Sunday, March 10, 2019

Two Durable Plants that Have Survived for Over Twenty Years

After reading this article on Houzz about a plant that's hard to kill, I realized, heck that's the plant I have! It all makes sense now.

The photos on this page feature the two plants we've had in our family room for over twenty years.

I haven't been the best plant caretaker. Nobody in the house has.

These plants have even withstood a move from our previous home to this one. Yep, they're durable and as the article on Houzz says, hard to kill.

The Houzz article only references the Pothos plant. That's the leafy green plant positioned to the left in the photos. The plant on the TV stand is our spider plant. We've owned it for so long that I had to confirm it was indeed a spider plant.

Plants for the Forgetful and Neglectful

The Spider Plant and the Pothos Plant have both survived my flawed gardening thumb. But they're still my babies. Over the years I've learned to adopt a kinder loving nature towards them. I no longer ignore or forget them. They've taught me to be a better gardener.

As we get older I believe we become drawn to things that grow. Maybe it's when the kids are all grown-up that we itch to help another living thing grow again. I have to say that's kinda what happened to me.
These plants were patient, they knew I would eventually come around.
What I Did Right

These are the few basic things I did do correctly without knowledge or effort:
The flowers in the Pothos Plant aren't Real
The Spider Plant is Beside the TV

  1. I tried several locations in the home until I found the spot that gave them the right amount of light. They're by a window that gets the morning sun.
  2.  My mom once told me to never over water your plants. So I only water them about once a week. They almost dry out completely before their next watering. I have no idea if that's what these plants need, that's just how I roll.
  3.  Do plants like being close to each other? I dunno. But if they could talk I think they'd say they're family. So yah, for that crazy reason, they're positioned fairly close to each other.
  4.  Once in a while I clean up dead dry leaves.
  5.  I ask them how they're doing from time to time. Hubby cracks up.
What I Did Wrong

These are the few things I've done wrong.
  1.  I used to forget to water them for weeks. My poor baby plants. I no longer do that!
  2.  I never fertilize them. Yah I know, I should.
  3.  I've never transplanted them. 
  4.  I should probably freshen up their soil, so yah, I've never done that.
  5.  I used to keep them in a place where they didn't get enough light. However, that was just a guess on my part. They seem happy by the morning sun window.
A Few Things I Love About These Plants
  1.  The Pathos and the Spider plant clean the air
  2.  The Spider Plant is said to be an EMF (electric magnetic field) cleaner. I have it positioned near the tv for that reason as well.
So don't hesitate to become the mother or father of either the Spider or Pothos plants. In my book, they're durable and easy.

If you're looking for a little more guidance on plants and gardening, a fellow reviewer Olivia suggests the Old Farmer's Almanac, there's even a farmer's almanac calendar. Pretty cool.




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Saturday, March 9, 2019

Did You Know That March is National Nutrition Month?

March is national nutrition month
Image courtesy of Pixabay
As National Nutrition Month, March seems a good time to review ways to increase your nutrition in your daily life.   Most people do not consume the recommended nutrients every day to keep their bodies running in peak condition, so let's look at ways we can fix this.

Of course you could use March as an excuse to give your body a reboot aka a spring clean for your body instead of your house!  This is a great way to start creating your healthy habits.

You may think that's a bit too much so let's look at other things you can do -

  • Reduce your caffeine intake
  • Reduce your salt intake
  • Reduce your sugar intake
  • Reduce your processed foods
  • Increase your fruit and veg intake


We've all heard these comments before haven't we?   The problem is how and where to start so lets's go through them all one by one.

How to Reduce Your Caffeine Intake

Now if you only drink one cup of coffee or tea a day then you are probably okay, but I know many people drink a LOT more than that.  The problem with drinking too much caffeine whether it's from coffee, tea, cola drinks or energy drinks is that caffeine can cause the depletion of certain nutrients such as vitamin B6.   Not only that but it also interferes with your body's ability to absorb essential minerals such as calcium and magnesium.

It can be had to cut back as a lot of the time we grab these drinks out of habit, one way that I've gone down from 10 mugs a day to 1-2 a week is by using Fizz Sticks.  Let me tell you more ...

I like to drink what I call a green ogre drink on my way to work and I find that it gives me the same effect as my morning latte that I used to grab on my way to work at my previous job.   If you start off by just replacing one coffee with this I think you'll find you won't need your next one as quickly because you don't get the espresso crash as the effects of the caffeine from coffee wears off.

If you enjoy having a cuppa when you get up or after dinner then try a few caffeine free teas instead such as these -

Why Drink Peppermint Tea?Why Drink Peppermint Tea?
I love the flavour of peppermint so I'm probably biased as to why you should drink peppermint tea! However it does have a lot of benefits from aiding digestion to helping with concentration.


Review of Lifestyle Awareness TeasReview of Lifestyle Awareness Teas
Lifestyle Awareness is a brand of organic tea and this review focuses on just two of the teas in the range - Immunity Now and Serene Slumber. These teas have medicinal benefits to them as well and we can all use help with boosting our immune systems!



Or I do enjoy a cup of Twinings Chamomile, Honey & Vanilla before going to bed on a cold night.

If you're more of a soda drinker or you feel like you need an energy drink to keep you going then Fizz Sticks are definitely something that you can substitute for them.   You will find that the effects last a lot longer so that you don't need to drink as many. They come in four different flavors and contain a lot less sugar as well as being a lot healthier in other ways too.

How to Reduce Your Salt Intake


Too much salt can adversely affect our sodium/potassium balance and let's face it everywhere you turn you're being told to cut down salt aren't you?

Salt is one of those foods that are often in hidden in the foods you eat, one product that is usually high in salt is commercial stock (especially the convenient stock cubes).   A simple way to deal with this is to make your own vegetable stock, it's very easy as you can see here - how to make veggie stock - and you can make big batches to freeze down.   Using this you can monitor exactly how much salt you add to your food.

Reducing the amount of processed foods will help a lot (more on that later) and reading labels to build your awareness will be quite a shock to you.

How to Reduce Your Sugar Intake


Sugar is empty as far as nutritional value goes and it's also addictive.   I would try and use other products to sweeten things for example when my daughter was younger I would half the amount of sugar a recipe called for to make sweet muffins and throw in a mashed banana to use for sweetness instead.

If you or your children like using flavored drinks instead of water then why not look at putting cubed watermelon in your water pitcher as this fruit contains electrolytes.  Berries or citrus are also great ways of  adding flavor.

Looking on sites such as Pinterest can help with ideas for sugar free or low sugar recipes and I find myself using dates, bananas, apples and even maple syrup in my cooking as a way to keep the sweetness while raising the nutritional value of a dish.

How to Reduce Processed Foods


Processed foods can be devoid of many nutrients as well as containing high amounts of sugar and/or salt - this is especially so with low fat processed foods.

Now I'm not saying you have to totally embrace the whole food movement (although it's really great!), but being more aware of what you're eating is a good place to start.   The best way to reduce processed foods is to start cooking a few things from scratch.

Now with our busy lifestyles it can be hard to imagine cooking everything from scratch so I would recommend starting with one meal a week and cooking double quantities, one lot for that meal and one lot for the freezer which means the next week you have your 'new' meal plus the frozen meal from the previous week.

Snack foods can be the biggest fall down for many households when it comes to processed foods so I like to make sure I have fresh fruit available and have vegetables such as carrot sticks prepared and ready to eat.   I also find making protein balls or bliss balls a great idea.

How to Increase Your Fruit & Veg Intake


We're all told to increase our fruit and vegetables, but how?  If you're starting to cook more from scratch and having it as snacks as well you will find that you start to increase your intake.

I try to throw extra vegetable into my meals when I'm cooking them for example when I cook a lamb or beef satay I will always add green beans.   I also add diced zucchini (courgette) to a number of dishes as it takes on flavors really well.

Another easy way to add vegetables into your diet is by using it to substitute some of your other foods for example use a spiralizer to make vegetable 'pasta' or using cauliflower or broccoli in place of rice.

Another thing that I do is I have a scoop of Greens Balance every day - this contains a rainbow of fruit and veg - and this can be taken on it's own, popped into a protein shake (or the green ogre shake above) or even added into something when you're cooking such as bolognaise.

I did see someone added the greens balance to banana muffins for her fussy child and he ate them because he was told they were made from monsters!

If you don't like eating breakfast or you have a child that doesn't like eating in the morning or at lunchtime then why not try a shake or a smoothie bowl - it's a great way to add in berries and other fruits as well as spinach, kale or a good old scoop of greens balance.

Reviewing Smoothie Bowl RecipesReviewing Smoothie Bowl Recipes
Essentially a smoothie bowl is a thick smoothie served in a bowl with different toppings and it is delicious. You can have a myriad of different flavors and there's really no rules as to what you can pop on top


Tropical Fruit Smoothie Recipe ReviewedTropical Fruit Smoothie Recipe Reviewed
The tropical fruit smoothies taste really good and they are very easy to make. Simply gather your favorite tropical fruits and the blender and you have a quick and healthy snack for breakfast, lunch or after dinner!


Healthy and Delicious SmoothiesHealthy and Delicious Smoothies
Feel more energized and healthier by adding a smoothie to your day, from tropical fruit to green smoothies and so many other recipes in between.



baby step ways to improve your nutrition for national nutrition month and beyond


So, Over to You


What are you going to do to improve your nutritional intake this month?




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Friday, March 8, 2019

The Famous Wigleys Corned Beef Reviewed


When I see St. Patrick's Day on the calendar I immediately think of corned beef and the traditional Irish boiled dinner. Actually an authentic boiled dinner is the perfect comfort food year round in our household and if you are from an Irish depression era family - well, Grandma did tend to excel at boiling :) !
Wigleys Famous Eastern Market Corned Beef. The best corned beef in Detroit reviewed.

Wigleys Famous Eastern Market Corned Beef provides the perfect mix of seasonings and high quality corned beef that allows the flavor of the corned beef to shine while the seasonings enhance the corned beef versus overpowering the beef.

Who Is Wigley?

Wigleys dates back to the 1880’s in England and the Wigley family meat recipe.  Job Wigley arrived in Detroit in 1924 with the Wigley family meat recipe along with the vision of the American dream. The family tradition continues to this day with Job’s grandson Tom continuing the Wigley business.

What Is Eastern Market And Why Is It In The Name Of Wigleys Corned Beef?

Established in 1891 Eastern Market was originally a market for wood and hay. Additional sheds were added in 1921, 1926 and moved to its’ current location. The end of W.W. II brought the wholesale food industry to the market. Hence why Wigleys Corned Beef has Eastern Market in its’ name.
Photos courtesy of CC 4.0:  Sarahebrowning,
Bill Whittaker, Etx313
Eastern Market is renowned in Detroit and the metro Detroit area. Before farm to table became trendy, vendors at  Eastern Market have provided the freshest meats, seafoods, vegetables, spices, candies,  flowers in an open air market.  Enjoy the amazing murals, antiques, art and crafts throughout the market as a destination stop for locals and tourists.
Whether it be for corned beef or flowers, Eastern Market is a treasured Detroit tradition and institution which was recorded to the National Registry of Historic Places in 1978. Wigleys and its’ corned beef is an integral part of the tradition.

The Fool Proof Corned Beef - How To Cook Wigleys?

So easy and so fool proof! Wigley’s corned beef is packaged pre seasoned; the seasoning surrounds the corned beef like a marinade.  Simply remove the corned beef from the package and squeeze the seasoning from the package and into the pot. Cover the corned beef with cold water and simmer. Depending upon the size of the brisket the corned beef will be ready in 3-4 hours.
Perfect every time!

Where To Buy Wigleys

If a visit to Eastern Market is not possible Wigleys is available throughout the metro area at grocery stores and specialty markets.  




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Thursday, March 7, 2019

Moose! The Reading Dog - Book Review

Moose! The Reading Dog
As Finn and I embarked on our journey to become a registered therapy dog team, we sought to learn as much as possible from local dog celebrity, Moose, and his Pet Partners handler, Dr. Laura Bruneau.  One of the first things I did was to read their recently published book entitled Moose! The Reading Dog.  The review that follows is written primarily through my teacher lens, though it is also shaped by my passions for reading and animal rescue.

I first came across Moose's book at the Alamosa Public Library where I was looking for reading material to use in future animal-assisted interactions with elementary-aged children.  As a teacher who loves to read with primary students, I was delighted to discover that Moose's story fit right in the sweet spot of that target group.

Photo of Moose Used With Permission
One of the things that sets this book apart is that Moose tells his own story.  That first-dog perspective is appealing to young readers.  Over the course of six chapterettes, Moose reveals what makes him the extraordinary dog that he is.  We learn how his life started out on a ranch (Chapter 1 - About Me), how he ended up in an animal shelter (Chapter 2 - The Shelter), what it was like to be adopted by a new family (Chapter 3 - My New Home), how he began to change his behavior (Chapter 4 - Learning the Rules), the process of finding a job for his unique gifts (Chapter 5 - Getting Ready to Work), and, finally, helping children enjoy reading (Chapter 6 - I am a Reading Dog).

It is so easy to fall in love with Moose.  My favorite illustrations in the book, as designed by Mic Ru, were those of this gentle giant (a 115-pound Saint Bernard mix).  There was a sweet, friendly, and very huggable quality that flowed through the depictions of Moose.  You could feel his great goodness.

As one who has always been very selective about the books I place in the hands of impressionable young children, Moose! The Reading Dog has earned my seal of approval for:
  • being a book with the kind of positive messages that empower young people;
  • presenting the kind of transformations that change lives for the good;
  • offering up encouragement to children, and all of us really, about being true to whatever it is that frees us up to be our best, and to make it possible for others to become the best version of themselves.
I plan to purchase multiple copies of this book to share with other teachers and to gift to the children in my life.  Finn and I give this book a rating of five paws up for inspiring us to move forward with our dream.  We believe Moose will also inspire you to be true to what makes you authentically you.  And the world needs that—you being beautifully you.

Reviewer's Note:  This review is the second in a series focused on therapy dog teams.  You can read my first installment by clicking the following link (Becoming a Pet Partners Therapy Dog Team).








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Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Sculpterra: The Family Friendly Winery in Paso Robles: A Review

Sculpterra Winery is Family Friendly


Having children along need not keep parents from wine tasting. Paso Robles has a few family friendly wineries that have plenty to keep children happy and occupied as parents do the tasting. My personal favorite of these is Sculpterra.

Sculpterra: The Family Friendly Winery in Paso Robles: A Review

Photo©Barbara Radisavljevic

Sculpterra Owner Dr. Warren Frankel Cares about Families


He showed how much he cared for his own when he moved his medical practice from the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles County to Templeton in 1970. In 1979 he bought a 90-acre ranch in Paso Robles on which to raise his children. Trust me,  There couldn't be a more beautiful place to raise children than the location Dr. Frankel chose. He and his wife Kathy also have room to keep the horses they like to ride and plenty of room to ride them through the vineyards and orchards.

But Dr. Frankel cares about more than his own family. He and some other doctors got together to found His Healing Hands, a medical ministry that sends medical missionaries on short term missions to almost every corner of the world to bring medical care to the poorest of the poor. They are often on the scene after a major disaster like Hurricane Katrina. I personally know people who have participated in these short term missions with Dr. Frankel, and I've met Dr. Frankel himself at Sculpterra. When you buy wine at Sculpterra, part of the profits go to support His Healing Hands. Read more about Dr. Frankel here.

Dr. Frankel loves his country and the people of Paso Robles. He is a concerned and active citizen. I often hear him express his views about local issues on our local radio stations "Morning Exchange" and "Sound Off" programs. Every year he also hosts an Independence Day party at the winery for the community. In the past he has treated those who attend to free hot dogs, popcorn, pizza, apple pie, bottled water, and wine. Read more about these parties on my blog post, Independence Day at Sculpterra Winery.

Sculpterra: The Family Friendly Winery in Paso Robles: A Review

Photo©Barbara Radisavljevic

What Does Sculpterra Have to Offer Kids?

Sculpterra's sculpture garden is full of renowned sculptor John Jagger's gigantic sculptures in bronze and granite. (Miniature versions of many of them are for sale in the tasting room.) If you are anywhere near the tasting room you probably will be able to see at least one large sculpture near you. There is also usually a place within view of the sculptures where parents can sit and drink their wine as children explore the paths that lead to the sculptures.

This sculpture by John Jaggers is my favorite of all of them.

Sculpterra: The Family Friendly Winery in Paso Robles: A Review
"Sweet Dreams" by John Jagger at Sculpterra

I can imagine "Gentle Giant" wowing the younger generation. It, like the other sculptures, is huge. They make even adults looking at them feel small.

Sculpterra: The Family Friendly Winery in Paso Robles: A Review
"Gentle Giant," by John Jagger at Sculpterra Winery, Photo © Barbara Radisavljevic

The Work of Resident Artist Dale Evers 


I've always loved what our local artist Dale Evers did with an old car door. I first saw the dog in this door outside Dale's Paso Robles studio. You couldn't miss it as you walked by.

Sculpterra: The Family Friendly Winery in Paso Robles: A Review


Then one day when I was at Sculpterra after almost a year's absence, I saw this right between the parking lot and the path to the tasting room entrance. Look familiar?

Sculpterra: The Family Friendly Winery in Paso Robles: A Review

Of course, that's only one piece of Dale's work on display at Sculpterra. Every time I visit Sculpterra I find more of it. He works in metal and much of his work is very delicate. So it is with the butterfly chimes below. I was really surprised to find them at Sculpterra because they used to live nextdoor to our Templeton house at ZinAlley winery. Here's how they looked there.

Sculpterra: The Family Friendly Winery in Paso Robles: A Review


Now they live at Sculpterra in Central Park West.

Central Park West


Here are the chimes in their new home.

Sculpterra: The Family Friendly Winery in Paso Robles: A Review


Central Park West has all kinds of activities for children and adults who like to play games. Of course, everyone likes to push the chimes to hear them ring. There are also two stone chess tables, a bocce ball court (on the other side of the picnic tables), a cement foosball table, and a custom made table tennis table. Parents can sit in the comfortable chairs to drink their wine. The very top photo in this post gives you another look at the game tables from a different perspective. Equipment for the games can be checked out in the tasting room.

Sculpterra Mural, "Legacy of California Wine in Art" 


Another part of Central Park West I hope people will show their children is the "Legacy of California Wine in Art." (See above.) Artists Bob Bentley and Steve Kalar collaborated to present this mural of the history of wine in California.

Art is Everywhere at Sculpterra


Besides the sculptures and art panels scattered around the area near the tasting room, there is plenty of wall art by local artists for sale inside the tasting room. One art wall is reserved for each month's featured artist. I was last there in December 2018, and the Artist of the Month was Drew Davis. I had actually found him painting in front of the tasting room that day and we talked for a bit. You never know what or who you will find on a visit to Sculpterra.

Sculpterra: The Family Friendly Winery in Paso Robles: A Review
Artist of the Month Wall Featuring the Work of Drew Davis, ©Barbara Radisavljevic



Sculpterra: The Family Friendly Winery in Paso Robles: A Review
Drew Davis, Photo ©Barbara Radisavljevic

A Visit to Sculpterra Is Educational


Look at the mural shown above and talk with your children about California's history as you look at the individual pictures on it. It begins with the missions and so far ends with the arrival of the railroad.

As you walk through the sculpture garden, talk about the artists and their work. Talk about sculpture as an art form. Do a bit of research before you go and learn enough to teach your children. Help your children notice the characteristics of the sculptures. Ask how the sculptures make them feel or how they think the artists may have felt about their subjects. Note the expressions on the animal faces.

Like most wineries I visit, Sculpterra grows herbs in the gardens surrounding the the tasting room. See if your children can identify them. Point out the various birds and beneficial insects the garden attracts.

If you're really lucky, you may even get to watch an artist work. And on Sunday afternoons there are usually free concerts outside.

Find out when harvest will occur in the fall and plan to observe it. On some of my visits to Sculpterra I have watched Dr. Frankel's son Paul, the winemaker, at work and he doesn't mind answering questions. In this video he explains how they handpick the grapes at Sculpterra. This short video is one of a series that may be good preparation for your family to watch before they visit Sculpterra.




Everyone in Your Family Will Find Something to Enjoy

For personal reasons related to family history, I don't drink anything alcoholic, so I can't comment on tasting Sculpterra's award-winning wines. I do have many friends who have joined their wine club. It's a shame to live in wine country and not drink wine. But I can always find something new to see and enjoy at Sculpterra when I'm the designated driver. If I had children at home, I would certainly not hesitate to take them with me on my visits. I know they would come away enriched by the experience. And for sure, there's enough to see and do here to keep designated drivers and those too young to drink from getting bored. 

Next time you are in Paso Robles California, make a point of stopping by Sculpterra. You will be glad you did. Learn more about Sculpterra and other wineries on the California Central Coast in this beautifully illustrated book.



See more Sculpterra photos here: Sculpterra is a Great Place to Find Unique Gifts from Local Artists
See also my article on HubPages: Sculpterra Winery: Where Art, Wine, and Music Mix for more about Sculpterra and links to the videos I made there on my first visit.



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Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Wicker Basket For Easter Reviewed

Useful After Easter

wicker basket
Wicker basket image courtesy of pixabay.com
Have you ever considered using a wicker basket that is not necessarily promoted to be used as an Easter Basket? Walking down any aisle of a store, we can see several options of baskets to be used on Easter morning. We can find them made in a variety of materials and most are extremely cute but will they last beyond a day or two?

I will admit that I have a penchant for baskets as a whole. I can't honestly say when my love for them began or even why. It might be from memories of my Grandmother using different baskets to complete chores with. She had a basket for gathering eggs, one for picking items from the garden, one for the apples and pears and a few others for specific duties around her home. All of those magnificent baskets were worn from use but sturdy and helpful to her.

It occurred to me the other day as I was looking at an option for baskets this year for my grandchildren that I really didn't want to give them one that was commercially produced for the occasion. I just realized that they looked as inexpensive as their price tags indicated. I would rather give them something that could be used again for another purpose. Perhaps something they could smile at one day when they remembered that Grandma gave them that basket.

I think I found a nice solution for this year. I like the idea that the basket I have chosen can be used to store items in if they want. I can picture my youngest using it to keep her crayons, markers and colored pencils in. My oldest could store her music CDs or other items in. I like this idea much better than a basket that will end up broken and in a landfill somewhere in the near future.

How about you? Would you rather place your Easter goodies in a wicker basket that can find multiple uses for after the holiday?




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Monday, March 4, 2019

Reviewing Flexible Tunisian Crochet Hooks

Using the appropriate hook for the project. 
With a great deal of skepticism, I recently bought a 24" Flexible Tunisian Crochet hook. It is the recommended hook for larger Tunisian (also called "afghan") crochet projects. I fully expected to not like my purchase. I expected it to snag and not feel as comfortable as my preferred aluminum crochet hooks. Not only was I pleasantly surprised at the smoothness of this wooden hook, I was very happy with the longer length. I should have purchased more than just the one. I can imagine using a variety of sizes of these hooks in the future.

A friend at work asked me if I would try to crochet a scarf for her - from a pattern she found on Etsy. I told her that I'd try, but I was very new to Tunisian crochet. 

I started on the first practice attempt with regular, aluminum Tunisian Crochet hooks. I wanted to first test the pattern. I found that I could work it correctly for the most part. Then the project became wide enough that handling the straight hook was difficult. As the yarn gathered on the hook, it became bunched and too bulky to manage. 

So I ordered the ChiaoGoo 24" Flexible Tunisian Crochet Hook size H8. 

The flexible Tunisian crochet hook is a wooden crochet hook. It has a thick synthetic "cord" that ends in a wooden bead. The bead works as a stopper. The length of the hook with the length of the cord allows you to work on a longer project comfortably. As you can see in the photo, as I add stitches, my scarf easily moves on and off the hook. The bulk does not gather and bunch under my hand.

As I mentioned, I was concerned that the transition between the hook and the cord would snag my yarn. It does not. The metal cap is smooth and makes a smooth transition.

Initially, that stiff cord (think of super thick fishing line) flopped around while I crocheted and it distracted me. But after just 2 or 3 rows, I no longer noticed that naturally curled cord. 

My longer Tunisian crochet projects are much easier with this flexible hook.




Related Links:

This is the third project I've made using the Sweet Roll yarn by Premier Yarns. The color is Wild Cherry Swirl. While they offer many colors in this yarn the wild cherry is my favorite by far. 

I only began learning Tunisian crochet just a few months ago (October/November) and I'm enjoying it very much. See my first Tunisian crochet project here.

I've been taking more time to crochet and as a result I'm gathering a sizable collection of crochet hooks. This Teamoy Tunisian Crochet Hook Case is very helpful in keeping my supplies organized. 




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Sunday, March 3, 2019

An Essential Oil Diffuser Lives Up to All the Hype - Don't Hesitate to Get One

An Essential Oil Diffuser Lives Up to all the Hype
I've been waiting to review this Christmas gift. It's March now and since the holidays I've used it daily.

I'm ready to blurt out an all caps YES to this product.

Here on ReviewThis the essential oil queen is Lou16, so today's review of the HoMedics Diffuser is strictly from the non-expert, user only, perspective.

AND I LOVE IT.

Lou16 has written quite a bit about essential oils and I've paid attention.

Thanks to my kind Step Daughter's Christmas gift, I've not only tried it, but feel the need to use it every day! The operative words here are 'feel the need', because it's the first thing I do when I enter the family room now.

What I Love About It

The general consensus of essential oils is that they help with stress. In fact, you can read further detail about the benefits in Lou16's article, 'How Aromatherapy Can Enhance Your Life'.

I'm sure I'm using too much oil. I believe the box says to put 5 or 10 drops into the water. Honestly, I forget what it says. The aromas are so relaxing that I put as many drops as needed to fill the room with the gorgeous relaxing chosen scent.

Essential Oils DO NOT Smell Like Chemicals or Sprays

This was the main reason I avoided buying a diffuser - thinking the scent would be similar to an air freshener.

Was I wrong.

The essential oil drops go in a water compartment inside the diffuser. There's absolutely nothing chemical smelling about it. The aroma is magnificent.

My Favorite Essential Oils
My HoMedics Diffuser Beside the TV


Peppermint, Lemon, Orange and Eucalyptus. More than likely I won't try anything with a flowery aroma .. that's not up my alley.

AND yikes, I've used five bottles since Christmas. Yah I'm over doing it. Whatever, can't help it, love it.

The Most Aromatic Essential Oil Winner

Is …. drumroll ...Peppermint.

I use quite a few drops, maybe 15 or more. When people come into our house I usually hear "wow, what smells so amazing". Yep, it's the peppermint oil in the diffuser.

Get this, I hate peppermint, to eat it that is.

Apparently I was a colicky baby and mom used to put peppermint on my soother to calm me. Well thanks to that little solution, I grew up hating the taste of peppermint. Spearmint and wintergreen are fine, love to eat those, but still can't stand peppermint.

The subconscious mind is truly powerful, because strangely enough, the one thing peppermint I now love is it's aroma from essential oil. I don't even like peppermint tea (although I drink it from time to time), or to smell peppermint candies. However, in essential oil, I find it soothing, calming and I swear it makes my head feel clearer.

Guess what, I'm out of peppermint essential oil and am currently using 'orange'. It's really nice too, but for me, peppermint is king. I love lemon everything, and had anticipated loving lemon the best, but nope, it's my second fave.

What Kind of Diffuser Do I Have

The brand given to me was HoMedics. It's easy to use. The rotating colored lights gives the room a lovely ambience as well. The picture above shows it positioned next to our TV. That way, I not only smell it, I see the lovely lights when watching the tube.

Featured below are a few HoMedics Diffusers & Essential Oils

Scroll to see them all. The first diffuser featured is closest to the one I own.




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Saturday, March 2, 2019

Review of Sherpa Theme Slipper Socks

Sherpa Theme Socks
Having lived in the South for many years, I recently returned to the Midwest, resulting in something I had been pretty much able to avoid in Georgia ~ Winter! Knowing my intense dislike of cold weather, my darling daughter gifted me with a very welcome item – fleece lined slipper socks.

The slipper socks she sent me are the Sherpa Theme Socks, which are fleece lined knit socks that are non-slip, very warm and cozy. They are perfect for lounging on the couch with a book on these cold winter days here in Iowa. Especially after an hour or two of shoveling the snow out of my driveway! Off with the boots ~ on with the fleecy warm Sherpa socks. 


Sherpa Slipper Socks


(c) Wednesday Elf relaxing with toasty warm feet
These Sherpa slipper socks are made of polyester and a bit of Spandex.  The fleece lining is super thick, making them very warm and comfortable.  

They have a non-slip bottom with Silicon rubber grips on the soles of the socks.  Keeps one safe walking around at home on smooth floors.

These unique socks come in different colors and patterns.  Some have cartoon animal designs. Mine are gray with a cute bear holding a coffee cup on one sock and a steaming cup of coffee on the other with snowflakes falling. The fleecy lining is white. There are also Christmas and other winter designs. These socks are sized for women in one size that fits most sock sizes. They also are available for men and for children in a variety of designs and colors. 


Alexa Rose Fuzzy Socks


Alexa Rose Fuzzy Socks

In addition to my Sherpa slipper socks, darling daughter also sent a pack of 3 Alexa Rose fuzzy socks to wear in my boots while outside on winter days. They also feel wonderful on those really cold winter nights to wear to bed. These were really needed during the Polar Vortex that hit Iowa earlier this month bringing record-breaking below zero wind chill temperatures (-49 degrees). What a treat to be able to get out of bed and have one's feet warm while walking to the kitchen to make that needed cup of morning coffee! 

The Alexa Rose fuzzy socks are made of polyester and Spandex and are very soft and warm.


Summary



(c) Wednesday Elf

So, with these Sherpa slipper socks and the Alexa Rose fuzzy socks, I think I shall now be able to last through my first Iowa winter until Spring finally arrives. I have a very thoughtful and sweet daughter to think of the very thing I needed for my return to 'Wintertime' in the Midwest. 


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(c) Review of Sherpa Theme Socks by Wednesday Elf written on 3/2/2019.








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Friday, March 1, 2019

Somewhere in France Book Review

Somewhere in France by Jennifer Robson, A Book Review

Somewhere in France: A Novel of the Great War by Jennifer Robson


I believe that I read more books set in the years surrounding the Second World War then I do set in the First World War so the time frame of Somewhere in France felt a little different to me when I first picked up the book and the claim that it would be “especially satisfying for fans of Downton Abbey” was somehow a little off-putting to me. Can anything compare to our beloved Downton Abbey?

However, somewhere in France delivered a solid story. As a matter of fact I just finished it moments ago after putting aside all of the other things that I should have been doing this morning and leaving my husband to cope with the mess in the kitchen on his own. Don’t worry, he was up to the task.

Somewhere in France is the story of Lady Ashford (Lilly), her brother the Viscount Ashford (Edward) and his best friend Robert Fraser (Robbie).

Lilly breaks with her wealthy family in order to do the work she wants to do in support of the Great War. She is not content to stay home, find a husband and raise a family so she learns how to drive and joins the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps and becomes an ambulance driver.

Edward, who previously was not much more than a spoiled aristocrat, joins the war effort in the trenches where he finds success leading a group of men.

Robbie, who originally hailed from slums in Scotland but who managed via a scholarship to become a talented surgeon, is assigned to a field hospital where he serves as Captain Fraser.

They all keep up a stream of good, old-fashioned correspondence, which helps them maintain close ties. They continue to do so even after Miss Ashford, as Lilly calls herself after her break with her family, is assigned as an ambulance driver to the same field hospital that Robbie works at.

Somewhere in France is most definitely a love story though it takes a while for that love to be discovered and then years for it to be exposed.

WHAT TO BE AWARE OF IN THIS BOOK


Somewhere in France Book Review
If you decide to read this book, you might like to know that there is a lengthy sex scene and that, of course, there is violence.

Since all three are working near the front lines in the Great War, it is inevitable that this story includes scenes from the injuries received by those fighting the war and those injuries and the resulting treatments were not nice for the patient or the professional who had to treat him.

You might not expect the fairly lengthy sex scene. However, I think that it was handled beautifully. It demonstrates how some women, particularly those in the upper class, were so protected from realities of life that they knew literally nothing about sexuality and reproduction.

There is some discussion on the website GoodReads about this very issue Some writers call the scene short, which I would not. Others comment about how it important the scene was for the relationship of two adult individuals who would have been married years before if not for the war and because of the historical facts it demonstrated about the lack of knowledge about procreation on the part of the main character and presumably other women of the era.  Lilly's partner was actually forced into the position of educating her on the topic. As one writer said, the scene is not anything like Fifty Shades of Grey. It is beautifully handled though perhaps longer than it needed to be. If this subject matter is of concern to you, you might like to read the discussion for yourself by visiting GoodReads.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED


Don’t let these things turn you off this book. Somewhere in France is definitely a page turner, a love story with drama and suspense and a look into the life of people who lived and worked directly on the battlefields during the Great War, the war to end all wars. It is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED by me. I have to say now that I agree with the comment on the cover that if you love Downton Abbey, you will enjoy this book. You can find your copy in whatever format you prefer on Amazon by clicking right here.

See you
At the bookstore!
Brenda

More Downton Abbey Reading:

Buy your copy of Somewhere in France on Amazon.
Watch the Downton Abbey Christmas video parodies.
Find the beautiful Downton Abbey teacups.
Discover the period drama Lark Rise to Candleford.







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