Reward Yourself with Plenti

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

It’s official! School is out for summer and the kids (plus my hubby who is a teacher) are in full celebration mode. My husband spent last week getting our new pool set up and ready for this past Memorial Day weekend. My job? It’s always about getting the family ready for a fun and relaxing weekend together.

Like every weekend, before we can get to the fun and relaxing part, I have to get through the organizing and expensive part.  Swimsuits, sunscreen, pool toys, goggles, BBQ tools, food and drinks made up only part of my Memorial Day holiday shopping list this year so finding the best deal is a high priority. One of my favorite ways to save (as you can tell by looking at my key ring) is to take part in loyalty programs that reward you for shopping, but keeping up with different programs can get confusing.

 

Fortunately, some of my favorite shopping haunts have become part of one consolidated rewards program called Plenti. While operated by American Express, Plenti is a coalition loyalty program that accepts any form of payment, and that just like most regular retailer loyalty programs, you will receive a physical card after enrollment that you can swipe at purchase to earn points.

Of course, you are going to want to start earning points as soon as possible so let me tell you how to get started.

  • Sign up for your free account at http://www.plenti.com
  • Shop at Plenti partners which include AT&T, ExxonMobil, Macy’s, Nationwide Insurance, Rite Aid, Direct Energy, Enterprise Rent-a-Car and Hulu plus an array of online retailers as well
  • Earn points on purchases you are making to use towards savings on future shopping trips. For example, if you are going on a weekend trip, rent a car with Enterprise and earn points to use towards purchasing a fun new swimsuit at Macy’s!

I decided to start racking up points while crossing off items on my weekend shopping list. To make sure I found the best deals, I downloaded the Plenti app onto my iPhone before heading out the door. My first stop was Rite Aid for some backyard essentials so I checked the app for special deals at Rite Aid and noticed that purchasing my favorite sunscreen would earn me 100 Plenti points!

Pulling up at Rite Aid, the Plenti loyalty program was advertised in many places making it hard to miss! I found the advertised sunscreen, bug repellant, allergy medicine and some nail polish (you have to have cute pool ready toes, right?) and headed for the register. Pulling up the Plenti app, I handed my phone to the Rite Aid employee who scanned my card to be sure I received the rewards points for my purchase. Sure enough, I did indeed save money on my purchase AND earned 100 Plenti Points. Super easy!

Next stop? Macy’s! As much as I hate shopping for swimsuits, it must be done. And if it must be done, I might as well earn a reward for trying on swimsuits and looking at myself in a room full of mirrors under florescent lighting. Wish me luck!

CellScope: Oto Remote Care for Ear Infections

This post was written by Linzy of Crawfish Tales in partnership with CellScope. All opinions remain 100% honest.

First, I will say that I was so excited for the chance to try out this product! My first child had tubes placed in her ears at 9 months of age because of multiple ear infections. So with my second child starting daycare,  I am sure that runny noses, ear infections and gunk are not far behind. Build those immune systems young and they will be healthier later, right? So far that has proven true with my first child.

Since my oldest had chronic ear infections with no obvious symptoms like fever, it was hard to know when to take her to the doctor. Do I take her just in case? Do I take her today but the infection shows up three days from now? It is such a hard balance and you can’t keep running to the pediatrician. Not only will the insurance co-pays add up but so will the vacation time that I would take each and every time. I always wished there were something that could give me an indication of when to go to the pediatrician.

Fortunately, CellScope is going to help parents by filling that void.

I got to test out the product and I will say that I LOVE it and it is totally going to change how we cope with sickness in our house. It is very easy to use. Open the box. Simple enough so far, right? Then download that app. Easy! The CellScope comes with an iPhone case (models 5, 5s and 6) and you attach the provided camera to the case with a simple snap. Simply log in to the app and create a profile of your child. You can create difference profiles for each of your kids which is fantastic! This is great because their information is saved in the phone so you don’t have to reenter it each time you use the program.

Now, you’re ready to roll! The app directs you on what to do and really makes the process foolproof.  Install the disposable ear probe with a click, insert the probe in the eardrum, click record and the Oto HOME takes a video of your child’s ear drum. Don’t worry if you are not sure what you are looking for, the app is super smart and guides you. It has arrows that appear on the screen that indicate which way you need to turn the phone for the recording to get a good view of the eardrum.

I had no problem getting the recording on my four year old. She thought it was VERY cool to be able to see inside her ear when I let her watch the video. Now, send the video through Oto CONNECT to a remote physician on their team. Or, if you want to send it to your personal pediatrician there is a function in the app that lets you email the recording.

The CellScope doctors are board certified, trusted physicians who have gone through a robust screening process and have been chosen based on their medical expertise and commitment to helping make healthcare more convenient for patients. The doctors are based in California currently and provide remote consultations via the Oto CONNECT service.

Payment is easy (there is a $10 fee to have your video reviewed by a physician on the CellScope team). Program your credit card into the app so it remembers each time you use it and don’t have to enter it every use. The best part? You are guaranteed results in two hours.

When I sent the video to the physician you can add comments to send directly to the doctor and you have options to include other symptoms. It is everything that you would share with your pediatrician if you were in the office. When I got my results back, my daughter’s eardrum was clear. But if she would have add an inner ear infection then then the physician could have sent a prescription directly to our local pharmacy. How cool is that?!

Try CellScope for Yourself: COUPON CODE!

The product is $79 and is available online at http://store.cellscope.com. If you want one for your home, for the next 30 days you can get 30% off with the code: CRAWFISH30

I love the idea that the company is working to provide quick and convenient diagnosis for routine health issues. I can’t wait to see what they come out with next.

Scholastic Summer Reading: Challenge Accepted!

This post is written by the Experimental Mommy in partnership with Scholastic. All opinions remain 100% my own.

Three and a half. That’s the number of school days left until Summer begins.  On one hand, I am looking forward to a more relaxed routine and hours of family fun.  On the other, I want my girls to keep up the skills they learned and provide more educational opportunities throughout the Summer. Thankfully, Scholastic has a great way to help!

From May 4th-September 4th, Scholastic has challenged kids everywhere to beat the summer reading record of 304,749,681 minutes. This year’s theme, “Power Up & Read” , powered by Energizer®, encourages kids to read all summer long and unlock 12 original short stories by bestselling children’s authors as kids reach reading milestones.

To make things even more fun, Energizer® and Scholastic are partnering to create the “Power the Possibilities” campaign which gives moms the tools they need to unlock their child’s talents, fuel their ambitions and set them up for future success. Right now, parents can buy any specially marked pack of Energizer® brand batteries to scratch for a chance to win the Energizer® Instant Win Game and one of thousands of prizes that will power discovery and learning including a family trip to New York City, a Scholastic Study Corner Makeover, a tablet with Scholastic apps, a library of Scholastic books and more! Plus, everyone who plays can also download free digital stories for their family.

Not sure where to begin? Parenting expert, Maggie McGuire provides tips and book choices for all ages this summer in support of the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge in a series of online videos.  Maggie offers parents unique tips to get kids to “power up & read” such as:

  • Find books that makes kids laugh
  • Introduce kids to STEM and science through reading
  • Ways to get crafty with your kid’s favorite summer reads
  • Tips for reading-on-the-go during summer vacation
  • Rainy day reading activities

As a Scientist myself, I found these resources from Scholastic Parents very helpful:

After talking to my girls about the challenge, they couldn’t wait to begin.  We signed up for the Summer Reading Challenge and each pledged to read 800 minutes during Summer to help break the record.

What are your kids’ Summer Reading goals? Join the Scholastic Challenge and get them motivated!

 

Making Strides with March of Dimes #imbornto

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

As a scientist, I have had the opportunity to see how dollars are spent in a lab and what a difference the brilliant minds are making to help solve the problems of today’s society. And I have also had the unfortunate experience of seeing what happens to this valuable research when funding runs out or is no longer renewed. But thanks to organizations such as the March of Dimes and your generous donations, life saving research can continue. Still, many people want to see the tangible effects of their donations. Is our money truly making a difference?

The answer is yes.

Impact from the generous gifts the March of Dimes has received has funded important research and programs that help all babies begin healthy lives. In fact, you’ve benefited from the work of the March of Dimes if you or someone you care about:

  • Received the polio vaccine
  • Took a prenatal vitamin with folic acid while or before becoming pregnant
  • Received an APGAR score immediately following birth
  • Was born prematurely or has a premature baby

For more than 75 years, the March of Dimes has helped babies be born strong and healthy through research, vaccines, education and breakthroughs. The current challenge is that in the US, one baby is born prematurely every minute and approximately 72 children die each day before reaching their first birthday. The 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.

What can you do to help?

The March of Dimes knows that every baby is born to do something special and unique but they can’t do it alone. The #ImBornTo campaign celebrates the great things babies are born to do and thanks mothers and fathers who are the guardians and protectors of babies’ hopes and dreams.

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.  For example, Chef Emeril Lagasse has teamed up with Martha Stewart Living to help raise at least $30,000 for the March of Dimes by giving patrons the opportunity to add a donation to their check (4/26 to 5/10 and from 6/7 to 6/21) at participating Emeril Restaurants in New Orleans, Las Vegas, Orlando and Charlotte.

Other participants include Bon Ton, Mud Pie, KMart, Alex and Ani, eBay, AE Jewelers, and Blue Rhino.

Visit imbornto.com to learn more about special Mother’s Day and Father’s Day offers from the March of Dimes partners. Want to learn even more? Join @TheMotherhood for an #ImBornTo Twitter Party on Thursday, May 7th at 1pmEST.

April Showers Bring…New Netflix Picks!

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

Unfortunately, New Orleans is on pace to have record breaking rainfall this April. While I love the occasional thunderstorm, I am so tired of staying indoors and I am quickly running out of ways to entertain the kids.  Thankfully, the April showers have been more bearable with recently added titles on Netflix!

My youngest is so excited that one of her favorite movies, How to Train Your Dragon 2, is now available and she has been immersed in the storyline.  While my oldest won’t admit she loves the animated dragons (even though I catch her watching the movie with lil’ sis), she does love Disney Channel’s Jessie and she was thrilled new episodes were added.

Even more excitement is headed your way on Netflix this Summer. On June 26, Hiccup and Toothless are back in the all-new action packed Netflix kids original series, DreamWorks Dragons: Race to the Edge. Based on the DreamWorks hit, How to Train Your Dragon, your favorite characters are now on a quest to explore strange new worlds, seek out never-before-seen dragons and end the war between Vikings and dragons once and for all.

What are your Netflix April obsessions?

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.

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.

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!