Tuesday, June 30, 2015

My Nose Has Always Been in a Book

I Began to Read at an Early Age

BarbRad child photo
This is me. 
My parents say I taught myself to read when I was three years old, and I still remember the exact book that helped me learn – I See a Kitty. It had large print, few words, several full-page photos of a kitten doing interesting things, and a very uncomplicated plot. My mother read it to me until I had it memorized, and I would still be able recite it to you if you could stand it. Memorized or not, though, I was able to recognize those words in other books my mom read, and I'd ask my dad about the letters in the headlines of the paper he was reading. By the time I hit first grade, the teacher didn't know what to do with me. I and another girl in my class who coincidentally had the same first and last name as I, got to sit in a corner of the classroom and read books while the teacher taught the rest of the class to read.

Since those days I've continued to love kitties and books. I currently don't own a cat, but I own way too many books. I've been collecting them all my life. My first job after high school was in a library. My major in college was English. I taught English at the high school level for two years after that. I quit with the hope of starting a family, but that didn't happen, so I started working in a Christian bookstore. At both the library, where I could check out all the books my heart desired, and at the bookstore, where I could borrow all the books I wanted to read, I had access to as many books as I needed. My bookstore discount helped me stock my home library. Is it any wonder they have made me the Book Contributor here on Review This?

Living with Books and Selling Them

My book collecting didn't end there, though. As a teacher and later, a homeschooling mom after we adopted our two children, I continued to buy and read books. After our daughter moved out and our son was killed in a jet ski accident, I made a hasty decision to become a home school book vendor. That meant I exhibited my books at conventions all over the country between 1992 and 1996, as Barb's People Builders. We had to stop the exhibiting and California book fairs at private schools after that because my husband had worn out both hips. So I took the business online.

book shelves of books
Part of History Display at Bookfair

I decided it was time to retire from e-commerce at the end of May 2015 because several surgeries in 2014 made me deactivate my site while I recovered and the site itself became obsolete as far as Google was concerned. I was also not physically able any longer to ship large purchase orders. So after twenty years of selling inventory, I just stopped. I still love books, but now I am a real life book contributor. I'm donating as much inventory as I can to worthy nonprofit organizations. I'm concentrating more now on writing and building more web sites.

I now have more time to read and review books. I have started converting my Barb's People Builders website into a review and affiliate selling site, Books to Remember  so that I can promote the books I love whether I own them or not, though I still do own most of them. Most of the books I review there are for children or educators. I review most books for adults here on Review This Reviews!

I Finally Discovered a Way to Share My Writing

BarbRad writer
 I have been writing since I was a child, but at first I only shared it with family and friends, mostly in long letters. I was still selling books when I discovered Squidoo became a lensmaster in 2009. By the end of that year I had become a Giant Squid, and still wear my Squidoo T-shirts I was given when I became a Giant Squid. In fact, I'm wearing one right now. Unfortunately, Squidoo died in 2014, but I had already begun writing for other sites and starting my own blogs. Much of what I wrote for Squidoo has been transferred to a new HubPages account

Here are the other places you can find me on the internet.

Books to Remember
HubPages (original account)

Of course, there's more to life than reading and writing. I have a garden or two, and I concentrate on herbs and drought-resistant plants. I enjoy keeping up with my local art scene, and I love to take pictures of all our local scenery and activities. When I have time I like to cook and bake. I just don't have time very much anymore. 


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Monday, June 29, 2015

Creative Storage Solutions for Small Laundry Rooms Using Laundry Sorting Bins & Other Functional Ideas

Do you need help finding ways to utilize your home's space efficiently? Whether it's a laundry sorting bin or laundry baskets, they both have to be positioned to organize a small space for their highest and best use
For as long as I can remember, I've had to learn how to make small spaces efficient. Most homes I've lived in over the years have had a small laundry room. In fact, my current home has an 'efficient' laundry room; featured here are photos so you can see exactly how I've had to deal with that very compact part of the house.

If you have a small laundry room, using a laundry sort is imperative.

You just can't afford to heap and pile clothes on the floor when floor area is a commodity.

My Laundry Room Storage Solution

We have this exact problem and have solved it by strategically positioning two laundry sorting bins in the space.
The two bins give us five sorting areas. When we bring a basket to the laundry room, we simply sort it immediately into those five slots; that way, nothing is left piled on the floor to trip over and crowd the room. We put the loads of wash in from those bins.
Remember to measure the width of the space you have to work with. We had limited space, so I had to ensure the laundry sorting bins would be wide enough. We used a two-sort bin in one space and a three-sort bin in another.

 Your Laundry Room is Small; use the Walls.

When you can't spread out horizontally, go vertical. You'll notice what I did in the two photos of my own laundry room. Since the space is small, I wanted to avoid cupboards on the wall, which would close the space even more.
The Other Side of My Small Laundry Room
What we did do was put Ikea shelves and an Ikea sorting shelf bin on the wall. The Ikea Shelf Bin was from the kid's storage area in Ikea. 
By putting shelves on the wall, I can put my empty baskets there, and as the laundry is pulled out of the dryer, I can fold it and then place it directly in an open basket so it can make its way upstairs. Then, once emptied, the baskets go back on the shelf.
Also, I needed a spot to put hang-to-dry clothes: put a storage bracket over the laundry sink to do this.

It serves a dual purpose; it's a wire hanging rack/shelf enabling us to hang things from the rungs underneath and store items on top of the shelf if needed. Plus, with it being an open-wire-rack, it doesn't close the space.

Our laundry room is tiny, so if I can do it, you can do it! In fact, I'm such a fan of maximizing small spaces I have a Pinterest Board that focuses solely on that called 'Creative Storage Solutions':

Follow Barbara Tremblay Cipak's board, Creative Storage Solutions, on Pinterest.

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Reviewing Babies and Pushbutton Toys

Review of the Fisher-Price Boppin' Activity Bugs Toy

Photo of grandson on his first birthday
Tyler on his first birthday

I recently spent ten delightful days visiting my youngest grandson who was celebrating his first birthday. Since it has been over 40 years since my children were babies, I'd forgotten how appealing toys with buttons to push are for tiny tots.

Tyler, like most babies, loves to push and pull, wiggle and turn (and bang on) his toys. And toys with bright colors and fun sounds are especially appealing.

Fisher-Price Pop-Up Toy


One of the birthday gifts Tyler received is the Brilliant Basics Boppin' Activity Bugs pop-up toy by Fisher-Price. It has all the features babies like best ~ bright colors, sounds, and things that move ~ all baby-powered (no batteries required)!

Fisher-Price Activity Bugs Push Button Toy

Fisher-Price Brilliant Basics Boppin' Activity Bugs

This pop-up toy has four colorful 'bugs' which wobble around when baby bats at them. Then they can be pushed down where they lock in place. Next there is a row of four actions to get the 'bugs' to pop back up – a slide, a pull switch, a toggle knob and a turn knob. A good learning activity that helps baby develop motor skills. A toy especially designed for babies and toddlers in the 6 months to 3 year range.

Happy Birthday, Tyler

Baby Tyler and big brother David playing with birthday toy
Baby Tyler and Big Brother David

Tyler, and his big brother David, really enjoy playing with this Fisher-Price activity toy. And 'grandma' very much enjoyed being at their house for this special one-year-old birthday celebration!

Other Fisher-Price Toy Reviews:

For more toy reviews, check out

ReviewThisReviews Toy Reviews

(c) Review written on 6/27/2015.  Updated 5/2/2018

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Friday, June 26, 2015

Mad Max: Fury Road Movie Review

mad max
Occasionally we all go to movies we didn't select ourselves just to be with the people we love.  On very rare times, we are surprised and end up really enjoying the show.  Thus was the case for me with Mad Max: Fury Road.

This past Father's Day, our son gave his father an afternoon at the movies with hot dogs and coke slushies included.  I was thrilled to be included in the boy's day out when our son informed us that he had purchased 3 tickets.  I was still sitting in my gown when my husband opened his present and discovered the movie tickets.  Tickets to a show that started 35 minutes later.  I jumped from behind my computer, threw on some clothes, combed my hair and we all made a mad dash to Mad Max.

Both of the men expected to enjoy the movie, but I think we were all astonished that I really liked the show too.  It was a fast action film with wicked cars, lots of bombing and blowing up things, and really ugly men that seemed to enjoy killing each other.  Decidedly not my kind of movie.  However, with the beautiful Charlize Theron cast as the leading lady, Furiosa, and a touch of romance I was perfectly content and properly entertained.  I might add, I always appreciate a rebel who fights for a worthy cause.

The Plot Of Mad Max: Fury Road

In an attempt to free the captive wives of the tyrannical leader of Citadel, the town where they all "serve", Furiosa hides the 5 wives in her armored truck on a routine fuel run.  Her crew easily accepts that she is on a different mission when she breaks from the caravan and they don't really question her actions.

It doesn't take long for the Citadel leader to observe from his high "castle" that she has gone off the route.  He somehow thinks to check on his wives in their large vaulted cage and finds that they are missing.  He immediately gathers warriors and leads an attack on the wayward Furiosa and her group.

Max, who is also a captive for the purpose of being a universal blood donor, is literally forced to go in pursuit of Furiosa.  He is chained to the front of one of the warriors cars as he is simultaneously giving that warrior a blood transfusion.

It is on this road of escape that all of the wrecking, fighting, bombing, killing and action take place.  It was actually pretty cool to see how Max was able to break free and subsequently join and aid Furiosa and the wives in their battle against Joe, the tyrannical leader.

I have now given you the basic plot.  You will have to go see the movie yourself to find out how they enlist the aid of some old grannies on motorcycles, which characters survive, and where they end up going.

There really is plenty in this movie to entertain anyone.  I have no doubt others will like Mad Max himself, but for me, I liked the capable, spirited women in the movie. 

The Video Trailer of Mad Max:  Fury Road



The Many Faces of Charlize Theron

Charlize Theron really is an amazing actress.  Not only is she beautiful with or without hair, but she captivates an audience regardless of the part she is playing.   From an emotionally charged drama, to playing the part of the evil queen in Snow White and the Huntsman, to the rebel with a cause in Mad Max:  Fury Road, she is truly fabulous and equally believable in either character part.

Note to My Son and Husband
Thanks for including me in your boy's day out! It was a lot of fun watching Mad Max: Fury Road, eating hot dogs and drinking a coke slushie with you guys. I am also thinking it was quite wise on my son's part that he didn't take his dad to see Charlize Theron without me!

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Review of Garden Photography Tips

White & Purple Iris photo by mbgphoto
Garden photography can be a very rewarding hobby and one that can be practiced in your own backyard or in many public gardens. I decided that it was time for me hone my skills in photography so I signed up for a 5 week course in Garden Photography. This class is held at Missouri Botanical Garden during the month of May, so in addition to learning some new photography skills, I got to spend a lot of time at one of my favorite public gardens.

Missouri Botanical Garden was founded in 1859 and is the nations oldest continuously operating garden. I feel fortunate that this beautiful garden is only 45 minutes from my home.

Garden Photography Class

Class One

The first photography class covered a review of the basics including use of aperture, shutter speed and ISO. The instructor spent a good amount of time talking about composition and gave us lots of tips that he found helpful in his photography. Here are a few of the tips that I found particularly useful.
  • Take the safe shot first and then fine tune.
  • Slow down...take your time (this is one area where I need to listen).
  • Find a subject that you want to photograph and then keep fine tuning to find the best shot.
  • Get eye level with what you are photographing
  • The higher the number of the f-stop (aperture) the smaller the opening and more of the photograph is in focus.
  • Try using the Aperture mode on the camera where I set the f-stop and the shutter speed is set automatically. This is particularly good for still shots.
  • Use a tripod most of the time---buy a good tripod. Use especially for closeups and low light conditions but it is good to use it most of the time. ( I really need to work on this one)
  • Turn off camera to change lenses.
  • Don't delete in the camera
  • Work on getting closer and filling frame with subject.

After some time in the classroom we went out into the garden. The irises were in full bloom so we went to that section to work on our photography. It was a sunny day and there was a wind so it was not the best time to be shooting the irises. The instructor gave us several tips while we were shooting to help us get some good shots in that light. He steered us toward the edges of the beds were there was some shade and we could get some photos without the bright sunlight. He also suggested that when we shot in the sun we should look for brightly colored flowers because the pastels would complete fade out in the bright light.

Here is one of the photos that I took. I know I have a lot to work on, but I felt very good about what I learned in the first session.

Purple and White Iris

purple and white iris photo by mpgphoto

Landscape Photography - class 2

waterfall by mbgphoto
Our second class was on landscape photography. It was a overcast day so we also got a lot of tips on photographing on overcast days. We were out in the garden about 30 minutes and it started to rain so we headed back to the classroom. Scott, the instructor is great on turning everything into a learning experience so we then got a lot of good tips for shooting on rainy days.
During the short time we were out in the garden shooting I took the photo of the waterfall above using Scott's formula for making the water look "silky". The photo I shot was using a F18 aperture at 1/8th of a second. Here is the formula: 
  1. Cloudy Day 
  2.  ISO100 
  3. Tripod (a must) 
  4. Polarizer filter (I don't have one yet...so I didn't use this) 
  5. Aperture set between F16-F22

Here are some of my favorite tips from the Landscape Class.
  • Move things out of center...imagine a grid like a tic-tac-toe and place center of interest at one of the intersections. 
  • Rarely put horizon line in center of photo (reflections are an exception) 
  • On dreary day eliminate sky from picture (or minimize it if you can't eliminate) 
  • Frame your photo...use trees--leaves etc. to frame the picture and draw your eyes into the scene
  • Curved lines bring interest to photo 
  • Avoid bright spots near the edges..they draw you out of picture 
  • Most images fail because they are too busy and do not have a point of focus 
  • Use more vertical shots 
  • Layers give more depth i.e. flowers in foreground, lake, mountain, sky ...use wide angle 17-35 and get close to foreground 
  • For landscapes focus about 1/3 of the way into the photo and use a F16 aperture. 
  • Polarizer filter is great for fall shots.

Practicing Photographic Techniques

Class 3

For our third class we spent most of the morning in the garden practicing the techniques we have been learning in class. There were two instructors that went out with us and gave us a lot of personal tutoring. I really enjoyed being able to ask questions as I was photographing. We first went to the Iris garden and worked more on closeup photography. The instructor had some diffusers with him and showed us how they work to bring light into a subject. One of the tips that really hit home with me was to always look at what is in the background even though you are taking a closeup of a certain item. In the case of the irises I saw what a difference it made when I moved just a bit to make sure I had a darker background. 


Session 4

In our fourth class we studied both water photography and close up photography. 

For the first section we took our cameras and tripods and went into the woodland gardens. There was bright sunlight so in order to understand the effects of aperture and speed on our photos we needed to get out of the bright sunlight. In the woodlands we found a small stream running through the area with many small waterfalls as the water went over the rocks. We took the same scene using various apertures and speeds. Although the lighting was not the best we were able to get a good idea of how the different settings would effect the photo. I am anxious to go out again on a overcast day or in the early morning and take the same photos in a better light.

Garden Photography - class 5

frog photo by mbgphoto
When the last day of class came I was really sad to see it end. I enjoyed the people in the class and I feel that I really learned a lot. The instructor was great and I will definitely take one of his classes again. It turned out to be a very hot and sunny day, not really a good day to photograph. Like all of our classes the instructor used the weather circumstances to give us tips. He talked about the summer not really being the best time to photograph. Early morning and at dusk are the best times all year, but this is particularly true in the summer months. He suggested that you use mid day to work on your photos or to go to museums and view other photographers. There is so much to be learned but viewing the works of others.
Here are some of the tips that I took away from todays session. 

  • Light will tell you what to photograph and how to photograph. 
  • Polarizer works well on sunny days. 
  • Tips to photograph fireworks--bulb setting--ISO 400--Aperture F11-F16 Tripod is a must. 
  • You need to know the rules..but don't be afraid to go outside the box and break the rules. 
  • Try to photograph underneath flowers...get on the ground 
  • Wearing a hat forces you to look down..also great to take off and block sun from lens.
In the last class we visited the Chinese garden to photograph. The instructor took a few minutes with each of us individually and answered any questions we had. I had just gotten a new polarizing filter so he gave me hints on how to best use it. It works best when sun is coming in from the side. It mades skies and clouds pop. It is great for landscapes but not so good for water reflections. After my time with the instructor I was working on photographing a small waterfall. Someone said there was a statue of frog sitting on a rock at the bottom of the falls, but just when I was going to take the shot he jumped off into the water. For a second I was disappointed, but then he came up with a crawdad and I captured the photo above. Not a great shot, but a fun one and we all had a laugh about the "statue" catching the crawdad.

Books on Photography

I pick up a lot of tips from other photographers from reading and looking at books on photography.  Here is one on Garden Photography.
art of garden photography
Click to view on Amazon

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Reviewing The 13 Original Clan Mothers

The Feminine Legacy From Ancient Teachings

As the Folklore contributor, I have chosen to review The 13 Original Clan Mothers , a book that literally changed my life when I discovered it several years ago. It is a book that I refer to often throughout the year, one that was written with teachings from our ancestors for the Sisterhood of humankind.

The lessons of these Spirit teachers might have been lost forever if not for the courage of families who refused to give up their traditional ways and left their homelands. These men and women rejected the notion that they should be enrolled and moved to the reservations being set up by the U.S. government and instead moved to Mexico where they could continue to live their lives as they had been taught to by their ancestors. Fortunately, two Kiowa Grandmothers lived long enough to teach Jamie Sams the lessons of women's medicine in the early 1970's. Jamie wrote this book to pass on to the Sisters of our time, teaching us to embrace our legacy of feminine wisdom with lessons to live by.

Women Do Not Have To Follow The Warrior Way 

One of the messages in this book that resonated with me almost immediately was that women have a different spiritual legacy from men. We are the nurturers, the healers, and the teachers for the generations that come after us. We, as women, do not need to be hostile or angry; we just need to embrace our feminine energy and be good role models for both male and female children. The Spirit Teachers known as the Original Clan Mothers are aspects of Mother Earth and Grandmother Moon because all things are born of the female. 

Each Clan Mother represents the moons of the year. As I write this post, we are in the 6th moon of the year (June). Storyteller is the grandmother spirit to learn from during June. She teaches us that we should tell the truth to all around us but not in a hurtful or prideful way. We can often times teach the lessons of life through stories from the past. Pointing out the proper way to solve a problem in the form of a story allows teaching without scolding or pointing fingers. The students, whether young or old, don't feel put on the defensive but can learn from the story what someone else did in the same circumstance. In a fun and sometimes humorous way, we can teach through the stories of the past in a loving and gentle way. She is only one of the 13 Ancient Mothers to learn from in the book.

How Did This Book Change My Life?

Growing up in the generation whose anthem became "I Am Woman" (hear me roar), I was torn as to how to be a proponent of women's rights and not give up my femininity. Yes, I believe we are equal to men, yes I believe women can do anything they set their minds to do and yes we have been discriminated against. What I struggled with for a long time was that I didn't feel comfortable being a "warrior" of the cause because that is just not in my soul to be that way. I am not a man, I am a woman and I needed desperately a form of women's medicine. That is what this book gave me! A way to grow spiritually by embracing my feminine soul and to progress through life in a way that was not foreign to me or confusing. After reading and studying the teachings of The 13 Original Clan Mothers, I suddenly felt more liberated than I ever had. I could see that my role as a woman did not have to give up on the principles of equality but could be obtained by embracing the teachings of the ancient ones in a way that I felt comfortable with. I could walk my walk, talk my talk and still honor my beliefs not pretending to be a warrior but living as the teacher, nurturer and lover of all mankind that I am. Living this way does not make me less than a man, it helps me to be his equal with the talents and wisdom of my womanhood. 

I recommend this book for all women to read. It really does not matter what ethnicity you come from or your spiritual beliefs, I think it will speak to you. The teachings come from Native American traditions but the messages resonate for all women of the world.  

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Review of Paper Roses by Amanda Cabot

Paper Roses (Texas Dreams Book #1): A NovelImagine having to leave the city where you had happiness,  loving parents, wealth, and social standing, to become a mail order bride on a Texas ranch in 1856. It was a long way for Sarah Dobbs to go with her little sister Thea from Philadelphia to San Antonio. Why would she do such a thing?

Her wealthy father’s investments had disintegrated into nothing and he had shot his wife and then himself. All the old friends abandoned Sarah after this disgraceful thing had happened.  The house was gone, the money was gone, and she had no family left except her very young sister Thea, whom she felt responsible to protect and care for.

Review of Paper Roses by Amanda Cabot
Sarah herself was considered not worthy of a good husband because she had fallen off a horse and the fall had mangled her leg. She walked with a limp. Her leg was deformed. When Austin Canfield of the Bar C Ranch in Ladreville, Texas began courting Sarah through his letters, she fell in love with him. Even though she realized the marriage was more of a business arrangement, she knew she loved him. But here she was now, waiting at the station in San Antonio for him to arrive, and he was nowhere to be found. Had he deserted her, too?

When she had about given up hope, she was finally met not by Austin, but by someone else, who turned out to be his brother, Clay. It was Clay’s horrible task to tell Sarah her husband-to-be had just been murdered. His intent was to take Sarah back to the ranch so that she and Thea could recover from their trip, and be ready to make the return trip back home in a week.  As you can probably guess, it didn’t turn out that way.

Paper Roses by Amanda Cabot would be classified as inspirational fiction with a bit of romance. Both Sarah and Clay are dealing with anger over what has happened to their families and a feeling that God didn’t care or he would have prevented it. Austin’s one purpose was to find his brother’s killer, see that he paid, and then go back to his medical practice in Boston.

Sarah’s purpose was to protect Thea from the kind of ostracism she herself had suffered because of her father’s actions. She felt that could best be accomplished in a new setting where no one knew her. She wanted to stay in Texas. She was determined to find a way to make a living to support her and Thea.

Clay allows her to continue living on  the ranch until she can support herself. He is kind to both her and Thea. He had lost his own wife who was pregnant with their first child, and he has not recovered from that. She had died of food poisoning from eating tainted fish chowder, or so everyone had thought.

Thea insists on calling Clay “Papa,” much to his dismay, even though both Sarah and Clay have repeatedly set her straight. But he is very kind to Thea and even teaches her to ride a horse – over the protests of her mother, who was still terrified of horses.

Besides the theme of revenge, there is also the theme of the rivalry between the French and German immigrants in the town who hate each other. There is a thief who has been cutting fences and because no one knows who he is, the thefts and fence cuttings cause the people to blame anyone they don’t like so that the French and Germans hate each other even more.

Sarah is finally hired to work in the mercantile owned by  a French family, Isabelle and her brother, Leon. Neither could speak German, but half the town spoke only German. Sarah could speak German and had demonstrated her usefulness by translating for German customers on her first visit to the store the day Clay brought her to town to get some things she needed. After hiring Sarah, the store’s sales increased, and Isabelle, who was a devout Christian,  became Sarah’s close friend.

That’s all I will tell you. You may be able to guess the end from here, but not all the twists and turns that take you there as both Sarah and Clay try to find Austin’s killer, Sarah tries to unite the town and start a school, Sarah tries to help Clay’s father walk again, and God begins to heal old wounds to the spirits of all involved.

If you enjoy Christian fiction, I recommend Paper Roses. It’s worth the read. I turned out to be right about the murderer. The book’s title comes from the letters Sarah received from Austin during their courtship. She called them paper roses.

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Saturday, June 20, 2015

One Hermit Crab Takes on the World with His Message of Hope; 'Stop Crabbin'

Terry the Hermit Crab Hires a Public Relations Representative to Help Spread the Word about his Dream to Morph the
Terry's Motivational Products Here

Terry the Hermit Crab has a purpose, and he's on a mission to morph the grumpy!
Terry was quietly resting in his aquarium one day when his little hermit heart filled with meaning: He suddenly realized his life purpose...He jumped up and down (in his mind) then sauntered over to his buddy, fellow aquarium mate, Marcel, to tell him his plan!
It went like this..."Marcel, Marcel, OMG, I know what I need to do now....I'm meant to spread happiness and tell people to STOP CRABBIN'
Terry's Motivational Tip Greeting Cards!
Marcel abruptly yawned (in his mind) and after several "ho hums" told Terry that he could not possibly succeed without a solid internet marketing plan. Terry really has trouble with Marcel's negative thinking, and without any qualms told him he didn't need any of this "so called marketing" cause "he knows people, who know crabs, who know people".
Now, as you can tell Marcel won this battle and convinced Terry he needed a product page, a website page, effective SEO (Marcel has all the buzz words down), effective backlinks, and lots of fans who will make him go socially viral.
Terry was upset with Marcel's commercial approach and only wanted to spread the word with his tiny little hermit crab voice, until he realized he didn't have a voice! Marcel wiped away Terry's hermit tears, and told him, that going commercial would not compromise who he is or his positive message and that he knew the perfect person to get rolling on this! Our caretaker Jared is too busy writing music, but I'm calling his Mom, Barb...she can help us..she knows about this marketing stuff!

Barb Meets with both Hermit Crabs, Terry & Marcel

The Meeting was Tense but Productive

Well, it was an honor to be hired by these two crabs to help get Terry's message out. After meeting with Terry and Marcel, I must say, I was totally impressed with their ability to articulate exactly what they wanted to promote.
Now if you read the first the section you already know that Marcel the Hermit Crab is very much about the business and promotion side of things, and at this point only wants to work behind the scenes. I'm hoping he'll change his mind! I'm working on it. Terry on the other hand is all about the message he so vehemently wants to promote, which as you know is "Stop Crabbin". I will attest that Terry is very genuine about wanting to achieve world happiness...He's no Miss America, but he means what he says.

Terry the Hermit Crab's Photo Session
STOP CRABBIN' - Terry's Motivational Poster

Well Terry made it very clear that I wouldn't get a great photo of him unless his aquarium was completely revamped. So after extensive remodelling of his classy home, he was stoked and ready to roam.

With their aquarium shining, I settled in for Terry's big photo session. After an a hour of watching Terry and Marcel wander with speed and agility (like Hermit Crab Ballet) through their home, I was able to finally get the photo that Terry is most proud to tag onto his message...Stop Crabbin'.
Terry hopes you like the photo of him climbing the tree, 'cause he's very proud of his climbing skills...oh, and he's very pleased with how nice his eyes look.

Terry Decides on a Motivational Poster

Terry is such a stubborn Hermit Crab! He insisted on a Poster as his first Product. From where he sits, there seems to be a lot of walls, so he figures motivational hermit crab wall art is a breakthrough idea. I tried to explain to him that the world isn`t exactly how he sees it, but he thinks my perspective is the perspective that`s skewed. Arguing with a Hermit Crab seemed pointless, and after all he`s the boss.
Terry the Hermit Crab's Motivational Tip Classic White Coffee Mug
Stop Crabbin' Coffee Mug


Terry knows how some people wake up grumpy, so naturally a coffee mug made his shortlist of products. Grouches in the morning make up a huge percentage of people (so Terry says), and his purpose to de-grouch the world just wouldn't be complete without addressing the morning crowd!

A Hermit Crab Binder for School

Terry wants to have a positive influence on young people, and remind them that getting an education is critical to building their future. His buddy Marcel the Hermit Crab has a fabulous business mind acquired from business crab college.

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Friday, June 19, 2015

Power Failure Light Review

power failure light
I recently attended the CERT program training classes in our area.  Over a period of several days, our class learned a great deal about emergency response and being prepared to help in a disaster.  In our area, that would most likely be a tornado, or possibly an earthquake, but the classes also covered blizzards, floods, volcano eruptions, mud slides, and more.   That training could easily come in handy while traveling.

In addition to emergency response techniques including putting putting out a small fire, we learned a lot about being prepared for the disaster before it occurs so we could act quickly when needed.  Part of the very basic preparedness is something everyone should do whether you are CERT trained or not.  Every home should have a power failure light that automatically comes on during power outages.

Sylvania Power Failure Light

This is a very simple way to assure light in area darkness.  The LED Sylvania Power Failure Light is actually a 3 in 1 light.  When the power is on, it acts as a night light.  I placed one in each of the hallways in our home and one in our kitchen.   The nightlight is a bit too bright for us to have in a bedroom, but it would be perfect for a child's bedroom.

power failure light nightlight

When the electricity goes out, the LED flashlight comes on.   It provides a flood of light so you can easily see it and the surrounding area.  The very best attribute is that you can remove it from the electrical outlet, fold under the collapsible plug, and carry it like any other flashlight.

 Left Image: Flashlight mode - Right Image: Nightlight
Westek LED Emergency Lights for Home Power Failure, Rechargeable
Check Price
Pros of the Sylvania Power Failure Light
  • Cost approximately $15
  • Power Failure Light, Nightlight, Flashlight all in one
  • Built-in Rechargeable Batteries
  • Nightlight Feature can be Turned Off
  • Bright LED Flashlight light
  • Lightweight

Cons of the Sylvania Power Failure Light
  • Non-Replaceable Bulb
  • Unit may last less than a year
  • Flashlight battery only lasts about 3 hours

power failure light flashlight Conclusion

The Sylvania power failure light in my photos above is an older model that is no longer available. I have featured a newer version of a night light flashlight that is currently available. Because of it's brightness, I actually prefer this emergency light to some others even though it will most likely only last a year.  I would rather spend $15 a year and have a very bright flashlight than to purchase a longer lasting unit that doesn't provide as much light.  

I think a combination of power failure lights would be optimal.  This one for it bright light and a different one for longevity in case the lights are out for longer than 3 hours.

I selected the Amerelle 71134CC Slimline Power Failure Lite as our secondary back-up light.  It has the same automatic on response when the electricity goes out and can also be carried like a flashlight.  It lasts 24+ hours, but it is not as bright as the Sylvania LED Power Failure Light.

I keep wondering, why did I not know about these really awesome power failure lights before!

Similar Power Failure Lights that Are Currently Available

 LEDVANCE Sylvania 60138Check Price GE Power Failure LED Night LightCheck Price Amerelle LED Emergency LightsCheck Price GE home electrical 4-in-1 Power Failure LED Night LightCheck Price


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Paleo Spiralizer Recipes Cookbook Review

spiralizer cookbook
Two of the most popular words in the cooking and recipe world these days are “Paleo” and “spiralizer.” This cookbook really caught my eye because it incorporates both of these trends (or call them fads, that's okay, they're good fads) in one book with a rather long title, Spiralizer Cookbook: 45+ Paleo Spiralizer Recipes To Get You Started - Get Creative With Endless Possibilities, by Trisha Eakman. I recently found the book in the Kindle bookstore and wanted to share my review.

Besides the enticing combination mentioned in the title, the next thing that got my attention is that the recipes in this book go far beyond zucchini ribbons. While (as I write this) it's zucchini season, and zucchinis are the reason I originally bought my spiralizer, this book includes recipes that use spiral versions of lots of different foods.

Take carrots, for instance. How do Nutty Carrot Pancakes sound? Or Carrot and Garlic Pasta? Banana and Carrot Muffins? Just wait 'til you read those recipes that use spiralized carrots!

I do love zucchini, though, so I was very pleased to find, as I browsed the table of contents, plenty of recipes that use "zoodles," or zucchini noodles. The Fiery Shrimp and Zucchini Pasta, Greek Salad with Zucchini Noodles (I've already tried this one, see my photo below), even Choco Coco Zucchini Cookies all sound wonderful and are on my list of recipes to try.

This isn't a book meant to educate you on the benefits of eating clean, Paleo, or gluten free. It's a recipe book to encourage you, as the subtitle says, to "Get Creative With Endless Possibilities." The creative recipes inside are easy to follow and the ingredients are relatively easy to find. If you already cook gluten free, you'll probably have most of them on hand.

Paleo recipe from the Spiralizer Cookbook, Greek Salad with Zucchini Noodles
Greek Salad with Zucchini Noodles
from the Spiralizer Cookbook
(Photo by Susan Deppner)
If you follow a gluten free diet or if you're looking for Paleo recipes, I think you'll really enjoy this cookbook. In fact, you'll probably have a hard time choosing which recipe to prepare first. I finally chose Greek Salad with Zucchini Noodles. As you can see from my photo, it turned out great, healthful, beautiful, and delicious!

Like this one? Follow the link for more cookbooks for Kindle.

P.S. Did you know that you don't have to own a Kindle to enjoy Kindle cookbooks? Use one of Amazon's free reading apps to read on your phone or tablet. You'll find more info on the book page.

NOTE: This book is now available only in a paperback edition. The links above have been updated.

veggetti pro
Veggetti Pro Spiral Vegetable Cutter
As Seen on TV

UPDATE: Readers have left comments about not being familiar with a spiralizer, so I found a version of the spiral vegetable cutter that I think you'll like.

This tool is called the Veggetti Pro, an "as seen on TV" spiralizer kitchen gadget with great reviews, very easy to use, and it makes both wide and narrow cuts (notice the wider zucchini noodles in the picture).

It's available at a great price, too, in the $25 vicinity as I write this. Great gift idea!

-- Susan Deppner
Read more of my reviews.

Posted by Susan Deppner

Susan Deppner

About the Author

Susan Deppner is a baby boomer, a cancer survivor, and a Southerner who believes in the Golden Rule. She enjoys writing about food, faith, and fitness; health, home, and holidays; people, places, pets, and patriotism, and more. Follow Susan on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

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