Well, The NinjaBread Men…

20190108_025128 (3)Personally, I like the ones I made from the air dry clay a whole lot better…but my husband says he likes these guys and can’t wait to taste them, especially since I told him all those little colorful balls are candy covered chocolate. I had to decorate these guys with a toothpick dipped in the watery glaze. I call it that because when I loaded it into the piping bag it just ran out the tip like water. Very hard to make nice lines with it so watery, so it was just simpler to use a toothpick. And there were some too brown edges… 20190108_025128 (4)20190108_025059 (4)

I used rainbow candy sprinkles for the eyebrows and for the mouths. 20190108_025128 (5) 20181223_172424 (4)

Here’s one of the clay ones I made to show the difference. The squeeze tubes of the dimensional paint gave much more control for doing relatively nice lines and facial features, buttons, neckties, etc.20190108_025057 (2)

But, to put a good face on this, I got some cool cookie cutters, some colorful sprinkles I can use for Easter sugar cookies,  several Wilton cookie decorating tips, some couplers and bags to use them with, and a container of four different colors of sugar which can be used for the sugar cookies. So, some useful cookie making things came out of this ninja bread making adventure. At least they are now done! Not all projects turn out well, but at least in this case the results are edible, well…after the too brown edges are broken off. My oven can be super annoying, what’s in the front where I can see in can look fine but the back row where I can’t see can be just frazzling away. At least they aren’t totally burned. And, like I said at the beginning of the post, I like the kick fighters I made from the air dry clay a whole lot better! If I were reviewing this cookie making kit, below, I’d say get it for the cookie cutters, but make your own gingerbread recipe for the cookies and use frosting to decorate them instead of the glaze that comes with the kit. And, at least the box is useful for the pictures of the fighters for making patterns for them. I think my ones would look a whole lot better with colorful frosting on them and the cookie decorating tips would give much nicer lines for the facial features, buttons, clothing features, etc.20181117_014432 (3)

So, they are what they are and I’m glad they are done and pretty much edible. Things finally worked out where I had a big block of time to make them, and can you believe it took six hours from when I started them to when I declared them done. Decorating with a toothpick and placing little pieces of candy one at a time can take a lot of time! The round cookie in the top picture was the last of the dough, not enough to make another fighter, so I made a round shape with it. And they all actually do look better in real life than they do in the pictures. The camera made them look darker than they actually are. Cookie baking… sometimes things turn out great and sometimes at least they’re edible!!!  HAVE A GREAT DAY! HAPPY CRAFTING!

And the verdict is in on these cookies! My husband says that even though he’s not normally a big fan of gingerbread,  he actually really likes these cookies. He says the icing has no flavor, I’m not surprised at that. And he says they would be even better, he thinks, with chocolate chips mixed in the dough and butter cream frosting piped on top of them. He is a major fan of chocolate…pretty much anything chocolate and he loves butter cream frosting. So, even though I couldn’t get them to look like the guys on the box, taste wise they turned out pretty good! So, there you go!

A Bit of a Product Review #4

20190107_023621 (2)20190107_023638 (2)It really annoys me to have to do this review for this product, but something needed to be said. My husband received these socks, U A Charged Cotton 2.0 Crew Socks, for Christmas from his sister who purchased them from Academy Sports. And she is not to blame in any way for what these socks are doing. They are sold by Under Armour and are 76% Cotton, 22% Polyester, and 2% Spandex. And as you may be able to see from my pictures, they are starting to disintegrate and they have only been washed and worn two times. Plus they shrank up almost to the size that a young boy would have been comfortable wearing them. I followed the washing instructions exactly, wash cold water, rinse cold water. Air fluff as in no heat and then hang up to air dry. Hand fulls of the black fluff are ending up in the lint catcher of the washer and the dryer. I’ve tried stretching them to make them wearable for my husband, I deformed coat hangers to hang them on so that they won’t shrink back up while drying. The black fluff is ending up all over our rugs all through our apartment. I don’t think these socks are going to last a whole lot longer with the way they are shedding. I tried to convince my husband to let me use the socks to make sock creatures, but he said he wanted to try to get at least a little wear out of them. Now I’m sort of glad I didn’t use them for sock creatures, even made that way they would probably have kept shedding and eventually be just a pile of fluff. On a scale from zero to ten with zero being the absolute worst and ten being the very best, I would only give these socks barely a one. They are not worth the money my sister-in-law paid for them. We are really disappointed. I thought Under Armour was a good brand, I guess some corners were really cut in the production of these socks. If they were never washed or worn maybe they would last longer. We are not happy!

20190107_023505 (2)On a much lighter note! My husband gave me a NordicWare Microware Popcorn Popper for Christmas and it is really great! It is BPA and Melamine free. It has a twelve cup capacity and pops up the corn kernels in about 5 1/2 minutes on high in the microwave oven without having to use any oil. The batch of popcorn you see in the popper started out as a third of a cup of kernels  and popped up to completely fill the bowl and then some. The package recommends hand washing the bowl and the lid which is no problem, they are both light weight and easy to handle.  I really like this popper! On a scale from zero to ten, with zero being the absolute worst to ten being the very best, I give this popper a TEN!!!!  It is so nice!

20190107_022940 (2)Being a vegan, I eat a lot of beans, vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts and seeds. The beans and some of the veggies can cause gas, plain and simple, especially the beans. So to tame the gas I drink a mix of several herbal teas which take care of the problem. On the far left of the above picture, is Heather’s Tummy Tea, which is made from Fennel seeds which are very good for gas and upset stomach in general. I tear open the bag and use about half of the amount in my tea mix and then I chew up the seeds and eat them, they are actually very tasty and taste like licorice and this tea is organic. In that tin you get 45 extra large tea bags, it is Non GMO, and is a real good amount for the money and I ordered this tea from amazon. com. Next in line is Numi Moroccan Mint Tea. Its only ingredient is spearmint leaves and boy is it good! Spearmint is another gas buster as are almost all the mints, and is very gentle on the stomach. It also is organic and you get 18 tea bags per box and it is Non GMO. I get this tea at my local health food store. If I can’t get the Moroccan Mint Tea, I use Bigelow Mint Medley tea, which is a mix of peppermint and spearmint leaves. It is Non GMO and you get 20 tea bags per box. And I get this tea at my local Walmart. Now to Celestial Seasons Chamomile tea. It is very calming and very good for soothing a troubled stomach and busting gas. It tastes kind of like apples, very nice. It is Non GMO and you get 20 tea bags per box, it used to be 24, but what can you do? I get this tea at Walmart and it is probably available on amazon.com for a very good price. And now on the far right is Celebration Herbals, Absolutely Organic, Catnip Leaf & Blossom tea. Catnip is not just for cats! It is a very calming tea, a member of the mint family, very soothing to the stomach and very good for busting gas. And supposedly, catnip is very good for preventing cataracts in the eyes, though I don’t know how much you’d have to drink to achieve that effect. In the box you get 24 tea bags and is Non GMO and I get this tea from amazon.com. Now a word of warning, don’t drink Chamomile and Catnip teas together in the same 24 hour period, use one or the other or you’ll end up a bobble head person, you won’t be able to stay awake!  All these teas are caffeine free and I usually have them with a type of real tea such as white tea, green tea or black tea. But that is just my preference, I like my teas together in the same mug, they all flavor each other very nicely. And it does drive my dental hygienist kind of nuts, but you know, out of my cold dead hands, I’m not giving up my tea! I just brush my teeth well and use a whitening tooth paste every day and it keeps the tea stains down to a minimum. Now for a rating, all these teas individually work very well for taming gas and stomach troubles in general. But combined they work even better, just not the chamomile and the catnip on the same day, use one or the other. And all these teas are very gentle and safe to use. On a scale with zero being the absolute worst and ten being the very best, I give all these teas a 10! They work that well!

So, there you go! I hope my product review is helpful and maybe inspire someone to maybe at the least give one of the teas a try. I use them everyday and they really help me! And I’ll do a regular tea review on another post, I am a major hot tea drinker and some are better tasting than others. Thank you for reading my bit of a product review #4 and I hope you have a very good day!

Since I did this review, I have found out that Bigelow Tea has changed its recipe for the Mint Medley Tea. Originally, all that it had in there was peppermint and spearmint. Now it has : peppermint leaves, spearmint leaves, rose hips, lemon peel, and hibiscus. I avoid products with hibiscus in any amount in them because it has estrogen-like properties. I had to have bad cells removed from my right breast several years ago and my breast surgeon  has advised me to avoid herbs and foods that have high amounts of plant-type estrogen  in them and hibiscus does. I also had to give up red clover leaf tea, a favorite, and all soy foods and alfalfa sprouts and black beans. He said it is better to be safe than sorry, to try to keep anymore cells from going bad. He said it is okay for me to use fennel seed tea, just don’t take ground fennel seed powder pills, too concentrated. So, I have started using Celestial Seasons Peppermint Tea when I can’t get the Numi Moroccan Mint Tea. I get the Peppermint tea at Walmart for a very good price and it is also available from amazon.com

So, always read labels on products you buy, companies will sometimes change recipes and ingredients and don’t always say anything about it or give any warnings to the possible buyers of those products of changes in said products. It can be very annoying when you go to get a product that you have used for years and find out the company that made it has made changes to that product and now you can’t use it for health reasons. So, there you go, again! And I hope you all have a very good day!

A bit of a product review #3 The garden & home product edition…

20181101_183818 (2)I used to use these NeemAura Citronella Sticks when I worked in my garden to keep the mosquitoes away. See the taller package, that is how the package used to look, they came as an actual incense stick that you could stick in the ground and you’d light them and they worked great. They would last for two hours. Now they come in the shorter package, there is no longer a stick part and you have to finagle them onto that metal thingy which is an absolute piece of cheap crap! They break and fall apart. If you actually manage to get them to stay in one piece and onto the metal stand/holder thing, the slightest breeze can blow them over and the burning tip breaks off. And all the while you are trying to get the product to work properly, the mosquitoes are coming up behind you and having a field day chewing up your backside and any other part they can get at! So, to make these “sticks” work after a fashion, I light them and put them in a tall can like the ones asparagus spears come in. I set the can next to one of my pots to protect it from sudden breezes and the stick stays burning and does its job like its supposed to do but now for only an hour. I’m really not impressed with the so called new and improved version of this product, I can make it work but I liked how it was originally a whole lot better. In my opinion the “improvement” the company made to this product should never have been made, it was fine the way it was. Now it’s almost more trouble than it’s worth. On a scale from 1 to 10 with 1 as worst and 10 as best, I give this product a 2. Before it was “improved” I would have given it a 10, it was that good! I got this from Amazon.com as it is no longer available locally in stores.20181101_183543 (2) “Dynamite Mater Magic”, in my opinion, works almost like actual magic for growing big healthy tomatoes and peppers. This is a SUPER GREAT product! I feed it to my tomatoes when I grow them and also to my pepper plants. This last growing season I was able to fill eleven gallon size food storage bags with peppers off my pepper plants and my last pepper plant was still loaded with peppers until we had a hard frost last week. The product supplies pretty much everything the plants need to produce vast quantities of tasty tomatoes and peppers and it helps protect against blossom end rot and cracking. On a scale from 1 to 10 with 1 as worst and 10 as best, I give this product a 10, it is that good! I buy this from Lowes.com and from their brick & mortar stores.20181101_183639 (2)It is the time of year when all kinds of crawly things want to come inside and hang out with you over the winter. We even have problems with centipedes getting in, can’t stand them and if they bite you it means a fast trip to the emergency room. So, I use Orange Guard, it is made with the oils from orange peels and works really well for killing and repelling creepy, crawly and flying home invaders. It will take down a fly with one direct hit, and it will kill a cockroach in ten minutes or less, depending on how much you are able to hit it with before it makes a lightening run to hide from you. I haven’t actually tried Orange Guard on centipedes yet, usually I wack them with my shoe, but it might work on them, but because they are so dangerous I would stick with the tried and true shoe wack method on them. Least ways with that method you know they’re definitely dead and not lurking somewhere close in a weakened state but still able to bite the crap out of you. So, a warning about Orange Guard, it can remove paint from all kinds of surfaces, so if you use this product, after spraying it, wipe it off the surfaces you get it on after it does its job killing the bugs you aimed it at.  And don’t spray it on plants, it can burn and kill foliage. All and all, Orange Guard is a very good product. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 as worst and 10 as best, I give Orange Guard a 9 and that is only because it can remove paint off household surfaces. With careful use, Orange Guard is a very effective bug repelling and bug killing product. I buy this at various health & natural food stores.

So I hope my product reviews are useful to someone shopping for garden and home bug repelling and bug killing products and for SUPER GREAT tomato and pepper food! I hope you all have a very nice day!

A Bit Of A Product Review #2

20181029_151020 (2)This TERRASOUL CAROB POWDER is really good! It is very finely ground and not gritty. It is NON-GMO and USDA Certified organic. There are only thirteen calories per Tbsp (6g) and has 3g Total Sugars and no added sugars. I use it in my tea as a natural sweetener that also gives a nice chocolate-like flavor. The only gripe I have against this product is that the pinch closure doesn’t close well once opened, so I store the bag in a plastic gallon size food storage bag that closes with twist ties to preserve freshness and protect from moisture.  On a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the best, I give it a 4 1/2, and that is only because of the bag closure problem, the carob powder is SUPER GREAT!!! I ordered this from amazon.com.

20181029_151251 (2)These ‘CORN THINS’, from REAL FOODS, are very good! They are organic, non-GMO, USDA ORGANIC. They are fat free, 23 calories per slice, 7% Dietary Fiber per slice and gluten free. There are 46 calories in a 2 slice serving, 31mg of sodium, 9g total carbs, 1g dietary fiber and 0g sugars. All that is in them is organic corn, 99% organic expeller pressed sunflower oil and sea salt and that’s it. I use these instead of rice cakes. I got these at Lovey’s Healthfood Market & Cafe, in Wilmington, NC, and these can probably be ordered from amazon.com(seems like you can get just about anything from amazon now). On a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the best, I give them a 5 cause they are SUPER GOOD!!! Great corn flavor and hold up well to having various toppings slathered on them! 20181029_151811 (2)I eat mostly gluten free but I don’t eat rice anymore cause it started giving me a problem. So millet is a good alternative. Unfortunately, for some reason, millet is kind of hard to get here where I live in Jacksonville, NC. I usually now have to drive to Wilmington, NC, and buy it at the health food stores there or I order it from amazon.com. ‘Anthony’s Organic Hulled Millet’, is my current favorite which I order from amazon.com. It is gluten free, vegan and organic. It cooks in about 45 to 55 minutes(similar to brown rice) at 1 cup dry millet to 2 cups water. It has 210 calories in a 1/4 cup serving, 2g total fat, 0mg Cholesterol, 0mg Sodium, 40g Carbohydrates, 5g Dietary Fiber, 0g Sugar, 6g Protein. It is a product of the USA. Millet has a very mild flavor and cooks up to a porridge-like consistency. When you prepare millet you need to pick through it dry just like you would if you were preparing dry beans from scratch, cause it is a natural product and some times there are small rocks and grit and bits of twigs and chaff that need to be picked out. Other than that it is very easy to fix. You bring the two cups of water to a boil in a two-quart pot, turn down the heat and add the millet. Bring it back to a boil and then turn down the heat to about low to medium-low and cover loosely and simmer for 45 to 55 minutes. You do need to keep an eye on the millet while it is cooking cause if the heat is too high it will boil over all over your stove. So, on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the best, I give this millet product a 5 because it has really good flavor and I’ve never had a problem with this brand tasting of mold.

So there you go! I hope someone finds my product reviews helpful. Have a great day!

A Bit Of A Product Review #1

20181006_064212 (2)   I got this product, ‘Lemi Shine’,  before the hurricane because it said it would remove mold, soap scum and bad smells from the washing machine. After Hurricane Florence finally left, our washing machine sat for a week in high humidity and 90 to 95 degree heat because we didn’t have power, so it really started to smell bad inside it. As soon as we got power back, I let the hot water tank heat up and then I used this product as per the directions. It seemed to work really well, the machine smelled lemony fresh. Then I washed clothes and everything was fine, or so I thought. A week later I washed a load of my clothes and when they were finished I opened up the lid and about had a cow! My clothes looked like someone had dumped a bucket of mud all over them. The camera didn’t pick up the muddy stains on my pillowcase very well, but all my clothes look like I’ve been wallowing in the mud like a pig. And the stains won’t come out. The soap scum and sludge had finally come out of the machine and deposited all over my clothes. ‘Lemi Shine’ works really well but it is unpredictable when the sludge will come loose. I’m glad I hadn’t been washing a load of my husband’s clothes, he wouldn’t have looked too great at his job with his clothes looking like he’d been rolling around in the mud. So I can’t give this product a good recommendation. It is too unpredictable. I’ll probably use my pillowcase to make a zombie softy, as it looks like something that came up out of the ground now. Just about right for a zombie.

20181006_064313 (2)   On the other hand, this battery powered fan, made by ‘O2 COOL’, is one of the best products I’ve ever used! We got this before the hurricane and used it the whole time we didn’t have power, it probably kept us from getting heat stroke. It runs on eight “D” cell batteries or you can plug it in. The batteries run it for three and a half days before needing to be replaced, we used it constantly. One or more of these fans should be a part of everyone’s hurricane survival kit, plus the batteries to run it, in my opinion. I give this product my, “SUPER BEST”, recommendation!!!!!!! So, there you go! Whenever I try a new product or not so new product, I’ll post a review of how I liked it or didn’t like it. Hopefully, it will be helpful and maybe help keep someone else from having a bad experience with a product like I did.