The Secret Life of Pets Ticket Giveaway!

This post was written by the Experimental Mommy. While I received tickets to the movie, all opinions remain 100% mine.

There are few movies that I have been this excited to see. When we went to the theater and saw The Secret Life of Pets as a short animated intro to the movie we were there to see, the entire theater laughed out loud. At the time, it hadn’t been announced that it would be a feature film but I definitely thought it could be a hit. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one!

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Universal’s “The Secret Life of Pets” will premiere on July 8th! Here’s a synopsis of the PG-rated film:

For their fifth fully-animated feature-film collaboration, Illumination Entertainment and Universal Pictures present The Secret Life of Pets, a comedy about the lives our pets lead after we leave for work or school each day.   Comedy superstars Louis C.K., Eric Stonestreet and Kevin Hart make their animated feature-film debuts in The Secret Life of Pets, which co-stars Jenny Slate, Ellie Kemper, Lake Bell, Dana Carvey, Hannibal Buress, Bobby Moynihan, Steve Coogan and Albert Brooks.  Illumination founder and CEO Chris Meledandri and his longtime collaborator Janet Healy produce the film directed by Chris Renaud (Despicable Me, Despicable Me 2), co-directed by Yarrow Cheney and written by Cinco Paul & Ken Daurio and Brian Lynch.

I could not be more excited to attend the advanced screening on July 5th! Who’s with me? I have 2 Family Four packs to attend the screening to be held:
July 5th at 7:00pm
AMC Elmwood 20
Harahan, LA 70123
This tickets will not get you into a different theater and are only for the location above. They are not guaranteed seats so get there early as admission is first come/first served. Enter below to be eligible to win:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Celebrate #BabysFirst Birthday with Babies R Us

This post was written by Janette of Experimental Mommy in partnership with Babies “R” Us. All opinions remain 100% honest.

My new baby girl just turned six weeks old and believe it or not, I’ve already started thinking about her 1st birthday! I’m not, by any means, wishing away her first year. I know from experience (she is my 3rd!), that this is one of the most exciting, milestone-filled years for both baby and parents. Yet, I do love party planning and the celebration of life, especially of the first year that will be filled with memories and experiences.  I know this is a year that will pass us by in just the blink of an eye. Needless to say, we have a lot to celebrate- we have a new little person who has added so much love and joy to our lives and this day is certainly worthy of recognition in a very special way.

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I’ll never forget the joy and excitement that came with planning 1st birthday celebrations. For my first daughter, we chose an all pink princess celebration and for the second we went with a girly, shabby chic theme. At each party we were joined together with all of the family and friends who had loved and supported us in that first year of life. For both parties I was so glad to have Babies “R” Us to turn to for party supplies, outfits and ideas.

At Babies”R”Us, you can find gifts, keepsakes, toys, gear, clothing and party supplies- everything you need to make baby’s first birthday extra special. Below are a few of my favorite ideas:

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  1. My favorite birthday apparel piece is this adorable onesie. It’s so festive and just screams fun.
  2. My older girls each had one of these Infantino Jumbo Shape Sorters. They were learning shapes and colors, working on hand-eye coordination, and having fun, too!
  3. Another great gift idea is the Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker by VTech. This walker allows baby to transition from crawler to walker at his/her own pace
  4. Does your almost-one-year-old have a favorite cartoon or movie character? A great place to start your party planning is with those ideas that make your baby happiest.

To celebrate baby’s first birthday and offer party day inspiration for parents, Babies ”R” Us stores nationwide will host a Baby’s First Birthday Event on Saturday, June 25, 2016 from 11am-12pm. This event will offer fun activities such as story time, photo prop fun, and a Geoffrey the Giraffe growth chart craft. There will even be giveaways such as a complimentary Geoffrey plush and a special Baby’s First Birthday crown and balloon. This is a great way to celebrate this special milestone, prepare for Baby’s First Birthday party and to meet other local families and babies also celebrating Baby’s First Birthday. While you’re there, don’t forget to join Geoffrey’s Birthday Club. Birthday Club members are automatically entered for a chance to win a Toys”R”Us shopping spree and a trip to New York City.

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Your baby’s first birthday party is the final milestone of baby’s first year. Babies”R”Us wants to help you celebrate in a big way! Happy Birthday, baby!

Tween Easter Basket Ideas #PEEPSEASTER

This post was written by the Experimental Mommy. While samples were provided to facilitate this article, all opinions remain 100% mine.

Last month, my oldest daughter turned eleven. Ah yes, the tween years are upon us. That means she is NOT too cool to receive an Easter basket but she is WAY too cool to have it filled with plastic eggs and candy meant for children. Clearly, as I have been told numerous times already, she is NOT a child. So, what do you get a tween for Easter?

In an attempt to find something anything that my newfound tween will deem age appropriate, I started reflecting on the things she loves (in no certain order):

  • Friends
  • Sweets
  • Music/Dance
  • YouTube personality “Challenge Videos”

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I had a light bulb moment! I will fill her basket with everything she needs to make her own Peeps Challenge Video with her friends! Not familiar with Challenge Videos? Basically, the participants taste random Peeps with their eyes closed and try to guess the flavor. The person with the most correct guesses wins! Fortunately, PEEPS & COMPANY® sent me a wide variety of products that work with this theme perfectly. To be honest, I had no idea that Peeps came in so many flavor varieties! Her basket includes:

  • PEEPS® Orange Delight Flavored Marshmallow Dipped in Orange Fudge
  • PEEPS® Lime Delight Flavored Marshmallow Dipped in Lime Fudge
  • PEEPS® Party Cake Flavored Marshmallow Chicks
  • PEEPS® Sour Watermelon Flavored Marshmallow Chicks
  • PEEPS® Raspberry Flavored Marshmallow Chicks
  • PEEPS® Chocolate Dipped Mousse Flavored Marshmallow Chicks

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Along with a few other “tween friendly” items:

  • 5-inch PEEPS® Plush
  • PEEPS® earbuds
  • HOT TAMALES® Jellybeans

I think the Easter Bunny totally nailed this basket! Not only does my tween get some fun items for herself but it is essentially a “play date in a basket” to share with her close friends.

Are you ready to have a PEEP-tastic holiday? Use code EASTERTREATS to receive 20% off your order between February 15 through April 15, 2016 on the PEEPS & COMPANY website.  To make sure you don’t miss any new products or latest news, follow PEEPS & COMPANY® on Twitter.

 

Zootopia Coming to IMAX 3D! Win tickets!

Looking for a fun family friendly outing?  Disney movies never disappoint…especially in IMAX®* 3D! March 4, 2016 marks the release of Walt Disney Animation Studio’s 55th Animated Feature, Zootopia, and you don’t want to miss it!

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The modern mammal metropolis of Zootopia is a city like no other. Comprised of habitat neighborhoods like ritzy Sahara Square and frigid Tundratown, it’s a melting pot where animals from every environment live together—a place where no matter what you are, from the biggest elephant to the smallest shrew, you can be anything. But when rookie Officer Judy Hopps (voice of Ginnifer Goodwin) arrives, she discovers that being the first bunny on a police force of big, tough animals isn’t so easy. Determined to prove herself, she jumps at the opportunity to crack a case, even if it means partnering with a fast-talking, scam-artist fox, Nick Wilde (voice of Jason Bateman), to solve the mystery.

Why not make your movie viewing experience even better and see it in IMAX 3D?! One lucky Experimental Mommy reader will win four (4) IMAX® *tickets in the form of Hollywood Movie Money® Certificates, 4 Zootopia Mugs and 4 Zootopia T-Shirts!

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Each Hollywood Movie Money Certificate is redeemable for one (1) IMAX movie admission with a maximum value of ($21 total) to see Zootopia: The IMAX 3D Experience® or any IMAX film at participating theaters. See the fine print below and Good Luck! Enter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Winners will be directed to the website http://www.activaterewards.com/imax where they will use the provided reward code to activate and print their Hollywood Movie Money Certificate. The reward code will expire on 9/30/2016. The Hollywood Movie Money Certificate will expire one month from online code activation and winner must comply with all terms and conditions specified by the issuer. Hollywood Movie Money Certificate not used by the date noted on the certificate will be void. Any amount remaining of any certificate after initial use will be forfeited. Total Approximate Retail Value (“ARV”) for two pairs of Hollywood Movie Money Certificates: $84.00 USD.  If lost, cannot be replaced. Void if resold or otherwise exchanged. No reproductions will be accepted. No change will be provided. Not valid with any other offer. Offer valid in United States only.
*IMAX® is a registered trademark of IMAX CORPORATION.
© 2016 Disney. All Rights Reserved.
Hollywood Movie Money is marketed by Quantum Rewards.
This post was written by the Experimental Mommy. While I received tickets for my time and effort, all opinion remains 100% mine.

Encourage Active Play with OgoDisk RAQ

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

It amazes me how different two children can be. My oldest son would be happy playing video games all the time as long as someone tossed food into his cage…room every now and then. My younger son, however, wants to be outside. He’s one of those kids who we have to force to come in when the streetlights come on. So, outdoor toys are a must for us. He has a bike, scooters, basketballs, soccer balls, water guns, etc. But there’s always room in the garage for more cool active toys. He was thrilled when the OgoSport OgoDisk RAQ arrived.

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The OgoDisk RAQ is basically a handheld trampoline. There are two OgoDisks, so it can be a two-player activity. You bounce a ball on the disk and volley it to the other player. As an added bonus, the ball included with the OgoDisk RAQ has ‘tails’ you can attach to make the ball move more slowly. This is a great feature for younger kids and for new players. But if you are looking for a more intense game, the handle on the disk gives you incredible control and power.

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My son loves playing with the OgoDisk RAQ! He and our neighbor’s kids played with it for a couple hours the first day. Then, when Carson was out of town with his Grandpa, the neighbor’s kids knocked on the door to ask if they could play with it. The OgoDisk RAQ has gotten used almost every day for weeks and it still looks practically new.

I think it will continue to be a favorite outside toy for a long time. Plus, I’m looking forward to trying it out in the pool next summer. If you are looking for an active toy for your child, check out the OgoDisk RAQ which retails for just $38.00!

Gift Idea for the Doll Lover: Guidecraft Table and Chairs

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

With Christmas just around the corner, I took my seven year old daughter to see Santa Claus.  Of course, she brought along her extensive wish list which she has kept closely guarded.  As I listened to her quietly tell Santa all of those items her little heart desires, there was a very obvious theme. The list went something like this:

  • Doll Bunk Beds
  • Doll Table and Chairs
  • Doll Dresser
  • Doll Clothes (fancy and pajamas)
  • Dolls

Oh yes, my girls loves her dolls. She lovingly cares for each one and puts them to bed every single night (in a shoe box).  But when Guidecraft offered to send her a Doll Table and Chairs, I knew she would be over the moon. From the website:

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Made of hardwood solids, our heirloom-quality Doll Furniture Collection is the perfect playtime ensemble. Designed for dolls up to 21″, each piece features classic styling and playful design features. The bed, cradle, buggy and bunk bed feature a poly-cotton three-piece bedding set: a soft pillow, bed lining and comforter. Available in white, natural and espresso finishes. Adult assembly required.

We have owned a few Guidecraft items and have been absolutely thrilled with the quality but this is the first doll furniture we have had the opportunity to test. I have to say that the company puts as much pride into their doll furniture as they do into the real furniture.

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Immediately when opening the box, you can smell that this is real wood. Yes, some assembly is required but the tool needed is included and assembling the entire set took me 10 minutes. Thankfully, I moved fast because my daughter already had her dolls dressed for tea and ready to be seated at her new doll “restaurant.”

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If you have a doll enthusiast on your Christmas gift list, make sure you check out the quality items from Guidecraft. You just cannot beat the quality at the best price! See more gifting ideas by following Guidecraft on FacebookInstagramTwitter and Pinterest!

 

 

Holiday Gift Idea: Lil’ Monkey Dome Climber

This post was written by guest author, Linzy of Crawfish Tales. While a sample was received to facilitate this review, all opinions remain 100% honest.

Ho! Ho! Ho! Santa is getting ready to check the list twice and pack the sleigh! If you are like me you want to shop early or solely online to avoid the craziness that is about to happen at every store in the city. Not even running to the grocery is safe!

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I am struggling with what Santa is going to bring this year. I don’t want more “stuff” and it would be great if there is a gift both my daughters can enjoy.  I recently got the opportunity to test out the Lil’ Monkey Dome Climber and I think this might be the gift for several reasons.

  1. The elves won’t have to work overtime to get it set up! Putting it together is a snap and one person can do it after bedtime no problem. Plus there is a great assembly video on their website that can help guide you.
  2. It is an outdoor physical (non-electronic) activity. Total win for mom! So that means instead of being zombies in front of the TV they can be outside climbing on something instead of my furniture.
  3. It is designed for safety. Lil’ Monkey had the safety of your kids in mind when they created this product. The dimensions and height are designed for smaller kids which means it is lower to the ground and the bars are closer together. Plus it is made from sturdy plastic tubes instead of bars that are softer.
  4. This is not permanent. I don’t like the things that don’t move in the yard like a large play set or trampoline. I know we need to reclaim space in the backyard from time to time for a bounce house for birthday parties for example. So this is a great solution because it can be moved around the yard.
  5. You can buy this product in several places. I know people are passionate about Amazon and Target and you can find it in both places.
  6. Lastly, you are not just buying a playset. You are buying hours and days of fun. Because when the kids don’t have a playmate or are looking to take the set to another level, there is an app! The Lil’ Monkey Dome Climber app provides activity for your child through virtual fun!

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The climber is recommended for ages 3-6 with a height of 118 cm and a width of 170 but my nearly one year old can reach the bars and gets equally excited about it.

And, I haven’t tried this yet but I would bet that it would be equally as easy to set this up in an indoor playroom if it is cold or rainy outside. So if you are looking for something to add to the list for Santa, check out the Lil’ Monkey Dome Climber.

Santa Tip: I ordered mine from Amazon. It comes in a nondescript brown box so no one will know what it contains.

Build-A-Bear Opens in Lakeside Mall!

My girls were so excited to see the return of Build-A-Bear to Lakeside Mall in Metairie! The store opened it’s doors today with all new features and we were invited to shop and check out the fanfare. To save you searching the mall with overexcited little ones, the new store is in a different location and is now near JC Penney’s.

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Here are a few things you with notice about the new store:

  • A fresh new logo, store set-up and color palette
  • Updated storefront, featuring Build-A-Bear’s distinctive signature teddy bear silhouette
  • Bigger than ever (seven-feet tall!) Build-A-Bear stuffer prominently placed in the store’s center
  • New “Inspiration Wall” displaying different trends and fashions tied to pop culture

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The store is neatly organized and split up into four sections: Pick Me, Stuff Me, Dress Me, and Name Me. It is easy to follow the stations and the Staff engaged my girls through the entire process of picking and creating their new furry friend. While some may be sad to see the bear washing station has left, the store still does offer birthday parties and partners with food vendors right in the Mall for convenience.

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With two fashionistas, they were awestruck at the selection of outfits, shoes and accessories.  The finally decided (after much consideration) to pick a trendy outfit and a Halloween costume. Finally, naming their new friends and taking the all important picture were the icing on the cake.

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With the rainy weather headed to New Orleans on Halloween night, visiting the new Build-A-Bear may be the perfect alternative! Have fun!

Rockin’ the Rockboard Scooter

This post was written by contributing author, Lena. While a product was received to facilitate this review, all opinions remain 100% honest.

For the past year, my son has wanted an electric scooter. Several of the neighborhood kids have them and he is the only one on the block that still has to use his FOOT to push his scooter along. (Oh, the horror!) Yes, the electric scooters are expensive, but that isn’t the main reason I have been hesitant… it’s the lack of exercise that comes with riding the electric scooter. My son has always been on the heavier end of the growth chart, so his playtime needs to provide exercise too.

Then I heard about the Rockboard Scooter. Oh my goodness! Where has this thing been all my life? If a traditional kick scooter and a bicycle had a baby, it would be the Rockboard Scooter. It kind of looks like a scooter, only bigger, but it has a chain like a bicycle.

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The best part? It isn’t just for kids. When they say, “ages 8 and up”, they really mean it. The original Rockboard Scooter can handle a 200-pound rider and the Rockboard RBX can handle a 220-pound rider! There’s also a Mini Rockboard specially built for the younger crowd, ages 5 & up.

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I was a little worried when I opened the Original Rockboard Scooter because it was heavy. I checked their website and found out it weighs 20.8 pounds. My 10-year-old son, Carson, quickly eased my worries when he told me it is lighter than an electric scooter. Then, he picked it up and carried it down the three steps into our garage while I stood there with my mouth hanging open.

It was raining when we received the Rockboard, so I made him stay in the garage that day. Despite that, it took him about 5 minutes to master getting it to move by rocking his feet back and forth. The next day the rain was gone and he was zooming up and down our street and using the hand brake to slow his descent when some crazy woman (was that me??) yelled, “Slow down!” After about 15 minutes, he came inside to get a drink and he was soaked in sweat. After getting a drink, he went out to ride his Rockboard again. Exercise? Mission accomplished!

Since receiving the Rockboard, Carson has ridden it every chance he gets. He loves it and I love that he is getting so much exercise while having fun. Even better? He is no longer begging us for an electric scooter. In fact, here is Carson’s review of the Rockboard Scooter:

I really love the Rockboard Scooter because you don’t have to push like a push scooter and it goes really fast. It is really hard to break and easy to fold up smaller. It also gets you a good workout because you are pumping your legs over and over. Out of all of my scooters, the Rockboard is my favorite.

If you are looking for a great holiday gift, definitely consider the Rockboard Scooter.  The Original retails for $199.99 and the Mini for the younger crowd sells for $159.99. Happy Scooting!

Meet American Girl: Maryellen Larkin

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

One of my fondest memories as a child is playing dolls with my best friend for hours and hours on end. In an age of electronics, I am thrilled that my daughter loves engaging in pretend play with her friends as well and I could not be happier that the American Girl brand allows her to do just that and learn along the way.

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This Summer, American Girl introduced it’s fans to a new character that will expose kids to the 1950s pop culture, Maryellen Larkin. The 18-inch doll will feature cool new accessories including a TV console that works with an iPad, a jukebox that plays ’50’s style songs and my personal favorite, Maryellen’s hairstyling set. But what caught my daughter’s eye the most was the detail in her outfit. The monogrammed sweater and high pony tail tied with a teal ribbon were immediate hits (she was so excited she decided to make her own video).

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What is so great about American Girl dolls is that they are so much more than dolls. The authentic clothes, hairstyles and accessories creates an element of mystery and invokes curiosity from my daughter. She starts asking questions about Maryellen which opens up a dialogue about what life may have been like for a girl growing up in the 1950’s. And what’s even better is that the doll comes with a book to tell us just that! I love the quality time spent with my daughter as we read through a few pages each night.

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With the holidays just around the corner, my daughter has begun her list to Santa with the help of the American Girl Holiday Gift Guide we received in the mail last week. There is certainly no shortage items she has requested so I have a feeling this will be an American Girl kind of Christmas for us!