Archives for August 2011

Tell Krazy Glue about your Krazy Life {$50 Walmart Giveaway}

krazyglueAs I plop in bed for the night, sometimes I reflect on the day’s activities.  Getting kids dressed for school, carpool, 8 hours of work, dinner, homework, dance lessons, bath time, and an occasional minute or two for my hubby…..and that’s before the blogging even begins.  How does it all fit into a 24 hour period?  After meeting Cecelia of Cool Baby Kid at BlogHer in 2009, we connected by comparing notes of our crazy lives and how we managed to “do it all.”  Out of our discussion grew what would soon become our first business venture, the Double Duty Divas.  Our main goal was (and still is) to help busy mom bloggers gain readership through the theory of “power in numbers.”  Along the way, the Double Duty Divas have grown into a consulting company for brands wishing to work with reputable product review bloggers and before we knew it, our second business venture was born.  Reviewer’s Retreat, the first blog conference geared towards the product review blogger, was a natural extension of our mission and the Divas.  Through our conference, we are helping bloggers to connect with like-minded bloggers as well as the brands they love to form mutually beneficial relationships.   It’s my life, it’s crazy, and I love it!

Do you have a crazy life?  Krazy Glue, the leading innovator of instant adhesives, wants to know!  Enter to win one of several fun weekly prizes on Krazy Glue’s new Facebook page by telling them your Krazy Life Story now through the end of the year.

GIVEAWAY

One lucky reader can win right here on Experimental Mommy! You will receive a Krazy Glue prize pack including samples and branded materials plus a $50 Walmart Gift Card!

How to Enter:

1. Tell me your Krazy Life Story!

Additional entries:

1. Blog about this giveaway and link to The Not-So-Blog and Krazy Glue (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 My Krazy Life on Facebook.

5. Place my blog button on your sidebar.

6.  Submit your Krazy Life Story on the Krazy Glue Facebook Page.

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

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

My Journey to Better Blogging with Windows Champions

Earlier this year, I attended a blogging conference here in New Orleans.  I got to meet new friends, connect with brands and most importantly, learn about my craft.  As most of my readers know, blogging is my hobby.  I work outside the home full time and do not have as much time as I would like to dedicate to Experimental Mommy.  Time is of the essence!  I need to be able to create good content in a short amount of time in order to fit everything into my lifestyle.  You can imagine my interest when I heard several bloggers at the conference singing the praises of a program called Windows Live Writer and how they can no longer live without it.

As luck would have it, I happened to sit at a table with a Microsoft Representative who schooled me on the features of Live Writer.  She had me at “incredibly fast image editing.”  I spend the majority of my time uploading, cropping, sizing and watermarking pictures so I was elated to hear about a program that would shorten the process.  I think I begged her for more information and a few short weeks later, I was chosen to become a Windows Champion!

In the upcoming year, I will have the opportunity to learn about Windows programs and pass along tips to you, my readers.  I was loaned a Sony Vaio Y laptop (it’s pink!) in order to help me on my journey to better blogging.  I am already loving the portability of this laptop!  At only 3.23 lbs and a battery life of 6 hours, the Sony Vaio Y is perfect to take to blog conferences or brand events.

I am so excited to be a part of the Windows Champions program and share with you tips and tricks to make your life easier and maybe even a few fun giveaways.  Make sure to follow along at #windowschampions!  Stay tuned!

I am part of the Windows Champions Blogger Team.  I was loaned a Sony Vaio Y for one year in order to facilitate my posts.  All opinions remain 100% mine.

Ladybug Girl Book Series and Free Printables {Giveaway}

My oldest daughter just began 1st grade last week.  Over the Summer, I really saw her reading skills improve to the point where I can’t keep enough books in the house to satisfy her appetite for reading.  I am constantly on the look-out for books that will challenge her, but she can successfully complete to boost her confidence.

I heard about the story line of Ladybug Girl, a children’s book by David Soman and Jackie Davis which made the New York Times Bestseller list, and thought it would be great for my daughter.  This series stars Lulu aka Ladybug Girl, a little girl who seeks adventure while dressed up in her beloved ladybug costume.

We received two of books in the series, “Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad” and “Ladybug Girl at the Beach” for review.  As I predicted, my daughter grabbed the books and raced to her bed to read all about the adventures.  My youngest daughter was entranced by the pictures while Big Sis read to her.  We really enjoyed them both but “Ladybug Girl at the Beach” was our favorite.  From the press release:

Lulu loves the beach. Well, she’s never been there before, but she knows she will love it. And then she sees the ocean and it is big and loud and rough. That’s okay – Lulu wanted to build sand castles and fly her kite with Bingo anyway. But while they are building their sand castle, the sneaky ocean comes in and tries to steal Lulu’s favorite pail. This is a job for Ladybug Girl!

In the end, Lulu was able to conquer her fear of the ocean!  My girls both loved the storyline, the pictures and of course, Bingo the dog!  I would highly recommend this book series for your early reader.

Check out the free printables and games from Ladybug girl!

GIVEAWAY

One reader will win both “Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad” and “Ladybug Girl at the Beach” hardcover books (ARV $34)!

How to Enter:

1. Tell me how you encourage a love of reading in your children!

Additional entries:

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

5. Place my blog button on your sidebar.

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

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

Six Years Ago, I Learned….

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Images I took Post-Katrina

……a Hurricane named Katrina had destroyed my City.

I learned what hitting rock bottom feels like.  On the other hand, I learned how strong I really am.  I learned humility as I stood in line for food stamps.  I learned that family is everything and friendship knows no boundaries.  I learned that quietly crying with your spouse in a hotel bathroom so as to not wake your 6 month old baby can threaten to tear apart your world, but only makes it stronger.  I learned that shouting “Who Dat!” is so much more than a football chant and proudly wearing black and gold is a symbol of unity.

Six years ago today, my life changed forever.  But believe it or not….it changed for the better.  Today, I remember the struggles of my neighbors, my family, my friends and my City as we continue to rebuild New Orleans.

Back to School Week with Nestle Family: What’s your Resolution?

This year, the beginning of school is bittersweet for me.  My oldest is starting 1st grade…that’s like real school, y’all.  She has a desk, textbooks, homework and tests….with letter grades.  Where did the time go?  And to top it off, my youngest is entering Pre-K 3 at the same school wearing a uniform.  While I am so excited that both my girls will be at the same location this year (so easy with only one drop off and one pick up), sending them both off on the first day was rough.

But, we have been in school now for almost 2 weeks and we are settling in to a new routine.  As I have spent many hours reflecting and praying about the new school year, Nestle Family has asked me to share with you my most important resolution.  With our new routine, mornings have become easier but I am still struggling with evenings and dinnertime.  Because my husband and I both work outside the home, preparing a well balanced dinner can be challenging.  So this year, my New School Year Resolution is:

“To provide my children with well planned and balanced brain-food.”

While I try my best to consistently provide fruit, veggies, protein, dairy and fiber, life gets in the way and meals on the go become more frequent.  But, with proper planning and preparing, I resolve to put healthy meals on the table to give my kids the best opportunity to thrive at school and in their studies.

To help give kids the best possible start to the New School Year, Nestle Family has generously donated $350 worth of RIF books to the school of my choice!  My first grader, who is developing wonderful reading skills, will be helping me bring the books to school.

Do you have a New School Year Resolution?  Join me this Thursday, September 1st on Nestle Family’s Facebook page to chat about your resolution and your kids’ goals this school year.  And check back right here on Friday to find an exciting giveaway from Nestle Family!

This post is the opinion of the Experimental Mommy.  While I was compensated for this post, all opinions remain 100% mine.

Back to School with Lovable Labels {Review and Giveaway}

With two daughters entering school this year, we were hit with quite the supply list!  My husband and I shopped till we dropped and purchased a whole basket worth of notebooks, folders, pencils, markers, glue, wipes and ziploc bags.  Once we visited the school for the first time, we learned that everything…..and they do mean everything….has to be labeled.  Looking at the packs of crayons and markers where each individual item had to labeled, I figured that there had to be a better way.

Lovable Labels rescued me!  With the money we spend on shoes, uniforms and supplies, I wanted to make sure that we labeled everything with a sturdy sticker that would increase our chances of finding lost items.  From the website:

Our labels are made with a special “perma-grip” backing that will stick to almost any surface. Our labels are UV resistant, dishwasher and microwave safe. The iron-on labels are made with a special industrial material and are washer and dryer safe. The bag tags are made of special flexible plastic and the metal tags are made out of metal of course.”

Perfect!  Lovable Labels offers Regular Sticker Labels which are great for  most  school supplies and water bottles, along with Shoe Labels, Iron-On Labels, and Press n’ Stick Clothing DOTS. But, my absolute favorite are the Slimline labels which have been a lifesaver for crayons, markers and scissors.

We were fortunate enough to receive a Back to School pack from Lovable Labels to start off our new school year.  IMG_2779

The pack includes the following:

  • 15 Regular Sticker Labels
  • 80 Slimline Labels
  • 48 Press N’ Stick Clothing DOTS
  • 12 Shoe Labels
  • 12 Multi-Purpose Square Labels
  • 2 Tags

We chose the Diva Back to School Pack which consists of 6 fun and girly styles personalized with my older daughter’s name.  We used them for labeling crayons, scissors, shoes, sweaters, and books.  I was most skeptical about the shoe labels, but to my surprise, they have stayed put and made it through the first 2 weeks of school so far.  We have already recommended the product to several classmates!

Lovable Labels also offers products to organize your home, medical labels (for alerting of an allergy issue) and adorable stationary, too!  If you are looking to make your school routine or home routine easier, check out everything Lovable Labels has to offer!

GIVEAWAY

One winner will receive a Lovable Labels Back to School Pack in their choice of designs!

How to Enter:

1. Tell me which Back to School design you would choose if you won!

Additional entries:

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

2. Follow me (@BridgetteLA) and @mylovablelabels 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 Lovable Labels on Facebook.

5. Place my blog button on your sidebar.

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

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

Take a Family Cruise on the Steamboat Natchez in NOLA

Most of the time, when I tell people that I am from New Orleans, I get one of two responses:

1.)  Were you flooded in Hurricane Katrina?

2.)  It must be great to party on Bourbon St. every weekend!

Because I love my City, I have no problems answering questions about Katrina or the party atmosphere, but most people are surprised to learn that New Orleans is actually a very family friendly town.  If you visit, make sure you take a moment to step away from the lure of the French Quarter and see all that NOLA has to offer!

New Orleans has a first class zoo, aquarium, insectarium, children’s museum, and amusement park….and I haven’t even started to tell you about the food!  But one of my favorite NOLA activities for the kids is taking them for a ride down the Mississippi River on the Steamboat Natchez!

Steamboat Natchez

“The New Orleans Steamboat Company was founded by Wilbur and Bill Dow after the rebuilding of the Toulouse Street Wharf in the French Quarter in 1974. Less than one year later, the 1600 passenger Steamboat NATCHEZ was christened. New Orleans Steamboat Company is well recognized and regarded for its contribution to the New Orleans cultural landscape and tourism industry. Since 1975, the Steamboat NATCHEZ has sailed daily offering Mississippi River cruises featuring live jazz, wonderful New Orleans cuisine and the best view in town! Take a cruise and experience part of our American Heritage.”

My husband and I have taken our girls on the Natchez and they had a blast, so I am excited to take them again on September 10th at 11:30am CST for the “Cruise with your Crew” event!  This family cruise lasts two hours and includes childrens’ musical entertainment, trivia with prizes and a themed menu complete with non-alcoholic frozen drinks.  Five lucky families will be selected randomly for a free family photo from the NATCHEZ photographer. Tickets can be purchased for $15/adult or $7.50/child 6-12.  Kids 5 and under ride FREE!

For your next family vacation, consider New Orleans!  We would be glad to have you!

This post is the opinion of the Experimental Mommy.  While tickets for the cruise were provided for my family, all opinions remain 100% mine.

Back to School with Land’s End {Review}

Believe it or not, both of my daughters are back in school already!  This year is a little bittersweet for me because my youngest is going to “big girl school” with her sister and entering Pre-K (3).  Yep, my baby is going to school!  We are definitely still in an adjustment period, but she is doing well (and I am getting used to it, too!). 

To prepare my little ones for a successful school year, I went straight to Land’s End to purchase their backpacks.  My oldest daughter has been using Land’s End backpacks for a few years now and I love the quality, function and sizes available. My favorite feature is that there are several sizes to choose from based on your child’s height and workload….even one for my preschooler.  Matching lunch boxes are also available in plenty of adorable patterns and you can even personalize each item with monograms, embroidery, heat transfers and numbers to make their belongings stand out in the crowd.

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Because I actually already purchased Land’s End backpacks and lunch boxes for my two daughters, I decided to take a look at the new Fall Collection.  My girls wear school uniforms, so on the weekends they love to show their sense of style.  My oldest chose a Girl’s Long Sleeve Oxford Shirtdress in Pink Stripes to review.  We live in New Orleans where it is still reaching close to 100 degrees, so I love that this dress has sleeves that can be rolled above the elbow but adjusted to long length when Fall arrives.  The material and construction is quite sturdy and I expect it to last long enough for my second daughter to wear in a few years.  The belt gives the dress a sassy look!   It is a bit long for her right now, but I ordered a size up because I would like her to be able to wear it throughout the winter.  Some of my other back to school favorites are:

  • Cozy Cable Knit Leggings (I already purchased a few pair for winter!)
  • Stretch Pencil Leg Jeans
  • Girls Heart ClassMate SmallHaul Backpack
  • Girls Print Featherlight Lunchbox

If you are preparing for back to school like we are, check out Land’s End for backpacks, outerwear, gender-specific uniforms and fall apparel.  I’ve already prepared for the winter months by purchasing some of the Cozy Cable Knit leggings for my girls!

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

Softy Soakers by Aurora: Review and Giveaway

I remember as a child getting little figurines that you soaked in the water for two or three days to watch it grow.  I also remember thinking it was never going to be ready!  Thankfully, Aurora World Inc. has come up with a new concept that allows your toy to grow in just 40 seconds instead of 72 hours.

“Aurora World, Inc. celebrating its 30th Anniversary this year, is releasing a plush collection that loves diving into water in the summer as much as kids do.  Simply place Softy Soakers in water and the plush expands from practically nothing into a full size, eight-inch plush animal. The initial collection includes the Fanta-Sea plush assortment, and based on the response from buyers at this year’s winter shows, Aurora sees a huge hit in the making.”

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We received a flat alligator with instructions to make it grow. Jack submerged the alligator and I massaged it for about 40 seconds, and that quick we had a precious new toy. My son loves the Softy Soakers because he got to watch is toy go from a flat alligator to a 3D toy. This unique filling process allows you to make the soaker as soft or as firm as you would like, just by adding more or less water. This is a real plus in my house since my son likes to throw share all of his toys with his baby sister. We made the alligator on the soft side so that it cannot hurt my daughter if it gets ‘shared’ with her. Unlike stuffed toys, if the water evaporates over time all you need to do is soak again and your toy will be good as new.

The Fanta-Sea collection includes the alligator, octopus, a sea horse, hammerhead shark, dolphin, and sea turtle. You can find Softy Soakers at high-end toy stores, top gift chains such as Hallmark and Claire’s as well as hospital gift shops, fine florists, candy stores and gift/stationery stores worldwide. You can also purchase on Aurora’s website where each animal is $10.  www.facebook.com/auroraworld.

GIVEAWAY

One reader will win one Aurora Softy Soaker!

How to Enter:

1. Tell me which Aurora Softy Soaker you would choose!

Additional entries:

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

5. Place my blog button on your sidebar.

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

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

Wordless Wednesday: Cooling Off!

Summer Fun!