- Expanding access to comprehensive primary care that is innovative and technology enriched
- Eliminating medical conditions known as “health barriers to learning” that interfere with child development and school performance
- Responding to the needs of vulnerable children impacted by major public health crises
- Improving the health and well-being of children through advocacy and public education efforts."
Love Broadway and want to support a great charity? Then this is your lucky day!!! Buy 1 ticket and get 1 free to Broadway's IN TRANSIT performance at 7PM on March 2, and you'll be supporting Children's Health Fund! That's 2 tickets for just $149 - what a steal!! Just click here to purchase 1 ticket for $149 (they'll contact you with more details, pickup your 2 tickets at Will Call). I'm told all seats are great, it's a very unique small U-shaped theater, so don't worry! Read on for more info about the show and the charity.
More about IN TRANSIT:
From their website, "IN TRANSIT, a funny and poignant new Broadway musical, follows the intertwined lives of 11 New Yorkers faced with the challenges of city life. With a groundbreaking a cappella score by a team including the creators of Pitch Perfect and Frozen, IN TRANSIT takes you on a journey with people hoping to catch the express train to their dreams—including the stops they make along the way. Modern yet timeless, IN TRANSIT is a story about all of us, set to music that will stay with you long after the ride is over. " Performing at Circle in the Square Theater (235 W. 50th Street, Manhattan).
More about Children's Health Fund:
From their website, "Children’s Health Fund is committed to delivering high quality health care to America’s most disadvantaged children. We achieve this through:
Originally posted on Mommy Nearest (Jan 2015)
Whether you’re a Brooklynite or residing in another part of the city (or state!), there are countless family-friendly things to do in the borough—and the Brooklyn Children’s Museum (BCM) is right up at the top of the list. Babies, toddlers, school-aged children and their grownups will all have a blast at BCM. Here are some highlights of what you'll find and love:
Visit the special zone for little ones
BCM’s Totally Tots room is for children ages five and under and has tons to do. My little guy was especially crazy about their water-play section (they have smocks but you still might consider bringing a change of clothes, socks, and shoes if you have a water baby like me!). They also have a climbing structure, musical instruments, a blue sand box, a reading tent, puppet theater, building zone and more. No exaggeration—my toddler would have been content spending the entire day here.
Little ones will also love Totally Tots Art Studio Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays & Sundays @ 10am – 12pm and Brooklyn Block Lab (Thursdays @ 2:00-5:30pm, Fridays @ 10am-1pm, Saturdays @ 10am-1pm, Sunday @ 10am-1pm).
Explore a kid-sized city
My personal favorite exhibit is World Brooklyn. There, visitors meander in and out of shops that teach kids and grownups about the vibrant history—and culture—of Brooklyn. Plus, each area is filled with hands-on activities to take part in. You can make play pizza in the Italian restaurant, dance along to videos from around the world in the Global Beats Theater or shop at the International Market for Shabbat or Kwanzaa.
I love that BCM has made a point of emphasizing the importance of nature and sustainable living. In fact, Brooklyn Children’s Museum is New York’s first LEED-certified green museum. Inside, you’ll find a little pond aquarium and greenhouse, and weather permitting you can take a walk through (or get your hands dirty in) their outdoor garden.
Their bathrooms feature changing tables, one lowered sink and stepping stool for children, and even a mini urinal. They welcome strollers, and have a ramp out front and an elevator and ramps inside. There’s a large cafeteria for snacks or just taking a break, and they also have a sensory room for children with special needs (open Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday from 2 to 4:45pm). BCM also hosts birthday parties, summer camps, and tons of festivals and special events, so be sure to check out their program schedule for what's coming up!
Super cool visiting exhibits
Be sure to check their website to see what temporary exhibits are there now and coming soon!
Hours, Admission and Directions
Location: 145 Brooklyn Avenue at St. Marks Avenue, Brooklyn
Admission: $11, children under 1 free. There's "pay what you wish" admission on Thursdays from 2 to 5pm. Your NYC ID will also get you free admission (child and guests must pay).
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday, 10am–5pm (til 6pm Thursdays)
How to get there: By subway, take the 3 to Kingston Avenue, the A to Nostrand Avenue, or the C to Kingston/Throop Avenue. By bus, take the B43 or B44 to St. Mark's Avenue, or the B25, B45, or B65 to Brooklyn Avenue. If coming by car, take note that there is no parking lot but street parking is generally easy to find. Go here for detailed directions.
Be sure to check out our other posts on the best activities for kids in New York City!!
Disclosure: This article was sponsored by Bed Bath & Beyond, but all thoughts and opinions are my own and completely unbiased.
It snuck in and opened up quietly under the radar of most, but Industry City has a brand new shopping mecca that is, in a word, AMAZING!!! The modern, sparkling clean, and oh so impressive Beyond at Liberty View Industrial Plaza in Brooklyn's up-and-coming Industry City (the developing area between Sunset Park and Park Slope, set to become the next DUMBO) is a must visit for Brooklynites and dare I say it worth a trip to the borough for residents of Manhattan and Queens as well? Yeah, it's THAT good!!
It had a large and open feel - don't worry about bringing along your double stroller - no problem! You'll find escelators and elevators, changing tables in the bathrooms, high chairs in the dining area, and free parking (though public transport is easy, too, we took the 3rd Ave B37 from Bay Ridge)! Customer service in Liberty View and each of the shops was top notch. I got asked many times if I needed any help, but in a welcoming way rather than the nagging get-off-my-back kinda way. That, together with the fact that the place is brand new and so super duper swanky, lended to the feeling of an extremely luxurious high end shopping experience, thankfully without prices reflecting that!
Read on to get a taste of what you can expect, how to get there, and a list of nearby attractions to help you make a full day out of it!
Bed Bath & Beyond - From kitchen to bathroom to bedroom and gadgets and gifts galore, NYC's newest "Beyond" goes beyond expectations! One cool surprise is their "Made in Brooklyn" area, featuring locally produced products, a very very nice and unexpected find in by such a large nationwide "big box store"!! While wandering through and browsing the store, I was delighted to get a full cup "sample" from their Nespresso rep (the machine's were on a huge sale!). I'm told by a Beyond rep they will have interactive beverage and vacuum shopping tools for your shopping convenience, pretty nifty!!
buybuy BABY - Whether you're pregnant, have a baby or toddler, or need a gift for a baby shower, this is your one stop shop. They have large and beautiful displays to test out all of the essentials, from strollers to cribs, gliders, pack 'n plays, clothes, etc! Ask for help or just wander around and browse all the goods. You can even set up your baby registry here (which will get you a nice coupon code to buy anything you registered for that isn't gifted to you!). I hear they will also have interactive tools for selecting a stroller or car seat - sounds helpful and kinda fun! I'm not sure if this is something that will be continued, but when we went they had a little play area set up with ride on cars, a kids' house, and a mini trampoline!! It's little touches like these that really make for an outstanding shopping experience, especially with children in tow!
Cost Plus World Market - The name says it all - you'll find home goods and decor from all around the world, a great place to find a fun and unique accent piece for a room or great gift for the person who has it all! You can also find goods from closer to home in their "Locally-Made Brooklyn" section! Personally, I was excited to see their Asian food section, featuring lots of Japanese items we love, such as my son's favorites, Pocky and Panda!
Liberty View also houses Harmon Face Values (discount health & beauty supply store) and Saks OFF 5TH (designer brands at up to 70% off; their only location in Brooklyn!). I'm not sure if any other retailers are planning to jump in, but a girl can dream!!
Eating & Drinking:
The main dining option, Bay Market Kitchen, a "21st Century Food Square", serves up casual American cuisine, and locally brewed draft beer, wine and growlers. Order up front and everything will be brought to your table. High chairs are available, however there is no children's menu (maybe if enough of us whine about it they'll add one?). My 4-year-old devoured their hot dog, which was split open and grilled - much nicer presentation (and more delicious, of course I stole a bite) than your average wiener! I got their mac 'n cheese, after a customer service rep recommended it about 5 times to me LOL. It didn't disappoint!
There are several other snack options in the mall, featuring Brooklyn-based Toby’s Estate Coffee espresso drinks, drip and pour-over coffee and locally-sourced treats and snacks - from soft pretzels to "birthday cake" waffles, paninis, and more!
How to get there:
Located at 850 3rd Avenue (at 31st Street in Brooklyn), Liberty View is a cynch to reach via 3rd Ave's B37 bus, the subway's R line (8 minute walk from 36th St. Station), and by car - they have free parking! The nabe still has a very gritty industrial vibe going on, with the BQE overhead and not many pedestrians or street shops, but you're totally transported once inside the building!
Last week (November 9) I was thrilled to hit up the Big City Moms' Biggest Baby Shower in NYC. It was just as fabulous as their last Shower back in May (click to check out my recap and "top picks" from that one). How they manage to get so many awesome local and national brands in one place is beyond me, but if you have the chance to go to one of their events around the country, don't miss it!!
I spent hours scouring the expo floors for the latest and greatest products out there to bring you my "Best in Show(er)" list. So, are you ready? LET'S GO!!!
Retailing for $1,160, this brand new state of the art bassinet is one of the priciest on the market, and yet, I would have killed for two of these a year ago when my twins were newborns!! What puts it at the top of my "Best in Show(er)" list? Well, let me spell it out for you...
1) It can feel and hear your baby fussing and will automatically start gently jiggling and playing white noise to sooth your baby back to sleep (of course if baby is hungry or just needs some loving arms, he'll keep crying and you'll come to the rescue, but the idea is that the "smart" bassinet will save parents from a good amount of lost sleep when a fussy baby simply needs a little jiggle to get back to sleep).
2) It comes with 3 sizes of breathable swaddles (which we know are fabulous for soothing babies) that are safe for baby's hips, and also hook right onto the bassinet to prevent baby from rolling over into a dangerous position! YES!!!!
3) It was developed with curious/mischievous older siblings in mind, so it is incredibly stable. I gave it a good yank from the top and it did not budge.
4) They have a 30-day return policy with free shipping both ways, meaning you can try it out risk free. But come on, I can't imagine anyone needing to send this back. My only concern would be how to wean the baby from SNOO to regular crib at 6 months. But I'm sure Dr. Karp and the Happiest Baby team have some good suggestions for a gradual and painless transition!
Ellie uses digital UV light to kill 99.9% of germs in just 60 seconds. We're talking bottles, pacifiers, a cup of water, your cell phone, tooth brush... the sky's the limit!! It's a great lightweight (2 pounds) portable size and its Micro USB chargeable battery lasts a whole week. It eliminates the danger of plastic deteriorating or leaching chemicals from being boiled or steamed. It also eliminates concern about the safety of water for drinking or mixing formula - just pour the water in a see through cup or bottle and let Ellie sterilize it in just 60 seconds! With the power to quickly kill things like E. coli, Salmonella, Staph, Listeria, and antibiotic-resistant superbugs such as MRSA, Ellie is likely to become a game changer not just in the baby market, but on a much larger scale! Ellie won't be on the market til April, but you can pre-order one for $77 (40% off expected retail price) by backing their Indigogo campaign!
SleepyBobo, aka "Gerry", is a really cute device that can attach to and bounce or rock most car seats*, swings, baby rockers, moses baskets, et. The timer button allows for a maximum of 30 minutes, so it's not a solution for nighttime sleep but rather a quick helper. There is also a neck extender that can be purchased separately so he'll function with taller swinging cribs. Syki will be distributing Gerry in Canada and the US from this spring, but if you can't wait til then you can find him on Amazon UK (affiliate link).
*I just want to throw in here that babies should NEVER be left to sleep unattended in a car seat, as they can quickly get into a position that compromises their airway.
#4: NanoBebe Bottle
NanoBebe's revolutionary design increases surface area, giving it the ability to cool pumped breastmilk and warm up stored breastmilk at a much quicker rate than traditional bottles, which means the preservation of more nutrients! It actually warms up 2-3 times faster than traditional bottles. According to the FDA, bacteria levels double every 20 minutes an item is left in room temperature, so being able to lessen the time milk spends on the counter should make it healthier in this regard, as well. What's more? That concave area at the bottom is hollow, so the bottles are stackable!! This unique shape is also easier for younger babies to hold themselves. These bottles aren't on the market yet but you can pre-order on their site for January shipment.
FizzWizz effervescent tablets allow you to fully clean bottles, cups, and any type of container with a sealable lid on the go! Drop in a tablet, fill with water, shake, allow table to fully dissolve and effervesce, pour out, and rinse out. Done! The tablets are non-toxic, made with only premium food grade plant or salt-based ingredients that are safe for the environment. They also have all-natural cleaning wipes, which are great for cleaning off pacifiers, bottle nipples, teethers and other items meant for baby's mouth. You can purchase FizzWizz products on Amazon (affiliate link). Oh, and they're so confident in their products, they have a 30-day money back guarantee!
So there you have it, my 5 favorites from the November '16 Big City Moms' Biggest Baby Shower. Were you blown away by any of these? Not so impressed? Have something even cooler on the horizon?? Share in a comment below!!
On the heels of the rather tumultuous election results, many families find themselves worried about what the future holds and whether or not they are embraced by local communities and the nation as a whole. A couple of local Bay Ridge moms (and my dear friends from the FB mommy group I created 3 years ago) decided it was time to step up, and put together a FREE event to celebrate kindness, diversity, inclusivity, and generosity. Seeing how quickly they were able to put it together (in THREE DAYS) was heartwarming - dozens of moms and local businesses jumped at the chance to help out!
The first "Love On" event brought together over 60 families on Sunday, November 13 from 3-5PM at Play Days & Parties (space donated by the generous Marotto family!), and included activities for the kids, pot-luck style food brought by attending families and businesses, coffee provided by The Coop, donuts provided by Coffee Rx, and a photo wall where families wrote their own messages of what love means to them. Safety pins were distributed to those wanting to grow the #safetypin movement (wearing a safety pin shows your support and willingness to stand up for the vulnerable), as well.
As the indoor play space filled up, event-goers happily spilled out onto the sidewalk where they mingled and noshed. We even spotted owners of beloved coffee shop rivals The Coop and Coffee Rx meeting, shaking hands, and chatting it up, all in the name of supporting the community!
Raffle prizes were generously donated by local shops wanting to support this heartfelt community event, including Kaleidoscope Toys, Norma’s Arts & Crafts, Play Days & Parties, Paco’s Tacos Plus, Gourmet Fit, The Coop, Christ Central Brooklyn, Barefoot Books rep Alison DuBois-Eker, Pampered Chef rep Michelle Okabayashi, and Fit Mom Coach Kiera. Photography was generously provided by Picture a Day by Maia.
The idea is that the movement will grow, with more free events here in Bay Ridge and beyond! The group hopes to show Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, New York, America, and the World that love will win if we "Love On”, and to show our children that everyone matters, everyone deserves our compassion and support, and together we truly are stronger.
Donations were collected at the event and will be distributed to a charity (TBD - possibilities that are being discussed include Bay Ridge Cares, Planned Parenthood, The Brooklyn Arabic Friendship Center, and ACLU.)
I've called Bay Ridge home for over 5 years now and it's a truly remarkable place. Coined a "Small Town in a Big City", it's really an amazing community and its events and people like these that make it so! If you're nearby, get involved, join local FB groups, reach out, feel the love!! If you're in another neighborhood or state or country, why not organize your own "Love On" event. Be sure to share it with me on social at @usjapanfam!!
Trying to sell your kids' outgrown clothes is a headache, am I right? You take all these photos and post with lengthy descriptions on various apps and in Facebook groups, and then... nada... Ugh! Next stop, donation city, which is great for warm fuzzies and a tax write off, but sometimes what we really want is getting something tangible in exchange, like a big bag of the next size up in clothes, yes? YES!!
I've previously confessed my love for Little Swappies' swap events in Manhattan and Brooklyn, unfortunately it seems to be on indefinite hiatus since the founder has moved abroad. But have no fear - a new swap system (with online and in-real-life swap events) has stepped up to fill the void and I couldn't be more psyched, because swapping = saving money and reducing waste. What a win-win!!
MomsHood is an online swapping site for kids' clothing and toys. In a nutshell, you browse boxes of clothes and get one shipped to you (paying $4.95 for handling and $11.95 for shipping). You must list a box of your own clothes (free shipping) before you can claim another box. So, basically you are swapping a box of clothes (about 10-15 items) for another for just $17 via United States Postal Service. It's super easy to "shop" as you can narrow it down by size, gender, season, or even type in something specific you're looking for. You can leave reviews and follow users whose stuff you love. That said, it's definitely in need of some user growth since my search for boys' 4T winter items came up with nothing and girls' 18-24 months winter came up with only 1 box. Whomp whomp. But, if you all go and register and start using it, and get your friends to, and so on - it could seriously be AMAZING!!! So, get on it!!! But wait, there's more...
MomsHood is also organizing LIVE SWAP EVENTS for kids' clothing, toys, and books!! A $20 ticket gets your whole family into the affair - there's free activities like a family photo booth and a raffle, and tables with reps from various sponsors to check out. For the swap, you must bring at least 8 like-new items and can take home up to 20. All remaining clothes after the swap will be donated to Room to Grow and Little Sisters - how great is that!?
The next MomsHood swap will be on Sunday, December 4 from 3-5PM on the Upper East Side of NYC (more specifically, at El Barrio’s Artspace PS109, 215 99th Street, New York, NY 10029). And...
I'M GIVING AWAY THREE FAMILY TICKETS!!!!!!!
Just enter in the Rafflecopter box below! Good luck and see you at the swap (if you're not a winner, you can purchase your tickets here).
As a lover of Oktoberfest, cruising the Hudson, and leaf peeping, I’ve been curious about Circle Line’s Bear Mountain Cruise for several years now. Wary about how baby- or kid-friendly the trip was, I have simply been sadly sitting it out. But this year, we bit the bullet so that we could put them to the test and let our lovely readers know whether or not it’s a “ticket”, “skip it”, or “get a sitter”! The quick answer is, “It depends on the family”. Read on for my family’s experience and my tips for having a fabulous trip with your fam!
What is the timeline of the cruise?
Oktoberfest Bear Mountain Cruise runs Saturdays and Sundays from the end of September til the beginning of November (2016’s last cruise is Sunday, November 6). They recommend you get there to Pier 83 (42nd & 12th Ave in Manhattan) by 8:15AM to redeem your tickets (you really should purchase them online since most cruises sell out). Boarding is from 8:30AM and the boat leaves promptly at 9AM.
You cruise for 2.5 hours to Bear Mountain with really interesting narration about the city for the first half hour or so, and then the Oompa Band starts pumping out their festive music on the entry level floor, which is covered and the best level if you have a stroller. There are no elevators, and bathrooms are in the basement (no changing tables, and expect long lines for the ladies’), and the 2nd floor is quieter with both outdoor and indoor seating areas, as well as a premium seating area (middle photo in collage below).
Alcohol is offered from noon, which is about what time you arrive at the mountain. The boat stays at Bear Mountain for about 3 hours, and you can leave and return to the boat at any time while docked, and leaves when it’s time, no matter how many haven’t returned yet (our cruise had 19 people who hadn’t come back!!!). So, be careful!! You can expect to be back in NYC around 6PM.
What is the food and beverage situation?
They sell an Oktoberfest menu to eat on the boat, as well as sandwiches and typical snack bar items, and you can pre-order picnics to eat on the mountain. They don’t allow outside food or drinks, but we did run into several families who brought their own picnics for the mountain and didn’t have an issue. They have a full bar on the 1st and 2nd levels, with Warsteiner beer options such as all-you-can-drink mug or mix-and-match 5 bottles of beer bucket, both for $35.
On the mountain, there is a large beautiful picnic area by Hessian Lake if you bring your own food.
The Bear Mountain Inn has a few eating options, including a fabulous “Traditional Sunday Brunch” buffet ($34 for adults, $16 for ages 5-12, free for 4 and under), but you must make a reservation!! The Inn also has nice bathrooms with changing tables.
What is there to do on the boat?
I have to say, there’s not a whole lot of kid-friendly things to do, so you’ll definitely want to bring some amusements to keep your little ones entertained! The seats on the boat are not bolted down, which means you can move them around a bit to give yourself some space to squeeze your stroller in, or even to lay a blanket down for your kids to have a little play space (we saw one family doing this and thought it was brilliant!!). There are also a few outlets around so you can charge a tablet or phone if need be.
There is some open space near the band, and though it is the thoroughfare for people getting food and drinks and moving about the boat, several kids (including our own) were bopping joyously along to the music here, and we didn’t notice anyone getting annoyed by it - phew!
Most kids will also enjoy some time outside taking in the sights, just note it can be extremely breezy and the bow also got quite wet during our cruise.
What is there to do on Bear Mountain?
3 hours, or less if the boat gets delayed, goes extremely fast and I can’t emphasize enough that you need to be back with plenty of time to spare (knowing that getting from point A to point B with kids can take 3 times longer than expected!!). My family only had time for Brunch at the Inn, but the walk to and from is beautiful and great for leaf peeping en route! Other things to do include a Carousel, the Trailside Museums & Zoo ($1 suggested donation), 50 hiking trails (some paved, some not), and letting the kids run about near Hessian Lake.
Should I bring our stroller?
We brought our double stroller because including the 20 minute walk to our station, 1 hour subway ride, 20 minute walk from that station to the pier - and all in reverse after the cruise, it was going to be a 13 hour day for us and we couldn’t imagine handling that with a 3 year old and two 1 year olds and no stroller. Both piers and the boat handled our stroller just fine - they have ramps to get on and off and also some strong men to help if needed.
There’s a large open space at the entrance to the boat, and if you get there early you can get a seat there and have no problem keeping your stroller with you. If you get there later, and all the seats on the entry level floor are taken, don’t freak out… About 10 minutes into the cruise they’ll open up the bow and/or stern and most people will start to move about and you can easily grab some seats! Some people lugged their single strollers up to the top floor, which is possible as well.
If you can get by without a stroller, I recommend it, but it’s totally doable with a stroller. The paved trails leading from the pier to the mountain are steep, and might be slightly difficult for very new walkers or if pushing a heavy stroller or wheelchair, but manageable. One caveat is if there has been a recent heavy rain - there is a train underpass just after the pier that was 2-feet deep with water and impassable. The only other way to the mountain was up a very narrow dirt path and over the railroad. Our double stroller simply wouldn’t fit, but they allowed us to keep it on the boat and we continued on our way to the mountain lugging our littles in baby carriers instead.
So… is the Oktoberfest Bear Mountain Cruise Family-Friendly??
You betcha! I wouldn’t say it’s geared toward families, but there were plenty there having a great time, including me and my brood! My personal recommendation would be to leave the stroller at home or at least on the boat and have a ratio of at least 1 adult per child for the most fun and least stressful outing. It’s a great escape from the city and fun for all! Get more information about the Bear Mountain Cruise on Circle Line’s website.
Location: Pier 83 at 42nd Street and 12th Avenue in Manhattan.
Hours: Boards at 8:30AM, departs at 9AM and returns around 6PM on Saturdays and Sundays from late September through early November (September 24 - November 6, 2016).
Tickets: $65 for adults, $52 for ages 3-12, free for under 3.
Thanks to an invite by the lovely mama behind Stroller in the City, I was recently lucky enough to attend ENK Childrens Club, an international exhibition featuring hundreds of brands in children's fashion, accessories, and more. Held at the Javits Center in New York, it was huge... HUGE!!!
It took me a good FOUR HOURS to meander through the aisles, stopping and chatting with the reps when a certain item caught my eye. After a brief pumping session in the bathroom, I finished the day at a blogger & brand meet and greet, another awesome opportunity to hear about the latest trends in children's fashion and make some great connections (which means plenty of product reviews and giveaways coming soon for YOU, my loyal and fabulous readers).
OK, without further ado, I'm happy to present you with some of the brands and products that blew me away!!
Chiggy & N Sunglasses
My three-year-old son was recently diagnosed with terrible Fall and Spring seasonal allergies (thanks to my hubby), so when I ran across these full coverage sunglasses my immediate reaction was "NO WAY!!! Are these anti-allergy sunglasses?!?!?!" And you know what? THEY ARE!! Not only do they help keep the pollen out of kids' eyes, they're super cute, extremely durable, and have UV 400 protection. They go for $30 a pop on their website and Amazon - in black, blue, or pink - one size fits all (ages 4-10).
Watchitude Slap Watches
Do you remember those slap bracelets we used to love in grade school, that became illegal because it turned out they were dangerous? Well, Watchitude figured out how to make them safe again, using silicone, and turned them into a very very cool "slap watches". They have a bazillion designs, and retail for about $22 on their website and Amazon.
Hoonana Kids' Elastic Waist Pants
I will be the first to admit I love maternity pants. So freaking comfortable!! Baby pants also feature this uber awesome elastic waist, but once toddlers graduate to bigger sizes you are stuck with the annoying side elastic button thingy, or have to use a belt (which can be frustrating for younger kids to get on and off by themselves). So, when I saw Hoonana Kids' pants featuring the elastic waist in sizes 12 months through 8 I was like helllllll yes!!!! Not only practical, but super cute! They retail for $46 on their website.
Keenz Stroller Wagon
This one had all the bloggers talking at the show, and for good reason. We've never seen anything like it and we all WANT ONE!!! As a mother of 3 kids under 4, this thing was begging for me to take it home. This 29-pound stroller wagon features two 5-point seat belts (one on each end), a 110 pound weight limit, 1-step on/off brake, removable fabric, adjustable simulated leather handles on each end, built-in storage, retractable roof (hello - convertible!), and a fairly compact fold. Offered in green, purple, or gray, it retails for $450 on their website.
You know how annoying it is to change your baby's swim diaper when they're wearing a swimsuit? Fasten does and they've solved the problem by making diapers easily accessible in their baby swimsuits which open at the waistline via magnetic snaps!! Can't get much easier than that! They retail for about $35 on their website and Amazon.
Meiya & Alvin Teether Toys
Created by our Canadian friends over at Great Pretenders (see our review of my son's amazing superhero cape here), Meiya & Alvin feature adorable books, teethers, and toys made from natural, sustainable, and recycled products. I especially fell in love with their super cute plush toys which are like little stuffed animals with heads made of natural rubber - perfect for teething! They retail for $22 on their website and Amazon.
Blade & Rose Baby Leggings
I mean, come on, just look at the photo. I want these on my girls!!! I can just picture them toddling around falling on their adorably decorated bums! Available in sizes infant through 4 years, in tons of designs (matching bandana, sock, and body suit available!!), they retail for $16 on their website and Amazon.
Baby moccasins and crib shoes are all the rage these days, but I've never seen anyone with fun quotes and designs like Silly Souls! In love with these!! They retail for $20 on their website and Amazon, in sizes 0 - 24 months.
I'm not sure how I got in and out of this booth without a million pictures, actually not even one (SMH), but they have pretty much the cutest boys clothes I have ever seen. Like, SO COOL, basically how your hubby dresses (or how you wish he would dress), but in miniature. LOVE LOVE LOVE their stuff - high quality and super fashionable! Boy moms (and dads), definitely check them out!
Tick Talk Wearable Phone & Locator
Track your kid, talk to them (one or two-way), send a voice message, and even turn the watch off remotely (like when they're in school and shouldn't be using it). Pretty cool way to ease the minds of both parents and younger children in the absence of their parents. It requires a data plan, and retails for $150 on Amazon.
So there you have it, my top picks in childrens' fashion and accessories from the Summer 2016 ENK Childrens Club!! There were SOOOOOO many amazing brands, I just can't mention them all, but I did want to take a second to mention a few trends I noticed popping up again and again:
So, what do you think? Are you pumped about any of the above items?? Are you already a die hard fan of one of these brands? Share in a comment below!!
If you travel with kids, navigate public transportation with the littles, or need a spare stroller for your trunk, you MUST know about this stroller. Get ready to be blown away with the Guinness World Record holding smallest folded stroller, the GB Pockit!
The Pockit weighs all of 9 pounds and folds to the ridiculously tiny size of 12” long x 7” wide x 14” high (and it can stand while folded, too!). You can see below it easily fits inside my Skip Hop Double Diaper Bag as well as in a tote bag! Whaaaaaat!? Of course it'll also easily stow in a plane or train's overhead compartment, in the trunk of your car, at your feet on the bus or in a restaurant, in your hallway closet, you name it!
There's no official carry strap, however there are a few options here. You can throw it in a bag with straps (see above). You can carry it by the handles or the foot rest (when folded the plastic foot rest becomes a little loop that is easy to grab onto). You can let your toddler or older child carry it (because at 9 pounds, it's feasible and let's face it, kids love to help with "grownup" jobs!). You can also make your own shoulder strap - I did so with a luggage belt - easy peasy (see right)!
The GB Pockit's biggest stand-out feature is the tiny fold, and to be able to fold that small it had to forego the bells and whistles that many strollers have. It does not recline, is not infant compatible, has no parent's console, no adjustable leg rest, and its canopy and basket are tiny.
That said, it is good for a wide range of riders - from 6 months old up to 55 pounds!! You can see in the photo above how well my 38" tall 34 pound 3.5 year old son still fits in it, with his head supported and well below the canopy. It's great for our 8 month old twins as well, one at a time of course! The angle of the seat is nice, allowing for both a good view for the child as well as decent napping despite having no reclining positions. The fabric seat (which comes in Monument Black, Lizard Khaki, Dragonfire Red, Sea Port Blue, Capri Blue, and Posh Pink) and strap pads all button easily on and off and are machine washable.
The front wheels have a 360 degree swivel and lock easily into place (see #1 below) for more difficult terrain, such as gravel or grass. There's a one-touch rear break and 5 point harness.
The basket is small (see #2 below) but can hold up to 11 pounds... so a small bag, or a couple of water bottles and diapers, let's say. I highly recommend the Sureshop side bags by Hatch Things (pictured right) - if you get one for each side of the Pockit, you'll be able to carry lots without worrying about the stroller tipping over.
The handles actually have 2 heights - the top position is the only one I can see an adult utilizing (and it's probably not the best for a 6'+ adult, though I'm 5'8" and find it to be a great height). The lower height can be fun for a child to push, if you trust them (see right)...
Folding and unfolding the Pockit isn't the easiest thing in the world, there is certainly a learning curve. Upon unboxing I was completely clueless and couldn't figure out how to unfold it. I had to search YouTube in order to unfold it and find the manual tucked inside! HA!! After practicing a bit, you'll get the hang of it, don't worry! I also have to add that it had a pretty strong "new stroller" smell upon unboxing it. I let it air out for a few days before using it which helped a great deal. The manual recommends washing before using, and I highly recommend this as well - for anything actually (clothes, etc) that will be touching your little one's skin or be in their breathing space.
As a family of 3 children ages 3 and under, the GB Pockit will not be our main every day stroller. We really need a double stroller to hold 2 of the 3 kids at any given time, as well as all of our stuff. How this stroller will really benefit our family is for holding that third child! Until now, when our toddler needs a rest or nap on the go, we have to wear one of the babies in a carrier so big brother can get a seat. But now... oh boy this is exciting... we can store the GB Pockit in the under-basket of our double stroller (StrollAir My Duo) and whip it out for big brother to use as needed!!! Of course, this is when dear husband is with us. Because there is NO WAY I'm able to walk around pushing two strollers, even being the "super mom" I am HAHA!!! But with the heat of the summer upon us, not having to babywear is pretty freaking exciting!
The GB Pockit will also greatly benefit us when having to use the bus, which requires you to collapse strollers. When I take the bus alone I have to put the babies in my TwinGo tandem carrier, and carry the diaper bag and collapsed stroller onto the bus, hold it all during the ride, and get it off the bus at our destination. NOT an easy task with a huge stroller! So, having this tiny one that my toddler can actually hold for me, or that I can throw over my shoulder using the luggage strap and then keep it compact at my feet out of the way of fellow passengers... ah-may-zing!
For an umbrella stroller, it has a really great smooth push. It feels oddly wobbly but in actuality is very stable. It handled New York City curbs and cracked sidewalks without a problem, and my son deemed it super comfy!
Be sure to check out out my video review featuring a demo of how to open and close of GB Pockit stroller:
You can order your own GB Pockit on Amazon for about $250 or $270, depending on the color.
So what do you think? Is the GB Pockit a "must have" or a "no thanks" for you?? Leave a comment in a post below!
Disclaimer: Although I did receive this product free of charge, all thoughts and opinions are my own and completely unbiased.
Whether you're looking to escape New York City for a day trip with the kids or a weekend getaway with the whole family, Norwalk Connecticut is one of my favorite destinations so far. If you have a car, well, good for you - easy peasy to go just about anywhere! Without a car, Norwalk is about as easy, cheap, quick, and fun a getaway as it gets - just hop on the MetroNorth from Grand Central and you're there in just over an hour! The MTA even has a rail & aquarium package that will save you big bucks.
We brought our double stroller to give it the ultimate test of stroller-friendliness and it passed with flying colors (with the exception of our elevator-free subway station in Bay Ridge). We found elevators and stroller-friendly walking paths at Grand Central, South Norwalk Station, and throughout the town of Norwalk - hooray!!
HOTEL: Hilton Garden Inn Norwalk
Without a car, finding a central hotel or one with free area shuttle was key. We went with the Hilton Garden Inn at Norwalk because they offer a complimentary shuttle within a 5 mile radius (you just call and they come pick you up within about 15 minutes), and we made good use of it!!
The hotel itself is currently under renovation but they're doing it in small stages so it's not really noticeable. Toddler (and hubby) loved the pool and jacuzzi, and I ate my body weight in hot buffet breakfast - yum!!! They have great open spaces for eating and relaxing, had nice clean pack 'n plays, and a very helpful staff! They have complimentary coffee station (though there is a Starbucks across the street if you must) and free cookies and lemonade in the evening. Good stuff!!
ATTRACTION: Stepping Stones Museum for Children
In a word? AWESOME!!! We spent a solid 4 hours there and our toddler was still not ready to go. The place was enormous, clean, and full of hands-on imaginative play for kids of all ages and abilities! A water-play area, outdoor building blocks, an interactive musical floor-pad, and room after room of different-themed learning toys and activities that kids and parents alike will enjoy.
They had a large area dedicated to children under 36 months, and within that an area for pre-crawlers where I spent 2, count 'em, TWO HOURS hanging with our 8 month old twins. It's rare that they have a large space to crawl and explore, so they really went to town!!
Strollers are not permitted in most of the museum, but they have a large stroller parking room. We were there on a holiday and it was not crowded at all - we wouldn't have had a problem getting around with our double if they allowed it, but actually it was nice to not bother with a stroller at all. They have a cafeteria with decent options and high chairs, changing tables in all the mens and women's bathrooms, and I even found mom and child potties in the handicap stall - how cute!!
ATTRACTION: Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk
For the amount of hands-on activities, this aquarium gets two thumbs up! Kids and adults can pet jellyfish, sting rays, sharks, and more! Their meerkat exhibit is probably my favorite - the little creatures are so fun to watch, and kids can poke their heads up in a dome to feel like part of the pack! They have a great little play area for kids to get out some steam upstairs, and a huge IMAX that is included in admission! We saw the new film, A Beautiful Planet, featuring footage filmed by astronauts at the International Space Station (giving us a very interesting peak into their life up there - from how they wash their hair to how they have to exercise 2.5 hours a day!) and narrated by THE Jennifer Lawrence. It was both breathtaking and educational, and our 3 year old made it through without a problem!
The indoor Harbor Seal show is cute and definitely not to be missed, so check the schedule before your visit or at the start so you can be sure to catch it. It gets VERY crowded on both floors, so you probably want to find a good spot at least 10 minutes before the feeding time.
We were excited to check out the newly opened Flutter Zone (open through September 5) outside. It was small but fun to be among so many butterflies and watch them land on your clothes! Insider tip: your toddler may not be so interested in the butterflies if they catch a glimpse of the HUGE sandbox on your way to the Flutter Zone... either plan to give them time in there or figure out a distraction as you walk out!
They didn't have a stroller check, but they did have a large open coat room where we were able to keep our double (though the door wasn't wide enough so we had to collapse it to get it in there). Many people had their single strollers with them throughout the aquarium, and some had double-wides but it looked a bit cumbersome so I wouldn't advise it. Babywearing is the way to go, if you ask me.
FOOD: Burger Bar & Bistro
Yelp helped me out with this one - they have Burger Bar & Bistro rated as Norwalk's #1 family-friendly eatery. They have a large outdoor space where they set up rocking toys and corn hole, and on Sunday's from 5-7pm they have a free balloon animal artist. Just so happens that was EXACTLY the timing of our visit. SCORE!! Not only did they have tons to entertain my toddler with, they also had amazing food and a large selection of kids and toddler meals! YESSSSS!!! They had outdoor and indoor seating, with board games and books, coloring - basically tons of stuff for kids of all ages.
It is located fairly close to the aquarium, but we actually WALKED here from Stepping Stones. It was almost a mile and nobody else was walking, but it was very pedestrian friendly with stroller-friendly sidewalks and cross walks. We didn't have our stroller with us, so even our toddler walked! Such a city kid, I couldn't be prouder! So, if you're sans car and the weather is nice, don't waste your money on a taxi, just hoof it!
And now, the pièce de résistance, my video and photo collage of our 2-day 1-night weekend getaway to Norwalk, Connecticut! Enjoy!! (Don't forget to like, comment, share, and subscribe!!!)
DISCLAIMER: I was provided complimentary admission to Stepping Stones and Maritime, but as always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. I only post reviews of places, products, and services I love and stand behind - I'm no sell out!
About Me ^_^
I'm just a NYC mom blogger and YouTuber living in Bay Ridge Brooklyn with my Japanese husband & our 3 kids (twins plus 1)! Sharing the trials and tribulations of raising bi-lingual bi-racial bi-national babies in the Big Apple! Humor, honesty, family travel, product reviews & giveaways, galore!