review: field station: dinosaurs

When you have a dino-obsessed daughter in the house, you look for ways to entertain her. You buy dino books and stuffed animals. You take her to the American Museum of Natural History for a look at dinosaur fossils. You watch her glee as she watches Dinosaur Train and Dino Dan, and you have to admit, it's kind of infectious. You find yourself learning a thing or two about Pteranodons and the Triassic Period.

And then you hit the jack pot. You hear about something so cool, so Jurassic Park without the scary parts, that you race to your nearest New Jersey Transit train to see it. I'm talking about Field Station: Dinosaurs, of course. Thanks to the lovely ladies at Mama Drama, I was able to bring my family to check out this truly one-of-a-kind dino experience which is a only 1 stop out of Manhattan in Secaucus, New Jersey (once off the train, we walked the 10 minutes to entrance, but there are free shuttles available on the weekends).

In a surprisingly rural and country-like setting (the Meadowlands), we first got our "passport" tickets stamped and headed off on our dino adventure. As we walked the path, we met moving animatronic dinosaurs that are VERY realistic-looking. Not only do they move their heads around but they also "growl" (or whatever you call dinosaur speak). I thought for sure that my dino dahlin' would be scared, but that only happened once with a Velociraptor, and even then it was short-lived.

In between dinosaurs, there are camp sites where you can stop off and take part in activities like digging for fossils, bird-watching or "Raptor Feud," a game show with questions about (you guessed it) dinosaurs and archeology. These educational activities are a fun way to break up the dino tour and keep you wondering about what's around the next corner.

There is a limited menu of food and beverages available for purchase, but I liked the fact that you can bring in your own lunch and sit under a covered area with picnic tables. We took a break here before we headed out to meet a few more prehistoric creatures, and it was nice to get out of the sun for a bit.

Sufficed to say, it was a fun day out at Field Station: Dinosaurs. If you have a dino-lovin' kiddo at home, I highly recommend this quick and easy trip out of the city. Here's a video of my gal meeting a T-Rex for the first time. In a way, it was like she was seeing an old friend that she'd been missing.

June 24th is Hudson County Day at the Field Station! There will be special discounts for Hudson County residents and special dinosaur crafts to take part in.

Disclosure: My family and I were provided with complimentary tickets to check out Field Station: Dinosaurs. All opinions expressed herein are my own.


heart health with jenny craig & valerie bertinelli

On May 31st, I participated in the American Heart Association's Wall Street Run and Heart Walk with a number of NYC bloggers. The invitation to join "Team Jenny" came from Jenny Craig and their spokesperson Valerie Bertinelli, and I was honored to help raise awareness for this cause.

I hate to start with a downer, but these facts simply can't be ignored:

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in American women, and over 42 million women are currently living with some type of cardiovascular disease.

While I haven't been directly effected by heart disease, I also can't deny the fact that I'm getting older and need to start paying more attention to healthy eating and exercise (GULP). Smart decisions now will help in the long run, plain and simple.

Valerie Bertinelli (who stars in TV Land's "Hot in Cleveland"), lost 40 pounds with Jenny Craig in 2007, and is an advocate for heart health and the Jenny Craig Weight Loss program.  When her mother, Nancy, required emergency heart valve replacement surgery, the cardiologist pulled Valerie and her brother aside and told them that if her mom hadn't previously lost weight, she would not have survived. Nancy lost 54 pounds on Jenny Craig after seeing her daughter's success with the program.

It was a pleasure meeting Valerie and seeing firsthand what an event like this means to her, not to mention the thousands of other walkers and joggers in attendance. You could feel a palpable energy in the crowd as we walked the streets of the Financial District.

With Bertinelli (which also makes me one degree away from Betty White!)
Inspired by the American Heart Association’s healthy-living initiative My Heart. My Life, Jenny Craig launched My Heart. My Life. My Jenny, which focuses on educating the public regarding the significant health risks associated with weight-related diseases, including heart disease and stroke. Jenny Craig is encouraging the public to eat better, get moving and live a healthier life.

So with that, I'm going to try a month of the Jenny-Set-Go program. I'm going to start (consistently) hitting the gym and making small changes in my diet while keeping my eye on the prize -- a healthy heart and body! I've already started opting for skim milk instead of cream in my iced coffee... that's something, right?

At last count, the Wall Street Run and Heart Walk raised $1,492,837 in donations!

Here's to healthy living. If you'd like to share your favorite healthy recipe or exercise tip, I'm all ears!

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post. My participation was sponsored by Jenny Craig and I will be receiving one month of the Jenny-Set-Go program.


friday finds: the comotomo bottle

One of my struggles in early parenthood was discovering which bottle my daughter would like after I stopped primarily breastfeeding. And boy did we ALL agonize over the choices. We finally settled on the Playtex Nuk after trying several "designer" brands first (if there is even such a thing as a hip baby bottle), all of which she refused under no unnecessary terms. I'd prefer never to re-live the days of watching my baby squirm and scream as we made our way through this process.

Note to self and others: don't try and get your baby used to a bottle a week before you go back to work. Can we say rookie?!

Naturally, when Baby Sister came along, I just assumed she would go for the Nuk as well. Because all siblings are so similar. HA. Once again, rookie mistake. At least this time I started the bottle adjustment period earlier. After several failed attempts, we tried the Comotomo, and are so happy we did.

The Comotomo describes itself as a "natural feel" bottle, and let me assure you Husband gave his 2 cents on the subject: "Hmmm. Remarkably boob-like." Gee thanks, honey. In all seriousness, not only does it kind of look like a boob but yes, the material is soft, squishy and "skin-like" [Permission to insert boob joke here]. Nipple confusion wasn't an issue and Baby Sister took to the Comotomo with ease. Thankfully, I was spared the transition period I'd so been dreading. Whew. 

A few other things about the Comotomo --

It's easy to clean.  Hurrah!  The wide neck design and width of bottle itself makes it a breeze to clean. No nooks and crannies to deal with, which I really appreciate, especially at 1am in the morning when I've decided it's a good time to wash the dishes. 

We haven't experienced any leaking issues. This bottle has been put to the test... Baby Sister has enjoyed milk in any number of different positions and locations, has sat on it accidentally, rolled over it (you name it), and milk on her clothes has never been an issue. Double yay.

The design is sleek, modern and clean. I guess baby bottles can be hip after all?

The Comotomo baby bottle is available on Amazon, and I must say I recommend it.  Of course, all babies are different, but I think the fact that this bottle is so, er, "remarkably boob-like" puts it above the pack.

Disclosure: Comotomo sent me 2 bottles to try out for the purposes of this review. All opinions expressed herein are my own.
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