Tween Scene – 6 Must Haves for Tweens

Tween Scene: 6 Must Haves for Tweens

Tweens are a picky crew and you can’t ever seem to keep up with what’s in and what’s out. It always amazes me when tween trends take off… I mean… lets talk about putty! who knew!

These days we have lots of items around the house that my tween has been obsessing over! Parents of tweens everywhere will tell you that putty is the #1 item. We have putty making stations throughout the house and Lily just can’t get enough!

So I’ve put together a list of our faves. It’s hard to find gifts for teens and tweens that are not tech or high ticket items. These are our go to gifts these days. You can find them at specialty stores or online. But I like to shop local… so maybe your downtown gift shops might carry these goodies!  A lot of these items are for fidgety tweens and adults.

Here is my list of Tween Must Haves. This is what’s being obsessed over and trending in the tween space!

  1. The Fidget Cube– We love this cube. each side has things that click, slide, roll and is great as a stress reliever or busy hands.
  2. Thinking Putty – This is the best putty .. hands down. Crazy Arron’s comes in all sorts of amazing themes and our favorites are the Liquid Glass that is totally clear, the Magnetic and the Electric Teal!
  3. Bath Bombs – I just spent $10 on ONE bath bomb from Lush…. but it was divine! Bath Bombs can be found in all price points, we love Lush products and they are natural and smell amazing. The glitter bath bombs are our favorite.
  4. Spinners! Lily has a few of these and again, perfect for calming nerves, anxiety, focus. These are hard to find so if a store near you sells it… grab it up quick!
  5. Lokai Bracelets – These bracelets claim to have mud from the black Sea and water from Mr. Everest. These are colorful bracelets that raise awareness for various causes and ideals. mental illness, balance…etc.
  6. Electro Dough – not sure that this is a tween must have but it’s pretty amazing. The kit encourages you to make your own dough with house hold items and for putty obsessors.. this is great. But once you have made your dough, there are LEDs and buzzers and all sorts of things that connect for circuitry play! Super cool!
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#YouthMarchTogether

#YouthMarchTogetherLike many of you, we, in this house, are feeling out of sorts and at times hopeless. This is something that our kids perceive and understand. The question I have myself as a mom is, do I want my kids to think that hopelessness wins or do I give them some tools for not just coping, but for being part of a movement that stands for something different.
What kids really need to know now…

they need to know they are Safe

they need to know they are Loved

they need to know they are Accepted

they need to know that GOOD WINS

Kids need hope, they want to be involved, and kids need concrete action. I’ve been going back and forth about how Lily, my 11 YO, can feel involved in this current climate. She feels the unease and asks questions, observes harsh words being tossed around at her school and wants to do something. But what?


Your news feed is being filled with plans of people who will march this weekend, in DC, in NYC, in states all across this country. Some of us won’t be able to make these marches and most kids won’t be there. So how do kids, our youth, who are so very effected by this electoral outcome and the conflicting environment, how do our youth participate in this, how do they get involved?

I suggest a project.

This is for our youth. YOU are the future change-makers, YOU will make a difference, YOU will ensure that kindness and good will win and YOUR VOICE is POWER!

To YOU marching this weekend… our kids, young people, our youth stand with YOU… the millions marching this weekend… we stand with you and this is how we will show our support.


Use the reach of social media to get the message out. I encourage you to write #YouthMarchTogether on the palm of your hand and share an image via your social channels.

Tag @YouthMarchTogether on Insta!

We are all in this TOGETHER. We MARCH forward TOGETHER.

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Back to School: Backpacks for Tweens

Back To School: Backpacks for Tweens
The kids are in the middle of the hot days of summer and while we here in New York still have over a month and half to go before school starts, most of the country starts in mid August. Lily starts 6th grade, this fall,  and it’s very exciting. Her sense of style is really becoming her own and no longer will I be able to pick out her accessories, clothes and backpacks.
To keep up with your picky tweens awesome personality, I’ve picked a few of our favorite backpacks this season. Everything from the trendy Pokemon to the classic Herchel is here on this list to fit your picky tweens style!
1. Miss Selfridge Holographic Mini Backpack $53 // 2. Accessorize Galazy $59// 3. Realm Divide Backpack $40 VANS // 4. Nintendo Backpack – $40 VANS // 5. Multi Tropical Backpack $34 GO JANE // 6. Herschel Supply Company $100 Nordstrom // 7. Aeropostale $25 // 8. Pokemon $20 HOT TOPIC //
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Painting Eggs – Our Easter Tradition

So much gets lost in translation with consumerism during religious holidays. Easter has become nothing more than bunnies, egg hunts, toys, chocolates, unwrapping chocolate toys and overstuffed baskets of more toys and chocolates.

We haven’t fallen for most of this hype and do try hard to keep the reason for the Easter season in the forefront.

The church that we have been attending since our move had a great Good Friday program for the kids and both Lily and Thomas came back with lots to report. Thomas was especially excited to tell us that JESUS LIVES! he didn’t die… he lives!

We tried to dye eggs last week and both kids lost interest really quickly and really just wanted to play with the colored water more than dying eggs. Lily and I started painting eggs a few years ago. We would boil the eggs and then get out the watercolors and acrylics and just paint. I love this tradition and hope to hold on to it for years to come. We sit at the kitchen table with our cup of tea, eggs, paints, brushes and chat. Golden moments of tween insight!

The biggest news for the year is that this year we have a new Easter Bunny – L I L Y! It’s bitter-sweet. She sorta knew the truth and wouldn’t let me talk about the bunny anymore so I final told her the real deal and she’s had such fun shopping for sweet treats and bubbles for Thomas’ basket.

Another tradition that we have is planting flowers around the yard during Easter weekend. The kids and Matt went to the local nursery and bought a few flowers, but the ground is still sorta frozen so we have to wait a bit to plant. But the flowers are here and we did some yard work and refilled all the bird feeders. This afternoon there was a bright red cardinal who was busy collecting materials to build his nest and Thomas and I watched him for a while as he hopped around and foraged for his supplies. We’ve been waking up to the loud chirping of birds every morning and I don’t mind it at all. like clockwork around 5:45/6am… the birds are up!  I am so ready for spring!

 We came home to find that Jonah had rummaged through the trash to pick out the chicken bones from the previous nights dinner.

Me: Oh goodness Jonah! You are going to die if you eat all these chicken bones! 

Thomas: (without missing a single beat) He’s not going to die mom! We will just put him in a cage ( cave) and he will come back to life. 

+++   +++   +++   +++   +++   +++

Happy Easter Everyone.

 

 

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Favorite Easter Basket Picks

It’s time for filling up our Easter baskets and I wanted to share a few creative and NON-CANDY ideas for the perfectly balanced basket with my Favorite Easter Basket Picks.

Lily knows the truth about ole E.B and this year she gets to be in on the fun and has been helping me collect a few things for the baskets.  I am not one for candy filled baskets, I try to keep the sugary treats to a minimum to avoid a massive sugar crash later in the day.  So for parents who are torn on giving into the sugar hype of it all …. here are some Easter Basket picks I know you will like.

  1. Kites – Kites are the BEST gift and every year we sneak a themed kite into the basket!
  2. Bubbles – This is a year round outdoor toy. Even in the snow… you can find us blowing bubbles!
  3. Stickers – You can never have enough stickers especially with toddlers. Thomas is getting dinosaur stickers and Lily is getting Shopkins stickers.
  4. Puzzles – A small box of puzzles is also a MUST for a sweet basket.
  5. Chocolate Bunny – I don’t have to tell you that every Easter Basket needs a Chocolate hollow bunny… right!
  6. Jelly Beans – Jelly Beans are Easter Bunny poop… but you knew that! How could you NOT include these!
  7. Butterfly Net – It’s springtime after all and a butterfly net not only makes for charming pictures but kids will spend a good amount of time running around trying to catch a butterfly!
  8. Art Supplies – Every basket needs art supplies – Sidewalk chalk, crayons, watercolors anything to get the kids making art.
  9. Gardening Supplies – The kids are each getting their own shovel, rake and watering can. Lily gets a metal version and Thomas is a small kids plastic set.
  10. Plants – a small bag of seeds for kids to plant is always such a treat. My kids immediately plant them in the ground and within days we have sprouts! Here in NY the ground is still frozen so this year a small potted plant is part is included.

Have fun making your baskets hope you found this helpful!

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Back to School with The Kissing Hand

Thomas started a new school today and now that he’s 3 he goes to the ‘preschool’ program. The monkey is most nervous and anxious for him and read him – the kissing hand – tonight. It’s the same book we read to her before the first day of school every year! It’s a great book for calming those back to school anxieties.

 

The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn, is a book about Chester the Raccoon who is nervous about his first day of school. Him mama plants a kiss in the palm of his hand and says, ‘ overtime you get sad put your palm against your cheek and think mommy loves you, mommy loves you.”

It’s the sweetest and before Thomas headed off to school this morning… Lily gave him a sweet kissing hand reminder.

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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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MOST WANTED Toys for Holiday 2015

That’s right folks! Tis the Season for gifting. This year let’s avoid getting into a brawl with the other last-minute parental shoppers – over that hot toy that you child just MUST HAVE under the tree. I’ve got you covered with all the top toys, the hottest trends, the new stuff, the specialty stuff and all of it! We start this massive gifting coverage this season with one of my most favorite events in NYC every year! TTPM Holiday Showcase.  

full disclosure, i work for this company and personally review toys and baby gear. TTPM has their finger on the pulse of the toy space. Also this is not a sponsored post. Just sharing the gifting knowledge. 

The most anticipated toy showcase in NYC took place last week in Chelsea. TTPM hosted their Fall Toy Showcase for a select group of national media. The ‘most wanted’ toy list was released and some of my favorite brands and toys made the cut.

I’ve been covering toy trends for a few years and I think that this years the toy industry has hit it out of the park. The toys are smarter, better, gender neutral. The market isn’t saturated with dolls whose proportions are completely ridiculous and tech seems to be prominent but not in a – sit on the couch and play- sort of way. The TTPM Holiday Showcase had an entire ” boutique” toy section for the specialty toys. What a brilliant idea. I love speciality toys, The wooden toys, the creative DIY kits, the eco friendly toys. I love the specialty market and it was really great to see them in the showcase this year. Something for every gift list!

Thomas was my little assistant for the day and immediately took to all his favorite finds.

Lionel Trains had the classic christmas tree set up with one of their trains circling and Thomas loved this. Lionel Trains are a great brand and make quality, detailed trains for collectors and toddler. We love this brand and have an older set that we use under our tree. 

Thomas’s latest obsession has been Hot Wheels. Anything and everything Hotwheels. So imagine his excitement when he saw this huge and very impressive HotWheels garage. It holds a ridiculous number of hotwheels with all the curving racing action we expect from Hotwheels playsets. 

Don’t look behind you Thomas!

The Go Go Smart Wheels display from VTech was probably his favorite… well beside the choo choos. The PR person was so sweet with Thomas and showed him all the features. Thomas at 2 Years Old, took the remote and without so much as a prompt started making it work. He is so in tune with technology but mainly because toy companies are making it easy for little kids to handle remote controls and tech toys. 

We spent some time oohing and aaahing over the KidTrax ride on toys. Thomas was asked to drive the fire truck around the showroom…we declined eeks! . And probably saved a few lives in the process!   The DinoTrux themed toys were really cool. with lots of moving parts and changing parts and well they are dinosaurs and trucks all in one. It’s a little MOTO dream come true!

There was so much to cover at the TTPM Holiday Showcase. Thomas worked up an appetite and then circled the lunch tables until it was time to eat. Whew… all in a days work.

Here is the TTPM 2015 MOST WANTED LIST. I agree with all of these choices!

          INNOVATIONS IN CLASSIC PLAY:  

          TOYS FOR BIG KIDS: 

There ya have it!!

Also look for more The New York Mom Holiday Gift Guides coming up on the blog. I have this massive coverage planned because I know how challenging it is to navigate the world of toys. Good news is that this is a great year for innovative toys, DIY kits, toddler toys… all of it. Even the tweens and teens have a great selection this year!

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