Archives for March 2013

Sweet Birthdays with 1-800-Bakery.com

The beginning of every year is a hectic time in my home.  Both of my girls plus my husband have birthdays in the first three months of the year which means this house is in complete party mode for several weeks in a row.  As soon as the Christmas tree is down, this Mama starts party planning and after several years of experience, I would like to say I have this process down to a Science.

The first two of three parties went off without a hitch, but about three days prior to the final party, I remembered that I had forgotten to order a cake.  I thought, “Wouldn’t it be nice if I had a bakery on speed dial?”  And then I realized…..I do!  The online store, 1-800-Bakery.com, delivers fresh baked goodies right to your doorstep (expedited overnight delivery is available for those “oh my gosh, I forgot a cake” moments).

Because my first experience with 1-800-Bakery.com was a positive one, I was thrilled to have an 8″ Red Velvet cake delivered.  The red velvet cake is a mild chocolate layer cake in a beautiful scarlet hue.  It is iced and generously filled with a sweet cream cheese frosting and red cake crumbs adorn the sides of the cake.

Upon receiving the package, the cake was well wrapped to ensure that it arrived not only fresh but in tact as well.  The cake was beautifully decorated and my birthday kids could not wait to dive in.  I was pleased to see that the bakery is not stingy with the icing (cream cheese frosting is the best part)!  The first bite was heavenly which was quickly followed by many, many more bites.

The Red Velvet Cake made the perfect birthday cake but would also be great for an Anniversary or perhaps Mother’s Day.  Not a fan of red velvet?  1-800-Bakery.com has a ton of great options including cookie cakes, pastries, and cake pops to name a few.

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

Griddle Melts from IHOP #GriddleMelts {Giveaway}

I am sure many Moms can sympathize when I say that my kids are picky eaters.  When we try a new restaurant, we try to play it safe and order something that seems pretty generic for the kids.  But ultimately, they will find something that doesn’t quite look/taste/feel/smell right and turn up their noses.  As a parent, I am totally frustrated.

However, one restaurant that my kids will clean their plates without fail is IHOP which has made our visits quite frequent (especially on Fridays during Lent…pancakes are meat-free!).  I love that the kids menu includes calorie counts and the adult menu includes a “Light and Fit” section which my hubby loves.

During tonight’s IHOP visit, my family and I were on a mission.  We were tasked to try a brand new menu item…Griddle Melts.  When we entered the lobby, we saw the signage for the new item and I will admit that they looked mighty tasty.  A bit about the three savory Griddle Melts:

  • Spinach, Roasted Pepper & Cheese
    Sautéed spinach in a fluffy egg omelet topped with roasted red peppers, onions, melted Provolone, Parmesan and Pepper Jack cheeses on grilled artisan sourdough bread.  Served with your choice of hash browns, French fries or seasonal fruit.
  • Western
    Smoked ham and sautéed peppers and onions in a classic omelet, topped with sliced ham, melted American cheese and served on grilled artisan sourdough bread.  Served with your choice of hash browns, French fries or seasonal fruit.
  • Ham & Egg Melt
    Sliced ham and melted Swiss and American cheeses over a fluffy egg omelet served on grilled artisan sourdough bread.  Served with your choice of hash browns, French fries or seasonal fruit.

After taking a minute to decide, we went with the Ham and Egg Melt (I am a sucker for grilled ham).  I was pleased to see that you could order a half size sandwich plus a side for just $4.99 which was honestly enough food for me.  When the Griddle Melt came out of the kitchen, it smelled great!  The cheese was melted and begging me to dive in.  YUM!

Next time you are looking for a tasty breakfast any time of the day, head to IHOP and try one of the new Griddle Melts.  Your tummy will thank you!  Mouth watering?  Enter to win a $25 IHOP gift card below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

It’s Daylight Savings Time! Change Your Clocks and Your Batteries!

Tonight is my least favorite nights of the whole year.  The night where I lose one of the most precious things in my life.  The thing I do not get enough of…ever.  Any guesses?  I am sure most of my Mom readers shouted SLEEP!  And you would be exactly right.

It’s time to Spring forward which means we lose an hour of sleep tonight.  Don’t forget to reset your clocks and it’s also time to change the batteries in your smoke detectors.  We were fortunate to have a local fireman (and personal friend) come to my home and teach my kids all about fire safety.  After engaging with the kids, he offered tips to my husband and I on how we can make our home safer.  One of the most important things was making sure we had working smoke detectors!

The chat with a fireman was most welcome because of a recent tragic event that hit far too close to home.  Since this event, my husband and I placed additional smoke detectors in our home and make sure that we change the batteries on a regular basis.  As a Rayovac Ambassador, I am stocked with the best batteries around!  Tonight, my husband pulled down our detectors and replaced the batteries with the Rayovac 9V alkaline battery.

While we lose an hour of sleep tonight, it will certainly not be because I am worried about the safety of my family.  Our smoke detectors are ready to alert us of a fire!  Are yours?

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

Help Your Little Ones get a Little Relief with Little Remedies {Giveaway}

This cold, flu and allergy season has not been kind to my family and I.  As a Mom, the only thing worse than being sick is watching your little ones suffer with a cold or the dreaded flu.  Short of bathing in hand sanitizer when they return from school, I am doing the best I can to protect them in an attempt to avoid additional illnesses.  So I loved reading the following tips from fellow blogger (and personal friend), Colleen Padilla of Classy Mommy on how to stay healthy during the winter months.  She suggests:

  • Scrub-a-dub-dub: Make sure to wash hands frequently and encourage kids to follow suit by putting out fun, kid-friendly soap dispensers. This is a simple way to stop spreading germs.
  • Crowd control: Make sure your child’s friends aren’t sick when they get together to play and vice versa – you don’t want your child to get their friends sick, either.
  • Cover up: Remember to cover your mouth when you cough – and suggest to your little ones that they sneeze or cough into their forearm or elbow so as not to get germs on their hands.
  • Bundle up: Before heading out, make sure that everyone is dressed to stay warm against the cold weather.
  • Disinfect your world: Clean high traffic surfaces in your house regularly to rid them of germs.

In the unfortunate situation when your child is under the weather, take a look at the line from Little Remedies.  The products follow the company’s philosophy of “less is more” and only include ingredients necessary to make your child feel better.  None of the products contain saccharin, alcohol, artificial flavors, artificial coloring, dyes or harmful preservatives.  The line includes products to combat cold and flu, allergies, and stomach ailments, and also offers one of the only brand name fever reducers for infants that is currently on the market – Little Remedies for Fevers® Infant Fever/Pain Reliever.

We recently received a basket with all sorts of Little Remedies products (I like to call it the All Better Basket!).  The product that caught my eye first was the Little Colds Honey Pops.  These non-medicated suckers are made with real honey and soothes your child’s cough and fiery throat naturally.  When my daughter had the flu earlier this year, the cough lingered for what seemed like forever.  At night, we would resort to a honey and lemon concoction that she hated.  My husband and I had to beg. plead and bribe in order for her to drink the entire cup before bed.  The Little Colds Honey Pops would have been so much better!

If you have a little one at home, I have an “All Better Basket” for one of my readers including the entire Little Remedies line of products!  Enter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

Make an Edible Easter Basket in 6 Easy Steps {Tutorial}

Looking for a cute Easter basket to make for your child’s teacher, friends or family? After Easter we always end up having a ton of baskets left over and I never know what to do with all of them. This is a precious idea that I found at Beth-A-Palooza….an edible basket!  It is adorable and once you eat the candy you won’t have to store another basket.

What You Need:

  • Four “Russell Stovers type candy”
  • One sheet of pastel cardstock
  • Hot glue gun
  • Scissors
  • Pastel ribbon

 

How to Make It:

1.  Cut the base out of cardstock. Since not all candies are the same size, I found that if I lay the candy out on the cardstock as shown below you will get the appropriate size.

2.  Glue the cardstock to the bottom of the four pieces of chocolate. I found that the low temp setting on my glue gun worked best, otherwise the wrapper started to melt.

3.  After the four sides are secure to the cardstock, you will hot glue each of the candies together. Pinch the end edges of the candies together to form a ‘box.’ Because the glue is so hot, I found that using the oven mitt to pinch helped with the heat.

4.  It’s time to cut the basket handle!  The handle can be as long or short as you want and you can decorate it anyway you would like. After I cut my handle, I braided three pastel ribbons and glued them to the handle. You can also add a bow or other decorations for a personal touch.

5.  Attach the handle to the basket. The best way to attach the handle is to pull back the ‘flap’ on the candy wrapper and place the handle down as far as it will go. Glue the flap to the handle and the handle to the wrapper. This will help give your basket extra support.

6.  The final step is to fill your basket with some Easter grass and your favorite candy!

What would you put in the basket?

This post was written by Beth of Experimental Mommy.

The Power of Education through Toys

Play is a fundamental part of children’s learning. Children are hands-on, kinaesthetic learners, who
learn best through experience. Play is the foundation for all areas of development. It aids in the
development of motor-skills, social and emotional well being, cognition, creative skills and language
development.

Where do Toys Fit In?

So where do toys come into all of this? Play is nearly always based around toys and equipment. They
provide endless opportunities for play and learning.  For example, the humble ball is used for kicking, catching, throwing and passing, rolling. Many children will make up their own games and sports in different settings. Children have great imagination and play with toys in many different ways.

A Life Without Toys

Without toys children are disadvantaged in several different aspects. For example, without crayons,
pencils, paper, play dough, books and engaging activities for our fingers, we cannot expect a child’s
fine motor skills and eye-hand coordination to flourish. It is extremely likely that a child with no
opportunities for fine motor play may present hand writing problems and poor fine motor skills for
life.

Adults often underestimate the importance of toys, but the truth is children learn much more
through play and hands on experience, than from any other means of teaching. Look for toys at OO
for information on loads of new toys.

What are they Learning?

So what exactly are children learning when they play? Dramatic play and props build children’s social
and emotional skills, play money assists with counting and maths, interactive toys provide a solid
understanding of cause and effect, climbing, playing catch and sports enhance motor skills, puzzles
are great for cognition, and books great for literacy.

Most importantly, childhood should be about discovery, exploration, growing, developing and
having fun!

This post is brought to you by guest author, Bryan Mills.

Let Musselman’s Help You Jump Start that Forgotten Resolution #ApplesauceInstead {Giveaway}

It may seem like the year 2013 has just begun, but in reality, two whole months have come and gone. How are you doing on those New Year’s Resolutions?  My husband is doing incredibly well as he has lost 49 pounds and counting since July of 2012.  He has done a great job continuing his “get fit” resolution well into the New Year.  Me?  Not so much.

I have been trying to get motivated to join my husband in his resolution but with a brand new job, I just have not found the energy or routine that will work with my new schedule.  A friend of mine told me to start small.  Make one little change in your life to make it better.

One step at a time.

Musselman’s Applesauce is helping me do just that.  Recently, I was sent a package full of applesauce goodness (Original, Cinnamon and Natural) to help me take the Replacement Resolution Challenge.  Taking a look at the Natural variety, I noticed that one whole container was just 50 calories!  By simply replacing one of my usual snack foods with one serving of applesauce could potentially save me quite a few calories a week.  Of course, because I am a science geek, I had to do the math.

While unwinding after a hard day, I love to indulge in some chocolate creme cookies.  I thought I was doing great because they are reduced fat and just 150 calories per serving.  But, by replacing my cookies with a Musselman’s Natural Applesauce, I will save:

100 calories a day, 700 calories a week, 2800 calories a month

That is a great way to jump start my healthy living resolution.  After this revelation, I decided to compare the applesauce with other snack frequently consumed by my family and I.  By comparing the sugar content of my kids favorite gummie snacks with the applesauce, I think I will make more of an effort to offer the applesauce as an after school snack.

Have you forgotten all about that New Year’s Resolution?  It’s never too late to start again!  Let Musselman’s help you jump start the effort by winning a prize pack including a Natural, Original and Cinnamon plus a branded Musselman’s Yoga ball! Enter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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