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

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Ace Hardware Color of the Year Review


Ace Hardware is known for it's multiple paint products and their paint mixers which are able to give the customers the exact paint colors they desire. In mid-2018, in conjunction with Clark and Kensington Paint, Ace decided to run a consumer-led color contest to select a new batch of colors for 2019. 

Ace held a Neighborhood Paint Party in March, 2018 where consumers were encouraged to hand mix, create and name their own paint color for a chance to be entered into Ace's Color of the Year Contest.





The Winning Color of the Year


Twenty-five finalists were selected from the entries by a panel of Ace color experts and over 35,000 fans voted for their favorite color via social media channels. 



The winning Clark+Kensington color was created by a New Jersey woman who states she was daydreaming about enjoying a delicious dessert while on a relaxing vacation.


“The color is soothing and yet bright; sweet with just a bit of tartness.” 

She named her mellow yellow winning color “Pineapple Cream Granita”. As the winner, she also received a $1,000 Ace Gift Card. 


Runner-Up Winners



Six runners-up were also selected and these colors are now all available at your local Ace Hardware store.  The six other colors are:


  • Jack Come Back! (a burgundy red) 
  • Shake Your Flipper (a sea blue) 
  • Leroy the Rooster (an orange shade) 
  • Warm Llama (a gray tone) 
  • Tina's Patina (an aqua blue shade)
  • Miracles in D'skies (a deep blue with a turquoise tint). 


The six runner-up winners each received a $250 Ace Gift Card. 

Ace is the Place


For more than 90 years, Ace Hardware has been known as the place with the helpful hardware folks. The paint contest has now made their paint department even more helpful. 


If you need paint, especially a unique color, for any of your household projects, visit the Paint Studio at an Ace Hardware near you and enjoy choosing the one that suits you best. All seven of these new customer-created colors are exclusive to Ace Hardware. 


Visit ACE online or 
your local neighborhood store and choose your favorite paint color


*Ace Hardware paint color contest article written by (c) Wednesday Elf on 7/20/2019

**Images scanned from a free paint chip flyer obtained at my local Ace Hardware ~ Jerry's Ace in Eldridge, Iowa. 


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


FOLLOW US ON:

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Paws and Pals Dog Ramp Review

Finn's New Dog Ramp
As I approach the second anniversary of bringing Finn, my special needs/strengths dog, home from the animal shelter, I find myself reflecting on his extraordinary capacity for achieving things he wasn't supposed to be able to do.  Finn has grown well beyond the initial confines of his physical disability, which compels me to provide him with more and more opportunities to do as much as possible through his own initiative and power.  Yesterday, I bought Finn a portable dog ramp that will provide him with more freedom to access his world.  This review shares our first impressions and experiences with the Paws and Pals ramp.

Finn, like all of us, has his own way of approaching new challenges.  I've gotten better at understanding his learning style and anticipating Finn's insecurities (before they kick in), which helps me to be a more effective trainer.  A good starting point today was to take Finn to his favorite park for the first lesson in using a ramp.  I wanted Finn to be relaxed, and for him to associate good things with the pet ramp.

Step One - Explore the Ramp Flat on the Grass
First, to allow Finn to discover the scent, texture, and sound of being on the ramp, I laid it flat on the grass.  This was a very nonthreatening way for him to check it out.  I brought a high-value treat to reward Finn's every success (cheese works magic).  By strategically placing three cubes of cheese on the ramp, it was very easy to entice Finn to take his first steps up onto and across the ramp.  From his second crossing on, I could tell by reading Finn's body language that he was already feeling confident, and even enthusiastic, about this new game.  After the third ramp crossing, I didn't even have to offer a treat.


Having mastered the low-risk, no fear element of ramp exploration, I decided Finn was ready to take it to the next level.  I found a broad tree stump with a height a few inches above ground level.  Because I thought the surface of the plastic ramp might be a little slippery when elevated, and because Finn is very sensitive about his footing, I covered the ramp with some inexpensive rubberized shelf liner.  The new ramps come with sheets of grip tape, but the gently used model I bought did not have that option.  My solution worked perfectly.  Finn climbed the gentle slope with no hesitation.

Nonslip Liner on Ramp
Since Finn appeared to be having fun with our lesson, was having complete success, and didn't appear mentally or physically fatigued, we forged on.  Had that not been the case, I would have spread these ramp lessons over several sessions on different days.

Next, I used a park bench to elevate one end of the ramp about 14 inches off the ground.  We were now approaching the level Finn would need to master to use the ramp for getting into a low vehicle, or for getting up on furniture.  One great thing about this dog ramp is that it can be used indoors or outdoors.

Park Bench Height Ramp Elevation
I lured Finn up the elevated ramp by leading him with a piece of cheese.  It was important to keep him on a short leash and to walk alongside him on this first climb up a steeper angle.  I didn't want Finn to be tempted to jump off the side of the ramp.  We took it slow and he had no problems making it up onto the bench.  At that point, I felt Finn had done enough for day one.  As always, Finn accomplished even more than I had planned for him, and he laid to rest any concerns I had about whether or not a dog with only partial use of his rear legs could balance on, and ascend, a fairly narrow elevated ramp (it's thirteen and a half inches wide between the rims).

Finn will mostly use his Paws and Pals ramp inside the house.  My vehicle is not really conducive to having Finn load himself, although I won't rule it out until I let him give it a try.  He's sure to surprise me.  A car, van, or hatchback vehicle would be more ideal for the use of this ramp (nothing requiring too steep an incline).  I mainly want Finn to be able to get up and down off the bed for starters.  From there, we'll work on graduating to ever greater challenges worthy of Finn's capabilities.

Light, Compact, Easy to Carry and Store
Given such fast success with the ramp, especially for a cautious dog, Finn and I are giving it a Four Paws Up rating.  I really like all of the main features:

  • Folds up compact for storage (15.5" wide x 10" long x 16.5" high).
  • Lightweight (just eight pounds).
  • Made of a durable, easy to clean plastic.
  • Easy to carry with the attached handle.
  • Simple to use (no assembly required).
  • Long enough for typical uses without being too bulky to handle (60" when fully extended).
  • Strength rated for up to a 110-lb. dog.
  • Multiple applications for indoor or outdoor use.
  • Good value and quality for the price (least expensive ramp I found).
Who could benefit from a pet ramp?  Senior dogs, puppies, injured dogs, disabled dogs, small dogs, convalescing pets, and any weak dog or cat.  It is also a major help to those who care for animals (especially those who are physically unable to carry or load a large, heavy dog).  Even totally healthy animals enjoy using ramps.  It's good, stimulating exercise for a pet to try new ways of balancing and climbing.  

We'll keep you posted and continue to add photos as Finn becomes the master of his domain.  I'm sure he will continue to push the boundaries and to constantly redefine what it means to be a special strengths dog who just happens to have been born with legs that work differently.  Finn acts as though he has no limitations.  I feel it is my responsibility to give him as much rein as possible and to not do for Finn the things he can do for himself.  We're learning together how to be the best versions of ourselves in ways that elevate one another.



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


FOLLOW US ON:

Monday, July 15, 2019

Reviewing the NuWave Gourmet Accessory Kit

NuWave Air Fryer Accessories
With my recent purchase of the NuWave Brio air fryer I also purchased the NuWave Gourmet Accessory Kit. At first I thought the little pan and cooking rack were over-priced and I felt silly for spending that extra money. But after using them for nearly every healthy meal - multiple times a day - I consider them invaluable.

If you aren't at all familiar with the NuWave Brio air fryer, you can read my review here. The Gourmet Accessory Kit is sold separately here


NuWave Gourmet Accessory Kit


Because I am typically cooking only for myself I purchased the Gourmet Accessory Kit.  It sounds much more fancy than it is. It is really just a 6" x 6" square pan (2 Qt) with a handle and a 6" x 6" cooking rack.  Rather than cook my foods in the pan included with the machine or on it's existing rack, I use the little pan the most often. 

Easy Clean Up: The pan has been keeping mess to a minimum. The juices and splatter stay in the accessory pan. It is non-stick so it is easy to lift out and wash off. 

Portion Control: The Gourmet Accessory Kit also helps with portion control - without leaving me feeling deprived. The pan holds just a small amount. I cook that small amount and after a bit, if I'm still hungry, I can quickly cook a bit more in the Brio air fryer. However, I haven't felt like I needed that second portion very often.

Cooking Items Separately: I can also cook two different items at the same time. I place one item in the pan - sitting on the original rack in the machine - and cook veggies on the original rack next to it. I have not yet cooked a meal large enough to have to use the Accessory rack in addition to the original rack. But it's good to know that I will have that extra space if I need it.  

Weight Loss: After loosely following the eating habits recommended by the Embry family in Living Proof and using the NuWave Brio air fryer, I have lost 4 lbs in approximately 2 weeks. That doesn't sound like much, but I am thrilled with that much loss after just changing what I eat. 





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


FOLLOW US ON:

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Reviewing Arbonne Essentials Herbal Tea

Arbonne Essentials Herbal Tea - Arbonne's Detox Tea
Arbonne Essentials Herbal Tea photo by Louanne Cox
I was first introduced to Arbonne's Essentials Herbal Tea as part of the 30 days to healthy living program which literally changed my life.   Since finishing the 30 days program I have continued to drink this tea every day for two reasons: it tastes good & it's good for me.

This tea is part of Arbonne's Essential range and is just called herbal tea here in Australia, but in some other countries it goes by the name detox tea as it works on the eliminatory organs.   Let's have a look at exactly what is in this tea -



The combination works really well with the flavor as dandelion root can be bitter on it's own and yet the combination of licorice root adds a sweetness and the peppermint stops that sweetness from being too strong while adding a refreshing flavor.   Basically it works to create a delicious tea that is lovely to drink on it's own.

Personally I drink mine in the morning as I just like to have a hot drink first thing, but as it's a caffeine free tea many people choose to drink it before going to bed.

A little tip from me - I drink a mug of this tea and I will keep the tea bag and make two mugs out of the same tea bag which means that my box of 20 will last me 40 days if I drink it just once a day.

Dandelion Root - What Are The Benefits


Dandelion's are highly nutritious and have been used for centuries,   Dandelion root is dried and used as a tea, in fact the first time I tried it the root was made into a granular form and you made it up like instant coffee - I found it way too bitter on it's own (mind you I was still a teen with a very sweet tooth!).

It is high in a soluble fibre called inulin that supports the growth and maintenance of healthy intestinal bacteria which are essential for your gut health.

It's been promoted as helping to support your liver for many years (one of the reasons I was first introduced to it years ago was as a liver tonic).

There are many other benefits often cited for dandelion root including anti-inflammatory properties, anti-oxidant levels, helping the digestive system, the list goes on.   I personally believe it's been included in the tea because it helps support and protect the liver as well as aiding gut health.

Peppermint Leaf - Benefits


As you may already know I love peppermint tea and used to drink it every afternoon.   I will admit I don't drink it every day now, but I do still have it regularly and it is always in my cupboard.   I talk more about it below.

Why drink peppermint teaWhy Drink Peppermint Tea
I love the taste of peppermint tea, but that's not the only reason I drink it, peppermint tea also has a lot of benefits including aiding digestion and helping with concentration which is why I enjoy it after lunch when working.

Parsley Leaf - Health Benefits


I first tried parsley leaf tea in my early 20s as it was touted as being great for kidney health (it's use as a diuretic doesn't appear to have been tested by scientists however so I'm not sure where I got my information from).   It was very easy to make, but at the time I didn't really like the taste and my husband wasn't very impressed with me using the parsley in my tea instead of him using it as a garnish!

It turns out that the dried form of parsley (used in this tea and other commercial herbal teas) contains 17 times more antioxidant properties than it's fresh form (reference)

Parsley is high in antioxidant nutrients and is also believed to help regulate blood sugar levels and hormone levels.

Elder Flowers - A Traditional Heath Tonic


I must admit I don't recall ever trying elderflower tea although I had heard of it as it was traditional health tonic drunk in the UK.  I may very easily have been given it without remembering.

This tea is traditionally drunk to keep colds and flus at bay and a study published in the Online Journal of Pharmacology and PharmacoKinetics in 2009 backed up the effectiveness of elderflowers in treating the flu.

It appears that the anti-oxidant levels in elderflowers combined with it's anti-viral properties work really well to keep the immune system healthy.

This could be part of the reason why my immunity has been really good for the past 18 months since taking this tea daily.

Sweet Fennel - The Health Benefits


I first came across sweet fennel tea when I was working in a Health shop in my 20s, we used to recommend breastfeeding mothers drank it if their babies had colic and we had very positive feedback on it's effectiveness with the local midwives regularly sending new mothers to us.

With this experience I'm not surprised to find that it's known to improve digestion, is anti-spasmodic and can relieve symptoms of IBS.   It also helps keep your liver and kidneys healthy while boosting immunity, reducing inflammation and balancing hormones.

Licorice Root - Sweet & Healthy


Did you know the Egyptians used licorice root tea as a cure-all concoction?   This tea has been used for centuries by the early Europeans and the Chinese for it's health benefits.

Today licorice root tea is used to promote digestive, respiratory and adrenal gland health and you will find it included in herbal tea blends that promote both bronchial wellness as well as cleanse and detox.

Summing Up My Daily Herbal Tea


I have taken this tea every day for the past 18 months except for 2 weeks when I was on holiday (I think it's good to take a break occasionally when you're regularly using herbs).   I have made a number of lifestyle changes and have attributed my results to using the whole range of the 30 days to healthy living program that Arbonne have.

When I look at the individual benefits of the ingredients in the herbal tea I can see how they have applied to me.   In all honesty I don't believe a tea alone can do all this, but in conjunction with other changes I have found the following has happened to me personally -

My hormones are more balanced (I am going through menopause and the symptoms (crankiness, night sweats, hot flushes, etc) have abated.

I have an autoimmune disease (Rheumatoid Arthritis) and haven't even had a little flare up, plus I've been able to go back to the gym with no problems for the first time in decades.

My immune system has dramatically improved - I had been getting sick constantly before starting this tea, I can joke now that someone just had to sneeze in a 10 block radius and I'd get the flu, but it actually did feel like that was happening at the time.

There are lots of other things I could say, but I will just mention one thing if you want to try the Arbonne Essentials Herbal Tea and you don't like it Arbonne have a 45 day money back guarantee, so try it for a couple of weeks and if you don't like it send it back!


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


FOLLOW US ON:

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Dorm Storage Bins Reviewed

Maximize Storage In The Dorm

dorm clutter
Dorm Space Is Limited
image courtesy of pixabay.com
A review of dorm storage bins might come in handy for many as the time for young adults to go off to college approaches. The students who are required to live in a dorm room or opt to continue dorm life will quickly find that storage space is at a minimum.

Small spaces shared with at least one more inhabitant can become crowded and cramped very quickly. The old adage "A place for everything and everything in its place" applies particularly well in a college dorm room. For freshmen students, this will be the first time living away from home. Mom or Dad won't be around to pick up after them. If there is a mess, it will be up to them to clear the clutter they created. 

A great solution is to provide your college student with the option of storing much of their necessaries in storage bins. Of course, we need to understand that they may promise to use them but may not for a while. It might take some time for them to tire of tripping over things left on the floor to see the beauty of those bins you so lovingly provided. A few or maybe many times of not being able to find something they need might be the catalyst for them to use those bins. Well, at least, we can hope! Another adage comes to mind, "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink." Some will embrace the concept while others will forever wait for someone else to clean up the mess. At least they will have the option if the storage bins are there waiting for them.

A collection of different sized containers in a dorm room can be so very handy. They can be placed under beds, stacked on the floor, placed on shelving units, or just about anywhere to conserve space and add to the storage dilemma. We as parents and grandparents know the value of having containers to help prevent clutter so we can gently remind out young adults of the value as they leave on the adventure of living away from home.

One option that I found appealing was a collection providing medium, large and jumbo sizes. The fabric is a durable bamboo blend and comes in either a gray and brown color or a dark taupe. Nothing flashy just colors that will blend-in nicely. There is also a sturdy rope handle that will allow for easy moving if heavy items are placed inside. 

What do you think? Would the college student in your life benefit from a storage solution like this for their dorm room?




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


FOLLOW US ON:

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Olloclip Phone Lens Kit Review

Ramshorn Snail Shell - Olloclip Macro Lens
Up until this year, I had not done any photography with my cell phone cameras.  When my laptop died a while back, I had to rely on an older iPhone to take the photos for my online blogs, reviews, and social media posts.  That necessitated the discovery and use of a few key photo apps and, just recently, the use of clip-on smartphone lenses.  In the ongoing process of learning as much as possible about iPhone photography, I came across several references to the Olloclip macro, wide angle, and fisheye lens kit.  Today, I am reviewing my initial impression of these lenses (which are available for many different brands and models of phones).

When I purchased my Olloclip lens kit, I was mainly interested in the two macro lenses (magnification times 10 and 15).  I wanted to take some really up close and personal photographs (think flowers, butterflies, bees, dew drops, etc.).  Macro is also great when I need photos of the jewelry I sell online.  The wide angle lens will be used primarily for landscape photography (can't wait to try it out at the Great Sand Dunes).  It is also perfect for group shots, selfies, and videos.  The fisheye lens will be fun for the animal photography—like those cute nose shots—I do to help shelter dogs get adopted.  It is also wonderful for lighthouse photography (spiral staircases especially).

Rescue Dog Finn - Olloclip Fisheye Lens
As I have been getting into macro photography, I have found it helpful to start indoors, since it takes some patient practice to learn how close to be to the subject, how to get the focus right, how to stage the object for an interesting photo, and, perhaps most importantly of all, how to handle the lighting.  I don't have to deal with the wind indoors, either.  That is a huge plus.

Flexible Tripod, Olloclip 10X Lens, iPhone
Yesterday, I was experimenting with some shells I had found on the beach.  I used natural lighting by a window.  With macro, a tripod is essential, as is a remote shutter release (or the use of your phone's shutter timer).  I set up some black foam boards and a tiny easel covered in a sheet of black felt for my backgrounds.  With the Olloclip 10X macro lens, I was able to get incredibly close to my subject (just a few millimeters away).  Not much will be sharply in focus with ultra macro photography (but the right kind of blur is the appeal), so the trickiest part is moving the mini tripod around until you find the special effect, and point of focus, that expresses your unique point of view.  It's all about the angle.

Ramshorn Snail Shell Without Macro Lens
You can see just how small the snail shell actually is in the photo above using a regular camera lens without macro (about half an inch).  

Ramshorn Snail Shell - 10X Magnification
This is the same shell photographed with the Olloclip 10X macro lens.  I used the free Snapseed photo app for cropping and minor adjustments.  

Sundial Shell Without Macro Lens

Next, I experimented with a Sundial shell I found on Padre Island.  Two photos are provided for comparison.  The photograph above was taken with my Nikon D200 with a zoom lens.  The photo below was taken with an iPhone 5s (ancient compared to the latest iPhones) and an Olloclip 10X macro lens.

Sundial Shell - Olloclip 10X Macro Lens
Today, it was time to get outdoors and test the wide angle lens.  I'm sure most of you can relate to the frustration of not being able to get all of your subject into the photo frame.  First, I snapped a regular shot of this historic truss bridge with my iPhone (the Lobato Bridge over the Rio Grande in southern Colorado).  As you can see below, the right side of the bridge was cut off.

The Lobato Bridge - Built in 1892
The photo below was taken with the Olloclip wide angle lens.  I was able to get all of the double-span bridge in the photograph even when standing much closer to the bridge than in the first shot.  There was plenty of extra margin for cropping.

Bridge Photographed Using Olloclip Wide Angle Lens
One thing I did notice is that this wide angle shot is a bit fuzzy near the edges of the photograph.  I'm told Olloclip has a free app for making image adjustments.  I will check that out and update you.

It's not what you look at that matters,
it's what you see.  ~Thoreau
I was lying on the forest floor while pointing the Olloclip fisheye lens directly skyward when I created this photo.  This image reminds me of an eye, with the trees forming the iris.  In a forest devastated by wildfire, I was looking at the emergent green undergrowth and seeing how to embody the Phoenix.

Phoenix Rising: Self-Portrait
All of these photos are first attempts.  Once I experiment, and perhaps invest in a newer smartphone with a more advanced camera, I'm sure my photographs will evolve.  You have to start somewhere and learn by trial and error.  In this case, I don't really care if the photos aren't perfect.  For me, photography is a reflective practice.  I photograph things that move me, and I practice photography to learn how to see more clearly, to learn how to pay deep attention, and to immerse myself in beauty and wonder.  

If you enjoy pushing your creative boundaries, you really can't go wrong with Olloclip products.  They offer good quality, affordable tools for the smartphone photography enthusiast.  There are more expensive options, but for just getting started, I suspect most of us like to keep costs reasonable.  This is a good budget choice.  I feel I got my money's worth.






Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


FOLLOW US ON:

Friday, June 28, 2019

Easy Carry Fabric & Collapsible Travel Dog Bowl Reviewed

Don't Leave Home Without a Travel Dog Bowl!

Easy Carry Fabric & Collapsible Travel Dog Bowl Reviewed
We were surrounded by lake water, but Merlin drank cool, clean water
from his Good2Go Collapsible Dog Bowl
We enjoy taking our pups for walks, we even take them on longer hikes with us.  After all, none of our dogs have ever wanted to be left at home when we go on adventures. However, it is important to remember they have needs too when they are away from home.

Think about it.  When you go on a long walk or hike, what do you need?  We always carry water with us.  We don't rely on the possibility of coming across a water fountain or running water in a stream.  Dehydration is serious, so why take unnecessary risks.  Not only do we carry water for ourselves, but we carry a canteen of cool water for our dogs.

How do we give our dogs a drink, you may ask?  Easy!  We carry a fabric, collapsible dog bowl in our back pocket.


The Good2Go Collapsible Dog Bowl


Collapsible Dog Travel Bowl Reviewed
For many years now, we have carried this fabulous and durable fabric dog bowl.  It is so lightweight, you don't even notice it, but you are most grateful to have it when needed.

Dogs can dehydrate just like we can.  They may be a lot cuter than we are when they are panting and slowing down, but the lack of water can be serious.  

When dogs are thirsty, they tend to drink whatever water they come across, including stagnant dirty water.  We all know the dangers of drinking stagnant water.  It is easily contaminated and can harbor all kinds of parasites and bacteria.  

We love our dogs enough to take them with us instead of leaving them at home.  Why wouldn't we also love them enough to provide for their needs by simply taking water and this easily pocketed dog bowl along for the walk.

We also use this water bowl in the car when traveling.  It is easy to set it down and let them drink from their doggie travel bowl.

Once we are back home, we wash the bowl inside and out with dish soap and allow it to air dry.  Then, it is ready to go again when we are!

I can't recall when we first purchased our Good2Go collapsible dog bowl, but I do know it has been many years ago.  It still looks brand new. 

 







Read More Product Reviews On
ReviewThisProducts.com

 


House of Sylvestermouse



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


FOLLOW US ON:

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Summertime Fun Our First Priority is Safety

Summertime is a Great Adventure!

Many families will take holidays over this period of time and look forward to spending time with their children.  Let's Review some products that you absolutely MUST HAVE!  These items will help to make your summer the best that it can be!  

summertime safety, flotation devices for children, first aid kits, staying safe

                                    
Image by lilacsandlavendertea from Pixabay


Many families will be getting together over the next two months to reconnect with their loved ones.  That's one thing that makes summer so much fun.  Whether you stay close to home or travel further afield, good company makes the journey that much more special.  Memories will be etched in our minds of the Summer of 2019!  Let's make it a summer to remember with smiles and laughter!


As adults, our children's health and safety is up to us!  

If we are going to the lake or the local swimming pool (or the one in the backyard if you are so lucky), our children will look to us to keep them from harm.  That means having some rules in place!  What prompts this review is a headline I saw a few days ago on one of the news feeds about parents being distracted by their cell phones, especially around pools of water.  

We all know that it doesn't take more than a few inches of water for a child to drown.  This is a most preventable accident.  If you have children and a pool or lake that you are using for holiday time, your attention needs to be on your children.  I'm not saying a cell phone isn't a handy item to have close by (there could always be an emergency), but when the children are in the body of water, they need your attention all the time.  

Being prepared for children in the pool is another whole issue.  If your children swim, but are not proficient at swimming, they should be wearing life vests or some flotation device.   No exceptions!

We as parents need to make that perfectly clear to our children.  No flotation device equals no pool time!  Period!  

Flotation devices are inexpensive and will make your time ( you and your children's time) in the pool so much more fun.  Children who have not yet mastered their swimming skills will enjoy hours of water fun with relative ease and the certainty that they won't drown.  Most flotation devices are held up to standards that ensure the safety of the wearer.  Nothing, and I will repeat that, Nothing is more important that having a responsible adult watching, while they are having fun.  

For less than $20.00 you can give yourself and your child a little added comfort in the water.  You want to get your child a vest that is Certified by the Coast Guard (USA) or Canadian Standards Association (CSA).  This little vest is cute and will fit most children between 30- 50 pounds.  There is no reason not to have one for each of your children.  I would even say you must have one for each of your children, especially if you have a pool in your yard.  
They come in several different styles, so even if you have 2 or more children, each one can have the one they like the best! This is a " #1 Best Seller" on Amazon. It is a small price to pay for some peace of mind while watching more than one child in a pool. Nothing is more important than the safety of our children.

Now hopefully summer is nice and warm, with sunshine making up the better part of the day, so one other safety item I would recommend would be SUNSCREEN!  Not too long ago Margaret wrote about them and her review is worth a good read.  What you put on your children's skin to keep them from getting burnt to a crisp is important.  You can read all about it here!
You don't want your children to suffer from the effects of too much sun on their skin in their later years.  
The only other safety item I would like to see in everyone's home, is a good First Aid Kit.  If you have children, then you know there will be scrapes, cuts and bruises.  Part of being a child is riding bikes, roller blading, skateboarding and just running around.  Accidents will happen even if you take the best precautions.  Like the Scouts, I would say, Be Prepared

This First Aid Kit is a great addition to anyone's car, boat, trailer or home! Sometimes a bandage just isn't enough.  Summertime and being prepared for all possible accidents will make you a more relaxed parent.  You know that you can handle almost anything that your children might need to stop the tears, and start the healing.  

Your cell phone will be handy too, but only to make an emergency call if necessary!  Do not let yourself become distracted.  Your little ones are much more important than anything that you could have happening on your phone.  It is for emergencies only.



I would like to take this opportunity to wish you and your families a wonderful, relaxed and fun filled summer!  Stay safe and enjoy all the good things Summer has to offer!





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


FOLLOW US ON:

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Spiral Notebooks Reviewed

Keyboard or Spiral Notebook?

writing notebook
Spiral notebooks come in handy for an author
image courtesy of pixabay.com
Spiral notebooks are not just for students attending school. Let me review how this author uses them on a daily basis. 

When writing a manuscript, I use my laptop keyboard for the bulk of the work. I guess that is probably a no brainer. Although, I do know authors who write it all out in long-hand before they type it up for submission or publication. Honestly, for me that would never work. When the story is flowing, my hand wouldn't be able to keep up with my brain if I were writing it down with a pen or pencil. I might be able to scribble it out but it would just that...scribbles that I would not be able to read later.

What I use my spiral notebooks for

While working on a book, I write down a copious amount of notes. I'll be honest, sometimes those are done on scrap pieces of paper, especially if I am researching something that won't be a recurring piece of a series of books. For instance, in the 4th book of my Roni Rainer mystery series I needed to be sure I understood how an APB (all points bulletin) worked. My notes about that were on scrap paper because the information would be disposable after I finished that particular book. Funny thing happened on the way to writing the story, I found out that not many law agencies use that term any longer. The acronym BOLO (be on the look-out) is more commonly used today. (Good to know.) Obviously, being a stickler to details I used BOLO in the book, but I digress.

My spiral notebooks are used for things that will show up many times in a series. You know, like characters, buildings, towns, and things like that. So, I have a notebook dedicated to those little tidbits. Each character has a section reminding me of their full name and nickname. Their date of birth, physical attributes, personality traits, and any relationships they might be in. Trust me that comes in real handy for characters that just pop-in and out of the books! 

Places have a special section, too. What State does the story take place in? What county? The town and neighboring towns need to be recorded. What are the street names? Which streets intersect with each other?  I wouldn't want to say that Roni's shop is on the corner of Main Street and 2nd Street in one place and then later say it was 3rd Street or even something entirely different. I guess that I could but as a reader those sorts of things drive me up a wall. 

I even have a section for buildings in my spiral notebooks. Yep, I need to be able to look back and see how I described a building once in a while. If I have described Roni's business building as two-story and then have someone go to the third floor, people are going to pick-up on that. At least, I would as a reader.


The devil is in the details


Nothing bugs me more as a reader than the author not being consistent. If an author has told me that a character has blonde hair and blue eyes and then later someone looks into her green eyes; that really gets my blood boiling. So, I pay attention to details as I write and the most efficient way for me to accomplish that is with notebooks. If it might come up again, it gets recorded for me to refer back to. Sure, I could create a file but it is actually faster to look in the notebook. At least for me it is. 

Now, that I have begun a new series of cozy mysteries I need more notebooks! The series will be called Cabin 9 Mysteries. The same pieces of information will be kept in a notebook for those stories, too. It is the only way I can keep it all straight. I'll need to remember that these characters are not in the fictional county of Butler, Indiana where Roni lives. No, they will be in the fictional county of Fairburn, Indiana. The spiral notebooks will help me keep it all consistent. Want a little hint about this new series? Taylor, the main character, can see and talk to dead people! Her great-aunt Magdalene is a hoot and also a spirit who doesn't want to leave Cabin 9. Stay tuned for more details!

As a side note, there is a reason that my fictional towns are in Indiana. I grew up here. I know the terrain, the climate, the flora and fauna, the local phrases, laws, and foods. I can portray it more realistically for my readers. Have you ever read a book that you could tell the author had never ever been in the place they have as their setting?  I've recently read two of them! Why would you write a story that takes place in a country you have never been to? If you are going to attempt that feat, at least do a whole lot of research about the area. Please! It annoys your readers if you get it wrong!

Anyway, I think you get my point on the need for spiral notebooks as an author. Do you use them for something different? I have found them a great thing to have extras of when the grandchildren visit. We can draw together, we can practice our math, we can practice our letters and sometimes we write a story together. We NEVER do those things in Grandma's "special" notebooks. Not ever!




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


FOLLOW US ON:

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Color Outside the Lines – Reviewing Summer Color and Activity Books for Kids or Adults

Collage created on FotoJet
Summertime brings us wonderful weather for favorite outdoor activities. But sometimes it is too hot to play outside or rainy days force us inside. That's when some indoor activities are needed. 

Television programs and noisy games are fun, but sometimes 'quiet times' are welcome. Having a variety of coloring and activity books can be a perfect fit for such times. 





Coloring Books


Coloring books for both kids and adults are always fun. Here are a couple new ones to try.

Dr. Seuss Coloring Book



Available on Amazon

The Dr. Seuss Coloring Book is filled with playful patterns and intricate images based on everyone's favorite Dr. Seuss characters, this 80-page coloring book will occupy children from age 7 and up all the way to parents and grandparents who remember the lovable Dr. Seuss books. 

The illustrations come from such Dr. Seuss titles as The Cat in the Hat, Oh, the Places You'll Go, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, Horton Hears a Who and How the Grinch Stole Christmas, to name a few. 

Now you can color Dr. Seuss any way you want!

The World of Debbie Macomber: Come Home to Color: An Adult Coloring Book



Available on Amazon

While the kids are coloring Dr. Seuss, mom or grandma fans of Debbie Macomber can enjoy their own coloring book. Based on the Blossom Street and Rose Harbor series, this special adult coloring book has 45 original illustrations that depict scenes from the series. Revisit favorite locales and relive the themes from these favorite Debbie Macomber stories. 


Summertime Activities


See on Amazon

Keep the kids entertained when inclement weather spoils vacation fun or the 'kids' start their “I'm Bored” routines with this fun DIY activity book called The Dad Lab.  The book contains 50 projects in the interesting realm of science and technology. The projects are simple and use materials found around the house.  I can already see that the project “make slime with only two ingredients” is one my young grandsons would enjoy. 

A fun way for mom & dad and grandparents to spend quality time with the kids in a way the kids would also enjoy.


Summary


Image from Bev Owens Article
Reviewing Fine Art Colored Pencils
on ReviewThisReviews

Add in some colorful crayons for the kids, and special pens and pencils for the intricate designs for adults and you'll be creating beautiful pages. 

So don't let weather spoil your summer vacation. These coloring and activity books will give everyone hours of fun and enjoyment. 


Check out a variety of fun reviews of other coloring books and coloring pencils on ReviewThisReviews: Coloring Books



(c) Wednesday Elf 6/23/2019




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


FOLLOW US ON:

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Pet Memorial Stone Reviewed

A Pet Memorial

pet memory
Memorial to a beloved pet
image courtesy of pixabay.com
With a heart that is broken, I have been reviewing my options for a pet memorial stone. This past Sunday on Father's Day at 5:15 pm I watched my sweet little Chessie take her last breath on this side of the Rainbow Bridge. As difficult as it was, I am thankful to have been by her side in those last moments.

Chessie chose us, literally, about 16 years ago. She was part of a litter belonging to a neighborhood cat who had a habit of bringing her babies around to meet the neighbors. The very first time that Mama Cat brought this litter to meet us, the only little gray tabby came right up to me. The other kittens seemed leery of these creatures who only had two legs but not the little gray one. She ran to my feet, stretched her little paws up on my leg and mewed the sweetest little mew her little body could muster. Scooping her up, I petted while she purred softly. 

We gave Mama some fresh water and some cat food because she seemed pretty hungry. Mama kept a watchful eye on her babies as they played except for the little gray one who was in my arms. After filling her belly Mama began to walk down the drive calling to her babies to follow. I sat the little one down and told her to go with her mother. She ran to catch up and then stopped turned, looked at me, mewed and then followed her siblings.

The second visit (a few days later) was much the same except that when Mama Cat signaled it was time to leave, the little gray tabby did not follow. Mama had to carry her down the drive by the scruff of her neck. The kittens were still small enough that I believe they were still nursing. None of them tried to drink the water or eat the food we put out. I think that is why Mama insisted all of her babies come with her, including the reluctant one.

Third Visit: Pet Humans

The third visit was probably at least a week or more later. It was amazing how much the kittens had grown in that short span of time. On this visit the kittens knew how to gobble the food and drink the water. Mama had been teaching them well, it seemed. Mama was sated and gave the signal for her babies to gather. Three kittens ran to their mother while the gray one ran to our porch. She wasn't leaving. Mama Cat came closer and her reluctant baby ran underneath our car. When Mama went under the car, the kitten ran to the porch again. Mama finally gave up, walking away with her other three babies. My husband and I had been chosen to be the adorable little gray kitten's pet humans. It was abundantly clear, we did not have a choice in the matter. We belonged to her.

We named her Chessie because she looked so much like the sweet little mascot of the Chesapeake Railroad advertisements from days gone by. She spent the next 16 years training us to give her what she wanted when she wanted it. Terry learned her signal that she expected a treat and I learned what foods she preferred and which ones did not agree with her taste buds. She also trained me to keep my lap empty in the evenings because that was cuddle time. If I didn't give the required amount of strokes to her fur or enough scratches behind the ears, she let me know. 

Chessie was a two human cat. She didn't much care for other humans coming to visit. There were specific places to hide until the coast was clear and then she would snub me for a little while to let me know that she was not pleased. She had a particular meow at those times to let me know of her displeasure. Of course at cuddle time, extra strokes and scratches were required to make up for the injustice she had endured.

When the last day comes

On Sunday, she wasn't herself in the morning. She might have had a small stroke but I didn't suspect that at first. A few hours later, I was certain that she had suffered a massive stroke. She wasn't moving her legs, it was obvious she couldn't see anymore. She was breathing and her heart was beating but I knew she was leaving us. So, I held her. For a while she could still purr at my touch. At 5:15 the last air left her lungs and my precious girl crossed over the rainbow bridge. 

I don't believe that she suffered any pain; there was no indication that she was suffering. If she was a human she would have been 84 years old. She led a happy and long life with the two humans she adopted. She was loved and she knew it. My lap feels so empty!

So, I found a pet memorial stone to place in the spot where she liked to lay in the sun. I can see her curled up in the center of the heart.

You might have left my life, sweet Chessie, but you will forever be in my heart.





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


FOLLOW US ON:

Monday, June 17, 2019

Reviewing FLEXUS by Spring Step Shoes

Cute and comfortable shoes.
I dislike shoes. I really, really dislike shoes. So when I find a pair that I enjoy wearing I feel compelled to tell others about them. The FLEXUS shoes made by Spring Step are affordable, comfortable, and everyday cute. 


FLEXUS by Spring Step


The other day I wore my FLEXUS shoes to an event and got several compliments. Perhaps my co-workers were so surprised to see me wearing something other than my same ol' tennis shoes that they complimented my shoes out of shock. But I don't think so. These shoes are cute. 

Not only are they cute, they are affordable. I bought my pair (the style: Bedrock) at DSW

They are comfortable. The soles are slightly flexible and the shoes are lightweight. I like to keep my toes covered and the wide toe box is comfortable. No squished, cramped toes crammed into a pointed toe! The treads of the shoe are a type of hard rubber - solid but not loud and clackity on hard surface floors. 

On the Spring Step website, they list the 5 points of comfort of the soles as:

  • anti-shock
  • anatomic
  • self-moulding
  • slip-proof
  • flexible

The older I become, the less I like to wear heels. Once upon a time I liked wearing wedges for special occasions. And prior to that I LOVED stacks. Yes, I'm giving away my age. But honestly, I would just prefer to be barefoot. If I absolutely must wear shoes, I'm glad I found the FLEXUS line by Spring Step.

If you prefer shopping on Amazon, there is a large selection of shoes by Spring Step.




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


FOLLOW US ON:


The Review This Contributors

Cynthia SylvestermouseCynthia SylvestermouseDawn Rae BDawn Rae BMary Beth - mbgphotoMary Beth - mbgphotoBrite-IdeasBrite-IdeasBev OwensBev OwensWednesday ElfWednesday ElfBarbRadBarbRadOlivia MorrisOlivia MorrisRenaissanceWoman2010Renaissance
Woman2010
Lou16Lou16The Savvy AgeThe Savvy AgeTreasures by BrendaTreasures by BrendaMargaret SchindelMargaret SchindelBuckHawkBuckHawkDecoratingforEventsDecorating
forEvents
Heather426Heather426Coletta TeskeColetta TeskeMissMerFaeryMissMerFaeryMickie_GMickie_G

 

Review This is Dedicated to the Memory of Our Beloved Friend and Fellow Contributor
We may be apart, but You Are Not Forgotten

Susan DeppnerSusan Deppner