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Showing posts from June, 2016

Coco-Roons Healthy snack Review

One of the great parts of owning a blog is the chance to try new products. I was recently sent a few samples of Coco-Roons.


Coco-Roons are an organic non-gmo snack that works for vegans, raw foodies, and paleo followers. I received three different flavors: mini brownie, lemon pie, and vanilla maple.

Of the three, lemon pie was my favorite. These snacks received mixed reviews in our house. My son immediately opened the brownie pack and took a bite. Since he was expecting "brownie" he was disappointed. My daughter refused to try them since she doesn't like coconut and I devoured the entire bag. Then the I devoured the next bag, and so on.

If you need "extra sweet" or artificial flavors to enjoy food, then you might not like these. If you enjoy whole foods then you will consider them a treat. I like to make things with coconut and so these treats were right up my alley.

They tasted great and were really convenient. I could take them with, eat them in the car, or e…

How to successfully Cook in a Solar Oven - Northern Latitude

After 2 years of building and testing various solar oven arrangements, I finally have success! Most solar ovens are built and used in hot climates closer to the equator, but people in the north need off-grid solutions too!

I live in zone 4 - northern America.

The advice for warmer climates does not work here. I've built ovens out of boxes, clay pots, Fresnel lenses, and various cooking supplies - but I've finally worked out the details to succeeding in colder locations.

In order to succeed at solar cooking in a northern latitude - you must do the following:

1. Use a parabola shaped sun reflector - all others are inefficient
2. Take advantage of multiple layers of heat trapping
3. Do not attempt in the winter, cloudy days, windy days, or when the sun is low (before 9am or after 4pm)
4. Plan ahead - especially if you need to cook meat - and allow for a multi-hour cook time.

Take a look at our solar oven:


What is it made of? A parabola that covers all sides and the bottom of the &quo…

Ebay for Dummies by Marsha Collier 9th Edition Review

I recently had the opportunity to read the book: eBay for dummies. This is the 9th Edition of this book, and as you can imagine the eBay marketplace is in constant flux.

I started using eBay about 12 years ago. At first it was a great place to buy and sell unique items. Over time it changed for the worse. It is now full of cheap items from China and is a bad place for sellers.

I stopped using eBay 3 years ago and vowed to never use it again. But...I slowly started selling/buying  a few things here and there. For now, it's still one of the only places you can reach a wide audience. But the costs and the fraudulent activity keep me from doing anything more substantial with eBay.

I was excited to see if this book offered anything new for a seasoned eBay user. It did - there was one page that addressed the new eBay html codes for inserting photos into your listing. That alone was worth reading the entire book. The rest of the book was a review for me but would be good for anyone sta…

Our Family Heads to ValleyFair! #VFBestDay #VFFirstTimer #VF40

What could be better than spending a hot summer day at ValleyFair? That's what we thought when we headed out to the theme park with our young children for their first time!

They were in awe of the screaming roller coasters, the super tall thrill rides, and the water park!

We chose to start out with Steel Venom and then go through the park counter clockwise. We rode on almost everything - from the old time cars to the big swings, to the Wild Thing.

Our trip was a mixed bag of fun and adventure. My children absolutely loved the rides - my husband too. They were disappointed that a few important rides were closed:  the RipTide or Renegade. The boys enjoyed the food plan, the girls did not. Actually, I spent most of the day throwing up.

It was probably a combination of "fair food," the heat, and twisty/shake em up rides. I'm just too old for it now, I guess.

We used to go to Valleyfair when I was young and I loved the rollercoasters. Most of the old ones are still there,…

Cherry Trees are Easy Edibles to Sneak into your Landscape

Why are so  many of our landscaping plants poisonous or inedible? Surely edible plants can look beautiful and be reliable too? I'm hear to tell you that they can! I have a number of gorgeous perennial edible plants mixed in with my landscaping - from chives, to daylilies, to alliums, blueberries, currants, and honeyberries. Annual edibles can look great too, but they are more work.

What about trees? Plum and apple trees can look good and provide delicious fruit, but they have pretty high maintenance needs and even their dwarf varieties require quite a bit of space.

Today, I'm recommending dwarf cherry trees. Not only for their delicious fruit, but also for their unique look and low maintenance.

I put this Northstar dwarf cherry into my lawn last year - right up front by my walkway.
It's petite, with dark glossy leaves and graceful branches. It requires very little water and will actually get sick if it's over watered. It feels the same way about fertilizer. It's a …