Chamomile Oil

Chamomile oil has a very low toxicity which is why it is often used with children.

Chamomile oil can help with -
  • depression
  • headache
  • insomnia
  • irritability
  • migrane
  • hysteria

Essential oils really are a fantastic way to keep stress levels down.   I managed a shop for a number of years and we had an aromatherapy burner going all day.  My stress levels (especially considering how busy we were) were always kept under control.  My first experience of work stress didn't happen until after leaving this environment.

aromatherapy and stress relief

Common Stress Problems

Common stress problems include headaches, low libido insomnia, high blood pressure, depression, irritability, anxiety and exhaustion.

Headaches - the classic essential oil for stress headaches and migraines is lavender.  Simply put a drop on each middle finger and massage into your temples (lavender is one of the few essential oils you can use neat, usually you should dilute pure essential oils before putting onto the skin)

Insomnia - chamomile is a fantastic essential oil for helping with insomnia, especially when combined with lavender oil.   Leave a diffuser going in the bedroom or have a chamomile and lavender bath before going to bed.   When my daughter was teething she had problems sleeping so (as I didn't have a diffuser at that time) I put a couple of drops of chamomile on a hankerchief and placed this under the mattress in her cot.  It really seemed to help settle her.

Low Libido - when stress starts to affect your sex life then you want to grab some Jasmine oil (this oils has athrodisiac properties) as this works really well in combination with lavender, chamomile, bergamot or geranium.  Add a couple of drops of jasmine along with a couple of drops of one of your stress oils into a carrier oil and try a massage.

High Blood Pressure - this needs to be approached in a holistic manner, but both lavender and lemon oils are fantastic in helping to support other methods of reducing blood pressure.

How Do I Use Essential Oils?


Now that you've worked out what oils you need - what do you do with them?  Essential oils can be used in diffusers, burners, baths, massages, lotions and creams.

Diffusers


Diffusers are wonderful, if you're able to have them going at work it is fantastic.  When you're trying to convince your employer to let you have a diffuser at work point them in the direction of Takasago.  Takasago is a Japanese company who released essential oils into the office air of computer and word processing operators to see if it affected productivity.

The results showed an increase in productivity, reduction in error rates and a reduction in stress levels.  The productivity rates were all increased by between 21% and 54% depending on the oils used.  Take this to your boss and he won't just let you use a diffuser in the office he may even buy one for you!

De-Stress On Your Drive Home

Car Diffusers


Driving home you can use aromatherapy as well and reduce the chance of road rage!  Simply get a car diffuser, they usually plug into the cigarette lighter.  If you If you don't want to use one of these you can put a couple of drops of essential oil on a tissue and leave it over the airvent so that it can diffuse throughout the car. This is also a great tip for long car trips to stay alert when driving - we used a combination of lemon and rosemary on a road trip a few years ago - I'm digressing now. Back to stress!

Massages


Regular Aromatherapy massages are fantastic, if you're under a lot of stress then booking in to have a weekly massage is a great idea. A friend of mine finds that once a month is enough for her as her work stress levels aren't really high, but are fairly consistent.

Massage by itself is great for stress, but seeing an Aromatherapist means that you'll have the added benefits of the power of essential oils as well.

Baths


Baths are a fantastic way of 'washing away' the stresses of the day. The Romans and Egyptians have long known the benefits of bathing. In our quest for speed and efficiency we have switched to quick showers and have lost the relaxation of a bath along the way. Combine the relaxing properties of a bath with the power of aromatherapy and you will be much happier.

Other ways to incorporate aromatherapy are using burners, candles, body lotions and creams.

Some Helpful Aromatherapy Blends


General Formula for the Workplace


This formula will enable everyone to cope before they get stressed out and it also has the added benefit of keeping their immune systems healthy (always good in an office environment).

Bergamot 7 drops
Lavender 3 drops
Lemon 2 drops

Mix these ratios of oils together and put in a diffuser to keep your workplace happy and healthy.

Anxiety Formula


Lavender 10 drops
Geranium 10 drops
Bergamot 10 drops

This same combination works really well for Depression although in different ratios

Depression Formula (from Valerie Ann Worwood's The Fragrant Pharmacy)


Geranium 15 drops
Lavender 5 drops
Bergamot 10 drops

Geranium is a really good oil to use as an uplifting influence on your emotions and although I have already talked about using chamomile and lavender together for headaches, Geranium can also be used.

Headache Formula


Equal parts lavender , chamomile and geranium

aromatherapy to relieve stress
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Have You Used Aromatherapy to Reduce Stress?

I'd love to know which oils you used and what the results were ...


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Friday, May 4, 2018

Cabinet Door Spice Gripper Clips Strips Reviewed

Cabinet Door Spice Gripper Clips Strips Reviewed
Sometimes the simplest things are truly the best solutions! 

I have spent months trying to find a spice rack for my kitchen that would be pretty and convenient.   I looked at shelves, counter-top carousels, cabinet shelf risers and more.   I even considered converting one of my kitchen drawers into a spice holder.  But none of those ideas were the solutions I really wanted.

In our previous home, I had a gorgeous spice cabinet that I absolutely loved.  However, when we moved into our current house, that rack was too tall to hang on the wall between my cabinets and counter.  While I welcomed the taller kitchen cabinets, I really did hate to say goodbye to my lovely spice rack, but life moved on.  

At that time, I settled for an ugly, plastic carousel that would fit in my panty which was meant to be a temporary solution.  Now, nearly 20 years later, I am still using that carousel, except over the years it has been shoved further and further back into the pantry so I don't have to look at it every time I open the pantry door.  The spices I used most often sat on the front of the pantry shelf for easy access, but when I needed something behind them, it was a major pain to move everything around. 

This past Thanksgiving highlighted how desperately I needed a different spice storage solution.  With at least 4 cooks in my kitchen, too much of my own time was spent searching for the spices we needed back on the old carousel.  If anyone else tried to find a spice, they inevitably knocked jars off the spinning carousel.  

Truly, enough was enough!   And, so the search begin.  You can see my solution pictured on the right.



Pantry Door Spice Holder Installation


Pantry Cabinet Door Spice Rack Glipper Clips Strips
I resolved my problem with a set of Spice Gripper Clip Strips.  These strips were extremely easy to put up.  I cleaned the door with the alcohol pad that was included, removed the back tape protector strip and pressed my new gripper clips in place.  I did not use the included screws.  They were not necessary.   

My new spice holders are lightweight and plastic which means they will probably break eventually with daily use, but they are so inexpensive that I am not sweating that eventuality.  The convenience of having my spices hung on the pantry door is well worth any downside in the future.

Viola', instant spice rack inside my panty door and extremely convenient! 

I will be the very first to tell you how shocked I am that I love, I mean absolutely love my new spice gripper clips.  I should have done this decades ago.
 


Pantry Door Spice Holders Description


 SimpleHouseware 30 Spice Gripper Clips Strips Cabinet Holder - 6 Strips, Holds 30 JarsCheck PriceThe gripper clip strips have 5 clips per strip.  However, you can separate them into shorter strips if so desired.  The 5 clip strips are perfect for my pantry door, so I didn't need to shorten them.  

I was originally concerned that the space used when the door closed would be basically the same if the spices were still sitting on the shelf.  But, I was amazed to see that less than an inch of space is required to remain bare on the shelf in the front to accommodate the hanging spices.  Fabulous!  Not only do I have new convenient spice holders, but they are also space-savers.  Even better!!!

The strip package is a combination of white hangers and black hangers.  I used both.  Mixing them does not bother me even though I thought it would.  Perhaps, I am just grateful to have a spice holder solution. 

The only negative that I have found is that I will be required to replace each spice with the size spice jar on each clip once I use it the first time.  Since the hangers are plastic, they won't spring back to a smaller size once they are stretched out to hold a wide bottle.  Again, I can live with that.  After all, there are no nail or screw holes in my pantry door and I prefer that mild downside over holes in my cabinet door.

 
    


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Additional Kitchen Organization Suggestions and Reviews on Review This!
 
Kitchen OrganizationOrganizing Your Kitchen Cupboards - Where to Start?
Get organized in your pantry - let me show you how I overcame a couple of the problem areas in my kitchen cupboard.

Wall Decor 3 Ways to Add Color to Your Wall Without Painting
Check out these three creative ways to add color to your walls without having to paint. The metal spice racks are particularly stylish. They fit with virtually any décor style; modern, rustic, country, contemporary, and traditional.

Kitchen Cupboard Storage Ideas Basic Cupboard Storage Ideas to Consider When You're Doing a Kitchen Makeover
Planning a kitchen re-do? Check out these basic cupboard storage design ideas first.... 




House of Sylvestermouse






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Thursday, May 3, 2018

Driving Miss Norma - Book Review

Miss Norma and Ringo
Life's defining moments often come when least expected and in ways that were never anticipated.  For Miss Norma, losing her husband of 67 years the very same week she was diagnosed with advanced cancer, meant the life she had known for 90 years was gone in two heartbeats.  Driving Miss Norma is not about loss, however.  It is a moving memoir about the joyful journey that emerges as a result of life-affirming choices that become Miss Norma's defining moments.  Over the course of a year spent on the road with her son, Tim, daughter-in-law, Ramie, and poodle, Ringo, Miss Norma and her family show us what happens when you open yourself up to the very life of life.

At the beginning of this book, Norma Bauerschmidt makes two enormous decisions that drive the stories within her story.  First, when faced with months of draining medical procedures for treatment of what is expected to be terminal uterine cancer, Miss Norma chooses not to undergo surgery, radiation, and chemo.  She decides to live out her life outside the confines of a hospital.  In conjunction with that courageous decision, Bauerschmidt accepts an invitation from Tim and Ramie to take to the road with them in their RV.  It is this coming together that will completely transform all of their lives.

Though the journey begins with the hopes of checking off some of Miss Norma's "Bucket List" items, it is her reluctance to compose such a list that makes for the possibility of a more fulfilling trip.  In the course of taking it one day at a time, one delightful encounter at a time, Miss Norma and her family discover beautiful new ways of communicating and connecting.

As their experiences are shared via social media and national news outlets, Miss Norma becomes an international sensation with over half a million followers on Facebook.  Her life becomes her message, inspiring countless others to truly embrace fullness of living.  Everywhere she goes, total strangers become caught up in wanting to enrich Miss Norma's days.  The lines begin to blur in terms of who is enriching whom.  All that really matters is that Miss Norma's growing sense of wonder creates an energy and magic that draws others in.  By choosing to say yes to life, Miss Norma and family start a powerful chain reaction.

I was drawn to Miss Norma's story by my own family circumstances.  When my mother was diagnosed with multiple cancers, I had this dream of going on the road with her in my RV.  I had a deep desire to be a part of something that might be meaningful for my mom during her season of dealing with mortality and end-of-life issues.  Sadly, I never got to take that trip with my mother.  Reading this book, and vicariously embarking on Miss Norma's journey, has touched my spirit in vital ways.  It has renewed my desire to be a person who makes it possible for these kinds of life-affirming journeys to take place.

We all have the opportunity to be the driver on the journey of life.  I encourage you to read Driving Miss Norma.  It is quite likely to inspire you to hit the road.  I hope to meet up with you along the way.






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Wednesday, May 2, 2018

How To Tip Toe Through the Tulips: A Review of the Ukulele

There was a blank space in our Music Room, so my Sweetie decided that it was time for a Ukulele!  Let's Review this wonderful little instrument!


His music room has space for a Keyboard, a Digital set of Drums, a Guitar, a Bodhran, an Old Chord Accordian, several Tin Whistles and Recorders and our latest aquistion, the Ukulele!  For less than $100.00 he has a Ukulele, online lessons, carrying case, picks and tuner(he opted for the one in the link below).




 Important features for the Ukulele is the ability to tune the instrument.  If it doesn't have proper tuning pegs, like a guitar, you are buying a toy!  We don't want a toy, we want an instrument that will give us pleasure while we learn how to play.  This particular one is a bargain for a musical instrument!  Size is important too, this one doesn't take up much space at all.  It's easy to handle and very portable!  A bonus for him, especially when he's going out to the schools to see the kids!  Music and the Deacon, go hand in hand!  The children seem to love the music too!

                                                                  


It just so happens that today May 2nd is "Play your Ukulele" day!


Let me fill you in on a little bit about this lovely instrument.  Most people associate it with Hawaii! Hawaii's own  Israel Kamakawiwo'ole( (Oahu, 20 May 1959 - Honolulu, 26 June 1997)who played the Ukulele with style and presence. Here he is playing Somewhere Over the Rainbow and this song is still  listened to by millions of people all over the world, today!



His gentle spirit, voice, the melody and the sounds of this little instrument just seem to match perfectly.  It's hard to remain in a bad mood listening to this music.  It's partly his own sound and partly the Ukulele!  In his hands the Ukulele while a small instrument, commands a big presence, as did he!

The Ukulele actually came from Portugal, but because it has been adopted by the Hawaiian Islands, it seems to have become the instrument of these Paradise Islands. A few musicians(who aren't Hawaiin) have made it's sound their own like, Tiny Tim, with his "Tip Toe Through the Tulips".  While to my ears it wasn't a great song, it seems that it was popular enough at the time to garner lots of play time on several Radio Stations. It seems to have helped the Ukulele to become a popular musical instrument at the time too!



Ukuleles are not expensive to own!  As I have mentioned before,  good one will cost less than $100.00 and for someone who is on a budget, this is much more affordable than a good guitar.  You can learn the chords and the strumming techniques and use them on either instrument.  So while learning one, you will ultimately learn more than one instrument, without a big cash outlay at the start.  This is great for parents or grandparents who would love to see their offspring develop some musical talent.  Ukuleles are also small in size, so portability is not an issue.  Even the youngest child can handle carrying a Ukulele around without any kind of difficulty.  They would love the song Lava that features a strumming of the Ukulele with lyrics that will mean so much to every audience.  Check it out right here!


                                                   I think I Lava this song!


In writing this review I found myself looking into people who are fully into the sounds of the Ukulele and guess what?  I found several people that take the Ukulele very seriously and the sounds that come out of this instrument make me stop in my tracks to admire and enjoy the sound.  I would never have thought that this instrument was truly able to be played in such a commanding way.  If you want, you can check out this amazing and lovely lovely sound right here!  With this kind of talent and ability, who would not want to learn how to play this lovely little instrument?  I think I'll be moving into the music room now and practicing some Ukulele music!



Maybe I can figure out how to play The Mother's Day Song for Mother's day!  Just to make my mother laugh and cry at the same time!  Music is a perfect gift at anytime, but today I will use it for my Mother's Day present!  Surprise MOM!  Hope you enjoy the lyrics.....I love you!


The Ukulele



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Tuesday, May 1, 2018

First Magyc Guardians of the Path Book Reviewed

The Fight Against Good and Evil

The Magic of Music image courtesy of Pixabay.com
I would like to introduce you to a fantasy fiction series today. First Magyc is book one in the Guardians of the Path series written by Nicole Dragonbeck. A short summation would be the plot involves the age old battle between good and evil. That would be factual but doesn't come anywhere close to giving you insight as to whether you will enjoy the first book in the series or not. 

Let me start out with explaining a little of my reaction to reading First Magyc. I feel like I have to tell you that not very far into this first book, I almost stopped reading it. This is a very unusual feeling for me to experience when reading any book. It is rare that I give up on a story of any kind. Suffice it to say, I didn't put the book down. There was something in my mind that niggled at me, telling me to continue with the story. I am glad that I did. I guess what I am trying to say is you might feel the same when you begin this book but I encourage you to keep reading. I don't think you will be disappointed. I wasn't. In fact, the story took on a spiritual significance for me.


The story begins with Ria, a twelve year old girl that I immediately related to and I think many people will. She is a troubled child; slightly broken after the loss of her mother. Her father and step-mother fight a lot. Those fights are usually about her which makes them even harder for her to listen to and cope with. Her escape is to lose herself in music. Her Ipod and earbuds drown out the angry words and sounds of the arguments most of the time. On this particular day, the fight is intense enough that she feels she needs to sneak out of the apartment to get further away from the words of battle that are being spewed by her parents.

Sitting in a grungy corner away from the other apartment doors, Ria hears a song in her head that she has never heard before and it is not one that she has on her playlist. As she concentrates on this song, a door appears where a door never was. She has a strong feeling that she should open that door even though her twelve year old mind knows that is not a safe or wise action to take. When the door opens she meets Cedar who doesn't look like anyone she has ever seen before. There are colors around him and the room that he is in that intrigue her. She knows that she should turn around and leave but yet she feels that she needs to stay. Cedar explains to her that he has been trapped in this world between worlds for a long time and that he thinks that she may be able to help him get back to his world; a place that he desperately needs to be. Cedar has to use First Magyc or Blood Magyc in order to return. (This is where I got disturbed enough that I almost quit reading. All I will say is, keep reading the book!)

So, it turns out that Cedar is one of a handful of Guardians who have been given the task of protecting the Path which is the force of life itself. Cedar and other Guardians have been battling Demons who appear from the Void trying to destroy the Path and the humans who follow it for centuries. Life has become chaotic in Cedar's world; the Path is fading to almost non-existence and the Music of Life is vanishing. Of course, Ria does not understand any of this when she arrives but she knows that somehow she wants to help.

Cedar is surprised to find out that Ria has some abilities that he was not aware of when they first met and this gives him hope but also concerns him greatly. A Demon appears to do battle with Cedar and after injuring the Guardian the Demon calls Ria by a name that she doesn't know anything about but Cedar does. Is this girl who opened the door and helped him get back the very one from the ancient prophecy?

OK, so if you have read any of my other reviews you know that I don't like to give away much of a story line. So, I am recommending that if you want to know more about the Guardians, the Demons, and Ria you need to read this book and the ones that follow.

Here is what I love about the book and I did end up loving the book! For me this is a story about our spiritual journey in life which can and really should be a magical journey through life. Isn't our faith, no matter what name it might be called, a path that we walk on? We don't see the path, we feel it. We know when we have made a wrong turn on our journey and need to get back to the warmth and glow of the path we are supposed to be on. Sometimes that means we have to slay some emotional or physical demons to get back to where we are should be. The walk isn't always easy especially if there are no spirits, angels or guardians protecting the direction we are headed.

There is also the connection between walking our journey through life and music. I love that the author more than hints at that connection! Music is spiritual and it doesn't have to be music in a religious setting to touch your soul. Actually, most times it isn't the music you hear or sing while at church that touches your soul. Is it? Certainly there are songs of a religious nature that move me and I am sure you, too. In our lives there are songs that we hear that help us get through a rough time, make us smile, bring us joy, or make our feet move. Music is emotional, it is spiritual, it is magical, life without it would be like being in a void of nothingness.

Bottom line, I love the first book in the series. I think many of you might also enjoy it. Perhaps, the message that the author hoped to convey is very different from what I came away with. Perhaps you will have a different take away, altogether. My overall reaction is that it touched my soul and that doesn't happen often when reading a book of fiction. 



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