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?

No Parking on the Dance Floor #PoisewithSAM

I wrote about my experience with Poise Microliner as part of a sponsored post for Socialstars. All opinions are 100% mine. #PoisewithSAM

Tomorrow is one of my favorite days of the entire year.  My daughters will get a chance to showcase all of the hard work at our annual dance recital.  Last month, I talked about my history in dance and how much I miss performing but tomorrow I will be living vicariously through my girls.

After having my second daughter, I experienced light bladder leakage that took me off the dance floor.  But, I am slowly getting back into shape now that I have found the Poise Microliner.  It is the thinnest liner available in the light incontinence category from Poise and is virtually invisible while wearing my workout gear giving me the confidence to start an exercise plan again.

I am so happy that the liner is invisible from the outside, but does it feel invisible from the inside?  The last thing I want to focus on is the placement of the liner but I am happy to report that it stays put, moves with my body and is hardly noticeable at all.  In fact, they are so thin that there are 54 in that tiny box!

Problem solved.

If LBL is a problem you struggle with, get a free sample of the Poise Microliner here.

I Control The Remote (Sometimes) #StreamTeam

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

I will admit that I know more about Disney Channel TV shows such as Jessie, Dog With A Blog or Good Luck Charlie than any adult TV programming.  Gone are the days when I can sit down and watch my favorite sitcom uninterrupted.  That is until I discovered Netflix.

After a long day of work, I love to unwind before bed with my favorite comedy TV series.  Because most of the time, I am not hitting the sack until well after 11pm, my guilty pleasures are generally not on TV at this time of night.  So, I simply fire up Netflix and find something to make me laugh to end the day.

A few of my go-to series that are guaranteed to make me smile are How I Met Your Mother, Scrubs, What Not to Wear and 30 Rock. Some of the episodes are not exactly “kid friendly” so I love that with Netflix I can cue up my favorite episode and enjoy a few minutes to myself at night.

If you are looking for a new series to watch, Netflix has a selection of titles to get you through the Summer months.  And yes, that includes all-new episodes of Netflix originals such as Orange Is the New Black which released Season 2 on June 6.

What are your favorite TV shows you can watch on Netflix?

Pump Up your Party with the Perfect Pair from ProFlowers #PartyBlooms

This is part of a sponsored campaign with ProFlowers and Shari’s Berries. However, all opinions expressed are my own.

With the summer months upon us, the kids are out of school and the lazy days have begun.  It’s time for sleepovers, play dates, family gatherings and pool parties!  While I love getting together with friends and family during the summer, I do not love decorating and planning the actual event.

But I am about to let you in on a secret of mine that will make you Party Hostess of the Year! ProFlowers has a wide variety of bouquets and centerpieces that will make your party perfectly put together (and you don’t have to do a thing).  There is just something about fresh flowers that makes a dull decor-less party seem well planned and welcoming to your guests.

I recently received a Deluxe All the Frills bouquet from ProFlowers and they were stunning! The blue mason jar vase is great for outdoor garden parties.  But, what’s a party without food? Really impress your guests by creating the perfect pair with cocktail strawberries and caramel pretzels which can also be ordered from ProFlowers. One order, Amazing (and Easy) Party!

Now, your all set but where are your guests? Don’t waste time and money with traditional invitations, create the perfect invite with Evite and immediately share with your guests online.  You can even track RSVPs, send directions and start some pre-party anticipation chatter with your guests.

Are you ready to party? From now through June 30th, 10 people can win 6 months of flowers through the Evite/Proflowers PartyBlooms Sweepstakes.  To enter, simply host a party with Evite, or post a picture of any flowers on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter using #PartyBlooms.

If you win, what will you do with all those flowers? Check out the ProFlowers Pinterest Board below for some party inspiration.

Follow ProFlowers’s board All About Celebrating- Party Decorations, Recipes and More on Pinterest.

Sing Into Summer with Musicals on Netflix #StreamTeam

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

For my kids, school is officially out for Summer!  While I do not let them sit in front of the television the entire summer, I do let them decompress for the first week of vacation with a few lazy pajama filled days.  What better way to start the summer than with a Family Movie Night Sing A Long, right?

We may not all sing on key, but I will admit that there is something freeing about belting out your favorite musical number (dance moves optional but always encouraged).  With two dancers in my house, there is definitely no shortage of musicality and a Disney Musical is always a favorite on movie night.

Fortunately, Netflix has a whole selection of toe tappin’ favorites to choose from!  Here are a few of our recommendations:

1. Shrek the Musical
2. High School Musical
3. Grease
4. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
5. Footloose
6. The Phantom of the Opera
7. Camp Rock

What are you watching this Summer?

Getting My Tap On with Poise Microliners #SAMInYourPants

I wrote about my experience with Poise Microliner as part of a sponsored post for Socialstars. All opinions are my own. #SAMInYourPants

As a toddler, I was scared of day care, scared of play groups and scared of new experiences.  My Mom tried one more desperate attempt to bring me out of my shell by enrolling me in dance class. From the moment I heard my tap shoes on the wooden floor, I didn’t look back.  I was a dancer.

Growing up, there are few places I spent more time than the dance floor.  By the time I was 13, I had joined a competitive dance company and I started to feel at home on the stage.  While I loved jazz, ballet, pointe, and lyrical, my passion grew for tap dancing.  At 16, I became a class assistant, began teaching my own classes at 20 and became the Director/Choreographer for our studio’s competitive team.

Flash forward 10 years and I was in the thick of growing the dance company and enjoying every single minute in my tap shoes.  At 30, I was overjoyed to be expecting my first child and taught dance classes at 9 months pregnant.  After having my daughter, I could not wait to get back to the dance floor.  I figured that since my body was so used to the daily routine, getting back in shape would happen in no time.

After receiving the “all clear” from my Doctor, I laced up my tap shoes and raced to the studio…but my body had other plans.  Apparently, delivering an 8 pound 4 ounce baby girl after 19 hours of labor can cause some damage to your pelvic floor.  Light bladder leakage (LBL) became an issue quickly.  How come I never realized tap dancing was so bouncy?

LBL, Poise Microliners, #SAMInYourPants

Teaching became stressful as my self confidence faded and as life got busier and without my body cooperating, I decided to quit.  While I enjoy watching my two daughters take the stage now, part of me really misses it, too.  But, I am excited to learn about the new Poise Microliner which may just be the solution I have been looking for.  It is the thinnest liner available in the light incontinence category from Poise and is virtually invisible while wearing my workout gear.

If LBL is a problem you struggle with, get a free sample of the Poise Microliner here.

Dinner and a Movie with Restaurant.com #SummerBlockbusterEvent

This post was written by the Experimental Mommy.  As a member of the Restaurant.com Review Crew, I am compensated for my time and effort.  All opinions remain 100% mine.

If you are looking for the perfect Mother’s Day gift, look no further.  A quiet dinner and a movie with adult conversation?  I’m sold!  Thank Mom for all of her daily sacrifices by taking advantage of Specials by Restaurant.com.

Restaurant.com, the trusted and valued source connecting restaurants and diners nationwide, wants to help kick-start your summer with a blockbuster event! Whether you’re celebrating mom or just looking for a night out, enjoy this Specials by Restaurant.com Dinner and A Movie deal. With this exclusive offer from Specials by Restaurant.com, you’ll get two movie tickets to use at one of your favorite movie theaters along with a $50 Restaurant.com eGift Card, all for just $28!

Don’t miss out on this show stopping event as this offer is only available for a limited time! Specials by Restaurant.com deals make great gift ideas for everyone. Simply locate your theater and you’ll be on your way!

Where will you take Mom this Mother’s Day?

Getting High Tech with the Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat {Giveaway}

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

Living in New Orleans, we have two seasons: winter and summer.  But sometimes you never know which you’re going to get when the sun rises.  This has led to many early mornings bartering with my husband like, “If you get up and turn the heater on, I will do the dishes tonight.”  Because he is awesome, he usually concedes and leaves the comfort of our pillowtop mattress and quilt to turn on the heater.

I honestly thought this would be a perpetual argument in my home.  That is until I learned about the Honeywell Wi-Fi smart thermostat.  The features include:

  • Control from anywhere
  • Simple setup
  • Easy-to-read customizable color touchscreen
  • Smart Response temperature timing

Before you get too excited and head to purchase one for yourself (but you totally should), you need to make sure that the thermostat is compatible with your home.  Fortunately, Honeywell lays out instructions on determining compatibility as well as installation.

We did have to run an additional wire in my home in order to finish installation, but the “control from anywhere” feature really appealed to my lazier sofa loving side and made the extra work totally worth it.  Simply download the free app and control the temperature of your home right from your phone. Plus, with the customizable color touch screen, the thermostat is no longer an eyesore and is actually part of the decor.

After learning more, I realized that not only does it look good, the Honeywell Wi-Fi smart thermostat can help keep my budget on track, too.  The flexible scheduling option allows us to program around our daily routine so the air conditioner isn’t cooling the house when we aren’t there. And by downloading the app onto our iPhones, my husband and I can monitor the indoor temperature while away and make the house comfortable before we return for the evening.  This will be great when we go on vacation!

The Honeywell Wi-Fi smart thermostat is available at many retailers such as Home Depot and Lowe’s, but you can win one right here at Experimental Mommy.  Enter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Help Eradicate the Big Bad “Double C” with Aflac #Duckprints

This giveaway was made possible by Double Duty Divas and Aflac. I was compensated to participate in this campaign, but all opinions are 100% mine.

When I became pregnant with my first child, people immediately started asking if I wanted a boy or girl. Since we had trouble conceiving, I honestly didn’t care. I just wanted a happy and healthy baby.  I am fortunate to have two healthy girls but I know some children are not as lucky.

In 2007, approximately 10,400 children age 15 or younger were diagnosed with cancer in the United States and cancer remains the leading cause of death by illness in the U.S. in this age group. But the good news is that according to the National Cancer Institute, the five-year survival rates for all childhood cancers combined increased from 58.1 percent in 1977 to 79.6 percent in 2003.  And great companies like Aflac are helping to increase this number!

The Aflac Cancer Center and Blood Disorders Center of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta is one of the largest childhood cancer centers in the country which is committed to providing childhood cancer patients a brighter future through advanced medical treatment, family-centered care, a child-friendly environment and innovative research. Aflac is proud to have donated more than $87 million to the Aflac Cancer Center, with the goal of reaching $100 million by the end of 2015.

To help reach their goal, Aflac is using #Duckprints to raise awareness and donations to eradicate childhood cancer. And the best part?  You can help!

  • Aflac will donate $2 to the Aflac Cancer Center for every #Duckprints tweet/retweet on Twitter or post/share on Facebook from now through Mother’s Day (Sunday, May 11th)

To inspire your tweets and Facebook posts, I wanted to share the story of a courageous woman who’s life was saved and enhanced by the Aflac Cancer Center.  Her name is Trisha Henry Gaffney.

On Valentine’s Day 1996, 19-year-old Trisha was diagnosed with embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma, an aggressive tumor usually found in the head, neck, hands or feet of young children. Trisha’s was the first reported case to occur in the right ureter. After going through surgery to remove her right kidney, ureter and a portion of her bladder, Trisha spent a year at the Aflac Cancer Center undergoing chemotherapy and radiation.

Her treatment ended in April 1997, and she was ready to put her focus on all of the positive forces in her life. In 1998, a friend encouraged Trisha to visit the Cancer Survivor Program at the Aflac Cancer Center. The Aflac Cancer Center provides specialized, long-term follow-up care and helps identify and treat problems associated with the effects of cancer treatment to help survivors lead a full life, including school, work and a family of their own. However, the idea of going to even more doctors didn’t sit well with Trisha.

You don’t want your cancer to define you,” Trisha said, “but as you get older, you realize it plays a much bigger part in your life than you’re willing to admit.”

After several years of going to general doctors for check-ups, Trisha finally made an appointment with the Cancer Survivor Program at the Aflac Cancer Center. During her first appointment at the Cancer Survivor Program, Trisha received her health records and was able to gain a broad understanding of her entire health history, including her treatments and the issues they could cause, called late effects.

After meeting with the Medical Director, Trisha went to a fertility specialist, who delivered some devastating news. The lab work showed Trisha’s chemotherapy and 23 radiation treatments had wreaked havoc on her body. Only one ovary was functional, and the radiation had damaged her uterus; she was approaching an early menopause, and would not be able to carry a child.

“It’s devastating when you can’t have a family,” Trisha said. “I froze my eggs that year. I thought, ‘Screw you, cancer! I want my own kid.’”

After her sister’s best friend offered to be a surrogate, Trisha and husband Andrew became parents to Isabella in April 2013. Isabella just celebrated her first birthday, and this Mother’s Day will mark Trisha’s second, thanks to the Aflac Cancer Center and its programs.

“If I hadn’t had my friend telling me to go to the Cancer Survivor Program at the Aflac Cancer Center,” Trisha said, “I wouldn’t have my daughter.”

Armed with the knowledge about her medications, treatments and the potential challenges ahead, Trisha is empowered to be an advocate for her own health. She knows it is survivorship that defines her ‒ not cancer.

Everyone loves a happy ending, right? Help Aflac provide more happy endings and eradicate childhood cancer by tweeting this inspirational story using #Duckprints.  Don’t forget that for every tweet or Facebook post using the hashtag, Aflac will donate $2 to the Aflac Cancer Center.

Surely Trisha will enjoy her Mother’s Day and you can help one Mom have a stress-free Mother’s Day, too!  One of my Experimental Mommy readers will win a $50 Restaurant.com gift card! Enter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Surprise Mom with a Bouquet from PassionRoses {Giveaway}

Head’s up!  Mother’s Day is just around the corner.  How do you plan to honor your Mother, Grandmother, Aunt, Godmother or Wife?  I know it seems cliche, but I absolutely love hearing my doorbell ring and receiving a beautiful bouquet of roses.  There is just something about the surprise that makes me feel on top of the World.  Not to mention, once I display them in my home, I smile everytime I look at them.  It’s the gift that makes my whole week!

I want to help you provide that same feeling for that special person in your life this Mother’s Day.  Have you heard of PassionRoses?

Grown in Bogota, Columbia, PassionRoses bouquets can be found in more than 5,000 retail and grocery stores across the US in every color imaginable!  Since 2011, PassionRoses has been the “Official Rose of the Miss America Pageant.” PassionRoses was also selected by the Rose Bowl and the Tournament of Roses to become the “Official Rose of the Rose Bowl Game,” and the “Official Rose of the Rose Bowl Stadium.” We can assure you these roses are the best of the best!

PassionRoses is a family-oriented company from Bogota, Colombia dedicated to providing the highest-quality roses, both in beauty and sustainability.  They are committed to supporting the communities where they live through education, donations and community outreach and have been voted one of the best places to work in Columbia.  After checking out their website, I can see why they have received top honors!  I’m actually not a fan of red roses, so I love the fact that you can choose from many different colors such as pink, white, orange, yellow and purple.

As a gift to each one of my readers, PassionRoses has given you all a 10% off  promo code.  Simply use code ROSES4MOM upon check out by using this link or clicking the graphic above.  And as a special treat, I am giving away two dozen roses to EIGHT winners! Enter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway