Saturday, March 28, 2020

Fresh Baked Bread from Frozen Bread Dough Review


To save on trips to the grocery store for something as basic as a loaf of bread, it is handy to have a package of frozen bread dough on hand. You can purchase frozen bread dough in packages with multiple loaves (I currently have one with five loaves in it) and always have it handy whenever bread is needed or you cannot get out to shop.  In addition, you will have the taste of fresh baked bread after enjoying the delicious aroma of your bread baking. 

Making bread from scratch is a fun cooking project for many, but for a quick way to enjoy fresh baked bread, this frozen bread dough is a delightfully delicious product.


Basic Instructions on Package:


Regular Method – 5 to 8 hours





  1. Coat a loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray. Place frozen dough in pan, and cover with plastic wrap coated with cooking spray to keep it from sticking to dough while rising.
  2. Let dough rise for 4 to 7 hours, until dough is 1” above pan. Actual time depends on the temperature of your kitchen. Carefully remove the plastic wrap.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350F. Bake bread 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.
  4. Remove bread from pan at once and place on a wire rack to cool. Brush the top with melted butter or margarine, if desired. Place bread on its side for easier slicing.


Refrigerator Method – 8 to 16 hours


  1. Coat a loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray. Place frozen dough in pan, and cover with plastic wrap coated with cooking spray to keep it from sticking to dough while rising.
  2. Place frozen dough in your refrigerator 6 to 12 hours before using. Dough will not rise, but will be thawed and ready to use. Set dough out to rise for 2 to 3 hours, until dough is 1” above pan. Actual time depends on the temperature of your kitchen. Carefully remove the plastic wrap.


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake bread 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.




Remove bread from pan at once and place on a wire rack to cool. 



Brush the top with melted butter or margarine, if desired. Place bread on its side for easier slicing.


*Recommended pan: 8 1/2” x 4 1/2” x 2 1/2” (1lb. loaf pan) 







More Bread Recipes on ReviewThisReviews



Written on 3/28/2020 by (c) Wednesday Elf

*All images are the property of (c) Wednesday Elf




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Friday, March 27, 2020

About Sam Monaco

About Sam Monaco on Review This Reviews

First, let say how honored I am to be part of Review This Reviews Blog. I've followed most of the contributors here for a long time.

What I like about Social Media is that you meet people and follow their work and communicate with them on-line.

You never meet them in person and yet they become part of your family. That's the way I feel about the contributors on Review This Reviews.

My full name is Eugene Samuel Monaco, but everybody just calls me Sam. I only use my full name when signing important documents. I was named after my uncle who was called Sam also.



I'm a semi-retired Industrial Engineer working in the automotive and furniture industries. You just can't get any further apart from an industry standpoint. My work gives me the opportunity to interact with people every day on the manufacturing floor. This is the reason that I love my job so much.

I began my online writing about 9 years ago and this is where I meet so many wonderful and helpful people. The following are just some of the places you can find me online.

Sam's Places: This is my food blog where you will find old and new family recipes. I have a passion for preserving old family recipes the recipe's from my mother, grandmother, and aunts.  So many of these old recipes are written on little scraps of paper. I find it to be such fun to figure them out and reproduce them so they can be enjoyed for many generations.

Cherished Toy Finds: This is my toy blog where I write about what I call cherished toys. I watched my grandchildren play with some of the very same toys that I had and my kids had. So, I thought what a great idea it would be to write about some of these toys that have been around forever. You'll find many of these cherished toys in my blog. Along with some new ones that they teach grandpa about.

Reviewed By Sam: This one is my own review blog where you can find a variety of things; books, products, travel, and do-it-yourself project. I always own and use the products I write about in all of my blogs.


A Little More About Sam:


My interests are simple. I enjoy the work I do and the interaction with so many people. I take great pleasure in preserving those family recipes and creating some new ones along the way. My biggest joy is my four grandchildren. I cherish every minute I spend with each one of them.











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Thursday, March 26, 2020

Review of Facts and Photos of the American Robin

Robin after a Bath

To celebrate the start of spring, I thought I'd share a bit of information and some photos on one of my favorite birds, the Robin.  Here is a poem that I found that celebrates the Robin and the start of spring.


Robin Poem by William Warner Caldwell


From the elm-tree's topmost bough, Hark! the Robin's early song! Telling one and all that now Merry spring-time hastes along; Welcome tidings dost thou bring, Little harbinger of spring: Robin's come!

 Of the winter we are weary, Weary of the frost and snow; Longing for the sunshine cheery, And the brooklet's gurgling flow; Gladly then we hear thee sing The reveille of spring: Robin's come!

 Ring it out o er hill and plain, Through the garden's lonely bowers, Till the green leaves dance again, Till the air is sweet with flowers! Wake the cowslips by the rill, Wake the yellow daffodil; Robin's come! 

Then, as thou wert wont of yore, Build thy nest and rear thy young, Close beside our cottage door, In the woodbine leaves among; Hurt or harm thou need'st not fear, Nothing rude shall venture near: Robin's come! 

Swinging still o'er yonder lane Robin answers merrily; Ravished by the sweet refrain, Alice claps her hands in glee, Calling from the open door, With her soft voice, o'er and o'er, Robin's come!


Robins and Bird Bath


I have found that Robins love to take baths in our bird bath.  Other birds will stop for a drink, but a Robin will plunge right in for a bath.

In the photo below the Robin has just finished his bath and I caught him sitting on the edge of the birdbath, shaking his tail feathers.  They are so much fun to watch.


Robins Features




  • Pot Bellied look
  • Brick Red Underparts
  • Yellow Bill
  • White Chin
  • White Eye Arcs
  • Male has darker head and deeper red underparts than female
The Robin's song is very cheerful.  I often see a lone Robin sitting on the peak of our neighbors roof just singing away for hours on end.  It is always a joy to hear.


I have found the National Geographic book Backyard Guide to the Birds of North America to be a wonderful guide for information on the birds I find in my backyard. I know I can find all kinds of information about birds online, but sometimes it is just good to hold a book in my hands and look up information on the birds I find in my backyard.



Robins in our area Year-round



Robins are migratory birds, but although we seem to have more in the spring and summer, we do have Robins in our area in the Midwest all year round.  The photo above shows a Robin in the snow.

My Photos on Zazzle Products









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Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Puracy Natural Dish Soap: Eco-Friendly, Effective, Made in the USA

Puracy Natural Dish Soap is an effective, safe and eco-friendly alternative to traditional dishwashing liquids whose cleaning power comes from caustic chemicals. In today's review, I'll explain why it quickly became one of my favorite cleaning products.

https://www.reviewthisreviews.com/2020/03/puracy-natural-dish-soap-review.html

Looking For a Safer, More Environmentally Friendly, Yet Effective Plant-Based Dish Soap

Several years ago, my husband and I started hand-washing our dishes, pots and pans more often and using our dishwasher less frequently, as part of our effort to be more environmentally responsible and less wasteful. I also wanted to find a safer, “greener” dish soap, a plant-based cleaner that could cut through grease effectively on our dishes, pots and pans without the harsh chemicals used in most popular dishwashing liquid brands, such as Palmolive, Dawn and Ajax. Many of those chemicals may be not only harmful to humans, animals and plants, but also cause chronic aquatic toxicity, poisoning our rivers, seas, oceans and water supply.

Not So Green "Green Cleaners"

The two best-known brands of plant-based cleaners at the time were Mrs. Meyers and Seventh Generation. I tried Mrs. Meyers Clean Day Liquid Dish Soap, which was a Whole Foods Market Eco-Scale certified green cleaning product, but stopped using it after only a week or two. In addition to the overpowering scent, which gave me a headache every time I washed the dishes, I found out that the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment, had given it an “D” rating, which EWG defines as “HIGH CONCERN - Likely hazards to health or the environment.”

Next, I looked into Seventh Generation Natural Dish Liquid, Free & Clear, since I was familiar with the brand name and had seen numerous ads for the company's plant-powered cleaning products. The marketing was excellent and I was optimistic. Having learned my lesson, however, I decided to check out their EWG rating before trying out their product myself. The good news was that my caution paid off. The bad news was that EWG gave it a "C" rating, defined as "MODERATE CONCERN - Some potential for hazards to health or the environment. At least some ingredient disclosure."

Back to the Drawing Board

Unfortunately, neither Amazon nor any of our local stores sold the only dishwashing liquid with an  earned the EWG Verified rating, the organization's highest endorsement. So, I switched my focus to dish soaps EWG-rated “A," defined as “LOWEST CONCERN - Few/no known or suspected hazards to health or the environment. Good ingredient disclosure." Once I eliminated any product that wasn't carried by our favorite stores and or on Amazon, only a handful of potential candidates remained in the running.

After trying to learn as much as I could about the products and the companies that made them, I felt confident about my final choice.

Puracy Natural Dish Soap Checked All the Boxes

Image of Puracy Natural Dish Soap 16-oz. squirt bottle
A dish soap so safe and gentle,
it can double as a liquid hand soap!

Highly Recommended by EWG, Business Insider and Consumers

  • Rated "A” for safety and environmental impact by EWG
  • Chosen as the best dish soap overall by Business Insider: "Puracy Natural Liquid Dish Soap is our top pick because it's effective on grease, safe for the environment, and gentle on your hands."
  • Thousands of 4- and 5-star customer reviews on their website and on Amazon

Safe for Families, Pets, and The Environment

  • No harsh chemicals, sulfates (SLS, SLES, SCS), triclosan, formaldehyde, parabens, phosphates, MEA, DEA, TEA, chlorine, bleach, petrochemicals, animal by-products, allergens, perfumes, dyes, or caustics
  • Hypoallergenic, non-toxic, gluten-free, vegan
  • BPA-free, recyclable packaging
  • Concentrated formula that requires less soap to clean more dishes
  • Cleans effectively even in areas with hard water
  • 99.5% natural ingredients, only 0.5% synthetic ingredients
  • Naturally-derived scents that, to me, smell better and are much subtler compared to other plant-based cleaners I have used
    • The Green Tea & Lime scent is my favorite, and I also love smell of the Citrus & Sea Salt. I’m looking forward to trying the Organic Lemongrass as well.
    • There is also an unscented version, Puracy Natural Dish Soap, Free & Clear, although as I write this, it is currently out-of-stock.

Made in the USA

  • All Puracy products are American made by a family-owned small business based in Austin, Texas

Trustworthy, Socially and Environmentally Responsible Company

  • Transparent marketing and product labeling
  • Gives back to the local community
    • Puracy donates a portion of the proceeds from every purchased to local families in need
    • Puracy’s packaging features original hand-drawn artwork that helps support local artists
  • Cruelty-free
    • No animal testing, certified cruelty-free by PETA and Leaping Bunny
  • 100% biodegradable formula, easy to recycle packaging
    • Bottles, pumps, sprayers, and caps made from PET(E), an inert, BPA-free plastic and the most widely recycled plastic worldwide (recycling logo #1)
    • Liquid dish soap refills packaged in eco-friendly pouches

Superb Customer Service

  • 100% money-back guarantee if you are dissatisfied with a Puracy product for any reason—no hassle, no return required, no questions asked
  • Superb, responsive, friendly customer service
    • Questions answered promptly, helpfully and courteously
    • One of the co-founders, Sean, often responds personally to customer questions on Amazon

I feel good that my purchases of Puracy's natural and safe cleaning products support a family-owned, American small business whose values are aligned with mine, and whose owners are proud and confident enough in the quality of their products to stand behind them with a no-hassle, 100% money-back guarantee if a customer isn’t a fan of one of their products, for whatever reason.

Puracy's Safe, Eco-Friendly Dish Soap Worked BETTER Than My Old Dishwashing Liquid - Without the Harsh, Toxic Chemicals! 

A Safer, Gentler, Greener Cleaner 

Puracy Natural Dish Soap’s formula is concentrated, so you need less of it compared to traditional dishwashing liquid. In my experience, it cuts through grease as well as, and maybe better than, the products with harsh, chemical-laden formulas I used years ago. And, while the lack of those harsh chemicals means it isn’t as effective at removing stubborn, burnt-on food from pots and pans, I find that adding a small squirt of Puracy liquid dish soap to the pans, filling them with very hot water and leaving them for 30-60 minutes usually is enough to loosen the food without needing to use a lot of elbow grease.

For decades, manufacturers of soaps and other cleaning products have been successfully brainwashing us that the more lather a soap produces, the more effectively it cleans. But the notion that more lather means more cleaning power simply isn’t true! If it were, how could dishwasher detergent and laundry detergent clean our dishes and clothes effectively, since both are specifically formulated not to produce lather or suds?

Yet, over many decades of misleading ad campaigns, manufacturers have psychologically manipulated consumers into believing that they can only get their dishes, pots, pans and even their hands and hair really clean by using soaps or shampoos that produce lots of lather. Of course, they fail to mention that the chemicals used to make these products lather abundantly are harsh, irritating and potentially harmful to people and animals, and potentially toxic to aquatic life.

It pains me when a reviewer occasionally complains about needing to use more Puracy Natural Dish Soap, compared to conventional brands, to produce the same amount of lather. My hope is that more consumers can become more knowledgeable about the effectiveness and safety of the ingredients in their cleaning products, as well as their effects on the environment and global ecosystem for current and future generations.

Save Money and Help Protect the Environment With Convenient 64-Ounce Refill Pouches

Image of Puracy Natural Dish Soap Refill Pouch
Puracy Dish Soap Refills:
Easy on the wallet,
easy on the environment

I bought the Puracy dishwashing liquid in a squirt bottle only once. Since then, I’ve been buying only the 64 oz. Puracy Natural Dish Soap Refills, which contain four times as much product as the 16 oz. bottles.

I really appreciate Puracy's decision to offer these large, money-saving, eco-friendly refill pouches for most of the products they make. By purchasing them and refilling my own, recycled bottle and the built-in soap dispenser at the back of the kitchen sink, my husband and I save more than 20% per ounce. Each refill pouch also saves 90% more plastic, water, and energy, compared to the equivalent amount of bottled soap (four 16-oz. bottles)!

And at a time when we're being urged to stay home as much as possible, avoid unnecessary trips to the store, and consolidate purchases as much as possible, being able to order these large refill pouches online, with free shipping for Amazon Prime members, is a great option. You can save even more with Amazon's Subscribe & Save option!

*Note: At the time of writing, the price of the 16-ounce bottles on Amazon was temporarily reduced, making the price per ounce the same for the individual bottles and the refills.


Refill Your Favorite Liquid Dish Soap Bottle or Dispenser

Like nearly all dishwashing liquids, Puracy Natural Dish Soap bottles have a squirt-type cap that must be pulled up before it will dispense the contents. Although the cap gets easier to pull up over time, both my husband and I prefer product containers that require less effort, like the pump bottles for liquid hand soap. So, after using up the squirt bottle of dish soap I bought initially, we now use the refill pouches for the built-in soap dispenser next to the kitchen sink faucet as well as a repurposed liquid soap pump bottle, since it's nice to be able to do dishes side-by-side without having to take turns accessing the dish soap.

If you're not a fan of squirt bottles, either, and don't happen to have kept an empty pump bottle you can reuse for this purpose, I suggest picking out an attractive glass soap dispenser bottle, preferably with a rust-proof or rust-resistant pump top, that you can fill with Puracy Natural Dish Soap from the 64-ounce refill pouches. I like this reasonably priced, textured glass liquid soap dispenser with a brushed nickel pump and a generous 16-ounce capacity, whose elegant but unpretentious design could complement nearly any style of kitchen decor, from contemporary to traditional, casual to formal.

Another option is a hands-free, automatic liquid soap dispenser. Most brands and models get mixed reviews and need to be used regularly and unclogged periodically, but if you're looking to take extra precautions to avoid spreading germs to other family members, you may want to consider something like the simplehuman 9 oz Liquid Soap Pump, Brushed Stainless Steel Touch-Free Sensor Dispenser, one of the better rated and more reasonably priced models from this well known, innovative product brand.

It's important to use Puracy Natural Dish Soap only in a dispenser designed for regular liquid soap, rather than in one made for foaming liquid soap formulas, which contain more water and are more dilute.





Looking for more product reviews? You'll find many more on a wide range of topics from our Review This Reviews contributors at ReviewThisProducts.com.


Puracy Natural Dish Soap: A Safe, Effective and Green Dishwashing Liquid Made in the USA reviewed by:
Margaret Schindel



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Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Reviewing The Love Of A Friend

Honoring Friendship

My review today won't be about a product but instead will be about the love of a friend, a long time friend who was given her wings this weekend. She will no longer be here physically to talk to but she will always be in my heart. How could she not be in my very soul? We were friends for 56 years! Almost 6 decades of wonderful memories. Times of laughter, times of sorrow, times of struggle, and times of triumph; we shared them all.

love of a freind
There is nothing like the love of a friend
image courtesy of pixabay.com
Our friendship had an odd beginning. It began the year we entered 7th grade. We both came from small towns in small school districts. Those two districts had consolidated bringing us together that first year of consolidation. We had a lot in common before we ever sought each other out. We were both the oldest child in our family and we were both being raised by a single Mom. In 1964 divorce wasn't at all common, not in our area anyway. Up until the day our two schools merged, both of us were the only family in our school whose parents had divorced. Neither of us had someone to talk to about how we felt; to understand what divorce does to the kids. We both felt a little lost.

Oddly, my Mom had a date with her Dad. As far as our parents are concerned, that part of the story fizzled out pretty quickly. What did come out of that random date was a friendship that bonded the two of us quickly. Suddenly there was someone who understood! There was someone who cried with you when you missed your Dad. A person who didn't say dumb stuff like, "I'm not allowed to hang out with you anymore because you don't have a Dad." We would laugh about that one, of course we both had fathers; they just didn't live with us anymore. Comments like that seem odd in today's society but back then we both heard it a lot.

Looking back, I think we were meant to be friends. The connection was instant and strong. It almost seemed like in the matter of 5 minutes we were soul sisters. We were pretty much inseparable from that first day. There wasn't much we didn't do together. Trust me we did a whole heck of a lot together! It is probably best if most of that behavior is not mentioned here. 

We planned our weddings together, we had children together and raised them at the same time. As time passed we lived away from each other and there might be spans of time that we didn't see or speak to each other for months. You must remember that back then we didn't have cell phones or computers to connect with. A phone call to your friend was long distance and cost money to make; money that was short in supply in our early married lives. My granddaughters don't even know what a long distance phone call is! Anyway, my point is that after months of not seeing or talking to each other we would begin like we had just seen the other the day before. 

friendship
Friends hold your hand through life
image courtesy of pixabay.com

It is pretty special to have a friend that loves you through it all. They know all your faults and love you anyway. Her friendship was special like that, it is something I have always treasured and been in awe of. I've had many friends throughout my life but none quite like her. She was special.

When her daughter called me last week, things went very quickly. I wasn't able to go hold her hand one last time. I didn't get to tell her how much she has always meant to me. At first that broke my heart but then I realized that she of all people knew. She knew I wouldn't be able to come because of the restrictions the world is going through and she also knew that I loved her. It was more important that she be able to spend those last few days with her children, her grandchildren and her family. I'm glad she got that time with them. 

As much as it hurts to lose her, I'm finding comfort in that she didn't have to suffer very long. She had a rare form of cancer that took her quickly. I'm glad she was spared months and possibly years of pain and those horrible treatments. God was going to take her anyway, I'm actually thankful He took her before she had to go through much of that. Those of us who love her have lost her physical being but her spirit lives on in all of us. We have our memories to cherish as we continue on without her. I don't doubt for a minute that our souls will reunite. She is waiting, she is getting things ready, she will be standing there with open arms when I meet her again. Her fight is over but her memory will live on through all who knew her. Rest in peace my sweet dear friend!

My final message in this post is to remind you of that special friend you have shared your life with. Reach out to her or him and let them know what they mean to you. I don't care if you just spoke yesterday, tell them again today. Tomorrow is not a guarantee for any of us, make sure that those you love know how you feel today.






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Monday, March 23, 2020

How to Open Fire TV Remote Reviewed

Cutting the cord from cable can be a challenge. I never thought one of the biggest challenges would be the remote control and batteries! The Amazon Fire TV stick is my main tool to stream television - but one must first insert the batteries into the remote. I was surprised, frustrated and a wee bit befuddled as to why a task so easy can be so hard.



The version of the Fire Stick I was installing on multiple televisions had a remote control case that I absolutely could not open. No open = no batteries= no fire stick! Frustrating. When it became evident I was close to using a tool to pry the case open, not recommended and not wise, I headed to the internet and a quick search revealed that I was not the only one with issues.

The problem with sliding the remote open to insert the batteries is smoothness of the remote. The directions give a nice tutorial on how to open the two piece remote by sliding the remote apart. Except I and judging from the amount of results on the internet search and many others had issues.

I found this DIY tutorial and problem solved. Using gloves or tape works in a flash to provide the grip needed to open the remote so it easily slides apart to insert the batteries. Sometimes nothing is easy in the quest to cut the cable!


My Favorite Free Services To Cut The Cord


One of the main reasons to cut the cord is cost. My cable-internet bill decreased by over 100 percent by eliminating the cable tv charges. So much of the monthly bill was fees, franchise fees and more fees combined with what seemed a zillion channels I do not watch (and that was the basic cable package!)

I found a wealth of free services to stream entertainment through membership at my local library. The online offerings from your library should be your first stop for free entertainment with the caveat your library must first belong to the services to pass along the membership to you.

Most of the free services do have a monthly limit of downloads; but I have found the limit to be very reasonable. The limit does differ per library.


Kanopy For Indie Films


Hoopla For TV Shows & Movies



Freegal For Music




Freegal


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Sunday, March 22, 2020

15 Additional Distracting and Calming Things to Do During Quarantine

15 Distracting Things to Do During Quarantine

Last week I wrote about ten calming and distracting things you can do during these crazy quarantine times.

This week I'll add another 15 suggestions for you.

1. 5000 Piece Puzzles

Ok, maybe just 1000 pieces will do. Family members of mine have tackled this one already.

2. Read the Hilarious Twitter Hashtag #QuarantineLife

The top tweets will crack you up. My mom and I were in stitches reading them!

3. Crossword Puzzles

Do you love to do crossword puzzles? If so, get out the book.

4. Redecorate a Room

That may involve trips to the store, so you may be restricted on what you can actually do. But hey, if you can even tackle one or two aspects of a redecorating project, good for you! Here's a brief helpful video on how to mix patterns in home decor:



5. Reorganize Your Cupboards and Closets

To some people, this is therapy, to others torture. Either way, get it done! If you've been putting off dealing with the disaster behind your closet door, now is a good time to get 'er done.

6. Learn a New Language

There are several common APPs you can use to learn a new language. Here are a few you can check out: Babbel, DuoLingo, and MemRise.

7. Learn to Play Piano Via an App

Yes, there's an APP for that. Here are two Apple Apps you can check out - Flowkey and Note Quest.

8. Assemble All Those Poems You've Written, And Self-Publish Your Book

Do you have a box of personally written poems that need a permanent place? How about writing that poetry book you've always wanted to write. I crossed that one off my bucket list last year and self-published my first book. I've since published five more and am working on my sixth. Here are some things I've learned along the way that may help you get started.

9. Crafts - DIY Crafting

I know, this is obvious. Knit, sew, or crochet those virus blobs. If you have friends who also enjoy crafts, turn it into a game. Tackle the same project and whoever finishes first gets a prize - maybe a book.

10. Learn Calligraphy

Family members of mine did this one the other day. You can get multiple tutorials on YouTube.



11. Coloring Books are Fun, Even for Adults

This is one I plan to do to relax. Coloring can be utterly satisfying. Color with the kids or you can always buy grown-up coloring books online.

12. Turn Your Life Into a Reality Show

If you're bold, go for it. Vlog your life and upload your daily routine to your social media audience. If you don't have an audience, you could end up with one fast lol - be careful!

13.  Take Cooking Lessons Online

Head over to Youtube and start watching all those addictive cooking videos! Have you always wanted to learn French Cooking? Now's your chance.



14. Assemble and Sort All Your Photos on Your Laptop & Phone

Sort all your photos and store them on a USB or in the cloud. Or create a family wall of photos - finally frame and display all those family favorites.

15. Handwrite Letters to Your Family

Handwrite a letter. Don't type it. Handwrite it and mail it to mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, or the kids. Include the kid's drawings or photos as well. Yes, you can do this online, but there's something very special about getting something like this in the mail.


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Saturday, March 21, 2020

Reviewing Agatha Christie's The ABC Murders Mini-Series

Agatha Christie Mini Series - The ABC Murders
Yes, that's a grown up Ron Weasley
playing a Scotland Yard dectectiv
e
I have to put my hand up and say I'm an Agatha Christie fan from decades back and one of the books that I liked was the ABC Murders, I loved the twist in this novel.

Adapting a book to a mini-series always presents challenges in keeping true to the author for their fans while also ensuring it works well for today's audiences.   I feel that when they adapted And Then There Were None they really captured that well.   In this case I feel conflicted.

As I said I enjoyed this book immensely, but having finished the three part mini-series I'm not sure if I liked it or not!   I was intrigued with the casting of John Malkovich in the role of Hercule Poirot and I think he makes a surprisingly refreshing change to David Suchet or Peter Ustinov.

The problem for me was that key elements of the story was changed, one of the key players wasn't in the mini-series and two of the other players had totally different roles, in fact I was very surprised by a certain death that occurred.

While watching it the thing that I really didn't find added anything to the mini-series was flashbacks that Poirot was having to his time before arriving in the UK and at the end you see what role he supposedly had before leaving Belgium which is completely at odds with the character Dame Christie created.

If I wasn't as familiar with Hercule Poirot I might not have minded the liberties taken and it may have added something, but I'm not sure.   It has left me feeling very conflicted about whether or not to recommend this series.

When it comes to one of the main characters lodgings in London, the series certainly makes them a lot seedier than my imagination created in my mind as I read the book.

I was grateful that they didn't change who the killer was because at one point I thought they were going to make it a different person which would've been insane (in my opinion).   I did like the reveal after the murderer was revealed.   Instead of the almost iconic Poirot gathering of the characters for his big reveal they went with the power of television to give flashbacks of key scenes.

Do I recommend this series?   I really am conflicted so I will just say if you are an Agatha Christie purist absolutely not.   If you haven't read the book then I think you might enjoy this.   I would be intrigued to know your thoughts if you do decide to check this miniseries out.

If you've not heard of the ABC Murders before then it basically starts with Hercule Poirot getting letters from someone who signs himself ABC ..... and then the murders begin. 

The first is Alice Asher in Andover, the second is Betty Barnard in Bexhill, you get the idea.   Next to each murder victim a copy of London's ABC (the famous railway guide) is left opened at the appropriate letter.   Each destination is one that has a connection with Poirot and the letters are addressed to him almost taunting him to participate in the murderer's 'game'.

The story is set in 1930s London and the backdrop shows the rising fascist movement and anti-immigrants movement which adds to the bleakness that accompanies Poirot's traumatic flashbacks.


The ABC Murders on Amazon Prime
Click here to get the ABC Murders on Prime Video

 
Now I watched this on the ABC channel in Australia (which I thought was kind of ironic!), but I could've watched it on Amazon Prime.   I do love Amazon Prime and have enjoyed watching shows such as Jack Ryan and Good Omens on there.




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Thursday, March 19, 2020

Make Your Own Public Restroom Survival Kit Reviewed

Make Your Own Public Restroom Survival KitProtect Yourself in Public Restrooms! 


My husband and I enjoy making day trips as well as traveling. What I hate most about traveling whether for a day, or even a week, is the necessity to use public restrooms.  

By now, we have all heard that you should use a paper towel to open the bathroom doors since so many people do not wash their hands before touching the door knobs.  As if that is not enough to make you cringe, I was recently told that drug addicts will clean their needles by poking them in the toilet paper in the restroom stall.  This takes things to a whole new level of contamination concern.  

To be fair, I did check Snopes to determine if needle cleaning in public restrooms is a valid concern and found that none of the health services questioned had ever heard of that happening.  Still, it made me hesitate to trust the provided toilet paper in public restrooms.

For me and my family, I have decided better safe than sorry.  After all, we know there are germs in any restroom.  With the flu, a multitude of viruses, and the concern for cleanliness, why take the risk if not absolutely necessary? 

Some might consider this an extreme and unnecessary precaution.  Perhaps it is.  But, like any other precautionary measure, if it gives you peace of mind, why not.  You are certainly not hurting anyone else by carrying your own public restroom survival kit.


Items Needed for Your Public Restroom Survival Kit

Make Your Own Public Restroom Survival Kit
I assemble my own public restroom survival kit.  I include individually wrapped toilet seat covers, my own toilet paper in a sandwich bag, flushable single pack wet wipes, camp soap sheets, and a few of my own paper towels. 

I carry two different types of toilet seat covers.  One is the typical paper cover that you see in many public restrooms.  The other is a plastic toilet seat cover.  The plastic seat cover is not flushable, but I find it required in some public rest stops.  Even though it is made to encase the seat cover, I simply lay it on the seat.  If I won't sit on it, I certainly will not lift that seat to "gift wrap" it.

You all can stop laughing now!  No, I am not a germaphobe, but over the years I have truly seen some pretty nasty things in public restrooms.  I won't go into the graphic details and descriptions.  Suffice it to say, I've seen enough to know I believe in the proverbial "ounce of prevention".  In this case, I would alter that saying slightly to state an ounce of protection.

If you think I am alone in this concern, allow me to point out that Amazon.com even offers a pre-assembled public toilet kit.


In a pinch, I would totally invest in that "go bag"!  Because I have time to prepare my own survival kits packed with my preferred supplies, I don't mind putting them together myself.  

If you plan on traveling by plane, you may prefer a clear bag for supplies in your carry-on.  There are no liquids in my public restroom survival kit, but a clear bag might keep baggage inspectors from opening it and touching everything.  Hand sanitizer would need to go in your clear liquid carry-on bag.  If you are traveling by car, you can choose any tote bag.

I prefer a tote bag that will clip to my jeans belt loops or my camera backpack loops.   This is a nice inexpensive trio that I found.  I only need the medium sized bag in this set for my restroom survival kit, but I can always find different uses for the other two.
 

 

How Do I Know I Am Not a Complete Germaphobe?


A real germaphobe would recommend two more items!  After all, the dirtiest places in a public restroom are the floors, the toilet handle, and the faucet.

Eek!  Perhaps I should rethink this!   After all, I do wear my shoes in the car and in my home!  And, those gloves and shoe covers are disposable.



And if you really want to do things right, be sure to include your Poo-Pourri! It was previously reviewed by Dawn Rae and would make a fabulous addition to your public restroom survival kit. 
 

When you are out and about, be sure to be prepared, stay safe, and "rest" protected in those public restrooms!

 




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Wednesday, March 18, 2020

A Time to Grow, Now is the Time! A Garden Review!

growing, garden, review best practices

If there ever was a time to look forward, it is now.  

Don't be stuck with the majority looking for doom and gloom, there is life out there and we gardeners mean to have it to the full extent we can.  

To that end, I am offering you some "jobs" that need to be done before the growing part can start!



My Spring To Do List!

  1. Clean out the pots! Seedlings 2020 coming up.
  2. Trim Bushes
  3. Check Foundation Beds
  4. Select the flowers and vegetables that I want to grow this year.
  5. Make sure I have all the necessities (to avoid frustration)
  6. Plant, Mark and Place in the Sun
  7. Watch patiently as Mother Nature does her magic!

 

This is Just the Beginning, Now Let's Get Started!

 

1.  Cleaning out last years pots is necessary.  You don't want to carry over any diseases or bugs from last year into this year.  So empty the pots of their ground, but don't throw it away!  Place it into your compost bins!  The heat generated in the composting will kill off any bugs or disease so don't worry. 

When the pots have been emptied, take them into the shed, or garage or whatever work space you have and sanitize them as well.  A Bucket of warm water with bleach and a good scrub brush are all that's needed.  Mix your solution approximately 9 parts water to 1 part bleach and soak your pots for at least 10 minutes.  The warm water will soften the mineral deposits and dirt from the pots for easier scrubbing.  Use a stiff brush or a pot scrubber to remove any deposits on the pots .  If there is still some residue, you can soak your pots in dish detergent to remove any other debris.  Let your pots air dry before refilling them with new soil. If you like you can watch this video on cleaning pots it's only 3 minutes long (How to Clean Pots)

While your pots are air drying, get outside and check out how the garden fared through the winter months.  It's a good time to pull back any debris that you did not remove in the fall.(See #3)  Now BEWARE,  you should check your own climate to make sure that no further hard frosts will happen.  Be ready to cover young growth in case of really cold nights that might still happen.




2. Before the weather gets really warm, you can trim some of your flowering bushes!  Again, be knowledgeable you don't want to trim those bushes that will flower early in the spring, especially lilacs and forsythias.  If you trim these in the spring, you will likely lose all the flowers for that year.  A rule of thumb to follow for good results is this:  If it flowers in early spring (lilacs, forsythia, azaleas and such) do not prune until after they have flowered for this year.  If the bushes flower later in the year, early spring is a good time to trim and resize.  These bushes will have plenty of time to set buds for this coming 2020 season.  The Farmer's Almanac is a good guide just click on the link: When to Prune Shrubs

3.  Your pots are drying and you are doing a foundation check.  It's a great time to look at the flower beds, see what is sprouting already and gently pulling back on the ground cover (leaves) that you put there in the fall.  Look for bees that are coming out of dormancy and leave them some mulch to use as blankets at night when it's still cool.

4.  When you have done all this cleaning and spotting what's new in the garden, you just might need a little rest.  All work and no fun is not a good way to garden.  The Fun comes from checking out all the seed catalogs for new and exciting plants you want to try to grow for this year.

There are numerous garden centers that offer seeds and you should check out your local growers/suppliers for their catalog.  If you don't have any local suppliers, you can try Veseys, Dominion Seed House  and many, many more.  The Spruce offers 60 free seed catalogs where you can either get a hard copy catalog or view it online. 

5.  What are the necessities?  Well, you are going to need fresh garden or potting soil.  If you are doing seeds, then a good seeding mix would be a good idea.  You have your clean pots and hopefully you have some old saucers or containers to use for catch trays (please make sure these are clean as well)

You need the seeds, so hopefully you have had some time to check out what's new for the gardens this year.  Or maybe you have kept seeds from last years harvest.  Good for you! 

Clean tools are also needed.  You don't want to spoil all the hard work you have done, by plunging a dirty trowel into your newly cleaned pots. 

6.  Plant markers, unless you are a master gardener and can spot a bean sprout from a pepper sprout, then marking your seedlings is a must.  Maybe you are trying a new variety and want to log it's growth and more, then plant markers are a must!  Even for flowers, I find that I can't rely on my memory to tell me what I planted in which pot.  (Brain Fog comes to me naturally, so I rely on my markers)  These can be home made by cutting up white plastic and using a waterproof marker to label the pots.  If you are creative there are many other ways to make some really nice markers. I've included a video here!  Making Garden Markers 

7. Now you can sit back and relax, watch a video or two, and dream.  Hopefully there are some nice sunny days coming your way.  Find a nice little sheltered spot where the sun shines and just sit back and let your body get it's quota of Vitamin D. 

Now it's time to order whatever it is you still need to get those seedlings started.  New soil is the Number 1 item that should be on your list and if you are a Prime Member, you will get it tomorrow.....





This is my favorite potting medium and I get free shipping with my Prime Membership.  Miracle Gro has been around for years and it has a 5 star rating, do I know it's a good choice. I still don't like having to lug these bags of soil around, so shopping online is the way I get mine.  It comes to my door and that makes me very happy.  My garden this year will be off to a great start.  Join me!



growing, spring, garden review




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Tuesday, March 17, 2020

DIY Hand Sanitizer Reviewed

Make Your Own Hand Sanitizer

Chances are you can't find hand sanitizer on your local shelves. Let me review how to make your own to use when soap and water aren't available to you. It is much easier than you might think!

hand sanitizer
DIY Hand Sanitizer
image courtesy of pixabay.com

We are all in the same boat with the flu & various viruses that terrorize the world. The importance of keeping our hands clean and the surfaces around us goes without saying. When it comes to being able to keep a bottle of hand sanitizer with us on those occasions that we have to go out for supplies is pretty much impossible. The hoarders and the opportunists have cleared the shelves across the nation. Not to worry, you can actually make your own.

What You Will Need:

  • 1 empty hand soap or sanitizer dispenser
  • Isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) 99% alcohol volume
  • Aloe Vera Gel
  • Essential Oil or lemon juice to make it smell nice (optional)
  • Large measuring cup with spout to mix and pour from

Hand Sanitizer Recipe:

3/4 cup isopropyl (rubbing alcohol)
1/4 cup aloe vera gel
10 drops of essential oil or lemon juice

Pour all of the ingredients into a large bowl or a measuring cup with a spout. Mix together with a spoon first and then whisk the solution to form a gel. Pour the mixture into an empty bottle for easy use and transport and then label it with the words "Hand Sanitizer".

That's it, it is that easy. Just a reminder that it is still better to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use the sanitizer when you are out and can't wash your hands. I like to place a dab on a tissue to wipe off the handle of the grocery cart before I place my own hands on it. 

Not sure how long the 20 seconds is? Sing the Birthday song through two times while washing your hands. Remember to pay attention to the tips of your fingers and between your fingers. 

Stay safe, follow the guidelines and we will all get through this together as a nation. 






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