Rock climbing, see saws, interactive video games, and more!
We've been on lockdown for months, and winter is coming. Time to make sure you have some fun and creative ways for your kids to burn energy and stay fit indoors!! I've been researching for my own family, and here are some that I think look AH-MAY-ZING (no personal reviews on these... yet. I'm still trying to narrow down which items will be a good fit for my kids and home)!!! There's something for every budget here, whether you're in a tiny rental apartment or massive home! Have an active indoor toy you love?? Leave a comment below!!
Disclaimer: affiliate links below, I'll earn commission from purchases made after clicking.
Indoor Jungle Gyms for Big Kids:
Safety first please - make sure to install these properly and put down a sufficiently thick padded safety mat underneath (check with manufacturer for recommended minimum thickness). Falls happen!
Indoor Jungle Gyms for Toddlers:
Indoor Swings for Kids & Babies:
Indoor Trampolines for Kids:
Other Indoor Active Toys for Kids:
Rock climbing, see saws, interactive video games, and more!
Active Nintendo Switch Video Games:
If you're like my family, you've been pretty much locked down staying at home for a good part of the last 8 months. Cooking wayyyyyy more than I was used to, researching endlessly to find safe places to take the kids on the weekend or to dine outdoors. Worried about illness, about school, about our SANITY! When Woodloch Resort (voted the #1 Family Resort in the United States) invited us on a weekend getaway I was a little nervous to be honest. We'd been there twice before and it is one of my all time favorite family vacation spots. But during a pandemic!? Turns out I had no need to worry, and it was just what the doctor ordered!! Sanity restored. Beautiful memories made. It was Heaven on Earth. Watch our video for as close to an in-person experience as I can give you, and read on for details!!
Pandemic Protocols - Safety First!!
Woodloch is on top of the game when it comes to pandemic protocols and covid safety. You're asked to take everyone's temperatures before heading to the resort, and upon arrival your car is directed to their station where you are greeted cheerfully with a masked and gloved staff member who takes everyone's temperatures (still in the car) without contact via one of those temporal thermometers. Once everyone passes, you're provided bracelets which prove you passed the temperature scan and have free rein of the seemingly endless amenities on their 1500 acre property with beautiful forest and a lake! Signs are everywhere asking you to wear a mask, at the front desk they have baskets with clean pens and used pens, in the kid's arts & crafts room they have bins for used items to be cleaned, heck, even in our guest room the remotes were in plastic baggies!
They opened back up in June and are currently limited to half capacity, with the option to dine in or grab a to-go bag from the dining room. They are using a very handy app for menus and to schedule reservations for many activities so they can limit capacity, meaning you no longer have to deal with lines and you feel like a total VIP with private sessions of things like go carts and bumper cars!
No matter what you're into, you'll find PLENTY to do at Woodloch! My family's personal outdoor favorites are the go carts (min 58" to drive, but kids 36"+ can ride with an adult), junior go carts (48"-58" to drive), scenic boat tour, mini golf, paddle boats, bumper boats, 2 playgrounds including one that was brand new for us with simply massive slides, and just walking around the property and exploring the beautiful nature.
If you keep your eyes peeled you'll be entertained by speedy chipmunks, curious squirrels, meandering deer, robins, Koi fish, and more! There are signs to watch out for bear but we've yet to come across any... On Sundays they also have animals brought over for pony rides and petting. During our stay they had bunnies, a 3 day old lamb, 2 month old calf, and 4 week old twin goats (all with their mamas, of course)!!
Our first stop, every time, is the Woodloch Forest Indoor Playground. It's a massive jungle gym structure that my kids are just bonkers for. They also have a cute baby/toddler area for ages 5 and under. Socks and masks required, no reservations needed but the hours are limited so check the app and schedule your day accordingly! We like to give our kids 30 minutes there at least daily! My personal favorite indoor activity this year was the bumper cars, because it was the first year every person in my family was tall enough to drive their own car (min 40"), AND due to the pandemic, you have to make a reservation and get a private session!!! Screaming. Laughing. Racing. Spinning. Crashing. So so so so so much fun!!! Other indoor favorites are the arts & crafts room (no reservations needed and you could use any supplies you want or use their pre-made kits for that day's suggested craft), the indoor pool (with kiddy splash zone, baby pool, family-friendly jacuzzi, adult-only jacuzzi and sauna, and big slide and splash zone - my kids were old enough for the slide but not able to do it yet since they can't swim independently without floatation devices yet).
When staying at the all-inclusive Woodloch Resort, you have the option of the 2 or 3 meal plan. We always go for the 3-meals a day because, quite honestly, they have the best food of any of the hotels and resorts we have been to! SO GOOD!!! As mentioned above, you currently have the option of dining in the dining room (some lunches are outdoor BBQ's) or having them pack up your meal to go (if worried about indoor dining). But, they did have the dining room at half capacity with tables spread out so we decided to keep it simple and eat in the dining room. Our table was right by the windows facing the lake, so, how could we pass that up!? They always have a couple of appetizers and several main entrees to choose from, family style sides for the table, and a couple of desserts to choose from. Food comes out really fast, and portions are HUGE but if you need to order more or something else, no worries, go for it!
It wouldn't be an all-inclusive resort without offering entertainment every night, now would it!? And they have got some great stuff going on!! They do require you get tickets, so they can make sure they stay under the safe capacity max, and we went to the 7pm show both nights and it was nearly empty. Sad for the performers but pretty awesome for us!! The first night we saw a band called Nowhere Slow and they did a medley of top songs from each decade, from 60's to to today. It was SO fun, our girls danced their booties off. Heads up though, it's VERY loud at the front of the house. We realized if you move to the back it was much better for our kids' sensitive ears. The second night was a comedy act which we didn't stay the whole time for, the content was definitely G-rated and kid-friendly but was just kind of above holding our young kids' attention. They were exhausted anyway, so calling it an early night was smart. In past stays, our kids were just too young to stay up for the nightly entertainment though we did make a splurge for a magician show last time and it was awesome. They even had my son up on the stage!
We were provided with an Edgewater Suite in the Springbrook Section of the resort, which is very convenient as you don't have to go outside to reach the indoor pool! It's just a short walk to the main lodge dining area and all activities! 2 bathrooms (1 with a shower, 1 with a tub), 2 queens in the bedroom and a pull out sofa in the living room, a microwave and mini fridge, and large closet / luggage room. It was the perfect size for our family! It did seem like musical chairs the first night with the kids figuring out where they would sleep. They finally settled with the girls sharing the sofa bed in the living room, my son taking a queen to himself, and my husband and I sharing the other queen. It had a balcony with a gorgeous view of the property and lake.
It happened to be the weekend before our twins' 5th birthday so I mentioned it at check in and they said they'd do something special! And they did!! At dinner they announced their birthday (along with several other birthdays and anniversaries) and the girls lit up hearing their names!!! Then, they brought over two cupcakes the size of their heads while singing happy birthday! Such a fun way to celebrate!!
Home Away from Home!!
Once you visit Woodloch for the first time, during a pandemic or not, you'll understand why families go back again and again and again. Some decide to buy a vacation home on the property, others simply book their family vacation there annually. Because, it really does feel like a home away from home. A much more fun and relaxing home, that is! Every single staff member you run across is friendly and goes above and beyond helping you in whatever way they can. On the last morning, after checkout, my husband lost his wallet. They sent someone back to the room with me to check, and then offered to drive me to all the spots we had been to that morning. Eventually we gave up looking and continued on with our day. A couple of hours later I got a phone call that the go cart staff member had found the wallet, and they brought it to us at the indoor playground. We really lucked out that they found it before we left, and were so incredibly grateful!! Friendly and helpful staff can really make or break a resort, and at Woodloch, they are everything!! Of course the grounds are spectacularly beautiful, the food is amazing, the activities are endless. No wonder they've been voted the Best Family Resort in America. You just have to go see for yourself!!! Located in Hawley, Pennsylvania, it's just a quick drive from NYC (they also have a shuttle from the bus stop if you don't have a car)!.
Don't miss our videos from our previous stays at Woodloch!! Summer 2016 and Winter 2018 (boy oh boy have our kids grown!!!):
In no way do I take this pandemic lightly. I pulled my kids out of school in NYC before schools officially closed, we locked down at home for weeks before starting to slowly venture out to open parks in masks. Heck, I'm even homeschooling them this year!! It's been a LONG six months and it's really not likely to end any time soon (quite the contrary, it'll probably get worse with the 2nd and 3rd waves before we get the vaccine). That said, we've learned alot about how to prevent transmission and it really is fairly simple:
1. Everyone MUST Wear Masks
I'm talking kids trick or treating, parents escorting them, and people handing out candy. Nose and mouth need to be covered properly and masks shouldn't be touched or taken off until you're far from others and able to wash or sanitize your hands. Bringing a baby or toddler along who won't tolerate a mask? Consider putting them in a stroller with the rain cover on.
**Bonus - faces covered in masks = no face makeup this year! That stuff is so messy and gross anyway!!
2. Social Distance with Halloween Spirit
Have you seen this Ohio dad's idea of the Candy Chute (watch video below)!? BRILLIANT!!! We need more ideas like this!! You could also put a barrier or some sort of marker 6 feet from your door for trick or treaters to stop there. You can toss candy into their bags. You could leave a bowl out there for them to serve themselves (even better if you have a scooper so they're not putting hands into the bowl and touching all the candy, bonus if you also put a bottle of hand sanitizer next to the bowl). You could put markers and arrows along your walkway and driveaway to show them how to keep the line moving in a single direction and have kids waiting in line 6 feet apart (think caution tape, halloween luminaries, pumpkins, you name it). Of course, traditionally kids just all rush together in huge masses but I think they're getting used to lining up far apart at school, in the grocery store etc. This won't be anything new for them! But will definitely require chaperones to help them stay organized and safe.
3. Choose Your Group Wisely
The best idea would be to simply trick or treat with only the family you live with. Next best would be with a couple of friends from your child's school pod, since they're together all day anyway.
4. Quarantine the Candy
Most of us are totally over the whole sanitizing your groceries thing, am I right? I mean, to be honest, I never did that. But Halloween Candy? QUARANTINE THAT STUFF!! I'm serious. It could even kind of be fun, drawing out the Halloween Celebrations! They collect the candy, hopefully most being tossed in so they don't even touch it. Get home. Bag goes into a closet for 3 days. Boom. After quarantine you could have a little Halloween Candy Release Celebration! If you want to treat them with some candy on Halloween night or before quarantine ends, open it up for them and put it on a plate so there's no cross contamination. You never know who handled that candy before you. Ick. Not worth the risk IMO.
My family actually gets visited by the Switch Witch (see last year's video below). Traditionally I let them pick out 10 pieces of candy to save as soon as we get home from Trick or Treating. The rest gets left out for the Switch Witch who comes at night and leaves a toy or some sort of prize in place of the candy. It's actually really fun!! Switch Witch can still be done this year (it's probably best if you start when they're young, i.e. 3 years old which is probably the first Halloween they might remember). My almost 8 year old still loves doing it!
5. Avoid Large Groups
Depending on where you live, this may be tricky. It may mean trick or treating earlier than usual. It may mean not staying out as long as usual - just doing your block and calling it a day perhaps, rather than going out for 5 hours and collecting 2 pillow cases full. This year will not be like past years. Make sure your kids know that. It can still be fun, but it won't be the same and the rules aren't the same either. Try to stay 6 feet from other groups. If you start crossing paths with the same groups of kids switch it up and go to the other side of the street or try a different area.
6. Trunk or Treat
If traditional trick or treating leaves you super nervous, organize something different, something you can have a bit more control of. For example, you could do a Trunk or Treat through your school's PTA. Cars have to sign up so it would be limited to only be one per every other parking spot. Kids don't go up to the car but rather stand 6 feet back and get candy tossed. You could have a little dance party too, kids stay by their own car with music blasting from one car. Or get a DJ for the middle of the parking lot. Sounds amazing to me!
So, there are just a few ideas I have. The thought of canceling Halloween and Trick or Treating altogether just really really bums me out. I really have no idea why people are even tossing around that idea, it seems there are plenty of ways to make it safe. If someone in your home is immunocompromised, you could even just do trick or treating at your own house, kids get dressed up and take turns trick or treating and handing out candy to each other. Why not!!
If you have any thoughts on this or ideas for ways to make Halloween special and safe for the kids this year, please drop them in a comment!!
Disclaimer: Product was provided free of charge by shelving.com in exchange for this post, but all thoughts and opinions are my own. This post may also include affiliate links - you don't pay more but we'll receive a small commission from purchases made after clicking.
Do you have a room (or rooms) in your house where you just walk in and feel suddenly stressed out. Clutter and disorganization are an anxiety trigger for me, so getting our home organized ASAP after we moved here in July was a top priority for me. We quickly unpacked and to keep our living spaces neat and spacious, I haphazardly threw all other boxes and items into the attic/playroom and garage. On top of that, my husband keeps a constant stream of boxes and boxes of work stuff in the garage. So, these spaces were atrocious. Shameful. No fun at all. Which is why I jumped at the chance to work with shelving.com to do a makeover of our garage (discount code at bottom of post)!!!
You can watch my full before, assembly, and after video here, and keep reading for more details!
We desperately needed more shelving, ideally lower profile and sturdier than the ones we already had, so we went with Shelving, Inc. Black Wire Shelving. The black epoxy coating protects them from scratches and makes them rust resistant, so they're suitable in moist/humid environments like the garage, shed, and basement! Perfect for us and our un-air conditioned house - our garage was about 100 degrees and 75% humidity most days over the summer.
They've got shelves in many different dimensions, and it's really interesting how they work - you snap a plastic clip on each post where you want the shelf to sit, meaning you can adjust the shelves to any desired height in 1" increments along the posts. So flexible!! You can build the shelf to be a specific height for one use, and next year decide to change it up and use it in another way! You can even have the poles custom cut to a certain height. We had one of our sets cut to fit our garbage can under it (seen below left). So that we could keep it open at the front, we ordered 1 hanger rail for width and 2 hanger rails for depth. These allow the lowest shelf to be raised without losing stability.
Another of my favorite features is the leveling feet! You can unscrew each foot individually so that it sits perfectly level! In a space with crazy cracked and uneven flooring like our garage, these came in handy big time (see an example in the bottom of the shoe rack in the above right picture)!
Another fun feature, which you probably can't tell by just looking at the above photo, but those two big racks in the center are attached!! You can kind of see in the below right photo, but if you watch my building video you'll better understand how it works. Basically it's 1 full shelving unit with 4 posts and 4 shelves, and another 4 shelf unit with just 2 posts. Then you have these little S-hooks - you add 2 per shelf and the add-on shelving unit attaches to the other. It's really really easy, and so practical, allowing you to extend your shelving to conserve space. You can even attach the add-on at a right angle to create an L-shaped unit perfect for maximizing corner space!
Beyond the shelving units themselves, shelving.com has tons of accessories! We got 2 baskets which hang right on the edge of the shelves (see below left photo). Haven't figured out what we're going to put in them just yet, but they simply slide in and out of the shelf so we can move them around easily when we decide where and how to use them.
We also got shelf liners so that we could throw little stuff on the shelves if we need to without worrying about it falling through. See below - They're so pretty, I hated to cover them up with our boxes!! They're very cleverly constructed with cutouts at each corner so they fit in perfectly and don't slide around! They're easy to wash, are made in the USA, and are recyclable.
So excited for how much more organized our garage is now! No, it's not pinterest perfect and stunningly gorgeous (maybe upgrading our storage boxes and beautifying the space will be our next project...hmmm...) but everything has a safe place to be stored out of the way, and that was my priority! We no longer have to move several boxes or bikes to get to something! And we now have a huge open space in the middle of the room where the kids can go do gymnastics or sit down and play cards (or watch a tablet, if we're being honest, which seems to be the most frequent occurrence) HA!
Be sure to head over to shelving.com for all of your storage and organizational needs! I'm sure you will be pleasantly surprised by what goodies you'll find over there. Heck, they've even got desks, lockers, storage bins, kitchen carts, you name it!!
Get 12% off your wire shelving order with code USJAPAN12 (valid through 9/30/20)!!
Disclaimer: This review was sponsored by Mead and includes affiliate links where I'll earn a commission from purchases made after clicking, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Every family has a million things going on - from school events and sports to birthdays and vacations. Having an easy and practical way to organize everything and allow all family members to stay in the know is essential. Which is why I'm thrilled to be working with Mead on this review of the Mead MotherWord Deluxe Magnetic Family Calendar! Watch the following video as I walk you through the various features of the calendar, and read on for more details as well as the chance to win one in my $500 value jackpot Back to School Giveaway!!
This calendar is large and keeps you in charge - each month's page is 18" by 13.5" giving you plenty of space to write in each day, and has a notes section on the bottom of each month as well. Each month features a cute illustration on the top, a touchy feely or inspirational quote, and key dates such as national holidays and even moon phases! There are also tabs at the bottom so you can easily flip through to any future month.
It has a heavy duty magnetic strip on the back so you can throw it up on your fridge or front/back door, or you could pin it to a wall or use on your desk.
I think my favorite feature of this calendar are the hundreds of tiny stickers it comes with!!! Trash, recycling, yard waste, compost, parent teacher night, babysitter, the list goes on!!! Really great for quickly noting regular or one-off events for everyone to be aware of. It has a growth chart and a chore chart, so you could put the stickers on the calendar itself or directly on the chore chart for individual kids to be in charge of handling. It also has a pocket in the back for storing key papers and documents (for example your list of key phone numbers / passwords / allergies for your babysitter).
Pretty great calendar if you ask me, and for only $16.99!! Buy one now at Mead.com (affiliate link) and don't forget you can
enter to win one and the entire $500 value jackpot in my #2020B2SGiveaway here!!
**ENTER TO WIN A PAIR OF PEDIPED SHOES IN OUR $500 VALUE JACKPOT GIVEAWAY RUNNING THROUGH SEPTEMBER 22!!** Disclaimer: These shoes were provided free in exchange for our review, but all thoughts and opinions are my own!!
We have been huge fans of pediped over here, pretty much since my oldest started walking 8 years ago!! Why? For one, I know they're healthy for my children's growing feet. In fact, they have been awarded the American Podiatric Medical Association Seal of Acceptance for the promotion of healthy foot development! Another very important factor is that they last. My kids wear their shoes HARD, we're talking dragging toes on the scooter, jumping in muddy puddles, you name it. And pediped shoes put up a darn good fight - lasting past the initial owner and usually through a couple rounds of hand me down kiddos!
Some other features of their various styles (not all apply to all styles) include being water-safe and machine washable, leather and vegan options, having flex inserts so that the shoes can last a bit longer (use the insert for a snugger fit and remove when child's foot grows a bit to get a longer life out of the shoes), faux laces and secure velcro straps, some crazy super lightweight options, and incredibly flexible thick natural rubber soles!
Of course, also very important for a children's shoe company, is having endless adorable styles of shoes to choose from! And for a twin family like us, having coordinating options is key, as well!! I let my (almost 5 year old) twin girls shop for a set of coordinating "dressy" shoes and a set of coordinating "sports" shoes on the website because they are about ready to bust out of their last pairs (kids' feet grow like weeds!!). It's always fun to see how their own personal styles come out in what they choose to buy or wear! Here are their precious faces walking into the room to see their shoes unboxed and waiting for them!!
So cute, right!?!? Here's more info on the shoes they chose!
For their "sporty" shoes, they chose the pediped Flex Force in navy/fuchsia and pink/silver, available in sizes EU 24 (US 7.5-8) to EU 36 (US 4-4.5Y). They retail for $60, are vegan and machine washable, and feature man made and mesh upper (do you see the light filtering through on the upper left photo!?), flexible rubber and phylon sole, faux laces and easy velcro strap (that goes through the tongue so you don't have all that tongue-drama when kids are dressing themselves!), come with pediped's signature FLEX Fit system insoles, and get this, they weigh all of 5 ounces!! SO LIGHTWEIGHT!!!
And for their "dressy" shoes they chose the mary jane style Flex Barbara Leopard and Metallic Pink, though if you ask me it's definitely more of a deep purple, but when the light hits it right it shimmers pink. Available in sizes EU 24 (US 7.5-8) to EU 33 (US 1.5-2Y). The Metallic Pink ones are actually vegan, with a textile upper and canvas lining, whereas the Leopard ones have a leather lining and man made upper. They both feature a flexible natural rubber sole, an easy velcro closure, and pediped's signature FLEX Fit system insoles. The FLEX Barbara design comes in 7 other colors (!!!!) and goes for $38 - $55 depending on the style.
They love their new shoes so much (as do I)!!!
So cute, right!? pediped has the best children's shoes from infant through 6Y (about 10 years old), from water-safe summer sandals to winter boots and everything in between! Check them all out on pediped.com!!
But wait. Don't go yet! Did you know you can...
ENTER TO WIN A PAIR NOW!!!
That's right! A pair of pediped shoes are in the $500 value jackpot of my 2020 Back to School Giveaway running through September 22!!
We've just passed Labor Day which means, pretty much every school-aged kid in the country has gone back to school (or is about to). But what does "back to school" mean for your family this year? Whether it's full day in-person, hybrid, full-time remote, or like my family, *gasp*, homeschool, I've put together this amazing giveaway to celebrate the exciting educational adventure in store for your family this year! Read on for more details about each brand who has very generously provided prizes for our glorious jackpot (valued over $500!!!), and enter to win in the Rafflecopter box at the bottom!
Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by the participating brands but all thoughts and opinions are my own! There are also affiliate links below - you don't pay more but we receive a small commission from purchases made after clicking.
Through OnlineMusicLessons.today, children and adults can get virtual music lessons from the safety of their own home, for just $29 per lesson with flexible make-up lessons and no registration fees! They've got university-trained instructors for clarinet, drums, flute, French horn, guitar, piano, saxophone, trombone, trumpet, tuba, violin, voice, and viola! All teachers have been screened & interviewed, are criminal background checked, and have their performance monitored to ensure satisfaction of students and families. Not a teacher referral service, OnlineMusicLessons.today has the structure of a formal music school, with a secure private custom video lesson platform, qualified teachers, and an easy payment system. Our grand prize winner will receive 1 month of lessons (that's 4 lessons), a value of $116!
EzyRoller is a ride-on like no other, in sizes for toddler through adult, it is a crazy fun ride that'll have your neighbors stop, gape in awe, and ask where they can get their own!! It's not a pedal system, but it's all in the feet - you push left and right to make the EzyRoller go, and even steer with your feet! My kids are absolutely obsessed with theirs, and riding mine makes me feel like a kid at heart! Check out the unboxing and demo video we made when we got our EzyRollers 1.5 years ago (and yes, they're still going strong, built to last!!). Our grand prize winner will receive their choice of color/size of 1 EzyRoller Original Classic or Drifter (subject to availability), a $109 value.
Your children deserve to be in pediped, high quality fashionable shoes that have been awarded the American Podiatric Medical Association Seal of Acceptance for the promotion of healthy foot development! With everything from water-safe sandals to washable sneakers to warm boots, they'll take your little one from baby's first crib shoe to size 6Y (about 10 years old). Our winner will receive one pair of pediped children's shoes in their choice of size and gender (specific design subject to availability). Check out my latest review of 2 of their adorable mary jane styles and 2 sneaker styles I just got for my girls!
Whether you have a child going back to school or doing homeschool, Mabel's Labels has what you need to make sure everything is labeled beautifully - from bags and face masks to binders and water bottles! Heck, you can even label your grownup gear and teaching supplies with their waterproof and dishwasher / laundry safe labels! Our grand prize winner will receive a really great fully personalized variety pack, including their Custom Classroom Labels (personalize each of 15 labels, great for organizing lesson plans and subject materials), Custom Teacher Stamp (with some FUN stamp design options as well as more traditional ones), and Custom Split Name Label Pack (with 96 labels - 48 labels in a variety of shapes/sizes per name, great for siblings & twins), a $58 value.
Lil Gadgets has taken the needs of kids and the concerns of parents into consideration when designing their 4 varieties of high-quality and high-performance headphones for children ages 3+. All Lil Gadgets headphones have a 1 year 100% satisfaction guarantee warranty and a maximum sound level of 93db (above the industry standard, meaning while still safe, children can finally still hear over background noise of an airplane or vacuum in their headphones! It turns out duration of listening is just as important as decibel level, so parents are encouraged to monitor length of use). The Connect+ (ages 3+), Connec+ Style (ages 3+), and Connect+ Pro (ages 6+) headphones feature an integrated SharePort that allows children to share a device by connecting their headphones rather than splitting from the device itself. They are also compact and foldable, with a removable 3.5mm audio cable and microfiber travel pouch. The Untangled Pro, for ages 4+, is a wireless headphone that supports Bluetooth 4.0, meaning children can roam as far as 30 feet from their device! It also sports a battery life of 12 hours listening and 180 hours standby. Our grand prize winner will receive 1 headset of their choice (subject to availability), a $49 value.
Say goodbye to irritating suffocating rash-producing face masks and say hello to YoRo Naturals Remedywear's amazingly soft and breathable washable mask! It features a 3 layer structure with the 1st and 3rd layers constructed of jersey knit TENCEL and zinc, and the middle filtering layer made of tightly woven TENCEL. The embedded Zinc has anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and anti-odor properties that remains effective after 100+ washings! The stretchy straps can be tied behind the head or tied into handy ear loops, and give you a comfortable yet safely snug fit every time. They've had these masks 3rd party lab tested (Results: Test for Breathability EN ISO 9237:1995: Good; Test for Particle Retention EN 14683:2019: PRC ( > or = to 3 µm) (%) : 85% / PRC (between 0,5 µm and 0,7 µm) (%) : 12%). Remedywear’s unique fiber blend works well for eczema and psoriasis as well, be sure to check out their entire line of soothing clothing, from socks and gloves to bras and underwear, for babies through adults! Our grand prize winner will receive 1 mask in their choice of color (pink, black, or teal) and size (Small-Child, Medium-Adult, or Large-Adult), a value of $25.99.
Sitting in chairs for hours on end is tough for kids. Bouncyband makes it easier! The original Bouncyband was created by a school counselor in 2014 to help kids stretch their legs and bounce their feet, allowing them to stay on task and focus longer while sitting. Today, Bouncyband has a full line of products for home, school, and the office, for both kids and adults! Our grand prize winner will receive one of their brand new Bouncybands for Special Chairs, valued at $19.99. It fits onto just about any chair and is great for in the classroom and at home for homeschooling, homework, even meal time!
Munchie Mug snack cups are not only spill-proof, they’re also SHAKE PROOF! The unique lid features 2 overlapping pieces of fabric, that are extremely effective at keeping snacks in, and they’re much gentler on the hands than traditional plastic snack cup tops! What’s more? Free from BPA/Phthalate/Lead/PVC and proudly made in the USA, these are the only snack cups your kids will ever need – a staple in every car, stroller, and home! Our winner will receive one in their choice of size (12oz or 16oz) and color (subject to availability), a $18.50 value! Don't miss my demo and review here!
Did you know electrolyte replacement drinks tend to be full of artificial colors, flavors and sweeteners? Big Bang Beverages wasn't too thrilled with that, so they created an organic and healthier alternative to Pedialyte: Wubba Water, a children's hydration drink free of synthetic dyes, artificial flavors, artificial sweeteners, and GMO's! Colored only with fruit and vegetable extracts and having only 1 gram of organic sugar per serving, Wubba Water is a healthier way for your little one to replenish water and electrolytes when sick or playing sports (and they'll get a Vitamin C boost to boot)! Our winner will receive 2 bottles of each flavor - blue raspberry, fruit punch, and orange, valued at $17.99. Also, a very exciting heads up, they've just launched a line of doctor formulated children's supplements! You can find Wubba Jr. Zinc Throat Lozenges and L-Theanine Spray on Amazon, and can order those as well as their Chewable Vitamin C and Echinacea / Zinc / Vitamin C Gummies directly from wubbawater.com!
A well-known and trusted name to all those familiar with back to school shopping, Mead has got you covered in the areas of notebooks, folders, binders, and planners! They have some great accessories for the classroom as well, such as a 10-pocket wall scheduler, 9-pocket wall storage, and a Success in Preschool workbook! Our grand prize winner will receive their September 2020 - December 2021 MotherWord Deluxe Magnetic Monthly Family Calendar, which features a full-sized planning grid and includes planning stickers, chore chart, tabbed pages, a pocket for important notes, and a super magnetic hanger. Great for hanging on the fridge to stay organized and keep the whole family in the know! See my full blog review here and youtube video below!
Say hello to the world's best pouch! Squeasy Gear's Squeasy Snackers are seriously amazing - with a removable spill-proof insert (that totally works!!), these are great for pureed baby food, yogurt, applesauce, and even liquids!! They're dishwasher & freezer safe, made of 100% food-grade eco-friendly bacteria-resistant silicone self-standing for easy filling, and turn inside out (handy when for cleaning flax seed and other tricky items in your smoothies!). You can see my review here - yes, it's from 6 years ago and we are STILL using the same pouches, they seriously never die!! Our winner will receive 1 pouch in the color & size (16oz, 6oz, 3.5oz) of their choice (subject to availability), a $16.99 value!
AMAZING giveaway, am I right?!?!
Enter to win in the rafflecopter app below!
Keep in mind, this is open to US residents ages 18+, and the only required action is leaving a comment on this blog post and telling the Rafflecopter app that you did so. However, the more actions you take (like following on IG etc) the more points you'll score and the bigger chance you have to win!!
Parents are always asking where they can escape the city with their kids to pick apples, see farm animals, wander through a field of sunflowers or corn maze, indulge in fresh apple cider donuts, or take a hayride and go pumpkin picking. There are an overwhelming amount of farms you'll see pop up on a Google search, but I'm here to give you my family's 10 thumbs up on such a family-run destination we just visited yesterday: Barton Orchards!
Disclaimer: Tickets were provided in exchange for this review but all thoughts and opinions are completely my own. We're no sell outs - quite honestly, this place was amazing!!
Barton Orchards is a 175-acre apple orchard and vegetable farm located in Poughquag, NY (Dutchess County), run by the Barton family for over 40 years. While many pick-your-own fruit spots offer only that, Barton Orchards goes above and beyond, providing a variety of activities that are fun for all ages, most of it included in admission. For the full experience, be sure to watch our video highlights here and read on for more details about our trip to their 2nd Annual Sunflower Festival and what you can expect on your visit!
2020 was Barton Orchard's 2nd Annual Sunflower Festival. It's quick, held over just 2 weekends in August so you better pencil it in now for 2021 so you don't miss it! You can walk to the field but it's much more fun to hop on their complimentary hayride to the 5 acre sunflower field which was simply spectacular! They give you cutters (based on your ticket type you either get 1 flower or a vase with 6 flowers, and pay for extras picked) and a plastic bag. You wander through the field, taking a million photos and at least a handful of selfies, am I right!? You pick your flower, put it in the bag, and fill it a bit at their water station, tying it off with a rubber band hoping it doesn't leak on the trip home. Our kids were REALLY into the super big job they each had to pick out their own sunflower. It was such a special time watching them wander, considering what makes the perfect sunflower, deciding which one to choose and take home. There's no storage so I recommend doing like we did, saving the sunflower picking for the last activity before you head home, otherwise you'll be carrying them around (and likely a couple of bees will be your companions while doing so).
The Kids' Fun Park
I was expecting a generic playground, but what we found was so much more! A tractor-drawn children's train, rope climbing, a hay chute slide, pedal go carts, barrell pong, a swing, rock maze, hop balls, mini golf, and probably some other things I'm forgetting. My kids (and us parents) had an absolute blast, even in the rain!
Live Music & Entertainment
They have 4 stages for live music, there was a band going in the food court area which was nice while we scarfed down the (most amazingly soft and delicious) apple cider donuts! There was also a band playing in a gazebo up at the sunflower field, which really added to the ambience! But what really blew us away was the Bubble Bus, blowing bubbles and foam across an entire field. You really have to watch my video to see how cool this was, my kids could have played and danced there all day!
Whether you are looking for a meal, a snack, some booze, or treats to take home, you'll find them in abundance at Barton Orchards! After seeing their unique sundaes on social media, we decided to get the Apple Cider Donut Sundae and a half-dozen box to share of Apple Cider Donuts ($1 each but half dozen was the minimum purchase - we saw many people buying 3 dozen!!). I will say, hands down, one of the best donuts I've ever had! They were SO fresh, soft, simply scrumptious!!! Do not miss out on these when you visit!! They also have the Tap Room with lots of great beer and hard cider on tap, but due to covid, the system of ordering alcohol is a bit tricky. You're required to purchase with food, so basically you buy your food and tell them how many drink tickets you want, and purchase all together, then you bring your drink ticket to the Tap Room and get your drink. Not too much run around, but I had never experienced the new covid drinking-with-food rules before so it was new to me!
They had lively goats, curious llamas, a huge peacock, a couple of bunnies, a duck, and more! We didn't spend too much time here but did enjoy seeing all of the animals, petting some, and getting a surprise tongue bath by one LOL!
Other Family Fun:
In September and October they have pumpkin picking and a haunted house, "Rotten Core Manor". Their website also mentions a dog park, a corn maze, 120 acres of pick-your-own veggies and apples starting from end of July (see what's available for picking now), and Tree Tops Adventures ropes course!
Notes for those with strollers & babies:
There were gravel paths around, which don't scream stroller-friendly, but it is completely doable and wouldn't deter me from making a visit with a stroller or wagon, though you may want to consider also bringing a baby carrier to wear your baby in the fields and less accessible areas. There were porta-potties with hand sanitizers, a handwashing station in the foot court area, and we saw a changing table by the petting zoo.
Visit their website to learn more and don't drag your feet, go ahead and plan your family's visit now! You won't regret it!!
We recently moved from our tiny 1 bedroom 1 bathroom 927 square foot Brooklyn co-op to a "huge" 1800 square foot 4 bed 2 bath home in NY's Hudson River Valley (the Town of Cornwall, to be exact). The move has brought with it MANY challenges (you can watch them documented in our "moving from city to suburbs" playlist on YouTube) but also many fun and exciting changes! We find ourselves with way more space, including a yard and a driveaway, and a LONG list of things we've needed (or wanted) to purchase for our new space. I'll give you a kind of mini tour through photos below and link to some of the new (and a few old) items we're loving in case you need inspiration for your own home! Full video home tour will come a bit later to YouTube (and I'll embed it here) - after we put pictures and decor up, if that's ever going to happen! Unpacking and organizing is my first priority and I'm still working on it...
Disclaimer: affiliate links included below - you don't pay more but we'll receive a small commission from purchases made after clicking.
Our new kitchen is bigger than our previous tiny galley kitchen, but it didn't have a built in microwave. We don't really have all that much counter space to give up so opted to buy a microwave cart, and LOVE the Casual Home kitchen island we bought! It was pretty easy to put together, and looks great in the kitchen! I'm also loving the rack I bought for our pots and pans, no more pulling out everything from a cabinet each time I needed one, no more layering with towels so they don't scratch each other! Why didn't I get this thing years ago!?!?! Some things we kept from our old home because we love them so much include our Nutri Ninja blender and old dish drain because we loooooove it, clear and easy to clean!
Our kitchen window is very old and gross, and looks into our garage (WTF, am I right!? I won't even go into how hot it gets in there while coking) so I bought these curtains and artificial succulents to add some color and cuteness. Love standing in front of the sink now!! Speaking of sink, I was nervous about the quality of our drinking water coming through this home's old pipes so got this Tap Score water test to check for lead and 100 different nasties, stay tuned for the results (on YouTube)!
PRIVACY / BLACKOUT CURTAINS:
These aren't 100% blackout if the sun is streaming directly at them, but they do a great job of providing privacy (you can't see anything from outside at night when inside lights are on) and also provide very good room darkening to allow for better morning sleep in! We have some odd shaped windows, some with shelves or baseboard heating below them, so didn't want floor length, and found sizes that work perfectly (though I know they're not the best length for design alone).
We got this GE High Efficiency Energy Star set washer and dryer from Home Depot. It was the first time shopping for a washer and dryer so I asked around and did some research. In the end my requirements were top loading, steel drum, high efficiency, energy star. Using those, I shopped around for the best deal. It was around Memorial Day so I was able to score something like 30% off at Home Depot, woohoo!! I've used them a few times already and am IN LOVE! Having my own set, in my own home, not having to go down to a communal laundry room with the kids in masks, it's a game changer!
I can't find the exact desk on Amazon that I bought, so a similar one is linked below, but this is Safco desk I got on Walmart. It's not super sturdy (I've had to ban my kids from climbing on it LOL) but perfectly good as a desk and I love how easy it was to assemble and how sleek and modern it looks. Nice and lightweight if I have to move it, too. No drawers, so I may have to add something next to it, and I'm not sure how it'll do with water stains and wear and tear, trying to treat it carefully! The rolling leatherette office chair is a nice addition as well, since I've been using a folding Ikea wooden chair for the last few years. I know, I know. Don't laugh!! Oh, and can't forget my cute "Boss Lady" mousepad!!
Did you know, radon is the #1 cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. A natural byproduct of uranium breaking down in soil, it's a radioactive gas that seeps from the ground and can accumulate in dangerous levels in the home, especially in the basement... which is where our master bedroom is!! So, the Airthings Radon Detector was one of our first purchases and thankfully the first week of monitoring has been reporting back with a very low and safe level, and it will continue to monitor over time to make sure the average levels are healthy and it doesn't spike. It also monitors humidity and temperature, and if you upgrade to a slightly more expensive one (voted one of TIME Magazine's 2019 best inventions), it also monitors VOCs! Healthy home and peace of mind is SO important!! Of course we also got a Ring video doorbell with Chime which helps me keep track of when kids are coming in and out of the door, and when we get a delivery (several times a day, I've been online shopping like a fiend).
The first orders for outdoors, other than garbage/recycling bins and hose/nozzle/sprinkler, were our dome climber and disc swing. The kids have been OBSESSED with these, they're AMAZING!!! The only issue is that the grass in the middle of the dome is nearly gone, it only took like 3 days to destroy it with their swinging. Oops! Not sure if we should keep it there and totally destroy it or try to move the dome a bit every couple of days to give grass a chance to revive?
A couple of things we recently ordered but haven't received yet: We got a 6-person round wooden picnic table and these bungee folding outdoor chairs that got great reviews, hope they're comfy!! We just needed something to sit on while the kids play outside, or to bring camping or to the beach. Didn't want to invest in beautiful $2K outdoor dining/lounging set for this rental home where we'll probably be only 2 years, but hopefully in our next purchased place, our "forever home"??, we'll build a deck and go all out!
I want to emphasize how amazing the over the door shoe organizers are... not just for shoes, but for everything!!! We have one hanging in my closet with my makeup, hair accessories etc. We have one hanging in the kids' bathroom with their toiletries and hair ties, nail clippers, bandaids etc. I've seen others use in laundry room and pantry, for arts and crafts, you name it!! They fit over standard doors and may end up scratching the paint at the top but are well worth it!!
We also don't have any built in towel racks in the bathrooms, so the over-the-door racks below are very helpful. And I bought the hyper tough wire shelving to create a pantry in this random nook we have just half a flight of stairs down from the kitchen. Has been working out nicely!
So, what do you think? Do you have and love any of these? Have other great must have home items to recommend!? Sharing is caring!
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post but all thoughts and opinions are my own. In addition, this post contains some affiliate links - you don't pay more but I receive a small commission from purchases made after clicking.
Whether you are selling a product or service online, you're a blogger, or you own a brick and mortar store, you've probably run up against 2 incredibly daunting struggles: how to bring in traffic and how to get what you want from that traffic (sales, views, etc)!! Luckily for you, I've just completed a sponsored 30 day challenge centered around a new book, "Traffic Secrets: The Underground Playbook for Filling Your Websites and Funnels with Your Dream Customers" by Russell Brunson. Best-selling author & CEO of $100M software company ClickFunnels, Brunson has sold hundreds of thousands of his books focusing on his concept of sales funnels. In 2014, with partner Todd Dickerson, Brunson launched ClickFunnels, the fastest-growing non-venture backed software company in the world!
You may have a great idea for the most brilliant product or service the world has ever know, but how can the world actually get to know about it? If you're like most entrepreneurs, the main struggle is figuring out how to get that product or service to your customers so they know it exists and understand why they need to buy it. If you understand this essential skill, the art and science of getting consumers to find you, as detailed in Brunson's Traffic Secrets, you won't find yourself starting and failing like tens of thousands of other businesses out there. Instead, you'll likely find yourself increasing site traffic, followers, and sales exponentially!!
As a mommy blogger and as someone who has started and stopped a handful of online businesses that never really took off as I had hoped, I found Traffic Secrets incredibly enlightening. It goes deep into business and marketing strategy, but not so much that you feel in over your head. Everything is explained in a no nonsense way that's easy for anyone to understand. There are lots of personal anecdotes to keep it light, and inspiring, and TONS of items for your to-do list as you go through the book. He doesn't just say you gotta do this, this, and this. He actually provides space for you to brainstorm and make the essential lists such as who your ideal customer is, where they are spending their time, and how you can reach them. I'm simplifying it because it's just too much to go into, that's why you have to go ahead and get the book and put yourself to work building key relationships, learning about earned vs. paid traffic, creating funnels, and master evergreen traffic strategies to fill your website and funnels with your dream customers!
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Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post but all thoughts and opinions are my own. In addition, this post contains some affiliate links - you don't pay more but I receive a small commission from purchases made after clicking.
About Me ^_^
I'm a NY mom blogger (formerly of Brooklyn), Influencer, YouTuber, & Entrepreneur living just north of NYC in Hudson River Valley's town of Cornwall with my Japanese husband & our 3 kids (twins plus 1)! My blog is chock full of humor, honesty, family travel & product reviews, and giveaways galore! It's also home to Bay Ridge Families, with weekly local kids' events roundups and annual guides for families here in South Brooklyn!