Archives for March 2012

It’s a “Beary Special” Build-A-Bear Birthday Party!

Why is it that when we are kids, time moves so very slow?  But now that I am a Mom, I can’t seem to slow time down enough.  Earlier this month, my baby girl turned four years old.  FOUR!  This year, she started preschool and could not have been more excited to have her first “school friends” party.  I was not at all surprised that she requested a Build-A-Bear party given the fact that we have mounds of bears and accessories already at home.

Inviting friends was easy!  Build-A-Bear provides many different customizable party invitation templates right on their website.  I printed the invites on photo paper and they looked fabulous.  The day before the party, I headed to our local Build-A-Bear Workshop to meet with our party host and get a run down of what would happen at the party.  She was incredibly helpful!

The day of the party, we arrived about 10 minutes before our party time (no set up required!).  Our party host gave my daughter a ribbon to wear and I got a name badge to identify me as the “Party Mom.”  As soon as our guests arrived, our party host had the kids sit in a circle as she provided name tags for each child.  For our party, each child had $30 to spend which allowed them to pick just about any animal in the store.  Of course, the smaller amount spent on an animal left more to spend on clothes and accessories.

Once the animals were selected, we were ready to stuff!  The party host marched the kids to the back of the store singing and skipping.  The kids each selected a satin heart and made secret birthday wishes for my daughter before placing the hearts inside her bear (this was incredibly sweet to watch).  A store associate played games with the kids as each child had a turn to make their bear.  It was such fun to see the kids connect with their new stuffed friend!

After the bears were brought to life, it was time to give them a bath and pick out clothes and accessories.  The kids had a blast pretending to clean the bears and get them all “dolled up.”  In our group, we had princess bears, summertime bears, superhero bears and even a Miss Piggy bear!

Each child had a chance to name their bears before receiving a birth certificate and a “house” box for their new friend.  Once everyone was finished, the party host led the kids in singing Happy Birthday to my daughter and even allowed her to ring the store bell.  At the very end, my daughter received a special bear for her party guests to autograph!  This was truly a “beary” magical birthday for my daughter, Aubrie.

Interested in hosting your own Build-A-Bear Party?  Parties start at just $10 a child, but you can use the handy online party calculator to estimate the costs.  Check out all the party perks and make a reservation today!

As a member of Build-A-Bear’s “Friendly 15”, ten party guests were covered by Build-A-Bear.  No monetary compensation was received.  All opinions remain my own.

Let’s Rock With Strummin’ Ernie and Singin’ Cookie Monster {Giveaway}

My son has definitely hit the age when his imagination starts to run wild. He loves to sing and dance and pretend he is on a stage for the world to see. Having the Let’s Rock Elmo has been so much fun in our house. When we received the Strummin’ Ernie and Singin’ Cookie Monster needless to say we were all a little excited. Having the entire band made even better shows for my son to put on for us.

The Singin’ Cookie Monster comes with his very own microphone and sings “If You’re Happy and You Know It.” The closer you push the microphone to Cookie Monster’s mouth the louder he sings. We put Elmo and Cookie Monster next to each other and Elmo does the “clap your hands” part of the song. It was exciting to see how they interacted with each other.

Strummin’ Ernie was also loads of fun to play with. Just move his hand up and down over the guitar and he plays you a nice tune like “Old MacDonald.” When Ernie and Elmo face one another they also interact with one another. My only wish is that they all interacted together to form one rock band. The kids walked around the house each holding either Cookie Monster or Ernie and were playing their different tunes.

With Easter right around the corner this would be great in your little one’s basket even if they don’t have Let’s Rock Elmo they are still fun to play with alone.  Both are available for just $19.99!


One winner will receive their choice of  Let’s Rock! Singin’ Cookie Monster or Strummin’ Ernie

How to Enter:

1. Tell me which “Let’s Rock! Elmo” accessory your child would love!

Additional entries:

1. Blog about this giveaway and link to The Not-So-Blog and Hasbro (10 extra entries).

2. Follow me (@BridgetteLA) on Twitter and Tweet this giveaway. Every time you tweet you get an additional entry! Limited to 10 a day, please. (You must have over 50 Twitter followers to qualify for unlimited entries!)

3. Subscribe to my blog.

4. Become a Fan of The Not-So-Blog and Playskool on Facebook.

5. Place my blog button on your sidebar.

Contest ends at 11:59pm CST on April 14th. Prizes not claimed in 72 hours will be forfeited. Open to U.S. Residents only.

This post is the opinion of Beth of the Experimental Mommy. Others may have a differing opinion of the product. While a sample product was received to facilitate this review, all opinions remain 100% honest.

Where in the World are We Using Our Cox TV App?

Over the past three months, I have loved introducing you to all of the great features of Cox TV Connect free iPad app.  My family loves being able to watch TV anywhere in our home, so I thought I would share with you their favorite places.

My hubby, who teaches about 200 teenage girls every day and comes home to a wife and two young daughters, sometimes needs a moment alone.  Now that the weather is beautiful, he loves to escape to our front porch and watch his favorite shows on The History Channel.

A few weeks ago, my daughter’s built a fort in my living room.  However, it is so big that they can’t see the TV foiling their plan to have a slumber party in the fort.  Instead of trying to rebuild the fort (which they were insanely proud of), they remembered about the Cox TV Connect App.  They were watching their favorite bedtime shows on The Disney Channel in no time!

As for me, being the novice chef that I am, my favorite place to use the Cox TV Connect App is in my kitchen.  I need all the help I can get while attempting to create meals for my family and their is nothing better than seeing recipes come to life on the Food Network.

If you want to watch the programming you just can’t miss from anywhere in your home, you have to download the free iPad app, Cox TV Connect.  This app is FREE for current Cox customers with Cox TV Essential and Cox Preferred, Premier or Ultimate Internet service.  You must be connected to your Cox Wifi account to launch the service.  Once connected, you can choose from over 35 national cable channels!

We have loved learning all about Cox TV Connect!  Happy Watching!

This post is the opinion of Experimental Mommy.  While I was compensated for my time and effort, all opinions remain 100% mine.

Getting Ready for Easter with Heinz and PAAS!

With temperatures well into the 80’s, flowers blooming in beautiful colors and kids ready to burn energy playing outdoors, Spring is most definitely here!  In fact, Easter is only a little over a week away.  Are you ready for the Bunny’s arrival?

One of my favorite holiday traditions is dyeing Easter Eggs with my daughters to place in their baskets.  I remember dyeing eggs with my Mom and PAAS kits and it is so much fun to pass the tradition to my own kids.  Now that they are getting older, the eggs are becoming more elaborate!  As with their wardrobes, they love all things girly, sparkly and bright.  So, it came as no surprise that they wanted their eggs to be vibrant, too!  In years past, I will admit that I took the easy way out and just mixed our egg dye with water giving us pretty but pastel colors.  I had no idea that Heinz Vinegar could make such a difference!

After boiling our eggs and letting them cool, we opened the PAAS Classic Colors Egg Dyeing Kit which included 9 different colors to choose from.  My daughters picked their most favorite five and we mixed eye dye with 3 tablespoons of Heinz Vinegar.  The kit came with a Magic Color to write secret messages on the eggs before dyeing! My girls LOVED this and quickly branded their eggs.  After selecting their favorite colors, we submerged the eggs for a few minutes to make sure the eggs were nice and bright.  The girls were thrilled with the results!

Letting the eggs dry, we put together the included egg stands to display our creations.  The final touch?  Stickers, of course!  The girls were quite impressed with the final product and couldn’t wait to show it off to their grandparents.

While we had a blast decorating our eggs last night, did you know that you can also dye eggs virtually?  The free Egg Decorator App from Heinz and PAAS allows you to continue the fun online!  Choose your color, dye your egg pastel or vibrant and then decorate with glitter glue, chalk and paint.  Save your egg to your virtual basket and share your creation with family and friends on Facebook or via email.  From now through April 8th, every egg “dyed” and shared with a friend on the app, Heinz & PAAS will donate $1 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation (up to $25,000)!  The girls loved playing with the app as much as they loved dyeing the actual eggs!

Get creative this Easter and check out then entire PAAS collection!

I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Heinz and PAAS and received a Heinz Vinegar bottle, a PAAS Egg Dyeing Kit, and a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.

Power Up with Rayovac Advanced High Energy Alkaline Batteries!

From school to Girl Scouts, dance lessons to gymnastics, I have two very active little girls!  I often joke that I need to take their batteries out in order to get them to bed.  On the rare occasion that we have some downtime at home, one of their most favorite activities is playing “Just Dance Kids” on our Wii.  They love to play together, play alone, play with me and even with the Grandparents (you haven’t lived until you have seen a Paw-Paw dance to “Five Little Monkeys”).  As you can imagine, all this dancing does a number on the batteries in our Wii remotes.

While I love the aerobic activity my girls get playing the Wii, my wallet does not love replacing the batteries.  So, I was thrilled to hear that Rayovac is releasing Advanced High Energy Alkaline Batteries!  The batteries, which will be available on April 23rd online and in all Walmart locations, are designed for high-drain devices such as digital cameras, mp3 players, LED flashlights and even video game controllers like our Wii remotes.

I received a sample of the new Rayovac Advanced High Energy Alkaline Batteries and we have been using them for the past few days in our Wii remotes and my daughter’s digital camera.  So far, we have seen excellent performance in our devices.  In fact, I am so thankful that my kids are NOT powered by the High Energy batteries! If you want to take Rayovac batteries for a test drive, grab this coupon for $1 off alkaline batteries from the Rayovac Facebook page.

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

Get Your Kids Reading with Leapfrog Tag! {Coupon}

As a product review blogger, I often get asked what my most favorite product has been over the years.  I can honestly say that I have recommended Leapfrog’s Tag reading system more than any other product on this blog.

I first purchased the TAG for my now 7 year old daughter when she was just 4 years old upon the recommendation of a friend.  Little did I know that Leapfrog has been helping children learn to read for over 15 years!  They have been bringing words and pictures to life for early readers and making it fun, too.  My daughter was hooked at the first book because it gave her a sense of independence…an “I can do this” moment.  From that first page, she gained confidence with the Tag reader and became less dependent on the reading feature and more involved in the comprehension games.  Now, I am happy to report that my 7 year old reads well above her grade level.  Because I have witnessed the results of this reading system, we have purchased the Tag Junior for my youngest!

This month, Scholastic and Leapfrog are partnering to celebrate Reading Month!  Print a coupon for $3 off any Leapfrog TAG book over $9.99 and get your reader on the road to success.  My daughter already has her eyes set on the Geography book!

This post is the opinion of the Experimental Mommy.  While I was compensated for my time, all opinions remain 100% mine.

Vote for Doodle Roll!

When my hubby and I decide to take the kids out to eat, we always bring a “quiet activity” to entertain them.  I generally do not allow the kids to play with electronic toys in a restaurant, so I am always looking for new activities to take along.  Recently, I was introduced to Doodle Roll.

An all-in-one portable arts & crafts activity kit, the Doodle Roll® contains a roll of paper and crayons in a compact package that doubles as a handy dispenser. A perfect “anywhere, anytime” family product, the Doodle Roll® is available in two sizes with a safe EZ tear edge.

I am looking forward to trying out the product soon, but in the meantime, you can vote for Doodle Roll in the “Get On The Shelf” contest which will make the product more accessible.  You can vote via Facebook & Text Message every day from now until April 3rd.

I was not compensated in any way for this post.

My Little Pony Friendship is Magic: The Friendship Express DVD

Growing up there were a few toys that I held close: my Strawberry Shortcake doll, my Cabbage Patch doll (Esther Morgana), and my extensive collection of My Little Ponies.  My friends and I loved our My Little Pony collection and loved brushing their hair every single day!

Now, my daughters are huge My Little Pony fans and it is so much fun to share my memories and make new ones with their own collection.  My girls are so lucky because now they can watch the ponies come to life on The Hub and now on DVD.  In fact, on February 28th, Shout! Factory and Hasbro Studios released My Little Pony Friendship is Magic: The Friendship Express on DVD.  The new DVD features 5 episodes and bonus features such as “Meet the Ponies” and super cute sing-a-longs.  It also includes “Yipper Caper,” the very first episode of the new Pound Puppies series.

In contrast to most television programming, the episodes promote friendship between the ponies.  The episodes include Friendship Is Magic, Part 1 (Mare In The Moon), Friendship Is Magic, Part 2 (Elements Of Harmony), Over A Barrel, Hearth’s Warming Eve, and The Last Roundup.  Throughout the episodes, Twilight Sparkle learns that their is more to life than magic…friendship is key!  Twilight learns what it means to be true friends in several adventures with her fellow ponies.

My youngest daughter took a liking to Rainbow Dash and laughed every time she came on screen! I like that the DVD is broken up into 5 episodes. It allows my girls to watch one episode a day and keeps the attention of my 4 year old.  The DVD can be purchased for just $9.99 on

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

Hop Over to Red Envelope for Easter Ideas!

Heads up!  The Easter Bunny is headed your way in just 19 short days!  Get out the Easter baskets, egg dye, frilly clothes and candy before the bunny heads to your town…are you ready?  If you are like me and tend to be a little last minute, hop over to Red Envelope for some great ideas and gifts this Spring.

When I was a kid (many moons ago), my brother and I always wanted to get the biggest Easter basket we could find.  Bigger basket meant more treats, right?  Red Envelope has an adorable large bunny basket which comes in blue or pink can be personalized, too!  If your Easter Bunny is on a time crunch, you can even order a personalized Easter Basketprefilled with yumminess.  The All-in-One Basket comes with a personalized gingham basket liner, a plush bunny, grass and an assortment of treats for just $24.99.

Sometimes, I get lucky and the Easter Bunny leaves me something sweet (Moms deserve something, too!).  After browsing through the Red Envelope catalog, I found a few things that I would love to find in my basket.  If you read this blog, than you know that patience is not one of my better virtues.  I just could not stop thinking about the Murano Heart Bracelet and may have already made a purchase.  The trio of bangle bracelts featured hand made glass hearts in pink and red, glass pearls and Swarovski crystal rondelles for just $49.95.   The set arrived in a beautiful red box with a ribbon.  The jewelry was tucked inside a protective pouch and would make for a great presentation in an Easter Basket.

 Thanks, Easter Bunny!

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



Congrats to the recent winners of our giveaways!  The winners are:

CP Toys Doll Clothes: Kylie C.

Baskin Robbins Gift Card: Eleanor

Hasbro Simon Flash: Brittney

Waterpik: Sandra U.

Toyland Express Book: Sheila A.

Build-A-Bear Gift Card: Fancygrlnancy

Ivory Soap: Crissy D.

SONIC: Kristi C.

Icebreaker Apparel: Sandra U.

Trop50: Wanda M.

K-Cup Pamper Pack: Melanie

Alexia Foods: Valerie

Aunt Sassy Sauces: Krystalynn

Lazoo: Sandra

Hershey’s Valentine’s Day: kyzhere

CP Toys Storage Buckets: Janet W.

HairThingz: Claire

Hyland’s: Christina S.

You will all receive an email shortly.  Please respond within 72 hours to claim your prize!