Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Look up, Look way Up Suddenly, Migratory Birds are Moving!

The Seasons are Changing and so is everything around us.  Leaves are starting to turn their blazing colors or orange and red, gold and crimson,  The air is thick with movement.  Birds are chattering away and filling themselves up with seeds, butterflies are filling up on nectar and inevitably we know that they will become visions of the past.  Let's Review what kind of Migratory Birds we will be seeing in the skies over the next few weeks, or at least until the snow starts to fly. While we are at it, we will also look at some Fall Fun that we can have with our families.
migratory birds, fall migration, bird flocks, birds getting ready to migrate

What are Migratory Birds?

In the northern hemisphere, we have changing seasons and with those changing seasons we are also treated to changing wildlife around us.  Birds that spend their winter months  in Mexico and Central America and further south are moving north in the spring.  Likewise when it starts to get cooler here, those same birds are now making plans to head back to their southern feeding grounds.  Now not all birds migrate, but many do! In the fall we are treated to some of the nicest color changes that our landscape can offer.  Trees are turning colors and seed production is at an all time high.  Sunflowers are a favorite feeding stop for many migratory birds. They feed on the oily seeds to give them the strength they will need to make the long trip south.  

food for migratory birds, sunflower seeds, oily seeds for bird food,
Oily Sunflower Seeds are a great food source for birds.

What kinds of Birds will you see Migrating?

The list of migratory birds for us is rather long, but you might not see all of these in your area.  Some of the most startling ones are the geese, which fly in their never changing "V" pattern.  If you listen you will hear them before you see them.  All the honking they do to let their own flock know where they are going. Hummingbirds will be visiting all the feeders and emptying them out, they have a long trek in their near future. It's a great time to make sure there is nectar in those feeders.  There are hundreds of different birds that will be migrating and depending on where you live you may or may not see them all.  If you are into Birdwatching, your chances at recognizing which birds are in the air will be a lot better!  A good pair of binoculars and a really good Bird Book will help you become more familiar with the movement in the air.  

If you are interested in a list of all the Migratory Birds of North America, click on that link and Wikipedia will list all the birds that are making their moves in the fall.  Check on both the Eastern and Western areas as some of them will not be seen on one side or the other.  

Family Fun During the Fall


I love watching the birds in the changing seasons.  There is a great opportunity to share with our children and grandchildren, the changes that nature goes through when one season moves into the next.  There is always something to learn.  Family camping trips always highlighted birdwatching and just learning about nature around us. Trees and flowers change too and many children are busy collecting leaves for school projects.  There are some wonderful ideas for Fall learning and things for children to do.  It's not just the birds that they can learn about, it's the changes in nature from the ground right up to the sky.

Now don't forget, when you see the leaves falling down, it's time to Look up, Look way up, you will probably be treated to some migratory birds in your area.  Have you ever seen something so beautiful?


All pictures are from Pixabay.com
If you would like to know more about bird watching you can click on these links and learn more about the wonderful world of Birds and Bird Watching.




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Reviewing A Thesaurus

A Most Important Tool For Writing

writing desk
Writing Center image courtesy of Pixabay.com
My decision to review a thesaurus in today's post might seem a little lame at first glance. Stick with me for a bit and you will see why I think that every home and office should have at least one available.

I, along with the other reviewers here at Review This, do quite a lot of writing. Most of us write a post here each week while maintaining our own sites in other locations on the web. It would not be far-fetched for me to assume that each of us probably has at least one thesaurus that we refer to often. Mine is sitting right here next to me as I compose this post. I pick it up and use it several times every single day.

Now, I realize that not everyone considers themselves writers, as we do, but that isn't exactly the case. Adults frequently need to compose a letter or a report pertaining to their jobs. (You should know that I just picked up my thesaurus to find a better word for often and decided on frequently in that last sentence.) College students are required to write a term paper for some of their classes. A thesis might be required for many degrees. High school, middle school and even elementary school students will need to write reports about different subjects during the years that they attend school. In all of these instances the person is temporarily a writer. 

Certainly, we all have the option of looking up words (synonyms or antonyms) on an online thesaurus. Those have been available for quite a while. My preference is an actual book that I can pick up and search through quickly. I don't have to open a new window or switch screens. My writing is still in front of me and I can return to it swiftly. (I just used my thesaurus again choosing swiftly over quickly.) See how that works?

Personally, I think that if we encourage our young students to get into the habit of using this tool for their writing needs; we are also helping them practice searching for words in alphabetical order along with spelling skills. Adults will be better adept at this but even they learned at one time the order of the alphabet when looking a word up. Whether the writer is very young, middle-aged or even elderly their finished product will be a much better piece if they have taken a few minutes to find a variety of words to use in their text. Can anyone remember a paper returned from the teacher with several red marks and a note that says, "You used this word 15 times! Choose different words from time to time."

As a writer, it is my desire, to create a pleasant reading experience for anyone who might read what I have written. I don't want to sound repetitive or appear that I have a very small vocabulary. I think whether it is a conscious goal or not; most people who are writing something want it to be received well. A thesaurus can be invaluable for that very purpose.

It is probably no surprise that I think that giving a child a tool that will help them write better is a very good idea. They may not be looking to make a career out of writing but they will from time to time be required to write something. That "something" will be better if they know how to find synonyms to use to say the same thing in a different way. A by-product is that they will have a much better vocabulary.

As I stated before; I use my thesaurus regularly each day. I have found it extremely helpful as I work on my soon to be published mystery book. 




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Easy Two-Ingredient Roasted Potatoes

Do you ever feel too tired, busy, or lazy to cook yet want something filling to eat?  That's my situation constantly. On Sunday I was feeling hungry yet didn't feel like cooking, didn't feel like paying the cost of delivery, and sure didn't feel like getting dressed and going out to eat. I fell back on a go-to "recipe" - roasted potatoes. This is so ridiculously easy, inexpensive, and tasty that I have difficulty referring to it as a recipe. If you have potatoes, a bottle of vinaigrette, an oven, and a baking dish you can make these delicious roasted potatoes.  


Balsamic Vinaigrette Roasted Potatoes Recipe


Years ago I often made oven-roasted potatoes after tossing them in some balsamic vinaigrette. On the Kraft recipe site they state: 
"Red potatoes are seasoned with nothing but balsamic vinaigrette and pepper and end up tasting like something a five-star chef made."
Now, my palate is not sophisticated so I am unable to verify that statement with absolute certainty. But I can report that the balsamic vinaigrette roasted potatoes are delicious. Here is their recipe

I don't follow recipes very well and I tend to just throw things together. My roasted vinaigrette potatoes version is as follows:


  • Wash potatoes and cut into chunks (peel if preferred, but I don't)
  • Place into a greased baking dish
  • Add  2-3 squirts of vinaigrette and toss (coating all pieces of potato)
  • Add any extra desired ingredients (see partial list below)
  • Place into a pre-heated 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes (stirring occasionally)
  • Increase oven to 450 and bake until potatoes reached desired softness (use a fork to check)

The step of starting at a lower temperature then increasing the temp is just something I do so that I remember to go stir and coat the potatoes a few times before they finish. That is a completely unnecessary step for an attentive cook.


Additional Ingredients to Consider When Roasting Potatoes


You can add additional items that you are craving or that you think would be tasty. Some ideas include: 

a vinaigrette other than Balsamic
a dressing other than vinaigrette (such as mustard)
my roasted potatoes  
pepper
salt 
fresh rosemary
lemon juice
onions
browned bacon
browned sausage
ham chunks


I had potatoes, ham, onions, and Kraft Red Wine Vinaigrette on hand so that was my recipe for the brunch that was so ridiculously easy and delicious I decided to take the time to share the idea with you. 

Below I will show some of the vinaigrettes I have used regularly with much success. Just a note, the raspberry vinaigrette is one of the choices I make for my Couscous Summer Salad. But I also wouldn't hesitate to use it on roasted potatoes.




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

5 Tips to Consider when Creating a Pink Themed Room in the Home

Photo via Pixabay
With the exception of a little girl's room, pink can be a tricky color to choose as a theme.

The problem with using pink in a room is doing it in a way that doesn't make it seem childlike (when that's not your intention).

Unless you're trying to recreate Barbie's Dream-House, review these five tips before adding pink to a room:

1. The Easiest Way to Include Pink is to add Accent Pieces in Pink

If you don't have your brave pants fully on, then try the leap into pink by adding pink pieces to compliment the space. Use things like throw pillows, blankets, lamps, side-tables, bean-bag chairs, flowers, ornaments and more to carry the pink-load.

2. Choose the Shade of Pink Based on the Mood you want for the Room

Blush (soft pink) makes a lovely neutral choice. It can work as a base just as light tans, whites, and greys do. Simply use a very soft shade of pink (even skin toned pink) on the walls, floors or ceiling. Use complimentary colors for the furniture, drapes, and other accessories. If you're going for a bold, aggressive or sexy look, then richer pinks are your choice. You'll see numerous examples of soft pink and deep pink rooms in the Pinterest Board below.

3. Pink Walls in a Main Room
Photo via Pixabay


Rich pink walls can also work in a Dining Room. Pink is actually an upbeat, calming and festive color so it makes sense to include it in a room where people gather. You can use hot pink or lighter shades, both work. Try bronze accents to create a balance and spread the visual load. If you choose a deep rich pink color, try softer grey tones for furniture and/or accessories to soften the impact. The trick is to create balance. With a softer pink on the walls, black dining room furniture works. Pink and black can look outstanding together.

4. Use Black, White, Leopard or Floral as Contrasts

Patterns look lovely against a pink backdrop. The challenge is mixing and matching them. For example, a pink tree branches wall decal can work in combination with black and white patterned items in the room. The trick is to mix pattern sizes. If the pattern on the wall is tight, and smaller in it's look, then a bold wider, less busy pattern is the better choice for the black/white mix. The sharpness of black again helps to distribute the visual load in the room.

5. Use Pink as a Backdrop on a Wall Unit

Whether it's a wall unit or a large shoe cabinet, paint the back of it in your choice shade of pink and choose a contrasting color to match the space for the rest of the furniture.




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Review of Outward Hound Dog Life Jacket

Finn's new Outward Hound life jacket.
When I recently adopted a disabled dog, I made a promise to Finn that I would do everything in my power to help him thrive.  Because his back legs do not function normally, and he cannot walk or run, I knew that swimming could provide Finn with a freedom of movement he had never before experienced.  I immediately went online and ordered an Outward Hound Fun Fish Life Jacket so Finn could dive into some water fun.  This is one of the best purchases I have ever made for one of my beloved animal companions.

I looked at a lot of life jackets for dogs before selecting this particular model.  Because Finn has limited use of his back legs, it was important to find a life jacket that would stabilize him in the water.  The neckband floatation bib on this life jacket was just what Finn needed to keep him from rolling over onto his side.

My little "Nemo's" first swimming lesson.
The two handle straps on the back of the life jacket have been essential during Finn’s initial swimming lessons.  They make it easy for me to build his confidence as I hold on and slowly move him through the water.  He feels safe, which is the most important thing when introducing a dog to water activities.  For anyone who takes a dog boating, this feature could mean the difference in saving an animal that has fallen overboard.  The straps can be easily hooked with a pole or paddle handle.

I also appreciate the design and construction of this life jacket. The Velcro closures and adjustable nylon straps make it easy for me to snug up Finn’s life jacket in a way that is secure and yet comfortable for him.   And then there is the cuteness factor.  Everyone who has seen my Finn in his new swimming gear thinks he looks like an adorable little Nemo.  I do think it’s one of the cutest life jackets on the market.   

Finn goes kayaking.
Who should own a dog life jacket?  Anyone who has a backyard pool, or who takes a dog boating, or who lives in hurricane country, or who has a weakened or elderly dog, or who is teaching a young pup to swim, or who wants to offer water therapy to a dog in recovery.  A life jacket is a great confidence booster for a fearful, reluctant, or struggling canine swimmer.  It can be the key to helping your dog discover, or retain, the joys of water play.

In terms of value, the Outward Hound Fun Fish Life Jacket is hard to beat.  I got a great price, along with all of the features I need to keep my precious pup safe.   After testing this dog life vest, I can say without hesitation that I would buy it again.  I highly recommend it, as do a few thousand other dog-lovers.  You can check out all of the reviews when you click through any of the links on this page.

Has your dog ever used a life jacket?  Please share your thoughts or experiences.  Thanks!




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Leap Year (2010) Movie Review

Leap Year (2010) Movie Review
Leap Year is such a delightfully adorable story about a young woman who has everything she wants, but not what she needs. 

I'm not sure how I have missed this movie until now, but on the chance that you have never seen it either, I want to tell you about it. If you have viewed it before, then perhaps you need to take a break and watch it again.  It is sure to make you smile, even laugh out loud.   But, mostly it is simply enchanting, which is totally appropriate since it takes place in Ireland. 

Oh, did someone mention leprechauns?  Well, I have to say, Declan reminds me a great deal of a leprechaun.   He even jumps and clicks his heels.   But most of all, he brings good fortune into Anna's life. 

Yes, this is a sweet love story that is a little predictable, yet it is so charming you won't care that you know what to expect.  You'll simply be glad you are along for the ride and listening to the witty banter between these two hearts speaking the language of love. 

I have always been a hopeless romantic.  I was once even dubbed the Forever Hopeless Romantic Contributor.  Here on Review This, we have broken the bounds of those niche walls, but that doesn't change who I am.  A great romantic movie still appeals to me more than any other genre.



Leap Year (2010) Movie Review

Leap Year - The Movie


Anna Brady (Amy Adams) and Dr. Jeremy Sloane (Adam Scott) have been in a committed relationship with each other for 4 years.  However, they are not married and Anna wants to get married.  When she thinks Jeremy is about to propose over dinner one evening, she is greatly disappointed to discover diamond earrings in the small jewelry box instead of a diamond engagement ring.  Jeremy is oblivious to Anna's feelings and doesn't hesitate to excuse himself from dinner early when called away for a medical emergency.  

 Leap Year - Amazon Video RentalCheck PriceWhen Jeremy leaves to attend a cardiology convention in Ireland, Anna is reminded of an old Irish tradition.  Each Leap Year, on February 29th, the woman can propose to the man.  After all, that is what her own grandmother did decades ago.  She decides it is time for her to act!  Otherwise, who knows how long it will be before she is engaged, much less married.

Anna's flight to Dublin, Ireland is diverted due to weather.  They are forced to land in Cardiff, Wales.  Because she is determined to get to Dublin, she hires a boat.  Then, the boat is forced to dock in Dingle because the storm is simply too dangerous to continue.  It is in Dingle that she meets her cheeky, tall, dark and handsome leprechaun.  Because Declan (Matthew Goode) needs the money, he agrees to drive her to Dublin and that is where all the fun begins.




Watch Leap Year for Yourself!  


If you find yourself searching for a great romantic comedy, Leap Year will be the perfect choice.  If you are also a hopeless romantic, be sure you pay close attention to the brides speech during the wedding in the movie.  You will love it!

You may even find yourself wondering if you only had 60 seconds to get out of a burning house, what would you grab?






Check Out More Movie Reviews at
ReviewThisMovies.com



Leap Year (2010) Movie Review Written by:
House of Sylvestermouse





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Review of Florida Beauty

Florida Seascape
Forida has always been one of my favorite states to visit.  As a child my family would often take a trip to Florida in the summer.  Living in the midwest, I found Florida to be wonderful.  I loved everything about it from the beaches to the palm trees to all the wonderful sights to see.   Swimming in the ocean was a special treat for my siblings and me.  

Now, as a senior adult, I still love Florida, although I am now fond of going in the wintertime to escape the midwest cold.  

With Florida in the news so much because of hurricane Irma, I thought I would write an article on the beauty that is Florida.  My heart and prayers go with the people in Florida as they recover from this latest tragedy.


Facts about Florida


  • Nickname- Sunshine State
  • Capital- Tallahassee
  • State Flower- Orange Blossom
  • Third most populous state
  • Flattest State
  • Tourism biggest money earning sector
  • Known for juicy oranges
  • Golf paradise

What I love about Florida

I am an avid photographer and Florida is a wonderful place to take photographs.  On the rest of this page I will tell you about my favorite things about Florida and show you the photographs to illustrate my points. I will also share links to different articles that I have written on Florida.

Palm Trees

Palm trees are one of my favorite things in Florida.  Each year as we enter the state, I look for my first palm trees.  Usually I find them at the Florida Welcome Center.  Here is an article I wrote on photographing Palms. Palm Trees in Paradise

Birds

Florida has some wonderful tropical birds along with many that we also see in the midwest in the summer. During our visit in 2017 I worked on photographing as many different birds as possible.  Here is an article I wrote for Review This on photographing birds. Photographing Florida Birds

The Ocean

Did you know that no matter where you go in Florida you are never further than 60 miles from the nearest beach?  For someone who loves the ocean that fact alone would make Florida a favorite place.  In my younger days I loved to play in the surf, now I enjoy a nice long walk on the beach.  There is something so calming just watching the waves come and go.

Here is an article on photographing at the seaside.Seascape Photography

Seashells on the Beach

I'm not sure why, but I find it fascinating to look for seashells at the beach.  I never tire of looking for a new kind of shell.  Here are some seashells at Coral Cove beach on Jupiter Island.

Sunrise over the Ocean

There is something quite amazing to watch the sun rise over the ocean.  Each day in Florida I wake up early to catch the sunrise and each day it is different.  Here are a few of my favorite photos from past years.


Here is an article I wrote on photographing sunrises. Photographing Sunrises

Lighthouses

I am a really enjoy visiting lighthouses and Florida has several that I have visited.  We stay in Jupiter each March and they have a wonderful historic red lighthouse that I love to visit.




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Xylitol Makes Life Sweeter As It Protects Your Teeth: A Review

Why Xylitol Is Now My Preferred Sweetener

Although I try to avoid sugar, I do like to make food sweeter sometimes. I don't want to use artificial sweeteners like saccharin because I consider them unhealthy and many have an unpleasant aftertaste. I was delighted to discover Xylitol. I can sweeten foods and drinks while improving my dental health instead of destroying it.


Jarrow Formulas XyliPure, Supports Gastrointestinal Health, 454 gJarrow Formulas XyliPure, Supports Gastrointestinal Health, 454 g

What is Xylitol?

Xylitol is a sugar alcohol that the body can metabolize without using insulin. It has the same kind of sweetness as sugar, and I've never noticed an aftertaste. 

It produces a lower glycemic response than either glucose or sucrose (table sugar.) That's why it is the sweetener of choice for many diabetics. 

Xylitol has 40% of sugar's calories -- about 10 calories per teaspoon, and about 95% of sugar's sweetness. The Jarrow brand I have shown you here is a non-GMO product and is appropriate for vegans and vegetarians. It is for humans only. It can be fatal to dogs or birds. 

For more scientific information on the chemistry of Xylitol, check this Wikipedia article on Xylitol. 


My Dentist Introduced Me to Xylitol because It Helps Prevent Tooth Decay


I had four root canals at the beginning of this year. My dentist knew I needed better preventive care, so she told me about the positive effects of Xylitol on dental health. Xylitol doesn't break down in the same way sugar does. It keeps bacteria from sticking to your teeth and also helps your mouth maintain a healthy neutral pH level. This makes it better for dental health than Stevia, another natural sweetener.

Other Benefits of Xylitol


When I first started using Xylitol, I thought it was only helpful for improving dental health. I've since learned that it may also increase collagen synthesis and make bones stronger and skin smoother.  Those are really great side effects.

I was quite surprised to discover that Xylitol also has decreased the rates of acute ear infections in some children who attend day care. It appears that this happens when the children chew Xylitol gum. Why? Because it decreases the bacteria in the mouth that can contribute to these infections.   

How I Use Xylitol

I get my Xylitol in four ways:


  1. Xylitol Powder
  2. Xylitol Gum
  3. Xylitol Candy
  4. Basic Bites
The first Xylitol products I used were the expensive ones my dentist recommended. Once I discovered that I could get other brands cheaper on Amazon, I decided to try them. I've not been disappointed. I am perfectly happy with the Jarrow Brand of Xylitol power and I've signed up for automatic shipments on Amazon. Others may prefer the Xylitol brands made from birch. I'm assuming that mine is made from corn, but it's non-GMO, so I don't care.

 I like to mix about a cup of Xylitol power with a couple of tablespoons of cinnamon and keep it handy to sweeten toast and cereal. I sprinkle this mixture on the power breakfast I eat almost every morning since I often leave the dates out now. The dates used to supply most of the sweetness. See the recipe I invented here.

Xylitol Makes Life Sweeter As It Protects Your Teeth: A Review
My Homemade Power Breakfast of Oatmeal, Fruit, and Nuts Topped with Xylitol and Cinnamon,                             © B. Radisavljevic

I sometimes put plain Xylitol in an especially sour herbal tea. Normally, though, I don't sweeten tea. 

My dentist recommended Dr. John's brand Xylitol powder, gums, and candies, so I tried that brand first. I've not yet used it all. I am not in the habit of chewing gum but do it now for my dental health. Dr. John's gum flavor only lasts for about the first minute of chewing. I've also tried Dr. John's Luscious Licorice™. but it's quite expensive compared to the other brands on Amazon I'd like to try next.  It's good, but just too expensive. I'm not fond enough of hard candies anyway to keep buying them. Other brands of Xylitol powder, candy and gum appear to be a better value, and when I run out of my current supply I'll be trying them. As you can see above I've now switched to Jarrow Xylitol Powder. It's cheaper and I notice no difference in flavor. 

Both my husband and I use Basic Bites chocolate chews because my dentist recommended them for use twice a day after brushing and flossing. They contain Xylitol, but it's the last ingredient, not the first. Cocoa powder is the third ingredient. It's soft and chewy and designed to coat the teeth to protect them against bacteria and to prevent dry mouth. It's also quite tasty. It's now a different formula than when we first bought it and is now packaged in a bag instead of the container I pictured. I transfer it into that container when I open a bag.  Click the link for the complete ingredient list of the new formula. We liked the old formula, which also had coconut oil and more Xylitol, better. 

My husband uses OraCoat XyliMelts at bedtime to keep his mouth moist as he sleeps. He uses a CPAP machine and that dries out his mouth. Dry mouth can lead to tooth decay. At night he sticks one of the XyliMelts on a molar or a gum and it increases saliva, freshens breath, and keeps his mouth moist. He skips the Basic Bites at night most of the time now and uses the XyliMelts instead. He still uses Basic Bites after breakfast.

 XyliMelts are designed to be used when you sleep and they last about 3-8  hours when used at bedtime. They last about half that time when used during the day. They are discreet and don't affect clarity of speech when you are awake. you can even use them if you have dentures or braces. 

Xylitol Vs Sugar


Xylitol has many advantages over sugar for people who need to watch their weight or lower their glycemic response to food. It's not quite as sweet as sugar but is sweet enough to satisfy me as a sugar substitute. It has less calories than sugar, and as noted above it can help prevent tooth decay whereas sugar can cause it. 

Sugar is cheaper in the short run, but over the long haul, it may cost thousands of dollars in dental expenses that consistent use of Xylitol products might make unnecessary. I wish I'd been using it over the past few years. I might have saved the over $20,000 we spent on my four root canals this year.

Since I started using Xylitol, I haven't touched my sugar bowl. Although I rarely bake anymore, I could substitute Xylitol for sugar in my baked goods in equal amounts. According to National Geographic it is one of the two best substitutes for sugar in baking. It cannot be used in recipes like candies where it would need to liquify or caramelize.

Xylitol Makes Life Sweeter As It Protects Your Teeth: A Review
Image Created in PicMonkey by Barb Radisavljevic

If You Try Xylitol, I Think You'll Like It


I hope I've convinced you Xylitol may be a good way to enjoy sweetness while helping to prevent cavities and promote healthy teeth. Use instead of sugar to sweeten beverages and cereals to reduce calories. Chew a bit of Xylitol gum or suck on a hard Xylitol candy after eating snacks between meals when you don't normally brush. Use Basic Bites after you brush and floss at night, and use ZyliMelts to prevent dry mouth while you sleep -- especially if you use a CPAP machine.

Xylitol has become a sweet part of our dental hygiene regime. Why not order some to try now and see what it will do for you? It's made a big difference to us. 





A Parting Word of Caution


Although Xylitol has many benefits, as I've shown above, we can still get too much of a good thing. The label on my Xylitol container states that if I consume more than 25 grams a day, I might get diarrhea. This is because Xylitol doesn't completely break down during digestion. One can gradually build up to a higher tolerance level, but one probably doesn't need so many sweets anyway. 

Xylitol is not toxic to humans, but it is TOXIC TO DOGS. You need to be sure you don't put it into foods they might be tempted to eat. You would not want to use it in a hummingbird feeder, either.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. 




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Purrfect Pumpkin Hand Soap Reviewed

Foaming Hand Soap Smells Like Pumpkin Pie

pumpkin pie
Pumpkin Pie image courtesy of Pixabay.com
Let's review a hand soap that smells like pumpkin pie today. We have reached that time of year where it seems that just about everything turns into a pumpkin. Or is it more that the pumpkin turns into all sorts of things? We find pumpkin flavored coffee, milkshakes, cookies and an assortment of all kinds of products. I wonder if they got the idea from Cinderella where the pumpkin turns into a coach? 

Truth be told, the flavors or scents that become available are more a pumpkin spice rather than just pumpkin. They taste or smell like a pumpkin pie rather than the autumn jewel that is in the squash family.

I have found a hand soap that is fun to use as fall approaches and Halloween isn't too far around the corner. Just push the pump and the wonderful aroma of pumpkin pie wafts into the air with a fun foam to wash your hands. My grandkids love the foam and I find that they are more eager to wash their hands with it. The soap, itself, gently cleans and since it has aloe and vitamin e in the mix, your hands feel ever so soft after you are finished. 

Another fun thing about this seasonal hand soap is the packaging. Black cats and pumpkins decorate the container giving it a fun Halloween appeal. It can be a functional decoration to have in the kitchen or bathroom. The cats even appear to glitter a little, making it purrfectly fun for kids and adults!

I also like that I can get it in a convenient two-pack! Each container holds just short of 9 oz so they last a while. Typically, if I put them out in early October, they last through Halloween and a little behind. Of course, my mileage varies depending on how often the grandchildren visit and how many times they volunteer to wash their hands!

So, if you are looking for a fun decoration for fall, have a penchant for the aroma of pumpkin, cinnamon and vanilla (pumpkin pie) and want a great hand soap; I suggest you try this fun soap.



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Emergency Preparedness: Headlamp Review

Headlamps for emergency lighting
Recent events have caused many of us to think about emergency preparedness. Hurricane Harvey only recently exited Texas and Hurricane Irma is in Florida as I am typing this. There are almost too many wildfires in the western United States to count -forcing people to evacuate their homes. Whether we are talking about emergencies as devastating as these or emergencies as small as a flat tire on the side of a dark highway, we need to be prepared. There is a list of things that need to be included in our preparations, but today I want to talk about headlamps. I believe that headlamps are a required item when talking about safety and being prepared.


What is a Headlamp?


Headlamps are battery operated, hands-free "flashlights" that attach to your head by an elasticized headband. 

Why is a headlamp important when we all probably own flashlights or candles?  I too own an assortment of candles, flashlights, and lanterns (gas, battery, and solar operated). So why do I highly recommend purchasing an additional item for emergency lighting? 


Headlamps are important and unique for the following reasons:


  • hands-free 
  • flame-free
  • safe
  • battery operated with a long battery life
  • AAA batteries are easy to keep on hand
  • headlamps are small enough to have with you everywhere 
I depend on my headlamps when I am camping at The Shack. I carry one with me in the Jeep, in the event of a break-down on the side of the road. The headlamp attaches to my head and I can use both hands for whatever I need to do. Imagine changing a tire in the dark, while trying to hold a conventional flashlight. Now imagine changing a tire in the dark, while a beam of light automatically shines on whatever you are facing. 

I love candles and always have a large selection on hand. But there are times I do not want to risk an open flame.  

Lanterns are great for lighting large areas, such as rooms, but more difficult for any activity that requires light focused on a specific area or activity. My lanterns also seem to burn through fuel or batteries very quickly.

Ladies, for many of us, headlamps initially feel silly. But if you are stranded in the dark and want to use your hands, if you need an inexpensive and reliable lighting source, or if you find yourself outside in the dark, you will very quickly become accustomed to the feeling of having a light strapped to your head. 

I have had really good luck with the Energizer brand of headlamps. The elastic band is adjustable for my big head. It is also more durable than the bands on other headlamps I've purchased. The plastic pieces on my Energizer are durable. I have broken the piece that attaches the light to the headband on an off-brand of headlamp.

I have had this Energizer headlamp for two years or so. I've changed the batteries once. And I use it for every trip up to the Shack as a primary lighting source as well as for short periods of loss of electricity in my apartment. I highly recommend that we all have immediate access to a headlamp as a part of our emergency preparedness.

Related Emergency Preparedness Reviews:


Heather shares the importance of Emergency Survival Kits (aka Bug Out Bags). In the event that you should not shelter in place, it is important to have your emergency items packed and ready to go in an instant. Heather lists the contents of a good bug out bag.

Cynthia Sylvestermouse reviews an emergency power failure light that doubles as emergency lighting that turns on automatically as soon as the power turns off and a nightlight every other evening.

Barbara Radisavljevic reviews a battery operated LED light source that she uses: the MalloMe LED lantern. She liked her lantern so much that she was sorry she hadn't bought more. Read why she recommends that particular LED lantern.




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