daily dailies…

Matts been out of town for pretty much the entire month of November. He gets back to us tomorrow and I am just thrilled to have another adult in this house!

Thomas is going to be three years old in a few days. Anyone with a 2.5/3 year old will tell you that this age is nothing short of madness. It pretty much like dealing with a drunk mentaly unstable madman… all day!

Things get thrown across the room at any given moment, he pitches fits, he kisses me, he is a love bug AND a bit-ey little dragon all at the same time. You never know who you are going to get at any given moment.

Lily, amazing, moody, hormonal, space cadet, artsy and all art supplies are all over the house, moody, all of the above!

It’s tough being alone with the kids. it doesn’t help that the winter sunset clocks in at 4:58pm and it’s darkness after.

We also have a bobcat in the back yard. these woodpeckers are STILL pecking at the wooden shingles on the house and no one sleeps in this house.

Also Thomas is in the middle of potty training madness. So at any given moment…a ” Mom i made a potty” is announced with me running to the potty and there isn’t any poop in the potty but on the floor because we didn’t quite make it.

you guys… i’m going to lose me mind! I want to just run away the second Matt lands but he’s going to be jet lagged and I have missed having him around so I won’t run away.

Sometimes It’s just a lot!

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Holiday Gift Guide 2015 – Best STEM Toys for Kids

The New York Mom Holiday Gift Guide - Best STEM Toys for Kids

Toys that inspire the science mind are really great for kids on many levels. This year there is no shortage of really awesome toys that look like toys but function on a MUCH higher level than STEM themed toys of last year.

Lily helped me put this list together and even helped design the layout. She said, “Mom let’s tell people about the good toys not just the ones everyone talks about”.

So here ya go… the GOOD toys. These toys are sitting around our house and the kids love them. Thomas and Lily both get a lot out of each of these pieces. And Matt and I are usually tinkering around with them as well!

Best STEM Toys for 2015! 
  1. ROOMINATE TownHouse – Roominate is a building toy geared toward girls (because of the colors) but once you over look the gender specific colors there is a lot more to this toy. These kits come with basic circuitry motor units that allow kids to build fans, doors that open..etc. Additionally there is a whole crafting component to this. Stickers, cutouts and colored stock paper are all included so you can decorate the walls and floors of your fab townhouse. There are tons of kits in various sizes.
  2. LITTLE BITS – OMG you guys. If ever I could sing the praises of a toy… this would be it! Again, it’s simple circuitry for kids with colorful pieces that allow kids to make flashlights, cars that move, buzzers, basically anything that moves. This toy teaches the order of circuitry and setting up a pattern and knowing what circuit makes what this go and the order of placement. It’s pretty neat and if you have a tinkering kid at home, this is for them!
  3. MAKEY MAKEY – this is the toy that could… and should… and the best thing i have seen all year! Can bananas make music… yes they can! can a tree make music… yes! ANYTHING can make music and  Makey Makey is going to teach you how to do that! You can make game boards, banana piano… there is a Makey Makey board, cables, connector wires, alligator clips… OMG you guys… the inventions are waiting! This is a REALLY COOL toy!
  4. BEGINNER SCIENCE LAB – This is Lily’s favorite! we’ve already gone through 2 of these kits and she’s getting another for Christmas. This kit has all the basic mad science gear you need, Test Tubes, volcano kits, potions and a book that teaches you all of it. Give your kids a corner of the bathroom or basement and let them have at it!
  5. WONDER WORKSHOP – This is the new kid on the block this year. Definitely swing by their website to see what piece work for you. Basically you have DOT and DASH … two robots that help kids with coding… yes.. coding. again, they won’t be developing apps when they play with this but it’s the basic order of -what comes after what -for coding that is being reinforced. These little robots have tons of accessories that include a xylophone for music, a camera mount and lots and lots more. read all about it on their site! 
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Holiday Gift Guide 2015 – Best Building Toys for Kids

Building Sets for Kids

 

 Alright… toys for the holidays. It’s time folks. we need to buckle down and get this done. I love building toys, I love making things and so I’ve hand picked my most favorite and REALLY well built building toys for kids.
  1.  LEGO – i mean… it’s LEGO so it’s classic and we know it’s great BUT … did you know that LEGO has a whole CREATOR series that has the COOLEST builds. Not just for kids… for adults. You know how ADULT COLORING BOOKS is a thing… you go check out LEGO CREATOR and get back to me… ADULT BUILDING is going to be a thing for sure. Look at that camper!
  2. KNEX – Knex are for kids who love a challenge. The new MIGHTY MAKERS line is geared toward girls (which i’m not into) but they do have great building themes. It takes time to build these and it’s a whole investment. But for tweens and teens this is so fantastic because it’s a challenge!  So give them a corner of the house to just build and create their awesome structure.
  3. LINCOLN LOGS – These are simple building toys that have totally taken on a hipster vibe lately. Lincoln logs are classic wooden build toys shaped like logs. The themes are mostly ‘cabin in the woods’ based but we love it!
  4. TINKER TOYS – These are great free play building toys where there really aren’t any rules! Pieces bend, wheels attach to make cars, you can make swings for your dollies and so much more. all pieces are plastic and lightweight and easy to attach together with connectors.
  5. MECCANO – The newest kid on the building block. The MECCANO toys are so fun and for all ages. They have various sets for toddlers all the way to this robot set for tweens and even adults. This MECCANO Meccanoid Personal Robot stands about 4 feet tall and has various motors that enable it to move. Of course you have to build it all and attach the motors which makes this even more fun!
  6. PLAYMOBIL – We love Playmobil toys because of their attention to detail in the build. Lily has this fairy building set and absolutely loves it. Playmobil has various levels of build to fit all ages so find the one that’s right for you kiddo!

Have fun shopping! I always think a building toy is the perfect gift for all ages!

 

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The Peanuts Movie Review and a Special Visit With Blue Sky

Good Grief Charlie Brown! … you’ve done it again!

The Peanuts Movie came out over the weekend and in true Chuck Brown style… my review is a bit late!

We saw the special media screening last week but our screening had an added bonus. The kids and I were invited to a very special event with the Blue Sky animators of the film. Really cool right!

Lily was most impressed, Thomas just wanted to eat the clay. We had a session in claymation and learned how to make Snoopy. And Lily came home and tried to recreate what she had learned. Her little artsy mind was fed!

We also met one of the animators who created Snoopy for the film and he taught us how to draw The Flying Ace! Lily even had her drawing signed by him. Tyler Carter… thanks for hangin with us!!

Thomas basically ate his way through the entire event! This was such a treat for us to get access to the Blue Sky animators. I mean.. who gets to do that!

Like most of us who have these sweet memories of Charlie Brown and his whole gang of Peanuts, I was not expecting much from The Peanuts Movie. A 3D animation film with glossy images and shiny pictures in 2015 was going to ruin my nostalgic memories of this band o characters… the simple whimsy of their daily shenanigans, the complex underlying themes of life that they offered… in our cynical era of political correctness!

The Peanuts Movie was a win for me.

It’s like seeing old friends. and introducing them to your kids and your kids love them. Thomas and Lily both just loved it with laugh-out-loud belly laughs throughout the film!

The Peanuts Movie starts out with the kids at school taking a standardized test. Yes testing! But it unfolds into an everyday story about kids, school, crushes, honestly, teamwork and these great characters that we all know in our own lives. Kids are flying kites, riding bikes and still charging .05 cents for psychiatric advice.

Our Flying Ace, Snoopy is still battling the Red Baron, with the 3D animation… now the battles are real and full of action and adventure! Charlie Brown, our loveable loser, is trying to impress the new girl in school and tries a myriad of talents to get her attention. While he executes them all very impressively, it always seems to fall apart when in front of the girl. Nothing has changed with the gang and that is refreshing.

Fans of the original cartoon versions will miss some of the grit and squiggly lines of the original series. But I think this film does Charles Schultz proud for sure.

The Peanuts Movie is rated G and has a running time of 1hour and 32 minutes.

 

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First Candle Gala with Regal Lager

This blog allows me many opportunities that I would never have access to if not for this platform. And while some perks are extravagant and come in the form of press trips or meeting some interesting people, once in the while something truly meaningful comes my way that makes me stop and think about the bigger picture.

Last friday I attended the very formal, First Candle Gala in NYC. First Candle is an amazing non-Profit organization that helps families all over the world by ensuring safe pregnancies and infant life. I really want to tell you about the great work this organization is doing because it’s so very valuable.

First Candle is an organization that works hard to educate caretakers, parents, and day care workers about proper infant care to ensure that babies are given the best possible chance to reach their first birthday and birthdays beyond.

I attended as a guest of the baby gear company – Regal Lager. It was such an honor to be part of this very important and touching evening that raised funds to further spread this important message.

I spend my professional life as a writer, commentator and expert in the parenting and baby gear areas. Attending this  important gala was very special to me as a contributor to this topic in the online space.

Allison Jacobsen, the founder of Safety Mom, was the host for the evening and shared her touching story of how she lost her baby to SIDS in 1997. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is very real and Allison took her devastation from losing her child to be the preeminent voice of infant sleep safety.

The message of Safe-Sleep gives the public tips about making sure babies always sleep in their backs and that there are no soft, loose bedding or toys in the baby’s crib.

The gala was a buzz with media, parents, advocates, baby gear companies and supporters of First Candle.

Some of my pals from the parenting space – Elisabeth Bergoo from regal Lager, Brianne Manz from Stroller in The City,Jessica Hartshorn from Parents Magazine, Melisa Fluhr from Project Nursery, Serena Noor from Cool Mom Picks, Eric Messinger from New York Family, and a handful of NYC’s social influencers in the parenting space were all in attendance to support First Candle.

First Candle

At the end of our decadent dinner, a single cupcake with a candle was served to all the guests to symbolize baby’s first birthday. It was very touching and makes you really appreciate everything this organization and all the companies in the room were fighting for.

Please visit FIRSTCANDLE.ORG for more information.

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What Time Change?

The time changed on Sunday and we dutifully turned your clocks back one whole hour and slept in and thought we cheated mother earth with this whole “gain a full 60 minutes’ thing.

but no.

but not us parental units.

oh no.

not even close.

this is actually a really cruel joke you see.

Its the END of Daylight Savings Time and people refer to this as FALL BACK.

Fall Back from sleeping. right. because that’s what us parents are going through right now… 3 days later!

 

This is how the early morning conversation went down at our house… or rather in my bed at some ungodly hour in the morning.

MOTO: wake up mom, it’s a beautiful day.

ME: No Thomas, go back to sleep. it’s too early.

MOTO: ( channeling his inner Anna from Frozen) The sky is awake, so i am awake, so we have to go play.

ME: (innocent turn-back-the-clock being that I am) Thomas i told you get out of bed only when the SUN IS UP! (every parent says this right)

MOTO: mommy… the SUN IS UP!

Me: (slowly crank open one eye.. what is this.. the sun IS up… it’s kinda bright outside.)

did i oversleep, thoughts of inadequate parenting flood my mind and ego. i am good enough, i am pretty enough, my children like me. how did i sleep in, what happened to my alarm, my dependency on apple products has finally failed me. noooooo. my world is crumbling…

I roll over to look at my apple product smart phone clock… and it is 5:23AM!!! THE SUN IS UP!

So you can take your ‘turn back the clock’ movement and stick THAT where the sun don’t shine!

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Fairies and Skeletons and Candy Oh My!

 It’s witching day everyday over here… but we tried to dress up for it just once!  

Did you feel like Halloween was a MUCH bigger production this year than in years past? I seems like everyone around us was going all out and we just had our sad and lonely skeleton waving at anyone who passes by.

This year Thomas chose to be the fairy “periwinkle’ from the Tinkerbell films. Periwinkle is Tinkerbell’s newly found sister. Apparently two kids sneezed and laughed at the same time and two fairies were born from the aftermath!

Lily was a Skeleton Flapper. At first we found this cute flapper dress and she loved the fringe and all of it. As a dancer, to me a flapper has all the connotations of Fosse dance, the jazz era, character shoes and those technical things. To the rest of the world a “flapper’ was a ‘party girl’ at the clubs in the 20’s. So we couldn’t have our 10YO daughter wandering about as a party girl… so we killed her and added some Dia Del Los Muertos style face paint and done! Dead Skleton flapper.

Thomas was the only fairy we saw at Halloween. boy or girl…which is bizarre because I was a fairy for years!

The town we just moved to does Halloween like none other. It’s a whole ordeal over here with bands and productions and scary movies being shown on people lawns and there was even a Golden Wonka Bar being handed out.

We were tempted to go to the other side of town by the horse farms and trick or treat with our neighbor… Martha Stewart… but this being our first year in town and since we will be besties for sure… i didn’t want to seem too eager ya know!

Hope you had a good witching season. It’s witching season everyday around these parts!

 

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