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!!
In honor of Father's Day, we've teamed up with Shelving.com to give away a $400 wire shelving gift card!!! Enter to win in the Rafflecopter app box at the bottom of this post! Open to US residents ages 18+, giveaway ends at June 17, 2021 at 11:59PM Eastern. Winner will be emailed!
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!!
Only a comment on this blog post is required to enter (you must tell the app you commented), but every action you take in the app will earn you more entry points! Good luck!!
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!!
I'm a NYC metro area mom blogger living in NJ with my Japanese husband & our 3 kids (twins plus 1), focusing on fun and honest product and travel reviews, saving moms time finding the best for their families! Find what you need in the menu bar or search section above!