Happy December 1st

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I cannot believe that it is December 1st already. Where did the year go? Thanksgiving has come and gone and this Friday, my oldest child will turn 13. It seems like just yesterday that she was born. But, I blinked, and now she is more than half grown. Time flies whether you want it to or not.

My birthday actually fell ON Thanksgiving this year. So, it was a rather hectic one but at least I got to spend it with family. My daughter gave me the most wonderful gift ever. She made me a silver spoon bracelet. I adore it. Pictures to be posted soon. I can say that, because I actually got a 12mp camera as well! Whoo hoo. I am very grateful because I was resorting to using my cell phone for pictures and that left much to be desired.

My blogging has been rather sporadic lately, for a number of reasons. Life, for one, has not left me much "extra" time as of late. I really don't know how some people do it. I need to get with it and get more organized! But, teething babies, homeschool, church functions, sick kids (you get the picture), that has all made it difficult for me to find time to keep up with my blog. It was also really starting to get to me when my 2 1/2  year old would ask me to hold him or play with him and I would respond with, "hold on a sec, left me finish typing". Since when is this more important??? So, while I am still trying to find balance and organization, I may be on here and I may be on there.

To anybody reading, who might be interested in our Holiday Giveaways, you may have noticed that it has been postponed. This is due to personal family matters of the primary hosting blog, and is beyond our control. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused to our sponsors and readers. Feel free to email with any questions.

Here's hoping that your December is starting off merry, and that your holiday season will be a happy one!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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So, tomorrow is Thanksgiving AND my birthday. Why did I volunteer to cook? I must be crazy. The smart thing to do would have been to go to my Mom & Dad's! haha Who wants to slave away in the kitchen on their birthday? Apparently I do. Hmmm. I will definitely have to remember that in 11 years when my birthday will again fall on Turkey Day. Wow! I will be turning 52 on that birthday. And I'm bummed about being 41. Oh well. Some will say it's better than the alternative. Usually those "some" are younger than I am.

I am cooking two turkeys this year. One is in the oven as I type. I'm wishing it would hurry up so I can go to bed. I can't remember if I removed the neck. Ewww....gross. I do NOT like cooking turkeys. They took forever (and I do mean forever) to thaw out. Going to cook the other one in a roaster tomorrow morning. Hopefully, they will both turn out and nobody will get food poisoning from my efforts.

I think I am more excited to eat the pumpkin cheesecake bars than I am the turkey. I am very thankful for pumpkin cheesecake bars! :)

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

Boudreaux's Butt Paste Review


When I first saw this in the store a few years ago, I kind of chuckled. Butt paste? Boudreaux's Butt Paste. It's not a name one easily forgets. So, when my infant son developed a rather bad diaper rash, I decided to try it out. I have 5 children. I can honestly say that I cannot remember what I used with the older three. I must not have been too thrilled with it or I would have went for it first when I needed it 8 years later with #4. Or again with #5.

Boudreaux's Butt Paste was specifically formulated by a pharmacist with direction from a respected pediatrician to provide effective diaper rash care. I love how it goes on and cleans off easily, there is no strong scent to it like some others - it's actually rather pleasant, the flip top comes in quite handy when diapering, and the small tube size is perfect for the diaper bag.

I was given for review both the Original diaper rash ointment in the yellow tube as well as the New All Natural Boudreaux's Butt Paste in the green tube. I found both worked equally well, but  I prefer the All Natural which is formulated with beeswax, Peruvian balsam and other natural ingredients.


Both are very light and creamy and work extremely well. I have a 2 1/2 year old who is still in diapers as well as a 7 month old and I used both types on both of them. I was impressed with how fast the ointment worked and definitely plan to continue using it for as long as I have little ones in diapers.

I was not aware that there were other products in the Boudreaux's line such as the Boudreaux's Rash Protector which is a spray formulated to protect and help relieve chapped or cracked skin, Baby Butt Smooth Moisturizing Body Ointment which can be used daily, Baby Butt Bath Moisturizing Body Wash & Shampoo which is PH-Balanced and Tear Free, as well as Baby Kisses Infant and Kids Lip and Cheek Moisturizer which is formulated without unnecessary additives. With cold, dry weather coming soon, I'd love to try that last one out. Baby cheeks seem to be the first area to chaffe and it would be wonderful to have a non-irritating way to soothe the discomfort that the dryness causes.

For more product information, visit Blairex Laboratories. Call 1-800-BLAIREX to find a location near you.

Bronner's Christmas Ornament Review & Giveaway

I was very disappointed when, several years ago, our vacation plans to travel to Frankenmuth, MI fell through. I was very excited about the prospect of visiting Bronner's CHRISTmas Wonderland. For those of you who have never heard of Bronner's, they are the WORLD'S largest Christmas store!

One of these days, hopefully sooner rather than later, I will make it there but in the meantime I can browse  their 68 page e-catalog  and shop to my heart's content. They currently have a FREE gift promotion with purchase of $50 or more.

Bronner's carries personalized ornaments, which would make a perfect gift for Baby's 1st Christmas, a house warming gift, or for newlyweds. I was lucky enough to receive two such ornaments to review: a Gingerbread Girl & a Gingerbread Boy. Each has the names of my children handwritten on the front in a white paint pen.
(For safety reasons, I am not posting actual pictures with my children's names).


They are absolutely adorable and I cannot wait to hang them on our Christmas tree. It's difficult to find quality ornaments that will hold up year after year but I can tell already that these will withstand the test of time. My 3 older children have some keepsake ornaments that they hang on the tree themselves each year and I know that my younger two will also take great pleasure in this tradition with these. There's just something about having their own name on it that makes it extra special!

Bronner's makes it easy to shop online by breaking it down by Price and by Category. They also have a Search bar which really comes in handy. Whether you are looking for high quality Santa Suits, Christmas Cards, Outdoor Decor and more, this is the place.

Bronner's carries over 50,000 gifts and trims and is the size of one-and-a-half football fields and has been in operation since 1945!

Click HERE to join their email list and HERE to request a catalog.

If you are planning a trip to Frankenmuth, MI or surrounding areas and would like to visit Bronner's, click HERE for more information about the Bronner's, to take a virtual tour of the store, for a Map & Directions, Events Calendar, Store Coupon & more.

They even have a recipe for Festive Cookie Frosting which I plan to try out when I bake Christmas cookies with a friend this Friday. And...yes, I know it's kind of early for that, but due to me being on bed rest last year when we were supposed to bake, we are actually behind.

Their Coloring Pages are worth taking a peek at as well.


Bronner's is a Sponsor for our Holiday Gift Guide & Giveaway. One lucky winner will receive their own set of Gingerbread Boy & Girl ornaments. Check back soon to enter!





Ways to Get Organized this Christmas



The Holidays, and the hustle and bustle that come with it, are just around the corner. If you are like me, and need a bit of help getting your act together, you might want to visit Organized Christmas.

There are only 39 days until Christmas! 


If you are looking to simplify your Holidays with tips, free printable calendars & planners, as well as homemade gift ideas, you definitely need to check them out! I know I'm going to. What are you waiting for? Visit them at http://christmas.organizedhome.com .

JUMBiES Review

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JUMBiES are JUMBLED Babies. The storks were so busy delivering baby animals that they started crashing into each other and JUMBLED up all the animals...so a Duck and a Monkey become a Duckey and a Dingo and Bat a Dingbat!!!


There aren't many toys that would appeal both to my 2 year old and my 12 year old but the second my son set eyes on the Blabbit claiming it for his own, my almost teen was oohing and aahing over it wanting it for herself. They are similar to Beanie Babies.


Mr. B won and is now the proud owner of said Blabbit. For the first couple of days, he slept with it and carried it around with him everywhere he went. My older children are still trying to talk him out of it, but he lives by the Toddlers Creed: What's yours is mine & what's mine is mine. Nanny was somewhat appeased by taking possession of Zelephant (which was one of my personal faves).

Some of our other favorites were the Sealion, the Horsefly, and the Dingbat but they really are all very unique & fun! Each JUMBiE comes with its own hang tag which tells its animal combination, Name and D.O.J.(Date of Jumble), Mini Story book with activity section and a collectible Sand Dollar!










 




Any one of the JUMBiES would make a fun stocking stuffer and can be purchased HERE on the JUMBiES site for $7.95 or at a retailer near you.

For a FREE Mini Comic book and limited edition set of JUMBiES Sand Dollars - Get your parents permission and send a SASE (Self Addressed Stamp Envelope) to:

 

JUMBIELAND Industries LLC
940 E. Orangethorpe Ave., Suite C
Anaheim, CA  92831  USA
714-879-2300 office
714-879-9900 fax
info@jumbieland.com

Find them on Facebook & Twitter.

Click HERE to watch JUMBiELand cartoons or HERE to play online games. To learn more about JUMBiES, please visit them online at http://jumbieland.com.


Giveaway coming soon!

Confessions of a Harried Homemaker

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Wow. I don't know how time got away from me but it's been over a week since my last post. Well, actually, I do know. Homeschooling 3 of 5 kids, teething baby, needy toddler, birthday parties, errands, and fighting off a sinus infection which caused me to go to bed "early". Seems like my only free time is after the kids are in bed and when the baby keeps waking up, there is no such thing as free time.

I also just realized how soon our Holiday Gift Guide promotion will be starting. ONE WEEK! Am I ready? NO. I seriously need to get with it!

I was so excited to find turkeys yesterday at our local Walmart for 68 cents a pound  so I bought two, brought them home and asked my son to put them in our outside freezer. Well, my husband had Mason jars sitting on top of the freezer so my son set the turkeys down and then forgot all about them. Found out today that they never made it into the freezer. It was 70 degrees here yesterday and pretty warm today so needless to say, they did not remain frozen. My husband actually wanted me to cook them so we could eat them. NOT! Food poisoning anyone?

Speaking of Walmart, it was just me with 3 of my kids and a man approached me in the parking lot asking for money for gas. My first thought was why would a man approach a woman alone with small children? The faster I walked to get away from him, the faster he walked. It was creeping me out. My next thought was,  if he needed gas, why wasn't he in a gas station parking lot asking for help rather than in a Walmart parking lot where there were no gas pumps??? I found out later that this is a new scam going on in our area. I understand times are hard, but this man actually got mad at me when I told him I had no cash on me. Always something to make you ask "what next"!

As I'm typing this, I'm thinking of reviews I need to get done and wondering why I'm not doing it. It's getting late and I am getting very sleepy. Getting only 2-3 intermittent hours of sleep in one night will do that to a person. Guess I'd better get with it (whatever "it" is) before the baby wakes up again. I hear my pillow calling my name though and it's getting louder and louder. Who will win? Stay tuned to find out. lol

Glee Gum Review

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I recently read an article telling me that my chewing gum was made of plastic. Say WHAT? I found nothing on Snopes.com telling me this was a big hoax so I googled it and to my surprise, came up with quite a few hits. Now, we don't chew gum often, but we do once in awhile and it would be nice to know exactly what we ARE chewing. What I discovered is that after World War II, chemists learned to make synthetic rubber (like polyethylene and polyvinyl acetate) which came to replace most natural rubber in chewing gum. Polyvinyl acetate is also known as glue (carpenter's, school, white, wood). Yuck! According to gum research and company websites, we're often chewing on synthetic polymers—styrene-butadiene rubber, polyethylene, polyvinyl acetate—with a bit of natural latex thrown in.


Enter Glee Gum. While I am unsure of exactly what their gum base consists of, this is what they have to say about it on their website:

Our gum base is a mix of chicle (see above), natural gums, rubbers, resins, and waxes. The exact formula is (unfortunately!) confidential. It is safe to chew, but, like all chewing gum, we don’t recommend that you swallow!

Glee Gum is the only gum on the market which contains chicle in it's gum base! What is chicle?  Chicle is the sap from the Sapodilla (pronounced "Sap-oh-dee-yah") tree, which grows in the rainforests of Central America. Chicle used to be the original basis for all chewing gum, until after WWII when synthetic gum bases were developed.

 

Glee Gum is available in 6 different flavors: Triple Berry, Peppermint, Bubblegum, Cinnamon, Spearmint, and Tangerine. My favorite is the Bubblegum Flavor with the Cinnamon running a close second. Glee Gum has no artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners (no aspartame), or preservatives!


They also sell Make Your Own Candy Kits, which are All Natural. The kits make awesome activities for Homeschool, Scouts, Science classes, birthday parties, and more. An exclusive Educator's guide package is available for purchase for the Make Your Own Chewing Gum Kit but all 3 kits have free educational guides that can be found HERE. I love how the chocolate kit uses organic cocoa butter from Costa Rica, the gummy kit contains carrageenan made from seaweed from the Phillippines, and the gum kit uses natural chicle. These kits make learning fun.


The Chewing Gum kit is what I chose to review and my kids had a blast making it. They tell you ahead of time that the gum base is very sticky when it melts, and let me tell you, they aren't kidding!

Here's how we made it:

1. We put the packet of corn syrup in a cup with boiling water. It flows out better when hot.

2. Sprinkled 1/2 of the confectioner's sugar in a mound on our work area.

3. Melted the chicle gum base. We chose to do this in the plastic pan provided, in the microwave.


The melted Chicle. Took about 4 minutes in the microwave to reach this consistency.  




4. Added the corn syrup to the base, stirred, and then emptied it onto the pile of confectioner's sugar.



 5. Kneaded it and then divided it into 2 equal parts so we could add the 2 different flavors to each (bubblegum and cinnamon).

Adding the flavoring
6. We had to mix in the remaining confectioner's sugar to both parts. This was work!


Almost done

7. Time to roll it out. This was a bit of work too, but no where near as hard as kneading. The kids loved it.





8. We cut the gum. The kids argued over the best way to do this. It ended up being cut into chunky squares.
9. The kids tried it out right away. I think we got about 50 pieces. The rest was wrapped up in foil so it would stay fresh.

This was definitely an enjoyable learning experience, and a tasty one at that.

If you would like to give Glee Gum a try, but aren't sure where to buy it, click HERE to find a store near you.


Did you know that Glee is Gluten Free and Vegetarian?


Check out Glee Guy's Blog!

Glee Gum can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, and  MySpace and you can sign up for their newsletter HERE.


One of their Make Your Own Candy Kits would make an awesome Christmas present for the curious kid in your life. Glee Gum is also a sponsor of our Holiday Gift Guide and Giveaway coming up November 21 to December 5th. Check back soon to find out how to win Glee Gum!

I was not compensated for this review other than receiving product for review purposes. All opinions expressed are my own.

Cincinnati Chili Recipe

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About a week and a half ago, we celebrated the 11th birthday of our twins. Each one wanted a different birthday dinner and my son, as usual, chose homemade "Skyline" chili. If you have never been to Ohio, you may have never heard of Skyline Chili but if you live in or near the Cincinnati area, the restaurants are all over the place. The chili is unique as is includes cinnamon and cocoa in the recipe. It's served on top of spaghetti and topped with a finely grated Cheddar cheese ( a 3-way), over spaghetti and beans or onions, topped with cheese ( a 4-way), or over spaghetti and beans topped with cheese and onions ( a 5-way). Oyster crackers are served on the side. The chili is also awesome over hotdogs on buns topped with cheese and/or onions or used to make chili dip (mix the chili with cheese and a block of cream cheese) for corn chips or tortilla chips. We have actually also used it on pizza in place of the sauce and topped it with onions and cheese!

To view the real deal, visit Skyline Chili HERE.

Here is a recipe that I found on Cooks.com and adapted it to make a milder chili.

Ingredients:

2 Qts. Water
1 & 1/2 Tbsp Dried or Minced Onion
14oz Can Tomato Sauce
1/2 Tsp Ground Allspice
1/2 Tsp Red Pepper Flakes
1/4 Tsp Ground Cumin
3 Tbsp Chili Powder
1 & 1/2 Tbsp Unsweetened Chocolate
2 Lbs. Ground Beef
2 Tsp Garlic Powder
2 Tbsp White Vinegar
1 Whole Bay Leaf
4 Whole Cloves
2 Tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 & 1/2 Tsp Salt
1 & 1/2 Tsp Cinnamon

Directions:

Add ground beef to water in large pot. Stir until beef separates to a fine texture (I use a potato masher). Stir several times to make sure there are no clumps. Boil slowly for 30 minutes. Add all other ingredients. Stir to blend, bringing to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for about 3 hours. Pot may be covered the last hour after desired consistency is reached.

Chili should be refrigerated overnight, so that the fat can be lifted from top before reheating but we've eaten it without doing that. Using a leaner ground beef will cut down on the fat. Also, if you see the bay leaf or cloves, remove them!

This is definitely one of our faves!

Friendly Friday Follow Blog Hop

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Please make sure to leave a comment so I know to follow you back. Also, if you don't have a blog URL attached to your profile, make sure to leave your blog address!
Happy Friday!

My Poor Neglected Blog

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The past week and a half has been jammed packed with the birthday celebration of my twins, sleepovers to celebrate birthdays, birthday parties of friends, church pizza party, church roller skating, wicked sinus infection, teething baby, needy toddler, upcoming birthday parties, doctor appointments, and just life as a mom of 5 kids and a wife. Needless to say, my blog has been somewhat neglected lately. Not to mention reviews that I am working on. It's so easy to get behind.

I've also not participated in the blog hops, that I have come to love, in at least a week. So, if you have followed me and aren't seeing that I am following you back it is from one of two reasons: 1) I just haven't had time yet to see that you are following me and follow you back or 2) You did not leave a comment and your blog URL isn't in your profile and I have no way of following you back. Thank you for your patience!

I am hoping to get back on track by this weekend! I'm planning on posting the Skyline Chili recipe that I made for my son's birthday dinner as well as a Glee Gum Review (and hopefully a few more) with pictures.

Happy Wednesday everybody!

Really Woolly Bible Stories Review

Excerpt:
Through these stories you will discover
That God is faithful and true,
And Jesus, the Good Shepherd,
Will always take care of you.
Really Woolly Bible Stories, Introduction.
Really Woolly Bible Stories, by Bonnie Rickner Jensen, is an adorable way to share God's word with your little ones aged 5 and under. I love the cheerful, and sometimes whimsical illustrations that capture the attention of the youngest reader and the sweet rhymes that retell some of the best-loved Bible stories.

In this padded board book, you will find favorites from the Old and New Testament such as Creation, Father Abraham, Joseph's Coat of Many Colors, Daniel and the Lion's Den, The Good Samaritan, and the Miracles and Life of Jesus. Each chapter contains the passage in the Bible where the story can be found as well as a corresponding illustration. Really Woolly Bible Stories is the perfect size for smaller hands and the sturdy pages ensure it will hold up to the youngest reader. Little kids love to be read to and this is one book that can be read over and over again, without getting old. If you want to instill in them the love of the Lord while they are young and give them the desire to learn more, this book is a sweet, lovable way to do it!

The Holidays are coming up, and while this book is a bit too big for a stocking stuffer, it would make a great gift for any child. We loved it!

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book to review for myself, thanks to the Booksneeze program. I was not compensated in any other way and all opinions posted here are my own.

Amy Adele - Review

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If you are looking for cute, stylish stationary, cards, invitations, and more....Amy Adele is the place.

I was able to choose 2 items for review. That was a difficult decision as everything is adorable! I chose:
Baby's Christmas Gift T-shirt

and

Reindeer Calling Card


Although my daughter is not yet into size 18-24 months, she will be by Christmas, so that is the size I requested but it seems to run a bit large. I don't mind that though as I plan on having her wear a long sleeve shirt underneath it. The shirt is a VERY soft cotton, not in the least bit scratchy and is made in the USA. The lettering on the shirt is exactly what I requested and looks very nice. It would make an excellent gift for a baby's first Christmas. 

Below is a picture of the shirt I received. (For safety reasons, my daughter's name has been blocked out.)

Sorry for the picture quality. Both of my cameras have bit the dust and all I have is my cell.

Here are the calling cards I ordered. They came in a darling little green bag with a ribbon tie. I can think of several creative uses for the bag!


The cards are 2"x3.5" and in green lettering say "To:" and "Merry Christmas from The XXXXX Family". I plan on using them along with the homemade baked goods that we make for people like our Mail Lady, propane delivery man, Sunday school teachers, etc. They are the perfect size and I love how vibrant the colors are in person. I also didn't realize when ordering, but they come with envelopes as well! The cards are the perfect thickness- not too flimsy and not too stiff- and are made from 100% Post Consumer Recycled Paper.

I received excellent customer service from Amy Adele and would highly recommend them to anybody looking for personalized items. Along with my order, was a Thank You card that was hand signed and addressed. Now, THAT is personalization!
For customers who want to order baby announcements and request the envelopes early so to address them prior to baby being born, you can log in after baby is born and fill in the remaining information. Once the announcement is complete, they will process the order immediately, at no additional shipping charge. They have some beautiful announcements for both girls and boys as well as twins. Check out their baby calling cards & waterproof labels and stickers too.

They currently have SALE items up to 50% off. Check out the great deals on Flat Cards, Recipe Cards, Birthday Invitations, Valentine's Cards, Christmas Photo Cards and more HERE.


*I received items free for review purposes. I was not paid to write a positive review, nor influenced in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.

Winner of 250 Die Cut Business Cards!

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And the winner is...........

#5 Sherry said...

    following you on twitter - sherwalk88

    sherwalk at yahoo dot com
    October 7, 2010 6:57 PM

Thank you to all who entered!

The winner has been contacted and will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen by Random.org.

Play-Doh Creations Review

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Play-Doh is a staple at our house. Really, it is. If I had known how much my kids would love playing with it, I would have bought stock in the company. As a homeschooler, I have plenty of recipes to make my own, but somehow, that's just not the same. Play-doh has it's own unique smell and texture that just can't be duplicated.

My children, from my 12 year old to my 2 year old, will literally play with this stuff for hours. I love how there is no age limit or boundaries with it, and it is kid powered. Whatever you imagine, you can make. Play-Doh makes that easy with their new creation: Hasbro's Play-Doh Creations - Make 'n Color Creatures.


My kids loved the markers and body part accessories that came in the set with the bright colored Play-Doh.

They really had a blast designing their own creatures and the markers even work on the Play-Doh itself, as well as the body parts and comes off with a damp cloth. Be careful about getting it on skin though as it's not too easy to get off right away.

My son, almost 3, had to be the first to write on the Play-Doh!

Product Description:

With the Make 'N Color Creatures set, you can create animals, insects, or any other creature you can come up with! Make the body with the  PLAY-DOH and then, choose from 16 reusable body part accessories and color them with the markers. Add them to the body and then create eyes, antennae and more. The set includes 16 reusable body parts, 4 wet-erase markers, a playmat and 5 two-ounce cans of Play-Doh. Meant for ages 4 and up.

While the product description does state that it is intended for ages 4 and up (perhaps because of the markers?), my son had a blast with it as you can see in the pictures. He would play with it all day if he could. I love how there is such a wide variety of Play-Doh colors to purchase separately that can be used with the set and that the parts are reusable. They are so easy to wipe clean. There is also a Play-Doh Creations Activity Book that can be downloaded HERE which I plan to do soon!



11 year old Mimi loves Play-Doh too!

Mimi's Creation

Because of all the loose parts, you will definitely need a ziploc type bag to store the accessories in, unless your kids are easier on boxes than mine are! My kids had such a blast playing with the Play-Doh Creations, that I think I'll be purchasing some as gifts for certain nephews of mine. I'm sure they'll enjoy it as well.

The Play-Doh Creations line also comes in 3-D Flash Art, Creation Caddy, and Squish 'N Stamp Scenes. Learn more about them HERE .



*I received a kit, at no cost, for review purposes. All opinions expressed are my own and I was not influenced in any way to write a positive review.