Archive | March, 2014

Share the Love with MAM and You Could Win

31 Mar

 

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Both of my girls were MAM babies. My youngest couldn’t go anywhere without her MAM “paci”. At 3 we had to say goodbye. It’s hard to believe that she will be four in a few days. Reflecting back on the past 5 1/2 years (when my first was born), time flies. My girls have grown and how their personalities have bloomed, it makes you realize that they won’t be little for ever and to cherish every moment (good or bad). I don’t know what will happen in the next 5 years, 10 years, or 20 years but I do know I only hope for the best for my girls. I want them to learn from their mistakes, I want them to try and never give up, and I want them to accomplish their dreams not matter how big. Most of all, I want them to know that I will always LOVE them no matter what.

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Share-the-Love-Reverse

From now until April 15, 2014, share with MAM what makes your little ones so special, your hopes and dreams for their futures and the joys of parenthood by posting a video, photo or letter on facebook.com/mambabyusa. Eligible entries will be considered for a grand prize of a year’s worth of spa treatments, valued at $2,500. It’s MAM’s way of celebrating you for the love you share. Enter here: http://bit.ly/mamsharethelove. Deadline to enter:April 15, 2014.

 

Disclaimer: I did not receive compensation for this post. All opinions expressed are my own. Information in italics are from a press release about the contest. The image of my daughter is from Summer 2011.

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Fun Friday: Celebrate Spring With The Very Hungry Caterpillar

21 Mar

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My daughter counted down the days until she gets to the Tulip on her school calendar, which marked the first day of Spring!  We ready to pack up our winter jackets and head to the park for hours on end.  We’re excited to chase butterflies, watch the ducks in the pond, and picnic with friends!

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A throw back, catching butterflies at an educational event in NJ.

Did you know yesterday not only marked the first day of Spring but it was also The Very Hungry Caterpillar Day?

I have childhood memories listening to and reading books by Eric Carle.  Some of my childhood favorites included Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, The Mixed Up Chameleon, The Tiny Seed, and but my favorite was The Very Hungry Caterpillar!  For generations, Eric Carle books have been a favorite in classrooms and in homes.   Now that I am a parent, it’s always fun when my girls come home loving books that I loved as a little girl.  My girls are big fans of his books especially The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  For Christmas, the girls received The Very Hungry Caterpillar Take and Toss Game, The Very Hungry Caterpillar Stencil Set, and The Very Hungry Chunky Colored Pencils. To welcome Spring and celebrate Spring we pulled out our game and made art projects.

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The Very Hungry Caterpillar Twirl and Toss Game is simple to set up. Snap the caterpillar and leaves onto the branch.  Each player receives 3 soft pieces of fruit.  Players help the Very Hungry Caterpillar catch his lunch, by tossing soft-stuffed fruit at the twirling caterpillar.  Be the first to get all three pieces onto the velcro targets to win.  My girls have a great time playing and love cheering each other on to feed their caterpillar friend.

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image from amazon

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The Very Hungry Caterpillar Stencil Set & The Very Hungry Chunky Colored Pencils are great for after school coloring and crafting.  The girls have a lot of fun making cards for their friends and family.  This afternoon we will be coloring our favorite shapes, cutting them out and glueing them on a construction paper crown.  With Easter around the corner, these would make a great basket filler.

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20140321-140918.jpgThe World of Eric Carle toys and games are fun for playdates, sleep overs, or to keep busy during the April showers.  You can find other games and activities from your favorite Eric Carle books here.    Want to have a Very Hungry Caterpillar themed Fun Friday find snack ideas and other activities on my The Very Hungry Caterpillar Board on pinterest.  Happy Spring!

Barnes and Noble also carries toys, games, and other Eric Carle favorites!

Barnes and Noble also carries toys, games, and other Eric Carle favorites!

Disclaimer: I received products for review however this did not alter my opinions.  All opinions expressed are my own.  Information in italic are from amazon.com.   All images are my own unless noted in the caption below them.

Spring Cleaning: Storage Favorites

19 Mar

It’s hard to believe the first day of Spring is tomorrow! Thank goodness because I’m over Winter!  I had planned on getting a jump-start on Spring Cleaning but have been sick on and off the last month.  While cooped up, I’ve searched for pieces of furniture to store their clothing in. Their current storage cabinet is falling apart. Some of my favorites include:

This is Dutch Amsterdam Storage Cabinet, $1,299  This house shaped storage cabinet is adorable!  It comes in twelve different colors and you can choose between three gable choices (bell, step, or neck) and which side the hinges go on.

Image from Babesta

Image from Babesta

Ikea Kallax:  The Expedit was one of my favorite purchases.  I have a unit in my living room.  It’s affordable and looks great.  Doors, drawers and bins are options to hide toys and clothing.  While searching, I learned the Kallax will replace my the Expedit and will be available on April 1.  It seems the Kallax will be similar to the Expedit so I’m hoping the drawer and cabinet options will be available too.

The Expedit, Image from Ikea.com

The Expedit, Image from Ikea.com

The Cube Storage System from Land Of Nod: I think I’m going to have to redo  my girls entire room after seeing how Land of Nod used the entire cube collection them all along one wall for the adorable look below!  Land of Nod also has many storage bin and basket choices to keep your things hidden for a cleaner look.

Image from Land Of Nod

Image from Land Of Nod

Circo Tower from Target, $129 Adds a bit of color and  adds extra storage for clothing, accessories, or toys without taking up too much space.

Image from Target.com

Image from Target.com

Bellini Jessica Lingerie Chest, $995: Simple and gorgeous!  Six drawers to keep your little one’s things organized!

Image from Bellini.com

Image from Bellini.com

What are your favorite storage solutions? Have you gotten a start on Spring Cleaning?

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

 

Bonding While Building plus LEGOLAND NYC Recap

10 Mar

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We’ve had LEGO DUPLO  sets around the apartment since my girls were little.  I always loved watching them build their own creations.  As they got older, their creations got more elaborate (see my daughters “NYC and “Bronx Zoo” pictured above).  My oldest received her first LEGO Friends set for her Birthday this year and has become a LEGO fanatic. She loves spending time on the floor building with her dad and sister.  We’ve since acquired more models, LEGO’s have gotten us through this long and frigid Winter.  Building is an awesome after school activity that sparks creativity as well as a great way to learn patience, turn-taking,  and problem solving while following and reading directions.

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Not long ago we attended a Legoland event in NYC! When my girls found out about the event they were ecstatic.  We entered the venue to find incredible LEGO Models.  Some models were of the new attractions at LEGOLAND Parks.  After they met LEGOMAN, the girls headed over to build a Chima Model with Master Model Builder, Gary.  They had so much fun building with him, they didn’t want to leave with their model unfinished but unfortunately we had to go.  They next day, they finished their models and my oldest was so proud she insisted on taking a picture to show Gary if we ever saw him again!

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Prior to the event, I had no idea there was a LEGOLAND Discovery Center just miles outside of New York City, in Westchester.  There are more than fifteen attractions included in your admission.  Take a factory tour, check out the new Chima 4D cinema experience, explore DUPLO Village, or build and sing with your favorite LEGO Friends.  The Discovery Center would be a great family outing one weekend or a great adventure over Spring Break if you are sticking around. If you make it there, Master Model Builder Gary built the MetLife Stadium.

All images in this collage were taken by Josh Wong Photography at the event!

All images in this collage were taken by Josh Wong Photography at the event!

There are two Legoland Theme Parks in the United States; Florida and California.  We were at Disney World a few years ago but my girls weren’t quite ready for Legoland and didn’t have as much enthusiasm for LEGO’s then.  This summer we plan to head down there to check it out so I was excited to learn of the new attractions and experiences at LEGOLAND® Florida.  New attractions include:

  • The LEGO World of Chima just opened last summer.  It  features an interactive water ride, the “Quest for CHI”, a “Speedorz Arena”, “Cragger’s Swamp” water play area, a 4D movie experience as well as character meet and greet sessions. 
  • DUPLO Valley, a new expansion area specifically geared to toddlers ages 2 to 5, will officially open to guests on May 23, 2014, just in time for family-fun over Memorial Day weekend.  DUPLO Valley attractions will include the DUPLO Train, a tractor ride, a new splash & play area to cool off and the DUPLO Barn with indoor farm-themed play areas.

We don’t have plans to make it to California but if you are there and your kids loved the LEGO Movie as much as my girls did, be sure to check out the Lego Movie Experience at the LEGOLAND® Resort!

Is your child the biggest LEGO® fan you know? LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Westchester is seeking twelve children aged 5 to 10 to be part of our new Creative Crew! The Creative Crew will assist our Master Model Builder, with important tasks at LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Westchester. Contest Ends March 21, 2014!

Is your child the biggest LEGO® fan you know? LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Westchester is seeking twelve children aged 5 to 10 to be part of our new Creative Crew! The Creative Crew will assist our Master Model Builder, with important tasks at LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Westchester.  Click the image to find out more!

 Click the image to find out more!

Disclaimer: I received a family pass to visit LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Westchester for attending the event however this did not impact my opinions, as always all opinions are my own.  Information in italics came from a PR representative or a LEGOLAND website.  All photos unless noted underneath are my own.

Fun FROZEN Friday

7 Mar

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The first attempt at seeing Frozen didn’t go so well!  We went to a pre-screening in 3D.  Ten minutes into the movie we had to leave because my daughter got scared when someone said there was a snow monster that was going to jump out.   Over the Holidays we gave Frozen a second chance, this time not in 3D.  The girls brought their Anna doll they received for Christmas and was able to snuggle up with their grandparents who went with us.  It was a success and they LOVED the movie!  Since seeing the movie and attending Frozen viewing parties, now that it’s On Demand , we’ve done Frozen themed activities and made Frozen themed treats.  Below are a few of our favorites that would be perfect for a Fun Frozen Friday!

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Start the afternoon with fun on the floor with Disney Frozen Busy Books from Barnes and Noble.  The girls love setting the scene and pretending the characters are part of their favorite scenes.  They also liking coming up with their own adventures of Elsa and Anna allowing their imaginations to run free.

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After playing on the floor, have a dance party to the Frozen Soundtrack, definitely worth purchasing on iTunes.  We listen to it at least once a day, sometimes more.  The girls don’t have the Frozen dress-up clothes (yet) so they make-do with what they have.  My oldest adds a scarf to her Cinderella costume to “keep warm” as she dances through the snow.  They sing, dance, and pretend they are Elsa and Anna.

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After the dance party serve “Snowmen for Dinner

A party wouldn’t be complete without something sweet.  Olaf Ice Cream or “Snowflakes Falling on Arendelle” Rice Krispie Treats make a great dessert.

To make one Olaf: Use a Tablespoon and scoop out 3 tablespoons of vanilla ice cream for “Olaf’s” body.  Use 1 orange rainbow sprinkle for the “carrot nose”, 3 white sprinkles for Olaf’s hair.  Use three chocolate chips for the buttons and two for eyes.  Pretzel sticks work great for the arms.  Put back in the freezer until ready to eat.

frozen friday

To make Snowflakes Falling on Arendelle, follow the directions to make Rice Krispie Treats.  Add a little blue coloring to the melted marshmallows.  After you place rice krispie treats on pan, use a snowflake shaped cookie cutter and cut out shapes.  Use white gel icing to make the snowflake outline on top of treats.

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After everyone is ready for bed, snuggle up with popcorn and download Frozen.  Make personal sized by filling Aladdin mason cups.  To add a Frozen touch, download and print the characters here, hole punch them, and tie them around the cups with ribbon.  It’ll be a hit!

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For more ideas check out my Frozen Party ideas board on Pinterest!  Have a Fun Frozen Friday!

Disclaimer:  Unless noted, all images and opinions are my own.

Winter Days

3 Mar

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I was a little disappointed that we didn’t get much snow today.  Don’t get me wrong, I am definitely ready for warmer weather, especially after the brief nice weekend we had.  But I’m hoping for one more storm so we can playing in the snow one last time.  Our play sessions in the snow during the past storms were cut short because there were no snow days.  They had school all day and by the time they got home it was time to get ready for dinner.

SnowFun

In our brief sessions in the snow we made snow art, went on mini sledding adventures, made a snow angel here and there, threw snowballs and made a mini snowman family.  The mini snowman family was the favorite for my girls, using our snowball maker we made three balls for the body.  We did not have carrots or anything else to dress our snowman so we had to get creative.  We found an ultimate fuzzy kit that contained eyes, pom poms, and pipe cleaners to use to create our snow family.  To all my friends and family in DC getting slammed by Titan, this is a good way to keep busy for a while.  Make as many or as little as you want and go back out later for more.

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Over the weeks as the weather warmed up, we watched our snow family melt away.  While we were enjoying the sun and running around last weekend, we came across the pieces to our mini snowman family.  My girls were sad they were cleaning up the pieces that were left and wished for more snow to make more snowmen. They have fingers crossed for a storm in March for more fun in the snow.  In the mean time I am heading out for white Crayola Model Magic Clay to make an indoor snow family that won’t melt away!  Keep a look out on Instagram (Tastefully Childish) for our snow family!