Reviews

Of all the household chores that find their way onto my weekly to do list, it’s the ginormous pile of mismatched socks in my laundry basket that I tend to dread the most.  It was different when the kids were really little, and they had cute baby and toddler socks with lions and race cars.

The problem is, the kids and their feet are no longer little, and the sock pile no longer resembles anything associated with the word “cute.”   Instead, I have an overflowing laundry basket filled with boys’ and men’s socks in varying shades of white, off-white, gray, black, and grass green (I know….you’re wishing you had such an awesome laundry basket at your house, too right?!).

Instead of tackling the mound of socks on a routine basis, I have the tendency to avoid the task until the whole family is walking around in flip flops asking where their socks are.  So, you can imagine my delight when I discovered that Gold Toe recently introduced their new E-Z Match System.

Now, I have to admit, I was a little skeptical at first.  After sixteen years of folding boys’ socks (with a few cute girl socks thrown in the mix), I was certain that short of using velcro to keep the socks together, there was no possible way to put socks into the washer and end up with easy-t0-find mates once you pulled them from the dryer.

However, Gold Toe managed to do the impossible by making socks that are easy to match and fold.  Gold Toe’s E-Z Match System is as simple as it gets – the number of rings running across the toes of the sock indicates the sock’s size – either small, medium, or large.

Small socks contain one ring, medium socks have two, and large socks feature three rings across the toe section.  This system is incredibly helpful for moms and dads, especially if they have more than one child.  Instead of sorting through multiple sizes of socks, parents can easily see which socks go together based on the number of rings around the toe section of each sock.

The E-Z Match System is available in a variety of different sock styles including liners, sport socks, crew socks, and dress socks.  Plus, as an added bonus, Gold Toe is currently featuring 25% off all their kids’ socks, underwear, and casual wear through September 8th to help you stretch budget during the Back to School season.

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Gold Toe.  All opinions expressed on Cincinnati Cents are (as always!) mine.

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In July, our family had the opportunity to visit COSI (Center of Science & Discovery) in Columbus, Ohio.  Now for those of you who have never been to COSI, let me assure you, it is definitely a trip worth taking.  Prior to this visit, the last time I’d been to COSI was in grade school, and let’s just suffice to say that ‘s it’s been lots a few years since then.

Encompassing a complex that is 320,000 square feet in area, COSI is the epitome of hands-on fun and learning.  COSI features four strategic areas of focus – energy and environment, technology and innovation, health and medicine, and early childhood education.

COSI embraces that childlike love of learning, and makes it attainable for all of their visitors.  It is their desire to give others a more meaningful understanding of science, health, industry, and history through exhibits, demonstrations, and a wide variety of educational activities and hands-on experiences.

One of my favorite sections of COSI was the Gadgets Zone.  Our family spent a large portion of the afternoon in this area, exploring the many different facets of physics, chemistry, engineering, and energy.  The kids took turns experimenting with various pulleys to determine which system enabled them to hoist themselves up with the least amount of physical effort required.

Our youngest son spent the better part of an hour configuring circuits to create a variety of different outcomes – a doorbell ringing, a fan running, and illuminating a light bulb.

Meanwhile, our daughter loved building a variety of contraptions with her special “Daddy and Me” building time.

Another favorite for all of us was the area of Progress.  Traveling back to 1898, you literally feel like you’ve been transported back in time.  From the post office front to the street lamps, it seems as though you’ve walked into a completely different era.

Jumping forward to the 1962 town, the kids had a blast with their cousin in the old fashioned diner, although our daughter looks a little too comfortable with her imaginary beverage!

They also enjoyed looking at the different store fronts, as well as the differences in packaging and logos.

My personal favorite was the gas pump, even though I had a few moments of sadness knowing that $0.25 would now only buy a few drops of gas!

At the end of the afternoon, the kids even had the opportunity to work together to lift a car off the ground.  We literally spent the entire day from open to close at COSI (with a quick break for lunch in the parking lot), and still did not manage to see all of the exhibits and attractions that COSI has to offer.

Since it’s just under a 2-hour drive to Columbus from Cincinnati, it’s a great day trip for our family.  Plus, the membership prices are very reasonable, especially as a homeschooling parent:

  • Teacher & Family Membership – $95
  • Single Adult Family Membership – $95
  • Basic Family Membership – $115
  • Premium Family Membership – $160

Stay tuned tomorrow as I’ll be sharing our family’s experience at two of the side exhibits at COSI – Adventure in the Valley of the Unknown and Sherlock Holmes.

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by COSI.  All opinions expressed on Cincinnati Cents are (as always!) mine.

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Even though I love the busy chaos of our family, I also make a point of scheduling one on one time with each of our kids on a routine basis.  These outings afford us the chance to catch up on life and enjoy the simplicity of just one conversation instead of trying to stream several at one time!

Earlier this summer, I had the opportunity to take our daughter out for an early morning breakfast.  When I asked her where she wanted to go, she decided on her favorite place ever without a moment’s hesitation – Panera Bread.  Between the amazing food and the cozy ambiance, she has loved Panera Bread ever since she was little.

Once we got to our local Panera Bread Restaurant, she took plenty of time to look over all the options for breakfast.  She was enamored by the adorable flip flop cookies, the fresh-baked bagels, and the delicious-looking pastries.  However, in the end, the ginormous candy cookie won a place in her heart (and her stomach!).  I know…perhaps not a traditional breakfast choice, but every once in awhile, chocolate for breakfast is a fun option!

I opted for one of my breakfast favorites – hot oatmeal.  Since Panera had their steel cut oatmeal with blueberries and granola on their summer menu, I enjoyed an amazing breakfast with an amazing little girl!

Settled into our booth by the window, we were able to catch up on a number of conversations – the best things about being 7, her ideas for upcoming school year, and her dreams for the future.  We also enjoyed just being silly, managing to snap several selfies before breakfast was over.

It was such a fun morning, and I truly cherished the opportunity to revel in my daughter’s joy as we created memories together during our mommy and me time with each other.

Panera Bread was recently named one of Cincinnati’s Top Workplaces in 2014 by the Cincinnati Enquirer.  The bakery-cafe concept, with 21 locations and a regional office in the Tri-state area, is in a prestigious class of approximately only a dozen “large businesses” that embody the city’s best work environments, based on a company-wide employee survey on TopWorkplaces.com.

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Panera Bread.  All opinions expressed on Cincinnati Cents are (as always!) mine.

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Our Stay at Riverside Inn Bed & Breakfast

by Katie on August 5, 2014

Last week, my husband and I had the opportunity to stay at the Riverside Inn Bed & Breakfast.  Now, in order to put a frame of reference around this experience, there are two things you should know about our family.  First off, before staying at Riverside Inn, my husband and I have spent a grand total of one night alone without the kids in the last 17 years….unless you count being in the hospital giving birth, which I really, really don’t.

Secondly, we are outnumbered by our children by a margin of two to one.  And if you add in the fact that two of our children have ADHD, it feels way more like four to one!  So, when my mom offered to keep the kids for the night, I happily agreed without a moment’s hesitation.

Now don’t get me wrong – I love our kiddos and I never get bored of hanging out with them.  But the idea of spending a whole 24 hours with my husband without anyone interrupting our conversation was an opportunity that I definitely had no intention of passing up.

When I first came across the Riverside Inn’s site, I was very impressed with the pictures of the accommodations and the scenic grounds.  Upon arriving in person, I realized that no pictures could capture the sheer beauty and tranquility of the Riverside Inn.

Just a little over an hour south of Cincinnati, the Riverside Inn features seven different rooms that are elegantly decorated, each boasting an impressive view of the grounds.

Five of the seven rooms are king-size suites that include hand-painted bathrooms with double vanities (these are seriously awesome bathrooms – there’s more room in one these bathrooms than two of mine at home…but I digress!).

On the first floor, there’s also a guest suite that is completely handicapped accessible.  Even the shower in this room offers full accessibility as well.

Inside the Inn, there are plenty of amenities to enjoy during your stay – a library, pool table, player piano, and a table set up for Scrabble. We took the time to enjoy a mostly friendly game of Scrabble while splurging on sundaes from DQ.

In the morning, we leisurely drank our coffee while sitting on the paved steps that lead down to the Ohio River.  Around us, birds and butterflies flitted pass, weaving in and out of the trees and flowering vegetation.

As we meandered back into the dining room, we chatted about the day ahead of us, and caught up on a dozen or more previously unfinished conversations, the aroma of eggs and ham greeting us as we approached.

Sitting in the dining room, we enjoyed the panoramic views while chatting with the innkeepers of the bed and breakfast, Kurt and Kathy.  With an extensive background in customer service, they are an integral part of the charm at Riverside Inn.  They are hands down some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet, and their love of their profession is evident in everything they do.

And the breakfast….oh my!  Kurt combined sourdough bread, eggs, ham, and cheese to create a culinary masterpiece.

We also enjoyed maple infused yogurt with granola as well as a baked peach.

After breakfast, we strolled the grounds, and took time to sit in the many swings and benches throughout the property.  It was so relaxing to just soak in the beauty of the area, and I could feel the stress of everyday life melting away.

We took plenty of time to check out the gazebo as well.  Not only is the gazebo large enough to accommodate a crowd of people, but it contains everything you’ll need to grill up a gourmet feast at dinnertime.

In fact, my husband was already planning out his grilling preparations for the next time we stay at Riverside Inn!

At the end of the morning, we packed up, said our goodbyes to Kurt and Kathy, and headed back to Cincinnati to pick up our kiddos at VBS.  We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Riverside Inn, and we will definitely be incorporating it as a new tradition – one that we won’t be waiting another 17 years for!

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by the Riverside Inn.  All opinions expressed on Cincinnati Cents are (as always!) mine.

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Riverside Inn Bed & Breakfast in Kentucky

by Katie on July 18, 2014

As much as I love our kiddos and enjoy spending time with them, I also cherish the time my husband and I have together when we’re not outnumbered 2 to 1!  Whether it’s a date night at a local restaurant, a walk around the neighborhood, or a quick coffee at Starbucks, we try to make it a priority to schedule time for us to reconnect as a couple.

Riverside Inn Bed & Breakfast in Warsaw, Kentucky offers an idyllic setting for couples to escape the chaos of everyday life, while relishing the opportunity to regroup and reconnect.  The inn features seven different rooms, five of which are king size suites.  These suites feature new private bathrooms with tiled showers and double vanities.

Originally built in 1869, the Riverside Inn features a variety of amenities such as a billiards room with a Rookwood fireplace, a music parlor that includes a baby grand piano and a fireplace, and a library that houses a large collection of books, magazines, movies, puzzles, and games.  Plus, if you need to take a few minutes to catch up on work, you can access the complimentary WiFi throughout the Inn.

If you prefer the outdoors, you’ll be anything but bored during your stay.  The Riverside Inn has a screened in gazebo with outside seating as well as porch swings throughout the grounds.  Guests will also have complimentary use of the Inn’s bicycles, frisbees, and croquet set.

Guests at the Riverside Inn can start their day with a homemade breakfast that is served between 9:00 and 10:00 a.m.  The menu changes daily and includes a variety of fruit, yogurt parfaits, fresh baked sweets, gourmet coffees and teas, breakfast casseroles, French toast, and breakfast meats.  Plus, guests have 24-hour access to the coffee/tea center as well as a refrigerator.

Located in the tri-state area, there are plenty of nearby activities for couples to enjoy.  From restaurants and wineries to golf courses and boating, there’s something for everyone.  Room rates start at just $239 per night, and the rates include a complimentary breakfast.

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by the Riverside Inn.  All opinions expressed on Cincinnati Cents are (as always!) mine.

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The Newport Aquarium is helping families save a little green this summer.  Visitors to the aquarium will receive two free kids’ admissions with each adult who pays full price.  This offer is valid Sunday through Friday from 4-7 p.m. each day, and the tickets must be purchased online.

Our family visited the Newport Aquarium last week, and we thoroughly enjoyed our visit.  The kids had a blast meandering through the tanks of fish, picking our their favorites and trying to find the different varieties listed on each board.

They particularly liked the fish in the above picture that blended in so well with its surroundings.  In fact, it took a bit of searching to locate this one.

One of the highlights of visiting the Newport Aquarium is taking time to pet the sharks.  And even though plunging my hand into a tank full of sharks wasn’t originally on my life’s bucket list, I have to admit, it was a pretty cool experience.

There’s no chance of getting bored at the aquarium.  From the Amazon River and Coral Reef tunnels to the Frog Bog and the Gator Alley Exhibit, there is something for everyone when you visit the Newport Aquarium.

You can find a listing of hours, events, and special promotions on the Newport Aquarium’s site in order to plan your family’s visit.  Plus, don’t forget to check out the progress on the aquarium’s Shark Wall as well.

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by the Newport Aquarium.  All opinions expressed on Cincinnati Cents are (as always!) mine.

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Penn Station Introduces New BLT Sub

by Katie on July 8, 2014

Penn Station has unveiled their newest culinary creation this month….their new BLT Sub.  You might be wondering what makes this sub so unique and different from any other BLT sandwich.  Just one word – bacon.  Lots and lots of bacon.

Is your mouth watering yet?  This new sub is loaded with thick-cut bacon, fresh lettuce, roma tomatoes, and Hellmann’s mayonnaise (which of course, is optional – but yum!).  And this BLT is not for the faint of heart, but rather is perfectly suited for bacon lovers, especially since it has one slice of bacon per square inch of sandwich!

Our family had the opportunity to try out the new BLT Sub last week, and let me assure you, it was absolutely worth splurging for!  Penn Station is hands down one of our kids’ favorite restaurants, and even our younger two have no problem scarfing down an entire sub and an order of fries!

The BLT Sub is available at Penn Station for a limited time which makes it the perfect excuse to skip cooking for one evening!

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Penn Station.  All opinions expressed on Cincinnati Cents are (as always!) mine.

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Meijer stores in the Cincinnati region have partnered with Produce for Kids in their Get Healthy, Give Hope Campaign.  This campaign benefits local children’s hospitals, such as the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

Produce for Kids has dedicated themselves to educating families on the benefits of healthy eating as well as raising money for children’s non-profit organizations.  In fact, since its inception 12 years ago, Produce for Kids, along with it produce and grocery retail partners, has donated more than five million dollars to children’s hospitals and charities nationwide.

It only seems natural that Meijer has partnered with Produce for Kids.  Since 2002, Meijer has raised nearly $950,000 for local children’s organizations, and they are one of nine retailers participating in this national campaign.

The great news is that Meijer shoppers can help Produce for Kids and Meijer in their efforts.  Through June 21st, when you purchase participating fruits and vegetables, supplies will make a consumption-based donation to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

Plus, if you’re looking for creative ways to utilize your produce, the Produce for Kids site has a variety of recipes available to make meal planning a snap.  So, if you stop by Meijer this week, be sure to add some of these fruit and vegetable items to your cart in order to help out the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Produce for Kids.  All opinions expressed on Cincinnati Cents are (as always!) mine.

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Green Bean Delivery: $15 Off First Order

by Katie on June 9, 2014

If you’re still searching for that perfect gift for Father’s Day, now might be the perfect time to think outside the box….or in the case of Green B.E.A.N. Delivery, it might be ideal to think inside the box!  When you sign up as a Green B.E.A.N. Delivery member, you’ll have the option to choose one of five different produce bins to be delivered to your front door.  The bins vary in price and content to meet your family’s needs.

You can choose to let Green B.E.A.N. Delivery select a mix of produce for your bin or you can customize your bin to suit your family’s preferences and dietary needs.  There are typically 40 different produce options available each week to choose from.  The company’s network of local farmers and artisans provide year-round service to give members a variety of organic and all-natural foods as a healthy alternative to conventional grocery stores while at the same time, supporting local merchants.

In addition to their produce bins, Green B.E.A.N. members can add groceries or a la carte items to their order as well.  They offer a wide variety of all-natural and organic groceries, including local dairy, eggs, meats, bread, kitchen staples, and more.  You can browse Green B.E.A.N.’s online store to see all of the products that they have to offer.

Green B.E.A.N. Delivery makes it easy to incorporate a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables into your diet.  Whether eaten raw or steamed to perfection, these heart healthy foods are an integral element for a healthy lifestyle.  And now, eating healthy is as easy as the click of a mouse.

Green B.E.A.N. Delivery would like to offer my readers $15 off their first order.  Simply enter the coupon code 15CCml at checkout to receive this promotional pricing.  This code is valid for new members and reactivations only, and it’s valid through June 16th.  This is a perfect way to start a healthy habit for Father’s Day without breaking the bank.

You can also stop by the Green B.E.A.N. site to purchase a gift certificate as well.  Non-members can e-mail ([email protected]) or call customer service at (513) 761-2326.

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Green BEAN Delivery. All opinions expressed on Cincinnati Cents are (as always!) mine.

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Now that summer has officially arrived, many families are looking for activities and events that they can enjoy together as a family.  In the Cincinnati area, we are fortunate to have the Reds, the Bengals (well….I guess that depends on who you ask!), shows at the Aronoff, and plenty of summertime concerts.

The only drawback to attending such events is the fact that the cost adds up rapidly, especially if you have a larger family.  ScoreBig offers a solution to this problem by offering up to 60% off sports, concert, and theater tickets.  Plus, at ScoreBig, you’ll never pay any convenience fees or shipping charges of any kind.

ScoreBig makes it easy to find tickets to the event you want to attend by enabling you to search their ticket database by event, type, date, or location.  Once you locate the event you plan to attend, the next step is to choose how many tickets you’ll need and what section you’d like to sit in.  Even though ScoreBig doesn’t specify the exact seat you’ll be in, they do guarantee that you’ll be seated in the area that you’ve selected.  Plus, no matter how many seats you need, they’ll always be together, so you won’t have to worry about waving to your family or friends from across the stadium.

Once you’ve selected all the details for your event, you’ll be able to tell ScoreBig what you’d like to pay for the tickets.  ScoreBig’s Offer Success Potential Scale will indicate if it’s likely or unlikely that your offer will be accepted.  After you confirm your offer, you’ll receive an instant answer to verify if your offer has been accepted or rejected.

When you order through ScoreBig, you always receive their 100% guarantee that ensures the following:

  • Tickets will always be below Full Price
  • Fast confirmations and prompt, professional ticket delivery always in time for the event
  • Tickets will always be authentic and valid for entry
  • You will get the exact seat rating you ordered or better
  • You will be refunded if the event is cancelled
  • A safe, secure ordering system that is backed by the most reputable security companies on the web

I had the opportunity to use ScoreBig for the first time this week.  I was really impressed at how easy their site was to navigate, and how quickly I was able to find the tickets that I was looking for.  Since we are pretty big baseball fans, I was pleased to find tickets at a very reasonable price to the game that we wanted to see.

The entire process – from selecting the game to receiving confirmation that our offer was accepted – took less than five minutes.  Plus, it’s nice to know that I got a great deal on an event for our entire family.  All I have left to do is sit back and enjoy the game.

Disclaimer:  This post was sponsored by ScoreBig.  All opinions expressed on Cincinnati Cents are (as always!) mine.

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