Thursday, February 23, 2017

Bodum Chambord Coffee Press Review

French Press Coffee Makers Make the Best Coffee!
Reviewing the Bodum Chambord Coffee Press

French Coffee Press Review

Coffee is one of life's greatest pleasures for me. I can't wait for that first cup in the morning so I will wake up and see the world through fresh eyes again. I drink a fair amount of it too, so it's very important to me how it tastes. 

I love the whole experience of making it too, and don't opt for the K cups or automatic coffee makers unless I'm having company and need a lot of it, or many flavors. No, I like to savor the experience and the flavors wafting through the house. 

In my travels I had seen coffee presses being used in fancy restaurants so I went on a hunt for one. In 1984 I found a Bodum Chambord coffee press in a little gourmet coffee shop in San Diego, California and have been using it ever since. One time in the 1990's the glass carafe broke and I was able to get a new one in another coffee shop for less than $20, so it definitely was a bargain for a real gourmet coffee maker. 

All stainless steel parts so it's easy to clean too. No more filters to buy either, just a one time investment so it's much less expensive in the long run than any other coffee maker.

And it's not that hard to use either. You just boil up some water, grind your coffee beans, (or use ground coffee) put them in the carafe, add the water, let it set a few minutes and press. Voila the freshest best tasting coffee ever!!

Click here to check it out and/or purchase it right now, or read on for more information. 

Best French Press Coffee Maker


Of all the French press coffee makers on the market, the Bodum coffee press is the one most often mentioned in recipes and videos about making coffee using the French press method. Mine is still going strong so if longevity were the only criteria for a coffee maker then this one would definitely qualify as one of the best ones ever. 

But I want way more than that from my coffee maker. I want it to make the best tasting coffee! And years later, after trying coffee from many coffee makers, I still prefer the coffee from my little Bodum Chambord coffee press to any other coffee I've ever tried, including the fancy coffee houses.

So if you like to make your own coffee, and want the freshest beans and taste, you cannot go wrong with a coffee press. This one is very well made and as you can tell from my experience, it will last you forever. Thumbs up for the Bodum Chambord Coffee Press!


The following are my favorite coffee grinder and 2 of my favorite coffees from my favorite coffee company. Well, one flavor, two types of it. I buy all whole beans and grind them right before I make my coffee for the freshest flavor.

But if you don't want to do that, the already ground ones from Don Francisco are the best I've ever tried, and I've tried a lot of coffee! To read more about Don Francisco coffee, read my Don Francisco Coffee review. Or check out my summaries below.

The Coffee Grinder I Use
Braun KSM2-WH Aromatic Coffee Grinder, White


I've had my Braun Coffee Grinder for at least 20 years and it still seems new. I love how fast it grinds! And with a clear top you can see how fine you are grinding so if you don't want it fine, check every few seconds. It's fast! I see that parts are still available for very old ones too; Braun has always been a quality company who stands behind their products.


Don Francisco Coffee
My Favorite Coffee of All Time


Don Francisco coffee is my favorite and it usually only goes on sale once a year where I live so I used to stock up and put the bags in the freezer to keep them fresh. But Amazon sells it at a discount year round.

I have Amazon Prime so it's free shipping too. How cool is that? Now I can get it at the low price all year round and save freezer space. Meanwhile, it's way cheaper than the trendy brands which shall remain unnamed and it tastes wonderful. 

Don Francisco Family Reserve
Vanilla Nut Whole Bean Coffee, 32-Ounce


The Vanilla Nut coffee pictured here is my favorite flavor. It's really strong vanilla flavored too, no wimpy wisp of a flavor, this is serious vanilla! I like it as is for desserts, but for everyday, I actually mix it with Colombian coffee. A little vanilla goes a long way. 


Ground Don Francisco Vanilla Nut Coffee  

If you don't have a coffee grinder, this Vanilla Nut coffee is the best you can get. Very strong vanilla flavor!


Make French Press Coffee


Learn how to make French Press coffee. It's really easy once you get the hang of it. And once you taste the flavor you will probably never want your coffee any other way!


Enjoy your coffee! And for some sweet treats to go with it, visit Food, Decor, Kids Blog


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

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

How to Grow Your Way to Happiness and a Great Garden A Review

Growing My Way to Happiness!  A Review!


Many studies have shown that Growing a Garden reduces stress and increases your happiness with just getting your hands dirty. As I review this idea of growing seeds for the garden, I agree that these studies are true.  I know that in my own life, as February is coming to a close, I start to look for those little signs that spring is indeed on it's way.  Little sprouts coming out of the ground are cause for me to jump for joy!  My husband still doesn't understand that completely.  Oh well, I can't explain it any more than to say my heart does indeed leap with joy, and I know that better days are ahead.  No more Seasonal Affected Disease and no more need to sit under lamps to get us out of our "funk".  The countdown is on for when we can really get our fingers into the ground and just feel wonderful.

galanthus bulbs, snow bells, spring bulbs
Snow Bells in Spring
https://pixabay.com/en/flower-rod-snowdrop-garden-nature-2080981/


So now that February is almost done and we can honestly say that Spring is just around the corner, it's time to get those seeds started that we saved from last year.  Just to be on the safe side though,  don't start just yet.  It is still February!

Preparation is the Key to Successful Spring Seed Growing

All of my die hard gardening friends have already been to at least one "Seedy Weekend".  What is that, you might ask?  Well, for anyone who lives in an Urban area with either Greenhouses or a Botanical Garden nearby, most of these will have a late winter get together called a "Seedy Saturday or Sunday".  The whole point of the weekend being that gardeners get together to share the abundance of seeds that they have saved from their own gardens and share with others for seeds that they might have.  It increases the number of seeds any gardener has and let's them share stories of their own particular gardens with like minded people.  It really is a social for gardeners who have missed being outdoors during the winter months.  If you are in the Toronto area for a visit, this weekend is the Toronto Botanical Gardens Seedy Saturday(Feb. 25),  so come on over for some fun and some great new seeds.

Back to preparation for Seed Sowing

Make sure you have purchased new seedling soil for your seeds. You never want to reuse soil from previous years, as they might be harboring bacteria that will be harmful to new seedlings.  This special seedling soil is composed of  a mix that contains very little "soil or dirt",  rather it is made up of moss, vermiculite and perlite.  These can be purchased separately and mixed together one part of each, or you can purchase it premixed.  You can fill up your home made containers, using newspapers, or half egg shells, or half a toilet paper tube.  All of these would be perfect for seed starts and are bio-degradable. It also makes it so much easier to plant in the garden afterwards because you just plant the whole thing into the ground.  No need to disturb young forming roots.

seedlings, starter tubes, repurposing toilet paper tubes
https://pixabay.com/en/macro-nursery-plants-seedlings-1840261/

Have whatever containers you choose to set up for your seeding, on heat mats. You are trying to make the seeds think it's May with nice warm soil to grow in.  Warm soil and lots of light are the two most important things you need to start your indoor seeds off right.  If you just plant seeds into little pots and set them on a window sill, you will surely get the seeds to grow, but they will suffer in a few weeks time.  Why?  Well it's really just too early for them to growing without some added help.  Warming the soil with heat mats is akin to being outdoors in May.  The sun warms up the soil outdoors so that seeds will germinate and grow.  The days are getting longer with more hours of sunshine available than in March, so that the seedlings that are growing in the ground will be hardy and strong.  Indoors we need to mimic the garden in May as much as possible if we want strong seedlings.  Without the added attention of heat and light, your seedlings will be tall, lanky and very spindly looking.  Most often they will fall over because the stalks are not strong enough to hold them upright.  Once that happens you can almost count the days to total death of the seedling.  All that work is gone and you have to start over again, if you have enough seeds.  If you don't you will be buying more seeds in short order to start all over again.  

Indoor Gardening Done Right

If you decide that you really want to grow your seeds from scratch in the early months of March and April, then be prepared to have the right set up in place.  Yes there is a bit of effort involved, but  the end result will be well worth the effort.  You can purchase an indoor garden set up with shelves, heat mats and lights all in one unit.  This is usually more than enough for your average home gardener.  You are not going to become a commercial greenhouse operation, but you will have lots of seedlings for your garden and maybe some friends too.  Doing it this way is a little expensive, but you would have the unit for years to come.  I prefer the doing my seeds with heat mats and grow lights that I have purchased separately.  For my garden needs, this is more than enough space to grow seeds.  You have to decide for yourself which set up is right for you!


With some of these choices you can start your own indoor gardening center and have some really good success with it too. The heat mats are inexpensive and will provide that much needed warmth at the soil level. The grow lights are also inexpensive and will help to keep your seedlings compact and strong.  The additional light with at least 8 to 12 hours of light, will mimic the days in May and June. Or if you really want to guarantee success, you can try one of the Areo Grow Systems for indoor herb gardens.  They have the lights and warmth built right into the unit, so that your success with these is almost a given.  Gardening is a joy especially for us northerners.  We love our changing seasons, but the change from Winter to Spring is the one that we seem to love the best.

Happy Gardening and Seed Sowing to all of you!


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

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Velveteen Rabbit Reviewed

Every Child's Library Should Have This Book


Could This Be The Velveteen Rabbit?
I do not remember how old I was when I first heard the story of The Velveteen Rabbit but I do know that after having it read to me; it became my favorite story of all time. I do not know for sure which I relate to more the child in the story or the toy rabbit. Truth be told, probably a little of both. 

I will fast forward in time to the day that I found out that I was expecting my first child. Do you know what I did just after hearing the news? I went straight to the local book store and purchased a copy of The Velveteen Rabbit. Once purchased I went straight to the car, took the book out of the bag and proceeded to read the story to my growing baby. I had no idea whether I was reading to a boy or a girl at that moment but what I did know was that I was going to love that child with as much love as the boy did his toy rabbit. 

As time passed, I read that book to both of my children over and over again. We will fast forward again to the day that I found out that I was to be a Grandmother. The very first thing I bought for that baby and all of the grandchildren since is the book, The Velveteen Rabbit

 

What is it about The Velveteen Rabbit story with me?

I guess in a nutshell it is that powerful message of love. I am not sure why as a child it resonated so strongly with me but it did. It still does. The magic of love is about the most powerful thing we experience as humans. The giving of love and the receiving of love. I believe it is what makes us "real". 

Imagine being a new toy in the room and wondering what all of this is about. Imagine hoping that the child will pick you up and play with you. Imagine that at night when the child is sleeping all of the toys come alive. Some of them are rude to you and some even make fun of you. Imagine there is one toy that seems wiser than the others. It shows you kindness and shares wisdom with you. It is the Skin Horse. The tattered old horse tells you that the goal of all toys is to become "real" from the love of a human. This confuses you so the Skin Horse explains....

"Real isn't how you are made. It is a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with  but REALLY loves you, then you become Real." 
I encourage you to share this book with a child in your life. Perhaps you will remember it from your own childhood. It has been a classic since 1922 when it was first written by Margery Williams. The story transcends time with the message of love. As the Skin Horse says, "It does not matter what we look like or where we are from; what matters is to be loved." Well, that is paraphrasing a bit but it really is the message. We become our real selves when we receive love and I believe give love to each other and the world we live in. Isn't that an important message that every child should learn at a very early age? Perhaps, I identify more with that old tattered horse who knows what it feels like to become "real"from the love of a child.... 



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

Monday, February 20, 2017

Baby's First Personalized Easter Bunny Review

This winter has been mild and the spring flowers are already starting to poke through the earth.  Spring makes me think of Easter. Easter makes me think of frilly dresses, baskets, and hunting for colorful eggs at Grandmother's home. These personalized plush bunnies are perfect for baby's first Easter basket. 

Baby's First Easter Basket


Are you unsure of what to put into baby's first Easter basket? The stores are already displaying shelves full of enormous stuffed animals and a large assortment of plush bunnies of every size.  But wouldn't it be wonderful to give a bunny with baby's name embroidered on the ear?  

The Ultra-Plush Personalized My First Bunny by Colorful Images


Colorful Images is a company I have trusted for years for paper products and party supplies. They offer many gifts that can be personalized to create thoughtful and meaningful gifts. While flipping through the most recent catalog these beautiful bunnies caught my eye.  

These ultra-plush bunnies are 16" tall and have weighted bottoms to help them sit up.  The bunny comes in pink or blue accents. Personalize these bunnies with names up to 12 characters long. That option to personalize is FREE

These beautiful ultra-plush bunnies are described as "my first bunny" but I think they are a beautiful Easter basket addition for anyone of any age.  What a wonderful, lasting gift to receive from mom, dad, grandparent, aunt, uncle, friend, or anyone who wants to give a personalized gift that will last after all of the chocolate, jelly beans, and marshmallow chicks have been consumed.

Ultra-Plush Personalized Bunny

Did you have a favorite stuffed animal from childhood? I did. Of course, that was long ago. Long before embroidered names was such an easy option.

One last thought and gentle reminder - it is recommended that infants sleep alone, without stuffed animals, in their cribs. The recommended age for this gift is 12 months and up.  


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

Sunday, February 19, 2017

How to Easily Create a Textured Wall


The Challenge of Creating a Textured Wall can Kinda be Deceiving - It's not that Hard to Do After-all

Textured Walls look complicated and expensive to do, and they can be...

But....

They don't have to be.

Most of us who step into a grand foyer with artistic texture strewn all over the walls immediately think ... A) THAT  must of cost a fortune, or B) Who sculpted that!

Well rest your weary head my lady because there IS a benefit to living in a pre-fab world.

If a long drawn out expensive project just ain't your thing, then you'll love this artsy-fartsy tip; you can use 3D easy to install wall panels.

What are 3D Wall Panels and Why Would You Use Them?

3D Wall Panels are lightweight pre-fab panels made of varying material with the most common being plastic, that come in boxes of 12 or so (that can vary) and generally speaking are about 20inches by 20inches give or take depending upon the manufacturer.
  • They come in various design choices; brick look, geometric contemporary, funky shapes, and more.
  • Most can be painted to match or provide a contrast to the paint in a room
  • Those made of plant fiber products tend not to crumple over time, so they're a good long term solution
  • Most can be bent or flexed over a curved wall
  • Many are water resistant making them easy to wipe down and clean when necessary
  • No tools other than scissors or a utility knife are needed to put them up (No Grout, No Glue)
  • You can do it yourself
  • They're lightweight and easy to handle
Now Why and Where Would You Use Them?
  • As a backdrop for a feature wall for the TV
  • As a bedroom headboard backdrop
  • As a kitchen backsplash
  • To add dimension to a boring staircase wall
  • To cover a wall that may be a little damaged and hard to paint
  • As a form of protection
  • To create an interesting and dramatic foyer
  • To complete the look of a home office
  • For commercial applications; entry ways, offices, waiting rooms
  • For better soundproofing and/or an acoustic changes
Don't settle for less than what you want in your home's decor and plan your next re-decorating project with the intention of including a feature wall. You can do it.




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

Saturday, February 18, 2017

A Review of Greeting Cards for Pet Lovers


Unique Greeting Cards for People Who Love Their Pets


Baron, our Golden Retriever (c)
Express your love, happiness, good wishes and special thoughts through greeting cards with friends and family. Send or give them a card to wish them a Happy Birthday, acknowledge an Anniversary, send 'Get Well' wishes, or in recognition of a special event or holiday.

Christmas cards have been a traditional way of expressing the sentiments of the holiday season for many years. In fact, the first Christmas Card can be traced back to 1843. But greeting cards for Valentine's Day, Easter, Mother's Day and more continue to be very popular. It's estimated that the average person sends 55 cards per year.  I send cards throughout the year to my smallest grandsons just because they love to get mail.

This page is filled with card designs that have a unique appeal for pet lovers. From humorous cats to sweet photos of darling puppies, all animal lovers and pet owners will enjoy receiving one of these. Browse through these selections that I found to be particularly special and see which is your favorite.



The Golden Retriever


Golden Retriever Dog Birthday Cards

Because I once owned a Golden Retriever (Baron), I am naturally drawn to images of Goldens. This one of Murphy owned by professional pet photographer Karen Hoglund especially appealed to me.  And knowing how much most dogs love to chase squirrels, this scene of Murphy 'reading' a book about squirrels is most adorable. 

This photograph of Murphy is featured on a set of 4 birthday cards created by Karen.  The inside of the card says: 

"Squirrel! May all your birthday dreams and wishes come true."  

The set is available in her Etsy Shop known as Karen Hoglund Photography.



Karen says that "Being a pet photographer has brought together my interests and talents in a way I never imagined. As a fine art major in college, I learned about color and composition. I mastered design as an art director for advertising agencies. It was a happy day when I realized it was possible to combine my artistic side with my love of dogs!"  

In addition to featuring her pet photographs on greeting cards in her Etsy Shop, Karen also works as a pet photographer in the metro Denver area. Check out more pictures of "Murphy" and other dogs she has photographed at her Karen Hoglund Photography blog


The Boston Terrier


Boston Terrier Greeting Card

This image of a beautiful Boston Terrier created by Whitney of Tulsa, OK is on a precious greeting card perfect for any occasion! The card features a black-and-white Boston Terrier looking up at the camera with big, sparkly brown eyes and is placed on a soft gray background

Whitney on Etsy has a shop called African Grey Designs.  She carries a line of paper goods which feature beautiful colors and whimsical designs. Her illustrations are not Photo-shopped or filtered photographs - each one is hand-drawn by her with 100% love. Whitney's favorite subjects are dogs, cats, otters...basically anything cute and cuddly!


Boston Terrier Puppy
Abbi, a Boston Terrier Rescue Pup

This is the perfect greeting card for me to use for my brother & sister-in-law who are the owners of Abbi, the Boston Terrier shown here. My sister-in-law has a birthday on the 4th of July and now I know what card she would absolutely love. Her Abbi-girl is a joy to her.


 

Send a Card for Holidays, Special Events, Birthdays...


Greeting cards with pictures of dogs are perfect for friends and family who love their pets. Whether you are sending Christmas cards that reflect your favorite dog or finding a birthday card or other holiday card for that special someone, cards with darling puppies and dogs will be a big hit.  Check out boxed sets and single cards of your favorite breed of dog on Amazon. 



From Dogs to Cats...


Mama Cat & her Kitten (c) Kimberly Austin Daly*

*Cat drawing by my artist daughter Kimberly Austin Daly made as a personal greeting card for me.

Cards for Cat Owners...

 


3 cats and a dog
A collection of cats (Bennie, Bacchus and Jack) enjoying a bit of catnip. Abbi, the household's Boston Terrier, is trying to figure out what the cats already know! :-)


Cats AND Dogs


Cat/Dog Note Cards - Set of 8 on Amazon

Cute puppies or kittens in a set of 8 with two different designs in each set of eight (8) cards.  Blank inside for your own message, these cards are perfect for thank you notes, birthdays or for just  keeping in touch. Perfect cards to send to your friends who have both a cat and a dog. 

I like these for notes to my brother who has a Boston Terrier puppy and three cats (as shown in the picture above).







Black Cat All Occasion Card on Zazzle




This image of a black cat is a particular favorite of mine because it reminds me of my favorite black cat Spooky!


Funny Cat Cards

 


The Swinger Birthday Cards


Cat images make the funniest birthday cards ever as there is nothing more appealing to a cat lover than a cat in a funny pose. This 'swinger' cat will definitely bring a smile to your favorite cat fancier on their birthday!
 

A sweet and amusing 2-card set with matching envelopes for cat lovers, available on Amazon.

We Love Our Pets!



Yukari on Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Whether you own a dog, or have a cat that owns you, these pet related greeting cards are fun to give and receive.  

Perhaps you don't have a cat or a dog, but instead have a bird, a horse, a gerbil or some other kind of pet animal. Or you are not a pet owner at all, but are a pet lover.  No one can resist such cute images of animals.

   

 

*PS: February 20 is "Love Your Pet Day"


 

More Greeting Card Suggestions


Susan Deppner has written a review about a wonderful source for printable greeting cards. These cards are available on Etsy. Quick downloadable files that you can print at home, ready to be delivered or mailed.

Reviewing the Best Birthday Cards for Online FriendsReviewing the Best Birthday Cards for Online Friends
Selecting birthday cards for friends you've never met in person is a challenge. Find the perfect greeting in this review of birthday cards for online friends.  Coletta Teske tells us how in this review.


Thanksgiving Cards Show You CareThanksgiving Cards Show You Care
Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of the year to show your appreciation and thankfulness to people who are special to you. Reviewed by Mary Beth Granger.

Do Not Toss Your Greeting Cards--Reuse Them! Do Not Toss Your Greeting Cards--Reuse Them!
Recycle your pretty greeting cards from Christmas or other times of the year into another greeting card. Cut off the front and paste it onto card stock or blank greeting cards. Make gift tags the same way. Tips & hints by Mickie_G.

Beautiful Easter Greeting CardsBeautiful Easter Greeting Cards
Remember your far-away friends and family at Easter with a beautiful Easter card. Choose from cute or whimsical, or vintage cards that take us back in time. Or a special religious greeting card meant to remind us of the real meaning of Easter. Shared by Sylvestermouse.





© 2012 Wednesday-Elf. Updated 2/14/2017.




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

Friday, February 17, 2017

Wine Pearls Chilling Wine in Style!

Wine Pearls Gift Box - a perfect gift for a wine lover
Wine Pearls
Let's review a popular gift idea for wine drinkers - wine pearls, chilling wine beautifully and looking good at the same time!  They really are a great gift idea, but do they work?  Well I just had to try them out for myself.

The first brand I tried were the ones pictured which, as you can see came in a beautiful looking box making them a great gift idea.

I placed the four 'pearls' in the freezer before going to bed one night and decided to try them out the following evening.  I should add the manufacturers say you only need to chill them for four hours while some reviewers have indicated 2 hours are sufficient.

The next evening was a Friday and after a long week at work I thought a nice chilled glass of moscato would go down nicely!

I got the wine pearls out and the one I placed in my glass of wine was so cold to touch I just knew it was going to work beautifully!   This gorgeous wine cooling pearl kept my wine at a perfect temperature and even when I'd finished the glass it was still lovely and cold.

My daughter asked if she could hold it and was surprised at how cold it was remarking, "it's like an ice pack for your wine" which sums it up pretty well.


Why Do You Need Wine Pearls?


The idea behind the wine cooling pearls is great - keep your wine cool without altering the taste - there's nothing worse than having ice cubes in your favorite moscato or chardonnay (although I do know people who have committed this crime!)

There was a suggestion a few years ago of adding frozen grapes to your favorite glass of vino.   I liked this suggestion, but that was more for the excuse to freeze grapes (have you tasted a frozen grape, they're like little pops of ice cream - yum!).

The only drawback is that different grapes have different levels of sweetness and flavor that can be at odds with some wines.   Personally I find them fine, but I'm not a wine expert by any stretch of the imagination!  I just enjoy a nice moscato or a certain dolcetto & syrah blend in the summer heat.

These wine pearls are made from food grade stainless steel and have a non-toxic freezable gel core, I was very hesitant about trying them as I thought they could add a metallic taste to the wine.   Luckily that thought was unwarranted.  The wine pearls just kept the wine cool without altering any of it's flavor - just perfect!

Wine Pearls, chilling wine in style!


What if You Don't Drink Wine?

These wine pearls aren't just for wine you can forget about whiskey stones and use wine pearls in your whiskey and scotch as well - they even look sophisticated enough to pop into a martini, shaken or stirred!

If you're a non-drinker that's okay, pop one of these wine pearls into a mocktail or soda for a refreshingly cool drink.

Wine Cooling Pearls - not just for wine!






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

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Reviewing Prime Reading

If you love to read, Prime Reading is a feature of Amazon Prime that you won't want to miss.
Prime Reading is a feature of Amazon Prime
that you won't want to miss.

Free Access to Books, Magazines, and More With Your Amazon Prime Membership


If you're an Amazon Prime customer, you probably already take advantage of free two-day shipping and several of the other discounts and freebies available with Prime. But there's one advantage that you might not be aware of. It's called Prime Reading and if you love to read, it's a feature that you won’t want to miss. Here's how it works.

With Prime Reading, automatically included with your Prime membership, you get access to a library of over a thousand books, magazines, and Audible narration recordings, all at no additional cost. While 1000+ books and magazines doesn't sound like much in the big scheme of the Amazon bookstore, the selection is good and, personally, I've saved quite a bit of money borrowing books and magazines from Prime Reading as opposed to buying them. I think it's a great deal!

Do I Need a Kindle To Use Prime Reading?


You might be wondering if you need a Kindle reader to take advantage of this program and the answer is "no," you do not. As with all e-books in the huge Amazon library, each can be read from your phone, your iPad, or your other Android or iOS device using Amazon's free reading app which is simple to download to your device. If you don't own a Kindle reader or Fire tablet, simply look for the "Read with Our Free App" link below the Kindle format of any book to get started.

What Types of Books Are Available for Prime Reading?  


The Prime Reading library consists of books in many genres from nonfiction to romance to business and money and more. Titles include current bestsellers, classics, and likely books by quite a few authors that you haven't read yet. What a great opportunity to explore new titles when you're on a budget (I'm always on a budget!).

The magazines that are available are current issues of many of the bestsellers on the Kindle Newsstand. While e-magazine subscriptions are very reasonably priced, as far as I'm concerned you can't beat "free" for the cost of a magazine. I'll admit, I'd rather borrow HGTV Magazine or Birds & Blooms or Real Simple and read them for free than pay for a subscription. Borrow it, read it, save it for a while then exchange it for something else, all from the comfort of your own computer. It's even "greener" than recycling, don't you agree?

Where Do I Find Prime Reading?


Find Prime Reading Eligible items in the left margin of the Kindle Store.
When you're logged in to your Amazon account, visit the Prime Reading page to see the catalog of what's available and view your personal library. You can always access a link to Prime Reading Eligible items in the left margin of the Kindle store, as shown in the photo.

If you're not an Amazon Prime member yet, this is another great reason to join. Currently the price is just $99 a year, very worth it, especially when you take advantage of all the features of the program that you may not even know exist, including Prime Reading. To see the list of what's included or to join Amazon Prime, just follow the link.

So tell me, if you're a member of Amazon Prime, did you already know about Prime Reading or did you learn something new today? I love to save money on books and magazines and hopefully this information will help you save a few dollars here and there, too. Happy reading!

~Susan
Read more of my reviews.




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

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Personal Review of My Favorite Vegetable Peeler: The Zyliss Potato Peeler

It Took Me 45 Years to Discover the Best Vegetable Peeler

In my opinion, it's the Zyliss Potato Peeler. It's the best solution I've found for peeling celery -- the ultimate test of a peeler for me. I've pictured it next to some celery to be peeled for a soup I was making. I peeled it after I took this picture.

Personal Review of  My Favorite Vegetable Peeler: The Zyliss Potato Peeler

Here's what led to my decision to buy it. If you need an excellent peeler right now and don't need the review, take the shortcut below. 


Go straight to the Zyliss Potato Peeler on Amazon and skip the rest of this review. 


My Early Experience with Vegetable Peelers


Some of my most frustrating kitchen experiences have been while peeling vegetables -- especially celery. When I still lived with my parents, Mom often assigned the job of peeling the vegetables to me. I was the one who peeled the potatoes for the holiday mashed potatoes. I also got to peel the rutabagas to cook, and the carrots and celery for the hors d'oeuvres tray before dinner. It was a job I hated. Mom's peeler was the best to be found for the job in the 1950's. It looked a lot like this Miracle Peeler. I think it was a Miracle Peeler. It was much better than others I had used. Even so, peeling wasn't my favorite kitchen chore. 




The Miracle Peeler's handle was fairly easy to control, and I could cut bad spots out with the sharp curved attachment at the end. When I got married and bought my own peeler, I bought the Miracle Peeler. It was the best I could find 53 years ago.

My mother-in-law was using an old stainless steel paring knife she brought with her from Europe. I could not find one like it online, though I did check eBay. This is what it looked like. It's upside down. There is a peeling blade on the other side of the depression in the blade. When Paula handed this to me to peel something, I didn't know what to do with it. I'd never seen anything like it. I didn't do a very good job. When we next visited my husband's parents, I brought Paula a Miracle Peeler like mine so I could at least function if she asked me to peel something.

A Vintage Paring Knife My Mother-in-Law Used to Peel Vegetables
A Vintage Paring Knife My Mother-in-Law Used to Peel Vegetables


Why I Wanted to Replace My Miracle Peeler


Over the years my original Miracle Peeler stopped working as well. I decided to get a new one. The replacement I bought looked like the old one but didn't seem to be made as well. I picked it up at a grocery store and didn't pay too much attention to the brand name. Perhaps it was a cheaper knock-off. In any case, it didn't work very well -- especially on celery. If the celery was the least bit limp, it was almost impossible to peel. Not only that, the new one did not seem to fit my hand as well, and it hurt to use it. I decided to try to find a better one.

I Bought a Zyliss Potato Peeler

The Zyliss peeler works very well on celery and on the other veggies I peel with it. I have been using it now for about five years and it's the best I've ever used.

Personal Review of  My Favorite Vegetable Peeler: The Zyliss Potato Peeler

I've even used it to strip brown spots off the back of romaine lettuce ribs to make them look nicer. The blade is very flexible and the celery strings don't catch in it as much as in other peelers I have used. If strings do linger long enough to interfere with peeling, I rinse the strings off the blade easily under the faucet. On other peelers, I've often had to use a brush.  If I find a bad spot in the vegetable I'm peeling, I use the sharp cutting end of the Zyliss peeler to get it out easily.

The Zyliss peeler handle is more comfortable in my hand than other peelers have been. It's easy to grip and unlike the Miracle Peeler, my fingers don't have to bend to fit around a small thin metal handle that sometimes presses against my skin in a painful way. I also tried using the Zyliss to peel a stalk of celery with my left hand.  I proved to myself that left-handed people can also use the Zyliss Peeler, since the blade flips both ways.

If you need to replace your vegetable peeler, I highly recommend the Zyliss Potato Peeler. I believe you will be very happy with it, as I have been.




Personal Review of  My Favorite Vegetable Peeler: The Zyliss Potato Peeler



You may also want to check out my review of another small but essential kitchen tool: Rescued by a Brix Jar Key: A Review

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

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Lego Big Bang Theory Reviewed

Fun Legos Set For Grown-ups and Kids


lego big bang theory
Close-up of Lego Big Bang Theory Box
I just treated myself to the Lego Big Bang Theory set. No, I didn't buy it for the grandkids, I bought it for myself! I am a huge fan of the TV series The Big Bang Theory and I have loved Legos since my kids were little and we played with the plastic bricks together. When my girls were small there were no sets of Legos like there are now. We had to use our own creativity to make things. Once the grandchildren came along, Legos got even more interesting with the wonderful sets to complete. Trust me, this Grandma has purchased loads of those sets for the granddaughters! Suffice it to say, Grandma had just as much fun with the building as the girls did!

As I mentioned before, I am an avid fan of The Big Bang Theory on television. Just about every night in the hour before prime time viewing begins; my husband and I watch the syndicated reruns of the show. I started noticing that they were doing promos using Lego characters to promote the Lego Batman movie and one evening I said to my hubby, "I wish they had a real set for the Big Bang Theory." My husband replied in his logical way with, "Well, they must have one because they are showing them like they do." After rolling my eyes just a tad, I picked up my cell phone and looked it up on Amazon. Much to my delight, there is one! Ask me how long it took to hit the "buy" button! If you said, "No longer than it takes to log in." ... you would be correct!

open box lego big bang theory
Just opened Lego Big Bang Theory box
So, it came yesterday and of course I had to build it! The picture on the right is right after I opened the box and was ready to start building. If you haven't purchased a Legos set before, you might not know that the pieces are in numbered bags and you get an instruction book to follow. The instructions are simple for a child to follow. Basically pictures with no text are provided on each page. The page shows you a picture of the pieces that you will need for that step and then how to place them together. 

The fun thing about the instruction book for the Lego Big Bang Theory set is that there is a page that tells about the television series and a page that identifies each of the main characters of the sitcom with a picture and a short little bio. As I began building and went from page to page; I was tickled to see that every once in a while there was a small image of one of the characters with a quote from one of the episodes of the series. That was a fun little surprise!

It took me about 2 1/2 hours to completely build the set. There are a lot of little pieces to sort through but it was easy to follow the directions on each page. My only disappointment in the set is that it isn't very big and there are so many little things to build and place that it looks cramped. Because it is so small, it is really kind of hard to see everything. Then again, that is kind of fun because you have to take your time to find all of the hidden little treasures.

I think it is fun that they included all of the main characters in the set. There is Sheldon, Leonard, Howard, Raj, Penny, Bernadette and Amy along with Raj's little dog. All in all it was a fun set to build and it is fun to have it setting out as a conversation piece in our home.

This would make a wonderful gift for the Lego fan on your gift list, especially if they also happen to be a fan of the show The Big Bang Theory. In fact, I plan to order another one to give to my son-in-law for his birthday this year. I know he will get a real kick out of it!

View of my completed set
I thought you might enjoy seeing a view of my set on display in our living room. As you can see there is a lot of detail in this little set.




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