Math Games and more with Education.com

My kids love playing all the games on Education.com and I recently partnered with them to come up with a fun game that is age/math level appropriate for my kids. Brinkley is in 1st grade and Brycen is in 3rd. This game was a huge hit in my house and I'm sure your kids will love it too!!

For more games and fun educational tools like printable workbook sheet and activities, check out their website at https://www.education.com/games/math/


Pocket Math
 

When your kids get dressed in the morning they'll more than likely be wearing an article of clothing that has at least one pocket. In this activity, you and your children can pick a day to be a "Pocket Day" as a fun way to help them practice their addition skills. Once the family has grown accustomed to the random calls for a “Pocket Day,” try having a scheduled “Pocket Day” set aside on the calendar and challenge the whole family to wear as many pockets as possible and see how high the total becomes!


What You Need:
Family Members
Paper (unlined preferred)
Crayons
Pencil


What You Do:

  1. The first time you do this activity you may want to begin by calling the whole family into one room to explain how the activity is done. This will not be necessary for later “Pocket Days,” of course.
  2. Explain to the family that your child will be completing an activity to help him practice his addition skills.  He will need to count the number of pockets each family member is wearing.
  3. Using a sheet of paper, have your child draw a picture of each family member.  He'll then either draw the number of pockets this person is wearing on that given day or simply record the number of pockets under the drawing.
  4. After he's gathered all of his “pocket data,” have your child use the pencil and the paper to add up the total number of pockets the family is wearing that day.
  5. Assist him in using strategies that will help him add the list of numbers quicker and more efficiently. Strategies may include looking for numbers that add to ten (4+6, 7+3, etc), looking for doubles (2+2, 3+3, etc.)

Other methods of collecting “pocket data”:

  • Make a 2 column chart listing all family member’s names and the number of pockets they are wearing on a particular day.
  • Make a bar graph of each family member and the number of pockets they are wearing on a particular day.
  • Make a tally chart counting the number of pockets for each family member.
  • You can have Pocket Days as many times as you and your family would like.  You can dress in crazy outfits on a weekend Pocket Day or if it's a school day, you can all wear clothes that you would normally wear.  Keep a record of the pocket data from all of your Pocket Days, and discuss the results with your child.  Are there any days when the family tends to wear more pockets than others?  Does one family member tend to wear more pockets than everyone else?  Challenge your family to get the most pockets possible by having a pre-arranged scheduled “Pocket Day” in which all members wear as many pockets as possible.  Be sure to take a photo to remember those crazy outfits!

It Is Never Too Early To Start Saving

Let me first just say, that it is every mom's dream to have their little one's cook them a meal and not the other way around... for once! Right?!!!

Recently, at the Mom Trends event at the ICE Institute of Culinary Education, that is exactly what happened and I enjoyed every second of it. The kids started off by decorating their own chef hats and aprons. And when they were done, they headed straight to the kitchen to make lunch for all their moms. 


While, the kids were engrossed in cooking, the moms headed to the side room to learn all about the Vanguard 529 Savings Plan

My husband is really on top of this and luckily we already have a 529 Plan for both of the older kids. We will start Brent's 529 Plan right away, no doubt. 

I however, wasn't fully aware of what this plan is all about other than it's a way to start slowly saving for your child's college tuition. I learned so much about the benefits of starting this specific plan over other saving plans AND that it can save you up to $10,000 on your tax refunds. Which is huge. Other benefits of this plan are that you can share this saved money with other family members if you choose as well as the fact that it can be used toward trade schools and toward their other college expenses like books and room and board. 

College tuition scares me so much. I have three kids and I know they will all go on to have a college degree. At least, I hope and pray they will. And with the 529 plan I know it will make it easier for all of us, when that time comes, that they have money waiting to help support their dreams. 

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Once, the lunch was ready we all headed back to the kitchen. Our noses lead us right to the large buffet style lunch table that was stocked with an abundance of the most delicious pastas dishes from aldredo to gnocchi as well as mouth watering mozzarella sticks but the best part were the garlic knots in shapes that the kids created like snowmen and hearts!! Adorable, and delicious. 

Dessert of course, was served and what else would it be than, cupcakes! 

Andrew McCarthy Mamarazzi Event #Kmartmoms for the "Just Fly Away" Book Launch

Two of my favorite movies of all time are Weekend At Bernie's and Mannequin.

I can't wait untill my kids are old enough to watch them with me. So when I was invited to the latest Mamarazzi Event hosted by The Moms last week at Kmart for the launch of Andrew McCarthy's new, young adult novel Just Fly Away, my heart almost skipped a beat!

My 80's childhood dream of meeting one of my favoroite actors came true!! And I loved hearing what he had to say. Despite chasing around my 18 month old all over the woman clothing section of the midtown Manhattan Kmart, I simply had a blast and it was a moment I will never forget. 

Andrew McCarthy is talented and seemingly downtown earth normal father who even said his kids think he is "ancient history." 

Just Fly Away is a book about a young girl who discovers her family's secret; that her father had an affair and another child. The trials of figuring out life as a young teen and dealing with the lies is intriguing and heart felt. 

Pick up a copy today!

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2017 New York Baby Show is coming!!! Want to go? Win tickets now!

I am so excited and honored to be attending this year's New York Baby Show! And you can too!!

The 2017 New York Baby Show, on May 20 & 21 at Pier 94 will once again be the largest show for new and expectant parents in the country. Now in its 7th year, no other event provides a better experience for thousands of expectant and new families from New York and neighboring counties, seeking a family-friendly jamboree of top brands, great speakers and seminars, big giveaways, and lots of learning, support, bonding, and fun as you make your way into parenthood. We are giving away tickets for you and your family to experience the show. See below for details… etc. Normal ticket price is $30 per family (for 2 adults and up to 4 children), and $20 per individual. 

I know there will be so many amazing new products that I'll be wanting to try out for my little guy. Wishing you could attend? Well, here is your chance!! I am giving away 10 Tickets so don't miss out. It is first come first serve and the link will not work once the 10 Tickets are gone. So apply now! You won't want to miss it.

Did you miss out on the free tickets? Sorry folks, but you can still score 50% off tickets using this link! YAY!!

Halos - Delicious and Nutritious

What mom doesn't want to pack a healthy snack or lunch for their kids?!

That's why I love Halos so much. This pint size snack is perfect for on the go and it is so juicy and delicious. Oh, and did I say nutritious?!

Packed with vitamin C and loads of other health benefits, this little morsel is my family's favorite.

I have learned so many great ways to use Halos in other recipes. I just love the idea of making a fresh salad and throwing in a few bites of the yummy mandarin sweetness of Halos.

Or, using them in a smoothie. My daughter loves this! And my son's favorite Halos recipe is making Granita. It's like a frozen little cup of goodness! For more ideas and recipes, check out their website www.halosfun.com.

For all you DIY moms, like myself, try this all natural household cleaner idea. It smells great, is totally kid friendly and you won't spend top dollar buying similar products at the store. All you need is:

  1. Halos mandarin peels
  2. White Vinegar
  3. Large Jar with lid
  4. Fine-mesh sieve
  5. Spray bottle

How to make: 

  1. Save the peels from the Halos as you eat them. Fill up the jar until about half way full
  2. Pour Vinegar over the peels until jar is full. Screw lid on jar and let sit for two weeks in dark, cool area like a cabinet.
  3. Use the fine mesh sieve to strain out the cleaning solution.
  4. Pour into spray bottle
  5. Share a photo of your Halos Cleaner using #Halosfun

Halos has also came up with a super cute and rewarding sticker game for all our little academics. This will help them study their geography too, how great! So head over to your local store to buy a box of Halos. Download from their site, the sticker map, and each day peel the state sticker off the Halos and have them match it to the state on the map! So fun! Collect them all and mail in to Halos to enter for a chance to win a sweet prize. For all the details check click here.

And check out all these amazing food ideas below!

Best Winter Stroller - The Joovy Cocoon and Cocoon X2

Getting around the NYC streets in the winter months can be brutal. Add a couple of little ones to the mix and it becomes nearly impossible. That's why I chose this amazing Cocoon Stroller by Joovy for my family. It has been a life changer. I don't know what I would do without it!

A few years ago my children were waitlisted at our local school; which was right next door to my building! In the mean time, until a spot opened up, we were sent to a nearby school. It is a great school so I didn't mind my children going there but I did mind the long walk to get there and back everyday. It was about 1 mile walk each way. Which is 4 miles just going to and from... needless to say exhausting. And as the weather started to get colder and colder the reality of this commute started to set in. There were no real mass transit options. So I knew it was going to be my job to physically get them there. 

My daughter was a little over 3 at the time and my older son just turned 5. There aren't many double stollers that will hold children of this age. They are mainly for infants to toddlers and maybe small children but since the space is so limited we had already outgrown our previous double stroller. I set out on a mission and knew I could make this work.. I had no choice!! 

And my prayers were answered when I discovered this amazing stroller by Joovy. I actually felt like they had created this just for me and my family! It was perfect. Yes, my husband may have questioned me about it a little but as soon as we received ours in the mail and the kids hopped in, we were all sure this was the perfect decision. 

There is actually what we like to call, a trunk! Like in a car, since well, this was kind of like my car. It's how we got everywhere. So you can pack everything you will need for the day. There are even cup holders for the kids inside. The best part is that the children were bundled up and protected from the harsh winter winds as well as all the elements like snow and rain with a mesh zipper lining and then a plastic protective sheet in the front. Which you can also roll up when not in use. The last few winters in the city were pretty bad and we've used this a lot. I also like it in the warmer months with the cover open!! It is just to comfy for the kids to sit and relax on long walks.

Some of the amazing features about the Joovy Cocoon are that it can also be attached to a bike or be converted into a jogging stroller. Also, what I really love is that the seats go up to 100lbs. So my children would have room to grow in this. Another great feature is the 4 way harness and shoulder straps the keep a little one safe as well. I would recommend waiting until your little guy (or gal) is atleast 1 year old or sitting up right properly. There are so many great feature about this stroller that people started to take notice. I know at least 4 people in my building alone that have purchased this stroller as well. And of my besties, Melanie from Petit Elephant, has it too but in the single child version. Read more about this stroller on Joovy's website Joovy.com or let me know if you have any questions, and I'd be happy to help answer them in the comments section below.

Thanks Joovy for the amazing products that are made for modern moms!
 

Baby Eczema: Treatment & Care for Baby's Gentle Skin

Both of my boys suffered from baby eczema. When my older son was little there weren't that many options.  But now, with my new baby boy, I realized there were so many products on the market that claim to treat baby eczema. I found myself confused and trying multiple products that wound up irritating his skin even more.

These three products are my favorite! Tried and Tested!! 

I found that they treated and healed his sensitive skin. 

1. Triple Cream- This cream helps heal the irritated skin with healing and soothing ingredients. I still use this every night on Brent after his bath.

2. Aveeno Baby - Oatmeal Bath- I think that eczema is always worse after a bath so I tried this soothing bath soak and it really helped to calm his irritated skin. I used this every night for over two months and now Brent's skin is eczema free. *I would only use a third of the packet each night

3. Honest Detergent - A lot of skin irritants are in laundry detergents. Like strong soaps and fragrances.  So I started using this hypoallergenic detergent on all Brent's baby clothes. This helps keep the skin clear of any allergens. 

Top 10 Kid Friendly "Scary" Movies For Halloween-Eve

My family loves watching movies all together, cuddled on the couch, with a giant bowl of popcorn!! We have frequent movie nights and the movie choice is always open to debate. (See my previous post on the DO's and DON'Ts to a successful Family Movie Night).

So, tonight we are planning on watching a Halloween themed movie! After all, Halloween is tomorrow!! But my kids spook easily. So I have carefully selected movies that aren't too scary. 

Here are a couple movies on our list for tonight! 

  1. Spookley The Square Pumpkin
  2. Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown   
  3. Hotel Transylvania
  4. Monsters Inc
  5. Casper Meets Wendy

Have a more adventurous bunch? Check out this list and I'm sure they'll love the fright!! 

  1. Witches
  2. Little Monsters
  3. The Addams Family
  4. Beetlejuice
  5. Hocus Pocus

There are so many good options! I may have missed a few but these are my top 10! 

Halloween Safety Tips

Be Safe This Halloween 

You can never be too safe or too caution when watching your little ones. And Halloween is no exception. 

My oldest son, now 8, is beginning to want to trick or treat with friends (with adult supervision of course!) outside of the building,  This worries me but I also know that it's important for me to let him be a kid. We normally stay in my high-rise condo building and it's super safe and easy for the kids to navigate especially if we get separated; they can find there way home with no issues. There are also doormen at the front making sure no strangers are coming in. 

But once you leave the comfort of the building, anything is game. So this Halloween I'm going to be prepared for any issues. Here are some great tips on children safety in NYC and in general.

Click this link for all the safety tips:

Child Safety Tips NYC

Here's another great way to keep your little one safe incase of accidental separation. Petit Elephant Founder, Melanie Barrows, has collaborated with her 7 year old daughter, and mini entrepreneur, on this safety bracelet concept. All proceeds go to her puppy fund! How adorable. 

http://www.petitelephantnyc.com

Be safe and have fun this Halloween!! 

Nursery Before & After

I turned this bland & ordinary looking baby room into a modern nursery everyone will love! It's so easy. I did this in less than an hour. Check out the before and after pictures and see for yourself! 

After we moved in and we slowly settled in to the new apartment, I looked at Brent's room and I knew it needed something. I'm always hesitant about hanging anything over the crib since the baby could grab it or it could potentially fall, so I decided to choose a decal. I've done decals in the past but this time I wanted to do a whole wall and make it super modern. After much debate I decided on these black small circle dot decals from Amazon.com

Here's how it turned out!! I just spaced them out by eye and voila! My mini masterpiece!! Just use your judgement on spacing and the amount you use. I only did one wall. I think it would have been too overwhelming to do more. I think it makes a great statement and it's something I can live with for a while but when I don't like it anymore I can just peel them off! Easy as that.

Reasons to travel with food your baby likes

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It's crazy to think that you would waste all that room in your luggage by packing ALL your baby's food containers, snacks, pouches, puffs and don't forget formula and bottles!!!  (*Bring extra formula.. It's not worth the risk of running out.) Also hitting up the grocery store right before a trip is that last thing you are thinking about... 

You may think the resort or town you'll be visiting will be stocked with plenty of food for the whole family; right? Especially when the baby may be old enough to eat what you eat. 

You know this may be the case for domestic travel; at least you know you can pick up Cheerios somewhere close by!

But international and even rural domestic travel with a baby presents a ton of obsticals for feeding your baby. 

Here's three reason why that space you are taking up in your luggage has never been put to better use!!!

Check this out:

1. Picky eaters: Most babies are somewhat picky eaters at first (If your baby is not one of them good for you!! And skip to number 2). Trying new foods and textures isn't something you should expect your baby to do easily. And this will cause a lot of unnecessary stress for you and your baby if you expect him or her to be able to do this. A little bit here and there is great but ALWAYS be stocked with a back up if the baby is hungry and isn't taking to the new food you are offering.

2. Introducing New Foods: Not only can trying new foods be challenging for the baby but it can also be risky. Doctors recommend introducing new foods with a bit of caution due to the likely hood of food allergies these days. Babies, children and adults are all susceptible to food allergies and trying so many new foods when you are far from home or the doctor/hospital could potentially be a risk. Think about how many children have nut, gluten, dairy allergies (just to name a few).

3. Baby's Tummy: The last thing you want on your vacation is to take care of a sick baby.  Having your baby eat tons of new foods can overwhelm his or her digestive system. The same thing goes for adults, right? So why would we do that to our baby? Being prepared with foods your baby is used to eating at home will help them overall have a more enjoyable trip! And you too!!!

So, packing food for the baby is super important and shouldn't be taken lightly. Recently in Dominican Republic I had no idea it would be so hard to get food for the baby let alone anything for the baby, in fact anything at all. We were in a very large villa within a resort but there were absolutely no shops or markets anywhere near by to get stuff. I totally underestimated the exclusivity of this place and was so grateful that I had packed all my baby's necessities!! Phew...

When To Let Baby Start Feeding Themselves?

There is no good answer for this and it depends on when your baby is able to sit up right in the high chair and has the motor skills to reach and grab their food. Sometime after 6 months. Also, be super careful on the size and texture of the food. I recommend starting with something super mushy and letting them make a mess! More may land on floor then in his mouth but its all a work in progress!

My baby is super picky with texture. Hopefully you won't have this and your baby is excited to eat but Brent was never open for trying new things. The only way I could get him to eat was by letting him do it himself; at his own pace. He learned to try new things and even though he may not like something.. at least he would try it if I let him do it on his own.

I still battle with this and he's almost 1. But I do a combo of letting him feed himself and trying to spoon feed him when possible. I think the more you try and the more you let baby lead, the happier and less stressed both of you will be!


Good luck and whats your take?