Archive | January, 2014

Family Fun On Board The Norwegian Getaway!

30 Jan

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Every once in a while, the girls will catch a cruise ship out of the corner of their eye while walking along the Hudson or they”ll catch a glimpse as one passing by our living room window.  They have so many questions about the ship passing by.  As I was walking by the Hudson River, partly covered in ice (pictured above), all I could think about was a vacation to a warm destination.  Although the girls have asked to go on a cruise as they watched ships pass by, I never thought about taking a cruise for our family vacation. Partly, because I never realized how much they have to offer for families but also because my husband has only heard negative media so wasn’t a huge fan of the idea.  When I got the invite from  The MOMS to spend the day on Norwegian Cruise Line’s newest ship, Getaway, I couldn’t say no. I was anxious to see the girls reactions when they saw a ship similar to the ones they would look at in the distance but I also wanted to see all the cruise ship has to offer.

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We watched as the Norwegian Breakaway sailed past our building last summer!

The Getaway recently sailed across the Atlantic from Germany,where it was built, to its temporary port of New York City. The Getaway transform into a Bud Light Hotel during the Super Bowl. After the Super Bowl, it will make its way to it’s new home in Miami, Florida.  Beginning in early February, the Norwegian Getaway will set sail all year-long from Miami to the Eastern Caribbean (yes, get me out of this freezing cold weather and take me to sunny beaches).  There are two itineraries to choose from:

  1. Embark in Miami, with stops in Philipsburg, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands, Nassau, Bahamas, then Disembark Miami
  2. Embark in Miami, with stops in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands, Tortola, Nassau, Bahamas, then Disembark Miami

Getaway to Paradise

As we pulled up to Pier 88, for our outing with TheMOMS, my girls were mesmerized by the size of the ship. When your small, everything seems so much BIGGER, so I can only imagine what was going through their head. I heard “wow”, “oh boy”, “it’s soooo big”.  I was excited to see my girls reaction when they saw a ship up close and personal.  Throughout the day we got to experience a sample of activities, services, and amenities offered on board the Getaway.

NCLGetaway Dining

The Norwegian Getaway offers many dining options.  There are complimentary options which include three main dining rooms with brand new menus as well as O’Seehans Bar and Lounge which is open 24 hrs.   Finer dining is also available for a cover charge. Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian’s restaurant Ocean Blue is on the Getaway with a chance for a dining experience with him on select cruises!

Our day on board began with a three-course meal in the Illusionarium.  The starter was prosciutto with mozzarella, tomato, balsamic vinaigrette, and gourmet young mesclun greens.  The main course was a surf and turf with jumbo coconut shrimp, roasted beef tenderloin, double baked potato, broccoli and a demi-glaze sauce.   The dessert included a trilogy of sweets: red velvet cupcake with vanilla cream cheese frosting, vanilla crème caramel with wild berries, and a flourless chocolate cake with praline crème. The children had a separate menu that included macaroni and cheese or chicken tenders with a banana cup cake for dessert.  Not only was the food delicious but the service and staff onboard was phenomenal. I was very impressed with our waitress, Donie.  She was very accomodating when my youngest couldn’t decide what she wanted so she brought her both, mac and cheese and chicken nuggets.  Before we even looked at the menu she asked about any food allergies. As a mom of a daughter, with a peanut/ tree nut allergy, I can’t tell you how appreciative I was. It’s rare a waitress or waiter at a restaurant asks, I’ve always had to tell them about my daughters allergy.

Entertainment1

During our experience on board we got a little sample of the entertainment on board. All the performances we saw took place in the Illusionarium however there are separate theaters onboard when on vacation. My girls were in awe of the performances by the Burn the Floor dance group.  They also loved watching Legally Blonde the Musical and seeing their favorite characters (Dora, Diego, SpongeBob SquarePants & Patrick Star) during a performance by Nick Junior.  The magic show was unbelievable. They were amazed to see a table float through the air. It was an incredible experience just watching the shortened, condensed version so I can only imagine what they would think of the full shows.

NCL endless possibilities

The recreational activities for kids and families are endless.  There is a Nickelodeon Jr theme aqua zone for kids to splash around.  In the aqua park there are 2 pools, 4 hot tubs, and 5 water slides.  The Free Fall water slide is one of the fastest at sea and one of two drop slides that floor comes out from underneath you and drops you down the slide in 6 seconds.   The sports complex features a miniature golf course, a basketball court, a rock climbing wall, a bungee trampoline and a ropes course.  At the end of the ropes course, those brave enough can walk an 8 foot plank off the side of the ship with a photo opportunity at the end.  Other activities include an arcade, pool parties and opportunities to meet Dora, Diego, SpongeBob SquarePants and Patrick Star.

splash

Splash Academy provides complimentary drop-off activities for ages 3-12  onboard the ship from 9:00 am – 10:30 pm, closing during meal times.  Once on board you can get the full schedule of activities and classes offered.  Each themed activity is two hours.  Themes and activities change daily.  Whether it’s free-style play, a Turtle’s Luau Party or super sports, your child will make new friends and have tons of fun.  While my husband and I were on a tour of the ship, both of my girls spent some time in Splash Academy.  They came out with art projects, balloons, and a huge smile on their face from all the fun they were having.  The supervisors were extremely friendly and engaging with the children.  Each child was assigned a number upon entering.  To pick up your child, parents we required to return the corresponding number.  Because of food allergies, Splash Academy is free of food.  A late-night zone with fun activities like fort making and Nintendo Wii action is available from 10:30 pm until 1:30 am at a reasonable rate ($6 for the first child and $4 for siblings).

DateDayorNight

After you drop the kids off at Splash Academy, don’t feel guilty their having fun, you can head to the spa for a dip in the thermal pool or for a relaxing massage.  There are also many adult only areas to enjoy a beverage, a bite to eat, or soak up a few uninterrupted rays!  While on international waters you can also take an hour (or more) for duty-free shopping or chancing your luck in the largest casino at sea!  At night, you can visit the dueling piano bar, Howel At The Moon or cool off after a day of fun in the sun for a unique experience in the SVEDKA and Inniskillin Ice Bar.  While onboard, don’t miss The Grammy Experience.  The first headliner will be Nestor Torres.  I could go on forever with the entertainment, bars, and activities you can take part in if you need a date day or night while on vacation.

staterooms

While we were onboard we got to peek into a few staterooms.  For families, there are suites with pull-out sofas, adjoining rooms, or rooms with two single beds and 1 or 2 pull down beds above.  The Haven Suite is incredible, my daughters couldn’t get over the closet and the spa bathtub filled with roses. Budget friendly options are available as well!

You may have seen the recent news about the recent outbreak of a virus leaving 600 passengers onboard a Royal Caribbean Cruise.   When you hear news like that you may be skeptical of jumping aboard, I know my husband was in the past. We were discussing the news and my husband, the skeptic, pointed out how extremely impressed he was with Norwegians proactive efforts to make sure cleanliness and hygiene were a priority aboard the Getaway.  There were hand sanitizing stations almost everywhere you turned. In the bathrooms there were signs reminding guests to wash hands and use a paper towel to open the door.  The sink, soap dispenser, and trash can had sensors so you didn’t have to touch anything.  The trash can had a reminder note on top letting you know not to touch.

Explore

There is so much to do and explore.  By the end of our day on board the Getaway, I had to drag my girls off the ship. They were ready to move onto the beautiful ship, permanently.  My oldest said “This is a beau-ti-ful ship! Mommy, can we move here?”  When I told her that a cruise ship is for vacations and not for living she said “Can we go on vacation NOW?” My husband even changed his mind about taking a cruise and is ready to book for an exciting and entertaining adventure for all at sea.

Can’t make it to the port of Miami, the Getaway’s sister ship Breakaway embarks from NYC and sails to Bermuda!

Watching the Norwegian Breakaway sail by!

Watching the Norwegian Breakaway sail by!

Thank you to The MOMS and Norwegian Cruise Line for an awesome day for my family.  For more information visis www.ncl.com, follow on Instagram: NorwegianCruiseLine , on twitter: @cruisenorwegian and be sure to like Norwegian Cruise Line on Facebook!
Follow the Getaway’s journey at #UltimateGetaway.

To learn more about The MOMS visit http://themoms.com

Disclaimer:  I did not receive compensation for this post.  All opinions expressed are my own.  I received a day on board the Norwegian Getaway and complimentary services and meals as part of the Family Media Day with The MOMS.

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Matilda Jane Clothing Review and Giveaway

28 Jan

Matilda Jane

Every morning my daughters pick out their outfits and everyday each outfit is different!  They have their own sense of style!  Some days their outfits really work together and other days they are wild, and crazy (I want to make them change)!  Recently they received pieces of Matilda Jane Clothing: Paint by Numbers Collection.   We have fallen in love with Matilda Jane because the pieces are vibrant, colorful, youthful, unique and GORGEOUS!

Matilda Jane Clothing is made to mix and match.  That means no more fighting with mom.  The phrase “You are not wearing that out of this house” may disappear from a Matilda Jane mom’s vocabulary (it did for me).  Mix and match is just what my girls did with The Monica Dress, the Razberry Big Ruffles Pants and the Nancy in Burgundy pieces!  They wore the Matilda Jane pieces together or paired them with other pieces from their closet depending on the occasion!    Here are the looks they created (pictured below L to R):

Matilda Jane pictures

  1. Party Time:  The Monica Dress with a pair of purple tights and her favorite flats.
  2. Relaxing Saturday: To keep her hair out of her face while reading she wore the Nancy in Burgundy as a headband.  She also wore the The Monica Dress with a pair of leggings!
  3. Headed to School: She wore the The Monica Dress with the Razberry Big Ruffles Pants to keep her legs extra warm while staying comfortable for school.  She decided to use the Nancy in Burgundy as a belt.
  4. Family Friday: She wanted to wear her FAVORITE Monica Dress to show off at family friday!  She was working on an art piece which reminded me of a Paint by Number piece.
  5. Yoga Club: My oldest joined Yoga Club at school so she has to wear loose, comfortable clothing the days she goes.  One morning she laid out the Razberry Big Ruffles Pants with her Dance Studio tank with a gap cable sweater over it!
  6. Simple and Sweet: My youngest chose to wear the Razberry Big Ruffles Pants with her favorite white lace top.  Very cute!

To purchase: Matilda Jane Clothing is not sold in stores.   First you have to find a Trunk Keeper.  Once you find a Trunk Keeper, you can order items from our one-of-a-kind collections by attending or hosting an in-home Trunk Show, or by directly contacting a Trunk Keeper with your online Wish List!

Images from Matilda Jane Clothing

Images from Matilda Jane Clothing

To see the latest collections or to find out more visit www.matildajaneclothing.com!

“I want her to love what she is wearing and be proud of how she looks…I want MJC to showcase the sweetness of the child…I want your little girls not to fight with you on what to wear…I want her to be comfortable and I want her to be happy!” – Denise DeMarchis, Founder and Designer

Thank you for sharing your beautiful clothing.  Your mission was accomplished with my girls.  They always wear their pieces with a smile on their face!

GIVEAWAY: One lucky reader will have the chance to win a $50 Matilda Jane Clothing Gift Card!  Click HERE to enter! Giveaway begins today and ends February 7 at 11:59 pm!  Good luck!

Disclaimer: I did not receive compensation for this post.  I received samples for review and a gift card for one lucky reader  All opinions expressed are my own.  Information italics came from a press letter I received.

Daisy and Josephine Is “TuTu” Cute!

26 Jan

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Walking home from haircuts we always stop at the puppy stores on Christopher St. During our second visit, my oldest daughter fell in love with a black French Bulldog she named Frenchie. She left the store in tears. And every time we go by she looks for Frenchie in hopes he’ll come home with us one day!  Any time she sees a French Bulldog, she gets so excited!

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The other week I attended a Mamarazzi event with The MOMS to celebrate the release of Melissa Gilbert’s book, Daisy and Josephine.   My girls, especially my oldest, was so excited for the event and the book when she learned that Josephine was a “Frenchie”. The event took place at Bucco di Beppo in Times Square.  Dinner featured pizza, pasta, and salad. To drink, we sampled Arizona Iced Tea’s collaboration with Skinnygirl, the Skinnygirl Sparklers.  The kids tried Arizona Kidz!  My girls loved the (decaffeinated) flavors: Arnold Palmer and lemon iced tea.

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After dinner, Melissa Gilbert arrived and read her adorable book about the friendship between Daisy and her French Bulldog, Josephine.  Similar to Melissa, Daisy grows up with a father in the entertainment business.  She was on the road often with him and found maintaining friendships difficult.  In the story, Daisy’s father gives her a puppy to keep her company!  Throughout the story they create a wonderful friendship and a special bond!

Image from The Moms

Image from The Moms

My daughter was elated to meet the real Josephine, who looked very similar to the Frenchie she fell in love with. We all know Melissa Gilbert as Laura Ingalls from Little House on the Prairie.  My girls will forever remember her as the woman with the cutest French Bulldog, Josephine, with hot pink nails, a tutu and the author of their new favorite book!

Daisy and Josephine is available at Barnes & Noble and Amazon!

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In a Q&A, Melissa Gilbert said she will be releasing a Prarie Cookbook in the near future with favorite recipes and some that were inspired by her time on the set of Little House on a Prarie!  Can’t wait to see the recipes and try them with the girls!

Dsclaimer:  I did not receive compensation for this post, all opinions expressed are my own.  We received dinner and a copy of the book for attending the event.

SNOW ART

22 Jan

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I was a little disappointed when I saw that school was on for today!  I love heading out in the morning with them for fun in the snow!  Yesterday, I spent the day looking for activities a snow day.  I stumbled upon the Ideal Sno-Marker Sno-Man Kit with Snowman Top Hat!  I remember seeing snow markers in the past but I couldn’t remember where!  I knew the Sno-Marker Sno-Man Kit wouldn’t get here in time and since I didn’t buy the markers when I saw them, I tried to get creative with what I had at home!  I used a condiment container I bought a while ago at Bed, Bath, and Beyond.  If you are almost finished with a yellow mustard container you can clean out and use that instead.  Initially, I planned to use food coloring but realized that wasn’t a good idea unless I wanted the girls to stain their clothes.  I decided to try crayola washable paint that we had in our art supply bin.  I added warm water and some paint to the container and shook it up to mix it together.  Since we only had one container, the girls could only choose one color (of course they chose purple).  I’ll be headed out for more containers so we can add a little more color to our SNOW ART!  It’s a quick and easy activity if you want a little time in the snow after school (while it’s still here) and you don’t have to hassle with all the gear if you don’t want to.  *The water comes out a little quick, so it takes some time to adjust and create but the girls had fun adding color to the snow.*

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Disclaimer: All opinions expressed are my own.

DramaLlama Studios Begin Classes January 25th!

21 Jan

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There is lots of DRAMA in our house, as you can imagine with two girls. There is the occasional “drama” when they don’t get what they want but there is mostly afternoons inside playing dress up, creating their own performance and using their imagination to the fullest. They role play: house, mommy, daughter, teenager, they pretend they are musicians, dancers, artists and more. I’ve always thought about signing them up for a theatre class but never really looked into any.

I recently learned of DramaLlama Studios from Brunch with My Baby. I attended their launch trial class and media event with my 3-year-old. I was very pleased with the enthusiasm of founders (teachers) Stefanie Brown and Lesley McKinnel. They were engaging, entertaining, and encouraging to the children throughout the class. It took a little while for my daughter to warm-up, the class is meant for older kids, but by the end she had so much fun, she couldn’t leave without inviting Stefanie and Lesley  to her birthday party (hopefully birthdays will be in their future). DramaLlama Studioswill begin their first session on January 25th at Ripley Grier. The semester will last six weeks and each class is 3 hours on Saturday.  This summer they will have a summer camp.  The age range is from 7-14.  For class descriptions, registration, and more visit http://dramallamastudios.com/, follow @dramallama2014 on twitter or visit their facebook page!

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Disclaimer:  I did not receive compensation for this post.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Keeping Your Little One Close A Little Longer ( líllébaby Organic Carrier Review)

20 Jan

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I was introduced to líllébaby at the Big City Moms Biggest Baby Shower back in November.  I was given the líllébaby Complete Organic black baby carrier to review.  I relied on my carrier when my girls were younger but never thought about using it up to the weight limit with an older, heavier child.  It’s easy to forget my youngest is only three and still gets tired easily. When people meet my daughters for the first time, they always ask if they are twins. They are shocked when I tell them that my youngest is ONLY 3.  She is very tall, she wears the same size and has a bigger foot than my 5-year-old so I was a little hesitant trying the carrier with her.  Initially, I thought I would borrow a baby because there are times I help friends and watch their little ones and the carrier would be helpful.  I realized that there were some situations that an older child could use a carrier!

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There are many times we can’t bring our stroller out and rely on the girls walking.   The other day I took the subway to a stop without an elevator. My youngest did fine walking most of the outing but towards the end she started getting tired. I brought the carrier in my bag, just in case, because I had bags to carry and knew I wouldn’t be able to carry them and her at the same time. It worked great for the walk home. I really miss the baby wearing days and wish I had done it more often so was excited to use the carrier with her. I wore her facing me because I wanted to snuggle with her and cherish the moment she was close.  Not to mention it kept her warm on the brutally cold winter day.  I have to admit, I was a little shocked that she fit in it, especially with all the winter gear.  I was also surprised at how comfortable it was.  Not long ago my husband was at my brother-in-laws, a five-story walk-up with no hallway to keep the stroller, and had to carry her all the way back to our apartment, not an easy task.  It would have been so much easier if we had the carrier to keep her from slipping down our jackets and would have distributed the weight evenly.  The carrier would also come in handy when there is a lot of snow its  hard to push the stroller though uncleared sidewalks and streets.  My youngest is funny about walking a lot in the snow and asks to be carried.

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A few friends and cousins are expecting their first child in 2014! I am recommending and passing on the líllébaby Complete Organic Carrier since my daughter is almost to the weight limit.  I love that it is organic,  soft, available in different colors, an insert isn’t needed for the newborn stage, there are a variety of ways to carry your baby/ toddler, the weight limit goes up to 45 lbs to keep your “baby” close to you a little longer and it is machine washable for all the spit-up and snacks that land on it! 🙂

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Other reasons you’ll love the líllébaby Complete Organic Carrier:

FEATURES

  • Weight: 7 lbs- 45 lbs
  • No insert needed for newborns
  • All-in-one carrying- front, hip or back; baby face in, out, or in fetal position.
  • Ergonomic leg position in every setting, including when baby is facing forward.
  • Seat adjusts to perfectly fit baby at every stage and enables carrying through the otherwise “baby wearing gap.”
  • Adjustable neck support with elastic attachments gives ideal support while allowing for movement.
  • The adjustable torso is taller than most brands, giving your baby sturdier support and better posture.
  • Padded side straps protect baby from webbing.
  • Removable sleeping hood adjusts in length and includes elastic edging for comfortable fit. Protects from sun and wind, gives privacy and supports baby’s head while sleeping.

EASY TO USE, COMFORTABLE ERGONOMIC CARRYING

  • Ergonomic design with optimal weight distribution.
  • Unique lumbar support provides lower back support and prevents webbing strap from sliding and “cutting” into wearer’s waist.
  • Sliding adjustment chest strap with a mesh-lined pad that protects and simplifies locating buckle on your back.
  • Ergonomic shoulder pads are sturdy 3 inch (7.5 cm) wide with one inch thick (2.5 cm) premium foam.
  • Extra long straps generally fits adults body heights 5’ to 6’ 6 (fit may vary depending on body type and weight.)
  • Wide waist band with 1/4 inch high-performance foam.
Loving this unique design for 2014!

Love this design for 2014!

The líllébaby Complete Organic Carrier retails for $135. To learn more or see what’s new visit  líllébaby.com and follow on facebook and  @lillebaby on twitter

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Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post, all opinions expressed are my own.  Information in italics, the photo of the black carrier and the photo of the logo are from líllébaby.com!