Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Product review

-- Product Review -- 

Midori Spring's Ceremonial Matcha is 100% organic, gluten free, gmo free, pesticide free, vegan and also kosher certified. You won’t find any soy or wheat or any other additives; this is a pure product. The leaves are harvested from the finest shade-grown tea gardens in the regions of Aichi and Kagoshima in Japan and it is “certified and tested by 9th degree tea masters” to ensure perfection” (according to the company). Midori Spring is so confident in their product they offer a 100% quality satisfaction guarantee.

Initially, the communications for this review project started around July 9th, and the product was sent our way soon after that. Amazon’s order confirmation gave us a wide date range for delivery: July 23 – August 3rd, however we picked up on July 18th. It arrived in a 7.5” wide X 8.5” height X 5.5” tall box with a lot of excess air bubble packaging – the box was way bigger than necessary for the tin of tea powder.

While I am familiar with green tea and some other teas (blck, red, brown and white) made from the same variety of plants, I was new to matcha… so I did some research online. Here is what I found out:

Matcha is a flour-like powder “super-food” made from green tea leaves, used traditionally for ceremonial purposes mainly in Japan. It is considered special because it allows the user to benefit from the whole leaf. Green tea as many people are already aware is a powerful health food, rich in antioxidants (higher than pomegranate and goji or wolf berries; more than 137 times than what is found in steeped tea) and nutrients. The tea will increase a calm alertness due to a small amount of l-theanine and caffeine that it contains – it has less caffeine than the more mature brown, red or black leaves of the same plant, however. Green tea is also known to improve metabolism, boost the immune system, reduce inflammation and encourages elimination of toxins and chemicals. Matcha also has the highest known rating for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity. It also offers cancer fighting Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCg).

There are different classes of this ceremonial tea – this brand falls under the “emerald” class, which equates to a mid-range level of grades in quality. The higher the quality means there will be a higher price. This brand is a product of Japan but is distributed by Life & Food Inc. (Silver Springs NV - USA)

This product comes housed inside a nice, compact, reusable aluminum tin. Inside the tin, there was a non-recyclable 100g. foil bag that you have to cut open to get at the product.

When I opened the food-grade envelope I discovered a very fine, flour-like powder that was bright green in color. The powder can be air borne easily so be careful when using not to stir it up to much or breath in the dust.  The company recommends keeping the envelope intact, resealing it to keep the product fresh.

I have a sensitive stomach that reacts to black, white, red and green teas (tea variations made from the same plant) – so we use this product in our yogurt or milk based fruit smoothies (instead of other suggestions by reviewers and the company website) and because smoothies are made in our Vitamix blender the powder is mixed in really well, without common clumping issues. The powder has a slight green vegetable, sweet-like aroma.

Ying, my contact from Midori Spring (www.midorispring.com), offered several resources for our readers to learn more about the brewing process, recipes and answers to common questions:

Amazon.com has a retail list price of $30.46 (US) for this product. While Amazon.ca offers this product to Canadians for $42.05 (CDN). 

Award-winning authors Dave and Lillian Brummet:


Monday, August 31, 2015

Quote of the Day

-- Quote of the Day -- 

“zen in its essence is the art 

of seeing into the nature

 of one’s own being.” 

~ D. T. Suzuki

Award-winning authors Dave and Lillian Brummet:


Sunday, August 30, 2015

Planning A Fun Family Road Trip

*Today's article was written by: Judith Villarreal who invites you to find more ideas and tips on how to make sure you have fun family trips - click here or go to VisitGranbury.com to learn more.

 -- Planning A Fun Family Road Trip --

There's really nothing more exciting than rounding up the gang together for a fun family trip. As summer takes a firmer grip on the days, one of the best (and certainly kid approved) ways to celebrate is with a road trip. As a classic way to gather the whole crew up for a week or so of bonding, the road trip is often overlooked as an activity that needs planning because the destination will offer up the fun. However, as it's often said: getting there is half the fun! Keep these awesome 10 things in mind when your family adventure rolls around.

1. Pack fun car games to keep the family entertained
Keep a variety of giggle inducing games that are car friendly to keep boredom away. You'll never have to hear another "Are we there yet?" from your squirmy kids in the backseat. A few ideas for games for your family fun trips are Mad Libs, I Spy, Car Bingo, and Name That Tune.

2. Pack yummy snacks for the road
Don't rely on the roadside convenience stores to satisfy your snack attacks. Having prepared snacks is a great way to keep any tummies from rumbling with the peace of mind that you know what exactly is going into your family's bellies. Wouldn't you rather feed your family wholesome cut veggies, sandwich squares, and juice than the sugary sodas and questionable hot dogs you'll find in a gas station?

3. Book an awesome hotel
Ensure your fun family trips go smoother than a jar of creamy Jiffy by carefully booking your hotel. You want to make sure that it has something that the whole family can enjoy like swimming pools, breakfasts, cable, and all sorts of other awesome goodies.

4. Go on adventurous tours
Skip the boring tours and opt for ones that offer a more memorable experience like ghost tours, dollhouse museums, or safari rides at a wild life center.

5. Do your research
Wherever your final destination is pinned, make sure you have a list of things to see and do before you get there.

6. Take a camera
With all of the excitement of the pending trip, cameras are sometimes forgotten. Be sure you won't miss special moments of your fun family trips by remembering to pack your camera, charger, and spare battery.

7. Get some fresh air
When you're planning out your days, don't forget to add a few trips that will offer outdoor fun and sunshine to give the little ones room to run around and stretch their legs.

8. Check out cheesy landmarks
Every city has cheesy landmarks. Go to each one and snap a silly photo.

9. Have some little-people time
Carve out a very special day that's all about the kiddos. Maybe you decide to head to a train museum that you know they'll love.

10. Have some grown up time
Don't forget to have some special grown up time too, though! Whether it's a nice dinner with wine or antiquing, be sure to include fun for the grown ups too.

Award-winning authors Dave and Lillian Brummet:


Saturday, August 29, 2015

Product Review

 -- Product Review --

The only really good pair of scissors I’ve seen in my lifetime belonged to my late mother, who had a professional pair of tailor scissors that lasted her lifetime; they were inherited by a sewer in the family, along with her prized sewing machine. I was never allowed to touch those scissors but saw her use them to earn extra money as a single mother of 3, and to make all kinds of clothing and quilts for the family as the years passed by. I’ve been looking for a pair like those my entire life and now at 45 years young I finally found them.

Frank Garcia, owner of the Brickhouse Products Company (a.k.a Evergreen Supply), offered a pair of their amazing, all-purpose scissors as a review project around the third week of July. Amazon’s order confirmation gave an estimated delivery date of July 14th, however we picked up on July 18th, which was the next time my husband had time to cross the border (a couple miles south of us) to the mail service we use there. The scissors arrived in a yellow bubble padded envelope (11” X 14”), and were housed in a glossy black, thick cardboard box with the company logo embossed on the front and inside of the box. The box could make a good storage container keeping the scissors safe, but also keeping cupboards and drawers safe from the blades.

These scissors come pre-oiled and very sharp – they have an ideal shape and angle for almost any cutting project. The design allows for a comfortable, ergonomically correct grip with rubber-coated handles. The blades will, according to the company, stay sharp and are made of high carbon steel (stronger than stainless steel), and will reportedly last a lifetime. In fact the company offers a 100% money back guarantee if you are not satisfied with their product!

These right-handed, high quality scissors weigh 7.4 ounces, and are approximately 9” long X .5” thick X 3.2” wide (at the handle) in size.

Sadly these are not available on Amazon.ca for Canadians, but they can be found on Amazon.com where they have a list price of $47.99 but are currently on sale for $23.95.

Award-winning authors Dave and Lillian Brummet:


Friday, August 28, 2015

Quote of the Day

-- Quote of the Day --  

“Love is the vision of the soul 

when it is permitted 

to gaze upon immortal beauty.”   

~ Isadora Duncan

Award-winning authors Dave and Lillian Brummet:


Thursday, August 27, 2015

quote of the day

-- Quote of the Day -- 


"We are at the very beginning of time for the human race. It is not unreasonable that we grapple with problems. But there are tens of thousands of years in the future. Our responsibility is to do what we can, learn what we can, improve the solutions, and pass them on."

 ~ Richard P. Feynman

Award-winning authors Dave and Lillian Brummet:


Sustainable Artistry

 -- Sustainable Artistry --

* Today's article was written by: Virginia Arrisueño - owner and designer of DeNada Design http://denadadesign.com/. Want to read more about fiber artists ? Visit http://denadadesign.com/blog/

I am captivated by Orly Genger and her unique sculptural installations that completely commandeer both indoor and outdoor spaces. The main draw of her installations is that she builds them entirely out of rope. Genger's stacks and knots recycled rock climbing rope to transform large spaces and engage viewers.

In 2001, Genger graduated from Brown University with a BA. She later went on to receive a Postbaccalaureate degree from the Art Institute of Chicago in 2002. The contemporary American sculptor is known for her large-scale installations that she painstakingly hand knots and crochets out of recycled rope. Featured in museums such as the Indianapolis Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art, Genger has become a "force of nature." Her outdoor exhibitions include large sculptures in Madison Square Park and Brown University.

While her work is minimalistic, it has a broad, popular appeal. Between the brilliant colors and daring positioning, Genger's work allows people to see the immense amount of time, labor, and energy she puts into the installations. In 2010, Genger created the exhibit "Big Boss," an 11.5-foot-high stack that burst through a gallery wall and flowed 28 feet into an adjoining room. The installation, which was for a show at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams, required Genger to use over 100 miles of red painted rope. The result was a room covered in what appeared to be erupted lava.

Another of Genger's exhibitions, "Terra," was featured at Oklahoma Contemporary. The large, outdoor piece was made of 1.4 million feet of recycled lobster-fishing rope, and painted with 350 gallons of terra cotta colored paint. The exhibit "weaved" its way through the center of Campbell Park in Oklahoma City. Genger saw the vast, open space and "envisioned a line that would travel in a continual motion winding through the patch of land on which the work sits." The result was a winding line of bright red, flowing through the park. The maze-like installation is as impressive as "Big Boss" and features the same bright color palette.

While Genger is mainly known for her large sculptures, she also has a jewelry line in collaboration with Jaclyn Mayer. The pieces are as simply intricate as her large scale exhibitions. The bright colors featured are innovative and fresh, just like her installations. I admire Genger's dedication and passion for fiber art and appreciate her ambitious installations.