Archives for December 2011

Searching for a New Bed?

Six years ago, our home was damaged in Hurricane Katrina.  While there were many days filled with stress and anxiety while trying to rebuild, there is always a silver lining, right?  Some of the most fun days were filled with shopping for new appliances, bedding, clothes and furniture allowing us to forget about our once mold-filled home.

My favorite projects were designing our new kitchen (picking out cabinets was awesome) and shopping for a new bed.  My husband and I visited just about every mattress store that was open in our devastated City.  We researched before we shopped, but felt compelled to “test drive” numerous mattresses which was so much fun.  Even though we looked at several stores, I never came across a divan bed.  Have you heard of that type of bed?  According to Bensons for Beds a divan bed is defined as:

“...a bed with a deep hollow base, a matching mattress and no boards at either end offering a practical solution for homes in need of additional storage space. Discreet drawers built into the bed base provide large storage areas for bedding, towels, clothing etc.

How cool is that? Both of my daughters have storage beneath their beds in the form of pull our drawers, but I had no idea that other storage options existed.  While searching around the site, I found several cheap divan beds including a totally cool ottoman bed where the mattress flips open to reveal a HUGE storage space.

While I will not be in the market for a new bed for quite some time (provided no more Hurricanes wreak havoc on my home…knock on wood), I will definitely put the divan bed on my short list of options to explore.

 

Meet McKenna, American Girl’s 2012 Girl of the Year!

Happy Holidays, Experimental Mommy readers!  We had a wonderful Christmas with family, friends, and lots of generous gifts.  But, the favorite gift by far for both of my daughters were their new American Girl dolls.  My oldest received Marie-Grace, the doll from our New Orleans hometown while my youngest received her first American Girl doll that was designed to look just like her.  Both have carried their dolls around endlessly since Christmas morning.

As a Mom, I love the American Girl brand because it represents all that is good for girls: confidence, generosity and kindness.  I love that some of the dolls come with books that teach life lessons and culture.  On January 1, 2012, American Girl will release their much anticipated 2012 Girl of the Year, McKenna Brooks!  This doll, who is a gymnast, strives to overcome challenges to reach her full potential.  As she enters the fourth grade, she finds her grades slipping as she has trouble with reading comprehension skills (a common problem at this age).  She struggles to regain her confidence and pull her grades up but achieves her goals by focusing on her strengths rather than her weaknesses.

In addition to the doll, fans will have the opportunity to buy accessories such as gymnast equipment including a balance beam and leotard or McKenna’s loft bed with desk.  McKenna Brooks comes to life in two books as well as an activity book where girls can take challenges and earn points.

We absolutely cannot wait to meet McKenna Brooks!  Her caramel colored hair and bright blue eyes are truly adorable!  Be on the lookout starting January 1st!

This post is the opinion of the Experimental Mommy.  While a sample of the books was received to facilitate this post, all opinions remain 100% mine.

The Elf Magic Continues!

After the arrival of Jingles, our elf sent from Santa to keep an eye on our home, my daughters have had a wonderful time looking for their little friend and her antics each morning.  The absolutely refuse to get dressed for school until they discover where Jingles is hiding or what Jingles has done while we were sleeping.

Some of Jingles antics this year have been:

  • taking a shower in the Barbie Dreamhouse
  • watching over our living room from the comfort of our Christmas wreath
  • playing the keyboard
  • taking a spin in Barbie’s car
  • hiding in my daughter’s backpack and hitching a ride to school

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve, and our entire family will be sad to see Jingles go back to the North Pole with Santa.  But, we are certain that she will get another Elf Passport to visit us again in 2012!  From my family to yours, we wish you a happy holiday season!

Sweet SONIC Drive-In Tees {$20 SONIC Giveaway}

All this holiday shopping is making me thirsty!  And if you read this blog at all, you know that when I am thirsty, nothing will do except a big glass of Southern Sweet Tea.  One of my favorite places to get my sweet tea fix is SONIC Drive-In (it doesn’t hurt that they have delicious tater tots, too).  On a recent holiday shopping marathon, I decided to get my swing into SONIC and pick up my favorite drink and realized that I should share the wealth with my other sweet tea lovin’ friends.  In just under 10 minutes, I had completed the rest of my shopping list by purchasing SONIC gift cards…great for stocking stuffers and teacher’s gifts!

But why stop at the gift card?  For the first time, SONIC is offering a dozen officially-licensed SONIC tees!  These aren’t your ordinary logo polo shirts, the gang at SONIC designed quirky, stylish, unique novelty t-shirts (which even come in female cuts!).  Why not pair a tee with gift card for the SONIC lover on Santa’s list?

GIVEAWAY

One winner will receive a $20 SONIC gift card and a SONIC tee!

How to enter:

1. Tell me which SONIC tee you would choose!

Additional entries:

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

2. Follow me (@BridgetteLA) and @SONICDrive_In 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 SONIC on Facebook.

5. Place my blog banner on your sidebar.

Contest ends at 11:59pm CST on January 2nd. 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 was received to facilitate this review, all opinions remain 100% mine.

How to Make Cookies with Pringles Potato Chips

We have a friend who bakes an insane amount of cookies each Christmas.  We are the joyful recipients each year of a tin full.  Last year, there was a new cookie in the mix, and we all agreed it was awesome.  We simply COULD NOT stop eating them.  I had to have the recipe so I called my friend and was shocked to learn they were cookies made with PRINGLES POTATO CHIPS.  WHAAAT?  Haven’t made them?  Trust me…..you can’t eat just one.

[gmc_recipe 10610]

They are out of this world.  Trust me.  If you don’t think Potato Chip Cookies sound like something you would like, you can still enjoy Pringles straight-up at many a holiday gathering!  My new addiction are the Multi-Grain!  YUM!  With a wide variety of flavors to suit anyone’s taste, everyone will be happy when you show up with Pringles!  My kids adore the Snack Stix and I use them a lot in their lunches as an alternative to regular chips.  Of course, my other favorite thing about Pringles is the can!  They are perfect for on-the-go snacking without getting smushed!  In fact, I think they are the perfect size to go in a Christmas stocking……what do you think?  😉
 
This post is the opinion of Jennifer of The Experimental Mommy.  While a product sample was received to facilitate this post, all opinions remain 100% honest.

Gift Idea for Boys: Prime Time Toys Air Zone Blasters

This Christmas has been an awakening for me.  Long gone are the days of the “cutesy” toys for my son, who is almost 10.  He wants all things BOY.  100% testosterone.   The challenge has been finding things that are “cool” enough for him but safe enough for me!  One perfect solution is Air Zone Blasters from Prime Time Toys!

Ready....Aim....FIRE!

Sold exclusively this season at Toys R Us, these brightly colored foam blasters will catch everyone’s attention!  Affordably priced, Air Zone offers a variety of high-powered fun for your sharpshooters.  My son loved his Quickfire Twin Pack and had a ball recently in the backyard with a friend.  The foam darts mean that you can relax a little….they are soft enough to make play fun and safe, even indoors.  Best of all, the darts and clips in the Air Zone blasters are universal.  They will easily make the switch from one blaster to another.  This is a really cool feature as some other blasters have darts that only work in certain shooters, making organization somewhat difficult.  The bright colors mean they won’t get easily lost under the bed or in the bushes!

With two nephews that are close in age to my son, these will make perfect Christmas gifts for them too.  Each year it becomes more and more difficult not over-spend, and with many Air Zone blasters priced in the $20 range,  it’s easy to get a lot of bang for your buck!  Any boy on your list would love this fun gift!

This post is the opinion of Jennifer of The Experimental Mommy.  While a product was received to facilitate this review, all opinions remain 100% honest.

Have a Picture Perfect Holiday with Windows and Southwest

It seems like the holiday season just began, but Christmas is just five short days away!  Every year, it seems our “to-do” list gets busier and it becomes harder to relax and enjoy the time with family and friends.  But for the second year in a row, Microsoft and Southwest are teaming up to make your holiday easier (and more fun!).

The Picture Perfect Setup in NOLA Airport!

At 21 airports and 3 shopping malls across the country, you can have a Picture Perfect experience with FREE Santa photos for the entire family through December 24th!  At each location, you will have the opportunity to visit with Santa, take a picture and even retrieve your photos online.  No time for holiday cards?  From traditional to crazy, you can create a personalized card online and send it to your family and friends, too!  While you’re online making the perfect greeting card, don’t forget to enter the Sweepstakes in order to win great prizes like a Windows 7 PC, Epson printers and a free years worth of plane tickets from Southwest Airlines!

If you are traveling Southwest this holiday, make sure you ask which gate Santa will be visiting!  Happy Holidays!

Deck the Halls with Party City

With Christmas less than a week away, we are in full party mode.  Tomorrow, my oldest has a party with her dance class followed by her holiday party at school on Wednesday.  Thursday brings the class party for my youngest and then Christmas Eve is just around the corner where we have not one, not two, but three parties to attend!  I am exhausted just thinking about it.

Are you ready to get your party on?  If you are throwing a party at your home, office or school, let Party City make it easy!  They have many Christmas Party Themes to choose from including Wonderful Life Party Supplies which we were happy to test first hand at a recent holiday get together.

The Wonderful Life Ultimate Party Kit comes with everything you need to host the perfect holiday party including 16 Wonderful Life Dinner Plates 16 Lunch Napkins, 16 Paper Cups, 2 Plastic Table Covers, 16 Plastic Green Forks/Spoons/Knives, Holiday Confetti, 12 Holiday Joy Cutouts, Holly Tinsel Garland, 2 Tinsel Christmas Tree Centerpieces, 20 Red Balloons, White Curling Ribbon, Red/Green Crepe Streamer, 2 Red Large Plastic Bowl, 1 Christmas Party Favor Mega Mix, Santa Pinata/Bat/Blindfold and 1 Farley Kids Combo Candy.  Just need to add the food and fun!  This Ultimate Party Kit can be purchased for just $99.99!

We were very happy with the quality of the supplies and the kids loved the Santa theme plates.  And my youngest, who is not so sure she loves Santa just yet, is going to love beating the Santa pinata.  As a Mom, I love that everything you need to throw a fantastic party is delivered right to my door.  This time of year, anything that saves me from standing in line at a retail store is heaven!

Need a little inspiration this holiday season?  Check out the baking supplies and cookie exchange ideas!

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

 

Don’t Forget the Rayovac Batteries this Holiday Season!

You’ve shopped till you dropped this holiday season and checked your list twice.  You’ve bought clothes, toys, candy, gift cards and electronics….but did you remember the batteries?  There is honestly nothing worse that watching your kids open gifts as they squeal with excitement only to be disappointed that the ONE toy they couldn’t wait for will actually have to wait. Major Parent Fail.

My husband and I always make sure that batteries are on the kids’ Christmas Wish List and Santa has never forgotten.  Unfortunately, family members (especially the ones without small children) often forget.  To avoid a holiday meltdown, we stock our cabinets with Rayovac alkaline batteries in just about every size (you can never be too prepared, right?). The alkaline batteries are ideal for use in toys, games, flashlights, radios and CD players.

If you need to power up your gifts this year, check out Rayovac on Facebook for a $1 off Alkaline Batteries printable coupon.  If your kids are electronic lovers, you may need more than a few batteries this holiday season.  Check out the Rayovac Batteries Holiday Bundle which includes 8 AA, 8AAA, 4 C, 4 D and 2 9V for only $14.99 (normally $24.95).  This offer will be valid through December 24th and can be obtained by using code BUNDLE.

This post is the opinion of the Experimental Mommy.  As a Rayovac Power Blogger, I received product and compensation, however all opinions remain 100% mine.

Sing Like a Rockstar with Voice Rockrz {Review}

My oldest daughter is definitely the shy one.  But give her a stage and she will perform with the best of them (I was the same way as a child).  Somehow, she loses her inhibition when given a microphone and a costume and will definitely dazzle you with her personality and smile.

She recently saw Voice Rockrz on a TV commercial and hasn’t stopped talking about it since.  I knew this toy would be right up her alley, so I was thrilled when I was contacted to test it out for ourselves.  Have you seen it?  About Voice Rockrz:

Voice Rockrz is an innovative microphone that magically interacts with included accessories to transform your voice. Tap the accessories to the mic to unlock different voice effects: you’ll hit those soaring high notes with ease, hear your voice echo across the stadium, and transform into a rocking robot as the crowd cheers in amazement!

After installing batteries in the microphone, both of my daughters were ready to sing!  Simply hit the on/off button to power up and belt out your favorite tune.  The unique thing about this microphone is that you can alter your voice by using the included accessories.  Tap the flower ring to the mic and your voice raises two octave levels to reach those sought after high notes (think Mariah Carey).  Choose to tap the bracelet to the mic and get an echo effect instead.  My daughters, however, liked the robot effect the best which can be achieved by tapping the ring and bracelet to the mic consecutively.

Notice the Justin Bieber shirt?

Want to sing along to your favorites hits (it’s all Justin Bieber all the time in my home!)?  Plug your iPhone or mp3 player into the mic and sing along to whichever tune you play!  Want an audience?  No problem….hit the FX button to get a drumroll or applause!

Both of my daughter’s love the Voice Rockrz microphone.  I think the voice effects are really cool, but as with any microphone, you need to be ready for some noise!  If you have a budding rockstar in your home, check it out!  I found it on Amazon for $24.99 (in blue, too!).

Don’t miss a thing by following Voice Rockrz on Twitter!

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