Best Gifts for Tween and Teen Boys

Best Gifts for Tween and Teen Boys

After sharing my Tween Gift Guide for Girls, I received a lot of feedback from my readers about a gift guide for boys. So I consulted with the experts, my friends and readers, came up with this list of Best Gifts for Tween and Teen Boys. These toys can cross over for girls too because we have a good selection of these at home for my tween daughter and me! So dig in!

// This post has Amazon Affiliate Links //

It’s a great list with a mix of techy fun, outdoor play and more. We have a few of these products and others have been tested by my colleagues and friends. So all products are reviewed, played with and legit recommended. Have fun shopping! I also have a Tween/Teen gift list on Amazon that has a lot more ideas. So hop over to the Gift Guide for Tweens and Teens! 

Go Pro. I have a Go Pro and Love it. I literally throw it in my pocket when we travel for capturing video and images on the go! You can download an app to your smart phone and import images immediately to your phone for social sharing. The accessories for the Go Pro are also pretty amazing and kids will love creating new grids and ways to rig their go pros!

Under Armour is THE brand for the tween and teen set and these joggers are a classic must-have. Parents will score serious cool points if these pants show up under the tree this season. Additional colors are available but I love classic black!

Lily, my 12YO, has this Razor Hoverboard and it’s SUCH a hit in the neighborhood. So here is the deal about Hoverboards. You have to pay money for the real ones. The cheaper Hoverboards, the can potentially blow up, are made with a cheaper battery. The Razor is the highest quality and made with a strong lithium battery that costs money. So pay or it, get a great product and have fun! This hoverboard is not just for kids… adults can rock it out too. soooo fun!

Anki Overdrive Starter Kit is a MUST this season. This is a super high-quality race track with built-in techy goodness that will not let the car fly off the track. You are going to love this set and again… another one for parents and child to enjoy together.

A Bumper Bubble Ball... YOU NEED THIS! This is a great outdoor toy that brings the sense of silly play to “too cool for everything tweens and teens”. These balls come in various sizes and can fit adults as well. Family Game Night just got uber awesome!

Longboards are a must for outdoor play. We are a skating family and even the newly 5-year-old knows how to skate. There are tons of options for skateboards with various price points. You don’t have to spend a lot on a beginner board. We love the graphics on this longboard and the smooth wheels make for easy learning.

LEGO Technic. Have you discovered LEGO Technic yet? You are missing out. These huge sets are a great challenge for older kids with moving parts. It’s building and circuitry in on awesome LEGO toy.

Crazy Socks. A simple fun dose of whimsy, crazy socks are all the rage with the tween/teen set! You can find tons of variations of these socks online and in stores everywhere A great stocking stuffer.

XBOX One. The hottest gaming accessory this season! If this finds it’s way under the tree… you win!

Laser X Laser Tag Game. Take your Laser Tag game anywhere! This two-person Laser Tag game has realistic sounds and a receiver vest that you can blast up to 150 feet away. This can be for outdoor or indoor use and your kids are going to looove it.

Nintendo Switch. Another great gaming system that was rolled out earlier this year. We love the switch and it allows you to play on the game console included or unattach the controls to play on your home console. You get all the power of Nintendo for a take-along experience!

Sky Viper Drones. This is one of my favorite drone brands. The Sky Vipers are durable, lightweight and come at various price points with lots of extras you can opt for. You can get them for under $100 and up depending on what fancy drones needs you have. That’s‘ it kids! My big Gift Guide for tween and teen boys… have fun! 

 

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Big Apple Circus is Back

The bright big top was up, the excitement was thick in the air and we took our seats in the roundabout circus circle.New York’s Big Apple Circus is Back! Popcorn and cotton candy in hand, we were excited for what was in store. As the big band introduced the show and the ringleader came out never did I think we would be in for such a treat! GRANDMA is baaaack!

New York’s favorite circus, Big Apple Circus, is back and so is the iconic – Grandma The Clown! Actor Barry Lubin is the person behind Grandma and this is the 26th year for the character. Grandma is a staple in New York City show culture and I was happy to see the same character and same actor back to play this iconic role.

The Big Apple Circus filed for bankruptcy a few years ago and is now back and better than ever. Lily had seen the Big Apple Circus years ago and remembered the familiar big top. Thomas was experiencing this for the first time and was completely smitten. The big headliners are Grandma the Clown and the Wallenda Family of acrobats. In addition are the Anastasini Brothers who do flips on each other’s feet. Roller Skating with Dandino.

Lily’s favorite – Elayne Kramer the contortionist, The Flying Tunizians on the trapeze and Jenny Vidbel with her ponies, dogs, and horses.

For those of us who don’t go to the circus because of the animals and treatment of the large exotics, not to worry. The Big Apple Circus only has dogs, ponies and horses and all of these animals are rescued. Trainer Jenny Vidbel has a farm in upstate New York where these sweet animals roam in the fresh air. We loved this part of the circus. Thomas got such a kick out of seeing the little dogs riding on the mini ponies.

There were many breathtaking moments throughout the show. The Famous Wallenda Seven-Person Pyramid was heart stopping. Seven people on balance beams in a pyramid formation ON a tightrope! We were sitting right below them and it was nothing short of old-school circus magic!

Another moment that took our breath away was the trapeze act when one of the performers attempted to do a quadruple flip… one that has rarely been attempted. He didn’t make it which was just as exciting as the anticipation.

The Big Apple Circus is a MUST this holiday season. It’s the perfect circus for all ages, the small space in the round doesn’t have a single bad seat and the pace of the show is perfect for young ages.

The Big Apple Circus is at Damrosch Park in Lincoln Center. The show is up through January 7, 2018. Visit BIG APPLE CIRCUS for all the details.

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Best Gifts for Tweens

Best Gifts for Tweens

Tweens are one of the toughest age groups to shop for. But not to worry, I have my own resident tween who is not afraid to tell us what she wants. And this year, I think we have hit the jackpot with these gifts. I secretly want these for myself! Don’t tell her because then it won’t be cool. Lily helped me with this list and she hand-picked all of these gifts. I think these are definitely the Best Gifts for Tweens this year.

// this post contains Amazon affiliate links //

Best Holiday Gifts for Tweens
 

 Unicorn Onesie What tween does not like this right now? This unicorn obsession has gone from stationary to clothing and there is no shortage of super cute Unicorn Onesies for kids. ( and adults – I may or may not have bought myself a pair)

Tassles on your iPhone! This too is a super cute trend that I am secretly – not so secretly– coveting. You can find tons of variations on this fun accessory with variations on colors and hanging goodies.

Cat Ear Headphone I mean! Who doesn’t need gold cat headphones! Suuuper fun accessory for the tween who is always listening to the hottest tunes.

iPhone PopSocket Another great accessory for your phone. The Pop Socket allows you to hold onto the phone without the chance of dropping and is pretty great for getting that ‘just right’ selfie angle.

Bath Bomb Gift Sets We love bath bombs around this house. Lily has been making them and it’s such a little luxury in the bath. Total MUST and again… I’m getting some for me too.

Nailmatic  Nail Polish & Rollette Lip Gloss SetI love Nailmatic products. This French brand has custom colors and is water-based. The kids nail polish can easily be washed off with soap and water but if you want something that stays on longer, Nailmatic makes an adult line of polishes that stay on longer.

Maybelline Baby Lips Moisturizing Lip Balm
Remember a couple years ago when Baby Lips launched and it was sold out everywhere! While the craze is not THAT crazy, it is still a pretty popular option for a lip balm with the tween set. Maybe it’s the kitschy packaging or the soft scents or that it actually works, either way, it’s wallet-friendly and a cute something to add to stockings this year.

Fuji Instax Mini Camera
This is a classic gift for tweens and teens. The Fuji Instax takes photos and has a built-in selfie mirror. I recommend the bundle that is offered that includes a case, extra film with filters and more.

Minnetonka Junior Trapper Faux Fur Lined Moccasin
Super comfortable and can be worn indoors and out, The Minnetonka Moccasins are a great gift for the cold weather. These mocs come in various colors allowing you to choose from the classic browns or new pastels.The faux fur lined mocs are super cozy for the toes!

Google Home Mini – Chalk : Target
The Google Home Mini is a great gift for kids. There is SOOO much you can do with this gadget and it’s a great price point. Kids can have these in their rooms and parents can control the privacy setting of what they listen to or ask google.

 

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Hottest Toys for Holiday 2017

IT’S HERE! THE NEW YORK MOM’S HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE 2017 – TOYS! Hottest Toys for Holiday 2017

I have compiled my favorite toys that the kids have been playing with for months… some since February and they still have life in them. These are our hand-picked toys that we absolutely love. The quality is great, the educational and fun factor is high and the prices are for every budget. So sit back, and start tackling that Holiday List. I’m updating this list daily so please check back often for more additions. I have included my Amazon Affiliate Link so you can easily access the Black Friday Deals on Amazon!

If you are like me, you have yet to start your holiday shopping. Not to worry the big Black Friday shop is a couple days away and I’m sure your kids are busy circling their favorite must-haves from all the store catalogs.

As you know I have been working as toy and baby gear expert for the past 5 years and know my fair share about this market. I know which toys are worth the money and which ones are duds and marketing gimmicks!  So this year, I’ve made it super simple for you by making a full list of must-have toys. Each and every one of these toys have been tested by me and the kids… and yes, most of these are in the house and some we have had since February! So after much testing and reviewing and playing with these toys I’m sharing my favorite toys for all ages for Holiday 2017!

There are building blocks and STEM toys, dolls and Hotwheels, Crafty things and even stuff for tweens and teens. I’ll be adding to the list as I go so be sure to swing back to check for updates.

My curated Tween/Teen Guide is coming up because as any parent of this age group will tell you… it’s a different beast of toys and tech gadgets!

Shop the list —> Hottest Toys for Holiday 2017!

Happy Shopping all!

 

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LEGO Ninjago City Adventure in Westchester – Review

LEGOLAND Ninjago

Calling all NINJAS! The much anticipated LEGO Ninjago movie is finally out in theatres and I have one very excited ninja ready to go! To celebrate the film, we headed to LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester to experience their new attraction and get a sneak peek of the new LEGO Ninjago City Adventure in Westchester!

LEGOLAND Ninjago

LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester has an amazing new attraction – LEGO® Ninjago City Adventure. We headed over on Saturday to check out all the excitement and it did not disappoint. Legoland Westchester is exciting, to begin with, but now with a Ninjago theme, my little Green Ninja was over the moon.

LEGOLAND NinjagoThe new attraction has lots of cool exhibits that we loved. We loved the LEGO 4D film, decoding the secret language of Ninjago with Ninjago characters and even meeting Kai, The Red Ninja of Fire.

LEGOLAND Ninjago

But our favorite was The LEGO® Ninjago City Adventure which is a two story 2300 square foot play area modeled after the Temple of Airjitzu that the kids absolutely loved. In true Ninja training style, the kids loved finding their way through the maze and working on their ninja abilities.

LEGOLAND Ninjago

LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester is definitely a not-to-be-missed destination. LEGOLAND is at Ridge Hill shopping center which has a ton of amazing stores and restaurants. The kids love being at LEGOLAND and Matt and I take turns shopping through – Lord and Taylor, H&M, REI, TJ MAXX, Sur La Table, Uniqlo and the super swank new Brooks Brothers Flatiron store!

LEGOLAND Ninjago

LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester is in Yonkers, NY and open daily. But be sure to get your tickets in advance if you can because it does get pretty busy. Swing by LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester for all the details.

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Best Places for Apple Picking Near New York City

It’s Fall Y’all! Fall is quite possibly THE most beautiful season in the Northeast. Sure we love our summers but the fall with the leaves, and the chill in the air and the apple cider and the cinnamon donuts and the craft fairs and … the silence you have in the home when the kids are back in school! You can see how this is easily my favorite season. To kick off the season, I’m excited to share the Best Places for Apple Picking Near New York City.

Every year we go apple picking several times a season. Living in Northern Westchester, there is no shortage of apple picking orchards all around us. Thomas and I love to go on the weekdays when it’s quite and take our time through the trees, picking the best apples. We make apple pies, apple crumbles, apple juice and simply eat everything we pick pretty fast.

Best Apple Picking In New York

There are lots of lists about the best places to go  so I’m narrowing down mine to a few faves. I have lots of tips and tricks to make your apple picking experience instagram worthy and a memorable fall activity.

Tips:

  1. Plan ahead. Traffic can get pretty intense. Come early in the morning or late in the afternoon for ideal crowd control that 10am time slot is the most coveted which makes the traffic and the orchard insane.
  2. Bring CASH money! Most farms have tons for the kids to do. Hay rides, corn maze, pumpkin toss and of course provisions for the adults – beer, hard cider, and wine is usually served too. There are farm stands with pies, local honey and donuts. So come prepared with some cash!
  3. If you can swing it, go on a weekday. The weekends at most farms within an hour driving distance from NYC can get crazy with lines for everything from hayrides, beer, cider, donuts and even the orchards are overcrowded. Many times the farms will run out of food and booze after you have spent 30 mins in line.
  4. Wear comfy shoes…I know you are all about that instagram feed… but heels in an orchard are just silly. Get your Hunter boots on, some skinny jeans, a cute plaid top, fall hat and done! Comfy and cute.
  5. Call the farm before you to go to see what the apple situation is. Last season there was a shortage and by mid October there was nothing left.
  6. If you know your apples, call the farm to see which varieties are growing right now. To me, an apple is an apple so as long as they are on a tree and tasty, we are good.
  7. Most of these farms have ‘harvest festivals’. Call or swing by their websites to get the info. Most, if not all of these, are run by local families so calling is always better than website info.

Best Apple Picking In New York

Our Favorite Apple Picking Farms:

Westchester County – This is the county that sits directly above Manhattan… it’s the “other” borough. There are a few farms down county but I live in Northern Westchester and these are about a quick 10 minute drive for us.

FISHKILL FARMSFishkill Farm Road, Hopewell JCT, NY 12533 (845) 897-4377

This is our absolute favorite farm!!  We gather up some friends and head up multiple times a year for all the berry picking, apple picking and even just walks around the farm. There are animals, a farm stand and much more.

OUTHOUSE ORCHARDS 139 Hardscrabble Road, Croton Falls (914) 277-3188

This farm is about an hour north of NYC and gets really really REALLLLLY busy on the weekends. They have a ton of activities for all ages with long lines for everything. It’s very popular with “city folk” because of the proximity. On weekdays it’s a great. no crowds but also no activities.

HARVEST MOON FARM AND ORCHARD 130 Hardscrabble Road, North Salem (914) 485-1210 

Harvest Moon is down the road from Outhouse. Same vibe. Super busy with gorgeous rolling hills and amazing views of the orchards. Check their website for evening live music and firepits.

WILKENS FRUIT AND FIR FARM1335 White Hill Road, Yorktown Heights (914) 245-5111 

This is a smaller farm but also popular with the NYC crowd. There is always lots to do with a farm stand for lots of yummy fall treats.

Apple Picking in N

Take a Drive! 

While the places I mentioned earlier in this post are about an hour’s drive north of Manhattan. I HIGHLY recommend going even further up past Westchester County. This gives you a serious dose of the gorgeous scenery that the Hudson Valley holds and the crowds are not nearly as nutty as the farms closer to the city. These two are our faves and if you go on a Saturday, often times there are local craft fairs and antique markets.

KELDER’S FARM5755 Rt 209 Kerhonkson, NY 12446 (845) 626-7137

There is a giant gnome that’s kinda silly fun and there is SOOO much to do for the kids. Goats, ducks, candied apples… and more.

BARTON ORCHARDS63 Apple Tree Ln Poughquag, NY 12570

Another favorite. Gorgeous drive, lots to do and when the leaves are turning it is spectacular. Check their schedule for the Hot Air Balloon fest!

Our family loves to go toward HUDSON, NY and explore some of the smaller farms there. Take a drive up to Red Hook and Rhinebeck and stop at any of the farms along the way.

Happy Fall Y’all!!

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Lucky and Me – Giveaway

Lucky and Me GiveawayI am pretty particular about the fabrics the kids wear. These fabrics are touching their skin, their stinky-sweaty bodies and I just worry about how this is effecting their pores, skin, and overall health. We switched to all cotton long time ago, when Lily was around 5 years old and with Thomas we continue to use mostly cotton clothing. This is especially important when it comes to bedtime wear  and underwear.

Lucky and Me - Giveaway

I’m working with Lucky and Me to give away a fab $75 shopping spree to one lucky reader. We recently discovered Lucky and Me and absolutely love it. All products are made from a super soft organic cotton or cotton blend. We have the cotton tees, briefs and boxers and really love the quality. They only get softer when washed! Lucky and Me has both girls and boys underwear in all styles and colors.

Are you ready for a shopping spree?? Let’s do it.

To enter to win – You must follow the rafflecopter link to enter. Contest ends at 12AM on Saturday 9/16.

Leave only ONE comment on this blog post AND swing by my FB page – New York Mom. 

Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own. We really do love cotton underwear!! and looove this new brand we discovered. Thanks for stopping by and hearing about the brands who sponsor The New York Mom. 

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New York Mom Eats: O Mandarin in Westchester

If I could roam the world and eat all day… I would! Maybe one day when these dragons are grown and fly the nest, I’ll travel and eat and eat and travel! You with me!

Best part about living in New York… there are many best parts… but one of the best parts is the food. Oh. My. Goodness. –  there is no shortage of amazing food to be found in ever single price range.

Moving up here to Westchester – Suburbs of NYC – has not slowed us down in our foodie adventures. Some of the best restaurants are housed up here. Jean Georges, Blue Hill Stone Barnes, so many!

Recently Matt and I dined at O Mandarin in Hartsdale. This is a new Chinese, Sichuan restaurant inspired by, mentored by, somewhat related to the famed cult-following, elusive chef Peter Chang. If you don’t know Peter Chang, please take a second to read about him. He has a following like none other and in his early days, he had to change his name just to keep hidden from fans for certain reasons. Long story… look it up!

We are BIG BIG fans and love that there is something remotely affiliated with him up here in the burbs!

The chef at O Mandarin is Eric Gao, who is a protégé of Peter Chang. This wasn’t a media invite so I am only writing from my pure “fan girl’ point of view.

Any place with soup dumplings is just calling my name! Matt and I met for a quick lunch date and cozied up in a dimly lit booth for our meal. We loved the food we had but didn’t experiment much. I can’t wait to go back for the Peking duck meal and the whole fish meal.  We had the Yu Xiang Pork  – Bamboo | Celery | Bell Pepper | Mushroom and the Shredded Pork in Sweet Bean Sauce –  Cucumber | Scallion | Steamed Buns.  The food was fresh, and very very authentic. Each dish had its own flavor profile that we just indulged in.

I can’t wait to head back for a full meal!

I forgot to tell you about the best part . O Mandarin is located at – 361 N. Central Avenue, Hartsdale –  in the same shopping plaza as my other fave – H-MART!! all the goods in one place.

I would love to know if you go… report back!

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New York Mom EATS: Barnes and Noble Concept Store

Last week our friends at Barnes and Noble invited me over to check out their new concept store right here in Westchester County. There are only a handful of these stores in the country and only one in New York.


What a treat! This Barnes and Noble store offers a full sit down restaurant, and a bar that serves local wine and beer. Of course their coffee game is right on point!

We met the chef who took us through a play by play of each course complete with his favorite tips for the food. His secret to that amazing hummus… more tahini.


The space is gorgeous with a massive outdoor patio complete with fire pit and bocce ball courts. I love being able to park myself in the comfy cafe and get some work done! The new concept store is bringing a sense of community back to the bookstore. I love bookstores, large and small. This concept store is targeting all ages and demos, families, singles, seniors, students, networking events… all of it. Hope to see you there sometime!

Barnes And Noble WESTCHESTER  is  located at 680 Post Road, Eastchester, NY.

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Pool Essentials with Speedo

This post was sponsored by Speedo USA. I received Speedo products as compensation.

It’s that time of the year, bird are chirping, tulips are popping out of the frozen ground , snow is melting, weather is warming and I have the think about swimsuit season!

For most of us, shopping for a swimsuit is not fun. Over the summer, I spend almost every single day at out town pool with our neighbors. While this might sound like an ideal situation – lounging at the pool for endless hours, reading a book, sipping on a cold drink, chatting with neighbors. It’s not all you are imagining. My pool experience with a preschooler consists of getting in and out of the pool several times, being cold and wet and while in the pool being tugged on in all directions, bathroom runs, swims in the deep pool with Thomas grabbing onto me and the best part having to chase him all around the pool with nothing on but a swimsuit suit! Not a good look!

This season, I’ve teamed up with Speedo USA to share some pretty amazing swimsuit finds that I know will be mom approved. For a summer town pool suit, I’m looking for comfort, great quality, support in the mid section and of course style. Most of all I want a quality suit that will keep up with our busy summer that includes, water skiing, paddle board, surfing and daily trips to the town pool.

Speedo has lots of options for swimsuits but I choose a couple one pieces that are comfortable and quick to throw on. The Ombre suit is my fave and is made from a Xtra Life LYCRA® fabric that resists the effects of chlorine to last longer than conventional swim fabrics. I also like that it had built in cups for shape. The Pebble Texture One Piece has extra support in the mid section a v-neck and a conservative fit. Something busy moms of toddlers and preschoolers will appreciate for sure.

When the town pool opens, we collect all our pool gear – towels, sunscreen, toys – and head up to the pool for hours. We end up meeting friends and sometimes even order pizza for dinner at the pool. A comfortable swimsuit is essential for these days and a cover-up is a must!

I encourage you to swing by Speedo USA to check out their suits. I found some great two pieces and cover-ups to last me my entire summer! Shopping for a swimsuit doesn’t have to be scary, you just have to find the right brand.

Happy Summer all!

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