Category Archives: Other Media Reviews

Amazon Fresh Grocery Delivery

amazon fresh grocery delivery

My first Amazon Fresh Grocery Delivery was very exciting! I got to choose my delivery time of 8-9 in the morning and with attended delivery, which means someone has to be there. They also offer unattended delivery. When the postal service truck drove up and I saw my bags sitting there I got goosebumps. The fact that Fresh is delivered by USPS in this area means no tipping. Which is great. Because they are paid well and have benefits and stuff. It’s not like it’s a private driver who’s an independent contractor.

broken egg fresh     cracked smart water lid fresh

My food arrived in good condition. One broken egg, one broken lid on a smart water bottle, but didn’t lose much out of the bottle. So I’m okay with that. I love the way it was packaged. Insulated bags for all the perishables.

fresh ice cream dry ice

The ice cream was packaged in an insulated bag with dry ice.

fresh ice packs     fresh cooler

The other perishables were packaged in an insulated bag with cold packs.

fresh paper bag

The smart water and tortillas were in a large paper bag. It did get wet, so I don’t know if they’ll re-use it. I love the packaging because I can just leave it out and the USPS driver will pick it up if he comes back by. Or I can leave it out on my next delivery and he will pick it up. Either way. Dad’s disappointed because now we can’t go running around shopping. But my goal is to get him to go out with me in the RV. Short trips, camping at the beach and stuff. So maybe he will do that now to get out of the house.

Prices are comparable to supermarket and Costco. My advice is to know your prices because some things are substantially more. It might be worth going to Costco or your local supermarket for their sales. For instance, microwave popcorn from Costco is about 23 cents a bag. The brand available for that price on Amazon Fresh was out of stock and the other options were more than twice that. So watch the sale flyers for your favorite stores. Grocery delivery does take some pre-planning because there are some things on Amazon Fresh, for instance, that are out of stock, or not available until a posted date. So you want to keep a grocery list so that you can order before you’re out of something or before you really need it.

fresh groceries

Amazon fresh is a membership service with Amazon Prime. For $14.99 a month you get unlimited delivery on orders over $40 (now $50). I don’t know about you, but with 5 adults (4 plus a teen boy) to feed, I can easily order over $50 a week. Also, you don’t have to subscribe to the membership and you can just pay $9.99 per delivery if your order is under $50. Not too bad, especially if it’s going to take you a couple of hours shopping.

Vons also has grocery delivery available in my area. It’s $20. I haven’t tried them yet, but their website says the first delivery is free. After that, it says they have weekly coupons for lower-priced or free delivery so you can get their meats and vegetables for their weekly sale prices. Check your favorite grocery store and see if they have delivery.

fresh meat veg dairy eggs

My other favorite is Sprouts, but they don’t have delivery. So I’m thinking a once a month run to Costco and once to Sprouts to hit their Wednesday double sale should make my life much easier.

I have been looking at Amazon Fresh for a couple of years now, but we’ve been on the road, in “middle-of-nowhere” towns, mostly. So it hasn’t been a viable option for us. A week or so ago I read that Amazon bought Whole Foods market and so I decided to give them another look. Just like anywhere else, you’ve got your stuff that’s overpriced and your stuff that’s competitively priced. And your screamin’ deals. So you’ve gotta know what you’re shopping for. You can read the labels on most of the items on the Amazon Fresh website, so you can check for undesirable ingredients. And if you can’t read the label, you can pass on that item. Also, I had them pick out some lettuce for me and I got a beautiful, crispy, fresh head of romaine. I was very happy with that.

fresh reuse

A couple of things I dislike about Southern California are the traffic and the heat. So grocery delivery is a lifesaver for me. Also, the best time to run errands around here is 10am-2pm. That’s also my best creative and working time. I really need my working hours. It’s hard to get them with my grandsons here several days a week and taking care of my dad and supervising my high schooler’s schoolwork. Getting my working time in is really important. So grocery delivery is a real game changer.




The 2014 movie Pompeii is great historical fiction. I have found movies to be a great tool to use in the homeschool. Especially historical fiction.

Pompeii got the boy and me (and his older brother!) discussing the AD79 eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. We talked about how volcanoes work. We discussed other events of the era. The persecution of the early Christians. The historian Pliny the Younger, who witnessed the event from his Uncle Pliny the Elder’s villa across the Bay of Naples.

The boys, of course, were fascinated by the whole gladiator thing. I love to scrutinize the costumes and settings. And so many ways to die as a volcano erupts. Even though we knew the real ending, we couldn’t help but hope for survivors.

Despite the goofs in period accuracy and geography, we enjoyed Pompeii. It made for good discussion and fun escape.


Homestead Blessings

homestead blessings logo

Homestead Blessings is the website of The West Ladies. They also have put together a series of videos by the same name. These gals live a simple life. They are currently building a little cabin and growing most of their own food. They love to share their homesteading skills and expertise and their videos are very educational and entertaining.

These are just a few of the titles in the Homestead Blessings Collection. These DVDs will inspire you and your children to find new joy in homemaking skills and arts. The West Ladies use simple tools and easily obtained supplies for all their projects. Many include printable instruction sheets.

The blog chronicles their life on the homestead. This includes having to relocate last year, and their trials and successes in raising the money to build a tiny cabin on their new place.

In addition to their DVD collection, The West Ladies offer books, music, and artwork.

  •  In the Homestead Blessings Cookbook, the ladies share some of their favorite recipes.

  • Cecilia has written a children’s book, Bella the Blue Cow Dog. 

  • Vicki invites children of all ages to color in her sketches in her coloring book.

  • The ladies offer 2 CD’s with traditional, Appalachian songs and original tunes. Their family harmonies are uplifting and soothing.

  • Vicki also offers her unique sketches as note cards.

In addition to their DVD collection, a number of learning videos can be viewed on the website and YouTube channel. See the West girls in action:

  • Composting

  • Growing Garlic

  • Holiday Pies

  • Growing Zinnias

Vicki, Cecilia, Jasmine and Hannah are talented, inspiring women. They are preserving and passing on timeless skills, and living a simple, beautiful life. Check out all the free tips on their website, then get their DVDs for some in-depth how-to for homesteading!



Gladius The Show – Review

Two enormous Belgian horses. One large gladiator, with a sandaled foot planted firmly on the back of each. Delicate beings, gracefully performing handstands and other acrobatics on the backs of horses. Chariot races. An elegant goddess, dancing flawlessly with a handsome white Andalusian stallion. “Gladius – The Show” is a breathtaking ballet on horseback.

Yak admiring Director Erik Martonovich and one of the Belgian beauties

Written, produced and performed by Big Horse Productions, based in Las Vegas, Nevada, the most inspiring part of “Gladius” is not just the show, but the fact that the performers have financed the entire production themselves, along with crowd-funding from Kick Starter and some generous private donors. No big corporations with bottom lines, here. Just grass-roots performers, giving audiences their hearts, depending on grass-roots funding. 

Speaking of bottom lines, “Gladius” performers will host a ‘Hoofprints’ clinic in each city they play. Children from boys and girls clubs will be invited to participate in outreach sessions including warm-ups, stretching, group games, equestrian vaulting (acrobatics on horseback) and aerial circus arts. I don’t have details at the moment, but for further info, the email contact is  

Head Horse Trainer and “goddess” Laura Amandis

I don’t normally go to shows with scantily clad actors. My daughter purchased the tickets because we were going to the
Rocky Mountain Horse Expo in Denver and she assured me that the horses would be fantastic. They were. The thing that stole my heart, was watching how willingly they responded to suggestions from their handlers. Not commands, not demands. One could clearly see that these horses and their people were a team. The most stunning and beautiful example of this is Laura Amandis’ dance with her white Andalusian. At the mere movement of her hand, or the softest suggestion from the lunge whip (which never, by the way, touched the horse), the stallion moved precisely into position, his elegant, curling tail sweeping nearly to the ground, his long mane flowing with his every movement. Even his final bow was executed on the slightest cue from his trainer.

Did I mention the fire? Juggling, spinning and spouting, there is even fire being swallowed. I am not familiar with the art of fire manipulation, so I was dutifully awestruck, watching. I also noticed that the horses weren’t the least bit concerned about it. Now that’s some trust, which only comes from long hours of devoted training.


The show did not end when the lights came up. Afterwards, we were invited to the barn to meet the horses and acrobats. It was exciting to see the 18 hand, 2,000 pound belgians close up. Toddlers in arms reached out to touch their soft noses, while the horses stood patiently, apparently enjoying the attention.

My horse-crazy family loved Gladius – The Show. We give it all thumbs up. For more info on locations, dates and tickets see their Facebook page, or website.


Homestead Blessings – The Art of Bread Making

Watch the West Ladies teach you how to make bread in their cozy homestead kitchen.  With their modest dress, beautiful long hair and colorful aprons, Jasmine, CeCe, Vicki and Hannah make you feel right at home while they explain how to make a number of different hearty, whole grain breads.  I’ve been making my own breads for many years, but I found their cornbread recipe (be sure to watch the video for some special tricks not included in the PDF recipes) to be out of this world.  I will never go back to my old ways of making cornbread!  I also plan to try their hamburger bun/cinnamon roll recipe, now that I’ve seen them do it a few times.

Though I didn’t think I necessarily needed the how-to’s in this video, I really enjoyed the presentation and I was reminded that you can almost always learn something from another’s experience.  Guitar-picking in the background sets the mood for good ole’ country cooking.  The West kitchen set is a homesteader’s dream of honey-colored wood paneling and pantry shelves lined with dozens of canning jars with colorful contents.  I kept looking for the old-fashioned cook stove, but the bread was baked in a state-of-the-art electric range-oven.

The Homestead Blessings Series is a collection of 11 DVD presentations by the West ladies and Franklin Springs Media.  Homestead Blessings – The Art of Bread Making, copyright 2009, is delightful, instructional and entertaining; printable recipes are included.  Vicki and the girls are inspiring to watch.  Canning, gardening, quilting and crafting are just a few more titles for homesteaders or city folk who want to try their hand at these basic survival skills.