Can Beets be destroyed by Frost?

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Can beets be destroyed by frost? Yes and No. I always plant beets as early as I can work the soil. Sometimes that's late March. Sometimes early to mid April. Beets can handle the cold. In fact, they get dry and hard in really hot weather.

So then why did half of my beets die during this last week of weather in the twenties....

I have a theory. This theory is supported by the fact that a certain percentage of my bok choy also bit the dust this week.

I arrange my garden in a square foot gardening fashion so I had 2 squares of beets planted. 9 in each for a total of 18 beets. 

If you've planted beets, then you know their seeds are multiploid and many seedlings (2-4) pop up in the spot where you planted one seed.

Well, I had a pretty solid germination rate in the first square (8 out of 9) and a spotty rate in the second - (4 out of 9.) This is just random luck and I decided to split up some of the seedlings that were growing together to make up for the poor germination spots.

I carefully separated the seedlings and transplanted them to their new spots. They seemed okay the first day. A couple of cold nights in the twenties for extended hours was just too much for them and they eventually died.

Their roots were tender. The ground was dry. The weather was beyond cold....

The square with 8 out of 9 germination lived on to fight another day. They were not picked at to provide new transplants and since they were not disturbed, they survived the frost just fine.

This also happened with my bok choy. I had such great transplant success from the greenhouse to the garden with the bok choy.

I had transplanted them in pairs *just in case.*

So last week I separated the pairs. The transplants moved to where the squash will be and I intended to pick them early and eat them as young greens. More than half of the transplants died. The plants that stayed in their  original spaces flourished and even grew! Almost nothing is "growing" in sub-freezing temperatures so their growth made me happy.

So let this be a lesson to all who garden - do not transplant anything right before a cold spell. Even cold hardy plants are tender in the first few days of transplant. 

10 Credit Card & 2 Passport Holders Case Set with Review #spon

If you've shopped at Walmart lately, then you know their cashiers have been reminding almost every customer to insert their credit cards instead of swipe them to take advantage of RFID technology. Supposedly, it's more secure.

But is it? It turns out, RFIDs are easy for criminals to read from a distance and they can nab your card data without having to touch your card or read data from the credit card machine. So are they really more safe?

It turns out, people are churning out equipment to block the RFID signal from being read while you are out and about. The RFID blocking set we tried out for this review is one of those.

The set contains 10 credit card blockers and 2 passport holders.

Here is a list of the cards it is designed to protect:

• All new contactless credit cards and debit cards
• US Passport Cards
• Enhanced Driver's Licenses such as Washington, Michigan, New York, Vermont, and Canadian provinces.
• Many transit cards such as the DC Metro and Boston CharlieTM card
• TWICTM (Transportation Worker Identification Credential)
• HID iClass, HID MIFARE®, HID FlexSmart, DESFire
• Indala FlexSmart
• Any card ISO 14443A/B or ISO 15693 compatible
• All MIFARE® and DESFire compatible cards
• sQuid cards used in Europe
• Military CAC (Common Acess Cards)
• New Government PIV (Personal Identity Verification) cards such as the Linc-Pass
• New long range RFID EPC Gen1/Gen2 cards

I'm not sure what to think of the product. In my opinion, they seem like plain paper covers. I would like to think they are more than paper, and maybe they are...but they feel like paper. They will also rip like paper and will not last a ton of usage.

I am going to use them for our passports since they are used less frequently and are more likely to cause trouble if they were heisted. But pulling credit cards out of individual paper sheaths each time I want to use them would be annoying and make them less likely to fit inside my wallet.

If anyone that knows more about RFID protection would like to chime in, please leave a comment.

Disclosure: I received complimentary product for review purposes. All opinions expressed are my own and this article does NOT contain affiliate links. No compensation was received.

Red Laundry Bag With 2 Inch Shoulder Strap Review #spon

I should really get better at reading directions... When I was given the opportunity to review this laundry bag, I envisioned a small sports bag sized pouch. Everything about the bag clearly states 30 inches by 40 inches, yet I glossed over those details.

This is one mama of a laundry bag!! It would actually be useful for lugging a week or two worth of laundry back and forth from college to home, or if you had to do laundry at a laundromat.

It would also be super helpful for packing and moving. I remember packing up clothes in big garbage bags when we used to move alot and those bags would rip and leave your stuff all over the road.

This bag is sturdy. It comes with a carrying strap and it's made of 420D Polyester.

I think the best use of this bag is for hauling laundry or for a catch all for moving, storing balls in the garage, keeping stuffed animals, or even storing blankets, sheets, or sleeping bags.

There is definitely enough room inside to make this a very useful bag.

Disclosure: I received complimentary product for review purposes. All opinions expressed are my own and this article does NOT contain affiliate links. No compensation was received.

Valley Food Storage: Enchilada Beans & Rice Review #spon

Friday, April 24, 2015

So you are storing food for an emergency? Maybe you even have ready made meals packed in buckets filled with mylar bags? Congratulations, being prepared should be everyone's goal - but... have you tried any of your emergency food supplies?

What are the ingredients? How many calories are provided and is your emergency supply well rounded - nutritionally and to provide variety?

Personally, I do not own a lot of "storage food." I buy extra of the things we already use and only buy more once our current supplies dwindle.

But I do like the convenience of ready-made meals and I appreciate their long term storage potential. We had the opportunity to review Valley Food Storage Enchilada Beans and Rice.

This package contains five 230 calorie servings. It comes in a reusable/resealable Mylar bag with a 25 year shelf life. It contains dehydrated beans, rice, vegetables, and spices.

This is one of those meals that you just add water to make, but it's not quite that simple. You need boiling water, so you should plan on how/where you will get boiling water in whatever emergency arises.

Might I suggest, you purchase a good quality thermos to cook your emergency foods so you do not have to use continuous energy. All you need is the initial heat to create a boil, conserving energy and possibly limiting the amount of burning so you will not give away your location (or the fact that you have food if it's that type of emergency!)

I cooked one serving of this meal in a thermos so I could see how easy it was to prepare and to taste the product.

To use a thermos for cooking your emergency food - bring water to boil (using a rocket stove, solar oven, open fire, gas or electric) then add it to your thermos with the food and close the lid.

That's it. The package says to cook for 12-15 minutes at a gentle boil, then let it sit for 5-7 minutes. I let it stay in the thermos for 45 minutes.

Here is what it looked like before cooking:

After cooking:

The food itself was very flavorful. After 45 minutes, all of the vegetables, rice and beans were well rehydrated and tender. The thermos was still steaming hot and I had to wait a bit for things to cool. This particular dish is mildly spicy. I like it, but I don't think my children would unless I added extra rice or vegetables to temper the heat. That's easy enough to do and rice takes about the same amount of time to cook as this meal and is just as easy to store.

The Valley Food storage foods do not contain hydrogenated oils, GMOs, MSG, or Trans Fats. I certainly appreciate that! I try to eliminate those items in my daily life and would want the same in an emergency. These would be good quality food options.

In a long term scenario, calories are going to be king, so in addition to stored ready-made foods, remember to keep a bunch of high calorie staples like oats and rice and keep a supply of vitamins on hand.
    Disclosure: I received complimentary product for review purposes. All opinions expressed are my own and this article does NOT contain affiliate links. No compensation was received.

    Silicone Oven Mitts, Pair Review #spon

    If you're still using cloth oven mitts in the kitchen - stop it! Stop it right now! You are missing out on something so much better: Silicone mitts.

    I received a pair of silicone mitts for review, but they are not my first pair. I have been using silicone gloves for a few months and would not trade them for all the cloth mitts in the world.

    There are two reasons they should be your favorite mitts -

    #1 They can get wet and still protect you from heat.
    #2 They are easy to clean.

    Because they can get wet, they are absolutely essential for canning. ESSENTIAL. With these, you no longer need a jar lifter or a towel to hold onto the hot cans.  I just dig into the boiling pot and pull out my jars, fill them with goodness, hold onto them with the mitts and screw the lids on. So many extra steps/parts are avoided when you can just grab the jars!

    I use them for every day baking too, but you can do things you never imagined before. You can grab your chicken out of the pot. Dirty mitts? So what, they rinse clean under water!

    You can hold onto a hot roast while you're carving it. The wetness will not make the gloves lose their heat protection. And again - dirty? Just rinse them off!

    I wish these had been invented years ago. Or maybe they were and nobody told me. But now I am telling you! These type of mitts rock!

    These mitts go one step further than the typical silicon mitts because they are lined inside. That keeps the mitts from sticking to your hands (one of silicones annoying issues) and gives an extra layer of comfort and protection. These mitts are nice and thick.

    As a bonus, these come with a free trivet and have a neat design pattern on them. If you like to get creative in the kitchen, you know you an use silicone molds to make cool treats - well, you can use this pattern to make cool shapes on your cookies. Just press it into the dough before you bake.

    Unless you cut them somehow or leave them on a burner to melt, these mitts should pretty much last your lifetime.

    Disclosure: I received complimentary product for review purposes. All opinions expressed are my own and this article does NOT contain affiliate links. No compensation was received.

    Resistance Band Set Review #spon

    If you are not exercising because "you don't have the right equipment or space" then look no further than  Resistance Bands.

    I have a full gym with equipment and weights in my home, but I appreciate the variety and portability that comes with resistance bands. I had the opportunity to review this set of  resistance bands from King Athletic and here is what I thought:

    First off, these bands come in a set of 6lbs (yellow), 10 lbs (blue), 15lbs (red), 18lbs (green) and 20 bs (black). Each band can be used alone or stacked together to get even greater resistance (up to 69lbs per handle.)

    This versatility makes these bands infinitely useful and adaptable to every member in your family.

    They are lightweight and portable. I can easily fit these in carry-on luggage, in my car, or even in my purse.

    Here are the 4 places where these bands shine above all other fitness equipment:

    1. Kids (and inexperienced adults) can use them without risk of injury .
    2. You can take these on vacation or to the hotel when you have to travel for work.
    3. They are the best product for an assist on the pull up bar.
    4. The door anchor turns these bands into a cable machine for endless full body movements.

    This particular set comes not only with the bands but with two ankle straps, 2 grip handles, a door anchor, and a carrying case.

    This set is strong and durable. In fact, I will be donating my old resistance bands just because this set is so much stronger.

    There is no excuse not to get started - resistance bands are inexpensive, lightweight, portable, and take almost no space. Anyone can use them and you can do so in the comfort of your own home.

    Disclosure: I received complimentary product for review purposes. All opinions expressed are my own and this article does NOT contain affiliate links. No compensation was received.

    WAFF Glitter Journal Notebook Kristin's Gifts Review #spon

    My daughter is always looking for notebooks, journals, and diaries to write down her thoughts, her songs, her stories, and just to doodle. But special notebooks, get used the most often.

    Imagine her excitement when this WAFF Glitter Journal arrived at our door. Not only is it completely useful journal (with 120 pages of paper!) but it's unique.

    It's soft, it's bold, and it's waffle-like cover can be decorated with the accompanying letters. She's going to be the envy of the entire class!

    You can buy this journal in two different sizes, and four different colors. These would be great as birthday gifts - they're kind of a toy and an educational product in one. And as kids get older, pure toys get less exciting.

    The clasps on the side give this journal a "diary feel" even though it's not lockable with a key, it still feels good to be able to close it with a latch.

     It's a good way to get them excited about writing and also a nice way for them to stand out as an individual (without dying their hair or acting out.) I would recommend this for girls (sorry boys) ages 4-20.

    Disclosure: I received complimentary product for review purposes. All opinions expressed are my own and this article does NOT contain affiliate links. No compensation was received.

    Coosh Rapid MFI Certified Car Charger Review #spon

    As technology changes, it becomes rapidly apparent that everything around you needs to change to adapt. That includes all the previous adapters and accessories you used to use.

    For the longest time, I have used a car charger made for my Palm Pixi (yes, I just admitted to using an old school cell phone!) but when we went on a cross country trip, it turns out the charger just couldn't make a dent in my Samsung tablet.

    I was wrong in assuming all that mattered was the adapter. It turns out, all those numbers on the back of your device are trying to tell you something. They're trying to tell you how much power the device requires and what type of amps it can handle while being charged.

    So I paid attention when I was offered a chance to review the Coosh Rapid Car Charger. The 5A/5V rating matched the back of my Samsung tablet and also the backs of my husband's i-products.

    The charger itself has a multi adapter - one that's micro USB and a lightning charger. That means you can easily swap between apple and android products. Yay!

    I plugged this into my car and started charging devices. It was light years faster than my previous charger and I am so excited! Now I can charge my phone or tablet within minutes as opposed to hours. Hours meaning, it never gets decently charged before I need to hop out of the car.

    This is a great charger and it's an absolute bonus that it can charge apple and android - and that it has the power to fully and quickly charge power hungry devices.

    I would recommend this to friends.

    Disclosure: I received complimentary product for review purposes. All opinions expressed are my own and this article does NOT contain affiliate links. No compensation was received.

    Expandable Bamboo storage tray Review #spon

    If you want your kitchen to be functional and efficient, than it makes sense to organize your tools. This includes your pots, pans, utensils, and silverware. We have a lot of silverware and other utensils that are used daily, so I was thrilled to have the chance to try out a new organizer.

    We were given an expandable bamboo storage tray. It measures 18.58 inches long and 16-22 inches wide (it's expandable). It is 2 inches high.

    At first, we had a hard time finding a drawer that would fit the tray - even when it wasn't expanded. Then we moved some things around, and this is what we wound up with:

    This tray could hold of our silverware - even our ice cream scoops, chopsticks, skewers, randoms and creepy collection of twist ties. Woo!

    The area we used to hold our skewers is intended for knives, so if you have random knives that need a home, this will work well for you.

    The best thing about this tray is the ability to hold everything and keep everything organized! The second (or maybe tied for first) best thing is the fact that it is made from renewable bamboo. I am loving bamboo these days!

    Disclosure: I received complimentary product for review purposes. All opinions expressed are my own and this article does NOT contain affiliate links. No compensation was received.

    Glow Stick Bracelets - 100 Bracelets Review #spon

    Every year, we buy a lot of glow sticks. We use them for halloween, the Fourth of July, and sometimes just for fun. This year, we are going to do something extra special with them - we are taking them to Alaska for a party aboard our cruise.

    Luckily, we were given 100 Glow Sticks to review. It only makes sense to buy them in bulk - rather than running out to the store every time you need a few. They don't go bad and having them at the ready can make you "the cool mom" during a sleepover or sports outing.

    This set of glow sticks looks just like every other set I've ever used - except that there are more of them. We snapped a few to make sure they worked and everything was just fine.

    We'll be going to Alaska in 2 months, and aboard the ship they have an all night dance party for adults and kids. We'll be bringing the glow sticks to hand out to as many children as possible. I'll come back and post a picture when we're back home.

    Disclosure: I received complimentary product for review purposes. All opinions expressed are my own and this article does NOT contain affiliate links. No compensation was received

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