............................................Welcome To Grandma Bonnie's Closet.............................................

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Temporary Safety Tattoos

Disclosure: Grandma Bonnie's Closet has not been compensated for the following product review. I received a product sample for review purposes. All opinions expressed are my own. 

Do you ever worry your child/grandchild will wander off in a park, store or crowd?
In the next few weeks two of my grandsons are flying overseas to visit their other grandparents. My daughter and I have expressed concern on the boys safety while traveling. What if one of the boys gets separated from mom or dad by accident. I know they will be vigilant but accidents do happen.
Parents have a couple options when traveling with young children. You could put a note in their pocket with a phone number or other important information. But will the note be found on the child? The note could get lost. They could label the child's jacket or clothing. But jackets can be taken off. You really need the information clear, visible and easy to be found. That is where SafetyTat comes to the rescue.
SafetyTat is a temporary tattoo that can be put on a child's arm. The original SafetyTats are printed with a phone number that can be contacted if the child becomes lost.
The first thing that caught my attention was the banner on their site, "The Tat That Brings Kids Back!"  I am amazed that this was not thought of when my kids were small. The tats are sweat-proof, waterproof and are applied with water. They last from one to five days. Although it is recommended to reapply each day.
My daughter applied a tat to my grandson Pooh Bear. We had him wear the tattoo through out the day. I could have posted the photo of a freshly applied tattoo but I am betting you are more interested in seeing the SafetyTat after a day of normal wear and tear. After a play date at the park and play at home, the tattoo was put through the toddlers full battery of tests.
This photo is after a full day of wearing the SafetyTat.
I blanked out the number for privacy reasons. The tattoo stood up nicely to all the tests a toddler could put it through. It passed with flying colors. The cute giraffe and the phone number is still in great shape and easily to identify and be read.  The tattoos come in all sorts of designs that children will love to wear. There is also available a write on tat that you can write your own information on.
I think these would be great to place on a child for Halloween. If your child is trick-or-treating why not keep them safe with a SafetyTat.
Would you like to order SafetyTats for your child? SafetyTat has provided an exclusive discount to Grandma Bonnie's Closet's Readers. Take advantage and purchase SafetyTats for your child/grandchild.

For 10% off an order of $15 or more use the Coupon Code: GrandmaBonniesCloset (this code is case sensitive) 
You might also like to connect with SafetyTat on Facebook.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

My Thoughts About Smartphones & Staying Connected

Disclosure: I am participating in the Verizon Boomer Voices program and have been provided with a wireless device and six months of service in exchange for my honest opinions about the product.

This post is for my blogging  friends that are holding on to your basic cell phones and not embracing the newest in smartphone technology available.
This is a true story. It happened about 5 years ago give or take a few months.  When we first changed over to smartphones from our basic clam shell cellphone I was a bit angry. It kind of happened just out of the blue. My hubby and I were due for an up grade.
I went into the store with a specific basic phone in mind. It was a model that was good for a person who was rough on a phone. I was like that. I had laundered two cell phones in the past. Dropped a cell phone in an elevator shaft and so forth and so on. Yep, I was definitely rough on my cell phones. That day my husband was looking at the smartphones and he really wanted the Galaxy S. I told him go for it! But, there was a sale going on and he wanted the sale price. The deal was buy one get one free. I held out for all of maybe five minutes and my dearest won the battle. He agreed to buy the insurance because I was totally sure I would be laundering that phone in no time at all. That is the short version on how we changed to using smartphones.
I do have to tell you the first week I was still sure it was a mistake to carry such expensive and fragile electronics in my purse or pocket. But as time flew by I became accustom to having the Internet at my side 24/7. I had apps for everything I could possibly want. Weather at my finger tips, maps, directions and anything the Internet offered. I still have my old Galaxy S. I never washed or dropped it. So, I learned to be just a little more careful of where my phone was at any given time. I changed to a new Galaxy S3 which I treat like my right hand. It keeps the world at my finger tips. I am also carrying a Droid Razr Maxx HD courtesy of Verizon and the Verizon Boomer Voices Program.
At this time I do not know what I would do without the Droid Razr Maxx HD. Being a blogger I need to be in constant contact with my sponsors, have email at my finger tips and be able to research on the go. If I did not have a smartphone I would be stuck at home doing my work from a desk.
I travel often to see my grandchildren. I do not want to give up  my travels in order to keep blogging. Carrying a smartphone is like having my home office in my pocket. So, I can travel and blog at the same time. See, you can have your cake and eat it too!
I love the Galaxy S3 but I love the Droid Razr Maxx HD just a little more. Why? It has the most awesome battery life you could ever imagine. I have been able to use the phone for two to three days at a time before having to recharge. The Droid Razr Maxx HD is meant for a traveling, blogging grandmother like myself. I know some of you might be thinking it is hard to type a post from a cellphone even the smartest smartphone may not be comfortable to type long posts with. Well, I have written short posts, posted photos, answered emails and tweeted from my smartphone with comfort and ease. When I want to write a longer more involved post I use my smartphone as a mobile hotspot. I hook up my laptop and I am ready to connect with my blog. I use many social media apps like Facebook, twitter, G+ and Linkedin right on my smartphone. Traveling with a smartphone has made it easy for me to stay connected to my grandchildren, my business sponsors, my blog and social media sites. I could not ask more from any phone.
My blogging friends, What do you think? Would a smartphone keep you connected? Would one make your life a little easier?

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Dressed Up Scooby

Disclosure: Grandma Bonnie's Closet has not been compensated for the following product review. I received a product sample for review purposes. All opinions expressed are my own. 

Our new dog Scooby has settled in our home just as nice as can be. We have been spoiling him as much as possible. Given his background you can hardly blame us for wanting to pamper him just a bit. Well, he is still a little rough around the edges and we won't be leaving him alone with our grandchildren just yet. But I tell you he is turning in to a cuddly and lovable little guy.
With Halloween just around the corner I thought it would be fun to dress Scooby in a neat costume. I started looking online and found Anit Accessories. Anit Accessories is a Dog Costume Designer Company. They design dog costumes that are creative, cute, adorable and oh so fun. I had a hard time choosing just one costume to review. First I picked this adorable Giraffe costume. Unfortunately the costume was just a little small for Scooby. So we were given another shot at finding a costume that would fit perfectly. I looked over all the options again and it was not any easier to select a costume the second time around. I liked so many. If Scooby had been a girl it would have been even harder. They have the most adorable girl dog costumes. I just might have to dress Scooby in one of the cute Santa Baby costumes for Christmas if I can convince the hubby.
I was extremely excited when I heard that Tina from Anit Accessories decided to let me review two costumes for Scooby. That shows you just how exceptional this company really is. 

For my first selection I wanted to bring out the devilish but adorable side of Scooby. The Gangster Dog Costume fit the idea perfectly.
Scooby sure is ham in front of the camera.
A little information about the Gangster Costume: It comes with two pieces. It includes a black pinstriped vest with white sleeves, button on neck tie and a drawstring fedora hat. The costume has buttons for closures and not Velcro. I like the buttons much better than Velcro closures. Scooby has a Velcro closure on his fall coat. His fur actually gets caught in the Velcro no matter how careful I am about fastening it. With buttons his fur is totally safe. 
Next, choice I made was the Sea Captain Dog Costume. I thought it fit Scooby's personality perfectly. He loves to bark orders at the crew. He has become the Captain of our deck and bridge so to say. He keeps our cats toeing the line. If he thinks the cats get out of line he boots them off the deck. Although, funny but true!
 The Sea Captain Costume includes two pieces, a navy officers captains uniform and drawstring hat. The officers shirt has button down details and an officers insignia on the shoulders. 
The details on both costumes are awesome. The fabrics are of high quality. I expect both costumes to last for years to come. I inspected the stitching and found it to be exceptional.  No corners were cut when making these beautiful costumes. 
The costume sizes range from x-small to x-large. If you want an adorable and fun costume for the dog in your life a costume by Anit Accessories is the way to go.  I am sure you will find the perfect costume that will suit your pets personality. To find a store near you that sells these beautiful costumes check out this page.
Like Anit Accessories on Facebook.
Readers, What do you think? Which costume do you like most? What would you dress your pet as for Halloween? 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Canning Grape Juice

With an over abundance of grapes this year we decided to can some grape juice. We have three separate vines. Only one vine has ripe grapes at this time. I am assuming the other two will be ripe by the beginning of October. I have been doing one to two batches a day. Whatever a five gallon bucket will produce.
We fill the bucket to the top. After sorting good from bad what is left is the batch of juice for the day.
Our grapes are organic we do not use chemical pesticides or chemical fertilizers. They have plenty of crawling insects that need separated from them. After trial and error I came up with a simple method for debugging the grapes with little effort. I fill the bucket with a garden hose. Most of the creepy crawlies are happy to leave at this point. I let the bucket of grapes sit for about an hour and any insects that decided to hang around are drowned. If I am not mistaken the grapes you see here are the Perlette variety. 

While the grapes are soaking outside I usually prepare my canning equipment.  Any utensils I am using for the canning process I wash with hot soapy water, rinse and sterilize in boiling water. This includes jars, rings, tongs, mixing spoons, measuring cups, and ladle. I was told a few years back that the sanitizing cycle on a dishwasher was good for this process. I don't use a dishwasher but if I did I would make sure no soap residue was left on the utensils and jars. 

Now I separate the good grapes and the left over stems, leaves and bad grapes are added to the compost pile. With the utensils sterilized and the jars simmering in boiling water I wash the grapes one last time. I then place them in a pan and add water. Just enough water to cover the grapes. Let them simmer mixing and mashing as it boils. I use a potato masher to mix and mash. Skim the scum off as it rises to the top.
Now I strain the juice through a calender lined with cheese cloth that is set into a bowl to catch the juice.

Left over dry grape skins, pulp and seeds. Ready for the compost pile.

I squeeze as much juice out as possible. Here you can strain the juice again. Then continue processing or set in a refrigerator over night so that the sediment in the juice settles to the bottom. That would result in a much clearer juice. I just continue on we do not mind the pulp in our juice and it does not need to be clear. 
I then boil the juice again adding sugar or sweetener if needed. Then ladle into hot jars. Add lids and rings then process again in a boiling water canning pot. 
To find the proper processing times for canning grape juice I used this website "National Center for Home Food Preservation."
If you are canning be very careful follow proper sterilization and preserving methods. Processing times very by altitude and food acidity. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Book Review: Lemons and Lavender

Disclosure: Grandma Bonnie's Closet has not been compensated for the following product review. I received a product sample for review purposes from Viva Editions. All opinions expressed are my own. 

When I saw the book review for Lemons and Lavender on My Journey With Candida Blog the first thoughts I had were, "I have got to read that book". So here we are a few weeks later and I am very happy to say Lemons and Lavender by Billee Sharp is an awesome book!
There is a bounty of information crammed into all the pages of this eco guide to better homekeeping that you will spend hours reading highlighting and taking notes.
The first subjects highlighted in this book are budgeting, thrifting, planning and saving. The section on finding free stuff is something I have begun to use with earnest. The budget ideas are easy to understand and implement. In this day and age where money can be tight it makes sense to plan and save by being economical.
Then comes the chapter on Health is Wealth. Here you can find recipes for a skin scrub, a sea salt bath mixture, simple essential oil remedies, kitchen cures and more. Did you know that grated nutmeg soothes diarrhea and upset stomach? This chapter alone is worth buying the book for but, there is more so much more to this book.
My favorite chapter is Homely Habitats. This chapter in itself is an eco-friendly, organic guide to keeping house with nontoxic homemade cleaning agents. I just cleaned my floors today with the Good Wood Floor Cleaner recipe found in chapter four. Mix together in a spray bottle, 1 tsp vinegar, 1 tsp vegetable oil, 6 drops essential oil and 1 quart water. Spray the floor than mop with a clean mop. Mop again with clean hot water. I used lavender oil. My wood floors look great and smells divine. If you have something that needs to be cleaned in your home you will find a cleaning recipe in this chapter made just for that.
Have I got your interest? There are many more subjects covered in this book. Just to mention a few more of the interesting DIY topics you can read about, composting, gardening, canning and recipes upon recipes. Just grab a copy and enjoy a cup of tea with this good read.
Follow on Viva Editions on Facebook and Twitter.

Friday, September 13, 2013

DIY: Reversible Dog Coat

If you are a frequent reader here at Grandma Bonnie's Closet you probably already know about Scooby our most recent rescue dog. If you missed that post you can check it out here.
Each and every morning around 4 am Scooby wants out for a walk. Its a little early for me but I understand his need. Being older he probably can't hold it like the younger dogs can. He usually goes out does his job and then wants to walk a little and inspect all the trees and shrubs around the yard. When he is finished about 15 minutes or so he is ready to go back in to sleep again. Well, there has been a few mornings recently that the air had a little nip in it. It actually felt great to me but Scooby would shiver complete his task and run right for our door. That is when I knew he had to be cold. Now I am wondering how he is going to like the cold winter weather.
So, I decided to make Scooby a coat today. I thought the DIY might come in handy for some of my readers that have dogs.

My first step was to look at pictures of dog coats on line and see how they are constructed. After having an idea of what I wanted basically I started by drawing a pattern onto some old wrapping paper. I used Scooby's neck, waist and back length to create the pattern below.
 Wrapping paper cut into the size and shape I needed.

I found an old sweat shirt for one layer and an old sundress for the other layer. I thought with two layers of fabric not only would the coat be warm but it would be reversible.
 I pinned the pattern on both fabrics and cut them out.
I made a pattern for a collar and cut two pieces of fabric for the collar. I cut off one of the straps on the sundress. I will use the strap to secure the coat to Scooby. I sewed the two collar pieces together leaving the top edge not sewn. I turned the collar outside right.  

I pinned the strap to the right side of the plaid fabric and pinned the collar in place on the right side also. Next, I pinned the navy piece of fabric on top with right sides facing together. The collar and belt are sandwiched inside. 
I sewed a 1/4 inch seam all around the outside edge leaving a small opening at the bottom. I used the opening to turn the coat outside right.

I pinned the remaining opening and stitched around the entire coat leaving it a nice finished look. I attached Velcro on the front wings so it can be secured easily around the neck.  I added a small piece of Velcro on the strap end. I sewed another small piece of Velcro on the inside of the coat for securing the strap around the waist. 
The coat is reversible. But as you might be able to tell I like the plaid side the best. 

What do you think? He sure does like his new coat! I am going to make another coat with a warmer fabric for the cold winter weather. I might even make a rain coat. Those are DIY's in the making. 
Do you think our winter is going to be mild or snowy? I am afraid we are in for a very wet and cold winter. What are you doing to prepare for winter?

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Life Goes On

I have been doing a lot of product reviews lately and thought it was time to just stop and share a few photos of my grandchildren. They are growing so fast. Where did the summer go?

There goes my youngest grandson. He is speed crawling! He sure can crawl fast if he is planning to do something he knows he should not. Lol.
Can you tell Little Roo likes to swing?
Sweet Pea just started ballet classes. She is thrilled. 
 I am one proud Grandma and so excited!
Little Bug enjoying blueberries right off the bush!
Little Bug playing check up with Scooby.  Scooby passed his physical with flying colors! Lol.
Pooh Bear playing dress up at preschool. Can you tell that is a police hat?
Pooh Bear enjoying the last bits of summer before his bike gets put away.
Pumpkin dressed as a Bonbon for the Nutcracker. This was last winter.
Pumpkin turned in her ballet slippers for gymnastics this year. I am so excited. She looks like it comes naturally.
Well, I warned you they are growing like weeds. I am loving every moment of it. Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Nordic Ware Castle Bundt Pan & Fondant Decorations

Disclosure: Grandma Bonnie's Closet has not been compensated for the following product review. I received a product sample for review purposes only.

"Grandma has a new cake pan!" I can hardly wait to tell you about this new Nordic Ware Bundt Cake Pan I requested to review. One day while looking for cake pans online I came across Chef's Corner Store and this fabulous Castle Bundt Cake Pan.
I was totally excited when I saw this Castle pan. I love making cakes for my grandchildren. Can you imagine a castle cake with knights, horses, and dragons? Or How about a castle cake with princesses and fairies? My grandchildren are sure to have some very memorable birthday cakes in the near future. 
So now that I got my pan I wanted to use it correctly. I read the instructions that came with the pan.  I also was given some very good tips from Stephanie at the Chef's Corner Store.
Tips for getting a good release from your detailed bundt pan. 
1. Wash you pan thoroughly with warm soapy water and dry well.
2. Coat your pan with a baking spray. The baking spray should contain flour in it. Very Important! Use a pastry brush to evenly distribute the spray into every crevice. Make sure there are no globs of flour or pools of oil in the pan. 
3. Fill the pan about 3/4. Roll the pan from side to side to coat the walls of the pan above the batter line. This helps the cake to rise up evenly on the sides. 
4. Tap the pan on a table or counter to release any air bubbles.
5.Allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes after baking. No shorter or longer than 10 minutes. 
6. Pick up the pan with hot pads. Gently shake the cake sided to side. Use a plastic spatula to release any cake sticking along the edges. 
7. Invert the pan on a cooling rack or plate. Allow to finish cooling.
Now, on to baking the cake. I followed the above instructions very carefully. I had a positive attitude that this was going to work. 
While my cake was baking I started to think about all the times the cake stuck to an ordinary cake pan. "Oh, dear! How can this cake possibly not stick to such a detailed cake pan? I have never used baking spray before. I usually use butter and flour to coat my pans. I was pretty nervous. When I took the cake out of the over I got even more nervous. Ten minutes is a long time to sit and fret about this cake. Then the ten minutes were over! Time to invert my cake. I gave it a side to side shake .Loosened one spot on the edge. Flipped the cake onto a plate and shouted with joy!
The cake released with out one crumb sticking! I am so thrilled. Early that morning in anticipation of baking this cake I made a few fondant decorations to decorate the cake with. Thinking a beach sandcastle theme. 
I sculpted the fondant by hand and painted it with watered down food coloring. I may be doing a DIY on this technique in the near future. 
The sand around the base of the cake is ordinary brown sugar. I spread it around and sprinkled some on top.
Follow Chef's Corner on Facebook and Twitter.
Readers, What do you think about this bundt pan? What is your favorite cake flavor or decoration?

Grandma Bonnie's Closet received the product mentioned above for free. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Emergency Water Storage System

Disclosure: Grandma Bonnie's Closet has not been compensated for the following product review. I received a product sample for review purposes only.
After seeing so many natural disasters happening in a short period of time I have planned to be prepared. I started by making lists of items that would be useful in an emergency. Then I researched many different emergency preparedness resources online. I even wrote a post or two about being prepared. You can find those here and here. So when I was given the opportunity to review "The Reservoir" I said Please with a capitol P!

"What is The Reservoir?" you ask. Well, it's an Emergency Water Storage System that fits right in your bath tub. The system main part is a large plastic reservoir. It folds out into your bath tub and a plastic hose attaches from the tub faucet to the plastic reservoir. The reservoir is filled from the faucet then capped. The water is kept clean. It is free from soap residue and airborne debris.

Has you home ever been with out tap water for a day or more?
A few years back I am guessing about 6 years I believe. We had our water turned off by the local water supplier. They were doing some repairs and informed the three houses on our road we would be with out water for a day or two. They gave us about an hours notice. We filled every container in our home. Both bathtubs were filled and we purchased drinking water. We went three days with out tap water. That is truthfully not that long to be with out water. But one thing is for sure the water in our tubs was only used for flushing and washing up. I was very nervous about contaminants.
With "The Reservoir" my family will not have to worry about having clean back-up water any more.
The reservoir holds 100 gallons of water. It is made of heavy-duty food-grade plastic and meets FDA standards. Below is the reservoir folded flat for storage. I placed a regular size drinking glass beside it in order to show its relative size when folded flat.
The reservoir also comes with a siphon pump to dispense the water into pitchers or bottles.
Remove the cap to siphon water then replace to keep the water clean.
I do hope we never have to use The Reservoir. But in the event of an emergency I will be thankful we have it for use. 
Readers, What do you think about this product? What will you do if your water is off in an emergency?

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.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

FitBit Wireless Activity Tracker Update

Disclosure: I am participating in the Verizon Boomer Voices program and have been provided with a wireless device and six months of service in exchange for my honest opinions about the product.

Do you all remember the Verizon Boomer Voices Blogger Program that I am a part of? Well, as a part of the program we were given a FitBit One Wireless Activity Tracker to try out. I have written about it recently and I believe it is time for an update. If you missed the previous post you can read about it here
The FitBit one has been my constant companion for a couple months now. It has encouraged me to be active, watch what I eat and get proper sleep. 
I believe the most important help the FitBit one has given me is encouragement. The FitBit lights up through out the day with little encouraging words. Such as I am ready Bonnie, High five Bonnie, and Smooches Bonnie.I think smooches is getting a little fresh with me but it sure does know how to press the right buttons. Yesterday along with its freshness it told me to VĂ¡monos! Now, at first I thought how rude! I then checked VĂ¡monos with Google and found it meant "Let's go" in Spanish. Ok, so it's not so rude but I still think it is a little fresh at times. 
The FitBit has also made me a become competitive. My husband and I usually equally divide the mowing chores on our property. We have been sharing this chore ever since our riding more gave out on us. We do plan to get a new rider this spring but in the mean time the lawn is being mowed by a push mower. The FitBit has encouraged me to hog all the mowing chores ever since it recorded the 10,000 steps it took to mow half our lawn. One day I sort of took his half when he was called into work early. Ever since I am keeping up with the mowing when ever he is at work. I just have to get the 10,000 steps in twice a week. I think you will agree I need the exercise more since I sit long hours blogging. 
Over this month I have lost another pound and a half. That makes a total loss of 7&1/2 pounds in two months. I am very excited about the weight loss. 
What I have left to work out is how to use the sleep data that the FitBit is providing to correct my lack of sleep. 
Over all I am extremely happy with this little companion.  Readers, What have you been doing to keep yourselves fit?