It’s National Coffee Day! Some may laugh, but for those of us who use coffee as gas, today is to be celebrated. I’m celebrating today by unboxing and reviewing the Ninja Coffee Maker and sharing a few favorite coffee recipes.
First, let me say this. For year’s we used a Keurig. I loved our Keurig, but with as many people drinking coffee as we have in our house – it isn’t an affordable option. This past year, I bought a cheap, old-school coffee maker and dumped our Keurig. While I loved the idea of making a single cup of coffee whenever it just wasn’t practical for our family of 6 to purchase 2-3 boxes of K-cups each week.
Ninja Coffee Maker Review
Our friends at Shark sent over their new Ninja Coffee Maker for us to review. The main thing that I was so excited about when learning about this coffee maker, is that it allows us to do ONE CUP OF COFFEE at a time, and we don’t have to buy k-cups! Before getting my hopes up too high, I gave this device a thorough review – which you can see in the video.
Here are the highlights of things you should know about the Ninja Coffee Maker:
No K-Cups Needed
I love that the Ninja makes a single cup of coffee for either my mug or Yeti! The best part, I can just buy a regular bag of coffee, on K-cups needed!
The glass coffee carafe is awesome (as long as my kids don’t drop it!) It pours easy, it’s heavy and catches the coffee perfectly as it drips.
Perfect Size Water Container
Okay, this may sound silly but the container that holds the water is a perfect size! With a twist, you unsnap the water container to fill-up before making your coffee. It slides perfectly into our refrigerator for easy filling.
Pretty Coffee Maker
I know some people don’t care how pretty their coffee maker is, but others do. This is a pretty coffee maker. The lines are clean and this device isn’t an eyesore (like our last coffee maker) on the counter.
Multiple Ways to Make Coffee
You can make coffee a plethora of ways with a click of a button. If you want a carafe, full or half – just click a button. If you want to make coffee in your Yeti over ice, just click a button. The Ninja Coffee Maker is super simple to use with a plethora of coffee making options.
Things To Know
Ninja The Ninja Coffee Maker takes 8 minutes to brew a full carafe of coffee, 4 minutes for a half carafe and 1-2 minutes to fill a Yeti or a mug.
There is a feature that allows you to easily make your coffee over ice. The coffee maker knows how much water to add and gives you a great cup of coffee.
Do you like your coffee strong? No problem! With a click of a button, your coffee will be brewed strong.
Here is a quick overview of what this device offers:
Choose a Size—Cup, Travel Mug, Half Carafe, or Full Carafe—and brew directly into your favorite cup or travel mug or use the carafe.
Choose a Brew—Classic, Rich, Over Ice, and Specialty—to make a variety of hot, iced, and frozen blended coffeehouse-style drinks.
Auto-iQ One-Touch Intelligence knows how to deliver the perfect amount of water at the right time for the size and brew type you select. No need to measure the water or refill the reservoir after every single serve brew.
43 oz. Glass Carafe and Intelligent Warming Plate keep your coffee at the ideal drinking temperature with 2-hour auto shutoff.
What I Didn’t Like
There are 2 downsides that I found with the device but are totally not deal breakers.
I wish the carafe held more coffee. The good news is, it’s easy to make one-off cups of coffee so this isn’t a huge downfall.
The coffee maker makes a lot of steam. You have to be careful to not burn your hand by touching the top of the coffee maker while it’s making coffee.
The Sphero Ultimate Lightning McQueen Car arrived on our doorstep last week and OMG you have to see this thing.
So parents, I don’t know about you – but we are in mid-Summer FUNK. The kids are fighting non-stop. I could totally use a full-time nanny, but alas the budget just isn’t quite there so alas, they are home with us. Sure, we try to keep the kids busy – but with 4 kids going in 4 different directions it’s hard. On top of all of that, we live in Texas where it’s 100 degree outside.
Last week our doorbell rang. Nothing unusual about that, but what was unusual was getting an unexpected package – and it couldn’t have arrived at a better time! I saw the imprint on the box and knew this would be something for the kids to open.
Low and behold, Sphero had surprised us with their new Ultimate Lightning McQueen car. You know, LIGHTNING MCQUEEN from CARS – THAT LIGHTNING MCQUEEN but as a remote control car like you’ve never seen.
Sphero Ultimate Lightning McQueen Toy Review
I had seen a few mentions of the Sphero Lightning McQueen but had not played with it. Let me just say this thing is AMAZING. The first few days, let’s just say I may have played with it more than the kids – only because I kept telling them MY NAME WAS ON THE BOX NOT THEIR’S. I know, bad mom – but they watched in wonder and waited impatiently for their turn to play.
Let me just say this. Pixar’s Cars franchise has been a long time favorite in our house. Cars 1, Cars 2 and Cars 3 are all favorites of our 4 kids. Lightning McQueen is one of those unforgettable characters so it’s so cool to have this toy that so much resembles him. Sphero worked with the team at Pixar to make sure that this toy was on-point with the on-screen character that we all know and love. They nailed it. From the car’s body to the Lightning McQueen’s voice to what he says – it is spot on.
Ultimate Lightning McQueen Features
I don’t know where to start with the features on the Ultimate Lightning McQueen – so I’ll just start listing them.
This isn’t your average remote control car. This car is like nothing I’ve ever seen (did I mention that?) For real though. Sphero has put crazy detail into making the Ultimate Lightning McQueen car into a one-of-a-kind device. It features crazy things like you can drift while driving, emoting through suspension and expressive eyes. This product is packed with crazy innovations in robotic technology. If you have a Pixar Car’s fan, then this is a toy you will want to know about.
The first thing I noticed with Lightning was the way her feels. The material used to make this device is soft and rubbery. This isn’t the hard old school plastic of normal remote cars.
Lightning’s windshield is actually an LCD screen featuring animated eyes. They move, they even sleep and are totally expressive.
Touch the Ultimate Lightning McQueen toy car on it’s hood, trunk, sides, or top and he will move. This may have totally freaked me out the first time I grabbed him.
Bluetooth Control via App
Sphero’s Ultimate Lightning McQueen is Bluetooth controlled via the Ultimate Lightning McQueen™ by Sphero app (download here). I’ll get more into the app later.
How Fast and How Far Can McQueen Go?
Ultimate Lightning McQueen can go up to 100 feet and up to 6 miles per hour!
How Long does the Battery Last?
The battery lasts up to 40 minutes.
How Long does it Take to Charge the Battery?
It took us around 1 hour to charge the battery.
Speaking of charging the device – talk about clever. The charge port connects to the gas tank. Priceless.
Lighting comes with a limited 1-year manufacturer warranty.
Ultimate Lightning McQueen™ by Sphero App
The Sphero app behind the car is your remote to this car. The app is free and is available via iTunes or Google Play.
Here is what you will be able to do in the app:
FREE DRIVE With Free Drive you can use the joystick to drift, do donuts and drive Lightning with the driving pad.
Drive by guiding Lightning with the joystick. Long, sweeping motions work best. When Lightning turns around, he will make U-turns. To make Lightning drift while driving, change directions quickly. There are some other awesome ways to have fun driving with Lightning…
Reverse: To drive Lightning in reverse, hold the top button, showing Lightning with an arrow going backward, while using the joystick to drive in the direction you want to go.
Doughnuts: To have Lightning do doughnuts, hold the middle button, showing Lightning sliding, while pushing the joystick to the edge of the puck.
Boost: Give Lightning a boost by holding the bottom button with the arrow while driving with the joystick.
PIT STOP PANIC
Train hard and join the pit crew. Lightning coaches you as you race the clock changing tires, fueling up, and getting racers back on the track.
Direct Lightning McQueen as he prepares to be on camera. Create scripts with your favorite phrases and actions for him to perform.
This feature is TOO COOL. You can watch Disney Pixar’s Cars with Lightning and watch him react to the movie. Select this option with Lightning plugged in to charge, start the movie, and hear all he has to say.
Ultimate Lightning McQueen Storage Case
Looking for a way to store your new car? Check out this custom case!
Not Your Average Remote Control Car
As mentioned, this device is not your typical remote control. Yes, you will pay more for this but Sphero products DO NOT disappoint!
Learn more about Ultimate Lightning McQueen at Sphero
YES! Did you know you can create a wireless intercom system for your home with Alexa and Amazon Echo? That’s right – you can now use the Amazon Echo or Amazon Echo Dot as an intercom and it’s wireless.
Remember the old home intercom systems. They were built into the walls of homes. We had one growing up – I so loved that thing. It even had a radio. While those are no longer really a thing, the idea of an wireless intercom system in the house with 4 kids is something that interested me. SO when I heard about this new Alexa Skill – I was all over it. Let’s look at how you can create a wireless intercom system for your home with Alexa and Amazon Echo (or Amazon Echo Dot!)
Create a Wireless Intercom System for Home With Alexa and Amazon Echo
Are you ready to setup your Amazon Echo or Amazon Echo Dot as an wireless intercom? First – I should say, you will need more than 1 Echo. We have 3 Echo Dots and an Amazon Echo in our home.
Our first problem in setting up Alexa to act as as intercom was that each of the older 2 kids had set their Dots up on their own Amazon accounts. We fixed that and reassigned their Dots to our main Amazon account, which happens to be mine. I’ll do a how to soon on setting up an Amazon Household. This was our solution, just in case you also have this issue.
Our kids received the Echo Dots for Christmas and were to anxious to wait for us to setup their accounts – hence why we have 3 Dots on 3 networks!
Setting up the Alexa and your Amazon Echo devices as an Home intercom is super easy. I’ll walk you thru the steps. You can also watch this in action by watching the video on top.
First, you need to name each of your Amazon Echo devices. Amazon suggests doing this by name, so our main Echo we could name KITCHEN. We just named each of our kids’ echo’s by their name, except the littles that share – we named their’s boys.
How to Name Your Echo Devices
To name your Echo devices:
Open your Alexa app
Click on the hamburger menu in the upper left-hand corner
Scroll to SETTINGS
Click on an Echo or Echo Dot Device
Scroll to Device Name
And there you have it – that is how you name your Echo device!
How to Use Alexa as an Intercom System
Now that our devices are named, let’s get working on making it Alexa a wireless home intercom system. It’s super easy to use – Amazon automatically upgrades your Echo and Echo Dot skills, whenever it rolls out a new skill. (This intercom feature is considered a skill.)
Okay, to get this to work – so easy. All you have to say to either an Echo, Echo Dot or to the Amazon Alexa App “Alexa, call the ______” or “Alexa, drop in on the ______” So, if I want to talk to my boys, I just say “Alexa, call the boys” It then let’s me talk to them. If I want to spy on my boys to figure out what they are up to, you can do that as well. That’s what the “Alexa, drop in on the _______” does.
I remember listening into my brother’s room from our old home intercom system. Now I can do it wirelessly!
Something to note – when you “drop in” on a room – the Amazon device will give a chime and then a green light will rotate around the Echo, like a call is going on. So yes, you can spy on your kids – but they may catch on if they hear the noise, or see the light. BUT if your kids are like ours and deep in the throws of something – chances are they won’t notice. Remember, when you drop in – if you laugh or talk, they can hear you – so be quiet if you are being sneaky.
There you have it! Pretty cool feature, right? We love our Amazon Echo devices and looking forward to the Alexa technology on many other devices in the near future.
Do you own an Amazon Echo or Echo Dot? Have you used Alexa as a home intercom system? Let us know in the comments!
We have a Arlo baby monitor review for you! First, let me say – sad panda here, my babies are all grown. Netgear sent over an Arlo smart baby monitor for us to test out and now I am faced with the fact that I once stared mindlessly into a screen watching my babies every move. Now, I can’t keep track of all of my kids (okay, I totally can – hello FIND MY IPHONE.)
All that to say, THIS – the ARLO smart baby monitor – is the baby monitor that I WISH I had when my littles were littles.
ARLO BABY MONITOR REVIEW
If you have a chance, read my Baby Registry Must Haves post. The ARLO Baby is featured in it and well, it’s a great overview for all new parents on what you need to have for baby. Enough, I know – you just want to know about this awesome baby monitor. I get it.
Not the Baby Monitor of 2011
SO my last baby was born in 2011. Sure we had video baby monitors, but compared to this monitor? This is the Baby Monitor of 2017 – this is NOT a 2011 monitor. The picture is clear, the audio is awesome, the features are legit. Here, let me just tell you everything you want to know in our Arlo Baby Smart Monitor review:
1080p HD Quality
1080p HD for all you non-geeks means this has AMAZING quality video. No longer will your baby look like an alien thru the video monitor – this quality is legit! You can view live or recorded videos in awesome detail and color. I actually downsized this screen shot as for web, best practice is not to have massive images. For real y’all – check out this quality. My kid looks like my kid and not some blurry monster like in the old school video monitors!
Air Sensor – Air Quality Checker
Air quality checker? Well, didn’t know what better way to say – this device checks your air quality! The built-in air sensor will show you the temperature wherever your camera is located, as well as humidity and condition of the air.
HELLO CHILD, CAN YOU PLEASE GO BACK TO SLEEP. Yes, those are the words that my kids constantly heard but you know, you do you. You can talk to your baby from anywhere and hear them, too – all thru the Arlo app.
Advanced Night Vision
Because newborns require 24 hour surveillance, the Arlo Baby Smart Monitor gives you near-invisible infrared LEDs, that let you see your baby clearly, even in the dark. That’s right, night vision!
Set alerts when ever there is motion or sound – even set air quality notifications! The smart alert notifications are sent to your smartphone. Smart, eh? I love this feature, again – things that I didn’t have back in the day (5 whole years ago, what a difference 5 years make!)
Play White Noise and Music Thru the Baby Monitor
This feature is something that I adore, why? I had 2 colic kids that had to have white noise to sleep! The Arlo monitor comes with a playlist of options for your baby to listen to, including white noise! You can also record your voice and play it back to them.
Free 7-Day Cloud Storage
You can be review, download and share recorded moments for an entire week
The multi-colored night light, music player, temperature, humidity & VOCs air sensors are all controlled from the Arlo app. Again, all thru your app. Nope, didn’t have that 5 years ago.
Go wireless with your baby monitor for up to 6 hours (or up to 3 hours with night vision.) This allows you to monitor your baby, wherever you go! This also allows your camera still work, in the event of a power outage.
The Arlo baby monitor works thru your Arlo app! If you have an Arlo video surveillance system, it’s the same app as you will use to monitor your child.
Arlo Baby Accessories
The Arlo baby camera comes dressed in an adorable bunny outfit. If green bunny isn’t your thing, no worries – the camera has costumes! You can dress your camera up as a cat or dog.
Other Arlo accessories include a display monitor – which would be super helpful if you had a sitter and didn’t want to give them phone access. Also there is a monitor stand available which comes in handy when positioning the camera.
Useful After Your Baby is Grown
After your babies are all grown, this baby monitor still has a purpose! We use our’s as an indoor camera. It’s great as we can talk to the kids and hear what they are doing when we aren’t around. I can be outside in the pasture, pull up the app – see what my kid is doing! I can move the camera around to wherever my kids and know that they are okay. This is an advantage of the kids growing up, I don’t have to be TOTALLY eagle eye on them.
Setting Up The Baby Monitor
Setting up the Arlo baby monitor took 15 minutes. 5 of that is retrieving, setting up a new password and telling my husband the new password. Setup is super easy. If you are a non-techy – no worries, Netgear made the setup process super simple.
Stay tuned for our Arlo Baby Monitor Review video!
Peace of Mind
As a working mom who traveled when her babies were little, I so would value all of these features. Moms and dads just want peace of mind, knowing that their child is okay. This baby product offers just that.
Thanks for reading our Arlo Baby Monitor Review – now it’s your chance to win one of your very own! We have no need for a baby monitor in our house, babies grown, mom sad. My loss is YOUR win! I’m giving away my review unit to a lucky reader. I hope that this helps out one of your new mamas or papas in your quest to raise baby!
Where to Buy
The Arlo Baby monitor retails for $249.99 and is available on Amazon and Best Buy.
Motorola recently sent over the Mototola Talkabout MT 350R for us to play with it and while I initially thought, oh that’s neat – I had NO idea how useful these 2-way radios would be for our family.
Let me formally introduce you. Blog meet Motorola Talkabout MT 350R. Motorola Talkabout meet the blog. If you are needing a great Father’s day gift – you are welcome… 🙂
Motorola Talkabout MT 350R Review
As you can see in the video, these things are more than just your average walkie talkie!
Not Your Fisher Price Walkie Talkies
Remember these? With a range of, I don’t know maybe 50 feet you could talk to your friends… Yeah, the Talkabout kind of blows these out of the universe. The Fisher Price walkie talkies were the last ones that I’ve used and woah, talk about hard core!
The Motorola Talkabout has a range of 35 MILES – not the 35 feet or so you could get with the Fisher Price Walkie Talkies! That range is subject to visibility but we did try these out going 5 miles and they worked fabulous. Nothing like driving down the road and your kid dinging you their food order from the device!
I’ve talked here recently the importance of emergency preparedness (see: Red Cross Emergency Weather app.) In tornado alley, we have to be prepared at all times for whatever this lovely tornado season weather brings us.
Motorola has included 2 key features that are essential in tornado alley (or totally would be good in any emergency weather situation such as a hurricane.)
NOAA Weather Radio
That’s right, you have 2 weather radios at your finger tips with these walkie talkies. You just simply push a button and BOOM – instant weather radio.
I don’t know about you, but flashlights often disappear in our house. With the Motorola Talkabouts, you have a flashlight built into the device! (So that’s 2 flashlights for you!)
Motorola Talkabout Specs
Check out all the technical details for the Motorola Talkabout MT 350R at Motorola Solutions.
Protects against we weather (snow, rain splashes)
Emergency alert features, built-in LED flashlight and NOAA weather alert channels for emergency preparedness. he NOAA channels provide emergency alerts including tornadoes, winter storms, severe thunderstorms, flash floods, emergency evacuations and Amber Alerts.
Clear sound quality!
Extra Power When You Need It
Use the Push-To-Talk Power Boost function to extend the transmission range by increasing the transmitter power output while saving battery life on your Motorola 2-way radio.
Hiking? No worries – with iVOX the Talkabout acts like a speakerphone allowing hands-free communication.
Uses a mini-USB charger to charge. Or just use alkaline batteries.
With Vibracall – a silent vibrating ringer can be used – especially good to use with kids who like to play with and talk to you all the time.
Talkabout MT350R 2-Way Radios Include:
2 NiMH rechargable battery packs
2 belt clips
1 Y cable wall adapter with 2 mini-USB connectors
1 Emergency Preparedness checklist sheet
1 user guide
1 accessories sheet
Available in orange
Where to Buy Talkabout
These 2-way radios are available retail for $89.99 and are available for purchase at: