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!

For more NOLA inside scoop, follow me on Facebook and Instagram, too!

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.

Turning Back the Clock with Neutrogena #RapidResults

With New Year’s Day just a few hours away, I am reflecting on all that 2014 has been to my family and I.  My girls are growing up before my eyes, we had the opportunity to travel to some great destinations such as Disneyland, Canada, Honduras and Jamaica and the real eye opener was that I turned 40.  Yes, 40.

So, for my 2015 New Year’s Resolutions, I am focusing on me (something I have been ignoring for the past decade with two small children in my home).  But it is time to put some of my energy into self development: learn more, eat better, get exercise, and take care of my skin.  Fortunately, Neutrogena is helping me develop a skin regimen that will keep my skin nourished and healthy.

I took the Neutrogena Anti-Aging 7 Day Retinol Road Test to see if I could verify the clinically proven claim of noticeable improvements of fine lines and overall skin tone in just one week. The products including Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Moisturizer (Day and Night), Rapid Wrinkle Repair Serum and Rapid Wrinkle Repair Eye Cream contain a unique combination of three key ingredients: hyaluronic acid, glucose complex and Retinol SA.

The latest breakthrough Retinol technology developed by Neutrogena®, Accelerated Retinol SA combines the highest concentration of Retinol with Glucose Complex and Hyaluronic Acid. This nourishing formula boosts the efficacy of pure, stabilized Retinol, making it highly effective yet gentle. Skin is left feeling smoother and younger-looking. In fact, it’s clinically proven to visibly improve the look of wrinkles, fine lines, tone, and texture.

Time for the test drive.  For the first time, I took a really close look at my skin, searched for wrinkles and identified problem spots.  Apparently, I have more wrinkles than I realized! The worst areas for me are wrinkles in the forehead, crow’s feet and dark circles around my eyes.  Could Neutrogena help me in just one week? I was skeptical.

The system is quite simple. I started with the serum, followed by the eye cream and topped with the appropriate moisturizer (day or night). All of these products work great under your foundation.  I immediately noticed that my skin just felt healthy.  I think my skin literally drank in the moisturizer and I have never felt my skin feel so soft and smooth.

After one week, some of the fine lines on my forehead were definitely diminished (I think the deeper wrinkles will take more time).  My eyes looked more “awake” and overall younger and more vibrant.  I was concerned that the number of products used on my skin would feel heavy or greasy but that was totally not the case.

If your New Year’s Resolution includes taking better care of yourself and your skin, check out the Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair for immediate results.  To help you get started, one of my readers will win a YEAR’S SUPPLY of the Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair line.  Enter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Fashionably Festive with American Girl BeForever

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

It’s no secret that my own American girls love American Girl. The brand has been featured on this blog numerous times over the past 6 years and now my daughters are including the dolls in their very own gift guide for girls.  As a Mom of two daughters and because American Girl celebrates girls, all that they are and all that they will become, this brand is one I truly love.

My husband is a history teacher at an all girls high school so he helps to encourage leadership in young women at work and at home.  So it is no surprise that he loves seeing our daughters excited about learning history through the American Girl BeForever line which connects girls to timeless stories, inspiring characters and endless possibilities.  Building on the historical characters, my husband uses them as a starting point for conversations about the past and what we can learn from them.

The BeForever line will debut with eight characters; all-new, historically accurate outfits and accessories for dolls; new and refreshed fiction books; and an original line of historically inspired clothing for girls.  But I absolutely love that the BeForever line is including contemporary fashions for girls inspired by the historical characters in sizes 6-16.

My daughter could not wait to try on the American Girl BeForever Pretty Plum Dress inspired by Rebecca.  About the outfit:

Inspired by Rebecca, this herringbone dress features a Peter Pan collar and cap sleeves with velvet trim, and decorative side buttons on the bodice. A kicky knife-pleated skirt and velvet sash finish the look. Dress is lined, with in-seam pockets and a back zip.

It was the perfect out for a Girl Scout Mother-Daughter Tea!  The quality was top notch and the style of the outfit turned quite a few heads.  My little one was proud to wear the outfit and told her friends all about Rebecca and the character’s story.

If you are still in need of a holiday gift that will make you the best Mom/Dad/Aunt/Uncle/Grandma/Godfather, head to a local American Girl store and check out these adorable outfits!