Showing posts with label product review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label product review. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Bird Feeder Station Reviewed

Feeding Birds Efficiently

Let's review an option for a bird feeder station that would be nice for anyone who loves backyard birding. I simply love all of the options to attract different species of our feathered friends!

bird feeder station
Looking at bird feeder stations
image courtesy of pixabay.com

If you are like me, you love to encourage the different varieties of birds to land in your yard. I could sit and watch them for hours. Well, truth be told, I often do! So, I've been looking at some options to replace some of the older feeders that need to be replaced. While looking for new things to place the bird seed in, I came across this bird feeder station and I think I must have one.

Six Ways To Feed On One Pole


What I love about the station that I accidentally found is that I can put 6 different feeders in one place in my yard. There are 4 hanger hooks in two different styles and can be used for feeders or other things. I particularly like the ones that fit on the top of the pole because if I choose to I can hang a couple of potted plants on those instead of a feeder for some colorful interest. The options are limitless, really. Two metal trays also come with the pole with hangers that will hold the round trays in place. One has drainage holes in it to keep the bird seed from getting too damp. The other is solid and can hold water for the birds to drink or bathe in. 

I like the idea of having one place to take the food and water instead of having to carry my bags out and then move them around to several places. The pole has a sturdy four pronged base that will allow for some good stability when I drive it into the ground. There are wing nuts that allow me to move the hooks and trays in any pattern that I want to. I just love the versatility of this pole.

This pole with its accessories should last for years to come since it is constructed from metal. It should be fairly resistant to rust. If I find after a few years pass that the paint is wearing off, I can always sweet talk my sweet hubby into painting it for me. 

Of course, that still doesn't take care of replacing those worn out feeders that I first went looking for. I will still need to find those but with the bird feeder station it allows me to look for ones that will work best with this station for my lovely little winged visitors. My daughter has recently realized how much she loves watching the birds in her backyard, this might be something for me to get her for her birthday this year. 



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


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Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Grocery Delivery Service Instacart Reviewed

Easy App For Grocery Delivery

I would like to review an App today that assists you in grocery delivery to your door that is easy to use and affordable. In this trying time, many of you reading this are under orders to stay at home except for essential trips that you need to make. Well, getting groceries is essential but when you fall into the age group that is vulnerable it might be that it isn't the safest trip to make. 

grocery delivery
Grocery Delivery Made Easy
First, I would like to be transparent and let you know that my recommendation for this service is not something that I will earn any money on. It isn't paid for by the company nor am I given any kind of credit for it's recommendation. I am doing it as a public service to offer an option to our readers for not having to leave the safety of their homes to get food. I am also hoping that if just one person decides to use it that I have given someone the opportunity for employment. With millions of people unemployed at the moment, a job like this might be just what they need.


Not All Delivery Services Are The Same


To your door delivery service for groceries isn't new, many areas have had one or another available for a while. Some are easier to use than others. Some are more costly than others. Currently with the demand as it is, some are almost impossible to order from. My daughter has used Shipt for over 18 months. She loved it until recently. With more people using the app, she found that every time she tried to order a delivery that all of the shopping slots were filled for days ahead. I tried to sign-up for it to use in the area that my 87 year old father lives in but it wasn't available there yet. 

I tried to use the Walmart App to order groceries to be delivered to my Dad but finally gave up. It was easy to place things in the virtual cart but after that it became very frustrating. You have the option of home delivery or pick-up with their service. The rub comes in when you are ready to place the order. They only got 48 hours out...in other words if they are booked up for the next 48 hours you can't order the things you need for delivery OR pick-up. I think it is wonderful that so many people are using the service so that they can comply with social distancing and staying at home but when you need groceries delivered or are willing to pick them up at the curb, well, this wasn't much help. 

So, I looked for other options. I mentioned my father is 87. He really shouldn't be out risking exposure but the thing is, neither should I. My age falls into that vulnerable area, too. I did find a solution that was good for both of us. The app is called Instacart. You will need to download it to your phone in order for it to work the best. The app is free so no problem there. There is a small fee for using the app but it is less than $4. Another fee is added on that amounts to 5% of your grocery total and you have the option to leave a tip for your shopper. 

Depending on your area, there will be different places that your shopper can shop for your groceries. For my Dad's area there were two well known grocery stores, a bulk type retailer and a pharmacy. I chose one of the grocery stores and began to add items to the virtual cart. Once I had all of the items that Dad needed, I proceeded to the next step. It gave me possible delivery times for that day and several days into the future. I liked that! So, I opted for a time and day for his items to be delivered, filled in the payment options and closed the app. Easy, peasy, lemon squeezey!

OK, so delivery day arrives. Dad's order was supposed to be delivered between 10 AM and Noon on that day. At 9:23 AM, I got a message telling me that my shopper was at the store and working on the order. Cool beans! It showed me his avatar which I thought was neat. Anyway, as he worked his way through the aisles, I would get a message through the app that they were out of something and he gave me an option for a substitute. I had the option to approve or decline. I must say, his choices were spot on as a substitute. There were only 3 things that needed to be changed. When he was finished, the app let me know that he was done and that the groceries would be delivered at Dad's door at 11:05 AM. I called Dad to let him know they were on the way. At exactly 11:05, the app let me know that the shopper was there. Bingo! That was so easy! The frozen and refrigerated items were brought in a thermal container to keep them at the proper temperature, too. The shopper was so sweet to my Dad. He let Dad take the thermal container in, remove the items and place it back out the door. He waited patiently because Dad moves kind of slow. 

Was I pleased? You bet! Will I use it again? You bet! I loved that everything went through the app. The shopper could contact me and I could answer through the app. At the end of the transaction, I was given the total that would be charged to Dad's card with a breakdown of what was charged. A virtual receipt. It was so easy and very pleasant to use. 

I highly recommend this particular app for grocery delivery if it is available in your area. It might even be an opportunity for employment for full or part-time work if you are looking for something like that. It is turning out to be a blessing for me and my sweet father.






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


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Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Sauerkraut Crock Reviewed

Fermented Cabbage: A Healthy Choice

Let's review the benefits of sauerkraut or fermented cabbage today. We will also talk about what to look for if you buy sauerkraut in the grocery and how to make your own kraut. It is easier than you might think and oh so much better for you when you do. 

sauerkraut crock
Make your own with a Sauerkraut Crock
image courtesy of pixabay.com
You probably think of sauerkraut as a German food and they are responsible for that specific name for fermented cabbage but historians are relatively sure that the fermentation of cabbage dates back some 2,000 years and began in China. Fermenting foods was about the only way to store foods for extended periods of time.

Benefits of Sauerkraut


One cup of kraut is very nutritious. It is low in calories for one thing and has zero fat. That cup will also provide about 7 grams of carbs, 4 grams of fiber, and 1 gram of protein. It is a little high in salt content coming in at about 39% of the suggested daily intake. Eating a cup of kraut will provide you with a good source of Vitamin C, K, and B6 along with iron, manganese, folate, copper, and potassium. 

The fermenting of cabbage causes the creation of probiotics that keep your gut healthy and working properly. That is way more important than you might think. When the good bacteria is working in your intestines your body can better absorb the minerals and vitamins found in the foods or supplements that you take in. Basically, when your digestive tract is working properly, the rest of your body works better, too. 

When your gut flora is healthy so is your immune system. A strong immune system helps us not so susceptible to colds, flu, infections and all of those nasty things that we try so hard to avoid being exposed to. The vitamin C, iron, and probiotics in sauerkraut help build up our immune system.

It might be a good aid in weight loss, too. The low calorie content and non-existence of fat are advantages along with the higher fiber content and the probiotics can help with loss of unwanted body fats. 

The healthy population of gut flora has been linked to better brain health along with lowering stress levels. The enzymes created from the probiotics allow your body to better absorb the important nutrients in your diet that help your brain and your moods. 

More studies need to be made but researchers are looking at the benefits of plant compounds found in sauerkraut to be a tool in fighting certain cancers. Some believe that the kraut might prevent cancer cells from developing or growing. 

A healthier heart is another benefit from eating sauerkraut. Yep, it can help with lowering cholesterol! It is also helpful in helping lower your blood pressure. That one little cup of kraut can help lower your risk of heart disease. 

The Vitamin K that I mentioned earlier, is actually K2 and that is beneficial in maintaining healthier and stronger bones. This vitamin helps to activate two particular proteins that bind calcium making for stronger and healthier bone growth. 

Buying Sauerkraut or Making your own


You can find sauerkraut in the grocery store. Read the labels before you purchase a can or jar off of the shelf, though. You should avoid sauerkraut that has been pasteurized and ones that have preservatives in them. The kraut found in the refrigerated section probably hasn't been put through the pasteurization method. Those preservatives and the pasteurizing will remove all of the benefits from the sauerkraut! Basically, the only two ingredients in the container should be cabbage and salt or brine. There should be no sugars! Sometimes there will be additional vegetables like carrots and those are fine but avoid the other stuff. 


Making your own is better! It is pretty darn easy to do to! Get a head of cabbage from your produce section or from your own garden. You don't have to wash it, it is better if you don't. Remove the loose leaves and cut the cabbage into small ribbons. Place the shredded cabbage into a large bowl and add non-iodized salt. Work the salt into the cabbage with your hands. The salt pulls the water out of the cabbage creating its own brine. Place the cabbage and brine into a fermentation crock, weight it down and let it ferment for about 2 weeks or longer. Once it comes to your desired taste, place in jars in the refrigerator. That's it! You made sauerkraut! For actual measurements look for a recipe online. There are many of them to be found. 

For a good sauerkraut crock, you might like the one that I have and use. I love mine! It is easy to use and comes with the weights you need to keep the cabbage submerged in the brine. 




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


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Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Furnace Filters By Filtrete Reviewed

Looking For Hard To Find Furnace Filters?

Do you have trouble finding the size of furnace filter that you need? Let me review some possibilities that you might not have thought of. Recently, I have been on a quest to find the right size of filter required for my Dad's furnace. Let me tell you, I was beginning to think it might be an impossible task!

furnace filters
Fireplaces don't require furnace filters
image courtesy of pixabay.com

I visited every single big box store in my area looking for the size that I needed. First of all, it is amazing at how many sizes they did carry but none of them had the size that Dad's furnace requires. I would find ones that were close but not quite the right measurements. Now, just like with a lot of things in life, close only counts in the game of horseshoes. To say that I was beginning to get frustrated would be putting it mildly. I mean, come on, it isn't like Dad has a furnace that is rare. It is a well known brand for goodness sake!

A Light Bulb Moment in My Search

About the time that I decided that if nothing else, I was going to take the vacuum sweeper and try to clean the existing filter my brain cells kicked and the proverbial light came on in the gray matter of my head. "Why don't you look to see if they can be purchased online, Bev?" said that little voice that only I can hear. 

Sure enough, when I searched on my favorite website for ordering things that I need; the filters that I have spent a month looking for were there. For goodness sake, why didn't I think to look there first? It would have saved me time in the car, gas and a whole lot of frustration if I had. 

Anyway, my point this morning is; if you have a furnace filter that seems to be a less than standard size; take a look online. I'll just bet that you will be able to find the one you need. The bonus is, it can be delivered right to your door. There is a possibility that you might need to order more than one. The size I needed came in a package of six. I couldn't seem to purchase just one. Actually, that turns out to be a bonus in my mind, too. Now, I'll have extras and will be ready when it is time to change the filter in the future. That isn't such a bad thing, now is it?





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Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Fiber Good Gummies Reviewed

Supplement For Adding Fiber To Your Diet

Today, I would like to review an alternative to the supplement often suggested by our physicians for adding fiber to our diets. Fiber Good Gummies are much more palatable than that awful powder that we are often directed to add to water. I'm sure if you have needed to add fiber to your diet, you know the product I am referring to. Oh my goodness that stuff makes me gag!

fiber good
Fruits can be a good source of fiber
image courtesy of pixabay.com

 I know that I should eat more fruits that are rich in fiber along with other sources like beans, nuts, and some vegetables. I know that I should, but I'll be honest; I don't do a very good job of seeing to putting those things on my plate. Several times, my doctor has told me that if I don't actually eat the foods for the fiber that I should use a product as a supplement. I'm sorry, the powder forms just make me nauseous. I've tried more than once but it just feels so slimy in my mouth and tastes nasty. 

Last week, I was at the local pharmacy looking for some things that my Dad needed. I found myself on the aisle where the above mentioned powders can be found. I noticed an option that I hadn't seen before. There on the shelf was a soluble fiber supplement in the form of gummies. I almost jumped up and down with joy as I read the label on the bottle! 

The gummies are made from fruits like strawberry, apple, grape, cherry, orange and lemon. They taste pretty good and I can chew those without feeling sick to my stomach. They are easy to use, too. Basically, you chew two Fiber Good gummies twice a day. That is it, it is that easy.


Fiber Good Gummies Work


So, I purchased a bottle and began taking them that day. It has been about a week since I began chewing the little fruit flavored gummies and I can see a difference. My digestive system is working better, much better, than it was. I wish that I had visited that aisle sooner.

The next office visit that I have, I'm going to tell my doctor about these little morsels. I think sometimes they might not realize that there are alternatives to the products they often recommend. At least he might consider telling his other patients that if they can't stomach that powder stuff that they can try the Fiber Good Gummies. 

If you or someone you know struggles with providing enough fiber in their diets, give the Phillips Fiber Good Gummies a try. They have worked for me and I plan to make them a part of my daily routine from now on. 




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Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Grab Bars Suction Cup Style Reviewed

Lifestyle Changes For Seniors

One never knows when a lifestyle change warrants installing grab bars in our bathrooms. I would like to review a style that is easy to install, dependable, and won't break your budget. I'll also explain why my family suddenly found the need to even look for these handy bars that assist a person in getting up off of the toilet or getting out of the shower or tub, safely.

grab-bars-for-elderly
When a senior citizen falls, their lifestyle needs changes
image courtesy of pixabay.com 
Last month, I got that dreaded phone call from the hospital. The ER nurse informed me that my father had taken a serious fall and had been brought to the Emergency Room. They were certain that his left arm was badly broken and that surgery was most likely in his future. Naturally, I rushed to his side.

So, I'll spare you the gory details and only say that after three hours in surgery and a whole lot of hardware placed into his arm to hold the bones together, Dad is out of the hospital and currently staying in an assisted living facility to undergo physical therapy to try to regain mobility in his arm. Each day he seems to gain more of his strength back and is determined to get back to his own home. In order for him to go home, some things need to change in that environment. That is where my sudden need to find out about grab bars came into play.


Grab Bars Come in a Variety of Styles

 
As you can imagine, Dad will only have the use of one arm for quite a while. He is going to need to be able to keep his balance when doing simple things like bathing and getting up and down from the toilet. Obviously, we don't want him to fall again. So, in the hospital and the assisted living facility they have the grab bars that are the metal ones like we see in the handicap stalls in public bathrooms. When I began to look at those as an option, I have to admit that I was shocked at the cost of just one. I was willing to pay it, but I had other concerns besides the cost. Those metal ones have to be bolted to the wall and I wasn't feeling very confident in having them installed where Dad would need them. 

His shower/tub unit has the fiberglass surround. I worried about drilling holes in that. Would it cause the surround to have cracks and therefore leaks in the wall? What about studs for security in the installation?  What if the studs weren't in the place where the grab bars needed to be anchored? The last thing I wanted was for the bolts to pull out of the wall and cause unnecessary damage plus the fear of Dad falling.  

While searching for a solution, I came across the option of grab bars that use suction cups to adhere to the wall. Oh my goodness, I was so glad to find these! I won't have to worry about Dad's safety and we won't have to drill into his shower. They were so easy to place where he will need them and lock in place with a tab on the ends. I've since talked to a couple who installed them in their bathroom over a year ago and they are still secure and useful. That has eased my mind more than you can imagine!

So, now all I'm waiting on is for the doctor and physical therapist to say Dad is ready to go home. I'll be checking on him daily for a while, of course, but I won't have to worry about the time that I am not with him and his safety in the bathroom.

If you have an elderly family member, you might consider looking into these grab bars for them. Even if they haven't taken a nasty fall, something like this will aide them in having a safer way to take care of themselves while in their bathrooms.




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Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Platform Bird Feeder Reviewed

Flat Bird Feeder Works Well

I just had to replace my original platform bird feeder. I thought I might share with you what I replaced it with. The original was made of wood and eventually rotted off of it's pedestal. Bummer!

platform bird feeder
Some birds like a platform to feed from
image courtesy of pixabay.com

I do love to feed my little backyard friends and I have found over the years that using a platform bird feeder works well for attracting a variety of the winged creatures to my yard. For one thing they are much easier to fill with seeds and treats and so much easier to keep clean.

Wood vs Recycled Plastic


As I mentioned above, the first platform or tray feeder that I purchased was made from wood. It lasted for several years but finally succumbed to the years of being in the weather and literally fell off of the pole that it was attached to. So, for a replacement, I found one that is made of recycled plastic. That shouldn't rot, me thinks! 

I have seen that many people complain that the little screens rot out in their platform feeders. I hadn't experienced that but the nice thing is that my new one came with two new screens. So, now I can keep the old ones as spares. 

The size of this feeder is nice! The inside measures 20 inches by 15 inches which allows for several birds to feed at a time. My favorites are the cardinals who prefer to eat from feeders that are stationary. I get all sorts of birds to come to the platform. I stopped using the ones that I have to take a lid off of to add seed. They get dirty on the inside and can cause bacteria to grow and they are so difficult to clean. The platform works best in our yard. 

I only have one complaint and it isn't the manufacturer's fault. Squirrels can easily come up and rob the feeder of food. I gave up a long time ago on trying to keep the critters away...it is a battle I can't seem to win. So, the squirrels eat at the feeder too. So, do raccoons but there is no getting away from it. 

It took longer for my new platform to arrive than I thought was necessary. Again, that isn't the manufacturer's fault. It was a shipping issue that caused the problem. Waiting longer was aggravating but once it came, I was extremely satisfied with my purchase. The birds are loving it, too.

If you find that you are in need of replacing your old feeder or would like to try one in your yard, I can highly recommend the platform feeder made from recycled plastic.





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


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Tuesday, November 19, 2019

ZSCM 60 Colors Dual Marker Pens Reviewed

Two Points For Coloring With Marker Pens

I've mentioned before that I like to color as a form of relaxation. Recently, I tried some dual marker pens instead of colored pencils. I would like to review what I used with you today.

marker pens
A more vibrant result comes from markers
image courtesy of pixabay.com

Often when I color with my grandkids, they opt for a felt tip marker instead of coloring crayons or pencils. Up until recently, I didn't choose to use the markers because the tips were wide and they were kind of on the messy side. I stumbled upon a different option when I was searching for some new markers to have for the kids when they visit. Some of the ones that I have had dried out. It happens!

What I found was a set of dual tip marker pens. Oh my goodness these things are really cool! The name kind of tells it all. There are two tips to the pens. One end has a sort of brush type tip that creates a nice wide line and is great for filling in a large area. The other end offers a fine liner type of tip that is great for outlining and working on small areas. I have found them to be so versatile and I like the vibrant colors I get when I use them. 

I chose the set that has 60 colors in it. I must say there is a nice variety of choices with those sixty colors. Some are a little difficult to see much difference in but there must be something subtle that my old eyes aren't picking up on. I do like that the ink is acid-free and non-toxic. The colors dry quickly, too. I didn't have a problem with getting color on my fingers as I moved from space to space in my coloring adventure when I used them.

Whether these marker pens will dry out as quickly as the standard wide tipped markers do is yet to be seen. I haven't had these long enough to tell. The best test will be when one of the little ones uses them on their next visit. I think I might be a little better at making sure the cap is placed back on when the kids aren't always as diligent with that as I am. Anyway, I can hardly wait for them to come and try them out. I think they will like them as much as I do.

This might be something you could put in a stocking at Christmas or just have on hand if you have little ones who like to color or draw pictures when they visit you. I think they would also work well for people who are talented enough to do calligraphy. Having the brush end and the fine liner end would work very well for making pretty letters. Then again, you can take your own coloring up a notch by having some vibrant colors to use.




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Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Dorm Storage Bins Reviewed

Maximize Storage In The Dorm

dorm clutter
Dorm Space Is Limited
image courtesy of pixabay.com
A review of dorm storage bins might come in handy for many as the time for young adults to go off to college approaches. The students who are required to live in a dorm room or opt to continue dorm life will quickly find that storage space is at a minimum.

Small spaces shared with at least one more inhabitant can become crowded and cramped very quickly. The old adage "A place for everything and everything in its place" applies particularly well in a college dorm room. For freshmen students, this will be the first time living away from home. Mom or Dad won't be around to pick up after them. If there is a mess, it will be up to them to clear the clutter they created. 

A great solution is to provide your college student with the option of storing much of their necessaries in storage bins. Of course, we need to understand that they may promise to use them but may not for a while. It might take some time for them to tire of tripping over things left on the floor to see the beauty of those bins you so lovingly provided. A few or maybe many times of not being able to find something they need might be the catalyst for them to use those bins. Well, at least, we can hope! Another adage comes to mind, "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink." Some will embrace the concept while others will forever wait for someone else to clean up the mess. At least they will have the option if the storage bins are there waiting for them.

A collection of different sized containers in a dorm room can be so very handy. They can be placed under beds, stacked on the floor, placed on shelving units, or just about anywhere to conserve space and add to the storage dilemma. We as parents and grandparents know the value of having containers to help prevent clutter so we can gently remind out young adults of the value as they leave on the adventure of living away from home.

One option that I found appealing was a collection providing medium, large and jumbo sizes. The fabric is a durable bamboo blend and comes in either a gray and brown color or a dark taupe. Nothing flashy just colors that will blend-in nicely. There is also a sturdy rope handle that will allow for easy moving if heavy items are placed inside. 

What do you think? Would the college student in your life benefit from a storage solution like this for their dorm room?




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Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Spiral Notebooks Reviewed

Keyboard or Spiral Notebook?

writing notebook
Spiral notebooks come in handy for an author
image courtesy of pixabay.com
Spiral notebooks are not just for students attending school. Let me review how this author uses them on a daily basis. 

When writing a manuscript, I use my laptop keyboard for the bulk of the work. I guess that is probably a no brainer. Although, I do know authors who write it all out in long-hand before they type it up for submission or publication. Honestly, for me that would never work. When the story is flowing, my hand wouldn't be able to keep up with my brain if I were writing it down with a pen or pencil. I might be able to scribble it out but it would just that...scribbles that I would not be able to read later.

What I use my spiral notebooks for

While working on a book, I write down a copious amount of notes. I'll be honest, sometimes those are done on scrap pieces of paper, especially if I am researching something that won't be a recurring piece of a series of books. For instance, in the 4th book of my Roni Rainer mystery series I needed to be sure I understood how an APB (all points bulletin) worked. My notes about that were on scrap paper because the information would be disposable after I finished that particular book. Funny thing happened on the way to writing the story, I found out that not many law agencies use that term any longer. The acronym BOLO (be on the look-out) is more commonly used today. (Good to know.) Obviously, being a stickler to details I used BOLO in the book, but I digress.

My spiral notebooks are used for things that will show up many times in a series. You know, like characters, buildings, towns, and things like that. So, I have a notebook dedicated to those little tidbits. Each character has a section reminding me of their full name and nickname. Their date of birth, physical attributes, personality traits, and any relationships they might be in. Trust me that comes in real handy for characters that just pop-in and out of the books! 

Places have a special section, too. What State does the story take place in? What county? The town and neighboring towns need to be recorded. What are the street names? Which streets intersect with each other?  I wouldn't want to say that Roni's shop is on the corner of Main Street and 2nd Street in one place and then later say it was 3rd Street or even something entirely different. I guess that I could but as a reader those sorts of things drive me up a wall. 

I even have a section for buildings in my spiral notebooks. Yep, I need to be able to look back and see how I described a building once in a while. If I have described Roni's business building as two-story and then have someone go to the third floor, people are going to pick-up on that. At least, I would as a reader.


The devil is in the details


Nothing bugs me more as a reader than the author not being consistent. If an author has told me that a character has blonde hair and blue eyes and then later someone looks into her green eyes; that really gets my blood boiling. So, I pay attention to details as I write and the most efficient way for me to accomplish that is with notebooks. If it might come up again, it gets recorded for me to refer back to. Sure, I could create a file but it is actually faster to look in the notebook. At least for me it is. 

Now, that I have begun a new series of cozy mysteries I need more notebooks! The series will be called Cabin 9 Mysteries. The same pieces of information will be kept in a notebook for those stories, too. It is the only way I can keep it all straight. I'll need to remember that these characters are not in the fictional county of Butler, Indiana where Roni lives. No, they will be in the fictional county of Fairburn, Indiana. The spiral notebooks will help me keep it all consistent. Want a little hint about this new series? Taylor, the main character, can see and talk to dead people! Her great-aunt Magdalene is a hoot and also a spirit who doesn't want to leave Cabin 9. Stay tuned for more details!

As a side note, there is a reason that my fictional towns are in Indiana. I grew up here. I know the terrain, the climate, the flora and fauna, the local phrases, laws, and foods. I can portray it more realistically for my readers. Have you ever read a book that you could tell the author had never ever been in the place they have as their setting?  I've recently read two of them! Why would you write a story that takes place in a country you have never been to? If you are going to attempt that feat, at least do a whole lot of research about the area. Please! It annoys your readers if you get it wrong!

Anyway, I think you get my point on the need for spiral notebooks as an author. Do you use them for something different? I have found them a great thing to have extras of when the grandchildren visit. We can draw together, we can practice our math, we can practice our letters and sometimes we write a story together. We NEVER do those things in Grandma's "special" notebooks. Not ever!




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Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Pet Memorial Stone Reviewed

A Pet Memorial

pet memory
Memorial to a beloved pet
image courtesy of pixabay.com
With a heart that is broken, I have been reviewing my options for a pet memorial stone. This past Sunday on Father's Day at 5:15 pm I watched my sweet little Chessie take her last breath on this side of the Rainbow Bridge. As difficult as it was, I am thankful to have been by her side in those last moments.

Chessie chose us, literally, about 16 years ago. She was part of a litter belonging to a neighborhood cat who had a habit of bringing her babies around to meet the neighbors. The very first time that Mama Cat brought this litter to meet us, the only little gray tabby came right up to me. The other kittens seemed leery of these creatures who only had two legs but not the little gray one. She ran to my feet, stretched her little paws up on my leg and mewed the sweetest little mew her little body could muster. Scooping her up, I petted while she purred softly. 

We gave Mama some fresh water and some cat food because she seemed pretty hungry. Mama kept a watchful eye on her babies as they played except for the little gray one who was in my arms. After filling her belly Mama began to walk down the drive calling to her babies to follow. I sat the little one down and told her to go with her mother. She ran to catch up and then stopped turned, looked at me, mewed and then followed her siblings.

The second visit (a few days later) was much the same except that when Mama Cat signaled it was time to leave, the little gray tabby did not follow. Mama had to carry her down the drive by the scruff of her neck. The kittens were still small enough that I believe they were still nursing. None of them tried to drink the water or eat the food we put out. I think that is why Mama insisted all of her babies come with her, including the reluctant one.

Third Visit: Pet Humans

The third visit was probably at least a week or more later. It was amazing how much the kittens had grown in that short span of time. On this visit the kittens knew how to gobble the food and drink the water. Mama had been teaching them well, it seemed. Mama was sated and gave the signal for her babies to gather. Three kittens ran to their mother while the gray one ran to our porch. She wasn't leaving. Mama Cat came closer and her reluctant baby ran underneath our car. When Mama went under the car, the kitten ran to the porch again. Mama finally gave up, walking away with her other three babies. My husband and I had been chosen to be the adorable little gray kitten's pet humans. It was abundantly clear, we did not have a choice in the matter. We belonged to her.

We named her Chessie because she looked so much like the sweet little mascot of the Chesapeake Railroad advertisements from days gone by. She spent the next 16 years training us to give her what she wanted when she wanted it. Terry learned her signal that she expected a treat and I learned what foods she preferred and which ones did not agree with her taste buds. She also trained me to keep my lap empty in the evenings because that was cuddle time. If I didn't give the required amount of strokes to her fur or enough scratches behind the ears, she let me know. 

Chessie was a two human cat. She didn't much care for other humans coming to visit. There were specific places to hide until the coast was clear and then she would snub me for a little while to let me know that she was not pleased. She had a particular meow at those times to let me know of her displeasure. Of course at cuddle time, extra strokes and scratches were required to make up for the injustice she had endured.

When the last day comes

On Sunday, she wasn't herself in the morning. She might have had a small stroke but I didn't suspect that at first. A few hours later, I was certain that she had suffered a massive stroke. She wasn't moving her legs, it was obvious she couldn't see anymore. She was breathing and her heart was beating but I knew she was leaving us. So, I held her. For a while she could still purr at my touch. At 5:15 the last air left her lungs and my precious girl crossed over the rainbow bridge. 

I don't believe that she suffered any pain; there was no indication that she was suffering. If she was a human she would have been 84 years old. She led a happy and long life with the two humans she adopted. She was loved and she knew it. My lap feels so empty!

So, I found a pet memorial stone to place in the spot where she liked to lay in the sun. I can see her curled up in the center of the heart.

You might have left my life, sweet Chessie, but you will forever be in my heart.





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Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Fabric Pots Reviewed

Gardening In Fabric Pots

garden vegetables
Could these grow in a cloth container?
Image courtesy of pixabay.com
Do you have a garden? Have you considered growing in fabric pots? Let's review the possibilities. 

I am familiar with the concept of container gardening and have tried it a few times over the years. Until recently, I was not aware that another option is to grow my vegetables, herbs or flowers in a fabric pot. Now, that sounds interesting!

The advantage to using a cloth container is that it allows for better aeration for the roots and better drainage, too. From what I glean from the description of the brand that I am interested in using; transplanting from them allows for a better chance of the plant not going into shock. I am thinking it might work well for starting a small tree to be planted elsewhere when it gets some height to it. 

I love that there are so many options for sizes to grow in, too. A fabric pot can be as small as one gallon or as large as 100 gallons. (Now that is a huge bag!) Personally, I am drawn to the 7 gallon size because I think it offers some real versatility. It also seems to be a very popular size with other gardeners, too. The pots made from cloth would also fit in places that a standard pot or container might not. They won't be as heavy to move, either. 

The possibility of using these little fabric pots over and over again appeals to me. When the growing season is over they can be laundered and saved for the next batch of gardening. Granted, we can do the same thing with clay, resin and plastic pots but the bags would take up much less storage space when not being used. Storage can be a problem for most of us especially the urban gardeners who need to grow their items on a small patio or balcony. 

How about you? Did you know that fabric pots were even an option? Would you be willing to try them out? I am going to give them a try.




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Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Four of the Best Father's Day Gifts for the Handy Dandy Dad Reviewed

The next big event on the horizon for everyone to get excited about is Father's Day!  I know my teacher friends are already busy getting the craft ideas ready so that Dad's will get a nice surprise on June 16th.  

Key finder,Tile,  father's day

I'd like to bring your attention to some interesting handy gifts that any Dad will want and enjoy too.

Whether they are true handy men or not, these tools will stand the test of time and usability.  I know from experience that even mom's would appreciate this gift. (What does that tell you?)

So what do I have in  store for you? Let's see!


Number One Father's Day Gift


Vitorinox, better known as the Swiss Army Knife, comes in a wide variety of styles. This one shown has a 5 out of 5 star rating and it is the one that my husband got many years ago from his children. He is never without it. I cannot tell you how many times he has tightened a nut and bolt on the kids' bikes or used it to pry out something that was stuck where it should not have been and so on.  This knife is small, but fits nicely in his hand to use and into his jeans when he's done.  I think the only time he's without it is when we are at a wedding or a function where we are all dressed up.  Even then, this knife is so handy that it  would fit into his jacket pocket without being too bulky.  It truly is a handy and useful tool that every father should have.  You just never know when you might need it.  It will not replace his tool box, but in a pinch the Swiss Army Knife is ready to do the job.


Number Two, Three and Four

There are countless father's out there that on a busy morning have forgotten where they put their keys or their cell phone. 


 Let's get that crazy picture out of our heads and find a way to make that scenario a thing of the past.  There is a new gadget out there that will help to make Dad's life a little easier.  It's call the "Tile"




It's a little gadget that will really get used!  Just this past weekend I was with my grandchildren and Dad misplaced his keys.  Frantic running around ensued, when his  lovely wife says,  "Tile your keys with your phone!"  Lo and behold, his keys started "chirping" and the sound was getting louder till one of the kids came up with the "lost" keys.  The whole search process lasted less than a minute, and dad was on his way. Everyone had smiles on their faces too!




This item is Number two, three and four, for good reason.  With this package you get Four Tiles.  They are small,so they can be attached to several different objects!  Most people use them for their keys, but you can attach the Tile to almost anything.  If your briefcase isn't where you thought it should be, you can add a Tile to that.  It has a small hole in one corner so that you can attach it with split rings to almost anything.  Afraid someone will notice the "Tile" on your briefcase?  No problem, mount the "Tile" in the briefcase and no one but you knows it's there.  Problem solved and future problems averted!  This is a #1 Best Seller.

**Now the only thing I dislike about this package is that this model of the "Tile" only lasts one year.  Newer models are made with replaceable batteries but will cost you about double what this package runs.  If you are not sure that this would be a workable item for your Dad, you could always try it for the year and then decide if you should upgrade to the newer models.  It would be something to think about.  
**This is my own personal opinion!

 Fathers all over the world will be proud of their families and best of all,  they will all be Handy Dandy Dads with your help!

Father's Day, Gift ideas for men, Swiss Army Knife, Tile





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Tuesday, March 19, 2019

The Widow Series Reviewed

Interesting Drama Series

jungle scene
The Widow searches in the Jungle
(image courtesy of pixabay.com)
My husband and I just finished watching The Widow, a drama series that we streamed from Amazon. I thought you might be interested in a review of the series.

We thought that this eight episode series was fascinating to watch. The episodes are each around 45 minutes so it didn't take too awfully long to watch. 

The story begins with Georgia Mason (played by Kate Beckinsale) suspecting that her husband Will might actually be alive after a plane crash three years before in the DRC (Democratic Republic of the Congo). The reports of the crash stated that there were no survivors of that crash and Georgia has spent three years in mourning her loss. A broadcast of a riot in the DRC shows a man that looks very much like her husband that begins her search to find him. She can't see the man's face but he is wearing an orange baseball cap just like the one her Will wore. 

As you can imagine, Georgia decides to go to the DRC hoping to find her husband. She had been there before just after the crash and had befriended a man who had lost his wife in the same crash. Georgia meets Emmanuel again on this second trip; asking for his help to find out if her husband somehow survived that crash. 

The series is filled with suspense and action as Georgia encounters people who knew Will. As viewers we see corrupt people taking advantage of the poverty stricken people of the region. We find out about smugglers and the recruitment of children for rebel militias. While watching each episode we are given a hint of what it might be like to live in the Congo as a person with some means and as a person who is barely surviving. 

My husband and I liked the several twists in the plot as the story unfolds. There were some flashbacks offered to explain some of what drove the different characters in their choices and those were interesting, also. Overall, each episode kept us interested and wanting to see more. We have found that we very much enjoy the original series that Amazon has produced.

If you like suspense and action that occurs in a place you might never be ever to see, I think you will enjoy this series, too.




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Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Cat Dust Plugs Reviewed

Prevent Dust From Getting Into Your Earphone

earphone plugs
Earphone plugs can get dusty (image courtesy of pixabay.com)
Did you know that there are some very clever little dust plugs for our devices? Whether it is our cell phone, tablet or laptop; we all have a place to plug-in a jack for earphones. 

Over the passage of time, quite a bit of dust and small debris can enter into the inside of our devices. That isn't such a good thing for the hidden working parts, I wouldn't think.

So, there are some really clever little charm like figures that we can use to plug-up that little hole when a set of earphones or earbuds aren't being used. Let's face it, most of the time that earphone jack isn't used 24/7. 

We happen to adore cats in our house, as I'm sure that many of you do too. Don't worry, if you aren't a cat person these little dust plugs can be found for the dog lovers, too. In fact, there are several types of animals made into a plug for that tiny little jack on our devices. If animals aren't to your liking there are other styles, too. Some look like little gems in a variety of colors and I even saw some that look like a little coffee cup. 

Some of the dust plugs have some real bling to their appearance while others are just a cute little charm that looks adorable while preventing dust and debris from getting into the inside of our phones or tablets.

I found a set of cat dust plugs that I think are really adorable! Depending on my mood, I can switch them around on my phone or my tablet. A set like this can also be used for party favors at a Tween's birthday party. They are so inexpensive that you can purchase more than one set to divide up amoung the guests.

What do you think? Would you choose a dust plug with cat figures or a different style?



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Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Wicker Basket For Easter Reviewed

Useful After Easter

wicker basket
Wicker basket image courtesy of pixabay.com
Have you ever considered using a wicker basket that is not necessarily promoted to be used as an Easter Basket? Walking down any aisle of a store, we can see several options of baskets to be used on Easter morning. We can find them made in a variety of materials and most are extremely cute but will they last beyond a day or two?

I will admit that I have a penchant for baskets as a whole. I can't honestly say when my love for them began or even why. It might be from memories of my Grandmother using different baskets to complete chores with. She had a basket for gathering eggs, one for picking items from the garden, one for the apples and pears and a few others for specific duties around her home. All of those magnificent baskets were worn from use but sturdy and helpful to her.

It occurred to me the other day as I was looking at an option for baskets this year for my grandchildren that I really didn't want to give them one that was commercially produced for the occasion. I just realized that they looked as inexpensive as their price tags indicated. I would rather give them something that could be used again for another purpose. Perhaps something they could smile at one day when they remembered that Grandma gave them that basket.

I think I found a nice solution for this year. I like the idea that the basket I have chosen can be used to store items in if they want. I can picture my youngest using it to keep her crayons, markers and colored pencils in. My oldest could store her music CDs or other items in. I like this idea much better than a basket that will end up broken and in a landfill somewhere in the near future.

How about you? Would you rather place your Easter goodies in a wicker basket that can find multiple uses for after the holiday?




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Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Gratitude Journal Reviewed

Embrace An Attitude of Gratitude

prayer of gratitude
Praying Hands image courtesy of pixabay.com
Twenty-five years ago my soul was suffering from the lack of gratitude. My doctor said that I was depressed. He said that there was a chemical imbalance which suppressed my ability to feel happiness. Technically, I suppose that his diagnosis was correct. In the months following that visit to the doctor, I came to realize that it went much deeper than a "happiness hormone" not being produced in my body.

My physician followed the proper procedure from the annuls of medicine by prescribing an anti-depressant. He explained that the medication would help my body to remember how to produce the chemical that would take away the depression and help me to feel happy again. Oh, how I despised that medication! I remember thinking that it seemed impossible that it would work because while I was on it I didn't "feel" anything. While medicated the feelings of despair were gone; I'll admit that. The trouble was there didn't seem to be any feelings at all; none. I didn't want to live a life devoid of feeling!

I began a time of inner reflection to see if I could figure out why the blue bird of happiness had abandoned his nest in my heart. I knew for certain that he used to live there. So, why had he left? I eventually realized that I had been neglecting to feed him his favorite food. He hadn't received not even a little morsel of gratitude in a very long time. 

I tell you this today because I recently received a message from a dear friend who has passed on to a better place. She wanted me to know how much that I meant to her before and during her long illness. Her message explained that my example of finding gratefulness all around me had taught her so very much and made those last months easier to bare. 

After receiving that touching and loving message from my sweet dear friend, I remembered  how it is so very easy for any of us to forget to be thankful for the big and small blessings that surround us every single day. We don't have to let it be that easy. We can make a habit of looking for more gratitude in our lives.

I found a wonderful tool to help anyone begin to focus on what they have to be thankful for on a daily basis. This journal is a 52 week guide to help you cultivate a garden of gratitude in your heart. There are inspirational quotes along with an area to jot down three things you are thankful for each day. It can be something big like a warm home or it can be something simple like the laugh of a child. If you or someone you know needs some help in this direction, a gratitude journal might be just the tool to plant your seeds.



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Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Floor Liners For Jeep Reviewed

Dressing up A New Ride

jeep liberty
Hubby's Jeep Liberty
Last week my hubby traded in his old jeep for a newer model. You can see it pictured at the left. It is a pretty little thing, isn't it? It rides much better than the older one, too. 

So, he has a birthday approaching and I thought that it might be fun to get him something for his Jeep. The old floor liners are pretty sad looking even though they will fit this year and model. I went on a quest to see if I could find some new floor mats for him.

Sure enough, they were not difficult to find. I searched for floor liners for a Jeep Liberty and found the color that I thought would go well with his interior. To my surprise a pop-up appeared asking me to verify that the liners would fit the vehicle. It turned out that the ones that I had first picked would not fit the floor configuration of his year of Jeep. What a convenience! It would have certainly been a disappointment to me as the gifter and to him as the recipient if those new mats wouldn't work!

What I like about this particular brand of floor liners is that they are digitally measured and molded to fit the interior of specific models of vehicles. This line of mats is more than just a flat little piece of protection for the carpet of the car. They are molded to the contours of the floor board giving more protection. These will not slip around and allow mud and dirt to get under them. I like that because I really don't like having to vacuum those floors and my sweet hubby is a bit of a "Messy Marvin" when it comes to tracking in mud and dirt (in his vehicle and our home). The floor liners that I have decided to get for him are much nicer and sturdier than his previous ones. I think that he will be extremely happy with them.

Obviously, you may not have a Jeep but it doesn't matter what make or model of vehicle that you drive. You can find these well designed floor liners for any make and model feeling certain that they will fit your ride. These will be a birthday present but they would also work for Father's Day.



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Review This is Dedicated to the Memory of Our Beloved Friend and Fellow Contributor
We may be apart, but You Are Not Forgotten

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