Tuesday, June 18, 2013

NERF SUPER SOAKER /Simply CHEETOS® House Party Review

So I spent my birthday this year watching the boys and their friends soak each other with Nerf Super Soakers and eating Simply Cheetos Natural Cheese Puffs, courtesy of House Party! Actually, it was a great way to take my mind off of the fact that I am one year away from being middle aged. I cannot believe I am almost eligible for an AARP membership! I don't wanna talk about it anymore.

Sooooo...back to topic of the party. Which is way more fun to talk about than my age!  Our weekend looked like this:

Party pack from House Party!
The Water Warriors (minus two, who arrived late and missed the photos!)

Spray the shaving cream off your teammate's shower cap!

Ready for some serious spray action!

Drew the short straws and wondering how to escape

The boys were all very happy with the new Nerf Super Soaker models, which have one pump action and good distance.  They like the Shotwave Blaster model the best, because it has a removable water cartridge, which makes refilling easier and faster. Less time at the water trough means less chance of getting sprayed while reloading and a faster return to the front lines to soak opponents!

BTW...there are some really good sales going on right now on the Super Soakers!  Toys R Us, Walmart and Target all had some pretty low prices on all of their new Nerf Super Soaker models!  Worth the price to get the family outside and moving! 

Between games and water wars we enjoyed snacking on various veggies and fruits, as well as Simply Cheetos Natural White Cheddar Cheese Puffs. OK...I won't lie.  I love Cheetos.  I hardly ever buy them because they are basically just orange colored, cheesy corn flavored chemical air,  but I love how they melt/crunch in my mouth.  I was skeptical that a "natural" Cheeto could even be manufactured, let alone made to taste good.  Well, I'm here to tell you that the natural, white cheddar version of Cheetos is a worthy substitute for the orange version.  The taste is not as strong, but the texture is pretty much the same and I absolutely LOVE that the new version is truly all natural.  No dyes, no preservatives.  Not all the kids liked the White Cheddar flavor, but most loved the new Cheetos and gobbled them right up.

I can honestly say this Nerf Gun Super Soaker party was the greatest way to spend a birthday!  It did my Mommy Heart good to see my boys running and laughing and playing in the summer sun and I felt younger just being out there with them!  Can't wait to get everyone together to do this again!

**Disclosure:  I was not compensated for this review.  I won a Nerf Super Soaker/Simpy Cheetos Party form House Party and received Nerf water guns and Cheetos to facilitate the event and review.  As always, the thoughts and opinions in this review are mine and are always my honest views.** 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Cascade Platinum Pacs Review and Instagram Contest #MyPlatinum

Disclosure: I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Cascade. I received a product sample to facilitate my review and a promotional item as a thank you for participating. 

Some people love to clean.  I am not one of those people.  While I like the results that come from cleaning the house, I find tasks like laundry, dishes and cleaning bathrooms mundane and boring and worst of all...ENDLESS!!  I can clean the whole kitchen, walk away for 3 minutes and come back to a plate, a knife with jelly on it and a half a glass of milk sitting in the sink that I just emptied!  AAUUGGHHH!!   Thank freaking GOSH for dishwashers!

When I moved into this rental house, the dishwasher that was here looked like one of the first models ever made and sounded like a Mack Truck was driving around our kitchen every night.  I would load it with dirty plates and start it up, then cross my fingers that it would actually clean them.  The results were a crap shoot.  Some days I won, some days I lost. 

Then one day that beastly dishwasher died and I rejoiced aloud about the new replacement that arrived a week later!  It was shiny and new and I was sure I would never see a dirty dish come out of that dishwasher after running a clean cycle again. 

I was wrong.  On more than one occasion I have opened my new dishwasher after a two hour cycle to find my plates covered with "washed food particles or my drinking glasses covered with a hazy residue.  So...I concluded it must be a detergent problem and not an appliance problem and started experimenting with dish washing soaps and tabs. 

The Review
As luck would have it, I was asked to review new Cascade Platinum Pacs this month!  I know!  The timing could not have been better.  Now that my kids are taking more responsibility with the dishes, I sometimes find that in their desire to speed through the chore of loading the dishwasher,  the rinsing of dirty dishes doesn't always happen like it should.  Ok, fine.  I never rinse the dishes either.  But at least I knock off the big chunks.  Cascade Platinum Pacs are our new best friend, as they are specially formulated with an increased enzyme power that eats through food particles better than anything I have tried so far.  There was not one speck of food left on anything in that dishwasher when we emptied it after using the Platinum Pacs.  Not. One. Yay!! 

The other thing we noticed immediately after using the Cascade Platinum Pacs is that our dishes come out sparkling and shiny!  Platinum Pacs contain surfectants and chelant/polymer systems that  prevent hard water spots or hazy film on glasses or silverware.   My dishes look almost new again! I love not having to apologize to my guests while I wipe the spots off the drinkware before serving them a beverage!  How unappetizing is that?!

Gail Simmons, Top Chef judge and editor of Food-Wine Magazine, agrees that perfect presentation is an important part of entertaining and she has partnered with Cascade to share her thoughts and ideas on how to beautifully present your culinary creations.


I love Gail's comment about impressing with a Platinum Presentation, because it's something I kind of struggle with:
“The easiest recipes pop with unexpected, gourmet presentations. Drizzle bright sauces on sparkling white plates or layer desserts in crystal-clean glassware. Keep your presentation sparkling with Cascade Platinum, which keeps dishes perfect for anytime entertaining and impromptu guests.”

Cascade "My Platinum" Contest

With the advent of social media, everyone can post great photos of their best kitchen efforts these days.  Food photography is everywhere! To celebrate the launch of their newest product, Cascade is holding a 4 week Instagram contest encouraging fans to upload photos related to the weekly contest themes listed below for a chance to win a $10,000 Kitchenaid Kitchen Makeover! I know, right?  $10,000 could do a lot for my poor little kitchen! 
Week 1: (Week 1 is over) My Platinum Plate (Entry Period: 6/3-6/9) - Show us your best dish styled from the sparkling plate up!
Week 2: My Platinum Bite (Entry Period: 6/10-6/16) – Show us your best bite and most creative use of sparkling silverware!
Week 3: My Platinum Clink (Entry: 6/17-6/23) – Show us how you serve up creative concoctions in sparkling glasses. Cheers!
Week 4: My Platinum Table (Entry Period: 6/24-6/30) – Show us your sparkling tablescape for your most special celebrations!
You do need to register before you enter, but it just takes a few minutes to that.  And you will need to upload the photos to Instgram and use the hashtag #MyPlatinum” as well as tag @MyCascade.  More information about the contest can be found on the contest’s official page.