Archives for June 2012

American Girl Cafe in NYC {Our Experience}

As a Mom of two girls ages 4 and 7, American Girl is part of our daily lives.  Both girls received American Girl dolls from Santa last year and have been inseparable ever since.  When the newest catalog comes in the mail, both of my daughters run to browse the pages and see what’s coming out next.  My oldest has really loved the American Girl books, too. This is one company that I can stand behind as they celebrate girls today and teach what they can become tomorrow.  I love their inspirational and educational stories told through historical characters and how these dolls encourage imaginative play in my home.

Because we live in New Orleans, my girls have no idea that there are actual American Girl stores and experiences (they think it exists only in catalogs and online).  So, I was thrilled to surprise them on a recent trip to New York with a visit to the American Girl Store and Cafe!  The store, which is located at 609 Fifth Avenue at 49th Street, features specialty shopping, private dining, birthday experiences, a doll hospital and the infamous doll salon.

Before we left home, I made sure that the girls packed their American Girls and we headed to NYC.  When we arrived at the store, the looks on their faces were priceless as they couldn’t believe there was a WHOLE STORE just for doll clothes and accessories!  After about 30 minutes of shopping, we headed to the American Girl Cafe for lunch.  As we entered, each girl was given a high chair so their dolls could enjoy the meal, too.  The Cafe is decorated in pink, white and black and is exactly how you would picture a tea party in your dreams.

For starters, we were served mini cinnamon rolls which were a huge hit, of course, followed by a tray of fruit, cheese and veggies.  The girls both ordered baked chicken strips with mac and cheese, while my husband and I got a spinach and strawberry salad.  The food was displayed beautifully and tasted great!  The servers really interacted with the kids and made them feel special and it was so fun to see my girls “feed” their dolls.

After lunch, we surprised my girls with a trip to the doll salon!  Before our appointment, the girls looked over the endless style options and selected the one just right for their doll.  When it was our turn, the doll was seated in a style chair and covered with an apron (just like a real salon!).  The stylist explained to the girls the best way to take good care of their dolls hair and we watched as she put every hair back in place.

Our experience at the American Girl Store and Cafe in NYC was incredible.  Both of my daughters had a great time and I am so glad that we made a memory that will last forever!  Take a minute to find an American Girl Store near you!

The post is the opinion of Experimental Mommy.  Complimentary meals at the American Girl Store NYC were provided, but all opinions remain 100% my own.

 

GoGo squeeZ and Drew Brees Encourage Play {Giveaway}

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that I am a native New Orleanian and love everything about my City…especially the Saints!  Last year, I was honored to meet Drew Brees, Saints Quarterback, at a local brand event and I love keeping up with all of his adventures.  Lately, he has narrated a new digital children’s book entitled “When I Play” in partnership with GoGo squeeZ and Speakaboos.

“When I Play” is an interactive digital book which will inspire kids to be active in their daily lives.  Throughout the book, which can be read aloud to your child by Drew Brees or read on their own, kids can follow the adventures of the GoGo squeeZ characters as they participate in playtime.  On each page, kids can interact with the characters and make choices, too!

While the book encourages a love of reading, GoGo squeez makes nutritional snacks easy.  The very first squeezable, re-sealable, all natural applesauce snack in the U.S., this product makes on the go snacking mess free.  As a busy mom of two active daughters, I love that I can offer a nutritional snack while we are running around town of before a dance lesson.  One pouch contains 3/4 of a serving of fruit and is gluten-free and dairy-free which makes it a convenient option to offer during summer playdates.

GoGo squeeZ comes in 7 delicious flavors including AppleApple, AppleStrawberry, ApplePeach, AppleBerry, AppleBanana, AppleCinnamon and the newest flavor AppleMango!  We were sent a pack of four AppleMango to test (just $2.99 at retailers like Walmart, Target and Costco).  While I would love to show you a picture of just how much my girls loved the product, it was all gone before I could blink and eye.  The AppleMango flavor was a MAJOR hit!

On your next road trip, download the new digital book to your mobile device and pack a few pouches of GoGo squeeZ!  Be prepared and your Summer will be a “Brees!”

GIVEAWAY

One winner will receive two 4-packs of the GoGo squeeZ Apple Mango flavor!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

 

“More-imize” Your Vacation with Embassy Suites

For my family, summertime means three things: heat, sno-balls and VACATION!  Because my husband is a teacher, we tend to take longer vacations in the summer when he and the kids are out of school.  But a recent study with Parents magazine shows that 56% of families consider themselves “vacation dabblers” and take multiple short vacations throughout the year.  While we tend to save vacation days for the summer, if we do venture out during the school year, the trip needs to be on a weekend where we only have to miss one or two days of work at most.  On these short jaunts, we definitely want to “more-imize” our vacation and make the MOST of every minute.

One thing we do to make a short vacation feel longer is to get the kids involved in planning.  Since my husband teaches geography, he loves turning road trips into a educational experience.  The kids love using iPad apps to plot the route we plan to travel and learn interesting things along the way.  When we return, we keep the vacation going by creating a photobook and reliving the good times!

Starting June 5th, Embassy Suites has pledged to help you get more out of your vacation…more fun, more time together and more indulgence!  Voted as on of the Top 10 Hotels for Families by Parents Magazine, Embassy Suites offers two room suites, cooked to order breakfast and a nightly Manager’s Reception complete with appetizers and beverages.  For my family, complimentary cooked to order breakfast is a huge selling point.  This saves us time seeking out a restaurant and waiting to be served allowing us more time for fun!

If you want to “more-imize” your vacation, Embassy  Suites is running a Sweepstakes on their Facebook page now through July 20th.  Simply upload a picture of your family’s “vacation face” and be entered to win one of five Grand Prizes including a week long stay at an Embassy Suite Hotel and $10,000 spending cash! With that kind of money, I could certainly “more-imize” my vacation!

Embassy Suites has also partnered with Dr. Susan Biali, a health and happiness expert, to share some tips for getting the most out of your time off.  She believes that you need at least three consecutive days off in order to reap the restorative benefits of a vacation.  One of my favorite tips from Dr. Biali is that ff you are a vacation dabbler and take small trips throughout the year, make sure you use those days to relax.  Don’t pack the day with too many activities which will only leave you more tired than when you came.  I can totally relate to this tip as we have just returned from a trip to Disney World.  It is very tempting to pack your days at Disney, but we made sure to return to the hotel mid-day and enjoy the amenities such as the pool in order to relax.

In the upcoming days, my family and I will be headed to a local Embassy Suites to enjoy a NOLA Staycation!  I can’t wait to share our experience with you!

I wrote this review while participating in an Ambassador Program by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Embassy Suites Hotels and received a one-night complimentary stay at an Embassy Suites Hotel to facilitate my reviews and a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.

Learn About Internet Safety with John Walsh and Cox Take Charge!

My oldest daughter just completed first grade and while I knew she was taking a computer class, I did not understand exactly how computer literate she had become.  In a short time, she learned how to type, use the mouse, create a document in Word, play games and surf the Web.  My husband and I instantly started placing parental controls on the laptops that my daughter used regularly.  But it wasn’t until I found her surfing the Web on my phone, that I even thought about creating controls on our mobile devices.
In a recent survey commissioned by Cox Communications in partnership with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), it was found that 95% of tweens surveyed use mobile devices to go online.  In this day and age, computers are not the only way to surf the Internet.  In fact, the average family has five devices capable of getting online which can include smartphones, tablets and gaming devices.
But the statistic that scared me the most was that 42% of tweens have received a personal message from someone they didn’t know and only 22% of parents knew about it.  With two young daughters, I know that my husband and I need to be on the forefront of Internet Safety. Fortunately, June is National Internet Safety Month!
On Thursday, June 28th at 6:00pm EST, join child advocate John Walsh on Twitter as he discusses online safety and answers questions from influential bloggers.  By following hashtag #CoxTakeCharge, you can follow the live stream.
Cox Louisiana will also host a state-wide Internet Safety Day during this Tweet Up, at each of their retail lobbies in Acadiana, Baton Rouge and New Orleans.  People that stop by one of these locations and pick up an Internet Safety brochure are eligible to enter to win a new iPad!
Take a minute this June to learn how to protect your child online.  What steps are you currently taking to make sure your kids remain safe while surfing the Web?
This post is the opinion of Experimental Mommy.  No compensation was received for this post.  All opinions are 100% mine.

WINNERS

Congrats to the recent winners of these Rafflecopter giveaways!  Please check your email and respond withing 72 hours to claim your prize.

Keurig: Nicolaas

Neatnik Saucer: Brandy C.

BOOST Kids Essentials:  Tess C.

BOOST Kids Essentials #2: Patrice

 

Pregnancy Just Got Easier with the Insception iPregnancy App

When I became pregnant with my first daughter, my mind started to race.  When should I call the Doctor?  Which prenatal vitamins should I take?  How do I select a pediatrician?  Should I register for baby gifts?  My world was about to change and I didn’t want to miss a thing.

As an obsessive list maker, I instantly bought a notebook and started jotting down things I needed to ask the Doctor or accomplish in the next 9 months.  I loved being able to cross things off my list (I’m a little geeky like that!).  My little pink notebook may seem a bit prehistoric, but this was before the days of the iPhone and iPad.  I would have gone nuts with the new Insception iPregnancy Checklist!

In partnership with Mount Sinai Hospital, Insception Cord Blood Program created an application that allows expecting mothers and fathers to record important dates, appointments and questions.  Soon to be parents can choose from over 100 tasks to add to their customizable checklists, sync with their calendars and schedule alerts to remind them of important deadlines or events.  And best of all?  You can strike the tasks out just like my little notebook as things are accomplished.

Ready to get organized?  The Insception iPregnancy Checklist can be download from iTunes for free!

 

Clean Up Your Summer with Ivory Soaps {Giveaway}

My family and I recently returned from a 6 day vacation to the happiest place on Earth, Disney World!  While we had an amazing time, Disney World was also the hottest place on Earth.  I was so thankful for the misters and fans we brought with us!  Each night as we returned to the hotel, every member of my family wanted a cold shower to unwind from the day’s adventures.

My favorite part of my showers?  The Ivory Moisturizing Body Wash in Lavender!  Just a small dab of body wash on a mesh shower sponge goes a long way leaving my skin feeling fresh and smelling terrific.  While I opt for the lavender scent body wash, my husband opts for the Ivory Bar soap and I use the Ivory Bar Soap with Aloe on the kids.  Honestly, I haven’t found a variety of Ivory that we don’t love!

This month, Ivory has challenged their Facebook fans to use Ivory on their face or body as their exclusive cleanser and report their results.  Many parents have said that their kids love playing with the Ivory Bar Soap in the tub because it floats while others have made the observation that their skin has become more smooth with Ivory usage.

GIVEAWAY

Interested in giving Ivory a try?  You can win a sample pack of Ivory products which includes a cute shower tote holding Ivory Bar Soaps (classic and aloe), Ivory Moisturizing Body Wash (classic and lavender), a soap dish, a wash cloth, and a mesh shower sponge.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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

Cool Off with Tide Coldwater Twitter Party! #TideCoolOff

On Thursday night, I will help my fellow New Orleanians get out of the heat at a Tide Coldwater “Cool Off” party!  With temperatures reaching 99 degrees, some of my friends and family will join me to soak up the air conditioning, eat some good ol’ fashioned NOLA Sno-balls and get creative at a local art studio.

Tide Coldwater is specially formulated to get those pesky summer stains out while washing in cold water which saves energy (and money).  Tomorrow night, Tide encourages you to “cool off” off your laundry and participate in a #TideCoolOff Twitter Party.  On Wednesday, June 27th at 9pmEST, join the hosts @MomTrends and @SavvySassyMoms to chat about staying fashionable and cool this Summer.  Make sure you RSVP and join us to win some awesome prizes such as a $100 Banana Republic Gift card and a $100 Sephora Gift Card to keep you looking beautiful this Summer.

 

See you there!

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

Pampers Salutes Most Valuable Dads with Eli Manning

What a whirlwind the past week has been for my family!  Over Father’s Day weekend, but before our Disney trip, we were whisked away to New York City to honor our Most Valuable Dad courtesy of Pampers.  My husband is an exceptional Father and surrounded by women at home, is the first to get on the floor and play princess with his two girls.  So on Father’s Day, he deserved a little manly pampering of his own.

Pampers has joined forces with Eli Manning, a new Dad himself, to honor the active role Dad plays in raising their little Miracles.  Once we landed in New York City, my family enjoyed a day of sightseeing including a subway ride to hop on the Staten Island Ferry.  My husband, a history teacher, loved playing tour guide to our two daughters as we sailed by the Statue of Liberty.

On Father’s Day, we were escorted to CitiField and were so excited to see our very first professional baseball game.  We were honored to be able to meet and interview Eli Manning, two time SuperBowl winning Quarterback and NOLA Native (I actually interviewed his Mom last year)!  To start the game, Eli Manning and his daughter, Ava, threw out the first pitch while MVDs where honored throughout the day.  I loved that the scoreboard included fun facts about the players’ Dads and several videos were shown carrying special messages for Dad from members of the armed forces serving overseas.  Although the Mets lost, we had a great time cheering on the home team with our giant foam finger!

Pampers isn’t done celebrating Dads this month! Check out their new website or visit them on Facebook to learn how to win some great prizes.  Ten Grand Prize winners will receive a $300 gift card which can be used for tickets to watch your favorite team and/or to purchase your favorite team’s merchandise plus a Little Tot T-Ball set valued at $19.99 plus tax!

How did you honor your Most Valuable Dad this Father’s Day? 

As a member of the Pampers Baby Board, my travel including airfare and hotel as well as game tickets was provided free of charge.  All opinions remain 100% mine own.

Make Your Family Road Trip Easier with the Purolator Sweepstakes

Listen closely.  Do you hear that?  Crickets chirping perhaps?  Things have been rather quiet here lately at Experimental Mommy because I have been on a Road Trip with family.  After the hectic (but awesome) time I had coordinating Reviewer’s Retreat, I needed a break.  My family and I decided to make magical memories at Walt Disney World!

After an incredible six days at the Happiest Place on Earth, we are exhausted.  Today we began our road trip home and while we are sad to leave The Mouse, we are all anxious to get home and back on routine.  Because we have done quite a bit of traveling lately, I wanted to share with you my top tips for a successful road trip:

1.  Pack a tote bag for each child.  In my experience, sharing does not go well during long car rides.

2.  Place a few fun activities like sticker books, colors, and scribble pads in each bag.  Make sure to include items they have not seen before so the novelty keeps them occupied for a while.

3.  Keep a few games or toys hidden to pull out when boredom strikes.  I have even wrapped a few surprise “gifts” for the kids to unwrap.

4.  Never underestimate the power of a snack!  Hungry kids=whiny kids. 

5.  The personal DVD player, iPad or iPod Touch can be a lifesaver.  Download a few TV episodes or movies before the trip and have them ready to go.  Don’t forget the chargers!

To help you with your Summer Vacation, Purolator is sponsoring the Family Road Trip Sweepstakes!  Share your own road trip ideas and tips and you could win a Two Hundred Dollar ($200) gas card, a Twenty-Five Dollar ($25) gift card for healthy snacks, and Seventy-Five dollars ($75) worth of books and toys from Scholastic!  Five people will win but hurry because the contest ends on June 30, 2012!

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