I hope everyone had a wonderful and safe Halloween with their families. Here are some pictures of the big night at Rave and Review:
Since I found out I was pregnant, I have read over a dozen articles and books about baby proofing the house and every single expert recommends putting drugs and medications out of baby’s reach, or better yet, purchasing a baby lock for your medication that will keep your curious baby safe. As sound of advice as that is, it really doesn’t address the issue of keeping your children safe after they are able to climb, open doors, or unlatch baby locks. The MedSafe is the first babyproofing product I have seen that is truly kid-proof and still allows parents to easily access their necessary medications.
The MedSafe is an impact resistant polymer locking safe that is designed to work like a traditional combo safe that secures your valuables. Instead of storing precious jewels or cash, the MedSafe is designed to hold all of your prescription and over-the-counter medications (up to 15 bottles) and keep your kids from accessing them on their own, even well after babyproofing age.
The MedSafe is fairly compact and can be stored in bathrooms, pantries, nightstands and more easily and safely. The MedSafe comes with screws to attach to the wall, but you can also use double sided tape to secure safely in metal cabinets or dressers. Since we don’t have anywhere near 15 medications in our house, we put other items we wanted to keep baby out of in our MedSafe, like fingernail clippers, scissors and razor blades.
I did notice that some of the medications we do have were a bit tall for the Med Safe, since it has one fixed shelf running midway through the safe, so we had to turn those bottles on their sides to get them to fit inside. A height adjustable shelf would be one of my most emphatic suggestions on the next version of the MedSafe, but definitely not a deal breaker with a product that ensures the safety of our children.
The statistics on drug related deaths and injuries offered on the MedSafe site were truly shocking and reaffirmed my desire to remove every trace of medications from our unlocked medicine cabinet for good. Citing data about accidental overdoses of young kids as well as teenagers, it really opens your eyes as to how vulnerable kids are at all ages and all you can do to protect them.
Their website focuses on the Teen drug abuse problem, which every parent thinks will never happen to them or their children, but only the families with locked medicine cabinets can be reassured won’t. Deaths related to prescription drug overdoses happen every 5 minutes, according to http://www.helpsaveourkids.com/, which is more than 3 times greater than the number of gun related deaths each year. Most parents wouldn’t dream of an unlocked firearms in their house but leave their medications out for anyone to access (even extremely rude houseguests who enjoy snooping through medicine cabinets – 39% of them according to MedSafe’s website) which is incredibly scary to me.
No one ever kicks themselves and says “I wish I hadn’t been so gosh darn safe,” but the opposite unfortunately is not true. Just one mistake or accident can truly happen in an instant and it really does pay to be safe rather than sorry.
http://www.helpsaveourkids.com/ to Join their fight to have 5 Million Homes Secured by 2011!
A big thank you to An Island Life and MedSafe for making my medicine cabinet and family safer. MedSafe offered the sample to review and no other type of compensation was received.
I like coffee, but I just adore tea. There’s something so relaxing about sitting back with a nice full mug of tea and chatting with a friend. In our house we drink a lot of tea; in fact, we have a whole cupboard that is dedicated to our obsession. In that cupboard is black tea, white tea, green tea, herbal medleys and more, and until we got the Chef’s Choice SmartKettle Cordless Electric Kettle, they were all brewed in the exact same way and at the exact same temperature.
Tea connoisseurs are shuddering reading that, because they know that each one of these various types of tea requires different temperature water in order to brew properly. Sure, that might not seem like a big deal to some, but varying degrees of temperature make a huge difference with something as delicate as tea leaves. Some tea lovers are so extreme as to pre-heat their tea cups with hot water in order to not compromise the steeping process. I’m not that crazy about my tea brewing, but I do really taste the difference with teas brewed at their correct temperatures and am loving being able to completely control the temperature setting.
If anyone is picturing me with a food thermometer checking and then re-checking my boiling water, you’ve clearly never met me. Instead, I rely on the Smart Kettle by Chef’s Choice for tea, cocoa, coffee, soup mixes, oatmeal and more, and it does so much more than tell me what temperature my water is at. The Smart Kettle allows me to preset the temperature on the Kettle from 122°F to 212°F and let it do the rest. When it is finished boiling or heating, the Smart Kettle beeps and then holds the water at the temperature you’ve selected to keep it ready to use at any time.
As if that’s not cool enough on its own, it’s the way the Smart Kettle heats that makes it worth raving about. The Smart Kettle amazingly remembers the temperature of your last use and automatically sets that temperature to heat unless you adjust the up or down, saving you the time or having to re-look up the temperature setting for your favorite tea or coffee. Even the base of the Smart Kettle is remarkable, allowing you to set the Kettle down at just about any angle and still securely connect with the internal heating element. They even included a handy cord keeper that allows you to coil extra cord length within the base of the unit for maximum safety and aesthetics.
The Smart Kettle starts working almost as soon as you set it on its base and power it up and then heats the water within minutes to your desired setting. Boiling and heating water in a fraction of the time a stovetop takes, you can have your tea, coffee, or hot drink mix ready in just about the time it takes for a commercial break. For kid-friendly temperatures for making cocoa and oatmeal, the Smart Kettle is amazingly fast and can even help get breakfast on the table and mornings to run quicker and smoother.
The Smart Kettle has an LED screen and user-friendly controls that make it easy to operate without having to refer to the manual over and over, and allows you to clearly see what temperature your water is at from across the kitchen. Speaking of which, I’ve used the SmartKettle for cooking on two occasions now, once for peeling tomatoes, and then once when the pasta I was cooking required more water than I had originally estimated and adding cold water would have severely slowed supper down.
I should note that I have actually owned two other electric tea kettles throughout the years, the first was from my college days when I lived on ramen noodles, and the second was for me to make tea and coffee at work. After just a few months of use, I found that the internal heating coils had corroded within the tea kettles and they had turned a really gross black/green color that caused me to retire both appliances after only weeks of use.
When I found out that the Smart Kettle has a hidden heating element that keeps the Kettle from landing atop the garbage heap after only minor use, I was sold. When you add in the fact that the Smart Kettle itself is cordless for ease of pouring and filling and only requires a cord and outlet when actual heating is taking place, I cleared the counter in anticipation of its arrival.
Since the Smart Kettle is gorgeous in its stainless steel and black beauty, it actually landed one of the coveted “countertop appliance” roles and currently hangs out near our stand mixer just begging for tea parties and dinner prep assistance. Now that the weather is calling for hot drinks, the Smart Kettle is bound to see even more action as winter comes to Seattle.
Of course the Smart Kettle comes with a long list of safety features that keep your family safe. From boiling over or boiling dry, Chef’s Choice has thought of just about everything to keep your kitchen as safe as possible. The low water level warning lets you know when your guests have almost drained the Kettle and the Max Fill line (1.7 Liters) keeps your Smart Kettle from spewing boiling liquids across your counter during the rolling boil.
The Smart Kettle also has an automatic shut-off on the Keep Warm function that ends after 40 minutes so you will never worry about forgetting to turn it off after your party ends. Even with the safety precautions, I hope it goes without saying that the Smart Kettle will get hot while heating and should not be operated by anyone other than an adult. While boiling, the metal sides get hot to the touch, and could be dangerous around small children.
Looks: Sleek and sophisticated in stainless and black
Overall: Highly recommended for hot drink lovers, kitchen prep, parties and more.
A warm thank you to Chef's Choice for keeping our evenings toasty and relaxed with their new SmartKettle. This post highlights my honest experience with their product and no monetary compensation was received for this review.
Ah, Halloween… there’s the chocolate, the costumes, the sugar candy, the Pumpkin Spice Lattes, the corn mazes, the sour candy… what’s not to love about this time of year?
Unfortunately for little kids, they have to miss out on arguably the best part of Halloween – the ooey gooey sugary candy part. So, how do you celebrate a holiday that’s aimed almost solely around who can collect the most candy with little ones who really shouldn’t have the candy in the first place? With toys, of course!
Some of the coolest Halloween inspired toys and candy alternatives I have seen this year are:
Hasbro's Trick or Tator, Mr. Potato Head is Trick or Treating this year! As always, he comes with the most adorable accessories – in this case a fabric ghost costume, trick or treating basket, and a selection of spooky features to help all your Tator friends dress up this Halloween. So many great features to choose from and, with the exception of the Trick or Treating bag, all of them can be creatively mixed and matched all year. $6.99 at Toys “R” Us Stores and other local retailers.Looking for something unique to hand out to your favorite Trick or Treaters? Play-Doh introduces a Trick or Treat Bag with small cans of Play-Doh in a variety of seasonal colors to hand out to your Halloween guests. Guaranteed to last longer than their sugar high and perfect for the coming rainy days of winter. Play-Doh Halloween Trick or Treat Pack contains 20, one-ounce cans all for the low price of $3.99.
Playmobil has the most adorable Halloween sets as well as one of the biggest selection of characters and figures in a variety of costumes. If you're feeling really creative, you can set up a Playmobil neighborhood and go "Trick or Treating" well after the 31st. Halloween sets run $5.99, but you can find Playmobil Specials and Add-On Characters for $1.99 and up.
Have you ever done a YouTube search for Yo Gabba Gabba!? I have, and it’s adorable. The search results reveal video after video of basically the same thing: an adorable kid watching Yo Gabba Gabba! on TV and doing some sort of delightful - yet crazy - dance. Anyone who has ever caught an episode (or 80) knows that that’s pretty much the only reaction possible to what just has to be the wackiest kid’s show ever.
And it is wacky. The first time I saw Yo Gabba Gabba!, I thought it was just some zany commercial. 5 minutes in it started dawning on me that this commercial seemed really long and, even weirder, my niece and nephew seemed to have it memorized. But, I have to admit that the show was intriguing on a number of levels. I mean, it’s got unidentifiable creatures, a DJ with a furry hat, a yellow robot, big name guest stars and music, music, music!
But, even better than lots of music is lots of GREAT music and Yo Gabba Gabba! has some of the best. This season is shaping up with an all-star musical line-up which includes some of my favorite bands and artists, as well as some guest stars that I think parents will appreciate even more than their youngsters.
Andy Samberg, The Roots and MGMT were among the celeb guests who appeared with the Yo Gabba Gabba! cast during the start of their new season this October (episodes will be replayed again for anyone who is kicking themselves for missing any of the above stars frolicking around on a children’s show, which includes myself). Set your DVR or TiVo now to record the shows as they are played on Nickelodeon this Fall and Winter. The series airs daily at 1:00 p.m., 1:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. (ET/PT) on Nick Jr.
Some background on the show, courtesy of W!ldbrain: YO GABBA GABBA! premiered in the U.S. on Nickelodeon in August, 2007 and currently ranks as one of the most popular series on television with broad appeal among preschoolers, parents, teens and adults. The award-winning series stars DJ Lance Rock (Lance Robertson) and a cast of colorful characters, including: Brobee, the little green one, Foofa, the pink flower bubble, Muno, the red Cyclops, Toodee, the blue cat-dragon and Plex, the yellow robot. Today’s most popular names in movies, television, music and sports flock to guest star in the groundbreaking show, including Jack Black, Rachel Dratch, Melora Hardin, Tony Hawk, Biz Markie, Jack McBrayer, MGMT, Mark Mothersbaugh, The Roots, Andy Samberg, Amy Sedaris, The Shins, Amare Stoudemire, The Ting Tings, Jimmy Eat World and Elijah Wood, among others.
Sounds like a good time, right? Seriously, if I was choosing guest stars, this would pretty much be my wishlist of who I would want to appear on the show. YGG even has a new CD with songs by some of the great artists above that enables you to take your little one’s show on the road for the first time ever. Yo Gabba Gabba! Music is Awesome! hit stores just days ago and is chock full of bands that I love, which makes it just as much for me as it is for the kiddos.
But, I really wish I lived in Chicago, New York or Los Angeles and could catch all this crazy cuteness LIVE when Yo Gabba Gabba! hits the stage this November for their “It’s a Party in My City” tour. Unfortunately for me, the party’s not in my city… but maybe it’s in yours and you can surprise your little mover and groover with the best present ever – live theatre performances in an auditorium full of silly wigglers.
Los Angeles, CA - Shrine Expo Hall:
Saturday, November 14, 2009 11AM and 3PM
*AND NOW: Sunday, November 15, 2009 11AM and 3PM
New York, NY - Beacon Theatre:
Saturday, November 21, 2009 11AM – 2PM – *AND NOW: 5 PM
Chicago, IL - Rosemont Theatre:
Saturday, December 5, 2009 11AM and 3PM
NEW UPDATE! Dallas show has been added for Nov. 28th
Frisco, TX - Dr. Pepper Arena:
Saturday, November 28, 2009 11AM and 3PM
And now for the Giveaway...
One Rave and Review reader will win a YGG! Music Is Awesome CD of their very own! To enter, just comment below with your favorite YGG! guest star, YGG! moment or something you found on the Yo Gabba Gabba! website.
And, as always, there are extra entries available!
1) Subscribe to Rave and Review (1 extra entry, must be verified to count) 2) Tweet about this Giveaway (1 entry for daily Tweet, just post link here) 3) Blog about this Giveaway (1 extra entry) 4) Place my logo or link in your sidebar on your blog or website (2 extra entries, must have an active link) 5) Share this post on Facebook (1 extra entry) 6) Email love. Share this Giveaway with friends and family via email and cc Leanne@raveandreview.com for two bonus entries (I will never, ever contact your email recipients) On November 26th at 11:59pm PST a winner will be drawn, announced here and notified via email
1) Subscribe to Rave and Review (1 extra entry, must be verified to count)
2) Tweet about this Giveaway (1 entry for daily Tweet, just post link here)
3) Blog about this Giveaway (1 extra entry)
4) Place my logo or link in your sidebar on your blog or website (2 extra entries, must have an active link)
5) Share this post on Facebook (1 extra entry)
6) Email love. Share this Giveaway with friends and family via email and cc Leanne@raveandreview.com for two bonus entries (I will never, ever contact your email recipients)
On November 26th at 11:59pm PST a winner will be drawn, announced here and notified via email
A wild and crazy thank you to Yo Gabba Gabba! for providing the Music is Awesome! CD and book to be reviewed, one of which we offered up for giveaway to our fabulous readers. No other type compensation was received for this review.
Thank God I can’t sew. If I could sew, it might have led me to do something crazy like try and make this quilt myself. One, it would have taken me years to finally get around to doing the organizing and sewing (if I ever did it at all), and two, my finished product would have been nowhere near as cool as the Campus Quilt masterpiece that arrived on my doorstep a few days ago.
When I first heard that there was a company out there that made custom quilts out of t-shirts you already own, I was more than intrigued. In fact, on mere mention I had decided that this was the perfect way to finally control the massive amounts of concert t-shirts that have been taking up precious space in our closet and in storage. A craftier mama might have dug out her sewing machine, but I called in the pros. The pros come in the form of a website that promises to turn your precious memories into a high quality blanket you will treasure for life. Sounds good, right?
Most people I know have a ton of t-shirts, whether it’s from high school, college, concerts, sports, etc. and if they are anything like my husband, they have boxes full of t-shirts they just can’t bear to part with, yet don’t really get worn regularly. For him, they were mostly sentimental concert tees that he had worn almost daily in high school and now couldn’t see getting rid of them unless he found the perfect home. For me, I just found I had stopped wearing a good portion of my t-shirts that I used to love, and that included my own collection of band tees. Why not take all those old shirts, preserve them in a whole new way, and create a conversation piece you will actually use?
So, here’s how Campus Quilt works: you go to the website and fall in love with their products, then you decide on what quilt and which size suits your needs the best and add it to your cart. Once the quilt design is in your cart and you complete check out, a non-refundable deposit is charged to your card (the remaining balance is billed only when your quilt is shipped) and the quilt creation kit is then sent to your door. And then once the kit is received, the real fun happens.
I’ll admit this step of the process took us a few days longer than I had imagined it would. Mostly because we had to find all the priceless tees we had packed away and then moved twice, but also because I like to take my time to make sure everything is just so before I commit to anything. I think this adequately explains why I never would have actually made this quilt myself had I been able to sew it and why I’m so grateful to have the expertise of a company like Campus Quilt who has done this for years and can help walk you through every step of the process and then ship the beautiful finished product in the end.
Once we gathered all of our concert tees we hadn’t worn in a while, I folded them all in approximate 15x15 squares and we laid them out on our bed to arrange and then rearrange in the shape of our quilt. As we started our design, we realized we had a surprising number of black t-shirts and thus began our closet raid of ’09 as we hunted for t-shirts we could add into the quilt to add some color. Once we started envisioning our completed quilt, a crazy thing happened: we both offered up a surprising number of our favorite tees to the collection.
Yes, that’s right, we went from boxes of t-shirts that we couldn’t part with to actually offering up shirts we wear regularly once we saw the quilt shaping up and we both got excited. We decided to do a diagonal-style pattern of our black and dark colored t-shirts and then mixed in colors and light shirts until we both were completely happy. After that, we put the stickers on the shirts in the order they would be placed on the quilt so we couldn’t change our minds later.
Since we had so many dark colored shirts, we agreed that we should do the optional cotton sashing, or borders, between the shirt squares to help break up the color blocks a bit more and provide a repetitive pattern to help make the design more cohesive. For the backing, we chose the softest and most plush flannel in the provided fabric sample swatches, since everyone knows that’s what makes or breaks a movie room throw. When all the choices were made, we sealed up our shirt piles in the postal bag provided with our order form and sample swatches, slapped our label on and our shirts were ready to send.
A few days later, we got an automated email from Campus Quilt letting us know the shirts had been received and that they would begin work on our quilt soon, which I really appreciated. When you care enough about a pile of shirts to make them into a quilt, it is always nice to know that the company you’re entrusting them with is this organized and that the shirts are accounted for at all times. So, when I got the email just days later saying they were beginning sewing our quilt, I was already in love with the Campus Quilt Company for their great customer service. And, then when the last email came letting me know that the quilt was shipping and it had an attached picture of the completed quilt and tracking number, well, let’s just say that everyone heard all about it.
But, when that package arrived and our quilt was finally unveiled, I couldn’t even believe how great it looked. The finished product was roughly 200 times better than I imagined it would be, and exactly 3,000 times better than if I had taken to that stack of shirts with scissors and needles.
The quilt has amazing attention to detail and it’s apparent upon first glance. For one, all the shirts are centered and leveled in the squares, which I was so happy about. Aside from numbering the shirts with stickers, we didn’t give Campus Quilt any instructions on how to handle and crop the actual shirts when making the quilt. Since customization really is their thing, they welcome all kinds of suggestions and special instructions, but I know when it’s best to trust the pros. And you really should trust them; they got everything perfect on our quilt, down to the tiniest little details.
The excellent quilting detail is one of the many, many things that my hypothetical quilt would have been lacking, and why I am yet again thrilled that I am sewing inept. Campus Quilt chose the “loop” stitch for the quilting over the shirts and they were absolutely correct in this choice. The playful and fun stitching adds a bit of whimsy to the design and also makes the whole quilt really seem like a finished piece and as if the shirts were always intended to go together.
The really cool thing about our completed Campus Quilt is that it walks the fine line between masculine and being able to call my movie room home. Not too girly, not too testosterone based, but able to go either way by the choices we made in selecting our squares. Since we both added to the design and had a bit of our childhood memories in the final piece, we both feel a strong connection to the completed blanket. Instead of looking like small piles of laundry spread out in an even layer across our couch, the blanket really looks unified as a quilt should, but yet still has all the charm of the original shirts.
We absolutely love everything about the quilt. We love the way the optional sashing in between the squares looks, love the colors of the fabrics we picked from their samples, love the quality stitching and quilting, and love that we have created a one-of-a-kind masterpiece that is truly functional… as well as cozy.
What I’m Raving About: Campus Quilt lets you customize your order in just about any way you can dream up. They say that if you can get a needle through it, chances are you can sew it to your quilt. Their website shows quilts made of baby clothes, men’s ties, and all sorts of other clothing items that I would have never thought of, as well as a bunch of design options for those looking to clean out their closets of all the sentimental stuff you can’t bear to part with. They also offer embroidery and digital picture options if you’re making a gift for someone special.
Price: From $129 and up, with 16 square quilts at $179.
Looks: Exactly as you like, since you get a say on just about everything!
Overall: For just about what you would pay for a mass-produced quilt at a department store, you can create your own work of art that will be loved forever.
For those of you thinking about creating your own Campus Quilt, keep in mind that the Holidays and graduation time are their busiest times of year and you should get your orders in fast to ensure delivery before your big event!
A big huge thank you to Campus Quilt for turning our old pile of t-shirts into a priceless snuggle-inducer that we will enjoy for decades. No other type of compensation was received for this review.
I love yogurt. So much so that I save it for last each day in my lunch, as a lunch “dessert” of sorts. To say that my daughter takes after me in this respect would be a huge understatement. In fact, I feel almost entirely responsible for the fact that my 16-month old is somewhat addicted to the stuff and actually refers to it as “treats” and signs for it sometime around 3pm every day.
But, the thing is, I’m not really a yogurt connoisseur; I just buy what’s on sale. Sure, I like some brands and flavors more than others, but yogurt is yogurt, right? It's true unless that yogurt has something special added to it or something even more special taken away. In this case, we’re talking fiber. 5 grams of fiber that are absolutely imperceptible in taste and consistency. And the part that’s taken away? That would be calories. Yoplait Fiber One Yogurt has nearly half of the calories of other brands, even the lowfat or fat free varieties.
The Yoplait Fiber One Yogurt comes in four flavors, two of which I have tried and absolutely LOVED, the other two of which I am looking forward to sampling when I can find them in retail. We were sent the Strawberry flavor and the Key Lime Pie flavor and thought both of them were actually better than other varieties of the same flavors we had tried before. I’m not a huge Key Lime Pie person, bit even I liked the Yoplait version of it. I think hubby’s right that it’s the real graham cracker crust taste to it that really makes the flavor pop while still keeping its silky smooth yogurt texture.
**Yoplait Fiber One 50-calorie yogurt is the only leading nonfat yogurt with 50 calories and 5 grams of fiber.
**Contributes 20% of the recommended daily value of fiber and is a good source of calcium as well as vitamins A and D.
**Fiber One 50-calorie yogurt features a ‘Hungry Girl Seal of Approval’, the first nationally distributed yogurt to receive this endorsement.
And now for the Giveaway…
Yoplait has so kindly offered 50 Rave and Review readers a coupon for their own FREE 4-pack of Fiber One yogurt to try for themselves, simply by signing up below.
Everyone's a Winner!! Additionally, they are also going to offer ALL Rave and Review readers useful weight management tips from best-selling author and food expert, Lisa Lillien as well as offering a $1.00 off coupon downloadable via this post.
CLICK ON THE IMAGE BOX BELOW ON THE "TRY IT FREE" TO ENTER
A big thank you to Yoplait for providing me with review samples as well as the 50 super-generous 4-packs for my valued readers.
As self-confessed kitchen gadget addicts, hubby and I are always on the lookout for the newest and greatest in cooking gear. Very rarely does a product come along that absolutely wows us and prompts us to write what just might be the raving-ist review we’ve ever written. Let’s all mark this date on the calendar as the day that we had virtually nothing bad to say about a product.
I used to think that I loved my metal cookware and was reasonably happy with the way it performed. Back then I didn’t even know that I could love cookware like I love the Ceramcor Xtrema line. I know some pans are nicer than others, but I’ve always believed that when it comes down to it, the difference between a really nice pan and an ok one wasn’t that far off. But then I met Xtrema, the coolest cookware set ever.
A few years back, we decided to switch to an all-stainless steel cookware set for a number of reasons, but mostly it was because we desired a safer and more durable set that could go from oven to stovetop. Imagine if we had known back then that a revolutionary set of cookware would soon be on the market that could go from stovetop to oven to broiler to microwave to barbeque grill to tabletop and then to the freezer with ease.
Yes, you read that correctly – a cookware set you can use on the BBQ or in the microwave. Made of a high-temperature ceramic with a non-toxic non-stick ceramic surface both inside and out, the Xtrema cookware can withstand temperatures of 2,700 F, which is 500 F past the point at which steel melts, and then still wipe clean at the end of the meal.
The multi-functional set means that you can thaw, cook and serve a meal all in the same pan, which is great because I am adamantly opposed to using more than one pan per entree. Before, we would take items from the freezer and put them in a glass dish to microwave and then after they were microwaved we would dump them in a pan to brown before getting out yet another dish to serve the food in. When you’re talking multiple dishes and sides, the sheer number of pans and dishes dirtied can be absurd.
With the Xtrema set, we put the frozen food in, microwave and then set on the stovetop to cook without worry. And then once the meal is cooked, we can serve right from the pan – even with metal utensils! After dinner is over, you can store leftovers in the Xtrema cookware in either the refrigerator or freezer without worry of thermal shock.
Because the high-gloss ceramic glaze is extremely non-stick, the Xtrema Cookware is easy to wipe clean without harsh scrubbing and can even withstand steel wool, the traditional non-stick nemesis. The Xtrema Cookware is naturally bacteria resistant and contains no trace metals or chemicals that can leach from the cooking surface into your food and no non-stick surface that can peel, warp or scratch.
Okay, but how does it cook? Better than every single set of cookware I have ever tried in my life. The Xtrema Cookware set has the most efficient heat transfer hubby or I have ever seen, retains heat longer than traditional pans, and allows us to use a lower heat setting than we do normally, all of which saves energy while cooking.
One of the first things we noticed was that the heat spreads out over the entire pan, not just the part directly on the center of the burner. This reduces hot spots within the pan and actually cooks the food quicker and more evenly, allowing you to get dinner on the table faster than ever before. Fair warning: the heat transfer of these pans is so efficient that every bit of it gets hot, including the handle and lid, use caution… and a pot holder.
The Xtrema website explains their revolutionary cooking technology like this: The ceramic material used in all Xtrema cookware has an inert and non-reactive quality that produces a far-infrared heating process that's considered the most effective and beneficial type of heat for all types of cooking. This penetrating heat process cooks food from both the inside and outside at the same time. The end result is the emergence of a full range of subtle and nature flavors, an increase in nutritional value and a more enjoyable eating experience. The overall result is Healthy Cooking = Healthy Eating = Healthy Body.
For those of you looking to go Green, you will be happy to note that the Xtrema Cookware set is environmentally friendly and so much more than Green. Their patented ceramic material is made from 100% natural ceramic materials and organic water, including the Nano-Glaze™ surface. The company also reduces its environmental impact by using clean-burning and safe natural gas, which Ceramcor claims is part of their pollution-free process. As if that’s not enough, they even recycle all their water.
Price: Prices range from $39.99 to $149.99 and are available at www.ceramcor.com or at the growing list of Xtrema retailers. You can save 15% off entire Xtrema Healthy Ceramic Cookware order by using the coupon code-- TW15
Looks: Sleek and simple, yet elegant and fun.
Overall: Stovetop, conventional, microwave or toast oven, broiler, barbeque, refrigerator, freezer and dishwasher safe, which means there is literally nothing this set can’t be used for!
And now for the Giveaway...
One Rave and Review reader will win an Xtrema Tea Potle of their very own! To enter, just visit ceramcor and let me know something cool about the company, the products or something you would love to give this holiday season.... Be sure to check back soon when we review the Xtrema Bakeware line for the 2009 Holiday Gift Guide!
And, as always, there are extra entries available!
1) Subscribe to Rave and Review (1 extra entry, must be verified to count) 2) Follow or subscribe to the Ceramcor Blog 3) Tweet about this Giveaway using @raveandreview and @XtremaCookware (1 entry for daily Tweet, just post link here) 4) Blog about this Giveaway with links back to this post as well as the www.raveandreview.com homepage (1 extra entry) 5) Place my logo or link in your sidebar on your blog or website (2 extra entries, must have an active link) 6) Share this post on Facebook (1 extra entry) 7) Become a fan of Xtrema on Facebook 8) Email love. Share this Giveaway with friends and family via email and cc Leanne@raveandreview.com for two bonus entries (I will never, ever contact your email recipients) On November 21st at 11:59pm PST a winner will be drawn, announced here and notified via email
1) Subscribe to Rave and Review (1 extra entry, must be verified to count)
2) Follow or subscribe to the Ceramcor Blog
3) Tweet about this Giveaway using @raveandreview and @XtremaCookware (1 entry for daily Tweet, just post link here)
4) Blog about this Giveaway with links back to this post as well as the www.raveandreview.com homepage (1 extra entry)
5) Place my logo or link in your sidebar on your blog or website (2 extra entries, must have an active link)
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On November 21st at 11:59pm PST a winner will be drawn, announced here and notified via email
A family-sized thank you to Ceramcor for providing the cookware to be reviewed, one of which we offered up for giveaway to our fabulous readers. No other type compensation was received for this review.
For five days this month we lived like true New Yorkers; sharing a third story walk-up, taking the subway all along Manhattan, and rolling in style with the true NY stroller - the Maclaren. It’s been the city-dwelling gold standard in strollers for years and I have come to realize that this honor is well deserved.
In suburbia, the bulky and clunky travel system rules the road, with the infant carseat that goes from car to sidewalk and back in mere minutes. However, in the big city, big is out. Getting around town needs to be done quickly and efficiently, two words that are never used to describe travel systems when utilizing mass transit.
The first time we visited New York, we were shocked by the sheer number of Maclarens on the sidewalk. Nearly every city parent was pushing their pick of Maclaren’s iconic scissor-back lightweight stroller line and back then, years before I had kids, I just didn’t get it. At the time I had attributed this to a name brand obsession; yet another example of consumerism and the propensity to keep up with the Joneses. It really wasn’t until our first trip into the city with children that I realized how necessary a light and portable stroller becomes when stairs and crowds are a way of life and how the quality of stroller makes all the difference.
The Maclaren design is all about functionality and style, pairing top of the line materials and years of expertise with models to last from birth to 55 lbs. We were lucky enough to visit the Maclaren showroom in SoHo, where the expert staff helped us pick the perfect stroller for our family. By merely asking three questions about what we needed our stroller to do, the staff quickly had a 2009 Maclaren Quest ready for us, and in no time at all we were out the door and hitting the city streets in style.
As it turns out, the Quest was the perfect stroller for us, and especially for baby. Having a lightweight and compact stroller was a bit of a change for us since we’re used to carrying a full week’s worth of groceries off the handles of our suburban workhorse. But, we realized pretty quickly the benefits of a lightweight stroller for the family on the go. And, with the Maclaren, we found that we didn’t have to give up on quality and high end features to get to that light weight.
The Quest is Maclaren’s middleweight stroller, without all the extras (and weight) you need for an infant, but with more features than a bare bones umbrella stroller. Some of the extras you do get include a 4 position reclining seat, adjustable foot rest, a foldable hood with included raincover, and a good sized basket. Another feature we really appreciated was the shoulder strap for use when folded, which was great for getting up and down stairs.
Normally, if you see a feature list as long as the Quest's, you would imagine that it would require an entire trunk to transport. Well known for their premium features in a tiny package, Maclaren is perfect for those on the go or those who actually need their trunk for anything other than baby gear. If you travel, play in the city, or merely like to be as portable as possible, Maclaren has a stylish, sporty or svelte (or all three!) model that allows you to get baby out in the world safely and comfortably without requiring a separate set of wheels to transport it around town.
Features of the 2009 Quest, as told by Maclaren:
• Basic Weight - 5.5kg / 12.1lb (without hood, shopping basket or raincover)
• Recline - Four seat positions
• Wheel Size - 12.7cm / 5.0in
• Hood - Longer for extra coverage - Round with storage pocket - UV protective viewing window - Reflective accents for night safety
• Added Features - Vibrant colours - Larger hood; easy-on, easy-off - Hubcap design - Ergonomically optimised, foam insulated handles - Carry Strap and Carry Handle - Foot-operated linked parking brakes - Extendable leg rest - Raincover (Some exclusions apply in the US) - Height adjustable shoulder harness
And, of course every Maclaren comes with the following:
• Sovereign Lifetime Warranty™
• Maclaren Recycling Programme†
• 5 point harness for added security
• Removable washable seat
• Compact umbrella fold
• Water resistant hood
• High-performance aluminium frame
• Handy mesh shopping basket
• Carry strap or handle for easy portability
• 5 second one-hand fold
• Lockable, front swivel wheels
There’s only one feature that I would love to see on the 2010 Maclaren Quest: adjustable height handles. Although the standard handle height is a bit taller than most umbrella-type strollers, I really wish there were options available for those on the ends of the height spectrum. Hubby would appreciate it.
Looks: Simple and sophisticated and everything in between.
Overall: There’s a good reason this is the gold standard for city strollers – it’s lightweight, it’s sturdy and it will last.
UPDATED 11/10/09: Maclaren has issued a notice for the Quest and all folding strollers requiring that a hinge cover be installed on your existing model. Click here to be directed to the Maclaren site where you can order your hinge cover to comply with the newest safety standards.
Thank you to Maclaren for providing the 2009 Quest to be reviewed. No other type compensation was received for this review.
When someone says Hardy Boys, you know they’re talking about some sort of exciting mystery to solve. The new Hardy Boys Nintendo DS game, Treasure on the Tracks, is no exception. The Nintendo DS format lends a new and exciting twist on the classic mystery format, allowing you to use the touch screen instead of a traditional controller to navigate the game.
You play as Joe and Frank Hardy, on a train ride across Europe to solve the mystery of the missing Romanov family treasure. The opening story setup is told with image stills that are reminiscent of the panels of a comic book, pulling you into the mysteries of the family and the treasure hidden in Europe just waiting for you to find it.
To solve the mystery you will have to find clues all along your journey, both on the train and in the towns you travel through. Using your stylus and touch screen you must scour every room you enter: under tables, on shelves and even the art on the walls. You never know where you will find the next clue or puzzle to help you along on your search or who you will meet that will offer a clue. Even the way you move from room to room can be a mystery as you have to tap the different sides of the screen to see which ways you can go.
The DS’s unique touch screen, combined with the first person point of view work together to really pull you into the game. Instead of leading a representative character through the game, you see from their perspective and feel more like you’re really searching the room and making things happen. When interacting with characters you meet, you get to influence the dialogue by making choices and customizing the conversation and making it feel much more natural.
The puzzles and games you solve along the way move you up the different levels and open up new portions of the game the more you play. The game allows you to make numerous choices along the way, some of which may turn out to be fatal mistakes. However, you don’t have to worry about losing all the previous sleuthing up until you made your choice because the game will automatically return you to the point right before you made the mistake and let you “do-over”. Unfortunately, or should I say fortunately, we have not experienced this as of yet. It must be all my informal training as an amateur detective reading Hardy Boys when I was young helping me out.
So far things are looking great on me uncovering the Romanov family treasure and living a life of luxury and opulence abroad. Once things get settled down and I’m able to deposit some of my findings into a Swiss bank account I will be back in touch regarding my whereabouts. Until then, I will be playing away on my Nintendo DS and working hard to uncover the Treasure on the Tracks.
Win it! Head over to my post at An Island Life to enter to win one of 2 copies of the Hardy Boys: Treasure on the Tracks