Matt’s Favorite Picks for Amazon Prime Day!

Amazon Prime Day is here, and it’s like Cyber Monday without the pressure to buy gifts for others.  All to say: great deals to buy the stuff you want for yourself.  Matt picked all of these and they are all on his wish list!

This post contains affiliate links.

Here are our picks… and we are keeping it low tech:

MiiR Stainless Steel Insulated Growler Bottle

A great growler is a gift that keeps on giving.  Sharing is optional, but with growler filling stations popping up everywhere from breweries to convenience stores, having a growler at the ready is an invitation to enjoy great brew whenever and wherever.  With Prime Day, this tipsy tipper will only set you back about $20.

By the way, keep it cool with this insulated cover:

Timex Quartz Brass Brown & Blue Weekender Watch

 

An Apple Watch is great, but there are times when analog is the way to go.  This simple, classic Timex watch is reasonably water-resistant and easy to wear.  Appropriately called the “Weekender,” this is a great way to unplug, if even for a moment.  Replacement straps are cheap, easy ways to change it up.  $42 on Prime Day.

Jack Spade Industrial Messenger

Jack Spade is truly my bag, and if I had to pick one, this industrial messenger ($108 for Prime Day) is the perfect combo of industrial and tailored, professional and casual.  Honestly, there are dozens of great choices with tremendous deals for Prime Day.

PizzaQue Deluxe Kettle Grill Pizza Kit

Did I tell you about the year I spent working next door to one of New Haven’s great pizza places? Perfectly charred crust from a brick oven filled the air.  While I cannot pretend that I will reach the standards of Sally’s, but with the PizzaQue, I’m going to try! $54 on Prime Day.

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Ok… there’s some pretty amazing high-tech deals, too.  Here are my top five:

Electric, foldable bike (because it’s uphill both ways!)

WiFi Video Doorbell: Who’s that at the door? and lock/unlock it remotely: with this!

Add a revolving art gallery to your living room wall:

A robot that draws pancakes… the future is here and it’s delicious!

Time to hit the road… take your tune with you with the best portable speaker

———– and there ya have it! Matt’s List for Prime Day!

There are also some amazing deals to be had for baby products... like boring stuff… diapers and wipes! But you can also find some pretty awesome toys and baby gear!

Swing by AMAZON for deals rolling out all day today!

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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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Skylanders Superchargers Exclusive with Momtrends

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Calling all Skylanders fan. There is a new line that’s coming out in September – Skylander Superchargers.

Skylanders-SuperChargers_Storm-Blade-1The fab gals from Momtrends held a swank lunch last week to announce the big launch of Skylander Superchargers. Complete with a crafty DIY project, yummy grub and great chatter,  this lunch was a ton of fun while getting a first hand sneak peek of the new world of Skylanders Superchargers. I have to admit I don’t now much about Skylanders, but Lily and Matt love playing the game. The Superchargers have lots of new features and interactive updates that are sure to get the two of them… and fans of Skylanders excited.

Skylanders is introducing new game pieces – Vehicles!  Air and Water vehicles to take your game play from sea to air and everywhere in between.

Skylanders is also introducing gameplay similar to car racing – this is new for the brand. Another impressive feature is the multiple tracks of game play that are layered on top of one another throughout the game. There are over 300 toys and every single one is playable. 20 new characters are being introduced and only these new characters can be supercharged. Also… Skylanders can be played on an iPad! Did you know that!

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There are really cool graphic details in the game itself allowing kids to have high-octane action adventure in the video game. The gameplay experience is rich and story driven and includes adventures on foot and in vehicles, combat, puzzles, games and activities all in a visually stunning screen environment.

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Players can pair a SuperCharger Skylander with its signature vehicle to create a SuperCharged combination, unlocking an exclusive mod that revs up the performance of both the vehicle and character. Not only are the vehicles playable in the game, but also many feature moving parts, making them fun to play with outside of the game. Additionally, Skylanders SuperChargers supports all 300+ Skylanders toys from previous games, enabling all Skylanders characters to pilot land, sea or sky-based vehicles.

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Skylanders comes out Sept 20 right in time for the Holiday Gifting Season. So stay tuned for more updates!

* This post was sponsored by MomTrends and Skylanders. All opinions are my own. *

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DIY Engineering kits with GE and Brit + Co

 

GE has a really funky tech store called  The Maker Shop that is up online through the end of May to celebrate women in STEM! The store includes all sorts of cool items like 3D printed roses and laser cut necklaces.

I was sent the cool DIY Shibori Tote from Brit+Co and a littleBits starter kit . This kit has everything I needed to make one orignal painted tote bag with LittleBits engineering bits to light the interior of the bag. Super cool.

Swing by the THE MAKER SHOP for all the deets. and go gift a friend or two or YOU… with a little techy STEM goodness!

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Summer Learning Adventure with Brain Chase

*This is a sponsored post with BrainChase and The Motherhood. All opinions are my own, thanks for swinging by and learning about my sponsors*

Even though we are outside building snowmen this morning, Summer… yes warmer weather… is right around the corner. We are on the go all summer which makes any sort of consistent tutor learning situation challenging for our family.

This is where Brain Chase comes in. Brain Chase is an online learning adventure where kids are encouraged to work on a challenge, unlock the code and move to the next.For six weeks, students complete online reading, writing, and math challenges to unlock exclusive animations containing clues to the location of a real buried treasure. Students get one guess every day, and the first one to guess correctly gets to hop on a plane and dig it up themselves.

Our challenge is Math. Lily has been having a tough time with her Math classes and taking an extended break over the summer makes me nervous about how she’s going to get back into it when school starts back up again.

Brain Chase‘s six-week summer learning program grades 2-8 has a very cool secret adventure theme. Basically this is a great big global challenge powered by STEM. Brain Chase partners with MyON Digital Library and Khan Academy to get kids and parents excited about this actual scavenger hunt. If you do guess the location of the prize, Brain Chase will fly your entire family, out to the location, to actually dig it up and reveal a $10,000 college scholarship.

Brain Chase works with each childs academic level and credentialed tutors/teachers send feedback to help you along the way. When you sign up for Brain Chase a pretty cool package will arrive with decoder rings, compass and all sorts of goodies to get you started on your  learning treasure hunt.

Lily is THRILLED about this. I cannot tell you how exciting it is to see your child over the moon about… MATH!

Swing by BRAIN CHASE to learn more and sign up.

The 2015 summer adventure starts at 9am Eastern on Monday, June 22, 2015. Log in to watch the first animated webisode and meet Mae Merriweather as she and her team of adventurers search for the Sunstone of Cortés. Also, check the mail for a mysterious object that you’ll need during the 5-week adventure.

You, Dear Reader, get a special 15% off Brain Chase sign-up using this special code just for my readers… you! –> NYMOM15

 

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Kidzvuz Holiday Party 2014

 

KidzVuz_Holiday
photo credit : Josh Strauss Studios.

KidzVuz Holiday

The New York Mom
photo credit : Josh Strauss Studios.

My fab friends Nancy and Rebecca have created the coolest network for kids ages 7-14. KidzVuz is the only online network for kids which includes video sharing, reviews and events geared directly toward this demographic. Lily and I are fans of Kidzvuz and this year we were invited to their annual Holiday Party… which did not disappoint.

The event space was full of gifting ideas for kids. Everything from tech, gaming, crafts and STEM… and candy.. lots of candy!

One of our favorite spots was the HP booth. HP has notebook which start at $229. These are great for tweens who do need access to the internet for their work, or maybe a budding blogger ( ahem – lilypie) or just a great laptop/notebook for homework.

HP Notebooks

IMG_3714.JPGHP also has a new snazzy printer – the HP Officejet 8040 with NEAT – which features NEAT technology and allows you to organize your life. The printer are all iCloud compatible which is also a bonus. You can scan, print, copy and fax with this all in one laser printer. With the NEAT organization system,  every document becomes key word searchable so you can find info fast, turn receipts into expense reports in seconds and export data to Excel®, Quicken, and TurboTax. Pretty easy! 

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Techy printer news aside, there were a nice diverse collection of brands which were great for the tween set!

Lily took to the science kits immediately! She was digging up owl pellets to find bones and fragments from what the owl has eaten! Yumm!

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Some of our faves:

@RabbidsOfficial had the gaming corb=ner packed with the uber cool new Ubisoft game. 
@SchoolSpecialty – had the best selection of speciality toys. I was eyeing a few toys for the kiddies! 
@Keurig had the ever important coffee station! 
@NYIScream is always one of our faves. Lily has a few of their pillows and loves them! 
@ScaryMommy – Jill has a really amazing Thanksgiving Project which feeds hundreds of families every Thanksgiving season. This year @StopandShop donated to the Scary Mommy Thanksgiving Project. Jill is a pretty fab gal who juggles alot but her mission to do good is lound and clear… and she’s doing a lot of good! visit the Scary Mommy Thanksgiving Project to get involved. 

If you have a kiddie between the age of 7 – 14 … get thee to Kidvuz.com This is a great SAFE site for kids to build a community!

* This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own. I was compensated by HP to stop by and check out their new goods. * 

 

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The New York Mom Holiday Gift Guides 2014 ~ coming soon

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Tis the season for gift giving and I am super excited to announce the FIRST ever official real- deal Holiday Gift Guide from The New York Mom.

How exciting you guys!

I have tons of tips and suggestions and ideas and all sorts of fun goodies coming up for the next few weeks. Gifts for kids, for moms, for dads, techy gifts, foodie gifts, gifts for young, gifts for old… i got you covered!

Soooo keep it where ya got it!

Happy gifting y’all!!

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10 BlogHer tips for Brands and Bloggers

So in case you have been living under a rock … the mother of all momblogging conferences is going on right now.. this weekend. BlogHer!

This, my friends, is where the Who’s Who of the blogger community gather.  They host events, speak on panels, and party! Brands large and small flock to this conference to engage with bloggers.

While I am not attending this year, my dear friend Candice – of Mom Most Traveled – and I have decided to impart some honest to goodness bona-fide wisdom for those of you attending. You’ve heard a ton of advice so we’ve broken ours down to 5 essential tips…5 for bloggers, and 5 for brands. Maybe you won’t get these tips on other carefully written lists, but we want to give you the real truth about attending blogging conferences.

FOR BLOGGERS:

  1. Be gracious. Be conscious about NOT making other bloggers feel “less than”. The blogging world is full of introverts (we do, after all, do our best work when we are alone in our pajamas), and lots of people are out of their comfort zone. You can be a light, or you can be a sledge-hammer.
  2. This is business, not a sorority party, so slow down on the drinkies. It’s tacky, it’s embarrassing and you are perpetuating the ‘drunk blogger’ stereotype.
  3. DO branch out from “your tribe”. After all, that is kind of the point of BlogHer. Mix and mingle and play nicely in the sandbox.
  4. We realize that this might be the first time in months that you have been invited to a party for adults…but make sure you dress on the “professional” side of fancy. Brand parties are an excellent place to network, so now might not be the best time to bust out those plexiglass stilettos, or show off your fab cocktail dress at 10 in the morning. Ain’t nobody got time for stilettos.
  5. be YOU. be the nicest most bestest beautiful version of YOU because you are the best YOU. No one else is YOU and only YOU have that special something that the world is waiting for. YOU! brands want YOU… authentic, genuine YOU. so be original, be yourself and don’t hide your true beautiful self under a bushel.

FOR BRANDS:

  1. You are attending Blogher for a reason… to connect with bloggers. So do that.  Look up from your texting and your business emails. Set it to OOO auto responder and be present! 
  2. First I’d like you to note – Not every blogger is looking for swag, We are looking for contacts and a business relationship. That said —> Think about the quality of ‘swag’ you are handing out. You are at Blogher… the mecca of swag. Some brands go all out with swag so your brand key chain is not going to cut it. I once received a simple $5 gift card to Starbucks with the brand logo on it. that was the best swag!  Be creative and make a real personal connection. That is the most effective type of swag.
  3. Follow up via email the Tuesday after BlogHer! If you have a promising stack of business cards, don’t let them go to waste! Snooze? Lose.
  4. Be ready to do some bona-fide Speed Dating with bloggers! Connect with Bloggers on a personal level. Ask them about their kids, ask them about their blog, their interests…find out everything you can, so you can court them later with great campaigns!
  5. The MOST IMPORTANT thing brands can do to track their action during blogher is #ashtag!! Seize the moment brands! Have a hashtag, create a silly photo booth which will give bloggers a chance to relax + have fun = trending hashtag, you can also give away a ridic prize based on hashtag photo booth submissions.

And a bonus for the brands … free massages and John Stamos cover a multitude of sins. #justsayin

 

Have fun at BlogHer everyone!

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5 Travel Must Haves when traveling with kids

We just got back from our annual road trip down to Florida and back. Our family loves to travel whether it’s by train, plane, car or boat! We have the adventure bug and fortunately we travel quite often. Our loooooong road trip down to florida is about 20 hrs which we break up into 3 days. With stops in DC, Atlanta and the Carolinas. This year was our first roadtrip with 2 kids. and let me tell you it’s was VEEEERRRYYY different from traveling with one kid.

While we had lots of gear and toys for the kids, these 5 stood out from the crowd and maybe every roadtrippin parent should add these to their collection of travel gear.

Top 5 Travel Must Haves when traveling with kids: 

The Bubble Bum is our go to travel must. Lily has had this for a year and loves it. It’s very comfortable and can be deflated when traveling on an airplane. Lily usually just attaches it to her carry-on bag… it’s cooler that way.

Travel Must Haves
Inflatable booster seat – Bubble Bum

The Kazoo MyPhone headphones are super cute and come it at a cool $20. They have built-in volume control so no fear of having your kids blast their eardrums.

KaZoo MyPhone Headphones for kids

We cannot leave home without our Reisenthal Carrybag. These wide  mouth bags are perfect for anywhere. We put this in between the kids with all of their essentials easy to reach. Since the opening is so wide kids can see everything inside and pick what they need without emptying out the whole basket.

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reisenthel carrybag

We love pretty much everything EEBOO makes because of their whimsical designs , fun colors and absolute commitment to creativity.This magnet set was a hit this summer. Lily told and retold stories the whole vacation. The magnets are hard to hold on to so we had a zip lock bag which stored them for us. Eeboo also makes super fun colored pencils and lots of creative things for kiddies.

Make Me a Story - Magnetic Story Board EEBOO
Make Me a Story – Magnetic Story Board EEBOO

This case from Speck is perfect! BUUUUT it’s only for your ipad mini. One case can go from board room meeting to back of the car Frozen marathons. It attached to the back of the front car seat and voila… built-in viewing for the minis.

ShowFolio Cases for iPad mini and mini with Retina display

Hope this was helpful.

Happy roadtrippin you guys!! Stay safe and enjoy the summer.

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