Saturday, February 29, 2020

Review of Boy's Wolf Union Suit Pajamas by Cat & Jack

My 10-year-old grandson David has recently developed a big interest in wolves. When I visited him last Fall, he was showing me the book about wolves he'd recently acquired and told me how much he liked wolves.  The family had just moved into a new house and David has a new bed.  His parents got him wolf design sheets and a beautiful Wolf comforter.  His whole bedroom is in wolf design.


Crocheted Wolf from Grandma
David asked me if I would make him a plush wolf to go along with the other stuffed toy animals I had crocheted for him in the past. I told him I would and he was to look for it at Christmastime. This, of course, gave me the idea to add another wolf-related gift to the stuffed toy. 


Boy's Wolf Union Suit



I went shopping for pajamas in a wolf-theme to go along with David's wolf-themed bedroom.  The pajamas I found were a one-piece union suit style with, not only a wolf-design for the pattern on the material, but also an attached hood he can put over his head and eyes, giving him a Wolf appearance!  He absolutely loves these pajamas.



Wolf  Union Suit Pajamas

This Wolf Union Suit is a product of the Cat & Jack line of sleepwear carried by Target.  It is made of 100% polyester of flame-resistant fabric, meeting the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission sleepwear requirements.  It has a cozy hoodie and banded cuffs and a half-length zipper at the front.   It comes in gray & white and the design is of sporting wolf silhouettes in white and gray shades against a dark gray backdrop.  The hoodie displays a wolf face for a ferocious look for fun. 


Cat & Jack Children's Clothing


Cat & Jack is a children’s and babies clothes line rolled out by Target in 2016.  It replaces it's Cherokee and Circo kids label.  Cat & Jack was begun after getting feedback and opinions from a range of children. 

Target carries a number of animal print and design sleepwear for kids. While looking for the wolf pajamas, I saw a Shark Union Suit and also pajamas in movie themes such as Jurassic and Star Wars, as well as superheros and favorite  sports teams. 

There are also Unicorns and Llamas sets for girls, as well as many other cute & cozy PJs girls will love. 


David's Gift from Grandma


David wears his wolf pajamas as many nights as he can, but I think another Cat & Jack pajama set is in his future as a gift from grandma.  His birthday is coming up in April.  :-) 


David posing in his Wolf-design pajamas
by Cat & Jack. 


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(c) Product Review by Wednesday Elf -  2/29/2020






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Friday, February 28, 2020

Refrigerator Onion Storage Keeper Reviewed

Refrigerator Onion Storage Keeper Reviewed
Onions in the refrigerator are not always welcome! 

We all know it is not necessary to refrigerate onions before they are cut, unless you wish to extend their shelf life.  However, once they are peeled, sliced or diced, they should be refrigerated. 

Whether refrigerated or not, the great temptation is to store them in a plastic bag due to their strong odor.  However, according to the National Onion Association, you should never store a whole onion in a plastic bag.  They actually recommend wrapping them in paper towels or newspaper and placing them in the refrigerator to extend their shelf life.  That allows for air ventilation.  

But wait!  Air ventilation for the onion is exactly what the rest of my food does not want.  Not only does the other food not like it, I'm not real keen on onion smell permeating my refrigerator, kitchen, or my pantry.  Therefore, it became necessary for me to seek out a different method for onion storage.   

I've tried keeping onions in a Tupperware containers, refrigerator sandwich bags when diced, Saran wrapped plates, tucked away in the refrigerator drawer, and even sitting next to an open box of baking soda.  I still smelled those onions!  Plus, I really hated that residual smell in my Tupperware, which I use for many other things.

I finally found a solution that works for me!


Refrigerator Onion Keeper


 Hutzler Onion Saver, YellowCheck PriceI will be the first to admit that I was really surprised when this inexpensive onion keeper actually worked.  Now before I go too far, the keeper itself always reeks of onion smell, even after being washed.  But, once it is closed, sweet nothing!  No more onion odor!!!  Made me want to buy 5 of them.  I have no idea what I would do with 5 onion keepers, but I was so pleased with the results, I somehow wanted to show my great appreciation to the little "onion".

I also love the looks of my onion keeper.  I know exactly where my onion is now.  It is no longer hiding in plain sight disguised as a Tupperware bowl. 

The Hutzler Onion Saver is dishwasher safe, but the inside still smells like onion after it is washed.  That is fine with me as long as it blocks the odor in my refrigerator, which it does!  I have washed it several times on the top rack of my dishwasher.  My onion keeper still seals properly and works perfectly.  You can safely store an onion, whole or cut, in the refrigerator for 7 - 10 days.  The Onion Saver has a circular grid in the bottom that keeps the onion elevated for better air circulation within the keeper.  Obviously, that is not as well ventilated as open air, or a paper towel, but it beats the odor!
  

I doubt seriously that the Hutzler Onion Saver will last for years, but sometimes we are pleasantly surprised.  Regardless, it cost less than a box of refrigerator sandwich bags and doesn't have to be thrown away after each use.




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Thursday, February 27, 2020

Review of Designing Collages and Composites in Photography


Putting photographs into collages is a fun way to display a grouping of photos.  In the grouping above I show a simple collage with a group of my bird photos.

Create a Simple Collage in Lightroom


The above collage is one that I created in Adobe Lightroom.  To make this collage I moved several of my bird photos to the Print option at the top left of the Lightroom screen and then followed the directions to add the framing and sizing.  You also have options to change the color on the frames and the background and to add some text.

Here is another collage that I made in the same way.


Composites


I belong to a Facebook group called "Create 52" where each week we have a theme to create a photograph and post it on the page.  One of our recent themes was called Collages/Composites.  I posted one of the collages that I made on Lightroom.  I then decided to try to stretch my knowledge and try some of the composites.  Many of the other members were posting some very interesting composites.  Composites are a very creative way of using your photographs.  For my first try I went to Photoshop and opened the collage of the Cardinals and then opened a texture that I had of snow.  I combined the two into one photograph and then changed the opacity to get the desired effect.  Here is the resulting photo.


More Advanced Composites


After seeing some of the other posts in our "Create 52" group, I decided to try some composites using multiple photographs.  I had been on a field trip with a group I help mentor in photography and we went to a local college and several students displayed their musical instruments for us to photograph.  I took several of the photographs and combined them into one design and then used a photo of some sheets of music for a texture.  Here are two of my designs.  Remember, I'm just learning but I think you can get the idea.



Creating your own Collages and Composites


If you are interested in trying one of these procedures there are a lot of tutorials that will help you online.  If you have Photoshop just search for tutorials for creating composites in Photoshop.  If you use other editing software just search online and I'm sure you will also find tutorials for them.  Many of the tutorials are on YouTube and are free.  You can watch them and pause whenever you need to review a step.  I have learned a lot on YouTube.


Zazzle Design from my Collage





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Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Review of The World is My Home: A Memoir by James Michener

Review of The World is My Home: A Memoir by James Michener
Photo of Bora Bora, a favorite place of James A. Michener, Image by WikiImages from Pixabay 



James Michener's World



James A. Michener has packed 85 of his 90 years of life and travel memories into the 577 pages of The World Is My Home. As I read his book, I felt I was there with him. He walked alone in some of the world's most beautiful places.  He traveled by air with heads of state. He ate garbage on Navy transport ships commanded by drunk captains, and he had dinner with Franklin D. and Eleanor Roosevelt. 

By reading The World is My Home I feel I've become acquainted with James Michener. I better understand why he wrote what he did.  I was impressed not only with his skill as a writer and the breadth of his knowledge,  but also with his humility. 


The World Is My Home


 The World Is My Home is a weighty book. Within its pages you will probably find out almost anything you could want to know about James Michener, his life, his motivations, and his values. Although he felt at home anywhere in the world, he never became an expat.  He believed he needed to stay connected to his American roots to feel nourished and he didn't want to lose touch with America.

If you like stories, he tells many in this book. He also talks about his writing life and his numerous interests.  I am amazed at how much was packed into one life. I can hardly begin to scratch the surface here about the content of this encyclopedic memoir. But if you are interested in the cultures of the world, Navy life, aviation, true adventures, writing, art, music, how subjects for postage stamps are selected, travel, bull fighting, the publishing industry, United States politics behind the scenes, what it takes to be a writer, what a novelist's life is like, how much it costs a publisher to print a book, how much a best-selling author gets paid, and any number of other subjects, you will want to read this book.

Who Was James A. Michener?


One might ask, which one? Writer James A. Michener shared his name with many others. One even lived in the same town. But James really was not a Michener at all. He never knew who his parents were. He had no birth certificate. He had been taken in by a widow, Mabel Mitchener, and used her name, but her dead husband's sisters would always make sure James knew he was not a Mitchener. Until he was a young man he wondered who his parents really were, but finally accepted the fact he'd probably never know. He decided not to bother his head about it anymore.

James' Childhood


Mabel was poor. She took in laundry and sewing work to make a living. As a boy James never had what other boys his age seemed to. Once his “mother” explained why he couldn't have roller skates, a red wagon, a bicycle, or a baseball glove, he acted as though they did not exist and closed his mind to them. In spite of the poverty he lived in, though, he always felt loved.

To help out he started earning money when he was nine by harvesting chestnuts from the forest and selling them around town. When he was eleven he got his first real job with the Burpee Seed Company. It taught him to hate phlox. He worked from 7 am until 5 pm six days a week. Of this time he says: “I have sown phlox, thinned phlox, hoed phlox, gathered phlox, and heaven knows what else, and if my birthday were tomorrow and someone were to give me a bouquet of the horrid flowers, I would punch him in the nose.” He gave the $4.50 a week he earned to Mabel.

Phlox flower
Image by Hans Braxmeier from Pixabay 


James always worked at some job. He was apprenticed to a plumber when he was still young and he was good at plumbing. He considered quitting school to become a plumber, but his Uncle Albert squashed that idea and made him quit. He said, 'James, you were not intended to be a plumber.'

Later James was a paperboy and loved it. He got to know where everyone in town lived and learned many secrets about his neighbors, as well. He delivered handbills for the theater on Saturdays in exchange for seeing the movies free. During this time he gained his first insights into the motion picture industry.

His next job was with the Willow Grove Amusement Park, a job which tested his character. It provided cheap rides, food, and four free concerts a day. The job also enabled him to make friends with Victor Herbert, John Philip Sousa, and members of the Philadelphia Orchestra who often played at the park.

Jim was a cashier for one of the rides and soon learned that management didn't care if he gave too little change for entrance fees. Stealing from customers in this way was known as 'honest cheating' and management expected and tolerated it. 'Dishonest stealing' was when cashiers stole from the company. James only tried that once, but reformed quickly when an older cashier was arrested. Soon James was removed from his regular job and asked  to substitute for suspect operators when they were absent or on breaks and report to management if he found anything fishy. Management knew he had cheated that once and then stopped cheating on his own.

Attitude Toward Wealth


Because Jim grew up poor, one might think that he'd want to become rich someday, but he was not ambitious in that way. He was content with enough to support himself and a wife. When his books won prizes and became best sellers, he was pleased, but he still lived simply and gave away what he didn't think he needed for his expenses. He used his wealth to help others. He donated most of the royalties from his books. He felt he had a debt to pay back for the free public education he had received all the way through graduate school. He wanted to assist other young people who needed financial help to get an education.

Jim didn't like to negotiate book deals or discuss print run sizes. He left that to his agent. He wasn't arrogant or greedy,  and was content to let his agent look after him financially. 

Life Purpose


One night toward the end of World War II, James came close to being in a plane crash after leaving his duties in the Fiji Islands and exploring Bora Bora. (One reason he'd been sent there was to find out why none of the enlisted men wanted to leave when it was time to go home. You'll have to read the book to find the answer to that.) He was on his way back to headquarters in French New Caledonia in the southwest Pacific. When it was time to make a sunset landing at the Tontouta Air Base, the sky got dark and visibility was low. It took three tries to finally make a safe landing. He had known the third attempt to land would be the final one. It was a close call.

Later that night he went back to the airstrip to walk and to calm his nerves. He thought about what he wanted to do with the rest of his life. He didn't come to a conclusion as to what work he wanted to do, but he decided 'I'm going to erase envy and cheap thoughts. I'm going to concentrate my life on the biggest ideals and ideas I can handle. I'm going to associate myself with people who know more than I do. I'm going to tackle objectives of moment.' He also decided that he would support the things he believed in.

It was at this point in his life he began to listen more carefully as other transients with travel orders told stories in the hotels. He looked for those with unusual experiences. He learned “what the Pacific adventure meant in human terms.” Although many complained, he believed that later, when they got back home, the ones who complained most would want to explain to others what their time in service had been like. He knew the Pacific better than almost anyone. He believed he could tell their stories more accurately than anyone else. From these stories came his first book, Tales of the South Pacific, which won a Pulitzer Prize. As you probably know, it was turned into a popular musical, South Pacific.




Michener did not like calling himself an author. He considered himself a writer. He believed good writing was “trying to use ordinary words to achieve extraordinary results.” Words fascinated him. I was happy to see he shared my appreciation for Rodale's Synonym Finder.



Should You Read This Book?


I would recommend this book to any writer who wants to learn more about writing and traditional publishing. Among other things, James was an editor at Macmillan for many years and he shares what he knows about the industry from the point of view of both writer and editor. Almost half the book is about writing.

If you are interested in travel, this book will show you most of the world. It also shows you military life during World War II.

If you are interested in art or music, you will find that James was, too. He started collecting art in postcard form early in his youth. His uncle brought him his first Victrola and some records when he was about seven. He became an opera fan and later branched out into other classical music.

If you are interested in politics, you can learn a lot from Michener. At one point in his life he ran for Congress and he takes us behind the scenes of a campaign. He didn't win, but he did get appointments to committees and we learn much about the workings of government from him. One of his committees selected who would be honored with a postage stamp. I was amazed at how controversial that was. There was pressure to honor Elvis right after his death, which was against the rule of waiting until someone had been dead for ten years. Lillian Gilbreth's family (remember Cheaper by the Dozen?) also put pressure on the committee to honor her. I enjoyed these stories.

Why Michener Wrote This Book


Jim was 85 when he wrote this book. He knew he was getting to the end of his life but he still still had the qualities that made him want to write when he was 45: "a passionate desire to communicate, to organize experience," and to tell stories.

In his own words, here's his reason for writing The World Is My Home: "I want the reader to see in careful detail the kind of ordinary human being who becomes a writer and then to see the complex and contradictory motivation that enables him to remain one."

I believe he achieved that goal. Don't miss this informative and entertaining book. Get it now while you are thinking about it. You will be glad you did. 










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Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Pisces Mug Reviewed

Sign of the Fish Gift Idea

I was looking for a Pisces mug to give as a gift recently. Let me review the one I chose for you. There are two important men in my life that were born under this particular sign of the Zodiac, my Dad and my sweet husband. They are both a little difficult to buy for because both of them just go get whatever it is they feel they might need or want. Mugs are usually a safe bet for either one of them as a small gift.

pisces mug
Pisces Sign
image courtesy of pixabay.com

They say a girl is often attracted to men who are like their father. I guess that is true in my case. My Dad and husband are so much alike.

The Pisces Man

If your man was born between February 19th and March 20th, then he is a part of the water sign of Pisces. He is a romantic sort, caring, and sensitive. I don't know about my Dad being romantic but my sweet hubby sure is. Another strong trait in the Pisces man is that he is creative. Both my Dad and my husband are very artistic. 

A man born under Pisces influence is usually very giving in their nature. I would agree with that on a couple of levels. They are giving in the material sense, often the most happy when they can give a gift to someone. I see my Dad and husband both being very giving when it comes to emotional support which is a sort of gift giving act, too. I would say that both have a tendency to think with their heart more than their heads in a lot of situations. Neither like confrontation of any kind and are most unhappy if they think they have hurt someone.

I would have to say that a girl like me has been pretty lucky to have a Pisces father and even luckier to have a Pisces husband. 

Anyway, one of the gifts that both of them will get from me this year is a Pisces Mug. The one that I chose for my husband looks like the one below. It is a nice ceramic mug for him to enjoy his coffee in each morning and will hold 11 oz of his favorite brew. There is an option for a 15 oz one too. It is printed on both sides with the lovely Pisces art. I think it will make him smile in the mornings when he sits down at the breakfast table. 



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Monday, February 24, 2020

Celebrate Paczki Day!

Fat Tuesday is also known as Paczki Day in Detroit! You may be wondering what a paczki is and the second most popular question is, "How do you pronounce paczki?" Both questions will be answered as we learn and review the traditional and delicious packzi!



Hamtramck And Paczki

In Southeast Michigan and probably throughout Michigan, Hamtramck and Paczki are synonymous.
When preparing for Fat Tuesday people drive many miles to Hamtramck for the traditional Polish Paczki! Fans stand in line at the bakeries early Tuesday morning to pick up their order of this delicious pastry.

Hamtramck Michigan is known as "The World In Two Square Miles" and the city "within the city " of Detroit. Hamtramck became a destination for  Polish immigrants when an auto plant was opened by the Dodge Brothers in 1914.

The city boundaries are literally within the city of Detroit. In 1970 ninety percent of the population was Polish. Through the years the demographics of the city have changed and Hamtramck is a multi cultural city which continues to celebrate the traditions of Poland. And Paczkis of course!

What Is a Paczki?

Paczki are filled pastries that resemble a  traditional American filled doughnut, but that is where the similarities end for true aficionados. I am not one to turn down any type of doughnut, but paczki are deliciously unique and different.

Supermarket versions of paczki are usually like door stoppers = not a paczek! The inside should be  light and fluffy and the outside is crispy and topped with sugar.  Traditional flavors of paczki are: Powidła (plum jam) and wild rose petal jam; but the more popular fillings are custard, lemon, strawberry, blueberry, raspberry, and apple. My personal favorite is Bavarian cream!

How Do You Say Paczki?

Poonch-kee !

What Is the Difference Between Paczki and Paczek?

A single pastry is a Paczek - Poon-check!
Many pastries are Paczki - Poonch-kee!

Paczki festivities in Hamtramck celebrate all week long including what has become a pre Fat Tuesday event the Paczki Run.


The Paczki Run


Prior to Fat Tuesday, Tour de Troit holds its' annual Paczki Run which is a 5k race highlighting the sights of Hamtramck. Traditional post race refreshments are a little different for the Paczki Run. Let's keep in mind this is a winter run in Michigan so Paczki participants are hardy braving snow, ice and wildly varying weather conditions.

Post race includes Polish music, dancers and  "paczek from New Martha Washington Bakery & New Palace Bakery and a beer from Motor City Brewing Works are served to each finisher! Na Zdrowie! "


If you are a fan of pastries and doughnuts I highly recommend the Paczki (because noone can eat just one!)

More Michigan Travel


It's not St. Patrick's Day without the traditional Wigley's Corned Beef.  Head over to Eastern Market to ensure you have the best! corned beef for St. Paddy's. 



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Sunday, February 23, 2020

Family Favorite Pancake Recipe

A Family Favorite Pancake Recipe - Easy and Delicious
Here I go again. Another weekly review post about a recipe.

If you've seen my last few Sunday posts you've already heard me express how I'm shocking myself with all these recipe shares. Like I already said, it's not because I can't cook, it's just not my favorite thing to do.

I may be possessed by a Chef or something? Yah, like I'm a chef; not.

Today I'm sharing our family recipe for Pancakes. It's another easy recipe.

But wait, one of my fellow writers, Lou16, just wrote about her best pancake recipes! Oh no. I don't want to step on toes so be sure to check out her article. She provides several fantastic and unique recipe ideas. I'll have to try them.

How Many Ingredients Are in This Family Pancake Recipe?

There are 8 ingredients. This recipe, like most pancake recipes, is made by mixing everything together in one bowl.

What Makes this Pancake Recipe the Best One in the Entire World According to My Family - Tongue in Cheek :)

It's not just my family who love these pancakes; it's friends and visitors as well.

My mother passed this recipe along to me decades ago, and I can pretty much make it with my eyes closed. However, I did tweak the recipe and added one more ingredient.

That one ingredient addition is "Vanilla Extract".

For this basic pancake recipe, this small addition gives it that extra punch. Top your pancakes with strawberries and whip cream and it pretty much tastes like 'pancake cake'.

How to Make This Simple Recipe
  • 1 Cup of Flour
  • 3 Teaspoons of Baking Powder
  • 2 Tablespoons of Sugar (Optional)
  • 3/4 Teaspoon of Salt (Optional)
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Cup of Milk
  • 2 Tablespoons of Melted Butter
  • 1 Teaspoon of Pure Vanilla Extract
You can double or triple this recipe as well.

Mix everything together in one bowl. Don't over mix. Once all the ingredients are blended together, let the batter sit for 10 minutes. 

Cook it on a greased grill. I use butter, but normally only need the butter for the first batch.

Most of you who make pancakes already know this basic tip: When you put a pancake on the grill, you only flip it once and flip it over when you see the batter bubbling through the top.

Additional Family Recipes Previously Shared:
So there it is again, another peek into our kitchen.




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Saturday, February 22, 2020

Reviewing Pancake Recipes

Pancake Day isn't very far away and I can remember as a child being very excited when this date came around.   As an adult I don't get quite as excited, want to know why?

Protein pancakes - photo by Lou16


I grew up in the UK and the only time I remember ever eating pancakes was on Shrove Tuesday - everyone seemed to eat pancakes then!  Mum would make what I now think of as crepes and we would squirt on lemon juice (definitely not fresh in those days but in a little plastic bottle!) and sprinkle on sugar.   We would then proceed to roll them up and eat them - quicker than my poor mum could make them!

I should mention that this was for our dinner, it was unthinkable for us to have pancakes for breakfast!

Fast forward a few decades and with the take over of the world by McDonalds and their hotcakes along with the internet where recipes for American style pancakes were easy to find and I do enjoy pancakes throughout the year and for breakfast!

The drawback to pancakes whenever I want is that I no longer feel that excitement for Pancake Day when it comes around!

The Best Hotcakes My Husband Ever Made


Not long after we brought our first home in New Zealand the fast food giant, McDonalds opened up just down the road.   My husband popped down to get me hotcakes for breakfast one Sunday and then for the next couple of years that was my Sunday breakfast!

We moved to Australia over twenty years ago and he has cooked hotcakes a few times using a couple of different pancake mixes from the supermarket (similar to the Stonewall one Cynthia reviewed).   About five years ago I brought him the cookbook Relaxed Cooking with Curtis Stone and in this book my mum and I were about to feast on some delicious hotcakes.

If you don't have time to grab the book then I've found the link to the recipe and a video (you will not regret making these!) on the foodnetwork for you - https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/hotcakes-with-delicious-blueberry-compote-recipe-2041480


The Best Hotcakes I Make Are Healthy Ones!


I have in the last couple of years discovered a few different pancakes and my favorite are protein pancakes like the ones featured in the photo at the top of the page.   These pancakes are simply delicious, healthy and I get to eat them as one of my meals when I'd doing the 30 days to healthy living and beyond plan.

Chocolate Protein Pancakes You NEED To Make!

Ingredients

1 scoop Arbonne chocolate protein powder 
1/2 tbsp raw cacao powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
125 ml unsweetened almond milk (I prefer to use either the Vitasoy or the So Good brand)
1 tbsp coconut flour
2 eggs

Directions

Simply mix all of the ingredients together well and then let stand for 10 minutes.   Letting it stand is very important, I can't remember why I was told that, but I've also done this and my hotcakes have turned out really well so why risk it?

Make sure you have a hot pan, I usually use coconut oil to cook them in, but that's not essential I know some people use rice bran oil or a butter and oil mix.  I use a ladle to put my mixture into the pan and I do them the size of a Macca's hotcake, I also only cook one pancake at a time.
When there are a quite a few bubbles showing on the top of the mixture it's time to turn the pancake over and cook the other side.

Serve with your usual toppings.   I usually take a scoop of Arbonne's vanilla protein powder and mix it with coconut yogurt to a thick cream consistency and layer them with that and whatever fresh berries I have.   It's like eating cake, but it's healthy for you!

Healthy Pancake Recipes for Children


I really don't think there was any nutritional value in the pancakes I had as a child, but the chocolate protein pancakes above would certainly fill a child up with some good quality protein without them realizing it.

Another idea for them is Hulk Pancakes!   You could call these Shrek Pancakes or Monster Pancakes depending on what they like.   These are basically protein pancakes with a serve of fruit and veg ....

1 scoop Arbonne vanilla protein powder
1/2 tbsp (which is about 1/2 a scoop) Arbonne's Greens Balance
1/2 tsp baking powder
125 ml milk of choice (I'd use almond milk personally)
1 tbsp coconut flour
2 eggs

Mix all of the ingredients together and then allow to sit for 10 minutes before cooking in a hot pan.

You could also try these Green Smoothie Pancakes which include spinach and bananas.

Banana Pancakes are often a hit when it comes to healthier pancake choices.

Here are two other healthy pancake recipes which I haven't tried yet, but are on my to eat list.

White Bean Pancakes
Linseed & Walnut Pancakes

Will you be eating pancakes on Shrove Tuesday?



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Friday, February 21, 2020

The Perfect Lego Display Shelves Reviewed

You've just finished the next great Lego masterpiece!  Now what?

The Perfect Lego Display Shelves Reviewed
The biggest problem for any avid Lego builder is where to display their finished objet d'art.  After spending hours, often days, building a Lego design, you're pretty excited and wish to set it in a place of distinction.  Any open, flat surface is subject to being seized for Lego display.

Many Lego builders don't plan to play with their creations.  They have the heart of an artist, or an art collector.  For them, the completed project is a valued treasure that should not be tampered with or dismantled.  

I have often felt like the Lego masterpieces that our son has made deserve to be placed behind museum ropes, never to be touched again.  Perhaps an alarm should be set up to alert the household if anything, like a dog's tail, gets too close.  

While ropes and alarms would be extreme, the reality is that we really don't want the finished Legos to be thwacked.  I suspect all Lego builders have had the horrible experience of helplessly watching their masterpiece literally break to pieces.  That experience is neither fun, nor desired.

Therefore, Lego treasures need a safe place for display.  In my most recent search, I found a set of shelves that is perfect for Lego display!



Lego Display Shelves


 Ameriwood Home Hazel Kids'
4 Shelf Bookcase, White
As you know, Lego projects come in all sizes.  Even mini-figures are extremely popular and collectable.  Finding a way to display everything together, in a way that each piece can been seen well, is very challenging.  


With standard shelves, the back of the sets tend to be blocked by the shelve just above them.  An observer must contort their bodies, or hunker down to be able to see the complete finished Lego.  Even then, you're not getting a really good look and are tempted to pick it up so you can really see it.

With the tiered shelves, it is no longer necessary to struggle to see the larger Lego completely without touching it.  Only the bottom shelf sitting on the floor seems to be tucked away & slightly hidden from view.  However, the front wood piece does keep feet from accidentally kicking whatever is displayed on that lowest shelf.

Bookcase Shelves for Lego Display

As you can see in the picture above, the shelves are deep enough for those Star Wars Kylo Ren's TIE Silencer, the Darth Maul's Sith Infiltrator and tall enough for even the Imperial TIE Fighter.  My son used the next shelf for a collection of Lego Rebel Starfighters, including Luke Skywalker's X-Wing.  The very top shelf was reserved for the tallest in this group, his combined Jabba Palace & Rancor Pit set beside the Jabba Sail Barge.

It took us approximately one hour to assemble the shelves. The bookcase was very heavy broken down and in the box. Once they were assembled, the shelves were easy to slide across the carpet and into place.


Additional Ideas for These Bookcase Shelves


These shelves would be awesome for displaying anything.  As a matter of fact, I am considering replacing the shelves in my craft room with several sets of these bookcase shelves.  I love the tiered design that allows you to easily see the back of each shelf.  They would definitely allow for better organization.

They would also be awesome for actual books!  Like Legos, books come in many sizes.  It would be so nice to have my bookshelves organized with the smaller books on the top shelf of the tiers and the largest on the bottom.  Sure would make scanning the titles easier!

Last, but not least, the bookcase shelves would be great in a kids room for their toys.  I haven't actually tried to climb on the shelves myself, but the tiered design would certainly make these shelves less likely to turn over.

 


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Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Snorkeling in Hawaii Requires the Right Tools

Snorkel Mask Review - Snorkeling is a fun thing to do in the warm places of the earth!  

Hubby and I just got back from a long overdue holiday to Hawaii.  We had been planning to do this trip for our 50th anniversary, but decided to do it a little earlier, as both he and I are having mobility issues.  So we celebrated 48 years together with this trip of a lifetime. 

snorkeling, full face mask, holidays
Image my own!
This was our beach on the Island of Maui.  The hotel had a nice pool, but an even nicer beach.  You could go out just a few feet and see hundreds of schools of fish.  (Sheraton Hotel)   There were even sea turtles seen by some of the guests, but we did not see any for ourselves at this location. 

What made the snorkeling so much fun was the full face mask that my son had given to us to use.

So you are thinking to yourself, "Big Deal, a full face mask!"  What's that all about?

Let me tell you, this full face snorkel is so much better to use than the traditional two piece mask and snorkel! I had only used the two piece equipment in the past and always had difficulty with swimming under water with my gear. Water always, always got into the tube and I ended up choking more than once. Not so with the one piece full face mask.


What makes this so much better?


Let's just say that technology has gotten so much better with these new face masks in several areas.
  1. The breathing tube is fitted with a one way valve that let's you go underwater without getting a mouthful of ocean water. 
  2. The silicone around the face mask is comfortable and gives a really good seal, without pinching anywhere.
  3. Anti-fog face lens lets you breathe normally and still maintain   clarity in the water.
  4. There is a mount on the breathing tube for a camera.
  5. There is no need to clench your teeth together in order to hold the breathing tube securely.
  6. With the full face mask, you can breathe through your nose or mouth.
Due to the comfort of the fit, you will be able to snorkel longer.  Believe me clenching a breathing tube in your mouth is very tiring and can cause pain in the jaws.  This problem is totally gone with this one piece face mask.  

I just remembered another bonus with this one piece mask,
The full face mask wraps around your head differently than a traditional mask, thus giving you  a much better field of vision.  It really is comfortable and easy.

Many of these one piece face masks also come with an adapter on the tube to mount a GoPro (or similar) type of camera.  So now you can snorkel with the fish and you can also take their pictures too!



Are You Snorkeling With Family?  

Don't worry,  these masks are made in sizes for children and for adults. Size is determined by the length of the face from the bridge of the nose to the bottom of the chin.  Can you imagine your children being able to see the amazing creatures under the sea?  I'm sure that the first time would be so much fun to see their reaction to things that they probably have only seen in movies or educational shows.  It just isn't the same thing as seeing it with your own eyes.  Once you have outfitted your family with these masks, I bet you will be looking for places  where  snorkeling is one of the best activities listed.

Now, I must add just a little addendum, facial hair can sometimes be problematic, so if you have a beard, you might want to check out the seal you get before you pack this mask into your suitcase. 


full face mask, snorkeling, underwater adventures
Image from Pixabay
At the start of this article you will notice that I said both my husband and I were having issues with mobility.  That is true on land, but in the water, we are both like little fish!  I know there will be more snorkeling in our near future and hopefully I'll get better pictures to share with you too!


https://www.amazon.com/WildHorn-Outfitters-Compatible-Panoramic-Traditional/dp/B07C5FJ8VC/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ll1&tag=grammieo-20&linkId=42cf183e993a13431efc3322f493a1c9&language=en_US

WildHorn Outfitters Seaview 180° GoPro Compatible Snorkel Mask- Panoramic Full Face Design on Amazon






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Tuesday, February 18, 2020

An Easter Egg Hunt For Jesus Book Review

More To The Holiday Than Eggs And Bunnies

I found a wonderful book to include in the little one's Easter Basket this year. An Easter Egg Hunt For Jesus will be a nice way to help her understand what we are really celebrating during this special holiday. Just like with Christmas, children need to know the real 'reason for the season.'

easter egg hunt
Egg Hunts are fun for kids
image courtesy of pixabay.com
I will admit that it is fun to color the eggs with the children and even more fun hiding those eggs for them to find. How often do we stop to let them know why we Christians celebrate the Easter Holiday? Depending on their age, it might be difficult to explain the Crucifixion and Resurrection in a way that doesn't disturb them . I remember my oldest coming out of her Sunday School class one Sunday near Easter being absolutely horrified over their lesson that morning. She was about 7 at the time but she had grasped all too well the story of Jesus on that cross. She kept saying, "They killed him, Mommy! Why would they do that?" I kept trying to explain that He had to die so that he could come back to life but I didn't do a very good job of it. I also remember thinking the teacher shouldn't have ended the lesson that day without telling the children at least something about what came next. Maybe she did, but my daughter couldn't get past the part of his death on that hill. I wish that I had been able to prepare her for that lesson with a book like An Easter Egg Hunt For Jesus. It hadn't been written, yet.

Forest of Faith Series 

A series of books have been written to help children understand better, in ways that they can relate to, the meaning of both Christmas and Easter. The stories take place in a forest with adorable little animals who learn more about their faith. The books are written for ages 4 through 6 and have been illustrated beautifully by Lee Holland with the stories being written by Susan Jones. I really think they would be a wonderful addition to the library of books we have to read to our little ones. 

Little Bunny is excited about the special egg hunt taking place in the forest as are all of the creatures who live there. In his enthusiasm to find the 'special egg' he makes a mistake that he believes has ruined the fun for his family and friends. They all come together to help him understand about the Resurrection of Jesus and the celebration over the new life that He offers to all of us. It is a sweet little story! 

I recommend this book to share with the small ones in your family!




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Monday, February 17, 2020

Reviewing the Muscle Max Massage Ball

The Muscle Max Massage Ball looks like a gimmick. It looks like an over-sized, hard rubber tennis ball with grooves. However, it is somehow much more than that and has helped me immensely with pain relief. After the first time I used one I knew I had to have one of my own. 


Reviewing the Muscle Max massage ball on ReviewThisReviews.com


The Backstory


I have had migraines and a constant daily headache since the late 1980s. Relief has been elusive. And costly. The causes of migraines are as individual as each person that has them. In my opinion, that is what makes them difficult to treat. I have recently found pain relief with treatment and the Muscle Max Massage Ball by Epitome Fitness is a part of that treatment. 

I have started treatment that has included chiropractic, dry needling, stim/heat treatment, stretching and exercise. With this treatment, I'm experiencing greatly reduced pain and actually have some days with no pain at all.


The Muscle Max Massage Ball


The physical therapy portion of my treatment began with the initial focus of loosening me up and increasing range of motion. The pain over the decades had kept me in a constant state of gritting teeth and shrugged shoulders. When the PT staff handed me this little rubber ball, I was so skeptical that I nearly laughed. But I did as instructed.

Standing against the wall, I placed the ball between my back/shoulders area and leaned back. As I moved my body up and down or side to side, the ball gave a deep muscle massage. I could adjust the pressure by how hard I leaned back. Finding a knot in my muscle, I pressed back and rubbed until I could feel the knot loosening.

It was so effective that I left my appointment and hopped on Amazon to order my own Muscle Max Massage Ball.  

A few descriptive blurbs from the Epitome Fitness site:

  • high density rubber
  • trigger point massage grid
  • provides Myofascial Release therapy (MFR)
  • relaxes contracted muscles
  • improves blood circulation

The Epitome Fitness site also highlights a few different ways to use the ball.

Clearly, the Muscle Max ball is only one piece of my recovery. I would not say that it alone cured my migraines. I would say that it immediately feels good and I can feel improvement each time I use this strange rubber ball. With daily use, the tension in my shoulders has released dramatically and my range of motion has increased noticeably.

Important Note: I am not a doctor or physical therapist. If you have chronic pain or health problems, as always, consult your provider before beginning a new treatment or exercise. 





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