Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Wool Dryer Balls Review

I have always loved the idea of dryer balls and for the longest time have limped along with my home made versions - yarn balls stuffed in socks to keep them unraveling since I never had the right yarn to make my own for real.  So, when I bought these, I was very excited.
6 wool balls come in this fabric bag.
These balls are a good size, big enough to hold in one hand, but barely.  They are lightweight but solid and sturdy.
Made from high quality wool, there is no unraveling with these because all of the ends are fully blended to make a seamless ball.  
Using them is a simple as tossing the balls in to the dryer and turning the dryer on.  These balls work to help absorb moisture as well as break apart the clothes while they tumble to further speed along the drying process.  I have even added a few drops of essential oil on a couple of balls to add some scent to my laundry, using these in place of dryer sheets

I am very pleased with these dryer balls and anticipate them sticking around my house for many years to come.  You can get some for yourself here

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

LED Night Light

With little people in my house, a nightlight is a necessity.  I have used the kind with replaceable bulbs that get turned on and off, but never found that as convenient as the idea of a self-regulating light.  I decided to purchase these LED night lights by Lunara and give them a shot.
 The lights come two to a pack, and are packaged in a thick plastic case that needs to be cut away.
 Inside are two lights that plug into outlets.
A photo sensor on the bottom of the light signals when to illuminate.
 When lit, these lights give off a soft yellow glow.  Bright enough to see, but not overpowering, blinding or disruptive.

We have placed one of these in our children's room and another leading up the stairway for easier night travel.  For those who are sensitive to lights in the room, this light will bother you.  It is best in a passageway or outside in a room that does not directly connect to the sleeping area.  Though it is not bright, it is still a constant light that stays on from dusk until dawn.

So far, I am impressed with these little lights.  They have eased bedtime troubles for my little ones and illuminate stairs that can be dangerous in the dark.  Easy to use, easy to maintain, there is no reason not to give these lights a shot for yourself.

You can find them here

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

Rain Chain Review

We love fun yard decor in my house, and I loved the idea of a rain chain when I saw it.  With little ones in love with the idea of fairies, it fit so well, so I got it.

This rain chain comes well packaged and protected.  Each bucket is separated by bubble wrap to prevent scratching.
The six buckets are separated by a stretch of chain that starts with a hook at the top and ends with a jewel at the bottom.
Butterflies adorn the sides of the buckets.
This product works quite simply.  

By hanging it in place of a downspout or in a location where rain is sure to fall off the roof of the home, nature does the rest of the work.  Water falls from one bucket into the next, cascading over the sides and through the holes in the bottom of each bucket to create a fun downspout option as well as some soothing sounds.

You can find this product here

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

Friday, June 24, 2016

Chefast Herb Scissors Set

Part of my gardening experience this year has been to add a few herbs.  As I grow them, I have begun to harvest some and found that a better way of chopping them was desirable, so I got a pair of herb scissors.
These herb scissors come well protected as they ship.
In the box, there are 2 bags for storing herbs or whatever else you desire, the scissors and a protective case.
The scissors are super sharp, with five blades.  They open and close smoothly.  The guard acts as a protector when not in use as well as a cleaner with grooves that slide between the scissor blades to clean off any remaining herbs.
These scissors work great!  They cut through fresh or dried herbs with ease. When cutting wet or fresh herbs, they do stick to the blade, but a tap or pass over with the guard/cleaner and it comes right off.
The pieces left behind are finely chopped and in nice sized pieces.  I cut a basil leaf, which left some longer pieces, but a second pass over the long pieces fixed that quickly.

I am very glad I added these to my collection and cannot wait to begin harvesting all of the goodness from my garden to use in cooking and store up for later.

You can find this product here

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

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Understanding Exposure

Understanding Exposure
by Bryan Peterson

I have been slowly learning on my own how to take better pictures with my DLSR camera.  Each time I take pictures, they get better with practice.  However, I was looking for some help without investing in a class or reading a long, technical, confusing book.  When I found Understanding Exposure, I was hopeful it might lead me to be an even better photographer.

From the moment I opened the first page, I knew I had found a valuable book to guide me on my learning to be a better photographer.  This book is packed with information, but presented in a way that is easy to read, engaging, simple to understand, and packed with information good for the novice all the way to the experienced.  Peterson, a long time professional, offers tips, examples and common language to explain how the camera works, why options do what they do, and how to navigate the camera.  From there, he teaches readers how to hone their skills to better control exposure, lighting and frame subjects to get better pictures.

I have enjoyed reading through this book and intend to keep it in my library for years to come as a reference.  One chapter in and I already learned so much!  I plan to read through this book a second time in the near future because I know I can already build on what I have recently learned.  I highly recommend this book for any photography newbie, there is so much to learn!

* I received this book for free in exchange for my honest review as a part of the Blogging for Books program

Grill Mat Review

Summer is here, and grilling season is upon us.  I had heard about mats made for grills, and was curious to see if they were worth the chatter, so I ordered some.

These grill mats come in a small cardboard box.  All instructions are printed on the box.
 Inside the box, there are two rolled up thin mats.
 This set of two 16"x 13" mats are made of Teflon, Fiberglass PTFE (Polytetrafluroethylene) (PFOA (Perflurooctanoic Acid) free) coated fabric.  I did research on these letters and terms to learn that Teflon is PTFE.  Teflon creates the non-stick surface we are all familiar with.  PFOA is used to make Teflon and is usually burned off in the process.  While Teflon is not suspected of causing cancer, PFOA has been found to be "possibly carcinogenic to humans" .  The company claims that these are "FDA approved healthy".
 At first, I was under-impressed with how thin they are, and immediately questioned how good they would actually be.  This product claims "extra thick heavy duty" mats, but I definitely would not define them with such words.
These mats can be used in any charcoal, gas or electric grill application for temperatures up to 500 degree, which also makes them great for oven liners to catch drips.
I enjoy grill marks on my brats, hot dogs and hamburgers, so I do not see myself using these for such foods.  However, I can see the benefit in using them with fish, vegetables, fruits and kabobs.   These mats are non-stick, reusable, dishwasher safe and easy to wipe clean.
You can find these grilling mats here

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

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Packing Tape with Dispenser Review

Though I am not currently planning a move, I go through a lot of packing tape in my house due to my kids.  We are often creating or repairing something, so I like to keep it on hand.

This set comes with 6 rolls of tape and a dispenser.
 The dispenser is your basic simple plastic case with a blade of teeth to cut the tape.  The rolls easily install into the dispenser.
 The tape rolls themselves are fairly thick and should last quite a while.
 The tape itself is on the thinner side, but durable and tear resistant.  It does leave a mark each time it loosens from the roll, so there are white lines along the surface any time more is pulled off the roll.  If you are looking for a clear, even seal on a project (like repairing a tear in a children's book), this tape is probably not the one for you, but for taping boxes and such it is just fine.
For my basic kid-type projects and fix ups around the house, this tape is going to work out just fine, and I would trust it for taping boxes for moving as well. 

You can find it here

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

Ohuhu 33 ft - 100 ft Expandable Hose

I do a lot of gardening and yard work in the summer, so a reliable garden hose is always necessary for me.  Recently, I had the chance to try this expandable garden hose.
 I had already tried a similar hose from a different manufacturer and was pleased with it - until recently when I tried to use it and found it's inner hose burst despite it being stored empty.  Sad day for me, because I really like the convenience of these hoses.  So, when I got the opportunity to try a new one, I took it.
This hose already comes with an 8 function sprayer.  It is not anything special or fancy, just your basic plastic model, but for general around the house stuff, it works just fine.
 The hose comes with brass ends, which is much better than other hoses with plastic ends.  These feel strong enough to last, not cheap and definitely will not break or crack if dropped.
The hose starts out coiled up, 33 feet long.  It is a snake-like design with ribs that flex to expand instead of the others with the fabric that expands from folded to flat.  Once filled with water, it expands to 100 feet in a matter of minutes.  Once the hose is filled, it is ready to use and will continue to fill as it is being used.  Once the work is done, simply let the water out and the hose re-coils for storage. 
It looks much the same empty and filled, though it definitely feels fuller and does expand.  It makes me feel more hopeful in it's ability to last longer because of this.
This style of hose is really convenient!  No kinks, bends or bulges that interfere with water flow.  They are lightweight and easy to pull around the yard, and durable enough to be drug over rocks, sticks and other obstacles without causing damage.  I love that it stores so neatly and that I don't have to fuss with coiling it back up carefully or needing to find a hook to hang it on.  So far, I am very pleased with this hose and have hopes that it lasts me several gardening seasons.

You can find this product here

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

Monday, June 6, 2016

Natural Riches Omega 3 Fish Oil Review

In my quest to live healthier, I have been taking fish oil supplements for some time.  I have tried many different kinds, some cheap, some expensive, many with the fishy aftertaste or burps. This time around, I turned my attention to Natural Riches Omega3 Fish Oil
The bottle is well sealed and packaged with an outer plastic ring seal around the cap and an inner bottle seal as well.
Once the bottle was unsealed and opened, I was curious about the smell and sniffed inside the package.  I was sad to note an obvious fishy smell.  Perhaps this is from the factory, spilled oil from inside a capsule, or just the result of having such a product in a bottle.  I noticed that the pills themselves were about average sized, a long oval shape.  

The 180 capsules are an amber hue with a coating that is not sticky, but is soft and flexible if pressed.  The soft gelatin capsules have an Enteric coating to help increase the absorption of the Omega-3's (by slowing down the ability for stomach acid to break them down) and work to reduce fish burps.  Two capsules makes a daily serving.
When I consumed them, I awaited the telltale fishy evidence, but was happy to find I did not experiences any of those effects, even with my concern at the fishy smell in the bottle.  Small enough to easily swallow, they go down easily and do not lodge or taste bad on the way.  

This product is made with fish caught in Chile and Peru, from smaller fish on the low end of the food chain to further reduce mercury.  Molecularly distilled, they are lab tested as well to verify purity and safety.  Made in the USA and backed by a money-back guarantee.

You can find them here

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