29 October, 2015

34 oz. French Press Coffee Maker and Tea Set by #LuxEssentials #Review

     I lost my Dunkin card over a week ago.  It's on auto-renewal and you'd think that I'd have it either replaced or put a pause on the renew.  But when I find that sucker, it's gonna have like $40 on it.  I know I'll find it... I think.  Last I had it I was in the passenger seat of my van in town, so we must have been headed straight home from there.  No one's used it.  I'll likely find it either in my van or in a pocket of something that I forgot I wore.  Until then, it's homemade coffee for me.
     That's okay though.  I make a pretty mean cup of java with the French Press Coffee Maker and Tea Set that I just got from Lux Essentials.  By the way, despite my disheveled hair, that's the first photo that I've taken in a while that's not photo shopped for acne reasons.  I'll tell you more about that later.  But for now, it's onto the coffee!  Do you know what a French Press is?  I ask this with all sincerity because up until quite recently, I didn't know how one works, and I'm almost 30.  So if you're like me and you don't know, here's a brief rundown:
     It's a carafe type device that allows you to make coffee by just adding coffee grounds and water and letting it sit.  There's no real filters of any kind unless you count the screen.  If you get really hot water from the tap, then there isn't a need for electricity either.  You just mix 4 cups of hot water, desired amount of coffee grounds, cover and steep for 4 minutes, then gently press the screen down.  Voila!  Coffee!
     Firstly, you all might remember that I did tell you about one a few weeks ago.  I loved it, it was awesome.  But alas, nothing lasts in my house and as The Big One put it in the sink to get ready to wash dishes, she busted the glass.  Good thing they sell replacements.  This one has been in my house as long as that one was and luckily, nothing terrible has happened to it yet.  So it's at least got that on it's side.
      So here's my thoughts on this one:
     I love the design of it.  It's got this cool Z shaped design of it and the cover is nice and black with a black knob.  The all black and glass look is very simple and I like it.  It's bound to match just about any kitchen.
     It came with an unlabeled scoop, which is nice, but I wasn't sure how many to use.  I did take a photo of the scoop, but I'm super generous and let the toddler play with the camera... so you can guess how that went.  It's a cute round scoop though.  It also came with an extra screen for when this one needs replacing.  Word of advice: don't be silly and leave something liquid sitting in it for say, a week.  It's not so good for the screen, you know, in case you thought it might be.
      The cover is made of plastic and is kind of slanted with slits in it that you can pour from.  It forms a seal so that the water stays hot and does it's job.  If I'm gonna be completely honest here, I'm gonna say that I didn't think the seal was great.  It was better when I actually followed directions and brought the screen nice up and tight against the lid, but then it wasn't level.  It's worked better for me with practice.
     I think it worked really well and has held up well.  I could make good coffee relatively quickly.  So overall, I'm pretty happy with it and I'd recommend it.  What do you use to make your coffee?
     To learn more, check out Lux Essentials 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.

Wooden Boomerang and Sling Shot Set from #HappilySafe #Review

     I love seeing my kids be active.  I hope they will always love being active.  It's why, despite cringing whenever a sports practice is on my doorstep, I still sign them up.  It makes me so happy that they love something that will help them live longer.  With any hope, my kids will all grow up to be healthy, moral, addiction-free, active adults.  That's the plan.  Sometimes I worry about their future, especially when I see them lounging on the couch, face planted into their tablet or my phone.
     But whenever they choose a toy like the kite they grabbed this week, or are happy to try out their new bow and arrow set outside, or when they get excited about new shin guards or sports cones, I know we're doing okay.  And I know they will love their new gifts when they get them on Christmas.  It's a wooden boomerang and sling shot set from Happily Safe.
     Now, here's a little nugget of truth for you... I did have some issues with the packaging and shipping of this set.  I had to get some assistance with a piece that was missing from the package because it was torn open before being placed in the Amazon box.  Customer service was amazing.  We got it all straightened out lickety split and a new one sent to me with two day shipping.  That package was also torn, probably during shipping due to jostling around on the tuck.  It was just the packaging.  If I'm anything, it's patient so it didn't bother me, things happen.  But I'm thinking that the cellophane type packaging might not be the best type for this particular toy.  If this is going to be a gift, plan on wrapping it sans package.
     Now onto the cool stuff!
     The set comes with a boomerang that's about 11 or so inches from tip to center.  I used a piece of printer paper to measure, super accurate *wink*.  It's beveled on the top where it's printed, I say printed, it's actually water painted with eco-friendly and non-toxic paint.  It happens to be my favorite color, so I'm happy there.  It's flat on the bottom where it's plain orange except for two areas on the edges that are worn down to help it fly and return.
     I had to actually look up how to throw a boomerang the right way because I've never had one return to me and I wanted to be sure to do this thing justice when I tell you about it.  So I Youtubed it, then I snuck out when the kids weren't home and tried it out for myself.  I actually took my sister out with me.  Together we tried for about 10 minutes to get returns and we actually did quite well!  I still need to practice, but hers returned to her several times and mine almost returned most of the time.  So it's definitely not a wooden curve passing itself off as a boomerang, it actually comes back.  I'm impressed!  We had a lot of fun, so I know my kids will.
     The boomerangs took quite a lot of diggers, sometimes into the driveway.  But when we came in, they only needed small touch-ups in the paint on the edges, it did really well holding up to all it's abuse.  I don;t think the kids will even be able to tell that I test-drove their toys.
     Another add-in part to it was the sling shot.  To be honest, as cool as the boomerang is, I was more excited about the sling shot.   It's a perfectly sized rugged wooden sling shot with a thick rubber band and small leatherish rectangle piece in the middle of the bands.  What's awesome is that even if the band breaks at some point, the sling shot is made so that it can be replaced easily.
     I grabbed my nephew for this one.  We practiced indoors, like most smart, level headed people would.  He brought out some soft foam balls he had lying around and we loaded that sucker up and shot, thinking you know... how fast could small foam balls REALLY go?  That thing bounced off our target so fast, it went straight back up over our heads and across the living room like a bat out of you-know-where.  We were both shocked at the power that that one little toy had.  This thing is a keeper for sure!  I know The Big One will adore it.  I bet she'll practice her aim all summer next year.  We'll just have to have a rule about not aiming at people.
     So here's the pros and cons of it...
They're wooden
They're eco-friendly and non-toxic
The sling shot has awesome power
The boomerang returns!

Packaging was less than ideal.

     So I'm officially recommending this.  I love wooden toys anyways, but it was so much fun using both of these that I can't not recommend it.  I love this set!  When was the last time you had fun with kids' toys?
     To learn more, check out Happily Safe 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.

Pro Kitchen Chef Tools 2 Stage Knife Sharpener #Review #PCKT

     I've got quite a few chefs on my gift list this year.  Not so much professional at all, though one worked as a chef for a while... but family chefs, heads of the kitchen.  I'm trying to get together some kitchen themed gift baskets for them.  Sometimes we fall into these roles of chef or taxi driver, etc.  Sometimes it's fine at first, but gets old or grating and I understand that.  I can't even remember the last time I cooked an actual meal and did something that wasn't frozen or mostly prepared for me.  I'm definitely in a rut.  So for these chefs on my list, I'm hoping to change it up and help them expand their options.  I want them to be able to cut their work load in the kitchen so that cooking is just fun.
     One of those gifts in particular is the Pro Chef Kitchen Tools 2 Stage Knife Sharpener because no one wants to make supper with dull knives.  It's a kitchen pet peeve of mine.  But how many of us actually own a knife sharpener?  I know that I didn't!  This one is a silver colored, handled sharpener that has 2 different sharpening parts.  The first is a course sharpener that gets the knife to be pretty much sharp.  It does the big work.  The second is a fine tuner, the honer.  It smooths out the roughness so that your blade is not only sharp, but sleek.
     I tried it out before storing it away for Christmas.  You don't want to give away something that doesn't work, after all.  So I got to see how this really worked.  First of all, the handle is a plus, it was nice to be able to hold it firm without risking my fingers to do it.  The instructions were pretty clear and easy to follow.  I found my dullest knife.  It's one that looks nice, looks like a qood quality knife, but it's one that's also almost met the bottom of my trash can a few times while I was organizing.  I never use it.
      I started by using stage 1.  I placed the part of the knife blade that's closest to the hell inside the sharpener slot, then firmly slid it until I reached the tip of the blade.  I had the knife pointed slightly downward and did this several times.  The difference was incredible.  I wish the pictures would have shown it better.  The knife seemed to actually be capable of something beyond bruising tomatoes!
     Then I went on to stage 2.   I did the same thing with the same angle and motions.  The way that this works is that it has two opposing diamond sharpening wheels that grind your knife as it passes through, then when you pass on to phase 2, two more opposing wheels use a finer grind to finish it off.  I found that the knife was much better than before.  It cut easier and was sharper to the touch.
     Some pros on this sharpener is that it has the handle to protect your fingers from the knife, it has grippy rubber feet to keep it in place while you sharpen, and it does a pretty decent job at sharpening your knives.  It will also match any stainless steel kitchen, so that's cool!  I didn't really see any major cons on it, honestly.  It's a pretty nice sharpener.  So I'd recommend it!
     I also grabbed some microfiber cloths from PKCT at the same time.  They are awesome!  They shine up stainless steel really well and are super soft.  They're great to add to the kitchen and shine up the new sharpener with.
     How sharp are your kitchen knives?   

     To learn more, check out Pro Kitchen Chef Tools on Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Youtube, Pinterest, Amazon, or on their website at ProKitchenChefTools.com.
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.

Rainy Day #Deals and #Coupons

     It's hard to complain about rain when you think about what people in Mexico went through this past week.  As much as I dislike rain, it does need to happen sometimes.  Let's just hope it clears up before tomorrow so that I can clean that atrocious van and decorate the trunk for trunk or treat.
     In the mean time, I do have something to life the spirits a little.  I've got lots of cool promotional codes for you that might make shopping a little lighter on the wallet this year.  There's a bunch, so I'm just going to get right into them.  These first two expire today, so act quickly if you want them!
AStorePlus® Mixcolor Knitting Craft Crochet Locking Stitch Markers Clip-100 Pcs

Priced at just $5.99 with free shipping.
Take an extra 10% off with Promo Code 2LMUX874

Expires TODAY!

Gravydeals® SIM Card Holder Slot Tray Replacement and Remover Eject Pin Key tool for Samsung Galaxy S6 G920(Gold)

Priced at $2.60 with $1.99 shipping.
Take an extra 15% off with Promo Code: ROTOUA8W
Expires TODAY!

iPhone 6 Case, Fast Jewelry® Cute Rabbit Transparent Flexible TPU Slim Case with Hanging Cord for Apple iPhone 6 6S 4.7 Inch-Black

Priced at $7.98 with Free Shipping
Take an extra 30% off with Promo Code: P3SK7KD7
Expires 11/28/2015

Galaxy S6 Edge Plus Case, Gravydeals® Heavy Duty Shock-Absorption Dual Layer Hybrid Armor Defender Case for Galaxy S6 Edge Plus - Rose Red

Priced at $7.40 with $1.99 shipping
Take an extra 30% off with Promo Code: YPQYD4BH
Expires 12/07/2015

Galaxy S6 Edge Plus Case, Dealzip limited® Bling Bling Crystal Rhinestone Diamond Fox Head Design Hard Back Case for Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus (Pink)

Priced at $13.29 with Free Shipping
Take an extra 30% off with Promo Code: YPQYD4BH
Expires 12/07/2015

     Well, that's the lot of them, I hope you can find use in them.  Have a wonderful day, guys!

27 October, 2015

The Magical Zoo #3 #Childrenbooks #Review

     Okay, folks.  Time to hear what happens next in the Magical Zoo series, with The Magical Zoo #3.  Remember Sally and the Zookeeper John?  They're in a pickle because all the animals from the magical zoo have escaped into the library and they need to be captured.  Some are the dangerous type, some the loud type, and animals just don't belong in the library anyways.
     Last we knew, they had worked hard to capture Tibby the young tiger.  Now, they're after another striped animal, the zebra.  To be honest, my very first impression of this installment wasn't good.  The first picture in it was an exact copy from the last book.  Actually, six of the fifteen pictures were exact copies except for the animal in some cases.  Another two of them were pretty darn similar, just flipped or copy/pasted into a slightly different background.  So it was a little disappointing right off the bat.
     But anyway, onto the storyline... Sally and Zookeeper John go off looking for the zebra, who also goes outside.  The zebra tries to hide behind cars, but doesn't do too well of a job.  She's spotted and runs in fear.  She's in a world that she doesn't know and finds herself in a lawn by the library where Sally and John do their best to wrangle her in.
     It's a continuation of a nice story that shows how to truly care for animals and treat them lovingly.  The characters have nice expressions and I can't blame the author for being tired of doing so many illustrations.  But it does bring down the awe factor considerably to see the same image over and over.  But it also does have the hidden animal facts scattered throughout, like how a zebra is white with black stripes, not the other way around.
     It reminds me that we need to visit the local animal kingdom again soon.  My girlies don't remember seeing the zebras and all little girls need to see a zebra in their lifetime.  Have you ever been to a zoo?
     To learn more, check out the book's author, Dan Jackson, on Amazon or GoodReads.

  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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