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Sackett's Land: The Sacketts, Book 1
Sackett's Land: The Sacketts, Book 1
Offered by Audible, Inc. (US)
10 used & new from $14.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Review of audiobook version of Sackett's Land (The Sacketts Book 1), May 13, 2015
I am posting this audiobook review using the format that Audible recommends:

Overall: 5 stars
Performance: 5 stars
Story: 5 stars

Q. If you were to make a film of this book, what would the synopsis be?

A. In Elizabethan England in the year 1599, Barnabas Sackett, who is the son of an intelligent, literate, highly skilled soldier and a beautiful Welsh woman with second sight, is in his early 20's. He has been on his own for several years since his parents' deaths, living on a farm in the Fens, a marshland in eastern England. He has made his living as a fisherman, farmer and day laborer and stands to become quite well off in the future because the Fens are scheduled to be drained by the Crown, which will leave him the owner of a great deal of rich farming land. Unfortunately, he is forced to flee England after he instinctively defends himself with only a wooden staff against the deadly sword thrust of an arrogant, easily offended nobleman, and the nobleman decides that only Barnabas's death will heal his wounded pride. In the course of his precipitous flight, Barnabas survives imprisonment on a pirate ship, becomes a captain on the high seas, and makes a new home in the wilds of America in what later becomes known as North Carolina.

Q. What was one of the most memorable moments of Sackett's Land?

A. It is hard to pick a single moment. Barnabas is an extremely sympathetic hero because he continually gets into trouble because he is a kind of knight-errant who is always looking out for the underdog. He is a highly skilled fighter whose father trained him in the use of guns, swords, knives, staff, bow and arrow (including making his own), and various forms of hand-to-hand combat. In addition, his father was a scholar and educated Barnabas, teaching him not only how to read, but how to be a critical thinker, since a sharp mind can often save a warrior in a tight situation. Due to Barnabas's leadership abilities and versatility as a fighter, the fight scenes in this book are very exciting.

Q. Which character--as performed by John Curless--was your favorite?

A. Barnabas himself, who is Welsh. John Curless is British, and he does a wonderful job with the unique accents of 400 years ago. Each character is given a distinct voice. Barnabas is a man of great intelligence, sensitivity and compassion. I personally love protagonists, of either gender, who are MacGyver type survivors who are never at a loss. I greatly enjoyed the believable way that Barnabas frequently acquires allies who, like Barnabas, are multiply skilled, trained, experienced warriors. Barnabas and his allies find hope and inspiration in the freedom and opportunity to be found in the New World for those willing to work hard.

Q. Any additional comments?

A. I read the whole Sackett series in paperback some 20 years ago, and I'm now re-experiencing the series listening to it in audiobook format. I was grateful that John Curless is the reader for all of the first four books in this series, set in the 1600's. It creates a wonderful consistency of listening experience for readers.

The sound quality of this audio recording is excellent and it is an unabridged version of the book. In my experience of listening to audio versions of books, very few of them can stand up to the intense focus of being read aloud, which is much slower than reading silently to oneself. This relative snail's pace acts to draw attention to every problem of dialogue, pacing and plot. I am happy to report that under that intense spotlight, I never felt bored with this book, never wished I could skim ahead, which has happened to me before with other audiobooks.

Louis L'Amour was an avid historian, and as is the case for all of his books, it is obvious this book is extremely well researched.

I will admit freely that in the plotting of this action-adventure story, there are frequent instances of coincidences, either to get Barnabas into trouble or out of it, but in each case the author motivated either Barnabas's bad luck or good luck, so I didn't mind. I also noticed that the romantic subplot of this book features the bugaboo of those of us who are fans of the romance genre, what is these days called "instalove." But that seems to be the case in all of LL's romantic subplots, which I think is probably the case because of two reasons: (1) there is too much action going on to have time to pause and describe the hero's courtship of his future wife but (2) since this series is a family saga, and wives are needed to produce offspring, then the acquiring of a wife has to be part of the book in some form.

I was pleasantly surprised that LL, as a man born in a far from liberated era, is very respectful of both women and characters from many different cultural backgrounds. LL never stereotypes any social group, making it clear that when a character is an evil villain, he or she is that way not because of ethnicity or religion, but because of arrogance, greed, or an inability to see other human beings as anything but objects to be used for his or her own gain.

I appreciated as well that LL includes not just evil villains, but antagonists who simply have a different view of honor than people of Barnabas's background. For example, LL shows how Native American males of that era proved their worth as a man and warrior by seeking out and fighting worthy opponents. In this book, they consider Barnabas as the best of the best among warriors. LL also utilizes the American wilderness itself as the source of a great deal of "man against nature" types of conflict throughout this book.

Below is the chronological order of the Sackett series per the official Louis L'Amour website:

01 Sackett's Land, copyright 1974, Barnabas Sackett, circa 1599
02 To the Far Blue Mountains, copyright 1976, Barnabas Sackett, 1599-1620
03 The Warrior's Path, copyright 1980, Kin-Ring Sackett, Barnabas's eldest son, 1620's
04 Jubal Sackett, copyright 1985, Jubal Sackett, Barnabas's third son, 1620's
05 Ride the River, copyright 1983, protagonist Echo Sackett (aunt to Orrin, Tyrel, and William Tell Sackett), 1840's
06 The Daybreakers, copyright 1960, Orrin and Tyrel Sackett, 1867-1872
06.5 End of the Drive, short-story collection containing "The Courting of Griselda," a story featuring Tell Sackett
07 Lando, copyright 1962, Orlando Sackett, 1873-1875
08 Sackett, copyright 1961, William Tell Sackett, 1874-1875
08.5 War Party, short-story collection contains "Booty for a Badman," a short story written in 1960 featuring Tell Sackett
09 Mojave Crossing, copyright 1964, William Tell Sackett, Nolan Sackett, 1875-1879
10 The Sackett Brand, copyright 1965, William Tell Sackett, 1875-1879
11 The Sky-Liners, copyright 1967, Flagan and Galloway Sackett, 1875-1879
12 The Lonely Men, copyright 1969, William Tell Sackett, 1875-1879
13 Mustang Man, copyright 1966, Nolan Sackett, 1875-1879
14 Galloway, copyright 1970, Flagan and Galloway Sackett, 1875-1879
15 Treasure Mountain, copyright 1973, William Tell and Orrin Sackett, 1875-1879
16 Ride the Dark Trail, copyright 1972, Logan Sackett, Em Talon (born a Sackett), 1875-1879
17 Lonely on the Mountain, copyright 1980, William Tell, Orrin, Tyrel Sackett and Logan Sackett, 1875-1879

Large [3.35"] Heavy-Duty Sharp Nail Clippers and Smooth Glass Nail File in one set with Gift Package - Clean and Precise Cut for Toenails and Fingernails with Only Gentle Pressure - Ergonomic Anti-Slip Design for Men and Women - Rust Resistant Stainless Steel - by Klick Professional
Large [3.35"] Heavy-Duty Sharp Nail Clippers and Smooth Glass Nail File in one set with Gift Package - Clean and Precise Cut for Toenails and Fingernails with Only Gentle Pressure - Ergonomic Anti-Slip Design for Men and Women - Rust Resistant Stainless Steel - by Klick Professional
Offered by Klick Professional
Price: $24.98

4.0 out of 5 stars Attractive and functional, suitable for men or women, May 13, 2015
This is an attractive nail clipper with a unique nail file made of glass. I personally had never seen anything like this nail-care set. It comes in a gift box and would make a nice stocking stuffer.

I think both men and women would be comfortable using this nail clipper. It is neither particularly masculine nor especially feminine but rather somewhere in between.

This clipper is made of brushed steel, and it feels light and comfortable in my hand. It doesn't slip when I am using it in my left hand, as some nail clippers do. Though this clipper is as large as a typical toenail clipper, it works well on fingernails, too.

The glass nail file works fairly well, though for toenails, I ultimately had to finish up with an emery board.

Reviewer disclosure: I received a sample of this product from the merchant who sells it here on Amazon in order to test it out before writing an impartial review.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 2, 2015 2:09 AM PDT

McCormick Pure Almond Extract, 8 Fluid Ounce
McCormick Pure Almond Extract, 8 Fluid Ounce
Price: $18.32
2 used & new from $15.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent price in a handy, large size!, May 6, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I was delighted to see McCormick is offering almond extract in an 8-ounce size. In the past I've only seen it in the tiny 2-ounce bottles, and they run out far too quickly.

I love using almond extract in baking, but especially when I make anything with chocolate. It seems to really make the chocolate flavor pop. But as a test for the quality of the flavor of this particular brand, I decided to use it in one of the blandest things I could think of--vanilla pudding. I substituted this almond extract entirely for the vanilla extract the recipe calls for.

I am happy to report the flavor of this extract is outstanding. It really made the pudding taste terrific. I will very likely make vanilla pudding with this almond extract from now on.

Highly recommended!

Viva Labs #1 Best Selling Certified Organic Cacao Powder from Superior Criollo Beans, 1lb Bag
Viva Labs #1 Best Selling Certified Organic Cacao Powder from Superior Criollo Beans, 1lb Bag
Offered by Premium Vitamins
Price: $18.95
10 used & new from $10.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Delicious, high-quality cacao AKA cocoa powder, April 26, 2015
This is a truly delicious substitute for cocoa, which is alkalized. The alkalizing process creates a milder flavor, but it decreases the nutritional value of cacao. This product is organic, non-GMO, fair trade, and sustainably grown.

This cacao powder has a smooth flavor, and it is not only nutritious, but a low-calorie way to make healthy, chocolate ice cream, cocoa, or baked goods. I also mix 1/4 teaspoon into each 1/3-cup serving of the plain, unflavored, whey protein powder I use, along with a sprinkle of stevia powder for sweetening.

Note that, even more so than cocoa powder, I have to slowly add liquids to this cacao powder using a wire whisk in order to avoid lumps. That's just standard good practice that most cooks will know already, however.

The one-pound bulk bag is perfect for me, because I use cacao powder for many different recipes, and I am happy to know this product is sold in bulk.

Reviewer disclosure: I received a sample of this product from the merchant who sells it here on Amazon in order to test it out before writing an impartial review.

Viva Labs #1 Organic Unsweetened Cacao Nibs, Non-GMO, 1 lb bag
Viva Labs #1 Organic Unsweetened Cacao Nibs, Non-GMO, 1 lb bag
Offered by Premium Vitamins
Price: $21.95
8 used & new from $11.79

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great taste, great product!, April 26, 2015
Organic, raw, unsweetened, non-GMO cacao nibs are a great way to get all the benefits of dark chocolate without any processing. Because they are not sweetened or process in any way to remove the natural bitterness of cacao, these nibs are not sweet like chocolate candy. For that reason, if you plan to eat them plain, they can take some getting used to. Note, though, that you don't need to eat a lot of this food to get the health benefits, only about a half teaspoonful of them per day.

I personally eat them with roasted almonds and dried pineapple, and it tastes fantastic that way. Mixing the nibs together with nuts, dried fruit and unsweetened coconut flakes makes a wonderful trail mix that is a very portable and delicious snack for children or adults.

Over the last four years there have been dozens of scientific studies analyzing and confirming substantial health benefits from a small amount of dark chocolate consumed daily. The latest findings from a Harvard study released in early 2011 indicate that as little as 6 gm. of dark chocolate (about 30 calories) is a sufficient daily "dose." That means you need very little of pure chocolate like these nibs.

The original German studies in 2007 used Ritter Sport dark chocolate, but I haven't so far been able to discover which kind of Ritter's dark chocolate was used by the researchers. However, since Ritter's only makes two types, 50% cacao and 71% cacao, this product's content of cacao goes far beyond the parameters of the dark chocolate used in that study.

The health benefits of dark chocolate are due to the flavonoids contained in cocoa. Flavonoids act as antioxidants in the body, which both prevent and reduce inflammation. Over many years of medical research, inflammation has been found to contribute to or directly cause a host of diseases, including high blood pressure, heart disease, and cancer, as well as autoimmune diseases like arthritis.

Flavonoids are found in the pigments of fruits and vegetables which give them their color. The darker and deeper the color of a fruit or vegetable, the greater the amount of flavonoids it contains. Cocoa is derived from the dark-brown cacao bean, which is the fruit of the tropical tree, theobroma cacao. In any chocolate product, such as this one, the higher the percentage of cocoa/cacao, the more flavonoids the chocolate contains.

Dark chocolate such as this product is better for your health than milk chocolate because it contains more antioxidants, which are good for you, and less sugar, which is not good for you--especially if you have diabetes or are struggling with your weight.

The FDA defines categories of chocolate based on how much cocoa/cacao is in a given product:
1. Unsweetened chocolate with no additives is 100% cocoa. Most all brands of unsweetened baker's chocolate fall into this category. Their ingredient list will state simply, "chocolate." This product is unprocessed cacao.
2. Bittersweet chocolate contains 35-99% cocoa (35% is the minimum), and it must contain less than 12% milk solids. There is a large range of products in this category, and the product names reflect the amount of chocolate they contain. Unsweetened chocolate is very bitter, and the more cocoa in a product, the less room for sugar, and the more bitter it will be. In order to avoid frightening off customers who are used to sweet chocolate, marketers often substitute the words "dark," "extra dark" or "intense" for "bitter" if that word is not paired with "sweet," for example as "bittersweet" or "extra bittersweet." This product lies at the top of this range.
3. Sweet chocolate contains 15-34% cocoa (15% is the minimum), and it must contain less than 12% milk solids. It is sometimes also marketed as "dark chocolate," even though it has a much lower percentage of cocoa solids than bittersweet, which can cause consumers, in such cases, to purchase a product with less cocoa in it than they realized they were getting. Everything else besides the cocoa and milk solids is essentially sugar.
4. Milk chocolate is only required to have a minimum of 10% cocoa, a minimum of 12% milk solids and 3.39% milk fat. The rest is sugar and milk.

Cetaphil Baby Daily Lotion with Organic Calendula, Sweet Almond Oil and Sunflower Oil, 13.5 Ounce
Cetaphil Baby Daily Lotion with Organic Calendula, Sweet Almond Oil and Sunflower Oil, 13.5 Ounce
Price: $9.99
2 used & new from $9.49

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Health-conscious parents won't want this toxic stew anywhere near their precious babies, April 22, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I am shocked that Cetaphil has made such a chemical stew of a lotion, especially one marketed at babies. Let me just start with this fact: The fragrance stinks and the greasy, sticky texture feels awful on one's skin.

Many people still use "baby oil," which in long-time formulas like Johnson's Baby Oil has the primary ingredient of mineral oil scented with a strong, toxic fragrance. If you are planning to use a baby oil product on your baby, the best possible oil you could use is organic coconut oil (or any other organic, edible oil). I think coconut oil is ideal because it has a wonderful, real coconut smell, none of that awful, chemical fragrance that is so often put in baby products like this one.

There is another benefit of using an edible, food-grade oil as a baby moisturizer: if your baby pops her fingers in her mouth which have coconut oil on them, or you want to moisturize her lips, which can get very chapped from baby drool, you don't have to worry about her ingesting awful chemicals into her body.

Another benefit of coconut oil is that it is antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal, so it is healing and soothing on diaper rash and also helps prevent it.

If you are worried about using a food oil as a moisturizer making your baby's skin greasy or sticky, you won't be avoiding that issue with a greasy, sticky product like this one. One way to get natural, food-grade oil to absorb more deeply into baby's skin is to give her a massage every day when you moisturize her. This is just one example of a book on that subject: Baby Massage: the Calming Power of Touch. It's even more wonderful for a baby to be massaged than an adult. It's soothing and healing, and helps bond parent with child and makes baby feel loved and secure.

I usually like to include in reviews of products like this one a description of each of the chemical ingredients it contains but, frankly, there are so many chemicals in this product, my review would end up 2000 words long if I included descriptions of them all! However, if you are reading this review and you have a strong interest in learning more about any of the chemicals in this product, simply ask me about any of them you would like to know about in the comment section and I will post that information there.

In all, there are over a dozen chemical ingredients in this product that I wouldn't recommend that an adult expose herself to, and would never want any of them near any precious baby in my care.

Ingredients: Water, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Sorbitol, Isopropyl Palmitate, Octyldodecanol, Polyglyceryl-3 Diisostearate, Glycerin, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Hexyldecanol, Hexyldecyl Laurate, Panthenol, Caprylyl Glycol, Carbomer, Fragrance, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Sodium Hydroxide, Dipropylene Glycol, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Squalane, Propylene Glycol, Glyceryl Caprylate, Heliotropine, Tocopherol.

NAKED RICE - 100% Organic Sprouted Brown Rice Protein - 5lb Bulk
NAKED RICE - 100% Organic Sprouted Brown Rice Protein - 5lb Bulk
Offered by Naked Nutrition Inc
Price: $94.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Healthy, organic, vegan protein powder, April 22, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I purchased this brown-rice protein powder because I was looking for a vegan alternative to whey protein powder. This product has what I was looking for on multiple levels:

1. It is organic.
2. It is soy, gluten and GMO free.
3. It is mechanically processed without harsh chemicals and heat.
4. Unlike so many whey protein powders, this rice protein powder has only one ingredient, organic, sprouted brown rice. It has no artificial sweeteners, flavors, colors, or any chemical preservatives.
5. The taste is mild and no more or less palatable than the plain whey powder I had been using.
6. It mixes as easily as whey protein powder, that is to say, I use a wire whisk.
7. It's price is less expensive than organic whey protein powder.

I tend to mix my protein powder in stevia-sweetened herbal tea, and it tastes fine in that.

I don't have anything negative to say about this product and I will be purchasing it again.

Emerald Cove Silver Grade Kombu (Dried Seaweed), 35-Ounce Bag
Emerald Cove Silver Grade Kombu (Dried Seaweed), 35-Ounce Bag
Price: $35.00
2 used & new from $35.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Good product at a good price, April 19, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The price for this product initially sounded high to me, but from the reviews here on Amazon, I assumed it would be a big package, and it is. Very big. Thus the price per ounce is actually relatively low. To give you an idea how long it might last, for a huge pot of soup (24 cups), I used 1/3 of what I will call a "frond" of seaweed--which is perhaps 1/30th of the package, or about $1 worth of seaweed.

There are no instructions on the package for proper storage, but looking it up on the Internet, I learned that it will stay fresh for 2-4 months unrefrigerated and 4-6 months refrigerated. I believe that freezing it will make it last even longer, which is what I'm going to do.

I used some of this kombu tonight in a vegan, Thai, coconut-curry soup, mainly in order to counteract the gas creating effects of the legumes in the soup. Though the seaweed had a bit of a fishy smell when I was cutting it up, after it had cooked in the soup, that smell went away. In taste it is very mild, with barely any flavor of its own. This to me is a plus in its favor.

The kombu, when cooked, has a dense, somewhat chewy texture. It also looks quite attractive in the soup itself, creating a pleasing presentation when the soup is served.

Kombu provides excellent additional nutrition to any dish it is added to. It contains vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E (as alpha tocopherol), vitamin K, niacin, pantothenic acid, phosphorus, iodine, riboflavin, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, copper and manganese. It is high in sodium, but it is a healthy, mineral-rich form of sodium.

Overall, I am very satisfied with my purchase. I feel I got good value for the money I spent, and I would order this product again.

The Billionaire's Bridal Bargain (Bound by Gold)
The Billionaire's Bridal Bargain (Bound by Gold)
by Lynne Graham
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
74 used & new from $0.01

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable marriage-of-convenience romance, March 31, 2015
Lizzie Whitaker is the 24-year-old daughter of a Yorkshire tenant farmer. Her younger sister is studying at Oxford, something Lizzie would have liked to do as well, but she left school at 16 in order to help her father, who has Parkinson's disease. As her father has grown increasingly disabled over the years, Lizzie has taken on more and more of the grueling work of keeping the farm going, until at the present time, she is entirely responsible for its upkeep. It's a harsh, lonely life, and her only source of companionship and affection is her dog. Her angry, bitter father offers her nothing but criticism and complaints and, on top of all that, the farm is so deeply in debt, they are in danger of losing the tenancy and becoming homeless. In the recent past, she and her sister inherited from their mother an island called Lionos in the Aegean Sea, but it is of no help to their family, because they can't sell it.

Lionos belonged to Cesare Sabatino's grandmother Athene's family, the Zirondis, for generations, until it was sold to Geraldo Luccini in the 1930's. Athene is currently old and sick and longs to return to her birthplace, if only for a visit. Cesare would like to buy the island for her from the Whitaker sisters, and he can well afford it, because he is a billionaire. However, the only way his family can regain the island, according to the airtight, intergenerational terms of Geraldo Luccini's will, is through a marriage between a descendant of the Zirondi family (which Cesare is) and a descendant of the Luccini family (which Lizzie and her sister are). If Cesare marries Lizzie, his grandmother can visit Lionos, but only if Cesare and Lizzie have a child can he buy the island from her, which is worth millions.

Lizzie meets Cesare for the first time when he comes to her family's farm and makes her an offer she finds impossible to resist: marry this gorgeous guy, who is enormously successful for a man who is only in his early 30's, and never spend another backbreaking day on the farm again, when Cesare ensures that all her family's financial problems vanish forever. The two big issues holding Lizzie back are her moral qualms about having a child for financial gain, and the major hurdle to consummating the marriage that she is a virgin who believes she is frigid.

This romance plot is unusual for Lynne Graham in that there is no unplanned pregnancy pushing the hero to marry the heroine, which is a nice change of pace. Lizzie is a strong heroine, who is very loyal to her family, especially her younger sister. Cesare, interestingly, comes from a large, lovingly demonstrative family and his austere personality makes him something of a cuckoo in the family nest. I enjoyed Lizzie's relationship with her younger sister, and found it believable that she sacrificed for her family and opted for a marriage of convenience with Cesare.

This story does not have all the intensity of some of Ms. Graham's most outstanding novels, such as Bond of Hatred, Married to a Mistress, Vengeful Husband, and Prisoner of Passion, but it it a pleasant read, and it is rather a relief to encounter a Harlequin Presents in which the hero isn't incessantly harsh to the point of cruelty in his interactions with the heroine.

I rate this book:

Heroine: 4 stars
Hero: 4 stars
Romance Plot: 4 stars
Writing: 4 stars

Gaiam Sol Sticky-Grip Yoga Mat (5mm)
Gaiam Sol Sticky-Grip Yoga Mat (5mm)
Price: $48.53
4 used & new from $39.99

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars High-quality, easy maintenance mat, March 22, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This yoga mat has a lovely color and attractive patterns embossed in its textured surface. It is well made of high-quality, sustainable, latex-free rubber, and the ribbed bottom works well for preventing slippage on a smooth surface.

This mat out-gassed a slight chemical smell for a few days but it did eventually wear off.

The manufacturer claims this mat is "thick." It seems to me to be about the same thickness, or at best a tiny bit thicker, than the standard rubber mats provided at my gym. For what it is worth, I have this to say about all such mats: If your body doesn't come with it's own built-in "padding," it is a bruising experience to do yoga or calisthenic exercises on a hard floor while sitting or lying on this or any other thin, rubber mat. For that reason, there aren't any yoga mats of this type on the market, including this one, that seem "thick" to me personally. However, since that is a typical design feature among all rubber yoga mats, I am not grading down this mat for not being what I truly consider thick--a depth of three inches. That is the thickness of a different type of yoga mat, a futon mat, which I also own. The advantage of this mat over a futon mat is that it weighs 5 pounds vs 19 pounds for the futon mat, making it much more portable. It is also substantially easier to keep clean.

Speaking of cleaning this mat, it is not necessary to pay a lot of money for special yoga-mat cleaning solutions when a mat is made of rubber, as this one is. You can make your own quite inexpensively. Here are some examples:

1. Dilute white vinegar in a ratio of 1:16 (1 tablespoon per cup). Vinegar is a natural disinfectant. To increase disinfectant properties, you can add a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice or a few drops of any of the following essential oils which each have disinfectant properties: tea tree, eucalyptus, peppermint, lavender, oregano, lemon, and clove.

2. Dilute a biodegradeable liquid soap, such as Sal Suds, in the same proportion as the white vinegar, 1:16.

3. You can add 1 tablespoon liquid soap to each cup of white-vinegar mixture to maximize cleaning effectiveness.

Instructions for use of cleaning solutions:

1. Put the cleaning solution of your choice in a spray bottle and shake well.

2. Spray the mat and use a clean rag or paper towel to scrub the mat.

3. If you use a soap mixture, you may want to go back over the mat with a clean, damp rag or damp paper towel in order to remove the soap residue. This is not necessary when you use a vinegar mixture.

Note that rubber is not harmed by water. This means that, if you wanted to, you could hose it off on your patio during warm-weather seasons and drape it over a patio chair or the rail of a deck or porch to dry.

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