Disney Fantasia: Live in Concert at NJPAC on2/19 + Giveaway

We truly can’t get enough of Disney in our house. Combine Disney with the symphony, now we’re talking. We have great accessibility to wonderful performances and shows in our area, including those at New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC).

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On February 19, NJPAC will be featuring Disney Fantasia: Live in Concert. Disney Fantasia is a live performance that combines classical music with two beloved Disney movies. This performance will feature the Czech National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Ted Sperling, which accompanies scenes from the animated feature films, Fantasia and Fantasia 2000.

 To accompany the symphony, clips from Disney’s iconic films will be shown ion the big screen, such as Mickey Mouse as he dabbles in magic in Dukas’ The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and the mythical unicorns and winged horses that accompany Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 (“Pastoral”). 

Bergen County’s Elisabeth Morrow School Orchestra Students will be the opening performers, where students ranging from 11- 14 years old will perform Vivaldi, Beethoven and more as the opening act. Biggie and Littles would, for sure, enjoy the magic of this show, especially seeing student musicians perform as the openers.

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Check out tickets at NJPAC for this fantastic show. And because we love wonderful shows like these, we’re giving away a pair of tickets to Disney Fantasia: Live in Concert!

NJPAC
Prudential Hall?One Center Street?Newark, NJ ?Friday, February 19, 2016 8:00 PM
Tickets $39.50 – $79.50

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Best Family Cruises for 2016

 

Many families are in the midst of planning their calendars for the year, including vacations. Since we’re all about families on NKT, I wanted to find out more about the best family cruises. A few weeks ago, along with several fellow bloggers, my friends Audrey and Vera invited me to attend the Cruise Lines International Association media event where I had the chance to meet with various cruise lines. 

According to CLIA, 24 million passengers are expected to sail on a cruise in 2016. Despite that staggering statistic, not every cruise line is the same. As with any vacation, some cruises are geared to the luxe category, some to the more moderate passengers and others appeal to budget passengers. Some ships are oversized, others are smaller vessels that offer a more intimate experience. And as you can imagine, some cruises are suitable for families while other cruises are more appropriate for mature passengers (i.e., not kid-friendly).

There are so many cruise lines worldwide, so based on accessibility, affordability and amenities, here’s what we think are among the best family cruises for 2016.

 

1.  Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival is known for being affordable and accessible with 24 ships operating 3 to 16-day cruises to exotic locales such as The Bahamas, Caribbean, Europe, Mexican Riviera, Alaska, Hawaii, Canada, New England, Bermuda, Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. Carnival has a brand new ship, the Carnival Vista set to debut in May this year. The Carnival Vista boasts a long list of features, but these certainly caught my eye: the first-ever IMAX theatre at sea; the SkyCourse and SkyRide for sports fans is a sports mecca and zip bike course and Carnival Waterworks, a water park with fun features, including a raft slide for two.

 

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2.  Disney Cruise Line

Disney touts their cruises as combining the magic of Disney with ocean travel. As a family who adores Disney and the idea of cruising, admittedly, a Disney Cruise has been on our must-do list for a few years now. This year, in fact, Disney Cruise Lines will be sailing out of NYC. 

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The Disney Magic will feature sailings from New York to the Bahamas and will include a visit to Walt Disney World Resort, plus a Park Hopper ticket and round-trip transportation between the ship and the resort. All New York to Bahamas voyages also include a stop at Castaway Cay. From their theaters that feature live musicals to spas for the adults to the cool activities with Disney-centric stories, Disney Cruise Lines seems like an idyllic cruise vacation for families in mind.

 

3. Norwegian Cruise Line

Known for their Freestyle Cruising ships, NCL has a relaxed, yet chic vibe to their ships. Their newer ships feature water parks and amazing Nickelodeon themed kids’ clubs. I love the idea of their Splash Academy, which is a youth program geared to 3-12 year olds.


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They even have a cool teen program called Entourage which is ideal for 13-17 year olds. The ships feature Group Sitting which is perfect when you’re hoping for adult time while in port or in the evenings. We were aboard the Getaway for a tour and press event just two years ago when it first arrived to NYC.

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We had a great taste of this fun ship, needless to say! NCL just makes it easy for families to have fun at sea.

 

4. Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean is another cruise that has been on our must-do list. With ships that feature activities such as 3-D screens, rock-climbing walls, ice skating rinks and surfing simulators, RCCL appeals to families who love adventure and fun activities at sea. Their Adventure Ocean Youth Program has activities for kids to 17.

 

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Their Royal Babies and Tot Nurseries offers childcare and actives for the littles cruisers. RCCL goes to 230 destination through the Caribbean, Europe, Alaska, Canada, Mexico, Hawaii, Bermuda, the Panama Canal, Asia, Australia and New Zealand and South America. The cruise line also has 2 private destinations: CocoCay, which is a private island in the Bahamas and Labadee, a beach locale on the coast of Haiti.

 

5. Princess Cruises

A well known cruise line and part of the Carnival Corporation, Princess Cruises has a fleet of 18 ships. People may know Princess Cruises from their starring role on The Love Boat in the 70s. In modern days, Princess Cruises focuses on innovation and high caliber entertainment and amenities aboard their ships. I recently had the chance to get a taste of some of their offerings at a media event last fall.IMG 8973 Princess Cruises and Discovery have teamed up to offer some really cool experiences. From Stargazing experiences to Animal Planet shore excursions to my favorite, Shark Week at Sea, Princess and Discovery are tapping into pop culture and educational avenues with their new partnership. 

 

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Having covered the cruise industry in my previous magazine editor life, cruises hold a special place in my heart. As a parent who appreciates adventure and practicality, I love the idea of cruising for families. I love the inclusiveness and not having to drive anywhere after you board the ship. I appreciate that on these floating cities there’s something for everyone. So, if you wanted to vacation with the grandparents, aunts and uncles, you could do so. From food to fashion to kids’ clubs to water parks, there’s truly something for everyone aboard a family cruise.

 

Interview with Lucy Liu, one of the Stars of Kung Fu Panda 3

 Po and friends are back for Kung Fu Panda 3, and their adventures are as crazy as ever.

 

In Kung Fu Panda 3, Po reunites with his long lost father. Together, Po and his biological panda father travel to a secret panda paradise where he meets relatives and other panda characters. Things get dicey when the villain Kai threatens all the kung fu masters across China. Po is faced with trying to train the village, all of whom are challenged with coordination and motivation.

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I had the chance to get a glimpse of the film before it was finalized and I literally LOLed so many times. As part of this fun opportunity, I was invited to participate in an intimate roundtable with Lucy Liu, who voices Viper, one of the characters from the beloved Kung Fu Panda franchise.

 

As an Asian American mama, I was thrilled to have the chance to meet Lucy Liu, an actor and intelligent entertainer whom I’ve admired for years. I was curious about Liu’s background as a prominent Asian American actor and new mom so I asked her about race and her thoughts on her influence on the younger generation.

 

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NKT: I wanted to talk a little bit about growing up, there really weren’t a lot of Asian American performers, entertainers, actors, actresses.  What are your thoughts on what you could tell kids who may be interested in getting in the business on creating that diverse voice that other kids can look up to?  

 

Ms. Lucy Liu:  That’s an excellent question.  I think that now it’s becoming a little bit easier because we’re such a mixed race.  And I mean, nobody’s just purely Chinese anymore or purely from another country.  Especially in New York City, I think we’re spoiled because I think when we go outside of the country, it’s very segregated.  There’s a Koreatown, there’s a Chinatown, there’s all of those things.

 

But, I do think that the most important thing is to create opportunities for yourself and not wait for other people to give them to you.  And it’s really a great thing for kids, especially because they like to be motivated.  They like projects.  They like to be creative.  And it’s just an idea of what is going to spur them to be the most creative and to never limit them, to allow them to make movies on their phone, to let them play, you know?

 

And that’s what a child does.  A child plays and an adult is continuing that, one would hope.  Do you know what I mean?  

 

NKT: Absolutely.

 

Ms. Lucy Liu:  And I think that sometimes we forget that.  Sometimes we forget because we’re so exhausted or we have so many responsibilities.  

 

But, we also have to remember and remind ourselves for that gratitude, because for me gratitude also brings you back to the source of who you are ultimately.  And I think that’s something that I want to instill in my family, always, always.  

 

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I loved Lucy’s answer, but especially her last statement about gratitude. Gratitude also brings you back to the source of who you are ultimately. What a great message!

 

I can’t wait to see rest of the film, which will be out in theaters on January 29. Until then, be sure to check out the trailer

 

 

 

Full disclosure: This Event was hosted by 20th Century Fox & DreamWorks Animation. As always, all opinions on NKT are my own.

Dora and Diego—Let’s Explore at Liberty Science Center + giveaway

 Just before all the holiday chaos started, we were invited to explore the Dora and Diego exhibit at Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, NJ.

 

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There’s so much we love about LSC, but the educational and interactive exhibits rank pretty high up on our list.

At our most recent trip to LSC we had the chance to explore the Dora and Diego—Let’s Explore! exhibit. If there was ever an exhibit that adequately examines the curious nature of toddlers and preschoolers, Dora and Diego—Let’s Explore is it.  The exhibit features Nickelodeon favorites, Dora and Diego, along with their buddies, Boots, Map, Backpack, Isa, Tico and Swiper.

This exhibit was created by The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis in partnership with Nickelodeon and will be at LSC until January 24th.


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Like the popular Nickelodeon shows from which this exhibit is based, Dora and Diego—Let’s Explore is an exhibit that encourages adventure, curiosity and how to solve problems while engaging Spanish speaking skills for preschoolers.

Highlights from the exhibit include:

The Purple Planet – Kids can climb inside and slide down on the surface of the whimsical Purple Planet

 

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Rocket Ship – Dora and friends need a ride to the Purple Planet. At the Rocket Ship, kids can suit up, pilot the ship and play memory with planets. 

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Constellations – Kids can learn about stars and identify the patterns made out of stars by inserting star shapes to light-up a constellation

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Isa’s Flowery Garden – At the Flowery Garden, Dora’s friend Isa the Iguana helps kids learn the beauty of flowers, plants, and animals. At Isa’s Garden, kids can pick flowers, interact with bird, butterflie, and insect puppets

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 Tico’s Tree and Car – Tico the squirrel needs help picking nuts from the tree for a family picnic. Kids can play along with Swiper to swipe the nuts and watch as they shoot up and over to fill Tico’s basket. Kids can help Tico fill up his car with nuts so he can begin his journey.

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 Pirate Ship – In the Pirate Ship, kids can band together with Pirate Piggies crew and dress like a pirate and sail the ship and share the treasure treasure. 

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Animal Rescue Center – Kids get a hands-on opportunity to care and help (stuffed) rainforest animals in Diego’s Animal Rescue Center. Kids can be an animal rescuer like Diego, as well as diagnose and help treat critters with the Scanner bed, First-Aid Station and fluff their fur at the Care Station. 

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Rainforest Maze – At the rainforest, kids can locate rainforest animals and swing across the Bobo Brothers’ monkey bars, crawl through a fallen tree, climb across Jaguar Mountain, and jump or hop across the River Rocks.

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Though the exhibit is geared to the younger set, both my preschooler and grade schooler enjoyed Dora and Diego—Let’s Explore. The many interactive features, games and activities kept my kids engaged for well over an hour and a half.

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 At the Rocket Ship, both kids loved role-playing and pretending to blast off. Tico’s Tree and Car was a fun activity for both kids, especially my preschooler who was excited to pick nuts and fuel up himself. At the Rainforest Maze, my 8 year old enjoyed climbing and helping his little brother jump and swing around. The Animal Rescue Center was another favorite for my boys, where they were able to partner up and play vet together. I loved listening to my older son read the little signs and share interesting information throughout this super fun experience.

 

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Dora and Diego—Let’s Explore is a fantastic interactive exhibit that’s ideal for toddlers and preschoolers, but engaging for the entire family. LSC has been one of my family’s absolute favorite museums in NJ since my older son was an infant. There’s always something for everyone in the family to enjoy. It does get crowded on the weekends and at peak times, but it’s always a lot of fun. And as winter limits family activities, what better way to spend a cold day with family than exploring at LSC.

 

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With that in mind, in conjunction with What’s Down in Town, we’re giving away a family 4-pack of tickets to the Liberty Science Center that includes admission to Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition gallery. This giveaway will end on Friday to give you a chance to enjoy LSC over the long weekend! Please enter below:

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In order to facilitate this review, we received complimentary admission to LSC. Promotional tickets were provided for giveaway. As always, all opinions are my own.

 

 

Coolest Star Wars Toys from Hasbro

Like so many of you, we are in total Star Wars mode these days. In honor of the long awaited debut of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, I thought I’d share some of the new Star Wars toys from Hasbro. Back in September, my family was invited to the Global Day of Play where bloggers and other media were invited to play with all of the newly released Star Wars toys. I can’t even begin to describe how excited we all were to geek out with these awesome toys.

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Hasbro has a huge selection of Star Wars-branded toys, ranging from toys for preschoolers in their Playskool line to board games to role playing games to cool items for collectors. Because there’s something for Star Wars fans of all ages, my entire family loved being among the first ones to get a look at the Next Kid Things from Hasbro.  

 

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There was so much to see and try out, but our favorites include:

Playskool Heroes Star Wars Series

I love the Playskool Heroes Star Wars Series because of its chunky characters and easy to handle vehicles and accessories. Preschoolers like my little guy love these Star Wars sets because they’re more age-appropriate and perfect for open-ended creative play. ($4.99-39.99)

Blade Builders
My older Star Wars fan loved creating his own powerful Lightsaber with the Blade Builders set. By connecting and twisting various different weapons, young Jedis can create their own custom Lightsaber that boasts realistic sounds to be used in battle. ($49.99)

Play-Doh Can Heads

My Play-Doh fanatic can’t get enough of the Star Wars themed Can Heads. I love the way the cans become characters and can be included in open play patterns. Little Padawans can mold and sculpt their favorite Star Wars shapes with these fun sets. ($9.99-19.99)

 Kylo Ren Black Series Lightsaber
This super sleek lightsaber is geared to the collectors and die hard fans. It has solid features, light effects, movie sound effects, 3 blades and metal hilt. ($199.99)

Star Wars Mr. Potato Head
What better way to introduce Star Wars to the toddler and preschool set than with the iconic Mr. Potato Head toys. Mr. Potato Head takes on the Dark Side with all the coolest Star Wars accessories. Choose from Frylo Ren, Darth Tater, Spud Trooper and more. ($9.99-19.99) 

BB-8
Ok, so, like everyone else, we want BB-8 for ourselves. Biggie loved maneuvering the RC BB-8 and had a great time navigating the Dark Side obstacle course. This BB-8 boasts movie-accurate sounds and expressive droid sounds, just as one would imagine.

We absolutely loved getting our hands on all of these fun toys. To say we were over the moon with excitement at the Global Day of Play was a total understatement. Check out the highlights from the Star Wars Global Day of Play to see these toys and more in action! Biggie was so giddy to train with a Jedi and Littles, my Play-Doh fanatic, LOVES Can Heads!

 

 

 I truly can’t pick a fave, the whole day was such a treat. If you’re Star Wars fans like we are, I have no doubt that some of these fun goodies are on those wish lists. 

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Thank you to Hasbro for hosting us at the Star Wars Global Day of Play.

Smart Toys and Fun Gifts from PBS Kids

My friends at PBS Kids always have fun things happening. Between fantastic programming that consistently wins awards and accolades to aligning really great collaborations, PBS Kids undoubtedly has a wonderful presence in our lives.

And since it’s gift giving season, I thought I’d share a few fun gifts that are part of PBS Kids’ Collaborations.

 

Plan Toys PBS Kids

As a long time fan of Plan Toys, I absolutely LOVE this collaboration with PBS Kids. Like all PlayToys, the line of PBS Kids toys are sustainable, educational and safe. The toys range from play cameras, play boats, a pull alligator, music instruments and toy banks. I’ll share a video of my kids playing with some of the toys. I can’t tell you how much we love this line. Everything in this line is under $30, making them an ideal gift for babies and kids on your list. 

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One-hundred percent of net proceeds from the purchase of the toys in this holiday partnership will support PBS KIDS’ mission to empower children to succeed in school and in life. Additionally, Whole Foods Market will donate 1 percent of total sales, up to $25,000, to Whole Kids Foundation, an organization dedicated to improving children’s wellness and nutrition. The toys are available at Whole Foods nationwide and vary in price.

 

PBS Kids Party App + Moff Bands

No stranger to technology, PBS Kids has tapped into the wearable technology space by collaborating with Moff Bands. Moff is the maker of the award-winning Moff Band, the world’s first wearable smart toy.

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The Moff Band enables kids to play sounds and games through movement. Powering the Moff Band is a cloud-based motion and position recognition platform that analyzes and learns users’ real-time behaviors and patterns. PBS Kids partnered with Moff Bands to release the new, free PBS KIDS Party App. The app can be played with a mobile or tablet device, and is enhanced with a Moff Band. Be on the lookout for a video on our YouTube Channel!

 

PBS Kids Scratch JR.

We are so into coding, so PBS KIDS ScratchJr is really exciting. With Scratch Jr., kids can create their own interactive stories and games featuring their favorite characters from Wild Kratts, Nature Cat, WordGirl and Peg + Cat! Designed for kids ages 5-8.

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By combining programming blocks, kids can make characters move, jump, dance and sing. In the process, kids will learn to solve problems, design projects and express themselves creatively. PBS KIDS ScratchJr allows kids to not only learn to code, but also code to learn. If you love STEM and coding as much as we do, be sure to check out this app! You can download the app for free on the App Store and Google Play.

 

Full disclosure: As a PBS Kids VIP, I received this information and samples to help promote the brand and the properties. As always, opinions on NKT are my own.

Unique Gifts at Target for the Holidays

Several weeks ago, I had the chance to get a preview of holiday gifts at Target. As usual, Target’s gifts and exclusive collaborations don’t disappoint, so I thought I’d highlight just a few of my favorite finds for this holiday season.

 

1. Tapas Entertaining Set

This very cool Tapas Kit would make a great hostess gift or a delicious alternative for friends who are foodies. 

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2. Wing Sauce Set

In our home, we are geeks about a lot of things, and that includes Buffalo wings. Almost every Friday night, we head to a local restaurant and indulge in this fried bar staple. It’s hard to find a sauce and consistency that appeals to all of us, so I especially loved this wing sauce set. How fun would this be for fellow wing aficionados or friends who love spices and sauces! And for about $12, you can’t go wrong!

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3. Archer Farms Turtle Snack Bites

Okay, so I should totally keep quiet because I may just want these truffles all to myself. Archer Farms always has a great selection of delicious treats, and these Turtle Pecan Snack Bites are no exception. They combine the melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness with the taste of a rich pecan Turtle confection. At under $5, you should definitely buy a few of these for stockings or stash them away for the winter. Whichever works.

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4. Project MC2 Ultimate Lab Kit

When I first learned the premise behind this cool lab kit, I was immediately smitten. The Project MC2 Ultimate Lab Kit is inspired by Project MC2 which is a show on Netflix about 4 smart girls who love science and use their spy skills to go on missions for a secret organization. This kit includes a working microscope, 30 pieces, such as a funnel, beaker, safety goggles and more. At $45, this science kit would be great for any budding scientist spy!

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5. Unicef Kid Powerbands
This was, perhaps, one of my absolute favorite gadgets at the Target Holiday Preview. A fitness tracker for kids, the Powerband is described as one of the first wearables-for-good. The more active kids are, the more power points they earn, which, in turn, becomes a charitable donation of food for less fortunate kids around the world. There’s an app that pairs with the Powerbands where you can track your fitness activities, as well as navigate the different global missions and learn about different countries. For every band sold, Target donates $10 to the United States Fund for Unicef. The bands are available on Target.com for $39.99.

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Giving Tuesday: Charitable Gift Guide

‘Tis the season for gift giving, but as we’re shopping for gifts for our loved ones, it’s important to remember those in need. In honor of Giving Back Tuesday, I’ve assembled a list of gifts that give back. I’ve known about most of this organizations, but had a chance to meet various representatives at my friends Kid Vuz recent holiday event.

 

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Heart for Haiti

Heart for Haiti Fair Trade Collection can be found at Macy’s. Made by Haitian artisans, all of these handmade items give back to help provide economic sustainability.

Heart of Haiti Jonas Sunflower Metal Lantern

Handmade by artisans, this lantern is made of recycled steel. Artisans receive half the wholesale price for each item sold.

 

St. Jude‘s

St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital has done so much good for children’s health and medical research over the years. They have an expansive gift shop that includes patient-designed gifts, celebrity products among other great gifts that are perfect for the holidays. The great thing about these gifts is that 100% of the profit, after all related expenses, goes back to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.

 

Save the Children

Save the Children provides aid to kids in the U.S. and worldwide. By giving to this organization, it would benefit children locally or those abroad who may require daily essentials, educational tools and beyond. You can sponsor a child, donate directly to Save the Children, or donate products, services or gifts that might benefit the children in need.

By purchasing gifts such as this baby, the organization is able to help children around the world.

 

Alex’s Lemonade Stand

Donations to Alex’s Lemonade Stand fund research to find better treatments and cures for children with cancer. The organization has raised more than $100 million since 2005 to fund 500 childhood cancer research projects at 102 top hospitals and institutions in the US and Canada.

The organization is featuring a Giving Tuesday special that includes one hour of research and an Alex’s Lemonade ornament for $60. Consider donating to this charitable cause to help children’s medical need.

Food for Thought Cards

These charitable gifts are simple: for every card purchased, one peanut butter and jelly sandwich will be donated to feed the hungry.

Since January 2013, Food for Thoughts Cards has happily donated the value equivalent to the cost of 23,000 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to food banks, food pantries, soup kitchens, and other organizations that feed the hungry. This charity has reached many local organizations, including several in the Morristown vicinity.

 

Consider gifting or donating to one of these organizations this Giving Tuesday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kicking off the Holidays in Style with Momtrends

It’s been a yearly tradition to kick off my holiday season with my friends at Momtrends their Annual Holiday Soiree. This year, they celebrated their 5th annual event!

Nicole Feliciano, the trend-spotting and style savvy founder of Momtrends, has a true knack for gathering the most influential voices in the Tri-State and beyond. Every event is filled with fabulous brands and amazing products, and this year’s Soiree was no exception.

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Momtrends’ Holiday Soiree featured a myriad of brands who help make the season brighter, ranging from Cabi to Pom Wonderful.

Epson showcased their Ecotank printer that boasts high quality prints and photos, and an impressive printing capacity. Apparently, with this printer, you don’t have to change the tanks for 2 years! My blogger pals and I had a blast posing in the backdrop and we even took some Epson prints home!

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The Cabi fashion show was a highlight of the night. It was so lovely to see Cabi’s functional styles on real women, including my friend, Divina of DancingHotDogs.com. The cape and tailored skirt makes for a polished look for the holidays!

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Telaflora once again showcased their beautiful flowers, which would be perfect as centerpieces or hostess gifts. Among the beautiful red and white arrangements, I really loved the Peanuts collection!

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While hanging out with friends, we noshed on the various snacks dipped in Tessemae’s sauces and sipped on Pom-tinis. The all natural sauces from Tessemae’s has quite the back story. Some brothers began bottling the salad dressing upon realizing the true demand of their mom’s delicious recipes. Many years later, these dressings are available at Whole Foods, among other retailers.

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With pomegranates in season right now, it was great to taste various cocktails with this delicious fruit. After learning how to open this delicious fruit, I’m excited to include it in more recipes and snacks!

What are delicious beverages without containers to serve and transport them? I loved learning all about Igloo’s latest products, including that very cool party tub! As a major sports family, we use those Igloo coolers and containers incessantly!

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On to the baby and kid stuff:

I always love seeing my friends from Hasbro showcases their awesome toys. Hasbro was in the house and had their classic games to highlight. They have so many fun toys and games this holiday season, but it’s the classics that make family time so fun.

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I loved learning all about Bedgear and their very cool textile technology. This company makes waterproof crib sheets, wicking pillowcases, among other cool products. They were super cozy and perfect for napping after Turkey dinner.
 

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Perhaps one of my favorites of the night was Mudpuppy! As a kid product enthusiast, I loved the aesthetic and range of innovative books, games and other stationery product from Mudpuppy. IMG 0105

From the cool chalk board posters to the magnetic puzzle kits, I am totally smitten with this fabulous brand. And as luck would have it, I won a very generous prize kit from Mudpuppy as part of the evening’s raffle. Though I’m unlucky in so many other aspects, somehow, my luck balances out whenever I attend Momtrends’ events. So, thank you to the Momtrends team and to Mudpuppy for this awesome prize kit! After sharing a separate review on the products, I will be making a donation to the children’s hospital for kids to enjoy while receiving treatment.

Thank you, as always, to the Momtrends team for including me in such a lovely event. It’s always an honor to be included with so many smart and savvy women! Be on the lookout for more thorough reviews of more products spotted at the Holiday Soiree!

Healthy Snack: Mango Pomegranate Smoothie

One of our absolute favorite snacks around here are smoothies. Smoothies for breakfast, a mid-morning snack, an after school snack—it doesn’t matter the time of day, we love our smoothies. We’ve been known to listen to the blender demo people at Costco, watching them blend entire carrots at a time. I’ve been swooning over high power blending technology for quite some time, so imagine the thrill it was to get a first hand demo of Panasonic’s MX-ZX1800 high power blender. 

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This blender has the capacity to chop, cream, blend, heat, grind, churn—pretty simplify things in the kitchen. 

For our first foray with this amazing appliance, we gave a tried and true smoothie recipe a whirl with a bit of a seasonal twist. The mango pomegranate smoothie is a tart but sweet snack and makes a great complement for breakfast. 

 

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The citrus and Vitamin C provided by the mango and orange juice is ideal for prime cold and flu season. The pomegranate, which is in season, is such an excellent source of antioxidants, fiber and more Vitamin C. The seeds not only add a little color, but also a sweet juicy flavor. The kids love digging into this smoothie and crunching the seeds.

A few pointers for opening the pomegranate: slice one end, score the fruit from top to bottom 3-4 times around and then wiggle a knife on the end where it was sliced to pop open the fruit. Place the opened fruit in a bowl and scoop out seeds with a spoon.

 

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If I do say so, this tastes even better than my local smoothie shop! My favorite part of this recipe is the ease and minimal effort for such a creamy treat.

Ingredients:

1 cup plain non-fat yogurt
1 cup frozen mango cubes
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup of pomegranate seeds 

Combine yogurt, mango and pomegranate seeds in blender. I like putting the mango at the bottom to ensure it gets chopped just so.

 

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When opening the pomegranate, scoop out seeds above the blender so that juice can add to the mixture.

 

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Add orange juice until it fills almost to the top of the fruit mixture. Blend using the smoothie function, adding more juice as necessary. Serve with a handful of pomegranate seeds and enjoy!

 

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Mango Pomegranate Smoothie

 

1 cup plain non-fat yogurt

1 cup frozen mango cubes

1/2 cup orange juice

1/4 cup of pomegranate seeds 

 

Combine yogurt, mango and pomegranate seeds in blender. When opening the pomegranate, scoop out seeds above the blender so that juice can add to the mixture. Add orange juice until it fills almost to the top of the fruit mixture. Blend using the smoothie function, adding more juice as necessary. Pour into glass and enjoy.