Showing posts with label The Savvy Age. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Savvy Age. Show all posts

Monday, September 14, 2020

Garlic Expressions Vinaigrette Reviewed

Garlic Expressions Vinaigrette Dressing has become a favorite in this household. A flexible dressing which can be used for fresh vegetables, chicken or shrimp marinade or a dressing for submarine sandwiches. Flexible is its' middle name!


A Marinade

One of my favorite uses for Garlic Expressions is to use as a marinade for chicken or shrimp. Shrimp only needs a few hours in the marinade to dress up fresh shrimp and add a garlic twist.

Submarine Sandwich Dressing


Garlic Expressions makes an excellent dressing for a submarine sandwich! We use it regularly for the dressing instead of the dressing which comes with the sandwich. Perfect addition for homemade subs too.

Vegetable Dressing

Asparagus spears or fresh broccoli lightly drizzled with this vinaigrette are absolutely yummy!

Salad Dressing

If you are a fan of garlic then using Garlic Expressions as a healthy salad dressing is for you!

Where To Find Garlic Expressions


If you are close to a Whole Foods store or have Amazon Prime/Whole Foods option Garlic Expressions is available to order. I have found the vinaigrette at the local grocery store or independent grocery store. The prices online tend to vary, but normal pricing in my area is $3.99-$4.99 a bottle.


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Monday, August 24, 2020

Worst Cooks In America: TV Series Reviewed


Have you ever wondered how a meal which seems so easy to make can sometimes go oh so wrong? As in what was I thinking? Did I use sugar instead of salt? Was that a cup or cup and a half of flour?


Been there. But thankfully, only occasionally.

If you need a little laughter in the kitchen then the television show the Worst Cooks In America is for you. (Laughing with the contestants at their culinary journey.)

Worst Cooks Competition


The Worst Cooks In America is an elimination competition cooking show in which contestants are separated into two teams. The teams are captained by well known chefs Anne Burrell and Alex Guarnaschelli this season.

Each show has a culinary  theme where the captains guide their team by teaching the contestants how to make a specific meal. The captains coach their team members along the way while the team members learn the ins and outs of cooking ... hopefully.

The first episode of the season features the contestants making their go-to meal from real life. A little scary, very interesting and very creative are some of these dishes. Some dishes combine ingredients that are just. so. not. edible!

A Sense Of Humor

Laughter and humor are also a theme throughout the show as contestants are good humored and the audience is rooting for them to succeed! Contestants are eliminated at the end of each show and they try so hard! As we home cooks know, some days are better than others and cooking can be an inexact endeavor some days for us novices.

Celebrity Worst Cooks

Every so often the show runs a celebrity season and there is always plenty of mirth and mayhem. It is quite amusing to watch celebrities out of their entertainment element and enter the show as the main character.

As the celebrity contestants are already camera friendly their cooking or lack of cooking skills shine through along with their entertaining personalities.

Where To Find Worst Cooks In America?

New episodes of the Worst Cooks In America air at 9 p.m. Sundays on the Food Network.

If you have an Amazon Fire Stick the series is available on the Food Network Kitchen app. The app is also available on Google Play and iPhone. The apps offer some free Food Network shows; however a cable subscription will unlock all the offerings.

If you love to cook or watch cooking shows I think you will enjoy Worst Cooks In America and may even learn a few new skills for your own kitchen along the way.





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Monday, August 10, 2020

Favorite Bird Feeders Reviewed

It has been quite a long time since I fed the birds with a bird feeder! This summer I revisited feeding the birds and have really enjoyed watching the variety of birds which visit daily.



My Two Favorite Bird Feeders


Both feeders are affordable and lower priced. I chose the feeders based on the reviews and of course how well the feeders held up to the creative squirrels.

Am happy to report the feeders have survived a few attacks by squirrels and the squirrels have now decided the feeders are not worth the effort! Score one for the bird feeder.

However when I was filling up one feeder I noticed something very interesting in the bottom of the feeder.... a peanut shell! Obviously, someone... something... something furry must have somehow opened the top of the bird feeder to hide this little peanut treasure!



Lighthouse Bird Feeder


I like the lighthouse design of this bird feeder. While the cylinder design is a positive, there is also some waste when filling the feeder as the seeds can bounce out of the cylinder. Nonetheless lighthouses are a favorite so I recommend filling the feeder at the spot where the feeder hangs so the extra seed stays in the area under the hanging feeder.

I placed this feeder on a Shepherd's hook surrounded by foliage and the Shepherd's hook worked great!

Hanging Bird Feeder

After enjoying the lighthouse feeder I purchased a second feeder for another area in the yard to hang on a tree.

This is more the traditional shape of a bird feeder and thus far the squirrels have had no success in attempting entry. It is easy to fill the feeder as the roof simply twists off and the feeder can be easily filled.

Low Maintenance Bird Feeder


My friend relayed how she was feeding the birds outside her window with orange slices! What a great idea and perfect way to use leftover oranges.





Two years ago we had a robin build a nest on top of the porch light. It was a fun few weeks watching the robin family lay the eggs to the successful flight of the baby robins.
This year our robin family returned for another successful family event. Last year a robin built a nest on the same porch light, but the nest was abandoned. So this year the nest was a double decker as the 2020 nest was built on top of the 2019 nest.

The robins were again quite protective and became much more aggressive once the babies were born (thankfully the Amazon driver was on board and knew it was necessary to duck when heading for the porch.)

Review This Reviews writer and photographer Mary Beth Granger wrote a Review of the Facts And Photos Of The American Robin . Enjoy her wonderful photos of the American Robin along with the background of the American Robin. 







Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Monday, July 27, 2020

Instacart Vs Shipt Reviewed

My how we have become attached to the Grocery Delivery services Instacart and Shipt in my area. These services have been invaluable for no contact grocery delivery during a time of grocery challenge!


I've used Shipt and Instacart frequently in the past months and have been pleased with both services. Shipt is an annual fee of $99 with delivery for free on orders with a $35 minimum. Instacart is $99 annually or a monthly fee of $9.99 with Instacart Express and delivery for free on orders with a $35 minimum.

The App Design


Both the Instacart app and Shipt app have definitely progressed in the last year. The product offering has increased along with a huge improvement in the accuracy of stock on the shelves. I slightly prefer the Instacart app as it it more intuitively friendly for me, but each app is easy to use and does not require any skills beyond beginner.

Both apps are also available on desktop for those not phone friendly or prefer a larger screen when ordering. The functionality of the desktop or the phone app is the same.

The Stores


The selection of stores for Instacart far exceeds Shipt. The stores will vary by your location. Instacart offers: Meijer, Target, CVS, 2 higher end Independent Grocery Stores, Gordon Food, Kroger, Costco, Aldi, Big Lots, Staples, Petco, B.J.'s Wholesale, Fresh Thyme, Better Health.

Shipt offers: Meijer, Target, Petco, CVS, Office Depot, Sur La Table, Fresh Thyme and Meijer Corner Market.

Shipt is owned by Target. Instacart is privately owned with rounds of fund raising.

Substitutions

Each app has evolved to offer the option of choosing a substitution from a similar product when the order is placed. This can save time for the shopper and yourself for if the stores are running low on stock, given the advance authorization the shopper can substitute in real time without having to text you mid shop.

I have found shoppers for each service to be very good at choosing substitutions or initiating contact via text to approve a substitution. Many shoppers will text an image of the proposed substitution to ensure the order is accurate.

The Surcharge

Once upon a time (as in last year) I paid the same price via the app as I did when shopping in store. This is no more. Each service does bump up the prices and it also varies per store. One store charged a 12 percent surcharge on each item which I found was not cost friendly! Be sure to read the fine print for each store on the app. For items you frequently purchase in store you will recognize the surcharge amount.

No Contact Delivery

Just a few short months ago I would meet the shopper on the driveway. Now and for the foreseeable future no contact delivery is preferred. There is an option in the app to specify exactly where the order should be delivered.

The shopper will text when on the way and text after delivery. I have been utilizing this all purpose cart for groceries and while this cart wasn't the intent when purchasing -  it has sure come in handy. I roll the cart out to the door and the shopper can easily unload the groceries.

This rolling and foldable utility cart has a multitude of uses around the home and I have been very pleased with the purchase. The cart is rugged and can be easily pulled across the lawn for gardening, weeding, planting.

Tipping


Each app gives the option to choose the amount of tip before or after the order is placed. This was not always the case when the apps offered tipping after delivery. There are pros and cons to this feature. In times of high demand a tip can be an incentive for your order to be chosen; however the option always exists post order to adjust the tip.


My Preference?

I actually do not have a preference; however, one of the perks of Shipt is the new Meijer Corner Market. This is  a new version of the traditional Meijer store. It is a much smaller Meijer specializing in groceries plus products from local merchants. This store has become a go to favorite.

Now that demand is less I have found the delivery time slots are available on each. Shipt does have an option to delivery early which I have found very handy and convenient. This is an option where the shopper is allowed to select and deliver the order early; so if a 10-11 a.m. delivery is selected then the shopper could deliver anywhere from 8 a.m. - 11 a.m. You will be notified when the shopper is starting order and notified along the way as the shopper progresses throughout the order to actual delivery.


More Grocery Delivery App Reviews


Instacart Review by Bev Owens
Shipt Review by The Savvy Age
Grocery Delivery Services Reviewed by The Savvy Age


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Monday, July 13, 2020

Wahl Professional Dog Cordless Clipper Kit Review

It can be a challenge to groom your dog at home, but this little clipper can turn the challenge into a manageable task. Slim, lightweight and cordless this is the little clipper that could and will cut the hair or fur on your dog. In my area the dog groomers have been closed for three months and now as they are reopening it is a very long wait list for an appointment.

This is my second Wahl Arco. I had the first clipper for years and it had an unfortunate fall off a table which rendered my favorite clipper unusable. I was very happy to find the same clipper available! I highly recommend the Wahl Arco for stay at home grooming whether a beginner DIY dog groomer or advanced home groomer.



The 5 in 1 Blade

Most clippers for dogs require purchasing different blades for each cutting length. The blades can be quite expensive and novice dog groomers may not know what blade to buy for different sections of the dog. It can be a costly trial and error as one learns to DIY groom.

One of the best features of the Arco is a 5 in 1 blade feature which allows the blade number to be set on a built in dial and the blade length will change without having to switch blades. The number of the blade denotes the cutting length. The higher the blade number the closer the cut. This clipper contains the most popular blade sizes (numbers) 9, 10, 15, 30, and 40. For example on the Fluff, closely shaving his muzzle is blade #30, but the body is blade #9.

The included guide comb blades can also assist with the length of the cut. Simply pop on the guide comb blades and this is a nice safety feature to keep the cut even (vs a stripe- oops!) Luckily for me The Fluff has a high self esteem and is not offput by a few oopsy stripes when I first began DIY grooming.

The clipper is recommended for small to medium dogs. Being a poodle, The Fluff has hair verses fur which means just like everyone else in stay at home mode, the Fluff's hair began to take on a life of its' own.

Rechargeable Battery

Another feature of the Arco cordless clipper is the inclusion of two batteries with a charger. Each battery is long lasting, but there are times it may take two batteries so being able to charge one battery while clipping is a huge timesaver. Each battery has an 80-minute cordless run time and 75 minute charge time


What's Included With The ARCO Clipper?

  • 5-in-1 fine blade set
  • 2 drop-in NiMH rechargeable battery packs
  • Charging stand and charger
  • 4 plastic attachment guide combs
  • Blade oil, cleaning brush
  • Soft storage case
  • Instruction book
Of all the dog clippers I have tried over the years, this is my favorite. I first began learning how to dog groom when my prior dog had health issues and it was too stressful for the dog to be professionally groomed. This is not to say my skills are anywhere near the skill of a professional dog groomer, but skills good enough to suffice.

Like most novices, I learned via Youtube the tips to groom a poodle. And of course each dog has its' own personality and likes -dislikes when being groomed. And of course it would be typical for the dog to behave better for the groomer then the owner, so it can be a challenge. The Fluff plays hide the paw when trying to clip his feet so it can be a bit like Laurel and Hardy at times, But then again, it wouldn't by DIY dog grooming without a challenge or five.





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Monday, June 22, 2020

Amazon Original Series Review: Making The Cut

Tim and Heidi are reunited! If you are a fan of Project Runway then you have noticed their absence from the show and have missed the presence of Tim Gunn and Heidi Klum the Project Runway OG's. The duo have reunited in the Amazon Originals Series Making The Cut.


Making The Cut

The similarities between Project Runway and Making The Cut are hard to miss. The premise is the same with fashion designers competing in elimination challenges to a season finale with a fashion show. The major difference is the focus of designing as a global brand with the prize of a mentorship with Amazon Fashion.and winning one million dollars.

This is where Making The Cut definitely differs from Project Runway. The show focuses on not only the design, but how the personality of each designer is enveloped into the design looking towards becoming a global brand. The next emphasis is their focus on the marketing and merchandising behind creating, building, growing and operating a profitable global brand.


Making The Cut Amazon Store


In conjunction with the show Amazon Fashion now has a Making The Cut Store which allows customers direct access to winning designs from the show. As easy as a click of the mouse fans can order newly created and exclusive designs from the competitors. This is a fun add on for the fashion forward customer.

Recommendation

The series is light fashion fun as the designers compete for the very serious and life changing prize of one million dollars. Tim, Heidi and the celebrity judges guide the contestants with their often blunt, but sincere critiques as insiders in the world of fashion. The series is an Amazon Original and included with an Amazon Prime membership.

Amazon Original Series


An Amazon Prime membership includes Amazon Originals which are series or specials exclusive to Amazon Prime members. 

Some current favorites:

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Upload
Alpha House
The Aeronauts
Late Night
Ballerina
Homecoming

Amazon Prime requires an annual membership; however, a 30 day free trial is offered to give the Prime membership a spin.



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Monday, June 8, 2020

Regular Hereos: Amazon Original Reviewed

Regular Hereos is a documentary you want to see. Take a few hours away from masks and hand sanitizer to be inspired, be grateful and be thankful.  Celebrate these vital "essential workers" in this heart warming and at times heart breaking documentary as we are invited into their lives as they stay at work to keep our country running.


Who Are Regular Hereos?

This Amazon documentary features three hereos per one hour episode. Each hero is an "essential worker" whom the country could not have navigated without this year.

The backstories of each hero are different.
The location of each hero is different.
The profession of each hero is different.
The sacrifice of each hero is significant.
The contribution of each hero is significant.
And each hero is someone you will also recognize in: your neighborhood, your grocery store, your hospital, your community.
And each essential hero would humbly say they are "just doing their job..."

Each episode is narrated by a different entertainment star: Nick Jonas, Kevin Hart, Alicia Keys, Kelly Rowland thus far. The fifth episode is scheduled to premier June 12th.


Amazon Original Series


One of my favorite features of an Amazon Prime membership is the inclusion of Amazon Originals which are series or specials made exclusively for Amazon Prime members. I recall when Amazon Originals first began and members could view pilots and vote for their favorites. The top favorites were then made into Amazon series.

As  Amazon Originals have evolved series and specials are being made in all categories of entertainment: comedy, drama, kids, international, mystery, documentary. The content library is enormous and varied.

Some current favorites:

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Upload
Alpha House
The Aeronauts
Late Night
Ballerina
Homecoming

Amazon Prime requires an annual membership; however, a 30 day free trial is offered to give the Prime membership a spin.







Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Monday, May 25, 2020

Favorite Hand Lotions Reviewed

How chapped are your hands after this barrage of hand washing with soap and water! Clearly frequent and substantial hand washing will remain part of the daily routine and the hands are taking a beating!


Rough, dry, cracked, chapped hands can be just darn painful at times. So the search was on for a new lotion which helped sooth the hands; I've tried a few lotions before with limited success and was happy to find two new lotions that worked.

Amlactin Lotion



This is my new favorite lotion to use after washing hands. I was referred AmLactin by the local pharmacist and it was a very good referral to sooth chapped hands especially after frequent hand washing.

AmLactin is an alpha-hydroxy therapy which uses 12% lactic acid to soothe dry skin. The lotion is fragrance free and paraben free and not greasy.

I appreciate a lotion which has substance and penetrates the skin without leaving a slick residue. With the amount of hand washing now required per day I noticed a quick and huge improvement on preventing chapped and dry hands but using a dab of AmLactin immediately after hand washing.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost

I've been a fan of the Neutrogena Hydro Boost line since discovering the line about 2 years ago. The range of products have increased and after battling the chapped hands scenario with such frequent hand washing I decided to try another Hydro Boost product.


Hyrdo Boost is a light and fluffy whipped balm and uses Hyaluronic Acid to sooth dry skin. The balm is paraben free and does absorb very quickly. The Neutrogena line is available online and at local drugstores.

Recommendation

Hand lotions are indeed a test and trial product. I've definitely used and purchased a few different hand lotions with mediocre results over the past years.
I've been very satisfied with AmLactin and Hydro Boost balm with the cavaet that these are pricer lotions. I have found the rewards of the lotions are worth the price.


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Monday, May 11, 2020

OontZ Angle 3 Bluetooth Speaker Reviewed

If you remember the days of speakers which were as big as furniture with the names of tweeter and woofer ... you may also be missing the superior audio sound which filled the room or even the entire house with those monster speakers!


Listening to music on a smartphone is easy and convenient, but the quality cannot compare to music from an actual 'speaker.' I went on a search for a wireless speaker and found the highly rated Oontz Bluetooth speaker.

I have not been disappointed with this small, portable and easy to install speaker which transforms music from a smartphone into quality audio. The output of this little speaker is impressive and could literally fill a small backyard with no problem.

Quality Of Sound


I was shocked at the sound quality of the OontZ Angle 3 speaker when paired with my iPhone. Was that music really coming from my phone?! Indeed it was.

Positives

  • Portable 
  • Bluetooth easily paired with iPhone
  • 100 foot range
  • Water resistant
  • Sturdy
  • Price
  • Battery time 14 hours
  • USB battery recharge

Negatives


The only negative I have found is when attempting to use the Oontz bluetooth speaker as a speaker phone with my iPhone. The audio quality was medicore, However the issue may lie with my iPhone and this was not the main reason for purchasing the speaker. 


Over 52,000 Reviews

An online product with over 52,000 reviews and an average 4.5 out of 5 star rating tells the tale of this bluetooth speaker. The number of reviews and high rating peaked my interest when searching for a portable speaker and I have not been disappointed.

Price

An affordable price under $30.00 helps the budget and puts this purchase onto the 2020 favorite list for  value as well as a favorite for gift giving. The perfect little gift for any holiday and I suspect all recipients would be more than pleased to receive.


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Monday, April 27, 2020

Zoo Cam's Reviewed!

Who doesn't need a bit of calm in this topsy turvy world of late? Free, fuzzy and a whole lot of fun are the Live Cam's from zoos across the world!


Larger zoo's have multiple live cams for a dose of free entertainment. However, the animals may not always cooperate with on demand viewing (we all need our sleep don't we!). So checking back is necessary at times to find the action shots. Here are a few of my favorite zoo cams.


Panda Cam - Smithsonian's National Zoo

Not one, but two cams for the absolutely too darn cute Giant Panda.
There is also a robust archive of panda videos at the National Zoo including the arrival of baby giant panda Bao Bao.



Penguin Cam - Detroit Zoo

If there is one cam that will give you an immediate chuckle is the penguin cam. These guys and gals are too funny!

Butterfly Cam - San Diego Zoo


The butterfly house at my local zoo is a favorite to visit. Entering into the butterfly house is akin to being transported to a fairy garden of gorgeous flowers.  The San Diego Zoo's Hidden Jungle greenhouse has 30 (ish!) varieties  of gorgeous butterflys on the butterfly cam.


Koala Cams - Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

Lone Pine Sanctuary was established in 1927 as a safe refuge for Australia's koala bears. The sanctuary has its' mission to protect the Koala with its' efforts for a sustainable and biodiverse environment.

Lone Pine has quite a few Koala cams and I admit a huge fondness for the Koala! But the live cams at Lone Pine also have Platypus cams and Dingo cams.


Sloth Cam

For life in the slow and slower lane, check out the sloth cams. Sloths are active at night and no worries about missing the action with this slow mo crew.




Support Your Local Zoo

The vast majority of zoo's are currently closed and all could use financial support while America is staying at home. Now would be an excellent time to fast forward the holiday donation to your local zoo.




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Monday, April 13, 2020

Grocery Delivery Services Reviewed

If there was ever a time for grocery delivery services, the time is now! I have been trying a few of the grocery delivery apps and services with varying degrees of success. My experience the last few weeks have confirmed my appreciation of the independent grocery store and in my urban area it is these stores which have come through.



But first the major players for grocery delivery service are reviewed.

Shipt Grocery Delivery


Last Fall I wrote a review of Shipt which - at that time- was offering a two hour window from the time of ordering to the time of delivery. Shipt delivered every time without fail. At that time Shipt was an annual membership with all deliveries over $35 for free.

As life has drastically changed in the last few months, Shipt is like every other delivery service or app in my area as the demand exceeds the supply of shoppers. Shipt offers deliveries to Meijers, Petco and Target in my area; however, each area is different.

Instacart Grocery Delivery


I have used Instacart and this is a slightly different business model than Shipt. Instacart has a much larger selection of big box stores and smaller grocery stores. The delivery charges vary per store and some stores are adding a percentage price increase for the groceries. Make sure to read the "fine print' as the charges can differ per store.

Review This Reviews writer Bev Owens had a successful delivery experience with Instacart and provides an in depth review of the service. Thanks Bev!

How To Navigate The Grocery Delivery Services And Apps

Persistence. Persistence. Persistence.

A few Hints:
1. Load your cart before looking for the elusive delivery slot.
2. Slots can appear at any time of the day or night, but late night, middle of the night may yield better results to obtain a delivery slot.
3. Stalk the app. Once the list is loaded, stalk the app whenever you think of it or your phone is in your hand. It can become a part time job.
4. Be flexible on the delivery. If a slot opens up it may just be that one slot.
5. Grab the slot when it opens up, don't hesitate.
6. Be prepared that the promised time may or may not be the final delivery time with the ordered items.
7. Be flexible and let the shopper substitute at their discretion. Because stock is limited if you choose the option where the shopper texts you and asks you if you'd like a substitution then your phone will be ringing all. the. time.
8. Tip your shopper.
9. Choose curbside delivery if you are comfortable making the essential drive to the store. Most stores have reserved curbside delivery parking spaces for you to drive up, pop the trunk and the car is loaded.
10. Be prepared for 1-9 to not happen and have to start from again!

The Independent Grocery Stores


In my and suburban area it has been the independently owned and family owned grocery stores which have consistently come through with not only delivering, but actually having items in stock (including that oh so elusive toilet paper!)

A few weeks ago when it was clear the shelves of the big box stores and drugstores were being emptied, the independents immediately restricted the number of items a shopper could buy. Thank you!

Stock: Somehow, someway the independents had stock of the paper essentials and have restocked the new normal essentials (paper towel, hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes are still missing in action.) But if you "order" a multi pack of toilet paper, then you may receive 4 individually wrapped rolls. I appreciate their independent decision to provide for all.

How To Order From Independent Grocery Stores


This has been interesting to navigate. The stores are each working around this new way of grocery shopping and perhaps because they are smaller and independent - the stores can adjust much more quickly and efficiently.

A few of the stores have online ordering on their own website. The orders can be then picked up curbside. One of the nice features of the store I have been using is the ability to change the order once it is placed. Obtaining a time slot does take patience, but once the time slot is open and the list is paid for you can go back and add and delete the order up to the time the groceries are packed.

The pick up time slots are in one hour increments. When you arrive at the store and park in the curbside delivery designated spot you call the number provided.  The trunk is popped and within minutes the groceries are wheeled out to your car.

The employee stops at your window and I hold up the confirmation sheet so they can confirm your identity and the trunk is loaded. Trunk is closed, thumbs up from both parties and off you go.
I provide a tip by placing a note in the trunk with the tip in an envelope.


Another independent store in the neighborhood does not have their own website ordering, but is accomplishing the order and deliveries old school with email and phone calls. An order can be called in by 10 a.m. or emailed for same day pick up or delivery. This is the neighborhood "Cheers" type store and they offer free delivery to all seniors or health compromised or in a high risk category. Each week their order/delivery/pick up system has evolved and I know the neighborhood is grateful for their contributions to keeping us at home.

The Independent Pharmacy

Once upon a time which is now many years ago, the local big box pharmacy has excellent pharmacists and staff. Knowledgeable, dependable, consistent. This has greatly changed in recent years and it has been a hot mess getting prescriptions filled ... correctly. Sigh.

So who has come through in the recent weeks? The independent pharmacy.

The local independent pharmacy is making hand sanitizer for its' customers and provides delivery free of charge. I am so happy the switch was made from the big box pharmacy a few weeks to the independent pharmacy. (They are located next to an independent grocery store and even offered to pick up groceries for my mom on the way over with her prescription delivery- unbelievable!)

I see the big box pharmacy is offering delivery through Instacart, so that is an option for big box customers if a shopper is available.

Every day can be a new adventure lately just trying to obtain groceries, but I am thankful, grateful, and every appreciative as they allow us to #stayathome #michiganstrong

Don't Forget The Local Hardware Store


Our local Ace Hardware store is open and ready for business. Orders can be placed on the phone or on the website and the items are delivered to your car via curbside pickup. Ace had a birthday last year, read all about the history of Ace by Wednesday Elf !





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Monday, March 23, 2020

How to Open Fire TV Remote Reviewed

Cutting the cord from cable can be a challenge. I never thought one of the biggest challenges would be the remote control and batteries! The Amazon Fire TV stick is my main tool to stream television - but one must first insert the batteries into the remote. I was surprised, frustrated and a wee bit befuddled as to why a task so easy can be so hard.



The version of the Fire Stick I was installing on multiple televisions had a remote control case that I absolutely could not open. No open = no batteries= no fire stick! Frustrating. When it became evident I was close to using a tool to pry the case open, not recommended and not wise, I headed to the internet and a quick search revealed that I was not the only one with issues.

The problem with sliding the remote open to insert the batteries is smoothness of the remote. The directions give a nice tutorial on how to open the two piece remote by sliding the remote apart. Except I and judging from the amount of results on the internet search and many others had issues.

I found this DIY tutorial and problem solved. Using gloves or tape works in a flash to provide the grip needed to open the remote so it easily slides apart to insert the batteries. Sometimes nothing is easy in the quest to cut the cable!


My Favorite Free Services To Cut The Cord


One of the main reasons to cut the cord is cost. My cable-internet bill decreased by over 100 percent by eliminating the cable tv charges. So much of the monthly bill was fees, franchise fees and more fees combined with what seemed a zillion channels I do not watch (and that was the basic cable package!)

I found a wealth of free services to stream entertainment through membership at my local library. The online offerings from your library should be your first stop for free entertainment with the caveat your library must first belong to the services to pass along the membership to you.

Most of the free services do have a monthly limit of downloads; but I have found the limit to be very reasonable. The limit does differ per library.


Kanopy For Indie Films


Hoopla For TV Shows & Movies



Freegal For Music




Freegal


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Monday, March 9, 2020

West Paw Toppl Reviewed: Favorite New Dog Puzzle

The West Paw Toppl is my and if I may speak for The Fluff as he is affectionately known, new favorite treat dispensing puzzle!

Oh dog toys, dog puzzles, dog thingamyabobs, I have known and bought a few. Some are winners, some are losers and some fall in between. I know the loser toy look from the Fluff, the disdain, the side eye, the this is not acceptable. I will humor you and flip it around, but do not expect any further consideration.


And you know when a dog puzzle or toy is a winner! It is the same toy they go back to time after time, squeak after squeak and slobber after slobber. Now design wise all the dog toys and puzzles may be a winner, but the key is to find one your furball considers worthy.

West Paw Toppl


A diet change and chew bone change precipitated my search for a combo food dispensing toy for the Fluff. The Fluff likes to chew and it has been very difficult to find softer and natural bones that last more than 2 minutes.

I have a team of Kongs stuffed with dog food, peanut butter and yogurt in the freezer, but the Fluff can conquer those quite quickly. And experience has shown when the Fluff has not satisfied his need to chew, the Fluff can turn back to his puppy ways which is just not fun!

The local pet store recommended the Toppl and it has been a success so far. A combination puzzle and food dispenser that provides a good diversion for energetic pups.

Design Of The Toppl


I believe the difference and probably why the Toppl lasts so much longer than the frozen Kong is the grid inside and on the bottom of the Toppl. It definitely takes the Fluff longer to empty the Toppl than a Kong. Which for my purposes is the point!

 
I stuff the Toppl with his canned dog food and then freeze. I use this in place of the chew bone he used to get after dinner. So far the Fluff is happy (okay, not quite as happy when he had a bone), but the combination soft dental chew plus the Toppl is making the diet and routine change a little easier.

The Toppl can also be stuffed with a combination of dry food, treats, vegetables and soft food or yogurt and then frozen.

Recommendation


Adding the Toppl to the team of Kongs to keep the Fluff safe and happy.
Bonus the Toppl is also made in the United States. It also floats on water, is dishwasher safe and BPA and Phthalate Free.


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Monday, February 24, 2020

Celebrate Paczki Day!

Fat Tuesday is also known as Paczki Day in Detroit! You may be wondering what a paczki is and the second most popular question is, "How do you pronounce paczki?" Both questions will be answered as we learn and review the traditional and delicious packzi!



Hamtramck And Paczki

In Southeast Michigan and probably throughout Michigan, Hamtramck and Paczki are synonymous.
When preparing for Fat Tuesday people drive many miles to Hamtramck for the traditional Polish Paczki! Fans stand in line at the bakeries early Tuesday morning to pick up their order of this delicious pastry.

Hamtramck Michigan is known as "The World In Two Square Miles" and the city "within the city " of Detroit. Hamtramck became a destination for  Polish immigrants when an auto plant was opened by the Dodge Brothers in 1914.

The city boundaries are literally within the city of Detroit. In 1970 ninety percent of the population was Polish. Through the years the demographics of the city have changed and Hamtramck is a multi cultural city which continues to celebrate the traditions of Poland. And Paczkis of course!

What Is a Paczki?

Paczki are filled pastries that resemble a  traditional American filled doughnut, but that is where the similarities end for true aficionados. I am not one to turn down any type of doughnut, but paczki are deliciously unique and different.

Supermarket versions of paczki are usually like door stoppers = not a paczek! The inside should be  light and fluffy and the outside is crispy and topped with sugar.  Traditional flavors of paczki are: Powidła (plum jam) and wild rose petal jam; but the more popular fillings are custard, lemon, strawberry, blueberry, raspberry, and apple. My personal favorite is Bavarian cream!

How Do You Say Paczki?

Poonch-kee !

What Is the Difference Between Paczki and Paczek?

A single pastry is a Paczek - Poon-check!
Many pastries are Paczki - Poonch-kee!

Paczki festivities in Hamtramck celebrate all week long including what has become a pre Fat Tuesday event the Paczki Run.


The Paczki Run


Prior to Fat Tuesday, Tour de Troit holds its' annual Paczki Run which is a 5k race highlighting the sights of Hamtramck. Traditional post race refreshments are a little different for the Paczki Run. Let's keep in mind this is a winter run in Michigan so Paczki participants are hardy braving snow, ice and wildly varying weather conditions.

Post race includes Polish music, dancers and  "paczek from New Martha Washington Bakery & New Palace Bakery and a beer from Motor City Brewing Works are served to each finisher! Na Zdrowie! "


If you are a fan of pastries and doughnuts I highly recommend the Paczki (because noone can eat just one!)

More Michigan Travel


It's not St. Patrick's Day without the traditional Wigley's Corned Beef.  Head over to Eastern Market to ensure you have the best! corned beef for St. Paddy's. 



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Monday, February 10, 2020

Dog Agility Reviewed!

It is winter here in the Midwest and I already thinking warmer weather and fun activities in the yard with my pup and dog agility!

A backyard agility course for your dog is fun with a F! Fun for you, fun for the dog and a fun activity both you and your fluffy friend can enjoy.

The Agility Obstacle Course


Dog agility is the running of an obstacle course. The sport originated in the late 1970's in England. There have been many organizations through the years as the sport has evolved; the goal of the organizations were shared, though the rules and obstacles slightly differed.

Years ago when agility was a relatively new sport I enrolled in a dog agility class. The difference between the backyard agility equipment and professional equipment is size. As you can see from the video below of a professional agility competition the obstacles are BIG!

Backyard agility obstacles are smaller, portable and easy to assemble. The starter kits are easy to set up, store and all you need is grass! The agility kits are easily transported so if a backyard is not available any nice sized section of grass will work.

The Beginner Backyard Agility Sets


Staples in a backyard agility kit are the jump, tunnel and weave poles.

Tunnel


The tunnel is usually one of the first obstacles to teach your dog. A few treats and encouragement and the tunnel can be easy to master for the confident dog. As with every new activity a little practice goes along way and the dog will give you cues as to how comfortable they are with the tunnel.

I have seen very skittish and less confident young dogs who at first look at the tunnel as a looming foreign object turn into tunnel loving runners with the right encouragement and practice.

Jump


The jump is adjustable and can be set very close to the ground to begin acclimating your dog to the desired height. Dogs who love to run and jump can take to the jump quite quickly. I happen to have a dog who loves to jump so the jump was quickly mastered and the height could be increased.

To teach and acclimate the dog to the jump you can see in the photo below the dog is on a leash and I am gently guiding the dog through the jump with a treat in hand ( why the dog is looking to my hand).



Last Fall we had a few doggie buddies over for backyard fun. 

The three Amigos

Within a few minutes of practicing individually we put the medium size dogs sitting at the start line and were amazed as they took off together taking the jump in unison!




 It was a race to the treat and the owners.

Because of size, as one of the three amigos was only six pounds, she was an observer while the two medium sized dogs navigated the obstacle course, and we practiced with her separately. 

She enjoyed watching and learning from afar however!



Weave poles

Weave poles can be tough! Where my dog took to the jumping very quickly, the weave poles not so much. The poles are set up for the dog to zig zag - weave in and out in a straight line. We are still working on the weave poles, but in the spirit of this is purely for fun, I think the pup and I have decided ... no on the weave poles.

But weave poles are alot of fun to watch. The video below shows a full sized Agility Course and look at those pups weave!

Sit stay box

This is a great exercise , especially for younger dogs, to practice sit/stay and down/stay. The “box” is either a marked area in a box or an actual raised solid box.

The dog either enters the box or jumps up on the box and does a sit/ stay or down/stay for a set number of seconds. If training a young dog, this exercise works right into practicing sits and stays.


Dog Personality


Of course it is imperative the personality and physical capabilities of your dog are of the greatest importance when considering agility obstacles. Dogs of any age, breed or height can participate in dog agility. The obstacles are 'sized' to the dog.

Age: Agility courses are not for puppies as their growth plates must be fully developed. Obviously this varies per breed, per dog. Pre agility exercises such as the sit stay exercise are pup friendly.

Does your dog love to run ? Try new things? Enjoy activity? Loves to figure out a puzzle? Agility may be a great fit.

Is your dog apprehensive to try something new but with proper training enjoys a new activity ? Agility could be a great confidence booster !

Backyard agility can just be plain ole good fun for the owner and pet. No need to compete, just enjoy the obstacles your dog likes and making a home agility course provides great exercise for you and your pet.

Where To Find Backyard Agility Kits


Online is where the kits can be found, this is a beginner kit I like.


DIY ers  can also make agility equipment! Here is a good resource in making obstacles for a backyard agility course .

I’ve been lucky enough to have dogs which naturally seem to enjoy agility which makes training much easier!

Whether it is one obstacle or a backyard of obstacles, I highly recommend dog agility for a few hours of amusement, exercise and bonding with you furry friend.


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Review This is Dedicated to the Memory of Our Beloved Friend and Fellow Contributor
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