sprout launches "mom is here" sweepstakes (#momishere)

Sprout is one of our favorite networks, thanks to programming like The Chica Show, Sid the Science Kid and Caillou (the list goes on...). They've just launched a really fun sweepstakes, which I'm excited to share with you!

The Mom is Here photo contest invites you to get in the photo with your child, then submit your picture to their Instagram account or website and be entered to win some quality R&R time for yourself (the grand prize winner will win a $2,000 spa package and 10 runner ups will win $100 spa gift certificates). Isn't that fun?

If you're like me, you've always got your phone out taking pictures of your little ones. But if I scroll back through my photos, I'm in very few of them. Kind of a bummer. I've tried to be more conscious about that lately, particularly because I love to look back at old photo albums of my own childhood. It's so fun to see photos of my family together, 1970s clothing style (which my mom rocked!) and the look on my parents' faces around my brother and me.

While photographs of the kids are wonderful, they're even better when you're in the shot with them... sharing in that moment or activity. A part of the experience. I want my girls to look back at photos of their childhood one day and have as much fun as I do. When it comes down to it, our memories are one of the most important things in life, don't you think?

With that said, here's the photo I'm contributing to the Mom is Here campaign (rainy day silliness with these two):

It's time to start clicking. Have fun!

Disclosure: This sponsored post was written while participating in my partnership with Sprout and One2One Network, but as always, all opinions are my own.

wow... almost there

Thanks to all of you who have signed Seventh Generation's petition for safer chemicals at FightToxins.com. As of this evening, we're less than 7,000 signatures away from 100,000!

To recap, the goal of the Toxin Freedom Fighters Campaign by Seventh Generation is to obtain the attention of Congress. And here's why: believe it or not, but the Toxic Substances Control Act was passed in 1976 and has never been updated, which is beyond ridiculous. And unsafe.

And we can do something about it by signing this petition.

Like I mentioned in my original post, I'm beyond thrilled to be working on this campaign. On April 30th, Seventh Generation will present our signatures to Congress and urge lawmakers to put chemical reform on their agendas.

By signing the petition, we have been given a voice and a chance to be a part of real change. And I love that Seventh Generation is passionate about this subject, in addition to making the best product line out there that's chemical-free yet works great.

Oh, and if you've got a little freedom fighter at home, wouldn't he/she look cute with a mask on like Millie? After signing the petition, check out "Mask Yourself."

Less than 7,000 signatures away from 100,000. If you've already signed the petition, please pass it on to family and friends. Let's show Congress there is strength in numbers.

brooklyn baby & family expo this sunday, april 6th

Mamas-to-be and new parents in NYC:

If your weekend plans are still being ironed out, keep A Child Grows' Baby and Family Expo in mind. Taking place this Sunday, April 6th (11am-3pm) in Brooklyn Heights, the 3rd Annual Expo will feature all sorts of useful parenting info and sessions on everything from installing car seats to baby food-making classes. There'll be vendors galore and a keynote address by none other than The Honest Toddler, aka Bunmi Laditan (kind of geeking out about that and hoping I can snag a selfie with her). It's a super fun and informative day on all things kiddo, and A Child Grows steps it up each and every year.

Lucky for you, tickets are still available and more information can be found HERE.

I'm excited to be a part of the day with Expo vendor Bumblebean, a website which sources the most adorable and unique products from specialty brands. What sets Bumblebean apart, however, is their relationship with parenting bloggers like myself. Trusting my taste and experience, Bumblebean has given me an "expert collection," which basically means I'm like that personal shopper I always secretly wanted to be... scouring the site for my favorite products and then listing them all for you to peruse. Check out my curated collections and let me know what you think!

Or better yet, tell me yourself on Sunday. Until then, check out some of my favorite products on Bumblebean:

a new project w/ seventh generation (#fighttoxins)

Sharing some exciting news today: I'm teaming up with Seventh Generation over the next few months to help spread the word about their Toxin Freedom Fighter Campaign


Here's a crazy, eye-opening statistic for you:

More than 80,000 chemicals available in the United States have never been 
fully tested for their toxic effects on our health and environment. 

And according to the National Resources Defense Council, our main chemical safety law (which is 37 years old, by the way) -- the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) -- makes it virtually impossible for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to take action against dangerous chemicals. So dangerous, in fact, that some of those very chemicals are known to cause cancer (and other serious health issues).

Here's the GOOD news: Seventh Generation, which has spent the last 25 years creating a healthy home by delivering plant derived products using bio-based ingredients, is taking a stand on the issue. Here's where YOU can have a hand in real change. The Toxin Freedom Fighters Campaign is collecting signatures (with a goal of 100,000) and headed to Congress on April 30, 2014. The signatures will strengthen the movement behind chemical reform and will demand that decision-makers change the necessary laws. 

Simply put, we deserve better. And by signing this petition, Seventh Generation is giving us a voice.

I'm really thrilled to be working on this campaign with Seventh Generation. I've long been a fan of their products (especially since becoming a parent), but additionally, I love that this is a large company with heart. A company that believes in making a difference. A company that is committed to our earth, our health and a toxin-free life. And they're willing to fight for it. 

Join me in spreading the word about the Toxin Freedom Fighters Campaign. You can sign the petition and spread the word HERE. I'll be sharing posts, a Pinterest board and tweeting about all things Seventh Generation periodically over the next few months, so be on the lookout.

Disclosure: Compensation and product has been provided to me by Seventh Generation, but all opinions expressed, as always, are my own.

a day trip to beacon & brooklyn

I turned 36 last weekend. *Gulp.*

Instead of pondering the number and what I've done so far, what I'd like to do, and the feeling that time's a wastin'... I'll just say that at 36 there is much to be grateful for, and it starts and ends with family and friends. 

I spent the weekend celebrating -- on Friday night, our family of 4 went out for sushi. It was the girls first time with chopsticks, and while it was a little comical to watch them maneuver their beginner sets, they did a lot better than I was expecting! Too funny.

On Saturday, my actual birthday, I slept in for a bit (the best present ever) and we hopped in our car for a quick trip up the Hudson to the Dia: Beacon in Beacon, NY (though we recently got a car, this trip is easily doable by Metro North). I've heard about the Dia for years but this was our first visit, and luckily the weather was perfect for a day out of the city. The contemporary art collection, located in a former Nabisco box printing factory, houses some pretty impressive works by Andy Warhol, Richard Serra and Blinky Palermo (the name alone makes me an instant fan).

The space is enormous, and we had a blast just roaming around the halls checking out the collections (please note: I snuck the photos with my iPhone as cameras are forbidden indoors. And yes, I'm still feeling guilty about it!) There is a cafe inside the Dia where you can eat before heading back to the train (in walking distance of the museum), but we opted to drive up to Main Street to check out the town a little and have lunch. We found Homespun Foods after reading about it online, and I have to say it didn't disappoint -- the only drawback being the crowd in the restaurant... hence those good reviews! 

Such a perfect day. 

On Sunday, I headed out for another day trip - Williamsburg! - to check out the Brooklyn Flea with friends and a yummy brunch afterwards at southern-themed Extra Fancy (I owned my SC roots and got the shrimp and grits... so good!). I have to admit I don't get to Brooklyn very often, and when I do, I honestly feel like I'm a tourist walking around. Sad but true. Much like the Dia, I'd been hearing about the Flea for a while and was curious to check it out. The vendors ranged from the hip and cool to straight-out-of-someone's-basement, but we had fun just walking around and taking it all in. And I bought myself a little birthday gift: this vintage necklace (pictured below). Love!

Best of all? Hanging out with friends, who I don't see nearly as often as I'd like. Yup, 36 is starting off alright.

a day in the park with stork sak (and a giveaway!)

I hate to jinx it, but I think spring may be in the air?! I'm keeping my fingers crossed anyway. We spent a day in Central Park over the weekend and soaked up every last bit of the sun... the girls were so happy they hardly knew what to do with themselves. Here's hoping this warming trend continues...

 Our day in the park was also a perfect opportunity to use my new Stork Sak diaper bag. I'm loving my new "Bobby" -- Not only does it look great and isn't so obviously a diaper bag (always a plus), it's roomy with plenty of space for a day out. While the space and pockets are great, I also love that it's a lightweight material, so you don't feel like you're lugging around a suitcase all day. And here's one of my favorite parts... it comes with a matching insulated snack bag! So handy and perfect for our day's snacks. Lastly, I like that there are several ways to wear the bag, depending on what -- or who! -- else you are managing at the moment.

And not that I'm trying to rush forward in time, but I'm excited about the fact that this design can easily translate to a weekend bag after we're officially out of the diaper zone. "Bobby" and I have really hit it off, and I see us having a long relationship ahead... hee hee.

Fun news: I've teamed up with Storksak to give a "Bobby" bag away to one lucky reader (winner will choose color)! Check out the following (easy) ways to enter this giveaway on Rafflecopter. US residents only, please. I'll draw a winner next Wednesday (3/19). Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: I was given a StorkSak bag for the purposes of this review (and a second one for a giveaway). All opinions expressed herein are my own.

a long winter in nyc... good thing there's plenty to do

Want the good news or the bad news first?

Okay, bad news: it's March, and winter is still going strong here in NYC. Snow falls about once a week, the wind and cold are thoroughly depressing and it takes an hour to get out of the house with small children (hats, shoes, snow pants, gloves... you know the drill). I think I speak for most of the country when I say we are ALL DONE WITH WINTER.

Snow... snow... and more snow.
Now to the good news. There is SO much to do in NYC with kids, and you can be kept occupied easily on the weekends without everyone in the family succumbing to cabin fever... and thank goodness for that! While Husband was out of town, I did my best to keep us all entertained. Here's a roundup of some of our activities:

Kidrockers at NYU's Skirball Center
The Big Red Chair Family series has joined together with Kidrockers and The Skirball Center at NYU to present a series of concerts that both adults and children will love. We had such a blast listening to two bands, Caveman and The Pizza Underground (the latter is a Velvet Underground tribute band dedicated to pizza. Incidentally, Macaulay Culkin is a member... only in NYC, people!). The Skirball Center is a beautiful venue, too, and right off of Washington Square Park.

The next show, which features Adam Green and San Fermin, will take place on March 29th. Tickets and more info can be found HERE. While the age recommendation is 3-13, Vivian at age 2 was rockin' in her seat!

Angelina Ballerina, the Musical
Not sure this one needs further explanation! If you have a little girl that fancies herself a dancer and wishes she could attend Camembert Academy, then this is the show for you. The Vital Theatre, on the Upper West Side, is convenient to get to and the show is the perfect amount of time without being too long for kids to start getting antsy. It's upbeat and charming, and the cast even comes out after the show so kids can get autographs. Really cute! Ticket and show information can be found HERE.

Yes, this is the best I could do in terms of photos that day.
"Bessie's Big Shot" at the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre
Once again, the City Parks Foundation and its amazing puppeteers are putting on a charming show in Central Park's Swedish Cottage. I'm a big fan of the theatre (just love the history behind the building and the peaceful, "hidden away" aspect, right in the middle of NYC), and the storyline of "Bessie" is really heartwarming. Girls loved it! Tickets and more info can be found HERE.

I just realized that my children are in full winter gear in every photo. Ugh. Bring on spring!! In the meantime, have fun taking advantage of all this city has to offer (hint: it's a TON.)
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