Wednesday, October 24, 2012

JT SplatMaster Review

My boys are getting older now, so lots of toys they had when they were younger are starting to lose their appeal.  It's like torture kind of hard sometimes to keep them occupied and finding gifts other than electronics and video games is getting more difficult every day!  Keeping them active and happily playing together is constantly a concern. I want them to love spending time together doing fun things so as they grow up and move on in life they have shared interests and passions that will help them stay close to one another.

With Christmas coming, I am especially aware of their changing preferences for play things.  So I was really glad that my family was recently invited to try out something new for kids, called JT SplatMaster. 
JT SplatMaster is an outdoor sporting goods product that shoots color-filled biodegradable ammo resulting in a SPLAT that you can see! In other words, it's a kid-friendly version of paintball.  Yes - I said it...paintball. 

I know. You are immediately thinking about messy paint and possible injuries.  How do I know?  Because that's what I thought of when my boys first asked if they could go paintballing with some friends.  I hear the guys at work talking about their "weekend wars" and showing off their paintball welts and my first response to my boys when they asked to go was  "I don't think so."  I'm not sure they are ready for that.  Or rather, I'm not sure I'M ready for that. 

Well, the makers of JT SplatMaster realized that there needed to be a more kid-friendly version of the game and came up with a paintball gun that is low impact, spring loaded and shoots at a velocity of 110-140 feet per second.  Less velocity means lower impact, which means less chance of injury! Don't think that less velocity means weak shots though.  Those paintballs really fly and make a pretty big splat on impact, which the boys found to be "AWESOME"!
JT SplatMaster is all about safety and proper training!  They make great eye protection goggles and extra face protection gear to go along with the guns.  I was pretty sure I was gonna hear lots of groaning about the goggles, but surprisingly, the boys found them to be a very cool part of the whole "look" and experience.  For them, the goggles and safety gear are an integral part of the uniform.  Which I find "awesome."  Less worry for Mom!  Their website is full of training and safety videos that guide and direct anxious and excited kids through proper handling and usage of SplatMaster products. 

I really love that the makers of JT SplatMaster created all kinds of game options that don't involve the boys shooting at each other!  But if when they do decide to have a paintball war, I know that the product they are using is safe, as long as precautions are taken.  Having said that, I think the key to having fun with JT SPlatMaster is adult supervision.  When the kids know an adult is present to enforce the rules, they can relax and enjoy the games and not have to worry as much about another kid making a poor decision that might result in injury.

We took the SplatMaster z200 out in the backyard for a test run and the boys had a blast! Here are a few action shots:


The consensus?  JT SplatMaster really is a safer version of paintball and the non-toxic paint cleaned up easily with a quick spray from the hose.  The little biodegradable paintball capsules dissolved after a day or two and left no trace of the target practice that had taken place a few days earlier.   The guns are surprisingly accurate and easy to use and come with safety plugs to block the barrel while strategies are being discussed, as well as working safety switches on the actual gun to prevent accidental firing.
The boys would like to be able to get some of the gear they saw in the videos, like the cool facemasks and flak jackets which are not currently available anywhere that I could find.     The only other complaint they have at this point is that we can't find more ammo anywhere here in Boise yet, so I'll have to order it online, which means we'll have to plan ahead.   
JT SplatMaster is a mega-hit in our house and the boys are definitely the envy of the cul-de-sac right now.  If I understood the weekend confab with the neighborhood boys that took place in my backyard correctly, the plan is for ALL of them to try to get one for Christmas so the group can have a paintball war on Christmas Day.  Not sure how the other moms will feel about that, but I think it sounds like a heck of a way to get some outdoor activity during the holidays!  It'll give new meaning to yellow snow!
JT SplatMaster sets are currently being sold at Walmart, at various sporting good stores and paintball stores all over the country for between $25-$40, depending on the model and accessories you buy.  You can check out the website and use their store locator to help you find a reatailer near you.  OR you can take advantage of this awesome promotion and save money by buying online! 
Starting October 29th, for a limited time and while supplies last, anyone purchasing a JT SplatMaster z100 or z200 one free ammo grenade  (50 ct ammo, $7.99 value) free!

Warning:  They'll go through 50 rounds in about 10 minutes so you'll wanna stock up.

**Disclosure:  I received no monetary compensation for this review.  Kee Action Sports, LLC  provided me with a JT SPlatMaster z200 to facilitate the review.  As always, my honest opinions are always my own.**

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Bertolli Classic Risotto Review and Giveaway - Closed!

Bertolli Risotto Winner is.....

Evelyn Damptey!! 

Congrats Evelyn, I'll be contacting you to send you the coupons for Free Bertolli Risotto!  They are sooooooo good, I hop eyou enjoy them as much as my family does.  They have become a staple in our meal rotation now!

With the weather already starting to cool down here in my part of the country, it's been a great time to start reintroducing soups and heartier foods back into our dinner menu.  Luckily I have had some help from Bertolli!  Their Meal Soups are wonderfully warm and filling and make a quick and easy meal option for my family on busy nights.
Having said that, my boys need variety.  Man cannot live on meal soups alone.  Which is why Bertolli is continuing to expand it's line of frozen meal options to include some SERIOUSLY AMAZING risottos.
I love risotto, but it really is a LOT of work to make, which is why I have only ever made it one time and it didn't really turn out all that great.  I don't have the kind of patience it takes to do risotto the right way so it comes out creamy and delicious.  Bertolli Classic Risotto was made for people like me. 
It's full of high quality veggies and meats and it only takes about 12 minutes, from start to finish, to cook.  It comes out of the bag looking like this:

After 12 minutes and a few stirs, it looks like this: 

My family was equally divided between the Roasted Chicken and the Garlic Shrimp flavors.  I absolutely adored the Bertolli Roasted Chicken Risotto, which was full of asparagus, portabello mushrooms, big chunks of roasted chicken, all mixed with italian rice in a creamy parmesan sauce.  
You guys know by now that I kind of have some weird texture issues when it comes to food.  I hate mushy veggies so I'm always a little skeptical about the vegetables in frozen meals, but found the asparagus to be perfectly cooked.  The rice wasn't mushy eather.  It still has a nice "tooth" to it, even after cooking in the sauce.  The whole dish had a nice earthy flavor from the mushrooms and the chicken was moist and flavorful. 
My boys both loved the Bertolli Garlic Shrimp Risotto.  It was chock full of italian rice and garlic shrimp with decent size chunks of zucchini, yellow squash and red peppers in a white wine cream sauce. Again, none of the veggies were overcooked, which is actually pretty amazing, considering that it doesn't take much to overcook squash.  The Garlic Shrimp Risotto had more of a garden fresh taste to it.  The red peppers really livened up the dish.  And there was plenty of shrimp so no one felt like they got gypped with the seafood. 
The only problem I had at all with cooking the risottos was that regulating the heat on my electric stove so that the rice didn't stick to the bottom of the pan (I really miss my gas stove).  I turned my head for just a minute and when I got back to my pots, the Garlic Shrimp Risotto had begun to stick to the bottom of the pan, but I caught it in time to salvage the dish so no harm was done.
I am excited to find more quick and easy options for family dinner time.  Bertolli offers a wide variety of frozen options now that give busy moms some great options for quick, easy and healthy meals. 
Wanna Win Bertolli Classic Risotto? Bertolli has graciously offered two coupons for free Bertolli Classic Risottos to one of my readers!! Go check out the Bertolli website and then leave a comment telling us which Risotto you wat to try first
Want extra entries? Do any of these and leave a comment with links to your posts, tweets or status updates:
  • Follow my blog
  • Tweet about the contest
  • Post a link to this giveaway as your status update on Facebook
  • Mention the giveaway on your blog
Contest will end on October 30th at 12 midnight MST. Winner will be chosen by random drawing using and notified if chosen. Please make sure to leave your email so I can get in touch with you if you win! Thanks for reading and good luck!
***Disclosure - Bertolli provided me with products to help facilitate this review. However, the honest opinions shared on this review are my own.**