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Category Archives: Review

If you’re getting into the holiday spirit and want to decorate your home for Christmas, there are a few must-have décor pieces that will help transform your living space into a jollier abode. Many of these items are inexpensive and can be set up without much difficulty. Here are five of the best décor pieces to use.

Artificial Christmas Tree

Artificial Christmas trees are often a safer and more convenient alternative to real trees. These types of trees don’t leave large messes and don’t require any watering. Many positive Balsam Hill reviews along with reviews of other manufacturers of artificial trees have stated that these trees are easy to set up and can be used for many years.

Multicolored Lights

Strings of multicolored lights can be installed around your windows, on your Christmas tree, and around other areas of your home to create a holiday wonderland of bright colors. These lights can even be strewn along walkways and outdoor railings so that everyone passing by your home will stop and take notice.


Ornaments aren’t just good for decorating Christmas trees. You can place ornaments around many areas of your home, but you shouldn’t go overboard with this or your home might end up looking more cluttered than festive. Ornaments in the shapes of candy canes, snowflakes, and Christmas presents are just a few of the options you can try.


In addition to stuffing these items with presents, stockings make great decorations and are easy to hang above fireplaces, over doorways, and from doorknobs and handles. You can find stockings that come in a variety of sizes and colors as well as stockings that are made out of different materials.

Holiday Train

You can choose to put in a model holiday train that runs on tracks or just have a stationary train decoration. You may even be able to find trains that feature Santa Claus, his elves, and his reindeer as passengers. Trains that light up and play music are always a hit.

Incorporating these items into your holiday décor theme is one of the best ways to keep the holiday cheer going throughout the entire season. Setting up these items doesn’t require any in-depth knowledge of interior design and can be done with minimal hassle.

This post brought to you by American Kennel Club. All opinions are 100% mine.

If you are thinking of buying or adopting a purebred fur baby, the American Kennel Club can help you with lots of information. From picking breeds to picking a breeder, the AKC can help you make decisions before you take your puppy home to stay.

The American Kennel Club  is 130 years old this year. They are committed to advancing the understanding, benefits and care of all dogs, as well as promoting responsible dog ownership.

The first step in choosing a dog to become a part of your family is to decide what you are looking for in a dog. Do you want an even tempered dog that will play with your children? Or do you need a dog that is bred to protect you? These can be some very different dogs, and if you don’t take the time to get the right dog, then you may regret it. Chooing the right dog reduces the chances that your pet will be one that you want surrender to a shelter. Be a responsible pet owner and pick the right pet.

Working with responsible breeders is a very good way for you to find your perfect pet – they are passionate about their breed, experts on the lineage and health of their puppies. They can be a resource for information about your pet for life.

While I do not have a dog now, nor do I want to get one in the future, my daughter is a dog lover, and has fostered many puppies from the shelter in her area. She adopted her own puppy from the same shelter, and has learned a lot about dog ownership, different breeds, and gotten information on what to ask before adopting a pet from the American Kennel Club.

Here are the most important questions to ask when adopting a puppy from an AKC Rescue Network, from the American Kennel Club website:

  • Why is this dog in a shelter? Was he surrendered by the previous owner, is it a stray, or a rescue? Why did the owner surrender him? If he was a stray, where was he found and in what condition? Is the dog from the local area? Is the dog here because of an animal cruelty charge against its previous owner?
  • What was the health condition of the dog when he was brought to the shelter?
  • Has this dog been adopted out before? How long has the dog been in the shelter?
  • What veterinary care has the dog received since arriving at the shelter and can you provide copies of the records?
  • Is the dog housebroken?
  • Does the dog get along well with kids or other pets and how does he act around strangers?
  • Does the dog have suitable good manners that I could take away his food bowl while eating or remove his toy while playing? What training and socialization has the dog received since entering the shelter?
  • Can he walk calmly on a leash in public or does he need more training? Click HERE to find a training club in your area.
  • Does this dog require any special medical care, ongoing treatment, dietary restrictions, or additional socialization?
  • Will the shelter take this dog back if it doesn’t work out with my family?

Asking questions, knowing the breed and the breeder, and knowing the history of a puppy you are considering adopting from a shelter will help you choose the right pet, and be sure you can keep it in your home forever. breeds



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When I lived in my first house I decided I wanted to design the yard. Yes, that is correct. I decided to do that because there were no trees in that yard at all. I didn’t even have any grass there when I moved in.

The first thing I did, of course, was to plant grass seed and cover it with straw, so that the seed wouldn’t run off with the first rainstorm. Once the grass seed was sowed, I sat down and looked at the rest of the yard. I knew I wanted some trees and flowers, it was just a matter of where to out what.

In the front yard, I made two flower beds. I put annuals and bulbs in one, so that I could have some things that came up as soon as spring weather arrived, and then I could change the colors of the flowers from year to year if I wanted to. In the other flower bed, I planted perennials. The different flowers planted in that bed would bloom at different times of the year for a continuous bloom, and I wouldn’t have to replant year after year.

Finally, I decided on the kinds and number of trees to plant. I had two poplar trees and a maple tree planted in the front yard, and several pear and cherry trees planted in the back yard along the fence line. Way in the back, to give a little privacy between our yard and the neighbors, I planted some Leyland Cypress trees. Those grow pretty fast and are evergreen so that your “wall” is there year round.

These things all worked for me, but if you live in other parts of the country, like in California, you might talk to a  Los Angeles landscape designer to get ideas for what to plant in your yard.

This post brought to you by Allstate. All opinions are 100% mine.

If you follow me on my other blog,, you would know already that I have been celebrating May Day all month in the month of May. That is because I feel that by showing optimism and happiness it encourages you to live up to those qualities in your own life. That is the feeling behind the new slogan and branding of Allstate Good Life, to Celebrate the good times, and feel secure in the knowledge that AllState will be there to catch you when things go bad.

In May of 2012, I entered the hospital through the emergency room, and stayed in there for a total of 34 days. I had surgery five times, and almost died on my birthday.  I was more than 2000 miles away from home, and did not know anyone in the area. My adult children send me cards and letter, texted several times a day, and when I was able to I called them. They kept me company through my ordeal and came to visit me when I went home and took care of me.

While I'm trying to forget the awfullness of what May 2012 was, it is the love, encouragement, and helping hands of my friends and family that got me through it. Just as my friends and family were there to help me in the good times, they are also here to catch me when I'm in need of help getting back up. Allstate Insurance is a company you can depend on to do just that–to be there in the good times, but also be the first ones there when life gets you down.

What keeps you up when things are going down for you? Who comes to your side without having to be asked?  For me, my children, my mother, my husband, and my friends help me get through the days.

 photo allstatelogo_300x60_zps5487a605.jpg


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Oh my goodness! You have a dinner or house warming party tomorrow, and your dog just tracked mud all over your living room carpet! What are you going to do now? Well, if you are lucky enough to live in the service area of Same Day Carpet Cleaners, all you will have to do is pick up the phone. You’ll  get expert rug cleaning in no time, and you won’t have to worry another moment about that muddy carpet.

You can try calling other carpet cleaners in the city, but you will find that Same Day Carpet Cleaning will adjust their schedule to fit yours. They don’t charge extra for weekend work, either. When you hire Same Day Carpet Cleaning, you won’t have to worry about your carpets or furniture being damaged, either. They have trained and experienced technicians who always check to see what your carpets or furniture are made of before the work begins. This company is also 100% green, using a variety of organic cleaners and different cleaning methods to make sure your carpet is as clean as possible.  You candepend on Same Day Carpet Cleaning because:

  • We arrive right on schedule. We’ll give you an exact appointment and you will never have to wonder when our cleaning team will arrive.

  • Each job receives our team’s full attention. We have never over booked cleaning appointments.

  • Powerful and consistent cleaning service for each and every job.

  • We do things right the first time


photo courtesy

Whether you are a young woman preparing for pregnancy for the first time, or a grandma who wants to refresh your memory because your daughter or daughter in law has announced that she is pregnant, you can find a lot of information on the pregnancy pages. It is just a normal thing for you to want to know all the information you can get about every phase of pregnancy, from conception to delivery and beyond. You can get all the answers you need on the pages of EverydayFamily.

Some of the topics covered are “how do I know if I am in labor?”, “Unusual Baby Names”. “Pregnancy Basics”, “First Trimester”, “Second Trimester”, “Birth Complications”, and “Pregnancy Complications”.

My youngest daughter just had a baby. He is 20 days old today! He is so adorable, but boy did my daughter ever have complications with this pregnancy. She always called me after her doctor visits, telling me about preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, placenta previa, and high blood pressure. I always had to go online and look up these terms. I could find everything I needed to know about them at the Pregnancy pages. While I still worried about her, at least I knew where to go to find out more and stay informed along the way. Check it out today if you are expecting or becoming a grandmother.

When I was growing up, the house I lived in had beautiful wrought iron railings on the front porch and carport. That house was built in the early 1960’s. My mother still lives there, and those wrought iron railings are still existing, and are in great shape after all these years.

1922 cropped

When my husband and I were looking at houses to buy, we looked at many many of them, but there was no wrought iron fixtures of any kind on any of them. I thought that the artful work of wrought iron was a thing of the past. I was mistaken, though, because Indital USA still produces a line of wrought iron railings and fixtures.

If yo are looking for some beautiful wrought iron products, check out the website of Inditial USA. They have a wonderful selection of scrolls, rosettes, newels, and panels, and all the hardware you would need to put together the wrought iron hand rail or porch rail to enchance the look of your home. Just look at all these designs:


I love this type of newel post


This reminds me of my mother’s wrought iron porch rails


I am thinking of ordering this panel to hang on my wall. It is just so beautiful!

681-2-1 1011-3-2T 1013-1-1 1281-3-2T 1775-15-2T

If you have been thinking of updating your porch or stairs with a nostalgic look, go take a look at their website today!

dickies loos fit cargo pants If your husband is like mine, he is a jeans wearing kind of guy. He never owned a pair of “dress pants” in his life until our daughter got married two years ago. I never saw him in anything but jeans.  It has been hard to find anything he would wear that is bit more formal looking than jeans. These Dickie’s Loose Fit Cargo Pants for men are not exactly what I would call dress pants, but do look better than jeans for the rare occasions that he needs to be a bit more dressed up. While they are casual, if he pairs them with a button up shirt and a blazer, he can look quite spiffy!

Dickies has been in business since 1922, and here is what they say about their brand on their website:

Through its dedication to innovation and continual customer contact, Williamson-Dickie Mfg. Co. has transformed itself from a small bib overall company to the largest work wear manufacturer in the world. Sold in every state in the U.S., Dickies now offers a broad spectrum of work garments ranging from work pants and work shirts to denim jeans and women’s work wear. Since its beginnings in 1922, every piece of Dickies work wear has stood for the quality, toughness, and pride that embodies the spirit of the American worker.

Dickies work wear is durable, and lasts quite a long time. They also have Big & Tall sizes, which is great because in addition to not wanting to wear anything but jeans, my husband has a hard time finding pants large enough to fit him.


I found this package of Schär Gluten Free Ladyfingers at a local grocery store, and decided to give them a try. These cookies were sort of “stiff” when I took them out of the package, but they turned out to be soft and crumbly. I used them to make a strawberry shortcake:

They were easy to break in half, and when covered with the strawberries and juice, they absorbed the liquid quite well.

A dollop of Cool Whip completed the shortcake. My non-gluten free husband did not particularly like these cookies, as they had a somewhat “lemony” flavor to them, and I agree with him on that point.

It could be that we are used to using a shortbread type cookie to make strawberry shortcake, but we both found these cookies less than satisfactory. I am going to use the rest of the package to make banana pudding to see if we like that any better. I will come back and edit this post when I do.

The other day when I was in Kanab, Utah, I was delighted to find these gluten free Table Crackers on the shelf at Honey’s Jubilee. It has been almost two years since I found that box of Biscotti Con Cioccolato at a little store in Maryland. I still remember the taste of them, but since I have not seen anything of this brand in a store since then, I haven’t had them again. And since they were so good, I decided to buy a box of their Table Crackers.

The next day for lunch, I had a chef salad, served with Schar Gluten Free Table Crackers. The crackers were just crunchy enough, and had a marvelous taste, almost like my pre-gluten free Club Crackers that I loved so much. They hold up to peanut butter, and one of my favorite ways to eat crackers, spread with butter.

I will definitely be buying these again. These were also expensive, at $4.89 for a 7 oz package, but they come in three individually wrapped inner packages.

Schar, whose name has two dots over the “a” that I can not figure out how to put there in this blog, has a wide variety of products. These include breads, pasta, flour, snacks, cookies and more. With two out of two that I have tried being top notch products, I won’t hesitate to try others if I find them on a grocery shelf somewhere.