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Review: Dyson DC17 Absolute Animal Upright Vacuum Cleaner

Emery

We have a large family – two parents, one child, 3 god-children who visit all the time, four cats, two dogs and a frog. My daughter has asthma and while the frog presents no problem the four indoor cats do. I did a lot of research for an upright vacuum cleaner that would be able to keep the cat hair out of the house as well as dust and dirt. I shopped and tried out different brands but the best that I found was the Dyson DC17 Absolute Animal Upright. It is certified asthma and allergy friendly according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. The system has a sealed design so that it picks up the dirt but only expels clean air back into the house. The bagless system with HEPA filtration and Dyson’s Root Cyclone technology made this a must for our house.

I was amazed at how clean my house looked after I used this vacuum. I had thought that my old vacuum was doing a good job but once I used the Dyson DC17 I saw the difference this machine can make. The Dyson DC17 captures 99% of dust particles as small as .3 microns and with the Level 3 Root Cyclone™ technology the system has continuous strong suction power. There is an extra motor in the power head to get the deepest dirt from carpets and furniture. The Quick-draw Telescope Reach™ wand allows you to have 16 feet of extended reach and is easy as pressing a button (it extends just by pressing the button and I love this feature). I use this wand to clean the tops of my curtains, the corners of my ceilings and any hard to reach area. Emptying the dirt is very easy and sanitary with the Clear Bin™ canister. A simple push-button trigger allows for quick, hygienic emptying so that you never come in contact with the dirt.

My system cost $550 but I have found this model now online for as low as $375 so it pays to do a little browsing online before purchasing. My Dyson came equipped with the 12-amp motor, a lifetime HEPA filter, has a 35-foot cord length, a 51-foot maximum reach, has auto carpet height adjustment, a mini turbine head, a low reach floor tool, the carpet care kit and crevice tool as well as the dusting nozzle amp; upholstery tool. All of this and a manufacturer’s 5-year limited warranty made my purchase very satisfying.

I have not had any trouble with my machine. I did find it a little difficult in the beginning because it was bigger than my other vacuum but after about a week I was running this machine all over my house and cleaning places that had not seen a vacuum in ages. I highly recommend this machine not only to homes that have pets but to anyone who appreciates a clean home and loves convenience.

Review – Hawthorn Suites at the Victorian Resort in Galveston, TX

Emery

The Hawthorn Suites is located at the Victorian Condo Resort on Seawall Blvd in Galveston, TX. My husband and I wanted a quick weekend getaway at the beach. But, with 2 small children our hotel choices were limited. We needed something with at least one separate bedroom, a kitchen, and a dining room table and all on the seawall. After 2 days of searching every single hotel on Seawall Blvd, I found the Hawthorne Suites. It seemed to have everything we needed and had tons more to offer as well.

The Hawthorn Suites is easy to find off of Seawall BLVD and 61st Street next to the Super Wal-mart. Upon entering the circle drive toward the entrance, the hotel appears to be reminisce of the east coast cap cod style homes and hotels from the 1900’s. At first glance I was extremely impressed and thrilled at the location and the exterior of the hotel. The lobby was not up to date and was small and reminded me of an old motel lobby area. The front desk employees were extremely nice and helpful. Very pleasant to talk to and helped with any questions. The hotel had been overbooked and sold out for the weekend. We were greatly surprised that they so graciously upgraded our room from a one bedroom to a two bedroom at no additional charge.

The room was pleasantly surprising. After seeing the lobby I wasn’t sure what to expect. There was a small foyer that lead to a very large kitchen and huge living/dining area. The kitchen was well equipped with a small refrigerator, stove top, sink, and dishwasher. There was also tons of cabinets stocked with cups, plates, dishes, and silverware along with plenty of counter space. Coffee maker with coffee and cleaning supplies also came in the kitchen. There was a large sleeper sofa, side chair, coffee table and armoire with a large TV that completed the living room area and a nice size kitchen table and 4 chairs set in the corner made a great place to eat breakfast. The balcony door was right off the living room and had a great view of the gulf. The oversized balcony had a small table and two chairs to enjoy the gulf breezes.

The two bedrooms in our condo were very spacious. There was actually a 3rd kids room off the front foyer. It was small but had bunkbeds and a small dresser. There would be perfect for kids. Since we were traveling with 2 small kids, the room was perfect size to house one of the 2 portable cribs. Plus, it gave our youngest son privacy during naps and bedtime. The secondary bedroom had a queen size bed, flat screen TV, dresser, ceiling fan and a view of the family pool. The master bedroom had a queen size bed as well and a flat screen TV. Huge dresser, large closet, and bay windows that overlooked the gulf of Mexico completed the room. Each bedroom had its own bathroom with an extra door from the 2nd bathroom to the living room.

The room supplied all the same amenities you would find in another hotel room such as tolietries and essentials. Towels, pillows, and extra blankets. The hotel also featured 2 huge swimming pools. A family pool complete with zero depth entry features a water drop mushroom, a floating alligator, water cannon bubbling jets to tickle your toes and an adult pool with a rock waterfall and surrounded by trees. The hotel also has 2 hot tubs, 2 picnic areas, and a fish cleaning station, tennis courts and a fitness center. The Hawthorn has cruise parking, a full hot breakfast buffet complete with waffles, eggs, sausage and more.

The Hawthorn Suites is just steps away from the sandy beach and warm gulf waters. Many restaurants and stores surround the hotel. It is in a great location. This hotel was perfect for our family. Each of our 2 boys had their own room and we had our privacy as well. Our night didn’t have to end at 8pm when it was lights out for the kids. We both agreed that when we return to Galveston, this was our hotel of choice. Perfect in every way. I could not say enough nice things about this hotel. Now, the hotel was undergoing some major renovation and restoration at the time of our stay. Even with this going on, we never encountered any problems with our room, the service, the food, or anything. The best part about the trip was sitting on our private balcony that overlooked the gulf after the boys were sleeping and enjoying the quiet and listening to the ocean waves. We had an awesome time.

Product Review of the Eureka Altima Turbo Bagless Vacuum Cleaner

Emery

I love my pineapple hued Eureka Altima Turbo bagless vacuum cleaner. I bought my Eureka Altima Turbo bagless vacuum cleaner at Wal-Mart for a very reasonable $79.88 before tax. It was neither the cheapest nor the most expensive bagless upright vacuum cleaner in the store. After comparing it to the other bagless vacuum cleaners on display, the Eureka Altima Turbo bagless vacuum cleaner seemed like the most logical purchase. Moreover, its Good Housekeeping seal of approval along with Wal-Mart’s generous 90-day return policy made it a no brainer when deciding to bring it home and to give it a spin. On my return home, this is what I found.

1. The Eureka Altima Turbo bagless vacuum with HEPA filter sucks up dust and dirt like no one’s business.

At 12 amps, this is a powerful machine. My husband and I marveled at the dust balls, hair and dirt that were collected after the first few sweeps over our carpeted living room floor. There is something immensely satisfying about seeing the dust and debris accumulate in its clear plastic canister.
Its HEPA filtration system, also, makes it an ideal vacuum for the allergy sufferer.

Furthermore, the Eureka Altima Turbo bagless vacuum cleaner has five adjustable settings for floor and carpet height. With one pass over our vinyl flooring in the kitchen, bathroom and entryway, it has made sweeping with a broom a thing of the past.

2. The Eureka Altima Turbo bagless upright vacuum has cool accessories that make cleaning easier and fun.

The telescopic self-cleaning duster is a hoot. It is tucked into the narrow, clear canister on the side of the Eureka Altima Turbo bagless vacuum. You just twist the handle that sticks out of the canister and pull it out for use. The handle of the duster can extend out to 3 feet for high reach dusting. After use, stick the duster back into its canister and turn on the vacuum. When you pull the plastic lever located beneath the duster canister, dust is sucked right out of the duster and into the Eureka Altima Turbo bagless vacuum. This suction action also “charges” the duster with electrostatic electricity making it a virtual dust magnet for your next cleaning. Is that cool or what?

The Power Paw with Riser Visor is another nifty accessory that is included with the Eureka Altima Turbo bagless vacuum cleaner. This little attachment flips up and down for horizontal and vertical cleaning of stairs and upholstery. However, as much as I love my Eureka Altima Turbo bagless vacuum, I have to admit that this 25 pound machine makes it too heavy and cumbersome to ergonomically clean a flight of stairs (Isn’t that why they invented the Dust Buster?). However, the Power Paw worked great cleaning the sides and seats of my upholstered sofa, ottoman and chairs.

The extra long crevice tool and wand is another great accessory of the Eureka Altima Turbo bagless vacuum cleaner. It’s ideal for cleaning baseboards, corners and any narrow, hard to reach area such as between the refrigerator and wall.

The upholstery and dusting brush can be attached to the extra long crevice tool and wand for cleaning your more stubborn dusty areas that need to be vacuumed. I’ve used the upholstery and dusting brush on our computer keyboards, baseboards, fans and even the coils on the back of the refrigerator.

3. The Eureka Altima Turbo bagless vacuum cleaner is a streamlined machine that makes cleaning quicker and more efficient.

All of the above accessories and attachments have their own separate compartments located on the vacuum cleaner itself eliminating unnecessary trips to the utility closet for different attachments and brushes.

Instead of unwinding a cord for operation, an easy cord release allows the user to quickly plug in the vacuum for use.

4. The scuff resistant furniture guard on the front and sides of the Eureka Altima Turbo bagless upright vacuum cleaner prevents damage and unslightly marks to your home and its contents.

This light gray rubber guard allows you to get amazingly close to the baseboards without any damage or scuff marks to the molding.

5. The Eureka Altima Turbo bagless upright vacuum cleaner’s no touch bagless system and non-pleated filter system makes it easier to clean.

To get rid of the dirt and debris that has accumulated in the plastic canister of the bagless vacuum, all one has to do is push a plastic slider to the right at the bottom of the canister, take it out and dump its content into a trash can.

Moreover, the Eureka Altima Turbo bagless vacuum cleaner has a flat surfaced, one-piece spongy filter that is more easily cleaned than its pleated counterparts. You can use warm water and mild soap when necessary to clean it, or you can just thump it a few times to get rid of the excess lint. The filter should be air dried before putting it back in its place.

There are only a few changes that I would like to see made to the Eureka Altima Turbo bagless vacuum cleaner. It would be great if it were a few pounds lighter and had a one and a half inch higher handle and a two foot extension hose that could be stretched up to 4 feet for cleaning drapes and cobwebs at the corner of ceilings. However, the accessories included in this bagless vacuum cleaner along with its powerful cleaning ability makes this bagless upright a truly exceptional deal. If you are searching for an all around, powerful bagless vacuum cleaner with a lot of bells and whistles without the bells and whistles price, you will be very happy with the Eureka Altima Turbo bagless vacuum cleaner.

Poker Party Food Ideas

Emery

I love to have small get-togethers. Any sporting event or card game is a reason to invite a few friends and bring out the food. For a Poker Party, I tend to stick to finger foods and snacks. I like to have several choices in amounts that allow for a small snack size serving for each person in attendance.

Let’s start with drinks. I don’t particularly like alcohol, so I always make sure to have a cooler full of ice and a good assortment of canned colas. I will usually have a 12-pack of each of the following: Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite, Diet Sprite, and Orange Soda. With this assortment I will have leftovers, so I don’t buy drinks for a couple of weeks.

On to the food!!!

My party menu consists of: Cheese/Rotel Dip and Tortilla Chips, Sausage Balls, Chicken Nuggets, Assorted Crackers and a Cheese Ball, Brownies, and Miniature Donuts.

The Cheese/Rotel Dip is made with Velveeta or a store brand equivalent and a can of Rotel Tomatoes. Since there are several varieties of Rotel tomatoes, you can choose just how hot you want to go. I use the regular Rotel. I also use a crock pot to make the dip. First of all, I cut the cheese into cubes. The cubes should be about 1 inch square. I use between ½ and ¾ of the large loaf of cheese. I place the cheese cubes in the crock pot with the can of Rotel Tomatoes and turn the crock pot on high. After about 20 minutes, I stir the mixture and continue checking it every 20 minutes (and stirring) until the cheese is completely melted. Then I turn the crock pot down to the “keep warm” setting. When serving, I let guests dip from the crock pot with a ladle. I place a bag of tortilla chips next to the crock pot for convenience.

Next on my menu: Sausage Balls. To make the sausage balls, I like to use my food processor. You can mix and knead by hand, but the food processor makes it a quick job. Take ½ pound of sausage (hot or mild), 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese -I like sharp cheese, and 1 ¼ cups of baking mix -I use Bisquick. Place it all in the food processor, turned it on hi speed, and process until the mixture is well blended. Once mixed, roll the mixture into 1 to 1 ½ inch diameter balls and place on a very lightly greased cookie sheet. I tend to use the spray kind for this. Bake the sausage balls at 350 – 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. This will vary from oven to oven. I like to check mine after 10 minutes and then keep a close eye on them until they are done.

For the chicken nuggets, I call Chick-Fil-A and order a nugget tray. It is a little pricey, but it is well worth it. You might want to call ahead to find out how much time is needed to prepare the tray. My local Chick-Fil-A just needs a 20 minute advance notice and I can pick up the tray from the drive-thru. How’s that for service?

I purchase a ready-made cheese ball from the local grocery store deli and place it in the middle of a serving plate or tray. I then arrange 2 or 3 different types of crackers around it. You can get creative here and try just about any cracker. Sometimes, I will get something I have never tried before and a dependable favorite. That way, I know that there will be something I like.

To finish up the snacks, I purchase a pan of brownies from the local grocery store’s bakery department and a bag or box of those wonderful tiny donuts off the shelf. I prefer the Hostess Donettes over other brands, but you can go with what you like. You may even have a special desert that everyone likes…fix it or purchase it ready made. There is nothing like having a good, dependable, tasty, sweet treat that everyone likes.

Last, invite those friends, put out the food and drink, add the plates, cups, napkins, straws and utensils -paper and plastic -we don’t want to wash dishes after the party, and party until you are partied-out! The menu can change depending on your likes. The main thing is that you enjoy time with friends and/or family and have fun!

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