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Monday, September 15, 2014

Clean Up with Cascade-Easier Than You Think



When Dexter was born and I realized how many bottles and pump parts I was scrubbing everyday I begged Jason for a dishwasher.  Since we rent, we bought a portable dishwasher for $600.  It was BY FAR the best money I have ever spent in my entire life.  That was 6 years ago and my dishwasher works far better than any other I have ever used.  When I got accepted into the Cascade Party through Double Duty Divas I was elated.  I knew I had to have my party at my Mother in Law's house because her dishwasher is horrendous.  
My MIL, Mo, lives exactly 1.5 miles away from us so we are lucky enough to see her often.  She is a fabulous cook so we enjoy inviting ourselves over for dinner any chance we get.  The problem with that is that her dishwasher does everything except wash dishes.  She literally scrubs her dishes before she loads them in (and her dishwasher isn't that old).
When I told her that I was going to bring a bunch of friends and food over for a party she was excited to help me bake up some brownies and other goodies and show our crowd how well the new Cascade Platinum works.
We baked the brownies the night before and didn't soak the pan at all.  We let all of the pans and dishes sit in the sink until it was party time.  That was way harder on her than it was on me.  She is meticulous so she doesn't like having dishes sit in her sink or anywhere else in her kitchen for that matter.  It took a LOT of coaxing and convincing Mo that she didn't have to prewash her dishes.  I told her that Cascade Platinum actually works better when there is food stuck on dishes.  Here are a few of the pictures we took from our party:




My only regret is that I didn't take a video of my Mother in Law opening her dishwasher after washing her DIRTY dishes with Cascade Platinum.  She squealed!  It was amazing and she was SHOCKED!!  It was worth a million words because she started screaming that she was going to return the dishwasher pods that she just bought and she was going to get more Cascade Platinum (because I gave her and the rest of my guests each a bag when they came!)
Connect! with Cascade on Twitter and Facebook
Head to the Cascade website to leave a short review of Cascade Platinum including #CascadeShiningReviews and ONE lucky reviewer (who uses the hashtag) will WIN a Kitchen Aid Dishwasher!

Giveaway! One Super Savvy Mommy reader will win a Cascade Prize Pack so they can see just how amazing new Cascade Platinum works on their hard-to-clean dishes!  The prize will consist of the items seen above!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

**This review 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. #cascadeshiningreviews **

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Niagara Falls-Family Style


Since my last post, my wonderful adreneline-driven family has been on-the-go!  We have traveled more than 2000 miles in the month of July and we have had some epic adventures.  We love traveling and we do it a lot.  I like to think that we were made to travel.  17 hour road trip in 5 days with two kids under 6?  Sure, why not!

We left Northern Michigan on Thursday around 4am and headed to our first destination, Niagara Falls, New York!  I had never seen the Falls from the US so I was excited to share the experience with my husband and the boys.  Dexter is at the perfect age where he understands a lot of things so he was really excited by the idea of a "giant waterfall".  I will never forget driving into Niagara Falls, we were driving over a bridge to get into the city and Dexter noticed some water rising in the air and he yelled "Its the FALLS" to which we told him it was just the air carrying the water into the air.  That didn't come close to the level of ridiculousness when he got to see Niagara Falls for the very first time.  He squealed and was so excited.  At 6 years old, all he could think about was diving into the water.  I laughed and told him that wasn't possible!


It was pretty late at night when we checked into the Sheraton at the Falls in Niagara and everyone was tired.  I am a Starwoods Preferred Guest so we get some perks for staying at participating hotels {like staying on the 6th floor with extra amenities here} but we brought our bulldog with us so we had to stay on the 2nd floor.  The rooms are very spacious and clean and the beds were so comfortable!  We decided to call it an early night so we could get up and sightsee in the morning.  We ordered some pretty great pizza and wings from Mister B's and they delivered it right to the hotel. 

The next morning, my birthday, Dexter and I woke up before Daddy and Oliver so we took the dog for a walk.  We went down to Starbucks {in the lobby} for a birthday cake pop and coffee which was so nice.  I rarely get to have alone time with Dexter so I cherished every second of it.  We took Daisy down around the block and by the time we were back, the rest of the crew was ready to see the Falls! We had a 7 hour drive to Vermont later that day so we planned to see the Falls and plan what we wanted to do when we came back 2 days later.

Dexter and Oliver skipped the whole way to Niagara Falls State Park.  Did you know that it is the oldest State Park in the United States?  Pretty awesome, eh?! 



I am a history freak so I love anything that has a great story and rich history behind it.  Reading about the beginnings of the Niagara Falls State Park was so intriguing.  So much so that I took a picture of it!  

I could elaborate about how gorgeous the Falls are but I will spare you the words and share some pictures because we all know that a picture is worth a million words...

 
Take on the Maid of the Mist Boat Ride


Red Sky at Night, Sailors Delight...

From the deck during the Cave of the Winds tour!

My perfect little family!

Maid of the Mist helped me catch this spectacular sight


Dexter, bring the cutest and sweetest little man


Pretty neat to see how all of this works!




Here is our posh room at the Sheraton at the Falls.  The beds were fluffy, the artwork was chic and the amenities were over-the-top!





I would highly recommend visiting Niagara Falls, NY on your next family vacation.  My husband and I had a blast together and the kids, well....watch what Dexter had to say about our vacation.  PREFACE {I gave him my iPhone and said, "say a few things about our vacation."  This is a 6 year old's take on Niagara Falls, NY  I cannot handle how cute he is!!}


Here is a picture of Dexter just before he got soaked on the Hurricane Deck on the Cave of the Winds.  It was by far his favorite thing that we did.  We literally had to pull him off of the Deck because he wanted to stay there "forever".  Honestly, truth-be-told, I wanted to stay forever, too.  Next time, I am going to eat and drink my way around the city and report back to you!





*We received complimentary passes and hotel rooms in exchange for a candid post.  All opinions and pictures are 100% our own.  We were not obligated to write a positive review*

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

You're Still Alive on Facebook-How Social Media Helps After Death

Traverse City hit and run, Bicycling Death Traverse City

This very week, last year, my best friend Kelly Boyce Hurlbert, was killed in a hit-and-run accident in downtown Traverse City, Michigan.  Her killer is still out there.  July 5th, 2013 is a day that I will never forget.  It is a day that changed how I look at the world and how I function within this world.  I haven't been the same.  I suppose its safe to say that a part of me died with her that day.  I mean, I had a friend that I could undoubtedly call on whenever I was in need.  If I needed to share a thought, a story or perhaps I needed some advice-Kelly was always there.  Did I want to reminisce about some ridiculous thing we had done in the past or perhaps recreate that epic moment-Kelly was always a phone call away {and damn that girl was always game for some shenanigans}.

I have never truly experienced death of such a magnitude.  Sure, I have lost grandparents and great uncles but each person that I have lost in my lifetime was older and had seen the world and lived a great, full, life of their own.  My friend, only 29 years old, was robbed of her adulthood and beyond.  She definitely crammed a ton into those 29 years and I am sure if you could ask her today she would tell you "no regrets!"  She lived, loved and enlightened everyone around her every moment of every day.  She was the person that everyone wanted to be around and she was the girl that all girls wanted to be like.  She was beautiful, funny, smart, witty, sarcastic, memorable, amazing and she was well-put together.  She was my best friend.

Facebook has been such a fantastic way not only to share memories of Kelly with her friends and family but it has been a way for me to relive the fun times we had and all of the memories that she made.  Opening up my private messages with her brings back a million smiles and it creates excitement that I have been missing this last year.  A "I miss Maggie in my life" when she moved away for 6 months, a "I need to see your pretty face" when we hadn't had lunch in a long time.  Those are the texts that I have saved, along with thousands more.  Thank God for technology because it makes the hurt and pain not as deep and real.

This past year I have lived in an unbelievable fog.  I haven't blogged as much as I'd like.  I didn't love as much as I would have liked.  I am not proud of myself for all of the things I neglected and I am sure Kelly would kick me in the butt for being in such a funk.  I need to pick myself up and start living again.  I need to embrace the life that I was given...not only for me and my family, but for my best friend who was robbed of her happily-ever-after.  





Monday, June 16, 2014

Playing House on USA #PlayingHouseParty


What happens when you combine a girls night in and USA's newest comedy, Playing House?  HILARITY!  This past weekend I invited my girlfriend Katie over to watch Playing House while sipping on some wine and noshing on hors d'oeuvres and we had a blast!  We put on our "Mark and Tina" robes and poured some vino.  We even wore some cute jewels.  Katie is super camera shy so you won't see her in a robe on here {she said she'd never come back over otherwise}.  Oh yeah, I am sooo sure!  

Wine tumbler, unbreakable wine glass


I am kinda picky when it comes to the type of shows I enjoy on TV.  There are so many that I have "tried" to watch that I just can't get in to.  I do think USA Network makes some pretty awesome shows though.  I adore White Collar and Royal Pains and I got lost in Burn Notice for 6 years.  I think that Playing House is a show that most women can relate to.  You either are a Mom, have a friend who is a Mom, know a "bird bones" girl from high school or have to deal with the guy you gave your virginity to in high school.  Either way, I think that you deserve to check out Playing House.  Like me and don't have cable?  You can stream it live online at USA.com Tomorrow night is their 1st Season Finale at 10/9c.  Catch up today online and binge watch all of this season or moderate your watching to make. it. last.  I wish I wouldn't have watched the entire season in 3 days because now I have nothing to watch until the show picks up again....

What are you waiting for?  Head over to USA.com and watch the Pilot right now.  Make sure you don't have to go to the bathroom first...you might just have an accident.  Don't say I didn't warn you.  After all, I did have two kids already!

Which shows do you tend to watch?  Comedy? Drama?  What is your favorite show on right now?


*This party {Me and Katie and a bottle of wine with treats and fun} was made possible by Universal Cable Productions, all opinions are 100% my own.  I was under no obligation to write a positive review/post*

Friday, May 23, 2014

Quaker Wholesome Breakfast To Go-Shake Review


As a Mom I find it incredibly hard to prepare a wholesome, nutritious breakfast every weekday morning.  Lets face it, I am only human and there are some days I just don't want to crawl out of bed. I have never been a morning person, in fact, I loathe mornings.  I do, however, wake up every morning and ensure that the boys get a nice, hot breakfast before Dexter leaves for school.  He use to ask me for a shake everyday because he would see me drinking them but I worry about giving him too much soy.  I have read that little boys really shouldn't be drinking/eating soy in excess because it can lead to a hormonal balance.

Recently I tried the new Quaker Breakfast Shakes and WOW, I was actually pretty surprised by how yummy they are.  We eat a lot of Quaker granola bars and instant oats so I shouldn't have been surprised but protein shakes are so hit-or-miss.  Oliver was home when the package arrived so he was the first to try them.  He adored the strawberry shake.  I was skeptical that 8g of wholegrains in a shake would be good but it was GREAT!  It wasn't chalky at all.  It was nice and thick and had a great flavor.  I love that there is 10g of protein to help the kids get the perfect boost in the morning.  8g of fiber is also very welcomed because everyone that has kids knows that being regular is important!  

Quaker Breakfast shakes also come in chocolate and vanilla.  We also got to try the chocolate flavor.  I didn't care for that one as much but Dexter thought it was good.  We all agreed that the strawberry was the best flavor.  You really can't go wrong with a super fast, satisfying and nutritious meal for you or your children.  Who couldn't use a little extra "snooze" time in the morning!?

You can find Quaker Breakfast Shakes at Walmart and Meijer stores and select other markets in the US.  We found ours in the cereal aisle at Meijer near the oatmeal.  

*I was provided with samples/gift card to facilitate my review.  All opinions are my own.  I was not obligated to write a positive review*

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Meijer and ConAgra Foods-Child Hunger Ends Here





I recently learned that more than one in five children, including more than one in four Latino children, in the U.S. may not know where their next meal is coming from. That’s nearly 16 million children, a number that could fill 8,000 playgrounds.

Children who experience even intermittent struggles with hunger may suffer serious, long-term consequences to their health, well-being and educational achievement. What’s more, being hungry robs kids of the promise of childhood – the ability to play, grow and learn.



As a Mom, I have a hard time reading statistics like this because I cannot fathom living this truth.  Sure, there have been times, more often than I'd like, that I haven't been able to purchase items that we wanted at the grocery store because we didn't have the extra money at the time but to not provide any food for my child; that would break me.

The people at ConAgra food finds Childhood hunger unacceptable {Go ConAgra!} and that is why they partnered with P&G to build a community of people to make a difference and help donate up to 7 MILLION meals through the Child Hunger Ends Here campaign.

What can you do to help?!  Look for these ConAgra and P&G brands at your local store. 
       Look for the red pushpin on participating product packaging for a code found on these specially marked ConAgra Foods and P&G products. For each 8-digit code entered at www.ChildHungerEndsHere.com from March-August 2014, ConAgra Foods or P&G, respectively, will donate the monetary equivalent of one meal to Feeding America.


·       Join the Community and Get Involved. One of the easiest ways to learn how to get involved is to join the Child Hunger Ends Here Facebook community at Facebook.com/ChildHungerEndsHere or follow the news on Twitter and Instagram at @ChildHungerEnds.

·       Community Food Donations. ConAgra Foods is donating 50,000 meals to community food banks on behalf of Meijer, in appreciation for their fantastic partnership to end child hunger!

     Speaking of Meijer, right now they have some great MPerks deals to help you save when purchasing products to help End Child Hunger.


Which products do you purchase that will help Meijer and ConAgra end Child Hunger? We buy Mueller's pasta, Charmin and Bounty.  Who can turn down Hunts tomatoes when    they're on sale either?




**I participate in this program on behalf of ConAgra Foods and The Motherhood. All opinions are my own.**

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Mother's Day Gift Suggestions from Grandpa Shorter's

Being a Michigander is something that I take very seriously.  I love living in Michigan.  I love the beauty that surrounds me everyday, I love the water and everything it possesses and I didn't even complain {very much} about the looooong winter this year.  One thing I especially love about Michigan is all the neat little towns that you can visit on a leisurely drive.  One town, nestled on Lake Michigan, is Petoskey.  Petoskey has the best downtown shopping with a plethora of stores to visit; each one being unique and different.  Grandpa Shorter's is hands-down, the most positive store I have every shopped.  It radiates warmth and charm and there is no way you could walk out of there without purchasing one of their many unique items.  Not local to Petoskey? No worries, Grandpa Shorter's has an online store too.Jason always gives me a hard time every year around Mother's Day because I never give him a list.  He is going to be excited because I finally put together a list and he can either drive and pick it up or have it shipped right to the house.  The last order I placed, I received in 2 days!

For Camping or for our backyard bonfires

Michigan pudding stones were formed in Canada over one billion years ago by volcanic activity and later moved by glacier ice sheets. These conglomerates are found in only a few areas of the world. Each area has pudding stones that differ in color combinations, depending on the types of rock that were fused together by the volcanic activity in that region. 


You had me at bacon!


There are very few things better than Brownwood Farms Cherry Preserves on a buttered english muffin!

This would be perfect on the wall of my wet bar!

Leland Blue-isn't this stone heavenly?  Its the color of Lake Michigan

What is on your Mother's Day wish list?




*I was compensated for this post.  I was asked to share my Mother's Day gift ideas with you.  All opinions and ideas are 100% my own*