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

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Popsocket Review

Handy Tool For Cell Phones And Tablets

Let's review a popsocket today. Chances are you have at least seen a popsocket but you might not have known what it was. Basically, they are a type of grip to attach to your cell phone or even your tablet. Of course not all grips are Popsockets but a whole lot of them are.

popsocket
This woman must not have a popsocket on her phone
image courtesy of pixabay.com

These funky looking discs attach to a phone for a variety of uses. Probably the most popular use is for having a better grip on your cell phone making it less likely to drop it. This comes in real handy if you are the type who likes to carry your phone in your hand instead of your pocket or purse.

People who like to take selfies say the popsocket allows them to hold the phone better for snapping that shot. I'm not one that takes a lot of those so I don't know whether it makes it easier or not.

Popsocket and other brands


Not all of the brands of grips perform like the little popsockets. The uniqueness of this brand is that it is collapsible. It can go flat and then pop out once and then once again in an almost accordion like fashion. I like that you can collapse it when you want to place it flat on a surface and when you want to put it in your back pocket. If it is sticking out an inch or two in your pocket it might look rather alarming to someone behind you. 

You can completely remove the popsocket when you want to. The adhesive is reusable. This comes in handy if you want to re-charge your phone with one of those wireless chargers. There might even be a reason to remove it in order to place it in a different place on your phone. 

Why move it around? Well, another use for the popsocket is that you can use it like a stand. Yep, you can prop your phone up for hands-free time. I don't watch many videos on my phone but a lot of people do and with a popsocket they can prop their phone up on a desk or tabletop and watch without holding on to the phone. I would imagine this would be really nice if you are watching a movie on your phone; I would think you hand would get stiff having to grip for so long.

I even saw an example where someone used two of these handy little discs on the back of their phone to wrap the cord neatly from their earbuds. I thought that was pretty clever! 

Lots of choices

Another really fun thing about these little grippers is that you have a multitude of choices in how they look. You can keep it simple or you can find one that is suited to your tastes and personality. There are colorful ones, elegant looking ones and of course whimsical ones. Some can even be personalized to have a saying of your choice on yours. They aren't very expensive so you could pick one or two and switch them out as your mood changes. 

Personally, I think they would make a great little stocking stuffer for people on your gift list. How about you? Have you got a popsocket?



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Friday, October 11, 2019

Anti Fatigue Comfort Floor Mat By Sky Mats Reviewed

Anti Fatigue Comfort Floor Mat by Sky Mats Reviewed
I would be the first to say, I am extremely surprised that these anti-fatigue mats actually work! 

When we visited our daughter a few weeks ago, she had several anti-fatigue floor mats in her kitchen.  One in front of her sink and one in front of the counter they use when preparing food. Honestly, I thought they were the latest gimmick to separate us from our money.  I stood on one of her mats and thought, "wow, this really is comfortable".

Back home, I promptly ordered two anti-fatigue mats for my own kitchen.  As soon as they arrived, they were immediately placed on the hardwood floor.  Since then, I have prepared two recipes that require a lot of standing time.  Shockingly, I did not hurt after standing for over an hour either time.


Anti-Fatigue Floor Mats By Sky Mats 


Make sure you buy the right brand!  I tried several in the local store and most of them slid to easily.  The Sky mats have a backing that holds them in place.  Plus, they have sloped edges.  Therefore, I won't slip and fall.  That non-slip backing is a huge difference when comparing anti-fatigue floor mats.

The Sky Mats are not available in a lot of different colors or patterns.  Getting hung up on "looks" is what caused me to consider a different brand.  I am so glad I tried them in the store first!  I knew I would prefer comfort over appearance. After all, the reason I need the mats is because of the extreme back pain I experience after standing on my hardwood floors for long periods of time.


Anti Fatigue Comfort Floor Mats by Sky Mats Reviewed

I purchased two different Sky Mats.  They are the same matching color, but they are different lengths.  As you can see in the photos, I have the standard size (20x32x3/4-inch) in front of my kitchen sink.  However, I opted for a longer (24x70x3/4-inch) that covers the area in front of my counter and stove top.  This is totally awesome!  I never have to leave my "cloud of comfort" when preparing, cooking, or cleaning.  Plus, the smaller mat is easy to lift and move if needed.

I enjoy cooking and always hated the subsequent aches and pains.  I no longer have to worry about hurting simply because I need to stand at the counter or stove-top for several hours. That makes the meal so much more enjoyable for me! 










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Saturday, October 5, 2019

Reviewing FlexClip, a Free, Online Video Maker

How to make videos for social media sharing for FREE!
When it comes to social media it really seems as though video is king, but how can you create videos to promote yourself without buying expensive video equipment and having to learn new videography skills?   You use an online video maker!   I have tried a few different online video makers and have found they all have pros and cons, today I'm going to talk to you about FlexClip.

FlexClip are a completely free video maker which is awesome, but they also offer 2 other plans - basic and plus which offer better quality videos, longer videos and the ability to do more projects - they also allow you to add a custom watermark.

I love the fact that you can use it for free and see if you like it before committing to buying a plan.   The other thing I love is that when you make a video it doesn't include a watermark as many of the other free online video makers do.

Making a Video from Stills 


Now I am only reviewing using this to make videos from still images, but you can use it with video which I haven't had a chance to do yet.

So the actual making of the video is pretty simple and it tells you exactly how to do it BUT one of the biggest problems I felt with the program was that I could not find out what size images were best to be used.   They have lots of articles for you to read for help, but there doesn't appear to be a search function for you to simply ask the question you have which is a shame.

They list common FAQs for you to search, but when your question doesn't appear in there it is a little disheartening.

My first video was for my Arbonne business and you can see that I should've used different sized images.


What I really liked when I made this video was adding the music, there was a lot of Christmas music available for me to use.

The music that is available is definitely something that I think is good as other online video makers that I have used have not had as many different options as FlexClip.

As I enjoyed making that video I quickly turned around and made one for the offline business I work with, I still hadn't found what size images I should be using so used ones that I thought should be okay - I think they worked.

I used a different text style in this video and there are quite a few different options to use when adding text as well which I think is another positive.


I used both of these videos on Facebook and the quality seemed really good on there.

Adding Backgrounds to Images

I did have a play around and found that where I have images that aren't really the best size for this program I could add a colored background which really seemed to help.

Video Templates


FlexClip also offer a number of video templates which look great and depending on your business you may like to use them.   I have used video templates in the past, but I usually prefer to create my own initially when trying out a platform.

There are definitely a couple of the templates that I could see myself using in the future though.


My Thoughts on FlexClip


I really had my reservations when I first used it because I couldn't get an answer to my image size, but I did like all the other features and I think when I use it more I'll naturally get a feel for the size that works best anyway.

I am keen to try uploading videos and editing them (I only have my phone for taking videos so that could be interesting!) and when I do that I will review that aspect and link to it from here.

I would definitely recommend trying the free version and love, love, love that it doesn't have their logo on your videos as it looks so much better when sharing.   I am also seriously considering purchasing one of the plans as I think it's great for promoting for bloggers, zazzlers, affiliate marketers, social marketers as well as brick and mortar businesses.








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Friday, October 4, 2019

Rubbermaid Mini Cooler (5 quart) Reviewed

Rubbermaid Mini Cooler ReviewThe Rubbermaid Mini Cooler is perfect for the car!

We keep our Rubbermaid mini cooler on the floorboard in our car anytime we are going to be driving for more than a few hours.  

Sometimes, I just like to get out and go for a drive, but I don't wish to go without water.  And, I am no particularly fond of warm bottled water.  I prefer it to be cold, especially during the hot summer months.

Both my husband and I keep a bottled water in the cup holders.  However, if we are driving for a while, we end up drinking all of that one bottle and need another.  That is where the mini cooler becomes a necessity.

Yes, we could stop at a gas station or convenience store for additional water, but there isn't always one around when we need it.  Plus, bottled water or sodas are more expensive when sold individually.

This little cooler has become our regular travel companion in all of our vehicles. 



The Rubbermaid Mini Cooler Features


Rubbermaid Mini Cooler Reviewed
We have had our mini cooler for decades and it has served us well!  We have never felt a need to replace it.  I love things that can be bought once (especially at a reasonably low price) and used forever.  This little cooler has seen more places than I can remember.  Great for picnics, outings, or even pool side for those of us who don't want to track back into the house for a cool drink or snack.

It is perfect for cars, boats, motorcycles (with saddle bags), private airplanes, hot air balloons, or any recreational vehicle that has a small storage area.

It will hold 4 bottled waters (standard size - 16.9 oz) or 6 canned drinks, depending on the size of your blue ice packet.  For the cans, you would need a thin ice pack that can lay on top.  Of course, you could always fit regular ice cubes around the cans.  I started using the blue ice packets because they are less mess than melted ice (water).  Another alternative, there is a threaded hole in the lid for a Rubbermaid screw-in ice pack, but we have never used it.

You could also use it as a lunch box since it would easily hold a drink, sandwich and a few side containers.  In the hot car, I have been known to harbor a candy bar in the mini cooler along with our water or sodas.  

Rubbermaid Mini Cooler Reviewed


The Rubbermaid mini cooler is made of  hard plastic type material, therefore it doesn't get smashed or crashed when packed with luggage.  It has an easy carry rotating handle.  Because it is small, it is extremely easy to wash in the kitchen sink, when needed.  Most of the time though, ours only requires a quick wipe with a damp cloth and we are all set to go for our next long drive. 

We recently made an 11 hr. drive.  When we arrived at our destination hotel, the remaining water was still cool. We carried our little cooler to our hotel room with us. It makes an awesome hotel companion if the room doesn't have a mini-fridge!

I would like to note, my mini cooler in the photos is an older version of the featured cooler below.  I sure would love to have that blue one.  Isn't it pretty?!!


If you prefer, you can buy one like mine on eBay

 








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Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Shetland Series Reviewed

Shetland Islands Featured In Mystery Series

I recently began watching the Shetland Series through my Britbox subscription. If you aren't familiar with it; the television series is drama/mystery series of episodes taking place in the picturesque Shetland Islands in Scotland. 

shetland series
Mysteries taking place in the Shetland Islands of Scotland
image courtesy of pixabay.com

I'm coming in sort of late for watching this popular television series which first began filming in 2014. I'm not sure it was available to me until recently; if it was somehow I missed it. I'm enjoying it so much that I don't think it will take me long to catch up to Season 5.


What can you expect in the series?

The episodes revolve around a small police force with DI Jimmy Perez leading his fellow officers in their duties on the islands in Northern Scotland. Detective Inspector Perez is a single dad of a teenage step-daughter. Cassie's mother died several years ago and her step-dad has brought her back to the small village in the Scottish archipelago to expose her to her roots. Another interesting little twist to the overall plot is that Cassie's birth father also lives in the village; the two men have different views on how best to raise a teenage girl. Their attempt at co-parenting adds some depth to each episode in the crime drama.

Being able to solve the mystery of each story line while experiencing what life is like up in the sub-arctic environment of the Shetland Islands is extremely enjoyable. Each mystery spans two episodes. So far, the ones that I have watched are full of twists. About the time that I think I know who is responsible something comes up to dismiss that person as the culprit. 

Living in a land-locked area, I am fascinated with DI Perez having to take the ferry over to an area to investigate. The scenery is beautiful and the local people are interesting. I find myself daydreaming wishing that I could go there someday. Some of my ancestors lived in Scotland, although I don't think any lived quite that far north.


You will have to stream it


If you are in the US, your only option to watch Shetland is to stream it. I signed up for Britbox through my Amazon Prime membership. I used to be able to see a lot of the British television shows through another streaming service but they no longer carry them because the licensing changed. I finally justified signing up for another service because I truly enjoy the programs that are produced. 

Anyway, if you are looking for a good series to watch I highly recommend Shetland. You can get a trial period for the streaming service to try it out. If you don't care for it, you can always cancel.




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Thursday, September 26, 2019

Review of Refrigerator Liners

Refrigerator liners can organize the space and help to keep your refrigerator neat and clean.

I used to dread the job of cleaning my refrigerator.  Forgotten spills would become sticky and hard to clean. Then I read about organizing with refrigerator liners and my job became much easier.




Features of DII Refrigerator Liners


  • Ultra-absorbent
  • Reversible
  • Cut to Fit any Size Shelf or Drawer
  • Quick-Drying
  • Machine Washable
  • Shape Retaining

Above photo shows the patterned side of the liner.  Photo below shows reverse side which is a checked pattern.

What I Like about These Liners

I hated to clean my refrigerator.  It seems like I never saw the spills till after they were sticky and hard to remove.  Now when I see a spilled area on the liner I can just remove the liner and throw it in the wash machine.  No more scrubbing and rubbing and I always have a clean refrigerator.

The liners in the produce drawers are great too.  The liners have a cushy  feel and provide a soft place for fruits and vegetables.

The set I purchased had 6 12x24 liners which I cut to fit my refrigerator.  They ended up fitting all my shelves and drawers.


 




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Saturday, September 21, 2019

Make #selfcare FUN with this Pink Clay Face Mask!

Let me review this absolutely gorgeous face mask that you just have to try, but first ...

Arbonnes Rescue and Renew Face Mask featuring French Pink Clay
Louanne showing Arbonne's Rescue & Renew Face Mask in Action!
Yes you can smile while wearing a face mask, you know I'm going to go off on a tangent for a moment and tell you a true story.   For many years when I was young I thought that if I dare smiled (or talked) while I had a face mask on it would crack my face!   Now I can imagine you all laughing at young teenage me let me talk about this awesome face mask.

Now I have talked about Arbonne's Cellular Renewal Mask in the past so you are probably wondering why I'm talking about yet another one so let me explain.  The best way I can think of it is that the cellular renewal mask is more like a scrub for people who shouldn't be using an abrasive scrub anymore.   Yes I'm getting on in life and after the age of 30/35 you really shouldn't be using an abrasive scrub but should try something like the cellular renewal mask instead.

Now whatever age you are anyone can appreciate a creamy French pink clay mask and Arbonne's Rescue & Renew mask is a really dreamy one.   I love this mask because it's one just about anyone can enjoy using.   My 18 year old daughter loves using it, my 50 year old self loves using it and my (don't tell her I revealed her age!) 71 year old mum loves using it.   To me if you can get three generations loving the same mask you're doing something right!

Arbonne's Rescue & Renew products are known among their consultants as our spa range because with a few of these products you really can create a spa like experience in your own home.   I love nothing more than soaking my feet in the Detox soak while wearing a face mask and laughing and talking with my daughter.

My daughter loves putting on the face mask with friends as they talk and laugh and binge watch horror movies on sleepovers.

I think there's just something about having a luxurious feeling face mask that makes you feel good and getting close friends around for a bottle of wine, good conversation, lots of laughs and a face mask just sounds like heaven - don't you think?

So what makes this face mask so much better than other clay masks?   For starters it's made with a French pink clay formula which pulls out all the impurities in your skin making your skin look and feel better.   There are also added botanicals such as dandelion, tumeric and ginger root, these botanicals help to detox your skin, and promote radiant looking skin which is what we all want.

The face mask also contains rosemary oil which helps to hydrate the skin (very important to keep your skin looking younger and more radiant).  There are also some self-neutralizing acids to help brighten the appearance of your skin tone.

The best thing about this mask is that it comes with a 45 day money back guarantee which means you can buy it, use it a few times and if you decide it's not for you send it back - you can't do that with many face masks can you?


This Gorgeous Clay Mask is a Great Christmas Gift Idea


Now I talked about this mask as being a wonderful Christmas gift idea during my Christmas in July event in my Christmas Shopping List Facebook group.  At the time I was just talking about the regular face mask, but it is also featured twice in Arbonne's 2019 Festive Line.   Now if you like these two gift ideas please grab them quickly as the Christmas line ran out extremely fast last year.


These cool holiday ornaments are available to purchase separately and include mini versions of some of Arbonne's popular products including the face mask which I can imagine on quite a few people's Christmas tree this year.   I just love this idea and will be giving the face mask and mascara to a number of young ladies on my Christmas list.

Arbonne's Clarity Facial Christmas Set for the Holidays

This is another set that I think will be among the first to sell out as it features the awesome clay mask along with a headband and an exclusive Detox All Over Mist.   This set is the only way you can get the mist that sounds absolutely divine.

Will you be trying this luxury face mask?  



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Friday, September 20, 2019

Hausse Retractable 2 Story Home Fire Escape Ladder Review

House Fire Escape Ladder
A fire escape ladder is essential for any 2 story home, especially if the bedrooms are upstairs! 

Many homes have bedrooms upstairs. It isn't something I am particularly fond of myself. I would rather have all bedrooms on the ground level. However, I have been told that it is a simple matter of economics. It is cheaper to build up than to build a single story home with a lot of rooms. 

For some, having the bedrooms upstairs, away from the entry doors to a home, is comforting.  For others, like myself, it is a way to end up trapped in a house with no easy way out. Regardless of your home construction preference, being able to escape in a fire is always preferred.


My Own Fear of Fire


When I was a young child, our family owned a really nice single story home that had 3 bedrooms downstairs. The girls shared a bedroom, the boys shared a bedroom, and our parents had their bedroom.  An awesome arrangement!  

When there was a fire in our home one night, we were all able to get out of the house as soon as smoke was detected, even before the fireman showed up.  I can't say that I actually remember much about that night since I was around 4 years old.  Of course, my older siblings and parents remember it well.  I've been told that our father did have to go back in through a window to carry my sister outside.  Fortunately, with all the bedroom windows being at ground level, that was easily possible.

But what if all of the bedrooms had been upstairs? 

When we moved to a new home, it was a 2 story home with all of the bedrooms upstairs.  I always feared a fire in that home and envisioned myself leaping out of the second story window to safety. As a child, I was okay with that idea.  As a adult, I can see how that was not a good escape plan.  Thankfully, I have never had to test my super leaping powers.


Be Prepared for Home Fire


 Hausse Retractable 2 Story Fire Escape Ladder, 13 FeetIt is entirely possible that my current day requirement to have a home fire ladder in every bedroom upstairs is tied to my childhood experience and subsequent plans.  Again, we have never had to use the fire ladders, but we do have them.

Being trapped upstairs during a fire would be scary, and possibly deathly.  The cost of a fire ladder is minimal when compared to the cost of a life.  For me, it is a no-brainer.  We all buy home insurance for our possessions.  Why in the world wouldn't we buy this practical use "insurance"?

Yes, I know. We ask ourselves, would we really climb down a ladder hanging from the window? I believe if we are awake and recognize we are trapped in a fire, we would grab that ladder, hang it from the window ledge, and start climbing without a second thought.  After all, it beats leaping!

 







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Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Flower Art For Kids Reviewed

Kids Making Flower Art

I found some flower art for kids to give to my youngest granddaughter for her birthday this year. She enjoys doing all sorts of crafty things so after reviewing some options, the kit that I purchased just seemed like a perfect match for her age and her personality.

flower-art
Flower art by mother nature
image courtesy of pixabay.com

The kit is called Random Acts of Flowers and fits my little sweet pea (pun intended) to a "t". I can see her making a small bunch of flowers to give to someone in a random act of kindness. She is so in tune with the emotions people are experiencing around her and would delight in making someone smile with a little gift.


Teaching Kindness With Crafts


The kit includes 75 sheets of tissue paper, 12 floral stems, 12 gift tags, a hanging vase and a bandit mask. Why the mask? This is supposed to be random and anonymous...besides kids love it. What is not included is a pair of scissors and you will also have to supply the kind soul of a child or adult. It is the most important ingredient in the mix!

So, making these flowers and then finding a place to hang them so that people can smile as they take one from the hanging bouquet is only part of the fun. Those gift tags that can be attached to a flower are supposed to have a message on them. The encouraged message is that whoever takes the flower is supposed to go do something nice for someone else. Don't you just love that?

Added to the benefit of spreading kindness one little action at a time is the fact that every purchase of one of these kits pays it forward a little more. A donation is made to a charity that takes re-cycled flowers along with words of encouragement to health care facilities to promote the emotional well-being to residents. I love that!


A Gift that Keeps Giving


Another thing I loved about this flower art for kids kit is that it plants that seed of kindness but it doesn't have to stop once the original supplies are used up. It is so very easy to buy more tissue paper. The children can make their own little gift tags and flower stems can be replenished. The hanging vase might be taken away but they can use their imagination to make another one. 

What do you think? Would you give a child a gift like this?





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Monday, September 9, 2019

Favorite Fall Lawn Gadgets Reviewed

Oh no! What happened to summer? I say that every September though most of September is technically still summer.

September is actually I think the best month for the northern United States. The air is crisper, the humidity has decreased and the leaves are just beginning their journey through the colors. Fall also means lawn work, garden clean up, Fall planting and preparing the lawn and garden for a snowy winter.

My Favorite Fall Lawn Gadgets 

The Bagster - On Demand Debris Removal

If Fall clean up involves heavy materials whether it be concrete, wood or trees then The Bagster is a great alternative to dispose of heavy loads. Simply purchase The Bagster bag either online or at a big box store, fill the bag and schedule the pick up!


Find the full review here and see if your area qualifies for The Bagster.


Greenworks Leaf Blower

This is one of my favorite lawn tools of all purchases. The lightweight Greenworks Leaf Blower is so versatile.

I use it all year to blow leaves and debris off the driveway or deck, blow leaves to dispose of in the Fall and even use it for a Car Hack to blow dust out of the car.

Read the full review here of this easy to maneuver Leaf Blower.

City Pickers Raised Garden Bed

I really enjoyed this garden bed on wheels during the summer and will transition this raised bed garden for Fall planting. Maybe a pumpkin?!? I plan on rolling the bed into the Florida room for the winter and begin herb planting come spring.


Read the full review here of this rolling garden bed perfect for the yard, deck or patio.


Blue Shoes Disposable Shoes

Fall means rain, mud and leaves in my area of the country. Do you have trees with those itty bitty leaves which stick to everything and every shoe?

These affordable disposable shoes I have found invaluable for yard work in any weather. Pop the shoes on and dispose of in a jif if needed. If the conditions are dry the shoes can be used as a cover and then reused.

Read the full review here of these little shoe savers.


Top Ten Hallmark Christmas Movies

I know, these are not a lawn gadget. But Fall means Hallmark Christmas Movies are in the near future. As I recall the Christmas movies began at Halloween last year.


Find the full review here.

A few new favorites from last Christmas to add to the list:

  • Christmas At Pemberley Manor
  • Christmas At The Palace
  • Christmas On Honeysuckle Lane






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Thursday, September 5, 2019

GOOLOO Jump Starter Power Bank Review

GOOLOO Jump Starter Power Bank
If you've ever gotten into your vehicle, turned the key, and heard nothing but clicking, I'm sure we have shared the same sinking feeling.  It has happened to me twice this week.

As a woman who lives in a place where it isn't always possible to call out for assistance, and where help may take a few hours to arrive in a best case scenario, it is essential to be prepared for just this type of emergency.  Who doesn't want to be able to get up and running quickly when this happens?

After calling around and leaving some messages about needing a jump start, I waited, and waited, and waited.  During the day, that is merely frustrating.  At night, being stranded like that in an isolated place could be very dangerous.

Fortunately, I was able to walk to a neighbor's place to borrow a GOOLOO portable battery jump starter.  First of all, I was thankful the unit was compact and lightweight (the size of my hand), since I had to carry it while walking a good distance back to my vehicle.  Secondly, the fact that this power bank holds its charge over a significant period of time ensured that I wouldn't have to plug it in and wait for hours before being able to boost my battery.  It was ready to go.

Five Blue Lights Indicate Full Charge
Though I had never before handled a GOOLOO, I discovered it was a simple tool to use.  All I had to do was plug the part with the jumper cables into the power bank, clip the red and black clamps onto the same colored terminals on my SUV's battery, press the red booster button on the GOOLOO, and turn the key in my vehicle's ignition.  Within seconds, my engine sprang back to life.  What a relief!

Battery Cables Plugged Into Power Bank Unit
If that wasn't enough reason for me to purchase my very own GOOLOO power bank, I noted several additional bonus features that make it an even better buy.  For one, I can use this very same unit to charge my iPhone, laptop, iPad, or Kindle.  That is a big plus when I am using those devices on the road.  The GOOLOO also contains a multi-function LED flashlight in the quick charger itself, which is very handy.

Bright LED Flashlight
Single Beam, Strobe, SOS Functions
It's no surprise that this product is the number one seller in its Amazon category.  Having tested it out myself, I can see why it has received so many positive reviews from other users.  I know I will be acquiring this very same jump starter.  With winter on the way, and so many other weather-related emergencies taking place, one can never be too prepared.

Even if you live where help is nearby, there are times when you will be parked in a position where another vehicle cannot get close enough to reach your battery for a jump start.  With the GOOLOO, you are set no matter where your emergency happens.  It's a good feeling to know you can take care of yourself should the need occur.

This is the type of gift my dad would have given me if he were still around today.  It's a peace of mind gift to give others or yourself.  And, it's pretty hard to put a price tag on something that valuable.





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Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Head Injuries, Head Trauma, How to Prevent Injuries

A  grandparent's worst nightmare is getting a call asking you to come and stay with your grandchildren while another one of them is being transported to the local Children's Hospital.

Image by Iatya Prunkova Pixabay


This Review is all about Safety!  Head Safety to be precise.  Products that will help to ensure your children are able to stay safe while still having fun!  What prompts this review is a really upsetting event that happened in my life just this past week.  One minute everything is fine and even wonderful and the next minute, disaster strikes.  This is my granddaughter after her horse threw her!  Black out and concussion and brain bleeds.  It was not a pretty picture!  But I assure you that she will be alright because she was protecting that most important part of her body, her brain!


Helmets are a necessity for many sports that our children partake in.  You wouldn't think of sending your child to play hockey without a proper helmet in place.  BMX biking, motocross, general cycling, skateboarding, skiing, horseback riding, and so many more sports should never be undertaken without proper Head Gear!  Many organized sports will not let you join without the proper attire, and that includes protecting the most important part of your body, your brain. 

Years of studying brain injuries has led many doctors, scientists and just the general public to understand the necessity of protecting your head.  Football, hockey, wrestling and other sports have had their share of injuries, but head injuries were one of the most overlooked in past years.  Think about how all those blows to the head affected Mohammed Ali.  Now we are starting to understand the impact that these injuries can have on just about anyone.  Concussions are the most common injuries and most of us don't understand exactly what happens when our brains get bruised.  

When a child's brain gets bruised, you need to know what to do and to do that quickly.  Here are some guidelines that will help you understand the nature of a head injury and it's immediate results.

It is so important to know that if your child loses consciousness, an ambulance should be called.  There is NO room here for second guesses.  You cannot see what is going on in their heads.   Better to be safe than sorry!  An x-ray will tell if there is immediate need for more intervention.

If your children are active (and I truly hope they are) then you need to learn how to fit helmets properly for every activity your child is involved with.  Bike helmets and other sports helmets are not interchangeable.  Be specific with your helmet purchase!  FYI here is a link for your to find how to properly fit a bike helmet!  I've included this because this is one thing that children and adults can do together and it's a popular activity for the whole family.  Even if your child is on a training bike, they still need a helmet!  Check here for fitting instructions!  I've chosen to show you this helmet, because it has the added feature of a light at the back for evening rides.  It pays to be seen while riding. 



Every sport has a special helmet, they are not all interchangeable!  Baseball, football, hockey, and horseback riding each helmet has a specified job to do and so the requirements for protection are different.  Do not buy a helmet second hand!  Once a helmet has been banged around it needs to be replaced.  Remember that your brain needs proper protection.

I'm hoping that with writing about my experience with my grandchild, I will make you stop and think about your own children and grandchildren.  Nothing is more important than their safety especially when at play. 

**At this time, my granddaughter has been released from hospital and with an extended period of rest, she should be back to her normal active self.  TG!   Her parent's are aware of the use of her picture.  They would like everyone with children to know how important it is to protect your children even when they are at play. 

  









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Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Halloween Advent Calendar Reviewed

Countdown to Halloween

House Ready for Halloween
image courtesy of pixabay.com

Until recently, I didn't realize there was such a thing as a Halloween Advent Calendar. Did you? I mean, I know about Advent Calendars for Christmas but counting down for All Hallow's Eve is a new one for me.

The one that I stumbled upon is different than the ones we use for Christmas in that there are no little gifts to be found during the countdown. This one just displays how many days until the ghouls, ghosts, goblins and zombies run around asking for treats. You turn the wheel each day to display the number. Now, the nice thing about that is you are not limited to starting the countdown on October 1st. It is possible to begin the counting as early as 99 days before Halloween. That is, if you want to.

Movable wheels

As the wheel to change the numbers is turned scenes on the haunted house change, too. Windows open to show different monsters lurking inside. The moon can be changed to show a variety of flying scenes. There are three movable wheels to play with and a pull strip in the center to move around. It is made on sturdy cardstock so it should last for many years. 

Where to display the Halloween Advent Calendar

It comes with two tombstone feet to allow displaying on a desk, table or shelf. You can get as creative as you want, though. Use some magnets and put it on the refrigerator. Hang it on a wall in any room. If you have a small easel, place it on that and display anywhere you like. It is quite versatile. Measuring only 8 inches by 10 inches, it isn't going to take up a whole lot of space no matter where you decide to display it. 

How about it? Does a decoration that also helps you count down the days to Halloween sound like fun to you?





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Friday, August 23, 2019

Coleman CPX 6 Easy Hanging LED Lantern Reviewed

Coleman CPX 6 Easy Hanging LED Lantern Review

The Coleman CPX 6 Easy Hanging LED Lantern is essential emergency equipment!

I was reminded a few nights ago when we experienced a 2 hour black-out of why I keep my Coleman LED Lantern next to my bed.  Even if I am sleeping, something always wakes me when the power goes out in our area.

Long before it starts getting hot because the air conditioner is off, I know when our home is blanketed in complete darkness.  I suspect there is a noise level that changes in our house when the electricity is out, but whether it is the absence of the low hum of the refrigerator, or the exterior lights shutting off, I note the difference and wake up.

The first thing most of us do when we are sleeping and sense something amiss, is to reach for a light.  I keep a flashlight on my nightstand, plus I have my emergency lights in the electrical outlets throughout our home.  However, if the power is completely out in our area, I reach for my Coleman lantern for a source of constant light, sufficient to light the room.  


My Preferred Coleman Lantern


Our Coleman Lantern of choice is the CPX 6 Easy Hanging LED Lantern.  For starters, it is a nice, bright light that illuminates a large area whether you are inside or outside.  It will light up most of our backyard if I need to step outside for any reason.

 Coleman CPX 6 LED Work LanternCheck PriceI should note, it is also perfect for the car.  If we should need to stop to change a tire, it would offer enough light to preform the job.  

Clearly, if camping, it will light the tent or the area surrounding your tent.  The batteries add weight to an otherwise lightweight unit, but that is a good thing.  You don't want wind to turn your lantern over if you need to set it on the ground.

The handle can be adjusted for hanging, or tightened for a more secure grip if carrying the lantern.  Since we use ours in our home, we keep the handle tightened down along the back of the light, therefore there is a short handle on the top instead of the longer loop you see in the image on the right.

The feet and the top edge are made of impact resistant rubber.  We all know how important that can be if you are actually using it while working.

All of the aforementioned features are fabulous, but my favorite feature about the Coleman CPX 6 LED Lantern is the length of time it will work without needing new batteries.  There are two light setting optionsThis awesome lantern will light your area for up to 65 hours on high or 155 hours on low.  Our recent 2 hour black-out was no challenge at all for this fabulous lantern.

If you don't like using batteries, there is a Rechargeable Power Cartridge available for this lantern.

In my opinion, every home should have at least one Coleman CPX 6 LED Lantern for emergencies, or just for lighting your own backyard or camp site when needed.

 






Additional Emergency Equipment Reviewed on Review This!


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Every home should have a power failure light that automatically comes on during power outages.
I have one of these lights plugged into an outlet in the hallways and main rooms of my own home.



Halo 800 Lumen Handheld Flashlight ReviewHalo 800 Lumen Handheld Flashlight Review
Flashlights come in all sizes, colors, and price range, but I would recommend the Halo 800 lumen flashlight above all the rest!

The Halo 800 Lumen flashlight is lightweight and small, with exceptional lighting ability.




Read More Product Reviews at
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Coleman CPX 6 Easy Hanging LED Lantern Reviewed by:
House of Sylvestermouse





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Monday, August 12, 2019

Nonni's Biscotti Reviewed

Nonni's Biscotti Reviewed
Looking for a light and airy snack? Perfect to accompany a nice cup of tea or coffee? Nonni's biscotti is a yummy alternative to the after meal cookies and sweets or a mid afternoon snack.

Biscotti The Alternative Snack

The biscotti are made with real butter, eggs and sugar. No preservatives or artificial flavors are used in Nonni's recipe.

Each biscotti is individually wrapped which is very user friendly and keeps the biscotti fresh. The biscotti are light and airy yet crispy. These are perfect for those who like to dunk a crispy treat in their coffee, tea or milk.

These are a very nice alternative to sweets and cookies, but remember that biscotti does translate to a crisp cookie or biscuit. Biscotti is the plural of biscotto and biscotti are traditionally twice baked to obtain the light and dry consistency.

Who Is Nonni?


Nonni is the grandmother of the founder of Nonni's Bakery. The lore of the biscotti recipe began with Nonni in Lucca, Italy an area of Tuscan. The family recipe was then brought to America over a century ago.

Flavors Of Nonni's Biscotti


There are quite a few flavors for the Biscotti!


  • The Originali
  • Cioccolati
  • Dark Almond Chocolate
  • Limone
  • Salted Caramel
  • Toffee Almond
  • Turtle Pecan
  • Triple Chocolate


Where To Buy Nonni's Biscotti


The Biscotti are not inexpensive at our local independent grocer or brand name grocery store. I have found the selection and prices are much better on Amazon. If you'd like to look for Nonni's in your area, check the retail store locator here.

Amazon has a very nice variety pack of Nonni's Biscotti which has four flavors of the Biscotti: Originali, Limone, Turtle Pecan and Cioccolati. The biscotti are much lower priced online than I found locally.


Biscotti are a nice change of pace for those who like sweets and snacks. The flavors are subtle so no need to be worried about being over powered by the flavors. 

As they used to say, "Try it - you may like it!" The tagline of Nonni's is Nobody treats you like Nonni's!





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Saturday, August 10, 2019

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

Silicone sponges, potholders, spatulas, baking pan liners, muffin pan liners, food storage bags, cooking utensil rests, chocolate chip molds, ice pop molds and other silicone molds have become some of my favorite and most-often-used items in my kitchen.

Although I love cooking and baking, I don’t enjoy washing dishes, so I appreciate being able to toss my silicone kitchen tools into the dishwasher. It’s often just as easy to hand wash them with just a soapy sponge, since even sticky foods wash off easily.
Read on for my reviews of the best silicone kitchen tools and accessories!

Silicone Scrubber Sponges

I started using silicone “sponges” a while ago to protect our nonstick pots and pans. I liked them, but found them hard to handle because they were thin, floppy and a bit small. Also, when something did stick a bit, they didn’t work at all to remove the stuck-on food.

When one of them eventually ripped, I decided to look for something a bit larger and sturdier. I was a bit skeptical when I ordered this set silicone scrubber sponges, but I really liked the fact that they had the nubby silicone sponge “fingers” on one side and a sturdier scrubber pad on the other side. I find it much easier to hold these thicker, less floppy scrubber sponges while washing dishes, utensils, pots or pans. And, like the ones they replaced, they’re made of silicone, so they protect the nonstick finish, don’t trap bacteria and don’t get smelly, as cellulose sponges can. They’re also dishwasher safe.
These silicone scrubber sponges won't scratch nonstick pots and pans
The set includes 3 silicone sponge scrubbers, so I can keep one at the sink, one in the dishwasher and still have a spare. I wish the colors were a bit less drab, like the thinner, brightly colored silicone sponges I purchased originally, but I’m happy to trade less attractive color for more effectiveness in my kitchen.

Silicone Potholders

My hands are very sensitive to hot and cold temperatures, so I've gone through a lot of potholders over the years. The first silicone potholders I tried were the OrkaPlus cotton-lined silicone mitts by Mastrad. These long mitts were like barbecue mitts, providing great coverage that protected my fingers, hands, wrists and the lower half of my forearms. This appealed to me a lot, since I'm prone to burning myself in the kitchen! They also came highly recommended by a respected cooking magazine and had great reviews. Unfortunately, I found them very clumsy and had a hard time getting a good grip on the edges of cookie sheets without smooshing the big silicone thumb part into the cookies (or whatever else was in the pan I was trying to remove from the oven). Next, I tried a pair of small, ribbed silicone pinch mitts, also called mini oven mitts, that just covered my fingers, thumbs and palms. But I found them very awkward to use.
These ribbed silicone potholders protect your hands without getting in the way
Finally, I bought two Architec Silicone HotGrip ribbed silicone potholders that turned out to be the perfect solution. I use them every day, throw them into the dishwasher every evening and they still look like new. They're thick, large enough to protect my hands and grip well, thanks to the ribbed texture. Mine are red, since at the time the pretty teal blue color wasn't available. I can't imagine them wearing out, but if they ever do, I'll definitely be buying the blue ones!

Silicone Spatulas

I frequently use nonstick cookware and bakeware and silicone spatulas help protect the nonstick coating. I’ve added to my silicone spatula collection over time because I use them for so many things.

The first ones I bought (many years ago) had silicone heads attached to handles of a different material (wood, metal or plastic). I soon realized I’d be better off with a seamless, one-piece design. This eliminates the possibility of the business end of the spatula becoming detached from the handle (something that happened to me several times with two-piece designs) and eliminates seams and crevices that can trap food and breed bacteria.

Two years ago, I purchased 4-piece silicone spatula set made by UpGood. I was unfamiliar with the brand but bought it because I liked the shapes and sizes in the set, the reviews were great and the price made them an excellent value. The set includes a long, slim spatula for scraping out jars, a curved spoon spatula and both long and short traditional scraper spatulas with one curved edge and one straight edge, These are very nice quality and they're still going strong in my kitchen a couple of years later, And the charcoal gray color is a neutral that won't clash with your kitchen's color scheme. Here's a photo of the spoon/spatula (AKA "spoonula") from the set.
One of the spoonulas in my growing collection!
I find myself using the spoon/spatula shape the most for cooking and baking. Since I rarely have only one pot or pan going on the stove when I cook, I decided to get a couple more in that shape. I was delighted to find one in a pretty aqua/teal, my favorite color, so I ordered the GIR (Get It Right) 11-inch Premium Silicone Ultimate Spoonula in Teal. This high quality, seamless spoon spatula is made of pharmaceutical grade platinum-cured silicone that's heat resistant up to 550 °F. It also has a sturdy fiberglass core that doesn't heat up like the more common iron or stainless steel spatula cores. It's still one of my favorite cooking utensils - I just love the color and using it makes me happy. (It's the little things, right?) It also comes in Red, Orange or Gray.

I use an iSi Slim Silicone Spatula to scrape out my very tall Vitamix blender. It works extremely well for this purpose and I am very pleased with it.
This iSI slim silicone spatula is perfect for scraping the bottom of my Vitamix blender
Note: Any silicone spatula that is used to scrape out the contents of a blender will eventually get cuts or nicks from the sharp blades, at which point it should be replaced for sanitary reasons.

Silicone Baking Pan Liners

I've been baking for decades and, as any experienced baker will likely tell you, silicone baking mats are a baking staple. When I was younger, I used baking parchment much more often than I do now. But the older I get, the more concerned I become about the pervasiveness of wasteful habits that wreak havoc on the environment. So, increasingly, I've been trying to switch from disposable to reusable items.

For many years, I've used Silpat baking mats to line my cookie sheets. This French brand is so closely associated with this type of silicone bakeware liner that it's most often used as a generic term for them. But when I lost the use of my full-size double oven, I needed to get some smaller ones that would fit the smaller rimmed baking sheets for my tabletop oven.

I had been planning to buy the iconic Silpat brand again, but the name commands a premium and my income is not what it was when I worked in the corporate world. So, when I looked at a pair of silicone baking mats from an unfamiliar brand that had both great reviews and a great price, I took a chance.

Both my husband and I have been using these Quarter Sheet Silicone Baking Mats by WildCow several times a week. They're great for baking, of course, but we also use them to line our tabletop toaster oven rimmed baking sheets before inserting a rack to oven-bake regular or turkey bacon. We much prefer this method to pan frying, since there's no splatter, no turning and no watchful eye needed. These 11 3/4” x 8 1/4" nonstick cooking and baking mats fit inside the 12" x 10" rimmed baking sheets we use in our tabletop toaster oven (although I may trim the tips of the corners on a diagonal at some point). Despite the excellent price, they're thick and sturdy and have held up great. I can hand wash them quickly with my silicone scrubber sponge and hot, soapy water or just toss them into the dishwasher. (I can't figure out why the mat looks stained in this photo, since it isn't in real life!)
This inexpensive silicone baking mat works as well as my expensive Silpat mats
Be aware that these are heat resistant up to 400 °F, so don't use them for something that requires higher heat, such as browning the top of something under the broiler.

If you're using regular 18" x 13" pans — known in  professional kitchens as half size pans — I recommend getting the AmazonBasics Silicone Baking Mat Sheet, Set of 2 in the Standard size. AmazonBasics is one of Amazon's popular private-label "house brands".These silicone baking mats measure 11.6" x 16.5" and can also be used with 11" x 17" baking sheets (although they'll overhang two of the sides slightly). These mats currently have an average customer rating of 4.7 stars based on more than 4,300 customer ratings, are heat-resistant up to 480 °F and are also very well priced.

Silicone Mini Prep Bowls / Pinch Bowls

I've had a set of medium-sized stainless steel prep bowls for years that I still use. But when I set out and prepare all the ingredients before starting to cook or bake (an activity known in the chef / foodie / Food Network world as mise-en-place), it's also nice to be able to prep and measure out small amounts of ingredients, such as seasonings or garnishes.

My Norpro set of 4 silicone mini pinch bowls are perfect for that purpose. The four colorful bowls in the set are bright red, blue, yellow and green, respectively. These cuties are just 2.5" in diameter and 1.5" tall, so they take up practically no counter space, which is a big advantage if you're prepping a lot of ingredients. In the photo, you can see how tiny they are next to a 1-cup measuring cup.
These tiny, colorful silicone pinch bowls are perfect for small amounts of ingredients
The nonstick silicone means I can measure and set out even sticky ingredients, like a couple of tablespoons of molasses or honey, and easily scrape them into a pot, pan or mixing bowl. These bowls are also microwave safe and heat resistant to 500 °F, so I can melt small amounts of butter or coconut oil in them. And because they're flexible, it's easy to pinch the sides of these flexible prep bowls (hence the name "pinch bowls") to control and direct the ingredients as I'm pouring them into my pot or bowl or drizzling melted butter or chocolate or a sauce over a dish.

When I'm through with whatever ingredients I used them for, I just toss these brightly colored mini pinch bowls into the dishwasher.

Reusable Silicone Baking Liners / Baking Cups

I often bake in cupcake or muffin tins, and even more so now that I’ve switched to eating low carb. I love baking batches of low carb, high-protein, sugar-free chocolate muffins made with almond flour or low carb mini cheesecakes that I can keep in the freezer. Baking a recipe in muffin tins rather than full size cake pans helps me with portion control, since I can just grab one serving and defrost it.

While I could just grease the wells of my muffin tins for my protein muffins, that won’t work for recipes like the mini cheesecakes, since they're too soft to turn out onto a rack after they come out of the oven (and since if I chilled them first to firm them up, they wouldn't release easily from the greased muffin tin).

I stopped buying disposable, single-use paper cupcake liners a few years ago, so I decided to look for some reusable silicone baking cups. Also, since our wall oven died a year or two ago*, we’re using a tabletop oven that isn’t wide enough to fit a full-size, 12-cup cupcake or muffin pan. So, I wanted silicone baking cups that were sturdy enough to be used on a baking sheet, without the support of a muffin pan so I could bake a dozen muffins (or mini cheesecakes) at a time in my small tabletop oven. And, of course, they could also be used as cupcake liners for my 6-cup muffin pans, which do fit my tabletop oven.

After considerable research, I chose Pantry Elements Silicone Cupcake Baking Cups & Liners. They’re made from high-quality, 100% food-grade silicone with no fillers, as demonstrated by the fact that they pass the “pinch test” perfectly. (According to numerous sources, if you pinch or bend and twist a flat area on a colored silicone food preparation product and the color appears white in that stretched area, it can indicate the presence of fillers vs. 100% silicone.)
These reusable baking cups work so much better than paper cupcake liners!
They are also thick and sturdy enough to hold their shape after being filled with thick muffin batter. However, if you use them as stand-alone baking cups rather than as cupcake liners inside a muffin tin, place them on the baking sheet before you fill them with batter. Because they are flexible, moving them to the baking sheet after filling them with batter can be messy. (Ask me how I know, lol!)

Cleanup is easy. Sometimes I let them soak in warm, soapy water for a bit and wash them by hand with my silicone sponge, but they’re also dishwasher-safe. And they come in a rainbow of bright, pretty colors, which adds a nice, cheery pop of color to my kitchen.

Best of all, unlike paper cupcake liners, they release cleanly, so I don't end up losing the outer layer of crumbs to the trash. Just look at those sharp, crisp ridges on that muffin!
See how few crumbs stick to these cupcake liners?
I bake with these silicone cups every week and they still look and act brand new. You get 24 liners for around 50 cents each in a convenient, see-through, lidded storage tube. I can’t imagine ever having to replace them.

*In case you're wondering, our defunct double wall oven, which is original to this 1950s house, is too old to be repaired, according to several appliance technicians who have looked at it. Unfortunately, we also can't replace it because it’s surrounded by built-in cabinetry that runs the entire length of the wall and contemporary ovens don’t fit the opening. Believe me, we've tried!

Reusable Silicone Food Storage Bags

Since I switched to a low-carb diet, I’ve been baking grain-free, sugar-free rolls, bread, muffins and brownies to make it easier for this former carbohydrate lover to stay on track. To make this process less time-consuming, I’ve started measuring the dry ingredients for multiple batches and storing them in freezer bags. Now, I can just pull out a bag of my “baking mix” for that recipe, let it come to room temperature, add the wet ingredients and put the batter in the oven. Easy peasy!

Since I am trying to reduce my use of plastic wrap and food storage bags that end up in landfills. So, rather than using disposable plastic freezer bags for this purpose, I decided to get some reusable food grade silicone food storage bags. The ones I chose have bottoms that let them stand up on the counter, which makes them easier to fill. The sliding closure is a bit stiff at first, by design, but loosens up just enough after the first few uses so they’re easier to slide but still airtight. They can also be used in the microwave and for sous-vide cooking and they’re dishwasher-safe for easy clean-up. The one in the photo holds the remaining 1/4 of a psyllium bun from my last batch — time to get baking!
These reusable silicone food storage bags keep disposable plastic bags out of landfills
At roughly 9.5 inches x just under 7 inches, they’re a good size for my baking mixes. And, unlike rigid food storage containers, these fold flat for efficient, space-saving storage when not in use.

Silicone Cooking Utensil Rest

For many years, we’ve kept a marble spoon rest next to the stove. I bought it because I thought it was pretty. However, pretty is as pretty does, and this kitchen gadget has been a thorn in my side for a long time! Marble is absorbent, so the surface frequently stained when I was cooking a tomato-based sauce or dish. Also, I rarely use just one utensil when cooking. So, even though the marble spoon rest was fairly wide, it wasn’t big enough to accommodate multiple cooking utensils.
This easy-to-clean utensil rest holds up to 4 cooking utensils
I finally got rid of it and replaced it with a multi-slot silicone utensil rest. It’s certainly not the prettiest thing in our kitchen and the only color choices are a medium grey or a bright yellow-green, but both my husband and I love it. The four slots are wide enough to accommodate the handles of any of our cooking utensils, but also narrow enough so that the business ends of the utensils are held at an angle, so four utensils can fit without resting on top of each other. That also allows the base to be narrower than it would need to be if the “heads” of the cooking utensils were lying flat. In addition, there’s a small lip or rim around the edge of the base, so if there’s a bit of liquid that drips off a utensil, it doesn’t spill over onto the stove or countertop. The only cooking utensil we have that it isn’t large enough for is our enormous slotted spatula, which is nearly 5” wide!

Best of all, because it’s made of silicone, it’s stain-resistant, non-stick, heat-resistant up to 450 °F and dishwasher safe.

Silicone Chocolate Chip Molds

Most commercially available chocolate chips aren’t as high quality as those same brands offer in bars or chunks. In fact, many of the best quality chocolate manufacturers don’t make chocolate chips at all. So, if you’re a true chocolate lover like I am, whenever you use chocolate chips in a recipe, you’re usually settling for second (or third) best.

In addition, as I’ve matured, my taste buds have evolved. Now I prefer really dark chocolate, which has the added benefit of being heart-healthy in modest amounts. Unfortunately, it’s hard to find high-quality, very dark chocolate chips. The so-called dark chocolate chips in the grocery store are 60% cacao; but for heart health benefits, dark chocolate should be labeled 70% cacao or higher according to the world-renowned Cleveland Clinic.

If you want sugar-free chocolate chips, it’s even more of a challenge. The darkest I’ve found are Lily’s stevia sweetened chocolate chips which, while delicious, contain only 55% cacao – much too low to improve heart health.

Whether you prefer traditional or sugar-free chocolate, the lower the percentage of cacao, the higher percentage of other ingredients, which increases the number of net carbs per serving.
Sure, you can chop up a sugar-free dark chocolate bar instead, if you’re using them in a recipe. But sometimes you really want real chocolate chips!

So, I was delighted to find these silicone chocolate chip molds, which allow me to make my own healthy, sugar-free, dark chocolate chips that look as though they came right out of a bag from the store.
These adorable chocolate chip molds let you make better quality chips for less!
If I’m feeling lazy, I can just melt a sugar-free dark chocolate bar, smooth it into the molds, let the chocolate harden (or chill the molds for a bit during the hot summer months), then invert and twist the molds to release the chips. I store them in one of my silicone food storage bags until I’m ready to use them in recipes (or eat them just the way they are). The molds come in a set of three. I've shown two facing up and one facing down so you can see the shape of the chocolate chips it makes.

If I have a bit more time, however, I make my own sugar-free, melted dark chocolate from scratch and use that in the molds. Homemade chocolate chips are also less expensive for the quality you get. Either way, I can get sugar-free dark chocolate chips with a much higher percentage of cacao than I can buy commercially.

Silicone Ice Pop Molds

Who doesn't love to cool off with a sweet, refreshing ice pop during the dog days of summer? Many years ago I stopped buying them and started making my own at home. My homemade ice pops are healthier, more nutritious and much cheaper than what I can buy at the store. More importantly (to me), I have complete control over the choice and quality of the ingredients. I use organic produce, dairy, coconut milk and other ingredients as much as possible. No food coloring in my food, thank you! Now that I'm eating low carb, I've also cut out not only processed sugars but also organic honey, maple syrup, date syrup and other natural sweeteners. So, pretty much the only way to ensure that the ice pops I eat meet my strict criteria for food quality and nutrition is to make them myself.

One of the low carb ice pop recipes I've really been enjoying is called Creamy Keto Fudgesicles. Personally, I think they taste much richer and creamier than their namesake, more like a chocolate pudding pop. They're made by blending ripe avocado, unsweetened cocoa powder, full fat coconut milk, erythritol, vanilla and a little sea salt, pouring them into frozen treat molds and freezing them. The first time I made the recipe, I discovered that the pudding-like mixture was too thick to go through the silicone funnel that came with my Lebice Popsicle Molds (which are very nice unless you're trying to make a frozen treat such as pudding pops or cheesecake pops that involve a very thick mixture). When I tried spooning the mixture into the molds with a teaspoon, even though I was extremely slow and careful I was unable to prevent some of the mixture from getting on the lip and exterior of the ice pop molds.

Since I knew I'd be making this recipe often, especially during the summer, I decided to look for a set of molds with wider openings. I wanted these new molds to have not only wider openings but also reusable lids and sticks. Ideally, they would be dishwasher safe. They would need to be made of BPA-free, FDA-approved food-grade materials and release the frozen ice pops without a struggle.
These brightly colored ice pop molds make nice, big popsicles
The pudding pop recipe makes 6-8 pops, depending on the size of the molds, so I decided to buy a Silicone Popsicle Molds Set with two molds that can make up to 8 ice pops. One of the molds is a deep, bright pink (which the manufacturer calls "rose red" for some reason) and the other is a bright lime green. The set comes with integrated one-piece lids/sticks, two each in pink, lime green, orange and aqua-turquoise. (Kids probably would love getting to choose their favorite color.) And each well holds a generous 3.38 ounces.


Believe it or not, I've got even more silicone kitchen tools, and I'm sure there will be more in my future! If you have some favorites, I'd love to hear about them.



Silicone Kitchen Tools and Accessories for Cooking and Baking Enthusiasts reviewed by 
Margaret Schindel


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