Celebrating Summer Success with Scholastic #SummerReading

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

I can hardly believe we have been out of school for one whole month now.  In the last thirty days, we have allowed the girls to have very little structure and enjoy the lazy days of Summer but to my surprise they have both continued their silent reading time before bed without any prompting from my husband and I.

Eventually, I will have to start them practicing Math skills but I love the fact that we are avoiding the summer slide with the help of the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge.  Now in it’s 9th year, this free online program in partnership with ENERGIZER® is challenging kids to “Power Up & Read.”

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Since signing up for the program 30 days ago, my daughters have read 3 chapter books each and request to return to the library on a weekly basis. I think one of the reasons I have seen an increased enthusiasm for reading is because they are allowed to choose books that match their own interests rather than an assigned book for school. According to the Kids & Family Reading Report, 5th edition, 91% of kids (ages 6-17) say that their favorite books are the ones they pick out themselves. Of course, the fact that they can log their own minutes (online or via mobile) into the Scholastic website in order to help break last year’s world record of 304,749,861 minutes certainly helps, too! So far, kids around the country have logged 120,209,618 minutes of reading since the program begin on May 4th.

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Are you looking to avoid the summer slide, too? It’s not too late to sign up for the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge (did I mention it’s free?)! Not sure where to start? Parents can download free resources, including printables and book lists for kids of all ages. And the fun is not only for kids! Parents can enter weekly sweepstakes to win a “Power Up & Read Kit” and watch videos about summer reading activities to keep you “innovative” all summer long. The prize pack includes: Scholastic tote bag, water bottle, a copy of Reading Unbound by Jeffrey Wilhelm and Michael Smith, $10 gift certificate to Scholastic Store Online, Energizer® brand batteries, Scholastic books, and more. Learn more at the Energizer Instant Win website.

In addition to helping to break the record, kids can also enter monthly sweepstakes to win fabulous prizes, and earn digital rewards when they complete weekly reading challenges. A new feature this year is that kids can unlock 12 original short stories (exclusively for this year’s challenge) from favorite children’s authors and access never-before-seen videos from the authors!

So many reasons to join the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge but the best one is that my kids ASKED to join again this year. Now that is a Summer Success!

Dance Into Plenti Rewards #PlentiTogether

I’m participating as a blogger ambassador for the Plenti program, operated by American Express.

It’s June! And if you are a dance Mom, you know what that means….it’s recital season! With two dancing Divas in my home, the upcoming days are sure to be filled with extra rehearsals, costume alterations, and last minute shopping trips.  As a former dance teacher, I absolutely love spending this time with my daughters, but I do not love how expensive it can get.

Fortunately there is a Rite Aid nearby that stocks just about everything I need to make an emergency dance recital kit!  Bobby pins, hair nets, gel, hair spray, ponytail holders, mascara, eyeliner, lip gloss, deodorant, scissors, clear nail polish (for stocking runs), and snacks filled with protein are absolute essentials. While each of these items is not expensive on their own, they can certainly add up, especially when you have two dancers.

The fact that Rite Aid is close to my home is only one of the reasons I head straight there for dance recital must haves.  I know I can always find great prices and I can use my Plenti rewards card and rack up points for future purchases. Have you heard about Plenti?

Plenti is free to join and is a new loyalty program that allows shoppers to earn and redeem rewards points across some of their favorite brands. The loyalty coalition program — the first of its’ kind in the U.S. – boasts a roster that includes AT&T, ExxonMobil, Macy’s, Nationwide Insurance, Rite Aid, Direct Energy, Enterprise Rent-a-Car and Hulu.

Did you know that nearly 72 percent of Americans say they would prefer a rewards program that allows them to shop at many stores versus a single brand according to a recent research study?

In my last post, I showed you how incredibly easy Plenti is to use. Have you joined yet?  Are you earning rewards on things you were already shopping for every day? Don’t forget that you can earn points regardless of payment method (credit, cash or debit, etc.). Just show your Plenti Card at check out!

Summer Family Road Trip Streaming with Netflix #StreamTeam

This post is written by the Experimental Mommy in partnership with Netflix as a member of the #StreamTeam.

School is officially out for Summer and I couldn’t have three happier kids. Ok, so I only have two kids but my hubby is a teacher and he is thrilled about vacation, too.  Because the school year is so hectic, we can often lose sight of the importance of connecting as a family so summer is perfect to make up for lost time.

My husband and I try to give my kids educational and worthwhile experiences over the summer that will bring us together as a family. Fortunately, we live in New Orleans which is full of culture and easy to find. Staycations are a family favorite but sometimes we hit the road for long weekend getaways.

While we plan lots of quality time together during our vacation, the road trip can sometimes be long and cumbersome but Netflix can help fill the hours till we arrive at our destination. Here are a few of our Road Trip favorites:

1. Liv and Maddie: My girls are so excited that Liv and Maddie Season 1 has finally made it’s way to Netflix. The enjoy watching the comedy surrounding this TV family with twin girls!

2. H20 Mermaid Adventures: My youngest daughter is ALL about mermaids this Summer so naturally this show has caught (and kept) her attention.

3. Crash and Bernstein: Who doesn’t love puppets, right?

4. Life With Boys: My tween adores this show and is thrilled that Season 2 has made it’s way to Netflix.

What are you streaming on your summer road trips?

Let Dove Help You #LoveYourCurls

This post is written by the Experimental Mommy in partnership with Dove and The Motherhood. All opinions remain 100% mine.

I was born with a massive amount of hair. The nurses actually put bows in my hair before bringing me to my Mom from the hospital nursery.  Even though I had lots of hair, it was stick straight. On the other hand, my husband was born with ringlets that were the envy of every girl.  Naturally, my youngest daughter got qualities from both of us and was born was LOTS of CURLY hair.

Y’all, I could not get enough of her hair. I loved every last curly strand of it. Often, people at her daycare would ask if I put her hair in hot rollers before coming to school everyday (yeah, curling irons and toddlers would not be a good idea). The only problem? She hated it.

Both her older sister and her Mom have straight hair and she was not going to be the odd girl out. She tried to make her hair as straight as possible by brushing out the curls to no avail.  But as time has gone on, she is embracing her curls and realizes they make her special and unique.

Did you know that only 4 in 10 little girls with curly hair think their hair is beautiful?

Dove Hair wants all women and girls to love their curls and started the “Love Your Curls” campaign! In partnership with best-selling author Taiye Selasi and illustrated by Annick Poirier, Dove launched a poetic tribute to curly hair, “Love Your Curls.” You can download the free e-book and even personalize it for your favorite curly haired girl!

I think part of Aubrie’s transition to embracing her curls has been to learn how to manage them. As a straight haired Mom, I knew very little about how to care for her locks which ended up a frizzy mess.  Fortunately, we had the opportunity to try the Dove Quench Absolute system which nourishes hair and provides 4X more defined, natural curls. The four products that are part of the system are infused with protein, nutrients and Buriti Oil.

Our favorite product has been the Dove Quench Absolute Supreme Crème Serum. It is Dove’s first curl leave-in nourishing treatment which contains high levels of glycerine and can be used on wet or dry hair. After Aubrie’s bath, I towel dry her hair and apply the serum. It is lightweight and does not leave the hair feeling greasy or heavy…plus, it smells fantastic! Finally, we blow dry with a diffuser and her hair is princess ready!

Do you love your curls?

#ImBornTo Support the March of Dimes

This post was written by the Experimental Mommy in partnership with The Motherhood and March of Dimes. All opinions are 100% my own.

As one of 39 Moms (one for each week of a full-term pregnancy), I have loved being part of a team of bloggers to help raise awareness for the incredible things March of Dimes has (and continues to) accomplish with your donations. The #ImBornTo campaign has helped shine a spotlight on the fact that in the United States, one baby is born prematurely every minute and approximately 72 children die each day before reaching their first birthday. This fight to save babies and help all moms have healthy, full-­‐term pregnancies has been the focus of the March of Dimes’ mission for the last several decades.

Recently, I hosted a few friends at my home to let them know about the amazing work done by March of Dimes and how exactly  they could help fulfill their mission. Over some sweet Southern tea and dessert, I shared with them a few ways they could be a part of the solution.

From Mother’s Day to Father’s Day, the March of Dimes encourages consumers to shop, donate or take part in partner promotions to support the cause. Each partner including Martha Stewart, Bon Ton, Mud Pie, KMart, Alex and Ani, eBay, AE Jewelers, and Blue Rhino have different promotions to support the cause and you can help by simply shopping the deals!

Need more reasons to shop? Support of the March of Dimes last year alone provided 15,700 babies lifesaving surfactant therapy, developed by March of Dimes researchers, and gave 90,000 families with a newborn in intensive care comfort and information through NICU Family Support®.

What will you do to help babies reach their full potential?