4.24.2016

A Little "Me Time" Thanks to Crocs

A MOM PSA: we all know that enjoying a little "me time" is important. And completely necessary. But finding that free time to go off on your own is the challenge, right? Since Mother's Day is right around the corner, I wanted to re-invigorate the discussion, because it is so easy to sweep our needs under the rug when we're used to putting everyone else in the family first. Which is okay most of the time, except when mama needs a break.

A few things need to happen. First, acknowledge that you deserve a little time to yourself. We're not talking about a solo vacation to Hawaii (though that would be nice), but an afternoon will do. Second, get your partner on board. And if they're not fully supportive of you needing a couple hours to yourself, then you may have a bigger problem on your hands. Lastly, exit the scene. It may just be for a little museum and reading time in the park (like me), getting your nails done, going to the movies, catching up with friends -- WHATEVER! All that matters is that you get a bit of time to think about something other than what to make the kids for lunch. I guarantee you'll come home feeling more rested and reinvigorated. Which only serves to make you a better mom.

See it all comes full circle, right? Luckily, Crocs shares my enthusiasm for this subject. See below for how you can win some cash and gift cards to have a little #MomsDayOff for yourself!






And quick sidebar, how cute are these wedge sandals? They are so comfortable and stylish! I really like this new direction that Crocs is going in -- I'll be wearing them all summer long. You can see more of their new arrivals here.

Meanwhile, click on the image below to get more details on a fun #MomsDayOffContest sponsored by Crocs! Because they believe in mom's R&R, too, entrants will have a chance to win a $50 Crocs gift card and $100 to spend on your very own mom's day off. Good luck, mamas -- hashtag #MomsDayOffContest on Instagram or Twitter before May 6th to be considered (& be following Crocs, too!)





Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Crocs. All opinions are my own.

4.20.2016

A Date Night Thanks to Chime: Let's Celebrate with a $50 credit!

Husband and I don't get out much. I'm not PROUD of this fact, but it is a fact just the same. Busy schedules often get in the way, and to be honest, we haven't had a regular babysitter since our girls were really little. Friends used to babysit occasionally when we had just one kiddo, but throw an extra kid in the mix and I feel like we're overstepping our bounds.

So naturally, I was very excited when Chime contacted me about helping spread the word about their babysitting service. Launched by the creators of Sittercity, Chime sitters are hand-picked and go through a lengthy vetting process. This includes: an application, and in-person evaluation, enhanced background check, identity verification and social media screening. As a slightly-anxious-to-leave-my-kids-with-a-stranger mom, I really appreciate their thoroughness.

The process of finding a babysitter (or "kid" sitter, as Millie prefers) is pretty simple, too. After creating an account on the site (or app), sitters are matched with you based on your zip code. When viewing a profile, you can discover each sitter's experience, reviews and ratings, video profiles and interviews prior to choosing your favorite. Sitters typically contact families beforehand (via phone or email) to get more information about the kid(s) and learn more about the family prior to showing up on the babysitting date.

And here's the SUPER easy part -- no worrying about cash to pay the sitter at the end of the night! Payment is processed automatically via credit card through the app or website.  Hourly fees vary per city with NYC being $17/hour (with each additional child $1 more per hour). With no subscription fees, Chime is completely commitment-free.

Leana showed up to our door on Monday night, and she couldn't have been lovelier. She immediately began engaging with the girls, and when I walked out the door they were playing a game of Candy Land. I got the full recap the next morning, and the girls had so much fun! Meanwhile, their daddy and I attended a screening and Q&A with the actors and producers behind Showtime's The Affair, one of our favorite shows -- such a fun date night!




To celebrate our kid-free evening, Chime is generously giving Baby Meets City readers a $50 credit to try their amazing "kid" sitters, which is good through July 31st, 2016.

Please use CITY2016 to receive your $50 credit, and enjoy a date night (or even some "me" time) worry-free!



Disclosure: I was compensated for this review with Chime. All opinions are my own.

4.17.2016

An afternoon on Broadway with Tuck Everlasting

A couple weekends ago, Millie and I were invited to a preview of Tuck Everlasting, the new Broadway musical based on the children's novel of the same name by author Natalie Babbitt. Let me admit firstly that I knew next to nothing about the book's plot (other than what I googled that morning), but we were both thoroughly entertained by the show. And this is despite the fact that I was sobbing FOR THE ENTIRE LAST SONG. But I digress...




Tuck Everlasting is the story of a young girl, Winnie Foster, who's aching for an escape from her hum drum life when she meets the Tuck family, who harbor one very special secret. When she discovers what they've been hiding, she has to decide between living an ordinary, beautiful life and one that will go on forever.

























I was so impressed by the elaborate sets, and of course the talent of the cast. The songs were lovely, and the last one in particularly really got me -- Without spoiling anything, Winnie makes the right decision. I cried as I watched this beautiful display of her life throughout the years, of celebration and loss and everything in between. Millie didn't quite pick up on some of the nuances of that particular scene, which was fine. She got a kick out of all the singing and dancing and the fact that another little girl was the lead character of the show.

























When the musical ended, the lead actor, Andrew Keenan-Bolger, made an announcement that Natalie Babbitt was in the audience, and everyone gave her a standing ovation. How amazing it must have been for her to watch her own words translated into a Broadway show.

What a fun afternoon we had -- we highly recommend Tuck Everlasting!




Disclosure: While I was given tickets to attend this show, all opinions are my own.

4.08.2016

NYC Day Trip: Blue Hill at Stone Barns

Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills, NY is well known for offering one of the most superb dining experiences in the country. Husband and I celebrated my birthday there years ago, and it remains probably the best meal of my life to date. Everything in the restaurant is so beautifully presented, in fact, they strongly discourage children. Believe me, this is totally FINE. Check out the Cafe & Grain Bar on the premises which is much more low-key and less stressful than watching your child stick their nose up at a piece of chicken that costs a week of your monthly rent. By picking up lunch or snacks at the cafe, you can dine outdoors or in their enclosed seating area. Or leave the kids at home and have an amazing, first-class experience in the restaurant! But we're talking about families here, so...

Lunch at the cafe and a tour of the working farm and agricultural center (available for free and offered throughout the day) makes for an easy day trip from NYC by train or car. We drove up last Sunday, and while it was FREEZING (and had just snowed the night before!), we had a great time just walking around and being out of the city. A few pics of our day on the farm...












































































Last but not least, a funny photo. When we visited the last time for my birthday, I was a few months pregnant with Millie. We took this "bump" photo for kicks, so it seemed only right to take another photo with my 6 year old former bump. Insert quote about how time flies here! I hope you enjoy your visit to the farm.... it really is a stunning place.

4.02.2016

Stepping into Spring (Slowly, Very Slowly)

Nothing says SPRING like a fresh layer of snow on the ground! Oh, winter, you are hanging on like a champ. We've had some warm-ish days here and there, but official spring temps cannot arrive soon enough. If nothing else, it would be nice to put our hats and gloves away once and for all. And speaking of clothes, the girls are itching to put their new spring wardrobes to the test! In our warmer moments, we've tried out a few options, which only leaves us wanting more.

Spring, we're ready anytime you are... 
























These fleece jackets from Garnet Hill Kids are the perfect lightweight spring jacket. Super comfy with fun colors and patterns (Vivi especially loves her horse print!), easy-to-manage zippers and an affordable price point. 

Next up, how about Little MissMatched's new spring line for active little girls? My gals love their new NYC-themed shirts, and the pants are such fun, vibrant colors. Hearts on the knees is such a fun addition, and I've been impressed with the obvious quality after a couple times in the wash.

Oh, and you also have the added bonus of being able to climb trees in them. 




























Last but not least, the new line of dresses from Children's Place! Perfect for spring celebrations -- the girls already have these lined up for their annual spring concert at school. Too bad these were taken indoors on another COLD day. Boo! C'mon warm weather.... we're rooting for ya.

























 

3.29.2016

Win a Family 4-pack to Twinkle Tames a Dragon

Calling all NYC parents of fairy-loving kiddos: the girls and I recently checked out Twinkle Tames a Dragon, an adorable musical about fairies (& their pets!) at Vital Theatre Company on the Upper West Side. Known for their engaging & dynamic children's theater productions, "Twinkle" did not disappoint.





The show, about three fairies who receive pets in anticipation of a competition at school, is sprinkled with positive messages, too. Twinkle receives a smelly, ill-behaving dragon as a pet and struggles to find a category they can win, all while learning A) not to judge a book by its cover and B) winning is great but it isn't as important as your friends. Life lessons, people!

Receiving autographs post-show
This sweet musical is lots of fun & enjoying an extended run through May 22nd -- AND I have 4 tickets to give away. See Rafflecopter below to enter & I will pick a winner on April 7th. Good luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Disclosure: I received tickets to this show in exchange for review. All opinions are my own.

3.20.2016

Mrs. Schmidt Goes to Washington

Apologies for the late 1930's movie reference, but I couldn't help myself (thanks, Dad!) This past week, I found myself at the gates of The White House for an event with First Lady Michelle Obama and the team behind Let's Move!, an initiative she began in 2010 to help kids and families lead healthier lives. But before I continue, let me take a step back to a couple weeks ago when I received an email with the following subject line:

SPECIAL INVITATION FROM THE WHITE HOUSE + POPSUGAR

The audible response went something like this: "Sqeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!" after which I promptly called/emailed/texted everyone I know to excitedly share the news.

Awkward hand pose. Check.


Along with 150 other bloggers and content creators from around the country, I packed my bags and headed for our nation's capital to listen in on a thoughtful conversation around the health of our country's children.

When we arrived at the White House on Tuesday morning (my birthday, a happy coincidence!), we were invited to explore a handful of rooms on the first and second floor at our leisure, one more beautiful than the next. I was too nervous to drink from the White House china, instead opting to (discreetly?) slip a few embossed napkins in my purse for souvenirs. Shhh....






After we had a sufficient amount of time to ogle everything and take/tweet/IG/SnapChat a million photos and videos (#LetsMove), we were escorted into the East Room. What an honor it was to hear from representatives of the Department of Health and Human Services, The President's Council of Fitness, Sports and Nutrition (Olympian Dominique Dawes, who was lovely), The Department of Agriculture [USDA], and the Partnership for Healthier America.

The epidemic of childhood obesity is a very real, complex issue (1 in 3 American children are overweight or obese, and the ramifications are far-reaching). Fortunately, the Let's Move! initiative has accomplished a great deal to fight this problem. Here's some of what I learned:

  • 1.6 million kids attend healthier daycare centers where fruits and vegetables have replaced cookies and juice.
  • 2 million kids now have a Let's Move! Salad Bar in their school.
  • Over 10 million kids attend Let's Move! Active Schools where they strive to get 60 minutes of physical activity each day.
  • Over 30 million kids have access to healthier school meals.
  • Nearly 80 million people live in a Let's Move! City, Town or County.
  • 200 corporate partners have made commitments for a healthier America.
  • The creation of Choose My Plate by the USDA, which illustrates the 5 food groups that are building blocks for a healthy diet.

Additionally, did you know that through Every Kid in a Park, fourth graders nationwide can obtain a pass for free entry for them and their families to more than 2000 national parks for an entire year? How awesome is that! I also loved learning about the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge, which invites kids ages 8-12, in collaboration with a parent or guardian, to create an original recipe that is healthy, affordable and delicious. One winner from each state will be flown to DC for the Kids' State Dinner at the White House. So fun! If you know someone who might be a good fit, they have until April 4th to submit their recipe.

When The First Lady entered the room to give her remarks, everyone was SO excited. I've been such a huge fan of hers from the days of the first campaign trail until now, so it was a huge moment to be in the same room with her. As she lamented on her days as a busy working mom with two young daughters, not always feeding them the healthiest meals, she became not just The First Lady but another mom with similar worries and goals for her children. Luckily, she was able to turn things around in her own family, but the issue of children's health has never been far from her heart.


























Mrs. Obama assured us that this is a cause she will continue fighting after leaving the White House, saying, "If we want to keep seeing better food options for our families, then we need to keep raising our voices." Oh, I just loved hearing her speak. So real, so relatable. Fan Girl Status, complete.

We wrapped things up with a tour of the White House Kitchen Garden in the South Lawn, which is used by The First Family for receptions and state dinners, in addition to a local organization that prepares fresh meals for the homeless. I might have regretted my choice in footwear, but that's okay. If you're motivated like me to eat more greens, check out White House Executive Chef Cristeta Comerord's Must Have Tuscan Kale Salad recipe!






I left with one quote from The First Lady ringing in my head:

"We don't have the luxury to ignore the issue of childhood obesity. 
It's up to us, as parents, to do something about it."

Will you take a step towards a healthier diet for you and your family? I generally feel as if my family eats fairly healthy, but I know we could do better. Food for thought (literally). I'd like to thank PopSugar once again for this tremendous once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It's one I'll not soon forget.





Disclosure: I was not compensated in any way for this trip. All opinions are my own.
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