5 Weeks Until Christmas and 5 Toys You Need Now!

 

We have a little over 5 weeks before Jolly Old Saint Nicholas is going to come sliding down the chimney to drop off lots of toys for your kids! I’ve come across some really fantastic toys for this season that will appeal to kids of all ages and maybe even adults… can you say… LEGO DISNEY CASTLE! It’s stunning!

These are few of the favorites that are Thomas and Lily approved. As you know, most if not all of these toys have been tested by me and my crew… AKA Thomas and Lily… and usually Jonah gets a hold of something  and after clawing it out of his jaw… we write about it.

Disney Castle LEGO

Disney Castle Playset – LEGO – $349.00 I don’t know about the kids, but I WANT THIS. The Disney Castle play set has 4080 pieces and builds an amazingly detailed Disney Castle. This is a MUST for Disney Fans. Get it while you can… it’s selling quick!

Torch Blazin Dragon

Torch My Blazin Dragon – Hasbro $65 It’s not the Game of Thrones Khaleesi Dragons… but it’ll do for the kids. This dragon blinks and breathes fire and even “toasts’ marshmallows! Also a hot item this season… so grab it!

Thomas and Friends Mini Playset

Thomas and Friends Minis Twist and Turn Stunt Set $20  This entire line in on my Thomas’s wish list. He can’t get enough of these minis. They twist and turn and spiral back up. Thomas and Friends Minis Playset also have a whole new DC Superheros line… Thomas as Batman… believe it!

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Sky Viper Hover Racer $99.99 This hover craft is #1 on Lily’s list. It’s tough to find toys for kids as they get older so I was super excited to discover the Sky Viper. It’s a great, sturdy quality, that can handle rough play and a giant dog going after it!

Love-2-Learn-Elmo

Love2Learn Elmo HASBRO $59.99 – Just when you think you have outgrown the Elmo stage… they reel you back in. This is the new 2016 version that is bluetooth compatible. Imagine Thomas’ surprise when Elmo said his name! There is soooo much this new version of Elmo does that I could write a whole piece on it. It helps with learning alphabet, numbers, colors, silly phrases and songs… so much more! PJ Masks Headquarters Playset

PJ Masks Headquarters Playset – $69.99 Thomas is WISHING for this playset. We can’t find it anywhere!! PJ Masks – which is NOT TJ MAXX –  I thought he was saying this all along… anyway PJ MASKS is Thomas’ favorite show and if you have a toddler/preschooler then you know what I am talking about. This Headquarters Playset is all he wants and it’s sold out practically everywhere. It’s such a fun toy that has spinning parts a slide and whatever else magic that Thomas is into. No really though… if you have a PJ MASKS fan… this HAS to be under your tree. Along with every PJ MASKS toy made!

There is so much. SO PLEASE keep stopping by. I want to have short gift guides this year so as not to overwhelm anyone. We have DIY guides, Craft, indie… all sorts of guides coming up and soooo many toys!

One more thing… from my soapbox… PLEASE try to shop local… I know that some small toy shops don’t carry these toys ( but some might). If you do shop online, please link your shopping spending to a charity many places like Amazon and Target allow you to do that.

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Dear Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton
This is a quote by John Wesley... Hillary Clinton, the devout Methodist that she is... uses this as her inspired mission.
This is a quote by John Wesley… Hillary Clinton, the devout Methodist that she is… uses this as her inspired mission.

Dear Hillary Clinton,

I have LET YOU DOWN.

I FAILED YOU. I did not voice my political opinion early enough for fear of social stigma. I did not work tirelessly for you and for us – For my kids.

I let you down.

I owe you my future.

Regardless of what the political electoral outcome… YOU –  Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton – are MY leader.

You are my inspiration, my guide, and you are my voice.

You have started a movement and I am in. You have broken the ceiling Hillary… the ceiling has been shattered… because us girls have a new voice, we have the OK to ask for what we want, to expect more, to be more and not ever stand for bad behavior and shitty ideas. You lifted us up and you are going to keep on being the voice for us.

Hillary, you ARE my president, you ARE my leader… you are my future.

I mourned today… like the rest of the nation, because please remember… YOU WON. Y O U WON!! But electoral votes cramped that style.

Thank you for this voice, thank you for this fearless voice, thank you for inspiring my 11YO, for putting the fire in her change-making belly!

YOU are ALIVE in us all… just you watch… we are going to look ‘them’ in the eye and say… here we are, now what! Love is going to win. We are going to win.

Hillary, I let you down – I should have shouted your name from the rooftops.

But here I am… we are moving forward.

As our Methodist faith says – “Do all the good you can, for all the people you can, in all the ways you can, as long as ever you can.”

You, Hillary Clinton are MY FUTURE… we are not done.

“Democracy DEMANDS our participation” Hillary Clinton #ImSTILLwithHER

M

 

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Celebrating This Perfectly Messy Life with Bounty

 

Life with kids is messy… and Bounty is here to help clean up those little messes.

Life is messy and life with kids is messier. Remember those early days when the little dragons were sweet cherubs sent from the gods up above to enrich your life in ways you could never imagine. Remember how you looked at them and their sweet faces, thinking “you are the best thing ever”. Their gross spit ups or diaper blowouts… disgusting as they were can be described as a cute mess to non kid having friends. When flinging spaghetti across the room was a picture perfect moment, well those moments still happen just not as cute the third, fourth, millionth time….

We only celebrate the first messes. And while parenting is messy… would we ever have it any other way? Not me. I’m perfectly happy with my perfectly messy life.

I’m working with Bounty to talk about the little messes of life. With Bounty Paper Towels, parents can enjoy these moments while the Quicker Picker Upper does the work.

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I spent an evening with Mother and Author Kristin Cavalleri and chatted toddler messes. She shared a few of her tips.

Tips for Avoiding Messy Mealtime Madness.

  • Stop Playing Fetch – don’t pick up everything as kids throw them on the floor, clean up at the end of the meal with Bounty Paper Towels.
  • Practice Patience with Utensils – try sticky foods that will be easier to be scooped up by utensils – Oatmeal and yogurt are two faves.
  • Peace of Mind Placemats – Clean up will be so much easier with makeshift placemats made from bounty paper towels
  • Set a Good Example – Eat Healthy and exhibit positive eating habits for the kids.
  • Avoid High Chair Messes – Place a paper towel in your child lap this way all the run away food gets caught in the bounty paper towel and it’s a simple clean up when done eating.
  • Have Them Help You – encourage kids to help clean up so they learn to tidy up early on!

This post is sponsored by Bounty. Thanks for stopping by and checking out The New York Mom and learning a bit more about the sponsors.

 

 

 

 

 

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Upgrading Your Family Car with PacifiKids

When our family grew from 3 to 4 we upgraded our car. This is of course a natural progression of things wouldn’t you say. We actually added an SUV to our existing sedan. The ‘tiny car’ sedan as Thomas refers to it has become Matt’s car and the “fancy car”  our SUV has become my car. Upgrading your family car is a big decision there isn’t a shortage of selection on the car market. Do you get a SUV, a minivan, a larger sedan?

I’m working with Chrysler on their new campaign – PACIFI KIDS – to celebrate the launch of the new Chrysler Pacifica. This new car combines super luxury with comfort and of course the most important feature… space. We are a family on the go and never a weekend goes by without a quick road trip to the beach, the Vermont mountains, Boston, D.C. , Canada… the choices are endless when it comes to road trips around here.

Chrysler also takes all the guess-work out of purchasing a car with #Fieldtrips. Field Trips are ultimate test drives that include the entire family and get you excited about your new car purchase. Chrysler’s new campaign PACIFIKIDS puts families in the forefront with a new way of testing the car.

This super cute video basically sums it up

Now through October 26 you can enter to win a Field Trip experience – Fill out your ‘permission slip’ + share you awesome field trip idea + upload a family picture and you are on your way to win your own Field Trip!  But it gets better!! You can enter to win a snazzy new Chrysler Pacifica from Nov 12 – 18. Swing by PACIFIKIDS.COM for all the details.

This post is sponsored by Chrysler. 

 

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Snacking on the Go with Earth’s Best

 

The New York Mom Moms-Night-out

Our mornings around here are hectic. We are up before the sun is up, Lily is on a bus at 6:45AM, Thomas is in school a coupe times a week at 9am, I catch a 7:18Am train to NYC, Matt’s out to door… it’s non stop.

I have a few go-to foods that make the weekly snack and lunch round.  Earth’s Best has been on the rotation for Thomas, they have a great selection of organic snacks for babies and toddlers. Recently Earth’s Best launched a line of yummy snack foods for older kids. A granola bar or a fruit cup for after school or before soccer practice makes all the difference in the world.

The kids have loved the Mini Cookies and the fruit pouches. These are SUCH yummy treats that can be just tossed in your bag or left in the car for snacking anytime of your hectic day.

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*This is a sponsored post, all opinions are mine*

 

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Moms Night Out with Parents Magazine, Momtrends and More

The New York Mom Moms-Night-out

 

There is always an article floating around about how – Moms can have it all. Apparently we can have a full-time job, be an entrepreneur, have kids, husband, house, dog, travel, vacations, date nights, birthday parties and make pinterestable party favors for the entire preschool class. All without falling apart! Well, I call B.S.

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I never believed that song and dance for one second and seems like I was in great company.

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I met the editor of Meredith Publications’ – Dana Points – last week. Dana heads up Parents, Fit Pregnancy, Family Fun, and Parents Latina. You know all the parenting mags and Dana calls B.S. too. Parents Mag says – there is no magical “having it all”. You can’t have it all…and that’s OK.

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This Moms Night Out event was hosted by Nicole Feliciano of MomTrends and Meredith Publications. Tucked into an event space in Soho with stunning views of downtown, the evening included endless chatter, meeting NYC bloggers, connecting with friends and of course hearing about some great brands that help around the house.

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Clorox had a crafting station that had us customizing our own Clorox wipes containers. I always have Clorox on hand around the house. A quick wipe down of kitchen countertops, bathrooms and even take them to go when I travel with the kids.

The New York Mom Moms-Night-out

Quaker Oats asked us what we would do if we had an extra hour in the morning… while most answers ranged from yoga, meditate, drink coffee alone… i went for the truth… SLEEP. I would sleep for that extra hour!

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Quaker Overnight Oats gave us tips for a quick, easy and delish morning breakfast for busy mornings. Lily’s bus picks her up at 6:45AM… She is up at 6am… we are eating breakfast as we run out the door. Quaker Oats has lots of great ways to get a fast breakfast in for those hectic mornings.

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I love having scented oil diffusers throughout the house and when cleaning, I love lighting a candle to give the house a calming smell. Scents are healing and we use lavender a lot. Lavender helps calm the restless mind and also helps soothe anxiety. Glad kitchen bags with odor shield and Febreeze had us mix up our own scented lotions. I made a soothing lavender for Lily.

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The New York Mom

Philips Avent encouraged us to make little gift bags for new moms in our lives. Pacifiers and bottles were neatly tied up in boxed with bows for perfect gifting.

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Earths Best has lots of first foods for baby and now they are making snackable take-alongs for big kids as well. More on this later… but I loved seeing all the new offerings from one of our favorite kids snack brands.

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*This is a sponsored post, all opinions are mine*

photo credit: MOMTRENDS

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Best Halloween Costumes for Baby

bestbabyhalloweencostumes2016

It’s Halloween time! What are your kids dressing up as this season?

Thomas is going as Nemo… his best friend is going as a Shark. ( fish are friends not food)

Halloween allows itself for cute baby pictures and while the classic pumpkin is a parenting favorite, I have rounded up a few other themes that you might love.

  • The whole family can go as a “Finding Dory’ theme – Baby can be Nemo, mom is Dory and Dad is Shark! So cute!!!
  • To channel your inner ‘Khaleesi’… your baby can dress like a dragon! you know… Mother of Dragons and all! ( because Game of Thrones imitates life)
  • There’s always a sweet handmade knitted costume… a shy sweet baby lion maybe?

Where can you get these costumes you ask?

bestbabyhalloweencostumes2016

I recently wrote a piece about Best Baby Hallowen Costumes for 2016 and I thought I would share. Find the article —> here!

BOO to you!

 

 

 

 

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Apple Picking with Kids

Apple Picking The-New-York-Mom

Apple Picking The-New-York-Mom

Living in New York means that every season gets a grand hurrah! and Fall – being my favorite season, gets lots of hurrahs! Apple Picking is one of our favorite fall festivities. The smell of the crisp air, the walk through the orchards, apples eaten along the pick, apple cider, cinnamon donuts… I could go on forever. Apple picking with kids has it’s set of challenges as does basically doing anything with kids. Here is my tried and true list of do’s and don’t of apple picking with kids from my years of schlepping my kids up and down orchards up here in New York.

HUGE TIP – Some of the orchards have already run out of apples so please call before you head up. We are fortunate to live in the middle of orchards so we go all the time on weekdays with no crowds. 

Apple picking on the weekends is for those of you who like to live on the edge. We go to some of the orchards that are about an hour north of Manhattan. The weekends are insane. There is no charm in over crowded apple picking orchards. You have to stand in lines for everything and sometimes after standing in that line for 30 minutes you STILL don’t get your Cinnamon Donut! Then you have to walk forever to get to your car to then sit in traffic inching forward as your kids scream because … remember… no cinnamon donut! Go during the week if you can.

Apple Picking The-New-York-Mom

Take the kids apple picking when they are off on ‘school days‘. It’s not as crowded and you will certainly dodge the ‘Instagram Selfie’ crowd.

Dress – don’t wear heels when apple picking! I can’t believe I have to tell you this… you would be surprised at how many gals show up in heels!  You know this is dirt and mud and orchard land right. You are walking up hills and picking apples! Skip the heels. Wear your fall boots, skinnies, a sweater and a hat. Rock!

Apple Picking The-New-York-Mom

Bring water, it can get hot up in the orchards so bring water. The orchards are usually a bit of a walk from the car so a backpack with a snack and water is best.

Some orchards have evening music so check in advance and time your trip accordingly.

I wear sunscreen year round and so do the kids. So add that to your backpack.

Apple Picking The-New-York-Mom

A little provision for you and your honey. Go ahead – fill that water bottle with a little something special. Sit up at the top of  your apple orchard taking in the scenery and sip away. Because those drink lines are super long and not worth the wait.

MUST go on a hayride. So fun. And definitely do the corn mazes!!!

Poision Ivy likes to go all around apple trees. We haven’t had an issue but some orchards might overlook this and forget to take the poison ivy out. Be on the look out for three shiny leaves! Apple Picking The-New-York-Mom

Eat the apples from the tree. I know you paid for your bag of apples but what’s apple picking without munching on one red delicious fruit while picking.

Head up north to the Hudson Valley – Beacon, Coldspring, Hudson, Rhinebeck … all amazing towns with gorgeous views and not half the crowds. The time you will spend sitting in your car in traffic will be put to great use driving through the Hudson Valley on twisted roads with falling leaves while taking in some of the best scenery that New York State has to offer.

There ya have it. A bonafide tried and true guide to apple picking this season. Have fun!

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How to Create a Bullet Journal

How to Create a Bullet Journal New-York-Mom

 

One of the ways or probably THE way that I keep on top of things is my Bullet Journal. This is basically a journal that’s having an identity crisis and wants to be a journal, sketchbook, calendar, notepad… all in one! And that’s totally fine… we don’t have to be just one thing and neither does your journal.

If you read the last post on – Bullet Journal Essentials – then you have all your supplies.

I’m giving you a very tame version on how to get started because this can be super overwhelming if you just go for the gold right from the beginning. So like most things in life… take it slow and steady.

The first thing you want to do is start an index page – this index page is an ever-changing page as you add pages to your bullet journal. I just have the basics. I like to have a few reference pages right up front so i can access it easily. You can always add-on weekly calendars as you go. Just make sure to write down the page number so you can find it easily. *Note how the gel pen bleeds if you get impatient and don’t let it dry.*

My first page is the Birthday Page – It makes me happy, and reminds me of all these amazing people in my world. You can chart out your birthday page anyway you like… of course I created a dancer holding balloons.. from the looks of it.. my dancer has a little too much to drink the night before. Girl take it easy!

My Birthday Page is followed by an “important dates” page – Again this is your ‘year at a glance’ for important dates like spring break, holidays, travel dates, anniversaries…etc.

Next is a quick glance of the year ahead.

After this… you can go rogue with the way you want to put your journal together. Have a sketch page, idea page… whatever. I have a GOALS PAGE – and add to this anytime I have a new goal that comes to mind.

A MUST is your weekly calendar. This acts as my to-do list, meal planner, agenda and family tracker. Each family member gets a color- Lily is blue, Thomas Pink, I’m green and Matt is orange. This way you stay consistent through the year and don’t have to write names by tasks… etc.

That’s where I’m stopping for today. Let’s revisit this again and see what other pages you have added. There are tons of ideas on organizing and inspiring your life and we can add pages to get you there. The bullet journal is my go-to for everyday sanity!

Ok so here’s what… while my bullet journal looks like gel pens threw up all over the pages… Matt has a bullet journal going too and his has ONLY ONE COLOR!! and NO Doodles!! what!! I’ll share his with you soon so you can get an idea of the practical process as well.

I just love that my doodles and stationary habit has a place to live happily!

I would LOOOVE to see your bullet journals… please share!

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Bullet Journal Essentials

The-New-York-Mom-Bullet-Journal
Bullet-Journal-Essentials- The-New-York-Mom
Be still my stationary loving heart!
Bullet journals are the big thing in pop culture right now and me and my Moleskine, gel pens and oodles of doodles are only too happy to shed some light about this journaling and organizing trend.
What is a Bullet Journal? It’s basically a notebook that you create that helps you track and organize your entire life. Pages of the journals include notes, dates, schedules, lists, to-do, goals, health all of it. It’s a sketch book, diary, address book, calendar and anything that need pen and paper. You can decorate your journal, you can embellish it with stickers or you can just bullet your thoughts down.
I’m working on a great new post about how to start your bullet journal. I can’t wait to share! But before you start your bullet journal… you need your supplies. Best part of any project… supplies. Crafting a bullet journal is really any stationary lovers dream!
  • First you will need a Notebook – I love the Moleskin Dotted Notebook.  You can choose the size of your notebook to fit your everyday lifestyle. I get the medium Moleskin Dotted Notebook – the small is too small for my entries and the large is too big for my bag!
  • The Faber Castell PITT Artist Pen is my absolute favorite for everyday writing. It has a gorgeous black india ink with a pointy tip and the ink dries so fast that it will not bleed through your thin moleskin pages. Get this pen!
  • Gel Yeah! – Grab some gel pens to decorate your bullet journals. Ok fine, this is where you can take creative liberty and skip the gel pen thing all together but then you won’t have neon gel pen details! I like the gel pens because it helps me categorize things – family lists, health lists, work…etc. So get the gel pens.
  • A metal ruler. – metal – not plastic. So much of bullet journaling is just a routine and ritual and you want good stuff to make it feel like a ritual and routine. So get a 6-inch stainless steel ruler.
  • Washi Tape – Maybe kinda like the neon gel pens… not REALLY necessary but oh so fun and colorful. Your journal will look like candy! I like the washi tape for headers and side notes or to ear mark important pages. Get the washi tape. You can grab any color you choose not just the crazy ones I like.
  • Finally – Stickers and Stencils! Ok fine… you don’t need the stickers but I usually have ‘event stickers’ that help me remember birthdays, grocery stuff, invoice days… etc. Stencils help me create headers with ease.
That’s it… you are ready to start your bullet journal. Go out and get your supplies and meet me back here later this week to start your journal. I’ll give you step by step notes on how to get yours set up. Don’t forget neon gel pens and stickers!
Yaay!
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