Archives for May 2010

Guidecraft Kiddie Rockers and Table Set: Review and Giveaway

hypothesis The Kiddie Rockers and Table set from Guidecraft will be a provide a great place for my kids to enjoy movie night comfortably and have a place to call their own!

materials

One Kiddie Rockers and Table set (which includes two rockers and one table), and two overly excited girls ready for our weekly movie night.   About Guidecraft:

 

guidecraft “My father started Guidecraft in 1964 in a small woodshop, producing 10 items. I purchased the company in 1995 and have continued to develop the line, which now includes over 580 educational toys and furnishings. Our size has changed, but our mission remains the same; stay true to the tradition of smart, beautifully crafted wood products, which allow children’s minds and imaginations room to truly wonder and grow.

As we turn 46, we see that our best contributions lie in this commitment to continue doing what we do best, while always giving our loyal customers what they have come to expect; expert quality, excellent service and an ever growing collection of creativity inspiring products for children. Our playful furniture is a wonderful new extension of our line and we are delighted to present it to you.”

results Every Friday night, we try our best to sit down together as a family and enjoy a kid-friendly movie or television show.  Most of the time, both girls want to lay on the sofa with both my husband and myself.  As you can imagine, this gets quite crowded especially when you add in 4 pillows, blankets, popcorn and juice.  So, I was more than excited to try out a product that would provide a space just for the kids to enjoy movie night.

From the website:

Set is TWO CHAIRS with TABLE. Children will love these well designed, comfortable chairs! This three piece set is ideal for your dramatic play. reading or resting area. Light, yet sturdy construction. Assembly required.

My husband, being the handy one in the house, was the first to open the package and dive into assembly.  Before I knew it, the set was completely assembled and ready for play.  He commented that the construction is very sturdy and the direction were thorough and easy to follow.


We placed the furniture in our den and got settled in for movie night.  The girls were so happy to each have a place of their own and a little table to store their popcorn.  As the days have passed, I can assure you that the girls have gotten a great deal of daily use out of the chairs and they are holding up great.

hypothesis

The Kiddie Rockers and Table set (in red) has been a great addition to our living room.  It has provided our two girls a personal space to call their own and made movie night more enjoyable for all of us.  For $110, we think this set is a good buy for the quality you receive.

Do your kids need a place to sit? The generous people at Guidecraft have donated one Kiddie Rockers and Table set to one lucky reader ($110 value)!

How to enter:

 

This product review is the opinion of the Experimental Mommy. Other may have a different experience with the product. I was not compensated for this review other than a product sample provided by Guidecraft. All opinions are 100% mine.

Genesis Today: Food With Purpose Review!

Like many of you, I am trying to make better efforts when it comes to what the members of my family eat.  With both kids, I try to get a lot of “bang for my buck” by squeezing in healthy foods whenever possible, and by “hiding” nutrition in things that taste great, but are also great for us.  With this in mind, I am excited to tell you about my recent “taste test” with some great products from Genesis Today.  Founded by Dr. Lindsey Duncan, Genesis Today offers the best of the best in products that will help you and your loved ones to lead a healthier lifestyle.  From the website:  “We get our superfruits directly from the source, from the mountains of Tibet to the plains of Mongolia. And we follow the traditional methods of the indigenous people passed down for many generations, like climbing the acai trees and hand gathering goji berries.”

acai_juice_with_glass_280x241

So what exactly are the benefits of  a Superfruit? The benefits range from everything from weight control and cardiovascular health to mind-body benefits that help support your mood and overall health.  Genesis Today kindly sent my family some samples of Acai Berry Juice, Goji Berry Juice, Resveratrol Juice, Dark Chocolate Acai and Dark Chocolate Cacao Puddings, as well as a Kiwi Yogurt Smoothie and Protein Supplements.  Of the juices, we decided the Acai was our favorite….think of a more robust grape juice.  It was easy to supplement our morning Orange Juice with it and the health benefits can’t compare.  The Acai berry juice helps support healthy energy levels, healthy weight control, healthy hair, skin, and nails, and a healthy immune system.  Coincidentally, when we received our box from Genesis Today, my son was on the 5th day of a stomach bug, the longest-lasting and worst he’s ever had to date.  Once he was able to resume a normal diet, one of the first things I gave him was the Kiwi Probiotics Yogurt Smoothie.  He enjoyed it and I was glad that it was helping to restore the good bacteria in his system that is needed for digestive health.  We were also able to enjoy smoothies made from more of the Genesis Today products, and I am always happy to find things my family thinks are “treats” but I know they are really getting a huge dose of health benefits.

Being a mom often means taking care of everyone else first and taking care of yourself last.  Finding great products like Genesis Today offers means that I can make some small changes that will easily fit into my busy routine that will benefit me immensely.  Thanks to Genesis Today for introducing me to these great products!

How to Peel a Crawfish: NOLA Style!

Are you planning a trip to New Orleans?  If you’re looking forward to visiting the “Big Easy,” chances are that you will encounter crawfish at just about every restaurant during your stay.  From crawfish etouffee to crawfish omelettes, these shellfish are everywhere!  While the crawfish may look like a miniature lobster, the only tools you need to eat them are your hands.  However, if you want to blend in with the locals, you gotta know how to peel ’em! A few tips before we begin:

Tip #1:  Boiled crawfish are ordered by the pound.  They are called crawfish.  Asking your server for “mudbugs” or “crawdads” will be a dead giveaway that you are a tourist.

Tip #2:  Eating boiled crawfish can be quite messy.  Don’t wear white.

Tip #3:  Crawfish are spicy and are eaten with your hands.  Absolutely do not, I mean DO NOT touch your eyes while you are eating crawfish.  You will regret it!

Tip #4:  Don’t eat the dead ones.  I know you are confused and are thinking that there is NO WAY you are eating live crawfish!  But every New Orleanian knows that when selecting a crawfish to eat, you always skip over the “dead ones” which were already dead BEFORE boiling.  You can tell these “dead” crawfish because they have straight tails.  Throw ’em out.

IMG_1333

Left: Bad; Right: Good

How to Peel:

IMG_1329 Everyone has their own technique and tricks to peeling the perfect crawfish, but I will tell you how we do it in my family (demonstrated by my husband and my Dad in the following photos).  First, hold the head of the crawfish in your left hand, and the top of the tail in your right.  Twist the tail and pull it away from the head.  At this point, you may suck the head.  Yes, I said suck the head.  While I am not a fan, my 2 year old daughter LOVES to do this!

Discard the head and concentrate on the tail (where the meat is!).  Hold the bottom of the tail in your right hand, and the top of the tail in your left.  Twist your right hand and pull the tip of the tail away from the rest.  This should devein the tail (or as we call it, remove the poop line).  It should be noted that not everyone deveins their crawfish, but it is something I always do.  You may find a small amount of yellow substance on the meat which is the “fat.”  Once your crawfish tail is deveined, you can peel away the red outer shell and remove the meat.  Enjoy and repeat….alot! IMG_1332

If you are lucky enough to attend a crawfish boil while you are in town, the crawfish are generally eaten outside and accompanied by boiled potatoes, corn, celery, garlic, onions, sausage and just about anything else we can think of to throw into the pot!  Make sure you keep lots of iced tea, beer, water or other suitable liquid on hand as the crawfish and sides can be quite spicy!

While the main dish is quite tasty, it can be argued that the best part of the traditional crawfish boil is the company!  There is nothing more “New Orleans” than sitting around a table with your family and friends eating crawfish and sharing stories, jokes and memories.

Want to see how it works?  Check out my husband and Dad demonstrating two ways to eat boiled crawfish:

Complete your Memorial Day with Frito Lay! Giveaway!

Many members of my family served our Country in several branches of the armed forces.  My Grandfather served in the Navy (WWII), my Uncle was also in the Navy during times of peace, my husband’s father served in the Army (WWII) and my Father in Law was a member of the Air Force (Vietnam).  On Memorial Day, my family definitely takes time out to thank our family members who served this Country to ensure our Freedom.  In addition to our thoughts and prayers, we also celebrate!

How to you plan to celebrate Memorial Day?

Whether it be a beach vacation, picnic or barbeque, Frito Lay has some great products to complete your meal!  The website has some great ideas for recipes and healthy snacking options including this Baked Bean Dip:

Ingredients:

  • 1 slice bacon
  • 1 (15 ounce) can baked beans
  • 1 tablespoon grape jelly

Directions:

Cook bacon in large skillet until crisp. Remove bacon, crumble and set aside. Drain bacon grease but do not wipe out pan. Add can of baked beans (including sauce). Bring beans to a boil. Stir in grape jelly and reduce heat. Simmer until liquid is reduced by half (about 5 minutes). Mash beans with a fork or potato masher and allow liquid to absorb. Add crumbled bacon. Serve with Fritos corn chips. Makes 8 appetizer servings

Nutrition analysis: 86 calories per 2 oz. serving, 2g fat (0.7g saturated fat) per 2 oz. serving, 3 mg cholesterol per 2 oz. serving, 283 mg sodium per 2 oz. serving, 13.2 g carbohydrate per 2 oz. serving, 2.8 g fiber per 2 oz. serving, 3.8 g protein per 2 oz. serving.

GIVEAWAY

fritolaybasket Want to try some of the yummy recipes?  Frito Lay has generously offered one lucky reader a wonderful picnic basket filled with great Frito Lay products!

How to enter:

1. Visit the Frito Lay recipe section and tell me which one you would try first!

Additional entries:

1. Blog about this giveaway and link to The Not-So-Blog and Frito Lay (10 extra entries).

2. Follow me (@BridgetteLA) on Twitter and Tweet this giveaway. Every time you tweet you get an additional entry! Unlimited! (You must have over 50 Twitter followers to qualify for unlimited entries!)

3. Subscribe to my blog.

4. Become a Fan of The Not-So-Blog on Facebook.

5. Place my blog banner on your sidebar.

6. Subscribe to my Feed.

Contest ends at 11:59pm CST on June 14th. Prizes not claimed in 72 hours will be forfeited. Open to U.S. Residents only.

This product review is the opinion of the Experimental Mommy. Others may have a different experience with the product. I was not compensated for this review other than Frito Lay products to facilitate this review.  All opinions are 100% mine.

Uncle Ben’s Whole Grain White Rice: Review

There are two things I struggle with when it comes to mealtimes in my home: figuring out what to serve in my limited time schedule and serving something healthy the kids will enjoy. My husband and I have gotten into the routine of setting up a meal plan for the entire week before grocery shopping. We try to pre-prepare as many items as we can in order to save time (a crucial element in a family with two working parents). Living in New Orleans, Monday dinners are obvious….red beans and rice. I love this dish because both of my daughters LOVE it and they usually clean their plates.

uncle-bens-rice1 Recently, I received a sample of Uncle Ben’s Whole Grain White Rice to try in my home. Uncle Ben’s describes this new addition, “Our Whole Grain White Rice gives you all the goodness of whole grains with the taste and texture of white rice you love.” A good source of fiber, Uncle Ben’s Whole Grain White Rice contains 45g of whole grains per serving!

I secretly swapped this rice for our usual Boil in Bag White Rice in our Monday dinner and no one noticed AT ALL. The taste and texture were the same and I felt good knowing that my kids were getting some whole grains in their diets!

The Uncle Ben’s Whole Grain White Rice also comes in chicken, cheddar and broccoli, sweet tomato and taco style varieties! We will definitely be checking these out soon!

“I wrote this review while participating in a blog campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Uncle Ben’s and received samples to facilitate my candid review. Mom Central sent me a gift card to thank me for taking the time to participate.”

Shrek Forever After and McDonald’s House Party: Giveaway

Last Friday, I was fortunate enough to hold a House Party featuring Shrek Forever After Happy Meals from McDonald’s.  Lily decided to invite her dance class over for the party and she could not wait!  She helped to send invites, clean the house and order the food.  We were sent a gift card to purchase food from McDonald’s with which we ordered 80 chicken nuggets, fries, and apple dippers for our guests.

shrek The day of the party arrived and we went shopping for a few last minute items to supplement the paper products (provided by Hallmark) sent to us beforehand.  While at the grocery, Lily found a few Shrek branded items that made our party complete!  When our guests arrived, we had printed Shrek Forever After coloring sheets and they all got to work decorating their page.  When everyone was settled, we served the nuggets, fries, apples and juice which they all devoured!  After dinner, the kids curled up on the floor with blankets and pillows and watched Shrek the Third.  Lots of giggles followed and they all seemed to have a great time.  Just before everyone left, we distributed the party favors consisting of Shrek Forever After Happy Meal toys.  The favorite was buy far the wrist watches!

IMG_1214

Lily and her friends had a fabulous time and the food was definitely a hit (my kids would LIVE on chicken nuggets if I let them!).  I actually overheard them planning to go see Shrek Ever After together (not sure how they plan to get there! LOL!).

GIVEAWAY

To celebrate the release of the Shrek Forever After Soundtrack (May 18th), I have a few great prize packs to giveaway to my readers including:

Grand Prize:  1 Shrek Plush, 2 sets Shrek ears, 2 temporary tattoo sheets, 3 sticker sheets, 1 poster, and 1 Shrek Ever After Soundtrack

Runner Up:  2 Shrek ears, 2 tattoo sheets, 2 sticker sheets, 1 poster and 1 soundtrack

3rd Prize:  1 Sticker Sheet, 1 Tattoo Sheet, 1 Poster and 1 Soundtrack

How to enter:

1. Tell me which Shrek movie you like the best and why!

Additional entries:

1. Blog about this giveaway and link to The Not-So-Blog and Shrek Forever After (10 extra entries).

2. Follow me (@BridgetteLA) on Twitter and Tweet this giveaway. Every time you tweet you get an additional entry! Unlimited! (You must have over 50 Twitter followers to qualify for unlimited entries!)

3. Subscribe to my blog.

4. Become a Fan of The Not-So-Blog on Facebook.

5. Place my blog banner on your sidebar.

6. Subscribe to my Feed.

Contest ends at 11:59pm CST on June 11th. Prizes not claimed in 72 hours will be forfeited. Open to U.S. Residents only.

This product review is the opinion of the Experimental Mommy. Others may have a different experience with the product. I was not compensated for this review.  House Party supplied a McDonald’s gift card, Happy Meal Toys, and paper products to facilitate the party at my home.  All opinions are 100% mine.

XPROTEX Protective Batting Gloves: Review and Giveaway

If you have a sports-loving son like I do, then I would imagine you are like me….keeping track of gear, schedules posted on the fridge, running like crazy to and from practices and games, and washing dirty uniforms in time for the next game.  While we love watching our son play as much as he loves to play, there is ONE thing I wish I could change:  the risk of injury.    According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, sports injuries are on the rise.  Each year, more than 3.5 million sports-related injuries occur in children under age 15 that require medical treatment.   With those staggering statistics, thank goodness there are companies like Xprotex that are trying to help kids beat the odds.  From the website: “XPROTEX is the future of sports protection. Using advanced materials and breakthroughs in design, XPROTEX challenges the traditional methods of sports protection. By creating innovative coverage that’s lighter, cooler and less restrictive, XPROTEX gives athletes new confidence to perform their best.”

product_hammr_tb

XPROTEX gloves feature maximum hand and wrist protection and are tailored specifically for left or right handed batters.  The most important feature is AIC Technology.  Advanced Impact Composite is  an impact-absorbing material developed through 30 months of  testing.  AIC Technology means the impact load generated by a 100 MPH ball is reduced to the equivalent of being struck with a 40 MPH ball.  This reduced impact means a much lower chance of a serious injury.  Check out the demo video here.

My son is a lefty and we are smack in the middle of a baseball season.  He was really excited to receive his XPROTEX HAMMR gloves and loved the black, yellow, and gray combo.  He thought they were “cool” and couldn’t wait to try them out.  They fit great and he was able to grip the bat easily.   He has since used them for all of his games and loves them.  He  has told my husband and I before that one of the things that makes him nervous when going up to bat is the fear of getting hit by the ball.  With the XPROTEX gloves, we find that he has more confidence in his ability because his worry is lessened.

Practice tonight!  Notice how the protected area (yellow) is what the ball would come in contact with first.

Practice tonight! Notice how the protected area (yellow) is what the ball would come in contact with first.

XPROTEX gloves come in a variety of sizes, colors, and are available for men, women, and children.  More spefically, you can get your gloves depending on what position(s) they are most needed for as the potential impact and affected area differs depending on what positions are played.  It is really important that parents start talking about sports injuries to their kids and enforcing good safety habits sooner rather than later.  Check out the organization STOP Sports Injuries as well.  I highly recommend XPROTEX gloves for your children involved in baseball or softball.   Having peace of mind is better than any winning record!

GIVEAWAY

Have a little baseball player in your home?  Want to protect them with a pair of XPROTEX gloves?  Win a pair right here on Experimental Mommy!

How to enter:

1. Visit the XPROTEX site and tell me why you want to win these gloves!

Additional entries:

1. Blog about this giveaway and link to The Not-So-Blog and XPROTEX  (10 extra entries).

2. Follow me (@BridgetteLA) on Twitter and Tweet this giveaway. Every time you tweet you get an additional entry! Unlimited! (You must have over 50 Twitter followers to qualify for unlimited entries!)

3. Subscribe to my blog.

4. Become a Fan of The Not-So-Blog on Facebook.

5. Place my blog banner on your sidebar.

6. Subscribe to my Feed.

Contest ends at 11:59pm CST on June 11th. Prizes not claimed in 72 hours will be forfeited. Open to U.S. Residents only.

This product review is the opinion of the Experimental Mommy. Others may have a different experience with the product. I was not compensated for this review other than a sample product to facilitate this review.  All opinions are 100% mine.

Disney Family teams with Jamie Oliver to promote Living Well: Giveaway

I will go on the record to say that I am a carboholic.  I love bread, pasta and all things sweet.  However, I am trying to curb my carbs and branch out to the other food groups in order to teach my children to live a healthy lifestyle.  I can’t grab a donut and hand them celery, you know?

I was very excited to learn that Disney Family is partnering with Jamie Oliver from “Food Revolution” to teach families to live better and live well!  From the press release:

Because Disney Family.com recognizes the importance of eating and living healthy, they wanted to provide tips and advice on slashing sugar, cooking light, healthy recipes and more.  That’s why Family.com has partnered with Jamie Oliver – America’s new healthy food champion – on brand new site content focused on living better and living well.  Jamie’s show, ‘Food Revolution,’ addresses how families can rediscover ways to cook simple, delicious and affordable meals, and Family.com now features recipes from Jamie as well as his personal tips for healthy living.  In addition, you can also stream episodes of Food Revolution from the site.

jamie

After looking around the new site content, I found some great tips on how to get your child to eat veggies and healthy desserts (check out the Watermelon Almond Tart!).   I also found some great grocery coupons!

GIVEAWAY

To spread the word about Disney Family.com’s partnership with Jamie Oliver,  they have generously offered one lucky reader a gift pack including Jamie Oliver’s book, Jamie’s Food Revolution, Family.com branded oven mitts and apron, a cutting board and bowl set (approximately an $85 value.)!

How to enter:

1. Tell me one step you have made towards making your family healthier.

Additional entries:

1. Blog about this giveaway and link to The Not-So-Blog and DisneyFamily.com (10 extra entries).

2. Follow me (@BridgetteLA) on Twitter and Tweet this giveaway. Every time you tweet you get an additional entry! Unlimited! (You must have over 50 Twitter followers to qualify for unlimited entries!)

3. Subscribe to my blog.

4. Become a Fan of The Not-So-Blog on Facebook.

5. Place my blog banner on your sidebar.

6. Subscribe to my Feed.

Contest ends at 11:59pm CST on June 10th. Prizes not claimed in 72 hours will be forfeited. Open to U.S. Residents only.

This product review is the opinion of the Experimental Mommy. Others may have a different experience with the product. I was not compensated for this review.  All opinions are 100% mine.

Letters to Juliet and 1-800-FLOWERS: Giveaway

As I get older, I find myself becoming more aware of the people with which I want to surround myself. Creating a circle or friends and family is, for me, very important to my happiness. Is there someone that has truly made a difference in your life, but unfortunately you have lost contact? Are there old friends, mentors, or family that you want to rejoin your circle? Not sure how to open the lines of communication?

ltjj_ecard How about sending an ecard from 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, the official florist of Letters to Juliet? Released May 14th, this film is about a young women (Amanda Seyfried) who helps the author of a 50 year old forgotten letter to find her long lost love; and in the process she discovers love for herself. From now through June 7th, by going to the promotional page and sending a FREE ecard, you can not only reconnect with someone special, but enter the Letters to Juliet Reconnect Sweepstakes and win some great prizes, too! This sweepstakes gives you a chance to win a grand prize of a Nokia Booklet 3G miniature laptop, a first prize of a Rosato sterling silver pendant, or a second prize of a 1-800-BASKETS.COM deluxe Bella Rustica gift basket.

While you’re there, take a look at all the great ways you can make your circle smile! From daisies to roses inspired by the movie, 1-800-Flowers.com has many ways to reconnect with someone you love!

GIVEAWAY

Want to surprise someone in your circle? Let them know you love them? You can win a $40 gift card to 1-800-Flowers.com right here at Experimental Mommy!

How to enter:

1. Tell me how you would spend your 1-800-Flowers gift card!

Additional entries:

1. Blog about this giveaway and link to The Not-So-Blog and 1-800-Flowers.com (10 extra entries).

2. Follow me (@BridgetteLA) on Twitter and Tweet this giveaway. Every time you tweet you get an additional entry! Unlimited! (You must have over 50 Twitter followers to qualify for unlimited entries!)

3. Subscribe to my blog.

4. Become a Fan of The Not-So-Blog on Facebook.

5. Place my blog banner on your sidebar.

6. Subscribe to my Feed.

Contest ends at 11:59pm CST on June 9th. Prizes not claimed in 72 hours will be forfeited. Open to U.S. Residents only.

This product review is the opinion of the Experimental Mommy. Others may have a different experience with the product. I was not compensated for this review.  All opinions are 100% mine.

Wordless Wednesday

It's almost Dance Recital time!

It's almost Dance Recital time!