Archives for September 2010

Musselman’s Introduces NEW Flavors: Review and Giveaway

My oldest daughter has entered Kindergarten (and loves it!) and we are required to send a daily snack to school with her.  Of course, she requests cookies, chips and candy, but I am sure that would disqualify me from winning the Mother of the Year Award (not to mention create quite the belly ache).  So far this year, I have sent graham crackers, goldfish, raisins and the occasional fruit snack, but my daughter is getting bored with the variety already.

So, I was thrilled when Musselman’s asked me to try out the new flavors of their Totally Fruit and Healthy Picks applesauce.  Because the individual packs don’t need to be refrigerated, they make perfect school snacks!  We were sent the Mixed Berry Totally Fruit, which is a brand new flavor joining the already released Peach and Strawberry.  Lily loved it!  And as a Mom, I love that the applesauce is naturally sweetened with fruit juice and contains no artificial colors and flavors.

Musselman’s didn’t forget about the Moms!  The Healthy Picks line is geared towards keeping the parents healthy and is offered in the following varieties:  Granny Smith, Raspberry Acai, and Blueberry Pomegranate.  The Healthy Picks contains no added sugar and i s fortified with fiber, calcium and Vitamin C.  And because they are individually packaged, you can easily grab and go.  No more excuses not to choose a healthy snack!  While the Healthy Picks is geared for adults, my daughter loved it, too.

GIVEAWAY

Would you like to try the new Musselman’s varieties?  One lucky reader will win one package of Totally Fruit and one package of Healthy Picks from Musselman’s.

How to Enter:

1. Visit the Musselman’s new product page and tell me which flavor you can’t wait to try!

Additional entries:

1. Blog about this giveaway and link to The Not-So-Blog and Musselman’s (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 and Musselman’s on Facebook.

5. Place my blog button on your sidebar.

Contest ends at 11:59pm CST on October 18th. Prizes not claimed in 72 hours will be forfeited. Open to U.S. Residents only.

This review is the opinion of The Experimental Mommy. Other may have a different experience with the product. Thank you to Musselman’s for supplying the product for review.

Wordless Wednesday

Headed to Las Vegas for Blog World Expo 2010 in two weeks! I’ve never been there before.  Where should I go?

Corn Refiners Association Demystifies High Fructose Corn Syrup

I will admit that when I grocery shop, I have a few priorities.  I want to be quick.  I want to save money.  I want to provide a balanced diet for my kids.  I try as best I can to read the labels of the products I buy, but when I have two kids in tow, this can provide a challenge.  Food labels on the front of the package make it easy for me.  Labels such as “Low fat” or “Less Sugar” generally catch my attention.

I have noticed that labels reading “No High Fructose Corn Syrup” have appeared in the food aisles after this sugar received media attention for being linked to obesity.  However, thanks to a recent webcast from Mom Central and Sweet Surprise, I am learning that high fructose corn syrup is no more likely to cause weight gain than sugar when used in moderation.  According to the Corn Refiners Association, high fructose corn syrup (corn sugar) is a natural substance made up of the same components of regular granulated sugar.  The components, fructose and glucose, are handled similarly by the body.  In fact, once absorbed into the bloodstream, sugar and high fructose corn syrup are indistinguishable according to the American Diabetic Association.

After taking a look in my pantry, I was surprised at how many foods contain corn sugar.  While I do want to provide healthy meals for my family and strive to keep any kind of sugar intake to a reasonable level, I believe balance is key.  It would be nearly impossible to rid my entire pantry of the high fructose corn syrup and honestly, I wouldn’t want to.  Everything in moderation.

“I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of the Corn Refiners Association. I received a gift certificate to thank me for taking the time to participate.”

Redbox says Thanks a Billion with FREE Rentals!

Around my home, we are trying to tighten up the budget in order to save some money for the holidays.  This means less dinners out and less money for entertainment.  Fortunately, there are several redbox locations near me!  Not familiar with redbox? From a press release:

redbox For added convenience, customers can visit www.redbox.com to choose their title online and pick it up immediately at the redbox location of their choice. At redbox.com, consumers can select their favorite movies from up to 200 available titles, choose from thousands of redbox locations nationwide for pick-up, and provide valid credit or debit card information to guarantee the title’s availability. Once payment is confirmed, the selected DVDs are held for the customer at the chosen redbox location for 24 hours. Redbox.com leverages real-time inventory data and will provide an alternative location if the selected redbox does not have the title in stock.

Because I have two young daughters, it is no surprise that princess movies are popular on movie night.  So I was thrilled to learn that Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue DVD is available now at 24,000 redbox locations.  We can take this movie home for just $1 to create a fun and inexpensive family experience.  However, even if your family members prefer a more “manly” movie, redbox has a special treat for you!  In celebration of 1 billion movies rented, redbox is giving everyone that rents a movie during the month of  September a free rental!

GIVEAWAY

Do you want to have a redbox family movie night? One reader will receive FIVE free one night rental codes!

How to enter:

1. Visit redbox and tell me what movie you would rent first!

Additional entries:

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

2. Follow me (@BridgetteLA) and @redbox 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 and Redbox on Facebook.

5. Place my blog banner on your sidebar.

Contest ends at 11:59pm CST on October 12th. Prizes not claimed in 72 hours will be forfeited. Open to U.S. Residents only.

Johnsonville Sausage: Review and Giveaway

With the school year and football season in full swing and the holidays just around the corner, life is getting busy (or should I say…busier).  Because my husband and I both work full time, it is pretty easy to fall into the “fast food” trap.  You know the one.  Late meeting at work, late getting the kids, homework to get started, nothing defrosted to cook….let’s just pick up a burger.  Ugh.  It’s happened more often that I would like to admit.

The key to success in my home is planning and preparation.  If my husband and I have an idea of what we plan to eat each and every night during the week, we are more likely to stick to it.  But, we also have to make sure the meals are quick and easy.  No time for elaborate three course meals during the week at my home.  New recipes are always welcomed if they can be accomplished in 30 minutes or less!  So, I was thrilled to see that Johnsonville created an awesome recipe section on their website!

This Sunday, during the Saints game, we decided to try a recipe that is great game day food, Pig Tails!  Johnsonville sent us a package of several different varieties of sausage in order to try out a few recipes.  Here’s what we did:

Pig Tails and Fries

1 package (28 ounces) frozen curly French fries
1 package (13.5-16 ounces) Johnsonville® smoked sausage (Polish, New Orleans, Smoked Turkey, BOLD Beef Hot Links or Beef Franks).

Cut sausage links in half lengthwise. Cut each half into three long strips.

TO BAKE: Spread fries in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 450°F for 17-20 minutes, turning once.
Arrange sausage strips in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 450°F for 12-14 minutes or until they
curl. Serve with fries.

Makes 6 servings.

Being from NOLA, we decided to try the New Orleans blend sausage as well as the Turkey sausage.  After baking, the New Orleans blend definitely curled better and looked more like a Pig Tail.  Arranging the fried and sausage on the plate was simple and looked really cute, too! My husband, mother in law, children and I all tasted the dish and it was YUMMY.  We liked the New Orleans blend sausage so much that we made traditional Red Beans and Rice for dinner and included this sausage in the recipe.  It came out so well that my husband has proclaimed that we will ONLY buy Johnsonville sausage from now on!

GIVEAWAY

Want to try it for yourself?  I have one coupon for a FREE package of Johnsonville sausage!

How to Enter:

1. Search the Johnsonville recipes and tell me which one you can’t wait to try!

Additional entries:

1. Blog about this giveaway and link to The Not-So-Blog and Johnsonville (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 and Johnsonville on Facebook.

5. Place my blog button on your sidebar.

Contest ends at 11:59pm CST on October 17th. Prizes not claimed in 72 hours will be forfeited. Open to U.S. Residents only.

This review is the opinion of The Experimental Mommy. Other may have a different experience with the product. Thank you to Johnsonville for supplying the product for review.

Teacup Piggies: Review and Giveaway

hypothesis The Teacup Piggies from ToyTek will make the perfect little “pet” for my five year old daughter and provide lots of opportunity for imaginative play.

materials

One Teacup Piggy named Glitter which comes with a teacup, birth certificate and bottle along with one fashion accessory set.  About the Teacup Piggies:

“Our Teacup Piggies are six-inch miniature versions of real teacup pigs and appeal to girls ages 3 to 10 years-old. They speak over 20 phrases and come with their own teacup, accessories, and birth certificate. Playsets and additional wardrobes are sold separately. Teacup Piggies can be found at most major retailers including Toys R US, Walmart, Kmart, Walgreens, and Radio shack. They retail from $5.99-$29.99. These Piggies are not only a great product with great value, they’re tons of fun.

results

Last season, my daughters fell in love with the Zhu Zhu Pets (and actually still play with them!).  But when I saw the new Teacup Piggies, I knew they would both fall in love with these adorable pets.  Sure enough, when Glitter arrived, my girls squealed (pun intended!).  What little girl can resist a cuddly, soft pig that fits in a teacup?!?

The Teacup Piggy, Glitter, has movable feet which allows to girls the place the piggy in many different positions.  They can put the pig to sleep in the teacup, feed her with a bottle an dress her up to go on outings.  My daughters have even figured out that Glitter can fit in their purses and go for a ride! As a Mom, I like seeing my girls learn how to take care of a “pet”, learn to share the responsibility and work together.

Both girls are having a great time playing with their new friend (my oldest even took her to show and tell) and can’t wait to check out some of the accessories!  The get a kick out of the phrases she says and my two year old holds great conversations with her!

summary

My daughters love playing with their new Teacup Piggy, Glitter.  The doll is made well and the clothes are adorable.  The pigs can be purchased for $12.99 and the fashion sets run around $6.99.

GIVEAWAY

Would your kids love to have a Teacup Piggy of their own?  Enter below to win one Piggy Set including pig, instructions, accessories and birth certificate!

How to Enter:

1. Meet the Piggies and tell me which one your child would love to own!

Additional entries:

1. Blog about this giveaway and link to The Not-So-Blog and ToyTek (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 button on your sidebar.

Contest ends at 11:59pm CST on October 16th. Prizes not claimed in 72 hours will be forfeited. Open to U.S. Residents only.

This review is the opinion of The Experimental Mommy. Other may have a different experience with the product. Thank you to ToyTek for supplying the product for review.

Win Tickets to the New Orleans Baby Fest!

Do you want to find out about the hottest baby trends and products in New Orleans?  Come check out the New Orleans Baby Fest to be held on Saturday, October 2nd from 10am-4pm at the Pontchartrain Center in Kenner!  From the press release:

New Orleans Baby Fest will fill 34,000 square feet over six hours inside The Pontchartrain Center in Kenner. More than 75 exhibitors will be featured, along with children’s activities and a stage for entertainment throughout the day. Door prizes totaling more than $10,000 in value will be given away, plus swag bags to the first 50 moms and moms-to-be.

New Orleans Baby Fest will feature a full schedule of events throughout the day, including:

  • Learn and Shop at 75+ Exhibitor Booths
  • Characters – Meet Curious George, Li’l Stuffee from the Louisiana Children’s Museum and Ralph and Roxanne (characters from the books The Beignet That Almost Got Away and Counting Around the Neutral Ground)
  • Music – Cajun, Zydeco and New Orleans Children’s Music by Papillion
  • Face Painting
  • Gym Rompers Activities – music, parachute, bubbles and more
  • St. Tammany Fire District 12 – fireman uniform, glow sticks, coloring books, safety videos and car seat safety demonstration
  • “Twilight” Red Carpet
  • Dad Zone – big screen TV and seating
  • Daddy Diaper Derby Relay
  • Don’t miss any of the updates by following New Orleans Baby Fest on Twitter!

    Experimental Mommy has FOUR New Orleans Baby Fest tickets to giveaway!  Simply fill out the form below to be entered to win.   The contest will close on Tuesday, September 28 at 11:59pm CST.

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    Pure Costumes

    My daughters love Halloween.  My daughters hate Halloween.  Yes, it can happen.  They absolutely LOVE dressing up in princess costumes, but they absolutely HATE being scared by vampire costumes.  But, I try to explain to them that the beauty of Halloween is that you can transform yourself into ANYTHING your heart desires.  While one of your friends may be excited to dress like a cheerleader, another may have a ton of fun as a Ninja!

    No matter what you want to be, you can find inspiration for a fabulous (or scary) Halloween at Pure Costumes!  From toddler costumes to adult costumes, you are sure to find what you are looking for this season.  My daughters, ages 2 and 5, love to dress alike.  So, I sat them down to see if any of the Pure Costumes caught their attention.  The both actually fell in love with a Japanese Princess Costume which happens to be on sale for $39.95! YAY!  The costume includes the kimono, skirt and butterfly headband which was the big draw for my girls.

    Through September 30th, if you spend $60 or more on Pure Costumes, shipping is FREE.  Simply enter SEPT60 at checkout!  Don’t forget to follow Pure Costumes on Twitter and Fan on Facebook to be the first to learn about special deals and discounts!

    I was compensated for my time by Pure Costumes, but all opinions remain 100% mine.

    DYMO LabelManager 260p: Review and Giveaway

    hypothesis The DYMO LabelManager 260p will help my husband, who is a high school teacher, organize his classroom and prepare for an upcoming Senior Class trip.

    materials

    One DYMO LabelManager 260p, one stressed out hubby and lots of organizing to accomplish before a class trip.  About the DYMO LabelManager 260p:

    “Powered by a lithium-ion battery – the same technology used to power cell phones and laptop computers – the DYMO® LabelManager® 260P label maker eliminates the inconvenience of AA batteries. The label maker’s sleek new design is perfect for any office or workspace. See what your labels will look like before you print them on a new, large 1.18” x 2.36” screen that displays two lines of text. Work faster with an improved user interface that displays all menu commands without scrolling, and includes easy-to-read icons for formatting options. Choose from 3 fonts and 6 text styles; highlight your text with 8 box styles or underlining. Print up to nine copies of the same label, and prevent repeated work with a 9-label memory and “save text” feature. LabelManager 260P uses DYMO D1 labels in 1/4″, 3/8″ and 1/2” widths. Enter text quickly and naturally with the familiar ABC keyboard layout, and use special function keys for fast access to punctuation marks, currency and other special symbols.

    results

    My husband has been a teacher for about 10 years now.  He absolutely loves his job and teaching is like a calling for him.  It is so great to see him interact with the students and make a difference in their lives.  He is also a class coordinator which means he is in charge of the activities of a group of students (about 250 kids) as well as the coordinator of a Senior class trip.  With all of his duties, it is imperative that he remain organized.

    Fortunately, over the years, he has created a filing and notetaking system that works well for him.  I have seen him spend countless hours labeling folders and tagging binders so I knew that the LabelManager would be a great product for him to test.  Here are some of his thoughts:

    • The LabelManager 260p is small in size and completely portable.  He can slip it in his bag and transport to school.
    • Rechargeable batteries are included so he could start creating quickly.
    • Both vertical and horizontal labels can be made in order to label both file folders and binders/notebooks.
    • Several fonts can be used in order to distinguish different topics.
    • Printing several copies of the same label saved tons of time.

    My husband sat down with the LabelManager 260p and organized all of the info he needed for the Senior Class Trip.  It was quick, easy and makes everything look so organized!

    summary

    My husband loved using the DYMO LabelMANAGER 260P .  It’s portability and versatility made excellent marks with this high school History teacher and at just $65.99, it stays within his budget as well.

    GIVEAWAY

    Do you need to organize your life?  DYMO has generously donated one LabelManager 260p (ARV $65.99) to one lucky reader!

    How to Enter:

    1. Visit DYMO and tell me which feature you are most excited about on the LabelManager 260p?

    Additional entries:

    1. Blog about this giveaway and link to The Not-So-Blog and DYMO (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 button on your sidebar.

    Contest ends at 11:59pm CST on October 15th. Prizes not claimed in 72 hours will be forfeited. Open to U.S. Residents only.

    This review is the opinion of The Experimental Mommy. Other may have a different experience with the product. Thank you to DYMO for supplying the product for review.

    Smucker’s Uncrustables

    Now that school and extra-curricular activities have begun, our lives have gone from busy to busier!  My husband and I are doing a great deal of meal planning to try to keep the need to eat fast food to a minimum.  However, try as we might, some days are just too hectic to prepare a full meal.  So, I was excited about the opportunity to try out the Smucker’s Uncrustables with my girls.

    This thaw and serve sandwich can be purchased in many varieties including peanut butter and strawberry jam or peanut butter on white or wheat, grape jam on white or wheat and peanut butter and honey on wheat.  My girls decided to try the strawberry option.  Every Tuesday, my little one goes to dance class which makes mealtime rushed.  This week, we decided to leave the frozen Uncrustable on the counter while we ran to dance class.  When we returned an hour later, the sandwich was thawed and ready to serve!  My girls loved the “pocket” sandwich because it was delicious and there was no crust.  I loved the sandwich because it was easy, fast and my girls ate the entire thing!

    If you would like to try a box of Uncrustables, visit Smucker’s on September 24th and leave your best organizational or time saving tip to receive a coupon for a FREE box!  Only 400 coupons will be distributed!

    “I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Smucker’s and received products necessary to facilitate my candid review. In addition, I received a gift certificate to thank me for taking the time to participate.”