Sunday, October 11, 2020

Your Not-So-Typical Home Decor Items that Glow in the Dark

Glow In The Dark Home Decor Products

Finding funky home decor items is a passion of mine. In the past couple of weeks, I've featured furniture with built-in speakers and furniture that comes with built-in USB charging stations. This week it's all about unsuspecting items for your home that can glow in the dark.

Product Page Here - You Can View All the Products Discussed Below Here

Bedsheets and Bedding that Glow in the Dark

From the sheets to the comforters, you can find children's bedding that glows in the dark. I haven't found a set for adults, lol. I suspect a glowing bed would be rather annoying for grown-ups. Kids love them, especially when they're not keen on bedtime or the dark.

Shower Curtains, Another Unsuspecting Place for Something that Glows

Aren't these handy! Forget nightlights, just put up a set of shower curtains that glow in the dark. There's a safety element to these as well. When the little ones need to use the bathroom in the middle of the night, they just follow the glow from the hallway.

Rugs that Glow - Follow Your Feet

These are popular choices for a baby nursery or child's bedroom. Glow rugs are funky, interesting, and also a safety solution. Some have artistic colorful designs making them a perfect addition for a playroom or anywhere kids gather or sleep.

Kids Storage Bins that Glow in the Dark

Now that's handy! When you're picking up the toys, and the lights are dim, their storage box glows so you can easily see it to toss the toys in. Use the bins for anything, including clothes and books. They come in multiple designs. You can check them out on the product page.

Glow in the Dark Wall Decals and Stickers

We're all familiar with glow stickers for kids that attach to the wall. They come in numerous designs and styles. However, if peel and sticking individual stickers aren't your thing, you can opt for a glow in the dark wall decal. A wall decal is one sheet, usually in a specific size. Get several and position them around your little one's room. 

The product page at the top of this article features a variety of the home decor items discussed above. However, there are additional interesting glow-in-the-dark home decor items added to the product page that may not appear here. Be sure to check back if you're looking for funky, glowing home decor items.

Happy Decorating and Happy Thanksgiving, Canada!





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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Saturday, October 10, 2020

Dream Bars Cookie Recipe Review




Once again from the pages of my 1979 Kansas church ladies cookbook comes a vintage cookie recipe. Something a bit different and unique using brown sugar, coconut and walnuts. A very tasty bar cookie that is 'grandson-tested and highly approved'. 




Dream Bars Recipe





Crust Ingredients:

½ c. butter
½ c. brown sugar
1 c. flour

Mix first 3 ingredients until  crumbly.  Press into an 8x8 inch pan.  Bake 12 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool.


Filling Ingredients:

2 eggs (beaten)
1 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. Baking soda
1 T. flour
1 c. moist coconut
1 c. chopped nutmeats
1 tsp. Vanilla

Instructions:

Filling:  Mix eggs, brown sugar, baking soda, flour and vanilla.  Stir nuts and coconut into mixture.  Spread over baked crust.  Bake 30 minutes or until set at 250 degrees.  When cool, cut into  bars.

Makes 24.


Summary:


With so many basic packaged cookies on the market, and the standard chocolate chip cookies and brownies most people bake, I think it is rather nice to occasionally try a different cookie recipe from long-ago. Most kids today have never tasted cookies from the pasts of grandmothers and great-grandmothers, so it becomes a special taste treat for them. At least my teenage grandson thinks so and he can hardly wait to try out my latest baking effort.  So far he has given each of my 'vintage' cookie recipes Five Stars! 

So, for a cookie recipe that is 'old' and different, give these Dream Bars cookies a try!





For more cookie recipes, check out




*Dream Bars Cookie Recipe Review by (c) Wednesday Elf

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For more vintage cookie recipes from long ago (1920s through the 1960s), check out this Vintage Baker cookbook:









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Friday, October 9, 2020

A Defense of Honor (Haven Manor Book 1) by Kristi Ann Hunter Reviewed

A Defense of Honor has a very unique plot. That fact alone drew me to this book. Plus, I had never read a book by Kristi Ann Hunter and I love finding new authors (new to me). 

Normally, I review books that I can highly recommend to anyone.  A Defense of Honor delves into some very unpleasant realistic attitudes, especially during the time period of the book's setting of London in 1816.  Therefore, I would only recommend this book to someone who doesn't mind examining the dirty underbelly of society, as well as their own hearts and minds. 

As I read the book, I found myself questioning several things, which is most unusual when reading a Christian fiction.


Synopsis of A Defense of Honor (Haven Manor Book1)

Kit FitzGilbert is "The Governess".  She is hated by London society, even though her true identity is concealed.  Her self-appointed job is to ensure that illegitimate children are financially supported by their wealthy fathers.  She and her friends also protect the mothers and allow them a way to re-enter society without the child or society being any the wiser.

 A Defense of Honor (Haven Manor Book #1)Kit, Daphne & Jess provide a home for the children which is supported by the funds that Kit extracts from their fathers.  

Haven Manor is a large secluded estate that is overseen by a local solicitor, Nash Banfield.  The owner has no desire to live there, so Nash allows the women and children to live in the manor.  This arrangement benefits all parties because the women take care of the upkeep of the manor, the children have a home away from public awareness or scorn, and the owner's property maintains it's value.

It all works quite well for twelve years.  Then, Kit meets Graham, the Viscount Wharton, who is heir to the earldom of Grableton, at a ball she was not invited to attend.  When they go their separate ways, he doesn't even know her full name, but he is haunted by the memory of the beautiful woman in the green gown.

When Graham accidentally finds Kit at Haven Manor while searching for a friend's sister, he is thrilled to once again have an opportunity to get to know her.  However, even though he now knows where she lives, he has no idea who she really is.  In fact, until recently, he had never even heard of The Governess.  

Their relationship is tested multiple times as he discovers more about her, the children, and the household.  It is highly unlikely that a friendship between the two can continue.

 

My Opinion the Book "A Defense of Honor"

Even though this is a Christian fiction, it challenged me.  The reading was not difficult, but some of the judgemental attitudes of the characters were hard for me to embrace.  I don't really understand being able to totally write-off someone you love and dismiss them completely from your life.  

After reading certain chapters, I would stop and think about them.  Question if I knew someone who had done anything like that.  I wondered if the attitudes and actions were very "real-life".  As I delved into my own memories, I found that I have known individuals who, in fact, walk away from family members and friends.  They seemingly never look back, yet leave broken hearts and pain that can take years to overcome, if ever.

There was another point of opinion I found difficult.  The main character, Kit, was judged harshly for the means she used to ensure illegitimate children were financially supported by their biological fathers.  I'm not sure I see the great "sin" in her methods, even though I certainly see the danger.

Plus, the ending bothered me. I can't go into detail about that without ruining the book for you, but I would love to know how others feel about the plot's resolve.  If you read the book, please come back and tell me what you thought.


 

 




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Thursday, October 8, 2020

Fall is in the Air - A Review of 2020 Fall Favorites

 

Fall 2020
Fall is my favorite time of year.  I love the chilly nights, the cool and crisp days, and the wonderful array of colors in nature.  Fall is the time for apples and carmels, sausage and sauerkraut, colorful mums, and fall festivals.  Fall is also the time for candy corn, Halloween, jack-o-lanterns, pumpkin pie and of course Thanksgiving.  

Fall is also a wonderful time for photography.  The sun is not quite as intense and therefore the lighting is better for daytime photographs.  I love to wander in neighborhood parks and on trails and I always bring along my camera.  On this page I will review with you some of my favorite things from the fall of 2020.

Parks and Sculptures

This year in my town of , O'Fallon Missouri, we have ten sculptures on loan and displayed around town in various parks.  On my first fall outing, I visited three of our parks to photograph the sculptures.  It was late September and a little early for full fall color in Missouri, but I was pleased to catch a glimpse of color as I took my photos.

     Westoff Park

In this park I photographed a sculpture called Zig  Zag Zugguret by Michael Quintero.  I was also able to capture some pretty colors on the hillside.



     Dames Park

In Dames Park I photographed my favorite sculpture Solitude of the Journey by Jeremy Colbert.  I felt that whole photograph had a fall feel to it from the beautiful fall grasses surrounding theFh sculpture to the expressive clouds in the fall sky.

     Civic Park

My last stop on this outing was to photograph Blue Rail by David Lobel.  It was an interesting sculpture and I also photographed some of the colorful purple mums that were nearby.



Fall  Foods



In the fall I seem to have a renewed interest in cooking and baking.  I love baking apple muffins and pumpkin bread.  I especially like making anything with apples.  I made an apple cake last week and apple pie is always a favorite with my husband.  One of my favorite apple delights is homemade applesauce.  I love the smell of apples cooking on the stove.  My recipe is quite simple.  I just peel, core and cut the apples in chunks and then add them to a pot and cover them about 2/3 of the way with water.  I add some cinnamon and put them on the stove to simmer.  It only takes about 15-20 minutes and they are so good.  Can't you just smell them cooking in the photo below?

Another favorite is microwave apple crisp.  It is delicious and so easy to make.  See the recipe on the Zazzle magnet below.

Fall Decorations

I love to decorate my home for fall.  I usually put up my decorations in the first week of September and take them down after Thanksgiving.  My decorations are fairly simple, just a few colorful leaves and some pumpkins that I purchased at the local craft store.   The two special items that I have are the mini quilt on the entrance table that a friend made for me and the photograph on the mantle.  It is a photo that I took of a lighthouse in Minnesota during the fall and I was able to capture the fall leaves in the framing of the photo.  I had it printed on canvas and it sits on my mantle in the fall.  Here are a few photos of my decorations.

Front Door Wreath



Fall Zazzle Products from my Photographs




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Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Hamama Microgreens Starter Kit and Seed Quilts Review

Image: collage of Hamama microgreens photos with superimposed title, "The EASIEST Way to Grow Your Own Microgreens"
With a Hamama Microgreens Starter Kit and the company's proprietary seed quilts, growing and harvesting fresh, delicious, and nutritious microgreens is nearly effortless!

Fresh, crisp microgreens are colorful, refreshing, and extremely nutritious. Since last year, when I committed to making healthy lifestyle changes, including a special focus on healthy food choices, I have been adding microgreens to salads, sandwiches, soups, eggs, and other dishes as often as possible.

Although buying packaged microgreens at our local Whole Foods is an expensive and frustrating proposition, growing my own hadn't seemed like a viable option, given my poor track record with keeping even healthy plants alive, much less growing them from seed.

Then, four months ago, I found out about an innovative microgreens growing system from a company called Hamama, which was designed to be as as simple, effortless, and low-maintenance as possible, so that even container gardening newbies like me could grow these healthy, tasty, nutrient-dense greens year-round.  

The proprietary, patent pending Hamama Seed Quilt Growing System is the brainchild of co-founders Camille Richman and Daniel Goodman, who met when they were mechanical engineering students at the world-renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Following their graduation from MIT, they worked together full-time at the MIT Media Lab, researching high tech indoor agriculture. After growing food both in the lab and at home for several years, they wanted to make it possible for more people to experience the benefits of growing healthy food at home.

In May, I decided to order a Hamama Microgreens Starter Kit, including three seed quilts and a reusable grow tray. I was surprised and delighted by the results, and a few weeks later,  I ordered two more growing trays and 18 more seed quilts. Although I've skipped a week here and there, I've successfully grown and harvested around more than a dozen seed quilts at this point. Now, I'm anxious to share my experience, and perhaps inspire others to try growing their own healthy, delicious, superfood microgreens, even if they have never had any experience, or luck, growing vegetables in the past.

P.S. Make sure to read all the way to the end of this review to find out how to get a 10% discount off the purchase price of your first order of a Hamama Microgreens Starter Kits, Seed Quilts, or other microgreens growing accessories!

Microgreens Are Superfoods That Pack a Powerful Nutritional Punch

Increasing our consumption of nutritious, dark leafy greens is an important part of healthy eating. The USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend eating more fruits and vegetables, including dark leafy greens. For those of us who have chosen a low carb, ketogenic approach to eating, dietary restrictions make it even harder to get enough nutrients from the foods we eat, rather than from supplements.

Adding more microgreens to our diets, in particular, provides even greater health benefits. A 2012 research study found that microgreens contain between four and 40 times higher concentrations of essential nutrients than their mature counterparts!

These nutrient-dense, immature plants can be excellent sources of key vitamins such as C, E, K, and also carotenoids including lutein and beta-carotene (a precursor to Vitamin A aka retinol), two important antioxidants provide a wide range of health benefits, including helping to protect our eyes against macular degeneration. 

Photo of a large, colorful, salad topped with Hamama microgreens
We enjoy a large, colorful, salad with a generous helping of freshly harvested microgreens every day!

Why Not Just Buy Packaged Microgreens Instead of Growing Them?

Unfortunately, many supermarkets and grocery stores either don't sell them, or run out of them quickly. Even when I've been lucky enough to find one or two containers, those commercially grown microgreens have cost a pretty penny. Far too often, the expensive organic microgreens we've bought at our local Whole Foods Market have become not just limp but slimy and inedible after just one or two days in the vegetable drawer of our fridge. Most are also sold in single-use, plastic clamshell packaging, which is bad for the environment. 

Finding organic microgreens or ones that have been grown from non-GMO seeds can also be a challenge. 

Unfortunately, since March, these problems have been further exacerbated by the widespread negative impact of the current, unprecedented health crisis.

The Pros and Cons of Using Hamama Seed Quilts vs. Growing Microgreens From Seed

Buying packets of loose seeds and growing them on a bed of moistened potting mix, soil, or coconut coir is, without question, the cheapest way to grow microgreens at home. However, it also requires watering the seeds once or twice a day, and monitoring their progress daily, from the the time they are planted until they are ready to be harvested, usually takes somewhere between 9 days and a few weeks. And they do best with 4–6 hours of direct sunlight, or natural light supplemented by a grow light(s).

While this may be a good option for experienced container gardening enthusiasts, not everyone was blessed with a "green thumb," or enjoys growing things from seed. Some of us just want to have convenient and consistent access to a variety of microgreens and enjoy them when they are at their freshest, tastiest, and most nutritious, and are happy to pay more for an approach that requires significantly less time and effort than growing these immature greens from seed.  

That's why Hamama developed its proprietary seed quilt system, which makes growing fresh, delicious, nutrient-rich microgreens indoors as easy, effortless, and care-free as possible. 

Anatomy of a Hamama Microgreens Seed Quilt

Each seed quilt consists of three layers (excluding the seeds):

  1. The bottom layer is a loosely woven coconut coir mat (aka coconut fiber mat or coconut husk pad).
  2. The middle layer is a thin sheet of white felt
  3. The top layer is some type of unbleached paper.

The seeds are sandwiched between the white felt layer and the light brown paper cover, divided into 20 long, narrow, rectangular, "quilted" sections that hold the seeds in place in a fairly even distribution.

Key Benefits of the Hamama Seed Quilt Grow System for Microgreens

  • By combining the seeds, the growing substrates, and the papery cover into a single, compact unit and pairing it with a perfectly-sized growing tray, Hamama has removed as many variables as possible.
  • The Hamama Starter Kit contains everything you need to grow microgreens, except the 24–26 ounces of water for the initial soak. (Depending on the quality of your tap water, I recommend using filtered water.)
  • Starting a new seed quilt takes as little as 1–2 minutes! After that, you can basically ignore it for the next 4–6 days, until the seeds have germinated.
  • This bottom-watering and self-watering growing system is the closest thing to "set-it-and-forget it." Once you pour water inside the grow tray up to the fill line and briefly submerge the seed quilt to get all 20 sections evenly moistened, you shouldn't have to mist the seeds quilt or seedling, or top up the water. (Toward the end of the growing period, I try to check the water level every couple of days, if I remember. just in case it drops below the midpoint of the coconut coir mat.) 
  • The brown paper cover helps to filter the ambient light during the initial 4–6 day germination period, then it peels off easily to provide the seedlings with full exposure to the ambient light.

Hamama Microgreens Seed Quilts Are So Effortless, They Practically Grow Themselves!

Growing a Hamama microgreens seed quilt is as easy as 1-2-3:

  1. Do the brief initial "soak." Add water to the growing tray's marked fill line (no higher) and submerge the seed quilt for 10–30 seconds, just until all 20 sections have uniformly changed to a darker shade of brown.
  2. After 3–5 days, when the seeds have germinated, pushing against the paper cover and causing the sections to puff up or balloon, peel the paper cover.
  3. Approximately 7–10 days after the initial soak, harvest your microgreens!

You can harvest the entire seed quilt at once and store whatever microgreens you won't use immediately in the refrigerator, if you wish, or harvest a few sections at a time over the next few days. 

Photo of Hamama Earthy Clover and Super Salad Mix seed quilts and are puffed up and ready to peel
I often grow more than one Hamama seed quilt at a time

What's Included In the Hamama Microgreens Starter Kit?

  • One reusable Grow Tray.
    • Black plastic or white ceramic
  • Your choice of three Hamama Seed Quilts (choose all one variety, or mix and match up to three different types) 
  • Easy growing instructions.

Choose From 10 Different Types of Microgreens Seed Quilts

Hearty Broccoli, Refreshing Cabbage, Spicy Daikon Radish, Super Salad Mix, Sweet Wheatgrass, Zesty Mix, Energizing Kale, Earthy Clover, Hot Wasabi Mustard, and Fragrant Fenugreek. All the seeds in Hamama's microgreens seed quilts are non-GMO Six are also organic (Energizing Kale, Fragrant Fenugreek, Hearty Broccoli, Spicy Daikon Radish, Earthy Clover, and Sweet Wheatgrass). The company is working on making the switch to an all certified organic line.

Save 10% on Your First Hamama Order!

Use my Hamama shopping link (or click on the image below), add the products you want to the shopping cart, then use the discount code SUPERGREENS during checkout to get 10% off your product total.


Hamama Microgreens Starter Kit and Seed Quilts Review by Margaret Schindel


Posts In This Series About My Keto Diet Journey

My First Year on The Keto Diet

Preparing to Succeed on the Keto Diet, Part One

Preparing to Succeed on the Keto Diet, Part Two

Low Carb Muffins & Cupcakes: Treats to Enjoy on a Keto Diet

Low Carb Keto Chocolate Yogurt Granola Chip Pudding Recipe

Good Dee’s Keto Cookie Low Carb Baking Mix Review

Hamama Microgreens Growing Kit Review & Success Tips

My Favorite Hamama Microgreens Seed Quilt Accessories

Keto Cheddar Cheese Biscuits With Chives Recipe

The Ultimate Keto Hot Chocolate Recipe

The Best Low Carb Keto Gift Ideas: Keto Gift Guide

The Best Low Carb Keto Cinnamon Muffins

Wholesome Yum Keto Bread Mix and Yeast Bread Recipe

The Good Chocolate 100% Organic No Sugar Dark Chocolate Review

The Best Advice to Maintain Your Keto Diet Weight Loss

My New Irresistibly Delicious Keto Cheese Crackers Recipe


Reviews of the Keto Diet by Barbara C. (aka Brite-Ideas)

My Personal Keto Testimonial

How I Stayed Committed to the Ketogenic Way of Eating


Read More Reviews About Gifts by Our Review This Reviews Contributors


Read More Product Reviews by Our Review This Reviews Contributors


Read More Reviews About Health and Wellness by Our Review This Reviews Contributors






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, October 6, 2020

Robin Sloan's Sourdough, A Book Review

Sourdough Book Review

We love Sourdough. It is nearly unanimous in our book club. Not a cookbook, it is instead a funny story that is very readable, which is what we all need this year. It is a bizarre yet magical fairy tale of sorts set in today's world. It is about finding your passion and following it and about baking bread and the science of baking bread. In particular, it is about sourdough bread and the life of one computer programmer who learns to make some very special bread. 


BOOK SUMMARY

Robin Sloan's Sourdough Book Review
Author Robin Sloan reckons that Sourdough may be the first English book to feature a sourdough starter that has feelings as as an important supporting character.  The other main character is a lonely young woman named Lois who takes a programming job in San Francisco where she passes the days and nights of her life doing work that she does not care for. 

Eventually, Lois is finds an escape after repeatedly ordering takeout from a mysterious little café. The owners of the café serve up  combination of spicy soup and sourdough bread that is very comforting to Lois and that restores both her body and her soul. She becomes their Number One Eater or at least a very loyal, regular customer. However, her relationship with the café comes to an abrupt end but not before she takes ownership of the sourdough starter. The starter is alive, which means she has to look after it or it will die. 

Anyway, it turns out that this starter is quite special and Lois makes the best sourdough bread ever with it. Indeed it is so successful that she leaps head first into baking bread and the bread literally changes her life. It helps her to climb out of the low spot that she has been barely surviving in by introducing her to new people and giving her a passion project. 

Eventually the bread leads her to a farmer's market unlike the one you thought of when I said the words farmer's market. This market is a part of the underground economy. It is radical and it is filled with experimental foodstuffs. To be invited to this market means that there is something unusual about what you do and in Lois' case it is because of her story. That is a successful software programmer turned baker. What happens next? Well, let me just say it is all very unexpected and you will have to read the book to find out.

Sourdough is about San Francisco. It is about geeks, nerds, coders, secret societies, conspiracies, books and even about robots. It is a look at two kinds of culture: the worlds of high-tech culture and bread culture, which you might not think could collide. Finally and obviously, it's about bread.


IS IT RECOMMENDED?

Sourdough Bread Story by Robin Sloan
Yes! The book Sourdough  is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED by me though I am pretty partial to sourdough bread, too. The book may have bread as the focus but it is not boring. It is a work of fiction that is easy and light and might just make you happy. Consider what these others have had to say about the book:

The Guardian says, "Sourdough is a soup of skillfully balanced ingredients: there’s satire, a touch of fantasy, a pinch of science fiction, all bound up with a likeable narrator whose zest for life is infectious. The novel opens a door on a world that’s both comforting and thrillingly odd. Savour it."  I like this recipe and I did savour the book.

The L.A. Times says, “Sourdough displays both lightness and a yearning for escape, but only in the best sense." I agree. Lois is on an entertaining adventure that I was only too happy to go along on.

In her letter to the book blogger Nut Free Nerd (NFN) says, "You (the book) reminded me of the value of carving out time in a busy schedule to do the things you love, and that you never know where life will take you...You were so wacky and whimsical and witty and entertaining that I found myself constantly thinking about you in between reading you and I still find myself thinking about you all these weeks later." I'm with NFN. I was reminded to stop working and to make time for life and the things I love and enjoy and like NFN, I am still thinking about the book, still cultivating sourdough starter and still trying to make sourdough bread in my bread machine. 

Finally, here's a one-minute review of the book:


 

WARNINGS

Sourdough by Robin Sloan is a Good Loaf
Some prefer the first half of the book to the second as the second half takes a turn you might not see coming. I was okay with the twist, which is simply totally unexpected and not offensive in any way. There is really not a lot to be offended by in this book. There is some mild swearing and of course, this book will make you want to to eat or maybe even bake sourdough bread. There is the potential to gain weight if you find yourself needing sourdough bread. Finally, there is a lot of food wastage but at least, it's not real food that is being wasted and definitely no characters go hungry in the book. Slurry, anyone?

WHO WILL ENJOY THIS BOOK?

I think a lot of people will enjoy this book including but not limited to foodies and bread lovers, bakers and non-bakers and computer folk.  Anyone who is looking for something fun with an almost discernable scent of bread will enjoy it and as the L.A. Times says, anyone who is looking for a book that is "light but not trite" will find that this book rises to the occasion , pun intended. This book will entertain you and it might also leave you pondering which is a better of doing things - the traditional way or new and improved ways.

I recommend buying the hardcover copy of the book. It has a textured cover that glows in the dark, which is totally appropriate for the this book and the properties of the sourdough starter. Find your copy of Sourdough in whatever format you prefer on Amazon by clicking right here

Finally, I want you to admit that the loaf of sourdough bread in the introductory photograph was not baked by me. It is a product of the most amazing folk at Black Walnut Bakery in Cumberland near Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

See you
at the bookstore!
Brenda

Quick Links:



Sourdough or, Lois and her Adventures in the Underground Market by Robin Sloan


A review of the novel about Sourdough bread by Robin Sloan








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


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Monday, October 5, 2020

Review Updates: Anker PowerPort and Anker PowerCore

During a recent camping trip I once again depended on my Anker solar charger and battery charger. I realized how long I had been using those items. It was then that I decided to begin writing updates for a few of my favorite reviews.

One of the very best things about being a part of the Review This! team is knowing that we write about the things we truly use, enjoy, and honestly recommend. The recipes are the foods we cook and enjoy. The product reviews are the things we use. Our site is not clickbait; clogged up with ads. And we very rarely write reviews because someone has approached us, asking for a review of their products. It is an honor to be a part of this group. 

Anker PowerPort Solar Charger and Anker PowerCore Battery:

I go camping regularly; off-grid in West Virginia.  Even though I go with the plan to be unplugged and get away from it all, I still want to have a fully charged cell phone at all times. I have 2 items from Anker that have been super reliable and keep me feeling secure at all times.

The Anker PowerPort Solar Charger was my first Anker purchase.  I reviewed this charger in September 2017.  I still use this solar charger during every, single camping trip and I have had zero problems with it. On 2 occasions, it shut down briefly and I thought perhaps I had broken it. But those were 2 extremely hot days and very bright sunshine. In hindsight, I wonder if it (or my phone) got overheated and shut down temporarily. That has not happened outside of those two occasions. 

This charger is lightweight but folds up in a way that is easily to carry in a backpack. I HIGHLY recommend this item for camping, hiking, and other off-grid situations.

Because there were times that I was camping during several days of rain, or in the winter when daylight hours are shorter, I added the Anker PowerCore battery to my camping supplies in 2018. I also keep it fully charged during hurricane season. 

This item is basically a rechargeable battery. I charge it fully using the outlet or my laptop (using the USB cord) and then keep it in my camping supplies. It provides enough power to charge my cellphone for multiple days. I have only had one issue with the PowerCore Battery and that was due to operator error. In short, Willy (my dog) got the zoomies in The Shack and ripped the battery off of a shelf when he ran under the cord. It was quite impressive how far the battery flew... and the cord now has to be finessed into the opening in order to make full contact. Frankly, I'm quite impressed that the battery didn't break during that incident.

The PowerCore battery chargers are offered in different sizes (or would that be capacities?).  I purchased the largest that I could afford at that time. But I plan on purchasing one that has a larger "mAh" capacity as soon as I am able. That way I am prepared with more charges in the event of a longer term camping or weather situation.
Between the solar charger and the battery, I am prepared for any weather and several days of being off-grid - whether intentional or due to emergency circumstances. 

In Summary:

Yes, that was a lot of rambling to say that I purchased these items in 2017 and 2018. I use them regularly. The dogs and I are clumsy and a little rough on things. And these two items have withstood our abuse. These two purchases were well worth the money spent. And years later, I still highly recommend them! 
 
The Links for the original reviews:

Reviewing the Anker Portable Solar Power Charger (on my personal blog: Treasures, Travel, Tales).

Reviewing the Anker PowerCore Portable Charger.





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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Sunday, October 4, 2020

Furniture With Built-In Bluetooth Speakers

Product Page Here

Last week I featured funky furniture that comes with built-in USB charging stations. As mentioned in that article, tracking down unique, slightly different home decor products is my passion.

For those who aren't familiar with the variety of home decor pieces that come with built-in Bluetooth, here are several home decor items that may surprise you.

"Product Page: You can view all the products discussed below here"

Mirrors with Bluetooth Speakers

What a great idea! Did you know you can get vanity mirrors or regular mirrors to feature above a dresser, a sink, or anywhere you want that have built-in speakers? What a great idea for a gift as well. The product page features several designs. 

End Tables with Bluetooth Speakers

As discussed in last Sunday's article, many end-tables come with the USB charging stations. However, did you know that some also come with built-in speakers? Isn't that convenient? What a terrific, unique gift idea as well. If you're not sure what to get a couple for a wedding gift, this is something they can always find a spot for.

Ottomans with Bluetooth Speakers

If you prefer your furniture with Bluetooth to be mobile, then an ottoman is the way to go. Carry your ottoman from room to room, or to the outdoor porch or patio! Again, it makes an excellent gift, and best of all, they're relatively affordable.

Couches with Bluetooth Speakers

Yes, you can find these as well. I featured a few on the product page. Again, this is a perfect solution for small apartments or those who consider themselves minimalists. Your sofa serves as an all-in-one media center.

Headboards with Bluetooth Speakers

Not only can you get headboards with built-in USB charging stations, but you can also get them with built-in Bluetooth speakers! How handy is that! When you want music in your bedroom, no more ugly speakers; just turn on the speakers in your headboard.

Consoles with Bluetooth Speakers

Consoles double as storage and provide a decorative piece for hallways or fill walls that need a little something. Look for consoles that come with Bluetooth, and you'll have a place to play your music. The nice part about a console is how they look more like a music cabinet.

Desk or Gaming Chairs with Bluetooth Speakers

Go ahead and choose a gaming chair as your home-office desk chair. They typically come with built-in speakers. When you're working at your desk, you'll be able to listen to your music via your chair's speakers.




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Saturday, October 3, 2020

Halloween Skeletons Make Great Decor

 How do you like to decorate for Halloween?  I think skeletons are a great choice.

Hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil - image from Pixabay.com

There are a number of different ways to incorporate skeletons in your Halloween decor from basically a few bones in a graveyard style theme to using actual poseable skeletons.

You can even use animal skeletons like a dog or a cat for a little bit of intrigue.   I actually have a friend who's a yoga teacher so when I saw skeletons doing yoga I thought that would be fun for her Halloween display.

Photo by Lou16, purchase online here

The best image I saw to incorporate a skeleton inside was in a private Halloween group, unfortunately, I can't share that image with you, but it was basically a skeleton in a wedding dress sat in a chair.

I love the idea of getting a posable skeleton and putting an old wedding dress on it and sitting it in a rocking chair in the corner of the room.   It was a very good looking display (although they didn't use a rocking chair) and let's face it many of us keep our wedding dresses without ever using them again so a perfect way to give them a little airing as well.

Of course if you wanted an outside skeleton bride you could always pop her
on a garden bench with or without a groom - photo from Pixabay

How would you incorporate a skeleton into your Halloween decor?




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Friday, October 2, 2020

Reviewing "MyPillow" Mattress Topper

MyPillow Mattress Topper
I previously reviewed our MyPillow pillows, which we still love. Because the pillows were such a hit in our home, we also opted to buy the MyPillow mattress topper. 

I wanted to wait a while to review the mattress topper. For me, it was as important, if not more important, than the pillows. Plus, it is a lot more expensive than pillows, therefore I wanted to make sure it was worthy of my recommendation. Now that we have been sleeping on the topper for 4 months, I believe I can give you a review based on experience, not just first impressions. 

For me, a mattress topper is not just about making a bed more comfortable.  It is about being able to sleep through the night without experiencing discomfort from being too soft or too hard.  Both can result in pain.  My days of sleeping on floors or on the ground, long ago passed.

 

Why I Need a Great Mattress Topper

I have mentioned in past articles that I was born with severe scoliosis (curvature of the spine). Because of the multiple curves in my spine, as well as having a pronounced raised hip on one side, I do experience pain, especially if I do not have good support when sleeping or sitting. My mattress matters a lot to me, as I think it does to everyone, whether they suffer with scoliosis or not.  I'm not quick to embrace any kind of change. However, it was time for a new mattress on our bed. 

When You Hear the Price of a New Mattress
My husband and I started shopping for a new mattress, only to discover many of the current mattresses are made of foam. I wasn't quite sure how I felt about that fact and started testing the mattresses with a great deal of apprehension.  In spite of feeling like we were on display in the store, we tried several mattresses. There was only one that would suit my needs. When the salesman, unapologetically, quoted an astronomical price that exceeded $15,000, I walked.   No, perhaps you could say I ran from the store. I was not about to spend that kind of money on a mattress that may or may not feel great for 8 hours each night, for years to come. I thought our mattress was looking a whole lot better and clearly had at least 15 more good years.  In the car, my husband was saying he would do whatever I needed regardless of price.  My mind was saying, $15,000 for a mattress?  I paid less than that for my first automobile! 

When we got home, I promptly went online and ordered a Memory Foam mattress topper.  The Memory Foam Topper price in 2017 was $116.00, clearly significantly less than $15,000.  I had to wait several days after we received it to put it on the bed.  It smelled awful!  It took a while for it to air out enough to be able to sleep on it, but I felt this was a good compromise.


The MyPillow Mattress Topper

After sleeping on our MyPillow pillows for a month, I decided to try the MyPillow Mattress Topper too.  My Memory Foam mattress topper was now 3 years old.  My husband described its condition as having to sleep in craters.  Okay, so it had clear recesses.  I guess it's "memory" of our body impressions was just a little too good, but I was still not in the mood to spend an automobile price on a new mattress and the Memory Foam mattresses were no longer available.  So, we bought the MyPillow mattress topper.

 MyPillow Three-inch Mattress Bed Topper (King)Check Price

The first week was a real adjustment for me.  It was harder than the Memory Foam, but I was definitely sleeping through the night and waking up pain-free.  After a month, all was still well and I no longer thought it was too firm.  After 4 months, I can say, with certainty, that this mattress topper is the right choice.

Benefits of the MyPillow Mattress Topper 

  • Available in 7 sizes
  • 3" Thick (requires deep pocket sheets to cover existing mattress & topper together)
  • Includes a Removable Zippered Cover made of Phase Change Material (body temperature regulated) which is Machine Wash & Dry
  • 4 Corner Straps that Holds Topper in Place
  • 10 Year Warranty
  • Made in the U.S.A.

Upon receipt, it is necessary to let the mattress topper lay out for a day to regain it's full shape after being wrapped for shipping.  The faint odor will also disappear quickly.





If you would like to read my review of the MyPillow pillows which I mentioned earlier, you can find it by clicking here.



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