Why Sharp Knives Are Safer Than Dull Knives

The Danger of Dull Knives & How to Sharpen Them

dull knives suck

You’ve likely seen the mantra that “sharp knives are safer than dull ones” being thrown around. Doesn’t that seem a bit counterintuitive? So why is that the case? Wouldn’t a sharp set of knives be able to inflict more harm than a dull blade, which can barely cut through the food you’re trying to cut?

Well, yes and no. A sharp blade is certainly capable of inflicting more damage on an object, slicing through with more ease. But that’s not where the danger comes from.

Why Dull Knives Suck

When you start pressing a knife blade down into an object (hopefully a piece of food, such as fruits or veggies), it will either cut into the object if sharp, or if dull, it won’t. You’ll need to use a lot more pressure and force to get it into the food, but if very dull, it might just slip and slide around. You’ll be more likely to lose control and when that happens – bad things happen.

If your knife is nice and sharp, however, it will easily slice right through the food, allowing you to maintain control of the blade and make exacting cuts – on the food, and not your fingers.

How To Keep Your Knife Sharp

It’s true that you don’t exactly keep your knife sharp; you have to sharpen it regularly to keep it in tip-top cutting and slicing shape. Which, thankfully, is easy – and doesn’t necessarily require a sharpening knife.

Using a Manual Knife Sharpener

Get yourself a manual knife sharpener (you can grab one on Amazon for like $5), place it on the edge of your counter, and simply slide the knife blade through the V-shaped sharpening slot. The abrasive ceramic or carbide rods will quickly sharpen and hone the knife edge. And when it costs like $5, there’s really no excuse not to buy one of these eventually. Cookware Junkies recommends Cooks Standard Professional Ceramic Rod Knife which runs about $10 on Amazon.

Using A Sharpening Steel

A sharpening steel – the long, thin steel rods most people have at home for sharpening – doesn’t exactly sharpen the blade, but simply hones the edge of a dull blade, re-aligning it and allowing you to go longer between sharpening sessions.



Using one is simple: hold the steel sturdily planted, with the edge on the countertop. Place the heel of the blade against the steel at a 15-degree angle, and then slowly slide it down the length of the sharpening steel. As you do, slide the knife back and forth, so the entire length of the blade makes contact with the steel. Do this four or five times for each side of the blade, and your knife will be ready to go until the next sharpening session.infographic of sharping

Using A Ceramic Mug

If you’re in a pinch, you can sharpen a small knife at home using nothing other than a ceramic coffee mug. Simply flip it upside down, hold the knife at a 15-degree angle, and (slowly and carefully) draw the knife across the rough, unglazed edge of the mug. Do this several times, on both edges, and you’ll be able to extend the sharp life of your small kitchen knives.


The Perfect Food Temperatures w/ Quick Reference Chart

Everything you need to know about doneness levels of meat when grilling

Not only does cooking meat at the correct temperature ensure the cut is perfectly done every time, it will also ensure your meat is cooked safely. Meat needs to be cooked properly to kill the bacteria which it naturally carries on the outside. One of the most challenging aspects of grilling is maintaining the perfect internal grill heat temperatures when grilling with wood or charcoal. Most grills come with a stock temperature gauge that aren’t worth the space they take up on your grill. We recommend purchasing a trusted internal temperature thermometer for accurate readings of the internal temp of your grill throughout the cooking process.

Depending on your taste preference and the type of meat, a variety of cooking temperatures will be necessary.

abstract barbecue

Best practices for grilling meat:

There are four main points to remember when handling, preparing and cooking meat: clean, separate, cook, and chill.

Clean: When going to handle raw meat, first wash your hands. Clean all surfaces which you will be using to prepare your meat. Afterwards, clean your hands and surfaces again before preparing any other food.

Separate: Don’t cross contaminate. Use different knives, plates, and chopping boards for your raw meats. Keep them away from your cooked foods at all times.

Cook: Cook at the correct temperature to safely cook your food as per our guide below.

Chill: Seal and store your leftovers in a refrigerator within two hours.

Which meats need to be cooked all the way through?

cooked meat

Certain meats must be cooked all the way through for safety. These include poultry, pork, sausages, liver, kidney and other types of offal, and some fish.

Foods such as burgers, rolled joints of meat, and meat that has been skewered or minced also needs to be thoroughly cooked, as the bacteria, which usually lives on the outside of the meat, has been moved through it in the preparation.

To check if meat is cooked all the way through, pierce the thickest part of the joint or cut of meat. If the meat is properly cooked, the juices should run completely clear. It should be noted, that meat, including chicken, can be undercooked even if the juices are running clear. It is a must to use a thermometer to test doneness. It is worth it to invest in a good thermometer as they are more likely to be accurate and can obtain accurate reads quickly. meat recipe

Which meats can be eaten rare?

Beef steaks, lamb chops, and whole joints of either can be eaten rare when cooked at a high temperature. The high temperature seals the meat and kills the bacteria. When the outside of the meat has changed color the meat has been properly sealed.

Degrees of doneness:

Doneness is the scale used to describe how thoroughly a cut of meat is to be cooked according to your taste preference. The scale ranges in graduations from extra-rare (also known as ‘blue’), which is not recommended for safety reasons, through to well-done. Below is an overview of the perfect internal temperatures when estimating the ideal degree of doneness for cuts of meat such as beef and lamb.

Perfect grilling temperatures chart:

Certain factors should also be considered when using the below chart as a guide, such as the size, shape, cut, and thickness of the meat, as well as the size of the oven dish or type of grill bring used.

It is also very important to note that meat continues cooking after being removed from the heat. Therefore, to achieve your desired degree of doneness, remove your meat from the heat in advance of the desired internal temperature being reached.

Type of meat

Minimum cooking temperature

Rare 120°F – 125°F (48.9°C to 51.6°C)
Medium-rare 130°F – 135°F (54.4°C to 57.2°C)
Medium 140°F – 145°F (60°C to 62.8°C)
Medium-well 150°F – 155°F (65.5°C to 68.3°C)
Well done 150°F – 155°F (65.5°C to 68.3°C)
Roasting beef
Rib eye, sirloin, rump, fillet, standing rib roast, rolled rib beef roast 400°F (200°C)
Silverside, blade, round, topside, eye round, oyster blade 320°F (160°C)
Lamb chops
Rare 135°F (57.2 °C)
Medium-rare 140°F – 150°F (60°C to 65.5°C)
Medium 160°F (71°C)
Well done 165°F (75°C) and above
Roasting lamb
Eye of loin/backstrap, lamb round and rump, topside roasts, mini-roast 425°F (220°C)
Rack of lamb, four rib roast, crown roast 400°F (200°C)
Loin (boned and rolled), leg or shoulder of lamb 350°F (180°C)
Chicken 165°F – 175°F (74°C to 80°C)
Turkey 165°F – 175°F (74°C to 80°C)
Duck/goose 165°F (74°C)
Fresh pork/pork chops 145°F (63°C)
Fresh ham (from raw) 145°F (63°C)
Ham, Fully Cooked (to reheat)* 140°F (60°C)
Finfish 145°F (63°C)
Lobster, shrimp, crabs 145°F (63°C)
Clams, oysters, mussels 145°F (63°C) or until shell cracks open

*Leftovers should be placed in shallow containers to cool quickly. They should be refrigerated at 40°F (4.4°C) after no more than 2 hours. Reheat foods until they are steaming hot or have a minimum internal temperature of 165°F (74°C). Left over meats can be eaten cold if they have been properly cooled and stored.

Solar-Powered Lighting for Landscaping

Solar-Powered LightingThe recent trend in green power has resulted in a variety of alternative power methods.

When you install solar-powered lighting for your outdoor spaces, not only can you feel good about doing your part to help the environment, you can rest assured that solar power also helps save money on energy! However, getting involved in solar power can be a daunting task.

Many people get overwhelmed trying to figure out all the ins and outs of selecting the right solar power options for your yard and using them correctly. Here’s our crash-course guide to outdoor solar power for beginners.

How does solar-powered lighting work?

There are a variety of different solar light options, including LED, fluorescent, and halogen lights. What they all have in common is that their batteries automatically rechargeable throughout the day when exposed to sunlight. Solar fixtures in the lights, called photovoltaic cells, convert UV rays from the sun into electricity, and so it’s probably no surprise to you that the more powerful the rays are, and the longer your lights are exposed to the rays, the brighter, stronger emissions from your lights! No wonder, Arizona electricians are reporting a pickup in these types of outdoor lighting installations.

Solar-powered lights are popular choices for outdoorsy people because they have a much lighter carbon footprint than electric lights. Keep this in mind as you shop – support small businesses in your area and reduce the environmental effect of transportation by buying locally-sourced lights, if you can.

Lighting for Landscaping

What kind of solar lighting fixtures are best for my yard?

There are plenty of options for solar fixtures: big and small, automatic or timed, hanging or standing, the list goes on. Start by assessing the size of your yard and which areas could use more light during the evening, like a deck or patio. For example, one sight that you’re likely to see on many homes in your neighborhood is to use short, dainty lighting fixtures lining a walking path leading to the front door, as well as hanging lights or tiki-style posts to illuminate patios or other socializing areas. If you’re a garden fanatic, sprinkling some light through the greenery can create a whimsical effect during the evening. That’s right – solar lights don’t have to be purely utilitarian. Plenty of people have started hanging string lights or crafting mason-jar lanterns to add a soft, muted glow.

Another extremely convenient and popular choice is to install a motion-activated solar-powered light above your back door or garage so that your driveway is illuminated during the nighttime. This will make it safer for the members of your family who may be out late, as well as alerting you to any stray animals that may cross your driveway. These lights are almost always in direct sunlight throughout the day, and since they’re motion-activated, they don’t stay on for very long, making them all the more great at conserving energy.

What if there are many areas in my yard that aren’t exposed to direct sunlight?

This situation makes it a little more complicated, but not to worry, there are ways around it! A landscaper or solar-panel professional can install full panels on your roof or even a smaller, remote panel in a sunnier area of the yard. This can then be connected via wiring to a bulb in a shadier area.direct sunlight

The only downside is you’ll have to be cautious of the wiring, and this involves digging trenches or installing protective plugs or pipes, which usually necessitates the assistance of a professional landscaper, especially if you’re trying to install them along a walking path or an area that is prone to heavy foot traffic (either by members of your family or the small, furry friends that live in your garden).

What is Pergo Laminate Flooring and its Benefits?

Laminate Flooring is a Cost Effective Alternative to True Hardwood

For those seeking the look of a hardwood floor on a limited budget, laminate flooring can provide an ideal solution. Made from layers of compressed wood, the surface has the appearance of real wooden flooring by applying a photographic layer under a clear surface “wear layer”. Laminate flooring is relatively inexpensive when compared to real wood alternatives.

So what is Pergo Anyway?

Laminate flooring was invented by Swedish company Perstorp in 1977 and sold under the name Pergo. The revolutionary Pergo flooring was created with ease-of-installation specifically in mind. The flooring is comprised of ‘tongue and grooved’ planks, which interlock easily, making it reasonably straightforward for any home DIY enthusiast to install.

When Pergo laminate flooring was launched in Europe in the 1980’s, homeowners loved it. It quickly gained in popularity and by the mid-90’s, Pergo was widely available in most DIY stores across the United States. The prized design was soon picked up by competitors, and today the laminate flooring industry is vast. However, Pergo has maintained its high quality and continues to be regarded as one of the best laminate flooring brands available.

Laminate Flooring


Pergo is literally the origin of laminate flooring, developing and expanding their product lines for decades. Therefore, it is unsurprising that their collections of wood and stone-look laminate flooring are vast and inspired. From classic wood styles such as oak, to exotic options like acacia and bamboo, Pergo have ensured that there is a design for every possible taste. Over the years they have continued to expand their range and add contemporary styles, like distressed wood and paint-like stencil features.


Pergo flooring is generally designed to be easy for DIY homeowners to install. As with most laminate flooring today, Pergo planks have a ‘tongue and groove’ feature so they lock together quickly and easily.Flooring

Some Pergo styles are considered more difficult to install, such as Pergo’s American Era collection from their hardwood range. This project is not for the DIY novice. Seek out a flooring pro like Gonzalez & Sons who specializes in hardwood and wood-like flooring alike. However, due to its ease of installation, if a professional is needed, it won’t take them very long to complete, keeping your overall costs down.

How to Install Pergo Flooring by Pergo


As with all laminate flooring, Pergo is easy to maintain. The surface of the laminate can easily wipe or wash clean, and can be vacuumed for years without dulling its sheen.

The drawback to laminate flooring is that, due to its compressed wooden interior, the planks can swell if liquid is allowed to seep between them. Therefore, if you want to keep your laminate flooring in good condition, it’s important to thoroughly clean up any spillages.Nice Laminate Flooring


Pergo is extremely durable and is far harder to scratch than competing brands. Laminate flooring gets an “AC” rating for quality. Pergo products have an “AC-4” rating (with “AC-5” being the best), meaning that their products are rated to withstand regular foot traffic throughout a household without showing any wear. This rating makes Pergo one of the best quality choices for domestic use.

When Pergo flooring is purchased, they come with one of best warranties options available, from 25 years to a limited-lifetime guarantee. But take note that their warranties are non-transferrable. So if you sell your home, the warranty ends.

A Practical Guide To Household Management.

Whether it is about children or your employees within the household. It is about the economics of your home, or dwelling. Is it about gardening around your home or architecture and designs, landlords or tenants? Well “A Practical Guide to Household Management” is a publication that answers all these queries.

Published back in 1900 by London Greshman this book is authored by Davidson HC, with contribution from the University of Leeds Library It has been a resource over the years, with reviews to match every times update and meet the needs. This brings together all the stakeholders in household matters in a bid to inform, educate and enlighten.

While everyone interacts with a home, a household at every time, this field is rarely looked into as one that requires knowledge and technicalities of operations.

This article brings to you some issues on household management which if well considered will come in handy in the smooth running of the households, at the individual, family and even community levels.

Home Economics, also known as Domestic Economy, Human Science or Home Science, is a science in the domestic context and entails the management and economics at family, home and community levels. This management touches on various aspects including the relationships and interactions between individual persons, between families, among the community and their surrounding environment. This involves cooking as well as other activities within a household.

On the other hand, a dwelling is basically the shelter. A place where an individual the family lives. A dwelling is a basic need for everyone. And it is not a matter of just having a roof over your family’s head, everyone should have a decent, reasonable dwelling.

Architecture involves the designs of the house or structures within a household. Generally, architecture involves the overall plan, design, and construction of your house. It is the artistic nature of your home. This involves working with a professional architect who will help you to put what is in your mind into a real design to the satisfaction of both of you Good and well done architectural designs are a satisfaction of the heart. Such designs, if well executed during construction, make the home more comfortable and the residents much happy.

Another aspect of Household Management is gardening. Basically, there is nothing as beautiful as a home with a well-managed garden. This does not only provide beauty, fresh air from the plants, but also some food. You can grow some fruits and vegetables in the garden. This will not only save you on the cost of food, save you from numerous trips to the market, but also give you a healthy foods option especially if you grow them organically.

Besides, gardening and landscaping is an aspect that can bring a family together, say if you decide to have each child manage a section or each member to take care of a tree. When you cannot manage, than you can employ a gardener on full time or part time terms.

Landlords and Tenants are like nuts and screws. They need each other and complement the needs of each other. Definitely, a landlord will want to earn from his real estate investment. On the other hand, tenants need shelter, whether for a short time like when you have a short contract to work in a city far from home. It is essential to also understand the laws that govern the relationships and business between the two parties.

Employment of household or domestic workers is in most cases inevitable. While most families would want to stay alone, maybe for privacy or just bonding, it is usually hard for the family members to perform all tasks. You may need a nanny, a gardener, a cleaner, a chef, among other workers. But there are key issues that pertain engaging a domestic worker, and whom you engage. The legal aspect is among the key issues as both the employer and employee must be guided by the laws of the countries of engagement. Besides, there are other aspects that both employer and employee must consider to match their expectations.

Unlike many aspects of life that are learned in institutions as pre-professionals, everyone, no matter their background, finds himself/herself involved in some aspect of home management. It is therefore necessary to ensure vast knowledge in this area, for efficiency and effectiveness in household management.

Three Tips for Making an Amazing Jeopardy PowerPoint

Making an Amazing Jeopardy PowerPointI’ve played Jeopardy on PowerPoint before, and pretty haphazardly thrown a board together right before a unit, and it’s been more than functional. Making one takes time, and if you’re going to invest in putting one together, it make sense to make a template to use over and over again. There are three things you can do to make your game work well and look awesome.

Tip #1 – Find the Perfect Typeface

I ran across an article on typography that focused on the five typefaces used throughout the game. The article said the actual lettering used was probably derived from standard typeface, but they gave some pretty great matches.

The clues are presented in ITC Korinna, all caps, white coloring, with a shadow. I downloaded this font and it was perfect. The dollar amounts and the categories are variations on Swiss 911. I wasn’t able to master exact doubles, but what I did was close enough. The Jeopardy logo is URW Annual and it is combined with the typeface Square 271 when “double” appears in Double Jeopardy. Square 271 is used in the Daily Double screen shot. Video and Audio Daily Doubles use Coffee Service, just for the words “video” and “audio.”

The article, on Fonts in Use, will link you where you can download these typefaces. Be prepared to be strong, because if you visit the site, you may go lost on their awesome blog. (FYI: If you’re working on advertisement, propaganda, modernism, media, style and format, nearly anything that requires the visual medium with sentiment and idea, this site makes a great resource.)

If you don’t want to seek out the fonts, you can always check out this Jeopardy Clue Generator. Visit the site, type your clue (in the form of a statement). The generator will automatically capitalize every letter and give you a neat clip you can save.

You can also take a screen shot, and if you’d like shave off the link to the generator. I left the watermark in the bottom left hand corner because this is on a blog.

Tip #2 – Use the Right Color

When you get to your PowerPoint, you want to make sure that your clues match the background. That is a very specific and famous shade of blue. You can change the background color of all of the slide by changing the background color on the slides under the Format Background menu. When selecting the color, choose “More Colors” and a screen with two tabs will open. You will want the “Custom” menu, where you can enter the color values.

There is a screen shot of what that will look like to the right. It will start with each value at 255, which makes the white default background. You will want to change each one so it reads red: 12, green: 53. blue: 203. If you select Apply to All, each slide will be that beautiful shade of Jeopardy blue. The dollar amounts will be written in a color with the values red: 214, green: 159, blue: 76 for that mustard shade of yellow.

Tip #3 – Link the Pages for a Click-Through Presentation

Whether you are using a SmartBoard or a projector, you will want to be able to click on the dollar amounts, go to the clue, possibly see the correct answer, but minimally return back to the board. There’s a simple way to do this, but it just takes a moment to set up. Once you have it set up, though, you can save the file as a template for games in the future.

Make your first slide the board and type in the values of each clue on your grid. Create questions on the next slides, going down each category. Category 1 will be slides 2-6, Category 2 will be slides 7-11 and so on until you’ve finished all of your clues. Go back to your board slide and highlight the first dollar amount – Category 1, $200. You will select the option to hyperlink by right clicking, and your options screen will show up. Select “Place in the Document” on the left hand side, and highlighting Page 2. You will have to do this for all 30 clues, but making this template once is worth it.

When you’ve gone through this, go back to your first clue. Insert a text box and type the word “back” in small size. If you’d prefer to insert a shape, do this instead. If you can see from the picture above, I use the arrow instead of the word back. Either way, highlight it, right click and go back to your hyperlinking options. Link that word or arrow to the first slide, the one with the board. Once you press ok, copy the item or word. You can now go through each slide, paste this same word or item onto the slide, and have all of your clues go back to the main board.

If you’ve typed in numbers and hyperlinked them, they will appear in a purple color. You will know that the remaining clues are the still gold ones. Be careful though, because once you click on the dollar amount, it will be purple. I have gone around this by using arrows again in the bottom corners of my dollar amounts, but I have to manually cross out the dollar amount on my SmartBoard rendering of the board to track the use clues. Another option is to just have a quick grid on the board in between the teams’ scores, and asking the score keeping to just identify the used clues.

And Beyond . . .

I have seen some fabulous Jeopardy PowerPoints, some of which included applause and sad trombone sound clips for right and wrong answers, and click-through answer screens that show the right response. There are ways to slip a link to a Daily Double slide in between your board and a clue, and switching that around over a few games makes it pretty fun to play. You can embed photos, audio and video in all of your clues. It just goes on. With that inspiration, I hope you are ready to get started on a Jeopardy board today!

(Though, P.S. there are tons of boards online for sale or download – like mine – and people willing to make them for you – like me – which is a pretty neat option too!)

You Should Still Be Using Webquests

webquestWebquests are inquiry-oriented units or lessons. They were new about ten years ago, but they should still be a part of your teaching repertoire. Students work independently or in groups to break down a task, use and evaluate resources online and create a work product. It is easy to make them fun and engaging activities, and the allowance for individual interest and exploration can be really motivating for many learners.

The key to an effective webquest is preparation. Since these can be pretty detailed processes, it makes sense to have more than one in an academic year. For your first, you will highly scaffold the process – include mini-lessons on features, complete parts of the quests together, review and analyze examples and non-examples of expectations, discuss templates and rubrics. By the time your students are completing a second or third, formatted similarly but on different topics, they will be more independent in the process and can explore their topic more deeply.

To make the most of this process, here are a few tips.
1) Lay out the process in advance with an introduction
Spend time introducing the entire webquest so students know the goals and expectations. Determine the length of your webquest and try to break it into lessons, steps or checkpoints before you share the process with the students. You should be able to lay out the entire process during your introduction, and each component should take you one step closer to the final product.
2) Make sure your final step is summative and reflective
The goal of a webquest isn’t to answer prompts. Encourage self-reflection, evaluation on process or application of information to other topics studied. There may be some direct responses to pieces of the webquest, but the overall result should be in the top tier of Bloom’s Taxonomy: Analysis, Synthesis and Evaluation.
3) Select the resources and present them as part of the process
It’s important for you to select the resources to be reviewed by the students. Webquests are not independent research papers. You can directly link students to specific sites for certain components of the webquest (“For the answers to #1-3, visit this site . . . “) or you can give students a larger body of work and jigsaw it so different students are working to find different components of the same source.
4) Choose a wide variety of resources
You don’t have to send students to read articles. You can do so much with video and audio, and mix up primary and secondary resources. Finding another class’ work on the same topic can also be helpful and interesting for your students. Allow students to engage in and interact with the sources they are selecting and be sure to appeal to all modalities and types of learners.
5) Insert your usual classroom procedures into the process
A webquest is ultimately an assignment, and if you have specific expectations for your classwork, make sure they are present in this process. If you value peer review, incorporate a step that requires students to evaluate each other’s work. If your students use a specific format for citing resources, make sure there’s a place for students to include these citations. For teachers who rely on online classrooms or digital assignment books, have turn ins and checkpoints be part of your class wiki or wall. Make these usual and consistent classroom features a part of the process to make the project more familiar and reinforce those skills as well.
6) Formalize the process, and reuse it
If you are going to put the work into a webquest, which you should because it is definitely worth it, try to find a format and structure that you like. It will help the students to become familiar with the process and it will help you to be able to replace sites, topics or expectations into consistent rubrics and assignments.
For more information on webquests, this Thirteen.org link is a decade old, but a great start!

Trip to the museum

I am so excited. The Seattle Art Museum offers teachers an Educator Pass and I will be checking it out tomorrow to plan a field trip. I think it’s really wonderful that the museum provides teachers with a free pass to scope out a field trip and see the works.

Natural House Review and Giveaway!

Natural House ReviewWhen the Natural House site says that their cleaning products are a true cleaning revolution, it is speaking directly to the revolutionary new way to keep your home clean and safe. Start a cleaning revolution in your home by using these natural household cleaning products, which won the Retailers Choice Award at the 2011 National Hardware Store!

Check out this video to see how it works:

Natural House products use plant-based, eco-friendly, non-toxic ingredients to fight the nasty things that grow and lurk in your pipes and on your household surfaces. For the areas in your home you don’t always feel like you can access, like your disposal, the pipes and your bathroom systems, Natural House products break down fats, grease and solid wastes with natural cleansing agents.

They aren’t a one-time solution either, because they work and continue to work until it’s time for the next treatment. Unlike stinky, chemical treatments that work on the surface and evaporate into the air your breathe or remain on the surfaces you touch, Natural House products continually week out the bad guys that make your surfaces unsafe. By building a mini-ecosystem of natural ingredients, the plant-based enzymes beat out micro-organisms, dust, waste, oil and grease on the microbial level! If you have children or pets, you want to make sure that you are using a cleaner that continually works and without the hazard of short-lived chemical santization.

One quick note though – the packages are so crisp and cute, it’s not that the products look like toys or candy, but they definitely are eye-catching. Though they are non-toxic and totally safe, I’d keep them away from children same as I would with other cleaning products! That fear of mine aside, I think the packaging is just down right adorable, and especially when you think of how gross the nastiness they fight can be! Yuck!


I used Trashy in our kitchen, but you can always use this product with a diaper pail or in an outdoor trash can. Trashy worked to “digest” the odors, meaning it broke them down enzymatically. What was left behind smelled good, which was more than I expected. I would have settled for “smelling not bad” in place of smelling like garbage, but it actually left my kitchen trash area smelling fresh!


Sinky worked great in my sink. I don’t use my disposal for organic garbage, but I definitely use it with my sink catch to keep my pipes clear. I didn’t realize how much gunk could get in there, but Sinky worked to fight the grime and scour the pipes. It didn’t have the impact of using a drain clearer, but it also didn’t have the side effects of chemical wear on my pipes or nasal passages either. As a preventative, it’s a wonderful product!


Flushy might be my favorite of these products. It’s incredibly easy to use and really added a freshness to my bathroom. Most of why I liked it is that it provided me the same cleaning power I’d expect from a toilet product without the bleach or ammonia smell that keeps me from using these products. My bathroom didn’t smell like a pool room or gym locker room, but it was just as clean as a traditional cleaner would leave it!

Would you like to win a 30-day supply of these products? Fill out the Rafflecopter entry below. The first entry is just leaving a comment!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

The Story of Hannukah Howie – Review and Giveaway

Jan and Bob Dalrymple have put together a sweet and fun story to be shared during Hanukkah. What starts as something a little silly, Howie’s ever so strange hair that spikes itself every December, becomes something that teaches Howie an important lesson about himself and the holiday. It’s a great story to build appreciation for the things that can bring joy to people, around the Hanukkah season, but all year long, too.
Here are the first few pages of The Story of Hanukkah Howie, with Jan’s poetic words and Bob’s great illustrations on display:
 As you can hear, the story is written in an A-A-B-B rhyming pattern, which I love as a reading teacher because it helps children build fluency and phonemic awareness while listening to a great little tale. As a current University of Washington student, I couldn’t help but notice the purple and gold pennant in Howie’s room. Jan and Bob are Seattle residents and it’s that type of touch that really brings the richness of this story and the personalization of the characters out to the reader.
The Story of Hanukkah Howie

The book itself is beautiful too. The deep navy hard cover makes it a very enticing picture book. I can see children reaching for this book to explore the wonderful illustrations, even if unable to read the words independently. The pictures are just as valuable for telling the story and they can evoke questions and comments from even the youngest of readers. The Story of Hanukkah Howie makes a great story for a read aloud.

If you’d like to enter to win this gorgeous book with a sweet story, complete the Rafflecopter form below!