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Working Hands Hand Cream Really Works!

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For the past few years, I spent a week or two in Florida with my sisters.  I can tell I’m up north this winter just by looking at my hands!  While I was in Florida, I noticed that I had no problem with dry, cracking skin on my fingers and thumbs, but here in Pennsylvania, I’m dealing with the perils of dry skin.

The biggest reason for dry skin is the cold, dry winter weather.  Working with fabric and frequent hand washing would also contribute to this problem, I’m sure.

A year or so ago, I saw an ad for a new hand cream called Working Hands.  I’m always looking for a miracle cure for the painful cracks that Jack and I both have on our fingers and thumbs during the winter months.  Those tiny little splits in the dry skin on the ends of my fingers and beside my thumb nails really hurt!  I think they might be more painful than childbirth, but someone who’s actually gone through childbirth would have to verify that.

I figured this Working Hands stuff would be just another hand cream, but I was so wrong!

This stuff is amazing!  First of all, it feels different from the way hand lotions feel on your hands.  It’s not greasy, and it doesn’t come off on things that you touch after you apply it.  The package says, “A little goes a long way”, and that’s true.  Jack and I both have been using just a few dabs of this stuff on our fingers and hands a couple times a day, and our cracked, dry skin is completely healed!

Just for the record, I’m passing this information along just because I like this product very much.  I did not receive any compensation for reviewing this product on my blog.  I’m reasonably sure that the makers of Working Hands don’t even know that I exist!  When I find a good product, I like to spread the word!

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I have bought several containers of Working Hands hand cream.  I have found it at Target, Lowes, and Walmart stores.  Compared to bargain hand lotions, it’s a little pricier (about $6 for 3.4 oz.), but it’s so worth it!  It’s also available at Amazon.
O’Keeffe’s Working Hands Cream 3.4 oz, 2 Pack (affiliate link)
According to the Working Hands website, the company also makes a foot cream.  I seriously need to find some of that stuff, too!

I recommended Working Hands to my sisters, and they both agree that it is the best thing ever for healing and preventing those painful cracks on the tips of your fingers.  If you suffer from dry skin, I’d highly recommend Working Hands hand cream.  Or I suppose you could just move to Florida instead.

What do you use to keep your skin soft and smooth? 

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What Customers Say About Extra Warm Car Seat Poncho

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I’ve been selling fleece car seat ponchos in my Etsy shop  since 2015.  The first year that I sold ponchos, I offered only one style of car seat poncho.  My regular car seat poncho was and still is made of two layers of anti-pill fleece.  Here in Pennsylvania, my grandchildren have found them to be cozy and warm.
Car Seat Poncho

Extra Warm Poncho

But what about those kiddos in extremely cold climates?  Would two layers of fleece be warm enough for a child in Minnesota or Wisconsin or Canada?  I wasn’t sure it would be.  That’s why, in my second year of poncho making and selling, I offered the option of choosing a layer of cotton quilt batting that I added between the two layers of anti-pill fleece.

Last year, one third of my poncho orders were for extra warm ponchos.  Most of those extra warm ponchos made their way north to colder states and to Canada.

This fall I asked some of those customers whose children used the extra warm ponchos last year to take a short survey.  The results were overwhelmingly positive, and every one who responded said that she would make the same choice to purchase the extra warm poncho again.

Survey Results

1.  In what state or province do you live? 

The women who answered my survey were from Nebraska, Michigan, New Jersey, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and New York.

2.  Did the extra warm poncho provide adequate warmth? 

Everyone agreed that the extra warm poncho provided adequate warmth.  One mom said that on the coldest days in Michigan, she would layer the poncho over a fleece jacket.

3.  Where there times when the poncho was too warm? 

Some responded that the poncho was too warm for fall and spring weather.  Another mom added that if the temperature were forty degrees or warmer, the poncho was not a good choice.  The others assured me that the poncho was not too warm in their winter climates.

4.  How would you describe the weight and feel of the extra warm poncho? 

I wanted to get some opinions on the feel and weight of the extra warm poncho since I’m often trying to describe it to potential customers.  My survey-takers described the extra warm poncho as a thicker fleece, not too heavy or thick, warm and cozy, substantial without feeling stiff or cumbersome.  One mom was concerned that the extra layer would make the poncho stiff, but it did not.

5.  If you were to purchase another poncho, would you choose the extra warm style? 

All of the survey participants agreed that if they purchased another poncho, they would, without hesitation, purchase the extra warm poncho again.

There was that one mom who said that since she already had an extra warm poncho, she might choose a regular poncho to use in spring and fall weather.  I like this idea!  Everyone should buy two ponchos:  a regular and an extra warm one.

Contact Me About a Poncho:

If  you’re interested in ordering a regular or extra warm car seat poncho, please contact me.  You can use the contact form here on this site, contact me in my Etsy shop, or visit my business page on Facebook.  I’d be happy to work with you to create a poncho for that special child in your life!

 

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My Health Insurance Decision

Health Share not Health Care

Last fall, most people who had been buying their own health insurance received notification that the insurance plan that helped to cover their medical expenses would no longer be available effective January 1, 2014.    I am one of those persons.

For the past ten years I have been purchasing my own health insurance because I was not covered by any employee health insurance benefits.  With all of the speculation about the impact that Obamacare would have on the health insurance industry, it was no surprise to me to learn that my insurance plan was to be discontinued.

No health insurance?  Oh no!  What would I do?  

I did what most people would have done in this situation.  I researched the cost of different health insurance plans.  I even visited the government’s insurance marketplace but stopped short of entering my personal information.  And I prayed for wisdom.

We’ve been trained to believe that a loss of health insurance is cause for great panic.  I often hear people say, “You can’t afford to be without health insurance these days.”  And I totally agreed with that sentiment.  What I found out in my search for affordable health insurance was that there are alternatives to health insurance.  It is possible to have a plan to help with medical bills without putting myself and my health care into the hands of our federal government–which was the very thing that I did NOT want to do. 

Through a couple who attends our church and our Life Group, I heard of Samaritan Ministries, “a biblical, non-insurance approach to health care needs”.  This particular couple have been members of Samaritan Ministries for a number of years.  Both the husband and the wife have been through some serious medical problems, and all of their medical bills have been met through other members of Samaritan Ministries.

With that information, I did some research of my own, and I was impressed with all that I read about this ministry.

The ministry operates on the philosophy that Christians sharing each other’s healthcare expenses is as effective, and perhaps even more effective than Christians depending on insurance companies to meet our healthcare expenses.  Each month, I receive a newsletter from Samaritan Ministries with the name of a fellow member whose medical need has been approved for sharing.  Rather than sending my check to an insurance company or an organization, I send my check directly to another person or family.  I like that.

Samaritan Ministries is not the answer to every Christian’s healthcare needs.  Policies exist concerning pre-existing conditions, chronic illnesses, and health maintenance expenses.  If, however, you’re a Christian, and you think that you can’t survive without health insurance, you might want to check out some other alternatives like Samaritan Ministries.  

So far I have not had to submit any medical expenses to Samaritan Ministries, but I feel at peace with trusting God and His people to help me with medical bills if I should have a need in the future.  I love sending my money to a person each month rather than to an insurance company or the federal government.  My only regret is that I didn’t join with this group of fellow Christians sooner.  My monthly share is considerably lower than the cost of the health insurance that I’d been buying for the past ten years.

I’m looking forward to a long, happy relationship with Samaritan Ministries, and I’m grateful to our friends who pointed me in this direction.

Photo image source:  www.freedigitalphotos.net

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A Good Book About Time Management

 

“Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that’s the stuff that life is made of.” – Benjamin Franklin

I’m a sucker for books about time management.  With each new book comes the hope that I will find the key to managing my time efficiently making it possible for me to accomplish everything on my to-do list with time to spare for all the other things I want to do.

While I realize that there is no book in existence that is going to answer all of my time management issues, I do recommend an E-book that I recently read on this topic.  The book I’m talking about is  Tell Your Time: How to Manage Your Schedule so You Can Live Free (affiliate link) by Amy Lynn Andrews.

I read this book in November, and I’m still implementing some of its suggestions.  That’s always a good sign if I’m still using advice from a time management book several months after reading it.

Why this time management book?

The book is a quick read and includes various activities to work through while reading.  I did all the activities as I read, which helped me to implement the author’s suggestions.

The most helpful activity for me was using a grid to determine which of my activities are negotiable and which are non-negotiable.   The next step was to determine whether those activities had a fixed time or a flexible time.  For example, church attendance is a non-negotiable activity for me, and it occurs at a fixed time.  Cleaning my house is also a non-negotiable activity (at least in theory), but the time frame for cleaning is flexible.

The thing that I learned (and this is the part that was worth the $2.99 purchase price for me) is that most of my activities that I consider to be non-negotiable–things like cleaning, sewing for my business, Bible reading, grocery shopping, menu planning–do not have a fixed time in which they must be done.  Because they can be done anytime, I was in the habit of putting them off until a more convenient time.  That convenient time often never presented itself, and lots of the things that are important to me were slipping through the cracks and not getting done.

In order to fix this, I followed the instructions in the book for setting up a schedule.  It seems like a simple solution, that idea of assigning times to some of those non-negotiable activities, but it’s a solution I hadn’t thought of on my own.

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After reading the book,  I spent some time working and re-working my schedule, setting up times for me to work on my sewing business and times for me to keep up with house cleaning chores.  I’d like to say I follow it religiously, but I don’t.  My life, like most everyone else’s, will never be totally predictable.  We all have to be flexible.  But having a schedule has been extremely helpful for me, especially in the area of my sewing business.

In my next blog post, I’ll share some of my new schedule with you.  In the meantime, if you’re looking for a good little book about time management, you might want to check this one out.

 

Image by Stuart Miles and artur84 at www.freedigitalphotos.net
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My Pal Violet

When Aaliyah comes to visit, Violet almost always comes along.

My Pal Violet is a cuddly purple puppy from Leap Frog, and Aaliyah loves her!

What’s so special about Violet?  Violet is a soft stuffed dog who does all kinds of amazing things.  The very best thing about Violet is that she can be customized to call a child by name.

Justine hooked Violet up to her computer, followed the instructions, and now Violet calls Aaliyah by name and “knows” all of Aaliyah’s favorite things.  It’s so precious to hear Violet in her sweet voice say, “I love you, Aaliyah.”

By pressing Violet’s paws, you can play bedtime music, familiar children’s songs, various phrases and requests.  This is hands down the cutest baby toy I’ve ever seen.  Violet came into Aaliyah’s life when Aaliyah was two months old, and now at eighteen months, Aaliyah is still in love with Violet.

If you’re looking for a gift for a special little person, I’d highly recommend My Pal Violet by Leap Frog.

I’m including this review of My Pal Violet on my blog just because I want to.  I have not been compensated in any way for this review.

What toys could you recommend as a great gift for a child? 

 

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Flavia de Luce Mysteries: A Whimsical, Delightful Series

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I love a good mystery.  One thing I love more than a good mystery is a good mystery series.  In February, I happened upon the Flavia de Luce mystery series by Alan Bradley when I was searching for audio books.

The first book in the series is entitled The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie As I began listening, I was introduced to the main character, Flavia de Luce, who is an eleven year old girl.  Flavia’s passion is chemistry, and she delights in poisons.

The series is set in England in 1950 in a rambling country estate owned and occupied by the de Luce family.  The family which includes a widowed father and three daughters is dysfunctional with a capital “D” which adds to their charm.

Cozy mysteries are among my favorite reads, and these books are some of the coziest I’ve ever read.  I’ve listened to the first four books in the series which were read by Jane Entwistle, and I’m eagerly waiting for the library to get the fifth book so that I can read or listen to it, too.

Listening to the audio books rather than reading the series for myself certainly added to my enjoyment.  I love listening to audio books recorded with a British accent.  In fact, if I have to actually read the fifth installment in the series, I will have to translate it in my head to the King’s English using my best British accent.

If you’ve been looking for that next good book, I’d highly recommend this series by Alan Bradley.  This series was a break from my usual book choice since I rarely (for reasons I don’t even know) choose books by male authors, and I rarely read books in which the protagonist is a child.  Yet, in this series, it is Alan Bradley’s fine crafting of his child-detective Flavia with her  youthful innocence, precociousness, and extraordinary deductive skills that makes this series so utterly delightful.

What good books have you read or listened to lately? 

 

Image courtesy of Simon Howden / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

 

 

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One Thousand Gifts — Book Review

This is one of those books that I’d heard of and seen online but hadn’t taken the time to read.  One day I noticed that Kindle version of this book One Thousand Gifts:  Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are is available on Amazon for just $2.99.  It was definitely worth the price I paid, maybe more.

I love the message this book brings to light.  The message is that we find joy when we open our hands and our hearts to accept the gifts that God gives to us in the midst of our everyday lives.

I’ll admit that Ann Voskamp’s flowery, poetic language was a little off-putting for me.  I didn’t love that about this book.  I found myself wondering often if the author actually talks as she writes.  But I kept reading, and I’m glad that I did.  At times the message threatened to get lost in the author’s fragments and unusual sentence structures, but the message is there, and it’s one that we can’t afford to miss.

The author was challenged to make a journal of one thousand gifts given to her by her heavenly Father.  In the keeping of that journal, in the looking for those gifts, she found the key to joy in the mundane.  That key is thankfulness, eucharisteo.  

So impressed was I by this book that I dug out a small spiral notebook to use for my own journal of gifts.  I haven’t been as faithful in recording gifts as I’d like to be, but in the looking and the writing down, I’m much more aware of God’s hand at work in my life.

This book is a quick read with relatively short chapters.  By the end, I was even beginning to enjoy the author’s writing style.  If you haven’t already read this one, I’d highly recommend it.

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Yada Yada Prayer Group Books … Good Reading!

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I do love a good series!  It saves me from having to decide which book to read next.  I’m just now starting the third book in the Yada Yada Prayer Group series, and I highly recommend these books!

My friend Ann referred me to these books, and this is shaping up to be one of my favorite Christian fiction series of all times.

The books are written about a group of twelve women who are randomly assigned to a prayer group at a women’s conference.  They are a diverse group of women who makes a decision to continue their prayer meetings after the conference is over.

My favorite thing about these books is that the characters are like real people.  They have problems, some of them very big problems.  Their problems are not always solved by the end of the book.  Their relationships are real, too, and they work at being available to each and at trying to understand each other in spite of their differences.

The women in the books come from varied back rounds and attend different churches, yet they are bound together by their growing love for each other and their ever-strengthening faith in God who hears and answers the prayers of His people.

If you’re looking for that next good read in the Christian literature genre, look no further!

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Noise Putty, a Dollar’s Worth of Fun

I’d never seen nor heard of Noise Putty until I went on a shopping trip with my sister, and we stopped in a Dollar Tree store.  She advised me to pick up a few containers of this marvelously disgusting substance that was sure to delight children of all ages.  My sister has rarely ever steered me wrong, and she wasn’t about to start now!

I bought three containers of Noise Putty with the idea of trying one out myself and then giving one container to each of my great-granddaughters on Thanksgiving Day.

If you’re wondering what Noise Putty is, it’s a kind of jelly-like substance that comes in a small plastic container.  When you push your fingers down into the putty, air bubbles occur, and when the air bubbles are forced out of the container, they make noises.  Weird noises.  Funny noises.  Noises not unlike the sound of breaking wind or passing gas.  I think you get the idea now.

On Thanksgiving Day, it did take the great-granddaughters a little while to get the noise putty warmed up.  Once they caught on to it, they perfected the art of noise-making and had a hilariously good time.

Makaila making “noises”.

 

Everyone in attendance pretended to be grossed out by the the noises emitted by the putty which only added to the girls’ enjoyment.

After just a little practice, both girls were able to make incredibly authentic sounds with their fingers and this slimy stuff.  I knew this only because the guys verified that  the sounds were just like the real thing.  We ladies, having no firsthand experience with such things,  just had to take their word for it.

Kyra makes music with her putty.

 

I was the coolest Grandma ever bringing Noise Putty to the Thanksgiving Day celebration, and I reveled in that coolness and it was all fun and games until someone left her Noise Putty lying on the couch.

If you’re contemplating buying some Noise Putty for yourself or someone else, my advice is to keep the putty in the container.  It is possible to remove it from furniture and clothing.  It’s not as bad as chewing gum, but my standing as coolest grandma ever dropped a few levels after that.

Noise Putty is not for everyone.  If you are grossed out by imitation toots and the accompanying jokes, then by all means, steer clear of this stuff.

For our family, it was about as much fun as we could have for a dollar.  I’d highly recommend it!

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My Favorite Baby Gadget

Last Saturday when our newest great-granddaughter was visiting for the day, I discovered the coolest new baby thingy ever!   A fresh food feeder.  I know.  It sounds like something used in a barn or at the dolphin tank at the aquarium, but it’s not!  It’s a way for you to introduce your baby to fresh foods.  It’s totally possible that this gadget is not new to you, but go ahead and read on anyway.

Our granddaughter who is also the mother of our favorite baby girl bought this nifty gadget at Walmart for approximately $2.00.  It was just one of the many, many, MANY things she sent along with the baby to our house for a relatively short visit.

This fresh food feeder (or F3 as it will be referred to hereafter in this post) is intended for babies who are at least six months old and is like a teething ring on the one end.  The round handle has a rubbery coating that baby can chew on, but trust me, no baby will want to chew on that handle when she discovers the other end of the F3!

The other end is made of some kind of mesh fabric which I’m sure is perfectly safe for your infant to chew on.  If it weren’t safe, Walmart would not be selling them, right?

The mesh end securely snaps into the teething ring end so that there is no way your baby could open the F3 on her own.  Trust me on this one.  It took me a while to get it open, and I was able read the instructions.

After I washed the F3 in warm soapy water and thoroughly rinsed it, I placed three small cubes of watermelon in the mesh bag and handed it to the seven month old baby girl who was visiting in our home for the day.

What happened then?  Here’s the part you mothers are going to love!  I had thirty minutes of sheer joy watching my favorite baby girl suck the juice out of the watermelon cubes.  Or thirty minutes of peace and quiet.  It’s all about perspective.

If you are a mother rather than a grandmother, it would be perfectly acceptable for you to use those thirty minutes to read a book or put your feet up and relax (while keeping one eye on your little darlin’ just to be safe).

Since I’m a grandma and I don’t get to see my favorite baby girl on a daily basis, I used those thirty minutes to take tons of  pictures and exclaim things like, “She loves it!”  or “Did you see that face she made?”  and “Her shirt is soaked with watermelon juice, and she doesn’t even care!”

Baby girl liked it so much that when it was time for Grandpa and me to eat our lunch, I popped her back in her little seat and gave her three more cubes of watermelon in her F3.  She enjoyed it just as much the second time!

 

Grandma’s advice for you today is to buy one of these things for every baby you know.  Their mothers will love you for it!

Incidentally, the package says that the F3 is great for fruits and vegetables.  Next time our baby come to visit, I’m going to find out if she likes brussel sprouts as much as watermelon!

One last word of warning …….after thirty minutes with three watermelon cubes, the baby, the shirt, the seat, and the tray needed to be washed.  It was still worth it!

Are there any other baby gadgets I need to know about?