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Mar 28, 2017

Choose the Best Rice Cooker in the Modern Technology Era

Thanks to modern technology, cooking has become easier and easier, even for people who don’t actually love to cook, but want to eat healthy. One great appliance for cooking nutritious meals is the rice cooker, appreciated by many for the fact that it’s easy to use. There are a couple of requirements every buyer wants to have in its cooking appliance: simplicity, efficiency, quality materials, safety and keeping the nutritional value of their food. You can always find useful recipes on several websites, such as http://ottawamommyclub.ca/, for example. However, is rice in a Rice Cooker is the best for you?

Zojirushi NS-LAC05XT Micom 3-Cup Rice Cooker and Warmer

Among the advantages you can find on this Zojirushi appliance you can count the reasonable price, the trendy and stylish design, the multiple functions and the sturdy construction. All together make up an excellent appliance which is particularly useful if you want to cook in a modern and healthy way. You can cook enough rice for one meal, which is 3 cups full of rice.

The machine only weighs 7 pounds, so it’s quite lightweight, but it compensates through a sturdy stainless steel body. Besides the preset menu programs, you can also customize your own program depending on what you want. For example, you can use the quick cooking option if you need to cook something urgently, such as brown rice, porridge, white sushi etc.

All in all, it’s a great rice cooker, durable and portable, suitable for all kinds of needs.

Zojirushi NS-ZCC10 5-1/2-Cup (Uncooked) Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker and Warmer

This model is more suitable for whoever has a large family and needs to cook a lot of rice at once. In this case, a 3-cup rice cooker would prove insufficient, so you should step up the game and head over to a 5 and a half cup one. This is the case with the Zojirushi NS-ZCC10 model. Even though it looks round and quite delicate, it is in fact a very powerful machine that works as a computerized device.

There are multiple menu settings available, for example quick cooking, porridge, mixed or white sushi or browning. Moreover, you enjoy an easy to use interface that comes together with an LCD display, digital controls and a panel you can program. There is even a delay timer setting, all for your convenience. The pot holds 1 liter of water, and it measures 14x8x10 inches in size. It weighs 8.5 pounds, so it’s quite manageable.

Aroma Housewares ARC-914SBD Cooked 8-Cup Digital Rice Cooker

Perhaps the most attractive thing about this Aroma appliance is the fact that it has a competitive price. It’s a lot cheaper than many other rivals on the market, plus it offers an amazing, versatile and durable experience. Many people are also delighted by the fact that it has a one-year warranty. It is quite a massive monster, holding 8 cups of cooked rice at once. The dimensions are 8.5x9.3x8.7 inches.

It weighs 4.2 pounds, so you can say it’s portable and easily manageable. You can cook for the entire family, or approximately 4 persons in one go, so it’s a time saver. Naturally, you have digital control and you can program it for browning, steaming or other basic options for white rice. It has an automatic keep-warm function and a delay timer that works for maximum 15 hours. This is helpful if you want to cook the rice in the morning, but serve it in the evening.

Aroma Housewares Stainless Steel 6-Cup Cooked Rice Cooker

We have to admit that Aroma is one of the best competitors on the market, and it’s hard to beat with the price and capacity it offers. The best thing about the Aroma Housewares Stainless Steel 6-Cup Cooked Rice Cooker is the fact that it has a surgical-grade cooking pot. It’s not just an ordinary pot, but it’s made of surgical-grade stainless steel 304.
It’s kind of lightweight, with only 4 pounds, which is awesome for its capacity. Though it has a traditional design, it compensates for the one-touch features that simplifies everything. It also brings the automatic keep-warm function that preserves the nutritional value of rice for hours in a row. All in all, this is a must have in every kitchen!

Zojirushi NS-TSC10 5-1/2-Cup (Uncooked) Micom Rice Cooker and Warmer

The NS-TSC10 model includes Fuzzy Logic technology. It is quite versatile, having a LCD display and digital controls. The best part about it is that it’s customizable, so you can program it as you wish. Of course, it has a stainless steel exterior and a 2 delay time settings, together with the automatic keep warm feature.

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Mar 27, 2017

Could Tech Help You Lose Weight And Tone Up?

There’s no doubt that technology has moved on by leaps and bounds over the last decade. And yet we moms are still waiting for that magic bullet -  a pill that we can take once per day that will make us healthy and melt the fat away.

Although medical science might not be at that stage yet (although with gene editing, we’re getting pretty close), there are all sorts of technologies out there that promise to revolutionize our health. Here are some examples.

Wearables

Wearables have been marketed as a sort of fitness companion - little devices that slip on your wrist or your shoulder and track how much activity you do. There haven’t been any systematic studies of wearables so far, but there are some studies which suggest that they do have an impact. One study, reported by MSN.com, says that people who have a wearable fitness tracker lose more weight than those that don’t. The only problem with the study was that most of the participants had college degrees, which makes it harder to generalize the results to the wider population.

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Another study looked at the effect of having devices that had accelerometers in them to see whether people used them more often. Again, this study indicated that people who owned wearables did more physical activity than those who didn’t. However, many of the participants were also in contact with primary care nurses, which could have been the real reason why they were exercising more.

With that said, a study published in the major medical journal JAMA sound that people who wore wearable tech lost an impressive 7.7 pounds when they tried to lose weight.

Muscle Stimulators

Muscle stimulators are another way that technologies have tried to make losing weight and toning up easier. The most popular brand, Slendertone, works by sending a small electric pulse through a belt that is in contact with the skin. When the electrical pulse reaches the muscle, it forces it to involuntarily contract.

The popularity of these devices is clear. Sites like DontPayFull.com regularly offer money off to people looking for these devices. But do they help you lose weight? The evidence suggests that they are a good way to burn calories passively without having to exert any conscious effort. Sitting burns an average of 80 calories an hour, but with a muscle stimulator, that can be bumped up to nearly 130.

Fitness Apps

Alongside all the gadgets, like muscle stimulators and wearables are also a host of apps. Fitness Builder is an app that is available on the Play Store. It’s an app that keeps track of your workouts and has a comprehensive fitness database, allowing you to input practically any exercise and record your progress.

Another popular fitness app is Endomondo. This app is for people who want to have the convenience of a personal trainer at their fingertips. The first versions of Endomondo were pretty basic. The app simply tracked the route you took for your exercise as well as the time you did it in. But in recent years, the abilities of the app have been significantly expanded. One addition has been the ability to measure your heart rate and calories burned. There’s also now an audio coach who will provide you with motivation if you need it. What’s more, the coaching you get depends on the goals that you input into the app. If you’ve got a goal to run a six-minute mile, the coach will adapt to help you reach that goal.

It’s probably safe to say that technology that helps us lose weight and get fit is here to stay and that it will continue to get stronger in the future. It’s clear that right now, we’re only just scratching the surface of what is actually possible. As obesity becomes a major economic issue, the economic incentives to do something about the problem with multiply exponentially. People who deal with their weight and stay slim will get insurance benefits, have more energy, will live longer and will be more productive in their jobs, potentially earning more money.

The other way that technology could help in the future and is helping right now is to help moms become healthier in their habits. Already we’re seeing a bunch of apps that can help you rustle up a healthy meal, depending on the ingredients you have in your fridge. In the future, our kitchens will become interactive, and they’ll actively suggest recipes and ingredients we should use in real time. They’ll also probably have a thing or two to say if we haven’t been out for our daily exercise.
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Mar 26, 2017

Alligator Adventure Myrtle Beach, South Carolina Review

A week ago, we took our son to Alligator Adventure in Myrtle Beach, SC, to celebrate his 9th birthday. He had been wanting to go for a while, so we figured it would be the great place for some birthday fun. William is a big animal lover and enjoys learning as much as he can about them. Alligators and crocodiles are in his top 5 favorites, so we knew Alligator Adventure would be the perfect choice. It was actually quite chilly when we went, but that didn't stop us!


They have a massive parking area, but since we were there in more of the off-season,  we were able to park in front of the main entrance. You are greeting by a pond full of turtles basking in the sun. We paid for entrance at the ticket booth and were pleased to find out that at the end of our visit, we could get our receipt endorsed to return within 7 days. So basically it's like a buy-one-get-one free deal. This explained why I wasn't able to find any discounts or coupons anywhere. It's actually a really good deal. Admission was around $66 for two adults and one child.


The minute we entered the park, I could hear William squeal and almost yell out, "Alligators!" Of course, we had a quick talk about rules beforehand to remind him not to be loud so he would not scare any of the animals. Trust me though, the parents had to hold back their excitement, too. πŸ˜ƒ


The first exhibit was the Juvenile American Alligators habitat. It's actually very overwhelming to see so many alligators piled up all over each other. Although I grew up in Florida, I can truly say that I have never seen this many alligators at once. It's absolutely amazing to see! William was in absolute gator heaven.


The whole park is filled with so many amazing creatures and they have show times where you can gets hands-on with a few of them. It was really cool to learn some animal facts as well as get to actually touch them. Again, William was in heaven! At the end of each animal handling session, the zoo keeper would ask if anyone had any questions. Leave it to my kid to be the only one with his hand raised high!



A post shared by Shelly πŸ‡¬πŸ‡ΎπŸ‘‘ (@momfiles) on
I don't want to bombard you with 100 photos, but I do have to mention that the reptile house/Serpentarium was so impressive and had so many snakes species in beautiful habitats. Some of the snakes were enormous! It was really a lot to take in.


The crocodile area was one of my personal favorite places and had a great variety of species from all over the world. William fell in love with one particular croc that you would not have expected. It wasn't the largest croc on earth weighing 2,000 pounds or the rare albino ones, it was a lonely one named Bob who was born without a tail. She would not have been able to survive in the wild without it and Alligator Adventure took her in and gave her a wonderful home. William talked about Bob for days after we got home.


Alligator Adventure is an absolutely beautiful place to visit if you are an animal or nature lover. We really enjoyed the Nature Walk and feeding the ducks along the way. It was really great that William was able to stop at each exhibit and read all about the animals and the habitats.



We utilized our free second visit the following day (which we highly recommend) and discovered spots we missed during the first visit. This was one of our most favorite trips and if you have ever considered visiting Alligator Adventure, I don't think you would be disappointed. I actually read a lot of reviews before we made the trip and they were mixed. We give it two thumbs up! I am going to make William a photobook with all of the animal pictures to remember how much fun we all had.

You can get more information about Alligator Adventure here. This was not a hosted event. We had such a great time that we wanted to share our thoughts with you guys. Thanks for stopping by today. πŸ˜€
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Mar 24, 2017

My Water Bill Was Sky High And Here Is Why

Last year we noticed a HUGE spike in our water and sewer bills. Unfortunately, we get billed separately for each service since they are from two different companies. Let's back up to 5 years ago. Our bills ran us about $60-$70. Last year it starting going into the $100-$150 range which seemed like a lot. Then suddenly it went all the way to a whopping $250 for the water and $300 for sewer. That was for ONE month per service. We knew something was wrong for sure. We had a licensed plumber come in and determine that we had a water pressure problem from the meter. Basically, way too much water was surging into our home and that wore out our plumbing fixtures. So not matter how often we changed out the toilet tank parts or washers in the faucets, they would blow out from the high water pressure.


This lead to the rubber parts causing leaks, which added to the high water bills. We ended up having a water pressure regulator installed a couple feet away from the city water meter and it took the pressure down from over 100 psi to below 70 where it should be. The plumber pointed out the fact that they meter was "spinning" 24/7 which meant water was being used non-stop, even if were weren't actually using it. πŸ˜‘ Even after getting the regulator installed, we still had to get all new toilet parts replaced to make the meter stop spinning. Needless to say, it was a costly visit that took 5 hours to complete.

Thankfully our city water and sewer companies worked with us to adjust our bills since we proved we had the leaks fixed. Although it wasn't a super big amount they took off, we were still grateful to get some sort of discount. We saw a big price difference already on the first bill after the repairs were made, at around $100. I got the latest bill yesterday and we are now back in the $55 range. This makes me so happy! I think about how much we overpaid in the last year and it makes my head hurt. Oh well, glad we have it fixed and can have a little peace of mind now.

One thing about home ownership is that you will forever have work and projects going on. It is so important to stay on top of things when you see your bills go up unusually high. Have you had any homeowner debacles or projects lately?
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Mar 23, 2017

Don't Let Someone Else Drag Your Health Down!

Everyone wants to take care of themselves right? Surely it only makes sense that, since we only get one body, that every single person would want to take as much care of their health as possible. Sadly this isn't the case. As strange as it might sound, but there are a lot of people out there who simply aren't that interested in keeping themselves healthy. It's probably not something that they're doing intentionally, a lot of the time people's unhealthy lifestyles and behaviors come from a lack of awareness of the impact it's having on their body. It's a shame that it's happening but if that's what they want to do then you can't really stop them, the major problem is when other people's poor decision making starts to have a negative impact on your life. With that in mind, here are some situations where other people's behavior could damage your health, and how to stop that from happening.

Accidents on the road
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You might be the safest driver in the world, but there's still a chance that something could happen. This is because, for every careful, considerate driver on the road, there's another one who has no interest in their own safety or the safety of anyone else. The best way to deal with these kinds of drivers is something called "defensive driving." Defensive driving is essentially a method of driving where you're constantly aware of and predicting potential hazards. That way you're in a much better position to avoid them. Of course, you won't be able to avoid everything, especially if someone is determined to drive like a maniac. If you are in an accident, then you should hire a personal injury lawyer so that you can make sure that the other person's lack of responsibility doesn't need to have more of a negative impact on your life than it already has. 

Your partner's diet
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It's hard enough taking care of your own diet, let alone having to think about someone else's. It's surprisingly common that one person in a relationship will be much more conscious of their health than the other. It can be surprisingly difficult to eat healthily and stay active when your partner is constantly buying greasy, unhealthy food. For one thing, having to work around two diets can be pretty expensive, not only that but it's often very tempting to go for a quick, unhealthy fix instead of something healthier after a long day at work. Make sure that you talk to your partner and try to get them to support your attempts to become healthier, for your benefit and theirs.

Your friend's lifestyle
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Everyone likes to have a good time now, and then. There's nothing wrong with that! But we all have that one friend who just seems determined to take it too far. They seem to want to go out every single night, and when they do, they behave as if they've never heard the word moderation in their life! Even if you choose not to drink as much as they do, the late nights and lack of sleep that come with this kind of lifestyle are going to catch up with you eventually. Talk to your friend, and if they're not willing to try to quieter nights in every so often, it might be a good idea to spend some time apart so that you can take care of your health.

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