Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Today's Kool Ideas: Wilton 3-D Cake Pans (Lamb, Bunny, Egg)

We at The Daily Kool are suckers for unusual baking molds. Imagine our joy in finding three super "kool" 3-D cake pans to share with our readers for our Easter week...a Stand Up Lamb Pan, 3-D Bunny Pan, and 3-D Egg Pan Set. This is a wonderful baking project to do with the kids or on your own.

We were thrilled to see that these 3-D cake pans were made by one of our personal favorite bakeware companies, Wilton. Wilton is an industry leader in cake decorating, quality bakeware and food crafting. They are the number one resource for nationally-located decorating classes, and proven supplier of professional Wilton decorating bakeware. Their website gives some great ideas with clear, step-by-step instructions to ensure success, even for the amateur baker.

Check out this adorable Stand Up Lamb Pan! An especially sweet addition to Easter festivities, the lamb cake is fun and easy to make using Wilton's Stand Up Lamb Pan. The two halves of the pan fill with six cups of pound cake or another firm textured batter and bake without the need for a heating core. Contoured for realism, they produce a life-like lamb with long ears and a little snout nestled in a laying position. The Stand Up Lamb Pan comes with five decorating suggestions, or use your imagination to design your own. Measures 10 by 4-1/2 by 7 inches.

Peter Rabbit is a welcome guest at any Easter or other springtime event! This precious 3-D Bunny Pan is sure to impress. The two-piece set fills with 4-1/2 cups of pound cake or another firm textured batter and bakes without the need for a heating core. Contoured for realism, the pan produces a lifelike bunny with long ears and plump cheeks nestled in a sitting position. The 3-D Bunny Pan also comes with five decorating suggestions. Measures 7-1/4 by 7 by 4 inches.

The 3-D Egg Pan Set is The Daily Kool personal favorite. A lovely addition to a spring holiday table, this egg-shaped cake is fun and easy to make using Wilton's 3-D Egg Pan Set. The four-piece set includes two oval halves and two ring bases to keep the pans level in the oven. Simply fill the halves with any two-layer cake mix and bake, then flip one cake on top of the other and decorate. Yep, you guessed it...the 3-D Egg Pan Set comes with five decorating suggestions but has infinite possibilities. Measures 6.2 x 6.3 x 8.8 inches.

All three bakeware sets are crafted of quality aluminum for even heating and long-lasting durability. We do not recommend putting these pans in the the dishwasher, though...they will hold up better if you hand-wash them. Also, we have found that many of the 3-D cake pans have stickiness issues, so make sure to grease them very well when baking...we personally use Pam baking spray with flour (found in your local supermarket) with excellent results. Make sure you do a practice run before making any of these 3-D cakes for company...it's always a good idea to get the kinks out. We also suggest experimenting with a boxed cake mix first...they are likely to have the best consistency for 3-D cake pan beginners. Another idea is to use chocolate (we are partial to white chocolate) instead of cake...you make them solid or hollow to fill with other candy. What a "kool" way to impress your guests this Easter!

Check out some other decorating ideas (using our featured 3-D cake pans) from Wilton's website:

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Monday, March 30, 2009

Today's Kool Idea: Oggz Color Morphing Lamps / Accent Lights

Easter is fast approaching, so it's time for The Daily Kool to help our readers with unique ideas to help make this special holiday even more so. Okay, we know what you're really thinking...a bunch of Jews coming up with good Easter ideas? We actually thing we did a pretty darn good job of it. Stranger things have happened, you know, and we hope that you think the products we've selected for our Easter feature (catchy, huh?) week are as "kool" as we do.

We at The Daily Kool were so impressed with Oggz color morphing accent lights, we just had to make them our first featured Easter product idea. Oggz look like huge eggs (about 3 1/2" tall, 3" diameter) that glow and continually transform colors through the whole rainbow. Don't go so much by the picture here; the Oggz actually morph colors much slower...we just wanted you to be able to visualize it online. Oggz come as singles or sets of three. We love that they are portable, soft and squishy...they are fun and absolutely safe for children to handle. Each set includes a recharging station, rechargeable NiMH batteries (good for over 500 charges) and an AC adapter.

We can see an Oggz as a beautiful accent for your home or as a unique centerpiece at the holiday dinner table. Oggz can be an unusual nightlight to help children relax at bedtime, or a mesmerizing distraction for your infant during diaper changing. Your teenagers can take them to concerts or dance clubs and they create nice ambiance for a college dorm room. Imagine how relaxing a bath would be with a few of them lit up around the tub. Or how, when placed on a desk at work, they might take the edge off from an otherwise stressful day. No doubt about it, Oggz are a great gift for children and adults alike.

Okay, so maybe we're stretching it a bit here for Easter...egg shaped or not, Oggz certainly don't qualify as a traditional holiday gift idea. But, what a great excuse to deviate a little. Whether you like the idea for Easter or just for everyday fun, Oggz color morphing accent lights might just be too "kool" to pass up...even for us.

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Friday, March 27, 2009

Today's Kool Idea: Lazer Brite Reflective Collars

Many of you know by now about Pepper from PoodlePicks. Our beloved black standard poodle has created quite a stir in the sports industry with his record at picking game winners (77% in this past weekend's NCAA picks...better than Obama). But we digress...as with any dog, Pepper requires a long nightly walk before bedtime. Unfortunately, the walking areas available to us are poorly lit, too dim for a car driver to properly see our pampered pooch. We make sure to wear fairly bright colors when walking at night, but were wondering if there was some way we could protect Pepper even better.

We were flipping through a pet industry catalog the other day when we came across an interesting ad for the Lazer Brite reflective collars. How "kool" are these? Made by Coastal Pet Products, Inc., Lazer Brite reflective collars use the same 3M Scotchlite reflective material that is used by safety professionals. Imagine that...now Pepper can glow in the dark, and be visible to approaching motorists up to 600 feet (critical breaking distance)! Hey, if it's good enough for firefighters (the material, not the collar itself), it's definitely good enough for Pepper. We like that the company offers adjustable collars, harnesses and leashes in several widths for dogs as well as an adjustable safe cat collar for those feisty felines. We also like that the Lazer Brite reflective collars have received an industry recognition reward (2008) for superior innovation and function.

As we mentioned with our feature of the LifeHammer yesterday, The Daily Kool is a firm believer that it is better to be proactive when it comes to the safety of our loved ones. Our pets certainly fall into that category. We have to point out that the pictures in the magazine ad were a much better representation of the Lazer Brite reflective collars than we were able to find online...trust us, these suckers really do their job. Pepper will definitely be sporting (sorry, but we love puns) one for his evening walks by next week. Happy trails!

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Today's Kool Idea: LifeHammer Original Emergency Hammer

We at The Daily Kool practically live in our car. Between work, school and other commutes, we almost spend more time in our Saturn than we do at home. It's a good thing we love our car...but have we forgotten just how dangerous it can be? Driving today, we took some time to watch other drivers and how they handle their cars. We were really shocked at how many people were not really paying attention to the road. We saw women putting on their makeup, several cell phone talkers, someone working on his compute and a mother turning around to yell at her children. It is so easy to get distracted behind the wheel...not just for us, but especially for younger drivers. It seems that every day the news announces a tragic car crash fatality. A huge percentage of those car crashes involve entrapment in a lake, canal, ravine or other body or water. How do we protect ourselves and our loved ones in the event of an emergency?

When we had our first child, someone gave us the LifeHammer Original Emergency Hammer as a (believe it or not) baby gift. Perhaps the gift was a little unorthodox, but the sincerity behind it was truly touching. As parents, we were responsible for this precious new life, and the LifeHammer was our gift-giver's way of reminding us that his safety should always be our top priority. So, along with our new infant seat, we went ahead and had our new LifeHammer professionally installed.

Let's start out by saying that we at The Daily Kool sincerely hope that you will never need to use the LifeHammer . That said, we strongly believe that each and every car should be equipped with a safety device such as this. The LifeHammer is recommended by water safety expert Gerald Dworkin, a consultant for Lifesaving Resources, Inc. and has been featured on the CBS Early Show. Dworkin points out, "Once the vehicle hits the water, you only have between 30 seconds and several minutes to make your escape." Having an escape tool such as the LifeHammer could be the difference between life and death in a vehicle entrapment situation. Don't let its light weight fool you...this is one serious piece of hardware. With its double-sided head and hammered steel points, the LifeHammer Original Emergency Hammer will shatter your car's side and rear windows with minimal effort in the event of an emergency. It also has a razor-sharp blade to cut through seat belts to free a trapped passenger and a florescent button to ensure nighttime visibility.

We at The Daily Kool have expressed our love and concern by purchasing a LifeHammer for almost everyone in our family. Though we have never had to use it (thank goodness), we feel much more comfortable for our children knowing that we have this safety device in our car. Please, please protect your family and keep an emergency hammer like this in your car...you never know what might happen when you least expect it.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Today's Kool Idea: Presto Cool Touch Electric Griddle

The Daily Kool is always looking for quirky snippets of information to help inspire us with "kool" ideas. According to About.com, today is the anniversary of the first pancake ever made in New York City (1882). Our family loves these gluttonous little flippers...they are an easy, inexpensive and delicious breakfast (or lunch...or dinner). Sunday is the official pancake day in our household..there is just something about them that inspire a family to sit and eat together. Unfortunately, as our family (okay, and waistlines) continues to grow, one frying pan simply is not big enough to keep up with pancake demand. And really...who wants to clean more than one pan on a Sunday morning...or ever for that matter?

The Presto Cool Touch Electric Griddle saved the day for us. We do have to confess that it was not our first griddle purchase. We started out with one of those large griddles that go across two burners with disastrous results..we just couldn't get it to cook evenly at all on our glass stovetop. We found the Presto Cool Touch Electric Griddle for around $50...perhaps a little expensive, but such a great investment in our household! For the cost of about two family trips to the local IHOP, we can now finally all sit down and enjoy a pancake breakfast together at home. The Daily Kool chose the largest (it's really huge!) Presto Cool Touch Electric Griddle (24") for our family, but you can choose a size (and price) that works best for you. Since we cheerfully admit to our ineptness at putting things together, we like that there was no assembly involved with this product. Since we like to use butter to add flavor when making pancakes, we have never truly tested the non-stick finish. What we can tell you is that the Presto Cool Touch Electric Griddle is convenient, completely immersible for cleaning (and dishwasher safe) and a real time-saver. The temperature gauge is pretty accurate...there are some slightly cooler spots, but we just move the pancakes around while cooking to ensure evenness. We can't quite figure out why we still get a black residue on our hands when touching the bottom, though...okay, maybe we're being petty here, but hey...we never said we weren't shallow.

An electric griddle is a must have kitchen item for any family of 4 or more. The Presto Cool Touch Electric Griddle was a terrific choice for The Daily Kool household. Sure, it works great with pancakes, but it's also fabulous for grilled cheese, french toast, eggs, etc. It also allows us to have plenty of room to occasionally get creative and use our pancake molds for the kids. Our Presto Cool Touch Electric Griddle even inspired us to search for some terrific pancake recipes. Forever loyalists to Alton Brown from The Food Network, we have given you his yummy instant pancake mix recipe. Enjoy!

6 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons sugar

Combine all of the ingredients in a sealed container (check out our Lock and Lock post). Shake well to mix...use within 3 months.

Ingredients for "Instant" Pancakes:
2 eggs, separated
2 cups buttermilk
4 tablespoons melted butter
2 cups "instant pancake mix", recipe above
butter, for greasing pan

  1. Heat your Presto Cool Touch Electric Griddle to 350 degrees.
  2. Whisk together the egg whites and buttermilk in a small bowl. In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the melted butter.
  3. Whisk the buttermilk mixture with the egg yolk mixture in a large bowl until thoroughly combined.
  4. Pour liquid ingredients on top of the pancake mix (in another bowl). Mix the batter just enough to combine...don't try to work out all the lumps.
  5. Lightly butter the griddle, and wipe off immediately with a paper towel.
  6. Ladle the pancake batter onto the griddle. When bubbles begin to set around the edges and the griddle-side of the cake is golden, gently flip the pancakes. Cook for 2-3 minutes until pancake is set. Serve immediately.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Today's Kool Idea: Amazing Kids Magic Kit and Magic Coloring Book

A couple of months ago, we took our children to a festival that featured a wonderful magic and balloon show. Watching the awe on our younger child's face was priceless...he accepted the existence of true magic with the precious naivete of a four year old. Our older child, of course, spent the entire time trying to figure out how each trick worked. Regardless, both came away from the show with an appreciation and fascination of magic that prompted us to diligently search for a magic kit for them. The only trick (no pun intended...really) was to find a magic kit that was fun, easy and just for kids.

What better day for The Daily Kool to feature the Amazing Kids Magic Kit than the anniversary of Harry Houdini's birthday (March 24, 1874 - October 31, 1926)? Henry Houdini forever changed the world of magic and started out pretty much the way we all did...with card tricks. The Amazing Kids Magic Kit goes beyond cards to include a total of 22 magic tricks and gags that are specifically designed for children ages 6-12. What's especially "kool" about this kit is the "Kids Teaching Kids DVD" it comes with...your children will learn from other kids who demonstrate how the magic tricks are done. We also like that the kit includes the two absolutely "must haves" for every beginner..the "ball & vase" trick and the "cups & balls" trick.

One classic that the Amazing Kids Magic Kit does not have is the "magic coloring book." This is a really "kool" trick for children as young as four. The coloring book starts out showing all blank pages. Suddenly, when the audience draws pictures towards the "magic coloring book" in the air with their hands, pictures appear in the book, outlined in black! Then, your little magician can take the trick one step further when, with continued audience participation, the coloring book now shows bright, vibrant colors filling in the black and white pictures. Finally, all the pages change back to their original blank state. The "magic coloring book" is a terrific first trick for your youngest child, especially with an adult helping out with the verbal presentation.

We at The Daily Kool agree that the Amazing Kids Magic Kit and the "magic coloring book" are the perfect introduction to the secret world of magic. Beginning magicians need tricks that are simple, have few parts and are easy to learn. This way, they can focus on their presentation, which is key to impressing their audience. A great way to encourage creativity, imagination and socialization to your children. Enjoy, and be careful not to fall through the trap door!

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Monday, March 23, 2009

Today's Kool Idea: Baby's 1st Toothbrush (Angel Brush) by Baby Buddy

Poor baby! One of our dearest friends has been having a problem soothing her seven-month old teething baby. He is getting four teeth at the same time and is understandably miserable. A dentist once told us that if adults had to go through the agony of teething like our babies, the majority of us would need some major pain medication just to be able to function. Yep, our pain tolerance definitely decreases as we get older, folks. For those of us who cry over a paper cut (it's okay...we admit it also), knowing this makes it that much harder to see our babies suffering. So, what can we do to give our little ones some relief?

We at The Daily Kool have sought several options to help alleviate our babies' teething pain over the years. We've tried several teething rings, blankets and toys...one of our children favored his teething blanket (purchased at our local supermarket), another one preferred to chew on toys (and our fingers...ouch!). However, there was amazingly one product that all of our babies fell in love with...Baby's 1st Toothbrush (Angel Brush) by Baby Buddy.

Yes, you heard us right. We used the Baby's 1st Toothbrush as a teether for our babies. Oh, do we love it when a product serves a dual function in our household! Baby Buddy recruited the expertise of a dentist to design the H-shaped head of the Angel Brush. Baby's 1st Toothbrush has tiny, soft bristles to clean all sides of top and bottom teeth and gums at the same time. How "kool" is that? Not only does the Angel Brush introduce good dental hygiene to our infants, but it will also also relieve that painful, itchy feeling that comes with teething. We love that the small size and shape make Baby's 1st Toothbrush easy for an infant to hold and maneuver. It's made of 100% food-grade silicone (BPA, Lead & Phthalate free), and though it is a little strange looking, the texture was a favorite for infant gnawing. We kept several of Baby's 1st Toothbrush in our home (and diaper bag)...they were a particularly great distraction for our babies during diaper changing.

Okay, to all you cynics out there (you know who you are)...yes, we are well aware that the baby teeth all fall out as our children get older. But, baby teeth are just as important to take care of as permanent ones. Okay, we didn't buy it completely either...but our pediatric dentist insists this is true. It is highly recommended to clean your baby's gums even before the first tooth comes in...go figure! Baby's 1st Toothbrush by Baby Buddy will get your little one accustomed to having something poking around in his mouth, making it easier for you keep his teeth and gums healthy...even if you use it mostly as a teether (like we did). We bought a two-pack at our local baby store to give our friend next Saturday, and hope her infant loves the Baby's 1st Toothbrush as much as ours did!

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Friday, March 20, 2009

Today's Kool Idea: Mr. Clean Magic Eraser

Okay, by now your home should be sparkling clean thanks to all the chores you've delighted in giving your children this week. They have cleaned your floors with the Swivel Sweeper, dusted the furniture and blinds with Pledge Multi-Surface Dusters, sorted the laundry with their Bongo Buckets, and cleaned the mirrors and windows with Method Best in Glass Cleaner...woohoo! Here's hoping our kids enjoyed doing these activities as much as we loved giving them!

On to today's topic. We have a confession to make. We never considered how everyday activities with kids, cooking and pets affect our walls. Sure, we noticed several of the paint chips...but we keep small containers of touch up paint to deal with those when we are looking for a family project. Our kids love walking around the house with us, touching up the walls with their small paintbrushes. What we weren't aware of however, is just how dirty our walls had become over the past couple of months...ahem...okay, years. Can you imagine? Here we bust our tushies and enslave our kids to produce a meticulous house whenever company is calling only to have our guests pointing out the filth on our walls. Okay, perhaps mother-in-laws are expected to find stuff to criticize, but really...how humiliating. So what do we do? Wash all the walls? Pretty time consuming. Repaint? Way too expensive. This was a job to tackle as a family, and we needed help quickly...the in-laws were coming back the next week...yikes!

Man oh man...we at The Daily Kool just love it when a product lives up to its name. The Mr. Clean Magic Eraser is one of those products that does exactly what it says it will do...who would have thought? We've got to give the bald guy lots of credit with this one. The Mr. Clean Magic Eraser easily removed all of the dirt, grime and gunk off of our walls, baseboards and doors. We know it's kind of pathetic, but we just can't express how giddy we were when using this amazing product. On the first major wall cleaning marathon in our home, we do have to admit that we went through a lot of Mr. Clean Magic Erasers...the dirtier the area, the faster the erasers dissolve.. Hey, we did admit to the wall neglect...what did you expect?

We love that the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser is non-toxic and contains no harsh fumes to worry about your children breathing in. Please keep in mind, though...it is a sponge-like product. We caution those of you with younger children to supervise them to avoid accidental ingestion...it may block the gastrointestinal tract as would any sponge. We have heard some rumors that the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser caused skin irritations in some children, but we have never had that problem. We suspect that the children who experienced this perhaps have particularly sensitive skin to begin with. If your child falls into that category, you can always put a glove on him when using the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.

If your walls are painted, please make sure to test an inconspicuous area before letting your children loose with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. We didn't have a problem, even with our darker walls, but it is possible that the eraser can remove some of your paint. But, don't limit yourselves to just using the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser on walls, baseboards and doors...it also works great on sinks, countertops, tile and appliances...it even works on dry erase board residue. One follower gave us a fabulous tip for using the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser on tile grout...amazing!

Reasonably priced at your local supermarket or hardware store, the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser is a must-have in the Daily Kool household. This is quite possibly one of the "koolest" cleaning products around...our entire family had a blast using it around the house. Guess our mother-in-law will have to find something else to give us a hard time about. Let's just not give her any ideas, okay? Um....please?

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Today's Kool Idea: Method Best in Glass Cleaner (Mint)

Okay, we admit it. Our mirrors and windows are often the most neglected areas in our home when it comes to cleaning. Is it too complicated? Nah. Too time consuming? Of course not. We are not sure what it is (maybe laziness?), but we have clearly joined the legions of men and women who proudly declare, "I don't do windows." Unfortunately, as a result, our windows have become a bit of an embarrassment...sigh. What's a parent to do?

Aha! If we don't like it, make it fun enough so that our children will do it for us! How inspired. How genius. How manipulative...do we feel guilty? Perhaps just a little, but that's definitely not going to stop us. There's only one problem. Though we have been Windex loyalists in the past, there is no way we are allowing our children to work closely with harsh chemicals.

The Daily Kool has come up with two solutions for you. The first is to make your own child-safe concoction at home. Simply take 2 parts water, 1 part white vinegar and a drop or two of dish detergent. Mix it together in a spray bottle and away you go. Yep, there it is...a simple and inexpensive (yet effective) way to keep your windows sparkling clean while doing your part to protect both your children and the environment. But, whew! What a stench! Call us shallow, but we just really don't love the overpowering smell of vinegar...unfortunately, neither do our children...there goes our kids' eagerness to take on this household chore.

Thank goodness for the geniuses behind Method home care products. One of our followers turned us on to this dynamite company for top-notch cleaning solutions that are totally safe for people and the environment. The Method Best in Glass Cleaner product is wonderful, and...hold on to your hats here, folks...it smells like mint, not vinegar and definitely not ammonia (main ingredient of Windex). Eco-friendly cleaners have gotten a bad reputation for not being as effective as traditional products, but the Method Best in Glass Cleaner puts that worry to rest. Our kids love the refreshing and unoffensive scent and we feel great knowing that they are safe using it.

It is great watching our kids work together (for a change)...the older one gets up on his E-Z Fold Step Stool (see previous post) to do the top of the window, while the younger one takes care of the bottom. They each have their own little spray bottle and micro-fiber cloth to work with, and they actually go around the house to make sure each window is sparkling clean. We are sure that there are other wonderful people and environmentally friendly glass cleaners on the market, and if you are using one, please feel free to share. We can tell you this, though...the Method Best in Glass Cleaner is a truly "kool" and totally safe way to get your kids to enjoy this tiresome chore. Worth checking out. No more window neglect or embarrassment necessary.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

How Kool Is This? President Obama Gets a Bowl O' Shamrocks

Since we posted the Shamrock Good Luck Garden as a "kool" idea (click here to read) for St. Patrick's Day, it's nice to know that great minds do think alike. Check out President Obama getting his own bit of Irish luck yesterday!


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Today's Kool Idea: Bongo Buckets

We hope you have been enjoying our week of "kool" cleaning ideas for kids. If you haven't already, check out Monday's post on the Swivel Sweeper and yesterday's on the Pledge Multi-Surface Duster.

Laundry has become the bane of our existence at The Daily Kool household. No matter how many loads we do, we can never seem to catch up. Separating the laundry is a particularly tedious process. Unfortunately, we don't have the room for free-standing laundry sorters. We do have a small built-in wire basket in our kids' closet that we have to go through every Friday for laundry day. Since we gleefully gave this responsibility to our children as soon as they could tell a color from a white (thankfully, that was very early on), we needed a simple way for them to sort and bring the laundry to the washing machine.

Pop-Up hampers are a great way to organize laundry without taking up any additional space in your home. We have bought several of the simple mesh hampers from our local supermarket...unfortunately, they are a great example of "you get what you pay for." The wiring easily comes out, making them fairly hazardous for little ones. Though our order hasn't arrived yet, we believe these nylon Bongo Buckets will be a great alternative to cheaply made mesh hampers. We've read the reviews and spoken with a couple of followers with unanimous praise for these colorful, durable sorters.

We love that this set of 4 Bongo Buckets come in different colors and sizes, making it very easy to give our children directions on sorting their laundry in them. They were certainly priced right at about $5 per hamper. The handles look sturdy, and the material durable enough to survive even our youngest child's rough treatment. Ever the multi-taskers in our home, we can see using the Bongo Buckets to do more than laundry...pool toys, balls, stuffed animals and a myriad of other items used by our children can be stored quickly and efficiently in them.

We can't wait to try the Bongo Buckets out at The Daily Kool. Regardless of which brand you choose, pop-up hampers are a great way to make laundry sorting fun and easy enough for your children to do for you. Oh, and have we mentioned that Bongo Buckets can be toys in themselves? We can easily see one playing a staring role in some of our favorite family games like hide and seek and basketball..how "kool" is that?

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Today's Kool Idea: Pledge Multi-Surface Duster by S.C. Johnson

It's Day Two of our week-long spotlight on kids and cleaning. Yesterday, we demonstrated a great way for even your youngest children to help keep your floors pristine with the Swivel Sweeper (click here to read). Today, let's offer our children another important job that will keep cleaning "kool" and fun...dusting.

Dusting seems to be a common chore for children in many households. Though it is relatively easy to do, we at The Daily Kool are definitely not comfortable with our children and spray nozzles that contain anything but water. Therefore, although our kids can certainly help us, dusting has not really been something the younger ones can do entirely by themselves.

Our friends at S.C. Johnson have given us a great solution with the Pledge Multi-Surface Duster. This little suckers really work, and our kids love to use them. We actually had to purchase two sets so each of our children could have his own handle. The 360-degree fluffiness was really misleading...we were amazed at how efficiently this product picked up dust from all different types of surfaces without leaving a lint trail behind. Our kids use the Pledge Multi-Surface Duster on everything...including the television, bookshelves, baseboards, blinds and framed artwork. What is even more wonderful about this product is that we don't feel like our children are breathing in the dust they are cleaning away...the Pledge Multi-Surface Duster boasts allergen trappers and performs like a dust magnet.

Please be sure to purchase the Pledge Multi-Surface Duster with the 360-degree fluff if allowing your children to use it. We have seen another duster by Pledge that has an attached mini-spray cleansing bottle that we absolutely do not recommend with youngsters. Apparently, Swiffer has also recently come out with their version of the 360-degree duster. We are so happy with the Pledge Multi-Surface Duster, that we aren't really tempted to test out the competition. However, if you are Swiffer loyal and have tried their 360-degree duster, please feel free to share your feedback with us.

Don't get us wrong...the adults at The Daily Kool still move shelved items around and dust our homes with our traditional nozzles and cloths when we need a spectacular clean. But the Pledge Multi-Surface Duster really works better than any dry duster we've found. It also helps our children gain confidence as important contributors to the cleanliness of our home. Will it pass the white glove test? Perhaps not quite (especially considering the little person using it), but it doesn't matter. It makes our job of keeping a relatively dust-free home significantly easier. How can we go wrong? Thank you S.C. Johnson...even our kids think the Pledge Multi-Surface Duster is super "kool"!

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Monday, March 16, 2009

Today's Kool Idea: As Seen on TV Swivel Sweeper

As we discussed in yesterday's blog (click here to read), this week The Daily Kool is focusing on helping our children recognize that cleaning is "kool". With the right tools and attitude, it can even be fun...really! Don't believe us? Well, we'll prove it to you.

With small children and pets (not to mention, some spouses), it seems like vacuuming is a never-ending chore around the house. No matter how meticulous we are about it, there always seems to be a Cheerio, fur or some other kind of dirt particle that materializes as soon as we pack that darn vacuum away. Where it comes from is anyone's guess...it's just another household mystery, much like that one sock that seems to disappear from every laundry load. Our children actually like to vacuum, though (we know, we don't get it either). It is just too heavy for the younger ones and too cumbersome to constantly take out every time we see a speck of dirt on the floor. But, hey...if the kids want to help us keep our floors pristine, who are we to argue with them?

Yes, this soon became another job for an As Seen on TV product. We had seen the infomercial for the Swivel Sweeper and were really impressed...not enough to actually buy it from the television at first, though. We found it hard to believe that this lightweight product could do everything it claimed. When we saw it at our local Bed Bath and Beyond store, though, we decided to use our gift card (and 20% coupon) to try it out. Almost a year later, our kids are still fighting over who gets to use it on a given day.

Our family agrees...the Swivel Sweeper is a fabulous, must-have household item. At least we did after we adjusted our expectations a bit. Though we knew it wouldn't replace our traditional vacuum, we did expect it to work on carpeting as demonstrated in the infomercial. It really doesn't, unless you have only very short pile carpet...we recommend that you play it safe and only use it on tile or hardwood floors. That said, we were (and still are) completely impressed with the Swivel Sweeper for those small jobs that are typically equipped for a broom and dustpan. This product is so lightweight (about 2lbs), that our four year old is able to carry it around the house without a problem. The Swivel Sweeper absolutely lives up to its name; a 360 degree swivel base and powerful rotating cleaning brushes that pick up dirt and messes from all four sides of the sweepers' head. Yes, you read that right...
all four sides...how "kool" is that? Our children can even pick up debris right up to the walls and corners with this remarkably easy to use sweeper.

One of our favorite features is the magnetic storage latch that enables the As Seen on TV Swivel Sweeper to fold up for convenient space-saving storage. We also love that the Swivel Sweeper
is cordless. We have read quite a few complaints about the durability of the rechargeable battery, but have been lucky enough not to encounter any issues with it. We will say, however...it is important to really follow the directions that come with the Swivel Sweeper to reduce the likelihood of problems. We made sure to adhere to the 8-hour initial charge instruction and not to exceed 24 hours when recharging the battery.

There are a couple of other things to keep in mind with the Swivel Sweeper. Make sure to clean the brushes every once in a while...sometimes fibers will get caught in them. Also, don't ever consider using the Swivel Sweeper to clean any kind of wet spill...you will likely ruin the brushes and corrode them. If you decide to purchase the Swivel Sweeper, make sure you do so from a reputable company with a good refund policy in case you do have any problems.

As Seen on TV has made a terrific choice in representing the Swivel Sweeper. We understand that there is a new version called the Swivel Sweeper G2 which has additional features such as a touchless dirt tray and backsaver elbow joint to reach under beds and other furniture. We are so happy with our current version, though, that we probably won't be purchasing the Swivel Sweeper G2 anytime soon.

The Swivel Sweeper has allowed us to give our children a fun household task that they love, and one that definitely helps us keep our floors cleaner than ever. What a "kool" way to help kids gain confidence in a job well done...not to mention extra help to us as parents. Happy Cleaning!

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

This Week: Yes, Cleaning Can Be Kool!

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Okay, we admit it...we at The Daily Kool believe that all children should have chores. Thirty-six hours of labor for video game obsessed kids who barely lift their feet up so we can clean up their mess? We sooo don't think so!

Don't get us wrong...we are all for messy activities. After all, how can you possibly bake a cake as a family without a rousing flour fight? Finger-painting, Playdough, sandbox and water play wouldn't be nearly as much fun if we obsessed about cleanliness. It could even stifle creativity in our children.

Teaching your children at a young age to clean up after they play will go a long way towards their sense of responsibility in other areas down the road. The trick is not to overwhelm them...keep it to small, easy tasks that are fun to do. To help keep it simple, The Daily Kool will be featuring a week's worth of "kool" cleaning ideas that will help your children contribute to the household, albeit on a small scale. But who are we kidding...with our hectic schedules, every little bit is bound to help!

Here's a hint of what tasks we will be addressing this week. Come back every day for a "kool" idea!

Monday - cleaning floors
Tuesday - dusting
Wednesday - laundry
Thursday - windows
Friday - other stuff

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