Showing posts with label Brite-Ideas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Brite-Ideas. Show all posts

Sunday, May 31, 2020

High Pressure Car Cleaning Tool Review

Reviewed, and Approved - Yes to a High Pressure
Car Detailing Tool
This item is a must for auto-detailing enthusiasts.

My husband loves to clean. You heard that right. Gifts for him normally include cleaning gadgets of some sort.

However, this particular gadget was entirely his idea. He's an avid cleaning-product-researcher and decided a high-pressure car cleaning tool would help to detail the car the way he likes it.

A High-Pressure Car Cleaning Tool Works With an Air Compressor

Take note that you'll need an air compressor to run this gadget. If you don't have an air compressor or access to one, this tool isn't for you.

This particular car cleaning tool lets you adjust the air pressure. You can clean an area using a level of pressure that's appropriate for the job.

He's pointed out it's the air pressure that pushes the cleaner into the fabric and on surfaces. That helps to provide deep, thorough cleanings.

The Car Cleaning Tool with the
air compressor hose attached

Easy to Use - Add Cleaning Product and Go

Just fill the container with any cleaning solution and water. Next, connect the air, set your ball valve to dispense the cleaner. Once you're ready to go, simply pull the cleaning trigger.

There's a water mode and air mode: To do the cleaning, use the water mode. Once the cleaning is complete clear away the excess water with the air mode. At that point, you can wipe the surface down with a microfiber cloth if needed.

Here's the High-Pressure Cleaning Tool in Action

Air Dried and Wiped with a Microfiber Cloth

Use The High-Pressure Cleaning Tool for the Car Seats and Rugs

My husband is quite detailed when he cleans. He also uses this handy gadget to clean the seats and rugs. After the winter months, it's very handy indeed for renewing those filthy rugs! They look like new when he's done. Check out the two photos below showing one of the seats and rugs.

By the way, this vehicle is fifteen years old. So it's not as though he's keeping up a new car that's in prime shape. This old SUV looks new because of his hard work and detailed mindset.

Oh, and something else he wanted me to mention: Cleaning the seats and rug below only took about ten or fifteen minutes. Of course, for extra dirty surfaces, the initial cleaning will take longer.

Here is the rug and seat after a quick cleaning

Here's a closeup of the seat after cleaning.
Remember, this vehicle is fifteen years old.


Yes, He Recommends This Product

It can also be used for other cleaning projects. You're not limited to just cars. Use it for bikes, motorcycles, outdoor furniture and rugs, and whatever else you can think of that needs a deep cleaning.

He didn't buy the high-end version of this product either. He selected an inexpensive model, similar to this one, and so far so good - it's still working.

Have fun, stay clean.




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Sunday, May 24, 2020

The Best Lawn Repair Product - Tested and Approved

We've used this product for years - works every time,
Highly Recommended!
Scotts EZ Seed Lawn Repair tested, approved, and now, reviewed.

It's a combination of mulch, seed, and fertilizer.

We've lived in our home for the past 26 years. We bought the house new and tackled our own landscaping.

In the early 1990's we put in about 52 small cedar trees around our backyard fence. The trees have since grown to about 25 feet tall.

Cedar trees require a lot of moisture and can slowly eat away your lawn - or so we discovered. We replaced our backyard lawn three times until I found EZ Seed Lawn Repair about ten years ago.

Why Scotts EZ Seed Lawn Repair?

In between our lawn replacements in those early years, we tried the usual - spread topsoil and add lawn seed. Nah, that sucked. It was still sparse in spots and didn't have the tidy finished look I personally prefer.

I also tried another lawn repair product by a popular competitor. Nope, it didn't take nearly as well as Scotts EZ Seed. I used the competitor's seed on one section, and Scotts on the other, and Scotts won the battle hands-down.

Scotts advertises that their seed consists of continuous release lawn food with super-absorbent growing material making it possible to grow grass anywhere. Yep, that's true. This stuff works.

How and Where I Use the EZ Seed Lawn Repair

I buy two large bags every year - our backyard lawn area is smaller - probably 600 square feet if I had to guess.

1. Wearing gloves, I scoop out handfuls and place the seed where it's needed  - I don't dump it from the bag - it's pricey stuff - so I place the handfuls of seed exactly where I want it.

2. I put seed along the entire perimeter of our cedar trees - the cedar trees eat away a good chunk of lawn, so I'll fill in the dead areas completely with seed.

3. I'll spread the seed about 1/8 of an inch thick, and evenly.

4. Once the perimeter of the trees is completed, I then fill in the thin areas in the center parts of the lawn.

5. Oh, and I don't do much to prep the lawn - just rake it - and sometimes sprinkle it with some water if it's bone dry dirt.

6. I've also used it in between our neighbor's driveway and ours - the grass just didn't grow well there and like I mentioned above, regular grass seed didn't take. So I used EZ Seed Lawn Repair, and yep, the lawn is now thick and lush. The stuff is amazing.

7. Water it every day! When you put this on your grass (in large sections) - don't cut the grass for four to six weeks. It needs time to grow. You have to water it. When I first put it on the lawn I'll water it by hand with the hose on a light spray setting. Once the lawn starts to grow, I'll use the sprinkler.

The clean edges of grass that come right up to the patio and trees are what I prefer - This photo is after the last sod was put in over ten years ago - Using Scotts EZ Seed keeps our lawn looking like this every year

In this photo, I've edged the lawn with Scotts EZ Seed - Turns out perfect every time
This picture is from a year or two ago

I highly recommend this product. It is pricey but in my opinion, worth every penny. We haven't had to resod our lawn. The lawn regains it's thick lush appearance with EZ Seed.

Today was the day I spruced up the lawn for spring/summer 2020. The EZ Seed project is all done for another year.

Oh, and yep, we've never had to resod the lawn since we started using Scotts EZ Seed.

Here's my other DIY gardening solution for areas of the yard where grass won't grow at all!

Scotts EZ Seed is Available on Amazon.




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Sunday, May 17, 2020

A TV Series about a Digital Afterlife - Reviewed and I Was Glued

A personal review of the Prime Series "Upload" - About a Digital Afterlife

Upload is available on Amazon Prime.

Before I tell you about the series, let me start by saying that I broke every one of my own rules about binge-watching! I started watching late at night, didn't get up for snacks (lol), watched every episode .... and the worst part, I chose a series with only 1 season!

Ok. That's off my chest.

Are You a Fan of Shows About the Afterlife - If So, You'll Enjoy Upload

My favorite types of movies are time travel, the afterlife, catastrophes, new planets, life exploration, spiritual revelations, and mankind lessons. Weird right? Lol. I know.

After reading what Upload was about I knew I'd be giving this one a try. It's a fun and interesting look at preserving a person's consciousness after death. Personally, no thanks - let me go. But hey, the creative aspect of this is futuristic, and who knows what the future holds.

The Story Line of Upload

In the year 2033 when a human passes away, they have the choice of uploading their consciousness into a virtual afterlife.

The premise of this show is that the main character, Nathan, is uploaded prematurely. The plot is about this mystery, and why.

It offers love, manipulation, humor, and some dark comedy.

Making Money on Selling an Afterlife, WHAT!

Omg. I was actually mad about this (in a disgustingly funny way), but it's critical to the story - it's part of the story!

There are expensive afterlife locations and cheap ones for those with less money. Capitalism in death, sheesh. Get this, in this story, your living loved one pays for your stay in the virtual afterlife location of your choosing, and also pays for the things you use there. LOL - like a hotel! Go easy on the afterlife minibar?

So unless you have a lot of greenbacks, your afterlife is destined to be low quality and low budget! If your bills aren't paid, your consciousness is frozen until more gigabytes are purchased or the bills are paid.

There are a Few Shocking Bloodless Scenes

I almost want to tell you what it is so you don't jump out of your body like I did! But I won't. Or should I? No. I won't. I'll give you a hint; when Nathan is being 'Uploaded', get ready for what happens, because that's one of the parts where you'll jump out of your seat.

Do I Recommend This Series?

Yes. If you're curious where a writer goes with a topic like this, you'll enjoy it's dark, fun creative aspects.

Apparently, Upload has been renewed for a second season. Yippee, I'll be watching.

The Trailer is excellent - Watch it on Prime.





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Sunday, May 10, 2020

A Review of Our New Gazebo Canopy Swing-Daybed with Netting

Yes, Recommended - A Daybed Canopy Swing!
In March of 2020, we decided to make an investment in a Patio Swing Daybed with Netting for our backyard.

With the impending restrictions due to the virus, we anticipated quarantine house-arrest could last quite some time. We knew we'd get a lot of use out of a patio swing.

Why a Gazebo Canopy Swing/Daybed with Netting?

Hubby and I had some 'intense' discussions about exactly what type of swing would be best. After a great deal of back and forth, we agreed that a swing/daybed with netting would get the most use.
  • The netting would protect us from unwanted bugs in the summer - and now we have Murder Hornets - I say good planning here!
  • The covered canopy design would be ideal for rainy days
  • A swing daybed would be amazing for warm summer nights
  • A netted swing would be a lovely place for me to write more riddle books
  • It's a lovely piece of furniture for the yard
The swing with the netting open

The netting unzips front and back. You can see in the photo below that there's a zipper on both sides. The swing came unassembled, and it took hubby about two hours to put this together. He took his time and did it right! (No extra parts at the end).

Here's the Canopy Swing fully zipped up
This canopy swing is sturdy! One of my concerns was whether it could handle severe wind. It's been tested with some substantial winds, and so far so good. It hasn't budged. It's heavy.

Here's a photo from the Box that shows Daybed
It's easy to switch from the swing to the daybed. There are two spring attachments to release, then fold the back down and it locks in place.

The only concern we have about the swing is winter storage. We have yet to face that challenge.

Where We Purchased Our Swing

The name of this product is Canvas Valencia Patio Swing Daybed With Netting.

We live in Canada and purchased our swing from Canadian Tire. The price was $499, but I noticed it's currently on sale for $100 less (May 2020) - however, in our area, they are currently out of stock. Of course pricing and availability changes throughout the year.

I've checked Overstock, Amazon, Wayfair, and Walmart and haven't been able to find a gazebo swing similar to this one for you. I would suggest just checking the sites from time to time along with your local stores (once open).

We recommend this product - the quality is excellent for the money.

Yep, I've spent a cool early spring afternoon napping on it with two sweaters, a blanket and a warm cup of tea already, love it!


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Sunday, May 3, 2020

How I Stayed Committed to the Ketogenic Way of Eating

How I stayed committed to the Keto Way of Eating
My One Year Keto Anniversary is May 4, 2020

On March 8th of this year, I wrote in detail about my progress as well as a little about Keto itself. I've lost approximately 60lbs in one year. I'm currently 59 years old, and for my 60th birthday in August, my goal is to be down another 15 pounds or so. However, if my body doesn't want to lose any more weight, then so be it.

For this review of my annual weight loss progress, I want to speak to how I've mentally been able to keep-on-keeping-on.

Down approximately 60lbs - 11 months on Keto in
this photo - Me 59 years old, and still dreaming
As I mentioned in my previous article, Keto is not for everyone. Weight loss is an incredibly personal journey and what works for one person might not work for another. However, in case your body or personality is a bit like mine, perhaps you'll find some common ground and useful tips in the points featured below.

How I Got Started

2019 was a tough year. We had a lot going on - sickness, death and other complications - it was rough. But now 2020 is like, 'hold my beer.'

I wasn't planning a diet, nope. It all happened by chance when a family member visiting was explaining how she had lost so much weight. I had been resigned to the fact that I would never lose weight again - until she started to explain Keto.

The first step for me was to learn about food. Decades ago I had lost weight after pregnancies via Weight Watchers, however, I really didn't understand Carbs - oh I thought I knew! But, nope, I sure the heck didn't. So, I'd start with learning about Carbs and the body. Here's a website with good information.

After reading about Ketosis and the Ketogenic Diet, and trying that way of eating, I discovered that it agreed with my body. In fact, just by changing my eating, I lost 20lbs in the first month. So I would suggest learning about Ketosis. I'll let you google that and do your own research. There's a ton of it!

My Personal Mind Over Body Battle And How I Stayed Committed to the Ketogenic Way of Eating
  1. I absolutely couldn't succeed without the Carb Manager App on my phone. It auto-populates your food entries regarding protein, fat, carbs, and calories. It does much more; be sure to check it out.
  2. On tough days I drink a lot - of water (lol) - actually, Sparkling Water with a bit of freshly squeezed lemon is my go-to filler.
  3. I drink tea with cinnamon and Stevia or Truvia sugar substitutes in the evening when cravings might hit.
  4. Since the weight fell off very quickly in that first month, that kept me going.
  5. Seeing my Carb-Face disappear was a real motivator to keep going!
  6. I have RA (an auto-immune disease) and after losing the first 20lbs my health started to improve. I was in a bad way a few years ago, and today I feel 20 years younger.
  7. An auto-immune disease triggers flare-ups (inflammation - bad, horrendous inflammation) and excess weight keeps us in a low constant state of inflammation. Since my weight is under control, inflammation is under control. My last flare-up was October 2019 and that was because I got cocky and reduced my RA medication - dumb move. Since I'm taking the correct amount again, no more flare-ups ... knock on wood. I feel the combination of weight loss and my meds have helped me to improve by a country mile.
  8. One of my goals was to shock my Rheumatologist with how healthy I was. My most recent visit was January 2020 and she was very impressed, yep, and shocked! When she weighed me, her mouth dropped to the floor, lol. My blood work was good as well. I told her, that I had decided to take control of my own life, since ultimately that's the only thing we have control over.
  9. Feeling better, bit by bit, kept me on track. I absolutely didn't want to go back to feeling immobile, and to struggle to get up and down from the couch.
  10. It no longer became a diet but rather a way of eating. Since I now have an extended education on food, I'm careful about everything I choose to eat.
  11. Yep, other than the odd recipe for Keto bread made with almond flour, I haven't had regular bread, rice, pasta, regular sugar, or regular desserts since the day I made the big change one year ago.
  12. Since Keto requires eating a certain amount of Protein, my body now gets protein! I didn't eat enough of it before, and instead ate too many carbs! I was never a big eater, even before Keto, I was just eating the wrong food combinations for my body.
  13. I had forgotten what it was like to feel 'small' - Now that my weight is down, I feel like I did in my 20s and 30s. By that I mean, I feel light. That feeling motivates me every single day.
  14. I have two big-girl clothes bags in my closet and every time I shrink out of something, I add it to the bag. Once I hit my goal weight I'll be giving the bag(s) to the GoodWill. Adding my big-girl clothes to the bags for a year has been the best! In fact, I added two more pieces I shrunk out of a few days ago. That's the best feeling! To date, I have two large stuffed garbage bags with clothes that are now too big. I'm motivated to add more.
  15. With Keto, my tummy shrunk, and wowza, there's a feeling that keeps me motivated.
  16. Mostly I compete with myself to keep going. And I don't want to go backward, ever again
  17. Keto has become a way of eating now, it's not a diet. Keto dictates my food choices.
  18. My go-to snacks are about 15 to 20 Almonds with a teaspoon of peanut butter.
  19. Keto foods are my fave; Chicken, eggs, cheese, fish, lettuce, pickles, olives, cauliflower, measured veggies, salad dressing, nuts, cream, dips, what's not to love.
  20. Since sugar is no longer a part of my life, I don't have cravings. 
  21. When I was first diagnosed with RA in 2016 (at 56 years old), I was in terrible health and couldn't walk a Mall, or the Grocery Store without a cart. The other day, for the first time in four years, I was able to walk around our park without holding onto anything.
  22. My go-to exercise is my stationary bike, and my outside bicycle - doing that daily keeps me motivated to keep active.
  23. Since 2019 was 'Body' and every year has been 'Mind' - I decided that 2020 would be 'Mind, Body, and Spirit.'
So there it is, one year ago at this time of writing, I weighed 60 pounds more than I do today. 

Note: I'm not a doctor (a duh, lol) - I'm not advising anyone to go on a Ketogenic diet, rather just sharing my experience. If you're planning a diet, you know what they say, talk to your doctor first.



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Sunday, April 26, 2020

How to Color and Seal Grout in One Step - Checkout the Before and After Photos

How to Color and Seal Grout in One Step

My husband likes to keep busy. Lucky me, and that's not meant to be sarcastic!

He's always finding a task to do around the house and is an avid watcher of YouTube how-to videos.

Next thing I know, he's painting/sealing the grout in the hallway. I'll quickly review the steps he followed to get the lovely finished result featured in the photos below.

1. He Used Polyblend Grout Renew

I'm always confident that hubby will select a quality product because he's very thorough when researching choices.

This product is an all-in-one colorant and sealer. You'll want to match the color of your own grout. The sealer protects the grout from traffic, dirt, and floor washings.

He purchased several bottles and color-matched them to the color of our floor. We prefer our grout to be as close to the same color as the tiles. I suspect most people prefer that.

By having the grout and tile similar in color, the floor looks more like one flowing piece. This is especially useful if your hallway isn't very large. Darker grout lines can leave an area feeling chopped up and smaller.

Here's an actual photo of the grout he
purchased - Yep, it's available
on Amazon
2. Tools Needed For The Job

All he used was a toothbrush (or 2) and some cloths for wiping. He trimmed the toothbrush to the width needed to fit the grout gap between the tiles. The gap between the tiles in our hallway is a bit wider than most, but he still had to trim the toothbrush.

Trimming the toothbrush makes applying Grout Renew easier because it fits nicely in the gap and has less chance to overlap onto the tile.

Here's a look at the toothbrush he trimmed for the job
3. How to Apply The Grout Colorant and Sealer

This job requires you to be on your hands and knees. Unfortunately, that's not easy for some of us. Thankfully hubby doesn't have any health issues in the knee department. It was hard on his back though, so be forewarned, it may take several days to complete. Take your time, don't overdo it.

He applied the grout paint sealer directly onto the grout line and painted it into the grout using the toothbrush. It was very time-consuming.

Don't worry if a bit of grout paint gets on the tiles, as you can wipe that off as you go along or do a few floor washings after it's had a chance to set for a day.

Here's the Before and After
Photo of the Grout Work
4. The Finished Look

Check out the finished look below. Hubby completed this in the fall of 2019 and it's currently spring 2020. This grout colorant/sealer has held up nicely. The floor still looks like he just finished the job. You'll notice that this grout colorant/sealer comes in many color choices, so go crazy and do the whole house.

Grout Colored/Sealed - Finished Look
Did I just add something to your honey-do-list? Sorry :)





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Sunday, April 19, 2020

55 Different Ways You Can Show Someone You Love Them

55 Ways to Show Someone You Love Them
If anything 2020 has taught us, it's that life is precious. During these crazy pandemic-times, today's review features big and small ways we can show our love to each other.

In the end, it's only love that matters. Our family lost someone yesterday (not from the pandemic), and we've been reflecting and remembering that love is the most valuable asset we take with us.

Let's not wait until it's too late to show those we love how we feel; let's start today. Here's a quick list of ways we can demonstrate we care:
  1.  Call or video your I love you message and say it
  2.  Physically mail a letter or a card
  3.  Make them dinner and clean up the mess
  4.  Clean the house for them
  5.  Give them me-time; watch the kids
  6.  Bring them a coffee, or two
  7.  Play board games and laugh
  8.  Email articles and photos to let them know you're thinking of them
  9.  Write them a poem
  10.  Dedicate a song to them via the radio
  11.  Sing them a song; if you can't sing, even better!
  12.  Create a video that lists all the reasons you love them
  13.  Thank them for all they've done for you
  14.  Accept or give forgiveness
  15.  Say "I love you" as often as you can
  16.  Bring them breakfast in bed
  17.  Send flowers or a plant
  18.  Drop off treats, gifts, personal drawings or groceries when social distancing
  19.  Have cozy gifts delivered; throw blankets, pillows
  20.  Snail mail a card every day, with a beautiful quote, for a month or a year
  21.  Let them talk; be a listener
  22.  Don't offer your opinions, just be there
  23.  Don't try to solve unsolvable problems, just be there
  24.  Accept each other's differences and just love each other for who you are
  25.  Use please and thank you with your family members
  26.  Speak with a kind voice to your loved ones
  27.  Give sarcasm a break from time to time
  28.  Remember they were once a little child, see them that way
  29.  Keep dark thoughts at bay, and send people love and light often
  30.  Remember none of us are perfect
  31.  Go 24 hours judgment-free - judge nothing, forgive everything
  32.  Read together, sing together, dance together
  33.  Set a goal to laugh with them at least 20 times in one day
  34.  Live for the moment, the specific moment you're sharing
  35.  When possible, if possible, hug each other
  36.  Start a story by email where everyone adds their portion and emails it to the next person
  37.  Pray together in person or virtually
  38.  Use your thoughtful inside voice when you have to ask for something
  39.  Give them something personal that holds special meaning to you
  40.  Ask them their opinion, so they feel they matter
  41.  When they've made a mistake, remember your own mistakes before reacting
  42.  Be a safe place for someone to land
  43.  When they speak to you in confidence, keep it confident
  44.  Don't gossip about people you love to other people you love
  45.  Serve your community in some fashion; do it together
  46.  Give each other space
  47.  Be on their team in life
  48.  When discussing testy issues, do it with grace and respect
  49.  Smile at your loved ones - this one seems silly, but try it, you'll be surprised
  50.  Laugh at their jokes
  51.  It's ok to be happy; show joy in front of your friends and family
  52.  Don't be afraid to apologize if you've made a mistake
  53.  Forgive them if they can't apologize when they've made a mistake
  54.  Be the change you want to see in a relationship
  55.  When you need love, give love
When summed up, we should consider the lessons taught in the Paradoxical Commandments, also known as The Anyway Poem. Listen to the gorgeous song interpretation by Martina McBride here in her famous song, Anyway.

The above suggestions are fairly obvious to most of us; however, sometimes we forget it's how we make each other feel that's remembered. 

I'll end with a video poem I created a few months ago called Living in Light - Stay safe and blessings to you.






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Sunday, April 12, 2020

An Original Easy Homemade Pumpkin Loaf Recipe Tweaked From A Banana Loaf Recipe

Modified a Banana Loaf Recipe to Make a Pumpkin Loaf
Quarantine is bringing out the creative baker in me. Not really, but I'm trying.

The Boys Ate All The Bananas. The Hunger Games.

I wanted to make a Banana Loaf using my favorite personal recipe, however, the boys ate all the bananas. Guess what ... no bananas at the grocery store! Really ... bananas? I've seen the flour aisle cleaned out, but missing bananas was a first.

The Boys Ate All The Apple Pie. Hunger Games the Sequel.

Apple Pie was planned for our Easter Sunday dinner, but guess what? The boys ate all the pie.

So I opened the cupboard to see how I could modify my Banana Loaf recipe and found a can of Pumpkin Pie Filling - not expired, thank goodness.

My Revamped Banana Loaf Recipe Turned Into a Yummy Pumpkin Loaf Recipe

I've never made a Pumpkin Loaf, but how hard could it be right? lol.

After searching online for a Pumpkin Loaf recipe, I decided I didn't like any of them - too complicated.

My Banana Loaf recipe is six freaking ingredients, all in one bowl! Easy peasy. Thus began the experiment to modify my fave recipe to make my very first Pumpkin Loaf.

The biggest challenge was trying to determine how much Pumpkin Pie Filling to use to replace three medium to large bananas in a banana loaf.

After googling around a bit, I determined that one half plus a heaping tablespoon of a 540ml can of Pumpkin Pie Filling should work. Actually, I had no idea - it was a cross-your-fingers-and-toes guess.

The original banana loaf recipe is here.

My Pumpkin Loaf Recipe - Modified:

. 1/2 CAN plus 1 heaping Tablespoon of Pumpkin Pie Filling (Full can was 540ml which is 2.28 Cups - so use about 1 and 1/8 Cups of Pumpkin Pie Filling)
Here's the Pumpkin Pie Filling
I used - Any kind should do

. 1 and 1/2 Cups of Flour

. 1 Cup of White Sugar

. 1 Teaspoon of Baking Soda

. 3 Heaping Tablespoons of Softened Butter (not melted)

. 1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract

For flavor, in the same bowl, I added:

. 1 Teaspoon of Ground Cinnamon
. 1 Teaspoon of Ground Cloves
. 1/4 Teaspoon of Allspice
. 1/4 Teaspoon of Nutmeg

Mix everything in one bowl. Put it in a regular-sized Loaf Pan. Bake in the oven at 325 degrees for 45 to 60 minutes depending on your oven. Check it after 30 minutes (or before that if your oven is on steroids or something).

Since this was a trial variation of one of my recipes, I didn't add anything else - like raisins or nuts. However, it turned out beautifully, so I'll be adding raisins the next time. I plan to boil the raisins in water to soften them first.

This plain pumpkin loaf is delicious with butter, cream cheese, jam or peanut butter.

Homemade Pumpkin Loaf by Barbara




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Sunday, April 5, 2020

5 Funny and Inspiring Things to Help You Smile During Crazy 2020

The Wild Ride that is 2020
Focusing on the good, that's what I've been doing through this global pandemic. However, I understand the difficulty for those struggling with illness and loss and certainly don't mean to minimize that pain.

I want to share some of the humorous and inspirational videos I've recently come across. I hope they fill up your soul during this crazy time.

1. Humor - Pluto Living

This video series by a creative Canadian has gone viral and for good reason! It's hilarious, cute, and addictive. She's developed quite a global following in a short time. Here's her most recent video post, you're going to love it! I've watched this one about ten times already. You can follow Pluto Living on Facebook and Youtube. Check out Pluto's hilarious video on Cats - omg, that one cracked me up.



2. Inspiration - Don't Give Up on Me by Andy Grammer, Featuring the PS22 Chorus

You may have seen this video come across your Facebook timeline. If you haven't, you're in for a moving experience. Whenever I need my faith renewed, I watch the faces of these beautiful little kids singing with Andy Grammer, and I'm reminded that yes, the children will indeed save us. Take a few minutes and watch - your cup will runneth over.



3. Hilarious - Sebastian Maniscalco, The Best Comedian Evah!

Several years ago, while watching a late show, this comedian I had never heard of, did a skit that left me rolling on the floor with tears of laughter running down my face! Right then and there I googled him and watched a full show. Again, tears of uncontrollable laughter ensued! I highly recommend following him and watching his skits and full performances. We saw him live in Toronto a few years ago and no surprise, he was fantastic. The 19,000 seat stadium was filled to the rafters! If you have an Instagram account, follow him: His family posts during quarantine are entertaining. The video below is a full show from 2013. He's created much more humor since then! Enjoy.



4. Spiritual - Off The Left Eye

Each night I listen to spiritual videos from Off The Left Eye. This isn't for everyone, but for me, it brings comfort. They exam the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg (1668-1772), a Swedish Christian theologian, scientist, philosopher, and mystic. His ten thousand pages of records about his visit to the other side while alive are broken down in video chat format. If you're seeking answers, this will help. Here's one of their brief inspirational videos on humanity.


5. Funny - Memes Are Saving the Day

You've seen many comical memes about quarantine and this terrible virus by now. One of my favorites from Boo *F Hoo is, "2020 - Written by Stephen King, Directed by Quentin Tarantino" (lol!). I even find myself wanting to create them now! Read the memes, share the memes, spread the humor.

2020 is turning out to be about mind, body, and spirit. All the best to you and your family. Stay safe during these challenging times. Blessings.




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Sunday, March 29, 2020

Easy Homemade Coleslaw Dressing - A Family Fave

Easy Homemade Coleslaw Recipe
Quarantine has me thinking more about food. Fortunately, after 10 months of Keto, I still have willpower!

Keto warriors forewarned: This Coleslaw recipe is not Keto. However, if you replace the sugar with Monk Fruit Sweetener, it would be. Yet, I haven't personally tried that. If I did, I would use less Monk Fruit sweetener than 1/3 of a cup. I'd try a heaping tablespoon for my first attempt.

As mentioned in my previous recipe review posts (featured below), although I can cook, it's not my favorite thing to do. For that reason, I'm drawn to simple recipes.

While whipping through my stained recipe book, I came across this straightforward homemade recipe for Coleslaw dressing to share with you.

Homemade Coleslaw Dressing Ingredients:

. 1/2 Cup of Vinegar
. 2/3 Cup of Olive Oil
. 1/3 Cup of Sugar
. 1/2 Teaspoon of Pepper
. Miracle Whip Salad Dressing

If needed, you can double this.

Instructions:

Put all the ingredients in a small pot on the stove and bring it to a boil (EXCEPT the MIRACLE WHIP). Pour the boiled ingredients over the prepared Coleslaw while it's hot. Put it in the fridge until you're ready to serve.

Once you're ready to serve it, mix in two heaping tablespoons of Miracle Whip Salad Dressing. I've added the dressing when the Coleslaw dish is warm, and when it's been cooled in the fridge.

Preparing the Coleslaw:

You can buy the packages of ready-made Coleslaw at the store, or shred a cabbage head and
other vegetables..

The Extra Ingredients that Make Coleslaw Taste Great:

Other than a delicious Coleslaw dressing, there are two ingredients I always add:

. Chopped Apple
. Chopped Onion

Add the chopped apple just before serving. Cut the apple into small bite-sized pieces and stir it in. I usually cut up two medium-sized apples for a medium-sized bowl of Coleslaw.

Add 1/2 of a large onion, chopped or shredded.

The apple combined with the onion and the homemade dressing gives the Coleslaw a delicious taste.

Store-Bought Coleslaw Dressing Alternative:

If you don't have the time to fuss over making homemade dressing, Kraft's Coleslaw Dressing is excellent. Make the Coleslaw as described above with apple and onion, then put in nearly a full regular sized bottle of Kraft Dressing. Base the amount you want on how creamy you prefer your slaw. Pour it in quarters.

Previous Simple Recipes from My Kitchen:
If you're looking for a simple, comforting meat dish to serve with this Coleslaw, check out the Roast Pan Steak recipe featured above, it's so good!

Stay safe, happy cooking.



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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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Sunday, March 15, 2020

10 Calming and Distracting Things to Do

Calming and Distracting Things to Do
With all that's going on in the world, some distraction is in order.

When you've had your fill of news, and consumed as much info as you need for a day or so, here are some things you can do to take your mind off the world.

1. Listen to Music

Yes, I know, that's predictable! You've heard it a million times. The principle of Occams Razor applies right now (the simplest solution is often the best or right one - paraphrasing). With that in mind, turn off the TV for a while or forever, and pick a few songs that speak to you.

Here, let me recommend a fantastic song for country music fans; have you listened to Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani's song "Nobody But You?" If not, take a minute. It's a perfect song to cuddle up to or think about the one you love, and what's most important in life.

Lyrics
"Don't have to leave this town to see the world
'Cause it's something that I gotta do
I don't wanna look back in thirty years
And wonder who you're married to
Wanna say it now, wanna make it clear
For only you and God to hear
When you love someone, they say you set 'em free
But that ain't gonna work for me"




It's currently my favorite country music song - hope you enjoy it.

2. Watch Inspirational Videos

This is a little self-serving; here's one of my most recent video-poems. Written about a month ago, it's about finding clarity and calm in life.

This year I've vowed to work on body, mind, and spirit. The video speaks to the spirit side of life. I call it Living in Light. If you need a little calm, mixed with a teaspoon of hope and faith, this one is for you.


3. Cooking - Do You Love to Cook?

If you love to cook there are a ton of recipes from our writers here on ReviewThisReviews. Be sure to check out the recipe section. You can find it here.

4. Puzzles and Games

You've already thought of this right? Board games, riddle games, and puzzles. If you're not in the mood to play family games, distract yourself with riddles. Yep, I happen to write them. Here's one, can you solve it?
Find more at StumpedRiddles.com
5. Dance in Your Kitchen

Oh, that sounds really dumb, doesn't it? It's not. Turn up the radio and dance. The exercise is good for us physically and mentally. Who cares how silly we look. Blast your favorite music and go for it.

6. Exercise

If your health permits and you have exercise equipment, use it. If not, there are plenty of yoga and exercise videos on Youtube and TV you can follow. I like this basic exercise video for Arms. This lady features short easy-to-do videos.


7. Draw, Paint or Create

Now is a good time to tackle that book you've always wanted to write. If books aren't your thing, sketch or paint. Stepping back in time, it's said that the plague may have influenced Shakespeare to create his best works. You can read about it here.

If you've wanted to write a book, but aren't sure where to start, I've written several articles with tips from my own personal experience of writing my first books. You can find them here:


8. Binge Watch TV

Oh my, that's too much couch time, but if you can't help yourself, here are some comical tips on what not to do when you binge-watch.

9.  Read a Book

If you're looking for a book to read, check out the book reviews by the Contributors on this site. There are some serious book-readers here! You can scroll through the reviews by starting here.

10. Express Your Love to Family and Friends

Don't hold back. Say it out loud or by text or phone if you have to, but say it. Say it over and over, and even say it for others to hear. Spread love - let your voice be heard.

My own Mind, Body and Spirit tips for 2020 are reviewed here.


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Sunday, March 8, 2020

My Personal Keto Testimonial

My Personal Keto Experience

So, I'm going to do this ... drumroll ... I'm going to review my experience with the Keto Diet.

I've been reluctant to write about Keto because most people seem to have an opinion on it already. However, since I feel so much healthier than a year ago, I feel compelled to say something about my experience.

This review isn't going to include education on Keto, but I'll link to a few useful resources for those interested. This is more of a testimonial.

I Started Keto May 4th, 2019

Going on a Keto Diet wasn't planned. In fact, I knew very little about it. For several years previous, I kept seeing "Keto" recipes on Pinterest and wondered 'what the heck is Keto?'.

I was introduced to Keto by a family member. During our family gathering, we were all extremely impressed with her weight loss and wondered what she was doing. She's very gracious and only volunteered information because we were asking. Her position is that she doesn't talk about it to others because everyone has 'an opinion' and she'd rather not go down that road. We were all curious though, and since I'm an information junkie, I was all ears.

When I Was Young I Was Thin

Some people struggle with weight their entire life. My struggles only happened later in life: in my fifties. I wasn't 'thin-thin' in my 40's but, after dieting I would lose weight. In my fifties, things changed drastically, and even though I didn't eat much, I couldn't lose weight - or so I thought!

I Didn't Eat Much Prior to Keto - I Thought I Was Choosing Wisely, Was I Wrong!

When I was young, like many people, all I had to do was cut down food and the weight would fall off. After four children and entering mid-life, things changed.

Keto, it turns out, works for my body. When I reflect back, my young years didn't include a lot of carbs. During those young years, when I cut food down, more than likely I didn't have a lot of stored carbs. Plus, the obvious, I was young and active.

What food choices were so wrong for me?

Keto gave me an education on the number of carbs in food. What I thought I knew about food, was all wrong. I had no idea what sugar really is, what it's in, how it works in the body and what it can do to you.

Here's an example: Prior to Keto, I would start my morning with 2 small yogurts and a banana. Big mistake for me, huge. lol. The yogurts each had about 13 carbs, and the banana approximately 22 carbs. Add the teaspoon of honey in my tea, and my day started with over 50 carbs!

You may be thinking, so what, 50 carbs should be fine - ahem, on Keto my daily net carb intake is 15 to 20 carbs - that's for the whole day!

Add my additional daily mistakes prior to Keto - bread, pasta, a sweet treat, and my daily carb intake was a lot! My body couldn't lose weight because I was storing carbs like a squirrel stores nuts for the winter! So when my body needed energy, it would access all my stored carbs - it never got a chance to get to my fat!

Keto is NOT for everyone. Some people (like my husband) can eat carbs 'til the cows come home and not gain weight. He eats breads, pastas, sweets, and omg doesn't gain weight..ever. I'm not like that. My body doesn't do well with a higher carb intake.

That's what keto taught me about me. Carbs are not my friend; good fats, proteins, and limited healthy carbs are. That's what works for me. Keto foods are my fave anyway; salmon, chicken, cheese, pickles, dark chocolate, steak and on and on.

What is Keto?

The Ketogenic diet is a high-fat, adequate-protein and low carbohydrate diet. Since you're running on low carbs, the diet forces your body into a state of Ketosis. Normally we fuel our body with carbs for energy - on Keto you fuel your body with fats (choose healthy fats).

Wiki Definition of Ketosis:
"Ketosis is a metabolic state characterized by elevated levels of ketone bodies in the blood or urine. Ketosis is a normal response to low glucose availability, such as low-carb diets or fasting"

Some people do 'dirty keto' where they allow themselves unhealthy fats. I haven't done that. I've been responsible with my fat choices; avocado, almonds, coconut oil, 85% dark chocolate for a treat, and so on. Once in a while, I have bacon, but not that often.

I Could Have Never Succeeded Without This App

The App is Carb Manager. That link takes you to the iTunes version of the App. You can also read more about the benefits of Carb Manager at CarbManager.com.

Follow the directions on the App, input your data, and it will allow you to track everything you eat daily as well as auto-populate the fields of portions for protein, carbs, fats, and calories for you.

I've never missed a day of entering my food in Carb Manager. Every single thing I eat is entered. I'm brutally honest as well. No point in cheating, because that's just cheating myself.

My Results on Keto to Date

My Weight:
Today is March 8th, 2020. I started Keto on May 4th, 2019. I've lost approximately 55 pounds to date. I want to lose another 20lbs. However, if my body says it's done, I'll stop, but so far, so good.

My Health
I was diagnosed in 2016 with Rheumatoid Arthritis, which is a serious auto-immune disease. (Most people confuse it with Arthritis). I was so sick in the early stages. Just horribly unwell. Since I've lost all this weight, I'm the healthiest I've been in my fifties. Cutting out all that sugar and gluten has changed my life. It's noticeable.

I'm not promoting or suggesting this way of eating is for other people. Everybody has to find what works best for them. I wanted to let others know who are on Keto or maybe considering Keto that this lady has had a very positive experience.

Keto is not a diet for me now, it's a lifestyle - it's a way of eating that my body and health are grateful for.

So here I am today - I'm 59 years old in this photo taken about a month ago - I turn 60 in August and am planning to be at my goal weight for that big birthday number.

50 Pounds Down after 9 months on Keto - February 2020
Life isn't perfect. It never will be. My motto is that I can't control other people, but I can control myself. I've been working hard to live that way in every aspect of my life over the past year. I feel as though I've just woken up and that life is only beginning - self-control, hope, bravery, love, kindness, patience, woman-power, and prayer - that's me at 59.

Note: This is not meant as medical advice - it's always prudent to check with your doctor before starting a diet.


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Sunday, March 1, 2020

Roast Pan Steak - Another Family Favorite - It's So Good!

Roast Pan Steak - A Family Fave
I'm anxious to share this favorite family recipe with you. Since I've spent approximately the last four Sunday's posting our family faves, why not add another one?

Roast Pan Steak is a recipe passed along to me from my mom. I'm sure it came from her mother, my grandmother, and her mother before that.

This recipe is simple, just the way I like them.
Your house will smell amazing with this cooking in the oven!
I remember one particular time when we had visitors, I had this dish cooking in the oven. Our visitors kept repeating over and over how amazing the food smelled.

Roast Pan Steak Ingredients and Cooking Instructions:
  • Steak (cut into bite-sized cubes) - 1 large steak  If you add another steak, double the sauce; 3 steaks, triple it and so on.
Sauce for the One Large Steak:
  • 1 Cup of Ketchup or BBQ Sauce (I prefer Ketchup)
  • 1/3 Cup of Vinegar
  • 1/2 Cup of Water
  • 1/2 of a Large Onion Chopped - Use more if you like
  • 1 Tablespoon of Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon of Mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon of Worcestershire Sauce
Brown the cut-up steak in a frying pan. Once browned, remove it from the steak pan and put it in an oven roast pan.

Put the water in the steak pan with the steak drippings and steak juice. Mix it up nicely to get all that flavor into the water. Then mix all the other ingredients listed above (water already used) in a bowl and pour it into the frying pan.

Next, take that finished sauce that's in your frying pan, and pour it over the steak that's in the oven roast pan. Cook it in the oven for about 3 hours at 300 degrees (low and slow). It should fall apart. Each bite should be tender.

You can cook it with or without the lid, just watch if it's drying out. It should remain relatively saucy. Generally, I cook halfway through the time without the lid and just eyeball it from there.

If it seems a bit dry (which has never happened to me), add a bit of watered-down Ketchup (1/2 cup), pour it over, stir and put it back in the oven with the lid on.

NOTES
  •  As mentioned above, you can double or triple the sauce
  • You can use stewing beef, but it's way better with steak!
  • The amount of steak versus sauce is up to you - If you like it saucier, use less steak and more sauce. Or use lots of steak and lots of sauce. 
  • If you're serving a lot of people, I would use more sauce and more steak.

From Our Kitchen - A Collection of Sunday Shares


Don't hesitate to give Roast Pan Steak a try, it tastes and smells incredible. Serve it with a salad, veggies, and oven-baked or mashed potatoes.



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