Packing for 3 Days in the Skip Hop Forma Backpack: It Can Be Done!

This post was written by Linzy of Crawfish Tales. While a sample was received to facilitate this review, all opinions remain 100% honest.

With a four year old, we were in the system of leaving the house with no supplies. No need for diapers, wipes or extra clothes. But now that baby #2 just entered our lives three months ago. We are getting back into the routine of packing up enough for a weekend trip just to leave the house for a couple of hours.

I will admit that I hate diaper bags. I don’t like all the baby patterns or the hard plastic. I mean come on, why can’t it look like it has some style? So I am a tough candidate to test out a diaper bag. But I have had the opportunity to check out Skip Hop’s Forma Backpack Diaper Bag.

YES! Not only does it look cute, it is a backpack. When you are trying to navigate two kids, one being mobile you need all the hands you can get so I LOVE the backpack feature. On the back, out of sight, out of mind.

And when I said pack enough for a weekend trip I meant that literally. I did pack up the Forma Backpack Diaper Bag for a weekend trip for Easter. Here’s what I managed to fit in it:

  • outfits and spares for three days
  • shoes and socks
  • diapers, nighttime diapers and wipes for three days
  • pack n play sheets and a blanket
  • pacifiers, toys, a baby monitor
  • formula for three days, bottles (in the exterior pockets)
  • and the sleep suit. And it was not even busting at the seams.

I love that it has the two pouches in the front. One is insulated which was great for snacks and a juice box for my older kiddo. I am all about convenience and the fact that it can hook on to a stroller is amazing. This makes it even more convenient and would be great for anything from an amusement park outing to navigating an airport.  Another perk? I have seen that the changing pad pocket can also hold a laptop which means that this would be useful to mommy even after the diapers are gone.

The Skip Hop Forma backpack comes in two colors: black and peacock and retails for around $70.00. I am impressed with this diaper bag for sure. It has long term use and can go beyond the baby stage and grow with the child. Thumbs up to Skip Hop for this for design and function!

Share Your Special Firsts with Pampers

This post was written by the Experimental Mommy who is a member of the Pampers Baby Board. All opinions remain 100% honest.

After trying for 6 months to become pregnant with our first child, I started to worry that something was wrong. Every negative pregnancy test made me yearn to be a Mother that much more. But finally in 2004, my husband and I were thrilled to announce we would soon become a family of three.

The first time I heard the heartbeat. The first ultrasound. The first flutters of baby kicks. The first contractions. All of these firsts were magical moments I will never forget.

And then she arrived.

The first smile. The first solid foods. The first laugh. The first time she walked.  All precious memories to me.

Pampers is honored to be a part of the journey of amazing firsts for millions of families around the world and created this heartwarming video to celebrate of those “firsts” moments with babies. It certainly brought back memories of all those special firsts with my daughter. And now, you can share your own special “firsts” memories, too. Beginning February 16th, create and share your own journey of Firsts at pampersfirsts.com.

After my Maternity Leave was over and it was time to head back to work, my arms actually ached for my baby while I was away. But, the fact that I had two loving family members watching my baby the first few weeks of her life, sending me pictures and texts and answering my 1,000,000th phone call to make sure everything was OK, somehow made things bearable.

And I am eternally grateful. For all the firsts and for all of the people who made those firsts even more memorable. Thank you.

Save on Luvs!

This post was written by the Experimental Mommy as part of a campaign with the Double Duty Divas, LLC.

Are you a mom of a little one in diapers? Do you like to save money?

I know, the answer to that last question is pretty obvious, right?!

Well, I’ve got an awesome tidbit for you, but you have to act fast! In today’s newspaper (the Red Plum coupon insert to be exact) there is a big savings coupon for Luvs diapers. Luvs with NightLock, the official diaper of experienced moms, helps to lock away wetness  - even overnight - with Luvs’ largest absorbency area ever. This diaper has superior overnight protection that locks away wetness better than Huggies Snug & Dry (sizes 3-6)!

The coupon is only being offered in the newspaper TODAY (Sunday, April 12th), and is not available online. So, don’t miss out!

The coupon is good for $3.00 off TWO boxes of Luvs diapers, so be sure to clip that coupon!

 So whether you’re an avid Luvs fan, or looking for a new diaper that is budget friendly and offers superior overnight protection, be sure to snag the BIG savings offered in today’s paper!

Don’t miss a thing by connecting with Luvs on Facebook and on Twitter.

Building a Blog as a Business through Consistency

This post is written by guest blogger Ponn Sabra and is one-stop in the month-long Blogger Babes blog tour which began here with it’s opening post on Double Duty Divas’ blog. To read this post in-context, we recommend starting at the beginning–then hop along with us for the full journey.

While many bloggers start blogging as a hobby; that wasn’t the case for me. I was a freelance writer and published in academia for over a decade when I came online to simply publicize my debut book as an author. I knew my blog had to serve 3 main purposes:

  1. Position me as an expert,

  2. Build a following of my target market, and

  3. Help publicize my services and products.

So, I came into blogging with a totally different mindset. From the get-go, I was strategic in what I chose to write, even my very first blog post over 10 years ago.

But, freelance writing, especially AP style in my role as the networking columnist of Entrepreneur magazine’s women’s site was very time consuming and hard to balance with a new family of 3 girls under 5 years old. So, I found my joy of “hobby blogging” by having my side mom blog. Those 6 tiny blogs ultimately became my “professional mom blog” for the next 6 years. Now a decade later, I’m transitioning back into a blend of both those worlds in my role as the managing partner of Blogger Babes.

My point is: no matter which route you take, the intentional (like my first blog), or the accidental (like my second) there’s something you ultimately have to decide:

Is your blog a hobby or business?

Can I use a strategy to leverage my passion of blogging and growing audience to turn a profit? Or, am I fine just blogging for the the joy and pleasure of blogging–which there’s nothing wrong with at all.

Bridgette and Cecelia found a way to leverage their experiences and relationships with blogging, and successfully launched and run the awesome blogger network Double Duty Divas. As a blog network owner myself, event planner, and brand-to-blog campaign organizer, I can attest that this may not be the “job” every blogger aspires.

But, that’s not your only option.

Building Traffic through a consistent blogging calendar

Simply blogging in one particular niche, adding affiliate links or having an ad network are three great ways to make a steady income. And, our Blogger Monthly Tutorials help you figure out if you have the time and stick-to-it-iveness to blog regularly, so you can actively have enough traffic to make a good income through your numerous affiliate relationships.

The only way to maintain traffic is by always giving fresh, unique content for your readers to come back too. And, being consistent is much more important than writing 10-days in a row, then not blogging for 10-weeks.

When I came on-board at Blogger Babes, it took me a couple months to get my blogging calendar set–and in January I have been able to maintain a steady Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday schedule. Our readers expect it and it helps me stay organized. This is one thing I felt was very important in developing steady blogging habits–that’s why our debut Monthly Trainer has a blogging calendar sample for you to duplicate.

Need Help writing consistently? Click here to sign up for the Early Bird special release of $5 per month!

Win Two-Hours of Blog Coaching with Heidi and Ponn ($298 value)

We’re crowdsourcing the name of our Monthly Training tutorials. Creating the eKits is one-thing, and publicizing it through a 25-blog blog-tour is another… and trying to tackle a creative training title is something my poor brain cannot handle alone.

So, we need your help!

Grand Prize: Two-Hours of Blog Coaching by Blogger Babes Co-Founders (Value $298)

  • Two one-hour blog coaching sessions, one with Heidi and one with Ponn. Coaching will be conducted separately on the phone (domestic), Skype, or our recorded webinar room (international).

How to Enter:

  1. Make one comment below for each monthly subscription title you create. Make sure you use your primary email, so it’s easy for us to reach you if you win!

Rules:

  1. Any age, any country. Minors with guardian’s permission.

  2. Unlimited number of entries across any/all guest blog posts from now until Monday, April 20, 2015.

  3. Deadline date: Monday, April 20, 2015 11:59 pm Pacific Time. [After all, we need time to design the covers. ;-) ]

  4. Winner selection: Heidi and I will select one winner and announce it Tuesday, April 21, 2015.

You can even champion your title by letting us know on Twitter @TheBloggerBabes or Facebook @TheBloggerBabes.

[Note: these actions do not serve as contest entries. Official entries must be made on this blogpost...but, we’d love to connect with you nonetheless.]

Next Steps:

  • Check out our draft sales page now, take some time, and share your proposed title below in the comments area on or before April 20th 11:59 pm Pacific time. While you’re there, sign up for our Early Bird release special!

Ponn Sabra is a best-selling author and homeschool mom of three tween and teen daughters, also bestselling authors and probloggers. The Managing Partner of Blogger Babes, Ponn has a secret passion for sewing…what’s your secret passion you’re willing to share?

Keeping a Eye on Baby with Levana Sophia Digital Baby Montior

This post was written by Linzy of Crawfish Tales. While a product was received to facilitate this review, all opinions remain 100% honest.

You learn so much between your first child and your second child. For my first child, I had a standard audio baby monitor. I didn’t understand what the need for video could be. However, I quickly learned that video is not for the first couple of months. The video capability is a necessity for the mobility stage. It would have been really nice to know with my first child if she had rolled over, stood up or was playing in her bed. You just can’t pick up on those things on the audio only monitors.

So now, with number two, I am trying out the video monitor. Thanks to Levana I am testing out Levana Sophia Digital 2.4-Inch Video Baby Monitor.

The specifics:

  • Features 48 hour battery life battery life in power saving PEEP mode
  • Temperature monitoring to ensure your child is comfortable
  • Night vision up to 15 feet
  • 500-foot ClearVu® digital signal
  • Talk to Baby two-way communication
  • Invisible night vision LED¹s, a soothing nightlight that can be controlled from the parent unit
  • Can be expandable up to four cameras

The best part about this product is that the price point gives you all of that capability for the suggested retail price of $89.99, for one monitor and the hand held receiver. The camera is available on Amazon and at MyLevano.com.

Now this transition to a video monitor has not been without fail. My first night with it, I stayed up all night watching the baby on the monitor. While she did sleep, I did not. I was distracted by the ability to be able to look at her and be reassured that she was fine. But, by the second night, my husband took the camera and put it on his side of the bed so that I couldn’t get distracted and would sleep. Lesson learned. Don’t stay up all night watching the monitor!

I love how super simple it is to set up this monitor. I have even packed it up in a ziplock and taken it on vacation with us. It is so easy to use and great on the go! The battery life is fantastic and it has a great picture.

So if you are looking for a video monitor with a great price point definitely check it out.

Building Up My Budding Engineers with GoldieBlox

I have never been scared of a little hard work. Tackling a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Minor in Chemistry, I plowed full steam ahead to Graduate School. After graduating with a Master of Science in Biology, I landed my dream job in a Government laboratory.  As I worked my way up the career ladder, I got married and had two beautiful daughters.  Life was great.

And then it happened.  Budget cuts.  And with the budget, went my job.

My daughters saw me at the lowest point of my life as I struggled to figure out what was next for me and how I would support my family.  I took a job as a Secretary in order to get my foot in the door of a place that I could see a future.  At age 40, I was starting over, dusting myself off and climbing the ladder….again.  Two years later, the hard work and determination paid off and I am better than ever.

I am hoping that my two daughters will take something away from watching me climb the ladder not once but twice in a male dominated field. From not giving up and believing in myself, I was able to transform my situation and I hope I made them proud. But more importantly, I hope that I have showed them how to have pride in yourself and not let circumstance define your self worth.  Look fear in the face and create your own destiny!

Needless to say, I am a huge supporter of getting my girls involved in science and math activities. Solving problems can make you feel powerful and GoldieBlox helps them achieve that feeling while having fun.

In a world where men largely outnumber women in science, technology, engineering and math, girls lose interest in these subjects as early as age 8.  Construction toys develop an early interest in these subjects, but for over a hundred years, they’ve been considered “boys’ toys.” GoldieBlox is determined to change the equation. We aim to disrupt the pink aisle and inspire the future generation of female engineers.

My girls got to try their hand at the GoldieBlox and The Builder’s Survival Kit which retails for $59.99. With over 190 piece, GoldieBlox Diary of Inventions tells a story with included prompts for girls to complete Goldie’s projects along the way. My older daughter tackled the Go-Cart while my younger worked on Nacho’s Dog House. Both were all smiles as they completed their task and couldn’t wait to show off the finished product. As a Mom, I loved watching my daughters disconnect from their electronics and not only take an interest in Goldie’s storyline, but enjoy the hands on problem solving as they worked together to find the correct pieces needed for the projects.

GoldieBlox would make a great Easter gift, birthday present or Summer activity for your budding engineer or scientist.  Use code Spring2015-9f63aetc to get 20% off your GoldieBlox purchase before April 5th!  Want to win a GoldieBlox Action Figure and Builder’s Starter Kit of your own? Enter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Newborn Must Have: Little Loved Ones Waterproof Crib Mattress Protector

This post was written by Linzy of Crawfish Tales and made possible by Little Loved Ones. All opinions remain 100% honest.

So I am on child number 2. Which basically means that in order to prepare, my hubby went up in the attic and pulled out all of the bins of baby stuff. After a good wash, everything was ready to reuse. No questions asked. Simple and done.

About three weeks ago, my two month old spit up all over her bed. Not the kind that is cute that you wipe up and still put them to bed. This was the crazy kind that entails new pajamas, new sheets and new mattress protector. Well I had new sheets and new pajamas but realized I only had one mattress protector. I made a mental note to add that to the list of things we needed for the household and everyone went to bed.

The next morning karma had my back and there was an email waiting for me with the opportunity to test out the Little Loved Ones waterproof crib protector. Of course I said yes since I was in the market for one anyway.

When it arrived I pulled the old one off the mattress and put on the Little Loved Ones protector. I will say that I was instantly impressed with this one. Not only did it make the previous one look cheap and super flimsy, it was so much softer. I don’t like the mattress protectors that are hard and crunchy. Those you can hear every time the baby moves while sleeping. Because if that is the case you know you will hear it through the baby monitor ALL.NIGHT.LONG. This one hardly makes any noise at all. It is soft, did I mention that? Because it is cushy but not too cushy for a baby. The quilting is what gives it that fancy feel. The protector is also 100% cotton and hypoallergenic.

So now that my Little Loved Ones crib protector has become the main one that we use. The previous protector is now the spare. While we haven’t had a major spit up scene since that night, I know that the crib is protected and ready to roll just in case.

My favorite parts about it other than how soft it is:

  1. It is only $39.99. That is a steal.
  2. It has a lifetime full replacement warranty. If it leaks or rips they replace it for free. YES!
  3. It is machine washable. Which in the life of any busy mom this is a necessity. Who has time for hand washing anyway?

Little Loved Ones is a brand headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin. They understand the importance of products that are kid tested and mom approved and stand behind their products. Their warranties and 100% customer satisfaction guarantee means that if you don’t love it, let them know. They use their own kids to test the products to insure quality and value. This is super important to me, because if they are using the products themselves they understand how it needs to work and what moms need from the product to make their lives easier.


Want to win one of your own? Enter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hop Over to Babies “R” Us for Easter Fun

This guest post was written by Linzy of Crawfish Tales. A gift card was received to facilitate this review. All opinions remain 100% honest.

The good ol’ Easter Bunny will be hopping his way into town soon. But the Easter Bunny gets the short end of the stick, err…carrot. He doesn’t have a workshop full of elves to help out like Santa does. So the Bunny will take all the help he can get and he better start early!

The folks at Babies R Us have decided to take on the challenge of helping the Bunny out. They have put together this one stop shop online to make things easy to find and that will ship right to your door. Since every bunny has a different style, you can sort by gender, price point, candy, plush or even baskets that are already filled.

For my older daughter’s first Easter, the Bunny brought her things we needed for her such as a wagon. But as she got older the Easter Bunny always brings summer gear like sunglasses, bathing suits, flip flops and sunscreen in addition to some toys and goodies.

Here are some of my favorites from the Babies R Us Easter shop for my four year old:

  • Since I have girls I really appreciate the Frozen shop.
  • I love seasonal books. I pack them away with the decorations each year so when the come back out the attic they are “new” again.
  • And, no Easter basket is complete with out summer gear. I am always stuffing baskets with outside activities that we can pull out for the summer. The fact that there is an entire bubbles and chalk section would excite my daughter.

This is our first Easter with our second edition. I am excited to fill two baskets this year and I get into the magic of holidays just as much as my girls do. But since my little one is still very little, I want to do more practical things and not buy more toys.  So when the Easter Bunny places the Babies R Us order for the older daughter, the Bunny is also scooping up bibs, pacifiers, and feeding spoons for when we start cereal. Unfortunately, the Easter Bunny got more practical with the second child. But that does not mean the magic is gone. On Easter morning I will be just as equally excited to see their reactions!

The one way that the Easter Bunny does compete with Santa is with the hype leading up to the big day. There are lots of festivities from egg dying parties to egg hunts and Babies R Us is joining in the fun by hosting an in-store event on Saturday, March 28 from 10-11AM. Parents can bring their little bunnies– dressed in their Easter best—for activities for the entire family. There will be a bunny hop around the store, photo opps and a craft and story time. Plus attendees can receive Pampers give-a-ways, while supplies lasts, and raffles. Check out Babiesrus.com/FirstEaster for more details!

Falling in Love with Netflix New Releases

This post is written by the Experimental Mommy as part of the #StreamTeam. All opinions are 100% my own.

Because February is the month of love, my little ones have been doing “heart” themed projects at school.  On Valentine’s Day, I got a handmade card from my 6 year old on which was clearly written, “You are the best parents in the whole world.” I was so touched as I read it but shortly after giving me a big hug, my daughter also clearly stated, “I love you, Mom….but not as much as Netflix.”

At least I know where I stand.

In honor of the most romantic month of the year, I thought I would share the Netflix new releases that my family and I are falling in love with all over again.

After being obsessed with the story of the “real life” mermaids during season one of the Netflix Original, my daughters could not wait for the release of  new “tails” from Mako Mermaids and they were not disappointed.  While they were waiting on the release, my girls checked out Ever After High, a new show surrounding a boarding school attended by the kids of famous storybook characters. But for me, February is also about chocolate which is why I grab my baking inspiration from the Cupcake Wars collection (hint: resist the urge to lick the screen).

We are about to leave on a road trip, so I am seeking new Netflix suggestions. Which shows are you currently loving?

New Orleans Audubon Zoo’s New Gator Run Lazy River: SNEAK PEEK!

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It’s time to plan your Summer vacation?  Do you know where you will be taking the kids this year? While New Orleans is not traditionally known as a kid friendly destination, I beg you to reconsider.  Between the Aquarium, Insectarium, Children’s Museum, kid centric walking tours, beignets and City Park’s Carousel Gardens, there is no shortage of entertainment for your little ones.  And now, the Audubon Zoo is making a New Orleans vacation even “cooler.”

The Cool Zoo already offers jumping water spouts, a huge alligator water slide, a spider monkey soaker, and water-spitting snakes and will expand in 2015 by an acre and a half with the Gator Run lazy river, sand beach and additional refreshment stand with more seating.  The Gator Run addition is slated to open in April of 2015 to cool off zoo guests in the crazy New Orleans heat.

I was fortunate enough to be one of the first to get a sneak peek of the addition right after water was added to the park.  Who’s ready to dive in?

 

UPDATED: 

The Cool Zoo Admission will be $10 for Members and $12 for Non-Members.  It WILL include the Gator Run lazy river.