Friday, March 30, 2018

Book Review: So Much To Celebrate: Entertaining the Ones You Love the Whole Year Through by Katie Jacobs

This is a cookbook with recipes and gorgeous food pictures. But what really sets this book apart from other cookbooks is the fact that it goes beyond the recipes and amazing pictures. The author does include seasonal party ideas and include some basic instructions for events such as a chocolate party or a harvest-themed party. I also liked the detailed instructions on some of the basics, such as how to make a really good pie crust.
Overall, this book is a great addition for the a beginner, but also for an experienced bake because the recipes include some more unusual items such as Peach Caprese Salad or Grilled Avocados with Picco de Gallo. Of course traditional recipes are also include such as cobblers, turkey burgers and chicken pot pie. I was thrilled to see a whiskey tasting party that we will use when the Kentucky Derby comes around and the Mother's Day tea Party that perfect for having a bunch of girlfriends over.
Love the many party ideas and also how well written and detailed the recipe guidance is. Overall, I am very happy with the book and while I bake a lot and cook meals every day, I still found some new additions to my recipe collection.

available on

available on

Disclaimer: I received a free book in exchange for an honest review. The opinion expressed is solely my own and has not been influenced by any third party.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Product Review: Seventh Generation Free & Clear Laundry Detergent

I was excited to try out the new (to me) Seventh Generation Free & Clear Laundry Detergent  in convenient packs. While i have problems understanding a certain hype among some people with pods, I definitely was excited to try out the detergent for its intended use - to get some clothes cleaned in a traditional washer and dryer.

I did not have to measure and while there is slight scent from Citrus and Cedar through the addition of essential oils and botanical extracts, the packs are good for your laundry and good for nature as well. Plus they are safe for kids and pets because they contain 0% dyes, synthetic fragrances, and artificial brighteners. Another good thing, they work in both HE washers and standard washers, even my 14 year old washer had no problems getting the laundry clean and all stains removed
Talking about stains, I picked my dish cloth to see if the spots and stains from putting wet dishes on this cloth three times a day would be cleaned using the Seventh Generation Free & Clear Laundry Detergent  It worked fantastic. I used cold wash cycle temperature to be easy on nature and my household bills and the stains came out like nothing was ever there. Must be the Quadruple-Enzyme Formula that is to so though on stains and despite being or maybe because it has a USDA Certified Biobased Product ranking of 94%, Seventh Generation Free & Clear Laundry Detergent  was a hit in my laundry routine.

How can you beat a product that makes the job easy (pre-measured packs), efficient (all stains are gone) and does something good for nature at the same time? This is a clear winner in my book.

copyright Durhamonthecheap - dish dryer clothes is good as new thanks to Seventh Generation detergent!

copyright Durhamonthecheap

Disclaimer: I received free products in exchange for an honest review. The opinion expressed is solely my own and has not been influenced by any third party.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Book Review: Decluttering at the Speed of Life: Winning Your Never-Ending Battle with Stuff by Dana K. White

I call myself a neat freak, but I also feel that I could do with a lot less stuff in my house. Working full-time and having family obligations does not leave much time to declutter and start decorating rooms with a theme, so I was hoping this book would give me some ideas how I can clean up my house without needing to set aside time for projects etc.

The book does deliver on the basic promise that decluttering does not need to be a major undertaking that requires time set aside on weekends, but can happen as part of everyday life.  So for me this book was an excellent read.

One thing I like is that the author instills humor into the book. While the book is in general a hoe-to guide to clean up your act and your house, it is done so in an entertaining way that makes reading not boring, but something you actually enjoy to do. Which is important because I normally would not read a book in this subject since I also think that I do not have time to declutter to begin with. So after having started on this book, I made short mental notes about what to do in the breaks that I would otherwise sit around and drink coffee or wipe the kitchen counter for the 15th time that day. I use these breaks to declutter. If I see an old box in the pantry that I moved for the umpteenth time, I now take it and trash it. If it did not get used for the last year and the expiration date is way in the past, remove it. Same for clothing; I have in the past moved blouses around and around - still neatly hanging them in the closet, but now I have a second hamper in the bathroom for just these items that are intended for the donation door at the thrift store.

When I have more time, such as an hour, I actually tackle a closet in the kids room or a closet in the office and come prepared with plastic bag in hand. This gives me a reasonable timeframe to get something done and still does not require me to set too much time aside.

As you can see, the book is already paying off for me and I am sure it will pay off for most readers. Decluttering, I found, has another benefit. Now that I am removing items from the house, I also am very careful what is being bought. I do not want to reclutter my house and then have to go through the decluttering process again.

available on

Disclaimer: I received a free book in exchange for an honest review. The opinion expressed is solely my own and has not been influenced by any third party.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Product Review: Free & Clear Baby Wipes

I received recently a few sample packs of Free & Clear Baby Wipes. The sample packs were convenient sized to fit into a purse and use on the go. I took them along and found it is really nice to have clean wipes available, especially when you leave home with the kids. During flu season, it is handy to have wipes with you that are free of fragrance and can be used to wash hands before eating or wipe the table at the restaurant.

The Free & Clear Baby Wipes are not only good for you, but are also good for nature because they use 70% less plastic than the original wipes, thanks to the use of plant materials. In addition, they are free of alcohol, fragrances & dyes and the list goes on. They are also free of parabens and phthalates; and of course they are hypoallergenic. Despite they softness and the ease of which to use them on sensitive skin, the wipes are really strong, thick and a good size. We used them to wipe hands of the kids, then wipe the table and any seats at restaurants that were dirty. They never failed us, did not tear and still had plenty of moisture in them when we were done.

The kids prefer them to the antibacterial lotion that we normally use. So now, kids get the wipes, adult the lotion and we can hopefully avoid the flu for the rest of the winter.

copyright Durhamonthecheap - convenient small package to take the wipes along on the go

Disclaimer: I received free products in exchange for an honest review. The opinion expressed is solely my own and has not been influenced by any third party.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Jesus Calling Adult Coloring Book: Creative Coloring and Hand Lettering by Sarah Young

This book is for the coloring enthusiast. While the theme is Christian and religion, the images are very nice and offer a variety of scenarios. Words, nature and animals - something for every taste. I found the book to be high quality, the paper is nice and thick and will handle some erasing without tearing.

I also liked the ability to tear out individual sheets because we often share books and this makes it easy to work in a group. Pictures are on both sides of the pages, so I do not anything other than colored pencils.

The words are lightly drawn in and allow you to either trace them and leave them open or trace and then color them in. I am not sure I would have not preferred a normal dark line to begin with because for exercising writing free hand, I would use other books. But this is no big deal and may appeal to others.

Overall, this is a nice adult coloring book that allows you to use it in the group setting and share the pages. I also thought the quality of both the paper and the drawing were nice. I really enjoyed the variety of subjects covered.

Disclaimer: I received a free book in exchange for an honest review. The opinion expressed is solely my own and has not been influenced by any third party.