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01 September, 2015

#LastMan Paracord #Survival Kit Braclet #Review

     I know I've talked a lot about camping and you are all probably sick of it by now.  But we still haven't taken our trip yet, so I'm still all amped up on camping tips and ideas.  Tips like the "luggable loo", it's seriously just a bucket, a bag, and kitty litter.  Who knew!?  And things like how to make coffee from a pot of water, how to pack food to stay cold all weekend, lots of fun stuff.  We've started collecting gear, like sleeping bags, travel games, flashlights and food pouches.  I can't wait til we go.
     One thing we're packing is for the hike we're going to go on in the woods, because we don't want to get lost.  And if we do get lost, we want everything we could need to stay safe and get home.  We're taking the Last Man survival kit bracelet.  It's an entire kit!  In one bracelet!
     This bracelet is amazing.  It's your typical survival bracelet from 12 feet of nylon paracord, except that it also includes a compass, 2 1 3/4" safety pins, 1" alcohol prep pad, a dried grass tinder bundle, a 2" diameter serrated fire striker and 2 1/4" ferrocerium fire starter rod, two 3/8" egg sinkers, two 1/2" foam bobbers, 30' of 10lb test fishing line, two 1 1/8" line swivels, a snelled #2 offset kale hook with 20" leader line and a snelled 3/0 offset kale hook with 20" leader line.  That's a LOT of survival stuff in one small package!

     So of course we tested the bracelet out and I hope that you will forgive me, but I didn't rip it apart and test all the individual items.  After all, putting the bracelet back together would be a highly unlikely event unless you know weaving, which I don't.  I'm half debating giving it as a Christmas gift to a survival enthusiast in the family (providing we don't have to teat into it while camping).  But we didn't have to get into it to check all the important testables.
      First, we tried the fire starter aspect of it.  We held the fire rod just as instructed in the user manual and scraped the serrated edge if the fire striker onto it quickly.  It took a few times to scratch the coating of the fire starter rod off, but the instructions said that it would.  It gave a really nice spark and I know it would start a fire with no problem.
     The serrated edge is nice and sharp and would cut anything necessary, such as small twigs, rope, fishing line, etc.  I thought that using the fire striker and fire starter rod as the bracelet's clasp was a really neat idea.  It did cause a small problem when some of the fishing line from in the bracelet caught on the serrated edge when one of the kids turned the ring around.  I was not impressed, I had been being careful not to let it snag.  Now I keep it turned 90 degrees.  Hopefully your kids don't get into EVERYTHING like mine, but if they do, just be warned that some fishing line may come out.  We fixed it with a small crochet hook and it looks fine now.
     As far as the rest of the stuff, it was very easy to find that it was all included, I just curved the bracelet backwards and you can see each item through the inside between the paracord.  It's all wrapped neatly inside a plastic baggie that can be just pulled out.
     To take the stuff out, you are supposed to untuck the melted ends of the cord and ease the bag of contents out.  However, I really think (though didn't test the theory) that if you bend one end of the bracelet and fiddle with pulling the rest of the bracelet away from that end, that the bag will come out without unweaving the bracelet.  I can't stress it enough, taking the bracelet apart is pretty undoable.  But you can still use the bracelet without the inside contents if you ease it out another way.
     Some features worth some extra mention: The paracord that it is made of can be taken apart and there are seven strands of cord inside, so this is actually potentially 84' of usable cord for anything you might need.  If you can manage to do it without ruining the casing, you could use the casing for things that don't require heavy too much strength, like drying socks or something.  Another one is the compass.  I haven't really mentioned that much, but it's definitely accurate.  I learned where North-East really was from my house and it points me that way every single time.  Turns out that my internal compass isn't as awesome as I thought.  It isn't terrible, but it isn't great.  I thought North was closer to where North-East actually is.
     Our thoughts about this bracelet are that it's awesome!  It;s the best survival bracelet I've ever seen (no offense to the wonderful Parkers who made us some pretty great ones).  It really has everything you would need to survive outside except a couple survival blankets and a pot.  We're impressed!
     What would you want in a survival bracelet?  Anything not listed?

Except for the product(s) given to me for the purpose of reviewing, I received no compensation for this post. All opinions are 100% my own.

31 August, 2015

#BlackDerbyHat from Funny Party Hats #Review

     Today is PunkyButt's birthday and she has decided to spend all day wearing her "birthday mask" and dress.  Her dress is different than the one pictured because she got a new dress after we took the picture that was better for her purpose.  But the point is, she has dressed herself up for the day.  She may have just started a new tradition.  She has always been like that though.  She;s eccentric and she loves costumes.  All my kids love costumes.

     Even Boogie likes to dress up, mostly in the form of hats, glasses, and shoes.  He's a lot like the Punk that way.  That's why I always try to keep dress-up items on hand.  I'm not great at organizing them, but I like to have them.  So when I saw the black derby hat from Funny Party Hats, I was excited to try it out.  I knew Boogie would love it and he does.
     The hat is made of black felt and has a ribbon around the middle that can be left as is or can hold a decoration, such as a feather.  We found that unlike many other costume hats, this hat holds it's shape very well.  It is soft, but sturdy.
     Although it is a bit loose on the younger kids, it doesn't slip because it is made of felt and not smooth plastic.  It fits adults well and also older kids.  And adult with a large head might find that it fits tight.  Generally speaking, it did fit okay on everyone that tried it on, so it should work well for whatever size person it's being used on.
     We were pretty impressed with the quality of the hat and we are very happy with it.  I have kids that can be pretty rough on things and this hat has been kicking around for a couple weeks without any harm coming to it, so I would say that it's pretty durable.  We will have it for quite some time.
     What's your favorite kind of hat?
     To learn more, check out Funny Party Hats on Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, or their website.

Except for the product(s) given to me for the purpose of reviewing, I received no compensation for this post. All opinions are 100% my own.

30 August, 2015

#CafeArtiste Deluxe French Press 8 Cup #Coffee Maker #Review

     When it comes to coffee, I'm pretty easy to please.  As long as it's not burnt, not dark roast and has at least some creamer and sugar, I'm satisfied.  Usually I just get something at Dunkin Donuts.  I used to make it at home.  I have a 12 cup coffee maker, a single cup brewing system, and even some instant tea bag style coffee bags.  None are my preferred method.  The 12 cup is WAY too much for me.  The single cup isn't enough for a one of my cups without brewing a second cup.  It's also a pain in the butt to clean the filter.  And the instant is just not super good.  I'll take it, cause I'm not super picky, but only if necessary.
      I've seen French Press coffee makers before and in my mind, I equated them to the frothy espresso machines at high end coffee shops.  I didn't dare touch them.  But not too long ago, a friend made me a cup with her French Press and I saw that it didn't tale long and the coffee was good.  So when I had the chance to have one of my own, I was super excited.
     I got a Cafe Artiste French Press 8 Cup Coffee Maker.  It came with a scoop and a small instruction accordion booklet.  The instructions were pretty straight forward.  Mix X amount of coffee and X amount of very hot water into the carafe and brew four minutes.  Then slowly and evenly press the strainer down and enjoy!  There was more to to than that, but you get the idea.
     I feel like this coffee maker is very well made.  The glass carafe is supported and surrounded by a decorative metal piece that holds and protects it.  The handle and knob are bot coated for a soft non-slip feel.  The strainer doesn't let any grounds into the coffee.  The whole thing is just great.
     It takes far less space on my counter than both coffee makers that I currently own and looks beautiful as well.  Overall, I am extremely happy with this coffee maker and I wonder why I let myself be intimidated by it for so long.  It's going to completely change my whole morning!
     How do you make your coffee?
     To learn more, check out ADNOMIX on Amazon.

Except for the product(s) given to me for the purpose of reviewing, I received no compensation for this post. All opinions are 100% my own.

#BathToyOrganizer With Four Sea Squirt Toys #Review

     We don't have a bath tub in our house.  I consider it a good thing.  When I was growing up, I fell asleep face down in the bathtub.  When my mom knocked on the door, I didn't answer.  In a panic, she yelled at me and I woke just in time.  I had breathed in a whole bunch of water.  Even as an adult, I know that I could very easily fall asleep in the bath tub if we had one.  I sure do miss a good soak and I know my kids would have loved having bath time, but it is what it is and it is that way to be safe.
     But "bath-time" can be boring here.  We can plug the drain, but it only allows for an inch or so of water before it threatens to flood the bathroom floor.  We do have a removable shower head, so that's not quite so boring.  But we can't really use bubble bath or anything.  So toys are pretty essential.  Without them, I'd have to fight kids to get the kids clean.  Problem is, it means more things taking up space in the shower.  We use baskets, but the baskets take space and we have so much in the shower already between razors, loofahs, soaps, shampoos, etc.
     The obvious solution would be wall storage.  I happen to be a big fan of the hanging mesh bags and have tried them before.  My last one came up missing a suction cup mysteriously, so I haven't had one for a while.  I did keep the bag in case I found the suction cup.  But I think I will throw it away now because I have a new bath toy organizer from MoriBerry. Look at the difference in size:
      So while it would hold small squirt toys, it wouldn't hold barbies to well or bath books, or any other larger toy that the kids would want in the shower.  The Moriberry bag is 13.5"x 17.5" and has been tested to hold up to a pound of toys.  That's a good amount of toys!
     While trying it out, I had a smidge but of trouble getting the suction cups to stay.  However, my tiles do have a very slight ripply texture and that makes any suction cup stick hard.  I feel like these suction cups are as good as any.  When I did get them to stay, they stayed.  I can put things in and take things out and the bag stays.
     I think the squirt toys are cute.  I know that there is always concern about mold growing inside squirt toys, but as long as you suck bleach into them every so often and rinse out well with water, mold doesn't get a chance to grow.  I think these squirters are great toys as long as you take care of them.  We've never had a problem with these type water toys.  As a bonus, the bag is easily dried, washable, and mold resistant, so as not to contaminate the toys.
     Boogie is obsessed with them.  He loves the turtle and the "quack quack" best.  The colors are vivid, the animals are all water-loving animals, the seal has a cute face, the turtle has sweet hearts, and the octopus even has ink on it.  Those type details create great teaching moments.  Did you know that octopi, squid, and cuttlefish all have different colored inks?  So black is fully appropriate for an octopus' ink splat.  Just for future reference.  And in case you aren't full of useless octopus knowledge, Moriberry gives a list of fun bath time activities.
     All-in-all, I love the bag.  I wouldn't mind having a bag like this on all three walls of my shower for different things.  I would use one for loofahs and one for accessories, like our bath visor or rinse cup.  It's a good basic color that will match almost any decor as well.  Hopefully it will last for a long time.
     How do you store bath toys?  Do you keep them in the bath?
     To learn more, check out Moriberry on Facebook, Amazon, and on their website.

Except for the product(s) given to me for the purpose of reviewing, I received no compensation for this post. All opinions are 100% my own.

Tri Blade #WonderVegSpiralizer Vegetable Spiralizer #Review

     I always have visions of a healthier, slimmer me.  Do you ever get that?  That feeling that you aren't at home in your body and you were meant to look different.  Truth is, I'm no stranger to being heavy.  Although I wasn't really overweight until late elementary school, it was only for a short time in high school that I ever was actually thin.  But I feel like I'm supposed to be thin.  Despite being lazy and loving warm and saucy foods, I'm supposed to be smaller than I am.  Does that sound silly?
     Maybe it is.  But sometimes I come across something that makes me think it's really possible.  Something like vegetable noodles.  My favorite food is pasta, so what if I just make vegetable noodles whenever I want pasta?  That could work, couldn't it?  Up the vitamins, lower the carbs and calories... it's worth a try.  So I tested out the WonderVeg Slicer Vegetable Spiralizer.  I looked up all kinds of things that I could do with it and got super amped to use it.
      Some of the first things that I noticed about it when I took it out of the box was that the extra blades tuck neatly away into the side of the spiralizer.  I thought that was a nice feature.  I also noticed that it has suction cups on the bottom to hold it in place, a lot like the old fashioned meat grinders.  But I also noticed that the device itself was very lightweight and seemed to be made of plastic that might break easily.  I was happy that it came with a cool recipe book to help me get started though.
     I was pleasantly surprised that it seemed to shred my cucumbers into spiral noodles effortlessly.  I felt like the handle was a bit loosely made and it made me nervous, but the cucumber was really very easy to slice and it came out beautiful, despite the wobble.  The next thing I tried was apple for The Big One.  Again, it sliced it into a ribbon of thin spirals with no problem at all.
     I am very happy with the sharpness of the blade.  Some spirals did tend to get stuck in the blade and I had to retrieve them, but it was a minor annoyance.  I had myself a cucumber salad and The Big One had apple slices with only about two minutes effort.  So I was happy.
     Unfortunately, the next time that I tested it out, it didn't fare so well.  The cutting again, was great.  There was minimal digging out required, but the spirals and the slices were wonderful.  We were doing crab apples, big fat ones.  Maybe it's because the crab apples are more on the hard end of fruits and vegetables, but most of the way through the first apple, the handle broke.  It was cutting very easily, but it just snapped apart.  I was pretty sad, but I wasn't entirely surprised.  I really hate to say that about a product that I was given, but as soon as I opened it, I had reservations about it breaking.
     So that was a bummer.  I plan to take some E6000 to it and fix it and continue to use it because it does make amazing noodles and "chips".  I'm not sure that I would recommend this product simply because it seems fragile for a kitchen tool, but I do love the blades.  I think if it were made with harder plastic, it would be an incredible essential in the kitchen.
     What do you think?  What would you make with a spiralizer?
     To learn more, check out WonderVeg on Facebook and on Amazon.

Except for the product(s) given to me for the purpose of reviewing, I received no compensation for this post. All opinions are 100% my own.
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