Monday, December 8, 2014

Santa Magic from a 4.5 Year Old

At 3 and 4.5years old my kids believe in Santa, they get excited to see him and currently the Elf on the Shelf (Elfie and his sister Elfette) are visiting us.  They think they are so cool, imagine elfs that fly to North Pole every night and make it back for the morning?  Jack has us writing notes to send to Santa at night and come back with reply in the morning.  

This week Jack sent a Thomas toy to the North Pole with the elves, so Thomas could help Santa figure out what Thomas trains he needs for Christmas.  His imagination, innocence is something I hope never leaves him.  "Christmas is a time for giving" he keeps telling me.  He has picked out toys in the store to buy for other kids, asks me for money when he sees the People from Salvation Army ringing bells, and we packed up toys from his room to donate this year too, he truly has a heart of gold.  

Yesterday he went with Grandma to get her Christmas Tree.  He helped drag it, and was excited to drive home with it on the roof.  Then last night he helped carry it in and get it in the stand.  When needles were on floor, he asked to vacuum to clean up.  What a good boy!

Before bed last night he opened Day 5 in his Lego Advent Calendar, another special countdown he is excited to do daily, and then help his sister with hers.  He went to bed in his Santa hat from last year with his name on it, "to let Santa know I love him". When he crawled into bed in the middle of the night, his hat was still on, incalled him Santa Jack, "no mommy I am just Jack who lo
Santa sent us mail!!

ves Christmas". I cracked up!

I really hope his Christmas spirit never leaves, and dreading the day he no longer  believes.  I want 4.5year old Christmas Jack forever. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Gotta Flurt Shoes Spring 2015

Gotta Flurt Shoes has just hit being around 10 years, branching out from dance world and into our stores.  Great for all preschoolers, girls and juniors (woman's) and go up to size women's 13 in certain styles.
Quick question what girl does not like shoes? I mean my 3 year old is obsessed already and has been since she could walk, at 22 months she tried on real cowboy boots and wore them almost daily for a year!  Currently she love her motorcycle boots, that is when she is not in "princess shoes", toy dress-up shoes are not for her, she wants the real thing, or mommy shoes.  The upcoming Spring 15 collection from Gotta Flurt even had a few sets of mother/daughter styles, to match, how adorable!

Gotta Flurt is one of the popular brands in shoes for dance, sold in all dance markets, but also great for everyday wear.  With heavy Hip-Hop influence they also have classic low cut shoes that can be worn with or without laces, to suit your style, using their patented option technology .  Colors and details are not forgotten, neon is back, are you ready for it?

Gotta Flurt will be sold at Kohl's and Sears online soon in addition to other online retailers.  Also all the toddler styles are $25 or less.  Cute and affordable, whose ready to order now?   I love all the choices between neon, animal print, sequin, two tones, chevron, dots and stripes.

Okay you can go shop now! 

Disclosure: I received sample pairs of Gotta Flurt Shoes, all opinions are my own and 100% honest as always. 

Aveda Naturally Straight #review

Disclosure:  I was sent a tube of Aveda Naturally Straight to from SheSpeaks complimentary for reviewing purposes.

I am always interested in what I can use to make my hair stay straight, not frizz and basically behave for a period of time without me getting frustrated and just throwing it up in a ponytail.  Naturally Straight is safe on relaxed/color treated hair and for medium to course thickness and wavy/curly.

Smooth Infusion  retails for $26.00 for 5oz/150mL at Aveda stores and online.

"After 5 consectutive applications hair will stay straight for up to 3 washes"- AVEDA

In my opinion the products works, I use it and my hair is straight, without frizz all day, it stays down for long periods of time.  I will be buying more when I run out.

Bronx Bombers Mamarazzi: Play Ball!

Bronx Bombers Play. 

Loved this play unfortunately it left the theater shortly after seeing the show.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Momtrends Holiday

Nicole at Momtrends did it again at her 4th annual holiday event.  On Monday November 10th,  she hosted Lands End, Stella & Dot, Walkers Shortbread, I Am Me books, Teleflora with great holiday arrangements, Little Me, Duck Tape and Vermont Nut Free Chocolates, and Priv doing manicure.  What more could you ask for?

As an event for mom bloggers, it was great to talk to these brands and gather a better insight to what they are about and the message they want to get through to consumers.  Lands End is one of those companies for me, that I never really give a second look beyond their kids products, honesty pays right?  For me, I always thought it was either too pricey for pieces that were not my style or youthful enough for me.   First, they have many reasonable priced gifts, as in under $30 for the holidays, that blew my mind.   Then the quality for the price, again I thought they were out of my budget for certain items, and their throws and stockings, socks, slippers are all incredibly priced well, hello teacher gifts!  They also had a fashion show with 5 moms dressed in Land's End clothing for the holidays, BEAUTIFUL women and beautiful clothing, my mind is changed, and I recommend everyone checking them out.

Little Me had their holiday pajamas and clothing on display, I have always loved their clothing, Jack and Char had many sets from them as babies.  My other blog, Apple Tots in the Hudson Valley, just did a review of the PJs, make sure to take a look.   These sets have been a huge staple at Baby Showers I have been to, great quality, adorable and the tiny sizes bring guaranteed "oohs and ahhs".  I was equally interested in the I See Me books featured that night also.  Already getting Jack and Char a book, personalized with both their names and how much Mommy, Daddy, Grandma, Grandpa, Nanny and Papa love them.  They have so many choices, educational, fun and hand designed.  Each book is made special, for the kids.  Great new baby, birthday, or holiday presents.

Duck Tape had great displays of crafts you can make with their tape.  Ornaments, table mats, place card settings, so many unique and doable activities to do alone or with your kids.   Walkers Shortbread also shared the edible craft possibility to do with the kids.  Grab some icing, sprinkles and a box of Walkers Shortbread and go!  With snow days coming up, I am going to stock up on supplies so I am ready when they are.

Stella & Dot and Teleflora provide perfect gifts for this upcoming season, whether it be a celebration or secret Santa, they are great "go-tos".  Teleflora has beautiful floral arrangements and now their containers have a purpose too, from dip containers, candy holder or meatball dishes, they come with recipes to try.  Also tips shared were put flowers for decor and scents in bathroom during the holidays. They call it "table-scaping",  love that term! Stella &Dot has so many great necklaces, bracelets and earrings out.  Some great ideas for presents for the hostess, school office or workplace, this season, make sure to check them out.  Vermont Nut Free Chocolate was also at the event for taste testing, who doesn't love chocolate and for people with allergies, these are even better.  You can order sets to be sent as gifts or to your house, for your own enjoyment.  Essentially you can stay home and shop online and  have items delivered straight to where you need them, recipients will be impressed and its easy peasy for you!

With the holidays coming up she stressed, even with work and blogs, to carve out time with our kids: personal and private time that we don't share.  It's important to put family first with our businesses still active.  I connected with that, in this day everything is so shared, everything is busy, families need to keep memories but also keep things private.

Disclosure:  I was invited as media and received a gift bag, all opinion as always are my own. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Gold Emblem Abound Review

CVS/pharmacy is kicking it up a notch with their new line of snack that launched this summer.  I was able to taste some of the yummy snacks recently with my family.  The kids loved them, and have been taking snack bars and the different trail mixes to school daily.  Win-win for them and me that we all enjoy healthier foods.  Literally the Heavenly Light Popcorn didn't make it a day in my house, once I started I ate almost the whole bag and he kids finished it off while  watching a movie for snack.  Yum!

With picky kids (and myself) it's hard to find something we all enjoy and that doesn't cost a lot, Gold Emblem Abound does just that.  Another plus is you can find it in CVS stores and they are everywhere locally.  The cookies were great desert treats, the trail mixes are in resealable bags making them perfect too for your purse, the car, stash them anywhere for when you are feeling hungry.

My house gives them 2 thumbs up. What will you try first? 

·         Gold Emblem Abound is a line of affordable, great tasting, and healthier snacks that launched in CVS/pharmacy stores this summer. The snacks are free of all artificial preservatives and flavors and are made with wholesome ingredients that help you feel nourished and satisfied. The line was designed to have options for each individual shopper’s dietary needs including gluten free, cholesterol free, and high in fiber and protein.
·         The line is perfect for any snack round-ups or features you may have planned for the coming months, and they are also great to include in any posts you might be writing about healthier snacking for on-the-go families, kids’ lunches or afterschool snacks. The Gold Emblem Abound line is also a good option for those looking for healthier snacking alternatives around Halloween, the holidays, etc.
·         There are more than 7,600 CVS/pharmacy locations across the U.S. – and more than 75% of the U.S. population lives within 3 miles of a CVS in the markets we serve. That means, with this launch, it is easier than ever for shoppers to grab healthier choices without having to make an extra trip to a health food store or specialty store. Now everyone can grab something for school lunches, road trips or a family movie night that offers nutritional benefits and tastes great, but is totally free of artificial preservatives and flavors, when they’re running into their local CVS to fill a prescription, buy band-aids or grab other health and beauty essentials.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Penguins of Madagascar and Marriott's Residence Inn #RIFamily #PenguinsMovie

This past Saturday at the Bronx Zoo we had a great fun filled afternoon with Skipper, Kowalski, Private and Rico.  Who are they?  The Penguins of Madagascar, from the lasted movie by DreamWorks and you do not want to miss it!

The kids enjoyed a meet and greet with the Penguins and viewing the Madagascar exhibit at the Bronx Zoo.  The Madagascar exhibit features a look at all the animals found there like lemurs, turtles and hissing cockroaches, all kids want to see that.  I know my kids do.   After, we went to the Aviary for a Penguin and bird feeding.  Everyone was allowed to ask questions, my son asked "if they feed differently for the weather?", very smart for a 4 year old.  Did you knows they have a computer dating system for animals, SSP, its for all zoos to network together for breeding purposes.

The Penguins of Madagascar are on another mission in this new movie, coming out November 26th.  They need to help a new group of animals against an old zoo friend Dr. Octavius Brine, who my kids thought was just a silly character.  The new crew working with the Penguins is North Wind, a mixture of new animals.   I found it very interesting that many of the animation team members, including co-director, are character voices in the film.  Tom McGarth is Skipper in the movie, his role all started when he would do preliminary voices.  The Penguins of Madagascar is a great family film, if you liked the first two Madagascar movies then you will love this one.

The family and I stayed over night at the Marriott Residence Inn, a sponsor for the DreamWorks Penguins of Madagascar event.   Located on 54th Street and Broadway with views of Time Square, Central Park and the Hudson River.  Marriott's Residence Inn was built as an extended stay brand, with studios and suites to fit your needs.  The Broadway location boasts views of Time Square, Central Park and the Hudson River, day or night the views looking out your windows are incredible.   The rooms include kitchenettes, necessary items for making small meals, including a dishwasher.  chairs, desks, and TVs.   They have a Bistro open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, food shop delivery and free breakfast for Residence Inn visitors, a Marriott Courtyard shares the building with Residence Inn.

Check The Penguins of Madagascar out on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram 
Check out Marriott's Residence Inn on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Friday, October 31, 2014

Robeez's 20th Anniversary with Melissa Rycroft and Rosie Pope

Melissa Rycroft and family attend Robeez 20th Anniversary at New York City's Sugar Factory on October 21, 2014 in New York City.

Robeez celebrated their 20th Anniversary in NYC with Rosie Pope and Melissa Rycroft on hand, both moms with amazing fashion taste for their tots.  Robeez are sized from 0-24 months for boys, girls and unisex. 

Robeez mimic bare foot walking, encourage muscle growth, prevent slipping and have elasticized ankles which are perfect from helping them stay on or loop closures with high quality leather and materials.  

Robeez also carries Disney(R) Baby shoes, check out these cuties...

Robeez, has been a staple in baby/toddler footwear for 20 years now, have you shopped the MiniShoez, Soft Soles, DisneyBaby, Boots, Slippers or Hosiery?  They also make the perfect baby gift, one you cannot go wrong with. 

Target has just about everything for Holiday 2014

Target's Holiday 2014 Preview took place last week, between Home, Apparel, Accessories, Toys, Entertainment and Grocery- Target has tons in store for us.  I am super excited as I am obsessed with my RedCard, Cartwheel App and using coupons.  Targets with a Starbucks are even better!  Many brands and designers have collaborated over the years and more are following that lead and selling their designs and products at Target.

TOMS has partnered with Target for 50 item exclusive with them this holiday season.  TOMS includes shoes, clothing for kids size 4 and up, adult clothing and items for the home.  The sweaters are warm and cozy, or you can snuggle under a nice throw blanket while smelling a candle in a wooden holder.  Their classic shoes will be in the stores as well as accessories for everyone.  Great gifts and stocking stuffers.

TOMS' accessories
Clothing and shoes
Inspired by the movie Annie, Renée Ehrlich Kalfus has a line for girls coming out mid-November starting in size 4, mix and match pieces for unique looks and a DIY kit for girls to add jewels, ribbon, patches and paint to their clothing.   Renée captured the unique look of Annie's wardrobe while bringing it into closets at home.
Denim Jacket, French Terry Dress, Backpack
Pins and Patches Box

OH JOY! and Target continue their partnership with Pinterest inspired entertaining items.  Serving trays, place holders and the adorable holiday paper plates.  Nate Berkus Top 10 Collection will be released in early 2015, the pieces out now are ready for holiday or everyday use now.  Decorative dessert plates, frames, stools, table runners and pillows, I want it all.  Nate Berkus was onsite to share his personal opinions on his line and meet everyone.

Nate Berkus in front of his collection

If your kids are like mine, they know exactly where the toy section is located in every Target, anywhere.  Target is now selling many boutique style toys, like Melissa & Doug and bigger name toys like LEGO, Ninja Turtles and Frozen.  Did you know there are over 700 different FROZEN items in Target in all the different sections?  Neither did I until last week.

Terra Wooden Horse Barn
I shop a lot in Target for clothing items, Mossimo has some great holiday dresses for women, outfits for the men and cute coordinating sets for the little ones.  Family pictures anyone.  Target also has many Sam Libby bags and accessories.  Makeup special items, also great for smaller gifts without going over $35 from Pixi and Elf and exclusive for the winter.

e.l.f sets Exclusively at Target
Target's grocery line Archer Farms has many options ready in decorative packaging for the season, whether its just for personal use, grab bags or to bring to a party.  Archer Farms and other sets are available, great tasting too!  Personally I love the baking kits because everything is included, great for kids baking and family time.

Target is my one stop shop place, especially during the holiday season.   Check out everything they have  to offer: toys, electronics, entertainment, like the exclusive Taylor Swift 1989 album with bonus tracks only at Target.  Many artists have deluxe editions of their albums with extra songs you cannot get anywhere else.

Are you ready to shop yet?

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Wubble Bubble Ball Family Fun

Disclosure: I received a sample of this product to facilitate my review, but my opinions are entirely my own.

To say my kids enjoyed the Wubble Bubble would be an understatement.  They flipped out the moment they saw it and wanted to play that minute.  As bribery and to buy time I had thennget their costumes on for the parade we need to be at within the hour while I filled the ball, pump was included in our box, just needed to add 4D batteries (don't forget, this stalled my original plans to surprise them with it blown up).  

They loved the fact it was easy to carry, Char could hold it above her head while running to throw it at Jack.  Jack caught and tossed it high in air back.  It's full of regular air but directions say you can put a small amount of helium in it (small or it will just float way) to let it float longer in air.  I plan on trying it when I can find my tank for parties. 

The kids loved running straight into it and going in it slightly and rolling off.   Also when it his them it is so light, no one gets hurt, the only crying was about who got it next.  At price point of $29.99 it's worth getting everyone their own and playing games.  Even better if it breaks you send part of the ball back in with $6.99 and they will send you a replacement.  score!!

My kids give it 2 thumbs up and if you are ever stuck on a gift for birthdays or holidays I recommend this! 

Fun facts to share about Wubble Bubble:
  • Target selected the Wubble™ Bubble Ball as a 2014 Top Toy for the Holiday Season. It was listed among other popular toys and games that are sure to be on every holiday wish list.
  • Wubble Bubble Ball is a Family Fun Toy Of The Year Award Winner. The 25 winners are featured in the November 2014 issue of Family Fun Magazine. 
  • Inspired by his children's wish for a real bubble to play with, NSI President Frank Landi developed the Wubble™ Bubble Ball to keep children's love for fun, active play alive.
  • Wubble has won numerous toy awards, including an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Best Toy Award, a National Parenting Center Seal of Approval, a Mr. Dad Approved Award, a Parent's Choice Award and the  Dr. Toy Best 100 Picks Award and more! 
  • Wubble Ball is available at Target, Toys R Us and online Wubble Ball is on Twitter (@WubbleBall) and Facebook ( 
  • Wubble Ball's are not indestructible, but they have a lifetime replacement guarantee. It costs $6.99 to replace a Wubble under the guarantee. 
  • Please take care not to damage your Wubble Ball during inflation. It might be necessary to use a little bit of oil (whatever you have in your kitchen) to insert the pump into the Wubble Ball the first time. If you have any trouble inflating your Wubble ball, you may find this video about "How to Inflate a Wubble Ball" helpful: 

Also appeared on Apple Tots in the Hudson Valley

4 Kids, 3 Moms and a Chevy Tahoe #appletotsroadtrip

So remember that time 3 moms, 4 kids all piled into a Chevy Tahoe and took a road trip? Oh yeah, I do!  This weekend we went down to PA to visit Sesame Place for the first time and the Crayola Experience.  We also added a dinner time trip to Chuck E Cheese and Target.   What were we thinking?  We'll we wanted to experience and make memories with our kids, that's what!

I have been looking at Chevy Tahoes and Suburbans for a few months now, I need more room with the two kids and want a bigger car now that the kids are getting older, we take trips and their toys (the quad, dirt bike, tricycles and everything else) continue to get bigger too.  I was able to experience driving a brand new 2015 Tahoe LTZ made by Chevrolet.  It was a beauty, had everything anyone could ask for and more.  Who needs a DVD player when you can have BluRay?  Also many models of 2015 Chevys now come with wifi inside your car apart of OnStar packaging.  Now Jack and Charlotte can stop yelling at me when we loose wifi on their devices as we pull out of the driveway.   Heated steering wheel, air conditioned seats, vibrating nofitifaction when cars are on your sides, seriously I didn't know have these feature existed.   Now that I do, I want them and can't imagine settling for less.  Gas mileage was basically the same that I get currently in my SUV.

Saturday morning, Christine and RJ came over early for our adventure and we were off to get numbers 6 & 7 then head to Langhorne, PA.   Stephanie and Maximo got in and we were off, goodness for Stephanie sitting in the middle row, she became toddler waitress for all the snacks.  How many pretzels, goldfish, teddy grahmans, water, milk and juices can four toddler/preschoolers consume? LOTS!  Also had to move her head from blocking Jack's view a few times.  Kids don't care if their moms are trying to talk. Drive down took a little over an hour from the Bronx.  Just enough time to watch Tale of the Brave movie and rock out to some music before pulling in to park.   At which point the "you're touching me", "top tickling me" and "we need to go to the bathroom" were beginning from the back seat.  Phew we made it!  My kids loved being in the back row all together and also when they needed to get out of their seat, walking between captain rows instead of climbing over seats which they do now.  Jack loved having a charger for his iTouch next to him, I will never hear "my batteries died" again! 

Big Bird, Cookie Monster, and Oscar
Sesame Place was all done up for Halloween, big pumpkin heads met us at the entrance with a huge inflatable Count in the center, just through the ticket gates and bag checks (great news you can bring in a small cooler to keep the little ones fed and hydrated).  First view was the Vapor Trail roller coaster that Charlotte wanted to go on.   I have to say for a kids coaster, it whipped around fast, but she loved it and didn't want to get off, just wanted to go again.  All that mattered was that she liked it.   During the Halloween season, they also offer trick or treating, providing the bags and great snacks throughout the park at different stations.  Impressive treats: juice boxes, pretzels, gummies and fruit strips.  We rode more "Halloween special rides" and then went to meet and take pictures with some characters.   Now getting multiple kids to smile at the same time was impossible, I have many great shots to prove that.  

The Count.. 1 Jack, 2, Charlotte and 3 Robert 
What I am most happy about is the bracelets I put on the kids while at the park, they are if lost call my parents bracelets which include my phone number, I first bought them for Disney last year.   Jack wandered off and after a brief panic attack and unsuccessful search, I went to LOST CHILD office and he was standing there showing them my phone number.  They commented on how great the bands were and how smart he was to show them.  Although they didn't call I had walked in the middle of them dialing.  Oh, Jack!!!  Also if you want a good viewing spot for the daily parade, you need to start lining up and marking your space early.  We had no idea that was the case, people had strollers and blankets laid out to reserve thei space, this was at 2:30pm and earlier,  parade started at 4, that is just insane.  There is only one parade a day.  

Jack, Maximo and Stephanie going around and round
We planned on trying to go on more rides  thinking the lines would be lighter, all morning we had encountered having to wait 5-6 cycles to get on a ride.  The waiting game is not easy with two preschoolers who just want to go on, and struggle with the standing still part of a line, calling their names to stand in line enough to frustrate anyone while becoming "that mom".   Also as a mom with two young kids, many of the rides were for one adult/one kid leaving it impossible to ride when everyone wants to go on, I can't leave a 3 or 4 year old standing alone waiting.  I would never be able to go to the park alone, this was very disappointing.  Even with the parade going on, Sesame Place was packed by the rides, we decided to just let the kids run around in the Monster & Mini Monster Clubhouse section.  They had lots of fun in there.  We left the park shortly after around 5:30, just before closing.
Are we sure of this Rosita Muppet? 
I am glad we all experienced Sesame and maybe it is different in the summer when the water rides are also open, or during the week when school is in session, but the crowds were a major turn off for me.

More on after the park fun and Sunday's adventures to come!

Stephanie is from Football Food and Motherhood, she supplied many photos for our trip check her and #growingupmaximo out!