Showing posts with label Product Reviews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Product Reviews. Show all posts

Friday, September 30, 2022

Waffle Plates for Cuisinart Griddler Reviewed

Heart Waffles
Almost 7 years ago, I purchased a Cuisinart Griddler Countertop Grill & Griddle. We bought it primarily so my husband could grill steaks, hamburgers, and pork chops indoors during the winter months.  However, we quickly found additional uses for the Griddler. 

The Griddler plates are two sided. The grill is on one side of the plates and the flat griddle is on the other side of the plates. You simply insert them on the side you wish on cook on. I frequently use the griddle side for pancakes and eggs. The Griddler is so much easier to use than a skillet because it sits higher and has no sides to work around.

I've never been particularly fond of waffles, but my husband loves them. I also purchased the standard Griddler waffle plates imagining that I would make waffles for him. However, in the 7 years we have had our Griddler, I have never used the standard square waffle plates. Then, a few weeks ago, I noticed Griddler now has heart shaped waffle plates. I immediately bought them!  Because I was excited to make heart shaped waffles, I used them as soon as they were delivered. They were so much fun to make, plus they are delicious, that I have made them several times in the last few weeks.

Turns out, if they are heart shaped, I love waffles!  


Heart Shaped Waffle Plates for the Cuisinart Griddler

Using the Griddler is very easy.  All of the cook plates are coated with a non-stick Teflon, but I still use a cooking spray when making waffles.  

 Waffle Plates for Cuisinart Griddler GR-4NP1 5-in-1, Cuisinart Griddler Waffle Plates, Nonstick coating baking waffle plates,2 pcsCheck PriceThe cook plates are dishwasher safe. I normally wash the waffle plates by hand, but I do put the grill plates in the dishwasher to make sure all meat residue is washed away and the plates are clean. 

To make waffles, I used Pearl Milling Company (previously Aunt Jemima) Original Pancake & Waffle Mix


Waffle Recipe for Cuisinart Griddler

  • 1 Cup of Pearl Milling Company Original Pancake Mix 
  • ¾ Cup Milk 
  • 1 Egg 
  • 2 Tablespoon Oil 

Whisk all together well and let it set for 5 minutes. Spray each Griddler plate lightly with a cooking spray.  Cook on Griddle Setting on 375 for 3 – 3 ½ minutes 

One recipe makes 2 full 5-hearts shaped waffles & 1/2 of another. Serve them with maple syrup or other flavored syrup. I personally love Smuckers blueberry syrup, but my husband prefers the maple syrup.

You can cut the waffles into individual hearts after they are fully cooked or leave them whole.  We have laughed over whether the waffles are hearts, flowers, or ice cream cones.  Yes, they are meant to be hearts, but we have enjoyed "seeing" other shapes in the waffles.


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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.”


Wednesday, September 28, 2022

The Best Affordable, Super Sharp Kitchen and Steak Knives Set

Sharp knives are the most important tools in any kitchen. A good chef’s knife, slicer (AKA carving knife), santoku, utility or prep, paring, and serrated bread knife (along with a boning knife, if you frequently debone bone-in meat or poultry) can help you accomplish any food cutting, slicing or chopping task faster and more efficiently.

Using only very sharp kitchen knives is extremely important, not just because they enable you to make faster, easier, more precise cuts but also because they’re safer. A dull blade that doesn’t slide easily into the food you are slicing, paring, etc., requires more force and is much more likely to slide off the food and slice into your finger or hand instead.

Fortunately, with a little effort, it is possible to find good quality kitchen knives that retain their sharpness well with just simple, routine maintenance. In this product review, I’ll share the well-made, affordable, super sharp kitchen and steak knives set I bought last month that also includes a wood storage block.

Photo of Astercook 15-piece knives and knife block set

True confession: I held onto our 30+-year-old Chicago Cutlery stainless steel kitchen knives for way too long. I received the set as a gift when I was too young to know that kitchen knives shouldn't go through the dishwasher (regardless of "dishwasher safe" marketing claims that benefit manufacturers and retailers by increasing both short-term and long-term sales, since blades with ruined edges needs to be replaced more often). The riveted wood handles had become loose and wobbly thanks to swelling and shrinking during dishwasher cycles, and the blades had become so nicked and dull that they couldn't hold an edge even with routine honing and sharpening. This made slicing, dicing, chopping and cutting slow and laborious and caused more frequent cut fingers. I don't know why I waited so long to replace them.

Not All High-Carbon Stainless Steel Knives Are Alike

Several years ago, I took advantage of an Amazon Prime Day deal for a kitchen and steak knife set with sharp blades and molded plastic handles. It also included kitchen shears and a wood storage block with a built-in blade sharpener instead of a honing rod (before I knew that frequent sharpening was a bad idea!).

I explained to my husband that, unlike our previous, beat-up set that had been through the dishwasher countless times (and had the beat-up, dull edges to prove it), our new one had high-carbon stainless steel blades that would need to be hand washed and towel dried thoroughly immediately after use to avoid rust. John is a wonderful cook who makes dinner on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights (I am so blessed!). However, whereas I try to clean as I go when I'm cooking, he prefers to focus on the food and leave the clean-up until after dessert. Old habits are hard to break, and despite his best efforts, he often forgot to wash and dry the new kitchen knives right away. Predictably, the blades routinely developed light rust spots. Eventually, we gave the set to a young relative who was moving into his first apartment.

I bought a Victorinox Fibrox Pro 8-Inch Chef's Knife (model 45520), the winner of Cook's Illustrated favorite chef's knives under $75, which my husband and I really enjoy using. It has a molded, ergonomic, thermoplastic handle for a comfortable grip and sharpens very nicely. Best of all, it can be hand washed and left to drip dry in our awesome over-the-sink dish drying rack without developing rust stains, which makes both of us happy, and cost less than $40 on Amazon (as of this post's publication date). We love it so much that I gifted one to my brother when he started teaching himself to cook. It's still my husband's go-to kitchen knife.

We already owned an excellent handcrafted, serrated bread knife with a beautiful handle that I had purchased long ago at an upscale art and craft fair from the man who made it. Between it and our Victorinox Fibrox Pro, we made do just fine for a year or two. However, while a chef's knife is the single most useful size, shape and style, it isn't optimal for tasks like paring, carving, or making precision cuts or paper-thin slices. So, a few months ago I started looking for a new kitchen knife set that we could use without having to worry about rust spots developing if they weren't washed and dried as soon as we finished using them.

My first step was to check out Cook's Illustrated's knife block set reviews. None of the preconfigured sets they tested met their criteria for top picks. Instead, they put together two highly recommended sets that buyers could assemble but purchasing specific, individual kitchen knives and the testers' favorite knife block. The total cost of these two assemble-your-own "knife block sets" came to $440 and $224, respectively, well above my target price range.

Next, since I really wanted the sharpness and more refined edges of high-carbon stainless steel blades, I decided to look at moderately-priced high-carbon stainless steel kitchen knife sets with "dishwasher safe" marketing claims. Even though I would never put mine in the dishwasher, I reasoned that a set that claimed to be dishwasher safe might be less prone to rust or corrosion than our previous set.

After copious research and reading products reviews to see what customers experienced in terms of both performance and ease of maintenance, I found an affordable set with good reviews on Amazon and decided to buy it.

Astercook 15-piece kitchen knife block set
My Astercook 15-piece knife set with storage block includes kitchen shears, an excellent honing rod and six serrated seak knives (one of which is shown below the honing steel).

Astercook 15-Piece German High-Carbon Stainless Steel Knife Set with Storage Block

Our new Astercook 15-piece German high-carbon stainless steel kitchen knife block set has performed admirably since I bought it nearly two months ago. It is serviceable rather than fancy, which is exactly what we need, and it has not only the essentials but also several nice-to-have and bonus tools.

The Essentials

  • 8" chef's knife
A Western-style chef's knife, with its curved tip, is the most versatile and efficient tool for many tasks, especially those requiring a rocking motion. It's the one we use most often.

    • 8" serrated bread knife
    This versatile blade has many uses beyond just slicing bread. We like using it to cut through fruits that have a thick skin or rind (e.g., pineapple, watermelon) and delicate foods (e.g., slicing cake horizontally into layers).

      • 3.5” paring knife
      The blade is a great length for tasks like peeling, quartering and coring apples, while the sharp, pointed tip makes hulling strawberries a breeze.

        The Nice-to-Haves

        • 7" santoku
        This smaller, lighter, sharper Japanese-style chef's knife was designed for the more precise cuts used to prepare Japanese food and is nearly as versatile as its Western counterpart. I love it for cutting very thin slices of cucumber and other vegetables and prefer it to a serrated bread blade (which also works) for slicing tomatoes cleanly with minimal loss of the interior jelly and seeds. (Did you know that most of a tomato's flavor is in the "guts," i.e., the jelly and seeds?)

          • 8" slicer
          The long, straight blade makes this our tool of choice for carving large, even slices of meat, poultry or fish.

            • 5” utility knife
            Shorter than the chef's but longer than the paring, we love using this versatile midsize, mid-weight blade for slicing hard cheese or salami, mincing parsley, breaking down or deboning poultry and many other tasks.

              Bonus Items

              • Six serrated steak knives
              The 4.5" serrated blades slice effortlessly through cooked meats and stay sharp longer than blades with straight edges.They definitely add to our enjoyment of a good steak!

                • Honing rod (AKA honing steel)
                Like all blades, the ones in this high-carbon stainless steel kitchen knife set require frequent honing to keep them sharp and prolong the need for sharpening. The honing rod that comes with this set does a fabulous job and is far superior to the one from my 30+-year-old set. Just a quick pass or two lets me restore the edges from somewhat sharp to razor-sharp.

                Note: This stainless steel blade honing tool is often referred to as a "sharpening steel" or "sharpening rod." See "What's the Difference Between Honing and Sharpening?" (below) to understand why that's a misnomer.

                  • Kitchen shears
                  These have so many uses! I find it quicker and easier to use kitchen shears for things like making a chiffonade of fresh basil leaves (i.e., stacking, rolling and cutting them into thin strips), snipping fresh chives or scallions into small pieces, cutting up sticky dried fruits (oil the blades first to minimize sticking), and trimming excess pie dough, green beans, fat, etc. As a bonus, this thoughtfully designed pair also has a handy built-in bottle opener!

                  Tip: To help keep the blades sharp, reserve these kitchen shears for food use only and keep a pair of utility scissors in your kitchen drawer for non-food tasks, such as cutting open bags and boxes or cutting baking parchment paper to size.

                    • Acacia wood storage block
                    The wood knife block is not as well made or nicely finished as the tools it holds, which was a bit disappointing but definitely not a deal-breaker. The one we received is darker and has a less attractive wood grain pattern than those in the Amazon listing photos (but is very similar to the one in the product video) and the edges around the slots are a bit rough.

                    That said, it does its job of protecting the knives, kitchen shears and honing rod when not in use and, as you can see, it looks fine on our kitchen counter.

                      Excellent Value, Affordable Price

                      Here are some of the attributes that make this Astercook 15-piece knife set with storage block my pick for the best affordable, super sharp kitchen and steak knives set.

                      • 15-piece set includes everything a home cook needs to choose the best cutting tool for any task
                      • Comfortable in the hand, with enough clearance under the handles to wrap your fingers around them
                      • Forged (vs. stamped), seamless construction
                      • Extremely sharp, German high-carbon stainless steel blades that hold their edge well with frequent honing
                      • Rust-resistant (not rustproof)
                        • Even though the Amazon product listing claims this set is "dishwasher safe", that claim (for any knife set, not just this one) is a marketing gimmick. Believe the Astercook user manual that comes with the set, which clearly states that blades should never go into the dishwasher. That said, if you really don't want to wash and dry them by hand, you can run them through the dishwasher as long as you are willing to have them sharpened frequently and accept that they will need to be replaced much sooner than if you care for them properly.
                      • Lifetime warranty (note that a few Amazon reviewers had difficulty reaching the manufacturer)
                      • Impressive value—a full set of six good quality kitchen knives, six serrated steak knives, a honing steel, a pair of kitchen shears and an acacia wood knife block, all for less than $70 with free Amazon Prime shipping (at the time of this post’s publication)

                      How to Keep Your New Kitchen Knives Sharp

                      Frequent honing will maintain a blade's sharp edge(s) and prolong the its useful life, since most can only be re-sharpened a limited number of times.

                      What's the Difference Between Honing and Sharpening?

                      Honing realigns and smooths the metal along a blade's existing cutting edge to restore its sharpness. Since no metal is removed, you can hone a blade as often as you wish (some people do it either before or after each use) without damaging the edge, as long as you maintain the correct angle as you are sliding it across the honing rod. However, honing won't sharpen a dull blade, which is why it's important to hone frequently to maintain the sharp edge as long as possible.

                      Sharpening removes metal (with abrasives such as a whetstone, diamond sharpening block or manual or electric knife sharpener) to create a new cutting edge. Even with routine maintenance, a blade that gets a lot of use will dull eventually and will need sharpening. Creating the original cutting edge and sharpening the blade correctly when it becomes dull requires precision. For example, different types of blades have cutting edges at different angles, and some are beveled on both sides while others are beveled on only one side. A professional knife sharpening service will deliver the best results at a very reasonable price. However, it's also possible to do a creditable job yourself if you are willing to invest in a high quality knife sharpener, such as Cook's Illustrated's top picks, the three-stage Chef's Choice Trizor 15XV Knife Sharpener and the more affordable, two-stage Chef's Choice 315XV Knife Sharpener.

                      Side view of Astercook 15-piece knife block set
                      This attractive, well-appointed set would make a wonderful gift!

                      A Thoughtful Gift

                      This 15-piece set of high-carbon stainless steel kitchen and steak knives, kitchen shears, honing rod and knife block makes a great gift! Here are just a few ideas for potential gift recipients:

                      • Engaged couples or newlyweds
                      • Cooking enthusiasts
                      • High school graduates headed to college away from home
                      • Anyone who is moving into their first apartment or house and needs to outfit their first kitchen
                      • A would-be home cook who wants to improve their knife skills
                      • Grandparents who haven't replaced their kitchen knives in many years
                      • Anyone with old, dull, or low-quality kitchen knives
                      • Someone who frequently cuts their fingers while prepping food
                      I'll bet there's someone on your gift list who would be thrilled to receive this set as a wedding, engagement, graduation, housewarming or "just because" present.

                      Also, if your current tools aren't as comfortable, well-balanced and sharp as you would like and prepping ingredients takes more time and effort than it should, consider this affordable, super sharp kitchen and steak knives set as a gift to yourself. Remember, dull blades are more likely to skip, slip and accidentally cut you instead of your food. A set that can maintain a very sharp edge with just routine honing makes food prep not just faster, easier and more enjoyable but also safer! 

                      The Best Affordable, Super Sharp Kitchen and Steak Knives Set by Margaret Schindel

                      Read More of My Kitchen Product Reviews

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                      The Best Loud, Easy to Read Multi-Event Digital Timers

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                      Open Jars Easily With Jar Heads Rubber Jar Opener Gripper Pads

                      OXO Good Grips Non-Stick Pro Loaf Pan Review

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                      Reviews of Silicone Kitchen Tools and Accessories for Cooking and Baking Enthusiasts

                      Thermos Stainless King Travel Tumblers & Travel Mugs Review

                      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, September 27, 2022

                      Air Fryer Apple Hand Pies

                       Air Fryer Apple Hand Pies are so easy to make, and make the perfect after-school or anytime snack for your family. My review will show you just how easy these are to make.

                      Air Fryer Apple Hand Pies
                      Air Fryer Apple Hand Pies - Reviewed

                      The weather is starting to cool off, and that always puts me in the mood for apple pie. Instead of making a whole apple pie, I decided on making these easy hand pies in my air fryer.

                      I bought the 9-inch pie crust ready-made and a can of apple pie filling. If you would like to make your own pie crust and apple pie filling See my recipe here: Sam's Apple Pie.

                      Apple Hand Pie Ingredients:

                      • 2 pie crusts (9-inch)
                      • 1 can apple pie filling (I used a 21oz. can of Duncan Hines Comstock Apple Pie Filling) 
                      • 1 egg beaten
                      • Water to wet the edges
                      • White sugar to sprinkle over top

                      Apple Hand Pies Air Fryer

                      I cut out 5-inch circles from the pie crust. I didn't have a 5-inch cookie cutter so I used a small bowl that measured 5-inches across.

                      I got three circles out of each pie crust, and after rolling out the remaining dough I got three more for a total of 9 hand pies.

                      Place one tablespoon of pie filling in the middle of each cutout, wet the edge with water, fold over and crimp with a fork.

                      Hand Pies

                      I brushed each hand pie with the beaten egg mixture and poked a fork through in three places to help release the steam. Then I sprinkled the tops of each with white sugar.

                      Air Fry Apple Pies

                      I started my Ninja Air Fryer and set it to Air Crisp. Set the temperature to 350 degrees and the time to 8 minutes. I could only fit four at a time in the basket of my air fryer, you don't want them to touch. Times and Temperatures may vary with different air fryers.

                      Cooling Apple Hand Pies

                      I set them on a rack to cool for at least 10 minutes. Serve with ice cream, or as you see in the intro photo I served some with caramel sauce. 

                      My grandsons were visiting so needless to say that these didn't last very long. The best thing about these is that they are so easy to make with an air fryer.

                      Don't have an air fryer? No problem preheat your oven to 350 degrees and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until they are golden brown.

                      The Ninja Foodi Grill is so much more than just an air fryer, read my review here:

                      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, September 20, 2022

                      A Review of Emergency Preparedness - Is it Really Necessary?


                      Preparing for an emergencies, what some people call "prepping" has been laughed at for decades.  It brings to mind images of crazy people putting bunkers in their back yards and sitting on hundreds of boxes of army rations.  


                      What about preparing for real life emergencies that could really happen?  Floods, hurricanes, tornadoes and even terrorist attacks or rioting.  Any of them could really happen, but the most likely to happen is prolonged power outage.  The grid could go down for many reasons, and stay down for days or even weeks.  Would you be prepared if that happened?

                      What is  Emergency Preparedness?

                      Emergency Preparedness is planning for an unexpected, serious occurrence that could pose a threat to the health and wellbeing of you and your family.  It can be something as dangerous as a gas explosion, to something less dangerous, but still devastating, like a flood or a serious problem with your electrical supply.

                      How Can Planning Help?

                      Emergency planning helps to reduce the amount damage an emergency does to your life, the lives of your family and your property.   If the incident is catastrophic, planning can actually save your life.  In an emergency, people are scared, confused and in a panic about what to do and how to take care of themselves and their loved ones.  If you are prepared, it will significantly reduce your fear because you know you have a plan and the items you need to make sure you are safe and cared for during a bad situation.

                      How Can I Know What Kind of Emergency to Prepare For?

                      The simple answer is:  you can't.  You have no way of knowing what will happen, so the best thing to do is to take care of the basics that you need in any emergency situation.   

                      1. Food -  Have some food that you can eat without having to cook it, even better if it does not have to be refrigerated.  Peanut butter, crackers, beef jerky, protein or granola bars, honey, cookies and things like this are easy to store and will keep you going if you are in a situation where you have no electricity and can't cook.  It is always safer to have your own food available when a bad incident occurs so you don't have to go out, which in an emergency can be dangerous.  Keep your emergency food in totes in a cool dry place and don't forget to switch it out for fresh a few times a year so it does not go out of date.  
                      2. Water - Water is something most people take for granted as always being available, and therefore it is not necessary to store it.  This is not true.  Your water supply may become contaminated or your local water treatment facility could break down and stop supplying water.  The best way to be prepared for this situation is to store some water.  You can buy cases of bottled water, or 5 gallon plastic jugs that are available in most big box stores.  Having clean water to drink and wash yourself with is one of the most important things in an emegency.  Never take water for granted, it can be the difference between life and death.
                      3. Shelter - The other part of having shelter is having a way to keep warm, should something happen in the winter.  Your house is normally excellent shelter, but if you lose the ability to heat it, it can be nothing but a giant refrigerator.  If this happens, find one room that is small and can be closed off and get a propane heater like Mr. Heater  that is safe to use inside the house. Bring in blankets and warm clothes and stay in that room to keep warm.  If you have a situation where you are forced to leave your house, such as a fire, flood or earthquake, you need to have a tent or tents to stay in outside, along with clothing, food and water to take with you. 
                      Is There Anything Else I Should Stock Up On?

                      There are so many things that are good to have but here are some of the most important:

                      • Flashlights and batteries
                      • First Aid Kit
                      • Candles and the means to light them
                      • Power Bank Charger to charge your cell phone
                      • Knife
                      • Aspirin
                      • Garbage Bags
                      • Sleeping Bags or Blankets
                      • Heavy Socks and Hats for all family members
                      • Firewood (if you are able to build a fire outside where you live)
                      • Some type of weapon to defend yourself

                      Last Thoughts on Emergency Preparedness

                      These ideas are just the very basics you will need for a short term emergency, for longer term situations the list of what you would need would be much longer.  The above mentioned items are minimum of what every household should have in case of an emergency.  Having these items on hand will make you feel calmer, safer and better prepared should the worst happen.  Pick up a few items a week until you have what you need and as they say about being prepared for anything:

                      It is better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it!

                      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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                      Monday, September 19, 2022

                      Reviewing The Snake Grabber Tool

                      Today, I am reviewing the 60" Snake Grabber. This is not a glamorous review. Nor is it a fun tool to write about (not for me anyway). But wow, am I glad I had made that purchase and it worked better than I had expected. Snakes are not a fun thing to discuss for many of us. And that is all the more reason I need to share how well this Snake Grabber worked for me. This is one tool that you should consider owning if there is any chance at all that you'll deal with snakes. 

                      There are so many tools in our lives that we hope never to use. It seems a waste of money to purchase something we may never use. Frankly, to purchase something we hope to never have to use. For example, a lug wrench for changing car tires. Most folks call roadside assistance for flat tires. Easy peasy. But, if you get stranded with a flat tire, in an area with no cell service and no way to reach someone to come to the rescue, you are super glad that you have that lug wrench. Or, if your electricity goes out in some hurricane or ice storm for days. Investing in those expensive items such as generators may have felt frivolous at the time but they ended up being super important tools to have.

                      That's how I feel about the 60" Snake Grabber. It was not something I looked forward to using. In fact, I hadn't taken it out of it's box after it was delivered. But I used it last night and it probably saved lives (Quail lives). It made snake removal many times easier and quicker than my first experience.

                      Awhile back, I had a snake trying to get at my quail in their hutch on the deck. It was late in the evening and there I was trying to find things to poke at the snake to convince it to leave. Things that were strong enough (broom) were too large to fit where the snake was. Things that were thin enough (wall trim) were too flimsy to move that large snake. And most things were far too short. NO WAY was I going to get within inches of that thing. Luckily, I was able to harass that first snake for long enough that it chose to crawl out of the quail hutch pan, across my deck, and out of sight.  

                      Within days I ordered the Snake Grabber. 

                      And then I let it sit in the unopened box. Until last night.

                      Well after dark the quail were making a huge commotion. I instantly knew that a predator was out there. The first snake experience taught me that even if the snake doesn't enter the cage, it can cause serious/fatal injuries to quail by grabbing their toes from the underside of the hutch. I had to work quickly.

                      I wish I had practiced with the snake grabber. It took me a minute to unfold it and secure it. Then another few minutes to figure out how to open the "jaws" after I had squeezed them shut. But once I sorted through those two things, I was outside and grabbing the snake.

                      This snake grabber fit PERFECTLY in that 2" space. I placed the jaws around the snake and squeezed the handle. The grabber was secure around the snake. I had a difficult time pulling the snake from the opening but that was because the snake was so large and powerful. The Grabber was solid and I never once felt that it was going to collapse or let go of the snake. I moved the snake to a bucket and was able to relocate the snake.

                      This was NOT an easy task for me. But it was possible because I had the right tool. 

                      More About the Extra Heavy Duty Snake Grabber

                      Just a few quick details about this Snake Grabber:

                      • this 60" long snake grabber keeps you a more comfortable distance away from the snake
                      • the tubes are heavy duty stainless steel
                      • the grabber can be folded in the middle for storage or transportation purposes
                      • the tongs or jaws close easily when the handle is squeezed
                      • an automatic locking mechanism keeps the jaws shut until you release it 
                      The only possible drawback that I read about in reviews and I experienced first hand is that the locking mechanism automatically falls into place after you squeeze the handle required both hands to release it.  Which felt clumsy. But in hindsight, I was happy to know that it was not going to accidently release the snake before I was ready. So I'm not entirely convinced that is a drawback after all.

                      Related Link:

                      If you would like to see me actually using the 60" Snake Grabber, you can watch me here:


                      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, September 18, 2022

                      A Portable Air Purifier For Single Room Use - 5 Star Review

                      Portable Air Purifier - Review

                      We needed an air purification system for our bedroom that was non-intrusive and effective.

                      Fortunately for us, our son already had this particular model in his room for several years.

                      Since we knew the product had been tested, we decided to go ahead and get one for our bedroom.

                      The RENPHO Hepa Air Purifier Filter Replacement

                      Before purchasing this item, I asked my son about filter replacement. 

                      There are two dogs in his room, so it's safe to say that this filter gets a run for its money.

                      Although you can't wet this filter, he extends the use by cleaning the external dust off of it with a small portable mini-vacuum. 

                      He doesn't replace the filter very often; he said a few times per year is all. However, he pointed out that his filter gets a good workout because of his dogs. Since the dogs aren't in our bedroom, I expect that replacing the filter will only be once a year for our room - maybe twice.

                      What I Like About the RENPHO Hepa Air Purifier

                      • It's lightweight. It only weighs about 6.5 pounds.
                      • It's not very large and sits comfortably on a tabletop surface. 
                      • It measures 11 by 5.7 by 11.4 inches.
                      • No assembly is required, just remove all the plastic and plug it in.
                      • No batteries are required.
                      • It has rapid purification refreshing the air 5 times an hour in a room of 103 ft² / 9.6 ㎡, and is made for a room of approximately 206 square feet. Our room is about 300 square feet, and it cleans the air nicely.
                      • It has a three-in-one Hepa filtration system capturing 99.97% of airborne contaminants as small as .3 microns (such as pet hair and dander).
                      • Has 4 fan speeds.
                      • A quiet feature also reduces the fan noise and turns off the light at night.
                      • Easy to use. Plug-in set your fan speed, and that's it.
                      Here's a photo of the filter on our dresser:

                      We purchased our Hepa Air Filter from Amazon. There's additional detailed information at that link on the Amazon page. 

                      If you need a compact air filter, personally, I give this product five stars.

                      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, September 13, 2022

                      WHAT SOLD ON EBAY? FOURTH EDITION

                      Discover the fourth installment of my series, What Sold on eBay. This one from the first two weeks of September. Maybe you are just curious or maybe you are looking for ideas of what to sell on eBay.

                      Wondering what sold lately on eBay? Well, as always, the sales from my store have included an eclectic mix of new, used and vintage items. Welcome to the the fourth issue of my What Sold on eBay series. What follows are six items that sold from my store during the first two weeks of September, 2022. 


                      What sells on eBay? German manufacturer Steiff's pieces like this mohair soccer ball!

                      Favorites are always hard for me to pick but I liked this mohair Steiff soccer ball. It was manufactured by the famous German teddy bear company of the same name and was only one of a number of interesting Steiff pieces in my eBay store.  

                      See the rest of my Steiff collection on eBay by clicking here. There are no more balls but there are, as you might expect, a selection of teddy bears as well as a circus clown, an elephant, a camel, two egg cozies (yes, egg cozies) and even an adorable snowman. If you are looking for a small Steiff gift item perhaps to use as a stocking stuffer, I also have a number of felt Steiff elephant keychains. 


                      Torchwood: The Complete Original UK Series was the highest priced item that sold in my store during this time period. This series was a popular British science fiction show that aired from 2006 to 2011. This boxed set was in excellent condition and complete. I never watched this program but now that I have handled and sold it, I will admit that I am curious about it. Have you seen it?

                      Torchwood The Complete Original UK Mini-Series


                      SOLD. Little metal bug crawled off to a new home in France! Miniature bugs. They sell!

                      The cost of international shipping from Canada means that I do not sell many items beyond Canada and the United States. It makes sense then that my one international sale during this time frame was for this small metal bug. I have sold small metal bugs before and as it turns out, people collect bugs. Would you entertain the idea of collecting bugs?


                      This bookmark, though a handsome piece, had been waiting for quite awhile for the right person to come along and buy it and so, the price was greatly reduced and it was very affordable. I do sell Seagull Pewter items fairly often, though most of them do not sell at this low price point. 

                      Seagull Pewter pieces are designed and handmade in Nova Scotia. The company started with just three employees in 1978 and now employs over 360 people. It makes a wide variety of products and is a popular tourist destination. Find all of my Seagull Pewter items on eBay right now by clicking right here

                      NEW ITEM - A DISNEY CARS PLAY-DOH SET

                      Toys, lots of toys, even new ones are selling on eBay!

                      I sold a number of new items including this Disney Cars Lightning McQueen Play-Doh set. Someone, likely a little boy who loves the Disney movie Cars, will have hours of fun playing with this set. My boys would have loved it. Still might, actually. See all of my Play-Doh, including more of this fun set, on eBay by clicking right here.

                      OLDEST ITEM - A QUEEN ALEXANDRA 1902 MUG

                      Antique royalty items, like this 1902 Queen Alexandra mug, sell on eBay!

                      Queen Alexandra was the daughter of Christian IX of Denmark. In 1863, she married Edward VII and throughout her life, she called Marlborough House in London, Sandringham House in Norfolk, Buckingham Palace in Westminster and Windsor Castle in Windsor home. 

                      This item was a small, antique mug with a fairly simple outside design and a portrait of Queen Alexandra on the inside.  It was not in perfect condition but it was 120 years old. Interesting that people collected royalty memorabilia even as early as the 1900s. 

                      While this mug has been sold, you can find more royal family items here in my store.


                      I hope you enjoyed this peek into my world on eBay. Want to see more? Visit my store, Treasures By Brenda, by clicking right here.


                      QUICK LINKS:

                      What Sold on eBay? First Edition
                      From baby quilt to dipping bowls and chimney sweep, discover what sold from my store one weekend in October.

                      What Sold on eBay? Second Edition
                      From fanny pack to wind-up toy to knife block, discover what sold from my store one weekend in November.

                      What Sold on eBay? Christmas Edition
                      From Christmas ornaments to mugs and toys, discover the items that sold as Christmas was approaching.

                      Looking for more eBay related reading? Visit this link. 

                      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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                      Monday, September 12, 2022

                      Peanut Butter To Go Review

                      Peanut Butter on the go! Yes, please. The major peanut butter manufacturers offer convenient, small personal sized and individually packaged portions of peanut butter and the products promises as delivers. 

                      While this family prefers creamy peanut butter, the peanut butter cups and pouches are also offered in crunchy, natural creamy and chocolate flavored peanut butter.

                      Perfect Size

                      One major manufacturer offers the popular spreadable nuttela in cups which are perfectly sized for one. Enough quantity to make one or two perfectly sized snacks! Pair with fruit for a peanut butter and fruit snack, healthy breakfast, mid day work snack or after school snack. Leftovers can be easily saved with securing the cup with plastic wrap and/or a plastic bag for use at another time.

                      I also discovered individual sized portions of peanut butter in squeezable pouches. The portion size is larger than the cup, but what I really like is the turn top so the pouch can be easily closed and reused. 


                      Both the cups and the pouches are wonderful for road trips! No muss, no fuss, the containers can be disposed of and no sticky peanut butter remains to worry about. Pair with individually portioned packages of jelly for mobile peanut butter and jelly!


                      The mini cups are sealed well and durable for travel. The pouches are very secure with the screw top and pouch design. With confidence I can pack both in a lunch bag, backpack or briefcase and the seal does not break.


                      There is no price point comparison with purchasing the cups or pouches versus using peanut butter from a jar. The price point is higher as is usual for individually packaged food. Convenience no doubt comes at a price and as we continue through inflationary pricing, this product is no different. 

                      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, September 10, 2022

                      A Cute Review of Anthropomorphism

                      What Is Anthropomorphism? 

                      Anthropomorphism is a literary device that assigns human characteristics, such as emotions and intentions, to nonhuman entities like animals or inanimate objects. 

                      Anthropomorphic Characteristics

                      Source: Wikimedia
                      Cartoons and animated movies are a common place to see anthropomorphic examples.  These characters, though animals, can walk and talk, sing and dance. Sometimes they are even dressed in clothes. Some fun and well-known examples of anthropomorphic animals in movies and on TV are the Disney favorites such as Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. Winnie-the-Pooh is also a delightful example of an anthropomorphic animal. 

                      Long before the word Anthropomorphism was so well known, children were easily defining this by assigning human characteristics to their Teddy Bears and other stuffed animals.

                      It wasn't until I learned to crochet Amigurumi animals, that I discovered there was such a term as Anthropomorphism. Amigurumi is the Japanese art of knitting or crocheting little stuffed animals and toys.

                      Baseball Bat & Ball - Plush Toy on Etsy

                      When creating inanimate objects, such as this set of 'Baseball Buddies' (baseball bat and ball), and giving them 'features', we have assigned anthropomorphic attributes to the object. 

                      Follow along to see more adorable examples of objects with anthropomorphic characteristics. 

                      Amigurumi Anthropomorphic Items

                      This plush Amigurumi cupcake and donut in cute Kawaii crochet have added features (eyes and mouth) giving a fun personality to play food items.  They were created by Jessica of New Orleans and can be found in her Etsy shop called PricklyPearNola

                      Anthropomorphic Fruit Drinking Glasses

                      The same style can be applied to designs of fruit and vegetables, as seen in this vintage set of fruit drinking glasses from the Etsy shop of JillMeVintage

                      Anthropomorphic Eggplant Veggie S&P Shakers

                      Or how about some Anthropomorphic eggplants in the form of a set of salt & pepper shakers. These are available from the Little Martha's shop on Etsy.

                      Anthropomorphic Characters

                      How about some anthropomorphic mouse sorcerers. These miniature creatures were designed by Katie and Andy Muth for use in D&D and War Games. They can be found in their Etsy Shop GriffonCoMinis


                      As you can see, just about anything from handmade stuffed toys to creatures & characters, to vintage tableware can be found with anthropomorphic characteristics. Do a search for 'anthropomorphic' on Etsy or online and see what cute things you can find. The personal attributes make each of these really cute. 

                      This review of Anthropomorphism was written and compiled by Wednesday Elf

                      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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