4 Tips to Purchasing an Instant Pot

Whether you are living on your own or with a family, an instant pot is a clear necessity to have in your kitchen. An instant pot is a smart, multi-functional cookware appliance that can cook rice dishes, chicken stir fry and other delicious meals without requiring too much work. It is perfect for quick meals or even cooking soups for a cold night. An instant pot is a very practical but worthy investment, therefore, it is only right to consider all your choices before purchasing one. A great source of information is Parental Guide’s Instant Pot Review. Here are the top four tips that you should know before buying an instant pot.

  1.   Too Many Buttons

Yes, if there is anything that you should be wary of when picking an instant pot to buy, it’s the buttons that will indicate whether the pot is warming up, cooking or has stopped. Unfortunately, there are expensive instant pots around that has more buttons than you’ll ever need. It is highly recommended that you test out the basic functionalities of an instant pot before you buy one. Most instant pots automatically shut off when they have finished cooking. This is usually true if you are cooking rice. Some can continue to cook for a longer period of time when left open. Others can automatically warm up your food as soon as you plug it into the wall.

  1.   Is It Multi-purpose?

Short of baking a cake, an instant pot should be highly functional and multi-purpose. A great instant pot should work as a pressure cooker, a rice cooker, a slow cooker, a sauté and browning pan, a steamer, a warmer and for what it’s worth a water heater. An instant pot usually costs more than a regular pot, therefore, it has to do more than just cook a stew. It is also a great space saver if you have narrow kitchen top.

  1.   Is It Easy to Clean?

Ah, dishes! If you don’t like spending too much time washing the dishes, then you want an instant pot that can be cleaned easily especially if you plan to cook two recipes at a time. Some of the easiest instant pots to clean are made of stainless steel that are also fingerprint resistant. They are light to carry around and always look elegant in the kitchen. There are no spills when you are cooking something with a lot of water or sauce. Any residual leftover food should also come off easily with just a few rinses.

  1.   Is the Price Right?

While it is true that instant pots cost more than regular pots and pans due to the former’s flexibility, there is no reason why you should be spending more than you can afford. Some instant pots have escalated price due to features that seem attractive at the time but might not be very useful in the long run. If a seller is offering you to buy the appliance twice its price because of a Bluetooth feature or a syncing capability to an IOS app, it might be best to look the other way.

Is Your Family Ready For A Furry New Addition?

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There really are few things that can round out a family perfectly that the addition of a furry friend. Not only does it give you and your partner a faithful friend to keep you company but kids develop incredibly strong emotional bonds with pets that can help then develop things like empathy, responsibility, and an understanding how to to look after something else. Of course, as ideal as the image of you and your new family pet might be, you should remember that it’s not just the good stuff that you have to worry about. You also need to think about a lot of the difficulty and responsibility involved in bringing a pet into your family. Having any kind of pet can be pretty challenging, and there’s no guarantee that you’re going to be in the right position to take care of them when they really need it. With that in mind, here are some things that you should think about carefully before you even consider bringing a furry friend into your family.


Do you have the time?


A lot of people have an image in their head of the addition of a pet to their family where the animal just slots in perfectly to their life the way it is now. Of course, that would be perfect, but the truth is that it’s just not the world we live in. If you’re going to bring something like a dog into your family, then you need to be prepared to make some adjustments to your life. After all, there’s no point bringing a pet into your home if you’re never going to be around to look after it. This means that you have to consider things like your working hours when trying to figure out whether or not you actually have the time for a pet. Similarly, if your life is so busy that you never have any energy left at the end of the day, then you’re going to struggle to take something like a dog out for regular walks. Think about yours and your family’s schedule carefully before committing to bringing any new addition into your home.


Do you have the space?


It’s amazing how much one extra body can take a cosy home and make it feel incredibly cramped. You might not think that a pet would take up that much space, but that’s before you’ve got them and your kids running around under your feet while you’re trying to get things done. Not only that but you don’t want to have an animal cramped up in a tiny space where all they really want to do is to be able to stretch their legs. Think carefully about the amount of space that you really have in your home and whether or not you can actually accommodate an extra addition to your family without things becoming so cramped that you’re practically tripping over each other whenever you try and move around. Of course, that doesn’t mean that you can’t own a pet if you live in a smaller home, it’s just something that you need to be prepared to deal with if you want to avoid a whole extra load of stress on a daily basis.


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Are your kids responsible enough?


Most parents have an image in their mind of the look of joy on their child’s face when they lay eyes on their brand new best friend for the first. It’s the kind of thing that, for a lot of people, really completes the image of a real family in their mind. However, just like with every aspect of parenting, things are rarely that simple. The truth is that animals and kids can be a pretty difficult combination if you’re not careful and that’s especially true with much younger kids. Children aren’t always the most responsible people in the world, and you need to be able to trust that they’re not going to spend all of their time “playing” with your new pet in a way that’s going to make the poor animal miserable. Not only is that not fair on the pet but it could result in them playing back in a way that could end up with your child getting seriously hurt. Before you bring any kind of animal into your home, think about whether or not you can really trust your child to help you take care of it.


Can you afford it?


Money isn’t usually the first thing that jumps to mind for a lot of people when they think about getting a pet, but the truth is that bringing any new addition into your home can be pretty pricey. Whether it’s a dog that needs things like a collar, a lead, treats from places like Betsy Farms as well as it’s regular food or any animal that requires a tank or terrarium that is not only expensive but requires quite a lot of maintenance. The truth is that any pet can be a pretty hefty financial burden and one that you need to think about incredibly carefully. That last thing you want is to have to give up your new family member because you can’t afford to take care of them.


It might seem like this is a lot to think about just to decide if a pet is right for your family. However, the truth is that far too many people think that they can take on the responsibility of a pet without giving it enough thought. When that happens, you can often end up in a position where you have to give them up which can be very hard on your family as well as be incredibly traumatic for the animal who will have no idea why they’re being pulled away from the place where they’ve been settled. You need to spend a good long time thinking carefully about whether or not bring a pet into your family is the right decision. Of course, if it turns out that you’re not quite ready, don’t worry! That doesn’t mean that you’re never going to be ready. Just take some time to figure out what kinds of adjustments you’ll need to make to your life and then think about it again in a year or two.

The Pre-Black Friday Holiday Sale!

Disclosure of Material Connection:
Some of the links on the following page are “affiliate links” and I may be compensated if you click on these links.

As a pre-Black Friday warm up, Swagbucks is offering big cash back for shopping online at several of your favorite retailers right now! Just go to this page to see all of the deals available and get the jump on your holiday shopping.

In order to take advantage of the cash back, just create your Swagbucks account when prompted (it takes less than 30 seconds) and then you’re all set! Your cash back comes in the form of SB points, which you can redeem for gift cards to places like Amazon, Target, Walmart, Starbucks, or get PayPal cash!

As a special bonus, if you sign up through me you get a 300 SB ($3) bonus when you earn your first 300 SB before December 1st! This site’s a great way to extend your shopping budget, especially around the holidays!


New To Swagbucks?

If you haven’t heard of Swagbucks, it’s a site that rewards you for online activities that you’re already doing. You collect points then redeem those points for gift cards to places like Amazon, PayPal, Starbucks, Walmart, Target, and more!
Swagbucks is totally legit. I use it myself on a daily basis to earn money that I save up for Christmas and birthdays! This past year I used Swagbucks to pay for a Build A Bear Party & lunch at Red Robin for 10 kiddos and 4 adults in honor of my daughter’s birthday! Thanks to Swagbucks, that’s almost $350 that I didn’t have to spend out of pocket!

The Gift Of Christmas Past: A Southern Romance by Cindy Woodsmall and Erin Woodsmall {Book Review}

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review. All opinions remain my own and weren’t influenced. My opinions may differ from those of others as well as the author/publisher. Some of the links on the following page are “affiliate links” and I may be compensated if you click on these links.


Arson wasn’t the only fire that ignited between them.
Promises shattered.
Lies spoken.
She was arrested.
He returned to the safety of his wealthy parents.

Almost ten years later, Hadley and Monroe are both specialists in the field of speech therapy. They meet again . . . thrown together to help a four-year-old-girl rendered mute after being rescued from a fire.

Years of secrets and anger beg to be set free as Hadley and Monroe try to push aside past hurts and find common ground in order to help the traumatized child and her family.

Can the love of Christmas past drift into the present, bringing healing and hope for all?


My Thoughts!

I loved this read! It was simply amazing. It’s not your typical Christmas romance, but it has so much to offer. It’s a tale of lies and deception, regret, and anger.  Underneath all that was a strong connection and love that was relentless as well. This was a fast paced read that really grabbed my attention start to finish. The storyline was believable and the characters were relatable. I recommend this read!

Purchase It!

Hurry on over to Amazon to grab this book! *Remember that Amazon pricing is subject to change at any time with or without notice.  Please double check pricing before purchasing.

Author Connection

Cindy Woodsmall is the New York Times and CBA best-selling author of twenty works of fiction. She’s been featured in national media outlets such as ABC’s Nightline and the Wall Street Journal. Cindy has won numerous awards and has been finalist for the prestigious Christy, Rita, and Carol Awards. Cindy and her husband reside near the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains. She can be found online at cindywoodsmall.com.

Erin Woodsmall is a writer, musician, wife, and mom of three. She has edited, brainstormed, and researched books with Cindy for almost a decade. She is very excited about their first coauthored book.

Saving Money on Family Days Out

Spending the day with your family, whether large or small can feel like a special treat. We’re all exceptionally busy, so finding the time to get out and spend a day together can be rare. It can also be expensive.


A day out often includes travel, food and a trip to the gift shop on top of any entry fees, and if it’s something you don’t get the chance to do very often, it can be tempting to spend far too much in an attempt to make the day perfect. However, don’t be put off arranging a day out for your family if you are on a budget and don’t shy away from trying to save a little extra cash even if you have got the spare money to do it. Just think, the more you save, the more often you can treat your family.



But, can you save? Even a simple trip to the cinema can end up costing a small fortune once everyone’s picked snacks and drinks and a full day away from home can be nothing short of crippling. Well, fortunately, there are plenty of ways to save money while still having a brilliant day with your family. Here is a look at some of the best ways to manage it.


Take a Packed Lunch



One of the biggest costs of any day out can be food. Eating in cafes or restaurants at your destination can be very expensive. For a large family even eating at a nearby restaurant or fast food joint can be costly.


Fortunately, most family-friendly day out destinations and attractions have public picnic areas where you can sit and eat your own food. Take a packed lunch which will fill everyone up.


Remember to include a few treats and drinks, but also to keep some of the food separate in case you need to appease anyone during the journey or if you have to queue at any points. Small sweets like lollypops that last for a long time can be ideal in these situations.


If you are taking your own lunch, remember to also pack a carrier bag for rubbish and some baby wipes for any sticky fingers.


Book Ahead


You can save money on travel and entrance to attractions by booking online. Many attractions offer 10% off advance online bookings as they are keen to sell tickets up front. Others offer early deals. Booking in advance also gives you a chance to budget and plan in a little more detail.


That said, if you are looking for a day out last minute, you may be able to find some great last-minute deals, as locations are keen to avoid empty seats.


Take Pocket Money



If you are working on a very tight budget, you probably dread the gift shop visit at the end of your trip and hate that you always seem to have to walk through them to reach the exit.


Encourage your children to save their pocket money or money they get for their birthdays for days out like this. It’ll help teach them the value of money, and they are more likely to get something really good and not just ask for something for the sake of it if it’s their own money.


Find Free Days Out


There are some fantastic, free ways to spend your time together as a family. Head to parks, on scavenger hunts or to free museums. Have fun packing picnics or baking together at home. You could even spend a weekend camping in your back garden.


Find Cheap Hotels


If you need to stay overnight for your perfect family trip, make sure you look at cheap hotel options and Airbnb’s. Remember, comparison sites are useful, but not all hotels will be included, so be thorough in your search.


Get a Railcard



Traveling on public transport can be hit and miss. If you’ve got a car, paying for petrol and parking can work out much more expensive than train or bus tickets. But, not always. Have a look at your options online before committing to a decision.


However, if you don’t have a car or find that using public transport is usually cheaper consider buying a railcard to save more money.


Check Websites


Many family attractions offer deals on their websites or their social media accounts, so it’s always worth checking before you book, and again on the day of your visit. Some may offer a discount if you join their mailing list or check in once you arrive. Digital marketing is huge now, and many large attractions are looking to use our obsessions with our screens to their advantage.


Use Voucher Sites


As well as checking the website of the place you are visiting, you should check voucher code sites and cashback apps to see what you can get.


If you don’t have a specific destination in mind, base your choice on what special offers you can get and how much money you can save. Just remember that traveling further afield for a cheaper entry fee may not be cost effective if it means you need to spend more on accommodation and travel.


Buy an Annual Pass


Destinations such as SeaQuest aquariums sell annual memberships. If you plan to visit often, or in some cases simply more than once, throughout the year this can work out as a huge saving.


It’s also worth looking to see if any of the destinations you plan to visit are members of an entertainment group. If they are you may be able to buy an annual pass which allows you to visit all of the destination for a reduced price.


Visit at the Right Time


Visiting a popular attraction during peak times like weekends and school holidays can be twice as expensive than visiting during quieter times. It can also be much more stressful, and you could find you waste a lot of your very expensive day out queuing. If your children are yet to reach school age, make the most of it by planning your days out on weekday mornings when everything is cheaper and quieter.


It’s important to remember that family days out aren’t about how much money you spend. They are about being together and having fun as a family.

Dealing with Difficult Neighbor Disputes

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Noisy neighbors, perpetual partiers, people who think they can encroach on their land with their own stuff – we’ve all experienced the odd bad neighbor now and again and it can be downright frustrating. Sometimes, it can even cause stress, depression and good people to leave their homes just to escape the difficult person next door.


If you’re currently having problems with your neighbors, here are some effective tips to ensure that the same doesn’t happen to you:


Choose the Right Neighborhood


If you’re already settled, then this won’t help,  but if you’re currently on the hunt for a new home, try to choose a place that is populated by people like you. So, if you’re a family, move to a family-friendly location, or if you like to party, get an apartment downtown with the other party people. That way, conflicts are less likely to arise.


Be Polite


Being a good neighbor yourself is the best way to get the goodwill of other residents in your area. It won’t always stop your neighbors behaving badly towards you, but it will certainly make it less likely to happen.

Choose Your Battles


If your neighbors have one little party, even if it does go on ‘til four a.m., it’s probably not worth bringing it up. If they do it every week, you absolutely need to raise that concern, again being as polite and good-neighborly as you can. If you get wound up and yell (even though it might be totally justified) it could cause the issue to escalate, and no one wants to end up living next to the neighbor from hell.


Know Your Rights


Knowing what the legal laws and regulations are in your neighborhood is a great tool to have in your arsenal when you’re trying to end a difficult dispute. They might not change their ways because you want them to, but if they know that they’re obliged to do so on the terms of an authority figure, well that might just get them thinking again!


Document Everything

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Whether your neighbor keeps having his dog poop on your lawn or she’s sending you poison pen letters, it’s a good idea to document everything using video camera footage, photographs and even witness testimonies, That way, if things get to the point where diplomacy won’t work, you have some real evidence to back you up and help you get things sorted out once and for all.


Seek Legal Help


Seeking the help of a firm like Bendell Law should be a last resort, but if you’ve tried everything and your neighbor simply won’t accept that he’s encroached onto your boundary for example, it might be the only way to get a fix. It’ll certainly be better than arguments and petty recriminations that only ever turn into a vicious circle of problems.


Maintain Your Dignity


Finally, your neighbor may well be a crazy person, but that doesn’t mean you have to resort to their level. Stay strong, remain dignified and try to get as much respite from the situation as you can. This will help you get through what is sure to be a tough time as best you can.

Vanishing Point A Nikki Boyd Novel by: Lisa Harris {Book Review}

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review. All opinions remain my own and weren’t influenced. My opinions may differ from those of others as well as the author/publisher. Some of the links on the following page are “affiliate links” and I may be compensated if you click on these links.


Six girls missing . . . and every clue leads to a dead end

During Garrett Addison’s first week on the job as a criminal investigator for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, his team is called out to a murder scene of a young girl. She’s just one in a string of disappearances with one thing in common–a Polaroid photo of each victim left behind at the crime scene.

The FBI is pulled into the case to help, and Garrett finds himself working with Special Agent Jordan Lambert, the woman he once loved. When yet another girl dies, Garrett wonders whether he really has what it takes to be an agent. Maybe he should just walk. But while he may be done with the killer, the killer is not done with him–or Jordan.

My Thoughts!


This is by far the absolute best book I have read in the past month or so. It’s fast paced and will leave your heart racing and your mind spinning. It’s  well written, easy to read, and leaves you on the edge of your seat. I absolutely loved this read! The characters are relatable and  believable. The plot thickens and  you feel like you are actually there in the middle of it all. I was blown away by Harris’ writing style and her ability to draw readers in. I highly recommend this read!


Purchase It!

Hurry on over to Amazon to grab this book! *Remember that Amazon pricing is subject to change at any time with or without notice.  Please double check pricing before purchasing.

The Delusion By Laura Gallier {Book Review}

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review. All opinions remain my own and weren’t influenced. My opinions may differ from those of others as well as the author/publisher. Some of the links on the following page are “affiliate links” and I may be compensated if you click on these links.


By March of Owen Edmonds’s senior year, eleven students at Masonville High School have committed suicide. Amid the media frenzy and chaos, Owen tries to remain levelheaded—until he endures his own near-death experience and wakes to a distressing new reality.

The people around him suddenly appear to be shackled and enslaved.

Owen frantically seeks a cure for what he thinks are crazed hallucinations, but his delusions become even more sinister. An army of hideous, towering beings, unseen by anyone but Owen, are preying on his girlfriend and classmates, provoking them to self-destruction.

Owen eventually arrives at a mind-bending conclusion: he’s not imagining the evil—everyone else is blind to its reality. He must warn and rescue those he loves . . . but this proves to be no simple mission. Will he be able to convince anyone to believe him before it’s too late?

Owen’s heart-pounding journey through truth and delusion will force him to reconsider everything he believes. He both longs for and fears the answers to questions that are quickly becoming too dangerous to ignore.


My Thoughts!

This was a heart wrenching read that really shined the spot on  the struggles we face as well as mental health. It’s well written and easy to read. I found myself up past my bed time several times.  The characters were complex and well developed. I love how relatable they were and that the book flowed well. Gallier has a unique writing style that readers will love an appreciate. I highly recommend this read!

Purchase It!

Hurry on over to Amazon to grab this book! *Remember that Amazon pricing is subject to change at any time with or without notice.  Please double check pricing before purchasing.

Author Connection!


In a youth culture intrigued by the paranormal yet often skeptical of biblical claims, Laura Gallier seeks to bring awareness and understanding to issues surrounding the supernatural. Having battled her own enemies of the soul throughout her teen and young adult years, she is on a mission to expose deception with the light of truth, bringing hope and healing to a generation in need. Laura lives in the greater Houston area with her husband, Patrick, and their three children.

Dangerous Illusions By Irene Hannon {Book Review}

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review. All opinions remain my own and weren’t influenced. My opinions may differ from those of others as well as the author/publisher. Some of the links on the following page are “affiliate links” and I may be compensated if you click on these links.


Trish Bailey is on overload trying to deal with a demanding job, an ailing mother, and a healing heart. When a series of unsettling memory lapses leads to a tragic death–and puts Trish under police scrutiny–her world is once again thrown into turmoil.

Detective Colin Flynn isn’t certain what to think of the facts he uncovers during his investigation. Did Trish simply make a terrible mistake or is there more to the case than meets the eye? As he searches for answers, disturbing information begins to emerge–and if the forces at work are as evil as he suspects, the situation isn’t just dangerous . . . it’s deadly.

My Thoughts!

If you’re looking for a great read that will keep you up way past your bed time, on the edge of your seats, and give you a roller coaster of emotions- this is the read for you! This was a fast paced read that offered well developed, relatable characters as well as an easy to follow deepening plot. I absolutely loved this read. This is book 1 in the code of honor series. I can’t wait ti read the next one!

Purchase It!



A Place at Our Table By Amy Clipston {Book Review}

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review. All opinions remain my own and weren’t influenced. My opinions may differ from those of others as well as the author/publisher. Some of the links on the following page are “affiliate links” and I may be compensated if you click on these links.


Along with his volunteer work at the local fire department, running his Amish farm keeps Jamie Riehl busy. He barely has time to eat at the family table, never mind find someone to date. But when he meets Kayla Dienner, he is smitten.
Kayla tries hard to deny her attraction to Jamie. After all, she’s spent the last year discouraging her younger brother, Nathan, from becoming a firefighter. The death of their older brother in a fire a year ago is fresh in her mind—she can’t bear the idea of putting her heart on the line every time the sirens blare.
Then tragedy strikes, and Jamie wants to extinguish any flame between him and Kayla. Can Kayla set aside her own fears to save the love she was determined to deny?
The first book in the Amish Homestead series, A Place at Our Table invites us to a quiet community in Lancaster County where love burns brightly no matter the cost.


My Thoughts!

This is book 1 in the Amish Homestead Series. It’s well written and grabbed my attention from the start. The story was believable and easy to follow. The characters were well developed and relatable. I love how true the characters were to the Amish lifestyle. This was a steady paced read that kept me intrigued until the end. Can’t wait to read the next one!


Purchase It!

Hurry on over to Amazon to grab this book! *Remember that Amazon pricing is subject to change at any time with or without notice.  Please double check pricing before purchasing.


I review for BookLook Bloggers