Showing posts with label gift ideas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gift ideas. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Multi-use Cake Stand Reviewed

More than just a place for cakes

no cake stand
Cake not on a stand (image from Pixabay.com)
One of the things that my youngest daughter asked for this Christmas was a cake stand. She also wanted a salad bowl. As one of Santa's dedicated elves, I found a perfect solution! Let me tell you about it. 

To be honest, I planned to purchase both of those items for her. When on my quest to find a nice cake stand, I came across something that has multiple uses that surprised and delighted me and I know it will be perfect for my daughter. 

The wonderful set can be a cake stand with a dome. The dome can be flipped over to create a salad bowl or a punch bowl. The base can be turned upside down to be used as a chip and dip tray or veggie dip. There are six different ways to serve whatever you need with this one set. Isn't that amazing? 

I also like that instead of having to store six different pieces for six different functions, this set only takes up the space of one piece. That is wonderful for my daughter since her storage space is limited. I think she will be thrilled!

I also like the simple design because it will go with any style of dinnerware and can be used throughout the entire year. It is made from acrylic so it isn't heavy to move, either. Let me tell you, this Santa's helper is so excited about this find!

How about you? Can you use something like this for your serving needs? Perhaps you know someone on your list who would appreciate its multi-function features. It is perfect for a gift for a bride or a house warming gift, too. 



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

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Whimsical Throw Pillow Covers Reviewed

Fun Ways To Cover Your Pillows

throw pillows
Pillows image from Pixabay.com
Today, I would like to show you a fun option to cover your throw pillows in an economical and whimsical way. If you are like me, you have several around the house that could be changed with your mood or even the season of year. 

I love the thought of covering pillows that I already have instead of having to go out and buy more pillows. Getting a few pillow cases that match the size of my pillows is an easy solution. 

I should mention that if you don't have many throw pillows, you can purchase the cover and a form to use. That just is not a problem in our home because I own more pillows than most already. 

For less than ten greenbacks you can surely find at least one pillow cover that you like. The option that I found has 43 different patterns to chose from. There are several that have a phrase about books and reading but there are also some for the different holidays during the year like Easter and Christmas and even some nice ones with an autumn theme. 

The cases or covers that I found fit 18 by 18 inch pillows and do not come with the pillow insert. They are made from a cotton linen fabric and are machine washable. The printing is on one side only and did I mention that they are really inexpensive? I did? Well, it was worth noting again. 

These are so fun that not only will I be getting one or two for myself but they will make a great gift for Christmas or a house warming party. 

What do you think? Do you like the idea of being able to have a few pillow covers to change the look of your throw pillows? 



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

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Christmas Candles - A Great Gift Idea or Not?

Christmas Candles - great gift idea or not
I wanted to review a few candle gift ideas for Christmas as I always thought that candles made great gifts at Christmas time.  In fact in my mind candles and Christmas are synonymous with each other, but I wasn't sure why.

I decided to google why we always think of a Christmas candle (just in case it was just me!) and found that there's a lot of debate over whether or not candles make a great gift idea or not.   Apparently a lot of people think you shouldn't give candles at Christmas time - what do you think?  I'd love to hear your thoughts below.

I have always enjoyed being given a candle and I have thought of giving a candle many times although until this year I haven't actually done so before.

Why Christmas Candles


>Apparently candles were used way before we even celebrated Christmas.   During the ancient winter solstice celebrations candles were lit as a way of remembering that spring would soon come.

The earliest records of candles being used at Christmas apparently dates back to the middle ages where a large candle was used to represent the star of Bethlehem.

I think the reason that I think of candles and Christmas together is because many cultures put a candle in the window at Christmas time combined with images of the first Christmas trees with candles on them.

The most well known origin of lighting a candle in the window for Christmas is the catholic Irish tradition - this dates back to the 17th century at a time when the catholic religion was being suppressed in Ireland under British rule. The family would put a candle in the window to signal any passing priests that they were welcome, the authorities were told that the candles were to welcome Mary and Joseph into their homes - this was believed to have been an Irish superstition and worked.

Since this time the custom has spread and is said to be a sign of welcome for anyone who may be passing so that they could share whatever the family had for Christmas as no one should go without at this time of the year.

I have also heard that the lighting of a candle in the window is to represent family or people who are close to the family that cannot be there for the celebrations either because they're serving their country overseas or even because they've passed away.

Fragrant Candles

There are so many lovely 'smelly candles' as my daughter calls them, available as a gift that it's hard to know what to give someone. My favorite one this year is the Spiced Vanilla Chai candle. This is a slow and clean burning, hand-poured coconut wax blend candle that smells divine.



Another popular fragrant candle to give is one from the Yankee candles range.

Unfortunately not everyone likes the same fragrances so this isn't a gift that you can give just anyone!

Decorative Candles

Decorative candles are totally different and are a great gift idea whether you choose to give the shorter, fatter candles or the taper candles, these can be gorgeous. A lot of decorative Christmas candles also come with their own holders which are really good.

I used to use candles a lot, but I must admit that since becoming a mum I have been more aware of the dangers of an open flame which is why I love the different LED lit decorative candles that are available. I think these are definitely the best holiday candles if you don't know whether someone likes fragrant candles or not.




This is my favorite LED candle design for Christmas - I love the Robin Redbreast, but there are lots more to choose from if you prefer other styles of candles from personalized photos to peppermint stripes, vintage designs or more - Christmas LED Candles.

Do You Use Christmas Candles & Which is Your Favorite?


Do you have a tradition of Christmas candles and do you like the idea of a candle with a flame (with fragrance of not) or one of the LED lit candles.  I would love to know.


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

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Reviewing an Essential Oil Holiday Set

Purchase here!
Arbonne have just brought out their holiday range for 2018 and this year it includes a gorgeous essential oil set.   If you're interested in using essential oils then this is a great way to start your selection.

The set comes in a gorgeous holiday themed gift box which makes it a perfect gift for someone who is interested in aromatherapy.

Let's have a look at what's included in the set...

What's in Arbonne's 2018 Essential Oil Gift Set?


The set features all of Arbonne's single essential oils which are lavender, lemon, peppermint & tree tea as well as two of Arbonne's combination blends - Harmony & Focus.

I believe that if you're starting your aromatherapy journey then the first three oils you should get are lavender, lemon and tea tree so this is a perfect set.

Arbonne's Essential Oil Holiday Set
Arbonne's Essential Oil Holiday Set


Lavender Oil


Lavender oil is the absolute Queen of essential oils, it's referred to as 'a first aid kit inside a bottle' because of how many things it's really good for.   Now essential oils should always be diluted before being used on your skin EXCEPT lavender oil - it is powerful enough to do a whole heap of things while being gentle enough to be able to use neat.   I should note that I do still dilute it personally.

Some of the common ailments that can be relieved with lavender oil include headaches (find out how in my article on naturally relieving headaches), stress relief, insomnia, insect bites and burns.

It can also be used for making bath bombs, you can add a drop to your hand cream for a beautiful fragrance and it also combines with lemon oil to make a cuticle oil - find out more here.

Around the house you can make your own carpet deodorizing powder simply add a few drops of lavender oil to baking soda as well as using it in these ways -



Lemon Oil


Lemon oil has lots of great things going for it, the citrus scent is very uplifting and it also has both anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties which means that as soon as any viruses start doing the rounds I pop a few drops of lemon oil into my diffuser to ward them off!

It's also a great essential oil to help you stay alert, perfect for long trips in the car, when working overtime or studying.

More ways to use lemon oil ...


Peppermint Oil

Peppermint oil is so soothing and refreshing I absolutely love it!  When one of my late friends was going through chemotherapy he was suffering from really bad night sweats and asked if there was any natural products I could recommend.  I told him to try adding a few drops of peppermint oil to a cool bath and see how that worked - I did caution him that as well as cooling properties peppermint was also invigorating so he may find he couldn't sleep afterwards.   It worked really well to cool down his body so he was able to sleep.

Peppermint is more commonly used to help muscle aches and pains (diluted in a carrier oil or ointment base) or to help with a sinus headache.   Now I have seen a lot of places online suggest putting a drop of oil on your fingers and massaging your sinus points - please do NOT do this.  The only oil that can be used neat in this way is lavender oil, always dilute peppermint oil.

If you do suffer from sinus problems including headaches I would get a small roller bottle and add a carrier oil with a few drops of peppermint oil in it and keep that with you so that you can apply it throughout the day.

Peppermint oil is also regularly used in a foot bath as it's cooling on swollen feet and also helps with foot aches.  When I worked in a health food shop we had concrete floors which meant at the end of the day (especially on late nights) my feet were often sore so I would add a few drops of peppermint oil into my foot spa and rest my feet while enjoying a cuppa and a few chapters of a good book when I got home.

Tea Tree Oil


Now I love using tea tree oil, and have actually written and article extolling it's uses ...

Tea Tree Oil UsesReviewing Uses for Tea Tree Oil
After being introduced to tea tree oil over twenty years ago I have embraced a few different ways of using it, let's review just a few uses for this potent essential oil.


Harmony Blend

The Harmony Blend smells divine, it's been blended together to help give you a sense of harmony and I think it does that very well.  It includes uplifting citrus oils like orange, tangerine & grapefruit which I always call the happy oils as they really do raise the spirits.  Also included is lavender for it's relaxing properties along with essential oils like rosemary, eucalyptus to really help you feel grounded.

This is a great blend to add to a bath or a diffuser to really create a spa like atmosphere in your home.  It's also good to use in a massage oil or even to pop into your favorite body lotion.

Personally I think it's lovely to pop into an aromatherapy necklace if you have one as it would be a lovely aroma to inhale throughout the day and keep you feeling centered.

Focus Blend


If you're having problems with focusing on the task at hand, then perhaps you need some focus blend!  I have written a post all about how and when to use this blend -

Focus Oil Aromatherapy BlendReviewing Arbonne's Focus Blend
Arbonne's Focus blend is a combination of pure essential oils that aid with focus and concentration, excellent for students, people who have problems focusing and for long car journeys.



If you're not as keen on aromatherapy or you already have these oils then why not check out some of the other holiday gift ideas that Arbonne have to offer as there are some lovely things available and of course we've reviewed lots of other gift ideas for you too.


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

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Project MC2 Spy Bag Reviewed

Fun Spy Kit For Little Girls

spy camera
Spy camera image courtesy of Pixabay.com
Last weekend my granddaughter and her mommy came for a visit. The Project MC2 Spy bag came with them so that Grandma and her budding little secret agent girl could play together. We play a lot of things when she comes but currently she is really into playing detective and spy type make believe. She has quite the imagination and Grandma is thoroughly entertained!

Project MC2 (pronounced project MC squared) is a web television series featured on Netflix that encourages girls to have a growing interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathmatics). OK, so I already love it! Their logo has the words "smart is the new cool" and you know that I love that, too! The series is based around the adventures of McKayla McAlister and her best friends who are agents for the NOV8 (innovate) organization. Young girls are entertained in each episode with the various assignments of these very smart young teens while being exposed to how cool and helpful the various aspects of STEM can be. 

When little McKenna came into the house carrying a plastic bag that looked like a pink quilted purse, I commented that I liked her new handbag. She winked, grinned and replied, "It is a special purse that I bought with my very own money. Wait until you see what is inside, Grandma!" After they were all settled in, she opened her bag for me. Oh my goodness what fun things were inside!

The shimmery make-up doubles as fingerprint powder. The lipstick has a secret compartment that can launch messages when you need to. The compact has a fake mirror that swings out to provide a magnifying glass when needed. The perfume bottle can act as an air blower when squeezed. Oh the fun we had using these tools to find clues and help save the world last weekend!

As a mother of two daughters, I repeated the motto of Smurfette on a regular basis: "Girls can do anything!" As a Grandmother, I am thrilled that my granddaughters are being encouraged further by their own mothers and society to be all that their hearts call them to be. I love that they are being given the message that being smart is a cool thing to be and that their gender is not inferior. It lightens my heart to think that when they are grown women perhaps true equality will be a reality no matter the race or gender that a person is. I believe the real change will come from children being given the examples and beliefs that we are all equal in our abilities rather than any laws that have been or might be passed. It is perception that will make the biggest difference, in my humble opinion. Sorry, I guess I stepped up on a soapbox for a minute.

Suffice it to say, I love this little toy and the series that encourages little girls to be curious, to be interested in science and to use their brains to solve problems. If you have a little girl in your life, you might consider introducing them to Project MC2 if they are not already aware of it. I think they will love it and that you will too.



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

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Lego Creator Holiday Bakery Set #10216

Lego Creator Holiday Bakery Set 10216
Purchase your franchise here!
I was going to review the Lego Creator Holiday Bakery Set for you today, but I decided to let an alter-ego of mine tell you all about this gorgeous Lego set.

I hope you enjoy his story  review ...

Reviewing the Lego Creator Holiday Bakery


"Have you heard of the Lego Creator Holiday Bakery? Apparently there are lots of different ones around, but the Lego Creator Holiday Bakery that I know is located just outside of Lego City and is very popular at the holidays because a lot of Lego City residents buy their Christmas trees just outside and pop into the Lego Creator Holiday Bakery to purchase some of their delicious cupcakes.

My name is Leo G Brick and I'm actually what is known as a Lego Minifigure, I don't think I'm that different to you, the reader though in that I absolutely love bakeries. I love the smell of fresh bread and the taste of cakes, biscuits, muffins, croissants - just about anything you can find in a bakery! I was so excited when I heard that the Lego Creator Holiday Bakery was coming to the outskirts of Lego City, I must admit I ate far too many baked goods on the opening day!

The Lego Creator Holiday Bakery is actually available as a franchise that is quite affordable for anyone to purchase, click the link to find out more -

Get the Lego Creator Holiday Bakery to Your Lego City!

Now it’s called the Holiday Bakery because the original one opened before Christmas and it had Christmas decorations up ... the baker (pictured below) ‘forgot’ to take the decorations down and so the name stuck! In our Lego City we all go there when we’re getting our Christmas trees which further perpetuates the name, but the cupcakes, croissants and baguettes taste good all the time.

I love to visit on birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine’s Day and any other special occasion when I can ‘pretend’ I need to eat some delicious food. After all we don’t want the Baker to have to close because his trade only visits once a year!

Winter is great there though because there is a pond that ices over so you can ice skate which means you burn off calories that can ‘allow’ you to eat more cake – that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!"

Lego Creator Holiday Bakery - a collectors set
PIN ME!


LEGO Creator Holiday Bakery 10216 

Set Details

The Lego Creator Holiday Bakery set comes with 7 1/2 minifigures – which sounds strange!

Basically the minifigures are as follows -
  • Baker 
  • Horse Carriage Driver 
  • Christmas Tree Seller 
  • 2 females 
  • 2 children 
  • 1 lower half of a body stuck in snow!
As well as these minifigures this Lego set also contains a horse and a snow owl.

According to the official product description the set -
  • Features LEGO Power Functions lightup brick which lights the interior of the bakery when you push it! 
  • Includes lots of fun winter accessories like a dark blue minifigure hood with new fur print! 
  • Prepare holiday treats and ring up sales at the cash register! 
  • Skate on the frozen pond made of 8×8 transparent blue plates! 
  • Interesting elements include a camera, tan baguettes, croissants, green apple, 8×8 transparent blue plates, medium blue tiles and even a new caramel color for several brick and arch elements outside the bakery! 
  • Features an evergreen tree for decorating, tree sellers stand and even a horsedrawn cart! 
  • Bakery measures 7 (18 cm) wide! 
  • Completed model (depending on space allocated between the individual parts) measures 16 (40 cm) wide, 12 (30 cm) deep and 7 (18 cm) high!

What Do You Think of This Lego Creator Set?

I hope you enjoyed Leo's review of this fun Lego set, if you already have the Creator Holiday Bakery set then you might be happy to know that there are a range of Lego Creator houses available too.

Not sure if this set is the one for you?  Well then why not check out some of the other Lego reviews here on Review This (they aren't reviewed by Leo, but by human reviewers including a couple by me!) -

Reviewing 2004 Lego X PodsReviewing 2004 Lego X Pods
A fun Lego on the go toy - the 2004 Lego X Pod range - perfect for any Lego loving child ... and for any parent who has to wait with them anywhere!

Reviewing Lego Off Road Power Set - Lego #5893Reviewing Lego Off Road Power Set - Lego #5893
I love Lego's Creator range of sets and this Off Road Power set is no exception.   3 Fun vehicles to make and play with, what more can you ask for.

Reviewing a Set of Basic Classic LegosReviewing a Set of Basic Classic Legos
A Review of the Lego Classic Creative Supplement Set.   This set is called classic for a reason, they will always be welcomed in anyone's Lego collection.

Lego Big Bang Theory ReviewedLego Big Bang Theory Reviewed
A set for grown ups and kids to enjoy, the Lego Big Bang Theory set is a fun piece to build and display





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

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Reviewing 2004 Lego X Pods

Reviewing the 2004 Lego X-Pods
Available on Amazon
The first of the range of Lego X-Pods were released in 2004, in total Lego released 5 different sets of X-pods during this year. The premise behind this Lego range was that the Lego came inside of a pod, essentially this was 'Lego on the go.'

The pods that these small Lego kits came in were designed to fit in a pocket so that no matter where you were you could pull out your Lego pod and start to build.

This Lego X-Pod range was like a sub-range of the Lego Creator series and each kit could create a number of different things limited only by your child'simagination.

The X-Pods released in 2004 were -
  • Black Robot Pod
  • Robo Pod
  • Auto Pod
  • Aero Pod
  • Wild Pod

Black Robot Pod - 4335

Black Robot Pod - Lego 4335
As you can see from the picture the Black Robot Pod comes in a clear container with two black lids. This set contains 50 pieces and is recommended for the age 6+.

This is a hard to find Lego product with the following features -

* Idea Book with instructions and inspiration for 6 robot models — quick to build and rebuild for           hours of fun!
* Handy carry case with studs — build it right into your models!
* Unique assortment of LEGO elements — great shapes and awesome colors!
* Fits into backpacks, pockets and more for on-the-go play!
* Combine with other X-Pods to build cool combo models!

An interesting snippet for you is that this Black Robot Pod was released for Halloween which might explain the color scheme of black and orange!

Robo Pod - 4346

Robo Pod - Lego 4346
This Lego set contains 65 pieces as well as step by step instructions to build 3 models.

Of course, as with all of the Lego x-pods there is no limit to the number of different models you can actually build!

This green set comes in a clear ‘pod’ with green lids to match the robots you can make with the set.

Auto Pod - 4347

Auto Pod 4347
This 67 piece x-pod set comes in a clear ‘pod’ with blue lids.

There are also instructions for building different Lego models – a bulldozer, truck, and rolling robot.

These models however are only for inspiration because the key to all of the x-pod sets is that your imagination is the only thing that will stop the number of different models you’ll be able to create.

Aero Pod - 4348

Aero Pod 4348
This 36 piece Lego X-Pod set is sometimes referred to as the X-Pod Planes as there is a later model also called X-Pod Aero so be aware that this is the 2004 set, model number 4348.

The pod as you can see is one of the transparent ones and comes with yellow lids, the bricks inside are also predominately yellow as you can see from the picture.

I actually can’t tell you much about this particular set as I haven’t seen it myself and there aren’t as many reviews available as I would like, but if it’s like the other X-Pod sets then I’m sure it’s fantastic and no doubt will come with instructions for a few models.

Lego Wild Pod - 4349

Lego Wild Pod
The Lego Wild Pod set contains 44 pieces and comes in a transparent pod with red lids.

The instuctions that come with this Lego pod show you how to make seven different creatures from a crawling bug to a flying dragonfly, but as with all of these sets the instructions are only the start.

I haven’t actually seen the instruction book or played with this pod, but I have seen a dragon made from just this set and I was very impressed!

Lego X-Pods Are An Awesome Idea!

When I was a child I absolutely loved Lego and assumed that when I had kids there would be Legos strewn across the house.  Of course life never works out quite as you imagine and when I had my only child she didn't like Lego so I never got to purchase these X-Pods for her.

I have been lucky to have a goddaughter who is Lego mad and plenty of friend's children to give me an excuse to 'hang out' in the Lego section of department stores and I still think that these X-Pods are an inspired idea.

They are an ideal size to fit in a child's pocket and perfect to take on road trips, plane trips etc to keep your child happy when they have to stay in one place.

Not only are they ideal for your child to carry they are also a perfect size to pop into your handbag.  Hands up moms who have bulging bags trying to be Mary Poppins when they go out with their children!  I used to have snacks stowed away, along with things to entertain my daughter in case we were stuck waiting somewhere - these Lego X-pods don't take up much room so can be a godsend for moms.

Even though they weren't something I used I wholeheartedly recommend them for anyone with a Lego loving child (I'd even love them for myself now!).

Most of this particular range are unavailable through many outlets so I recommend looking on ebay for them, if there's a particular one you're after be sure to search with the set number.





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

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Multi Function Pressure Cooker Reviewed

Sometimes You Want To Cook Fast

cooking in pot
Cook It Slow or Fast? Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
I asked Santa Claus to bring me a multi-function pressure cooker for Christmas this year. I sure hope that my name is on his "good list" and that he will consider leaving one under my tree. 

I can remember my grandmother and mother used a pressure cooker often when I was a child. It isn't a tool that I have ever owned but now I think I want one. 

Back when the girls were small and during the time that I worked outside of the home, I had a tendency to use a slow-cooker for many of our meals. It was nice to put it all in the pot and let it cook all day so that we could eat shortly after I got home. I still use the slow-cooker from time to time. 

Now that I am home all of the time, I think that having a pressure cooker would be nice. I will be able to cook healthy meals in much less time. Unlike the versions that my mother and grandmother owned, the new models offer several functions to use depending on what you are cooking. 

I love the versatility of the features in the one pictured above. There are 25 functions available with 12 of them being automatic features. I can set the timer for cooking for as little as 5 minutes or as long as 12 hours which makes it a fast cooker and a slow cooker in one pot. I also love that one of the automatic settings is a reheat. So, when I have leftovers that need to be warmed up, I will no longer have to heat up the oven to get dinner ready. That will save energy and time.

This multi function pressure cooker also comes with its own measuring cup, spatula, steam tray, trivet and recipe book.  Those should come in handy, I think.

I'm really hoping that Santa remembers that I asked him for one of these this year. I told him that of all of the things that I have mentioned as gift ideas, this pressure cooker is the one that I most want. Of course, I am never disappointed with anything that he leaves me under the tree. That jolly old elf always delights me with his choices every year.

How about you? What have you asked Santa for this year?



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

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Ancestry DNA Kit Reviewed

Genealogy Made Easy 

ancestry image
Someone's ancestor painted this
Have you considered getting an ancestry DNA kit to find out what your heritage is? It is something that I have wanted to do ever since I found out that it was a possibility. At first the cost seemed rather expensive to me and I would think that perhaps it was something that I could ask for as a gift. Then I would feel guilty thinking that it was rather an expensive thing to ask for. 

This year, the various companies that offer this service have placed their ancestry kits on sale. Suffice it to say, they got my attention. I also saw a report a few weeks back comparing the top three selling kits. This report used a set of identical triplets to send the samples to. All three were accurate and came up with the same results. That was really about all I needed to hear to make me take the plunge. 

I decided to go with the one from Ancestry.com (not an affiliate link) because they have the largest database to look into. To be honest, at first I decided to give a kit to my father for his Christmas present this year. Once I had put it into my cart, I decided to treat myself to one too.

Both kits arrived at my door very quickly. So, I decided to go ahead and send my sample in. Dad won't get his until Christmas morning. It is all pretty easy. They send you a vial to spit in (ewww!) and then you send it to the lab. There is a number on the vial that you have to register so that they can identify whose kit it is. They send you an email to let you know that it has been registered and I just got an email telling me that it has arrived at the lab and is waiting to be tested. The drawback is that it will take 6 to 8 weeks for them to test it and send me the results. I am hoping that by the end of February I will get the report telling me where my ancestors came from.

While I am waiting, I decided to get a membership on the site to begin the process of finding the names of some of my ancestors. That is not a requirement to get the results of the DNA testing, by the way. You get matches with the test but you are limited in what you can search for without a membership.

On my maternal side, I had a pretty good feel for what my heritage is from that branch of my family tree. A few of my uncles were curious about our genealogy back in the days when they had to go look for records in courthouses and such. Plus, my mother's family was very good with oral history. For as long as I can remember my maternal family has been proud to have come from Scotland and Ireland. As I work through building a family tree on the site, that information is holding true. Many of my ancestors did immigrate from Scotland, Ireland and England.

What has been interesting is working on my paternal branch of the family tree. I found a few ancestors who crossed the ocean from England, a few more from Ireland and Scotland but the surprise was the number who came from Germany. My grandfather's people hailed from Germany for the most part. Perhaps I should consider getting a pair of lederhosen! So far, I have been able to trace ancestors as far back to 1550 in Germany on the Rumler side of the tree. That is incredible!

Oddly, I am having difficulty finding my paternal grandmother's people. Well, not so odd if the truth be told. Our family lore on her side was always a little guarded. Legend on this side has always been that my great-grandfather was Native American and ran away from a reservation. This may turn out to be factual. Oddly, the only records that I can find for him are of his marriage to my great-grandmother and the children they had together. Beyond the marriage certificate issued in 1896 there are no records of him. Other family members have stated that he was born about 1873 but they do not indicate exactly where he was born. Even odder is that I can't find birth records of his wife, either. She was supposed to be Caucasian so why can I not find records of her birth and her parent's names? Did they disown her when she married an Indian?  Well, it would be one thing to say she is disowned but it would be another to destroy records of her birth, wouldn't it? Quite the mystery! She did seem to suffer from a bit of an identity crisis. The marriage certificate names her as Leanna. Later census reports sometime name her as Lena while others name her as Anna.

I can hardly wait to get the results of the ancestry DNA testing kit! From the research that I have done already it should show a strong presence of German, Scottish, and Irish genes. Will it show a presence of Native American DNA? Time will tell.

How about you? Do you know your own genealogy? Have you considered getting the kit or have you already done so? Have you considered giving one as a gift this holiday season? 



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

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Mandoline Slicer Reviewed

Cutting Vegetables Made Easy

slicing with knife
Slicing onions image courtesy of Pixabay.com
Do you watch cooking shows? Have you ever wished that you could slice vegetables and other items quickly with a knife like they do? Shoot, I will admit that I can't even cut things evenly with a knife going slow let alone trying to speed it up. So, I have added a tool to my kitchen that will slice quickly without holding a knife in my hand to do it. I finally bought myself a mandoline slicer. 

Now, I won't have to worry about cutting myself with a knife and I can have thin slices or waffled (something I can't do with a knife!) veggies anytime I want them. I should also tell you that I have a history (not a pretty one!) with knives that would best be saved for another day. Let's just say, I have a healthy respect for a knife and fingers!

What I love about the Mueller Slicer is its versatility. I have five blades to choose from and the adjustable stand is awesome! There are two different styles of shredding blades which is something that a lot of the other mandolines don't offer. One gives a thicker cut that is good when I want things to be cubed. I can take the vegetable of choice and run it across the shredder and then cut those into cubes. The finer shredder blade works well for when I want carrots in a julienne style or shredded potatoes for hash browns. There is even a blade that cuts vegetables in a waffled or crinkled pattern.

I love being able to have thin slices of potatoes to make chips with or slices of onions for sandwiches! I can even slice up a tomato without getting a mushed up mess. When using the mandoline slicer by Mueller, I can adjust the thickness of the slices which is really handy. Sometimes you want a very thin slice for chips and other times a thicker slice is called for. I have that option with this slicer.

My only regret is not having treated myself to one of these handy tools sooner! Personally, I think every kitchen should have one. If you have someone on your gift list this holiday season who loves to cook or perhaps is just learning to cook, giving them a mandoline slicer would be a most welcome gift.  



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

Saturday, December 2, 2017

A Novel Gift for a Sudoku Fan

Novelty gift idea for sudoku fan
If you know someone who loves Sudoku (and don't we all have at least one person on that list?) then you're probably sick of buying them Sudoku books and no doubt they already have (or don't like) the electronic version of Sudoku.

Let's review other ideas for s Sudoku fan and there are a couple.  A gift that I thought looked really neat was one of the Sudoku mugs (mind you I always think a mug is a cool gift idea) that's available, but from experience these really don't seem to be appreciated as much as an actual puzzle book.

What is left?  Well there are some  Sudoku calendars which look really good.  I have debated getting these, but so many people just use their phones instead of a physical calendar  these days.

This leads me to another idea - something very unexpected and a very novel gag type of gift.

Introducing the Sudoku Toilet Paper!


Reviewing a Puzzling Gift Idea



Now I have to be honest I can't claim credit for this gift idea, it comes with a little story.  My boss passed away a couple of months ago and we had to clean out his office and we came across some Sudoku toilet paper.

One of his friends called in as we were still sorting through things and noticed the toilet paper and told us that he'd given it to him as he loved to do Sudoku.  I immediately asked where I could get some as I thought it would be a great idea for my mother.

The paper seemed good quality and I personally think it makes a great gag gift, but also if you're going to be in the 'little room' for a while why not exercise your 'little grey cells' at the same time!

I give it a big thumbs up as a novel gift idea for a Sudoku fan and if you're a fan and on my Christmas list - surprise!  You're getting toilet paper.

The only question now is - can I find a toilet paper holder that has a pen/pencil holder attached because you just know that you'll forget your pen when you want to solve the puzzle and I don't think it's fair to try and do Sudoku in your head!

Novelty, gag gift idea for Sudoku and puzzle fans
Please Pin Me!


What do you think a great gift idea or not?

If you prefer Suduko books or you want to give one as well then Cynthia reviews one of her favorite (like her I prefer the pen and paper form of Suduko to the electronic ones and this book sounds awesome!)

Brain Games 10 Minute Sudoku Puzzles Book ReviewBrain Games 10 Minute Sudoku Puzzles Book Review
The 10 Minute Sudoku Puzzles Book satisfies my love of Sudoku really well, it's also a ring bound book which I appreciate as it is easier for me to use when traveling or waiting for appointments.

If you're thinking wow that's a great idea, but I don't know anyone who likes Sudoku then you might be pleased to know that you can get all kinds of novelty toilet paper (who knew?) and what better gag gift for a work colleague or your best friend?

More Gift Ideas


You can find lots of different gift ideas here at Review This from gifts for tea lovers, vegan teens, cat lovers, writers and more.  Be sure to check out our Holiday Gift Guide (by clicking the picture below) or just search gifts for lots of great ideas.

Holiday Gift Guide





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

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Science Academy Lip Balm Lab Reviewed

Promote the Sciences to Girls

female scientist
Female Scientist courtesy of Pixabay.com
When I can, I love to give my grandchildren educational toys. Recently I purchased a Science Academy Lip Balm Lab as a Christmas gift for my youngest granddaughter. I thought it was worth a review as a gift idea for the readers of Review This. 

I was thrilled when I discovered the Science Academy lab kits for children! Obviously, both boys and girls can have fun with  observing first hand the chemical reactions to different materials. Either gender can be a potential scientist in the making. Since I have little girls to buy for, I love the idea of promoting any of the sciences to them. When I was a little girl, my gender did not get much in encouragement when it came to fields of science. Society has changed and I think we are doing a better job of promoting a career in science to girls but we can do better, in my humble opinion. 

There are 5 choices when it comes to the options for a gift for the child on your list. I chose the lip balm for a couple of reasons. First of all, my little six year old is obsessed with lip gloss and lip balm. Secondly, she has very sensitive skin so I was leery of the soap and bath bomb choices. The lip balm lab seemed a good option for her to have fun with while learning about chemicals and how to produce a product that she can actually use.

I love that she is going to learn about formulas while working with the kit. She will decide on colors and shimmers and can even add SPF to help protect her little lips from the sun. While experimenting with her own lip protection with her mom's assistance, she will be exposed to the possibilities that a career in science might offer to her. I am a firm believer in presenting the concepts of different professions to children as they play. We never know what might plant a seed in their young minds that later grows into a passion in their adult lives. To me, that is always a good thing!

Will my sweet little grandchild grow up to be a chemist or work in the science field? I don't know nor does she at her young little age. What this educational toy will do is give her some practical experience so that later on she will have more information to base her decision on what she wants to make a living with. Whatever she decides we will applaud her decision.

How about you? Are you planning on giving a child on your list an educational toy this year for the holidays?



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

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Jenga Classic Game Reviewed

Family Fun For All Ages


Playing Jenga Image Courtesy of Pixabay.com
It is that time of year again, we are all looking for gift ideas. Today I would like to review the classic game of Jenga for you to consider as a gift for a child or the entire family.

We love to play games in our house. Board games are fun but when the entire family gets together some of those are too difficult for the little ones to play. Not all of the adults like playing the simpler games like Chutes and Ladders or Candy Land so the the youngest can play along. 

That is why I love the Jenga game. Even the littlest family member can play. We have one who still delights in losing by pulling out a block and causing the tower to fall. She used to clap and say, "Do it again, do it again" or "I did it! I made it fall!" She has reached an age now where she understands that the object is to remove a block without making the tower crash and has become more skilled at playing. She is a little like her Grandma in not being too awfully competitive; losing doesn't bother her like a few of the adults who get perturbed when they lose. I think that is one of the reasons that I have always loved to play games with the children. It is fun to show them what it feels like to win but it is just as important (in my humble opinion) to show them how to lose gracefully. Depending on who is playing at the time, sometimes the kids see an example of what it looks like to be a "sore loser" and that is important for them to see, too. 



It is a fun and inexpensive game that is easy to play although it does provide some chances for skill and strategy as the tower grows and it becomes less and less stable. Because the blocks are made of wood; it isn't going to break and it is extremely easy to store away when the game is over. We've even played with the blocks like building blocks from time to time instead of playing the actual game.

If you are looking for a gift idea for a child, I recommend that you consider the game of Jenga. Both children and adults can enjoy playing it and it never goes out of style.


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