Spring Has Finally Sprung in NYC

I think I heard a collective sigh of relief across the city this week. Winter, once again, stretched on wayyyy too long, so this first peek of warmer temperatures and sunny skies is especially wonderful. Lucky for us, it coincided perfectly with NYC public school kids' spring break; perfect timing for those of us stay-cationing this year. Here's a peek of what we've been up to...

First, Gulliver's Gate! This miniature exhibit in Times Square is really a site to behold... "attention to detail" doesn't even begin to cover it. Of course, we loved their replica of NYC, but you can check out the rest of the world, from major cities like Paris and Rio to everywhere in between.

Some of the displays are interactive. Push buttons along the way and see a concert stage light up, a train roll by or a matador and bull fight in Spain, with crowds cheering. When you're wrapping things up, step into a futuristic-looking photo booth and have your photo taken. Then, if you want, you can have a miniature of yourself made and shipped to you (at an additional cost). A fun, unique experience, albeit pricey (tickets are $25/pp & will go up after May 8th, so check it out beforehand)! Definitely not for under age 5.

While we definitely enjoyed some lounging around in our local park and playground, we also checked out by Chloe for lunch (yummy!), the "Toiletpaper Paradise" art installation at Cadillac House (wacky, defined), murals in Soho, mini golf at Pier 25 in Hudson River Park and soft serv dessert at Big Gay Ice Cream. Really fun week!


A 20th Anniversary Celebration: The Teletubbies take NYC!

Of the many things that make me feel old these days, hearing that the Teletubbies were celebrating the 20th anniversary of their show was certainly one of them! Launched in 1997, the Teletubbies quickly became a global phenomenon as they promoted sharing, caring and learning with laughter. The show has aired in more than 125 territories and across 45 languages, and was, most notably, the first TV character brand specifically geared towards children as young as 6 months to aid in learning and development.

To mark the occasion, a few blogger friends and I had a chance to celebrate with the Teletubbies during 2 days of adventures here in NYC. On a dreary Monday morning, we caravanned with the Teletubbies around the city as they visited 4 iconic NYC locations (Brooklyn Bridge Park, the Flatiron Building, Times Square and Central Park). Without a doubt, the cuddly quartet perked up a gloomy day with their trademarked Big Hugs as people passed by. Take a peek at some of the photos I took along the way:

I have to say, it was really amusing to see how many people got SO excited about seeing the Teletubbies -- and not just children! Many adults came up to give them a hug and said how seeing them really brought back so many happy memories. We met one family visiting from England in Central Park, and I honestly think the mother was the most excited of all of them! Really cute.

Luckily for everyone, the celebration wasn't over! The very next day, the Teletubbies celebrated with all their friends at a very special anniversary party at Chelsea Piers, complete with a preview of the all-new Teletubbies series' 2nd season on Nick Jr. In addition to yummy eats, guests were treated to face painting, video games, arts-n-crafts and bubble magic. Such a fun afternoon!

Come along as I share some photos from the party, which was attended by tons of Teletubbies fans, young and old alike.

As mentioned, for those reminiscing about the Teletubbies or looking to introduce the four lovable characters to their children, there's exciting news: they're coming back for a new season beginning May 30th on Nick JrHere's to nostalgia, introducing classic TV to a new audience and Big Hugs, Teletubbies-style. Happy 20th Anniversary!

Disclosure: I was compensated for event attendance & promotion on blog + social media. All opinions are my own.


A Morning in Brooklyn with Vicks® VapoRub™

A few Saturdays ago, I spent the morning at Recess Dumbo -- such a great kids' play space! -- with Vicks® VapoRub™. Fellow influencers and I learned about how we can best fight sickness this time of year (and if your house is anything like mine, this is vital information). My family and I suffered a ton with coughs and colds this winter. UGH.

Image: Andrea Klerides 

First, we all know that washing our hands multiple times throughout the day is important, but it can be a challenge to get our kids to wash as thoroughly as they should (or maybe that's just my kids!) One tip suggested by the speaker (a pediatric nurse), was to have your child sing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" while they wash. By the time they get to the end of the song (about 27 seconds or so), they'll have washed an appropriate amount of time to rid themselves of germs, which as we know, are EVERYWHERE. I thought that was a great suggestion! 

Image: Andrea Klerides
Vicks® VapoRub™ is also an important step in soothing coughs all year long, frankly - summer colds are the worst! The topical ointment with medicated vapors is appropriate for ages 2+ and the vapors last up to 8 hours. I've found the perfect time to administer it is right before bedtime, as the soothing action of rubbing the ointment on your child's chest area is a nice way to calm them down before it's time to sleep. The scent itself is refreshing and calming, and honestly it takes me back to my own childhood when my mother would rub it on my chest during a coughing fit! Life has a way of coming full circle, right?

Thanks to Vicks® VapoRub™ for hosting such an informative morning! Coughs & colds, you don't have anything on me. I'll be ready the next time you infiltrate my home (which given our luck and with two children in school, should be in about a week). At least this time I'll be prepared.

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by SheKnows Media for the purposes of event attendance and review. All opinions are my own.


Broadway for the whole family: School of Rock

So, here's where I admit that I never saw the movie, School of Rock, with Jack Black, or the current series on Nickelodeon under the same name, despite being very familiar with its entertaining story line. Not to worry. I'm pretty sure I got the best part of the deal last weekend when I was a member of the audience at Andrew Lloyd Weber's adaptation on Broadway. School of Rock - The Musical is SO much fun!

For the very few not familiar with this story, it follows Dewey Finn, a broke, down on his luck rocker who's in need of a few extra bucks so that he can enter his town's Battle of the Bands contest. He poses as a substitute teacher at an elite private school to make some extra money, and in the meantime, takes a class of no nonsense kids and turns them into rock stars. Naturally, hijinks (and cool tunes!) ensue.

With tickets as low as $59 (and orchestra seats at $89), School of Rock - The Musical is an engaging night for the whole family, especially if you have any mini musicians in your home. While everyone in the cast is excellent (and the songs range from full on rock-n-roll tunes to ballads), this show is all about the kids. At least 4 were playing live instruments on stage throughout the show, and ALL of them sang and danced their hearts out -- truly amazing! I'm pretty sure this is just the beginning for many of these incredibly talented little performers. The future of Broadway is alive and well at School of Rock - The Musical.

Keep in mind when booking tickets that the show is 2 1/2 hours long (with one intermission) and is recommended for ages 8+ (children under 4 are not permitted in the theater, which I imagine is because of the volume). Rock-n-roll, friends.

Worth checking out!

Disclosure: I was provided with complimentary tickets in exchange for an honest review of School of Rock - The Musical. All opinions are my own.


New Music Alert: Thunder & Sunshine

NYC is not lacking in entertaining children's & family-friendly music groups, but any music fan will tell you there's always room for one more. We recently checked out Thunder and Sunshine at Joe's Pub and had such a fun time! The band was created by Esther Crow (an old friend of ours & all-around rock star) who's been a part of the NYC music scene for over a decade. After having a baby in 2013, Esther decided to broaden her audience to include the kiddo set, & we're so happy she did!

Thunder and Sunshine's funky tunes are geared towards the WHOLE family & not just the littles (with nary an Old McDonald in sight- hurrah!). In writing the album, Esther was influenced by many performers, from Sesame Street & The Electric Company to The Sugarhill Gang and Sly and the Family Stone. You'll hear sounds from the 70's & 80's in each song and be moving to the beat before you know it... promise! We also loved the multi-media aspect: the band incorporated video of kids being interviewed by various puppet friends (created by the talented Jeff Lewonczyk) throughout the set.

Photo credit: Ebet Roberts

Stay tuned to my social channels and I will keep you posted on Thunder and Sunshine's next performance, but in the meantime, you can check out "The Letter Z" below. Additionally, Esther can be found performing story time at Bank Street Bookstore every other Thursday at 10:30am starting on February 23rd & their debut album is available for purchase ($8!) on Bandcamp.




Style Report: Rockets of Awesome

Have you heard of Rockets of Awesome? This new children's clothing service (specializing in sizes 2-14) offers high-quality, on-trend items that make shopping for the girls SO much easier and less hectic than dragging them to a store (where the excitement lasts about 3 minutes).

HOW IT WORKS: after creating a style profile on the site, Rockets of Awesome will deliver 8-12 seasonally-appropriate items based on your child's preferences 4 times a year. With zero membership or shipping fees, you're only charged for the items you decide to keep. Return the things you don't with a pre-paid shipping label & envelope. Everything you'll receive is $40 or under, and all items are easy to mix & match together (that gets a big THUMBS UP from mama).

The girls were sent a box to try out a couple months ago, and they've had so much fun wearing these styles. Meanwhile, I've been impressed with the quality, comfort and variety of clothing that arrived (from casual to dressy and sporty). Of everything we received, I probably would only have sent back 2 or 3 items, so they really seem to have a good sense of the styles the girls like from their profile. I'm all about simplifying our lives these days, and this is an easy way for us to make clothing decisions. Plus, it's kind of fun to have the fashion show when the box arrives!

A few of their favorite styles this winter:

Viv has never been afraid of color: she loves this bright orange skirt!

Rockets of Awesome signature silver jackets - so cool!

Love these sweaters!

This is only a small sampling of what arrived, so I encourage you to check out Rockets of Awesome and see their durable and creative styles for yourself. So much fun!

Disclosure: I was provided with product in exchange for an honest review. All opinions herein of my own. 


A Kids' Room Update with FLOR Carpet Tiles

I'm attempting to make a few updates in the girls' room this winter, and the first one has a lot to do with one of my New Years resolutions: de-clutter, de-clutter, de-clutter (3 times for emphasis!)... let's hope I follow through with that one. We all, and especially the girls, seem to accumulate a lot of STUFF throughout the year, which obviously doesn't make a whole lot of sense in a small NYC apartment.

But more on that later! Another update needed is flooring for their room. As you can see, I've been using their old play mat and nursery rug together since we moved, and while it has worked fine, I've been on the hunt for one rug to bring the whole room together. Enter FLOR carpet tiles!

The FLOR tiles I selected (they offer rugs as well, but tiles are a great option for kids' areas) have really brightened and brought the girls' room together, and here's why I love them for kids:

First, fun designs. While the packaging tells you in which direction the tile should be placed, you can lay them down any way you like, creating a design that's wholly unique, just like your kiddo. The tiles themselves are durable, washable, but if you can't get a stain out - they're replaceable, too! And if you send the tile back for them to replace, they'll recycle it back into a future tile for someone else. I love that the company is committed to environmentally-friendly practices, too.

While you attach with a sticker to the bottom of each tile, connecting them together, they're easy to take apart, too, if you decide to move it. In fact, it was a fun project to do with the girls -- they really had fun deciding which tile to lay down next!

And so, the finished product... so happy with this clean, modern design. I gravitated away from pink & purple, as I imagine we'll have the rug for a while and they might not always love those colors QUITE as much as they do now. Luckily, FLOR has tons of fun colors and designs to choose from in a variety of sizes.

What a simple way to make a fun new update. Absolutely recommend checking out FLOR!

Next up... bigger table & chairs. Little legs are growing like weeds around here!

Disclosure: Product was provided to me by FLOR for the purposes of this review. All opinions herein are my own.
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