Floral Fusion! a Lenox China Review and Giveaway ($288 value!) #3 in my 50th Birthday Bash!

On August 24, 2011, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome

I love Lenox!  It’s always been a dream of mine to have beautiful dishes and serving pieces to create a wonderfully inviting tablescape.  I have never had the chance to own my own set of gorgeous china — a set I picked out myself, that is a true expression of me.  Needless to say, browsing [...]

I love Lenox!  It’s always been a dream of mine to have beautiful dishes and serving pieces to create a wonderfully inviting tablescape.  I have never had the chance to own my own set of gorgeous china — a set I picked out myself, that is a true expression of me.  Needless to say, browsing the Lenox website fills my head with all sorts of dreamy table setting and decorating ideas.  I love “window shopping” there because of the incredible variety of styles and colors.  Plus, the name Lenox is synonymous with quality and beauty, in my mind.  I know it’s a company I can trust.

You may remember that last fall, Lenox sponsored an over-the-top generous giveaway, at Busy-at-Home, of EIGHT 4-piece place settings of their beautiful new holiday china.  I fell in love with the artistry and elegance of their products, as well as the great people I was able to work with in the process.  It’s just an all around awesome company.  That’s why I’m so tickled that they are helping me to celebrate my 50th birthday by sponsoring yet another outrageously fun giveaway!  One Busy-at-Home reader is going to win FOUR 4-piece place settings of Floral Fusion – Kiwi!

china
I couldn’t resist taking these beautiful floral dishes out into the open air and sunshine on our deck to snap a few pictures for you.

Knowing exactly what to expect when the box arrived, I could hardly stand not ripping it open, but I was very calm and genteel about the whole thing.  (Don’t listen to anything my family says.  They exaggerate!  :) )  Floral Fusion is crafted of white porcelain and is dishwasher and microwave safe, meaning its fabulous “style” is also easy to care for.  The glaze is smooth and the colors are spectacular!  Each place setting has four pieces — a dinner plate, salad plate, a bowl and a mug.

plate
Floral Fusion dinner plate with a kiwi colored band around the outer rim.
dessert plate
Don’t you love these! This beautiful salad plate is just bursting with its floral bouquet!  The colors are bold and exciting and its an elegant complement to the dinner plate.

Every time I look at these pieces, I think of “The Secret Garden”.  That’s what they remind me of – a special party nestled in a beautiful flower garden.  The colors are vibrant and the artwork is contemporary and elegant, yet these dishes exude the most welcoming, homey feel when placed on your table.  Do you have certain things in your home that just make you smile and feel happy inside?  These dishes will be one of mine.

soup bowl
This gorgeous bowl is huge and deep! The pretty flowers circle all the way around and spray across the exterior like petals falling from the sky.
coffee cup
You’ll love the generous capacity of this sweet over-sized mug. It holds a full 16 oz of your favorite beverage!

Guess what?  These beautiful dishes are normally $72 per place setting, but right now, they are on sale at the Lenox website for only $49.95!  That’s a 31% savings!  Fantastic bargain!  The name Lenox is one that I have long associated with fine china, beauty and quality.  This review experience has only served to deepen that conviction.

Giveaway Rules:

You must be 18 or older and a resident of the U.S. to enter.  The mandatory entry must be completed before any optional entries will count.  Deadline to enter is midnight (CST) Sunday, September 11, 2011.

Mandatory Entry:

Which beautiful Lenox china pattern makes YOU happy inside when you think about using it to set your own table?  (You can check out all the varieties on the Lenox website.)  Leave a comment below telling me your favorite!

Optional Additional Entries:

  1. Like Lenox on Facebook.  Leave a comment below letting me know you did.  Be sure to include your Facebook name, so I can find you in their fans list.
  2. Follow Lenox on Twitter.  Leave a comment below letting me know you did.  Be sure to include your Twitter handle, so I can find you in their followers list.
  3. Follow Busy-at-Home on Twitter.   Leave a comment letting me know you’ve done it.
  4. Like Busy-at-Home on Facebook.  Leave a comment letting me know you’ve done it.
  5. Follow Busy-at-Home on Google Friends Connect.  Use the “Join” button in the right-hand sidebar.  Leave a comment letting me know you’ve done it.
  6. Subscribe to the Busy-at-Home Newsletter (in the right-hand sidebar).  You will receive an email confirmation with a link that must be clicked to confirm your subscription.  Once you click the email link to confirm your subscription, leave me a comment to let me know you’ve done it.
  7. Post this giveaway on your Facebook page.  Win FOUR 4-piece place settings of beautiful Lenox China & let your table “bloom” with elegance! @Lenox_corp @busyathome  http://ow.ly/6bXpW   Leave a comment below with a link to your post.
  8. Tweet this giveaway (1x daily)Win FOUR 4-piece place settings of beautiful Lenox China & let your table “bloom” with elegance! @Lenox_corp @busyathome  http://ow.ly/6bXpW   Leave a comment below with a link to your tweet.

I received one 4-piece place setting of Floral Fusion, in order to test it and conduct this review.  No monetary compensation was received and as always, at Busy-at-Home, views and opinions expressed are wholly my own.

Blueberry Cobbler, Cascade Action Pacs & a $15 Wal-Mart Gift Card Giveaway

On May 26, 2011, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome

I received a perfectly delicious challenge from Proctor and Gamble and My Blog Spark, recently.  Bake a blueberry cobbler and enjoy it with my family and friends.  Then leave the empty baking dish sitting on the counter for 24 hours, before trying to wash it.  They even sent me a shiny, white baking dish to [...]

I received a perfectly delicious challenge from Proctor and Gamble and My Blog Spark, recently.  Bake a blueberry cobbler and enjoy it with my family and friends.  Then leave the empty baking dish sitting on the counter for 24 hours, before trying to wash it.  They even sent me a shiny, white baking dish to do the baking in and a sample of Cascade Complete Action Pacs.  Eat a delicious dessert and then relax for an evening, instead of washing the dishes?  Ummm….yah.  I’m  pretty sure I can do that.  :)

 

blueberry cobbler

Blueberry cobbler, hot and bubbly from the oven, just begging for vanilla ice cream.

I’ve never made a specifically blueberry cobbler.  I have, however, made cobblers before, using fresh fruit or pie filling and a yellow cake mix, so I was fairly confident I could throw together a cobbler that would be delish in just a couple minutes.  I should have pulled out my recipe, instead of relying on my memory and  good guesses.  My results were definitely yummy, but more like blueberry soup with cobbler topping.  :)  I’ll post the correct recipe for you, here, so your results will be more pleasingly, thick than mine.

4.8 from 4 reviews
Blueberry Cobbler
Author: 
Recipe type: dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8-10
 
Super simple and delicious dessert with only 5 ingredients. It's a perfect way to use your fresh blueberries, or really, any fresh berry.
Ingredients
  • 4 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1 yellow cake mix
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
Instructions
  1. Rinse blueberries and then spread them evenly in the bottom of your ungreased baking dish (or 9x13 pan).
  2. Sprinkle sugar over the blueberries.
  3. Cover the sugared berries with the dry cake mix.
  4. Sprinkle pecans across the top of the cake mix layer.
  5. Drizzle the melted butter over the pecan layer.
  6. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 35-45 minutes (until bubbly and golden brown).
  7. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

 

Here’s what it looks like going together.

 

cobbler ingredients

 

Spread the rinsed blueberries in the bottom of an ungreased baking dish or 9×13 baking pan.

blueberries

Yum! I love fresh blueberries! (Isn't that a nice dish!?!)

 

Sprinkle the berries with granulated sugar.

add sugar

Sweetening the pot. :)

 

Sprinkle the cake mix over the sugared blueberries.

cakemix

The cake mix layer.

 

Sprinkle on the pecans.

pecans

You could use whatever your favorite nuts are, or even eliminate them altogether. Pecans just happen to be my favorite.

 

The final step is to drizzle the cake mix and pecans with melted butter.

butter

Drizzle the top with melted butter.

 

Here it is ready to pop in the oven.

pre-baked cobbler

Blueberry cobbler ready for the oven.

 

Bake at 350° for 35-45 minutes.  It will be bubbly, and golden brown.

baked blueberry cobbler

Yum!

cobbler and ice cream

My yummy blueberry soup and ice cream.

….

Well, as you can imagine, we polished that off in record time.  And what did the dishes look like after we were finished?

 

dirty dishes

The remnants of blueberry cobbler left in our dishes.

 

I’ve actually used Cascade powder dishwashing detergent for years, but had never tried the Cascade Complete All-in-1 Action Pacs.  I really liked them!  Everything is pre-measured and self-contained, with nothing to spill or overuse. It’s simple and no chance of spills.  Perfect!

cascade complete action pac

Cascade Complete Action Pac.

I simply placed the capsule in the detergent dispenser of my dishwasher and ran the cycle, normally.  Even after sitting for 24 hours, the baking dish was cleaned beautifully!  That’s definitely  a 5-star rating from our family.

 

dirty dishes
Loaded and ready to wash.

 

One time through the dishwasher and they’re squeaky clean.  I was actually a little surprised, since it seemed like such a small amount of detergent.  Cascade’s website describes Action Pacs as containing the best of powder and gel in one powerful pac.    The little pacs contain a powerful pre-treater, dishwashing detergent to scrub through stuck on food and cut grease and a rinse agent to leave your glasses sparkling.  That one little action pac contained everything I needed to get to this dishwasher full of sparkling clean dishes.

 

clean dishes

Sparkling clean and ready to be unloaded. I'd say that's an excellent job!

 

Thanks to Cascade and My Blog Spark, one lucky Busy-at-Home reader will receive a $15 Wal-Mart gift card, so they can  take their own 24 Hour Cascade Challenge and put that awesome sparkle on their own dishes!  It’s a simple giveaway to enter.

 

Giveaway Rules:

You must be 18 or older and a US resident to enter.  Mandatory entry must be completed before any optional entries will be counted.  Winner will be selected in a random drawing using random.org.  Deadline for entry is midnight (CST), Sunday, June 12, 2011.

 

Mandatory Entry:

In a comment below, tell me what your toughest dish washing challenge is.

 

Optional Additional Entries:

  1. Like Cascade on Facebook and leave a comment to let me know you’ve done it.
  2. Follow Busy-at-Home on Twitter.  Leave a comment letting me know you’ve done it.
  3. Like Busy-at-Home on Facebook. Leave a comment letting me know you’ve done it.
  4. Follow Busy-at-Home on Google Friends Connect.   Or click the Join Button in the right-hand side bar.  Leave a comment letting me know you’ve done it.
  5. Subscribe to the Busy-at-Home Newsletter with this link or in the right-hand sidebar.  You will receive an email confirmation with a link that must be clicked to confirm your subscription.  Once you click the email link to confirm your subscription, leave me a comment to let me know you’ve done it.
  6. Tweet this giveaway (maximum of 1x per day, please).  Win a $15 Wal-Mart gift card and read about Cascade Complete All-in-1 Action Pacs @busyathome #myblogspark  http://ow.ly/546LW Leave a comment below with a link to your tweet.
  7. Post this giveaway on your Facebook pageWin a $15 Wal-Mart gift card, get a yummy recipe for Blueberry Cobbler and read about Cascade Complete All-in-1 Action Pacs at Busy-at-Home http://ow.ly/546LW Leave a comment below with a link to your post.

 

I received an All-in-1 Action Pac kit, from Proctor and Gamble through My Blog Spark, with a baking dish and sample action pacs, in order to test the product and conduct this review.  A $15 Wal-Mart gift card was supplied for the giveaway winner.  No monetary compensation was received and a positive review was not required.  The views and opinions expressed are wholly my own.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gain Fresh and Clean Collection Review and Giveaway

On September 20, 2010, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome

If you already like Gain, you’re about to become one of their number one fans!  They have partnered with HGTV’s Sabrina Soto to spread the news about their new Fresh and Clean Collection products.  Normally, when I think of Gain, I think of laundry detergent, but now, these fabulous new scents can fill your home [...]

The Gain products I recceived to conduct this review.

If you already like Gain, you’re about to become one of their number one fans!  They have partnered with HGTV’s Sabrina Soto to spread the news about their new Fresh and Clean Collection products.  Normally, when I think of Gain, I think of laundry detergent, but now, these fabulous new scents can fill your home from the laundry room to the kitchen.  The new Fresh and Clean Collection, featured at www.ilovegain.com, has something for everyone and three scents with an H.E. option for your high efficiency washing machines.

Original Fresh Liquid Laundry Detergent

In order to conduct this review, I received a package with four products from the Fresh and Clean Collection, the new Original Fresh Laundry Detergent, Original Fresh Liquid Fabric Softener, Original Fresh Dryer Sheets and the Original Fresh Dishwashing Liquid.  Opening that box was a scent sensation!  The fragrances surrounded me as soon as I had opened it.  I knew I was going to enjoy having those fragrances fill my home.  They smelled wonderful!  So, now I just needed to determine if they cleaned as well as they created an aromatherapy experience.

Original Fresh Liquid Fabric Softener

The first products I tried, from the quartet, were the detergent and liquid fabric softener.  We all know that laundry rooms can be one of the funkiest rooms in the house when it comes to smell.  Obviously, these Gain products solved that issue.  As the washer dashed and scrubbed and rinsed and spun, the whole room was filled with freshness.  I couldn’t nail down one specific scent to describe it to you, so I checked the www.ilovegain.com site and discovered why.  It’s created with a combination of scents that they describe as “Orange, lemon and blossoms with a modern fruity, green twist” and undertones of “White floral jasmine with a hint of woody amber”.  So, while I didn’t pick up on any of the individual scents, the combination was a knock-out!  I loved it!

Original Fresh Dryer Sheets

The laundry detergent did exactly what I had anticipated — cleaned our clothes.  It did a fine job ,which I had never doubted, from the beginning.  The liquid fabric softener was easy to use, just pouring it into the dispenser in my washing machine.   It did leave some residue in the dispenser cup of my machine and even after several loads of laundry, not using the liquid fabric softener, the residue remained and had to be scrubbed out.  The clothes rinsed in the liquid fabric softener were soft and static free.  It left the damp clothes smelling fresh and amazing.  Once the clothes had been through the dryer, however, the fragrance was essentially gone.  I really did not notice even the slightest hint of that great fragrance in my dried clothes.

For the next laundry load, I used the detergent, again, without the liquid fabric softener and switched to the Original Fresh Dryer sheets.  I got the same excellent results — squeaky clean clothes and soft, static-free fabrics.  The scent from the dryer sheets was powerful as I put it in and I got to enjoy the fragrance as the warm dryer heated it and let it “freshen” my laundry room, however there was no lingering fragrance in the dried clothes as I pulled them from the dryer.

So, my final determination about the laundry products was that I was not going to have fragrance-infused clothing, however these products met every expectation we have of detergent and fabric softener.  I had clean clothes, that dried up soft and static-free, and as an added bonus, my laundry room smelled amazing during the process!  That’s a huge appeal and the aromatherapy during cleaning, made me feel a lot more motivated and enthusiastic about doing it.  :)

Original Fresh Dishwashing Soap

I wasn’t aware, before this review, that Gain made dishwashing soap.  It arrived in the same Original Fresh fragrance as the laundry products, so you can imagine the delightful smell as we cleaned up the kitchen and dishes.  It made lots and lots of suds and I believe they lasted as long as any other dishwashing soap I have tried.  I had no problem cleaning anything from glassware to a cast iron skillet used to fry hamburgers.  Casserole dishes with baked on food, required only a brief soak and then came beautifully clean.  I really enjoyed using Gain’s dishwashing soap.  Again, I think the great scent that lingers in the kitchen as you are cleaning, really does something to inspire you to keep at the job.

Another fun feature of this campaign is the chance to ask questions for Sabrina Soto to answer on Gain’s Facebook page.  Do you have a difficult “aroma” problem in your home that you’d like some help with?  Post your question and you may get an answer from Sabrina, herself.  Also, you will be able to pick up lots of great tips for freshening your home, like tucking those amazing-scented dryer sheets into dresser drawers, sofa and chair cushions and under pet beds.

Check your local stores for the new Gain Fresh and Clean collection.  I think you’ll like them, too!  In the meantime, Gain is offering one lucky Busy-at-Home reader an opportunity to experience the same package I received.  If you would like to win a box containing Gain Liquid Laundry Detergent, Gain Liquid Fabric Softener and Gain Dryer Sheets, as well as a sample of the new Gain Dishwashing Liquid, you can enter below.  The process is super-simple!

REQUIRED ENTRIES

  1. Follow Busy-at-Home on Twitter.  Leave a comment letting me know you follow and your Twitter ID
    (For those of you non-tweeters, you may Follow on Google Friend Connect, instead.  Just leave a comment letting me know that’s what you did.)
  2. Visit www.ilovegain.com and pick the new Fresh and Clean Fragrance you would love to try.  Come back here and leave a comment letting me know which fragrance you picked.

That’s it! You’ll be entered twice for a chance to win the drawing that will be held on Sunday, October 3 at midnight (CST). You must be 18 years or older and a U.S. resident to enter.

Optional Bonus Entries:

For you die-hard contest enterers, I have some bonus entry options if you want to increase your chances. These are purely optional.

  1. “Like” Gain on Facebook and leave a comment letting me know you’ve done it along with your Facebook username.
  2. Once a day, between now and the contest deadline, midnight (CST) October 3, 2010, you may tweet this giveaway.  Leave a comment with the link to your tweet.    I’m entered to win @Gain Fresh & Clean Laundry Detergent, Fabric Softener and Dishwashing Liquid @busyathome.  http://ow.ly/2GYWH #giveaway
  3. Leave a message on Gain’s Facebook wall and then leave a message letting me know you’ve done it. I’m visiting from Busy-at-Home.  I can’t wait to try the new Gain Fresh & Clean Collection!


I received the four products mentioned, in order to conduct this review.  No payment was received and a positive review was not required.  The vies and opinions expressed are wholly my own.  Gain will also provide a package of Gain Fresh and Clean Products to the drawing winner.

wordpress themes