Happy New Year with Zazzle's Holiday Card Collection

Happy New Year, friends!

2017 has arrived, and after an eventful, sometimes upsetting/sometimes amazing year, I think we can all say we're glad it's here. Last month, with all the holiday hoopla, I admit that I let sending cards out slip by the wayside... same goes for last year & the year before that! I don't know, it just seems like ONE MORE THING to deal with in an already overstuffed month of fun & celebration.

So, Happy New Year cards it is (and if they arrive by the end of the month, that's okay, right?) Hope so. For all you procrastinating card-senders, I'm a big fan of Zazzle & their customizable cards/stamps/address labels... actually, you want to put your name on just about anything... and they most likely have it! 

I ordered my cards this morning & I was so happy with how easy the process was for customizing photos & text. Hmm... wonder which one I chose --it's among the fun designs below!

This handwritten design is filled with personality:

Everyone needs more gold accents in their life:

I think I'm going to start saying "super awesome wonder-is-tic jolly-happy-docious."

It will be the best year ever... did you hear that, 2017?!

Zazzle currently has a 15% off site-wide sale happening, so this is a great time to pick up your new years cards & surprise your friends with a little happy in their mailbox in a couple weeks. 

Here's to an amazing 2017!

Disclosure: I was provided with shopping credit for the purposes of this review. All opinions are my own.


Holiday Safety Tips with Northwell Health-GoHealth Urgent Care

Earlier this month, I worked with Northwell Health-GoHealth Urgent Care to bring together a group of my fellow parenting bloggers for a lunch & learn on their services and holiday safety tips in which we can all benefit. With 6 locations in the city, Northwell Health-Go Health Urgent Care is an important medical resource here in the city, especially when health concerns arise & you need to see a provider quickly.

Here are some of my key takeaways from the event:

First, on the topic of urgent care. Northwell Health-GoHealth Urgent Care provides immediate walk-in healthcare for non-life threatening injuries & illnesses (bronchitis, cold & flu, ear or sinus pain, infections, nausea, etc). Backed by the entire Northwell Health system, you'll see an experienced clinician to receive the most efficient, highest quality care. Sick child this winter? As long as they are older than 6 months of age, you can bring them in for treatment.

Regarding health insurance, Northwell Health-GoHealth Urgent Care accepts many commercial insurance plans, including employer-sponsored and individual plans, Medicare, Medicaid & motor vehicle insurance. For patients without health insurance, they offer affordable self-pay rates.

Now, on to the holidays! A few things to keep on your radar, friends, especially those of us with young children.

Did you know that the holly berry is the most dangerous type of plant during the winter season? Me, neither. Berries can cause vomiting and/or diarrhea (and in rare cases, death) in children that eat 20 or more, so keep them out of reach of curious toddlers...

Toy injuries resulted in 185,000 visits to the emergency room in 2015. So on that note, select toys that are appropriate to your child's age, and don't give electronic toys with heating elements to children under the age of 8. Look for sturdy construction and tightly secured parts.

Replace smoke & carbon monoxide detector batteries annually. One way to remember? Pick an annual event or holiday and set a reminder to take care of it then. Never use space heaters or portable generators indoors without proper ventilation.

Lastly, and this is for the mamas out there: SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is a REAL thing. More common in women, this disorder generally comes in the winter months due to lack of sunlight. Leading to grumpiness, lack of sleep and trouble concentrating, there are ways to keep SAD at bay by making time for yourself, having a support system, getting sunlight when you can, getting enough sleep and laughing as often as you can. I could use this advice all year long!

Special thanks to Handzies, an alcohol-free cleaning wipe that's perfect for keeping hands clean all year long, not just through the winter, and Pipsnacks, a delicious snacking popcorn that's made with all-natural, gluten-free and non-GMO ingredients, for providing samples in everyone's goody bags.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Northwell Health-GoHealth Urgent Care. All opinions expressed herein are my own.


A Night Out with the Rockettes & Green Giant

There's no question about it: The Radio City Rockettes' Christmas Spectacular is a NYC holiday season rite of passage, and the production is truly a magical experience for children (okay, maybe their parents, too). We were lucky enough to attend a show last weekend with friends, and it was so much fun. A special thank you to Green Giant for hosting us!

The girls and I started our afternoon off at The Paley Center for Media, which has had a gorgeous winter display in their lobby (with kids' holiday movies being shown all month long)!

Afterwards, we made our way over to Radio City, with a quick stop by ice skating and the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center... gorgeous, as always!

Next stop, the big show. What a treat!

Couldn't have asked for a more special evening this time of year, thanks to Green Giant. They've done a bit of re-branding over there (while he may not be "jolly" anymore, his products are still top notch, including new product offerings for children.) We're looking forward to trying the Veggie Tots, as an example. Keep an eye out for them!

Disclosure: Thanks to Green Giant for sponsoring this post. All opinions herein are my own.


Take the Key Pledge & Keep Liquid Laundry Packets Away from Children

As I stare at a never-ending pile of laundry, I wanted to alert you to an important campaign by The American Cleaning Institute regarding home & laundry safety. And yes, that really is a thing.

According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, there were over 12,000 accidental exposures to liquid laundry packets in children five and younger in 2015. By ingesting or exposure to eyes, these packets can be quite harmful to curious children who are simply doing what they do best - getting into things! Through the Key Pledge Campaign, ACI aims to educate consumers about home and laundry safety and to re-evaluate their laundry room & routine by taking these simple steps:

Keep single-load liquid laundry packets out of the reach of children (& in their original container)
Educate your family & friends about the safe use & storage of these new laundry products
You serve a key role in laundry safety

By taking the Pledge to a safe laundry room and routine, you are automatically entered to win $2,500 for a laundry room makeover! How's that for an added bonus to keeping your child safe? You have until December 31st, 2016 to enter, but please remember The American Cleaning Institute, which is full of helpful information year round.

If you've got a young child at home, and you probably do if you're reading this, stay alert in your laundry routine, and good luck in the contest!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by The American Cleaning Institute. All opinions herein are my own.


Celebrating St. Nick's Night with Garnet Hill

Have you ever heard of St. Nick's Night? Husband grew up celebrating this European tradition, which recognizes the feast day of St. Nicholas by putting little gifts into the shoes or boots (now stockings) of children a few weeks before Christmas. While December 6th is technically the night to celebrate, we waited until the weekend as we suspected the extra excitement would lead to less sleep & early rising (it did).

Timing is everything, too. Garnet Hill recently sent me personalized stockings for our family, and it was the perfect opportunity to try them out. By the way, if you still need this Christmas necessity, it's the perfect time to purchase -- they're 40% off (with monogramming available for $6). Worth checking out! The quality is excellent and I have no doubt these will be the stockings our daughters remember, year in and year out, as we celebrate St. Nick's Night... on the correct night (or not)!

I had fun finding all sorts of goodies to fill their stockings, like unicorn horns from Brooklyn Owl and these really cool canvas & easels from Five Below. We really enjoyed seeing them open their stockings. Hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season!

Disclosure: I am a part of Garnet Hill's Inner Circle blogger program. All opinions expressed herein are my own.


NYC Dining with Kids: Playa Betty's on the Upper West Side

While there are a zillion restaurants to choose from in NYC, and many bill themselves as "kid-friendly," I wouldn't say that's an accurate description for all of them (no changing tables in the bathrooms, I'm looking at you). I suppose we all have different needs depending on what stage of the game we are with parenthood, but with that said, I can share that Playa Betty's hits all the key points for "kid-friendly" status with our fam.

First, it's a big restaurant! That matters, with or without the stroller. Maybe it's just the high ceilings, but room to breathe and unload your stuff without jamming into the person at the next table is a sight to behold in this town.

Second, the crayons and fun coloring sheets. Those are a must for our girls to keep them occupied while we figure out what to eat. Playa Betty's had both and they were super cute.

Menu! So my family and I love tacos, rice & beans and anything in the Mexican food arena. Playa Betty's describes its menu as "California-style beach food," and that's close enough for us. We got guacamole to start, which was fun as it comes with a handful of toppings that you can add yourself depending on what you like. We also got the Mexican corn appetizer... tasty!

The kids menu is $10 across the board, and it includes a drink of choice (apple juice of white or chocolate milk), entree (cheese quesadillas or chicken finger tacos with tater tots or brown rice bowl with chicken, sweet potato & zucchini) and ice cream for dessert. They chose tacos and chicken & rice, which they both enjoyed, though full disclosure, V wouldn't eat the sweet potatoes so I had to jump in there. I love that they offer this healthier option, though. It's such a pleasant change from the normal fries and mac & cheese.

Moving on, Husband got tacos -- YUMMY -- and I got a steak & spinach rice bowl, as I was feeling healthy for once in my life. It was both yummy tasting and filling, and I left the restaurant not feeling like I'd just gained 5 lbs, which is apt to happen when I leave any sort of Mexican-style restaurant.

But back to being unhealthy for a moment... our margaritas were delish (that probably should have gone at the top of my list for family-friendly restaurant qualifications- ha!) and I loved this churro vanilla bean ice cream sandwich. Soooo good. Other points worth noting: bathroom is downstairs and DOES have a changing table, and the restaurant offers high chairs and a delicious brunch menu on the weekends, too.

Worth a try, friends!

Disclosure: We were invited to try Playa Betty's for potential review. All opinions, as always, are my own.


The Thanksgiving Day Parade with Pirate's Booty

There are few annual events more quintessentially "fall in NYC" than the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. My first year in the city (16 years ago, crazy as that seems), I worked the parade as a Page at CBS News. But like millions of others, I've watched it on TV ever since. This year, we graciously attended as guests of Pirate's Booty. Despite the early hour (we were in our seats along Central Park West by 7:30am), it was a such a fantastic experience to be at the parade again and see all the action live -- this time with a husband and children in tow.

Thanks to Pirate's Booty for our tickets -- this was such a natural fit as the girls LOVE this snack, and it's easy for me to give them guilt-free (their snack bag size is perfect for the subway ride home from school). This is the 3rd time Pirate's Booty has participated in this celebrated tradition (90 years old and going strong!), and its "Treasure Hunt" float, helmed by Crunchy the Parrot, was one of the hits of the parade.

Check out a few pictures (thanks, Husband!) for a peek of the morning's events. So much fun!

Disclosure: Thanks to Pirate's Booty for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own.
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