Tuesday, April 26, 2016

TV and Furniture Anti-Tip Straps Review

I purchased some new TV straps because I have always been afraid that one day my little ones are going to knock over our big screen TV on themselves and get injured. When I got them in the mail, please see that they were very simply packaged with very little extra stuff to deal with. 
Installation was a snap! The two straps simply screwed in-place to the back of the TV with included bolts. From there, one simply attaches the bottom half of the strap to the TV stand with also included screws. Straps are adjustable fort. Heights televisions which was very nice as well. Now that they are a catch, I feel very secure that my TV will not tip forward. We have even tested this a little bit by gauging on the TV gently and it is not going anywhere. I am very pleased with this product and will be recommending it to my friends with children.

You can find them here

* I received this product for free in exchange for my honest and in-biased review.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Collapsible Travel Dog Bowls Review

  Traveling with a pet means more gear to pack. Any time I can find a way to condense and save on space, I am interested. So, when I saw these collapsible pet food bowls I knew I needed them.
In red and blue, these bowls can adjust to two depths just by unfolding them a little or all the way. 
They are more than sufficient for holding food and water for a small dog like mine (a yorkie).
 I can fit a day's worth of food in one bowl, use the other for water, and travel knowing I don't have to either find something suitable at my destination or hope what I brought doesn't get broken on the way.

Made of silicon, these are much better than the lined fabric versions I own that eventually leak water and fold upon themselves, making eating or drinking a pain. I love that they also have caribibers attached, which makes them great for hooking to a bag or pocket for walks/hikes or day outings.
I just love these bowls. Definitely not for larger dogs, except for a quick drink maybe, they are great for the toy and small breeds though.

You can find them here

*I received this product for free in exchange for my honest and unbiased review

Monday, April 11, 2016

Math Dice Chase Review

Think Fun, one of my favorite game companies, has released another fun learning game for kids.  This time, the focus is on learning math facts.
Math Dice Chase is designed to be used played with 4-6 players 3rd grade and older, as it is made to be played using multiplication facts.  The play of the game is simple.  Two people on opposite sides of the table each roll their pair of colored dice and then multiply the two numbers and state the answer (which can be checked by observing players).  Once a fact is answered correctly, the dice pass to the next player and continues around.  The challenge comes in the fact that each person takes a different length of time to roll and solve, causing the dice to eventually catch up with the same person.  This is how the "Hot Potato" factor of the game plays in.  The idea is to stay ahead of the other set of dice so as not to be caught holding both pairs of dice.

This game comes with a storage bag, instructions and four 12-sided dice - two in blue and two in purple.
The dice are fairly large in size, not your basic black and white dotted playing dice.  These are kid friendly, big enough for little hands to easily pick up and roll without slipping out of hands with lesser fine motor skills.  The numbers are easily read and well etched into the dice so as not to rub off with regular play.
It all stores nicely in a small bag to keep pieces together.
We have had fun playing this game as intended with the whole family as well as in an adapted form one-on-one with some of our littles.  The game can easily be adapted for addition or subtraction using the same game play rules, or just for practice.  It is also handy to take on road trips or use for quiet times.  There are so many math learning possibilities for this game beyond the written rules.  This is why I love ThinkFun so much!  The games they create are high quality, learning heavy and easily used for learning and fun beyond the intended use.  Another addition to our educational manipulatives that I will be holding on to for years to come!

You can find this game here

* I received this product for free in exchange for my honest and un-biased review.

Reflective Running Vest Review

I recently acquired this new reflective running vest and reflective arm band combo in my search for safety gear that will get me noticed.  Though I am not a runner, I am active in the view of traffic regularly as a crossing guard for employment and walking for enjoyment.    The more I stand out, the better!

I was able to choose the size I desired for this set, and I went with a medium planning to wear it over my coat when weather is cold.  It comes packaged in a plastic bag, nothing fancy.
 The arm bands are quite large and have a Velcro strip that makes them adjustable.  They easily fit over my biceps in a fleece shirt, with room to spare, so I have no doubt they will work over a winter coat with some adjustment.  They are a full yellow band with plenty of flex to them, a plastic feel and look that stands up to moisture easily.
 The vest is not a full jacket style vest, but more of an x-shaped vest that covers shoulders, chest and back, and then the waist.
 It is made of a fine mesh, which makes it breathable and lightweight.  There are a few gray reflective panels on the chest, back and shoulder fronts and backs, but otherwise this is mostly yellow.
 The vest slips over the head and fastens at the waist, opening on either side with adjustable Velcro strips.  It is not a full length vest, but more of a short, above the waist type deal.
 The main gray panel in the front sits just above a large mesh zippered pocket that could be used for holding a phone or keys, though I wouldn't think I would want either of those in such a position banging against me constantly for running.  Since the vest is not a full abdomen length vest, the pocket sat right a stomach height for me.
 When the vest is on, it fit me securely, but I had plenty of wiggle room in my fleece jacket and extra room to adjust on either side as I had the Velcro secured as close as I could.
Once worn for my daily use, I did note that the vest tended to ride up with my arm and upper body movements, and I had to keep tugging it down as it tended to hang up on my coat or shirt.  It is OK, but more bulk than I imagine a runner would want.  For walking or hiking visibility, I would imagine it would suit someone just fine.

You can find this product here

* I received this product for free in exchange for my honest and un-biased review.

8 Simple Rules for Raising Great Kids Book Review

8 Simple Tools for Raising Great Kids
by Dr. Todd Cartmell

Every parent wants to raise a great kid, but there are so many signals, rules, suggestions, books and other input coming in from all sides that it can be hard to determine how to do anything right by your kids.  Setting out to raise them in God's design sure does help thin down some of that noise, but still leaves a parent struggling to sort through all of the input.

Thankfully, books like "8 Simple Tools for Raising Great Kids" are available and written with God's plan for our kids in mind.  I am glad to have stumbled across this book.  Withing its covers, parents, grandparents, teachers and others caring for children will find many great things.  This is an easy book to pick up and read because it is broken up into 8 Tools: talking, listening, influencing, connecting, teaching, encouraging, correcting and leading. These tools are further broken up into smaller bits in 5 chapters for each tool.  These chapters average 3-4 pages, so they are short, quick, to the point and easy to read in the few minutes you find to sit down during the chaos of the day.

I have enjoyed this book and learned so much.  From the first chapter, which addressed talking, and grabbed me right away with the idea of controlling volume and talking to kids the way you want to be talked to.  Many of these tools are vital for healthy adult relationships as well as those between adults and children.  I have walked away with many nuggets of wisdom I am now trying to put into action.

Dr. Cartmell writes from experience, training and real life experience.  His words are relevant, contemporary and timeless.  This is a book that should be a part of the parent training library for sure!

For a limited time, between April 15, 2016 and May 15, 2016, you can get this book for 50% off through Moody Publishers with this code: GREATKIDS16

You can also find this book here

* I received this book for free in exchange for my honest and un-biased review.  All opinions expressed are my own and I was not compensated for them.

Monday, April 4, 2016

iCleverSmart Universal 3-Port USB Wall Charger Review

We have a lot of Apple products in our home, so the charger battle is a regular occurrence.  When we travel, it is a problem sometimes to find enough outlets or to even remember enough chargers.  Thankfully, a bit of help is available to us now.  I recently purchased this 3-port USB travel wall charger and we now have three times the charging capability from a single outlet.
 The iClever charger comes in a compact design.  When not in use, it folds up into a little cube.  
When one is ready to use it, the prongs simply flip out and it is ready to be plugged in.  
Plug your USB cord into one of the three ports and charging begins.  Ports are lit by a dim blue light when the unit is powered.
 The triple USB ports are really handy, freeing up valuable outlet space.  The included "SmartID" technology claims to recognize your device to maximize charging efficiency.  I don't know how to review or back that claim up other than to tell you this is what the seller claims.

This product comes with a 30 day money back guarantee, a 12 month replacement warranty and a lifetime support guarantee.  With that, it's a safe bet to try one out.  

You can find them here.

Disclaimer: I received this product for free in exchange for my honest and un-biased review. 

Anxiety and Stress Relief Essential Oil Review

My newest essential oil acquisition comes from Phytopia.  This brand seems premium from the moment I opened the box.  Inside, I found a black suede bag tied with silver ribbon.  
Within the bag, I found the oil bottle sealed in a shrink wrapped plastic to prevent leaks and secure the bottle.  Once that seal was removed, I could access the goodness within the brown glass bottle.
The bottle has a dropper style insert for easier, cleaner and more controlled distribution of the oil.
The oil is clear and thin, as I would have expected.
Within this bottle of "Tranquility" is a stress and anxiety relieving blend containing the following:
- Organic Carrier Oils (Olive Virgin, Sunflower, Evening Primrose, Jojoba)
- Organic Essential Oils (Orange Sweet, Geranium China, Vanilla, Rose Maroc)

This 50 ml bottle of oil is already mixed with carrier oils and ready to be used on skin,  It is not an oil meant for diffusers.  To use, simply apply on skin and massage around the shoulder and neck.  It is not for internal use or for children.  It has a 36 month shelf life when stored in a cool and dry place.

Each bottle has a manufacture date printed on it so the user can be sure of shelf life.

I really enjoy the smell of this oil.  It has a vanilla overtone with orange coming in second and the geranium and rose filling in slightly.  It is very pleasant, light and soothing.  I am truly loving this oil.  While I know it is not going to last as long since it is already diluted (and I don't know the ratios), I love that I do not have to do the work and that a little goes a long way.  I have no doubt this bottle will last me quite a long time.

You can find this product here

*I received this product for free in exchange for my honest and un-biased review.

Pet Stain and Odor Remover Review

A new dog in the house often means accidents and the inevitable stain or smell that comes with having and accident.  I have tried many products over the years to remove the odors from pet accidents, and more often than not, have been disappointed.  

Trinova has an enzyme based cleaner available that I recently put to work in my home.
It comes packaged in a plastic bag, with sprayer disconnected for protection during shipping and to prevent leaks.
There is also a foil seal in place under the screw-on cap.  When those are removed, you will find a slightly soapy appearing liquid of a slight yellow hue within the bottle.  The smell is pleasant as well.
The sprayer simply screws onto the neck of the bottle and you are ready to go after those messes, stains and odors!
I had opportunity to try out this spray on urine, vomit and feces and was happy with the results each time.  I was first and foremost thrilled with the smell.  I find the harsh chemical smell off-putting as well as feel unsafe using products with such smells around my family and pets.  This has a pleasant smell, somewhat natural in scent, but not perfumey or chemical.  After dry, the smell is gone, which I also love.  

I followed the normal procedure of removing anything off the carpet/floor first and then blotting with a clean white towel to absorb as much liquid as I could.  I then sprayed on the stain remover, scrubbed it in a little with my fingers and walked away.  When I returned later, the spot was gone, the smell from the accident and the cleaner was gone, and all that was left was a clean spot.  Of course, I used this on only fresh spots so far, so I can only speak to the spot removing ability in that situation, but feel comfortable in believing it would do good on any stains that have set in, probably with a couple of repeat applications.

This will definitely stay in my cleaning supply arsenal!

You can buy this product here

* I received this product for free in exchange for my honest and un-biased review.

Plastic and Trim Restorer Review

The season for home car washes and care is soon upon us where I live.  Winter has melted away and the temperatures are warming.  One of the things I do each spring is wash, wax, and detail my car.  There is a lot of black plastic and trim outside of my vehicle, and between regular use and wax buildup, it always looks grey or dull.  So, I purchased this product in hopes of restoring the black finish.

Trinova's Plastic & Trim Restorer comes packaged in a plastic bag to protect packaging in case of  a leak during transport. which thankfully did not happen.
It comes in an 8oz plastic bottle with a flip top lid ad a foam applicator pad.
The product itself is clear and fairly odorless. There was no harsh chemical smell or overwhelming smell.
The first nice day that came my way after purchase, I set out to see what this could really do for my car.  I chose to start with the mirror mount on the door.  It always looks awful because it gets hit with windshield run-off as well as weather and whatever else mother nature has in store.  It was spotted, grayed and dull.
Application of the product was simple.  I just squeezed a little of the liquid onto the applicator pad and rubbed it into the vehicle trim, rubbing so it was uniformly distributed.  It took very little product to achieve the desired results.  Once it dried, I buffed it a little with the same applicator pad and took a step back.  I was very pleased!  Such a difference and with very little effort.  I am anxious to put this to use on the rest of my vehicle when it comes detail and wax time.
You can find this product here

* I received this product for free in exchange for my honest and un-biased review.