Tag Archives: reviews

Our Review of the Amazing Cat Sitter “As Seen on TV!” DVD

April 12, 2012

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Well, I know you’ve been waiting with BAITED BREATH our review of a cool cat video we picked up recently. It was vigorously advertised, claiming to entertain your cat for hours! Gee, you could almost leave your home for a week’s vacation and the cat would be riveted to the TV screen, right?!

We decided to get Livvy, our Tabby-Point Siamese cat, to give her personal opinion of the video. I won’t bore you with a text transcription of her review results, I’ll just post the video here. Enjoy!

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Review of the Nesco GardenMaster Dehydrator

January 17, 2011

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I have wanted a dehydrator FOREVER. We all like to eat dried fruits, but the prices at the grocery store are excruciating. For years, I kept promising myself (and the kids) that we’d get a dehydrator… someday.

Well, I recently got a bonus at work, and shelled out the big bucks for the Nesco GardenMaster Dehydrator. I got it online for a little over $100. I hope the fruit tastes good, at least good enough to make the big expense worthwhile…

Nesco Dehydrator

The dehydrator is huge– I didn’t expect it to be so large– and comes with a nice recipe book and a package of spices for making jerky. I haven’t scrutinized the recipe book; it’s pretty basic, though. I was eager to try dehydrating some fruit (before it rotted away!) so I skipped the recipes to simply try out the dehydration machine.

Dehydrator1

The machine comes with 4 trays and 2 plastic tray liners. The trays are made of plastic, resembling netting. After a lot of use, I could see these becoming brittle and cracking. Nice thing is that replacement trays are available. You can also stack additional trays if you have large loads to process.

Dehydrator2

I decided to dehydrate my rapidly ripening papaya, and a few very over-ripe Anjou pears. The instructions say to avoid under-ripe and over-ripe fruits, but what do they know. (haha)

Papaya3

The dehydrator has a temperature control (95 to 155 degrees F) and on/off switch. It has no timer or automatic shut off (a real bummer). Since most loads take anywhere from 8-12 hours, you have to get your own timer and make sure you are home (or awake) to turn off the dehydrator. To do four trays of pretty juicy fruits, I set the control for 145 degrees, and ran it for 10 hours.

The dehydrator fan is NOISY. You know how noisy an uninsulated dishwasher can be? It’s about that loud. If yo can, run it at night, or expect to holler through your kitchen duties. It’s noisy.
The fruit turned out pretty good! I think I sliced the papaya a little too thin, but it’s still good. They are crunchy and feel like paper. But stil very edible and they are terrific with mixed nuts and raisins. The pears are magnificent. They are chewy and so sweet, with a slight taste of wine about them.

papayadried

The Nesco Gardenmaster can dry fruits, vegetables, herbs, jerky, granola, etc. I am looking forward to trying the jerky, and experimenting with fruits like bananas and mangoes. For $107, it is pretty pricey. If you don’t use a dehydrator often, a smaller unit would do just as well.
So far, so good. I like this appliance and it works well for me. If anything develops, good or bad, I’ll be back to report. Thanks for reading!

Note: I was not given this product nor compensated in any way for this review. All the opinions are mine and the facts are true to the best of my knowledge.

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New Kitchen: The Delta ToucH20 Faucet

September 30, 2010

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Delta Faucet company graciously gave me a Delta Pilar Pull-down Faucet with ToucH20 Technology. We absolutely love this faucet! I am a Delta fan, anyway– when we moved to this house, the bathrooms had Delta faucets (old Delta faucets, because the bathrooms had been remodeled in the 1970s and 80s). They work marvelously, after all these years– not a leak and they still look great after decades of washing and use. I was pretty impressed. So when Delta asked me if I wanted to test out their new kitchen faucet, I jumped at the chance.

It also looks stunning in the new kitchen:

DeltaH20_5
DeltaH20_1

We installed the faucet ourselves (as we have everything here). The installation was very easy. It’s always helpful to install the faucet before placing the sink onto the countertop. But the Delta faucet is structured to be easy to install for new installations, or for old– it requires NO basin wrench! Hurray!

deltafaucet connect

Delta Faucet connections

Delta Faucet almost installed

deltafaucetgoingin

The faucet has a few very unique features:

  • It’s got a very high and wide faucet spigot, which makes it great for filling large pots.
  • The “touch” technology is just that– you do not need to push the lever to turn on the water. All you do is touch the faucet or the lever to turn on the water. It’s great when your hands are dirty or sticky.
  • The spigot has a removable sprayer, which is very nice. The end of the spigot has a button that you can switch from stream or spray. The sprayer reattaches to the spigot with a magnet (Delta’s “MagnaTite technology”).
  • The faucet comes with a terrific soap dispenser that you can fill from the TOP of the sink! I love that. No more handsoap sitting messily on the counter.

DeltaH20_3

DeltaH20_2

The Touch feature is battery operated (takes “C” batteries). The electrical component in installed under the sink, in the cabinet. I have had the batteries running for three weeks now, and haven’t had to change them yet. So it’s nice to know the faucet is not a battery-consuming monster. Moreover, if you prefer not to use the touch technology, just shut it off and use the lever as you would any other sink faucet. It’s great that there’s a choice.

DeltaH20_4

The Hubs said the instructions for installing the sink are superb. He didn’t have any problems understanding them at all. He does have one tip when reading the instructions: make sure you read the ENTIRE section before you begin doing anything. A section may have a “Note” at the end, which may be important. So read through the instructions entirely before beginning, and then read each section through as you install the faucet.

We installed the faucet in a matter of minutes. I was PRETTY impressed. Delta has made this faucet a real easy “do it yourself” project. Even the wiring for the touch feature was easy– you just plug in a few plastic receptacles and pop in the batteries, easy as cake. I think Delta did a great job in putting this together for the DIYer.

When we first got the faucet installed and activated the Touch technology, we wondered if the cat would activate it, or if the faucet would be overly sensitive. So far, it’s been great. Sometimes I have to really rap on the spigot to turn the faucet on, but the lever is more sensitive (so I tap the lever instead of the faucet). One time, a metal pot in the dish drainer shifted, and touched the lever. The water turned on. It was weird seeing the water turn on automatically! But Delta has an automatic shutoff for the faucet– the faucet will turn off after four minutes, in case the faucet is accidentally turned on (say, by a cat or a wayward pot!).

Delta has an entire webpage dedicated to the faucet at deltafaucet.com. You will find helpful installation videos. I give HUGE kudos to Delta for creating such a nice faucet, but also DOUBLE HUGE kudos for making it so easy to install, and for providing installation videos. They really did an excellent job.

After having it installed for over two weeks, here are my thoughts:

PROS:
ToucH20 Technology
Nice big, round spigot
The nice hand dispenser
Very attractive
Can use the battery-powered ToucH technology, or turn it off to use manually as you would a regular faucet
Automatic shut-off after 4 minutes
Easy to install/great instructions in ENGLISH written by people with ENGLISH as their FIRST language- yay!
Is made by Delta

CONS:
Sprayer doesn’t have super-powerful water pressure; it’s more like a shower. Don’t expect to blast greasy dishes clean.
Uses batteries
Is a little costly
The stainless steel finish is “OK.” I’m not a big fan of steel. The faucet does come in a bronze finish, too.

One other note– you may become very spoiled after installing this faucet. So spoiled that if you use another faucet elsewhere in the house, or go to a friend’s house, you will be tapping the faucets and wondering why they don’t turn on. This is a great faucet and I give it a big Thumbs Up.

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Flossing Foibles Solved

September 22, 2009

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I am a FIEND when it comes to dental hygiene. I nag nag nag my kids to brush and floss, constantly. You see, I didn’t when I was a kid, nor did we see a dentist, so by the time I was 20 years old, my teeth were a disaster. I went through a lot of suffering because I hadn’t taken care of my teeth as a girl. I am a freak when it comes to brushing, now, and I make SURE that my kids do the same.

They are all good brushers, but when it comes to flossing…. the boys are not too keen on it.. It’s a tedious, boring task, I know. But still, it must be done! I try to give the kids every thing I can to make the task a little less tedious.

One cool tool I have discovered is DenTek’s Fun Flossers. Even my older kids like them! They have a strip of floss on a colorful, grippy handle, and are angled to reach all the teeth– they are the perfect kids floss tool. So even the boys will use them. It took some haggling to convince them— we made a cute video about our Flossing Foibles… take a peek! It looks like the Fun Flossers really are fun!

Now isn’t that cute!! The kids have such a good sense of humor!!

Check out DenTek. Kids like colorful (and easy to do) stuff, so if you’ve been having a hassle getting them to floss, DenTek will help!

Remember, I’m a pro-blogger and I am sometimes compensated with stuff or money to review products! This was one of them. You can read more about my blog policy on my “About Us” page.

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My Review of the Oral B Pulsonic

February 17, 2009

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Two of our kids got Oral B electric toothbrushes and we’ve been testing them out for quite a while. You can read about my review on the Oral B Triumph (which is AMAZING, really!) here. My youngest son- a reluctant brusher- has been dentally-transformed by the Triumph, and we love it!

Oral B Products

It’s my daughter who got the Oral B Pulsonic (in the photo above, it’s to the left). She has braces. She had to get braces because they were medically necessary– her teeth were so mangled and snaggly that she was going to have dental and jaw problems if we didn’t straighten her teeth. She’s always had problems with her teeth [...]

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Credit Card or Bank Loan?

January 19, 2009

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I have long considered (and tossed around at great length) whether to finance our home improvements and renovations with a bank loan or with a credit card loan. My own personal credit is very good, which has given me great options for credit card loans; but bank interest rates and home equity loan rates really haven’t changed much for me. I know one family that financed their entire tens-of-thousands renovation with credit cards, and they had everything paid off within six years and paid very minimal interest. This is extremely appealing to me. Credit cards have extreme flexibility. But you have to be disciplined to control your spending and pay it off in time for it to work.  How have you financed your improvements, and how did it go? With the banking industry crisis, I haven’t seen banks willing to budge their rates very much. Yet with credit card loans, my good credit can get me a very low APR.

Financing is hard work– harder work than renovating, I think! Know your options and scout around for the best deals. I’m hoping that this year is MY year to finally finance and get that new kitchen! :D And as always, do your homework before leaping into a financing plan!

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A Review of the Upright Vacuum by GE

November 5, 2008

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“Upright Vacuum” isn’t exactly a creative name for GE’s gold-colored vac. I guess it’s better than the model number (169171). I bought the vacuum at WalMart several months ago when my lemon (a Dirt Devil) died. I had only a few qualifications and I’d be happy:

HEPA filter
onboard attachments
lightweight
small amperage use
actually vacuumed floors

Vacuum box

Vacuum 1

Vacuum 4

I don’t know why vacuums are generally very poorly made. I haven’t had a good, solid, quality vacuum in about 25 years, when Sears and GE made them in this country. All the vacuums seem to be made of cheap plastic and fragile moving parts. We usually replace our vacuum every year or two, and that’s a LOT to add to the credit cards for a $50 to $100 appliance.

The GE has three separate filters, all very small. One is a HEPA filter about the size of an index card. The other two filters are small plastic foam filters. The HEPA must be replaced every month ($10) but the plastic foam filters are washable– you just rinse them out.

Two positive and two negative things stand out with this vacuum. For one, it’s a pretty powerful vacuum at 10amps and 120 volts. It does a good job on low shag (or no shag carpets). It picks up dirt from my indoor-outdoor carpeting like no other vacuum has before.

Vacuum rug

The HEPA filter idea is nice, even though it’s small. The monthly cost of $10 is a little steep. My floors are not all carpeted so I think I can stretch the time span a little.

Negatively, the machine has an adjustable handle, but it’s a joke. It wobbles so bad that the vacuum is unstable. So the handle must be kept at a short-height setting. And the dirt container (with “dual cyclone action”) does not stay in the vacuum. One of the kids was carrying the vacuum down the stairs, holding the handle in the front. The handle is part of the dirt container. It popped out of the latch and the vacuum went tumbling down the stairs. The vacuum was amazingly not broken! But we now know that you can’t use the front handle… so it’s awkward to carry.

My daughter does the vacuuming in the house. She is mildly satisfied with the GE Upright Vacuum, but there are a few glaring blemishes. Here is her list of pros and cons:

Pros:
Has a height adjuster in the handle
Uses a filter, not a bag
Has a hose and attachments
Works better than a broom…
Shiny gold paint (put it in the corner and guests will never guess it’s a vac!)
Vacuums short carpets well

Cons:
Adjustable handle is wobbly and unstable
Does not vacuum corners well (too thick and bulky)
Dirt container empties from the bottom, so it’s awkward and messy
Cord is not long enough
Tools are a little loose and rickety in their places
Does not vacuum thicker carpets well

So the consensus is… we’ll probably be looking for another vacuum in a year or two. I have yet to find the “perfect” vacuum. Maybe instead of the stores, I should try the garage sales and look for an old Kirby or Kenmore….

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A Review of Tempurpedic Mattress

October 24, 2008

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Our old Sealy Posturpedic mattress had seen better days. I also strongly suspected it as the reason for my spate of back problems. I would wake up in pain every morning and stiffly stagger around most of the early part of the day. I’d researched all sorts of mattresses available, but the number of choices were overwhelming. Reluctantly, I headed over to the furniture store to see what was on the floor (I say reluctantly because I always like to do my homework before encountering a salesman).

I tried all sorts of beds there, and the most comfortable was the Tempurpedic. Tempurpedic is just the brand name for the “memory foam” mattress. Tempurpedic was the first to come out with the memory foam, and they held the patent on it for a decade or so before other companies could manufacture it. Too bad they didn’t name their foam “Disney”; maybe they could have gotten an eternally-renewing patent. :-p

The temperpedic foam is really neat. The foam condenses with the contour and weight of your body. This is said to relieve pressure point pain while sleeping. The mattress is incredibly comfortable.

Foam Imprinting

Foam Imprint

I’d spent a lot of time lookinf for and reading online reviews about the mattress. The biggest complaint I’d read was that the mattress makes you feel very hot. Apparently, the foam doesn’t disperse body heat very well. One person complained of waking up in a “pool of sweat” (ewwww) because it was so hot.

Here in Upstate New York, I didn’t think this would be a terrible issue. It is FREEZING for six months out of the year… I’ll give another update come July, but for now I am really thankful for the heat-retaining properties, especially since I have a teeny-tiny heater vent in my room that just barely oozes warm air. I just love how warm and cozy the bed is. But if it does get too warm in the summer, all you have to do throw a mattress pad on it, and be sure to spray the foam with Febreze once a month. (Yes! I found another helpful use for my Febreze!)

I love the fact that the Temperpedic came with a split foundation. When we moved to this house, we couldn’t get our Sealy queen-size mattress and box spring up the stairs (it’s an enclosed hallway and has a very low ceiling). How did we get the bed into the upstairs when we moved here? Our moving buddies removed the bedroom window and hauled it up with a rope! LOL! Hey, it worked! However, now that we want to get rid of the old bed, we, um, can’t. I don’t think the window could handle being taken apart again (it’s a century old). So we have to bust up the old bed… joy.

New-fangled beds come in pieces. You can see the new split foundation in the photos below. We got a frame with a center bar to support the division between the two. I had feared that I’d be able to feel the division when laying on the bed (the Princess and the Pea syndrome have I), but I don’t. I LOVE the bed.

Split Foundation

You can also see that there are two layers of foam within a lightweight fabric bag. The mattress is supposed to come with a heavier fabric bag that zips up, but we are still waiting for ours. Back on delivery day, an overzealous stockboy sliced through the cardboard box and into the cover when the mattress was being prepped for delivery. I really, really wanted the mattress when scheduled, so the store delivered the bed on time with the promise we’d get the cover by FedEx. Hmm, I’m still waiting for the cover. I think they need to check out their Stackers. Gotta call them about that… (I’m using a store-bought mattress pad for the bed right now).

Mattress Layers

Tempurpedic Top

So my opinion? I love Tempurpedic! It’s so comfortable, I haven’t had any back pain since using it, I sleep better, and it’s warm. The cons are it’s somewhat difficult to ship and install (the foam is extremely dense and heavy, and the lightweight fabric bag is very filmy and thin), and it’s pricier than your “average” mattress. However, I will say that we got a terrific deal on this. It was on sale already, and the furniture store was willing to haggle with us. So we paid the same price for this bed as we would have with a spring-coil mattress and foundation. Definitely haggle if you can, it’s worth it. Here’s a breakdown of the pros and cons:

Pros
Extremely comfortable
Warm
No dust mites with this!
Easy to clean (Febreze spray)
Great for people with sore backs

Cons
Expensive
Cumbersome when moving
Needs a special cover

The Tempurpedic memory foam bed gets a thumbs up from Mrs. Mecomber!

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A Good Printer

May 13, 2008

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I’d blogged about my HP All-in-One that bit the dust a few weeks ago. I procrastinated buying a new printer, hoping I could make due with emailing all the necessary documents to my husband’s computer and printing them that way. :| Wasn’t working out very well. Plus, I absolutely need a scanner for the homeschool and didn’t have one. A kind person donated some moola for the cause, and I wanted to spend it wisely. I was wise to wait for a good deal, because that is what I got!

I went to Staples to look around again and I found a GREAT deal. I bought a Canon MP530 scanner, printer, copier, and fax machine. I didn’t really need the fax machine, it serves about the same purpose as an attached wine refrige would… but the machine was so inexpensive that I could make do with an extra feature. :D

The retail price is generally in the $200 range, according to C|Net. Amazon is selling it for $112. Staples was offering a $50 rebate, so I got this machine for $66! I couldn’t believe it! This printer is less expensive than my HP All-in-One when I bought it for $100 four years ago. And the Canon ink is much more affordable than the HP. Plus, the ink comes in separate tanks, saving me even more money. It also has an automatic duplexer (prints on both sides of a sheet), although I haven’t been able to figure out how to do it yet. The machine comes with a novel-sized manual that I have to read through.

The Canon MP530 has gotten rave reviews at C|Net and I will probably be joining the gang! It installed so easily, and it had no problem with my Vista operating system. This was such a relief that I remained in unbelief for a while. See, I have had to wrangle with all my HP products all these years that I guess I am a little punchy now. I was surprised that something actually installed correctly the first time, and then continued to work well afterwards!

FYI, Staples seems to be having a lot of good deals lately. Last week, they had a special where they would take $50 off the price of an HP printer $160 or more if you brought in any old printer. It was a great way to get an expensive printer for a low price, but I have been steering away from HP, and $100 or so was more than I wanted to spend. Nonetheless, I have noticed that Staples is trying to appeal to the budget buyer lately. I love the deal I got and I think I love Canon! And I can claim the printer as a tax deduction for my writing business, too, since I use it for that. :D

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Need Help Choosing a Printer

May 8, 2008

2 Comments

My old Hewlett-Packard All-in-One (printer, scanner, copier) has died. I hated it, anyway. It never printed like I wanted, it made my computer crash from time to time, and every time I turned it on, it always did a “test print” which wasted ink. So the rollers finally collapsed and it would cost more to replace the part than buy a new one.

I’ve been surfing around looking at various models. I AM TOTALLY LOST. How on earth do I choose?! So I figured I’d ask my beloved Internet blog readers for help! I’d really like to know what printers you use, what you love, what you hate. I’m hoping to stay away from HP unless someone glowingly recommends one. I’m also open to higher-priced models since the printer is for business and I can get a tax deduction for it.

If you have ANY advice– anything– would you please leave a comment?

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