Shopping local when possible and supporting small businesses in your own community is vital, and nothing makes me happier than to promote a member of my very own local mommy group.
Just yesterday we had a shoot with Bay Ridge mama and photographer Ira Prystai, and just wait til you see some of the photos she captured - and had them ready for me in less than 24 hours! Amazing!!!
I found Ira unique because she doesn't do the typical in-studio shoot with kitschy props and what not (which I have to admit I also love). Instead, she takes you out in the field and plops you down in spots that catch her eye. She takes a slew of photos, and then it's off to find another quick spot nearby. Spots that the average person, such as myself, would kind of look at and wonder what the heck she was thinking. But you know what? It takes a really talented photographer and amazing eye to know what is going to come out spectacular on film. And Ira's got that eye!
Here are some of my favorite shots she captured in our mini shoot right here in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn!!
Amazing, right!? Looks like we're way out in the middle of the forrest! I half expect Little Red Riding Hood to come skipping along, HA!!
Anyway, if you're looking for a great photographer (kids, engagement, events, etc) definitely look her up! You can check out her website and follow her on Facebook and Instagram.
Disclaimer: Although I did receive this service free of charge, all thoughts and opinions are my own and completely unbiased.
The online shopping and home delivery options just keep getting better and better with companies one upping each other to take hold of the market. But let's face it, Amazon has pretty much got it in the bag and has sealed the deal with the launch of their new service last week - Prime Now!
Available for free to Amazon Prime members, Prime Now offers same-day super fast delivery. We're talking delivery within 2 hours of your order, FOR FREE!!! Delivery is also available in under 1 hour for a fee of $7.99, or you can schedule your delivery for a window later in the day if that's better for you.
Available from 8am til midnight, 7 days a week, Prime Now offers tens of thousands of items across 25 categories from Amazon! Prime members can shop via the website or download the free app (available for iOS and Android devices).
Prime Now has just launched in Brooklyn and is rolling out in different areas rapidly, so if it's not yet available in your zip code, you can request to be notified when it is. I'm not exactly sure how they are able to get these items to your door in as little as 1 hour... maybe by magic or the help of Santa and his reindeer during their off season? Frankly, I don't really care - no matter how it is done, it's simply amazing and quite possibly addictive!
The ways Prime Now's super fast delivery could save a family are endless. Just ran out of diapers or baby wipes? No problem - they'll arrive before the next diaper change! Have a birthday party, baby shower, or wedding in a couple of hours? Shop online and the present will be delivered by the time you're ready to leave for the party! Heck, you could even Prime Now it for basic shopping of groceries and daily necessities!
Amazon Prime Now actually came in handy for me today! We have friends from Japan visiting and they have fallen in love with my son's Klean Kanteen water bottle. They're not sold locally that I've seen and the family is leaving tomorrow, so even the 2-day Prime delivery wouldn't be quick enough. So, Prime Now to the rescue!!! The item was just under $14 and there's a $20 minimum, so I added a couple of other items we were in need of (bananas, HappyBaby puffs, and broccoli for dinner), selected the 2-hour delivery, and ding dong - it arrived with enough time for me to wash and fill it for them to take for their son while sightseeing today! YES!!!
The prices are the same as on regular Amazon, though the selection is a bit more limited. For example they had the sippy top water bottle we wanted but they didn't have the add-on sports cap. Also very interesting and quite different from other services I've used, it says 100% of any tip you add goes directly to the courier and cash tip is not accepted! I like this - total elimination of the need for cash. You'll notice they automatically include the tip on your order but you can adjust up or down as you like.
If you're not already an Amazon Prime member, you can sign up for a 30-day trial here (then $99/year), and then go on to Prime Now for your super speedy delivery service! Besides access to Prime Now service, Prime membership also includes free 2-day shipping of most regular Amazon orders, free unlimited photo storage, Amazon Family (20% off diaper subscriptions), Prime Video (instantly watch over 40,000 movies and shows including Amazon originals such as kids' shows Tumble Leaf and The Stinky & Dirty Show), Prime Music (ad-free music stations and playlists - over a million songs), unlimited listening to Audible, and more!
Disclosure: This article was sponsored and created in connection with my participation in the Amazon Prime Now Influencer Program, but all thoughts and opinions are my own and completely unbiased.
Our family has been a big fan of pediped shoes for several years now! I've previously reviewed the Grip 'N Go Orion Sneakers, the Originals Natasha Black dress shoes, and the Grip 'n' Go Max Navy shoes, and we're back again to showcase a new shoe in honor of Back to School, or as is the case for my son - Off to School for the Very First Time!!!
Before we get to the review (and how to win a pair!!!), a bit about pediped first... Sold in over 2,500 stores in the United States and 40 countries worldwide, pediped offers more than 140 designs for boys and girls between its three lines: Originals® (0-24 months), Grip ‘n’ Go™ (1-3 years) and Flex® (2-12+ years). pediped is the fastest growing children's footwear brand in the United States and has been awarded the American Podiatric Medical Association Seal of Acceptance for the promotion of healthy foot development, among many other industry and consumer-based awards! A well respected company making cute, comfy, and healthy shoes that make both parents and kids happy! Whoot whoot!!!
Shopping for back to school can be a bit overwhelming, you've got all the school supplies to stock up on but then you've also got clothes and shoes to worry about for your little kids who grow like weeds!! Looking for a cute and slightly dressy pair of shoes to make my soon-to-be Pre-K student feel special, I turned to pediped and picked out the Flex® Norm Navy loafers.
How adorable are these!?!? Offered in size 24 (US 7.5-8) to 33 (US 1.5-2Y), the VEGAN Flex® Norm Navy loafers features clarino (synthetic leather) upper, breathable neoprene lining, flexible rubber sole with protective toe caps, easy yet stylish velcro strap closure (so kids can put them on without help - YES!!!). What's more? They're MACHINE WASHABLE and water safe, made from eco-friendly material, and are approved by the American Podiatric Medical Association for promoting healthy foot development!!
One more cool thing about these shoes I should mention? The Flex® line is kind of brilliant... they feature a removable lining that makes the shoe nice and snug, and can be removed as your child's foot grows (giving you about an extra half a size) - so you get a bit more life out of the shoes! How's that for making every penny count!? LOVE IT!! My son is loving them as well, I mean, how cool is this guy in his new school shoes!??
You can shop pediped shoes on their website, and you can also win a pair in my $400 value 12-product jackpot Back To School Bonanza Giveaway running through September 15!!!
ENTER TO WIN NOW!!!
(Winner selects size and gender, style will be a surprise!)
Disclaimer: Although I did receive this product free of charge, all thoughts and opinions are my own and completely unbiased.
Many parents use a humidifier in their infant's bedroom, but don't realize that keeping the air at the ideal level of humidity is beneficial for people of all ages! That's right - keeping your home at about 45% humidity year round will help prevent your nasal passages from drying out, and help you avoid dry and chapped skin and lips, nose bleeds, stuffy noses, static electricity, and also help your body be less of an easy target for all the germs you encounter throughout the day!
Warm mist humidifiers are fine, but please please reconsider not using these in a house with small children who might grab the humidifier, the table it's on, or even the cord and BAM, scalding water and burns all over your child. Instead, try a cool mist humidifier. They work just as well and don't carry with them the risk of burns.
One very well respected company with a ton of great humidifiers to choose from is Crane. Three years ago, I reviewed their Germ Defense Warm & Cool Mist Humidifier, which is still doing well for our family! But since having our twins, we needed a new humidifier to go in there nursery, and we decided to go with one of Crane's "adorable" humidifiers, more specifically, Freddy the Frog.
With so many "adorable" humidifiers to choose from, it can be a struggle picking one! They've got everything from animals to bugs to sci-fi creatures! But, depending on how old your children are they may be able to make the difficult decision for you! We liked Freddy the Frog because he's gender neutral and will do great in our girls' room now and still in a year or two when our son gets bunked and moves in with them!
He's fairly simple to use, you don't even need the instructions really. You fill up the water container, put him all together, and turn on the knob! Done!! It automatically shuts off if the water gets too low, which is an awesome feature.
Crane's "adorable" humidifiers are great basic humidifiers - they're easy to use and clean, and get the job done of maintaining a good level of humidity and providing for a comfortable and healthy living or sleeping environment! The tank holds 1 gallon and it runs VERY quietly, for up to 24 hours! Another great feature is the Clean Control Antimicrobial Material in the Base, which is proven to help reduce mold and bacteria growth up to 99.96%. The one feature it doesn't have that I wish it did is a spout to change the direction of the mist. When I'm sick, I find having the cool mist aimed right at my head while sleeping helps with congestion tremendously!! So, if you'd like to have a humidifier with this option, you might want to go with another of Crane's humidifiers with this feature, such as the Drop humidifier or Germ Defense Humidifier.
There are a few things to keep in mind when using any humidifier, however, and these are pretty important... While too dry of a climate can lead to sickness, dry skin and lips, etc, too humid of a climate can mean MOLD. Yuck... you don't want mold growing in your humidifier (and thus being pumped into the air you are breathing!!!!), nor do you want it growing in the room. So, be very mindful - if you are getting condensation in the room, the humidifier needs to be turned down. Crane humidifiers feature antimicrobial material that helps reduce mold and bacteria buildup, but you should still empty and air out the humidifier daily, and clean it well at least once a week. Swishing and letting white vinegar sit for 30 minutes in the base and water tank should do the trick, and wipe away any residue you notice building up. You can find a good tutorial of how to clean a humidifier here.
With winter coming, and all the added germs from kids being back at school, now is the time to make sure you've got some good humidifiers in your home! And hey, you can win a Crane "adorable" or drop humidifier in my $400 value 12-product jackpot Back to School Bonanza giveaway now!!!
I'm a sucker for sentimental gifts and photo props, and I have to say, with total honestly, one of my all-time favorites is Grow With Me Tee! Whether you have an infant, toddler, or school-aged child, they've got a tee for you!!
We got our first Grow With Me Tee, the "age ruler" toddler years one, for review over 2 years ago. You color off another section on the ruler and take a photo of your child in it every 6 months from 1 year through 5 years. You literally see your child growing into the shirt as you go along, getting ever so shorter on the legs and arms. It's fun to do, and makes for adorable and memorable photos! Below is a collage of my son in his shirt from 1.5 years through 3.5 years (just 2 months ago). The marker that came with it dried out unfortunately, so we switched to another darker green one, whoops. I recommend stocking up on 2 markers of the same color so you don't run into this problem!
My son is starting Pre-K soon, well, TOMORROW actually!!! So, we were thrilled to work with Grow With Me Tee again to promote their "Class Of" School Years tee. It's a huge shirt (size Large), with the year your child will graduate high school printed on the front (if you can't calculate the year, I sure as heck couldn't, don't worry, they know these things!). So, you can take a photo of them on the first and last day of each grade to watch them grow into the tee! It won't really work out if your child gets held back or skips ahead... maybe the company will send you a complimentary replacement shirt with the new correct graduating year? Ha! What's cool about this shirt is that you can buy or gift it to a child at any point, you don't necessarily have to get it for their very first day of school, you could start in 3rd grade or whatever! Of course, the sooner you start, the more dramatic the growth will be in the photos! I can't believe that my little dude, swimming in his shirt, will one day fill it out!!!
Grow With Me Tee also has a "baby's first year- clock" onesie for infants - you mark off each box for the current month and watch the baby grow into the onesie. Personally, I think it makes for an amazing baby shower gift!!!
These tees run for $20 a piece (they do have bulk discounts available), but you want to know something super awesome?? You can win one in my $400 value 12-product jackpot Back To School Giveaway!!! It's running through September 15, so what are you waiting for???
Disclaimer: Although I did receive this product free of charge, all thoughts and opinions are my own and completely unbiased.
I recently worked with KidVuz to review an Amazon Original children's program, Tumble Leaf (I totally recommend it by the way, we love it!!), and I am thrilled to be working with Amazon Studios again to introduce you to a brand new kid's show, The Stinky and Dirty Show, streaming only on Amazon Prime Video.
Now, I gotta tell ya, the name of the show kinda turned me off at first. I confess, I'm a total neat freak, I hate dirt and messes! That said, I have a son, and I have to sometimes let go and allow him to play in the mud and do his thing. I thought maybe this show would be a good compromise - he can get dirty through the safety of the computer or TV screen! HA!
We watched the pilot episode together for free (you can, too - click here) and you know what? It was pretty stinkin' cute - the characters are endearing, the adventures are exciting and funny, and the storyline fosters lifelong creative learning. It's also a great way for kids to learn about recycling and problem solving!
The Stinky and Dirty Show, based on the “I Stink!” book series, features the adventures of best friends Stinky the Garbage Truck and Dirty the Backhoe Loader. They are good guys, sometimes a bit silly and accident prone, but their mishaps lead to problem solving, with lots of brain storming ways to reuse "garbage" to help them out. Dirty lays out some sand and sketches his ideas for Stinky to understand. They use the phrase "What if..." over and over again, to discuss their ideas, putting one (or several) into action, and always concluding in great success, proving one of the show's tag lines true: "When you work together, anything is possible!" Yay teamwork! Check out the trailer below:
Did you recognize any familiar voices? The show boasts celebrity voice talents of Whoopi Goldberg, Jane Lynch, Andy Richter, Joan Cusack and Wallace Shawn!
If you're already an Amazon Prime member in the US or UK, you can start streaming The Stinky & Dirty Show from September 2 (members in Germany, Austria and Japan will have to wait til later this year). And if you're not a member yet, what are you waiting for - sign up for your free 30-day trial now! For $99/year, Amazon Prime membership includes not only unlimited streaming of over 40,000 movies and TV shows, but also free 2-day shipping of millions of products, unlimited secure photo storage with Prime Photos, unlimited ad-free streaming of millions of songs, 20% off diapers, and more. Also, Amazon Fresh ($3.85/week) is offered exclusively to Prime members!
Disclosure: This was sponsored by Amazon Stuido through Kid Vuz, but all thoughts and opinions are my own and completely unbiased.
In honor of my son heading off to Pre-K and flying the coop for the first time next week (YAAASSS FINALLY!!!!!), I've put together a HUMONGO giveaway featuring fabulous products for the Back To School set (or those going to school for the first time).
One VERY lucky winner will score the jackpot, with products from 12 brands and a total value over $400 - containing school shoes, lice prevention, nutritional drinks, food pouches and bags, a humidifier, educational toys, zippered bed sheets, deodorizing packs, and a photo op t-shirt!! What's more? The 2nd place winner will receive a prize pack from Sneakz Organic and QuickZip, and 18 third place winners will receive a pack from Sneakz Organic!!!
Read on for more details about the brands and products in the pot, and enter to win in the Rafflecopter box at the bottom! Good luck to all!!!!
Sneakz Organic Milkshakes
Sneakz Organic flavored milk boxes are certified with no GMO's, are gluten free, feature organic milk from grass fed cows, and are sweetened with natural cane sugar. Each box contains half a serving of vegetables as follows: Chocolate flavor (Carrot, Cauliflower, Sweet Potato, Beet, Spinach), Strawberry flavor (Carrot, Cauliflower, Beet, Sweet Potato), Vanilla flavor (Carrot, Cauliflower, Sweet Potato, Spinach). But don't worry, your kids won't have a clue because they are DELISH (check out my review). A 12-pack goes for about $20 on their website or Amazon, but TWENTY winners will receive one milk box of each of the 3 flavors, a lunchpak, and a reusable shopping bag!!
QuickZip Zip-On Fitted Bed Sheets
QuickZip sheets have revolutionized the bedding world - this patented two-piece fitted sheet with a base and a zip-on top sheet is a total game changer and makes changing and laundering sheets a breeze (once base is in place, you don't have to pick up the mattress to change the top sheet - YESSSSS!!!)! Available for crib, twin, twin xl, full, queen, king, and cal king in 400 thread count sateen, 200 thread count fleece, cotton, or 100% organic cotton. Personally, I love love love these - we have them on all 3 of our kids' cribs and they are life (and back) savers (check out my review featuring my quick demo video). Also, looking to my future which will probably involve a bunk bed, these will definitely be essential for that top bunk!! You can purchase QuickZip sets (starting from about $39.99) on their website and Amazon, but two lucky winners will have a choice between the Baby Crib Premium Starter Pack and Twin Collection Premium Starter Pack.
Did you know keeping the air at the right level of humidity can help prevent illness? That's right - when your nasal passages dry out, they become easy targets for all the germs you encounter out there in the big bad world (probably my biggest fear regarding my son starting school). Beyond that, especially in the winter months, you might notice dry skin, chapped lips, stuffy nose, nose bleeds, and static electricity galore. Crane's humidifiers help you avoid all of these by keeping your home perfectly humidified, and they have some pretty stylish and cute options, too!! Crane humidifiers can be purchased (starting from about $35) on their website or Amazon, but our jackpot winner will have his or her choice of a Crane Drop or Adorable Humidifier. My review of Crane's "Freddy the Frog" Adorable Humidifier is coming soon, in the meantime, check out my review for the Crane Germ Defense Humidifier.
pediped Children's Shoes
Sold in over 2,500 stores in the United States and 40 countries worldwide, pediped offers more than 140 designs for boys and girls between its three lines: Originals® (0-24 months), Grip ‘n’ Go™ (1-3 years) and Flex® (2-12+ years). pediped is the fastest growing children's footwear brand in the United States and has been awarded the American Podiatric Medical Association Seal of Acceptance for the promotion of healthy foot development, among many other industry and consumer-based awards! You can check out my reviews of pediped's Grip 'N Go Orion Sneakers and Originals Natasha Black dress shoes. pediped shoes can be purchased (starting from about $20) on their website or Amazon, but our jackpot winner will receive one pair of pediped shoes free - winner chooses gender and size, but the specific design will be a surprise!
I've tested out a LOT of reusable food pouches and Squeasy Gear is my all-time favorite. They're made of BPA/PVC/Phthalate-free food grade silicone (which doesn't leach toxins into hot/cold food/drink as other plastics can), they're easy to clean (dishwasher or hand wash, and you can even flip them inside out!!), they stand independently which means you don't have to hold them while filling, they have a removable spill-free insert, and they have a no-leak cap, and they're even freezer safe. Fill them with anything from homemade smoothies to storebought applesauce! They can even be used for liquids, and their 16oz Squeasy Sport is the most versatile reusable water bottle on the market - when empty, it can be rolled up!!! How cool is that!? They come in kid and adult-friendly colors: green, aqua, pink, and grey. Check out my review of the 6oz snacker. You can purchase Squeasy Gear (starting at $12.99) on their website or Amazon, but our jackpot winner will receive a 3-piece Squeasy Gear set including the 16oz Squeasy Sport, and the 6oz and 3.5oz Squeasy Snackers!!
Offering a collection of products for babies and kids that are clinically and dermatologist tested, Little Green is "safe, gentle, pure" with hypoallergenic formulas free of Parabens and Sulfates. Our grand prize winner will receive two sets from Little Green. The Lice Guard Set is non-toxic and clinically proven to help prevent head lice infestation. The shampoo and detangler help repel lice (with their proprietary blend of natural Tea Tree, Neem, Rosemary, Peppermint, Lavender, and Eucalyptus oils), and the gel helps seal the hair, making it difficult for lice to adhere to. The Baby Essentials Set includes a travel size Little Green Baby Shampoo & Body Wash and Nourishing Body Lotion along with a full size Soothing Balm in a reusable travel bag. Little Green products, starting at about $6, can be purchased on their website or Amazon.
Yummi Pouch snack and sandwich bags by Revelae Kids make it easy to pack Eco-friendly lunches and come in 16 modern prints. Perfect to hold sandwiches, dried snacks, fruit, and more! These cute moisture-resistant cloth bags close with a zipper and easily fit in a lunch box or school backpack. Revelae Kids' Yummi Pouches can be purchased on their website or Amazon, and our grand prize winner will receive a set of 3 snack bags and 3 sandwich bags, and can even choose the designs (as available).
From baby diapers to stinky gym bags, kids can bring with them a whole array of odors. But Fresh Wave says, "Life Doesn't Have to Stink!" Fresh Wave uses only natural ingredients to remove odors. No masking fragrances. No harsh chemicals. No more odors! Our grand prize winner will receive a 3-pack set of Fresh Wave's odor removing gel, odor removing packs, and odor removing spray (all available at Target!). Check out my review of this deodorizing set!
Baby Jack & Co Learning Lovey
Going away to day care or school for the first time can be a scary and lonely experience, and a child might find great comfort in having with them a lovey they have grown attached to... such as a Baby Jack & Co lovey, or sensory tag blanket and toy, which is great for babies and kids of all ages. Our grand prize winner will receive one Learning Lovey (design of winner's choice), an educational blanket that encourages early learning of basic shapes, colors, letters and numbers. Ribbons on tag blankets allow for comfort, entertainment and tactile stimulation as kids develop cognitively, socially and emotionally through sensory play. They love to rub, chew and play with the ribbons. Ribbons are sewn shut for added safety to avoid tiny fingers from getting stuck in loops (read more about this unique safety design here)! Not only are these loveys cute, comforting, and educational, they're also a family affair - all prints are designed by the company's founder - a mother, along with her two young children!! How great is that!? Baby Jack & Co Loveys can be purchased (for about $25) on their website or Amazon.
Grow With Me Tee
I'm a sucker for a good photo opp prop, and Grow With Me Tee has 3 different kinds!! You've got the "Baby's First Year", which is a 12 months sized onesie with a clock on the front - you check off each month and take a pic of the baby in the onesie and watch them fill it out more and more til their first birthday!! Next, you have the "Preschool Years" t-shirt with a ruler and you color in each half birthday from 1 to 5 years old (see my review here). This is the PERFECT first birthday present!! Finally, you have the "school years" shirt which is a collegiate style tee with the year they will graduate high school on it. Obviously the earlier you have them start in it the more dramatic the first and last pictures will be, but really it's a great gift to any school aged child entering any grade! Our grand prize winner will receive their choice of any one of these 3 designs. (See my review of the toddler and grade schooler tees here).
Fundanoodle products and activities are designed by elementary school teachers and pediatric occupational therapists to help children develop the motor skills needed to succeed in and out of the classroom. Utilizing these tools at home, parents can create a fun and relaxed learning environment for their child. It's a new direct sales company, so you can shop through an independent ambassador's website or online/in-home party, and you can also become an ambassador with all the perks such as income, discounts, and freebies!
Say goodbye to "healthy" electrolyte replacement drinks full of artificial colors, flavors and sweeteners, and say hello to 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 (and they'll get a Vitamin C boost to boot)! You can find Wubba Water at Whole Foods (in the TriState area) and on Amazon, and our grand prize winner will receive a 3-pack (one of each flavor - blue raspberry, fruit punch, and orange).
So, are you super psyched!?!?! This giveaway is open to US residents ages 18 and over. Simply enter to win in the Rafflecopter box below - the more actions you take in the box, the more points you rack up and the higher your chance of winning. So, get to it and GOOD LUCK!!!! The giveaway will end at 11:59PM EST Thursday, September 15. The winners will be randomly selected, e-mailed on the 16th, and given 24 hours to respond before new winners are selected (so keep an eye on your junk box!).
About Me ^_^
I'm a NYC metro area mom blogger living in NJ with my Japanese husband & our 3 kids (twins plus 1). This blog is chock full of product reviews, family travel guides, and giveaways galore! It's also home to Bay Ridge Families, and several guides focused on kid-friendly activities and guides to South Brooklyn, Hudson Valley, and New Jersey, as well as family-friendly destinations beyond the NYC area (check the menu bar!)