Thursday, January 26, 2012

Soda Stream

Ok, here is a review of the best Christmas gift this year.... My Soda Stream

What is it you ask?

This is a device that uses no electricity - surprise surprise in today's technological age, and me the electrical engineer loving something that does not plug in! - that carbonizes water.

Ok, why would someone need that?  Well after you carbonize the water you add flavoring and presto - you have your own Soda Pop or flavored sparkling water! 

And the bonus is at a fraction of the cost of buying it!

This was bought for me by my loving husband.  He went to Costco and picked up the Dynamo Deluxe.   This style is only available at Costco and uses a bigger Carbon Dioxcide bottle than the ones sold at other stores.  It also comes with TWO one liter alumnium bottles and the 12 piece sampler of syrups.

It is easy to use. 

  1. Take one of the bottles filled with water (better if they have been sitting in the fridge getting cold)
  2. Screw the bottle on the machine
  3. Press the button till it buzzes (They suggest 3 times but we like 2 better, 3 is so much carbonation it makes you really bloated)
  4.  Remove bottle
  5.  Add a cap full of syrup from a syrup bottle ( or one packet of syrup from the sample pack)
  6.  Place on cap and gently combine.  ( We swish it back and forth and gently shake)
  7.  Make sure you break the seal and close the cap a couple of times to 'burp' the bottle ( otherwise if you just unscrew the cap it sprays everywhere.  Been there, Done that.)

A little bit about what else needs to go with it:

The syrups cost $4.99 - $9.99 for a bottle.  I bought them at Bed Bath and beyond and brought in a fist full of 20% coupons with me.

Each regular bottle will make 12 liters.

Each Sparkling Naturals will make 6 liters.

The carbonator I need makes 130 liters, if you recycle ( have then refill it) by UPS or at Kohls it Costs $30, Its $50 for an extra filled one to have around so you can still use it while waiting to get the one that ran out refilled.

I also bought 2 extra bottles at $10.

So how much does this come out to per bottle you ask?

Well, you know me I love math so...

Carbonator ... $30 refilled = $30 / 130 liters = 23 cents / liter
Regular bottle of syrup = $5 / 12 liters = 42 cents / liter

After the cost of the initial system = 65 cents / liter

AND you are saving the environment by not having all those bottles and cans laying about or having to be returned for you dime!

If you haven't already guessed I love it, Bill loves it and so do the kids!  The kids come running when they hear the 'buzz' and want to pick the next flavor.

These are the ones I like:

If anyone knows me I had to have this one.  It was ok, but still have my Diet Coke.

Really like this one. 

Little bit about the syrups.  Almost all of them use splenda.  Even the non-diet ones.  Reasons?
1.  For preservatives and
2.  To use sugar the bottle is twice the size for half the amount. 

The above is one of the syrups that use sugar and it is twice the price, the bottle is twice as big but it makes half as many bottles as the others.

others that are my fav's

here are Bill's Fav's

I usually make mine first thing in the morning and take to work.  So much better than $1.55 for a 20 oz Diet Coke.  And I mix up the flavors according to my mood.

The final vertict? A great big YEA

***No products or services were recieved in exchange for this review.  Everything thing contained here is my own opinion***

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - SOPA/PIPA

This post has been censored by the US Government due to violation of H.R. 3261 Stop Online Piracy Act. Any actions taken to circumvent this notice will result in fines and potential federal prosecution. Any links to circumvented material will result in fines and potential federal prosecution.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Lunchbots Snack Duo

Another fun and exciting product I got from BzzAgent

Bento Boxes are the new 'thing' for school lunches these days.  They are fun, encourage kids to eat healthier and save the enviornment by not using plastic baggies that get thrown away.

If you want to know more about bento boxes head on over to my friends blog One Cool Lunch.

Ok now onto....

I started packing little bento boxes for my kids lunch this year.  I went out and got some of the Ziploc divided containers to pack mine in.  part of the reason was because I wanted to stay with a cheap container to see how it went and how receptive the kids were without making a big money commitment.

With all the concerns lately about BPA and other bad things in plastic alot of 'crunchy' moms are heading to more durable, non man made elements for things that hold their kids food.

One statement from Lunchbot site - "One excellent choice is food containers made of stainless steel, an alloy composed of natural elements. Inert and sanitary, stainless steel poses no health risks, is widely used in the food industry, and will not impart peculiar tastes or smells to your food."

Lunchbot offers a variety of different products.  Like the divided snack container that they sent me.

Lunch size with no dividers , 2, 3 or four compartments.

They also offer containers for soup.

And as you can see above these all come is a variety of colors.

The snack one that I got is great for putting little snacks in and throwing in Caitlyns diaper bag.  The divider allows you to pack 2 snacks and the container is really sturdy.

Would I go out and buy the lunch ones for the boys lunches?  No for 2 reasons.  One, the Ziploc ones are doing a good enough job and Two, I did not have enough time and creativity to put together a fun, exciting, new and different lunch together every day.  Am I bad mother because of this?  No, just a normal one that works and has a left brain (not much artsy fartsy stuff in there, mor math and logic). 

Also the price was kinda high for me.  Some people justify it because it will last forever, no plastic at all, and they are sturdy.

If you are the crunchy type or think they would be a great beginning to the bento adventure go out and buy these.  They are really nice and for a aluminum container the price is right.

The answer for this one is really a maybe for me

But I do find these can be a big thumbs up for others.

****   I received a snack Lunchbot Duo from BzzAgent and Lunchbot to try in exchange for a review and some face to face advertising.  However, all opinions expressed here are my own.****

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Help

Three ordinary women are about to take one extraordinary step.

Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.

Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.

Minny, Aibileen’s best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody’s business, but she can’t mind her tongue, so she’s lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own.

Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.

In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women—mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends—view one another. A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope, The Help is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don’t.

I read this book in 2 days.  I couldn't put it down.  I kept wanting to know what was going to happen next.

Great book that fictionally tells how much courage some people had to have to make sure things changed. 

This book tells of how the white women of the south would hire black women to clean their house, make their food and raise their children.  But doing all this while being invisable and most times unappreciated.  There were some white women who went along because that was way it was done and the story is about one that wanted to change things.

I am looking forward to seeing the movie.  Hopfully it does the book justice.

This book gets a great big thumbs up from me!!!

*** This book was sent to me for free from BzzAgent in exchange for my opinion and word of mouth advertising.  However, all opionions express here are my own.  ***

Private Selection Frozen Foods

Kroger is introducing a new line of their Private Selection brand.  Just a fancy word for high class Kroger brand.

They are introducing frozen foods.  Specifically pizza, appetizers and desserts.

I was sent coupons from BzzAgent to try a pizza, an appetizer and a dessert.

There were about 3 choices of each category to choose from.

  • Private Selection® Frozen Appetizers ($3 - $7) Individually handcrafted and filled with unique combinations of high-quality, savory ingredients. Hand-crafted offerings include Mediterranean Inspired Hors D'Oeuvres collection, Southwestern Style Chicken Trumpets, Mushroom Walnut Profiteroles, Spanakopita.

  • Private Selection™ Frozen Pizza (Around $5) is set with oval-shaped crust that is baked in an Italian marble oven to create a thin and flaky base for authentic, high-quality ingredients. Mouth-watering offerings include BBQ Chicken, Margherita, Roasted Vegetable and Pepperoni

  • Private Selection® Frozen Desserts ($3 - $5) have rich, delicious flavors, making them a divine indulgence. Decadent treats include Blueberry Peach Panna Cotta, Northern Spy Apple Crisp, Pineapple Upside Down Cake and a wide selection of Ice Creams (like Strawberry Harvest, Vanilla Bean and SeaSalt Caramel)

  • Ok, first off I tried the Southwestern Style Chicken Trumpets.  I tried one and thought they were kinda dry.  They came with about 8 in a box.  Hubby ate the rest with sour cream and salsa.  He thought they were good.  But I thought 8 was not enough for $5.

    Next I tried the pepperoni pizza.  I liked this, I enjoy the thin crunchy pizza.  They kids were less than thrilled and again it was not very big.  The box said 2 servings.  Too small for a family of 5 and not convienent for a lunch.  This is not microwave friendly.

    Lastly I tried the Belgium Chocolate Lava Cakes.  Now these were really good, microwave friendly and just the right size.   Would I buy them again?  Maybe if they were on sale.  I look at it as $1.25 / little cake and that is a little high for me.  Also at 410 calories those could cause some serious damage.

    A couple of the dessert selections only came with two servings.  The Apple Crisp looked good but there were only two.  How can you share 2 with a family of 5?

    As for taste?

    Trumpets - Blah and Dry
    Pizza - OK
    Lava Cakes - Mmmmm


    Trumpets - $5 / 8   Not a good value.
    Pizza - $5 / 2 servings  Nope
    Lava Cakes $5 / 4 cakes Ok but still a little high for me.

    What do I give them?

    Well since I would not buy again and I think a thumbs down is a little too harsh -


    ***I received coupons to try the products for free in exchange for feedback and word of mouth advertising but the opinions expressed are my own.****

    Monday, January 2, 2012

    Happy New Year!

    Some of the things coming up in the next week.

    Reviews on:

    A Yoga mat
    Hand Blender
    Private selection frozen foods
    The Help
    Canvas Print.

    These are things I got from BzzAgent in the last month.

    Then we will have review on some of the things I got for Christmas:

    The Kinect
    various Kinect games
    Dual Crockpot

    I know there are other things too, but this will get us started.  Here's to a great new year.