Join me for a #MusselmansBigCup Twitter Party!

Something BIG is brewing at Musselman’s!  Come learn all about it and win some great prizes, too!

Musselman’s Big Cup Twitter Party
Tuesday, October 8th at 9 pm EST
Hashtag: #MusselmansBigCup

Who to Follow: @Musselmansapple,@DoubleDutyDivas @BridgetteLA, @CeceliaMecca @AngieKcom, @WhatMommiesNeed, & @RamblingChick 

Prizes:
Winners will be selected at random, for a total of four winners:
$25 Gift Card + Musselman Product
$25 Gift Card + Musselman Product
$50 Gift Card + Musselman Product

Grand Prize: $100 Gift Card + Musselman Product

RSVP at http://twtvite.com/MusselmansBigCup

Join me for a #Care4Today Twitter Party on October 3rd

In New Orleans, we are eagerly awaiting our first cold front of the Season to chase away the humid Southern weather.  We are longing to break out the sweaters, sip a hot pumpkin spice latte, and get outside to enjoy the cool breeze.  But with the change in Seasons comes an increase in seasonal allergens.

I don’t know about you, but I do not want my pumpkin patch-hayride-cornmaze filled day to be ruined with itchy eyes, a runny nose and constant sneezing!  My defense?  Allergy medicine.  But I have to be consistent.  Miss a day and I am doomed.  Fortunately, I was recently introduced to Care4Today™ Mobile Health Manager, a free mobile app and website with new features that are designed to support and motivate people to stay on schedule with their medications.

Want to learn more about the app?  Join me for a Twitter Party to chat about this wonderful tool and managing fall allergies!  Here’s the deets:

When: Thursday, October 3, at 1:00pm CST

Where: We’ll be on Twitter – follow the #Care4Today hashtag to track the conversation. You can see the details and RSVP via this Twtvite: http://twtvite.com/care4today

Hashtag: #Care4Today

Prizes: Five prizes will be awarded throughout the party to participants who respond correctly to trivia questions. Each winner will receive a $50 Visa gift card and a Vera Bradley pill case.

Hosts: @theMotherhood, @theMotherhood25, @CooperMunroe, @EmilyMcKhann

My fellow co-hosts:

@ParentPalace – Amber, Parent Palace, http://parentpalace.com
@EcoBabyMamaDram – Bri, Eco Baby Mama Drama, http://ecobabymamadrama.com
@BridgetteLA – Bridgette, Experimental Mommy, http://www.thenotsoblog.com
@debthompson – Deb, Just Short of Crazy, http://www.justshortofcrazy.com
@DonnaChaffins – Donna, Blog by Donna, http://blogbydonna.com
@waystosave – Kas, Southern Bella’s Ways To Save, http://www.southernbellaswaystosave.com
@amomsimpression – Kathy, A Mom’s Impression, http://amomsimpression.com
@blueviolet – Liz, A Nut in a Nutshell, http://www.anutinanutshell.com
@lomargie – Lori, A Day in Motherhood, http://www.adayinmotherhod.com
@suelee1998 – Susan, Susan’s Disney Family, http://www.susansdisneyfamily.com
@cookiesANDclogs – TerriAnn, Cookies & Clogs, http://www.cookiesandclogs.com

Hope to see you there!!

Join Me for a #PampersLoveSleepPlay Twitter Party!

Pampers love sleep play

Pampers Love Sleep Play Twitter Party with the Double Duty Divas

When: Thursday, August 29th at 9 pm EST
Where: Twitter
Hashtag: #PampersLoveSleepPlay
Who to Follow: @Pampers,@DoubleDutyDivas @BridgetteLa, @CoolBabyKid, @MyFourMonkeys, @WhatMommiesNeed, & @RamblingChick

Prizes: Winners will be selected at random, for a total of five (5) winners:

  •  1 one-month supply of Pampers diapers and wipes (retailing at approximately $72 each) chosen from the RSVP list
  •  3 one-month supply of Pampers diapers and wipes (retailing at approximately $72 each)chosen from the party.
  • 1 Grand prize to help your baby Love, Sleep, & Play which includes a 3 month supply of Pampers diapers and wipes, Lovie blanket, “Good Night Moon” book, Cloud B Sleep Sheep, and Playskool toy.

RSVP at http://twtvite.com/pamperslovesleepplay

Love twitter parties? Make sure to check out the Latina Mom Bloggers as they host another party with @PampersLatino on Wednesday, August 28th at 9pm EST. Follow the hashtag #PampersAmorSuenosJuegos to join and click here to RSVP.

Want the Divas to help promote your brand and promote you via Twitter to their combined 85k+ followers? Contact us at admin@doubledutydivas.com for rates.

Swimming with Dolphins in Cozumel #CCLSummer

This post is the opinion of the Experimental Mommy.  I won the cruise during a social media scavenger hunt sponsored by Carnival Cruise Lines. Excursions were purchased by my family.  All opinions remain 100% mine.

After visiting Honduras and Belize, our final port on our 7 day Carnival Conquest Cruise was Cozumel, Mexico.  After such a busy day in Belize, we were thrilled to visit Chakanaab Park for a Dolphin Encounter.  As we approached Cozumel, I immediately noticed the beautiful water.  The color was by far the most impressive of our stops.

At the pier, we boarded passenger vans for the 15 minute ride to Chakanaab National Park.  Our tour guide helped us get fitted for life jackets (required for everyone) before entering the dolphin encounter area in the Caribbean Sea.  We entered a sectioned off portion which included two dolphins about 3 years old.  The dolphin trainer began by showing us what the dolphins can do! My girls were in awe as they jumped, swam and waved in front of us.

We stood on a ledge as each person got a chance to kiss, hug and shake “hands” with the dolphins (there were about 12 people in our group).  For the next 40 minutes, the trainers were great making sure that every person had multiple encounters with the dolphins ending with a few opportunities to “pet” them before exiting.  While you are not allowed to bring cameras, you can purchase pictures from the local photographers.  There are several dolphin excursions to pick from, but if you have young kids that are a bit anxious about interacting with the animals, this one is perfect.  If your child is a bit older and more adventurous, you can do a Dolphin Push, Pull and Swim excursion which offers more interaction.

After the dolphin encounter, we were free to explore Chakanaab on our own time.  We chose to check out a free sea lion show, do some shopping and have my daughter’s hair wrapped in colorful string.  For lunch, we decided on an outdoor cafe that served nachos, tacos and quesadillas….all delish!

Finally, we took advantage of the beautiful pool which has a large shallow end perfect for my two daughters.  For most of the day, they were the only kids in this section of the pool which made it very enjoyable.  Shuttles back to the pier left every hour, so we could choose to stay as long or as little as we wanted.

I would highly recommend this excursion through Carnival Cruise Lines.  Everyone was very friendly and it was well organized.  When the kids get older, I would love to return and do another Dolphin Encounter.  Have you been to Cozumel?  What was your favorite excursion?

 

 

 

 

It’s a Sandwich Showdown with #HotterPockets!

This post is the opinion of the Experimental Mommy.  Travel expenses were provided to facilitate this review but all opinions remain 100% honest.

Because I work outside of the home, I generally have to pack a lunch or eat something super quick at home before returning to the office.  Without tons of time, my go-to lunch consists of a turkey and Swiss sandwich on wheat.  Exciting, right?  While it certainly does the trick, I get bored with this option and have the tendency to resort to fast food.

Earlier this year, Linzy from Crawfish Tales had the opportunity to represent Experimental Mommy at the Nestle Test Kitchens to take a sneak peek behind the scenes at Hot Pockets.  While we have shared a little about her trip, we can finally unveil the big news:  the new and improved Hot Pockets sandwiches are here!!

With all new varieties made with premium cuts of meat, buttery seasoned crusts and real cheese, lunch never has to be boring again.  Linzy had first crack at tasting some fresh Hot Pockets including Ham and Cheese and Pepperoni Pizza.  The new sandwiches are made with premium meats like 100% Angus beef, Hickory Ham, Signature Pepperoni and White Meat Chicken while the crusts have baked in flavor like the new garlic butter.

Are you ready for a Sandwich Showdown? How does a Hot Pocket stand up against your favorite sandwich variety?  For me, I am a huge fan of a good meatball sub.  So, I was very interested to see how the Hot Pocket Meatballs & Mozzarella compared to a Meatball Sub from a national sandwich restaurant.  Take a look at the below graphic:

I love that the Hot Pockets are perfectly proportioned so I am not tempted to go overboard which saves me calories in the long run, too.  While I am craving the Meatballs & Mozzarella, my husband is most looking forward to trying the BBQ Beef Hot Pocket which is made with 100% angus beef in a sweet and tangy bbq sauce covered in a crispy buttery seasoned crust.  My kids?  The Four Cheese Pizza made with Parmesan, cheddar and reduced fat provolone and mozzarella cheeses in a garlic buttery seasoned crust, of course.

Not sure if you will like the Hot Pocket variety?  Scared to try something different?  Hot Pockets is so confident that consumers will love the new recipe that they are offering a money back guarantee.  No questions asked, just visit the Hot Pockets website for details.

If your mouth is watering, come back in the next few weeks when I will be giving away an awesome Hot Pockets prize pack!  Which variety are you most excited to try?

Taking a Look Behind the Scenes at Hot Pockets #Ambassador

I am excited to announce that I am a Hot Pockets Ambassador.  While I was unable to attend the brand event, Linzy from Crawfish Tales represented Experimental Mommy.  In this post, she shares her experiences and thoughts on the trip.  Travel was provided but all opinions remain 100% honest.

I am a mom, so that means one of many things. It means that from the day I became a mom I put myself even lower on the totem pole of my priorities. This results in my appearance, which I spend less than two minutes on in the morning, disheveled while my daughter is perfectly coordinated and her hair perfectly placed.

This is also means that I most likely forgot to eat breakfast or pack lunch for the day, but of course she is well taken care of. It is like the unspoken mom code. We all do it and we all forgive each other, especially in the mornings.

While I am still human, I need to eat. This sounds simple but there are a couple of issues with this. First, is that our family does not eat fast food. It is just not a part of our regular diet and is something reserved for specific situations like road trips. Second, is that eating out is expensive!  I can’t remember to pack a well-balanced lunch for myself but to purchasing lunch every day is just not in the budget. I can think of a million other ways that I would rather spend that money. Finally, I need to eat smart. I am not a supermodel nor do I have the metabolism that I did in high school.

So that is quite a list of criteria to put in to one meal on the go that has to be quick and easy.

Recently I was invited to go to the Nestle facility in Ohio to get a behind the scenes look at their Hot Pocket and Lean Pocket Brands. I was able to touch and taste the quality ingredients put into the sandwiches, meet with their lead nutritionist to learn about the great efforts they put into the nutritional value of the sandwiches and hear from the CEO himself about the company’s mission on producing healthy family friendly foods.

I really enjoyed hearing from the nutritionist. She talked about her personal goals of why she works for Nestle and how the company supports her requirement of producing quality products. She has put a lot of time and effort and her stamp of approval on the products.

One of the things that she mentioned is that portion sizes are quite out of control at many restaurants and even in the meals we make at home. Because a Hot Pocket comes prepared, the portion size is controlled. Partnering a Lean Pocket, with a fresh fruit or vegetable serving offers minimal additional calories and adds even more nutrition completing the meal.

I learned first-hand about the premium quality meats and real cheese in every bite as good sources for protein and calcium. While I know I was looking for a solution for my on the go breakfast and lunch needs, I was very excited to know that many of the Nestle products, including Hot Pockets and Lean Pockets, fit into the Balance Your Plate initiative.

If you are not familiar with the Balance Your Plate initiative, it is a tool kit designed by health and nutrition professionals to show consumers how to create a deliciously balanced, perfectly portioned meals that include the foods they love while meeting the current dietary guidelines.

This is perfect for moms on the go but as well as families on the go. It is hard to get a home cooked meal on the table each night and this is a great resource for mom as a go to meal planner to help insure that your family is getting the nutrients they need.

Be on the lookout in the coming months for exciting news, products and initiatives from Hot Pockets right here on Experimental Mommy!

Ten Things to Know Before Camping at Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park

This post is the opinion of the Experimental Mommy. Our cabin rental was provided to facilitate this review.  All opinions remain 100% mine.

Like any family, the end of the school year has been incredibly busy.  From tests to projects and parties to graduations, we have been non-stop all month long.  Fortunately, we were able to escape to Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park in Robert, Louisiana for a two night stay in order to take a deep breath and have some fun.

Here are the Top Ten Things to Know Before Camping at Yogi Bear’s Jellytsone Park:

10.  It’s only about an hour from New Orleans.  The kids barely had enough time to say, “Are we there yet, Mom?”  I had no idea this fun escape was so close to home.

9.  Cabins are available with two separate bedrooms.  Moms and Dads need their quiet time, too!

8.  Consider bringing a mattress topper or egg crate.  While two double beds are provided in the Louisiana Lodges (plus a daybed with a trundle), the mattress could use some help in the comfort department.  Also you are required to bring your own linens and towels (and I would recommend bringing your own pillows as well).

7.  Cabins are available with both air conditioning and heating. During a hot Louisiana summer, this is pure heaven.

6.  The kitchen in the Louisiana Lodges include a stove, microwave and refrigerator/freezer.  Cooking meals is a snap! Plus, if you bring your own ice trays, you can have a constant supply of ice for your drinks!  Outside of the cabin is a grilling area, which smells amazing at dinner time.

5.  There are two different “Hey Rides.”  The morning ride is a fun sing-a-long lasting about 15 minutes.  In the afternoon, the “Hey Ride” becomes a rolling super soaker adventure…bring your water guns!

4.  Take advantage of the Rec Center! The campground has done a wonderful job of lining up constant activities for the kids.  We painted ceramics and colored pillowcases but you could also tie dye T-Shirts, play bingo or participate in the Watermelon eating contest.  While most activities are free, some require a cash fee.

3.  Some cabins, like the Louisiana Lodges, surround their own private pool.  I highly recommend taking advantage of this zero entry pool as it was much less crowded than the main pool.  We always had a lounge chair to sit in and relax as long as we liked.

2.  Concessions are available on the grounds. Until about 6pm, you can purchase snacks such as nachos, chicken fingers, ice cream, snoballs, and more!  Plus, a convenience store stocks things you may have forgotten to bring.

1.  You will have fun!  In just two days, we swam, played at the splash park, mini-golfed, colored pillowcases, took a Hey Ride, spent time on the playground, took a ride on the paddleboats, made a campfire, played Bingo, met new friends and the infamous Yogi the Bear.

But the best part is that we spent quality time together as a family away from the hectic pace of everyday life.  To find out more about Yogi Bear Jellystone Park in Robert, Louisiana, follow them on Twitter and Facebook!

I’m an Auntie Anne’s Pretzel Pro!

Recently, I had the honor of attending Auntie Anne’s Pretzel Academy, to learn all about the pretzel experience. I was more than happy to stand in for Bridgette, especially since pretzel tasting was involved. And, while I have always loved the sweet cinnamon sugar pretzel sticks that Auntie Anne’s has to offer, I will admit that I did not know a lot about the company.

 

 

Founded by Anne Beiler, Auntie Anne’s started as a stand in a farmer’s market where they were raising money to help counsel families in need.  And, as they say the rest is history!  Following Anne’s motto: ”Give, to Get Back, to Give Again” the company continues to grow and partner with great causes, such as Alex’s Lemonade Stand.

 

While in Lancaster, PA, home of Auntie Anne’s, I learned all about the pretzel making process and what makes their pretzels stand above the rest. From the special dough, which is shipped directly to the franchise stores, to the variety of pretzels offerings, Auntie Anne’s is like no other. They serve only the freshest pretzels, which are guaranteed to be fresh out of the oven, within 30 minutes of serving them.  And, this can be seen by how fast they are growing as they are now the world’s largest hand-rolled soft chain with more than 1,330 stores in more than 25 countries and 46 states!

I did learn the pretzel making process and now know that it is no easy task. The dough must take time to rise and then is hand rolled into that special shape we all know and love. I also was taught how to roll a pretzel from Anne herself, which was just a little intimidating! (brag moment) But, I must have learned well, since I won the pretzel rolling contest!

The best thing that I learned, is that I have a new favorite pretzel, which is the Almond Pretzel with caramel sauce! Super yummy!! Be sure to follow Auntie Anne’s on Facebook and Twitter, and keep checking back here on Experimental Mommy to keep up to date on all things pretzel.

This post was written by Renee of What Mommies Need.  Auntie Anne’s covered travel expenses for this trip but all opinions remain 100% honest.

Support the Arts and Join Me at the #BlickARA Twitter Party!

My Mom is an artist, so art has always been an important part of my life.  Her beautiful artwork covered the walls of our home and she was always up for an art project.  While I didn’t get any of her artistic talent, I still enjoy trying to paint and be creative in other ways.  Now, my Mom is helping instill a love of art in my daughters and in the children she teaches art to at a local studio.  Keeping art programs in schools and after-school programs is important to me, so I am thrilled to be a part of the Blick Art Room Aid initiative.  Join me for a Twitter Party to learn more!

What: Do you believe art is an essential part of your child’s education? Then you already know how important art education is — and how schools are struggling to keep their art programs alive. That’s where Art Room Aid can help! A program of Blick Art Materials, Art Room Aid is helping teachers across the country enlist the aid of parents, families, friends, and other art advocates to fund their art projects and keep creative learning going.

Want to learn more? Join this Twitter Party to find out how you can support art education, make sure art continues to play a role in your children’s lives, and spread the word about Art Room Aid in your community. We’ll be discussing projects you can do with your own kids, and sharing sources of inspiration.

When: Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2 p.m. ET

Where: We’ll be on Twitter – follow the #BlickARA hashtag to track the conversation. See this Twtvite for more info and to RSVP: http://twtvite.com/BlickARA

Hashtag: #BlickARA

Prizes: We will give away five total prizes – two $25 Blick gift coupons, two $50 Blick gift coupons, and one $75 Blick gift coupon.

Hosts: @theMotherhood, @CooperMunroe, @EmilyMcKhann

Hope to see you there!

This post is part of a sponsored campaign through The Motherhood and Blick Art.  All opinions are my own.

Gaining Confidence in the Kitchen with Macy’s Culinary Council

Last night, I had the pleasure of attending a Macy’s Culinary Council cooking demonstration right here in New Orleans.  After the event, my loving husband says, “Why don’t you go share with the Chefs your recipe for ice.”  Yep.  That about sums it up.  Me at a cooking demo?  Believe it or not, I have gotten much better in the kitchen in the last seven months since being laid off from my job.  Partly from necessity (eating out is no longer in my budget) and partly because I have the time.  But you know what?  I am enjoying it.
I was very excited about attending the cooking demonstration and arrived with hopes of learning a few tricks and tips.  I was not disappointed.  Macy’s’ Culinary Council, which is comprised of a variety of the most well-known chefs in the cooking industry, has been hosting a nationwide tour in various Macy’s kitchens around the country.  Launched in 2003, the Council serves to inspire the way Macy’s customers shop, cook and eat at home while providing expert culinary advice with the aim of teaching customers how to cook and shop like a master chef.  Here in New Orleans, we were treated to a class instructed by chefs Nancy Silverton and Johnny Iuzzini.
Both chefs were friendly, knowledgeable and quite entertaining.  Chef Nancy started by showing us how to prepare your own salad dressing.  If I had any idea it was that simple, I would not have been buying bottled dressings all this time!  A few tips (in my own, non-chef words):
  • Do not store your olive oil in a clear container.  It breaks down faster that way.  Find a dark bottle for storage.
  • Pair your salad dressing to your salad.  Not every dressing should be offered with one salad…they just don’t go!
  • When using a head lettuce, massage the dressing into the leaves, otherwise you will just get the outside coated leaving nothing for the middle section.
  • When you have a recipe with very few ingredients, use only the best!
  • Pine nuts go rancid quickly. Who knew?
  • Always salt your greens before beginning to build your salad.
  • When building a salad, you should not throw greens in a bowl and add toppings. You want to get some of each ingredient into every bite.

Next, Chef Johnny Iuzzini (who is definitely not hard on the eyes), created two delicious desserts including a Pineapple-Polenta Cake with a Pineapple-Spice Sauce and a Chocolate Pudding with Devils Food Cake, Soft Cream and Candied Rose Petals.  I have never eaten rose petals before, but they were quite tasty! Here are a few tips from Johnny:

  • When making a cake, use cold butter and room temperature eggs
  • Mayo can be used as an ingredient to keep the cake moist due to it’s oil content
  • Mix a powder (like flour) with a granular (like sugar)
  • To ensure your pudding doesn’t get a “skin”, cover immediately with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

I truly enjoyed the cooking demo.  Check out your local Macy’s to see if the Culinary Council is coming to a store near you and don’t miss any of the action by following the Culinary Council on Twitter, too!

This post is the opinion of The Experimental Mommy.  Everywhere PR contacted me on behalf of Macy’s and I was compensated for my time and effort.  All opinions remain 100% mine.