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:

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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!

Bow-Tiger: Multi Purpose Toy Storage Bag

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

We are a house divided when it comes to LEGO. My husband grew up with them and to him they are as much of a part of childhood as cartoons and popsicles. I however don’t feel the same way. Over here in mom camp, I see a mess, more parts to lose and tiny pieces the baby can put in her mouth.

So the boxes upon boxes of LEGO toys that my mother in law has saved from when my husband was little have remained safely at her house…until last month. Now my husband’s inner child has been coming out to play with his old LEGO sets. He is having so much fun building with our five year old that I admit that I am enjoying watching them play together.

However since we have a eight month old baby, I have been strict about them playing with the tiny LEGO pieces in the playroom and only after the little one has gone to bed. Although the baby is little she is fast and could get a piece in her mouth before any of us noticed.

It was really ironic timing that Bow-Tiger reached out to offer me to review the Multi Purpose Toy Storage Bag. In the midst of LEGO invasion of our house, I was trying to figure out how to keep the clean-up process of all those tiny pieces to a minimum.

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Bow-Tiger describes it as a magic activity mat that becomes a bag instantly. Instead of wasting time on finding every little piece just pull the cord and you’re done. It does absolutely that.

It is a very large mat, I tried the 60” product that provides plenty play surface and easily pulls shut. It even has two shoulder straps that make it easy to carry around. My five year hold has worn it as a back pack when she wanted to bring the Bow Tiger bag with us when we went out of town.

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We use it as a LEGO storage bag but it also works well for dolls and all the tiny clothes and accessories. Because it is so easy to clean, it is great for the park or beach because it pulls together quickly. Just throw the beach toys on it and clean up is done!

I am a huge fan and we now use this product in our house almost nightly. This would make a great birthday gift and I know the mother would be thankful to get something like this among the oodles of toys at a birthday party.

You can find the Multi Purpose Toy Storage Bag on Amazon which is available in turquoise and bordeaux. Three sizes are available as well: 20 inch, 40 inch or 60 inch. Right now the 20 inch is on sale for less than $12 and has free shipping and the large one is around $35. That is more than a reasonable price not to have to pick up LEGOs every night!

To get your started, one Experimental Mommy reader will win a Bow-Tiger Multi Purpose Storage Bag right here! Enter below:
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Wrapping Up Our Scholastic #SummerReading

This post is written by the Experimental Mommy and brought to you by Scholastic. All opinions remain 100% mine.

Well, it’s over.  The swimsuits have been stored and the bedtimes are getting earlier. The first school bell has officially rung and my two littles have entered a new year of learning. We took the summer to spend lots of quality time together as a family and learn about geography, culture and history through travel. Because both girls had to complete a summer reading list as part of a school requirement, I credit the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge for encouraging them to surpass the required reading and learn to truly enjoy it.

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 7.20.10 PMBecause the girls went above and beyond, I asked them to submit a “5-word book review” for each of 5 favorite summer reading books. Here they are in no particular order:

All of the time my girls spent reading was logged into the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge powered by Energizer in order to help achieve a World Record!  Did you know that kids across the Nation have read over 208 million minutes so far this Summer? What an accomplishment!

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Need more inspiration? 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. Parents can buy any specially marked pack of Energizer® brand batteries to scratch for a chance to win one of thousands of prizes that will power discovery and learning during the Energizer Instant Win Game. Prizes include a family trip to New York City, a Scholastic Study Corner Makeover, a tablet with Scholastic apps, a library of Scholastic books and more!

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These prizes definitely will help avoid the Summer Brain Drain that parents dread. Plus, Scholastic also has some fun games such as the Innovation Machine Game which inspire fun and creative writing as well as videos from Maggie McGuire that will teach you how to make reading a priority for your child.

Don’t miss out on any tips or promotions by following @Scholastic on Twitter and liking the Energizer® Bunny on Facebook! What are you doing to prevent Summer Drain Brain?