Category: Product Reviews

The BFG

ProjectRefinedLife.com
ProjectRefinedLife.com

Last night we viewed Disney and Steven Spielberg’s movie adaption of Roald Dahl’s The BFG. This is my daughters favorite Roald Dahl book and we have been waiting (rather impatiently) the release of this film . The movie wastes no time on getting into the action to develop the story. It kept me and my girls entertained throughout the entire film.

While going to sleep one night, Sophie accidentally encounters a giant, who scopes her away and takes her to his home in Giant Country. Although Sophie is initially scared of the giant, he turns out to be a kindhearted and friendly giant whose job it is to capture dreams, store them in dream jars and disburse them among the human “beans”. The BFG (big friendly giant) lives among other bigger giants who continually bully The BFG. Sophie and the BFG’s developed friendship inspires Sophie to come up with a plan to save the BFG from the other giants.

I thought the movie was kind and funny. The special effects were fantastic. Mark Rylance’s (the BFG) performance was outstanding. The use of digital technology and the live-action performance’s allows you to see and feel the emotions of the giant. I quickly developed a liking for the giant because you could see his emotions in his eyes, it was heartwarming.

My thoughts of this movie are based strictly off the movie. My daughter said that there are difference’s between the book and the film but she loved it and thought it was awesome. This is a great family friendly movie.

Projectrefinedlife.com
Projectrefinedlife.com

Here are two separate Dream Jar crafts you and your children can quickly put together to celebrate this special movie. Both equally cute but different.

The first comes with a cute story of a letter written to Roald Dahl telling him of the craft she made inspired by his book.

Thie second video is Disney’s version of the Dream Jar craft – very simple to put together and very pretty,

If making these crafts makes you thirsty try this Frobscottle recipe from family.disney.com

The Frobscottle in The BFG

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Jetboil Flash

ProjectRefinedLife.com
ProjectRefinedLife.com
**This post does contain affiliate links in which ProjectRefinedLife does make a small commission should you choose to purchase an item, I appreciate you supporting my site. My reviews and opinions are 100% my own.**

On our recent trip to Yosemite National Park we were fortunate enough to snag up one night at Housekeeping Camp. I was thrilled to be able to stay inside the park, Not only would we save time and money staying here but It would give us the oppurtunity to do some camping during our stay.

Housekeeping Camp allows you to camp while having access to a bed, electricity and a light both inside and outside your tent and the ability to cook and have your meals in your private camp site patio. Staying here was afforadable while giving us a sense of adventure. This also gave me the perfect opportunity to reallocated the money we saved on a staying at a hotel and buying breakfast to add some items to our camping kitchen.

Projectrefinedlife.com
Projectrefinedlife.com

My main concern was saving space, I decided I didn’t want to take along our regular camping stove since I knew that at best I would only be able to make one make one meal upon arrival that night and one meal in the morning. My plan was to take a smaller cooler and a smaller cooktop. I considered purchasing a single burner camp stove but again – buying something compact was my main concern.

Projecctrefinedlife.com
Projecctrefinedlife.com

I visited my favorite store, REI for some insight and ideas. I talked to one of the always helpful and knowledgable REI associates, he suggested this amazing little cooking stove. It packs up small, sets up easilty and I could fit in my backpack if needed. You never know when I might decide to do a backpacking trip along the Pacific Crest Trail.

Projectrefinedlife.com
Projectrefinedlife.com

After discussing our needs with the REI associate I was sold on the Jetboil Flash. This little stove comes with everything you need to boil water fast in a very small package. The sales associate said he had even cooked hot dogs in it! I could easily see how this stove would be a great addition to our camping kitchen items.

The Jetboil Flash has some additional items you can purchase to make your Jetboil Flash even more versatile. The Jetboil Pot Support allows you to use with the stove with the Jetboil Flux Coffee Press, Jetboil Flux Pot or the Jetboil Flux Pan. The Jetboil Pot Support also gives you the option of using your regular camping pots and pans with it.

Projectrefinedlife.com
Projectrefinedlife.com

Shortly after arriving at Housekeeping Camp, I was able to pull out my Jetboil Flash boil some water, get my girls some hot cocoa and our Freeze Dried dinner ready in a flash (pun intented). At breakfast time, I used it to boil water for our coffee, hot cocoa and again our delicious Freeze Dried breakfast.

Okay, so our regular food is better but the dehydrated food was good. It saved us money, space, time and I didn’t have to wash any pots or pans. You could easily take along some prepackaged homemade oatmeal packets and use the boiled water to make some oatmeal.

Projectrefinedlife.com
Projectrefinedlife.com

I have read that  both the Jetboil Flash Pot Support and the coffee press are highly recommend, two items I just might consider getting for our future camping trips. The stove comes with a an adjustable flame level and an igniter so there’s no need for matches.  The Jet Boil Flash is simple to put together, use, take apart and store.

ProjectRefinedLife.com
ProjectRefinedLife.com

I boiled 2 cups of water in about 1.30 minutes. The side of the Jetboil Flash has flames which turn a bright yellow when the water is boiling (reviewers said it turns red but my water was ready at yellow).

I can easily see how having this in addition to my regular camping stove can help to make some quick cocoa and coffee while I cook breakfast while camping or when I don’t want to take our regular camping stove. At $99.95 I can say that the Jetboil Flash  is well a made compact cooking stove that I can highly recommend. I gladly give it 5 stars!

Image courtesy of http://cliparts.co/five-stars
Image courtesy of http://cliparts.co/five-stars
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An Apple a Day

I received this product from Opal Apples and BzzAgent in exchange for writing a an honest review of this product.

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They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away, well my youngest daughter doesn’t get sick very often and she absolutely loves apples. She goes through 2 to 3 apples a day and unfortunately, sometimes I find half eaten apples, which as you know – become browned. So I was excited to have the opportunity to try Opal Apples. The claim of this apple is that it doesn’t brown after cutting it.

I found Opal Apples at my local Vons Market, they are a large-sized apple that are a bright yellow with a very slight tint of pink. The organic were priced at $3.49 per pound and non-organic were priced at $1.99 per pound.

So I was very excited to get the new apples home but we left for a couple of days and the apples sat in my fridge, then we came home and we had unexpected company for a couple of days, So Test #1 “Taste” became even more interesting. Opal apples have been described as a cross between a Golden Delicious and a Topaz. They have a nice crunchy bite, the sweet white flesh is firm, almost Pear like but it has hints of coconut. This apple is delicious!

Besides the taste test, I had to see if they would brown, I first added them into a fresh fruit salad I made, they were a welcome addition and since we had some fruit salad leftover from lunch we finished them it up at dinner time and the apples still looked great.

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The next test was very impressive. I cut some slices up and packed them up for snacks, which we didn’t end up having.  I packed the sliced apples in a small ziplock bag toted them around all day. The next day, I pulled out the sliced apples and they still looked and tasted great!

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The apples are costly but if you want to pack some healthy sliced apples for your kids lunch time snack – this is definitely the apple to use. If you want to try some Opal Apples, get out there and get them quick as they are only available from November to March. Opal apples are grown exclusively by Ralph Broetje, Broetje Orchards in Washington State, they are the only U.S. apple to receive a non-GMO label and are sold exclusively in North America by FirstFruits Marketing of Washington.

I seriously put these apples to the test just by being busier then I anticipated. I’m sure my next fresh batch will be even better.

In California Opal Apples can be found at the following merchants:

  • Berkeley Bowl Marketplace
  • Bristol Farms
  • Costco (So Cal)
  • Draegers Supermarket
  • Lunardi’s Supermarkets
  • Mollie Stones Market
  • Piazza’s Fine Foods
  • Safeway
  • Sigona’s Farmers Market
  • Stater Bros.
  • The Fresh Market
  • Trader Joes (select locations)
  • Vons
  • Whole Foods (Nor Cal)

If your outside of Calfornia click here to find Opal Apples.

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HempPro70 – Hemp Protein

I received a free sample packet of Manitoba HempPro 70 from Swaggable in exchange for writing a review.

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Let me just say, there was a time when I chased down the perfect protein powder, lately not so much…but I always say you’ll find things that are right for you when you’re not looking for them,

Intersting enough, I’ve been looking at my schedule and working on ways to set time out for myself. It is important for me to get my fitness “time” back as a priority in my life, so receiving this protein powder was like a confirmation of my thoughts to get healthy and continue healing.

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This was my first time trying a hemp protein, so I was very interested in the taste and texture. You can’t walk through a health food store without finding Hemp products everywhere. You can get everything from hemp oil, clothes, rope, food, paper, etc, etc., etc..Did you know every part of a hemp plant can be used to create something? Pretty interesting stuff!

So enough of that, let’s get to the review. This protein powder is vegetarian, organic, has 3.4 grams of Omega 3 & 7, an amazing 20 grams of protein per serving and is water-soluble.

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I used my sample packet and tried it a few different ways. I put half of the packet In a shaker cup and mixed it using only water. I wanted to get the true taste. It wasn’t horrible but not great. If you had to drink it straight, you could. I will say that it mixed wonderfully. No lumps or bumps, It wasn’t chalky or gritty and had a very smooth texture.

 The instructions on the packet suggested adding it to orange juice, greens powder & ice took. I didn’t have any orange juice on hand so I added the rest of my water/protein mixture to a greens powder I had on hand, frozen berries and some ice, it was great!

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I took the other half of the protein powder and mixed it into some yogurt, I could definitely taste the orange flavor and I really enjoyed the taste. Aesthetically, it turned my yogurt into a dull green hue, not pretty but the taste was good.

Minted-Pea Gazpacho
Minted-Pea Gazpacho from manitobaharvest.com

The Manitoba website is full of recipes using their products including one for Minted-Pea Gazpacho using HempPro 70 that sounds delicious!  I believe that this is a premium protein. After looking up the price points for this protein powder, it is pricey but worth it. HempPro 70 is a complete protein filled with health benefits that go beyond the simple need to consume a protein drink after a workout.

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Panic Free Quick & Healthy Dinners

As much as I love to cook, some days putting dinner on the table is the last thing on my mind until it hits about 3:30 p.m. – then panic sets in. Those are the times I need a panic free quick & healthy dinner right now. Well, Tuesday was one of those days, luckily I was given a package of Modern Table Meals, Southwest Red Lentil Rotini for a review.

Southwest Red Lentil Rotini (2, 4, or 8 Pack) – Modern Table

Trying hard to put the “it was all part of the plan” look on my face, I brought out some frozen turkey (yes, it was still frozen yet somehow I managed the quickest defrost ever), diced it (it cooks faster when it’s diced) and seared it with some light seasoning. Thank goodness I had enough spinach to make a enough salad for everyone (hint, dinners look planned when you add a salad).

dinner's in the bag

Now, that I was no longer in panic mode, I was able to focus on the “review” part of dinner. Modern Table Meals actually contains plenty of protein on it’s own but I decided to add some turkey. This bag contains pasta with veggies and two seasoning packets. Directions are simple….put some water to boil and your dinner is on it’s way.

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Once your water has come to a boil, add your pasta/vegetable mix, boil for 8 -9 minutes. In the meantime, add water & some e.v.o.o.(extra virgin olive oil) and mix in your seasoning packet. I left out the chile seasoning since my little girls don’t eat spicy foods.

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Once my pasta was done, I added it to my seasoning mixture and my seared turkey. Voila, dinner was done!

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So for the taste test, I didn’t say anything to my family about the pasta being made out of Red Lentils. Instead I just waited for everyone’s response. Well, I am so happy to say it was a hit, everyone loved it! My 4 year asked for seconds and then thirds!

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My husband and I sprinkled the chile packet on our plates but in the future I would mix it with a little e.v.o.o. so it can be disbursed a little more evenly onto our servings. Ideally adding the chile packet to the seasoning mixture would yield the best taste but beware it’s spicy (but good).

There was plenty for the four of us and we had leftovers. I highly recommend Modern Table Meals. The meal was easy and quick to make, the taste was delicious, the seasoning was spot on and the red lentil pasta was delicious.

Modern Table Meals productsYou can find Modern Table Meals at your local Whole Foods market and guess what – it’s affordable! This product is full of protein, fiber, GMO free, free of any artificial colors or preservatives and it tastes great! Thank you Modern Table Meals, I can’t wait to try the other 3 flavors. These meals will be in my regular dinner rotation. They are  quick healthy dinner options that fit within our budget. I’m sold!

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Bounce-Off

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My daughters teacher was out today, this means one thing…less homework – WooHoo!!!  This presented me and my girls the perfect opportunity to play Bounce-Off, a game that was sent to us courtesy of BzzAgent.com. I can’t say that I’ve ever seen this games at the stores or maybe I just wasn’t looking for it. After playing Bounce-Off with  my girls, I’m ready to share my thoughts on this game.

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Bounce-off comes with 16 balls (in two colors), four ball tray holders, the game tray and cards. The games states that it can accommodate between 2-4 players.

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Here’s how to play the game, you line up 4 of each colored balls on the ball tray’s. place the game tray in the middle, then pull a card. Each card comes with a pattern on it. the person to “bounce” their balls into the game tray and form the pattern first wins the card. Whoever collects the most cards wins.

At first, my daughters were placing the balls into the game tray, then tossing the balls (that’s not the way you should play) but I gave them some time to get familiar with it.

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Then,  we got to bouncing! This is a very simple and fast paced game (excellent for eye and hand coordination). I not sure how four people would play other then in teams, otherwise you would have to use the other players “bounce” to form your shape. That could become hard to determine since the balls only come in two colors and some shapes require 5 balls to complete. Remember, this is fast paced game, so in the heat of the game some people could cheat forget.

Although the game states it’s for ages 7+, my four year old did enjoy it with some alterations. I like that it made my little one think quickly about how to form and count the amount of balls are required to form the shape on the card. I would like to see more shapes card options and four different colored balls.

We altered the game rules by cutting the players down to 2 and I gave each of my girls all eight balls. I managed the cards and kept track of the winner of the card. My little one pretty much “tossed”the balls in the game tray to replicate the shapes on the card and my 8 year old “bounced” the balls into the tray. Playing this way allowed them to build their shapes that contained 5 balls.  At the end of our game session, we turned into a game of speed. I’d turn over the card, my girls would form the shape’s as quickly as possible (no bouncing). I’m sure we could come up with all kinds of variations for this game.

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My 8 year old was moderately ok with the game. I do believe that is she and one of her friends could have a great time with this game for about 15 minutes (which is the exact  time the box states that the game takes to play). I can also see beating enjoying this game with my husband just to have some fun for a few minutes.

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 Playing as teams I can see how this game would work great to develop bonding/team work. I’m sure my Girl Scouts would enjoy it as a quick game. Young and old can play, just make adjustments according to age and be prepared to chase down the balls that bounce off the table. My husband made reference to it being like a “beer pong” style game. Yes, it would work in those instances as well. A group of adults could easily gather around a table for with this game.

All in all, it is a fun, very simple and fast paced game that had us laughing. After the game my 8 year old and I were bit impartial  to this game but thinking about it, this is probably be a game we will play a lot since my four year old could set it up and we could play a game in just 15 minutes.Thanks Bzzagent and Bounce-Off,  it was a refining way to spend a little time with my girls!

I am a BzzAgent and received this product from BzzAgent.com  to provided an honest and unbaised  review of the product.  I have received no monetary compensation for this product and my opinions are completely my own.

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