Thursday, October 29, 2015

Cute Emergency?

When I picked up Cute Emergency, all I knew was to expect pictures of cute animals. I had never heard of @CuteEmergency on Twitter so didn't know what the "standard" was for these pictures.

The outline of the book is supposed to move from "mild" cases of cute emergency all the way to "severe" cases, presumably, then, the picture cute-ness increases the further along you go in a book. Each page has a cute picture of an animal (dogs and cats are the most common, but there are a couple hedgehogs and less "standard" animals thrown in for good measure) with accompanying descriptive text.

Some of the pictures are pretty adorable and made me laugh out loud. Others just made me smile. But, honestly, a lot of them were just nice, but didn't offer the level of cuteness I expected. And I noticed no difference in cuteness from the various prescription levels.

There is also mention of cursing and a couple innuendos in the book - not want I want laying around for my children to pick up and wonder about when they want to look at the cute animals.

If you are familiar with @CuteEmergency and love what you see, then you will love this book. Familiarizing yourself with the Twitter account gives you an idea of what to expect from the book, which is nice. So if you are on the fence about the account, I'd say: skip this book.

I received a complimentary copy of Cute Emergency from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review. This post does contain affiliate links. This means that, at no additional cost to you, I may receive commission for referring business. Thank you for your support!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Preserving Family Recipes

Valerie speaks my language. I love old things, I love the connection it gives to past generations. I love running my hands over old books and knowing that other hands did the same and though we're separated by time, we really aren't that different.

Recipes are the same way, except there is one crucial difference. We get to eat their creations. We may be able to feel old bowls and smell old books, but the product of recipes are really the only thing we get to taste that links us to the past. And many of those are being forgotten.

Preserving Family Recipes is an excellent resource to help, guide, and encourage those who want to preserve that part of their family history. Or even just history in general. While the focus is on the recipes themselves and giving you the tools you need to make sure you understand the time and needs of the old recipes, a strong second focus is how to make a keepsake that connects the generations and incorporates family history along side the products they ate.

This book itself is a sort of example of what you can do for your own family as Valerie includes quips, pictures, and recipes from her own files to illustrate her points.

The book is well worth your time, and I hope it spurs more people on to make sure part of history doesn't die with their grandparents and great-grandparents. I have been interested in this kind of project for some time, but didn't know where to begin. Thanks to this book I have taken the first steps, and wish I had done so sooner.

I was given in ecopy of this book in exchange for my honest review. The publisher, however, assured me they will not be offering this book in ecopy format as all of the graphics cause numerous formatting errors.

Even though I have an ecopy, I plan to get a physical copy of this book. It is worth preserving in your home library. Highly recommend.

This post does contain affiliate links; thank you for your support.

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Time Chamber

The Time Chamber is marketed as a story & coloring book, so let's just make one thing clear - this is a coloring book. For adults. Yes, there is a "story" ... the kind you might tell your young child before bed, but you're not going to buy this book for that. And the story isn't particularly "magical" like it states on the cover. If you buy this book, the story won't even be a consideration. You're going to buy it because the pages are beautiful

 and fun

and each one is different.

The pages are nice and sturdy too (no childhood coloring book quality here!).

I thought, for whatever reason, our view would be the fairy's view, so I didn't expect to see her in the coloring scenes. This was disappointing as coloring humans (or fairies!) is NOT my strong suit and not something I like doing. I never know what to do for the skin! And everything I do always looks wrong. Now, there isn't a humanoid on every page, but that still made me sad.

The fairy, for some reason, is in a different outfit every time she is depicted. I guess because she is "magical." Some of these outfits are cute, but others, unfortunately, look like underwear, or barely cover her rear.

I know that won't bother everyone, but I found it unnecessary and disappointing. I don't like seeing people wear skirts or shorts that short, and I certainly don't want to color it or have it where my children can see it to think its ok. And I really hate that there are a handful of outfits like this (especially when Daria shows that she can draw cute outfits that cover more appropriately) because the rest of this book is AWESOME.

Daria Song is the award-winning illustrator of The Time Garden, and has been featured in museums and galleries across Korea, Turkey, Singapore, and Hong Kong.

I received a complimentary copy of The Time Chamber in exchange for my honest review from Blogging for Books. This post does contain affiliate links. This means, at no additional cost to you, I may receive commission for referring business if you make a purchase through one of my links. Thank you for your support!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Honest Thoughts on ePantry and Mrs. Meyers

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I was pretty excited when I received my first shipment from ePantry a couple weeks ago. I had heard many wonderful things about Mrs. Myers Clean Day products, but they cost significantly more than what I was currently using. We have a tight budget, so if we're going to pay more than necessary for any product, we need a really good reason.

EPantry is a Corp B business which means they try to be intentional about offering environmentally friendly options. Honestly, I think you can take being "environmentally friendly" too far, but we should be good stewards of our resources.

The best thing about ePantry, though, is two-fold.

1. They offer discounts on expensive brands like Mrs. Myers, Seventh Generation, method, Toms of Maine, and more. (See all offerings under "Brands" on )
2. They ship right to your door every month - or however often you want, it's easy to skip shipments - so you don't even have to make a run to the store in order to clean your house.

I've had a GREAT experience so far with their team. If you chat with them online, you're immediately connected to a real person who gives real time responses. If you email them, they get back to you within one or two business days with an answer to your question. (I've done both of these, so I know first hand!) One time, I logged in to my account and could get a $2 credit just by telling them what my favorite childhood book was - how cool is that?

OK - so I think ePantry is pretty great, but what about the Mrs. Myers products I ordered? Will I be ordering them again?

Here's a list of the Mrs. Myers products I ordered (with the scent in parenthesis): Toilet Bowl Cleaner (Lemon Verbena), Glass Cleaner (Lemon Verbena), Tub & Tile Cleaner (Lavender), Multi-Surface Cleaner (Lemon Verbena), Dish Soap (Honeysuckle), Hand Soap (Bluebell), Air Freshener (Lavender).

Toilet Bowel Cleaner - honestly, as far as I can tell, it works just as well as anything else I've used to clean a toilet. So nothing special in that way, however, it didn't give me a headache when I used it! I don't remember when I could clean the bathroom without getting a headache - or, when I was pregnant, without getting a headache and getting nauseous. And I don't even particularly care for the Lemon Verbena scent I picked - definitely not as citrus-y as I expected. But no headache? My husband and I agree - that makes it worth the extra money right there!

Glass Cleaner - Wow. That's my reaction in one word. Using this over Windex - noticeable improvement. Mrs. Meyer's glass cleaner is the first I've tried where streakiness was practically non-existent. I'll get a different scent next time, as I don't really care for the Lemon Verbena, but the product itself works wonderfully.

Tub & Tile Cleaner - I did a test in one particularly grime-y part of our tub, simply sprayed the cleaner on and walked away for a few minutes. Then I rinsed off that spot. I could see where the impact of the cleaner hit the grime. It was clean! I had done the same test with Scrubbing Bubbles previously ... and there was no visual change. So not only does it work well, I don't get a headache when I use it. Again, that right there is worth the little bit of extra money. Also, I highly recommend the Lavender scent, so far, it's my favorite.

Multi-Surface Cleaner - It works, but I don't know that it works better than other ones I've used in the past. And this product gives me a headache, which hasn't happened with other multi-surface cleaners I've tried. It may be the Lemon Verbena scent - I think it's more concentrated in this product vs the others I've tried in this scent. ePantry has a "happiness" guarantee, which I'm in communication with them about, where they will make your experience 100% right if you're not 100% satisfied, so I really like that.
*update* they offered me a refund, but when I asked about an exchange (so I could see if it was the product or the scent that caused so much issue) they willingly agreed. As soon as I sprayed my counters with my new scent of choice (Lavender, which caused no issue in other products) I, once again, had an massive headache. So, for whatever reason, I cannot use this product from Mrs. Meyers. I let epantry know this, and said I understood if I couldn't get a refund since they already sent me a replacement product. They said their 100% happiness guarantee is just that - and they sent me a couple options of other cleaners to try. I picked the Seventh Generation Free & Clear multi-purpose cleaner. No headache. No scent. Just clean. Yahoo!

Dish Soap - Prior to this, we were using Ajax that we purchased at Sam's Club. My husband is the one who usually does the hand washing, and he said that this dish soap is more powerful (aka, he uses less for the same result) and smells better than Ajax (We got the Honeysuckle in Mrs. Myers, and were using a citrus from Ajax, which didn't smell citrus-y at all). I know I can smell it if I come over the sink after he's done cleaning and it's a nice scent. He does think that Dawn would probably work better than Ajax, though, so he's not sure if Mrs. Myers is superior to Dawn. We will price compare, and if Dawn is cheaper than Mrs. Myers we will try that first so we have a comparison that is more comparable before we decide if we will buy this product again or not.

Hand Soap - This was a freebie add-on for a promotion they were running when I joined ePantry, we haven't tried it yet as we still have a bit of hand soap we had previously purchased. Honestly, the generic stuff we're currently using works just fine, so I can't imagine this will blow us out of the water and convince us to switch products.

Air Freshener - Love this. Most air freshener's, you guessed it, give me a headache. And aren't particularly pleasing scents anyway. This does not give me a headache, and it is a nice scent. It also works. We don't use air fresheners often, so this will last us awhile, but when we do need more, I imagine we will be purchasing Mrs. Myers. Note - I have not tried using this instead of Febreeze, like a de-odorizer. We use febreeze if there is an odor we need to kill, like in the diaper pail, or the moldy smell when we first moved into our house and there was a leaky faucet. I haven't tried this to see if it would work to the same purpose or not, but it works great if you just need to freshen the smell of the room, or even if there's just a lingering odor in the kitchen you can't get rid of even though you've cleaned.

So there you have it - the good and the bad about my experience thus far with ePantry and Mrs. Myers.

Have you tried ePantry or products from Mrs. Myers? What was your experience?

Want to try ePantry for yourself? Sign up through my referral link, and you'll get a $10 credit to use on your first order!

Mrs. Meyer's original image source

If you sign up through my referral link we will both receive a $10 credit to our accounts. I was not paid to write this review and am not compensated in any other way. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

DIY: Organize Your Daughter's Hair Bows!

I don't know about you, but my daughter has SO MANY HAIR BOWS. They overflow if I have them in a container, and then I have to dig through to find the right one for the day. And she's only a toddler! And any hair ribbons? Those are a royal pain and virtually impossible to keep neat and accessible.

We were given a painting awhile back that we used for a time. Then we moved and didn't have a place for it. It was just sitting in the closet, and the frame had some scratches on it, but I don't really ever like to just get rid of things. Then, Sunday, it hit me! Here is the perfect solution so all of my daughter's hair bows are neat and easily accessible!

All I used was the frame, a staple remover, pliers (for the stubborn staples), ribbon, and hot glue. 

When I removed the backing from the painting, I noticed they had used staples to keep everything in place. That meant I didn't have to add staples or mess with taping down ribbon, so I kept as many staples as possible in place during the process. 

I did go and put a little hot glue over each staple, as some of them didn't seem very secure (I mean, we're talking about "Made in China" here, better safe than sorry).

Obviously, I used thin ribbon, doubled up. I also went straight up and down or side to side. After putting hair bows on this, I definitely recommend using a wider, thicker ribbon. It makes it easier for the hair bows to grip and not slip down. Also, I recommend shoe-stringing the ribbon. You can get the ribbon much tighter this way (this is what I did for the 2nd frame I made). 

Remember how I mentioned the frame was made in China, so I questioned it's quality? I tied a ribbon on one of the staples, and it just basically disintegrated! 

I did go back and put a dab of hot glue over all the knots I tied, just to make sure nothing came loose, and to cover the staples, in case any others wanted to do this!

As I mentioned, for frame #2 I shoe-stringed the ribbon. This made the ribbon noticeably tighter than tying it at each pass.

And there you have it! How to make your own Hair Bow Organizer! Of course, you may need to make some changes to suit your particular frame, but hopefully this gave you some ideas. 

For the hair ribbons, I decided to tie them into bows on the organizer - that way I could see ALL my ribbon options at once, and they wouldn't get tangled and spill everywhere. Boy were they a pain before - this is much better ... and cuter! 

Cute. Easy. Functional. Does it get any better? Oh yeah, built in wall art. So adorable.

Like this post? Share it with your friends! 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

All about Owls

Whoooo doesn't like owls? They're cute, they're mysterious, they're super trendy. They are certainly a bird you won't forget seeing! Historically, they've also been viewed mystically as full of evil boding. We think of them as wise. Their swiveling head is surreal, and their talons: fearsome.

Did you know there are over 200 species of owl? Whoo knew?! If getting a layman's glimpse into the variety of owls piques your interest, Matt Sewell's book Owls: Our Most Charming Bird is definitely for you. The books covers 50 different kinds of owls, conveniently divided by region: Dessert Owls, Tropical Owls, Wilderness Owls, and Woodland Owls.

Each owl gets a page spread - on one page is a watercolor illustration of the owl, drawn by Matt, and the other page is his description of the bird. The owls are hardly Audubon's but they do whimsically capture the essence of the bird while being highly recognizable. The text is no more than a couple paragraphs for each bird, and is hardly scientific. In fact, the descriptions are largely fantastical, imaging birds as various concoctions of leg of newt, coal ash, and dragon fire. That doesn't mean it's all irreverent, he does also mention what makes a particular owl unique or how that particular bird was viewed historically.

My biggest disappointment with this book was its size. Like with Things I've Said to My Children, I expected a coffee table display sized book. Instead, it's small, only about 5.5"x7.5" - admittedly, given the brevity of description, it doesn't need to be larger, but the book is definitely more pocket-sized that coffee table sized.

The pages themselves are crisp, clean, minimal, allowing the focus to truly be on these magnificent, quirky, unusual birds. He even includes a "field guide" checklist at the end of the book, in case you want to go searching for these solitary birds, so you can mark which ones you see.

As with most books on nature, there are comments assuming evolution as fact and jabs at humans if a habitat is diminishing. All in all, though, if you are looking for an amusing take on these distinguished birds, and not a scientific one, this is sure to be an enjoyable addition to your library.

And, not going to lie, the artwork is totally frameable and would be super cute as a collage on a wall. Even if you don't like the descriptions, it could be worth the purchase just for the gallery you'd get. Or buy two copies. The gallery idea is really enticing. Just saying.

I received a complimentary copy of Owls from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest opinion. This post does contain affiliate links. This means that, at no additional cost to you, I may receive a small commission for referring business. Thank you for your support!