Another unique and key feature of Syunsoku children's sneakers is the asymmetry of its soles. "Syunsoku arranges its spikes on the inner side of the right sole and on the outer side of the left sole, thus enabling wearers to grip the ground when cornering counterclockwise. Developers have created shoes that enable fast-running children to run faster and give hope to slow-running children." Read more about the benefit of asymmetrical soles here!
We were recently sent some new sneakers from a company I suspect many of you may be unaware of, despite the fact that they are one of the best selling children's shoe companies in Japan! Syunsoku, founded in 2003, has sold more than 60 million pairs of shoes, and they are guaranteed to be your child's next favorite pair of sneakers!
The name Syunsoku means "flash feet," which is a nod to the speed and power their sneakers are designed to provide. Developed to support the feet of sports-minded kids, and designed to perfectly suit each age group's changing shape of feet - allowing ample space for toes and appropriate height for toes and heels.
Now, their sizes are not standard US sizes, so you'll have to review their size chart (available on each product page), but it's not too hard to figure out - I got my 3 kids' sizes right on first try, woohoo!! For our 5 year old, we got the RS2 Boys Sports Shoes in "Yellow", though it's more of a lime green and we LOVE THEM!!! So cute and unique! He mentioned they felt snug on the sides when first wearing them, and the product page does say this style is perfect for boys with extra narrow feet (which Kenzo does not have), but at the end of his first full day wearing them he said they felt great, so maybe you have to settle into them and stretch them out a bit. This style retails for $49 but is currently on sale for $24.50 on syunsokuusa.com. It's also available in "black" and blue".
For the girls we got these super cute Cream Girls Sports Shoes in "Black". The girls are obsessed with the shiny little pink bow atop the velcro strap, and frankly, so am I! HA! The sole is very thick (so not super flexible, but flexible enough) but they're very lightweight with "enhanced cushioning." These retail for $64 but are currently on sale for $32 on syunsokuusa.com.
Looking to get some new sneakers for your kids? Go check out Syunsoku! Available on their website (offering free shipping, 100% satisfaction guarantee, and free 30 day returns) and also Amazon (affiliate link).
Whether coordinating outfits with your significant other or family makes your heart happy or it's just a fun and cheesy whim for a party, this post is for you!! Shinesty recently reached out to us to review their coordinating holiday outfits for families, and I was SO game!
I'd never heard of Shinesty before, but was really wow'd when scrolling through their site. They have TONS of themed wear for singles and couples, from jumpsuits and dresses to swimsuits and bathrobes. Do yourself a favor and check out their IG feed for some good laughs, their "mediocre memes" are a hoot! While most of their outfits claim to be "how babies are made" (omg did they really go there! HA!), they do have a few coordinating family holiday outfits to choose from.
We were sent the non-religious but still festive Millennial Snowflake design - a suit with a tie for hubby, a boys' suit for our 5 year old, toddler dresses for the girls, and a long sleeve wrap dress for myself. For some good laughs, be sure to watch our unboxing video, featuring our very first family fashion show (we ham it up big time) and even a bit of acro in there) - just click below!
The kids LOVE LOVE LOVE their outfits. The girls couldn't stop twirling around, so adorable. Kenzo felt like such a man, donning his first suit! Though, the buttons were super stiff, and he needed some help at first. His pants have elastic on the back making them a perfect fit, and easy to maneuver in the bathroom since he could skip the button and zipper.
Hubby and I were a wee bit embarrassed to wear our outfits out publicly. For me, who usually wears black with a pop of color via statement necklace, this light colored dress (with snowflakes on it no less!!!) was totally out of my comfort zone, but it fit pretty well and was really comfortable. It ended up actually being really fun to get all dressed up matchy matchy with the whole fam. We ended up wearing them to the Cirque Dreams Holidaze Christmas show - even daddy wore his snowflake blazer!! We lost count of how many people stopped us to comment about how adorable we were in our outfits, it was hilarious!! Some even took photos! Long story short, Shinesty clothes are not for wallflowers - you WILL get noticed, and you WILL have a good laugh and lots of fun!
You can shop for fun threads on shinesty.com and Amazon (affiliate link).
When searching for a family-friendly hotel to split up our long drive from NYC to Montreal, I happened across Six Flags Great Escape Lodge and Indoor Waterpark. We are all familiar with Six Flags - we think roller coasters, theme park, fun summertime day trip for the family. But did you know they have an amazing lodge with a HUGE indoor water park just 3.5 hours north of NYC, in the heart of the Adirondacks and Lake George area!! Click below to watch our YouTube video for a tour of the facilities and to see our crazy kiddos having a blast!!
It's quite affordable, too, with room rates from just $199/night, including waterpark access (if not staying overnight, you can also purchase day passes for the waterpark for $44.95 per guest and under age 2 is free, and seasonally of course also tickets for the amusement park). They have lots of kid-friendly activities going on during the day, including a Kids Klub with arts and craft and story times, a huge arcade, and 2 full-service restaurants on site (including Johnny Rockets). Something we didn't do, and I regret (so there WILL BE a next time...) is their Adventure Trek - basically you rent a wand and venture around the hotel on a mission of unlocking games and adventures, and all your points accumulate and will be there when you come back for your next stay! Sounds super fun!!
They had the lodge beautifully decked out for the Holidays, and have an adorable set up for photos with Santa. While it's brutally cold outside, it's summer year round at Great Escape Lodge and the perfect time to schedule your getaway!
The lodge is great, in a beautiful area with lots going on, but the indoor waterpark is what really makes Great Escape Lodge stand out as a great family vacation destination in my opinion. There's a little toddler area with baby swings and slides, a kid's area where you must ben 36-54" to ride the slides, and several body and raft slides for taller kids and adults (most were 36 or 42" and taller), a group raft slide (2-4 people per raft), and even a wave machine where you can boogie board or surf!!! I was too scared to try it but deeply regret that, so yet another reason we'll have to go back soon!! (Be sure to watch our YouTube video to see my hubby giving boogie boarding a go!!)
The lazy river was probably my favorite, a bit awkward to manage with toddlers but we figured out a way to kind of perch one on each of our tubes, and our 5 year old floated along alone with or without a tube - they have free life vests for the kids to borrow! There were showers and changing rooms down there, but the lockers cost $17, so my recommendation is to leave valuables up in your room and just bring the bare minimums down to the waterpark. Also, they said the room is 82 degrees, but the water was a tad chilly, so just keep that in mind, especially if anyone in your family is very temperature sensitive, you may need take quick breaks to dry off or warm up with a hot shower. Though, we were there during a record breaking cold spell, so I'm not sure if the water/air temperatures were typical or not. Despite the shivers, we had an absolute blast!!
Looking for more family vacation and weekend getaway from NYC ideas?? Check out my massive list here!!
Family vacations are so important, for making memories and experiencing new things together, but if I'm being honest, as a mother of 3 small children, they sometimes don't quite feel like vacation to me. I just kinda feel like I'm parenting in another location, and deserve a vacation after coming back from the vacation! But this past weekend, we found the answer to our vacation woes. A super duper family-friendly ALL-INCLUSIVE resort near NYC that includes, wait for it, CHILD CARE!!! This amazing place is none other than Rocking Horse Ranch in Highland, New York, just a quick 2 hour drive north from New York City (or hop on Amtrak and they'll have a shuttle pick you up from the station!).
Full disclosure, we were provided our stay free of charge in exchange for our review and promotion. But don't worry, as always, all thoughts and opinions are my own and completely unbiased - I'm no sell out!!!
Watch our fun video here and keep reading for details on the Rocking Horse Ranch accommodations, activities, food, and more!!
The main grounds of Rocking Horse Ranch are pretty compact, which made everything super convenient! Our room was located in the Main Lodge and we could get to the pool, dining room, arcade, and theater without going outside! And it was just a quick walk outside to the other areas including the playground, stables, day care, fun barn, etc.
They have rooms accommodating 4 - 6 people. We got the "Main Lodge AA" room for 6 people, which included 2 queen beds and a bunk bed, which my kids were over the moon for!!! Our 5 year old took the top bunk (which has built in rails) and our 3 year old twins shared the bottom bunk (I simply pulled 2 wooden chairs over to use as a makeshift rail and it worked like a charm. But frankly, everyone was so exhausted after a full day on the ranch that they crashed quickly and slept like the dead. The room was spacious and included a TV, fridge, shower/bath, toilet, 2 sinks, coffee table, dresser, and tons of hanging / storage space.
The room, like the entire hotel, had a fun ranch / cowboy / Wild West theme, and seemed newly renovated. Everything was in immaculate condition, super clean, and honestly impressed the heck out of me!
As you would expect at an all-inclusive resort, all meals were included. Breakfast and Lunch were buffet style, and dinner was sit down and order off the menu, however there was no limit on how much you could order. On your first day, you must make a dinner reservation and that same time will remain your dinner time for your entire stay. We struggled with what time to sign up for, not wanting it to cut into our fun activities and also not make us rushed to get to the 8pm nightly entertainment! We settled on 6:30PM and it was perfect. The dining area itself, just like the rest of the hotel, has a beautifully decorated rustic cowboy type theme, complete with dozens of antler chandeliers, views of the surrounding forest, and a gorgeous fireplace (bring your cameras, this is one of the many great spots in the hotel for some family photos)!
Breakfast was delicious, featuring eggs, pancakes, french toasts with strawberries, bacon, eggs, danishes, oatmeal and yogurt stations, tons of fresh fruit and individual cereal boxes, bagels, etc. You can also order eggs anyway you like, we got a bacon and cheese omelet that was ah-may-zing (be sure to scroll through the food gallery above)!!
Lunch had some standards like hot dogs, cheeseburgers, and DIY sandwiches, pastas, make-your-own bar like tacos, sloppy joes, etc. The fun part about lunch is the Character meet-and-greet. Even though they weren't well-known characters from TV, our kids were so excited to hug and high-five Betsy the Horse, a Prospector, and a Cowboy (see below)!
Dinner consisted of a soup, a salad, 2 appetizers, 6 or so main dishes, and 2 sides. Menus of all meals are posted before each meal outside the dining room, just in case you want to go over it before sitting down at the table, which can be a crazy time for families like mine! You could order as much as you wanted, and even order basics not on the menu that might be more picky-kid-friendly, pizza for example. As hard as it is with all that endless food to devouer, I encourage you to SAVE ROOM FOR DESSERT because they have a to-die-for selection of pies, as well as soft serve ice cream sundae bar, cookies, etc. YUMMMMMMM!!!!!
There are two self-serve drink bars in the dining room, with all kinds of sodas, whole milk, chocolate milk, water, and flavored waters. A separate server comes around in case you want to order alcohol at dinner, which is not included. There is also a 24-hour coffee / hot chocolate / pastry station located in one of the common areas near the lobby - all free, of course!
At Rocking Horse Ranch, child care (or "day camp" if you prefer) is free of charge for ages 3 - 12, and $12 per hour per child under the age of 3! No reservations needed, just drop-in between 9am - 5pm and pick them back up whenever! Use as long or as often as needed during your stay! It was SO AMAZING, I don't ever want to go on "vacation" again without a child care option LOL! Not only was it great to get some (free) alone time with my husband, but the kids LOVED it there! They actually begged to go back!! They have 2 rooms, one for ages 0-5, and one for ages 6-12. They have tons of age-appropriate activities in the rooms, but they also give the kids the option to go on trips outside to the various activities. They took our kids moon jumping, to see the animals, to the play ground, etc!
PONY RIDES & HORSE BACK RIDING:
Now, it wouldn't be a RANCH without some horses and other animals, and they are certainly in abundance here! With over 100 horses to ride, they're able to guarantee a free daily trail ride to every guest (must be 48" and above, under 48" can take pony rides). You'll need to select a time (same daily) for your ride, but you can also get extra rides waiting standby at other ride times. We met some girls who were riding 3 times a day! They accommodate any level, from first-time beginners (like us) to intermediate (walk-trot) and advanced (walk-trot-canter). You can attend a demonstration to learn more about the horses, the stable, and how to ride, or you can wing it as we did - the staff will give you a 30-second instruction about how to hold the reins and control the horse, and then you're on your own to keep your horse in check as you head out with a group on your 45 minute trail ride.
I'm not gonna lie, I was rather terrified. Those horses are huge and while they're tame and more or less know what to do because they do the same trail ride several times a day, you had to be careful not to let your horse get too close to the next horse or else they might spook each other or bite or whatever, oh my gosh it was very nerve wracking for me. There are wranglers riding along with the group though, and they gallop over to come to help out within a few seconds (nothing major happened on our ride, just a few horses got out of line to munch on some grass and occasionally a rider needed help getting back in line). I'm very proud of myself that I did it, despite my fear, but we decided not to go back for a second ride haha! My sore butt thanked me.
Our kids, on the other hand, were absolutely in love with their pony rides!! The last time Emi had a chance to ride, a year ago at 2 years old, she was so petrified she wouldn't even touch the horse. But this time, she was so happy to be up on that pony. All of them were. And my heart nearly exploded with the cuteness of it all!!!
Rocking Horse Ranch has a great indoor water park area with a big pool in the lower section (with a fun bobbing platform area to walk across), a nice splash area for the younger crowd in the upper section (with 1 small and 2 medium sized slides), and a MONSTER of a water slide for the older kids and adults. That slide is 250 feet long, and let me warn you, you go FAST!!! It is really really fun!!! I was shocked my 5 year old was brave enough to go it alone, but he did and he loved it, rode it about 5 times during our stay!!
The water and air temperatures in there are kept at a balmy 85 degrees fahrenheit, so no chills to worry about, and they also have great life jackets for the kids to wear (for 30-50 pounds). Down one flight of stairs (which isn't kept as warm, so you'll need to dry off or bundle up) you'll find bathrooms, showers, changing rooms, and saunas. Or you can run through the hallways from your room to the pool in your bathing suits, as we did haha!
ACTIVITIES, ANIMALS, & ENTERTAINMENT:
No matter your age or interest, you will find plenty to do at Rocking Horse Ranch, and nearly all of it is free of charge for guests (the only things I ran across that cost extra were alcohol, arcade games, and mining camp, but anything that costs extra will be noted so on the daily activity guides).
In the indoor Fun Barn (pictured above) you'll find a bouncy house, large jungle gym with lots of foam ball shooting devices, badminton, ping pong, and electric rock climbing. Outside of that, you'll find 3 moon jumping trampolines (pictured below) and a rock climbing platform.
Near the stables, you'll find an enormous playground (pictured above), indoor BB shooting range & archery, Highland Cattle, zebra, camel, pigs, donkeys, and goats. You can watch a silversmith make horse shoes (they have over 100 horses, each needing new shoes every 6-8 weeks - be sure to watch our video to see them putting new shoes on a horse, it's fascinating!!).
Our favorite activity was definitely the mountain tubing. They have a "Magic Carpet Lift" that brings you and your tubes up, and fly down down the huge hill at super speed!!! You cannot double up in one tube, but even our 3 year olds were fine riding solo. Sometimes they'll let you go double with 2 tubes (1 person in each) and 1 person holding the leash of the other tube. We enjoyed that as well. At night they light it up in fun colors and it brings it to a whole new level of fun!
Inside the main lodge, in the basement, you'll find the Lucky Horseshoe Arcade with pay-to-play machines as well as 2 lanes of free mini bowling, and a fun interactive floor game.
Down the hall from the arcade, you'll find the Silverado Saloon where they have daily activities such as scavenger hunts, trivia games and nightly live entertainment (we saw a great magician there).
In the summer they have more outdoor activities open up including an outdoor pool and water slide, and in winter they have snow tubing and skiing! They also have a softball field, tennis courts, horseshoe pitching, basketball courts, shuffleboard courts, horse-drawn wagon or sleigh rides, and you can take a shuttle to a golf course and the Walkway Across the Hudson!
Seasonal, of course, they make a killer haunted house, with nighttime tours as well as "not as scary" (but still super creepy and gross) day time behind the scenes tours, which my husband and I thoroughly enjoyed. They tell you how they made it, how they mange from above the crowds, use trap doors etc. Be sure to watch my video for some of the cool behind the scenes tour!
So there you have it, our family vacation at Rocking Horse Ranch in a big amazingly fun nutshell!! I'm not going to sugar coat it, this is not a low-budget vacation. But you can find deals and make a splurge, because honestly, it's SO worth it!!! Prices I've seen on their booking page range from about $349 - $979 per room per night, but don't forget, this includes EVERYTHING during your stay!
What do you think?? Is this on your list of places to visit? Have you been before? Have another place to recommend for us to try out? Be sure to head on over to our great FAMILY-FRIENDLY DAY TRIPS & WEEKEND GETAWAYS FROM NYC page for some other great destinations!!
My husband was born and raised in Japan, and I spent 5 years over there myself (2 years before meeting him and 3 years together). Our oldest child has visited twice and our twins just once so far, when we went in the summer of 2017 (don't miss our great 4-part video series of that trip to Japan here!!). So, when Japan Candy Box reached out for us to do an unboxing, we were totally psyched!! Watch it below, have some laughs, be inspired to try something new, see us demo and try out 2 of the crazy interactive candies at the end, get your own Japan Candy box with my affiliate link here! And ENTER TO WIN YOUR OWN JAPAN CANDY BOX in the app at the bottom of this page - it's open WORLDWIDE (giveaway ended Nov 13, 2018)!!
Enter to win here, and don't forget to leave us a comment to let us know what you think about Japan Candy Box, our video, our silly kids, Japanese culture, or anything else!!
If you're searching for a unique Halloween Costume, or an easy Cosplay idea for your next Comic Con, I've got a suggestion for ya! Kigurumi hooded onesie costumes from Kutame! From dragons and sharks to unicorns and pandas, they have a massive selection of costumes! You'll even find some Japanese ones such as Gudetama, Korilakkuma, Rilakkuma, Mega Man, Shiba Inu, and Gloomy Bear (in black or pink). Not only does Kutame have tons of Kigurumi, they also have Pusheen, blind boxes, mugs and other great gifts.
And are you ready for this?! We're giving away a $150 store credit (US residents only; good for 2 - 3 Kigurumi costumes), and have a 25% off coupon code for everyone else!! Just read on and enter to win at the bottom of this blog post!!
They are SUPER soft, and warm (made of 100% polyester, SAZAC's signature soft fleece), machine washable (just turn them inside out), and because they're so loose fitting they allow for plenty of layering underneath which makes them the perfect choice for Trick-or-Treating in chilly locations! Another thing that makes Kigurumi so great is there's no guessing game when choosing your size. They're meant to be loose fitting, and only come in 2 size options for adults: "regular one size" (what hubby and I got, we're both about 5'8") and "extra tall size" (for those over 6') and 2 size options for kids: 3-5 years old (what we got for our just turned 3 year old twins) and 5-9 years old (what we got for my small almost 6 year old son).
You can see that they're quite big on my kids, but the elastic wrists and ankles are great. Kind of harem pant style. Loose, comfy, and lots of fun to "monkey around in" as my son mentions in our HILARIOUS unboxing video, watch it here!! I can see them being a great costume during pregnancy and postpartum, as well, since they're so roomy!
Here are my husband and I modeling our "regular one size" Kigurumi. I got the "colorful skeleton" (only available in regular size) and he got the "skeleton" (available in regular & extra tall size), both have pockets and retail for $59 on shopkutame.com (don't forget to use code "USJAPANFAM" for your 25% off!!)
Here's our son in his Japanese monkey costume, with pockets, retailing for $45. He's almost 6 years old and about 43 inches tall, wearing the "5-9 year old size", it's also available in 3-5 year old size. I'm so happy he chose this costume, not only is it adorable and kinda hilarious with the red butt, but about 10 years ago his father and I actually drove out from our home in Yokohama to see the Japanese snow monkeys in the mountains of Nagano, lounging in the steamy natural hot springs! It was quite an amazing experience!!
Here are our twins modeling the pink unicorn and blue unicorn costumes. They just turned 3 and are about 36" tall, wearing the size 3-5 years (also available in 5-9 years). Both have pockets and retail for $45. The hoods were a bit difficult for them to manage at first, but after playing around in them for a while they figured them out. It's fun to pull them forward and be totally in character, but do make sure you and your kids can see well when necessary, or know to take their hoods down when crossing the road! Safety first!!
Suffice it to say, we are all totally in love with our new Kigurumi onesie character costumes, and think you will be too!!! US Residents can get 25% off their orders with code USJAPANFAM at shopkutame.com and can also enter to win $150 credit in the Rafflecopter box below. Don't forget you can earn more points daily with certain actions such as tweeting, watching our videos, and commenting on blog posts! The giveaway will end at 11:59 PM EST on Monday, October 15. Good luck to all, and be sure to comment below with your thoughts on these costumes, Japanese culture, or a fun Halloween/Costume-related story!!
We couldn't be more excited to let you all know about a sweet new spot that's recently opened right here in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. Whether you have a sweet tooth, crave great coffee, or are throwing a party in need of a phenomenal cake, get thee to Cheesecake Diva on 3rd (between 73rd and 74th).
The vibe inside is modern, clean, and minimalistic, with a handful of tables, a bathroom, and a refrigerated case displaying their beautiful cheesecakes! We're also thrilled to note that it is stroller and wheelchair friendly, with a nice amount of open space in the shop, and a ramp at the front door (no step - hoorah)! Our double stroller had no problems and we didn't feel "in the way" as we do in many cramped Bay Ridge cafes and stores.
We don't want to keep you waiting. You all want the scoop on their namesake: CHEESECAKE!! They have SO many flavors, every single one of them looks delicious - we're talking strawberry, dulce de leche, matcha, cookie 'n cream, kiwi, the list goes on. To be more specific, that list contains 22 flavors of cheesecake!! They sell 6", 10", and 12" cheesecakes, but what I love is that they also have "small" individual sized ones for just $3.95. There's (almost) no guilt devouring one yourself. Better yet, bring some friends and share an assortment! I treated myself and my kids to the "chocomallow" and it was ah-may-zing. Rich and creamy, absolutely delectable! This place is a MUST for any and all cheesecake lovers in the Tri-State area!
And how about this, one of their newest items (pictured below), a pack of 12 different flavored mini cheesecakes for $12.50. YUM!!
But don't worry, it's not just about cheesecake. They have espresso drinks and specialty coffee (including pour over & siphon coffee - pictured below left), bubble tea (upgrade to tapioca or lychee jelly for just $0.50), 7 flavors of milk tea, 7 kinds of flavored tea, and egg waffle & ice cream (pictured below right) for $9 with four free toppings and ice cream available in vanilla, black sesame, taro and cookie n’ creme. We're also told they'll soon be adding homemade cookies and seasonal coffee drinks, including Pumpkin Spice Latte and Matcha Latte.
So, go on. Get over to Cheesecake Diva at 7309 3rd Avenue in Bay Ridge pronto. Treat yourself. Treat your kids. Plan your next book club there. Order a cake for an upcoming birthday or catered event. Thank a teacher with a gift card. Grab a coffee on the way to work and a cheesecake on the way home, for that special someone... or yourself. You deserve it!
Have you been to Cheesecake Diva yet? Comment below with what you had and how much you loved it!!
Be sure to follow Cheesecake Diva on Facebook & Instagram, and check out their cheesecake menu on cheesecakedivanyc.com.
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Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post but all thoughts and opinions are my own and completely unbiased, cuz hey, I'm no sell out!
My crew went back to school a couple of weeks ago and I wanted to take a minute to let you guys know about some of my favorite items we're using this year - from great kids shoes to bento box to washable labels, all from brands included in my $600 value jackpot Fall Favorites for the Family Giveaway running through September 19, 2018 - enter to win here!!
Click below to watch the haul on our YouTube channel, or read on for the blog version!
Stuck On You has the best personalized items for kids and families. I previously reviewed the Stuck On You Bento Box and Backpack my son is using, and we've just gotten their washable labels and fabric stamp to try out - must haves for school, day care, and camp! The labels come in all sizes to choose from, and as with all of the Stuck On You items, you can personalize the text, font, color, and even add a cute little logo or character! (Do take a moment to read my PSA on child safety at the bottom of this post regarding labeling items with your child's name). We haven't had these labels long enough to see how they do long term, but I'll check back in and update this post in a few weeks to let you know how our items have been doing with heavy use and being thrown in the dishwasher. My DIY sharpie labeling didn't survive a day at school on my twins' water bottles, not to mention the dishwasher! So, fingers crossed these labels live up to their promise (I'm pretty sure they will!!).
Another must-have to make sure your kids' items are all labeled before heading off to school is the Clothing Name Stamp Pack by Stuck On You. It comes with a personalized stamp, fabric ink, and blank iron-on labels. So you can choose to stamp directly onto the clothes or clothing label, or onto the iron-on label. SUPER easy, waterproof, and permanent!!
We've been a huge fan of pediped for years now, check out my past reviews of shoes here (2017), here (2016) and here (2015)! They are an award-winning children's shoe company known for supporting the healthy growth of children's feet, and their fabulous selection of adorable and stylish shoes for babies through big kids!
My girls were sent pediped's Grip 'n Go Nikki Pink/Orange Sandals, featuring a genuine leather upper, breathable leather lining, all natural rubber sole, and super comfy memory foam insole. Approved by American Podiatric Medical Association for promoting healthy foot development and available in sizes 19 - 23 (4.5 - 7), they're currently on sale for $30!! The velcro strap is easy for kids to do themselves, it's not a loop through (which mine frequently struggle with if they pull it too far out of the loop by accident), and they were my girls were literally flipping over the fun colors! The memory foam insole is very squishy and the sole is super flexible - check out the image above and get a better feel for it in my demo video here!
My son was sent these super cool Flex Logan boots in Chestnut, which are, get this - VEGAN!! They're also machine washable, have a natural rubber sole, breathable canvas lining, are approved by the American Podiatric Medical Association for promoting healthy foot development, and feature the "Flex Fit System" - they come with an extra insert per foot so you can make sure they fit your child perfectly. I love that they LOOK like a laced up shoe but they are in fact, not. The laces are non-tie elastic and stretch to allow your child to get his or her foot in there easily, with a velcro strap up top. Under pants or on show with shorts, these boots are fabulous for the Fall through winter and spring!
Don't forget you can win a pair of pediped children's shoes and a $50 store credit to Stuck On You in my $600 value jackpot giveaway on the blog now!!! Enter to win here!!
Just like with developing an ear and ability for other languages, the earlier you start your child's musical education the better! Singing to your babies, taking your toddlers to shake maracas and dance around at singalongs, and introducing your preschooler to their first instrument!
Choosing that right first instrument can be a difficult decision, but I'm thrilled to introduce you today to one amazing option: the Loog Mini Guitar! We were provided one for review as part of my $600 value jackpot giveaway (enter to win here!!), but all thoughts and opinions are my own and completely unbiased.
The Loog Mini Guitar is not just a kid's sized guitar or ukulele. It actually utilizes just the 3 top strings from a regular guitar, making it simpler for children to learn just the top half of all of the essential chords. What they learn will stay with them as they transition to a regular 6-string guitar in a few years. Brilliant!
What's more? The free Loog Guitar app makes it FUN!! Your child will create a character, tune their guitar, learn chords (with the help of YouTube tutorials built into the app), and unlock great songs to learn by artists such as Bruno Mars, Tom Petty, and Taylor Swift! With the help of this app, your child will be rocking it out on their mini guitar in no time! Be sure to watch my short YouTube video to see my 5 year old using the app to tune the guitar and work on his chords!
Now, I'm not going to lie to you. For my 5 year old, it was anything but easy. That said, he definitely had fun. Obviously some things in life, such as learning to play an instrument, take time and effort! I hope to spending a bit of one-on-one time together with the app and the guitar will help him get the hang of it and have fun! Check him out in action here:
You can buy a Loog Mini Guitar, good for ages 3+, on their website here, and also find great guitars for older kids, and lots of accessories such as bags, stands, and more! You can also find Loog Mini Guitar on Amazon (affiliate link).
You can win your very own Loog Mini Guitar ($79 value) as part of my $600 value jackpot Fall Favorites for the Family Giveaway - just click here to enter to win!!!
We are T minus 2 weeks til back to school here in NYC, so I wanted to take a moment to share with you a couple of our favorite school items we got last year - they survived to live another year - SCORE!!!
Stuck On You is an Australian brand that sells personalized, well, everything for kids and families! We're talking book bags, bento boxes, lunch bags, clothing labels, clothing stamps, pencil cases, hats, planners, you name it! Last year, we worked with them as part of our 2017 Back to School Giveaway, and were provided a personalized Book Bag, Bento Box and Cooler Bag for my son who was off to Kindergarten. (Stay tuned for our 2018 Back To School / Family Fall Favorites Giveaway going live in September!!!)
What's great is that each Stuck On You item you choose can be personalized - you choose the color, the image, text, and font! (Please see my Safety PSA at the bottom of this post!!!). It's fun for kids, and the parents!
His backpack has gotten TONS of mileage over the past year, carrying his gear to school in Brooklyn every day and even journeying to Japan and Maine with us! I love the gender neutral light mint he chose, though it did get pretty dirty thanks to a water bottle that quite often leaked. But, with a quick scrub in the bath tub it was looking good as new each time (see photos - these are after 1 year of use), so no worries there!! We got the "large" size ($44.95 on sale currently for $35.96) which fits full sized folders and holds his lunch box and everything, but they do have a mini sized too ($24.95 on sale now for $19.96) for the preschool/day care set.
We also got Bento Value Pack ($59.95) including the leak-proof bento box and bento box cooler. The cooler comes with an attached bag that zips closed to hold the included reusable ice pack, and this bag fits the bento box perfectly! The bento box has a removable partitioned insert, and SEALS SHUT when closed, meaning you could put a dip in one of the compartments and it won't leak into another compartment or into your bag when shut!! How amazing is that!!!
So, if back to school shopping, or just looking to replace some old items, definitely check out Stuck On You! And now on to an important message...
***CHILD SAFETY PSA***
Many warn not to put your child's name on any items that will be viewable out in the public, which usually means their backpack and jacket. The concern is the risk of a stranger seeing it and calling your child by name, making them think that it is a safe person. This is obviously a HUGE safety concern, however simply keeping their name off of their backpack won't cut it. I urge you to talk to your children regularly about the dangers of not just strangers, but "Tricky People" (read more here). In this day and age of social media and oversharenting (guilty!!), it's quite possible for your child's name and/or face to be quite well known. Not just that, but a stranger could be lurking and overhear you calling your child's name. Just because someone knows their name, or their parent's name, doesn't mean they're safe. Just because they're a stranger, doesn't mean they're dangerous. Unfortunately, even a teacher, a friend's parent, an uncle, a friend, anyone could have bad intentions. Without scaring them too much, we have to teach them to always be cautious, know to tell their caregiver immediately if ANYONE says or does ANYTHING that makes them uncomfortable. Know how to react in an emergency (scream, kick / scratch / gauge out eyes) etc. So, keep your child's name off of his or backpack if it makes you feel better (you could still personalize it perhaps with a nickname or initials or simply a logo or character they identify with), but know you need to be more proactive than that.
My kids don't take a bus or have after school care yet, so I'm not too concerned with their names on backpacks that simply go from home to under the stroller to school cubbies, and they're always with me anyway. But once they're traveling too and from school/camp/activities on their own, I certainly plan to leave names and identifying objects off of their backpacks. However, my kids are quite familiar with "strangers" knowing them and their names on a regular basis (because of our presence on social media), so we have the talk regularly about why people know them, what a "tricky person" is, why it's dangerous to run off or linger behind me on the sidewalk, etc. At 2 and 5 years old, I'm not sure how much they really "get it", but it's a conversation that must happen, often, and it evolves as they get older.
So, what do you think!? Do you personalize your kids' stuff? How do educate your kids about "stranger danger" and "tricky people"? Leave a comment below, and be sure to follow us across social on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and YOUTUBE, and stay tuned for our HUGE Fall Faves Group Giveaway!!!!!!
Check out Kenzo sporting his Stuck on Me backpack at the airport in Japan:
About Me ^_^
I'm a NYC mom blogger, Influencer, YouTuber, & Entrepreneur living in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn with my Japanese husband & our 3 kids (twins plus 1)! My blog is chock full of humor, honesty, family travel, product reviews & giveaways, galore!