Showing posts with label Tracey Boyer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tracey Boyer. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

A Review of Emergency Preparedness - Is it Really Necessary?

 


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

However.....

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

What is  Emergency Preparedness?

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

How Can Planning Help?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Last Thoughts on Emergency Preparedness

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

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






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Tuesday, August 30, 2022

A Review of Making Pickles Without Canning

 


If you have ever made pickles with a hot water bath canner, there is a good chance you ended up with rubbery, soggy pickles with no crunch.  I did!  I tried many different recipes and even tried adding an envelope of some stuff I bought that was supposed to keep your canned pickles crunchy. They were still awful.  I had pretty much given up and resigned myself to forever buying pickles from the grocery store which was a real shame since we grow our own wonderful cucumbers every summer.

One summer day about three years ago, I was talking to a friend of mine on the phone and lamenting about the sheer number of cucumbers I was getting from my garden when she asked me why I didn't make pickles.  I told her of my lack of success in pickle making and she told me about the cold pack pickles she makes every summer.  I was shocked!  I had never heard of making pickles cold, but I had to admit that it made sense, if you wanted them to stay crunchy.  I wrote down the recipe and immediately checked the cupboards to make sure I had all the ingredients, which I did!  

I could not believe how easy it was to make these pickles!  It did not take any special equipment, all I needed was a large bowl, a knife, a ladel and a jar.  It didn't even have to be a mason jar, any jar with a tight fiting lid would do.  I decided to use some large containers I had saved from some deli pickles I had bought for my husband.  That was another great thing about this recipe, you did not have to make 10 jars at a time and spend a whole day pickle making.  My friend's recipe made two jars at a time and took only a few minutes to make. I remember thinking to myself "this has got to be too good to be true!"

Here is what you need:

  • 6 to 8 medium or 8 to 10 small cucumbers 
  • 1 3/4 cups white vinegar 
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup chopped fresh dill weed or 3 to 4 tablespoons dried dill
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped 
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons pickling salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons pickling spice 
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste  (optional)
  • 4 sprigs fresh dill weed or 1 teaspoon of dried

I was lucky, I had all this stuff left over from my prior pickle mishaps and I grow fresh dill in my garden, so I didn't have to go to the store, but if you do, you can get all these ingredients at any large grocery store.  If you don't grow your own cucumbers, just buy some at a produce market.

Making them is really easy, here's how:


Wash and cut up your cucumbers.  You can cut them as rounds or as spears, the shape is up to you.  

Mix the water, vinegar, chopped dill, sugar, garlic, salt, pickling spice, and red pepper flakes in an extra large bowl and stir till the sugar and salt dissolve.

Place the cucumbers in the bowl and stir gently.  Make sure all the cucumbers are fully immersed in the liquid.  Place the bowl on the counter and let it marinate for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Take your freshly washed jars and put a sprig of fresh dill in each or a pinch of dried dill, if you don't have fresh.

Ladel the cucumbers and pickling liquid evenly into the two jars and screw the lids on tightly.  Shake each jar and then place them in the refrigerator.

In ten days you will have delicious dill pickles, cold and crunchy.  If you have any left over juice, you can put it in a jar and keep it in the refrigerator till you have some cucumbers to add to it!




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Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Hairless Guinea Pigs Review - Are They The Right Pet For You?

 



Guinea pigs have been popular pets for centuries.  It is believed that the first guinea pigs were imported to North America in the 16th century, from Europe.  However it is only in the last 30 years have hairless guinea pigs have been on the piggie pet scene!  There are two distinct types of hairless guinea pigs, the Skinny and the Balwin and though each were brought about by a spontaneous mutation, the reasons for their hairless nature is totally different.  Let's look at both types:


Two Types of Hairless Guinea Pigs

Skinny Pigs are mostly hairless due to a recessive gene.  Some of them have small tufts of hair on their head, shoulders or feet and some of them have a bit of "peach fuzz" down their back.  They are born hairless and the bits of hair grow in as they grow older.  Skinnies are quite wrinkled and also quite chatty, frequently squeaking to other pigs or to its human owners.  Skinnies have been available as pets since the 1990's, and are quite popular, especially to people with fur allergies.



Baldwin Guinea Pigs came about because of a genetic mutation and are born looking like a regular furry type pig.  However during the first week after birth, they begin to lose their hair.  They are completely hairless by two months of age other than their whiskers and a bit of fur on their feet.  When grown, these guinea pigs will have rubbery feeling skin with lots of wrinkles and big, droopy ears, which give them a comical look.  Baldwin is a fairly new breed, but is growing more popular because of its uniqueness. 


Temperment and Coloration

Temperament of hairless guinea pigs is quite different than that of furred guinea pigs. They are usually more social with their humans. It is common for them to come out of their sleep sack looking to be petted and picked up. They really love cuddling with their humans and snuggling in your neck or hair. They are very sweet and lovable. They are also very curious and love to explore new places. They learn very quickly and can be taught simple tasks with food rewards.

Skinnies come in a variety of colors from solid black or white to brown. brindle and spotted or patterned.  Baldwins can be multicolored and patterned, tortoiseshell, Dutch or Himalayan.

What Do Hairless Pigs Eat ?   How Much and How Often ?

Hairless pigs eat the same things as furred guinea pigs: high quality pellet food, timothy hay and fresh vegetables. Try to stay away from gas producing veggies, such as cauliflower and cabbage, as they might invite gastric distress. Kale, broccoli, carrots and spinach are good choices.

Hairless varieties usually eat more than furred pigs because they have a faster metabolism to help keep them warm. Because they eat more, they will also poop more, so cage cleaning will have to be more frequent, probably twice a week or every five days at the most.

It is very important to have plenty of fresh clean water available at all times!

How Long Do Hairless Pigs Live?  How Much Do They Cost?

Skinnies and Baldwins live about as long as a furred guinea pig, about 5 to 7 years.  They can be neutered or spayed, a good idea if you plan to have more than one.  It is important that you see that they have regular veterinary care as hairless animals of any variety many times a little more delicate constitution and need regular check ups to keep them in prime heath.

The cost of a hairless pig is quite high compared to its furry counterpart, usually between $100 and $200.  It is not suggested that hairless pigs be bred by people who are not knowledgable about the breed.  Amateur breeders many times end up with unhealthy babies, many of which are not hairless at all.


Can Hairless Guinea Pigs Spend Time Outside?

Important Do's and Don'ts:

You can enjoy taking your pig outdoors, as long as you take a few precautions. If you do, then your time together outside can be fun and productive.

  1. Make sure it is warm enough. The outside temperature should be between 72 and 78 degrees.
  2. Do not place your pig in direct sunlight. Without hair, their skin can burn quickly. Never put sunscreen on your pig, it can be toxic.  Always make sure you pig is in the shade.
  3. Get a play pen, or use a harness. Never let your pig roam around loose, as they are a very tempting treat for hawks or other predatory birds.
  4. Make sure that the grass that your piggies are walking on has not been treated with any kind of fertilizer or pesticide. These can cause skin rashes from contact or illness or death if ingested.
  5. If you use a harness and leash, let he or she lead you around. Do not try to make them follow you like a dog walks on a leash.
  6. The most important thing to remember when taking your pig outside is to never leave them unattended, even in a fenced enclosure. If left alone they are easy prey for dogs, cats, and birds.

Please Remember...

Guinea Pigs are very social animals that love to spend time with you. If you don't have time to spend with them, please get them a companion pig, so they can keep each other company. Don't let them be sad and lonely!


Image Credits:  Wikipedia





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Monday, May 30, 2022

A Review of Reverse Mortgages



 


If you are like me, you have probably heard the term "Reverse Mortgage" and wondered what that was and how it worked.  I heard snippets of information from commercials, but I never really understood how reverse mortgages work, or had enough information to decide if they were a good or a bad thing.  So I decided to do some research and educate myself on the subject. 

What Is A Reverse Mortgage?

A loan for people over the age of 62 that own their home or are in the process of paying back a mortgage on the home they live in.  The collateral for this load is the home itself and the equity the owners have built up in it. 

 Do You Have to Pay it Back?

We all know there is no such thing as a free lunch, so you do have to pay back a reverse mortgage.  But this loan does not have to be paid back until the last surviving homeowner either:

  •      Passes away
  •      Moves out
  •      Does not live in the home as a primary residence for over 12 months

When any of these three things happen, the estate of the homeowner has to repay the loan, in full, within 6 months, or sell the house to repay the loan.  The good news is, if the home sells for less the balance of the loan, the estate is not liable to pay the difference!  The lending institution takes the loss.  If the house sells for more than the balance of the loan, the estate keeps the difference.  One of the few win/win situations you will ever see in finance!

What If I Already Have a Mortgage On My Home?

This is not a problem and will not prevent you from applying for a reverse mortgage.  You can take out a reverse mortgage and pay off your mortgage, to get rid of that payment every month.  If you qualify for a reverse mortgage that is more than what you owe, you then have access to the rest of the loan amount.

How Much Money Can I Get?

How much the loan will be for depends of a few things:

  •      Age of the homeowner
  •      Current interest rate
  •      Value of the house
  •      Government loan limits

How Will I Get My Money?

There are several ways to receive the proceeds from a reverse mortgage:

  •      Equal monthly payments for a fixed amount of time or for as long as the owners live         in the home.
  •      Lump sum of money, all at once
  •      Line of credit that the homeowner can draw on as needed.

You may also get a combination of any of the above, like a lump sum of a certain amount and the rest monthly, or a lump sum in the beginning and then a line of credit.  The terms of a reverse mortgage are extremely flexible.

Can I Outlive My Reverse Mortgage?

A mortgage of this type is not due as long as the homeowner lives there as their primary residence and maintains the home, no matter how long they live.  You cannot outlive a reverse mortgage.

Do I Have Any Obligations During the Tenure of the Loan?

You must maintain the home in good working order, keep it insured to value and keep the taxes current.  In other words, simply do the things you probably already do.  The house must be kept in good repair, insured and you must pay the taxes. That's all.

Whether or not a reverse mortgage is a good idea for you is something that only you can decide.  The best way to make a decision is to get all the information you can and this article is only a short outline of the basic facts.  It also does not take into consideration that laws differ from state to state and country to country.  If you are considering a reverse mortgage, please make sure to get all the information regarding the laws in your area.*

___________________________________________

*This article is for informational purposes only and is not meant to provide legal advice or information on which to base any financial decision.  The writer is not liable for the result of actions taken from reading this article.

Image Credit:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/miran/6951472582/sizes/l




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Tuesday, May 3, 2022

World of Warcraft Review - Why It's a Great Game for Older Folks

 

The online video game World of Warcraft was released in 2004. It was among the first major online video game that was American made and had a big enough budget to deliver on it's promises.  Since it is still alive and well, in 2022, and still going strong, it has delivered everything a gamer could hope for.  WoW has a great storyline, a multitude of  races and classes, professions, thousands of quests, and a huge multi planet landscape to be explored.  

I started playing WoW in early 2005, I was in my forties and had never played an online game in my life.  I have to admit, the first time I logged in, I was in awe of what I found.  You have a character and you are in a fantasy world.  The other characters in the game are other people from all over the world that you can meet and make friends with.  There are cities with stores and banks and inns and embassies!  In the country there are cottages and animals and lakes you can fish in.  It was beautiful!

It is pretty over whelming, but right away they give you things to do, and the tutorial explains most everything you need to know.  You just take off and never look back!  Check out the video below for a look at the fun this game is!




What does this have to do with Older Folks?

Most people think that video games are for kids and that most of the people that play are under 18.  This may have been true in the beginning, but it most certainly is not true now, 18 years later, and not for the reason you might think.  Sure, a lot of people who started in their teens are now in their 30s which could skew the average age upward, but also, many older people have taken to playing the game because their kids were playing it and because their friends were playing it.   There is so much included in the game World of Warcraft, it has interests for all ages.

Can An Older Person Really Keep Up with Kids in a Video Game?

This is the great thing about World of Warcraft.  You don't have to compete with anyone if you don't want to.  WoW can be anything you want it to be.  You can play completely alone, if that is what you prefer, or you can be very social and make friends, join a guild, or even role play if that is something you enjoy.  If you like to compete, you can group with larger amounts of people and do raids where large groups of people get together to slay big monsters for rewards.  There are even player versus player fights, should you want to participate, from one on one duels, to armies fighting armies.  You can make this game whatever you want it to be.

Why Would An Older Person Want to Play a Video Game Online?

Many older people are lonely and miss the socializing that they enjoyed when they were younger and more mobile.  WoW gives you the opportunity to make friends and enjoy the company of people around the world.  You can explore places, go on adventures, battle monsters, or just sit and talk.  It offers an outlet to a greater world instead of the smaller world that some older people live in.

It also provides fun and entertainment and a never ending list of things to do.  It can give purpose and joy to people who have too many hours in a day and just sit around being bored.  WoW also helps to keep people sharp and thinking.  It keeps the cognitive juices flowing which something we all need!

Will the Other Players Make Fun of Me When They Find Out My Age?

For years I kept my age a secret in WoW.....until I learned that many of the people I knew were around my age, or even older!  In the last 5 or 6 years, I have noticed guilds that are strictly for older people, guilds like "Over Fifty, "Ancient Artifacts," and even one called "Old Farts!"  Older people that want to play WoW will be in a lot of good company.  

So if you want try something new, maybe open a whole new world give WoW a try!  World of Warcraft is a subscription based game, which means that in addition to buying the game itself, you also have to pay a monthly fee of about $15, to access the game.  For less that a fast food meal, you get a whole month of great times!  You can get a free trial of the game and play up to level 20 to see if you like it, but I am confident you will!   

Click Here to Try the Free Trial of World of Warcraft







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Sunday, April 3, 2022

The New Writer on the Site: Tracey Boyer

 

Welcome to my first post on Review This Reviews!  I am Tracey Boyer and I am very pleased to be here.  When I was approached to write for this site, I recognized most the names of the authors.  We have run in the same circles for years, and I have read their work.  Needless to say, I knew the site for it's quality and the writers for their experience and talent, so the decision to come aboard was not hard to make!

I have been writing off and on all my life, though the first time I ever made it a real job was on Squidoo.  It was the first time I actually made revenue from writing and opened my eyes to a whole new world.  In 2013 I started my blog, Homemade by Jade and branched out from there to many different kinds of writing.  I have written many places, but my favorites are:

Homemade by Jade - my website that has all different types on things on it like:

Homemade by Jade Blog that centers around homesteading and self sufficent living, including recipes, crafts, gardening tips, sewing and other fun stuff.  

Jade's Homemade Recipes - my blog just for recipes

Jade's Craft Shop - a shop that features only my own handmade items like handpainted wood signs,  plastic canvas items and handmade Christmas ornaments.

Patterns by Tracey - my shop of original plastic canvas patterns, designed by me, that are for sale.

Jadelynx Graphix - my website offering graphics services for blogs, Pinterest or other social media sites or articles, for business or personal use.  

WebNuggetz - a site which has many authors that write on everything from soup to nuts!  I have about a hundred pages there on different topics that include recipes, shops of all kinds and reviews on a variety of products.  Written under the name Jadelynx.

A Bit About Me

I am a retired lady with many interests, one of which is writing.  I also love to garden, cook, do crafts and play video games.  My book and movie tastes are mostly science fiction, and I love animals.  These are probably the things you will see me writing about and reviewing.  

I live out in the country with my husband, four ornery cats, five hens and a rooster.  We moved out here in 2016 to get away from the city noise and to be closer to nature.  It has been an eye opening experience for city folks, but we love it!








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