Showing posts with label Gifts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gifts. Show all posts

Monday, May 17, 2021

Reviewing Round Tree-Swings

 As a child, my favorite playground toy was the swing. Metal  A-frame swing sets were in many yards. My family had one. And I loved to play on it, swinging so high that the legs lifted out of the ground and threatened to tip over. As I am making plans to move out of my apartment and into my own home, one of the things on my "must have" list is a swing. But what type? I have recently decided that I will have a single round tree swing.

My son on their tree swing

Over time, my son had sent photos and videos of my grandkids in their round swing. They loved that thing and laughed the entire time I pushed them in it during visits. It was durable and only needed a sturdy tree branch to hang from. And as you can see from the photograph above, it was sturdy enough for adults. However, I am a larger adult and did not feel confident using it. 

As time grows closer to moving to my own land, I have thought about swings. I want one the grandkids can enjoy when they visit but also one that I can use.  And I weigh a good bit more than my son does. So I was considering using an old fashioned wooden swing hanging from a tree branch or from the underside of my deck.

Then, a benefit of being an Amazon affiliate, I see what others are purchasing. I saw the SUPER DEAL 48" round, web swing. Rated up to 700 lbs, I can easily swing on this securely.

You see, as an Amazon Affiliate, I am able to see what was purchased via the links on my reviews. I cannot see who purchased it (providing privacy for the buyers) but I do get a link for the item. And I was thrilled to see this swing! It was a sign that I need a comfy tree swing rather than a wooden swing.

SUPER DEAL Extra Large 48" Web Swing

With over 1,000 ratings, this swing is rated at 4.8 out of 5 stars (at the time of this writing). Reading over the reviews and comments, a couple of the previous complaints have been addressed and have been fixed. For examples, there were a few older reviews that stated the knots/fasteners did not hold up. A more recent review shows photos of the improved clamp system. 

Details:

  • 48" diamater, extra large swing
  • Durable - rope and frame made of UV resistant materials
  • Metal frame
  • 71" rope length
  • holds up to 700 pounds

You may be asking why I don't buy an A-frame swing set. Or a play set that includes a swing. 

The number one reason I don't want to purchase a stand-alone swing set is because then I have something to mow around.  Also, with my steep slope yard, the A-frame swing set would not be safe.  

My grandkids all live several hundreds of miles away. If I were going to have children at my home on a regular basis, a play set would be the best option (except for the large up-front expense). For all of these reasons I am opting for a round, web swing.

And this Super Deal, super-sized swing will be perfect as I'll be able to lounge in it. Whether hanging from a tree branch down in my woods or from a support beam on my deck, you can count on me using this swing often.




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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Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Hallmark Gifts for Mom

FUN AND AFFORDABLE HALLMARK GIFT IDEAS FOR MOM

Discover five fun, fabulous and affordable gift ideas for mom on Mother's Day or any day of the year!

No doubt your Mom raised as Hallmark says, "Good, kind kids who are a great gift to the world." Who better then to offer up a special gift idea for your Mom than Hallmark, whether it be for Mother's Day or on any day of the year? 

On this page you will find gathered together six wonderful Hallmark gift ideas including the Blooming Expressions flowers; the Mom and Me Recordable Conversations To Keep book; a shadow box picture frame; the There is No One Like Mom CD; the movie Soldier Love Story; and, a fun Mom-themed coffee mug series.

I am sure that you will find something here that is within your budget and perfect for your Mom.

BLOOMING EXPRESSIONS FLOWERS



Hallmark's Blooming Expressions flowers will bloom every year for mom!


There are an assortment of Hallmark Blooming Expressions flowers available, including pink and red rose versions. Each vase features a variety of expressions like, "I Love You" and "You Are the Heart of Our Family." I like the idea that this item is an everlasting gift that mom can use to decorate her table, dresser or desk. They will bloom for mom forever!  Find your Blooming Expressions flower on Amazon by clicking right here.


Hallmark Mom and Me Conversations to Keep Recordable Storybook records Mom and her little one talking.

MOM AND ME CONVERSATIONS TO KEEP RECORDABLE STORY BOOK


Some of the most beloved gifts given to Moms are those that are personal in one way or another. A Hallmark Mom and Me recordable book fits that bill very nicely. With a Mom and Me recordable storybook, a young Mom records the voices of herself and her children having an informal and fun chat.

The book provides fun, open-ended questions like, "If you and your mom had a super power, what would it be?" and "What do you want to be when you grow up?" With this special memory book, mom records their thoughts NOW so that she will have them as a treasured keepsake when they are grown up. I sure wish that I had done something similar when my boys were young.

A Hallmark's Mom and Me Recordable Storybook is the perfect gift idea for any mother with young children. You can find the Hallmark Mom and Me Recordable storybooks on eBay by clicking right here


SHADOW BOX PICTURE FRAMES


This Hallmark Shadow Box is filled with treasures from Treasures By Brenda on eBay but your mom can of course personalize it with her own momentos!

With Hallmark's personalized shadow boxes, you can frame pictures of your family along with small mementoes and quotes. Whether you choose to do the decorating or you leave it up to mom, there are a variety of frames available. See the Hallmark Shadow Box frames on eBay by clicking right here.

MUSIC CD FOR MOMS

Hallmark's lovely music CD for mom features music by assorted artists.

Hallmark's There Is No One Like Mom CD features music by various artists including Sheryl Crow, Elvis Costello, Elton John, Diana Ross and Sting and is an appropriate and affordable gift for moms everywhere. Find it on eBay by clicking here.

SOLDIER LOVE STORY


Faith and Family's Soldier Love Story launched the 2009 Countdown to Mother's Day on the Hallmark Channel, thus feeding the confusion as to whether or not it is a Hallmark movie.

In Soldier Love Story, a ten-year old boy named Jared's life fell apart when his parents divorced. His Dad seems to put his job ahead of him and his mother makes him move in with his Grandma in California so that his mom can take a job there. When the boy's classroom writes letters to U.S. troops who are posted in Afghanistan, a sergeant named Vince who himself had no father takes a shine to the boy and corresponds with him in a fatherly manner. When Vince returns from Afghanistan, he is warmly welcomed and becomes a boyfriend to the boy's mother, with the understanding that there can be no commitment because he will likely be sent back to Afghanistan.

Soldier Love Story was originally called Meet My Mom. It is a lovely story and would make a wonderful Mother's Day gift for any Mom who loves Hallmark movies and in particular for any Mom with a connection to the Armed Forces. It is a hugely popular Hallmark movie with viewers praising it because it combines a bit of romance and family with a lot of respect for soldiers.

Please note that this is not actually a Hallmark movie. Rather, it is a made-for-tv movie that first aired as the lead movie for the Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Mother's Day in 2009. That's good enough for me. It is still a great movie choice for mom. Find  Soldier Love Story on Amazon by clicking right here.

KEN SHELDON MUGS FOR MOM

This is one of a series of Hallmark mugs featuring Ken Sheldon and a mom theme.

Of course, there's nothing quite like a mug for Mom, especially if she loves her cup of tea or coffee. If she does, she will appreciate using a mug every single day that you chose with her in mind. I enjoy the sentiments on these Ken Sheldon mugs, of which there is a series that includes various pieces, not just coffee mugs, and pieces for dad, too. Find all of Hallmark's Ken Sheldon items on eBay by clicking right here.

What will you be giving your mom for Mother’s Day this year?

See you 
next time!
Brenda
Treasures By Brenda

More Gift Ideas for Moms:



Vintage Taylor and Ng Coffee Mugs

A Clowder of Black Cat Coffee Mugs

Note from Author: This page previously published in part elsewhere.




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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Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Fun & Fab Book Accessories and Gift Ideas

A page full of fun and fabulous book accessories and gift ideas for friends, family and yourself!

If you love books, you will love the fun and fabulous book-themed gift ideas and accessories that I have catalogued for you here on this Review This blog page. If not exactly what you are looking for, they are sure to be a great jumping off point for a gift idea for yourself or for a friend or family member who just cannot take their nose out of a book. All of these book-themed gifts are from Etsy, many of them are available in a variety of materials and patterns and some of them can be personalized with your or your loved one's name or initials. 

HOLDER

Wooden book holder frees your other hand to handle a mug or glass or whatever needs handling!

If you love to read while enjoying your favorite beverage, you will love this little wooden tool. It is designed to help you hold the pages of your book open with one hand thus freeing up the other to hold a mug of your favorite hot and steamy beverage. 

Reader Dickenson said, “I decided to finally read all the big books on my shelf, and my thumbs have been suffering. This thing is amazing! I will probably be buying ten of these as Christmas gifts later this year.” I think that is a brilliant review and I know exactly what it is like to try to keep the pages of a big, trade paperback book open! 

This device is simple and practical and small and affordable. It is something you probably have never heard of  before but once you have seen it you will surely appreciate it. You will find this little wooden book holder from Engaged Book on Etsy by clicking right here.

COFFEE MUG & SWEATSHIRT


It’s a good day to read a book coffee mug!

Did someone mention a steamy hot beverage? Now that one of your hands has been freed up by the book holder, you need a mug for the other hand!  Book lovers will want to consider this coffee mug that will make you smile. It reads “It’s a Good Day to Read a Book.” If you are a big reader, you know that rule applies to every day and you will therefore want to use this mug every day, too! 

Fun bookt-themed t-shirt reads "It's a Good Day to Read a Book."

Sets make wonderful gift ideas. Why not make it a matched set? The "It's a Good Day to Read a Book" slogan is also available on a t-shirt or a sweatshirt. 

Reader Inbelding says, "I collect literary shirts and this one is my new favorite!" You will find the coffee mug, the tee and more book-themed items from The Harper House on Etsy by clicking here

It is definitely worth noting that The Harper House has many other book themed tees and sweatshirts with fun slogans like "Bookish", "Bookmarks are for Quitters", "One More Chapter", "Books and Coffee and more Books", "One More Chapter" and "It's Not Hoarding if its Books.

METAL BOOKMARK


Metal Bookmark Personalized with Your Name!

This bookmark is so pretty! I love the uniqueness of this personalized calligraphic bookmark with the little heart and a bead. Instead of a name or a word like mom or dad, Charlene also fashions bookmarks with other items on the top like a jigsaw puzzle piece, a bird or a wine glass. 

Reader Janet says, "I think so highly of Charlene! Her artistry and creativity has helped me make so many people extremely happy!"  

You can find these unique bookmarks on Etsy from kraze4paper by clicking right here.

SPOON BOOKMARK


Upcycled vintage hand-stamped bookmarks share a love of books and reading!

How about a hand-stamped bookmark? The text on these vintage spoons makes me smile and can be customized to whatever you want to say. I really like “Drink Tea. Read Books. Be Happy” because that fits me to a tea, pun intended. However, I will admit that “Fell asleep here” would be really appropriate, too. 

Reader Ziehr says, "This is the third spoon book marker that I have ordered. It fits snuggly on my book and it does not move around. It's a great personalized gift for any reader.

Find these fun vintage spoon bookmarks on Etsy from Stamped Frosting by clicking right here.

BIRD BOOKENDS


Attractive metal bird bookends will make you smile!

Bookends, anyone? If you enjoy displaying your books, a pair of bookends can be found to suit any interest. I love these bird-themed bookends and think they’d do a great job organizing the stacks of cookbook in a kitchen exactly as they appear in this photograph. 

Reader Fulkerson says, "These bookends look so cute poking out the sides of my open shelving.

Find them from Max Foundry on Etsy by clicking here.

TRAVEL BOOKENDS


A pair of travel themed bookends for the armchair traveller's books!

Those, like me, who are armchair travelers will love these vintage globe-themed bookends though because they are vintage, they are one-of-a-kind find. Once they are sold, they will be gone and you will have to look further afield to find a set that appeals to you. You will find these globe bookmarks on Etsy from Marchpuces by clicking here

You can also check out all of the vintage globe bookends on Etsy by clicking here.

UPCYCLED BOOKENDS


These upcycled bookends are sure to please any dog lover!

How about some dog-themed bookends? These ones are perfect for a dog lover. They are upcycled bricks painted by the artist in a variety of themes including this dog one.

Reader Bilhartz says that they are “Even nicer in person than I expected!! You’d think painted bricks are just painted bricks, but no! These are really well done. You can tell there is artistic talent, attention to detail, an eye for attractive color combos, and that very high quality, thick and vivid paint was used!” What a great review! What more can I say? 

You can check out these and a pair of cat-themed bookends from Brickends on Etsy by clicking right here.

PADDED BOOK SLEEVE


Pretty Watercolor Wildflowers padded book sleeve will help keep your book safe when you are on the go!

I will admit that when we travel, I put my book into a plastic bag to give it some protection in the car or in my carry-on bag. I never thought that there might be a more attractive way to carry my book around while at the same time offering it some protection. Enter this beautiful padded book sleeve. 

Reader Saelua says, "Beautiful fabric and well made! I got the largest size so I’d be ready to carry any book I need. Right now I’m able to fit one medium sized book and one small in it at the same time. Looking forward to using this for a long long time." 

Annette offers a few fun patterns that currently include this pretty Watercolor Wildflowers. You are sure to find one that best suits you or your recipient's interests. 

You will find them on Etsy from Fred 'N Polly by clicking here.

--------------------------------------------
 
Well, there you have it. A page full of fun and fabulous book accessories and interesting gift ideas. You will find all of them gathered together on my Etsy Favorites page. Just click here and then follow the Book Accessories tab.  Is there something here for you or the book lover in your life?

See you
At the bookstore!
Brenda


 
For those who love their books, here's a page full of book accessories and gift ideas.




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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Saturday, March 20, 2021

Reviewing The Gift of Pandora Jewelry

I thought I would review Pandora jewelry here and find out why giving the gift of Pandora is always going to be appreciated by those Pandora lovers that you know.

Pandora Jewelry Review - Pandora bracelets and Pandora beads are a great gift idea
Pandora Jewelry - Leather Bracelet & Silver Bracelet


I first became aware of Pandora in the early 2000s when they started to open their concept stores.  My sister-in-law & a couple of my nieces were really enamored with the customized Pandora bracelets and it made gift buying for them as easy as picking a bead you thought they'd like!

At my workplace, there were so many people sporting Pandora bracelets it, personally, put me off having one myself.   However, when my daughter was given a Pandora bead on a chain to wear as a necklace I started to change my mind.    

Silver Cat Pandora Charm
Cat Pandora Charms on Amazon

I have written about my journey into Pandora charms which began in 2011 before - read all about it on Wizzley.   My daughter got her first Pandora jewelry in 2011 and the charms are still being put on her Birthday/Christmas list, in fact as she's now a cat mom she got a beautiful cat charm from one of her friends for her birthday.

The introduction image is of my two Pandora bracelets - the original one I talk about in my Wizzley article, a leather bracelet and a beautiful silver one that my daughter brought me a few years ago.

I love the fact that you can totally customize your Pandora jewelry which is probably why it continues to be so popular.   

The Pandora bracelet continues to be one of the most popular pieces that people buy the charms for, but they do also offer rings and necklaces that are also amazing.

Buying Pandora Jewelry Online

The other thing that I have noticed over the years is how more and more you can purchase your Pandora jewelry online.   You can purchase them through Pandora themselves or through Amazon.

When purchasing online you'll notice that there are a number of other companies that sell charms which can fit on Pandora.   The majority of people I know do NOT appreciate getting other charms so if you are looking for a gift you might want to be careful.

An Alternative to Pandora Jewelry?

As I've said many brands say 'fits Pandora' for their charms, but the true Pandora fans do not always appreciate them.    There is a new company around, however, which has been founded by Jesper Nielsen former co-founder of Pandora CWE that may be a serious contender.

If anyone has read the book Inside Pandora they will recognize his name as Jesper opened the very first Pandora Concept Store in Hamburg.


Jesper Neilsen Jewelry - Bracelets
Jesper Neilsen Jewelry - Buy Online

This company's goal is to be the biggest online jewelry company in the world.   At the moment it's been launched in 18 countries and is launching in Austalia and Canada in April 2021.  I can't wait to see how it compares to Pandora over the next couple of years.

Do you have any Pandora jewelry?   They are the third largest jewelry company in the world so as a gift idea I would say they deserve a big thumbs up.






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, March 14, 2021

10 Gifts For Mom That Don't Cost Money

Gift Ideas for Mom that Don't Cost Money

Free gifts have value. A free gift requires thought and time, so be confident in your decision to give Mom a gift that doesn't cost money but instead touches her heart.

Here's a Review of 10 Gifts for Mom That Don't Cost Money:


1. A Video Compilation of Her Life


This takes work. But with today's technology, it's not as hard to do as it used to be. If you have a computer with Windows 10, type "Video Editor" in your search bar, and the "Video Editor App" should show up. Once you click on the App, you can start to create your video for mom. Of course, you'll need all the photos you want in the video to be on your computer so you can upload them into the Video you're making.

2. A Jar of Wise Quotes and Sayings from the Family - For When Mom Needs an Emotional Lift


Write sayings or quotes that come from the heart on tiny pieces of paper. Fold the paper and put them in a jar for mom to pull out and read from time to time. The sayings or quotes can be funny, serious, complimentary, or inspirational. However, make them personal. Include famous quotes if you want, but the sayings should be what the family would really say to mom when she needs a pick-me-up. Put a label on the outside of the jar that says, "Here's Why Mom is Special." Or, label it with your own saying.

3. Do All the Housework for Mom While She Watches Movies All Day


Don't just give her breakfast in bed and do the dishes. Do the laundry, put the clothes away, dust, vacuum, cook dinner, and do the dinner dishes. Bring her snacks while she's watching movies, get her coffee if she wants it, or better yet, a glass or two of wine.

4. Send Her Loving Text Messages for a Defined Period, and Answer Her Texts Without Fail During That Period - Put That Promise in Writing!


If you think this is stupid, it isn't! A typical parent complaint is when a child doesn't answer their texts. Also, when we get a text from our child, sometimes we worry before answering. Why? Because a child who doesn't text often triggers the "something is wrong" warning when they do text! Give mom a card, and tell her you plan to commit to sending her a loving text message daily for a period of time, and during that time, you will also answer her texts. 

5. Write Mom a Poem and Frame It


It doesn't matter if you can't write, just do the best you can, and take the time to frame it. Granted, if you don't have a frame, you will have to buy one, and yes, that costs money. However, a trip to the dollar store will get you an affordable frame. Before you go that route, look around the house and re-use an old frame.

6. Plan a Picnic for Mom and the Family


Being cooped up during these pandemic years has been brutal. Pack a picnic lunch, take mom to the park, bring a radio, a blanket, and some fun outdoor games and spend the day with her.

7. Create a Photo Collage of All the People, and Things Mom Loves


Use a large piece of cardboard art paper, and on there, glue or tape a photo collage of every member of the family at different stages, as well as all of her favorite things in life. Spend time talking with her about each photo you selected.

8. Have Everyone in the Family Write Something Special About Mom


Get everyone in the family to write something they love and admire about mom. Put each written item in a homemade card, or tape each onto a large art paper sheet. Give this thoughtful gift to her when you're serving her breakfast in bed.

9. Read Mom a Story - One You've Written, Or Just From a Book She Loves


Sit with mom for the afternoon, serve her favorite beverage and snacks, and read to her. Take a few hours, without TV, without phones and distractions, and just spend some quality time with mom.

10. Create a Playlist on YouTube that Consists of All Her Favorite Songs


The nice thing about this gift is it's public. You can write something about Mom in the YouTube video description for the world to read and see. Don't get too personal. Just say enough that she knows she's loved and respected. 




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, February 28, 2021

Long Distance Friendship Lamps - Send Love and Light With Just a Touch

Long Distance Friendship Lamps - Review for a Great Gift Idea

I've been reading about these lamps for over a year now but haven't jumped in yet to get one. However, this one is on my list of original gift ideas.

Unique Gift Idea for Separated Loved Ones During Quarantine, or Any Reason

I've been thinking about getting this gift for both a friend of mine and my mother. 

When I first read about this lamp, I was confused about how it worked. I won't pretend I've seen it in action, but I had to share this funky lamp with you all today.

What Are Friendship Lamps?

When you buy the lamps in pairs, you give one lamp to a friend, grandparent, parent, or anyone for that matter, and you keep the other lamp at your place.

Each of you set-up your lamp via WiFi. Yes, you both need WiFi.

When you touch your lamp, it lights up at the other end to let the other person know you're thinking of them. 

Apparently, it cycles through colors when you touch it.

Plus, you can assign different people different colors. For example, each grandkid could have their own color that lights up when they touch the lamp to let grandma or grandpa know they're thinking of them. Popular grandparents could have these things going on and off all day!

Here's a Brief Video on How to Set The Lamps Up

If you're viewing this article via mobile, you can view the YouTube Video for Friendship Lamps Here.


Why A Friendship Lamp Would Be Nice to Share Between Long-Distance Loved Ones

Here are a few things that come to mind:

  • Grandparents may not have cell phones, and for that reason, they don't get the frequent communication that texting provides to most of us. My mom doesn't have a cell phone, so this lamp would be a nice way to say hello throughout the day. I do call her every night, but we could all be lighting up her life during the day.
  • For those who have trouble hearing, this is a quick way to send frequent loving light messages.
  • It's a lovely way to say goodnight when talking isn't possible.
  • Since it's as simple as a touch, loving light messages can be sent throughout the day.
  • Those who work many hours could bring one to the office and have the other at home for their spouse.
  • This is an ideal gift for besties. Best friends could share light messages whenever a little support or love is needed.

Featured - Friendship Lamps Below

If you can't see the products below, you can find them on their product page here.




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Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Open Jars Easily With Jar Heads Rubber Jar Opener Gripper Pads

I have always found opening jars with very tight lids to be a challenge, since I have fairly small hands and limited grip strength. Now that I'm over 65 and my hands are weaker, that task evolved from a challenge into a struggle, until I discovered Jar Heads rubber jar opener gripper pads. They make opening jars significantly easier for anyone, and are especially helpful for someone with small, weak, or arthritic hands. They're also thoughtful, practical gifts for seniors. 

Here is my product review of these terrific Jar Heads jar opener rubber grips, which have become kitchen essentials at our house.

Main image text: "Made in the USA Jar Heads non-slip textured rubber grip Jar Openers from 100% post-consumer recycled tires"

Finding the Best Jar Opener For People With Limited Grip Strength or Arthritis Can Be Hard

There are many types of jar opening tools and gadgets on the market. Many, if not most, claim to be good for seniors and people with weak hands or arthritis. Nearly all of them have mostly 5-star ratings and glowing reviews on Amazon. (It's really unfortunate that Amazon's customer ratings and reviews system seems to be easily "gamed," and isn't nearly as helpful in making purchasing decisions as it used to be.) So, despite having more experience than most with online product research and comparison shopping, I found that picking out a jar opener that had a high probability of living up to those claims was a bit like playing roulette. 

So, if you are looking for an extremely effective jar opener that not only would be a welcome addition to any kitchen, but could also be a blessing for someone with small or weak hands, arthritis, or limited grip strength, I hope to spare you considerable time and effort by summarizing the most popular types of jar openers available and sharing some of the products I purchased, or seriously considered, before I discovered the awesome Jar Heads rubber jar gripper pads that I have been using, and loving!

The Most Popular Types of Jar Openers and Rubber Jar Grips

Traditional Handheld Jar Openers

In my experience, most traditional jar openers and screw-top bottle openers are only moderately effective, and often quite frustrating. 

  • None of the ones without teeth that I've tried over the years, especially the strap wrench (AKA grip wrench or loop wrench) types, have worked well on very tightly sealed screw-top bottles or glass jars with metal lids.
  • I've found that, for the most part, jar openers with sharp, serrated teeth (like the older version of this OXO Good Grips Jar Opener I've owned for many years) can be more effective than the "toothless" models at breaking the vacuum seals on new, unopened glass food jars. Unfortunately, they often end up skidding around the rim of those stubborn, firmly stuck, tightly sealed metal lids, rather than biting into and gripping the metal securely as you twist the lid counterclockwise. Consequently, the teeth can score a deep, sharp-edged gash around the perimeter of the pugnacious jar lid, whether or not the jaws successfully break the seal and loosen the lid. Sometimes I have had to wrap the sides of those lids with flexible, nonwoven, self-adhesive bandage strips to protect our hands from the sharp, jagged-edged score lines around the rim when we subsequently open or close the jar.
  • All these types of handheld jar openers require not only grip strength in both hands (the one that holds the jar and the one that turns the lid), but also sufficient leverage to twist the jar and lid in opposite directions. 

Mounted, Under-Cabinet Jar Openers

Two of the issues with traditional handheld jar lid and screw-top bottle openers are weak grip strength and lack of leverage. A jar opener that is mounted securely to the underside of a cabinet above the kitchen counter(s) and has a V-shaped area with large, serrated metal teeth on one side of the "V," such as the popular and highly rated EZ Off Jar Opener, can help with both these issues, and also accommodate a wide range of bottle cap and jar lid diameters. It enables you to grip the jar more securely with both hands as you turn it counterclockwise, and holds the lid firmly in place as you twist the container.

When trying to open very tightly sealed jars, however, the large, serrated teeth could bite into the sides of the metal lids deeply enough to cut grooves or gouges with sharp, jagged metal edges.

Automatic Electric Jar Openers

Many women (especially those who have limited grip strength), seniors, and people who suffer from arthritis are fans of automatic electric jar openers, and find that these (theoretically) hands-free electric openers give them a greater sense of independence in their daily lives. They can be quite effective at opening straight-sided glass jars (ideally without rounded "shoulders" at the top) that have tightly sealed, hard-to-open, metal screw-top lids.

However, these kitchen gadgets are more expensive than most manual bottle or jar openers, and have some limitations that manual openers don't. 

  • These automated openers should not be used with plastic jars or on plastic lids. 
  • While it is possible to use this type of automatic opener with tapered glass jars, doing so requires placing a hand on top of the gadget and maintaining firm downward pressure to prevent the plastic arms from slipping. Obviously, that isn't optimal, particularly for someone with arthritic or weak hands.
  • If one of these electric jar openers malfunctions, or just slips off a glass jar with "sloping shoulders" (potentially knocking it over, and perhaps causing it to break), they don't turn themselves off automatically, which I consider a safety risk. 
  • This type of opener operates fairly slowly, and it is important to wait until the entire automated cycle is complete before removing both the gadget and the newly-loosened bottle or jar lid. For someone who either lacks patience or needs to prepare a meal in a hurry may find this wait frustrating, or even be tempted to try to stop or remove their automatic electric jar opener prematurely. If they remove it during the cycle, the opener will continue to operate until the cycle completes, and stopping it mid-cycle would require removing the batteries while it was still running, which would be dangerous. 
  • They are wider and bulkier than most other types of jar openers, and may not fit in a crowded kitchen tools drawer.  
  • Most run on two AA batteries, which will need to be replaced for as long as the product remains in use. 
Despite those limitations, these electric jar openers are a wonderful option for anyone who is physically unable to grip both a jar and its lid securely and twist it open with the aid of a handheld or under-cabinet jar opener or rubber gripper pads. As long as they can press the enormous button on the top of this tool to initiate the cycle, the process of opening a jar is fully automated and hands-free, except for jars that are tapered or have rounded "shoulders." (As I mentioned, opening those types of jars requires placing a hand on top of the device and holding it firmly in place throughout the entire automated cycle, to prevent it from slipping off the lid, which makes that a hands-on vs. a hands-free operation.)

Rubber Jar Openers AKA Rubber Jar Grips, Jar Opener Rubber Grips

I would never had considered buying a rubber jar opener, or even looked at the terrific Jar Heads rubber jar opener gripper pads, if my husband and I hadn't received one as a promotional gift from our favorite local barbecue restaurant many years ago, when we lived in Boston's Back Bay neighborhood. It was a large, pig-shaped cutout made from a thin, pink, textured rubber sheet, emblazoned on one side with the restaurant's whimsical logo and its address, phone number, and website in bold, black permanent ink. At the time, we thought it was a cute idea, but nearly threw it out. How could this flimsy piece of rubber sheet work better than a traditional jar opener with sharp, serrated, stainless steel jaws? 

Fortunately, we never got around to tossing it. One day, on a whim, I decided to give it a try. I was astonished at how much faster and easier I could open a brand new jam jar with an extremely tight lid by using this silly, pig-shaped, subtly textured rubber "rag" than with any of the traditional handheld jar openers I had owned over the years. When my husband came home from an errand, I was excited to show him how much more securely I was able to maintain a grip on a stubborn lid and twist it open successfully with Porky's help, compared to my usual struggles with hard-to-open jars. Seeing how well it worked for me piqued his curiosity, and he wanted to experience the difference  between using this thin, rubber jar opener pad and using our traditional model, with stainless steel jaws with large, sharp teeth on one of the sides. Even though my husband is very strong, has a powerful grip, and doesn't need the help of a jar opener most of the time, he also was impressed by Porky's performance. He also liked the idea of using this simple rubber jar gripper pad to help him subdue the occasional extra-defiant lid and break the vacuum seal without having to rely solely on brute force. 

It's ironic that this mildly amusing, but seemingly worthless piece of thin, floppy, lightly textured rubber sheet, which we had nearly thrown in the trash bin, turned out to be by far the most useful, memorable, and appreciated promotional item either of us has ever received from any business. In addition, my husband and I soon figured out that if we could get two of these rubber jar openers, using one in each hand would strengthen my grip on the jars as well as the lids and increase my leverage, so that I wouldn't need as much strength or have to use as much force to open even stubborn jars with tightly sealed lids. 

At the time, our crazy work schedules and pressing family health issues left us with neither the time or energy to pursue the possibility of acquiring a second Porky. Then, after several years of loyal service, poor Porky met his demise in the line of duty, when the thin rubber sheet tore as grappled with one recalcitrant jar lid too many. Since we were no longer living in the city, I decided to call the barbecue restaurant and ask whether they still had any of their old promotional jar opener rubber grips and, if so, whether they would let me purchase half a dozen (two for immediate use and four more as spares). That's how I learned, to my dismay, that the restaurant had closed the previous year.

It was it was time to begin the search for a worthy successor to our beloved porcine rubber jar opener. 

I looked high and low for something similar, but there wasn't much to choose from at the time. I purchased a pair of white, flower-shaped, jar opener rubber grip pads, currently sold as NORPRO 597 Non-Slip Rubber Jar Openers, so I could use one in each hand to help me hold the glass jar securely while I twisted the lid open. I also liked the wider, 5.5-inch diameter of this style, and the rubber was thicker and, presumably, more durable. Unfortunately, that thickness made the rubber much stiffer and less pliable, so it couldn't conform to the lid, and the surface was smooth and almost slick, all of which made it harder to get a good grip with these, despite the "non-slip" marketing claim, 

A few years later, I found two more possible contenders. One was a set of natural rubber jar openers with an open waffle pattern similar to foam shelf liner, which also had a wider, 6-inch diameter. And, since they came in a set of four, I would have one to hold the jar, one to grip the lid, and two extras for backup. However, I worried whether the soft foam material and open weave might make them less grippy or less durable than I needed (or both), and in reading through the customer reviews, I found several that mentioned those issues. 

The other contender, the Prepworks by Progressive Jar Grips Multi-Purpose Lid Openers, looked very promising. This set of three rubber jar openers includes one teal blue, square grip pad approximately 5" wide, made from thin, flexible, lightly textured rubber sheet that looks to be very similar in weight, thickness, and flexibility to that the jar opener we had; a somewhat smaller green round sheet made of a slightly thinner material, and a red, 2" wide, rubber grip shaped like a truncated cone for gripping bottle lids, and made thicker and, presumably, somewhat sturdier material. Unfortunately, as I read through the numerous reviews, many of the customers who gave this set 5-star ratings did so primarily because of the bottle opener. People seems much less enthusiastic about the two rubber jar openers, which some considered too flimsy and likely to tear.

Jar Heads Rubber Jar Opener Gripper Pads for the Win!

When I felt that my search for Porky's replacement had reached the point of diminishing return, I decided to stop looking for additional candidates and go with options I might have missed, order a set of Jar Heads rubber jar openers, and cross my fingers that they would actually live up to their claims. 

Lady Luck must have been smiling on me, since the first time I used my new Jar Heads rubber jar opener grippers, I knew at once that I had hit the product roulette jackpot with these well made, easy to use kitchen gadgets!

Here are the main attributes, features, and benefits that led me to choose Jar Heads Rubber Jar Opener Grippers over the other rubber jar openers on my "short list" of contenders. 

Thin and Flexible Enough to Conform to Jars, Bottles, and Lids, Yet Tough Enough to Hold Up Under Pressure, and Over Time

  • Even though these jar opener pads are only about 1/16" thick, they're also sturdy and substantial.
  • Made from recycled rubber tires, which are designed to withstand much more abuse than twisting open bottle and jar lids! 
  • After 10 months of frequent use, and being squeezed into a drawer crammed with kitchen tools and kitchen gadgets in between uses, all five of our Jar Heads still look, feel and perform the same as they did when I first opened the package. 

Made From 100% Post-Consumer Recycled Tires

  • Uses sustainable, eco-friendly, recycled material and manufacturing practices.

Superior Grip Strength Lives up to "Non-Slip" and "Works Great for Weak Hands,...Seniors With Arthritis and Children" Claims 

  • While nearly every rubber jar opener product’s marketing makes these claims, few live up to them.
  • By contrast, Jar Heads take advantage of the powerful grip strength that has been engineered into the rubber tires from which these jar opener gripper pads are made, which also gives them exceptional durability

Wide Enough to Grip Large Jars, Flexible Enough to Grip Small Bottles

  • The 5" diameter make these rubber discs are wide enough to grab onto even oversized pickle jars or  party-sizes pretzels sold in bulk at warehouse stores like Costco or Sam's Club.
  • They are also thin and flexible enough to grip a small, slender hot sauce bottle and its extremely small screw-on lid. 

Made in the USA

  • Buying products made in the USA supports American companies, workers, and their families.  

Sold in Sets of Five

  • That's enough to share, or use in pairs, and still have spares!

Strong, High-Quality Jar Openers for $2.50 Apiece

  • At the time this post was published, a 5-pack of Jar Heads was selling on Amazon for $12.50, with free shipping for Amazon Prime members. That works out to just $2.50 each for these excellent jar opener rubber grips! 
  • At that low price, you could give these out as stocking stuffers to everyone on your holiday gift list, or as small "just because I'm thinking of you" gifts any time of year.

30-Day, 100% Money-Back Satisfaction Guarantee

  • I respect and prefer to buy from companies that have enough confidence in the quality and performance of what they make or sell, and have a strong enough commitment to their customers to stand behind their products with a risk-free, 100% money-back satisfaction guarantee. 

    Jar Heads are sold by First Class Products of NY, which describes itself as a "Small Family Run Business founded in New York" on its Amazon Seller Profile Page, where you can contact them directly with a question or concern, and also read the overwhelmingly positive seller feedback from their Amazon customers. 

A screenshot of the seller's Amazon Seller Profile page 

Jar Heads Make Great Gifts for Seniors

Or Anyone With Small or Weak Hands or Limited Grip Strength

  • Gives them more confidence to open jars and bottles by reducing the legitimate fear of losing their grip on glass containers and knocking over or dropping them, potentially causing them to break into dangerous, sharp glass pieces and shards.
  • Reduces the frustration and embarrassment of needing to rely on someone else to take care of this routine task for them, and waiting for someone to be available to help.

A Helpful, Inexpensive Aid That Makes Anyone, Regardless of Their Grip Strength

  • Even people who have strong enough hands to loosen tight lids or break the vacuum seals on new, unopened bottles and jars will appreciate how much less effort it takes to open them with the help of these Jar Heads rubber grip pads.


Jar Heads Rubber Jar Opener Gripper Pads product review by Margaret Schindel


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Friday, February 5, 2021

Brown Sugar Keeper Reviewed - I Love My Brown Sugar Bear!

If you have ever had brown sugar harden in your pantry, you will understand the need for the brown sugar bear.

Brown Sugar Keeper
Not only is he adorable, but he keeps your brown sugar soft for months.  He can also be used to remove moisture from salt, spices, and other food products that are prone to go stale after the package is opened.  

Many years ago, I was given a brown sugar stone.  It looked like a flat terracotta disc or flat rock.  Not pretty, but it did the job.  I have no idea what happened to that disc.  I fear it got thrown away at some point when cleaning out my pantry. I may have looked at the date on my box of brown sugar and simply tossed it, not even thinking about the brown sugar keeper.  That seems like the most likely scenario since I haven't been able to find it anywhere.

When I opened my brown sugar a few weeks ago, I discovered it was hard as a brick.  That hardened box of brown sugar could easily be used as a weapon.  Since I have no need for a brown sugar weapon in my kitchen, I went in search of my brown sugar keeper.  That is when I discovered it was missing.  Such great sadness enveloped me until I thought of Amazon and how they might have a brown sugar keeper.  The website search began and I quickly found a variety of options.  Success!  But, now I was faced with another dilemma.  I had to choose a design.  After all, I don't really need a dozen different brown sugar keepers just because they are cute.

Choosing a design took me all of about 3 minutes. As soon as I saw the brown sugar bear, I knew the one (well, 2) that I needed.  I promptly ordered my bears and anxiously awaited their arrival.  The bear siblings arrived in perfect condition 3 days later.  

Isn't he just the cutest brown sugar keeper you ever saw!  His sister awaits her opportunity to come out and play.

Brown Sugar Keeper


How to Use a Brown Sugar Keeper

 Brown Sugar Bear Harold Import Co Original Sugar Saver and Softener, Terracotta, Set of 2Check PriceFor keeping your brown sugar soft, you simply soak the brown sugar keeper of your choice in water for 20 minutes.  Dry him off with a paper towel, and place him in your brown sugar.

For keeping moisture out of other spices or food items, you don't get him wet.  Place the dry keeper in the bag or container and let him absorb the moisture.

If your brown sugar is already hardened, like mine was, soak him and put him in the container (box or bag).  Within 24 hours, your brown sugar will be soft again.  He is a magical little bear! 

Well, they all work the same way, but you know I love my little bears.   


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Tuesday, December 15, 2020

The Best Low Carb Keto Gift Ideas: Keto Gift Guide

Keto and other low carb diets are increasingly popular, as the health benefits become better understood and more widely known. As someone who has lost a significant amount of weight (nearly 60 pounds) on a ketogenic diet and kept the weight off by maintaining a healthy, low-carb lifestyle, I'm reviewing my favorite gift ideas for anyone on your list who is trying to watch their carbohydrate intakes, or has plans to start a low carb or keto diet in the near future (perhaps once upcoming holidays, events, special occasions, or other celebrations—such as their, or your, birthday, graduation, anniversary, engagement party, wedding, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Valentine's Day, etc.). 

This special occasion or holiday gift guide is filled with thoughtful presents for any occasion that will support the health, wellbeing, and weight loss goals of the people you care about. There's no time like the present to give someone—including yourself—the gift of good health!

Main image: glitter background with text "The Best Gifts for someone on a Low Carb or Keto Diet"
©2020 Margaret Schindel, all rights reserved.

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Gift Ideas for Keto Diet or Low Carb Newbies

If someone on your list has just started a low carb or ketogenic diet, or is planning to start on a specific date or after a certain holiday celebration or other special event, these gift ideas can help get them off to a good start.
  • A book that explains and helps them succeed on a keto diet by a respected and knowledgeable author. Keto: The Complete Guide to Success on The Ketogenic Diet, including Simplified Science and No-cook Meal Plans by Maria Emmerich and Suzanne Ryan's books Simply Keto and Beyond Simply Keto are all excellent choices.
  • A reliable, accurate and reliable digital food scale to help them weigh and track their calories, carbs, and other macros. I recommend looking for one that has a convenient tare function (which zeroes out the weight of a plate, bowl, cup, or other container before adding the food to be weighed), weighs in pounds, ounces, kilograms, and grams, registers additions accurately in very small increments, has a large, easy-to-read display, a smooth, easy-to-clean surface, and is made by a company that stands behind its products. I highly recommend the Nicewell 22 Lb. Digital Kitchen Scale. It meets all the aforementioned criteria, has a smooth, wipe-clean, durable stainless steel and tempered glass surface, and has a wide measurement range of 0.1 ounce/2–3 grams to 22 pounds/10 kg, added in 0.1 ounce/1 gram increments. Mine also has been much more reliable than the two previous digital food scales I've owned (from well known brands), and the flat surface lets me weigh food on a large plate or in a large bowl, without taking up a lot of valuable kitchen counter space. At less than $37 (as of this writing), its high accuracy and excellent features compared to cheaper models make it a very good value.
  • A selection of low-glycemic, keto-friendly sweeteners. Since each person's palate, digestive system, and metabolism are different, figuring out which types of keto-friendly sweeteners taste best to them, which ones cause them to experience an unpleasant aftertaste or noticeable cooling effect, which ones cause them gastrointestinal distress, and which ones elevate their blood sugar or knock them out of ketosis. Some people are much more sensitive than others to certain types of sweeteners. So, for someone who is just starting out, especially if they have a sweet tooth, a range of different types of granulated, powdered, and brown sugar replacements would likely be a welcome gift. 
  • One of the best articles to help you understand the differences and which keto sweeteners are best for specific uses is Carolyn Ketchum's "The Ultimate Guide to Keto Sweeteners" on her All Day I Dream About Food website. My favorite sweetener by far is BochaSweet "The Supreme Sugar Replacement," which tastes virtually identical to cane sugar, has no aftertaste, and comes in both granulated and powdered (confectioner's sugar) forms. It's also more expensive than other keto-friendly sweeteners, so it's a luxury a keto newbie might not splurge on to buy for themselves. 
  • An accurate and reliable digital body weight scale to help them track their weight loss progress. Our house is old and has settled, so the wood floors aren't perfectly level. As a result, I never had a scale that reliably displayed the same weight reading five minutes apart, until I bought myself the Etekcity High Precision Digital Body Weight Bathroom Scale with Ultra Wide Platform and Easy-to-Read Backlit LCD. In addition to its accuracy, I also love the big, easy-to-read, backlit digital display and the extra-wide, rock-steady platform (since my balance isn't that great when my feet are too close together). It measures within a weight range of 18–440 pounds (8–200 kg) in increments of 0.2 lb. /0.1 kg. Best of all, it costs less than $30!
  • A journal where they can track their progress against their goals in whatever way is most helpful to them—tracking food, exercise, sleep, water intake, body measurements, blood pressure, mood, how their clothes fit, how they're feeling, etc. Many food and exercise journals track just 90 days, and have limited (or no) flexibility in what you can track and in what format. I suggest choosing one like Eat Better, Feel Better, Live Better: A 52-Week Food Journal, which will allow your gift recipient track the things they care about most for an entire year. Even though I've used the Carb Manager app since the day I switched to a low carb keto lifestyle, I would have really benefited from also using a journal like this one where I could track more than just numbers.

Fun Gifts for Low Carb and Keto Enthusiasts

If your you're shopping for someone who is loving their low carb lifestyle, they're sure to love any of these.

Gifts for Someone Who Loves Cooking or Baking

Learning to cook without grains, rice, potatoes, or other starchy vegetables takes effort. Learning to make sugar-free, gluten-free, grain-free baked goods has an even steeper learning curve! Companies are coming out with more—and better tasting—low carb and keto foods and ingredients all the time. 

In addition to the excellent digital food scale I mentioned previously, there are other types of kitchen tools and equipment I find myself using since adopting a healthier, low carb approach to eating.

Here are some gift ideas that would be welcome in any low carb kitchen.
  • A couple of really good, reliable low carb or keto cookbooks. Some that I can recommend highly are Carolyn Ketchum's cookbooks, especially The Ultimate Guide to Keto Baking (my low carb baking bible), and The Everyday Ketogenic Kitchen, filled with foolproof, seriously yummy recipes to suit a wide variety of tastes; Maya Krampf's The Wholesome Yum Easy Keto Cookbook (simple, delicious recipes with no more than 10 ingredients); Southern Keto: 100+ Traditional Food Favorites for a Low-Carb Lifestyle by Natasha Newton for anyone who loves Southern food; and all of Maria Emmerich's cookbooks, especially Keto Restaurant Favorites and Keto Comfort Foods. If your gift recipient has or will be getting an air fryer or an Instant Pot, Maria also has written low carb cookbooks for using both those popular kitchen appliances.
  • A vegetable spiralizer for making zoodles (zucchini noodles) and cucumber spirals. If your gift recipient is eating low carb but not following a strict keto diet, butternut squash noodles and carrot spirals can also be enjoyed in moderation, and add important nutrients including antioxidants, carotenoids, and Vitamin A, among others. 
  • A mini waffle iron for making chaffles. Chaffles are individual size, high-protein, low carb mini waffles, made from beaten egg, shredded mozzarella or other cheese, almond flour, and other ingredients, depending on the flavor. They're a favorite staple for many who follow a keto or low carb diet. There are myriad chaffle recipes, both sweet and savory. Chaffles are great topped with butter and sugar free syrup for breakfast, and can be used as a bread alternative for sandwiches, as a base for individual pizzas, or as a dessert, topped with keto-friendly ice cream, syrup, and/or whipped cream. They're quick and easy to make. They also freeze well and can be popped into a toaster or toaster oven for a grab-and-go meal or snack.

    Last year, about six months into my keto diet journey, I put the popular, very inexpensive DASH Mini Waffle Maker on my Christmas wish list, so I could see what all the chaffle buzz was about. It makes perfectly fine chaffles, and would be a great stocking stuffer. However, if you can afford a higher-end chaffle maker for your gift recipient, I would definitely recommend choosing one like the Cuisinart WAF-300 Belgian Waffle Maker with Pancake Plates, which can make as many as four (and as few as one) chaffles (or Belgian waffles, for household members who aren't watching their carbohydrate intake), and has an attractive, brushed stainless steel top cover; removable, dishwasher-safe, nonstick waffle plates (as well as a pancake plate that makes four perfectly round pancakes); lights that indicate when the unit has finished preheating and when the chaffles, waffles, or pancakes are done; and an audible alert beep. Although it has a large footprint, this waffle maker can be stored upright to save space, and comes with a set of tongs, a recipe book (for non-keto household members), and a 3-year limited warranty. I would love to receive this terrific piece of equipment as a gift for my keto kitchen (hint, hint)!
  • A selection of sugar free syrups made with a low glycemic sweetener, such as monkfruit, allulose, erythritol, and/or stevia. I love ChocZero syrups and have bought them in nearly every flavor they make (the current selection sold depends on the season). They're high in dietary fiber, low in net carbs, and extremely versatile. I use them often as toppings for low-carb pancakes, waffles, or chaffles. (I think ChocZero makes the best-tasting, low glycemic maple, maple pecan, and vanilla maple syrup on the market. Some people prefer the Lakanto maple flavored syrup, which is thinner and has a stronger maple flavor that I don't care for. To each his or her own!) ChocZero's line of syrups are also great for pouring over keto ice cream (Enlightened's yummy Keto Collection flavors are my favorites), and I love using these syrups for flavoring tea, coffee, hot chocolate, etc. They don't dissolve readily in cold liquids, so for cold drinks, I just dissolve a tablespoon or two of ChocZero syrup in two or three tablespoons of microwaved hot water, let it cool for a few minutes, and then stir the diluted syrup into it to my cold drink, along with a bunch of ice cubes. I also love Sukrin Gold syrup, which  has a taste and consistency surprisingly similar to honey, and is also sugar free and high in fiber.

    Make sure to tell your gift recipient to wipe the opening (and the surrounding area) of the ChocZero or Sukrin Gold syrup bottle with a hot, damp dishcloth right after they use the syrup. Otherwise, any residue in or around the opening will harden, and can make the lid/cap difficult to open next time. Also explain that these syrups should stored at room temperature, not in the refrigerator.

Low Carb and Keto Treats, Snacks, and Baked Goods

For many people, one of the hardest things about switching to a very low carb diet is having to give up their favorite starchy, salty, high carbohydrate snacks and baked goods, like pretzels, potato chips, cheese puffs, taco chips, crackers, and breads, rolls, and hot dog, hamburger, or sandwich buns, as well as sweet treats like candy, cookies, cakes, pies, pastries, and muffins. 

Although a very or moderately strict keto diet can help reduce or eliminate a person's addictive cravings for sugar, carbohydrates, and highly processed foods with little nutritional value, many of us who choose to follow a ketogenic diet for more than a few months find that including small to moderate amounts of healthier, low carb alternatives to the foods we used to crave makes this way of eating much more sustainable over the long term. So, unless your recipient follows a very strict keto diet (or plans to), they probably would be delighted to receive a gift of keto and low carb treats from you. 

Here are some delicious edible gift ideas.
  • Pork rinds. These light, crunchy snacks are a great keto friendly alternative to starchy potato chips. Crushed pork rinds are also a terrific substitute for bread crumbs!
  • Cheese crisps - you can make these yourself by placing squares of sliced Parmesan, muenster, Fontal, or other good "melting cheeses" two inches apart on a large nonstick griddle, heating them until they melt, spread out, and get bubbly, and letting them cool, or you can buy ready-to-each cheese crisps in single-serving bags. The two commercial brands of cheese crisps I've tried are Whisps and HighKey Keto Cheese Crunch, which are both good, but much more expensive than making them yourself.
  • Moon Cheese crunchy keto puffed cheese snacks - the high protein, low carb answer to Cheez Doodles and Utz Cheese Balls. They make five flavors: Cheddar, Gouda, Pepper Jack, Bacon Cheddar, and Garlic Parmesan. If you don't know your gift recipient's favorite type of cheese, there are also 5-pack and 10-pack variety assortments that include all five flavors.
  • Low carb crackers - it's hard to find ones that don't taste like cardboard, but the Fat Snax Almond Flour Crackers get excellent reviews, and there is a variety pack option that includes all three flavors: Cheddar, Sea Salt, and Everything (seasoned similarly to an "everything" bagel). They're also expensive (currently $14.99 for a bag of three on Amazon). 
  • Sugar free chocolate candy and chips sweetened with keto-friendly sweeteners. If your favorite "recovering carboholic" is also a chocoholic, they would surely be thrilled to unwrap a few of these delicious, low carb treats. Some of my personal favorites include HighKey's milk chocolate pecan caramel clusters (they taste exactly like the iconic turtle candies) and dark chocolate almond caramel clusters (absolutely incredible!); ChocZero's Keto Bark in a wide assortment of seasonal and year-round flavors; their peanut butter cups in white, milk, and dark chocolate, and their no sugar added dark, milk, and (my favorite) white chocolate chips; Good Dee's dark chocolate chips; and Lily's stevia-sweetened chocolate bars (especially the 70% cacao bars, like their sea salt extra dark chocolate bar). 
  • Keto cookies. I'm absolutely crazy for HighKey mini cookies, so much that I keep multiple bags of every flavor they make (so far—they keep adding new ones!) in my pantry, including their crisp mini almond and chocolate chip biscotti. Each serving of 5 to 8 cookies (depending on the flavor) has 3–5 grams of protein, 9–14 grams of fat, 1–3 grams of dietary fiber, and only 1–3 net carbs and 110–150 calories, They've also just come out with larger, individually wrapped coconut macaroons and cocoa coconut macaroons, which have just 1 net carb and 90 calories each, plus 1 gram of protein, 7–8 grams of fat, and 5 grams of dietary fiber, and are chewy, filling, and absolutely scrumptious. 
  • Sugar-free, grain-free baking mixes for making great-tasting, quick and easy keto treats with wholesome, high quality ingredients. There are so many wonderful mixes on the market, it's hard to choose just a few to include in this gift guide. In recent months, I've share my reviews of some of my favorite low carb and keto cupcake and muffin baking mixes and several flavors of Good Dee's low carb cookie mixes here on Review This Reviews. Good Dee's coconut snack cake mix absolutely delicious. In fact, I decided to use it as the cake layer for my birthday cake this year, which I split, filled, and iced with cream cheese frosting, topped with toasted unsweetened coconut and fresh raspberries. My husband, who also loves baked goods but doesn't follow a low carb diet, liked it so much that he asked me to make the same cake for his birthday the following month! If your gift recipient is more interested in savory baked goods, one of the key ingredients in my keto cheddar cheese and chive biscuits recipe is HighKey's excellent buttermilk biscuit mix. Livlo also has a very good biscuit mix. 

Gift Baskets

Arranging several related items to create an attractive composition inside a tissue paper-lined basket, wrapping it in a large sheet of cellophane, and tying it with a big bow is a simple way to create an impressive gift. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination! Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Keto Pasta Party Basket

For someone who loves pasta, having to give up delicious, starchy, comfort food favorites like spaghetti and linguine on a ketogenic diet can be a difficult sacrifice. Imagine their surprise when they open your gift basket and see four bags of delicious, nutritionally dense, low carb, Gnooda keto pasta, a couple of large jars of Yo Mama's Original Marinara Sauce (no added sugar and just 4 net carbs per 1/2-cup serving), a wedge of good, imported Italian Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese, and a festive red Microplane fine cheese grater so they can grate fine shreds of salty, cheesy goodness over the plates or bowls of warm pasta! To make it extra special, you could line the basket with a classic red and white checkered tablecloth, reminiscent of a typical Italian trattoria, wrap bright red, white, or green cloth napkins around the marinara sauce jars, imported cheese, and cheese grater, and add a couple of red, green, or white pillar candles, jar candles, votives, or tapers to help your gift recipient create the right ambiance for their pasta party, even (or, perhaps, especially if they're dining solo).  

Gnooda keto pasta is made from nutrient-dense lupin flour and fresh eggs, using age-old Italian pasta making techniques. A one-cup serving of cooked Gnooda pasta contains a whopping 22 grams of protein, 15 grams of fiber, 7 grams of fat, and only 3g of net carbs and 165 calories. As of this writing it is only available in the radiatore shape, and can only be purchased in four-bag increments directly from the company's website, Gnooda.com. Also, Rao's Homemade Marinara Sauce is a good alternative if you can't get Yo Mama's Original Marinara Sauce.

Fit and Fabulous Basket

Fill a gift basket with things to support their fitness goals, and tailor the contents to their favorite form of exercise. For example:
  • For someone who enjoys playing tennis, your basket might include a new can of tennis balls, a new sun visor or sweatband, a few pairs of breathable, low cut, cushioned athletic socks, a high SPF, broad-spectrum mineral sunscreen (see my review of EltaMD® and Colorescience® mineral-based physical sunscreens), and some packets of low carb, sugar free, powdered electrolyte drink mix. 
  • For someone who doesn't have the time to get to the gym on a regular basis or travels a lot, you could fill a large gift basket with a nice-looking, breathable, lightweight T-shirt and leggings, a digital fitness tracker, and a canister of low carb, sugar free, powdered electrolyte drink mix (my favorite is Key Nutrients' Cherry-Pom Electrolyte Recovery Plus Replenishment Drink). Depending on how much you want to spent, you could also include a gift card to Amazon, Dick's Sporting Goods, or another sports equipment store for them to pick out a piece of at-home or on-the-road workout equipment, such as a medicine ball, a set of dumbbells or free weights, or a set of resistance bands they can use both at home and on the road.
  • For someone who hates to exercise but loves to dance, put together a "it's my (dance) party" basket, featuring a jazzy, comfortable, lightweight T-shirt with a matching or coordinating leggings or yoga pants and sweatband (the crazier and more fun and festive, the better), and a fun, upbeat, easy-to-follow dance workout, like Body Groove's Delicious Dance DVD Collection, Dance Your Heart Out DVD Collection, or Young at Heart DVD

Relax and Unwind Basket

Most people associate certain foods with comfort, and when we're feeling extremely anxious, stressed, upset, sad, hurt, or overwhelmed, many of us have the urge to soothe those feelings with familiar and, often, unhealthy "comfort foods." Unfortunately, giving into the impulse to "eat our emotions" can be self-sabotaging for someone who is trying to lose weight or live a healthier lifestyle, and after the short-lived immediate gratification, they usually feel even worse after consuming a pint of ice cream or a bowl of macaroni and cheese. So, if someone who is following a low carb diet (or has any other type of dietary restrictions) is going through a rough patch, one of the ways you can support them might be to give them something other than food that can help them escape their troubles and help them feel better (even if it's only a temporary reprieve) without sabotaging their health and wellness goals. Here are some gift ideas to include in a customized "relax and unwind" basket: herbal teas; a mug with a personalized saying or image that has a special meaning for the recipient; traditional or flameless LED wax candles (preferably with one of the person's favorite scents); music to help them relax or lift their spirits; a soft, cozy robe, sweater, or throw; a guided meditation recording or DVD; an electric heated neck, shoulder, or back massager. 

One of my favorite herbal teas is the lovely, floral Republic of Tea Organic Elderflower and Green Rooibos Super Herb Tea. Also consider some of the herbal teas reviewed by my fellow contributors on Review This Reviews, including Louanne's Arbonne Essentials Herbal Detox Tea review and Pure Peppermint herbal tea review, Cynthia's Aveda Comforting Tea review, and BarbRad's Lifestyle Awareness Teas review

We have flameless LED candles in every room of our house, some that we purchased and others that we received as gifts. Our favorites by far are the Luminara real wax flameless LED candles. Their LED "flames" are signicantly more realistic than their competitors', thanks to Luminara's proprietary moving flame technology, which has been imitated but never equaled (at least, not so far). Ours have interchangeable remote controls, any one of whicht can turn all the Luminara candles in a room on and off with a single click (even though we've purchased them at different times, and from different stores), which is extremely convenient, considering how many candles we have. For the Luminara candles in our bedroom, we use the optional timer feature, which is on a 5 hours on/19 hours off cycle. (We set them to turn on at 6 pm and turn off at 11 pm, so we can go to bed by candlelight.) They're more expensive than other brands, but we think they're well worth the higher price.


Are you or someone you know following a keto diet or low carb lifestyle? If so, what other gift ideas would you add to this Low Carb and Keto Gift Guide ? I'd love to see your suggestions!

The Best Low Carb Keto Gift Ideas: Keto Gift Guide by Margaret Schindel


Posts In This Series About My Keto Diet Journey

The Best Low Carb Keto Gift Ideas: Keto Gift Guide

The Ultimate Keto Hot Chocolate Recipe

Keto Cheddar Cheese Biscuits With Chives Recipe

My Favorite Hamama Microgreens Seed Quilt Accessories

Hamama Microgreens Growing Kit Review & Success Tips

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

Read More Reviews About Gifts by Our Review This Reviews Contributors




 




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