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

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Anniversary Gifts For Him Reviewed

Celebrating Your Marriage

Anniversary Wine image courtesy of Pixabay.com
My husband and I are about to celebrate our 20th Anniversary so I have been looking for gifts for him and I thought I would share some of the finds with you today. Although the ones that I sought out were for a specific milestone, most of these anniversary gifts would work for any year. 

I don't know about your special sweetie but mine is rather difficult to buy for. If he sees something that he wants, he just goes out and buys it. If you ask him for ideas, he says that a gift card is just fine. Well, dang it; gift cards are not much fun to give! Sure, they are practical and the person can spend them on whatever they want but there just isn't any excitement in the entire process. Since a couple doesn't celebrate a milestone of 20 years but once; I want to give him something better than a gift card. I plan to give him several small gifts instead of one big one.

One gift idea that I think he will really appreciate is a new wallet. Now, hold on! I saw you roll your eyes! This isn't just any wallet, it has an inscription on it that I think will make him smile and think of me every time he takes it out. 

We both enjoy watching the birds in our back yard. He likes to sit in the chair at our table that looks out at your yard. So I found a terrific coffee mug that he can use in the morning while he drinks his coffee and eats his breakfast. I chose one that says "Sharing the nest for 20 years." I won't show you a picture of it because they are just about sold out of that one. There were several options for an anniversary sentiment if it is something that you would like to give to your dear hubby. Getting a mug might seem a rather silly choice but in this case it fits with the tradition of the 20th anniversary being the year for giving china as a gift.

My sweet man wears a lot of t-shirts so I found one that fits our anniversary for him to wear. It has the sentiment of "Cruising together for 20 years". We don't go on ship cruises but we have cruised through life together quite happily. We used to cruise down the back roads just enjoying the ride and each other so that shirt just seemed to fit. I am sure you could find one that fits your marriage, too.




I'm still shopping around because my thought is that I will give him 20 gifts to open on our anniversary. There are so many things that I think will say, "I love you" in both romantic and humorous ways. I do like to pick whimsical things for him because that is one of the things that brought us together and has held us together; laughter. He has always made me laugh even when we were kids in school. Before we started dating, he came to me as a friend to help me heal from the loss of my first husband. He was so very sweet (still is!) in offering his shoulder for me to cry on. He made sure to tell me a joke or a funny story every time he called or stopped by. He still tells me jokes and funny stories and I still laugh. It is one of the many things that I love about him; his sense of humor.

In my search, I have found some key chains and different items that have anniversary sentiments on them that I think you will find easily too. Personally, most of those 20 gifts that I will give him are not necessarily traditional gifts for an anniversary. Instead, they will be little things that I know he likes. Something silly like his favorite candy bar. Think about that, when I give him his favorite it tells him that I know him well enough that I know that it is his favorite. To me something like that screams "I love you" even more than the words do. I know when he comes home grinning and hands me my favorite chocolate treat that it is yet another way that he is telling me that I am still the love of his life. He doesn't need to say the words at that point. I know because he obviously thought of me and wanted to make me smile.

So, I guess my point is that when it comes to finding anniversary gifts for him that it doesn't have to be something one might think of as a traditional gift. It honestly, doesn't even have to be something that you purchase. Perhaps fixing him his most favorite meal is something he will find very romantic because you made it for him and knew that it was his favorite. I think that it becomes easier when you think of your man and why you fell for him and still fall for him and know what will make him happy. 



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

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Marvel Black Panther Gifts Reviewed

Ideas For The Fans Of Marvel's Black Panther

black panther
Black Panther image from Pixabay.com
Let's review some gift ideas for the fan on your gift list who loves the Marvel Black Panther movie and story line. My husband and I recently watched the movie and became new fans of this character from Marvel. 

Obviously, if the person you are looking to gift is a fan then I am sure they have seen the movie that was released in February of 2018. If you have not seen it yet; I recommend that you watch it. For one thing, seeing the movie will help you decide on items that your fan will love. Besides, it is really a good movie especially if you are one who enjoys the Marvel line of Superhero movies that are currently available. 

Before I suggest gifts, perhaps I should tell you a little about the movie. Most of the story takes place on the continent of Africa where we become aware of the legend of the Black Panther King. We learn about the advanced civilization of Wakanda that hides itself from the world to protect their source of vibranium from getting into the wrong hands. This metal is only found in the area where the Wakandans live and because it is the result of a meteor strike centuries ago, it has unusual elements. As with any substance that can give an advantage to power, the bad guys want the metal to do harm. The people of Wakanda know the potential danger to mankind and have protected it for centuries.

So, the first gift that I suggest for the fan of Marvel's Black Panther is the Lego set that builds the Royal Talon Jet Fighter. The advanced technology that the people of Wakanda have developed from the vibranium has allowed them to have jets of this nature. It is a pretty darned cool machine!

Something that I really loved about the movie and story line was that we have a Superhero of color. There is quite a lot of violence as in any superhero plot so this is not for children under 12 or 13. That being said; I do love that kids can be introduced to a different culture. The people of Wakanda are split into five tribes which have totem or spirit animals that they identify with. Obviously, there is the Black Panter as one. We also see the Rhino who the Border tribe identifies with. The Jabari who have moved up into the mountains see the Gorilla as their spirit animal. Personally, I love that this is a part of the story. I also loved that the warriors for the Royal family are women.

Additional ideas for gifts are:

  • Action figures
  • T-shirts of several designs
  • A really cool jigsaw puzzle
  • bedding for a child's bed
  • a vibranium power claw glove
  • sleepwear for boys
  • dvd of the movie
Currently the selection is a little limited. I have a feeling that as we approach the gift giving season that additional items will become available for you to consider for that fan on your list. 

I hope that we see more of this particular Marvel Superhero! He really grabbed my heart! I have been a fan of all of them but the ones that have been introduced or re-introduced in the past few years are so very interesting. As I said earlier, if you have not seen this movie yet; you really should. Perhaps you will also become a fan. 






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

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Gifts For Writers Reviewed

Ideas For The Writer On Your Gift List

writer gifts
Writing Gift suggestions image from Pixabay.com
With Christmas coming closer by the day, I thought I would review some ideas for gifts for writers today. You probably don't have many on your list but if you have just one you might not be sure what would be useful to give to them. 

Something that is relatively easy and won't hurt your wallet very much is to get a few notebooks; you know like the ones the kids use in school. Add some pens and pencils and wrap them up as a gift. Now, you might be thinking that this seems a little old school because they most likely use a keyboard to write their stories. Well, yes but those notebooks come in pretty darned handy. I can never have enough of them! I used them to jot down ideas but I also use them to start to define my characters. I will use a page to jot down the physical characteristics, personality traits and the name of the character. It makes it much easier to refer back to while I am writing. Jotting this all down in a notebook helps me to visualize the character and breaths life into their existence into my crowded and addled brain. Trust me, a writer will appreciate getting them.

Last Christmas one of my daughters gave me this book and I really loved it!

I admire Stephen King a great deal and my daughter knows that. Now, I don't read his horror books because quite frankly I am sure he would scare the daylights out of me. What I admire is his absolute genius with words. I digress. The reason I think this is a good gift for a writer is that Mr. King talks about his process and his history as a writer. He doesn't go into the real mechanics of writing in the book. It is like he says, there aren't really any classes or books that can teach you to write. You either have it in you or you don't. What he does share are the struggles of a writer, especially in the early years. He talks about the number of rejections he received in the beginning and how he didn't give up. Sure, in his early years of writing, he hoped to make money but as any writer will tell you, there is more to it than that. There are stories in you that you just have to get out and you just keep at it. Anyway, I truly think that any writer would both enjoy and benefit from reading this book.

Another gift idea for the writer is a whimsical mug that has some sort of saying about writing. I particularly like the one below for the authors of fiction:


I am quite sure that your writer will get a chuckle out of this one every time they pick it up to drink their coffee or tea while writing. Our characters are really no different than those imaginary friends that we had as children. You may not be able to hear them or see them but they are very real to us. It may sound strange to people who don't write fiction but to an author it makes total sense. In order for us to be able to make them come alive with our words; they have to exist in our psyche.

Another option for a mug for that writer on your list is this one:

This one really made me laugh! Authors have to do a lot of research when writing a book. Well, let's  say that they should do research. When I was writing my first book and wanted to use poison to kill someone; I did a lot of browsing on types of poisons. As I was talking my ideas over with my husband he made the comment, "Babe, you better hope that nothing suspicious ever happens to me and the cops start looking at your browsing history!" We both laughed, but he had a point. Seriously!

Something else that every writer should have is a Thesaurus. The writer on your gift list may already have one but a second one would be appreciated; I am sure. You can find one in a local book store or even in the school supply section of your favorite store. It might be something that you could add to those notebooks and writing utensils as a gift.

Of course, you could get books that have to do with the mechanics of writing. My guess is; they probably already know the mechanics, though. It is like Stephen King intimates; the ability to tell a story is inside you or it is not. A person can know all of the ins and outs of grammar and punctuation but if they don't have a story to tell; what good is it?

There are all sorts of little writing aides in the form of books and game like activities that are supposed to help with story ideas. I have a few that have been given to me as gifts. They are kind of fun to use. I find them helpful in just practicing writing. I guess I look at them as sort of an improv type of activity like a comedian might do on stage. They don't really help me come up with an idea for a book but they do help me use my imagination to just write something. I do keep them because you never know when you might read through what you have done and come up with a plot in the future.

Well, I hope I have sparked some ideas for you if you have a writer on your gift list this year. Let me know in the comments if you have some other ideas. 



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

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Christmas Wrapping Paper Reviewed

Gift Wrap For The Holidays

Christmas image courtesy of Pixabay.com
As I write this review this morning we only have two days until it is Thanksgiving here in the United States. After the turkey and stuffing have been devoured on Thursday, my thoughts and deeds will turn to decorating for Christmas and wrapping gifts to put under the tree. 

My wrapping paper supply has dwindled down to almost nothing so I have been looking for some Christmas Wrapping paper to use this year. I often go with a theme for the paper that I use so that it looks nice under our tree. For some reason this year I am drawn to plaids. In the past I have used whimsical Santa paper or vintage patterns and even Victorian themed papers. The plaid will be something different for me and our tree.

I think that something like the image shown above will look nice under the tree this year. I particularly like that each roll is reversible which will give me the option of adding even more variety. The rolls are 30 inches wide giving plenty of area to wrap gifts. The paper set is a Hallmark product so I won't have to worry about flimsy paper that tears easily. Don't you just hate that? You are wrapping a gift and the paper rips from just brushing a corner of a box.

Another thing that I like about going with plaid gift wrapping paper this year is that it shouldn't be too difficult to find ribbon and bows to coordinate on the packages. I can see that a few of the plaid patterns have some blue in them. I can't tell you how many bows that I have stored away that are pretty shades of blue but don't normally work with Christmas wrap. Looks like this year I can use up some of those neglected little blue bows. Hooray!

So, how about you? Do you theme your gift wrapped packages under the tree or do you just use what is on hand for an eclectic look? There is no right or wrong way, it is a matter of preference I think. As much as I love giving gifts to my loved ones, the real gift that can't be wrapped is the joy of being with your family for the holidays. 



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

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Reviewing A Coffee Mug For Writers

Gift Idea For The Writer...

writers desk
Writing Center image courtesy of Pixabay.com
I have mentioned before that I like to drink my coffee in whimsical mugs. Recently I have been looking at gift ideas for the coming holidays and found one that is perfect for myself and really all of the contributors here on Review This. 

Most of my time of late has been spent working on my first novel. Over the years I have started several but I would give up; realizing that they just weren't ready to be written yet. Last month a thought popped into my addled brain, I let it sit there for a day or two. To be honest I was reluctant to do much with it because I wasn't sure that I was up to it. A bit of insecurity, perhaps; whispers from those unwritten ones taunting me that I wouldn't get far so just let it go. One would be surprised what goes on in a head filled with stories that refuse to come out! 

Without going into a lot of detail, the characters and the story just wouldn't go away. It was like this group was insisting to be set free. (They probably got tired of the crowded living conditions in my head!) So, I sat down and worked on an outline of the possible plot. The story has flowed...

So, what pray tell does this all have to do with a review on a coffee mug? It is just a little back story to explain why I was looking for gifts for writers. It also explains a little as to why this particular mug appealed to me.

When I first saw the saying on the mug, it made me giggle. The whimsical statement reminded me of another woman that I knew years ago who was an author. During a conversation that the two of us were having, I made a sarcastic remark about something. Her eyes lit up and she said, "Oh I love that! I'm going to use that in my next book!" She preceded to write my comment down. Being a "wanna be" author myself at the time, I was intrigued at her observations of every day life to incorporate into a story. What I have come to realize as I have worked on my book is that IS exactly what a writer does. We take past experiences and make them funny or mysterious or tragic. Our characters are combinations of people that we know. My main character looks like a female celebrity that I have always admired, her personality has a little bit of myself combined with other women I have known. She isn't a replica of any one of us but a melding of traits from several people.

Anyway, I've digressed a little here. I think that the coffee mug above would be a fun gift for anyone who writes. I know I would love to have it! I think that if you have a writer or even a budding writer on your gift list it might work for them, too.

On a side note: my book is finished and in the editing phase. My characters are so strong in my head that they still have more to do and say. I'm working now on the second book of what will be a series. I will accept no more taunting from those unfinished books in the peanut gallery of my brain....




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

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Lighted Quote Boxes - The Gift that Keeps on Giving

Lighted Interchangeable Quote Box
When we're looking for a unique gift for someone, most of the time we tend to think in limited terms. A Lighted Quote Box is a gift that enables you to keep adding on to it.

Lighted Quote Boxes are the Gift You can Add More Pieces To

With a Light Box, the box is designed in such a way that you can interchange the quotes you want to display.

After you've given the gift of a beautiful lighted quote box and a few quotes, you can continue giving or gifting more quotes whenever the occasion calls for it. Give several quotes as an added gift; it's a wonderful way for a person to collect quotes they may not otherwise buy themselves.

Best of all, the choices of quotes to fit in a lighted box range from seasonal to inspirational and more. In other words, celebrate any special occasion by featuring a quote in your light box that reflects what you want people to see; Happy Birthday, Happy Easter, a Religious Quote, Inspirational, Home Sweet Home, I Love You More, God Bless America and the list goes on.

Wall quotes are also a wonderful funky home decor option, however, sometimes featuring wall words isn't an option. That's where Lighted Quote Boxes come into play ... they enable you to feature the words you want to say and provide you with the added benefit of frequently changing them out.

Mood Lighting with a Message

The soft light provides you a creative way to double your pleasure; add ambience to a room while at the same time delivering an inspirational or seasonal message to all those who enter.

These days especially, words are powerful. If you'd like to spread a little goodness without opening your mouth, simply feature a lighted quote box in the room to do all the work on your behalf.

Use Them As a Special Decorative Piece for a Wedding Reception

How beautiful would it be to feature these lighted quote boxes in various places around a wedding venue?

Strategically position them, with one beside the quest book featuring a choice quote to represent the couple. In the case of Buffet Dinners, place one or several on the table with a quote that fits.

Since quotes are always interchangeable, after the wedding use the Lighted Quote Box for any additional occasions or just display them at home.













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

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Elephant Appreciation Day Gift Review

Elephant Appreciation Day is September 22


Tubbie Wubbie Plush Elephant by Aurora
Available on Amazon

Elephant Appreciation Day became a National holiday in 1996. It was created by Wayne Hepburn after he received the gift of a paperweight with elephants on parade from his daughter. That gift began an elephant fascination for Wayne and he began collecting elephant books and objects.  Having a day to appreciate elephants is a fun reminder for all of us.  Celebrate by visiting a zoo or wildlife center to enjoy this huge beast in person, or read a book or watch a movie about elephants. 

There are also elephant books and toys which make great gifts and Elephant Appreciation Day is the perfect day to browse through a few of these gift ideas.



Horton Hears a Who!



An elephant well-known to children comes alive on the pages of Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who where Horton promises the people of a tiny world called 'Whoville' that he will protect them.  

Written in 1954, this charming story has a special message, that of "a person’s a person, no matter how small." 










Elmer the Patchwork Elephant



Available on Amazon



In a delightful children's book series by British author David McKee, kids learn about a colorful patchworked pachyderm and the importance of being unique and why it's okay to be different.
 

Pink Elephants on Parade 


The 'seeing of' Pink elephants  was originally used as a description for what one who 'imbibes-too-much' sees.  Today, the term 'Pink elephant' is used for many things. 







Pink Elephants on Parade is a song from the Disney animated film “Dumbo”.  Remember when Dumbo and Timothy Q. Mouse become intoxicated when their drinking water is spiked with champagne and they see pink elephants singing, dancing and playing marching band instruments? 



Pink Plush Pachyderm



pink elephant
Plush Pink Elephant Available on Etsy
A pink plush elephant handmade in crochet makes a delightful cuddly toy for a little girl or a darling new baby gift. 

Created by a coastal Georgia crochet crafter, this pink elephant can be found in her Etsy Shop Coastal Crochet Crafts.

 




 Pink Elephants for the Garden?

Pink Elephant Watering Can on Amazon



Why not! What fun to liven up your gardening with a whimsical pink elephant watering can!  Handy in the garden and, since it holds 2 quarts of water, it is the perfect size for your window box flowers or house plants.








Fun Elephant Facts



 
  • The elephant is largest land animal in existence.
  • Elephants are intelligent animals and thought to be very wise.
  • Elephants love pumpkins and watermelon!
  • Elephants are considered a good luck symbol. They say that having an elephant symbol face the door will bring good luck into the house. 


Enjoy Elephant Appreciation Day




So, circle September 22 on your calendar and get ready to celebrate and appreciate this unique animal on Elephant Appreciation Day.


(c) Wednesday Elf 9/19/2015. Updated 8/13/2018




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

Saturday, August 22, 2015

A Mouse Review for Race your Mouse Day

August 28 was chosen by Thomas & Ruth Roy of Wellcat.com to be Race Your Mouse (Around the Icons) Day.  They created the day just for fun as a way to entertain yourself while you are waiting for a page to come up on your computer.  This wacky holiday is aimed at your 'computer mouse', but there are a few other fun 'mouse' things we shall review here. 


The House of Sylvestermouse


Most people say “Eek!” if they see a 'mouse'. But the resident Mouse-in-the-House of Review This! is a special and much loved lady known as SylvesterMOUSE




Fitz & Floyd Charming Tails BRINGING HOME THE TREE Mouse Figurine Dean Griff NEW



Sylvestermouse created the blog you are enjoying reading ~ Review This!  Our MOUSE is a multi-talented writer who shares  stories, recipes, craft tutorials, and fun facts about fascinating animals.  She's a photographer and a crafter and a wonderful friend to many.  Check out her About Me page for a list of her fantastic and fascinating sites online.  My favorite is the HOUSE OF SYLVESTERMOUSE which includes links and stories about terrific items found in her Zazzle and eBay stores. The charming mouse figurine pictured above is an example of what she carries in the mouse corner of her eBay Mouse-House!

If you are curious how Sylvestermouse got her name, read her delightful story here. Yes, it involves a real-life mouse! 



Plush Toy Mouse

plush mouse image
Mindy the Plush Toy Mouse
Your author, Wednesday Elf, is a crochet crafter and sees most things in the form of plush animals.  Therefore, she had to make a plush toy 'mouse'.  Her name is Mindy (the Mouse), an Amigurumi-style toy mouse who measures 6 x 5 inches -- a nice roly-poly roundness that is just the right size for little hands to hold.  Babies love to grasp the ears and feet and use them for teething! 

Plush mouse can usually be found in Elf's Etsy Shop Coastal Crochet Crafts.  At the moment, the latest Mindy Mouse went to be a playmate for a little boy in New York, but check back soon for another crochet mouse (or request one from my Etsy Shop). 

 

A Mouse on the Table

 
Mouse Hot Pad
Mouse Hot Pad in Colorful Crochet

For a useful and unusual hot pad for your table, how about a hot pad in the shape of a Mouse.  It's sure to invite interesting dinner table conversation. 

Cute Kitchen Combo Set



Mouse Kitchen Combo Set
Crochet Mouse Hot Pad & Matching Potholder

The mouse hot pad is hand-crocheted in royal blue and red with yellow ears. It measures 10 inches long and 8 inches wide with a 6 inch tail. The hot pad is made double-thick of washable acrylic yarn. The body is blue, the face is red and the ears are yellow. Crocheted dark blue eyes and nose in yarn complete the features. A whimsical, happy-looking mouse for hot dishes on your table will be a novelty conversation piece.

The mouse hot pad comes with a matching blue and red potholder for your cooking chores. Crocheted of ombre yarn, the color pattern changes throughout. The back and the front have different designs. Potholder measures 6 x 7 inches.




How Did the Computer Mouse Get It's Name?


Douglas Engelbart created this special tool in 1968 to help people navigate graphics-filled computer screens.  The first 'mouse' was a small wooden block on wheels with a long cable sticking out of the back, making it look like a tail.  One of Mr. Engelbart's researchers called the tool a mouse ~ and the name stuck!  There are scientific and technical explanations for how this all works, but us ordinary computer-users are just happy that we can roam around our computer screens with a simple motion of the hand.  We'll leave understanding the technology to the experts! 



Logitech Computer Mouse


Today's computer mouse is so sophisticated that you don't even need a 'cord' (tail) anymore as the cordless mouse does the work for us through Wi-Fi. They come in a multitude of shapes, styles and colors for your enjoyment while you work and play online. 

Check out this review of a Wireless Computer Mouse here on Review This!










Have a fun 'Mouse' Day


So, put August 28 on your calendar to celebrate the many mice in our Mouseland Review and acknowledge Race Your Mouse Day!




Author: Wednesday Elf

Wednesday Elf can also be found at:

Crochet-Crafts-Critters Blog 
Coastal Crochet Crafts Etsy Shop
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Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Here's an Original Party Idea, Riddle T-Shirts!

Here's a Riddle T-Shirt!

Wear a Riddle & Stump the Crowd - Riddle T-Shirts are Great for Parties, Fun Events or Social Gatherings

If you're going to a party, put one of these on just to drive everyone nuts! More Riddle Shirts Here
With the riddle on your back, you could have a crowd of people gathering 'round competing to solve it. Although the answer is on the front of the shirt, you can cover it with the "Guess the Answer" sticker until someone figures it out!
You know how else you can drive someone around the bend?
Standing in line at the grocery store with the shirt on! The person behind you may tap you on the shoulder for the answer....I'm sure they would need the answer before they could leave, otherwise it could get stuck in their brain!
5 Ways You Could Save the World by Wearing a Riddle T-Shirt:
  1. You'll cure boredom for everyone standing in line at the DMV
  2. Line-Ups at public bathrooms will become more interesting
  3. When you get asked to step outside of your vehicle, turn around and play 'stump the officer' - he'll be busy trying to solve your riddle (just kidding!!! don't do that)
  4. For those who still end up in lines at the bank, life just got more interesting for them thanks to you
  5. People may actually look up from their Cell Phones to converse with others!!!! Oh my gawd, that's a biggy.
On the other hand....

5 Ways You Could Cause Havoc by Wearing a Riddle T-Shirt:

  1. Someone waiting in line for the bathroom passes on the next available stall to solve your riddle instead, and pees on their shoes, or worse, pees on yours
  2. Customer Service Reps at the DMV get side tracked with your Riddle T-Shirt and cause the lines to get longer, then people start to hate you
  3. The Police Officer couldn't solve your Riddle-T and gives you a bigger ticket
  4. Everyone stops using bank machines just so they can get in line to read and solve riddle T-Shirts, all Bank Machines begin to rust.
  5. Everyone starts talking to each other, eye to eye, and start falling in love, cheating on their significant others, divorce court gets over crowded...but on the upside, you could keep everyone in line at Divorce Court busy trying to guess your T-Shirt Riddle? Just don't piss off Judge Judy.
So, are you up for solving any more of my personally written riddles?? Don't do it! don't try to solve these riddles, it'll only suck precious time out of your day, RESIST!!!! Ok, fine, you're weak, go here.

You're not home free yet! Here's another one of my Riddles ... in Video!





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

Thursday, July 16, 2015

OXO Good Grips Liquid Measuring Cup Review

The OXO Good Grips Angled Measuring Cup is my choice for best measuring cup. Read the review to learn what makes it so special.

When you work in the kitchen every day, as most of us do, it's important to have a good, easy-to-use, liquid measuring cup. While measuring cups are pretty easy to come by, just how easy is yours to use? 

Recently, after one time too many measuring water by pouring, then leaning over to read the markings on the side of the cup, then pouring a little bit of the water out, checking the markings again, then adding just a bit more since I poured too much out the first time, I had had enough of that frustrating routine. What I really disliked was having to lean over, contorting my body sideways so I could see the red marks on the side of the cup, then doing it all over again until I got the amount just right. My back didn't like the routine and neither did I.  

That day, after putting it off for much too long, I ordered an OXO Good Grips Angled Measuring Cup

When my package arrived, I couldn't wait to give it a try. I rinsed out the rather odd-looking cup, grabbed the water pitcher, and poured, aiming at the 1-cup mark. Voila!  I got the right amount of water on the first try! Why? Because all I had to do was stand up straight, pour slowly, and watch the target mark on the inner angled surface. When the water got to the target mark, I stopped. Perfect! I had just the amount that I needed. No bending!


Relief! I should have ordered an angled measuring cup a long time ago! 

This 3-piece OXO Angled Measuring Cups Set is a great gift idea.
This 3-piece OXO Angled Measuring Cup set
includes the 1, 2, and 4-cup measuring cups.
This liquid measuring cup is made of BPA-free plastic, has the comfortable OXO padded handle (great when your hands are wet or slippery), is dishwasher safe, microwave safe (except for oils or fats), and includes bright markings in ounces, cups, and milliliters (on the outside only). It's also available in multiple sizes. The three-cup set pictured here is a great package deal and includes one each of 1-cup, a 2-cup, and 4-cup cups with the patented inside markings that come in so very handy no matter what liquid you're using. 

Another feature that I really like about this cup is the indentation at the top, above the handle, for your thumb. It's comfortable to hold and easy to pour. Check out the picture below - that's my hand, my thumb, my OXO angled liquid measuring cup.

The comfortable non-slip handle with indentation for your thumb at the top makes this OXO angled measuring cup easy to hold, easy to pour.
One caution, based on reading customer reviews, is to not use hot oil-based liquids in the plastic cup to avoid cracking or breaking. I wouldn't, for instance, melt a stick of butter in the cup in the microwave as I occasionally do with my old glass measuring cup.  

An individual angled measuring cup or the three-piece OXO liquid measuring cup set would make a great gift for a bridal shower, for mom, or treat yourself. You'll love it and, believe me, you deserve it!






-- Susan Deppner






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Thursday, July 2, 2015

Small Rival Rice Cooker Review

This small Rival rice cooker with steamer basket is the perfect size for our small family. Here's my review.

What's red, resembles a donation kettle at Christmas-time, and cooks rice without muss or fuss? It's one of my favorite kitchen appliances, the RC61, 6-cup small Rival rice cooker and steamer, the perfect rice cooker for a family of two or three.


What To Love About a Rice Cooker

You'll love the steamer basket that comes with this handy 6-cup rice cooker.

I've owned this cute kitchen appliance for five years now and use it faithfully and frequently. In fact, since I got it I haven't prepared rice any other way. It's great for any kind of rice that I've tried (my favorites are jasmine and good-for-you brown rice) and makes plenty for our family of two plus a couple servings more, up to six cups total.




Two things I especially love about this rice cooker:


1. It has a steamer basket (as shown in the picture above). I'll often add fresh broccoli, green beans, or asparagus while the rice cooks, preparing two parts of the meal in the same space as one, just a little taller!


2. It's so easy to clean! The pot part of the cooker has a non-stick finish and requires little more than a good soapy swish and rinse after the meal's over.
Rival RC61 Small Rice Cooker - Red


Tips for Using a Small Rice Cooker



Rice cooker instructions can be confusing. With that in mind, here are two more things to know before you buy:


1. Measuring the rice and the water. Don't confuse the rice measuring cup that comes with the cooker with a regular, 1-cup measuring cup. When the included instructions and cookbook refer to "cups," they always mean the rice cup, which actually holds less than a measured cup. The first time you use the rice pot, use 1 rice-cup of rice and add liquid (I like to mix chicken broth and water) to the "1" mark on the inside of the pot. Cook as directed (i.e. put on the lid, plug it in, and move the selector to "Cook") and you'll see how much cooked rice you'll get. Usually, that amount will be enough for a side dish of rice for two people.


2. Will this size be big enough? If you usually cook for more than two or three people, it's likely that you'll want to choose the next size up. However, I'm surprised how inexpensive these convenient gadgets are, so having one small (like this) and one large-capacity version on hand isn't a bad idea at all since they really take up very little storage space. When we have the extended family present, a large rice cooker would occasionally come in very handy.

Another benefit of this appliance (that I'd almost call a requirement in anyone's kitchen) is the price. At around $2, it's super-affordable and makes a very nice wedding or shower gift. While you’re at it, pick up or order two, one for the gift recipient and one for yourself.


Where to Buy the Rival RC61 Rice Cooker



Can you tell I like my little red Rival rice cooker? If you and your family enjoy healthy meals that include rice, I think you'll like it, too. Here’s the link to find the Rival RC61 on eBay and here it is at Amazon.com.

P.S. Here's a tasty tip. Use your rice cooker to make rice pilaf. Simply add chopped, sauteed vegetables (celery, onions, carrots) to the rice and water/chicken stock before cooking for an easy, flavorful, dressed-up side dish.

Rice pilaf made in my small Rival rice cooker makes an easy but special side dish.
Rice pilaf made in my small Rival rice cooker
makes an easy but special side dish.
-- Susan Deppner


Food photos property of the author




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

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Playing Games with the Amazon Echo

The Amazon Echo looks like a black Pringles can and fits in with any decor.
The Amazon Echo looks like a black
 Pringles can and fits in with any decor.
Have you heard of the new electronic gadget called the Amazon Echo? I wrote a review about it that you can read here, but let me quickly tell you a little bit about the device, then I'll let you know how you can have fun playing games with your Amazon Echo.

This awesome gadget looks a lot like a Pringles can, but it's actually a speaker that responds to its name, plays music, wakes you up in the morning, tells you the weather forecast and sports scores, reads the news to you, turns your lights on and off, and even orders stuff for you from Amazon.com, all with just a voice command from you.

You can have fun with the Echo (most people call her "Alexa;" her alternate wake name is "Amazon"), too. She has quite a sense of humor (well, as much as an electronic assistant can have) and is very cooperative if you just want to have some fun with her. Here are a few games you can play with your Echo.

"Alexa, who is singing that song?"


Play a game of "name that artist" or "name that tune" whenever you listen to music on your Echo. If you're not sure who's singing the song, just ask Alexa! Not sure of the song title? She'll answer that question, too.

"Alexa, how far is it from here to the North Pole?"


How about a game of trivia. Gather your friends and try to stump each other on facts, with your Echo as the final authority. Have your friends guess the answer to questions such as "How tall is Mount Everest?" or even "How many tablespoons in a cup?"  Closest to the correct answer wins!

Use the Echo's magnetic remote control from another room when you're too far away for the device to hear your voice.

"Alexa, Simon Says..."


Use the Echo's remote control from another room to play a game of Simon Says. Put Alexa in a room with your friends then, from another room where they can't hear you, speak into the remote control's microphone. Say, "Alexa, Simon says..." followed by whatever message you would like Alexa to repeat.

For instance, if your Echo is in a room with the kids, have Alexa say, "Kids, dinner's ready. Report to the kitchen!" They'll come running to find out how you did that!



"Alexa, I love you!"


Okay, we know she's not human, but everyone likes to feel appreciated. Let Alexa know that you love her. She'll let you know that she thinks you're pretty special, too.

"Alexa, tell me a joke." 


In the mood to laugh? Seriously, Alexa has quite the joke repertoire and most of them are pretty funny. If you need cheering up, just say, "Alexa, tell me a joke," and she will. Here's an actual joke that Alexa just now told me:
Knock knock.
Who's there?
Kanye.
Kanye who?
Kanye believe it? I tell jokes, too!

These are just a few ideas for games to play and fun things to do with your Amazon Echo. Get creative and come up with your own ideas, or use the "Things to Try" section of the Echo app to find more ideas. Don't have an Echo yet? Here's that Amazon Echo review link again where you can learn more about this fascinating and useful gadget and find out how to order one for yourself.

-- Susan Deppner
Read more of my reviews.





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