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Product Reviews, Book Reviews, Fun Giveaways, And Life As A Mama! Supporting Our Troops And Veterans!

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Top Chops Jerky

Beef jerky can be known for its tough and chewy texture, but one snack brand believes consumers deserve a more tender experience. T.O.P. Chops Jerky is a handcrafted jerky made from American beef with no additives or preservatives, and it’s grown from an at-home hobby to a thriving, national snack brand disrupting the jerky industry - in just six short years. Dusty Jaquins, who is one of the co-founders of T.O.P. Chops, started making jerky from his Atlanta kitchen using an old family recipe. Everyone who tried it raved over the taste and texture, encouraging Jaquins to take the jerky to market. Jaquins and his fellow co-founder, Luke Sellers, knew they had to share the southern-born beef jerky with the world. Today, T.O.P. Chops Jerky is a national brand, offered at many major grocery retailers across the country. What makes the jerky better? Jaquins explains how special and different come down to three important things: T.O.P Chops only uses USDA Graded Select or better beef. Most jerky that’s made in the U.S. uses ungraded meats from dairy cattle, which are cows that no longer produce milk. Jaquins says, “T.O.P. Chops changes the standard by only using USDA Graded Select or better beef that’s sourced from steers raised in the U.S.” He explains how using American beef from steers - as opposed to dairy cattle - makes their jerky incredibly tender and provides an authentic beef flavor. Thin cuts make moist jerky. The majority of beef jerky is what Jaquins refers to as cowboy jerky - it's hard, it’s tough, you have to gnaw at it. But he and business partner Sellers believe life is already tough enough, and they want to provide a more positive eating experience. As a result, they slice their beef very thin using a Veri-Thin slicing process. This reduces the cooking time, retains the meat’s moisture and renders an easy-to-chew jerky. While most premium jerkies on the market have similar levels of fat, sugar, and sodium, Jaquins wanted to offer a “better-for-you” beef jerky. To do this, he and Sellers partnered with food science and culinary experts to enhance the recipe. This effort culminated in a new ingredient called plum powder, which not only reduces added sugars and sodium but also creates a product packed with antioxidants. The plum powder sweetens the jerky marinade. The team of jerky artisans use a small amount and let it sit overnight to give the jerky a strong, high-quality meat flavor with some subtle notes of sweetness and spice.
T.O.P. Chop Jerky comes in four flavors, including Original, Teriyaki, Sweet & Spicy, and Red Chili Pepper. Jaquins recommends his personal favorite Sweet & Spicy because “I'm not a lover of extremely hot foods, and the sweet and spicy has a nice balance. It’s a mild heat with a little sweetness to it." This jerky knows no limits. The dried meat snack industry has seen significant growth over the last decade, and T.O.P. Chops plans to grow right along with it. Dried meat consumption is up 18% and 92% of millennials replace one meal a week with a wholesome snack like jerky. The brand is getting ready to launch in Costco and Target stores in August 2019 and has scheduled launches in other large grocery chains in September and October of this year.

Check it all out at Top Chops on Facebook, as well as Top Chops on Twitter.
   
Disclaimer: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Bugs And Rodents And Pest Control, Oh My!

It is kind of an icky thing to have to think about pest control, am I right? But we all have probably gone through it at one point or another. I remember when we lived in Texas during our Army years, we had roaches. And yes, I was one of those people who thought that only dirty houses and dirty people could get roaches. But I was about 7 months pregnant with Callan at the time, and I opened the cupboard one day to get a pot to boil some water, and there was a big fat roach staring at me. I about went into labor right then and there! We called local pest control and the guy was so calm and blase’ about the whole thing. And he was like, “Ma’am these are just waterbugs.” Dude, in Minnesota, those are roaches, mmm kay?

Years later when I was telling a friend who owned a pest control business that story, he of course laughed at me and my dilemma. It sure as heck was not funny at the time. But I have since educated myself and have taken precautions on how to protect my home against many creatures and creepy crawlies. But even so, we will still need pest control from time to time, and the pest control industry is a lucrative one and continues to grow. And with technology out there constantly evolving, so does business and the needs of companies. Did you know there is pest control business management software, such as the software provided by Poconos? It allows you to track customers and sales and such. Pretty cool if you ask me.

What is not cool is the mice they discovered at my place of work. Okay, okay, I know pests are gonna happen! Hence, my ordeal with the roaches. Errr, I mean “waterbugs”. But now there are mice at work? Yeah, I know, there are probably mice around all the time. But we rarely see them. But someone was leaving their food and snacks unattended and out in the open, and those little mousies could not refuse the treats! And so they were coming into the office and getting yummies! I was being smart and storing my food properly at work. But, ewww! Just the thought of it gives me the heebee jeebees! Eeeks!

Bugs and rodents in general do not usually creep me out. Snakes on the other hand? Uh uh, nope! No thank you. And wood ticks, yuck! Yuck yuck! But general bugs and spiders, and small animals do not freak me out so much. Are you afraid of bugs and things like that? My best friend is terrified of spiders. Like she will have a heart attack almost quite literally if she sees one. I am her hero and make them go away for her all the time. But she does not make the roaches or mice go away for me ever. So, maybe I need to rethink this whole best friend thing. Hmmmm?
 
Disclaimer: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

20 Recipes Kids Should Know

20 Recipes Kids Should Know

About The Book:
The perfect book for children, this fun and engaging cookbook is written and photographed by a pair of young sisters for budding chefs. Whether they're helping stir cake batter or producing their own YouTube cooking channel, kids of all ages are getting increasingly busy in the kitchen. This cookbook features twenty classic recipes that are fun, healthy, adaptable, and easy to prepare. From banana bread and the perfect grilled cheese, to breaded chicken and apple pie, each recipe is written in a clear, accessible style that young cooks of every level will be able to follow.

The author is a young chef whose love of cooking developed from her own family's food traditions like baking popovers with her grandmother and Sunday-night pizza making. By teaching kids basic recipes that can be adapted in endless ways, this book is the perfect launching pad to finding their way around the kitchen - or launching their own cooking careers.

 
Disclaimer: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Monday, June 17, 2019

3 Signs Your Business Needs To Call A Professional HVAC Specialist

You've got enough to worry about with your business, so imagine the added stress you'll feel if issues start creeping up in your building. Thankfully, many of the daily facility disturbances are minor, and you've got staff members who can handle them. However, if your heating or air conditioning system starts to go haywire, you may need some expert help to get a handle on the issues. 

Your System Is Old

If it has been quite some time since someone has inspected, repaired or overhauled your HVAC system, it may be time to call some commercial hvac contractors minneapolis mn. Furnaces and air conditioners should receive consistent checkups, just like you need them for your own health. An experienced professional can asses the units' condition and recommend any necessary work. It's a good idea to maintain and inspect your system each year, especially going into the cold winter months. 

It's Warm When It Should Be Cold, Cold When It Should be Warm

You and your employees deserve a comfortable place to work. It's difficult to sit in a place for eight or more hours a day if the interior temperature is unbearable. If your furnace is pumping out cool air, or if the air conditioner is sending out warmth, there are obviously some problems. It's probably going to take more than a few simple tweaks to get things back to normal. Make sure you call a skilled technician to diagnose the culprit and get things running normally. 

What's That Smell and Noise?

Often, HVAC issues manifest themselves with pungent odors. You may detect these in by vents in certain parts of your building or even throughout the facility. The unpleasant smells likely signal something isn't right with the system. It's time to call a professional, too, if unusual sounds are coming from the units or vents

Never fear, a licensed professional technician can save you and your co-workers and repair your HVAC system. If any of these three things are troubling your workplace, call a competent contractor today. 

Disclaimer: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Love At The Shore

Love At The Shore by Teri Wilson

About The Book:
She came to the beach to write....But she’s getting distracted by the surfer next door. Jenna, a single mom and successful author, has five weeks to deliver her next young adult novel to the publisher. This year’s summer getaway with her kids will be a working vacation. The only problem? Lucas, the devil-may-care surfer in the beach rental next to hers. He cranks up his music at night, hosts loud volleyball matches, and allows his dog to run around at will. Jenna often blames him for her writer’s block. But before long, she begins to see a new side of her neighbor at the shore. Maybe opposites do attract....but will that attraction fade like a sunset once summer is gone? This funny, emotional romance includes a free Hallmark original recipe for Shrimp Scampi.

About The Author:
Teri Wilson is the author/creator of the Hallmark Channel Original Movies Unleashing Mr. Darcy, Marrying Mr. Darcy, The Art Of Us and Northern Lights Of Christmas, based on her book Sleigh Bell Sweethearts. She is a three-time finalist for the prestigious RITA Award for excellence in romantic fiction. Teri has a major weakness for cute animals, pretty dresses, and Audrey Hepburn films, and she loves following the British royal family. 

Get your copy of Love At The Shore on Amazon!
 
Disclaimer: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Beach Wedding Weekend

Beach Wedding Weekend by Rachel Magee

About The Book:
You’re invited to a sunny beach town for a witty, heartwarming romance. When Brody broke up with Paige and went to Europe, he suggested that someday, they’d pick up right where they left off. A hopeless romantic, she believed him. But when they meet again, Brody’s dating a gorgeous actress. They’re all going to attend the same wedding, and Paige plans to win Brody back. She even enlists her best friend’s brother, Aiden, to pretend to date her and make her ex jealous. A breezy, charming restaurant owner, Aiden actually avoids serious relationships, but as a fake boyfriend, he’s perfect. As old friends and exes take part in wedding preparations and enjoy the beauty of the Florida coast, they begin to see themselves - and each other - in a new light. This summer romance includes a free Hallmark original recipe for BBQ Brisket Tacos with Sunshine Slaw.

About The Author:
Rachel wrote her first novel when she was twelve and entered it into a contest for young author/illustrators. Unfortunately, the judges weren’t impressed with her stick figures. So she dropped the dream of becoming a world famous illustrator and stuck to spinning stories. When she’s not busy working on her latest book, she loves to travel with her family and friends. By far, her favorite destination is the beach, which tends to work its way into most of her stories. Between vacations, you can find her at home in The Woodlands, TX with her wonderful husband, their two adventurous kids and a couple of spirited pets, all of whom share Rachel’s love of the ocean. Well, except the cat and dog. They’re both afraid of water.

   
Disclaimer: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Happy #FathersDay2019

Saturday, June 15, 2019

This Summer Hide Dad’s Sweaty Backside With Camouflage SwampButt Underwear

Right around the corner is the heart of summer vacation time, which is also the hottest, most humid season of the year. The people at SwampButt Underwear know all too well that families from all over the USA will pack the car/truck/SUV/van and visit one or several of the country’s many places to take it easy for a week or two. But even the best planned and executed family outing can be marred when dad’s wet bottom sticks to the car seat, restaurant booth, bar stool, amusement park ride, or public bench. Worse still, those wet butts leave stains in the shape of your father’s buttocks. Known as ‘dari-angels’ these stains brand the seat, sitter, and his relatives as yucky to be around. No one needs that, but help is available. The makers of SwampButt Underwear realize that

1) most men are blissfully unaware of their swamp butt
2) those who are aware seem not to care
3) the other members of the family or anyone in the travel party care deeply and prefer not to attract this type of negative attention.
How It Works
SwampButt Underwear Made in the USA garments are made from 83% polyester and 17% Spandex. The leg openings and waist bands are larger and more forgiving than the original offering the company made. “More Spandex means more stretchier,” Heraldson points out. The fabric is also made to prevent odors accompanied by the overheated butt-crack. Bad-odors tend to get into fabrics and stay there. No amount of washing, scrubbing, or beating underpants on rocks will remove the stench born of butt sweat and worse. To combat the presence of this bouquet of stink, the new SwampButt Performance Made in the USA garments are also made with ‘Microblok’ technology to prevent stinky drawers. MicroBlok inhibits the growth of bacteria on treated surfaces of products, greatly reducing stains, odors, and product deterioration. According to the people who make it, the MicroBlok product line inhibits the growth of bacteria, fungi, molds, yeasts and other microbes on treated surfaces of products, greatly reducing stains, odors, and product deterioration. MicroBlok has undergone rigorous laboratory testing. These tests measure the inhibition of bacteria, fungi, molds, and other microbes on the tested plastic substrates. It’s an ideal inhibitor for use in products subject to high humidity such as those intended for kitchen and bath environments as well as outdoor uses including furniture, decking, and yes -  underwear. “If there is a warmer or more humid place than a fat guys’ butt crack, I don’t want to know about it,” Heraldson declared.

About SwampButt Underwear
SwampButt Underwear is a real company that makes products that help solve a real problem. SwampButt Underwear is trademarked in the U.S. and foreign countries.

 
Disclaimer: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Reasons To Choose Senior Housing

As you age, one of the most important decisions you will make involves your living situation. Will you remain in your own house or apartment? Will you move to another city? One option you should consider is senior housing Denver

Access to a Community

Loneliness is one of the largest threats to seniors' health. As seniors age and have more difficulty going out for events, loneliness can lead to anxiety and depression. Lonely people are at increased risk of heart attacks. Body inflammation, and risk of death, increases as stress hormone levels rise. Lonely people also experience poor sleep quality.

A senior housing community provides a built-in network of friends. Most communities will coordinate activities based on resident interests.

Ease of Transportation

As people get older, their reaction times and vision get poorer. At some point, it becomes dangerous for an older person to drive. Senior communities offer convenient transportation services to take you to doctors' appointments, church, and the store. The community may even host some services on site such as a beauty salon. 

Some seniors may opt to give up driving long before it is necessary. They may not drive as often after retirement. Insurance premiums, gas, and maintenance costs associated with owning a vehicle may put a strain on fixed-income budgets.

Assistance with Tasks

A senior may be able to perform most tasks and make decisions. However, there may be just one or two tasks that require help, such as getting heavy items down from a high shelf. Staff in a senior community can help with heavy items and changing light bulbs. With this arrangement, the senior remains as independent as possible but avoids injury from unsafe activities. Staff also perform safety checks and notice if you start to have additional health problems.

Making decisions about living options as you age is a complicated task. Consider a senior living community for companionship, transportation, and help as you age.



Disclaimer: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

The Illusionist

In late nineteenth century Vienna, renowned illusionist Eisenheim is reunited with the Duchess von Teschen when she is volunteered from the audience to participate in an illusion during one of his performances. Despite having not seen each other in fifteen years when they were teenagers, they almost immediately recognize each other as Eduard Abramovich and Sophie von Teschen, they who had a doomed romance at that time due to their class differences. The Duchess is soon to be wed to the Crown Prince Leopold in what would be for him a marriage solely in pursuit of power: overthrowing his father, the Emperor Leopold, as well as overtaking the Hungarian side of the empire. The Crown Prince is known to use violence against women if it suits his needs or purposes. As such, the Duchess, who realizes that she still loves Eisenheim, The Illusionist, and he her, can never leave the Crown Prince without it jeopardizing her life. After Eisenheim humiliates the Crown Prince at a private show which results in an incident between the Crown Prince and the Duchess, the battle between Eisenheim and the Crown Prince moves into the public performance realm, which many believe demonstrates Eisenheim's supernatural powers. Much of the work for the Crown Prince in the battle with Eisenheim is conducted by Chief Inspector Uhl, who would become the Chief of Police under the Crown Prince's reign. As such, Uhl may have ulterior motives in turning a blind eye to any unlawful act of the Crown Prince against Eisenheim or the Duchess.

 
Disclaimer: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Happy Flag Day



Thursday, June 13, 2019

Resurrecting The Champ

Director and co-screenwriter (along with Chris Gerolmo, Allison Burnett, and Michael Bortman) Rod Lurie tells the uplifting tale of a sports writer who almost lost it all before stumbling into the story of a lifetime in this uplifting sports-themed drama starring Josh Hartnett and Samuel L. Jackson, Resurrecting The Champ. Erik (Hartnett) is a Denver-based sports writer whose prose is dull and whose marriage is failing. Not only is Erik having a difficult time dealing with his stubborn editor Metz (Alan Alda) - who refuses to take the suffering scribe off of the boxing beat - but the pain of being separated from his young son has weighed heavier on Erik's conscience than he could have ever imagined. When Erik sees a local homeless man (Samuel L. Jackson) being violently assaulted by a gang of sadistic street toughs, he instinctively comes to the suffering man's rescue. As fate would have, Erik discovers that the nondescript homeless man is actually the former boxing champion Battling Bob Satterfield, whom many sports fans had assumed dead. Now driven to tell the story that may establish him as a successful sports writer, Erik gradually begins to make the transformation from ordinary man to extraordinary champion - largely by turning inward and by reexamining his relationship with his own son.

 
Disclaimer: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

What Type Of Classes Can A Judge Order You To Take?

When you get in trouble with the law, there may be severe consequences depending on the crime you are charged with and your criminal history thus far. If you go to court over something like a DUI or assault and your record is clean up to this point, the judge may order you to take courses as part of your sentence. Having to take court ordered courses may seem like a cakewalk compared to some of the stiffer penalties you were facing. Take a look at some of the types of classes you may have to go through to prove you've learned your lesson.

Anger Management
Being accused of committing a crime due to a highly tense situation may result with you being sent to take an anger management course. These series of court ordered classes give you tips and tricks on how to disengage at times of high stress. A failure to do so may result in outbursts which may turn violent. The course may also teach you how to keep your temper in check during times of stress.

Substance Abuse
If you had to attend drug court or were found to have been driving while intoxicated, part of your sentence may be substance abuse classes. In these courses, you may learn how to avoid falling back into the addiction trap and how hard drugs can be on the body. You also may learn how to help others in the throws of addiction come through it.  

Decision Making
It may seem like a class dedicated to decision making would have no real bearing on your life; however, the tools a course like this gives are invaluable. You may learn how to tell people "no" in a way you never have before.

The resources that are provided as part of these classes are invaluable and should be kept close by. If you are not sure about having to take these classes, you should focus on the fact that you didn't wind up behind bars.


Disclaimer: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

The Truth About Uncontested Divorces

Your divorce is amicable, and you are one of the few that can claim your soon-to-be-ex is still a friend, but pals have been urging you to find a lawyer to help you with the legal action. Although you and your spouse have agreed on nearly every issue that came up while you talked late into the night about property, assets, and finances, your friends may be right – especially if children are involved. Here is the truth about uncontested divorces and why you should hire an uncontested divorce Tampa attorney.

Deadlines Are Important

Filing documents, meeting court dates, and attending hearings may all be part of an uncontested divorce. If you miss a deadline, your case can be dismissed by the judge. You would then need to refile the paperwork and begin the proceedings all over again.

Emotions Run High

You may still be friends with your spouse, but emotions can still run high for both parties when the reality settles in that everything in their world is changing. Trying to alter already agreed upon terms is not unusual, nor is tears or fighting. An attorney can help you stay focused and decide issues that are best for your future.

Protection is Necessary

Your attorney knows there are issues that may come up and how to deal with them. From hiding assets to childcare to insurance to future retirement income, the judge may ask questions you are not prepared to answer. Letting your lawyer handle the complex situation, should it arise, can save you money, time, and a great deal of stress.

Each uncontested divorce is different, and some may start as uncontested and shift into adversarial terms. No matter how your legal proceedings occur, you can be sure when you hire an attorney that your case is being handled by a highly trained legal professional that will fight for what is in your best interest.

 Disclaimer: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Adventure On The Tracks

From the earliest of ages, trains tend to fascinate. They are very much still a part of our modern day world. Yet, they also simultaneously hearken back to a bygone era when the rails were king, and trains started the process of replacing horse drawn vehicles. To this day, there is a nostalgia to hopping aboard a locomotive and peering out the windows while the outside world goes by as the train makes it way down the tracks toward unknown adventures.

If you have a yearning to ride the rails to adventure, then dinner theater trains west palm beach may be just the ticket you are looking for. A dinner theater train typically combines a relaxing trip back in time on the rails, scrumptious food, and a theatrical performance filled with mystery and excitement.
So, if you are intrigued by the idea of a dinner theater train, these are just some of the reasons why booking the excursion today will almost certainly reward you with a highly memorable entertainment experience.

Serene Landscapes

One of the beauties of riding the rails is the pace at which the train moves. Quite simply, it is much slower than the typical trip by automobile on the highway and far less fast than air travel thousands of feet up in the sky. While enjoying a themed dinner train, you can sit back and enjoy the serenity of the passing landscapes, whether rural, urban, or somewhere in between. In addition, once the train leaves the station, the tracks oftentimes take you and your fellow passengers to places that are simply inaccessible by car.

A Theatrical Venue Like No Other

The theatrical performance on a dinner train typically unfolds in the walking aisles of the passenger cars. Talk about being up close and personal with the actors and actresses as they spin a tale for your entertainment. The train venue is far more intimate than the usual theater setting for the performance of a play.

Meet New Folks

It is not always easy to meet new folks given the very busy lives that people are leading nowadays. A dinner theater train, however, offers a great opportunity to meet new people not only as you eat in close proximity in the dining cars, but also during intermissions in the performance when you can move freely about the train cars.

A dinner theater train affords a grand adventure on the tracks as you enjoy a delicious meal, chat with your fellow passengers, and take in the gripping performance as it plays out right in front of you.

Disclaimer: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Ozark Mountain Motorcars

Ozark Mountain Motorcars: Classic Train Stories, Book 4 by Isaac Ben Levi

About The Book:
The Ozark Mountain Railroad has a problem. They need another passenger train, but they can't afford to buy a new one! Then, one of the OMRR's locomotives remembers an old friend of his....a railway motorcar who hasn't turned his wheels in years. But he's for sale, and cheap, too. Join the engines of the Ozark Mountain Railroad as they welcome their new, and for some old, friend, along with some unexpected surprises along the way as the "Blue Geese" become part of the OMRR family! A wholesome bedtime story for kids of all ages!

About The Author:
Isaac Ben Levi has always been fascinated with the railroad and history surrounding how it brought life to towns across the nation. He is currently a junior in High School and is an encyclopedia of railroad knowledge. His dream is to inspire children of all ages to learn about the impact of trains and perhaps one day build a line himself. When he is not writing, you will find him in the Ozark Mountains enjoying all that life on a homestead provides. His beloved animals, Lego trains, shooting sports, photography, art, science, survival skills, and reading are among his favorites.

 
Disclaimer: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Monday, June 10, 2019

10 Meals Easily Prepared Outside

I recently took my family and friends camping at the lake. My 12-year-old kept asking me what time it was. Instead of looking at a watch or a device, I would reply “it’s hungry,” and it was time to prepare the next meal. One of the best things about camping is tending to your basic needs on your own time without being driven by the hour of the workday or when the daycare closes. This means meals can be prepared slowly and everyone takes in the aroma a little longer than we do at home. With just a few simple pieces of cooking gear, some kindling, and matches, you can easily prepare meals outside on a fire. Whether you’re cooking in your backyard or preparing a hearty dinner after a day-long hike, these meals will engage everyone in the joyous process of cooking outside - no loincloth required. Just know that cooking on a fire does typically take longer than in your instapot at home.

#1: Hobo Dinners
If you plan to cook over a fire with only a grill grate and aluminum foil (which comes standard at some campsites), this is the best go-to that is fun for the entire family. Just like its name implies, this meal is literally a kitchen sink full of opportunity. The standard hobo foil wrap will usually include meat of some kind (ground meats work best) and any assortment of vegetables (edamame adds a nice crunch). This is a great throw together at the last minute meal because you can use that last potato or any other tidbits of fresh veggies you have in the fridge. Frozen veggies work well, too. You can save prep time by chopping ahead. Put each potential ingredient in its own ziplock bag or Tupperware bowl, and you suddenly have a build-your-own meal for everyone to assemble, cook, and enjoy. Here are a few tips to make hobo dinners easier and more delicious:

  • Boiling vegetables like potatoes and carrots ahead of time will speed up time on the fire. Otherwise, plan to cook your hobo dinners over a fire that is down to hot coals for up to 45 minutes.
  • Keep in mind the cooking time of each item and how the item is placed in the foil wrap. For example, unboiled potatoes and carrots should go on the bottom, meat on top, and your more hydrating vegetables (tomatoes and squashes) on top.
  • Sprinkle in any seasoning or marinades you wish - we usually need only Dale’s and garlic. If you don’t have any marinades, a splash of beer or water will keep it moist and free of burnt spots.
  • The foil wrap typically requires multiple pieces of foil. The best way to wrap is to use an interlocking fold with two sheets and roll it closed like a brown paper bag on top. The interlocked portion should serve as the side that is directly over the fire.
  • Tongs work well to shift each meal around as the heat of the fire changes.

#2: Stir Fry Anything
With a well-seasoned cast iron skillet and some olive oil, you can cook up just about anything over a fire. A huge rib-eye and diced vegetables are easy to prepare. If your fire is wide enough, use two or three cast iron skillets. Be sure to use metal tongs and pot holders because the cast iron gets very hot.

#3: Pumpkin Bake
This is favorite in the fall, but it’s tasty year round. As always, have a fire with a hot bed of coals ready.

  1. Prepare small single serve pumpkins or one large jack-o-lantern pumpkin as if you plan to carve it for Halloween.
  2. Brown one pound of ground sausage in a skillet over the fire.
  3. Combine 5-minute rice, diced apples, chicken broth, and a can of cream of mushroom soup with the cooked ground sausage.
  4. Fill the pumpkin(s) with the mixture, wrap the pumpkins in foil covered in cooking spray, and place the pumpkin on the coals. Cook for 30 to 40 minutes over the fire until the mixture is bubbling and the pumpkin gives with a fork.

Note that one large pumpkin may take longer, and you will need bowls to serve; Using single-serving pumpkins will provide each person with a bowl.

#4: Any Kind Of Stew
With a large cast iron dutch oven, you can prepare any soup or stew you make at home. The key is to have all ingredients chopped and bagged ready to take to the fire pit or throw into the cooler if heading to the campsite. Another important aspect, as applied to hobo dinners, is to cook first those items that will take longer such as potatoes, carrots, onions, and any kind of meat. Make sure your dutch oven has a flat top so that you can place hot coals on top. Once all items are added to the dutch oven, let simmer for one hour over low heat. Someone needs to keep the fire going! For a nice treat, during the last 15 or 20 minutes, lay canned biscuits on top of the stew.

#5: Chinese Chicken
No, we didn’t order take-out. This yummy Chinese style chicken will be sure to please. Again, to make the cooking easier, have all items chopped before going out to the fire. Chunked, boneless skinless chicken breast works best in this meal. Use your judgment in the amount of chopped onion and bell pepper, and cook these first in the dutch oven. Then add chicken breast chunks, garlic, carrots, celery, and cashews.

The secret is in the sauce; not really, but use these proportions. In a separate bowl, combine:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 20 ounce can of pineapple chunks

Add the sauce to the dutch oven, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. You can serve over 5-minute rice.

#6: Ravioli
Is pasta while camping even an option? It is when you can purchase frozen premade pasta like ravioli. Anyone who makes ravioli by hand on a regular basis may not be well-suited for the great outdoors. The frozen ravioli works best when it’s thawed, so, if you are camping, toss it in the cooler to keep other items cold while it thaws. As with campfire nachos described below, it’s all about the layers. Have a hot coal fire ready. In a dutch oven, add a thin layer of jarred spaghetti sauce then a single layer of ravioli. Then add half of the remaining sauce on top of the first layer of ravioli. Sprinkle on Parmesan cheese, then add another layer of ravioli. Top it off with the rest of the sauce, add all of the mozzarella and a little more Parmesan. Then pour a half cup of water around the edges of the pot. Cook for 45 minutes or until sauce is bubbling and cheese has browned.

#7: Mountain Man Breakfast
This one is a great high carb and high protein breakfast to enjoy before leaving the campsite for a long hike or paddle. As with any dutch oven meal over a fire, cook your meat (sausage or crumbled bacon) first along with pre-chopped onion, garlic, and bell pepper. Then sprinkle frozen hashed potatoes over top. Take the beaten eggs and pour over the potato, meat, and veggie mixture. Cover and place more coals on the top than on the bottom. It will take about 40 minutes for the eggs to become firm. Then sprinkle cheese on top and cover for an additional five minutes.

#8: Campfire Nachos
Grab the tortilla chips and get ready to layer it up. This one is perfect for romantic tent camping for two, but may be more appropriate as an appetizer for larger groups. Pre-chop the typical Mexican veggies like onion, tomato, and green pepper. Have a hot coal fire ready, and, as usual, cook the meat separately. Using a dutch oven, add a layer of chips to the bottom, then build from the bottom up layering the veggies, a can of black beans, salsa or green chilies (optional), and cheese. To create more of a casserole texture, add some water. Cover and let it cook until the cheese is melted. Top it off with fresh avocado.

#9: Omelet In A Bag
This is another made-to-order assembled meal for campfire cooking. The kids will really enjoy this one. Have a fire going with hot coals. Place a large flat rock in the fire pit when you first start the fire. Once you have coals, you will have a nice surface to put a pot of water on for boiling. Have your vegetables pre-chopped to speed things up. Crumbled pre-cooked bacon is a nice addition. Use Ziploc quart-sized bags (or purchase reusable boiling bags). Add a few eggs, all of the bacon and veggies you want, shake it all up, then drop the bag in the water. Boil for 12 to 13 minutes. Sprinkle cheese on the omelet while still hot.

#10: The Perfect S’more
You may be thinking you already know how to make a s’more, but think again. This trick will knock your socks off. The key is to prepare the s’more in stages and customize! Instead of your standard milk chocolate bar, try something different. How about fun-sized candy bars? My personal favorite is dark chocolate and coconut mounds, but my family members also love peanut butter cups, snickers, butterfingers, and peppermint patties. First, lay out all of the parts of the perfect s’more: two square graham crackers, marshmallow, open your fun-sized candy bar, and lay flat a large piece of foil. Place your first graham cracker on the foil, then your candy bar. Lay to the side your other graham cracker. Roast your marshmallow as you normally would, but I recommend using the hot coals to evenly melt the marshmallow instead of letting it get too crispy. You can do this by slowly rotating it. Once it is warm and gooey, put the marshmallow on top of the graham cracker and candy bar on the foil. Place the other graham cracker on top, then wrap it all up in the foil and place it on the hot coals, flipping it a few times. This technique not only melts the candy bar but also makes your graham crackers warm and toasted.

This list is not exhaustive, but it will get you started in using some of the basic tools of cooking over a fire: cast iron skillet, dutch oven, foil, Ziploc bags, and patience. After all, when the family gets together for some nature therapy and resetting circadian rhythm, who needs to know the time?

About The Author:
Zaneta is a Research Specialist and Writer for exercise.com and autoinsurance.org. Writing and research has been an integral component of her studies in anthropology, instructional technology, technical and professional communication, and adult education. A mountain biker-turned-paddler, she lives in Greenville, SC with her spouse, 12-year-old daughter, three lizards, and two Dachshunds. Her family enjoys tent camping throughout the year.

 
Disclaimer: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Expenses You Should Plan For

No matter where you are in life, there are certain expenses you should be prepared for. A little planning can go a long way, and when you're prepared, you can relax with the peace of mind that you're ready for whatever comes your way. Here are some expenses you should plan for so there are no surprises. 

Automobile Repairs

It doesn't matter if your vehicle is brand new, at some point you're going to run into an unexpected automobile repair expense. It's best to be prepared for it by putting aside some money, typically one month's car payment, to tackle that unexpected repair with ease. 

Homeowners Expenses

A leaky roof, broken refrigerator, busted air conditioner, or pest problem can creep up at any time during a homeowner's life. All homeowners should have an emergency fund to handle repairs that may come up without having to break the bank. Strive to have a little slush fund set aside so you can handle these surprises. 

Job Loss

Suffering a job loss is a terrible experience, especially if you aren't prepared for it. If you're suddenly struck with handling a job loss when you have monthly expenses, it can be much easier to handle when you have some cash set aside. Plan to have three to six month's worth of your salary set aside so if you lose your job, you'll be prepared. 

Sickness

Even if you have health insurance in Lodi, CA, you want to be prepared to handle a medical emergency. Make it a goal to have some money set aside so that if you get sick, you can handle your medical bills without going in the red. 

Nobody wants to deal with these unexpected emergencies. However, it can make it much more bearable if you're prepared, which is why it's important to follow these tips and have some savings set aside to tackle these emergencies if they come up. 

Disclaimer: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Tips For Your Next Remodel

Most homeowners complete at least once major remodeling project while living in their home. Remodeling can be a headache if not executed properly, which is why it's so important to know what you're doing before you get started. Whether this is your first remodeling project or your fifth, every homeowner can benefit from reading these helpful tips to make their next remodeling project go smoothly. 

Know What you Want

 You should never get started with a remodeling project if you don't know exactly what you want. The last thing you need is to start tearing walls down only to realize you want to go in a different direction. Before you get started, carefully plan out exactly what you envision for your remodeling project so there are no surprises along the way.

Get Help

Unless you're a licensed professional, chances are you are going to need some help at some point during your remodel. This is especially true if you're doing any major electrical or plumbing work as part of your project. Do yourself a favor and hire remodeling contractors in St. Charles County, MO to help you get the job done right the first time. 

Invest in Quality

When it comes to a home remodel, you shouldn't cut corners to save money. Opting for the cheap version of your materials can only hurt you in the long run, so instead invest in quality materials. You'll end up with a better quality product that will last longer. If you can't afford quality materials, you may want to save money until you can afford it.

Don't Stress

Remember, a major remodel is a process that can't be rushed. Remember to be patient and not let the project stress you out, even when you feel like it's not going as well as you'd like it to. Eventually you'll have a beautiful finished product.

Your remodeling project doesn't have to be a source of stress if you manage it properly. With these tips, your next remodeling project should be a success. 

Disclaimer: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

World Ocean Month & #The100KInitiative

The 100K initiative is a campaign started by FOUND Beverage in partnership with non-profit organization, Oceana, the world's largest advocacy group. According to UNESCO, the number of 100,000 represents the amount of marine mammals impacted by plastic in the oceans. To commemorate these animals, FOUND has developed 100,000 bottles of the brand's naturally sparkling, infused mineral water to sell and raise money which Oceana will use to protect the oceans, and the wildlife that call it home. FOUND Beverage Company was the first carbon neutral beverage company in the world and uses naturally sparking water. Current flavors for the 100K Initiative is Elderflower and Cucumber Mint. 100% of profits go to protecting all wildlife that still call our oceans home. This limited edition of range of commemorative bottles have been developed for The 100k Initiative by Found & Oceana. 100% of the profits from this Initiative go directly to Oceana’s campaign to limit single-use plastics and continue the fight to protect all the creatures that call our oceans home. Raise your glass to remember those marine mammals impacted by plastic and to acknowledge that your choice is helping save ocean wildlife, not harm them.
Individually numbered, limited edition bottles - Globally acclaimed artist, Amit Greenberg, has created the original artwork for the bottles. The idea was to represent the marine mammals in a pristine plastic free habitat. Each bottle is individually numbered to represent one marine mammal.  Reincarnate your bottle. Although we cant bring back the Marine Mammals we have lost, we can continue to remember them by reincarnating each bottle. Once you are done simply fill the bottle with water and place a flower in it.
 
Disclaimer: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.