Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The Best Way to Get Ready, Party Time is Here

In a couple of days Summertime will Officially be here! 

Along with Summertime comes Party Time! It's high season for Graduations, End of School Years, and let's not forget about the Fourth of July!  For Canadians that would be the First of July!

party time, dollar tree, review this, setting a beautiful table



Everyone is looking forward to being with friends and family especially when the weather is warm and sunny!  Let's Review some of the best ways to get ready for all of those wonderful outdoor BBQ's and Holiday celebrations. Summertime is a wonderful time for us to enjoy our company, friends and the great outdoors at the same time.

Party planning can be fun, but it can also be costly.  Dollar Tree is a great place to get all those party needs at a reasonable cost. Red, White and Blue party supplies can be had for the best 4th of July party ever!  Canadians can skip the blue and stick with red and white!  Everything from glasses, plates and cutlery for your table and all of it color coordinated, can be had right here!


Setting a table for an outdoor party is easy when you can get everything you need in one place.  From the decorations to balloons, napkins and snacks.  You can even get mixes and drinks for the kids without any problem at all.  Dollar Tree is a one stop shop for all things party related.


When I have been invited to a backyard party, I like to come with something in hand to add to the table.  I will buy a nice bowl or two and then fill one of  them with my special salad and another with a dessert!  The host and hostess are always happy to see my contribution to the party and they always go over really well.

My favorite salad is easy to make, looks really good and is a healthy alternative!  This comes from a friend of mine who is a Naturopathic Doctor! Take a look and see if you don't agree that it looks delicious.
dollar tree, backyard party time, summer festivities, BBQ's, Review This


Dr. Amy Tung's Baby Arugula, Seaweed & Kale Salad with Roasted Almonds and Fresh Herbs 🌿 .

1 cup unsalted almonds
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt
4 cups kale
3 cups baby arugula
1/2 cup soaked and drained dried kelp
2 Tbsp each chopped fresh dill, parsley and cilantro 
1 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano
.
Dressing: 
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp good quality balsamic vinegar 1 clove garlic, grated or pressed
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
.
Toss almonds with extra-virgin olive oil and salt. Spread on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated 350F oven for 15 minutes, turn every 5 minutes or until nicely browned. Cool.
.
In large bowl combine kale, baby arugula and herbs. Cover with damp paper towels and reserve.
.
For dressing, combine lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, garlic and salt. Whisk in olive oil.
.
Just before serving toss greens with dressing. Serves 6 - 8 people

decorations, party time, dollar tree, setting a beautiful party

The other bowl is for fruits that I love to bring along to a backyard get together.  Summer is the season to enjoy all of the abundance around us! There is no better way to enjoy fresh and good for you food than to prepare a large bowl of summer ripe and summer sweet fruits.

My favorites are strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, watermelon cubed or balled, melons (honeydew and cantaloupes) cut into strips or cubed, apples and cherries.  Add a special Citrus Honey dressing (by that is just superb!  Just one warning,  do not place this dressing on the fruits until you are ready to serve.  Some of the fruits may become soggy if mixed too early.

Citrus-Honey Dressing Ingredients:
• 2 tablespoons honey
• 1 teaspoon orange zest
• 1 teaspoon lime zest
• 2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed orange juice
• ½ tablespoon fresh lime juice


May your summer be wonderful, may you have many friends and family to share it with you and may you make memories that will keep you smiling for many years to come!  



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Marlowe Extra Moisturizing Body Lotion Reviewed

Relief For Dry Skin

Baby soft skin image from Pixabay.com
Aging skin is often difficult to keep moisturized. I recently discovered Marlowe Extra Moisturizing Body Lotion to help my skin feel more like the silky softness of a baby's foot. Well, not quite that soft but my skin is looking and feeling much better.

I absolutely love this product for my skin! It helps to hydrate while nourishing and restoring my skin to a more youthful look and feel.  One of the ingredients that helps with this is deep sea algae extract. The algae extract gives relief to sensitive or inflamed skin without causing more irritation. My skin can be so sensitive at times that some body lotions actually worsen the condition instead of helping. 

Marlowe body lotion uses passionflower fruit extract which is high in vitamin C and iron. This aides in skin restoration and moisturizing. Green tea extract is another ingredient which is rich in antioxidants to help fuel repair of skin cells and to protect our skin from environmental stresses. Another ingredient that helps with reduction of inflammation and irritation of the skin is willow bark extract. All of these work together to give a soothing, moisturizing and pleasant treatment to our skin. 

What is not in this body lotion is paraben or phthalate! It is not tested on animals, either. Another selling point for me when I was considering purchasing this lotion was that it is made in the United States. An additional bonus was to find out that the company distributes soap to people at risk for hygiene-related illnesses for every product that is sold.

I have been using this lotion for a couple of weeks now and I am very pleased. My skin looks and feels better than it has in years. Another bonus was that the scent is not overpowering or too feminine so my husband doesn't mind using it, too. In the long run it turns out to be a money saver because I don't have to purchase a brand for him to use and a brand for me to use. We are both very pleased with how soft and moist our skin feels. There is no greasy residue after application and my skin feels a cool sensation when I apply the lotion.

If you have dry, sensitive skin or are starting to see the effects of aging in your skin; I highly recommend giving Marlowe Extra Moisturizing Body Lotion a try. I do not think that you will be disappointed. 



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Monday, June 18, 2018

Reviewing Chewy.com

I have just received my first order from Chewy.com and I have to say that I think I could get used to having nearly 20 lbs. of pet supplies delivered to my 3rd floor apartment door. 


About Chewy.com


Chewy.com is an online source for pet supplies. A large variety of pets. You can choose to "shop by pet" and that includes: dogs, cats, fish, birds, reptiles, small pets, and horses. 

Their mission statement is:

"We're working to become the largest pet retailer in the world with the most satisfied customers. Our success is measured by the happiness of the people and pets we serve, not simply by the amount of pet supplies we deliver." 

After my experience, I believe that they are working hard to complete that mission.

I found the site to be easy to navigate and super easy to find the items and brands I was shopping for. 

With a coupon I received in the mail, I took the plunge and ordered four cases Willy and Daisy's canned dog food. With the coupon and free shipping combined that dog food cost less than it would have if I had purchased it at Wal-Mart. 


I like to buy my dog and cat supplies in bulk - cutting down on trips to the store. But loading, unloading, and carrying all that up three flights of stairs becomes annoying. Imagine 2 large bags of dog food, a 5 lb. bag of cat food, a container of cat litter, and a case of canned dog food in a typical stock-up shopping trip. That translates to multiple heavy-duty trips up and down the stairs.

Finally, I have browsed the site several times and confirmed that they offer every brand of dog food, dog treat, cat food, and cat litter that I buy. Including one of the dog food brands I purchase that is regularly out-of-stock at my local stores. 


The Reason I'd Give My Experience 4 out of 5 Stars


If I were giving a starred review, I'd give 4 out of 5 stars - subtracting one star for our local delivery service. 

I've learned that in the Baltimore area we have a delivery service in addition to UPS, FedEx, and the postal service. It is called LaserShip. I'm not at all pleased with LaserShip.

LaserShip listed an expected delivery date. Two days after that date, I contacted them. Their response was that there was a delay and I'd receive my shipment in 1-2 days. Those additional days passed and suddenly my tracking information showed that my delivery was "left at door" on the original delivery date that was listed. 

Only problem was... it wasn't left at my door. I happened to be home that evening (and ironically, receiving a delivery of curtains and curtain rods from one of the other delivery services). So I contacted LaserShip again.  After another couple of days their response was that my delivery was lost and I should contact "the seller.".  It was only then that I realized I was not communicating with Chewy.com customer service.

I contacted Chewy.com customer service. They were professional, quick, and shipped my items a second time. For free. With no run around or misinformation whatsoever.

I received that order on the promised date. 

Related to Chewy.com only, I could imagine myself becoming a regular client. I'm totally sold on the savings and convenience. However, I'm planning on learning more about this LaserShip company to learn if I can receive my Chewy.com orders without LaserShip's "help". 

I highly recommend Chewy.com to other pet owners.


photos courtesy of Pixabay under CC0 license. 






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Sunday, June 17, 2018

The Best Gift You Can Give Your Dad that Doesn't Cost a Dime

It's Corny. It's Cliché. But if You Can Give it, It's the Best Gift.

The best gift you can give Dad, is your time.

If you're one of the fortunate with a living father, and a father you enjoy a good relationship with, then it's a certainty that your voice or your company ranks highest on his list of wants.

This suggestion is not meant to sound preachy, it merely comes from the heart of a person whose father has passed on.

My dad loved when we visited, he often said to me, "Barb, I love it when you're here". That's exactly how we feel when our children are home as well.

Dad gave us the greatest gift, the gift of love, and we're passing that down from generation to generation. It doesn't get any better than that: Love, compassion and family.

When He Hears Your Voice, I'll Bet Your Father Lights Up

There isn't anything your father wants more than to be with you or to at least talk with you on Father's Day.

When he thinks about you I'll bet dollars to donuts that he reflects upon every aspect of your growing up. I say that because, when I speak to my sons, I see every age and almost every moment of their life in that moment. 

With social media and personal devices, our habit of texting, emailing or posting our sentiment crosses over into expressing ourselves on special occasions. That's OK too. There's nothing wrong with posting a song for dad, or texting a personal note of love to him, but if you're able to, a phone call or a visit ranks at the top.

Although you can get dad a gift, and I'm sure he'll appreciate whatever you choose, when he looks around his kitchen table at his family sharing memories and laughing, that's the gift that beats them all. His heart is your heart.

Written for My Dad in Heaven - He Blessed Us With Love






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Saturday, June 16, 2018

Reviewing Greens Balance by Arbonne

greens balance - adding nutrition to your day the easy way!
Greens Balance
We all know that we need to eat lots of veggies, most of our moms would tell us to eat up our greens when we were growing up and I know I used to challenge my daughter to eat a rainbow every day when she was younger (I made sure to let her know M&Ms did NOT count!).  Sometimes it is hard to get as many serves of fruit and vegetables that we should have into our daily lives though.

It can't just be a problem for me can it?  I didn't used to have any veggies with my breakfast until I discovered green smoothies, which meant I had to up my game come lunch time.  Dinner has always been easy to fit lots of vegetables into and fruit can be consumed as a snack, but I would still have days when I came up short on my 5 serves of veg and 2 of fruit.

Next I heard that instead of 7 a day we should be eating 10 a day and I must admit my first reaction was to throw my hands up in the air and give up!

Now some readers will know that I embarked on a healthy weight loss journey in December 2017 and this has been successful in both weight loss and health benefits - I have so much more energy it's like I've rediscovered my inner spark!  My journey uses Arbonne's 30 Days to Healthy Living and Beyond plan and it was through this plan that I was introduced to Greens Balance.

So, What is Greens Balance?


Greens balance is a deep green powder that reminded me (in color and smell) of spirulina when I first saw it.  This is hardly a surprise when you look at the ingredients and see that it contains this nutrient dense algae along with wheat and barley grass and an array of different fruits and vegetables.

Eat a rainbow made easy - Arbonne's Greens Balance
Greens Balance - the easy way to 'eat a rainbow' from Arbonne


In just one scoop of this powder you really can say you're eating a rainbow!  A few of the fruit and vegetables that are in this powder are kale, broccoli, pomegranate, tomato, pumpkin, mango, blueberry and purple sweet potato.   As well as containing all the nutrients different colored fruit and veg provide, this powder also contains a powerful prebiotic fibre to help support a healthy digestive system.

How Do I Use Greens Balance?


As it's in powder form this makes it very easy to use, some people mix it in a little water and drink it like a shot of wheatgrass.  When I first saw and smelt the Greens Balance I thought people were crazy taking it this way so I did the following ...

I like to add a scoop into my breakfast smoothie, when I add cacao powder or a handful of berries I find that I can't even taste the greens balance and yet I'm getting all of that goodness.

I usually only have the one scoop a day, but when my family (and a number of work colleagues) were sick with a flu virus earlier this year I actually added a scoop to my lunchtime shake as well.  I'm not a doctor or nutritionist, but I always believe that a good immune system requires good nutrition which is why I did this.   It may just be a coincidence, but I never got the virus despite being surrounded by all the germs!

After I had been adding it to my shakes for several months I did try it as a shot and I quite liked it that way, until I discovered something called the Green Ogre Drink and now that's the way I like to take my shot of Greens Balance every day!

You can also add the greens balance to dishes when cooking to increase the vegetable content, I haven't personally tried this, but it sounds like a great idea.

Does It Really Help Though?


"It sounds good, but how do I know if it's doing anything for me?"  This is often a problem when you're doing lots of things to improve your health and you're not sure which ones are really necessary, but I will NOT be giving up my greens balance ......

I am feeling a lot healthier this year and my energy levels are fantastic, my immune system is awesome, my hormones are balanced, my rheumatoid arthritis is not only under control, but I wake up to no pain or stiffness at all.   Let's just say that what I'm doing is working really well.   Of course everyone is different and you should always contact a medical professional. 

A few weeks ago I actually ran out of greens balance (I thought I had another tub, but didn't), my order was delayed and I went 1 day with only half a scoop and 3 days with no greens balance.   Now I didn't think much of it until I got home from work on the 2nd day of not having any and I was really tired.   When I said to my husband how shattered I felt his first response was have you eaten enough?  I had eaten plenty, but that's when I realized that what was missing was the greens balance.

I am not letting the tub get too low before re-ordering again!

Do I Need Greens Balance if I Have a Good Diet?


I think I have a good diet, I have at least half a plate of vegetables with my main meal every night, lunches have been a problem in the past, but the past couple of years they have usually included either a salad or a vegetable soup (depending on the season).  Breakfast would often be my downfall, in the summer I would have some fruit and occasionally some veg included, but in winter when I used to have porridge there wouldn't be any fruit or veg. 

I still feel I need greens balance.   Only you know how much you eat, but I personally don't think you can ever have too much good nutrition.  I seriously am now considering it to be as important as my health insurance.

Where to Get Greens Balance?


You will need to purchase your greens balance online through any of the links I've provided, but if you want to contact me via my facebook page (Louanne Cox Business) then I can let you know how to get 20% off the standard retail price   Well worth looking into if you're planning on taking this every day.

How Long Does the Greens Balance Last?


At one scoop a day a tub of greens balance will last you 30 days.


Have More Questions?


If you want to know the full list of ingredients or have any questions that I haven't covered here then go straight to the website - here - and look at the product sheet.  Alternatively comment below or message me privately (via my facebook page or instagram).

Another Fun Way to Increase Vegetables in Your Diet


If you're not a fan of adding a nutritional supplement to your diet then you have to get creative with ways of increasing your veggie count and one way I do this is by using a spiralizer ...

easily increase your vegetable intake with a spiralizerEasily Increase Your Vegetable Intake with a Spiralizer
A fun way to increase the vegetable content of your meal is to turn vegetables into noodles. This is really easy to do with a spiralizer.



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Friday, June 15, 2018

Solo: A Star Wars Story Movie Review

Solo:  A Star Wars Story Movie Review
Movie Cover & Wikipedia Image combined for Intro Photo
Top Image By Lucasfilm LTD. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Solo: A Star Wars Story  Reviewed & Recommended  by this Lifelong Star Wars Fan

I had previously heard that the new Star Wars movie, Solo, was not worth seeing, however I emphatically disagree!  As a matter of fact, it may well be one of my favorite Star Wars movies ever, and that is saying a lot.

I was in high school when the first Star Wars movie was released in 1977.  And, like every other teenager that summer, I saw the movie several times.  

My husband and I own every Star Wars movie on either DVD or VHS (some on both formats).  Plus, when the theme song starts, we could name that tune in 2 notes.  We feel like we grew up with Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, and Princess Leia.  Yoda and Darth Vader were like our classmates, or perhaps our teachers.  

I felt compelled to tell you all of that so you would understand that we consider ourselves huge Star Wars fans with sufficient knowledge and experience to qualify as real judges in the assessment of sequels and prequels.   

We both rule, unequivocally, that Solo:  A Star Wars Story is an excellent movie!   All Star Wars fans should see the movie and decide for themselves.  Please don't let negative comments or reviews keep you from seeing a fabulous movie.


Highlights of Solo:  A Star Wars Story

Solo: A Star Wars Story is exactly what the name would suggest.  It is the background story of Han Solo's life before he met Luke and Leia.  Did you know Han had a love interest before Leia?  It makes sense that he would, but I found it very interesting nonetheless. 

 Solo: A Star Wars Story (With Bonus Content)Check PricMy favorite part was seeing how Han met Chewbacca.  That was fantastic!  I don't believe I ever questioned how they became a team, but it was really fun to watch.  After all, everyone loves Chewbacca.  Some of us liked him better than Han in that first movie way back when.

I liked the way the writers injected humor in this movie.  I found myself laughing several times.  Have you ever wondered how Han got his name?  Again, not something I questioned previously, but I definitely laughed at that aha moment.

I also enjoyed watching Han win the Millennium Falcon.  I appreciated the fact that he did not cheat to win.  It was all fair and square.

Admittedly, I thought I would miss Harrison Ford.  I was concerned that no one else would be able to play that part, or that I would simply not accept them as Han.  As it turns out, I like this new "Han".  He did an outstanding job of playing the part of Han Solo.

Those are a few of my favorite highlights of the movie.  I would love to hear about your favorite part.



The Plot of Solo:  A Star Wars Story


Aside from introducing you to Han earlier in his life, the movie actually had a plot too. 

Han and Chewbecca team up with Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson) and his gang of thieves who were hired to steal coaxium (hyperspace fuel) for the Crimson Dawn syndicate which is ruled by Maul.  

As always, conflict, battles, uncertain alliances, betrayals, and even deaths are a part of the intricate plot of this Star Wars prequel.  We even see the Millennium Falcon engage in a fight with TIE fighters. 





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Thursday, June 14, 2018

Circling the Sun Paula McLain Book Review

Circling the Sun Paula McLain Book Review
Another trip! This time my armchair travels took me to colonial Kenya, Africa via Paula McLain's historical biography Circling the Sun. Set in the 1920s, it is totally engaging, a fictional account of the real Beryl Markham's life. Beryl lived in what is now known as settler-era Africa. She was definitely a woman before her time and her story is very interesting. 

It starts in England but is mostly set in Kenya where Beryl's mother abandons her with her father. Beryl embraces the local African culture and in the long run becomes a record-setting aviator. That is, after a a life spent conquering the male-dominated equestrian world and loving a man she could never have.

Do I Recommend Circling the Sun?


I do. I highly recommend Circling the Sun if you enjoy historical fiction and are intrigued with the idea of visiting Africa. This book sheds light on the life of a woman and a country that we have not heard much about.
I thought it was an enjoyable read but New York Times' writer Alexandra Fuller found it a bit fluffy. However, in her review she agrees that "the settlers who used Kenya as their hapless playground did so at catastrophic expense to those who called Kenya home long before the whites arrived." It is an interesting peek into the history of Africa.

As Julie McDowall said when she reviewed the book for the Independent, it it is filled with "vigorous, swift, and spangled with spectacular imagery." I came away wanting to visit Africa though of course I wanted to visit that country before I read this book. I also agree with McDowall when she said the story quickens near the end and that not enough time is spent on the one thing Beryl is famed for, her flying. If you want to read this book for the aviation, prepare to be disappointed.

The Boston Globe said, "McLain will keep you from eating, sleeping, or checking your e-mail — though you might put these pages down just long enough to order airplane tickets to Nairobi."  Exactly.

Circling the Sun follows Paula McLain's hugely successful novel The Paris Wife, which I can also highly recommend. That book is set in jazz age Paris and follows the life of Ernest Hemingway and his second wife.

Are you intrigued by the idea of visiting Africa? Will you visit via McLain's book? You can find Circling the Sun on Amazon by following this link.

See you
at the book store!
Brenda

Quick Links:

Buy Circling the Sun on Amazon.




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Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Incredibly Easy Ways to Increase Your Level of Fitness

So we are already heading into the second half of 2018 and if better fitness was one of your goals, Let's Review how to do this easily!


Today many jobs have us sitting on our behinds for long periods of time.  Even hobbies that we enjoy can make us less active than we should be.  Most health experts agree that this is not the best thing for our bodies.  So let's review how to make it easier to remember to get up and move!  If we don't use it, we will lose it!  

Being sedentary for short periods of time is fine, everyone needs to relax for a little while.  What our bodies need more,  is to move.  There is evidence that if we sit around too much our health declines.  Not just our physical health, but our mental health as well.  

We need a certain amount of activity in our daily lives, that means moving every day.  Whether you take a walk at lunch time or go to a yoga class after work, maybe go for a swim at the recreation center or a bike ride when you get home, these are all ways to become more active and healthier.

activity trackers, active, health declines, get healthier, activity
All of these activities will help you become more active!  Find one that you really like!

I must confess, that I had fallen into the very sedentary group for far too long.  It wasn't easy to get motivated to move! Then I was faced with some serious health issues, the choice became one of necessity.  I can get very caught up in the internet, browsing websites, reading blogs and writing my own blogs.  All of these things are sedentary activities.  I used to have a timer that I would set every hour and when the timer went off, it was time to get up and go for a 10 minute walk.  Well that worked for a little while, but then I forgot to set the timer and forgot to set it again and again.  All my best intentions went out the window and the kitchen timer went back into the kitchen.

I moved to an apartment so that stairs were no longer an issue for me (bad knees, bad ankles and bad hips).  One of the most important aspects of moving was to find a place that had a swimming pool that I could use year round.  Where I live that means an indoor pool.  Well, we found the ideal place and call it home now.  The promise was that I would use the pool daily (exercise is easier in water) to help my movements become more routine.  To that end, I found my ideal exercise tool and it can be yours too!

It's called a FITBIT!    There are several different styles of Fitbits and this one is a great one for just about anyone!  The style is very understated and can be worn with just about anything.



Now why in heaven's name would you need a FITBIT? 

FitBits or Activity trackers are an amazing tool that everyone can use regardless of age, sex or lifestyle.  Whether you are an athlete already or whether you have decided to become more active this tool will help you!.

It is a multi-tool for your wrist.  It is a watch that will keep you on time for all your appointments,  It is a heart rate monitor that let's you know how hard your heart is working.  It can monitor your sleep patterns.
It will track all day activities like walking, stair climbing and a total of all your active minutes.  You can receive calls, messages, and other notifications depending on your own personal set up. Many of these digital trackers have these features and more.  

I personally like my fitbit very much, it is connected to my computer and I can look over my weekly activities and adjust as need be.  It has helped me to keep moving every hour for at least 10 minutes.  If I don't walk in a certain period, at 10 minutes before the hour is over, I will get a buzzing vibration on my wrist with the message, You need to walk 110 more steps this hour.  Well believe it or not, I don't ignore this alarm.  I get up and I do those steps.  At the end of the day I know that I have walked a minimum of 5000 steps.    That is the minimum amount of daily activity that is recommended by almost all doctors.

Screen Shot of my FitBit activity.
Once you purchase a FitBit (I'm not sure about the other brands) there is even an online group that you can join for added support and friendship.  

FitBit would make a great Father's Day gift, or a wonderful birthday gift for anyone you love.  If you love them, you want them to stay healthy!  This is one tool that will help along the way.

** I am not a doctor.  Before embarking on a fitness routine check with your medical practitioner.  No advice given here is meant to be medical advice for anyone. 
Always check with your own doctor first.**








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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

July 4th Ladies Tank Top Reviewed

Apparel For July 4th Celebration

usa flag
To Celebrate Our Nation's Birthday
Ladies are you looking for a new tank top to wear for your July 4th celebration this year? I would like to review an option for you today.

Chances are whether you plan to attend a local parade, a picnic, cookout or the fireworks display the temperature will be warm. A tank top offers a perfect option for the weather and the celebration you plan to attend.

Actually, the option that I am going to show you will work beyond the July 4th holiday. It can be worn any time during the warm months of the year to show your patriotism or just as a really cool top.



4th of July Tank Top

The great thing about this tank top for ladies is that it is quite casual and can be worn with your favorite shorts, pair of jeans or even slacks. I particularly like that it is extra long and could even be worn as a cover-up for the pool or beach. So, there is a lot of versatility for this particular choice for your celebration of our nation's birthday.

I also noticed that if you do not like this particular design you have the option to choose a different pattern. One has mostly stars on a blue background while the other is sort of a reverse of the design above. There is also a great selection of sizes available for this tank top.

So, how about it? Have you thought about what you will be wearing for the July 4th celebration that is just around the corner?


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Monday, June 11, 2018

Reviewing Caroline: Little House, Revisited

Book Review: Caroline: Little House, Revisited.
I just finished reading Caroline: Little House, Revisited.  It is beautiful historical fiction by Sarah Miller and written from the perspective of Ma Ingalls from Little House on the Prairie fame. Caroline was written with permission from the Little House Heritage Trust and with a focus on historical accuracy. Little House on the Prairie fans will recognize the Ingalls family and this fan was thrilled to find a book written from the perspective of an adult in the family.

If you have ever tried to imagine what it might have been like to be a parent in the late 1800's, hauling your children and every belonging you own across the states in a covered wagon, you'll want to read this story. I found myself trying to carve more time out of each busy day to read. 

Caroline begins as Charles sells their house and land in Wisconsin. In February 1870, the Ingalls family loads the covered wagon (complete with the cover sewn by Ma) and heads toward Kansas - leaving all of their extended family behind.

As the story unfolds, the love Ma has for Charles, Mary, Laura and the child she carries within her is clear. Her thoughts and fears of moving to a new land, transcend the decades and resonated with me. She is pregnant and leaving the family who helped her birth her children. Who, if anyone, will help her when the time comes?



Finally arriving in Kansas, the Ingalls family begins to set up a home. Life totters precariously on the brink at times as they build their home, dig a well, and settle in Indian Territory. The cultures are clearly very different and there are no translation apps at their fingertips to help provide any sort of communication assistance. 

Times were different then. Daily chores (cooking, sewing, darning, taking care of the garden and the animals) moved at a slower pace. Sundays were the sabbath and the family strictly observed the sabbath. Parenting was different. Ma worked at protecting her young children from anything that may cause them fear - including any stressful feelings she and Pa had. Adults and children had clear roles - very different than modern parenting.

I found this to be a beautiful book. I could relate to Caroline's inner dialogues and her observations of the world around her. Without the distractions and noise pollution of modern life, it would have been easier to note the sunlight shining through the canopy of the wagon and the prairie grass waving in the wind. Of course our private thoughts will become more clear if the constant assault on our ears by televisions, radios, cell phones and each other is absent. 

Some reviewers found Caroline's observations to be distracting. I found them to be beautiful and an integral part of the story. Perhaps that is because I have similar thoughts and observations while alone and off-grid at The Shack. Without the clutter of modern life, the mind drifts to the natural things around us.

There was one piece of the story that I found a bit confusing as a Little House on the Prairie fan (confusing but not distracting from the story at that point). Ms. Miller speaks to that in her Author's Notes in the end:
"Caroline is a marriage of fact and Laura Ingalls Wilder's fiction. I have knowingly departed from Wilder's version of the events only where the historical record stands in contradiction to her stories"
Caroline: Little House, Revisited was a beautiful story and one of those books that I will read again later - just as I read Little House on the Prairie over and over.






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