Archives for May 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Tiny Graduate

My Baby is headed to Pre-K!

Switch to Silk Challenge: Days Nine and Ten

We did it!  We made it through the Switch to Silk Ten Day Challenge!  To be honest, I thought this journey would be more difficult that it turned out to be.  My girls and my husband had absolutely no problems with the switches we tried in the kitchen and I was quite happy about cutting back on some of the calories!

I have to say, my favorite switch was was one day one of the challenge when I made triple berry smoothies with my girls! But, we had many great swaps throughout the project.  On day nine, we decided to make our most popular brownie recipe using the Original Silk, took the dish to a party and they were a hit (shhh…I’m actually having another right now!).

Finally, on the last day of the challenge, we opted to go back and try the PureAlmond Dark Chocolate that my daughter loved so much and use it to make hot chocolate this time.  By adding some whipped cream and even some mini-chocolate chips, we had a decedent treat perfect for before bedtime!

I hope you all learned some great tricks and tips on how to integrate Silk Soymilk into your daily routine….it’s a lot easier than you think!  I will leave you with some final thoughts on the project:

Thanks for following along!

This review is the opinion of  the Experimental Mommy.  Others may have a different experience with the product.  A product was received to facilitate this review, but all opinions remain 100% honest.

I’m Going on a Summer Family Adventure at Callaway Gardens!

A few weeks ago, my oldest daughter asked when we could go on another vacation.  The sad part is that the “vacation” she was referring to was actually what New Orleanians call a Hurrication (you may know it as an evacuation).  The silver lining is that I guess my husband and I did a great job staying calm because she had no idea that our little trip was anything but a fun family road trip!

Fortunately, I could tell her that we are actually going on a real vacation…a Summer Family Adventure to be exact!  In just a few days, we will be joining four other bloggers and their families at the Southern Pine Cottages at Callaway Gardens in Georgia!  About Callaway’s Summer Family Adventure:

Summer Family Adventure is a 7-day summer vacation reconnecting your family in a natural, wholesome, authentic environment.  It is the joy of escaping life’s daily stresses, letting children be children while adults rejuvenate their spirit!  Our younger guests, age 3-18, are whisked away daily from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. to participate in our children’s center and day camp activities, while our adults can spend the day as active or leisurely as they please.  Sample activities available for children and adults include. (Activities vary based on age groups)

  • Circus skills including acrobats, juggling and more
  • Teen Activities
  • Tennis clinics
  • Water skiing & tubing
  • Camp crafts
  • Golf instruction
  • Nature and wildlife adventures
  • Fishing
  • Archery
  • Beach fun
  • Kayaking or canoeing
  • Jewelry & pottery
  • Astronomy and Ecology
  • Evenings reunite families to enjoy an All American Cookout, beach party, marshmallow roasts, fun camp competitions, hanging out at the teen center, astronomy, bingo, bike rides, hiking and more!

The seven day adventure includes neighborhood style accommodations in a private two-bedroom Cottage or Villa with living and dining areas, equipped kitchen, fireplace and screened porch, Summer Family Adventure camp and evening activities.  Unlimited admission to Callaway Gardens including the Virginia Hand Callaway Discovery Center, Day Butterfly Center, Sibley Horticultural Center, Mr. Cason’s Vegetable Garden, Callaway Brothers Azalea Bowl, Overlook Garden, Discovery Bike Trail, Pioneer Log Cabin, Ida Cason Callaway Memorial Chapel, nature trails and daily programs
Beach activities at Robin Lake Beach–swimming, paddleboats, miniature golf, table tennis and Florida State University Flying High Circus performances.”

Seriously, does it get any better than that?!?  The Summer Family Adventure packages are available June 4th through August 13th.  We could not be more thrilled to share our experiences with the readers here at Experimental Mommy.  Make sure you come back in the next few days to see what we are up to (there may be a zip-line or possible circus performance involved)!  But, while you wait, check out some of the awesome activities available at Callaway Gardens Summer Family Adventure!

Follow the adventures of the other four Callaway Gardens Bloggers:  Jolly Mom, Birmingham Mommy, Life with Lisa, and In Pursuit of Happiness.  You can also follow all the action on Twitter by following the hashtag #CallawaySFA!

This post is the opinion of The Experimental Mommy. The seven day Summer Family Adventure trip is provided free of charge by Callaway Gardens. However, all opinions expressed remain 100% my own.

Australian Gold Sunscreen: Review and Giveaway

sunscreen About two months ago, my son suffered a second degree sunburn.  It was one of the most horrible experiences EVER.  The events that led to it aren’t important (he was not with Mom or Dad at the time) but in the long run, after two doctor visits to treat his terribly blistered skin, two medications, and 5 nights of sleeping in bandages, he learned a valuable lesson:  DON’T EVER GO WITHOUT SUNSCREEN.  EVER.

We are very fair and I am the sunscreen queen when it comes to the whole family.  So, when I heard about NEW Australian Gold Sunscreen, I knew I would have plenty of opportunity to try it out.  With a Sun Protection Factor of up to 30, water resistance, and a great smell, Australian Gold is the perfect sunscreen to have on hand whenever your family’s skin will be enduring the sun’s rays.  Australian Gold offers a wide variety of skin care products, including self-tanners and after-sun lotions to soothe your skin after exposure.  See some of Sydney’s Sun Tips here. Even if you aren’t lily-white like my family, you should always think about sunscreen when you are going to be outside for a prolonged period of time.  I like being tanned too, don’t get me wrong, but I keep reminding myself that protecting my skin now means I won’t look like someone’s leather handbag later.

Em says it's cool to protect your skin!

School is FINALLY out (hooray!) so I just got the chance to pack up the kids for a full day at our local waterpark.  I applied Australian Gold Moisture Max SPF 30 to both kids before we ventured out.  I found that it rubbed in easily, covered well, and smelled great.  No complaints from the kiddos about it feeling “slimy” as they say with other sunscreens was an added bonus.  We were out in the sun for a full day, so of course I reapplied a few times, but at the end of the day, both kids had some cute tan lines and no red-lobster skin anywhere to be found!  I will definitely be hanging on to my Australian Gold all summer long!

Australian Gold Sun Products are available at many retailers nationwide.  You can also shop via their website or find them on Facebook!  Don’t let your skin suffer this summer!  Australian Gold makes it easy to enjoy the outdoors and stay protected!

GIVEAWAY

Keep your family protected!  Three winners will receive one bottle of SPF 15 Australian Gold Sunscreen!

How to Enter:

1. Tell me how you keep your family protected from the sun’s rays during the summer!

Additional entries:

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

2. Follow me (@BridgetteLA) on Twitter and Tweet this giveaway. Every time you tweet you get an additional entry! Limited to 10 a day, please. (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 Australian Gold on Facebook.

5. Place my blog button on your sidebar.

Contest ends at 11:59pm CST on June 13th.  Prizes not claimed in 72 hours will be forfeited. Open to U.S. Residents only.

This review is the opinion Jennifer of The Experimental Mommy. Other may have a different experience with the product. Thank you to Australian Gold for supplying the product for review.  All opinions remain 100% mine.

Save Time with KRAFT Homestyle Macaroni and Cheese: Giveaway

Weekdays around my home are extremely hectic.  With both my husband and I working full time outside the home, our time with the kids can be limited.  The last thing we want to do is spend hours in the kitchen preparing dinner when we could be spending quality time with our girls. In order to make our home run smoothly each week, my husband and I make both meal and shopping plans and try to get as much done on the weekends as possible.

If you read this blog, you know that my strengths do not lie in the kitchen.  While I am definitely getting better, I still rely on baking kits and prepared mixes.  Recently, I was able to try the new KRAFT Homestyle Creamy Parmesan Alfredo Macaroni and Cheese and see how it would work with our lifestyle.  I mean, any product that makes me look better in the kitchen is worth a try, right?

The KRAFT Homestyle had a few more steps than a traditional boxed mac and cheese dish, but was still incredibly easy.  Within just a few minutes, you could smell the wonderful aroma and my kids wanted to know what I was cooking!  The dish tasted as good as it looked, too! We added seasoned grilled chicken breasts and had a wonderful meal ready in minutes.

I will definitely be trying more varieties of KRAFT Homestyle Macaroni and Cheese.  If you would like to try them for yourself, take a minute to find out where you can locate them and then print this coupon for $0.50 off any variety of KRAFT HomestyleHurry to print the coupon, they are expected to go fast!!

GIVEAWAY

One winner will receive a Summer Prize Pack including the entire KRAFT HOMESTYLE Macaroni & Cheese Dinner product line and a set of summer-inspired Jonathan Adler cloth napkins and placemats!

How to Enter:

1. What is your secret for spending more time with your family?

Additional entries:

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

2. Follow me (@BridgetteLA) on Twitter and Tweet this giveaway. Every time you tweet you get an additional entry! Limited to 10 a day, please. (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 KRAFT Homestyle on Facebook.

5. Place my blog button on your sidebar.

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 review is the opinion of The Experimental Mommy. Other may have a different experience with the product. Thank you to KRAFT for supplying the product for review.  All opinions remain 100% mine.

Gifts for Dads Under $50: Red Envelope Giveaway

One of the reasons I fell in love with my husband was because I knew one day, when the time was right, he would make an incredible Dad.  In 2005, with the birth of our first daughter, I discoved that I was right.  From the first moment Lily was born and with the addition of Aubrie 3 years later, he contantly amazes me with his love for the girls.  He jumps right in and plays dance class, princess parade and tea parties without a complaint.

June is the month to honor Dad and my girls and I have been searching for the perfect gift.  I was pleased to find that Red Envelope has an entire section dedicated to gifts for men under $50!  While I can’t tell you exactly what I selected for hubby since he reads my blog, I can say that there were several great choices!  We loved the Fatherhood Cuff Links and the Amp Retro Style Speaker, we found something even better!  Check out all the great Father’s Day Gifts in the Red Envelope Catalog!

GIVEAWAY

Honor Dad with something special from Red Envelope!  One winner will receive a $50 gift code!

How to Enter:

1. Visit Red Envelope and tell me how you would spend your $50 gift code!

Additional entries:

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

2. Follow me (@BridgetteLA) and @RedEnvelope on Twitter and Tweet this giveaway. Every time you tweet you get an additional entry! Limited to 10 a day, please. (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 Red Envelope on Facebook.

5. Place my blog button on your sidebar.

Contest ends at 11:59pm CST on June 4th.  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 RedEnvelope for supplying the product for review.  All opinions remain 100% mine.

Dress Up Your iPad or iPad2 with Case-Mate!

Case-Mate Almost two years ago, I bought my very first Apple product….my MacBook Pro…..and I haven’t looked back since.  As a person with little patience, the speed of the MacBook fits my personality and lifestyle.  At a blogging conference last Summer, I spotted my first iPad.  Another blogger took her iPad from her purse and furiously typed notes, tweeted and blogged all at the same time on this tiny tablet.  While I love my MacBook Pro, carrying a smaller device seemed like heaven!  Shortly after, I ended my iPad envy and purchased one at my local Apple store.

To protect my new baby, I bought a cushy, bulky case.  I thought I needed the bulk to make sure it was safe.  But what I soon realized was that I was defeating the whole purpose of getting the iPad by adding volume!  When I was recently asked to check out a new iPad case from Case-Mate, I couldn’t wait to try something slimmer.  About Case-Mate:

Case-Mate is the leader in design of fashion-forward accessories for mobile technology and tablets. Since 2006, the company has helped consumers express their individual style with products that protect, adorn and enhance their mobile devices. Working with top designers from around the world and using cutting-edge materials, Case-Mate’s team of technology and design aficionados have created an extensive repertoire of mobile and tablet cases right for any style and every occasion.

I selected the Venture Reptile iPad Stand Case in Hot Pink with Black Accents.  When it arrived, I was immediately in love with the color.  If you know me at all, you know that pink is one of my favorite colors!  Inserting my iPad was easy and a strap that snaps closed keeps it safe and secure in the case.  This case is so much thinner than my previous cover and it even fits inside my purse!  Carrying my iPad is easy and very convenient now thanks to Case-Mate.

I took my iPad dressed in Case-Mate to my blog conference, Reviewer’s Retreat.  I was able to easily take along my iPad to the sessions without fear of injury to the device.  The cover flips open and doubles as a sturdy stand which makes the iPad very user friendly.  I could not have been happier with my Case-Mate!

Have you made the jump to the iPad2?  Check out all of the iPad2 cases available from Case-Mate!  And don’t miss any of the action, follow Case-Mate on Twitter and Facebook!

This review is the opinion of the Experimental Mommy.  Others may have a differing opinion of the product.  While a sample product was received in order to facilitate this review, all opinions remain 100% mine.

Wordless Wednesday: Great Moments from #RevRet11

Stacy DeBroff of Mom Central gives the Double Duty Diva Network some love  during her Keynote Speech at Reviewers Retreat 2011! Woot Woot!

I gave a speech at the Opening Ceremony and didn’t throw up or pass out! SCORE!

Why My Mom and Nestle Family ROCKS

May is the month to honor Mom.  I am blessed to have a truly wonderful Mom who played a huge part in the woman (and Mother) I am today.  While she was never the best cook (and she admits this, I am not being mean), she always had a hot dinner on the table and warm cookies in the oven when I returned home from school.  As I grew, I became very involved in dance which consumed a huge portion of our budget and a major chunk of time.  She never complained.  Not once.  She let me follow my dream and live my love for dance.  She was right there to sequin my costumes, drive me to rehearsal and fix my hair in a bun (again).  I believe that the experience of performing and the discipline of dance gave me the self confidence I needed to achieve great things as a student, a daughter, a wife, a blogger, and most importantly….a Mother.

Nestle Family honors Moms by helping to support Mercy Housing, a national organization working to create a more humane world where poverty is alleviated, communities are healthy and all people can develop their full potential through affordable housing and supportive programs.  Earlier this month, Nestle Family asked you to honor a special Mom in your life by uploading a picture to their Facebook page.  For every upload, Nestle Family donated $1 to Mercy Housing up to $50,000!

I am honored to have received a $50 charitable gift card to donate to Mercy Housing on my behalf.  I also was given another $50 charitable gift card to honor a Mom in my life.  Because my Mom gave so much of herself to me, I will be giving the card to her in order for her to touch the lives of more women.

Now, it’s your turn!!

GIVEAWAY

One reader will be given a $50 charitable gift card to donate to Mercy Housing or a charity of your choice!

How to enter:

1. Tell me about a special Mom that you would like to honor!

Additional entries:

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

2. Follow me (@BridgetteLA) on Twitter and Tweet this giveaway. Every time you tweet you get an additional entry! No more than 10 tweets a day, please. (You must have over 50 Twitter followers to qualify for additional entries.)

3. Subscribe to my blog.

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

5.  Place my banner on your sidebar.

Contest ends at 11:59pm CST on May 31st. Prizes not claimed in 72 hours will be forfeited. Open to continental U.S. Residents only.

This review is the opinion of  the Experimental Mommy.  Others may have a different experience with the product.  A $50 charitable gift card was received however no monetary compensation was received. All opinions remain 100% honest.

I’m a K-Cup Ambassador!

Over a year ago, I first laid eyes on the Keurig.  I was fascinated….60 seconds to a  perfect cup of coffee, tea or hot chocolate?  What’s not to love, right?  I received the Keurig Platinum Brewer for review here at Experimental Mommy and we have used it every single day since!

I was so excited to share my thoughts on the Keurig Brewer, that I even posted one of my very first vlogs.  And judging from the entries in the giveaway, I am not alone in my passion for Keurig!

Apparently, Keurig took note of all this coffee lovin’ activity and I was recently asked on behalf of Green Mountain Coffee Company (the company behind the Keurig brand) to be a K-Cup Ambassador!  As part of the program, I will be testing out a new Keurig brewer and reporting on several varieties of K-Cups each month….heaven!

For this first month, I received the Green Mountain Coffee Breakfast Blend, Gloria Jean’s Hazelnut Coffee, Celestial Seasonings English Breakfast and Tully’s French Roast Coffee.  So far, my husband and I have yet to meet a K-Cup that we don’t like.  Of this bunch, he liked the Breakfast Blend and I liked the English Breakfast the best.  Making our morning cup of caffeine in just 60 seconds is imperative to our AM routine.  The Keurig makes it easy to select a blend, select a cup size, brew and go!

I’m looking forward to trying new K-Cup varieties each month!  I am still searching for the perfect sweet tea!

COUPON CODE

Want to try new varieties of K-Cups?  Use code AM0013-3583 through June 10th in order to receive 15% off your order and FREE shipping!

This post is the opinion of the Experimental Mommy.  I received a product in order to facilitate this review however all opinions remain 100% mine.  No compensation was received in return for posting.