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* Disclosure: I often receive free or discounted products in exchange for unbiased product reviews. This in no way influences my product reviews. All opinions are based on my own personal experiences with the products. I always do my best to provide fair, unbiased reviews because I appreciate honest reviews. This page includes affiliate links.

Monday, January 28, 2013

(Product Review) Schylling 13-piece Boxed Ladybug Tea Set

Schylling 13-piece Boxed Ladybug Tea Set Review

SCHYLLING 13 PC PORCELAIN LADY BUG TEA SET - 019649213771

Reviewed by kelly60 on 2013-01-27

Product Rating: 3

Community Rating: Very Helpful


Pros: Adorable ladybug pattern, porcelain tea set brings back fond childhood memories, teaches coordination.

Cons: A bit smaller than I would like. Uncertainty as to lead content.

Summary: Somewhat smaller than I would like, but kids enjoy it. The porcelain seems to hold up well with my grandchildren. Fun pretend play for children, but possible lead content.


I remember how much fun I had holding tea parties as a child. My brother and sisters and I would enjoy sipping tea in my little tea set. I saw the Schylling 13-piece Boxed Ladybug Tea Set at Wal-Mart and it reminded me of those days. I purchased this set for around $10 for my granddaughters to play with when they come to visit.

The set contains 13 pieces. There are 4 cups with saucers, a tea pot with lid, a sugar bowl with lid, and a spouted creamer. This worked out well because there are usually anywhere from 2 to 4 children who wish to attend one of these tea parties at a time.

The set is made of porcelain, so it is not meant to take a lot of abuse. My two youngest grandchildren are probably a bit to young for this set, which is fine because not only is it breakable, but also contains small parts which could present a choking hazard for the very little ones. Even though the manufacturer states that this is intended for children 8 years and older, my 3 year old granddaughter enjoys playing with it. Of course, this will depend on the child, and younger children should always be well supervised during playtime.

This porcelain set is a glossy white with an adorable ladybug design and the words "Lady bug, lady bug, fly away home!" adorning the pieces. It is an attractive set for display, and the kids enjoy the parties they hold with this set.

On the downside, the pieces are rather small with the cups measuring only 1¼ inches tall. Even though they do sometimes serve tea in these cups, they appear to be made more for appearance than actual use. The set I had as a child had cups about twice this size, and this is what I would have preferred. Even so, the kids enjoy them, so who am I to complain.

With the set being so small, it is just right for little hands to use. It helps them to gain the coordination needed to pour the tea from the little pitcher into the tiny cups. Yes, there are sometimes spills, but it is all a learning process. Even the 3 year old is getting much better at pouring the tea for her cousins.

On another note, the view details link suggests that this product may contain lead. I saw no mention of this issue on the box, on the manufacture's website, or in multiple online listings, so I can not verify whether or not this is true. The only warning I found was that it could be a choking hazard for children under 3 years old. Still, I thought it should be mentioned so readers can make their own decision regarding this issue.

Even so, I recommend this set because of the fun my grandchildren have had with it. I will continue to search for details on the lead issue, however I don't feel that there is enough evidence to discount this product because of it at this time.


Originally published on Epinions.
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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

(Product Review) Penn Plax Mini Female Wizard Aquarium Ornament

Penn Plax Mini Female Wizard Aquarium Ornament Review

Mini Female Wizard Fish Ornament Decoration (Penn)

Reviewed by kelly60 on 2013-01-22

Product Rating: 4

Community Rating: Very Helpful


Pros: Safe for fresh or salt water aquarium, small size for tight spaces

Cons: Too small for larger aquariums, but works well in small tanks

Summary: This is a cute little decoration that works well in either fresh or salt water aquariums. This figurine works well in small medieval themed aquariums or fish bowls.


As I have mentioned in previous reviews, I am always looking for new and different decorative pieces to add to my collection of aquarium ornaments and other decorations.

Several years ago I found a great deal on aquarium ornaments so I picked up several of them including the Mini Female Wizard Aquarium Ornament shown here for just a couple of dollars each. To be honest, she spent a lot more time on a shelf display than she did in one of my aquariums at first, but eventually was moved to one of the smaller tanks.

This adorable Female Wizard Aquarium Ornament from Penn Plax is made of resin and measures approximately 4 1/2 inches tall with her base measuring just over 2 inches in diameter. This is a perfect size to decorate some of the smaller aquariums or fish bowls, although for larger aquariums you might want to get a larger version which is also available in this style. The medium sized ornament that matches this one measures about 7 inches tall and would work better for a larger fish tank.

This ornament is handcrafted and has some pretty nice detail to her. She is decked out in a red wizard robe and hat with blue and gold accents. She carries a staff in one hand and holds an orb in the other. She is adorned with a tiny pendant around her neck, and even has nicely detailed facial features.

She can be used in either a freshwater or saltwater tank, and looks great in my medieval themed aquarium. She goes well with many color schemes, and looks great with any or all of the male wizards I bought along with her, and also with one of my castle ornaments.

I clean this ornament the same way I do many of the others. A quick rinse keeps the worst of the debris from sticking to the ornament, and a soft bristled toothbrush works well for cleaning them before putting one ornament away to replace it with another design. She cleaned up easily with no problems until it was time to bring her back out recently.

She has been hanging out with my fish for a little while now, and they seem rather indifferent to her presence. Perhaps this is because I change the decorations in their tanks often, and they have become accustomed to a variety of different decorations being added. They swim happily around her and the other wizard characters in the tank.


Originally published on Epinions.
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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

(Product Review) Produex Ultra Thin Glass Scale

Produex Ultra Thin Glass Scale Review

Produex Ultra Thin Glass Scale

Reviewed by kelly60 on 2013-01-21

Product Rating: 4

Community Rating: Very Helpful


Pros: Ultri-thin, attractive, tap on/automatic power off, large display, inexpensive, works well

Cons: Made in China (would have preferred USA product),  must tap hard to turn on

Summary: This is a nice looking scale and seems fairly accurate. It has a 396lb capacity, tap-on and automatic shutoff, and it is much less expensive than similar scales.


On a recent visit to Kmart, I found the Produex Ultra Thin Glass Bathroom Scale on sale for around ten dollars. This is about half of the price as similar scales I have seen online.

This scale comes equipped with four non-skid feet which keep it firmly in place so you don't need to worry about it sliding around the floor when you step on it. The sleek silver color of this scale goes well with my bathroom, and would probably look nice with most color schemes. For those who wish to tuck the scale away between uses, the slim styling makes it a breeze to slip into even a small area. As the name implies, this bathroom scale is ultra thin, measuring approximately 3/4 inch thick. The platform is 11.75 inches square, and made of durable tempered glass that is approximately 8 mm thick and impact-resistant. The scale has a digital LCD display that measures 3 1/8 inches by 1 1/4 inches. The numbers are a good size so it is easy to read, even with my failing eyesight.

The Produex Ultra Thin Glass Scale uses one 3-volt lithium battery which is included in the package. Just pull the plastic strip out, and the scale is ready to go. To use the scale, just give it a tap to turn it on or zero it out then wait for it to calibrate. When the number stops blinking, it is ready for you to step on the scale. I was happy to see that I had lost a few pounds when I stepped on the scale but wanted to find out how accurate it was, so I asked various other family members to check their weights as well. Everyone agreed that their weight was within a pound or two of their last weighing, so this scale seems reasonably accurate. When weighing ourselves repeatedly, the readings are very close, if not exactly the same for multiple weighings. The scale even turns itself off when finished to save power.

This personal electronic scale displays increments of .2 pounds (0.1kg) is rated for weights ranging from 13.2 pounds to 396 pounds. According to the box, it measures in pounds, kilograms and stone by pressing a small red button on the bottom of the scale, however I have never changed the setting since I prefer having my weight measured in pounds. It also has an error display to notify you in the event of overload or low battery, however I have not seen either of these warning messages as of yet. My son did get some sort of an error message on his first attempt to use the scale however, after stepping off and back on the scale it registered his weight correctly. I'm not sure, but I think he may have stepped on the scale before it finished calibrating, causing the error because it has worked correctly every other time we have used the scale.

This scale is available in 3 different capacities. This is the mid range one with the other two having top weight ranges of 330 and 440 pounds. It appears that all three scales are identified as model number PEB-215N, with the capacity being the main difference among them.

I had no trouble using this scale. It powered on easily, and was easy to read. After the first use I was certain that I would be happy with my purchase. My daughter in law was the second to try the scale, but when she tapped it to turn it on, nothing happened. She tapped again, and still nothing. She took the battery out and put it back in, then tapped again. She ended up having to tap it a bit harder, and it finally came on. She then checked her weight, and the weight of my grandson with no trouble. After this, two of my sons tried the scales out for me. The first had no problem, but the second said that there was an error mentioned above. His weight did register correctly on the second attempt, and every attempt since. I have not been able to duplicate the error, so I can only assume that it was a calibration error as mentioned earlier.

Because of the difficulty my daughter in law had in getting the scale to power on I thought that I might need to replace the battery, however after a bit of testing, we discovered that we just needed to tap the scale harder. It takes a good, firm tap to turn this scale on, not a gentle touch like some similar scales I have used. Even so, it works well with a harder tap.

I can't really comment on the battery life of this scale because we have only owned the scale for a couple of weeks, although it is working well so far through multiple weighings. I haven't always had good luck with pre-installed batteries, but this one is doing fine so far. Either way, the button cell batteries that fit this scale are inexpensive to replace, and since the scale automatically powers off after use, I don't think that this will be a problem.

Overall, I am happy with my new Produex Ultra Thin Glass Scale. Just be aware that it may be necessary to tap the scale harder than you might think. Maybe we were being too careful because of the glass, but it seems sturdy enough to take it.


Originally published on Epinions.
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Friday, January 18, 2013

(Product Review) Soft White Decor Flame Tip Incandescent Sylvania 25 Watt Decorative Light Bulbs

Soft White Decor Flame Tip Incandescent Sylvania 25 Watt Decorative Light Bulbs Review

Sylvania Lighting 25W/WHT/MED/FLAM2 Decorative Light Bulb 25W (pack of 6)

Reviewed by kelly60 on 2013-01-17

Product Rating: 4

Community Rating: Very Helpful


Pros: Made in USA, inexpensive, no toxic mercury, soft white light is easier on sensitive eyes.

Cons: Incandescent bulbs may be phased because they are less energy efficient than some newer types.

Summary: Eventually I may have to give up the fight if incandescent bulbs are phased out, but for now I prefer them for most areas of my home.


If you enjoy soft lighting as much as I do, these Sylvania Soft White Decor Flame Tip Decorative Light Bulbs may be perfect for some areas in your home. Although they don't put out a lot of light at 25 watts each, they provide a nice ambiance to a room, and provide enough light to see well enough for most activities without hurting my eyes.

These decorative bulbs have a medium base, which means that they fit well in any standard sized lamp or light fixture. I have used them in a ceiling fan, which provided a total of 75 watts of lighting from the 3 light fixtures. This was plenty bright enough for me, and a lot less glaring than some of the brighter bulbs. These also worked very well in a chandelier which used multiple light bulbs since there was plenty of light without bothering my sensitive eyes.

These are incandescent bulbs, which means that they are not as energy efficient as some of the newer types of bulbs. Even so, these bulbs only use 25 watts as opposed to the higher 40, 60, 75, or 100 watt bulbs that are often used in light fixtures.

For those who are not sure what the difference is between the various types of light bulbs, an incandescent bulb is the one most us us are familiar with. It is a standard light bulb that works by passing electricity through a filament, heating it to produce a warm, white light. They are usually less expensive than other types of light bulbs, and have a shorter lifespan.

Some other types of light bulbs are halogen, LED, and CFL bulbs. They all have their advantages and their disadvantages. One of the disadvantages is that they are more expensive, at least on the initial investment. The longer life, in many cases makes up the difference though.

I don't recall just what I paid for these bulbs, however I found them on sale plus had a rebate offer on them at the time. Because of this I got my light bulbs for free or close to it. Of course, unless you luck out and find sales, coupons and/or rebates, your cost will likely be higher.

These bulbs are soft white in color, and are the popular flame shape. Even though the medium base works well in any standard light fixture, the bulb is a bit smaller, making it a better fit for some lamps. The only time this would likely be a problem is if you have lampshades that clamp onto the light bulb. In this case, they may not fit correctly. In addition to my ceiling fan and chandelier, these also were a nice fit for the pair of can style light fixtures over my bar. These fixtures are smaller in diameter and because you must reach inside the shade to change the bulb, it can sometimes be awkward for larger hands. These smaller bulbs are a breeze to change.

As I mentioned earlier, these 25 watt bulbs provide a sufficient amount of light for smaller areas, especially when used in fixtures that make use of multiple bulbs. Additionally, they save energy as opposed to higher wattage bulbs. They are rated at a 1,500 hour average lifespan. Although I can't vouch for this since I have never attempted to time any of my light fixtures, these lasted for a long time.

Although it is my understanding that incandescent bulbs will eventually be phased out in this country as well as others because they are less energy efficient than some of the newer styles available, I will continue to use these for the time being because I prefer the soft glow of these light bulbs as opposed to harsh glaring lights or CFL lights containing toxic mercury. They also provide better ambient lighting, rather than the more directional lighting or harsh glare that some other lights offer. I also prefer to pay less per bulb as opposed to paying many times the price for some of the other bulbs out there.

From the Manufacturer

25 Watt Soft White
120 volt
Average Rated Life (hr): 1,500
Medium Aluminum Screw Base
Soft White Incandescent
Flame Shape
White Light
Made in USA
Contains no toxic mercury



Originally published on Epinions.
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Thursday, January 17, 2013

(Product Review) Sylvania 11669 40 Watt A19 Soft White Incandescent Light Bulbs

Sylvania 11669 40 Watt A19 Soft White Incandescent Light Bulbs Review

Sylvania 11669 40 Watt A19 Soft White Incandescent Bulbs, Pack of 4

Reviewed by kelly60 on 2013-01-16

Product Rating: 4

Community Rating: Very Helpful


Pros: Made in USA, inexpensive, no toxic mercury, soft white light is easier on sensitive eyes.

Cons: Incandescent bulbs may be phased because they are less energy efficient than some others.

Summary: Eventually I may have to give up the fight if incandescent bulbs are phased out, but for now, these are my preferred bulbs.


Several light bulbs around my home seem to have burned out at about the same time, so I needed to restock. Although most of the family prefers brighter lights, there are some light fixtures where I prefer a 40 watt light bulb rather than a higher wattage bulb. For these lights, I chose Sylvania 40 Watt Soft White Incandescent Bulbs.

I picked up a package of these light bulbs for around $3 for 4 bulbs. These bulbs fit in any standard light fixture, and for those with light sensitivity like mine, these are a perfect bulb. The 40 watt bulb is not as bright as the 60, 75, or 100 watt bulbs that are readily available, which suits me just fine. Additionally, the Soft White Bulbs don't give off as much glare as some of the other bulbs.

Additionally, these bulbs work well in most lamps and light fixtures. Some of the higher wattage bulbs do not. We have a few lights around our home that state that you should never use a bulb over 40 or over 60 watts in them. These bulbs work perfectly for every light in our home, even those attatched to a dimmer.

They may not illuminate things as much as some of my family members would like, but they light things up pretty well in most cases. I guess it depends on the layout of the room and where the light is located, as well as what type of work you need the light for. I use these for all of my personal areas, and use brighter bulbs in some of the other living spaces.

Besides the fact that these light bulbs do not blind me like some of the others, they also use less electricity than the higher wattage bulbs. I think we get a pretty good bang for our buck with these bulbs, and that they are a good multipurpose bulb.

For those who are not sure what the difference is between the various types of light bulbs, an incandescent bulb is the one most us us are familiar with. It is a standard light bulb that works by passing electricity through a filament, heating it to produce a warm, white light. They are usually less expensive than other types of light bulbs, and have a shorter lifespan.

Some other types of light bulbs are halogen, LED, and CFL bulbs. They all have their advantages and their disadvantages. One of the disadvantages is that they are more expensive, at least on the initial investment. The longer life, in many cases makes up the difference though.

Even though I have heard that incandescent light bulbs will eventually be phased out in this country as well as others because they are less energy efficient than some of the others, I will continue to use them as long as I can because I prefer the soft glow of these light bulbs as opposed to harsh glaring lights or the CFL light bulbs that contain toxic mercury. They also provide better ambient lighting, rather than the more directional lighting or harsh glare that some other lights offer. I also prefer to pay less than $1 per bulb as opposed to paying many times this amount for some of the other bulbs out there.

From the Manufacturer
Fully dimmable
40 Watt Soft White medium base bulb
120 volt
A19 Medium Screw (E26) Base
Soft White Incandescent
Made in USA
Dimmable
Contains no toxic mercury

Sunday, January 13, 2013

(Product Review) Liquid-Plumr Double Impact Snake and Gel System

Liquid-Plumr Double Impact Snake and Gel System Review

Liquid-Plumr Double Impact Snake and Gel System

Reviewed by kelly60 on 2013-01-12

Product Rating: 5

Community Rating: Very Helpful


Pros: Disposable snake included, effective, pours through standing water, easy to use, guaranteed, recyclable packaging

Cons: Costs a bit more than some of the others, but definitely worth the difference.

Summary: Recommended for stubborn clogs in all sinks and tubs.


From time to time we all eventually need to deal with a clogged drain. Finding a product that works well can sometimes be a daunting task. After experimenting with several products and various results over the years, I decided to try something new this time around.

My kitchen sink drain clogged a couple of weeks ago. After using a less expensive product to clear the drain, we did manage to get it draining, even though the water drained a bit slower than we would have liked. Unfortunately, the other product must not have cleared the clog very well because it was only a short time before the water stopped draining again.

This time I picked up a bottle of Liquid-Plumr Double Impact Snake and Gel System to see if this product would do a better job of clearing my drain. One of the things that drew me to purchasing this product was the packaging. This drain cleaner comes in a silver colored plastic bottle that is easy to grip. It has a long narrow neck with a larger base. The thing that really caught my attention though is that there is a small disposable drain snake included in the package.

I had noticed what appears to be a similar drain snake in the "as seen on tv" products a while back and wondered if they would work. I hadn't ordered one, but this reminds me of one of those. In any case, the snake 23 inches long and is red in color. It has two loops at the top for easy gripping, a pointed end to help it break through clogs, and barbs along the sides to help it catch whatever is blocking your pipes. It is made of a flexible plastic material so it bends easily to go around the curves of your pipes with just a bit of encouragement. I did reach one bend that took a bit of jiggling to get through, probably due to the snake being coiled up like a hose. It only took a minute or two though, and I managed to maneuver the snake around the corner. From there on, it was smooth sailing.

Liquid-Plumr Double Impact Snake and Gel System states that it is guaranteed to clear clogs the first try. It also claims that it works well even in standing water and that it also works well on slow drains, and even to keep your drains from clogging. You can go to their website to download a form for the warranty if needed, although I did not have a need for this.

According to the directions, you should use the snake first. When snaking your drain, just slide the tip of the snake through the hole in the drain of your sink or bathtub. This is not made for, and should not be used on toilets or garbage disposals. The snake is narrow enough that it should easily fit into just about any drain, and worked quite well on my kitchen sink as well as my bathtub drain. Slide the snake in as far as you can, then gently glide it up and down to break through the clog. As you slide the snake in and out, the barbs will catch excess hair, gunk, or other debris that is left in your pipes, so when you pull the snake out of the drain, it really isn't a pretty site. When used in my kitchen drain the barbs were covered with black gunk when I pulled it back out. Using it in the bathtub added hair to the gunky mess. In any case, once you have finished snaking the drain, simply toss the messy snake into the trash. Personally, I found it easy enough to wash off the worst of the gunk and reuse the snake to remove a partial hair clog in my bathtub drain before disposal though. This is a matter of personal preference, but these are intended as disposable tools.

After the snaking is done, you should pour the entire contents of the bottle into the drain. The product is a gel, which will quickly sink to the bottom of the drain, even through standing water. I like this feature because even though I generally bail most of the water from my sinks before trying this type of product, it isn't always possible to get all of the water out.

In this instance, the snake was all it really took to get the water flowing, although I still used the product to speed things along and move whatever was clogging the drain on down through the pipes. I would hate to think that I just pushed the clog further down so that it would re-clog later. Anyway, I followed the directions and carefully poured the contents into my drain, being cautious not to splash the gel. It went down into the drain where I allowed it to work for just over the 15 minutes the directions call for. The directions state that it can also be left overnight if desired, which is good to know since I generally wait until just before bed to do this type of task. This wasn't a problem this time though since the snake had the water moving already.

The final step of the process is to flush the drain with hot water. I turned on the faucet and allowed it to run for several minutes to be sure it was thoroughly flushed. It worked like a charm, my sink was now draining freely. There was no sign that the drain had ever been running slow, let alone completely clogged.


Warnings:
Keep out of reach of children and pets. Harmful if swallowed. Avoid skin contact. Avoid splashing. Clean up any spills immediately. Not for use in garbage disposals or toilets. Do not mix with other chemicals. Snake should be used before the chemical product only. In case of accidental ingestion drink a full glass of water and contact your doctor or poison control center immediately. For eye contact, flush with water for 15 minutes. For skin exposure, wash immediately to avoid chemical burns. Most of this is typical for such products, and you should always check the label if in doubt.

Ingredients:
sodium hypochlorite, sodium hydroxide, biodegradable surfactant, and sodium silicate (corrosion inhibitor). Contains no phosphorus.

The manufacturer states that this product is great for attacking stubborn clogs or maintaining squeaky-clean pipes. They also tell us that it is safe for all septic systems and pipes, including PVC, plastic, copper, and old pipes. I can tell you that I was very impressed by it. I have tried many different products over the years and never found one that worked as well as this.



Originally published on Epinions.
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