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

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Is the Lemon Pod the Best Lemon Keeper?

Let's review why I love my Lemon Pod and why I think it most definitely IS the best type of lemon keeper or lemon saver around.   You could always try and convince me otherwise of course!

The Lemon Pod Review
The Lemon Pod (photos Lou16, design Canva)


I do love lemons and have over the past year discovered lemon and blueberry proats which have become my absolute favourite breakfast.   When making these proats I only use half a lemon.   What I would do before I had the Lemon Pod was - I placed the remaining half of the lemon in a plastic sandwich bag and stored it in the fridge until the next day.

Obviously, this is not very environmentally sound so I decided to look for a lemon keeper or lemon saver.   During my hunt I discovered the Lemon Pod and I thought it was the best one available so I brought it.   I absolutely love it and use it along with my lemon squeezer several times a week.

What attracted me to the Lemon Pod?  It's not a rigid container that you just pop your lemon half in, it has a top that actually stretches to fit the lemon.   The different sizes of lemons that I get throughout the year can all be catered for with the Lemon Pod.

The Lemon Pod is actually made up of two pieces.    A bottom solid piece of heavy plastic is where you put the half lemon, cut side down.   The top piece has a heavy plastic ring around the outside which twists into the bottom locking it in place.   The middle of this top piece has a stretchy material that stretches over the lemon.   When you take the lemon out the stretchy material goes back to its 'normal' size.

I believe that as this stretches to 'fit' the lemon it helps it to stay fresh longer because less air can be trapped in there.  To be honest, I couldn't tell you exactly how long the lemons will stay fresh because the longest I've kept half a lemon is two days, but I won't part with my Lemon Pod and I won't swap it for another Lemon Keeper.

If you don't fancy trying proats and you don't add lemon juice to your hot drinks you might be interested in trying a couple of sweet lemon recipes a couple of our contributors make.   First Sam makes fresh Lemon Hand Pies which sound absolutely delicious and then Mary Beth makes some amazing Lemon Cookies.





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Friday, July 23, 2021

The Best Sizzlin' Hot Barbecue Aprons

Love your grill? You need one of these sizzling hot barbecue aprons!

Grilling Something on the barbecue? Put on an apron first! It is summertime and the living is easy. Great weather, good music and your trusty friend, the barbecue, will help you prepare good food but before you throw your meat on the grill you might want to throw on a fun, spirited and practical grilling-themed apron. Here I review six. That is, six sizzlin' hot BBQ aprons. Six of the best. 'Cause only the best will do for you!

GRILL MASTER APRON


Perfect for the individual who has mastered his grill!

This grilling apron by Attitude Apron is a one-size-fits-all (which is usually the case) apron made of a polyester blend perfect for cooking and grilling.  One reviewer said, "We gave this and a grilling cookbook as a gift to my father-in-law and he loved it! The apron is just as pictured and was a perfect fit for my 5'9" father-in-law."  Find the Grill Master apron here on Amazon.

REAL MEN DON'T USE RECIPES APRON


For the man who crafts unique creations at his bbq, a real men don't use recipes apron!

This Real Men Don't Use Recipes apron is another one-size-fits-all apron. It is made in the United States from a polyester blend, perfect for cooking and grilling. Perfect for any man who likes to ad-lib as he cooks. Find the Real Men apron here on Amazon.

A MAN AND HIS GRILL MEN'S APRON


For a man who loves manning his barbecue, a man and his grill apron.

This a man and his grill BBQ apron is a 65 percent polyester, 35 percent cotton blend and features an adjustable neck and back ties. Just throw it in the washing machine after those big grilling events! "We bought this for my brother in law's birthday (along with grill utensils) and he loved it." Find the A Man and His Grill apron on Amazon here.

BOSS OF THE BBQ APRON


Boss of the BBQ - Smokin' Hot and So Is My Grill apron!

This Boss of the BBQ - Smokin' Hot and So Is My Grill apron, is yet another black, one-size-fits-most apron that will delight any man who is in charge of the BBQ...or who is just plain hot, LOL. Find the Boss of the BBQ apron here on Amazon.

WHO REALLY IS THE KING OF THE GRILL? 


This video will leave you smiling. It captures barbecuing stereotypes, whether they are true at your house or not. At our house, my husband cannot take a book out with him when he tends the grill because that only leads to disaster. The lesson we have learned the hard way is don't get between a Little and his or her reading material even if food is involved.


KING OF THE GRILL APRON


Do You Know Someone Who Is The King of the Grill?

Do You Know Someone Who Is The King of the Grill? They should definitely have their own King of the Grill Apron! Also made of a polyester blend, it is perfect for all of the king's cooking and grilling! This is an apron with attitude, making grilling even more fun! Order your King of the Grill apron from Amazon here.

Are you loving your barbecue? How about these barbecue aprons? And for interest sake, who Is The King of the Grill At YOUR House?

Tie one on! 
Brenda




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Sunday, July 18, 2021

Radio Red Flyer Wagon - Reviewed

 

Radio Red Flyer Wagon Reviewed

Four wheels, a box, and a handle, what could be simpler. What I’ve just described is a whole bunch of fun with your kids or your grandchildren. 

The Radio Flyer Red Wagon, we bought one when our grandson Bobby was almost 2 years old. We have had such wonderful times taking walks around the neighborhood, to the local playground, and to parks with all of our grandchildren.

 


Are you thinking about joining the gym to get yourself in shape? Save your money, just take the kids for a stroll in the red wagon, and you’ll get plenty of exercise, especially if you take on some hills, and I mean going up the hills not down.

Every ride we used as a time to learn new things with our grandchildren. In the spring when everything is blooming we would point out the different flowers and trees in bloom. In the fall when the leaves were turning all of the vibrant colors, we would collect them and talk about what makes them change colors.

Bobby is going to be 16 years old now, so he is a little too big to fit in the wagon. His little brother Tyler also had so much fun with this wagon, Tyler is now 10 years old.

Now the fun is with our two granddaughters Giada and Guiles. Every time they visit they enjoy the wagon rides just as much.

Radio Red Flyer Wagon

A few years ago we decorated our wagon for the local village, July 4th celebration. The village held a contest and a parade for the best-decorated bikes. So, we decorated the wagon, we didn't win but we sure had a lot of fun.

Red Flyer Wagon Features:

The wagon is made of sturdy plastic; it has 2-fold up seats, and seat belts to hold your precious cargo securely. There are four molded cup holders so you can bring along the kids’ favorite drinks. The wagon has the National Parenting Center’s Seal of Approval.

If you have kids or grandchildren the Radio Red Flyer Wagon makes a perfect gift. Our wagon is now 14 years old and still in great shape. We have made memories for a lifetime with our wagon.

This is the wagon we have but they make so many different styles. Check them out and find one that's right for you.

Radio Flyer Pathfinder Wagon, Base Red, 39Radio Flyer Pathfinder Wagon, Base Red, 39Radio Flyer Pathfinder Wagon, Base Red, 39

 

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Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Weather Tech Floor Liner Cleaner and Protector - Reviewed

 

Weather Tech Floor Liner Cleaner and Protector - Reviewed

We had our Kia Sorento about a year before we decided to make the investment into our Weather Tech floor liners. I am sure you have all seen the advertisements on television.

Weather Tech floor liners are laser cut to your specific vehicle and are always a perfect fit. I have to say that these floor liners are well worth the money. But this post is not about the floor liners, it is about keeping them looking like new.

The winter months here in Western New York can be brutal on your vehicle, especially the floor mats. After the first winter with our new Weather Tech floor liners, it was time to clean up the car.

I removed the floor liners and scrubbed them with soap and water using a scrub brush. They were clean, but they did not look clean. The winter dirt and scuff marks seemed to be permanent.

So, I did what anyone else would do, I searched online to see what was recommended to clean and make my floor liners look new again. What I found was the Weather Tech Floor Liner and Floor Mat cleaner, and the Weather Tech Floor Liner and Floor Mat Protector.

Weather Tech Floor Mat Cleaner:

“Exclusive foam formula immediately works to remove dirt, sand, and stains. Biodegradable and contains no phosphates.”

Weather Tech Floor Mat Protector:

“Provide long-lasting “Like New” appearance. Creates a slip-resistant and stain reducing finish that helps extend the life of the mats and liners.”

The above are the statements on the product labels, and I must tell you they are true statements. The Weather Tech Cleaner and Protector have my floor liners looking like new with truly little effort from me.

Berore
Before
This is a before photo of my Weather Tech Floor liner. Keep in mind that this photo is after I had already scrubbed it with soap and water.

After
After
Here is the photo after I used the Weather Tech cleaner and Protector, it looks brand new just like it came out of the box.

If you do not have Weather Tech Floor Liners, you can buy them here.

If you do have Weather Tech Floor Liners and want them looking like new, I highly recommend the cleaner and protector. I am so pleased with the new look of my floor liners.


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Sunday, July 11, 2021

Reviewing The Uses Of Pretty and Versatile Headbands For Great Hair




I love my versatile headbands "Sea Team 6-Pack Wide Hairbands" which come in different colours and patterns to suit the activity and my mood. I feel these headbands are very suitable for anyone of any age from a young person to a more mature person who likes the style and look of wearing a headband and perhaps needs one to keep hair out of the way while still looking lovely!

 Why I Like To Wear Headbands. 


I have medium length quite fine wavy hair but a lot of it and I often end up tieing it up when working in the garden and certainly for doing fitness activities. I love having long hair but on hot days I simply have to keep it off my face or I get too hot and uncomfortable. Before I got these hairbands I used to tie my hair up in an elastic band and that resulted in damaged hair and splitting, which is not a good look and not healthy for the hair. 

I think these hairbands would also work for thick hair, curly or straight hair and I do feel that any age can wear these if you like the colours and patterns. I initially thought these would be best for long hair but I do think they would look very cute on shorter hair too. 

My Three Fave Headbands

 When Can You Wear Headbands

These headbands are very comfortable, soft and stretchy enough to easily be worn for hours. I wear mine for every pilates and rebounder workout and my new dance exercise video classes. I think it would be great to wear at any age if you do yoga or play tennis, badminton or any other sports.

I also wear mine when out gardening so that my hair doesn't get in my eyes so much and pick up all the burrs and pollen from the plants!

They are great for when decorating too. You would just need to have one you sacrificed for decorating as if you are anything like me it will end up with paint all over it!  

Apart from wearing them for activities, I do feel that they are pretty enough to wear when out and about and I love the colours and patterns to go with or contrast with clothes.

If a new wardrobe or new dresses or jeans are not affordable right now you can easily update your look with these pretty and funky headbands!

I have to say they really came into their own during the time when we could not get to hairdressers for months and my hair was certainly doing its own thing!! Wearing one of these headbands just made it look a more put-together look. 

In addition, I am not happy about my hair going grey and it seems to be going more grey at the front than the back! I do use natural colourants but I cannot use any with chemicals. I find the natural ones do not last very long and if I have not had the time or the inclination to colour again the grey comes back! However, if I wear one of these headbands it nicely covers up the grey at the front and you just cannot tell !! 

Turquoise Headband Worn Wide


I also wear one when doing my make-up. Day to day I don't wear much makeup but I do wear SPF factor foundation powder every day to protect my skin and I find it easier to apply if I keep my hair out of the way. Then of course if I am doing full makeup for going out,  it is just neater and easier to wear a headband and sort everything. 

These hair bands are also great if you have a day when you should really have washed your hair but did not and then find that you do need to go out! Pop one of these on and the problem is largely sorted as you will look like you make an effort and covered up much of the problem!

Also, headbands are very useful if you are growing your hair from a shorter to a longer style or growing out bangs or a fringe. It keeps hair looking good and not getting in your eyes all the time or looking too messy when going through that difficult stage! 

I do feel that these suit anyone from younger girls to more mature ladies depending on your personal style and activities.

Width Of Headband At Narrow Point

About Headbands, Measurements And Materials.

I strongly recommend that whichever headbands you choose you carefully check the measurements both of your own head and of the headband. 

In addition, check or ask the seller how stretchy the headbands actually are and what the material is made from. You will likely want a quite stretchy and soft material so that you can easily put the headband over your head and that it is comfortable. Also, look for ones that are easily washable as you will want to wash them fairly often.   

The headbands I own are made from a stretchy material that is very soft. Enough stretch in it to be easily worn but not too much to be tight. If you wear one a lot it can feel a little loose after time but I found generally after washing they go back to shape. I have only hand-washed mine as really it is so easy and quick to do. 

Stretchy Soft Headband
 
They are often sold as one size fits most. The ones I own are on average around eight and a half inches long measuring one side as per the photo below on the red headband and about two inches wide at the smallest point. The widest point can stretch to significantly more.

I find these measurements are about right for my head. Some headbands in the past have given me a headache as they were way too tight, but these I find are just comfortable.

I would always recommend that you measure your own head or your child's head first then check the measurements on the listings carefully. If the headband is too tight it will hurt and if too loose will fall down and not hold the hair in place.

The ones I have are quite wide but I personally like that as I can then have them wide on my head or simply fold it over to make it a thinner band which is still comfortable for me. 

I can also wear them with the widest part at the front or flip them over and have the narrow part where the long edges join as the top piece which gives a different look. 
 
Length of Headband Folded


If you have hair you need to keep out of the way while doing an activity, be it sports or other physical work, they are very useful and you can look great as well!

If you wish to wear them as a fashion accessory, to style your own fashion, then that works too. The colours and patterns are varied and lovely.

My favourites from my "Sea Team 6-Pack Wide Hairbands" are dark blue, turquoise blue and red as shown below. 

Beautiful Colours And Patterns On Headbands


I think if you bought the pack and did not like one or more of the colours or patterns then they would make a lovely little additional birthday, thank you gift or stocking filler. Or of course, you may wish to buy the whole pack as a gift.

There are many variations of these headbands. I just have this set Sea Team 6-Pack Wide Hairbands but there are many more you may wish to take a look at in the selection below.

 








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Thursday, July 8, 2021

Review of My New Air Fryer

 


My brother and my neighbor have both been telling me about the wonders of their air fryers, so when I found a great sale on Amazon I decided it was time for me to buy one and give it a try.  I had been getting in a real rut with my cooking and in fact I dreaded to have to cook meals each day.  Well, I will tell you with my new combination air fryer griller I am looking forward to each mealtime and deciding what I can make next.  The possibilities seem endless.  So far I have made shrimp, chicken wings, waffle fries, grilled sandwiches, donuts, apple chips, and reheated toasted ravoli.  All were very easy and what was really great was how easy it was to cleanup the fryer.

Features of my Power XL Grill Air Fryer Combo

The air fryer that I choose has 12 different cooking modes.  Although I don't anticipate using all of them, I can see where several will come in very handy.  There is a separate lid that I can use when I want to slow cook, steam, saute, rice, simmer, sous vide, fry or keep warm.  When I want to use the following modes: air fry, grill, bake, or roast I use the air frying lid.


I really like that it has a slow cooker option too.  I was worried about space for the air fryer but now I can put away several of my other appliances and just use the Power XL for everything.

I have not made fried food for years, but with the option of using little or no oil for the air fryer I can have crispy food and they can still be healthy without compromising any of the taste.

 

Recipes I Have Tried

My Power XL  came with a recipe book so it gave me some good ideas to start. I also found that if I wanted to cook something I could just ask Alexa and she would give me a recipe.  For instance I asked our  Alexa to give me a recipe for shrimp and she provided me with several options.  I could also ask what time and temperature to use for cooking chicken wings and she gave me the answer.  There are also tons of recipes online to try for air fryers.  

The first recipe I tried was one for shrimp.  It was so very easy. I brushed the raw shrimp with a mixture of olive oil and seasonings and then put them in the basket of the air fryer.  I cooked them at 400 degrees for 8 minutes and they came out perfectly cooked and a little crispy on the outside.  They were wonderful and this is a recipe I am sure I will use often.

For a breakfast treat I made some donuts in the air fryer.  They were also so simple and delicious.  I took a package of Pillsbury Grands biscuits and cut out a hole in the center.  I then cooked them for 6 minutes in the air fryer.  When they were finished I took them out and brushed them with some melted butter and sprinkled on a cinnamon/sugar mixture.  They were delicious.  Here is a photo I took.

I also made some apple chips by slicing an apple thin and adding a mixture of cinnamon and nutmeg.  They were a wonderful snack.  Here you see them laid out in the air fryer.


What I am Looking Forward to Trying

I have a lot of different recipes marked to try in the future.  In the cookbook that came with the PowerXL was a recipe for a cherry dump cake that I will be trying this weekend.  My brother made it and said it turned out great.  A nice feature is that you can bake a cake without having to turn on the oven and heating up the house in the hot weather we are having.

Some other recipes I have found that I will try in the near future include: chicken parmesean, chicken drumsticks, french toast, egg-bacon-cheese biscuits, air fried vegetables, and fried zuccini.




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Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Cottage Essentials: Family, Friends, Fun and Safety! Product Reviews!

This past year, my son and daughter in law fulfilled a dream that they had for their family.  They decided to invest in a cottage for their growing family!  A restful place that will have the kids and parents making memories that will last a lifetime!

https://www.reviewthisreviews.com/2021/07/cottage-essentials-family-friends-fun.html


Image by Lenzpointer from Pixabay

The choice to purchase a cottage is something that not everyone is prepared to do, and there are several alternatives to actually buying your own place. There are several places that can be rented on a week to week basis! For some people that makes more sense as they don't like going to the same place all the time., or don't have the time to be going to the cottage every weekend during the summer months.  It really is a personal choice.

What I would like to do is focus on a few things that are quite IMPORTANT for anyone who has a cottage!

First and foremost, get to know your neighbors!  If there is ever a problem at the cottage, it's nice to know that your neighbors can contact you with details or just keep an eye out if you are not there every weekend.

Second, get to know what's around you!  If you are in the "boonies" away from civilization as we know it, it would be especially helpful for you to know where the closest medical facility, veterinarian (if you bring your animals with you), hardware, and grocery stores are located.  It might not just be a quick trip, if you run out of something that you need!  

Third, and this is the one that stopped me in my tracks,  Plasticware!  

Plasticware you say?  Think about it for a minute!  You have three children that are all excited to be at the cottage and ready to run around and let loose the minute you arrive.  Now that's all great and good, but then they get thirsty or hungry and run up to the cottage to fill their needs. You send them away with a glass of juice/water/soda or whatever they want and a plate of snacks to take down to the dock.  

Ooops, one little slip on a rock with wet little feet and there is glass now shattered all over the place and at least 2 other kids in bare feet!  This is NOT a good combination and will see you using the Second most needed information on the list!

It's a little thing to do when you have youngsters in the cottage.  Keep the glass dishes and tumblers for use in the house only or don't have any there at all (depending on how responsible your children are).  

So for house warming (cottage warming in this case)  we are sending up some nice, functional and pretty Plastic "Glassware" that everyone can enjoy their favorite drinks in!  No worries about broken glass cutting fingers, feet or anything that could be harmed!  

  


I like the colored ones best for kids, they can keep track of their own glasses by the colors and not have to go back for another and another and another! I also like the textured ones as little hands that have been playing in the water can sometimes not grip as well as dry hands. The texture just helps give them that little bit of extra hold.

Cottage life is meant to be carefree and fun.  Playing in the water from sunrise to sunset is one of the many perks!  My Grands love water!  Mom and Dad don't have to be slaves to the kitchen either.  Hot dogs and hamburgers on the campfire with marshmallow treats to follow make a day at the cottage memorable and easy!
All that's needed for clean up is some really good soapy warm water and a good rinse afterwards and the Plastic glasses will be ready for the next use.  Good quality Plasticware will last for years too!  After years and years of use, they can sometimes break too, but you won't be having small shards of glass to worry about!  

Summer safety is always on my mind!  You can read more about what to do during those relaxing and lazy days and still remain safe a secure.  Children and water are one of my biggest worries and I make many suggestions for safety around water!  Cottage life falls into that category too!  Please take the time to ensure your family is safe and has a wonderful adventure when holidaying at the cottage!  You can read more here about personal floatation devices!

The other things that I would highly recommend for everyone, is books!  Sitting on the dock, with a great story under your nose is relaxing and enjoyable for everyone!  There is always a great list of books available right here on Review This Reviews.com!

Cottage life, whether it's for a week or two at a time or for a lifetime at your own place, should be enjoyable, memorable and fun!  Please stay safe and have a Blast of Summer to make those wonderful memories the whole family will enjoy!

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Friday, July 2, 2021

Wilton Perfect Results Large Non-stick Baking Pan, Size 18" x 12" Reviewed

I have been baking with Wilton pans pretty much all of my adult life. Once I discovered the non-stick Wilton pans, I never looked back! They are fabulous pans that are available in a lot of different shapes and sizes.

I confess that as a newlywed (over 30 years ago), baking in my own first kitchen and having very limited funds, I was enticed by the lower price of the basic aluminum cake pans.  It didn't take very long for me to realize they weren't worth the cost of an ugly cake.  I don't remember burning any cakes in those old aluminum pans, but they did stick, even when coated with shortening, and tear chunks out of my cakes when trying to remove the cake from the pan. Then I had to force the chucks in place & "glue" them with icing. That simply didn't make a very pretty cake, even if the cake did taste good. I kid you not, once I tried the Wilton non-stick baking pans, I tossed those aluminum pans and never shed a tear. 

Of course, there are a few downsides to the non-stick coating.  For one, you don't want to use a sharp knife to cut a sheet cake still in the pan.  Plus, it is best to wash the pans by hand and not in the dishwasher.  Yes, they are dishwasher safe, but the coating will last a lot longer if you hand-wash them.  Is it worth it?  You bet!  I would much rather hand wash a non-stick pan than to try to "glue" a cake back together.

You now know why I love Wilton baking pans, but I have found another use for a specific size Wilton pan that I must share!  The 18" x 12" Perfect Results pan is my favorite to date.  


The 18" x 12" Wilton Perfect Results Cake Pan

Of course the 18" x 12" size is perfect for baking a huge crowd pleasing cake.  It is simply doubling or tripling a cake recipe (16 cups of cake batter) to fill and will serve 54 people depending on the serving size.  The number 54 is based on cutting 2" square cake pieces.  If you need to serve more, you could cut smaller piece.  If you use boxed cake mix, according to Wilton, it will take 4 boxes.  

But, this huge cake pan is NOT JUST for cakes!

I use mine for dinners like my manicotti (holds 14 stuffed manicotti shells - 1 box) & enchiladas (holds 18 stuffed enchiladas).  Using this one pan is so much easier than splitting the meal and cleaning two standard casserole dishes. Plus, I love how lightweight it is when filled!  I can easily put it in the oven and lift it out myself.  Because of the 12" width, I can easily place the enchiladas end to end without mashing the ends together to force a fit like was required in a 10" wide casserole dish.

In addition to the manicotti & the enchiladas, I recently baked 6 pork chops on a bed of wild rice & soup. The meat was perfect and tender, and so was the rice.  Therefore, it can be used for meat as well as pasta meals. 

The size fits in my 27" wall oven without touching the oven sides.

It is so nice to be able to cook an entire recipe of manicotti or enchiladas all at one time in one oven.  Previously, I either had to use both of my ovens for just the main course, or cook one dish, set aside and cook the second dish.  

When cooking for a large family, or cooking a recipe that will provide enough leftovers for a second meal, having this 18" x 12" baking pan is essential.

One word of caution: I found out the hard way that reheating leftovers is this pan is not advisable.  Sadly, I ruined my first pan that way.  When reheating, the residue on the sides from the eaten half burned on the pan and took the non-stitch coating off with it when cleaning.  So, do move leftovers into a different pan for reheating.

Wilton is a name we all associate with baking cakes, cupcakes & desserts.  However, their non-stitch pans should not be limited to just baking cakes in our homes. They can do so much more!

 



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Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Discover Chirp: Awesome Affordable Audiobook Deals

Audiobooks are a wonderful complement to print, Kindle and other reading formats. Listening to a novel or non-fiction book while driving, walking, riding or waiting for public transit, traveling, sitting in waiting rooms, crafting, grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning or doing laundry or yard work can make these activities much more enjoyable. A talented narrator can significantly enhance the experience of consuming a good book. Jim Dale’s Grammy award-winning narration of J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series is a perfect example. Unfortunately, production costs are higher than for print and digital books, which makes audiobooks more expensive to purchase.

This review will introduce my fellow bibliophiles to Chirp, a wonderful service that offers a changing selection of awesome, affordable, limited-time audiobook deals without the financial commitment of a monthly or annual membership fee that Audible requires.

Best-Selling Audiobooks for Less Than $5 - chirpbooks.com screenshot

Audiobooks Continue to Grow in Popularity

2020 was the ninth straight year of double-digit revenue growth for audiobook publishers, jumping 12% vs. 2019 revenues to reach $1.3 billion, according to this year’s sales survey conducted by research firm InterQ for the Audio Publishers Association (APA). More than 71,000 audiobooks were published in 2020, a 39% increase versus 2019, per the APA’s consumer survey of American adult audiobook listeners conducted by Edison Research. [Source: Audio Publishers Association press release, June 1, 2021]

This rapidly growing trend toward publishing titles in audiobook editions as well as print and e-book formats is wonderful news to the many avid readers (including myself) who love listening to books as well as reading them. 

The quality of the narrators and their performances has improved dramatically in recent years. More and more books are being narrated by award-winning stage and film actors. Depending on their contracts, narrators may be paid at an hourly rate per “finished hour” of audio, and/or may earn royalties based on sales. A sound engineer, producer, or other people may be required, and production and editing costs are much higher than for other publishing formats. Consequently, audiobooks are priced higher than their print or e-book counterparts.

Buying vs. Borrowing Audio Books

Because of their higher price tag, many of us download at least some of the recorded books we want to read the public library. Unfortunately, most libraries can’t afford to make a wide selection of audiobooks available to their borrowers, and the very long waiting lists for popular titles can be quite frustrating. As a result, many of us who love listening to them purchase at least some audio books rather than borrowing them from the library. In fact, 38% of audiobook listeners who responded to the above-mentioned APA consumer survey of American adult audiobook listeners indicated that they subscribe to at least one audio book service, such as Audible or Chirp.

Audible dominates the audiobook services market to the point where the Audible name is synonymous with this book format. As an Amazon company, no would-be rival can hope to compete with its enormous library, financial backing, in-house production studio, author and publisher relationships, and marketing and technology resources.

I have been an Audible member since 2006 and remain a huge fan and loyal customer. I appreciate the many major improvements, such as Whispersync for Voice technology (which allows you to switch seamlessly between listening to a book on Audible and reading it on a Kindle or Kindle app) and the excellent, exclusive content produced by Audible Studios. However, the steep increases in the cost of membership and the changes to their membership plan model in recent years has made it less affordable.

Over the years, I looked into several less expensive sources for audio books that others had recommended, but the limited selection and desirability of the titles on offer, the number of abridged versus unabridged books and, in some cases, the quality of the narrations (some of which were machine-generated) was always disappointing. After being an Audible member for so many years, the bar for a good audiobook acquisition and listening experience was set high, and nothing else I found came close to measuring up. I gave up on finding a less expensive Audible alternative for my own needs. 

However, Chirp, a competing service that offers amazing limited-time deals on popular audiobook titles at incredibly low prices, has turned out to be a fantastic complement to my Audible membership. And for less hardcore audiobook listeners who haven't built up a library of audiobooks in Audible's proprietary format over the past 15 years, Chirp might be a viable and much less expensive alternative. 

Chirp Audiobook Deals Make Listening to Books Affordable

Last year, as I bemoaned how much money I was spending on my growing Audible library, a close friend and fellow avid reader told me about Chirp, where he frequently found titles that interested him at a fraction of list price. Given my previous experience with lower-cost audiobook sources, I was somewhat skeptical about how good this Audible alternative could be. But, based on my friend’s enthusiastic recommendation, I went online to learn more about it.

I found several articles about Chirp that concurred with my friend’s opinion about this new-to-me site and book listening app. The more I read about the company and its audiobook deals, the more interested I became.

I went to the Chirp website and browsed their limited-time audiobook deals. If the selection of steeply discounted books didn’t interest me or had lots of negative reviews, they wouldn’t be a bargain at any price. To my surprise, that day’s featured deals included a few bestselling fiction and non-fiction titles priced at less than $5 each! I returned to check out the update crop of deals several times over the following week or two and was impressed by quality of the books across a wide range of genres being offered for just a few dollars apiece.

I signed up for the Chirp featured audiobook deals emails in October 2020 and have added quite a few new titles to my recorded books library since then. I still maintain my Audible membership for its enormous catalog, and because I own so many audiobooks in Audible’s proprietary format that I don’t want to lose access to. But, thanks to Chirp’s limited-time deals and notification emails, I’ve also discovered several new authors and series without paying a small fortune.

Here are the things I love most about using Chirp.

Find Fabulous Deals on Popular Audiobooks

Every day, you’ll find a good selection of limited-time Chirp Featured Deals that sell for a fraction of their list prices, with discounts up to 95% off!

At the time of publication, for example, there were 381 featured deals from $0.99 to $6.99, with the vast majority priced between $1.99 and $4.99, from popular authors as diverse as Janet Evanovich, Jane Austen, David Baldacci, Lisa Scottoline, Robert Heinlein, James Patterson, Agatha Christie, M.C. Beaton, David Sedaris, Jeffrey Archer, John Steinbeck, Stephanie Laurens and Robert Frost.

Chirp screenshot - audiobook Featured Deals

No Membership Fees, No Minimum Purchase

With Chirp, there is no ongoing financial commitment. Unlike Audible, whose listening plans are based on monthly or annual subscription fees, Chirp lets you buy as few or as many books as you want, as seldom or as often as you want. Never Miss a Great Audiobook Bargain You can sign up for Chirp’s daily or weekly featured deals notification emails to make sure you don’t miss a great deal. Or, if you prefer, you can opt out of the emails and visit the site whenever you wish to check out the bargains on offer that day.

A Low Cost Way to Try Audiobooks

If you're curious about audiobooks and want to give them a try, Chirp is a great way to start building a listening library without spending a lot of money.

Listen When You Want, the Way You Want

You can use the Chirp app on your iOS or Android phone or tablet, stream audiobooks from your Chirp library in a web browser on a laptop or other device, and even listen to your Chirp audiobooks on your Alexa-enabled devices after you enable the Chirp skill on the device and link your Chirp account.

Buy Once, Listen Again and Again

All books you purchase are yours to keep, so you can revisit your favorites even years later.

A Perfect Complement to Other Audiobook Sources

Whether you’re borrowing audiobooks from the library or buying them on Amazon or Audible, Chirp’s limited-time deals can help you listen to more of the books you want while saving you money.

A More Flexible Alternative to Audible, With A Smaller Catalog

In addition to the deeply discounted, limited-time deals, Chirp also sells many other audiobook titles at what they call "everyday value" pricing. Although you won’t find the vast selection of titles that Audible offers, there are still plenty of books to choose from. So, if you’re new to audiobooks or listen to them less frequently, Chirp can be a viable and far less expensive alternative to an Audible subscription plan.

Discover Great Reads With Book List Recommendations

The Chirp website has a well organized Book Lists section with smart, well written recommendations to help you discover titles you might not have known about otherwise.

Chirp website screenshot - top of Book Lists page

Books for Adults, Books for Kids

While the majority of titles on Chirp are for an adult audience, you'll also find plenty of books for kids, as well as some excellent recommendations in the "For the Kids" section of Chirp's Book Lists.

Screenshot of Chirp's recommended book lists for kids

Get 20% Off Your First Audiobook Purchase on Chirp

If you use my Chirp referral link, you'll get 20% off your first audiobook purchase (and I’ll also get 20% off my next purchase). It’s a win-win!

Explore today's limited-time audiobook deals on Chirp and save 20% on your first order!

Do you have other favorite sources for buying or borrowing audiobooks? If so, please share them below in the comments. 



Discover Chirp: Awesome Affordable Audiobook Deals product review by Margaret Schindel

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Tuesday, June 29, 2021

ThermoPro TP-20 and TP-18 Food Thermometers Reviewed

 

ThermoPro TP-20

Three years ago I received my Char-Griller offset smoker as a Father's Day gift. I was so excited and could not wait to use it. My Char-Griller is a combination smoker and charcoal grill.

As I was in a hurry to get started, I quickly realized that I needed some additional tools to help control the temperatures of the grill and the food. Even though the grill has a thermometer on the lid of the grill the temperatures can vary by 40 to 50 degrees throughout the grill.

After much research, I found the ThermoPro TP-20 remote food thermometer with dual probes. Now, I can remotely monitor the internal temperature of the food that I'm cooking along with the inside temperature of the grill.

ThermoPro TP-20 Features:

LCD Display (Liquid Crystal Display) - Displays all icons temperatures and time
Dual probe temperature display
Programmable alert with preset temperatures for different foods
Tolerance for internal food temperature is + or - 1.8 degrees
Displays in Fahrenheit or Celsius
Count down or count up timer
Remote Transmitter

The dual probes allow me to monitor the internal temperature of two types of meat or two sections of a large piece of meat.

With the 40 to 50-degree variance that I mentioned earlier, you want to be sure that you are cooking the meat at the proper temperature.
 
I always use the second probe to monitor the grill temperature of the cooking surface of my grill. The unit comes with a handy clip so you can clip the probe onto the grill grates. With the remote transmitter, I can monitor the grill and the food from anywhere. 

ThermoPro Instant ReadTP-18:

I have the old-style meat thermometers but you have to insert them into the meat and wait for the temperature to read. When your cooking over a hot surface this presents a problem.

The TP-18 is an ultra-fast digital instant-read thermometer you will get reading in about two seconds. This comes in handy for checking different portions of the meat while cooking. 

I also use both the TP-20 and TP-18 while cooking inside. The wires on the TP-20 are long enough to have the probe inserted into your favorite roast in the oven and have the monitor on the countertop.

I am very satisfied with the performance of both of my ThermoPro thermometers for the past three years and would recommend them to anybody.

Check out just a few of my favorite smoking recipes:

Long Smoke Pulled PorkLong Smoke Pulled PorkLong Smoke Pulled PorkSmoked Bone in Chicken BreastsSmoked Bone-in Chicken BreastsSmoked Bone in Chicken BreastsSlow Smoke Pork RibsSlow Smoke Pork RibsSlow Smoke Pork Ribs

 

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