My Fashionista is Helping to Raise Money with Schoola #Clothes4Schools

This post was written by the Experimental Mommy and brought to you by Schoola.com.  All opinions remain 100% mine.

It’s time to pack up the sandals, beach bags and pool toys.  My daughters began school two days ago and we are trying to get back on routine.  On the first day, they both came home with activity schedules and I was pleased to see that Art remains in their school (albeit one day a week).  With many schools lacking funding, creative arts programs are generally the first to go. Fortunately, Schoola.com is here to help.

Schoola is an online shop dedicated to recycling brand-name children’s clothes, with 40% of the proceeds going to schools in need.

In my first post, I outlined how Schoola can help raise money for your school.  But now, my daughters are ready to shop!  I challenged my 9 year old to find a complete outfit and tally up how much it would cost (like how I threw in a math problem?).  Always ready for a challenge involving fashion, she shopped the “Grade Schoola” section and found a pretty adorable outfit which totaled $32.oo for a shirt, jeans and shoes.  But if you use code BacktoSchoola20 (limit one use per customer), you will receive an additional 20% off bringing the total of her outfit to just $27.00!

 

Better yet? Forty percent of the proceeds will go to a school in need (which you can designate).  Right now, I have selected Yick Wo Elementary in Brooklyn, NY whose parents have taken it upon themselves to raise $25,000 to save the art program.  I just could not pass up the opportunity to help the cute faces in this video.

Learn more about how you can get involved by following Schoola on Facebook and Twitter.  Save money on your back to school shopping while making money for your child’s school.  What a perfect way to start the new year!

Back to School Nail Art

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

It happened.  Summer is officially over and my two daughters have returned to school.  In honor of the big day (and searching for inspiration on Pinterest), my daughters decided to make the first day of school fun with themed nail art.  Here’s how you can have Back to School Nails, too!

Nail Art is all the rage in my house right now. But with a 6 and 9 year old, the finished product doesn’t always come out the way you planned.  Through trial and error, we have learned that the right tools are imperative to success.  To achieve this look, we used Hot Designs Nail Art Pens.

Each pen has two colors and each color has a brush to apply base color and a fine point for details.  In order to create our “Back to School” themed nails, we began with base color.  Red for the apple, white for the paper and blue for the ruler.  The paint dries quickly so we were ready to move on to details within minutes.

Next we simply used the fine tip to draw the ruler, the lines on the paper and the stem of the apple.  Ta-da! Admittedly, I am not a professional manicurist but I think my daughter’s nails came out super cute!

Do you have a cute nail design to show off?  Hot Designs is giving fans the chance to win the ultimate beach package including a $250 Target gift card by submitting a selfie of your summer style using the hashtag #WinHotLooks and tagging @GetHotLooks on Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, or @Get_Hot_Looks on Instagram. Plus, I have one set of Hot Designs to give away to one of my lucky readers.  Enter below:

 

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Join me for a Splenda #SweetSwaps Twitter Party!

This post is written by the Experimental Mommy and in partnership with Splenda and The Motherhood.

Even though the first day of school is almost here, it will still be swimsuit and sandal season here in New Orleans for many months to come.  So, I have been making a conscious effort to cut back on my sugar intake by swapping for Splenda in my recipes whenever I can.

Throughout 2014, SPLENDA® Brand has been serving up daily tips and recipes but they are launching an exciting new feature: user generated content!  Now you can share your ideas to swap full sugar for SPLENDA® Sweetener Products in a favorite dish or non-alcoholic beverage through the SPLENDA® Brand Tumblr page for a chance to have the idea posted to the site, or created by celebrity chef Laura Vitale and featured in one of her SPLENDA® SWEET SWAPS™ videos.

Learn more by joining me and @TheMotherhood at the #SweetSwaps Twitter Party on Wednesday, August 6th at Noon (EST).  You can win one of five fabulous prizes by submitting a recipe to the SPLENDA® SWEET SWAPS™ Tumblr page and tweet @theMotherhood that you’ve submitted a recipe for the chance to win.

RSVP Here!

Raising Money for Your School with Schoola #Clothes4Schools

This post is written by the Experimental Mommy in partnership with Schoola.  All opinions remain 100% mine.

11.  Eleven.  This is the number of days until my kids start school.  Where did the summer go? We have had some amazing adventures but it’s time to settle down and get prepared for the start of the new school year.

Just because my kids wear uniforms to school does not make me exempt from back to school shopping.  On top of the expense of uniforms, my girls are getting older (read: more social) and require multiple outfits for after school activities, weekend parties and field trips.  And don’t even get me started on shoes! Thanks to my two fashionistas, my Fall budget is tight, so I am all for saving money wherever I can. I am happy to add Schoola to my list of ways to do just that!

Schoola is an online shop dedicated to recycling brand-name children’s clothes, with 40% of the proceeds going to schools in need. The innovative new program – which saves parents money and gives back at the same time – has been heralded by Fox News, the LA Times, Forbes and Parenting Magazine. So, how does it work?

1. Simply request a Schoola bag to be sent to your home. Fill it up with gently used outgrown clothes and drop it in the mail (Schoola pays for postage).

2. If items are acceptable, Schoola lists your items and online shoppers benefit from drastically reduced prices.

3. The school you designate will receive 40% of the proceeds from the sale of your donated items. What a great fund raiser!

From now through September 14, 2014, I am focusing my efforts on Yick Wo Elementary which s trying to raise $25,000 to fund an art program for their students.  Unfortunately, when schools face daunting budget cuts, the art and music programs are the first to go.  But, I love that the parents at Yick Wo Elementary make sure that their school’s students have art class anyway, and Schoola is forming a community to help them do it.

You can help Yick Wo reach their goal as well!  Click through my referral link and every transaction that is made or Schoola donation bag requested, Schoola will donate $1 to Yick Wo. PLUS – when you donate clothes and fill out your child’s school information, $2 of every $5 made will go back to YOUR CHILD’S SCHOOL.

Ready to start saving money while raising money? Let’s get this school year off to a great start!

Protect Your Purchases with the Rayovac Guarantee

This post was written by the Experimental Mommy. As a Rayovac Power Blogger, I am compensated for my time and effort but all opinions remain 100% mine.

If you have kids, you know that toys and technology are so much more than just things to them.  Your toddler may think their teddy bear (which doubles as a nightlight) is their best friend in the whole world. Or your child may rely on a certain lullaby CD to fall asleep at night.  It is absolutely imperative to your sanity and well being of the entire household to have these special pals or traditions in working order.

You take great care to protect your own children, and if you are like me, you take great care of the most important things in their lives as well (even if you are sick of listening to the same lullaby CD for the past 5 years).  One way to accomplish this goal is to select the right battery for the job.

Have you heard of the Rayovac Guarantee?  Rayovac offers a consumer protection plan rivaled by no other competitor in the battery space.  They have so much confidence in their product that Rayovac will:

Replace, repair or refund, at our option any device (that uses Rayovac’s AA, AAA, C, D & 9V, cylindrical, button cell or coin cell batteries.

If your device is damaged by unexpired Rayovac batteries, simply remove the batteries and mail the device plus batteries pre-paid to Rayovac. It’s that simple. Get more details on their website and rest easy knowing that Rayovac has your back!

Is Carnival’s Seuss at Sea Green Eggs & Ham Breakfast Worth It?

This post was written by the Experimental Mommy in partnership with Carnival Cruise Lines. While travel accommodations were complimentary, all opinions remain 100% mine.

You saved up all year to take an epic family vacation with Carnival Cruise Lines. Suitcases packed with your cruise travel essentials, you board the ship ready for some much deserved rest and relaxation.  If your family is like mine, you head straight for the food and quickly become mesmerized by the seemingly endless options all included in your price of admission.

But on your first full day at sea, your family wants to take part in the Seuss at Sea Green Eggs & Ham Breakfast…for an additional charge. What?! Why spend more money when you have already paid for the buffet?  Below, you will find my reasons why the $5 per person is completely and totally worth it.

1.  Let Kids Be Kids: We asked a lot of our kids on this trip. While we had tons of fun, we asked them to wait in lines with patience, sit at fancy dinners quietly, and walk long distances without whining. But THIS breakfast was ALL about THEM and they could let it all out!

2. Dine in Whoville: Carnival went all out with the themed decor at this breakfast. The entire dining hall was transformed into a colorful and magical world complete with a beautiful ice sculpture.  My girls could not wait to sit down at our polka dot table!

3. Fun Food: There are no boring omeletes, plain pancakes or bland bowls of oatmeal at this event.  My kids got to choose from menu items such as Horton’s Cereal Crusted French Toast, Truffula Tree Pancakes and of course, the always popular Green Eggs & Ham.

4.  Character Dining: Similar to other character breakfasts at other theme parks (which are WAY more expensive), the whimsical Dr. Seuss characters roam the dining hall and visit with every table. You are allowed to take pictures with your own camera so you do not have to pay extra for professional pictures.

5. Fancy Footwork: The wait staff on Carnival is over the top friendly and really go above and beyond to make your trip memorable.  This breakfast is no exception! The Staff dresses up in costume and performs a fun routine for guests which my kids loved.

The Green Eggs & Ham Breakfast on the Carnival Dream was more than a meal, it was an experience and in my opinion well worth the price.  This was the perfect was to start off our Sea Day which was followed by a kid-centric agenda of water slides, comedy hour and mini golf.  No wonder Carnival hosts more than 700,000 kids aboard it’s fleet each year!

Have Rayovac, Will Travel

This Summer has been a whirlwind of activity for my family and I.  Between hosting iRetreat Blog Conference in Hershey, PA to visiting my sister-in-law in Canada and then sailing with Carnival to the Caribbean, we have hardly had time to catch our breath.  But with all of this traveling, I have learned a thing or two on how to effectively pack when hitting the road (or the air and sea) with kids.

One of the items that I found to be invaluable during our adventures is not one you would automatically think to pack.  It’s not an item of clothing or a specific shoe.  It’s not bug spray or sunscreen.  It’s not medicine or sea-sickness bracelets.

It was our Rayovac Virtually Indestructible 2AA LED Flashlight.

Small enough to fit into our suitcase without a problem, we packed one for each child and they proved to come in handy on each and every leg of our journey.  For starters, the kids used their flashlights to color in the car to keep them occupied on a 2 hour ride.  While in Canada, the girls had their own bedroom to share and loved using the flashlights to feel like they were having a camp out in their own space.

While the flashlights were great for those trips, I would highly recommend taking one on a cruise.  With very light sleeping quarters, my husband and I used the flashlights to find missing items that had fallen behind the bed and also used them to navigate the space after the kids had fallen asleep (you do NOT want sleep deprived kids on a cruise).

After the sun set, my girls could not wait to take the flashlights onto our balcony and looks for marine life in the water.  We spotted jellyfish and flying fish and they could not have been more excited.  When it was time for bed, the girls settled into the bunk beds and used their flashlights to catch up on a few minutes of summer reading before drifting off to sleep.

With a battery run time of 15 hours, IPX4 water resistance and passing a 30 foot drop test, this flashlight is ideal for any vacation.  What are your unusual travel necessities?

Spice Up Summer Learning with Netflix

This post is written by the Experimental Mommy. As a member of the Netflix Stream Team a complimentary subscription is received. All opinions remain 100% mine.

When the last school bell sounds, the last thing my kids want to think about is books, projects, tests and assignments.  But even though it is summertime,  it’s not time to stop learning.  For my kids, we just approach learning in a different way during these months.

We were fortunate enough to take a few family vacations recently and honestly I think traveling and experiencing different people and cultures is an invaluable source of knowledge.  My kids watched the changing of the guards in Ottawa, swam with stingrays in Grand Cayman and went tubing along the Great River in Jamaica.  My daughter loves her Atlas and we track our travels to facilitate discussions on what to expect along the way.

When we arrived home from our cruise, the kids were fascinated with all things marine, so we headed to Netflix Kids to see if we could find any documentaries to help explain the biology of what we experienced.  The Blue Planet: A Natural History of the Oceans narrated by David Attenborough was the perfect fit.  With episodes such as “Ocean World” and “Coral Seas”, the kids learned more about the dolphins, turtles and stingrays encountered on our trip.

If you are looking for inventive ways to continue learning over the summer months, you can find a variety of options on Netflix.  Whether its a documentary about dinosaurs or a math adventure to the moon, there is something for all of the days spent outside the classroom.

 

Finding Fall Trends at Carter’s {Giveaway}

This post is written by the Experimental Mommy in partnership with Carter’s and The Motherhood.  While a sample was received to facilitate this review, all opinions remain 100% mine.

With two girls in my home, it should come as no surprise that they LOVE to shop.  From a very young age, it was very clear that I had two fashionistas on my hands.  But because they both wear uniforms to school, they don’t get to express their individuality with their wardrobe very often.  So, I was thrilled to take them to Carter’s to explore the new Fall trends and see what caught their eye.

Carter’s has been one of my long time “go-to” stores from the time my girls were babies. Did you know that they sell over 400 million pieces of children’s clothing each year?  But what I love even more than the convenience is that Carter’s is dedicated to value, superior quality and age-appropriate style and these goals are immediately noticeable when you enter any one of their stores.

In a recent virtual briefing with Laura Barber, Vice President and GMM of eCommerce for Carter’s, I learned about the exciting Fall Trends for 2014.  Here’s the scoop so you can be on point as well:

  1. Camo: It’s not just for boys anymore! Add camo to your child’s wardrobe by mixing patterns (especially florals) to create a fun twist and make it more feminine.
  2. Activewear: The easy t-shirts (many have fun positive messages) can be paired with mesh shorts for Summer or layered under a jean jacket for Fall.
  3. Vintage Prints: The smaller, sweeter graphics caught our eye especially the ones with ponies and puppies!
  4. Tomboy Chic: Pair a sweatshirt with a lace layered skirt to be both comfortable and feminine.

After trying to spot each trend in the store, my 6 year old (very opinionated) daughter selected two complete outfits which she was very eager to model.

Aubrie chose a denim dress that she can wear in the heat of a New Orleans Summer but which can be layered with a camo or perhaps animal print cardigan for Fall.  For her second outfit, she was drawn to the vintage print of this adorable skirt and decided to pair it with some really feminine and fun colors. Because our local Carter’s does not carry Lily’s size, she was unable to participate.  But good news! Some Carter’s locations are now carrying sizes 7-12!

Looking for more Fall Fashion advice?  Laura Barber offers this:

The thing to remember is that there aren’t any rules that apply anymore! Let your kids go into their closets and put crazy things together! It inspires creativity, and in this season probably more than ever!

Ready to start shopping? From now through August 5th, Carter’s entire store is 40% off!  In addition, you can print the following coupon for 20%, too.

Download and Print the Coupon Here

To help you stock up on Fall Trends, I also have a $50 Carters Gift Card to giveaway to one lucky reader.  Enter below for a chance to win:

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Planes Upholstered Chair from Delta Children {Giveaway}

How many times have your kids seen Disney’s Planes: Fire & Rescue this Summer?  I’ve been hearing great things about it, but we unfortunately haven’t made the trip to the movie theater.  But from walking the aisles at just about any store, I can tell it is wildly popular with all of the merchandising available.

Do you have a “Planes” obsessed child in your home? I have one Planes Upholstered Chair from Delta Children (available at Walmart) to giveaway to one lucky reader (ARV $50).  About the product:

This great new Planes Upholstered Chair is the perfect chair for your little one. Planes Upholstered Chair, the soothing chair provides a perfect spot for your little Pilot to watch his favorite shows and relax after a long day. The upholstered chair is built with a sturdy durable frame making it the perfect chair for studying and relaxing.

Enter below for a chance to win!

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