The Nekteck 20W Solar Charger with 2-Port USB Panel is great for camping, hiking, survival, and prepping. -Tested and Reviewed-

I often look for and try to get things that are useful for off the grid survival. I have a prepared emergency box ans well as smaller versions for the cars in case of being stranded during a blizzard or storm. These are things that when the power grid is down or inaccessible you can still have power to charge your devices like phones, tablets, radios, lights and other things. The Nekteck 20W Solar Charger with 2-Port USB is one of just such a thing.

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The Nekteck 20W Solar Charger with 2-Port USB is light and compact and easily to use. It is folded into thirds and has a Velcro close to keep it from opening when not in use. On the back side it contains and zippered pouch that also has 2 USB output ports for connecting your devices to charge. It also has little loops for mounting and tying to packs or tents or other objects. The max output for charging is 20w via two USB 5 volt ports.

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I tested this in varying degrees of sunlight and even man-made light. In full sun it was more than enough to charge both a smart phone and an iPad tablet. It still worked partly sunny environment but didn’t charge as fast due to the lower power output but still the power it made was free from the sun. Although you can charge directly from it I found the best thing was to use a power back with it. Let it charge the power bank and then use the power back when ever you need it even at night in the dark.

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I use it with a power back especially if I am camping or hiking with my sons and daughter and I know I will not be able to access a power outlet for my phone which I take along for emergencies. It is light weight and easily pack able. I recommend this and power banks for any time of emergency supply box (hurricane box, blizzard box, survival) or prepper gear. I keep one in our emergency box. I keep one handy in my bug out bad and camping gear.

I received a discount Nekteck 20W Solar Charger with 2-Port USB for inspection, testing and honest unbiased review purposes. It was not free.

Coal for Christmas! – A cool and tasty treat

I’ve must have been real naughty this year and so must have been the kids. Mrs. Family Time was seen loading the coal into bags with our names on them. Ho dear!

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Actually she was doing that but the coal wasn’t the hard fire rock that it normal is. Instead it was a tasty treat she made. It’s actually a pretty simple thing to make and it’s a lot of fun for the kids.

You will need some things to make this treat.

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They are: Butter (3 Tbsp) , small marshmallows (6 cups), Vanilla extract (1 tsp), Crushed Oreo cookies (1 cup), and black food coloring.

The steps:

1.) Pour the Cocoa Krispies and Oreos into a large mixing bowl and set aside.

2.) Melt the butter into a sauce pan until melted. turn heat to lowest setting once butter has melted and add in the marshmallows. Stir marshmallows until they are mostly melted going slowly.  Once most of the marshmallows are melted add in Vanilla and the food coloring and continue to stir until the entire things is one even color (Black like ink) and completely melted.

3.) Once the mixture is fully melted take it and pour it into the mixing bowl with the Cocoa Krispies and crushed Oreos. Mix it all up until it is all one evenly sticky black mixture.

4.) Grease a cookie sheet or place parchment paper on one. Dollop or drop by mixing spoonful of it on the cookie sheet into piles. These should look like coal like piles. Once all placed on sheet let them stand for 15-30 mins to cool and harden a bit.

One of the happy naughty children enjoying eating her “coal”.

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This is pretty much the same as standard Rice Krispie treats that have been made for years but with a fun twist. My kids loved them and even had a lot of fun “cleaning up” the bowl and spoon. As for real clean up it may look and seem like it would be hard to clean that sticky mess up but it’s not. Just run the bowls and utensils under or in hot water and it pretty much dissolves off with a bit of rubbing.
        

The DALSTRONG Gladiator Series Steak knife set – To keep or Gift?

I’m always on the lookout for great kitchen utensils and gadgets. I’ve been looking for a decent set of steak knives as the set I had was pretty tired and worn out.

The DALSTRONG Steak Knives Set it’s Gladiator Series which is made from German Steel is a top notch set. They also make an excellent pairing knife as well ans a great chef knife. This set of 4 knives come in a box with formed pockets to hold each piece firmly in place. They even through in a nice key ring and fob as well as a wipe cloth for the knives.

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The craftsmanship of the knives as of the highest order. They are sharp and cut to exact precision so that each is indistinguishable for another in the set. The blade also has a solid tang that is riveted into the great looking black Pakkawood handle.

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I tested mine on on a T-bone steak and well as cutting down a pork picnic (shoulder) . The knife worked effortlessly through both. I was able to bone out the pork with precision and waste little meat. I actually had to save some meat for the stew as the bones where stripped right down. Being made of a high content carbon steel the knife I used had no wear what so ever even after processing the bone in pork. The knives clean up real nice afterwards too.

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These would make a great gift set if you can part with them. I briefly had the though but no they now live in my kitchen cutlery area. Sorry mom but these are mine. :) I do strongly recommend this as a super nice gift if you are not wanting them for your self.

I did receive a set of DALSTRONG Steak Knives Gladiator Series free for inspection, testing and unbiased review purposes. I take reviewing seriously and my words are my own thoughts on the product regardless of its costs.

Bouncing back with PURINA Pro Plan® Bright Mind™ #BrightMind

This post is sponsored by Pro Plan BRIGHT MIND and the BlogPaws® Pet Influencer Network. I am being compensated for helping enrich the lives of senior dogs, but [Family Time] only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. Pro Plan BRIGHT MIND is not responsible for the content of this article. 

 

Zayn is my niece's 8 yrs old dog. He’s a Black Lab mix and she had him since a pup. Quite honestly, I never thought about him getting older or the effects that aging would have on him. He’s now eight and things have started to slow down a bit for him.

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I often bring the kids to visit Zayn. They like to chase him around the yard and play fetch with his favorite rope toy.  He still loves to run around and play with them but you can tell he's no longer on his A game. The kids toss his toy and he trots out to get it then walk back leisurely walk back instead of the intense run out and fast run back and wild circling around with yaps and light backs and tail wags till the next toss. He just seemed lethargic and slower and kind of uninterested it all to me lately then he used to be and I just figured he lost the puppy stage. My niece says he sleeps more often and just barks at squirrels instead of giving chase. My niece told me her vet said it was common for this slow down with a senior dog like Zayn that's getting to a later time in his life. 
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One day I came across Purina Pro Plan® BRIGHT MIND Adult 7+® on the net (Blogpaws) and thought it would be a good food to give to Zayn and see if it helps him.  I inquired and was able to try out Purina’s Pro Plan BRIGHT MIND food and give a bag of it to my niece for Zayn.  This food has botanical oils in it which are shown to promote alertness and mental sharpness in dogs over seven years of age. Sounded just like what Zayn could use. After a month of feeding Zayn Purina Pro Plan® BRIGHT MIND Adult 7+® my niece said she noticed Zayn had more vigor and a higher interest in chasing yard animals and playing. I brought the kids over to see the difference. He definitely was more alert shown a throw toy show an even reared and yap a few time when i was playing toss with it with him. Not puppy wild but a nice improvement of the lackluster performance a month ago.For me I think it was it has made a difference in the overall quality of his life and that he seems to enjoy it more than he had.

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Zayn has in my opinion bounced back a bit for what I would have considered and slower and somewhat boring life. My niece is very happy with  the results PURINA Pro Plan® Bright Mind™ at PetSmart had on Zayn and has stated she will continue him on the food. If you have a Senior dog (7+ yrs) and would like to see him/her get a little bit zest back in their life then head on down to PetSmart and pick up a bag of Purina Pro Plan® BRIGHT MIND Adult 7+® and help him/her live a richer fully more youthful life. If you would like to know more you can follow them on Facebook , Twitter , Instagram, and the Pro Plan Website.

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This post is sponsored by Pro Plan BRIGHT MIND and the BlogPaws® Pet Influencer Network. I am being compensated for helping enrich the lives of senior dogs, but we only share information we feel is relevant to our readers. Pro Plan BRIGHT MIND is not responsible for the content of this article.

Best Black Friday Gift Ever!

With all the talk and news of wild black Friday gifts and sales and whether or not it should start on Thanksgiving day or stay on Friday I like to think back and remember the best gift I ever got on a “Black Friday” my oldest son Arthur. A father could ask for no better a gift.

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He was born on Friday November 26th 2004. It was a day after Thanksgiving and day after his uncle Johns birthday November 25th that year. Because of the fixed to Thursday that Thanksgiving has my son’s birthday falls on it now and then. This year was one of those times. I watched come into this world and cut his cord and held him for the 1st of many times. That Black Friday 11 yrs ago was the best I ever experienced.

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So this year we had a Happy Turkey birthday day celebration at my nieces house! She has a new place and wanted to host the family Thanksgiving meal. She did a lovely job of it too. My son who is a fun-loving and free-spirited child loves chicken wings had requested a “Chicken wing” cake. I personally thought it should have been a “Turkey leg” cake. :)  My wife had one make by a cake maker friend. My wife has these themed cakes made for all our children on their birthdays. Last year for Arthur it was an “Attack on Titan” cake. The children really enjoy these.

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My son was more than pleased with it and everyone else enjoyed it too. The cake its self it a nice rich chocolate cake and the “celery” and “carrots” are fondant as is the “blue cheese”.

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So while the debates and shopping and adverts rage on for me “Black Friday” will always be my one of my most favorite days my 1st sons 1st birthday. I hope everyone had a happy Thanks Giving and safe Black Friday shopping experience. Oh yea and a happy Cyber Monday too. :)

#SavorShreddedBlend by Purina Pro Plan makes my dog beg!

This post is sponsored by Pro Plan SAVOR Shredded Blend and the BlogPaws Professional Pet Blogger Network. I am being compensated for helping enrich the lives of dogs, but Family Time only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. ProPlan SAVOR Shredded Blend is not responsible for the content of this article.

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Every dog needs outstanding nutrition and if you want to support a long and healthy, active, and happy life it is important that you buy the best dog food you can afford. Petsmart has such great foods, and not all of them break the bank!

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I think one thing that we fur parents forget often about is that we need to make sure the food we feed our dog is fabulous tasting. I strongly suggest you take a look at Purina Pro Plan® SAVOR®, it is a great tasting food with outstanding nutrition as our dog seems to agree, there is no compromise here you can get both of best worlds with the Purina Pro Plan SAVOR food!

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Our dog Maggie really loves the flavor of this food. She eats it vigorously and is really excited and whines and begs in anticipation when we are preparing her bowl of it. She has a lot of energy and powers through the day on it.

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She is a very active high energy dog so she needs a high energy active dog food.

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Your dog and mine deserves everything we can give them to have a wonderful energetic life. We can find this dog food at Petsmart along with so many other great supplies and toys.

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One of the things I really like about the Purina Pro Plan SAVOR line for dogs is that they have dry food, wet food, snack, and meal complements all in the same great flavors. Single proteins of beef, chicken, lamb or salmon! Many varieties of treats that our pooches love too. There is a flavor and a product that your dog is going to love! They even have lines of this food for kitty too. Pro Plan Cat

 

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Check out Purina Pro Plan at a Petsmart near you and you can look over their website, and follow them on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Cooking with the kids. – Spaghetti inside a meatball.

Thursday Night Dinner – Spaghetti inside meatballs.

 

Yes another dinner madness special. Our meal chosen meal plan for Thursday was Spaghetti inside a meatball. What madness is this that I speak of? None as it really is a thing. We put the spaghetti and sauce inside a meatball. The kids got a huge kick out of it and it was a lot of fun to make.

It’s actually pretty simple. You prepare a casserole dish and preheat the oven to 350. You boil water and put the spaghetti noodle in to soften like usual. Prepare your sauce as you like. We as a family like two different sauces. Classic red tomato and Alfredo with onions and seasonings.

You also have to make the meatball meat.  I made a regular ground beef style meatballs with breadcrumbs, egg, onions and Italian seasonings and then kneed-ed it  together. Once ready you take some meatball meat and make a small bowl shaped half meatball. You place cooked noodles and pour in some sauce of your choice, then make another bowl shaped half of meatball and place over it. This can be tricky  if the meat is mushy. If so kneed in more breadcrumbs before you make the shapes. Once covered put some addition sauce on top of them if you wish and place in oven.

Once done (I use a temp of 180) remove and left stand for 10 minutes and serve. I like addition sauce so once I open mine i put a little more on along with some grated cheese.

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Are your yard care machines properly stored for the winter?

This post brought to you by TRUFUEL®. The content and opinions expressed below are that of Family Time.

It’s late Fall here in the US North East and with that comes a time to put away and store your warm weather yard care machines and bring out your winter time yard care machines. It’s the time of year to put away lawn mowers and trimmers and bringing out the snow blower for winter.

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For most people it means bringing out snow blowers and shovels and cold weather gear and putting away Lawn mowers and trimmers and edgers and chainsaws. Part putting away those things usually involves cleaning them and giving them a service before storage. Most folks wash off the grass and grim and change the oil so it’s ready to go for the spring once again.

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A lot of people over look one thing when they do this. They usually put them away and leaving the gas in these machines. In most places that is a good four months in the cold. Gas gels and varnishes a bit and looses some of its effectiveness (chemical breakdown) during a long time sitting still. It will usually run but rough and hard to start or won’t start until fresh gas is put in it. Sometimes you have to remove the old gas and put fresh gas in. This can be especially true of 2 cycle (trimmers and chainsaws) engines as well as standard 4 cycle (mowers,cars) engines. TRUFUEL® can remedy and take the worry and stress out of that.

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TRUFUEL® also contains no ethanol. Ethanol is grain/corn alcohol (yes the kind you drink) is added to ground based petroleum (GAS) do to government mandates. They do that to reduce foreign oil dependency. It does not help your machines in any way and actually hurts them. Ethanol is not real good for steel and iron fuel lines and parts of engines. It causes them the rust. When they rust it gets into the fuel and effects performance. Cars that are 20% or higher ethanol rated (Flex fuel) have special stainless steel fuel lines and injectors. Most yard care machines don’t. TRUFUEL® takes the worry of this away as it has no ethanol in it. With its stabilizers and lubricants and no ethanol I know come this spring my yard care machines will be ready and running right from the git go with TRUFUEL® in them.

You can find out more about TRUFUEL® at their website at Find out more and follow Find TRUFUEL on Twitter and see their Facebook page at Find TRUFUEL on Facebook

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