Marvel Universe Live Sneak Peek

And speaking of superheroes, we’re getting pumped up for the Marvel Universe Live.  Marvel Universe Live, a live-action area stunt show, kicks off at Barclay’s Center on August 13. Here’s a peek at the behind-the-scenes “white model” video, which gives us a glimpse into this show that promises to be action-packed with excitement through the roof.

I don’t know about you, but they caught my attention with the guy on fire. Yowza!

To find out more information about Marvel Universe and to see if they’re coming to your town, check them out here.

Review: Hasbro Captain America Battle Helmet and Dualshot Gauntlet

 

In a house of boys, it’s all about super heroes all the time.  My two guys love playing good guy vs. bad guy.  Sometimes, it’s even Marvel vs. DC. Ha!  

Nevertheless, we’re all big fans of Marvel heroes, especially Captain America.  Since David Wright, one of our favorite baseball players is actually nicknamed Captain America, our Captain America hero gear does a whole lot of double duty.

 

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This spring, my friends at Hasbro sent us over some of the latest in Captain America role play toys. We’ve had a great time checking out the Captain America Battle Helmet and Dualshot Gauntlet. My big guy absolutely loved the new details of these toys, especially the the light up features of the Dualshot Guantlet.

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The Battle Helmet features a button-activated light-up visor and a missile-firing projectile rocket launcher that can also be connected to three different points on the helmet via the innovative rail system feature.  You can customize the helmet by connecting more gear such as the Recon Rangefinder and Dualshot Guantlet. The helmet uses two AAA batteries and retails for $19.99

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The Dualshot Gauntlet is a cool gauntlet device that can worn on a hand and can also shoot missiles.  As mentioned, this device can be worn on a hand or can be used as an add-on to the Battle Helmet.  The gauntlet uses two AAA batteries and retails for $7.99.

If you’re into Captain America or super heroes like we are, this gear from Hasbro would be a perfect complement to your battle supplies.

 

Full closure: Samples were provided to facilitate this review. As always, opinions on NKT are my own.

 

Family Travel: New Destinations for Adventures by Disney

I’ve been thinking a lot about my bucket list lately.  And like many people, my bucket list includes quite a bit of travel; not just any travel, but traveling with my family.  Last month, I was invited to a Disney Adventures press event, where I had the chance to learn about their latest destinations and beyond.  

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The thing about Disney: everything is a story—a well told story with explicit details.  From their amusement parks to video games to books to shows to movies, every facet of this multi-media power house is magical, including their Disney Adventures travel destinations.

New on the Adventures by Disney lineup, not surprisingly, is inspired by the insta-classic that took the world by storm.  Disney by Adventure’s Frozen-inpired trips boasts two agendas to explore Norway, Austria, Germany and Czech Republic.

The Norway agenda allows for excursions that explore the landscape inspired by Frozen.  Families will visit the village of Bergen, hike through  terrains, explore a fjord, and see the Briksdal Glacier.


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Adventure Highlights 8 days/7 nights

  • Welcome dinner and reception in a historic room overlooking the picturesque Bryggen wharf
  • Glide along a river in Voss that offers stunning vistas of the region’s mountains
  • Explore the natural beauty, cultural heritage of the Fjord country, and meet local storytellers on the Fjord safari in Flam
  • Visit the Borgund Stave Church, the best preserved stave church in Norway
  • Walk in the footsteps of a fisherman by participating in rainbow trout fishing on Lake Loen
  • Visit three UNESCO World Heritage sites: Bergen Wharf, Nærøyfjord (Naeroyfjord), and Geirangerfjord
  • Visit the Briksdal Glacier and be surrounded by cascading waterfalls and high mountain peaks 

The Austria, Germany and Czech Republic

On this Central European adventure, families can explore the hidden jewels of the Bavarian Alps, visit a medieval castle and walk the same streets that Mozart once did.



Adventure Highlights 9 days/8 nights

  • Explore the art of marionette-making with a local artisan at the Art Deco Marionette Theater Club, including a backstage tour of the theater and a mini-performance
  • Explore the salt mine and ice cave in Berchtesgaden and finish the day by making traditional pretzels and tasting their famous schnapps
  • Visit Salzburg, the birthplace of Mozart and explore the whimsical Hellbrunn Castle, including a visit to the “trick fountains”
  • Fly high with a falconry demonstration at Hohenwerfen Castle
  • Learn the art of Schnapps making at Germany’s oldest standing distillery, Enzianbrennerei Grassl
  • Enjoy dinner with entertainment by a duo of Mozart violinists at St. Peter’s Stiftskeller, the oldest restaurant in Europe
  • Go backstage at the Spanish Riding School in Vienna which has been in practice for over 440 years

Wrap up this royal adventure by learning the waltz and having a splendid dinner at Emperor’s Pavillion at the oldest zoo in Vienna




In 2015, Adventures by Disney will explore even more exotic locales, including the Amazon and Galapagos Islands.  On that worldly adventure, families will expire bio-diverse areas of the world

Ecuador: Amazon & Galapagos Islands

The new 12-day, 11-night Ecuadorian adventure, featuring the Amazon and Galapagos Islands, journeys through the most untouched, bio-diverse areas of the world and experience local culture and learn about wildlife first hand.Adventure highlights

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  • four-night river cruise on the Anakonda riverboat to explore the tropical rainforest
  • three night stay at the beachfront Finch Bay Hotel in Galapagos
  • exploration of Quito, with vistas to local markets, studios and Spanish cathedrals
  • cooking class with an Ecuadorian chocolate tasting
 

And an adventure near and dear to my heart:

Long weekend to NYC

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This detailed trip to NYC includes adventures worthy of stories themselves, including:

  • Behind-the-scenes visit to Good Morning America
  • Hands-on Broadway musical dance workshop
  • Visit to New Amsterdam Theatre and a backstage tour
  • Enjoy a performance of Alladin
  • Private guided tour of Harlem
  • Learn about in-depth stories of what it was like to be an American immigrant during a visit to the Tenemant Museum

 

Adventures by Disney highlights the importance of sacred family time and the stories that are told during family travel.  Trips like these, in my book, are once in a lifetime bucket list adventures, and as such, are priced as luxury trips.  They include guides and VIP experiences, and in Disney fashion, I’m imagining are top notch.  For more information, check out the beautiful photos and other information on Adventures by Disney’s site.

 

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Power Rangers Super Mega Power Rangers Toys

My big guy has been into paper airplanes, as well as construction toys as of late, so one of the most recent Saban-Brandbassador boxes we received was quite timely.  In our box we found some cool Super Mega Power Ranger toys and some coloring sheets. Needless to say, we enjoyed putting together the Red Ranger Air Glider and Ultimate Legendary Megazord from Mega Bloks.

 

Super Megaforce Red Ranger Air Glider 

The Super Megaforce Red Ranger Air Glider is a simple construction toy that took less than five minutes to construct.  After putting together the Red Ranger, we clicked him onto the glider and then practiced launching the glider.

 

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And here’s a vine of Biggie putting together the Red Ranger Air Glider:

 

At $4.99, the Super Megaforce Red Ranger Air Glider is a sweet and simple construction toy that’s also suitable for outdoor play.

 

Ultimate Legendary Megazord

The Ultimate Legendary Megazord is a completely build able Megazord that’s based on the final combination of the Legendary Megazord and the Q-Rex Megazord.  This set, aged for five and up, was a great set to build with my big guy.  It was a little time consuming, yet well worth the time spent building since we ended up the the Ultimate Legendary Megazord.

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These sets are available at retailers such as Amazon, Toys ‘R Us, and Walmart.

Last Day of Kindergarten Survey Printable

It’s the last day of Kindergarten for my Big Boy, and what an exciting day it is!  The school where Biggie attends has been our extended family for the past two years—two important years where we’ve grown, learned and sought comfort.  We may be transitioning to our public school next year, so I wanted to do some special things to help us remember these first formidable years.

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Kindergarten is such a special time.  For many, it’s the first formal year of school.  For others, it’s a new beginning in a brand new place.  For us, it was another year at the same school, where Biggie attended transitional Kindergarten.  Nevertheless, graduating Kindergarten is a big deal for the littlest guys.  It’s a time when kids begin to learn how to read, spell and write.  At 5 and 6 years old, these guys often say the funniest things.  So, when I saw a friend on Face Book post this cool gift from one of her students, I thought I’d recreate it for my own use.  

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 I compiled several easy questions for my Kindergartener to answer and complete himself.  This Last Day of School Kindergarten Survey is a great way for teachers to not only remember kids, but also a special way for them to see how far they’ve come!  It’s an easy add-on gift for kids to give teachers, especially if your class does a group gift.  Some people frame it, I just printed it out on card stock and used wash tape to attach a picture.  

 

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 As mentioned, I didn’t create the questions myself, I just edited them for my own use AND designed this fun printable.  The survey can be easily edited for any grade. In Pic Monkey, just create an overlay on the grade and rewrite the text.  Anyway, since I had so much fun creating this Kindergarten Survey, I thought I’d share the it.  

To download the 8×11.5 PDF, just go here.  This is free to use for personal use.  If you use it and take a pic, send me a shout and tag me on Instagram.

How to Train Your Dragon 2 Arrives in Theaters Today + Giveaway

The wait is finally over:  everyone’s favorite Vikings and Dragons are back in theaters today!  Hiccup and Toothless are back for more in the second chapter of Dreamworks’ How to Train Your Dragon 2.

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It’s been five years after Hiccup and Toothless have united dragons and vikings on the island of Berk, something that seemed unthinkable many years back. As Astrid, Snoutlout and the rest of the gang are challenging each other to dragon races, Hiccup and Toothless are exploring new worlds.  

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The pair stumble upon a secret cave which is home to hundreds of new wild dragons and reveals a mysterious Dragon Rider.  Hiccup and Toothless are thrust into another battle to protect peace, and ultimately stand up for what they believe, while reinforcing that together as a team, they influence the future of both men and dragons.

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How to Train Your Dragon 2, so far, has received excellent reviews,  In fact, it was also positively reviewed by Common Sense Media, which awarded HTTYD2 its first five-star rating of the year.  

It sounds like HTTYD2 is full of action, stellar graphics and strong bonds between people and animal companions—the making of a fun family flick.

We have a date to watch the movie as a family tomorrow and can’t wait!  In honor of the release of Dreamwork’s How to Train Your Dragon 2, I’m giving away a fun prize pack for you and your family to watch the movie, too!

 Giveaway

  • $25 Visa gift card to see the film
  • HTTYD2 pencil topper set and drawstring bag
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 To enter: tell me your family’s favorite character from HTTYD!  Please comment below.

 

For extra entries:

Tweet about the giveaway: I want to win the #HTTYD2 Prize Pack from @jenrab

Like the Next Kid Thing on FB

or share on any other social media site 

Want to get even more excited about HTTYD2?  Check out these fun activities, including coloring pagescolor by number, connect the dots and word search.  Be sure to check out the first five minutes of the movie here:
 

Prizing and samples courtesy of DreamWorks Animation and 20th Century Fox

Open to US mailing addresses only

This giveaway ends at 11:59 pm June  20.  Random winner will be notified via email.

Update:  Congrats to comment #58, julimi

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Gardening with Miracle-Gro

Just a few weeks ago, we were all uncertain if spring and summer would ever get here.  Now that the warm weather is here to stay, it’s finally time to fix up the yard and prep the garden.  Here in North Jersey, expert gardeners and lawn connoisseurs suggest that it’s best to get things going outdoors in between Mother’s Day and Memorial Day.  With that start window having just passed, we’ve been busy prepping our garden.

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Or should I say, we’ve been busy “trying” to get our garden started!  My green thumb is as brown as it gets…which is why I can use all the help I can get.

Miracle Gro recently came out with Groables seed pods, which are perfect for starting a garden for beginners.  Since we have all kinds of animals that like to eat my garden, I thought I’d give container gardening a whirl this year.  

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For easier gardening, each seed pod contains:

  • non-GMO seed at just the right depth
  • growing materials to protect the seed and keep it moist
  • plant food to help it grow and build strong roots.

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Because of the late start to spring we’ve been having, I naturally, started my garden much later than I had hoped.  That said, thank goodness for Groables since they are guaranteed to grow.  

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After filling several planters with soil, I planted my Groables, as well as a few seeds.  I made sure to give each pod room to grow in the planters, as well as water.  I placed the planters in full sunlight and in just a few weeks, I started to see my growables, well, grow!  

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As mentioned, if you’re a beginner gardner or just need to take a shortcut or two, Groables are a perfect solution.  Groables come in 17 varieties, ranging from cherry tomatoes to watermelons.  You can find them at Home Depot and Amazon at $3-4 a pod or about $12 for a kit. Since I can actually grow spinach (!) I am so buying this one next:  Gro-ables Salad and Herb Garden Kit with 18 Seed Pods   I’m looking forward to creating an even bigger container garden by supplementing the pods with other seeds and starter plants.

 

 

In the Midst of Crazy, Tommee Tippee Streamlines Parenting

My littlest was diagnosed with epilepsy at just four months old.  Freshly out of the newborn phase, he was just starting to smile regularly and babble, but he couldn’t roll over on his own.  

It was late at night, after a fun and full day, when Littles’ tiny body shook with uncontrollable tremors and convulsions.  After his first seizure, many more would follow, and then we spent an unforgettable week in the hospital.  Our lives were forever changed two summers ago when Littles was diagnosed with pediatric and generalized epilepsy.  But over the course of the two years, we’ve learned to cope, grow and work to overcome these challenges.

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With so many factors going against us with our little guy during his infancy stage, I was all about using products and gear that simplified our life.  From Tommee Tippee bottles when I couldn’t nurse, to the Digital Video Monitor and sensor: these products made an extremely trivial time much easier.  I remember coming home from the hospital after his epilepsy diagnosis.  

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Watching your infant almost flatline several times from seizure activity changes everything.  I could no longer relax and parenting as I knew it went out the window.  Having spent a week with caring nurses and aides who tended to my boy’s every needs 24/7, it was, quite literally, a wake up call for us.  My sweet baby had no idea what was going on, but he was happy and content in his crib, untethered and at home.  I  slept next to his crib, watched every breath, and was even more assured with our Tommee Tippee monitor that sensed inaccurate breathing patterns.  For any new parent this device is helpful, but for someone like me, who could no longer sleep out of fear and anxiety, the monitor was a lifesaver. Literally.

 

I’ve been a fan of TT for a few years now, but I just read that the monitor is no longer sold in the US. I hope this changes because it’s a great monitor!

 

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Well into toddlerhood, Tommee Tippee still doesn’t disappoint.  My boy is stable and healthier, and continues to make strides with thanks to his team of therapists and doctors.  

 

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Though picky, he sometimes eats like a beast, especially when it involves yogurt.  He’s perfected the yogurt “beard” and has a penchant for sleep-eating.  With this typically peculiar toddler eating habits, our TT Easi-Roll bibs are so handy.  

 

After an extremely messy breakfast, lunch or dinner, (and if there isn’t anything worth snacking on in the trap {gross}) I LOVE being able to rinse and then throw these bibs in the dishwasher.  That, my friends, is one small way how I tame the crazy in this house.

 

I could go on and on about how TT makes parenting easier, but you get it: these products just work.  They’re well designed for everyday use and they help to streamline the parenting process and all the growing pains that go along with it!

 

Full disclosure:  this is a sponsored post part of the Tommee Mommee blogger initiative, but as always, all opinions, including crazy parenting experiences, are my own.  Samples were provided to facilitate reviews.

 

Art is Everywhere: Zio Ziegler for PB Teen

Art is everywhere.  That’s the main message that I learned last week after attending a really cool event at PS 289 in NYC.  

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Artist Zio Ziegler has collaborated with PB Teen to release a rad line of gear, including bedding, book and lunch bags, among other things.

In conjunction with his collaboration, Bay area artist, Ziegler, who typically works with spray paint, was commissioned to do a mural for PS 289.  I was onhand for the unveiling, which captured the artist’s essence and passion for influencing art for our youth.

Ziegler’s mural was unveiled to reveal two figures intertwined, which he said symbolized his duality and relationship with school.  It’s a modern and thought-provoking piece, and one that’s perfectly positioned to influence aspiring artists for years to come.

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While working on the piece, Ziegler also had a chance to engage with a select group of students within their art classes.  He gave them pointers and even drew fun pictures for keepsakes.  One forward-thinking student had white Converse sneakers and had Ziegler draw a custom graphic.

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At the unveiling, PB Teen had a selection of pieces from the ZZ line out on display.  As a Pottery Barn fan in general, naturally, I fell in love with everything.  From the hot pink laptop sleeve adorned with ZZ’s signature art to the skate deck shelves, I’d officially like one of everything from this funky collaboration.

 

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Zio Ziegler for PB Teen will be available soon, so enjoy these photos as a sneak peek for what’s to come!  Be on the look out for these bright statement pieces that are perfectly suited for teens and beyond.

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Review: Nerd Block Jr. Subscription Box

Subscription boxes continue to be a hot trend these days.  There are boxes for all walks of life; you name it, there’s probably a subscription box for it.  In this digital age when snail mail continues to lose its luster, there’s nothing better than getting a cool package of stuff that you love…which is why I adore subscription boxes!

Dubbed as Comic Con in a box, Nerd Block has been around for awhile.  Nerd Block’s little brother and sister recently made their debut and they’re aptly called: Nerd Block Jr. Boys and Nerd Block Jr. Girls.

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Appealing to the new generation of geeks, Nerd Block Jr. is a monthly subscription box that includes collectibles and trinkets that appeal to the 6-12 age range.  From Marvel to Hot Wheels to Star Wars, we absolutely loved everything included in the boys’ box.  The girls’ box was just as cool, featuring My Little Pony, Smurfs and Playmobil.  

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Nerd Block Jr. has all well known licenses and items that kids are known to collect.  Each individual item was worth just a few dollars, but the entirety of the box added up to around $20.  A monthly box costs about $13, so Nerd Block Jr. is a good deal.

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Nerd Block Jr. is my new go-to box for the tween who has everything.  The element of surprise when opening up a Nerd Block Jr. box is just as enjoyable as the goodies inside.

Check out our unboxing video to see the fun goodies that can be found in Nerd Block Jr.