Archives for November 2010

Storkie Expres: Holiday Photo Cards Review

Looking for something better than your average Holiday card?  Check out Storkie Express!  In addition to beautiful Holiday Cards, Invitations, and Announcements, Storkie also offers custom Postage Stamps to grab everyone’s attention at the mailbox.   Throwing a New Year’s Party after all the fruitcake is gone?  Check out their invitations!   Side note:  Does anyone actually eat fruitcake?  Sorry, getting off track…..

These are only $1.25 each!

I had the pleasure of working with Storkie Express recently and I am thrilled with the results.  I ordered some Holiday Photo Cards in the Majestic I Photo selection and they are beautiful.  The card was easy to customize and the shipping was timely.  The cards arrived safe and sound and so beautifully packaged I almost thought I was opening a gift!   I found the colors to be bright and crisp and the photo I provided was in sharp, clear, focus.  Best of all the photo paper quality is top notch.  I can’t wait to mail these out!

Storkie Express also has a selection of photo gifts (I think the cookies would make a great stocking stuffer for Grandma) and Envelope Seals to suit every need.  Don’t miss any great holiday deals!  Follow Storkie Express on Twitter and Facebook.

This post is the opinion of Jennifer, a writer for Experimental Mommy and made possible by the Double Duty Divas. While a product sample was provided, all opinions remain 100% hers.

Vicks Starry Night Humidifier: Review and Giveaway

This morning when I left my home for work, the temperature was 72.  When I returned, the temperature plummeted to a nippy 55!  That is a HUGE difference during an 8 hour shift.  And guess what?  My sinuses and allergies are already going crazy.  Winter in New Orleans is indeed Cold and Flu Season and while none of my family have been hit just yet, I have a feeling it’s coming any day now.

In 2008, we had the privilege of testing out a Vicks humidifier and we still love it to this day, two years later!  It has definitely served us well through two years of stuffiness, allergies and sinus infections.  In fact, I was sure there was no way to improve on this model…..and then Vicks proved me wrong.

Vicks Starry Night Humidifier not only provides moisture and soothing vapors from the Vicks VapoPad Scent Pad, it also projects color changing stars onto your child’s ceiling.  The night time scene comforts your child in order to allow the good night’s sleep necessary for healing.

While no one is sick right now (knock on wood), we tested out the humidifier’s new starry night feature without the benefit of the soothing vapors.  The great part is that the starry night and humidifier are controlled by two separate knobs, so my girls can enjoy the scene even when they are not sick.  They both loved the color changing feature and were completely quiet watching the stars float by.

I am still not looking forward to the day when my little ones become ill, but at least I feel prepared with the new Vicks Starry Night Humidifier.  I am also checking out the tips from nationally renowned pediatrician Dr. Jennifer Trachtenberg on the Cold and Flu Central Facebook page.  I figure we can use all the help we can get in order to ensure the health of my family this holiday season.  Here,  you can also find coupons for Vicks and Braun products!

GIVEAWAY

Are you battling the bug at your home?  Vicks would like to help by giving away one Starry Night Humidifiers to TWO lucky readers (ARV $69)!!

How to enter:

1. Visit the Cold and Flu Central and tell me one of the prevention tips!

Additional entries:

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

5. Place my blog banner on your sidebar.

6. Subscribe to my Feed.

Contest ends at 11:59pm CST on December 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. Vicks supplied me with a sample for review, but all opinions are 100% mine.

Celebrate the Holidays with Hershey’s! {Giveaway}

As the holiday season is in it’s upswing and I start to cross gifts off my list, I realize that I have 3 stockings to fill as well!  Stuffing stockings is one of my favorite parts of Christmas Eve.  Generally, Santa leaves a new toothbrush, new underwear, bubbles, crayons, stickers and of course some candy!  Fortunately, Hershey’s sent me information on their newest offerings this season to share with you.  From the press release:

“According to a survey by the National Confectioners Association, 89 percent of adults will include candy in their winter holiday celebrations.* The Hershey Company has an array of classic and new products that will make Holiday 2010 exceptionally sweet. From iconic candy dish favorites such as Hershey’s Kisses Brand Chocolates, to delicious new stocking stuffers and gifts including: NEW Hershey’s Cookies ‘N’ Crème Santas, NEW 1.45 oz Seasonal Hershey’s Kisses Brand Solid Milk Chocolate Santa Hat, NEW Rolo Reindeer Cane and NEW Hershey’s Pot of Gold Truffles Sampler, there’s something from Hershey for every holiday celebration!”

I received a sample of a few of these products listed above and I can honestly say that I would LOVE to find the Rolo Reindeer Cane in my stocking!  Although, my husband loved the ROLO chocolates as well, he would prefer to discover the Reese’s Peanut Butter Trees in his stocking on Christmas morning.

What I learned from checking out the Celebrate with Hershey’s website is that these products can be more than just stocking stuffers.  If you are looking for unique ways to add fun to your holiday party, check out the fabulous recipes and creative decor ideas!  I know I will be trying out the Rolo Pretzel Delights!

GIVEAWAY

Is your mouth watering yet?  Hershey’s has generously offered one reader a stocking filled with Hershey’s goodies! Your stocking will include a Rolo Reindeer Cane (3.44oz), Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Santa (1.2oz), Hershey’s Cookies ‘N’ Crème Nutcracker Moulded Bar (3.5oz), Truffles Sampler (1.05oz)Hershey’s Pot of Gold and Reese’s Peanut Butter Trees (10.8oz bag)!

How to enter:

1. Visit Celebrate with Hershey’s and tell me which product you would want to find in your stocking!

Additional entries:

1. Blog about this giveaway and link to The Not-So-Blog and Celebrate with Hershey’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.

5. Place my blog banner on your sidebar.

6. Subscribe to my Feed.

Contest ends at 11:59pm CST on December 13th. 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. Hershey’s supplied me with a samples for review, but all opinions are 100% mine.

FINISH Quantum and JET-DRY Turbo Dry: Review and Giveaway

I would be lying if I claimed to love housework.  Honestly, I don’t like it very much at all, but the number one chore that I despise the most is doing the dishes.  I hate it.  Like really hate it.  Short of hiring a housekeeper, if there is anything that makes accomplishing this necessary evil, I am all for it!

Thanks to Mom Central, I had the opportunity to try out FINISH Quantum dishwashing detergent and FINISH Jet-Dry Turbo Dry.  About the products:

FINISH® Quantum® is a revolutionary advanced dishwashing detergent system that has 3 chamber technology that releases agents that breaks down food residues, leaving nothing behind but the shine.  Its so powerful, there’s no need to pre-rinse your dishes. The advanced detergent releases each agent when needed during the cycle. POWERMAX™ bleach granules attack tough stains like tea
and coffee, powerful enzyme granules soften burnt-on food like lasagna, and POWERBALL® withJET-DRY® gel finishes off dishes with amazing shine.

FINISH® JET-DRY® Turbo Dry® provides superior drying compared to detergent alone.  It is a type of dishwasher additive—a Drying Agent—that is specifically engineered to give you amazingly dry cutlery,glass, and even plastic items.

I used both products after eating leftovers from our Thanksgiving meal.  I will say that I was skeptical because some containers housed side dishes (such as cranberry sauce) that had been in the refrigerator for two days.  I really wanted to see if pre-rinsing was necessary, so I placed some of the dishes in the dishwasher without rinsing beforehand.  When the cycle was finished, I will say that I was impressed.  None of the tupperware containers had spots and none of the dishes had streaks.  Only one dish out of the entire load (which was used for macaroni and cheese) had a small piece of food left on it.

Apparently, I wasn’t the only one that was impressed by these products.  They were recently featured on a recent episode of Designing Spaces!  Check out the tips on the do’s and don’ts of dishwashing! Overall, both my husband and I were satisfied with the performance of both the FINISH Quantum and JET-DRY Turbo Dry products.  I would definitely consider buying them in the future.

GIVEAWAY

Do you hate doing the dishes as much as I do?  I am here to help!  Five winners will receive a sample of BOTH the FINISH Quantum and JET-DRY Turbo Dry!

How to Enter:

1. Tell me which household chore you hate the most!

Additional entries:

1. Blog about this giveaway and link to The Not-So-Blog and FINISH (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 December 9th. Prizes not claimed in 72 hours will be forfeited. Open to U.S. Residents only.

“I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of FINISH and received a sample of FINISH Quantum and JET-DRY Turbo Dry. Mom Central Consulting also sent me a gift card to thank me for taking the time to participate.”

Win a $50 SirBingley.com Gift Card!

Did you venture out on Black Friday to grab the best deals the day had to offer?  I decided to join the deal seekers, but my lack of patience derailed my plans for an entire day of shopping.  I made it to about 3 stores and gave up.  I just don’t have the tolerance or patience for big crowds, so I decided the rest of my holiday shopping will be done online.  And thanks to sites like Sir Bingley, I can still grab the best deals on designer products!

Sir Bingley, the newest deal-a-day site, launched on Black Friday and offers up to 70% off on products for babies, children, home and entertainment.  Their first sale will begin on December 1st and feature the designer, Dextan.  Take a look at this adorable Pink Retro Sink!  This toy is normally sold for $180, but you can snag a great deal on Sir Bingley for only $130.  Want a deeper discount?  Start a Circle of Friends!

With Circle of Friends, a unique and innovative concept, you invite people to join your circle and purchase the same item.  If you get 8 or more friends to grab the deal, you ALL enjoy an even deeper discount!  It’s a deal within a deal, so to speak.

Sign up to receive the latest designers delivered to your inbox.  This December, a new designer will be introduced every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  But in January, you will enjoy a new deal EVERY DAY!

GIVEAWAY

Want to try out the new deal a day site, Sir Bingley?  I have a $50 gift card for you to purchase your favorite item!

How to Enter:

1. Tell me which product you like the most on Sir Bingley!

Additional entries:

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

2. Follow me (@BridgetteLA) and @SirBingley 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 Sir Bingley on Facebook.

5. Place my blog button on your sidebar.

Contest ends at 11:59pm CST on December 5th. Prizes not claimed in 72 hours will be forfeited. Open to U.S. Residents only.

This product review was made possible by the Double Duty Divas.  I was not compensated for this review other than a gift card provided by Sir Bingley. All opinions are 100% mine.

Holiday Photo Cards from Urbanity Studios: Review and Coupon Code!

First on the agenda after the turkey is finished:  getting the Christmas card picture.  I love it and stress over it all at once.  The stress comes from getting an 8 and 6 year old bathed, dressed, still, and smiling.  Once that’s over, I get to do the fun part….picking out the card.  This year I was thrilled to test out Urbanity Studios!

Urbanity Studios is an online stationery company offering one of a kind designs for your Christmas Card, Birthday Invitation, Birth Announcement, and Thank You Card needs. The company was established in  2006, and have continued to offer new, fresh designs alongside modern technology innovations.  Their designs are printed on your choice of matte heavy cardstock, ultra-fancy shimmer paper or archival photo paper. You can also utilize their color-changing service (it’s FREE) to change the design colors to anything you’d like.  I loved the Snowflake Photo Christmas Card and personalizing it was a snap.  I loved how this card enabled me to pick the best photo of my son and the best one of my daughter since the ones of them together weren’t quite to my liking.   While you take the wheel at personalizing your card and getting the photos inserted, it’s one of the easiest sites I have dealt with! Don’t worry if you’re not an expert – an Urbanity Studios designer will look over your work and send you a final proof before ordering.  My cards arrived at lightning speed!  I am thrilled with the finished product and love the weight and feel of the photo paper.  Can I just get a volunteer to address them for me?  🙂

Love this card too! Simple and pretty.

Need more to love?  If you are in a jam, Urbanity Studios has a live chat feature for help.  And, because Santa is pinching pennies these days you’ll be thrilled to see that some of the gorgeous cards offered are as low as $0.59!  You can check out their Christmas and Holiday Designs today and you can also find them on Facebook.

COUPON CODE

Thanks to Urbanity Studios, The Not So Blog is able to offer our readers  10% OFF ANY ORDER! Use  the code NOTSOBLOGHOL during checkout. This promotion is applicable site wide towards any Urbanity Studios’ products. Offer is not applicable to previously placed orders. Urbanity reserves the right to discontinue or modify this offer at any time without notice. Valid until 12:00am MST 12/31/10.

Pull your cameras out and check out Urbanity Studios! Personalizing a one of a kind Holiday card couldn’t be easier!

This review is the opinion of Jennifer, a reviewer for Experimental Mommy.  Others may have a differing opinion of the product.  No compensation was received other than a complimentary product to facilitate this review.

Lightcatcher Curtains: Review and Giveaway

hypothesis The Lightcatcher Curtains with Insuldark will be a great addition to my daughter’s new “big girl” room providing room darkening, temperature and sound benefits.

materials

Lightcatcher Pink Dot Window Panel Curtains by Beacon Looms, my daughter’s new “big girl” room and a 2 year old who is starting to refuse naptime. About the Lightcatcher Curtains:

“Add creative style to your nursery window while keeping light and sound out. These Lightcatcher curtains by Beacon Looms feature Insuldark™ technology that controls light, thermal temperature and sound all through careful fabric construction and triple-layer protection. In addition, these Lightcatcher panels are appropriately wider than standard panels for an aesthetically pleasing look (whether hung higher or wider than the window) on top of offering full coverage for your nursery window.

results

My two year old daughter has recently moved from her crib to a twin “big girl” bed.  This is such a great moment, but it has led to her starting to refuse naptime at home.  We received the Lightcatcher Panels in Pink Dot to add to her nursery decor, but little did I know just how practical they are, too!

When removing the curtains from the packaging, you immediately notice the quality and thickness of the curtains.  I had high hopes that the triple layer construction with Insuldark would help my little one sleep again in her new bed so we immediately installed the panels which easily cover the entire window due to the generous width of the curtain. 

We live on a busy street, so the idea that the Insuldark could also muffle the sound was definitely of interest to me.  And with the first cold front of the season coming through now, I am happy that the panel should be able to provide a blockade for the cold weather.  After trying the curtains for one week, I can tell you that we love them!  The room is definitely darker than with only traditional blinds and the sounds of the street are indeed muffled.  While she isn’t perfect just yet, my little one has begun to settle herself down during naptime allowing for a longer nap. I can’t wait to get another set for my oldest daughter’s room which is the coldest in the house!

summary

I was very impressed with the Lightcatcher Curtains.  The look and feel of the curtains is first rate and they did provide a room darkening and sound muffling benefit.  I would consider purchasing these curtains for other rooms in my home.  One 84″ Lightcatcher Panel can be bought for $34.99.

GIVEAWAY

Could you use better sleep?  One reader will receive one set of these room darkening Lightcatcher curtains!

How to Enter:

1. Tell me which set of curtains you would choose if you won!

Additional entries:

1. Blog about this giveaway and link to The Not-So-Blog and Lightcatcher Curtains (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 December 13th. 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 Lightcatcher Curtains for supplying the product for review.

Take the Guesswork Out of Giving with Moomie

So, it’s Black Friday, the official start to the holiday season.  Did you brave the crowds today?  Find any great deals?  Chances are you started your shopping but many have a few “hard to buy for” people left on their list.  Wouldn’t it be great if these people just told you what they would like for the Holidays?  The hardest part of giving is guessing what the person wants or needs.  Enter Moomie.


Moomie, a new online gift organizer, takes the guesswork out of giving!  You can set up a FREE account and enter information such as your birthday, anniversary, shoe size, clothing size and much more.  Next, you set up your gifting profile where you can link (and even upload pictures) of the items you clearly need.  You can choose to make your profile public or keep it a secret and only give it to the people you wish to see your gift list.

I think Moomie is a great tool for the holidays!  I can create a separate Wish List for both of my daughters adding the items they would love to find under the tree on Christmas morning.  I can allow certain friends and family members to view the list making gift giving MUCH easier for everyone involved.  Brilliant!

Don’t miss a beat!  Follow Moomie on Twitter for some awesome holiday gift giveaways! Right now, you can enter to win a Pop Beauty Make Up Bag!

This post is the opinion of the Experimental Mommy.  I received a stipend in compensation for my time, however all opinions remain 100% mine.

More (hot) Ovaltine, please!

Over the past month, I have been trying new (and fun!) ways to use Ovaltine in my home.  We made some delicious brownies and a cool chocolate and banana milkshake.  Today is Thanksgiving Day, and in true New Orleans fashion, we ate dinner in shorts and T-shirts!  The cool weather has not made it this far South just yet, but it is on it’s way!

With the arrival of our first real cold front (yes 58 is cold for us New Orleanians), I am in hot chocolate mode.  I absolutely love to curl up under a blanket with a cup of hot chocolate and mini marshmallows.  While I searched the grocery store aisle for my favorite brand of hot cocoa (which happens to be a Nestle product as well), I passed the Ovaltine and gave it a second glance.  It’s good in cold milk, so it should be good in warm milk, too, right?

My daughters and I made a test batch so we would be prepared for the cold front headed this way.  We used 2% low fat milk, Rich Chocolate Ovaltine, a few drops of vanilla extract and 3 mini-marshmallows.  They both loved it just as much warm as they did in cold milk.  In fact, I think they may even like it better because they feel “grown up” drinking from a mug…..and mini-marshmallows just make everything more appealing!  And of course, because the Rich Chocolate Ovaltine is fortified with 12 vitamins and minerals, I don’t mind making this treat for my girls this winter.

I have learned through this series that Ovaltine can be used for more things than just chocolate milk!  It is an excellent way to add nutrients to my daughters’ diets and was lots of fun, too.  Don’t forget that you can enter to win (until November 30th) a Nestle gift basket including Ovaltine right here on Experimental Mommy!

This product review is the opinion of the Experimental Mommy. Others may have a different experience with the product.  I received a stipend and sample product in compensation for my time. All opinions are 100% mine.

Turkey Gumbo Recipe….. The best thing to do with leftover turkey!

By the day after Thanksgiving I am turkey-d out!  However, one thing I look forward to after every Thanksgiving is Turkey Gumbo.  This is my Mom’s recipe, borrowed from La Bonne Cuisine Cookbook.  It’s fairly easy, makes a ton, freezes great, and best of all, leaves no shred of turkey wasted!  Enjoy and Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler!

I haven't made mine yet, so photo borrowed from Louisiana Cookin'.

What you need:
  • 1 turkey carcass
  • 2 turkey legs (or thighs)
  • Any leftover bits of turkey you have, toss them in too.
  • 1/2 cup bacon grease*
  • 1/2 cup cooking oil  (* or use 1 cup oil in place of bacon grease and that works fine too)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 8 celery ribs, chopped
  • 3 large onions, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 lb okra, sliced (frozen is fine)
  • 1 pound smoked sausage,  sliced
  • 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • Tabasco sauce, to taste
  • 12 ounces tomatoes, diced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons salt
  • 4 slices bacon, slices cut into 1 inch pieces (cooked)
  • 1 -2 bay leaves
  • cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • How to make it:

    Crack the turkey carcass into several pieces.  Place the turkey carcass and legs into a large soup kettle with 3 qts of water and 1 tsp salt.  Boil for one hour. Remove the carcass and legs and cool. Remove the meat from the bones, shred the meat, and discard the bones.  Reserve the stock and the meat.  In a heavy Dutch oven over medium heat, heat the grease and the oil.  Add the flour, stirring constantly, and cook until it turns a deep, mahogany brown.  Add the celery, onion, bell pepper, garlic, and parsley.  Cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the okra and sausage and continue cooking for 5 minutes.  Add water to stock to make 2 quarts liquid,and add that to the pot.  Add Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, tomatoes, salt, bacon, bay leaves, and cayenne.  Simmer, covered, for 3 hours, stirring occasionally. Add the turkey meat and simmer for 30 minutes. Just before serving, add the brown sugar and lemon juice.  Serve hot over cooked white rice.

    Jen’s Tips: When you are making the roux, a cast iron Dutch oven works best.  Don’t use a plastic spoon to stir it because it will melt, and stir CONSTANTLY.    The recipe calls for one pound of sausage but I add more.  I also brown the sausage before I put it in the gumbo.  I use a good 5-6 “shots” of Tabasco and very little Cayenne.  Keep tasting until you like it!  Enjoy!