Google Dollops of Diane

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Viva®Vantage® 7-Day Switch Up

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Paper towels are honestly not something that I put too much thought into. I usually just grab and go in the paper products aisle. Therefore, I was excited when Viva® Vantage® contacted me to attend a live 7-Day Switch Up Event.

What's the 7-Day Switch Up, you ask? Well Viva® Vantage® understands that people fall into a routine when buying every day products and might not be aware of the other great options in the process. Therefore, Viva® Brand is asking customers to switch to Viva® Vantage® for seven days to see what they've been missing out on with their regular paper towel!

At the event I attended, we learned of the stretchy strength and great scrubbing power of Viva® Vantage® which helped to recently name it a 2015 Product of the Year. There were various stations and activities set up so that we could try out the product and it's revolutionary V-Flex™ weave.

One thing I learned is that you can place a wet paper towel under a cutting board (wood or plastic) to prevent it from moving while you slice, dice, and chop away.

Slicing bread with ease thanks to Viva® Vantage®

These apples weren't going anywhere!
Another Switch Up I learned of was thanks to the stretchy strength of Viva® Vantage®, you can use the towel as a colander when rinsing fruits and vegetables. We tested it out with grapes by placing them under running water and the Viva®Vantage® stayed intact!

Freshly washed grapes, anyone?
I often use paper towels on my hands but would never have thought to dress them up a bit and put them out for guests. At the event, they rolled them up and tied them up with a flower. At my house, you probably would have just been handed the roll of paper towels - party foul, for sure!

So nice, right?
I helped myself to one of these Viva® Towels and headed right to the food. There was an apple, brie, and prosciutto bruschetta that was to DIE FOR. I seriously had about 8 of them. I was then able to wipe my hands and mouth before diving in for another one!
Grooves on the paper towel to catch the drool from looking at the bruschetta!
Viva® Towels aren't just for the kitchen though. You can place them out in singles in a basket in the bathroom so that each guest gets his or her own towel to use and dispose of.

Who's excited about Viva® Vantage® in the bathroom? This girl!
And of course, no blogging event is complete until my blogging partner in crime, Stowed Stuff, and I have a little fun with props.
Cleaning up the world - One Viva® Towel at a time
This past week, I've been using Viva® Vantage® at home and one thing I like is the great scrubbing power that it has. With three young children we have lots of icky, sticky stuff going on here and Viva® Vantage® stretches to scrub those every day messes. There's nothing worse than when you end up with white shredded fuzz from a paper towel that couldn't handle the job. The sponge-like absorbency has also been great for those inevitable milk spills!

Ready to take the challenge yourself? You can kick off your own 7-Day Switch Up by clicking HERE for a coupon to purchase the product. Once you've experienced the product, you can return to the site to dish on your switch and enter for a chance to instantly win a $100 gift card.

Happy cleaning, scrubbing, stretching, and wiping everyone!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post written in collaboration with Viva® Vantage®.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Forgetful Henry

Henry is our dreamer. His head is frequently lost in the clouds. More than once I've found him playing with one shoe on. Why? Because he got distracted and forgot to put the other one on. Who has time for completing a task when you've got so many other exciting things on your mind?

It's no surprise then that he's having difficulty remembering to bring his folder home from first grade. Now in Kindergarten, the teacher makes sure you have it but that's not the case in big kid first grade. He is responsible for filling it with his work from the day and bringing it home. It didn't make it home yesterday....or the day before...or days before that. Somewhat shockingly, I've been patient about it. I have two other kids at the school and know other families in the class so if there was BIG news in the folder, I'm sure I'd find out. I've been trying to keep in mind that September is always a big transition month for everyone. So I asked Henry why he thought he was having a hard time bringing the folder home. He told me that he has an assigned job that he needs to do at the end of each day. He then said, "Maybe next month my job won't be so hard and I can remember my folder." And there you have it. His job (which involves some type of classroom cleaning) is hard for him and he's working hard at it. After a long day of school and a "job," his brain is full.

The thing is I know Henry. I know that his brain is partially full of super sweet thoughts. This morning he spent an hour before school drawing out a thank you card for Isabelle's piano teacher who recently gave him a toy. He hugs me the longest at the bus stop. He is the first one to ask me how my day at work was. He is considerate and compassionate.

So I'm letting the folder go. I'm giving gentle reminders but am not disappointed when the backpack returns home empty. After all, I don't want to risk replacing kind thoughts with folder thoughts in his full brain. The folder will make it home eventually - especially if he gets an "easy" job in October!

What folder?

Monday, September 21, 2015

King Richard's Faire 2015

Yesterday, the kids and I headed to King Richard's Faire for a day of fun and excitement. For those of you not familiar with it, King Richard's Faire is New England's largest and longest running Renaissance Faire. It offers live, interactive entertainment for all ages. I had never visited the Faire before having children and honestly they are what made believers out of me. My children LOVE it. This was our fourth year going and the kids have been eagerly talking about it all summer. They are actually still talking about the performances that we see there in years past.

King Richard's Faire puts on shows and acts that you don't see other places. Yesterday, we saw dueling knights on horses, a man whipping fire, amazing acrobatics, tight wire walking, and MORE. When you walk through the gates it's like a whole new world. Everywhere you look at the Faire there is something interesting going on. No wonder the kids think it's so fascinating and memorable!

If you've never been to King Richard's Faire, check out my post HERE that I wrote a few years ago which answers some FAQs. You can also follow the King on Facebook HERE. The Faire runs in Carver, MA from September 5 through October 25, 2015 on weekends and Monday holidays (Labor Day, Columbus Day). Faire hours are 10:30am-6pm. Tickets are $29 for adults (12+) and $16 for children ages 4-11. Children under 4 are free. Parking is also free. 

Now as you can see from the ticket price - it isn't cheap. Rides, games, and food will also cost you additional. As anyone who knows me knows, I'm pretty cheap. I want to assure you that you and your family can have a GREAT time at the Faire whether you do every ride/game there or you do none at all (like us!). The Faire itself is full of excitement, great people watching, and showcases talents that you don't see elsewhere. We spend our day enjoying the live shows, listening to music, engaging with people, and taking it all in. We then cap our day off with an ice cream cone. It's become part of our tradition :)

So there you have it, another Faire visit in the books. I know some people who are already looking forward to next year!
*Disclosure: My family received complimentary tickets to the Faire. As always, all opinions are my own.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Back to School and a Krusteaz Cookie Giveaway!

We are now on week three of back to school here at the Dollops household. Summer is (sadly) starting to feel like a distant memory.

Here they are off to1st, K, and 2nd!
September is not only back to school here but also back to homework and piano and soccer (x3) and Girl Scouts and what feels like a million other things. It often feels like there aren't enough hours in the day to get things done so I was excited when Krusteaz sent me a box of cookie mixes to try out. Now I actually really enjoy making cookies. If I had more time and more will power not to eat the dough, I'd make them more often. With the Krusteaz mixes though I don't need that much time. They're also the perfect amount of work needed for kids to help but not drive you nutty in the process!

Two bakers (and yes, a burnt wooden spoon)
Krusteaz cookie mixes come in the following flavors:

Triple Chocolate Chunk
Meyer Lemon
Double Peanut Butter
Brown Sugar Oatmeal
Oatmeal Scotchie
Butter Vanilla Sugar

So far we've tried out the Butter Vanilla Sugar that we enjoyed on movie night and the Double Peanut Butter as an after school snack. Both got two thumbs up from everyone!

To find our more about Krusteaz and all the yummy products they offer, click HERE.

Krusteaz has been gracious enough to allow for one lucky Dollops reader to get in on the baking fun, too. One winner will receive a Krusteaz prize pack including one of each of the cookie mixes listed above as well as some additional Krusteaz goodies. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below for your chance to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Disclaimer: This post was written in partnership with Krusteaz and I received complimentary products. As always, all opinions are my own. 

That Time I Broke Up With My Dermatologist

To make sure everyone is up to speed: I am as fair as they come, covered head to toe in freckles, and my father died of Melanoma Skin Cancer. I have gone to the dermatologist once a year (sometimes more frequently if they are watching anything on my skin in particular) since I was about 15. In that time, I've had maybe a half a dozen moles removed that looked questionable. Checking my skin and having skin exams has become second nature to me.

Fast forward to about two years ago, I changed my primary care doctor to one who was part of a larger network so it made sense to also change my dermatologist. You know how it goes, easier to share records, billing, blah blah blah. So I went to a new dermatologist and didn't really love him. I went back the following year and again didn't love him. I felt like he could have used a little more bedside manners and personality in general. I told myself when I left there that I'd switch to a different one within the practice before the following year. Of course, time and laziness got in the way so when this appointment came up today with him I just went with it. So after looking at me for maybe 5 minutes he comments that he knows I'm fair, have freckles, and are high risk but that he doesn't feel he needs to see me again. LIKE EVER. Say what? I couldn't believe it. He said to just watch myself and if I noticed anything alarming that I could go back and see him. about the moles on my back that I can't even see at all? And at this appointment alone today, I had two changes that I noticed and pointed out to him. Now I know that I can have my primary care doctor check me out at yearly physicals but still. I'm in shock as to how the whole appointment went down. It goes against everything that every doctor has ever told me!

So anyway, that's my skin update. I plan on talking it over with my PCP next time I see him and going from there. Also, regardless of when I need to go back, I'm definitely going to be getting myself a new dermatologist!

Break ups are hard. Skin cancer is harder.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Little Elliot, Big City: Book and Wall Decal Giveaway!

We are big fans of Little Elliot, Big City in this household. I mean what's not to love about an adorable elephant, his friend the mouse, and cupcakes (yum!)? Oh, and it just so happens that my hugely talented brother in law wrote and illustrated the book! The kids think it's so cool to find Uncle Mike's book at every bookstore we go to...

But beyond sounding biased because we have a personal connection to the book, it really is a cute story with beautiful illustrations and a kind message. We can't wait for Little Elliot, Big Family to hit the shelves on October 6, 2015!

We were also recently given the opportunity to receive wall decals from Live In A Story featuring none other than Little Elliot. The kids were so excited! Live In A Story decals are designed by picture book artists, eco friendly, and made in the USA. The decals were super easy to apply, stay on well, and add extra excitement to the room!

Super cute, right? One lucky Dollops reader is going to receive a free copy of Little Elliot, Big City AND a set of Live In A Story wall decals! In addition to this prize being great for you, it could also make a great donation to your child/grandchild's classroom or a local library! Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
*Disclosure: I received complimentary wall decals to help facilitate this review. As always, all opinions are my own.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

80s Fun!

My brother in law and sister in law recently celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary. Since they didn't do a big bash for the original wedding they decided to throw a party for the anniversary. So we spent this past weekend in Vermont having family fun. There were lots of laughs, lots of food, and lots of beverages. The big event of the weekend was Saturday night, where I'm not going to lie, Tim and I crushed it for the era themed party.

We're like totally rad, right? 80s to the max!

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