When I moved in with my husband he had this Vicks warm mist humidifier thing that you put in Vicks oil and it would help clear your sinuses when sick. I LOVED that thing and always used it for my kids and myself. (I wasn't really a fan of smearing the Vicks rub all over our chests and under our noses, especially since the smell just lingered.) Anyway, I was really excited to have a chance to review a new Vicks Humidifier product. We decided not to bring the old one with us from Maine to DC just because it was old and grungy and we really didn't have a lot of extra room in the vehicles.
"The V3900 Vicks® Cool Mist GermFree Humidifier kills up to 99.9% of germs, bacteria, and mold in the water prior to producing a cool mist. In addition, you also can add in the soothing relief of Vicks vapors. In other words, if better breathing is your objective, you just might have found a cooler, GermFree answer." ~ Vicks
Vicks offered to send their Vicks V3900 Cool Mist Germ-Free Humidifier for review. For the most part I really like the product, but I do still have some mixed feelings. Overall I thought the design of the product was great. I loved the handle on the top, and that when I'm filling it, it lays flat on the counter so there isn't any spilling. It's a very easy contraption to figure out even if you didn't have instructions on hand. I love how large the water container is so it lasts a good 18-24 hours depending on your settings without having to refill it and refilling is a breeze and how large the vent on the front is. I appreciated the large filter, and that there is a little scent pack of Vicks Vapors included. As frivolous as it sounds, I also really loved the color.
There are a few issues I did have though. I REALLY wish the water container on the top somehow latched/snapped down into the base. I have two toddlers, also referred to as terrors, who immediately figured out how this thing worked. To be fair the manual does say not to place where children can get it... but if you have toddlers with curious fingers they WILL find a way to get to it. Off came the top making a lot of water spill onto the floor. (I'm not even sure how that was possible since there's a little stopper that releases water when set down into the base.) Out came the filter. At one point my daughter even figured out how to unscrew the stopper from the hole where you fill the container. Thankfully at that point it was empty. The Vicks V3900 Cool Mist Germ-Free Humidifier has a front vent. That's great if you have a place to put it on up off of the floor. The only issue with that is you're warned not to put it on wood furniture. I only HAVE wood furniture in the rooms where this would be used. So, it has been on my floor blowing the air down at ankle level. I'm not so sure how effective that makes the product in my home. The only other things I really didn't care for are the parts that are disposable and will need to be replaced such as the filter (ever 1-3 months) and the scent pad. But that little gripe, that's mostly because I'm lazy and forgetful.
For the size of the room, I thought the humidifier worked relatively well. I placed it in our living room that is VERY open. I think this particular model might work best though in a smaller more closed off room. I do love that the impurities from the water are filtered out before being released as a cool mist. I'm not really a germaphobe by any stretch of the imagination, but I still like to try to keep my living space as healthy as possible. The sound of the humidifier is relatively quiet too which is great. And because it has a sleep setting it makes keeping it in the bedroom a viable option. (I sleep with the windows open so it wasn't tested in my bedroom specifically, but I could see using this in my older step-daughter's room.) Like I said earlier, I still like this product. It might not be the best fit for my home with the kiddos and lack of suitable sitting places for it, but I found that it worked well, and was easy to use which is super important when purchasing a new product.
* I received a product free of charge from Vicks in order to facilitate this review. All opinions are 100% mine. See Disclosure Policy.
For those of you that have been long-time readers of my site, and especially for those of you who remember the last review I did for Bissell, you should remember how much my children hate vacuums, and how much I too hate to vacuum. I really just hate to clean in general. However, now that we've moved into a new place that pretty much has wall to wall carpeting in EVERY single room, I'm going to have to keep up with the cleaning more than I'm used to.
Anyway, awhile ago (I know, I'm awful and kind of sat on this review for quite awhile) Bissell sent their Perfect Sweep Turbo Cordless Rechargeable Sweeper for me to review. I finally decided to charge it this afternoon and use it this evening. With all of the moving, including pieces of boxes breaking off, tape pieces finding their way into the carpet, setting up the Christmas tree and getting fake needles everywhere, and my old ornery cat not being able to figure out that the litter stays IN the litter box, it seemed like a great time to try it out. Plus, we left our actual vacuum cleaner in MAINE.
One of the reasons Bissell offered to send the Perfect Sweep Turbo Cordless Rechargeable Sweeper was because they knew I had cats from the previous review. Supposedly this bad boy is supposed to easily pick up things like cat litter, even off of a hard floor. I figured as much as I loved the Bissell Natural Sweep, I would certainly love a battery powered sweeper even more. (Guess what? I was right.)
"The Perfect Sweep Turbo® Cordless Rechargeable Sweeper provides a convenient and easy way to pick up daily dirt and unexpected dry messes in between routine vacuuming. Since the rotating brush is battery powered, it can quickly sweep up debris large and small with little effort on your part. With a slim design, the Perfect Sweep Turbo® is perfect for leaving sitting out or in a nearby closet for quick pick-ups throughout the week. Since the sweeper also has edge brushes and a 60 minute cleaning time, you can keep up with dirt build-up along baseboards and in corners too." ~ Bissell
I only charged the Perfect Sweep Turbo Cordless Rechargeable Sweeper for maybe 3 or 4 hours before using. (I got excited and trashed the instructions before even reading them.) I have a blogging friend who charged hers overnight. It seemed after 3 or 4 hours there was enough charge to do at least two rooms and then some. I went over my living room which is rather large, and the small bathroom that has linoleum flooring. I even touched up the kitchen a tad just to try it out on the laminate wood flooring.
Oh. My. Goodness. The Bissell Perfect Sweep Turbo Cordless Rechargeable Sweeper worked like a gem. I really couldn't have asked for anything better (other than an actual corded vacuum with major suction). But, for in between cleanings, this thing performed AMAZINGLY. I honestly hadn't realized how much stuff had ended up on my floors since we moved in Friday afternoon. There was dog hair, pieces of the Christmas tree, dirt, lint, and everything else under the sun in the catch-all compartment of the Perfect Sweep Turbo by the time I was done. And, other than not being able to get deep into corners, this puppy picked up ALL of the cat litter that was lying around on my bathroom floor.
I have to say that I LOVED how quiet this was. The kids didn't freak out. The dog didn't freak out. Even the cat didn't go running to hide under the bed. It wasn't silent, but it was definitely SO much quieter than a normal vacuum cleaner. And, it picked up just about all of the visible crud on the floor... and then some. After only going over the living room, and bathroom, I had FILLED the catch-all compartment. It's not a very big compartment, but the fact that it picked up THAT much stuff off of my floor I thought was really impressive. But, it also makes me want a real vacuum cleaner. However, for those in between cleanings, this is PERFECT. (It's also perfect until I can go out and purchase a new vacuum cleaner.)
I also really, REALLY loved how easy it was to assemble. (By now you should know that I live by the KISS motto. Keep It Simple Stupid.) Once again I didn't even need the instructions. There were a total of 4 pieces for the handle, all of which easily screwed into each other. Then just snap the handle into the base and you're ready to plug it in and start charging it. The handle lays almost flat so you can get under furniture pieces that sit a little higher up. Turning it on and off is a breeze too. Just push your foot on the very obvious black section of the base and it turns on. When you're done, just push your foot down on it again, and it's off. Easy peasy!
I haven't had to use it for 60 minutes at a time, but Bissell's website says that on a full charge, the Perfect Sweep Turbo Cordless Rechargeable Sweeper is able to maintain its cleaning power for up to a full hour. I certainly believe it. This is yet another product that I will replace once this one wears out. I LOVE it. I've already shared the link with my personal friends on Facebook. Definitely a great product to have on hand for simple, and quick floor cleanings.
*I received the Perfect Sweep Turbo Cordless Rechargeable Sweeper from Bissell free of charge in order to facilitate this review. All opinions are 100% mine. See Disclosure Policy.
I'm not the household chef. I rarely cook, so having a great set of knives was really not on my priority list. I figured a knife is a knife and as long as it cuts through whatever I need it to, then everything is hunky-dory. However, the current set of knives I own have, for all intents and purposes, practically stopped functioning. It shouldn't be difficult to slice through some bread, or an apple, or even a steak for that matter. If those simple tasks were difficult, then it must really stink for my husband who does most of the cooking. Heck, even one of our favorite knives that we use nearly ever day has had the tip of the blade broken off. At least as far as I know, it never made it into any of our food. So, breath a sigh of relief because we're still alive with no internal bleeding going on.
Now, if you watch TV, I'm sure you've heard of Miracle Blade. The knives that never need to be sharpened and seem to slice, chop, and mince without any effort. Miracle Blade was awesome, and sent their 13-piece World Class Knives set with 4 additional steak knives, and their World Class Knife Block for me to try out. Woohoo - working knives in the kitchen once again! This is really quite an impressive set, and for only about $80+ shipping you can get the entire 13-piece set. In my opinion, that's a pretty decent price, especially when these knives are advertised with a retail value of $400. Plus, we all know a great knife set isn't usually easy on the wallet.
The 13-piece World Class Knives Set includes 2 slicers, 1 carving knife, 1 rock & chef, 1 chop and scoop, 1 filet knife, 1 cheese knife, 4 steak knives, 1 paring knife, and 1 pair of kitchen shears. I also loved that they included 4 additional steak knives to fill up the World Class Block. I haven't had an entire set of knives... ever. So, I honestly just stood back for a couple of minutes and admired a FULL knife block with MATCHING knives. It's a pretty darn good looking set if you ask me.
I was honestly a little skeptical. I heard of Miracle Blade on an infomercial, and I know first hand how some of those products can be kind of.... eh. We wanted to make sure to give these knives a good long test before writing this review. We've used the knives on EVERYTHING. Vegetables, fruit, bread, steak, pork, cakes, brownies, cheese, etc. The only things we haven't needed is the filet knife and the kitchen sheers. But, they're super sharp and seem like they would work very well for their intended purposes.
My favorite knives out of the set are the chop and scoop, the slicing knives, and the steak knives. I think these are truly the most versatile, which means these have been used the most. I really love the chop and scoop for smashing and dicing garlic, chopping onions, and even making my own bread crumbs. The slicing knives work great on tomatoes, and softer foods, and the steak knives slice through a pork loin like it's butter.
The knives are very comfortable to hold, and easy to use. And, even though we don't have a dish washer (I'm the dish washer), I've still found the knives to be very easy to clean. The food doesn't stick, so there is minimal elbow grease needed. I just use a soapy sponge, and give a quick wipe down and they're back to looking like new.
The only knife we were a little less than impressed with, was the cheese knife. We found that it didn't work all that well with softer cheeses. Maybe it's not supposed to? But, since we only really purchase block cheeses of Colby Jack, Pepper Jack, Cheddar, etc. we haven't been back to use that knife since trying it out the first time.
The Miracle Blade World Class Knife Block is a really beautiful addition to my kitchen. It's sleek, and fits the knives just perfectly. The World Class Knife Block is handcrafted from exotic woods and designed exclusively for the World Class Knives so there is a specific spot for everything, including the kitchen sheers. Although the knife block doesn't come with the 13-piece Miracle Blade World Class Knife Set (you can purchse it separately), I'm really glad this was part of the review. It's great to have some place attractive to store an entire set if knives.
Make sure you visit Miracle Blade online and on Facebook. I think a set of these knives would make a fantastic gift this holiday season for any of those home chefs in your family.
Miracle Blade has also offered up a FULL set of World Class Knives, plus an additional 4 steak knives, and their World Class Knife Block for a giveaway! Total prize value is $140 ARV. Giveaway is open to legal residents of the continental USA who are 18+. Giveaway will start 11/18 and run for approximately 1 week. When the giveaway is live you can enter [HERE].
*I received the Miracle Blade World Class 13-piece knife set, additional 4 steak knives, and the World Class knife block free of charge in order to facilitate this review. All opinions are 100% mine. See Disclosure Policy.
Unless you're a super awesome DIY-er or an extremely savvy thrift shopper, home improvement and decorating can get really expensive. Area Rugs, in my opinion, tend to be one of those items that falls into the "really expensive" category. And, while they're nice to have and can improve the aesthetics of just about any room, are also some of the more expensive decorations and tend to get overlooked. I happened to stumble across Rugs USA one day during one of my internet searches, and was immediately drawn in by their tagline; "Designer Living. Designed for Less." Hmm... "designer" is good, and "less" is even better! Then I noticed that they also offer free shipping on all United States orders, and guarantee their prices so that they will price match and BEAT anybody competitor's prices by 10%. Ding, ding ding - I think I found a winner!
Rugs USA sent a selection of rugs that they carry, and said I could choose one to review in my home. Something about the Surya Bob Mackie Moderne Brown Rug screamed (size 3' 3" x 5' 3"), "This is the one!" The design was just absolutely stunning, and since our house has a lot of brown in it, I figured it would fit right in. For whatever reason I've always been drawn to mandala type artwork. I fell in love with the design so quickly that I happened to pick out the rug before even reading the description. Much to my surprise and delight the Surya Bob Mackie Moderne Brown Rug is 100% New Zealand Wool.
"Legendary fashion and costume designer Bob Mackie has designed a collection that fits his unique style. The patterns, inspired by his costume and formalwear designs, reflect an elegant lifestyle. The hand tufted wool rugs are highlighted with art silk adding to the glamour of the collection." ~ Rugs USA
One of the things I loved about Rugs USA is that they have a vast selection of brands. Surya happens to be a brand I had never heard of before, because let's face it, I don't do a lot of rug shopping. When I found out that Surya originated in India I couldn't have been more thrilled. I've always wanted to visit some day (I actually had my visa, passport, and plane ticket and then last minute decided not to go), and the Surya Bob Mackie Moderne Brown Rug brought a little bit of my dream of traveling directly into my home.
- Collection: Bob Mackie Moderne
- Brand: Surya
- Material: 100% New Zealand Wool with Viscose Highlights
- Weave: Hand Tufted
- Styles: Contemporary Rugs
- Origin: India
- Available in the following sizes: 2' x 3', 3' 3" x 5' 3", 5' x 8', 8' x 11' and 2' 6" x 8'
Surprisingly, finding a place to display this gorgeous area rug was more difficult than I anticipated. My house, as I've said in many reviews, is less than beautiful. It's old, small, cramped, had hard wood floors, nasty linoleum, and with 5 people living in it is stuffed full of... stuff. Because the rug is smaller than something I'd normally purchase, there weren't too many places that I had available. Thankfully the rug was small enough, so moving it from room to room in order to find the perfect place wasn't too difficult.
The first place I put it was right in front of my dresser. We have a giant dresser, and even though a carpet isn't necessary, it was kind of nice having something to step on while digging through trying to find my clothes. It also kind of brought the room together just a little bit more. The second place was in the hallway leading to our staircase. The hallway is generally very drab, but I have an antique trunk that needed a decorative partner. The final place I tried it was under my antique desk and chair out in the living room, and that's where I decided to leave it. I don't have an actual office, so I've claimed a small little corner of the living room, among all of the toys and electronics, as just mine.
I absolutely adore this rug, and the quality is apparent the second you step foot on it. It's so soft, and your feet sink right into it. It's also a heavier rug. Even though it was smaller which made it easier to move around, it was still a good bit of work just from the weight of the underside and wool material. The only thing I was slightly disappointed with is that the entire design doesn't show up. I had figured that the design would be scaled down to fit on the entire rug, however when comparing the smaller 3' 3" x 5' 3" rug I received to the product image on the website, I realized much of the design I fell in love with was missing. I think this would be something I keep in mind when purchasing rugs in the future, or perhaps ask a customer service provider how the design is transferred from one size to another.
Otherwise, I'm thrilled with the product I received from Rugs USA. I could browse through their site all day. Not only do they have rugs which is a given considering their name, but also furniture, pillows, lighting, bedding, clocks, mirrors, and art. Talk about one stop shopping. If I had an unlimited budget I would make a considerable bet that this is the first place I would go to find items for my home.
*I was provided a product free from Rugs USA in order to facilitate this review. All opinions are 100% mine. See Disclosure Policy.
Once upon a time, there was a house that was always clean, and everything in its place. It sparkled and shined from top to bottom, inside and out, and everyone was amazed and wanted to know the secret to keeping the house so clean. Just kidding. That never happened. In fact, I would probably be fired on the first day of house cleaner training. I honestly think I may be allergic to it. Not the chemicals or any cleaning solutions, but the idea of cleaning makes me want to crawl back into bed and stay there.... forever.
But, cleaning must get done, right? So, let's back up just a bit so I can get to my review. I have the worst floors. Most are raggedy old linoleum, some are tile, others are hard wood, and we have a few area rugs. Do you know how much of a pain in the... uh... neck it is to keep those floors clean? Maybe it wouldn't be so bad if it was just me living in my home. But, nooo, there are dogs, cats, kids, the husband, and the occasional chicken and goat that stop by for a visit. (Not kidding.) I just cannot keep up with the floors. Using a mop is absolutely disgusting. The water becomes so nasty, and really all you're doing is just pushing dirty water around an already dirty floor. Then those Swiffer things. Talk about a waste. One pad would only clean maybe one section of my floors, and I'd still have to go over them several times. So... and this is super embarrassing.... I don't think my floors have actually been CLEANED (other than swept or vacuumed) in about a year.
HAAN has been very generous, and offered me the choice of one of their steam mops. I decided to go with the HAAN Agile SI40 Sanitizing Steam Mop.
The HAAN Agile kills 99.9% of household germs, bacteria and dust mites without chemicals.
- Swiveling low profile head
- Removable Water Tank
- Machine Powered Steam Pump
- Ergonomic Handle
- Storage Hook
- Power Cord Management System
- Steam Head with 15 Steam Jets
I figured that the HAAN SI40 Agile Steam Mop looked easy enough to put together and didn't appear to have too many parts when looking at the product description. Again, I like things SIMPLE. Plus, the more parts there are with something, the more parts I'll lose. The HAAN Agile SI40 Steam Mop came with 2 Reusable Ultra-Microfiber Cleaning Pads, Floor Protector/Resting Pad, Carpet Glide Attachment, Lime and Scale Remover, Users Manual and a Warranty Card. See? Easy enough.
I gave the manual a quick once over just to make sure everything appeared as simple as it looked, and quickly snapped it together. There are really only four parts to the steam mop, other than the attachments. The base, the center pole, the handle, and the bottle that holds the water. It was time to test this baby out. I decided to try out the carpet attachment. The HAAN Agile SI40 Steam Mop sanitizes and refreshes carpets. It doesn't clean them. But, my living room carpet was a little bit smelly since my cat decided to pee on it, and my dogs lay on it if they're locked out of my bedroom. The steam mop literally was ready to go in about 60 seconds. It made a few clunking noises, but the paperwork said that's normal for first time use. The only thing I kind of wish, was that the water bottle was a little bit bigger. After thoroughly steaming the area rug, I only had about half of a bottle left - definitely not enough to do all of the floors in my downstairs. The carpet attachment glided effortlessly across my rug. I don't know why I found that surprising, but for some reason I expected it to catch a little bit.
Changing out the attachments was pretty easy too. You're not supposed to mess with them while there is still steam coming out, or wile it's hot, so I gave it about 10 minutes, and then put on one of the Reusable Ultra-Microfiber Cleaning Pads (it velcros) and decided to give my kitchen a go. This room needed it the most. We had food stains (red juice drink, coffee, etc.) and layers dirt masking the true color of the floors. I couldn't believe how much grunge and grime the steam mop actually picked up. It was rather effortless. There were some areas that needed a little extra pressure added to the steam mop, so I used my foot to push down on the base a bit and that seemed to do the trick. The extremely dirty parts needed additional time spent with the steamer, but overall it went SO much faster than a regular mop or one of the Swiffer things. Seriously - look how much grossness this picked up! Honestly I haven't used any other steam mops for laminate floors, but I think this one did a pretty bang up job.
I truly loved how simple this piece of equipment is. I appreciated how quickly it was to put together, how light weight it is, and how quickly it was ready to use. Even what seemed to be an extra long cord was a great feature, and it can be wrapped up around the hooks on the back, just like you would a normal vacuum cleaner. The Reusable Ultra-Microfiber Cleaning Pads are washable. Although using a washing machine is said to reduce their usability more quickly, it's great that I can just toss them into the washer instead of having to throw them out after each time I decide my floors need a cleaning.
HAAN has generously offered all of my readers a code worth $15 OFF the HAAN Agile SI40 Steam Mop! Use code OCTDPR at checkout on the HAAN website. Coupon is valid from Sunday, Sept 30th at 12:01am to Sunday, Oct 14th at 12:01am.
*I was provided a product free of charge from HAAN in order to facilitate this review. All opinions are 100% mine. See Disclosure Policy.
My two toddlers do not like the vacuum cleaner. Let me rephrase that. My two toddlers absolutely abhor, hate, and despise with the force of 10 million suns the vacuum cleaner. As a result of their seething hatred for this contraption, they completely freak out whenever I turn it on. Their reaction is equal to what I would imagine would happen if there were 1,000 fire trucks are blasting their sirens right in my living room. So, in order to help keep the peace in our house I don't vacuum as often as I should. (And it gives me a good excuse not to do one of the many chores I'd rather avoid.)
Now, not vacuuming all that often really wouldn't be such a big deal if it was just my husband and myself living here. But, noooo. We have a bajillion pets, and what seems like a bajillion kids (only 3) who all co-habitate with us. We have fur bunnies taking on lives of their own. When I reached out to Bissell to see if I could get some help with my cleaning conundrum, they offered to send their Bissell Natural Sweep. I have ALWAYS wanted one of these ever since seeing my grandmother's. It seemed so simple, and best of all they are QUIET. Bissell mentioned that it is the perfect sweeper for those times when I don't have time to vacuum, or when I just need to pick something up quickly.
"The BISSELL Natural Sweep® is designed to effectively clean your carpets and hard floors in between routine cleanings without using electricity. The sweeper has two brush rolls: one is specially designed for picking up large debris (cereal, beads, etc.), and one is designed for picking up fine particles (dirt and dust). In addition, the Natural Sweep® has small brushes placed in the 4 corners of its foot. These help to capture dirt and debris along edges and in corners." ~ Bissell
- Contains parts that are 100% recycled plastic and PVC-free
- Dual rotating brushes
- 4 corner brushes for cleaning in corners and along edges
- Comfortable rubber grip
- Safe on carpet, rugs and hard floors
- Perfect for in-between cleanings
- Durable design
The Bissell Natural Sweep comes in a much smaller box than I had anticipated, and had fewer pieces than I had expected too. Thank goodness. I don't do complicated. All you had to do was screw the pole pieces together, and then screw that into the base of the sweeper, and it is fully put together. It only takes about a minute or two to assemble, and is so simple that I found the instructions to be completely unnecessary. It's rather light weight too. My 2 year old likes to pretend she's helping, and even my 1 year old likes to walk it around.
Immediately after assembling the few pieces of the Bissell Natural Sweep, it was time to give it a try. The biggest concern is the area rug in our living room. Most of our floors are hard wood or linoleum so those easily get swept. But, it's the big area rug that gathers most of the grossness and has to be vacuumed. The dogs lay on the rug. The cats lay on the rug. My kids eat and play on that rug. It's one of our highest trafficked areas. Needless to say the carpet is pretty gross after a week or so without being vacuumed, so I went over it a couple of times with the Natural Sweep. It definitely looked better and certainly gave me extra time between vacuuming jobs. Time to inspect the try. What was this simple product able to pick up?
EVERYTHING! OK, well not EVERYTHING, but a large portion of fur, dirt, and food crumbs that I couldn't get unless I turned on that demon vacuum. The tray was pretty full, and I was embarrassed to see how much crud resides in that single rug. I found that the Natural Sweep worked best with a little bit of pressure applied. However, I loved how small the cleaning head of the sweeper is, and that the handle lays practically flat so you can get under tables and chairs without having to move them around.
The only thing I'm not super fond of, and it's not the fault of the product, is that you have to keep the bristles clean. With so much pet hair that's really difficult, and I'm a bit lazy when it comes to things like that. Plus, even though I'm not a germ-a-phobe, I'd rather not have to touch the bottom of the sweeper. However, this will NOT stop me from using it. I really love that I have this in my house now, and have used it SEVERAL times. I'm thinking for every one time I vacuum, I pull out the Natural Sweep at least four times. It really has helped keep my kids from freaking out, and my floor for getting too gross before I happen across the time of day where both of my kids are napping and can break out "Jaws". (What my mother used to refer to her vacuum as.)
One thing that I love about Rubbermaid, is that their products are practical and useful. So, when I was asked if I'd be interested in reviewing the Rubbermaid LunchBlox Sandwich Kit, I said yes without any hesitation.
My husband tries to bring his lunches to work whenever he remembers and has time to pack them. (No, I do not pack his lunch for him.) And, my step-daughter is school age and occasionally likes to take her lunch to school when she's not so fond of what's being served that day for hot lunch. We all know that stuffing a sandwich into a backpack doesn't work, and even with lunch boxes, often times we throw the food into any container we have and it's hard to get everything to fit just right. Then throw in a freezer pack to keep the lunch cool (if you can find extra room), and you've got one stuffed, poorly organized lunch box. This is why the Rubbermaid LunchBlox Sandwich Kit is so great. It has a sandwich container, two snack containers and a side container. Plus it even comes with a blue ice pack.
- Containers stack compactly to stay organized
- Blue Ice™ keeps your lunch cool on the go
- Secure lid seal
- Microwave, Dishwasher, and Freezer Safe
- Sandwich container holds regular and specialty bread
- Sandwich Kit includes 2 Snack Containers, 1 Side Container, 1 Sandwich Container and 1 Medium Blue Ice
You're probably thinking, "Great, more containers. So, why is this so special?" The Rubbermaid LunchBlox Sandwich Kit containers are designed to snap together, and sit perfectly on top of each other. I found that if you want your little containers to be the most secure, you should put the blue ice between the sandwich container and the snack/side container. I think that's what you're supposed to do anyway. However, you don't HAVE to do that, especially if your snack containers don't need to be kept cold. They just won't stay attached as well.
The sandwich container is designed to hold a variety of different size breads, which is great if you like to take something a little bit different than your standard size. If you're not a sandwich person this is great for even a small salad, or a bigger "side". I might even attempt to put soup in it since it is microwave safe. The size container has a 1.2 cup capacity so there's plenty of room for pasta salads, long crackers, yogurt, etc.
The snack containers I thought were a little small. But, I also like to eat more than a regular "serving" size. I did find the picture of the cookies a little misleading. Maybe normal cookies are super tiny? However, the product photo from Rubbermaid shows up to 4 cookies fitting into one of the half cup snack containers, and I don't think I could even fit one unless I broke it at least in half. The snack containers do work for small things like nuts, craisins, granola, salad dressings, dips, and so on. Plus, if it's a child using it to pack their school lunches, the containers really don't need to be super big either.
Rubbermaid also sells an insulated LunchBlox that fits the LunchBlox Sandwich Kit perfectly. The LunchBlox Sandwich Kit I received had coupons in the sandwich container for brands like French's, StarKist, and other Rubbermaid products. It also came with a packet of French's Dijon Mustard with Chardonnay. Yum!
I really think this is a great, durable, and practical product for lunches, and I love how this product Rubbermaid encourages you to bring your lunch instead of eating out. The coupons were also a very nice touch! The Rubbermaid LunchBlox Sandwich Kit sells for $12.99 on the Rubbermaid website, which makes this product also affordable when you take into account how much this will be used, and for how long it should hold up.
*I received a product for free as part of the Rubbermaid Buzz Review Program. All opinions are 100% mine. See Disclosure Policy.
By now I'm sure many of you know I have kids and pets, and they out-number me 6 to 1. That means I have 6 things I need to corral into certain parts of my house; 4 if you don't count our free-ranging cats. This is true especially for my daughter. She loves to let herself outside. Just picture it. A 2.5 year old running down the driveway, with only a diaper and a shirt on. No shoes. No pants. And she is perfectly content to do this all by her lonesome. Apparently she is also perfectly content giving her mother multiple heart attacks. Then there are the dogs who like to get into the chicken feed bags, goat feed bags, garbage that's waiting to be taken to the curb, the cat food dish, and the litter box that we have in our back room. It's pretty much our catch all room of stuff we just don't have room for elsewhere.
We do have a gate that we were using, however it is so old, gives off splinters, is broken, and some of the metal pieces will cut you if you try to walk over it. But, putting it back up is also a hassle because our walls are not flush, it's broken, gives off splinters, and the metal pieces will cut you. (See what I'm saying?). You really can't come out on top with this old POS. It will get you.
Needless to say I am THRILLED with the Sure & Secure Extra Tall Walk-Thru Gate Summer Infant sent for us to review! Oh yes, at this point in my life I legit start jumping up and down over a baby/pet gate. Compared to every baby gate I've owned (which admittedly isn't all that many) this - to me - is the Cadillac of baby gates. *They see me rollin', They hatin'....* I no longer have to put up or take down that demonic old wooden gate I was using, but instead I can WALK THROUGH the metal Sure & Secure Extra Tall Walk-Thru Gate. Seriously, this is the best feature ever. All I have to do is slide back a button with my thumb, lift up a tad, and walk right through it. Oh, and get this. The gate is SELF-CLOSING! As long as you have it installed properly, which can take a few adjustments, as soon as you walk through the gate, it swings closed on its own and latches back into position. It is most definitely baby, toddler, and dog proof. My daughter thought she'd try to be sneaky. She watched us open it a few times, and then tried it herself. BLOCKED! Huzzah!
There are a couple of reasons why this gate in particular is child-proof. The height doesn't allow for the leverage needed in order to lift up and unlatch the bottom part of the gate from the base. Second, you have to perform both the slide-back latch and lift up motions simultaneously. Third, this gate can be secured by pressure mounting or hardware mounting it. We've only pressure mounted ours, however it's secure enough for my daughter to shake vigorously without it budging an inch. She's the weight of at least a 4-year-old, so she's got some heft behind her. Hubs and I even tested it, and it isn't going anywhere.
The Summer Infant Sure & Secure Extra Tall Walk-Thru Gate comes with all of the hardware you'll need, and an additional gate segment in case your doors are wider than the gate portion itself. Some days it feels like we're living in a Polly Pocket sized house, so we'll probably never have any use for the gate extension, but it is definitely nice to have! This gate will fit any opening from 28” to 47.5”, and is a good 36" tall.
I was a bit intimidated by the instructions, but I think it's because I only skimmed through them and then gave up. My attention span these days tends to vary between that of a gnat, and that of my daughter. I watched my husband pressure mount it (without reading the instructions), and it really wasn't that difficult. It does take some trial and error with adjusting the pressure. It won't close by itself if it is too loose or too tight, and opening it can be difficult if it isn't just right. I definitely could have done it myself. I do wish that the gate opening was a little wider, but that's mostly because we use the back door that it is blocking off. It's our primary door which means we're carrying car seats, strollers, groceries, shopping bags, and whatever else into and out of the house through that gate.
I love this gate! Truly, the second it arrived in the mail... OK, well, the second hubs got it up, I said, "Sayonara" to Old Rusty, and "Hellooo Precious!" to the Summer Infant Sure & Secure Extra Tall Walk-Thru Gate. I'm now wondering where she has been all of my mommy-hood life!
You can purchase the Summer Infant Sure & Secure Walk-Thru Gate at Babies R Us for only $59.99. You can also visit Summer Infant on Facebook and Twitter! I'm sure they'd love it if you stopped by and said, "Hi." I apologize for my lack of photographs in this review. My house is in shambles, and you really don't need to see my dust bunnies, and feed bags. It does look exactly like the product pictures on Summer Infant and Babies R Us.
*I received a product for free from Summer Infant in order to facilitate this review. All opinions are 100% mine. See Disclosure Policy.
We live in a very old house that is literally falling apart. Any cosmetic changes improve the looks 10-fold. When I found out I was expecting my first kiddlet, I immediately began redoing her room. It was a nasty navy blue, with sponge painted designs. The floor was old boards under some weird almost cardboard covering, under carpet squares. It was absolutely disgusting. After fighting with the paint colors for a few weeks, we finally settled on a sage green, vanilla white, and a plum purple as the accent color. I painted some of her furniture a teal to go with it. I know, it doesn't sound like anything matches, but it actually comes together quite well. Then came the flooring decision. We decided to go with a laminate wood floor in a medium brown to bring it all together. But, something was missing. And, something continued to stay missing until Mohawk Home gave me the chance to review one of their 5' by 8' area rugs. I was excited because obviously it's a rug that I really could use, and secondly because they are Made In the USA!
I had debated for a long time about getting an area rug for the room, since the floor gets cold, however I couldn't find anything I liked in a decent price range. Either the quality suffered with what we could afford, or the design I liked was ridiculously expensive and I'd only be able to get a floor mat for the price I wanted. When Mohawk Home told me to pick any design within a certain price range I knew it was finally my chance to finish up the room, and tie it all together. The choice was HARD! They have so many wonderful designs and colors that I had to ween my 6 favorites down to one. I decided to go with the Strata Aqua Fusion Rug. It had a great teal color in it that I thought would bring in the furniture a little better, and several shades of brown that would go with the floor, and the vanilla white paint. Because my son and daughter now share a room, I try to keep things gender neutral. I liked a paisley pattern, and one that had leaves, but I decided it was best to go with an almost non-pattern and keep things simple. I want this to stay in their room for years to come.
The Mohawk Home Strata Aqua Fusion Rug shipped super fast, and I had it in less than a week (when they said to expect it in 2). I'm like a kid in a candy store when new products arrive, and I couldn't keep it in the bag for more than 5 minutes. I'm not sure why, but it seemed a little darker than I expected, with less teal, however when I finally laid it out and compared it to the product pictures, it was exactly the way it was pictured. Please don't mind the partial rug photo - my back was right up against the kids' beds. (That's how small this room is.) I have to say though, the Mohawk Home Strata Aqua Fusion Rug was exactly what I was hoping it would be! It brings everything in the room together, warms it up, and gives my kids a soft place to play... and our ornery old cat a soft place to sleep.
My daughter loves her new rug. She walked into her room and went, "WOW!" Then she immediately laid down face first on it and stayed there for a few minutes enjoying the thickness and softness of her new floor. She's a tad odd and sometimes would rather sleep on her floor during the night instead of in her bed, so I'm really happy she has a nicer place to sleep.
"While we view ourselves as an innovative, fashion-design company, we never lose focus on our mission to produce the highest quality and value-oriented products possible, while minimizing our impact on the world around us. As part of the largest flooring manufacturer in the world, we are able to control quality from raw materials to the finished product. Through sustainable manufacturing and the dedication of our associates we can ensure that the Mohawk product always delivers the best value at the best price with world-class service." ~ Mohawk Home
The Mohawk Home Strata Aqua Fusion Rug is a much thicker rug than we usually purchase. Our downstairs area rug is one of those cheap $35 ones that has no padding, and the rug itself is so thin there is almost no difference between the wood floor and the rug. The fibers are a great length (not too short, but not shaggy), and the color really is stunning; bright and vibrant while the darker colors keep the rug from overpowering the room. It's like a luxury pair of slippers for your floor. The color/design I chose is great too for hiding dirt and animal fur. With my darn cat sleeping on it for hours on end every day, I'd expect to see massive amounts of fur everywhere - but I can't. This is by far the best rug I have ever owned. And, while the price tag of $142 makes me cringe a little, the quality is far superior to the other rugs I've owned and had to replace every year or so. I think that looking at the items you bring into your home as an investment is the smart way to go, instead of buying something you know isn't going to last.
You have to check out some of the other awesome designs Mohawk Home has. These were a few that I fell in love with. Not sure why I was feeling so much red since their room has NO red what-so-ever in it. However I thought these designs were just stunning. I swear they must have something for everyone.
After you finish browsing, make sure you come back and find Mowhawk Home on Facebook and Twitter because they are offering an AMAZING giveaway! One winner will have their choice of any rug valued at less than $400, up to size 5' by 8'! This is a fabulous prize, and will be the eye-catching feature in any room. Giveaway will run from 6/10 through 6/24. Open to residents of the USA who are 18+. You'll be able to enter [HERE] when the giveaway is live.
*I receive a product for free in order to facilitate this review. All opinions are 100% mine. See Disclosure Policy.
I've been holding out on you! Well, not really. I wanted to save this particular review so we could end Earth Month with a big bang. I had never heard of the Soda Stream until I saw it around the bloggersphere. My family and I are not particularly big soda drinkers, mainly because it's an expense we don't need to have, and I personally don't like all of the bottles and cans it creates. I also don't care for the negative health factors that accompanies soda drinking. I figured that a Soda Stream might be the exact solution we are looking for.
Soda Stream sent me the Genesis Soda Maker. This came with two plastic bottles, a big CO2 cartridge, and a bazillion flavors. We're talking cola, ginger ale, fruity flavors, diet flavors, lemon lime - oh my gosh so many flavors! My favorite was the Raspberry-Cranberry flavor. My husband broke into the box before I was able to, and before even reading any instructions he went full steam ahead making his first bottle of soda. I'm laughing just thinking about it. He managed to get soda water everywhere... TWICE! I had seen a video review of the Soda Stream before and knew exactly why it happened, so as a quick suggestion for anyone who buys this or wins this - Read the instructions.
I like that the Soda Stream is really easy to use. It doesn't take much to put it together and within seconds you are literally making your own sodas. Just a few pushes of the carbinator, and a cap-full or so of your favorite flavors, and voila! You have a bottle of soda that you can store in the fridge if you don't want to finish it, or take with you to work. Heck, buy a Soda Stream for your office if you want easy access. It definitely beats going down to the vending machine and paying a dollar or two for a tiny bottle. I also think the size is great. It normally sits on the edge of my over-flowing kitchen table and takes up very little space.
There were only a few things I didn't like, and it isn't really related to the actual Soda Stream machine. I would have liked the caps to have poured neater. If you don't wash the cap out after each time you flavor your soda water, they get really sticky and begin making a mess. It's not a huge deal, but something I would like to see improved in the future. I also noticed the soda water loses its carbonation quicker than store bought sodas. That doesn't bother me because I happen to like my soda a little flatter, and if I want it to last longer I carbonate it to the max. It does last for several hours, but if you need to keep your soda for longer than 3-4 hours without it losing too much carbonation, I'd suggest putting it in the fridge.
Every once in awhile there is a method to my madness. I have been sitting on this review for several weeks. Of course I wanted to try it out for a long time, but I also thought it was a perfect review for Earth Month. I found online that it takes a plastic beverage bottle up to 450 years to decompose. That is just ridiculous! For those that don't live in a state where you can take them into a redemption center for a little extra cash, how many people choose to toss those bottles instead of recycling them? The Soda Stream is a great solution to this issue. Yes, it's a little bit of an investment, but in the long run it saves money, but it also helps keep hundreds upon thousands of bottles out of the landfill. On the Soda Stream web site they have a little ticker of how many bottles they are saving the world from. Right now it's up over 1.7 BILLION! According to their site, 1 one their reusable bottles saves the world from an average of 2,000 bottles and cans.
I mentioned that I wasn't thrilled with all of the health issues that seem to accompany soda drinkers. We all know the sweeteners aren't great for you, especially the aspartame. I was thrilled to learn the following when checking out Soda Stream online.
"Regular sodamix flavors contain less sugar, calories, carbohydrates and sodium than national drink brands. Regular flavors contain no high-fructose corn syrup, and are sweetened with a blend of sugar and sucralose. Diet sodamix flavors contain no sugar, no aspartame and are sweetened with Splenda® brand sweetener. Sparkling Naturals are sweetened exclusively with cane sugar." ~ Soda Stream
You can taste a difference. It's a small difference, but it is there. At first I wasn't all that happy about it, but after a few goes with the Genesis and finding my favorite flavors, I would much prefer drinking what I'm able to create with my Soda Stream versus pumping all of that sugar and other crud that accompanies many soda brands into my body. It may not be a huge healthy change for us since we drink soda probably not even once a week, but now that we have our Soda Stream it's every few nights, and it is a much healthier option.
Overall, I love it. I may not have gone out and purchased it myself, but that's only because of how little we drink soda. I think it's a wonderful product! It's very well made, will last a long time, convenient, healthier, better for the environment, and a good investment. I've already had family members and friends asking where I got mine and where they can purchase one. FYI - you can shop the Soda Stream Store online, or check out all of their retailers. Some retailers will have a carbinator exchange program and others will not. But you can see what each store near you carries by putting in your location [HERE]. I love this thing, and it is actually FUN to use! So, I am beyond excited to tell you that you will have a chance to win your very own Soda Stream!
Prize includes -
Fountain Jet Soda Lover's Start-Up Kit ($99.95):
Fountain Jet – Winner’s choice of color (black/silver, red/silver or white)
1 carbonating bottle - Reusable for up to 3 years
Reusable carbonator to fizz up to 60L of soda
Variety 6-pack of popular sample-size flavors
3 full-sized flavors of the winner’s choice
When the giveaway is live you will be able to enter [HERE]. Open to age 18+ residents of the continental USA.
* I received a product for free from Soda Stream in order to facilitate this review. All opinions are 100% mine. See Disclosure Policy.