Monday, August 3, 2015

The Most Advanced 3-in-1 Cleaning System: Shark Steam & Spray Pro {Review}

Shark logo
Although I've found that keeping a house clean when there are children living there is difficult enough to do on its own, summertime seems to be a whole different situation altogether. Just when I felt as though I was coming to terms with needing to re-clean spaces daily during the school year, now I need to do them hourly after my two tornadoes have come through? No, thanks.

Fortunately my kids are old enough that they can be fully responsible for much of the mess themselves and I will happily turn over chores like washing dishes or cleaning the litter boxes to them without a second thought.

When it comes to our hardwood floors, however, taking care of them mainly falls as one of my duties. We banished the traditional mop and bucket ages ago (too slimy, drippy and gross) and those cleaning systems where you attach a disposable pad each time left me not too happy either with the replacement costs and poor quality.

Fortunately, thanks to Shark and their new Shark® Steam & Spray™ Pro, I have now found the best of all worlds. Our floors have never been more efficiently or easily cleaned!

Shark new steam mop

Shark, already known as a steam cleaning technology pioneer, has once again transformed floor cleaning with the addition of the Shark Steam & Spray Pro to their line of innovative, high quality products.

Providing three ways to clean hard floor surfaces within one cleaning system, this user-friendly device can provide spotless hard floor surfaces in the face of quick, light cleaning all the way down to tougher, stuck-on stains and greasy floor messes. Is there anyone that wouldn't want a device made to clean and sanitize, whether their floor needs a quick clean, a general whole house clean or a deep floor clean?

The three distinct ways to clean include:
  • Steam-Only Mode – turn tap water into steam for a deep clean with no residue.
  • Steam & Spray Mode – steam combines with the Shark Hard Floor Cleanser for a high level clean to remove stuck-on dirt, grease and stains.
  • Spray-Only Mode – swap in the lightweight, battery-powered head for a quick clean-up.
When the Shark Steam & Spray Pro arrived in its own compact box...

Shark Steam & Spray Pro

...I pulled out the parts and was pleased to find that assembly was going to be extremely easy and only take a matter of seconds.

Shark Steam & Spray Pro assembly

Sure enough, in less than a minute I had the handle snapped into place and the batteries (included!) installed. As my floor can pretty much always use a deep clean, I opted to start with the Steam & Spray mop head and quickly popped it into place.

All that was left to do was attach a cleaning pad (either the multi-layer washable cleaning pad to lift and lock away tough messes or the SaniFiber disposable pad that is great for germy messes), fill the water tank using the handy flask provided, and insert the cleanser bottle right into the front.

Basically with no work at all I had this innovative machine powered up and ready to go! 

Shark Steam & Spray Pro review

Putting this unique steam mop to work was just as easy. As the entire thing is lightweight and has a 20ft power cord it can be lifted and carried with one hand to nearly any part of the house — someone like me just needs to decide which floor is in most dire need of cleaning.

Then simply plug it in and, due to the Automatic Electronic Steam Control, there is no need to adjust any dials or knobs to try to get the correct amount of wetness onto your floor. Shark takes care of it all for you and the Steam & Spray Pro starts the steam when you release the head back and stops it when you stand it back up. Easy peasy!

Shark automatic steam control

When using the steam only function, this incredible mop deep cleans wood and hard floors with ordinary tap water that then cleans 99.9% of household bacteria.

Just the knowledge that it doesn't take any more effort on my part to deep clean and sanitize all of the hard floor surfaces we have in the house gives me peace of mind, particularly as we seem to have illnesses around here no matter if it is cold and flu season or not.

Shark Steam Mop

For bigger messes and to remove tough dirt, the Steam & Spray function combines the steam with Shark's powerful, biodegradable Hard Floor Cleanser for a higher level of cleaning.

Just press the spray button (conveniently located right on the upper handle) and the nozzle efficiently targets and covers your stains. There are even bright LED lights that show exactly where you are spraying so that you don't miss a spot!

Whether used with or without the the spray, I have been extremely happy with the way that the Shark Steam & Spray Pro has performed from start to finish. The swivel-steering makes for easy maneuverability; there is an upright feature (allowing the mop to stand on its own) for easy storage; and it really only takes a pass or two to loosen, lift and lock in dirt.

The sparkling clean result is exactly what I want to see to know that this is providing a superior deep clean!

Shark Steam & Spray Pro results

Just because I no longer have crawling babies living in my house, that doesn't at all mean that my kids aren't constantly down on the floor, so I love the relaxation that comes with being able to grab the Steam & Spray Pro (with or without a cord!) to help power through the job.

In fact, it only takes a matter of seconds to swap in the lightweight, battery-powered head to transform this into a cordless spray mop that is perfect for quick clean ups. We're talking versatility that is so easy to use that my kids just might find themselves in charge of mopping full time pretty soon!

Shark cordless spray mop

With an MSRP of $119, the Shark Steam & Spray Pro is one investment that anyone and everyone can feel good using in their home as this high quality product answers all the needs of the consumer — whether as a quick clean-up tool or for extra power for deep cleaning and sanitizing — to achieve spotless hard floor surfaces.

Forget having to stress or struggle when complete floor cleaning is this convenient... not to mention the relief knowing that it will do all of the work while still being safe around kids and pets. I love being able to grab this quickly in Spray Mode to do everyday cleanups while also being able to reach for it in Steam Mode as a weekly spot and mess remover or Steam & Spray Mode for the big-time, stuck-on grime. If you have hard floors you need this!

To find out much more about the Shark Steam & Spray Pro, the power it has to handle the job, its three distinct ways to clean, and more, visit SharkClean.com and connect with Shark on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

Other than the Shar Steam & Spray Pro that I was provided by Shark in order to facilitate my review, I was not compensated or enticed to do this post in any way. This review is solely my honest opinion about this product.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Winners!

The lucky winner of an adorable Zippy Sack from Toy Island is...


The lucky winner of a suite of Fisher Nut Exactly snack bites and a $50 Visa Gift Card is...


The lucky winner of (2) Honey Bluetooth Tracking Devices from Pebblebee is...


The lucky winner of a $50 Costco gift card and a 20 oz bag of Fisher Nut Exactly snack bites is...


The lucky winner of a $200 Target gift card from Coffee-mate is...


Thanks so much to everyone who entered these fun giveaways! Have a great weekend!

Friday, July 31, 2015

Café Bustelo Espresso and Colombian Coffee Now Available in K-cups!

Cross Country Cafe logo
After the amount of time that I've spent getting to know companies and brands over the years, it often takes a lot to grab my attention. But one surefire way? Introduce me to an unfamiliar company that offers delicious coffee!

Can you ever have too many amazing coffee options? I think not.

Therefore, thanks to Cross Country Cafe, I was thrilled to learn about Café Bustelo and their debut of Café Bustelo Espresso style blend and Café Bustelo Colombian roast K-cup coffees!

Cafe Bustelo k-cups

Started by Gregorio Bustelo and his wife in the Bronx in 1931, Café Bustelo is now world renowned as having been expert gourmet espresso coffee roasters for more than 80 years. They are now the number 1 selling Cuban coffee in the U.S.!

As Café Bustelo is a favorite of coffee-drinkers from coast to coast, the introduction of K-cups and the ability to taste their sophisticated Cuban coffee right from the Keurig has been met with overwhelming happiness from fans everywhere.

How was it possible that I had been out of the loop for so long? It was time to try out Café Bustelo for myself!

Cafe Bustelo k-cup coffee

Right away I was intrigued by the colorful designs and packaging of the Café Bustelo boxes. Combine that with the way that both flavors of this coffee were receiving rave reviews left and right and it didn't take long before I was pulling out K-cups to begin brewing.

Cafe Bustelo k-cup review

Immediately I appreciated that the Café Bustelo Espresso roast is able to provide a dark, flavorful blend without any sort of fancy espresso equipment. You can almost taste how robust and strong this is just by looking at it!

Cafe Bustelo Espresso

I always worry that dark roast coffees might be a little bitter, but this Espresso roast somehow blends the dark with the medium in their grounds and ends up with a smooth, robust taste that is full-bodied without being too strong to enjoy.

In fact, once I had added my usual cream and sugar, I found that the flavor of this coffee was so amazing that it instantly had me addicted and I found myself tipping my mug to get every last drop. LOVE!!

For a slightly less intense cup of coffee, however, the Café Bustelo Colombian provides more of a classic flavor that is medium roasted to perfection.

Café Bustelo colombian

Full-bodied and strong, medium roast, irresistible aroma, and a substantial, delicious flavor? I really couldn't ask for much more and love that Café Bustelo has made it so easy to enjoy an amazing cup of coffee like you would expect from a coffeehouse, but instead is made right in your own kitchen in a minute or two!

Whether you strictly enjoy your coffee in the morning or reach for a cup or two (or more) throughout the day, you'll love the ability to have sophisticated tasting Cuban coffee anytime thanks to Café Bustelo Espresso and Colombian K-cup coffees. I am definitely joining the ranks of super-fan now that I have had a chance to experience exactly why everyone loves Café Bustelo!

Head over to Cross Country Cafe to give them a try today!

As a Cross Country Cafe Ambassador, I have been provided with products in exchange for my continued work with their company and affiliate links are included in the above post. The opinions shared are my own and honest and if you really need to see more, click here to see how I roll.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Reading Here, There and Everywhere with the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge! {Scholastic Innovation Book Packet Giveaway}

Summer Reading Challenge logo
This post is part of a sponsored collaboration with Scholastic. All thoughts and opinions expressed are honest and my own.

When I first saw school supplies popping up in stores, I have to admit that I was flabbergasted at how quickly the summer is flying by (and, of course, how early stores start pushing back-to-school). Is it somehow possible that the months have passed faster simply because we've been involved in so many sports, activities, swimming, play dates, camps, and, a personal favorite, relaxing with good books?

This year the latter was even more enticing and exciting for my kids thanks to the fun and encouragement they have been receiving from Scholastic's Summer Reading Challenge!

Scholastic Summer Reading Program

If you missed my previous posts, then you've got to catch up on the facts and sign up for this great program before it ends on September 4th! Here's what you need to know...

Now in its 9th year, the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge program is a free, online/mobile reading program that helps prepare kids for back-to-school by encouraging them to read every day all summer long and lessen the possibility of the "summer slide" (the common loss of skills due to being out of school).

Kids simply keep track and log their reading minutes (online and via mobile) and, along with their peers, see if the cumulative amount can beat the world record. In 2014, Scholastic inspired hundreds of thousands of kids to set a new record for summer reading of 304,749,861 minutes!

Energizer Logo Awesome, right? This year Scholastic has also added a unique twist to the Summer Reading Challenge by giving it a theme of "Power Up & Read" Powered by Energizer®, encouraging families everywhere to find innovative ways to discover the power and joy of reading. It's a skill that will last a lifetime!

My girls have loved being a part of this Challenge and had an especially great time this past month getting to read with the Energizer Bunny himself. He showed up in the pink plush with a collection of goodies and packages to be opened on specific dates...

Energizer Bunny

...and each week we had a blast seeing where and how he suggested to read our next great book (and what fun accessories he had sent along to make it even more fun)!

Energizer Bunny costume

We ended up grabbing a book and having a great read outside, at bedtime, on-the-go, and more. What more can a mom ask for than for her kids to be delighted and enthusiastic about finding more times and places to read?

Scholastic Summer Reading

As much as we had fun with these weekly tasks, I love that the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge is also making kids want to read even more with their weekly goals.

That's right! In an effort to log as many minutes as possible while attempting to break the world record for summer reading, Scholastic is setting special weekly goals for young readers. Every Monday they announce a #MondayMinutesGoal, the number of minutes for kids to read together in one week (by the following Monday).

It doesn't matter whether your child is reading independently aloud or together with an adult, Scholastic wants them to share their minutes by logging them online or on paper and then sharing a photo on social media using #MondayMinutesGoal and #SummerReading. What a great way to promote the love of reading!

MondayMinutesGoal
We've been having fun setting our own daily #MondayMinutesGoal!

There is still plenty of summer left and time to head over and sign up for the Summer Reading Challenge, so don't delay! You can also amp up the excitement even more by following Scholastic on Twitter, Liking the Energizer Bunny on Facebook and Scholastic on Facebook, and following the #SummerReading hashtag throughout social media.

You can also find more Scholastic Resources to keep your kids reading all summer long and learn more about the Energizer® Instant Win Game!

Plus, thanks to Scholastic's generosity, one person will be even more prepared to get their child excited about hunkering down with a good book as well, because...

One lucky person will win an Innovation Book Packet* from Scholastic!

Scholastic giveaway
*Innovation Book Packet (a collection of Scholastic titles showcasing wonderful fiction and nonfiction books for kids to get lost in a great story about the world of science, STEM and inventions) includes the following titles:
  • The Magic School Bus and the Electric Field Trip
  • The Invention of Hugo Cabret
  • Extreme Science Careers
  • Extreme Experiments
  • Plus Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge materials including reading logs, pledges, bookmarks, and more!


A big thank you to Scholastic for providing this prize pack for one lucky giveaway winner. The opinions shared are my own and honest and if you really need to see more, click here to see how I roll.