Two New Adventures At Hocking Hills Canopy Tours

July 21, 2014 by  

New Off-Road Segway Adventures & X-Treme Zipline Tour at Hocking Hills Canopy!

By Amy

Hocking Hills Canopy Tours provided both tours to my family and me for this review.  All pictures and opinions are honest and my own.

Hocking Hills Canopy Tours

Zip into a recess cave!

My family and I love to go on adventures!  We love to travel far from home, but we also love to seek out fun and exciting things to do right here in Ohio.  The Hocking Hills area is one of our most favorite places to go!  We love the outdoors, camping, hiking and basically just being outside.  Old Man’s Cave, Rock House, Ash Cave and Conkles Hollow are our top hiking picks for the area.  But if your up more than just hiking,  Hocking Hills Canopy Tours provide even more fun and excitement within this beautiful place and they’ve got 2 brand new adventure tours open this year. They were SO much fun!!!

The “X” Tour- “X-Treme” Zipline Tour

We all LOVE ziplining!  It’s a fabulous and safe way to get high up in the trees and feel like you’re flying as you zip along through the trees and see everything from up high.  Definitely one of my very favorite things to do!

Here’s what Hocking Hills Canopy says about their newest extreme ziplining. “Hocking Hills Canopy Tours’ “X” Tour is a 2.5- to 3-hour, professionally guided, extreme zipline tour.  A new hybrid course design uses a combination of trees and towers to create a cross country-style tour that boasts 11 ziplines and showcases many amazing Hocking Hills features. Visitors sail above the region’s signatures rolling hills.  This one-of-a-kind faster, higher, longer tour even zips adventurers into a hidden, recess cave with waterfall and across the scenic Hocking River not once, but twice.”

Hocking Hills Canopy X-treme Zipline Tour
My family loved this zipline!  They also have no problem hanging out over the edge of the platforms 60 feet off the ground!  Many zips went right through tree “tunnels”.

Hocking Hills Canopy X-treme Zipline Tour

Zipping along the Hocking River was a highlight!

IMG_1870

My favorite was zipping into a recess cave with a waterfall!  Here we are inside the cave after zipping in.

Hocking Hills Canopy X-treme Zipline Tour

Out tour guides were professional and fun to work with!  They made us feel comfortable and at ease, and cheered us on even when we forgot to listen to them (they nicknamed me One-Armed Amy).

Hocking Hills Canopy Tour X-Treme Zipline

See those Segways in the background?  We’re doing those next!

Hocking Hills Canopy X-Tour

X-Treme Zipline Tour Guides- Nick and Eric.  Thanks guys, you rocked!

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We totally loved the “X” Tour Ziplines and would do it again at anytime!  Two thumbs up!

Hocking Hills Canopy Tours X-Tour Zipline

 

Off-Road Segway Adventures Tour

None of us had really “Segwayed” before and all four of us were way excited to check out this unique tour that is not offered anywhere else in the surrounding area, let alone “Off-Road”!  How cool is that???

Hocking Hills Canopy Tours describes it as follows, “The Segway® Adventure Features a 1.5- to 2-hour guided nature tour, with guides highlighting the unique features of the area while guests experience the thrill of a state-of-the-art Off-Road SegwayX2.  Carefully designed to offer a highly intuitive driver experience, the all-terrain Segway X2 offers the ultimate way to see Hocking Hills’ dramatic scenery.  Drivers report that it feels as if the Segway can read their mind as they glide along rugged paths taking in the area’s lush natural surroundings. While they easily master the Segway, guests discover ancient recessed caves, the scenic Hocking River, majestic old-growth trees, native plants and wildlife and much more on the adventures, which are led by knowledgeable, trained naturalists.”

Hocking Hills Canopy Tours Segway Adventure

It only took us about 2 minutes to get trained on driving the Segways and then let us loose on a practice field to get acclimated to our new “vehicles”.

Hocking Hills Canopy Segway Adventure

I think he’s ready to go!  Our kids were so excited to drive the Segways!

Hocking Hills Canopy Segway Adventure

The trails are clearly marked with signs and have many stopping points along the way to get off and look around, and stretch our feet.  Surprisingly, your feet get a bit tired standing on those things!  As a safety precaution (and rightly so!) I couldn’t take any pictures while on my Segway, so I didn’t get as many pictures.

Hocking Hills Canopy Segway Adventure

Candy and Justin were our superb Tour Guides and kept us all on the straight and narrow, especially Todd who wanted to venture a bit more “off-road” than the trail, haha!  They were really great and gave us driving pointers all along the way.

Hocking Hills Canopy Segway Adventure

Once we finished our tour, they let us take the Segways on another spin around the practice field since we were a lot more comfortable driving them.  I think my kids had fun on them, what do you think?

Hocking Hills Canopy Segway Adventure

We really had so much fun on both tours!  I asked my kids which one they liked the very best.  Emily voted for the Segway tour and Tyler also voted for the Segways.  Both Todd and I couldn’t decide which one we liked the best, just because they are so different, so we say that if you’re going there, just do both!

Thank you to Hocking Hills Canopy Tours for the invitation, for your excellent staff and for the awesome memories!  Be sure to check them out on Facebook too!

Love To All!  ~Amy

 

Walmart Department- Guessing Game and Giveaway!

June 2, 2014 by  

Play the Walmart Department Guessing Game and Win!

By Amy
I attended the Walmart Grand Opening as a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a shopper social amplification for Collective Bias and it’s advertiser. #GOWalmart #CollectiveBias #WMT2774

Walmart Department Guessing Game #GOWalmart #WMT2774 #shop

Who doesn’t love a fun guessing game with a giveaway? While I was attending the Walmart Supercenter Grand Opening, I took some closeups of a few items that can be found in the store, and YOU get to guess which department I found them in. If you play the game and enter below, you could be a winner!

Prizes: One of the following.  One GRAND PRIZE of one (1) $500 Walmart gift card, or one of five (5) $50 Walmart Gift cards!  Worth playing for?  I think so!

Before you get started, here are the instructions to play The Walmart Department Guessing Game.

I have posted 5 close up photos from items I found in the new Walmart Supercenter (store #2774), and you need to guess which Department I found the item in.

Here are the different Departments at Walmart:

Grocery , Household, Pets, Pharmacy, Health & Beauty, Crafts & Party Supplies, Photo, Auto, Home Improvement, Sports, Outdoors, Toys, Clothing, Accessories, Shoes, Jewelry, Home Décor, Electronics & Office.  There are a few more sub (smaller) categories like movies, books etc. but we’ll stick with the big ones for this game.

To get you warmed up, here’s one for practice.  Try to guess which department I found the sparkly photo (above) in……  Did you guess?

The answer is: Crafts & Party Supplies!  It’s a big sheet of sticky back sparkly paper.  Are you ready to play?  Ok!  Here are your five pictures to guess from…

1.

636

2.

628

3.

618

4.


613

5.

Walmart Department Guessing Game #GOWalmart #WMT2774 #shop

 

How did you do?  Was it way easy or did I make it too hard?  Well, no matter!  As long as you played, you can enter your guesses on the Rafflecopter below!  Winners will be notified and gift cards sent.  Good luck to you!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Love to all! ~ Amy

DiVOGA Cork Collection Review and Giveaway!

April 22, 2014 by  

Organize Your Home or Office with DiVOGA Cork Collection

By Amy

 I received the DiVOGA products from OfficeMax in order to facilitate my review. The DiVOGA products featured in this giveaway are also provided by OfficeMax and will be sent to the winner directly. Opinions expressed in this post are 100% my own. I have not been compensated for this post in any other way.

DiVOGA Cork Collection

 

The utterly cool people at OfficeMax asked me to check out their new line of DiVOGA Cork Collection of office supplies.  Cork??  I was intrigued.  I’ve never heard of cork being used for office and organizing essentials other than bulletin boards.  But as you can see, they have created some pretty fabulous products!  Here is the DiVOGA Collection in my own home office computer station.

DiVOGA Cork Collection

 

My favorite thing about this new cork collection is that it matches with everything!  No matter what your décor, Cork is a neutral, so it will “go” with whatever you already have by way of décor.

Here is what OfficeMax is saying about their new Limited-Edition DiVOGA Cork Collection:

About the DiVOGA® Cork Collection

Tired of yesterday’s trends? Try today’s new neutral! The new, limited-edition DiVOGA Cork Collection from OfficeMax delivers just the pop of texture—and basic color—you’re looking for. Its matte finish gives a soothing feel to each piece, from notebooks and note holders to luggage tags and totebags! And because cork is a natural element, each piece is distinctively unique. Look for the DiVOGA Cork Collection at your nearest OfficeMax store.
 
The limited-edition DiVOGA Cork Collection is part of the fashion-focused DiVOGA line of workplace and home office accessories that is available exclusively at OfficeMax. From file folders to coordinating desktop organizers, DiVOGA offers great solutions to help create a contemporary and clutter-free workspace.
 

Here are some close ups of the products…

The Pencil Cube has a picture frame on every side for you to personalize.  I added some pretty scrapbook paper to add a pop of color.

DiVOGA Pencil Cube

The Compartment Tray is my favorite DiVOGA product! It is big enough to hold all the “little things” that seem to get lost in a drawer, but small enough to not take up too much desk space.  I love it!

DiVOGA Compartment Tray

Tablet and Cell Phone cases. These are both lined with a soft flannel-like material to protect your personal electronics.

DiVOGA Tablet and Cell Phone Cases

 

2 Pocket Document Wallet, Journal, and Padfolio (bottom).  All great additions to your organized life!

DiVOGA Document Wallet, Journal & Padfolio

The Magazine File is the perfect size for any papers, notebooks, calendars and file folders you may need to keep together.  I added the Padfolio to the file for size reference.

DiVOGA Magazine File

This Tote Bag, I am loving!  The cork is soft and pliable, and it’s big enough to carry plenty, but not so big and bulky that it would be hard to handle.  The tote bag also has an inside pocket that’s perfect for a cell phone or other smaller item.

DiVOGA Tote Bag

I truly was pleasantly surprised by the fun cork designs, and softness, yet durability of the products and the high quality.  And best of all… YOU, one of our lucky readers can win the package of all 9 products featured in the image below!(Retail Value $100)

DiVOGA Cork Product Bundle

Just enter below and we will notify the winner and have it shipped directly to you!  Good Luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Love to all! ~ Amy

 

 

I have been married for 24 years to my awesome hubby, Todd and we have 4 equally awesome kids who keep me young! Our favorite thing to do together is travel. I enjoy gardening, yoga, walking and saving money! I am very active in my church and am currently serving the children, and I love volunteering at my kids’ schools doing whatever I can to help the teachers and staff.

A Timeless Romance Anthology: Love Letter Collection — Book Review

February 4, 2014 by  

I fell in love with  A Timeless Romance Anthology: Love Letter Collection

By Amy Trauntvein

This review has not been compensated other than a copy of the book for review.  All opinions are honest and my own.

A Timeless Romance LOVE LETTER

 

I was asked to read and review this just released book A Timeless Romance Anthology: Love Letter Collection, and I have to say, I LOVED it!  This book did not disappoint!   Finally a CLEAN romance, with not only one story, but 6! This book contains 6 novellas all from different authors which make this book fun and exciting to read for the variations in writing styles, story settings and feel of each unique novella.
There are 3 contemporary romance stories….

-Maggie’s Song by Karey White

-Just Fly by Krista Lynne Jensen

-How to Rewrite a Love Letter by Diane Darcy

 And 3 historical romance stories…

-A Thousand Words by Sarah M. Eden

-Between the Lines by Annette Lyon

-Blackberry Hollow by Heather B. Moore

 All with different settings, and new, wonderful characters to fall in love with each and every time. Each story quickly draws you in and like me, you will find yourself not able to put it down!

Without giving anything away, and letting yourself discover each novella for yourself, I just have to say that I enjoyed all 6 stories for their varied plots and characters.  If you are looking for an easy, fun read, without any overt sexuality or language, this book is the perfect choice!
The only thing I wished for, was that each story was an entire book. I didn’t want them to end!

You can easily find it on Amazon and don’t forget to check out the entire A Timeless Romance Anthology series on Facebook.

 

Love to all! ~ Amy

 

 

 

 

 

I have been married for 23 years to my awesome hubby, Todd and we have 4 equally awesome kids who keep me young! Our favorite thing to do together is travel. I enjoy gardening, yoga, walking and saving money! I am very active in my church and am currently serving the children, and I love volunteering at my kids’ schools doing whatever I can to help the teachers and staff.

Easy Dinner Recipes with Ore-Ida Shredded Hash Brown Potatoes #OreIdaHashbrn

December 6, 2013 by  

Family Dinner Night During the Holidays Using Ore-Ida Shredded Hash Browns

By Amy

I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and it’s advertiser.  #OreIdaHashbrn #shop #cbias
OreIda Shredded Hashbrowns

Ah, family time during the holidays.  Sometimes it’s hard to come by with all the parties, get-togethers, Christmas concerts, shopping, wrapping and delivering to do at this time of year.  For me, the easiest way to find time with family is around the dinner table.  Everyone’s gotta eat, right?   And since it is so busy, easy dinner recipes are just what we all need.  You can do so many things with Ore-Ida Shredded Hash Browns.  Always loving to get new recipes to try, Ore-Ida was at Walmart doing an in-store demo of a favorite dinner recipe so I went to check it out.

Oreida Hashbrowns #shop

He was making Cheesy Potato Casserole which I love!

Oreida Hashbrowns #shop

Here’s the recipe if you don’t already have it.

Cheesy Potato Casserole with Ore-Ida Shredded Hash browns

-1 can       Condensed cream of chicken soup

-2 cups    Sour cream

-1 tsp.      Salt

-1/4 tsp.  Pepper

-2 cups    Shredded Cheddar Cheese

-1/3 cup  Sliced green onions

-1  pkg.    Ore-Ida Shredded Hash Brown Potatoes (30 oz)

-2 cups     Crushed corn flake cereal

-1/4 cup  Butter, melted

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Coat 13X9 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.  2. In a large bowl, whisk together soup, sour cream, salt and pepper.  Stir in cheese, onion and Hash Browns until well mixed.  Spoon evenly into baking dish.  3. In a medium bowl, mix together cereal and butter.  Sprinkle evenly on top of hash brown mixture.  4. Bake uncovered for 45-50 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.  Allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.  Season with additional salt and pepper to taste if desired.  Garnish with additional sliced green onion if desired.

After sampling the yummy casserole, I needed to go grab some Ore-Ida Shredded Hash browns for myself!

OreIda Hashbrowns #shop

There’s just something about warm cheesy, potato goodness that warms your soul…  So it got me to thinking, “What dinner recipe could I come up with using Ore-Ida Shredded Hashbrowns for my next family’s dinner?”  And here it is…  Italian Potato Parmesan! 

OreIda Hashbrowns #shop

Most everyone I know has tried Chicken Parmesan, Veal Parmesan or even Eggplant Parmesan (my personal favorite.) So I wanted to see how the same type of recipe would work for Potatoes.  Um, Yummy and delicious!  Here’s the recipe

Italian Potato Parmesan (yield 12-14 patties)  Recipe can be easily doubled or halved.

-1 tbs.       Butter or olive oil

-1/2          Onion, diced

-2              Garlic cloves, crushed or diced

-1/2 bag   Ore-Ida Shredded Hashbrowns

-1/2 cup   Bread Crumbs

-1/2 – 1  cup Parmesan (depending on how “cheesy” you want it.  You can use either shredded parm or grated)

-3              Eggs

-3 tbs.      Mayonaise

-1/2 tsp.   Salt

-1/4 tsp.  Pepper

-1/2 tsp.  Dried Parsley

-1 jar        Marinara sauce

- Cheese (sliced fresh mozzarella, reg. mozzarella, provolone, or swiss)

Directions

1. In a small skillet sauté onions and garlic with butter or olive oil until transparent.

OreIda Hashbrowns #shop

2. In a big bowl, add Ore-Ida Hashbrowns (no need to thaw), bread crumbs, parmesan cheese and cooked onions and garlic.

OreIda Hashbrowns #shop

3. In a small bowl mix eggs, mayo, salt, pepper and parsley together.

OreIda Hashbrowns #shop

4. Add wet to dry ingredients and mix together.  It should look like this…

OreIda Hashbrowns #shop

5. Form patties and cook on heated non-stick skillet. (medium heat) Flatten with hand once on skillet, they stay together better that way and don’t fall apart.

OreIda Hashbrowns #shop

6. Leave them cooking (do not mess with them) until you can see the edges are good and brown.  You want them to be crispy.

OreIda Hashbrowns #shop

7. Flip them over and cook until both sides are crispy.

OreIda Hashbrowns #shop

8. Spray baking dish(es) with non-stick cooking spray. (I used 2 glass 9X13 dishes).  Transfer finished ones to your baking dishes as you cook the rest of the patties.  Once they are all cooked, top with marinara sauce and sliced cheese.

OreIda Hashbrowns #shop

9. Broil in oven until hot and bubbly.  Enjoy!

OreIda Hashbrowns #shop

My family loved this new dinner and had fun helping me create it, making even more family time!  One of my children even had three helpings! Yep, I think this recipe is a keeper.

OreIda Hashbrowns #shop

Ore-Ida is also sponsoring a Disney Frozen Sweepstakes where you could win a trip for your family to the Bahamas or a number of other great prizes!  Be sure to check it out before the sweepstakes ends on January 15th, 2014!

OreIda Hashbrowns #shop

I hope you try out and enjoy both of these recipes when feeding your family during the holidays and beyond.  I also hope that you get to enjoy some much needed family time, and what better way than over some great food around the dinner table!  Have a wonderful holiday season and Merry Christmas!

Love To All! ~Amy

 

 

 

 

 

I have been married for 23 years to my awesome hubby, Todd and we have 4 equally awesome kids who keep me young! Our favorite thing to do together is travel. I enjoy gardening, yoga, walking and saving money! I am very active in my church and am currently serving the children, and I love volunteering at my kids’ schools doing whatever I can to help the teachers and staff.

Christmas Gift Ideas For Gamers with Forza Motorsport 5 and M&M’s #FueledbyMM #shop

December 4, 2013 by  

Forza Motorsport 5 and M&M’s this Christmas.

By Amy

I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias and it’s client.  All pictures and opinions are 100% my own.

Some people can be pretty hard to buy for, for the holidays. Teens for instance, or maybe a husband?  I’ve got one, my hubby.  He’s not a big gamer, but he does like car racing games and the new Forza Motorsport 5 for Xbox One is the perfect gift to put under the tree.  He’s also not big on candy, but he loves the Pretzel M&M’s!  Their not too sweet and have the perfect crunch that he loves.  Perfect for a stocking stuffer!

I stopped at our local Walmart to purchase both items since they are offering a special Buy Snap Redeem Promotion.  Buy both the Forza 5 game and participating M&M’s in the same transaction,  snap a photo of the qualifying items on your receipt using your phone, and text it to 811811.  You’ll get a text back with a reward code for a $10 eGift to Walmart!

The newly released Forza Motorsport game is exclusively for the brand new Xbox One System.  With over 200 cars to choose from and continuing “add on” packs. you’ll never get bored racing the same cars over and over.  It has “Unprecedented Visual Realism” with all new graphics and” hundreds of cars perfectly recreated”.

My whole family loves the Pretzel M&M’s, so I bought the BIG bag!

#FueledbyMM #shop

Since I got such a huge bag of M&M’s, I needed to somehow divide it up AND fit them into everyone’s stockings without them just rolling around loose in there.   All I did was fill some small cellophane bags and top with a cute ribbon.  The perfect stocking stuffer!

#FueledbyMM #shop

M&Ms is also hosting an  M&M’s  Pixel Art Sweepstakes through Instagram.   Join me and tons of other Instagram fans to create your own pixel art, for a chance to win an XBOX One game system, the Forza 5 Motorsport Game, and a 14oz bag of M&Ms candies!

Simply create your own Pixel Art using M&Ms candies, snap a photo with your smartphone, and upload it to Instagram, using the hashtags #FueledbyMM and #Contest to enter.  The contest is open until December 18th!

#FueledbyMM #shop

I can’t wait for Christmas now that I have the perfect gift under the tree for my hubby and the tastiest stocking stuffer for all our stockings!

#FueledbyMM #shop

Love to all and Merry Christmas!  ~Amy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have been married for 23 years to my awesome hubby, Todd and we have 4 equally awesome kids who keep me young! Our favorite thing to do together is travel. I enjoy gardening, yoga, walking and saving money! I am very active in my church and am currently serving the children, and I love volunteering at my kids’ schools doing whatever I can to help the teachers and staff.

 

 

ThermaCELL Mosquito Repellent

November 14, 2013 by  

Got Mosquito’s?  ThermaCELL can help

I contacted ThermaCELL the summer of 2012, and asked if I could review their products.  Dave and the kids were going to Canada to fish and he has nasty experiences there with mosquito’s in previous years. ThermaCELL was great and sent me two products to review. .  Dave took the units to Canada with them, but never used them.  He said there was one day that the mosquitos were bad, but it was really windy and it says not to use it on really windy days. They also had several inside their cabin, but these units are not for indoor use. The summer and fall of 2012 was also not a bad year for mosquitos at our far. All that to say, I didn’t review them until this summer.

I did get them out late this summer and put them to use. This is the small portable unit.

thermacell

I took this one to the farm with me to try out.  The mosquito’s were pretty bad this year. There had been some flooding of the river which is below Dave’s farm.  The mosquito’s were really terrible in the woods. I wanted so badly to just clip this on my belt to protect me while I walked, but that isn’t how it’s designed.  It says to give it about 10 minutes to really start showing the effectiveness of it.  It’s quiet and did get a little warm, but it wasn’t hot.

We were up by one of the barns while Dave was working on the four wheeler,  so I put it on the tailgate of the truck.  I wasn’t noticing any mosquito’s while we were up there.

thermacell

We found this nice snake skin while we were there – no, this isn’t a snake repellent.

snake skin

I moved over to our picnic table which wasn’t near the truck.  I didn’t think about the ThermaCELL when I moved, until I starting seeing and hearing the mosquitos.  I made a b-line back to the truck and got the unit and brought it over to the picnic table. Within a few minutes, I wasn’t having a problem with the mosquitos.  I was impressed.

thermacell 3

Now if I could have only taken it with me when we drove back to the other part of the farm, through the woods.  Our windows were open and they were terrible. I was not a happy camper. I wanted to close up the windows and Dave just kept laughing at me, “Sandy, there are already enough in the truck it won’t do any good now”. ugh.. and yuck! I hate mosquitos.

These would be great for camping, outdoor gatherings and times when you have an area that you need to “clear” of mosquitos. It evidently also helps with black flies, but that isn’t usually a problem we have at the farm, so I wasn’t able to test it.

There is also a lantern version, but I haven’t used that yet.  For those of you that are in warmer areas now

 

Garage Ceiling Storage

November 11, 2013 by  

Utilize that Ceiling Storage Space!

I have wanted to get some kind of garage ceiling storage for a few years now. When Racor asked if I would like to review one of their products, and I saw they had this ceiling storage lift, I jumped on it.  They were awesome and sent it to me right away to review. I mentioned to them that it wouldn’t be until spring/summer before I was able to have my husband install it.  I had to eat crow. He has still not been able to get to it, with his crazy (almost 2 hours one way) commute each day and a heavier workload.

 

racor ceilling storage

This is what the storage unit will look like, once we have it up.  I seldom will do a post on something that I haven’t actually opened up and reviewed myself, but I did review their bike lift and know the quality and how easy and well it went up and works. Dave was very impressed with the way it was made, how it leveled itself out as you were lifting it up, how smooth the mechisism worked of the bike lift.  I also will hardly ever use a brand’s picture of their product, but here I am again, doing that.  I pulled the ceiling lift picture and the lift with storage containers of it, from the Racor.com site.

It will provide us with plenty of space to put some new folding chairs that we don’t have room for, or maybe some of our summer back porch furniture that currently is in the shed.  I love to figure out what I can rearrange when I have new storage space to use.

ceiling storage

This unit is designed to lift up to 250 pounds and gives you 16 square feet of storage.  When you lower it down, it will come down 8 feet from the ceiling, so it will be so easy to load and unload.

I’ve seen several other ceiling units.  There are the ones that are attached directly to the ceiling. They would require getting out a ladder and lifting the contents up to them and down from them.  I think they are in general a little less expensive than this unit, but would not be nearly as convenient or useful.

This is the space where the ceiling storage lift is going to go in my garage. Yes, I know… the garage needs some tidying up. It will go above one of the cars.

garage ceiling

The other side of the garage has the Racor bike lift (which I love!) That is our Toyota truck underneath it. We don’t have a big garage, so there would be no way we’d have room for this bike if it wasn’t for this ceiling lift. (By the way their bike lift is designed for a normal bike, we just made it work for my recumbent bike)

ceiling storage

But here sits my Racor ceiling lift now, until I can get hubby to install it.

racor ceiling lift

 

I’ll love it when I am actually able to get it up.

 

Ricart Auto Mall Blogger Event

October 2, 2013 by  

A Fun Visit at Ricart Columbus Auto Mall

By Amy Trauntvein

I was compensated for my time to visit to the Ricart Columbus Auto Mall. All photos and opinions are my own.

Ricart Auto
The Original Ford car is still displayed as it was back in the 1960′s.

Ricart Automotive Group sponsored a blogger event at their Ricart Mega Mall located in Columbus Ohio for us local “bloggers” to come and tour their space and get to know their company a bit more.  I have to admit, I’d never been to their Mega Mall before and I was very impressed!

First we had guest blogger, Lisa Woodruff from Organize365.com come and speak to us about different ways to organize our vehicles.  She was fun and engaging and I learned all kinds of ways to keep things in check in my minivan.  Thanks Lisa!

Ricart Auto Blogger Event

Our next speaker was Rick Ricart himself!  You know the “We’re Dealin!” guy from all the commercials.  He took time out of his busy day to meet us and tell us a little bit about the Ricart company.

Ricart Auto Blogger Event

Rick Ricart told us that the Ricart Company is a family business. Rick’s Grandfather, Paul started the company in the mid 1950′s and has been growing strong ever since.  Their first philosophy is to treat their employees like family.  When you have happy employees, you get happy customers!  One way is by building a Subway and an employee Fitness Center right on their property. The Subway will be open to the public later this month.

Ricart Auto Blogger Event

Another high priority of the Ricart Automotive Group is customer service.  They want to make it a Fast, Easy and Fun experience to buy a car.  It even says it right on their license plate covers!

Ricart Auto Blogger Event

One unique way to provide high customer service is by having their own 360 degree car photo booth, the only one in the entire country!  They take a picture of every car they are selling so when you look at their cars online and find one you like, it is NOT a general factory picture, it is the actual picture of the car you are looking at!  No other car company has that to offer.

Ricart Auto Blogger Event

Also, if you purchase a car with Ricart you get a free car wash whenever you want!  As long as it says Ricart somewhere on the car, you just pull up to their car wash, and Bam!  Clean car!  Now THAT is pretty awesome!

Ricart Auto Blogger Event

Ricart Automotive’s Philosphy – No in your face selling, no gimmicks, no balloons and crazy signs on every car.  Just good honest business at a good honest price.

I liked this one particularly well…

Ricart Automotive

And this one too…  Probably a bit more practical for the carpool.

Ricart Automotive

 

Ricart recently teamed up with the Ronald McDonald House Charities for their newest commercial.  These are all Ronald McDonald House volunteers, not actors.  Perfect for the upcoming Halloween season I might add.  Take a look at their fun and spooky Revive Your Drive Commercial.

You can also check out Ricart on their website at Ricart.com , Facebook and Twitter

Thank you Ricart for the Fun and informative afternoon! I know where I’m heading next time we need a new car!

Love To All! ~Amy

 

 

 

 

I have been married for 23 years to my awesome hubby, Todd and we have 4 equally awesome kids who keep me young! Our favorite thing to do together is travel. I enjoy gardening, yoga, walking and saving money! I am very active in my church and am currently serving the children, and I love volunteering at my kids’ schools doing whatever I can to help the teachers and staff.

A Magnetic Family Calendar to Keep You Organized

August 27, 2013 by  

Keep Track Of All Those Activities In One Space!

By Amy Trauntvein

I received this calendar for review, but all opinions and pictures are my own.

When you’ve got a house full of kids and adults who are busy, you’ve got a lot of activities, appointments, practices, lessons and everything else to keep track of!  Jen at Calendarsandchores.com must have seen me in her crystal ball because she asked to send me one of her beautiful and functional calendars to check out, thank you Jen!  Oh yes, I‘ve got a smart phone with a calendar and all which I use, a lot, but I needed something that my whole family could see every day and also add to as things come up. (Large Magnetic Calendar seen here with 6 weeks and bonus Memo strip $82.00)

Magnetic Calendar

This magnetic calendar is the perfect solution, because it is a perpetual calendar!  What’s that you say?  It means that when your week is over, you wipe everything off the top strip, and move it to the bottom of the calendar to start filling in for later weeks!  You see, each “line” is it’s own magnetic strip that you can organize yourself and it all fit’s on the included frame any way that you fancy.  When my calendar came, I slapped that thing on the wall and got to filling it all in!

So many of my kids activities are for multiple kids so instead of using one color per kid, I use a certain color per activity/lesson.  I’ve got 2 kids in the high school marching band, so I used Red for their school color, I have 3 kids in piano/vocal lessons with the same teacher so I use blue for those, I have 2 kids in gymnastics and I picked orange for it and so on and so forth.

I adore the magnetic pencil cup! ($10)  Not only is it cute, but it holds all the extra month labels that aren’t in use, and my wet erase markers (I like them better than dry erase for fine tip writing and they don’t smudge) right where I need them.  No more looking in drawers and wondering what my kids did with them!  They stay right here.  Period.

Magnetic Calendar

The weekly Menu List ($4.50) comes in handy for those busy nights that I just don’t want to figure out what to fix for dinner.

Magnetic Calendar

And Memo strip (included in calendar kit) with categories of Upcoming Events/Grocery/To Do/Notes section you can use in place of one or two of the “weeks” on the calendar, if you just want to post a month at a time.  See bottom of the calendar…

Magnetic Calendar

The calendar comes in many colors and styles and sizes, but I love the Antique White frame with the Vintage White magnetic strips.  They are perfect for my living space!  As you can see, I chose to use all 6 weeks and even figured out a way to let me know when the next month is coming up.  I separated the two months a bit and stuck the September strip between the two.  Easier for my kids to know what month they are looking at.

Magnetic Calendar

I am so happy with my new calendar and so are my kids.  No more, “Mom, what time is practice? Mom, what day is the party?  Mom, when is picture day?”  They can just look themselves.  Thank you calendarsandchores.com!  You’ve just made my schedule a whole lot easier to handle!

Be sure to check out her online Etsy store.   She also carries other cool products like chore charts cute locker memo magnets.

Love To All! ~Amy

 

 

 

 

I have been married for 23 years to my awesome hubby, Todd and we have 4 equally awesome kids who keep me young! Our favorite thing to do together is travel. I enjoy gardening, yoga, walking and saving money! I am very active in my church and am currently serving the children, and I love volunteering at my kids’ schools doing whatever I can to help the teachers and staff.

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The Carlson Maxi Pet Gate is Saving My Sanity & Carpet!

August 6, 2013 by  

Surviving The New Puppy with The Carlson Maxi Pet Gate.

I was thrilled when the Carlson Pet Products company agreed to let me do a review on their Carlson Maxi Pet Gate.  I received this gate at no cost, but all thoughts, opinions and images are my own.

Knowing we were getting a new puppy, I was in a bit of a panic.  Knowing all the work that a puppy is, and thinking about all the accidents on our family room carpet were really stressing me.  I wanted to figure out a way to keep the puppy in the kitchen, but we have this 96″ opening. How do you block that?

Carlson Pet Gate

I started researching and came across this Carlson Pet Products Maxi Gate on Amazon.  I was SO EXCITED that something existed that would be large enough to do the job.  (I had to get the gate and 2 extensions for the 96″ opening. When you add the numbers together, I thought one extension should have been enough, but they have to overlap each other when putting them together. I suggest that you ask on the Carlson Facebook page or Twitter handle @CarlsonTheDog to be sure you’re getting the needed extensions if you have a larger opening. I talked to someone and they walked me through what I’d need.) My excitement for this gate grew when I saw there was not only a walk through door, but also a little pet door. Gizzy (my other dog) would be able to come and go through the kitchen through this little door, while Ellie (when she gets older and bigger) stayed in the kitchen.

The first couple days that we had Ellie, the big gate hadn’t arrived, so we had to block off the kitchen area with a home made block-aid. We used a combination of a chest of drawers, 3 foot table and older pressure gate.  It worked, but wasn’t fun to climb over.

temporary dog gate

This is what it looked like on the other side.  There is my sweet Ellie.

dog gate

Once the gate came, just a couple days later (it came from the corporate office, not Amazon) I had my son put it together. He liked the measuring tape strip that came with it. He told me it would be really helpful for lining up where to put in the screws.

dog gate

Tim waited for Dave to get home to actually screw in the gate to the wall.  He didn’t want to be responsible if he messed that up. Isn’t this SO much nicer? I was excited! I loved that I could block off my kitchen from the puppy.

dog gate

Dave was surprised that the screws they had included were very small screws.  We weren’t able to put this into a stud and he wasn’t certain the screws would hold.

dog gate

As it turns out, they didn’t hold. It was just a couple days and one side came out of the wall, tearing up some dry wall with it. (This photo was prior to it coming out of the wall). The other side came out too. Dave got some anchor bolts and put it back in. He should have done that to begin with, since we weren’t putting it into studs.  But I would also suggest to Carlson that they should include them, as even into studs, I can’t see the small screws that were included, being enough. We also weren’t able to screw in the bottom because of our floor board, molding, whatever you call it. If we would have gone up above that, but then the floor support wouldn’t be on the ground and it would be too high to step over. But it still works with just the pressure against the floorboard.

One of the things I love about the gate is that Gizzy, who is about 20 pounds will be able to come and go from the kitchen, once Ellie gets bigger.  The little pet door opens and will allow Gizzy to go through, but will be small enough that Ellie won’t be able to go through.  Ellie is up to 30 pounds right now, and I just tested it this morning, to see if she could still fit through. Yes, she is thin enough still that she just angled a little bit and happily went through. Gizzy will be able to run to freedom when her new sissy constantly wants to beat her up by constantly biting her neck and legsplay” with her.

dog gate

The other wonderful feature is that there is a walk through door.  You don’t have to step over a gate all the time. This makes it so easy to come and go. That first couple of days have to either move things or step over our temporary gate was not so fun!  You do have to step over the bar at the bottom of the gate. I can certainly understand there would have to be one for support of the gate with a door. But you do have to let guests know to just be careful when stepping through. Small price to pay in my book, for having the convenience of a walk through door.

dog gate

The latch at the top just snaps down into place. At first we weren’t clicking it into place every time. You almost need 2 hands to pull back on the red mechnisim to release the latch, but it can certainly be done with one hand. But you can close the gate without the extra snapping.  But, now that Ellie is 13 weeks old, she has already learned that if she jumps up on the latch and it’s not snapped down, she can lift it up with her paw and open the gate. Dang those smart dogs, right?  So we are now snapping it down each time we go in and out. This latch isn’t not as large or strong as the other Carlson dog gate I purchased for the other opening in the kitchen. I was surprised by that, but I think because this gate had to be made longer, it wasn’t able to be made with as heavy as construction as the other gate, hence the smaller, lighter latch. (I’ll show you the other gate below)

dog gate

The other thing to note that I was surprised, that I didn’t realize until my son was putting it together, was that the gate/door has to be on one end or the other. I had planned for that to be in the middle. I wanted her crate to be up against that brown wall on the left, like it is in the picture above when I had the temporary gate up. But it has to be on one end or the other. I adjusted, we moved her crate and it’s all good. Just another thing to know when you’re planning out your space.

dog gate

 

We also had another opening in our kitchen that I needed to block.  It was wider than a normal doorway, but I didn’t need anything this long for it. I ordered and paid for myself, another gate – the Carlson 0930 Extra-Wide  Walk-Thru Gate.  It is a pressure mounted gate, so no screws! I had thought that the extensions for this gate were extra, but the 2 extensions come with the gate.

This gate seems sturdier than that maxi gate. Again, I think because it has to go in a smaller place, and I’m guessing that it would be too heavy to have this long of a gate for the maxi gate.  This gate also has that wonderful walk-thru feature and the extra pet door.

pet gate

Carlson pet gateThis latch is a much nicer latch. I really wish the maxi gate had the same one. It works the same, the red lever pulls back to release the latch. So far, Ellie hasn’t learned to open this one when it isn’t snapped into place, but I’m sure she will soon.

We’ve not had any issues with the pressure mounted gate not holding. Ellie is 30 pounds and jumps up on it, and we’re still fine. I guess we’ll find out when she’s 75 pounds and jumps up on it, if it will still hold – but it seems pretty strong, so I think we’ll be good.

You can get the Carlson Maxi Pet Gate or Carlson Extra-Wide Walk-Thru Pet Gate the on Amazon through my code, which I’d love of course! You can also find them and other places you can purchase them, along with their other products on the Carlson Pets Products Page. 

I can HIGHLY recommend the Carlson Extra-Wide Walk-Thru Gate, it’s very sturdy and strong.  I can also recommend the Carlson Maxi Gate. It’s awesome to find a gate that can expand to cover such a large opening! I love the walk through gates and the mini pet door features on both gates. (I do recommend getting your own anchor bolts to anchor the maxi gate securely in the wall.)

These gates have really made having a puppy SO much easier! If there is an accident, I don’t stress. It’s easy clean up and it’s not ruining my carpet. I can work (I work from home) and I don’t have to crate her all the time, when I can’t be constantly watching her. Of course, it’s not like she can’t get herself into trouble being left out in the kitchen, but I know the noises now of what to listen for.  She is in the kitchen, lying on the floor asleep right now as I write this post. I’m not running around the house, worrying about where she is, or if she is going to have an accident at any moment.

Thank you so much Carlson Pet Products, you really have helped to save my sanity!

 

 

 

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Lands’ End Canvas Storage Totes Giveaway

July 22, 2013 by  

Lands’ End Organizing and Storage Solution

By Amy Trauntvein

I received this set of Lands’ End Canvas Storage Totes, but the pictures and opinions and storage ideas are my own.

I adore Lands’ End! With their classic designs and high quality, you can never go wrong when choosing a Lands’ End product.  So when Lands’ End offered to send me a set of their Canvas Storage totes AND give a set to one of our readers, I was ecstatic!  Set of 5 Canvas Storage Totes (value $195.50 online)

Land's End

Lands’ End also asked me to come up with some creative storage solution for my beautiful totes and let me tell you, this was no easy task!  Only because I had TOO MANY ideas for each size! But in the end I chose one storage idea for each tote that worked best for my home.

Extra Small- I do a lot of cooking and baking and so I keep my cookbooks out on my kitchen counter.  I like having them out because I use them so much, but everytime I’d grab one, they’d all fall over.  The Extra Small Canvas Storage tote was the perfect size to hold my cookbooks!  No more books toppling over whenever I need one.  And it looks cute too! I do have other cookbooks in a cabinet, but these are the ones I use most.

Land's End

Small- I use tablecloths, a lot of tablecloths.  When we moved into our new home 8 years ago, I bought myself a nice, solid hard wood dining set.  Then my kids started using my beautiful table and chairs. Yeah.  So now, to preserve the top of my table from craft projects, spills and whatever else they come up with, I use tablecloths which help immensely!  Since I’m always changing out my tablecloths almost daily, I need easy access to them.  I’m kind of embarrassed to show you where I use to keep them, but here it is…  In a lower cabinet all stacked up and ready to fall out at anytime.

Land's End

No longer!  I was able to fit all of my table cloths into the Small Canvas Storage tote and find an open spot at the bottom of my pantry.  Just open the door, and there they are!  All neat and tidy and ready to be used.

Land's End

Medium- During the summer, we go swimming. A lot!  Not only do we go to public pools, but we have some great friends to own a pool and invite us over many times during the warmer months.  I have needed a bag large enough to fit all of our towels, sunscreen, goggles, sunglasses and pool toys and the Medium Canvas Storage tote was the perfect fit!  It held it all, plus had some room to spare!

Land's End

And when the season is over, I can just take the entire, filled bag and store it in my hall closet ready for the next year!

Land's End

Large- One of my favorite things to do when the day is done, is to snuggle up in a cozy blanket with my hubby and either watch a movie or catch up on our favorite TV shows.  I have invested in some pretty awesome blankets but where do I keep them without it looking a mess all piled up in a corner?  I used a big basket in the past, but it quickly fell apart.  Not so with the Large Canvas Storage tote, this thing is top notch and sturdy!  I also love how it matches my blankets…

Land's End

Hamper- I wanted to do something different with the Hamper, but what else do you do with a hamper besides hold dirty laundry?  I put it in my youngest daughter’s closet to hold all of her dress ups!  I used to store her dress ups in a large plastic tote with a lid, but as with all those big plastic totes, the lid was hard for her to get off and pretty bulky for her to pull out too, AND it was so full it was starting to bulge and hard to get it closed.  Not with the hamper, it’s plenty large enough to hold all her pretty things, shoes and all, and with no lid, there’s no more, “Mom, I need help!”  Also, with the sturdy metal support rods, I’m not worried about her breaking the supports.

Land's End

 

Land's End

I love these Land’s End Canvas Storage Totes for their quality, functionality, gorgeous construction and finally, for helping me find some great storage solutions in my home!

Giveaway-  Land’s End is giving one of our readers a full set of 5 Canvas Storage Totes as seen here (color may vary).  One set contains the extra small, small, medium, large and hamper. Retail online $195.50.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Also be sure to go over to visit Toni at A Bowl Full of Lemons too! Her awesome organizing blog is having a giveaway of the Lands’ End Storage Totes too!

Love To All! ~Amy

 

 

 

 

 

I have been married for 23 years to my awesome hubby, Todd and we have 4 equally awesome kids who keep me young! Our favorite thing to do together is travel. I enjoy gardening, yoga, walking and saving money! I am very active in my church and am currently serving the children, and I love volunteering at my kids’ schools doing whatever I can to help the teachers and staff.

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New Organizational Tool For The Kitchen- Freshtape Review

July 19, 2013 by  

Organize Those Pantries and Freezers with Freshtape

By Amy Trauntvein

I received some of the freshtape labels in order to share my review with you. My opinions and pictures are my own.

What is Freshtape you ask?   Freshtape is a new food-saving way to keep your opened food bags fresh AND organized!  Freshtape replaces the chip clips, twist-ties and tape that we all use to keep food fresh, and free from freezer burn, but do these items REALLY do the job we want?  Admit it, after a few days, things don’t taste as fresh as when they were first opened, expecially if you live somewhere that is humid, like me. Enter Freshtape!  The reusable, recycleable BPA, phalate free “stickers” to reseal all those opened, half used packages that fill our pantries and freezers!  And since they are recloseable and reusable, you throw away less food that has gone bad and you save money! Now you’re talking my language!

My opened and half used baking ingredients…

Freshtape

Look how nice and organized my half eaten chips and snacks are!

Freshtape

They even work perfect in the freezer  for all those veggies and fruit and waffles and meat and bread and….

Don’t forget to Eat Your Vegetables!

Freshtape

 

And even better, they are made right here in the good ole U.S. of A.!  I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America……   Oh sorry, got caught up in the moment for a sec.

Freshtape

Did you notice how fun the prints are?  My favorites are the animal prints…

Freshtape

and the Retro Housewife prints!  Aren’t these cute?

Freshtape

And look at my drawer before and after Freshtape.

Before with 13 chip clips…

Freshtape

After with 28 Freshtape!  I love finding extra space, even in a tiny little drawer.

Freshtape

I’ve enjoyed reviewing Freshtape and would recommend them to anyone, because face it, we ALL have opened, half eaten bags and packages in our kitchens!  My only suggestion, would be that I wished they had a smaller size too, for those smaller items/bags that need to be re-closed.  Other than that, I was very pleased and happy with this product!  You can find them at getfreshtape.com on Facebook and on Twitter.

Love To All! ~Amy

 

 

 

 

 

I have been married for 23 years to my awesome hubby, Todd and we have 4 equally awesome kids who keep me young! Our favorite thing to do together is travel. I enjoy gardening, yoga, walking and saving money! I am very active in my church and am currently serving the children, and I love volunteering at my kids’ schools doing whatever I can to help the teachers and staff.

Great Stay and Awesome Calamari at Sawmill Creek Resort

July 15, 2013 by  

We Had An Enjoyable Stay At Sawmill Creek Resort

Dave and I were invited to visit Put-in-Bay Island and stay at the Sawmill Creek Resort, for a review. The resort was about 1/2 hour away from Catawba, where we got off the ferry. It’s situated on Lake Erie, although you can’t see Lake Erie from the room we were staying in. a

sawmill creek resort

As we drove into this golf resort, Dave realized he had stayed here several years ago, when he was on a company outing. My Dad also recalls staying at the Sawmill Creek Resort. My Dad recalls wonderful meals, great golf and a very nice resort. Dave went on a fishing expedition when he stayed, and was pleased when he realized it was the same place he had stayed before.

The decor is very outdoor, western comfortable feel. I love this atmosphere, and I know Dave would much rather have this style of decorating rather than “hotsy-totsy” fancy.

Sawmill Creek Resort

resort

We went to our room and it was an instant.. “Oh, this is NICE!”.  You know,  that initial impression you get when you first open the door to a new hotel. Nice, light colors, very clean and inviting.  I loved the fireplace we had in the room, and the couch that you could sit on to relax.  The king size bed had the most comfortable pillows!  I will say that the mattress itself was ok. There was some kind of harder ridging on the edge of it, that kind of hurt the back of my legs when I first got in. Dave thought that maybe it was some kind of handles to move the mattress?? But once you were in, it was pretty comfortable.  I would have loved a balcony to sit out on. I felt like the room should have one. But we did have a nice big window to look out of.

sawmill creek resort

We went back to the front desk and were given a ride on a golf cart to see the beach area and go to the restaurant.  It was a nice little ride down to this area. I’m not sure if you have to always ask for a ride, or if you are able to take your own golf cart.. but it would be a bit of a walk without one. Cars can’t fit on the path.

sawmill creek resort

They have recently laid sod, and will soon be able to host weddings here.  What a beautiful setting!

huron

The beach is just beyond this grassy area.  It was kind of a wet, cool, rainy afternoon when we were there, so no one was on the beach – but it looks like it would really be nice.  I love that it’s secluded. To have your own beach front is always nice.

PIB 35

The manager then dropped us off at one of the restaurants at the resort, Mariner’s at the Mariner’s Village Marina. It was a fine dining restaurant and it was nice to have the owner there to greet us. We chose to eat out on the screened in porch, overlooking the marina. They have plastic chairs and tables out there, but still have them dressed up to look very nice.

mariners restaurant

 

I took up the waitress’s suggestion for a mint patty drink (and it was ok, but I should have just stuck with a glass of wine).  They brought out some bread that I thought Dave was going to die over! I think I had two small pieces and he finished the rest of this.  Butter galore, but it had a bit of a crisp edge to it. I’m not sure how it was prepared, but it was great.

Mariner's Restuarant

I love Calamari, but so often it’s a little rubbery or tough, so I’m always a little apprehensive when I order it.  We did get it.. and I have to say – to this date, this is the BEST calamari that I have ever had. OMG…  I didn’t know it could be this tender. I think Dave had just a couple and I ate most all of this. I had it with the pesto sauce. Just writing about this, I have a craving for it again!

calamari

Dave ordered the Seared Duck that was one of their specials, from the advice of the owner. He loved it. I had a bite of it too, and it was really good. I’ve not had that much duck to compare it to, but I know it was good.

seared duck

I had the Lake Erie Perch for my meal.  It was good, I don’t know that it stood out from other perch I’ve eaten, but I enjoyed it.  We walked back to our place. We weren’t real sure how to go, but took a path that lead through the golf course and made our way back.

I would recommend staying at the Sawmill Creek Resort, without hesitation.. but you know what I’m also going to suggest too.. right?  If you go, you have to eat at the Mariner’s Restaurant and order Calamari!

Our stay at the hotel was taken care of, but we paid for our own meal at The Mariner’s Restaurant. The thoughts, opinions and pictures are all my own.

You can find more information on the Sawmill Creek Resort Facebook page.

 

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My First Trip & Review of Put-In-Bay #Travel #Ohio

July 8, 2013 by  

Put-In-Bay, Ohio is an island in Lake Erie

It’s hard to believe that I’ve lived in Ohio all my life and have never been to Put-in-Bay. I’ve heard about it forever, but I never really had the opportunity to go or big desire. I had this offer to do a review of the island, and was told I could bring my family. I’ve always heard that Put-in-Bay was a “party” island, so I immediately said that I didn’t want the kids to come. But I was curious myself.  Dave and I set off for the island on a Saturday morning.

Put -in-Bay

It took us just under three hours to get there from the Columbus area. We met up with Ryan, who owns Green Door Mediaworks  at the Miller Boat Line to catch the ferry over to Put-in-Bay.  The day seemed a little questionable weather -wise.. but we lucked out. A few threats of rain, but everything bypassed us.

Miller Boat Line

 

Ryan was an awesome tour guide on our way to the island. He was pointing out all the little islands and explaining where things were, etc. He really knows the island and history.

With Miller’s Ferry you are able to take your car over to the island if you’d like to, but it isn’t nearly as much fun. We went up to the top to sit, where there were plenty of seats to enjoy the ride over.

Millers ferry

 

To me… part of the charm and the “feel” of the island was using the golf carts. It was so fun to just tool around in them. Of course, we could have gotten bikes (but thank goodness Ryan planned for us to get the carts and not bikes! I would have been dying with bikes!) instead of golf carts, but you can cover a lot more of the island in an afternoon with a cart.

bike rental

We all went to lunch at a cute place called Goat Soup & Whisky Tavern.  There was a darling outdoor patio, and a few tables with umbrellas that were outside of that. Although I didn’t try and soup or whisky, I really enjoyed it.  I did try two new things, walleye fries and a perch taco. The Walleye Fries were just pieces of Walleye that were cut in long narrow strips and deep fried, with some dipping sauce. Yum! I have heard my friends talk about fish taco’s for years, but have never tried one.  I decided to go for it. These were fried perch taco’s. Oh… so good! I had one, but wish I had ordered two. I will for sure get these again when I come back to visit the island the next time.

Goat Soup & Whisky Tavern

After lunch, Dave and I took off on our own and explored the island. It would have been fun to have been able to have eaten a few more meals on the island. There were several places I would have loved to have tried.

I think The Keys, sitting out on the water looks so fun! I love the way it looks, with the bright beachy colors. One thing I love to do when I go to a beach, or lake, or somewhere with water; is to sit and drink a nice glass of wine. Yes.. next visit for sure.

the keys

The Board Walk also has that water view and feel. It looks like a little finer dining. Maybe The Keys for lunch and then the Board Walk for dinner?

Board Walk Put in Bay

I love the outdoor seating at Hooligans Irish Pub, it just looked very comfortable.  It’s not over looking the water, but it is right in the center of town where you can see all the activity.

Put in bay

It was pirates weekend when we were there. There were cannon’s going off, a pirates market/craft show in the middle of the square and men,woman,kids and animals all dressed up as pirates.

put in bay

put in bay

newfie pirate

The square and feel of the island town was charming. I loved it. Everything was clean and well taken care of.  I had always envisioned this row of old bars, when I thought of Put-in-Bay. Not that I’d ever been here to see… but my entire thought of the island is different now.  There were plenty of places for people to drink, and there were plenty of people eating and drinking in them – but the atmosphere was fresh, clean and very island feeling. You tend to forget you are in Ohio.

Put in bay

put in bay

PIB

PIB

PIB

There are some sights to see on the island and things to do. We went to visit the Perry’s Cave Family Fun Center and did a few activities there.

perrys cave

We went to visit the Butterfly House. There was a really nice gift shop inside and the actual butterflies are in a greenhouse style structure in the back.

The butterfly house

Going into the butterfly house, someone came up to us and gave us some information about the butterfly house. That was really nice. They were there to answer any questions, and to let you know how to be careful with the butterflies, so as not to harm them.

PIB

butterfly

We then went on the Perrys Cave tour. I have to explain that I’ve been in several caves and really enjoy going on cave tours, before I give my honest opinion on this cave tour.  This was a 20 minute tour.  We walked down a flight of steps to go down into the cave. You have to bend down part of the way, going down the step and small steps to a depth of only about 50 feet below ground.  This was a wet cave. Puddles of water to walk around, and water dripping off the ceiling. I know some caves can be wet, and others aren’t. Our guide did a great job of explaining things in the cave.  I can not however recommend this cave tour.  Maybe if you’ve never been in a cave, you’d find it worth the cost.  A good explanation for me would be, too much talk and not enough cave.  I felt like they tried to drag out the tour to make it at least 20 minutes. You walk, only about 150 feet into the cave and stop every few feet for a 5 minute talk. I heard a couple people saying, “Is this it?” and one little boy said, “Where is the rest of the cave, where does that go?”.   I felt very disappointed. Had Dave and I had to pay the $8 each to go into the cave (rather than it being part of my review), I would have really been disappointed.

perrys cave

There was a really nice putt-putt course. We always love a good game of putt-putt!

PIB putt putt

Driving around the island and seeing the sites, stopping for some ice cream and just wandering around was so relaxing. I really wish we could have stayed a few days.

put in bay

PIB

PIB

I can certainly recommend Put-in-Bay to anyone! If you love a beautiful, active and fun island, then you’ll love it here. I feel like we made a mistake in not bringing the kids with us. I would have no problem bringing them here.  I might not plan to have them in town on a weekend night, as I’m sure things liven up quite a bit – hence the party atmosphere.  But it’s not something you wouldn’t see in Florida or any other vacation zone that has bars and water.  I think they would have loved it here.

I’ll be sure to come back, but I want to plan on spending a little more time here… and of course – I’ll be sure to get a golf cart to get around!

golf carts on Put in bay

 

You can follow these handles to find out a bit more about the island.

@Put_in_Bay
@MillerBoatLine
@ShoresIslandsOH
@DiscoverOhio

Our ferry rides, golf cart, lunch, Perry’s Cave, Butterfly House, Putt-Putt and our night stay (review to come soon) were all paid for.  My photos, thoughts and opinions are all my own.

 

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Racor Wall Bike Stand Review

May 7, 2013 by  

The Racor Bike Stand Is As Easy as 1-2-3!

By Amy Trauntvein

Organization in my garage is not a strong suit of mine.  It’s a place where everything gets put that either doesn’t belong in the house, or doesn’t fit!  I AM able to park my van in it so that’s a plus for me, but frankly the rest could use a little help.  Especially with bigger items, such as bikes.  That’s where Racor Home Storage Products come in.  Racor sent me one of their Wall Bike Stands ($59.99) to review.

Wall Bike Stand

Sweet!  Being a family of 6, we have a few bikes and they take up a good amount of floor space in my garage that I definitely could use more of!

Wall Bike Stand

So last Saturday I employed my husband to put it together and get a couple of these bikes up and out of the way, AND I timed him to see just how long it would take him to get the job done!  He started at 4:17pm

1. Open the box and put the parts together…

Wall Bike Stand

2. Set in place and screw it to the wall…

Wall Bike Stand

 

Wall Bike Stand

3. Adjust hangers and hang up bikes. Done!  Ending time 4:34pm – 17 minutes!  That’s how fast and easy it is to set up the Racor Wall Bike Stand and gain some much needed space in your garage.  I might add, he wasn’t trying to hurry either.

Wall Bike Stand

I was quite impressed with the Racor Wall Bike Stand.  Not only did it go up easily and quickly but it’s strong too!

The Racor Wall Bike Stand

  • Holds 2 bikes
  • Direct mounted to a wall stud
  • Independent adjustment arms for level bike storage
  • Red cradles are vinyl-coated to protects the bikes
  • Steel construction epoxy finish and skid-free rubber guards to protect the floor.
  • Weight limit of 100 pounds

Thank you Racor Storage Solutions!  I love the Bike stand and the extra room in my garage! Check out their website, they carry many more storage ideas and solutions that could be perfect for your organizational needs.

Wall Bike Stand

*Although I was compensated with the product for review, all opinions are honest and my own.

Love To All!  ~Amy

 

 

 

 

 

I have been married for 23 years to my awesome hubby, Todd and we have 4 equally awesome kids who keep me young! Our favorite thing to do together is travel. I enjoy gardening, yoga, walking and saving money! I am very active in my church and am currently serving the children, and I love volunteering at my kids’ schools doing whatever I can to help the teachers and staff.

Colorful Street Nails with Sally Hansen

May 4, 2013 by  

Getting The Popular “Street Look” With Your Nails Is Easy With Sally Hansen!

by Amy Trauntvein

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias®  and COTY. All opinions are my own. #cbias #SocialFabric.  All opinions are my own.

Street Nails w/#SallyHansen

It’s spring and with the wonderful warm weather, it’s time to break out the bright colors of our wardrobes, and that includes our nail color!  Right now I’m seeing a big trend in “Street Look” nails.  Lots of bright colors and funky designs.  So much fun to create and the possibilities are endless!  I was given the opportunity by Sally Hansen to create one of these trending looks for the season and I couldn’t wait to get started! But first we needed to find some inspiration…

We loved the this black and white design with a pop of color on the bottom left. (Source-Pinterest)

Street Nails

We also love this Sally Hansen Salon Effects Real nail Polish Strips with the black and white geometric designs.

Sally Hansen

I grabbed my teenage daughter and we headed over to Walgreens with my new Balance Reward Card.  Look how fun this display is! Love all the bright colors for spring and fabulous ideas right on the display! #IHeartMyNailArt

 

Sally Hansen Street Nails

Walgreens has some great sales going on right now for Sally Hansen products.  Xtreme, Salon Effects, Diamond and Insta-Dri polishes are $1 off, Magnetic and Crackle Polishes are $5.99 and Complete Salon Manicure Polish on sale 2/$10.  All prices good through 5/25.

First we put a base coat of each color on and let dry.  I let my daughter pick out the colors she wanted for her nails.  Here are some more awesome color choices Pop Art and Off The Chain.

Sally Hansen

Next, we applied the Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips making sure we applied them 1/4 the way up the nail bed so the base color showed.  Just follow the easy directions on the package for application.

Sally Hansen

We then painted thin strips of the same base coat colors on top of the nail polish strips.  We used a thin paint brush and cleaned it in between colors. Two different colors per nail.

Sally Hansen Street Nails

And finally we sealed the nail art with Sally Hansen No Chip Top Coat to extend the life of the manicure and prevent chipping.

Sally Hansen Street Nails

The final Product!  She LOVES her new “Street Nails” and so do all of her friends!

Street Nails w/#SallyHansen

Don’t let the fun stop here, head on over to the Sally Hansen Pinterest Party going on right now!  One winner will receive a year supply of Sally Hansen Products!

Be sure to check out Sally Hansen on Facebook too for more sweet nail art ideas and products!

#IHeartMyNailArt

Love To All! ~Amy

 

 

 

 

 

I have been married for 23 years to my awesome hubby, Todd and we have 4 equally awesome kids who keep me young! Our favorite thing to do together is travel. I enjoy gardening, yoga, walking and saving money! I am very active in my church and am currently serving the children, and I love volunteering at my kids’ schools doing whatever I can to help the teachers and staff.

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Staples Office Supplies To Help You Shed, Shred and Get Ahead in 2013

March 25, 2013 by  

We Can Use Help With Office Supplies Right? Staples Can Help

I received this fun gift pack, along with a Relay Flash Drive to review for Staples. Anyone who knows me, knows that I can walk into an office supply store and just roam the aisles. I love them. Honestly, I’d prefer going through an organization, or office store, over shopping in a clothing store. I know, I know.. I’t an oddity.

staples

Shed
I’ve have discussed many times how papers can take over your life, and your home. You have to keep some paperwork for taxes and business purposes, but the majority of it, you can shed by shredding and recycling it.

Shred
Protecting yourself is important in today’s world. Be sure to shred any paperwork that has your name or any kind of private information on it, before throwing it away.

Get Ahead
Staying organized is important for any of us. It helps us to stay ahead of the game and know where things are, what they are, and how to use them.

I just have to stay, that I’ve always wanted an “easy” button! I was excited to see that tucked into my box. I’ll be using it on conference calls, that’s for sure! What fun I’m going to have. There were batteries already in it, so it worked right out of the package.

Staples New BETTER® Binder with removable FileRings™

staples

Couple things I liked right off the bat with this BETTER® Binder: 

  • The front clear pocket pouch on the front of the binder that you can slide your own cover page into.
  • Side binder 1″ clear pouch that you can label the side of your binder.
  • It has rubberized hinged sides that enables you to open the binder completely flat on the table and they will help it to hold up longer.
  • It is easy to open the binder clips, but pushing down on the tab on the end.

staples

I did have a hard time figuring out how to take the inside binder out. You see the picture on the cover that you can pull out the binder file and hang it as a hanging file. What the binder does not tell you how to do, is how to do it. I played around with it for a few minutes before I finally realized you pull out with the ends of the binder section and that is how you remove it.  Why wouldn’t they either show that in a picture, or have it written somewhere?

staples

You can see that it just lifts off the little nubs.  What is nice is that you can take that whole binder thread and then hang it as a hanging file somewhere. I did look and you can get replaceable binder removable refills.  That is nice. You can then reuse the notebook and just add in a new refill binder to start a new notebook.

Staples One-Touch™ Aero Stapler

stapler

Staplers? I have one in several places in my home. Office – check. My mini office in the family room – check. Basement wrapping station – check. Kids each have one in their rooms at their desks – check.  Why? You always seem to need them, don’t you?

This is nice because it has the rubberized top lever that makes it a little easier to use. I was expecting it to act almost like one of those ones that you barely have to touch though, with the name One Touch. You still have to push, and you have to push pretty good, just like any other stapler, to make it work.
I did test it a bit and kept folding the piece of paper to see how many sheets it would go through. It says it can staple up to 10 pages. I would have to say, I think it’s more than that.

stapler

It wasn’t any harder to push going through this many layers than it was going through the first couple. I did check to make sure on the opposite side it had tucked the edges down. You know how often, if you go through too many pages, the underside will have the points sticking out. This didn’t do that.
My suggestions – make it in funner colors! I might walk past this in a store, unless it was lime green, orange, or hot pink. Just sayin’ Staples. Yes.. color matters to some of us.

M by Staples™ Arc Customizable Notebook System

notebook

I was given the 8.5 inch x 5.5 inch size Arc Customizable Notebook to review.
There are many options you can use to add to this notebook. Calendar pages, graph paper, To Do, or project planners, along with several other options.
I like that it’s easy to move pages around and you can customize it how you’d like.  I see online there are other color and design options, along with the full size 9×11 size. That’s good.

My thoughts:

I again could not easily see how to remove the pages. I kept thinking the plastic round rings would somehow come out, come apart or something. It doesn’t show a picture or give any explanation on how to do it. I handed it to my husband who messed with it a few minutes, looking at the rings also. He then simply pulled the pages up. Duh

notebook

It this convenient, yes.  Would I purchase this kind of system myself to customize it? No, I wouldn’t.  Why? Because, if I am going to take the time to build a customizable notebook, I would want to know that my pages are going to stay secure. I’ve had other systems that have pages like this and after removing things around a few times, the paper does tend to lose some of the edges that keep it hanging on securely.  I would purchase a binder before I purchased this, for the purpose of a calendar system or project planner.

If it was for a To Do list, that I could pull out and remove the pages I had already used and discard, then I would consider this solution. That’s just my personal opinion. There are many that would love this kind of system.

Relay USB Flash Drive

flash drive

I’ve used this Relay 8 GB flash drive to pull some pictures off of one computer to put on another computer. It’s kind of cool looking. It worked without any problems. It’s always nice to have a few of these around, plus it’s kind of cool looking.

flash drive

Thanks Staples. I always love checking out office supplies. Now I have some new toys to play with!

I was supplied with the products from Staples that are shown in these pictures, for no cost.  I was not compensated in any other way for this post. The pictures, and opinions are my own.

 

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Exercise Tools – Nike FuelBand vs FitBit

January 23, 2013 by  

Do I Like To Exercise? No – But I’m Going To Learn To Love It!

Do I Need to Exercise? Absolutely… big time!

exercise

I’ve gone through so many phases in my life, and even on this blog, where I’ve started to exercise and get in shape. I’ll do good for awhile, and then I tend to fall back into my old ways. I think there is a part of me that doesn’t think I can ever be one of those “in shape” people. I know that sounds dumb, but after watching my mom struggle off and on for years with exercise (Jack Lalanne and soup cans.. for some of you who might remember), I just have this block in my head – that I’ll never be that person out running a marathon.  Do I have a desire to run a marathon. Nope. Would I like to be able to run for a few miles? Yes!

I have a zillion excuses, I have plantar fasciitis and my Podiatrist said that walking should not be an exercise for me. The nearest club is over 1/2 hour away and my work schedule won’t allow it. My heart rate goes into the 200′s when I try to jog. Oh… there are more, believe me. But I have to break through those.

At the beginning of this year I decided I have to get 70 pounds off.  I did it in 2008, I used Jenny Craig and took off 50 pounds, but I went off their plan and slowly gained it back.. plus another 20 pounds. Menopause hasn’t helped either… along with sitting on my butt for at least 12 hours a day working.

When I lost my 50 pounds, I wasn’t exercising. This time I have to do both. Now I have the fat arm stuff happening, the big belly.. (I never knew your boobs could touch your belly when you sit certain ways! lol) As always my hips, legs and butt are huge. There are things I never have experienced before. I was always very thin growing up.. and this extra 20 pounds in the last year has thrown me over the edge. I’ve had to buy new fat clothes, the backs of my arms will bother me because things are too tight. It’s the pits and I feel gross.

Nike FuelBand

Part of my inspiration is because I feel terrible.  The other part is watching all my co-workers at Collective Bias show all their pictures of running and working out on Path and Facebook. This company is so awesome to work for that they gave us all Nike FuelBands this Christmas. How cool is that? John Andrews and Jay Thornton both got a Fuelband and liked it so much for themselves, that John decided to get them for all 50+ of us.  For a company to care so much about it’s employees, that they REALLY want to see us healthy. That is just one of the reasons I love working at CB. Not because they gave us a cool gift, but because they really care about us. They want the best for us. Love that!

nike fuelband

This is really neat. I love the look of it. It comes in a white/clear one or a black/clear one.. or this solid black. You get fuel points for your activity. If you are walking or working out, doing laundry etc. It also tells you how many steps you’ve walked, calories burned and what time it is.  You set a goal and you work to meet it each day. The little red dots at the bottom.. go across as you work towards your goal. They get green when you are into the good zone. Then you can share on Facebook or Path your progress and compare with your team. That is where Collective Bias has been really productive with this. There are several runners at CB, and many of us that aren’t, but they have had fun with sharing their fuel points with everyone. It shows the path they have run, or walked. It syncs with your computer and your phone, so you can easily track what you’ve done.

I think this is an awesome tool if you want to get in shape. If you want to track your progress for the day, have competitions to see who can get the most fuel points or just track it yourself. It is a great way to inspire exercise. You want to get more fuel points to hit your goal for the day.

FitBit

Before I knew I was getting one, I had asked Dave for a FitBit for Christmas. He got me one, so now I have both tools. I also got one for Dave for Christmas. He’s been using it and is happy to show me how far he does walk at work everyday, inspecting the job site he manages.

exercise fitbit

They are both awesome tools to tracking your exercise and activity. I highly recommend them both. The FitBit is small and clips onto your clothing. Dave wears his clipped inside his pants pocket. I wear mine clipped to my bra. It tells you your steps for the day, calories burned, time of day and a growing flower for your progress. It has an automatic sync (this model of FitBit at least) to your computer and your phone. You can also share with your friends and post to FB or Twitter.  Very similar features of the Nike FuelBand.

What it does do that is different, than the Fuelband  is that you can track your food intake and it also tracks your sleep. There is a wrist band that you slip the fitbit into. It comes out of the rubber clip you see above and easily slips into this Velcro wristband. Then you just hit the timer to start it. In the morning you turn the timer off. The wristband doesn’t bother me at all to sleep, although I did see on a few people who reviewed it, that they didn’t like it.  I like being able to see my sleep patterns. I was surprised I woke up as much as I did through the night.

exercise fitbit

This also has an alarm feature on it. It will wake you up in the morning. I have yet to figure out how to set that, but I think I saw a way, and just haven’t taken the time to try that feature out yet.

This is what the dashboard looks like. You can earn badges for your accomplishments. Climbing stairs, steps, miles.  You can see where I did my short work out in the morning.. where the yellow spikes are.

exercise

The feature I like the best with this FitBit is that I can track my food intake. I picked a program of easy, medium or hard (I picked hard) in order to lose my weight. It has me losing 2 pounds a week, so that I’ll hit my goal of 70 pounds in August of this year. It then calculates your food intake (you plug in the food and there are many options that come up to pick from. If those don’t fit, you can enter your own food item with the portion and calories.) and exercise for that day.

It tells you how much more you can eat for that day… or if you’ve gone over your calories for the day. Several times when I’ve gone over, then it has inspired me to go up and do more exercise.

exercise

For me, because I am trying to lose weight along with the exercise.. the FitBit is a better exercise tool. It has been more inspiring to me due to the calorie intake feature, than the Nike FuelBand.  If your main goal is the exercise and getting in shape, then I think the Nike Fuelband would be ideal. I think the guys like the look of the FuelBand.

The FitBit One that I have is $99. I got mine for Dave at BestBuy. He got the one for me online.
The Nike Fuelband is $149.

I can highly recommend both of these exercise tools, and I’m very thankful to Collective Bias and my husband for giving them to me. Neither one expected or asked for a review – I just wanted to share part of my big inspiration for exercising and losing weight.

So far since January 1st of 2013, I’ve lost 8 1/2 pounds. What I was thrilled with, was that it also included a six day trip to Bentonville, AR for work, and I’ve always gained weight when I’ve traveled before. I’ve always had an attitude of “I can eat whatever I want when I’m traveling, because it’s too hard to try and eat healthy”.  But not this time. I exercised 3 of the 4 available mornings I was there with Debba from Girlfriendology. Of course she was far past me in her running and exercising abilities, but she was great encouragement and  inspiration while I was there.

 

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ZeroWater Filter Pitcher Review

January 21, 2013 by  

A Great Water Filtration Pitcher That Removes It All!

By Amy Trauntvein

We drink a lot of water in our house, but hate the way water our tap water tastes.  It contains a lot of chlorine and not only can you taste it, you can even smell it!  Not very appetizing even if you are really thirsty.  We do have a filter on our refrigerator water dispenser and even though is works at taking our the “swimming pool” flavor, it still tastes pretty metallic.  So when ZeroWater asked me to try out and review their 5 Stage Water Filter Pitcher, I of course accepted!  It even comes with a water “tester” that can detect any solids in your water.  A good thing to have on hand so you can know when your filter needs to be replaced.  This is the 6 cup pitcher.  It has a smartly narrow shape that helps it fit nicely in the fridge to keep cool.

ZeroWater

The ZeroWater filtration pitcher is perfect for those who relish owning innovative tech products, and/or have a palette for great taste. Moms, dads, health & fitness fans, tech fans, and food & cooking lovers will enjoy hydrating better with ZeroWater filtration products.

All you have to do it take off the lid and fill the upper chamber with tap water.  It does take a few minutes for the pitcher to fill because of the 5 different filters the water goes through, but it is definitely worth the small wait.  The water tastes pure and clean, nothing to mar the taste or make you wonder what is in your water.

ZeroWater

ZeroWater filtration pitchers use dual ion exchange technology to remove 99.9% of dissolved solids, leaving you with great-tasting, pure water. The pitchers are designed with space-saving convenience in mind and the one hand pull-and-pour spout makes it easy to pour into any glass or bottle.  ZeroWater pitchers deliver great bottled water taste without the waste and cost, also making it the smart choice for those striving to minimize their use of bottle water at home. In addition, Good Housekeeping has featured ZeroWater as outperforming other filter-pitcher brands.

ZeroWater’s new 6-Cup and popular 10-cup pitchers are available at zerowater.com, Meijer’s, ShopKo and Bed Bath & Beyond for the suggested retail prices of $29.99 and $36.99 respectively.

I love my new ZeroWater pitcher and am finding not only myself, but the rest of my family drinking more water since it tastes so clean and fresh.  My kids are actually bypassing juices and sugared drinks more often to drink a glass of water.  To me, ZeroWater is worth purchasing as it filters out more solids than any other filtration pitcher on the market.

ZeroWater

I hope you will check these cool water pitchers out and see how they work!  *Even though I was compensated with the ZeroWater pitcher for this review, all pictures and opinions are my own.  Love to all!  ~Amy

 

 

 

 

 

I have been married for 22 years to my awesome hubby, Todd and we have 4 equally awesome kids who keep my young! Our favorite thing to do together is travel. I enjoy gardening and puttering around my yard. I am very active in my church and am currently serving the children, and I love volunteering at my kids’ schools doing whatever I can to help the teachers and staff.

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