Thomas and Friends Birthday Fun

My little guy recently celebrated his sixth birthday and we had a fun time celebrating. He’s been obsessed with Thomas and Friends for quite some time, but this year, he was especially excited about having a Thomas birthday.

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Since we were also celebrating my brother’s wedding on the same weekend, we did our best to make Little’s birthday extra special.  In addition to fun Thomas books and special Thomas trains, he was gifted with quite a few fun Thomas playsets.

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The highlight of his birthday, however, were his birthday cakes! Yup, plural cakes! He had a Thomas cake in the evening of the rehearsal dinner, as well as a special cake at his party,  which was a custom made by a company in Va called Diana’s Sweets.

 

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We got him several brand new tracks that are compatible with Thomas and Friends sets, as well some track accessories from Learning Resources. Thomas and Friends Minis has been a longtime favorite for my train aficionado, especially for its collectibility factor. My cousin gave him the Boost N’ Blast Mini set, which was an immediate hit with all the kids. It was so fun watching the kids blast the Minis into the tubes.

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One of the best things I love about the Thomas has is how it encourages STEM learning and discovery. As much as I love my guy growing and flourishing, I want to savor these sweet, innocent days forever—including all the trains and tracks ALL over my house! 

Review: Super Heroic Shoes are Super Cool

We’re slowly but surely getting back into the swing of things after the holidays. With the new year, we like to freshen up our wardrobe, including our sneaker game. My guys have not surprisingly become wanna-be sneaker heads, so we were so excited to have a chance to check out this new line of awesome kicks called Super Heroic.

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The brand comes from Jason Mayden, former Nike Senior Global Design Director, with the support of NBA Legend, Magic Johnson, Playground Ventures, and Accel Partners.  Super Heroic is designed to provide balance, stability and comfort for children growing and playing. It’s not just the pro version of a sneaker in mini form! Also it comes in super cool silo packing that makes fun noises –  equipped with a backpack that morphs into a cape, and even includes stickers and other giveaways bringing out the superhero in every child.

First impressions are key, especially when it comes to kids. Super Heroic definitely got it right when it comes to packaging and creating an awesome first impression. Taking a cue from their superhero theme, Super Heroic’s shoes come in a capsule that twists open, complete with jaw dropping sound effects. My guys were so impressed as soon as they opened the shoes!

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The shoes, at first look, are comfortable, sleek and streamlined. There are no flashy lights on the shoes, but instead, they boast a unique fit and closure. I appreciate that the shoes were designed more for function than just aesthetics. They are said to fit more like a sock, so they were snug upon first try. Once my boys got moving, though, they felt the difference in design. The bright blue and green color of Super Heroics make them stand out without being overly flashy like other kids’ shoes. 

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My younger son has been wearing the shoes daily since we received them for review. I love that they’re versatile and comfortable for him. Since he’s at the age where he’s learning how to tie his shoes, but can’t quite put shoes on by himself all the time, it did takes some time getting used to the tighter fit. Once he broke them in, though, they are his go-to shoes for play and school. Since my son has hypotonia, he is a bit uncoordinated, so shoe fit does matter when it comes to playtime. The shoes provide stability and balance as they suggest, which I absolutely appreciate.

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As if the shoes themselves weren’t cool enough, Super Heroic comes with a backpack/cape and stickers. The accessories, though cool, are an added extra. Super Heroic shoes are definitely one of my sons’ favorite shoes, and I can’t wait until they’re a household name and become more accessible. For now, Super Heroic can be found online.

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The TMBLR v1 is available at superheroic.com for $79 in sizes 12C-7Y

Full disclosure: we were sent Super Heroic Shoes to review for this post. As always, all opinions on NKT are my own.

Free Holiday Target Giftcard Printables

It’s that time of year when Target has fun sales with the holidays in mind. For today only, 12/3, Target giftcards are an extra 10% off

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As we all know, teachers, aides, bus drivers and everyone beyond seem to like gift cards vs. random tchotchkes. While a personalized note of gratitude ranks up there, I’ve learned from my many teacher friends and relatives that gift cards are the best gifts. 

And, thanks to Target, they have a little discount that comes in handy when you’re buying giftcards in bulk. The gift cards are varied in design and increments starting at $10. The discount applies to the gift cards in store and online, but I personally like ordering them online. I save money by ordering online and not buying $189 worth of stuff in the store that I didn’t know that I needed!

Free Target Giftcard Printables

I love Target beyond measure, so I’m all about sharing this love! Because of that, I created a free printable for the Target Giftcards!

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I made them four to a page so you can print them up for all the people in your life!

After printing out the printable on your desired paper (card stock worked well for me), cut out the cards on the gray lines. Take an Xacto knife or scissors and cut slits on the dotted lines to slide the giftcard through. I slid the card under the card so that the ends are sticking out. You can dress it up with a cute ribbon or some baking twine. Please note that some cards may be larger than the slit, so be sure to measure to avoid over cutting. In case you do over cut the slits or want to secure the card, be sure to tape the giftcard on the back of the printable.

 

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You can download the free Target Giftcard Printable here.

Enjoy and Happy Shopping!

 

Full disclosure: this post includes affiliate links. Affiliates and sponsored content help pay the bills, so thank you for your continued support.

TTPM Unveils 2017’s Hot Toys

Last week, my big guy and I woke up bright and early to head to the city for TTPM’s Holiday Showcase. Always one of my favorite events of the season, TTPM named the 20 toys that they consider to be the hottest toys of the holiday season.

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From products featuring notable entertainment characters and the latest advancements in tech to standout classic toys and innovative preschool playthings, the TTPM Most Wanted List reflects the current trends dominating the toy aisles.

 

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TTPM named so many of our favorites as hot toys, and even included a few that are new to us! As much as we love learning about TTPM’s hot list, we love getting our hands on all of these cool new toys at the event.

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We’ll be sure to share our thoughts on the hot list, but without further ado, here is TTPM’s Most Wanted List:

  • Fingerlings by WowWee
  • Hatchimals Surprise by Spin Master
  • Barbie Dreamhorse by Mattel
  • Doc McStuffins Baby All-in-One Nursery by Just Play
  • Teddy Ruxpin by Wicked Cool Toys
  • Hot Wheels Super Ultimate Garage by Mattel
  • Imaginext DC Super Friends Batbot Xtreme from Fisher-Price
  • Lego Boost Nerf Nitro Paw Patrol My Size Lookout Tower
  • DropMix by Hasbro
  • KidBuzz by VTech
  • LOL Surprise by MGA Entertainment
  • LuvaBella and LuvaBeau by Spin Master
  • Nintendo Switch by Nintendo Pikmi Pops
  • Oonies by Moose Toys
  • Little Bits’ Star Wars Droid Inventor
  • Star Wars Hero Droid BB-8 Interactive Droid from Spin Master
  • Star Wars Force FX Lightsaber from Hasbro

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Due to the early buzz, so many of these were no surprise! We’ll share our video and thoughts on these toys soon!

Playing Smarter Football with Riddell

This is a sponsored conversation with Riddell and SheSpeaks. 

Just before August, the lines get painted on the football field down the road from us. Since we live so close to the practice field, with every yard line that’s measured and painted, my son gets even more excited.  

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We just wrapped up our swim season last week, and now, we’re suiting up for football. And just as my older son is suiting up in pads once again for DBA, I’m so proud that our organization has a strong fundraising program which helps to fund the best equipment for our kids. This year, the boys received new helmets and pads with top-notch safety technology. Unfortunately, not every team is so lucky, which is why I’m so proud to share about Riddell’s Smarter Football grant.

Youth sports are very much a part of the fabric of our lives. Of all the sports that are played, my kids have a true love for football. As a mother of a child who has an ongoing medical condition, safety is paramount for my kids, especially when it comes to youth sports.

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Because my husband coaches multiple sports, I know and understand that the leaders and directors of our town’s youth sports make our boys’ well being a top priority. Our coaches must take safety classes to be certified to coach in our town. Most of the coaching tactics implemented in our league, such as Head’s Up, are intended to diminish concussions and other injuries. With safer equipment, such as that from Riddell, I feel comfortable knowing that my son has a better chance at being protected.

Trust me, I’d much rather see him in a pool or any other non-contact sport. But, when your kid lives and breathes for football, I feel a little better knowing that his equipment protects him and keeps the bumps to a minimum.

 

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Riddell, the innovator of football gear, is offering a generous grant for a lucky team to be awarded Smarter Equipment. 

The Smarter Football program is a grassroots campaign that recognizes and rewards teams across the country for implementing ‘smarter’ tactics on and off the field. About 1,700 football programs across North America, from the youth level all the way up to semi-pro, have applied for an equipment grant through the initiative in its first two seasons. 

Smarter Football tactics can mean anything from practicing smarter with safer techniques, to implementing new equipment to better protect players.

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Riddell aims to produce equipment with advanced protective technologies.

This year, the company launched Riddell Precision-Fit, a 3D head scanning process used to build a custom-fitting, player-specific helmet liner system that provides personalized protection. Riddell also introduced enhanced player management software for its InSite Impact Response System, which summarizes players’ on-field alerts and identifies training opportunities for athletes based on their impact profile.

And because of their intent to keep players safe with Smarter Football, Riddell’s Smarter Football Program will continue to recognize and reward those at all levels of play who have taken steps towards improving and advancing the sport of football, especially when it comes to player safety and protection. 

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Does you’re team have what it takes to play Smarter Football? If so, apply for the Smarter Football grant, visit Riddell.com/SmarterFootball. The deadline for entries is August 31, 2017.

Full disclosure: This is a sponsored post in conjunction with Riddell and SheSpeaks. All opinions on NKT are my own. 

Best in Show: Finds from the New York Baby Show

The other week, Josh and I spent the afternoon at the New York Baby Show at Pier 94 scouring the booths for the latest and greatest in baby gear. From well trusted names in car seats to gadgets helping to create smart nurseries, there were so many new products featured at the New York Baby Show.

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We searched high and low, snapped tons of pics, peeked into many booths and found a really great selection of gear from baby brands that we love, as well as products from new and upcoming companies!

Here are just a few of the many great products we spotted at this year’s New York Baby Show:

Pello

With is gorgeous textiles and poufy circular shape, Pello is described as a luxury newborn lounger. This new take on a pillow can be used for feeding or for a convenient way to help baby sit somewhat upright during his/her waking hours. When baby outgrows the newborn phase, this pillow looks ideal for helping to support during the sitting up and standing phases.IMG 2941 JPG 

Pello has a great selection of colors and fabrics. It can be found on Amazon and retails for $120.

Sage Spoonfuls

A longtime fan of Sage Spoonfuls, I love watching this baby feeding brand flourish. I’m so excited about the Happy Foodie stainless steel divided plate and lid. Plastic plates and feeding ware are among the first items to go in my house because they are the most used and abused. Our stainless steel lunchboxes have lasted 5+ years. 

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So, I can only imagine how well the Sage Spoonfuls Happy Foodie product line will do. Safe, non-toxic, BPA, lead and phthalate-free and easy to clean!

Britax Frontier

Since we first shopped for carseats 10 years ago, Britax has been one of my all time favorite baby brands. This is, yet, another brand that I’ve loved watching flourish and working with over the years. I was so excited to see the various new strollers and carseats on display, but what truly caught my eye was the Frontier booster.

 

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We are solidly in the booster phase with my preschooler, so boosters have been on the brain. This new fabric is chic and unique; combining safety with style is something that Britax does so well. And speaking of safety, the Britax Frontier’s Click Tight Technology makes car seat installation as easy as buckling a seatbelt. This technology is designed to be seamless, especially for families who travel frequently or need to switch seats regularly. Click Tight is a game changer!

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Volvo

And speaking of traveling, I loved that my dream car brand was at the New York Baby Show. I’ve been eyeing Volvo’s SUVs for quite some time. Sadly, the price tag hasn’t been in the budget.

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We decided that this specific Volvo was too small for our needs, what with our year-round sports, lake gear and coaching equipment.  Nevertheless, it’s fun getting a peek at my dream car at the Baby Show. Josh loved sitting in the driver’s seat and checking out the trunk. 

 

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With thanks to Momtrends, we enjoyed meeting up with fellow bloggers in the Blogger Lounge, as well as livestreamed our favorite finds from the show. My little guy loved having the chance to play! 

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Above all, we loved checking out all the awesome goodies and gear at the New York Baby Show. Stay tuned for more fun finds!

 

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Lunch Box Essentials: Best Snacks for Kids at Aldi

Since I just got back from grocery shopping at Aldi, I have snacks for kids and lunch box essentials on the brain. As we round the bases to the end of the year, lunchbox duties, at least in our house, start to get a bit routine. Always looking to jazz up the lunch box and snacks, I thought I’d round up some of our favorite snacks from our favorite grocery store.

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If you’re not familiar with Aldi, they’re a thriving grocer that’s has been a long standing favorite in Europe. We love Aldi for their small footprint—typically 5 aisles—making grocery shopping a quick in-and-out errand. They’ve committed to refreshing their overall look and selection:

which includes an expanded selection of fresh and organic produce, rolling out Healthier Checklanes that offer smarter options at checkout, and continuing to grow its product lines to offer better-for-you options for families to enjoy, including more gluten-free options and a range of products free of additives, antibiotics and added hormones. 

Here are just a few of the many snacks from Aldi that are currently on our lunch box and after school snack rotation:

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White Cheddar Puffs

Aldi’s White Cheddar Puffs are a great cheesy snack that isn’t too filling. The fun flavor of the Simply Nature White Cheddar Puffs won the Product of the Year Awards, solidifying them as a favorite pick for lunch boxes. If you’re familiar with that ubiquitous “pirate snack,” then you’re familiar with this style of puff. No dyes or other artificial ingredients, you seriously can’t go wrong with Simply Nature’s White Cheddar Puffs.

 

Fresh Fruit

I love the inexpensive fresh fruit options at Aldi. From the $2 bananas to the $2 blueberries to the $3 organic apples, there’s always a colorful selection of fresh fruit that are perfect for snacks. Fresh fruit are the original snacks on the go, so you can’t go wrong when grabbing a bag of ripe tangerines!

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Mini Bear Grahams

Some of our absolute favorite items from Aldi are the great selection of pre-packaged snacks for lunch boxes. The Mini Bear Graham Snack Packs in honey are a great size for 2 kids’ lunch boxes for the week, with a few to spare for me to pop in my bag for when we’re on the go. The flavor is sweet, but not too sugary sweet. These mini crackers are perfectly sized for littles and bigs’ lunch boxes! 

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Happy Farms Cheese Snacks

We’re huge cheese eaters in our house, so I love knowing that our cheese from Aldi is free of unnecessary additives and hormones. The prepackaged cheese snacks are super easy to pop into lunch boxes for a quick bite. I love that there are several flavors beyond the usual mozzarella string cheese. 

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Vegetable Chips

Vegetable Chips is another staple in my weekly grocery trip. This blend of chips includes sweet potato, taro, batata and parsnips. A healthier alternative to regular potato chips, vegetable chips satisfy the crunchy salty cravings. As part of the Simply Nature brand, the vegetable chips are free from artificial ingredients and preservatives.

There are so many other awesome snacks and treats that are suitable for kids, so these are just a few from our favorites list. If you shop at Aldi, what are your favorites? 


Full disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. We love sharing the things we love. Thanks for supporting NKT!

Celebrating Mom’s Time Out with Armitron

With Mother’s Day just days away, it’s always hard for me to pinpoint exactly what I want. Truth be told, I want time. Time to myself, time to nap, time to relax. But accessories to help with time? Yeah, those are certainly welcomed too. When it comes to stylish watches and Mom’s Time Out, Armitron has us covered.

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A few weeks ago, my friends Audrey + Vera gathered a number of NYC influencers to celebrate Mom’s Time Out with Armitron. Armitron, the beloved watch brand, hosted us at their showroom to share their many stylish watches and time pieces. These stylish and cost effective time pieces are both functional and perfect accessories to accent casual to formal outfits.

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Just some of the many watches showcased featured the on-trend rose gold style, mirrored faces, as well as sparkly accents.  Here are just some of the watch trends that Audrey + Vera shared with us at the Mom’s Time Out Event:

Spring 2017 Watch Trends:

  • Blush/Rose Gold: Perfect for spring, this color has been all over the runways for this season. With rose-gold hardware and blush-colored straps, these watches are easy to pair with any spring outfit.
  • Mesh Straps: Metal, mesh straps are growing in popularity in men’s and women’s watches in gold, silver, rose-gold and even black.
  • Luggage-Colored Leather Strap Watches: Easy to dress down, leather strap watches are comfortable and easy to pair with casual attire or spring dresses.
  • Gold Hardware with Silver Watch Hands/Numbers: More and more watch designers are mixing metals, with gold-framed faces and silver hands and markers. This two-toned look pairs seamlessly with all types of accessories.
  • Simple, Large Faces: The boyfriend look has been in with clothing for a while, and now larger, simpler watch faces are becoming popular for women’s styles, too.

 

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As someone who’s always on the go, I also loved checking out Armitron’s sports watches. So perfect for the beach and working out, which I need more of in my life.

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In addition to the delicious spread of food, cocktails and great conversation with friends, fellow mom, actress and author, Jenna Von Oy from Blossom fame, spoke to us about her adventures in parenting. It was so fun to hear Von Oy tell us about her experience as a parent and her thoughts on her own style! I saw her on the Today Show that day, and was enamored by her eloquence. I love how she’s so well spoken and basically the opposite of her character from Blossom. So fun!

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Accessories, admittedly are such an afterthought for me. So, I absolutely appreciate brands who emphasize moms taking a minute for themselves. I loved the Jamberry mini-manicures, watch selfies and getting to closer look at all the stylish options from Armitron. Thank you to Audrey + Vera and Armitron for such a fun Mom’s Time Out!

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Full disclosure: I received an Armitron watch as a gift. As always, opinions on NKT are my own.

Yowie Chocolate and Toy Surprises

If your kids spend any time on YouTube, then you must know that surprise eggs are quite the phenomenon. Actually, anything with a reveal effect is pretty significant for the kiddie YouTube viewers. 

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Yowie, which makes chocolate toy surprises, has a different take on this fun treat. Yowie are like egg-like chocolate surprises, but instead, they’re monster-shaped chocolates with toys instead. The difference with these toys is that they’re educational toys that teach kids about interesting animals, and in some cases how to help species who may be endangered. To boot, the chocolate is delicious!

Yowie will be at the Think and Fun’s Easter Egg Hunt & Bunny Fun on April 15. YOWIE aims to “Save The Natural World” by promoting wildlife conservation and educating children about ecology and endangered species. More info herehttp://www.yowiegroup.com
If you’re looking for a fun treat to include in your Easter baskets, be on the look out for Yowie treats!
 
Yowie was kind of enough to send us a pack of surprises and my guys had a fun time devouring them! All in a day’s work.

Full disclosure: Samples were provided to facilitate this review. No compensation was received. As always, all opinions are my own.

New York Baby Show Free Ticket Giveaway

As Spring starts to roll in, so do more fun events in the City and around town. Always on the hunt for new and innovative baby and kid products, I’m thrilled that the New York Baby Show is once again docking on the West Side at Pier 94 in NYC. This great event showcases many of the coolest gear and gadgets for babies and kids. I love bringing the whole family to the show to scout out new gear for babes and the site.

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Dr. Harvey Karp, one of my favorite parenting experts and famed pediatrician, will be one of the speakers at the New York Baby Show. There’s a long list of great exhibitors, including 4moms, Tula, Britax, Clek, Cybex, among other favorite baby and family brands.

Are you expecting or have a little and looking for the best baby gear, I definitely recommend heading to the New York Baby Show taking place May 20-21. Tickets are $30 per family or $20 for individuals.

And because we’re such fans of the New York Baby Show, I’m so excited to give away some free tickets to the show. I have 10 tickets to giveaway, and you can grab them here. These free tickets are first come first serve.

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Once the free tickets are gone, I’m happy to share 50% off tickets to the New York Baby Show. To grab this discount, please head here.