9.19.2016

Product Review Time: Beet Blu Digital Scale



My first foray into the world of Bluetooth technology in my 'everyday' living was a Bluetooth enabled and app based toothbrush. Liking it a little better than I anticipated, I was pretty thrilled when I was offered a chance to try and review the Beets Blu Digital Scale free in return for an honest opinion, because we were actually in the market for a new scale - so the timing was perfect - and I was anxious to see if the tracking capability was really something useful and perhaps even a motivator.  It is... but I'll get to that in a moment.  First let's start with the basics!

With this scale, it is possible to track not only weight, but also measurements such as body fat percentage, muscle mass and lean body tissue. All measurements are instantly uploaded to a smartphone or ipad for tracking and analysis.

Beets BLU Bluetooth Scale is pretty simple and straight forward.  It monitors weight, fat percentage, body water and muscle mass. It uploads the data wirelessly via Bluetooth not only to the Beets Blu app, but to many other fitness and health applications like Apple Heath that is already on your phone if you own an iphone.

From their own product description:

About the Product

  • Wireless Scale measures people's muscle mass, body weight with body fat percentage, water (hydration level). Scale supports kg and lb weight mode
  • Connects to mobile via Bluetooth Smart (4.0), uploads all information to free native mobile application for Android and iOS, with saving history. Recommended weight limit is 150 kg/330 lbs
  • Helps you to analyze the data and choose the most appropriate way to track your weight loss. Our scale is high precision
  • iOS: Uploads all measurements to the Apple Health app (configurable)

Compatibility list:
- iPhone 4s (or later)
- iPad 3 (or later)
- Any smartphone with Android 5.0 (or later) with Bluetooth 4.0
- Samsung smartphone with Android 4.3 (or later) with Bluetooth 4.0

Notice for Android users: Before purchasing this product, please download the following app and ensure that it runs properly on your device without any compatibility issues. To download this app, please search for Smart Scale Beets BLU on Google Play.

So with the description out of the way, let's get to the review.


The product is actually a little less expensive if you order through Amazon rather than their .com website.
It arrives in a box clearly marked with the product inside.

http://amzn.to/2daRJFw


When you open the box it's packaged well and comes with just one sheet of paper with simple instructions on inserting the batteries and where to download the app to use the product.  There is no users manual included as all the directions are app based.  Take the product out of the box - quick and simple - with no excess packaging included.


The back of the box.


  • Insert the batteries that come with the product.
  • Because it is made overseas and made for use all over the world, you have to choose the weight units your country uses.  This is done by pressing the UNIT button the back.  I chose lb (pounds) as I'm in the USA.
  • Placing the scale on a hard, flat surface is a must.  Uneven surfaces like uneven tiles, cobblestones or carpet will not give you an accurate reading.
  • Step on.
  • Wait for the scale to turn on.
  • Immediately step off and wait for the scale to read 0.0
  • Step on again and you will then see your weight and measurements.



Here is what the button on the back looks like to choose your unit of measurements (I chose lbs. since I'm in the US).




When you turn it on, step off and wait a couple seconds for the 0.0 displayed.  Then step back on for your weight.






If you have a reader on your phone you can scan the back of the box to get the correct app for your device.  





The Beets BLU Smart Scale app is free and quick to download





It will bring up the quickstart guide.



To personalize, you can manually enter data (your gender, athletic build, birthday, etc) or if you already use a health app tracking system, you can tell it to pair with it. 


You can choose which options you want to pair and turn off those you don't.



This app as a default of announcing your stats out loud but if you wish to keep that little secret to yourself, you can change that in the settings and turn it off.  

I tested the scale to see if it would accept multiple weigh-ins on the same day and it does.  It shows my most recent as my daily weight.

I have read other reviews that say it will 'remember' your information and download it to your device later if you do not have your phone or device with you; the bluetooth turned on, or the app open.  However when I tried this, it downloaded only my latest weigh-in and did not update the previous weigh-ins.  I actually think this feature does work; but I would need to test it over the course of 3-4 days or a week to be sure.  I only did a quick 1 time test with the phone in the other part of the house.

I did try to see where or how to delete my profile, which I could not find.  I could change all the information to make a new profile out of mine (new height, birthday, gender) but I did not find a delete profile button.
You can reset your data in the settings by deleting the information 1 month at a time with a swipe on the red - sign.

Bottom line?  
I really like this product!  It's easy to use.  The tracking feature motivates me and I find myself wanting to weigh instead of avoiding the scale.  I like the digital read out verses the old fashioned 'needle' reading and ounces count.  Tracking my BMI/body fat percentage is interesting and tends to be a motivator as well.







Beets Blu Digital Scales are available through Amazon


9.14.2016

How to make a (no sew) fabric covered recipe album or photo album - LOTS of photos




I didn't think I was going to blog this little project but as I got ready to start it I suddenly thought I should - just in case it helps someone else brainstorm a quick, easy and frugal 'gift' either for someone else or themselves.  I've been making these for years (seriously, I think I made my first around 16 years ago when I needed some affordable Christmas gifts for extended family members).  This makes a nice gift - especially if you include some much-loved recipes to pass along as well.  But to that end, you don't have to use it for recipes.  It's actually a photo album that holds regular 4X6" pictures so you can use it for that purpose as well!

All you need is:

1 (cheap) photo album that holds 4X6" photos
1 fat quarter cut of fabric of your choice
Adhesive spray (if you don't have this and can't buy it, just use white glue watered down, and a paint brush)
scissors
Optional:  piece of heavy, pretty paper or cardboard to line if you choose


The cost of photo albums has gone through the roof in the past 10 years so I like to pick up these at Walmart or even Dollar General if you can find them there.  The fabric is also available at Walmart - usually even if they don't have a fabric department, they sell these little squares of 'fat quarters' in the craft department (Fat quarters are approximately 18" x 22" or 46cm x 56cm).  This  is the perfect size for most photo albums of this style and you won't have to cut the pieces.  If you use your own random fabric or other style photo album, just lay your open photo album on the fabric and cut around it leaving about 3-4" fabric on the top and at least 8" on each side for folding over.



A photo album, fat quarter of fabric, scissors and some spray adhesive.



This isn't an 'exact' craft - which is why it goes so quickly.  You just want the fabric to be larger than your album so you have enough fabric around it to fold over the books cover.



Spray adhesive on the outside of the album - and I also like to spray more on the wrong side of the fabric - very lightly in the center, where the album will lay.  This is very sticky so it would be prudent to cover the area you are working in with cardboard to block excess spray, paper or an open flat box, an old sheet, etc. (something) so you don't get sticky spray anywhere you don't want it.

Carefully lay your album down and pull the fabric over the front, smoothing it as you go.  Now 'close' the album and carefully smooth the fabric over the back, getting out any folds or creases.  The spray allows you to pull off and re-position the fabric if you need to for a minute or so after applying it, before it dries.  Make sure you 'close' the album to make sure you have allowed enough fabric to cover and stretch lightly over the album in closed position.  Now, open it back up and lay it flat in front of you.



You can do the seams of the spine next OR the sides - it doesn't matter in what order you do.

For the seam lines of the spine:  On the top and bottom of the album there are two seams at the spine of the album.  Use scissors to cut two slices on the 'seam' lines up to the album.  You can trim the fabric off a little bit and then use adhesive on the fabric to secure and 'fold' it up right to the plastic 'pockets' inside the album.  This gives a nice finished look to this area of the recipe album.  Repeat on top and bottom of spine.



You can use any brand adhesive although this is the brand I typically have on hand at our house.  Use what you have.  If you don't have any and are on a super frugal budget for this, you can use white glue thinned with a bit of water and brush it on the photo album to secure the fabric.  You'll have to allow time to dry for this since there liquid involved.



For the sides, you are going to treat the album as if it were a gift you were wrapping.  Spray the adhesive on the fabric and fold it over the back cover; folding to the inside as if you were covering a school book or wrapping a present.



I like to fold down the corners as well but you don't have to.

Here you can see I've folded the fabric in on the sides, then folded in the corner and proceeded to fold down the top and fold up the bottom.  Secure with more glue or adhesive.



IF you don't like the look of the fabric folded in, you can take a piece of cardboard or heavy (pretty) stock paper and spray it and pop it right over the inside of the back and front of the album - covering the edges of the fabric and giving it a finished look if that is what you prefer.


You can now include a few hand written recipes on 4X6" standard lined index cards (about a dollar a pack at Walmart!) or just fill the slots with empty index cards for them to be filled in later with favorites of whomever you are giving it to.  I like to include 5-10 recipes to 'get them started' and fill the rest with blank cards they can use themselves.



Simple - quick and pretty
You can tie a ribbon around it for gift giving!!






Related products available through Amazon if you can't find them locally;

RayLineDo® 5X Different Pattern Paisley Style 100% Cotton Poplin Fabric Fat Quarter Bundle 46 x 56cm ( Appox 18" x 22") Patchwork Quilting Fabric
Pioneer Ledger Le Memo Album 4x6 (Colors May Vary) - Two Pack
3M Super 77 Multi-Purpose Adhesive, 4.37-Ounce

      


9.13.2016

New Toy Series on Budget Barbie - Simple Toys for Creative Play





If you take a peek right now at the 'toy corner' of our family room you will find 2 wicker baskets holding the toys - which are open ended, creative toys to spur imagination.  There are wooden letter and number blocks, jumbo wooden stacking blocks, a baby doll with various accessories, toy food, balls and more.

It was glancing at my Family Room corner this morning that gave me the idea for this post on Budget Barbie - a new series I am calling "SIMPLE TOYS FOR CREATIVE PLAY".  I hope to find the time to do at least three of these in the next month or so.  The idea is to find toys that are open-ended play inspired.  Creativity driven.  Toys that don't just do one thing over and over but can be used and played with (and loved) for years instead of merely hours or days before boredom sets in or they break.

I found links for each and every item idea on Amazon - but I decided not to post prices as they change often and I wouldn't want to quote a 'wrong' price.  I did not that most all of these offered free shipping through Amazon - either with a minimum purchase or with Amazon Prime which a lot of people already have.  A couple of these toys I actually played with when I was child... and one of them (like Lincoln Logs) your parents' parents may have played with as they have been around for a hundred years.  





LINCOLN LOGS - 100th Anniversary Tin - 111 All-Wood Pieces
  • A LINCOLN LOGS CLASSIC, JUST THE WAY YOU REMEMBER IT - Inspired by one of the original LINCOLN LOGS builds, the "Meeting House," this 100th Anniversary Tin will evoke nostalgia in older generations and bring happiness to children. The manual offers three building ideas: a tall tower, two small houses with a bonfire, and a large cabin. Children can follow these guides or mix and match to build their own structures.
  • 111 ALL-WOOD PIECES - The package includes 111 pieces made of real, high-quality maple wood. Each has indentations that can be used to connect it with others. Pieces are included for the roof, roof facade, walls, chimney, porch, fences, bonfire, and bonfire seats.
  • COLORFUL DESIGN - These exquisitely crafted LINCOLN LOGS are beautifully stained, like a true cabin's finish. Each piece is colored with precision and careful attention to detail to evoke the nostalgia of childhood. Most of the log blocks are stained bright brown. The face of the roof is a muted red, and the rooftops are forest-green.
  • EASY AND QUICK CLEAN-UP - All the pieces can be stored in the set's collectible tin. The features make clean-up easier, as parents can store it in one container, keeping living spaces and children's playing areas tidy and organized. The covered tin can be stored after play time for safe keeping.
  • AMERICA'S NATIONAL TOY- Invented in 1916 by John Lloyd Wright, the son of architect Frank Lloyd Wright, LINCOLN LOGS have become America's National Toy. Beloved by four generations of builders, they provide hours of fun while building a solid foundation in STEAM/STEM subjects.
  • DEVELOPMENT BENEFITS - LINCOLN LOGS supports key areas of a child's development. As children stack the parts and discover how the building system works, they strengthen their hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, problem-solving skills, and spatial awareness, and they exercise their imaginations!
  • COMMITMENT TO QUALITY - The wooden pieces are responsibly made in America, with 70% of the wood coming from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified forests or other forestry-managed timberlands. We test to the strictest quality and safety standards, ensuring that your child has a successful, trouble-free building experience.





Melissa & Doug Deluxe Latches Board
  • This play board challenges inquisitive youngsters to figure out how 6 different latches work
  • Smooth-sanded solid-wood board features fun surprises behind the opening doors and windows
  • Created by award-winning toy makers Melissa & Doug, whose solid wood toys make classical, treasured gifts
  • Helps build fine and gross motor skills while little ones discover vibrant colors, numbers, animals and more
  • For ages 3 years and up




MakBB Indoor White Teepee Tent Play Playhouse Tents Canvas for Kids with Carry Case
  • Tent window on EACH side allows parents to look in and kids to look out
  • Tent Size: side length 46", top height 57", pole length 72", for children ages 3 to 7
  • Fabric: durable 100% COTTON CANVAS, Soft, Breathable and AZO free
  • Pole: Natural Wood Pole in 2 parts and can be assembled, sanded smooth, no paint



Zaleny Superhero Dress Up Costumes 5 Satin Capes with Felt Masks
  • Durable double sided satin and comfortable felt mask. Velcro neck makes capes easy to put on and off
  • Package including 5 sets of superhero capes and masks-Spiderman, Batman, Superman, Captain America and Flash
  • Zaleny is the sole authentic seller of the product on this page.
  • Genuine item only offered by Zaleny and Fulfilled by Amazon.






Top Race® 12 Piece Tool Box, Solid Wood Tool Box with Colorful Wooden Tools, Construction Toy Role Play Set
  • Top Race® High quality tool box set for kids, with colorful wooden tools set of 12
  • Each wooden tool is beautifully painted and is perfectly sized for litte hands and is sure to fascinate your kids
  • The tool box features 2 hinged locks and 2 wooden handles to allow kids to carry it for creative role play
  • Includes: toolbox, big hammer, wrench, spanner, pliers, nippers, screwdriver, ruler, drill, pipe wrench, small hammer, saw, chisel.
  • Made from the highest quality wood, responsibly sourced materials and 100% safe, for ages 3+





Wooden Ramps Marbles Ball Track Building Set
  • Eco-friendly and Food-grade raw material, marble track is made of New Zealand pine wood and glass marbles, 360° polished smooth, without cracks, corners gentle treatment to protect your baby's hands
  • Set includes 60 pieces of New Zealand pine wood, 10 glass marbles and basic builder manual
  • Simple and practical design, align the holes and ramps to create a different maze every time, training kid's creative thinking and problem solving skills, helps educates balls movement the basic concepts of cognitive science
  • It is the best choice for parent-child interaction, intellectual development, hands-on brain, cooperative abilities, interests Training
  • Kid's toys recommended for ages 3 and up




Plan Toy Tea Set  (Solid Wood Version)
The Tea Set consists of a teapot, sugar bowl, milk pitcher, 2 tea cups, 2 saucers, 2 tea spoons, 2 tea bags, and 2 cubes of sugar.
  • PlanToys Is The First Company To Manufacture Toys Using Wood From Rubber Trees
  • PlanToys Practices The Three RS Of Green Living: Reduce Reuse And Recycle Our Manufacturing Processes Are Designed To Reduce Waste And Save Energy





Handmade Organic Wood Toy Flatbed in Walnut
  • Size: 10'' x 4'' x 4''
  • Handmade
  • Mixed Sustainable Wood





Melissa & Doug Fold & Go Wooden Barn
  • Portable wooden barn opens wide for easy play access and closes up to take with you.
  • Features a handle for easy transport.
  • Includes seven realistic plastic farm animals, a wooden ladder and a folding corral.
  • Sturdy wooden construction
  • Promotes imaginative play.





Jumbo Primary Stringing Bead Set
  • Fun Occupational Therapy Skill Toys that Teach!
  • SATISFACTION GUARANTEED; we offer superb educational toys and excellent customer service and if you're not totally satisfied with your purchase; we also offer a risk-free, No-Questions-Asked, 100% Money-back Guarantee! Click the orange button to order now!
  • This baby shape & color recognition toy set of children's beads is designed for baby's first lacing. The jumbo size is perfect for baby and toddler little hand to handle with ease.
  • This educational beading activity toy for kids helps to develop fine motor skills, dexterity and hand-eye coordination. It can be used for learning color sorting, arts and crafts. An ideal gift for 2 year old boy or girl.
  • The child development lacing beads for toddlers kit includes Large / Jumbo 1.5 inch plastic multi-colored beads with 4 strings in various shapes and colors to allow children to easily string, sort and lace through the large hole. The hard plastic makes it ideal for sanitizing and keeping daycare and shared toys sanitary.






Manhattan Toy Baby Stella Peach Soft Nurturing First Baby Doll
  • From Manhattan Toy's multiple award-winning Baby Stella collection of soft nurturing dolls and accessories
  • This first nurturing baby doll is ultra-soft, has cute, embroidered toes and belly button, and loves to cuddle
  • Dressed in a soft onesie that is easy to change, with a removable cloth diaper and pacifier that attaches magnetically
  • Peach has a soft tuft of fleece hair, with embroidered facial features, and inspires creative role play for a young child






Manhattan Toy Baby Stella Darling Diaper Bag Changing Set and Accessories for Nurturing Dolls
  • Part of the Award Winning Baby Stella Doll Collection, doll not included
  • Includes a soft, magnetic bottle, 3 cloth diapers, 3 soft wipes in wipe container, soft diaper cream and a soft cell phone
  • Also includes a soft, colorful diaper bag with a breakaway handle that stylishly converts into a changing mat
  • Equipped with two outside pockets to hold accessories
  • Encourages nurturing and role play



Uncle Goose Classic ABC Blocks - Made in USA
  • 28 - 1.75 inch basswood cubes
  • contains letters and a variety of animals, numbers, and symbols
  • handmade in the USA
  • sustainable Michigan grown basswood
  • printed with non-toxic, lead-free child safe inks




Melissa & Doug Food Groups
  • Sturdy wooden food set features items from the five food groups
  • Includes watermelon, corn, milk, cheese, cereal, fish, eggs and more
  • Stores neatly in four wooden crates
  • Fun and educational
  • Ages 3+






Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden Kitchen Accessory Set
  • Everything you need to equip a play kitchen
  • 8-piece wooden set
  • Includes saucepan, stockpot, frying pan, 2 lids, oven mitt, wooden spoon and wooden spatula.
  • The perfect accessory for Melissa & Doug play food and wooden kitchen sets.
  • Encourages imagination, dexterity and creative play.




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