Thursday, October 29, 2015

Big Dreams in a Smaller Package in the Feber Avigo Range Rover Sport from Famosa {Review}

Famosa logo
My children have no shortage of toys.

But while my own interest in them may wax and wane, there aren't too many items that they can pull out of a box or take down off of the shelf that have the ability to really grab my attention or get me excited. Toys are designed for kids, after all.

However, leave it to Famosa, a leading European toy company and manufacturer who has impressed us in the past, to create a toy that not only amazes children, but is a dream for grown-ups as well. There is just no way to not be in love the moment you realize that one of the world's hottest luxury sport vehicles comes in pint-size in the Avigo Range Rover Sport!

Avigo Range Rover

Created by Feber, one of the brands Famosa markets, the Avigo Range Rover Sport 12 Volt Powered Ride On is designed with all of the quality and detailing of a full size Range Rover, but in a much smaller, easier to drive package.

Including room for two, storage in the back, working sound effects, a speaker jack for cranking up your favorite tunes from an mp3 player, forward and reverse driving with the push of a single foot pedal/button, and much more, this is easily one gift that would last a child or multiple children for years and years to come.

I can't remember the last time I was so excited for the arrival of a toy!

Feber Range Rover box

To say that the Avigo Range Rover box is large and heavy is a bit of an understatement, as its delivery took up our entire front walk until it was slowly maneuvered into the garage.

Once unpacked, it was time to begin the assembly process.

Feber Range Rover assembly

Currently this Range Rover comes with picture-only instructions, which I found fairly easy to follow. However, consumers have provided feedback asking for text to accompany the pictures and Famosa, being the great company that they are, is currently working on creating a new set of instructions with words included (these will be included with new models as well as in PDF form on the Toys "R" Us and Famosa website for easy availability).

In all, it took me around one hour, 45 minutes to fully place each piece, tighten every screw, and apply each of the sticker decals. But oh, was it worth it.

Feber Range Rover Sport 12V

Could this really get much better?

Featuring working doors, molded traction on the wheels, two shiny tailpipes in the back, a gear shift for forward and reverse action, and more, this Range Rover Sport has been delighting my own kids (as well as our neighbors and friends) from day one.

Simply hop in, step on the foot pedal accelerator to drive, and you're off! The larger size (there is easily room for two kids and the weight limit is all the way up to 132 pounds, so big kids can ride as well!) and the powerful 12V battery send this mini SUV zipping along at 4.5 mph, which is just right to get their wind in their hair and the smiles on their faces.

Avigo Range Rover 12V

Although I was initially skeptical on how well this little car would be able to drive on a variety of surfaces, my kids have since taken it on pavement, gravel, grass, large piles of leaves, over sticks and rocks, and more and it has performed without problem.

In fact, the only instance that we have encountered where the back wheels had a slight problem getting traction was on the smooth garage floor, when they spin a few times before grabbing hold. But who wants to drive around only in the garage when there's a whole world out there to maneuver on, around, and through?


As a fun bonus to getting to drive their very own Range Rover Sport, all of the kids who have tried out this amazing ride have gotten a kick out of the sound effects — Start, Engine, and Horn — that are easily accessible right on the dash.

Even better, we have had no problem plugging a phone or MP3 player right into the audio port so that they can then go cruising with the latest tunes!

Avigo Range Rover audio

There really isn't much more that Feber could have included to make the Avigo Range Rover Sport 12V much better. The extraordinary amount of details makes this look incredible, the ease of driving (switching between forward and reverse, steering, and using the foot pedal) ensures every child can take a turn, and the powerful battery hasn't slowed us down at all.

Feber even made it as easy as possible to charge the battery (the initial charge takes 14-17 hours) by placing the charging port right under the center console. Just flip it up, plug it in, and your young driver will be ready to hit the road in no time!

Avigo Range Rover charger

While the price tag on this amazing Range Rover Sport is quite a splurge at $399.99, there is no doubt that it is incomparable in terms of toys for youngsters ages 3 and up. My kids absolutely love being able to drive themselves around and will surely continue to do so as long as they can before the snow piles up here!

Range Rover Sport 12V review

The Feber Avigo Range Rover Sport 12V is available in white, gray and black and is sold exclusively at Toys "R" Us stores and online. Shoppers who head into their nearest store have the option of assembling this car themselves or paying a $25 fee for Toys "R" Us to complete the process for them. There is also a smaller, single-seat Range Rover Sport 6V available for $199.99.

Be sure to also visit Feber's website to find out more about this and all of their incredible selection of toys!

Other than the Feber Avigo Range Rover Sport 12V I was provided by Famosa in order to facilitate my review, I was not compensated or enticed to do this post in any way. This review is solely my honest opinion about this product.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Bring the Coffeehouse Home with the Ninja Coffee Bar Brewer {Review}

ninja logo
No matter if you're a coffee addict or simply enjoy a cup every now and again, there's something lush and luxurious about a coffeehouse.

The groups of people talking and laughing while they sip their cappuccinos, the students hard at work on their laptops with frapp├ęs nearby, the coffee snobs ordering their half-caf double soy no whip mochas... I'm not the only one who finds it all somehow a little magical, am I?

The only part that makes me cringe? Pulling out my wallet to pay for my coffee. $5 and up for one drink? That's fine to pay if you only visit once every blue moon, but there's just no way would I pay that every day, no matter how much I love a perfectly brewed cup of coffee and a tasty latte.

Instead, I'd much rather skip the expense, lines, hassle and even the need to get out of my pj's thanks to the newest way that I've found to create a luscious coffeehouse experience right at home, the Ninja Coffee Bar.

Ninja Coffee Bar logo

Offering a variety of brewing options, technology, and features to satisfy every user, the Ninja Coffee Bar provides the ability to have a customized cup of coffee (Classic Brew, Rich Brew, Over Ice Brew and Specialty Brew) at the touch of a button and conveniently right at home. No matter if you are brewing up a single cup or a full carafe, Ninja has designed a product that delivers better, richer-tasting coffee for everyone to love!

Quick, convenient, compact, high quality and the ability to unlock the full flavor potential of my coffee while I'm still in my pajamas? It was definitely time to test this machine out!

Ninja Coffee Bar coffeemaker

Immediately I was pleased to pull the Ninja Coffee Bar out of the box and find that there really wasn't much required before I would be sipping my delicious drinks in the comfort of my own home.

Also, due to the larger box that it came in, I had been concerned that this brewer might take up quite a bit of space on the counter. But it turned out that Ninja had just packed each piece carefully and had included a few extras. The Coffee Bar itself is compact and a great space-saver!

Ninja Coffee Bar review

Right from the start there were quite a few additions that Ninja included in this brewer that I appreciated, both as a consumer and a coffee-lover.

First, the convenience of the permanent filter and included Ninja scoop. Not having to continue to buy replacement filters is great for saving money (although traditional paper filters can be used if they are preferred) and the Ninja scoop makes it a no-brainer to scoop the appropriate amount of coffee grounds for all of the drink sizes this machine brews. No fuss, no guessing, no mess!

Ninja Coffee Bar filter scoop

Second, when it comes to brewing a particular size, the Ninja Coffee Bar really does make it a snap to select the one that works for you. For a single cup, simply flip down the cup platform and it is ready to go. For a travel mug, half a carafe or a full carafe, the cup platform is easily flipped back up and out of the way!

Even better, when brewing a full or half carafe, this machine has a built in warming plate that automatically adjusts itself to keep your coffee at the ideal drinking temperature — and includes a 2-hour auto shutoff feature so that you never have to worry about leaving it on for too long!

Ninja Coffee Bar cup carafe

Finally, the user-friendly controls!

The Ninja Coffee Bar has a control panel that is clearly labeled and laid out to ensure that users will have no problem choosing their brew. Simply turn the dial to the correct size and pick from Classic Brew, Rich Brew, Over Ice Brew or Specialty Brew.

Whether you select Classic for the smooth, balanced flavor of your favorite coffee; Rich for a more intense, never-bitter flavor; Over Ice to brew iced coffee that is never watered down; or Specialty Brew for a super-rich concentrate designed to create all sorts of coffeehouse-style drinks, it is all done at the touch of a button.

The Auto-iQ One Touch Intelligence Technology will dispense the correct amount of water and the Thermal Flavor Extraction technology achieves the perfect brew richness level every time!

Ninja Coffee Bar brews

After putting the Ninja Coffee Bar to work in a number of different settings, I have been impressed with the way that it has performed time and again. My coffee has been smooth, rich and delicious day after day and I really love having the ability to offer guests (expected or unexpected) an amazing cup of coffee brewed precisely to their liking.

This is one machine that works well for the entire family and is perfect for holiday entertaining with its ability to go from a single mug to a full carafe without ever compromising taste or quality!

As a huge bonus, the addition of the Ninja Easy Frother makes it a snap to whip up all sorts of delectable drinks in a matter of minutes. Why spend the time, money and hassle of going to a coffeehouse for a pumpkin spice latte when you can make one right in your kitchen whenever you please?

Pumpkin Spice Latte recipe

This holiday season and beyond, let Ninja provide a high quality, innovative, fast and easy way to bring efficiency and convenience into your life. The Ninja Coffee Bar retails for $149.99 and will definitely be an item that will provide happiness throughout the winter and long beyond in your cup, travel mug or carafe.

Visit NinjaKitchen.com to see their full line of brewers, blenders, processors, and more that can bring a gourmet experience into your kitchen or that would make a fantastic gift. Plus, be sure to connect with Ninja Coffee Bar on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram so that you stay up to date on the latest and greatest with their luxurious machines, flavors and more.

Other than the Ninja Coffee Bar that I was provided by Ninja in order to facilitate my review, I was not compensated or enticed to do this post in any way. This review is solely my honest opinion of this product.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Pick a Series, Grow a Reader with Scholastic Branches Books {Review & Giveaway}

Branches logo
Although I know that there was a time when my children couldn't walk or talk, I look at the big kids that they are today and find it extremely hard to remember. I had to feed them and change their diapers? These two? Really?

Along the same lines, I know that in previous years my kids spent a great deal of time simply flipping through pages in books and looking at the pictures. Books have always been an important, much-loved part of our household, but to try to look back to a time when my girls were only able to enjoy the illustrations seems nearly impossible.

These days, we read, read, read. New books, old favorites, ones that have been read hundreds of times and have to be held together with more and more tape... there's no comparison to getting lost in a good book.

However, while Big Sister E can happily dive right in to her chapter books, Little Sister B is in a stage where early readers are too easy while traditional chapter books are a little too complex. Why is there nothing in between?

Now there is, thanks to Scholastic and their unique new line of books specifically designed for newly independent readers that bridge the gap between leveled reader books and chapter books: Scholastic Branches.

Branches Books

I was in love with the concept of the Branches line of books as soon as I was introduced to it! What better way to help foster a love of reading in kids ages 5 to 8 by giving them the tools they need to become life-long readers?

Each Branches book includes easy-to-read text, simple plot lines, plenty of context cues, cliffhanger chapter endings, and purposeful illustrations (on every page!) that aid in reading comprehension. All of this works together to provide your child the feeling of being a successful reader — which bolsters their self-confidence and leads to an increased interest in reading.

At the same time, the Branches line is made up of 14 different book series. This encourages young readers to return to their favorite characters again and again to build reading stamina and even more confidence. Not to mention that there is something for every young reader no matter their interests and preferences — everything from humor to fantasy to spooky stories!

Truly, the entire Branches idea is to help children get a head-start on his or her reading career and I couldn't wait to see what Little Sister B would think of the first book from each of the Branches series.

Scholastic Branches books

These books are amazing!

Just as Scholastic had specified, the text is large and easy to read, the beautiful, eye-catching illustrations (some in color, some in black and white) are throughout, and the length is just right that younger readers won't get overwhelmed. Can I help it that I may have gotten caught up in the pages of a few of these myself?

Scholastic Branches pages

As expected, Little Sister B couldn't be happier about having a collection of books that are perfectly at her level and she has excitedly read about friends, school, magic, adventure, and more within these pages. I'm even more thrilled that these are series books, as now she can select her favorites and continue on with such fun characters!

encouraging young readers

Did you know that 73% of kids believe that they would read more if they could find more books that they like? If you have a child in your life that is ready to make the leap from early readers but is not quite prepared for a traditional chapter book, you've got to check out Scholastic Branches, as the 14 different series (and counting!) delivers on providing plenty of choices that will grab their attention!

Find out much more about this incredible new line of books by visiting Scholastic.com/Branches and connecting with Scholastic on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Plus, thanks to their generosity, one person will be able to provide the budding reader in their life with some amazing new books to add to their collection as well, because...

One lucky person will receive four of the most popular Branches books* from Scholastic!

Scholastic book giveaway
*Titles include: Owl Diaries: Eva’s Treetop Festival; Kung Pow Chicken: Let’s Get Cracking; Eerie Elementary: The School is Alive!; and Dragon Masters: Rise of the Earth Dragon.


A big thank you to Scholastic for providing providing samples for me to review as well as books for one lucky giveaway winner. The opinions shared are my own and honest and if you really need to see more, click here to see how I roll.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Tasty Snacking with Lance Peanut Butter Sandwich Crackers and Cookies {$50 Visa Gift Card Prize Pack Giveaway}

Lance logo
I am fairly certain that no matter how much or how recently my children have eaten, they will always be hungry. Has anyone ever tried the eating-every-hour meal plan to see how it would work? Because I have two volunteers that would love to be a part of that trial!

Along with ensuring that my two bottomless pits eat breakfast and have a filling lunch, I also know the importance of having tasty, healthy, easy snacks that can be quickly pulled out after school, on the way to a soccer game, after extracurricular activities, and more.

After our introduction last month to Lance Quick Starts and our discovery at just how perfect they are for breakfast, there was never any question that we would be just as excited about having Lance's classic trio of sandwich crackers and cookies — now featuring the brand's best peanut butter ever — throughout the day as well. It was time to dig in to Lance peanut butter sandwich crackers and cookies!

Lance cracker sandwiches

For more than a century, Lance has been fueling America with its sandwich crackers – two crunchy crackers with an incredible filling in the middle. With more than 20 varieties that are made with baked, crispy crackers and real peanut butter and cheese, Lance sandwich crackers are perfect for the entire family to enjoy just about anytime, anywhere.

When it comes to that incredible filling between Lance's delicious sandwich crackers and cookies, one beloved favorite is their homemade peanut butter – Lance makes 18 million pounds of homemade peanut butter each year! Even better, they recently enhanced this classic filling to bring out even more of that delicious roasted peanut flavor and just the right balance of sweet and salty.

It's no wonder that Lance is excited that their classic varieties of crackers and cookies now all feature the best peanut butter in Lance's more than 100-year history!

Lance Peanut Butter snacks

Available in three different varieties, my girls and I had a hard time deciding which tasty Lance sandwich crackers and cookies to try first!

The options include:
  • ToastChee – This iconic cracker has been essential to snack time for more than a century. With real peanut butter, toasty baked crackers and 5 grams of protein ToastChee keeps you fueled for your next great adventure.
Lance Peanut Butter ToastChee
  • Toasty – Enjoy Toasty crackers for a mouthful of real peanut butter and baked cracker goodness. With 4 grams of protein, hunger won't stand a chance.
Lance Peanut Butter Toasty
  • Nekot – Real peanut butter sandwiched between two baked cookies. Nekot is every peanut butter lover's dream!
Lance Peanut Butter Nekot

Just as expected, my kiddos were extremely enthusiastic about all three of the Lance sandwich crackers and cookies with peanut butter and had a difficult time choosing one favorite.

In the end, Little Sister B was especially partial to the combination of sweet cookies with salty peanut butter in the Nekot. Big Sister E, on the other hand, declared that the Toasty "are angels! They're angels!" which made me scratch my head but seems like just about the highest recommendation possible, doesn't it?

Either way, I love knowing that these options are waiting in the cupboard for anytime we need a quick bite to eat and the way that the box contains eight individually wrapped packages of six sandwiches really makes them the perfect on-the-go snack.

Lance Peanut Butter review

At Lance, quality and taste are two of the most important factors when they evaluate the snacks they provide to families across the country and I appreciate that they have backed that up with their newly enhanced peanut butter. Whether you are a new or veteran Lance fan, you're going to want to give these a try!

Lance peanut butter sandwich crackers and cookies are available now at retailers across the country (hint: use their product locator to find your nearest store), with a suggested retail price of $3.39. You can also find out much more information, nutrition facts, other products, and more by visiting Lance.com and connecting with them on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Plus, thanks to their generosity, one person will soon be able to see how quick, easy and tasty it can be to combine fresh crackers and cookies with perfect peanut butter as well, because...

One lucky person will win a Lance Peanut Butter Sandwich Crackers and Cookies Prize Pack*!

*Prize Pack includes a $50 Visa prepaid gift card and (1) each of the Lance Peanut Butter Sandwich varieties:ToastChee, Toasty and Nekot.


A big thank you to Lance for this sponsored opportunity and for providing samples for me to review and a prize pack for one lucky giveaway winner. The opinions shared are my own and honest and if you really need to see more, click here to see how I roll.

Friday, October 16, 2015

All New Music for the Whole Family: KIDZ BOP 30 {Review}

 KIDZ BOP logo
No matter what type of music is your favorite, there's no doubt that it has a huge impact on our lives. We relax to classical, commiserate with country, kick up our heels to jazz, and more.

Around here, it's all about the latest, popular hits. My kids want to dance and groove and whip and nae nae in the house, in the car, at school, in stores — wherever they have the chance!

Therefore, I always love knowing that I can turn to one musical option that has the songs and beat that the kids love but also has the wording that lets parents rest easy: KIDZ BOP!

Kidz Bop kids

Spending the last 10+ years delivering safe and entertaining music for kids, KIDZ BOP CDs are known for being a compilation of "today's biggest hits sung by kids for kids."

By taking the popular songs of the year, removing the suggestive lyrics and having them performed by kids (the current members are Ashlynn, Grant, Matt, and Bredia), it's no wonder that parents as well as children can appreciate these CDs — which is why millions and millions of them have been sold to date!

As soon as my family heard about the release of the 30th KIDZ BOP album (available today!), there was no doubt that we were ready to bring home a new selection of songs. It's time to rock out with KIDZ BOP 30!

Kidz Bop 30

As usual, the group has yet again taken this season's hottest songs and made them kid-friendly and fun. My entire family has been dancing and singing along to this disc ever since it's arrival, as my girls have been playing it multiple times per day without ever growing tired of it!

This album's songs include:
  • Bad Blood
  • Hey Mama
  • Cheerleader
  • Worth It
  • Fight Song
  • Where Are U Now
  • Somebody
  • Lean On
  • Uma Thurman
  • You Know You Like It
  • Photograph
  • I Don't Like It, I Love It
  • Elastic Heart
  • Watch Me
  • Make Some Noise!
Big Sister E has declared this the best KIDZ BOP EVER (which I'm sure she has said about every single album) because the songs are all upbeat, while Little Sister B wants to hear Cheerleader over and over and over...

But, there's more! Along with recording KIDZ BOP 30, this talented group of kids has been hitting the stage for their "Make Some Noise" Tour going on across the country!

KIDZ BOP tour

From Albany, NY to Clearwater, FL, the KIDZ BOP singers have announced more than a dozen all-new holiday dates in their national tour so fans have a chance to see them live. If these CDs are as big of a hit in your house as they are in ours, head over to KidzBop.com/tour to see if/when they'll be near you so that you can hear holiday classics in addition to favorites from the best-selling KIDZ BOP series!

Whether you're having a rockin' party or just want something that the whole family can enjoy in the car, KIDZ BOP 30 and the entire line of KIDZ BOP CDs are sure to be a hit. More details and purchase information can be found in the KIDZ BOP Shop, as well as on Amazon, where it retails for $13.98.

You can also connect with KIDZ BOP on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so that you don't miss the latest and greatest, new releases, upcoming events and more.

Other than the copy of KIDZ BOP 30 that I was provided in order to facilitate my review, I was not compensated or enticed to do this post in any way. This review is solely my honest opinion of this product.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Nest Learning Thermostat for a Smart, Connected Home {Review}

Nest logo
If my family ever moves from this house, I will argue strongly for two things.

1. We hire movers. We have so much stuff that just the idea of packing, carrying, transporting, etc makes me short of breath and completely overwhelmed.

2. I will spend less than 10 minutes uninstalling and removing our thermostat (and replacing it with our old one). Because now that I have had the opportunity to live with a Nest Learning Thermostat, there is no way to go back to one that doesn't sense my activity, learn my preferences, and can be adjusted in seconds right from my phone!

Nest thermostat

On a mission to create a home that's thoughtful — one that takes care of itself and the people inside it — Nest focuses on simple, beautiful and delightful hardware, software and services. Whether you install one of their thermostats, cameras or smoke + CO alarms, you can rest assured that your house will be connected with the only the highest quality.

Case in point, the third generation Nest Learning Thermostat. This incredible little device is more beautiful than ever, with a thinner, sleeker design and a bigger, crisper display. Even better? It is actually proven to help save energy! In independent studies, the Nest Thermostat saved an average of 10-12% on heating bills and 15% on cooling bills. Who doesn't want that?

I, for one, couldn't wait to update my home with such a smart device.

Nest Thermostat

Inside the small box, I found the Nest display, base, optional trim kit, mounting screws and labels, screwdriver, installation guide, welcome guide, and a Nest Pro installation card. It was time to get to work!

Nest Learning Thermostat

Nest states that it typically takes less than half an hour to install their Learning Thermostat, but I have to admit that I was fairly anxious about it taking longer (or not even being able to complete it on my own). After all, I am used to assembling toys or furniture, but working with electricity isn't a typical hobby of mine!

However, I was extremely happy to find that it didn't take 30 minutes to install my Nest, it only took around five! That was the only time needed to unscrew the old thermostat, label the wires, screw on the base of the Nest, reconnect everything, and plug on the display. It lit up immediately and began updating and getting used to our home!

Nest Thermostat installation

From that day on, I have been smitten with the Nest.

Everything for setting up the device itself is done right from the large, bright, high-resolution touchscreen and I had no problem connecting it to my Netgear Nighthawk DST AC1900 Router and DST Adapter.

Netgear Nighthawk RouterThis new router was exclusively developed between Netgear, an industry leader in the networking world, and Best Buy, to help provide consumers with an easy, all-in-one solution to support their home's connected devices. With more and more wifi-dependent products in homes, there is an increase in the amount of stress put on personal networks, especially routers.

Therefore, the Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 was designed to not only support 10+ connected devices, but it comes with DST (Dead Spot Terminator) to eliminate wifi dead zones as well as Geek Squad Set Up and Support via phone and web, for one full year!

But back to the Nest Learning Thermostat.

Once I had the device set up, I quickly created an account on their website (providing me access and control from my laptop), followed by downloading their free app – available on iTunes or GooglePlay. I was then set to also manage my home's temperature from my phone or tablet no matter if I am near or far!

Nest Thermostat account

And the whole thing couldn't be much easier or more user-friendly!

If you prefer, you can begin by setting a traditional schedule that tells the Nest to accommodate your varying temperature preferences. Tell it when you wake up, leave the house, return home, go to sleep, and more.

But this is a smart, learning thermostat and that isn't necessary! There is actually no need to set your preferences as, within a week, the Nest starts programming itself. It learns your habits and adjusts automatically, regulating your home's temperature based on your schedule – which can save you energy and money. No hassle at all or work on your end!

Plus, when you're not at home (the Away mode), the Nest will automatically switch to an energy-efficient temperature (you set your initial high and low and it will abide by those). Even better, if you leave your house at a different time than usual, for instance if you go away for the weekend, and forget to change the temperature, the Nest will recognize that there is no one home and (Auto-Away) automatically turn itself down to avoid heating or cooling an empty home. I just love that!

nest away mode
No worrying about coming home to a cold house either, as you simply pull out your phone and tell the Nest when to start heating back up for your arrival!

While I had expected to be impressed by the Nest, I hadn't realized just how much I would appreciate having it in my home and knowing that it is working for us to save energy and money.

Along with being so incredibly simple to use, it provides me with our house's energy usage, tracking how much we have used and providing tips to help conserve. All I have to do is turn the heat down a degree (or the air conditioning up) and it notifies me that I've made an energy-saving temperature adjustment with its Nest Leaf display. That little leaf is a great motivator in pushing us in the right direction!

Along with our energy history, the Nest also monitors our heating/cooling equipment and alerts me if something is not working correctly or if our home gets dangerously hot or cold. Add to that the built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery, power consumption of less than 1 kWh/month, and ability to provide the weather conditions occurring right outside and the Nest really does it all!

Nest Learning Thermostat reviews

The Nest Learning Thermostat has helped save approximately four billion kWh of energy to date. Isn't it time it went to work for you, too?

Find out more about all of the great features and benefits the Nest can provide for you by visiting BestBuy.com, where this high tech device retails for $249.99 (some local utility companies offer rebates simply for switching to the Nest, so you may be able to save on that price)!

Don't forget to also pick up a Netgear Nighthawk DST AC1900 Router and DST Adapter to help your home stay fully connected and that Best Buy's Geek Squad service allows customers to call or get help online 24/7 whenever they want instead of needing to schedule an appointment.

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Discovering Delicious Dumplings from Paul's Pel'meni Thanks to Restaurant.com {#ReviewCrew}

2015 Review Crew Blogger Badge
Upon chatting with an established foodie recently (we're talking published author of a cookbook and soon-to-be host of her own cooking television show), I mentioned that I reside almost-in Madison, WI and her immediate response was one gushing about the "great food scene."

And, although I've always known that there truly are a huge variety of amazing food options right here in the city, it made me really stop and think.

Sure, we have chain restaurants that mirror those found across the country, but she was right in that we also have an incredible number of unique, local, one-of-a-kind eateries in every possible ethnicity and genre that you can think of. Big, small, completely locally-sourced, popular, hole-in-the-wall — whatever the occasion or that you might possibly be in the mood for, we have it here.

Thanks to Restaurant.com, our most recent discovery that highlights the delicious, diverse food options here is a very small but very loved restaurant in downtown Madison: Paul's Pel'meni.

madison dumplings restaurant

After looking up the definition of pelmeni (Russian dumplings consisting of a filling wrapped in thin, unleavened dough), I was immediately intrigued because yum.

But then I read that Paul's Pel'meni doesn't only specialize in these tasty little dumplings, but that it is the single item on their menu. How in the world could they stay in business (and have quite a collection of fans) with only one offering?

Clearly, it was time to find out.

Paul's Pel'meni

Stepping inside, it was clear that it wouldn't take much of a rush to fill the entirety of Paul's dining room and its six tables.

Paul's Pel'meni restaurant

Second, although it was true that the menu board did consist of only pelmeni, there was actually a bit of variety of plenty of customization options to suit multiple tastes.

Paul's Pel'meni menu

Along with the full or half order, patrons have the option of selecting dumplings that are filled with beef, potato or a mix (some are beef, some are potato). From there, it's topping time!

Paul's signature topping is "The Works," a mix of butter, yellow curry, sweet chili sauce, and cilantro and comes with a side of sour cream. However, if your taste buds differ from wanting all five of those options, you are also able to pick and choose any number and combination you desire. Oh, the possibilities!

It only took a short time for our pelmeni to cook up in their pots...

Paul's Pel'meni dumplings

...before we had our orders boxed up and ready to go.

But even though we had opted for take-out, my husband and I couldn't help but have a peek at what tastiness awaited us.

Paul's Pel'meni Russian dumplings
Cilantro and sour cream for me, only butter for my husband. Next time I'm taking the plunge and going with The Works!

So many bite-sized bundles of deliciousness!

We did pop a few pelmeni into our mouth (mmm!) but our true feast wasn't until we were home quite some time later. Fortunately, a few seconds in the microwave heated our dumplings right back up and I'm certain they were just as delectable as they would have been if we had eaten them right away in Paul's quaint dining area.

Paul's Pel'meni review

So good!

Each pelmeni has just the right amount of beef or potato inside and they're the perfect size for eating one right after another. I hadn't thought that a plate of dumplings could be a full meal but my stomach was full and very happy after these were gone!

Paul's Pel'meni Madison review

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Around here, we're excited to have discovered the small, one-of-a-kind, friendly atmosphere of Paul's Pel'meni and will surely be visiting again to try out even more of their tasty dumplings. Considering the constant stream of customers that were coming in and out just in the few minutes that we were in the restaurant, I can see why they stay open late (until 3am Thursday thru Saturday!) to satisfy them all!

For more information about Paul's Pel'meni, visit their Facebook page. To find out about all of the money-saving options that Restaurant.com has to offer in your area (or in an area that you are planning to visit), head over to Restaurant.com as well as on Facebook and Twitter.

As a member of the Restaurant.com Review Crew, I have been provided gift cards and compensation in order to facilitate my reviews. However, all thoughts and opinions are honest and my own.