Ricky Ricotta’s Mighty Robot Book Series {Video Review}

This post is written by the Experimental Mommy. While a sample was received to facilitate this review, all opinions remain 100% mine.

I am fortunate that both of my daughters love to read.  The only problem is that they go through books so quickly that we are constantly looking for more reading material to send to school for silent reading time.  But, I think we have found a winning new series, Ricky Ricotta’s Mighty Robot by Dave Pilkey (author of the popular Captain Underpants).  About the series:

Ricky Ricotta is a little mouse with BIG problems! Every day he is picked on by the neighborhood bullies. He lives in Squeakyville with his mother and father, and being an only mouse, he is often lonely. That is until SOMETHING BIG HAPPENS! A giant flying robot enters Ricky’s life and an unlikely friendship is born! Together, Ricky and his Robot must save the planet from a galaxy bursting with bad guys!

My daughter finished book 1 and loved it! From the minute you open the book, you know it’s going to be different because it is in FULL COLOR.  With features like mini-comic strips and flip-o-grams, the illustrations really are part of the story and grab your attention.  Get a better look and check out what we thought in the video below:

Learn about other great books for your young readers by following  Scholastic and ScholasticTeach on Twitter!  What are your kids reading these days?

Game Day Grub: The Starting Lineup {Recipe Roundup}

Whether you’re hosting a Fantasy Football draft, a Superbowl party or taking it on the road for tailgating, your guests will be hungry for the win looking for snack-able foods.  Below are some of my favorite dishes that are sure to score a touchdown at your next event (just make sure you have a touchdown dance ready).

Corn and Black Bean Bites

Cheesy Macaroni Vegetable Bites

Hot Bacon Dip Recipe

Caramel Cream Cheese Party Dip

Cuban Style Hot Dogs

Creamy Tacos Entree

A-1 Tailgating Burgers

Quesadilla Recipe Roundup

Bacon Wrapped Lil’ Smokies

Chili Cheese Dip

Skinny Buffalo Chicken Bites

Wonton Chicken Tacos

You’re Doing It Wrong: Why Your Dishes Aren’t Immaculately Clean

This post is written by the Experimental Mommy and brought to you by Cascade. As a member of the Kitchen Dish Council, my travel and expenses were provided. All opinions remain 100% mine.

If you asked me to list my least favorite household chores, most of them would take place in the kitchen.  Topping the list?  Washing dishes. It always has and always will be the thing I hate the most on this planet.  So when I have the opportunity to learn how to get through this chore faster and more effectively, I am all ears.

Last month, I had the honor of traveling to the Cascade Headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio with my fellow Kitchen Dish Council Members.  I learned all about the history of the brand, the design of a dishwasher, and the science behind dish washing detergent.  But the best thing I learned was that I am doing it ALL wrong.  And YOU are probably doing it wrong, too.

MYTH 1: You should pre-wash your dishes before loading the dishwasher in order to ensure immaculately clean dishes.

In a recent survey from Marie Claire and Cascade Platinum, 96% of the participants spend­ up ­to ­an ­hour­ pre-washing­ their­ dishes­ each­ week. Are you in that number? Cascade­ Platinum ­is ­specifically­ designed­ to ­work­ best­ when ­food­ is ­left­ ON ­dishes.­ Because­ the­ enzymes­ in­ Cascade Platinum­ are­ designed­ to­ attach­ themselves­ to­ food­ particles,­ breaking­ them­ down­ so­ that ­they­ can ­be­ easily­ washed ­away­ -­even­ 24-hour­stuck-on­food!­­ No­ food ­means­ the ­enzymes­ have­ nothing­ to ­latch ­on­to.­

MYTH 2:  Pre-washing dishes is necessary so you don’t clog your dishwasher and break it.

In the Marie Clarie survey, less than 11% of the respondents knew that modern dishwashers actually have a garbage disposal to chop up any left on food eliminating the need to pre-wash.

MYTH 3: Hand washing dishes saves water and energy.

Hand dishwashing consumes an average of 27 gallons and 2.5 kWh per cycle* compared to 4.25 gallons and 1.4 kWh for a dishwasher at today’s ESTAR level. Every 1% increase in the national dishwasher ownership level saves 4.4 billion gallons of water and 200 million kWh per year.

MYTH 4: It doesn’t matter how you load your dish washer.

In order to make sure your dishes are sparkling clean at the end of the cycle, you need to make sure Cascade Platinum has access to them.  Piling dishes on top of one another does not leave enough surface area for active ingredients to do their jobs.  Follow the guidelines below for a maximum clean:

Now you are armed with the information you need to get in and out of the kitchen quickly but effectively.  Simply said, don’t pre-wash and load the dishwasher correctly to ensure immaculately clean dishes the first time, every time. Check out my fellow Cascade Kitchen Dish Council Members’ blogs to get even more great information about our time spent in Cincinnati.

What are your best dish washing tips?

Inspire Writing with BIC Kids {Giveaway}

This post is written by the Experimental Mommy. While a sample was received to facilitate this review, all opinions are 100% mine.

With another school year started, we are in the thick of homework, projects and research papers.  I am happy that my daughters’ school puts an emphasis on creative writing and I am thrilled that my kids have started their own blog to reinforce what they are learning in school.

But in this digital age, why is handwriting important? Research has shown that writing fosters children’s emotional and cognitive development, helps foster critical thinking skills and improves academic achievement.  Because writing is by far one of the most important learning tools for a child’s academic success,  BIC’s is encouraging more students to practice, practice, practice with the “Fight For Your Write” campaign.

The campaign offers information about writing and tips from literacy expert Pam Allyn to help parents, caregivers and students make a commitment to write more often.  You will also find some pretty great resources for teachers and parents to inspire kids.

One way to inspire handwriting is to give your kids the right tools.  This year, BIC has launched the first line of children’s writing instruments in the U.S. designed specifically to help children learn to write called BIC Kids.  The products, which were designed with the help of teachers and other experts in the field, provide young students with a unique guiding line to direct finger placement and are ergonomically designed specifically for kids’ hands.

And even though I am a digital girl, I am a pen and paper advocate at heart.  A fresh calendar and fancy writing tools like the BIC Pencil X-tra Shine make me want to sit down and get organized.  And my oldest daughter can use pens for the first time in school this year, so tools like the BIC 4 Color Metallic Pen make her excited to do homework.

How do you encourage your kids to write?  Tell me in the comments below and enter in the Rafflecopter widget to win a Back to School Pack from BIC!

 
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