Angry Birds Plush Toys

Angry Birds Plush

Everybody seems to love Rovio’s Angry Birds these days. Why not, they are cute, fun and appropriate for the whole family. I enjoy playing it on my iPhone from time to time. I was blown away by the response I got from my post about Angry Birds Halloween Costumes, the only problem was that most of the costumes sold out long before Halloween. I was also surprised to find out that even my parents are into Angry Birds. My stepfather tried to get his mom (who is 88) hooked on it while we were waiting for Thanksgiving Dinner. She seemed to enjoy a little  but it’s doubtful she will buy a smartphone to download the app any time soon. I suggested to him that he should also check out Fruit Ninja since he likes Angry Birds so much.

Angry Birds Rio Toys

I have also been surprised to find so many Angry Birds officially licensed products, you know that you’ve arrived when they put you on a Band Aid. I think that Angry Birds Plush Toys are going to be a Popular item for Christmas gifts this year, I just hope everybody that wants them has a chance to get them before they sell out. The

Rovio has done such an amazing job marketing Angry Birds, I am surprised that they don’t have a cartoon series yet (although I have heard there is one in the works). There are several limited edition Angry Birds plush toys with the main Angry birds wearing silly hats as well as Christmas stockings.  All of these items are eligible for free shipping if they are ordered directly from Amazon. Most of these plush toys come either with or without sound. I personally think I would prefer the toys that don’t have sound in my house but I’m sure Zoe would disagree.

There have been many visits to my blog by people concerned about lead in Angry Birds Toys. Every year it seems like there are rumors about one toy or another containing lead. I have researched this matter and the only reputable source I could find about this topic is this article from the New York times about the dangers of counterfeit Angry Birds products. The Angry Birds products mentioned on this blog are all officially licensed and there is no reason to be concerned about them. Any counterfeit items, however, should always be avoided no matter how good of a deal it seems.

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Beautiful Christmas Cards

Christmas Card Shopping With Zoe

I usually find myself searching through all of the Christmas cards at the store for hours to find the right ones to buy. I frequently get a little frustrated and just settle for cards I don’t think are great because I have spent so much time looking. Since I have a tendency to procrastinate, just a little bit, I usually only have the one day to decide.  It is especially difficult to shop for things like Christmas cards when I have Zoe with me. She always turns it into a game by running away and making me chase her all over the store, then tries to grab as many balloons as she can when I bring her back. As adorable as that is, it does make shopping a little more challenging.

Buying Greeting Cards Online

Last Mother’s Day, Zoe and I decided to buy a card for my mom (Zoe’s Grandma) online from Tiny Prints. We were able to sit down together at home to pick the perfect card online. There were so many options to customize Grandma’s card and we uploaded some beautiful pictures of Zoe on to it. You are able to edit the front, the middle, and the back of whatever card you choose to make it your own. After you decide what you want your cards to look like they print and send them. It was a great experience that I think everybody should try and my mom absolutely loved her card. This is the perfect site to buy cards for Christmas or any occasion.

Why I really Like Tiny Prints

This year I will use Tiny Prints for all of the cards I give. Their designs are beautiful and they offer all kinds of options you wont find anywhere else. The prices are comparable to getting cards at the store but without the hassle of having to deal with all of the people. There is also a membership plan to buy cards for even less. Here is a link to Tiny Prints Latest Coupons & Deals. They also give you the choice of getting your cards sent to you to sign or sending them directly to your loved ones, so you don’t have to bother with stamps or sending out mail. I felt that I saved lots of time, but the best part was Zoe and I were able to do all of this together at home without her getting frustrated and acting up.

LED Christmas Lights

 Why You Should Buy LED Christmas Lights

LED or light emitting diode lights first became commercially available in the 1960’s but they have been prohibitively expensive to buy until the last few years. LED technology has been rapidly improving in recent years making LED lighting affordable for nearly any application. There were some problems with early LED Christmas lights such as lack of color choices and problems with durability but most of those issues have been solved. LED Christmas lights are available in many different colors now including white, green, blue, red, purple, amber, clear and multicolor. You can get them rated for use indoors, outdoors, or both. There are a variety of shapes and styles, you can even get ones that flash just like incandescent lights. It is important, of course, to buy them from a reputable company and to make sure they have a decent warranty.

Benefits of LED Christmas Lights

The biggest reason to switch from incandescent Christmas lights to LED Christmas lights is of course the fact that they save you money. In addition to saving you money they are also much better for the environment, they don’t contain any toxic chemicals such as mercury which is found in CFL lights. The energy savings is substantial, they use about %15 of the electricity that incandescent lights use. With all of that energy savings you can afford more Christmas gifts.  The next most important reason is the longevity of the LEDs, If they are properly cared for they can last about 10 times longer than incandescent lights so you wont be replacing them for a long time.  LED Christmas lights don’t get hot like incandescent Christmas lights do so there isn’t a risk of fires, since they use such a small amount of electricity you are able to put more of them on your circuit. With LEDs you no longer need every bulb to function in order to keep your string of bulbs working. LED Christmas lights come encased in plastic so there is no glass to break.

Solar LED Christmas Lights

These are a really amazing idea, all the fun of Christmas lights with absolutely no electricity expense at all. They run on a rechargeable AA battery.The sun charges these lights during the day then they automatically come on at night for about 8 hours. The only drawback is that they tend not to have as much brightness as plug in lights. You can put them anywhere and you don’t need any dangerous extension cords to run them. These are great for decorating near roads or mailboxes or anywhere that you don’t have an electrical outlet really close.

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The Server Migration Is Complete

My web host finally updated to a new server running PHP 5, which will give me much more functionality. Everything seems to be working ok now despite the fact that I couldn’t log in all day today, as far as I know there was no actual downtime. I am still going over everything to make sure it works ok. If anything doesn’t seem right please let me know. Thanks.

The Best iPhone, iPad, and iTouch Protection

Protecting Your iPhone

Do I Need To Buy Apple Care?

My very first smartphone was an iPhone 3g I got as a Christmas gift from my mom in 2008. When I received it I had absolutely no clue how to keep it in decent shape. She also got me a $50 leather iPhone case from AT&T to go with it but the case turned out to be very flimsy and fell apart long before the first year was up on my contract. After that case disintegrated, I did some research about the best ways to protect my iPhone. Luckily, my friend and personal computer geek Tom, talked me into reluctantly purchasing
AppleCare, that was the best decision I could have made. The factory warranty from Apple only lasts for the first year of your 2 year contract. It cost me $69(one time) in 2009 but I ended up returning my iPhone3g for replacement a total of 4 times without any extra charge. I got 2 iphones with bad WiFi, one with faulty wiring, and one that didn’t work right when they gave it to me. Without Apple Care it would have cost several hundred dollars to for each replacement phone. I usually avoid any kind of extended warranty or insurance that isn’t necessary but this is one I think is critical. There are a bunch of extra benefits including free phone support and free replacement of the power cords and headphones that wear out. Now I have an iPhone 4 and I will be buying AppleCareagain.

Protecting Your iPhone From Scratches And Damage

How do I Protect My iPhone Screen?

Every time I went in for a replacement the Apple “Geniuses” filled out a form indicating the shape of the iPhone before replacing it. The first iPhone I had was in really rough shape by the time it needed to be replaced. I was lucky because the WiFi went out making it mechanically defective, even though my screen was damaged and cracked in multiple places, they replaced the iPhone at no charge because I had Apple Care. When I got the new iPhone I was grateful to have a second chance to have a nice new looking phone again. I immediately purchased an invisibleSHIELD by Zagg, they are amazing. The invisibleSHIELD is made of the same material that is used to coat military helicopter blades to protect them from high speed damage. It uses Nano-Memory technology to self-heal and resist abrasion. I found that it kept my iPhone screen in mint condition, free from wear and tear, while also maintaining excellent visibility. The invisibleSHIELD comes with a lifetime replacement warranty, and is available for most devices including: iPhone, iPhone3g and 3gs, iPhone4 and 4s, iTouch, iPad, iPad2, Blackberry, Android, and Motorola Droids to name a few. I found the installation to be pretty simple and it comes with everything you need to do it right. I have used this to protect every iPhone I have had since the second one and they have all had perfect screens the entire time I have owned them. You have the option of getting a full body wrap or just the screen. I have personally always opted for just the screen and used a case for the body.

How Do I Choose The Best Case?

Ultimately the best case for your phone is going to be the one you like carrying around and having people see all the time. Some styles are more durable and protect much better than others. There are so many different cases to choose from, don’t let the prices fool you. A very expensive case can be poor quality just like a cheap case. After my original $50 black leather case from AT&T failed in the first year, I decided to find a better case. In my opinion the best cases for protecting iPhones, iPads,and iTouches, are made of soft material like silicone to give it a nice cushion if it falls. I think using a hard case or shell is not a very good idea, unless it is well cushioned inside, since it does not absorb the shock of being dropped or bumped around. You really want your phone to bounce if it falls on the ground. My personal favorite cases are by Case-Mate. I like them because they fit perfectly, look good, and protect my iPhone well.  Casemate cases  are not big and bulky like Otterbox. I have nothing against Otterbox, I have heard great things about them, I just personally prefer a small sleek lightweight case, that is easy to carry around and provides excellent protection for my iPhone. I have never had any scratches or damage on the 5 iPhones I have put in Casemate cases with invisibleSHIELD screens.

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Vegetarian Roasts for Thanksgiving and Christmas

Vegetarian Holiday Foods

Being Vegetarian can be extremely challenging at times. It is especially difficult when eating out or eating holiday meals with people who are not vegetarian. Of course most people have become very trained to eat turkey or ham for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I have frequently been asked what I do eat at Thanksgiving and Christmas by people who don’t really understand the concept of not eating meat. Of course any dish that does not contain meat or meat by products is  suitable for vegetarians. In the last 10 years or so there has been some amazing advancements in healthy meat alternatives. It is important to make sure that any meat alternative you choose doesn’t have any scary chemicals that aren’t on the label such as Hexane (a neurotoxin also found in gasoline). Here are some of the most amazing vegetarian roasts that taste great and are healthy as well. These products are available in the natural section of most major Grocery stores and health food stores in the US. Even if you are not a vegetarian, I strongly suggest giving these vegetarian roasts and meat alternatives a try.

Quorn Turk’y Roast

Quorn is My absolute number one favorite of all the vegetarian meat alternatives, before I stopped eating meat I preferred Quorn over chicken or turkey. Quorn has been made in England from mycoprotien (from the mushroom family) since 1985. It is low in fat and high in fiber and protein, and although it is vegetarian, Quorn is not vegan since they do use non battery eggs as a binder. Quorn is one of very few vegetarian meat alternatives available that is not made from soy. There was a controversy in 2002 when Quorn first launched in the US. Gardenburger an inferior competitor who; to my knowledge, still uses hexane to process their soy, was threatened by the obviously superior competition and tried to have Quorn removed from the marketplace. Luckily they were unsuccessful at this attempt. Quorn is available year round in many forms not just Turk’y Roast, some of my favorites are: Chik’n Nuggets, Chik’n Patties, Beef-Style Grounds, Turk’y Burger, and when I really want a treat I get the Gruyere Chik’n Cutlet.

Tofurky Roast

It’s kind of funny sounding and when I first heard of Tofurkey Roasts, I have to admit, I thought they was some kind of joke. The first time I had a Tofurkey Roast back around 2001 or 2002, I was a bit disappointed. They have improved substantially since then, I now tend to eat several of the roasts every year. Tofurkey Roasts were introduced in 1995 and are made by a small independent company from Hood River, Oregon called Turtle Island Foods. Tofurkey is made with soy but they use organic non GMO soy and no nasty chemicals. Tofurkey Roasts all come pre-stuffed with a wild rice and whole wheat bread crumb stuffing and are best when roasted with your favorite vegetables. They include directions of the packages for a couple of different baste options. My favorite is the incredibly simple:

3 tablespoons olive oil (or other vegetable oil)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground sage

I usually double the ingredients of this baste  and use it for both Tofurkey and Quorn roasts. There are a large variety of Tofurkey products available year round. All of them are vegan and amazing. My absolute favorite Tofurkey product is the Hickory Smoked Tofurky Deli Slices.

Field Roast

Field Roast is a vegan meat alternative made from grain. It is based on the Chinese vegetarian meat alternative seitan which is also known as “wheat meat” or “wheat gluten”. Field Roast was created in 1997, and is made by a small company in Seattle Washington called Field Roast Grain Meat Co. The Celebration Roast comes with a stuffing made from butternut squash, apples, and mushrooms.  My favorite Field Roast products that are not Celebration Roasts are the Mexican Chipotle Sausage and the Smoked Apple Sage sausage. I really enjoy Field Roasts but they are much more difficult to find than Tofurkey and Quorn, even here in Washington State.

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