Sunday, June 13, 2021

Ten Unique Fathers Day Gift Ideas from Baby


There's going to be a new father in our family this year. That had me thinking about gift ideas for newbie dads.

Ten Gift Ideas for Dad from Baby


1. A 3D Ultrasound of Unborn Baby

This is my son's father's day gift. With Covid restrictions, he hasn't been able to attend the regular ultra-sound visits. Once restrictions were loosened, mommy-to-be arranged for a 3D ultrasound that daddy-to-be could attend. 

2. Make Matching Baby & Daddy Clothes an Annual Tradition

Baby clothes with cute sayings about daddy are a standard choice. However, kick it up a notch by choosing matching baby-daddy items. Continue this tradition for every father's day. Choose a unique set of matching clothes for each year. Collect them over a twenty-year span. What a great memory to keep in the memory box.

3. Baby's Hand and Feet Prints Framed

Make it an annual tradition for the first ten years of baby's life. Then, each year, as baby grows, prepare a framed piece with a lovely saying that features the little one's traced and painted hands and feet.

4. A Key Chain with Baby's Hand Print

Make a key chain that features a clay cutout of baby's hand. If clay work isn't your thing, place an artistic tracing of baby's hands in a keychain frame. 

5. A Future Date or Fun Night Planned with Dad

Give dad a card from his baby that promises a daddy date night when baby turns five. It could be dinner, a movie or a day at the park. Frame the card with the promise, and put it on the wall of the nursery. Baby will grow up looking forward to that one special night promised when he or she was an infant.

6. Start a Daddy Memory Book

Create a book that assembles key photos between baby and dad for that year. Each year add to the book. Keep this memory book going until baby is all grown-up. 

7. Create an Annual Video Memory of Daddy and Baby

Once you've created this video, upload it to Youtube. Make the video public or private. Each year add a new video to the collection. After a lifetime, daddy will have a lot of easy-to-access video memories.

8. Frame a Large Photo of Daddy and Baby to be Featured in the Home

Create a family wall and add this large custom-framed photo of daddy and baby. If there isn't any room for a full family wall, centrally locate the photo for all to see; a foyer, the nursery, a hallway, the family room, or the home office.

9. Plant a Tree in the Yard for Dad

Choose a place in the yard that's perfect for featuring dad's tree. Plant a tree that will grow for years to come so daddy and baby will always know and enjoy the fact that it's their shared memory and special spot. 

10. Create a Garden for Daddy

Plant a garden for dad. Baby can partake in its care for years to come. Baby will grow to know that this garden was gifted to daddy when he or she was an infant. What a lovely gift to enjoy day after day and year after year. Plus, it's the gift that keeps on giving. Feature a sign in the garden that says, "Dad's Garden from Baby." Place baby's name on the sign, or word the sign in any way that you feel honors dad and baby.



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Saturday, June 12, 2021

Reviewing Her Last Breath by Hilary Davidson

Today I'm going to review a book that is set for release on 1st July 2021 which I was able to read prior to release as part of the First Reads for Amazon Prime Readers. 

Her Last Breath by Hilary Davidson Reviewed


One of the things that made me choose this book to read was in the blurb about it, "On the day of her sister Caroline’s funeral, Deirdre Crawley receives a message her sister wrote before she died: If you’re reading this, I’m already dead." That hook was irresistible for me so I downloaded the book and settled down for what I hoped would be a great read, I have to say I have very mixed feelings about this book. 

I have never heard of the author before so I had no expectations. I actually read the book in one sitting and two of the things I loved about the book were the plot and the way that the pandemic was handled. I mention the pandemic because the book was based in NY and it's the first book I've read where it's even mentioned - it has been done so in a way that is easy to miss, but to me added another dimension and makes me surprised at the biggest failing this book has. 

As I said the plot was great and I would recommend reading it just because I did enjoy the plot, but the characters were another story. They seemed very one-dimensional. Even with a character that wasn't very fleshed out, there were a few things that Diedre said that just didn't seem in line with other things. 

I, personally, think one of the best characters in the book was Theo, the person who Diedre's sister claimed had killed her. If this book was a first draft I would have given it really high marks, but as a completed book it's disappointing. 

I don't usually like to write book reviews that I have mixed feelings about, but this author shows amazing talent. I see so many glimpses in this book that tell me she can write and I truly believe that she could have made these characters more real to me. 

If you like suspenseful thrillers do I still think you'd enjoy the plot lines of this book, but if you are more into sinking your teeth into the characters then you may want to pass. I will definitely be happy to read this author again though as I did see a lot of promise in the pages. 

I should clarify it's not that I disliked the characters, I reviewed a book called Girls Night Out where I really didn't like the characters, but they definitely seemed real to me. In this particular book it's that I couldn't envisage these characters as being real. When I read a book I can almost see things happening in my mind like I'm watching a movie - this time the characters wouldn't appear clearly for me.




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Friday, June 11, 2021

Lasko Portable Electric 42" Oscillating Tower Fan Review

Lasko Fan Review
Several years ago, my husband brought home a Lasko portable electric fan. I didn't think much about it at the time since he purchased it for the garage so he could use it when working on our cars.  However, when I got my recumbent exercise bike, I found that I needed a fan during my workout time.  I saw no reason to chill down the whole house just so I could stay cool while exercising. I stealthily ventured to the garage and "borrowed" his tower fan.  Man, that fan is awesome!

Since then, we have purchased 2 more Lasko tower fans so he has one back in his garage, I have one sitting next to my recumbent exercise bike, and our son has one in his bedroom.

Because it is a 42" tower fan, I don't have to get off the exercise bike to turn it on halfway through my workout when I start to get hot. It sits right next to my bike so I simply reach over and hit the button. Since it oscillates, there isn't a constant flow of cold air on one spot either.  However, oscillation is optional if you don't want it to move.

It is also tall enough to really make a difference beside a bed.  The fan is cooling you, not under the bed or the bed sheets.  The same is true if you are sitting in a recliner.

The Lasko tower fans come with a remote control that the guys use when working in the garage, in bed, or sitting in their recliners. The remote control makes it very convenient to turn on without getting up.

If you know you only want it on for a limited amount of time, like until you go to sleep, there is a built in timer that can be used to shut it off in 30 minutes, or up to 7½ hours.

It is lightweight enough that it is easy to move using the built-in grip handle on the back, which is how I was able to sneak it from the garage without being heard.

My favorite feature of this fan is how quiet it is. Of course, I can hear it, but it is nowhere near as loud as the old round small fan in our attic.


Features of the Lasko Portable Electric 42" Oscillating Tower Fan

I already mentioned the height and how quiet the fan is, but I have yet to mention how slender it is.  The base of the unit is only 13"!  That allows the fan to easily fit in narrow space, even a hallway without taking up much room.  That is very important, especially in a small room, or if you don't want it to detract too much from your lovely decor.

 Lasko Portable Electric 42 inch Tower FanCheck PriceHere is a recap of all of the features:

  • Tall - 42 inches
  • Narrow - Base (the largest section) is only 13"
  • Multiple Speeds
  • Optional Oscillation
  • Timer Option
  • Quiet Fan
  • Lightweight - Easy to move
  • Inexpensive


A fan is a necessity in most homes from time to time.  I've even needed one in my kitchen when I am cooking for extended periods of time, especially if both ovens are on.  As I said earlier, I see no reason to chill down the whole house when only one room, or area, needs to be cooler.

If you need a fan, I highly recommend the Lasko tower fan!





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Thursday, June 10, 2021

Review of Lavender Farm

Lavender at Entrance to Long Row Lavender Farm

 If you are looking for a pleasant way to spend a late spring day, I would suggest visiting a lavender farm.  In the St. Louis area we have a farm about an hour west of the city that my friend, Barb and I spend some time exploring on a beautiful June day.  

Long Row Lavender Farm




Long Row Lavender Farms is located on 15 acres just south of Wright City Missouri.  It is a family owned farm that was started in 2007 by 6 family members as a way to bring the family closer together and work toward a common purpose.  They see the farm as a midwest destination and offer a variety of activites and services.

Cafe


One of my favorite features of the farm is the Cafe.  The cafe offers a small but delicious menu that you may eat at a variety of small areas around the farm.  There is seating both inside the remodeled barn, outside on the porch or down by the pond.



I enjoyed a delicious  sandwich of grilled cheeses, tomatoe and bacon on sourdough bread.  I also had a refreshing glass of lavender lemonade from their menu you can see below.


One of the walls in the cafe has live  wall hangings, which I found fascinating.




 Gift Shop


Inside the barn you will find a gift shop full of lots of handmade products from the farm.  There is a variety of bath and body products, seasonal clothing, and home decorations.  You can also buy plants at the shop.



Workshops


Lavender farms offers weekly workshops at their facility where local artists teach of variety of different crafts.

Enjoy  the Grounds


The  grounds of the farm are beautiful and full of flowers  and lots of little nook and grannies to sit back and relax.  There are benches on the porch, a wonderful porch spring, a pond, and lots of flowers.  Here are a few of the photos I took around the grounds.




Lavender


Of course it wouldn't be a lavender farm without lots of lavender.  In looking up  lavender online, I found that the name is Lavandule and lavender is the common name for the genus.  There are 47 known species of these flowering plants and they are members of the mint family.

At Long Row Farms they have about 1200 lavender plants and 7 different varieties.  The varieties they  have are : Provence, Phenomenal, Hidcote Blue, Twickel Purple, Edelweis, Grosso, and Ellagence Pink.  Here are some photos I took of the different plants.







In the midwest the lavender blooms in early to mid June.  The blooms are then harvested a few weeks after  they bloom and then go through the drying process which takes about 3 weeks.  The drying takes place in the loft of the barn where they are hung up in bundles to dry.

The farm also grows peonies, zinnias and sunflowers so there are lots of blooms to see throughout the summer.


Zazzle Products


I always enjoy make products from my photographs.  Here are some from my visit to Long Row Lavender.





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Wednesday, June 9, 2021

June 20th Father's Day! So Many Ways to Show Dad Some Love

Father's Day is coming up soon and it's a great time to show your Dad some extra love!

https://www.reviewthisreviews.com/2021/06/june-20th-fathers-day-so-many-ways-to.html

Image by designerlisahenry from Pixabay

Somehow finding something for Dad is a lot harder than finding something for Mom!  Why is that?

The best place to start with gifts ideas for dad's is to really check out what he is doing in his spare time.  When the work day is done, does Dad just like to sit with a cup of coffee quietly, or a beer out in the yard?  These are great places to see what kind of mug or glass he is using for his favorite beverage.   A new Coffee mug with a cute saying on it is always a good start!
  



Beer or wine glasses can also have a customized saying on them too!  Just last year our daughter got one for her father's 70th birthday and it was a real hit for a gift that he wasn't expecting!  Just imagine this for Father's Day instead!




One of my all time favorite things to get for the men in my life is anything made by Victorinox, The Swiss Army Knives makers!  Every man needs to have one of these in his pocket!  There will always be a loose screw, a cap to open, or a nail to clip.  These pocket knives are the handiest and most portable items ever made.  There are many imposters, but only one Swiss Army Knife!  Actually, there are many different styles and they can range in price according to how many different blades are within.  

Does Dad like to read?  There are many new books that have just been released, that I'm sure your Dad would love.

Horror, mysteries, historical novels, Books about different Sports!  Is Dad a traveller (even just an armchair traveler), then get him a beautiful book about one of his favorite places to go one day!  It could be Bali, California, The Congo, Australia or even somewhere closer to home!  There are places to go and things to see as the world seems to be opening up again.  It's also possible to stay in your own country and see what there is to see right here!  Make plans to see all 50 States, the best time to go and what there is in each state that shouldn't be missed!  Travelling virtually before setting out is a great way to share something different with Dad.

If none of these things float your boat, so to speak, there is always something that you can do that doesn't cost anything at all.  One of Review This Reviews writers, Barbara Tremblay Cipak, has come up with 10 ideas that don't cost a thing!  You can read all about it right here!

One thing is sure, in these days, it's nice to remember those people that are special to us!  So whether that is your Dad, Step-Dad, Stand-In Dad, your Grandpa or someone who you admire like a Father, Let Him KNOW!

We only have one chance every year to make a day special for all the dads in the world, so let's not waste time!  

June 20th is the Day, so mark it on your calendar!  

Happy Father's Day to all the Dads out there!  May your day be filled with lots of love from your family to you!

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Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman – A Book Review

Fredrik Backman is an absolutely delightful writer from Sweden. He writes about people in a special way that portrays who they are, what they are and who and what they appear to be, yet often are not. He describes their hurts and grievances, secrets and passions in a way the reader can relate. Oh, yes, the reader thinks, I recognize this character in my brother, father, best friend, maybe even myself.


Backman's stories take place in Sweden, but it could be anywhere, as people are the same all over. 


Synopsis



Available on Amazon

In Anxious People, we meet a group of people who are attending an apartment open house. Then a failed bank robber bursts in and takes them hostage.  The captives range from a retired couple who hunt down fixer-uppers, a wealthy banker who only cared about making money and can't relate to people, a young couple about to have their first baby and an 87-year-old woman. Then there is the mystery man in the bathroom and the flustered, but still-ready-to-make-a- deal real estate agent. Even the bank robber has issues. 


Add in the authorities trying to negotiate the hostages release. The main ones are a father and son who both work for the local police department. They fluster each other and take care of each other.


As the book progresses, we learn who the bank robber is (who failed to rob the bank because it is a cashless bank) and why an attempt was made.  We are given some backgrounds on the people who became hostages. We hear about the police involvement.  The story goes back and forth between what is happening during the hostage situation in the apartment to the individual people and what brought them to this open house on New Year's Eve (a strange day to have an Open House, for sure) to the interviews the police try to conduct with the witnesses after their release. All through this they try to figure out what happened to the bank robber who was no where to be found after releasing the hostages.


As The Story Begins.... in the Author's Words


A bank robbery, a hostage drama, a stairwell full of police officers on their way to storm an apartment.  It was easy to get to this point, Much easier than you might think. All it took was one single really bad idea. 


This story is about a lot of things, but mostly about idiots. So it needs saying from the outset that it's always very easy to declare that other people are idiots, but only if you forget how idiotically difficult being human is.  Especially if you have other people you are trying to be a reasonably good human being for.


One single really bad idea. That's all it takes.


There is also the part about how ten years ago a man was standing on a bridge. This seems to be a non sequitur, because this is a story about a bank robber and a hostage situation and the people involved. So why does the author keep bringing up the bridge throughout the story? 


Summary


So, to summarize, we have a charming novel about a crime that never took place, a would-be bank robber who disappears into thin air and eight extremely anxious strangers who find they have more in common then they ever imaged. Oh, and don't forget the bridge! 


If you have read any of Fredrik Backman's previous books, two of which have been reviewed here on ReviewThisReviews, you will be drawn to Anxious People immediately because they were such delightful reads. This one is the same – a very enjoyable read; a book you can't put down to the final page; a book whose ending is as delightful (and surprising) as the rest.


Backman's books are so good that when I finish the last paragraph on the last page, I feel a strong pull to return to page one and begin the book all over again. It's that hard to leave this world of words that is so humorous, compassionate and wise. 


More...


For your future reading after you finish Anxious People, check out these other Backman book reviews on ReviewThisReviews.



Anxious People, a book review written by

~Wednesday Elf





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Monday, June 7, 2021

Reviewing Farmhouse Decor Ideas: Character Wood and Metal

I have a small home that is currently under construction. The exterior is purposefully barn-like. The siding is sheet metal and the side facing the road is windowless. I plan for the interior to also suggest (suggest or scream - I'm not quite sure yet) barn interior. While shopping and planning I have found that the look I am imagining is not always easy to find examples of but my plans are slowly coming together.

on ReviewThisReviews


One problem I have had while shopping and researching decor ideas is that search words such as "rustic", "country" and "cabin" brings results of bears, moose, mountains, bentwood, and plaids. All very lovely, and very appropriate for the mountain ridge where my home is being built, but not quite the look I am going for. Many "farmhouse decor" searches yield lovely photos that include monotone white decor and flower bouquets. Again, quite gorgeous but not exactly what I'm going for. 

I am looking for barn doors, concrete floors, metals and wood combinations. While there are entire books written on other home styles; contemporary, coastal, southwestern, industrial, and more, the books on the "rustic" style comes closest to my goal. But aren't quite what I'm after.

One of our contributors is an incredibly talented DIYer. Lucky for me, Renaissance Woman shares projects that are exactly what I'd like to make for my future home. She shared how she made a DIY Pallet Book Nook. In that project she utilized character wood (from pallets) and corrugated metal to turn a small, odd space in her home into a uniquely wonderful spot to read, hangout, and relax. She shares the definition of character wood; "weathered wood that captures your imagination." This style is very much what I'm imagining.


Renaissance Woman's DIY Pallet Book Nook

If you enjoy her DIY Pallet Book Nook article, you can find more of her reviews under her tab here. She is quite talented.

This wine rack is a much smaller example of barnhouse decor. In this example, it can be purchased fully assembled. But people with DIY talent could easily make their own.


Rustic Barn Door Wine Rack


Not everyone needs or wants a wine rack. But most everyone likes to have a wall clock in plain view for convenience. And how much better if that wall clock compliments the decor.  This wood and metal clock is a wonderful example of my definition of barnhouse decor.


Vintage Farmhouse Clock

Sliding barn doors are one of the most notable farmhouse (barnhouse) features. They are so popular that not only are they functional doors but they are also a part of furniture, wall-hangings, featured in paintings, and more. I have even seen printed shower curtains that mimic wooden barn doors.

I want a barn door. I have watched video tutorials and hope to make my own sliding barn door to cover at least one window. There are versions that do not required angled cuts and I think I can manage simple straight cuts and assembly. I am hoping for both functionality (blocking sun on hot days in that south-facing window) and visual appeal (a barn door hung in my barn). 

If I decide I am unable to build my own sliding barn door there are many options for purchase. This is just one example:

sliding barn door kit; assembly required

While I've never shopped at Pottery Barn, I have noticed that some of their wood furniture fits my idea of the farmhouse style. If you don't already shop there, you may want to take a peek.

If you are looking for some barnhouse inspiration, I hope these ideas spark your imagination. 




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Sunday, June 6, 2021

The Easiest and Best Way to Clean Silver


In December 2018, I wrote another article on how to clean silver. 

In that article, I discovered a product my husband uses to clean the chrome on his tires called Mothers Mag and Aluminum Polish. The product is excellent for cleaning silver, but the way I'm about to divulge is far superior.

The Easiest Way to Clean Silver that Doesn't Involve Manual Labor

In the 1980's I purchased an Electrolytic Silver Cleaning Plate

The directions for using that cleaning plate are simple: 

Put the plate in the bottom of your kitchen sink, fill the sink with boiling hot water, then add Calgon water softener. Rest the silver piece so that it's touching the plate, and leave it for a few minutes to fifteen minutes, then wipe clean.

However, I could no longer find Calgon (except for a ridiculous price on Amazon), so I began to do a bit of Google research.

There Are Many Ways, According to Articles on Google, on How to Clean Silver

Some articles involve dish soap and vinegar. However, I found the instructions on these methods to be too cumbersome.

I figured, if a silver plate with Calgon can clean silver, there has to be an equivalent DIY alternative method. Thanks to Google research, yes, there is.

Here's the Easiest and Best Way to Clean Silver

Items Needed:

  • Your kitchen sink
  • Baking Soda (several boxes depending on how much silver you have to clean). I'd pick three boxes, so you don't run out
  • Tinfoil
  • Boiling Hot Water

Directions:

1. Put the drain plug in your sink.

2. Line your entire sink with tin foil, shiny side up. Don't leave any sink exposed. Instead, bring the tin foil right up the sides of your sink all the way around. However, if you're only cleaning silverware and small pieces, you could try just lining the bottom of the sink.

3. Pour boiling water into the sink. I used mostly boiling water from the kettle, but I ran super hot tap water when the water needed more heat. However, just keep boiling water coming. I re-filled the kettle and boiled more water every time I emptied the kettle.

4. I filled the sink to the highest level because I had many silver pieces to clean, with some pieces being quite large.

5. Place a piece or pieces of silver in the sink touching the tin foil. For larger pieces, just rotate them so that all the sides get covered with water at some point. If the piece isn't in the water, it won't clean.

6. Pour baking soda into the sink. I poured it on top of the silver in the water, but I don't think that matters. Since I had a lot of silver to clean, I used several boxes of baking soda. On the first silver items, I probably dumped half a box in the water. I wanted to make sure it worked. Next, I cleaned a silver tea service, silver platters, silver candles, and a silver serving dish to clean. Judge for yourself how much baking soda you need. If you feel it's not cleaning fast enough, simply get the water up to boiling again, and add more baking soda.

7. The cleaning process takes care of itself. You don't have to scrub anything (just wipe it off when you take it out of the sink). In fact, it's interesting to watch the silver clean itself right before your eyes.

8. Dry, wipe and shine up your silver with a cloth. That's it, you're done.

9. I cleaned all these pieces in less than an hour. 

I prefer the above method because it uses everything I have in the house; a sink, hot water, tin foil, and baking soda - boom, that's it. Oh, and it's unbelievable how clean the silver turns out.


Here are the pieces I cleaned (and they were completely tarnished before):


This tea set was so tarnished it looked brassy-black. The tray was tricky to clean in the kitchen sink, but I managed to clean it simply by turning it around and around until all the areas were submerged.


The piece on the top left was also severely tarnished with dark black, as were the two serving dishes in the bottom middle.




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Saturday, June 5, 2021

Reviewing Yo-Yo Day



National Yo-Yo Day is celebrated each year on June 6.


History of the Yo-Yo


Image Source: PIxabay
The yo-yo came to the United States with Pedro Flores, a young immigrant from the Philippines. Pedro remembered playing with a toy called a bandalore and it inspired him to create the toy he called the Flores Yo-yo. “Yo-yo" means “come-come” in the Philippine language. 


Flores manufactured his Yo-yo between 1928 and 1932 in Santa Barbara, California. He realized that people had to be shown how to use the yo-yo before they would buy it. He hired a team of yo-yo masters to demonstrate all the tricks you can do with it. 


When Donald F. Duncan, Sr., a Chicago businessman, inventor and toy manufacturer, spotted this toy while on a business trip to California, he realized its potential as a popular new toy. Duncan eventually purchased Flores' company and the 'Yo-Yo trademark. Subsequently, this wooden toy became known as the Duncan Yo-Yo


Original Wooden Yo-Yo to Today's Plastic Yo-Yo
Both Styles Still Available here on Amazon

Duncan was the country's leading yo-yo producer until after the trademark expired in 1965, when competing plastic yo-yos began outselling the old-fashioned wooden Duncan Yo-Yo. 

Today you can still get the wooden style yo-yo, along with a wide variety of plastic Yo-yos in many colors and styles. 


National Yo-Yo Day


This fun holiday began in 1990 when it was founded by Daniel Volk. June 6th is the date of Donald F. Duncan's birth in 1892. 


Daniel Volk once worked for the Duncan Toy Company as a yo-yo demonstrator. He toured the country from 1976 to 1978. At one point he met two brothers (The Smothers Brothers) who had a music and comedy act and taught them how to Yo-Yo. This led to the creation by Tommy Smothers of the Yo-Yo Man, a mostly non-speaking character who was a comedic performer of tricks using a  yo-yo. The term "Yo-Yo Man" is registered in his name. 




Later, the Smothers Brothers produced the Yo-Yo Man Instructional Video featuring the two comedians along with Mr. Volk. In conjunction with National Yo-Yo Day, the Hummingbird Toy Company produced the first of several Smothers Brothers brand yo-yos. 


Summary


As you can see, from it's humble beginnings as a simple toy from the Philippines, the Yo-Yo became a very popular American toy. So, on June 6th, it is only fitting to celebrate the Yo-yo's history by picking up a new yo-yo and testing your yo-yoing skills by trying as many tricks as possible. Do you know how to do the pinwheel or walk the dog? 


National Yo-Yo Day is reviewed by

~Wednesday Elf





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Friday, June 4, 2021

Durable Insulated Lunch Box Tote - Reusable Cooler Bag Reviewed

Several year ago, I purchased this insulated lunch tote for our son. Even after much use, it still looks new and keeps his water cold!

As we approach the hot days of summer, I am reminded of why I selected this particular lunch tote for our son.  He needed an insulated bag for his bottled water which sustains him throughout his work day.  

Because several bottles of water can be heavy, I wanted a durable tote with a sturdy zipper.  This lunch box tote certainly meets, and exceeds, those basic standards. 

Since it easy holds 3 large (24 oz) bottles of Propel water, I am certain it would hold almost any regular lunch someone wished to carry.  Most importantly, with the thin reusable ice packs I purchased separately, his water stays cold all day.

I selected the black lunch bag for him, but the lunch tote comes in several colors. I especially like the midnight blue, which looks a lot like denim.

 

Features of The Upper Order Durable Insulated Lunch Box 

As I mentioned above, the zipper is very sturdy and the tote is insulated, but there are several other features to love about this lunch tote bag.  

 Upper Order Durable Insulated Lunch Box Tote
Reusable Cooler Bag
Check Price
  • Insulated
  • Strong, Durable Fabric
  • Strong, Durable Zipper
  • Sturdy, but Fabric is Flexible to Accommodate Bulky Containers
  • Inside Wipes Clean 
  • Outside Wipes Clean of Dust & light dirt/debris
  • Inside Pocket
  • Outside Pocket
  • Carry Handle
  • Detachable Shoulder Strap 
  • Slim Design - 11" x 10" x 3.6"
  • Professional Appearance
  • Inexpensive  

This lunch box tote can easily slip behind his drivers seat (which is pushed back for longer legs) to sit on the floor board for easy access getting in or out of the car.   

 

Would I buy this insulated lunch box tote again? Absolutely!


Recommended Ice Packs

I purchased a pack of thin ice packs.  Only one is required at a time, therefore 3 are left in the freezer for future use.  We simply alternate them each day.




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Wednesday, June 2, 2021

The Best Advice to Maintain Your Keto Diet Weight Loss

 Losing weight is a piece of cake (so to speak) compared to keeping those pounds from coming back. If you are following a mostly clean ketogenic weight loss diet for an extended period, figuring out how to maintain your successes after you reach your target weight can be even more challenging.

This time last year, after celebrating the one-year anniversary of the start of my successful keto diet weight loss journey, I shared my best advice for preparing to succeed on a keto diet

Last week marked my second keto-versary, In honor of this important milestone in my transformational journey toward better health and wellbeing, I am sharing what I’ve learned during the past year about how to maintain the significant weight loss I achieved on a ketogenic diet.

image collage of woman at different weights between 2017 and 2020

The Best Tips to Maintain Your Keto Diet Weight Loss Success

In part one of my post about preparing to succeed on a keto diet, I shared my belief that there is no “one-size-fits-all” ketogenic weight loss diet that is optimal for everyone, that dirty, lazy and strict keto are not your only options, and that designing a personalized approach to this way of eating that best fits your unique needs, lifestyle, and priorities can improve your chances of success. Based on my own experience so far, I think it’s just as important to design a personalized plan to maintain your keto diet journey wins after you reach your target weight.

For the past 12 months or so, I have been working on and refining my long-term strategy to maintain not only my new, healthy weight but also the other profoundly positive changes that resulted from my switch to a mostly clean ketogenic diet. Although I will likely continue to experiment, evaluate and make further tweaks over time, I have gradually figured out a viable “new normal” that is meeting my needs, for now. 

The best advice I can share is to learn as much as you can from people who have transitioned from a keto weight loss diet to a healthy, sustainable maintenance diet and kept those pounds from coming back. Use whatever aspects resonate with you to help you design your own personalized plan, tailored to your needs, priorities, and preferences.

To help you get started, here are the seven strategies that have helped me maintain my nearly 60-pound weight loss so far. 

3 side-by-side photos of same woman before and after losing weight and keeping it off with a ketogenic diet

Make Small, Incremental Changes to Your Diet at a Time

Increase your carbs and calories very slowly, then wait at least a week or two to see how your body responds before deciding whether, what, and how much to change next. You also may want to try gradually decreasing your fat intake somewhat and evaluating the effects. I increased my carbs by 5 grams and added 50 calories every three weeks,  very small changes to my calories and macros roughly every 3 weeks so my metabolism would adapt to each minor change without overreacting to a perceived food surplus or famine. 

Use Most of Those Extra Carbs and Calories to Add Nutrients and Fiber

It’s okay to reserve some of your extra maintenance carbs and calories for a keto-friendly cheddar cheese and chive biscuit or a square or two from a healthy, sugar-free The Good Chocolate bar, but try to invest most of your carb and calorie “raise” into a broader range or slightly larger portions of nutrient-dense, fiber-rich foods, such as berries and root vegetables, especially if you plan to continue with a modified keto or low carb diet as part of a healthy lifestyle. You can also try introducing small amounts of high-fiber beans and legumes and see how they affect your blood sugar, insulin, energy level, mood, and mental clarity. 

Pay Attention to How Your Body Responds 

If you have (or had) a lot of weight to lose, start experimenting with very small, gradual increases to your calories and carbs when you are within three pounds of your target weight, even though it means waiting a bit longer to reach your “magic number” on the scale. Finding your personal nutritional “sweet spot” to maintain your new, healthier weight will require navigating uncharted territory. Switching your focus from losing those last few pounds to figuring out how to keep them off for good will give you a good head-start on testing the effects of those dietary changes and fine-tuning them by the time you  reach your weight loss goal. 

Don’t Revert to Your Former Bad Habits

To paraphrase Henry Ford, if you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always gotten. So, if you go back to eating the things that caused you to put on weight and made it hard to lose—especially sugars, refined starches and highly processed foods—you will soon put back any pounds you dropped on keto, and probably a few more, too boot. 

Keto cookbooks and baking books

Build On Your New, Healthy Lifestyle Habits

If you have been following a "dirty keto" approach, consider eating fewer highly processed foods and buying healthier, fresh, whole, or minimally processed foods, such as organic fresh berries and vegetables and grass-fed (and, ideally, grass-finished) beef and dairy products.

If you your meals have relied heavily on fast food restaurant chains or packaged foods, try cooking more of your meals and eating out less to help you control the quality and quantity and enhance the flavor and nutrition of the foods you consume. (You will probably also save some money in the process.) To expand your repertoire of quick and easy, delicious and nutritious breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks, I highly recommend Carolyn Ketchum's cookbook The Everyday Ketogenic Kitchen: With More than 150 Inspirational Low-Carb, High-Fat Recipes to Maximize Your HealthMaya Krampf's The Wholesome Yum Easy Keto Cookbook: 100 Simple Low Carb Recipes. 10 Ingredients or Less, Kyndra Holley's Craveable Keto: Your Low-Carb, High-Fat Roadmap to Weight Loss and Wellness, Natasha Newton's Southern Keto: 100+ Traditional Food Favorites for a Low-Carb Lifestyle, and Maria Emmerich's Keto Restaurant Favorites: More Than 175 Tasty Classic Recipes Made Fast, Fresh, and Healthy

If you miss traditional baked goods and have been disappointed by the keto recipes or packaged versions you've tried, invest in a couple of cookbooks with reliable recipes from a keto baking expert, such as Ketchum's The Ultimate Guide to Keto Baking: Master All the Best Tricks for Low-Carb Baking Success or Hilda Solares' Essential Keto Bread: Sweet and Savory Baked Goods to Satisfy Any Craving.

If you haven't been getting much exercise, look for ways to build a more active lifestyle.

Bagged piles of women's clothing to donate or sell

Get Rid of Clothes That No Longer Fit You 

Don’t sabotage yourself by holding onto this safety net in case you gain back the weight you worked so hard to lose. Try on every piece of clothing you own and sort it into the appropriate pile: throw away, give away, donate, sell, or bring to a tailor to be altered to fit your new size, depending on the style and how much would need to be taken in. If you’re having trouble letting go of some favorite pieces that would require too much alteration, think about how much good you will do by donating them to someone in need.

Digital body weight scale and tape measure

Keep Paying Attention (for the Rest of Your Life)

Body weight can fluctuate frequently for many different reasons, so stepping on the scale too often when you’re on a reducing diet can be frustrating, demotivating and even misleading. However, once you are close to your goal, more frequent weigh-ins can provide important feedback as you experiment with and fine-tune changes to your diet to develop a successful eating plan to maintain your target weight. 

Even after you have developed a maintenance diet framework that appears to work for you, it’s important to weigh yourself consistently, at the same time of day, at least twice a month. This is even more important if you stop tracking your calories and macros with nutrition tracker app such as Carb Manager after you reach your desired weight. 

The longer it has been since you reached your weight loss goal, the more likely it is that you will start taking your ability to maintain that weight for granted. I learned this the hard way after Carb Manager’s initial poorly implemented redesign of this popular keto and low carb diet tracking app early this year forced me to stop using it for several months. Recording and tracking everything I ate or drank against my daily calorie limit and macros in the Carb Manager app had been one of the keys to achieving my target weight and maintaining it for the next eight or nine months. So, when the initial launch of the redesigned app made it too time consuming and frustrating to keep using, I was nervous about losing the main tool I had come to rely on to help me keep my weight and my healthy eating on track. But it didn’t take long to become confident in my ability to maintain my weight without tracking every bit and sip. Then, a few weeks ago, I noticed that my tummy wasn’t as flat as it had been a year ago, and the scale informed me that I had gained back four pounds. I realized it was time to start learning to use the new version of Carb Manager and get back to tracking my calories and macros. I have already shed two of those four pounds and returned to weighing myself every two weeks, so that if my weight creeps up a pound or two, I can nip that trend in the bud and return to my ideal weight quickly and easily, simply by cutting back on the carbs for a week or two.


The Best Advice to Maintain Your Keto Diet Weight Loss by Margaret Schindel


Posts In This Series About My Keto Diet Journey

The Best Advice to Maintain Your Keto Diet Weight Loss

The Best Low Carb Keto Cinnamon Muffins

The Good Chocolate 100% Organic No Sugar Dark Chocolate Review

Wholesome Yum Easy Keto Bread Mix and Yeast Bread Recipe

The Best Low Carb Keto Gift Ideas: Keto Gift Guide

The Ultimate Keto Hot Chocolate Recipe

Keto Cheddar Cheese Biscuits With Chives Recipe

Good Dee’s Keto Cookie Low Carb Baking Mix Review

Low Carb Keto Chocolate Yogurt Granola Chip Pudding Recipe

Low Carb Muffins & Cupcakes: Treats to Enjoy on a Keto Diet

Preparing to Succeed on the Keto Diet, Part Two

Preparing to Succeed on the Keto Diet, Part One

My First Year on The Keto Diet


Reviews of the Keto Diet by Barbara C. (aka Brite-Ideas)

My Personal Keto Testimonial

How I Stayed Committed to the Ketogenic Way of Eating


Read More Reviews About Health and Wellness by Our Review This Reviews Contributors




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