Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

As we close out 2012 I am thinking ahead to 2013.  We hope this year will bring many great memories for our family and yours.  2013 will bring Jake turning 4 and starting school!  We will hopefully be out of this house and in a new one (not sure where yet, but we are excited to find it).  And Jamie and I are planning our first trip to Germany to visit our good friend Brian and his wife Eva.

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Blogger Stats

Recently I noticed that I can view the stats of my blog.  It’s actually really cool to see how people find your blog or where they are located throughout the world.  Oh yeah, my blog is global!

When I first log in I can see my blogs and under shell-zone it says there are over 8,300 page views.  I’ve been at this for 4 years which is over 2000 views per year and over 6 views per day! 



Now I only have 8 followers and my Mom two of them.  So why are so many people looking at my blog?  When you click on the number of page views it will bring up an overview.  You can view this by day, week, month, year or all time.  Below is my all-time views and here I can see which posts are most popular, the top three sites where people find  my blog and the world-wide audience.



You can expand the posts, traffic sources and audience to see more of the detail.  The posts gives you the top 10 posts.  The traffic sources will break it down by Referring URLs, Referring Sites and Search Keywords. 




The audience tells you where in the world people are viewing your blog.  The US is the highest but it’s fun to see countries such as Australia, India and China on the list.



One of my favorite stats was the keywords that people search and then arrive at my blog.  I’m actually shocked that someone searched for Hiny Hiders and I hope the person that searched for eggies instructions decided not to buy those eggies after my review.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Shark Steam Pocket Mop


I don’t like cleaning the house. I mean who really does?  But the one chore that I don’t mind is mopping the floor.  I remember having to do this at my parents house and they had a squeeze mop which was kind of fun to use. 

Since then, mop manufacturers have come up with easier and faster options for cleaning the floor.  I bought a Swiffer Wet Jet a few years ago and this does work faster, but I would not say it is better.  Perhaps if you use it every other day it would keep up with the deeper dirt.  But being that I hate cleaning, I only use it once a week. 

We have a white laminate floor and it has this grey hue to it.  We have a squeeze mop just like my parents had and I use it about once a month to try and get it more clean, but I’m not sure it really does much better than the Swiffer.  I’ve even tried different floor cleaner and a homemade one I found on Pinterest. 

The only time I felt I got a great clean was when I went Snow White style and got down on my hands and knees with a scrub brush, but who’s going to do that every time?  Not me!

Jamie saw the Shark Steam Pocket Mop and almost bought it for me for Christmas.  But being the smart husband he is, he decided that would not be an appropriate gift and instead told me about it.  So we looked into it online and found the best deal at Walmart.  It was originally $69.00 but it is on sale for $39 + tax, free shipping site-to-store. We bought model number S3501WMZ.

This mop only uses water, no cleaning solutions.  It heats up the water and steam cleans the floor.  This one comes with two cleaning pads that are machine washable. 

Here’s the floor after sweeping:


Here’s the floor after the Swiffer and you can see how dirty the cleaning pad is.  Yuck!


Here’s the floor after using the Steam Pocket Mop:


You can see that the steam mop was able to pick up even more dirt which I’m not surprised by.  The floor is definitely whiter, but not as much as I would like.  I think this will take a couple more times before we can really see a great difference. 

It says it works on all floor types, including wood.  I’m a bit surprised since I assume water and wood are not compatible.  It does say that the floor must be sealed.  If any of my family or friends want to try it on their wood floors just ask and you can borrow mine and check it out.

Here are some pros and cons from my first use:

Pros: easy to assemble, water reservoir easy to fill, light weight, adjustable height (perfect for my husband which is a foot taller than me), long cord.

Cons: took a while to create really good steam and doesn’t really glide along the floor (it’s a bit of an arm workout).

So far it’s a keeper, but I haven’t washed the pad yet.  It will be interesting to see how they hold up in the wash.

Sunday, December 2, 2012


This summer I received a Keurig for my birthday.  I started drinking coffee when I moved over half an hour from work and I needed something to help along the drive.  To get used to the flavor I started by using half hot chocolate half coffee and every week or so I would add less hot chocolate until I could accept the coffee on it’s own (black). 

Jamie likes to drink White Russian coffee which has no alcohol, but rather just has a hint of the smell and flavor.  He will drink the entire pot and would often be disagreeable if I took a cup to work.  I hate the coffee at work so I was thrilled to receive the Keurig.  I keep it in my office and it makes it smell wonderful.

I own the Elite 40 model which is perfect for me.  I can fill up the reservoir and it will last all week if I keep it to one cup a day.  Work recently installed a 5-filter system to our drinking water and it causes absolutely no residue in the reservoir which will help it last longer.

The unit comes with a variety of coffee, but most of it I knew I wouldn’t like.  I don’t like bold flavors or most teas, so I searched for a variety pack I could try.  I found on a vendor that will let you pick your own variety of 30 k-cups.  This was perfect and I picked out 30 different flavored coffee, chai tea, hot chocolate and cappuccinos.  Here is my list and my reviews on the flavors.   

1. Folgers Caramel Drizzle: bad

2. Folgers Vanilla Biscotti: good – smooth and mild flavor

3. Gloria Jean's French Vanilla Supreme: ok, a little tangy, not as smooth as #2

4. Gloria Jean's Mudslide: eh, tastes like coffee

5. Donut House Chocolate Glazed Donut: good – smooth w/hint of choc, smells great

6. GMC Donut House Cinnamon Roll: eh, no good

7. Green Mountain Caramel Vanilla Cream: good – smooth with medium flavor

8. Green Mountain French Vanilla: ok – a little tangy, better with FV creamer

9. Timothy's Cinnamon Pastry: very cinnamonny, makes it taste too bitter

10. Timothy's French Vanilla: bad

11. Timothy's German Chocolate Cake: too bitter

12. Timothy's Irish Cream: no

13. Timothy's Mocha Java: missing

14. Van Houtte Belgian Chocolate: eh

15. Van Houtte French Vanilla: a little bitter

16. Van Houtte Mocha Java: no

17. Van Houtte Napoletano: no

18. Van Houtte Raspberry Chocolate Truffle: good, can taste raspberry flavor

19. Wolfgang Puck Creme Caramel: boring

20. Wolfgang Puck Francais Vanilla: ok

21. Wolfgang Puck Jamaica Me Crazy: good, a hint of coconut

22. Cafe Escapes Chai Latte: Great!

23. Celestial Seasonings India Spice Chai Tea: More like hot tea w/hint of chai

24. Cafe Escapes Milk Hot Chocolate: gave to Kim and she really like it

25. Cafe Escapes Dark Hot Chocolate: ok

26. Cafe Escapes Cafe Mocha (½ choc&coffee): ok, but more like hot chocolate w/o ½ coffee

27. Grove Square Spiced Apple Cider: good cider

28. Grove Square Caramel Apple Cider: good, can taste the caramel

29. Grove Square Caramel Cappuccino: Good, but not as good as the FV

30. Grove Square French Vanilla Cappuccino: YUM!!!

I tasted all of these without any creamer or sugar to make sure I got a good taste.  From this variety I decided to stock up on the Folgers Vanilla Biscotti, CafĂ© Escapes Chai Latte, Grove Square French Vanilla Cappuccino and another not on the list which is Green Mountain Spicy Eggnog which is a flavored coffee.