Review: Matkins Reusable Placemats

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Matkins Reusable Placemat Review

One of the many problems with school lunches, picnics, or eating out is the unknown germs and all round disgustingness of eating surfaces. Matkins attempts to remedy this problem, or at least cover it up with something clean! Matkins are fun and reusable placemats that kids can use to help make tables and other surfaces safer to eat on.

There are a two main questions to look at with Matkins. Are they practical and are they kid proof. I put them to the test at the ultimate greasy germfest: an amusement park.

Are they practical?
Matkins come in many fun designs. I tested out the superhero and pirate designs. I like how they can roll up and store compactly in a bag, backpack, or lunchbox. You can use the tie strings to keep them secured. They also come with a small napkin which tucks into a little pocket. It is a little tedious to tuck it in there, but I found just rolling it up inside the Matkin works just as well. 

It was very easy just to unroll them before lunch at the park and set them on the table. We didn't have to wipe it off with a wet wipe like we normally do. The hardest part is remembering to put them in the bag, but since they take up such little space, you can just keep them in there all the time if you choose.

Are they kid proof?
A reusable placemat isn't much use if it gets all stained up and looks disgusting. We ate a typical greasy lunch at the amusement park. Don't judge, it was free and I wasn't arguing with free. I took the opportunity to smear greasy french fries, ketchup, and BBQ sauce on the Matkins. Here is what they looked liked:
The white part of the Matkin cleaned up well. For the ketchup, I wiped it up right away and you could hardly tell it had been there. There was a light spot on the cotton border, even after going through the washing machine. With the BBQ sauce, I left it caked on to see how it would come out in the washing machine hours later. There wasn't even a mark.

The verdict is that they cleaned up amazingly well and did what they promised. I do wish Matkins had a FAQ section on their website though. We couldn't find whether the placemats were machine washable but we figured they were (UPDATE: Cleaning instructions are on the back of the hang tag and they recommend drying on low heat or air dry). We did hang them to dry though because we didn't want to risk them in the dryer without knowing for sure it they would hold up. You can find out more information and buy your own set for $16 each at

Disclosure: Matkins sent me their product to review. I have received no other compensation for this post and the opinions I’m expressing here are solely my own.


Sesame Street Lunch

Monday, April 28, 2014

Sesame Street Bento Lunch with Elmo, Oscar The Grouch, and Cookie Monster

Year 2, Week 31: A Sesame Street Lunch. Fun lunches are finally back after a week off for spring break. I picked up this AWESOME Oscar the Grouch lunchbox at a local coffee shop, by my house, and I've been wanting to make a lunch in it forever. Well, today's the day. My kids have started watching Sesame Street again for some reason, after ignoring it forever. They turn on Netflix and its one of the first things they choose. It brings back a ton of memories from when I was a kid. 

The great thing about this lunch is that you can take some of the individual elements and make them for a birthday party, playdate, or whatever else. The Elmo apple, for example, is very easy to do and you could easily make a bunch of them. I also put in a Matkin, which is a reusable placemat. It is great for giving your child a clean surface to eat lunch on. Remember to follow me on my social media channels. You can find the buttons at the top of the page. Have a great week!

Sesame Street Bento Lunch with Elmo, Oscar The Grouch, and Cookie Monster
1/2 red apple
1 slice cheddar cheese
2 balls fresh mozzarella cheese
2 pieces whole wheat bread
Nori (dried seaweed)
Tuna (or other sandwich meat)
Plain greek yogurt
Cookie crumbs (if desired)
2 yogurt covered raisins
Celery Sticks
Peanut Butter
2 baby carrots
2 pieces of pineapple, cut up
Letter and number shaped organic cookies or crackers
Fat-free cream cheese
1 pretzel stick
Black and blue food coloring

Sesame Street Bento Lunch with Elmo, Oscar The Grouch, and Cookie Monster
1. Cookie Monster is very simple. Tint greek yogurt blue with a little food coloring. Spoon into small round container. On yogurt covered raisins, draw eyes using black food coloring or food coloring marker. Place raisins in yogurt as shown. Sprinkle a very small amount of cookie crumbs around mouth area. I also added a little honey to the bottom of the yogurt for flavor, since it is plain yogurt.

2. Elmo is made using a red apple. I shaped it slightly to make room for the eyes and shape of his head. Cut eyes and mouth out of nori. Put nori circles on fresh mozzarella balls. Attach them to the apple using a toothpick in each one. Cut out a circle of cheddar cheese and use for the nose.

Sesame Street Bento Lunch with Elmo, Oscar The Grouch, and Cookie Monster
3. I made a small sandwich out of whole wheat bread and tuna. On top I put a cheddar cheese version of Elmo's goldfish, Dorothy. Place celery sticks in background of container and set elmo face and sandwich on top. Include a small container of peanut butter to dip the celery in.

4. For Oscar the Grouch, I put a piece of broccoli in a round metal container. He lives in a metal trash can, right? Use two dabs of cream cheese for the eyes and a little black food coloring in the middle. Stick two pieces of pretzel sticks on for the eyebrows. 

5. I made a few copies of Oscar's worm, Slimy, out of pineapple and baby carrots. Cut them into small pieces and stick on to kabob sticks or toothpicks. Draw a face on if desired.

6. You can finish up by using letter and number shaped crackers or cookies. I used all natural organic ones here. I don't normally put them in my daughter's lunch, but they were perfect for the theme. You could also finish off this lunch by including a Sesame Street themed napkin or even use a bright colored Matkin like I put in!
Sesame Street Bento Lunch with Elmo, Oscar The Grouch, and Cookie Monster

Sesame Street Kids Party Ideas with Elmo, Oscar The Grouch, and Cookie Monster

Big Mother's Day Giveaway from Lunchbox Dad and PassionRoses!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Disclosure: PassionRoses sent me their product and allowed me to do a giveaway to promote their Mother's Day special sale. I received no other compensation and the opinions expressed here are solely my own.

Mother's Day is the time to pull out all the stops and I know when it comes to my wife she wants roses. But not just any roses, she wants the best! She loves them, as do most ladies. I have been married for 12 years now and I have learned that on special days like this, I can get away with forgetting many things, but I better not forget the flowers! As a dad I recognize how important she is to our kids and to me. She does so much for our family, and although I try and show how much she means to us throughout the year, Mother's Day is one of the best times to do it!

I remember the night that I proposed to my wife. I met her on the doorstep with roses, a new dress, and reservations for a nice restaurant. Ever since then, roses have a special meaning for us. This Mother's Day, I am giving her amazing roses from and you can give your mother, wife, or significant other the same! You might even be one of three lucky Lunchbox Dad readers to WIN TWO DOZEN ROSES DELIVERED TO THEIR DOOR!

PassionRoses is a family-oriented company from Bogota, Colombia dedicated to providing the highest-quality roses, both in beauty and sustainability. The awesome thing about this company is that they are committed to supporting the communities where they live through education, donations and community outreach. You can find their roses in many stores around the country in just about any color imaginable. In fact, PassionRoses are the official rose of the Miss America Pageant (shown to the left) and the Rose Bowl Game. To find out more information on these amazing roses go to

PassionRoses is not only giving every Lunchbox Dad reader a discount code (on the right), but three of you will win two dozen roses for FREE delivered right to your special someone's door. Just enter using the Rafflecopter Box below!  Hurry this giveaway ends on April 30!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Can you beat this #LatteRomeo and win $500?

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post, in conjunction with Starbucks and Life of Dad, LLC. I was provided with samples packets of Starbucks VIA® Latte, and received compensation for participating in this promotion.

Mother's Day is no time to mess around. As a dad I need to be on my game in order to make my wife feel like the most amazing mom in the world, because she is! However, it take more than breakfast in bed and flowers. In my house it takes being a #LatteRomeo. You have to have skills and strategy to be the top, and I think I pulled it off pretty well with the help of my kids. 

What exactly is a #LatteRomeo? I'm glad you asked. A #LatteRomeo is romantic and fun all at the same time. A #LatteRomeo shows his appreciation for all the hours his wife puts in throughout the year. Lastly, a #LatteRomeo comes up with an awesome 15 second Instagram movie showing why he is the top #LatteRomeo around. 

Here is the best part! You too can show off your #LatteRomeo side by making your own Instagram video with your kids, illustrating to the world why you deserve to win $500 from Starbucks! Watch my #LatteRomeo example video below then read on for the details on how to win $500 from Starbucks.

Did you like that? Think you can do better? Well then enter the #LatteRomeo contest on today. All you have to do is prepare your significant other a glorious breakfast in bed using Starbucks Via Latte. Let your kids pick out whatever food they want. It can be some crazy concoction like tacos and bananas, or cereal and ham. You just must make sure you show the Starbucks Via Latte product in the video.
Starbucks #LatteRomeo Contest

I have to tell you that I have been thoroughly enjoying my Via Lattes this week. They have been a life saver for when I was running late for work and could just throw some VIA into a hot cup of water to give me that amazing caffeine rush I needed to get going. No one wants to be around me without my coffee in the morning. I mean no one, not even my dog. So Starbucks Via, thank you for being awesome and for helping to make me the future #LatteRomeo champ. If you don't want me to win you better enter now over at Life of Dad, but you have to make it good to be the champ. Wait, look who I'm talking to, you are all Lunchbox Dad readers, I expect nothing but the best from you. So get to work because $500 is on the line! You can find all the details and rules over at

Throwback Thursday Lunch Linkup #10

Here is today's "Throwback Thursday" lunch post linkup. This is to give everyone a chance to post their past fun meals! The rules are simple. Anyone can post their fun lunch, but it has to be at least 6 months old. Not the lunch itself, the post. A 6 month old lunch would be gross and no one wants to see that. The lunch also has to be your own, not one that you saw on someone else's site. So dig up those old pictures and post them for everyone to see. Please share the linkup on your social media networks as well so everyone can join in on the throwback fun.

My Throwback Thursday bento lunch for today is:

A "Star Wars" lunch in honor of May the 4th coming soon! You can see the whole recipe HERE:

KRAFT Outside-In Jalapeno-Bacon Cheeseburger

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser.
KRAFT Outside-In Jalapeno-Bacon Cheeseburger #SayCheeseburger #CollectiveBias

KRAFT Outside-In Jalapeno-Bacon Cheeseburger
Nothing says warm weather fun like grilling burgers with family and friends. Cheeseburgers have to be one of my family's favorite summer foods. The only thing better than the feeling of biting down on a warm, juicy burger smothered in cheese is biting down on one with a spicy kick. My Outside-In Jalapeno-Bacon Cheeseburger made with KRAFT cheese is one spicy burger recipe you will want to keep handy at all times. My family went crazy over this burger and your family will too.

The secret to the Outside-In Cheeseburger is the jalapenos and bacon mixed into the hamburger meat and the KRAFT Jalapeno Cheddar Cheese slices. When you grill the burger, the spicy and savory flavors complement each other so well and when you add the KRAFT cheese and spicy bacon sauce, it might just be the perfect burger. You take the "outside" ingredients and move them "in" so you can enjoy all the flavors and juices inside the burger patty! The really convenient part is that you can find all the ingredients you need at Walmart, like I did. So buckle up, this spicy burger is going to take your family for a ride!

Ingredients for Kraft Outside-In Jalapeno-Bacon Cheeseburger #SayCheeseburger #CollectiveBias

1 small can diced jalapenos, drained and divided
1/2 pound OSCAR MAYER bacon, cooked and diced, divided
1 lb. hamburger meat
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 package hamburger buns
4 KRAFT Big Slice Jalapeno White Cheddar Cheese Slices
1 cup crispy onion strings
1 tomato, sliced
Iceberg lettuce
1/2 pkg. (4oz.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
1/4 cup KRAFT Mayo Hot & Spicy Flavored Mayonnaise
Sweet potato fries

Kraft Outside-In Jalapeno-Bacon Cheeseburger #SayCheeseburger #CollectiveBias

Hamburger Directions
Makes 4 burgers

1. Mix 1/2 can of jalapenos and 1/4 lb. bacon pieces into the hamburger meat. Add cayenne pepper and knead meat mixture well. Substitute turkey for hamburger meat if desired. Form meat into 4 patties. Serving size is 1/4 lb. each. Cook on grill or stovetop until done, about 4 minutes on each side.

2. Place burger patty on bun and top with KRAFT Big Slice Jalapeno White Cheddar Cheese slices. Sprinkle crispy onion strings on the cheese. Layer tomato slices and lettuce on top of burger. 

3. Spread spicy bacon sauce (directions below) on other bun and finish burger by placing on top.

4. Serve with a side of your favorite sweet potato fries. The spicy bacon sauce also makes a terrific dipping sauce for the french fries!

Kraft Outside-In Jalapeno-Bacon Cheeseburger #SayCheeseburger #CollectiveBias

KRAFT Hot & Spicy Bacon Dipping Sauce Directions
Makes enough for 4 burgers and french fries

1. Mix PHILADELPHIA cream cheese with KRAFT Mayo Hot & Spicy Mayonnaise. Make sure it is blended well. It helps to soften the cream cheese beforehand. 

2. Stir in 1/2 can jalapenos and 1/4 pound bacon pieces.

3. Serve on Outside-In Jalapeno-Bacon Cheeseburger and as a dipping sauce for french fries. 

KRAFT Hot and Spicy Bacon Dipping Sauce #SayCheeseburger #CollectiveBias

#SayCheeseburger #CollectiveBias #lbdbento

Take Your Kids to Work & Get A Free Meal at Olive Garden!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

If you follow my blog at all, you know I am in favor of special events and organizations that promote parents spending more time with their kids. This Thursday, April 24 is National Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day. More than 37 million youth and adults are expected to participate in this. I am taking my daughter to work with me, how about you? 

There is no better way to celebrate this than to spend some family time together eating dinner afterwards. Olive Garden Restaurant not only has amazing food, but is providing a way to spend some family time together and giving away FREE kids meals at the same time!

Olive Garden has partnered with the Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Foundation since 2012, and last year more than 7,000 Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day participants visited Olive Garden restaurants nationwide.

"Olive Garden is proud to support the Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day Foundation and all it does to create enriching educational experiences for children around the world," said Jay Spenchian, Olive Garden's executive vice president of marketing. "By offering free kids meals we hope to make the day a little more special for parents and their children, and encourage everyone to join us for a family meal together."

The Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day free kid's meal coupon is available now at The coupon is valid for lunch and dinner with the purchase of any adult entree, including more than 20 new menu items recently introduced on Olive Garden's menu as part of the most comprehensive update in the restaurant's history.

To find the nearest Olive Garden restaurant, also visit Connect with them at, and

Disclosure: Olive Garden has provided me a gift card in exchange for promoting this awesome opportunity to take your kids out to dinner for great Olive Garden food. However, the opinions expressed here are solely my own.

Review: JJ Cole Metra Diaper Bag

JJ Cole Metra Diaper Bag Review

If you are a parent, you know there are a multitude of diaper bag choices out there. You also know that when it come to babies, you need to have a bag to carry all of your stuff in or life is going to be much more difficult. As a dad, I have felt like most diaper bags look and feel like they are designed for moms. My choices were limited to either a flowery pink bag or plain black. This is where the JJ Cole Metra line comes in.

I have three kids, including a 3 month old. For the first two children, my wife picked out the bag. I did errands, family trips, and life in general feeling like I needed to apologize to other men for the silky purse-like bags I carried around. I spent my travel time lurking in the corner, trying to hide the diaper bag by my feet. I wanted to shoulder the load; I just absolutely hated the bags we owned. So when JJ Cole approached me about reviewing their Metra line, which is designed for both parents in mind, I jumped at the chance. 

JJ Cole Metra Diaper Bag Review
The Metra is available in a few different colors and designs. I chose the “Black Stitch” which is black and grey in color. I was drawn to its subtle look, but also how it reminded me of my messenger bag that I carry my laptop and work supplies in. After loading it up with supplies, I confidently slung it over my shoulder. The feel of it was nice and comfortable.

Most parents know that the look of a diaper bag means nothing without it being practical. The first feature that caught my eye was all the handy external pockets. I appreciate the big outside flap on the Metra. Not only does it keep everything inside, but it also houses a number of different sized outside pockets. If you want to keep small items handy, this bag has you covered. I also really like the detachable pacifier carrier. However, the main internal compartment is smaller than other bags we have used. We had a bit of a difficult time organizing everything that we normally take with us. The included changing pad is great but it takes up valuable space inside the bag. The other option is to attach it to the outside of the bag, but that takes away from the look.

JJ Cole Metra Diaper Bag Review
The Metra also comes with two rubber stroller mounts in order to hang the diaper bag from. They installed easy enough, however, I noticed right away that when a bag isn’t attached the straps could easily come loose from the stroller handle. I had one fall off while loading the stroller into the car. I’m hoping as they break in this won’t be an issue, but it is something you should be aware of. These straps did make the Metra very easy to put on and take off of our stroller.

JJ Cole Metra Diaper Bag ReviewThe JJ Cole Metra price starts at $69.99 and you can find more information on their website If you are a parent wanting a great looking bag, and you don’t need an extra large amount of space, you should definitely consider the Metra. However, if you take everything with you wherever you go, it might not fit all your needs. Overall, I am happy with this bag and think it will serve my family nicely.

This "Black Stitch" model is available in store at Babies R Us and buy buy BABY, and on Select other colors of the Metra Bag are available in store and online at Babies R Us and buy buy BABY.

Disclosure: JJ Cole sent me their product to review. I have received no other compensation for this post and the opinions I’m expressing here are solely my own.


Welcome to my blog! Have a look around...

Monday, April 21, 2014

It is Spring Break for my daughter so no new lunch today. However, I thought I would take the opportunity to welcome all my new followers and briefly tell you about some areas of blog that you should check out. Thanks for visiting and remember to share this site with your friends!

The Search Box:

At the top left corner of my site is the search box. You can search for any keyword term such as Kermit the Frog, Planetbox, or Funny Pictures. Any posts with keywords such as this will then popup for you to see. Use this function, it will save you tons of time.

Popular Posts:

On the right, in my sidebar, are my popular posts list. If you want to see some of people's favorite posts, scan this list. There are some great ideas here.

Social Media:

There is much more to Lunchbox Dad than what you will find on my blog. Here's what you will see on a few of my more popular social media sites. You can easily find my social media links by clicking on the buttons at the top right of my blog.

Facebook: Here is where I share my posts but also some of the best lunch and parenting posts from around the internet. There also some great conversations that happen here.
Twitter: I post some of my parenting observations as well as retweet some of the funniest parenting tweets around. This is also a fun way to engage with me. 
Pinterest: I pin all of lunches but also have boards that share a ton of food ideas from some of the most talented bento lunch makers you can find.
YouTube: Like video tutorials? I have posted some here as well as some video reviews I have done.


I have written tons of reviews on lunch product tools as well as tools that help make parents' lives easier. At the top of my blog you can find these two buttons. They will show you all of the reviews I have done.

In The News:

Want to know where else you can find me across the internet? On this page you will some of the sites that have interviewed me and featured my work. Just click the button at the top of my page.

Once again, thanks for reading my blog. I hope you keep checking back and also join the conversations across my social media channels!

Review: Dad's Book of Awesome Science Experiments

Friday, April 18, 2014

Review of Dad's Book of Awesome Science Experiments

There are very few books that make me visibly excited to go through with my kids. When I received Mike Adamick's book, Dad's Book of Awesome Science Experiments, it made that list. In fact my kids have even leafed through this book when they see it sitting on the end table. They want to know when we can do more of the experiments that Adamick introduces.

Review of Dad's Book of Awesome Science ExperimentsThe author shows even the most novice science dad how to pull of some of the coolest experiments around. From soap clouds, to acid rain, to fingerprint monsters this book is full of fun activities to try. My favorite chapter is the Mentos and Coke Rocket. This experiment is full of tension, sudden explosions, and messiness. Your kids will be talking about it for months. I did this experiment and it requires little supplies or prep but the fun level is off the charts. When we did this, we experimented with different kinds of sodas and different amounts of mentos. Adamick hits it right on the nose when he states that Diet Coke and a large amount of Mentos are best. I am warning you, this can shoot super high and create a huge mess. Have tarps on hand or do it in a park area where the mess won't matter or hurt anything.

The other fantastic part about this book is how it incorporates science into every experiment. Parents can either read it directly to their kids, or read the material themselves and talk about it with them after. It doesn't matter how you do it, just that you do. It creates fun learning moments where the whole family can take something away from a simple activity. The parts of the book are broken into sections so you can choose from Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Planet Earth, or the Human Body. There are 30 experiments in all so you won't run out anytime soon.

I like how Adamick makes the science easy to read and understand. I also like how each chapter is relatively short. You wont have to spend a ton of time reading in order to pull off each experiment. The only challenge you might run into is with supplies. All of the supplies are easy to get, but for some experiments you might not have them readily available at your house. For example, "Hole-y Walls" calls for iodine. You can get this easily but many people don't have it on the shelf. This is a small thing to be picky on but you just need to know that some experiments will need a little bit more planning to pull off.

Overall the book is excellent for making science fun and creating memories for the whole family. I would highly recommend parents, grandparents, and everyone else pick up this book. You never know when it will come in handy. It retails for $13 online at Amazon. That is a steal for all the fun and knowledge you get with this book. You can find out more about the author and this book at

Review of Dad's Book of Awesome Science Experiments

Disclosure: Adam's Media sent me their product to review. I have received no other compensation for this post and the opinions I’m expressing here are solely my own.


Throwback Thursday Lunch Linkup #9

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Here is today's "Throwback Thursday" lunch post linkup. This is to give everyone a chance to post their past fun meals! The rules are simple. Anyone can post their fun lunch, but it has to be at least 6 months old. Not the lunch itself, the post. A 6 month old lunch would be gross and no one wants to see that. The lunch also has to be your own, not one that you saw on someone else's site. So dig up those old pictures and post them for everyone to see. Please share the linkup on your social media networks as well so everyone can join in on the throwback fun.

My Throwback Thursday bento lunch for today is:

An "Easter Bunny" lunch! You can see the whole recipe HERE:

Captain America Bento Lunch

Monday, April 14, 2014

Captain America Bento Lunch

Year 2, Week 30: Captain America Bento Lunch. Today's lunch is for my son. He hasn't received one for awhile and he really wanted a Captain America lunch. I made my daughter a lunch as well, but it is under wraps for now. It is for an upcoming exciting event that I can't talk about yet, but you will hear about it soon! Anyway, both of my kids love superheroes and this one was actually really easy to do. I picked Captain America because he is one of my son's favorites.

It is made in an Easy Lunch Boxes container. Be sure to follow me on Twitter and Facebook so you can get all the updates about some exciting stuff coming soon. Have a wonderful Easter next weekend.

Captain America Bento Lunch
Whole wheat sandwich rounds
Fat free cream cheese
Peanut butter
4 strawberries
1/2 banana
1 flour tortilla
1 handful of spinach
1 serving star shaped crackers
1 serving nonfat Greek yogurt
Blue food coloring
Red sprinkles
Optional: Superhero sticker

Captain America Bento Lunch
1. Spread peanut butter on sandwich rounds, put pieces together and put cream cheese on top of sandwich round.

2. Slice strawberries and banana. Press slices into cream, alternating strawberries and banana as shown. For inner circle dye the cream cheese blue and then top with blueberries. Finish with a star made out of a tortilla.

3. Place spinach in main container as a background. Put Captain America sandwich on top.

4. In one side dish place star shaped crackers. If desired put a superhero themed decoration on top. I put a sticker that says "Hero."

5. In second side dish, place yogurt inside and tint with blue food coloring. Cut an "A" out of tortilla and float on top of the yogurt. Arrange red sprinkles all around.

Captain America Bento Lunch

Review: Yummy Dough, Food You Can Play With and Eat!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Yummy Dough Product Review

Admit it. When you were a kid playing with Play-Dough you always wanted to taste it. Some of you might have even taken the plunge and eaten a little. However, it only took once not to do it again. Every generation of kids faces that same temptation. The makers of Yummy Dough want to make your childhood dreams a reality. They have created a dough with which you can make fun creations...and then eat them! But is it tasty and does it actually work?

Yummy Dough Product Review
The dough comes in a tub in powder form. You are given everything you need to make it except water. It comes with four colors. The instructions even show you how to mix the colors to make other colors. To make the dough, mix the powder with water. The process is easy, but can take some time. Preparing it by myself, it took me 7-8 minutes of stirring to get each color to be the desired consistency. In order to use this product, you must plan for appropriate prep time. Unlike Play-Dough, this won't last for long periods of time. The container says it should be used within a day while the website states the dough should be used within 2-3 days.

Once I prepared the dough, my kids washed their hands, and took over. They had a ton of fun making different sculptures. The colors were bright and could easily be manipulated to make whatever shape they wanted. Yummy Dough can be eaten raw or cooked. When raw, it tasted similar to sugar cookie dough. It can also be heated up and cooked in the microwave or oven. My children and I did not like the microwave cooking method. It just didn't taste right. Cooking it in the oven for 12-14 minutes worked great, however.  The dough kept its shape and didn't expand much after cooking like normal cookies do. It tasted a bit like sweet biscuits or animal crackers.

Yummy Dough is made with no preservatives but does contain food allergy warnings. Please check their website with any concerns. Their website also contains some great ideas, tips, and instructions.

Yummy Dough is a unique product that helped me to have a tremendous amount of fun with my kids. It would be a unique addition to a kid's birthday party or for a special dessert. I wish it didn't take so long to mix, and it would be great if the dough lasted more than a day or two. However, besides those things, it is a great idea. To buy Yummy Dough, or to find out more, you can go to
Yummy Dough Product Review
Disclosure: Yummy Dough sent me their product to review. I have received no other compensation for this post and the opinions I’m expressing here are solely my own.


Review: ibattz Mojo Refuel Aqua case for iPhone 5/5s

Thursday, April 10, 2014

A few months back, I heard of ibattz and a new kind of case they made for the iPhone. A new case is something big because there are so many interchangeable iPhone 5/5s cases out there it's ridiculous. The name of the case that I heard about was the Mojo Refuel Aqua. The thing that made it different was that it was a battery case PLUS it was water, shock, and dirt proof! I am familiar with battery cases but I never owned a case with that extra level of protection before. I couldn't justify the extra bulk it added to my phone. However, when you combine those two features, everything changes. The promise of the Mojo Refuel Aqua lured me in and ibattz soon sent me the case and a number of other items that I cannot wait to tell all you parents about.

The Mojo Refuel Aqua has been billed as a great case for outdoor sports, underwater fun, and relaxing days at the beach. The features, however, make it the perfect case for the roughest sport of all...Parenting! I tested the case in hazardous parent situations and here is what I found.

First of all you need to know what is included. You get the battery case (back), battery itself, waterproof top case, waterproof outside case, headphone adaptor, micro usb charging cable, plastic bumper, and manual.

To install, you basically slide the phone on the battery case, put the waterproof top over it, then fit it into the waterproof sleeve and make sure it's sealed. After I took it apart and put it back together a few times it really was a snap. The included bumper is very nice because if you don't need the extra protection all the time, you can just quickly remove the waterproof parts and snap the bumper on. It takes all of 20 seconds. It is important to read all the instructions to test the case to make sure it is waterproof before you use the phone in it. 

The size of the Mojo Refuel Aqua and Mojo Refuel Armor do add a bit of size. In the picture below you can see the size of the Aqua (middle), Armor (right), and the competing Lifeproof case (left). Both ibattz cases can be fit into a belt holster (sold separately).

One of the most common types of damage that happens to parent's phones is drops. You are in the parking lot and it falls on the ground, or your child is watching a show and it cracks on the floor. The Mojo Refuel Aqua offers "medium" protection against drop and the Mojo Refuel Armor gives "heavy" protection against drops. I did have light drops with each of these and they handled them no problem. The hardest drop was with the plastic bumper installed. The phone slipped out of my pocket onto a concrete floor and it was fine. Even though the cases added bulk, I felt much safer with my phone in them.

The big deal with the Mojo Refuel Aqua is obviously the waterproof feature. Below you will see the video I shot testing it out. Besides the obvious function of accidental dips in the pool, I love that you can actually wash the case off (with the iPhone in it) when food, dirt, etc. gets on it. This always happens with parents and it easily cleaned off under running water!

As you can see, the Refuel Aqua stood up to the tests. It is IPX8 certified meaning it can stay in up to 6.5 ft. of water for up to 60 minutes. You can can also use the camera function and touchscreen while underwater. 

The battery function was also very important to me, as it is to many parents. If you are out and about, it is not practical to have a phone battery die on you in the store, at the playground, etc. The iPhone is notorious for poor battery life. I found the ibattz Refuel to live up to its claim of charging to 100% from 15% battery life. You can also switch out the battery for another one. It is easy to turn on the case battery, just press the button in back. A blue LED will show you how much juice is left.

A separate charger, the I9300 Powerbank, can be purchased to use with a second battery. I tried it out and, while it was easy to use, it worked fine but seemed to take awhile to charge. This charger can plug into any regular USB outlet. The interesting feature of this is that it can be reversed and used to recharge other micro USB devices as well.

So all of these features sound great, but what are the drawbacks the the Mojo Refuel Aqua? With the case on, the screen is not quite as responsive as I like it to be. You have to press a little harder on the keys, which can get a bit annoying for long text messages. The screen cover for the Mojo Refuel Armor seemed a little more sensitive. Also, the sound can be muffled when talking on the phone. You can improve the sound quality by opening the bottom ports. This technique seemed to help others hear me better, although its not always the most convenient thing. The other drawback is the price. At $120 the Refuel Aqua is one of the more expensive cases on the market. However, it is cheaper than a new phone and has more features than most other cases. If you don't want the waterproof feature the Mojo Refuel Armor with battery is only $90.

The company also sent me their Mojo Powerstation Tough Dual Pro to test out as well. This is definitely the most protected external battery I have ever seen. 
This would be great for parents if you are camping or outside for extended periods of time with your family. The best feature of this is that it can charge two USB devices at one time. If you are a parent who is rough on their electronics, this is the external battery for you.

Although they aren't the most well known company in the cell phone market, I have found their products to live up to the hype. This is the only case in which I would add size to my iPhone because you get protection from almost everything PLUS the battery. For me, that is the key. If you are a parent looking for all these features, go to ibattz first. You can find them online at

Disclosure: ibattz sent me their products to review. I have received no other compensation for this post and the opinions I’m expressing here are solely my own.

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