New Twist on Tuna!

  • Exciting new flavors!
  • Individual portion size
  • Convenient pop-top
  • Perfect for lunchbox!

New Twist on Tuna!


While I was cruising the aisles of my local grocery store, I decided to take a minute and do market research.  Because, that’s what you do when you’re a dietician….

The aisles did not disappoint, with many new products to entice us.  Well, disappointed a bit because my store no longer stocked “Kitchens of India Butter Chicken” sauce.  Sigh….

In researching lunchbox options that do not need refrigeration for those on-the-go, my natural choice was the canned tuna / chicken / seafood area.  To my surprise, Chicken of the Sea tuna infusions have arrived – delightful options in a 2.8 oz. container with a poptop lid!  The one that caught my eye was Lemon & Thyme in extra virgin olive oil (EVOO:  the good stuff).  Who needs mayo?  And… DELICIOUS.

Other options for flavor include:

Sundried Tomato


Thai Chili

Cracked Black Pepper

Smoked Flavor 

Six little buckets o’bliss.  Easy to carry.  International flavors.  No more boring tuna.  Shake up YOUR lunchbox!



Now to go find a fruit cup or veggie sticks with hummus to round out my meal.

Find more here: 



Bugs bugging you this season?  

I must be a bug magnet; they love me.  Unfortunately I really react to a bite, so avoiding them is best.

When trying to figure out which insect repellent to use, consider how often you will be applying them.  This is especially true if you are applying something directly to your skin.  Skin is an effective absorption surface – which means the product may make it’s way into your liver or bloodstream.  The more often you use them, consider the safety very carefully.


DEET is considered safe when applied correctly by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) and the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), However, when not applied correctly, a host of issues can ensue, including neurologic effects (effects on the nervous system).  This means if you apply it with your hands and then grab a cookie, then DEET gets transferred to the cookie and you ingest it, which is not using the product correctly.  Also, don’t spray it on your face, as many membranes such as those around the eyes, can become very irritated.  Spray it on your hands and apply it to your face with your hands – then go wash your hands with soap and water.  Directions also say not to inhale it, which is difficult to accomplish when spraying on squirmy kids.  Read  more about your risk and use with children here.  

I personally am not anxious to use it.  Maybe if I were in a deep rainforest or some circumstance where the threat of mosquito or tick bites needs a more powerful force; that would be rare in my case and I might consider it.

DEET-Free Products:

Avon sells a product called “Skin So Soft” that is reputed to repel mosquitos for about 2 hours.  I have not found any information on it other than one study that proves it works.

We used the ultrasonic clip ons when my boys were young and those seemed to work.

New on the block are permethrin-infused clothing, which comes from chrysanthemums.

Essential Oils

And of course, one of my favorites, essential oil based products.

The most common are citronella based products.  Citronella is the essential oil of two grasses.  It is sold most often as candles, and will repel mosquitos for about 2 hours. Other essential oil products include sprays which have lemon eucalyptus oil, peppermint oil, rosemary or other oils.  To learn more about the use of essential oils, click here.  The two I have found that are especially effective for me are DoTerra Terrashield® and Peppermint Oils.  Peppermint oil especially will deter ants, flies, mosquitos, knats, and ticks.  Here are the ingredients in the TerraShield blend:

Fractionated Coconut Oil, Ylang Ylang Flower, Tamanu Seed, Nootka Wood, Cedarwood Wood, Catnip Plant, Lemon Eucalyptus Leaf, Litsea Fruit, Vanilla Bean Absolute, Arborvitae Wood

If applying as an oil, you will want to add a carrier such as a liquid coconut oil.   

Making and using Essential Oil Wipes

I personally like to use a wipe and found a recipe for baby wipes that I swapped out the oils for ones that discourage bugs.   My own bug repellent wipes using essential oil! I hang these up near a door entrance to deter the pests as well, such as at the entrance from the garage to the house.  They dry up and I have to hang a new one, but it has cut down on the number of flies that get in.  I also have a spray bottle with water and a few drops of peppermint that I spray around the doorways.  Smells nice to me; nasty to the bugs!

Here is my modified recipe for bug repellent wipes using essential oil:

Bug-Off Wipes

Mix together in a glass bowl (that has a fitted lid):

1 & 1/2 cups distilled water

2 Tablespoons fractionated coconut oil (or liquid coconut oil)

2 Tablespoons witchhazel

6 – 8 drops of vitamin E oil (optional)

15 drops TerraShield® essential oil

10 – 15 drops peppermint essential oil

Stir together. Next, take a roll of good quality paper towels (I like the half-size tear offs).  Do not use the cheap stuff for this.  Cut the roll in half so that you have two half rolls (they will be about the size and look of a roll of toilet paper).   Tear off the half-sheets from one of the rolls, and lay them in a decently straight stack.  Put the stack of paper towels in the bowl with the liquid and let it soak overnight with the lid on.  Keep the lid on when not in use.  Use one or two wipes at a time.  Can be used on the skin, even the face.  It has not been tested, and I would use caution for use on infants, toddlers, children or those under age 18.

Safety for pets:  

I have not reviewed any information on safety around pets, infants, or small children.  Read up on that if it is of concern to you.

Final Thoughts:

For most of my life, I just wanted the bugs to stop biting me, and gave little thought to the products I was using. Now that I’m more aware of both the effects of products and the effects of viruses the bugs carry (mosquitos and Zika, West Nile and the ticks and Lyme Disease) I have become more concerned about finding a balance.  These products are more natural but they haven’t been studied for safety around pets or others, and many should not be ingested.  Please use caution, but best of luck!

Photo credit:  mosquito:  Егор Камелев on  Unsplash; tick:  Foad RoshanonUnsplash



Buy DoTerra


Once in a while, I find a gadget that deserves a review.  

I’ve used many different kinds of manual can openers, but a battery operated one?  I’m all for easy!

We meet

I was browsing the “as-seen-on-tv” area of the store, when I spied it.  A hands free can opener.  No more strain on my wrist, or worse, asking a stronger member of the family for help.  (Even though it makes them feel good…)

The gears

Here’s what the moving mechanism looks like







How it works

Place the RoboTwist on the top of a jar.  Press the green button on top. 

First, the top “hands” close around the top of the lid (first picture below)

Then the bottom “hands” close further down the jar (second picture below)

Then, you’ll see the mechanism twist around to open the lid (third picture) and continue to twist until the lid opens (fourth picture).

With the lid open, the RoboTwist aligns again and the upper “hands” move away (fifth picture) and then the lower “hands” move away (sixth picture).

Hands free!

Pros & Cons


  1.  Hands free  – doesn’t hurt your wrists
  2. I can be doing something else while it opens my jar
  3. Stores easily


  1. It’s a bit noisy; sounds like it is straining
  2. Batteries have to be changed, but I’ve had mine over a year and am using the same batteries.


RoboTwist gets an A+ in my book!

RoboTwist Can Opener

Note:  As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


All photographs taken by Mary McNeill.

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Essential oils have become a part of my life.  Forever.

It began when we adopted our rescue dog, Levi.  He seemed very nervous, always biting his toenails.  I understand he had been in and out of several homes, always being returned back to the shelter.

I’m happy to report he has been with us for 7 years!

But back to diffusers.

My friend, Saundra, introduced me to lavender essential oil.  She said to put it on his paws and he would calm down.  I was reluctant, so put it on my hands and then rubbed his head.  He calmed down very quickly.

I needed to find out more about these “magical” oils.  

Ways to use oils

Many essential oils can be diffused, taken orally, or absorbed through the skin.   However, some cannot be diffused, some cannot be taken orally, and some need to be diluted with a carrier oil before applying to the skin.  Please become familiar with these products, or email me for more detail.  I want you to use them safely.


Diffusers come in many styles and types.  The more common ones are usually filled with water, and a few drops of essential oil are added.

That doesn’t work well for me.

I did not like messing with refilling the water all the time, worrying about running out of water, and so forth.  I needed something less demanding on my time and energy.  I also like creating my own blends, and that can get burdensome if I have to do it every day.

Aroma-Ace Diffuser

My solution came in the form of Aroma-Ace Diffuser.  It is electronic, and does not require any water for the oil.  The oil top and drop controller (little white plastic piece) are removed, and the glass container is screwed onto the diffusing part (see picture).


Settings on the back include the on/off dial, which also controls the strength of the diffusion, as well as a dial for the length of time “on” and the length of time “off”.

Check on the level of oil occasionally and you’re good to go!  It can run 24/7 or be turned off at night or moved to other locations. 

The sound of the diffuser on high was a bit much for nighttime, and there is an accompanying “silencer” available for purchase as well.

I use doTerra brand oils, and the bottle fits the Aroma-Ace.  If you use other oils and the bottle doesn’t fit, buy the essential bottles from online sellers, such as “Bulk Apothecary”.

Aroma-Ace gets an A+ in my book!

Aroma-Ace Diffuser

Note:  As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

All photos by M. McNeill Read more >