Archives for September 2014

Family Fridays with Netflix #StreamTeam

This post was written by the Experimental Mommy. As a member of the Netflix Stream Team, a subscription was received to facilitate this review. All opinions remain 100% mine.

With school in full swing, I feel like I meet myself coming and going.  Between homework, projects, Girl Scouts, dance practice and service clubs, I am lucky if I get to sit down for 5 minutes a day.  And actually sitting WITH my family? Forget about it.  But when Friday arrives, I can breathe a sigh of relief and fall onto the couch for some snuggle time with my girls.

Because they are still young, I am cherishing these moments while they look forward to relaxing with Mom and Dad after a long week.  So, my husband and I make the most of it by setting up Family Fridays with pizza and movie.  Fortunately, since we have a Netflix subscription, it is never hard to find a movie we can all agree on.  Check out what we are streaming below:

1. Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2
2. The Pirate Fairy
3. Hoodwinked
4. Angelina Ballerina
5. Bob the Builder
6. The Muppet Movie

My personal favorite is The Muppet Movie and I love sharing a little piece of my won childhood with my girls.  How do you celebrate Family Fridays?

Witness the Miracle of Cascade Platinum ActionPacs #CascadeShiningReviews

This review was written by Erin on behalf of the Experimental Mommy and was made possible by Double Duty Divas and Cascade. I was provided the featured product free of charge to facilitate my review, but all opinions are 100% mine.

After visiting the Cascade Test Kitchens last month and seeing with my own eyes the miracle of skipping the pre-wash, I knew I had to share the wealth with a good friend of mine.  After all, friends don’t let friends unnecessarily pre-wash, right? Erin agreed to host a party for 10 of her friends to show the cleaning power of the Cascade Platinum ActionPacs and below are the undeniable results.

In preparing for her party, Erin baked this batch of brownies the night before and let the bakeware sit out overnight with NO rinsing at all!  She was super skeptical about this part and it turns out that Erin was not alone.  Cascade Platinum in partnership with Marie Claire performed a survey and did you know that 46% of espondents believe that skipping the pre-wash will lead to dirtier dishes? When in reality, breaking this habit – and skipping pre-wash – along with using Cascade Platinum, will help them achieve the ultimate clean and sparkle every time.

Before the guests arrived, Erin set up her table with my Cascade Platinum ActionPacs, Rinse Aids, and tips for loading the dishwasher right on the table so that all the guests could read it and benefit from the helpful suggestions.  Did you know that 89% of those surveyed did not realize that most dishwashers feature a garbage disposal, which safely disposes of any remaining food soil on the dishes making pre-washing completely unnecessary?

Guests were served french toast and mimosas and had a great time learning about the benefits of Cascade Platinum.  Then, it was time to put up or shut up.  The proof is in the pudding, right?  Guests helped load the dishes (without rinsing) based on the tips from Cascade, placed a Cascade Platinum ActionPac in the washer and started the cycle.

After some time to socialize and enjoy the party, it was time for the big reveal!  Erin’s dishes, even the ones that sat in the sink for 24 hours, came out spotless.  Best magic trick ever!  Her guests were amazed that the product actually works better, yes better, when dishes have food stuck on them.  No pre-washing is necessary.  And who has time for that anyway?

Here is what Erin had to say about the results:

My party guests were extremely surprised at how well these two products worked together.  The Cascade Platinum ActionPacs not only got the leftover food off the dishes, it also cleaned them to a spotless shine.  And the rinse aid helped to dry the dishes so that each dish that came out the dishwasher could be put away instead of having to be dried off.  I think of the rinse aid now as “the cherry on top.”  I will never run my dishwasher without it!  Because of this product review I am firm believer in Cascade Platinum and would recommend it to friends and family.  You shouldn’t have to spend your life doing what Cascade can do for you.

If you are amazed by the cleaning power of Cascade Platinum, head over to their website and leave a shining review using hashtag #CascadeShiningReviews!  And don’t miss a beat by following Cascade on Twitter and Facebook, too.

Erin and I want you to witness the miracle first hand, so enter the giveaway below to win a Cascade Platinum Prize Pack!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Are you “Dish-Wasting” Your Time?

This post is written by the Experimental Mommy. I am a member of the Cascade Kitchen Dish Council. All opinions remain 100% mine.

I find myself referring to the old saying “Time is of the Essence” on almost a daily basis.  As a Mom with two kids, a full time job, a social media consulting company, and a blog conference, I have to put my time to good use and wasting it would be disastrous.  After having the opportunity to visit the Cascade Test Kitchen last month, I learned how I can save precious minutes by skipping the pre-washing of my dishes.

You heard me right….NO PRE-WASHING.  This is not a dream.  It’s the power of Cascade Platinum.


Armed with the right tools of the trade and a lesson in dishwasher anatomy and loading, I am completing my kitchen duties in record time!  Are you a “dish-waster?” A new survey from Cascade Platinum and Marie Claire reveals that nearly all people are doing their dishes incorrectly with 96-percent wasting up to an hour pre-washing their dishes each week – when they should not. In order to get the most optimum clean and shine, it’s important to skip the prewash and use Cascade Platinum. This is because the special enzymes in Cascade Platinum latch onto the leftover food particles, breaking them down so they can wash away – even 24-hour stuck on food.

Other fun finding from the survey:

  • Nearly half (46%) of survey respondents believe that skipping the pre-wash will lead to dirtier dishes. When in reality, breaking this habit – and skipping pre-wash – along with using Cascade Platinum, will help them achieve the ultimate clean and sparkle every time.
  • Two-thirds (65%) of survey respondents organize their dishwashers just like their closets – with everything stacked in its rightful spot.
  • Almost half (42%) of respondents have actually gone so far as to re-load the dishwasher after their family goes to bed because they did not think their family member(s) did it right the first time.
  • More than half (56%) of respondents load their dishwashers after each meal.
  • The majority of survey respondents (57%) cringe at the thought of hosting a party because of spotted wine glasses.
  • So if people stop pre-washing, how would they spend all that time they’ve saved? Almost half of those surveyed (46%) said they’d spend it shopping on line.

Are you up to the challenge? Get some Cascade Platinum and stop the pre-washing routine today!

Overcoming Math Madness with Go Math Academy #HMHAcademy

This post is written by the Experimental Mommy and brought to you by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.  All opinions remain 100% mine.

If you ask my oldest daughter to name her favorite subject in school, she would name anything and everything that came to her mind before math.  To put it lightly, she is not a fan.  School has been in session for one month now and I can’t remember a day when it hasn’t been a struggle to get her to tackle her math homework. You can forget about extra worksheets to study for a test.  The struggle is frustrating.

There has to be a better way.  And I was hoping Go Math Academy would be it.

Go Math! Academy™ is an online, at-home learning program based on Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s enormously successful GO Math!™ textbook curriculum, used by over 7 million kids worldwide. Go Math! Academy offers thousands of math practice problems, hundreds or help videos, and plenty of games and rewards to make learning fun!

After setting up an account and adding my daughter (you can add any child from grade K-6), I was excited to learn that she actually uses Go Math Academy in school and apparently she loves using it.  So she actually gave ME a tour of the website and it’s capabilities.

First, your child can choose between a journey into the Jungle World or the Sky World. As I suspected, Lily jumped at Sky World and we were given a list of topics to choose from.  Given that she had an upcoming test on multiplication facts, she choose to take a journey into that module.

Lily was then faced with a series of questions that were very similar to what she has been doing on the endless worksheets but somehow there was no complaining while completing these problems. Relief!  Go Math Academy allows the student to check their answer and make corrections while offering words of encouragement.

But, I think my favorite feature is that some problems have helpful video tutorials (which are even good for parents).  After completing a journey, your child receives their score and they can move on to another topic.  Surprisingly, my daughter actually asked to do another journey.  Like asked to do more math.  What?!  I’m officially in love.

Go Math! Academy is available in your choice of three payment plans (access for up to 5 children):

  • Monthly: $9.99/month
  • 6-months: $49.99 ($8.33/month) – a 17% savings
  •  1-year: $79.99 ($6.67/month) – a 33% savings

The price is well worth the countless hours I am saving by eliminating the math drama in my home.  Learn more by following Go Math Academy on Twitter and Facebook.

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?

What I Won’t Forget Before Heading to a Blog Conference

This post is written by the Experimental Mommy and brought to you by Rayovac. All opinions remain 100% mine.

While my kids are heading back to school, I am looking forward to start a new season of learning all about this crazy world of blogging.  Of course, my favorite blog conference is iRetreat (shameless plug), but one of my goals for this new school year is to do more learning of my own by attending more conferences.

Now, if you are a conference newbie, you can do a Google search and find a plethora of lists containing items you do NOT want to forget to pack.  But as a conference owner, I will not bore you with my entire list of items such as business cards and comfy shoes, but I will tell you my number one must-have for every conference owner. Ready?

The Rayovac Portable Phone Boost 800 for Apple Lightening Tip Devices

What’s a social media conference without access to social media when your phone/tablet dies?  You can’t follow along in the sessions, you can’t share what you are learning and you can’t find your friends!  Recipe for disaster.  But after finding the Rayovac Portable Phone Boost, I will never be left in the dark again.

Simply charge up the Power Boost via a USB connection.  When all 4 lights are bright, you are fully charged and ready for any phone power emergency.  Battery low?  Plug in the lightening tip to your Apple iPad/iPhone/iPod and start charging!  The charger holds enough power to recharge your mobile phone for 150 minutes of talk time and can be recharged over 5oo times.

And because your Rayovac Power Boost can hold a charge for 6 months, you can throw it in your purse and forget about it until you need it.  Keep it close by to make sure you are fully charged and ready to go at your next conference.