Do Good, Feel Good (and get free McDonald’s fries, too)

This post was written by the Experimental Mommy in partnership with McDonald’s. All opinions remain 100% honest.

There are few things I love more on this planet than McDonald’s french fries. Of course, my family and my friends come first and second but the fries come in a very close third. But what’s better than hot, crispy McDonald’s fries? FREE McDonald’s fries and helping charity, too!

McDonald’s 15th annual national fundraiser to benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities® kicks off November 7th and runs through November 19th at participating restaurants nationwide. Customers who visit McDonald’s can support families staying at Ronald McDonald House Charities of South Louisiana by donating $1, $3, or $5. Customers who donate will receive a “thank you” coupon for free small fries or hashbrowns (no purchase required, valid through November 30th).

I have been a donor to RMHC myself because I have had a chance to see the effects of their work on families who need it most. The Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern Louisiana serves an average of 85 families of seriously ill children seeking care in the New Orleans Metro area each month.  In addition, the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile offers free immunizations for local children.

You can be a part of the good by participating in the national fundraiser! From 2010-2016, McDonald’s USA has raised more than $260 million for Ronald McDonald House Charities through the national fundraiser, restaurant donation boxes, and penny per Happy Meal donations. Simply stop by your local participating McDonald’s and donate $1, $3 or $5 from November 7-19, 2017 and the smile on your face won’t just be from doing something good. Fries. Don’t forget about the free fries!

Taking Halloween to a Whole New Level of Scary

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

For the last several years, the idiom, “scared of my own shadow” described my household perfectly. My two young daughters were scared of everything Halloween so our decor ranged from happy pumpkins to friendly ghosts and certainly didn’t include anything remotely ghoulish. But now that my girls are older, it’s time to up our game and get into the business of scaring the neighborhood on Halloween and I found the perfect way to do it.

AtmosFX Digital Decorations Projector
We completely skipped over the goblin inflatables, strobe lighting and creepy music and dove straight into the insanely realistic world of digital decorations by AtmosFX.

Through the magic of digital projection with our Digital Decorating Kits and a little help from props, screens, and Hollywood-style magic, you can quickly turn any room or space into an unforgettable experience.

I couldn’t describe it better. Atmos FX is so much more than traditional decor. It’s an experience. To make the holidays come to life, all you need is the Digital Decorating Kit which includes a projector, mounting tripod, remote control, and AtmosFX Standard Window Projection Material. The kit comes with an SD card pre-loaded with 14 AtmosFX Digital Decorations: 8 Halloween-themed scenes, and 6 seasonal scenes focusing on Christmas and other holidays.

digital decoration set up
The standard window projection material feels like a thin vinyl material (pictured above) and comes with adhesive strips to easily mount to any window. Once your surface is ready, find an ideal spot for your projector, plug in your SD card and select which digital decorations you would like to display. It’s that simple…but the results are fantastic!

digital decorations
I also received the semi-translucent nylon Window Projection Material which I used on an interior door frame to spice up decor for a recent party. I liked this material better as I felt the image was crisper and the material seems like it would hold up longer. But both materials worked just fine and scared the heck out of people walking by our home! Would it scare you?

What I love about the AtmosFX Digital Decorating Kit is that it is not just for one singular holiday. The kit comes with scenes for Christmas, Easter, birthday parties, Valentine’s Day and more. How many holiday decorations can you use for more than one season? I would venture to say none which makes this an unbelievable deal!

How will you digitally decorate this year?

 

 

Writing with the Faber Castell Op Art Water Lily Fountain Pen

This post was written by guest contributor Maureen of LumenNOLA. The pen reviewed here was provided by the manufacturer.

Hey pen friends! I have long been a fan of Faber Castell writing instruments, but must admit that most of the Faber Castell items in my home are art supplies used by my husband, who is a visual artist. I was therefore excited to be offered the opportunity to try a fountain pen of that brand. I have been a fountain pen fan for many years, and I love to experiment with new writing tools of all kinds.

The pen arrived packaged in a white box with a drawer tray, and accompanied by an instruction booklet. The pen has a descriptive tag attached to the clip. The clip itself is springy, but solid. I would have no concerns about using it to attach the pen to a notebook, or the pocket of a bag or briefcase.

Faber Castell Op Art Water Lily Pen with box
The Op Art fountain pen is thinner than the pens that I usually gravitate to, but guess what? With its interesting grooves and lines, combined with a light well-balanced weight, it felt very comfortable in my hand. The surface texture prevented my fingers from slipping toward the nib as I wrote. I have had that problem with other narrow pens.

Faber Castell Water Lily Pen
Also different from my standard preference was the nib size, medium. I like a fine line, especially with European made pens, which have naturally broader nibs than Asian made pens. Like the pen surface, the Op Art nib was also a pleasant surprise. It is a very smooth-writing, steel nib that lays down a solid line! It is a pleasure to write with. The pink of the barrel paired beautifully with a purple ink (my favorite ink color!).

The silver cap of the pen securely snaps onto the section, or onto the back of the pen to write while posted. I found the pen top heavy with the cap posted, but know that I never write with pens posted. The extra weight might balance very well for someone who prefers a heavier pen.

Faber Castell Pink Fountain Pen
The pen has a steel nib embossed with dots, the Faber Castell logo, and the nib size indicator, M for medium. There is no breather hole, which is consistent with other Faber Castell fountain pens I have written with.

The cap also has the logo and company name embossed.

The more I look at it, the more mesmerizing I find the grooved surface of the pen. The construction was solid. All attachments fit well, with no loose joints. The Faber Castell Op Art Water Lily is a nice pen to treat yourself or someone else too. And what a great way to introduce a pop of color and interesting texture as the darker evenings of winter approach!

Learn the New School Way of Doing Laundry!

This post was written by the Experimental Mommy in partnership with Tide and Downy at Walmart. All opinions remain 100% my own.

Welcome WGNO Viewers! Join me on Sunday, June 4th from 1-6pm at Walmart in Metairie for a New School Laundry Event featuring free samples and high value coupons for the products featured in the TV segment.

If you are anything like me, a walk down the laundry aisle at the grocery store can be quite intimidating and confusing. With so many products lining the shelves, it’s hard to know which one will work best for your laundry needs. So, how do I cope? I close my eyes and head straight for the same bottle of detergent I have purchased for years. But, because my daughters are growing and their activities are changing (plus Summer is sure to add tons of swimsuits and beach towels to my laundry basket), the same old routine may need a reset.

New School Laundry with Tide
Let go of your old habits! There is a new school way of doing laundry with a fresh regimen from Tide and Downy! Did you know that the average American throws away 65 pounds of clothes every year? But how you launder your clothes can make a huge difference in the longevity of your favorite items. The new school regimen includes 4 steps which are super easy to follow:

New School Regimen TV Segment

  • Tide PODS: These 3-in-1 pacs contain exactly the right amount of detergent, stain remover and brightener. Simply throw a pac into the drum of your washer and it will dissolve in any water temperature, meaning you can save money and extend the life of your clothes by using cold water rather than warm with each load.
  • Downy Protect & Refresh Liquid Fabric Conditioner: This is so much more than a fabric softener! This product locks out bad odors, giving clothes in-wear protection from offensive odors all day long. Just add Downy to your fabric softener reservoir (drawer or center of agitator).
  • Downy Fresh Protect Scent Boosting Beads: This is one of my favorite products! The beads are motion activated and provide 24-hour odor neutralization and freshness – they’re like deodorant for your clothes! You can shake a little or a lot directly into the drum of your washer before starting the load. The level of scent is totally up to you!
  • Downy Dryer Sheets: Finally, complete the laundry regimen by controlling static, preventing wrinkles, softening and providing long-lasting freshness by tossing a Downy Dryer Sheet into the dryer with your freshly washed clothes.

If you are in the New Orleans Metro Area and would like to learn more about this New School Regimen and receive free samples and high value coupons for the Tide and Downy products listed above, join me at one of the New School Laundry Regimen Events on Sunday, June 4th from 1-6pm at the following participating Walmart locations:

Walmart Supercenter                       880 N Highway 190                                            Covington

Walmart Supercenter                       300 W. Esplanade Ave                                       Kenner

Walmart Supercenter                       4810 Lapalco Blvd                                              Marrero

Walmart Supercenter                       8912 Veterans Memorial Blvd                         Metairie

Walmart Supercenter                       5110 Jefferson Hwy                                            New Orleans

Walmart Supercenter                       39142 Natchez Drive                                          Slidell

Walmart Supercenter                       410 N Canal Blvd                                                Thibodaux

Lunch Bag Lifecycle with Lysol Laundry Sanitizer

This post was written by the Experimental Mommy in partnership with Lysol. All opinions are 100% my own.

Remember the poem that starts, “sugar and spice and everything nice, that’s what little girls are made of?” I guarantee the author has never met my youngest daughter. While she is indeed the sweetest kid you will ever meet, she is full of spunk, personality, energy and playfulness. There is nothing dainty about her and I love her for it!

Fleur_de_Lis_Lunchkit
With her “all-in” philosophy of life, she can be quite hard on her clothes, shoes, and schoolbag. But for this Mom (who happens to hold a degree in Microbiology), the most cringe-worthy item has to be her lunch bag. As I take great care in packing a healthy lunch with a few of her favorite items, I am envisioning all of the places her lunch bag will go throughout the day and more importantly what will tag along for the ride.

lunch bag in grass
From the moment it leaves home, the lunch bag becomes a magnet for dirt, stains and GERMS! In one day, her lunch bag rides the school bus, rests on the classroom floor, sits on the cafeteria table, tosses onto the play yard grass (maybe taking a turn or two on the slide), drops onto the restroom floor, and finally hides in the trunk of my car on the ride home after which I am supposed to replenish it with FOOD THAT GOES INTO MY DAUGHTER’S MOUTH?! Um, nope.

lunchbag on bathroom floor
I always make a point to buy washable lunch bags, but sometimes soap just doesn’t seem like enough! Thankfully, I just learned about my new best friend, Lysol® Laundry Sanitizer.  This revolutionary laundry additive kills 99.9% of bacteria that detergents may leave behind without chlorine bleach….even in cold water! Just add Lysol® Laundry Sanitizer to the fabric softener compartment at the start of the laundry cycle and let the magic begin. It’s this kind of clean that allows this Microbiologist Mom to put food back in the lunch bag that takes one heck of a journey day in and day out.

lysol laundry sanitizer
And you know what? I don’t even cringe anymore. You can be cringe-free, too! Enter the giveaway below:

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Beyond the Arches: Ronald McDonald House Charities

This post was written by the Experimental Mommy in partnership with McDonald’s®. All opinions remain 100% honest.

When I walk into my local McDonald’s in New Orleans, the first things that come to mind are my favorite crispy fries, a cold drink to help with the New Orleans heat, delicious apple slices and of course the convenience of a quick balanced meal for my kids at a great price. But did you know there is so much more to McDonald’s than the menu?

mcdonalds charities
Since 1974, Ronald McDonald House Charities® has been McDonald’s charity of choice, with the mission to provide a “home-away-from-home” to families of seriously ill children and other programs that give comfort, compassion and care to children and their families.  Locally, the Ronald McDonald House is located on Canal Street in New Orleans and opened in 1983. This 15 bedroom home includes a huge kitchen, two laundry areas, a toy room, two dens, outside patio and serves an average of 85 families each month.

New Orleans Ronald McDonald House
In addition, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern Louisiana (RMHC-SLA) provides:

  • Free immunizations for children in New Orleans and surrounding parishes via the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile.
  • College scholarships for students in financial need who have demonstrated academic achievement, leadership, and community involvement. With the support of McDonald’s owner/operators in the greater New Orleans area, RMHC-SLA awarded 40 – $1,000 scholarships to students in the greater New Orleans area last year.

So the next time you run in to McDonald’s with the kids, know that you are supporting a great cause because McDonald’s donates 1¢ to RMHC for every Happy Meal and Mighty Kids Meal sold. In fact, I will send you on your way with one $50 McDonald’s gift certificate for one Experimental Mommy reader (enter below). Ready to do more? The RMHC of South Louisiana has volunteer opportunities, too!

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Its All About the Choreplay

This post was written by the Experimental Mommy in partnership with Mr. Clean. All opinions are 100% mine.

Given the fact that my New Orleans Saints were not in the Superbowl, the best part of the experience was definitely the commercials. A few made me chuckle but the one that made all of us laugh out loud was the commercial in the third quarter by Mr. Clean. In case you missed the hilarity, take a minute to view it below. I’ll wait.

Can we agree that few things are sexier than a man who cleans? In fact, men who do more than a third of the housework are significantly more likely to get some action from their significant other. Guys, it’s all about the choreplay. And with Valentine’s Day around the corner, I think this is sound advice!

Choreplay Kit

Want to gently encourage your man to take on more of the workload? Post a picture of the “cleaner of your dreams” on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram using #MrClean and the brand could surprise your man with a Choreplay Kit to up his game! Want more chances to win? Enter below to win a Mr. Clean Choreplay Kit!

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Take a Vacation Everyday with Pfister

This post was written by Jennifer of Experimental Mommy in partnership with Pfister. All opinions remain 100% honest.

Every day, I take a vacation. It only lasts about 15 minutes, but I make sure it happens every single day. It’s my “me” time. Time when I don’t have to think about my job, which child needs attention, whose homework isn’t done yet, the next night’s dinner, or what the dog has gotten into and destroyed.  The location isn’t tropical, adventuresome, or scenic. But, it is luxurious, and I don’t have to go far to get there.

It’s my shower.

I love my shower. I love everything about it. It’s my place to literally wash off the day’s events and get myself completely relaxed and refreshed. I spend a long time just standing under the water and not thinking about one thing except for how relaxing it is. So, when I was offered the chance to make my shower even better, I was thrilled.

After receiving Pfister’s Bronson Shower in Brushed Nickel, I could not wait to get it out of the box and installed. I had to wait a bit for my husband to get back in town from an extended work leave but once he got home, I became the loving (nagging) wife because I couldn’t wait to use it. After installation, we both agreed it was a major upgrade from our previous standard shower head that got the job done but was much less aesthetically pleasing than what Pfister had to offer. We both loved how the shower head has both square angles and rounded curves that go together beautifully.

shower head

That night, I made a beeline for the bathroom and was tempted to just watch the water come out of the shower for a long time. I know it sounds strange, but the Pfister shower just looks like it would be amazing. And it is. The Raincan showerhead gives you more coverage and provides you with an endless, relaxing flow of water that is not too soft or too hard, it is just right. I wanted to turn my little 15 minute shower vacation into a permanent residence, but the to-do list and the threat of pruney skin prevented me.

My little “vacation” is made even more relaxing knowing that Pfister products carry the Pfister Forever Warranty that covers function and finish for life. In addition to that, the Pforever Seal means the durable all metal construction has an advanced ceramic disc valve with a never leak guarantee! My husband and I are looking forward to eventually changing out the shower in our children’s bathroom to something even better from Pfister. In short, Pfister faucets are Pfantastic!

Tell Your Long Story Short with CROSS Pens

This post was written by guest author, Maureen Wright of RH90 Pens in partnership with CROSS Pens.
Many years ago I was offered an opportunity that was also a challenge – teaching in an adjunct capacity at a local university. Accepting the role meant still doing my full-time job,  and being a wife and mom, while also creating a course and making time to meet with students. Something told me to take the leap. The payoff was enormous, and it wasn’t just about the pay. I had the chance to share what had been shared with me. In the span of a semester I got to watch students mature in both learning and communicating their ideas. I bonded particularly well with the class I taught early one morning, Tuesday, September 11, 2001. Our world changed as we discussed the inner workings of microbial cells. It was as though time froze for us, until class ended and we learned what happened.

 

 

 

I also had a somewhat frightening encounter, which in retrospect is quite funny. I had a student who sat in the far corner of the back row of the room. And she stared at me, just stared. I don’t recall ever seeing her write a note. Well, over the course of the class I got to know her. That student is now one of my closest friends, and she also now teaches at a university. Our encounter is proof positive that you should never judge a book by its cover.

 

 

In taking on the extra responsibility of an adjunct teaching position I had to take a leap, a big leap, and dared myself to do it. I haven’t regretted it for a minute, and have used my experience to talk others through taking their own leaps.

 

 

My long story short, ” Be not afraid, just jump.”
Consider encouraging your loved ones with a CROSS Pen this holiday season! It makes the #WriteGift!

Showing Gratitude by Helping to Fight Childhood Cancer with #Duckprints

This post is sponsored by Aflac. I was compensated for writing it, but all opinions are 100% mine.

This Thanksgiving, I found myself reflecting on all of the reasons my heart is full of gratitude. Professionally, I am finally at a place in my career where I can exhale. Socially, my blog turned business has afforded me opportunities I never dreamed possible. Personally, I can’t say enough about my circle of friends, my supportive family and my loving husband. But the thing that tops my gratitude list?  My girls.

screen-shot-2016-11-18-at-10-56-53-pm

I might sound like a bragging Mom, but my daughters are simply beautiful inside and out. They have accomplished so much and are growing up to be thoughtful and kind human beings. Fortunately, both of my daughters are healthy and have had relatively few and insignificant medical concerns. The recent death of a teen to brain cancer in our Church community has certainly brought to light how fragile life can be and the importance of supporting pediatric cancer research.

I was happy to learn that Aflac has supported the fight against childhood cancer for more than 20 years and is giving individuals across America a way to get involved. This holiday season, count your blessings and make a difference by getting involved with Aflac’s #Duckprints campaign in several different ways:

    1. Download the new Aflac online game, “Build Your Own Balloonicle,” where consumers can create their own Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloonicle, featuring the beloved Aflac Duck. Every game experience shared on social media with #Duckprints will generate a $2 donation toward children’s cancer (up to $1.5 million). screen-shot-2016-11-18-at-9-56-58-pm
    2. You can get involved in the fight against childhood cancer any time of year by simply taking to social media and using the hashtag #Duckprints. For any Duckprints-related social media activity, Aflac will donate $2 to the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (up to $1.5 million dollars). Follow the Aflac Duck on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@AflacDuck) or visit aflacduckprints.com.
      1. Tip: When you see the Aflac Balloonicle in the 90th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on NBC on Thursday, November 24th, show some #Duckprints love on Twitter!
    3. This year, Aflac introduced Duckchat, an Aflac app where consumers can get custom Aflac Duck emojis and GIFs. The app can be downloaded on either the Apple iTunes App Store or the Google Play Store. Aflac will also donate $2 (up to $1.5 million) with each download.
    4. Aflac and Macy’s have teamed up to offer a holiday plush of the Aflac Duck. The net proceeds from each plush Holiday Duck sold are donated to the participating children’s cancer facility nearest to where it is purchased. To date, Aflac has raised over $3 million through the Holiday Duck program.

There are many reasons to be thankful this holiday season. Aflac has made it incredibly easy to show gratitude and give back. Share these opportunities with families and friends and let’s help eradicate childhood cancer.

Aflac herein means American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus and American Family Life Assurance Company of New York. Z161288H