Archives for May 2012

Teach Me T’s by Kazoodle Kids Encourages Reading {Giveaway}

To say my son is obsessed with his alphabet is an extreme understatement. The child does things with letters almost all day long. He is learning how to spell words and to read. When I saw Teach Me T’s by Kazoodle Kids, I wasn’t the only one excited, so was Jack!  Lately his favorite word to spell is Elephant so I was thrilled to learn that E was for Elephant on these precious t-shirts.

At the age of 3 Jack is getting more particular about what he wears on a daily basis; he is quite stubborn when it comes time to get dressed in the morning. With the Kazoodle shirt he is excited to put it on and point to all of the letters and spell the word Elephant.

These shirts are perfect to keep your little one’s mind going during the summer months. They help your toddler connect the picture to the letter and the word that coincides with the animal. It is a wonderful thing when you can educate your child through his/her clothes! They are so fun to wear your child won’t even realize they are learning something new. My son suggested that he wear it to the zoo so that he could match his shirt with his favorite animal.

The Kazoodle shirts come in onesies from size newborn all the way to 18m in a variety of colors and in every letter of the alphabet. The t-shirts are available in sizes 2T to a size 6. I was impressed with the quality of construction and selection of colors in Teach Me T’s!  They would make the perfect Back to School gift at a reasonable price ($14.99).

GIVEAWAY

One winner will receive their choice of any Teach Me T’s!

How to Enter:

1.  Tell me which Teach Me T you would choose if you won!

Additional entries:

1. Blog about this giveaway and link to The Not-So-Blog and Kazoodle Kids (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 June 14th.  Prizes not claimed in 72 hours will be forfeited. Open to U.S. Residents only.

This review is the opinion of Beth of The Experimental Mommy. Other may have a different experience with the product.  While a sample was received to facilitate this review, all opinions remain 100% honest.

Don’t Stress It!

The benefits of relaxation and taking a little ‘time out’ from the grind

Stress and anxiety still have a certain social stigma around them in the UK, despite the bare facts which remind us that the pressures of living and working in the country has its adverse effects.

It’s interesting to note that more concerted research into the relationship between stress, the workplace and economics has been encouraged by the recession. Being in economic decline has made more acute the pressures of modern living and earning, leading to nearly half a million people becoming ill due to work-related stress according to a survey by Aviva in 2011.

However, whilst an increase in this kind of research is enlightening and begins to bring awareness to a widespread issue, there is less serious coverage and endorsement of techniques to reduce or remove these problems.

Why? Well, perhaps because a resolution to a mental problem is often subjective. Maybe comfy new dressing gowns are all you need – a trip to Next, and some lovely slippers to go with them. Perhaps it’s simply a question of exercise – taking more fresh air, getting your body active and releasing endorphins. Or perhaps it truly is a mental issue, and simply requires confronting and overleaping something you are hiding from yourself.

Whilst there may be a lack of official guidance on de-stressing, and on minimizing pressure in the workplace, there are a myriad of blogs and medical forums online offering advice and sound tips, from which you can choose the most appealing.

Many ideas for de-stressing are very simple; and that’s because stress itself tries to over-complicate matters, and we need calming, centering activities to combat it. Yoga and meditation are often at the top of many recommendation lists, as they are a way to activate body and mind, through the breath, which does its best work when taken in long, slow inhalations.

One of the first actions of the body under stress is to breathe ‘from the chest or neck’ – i.e. taking short, gulpy breaths which use very little lung capacity and require replenishment almost constantly. Yoga is particularly excellent at stretching the body and finding ways to stay calm and positive even through a challenging pose or situation – and this translates excellently into real life as well!

De-stress this summer with Domino’s Artisan Pizzas!

Summer is finally here!  Ahhhh…..sleeping late, no homework, no studying, no running ragged.  This summer, I plan to decompress and spend as much time as possible with the kids. This means easy dinners and trying not to use the oven a whole bunch!  We recently called in for reinforcements in the kitchen and tried Domino’s delicious new Chicken Bacon Carbonara Artisan Pizza!

One call to Domino’s can get dinner to your door in no time flat!  The Chicken Bacon Carbonara is a delicious blend of marinara and alfredo sauce topped with chicken, bacon, cheese, tomatoes, and oregano, all on a perfectly baked artisan crust.  Other awesome Artisan flavors include Tuscan Salami, Italian Sausage and Pepper Trio,  and Spinach and Feta.  Each Artisan pizza is economically priced and will make your family members’ tummies happy!

Here's my hungry son....aka "The Human Garbage Disposal" inhaling his delicious Domino's!

I called my local Domino’s to order and it was quick, easy, and the personnel was very friendly.  In a flash my Domino’s delivery man was at the door.  Our pizzas were hot from the oven and perfectly baked.  We also got to enjoy an order of Parmesan Bread Bites and they are ADDICTIVE.   Domino’s also has oven-baked sandwiches, bread bowl pastas, and delicious desserts to suit everyone’s tastes.   My kids loved their dinner that night!  Domino’s is open for lunch, too, so if you are spending a day hanging by the pool, it would make a great alternative to soggy sandwiches from the ice chest!

Check out Domino’s on Facebook for all the latest information and specials!  And when you order, let me know where to be….I’m coming to eat!

ASUS ET2700 Desktop Review #WindowsChampions

Since starting this blog in 2008, the time I spend on the computer has grown exponentially.  I quickly realized that I needed more power and functionality in a PC in order to grow my site and readership.  Fortunately, being a Windows Champion has allowed me to be the first to learn about the latest technology which has saved me so much time and increased my productivity.

This time, I had the fortune of trying out the new ASUS ET2700 All-in-One PC in my home for a few weeks (equipped with Windows 7, of course)!  To be honest, I do most of my work on a laptop these days so I knew it may take some time to get used to using a desktop again.  The main reason that I use my laptop is that I don’t have an actual office.  The desk we have is small and space is quite limited, so a bulky desktop PC is out of the question.

I was so excited when I first saw the ASUS ET2700 because there are very few parts.  Despite the large size of the monitor (27″ HD WLED-backlit frameless display), it can be mounted to the wall which saves even more space.  I love that the CPU is located in the monitor (not a separate piece) and the keyboard and mouse are both wireless which minimizes clutter.  The Blu-ray and HDMI in-ports are also located right in the monitor.

The transition from my small laptop screen to the large 27″ display took a little while, but the ASUS ET2700 is a dream for entertainment!  Watching TV and Blu-ray movies was phenomenal thanks to the SonicMaster premium sound boosted by the 10-watt external subwoofer.  Once I got used the the size of the screen, I dove in to blogging tasks on the ASUS.  The 2nd gen Intel Core i7 processor allowed my to speed through my day by handling my multi-tasking lifestyle with ease.

The ASUS ET2700 has some pretty fun features, too!  I have been trying to do more vlogging here at Experimental Mommy and the ASUS camera features were a hoot!  You can do just about anything from distortion to inserting graphics and from text to enhancing with backgrounds.  I absolutely loved playing with the camera!

Like I mentioned before, I lead an insanely busy lifestyle.  Multi-tasking is a very real part of my life and the ASUS ET2700 handled it beautifully.  The “sticky note” feature let me organize my day without cluttering my desk and the “snipping tool” made taking sreenshots a breeze (a task I use ALOT in my business).

My family and I loved the ASUS ET2700 both for it’s looks and it’s functionality.  Because the PC is compact, I was able to take my business off the couch and back to my desk where I was much more productive.  This All-in-One PC was great fun for the kids, too…we are sad to see it leave!

This post is the opinion of Experimental Mommy.  I am a Windows Champion but no compensation was received for this post.  All opinions are 100% mine.

Save a Child’s Skin with Neutrogena’s Buy 1 Donate 1 {Giveaway}

Now that school is out, my kids are itching to slip into their bathing suits and start the Summer off with a bang!  But, the sun is already blistering hot here in southeast Louisiana and as a Mom, I worry about the damage it will cause as my kids enjoy the outdoors.  Fortunately, sunscreen is readily available in my home but not all households are so lucky.

Due to poverty or natural disaster, some children are exposed to sun with absolutely no protection.  Did you know that just one bad sunburn can double your child’s chances of developing skin cancer later in life?  Neutrogena feels that every child, no matter the circumstance. should be protected from the sun’s harmful rays.  With their “Buy 1 Donate 1” program, for every bottle of Neutrogena sunscreen purchased in the month of May, Neutrogena will donate another to children in need via the charities, Heart to Heart and Direct Relief International (up to $5 million retail value).

Check out the above video to help keep skin cancer out of every child’s life.

GIVEAWAY

One reader will win the several bottles of Neutrogena Sunscreen (both adult and child).

How to Enter:

1.  Tell me your favorite Neutrogena product!

Additional entries:

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

5. Place my blog button on your sidebar.

Contest ends at 11:59pm CST on June 6th.  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. I am a Neutrogena Ambassador.  All opinions remain 100% mine.

Challenges with my Picky Eaters {BOOST Essentials Giveaway}

Tonight, I asked my two daughters (age 4 and 7) to list their favorite foods.  The list was long and included things like pizza, candy and of course, doughnuts.  When asked to list their favorite healthy foods, I was greeted with about a minute of silence.  Finally, my youngest said water and my oldest went with corn.  Needless to say, dinnertime can be a battle with my two picky eaters.

While, my husband and I continually offer a variety of foods to our children, it can be more than challenging for them to take a small taste.  We have had some success though with spinach and carrots…a small victory but I’ll take it.  As a Mom, I worry that the kids are not getting their nutritional requirements, so I supplement with vitamins while still working on expanding their taste buds.  Picky eating seems to be widespread throughout my circle of friends with children this age, so it is comforting to know I am not alone.

I am excited to tell you that I am a Boost Kids Essentials Brand Ambassador and for the next several weeks, I will be sharing my journey with my two picky eaters.  On the Boost Facebook page, each week we will be introducing you to a new family struggling with these same issues.  First up is the Brunelle Family!  With both parents working full time outside of the home, I can certainly relate to their mealtime struggles.  The parents worry that their oldest son, Van, who weighs less than the 50% percentile, may get picked on by larger classmates.  Boost Kids Essentials works well with their fast paced lifestyle while providing 24 essential vitamins and nutrient plus 7 grams of protein!  And the best part?  Van loves it!

Do you have a story to share about mealtime struggles?  How do you deal with picky eating in your home?  Share your Story now through June 19th on the Boost Kids Essentials Facebook page for a chance to win some awesome prizes!

GIVEAWAY

One winner will win 25 VIP Coupons for free BOOST Kids Essentials!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I Have Swimsuit Confidence with Lands’ End!

So, the last six months have been rather stressful with the loss of my job and searching for a new beginning.  With the stress came the weight.  While I am working to reverse the process, I can’t hide from the public on our upcoming summer vacation to Disney.  I want to be able to enjoy the time with my family without worrying about what I will look like at the pool.

I have been a long time fan of Lands’ End swimsuits, so I knew exactly where to turn.  After searching their website I found a suit that will minimize the parts I want to hide and enhance my good features.  When it arrived, I was more than pleased and my worries about the pool just vanished. I have Swimsuit Confidence!

Join Lands’ End and SELF Magazine from May 21 – 25, 2012 from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. CST and participate in a series of National Swimsuit Confidence Week events on Twitter.  By following @LandsEndPR and hashtag #confidence on Twitter, you can celebrate women of all shapes and sizes and learn to embrace your swimsuit beauty!  Each day, Lands’ End will give away 6 – $50 Lands’ End gift cards to Twitter Party participants!

In the meantime, upload a picture of yourself in a swimsuit to Twitter and send a tweet to @LandsEndPR exclaiming, “I have Swimsuit Confidence!” using hashtag #confidence. Change your Twitter profile picture to the “I Have Swimsuit Confidence” badge which can be found on Facebook.  Follow these rules and you could win a $500 Lands’ End gift card!  The winner will be announced at 5:00 pm CST on May 25, 2012.

Making a Difference with the Jennie-O Make the Switch Challenge

Earlier this month, I introduced you to the Jennie-O Make the Switch Challenge in order to help kids in need.  Just to refresh, Jennie-O challenged us to give up one item in our grocery cart that we didn’t really need and donate the money saved to a charity benefiting children.  My family decided to give up our beloved mini packs of Oreos which cost approximately $20/month.

Today, my oldest daughter took part in a Mass at her school to celebrate the 100th birthday of the Girl Scouts of America.  The organization works hard to build girls with courage, confidence and character.  This is Lily’s second year as a Daisy in Girl Scouts and she has loved every minute.  She has built life long friendships while learning to share, be compassionate and serve others.  As a Girl Scout myself, I know how much this organization helps girls around the world and I am excited that my daughter is taking part. With the savings from giving up our Oreos for the month of May, we have made a $20 donation to the Girl Scouts of America in Lily’s name.

While shopping at Walmart to complete this Mission for Jennie-O and Champions for Kids, I made a point to take a look at the selection of Jennie-O products.  Of course, we were familiar with the deli turkey, but I had no idea the product line was so expansive.  After perusing the huge assortment of bacon (which my family loves), we found the Jennie-O Turkey bacon.  To Make the Switch, we decided to give the turkey bacon a try as a healthier alternative to our regular bacon.

On weekends, my husband makes us a nice breakfast usually consisting of pancakes, eggs and bacon.  We decided to switch out the regular bacon for the Jennie-O turkey bacon without telling the kids.  My husband prepared the turkey bacon just as we usually do, on the George Foreman Grill, and served to our unsuspecting little ones.  Guess what?  No one even noticed.  Their plates were clean and just like that, we made a healthy switch!  Check out my entire shopping experience in my #JennieOCK Google + Story.  To find out more information about the project check out the Champions for Kids Website, @Champions4Kids on Twitter,  Champions for Kids on Facebook, or the Jennie-O CFK Project Card.

Have you taken the Jennie-O Make the Switch Challenge?  Let me hear your success stories!

I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™.  All opinions are my own.  #JennieOCFK #CBias #SocialFabric

How to Find Teen Insurance Discounts

Discounts for Teen Insurance

Turning 16 years old and finally receiving a driver’s license is a memorable moment in everyone’s life.  The ability to drive gives teens a sense of freedom and independence — but it comes at a price. Since teens have had very little driving practice, they are generally more expensive to insure than adults. For a young person in high school, the cost of a vehicle, gas and car insurance can be difficult to pay with the relatively low wages of an after-school job. Fortunately, most auto insurance companies offer various discounts on teen auto insurance. Here are just a few of the discounts for which your teen may be eligible.

Good grades: The most common teen insurance discount is awarded for good grades. Most companies offer some version of this discount, which reduces a teen’s monthly premium based on grade point average. This discount offers two beneficial incentives: to do well in school and to save money on insurance.

Safe driving: As your teen continues to drive, he or she may be eligible for a safe driving discount. This is another common discount that can be offered to any driver who stays accident-free for a given length of time. It may take a few years to become eligible for a safe driving insurance discount, but the money saved will be worth the wait.

Driver safety programs: A driver safety course can help your teen better understand the rules of the road and proper driving etiquette. Since these classes can help reduce accidents, many insurance companies offer discounts to drivers who complete a driving safety course.

Multi-car policy: Insuring more than one car on an auto insurance policy is another way to become eligible for an insurance discount. The same bundling principle is true for multiple drivers: It is usually cheaper to add your teen to your existing insurance policy than for that teen to buy an individual policy.

When requesting an auto insurance quote, make sure to ask about the company’s teen insurance discount policy. It’s easy to forget that these discounts are available as you’re looking for online auto insurance quotes. If you or your teen is eligible for a discount, speak with your insurance agent to find out more.

This compensated post was written by guest author, Dale Cooper.

FestiGals: The Ultimate Girls Getaway Experience

As a Mom who also works outside of the home, life can be stressful insane.  Between conference calls, paying bills, packing lunches, helping with homework, cooking dinner, and folding laundry I have little time for me.  Ok, no time for me.  When was the last time you took a minute, an hour or a whole weekend to reconnect with yourself?

On June 22-24, women will converge in New Orleans for the second annual FestiGals Conference which offers the ultimate women’s weekend getaway.  Held at the historic Hotel Monteleone (which I have had the pleasure of staying at for my Anniversary), FestiGals offers something for everyone.  Feel empowered during the motivational sessions, rejuvenate in Spa Aria, rejoice with authentic Gospel music, network with female business owners and industry leaders while dining on food prepared by Chef John Folse.

For the philanthropist, attend Bodacious Bras for a Cause Luncheon and Auction featuring keynote speaker, Hoda Kotb, co-host of the fourth hour of NBC’s “Today.”  The auction, which benefits the Cancer Association of Greater New Orleans, features incredible works of art created directly on bras!  The bidding opens May 25th and closes at the luncheon on June 22nd. While attending FestiGals, you can also participate in a fun women’s only second line called the Stiletto Stroll or take part in the Powder’d Sugar Walk headed straight for Cafe du Monde to indulge in some famous beignets and cafe au lait.

Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased for just $275.  The Hotel Monteleone, one of the official sponsors, is offering a hotel rate of $149 per night.  For more information, call 504-524-1227 or visit FestiGals on FacebookLaissez les bon temps rouler!

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