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Grandma (Vermont, USA)

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DB-Tech Wooden Pasta Drying Rack - Six 18" Dowels for a total 9ft. of drying space
DB-Tech Wooden Pasta Drying Rack - Six 18" Dowels for a total 9ft. of drying space
Offered by Smart Shop UK
Price: £17.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Great Buy!, 23 July 2014
I love to make homemade pasta but even a small batch is too much for just me, so drying the extra is definitely in order. This DB-Tech Wooden Pasta Drying Rack arrived at my front door early this morning and I've already put it to work. Assembly is dead easy, requiring but one screw, included. The unfinished wood is attractive and food safe. The six dowels that hold the pasta are removable for storage. I bundled mine together around the main post of the rack and held them in place with a new elastic hair tie. Even better - a roll of paper towels fits right over the bundled dowels and center post to make the rack multi-purpose in my rather small kitchen.

Grandma $0.02 - This nicely made DB-Tech Wooden Pasta Drying Rack is very functional and offers 9 feet of drying space in a very small foot print. Compares very favorably with similar racks I've seen at the King Arthur Flour store down the road from me and on the Chef's website. (I know what my son-in-law is getting for Christmas!)

Highly recommended


OXA Built-in Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard OXA Bluetooth Keyboard with Aluminum Alloy Holder for iPad / iPad mini / Samsung7"~10.1" tablet / Other tablet PC Black
OXA Built-in Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard OXA Bluetooth Keyboard with Aluminum Alloy Holder for iPad / iPad mini / Samsung7"~10.1" tablet / Other tablet PC Black
Offered by buyinsummer
Price: £45.89

5.0 out of 5 stars Turns You iPad Into A Laptop, 26 Jun 2014
I love, love, love this OXA Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard with Aluminum Alloy Case Cover for iPad 2, 3, 4; Samsung 7" to 10.1" Tablets and More - Silver! It fits a number of various tablets - even the original iPad fits well enough to function without damaging the screen - and turns your tablet into a mini-laptop, perfect for typing longer messages and documents and wonderful for things like propping up the tablet to watch videos without having to hold the device.

The keyboard is easy to pair with your device and use. Only slightly smaller than a regular Mac keyboard, I had no trouble typing on this at all. The silver color matches my iPad and when closed the whole kit & kaboodle still fits into an "envelope" type of iPad cover. NOTE - the keyboard does add a bit of weight to your tablet, necessarily so. The keyboard charges rather quickly by way of a USB cord (included) through either your computer or a USB adapter for a wall outlet. Each charges provides about 60 hours of use.

Grandma's $0.02 - A new favorite that gives the best of both worlds!


Ivation Talk-n-Tunes IPX7 2-in-1 Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker and Handset (Black) - Stream Loud Music or Take a Call privately at the Push of a Button - Fully Immiscible in Water
Ivation Talk-n-Tunes IPX7 2-in-1 Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker and Handset (Black) - Stream Loud Music or Take a Call privately at the Push of a Button - Fully Immiscible in Water
Offered by Smart Shop UK
Price: £37.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly Waterproof - No More Falling Over The Dog, 14 April 2014
We've all been there. Standing in the shower, covered in soap, eyes full of shampoo and the phone rings. I always stand there wondering what to do, then jump out of the shower to grab the phone thinking it might just be the most important phone call of my life, only to trip over the dog and the rug due to the soap in my eyes and miss the phone call anyway! No more. This Ivation Talk-n-Tunes IPX7 2-in-1 Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker and Handset does away with all of that!

With a waterproof rating of IPX7, this is one of the most waterproof speakers I've tested - and it floats!

▶︎ The IP Code stands for Ingress Protection Rating or International Protection Rating. A rating of IPX7 means that it is not possible for enough water to enter the device under certain set conditions to harm the device.

● Test conditions for IPX7 are submerged in water of at least 1 meter (39.5 inches) measured from the bottom of the device for a duration of 30 minutes.

I tested this device by pairing it with several different cell phones, including an iPhone 5C, and an iPad. Pairing was easy. Hold down the button until you get a flashing red alternating with blue light to put it into pairing mode. It easily received phone calls and we were delighted to find that we could place phone calls over the iPhone 5C easily, though Siri did have some communication difficulties with certain names. "Bob" was OK, "mom" was beyond Siri's power of comprehension. Note that the device also provides a Call Waiting function.

We readily streamed music from both the cell phones and by way of a Pandora app on the iPad. Sound quality was acceptable and volume can be controlled either by way of the unit or the device from which you are streaming music.

The unit charges by way of a USB cable (included).

Grandma's $0.02 - Acceptable sound quality and the ability to make and receive phone calls make this a good choice for use in the shower, but I decided to use mine over the kitchen sink.

Recommended


Abco Tech Waterproof Wireless Bluetooth Shower Speaker & Handsfree speakerphone - - Compatible with all Bluetooth Devices, iPhone 5 Siri and All Android devices (Blue)
Abco Tech Waterproof Wireless Bluetooth Shower Speaker & Handsfree speakerphone - - Compatible with all Bluetooth Devices, iPhone 5 Siri and All Android devices (Blue)
Offered by Abco Deals UK
Price: £13.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun Colors, Great Sound, Talk to Siri!, 25 Dec 2013
So, I've had some surprises out of this little Abco Tech Waterproof Wireless Bluetooth Shower Speaker & Handsfree speakerphone - - Compatible with all Bluetooth Devices, iPhone 5 Siri and All Android devices (Pink) that arrived from the manufacturer one day last week. I first noticed it while I was streaming music to the unit from my iPad while answering an email. There was just the strangest noise along with the music - tip tap, tappety tap, tip tip tip, clackety clack - and then I realized that the "typing" sounds the iPad makes when you type on it were also playing along with the Christmas music. Of course I tried turning down the volume on the iPad to eliminate the the "typing" only to find that the volume of speaker disappeared right along with the clackety-clacks. (Hint to those who are complaining of low sound volume - try the OTHER button. This baby is LOUD!)

The other surprise? When I turned the speaker on to pairing mode a while ago so that I could listen to music while I type I discovered that once the Abco Tech Waterproof Wireless Bluetooth Shower Speaker & Handsfree speakerphone has been paired to a device it will automatically connect to that device the next time it goes into pairing mode if the device has Bluetooth on. ♥︎ This is the only Bluetooth speaker I've tested that connects automatically like this.

The speaker is just about 3 inches across, covered in a brightly colored material that is quite similar to the silicon baking molds in my kitchen and attaches to the wall by way of a large suction cup. The charging port is located under a gray seal on the bottom rim of the unit to insure that water does not enter the port while you are showering. Controls are located in the gray center area. Molded into the plastic, they are a bit hard to see, but luckily there are only five of them, easy enough to remember. The Abco Tech Waterproof Wireless Bluetooth Shower Speaker & Handsfree speakerphone comes with a unit-specific USB cable. While you can certainly charge it directly from your computer, I keep one of these [UL Certified] iClever® 3.1A 15W Dual USB Travel mobile Wall Charger plugged in for charging a couple of devices at a time more rapidly.

While paired your phone is accessible by pressing the phone button. When you answer a call the music will automatically lower in volume and then resume after you hang up. ♥︎ Even better, if you have an iPhone or are paired to another i-device with a Siri presence you can do things like place calls, make notes and play specific music selections by pressing the call button. (Also said to work with Samsung S Voice, but I've not tested that.)

Grandma's $0.02 - Fun colors & easy operation make Abco Tech Waterproof Wireless Bluetooth Shower Speaker & Handsfree speakerphone a much-appreciated choice for music lovers. The unit comes compactly stored in a clear acrylic box that makes a handy storage case. Great for traveling!

Recommended


Abco Tech Hybrid Waterproof Wireless Bluetooth Shower Speaker with Hook Handle Auto FM Shower Radio Compatible with all Bluetooth Devices, iPhone 5 Siri and All Android devices. (Aqua)
Abco Tech Hybrid Waterproof Wireless Bluetooth Shower Speaker with Hook Handle Auto FM Shower Radio Compatible with all Bluetooth Devices, iPhone 5 Siri and All Android devices. (Aqua)
Offered by Abco Deals UK
Price: £19.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Great Flexibility, Easy to Use, 25 Dec 2013
I received one of these Abco Tech Waterproof Wireless Bluetooth Shower Speaker Auto FM Shower Radio Compatible with all Bluetooth Devices, iPhone 5 Siri and All Android devices (Aqua) to try last week and it has been making the rounds. My daughter and I have used it in both the kitchen and the bath (hers and mine), paired it with a couple of different cell phones and an iPad, scanned for radio stations, taken phone calls and even talked to Siri. Here's what we found -

The unit is great in the shower - not bothered by the moisture, clear and very loud. We found the controls easy to learn and use. The hook made it very easy to hang from either the shower head or the shower curtain rod. I also hung this over my sink in the kitchen for music while I was doing dishes. It has an IPX4 rating.

▶︎ IPX stands for Ingress Protection Rating or International Protection Rating, a code published by the International Electrotechnical Commission. It classifies the protection a device provides against things like dust, water, and accidental contact. IPX4 means that water splashing against the outside will have no harmful effect. To achieve an IPX4 rating a device is tested for 5 minutes with a water volume of 10 liters per minute under 80-100 kPa pressure.

The speaker comes with both an AC wall adapter and a USB cable. The jack inlet is located on the back of the unit under a waterproof seal. A full charge takes 3-4 hours when using the AC wall adapter. A single charge provides 7-8 hours of listening time.

Pairing the unit with your device is easy. Turn on Bluetooth on the device that you wish to use, then press the Power button on the right front of the speaker until you get a pink light (on) and then continue to hold another five seconds until you see alternating red and blue, indicating that the device is in pairing mode. You can then choose the speaker from the list of devices in your phone or tablet. Single tap the backwards and forwards buttons on the left side of the front of the unit to go to the previous or next track.

To switch between Bluetooth and the FM radio, press the power button once. Use the backwards and forwards buttons to the left of the unit (single tap) to auto-search for channels. (We got surprisingly good reception and more channels than we had any idea were available here in the wilds of Vermont.)

Volume is controlled with the same buttons on the left front of the unit that are used to change tracks or stations. Press and hold to increase or decrease the volume.

Answering calls is equally easy. Simply tap the Call button. Additionally, we tested placing calls through a Bluetooth-connected iPhone 5C with good results. Press the call button once, then tell Siri who to call. Easy-peasy! The unit also makes a tone if you receive a text message.

Grandma's $0.02 - The Abco Tech Waterproof Wireless Bluetooth Shower Speaker Auto FM Shower Radio Compatible with all Bluetooth Devices, iPhone 5 Siri and All Android devices (Aqua) is remarkably full-featured and provides good sound with lots of flexibility for a reasonable price. Four thumbs up!

Recommended


No Title Available

5.0 out of 5 stars Great For Hikers, Orienteering and Campers, 20 Dec 2013
The Secur Rainproof Hand crank LED Telescoping Lantern 2 power level flashlight is a great little tool - one with a secret! Standing just over 5 inches high and weighing in at not quite 6.5 ounces, this handy flashlight is small enough to fit into your glovebox, your backpack or even a medium sized purse. While you can charge the unit with a handy USB cable that is included with the unit (the input port is located under a gray seal that you'll see when the unit is extended), a hanging loop at the end of the device also acts as a hand crank to allow you to charge it manually. A greenish ring around the middle of the light glows in the dark so that you can find it easily. The light comes with a comfortable wrist strap.

You can use the light as a flashlight without telescoping the unit in three power levels - Low, Hi and Red (handy when you don't want to destroy your night vision!). Fully extended you'll have all of those plus a flashing red mode. Watch that Flashing Red carefully and you'll see the secret - dot dot dot dash dash dash dot dot dot! ▶︎The light flashes SOS!

A fully charged unit will provide

● 6.5 hours lighting time on Low
● 2 hours lighting time on High
● About 4.5 hours lighting time on Red
● About 11 hours of lighting time in SOS mode

If you are recharging by way of the hand crank, expect

● 35 minutes lighting time on Low after cranking for 1 minute (3 revolutions per second)
● 9 minutes lighting time on High after cranking for 1 minute
● 9 minutes Red lighting time after cranking for 1 minute
● 23 minutes flashing time in SOS mode after cranking for 1 minute

The Secur Rainproof Hand crank LED Telescoping Lantern 2 power level flashlight is rainproof (tested in the shower) and has a life expectancy of about 5 years or 50,000 hours.

Grandma's $0.02 - I love this great little low energy consumption flashlight. Perfect for hikers, especially good for night hikes with that always-on red light to preserve your night vision, this will be treasured by every Scout & Scout master. Ideal for campers!

Highly recommended


How to Bake
How to Bake
by Paul Hollywood
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Shortcrust Pastry So Flaky It Is Almost Puff, 18 Dec 2013
This review is from: How to Bake (Hardcover)
If you haven't heard of Paul Hollywood, it won't be long before you do. The 47-year old Hollywood started working as a baker in his father's bakery as a teenager. Baking and teaching others to bake has been his life ever since. I first came across him watching The Great British Bakeoff, but he has since expanded his horizons and is appearing as a judge on The American Baking Competition 2013 (CBS). I liked Paul Hollywood's Bread so much that I acquired a copy of How to Bake and am I ever glad that I did! Let me tell you about a few of my favorite recipes from the book.

Hollywood's passion is bread baking (he is said to bake the most expensive loaf of artisan bread in Britain, an almond and roquefort sourdough) and that comes shining through in How to Bake, with about 2/3 of the book devoted to bread in various guises, with chapters on Basic Breads, Flavored Breads, Sourdough, and Croissants, Danish & Brioche. Hollywood spent some time living & working in Cyprus and you'll see that experience reflected in a number of the breads featured in the book. I've made several of his recipes (his Ciabatta from Paul Hollywood's Bread is stunning and an unusual shaping technique makes it dead-easy) so I chose something a bit different for a test recipe.

▶︎ TEST RECIPE - PUMPKIN SEED STICKS WITH POPPY SEEDS

This is an easy recipe that utilizes bread flour, whole wheat bread flour and malted bread flour chock-full of pumpkin seeds. (If you can't find malted bread flour you could use a 7 or 12 grain flour.) The dough is divided into 10 portions, then each portion is rolled out into a stick about a foot long, brushed with water and then sprinkled with a generous amount of poppy seeds. The sticks are scrumptious with a rich, nutty flavor - excellent with cheese or the Carlton Pate that I recently made from Mary Berry's Christmas Collection.

This recipe could easily be baked as a single loaf, formed into dinner rolls instead of the sticks, or cut into 20 portions instead of 10 for a thinner, less filling nosh. I cut a couple of sticks on the bias, brushed them with a tiny dab of good olive oil and baked them at 250 to make small toasts or crackers to serve with cheese or that pate.

Where most baking books spend a lot of time on cakes and cookies, Hollywood combines Biscuits, Puddings & Cakes all into one chapter. Remember that in the UK biscuits are cookies and puddings can be any dessert. Look in this chapter for stunning recipe for traditional Shortbread that he says will keep 3-4 days (not in my house!), cheesecake, muffins, clafoutis and more. I was sorely torn between a flour-less Chocolate Almond Cake covered in Chocolate Ganache that uses ground almonds to provide a "cake" texture and a lemon cake. Lemon won.

▶︎ TEST RECIPE - MRS. POST'S LEMON DRIZZLE CAKE

A variation on Orange Marmalade Cake, this makes a small loaf that is flavored with lemon curd, then soaked with a mixture of lemon juice, lemon zest and granulated sugar while hot from the oven. One bowl, no mixer required. Lovely with a cup of tea, the cake is moist, very light textured and keeps for several days. It quite reminds me of my mother's favorite lemon cake - without the cake mix.

● One note - when making this or Orange Marmalade Cake (recipe not included in this book) do not "eyeball" the amount of marmalade or curd called for. Too much will throw off the chemistry of the cake and you'll end up with an ugly, though edible, dip in the middle of the loaf.

The final chapter in How to Bake is Tarts & Pies, which also includes Puff Paste. It is this chapter that thoroughly made the book for me. Our British cousins are much more prone to savory pies than we are here in the US and it is here that Hollywood's non-bread baking really shines. Having discovered Chicken & Mango Chutney Pasties inspired by the flavors of the British Raj in The Great British Bake Off: How to Bake: The Perfect Victoria Sponge and Other Baking Secrets, Hollywood's recipe for larger but similar Moroccan Pasties caught my eye straight off.

▶︎ TEST RECIPE - MOROCCAN PASTIES

Shortcrust pastry colored bright yellow with turmeric is cut into 7" circles, then filled with raw ground lamb and a mixture of potato or sweet potato, red onion and chopped fresh cilantro (coriander) flavored with cinnamon and spiced with a pinch of chile flakes. I used sweet potato since that was what I happened to have handy. Hollywood's Shortcrust Pastry recipe is a bit different than you see on this side of the pond. I make a mean pastry thanks to my Grandma - light and flaky. Hollywood's recipe is, however, not just a really good pie dough. It is exceptional, the flakiest I've ever come across this side of puff pastry.

Grandma's $0.02 - If you acquire How to Bake for the shortcrust pastry alone, it is worth every penny! My copy came from the UK and is in metrics. Other books by Paul Hollywood that I've purchased here at Amazon have not been "translated" so you'll need a digital scale. You'll find volume measurements on the side of your pyrex measuring pitcher. Teaspoons and tablespoons are the same.


Making Gingerbread Houses: Storey Country Wisdom Bulletin A-154 (Storey Publishing Bulletin, a-154)
Making Gingerbread Houses: Storey Country Wisdom Bulletin A-154 (Storey Publishing Bulletin, a-154)
Price: £2.84

5.0 out of 5 stars "Tis the Season, 18 Dec 2013
Gingerbread houses are one of the delights of the Christmas season. Redolent of spices, covered in candy and treats, brought to life in the story of Hansel & Gretel, gingerbread houses make for glorious holiday decorations and provide an activity that the whole family can be involved in.

Making Gingerbread Houses: Storey Country Wisdom Bulletin A-154 (Storey Publishing Bulletin, a-154), a short pamphlet authored by Rhonda Massingham Hart, contains excellent directions & tips outlining every step of Gingerbread House construction and provides those all-important blueprints for several different buildings, including

● Starter Home
● Country Chapel
● Victorian House
● Old Time Store
● Log Cabin
● Castle
● Barn & Silo
● 3D Christmas Tree

Also included - a recipe for a good basic gingerbread suitable for construction, recipes and instructions for Royal Icing*, Almost Buttercream Frosting, Fondant for modeling along with directions for making your own piping bags from parchment paper and lots of decorating ideas.

*Rhonda gives the recipe for Royal Icing using egg whites and notes that it is not safe to eat. Most decorators these days use Meringue Powder to eliminate any safety issues that might arise from uncooked egg whites. Royal Icing made with Meringue powder is edible. It is available both here at Amazon and in the Cake Decorating/Crafts section of your local big box store.

▶︎ Grandma's Favorite - If you have leftover Royal Icing, tint it several different colors if it isn't already, then pipe it out in small blobs on long strips of paper to make old fashioned Candy Dots!

Grandm's $0.02 - Building a Gingerbread House is almost as much fun as eating one, though they can be kept from year to year. Spread the work over several days - bake the pieces one day, do the preliminary frosting and decorating on the individual pieces the next. Put it all together on Day 3.

Highly recommended

▶︎ NOTES FOR A UK AUDIENCE -

Recipes in this book are given in US measures. If you have standard KitchenAid measuring cups (237 ml) those are the correct size for the few recipes given. Teaspoons and tablespoons are the same. 1 cup butter = 8 ounces or 220 grams. Brown sugar is measured by packing it into the measuring cup. Dip & scoop flour (stir it first). Baking soda is bicarbonate of soda. Or just use a sturdy gingerbread recipe you already have.


Secur 5 in 1 auto emergency escape tool , LED flashlight, Window breaker, Seatbelt cutter, Cell phone charger, emergency SOS red light, Dynamo powered Multi-function all in one rain proof car necessity
Secur 5 in 1 auto emergency escape tool , LED flashlight, Window breaker, Seatbelt cutter, Cell phone charger, emergency SOS red light, Dynamo powered Multi-function all in one rain proof car necessity
Offered by Smart Shop UK
Price: £19.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really Well Thought Out!, 18 Dec 2013
Winter showed up here in Vermont last week with near white-out blizzard conditions in some spots. Coming home on the interstate in one storm we passed three cars off the road within a mile and a half or so. Luckily it was early evening, they were fairly close to an exit and near a cell phone tower. (There are still places here in Vermont where there is no cell reception.) And that isn't unusual here in the winter. Thinking about those accidents really brought home to me just how well thought out this Secur 5 in 1 Auto Emergency Tool is.

▶︎ The device is magnetic. Three fairly strong magnets surrounding the flashlight lens allow you to anchor this to the hood, trunk or roof of your car.

▶︎ A red flashing light built into the handle allows the device, anchored to the roof of your car, to serve as a warning beacon.

▶︎ A fairly powerful flashlight recharges by way of a hand crank. Three revolutions per second for one minute will provide an hour of flashlight use.

▶︎ A seatbelt cutter is built into the handle. (Not having a spare seatbelt handy, I didn't test this, but the blade looks sturdy and is well recessed. There is no way to accidentally cut yourself.)

▶︎ A "hammer" tool near the flashlight-end of the device is specially designed for breaking auto windows in an emergency.

▶︎ A port and included female USB cable with a round DC charging pin allows you to use the hand-crank to charge your cell phone in an emergency. (You'll need the male USB cable that you normally use to charge your phone.)

The unit is rainproof (I tested this in the shower) and small enough to fit in many glove compartments or under the seat of your car. It weighs in at just under 9 ounces. The red flashing light and the flashlight operate from separate on-off buttons. Each provides a single level of light.

Grandma's $0.02 - Every car owner in my family is getting one of these!

Recommended


MEElectronics S6 Sport-Fi Noise Isolating Memory Wire In-Ear Headphones
MEElectronics S6 Sport-Fi Noise Isolating Memory Wire In-Ear Headphones

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Universal Isn't One Size Fits All, 18 Dec 2013
One day last week the mailman brought me a set of these MEElectronics S6 Sport-Fi Noise Isolating Memory Wire In-Ear Headphones from Meelectronics. There are some things that I really like about these. They come with a great zippered carrying case that you can slide onto your belt and a wide variety of earbuds that will let almost everyone find just the right fit. The sound was quite good, the in-line control works well and I really like the "extension cable" so that you don't have to have excess earphone wires hanging everywhere. Both wires have clips to keep them in place, an added plus.

I did have a couple of issues. Fitting the earbuds to my ears was distinctly counter-intuitive, even with directions. Took me three tries. Actually, it was kind of like learning to use a mouse for the very first time long ago - pushing when you're supposed to pull, going everywhere except where you want to go.

The armband would be great but it is far from universal. I'm short, so for me it was a choice of having the armband restrict my shoulder movement or making it difficult to bend my elbow. Taller people would find this less problematic. I also found it hard to adjust the band one-handed and while the cell phone compartment fits most phones, we could not get my son-in-law's larger smartphone into the pocket.

Grandma's $0.02 - Nice headphones for many active people, great storage but the armband doesn't fit shorter people well.


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