Join Us for a Twitter Party with Safety 1st on 5/27 at 8pm

Join us for a Twitter party! We’re partying on Wednesday night, May 27th at 8pm with our friends at Safety 1st. Together with several of my fellow bloggers, we’ll be celebrating parenting victories and talking about the very cool Step and Go from Safety 1st.  If you have some parenting victories to share, be sure to keep it real with us and join the conversation at #StepAndGoParent

If you don’t already follow me, be sure to follow me on Twitter @jenrab, and of course, follow our gracious hosts: @Safety1st.

 

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Full disclosure: This is a sponsored post and I am being compensated for sharing this information. As always, all opinions on NKT are my own.

Highlights from The New York Baby Show

Eight years ago when I started this site, I was inundated with baby gear research. Like many other parents, I spent hours researching the best products for my own baby. That research ultimately led to the creation of The Next Kid Thing.

All these years later, one of my most favorite things is attending shows, especially ones that showcase cool new gear and goodies. Last weekend, the kids and I made our way to Pier 92 for the New York Baby Show.

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photo credit: Momtrends

Quickly becoming one of my favorite baby shows, this year’s New York Baby Show didn’t disappoint. This year’s show featured more than 140 exhibitors for expectant and new parents to meet and learn all about. Alongside of the expansive list of exhibitors, the New York Baby Show rounded out their weekend-long show with sessions conducted by parenting experts and other informative sessions. Twiniversity and NYC Dads Group, two organizations that I proudly call my friends, were among the experts who led sessions. 

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photo credit: Momtrends

And speaking of friends, new this year to New York Baby Show was the Blogger Lounge hosted by our friends at Momtrends. As always, Momtrends knows how to host a fun soiree; it was a treat that manis and blowouts were offered by the Glam Squad.

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photo credit: Momtrends

Before hitting the floor at the show, bloggers were treated to lunch, some glam and had the chance to meet several brands before the show. The Blogger Lounge also provided childcare courtesy of the Nanny League, which was basically a two hour playdate for Littles.

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 photo credit: Momtrends

So, while Littles was hanging out at the childcare area, Biggie and I walked the showroom floor to meet and great with the exhibitors. Biggie was my photographer for the evening, and he was able to capture photos as I networked.

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I loved the way many of the companies interacted with him as he took pictures, but my favorite was when we approached Canon’s booth. Canon, the presenting sponsor of the New York Baby Show, was on hand to showcase several of their latest cameras, including the beautiful and wifi-enabled 70d and T6i models.

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photo credit: Jack Bertram

As I spoke to one of the Canon reps to share my longtime love for their products, another gentleman was so nice to engage with Bigs. He asked to see his photos and made him giggle while I ogled.

Back to the babies: there were so many favorite brands at this show, so it was almost impossible to visit every booth. But here are just a few of the many brands that we loved visiting at the New York Baby Show:

My friends at Regal Lager had a spectrum of beautiful Cybex gear, but the innovative Cloud carseat was my absolute favorite. IMG 9597

photo credit: Jack Bertram

This thing grows with baby; it’s incredible. Love to Dream swaddles promote the arms up sleeping position that many babies naturally love. The textiles for these swaddles are so soft and pure. I love recommending these super practical swaddles and sacks to all of my new mom friends.

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I loved stopping by the Babyganics booth to check out their growing product line. Their sunscreens and hand sanitizers are staples in my beach bag.

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Shea Moisture is another personal favorite that I loved meeting. The Mommy scrub is so perfect for expectant moms and even ones who, like me, just love the smell and feel of this delicious scrub.

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photo credit: Jack Bertram


I was excited to see Nordic Naturals exhibiting at this show because I JUST bought their Children’s DHA liquid which comes highly recommended for kids with speech delays. I add a few drops into Little’s smoothies and voila! I’ve noticed a difference since he started the drops, and I’m thrilled that this liquid seems to be gentler on his sensitive stomach. Nordic Naturals offers a range of supplements applicable for all members of the family.

 

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photo credit: Jack Bertram

I met lots of newcomers at this show, which is always exciting. I can’t wait to learn more about this crib mattress, these snacks and this cool new family camp in Vermont. 

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One newcomer that I wasn’t able to meet was the stroller company, gb. I wanted to get a closer look at the Qbit, which appears to be a smaller stroller that would work well for city families. 

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 If I had an unlimited amount of time, I would have loved to walk the show for another day to meet the other exhibitors that were too busy to chat. The New York Baby Show is a fabulous forum for expectant and new families to learn, shop and engage with family-centric exhibitors. What I truly appreciate about this show is that the whole family can enjoy the day together. 

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The two-day format on the west side allows for show-goers to truly take in all that this show has to offer, from information sessions to visiting all the booths to taking a stroll on the test track. If you’re pregnant or have a new baby and want to check out the latest and greatest, be sure to put the New York Baby Show on the must-do list.

A big thank you to Momtrends and New York Family for having us this year. As always, I enjoyed covering this show and look forward to sharing more.
 
Full disclosure: This is a sponsored post and I am being compensated for sharing my experience. As always, all opinions on NKT are my own.

Disney’s Beach Club Room Tour at Disney Social Media Moms Celebration

During this week following Disney Social Media Moms Celebration, I’ve been doing my best to catch up and take in all the fun things that I learned.

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I have so many stories and details to share about the trip, but in the meantime, I wanted to share a quick room tour at Disney’s Beach Club Resort. This was the first video we did when we arrived at the resort, so we were exhausted, excited and overwhelmed.

 

In essence, the Beach and Yacht Club Resorts were the perfect backdrop for this year’s DSMMC. We enjoyed glorious views, convenient access to Epcot and basked in the deluxe accommodations that Disney offers at this level. To say that this resort is my new favorite is quite the understatement. The pool, Stormalong Bay, is enough to want to return for future vacations. It’s, quite simply, the most beautiful sand-bottomed pool I’ve ever seen. (And the only one at that!) The resort, itself, is breathtaking. 

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So, back to the rooms at the Beach Club: they’re beautiful, spacious enough for 5 people and comfortable for a luxurious stay. The rooms feature two queen beds and one day bed. The beach decor is beautiful and classic, but from what I’m understanding, they’re in the process of updating some rooms. Here are some stats on the standard rooms with garden views at the Beach Club:

At 380 sq. ft., most rooms at the Beach Club will sleep up to 5 adults.  All rooms come with an alarm clock with mp3 player, mini fridge, ceiling fan, coffee maker with tea and coffee setup, hair dryer, ice bucket, safe, iron and ironing board, pool towels, desk and chair, telephone and television.

We absolutely enjoyed staying at the Beach Club and were so fortunate to do so during DSMMC. I’ll be sure to share a more thorough review of the resort, but for now, check out our room tour!

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration is here!

 

It’s finally here! After much anticipation, we made it to Orlando for the 2015 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration! As many of you know, DSMMC is an invite-only celebration with top influencers to engage in all things Disney.

 

After little sleep last night, we had an uneventful trip down to Florida. The kids were great on the plane, aside from Jack’s unnecessary need to hold a barf bag to his mouth every time there was turbulence. haha!

 

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I’m just so glad to be here and can’t wait to relax and unwind with my guys in between Disney Social Media Moms. Both boys are older, and so far, it’s a bit easier to manage them while traveling. As for Disney, the magic is as brilliant as ever. We arrived a day early and were able to travel with ease and relax in the amazing beach-bottomed pool. We’ve yet to hit the parks, but are so thankful to have this family-time together, which is something that seems to be so fleeting these days.

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I’ve had the fortune of being invited multiple times, with this trip being my third rodeo. I’ll share information along the way, but I wanted to be totally transparent about this trip. We were not planning on taking a Disney trip this year, but when DSMMC sends an invite, it’s truly a once in a lifetime opportunity and something that’s hard to pass up. We were able to get the stars to align to afford to go on this trip. With that said, Disney is the host for DisneySMMC, however,  we pay a subsidized rate and are treated to several exclusive events, receive samples and experience unique things to share with our audiences.


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We’ll be learning more about Disney’s latest endeavors, so be sure to listen in on the conversation. Check out all the action on #DisneySMMC, and of course, be sure to follow me @jenrab on Twitter and Instagram for updates throughout our trip. Just a few things I’m excited to learn more about: Disney Springs, Avatar World and Frozen-themed attraction in Norway in Epcot! Unbelievable!

 

 

I can’t wait to endure and share the magic in the days to come!

Vera Sweeney to Host Trollbeads Event in NYC on Saturday

With Mother’s Day upon us, there are so many fun mom-centric events on the horizon. If you’re in the City this weekend, my beautiful friend, Vera Sweeney of Lady and the Blog and TLC’s “What She Said” fame, is hosting a fun event on Saturday with Trollbeads.

Join Trollbeads for a Mother & Daughter Event hosted by Vera Sweeney from Lady & the Blog and TLC’s “What She Said.” Guests will receive a custom flower crown designed by Rachel Cho with every purchase (while supplies last). 

What She Said“ is set to air on May 10th and features some of the country’s foremost female comics commiserating, venting, and speaking the truth about being mothers during these crazy modern times.

When: Saturday, May 2nd 1-4PM 
226 Columbus Ave, NYC
646.692.3113

RSVP to veryvera@gmail.com to guarantee VIP gift

If you go, tell her I sent you! Vera is fabulous!

 

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8 Delicious and Easy Lunchbox Ideas

Now that Spring is in full swing, I’ve already started to hear the collective sigh of students, parents and teachers in regards to the end of the school year. It’s been a long year, and many of us are ready for the carefree days of summer. But, not so fast! If you’re like us, we still have a good two months to go until we bid adieu to the school days.

So, what to do when you’re all exhausted with the school routine—well, besides go on a vacation. Aside from re-engaging in homework and getting outdoors, renewing the excitement of the school day can be as simple as refreshing the lunchbox. School lunches shouldn’t complicate life, but instead, make it a little lighter.

With that, I thought I’d round up a few delicious goodies that we’re currently craving and coveting for our lunchbox. 

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1. Nature’s Bakery Fig Bars

These delicious fig bars have been around for quite sometime, but they’ve become even more accessible as of late. As an avid Costco shopper, I first picked up a multi-pack of these fig bars and we all fell in love with the taste. These bars are made with stone wheat, are free of GMOs and come in several tasty flavors like apple-cinnamon, raspberry and blueberry.

2. Grapefruits

Grapefruits are rich in Vitamin C and a great source of lycopene, which makes this citrus fruit a delicious treat for kids. An alternative to oranges, grapefruits provide a tart, but refreshing taste to a Spring lunchbox.

3. Sistema containers

Since I picked up my first container for back to school last year, Sistema has been popping up more places. In fact, I’ve been eyeing the different sizes and colors at my local HomeGoods. These compact BPA-free plastic containers are ideal for packing small portions and eliminating all the excess wrappers and Ziploc bags.

4. Contigo Stainless Steel Autospout Flip Chill Kids’ Water Bottle

We have the plastic Flip Chill Kids’ Water Bottle, which is a great refillable water bottle for my preschooler. Instead of juice boxes, we’ve been trying to drink more water every day. We need to be hydrated to keep us going through the day! This Stainless Steel version of the Autospout Flip Chill Kids’ Water Bottle is sleek, practical and spill-free.

5. Fruttata Tropical Freeze Dried Fruits

Nothing will ever beat the taste of fresh fruits, but Fruttata Freeze Dried Fruits comes close. These freeze dried fruits are virtually mess-free and ideal for lunch boxes and kids on the go. Once again, I love that there’s a Costco sized bag available because once you have one, these crisps go quick!

6. The Best Homemade Lunches on the Planet by Laura Fuentes

I’ll admit, I’ve been slacking on lunches now that the school year is winding down. So, when I’m feeling uninspired, I love checking out this practical recipe book for homemade lunches. Written by Laura Fuentes, known for Momables, presents a lot of easy, but delicious lunches that anyone can do.

7. Crustache Mustache Shape Crust Cutter

Even boring sandwiches taste a little better when they look fun. We can’t get enough of the Crustache Mustache Shape Crust Cutter because, well, mustaches.

My only complaint about this cool sandwich cutter is that it’s small, so when I’m cutting a larger sandwich almost half of the bread is cut off. Other than that, who can resist a mustache sandwich?

 

8. Peanut Butter & Co.

These delicious gourmet peanut butters from Peanut Butter & Co. are unlike anything I’ve ever tasted. I recently received a jar of Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Peanut Butter in a gift bag from the Home press junket since they partnered in a promotion for the film. We had this peanut butter on toasted raisin bread and we couldn’t have enough. If your kid’s school isn’t peanut free, this would be a great option for a sweet treat for lunch. Who am I kidding? This delicious peanut butter is perfect for any time of the day.

 

Hilton Garden Inn Garden Getaway Tour Kicks off in NYC

We have family travel on the brain this week as we’re preparing to embark on a big trip next week. But before I go on about that trip, I thought I’d share some cool family travel news.

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Hilton Garden Inn, a part of the Hilton Worldwide chain, is well known for their upscale, yet comfortable amenities that cater to business travelers and families alike. With the ever-so-slight glimpse of Spring that we’re enduring here in the NYC area, it was a treat to see the that the Hilton Garden Inn is in full bloom with its Garden Getaway Tour.

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Hilton Garden Inn kicked off their Garden Getaway Tour in NYC a few weeks ago by setting up camp at several iconic NYC destinations with their Garden Greeters in tow, of course. The Greeters visited Chelsea, Herald Square and Central Park in their full-flowered regalia. The kids and I shared our travel ambitions, which also hints to where we’re headed soon! We enjoyed meeting the festive Hula, Cowboy and Queen’s Guard Greeters, all of whom not only looked fantastic, but smelled tropically divine.

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As part of the Garden Getaway Tour, consumers will have the chance to win a getaway to a new Hilton Garden Inn located in Hawaii. To enter for a chance to win, you must capture a photo with a Garden Getaway Greeter and share on Twitter, Instagram, or on the Hilton Garden Inn Facebook page using #HGIGardenGetaway and #entry.

Want to check out the Hilton Garden Inn Garden Getaway Tour for yourself? Be sure to check out the next stops: Dallas on May 15 and 16, Los Angeles on July 3 and 4 and wrap up in Chicago on September 4 and 5.

Full disclosure: I was offered a complimentary stay at a Hilton Garden Inn property in exchange for sharing this contest. As always, all opinions on NKT are my own.

 

Celebrating Chuggington Fire Patrol Rescue DVD at the NYFD Museum

All aboard chuggers: Anchor Bay DVD has released the latest installment in Chuggington adventures: “Chuggington Fire Patrol Rescue.” In this new dvd, there are more adventures to be had and we even meet a new friend, Asher. Wilson sets out on fire patrol duty with Asher and learns to use a fire hose in a rescue. There is a friendly contest of Chug Patrol versus Speed Fleet; Hodge find himself in a high-rise jam; and all the Chuggers practice emergency drills at the roundhouse.

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As longtime Chuggington fans, we were all excited for the release of this new dvd that helps kids learn about fire safety and community service. Since Littles absolutely loves trains, he perks up every time he hears Chuggington’s theme song! In honor of the launch Chuggington Fire Patrol Rescue, we were invited to the NYFD Museum in downtown NYC. 

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The boys and I got to enjoy an afternoon celebrating the launch, learning all about fire safety and we even got to chat a little with Sarah Ball, Chuggington head writer and producer.

 

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The boys enjoyed getting up close and personal to the educational historical material at the NYFD Museum, not to mention getting to watch an episode of the new DVD.

Boiling Springs Savings Bank Helps Kids Learn to Save

Money money money. Like many young, middle income families, we have a love-hate relationship with money. Having faced financial hardships following several back to back medical emergencies over the past two years, money is at the forefront for our family these days. It’s been such a topic of conversation, I’ve found myself speaking more openly to my 7-year-old about it. 

A conversation about money and saving is something that I consider to be paramount, especially as both my husband and I are products of frugal, blue-collar upbringing. We never took lavish vacations, nor did we ever receive unlimited amounts of toys, saw Broadway Shows or rubbed elbows with celebs as kids—you know, the sort of things we get to do in the name of blogging. So, in an unrealistic world where we’re presented with impossible opportunities, I think it’s important to instill practical values that my children will be able to learn from, and help them grow into responsible adults.

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When the regional bank, Boiling Springs Savings Bank, wanted to partner with area influencers in honor of National Youth Savings Month, I eagerly obliged, as I knew this would be a great way to continue our ongoing conversation about money. Boiling Springs Savings Bank has been a fixture in Northern New Jersey since 1939, providing loans, personal and business banking options with local values and strong community ties.

Among Boiling Springs Savings Bank’s range of banking offerings, the Boiling Bucks Youth Savings Account was what we needed to get Biggie started with his own savings plan. Even though he’s had several savings accounts set up since birth, this savings account would be his own to manage (with a little help.) The Boiling Bucks Youth Savings Account is specifically designed for kids under 18. This savings plan only requires a minimum $1 to start and offers a generous bonus $10 for those who start with $10 or more. Account holders for the Youth Savings Account are mailed monthly statements to track transactions, including interest earned monthly on all balances. Added bonus: for those who open a Youth Savings Account during Youth Savings Month receive a BSSB piggy bank.

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We visited our local BSSB in Lake Hiawatha to get his account started. After providing Biggie’s Social Security Card, as well as my identification since the Youth Savings Accounts require a custodian, we filled out the proper paperwork to get things started. Quite frankly, I believe this was one of the first times Biggie was in an actual bank since we do most of our banking online these days. As we waited, I told him how I’d have to wait in a long line with my mom just to deposit or withdraw money. Even though we don’t sit in long lines to bank anymore, it was an interesting experience to have him sit at the desk in the bank to open his savings account. After a quick computer snafu, we were able to deposit J’s money and officially started his Boiling Bucks Youth Savings Account.

Biggie agreed to deposit allowance or money he’s earned once or twice a month to create a consistent savings routine. I explained to him how crucial it is to save for “rainy days,” because goodness knows, rainy days always finds those who bask in the sunshine.

Beyond the Youth Savings account, BSSB has 18 convenient branches and ATMs in northern New Jersey and provides services for the whole family and businesses. In need of introducing savings to your kid? Be sure to check out BSSB’s Boiling Bucks Youth Savings Account to take advantage of their fun perks and grab the cool piggy bank while you’re at it. To learn more about BSSB, head to their site and check out their video here.

 

Full disclosure: this is a sponsored post and I’m being compensated for sharing my experience. As always, all opinions on NKT are my own.

 

Met’s First Family Sunday of 2015 Season Set for April 19

It’s finally Spring, and that means we’re all about baseball in our house.  Whether it’s actually playing ball or watching the game, baseball is truly the heart of our home from Spring until Fall.

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Just as Little League is underway for my older son, the Major Leagues are revving up for a fantastic season. And speaking of which, I’m excited to share cool stuff about our favorite MLB team once again. The Mets are currently on their first home field stint of the season, and this Sunday, April 19, marks the first Family Sunday for the 2015 season at Citi Field.

 

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As in years past, the Mets promise a family-friendly outing on Sunday. From games on the mini field to video games out back to the awesome benefits of Mr. Met’s Kid’s Club, Family Sunday at Citi Field is such a great way to spend the day at the ball field.

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Mr. Met’s Kid’s Club is a fun way for kids to experience the game. For every Family Sunday at Citi Field that your child attends, they get a stamp on their Kid’s Club lanyard. Perks and incentives are rewarded to the kids, depending on the frequency of visits and which membership you choose. There are both free and paid memberships to the Kid’s Clubs and one major benefit of the Orange Membership includes 10 free tickets and the Blue includes 4 free tickets. 

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We are thrilled to once again participate in the Met’s social media influencer outreach and are excited to catch our first Family Sunday of the season this weekend when the Amazin’s take on the Marlins. I hear Matt Harvey will be on the mound, and my boys are pumped to see the Dark Knight front and center on Sunday! Let’s Go Mets!

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If you’re headed to the game this Sunday, be sure to get the kids and sign up for Mr. Met’s Kid’s Club.