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.

 

Town Shop Offers Great Selection of Maternity and Nursing Bras

I received compensation as part of my relationship with the Quality Blue Community.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Shopping in NYC is unlike any other experience. There’s a store for everything, and everything is always accessible. But with the prominence of big box stores, often the personalized shopping experience is sacrificed for the accessibility. 

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But something an NYC boutique gets right: an intimate and attentive shopping experience. Last week, I had the opportunity to visit the Upper West Side Institution, Town Shop. The lingerie and bra boutique that’s been family-owned for four generations capitalizes on its bra-fitting expertise, staying abreast on industry trends and their penchant for catering to their customers, whether its at their famed “bra bar” or one of the gorgeous fitting rooms.

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On the evening of my visit, I was greeted by the eye-catching fluorescent pink sign. The vertical sign, akin to a statement piece, has its own history, and one that current owner Danny Koch would tell me all about. Koch and his wife, Nicole, gave me a personal tour of the store. But before I had their undivided attention, Nicole attended to one of their last customers for the evening. Even minutes after the shop closed, Nicole carefully and charismatically assisted the customer, who had an urgency for a specific bra. Upon procuring THE bra for the customer, Nicole joined our conversation that outlined the storied history of Town Shop.

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In between the anecdotes that painted a picture of this unique boutique and its expansive selection of hosiery, bras and loungewear, Danny showed off the growing corner of maternity and nursing bras and garments. Several racks showcased everything from bras to nightgowns to loungewear, with many of my favorite specialty maternity brands in between. One bra in particular that caught my eye was the Cache Coeur, a French nursing bra that features a magnetic closure. Genius!

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Danny, who not only does the buying of merchandise for the store, works the floor alongside of the other fitters.  Danny detailed several other nursing bras and was able to tell me about each one and why he chose to sell it in Town Shop. All of the nursing bras were innovative and reflected the discerning taste of clientele that typically shops at Town Shop.

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In addition to the nursing bras, Town Shop has a great selection of pajamas and loungewear for pregnant and new moms. The maternity section boasted Belabumbum and Ingrid and Isabel cotton night gowns with nursing-friendly silhouettes and flattering cuts, among other maternity wear. I especially appreciated the stylish maternity swimwear, which is something quite difficult to find these days. The various bathing suits came in different cuts and in both one and two pieces.

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Beyond the nursing and maternity offerings, Town Shop touts an exceptional selection of undergarments of all colors, bathing suits and tights for all figures. I absolutely loved going around the store and learning about Nicole’s favorite things. The L.A.M.B. cami and Lysee tights were just a few of my favorites. (I’ve since added them to my Christmas List.) Not to be outdone by their selection or stellar customer service, Town Shop’s strength lies in their expertise for bra fitting.  As Danny and Nicole told me, they don’t use a measuring tape to fit their customers. Each bra, just like their customer, is different. Ultimately, the way a bra fits transcends a measurement. 

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I learned so much from Danny and Nicole Koch, but most importantly, I came away learning that bras have more than 30 moving parts, and that a good bra is a great investment. Town Shop has the knowledge and resources to help customers make educated decisions, especially when it comes to nursing and maternity wear.

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A big thank you to Danny and Nicole for taking the time to show me around Town Shop!

 

Guardians of the Galaxy Big Blastin’ Rocket Raccoon Review + Giveaway

This post is sponsored by Disney and Walmart, but as always, all opinions are my own.

As superhero aficionados, we’re all about superheros 24/7. You name it: superhero-themed shows, books, games and toys populate almost every inch of this boy house. With younger guys, we have yet to see Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, but have definitely been reading all about it. Oh, and playing with Guardians-themed toys, too.

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If you’re fans of the movie, then you’ll be thrilled to know that Guardians of the Galaxy toys are available at Walmart.  There are five action-packed toys that will help kids save the galaxy, including: 

Battle FX Star-Lord Figure

Star Lord Battlle Mask and Blaster Set

 Rocket Raccoon Action Mask

 Big Blastin Rocket Raccoon

Milano Starship

Walmart has the whole lineup of these cool Guardians of the Galaxy toys.

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We had the chance to review the Big Blastin’ Rocket Raccoon toy from Hasbro. This short in stature but big by nature character reflects the bold Marvel character.   

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My big guy got a kick out of his “funny words.” While the smaller guy cracks up at the motions of the blaster and blasting his big brother. The laughter and imaginative play between these two is so great! The main caveat with these toys is that since we haven’t seen the movie, we aren’t familiar with the storyline, other than what we’ve read. It certainly doesn’t take away from the play value, I just think the excitement level would peak even higher if we were more familiar with Guardians. We’ll have to rectify this soon!

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We had such a great time reviewing this cool toy, that my big guy enjoyed vlogging all about it. I loved how he lists the things he loves most about the Big Blastin’ Rocket Raccoon. For those who loved the movie, your kids would certainly appreciate this cool toy. Be sure to check out J’s favorite aspects of the Big Blastin’ Rocket Raccoon.

 

Want a Big Blastin’ Rocket Raccoon for you or your kid? Be sure to enter to win a $25 Walmart gift card. Click below for details. 

The Guardians Of The Galaxy At Walmart $25 Gift Card Sweepstakes

The Guardians Of The Galaxy At Walmart $25 Gift Card Sweepstakes

 

Full disclosure:  This is a sponsored post and I was compensated for my time. However, all opinions are my own.

 

7 Reasons to Love and to Visit Jenkinson’s Boardwalk

I’m going to be completely honest here: when it comes to beaches, I’m a bit of a snob. When I moved to New Jersey more than 13 years ago, I knew nothing about the beaches here, or should I say, the shore.  It was all unfamiliar to me: young professionals would rent space—not even whole rooms—in small shore houses; you had to pay to enter the beaches and they call it “the shore.” What? 

Growing up in a beach town and then settling in a lake community in the NJ suburbs, we rarely visited the shore unless we were visiting family at LBI. In my 20s, we’d visit Jenkinson’s for bachelorette parties, but the daytime boardwalk was totally foreign to me.  I’m so glad that has changed as we’ve grown to love Jenkinson’s this summer as part of the Ambassador program.

 

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There’s so much to love about Jenkinson’s, so much so, I felt compelled to itemize the things we love most about this fun boardwalk and attractions in Point Pleasant, NJ.

 

 

1. The Rides

If you spend any time at a beach boardwalk, then you know just how turnkey the rides are for the kids. It’s, quite simply, a rite of passage to spend hours waiting in the hot summer sun mapping out which rides to ride and then waiting for said rides.  At Jenkinson’s, the amusements are manageable, even on the most crowded days. 

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The lines are streamlined, the rules and regulations are clearly posted and all the rides appear to be safe. Most importantly, however, the kids love them. On wristband days, my older son and I can be found riding Flitzer non-stop.

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I especially love how there’s a great selection of rides that appeal to my two year old as well as my six year old. Some rides that they can ride together include:  Motor Jump, Convoy Race, Carousel and the Elephants.

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IMG 2222The Train is a family fave.  It’s a chance to sit and relax somewhat in the shade, but still, the kids are being entertained by circling the perimeter of the amusement area. It’s a win-win for tired parents and energetic kids!

 

 

2. The Aquarium

Perhaps one of the most unique aspects of Jenkinson’s Boardwalk is their Aquarium.  Educating the public about marine life since the early 90s, the Aquarium remains a mainstay for tourists and locals alike.

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The Aquarium boasts exhibits such as Atlantic sharks, Pacific sharks, coral reefs, penguins and seals. We love to spend a few hours at the Aquarium to cool off from the beach and boardwalk, and it also gives us a chance to say hi to our favorite marine animal friends.

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Like so many others, we love “studying” the sharks’ and giggling at the penguins, but it’s the seals who have our hearts. We talk about Seaquin and Luseal like they’re our friends, and we’re still mourning the loss of the Aquarium’s beloved seal, Coral. 

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We were absolutely touched by the children’s artwork in the makeshift memorial for Coral who passed away last month. On a brighter note, when we’re not touching the stingrays in the touch tank upstairs, we absolutely love watching the seal feeding time or participating in one of the many educational workshops.

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At just $11.50 for adults and $6.50 for kids 3-12, the Aquarium truly is a gem for the Boardwalk and worth every penny of its admission. 

 

 

3. The beach

As a lifelong east coaster, I’ve spent most of my summers at a beach: toes in the sand, relaxing under the sun and listening to the calming waves. It was so fun getting familiarized with the beach at Jenkinson’s.

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We found it to be a spacious and definitely one of the cleaner beaches we’ve visited here in the north. Even on the busy days, because there’s so much to do at Jenkinson’s, we never felt too crowded. My only complaint, as for any beach, is the parking situation—or the lack thereof. Daily rates for entrance to the beach runs around $9.50 for adults and kids five and under are free. Looking to spend even more time at the beach? Look into investing in a season pass, which runs around $90/adult and $45/child.  

 

 

4. Games

If you spend time at Jenkinson’s, then you know there’s no shortage of games.  From the arcade games to the games of chance to mini golf to the fun house, there’s a game for everyone.

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My family has a healthy obsession for competition, so we always like to try our hand at the games of chance. Those ring tossing games always stump us, but we give it a good family try. Thankfully, though, we had some luck at the water gun races. Earlier in the summer, we had fun with the rooftop mini golf.

IMG 3445It was pretty difficult playing mini golf with a toddler in tow who wanted to sabotage everyone’s game, but we had fun nonetheless. It gets a bit hot on the rooftop and this venue is not stroller friendly, so definitely keep that in mind if you’re thinking of mini golf during the day. The views up there are not to be missed!

 

 

5. The Food

I always associate the best beach trips with delicious food. Jenkinson’s Boardwalk offers a great selection of sweets and treats. For lunch, my family likes hitting Little Mac’s for cheesesteaks, pizzas and fries.IMG 2033

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When at the beach, you can’t go wrong with comfort food and fried food. The freshly squeezed lemonade stands, though, can’t be missed!  Looking for sweet treats? Make sure you grab a frozen custard cone from Kohr’s or a chocolate covered Rice Krispie from one of the sweet shops.

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6. The Boardwalk

The beach and the boardwalk go hand in hand. As a teen, I remember walking up and down the boardwalk of my hometown, boy-watching, laughing and giggling with my friends. IMG 2066As a mom, it’s fun to do the same with my family. Only now, our laughter and giggles are elicited from people watching and the silly antics that can be found on the boardwalk. One of the coolest aspects of Jenkinson’s Boardwalk is the family-friendly activities that congregate on almost every corner.  Throughout the summer months, we’ve loved watching magicians, stilt walkers, and most recently, even participating in a kid hula hoop contest!  This is what makes summer so memorable.

 

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7. Making Memories

Last but not least, perhaps the best part of Jenkinson’s is making memories with my family. I can record and take pictures all day long as we have fun, but the best kind of memories are the kind that we make in person.

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On Instagram, I posted how it was so tough being a big brother. As much as big brother hated riding a baby ride, he’s such a trooper for appeasing Littles. Just look at that smile!

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The best kind of memories are the ones that you and the kids will remember for years to come. Whether it’s riding the Flitzer 120 times on one visit, winning a super-sized stuffed animal, getting totally freaked out in the fun house or giving Luseal kisses from a distance, Jenkinson’s is the quintessential backdrop for making family memories that will last a lifetime.

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Full disclosure:  This is a sponsored post as part of the Jenkinson’s Ambassador program. I was compensated for my time and participation, but as always, all opinions on NKT are my own.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Join Macy’s and Radio Disney for a Back to School Event at Bridgewater Commons

As we transition from these lazy days of summer, we’re starting to gear up for Back to School!  And because we’re all about the Next Kid Thing, we’re zeroing in on the latest and greatest for BTS gear.  Some of my personal favorite trends for kids this fall include bright neon accents, fun embellishments, quirky graphic tees and bold denim.

 

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Want to check out the latest trends for the kids while having some fun?  Be sure to stop into Macy’s at Bridgewater Commons for their Back to School event. Radio Disney will be onhand to help shoppers rock out, and there will be plenty of crafts, games and prizes!  My friend, Hilary of A Fancy Girl Must, will be tweeting and Instagramming Live for NKT, so be sure to say hello!  Follow or hang with us on social media by using #MacysBTS. 

The event starts at noon at the Bridgewater Commons Macy’s, up on the 3rd floor in the Kid’s Department.  We’ll see you on Saturday at Macy’s!

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In the meantime, check out Macy’s Back to School Shopping Guide to scope out some looks for the kids.  

 

Not in the NJ area, be sure to check out the other events going on in other towns.

 

Macy’s Citrus Park

Tampa, FL

Children’s Department, 2nd Floor

August 9th, 1PM

 

Macy’s West County 

St. Louis, MO

Kids Department, 3rd Floor 

August 16th, 2PM

 

Macy’s Woodfield

Schaumburg, IL

Kids Department, Lower Level

August 16th, 2PM

 

Macy’s Northlake

Charlotte, NC

Children’s Department, 2nd Floor

August 16th, 2PM

 

Macy’s Great Lakes

Mentor, OH

Kids Department, Lower Level

August 23rd, 2PM

 

Macy’s Arden Fair

Sacramento, CA

Kids Department, Lower Level

August 23rd, 1PM

 

Macy’s Sherman Oaks 

Sherman Oaks, CA

Kids Department, Level 1

August 23rd, 2PM

 

Macy’s Park Meadows 

Littleton, CO

Kids Department, Level 3

August 23rd, 2PM

 

Macy’s Robinson Town Centre 

Pittsburgh, PA

Kids Department, 2nd Floor

August 23rd, 1PM

 

Macy’s Downtown Brooklyn

Brooklyn, NY

Kids Department, 4th Floor

August 23rd, 2PM

 

Macy’s Clackamas

Portland, OR

Kids Department, Lower Level

August 30th, 1PM

 

Macy’s Walden Galleria

Cheektowanga, NY (Buffalo)

Lower Level

September 6th, 2PM


Macy’s South Shore Plaza

Braintree, MA 

Kids Department, 2nd Floor

September 13th, 2PM

 

 

Full Disclosure: I am a member of the Everywhere Society, who have provided me with compensation for this post. As always, all opinions on NKT are my own.



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.

 

Saban Brand-Bassador Program with Digimon Fusion

It’s never a dull moment around here with sicknesses and other real life craziness happening all day, every day.  That said, I’m excited for 2014 and all the newness it brings with it.  Of the great things upon the horizon, I have a few new partnerships lined up.  One of the coolest ones, though, is this one right here:

 

 

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This year, I was invited to be a Saban Brand-Bassador.  What does that mean exactly?  Essentially, as a brand advocate, I will share the latest and greatest about Saban Brands, which includes awesome properties like Power Rangers, Julius Jr., Paul Frank, Vortexx and one that I’m particularly excited about: the Popples.  Popples, people!  I can’t wait to find what’s in the pipeline for these great brands.

 

This month, we received our first mailing.  It was a Digimon Fusion themed package that gave us a fun primer on this new property that debuted on Nickelodeon and Nicktoons last fall.  Here’s our unboxing:

 

 

 

 

In its sixth season, Digimon Fusion can now be seen on the Vortexx on the CW, airing every Saturday at 10:30 am. From what we’ve seen, this is an exciting and action-packed cartoon geared to older kids and one that I hope to add to our post karate show line up.

 

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In our fun Digimon Fusion box, we had a chance to preview the fun new toys from Bandai. We received Greymon, which is a ferocious dinosaur-looking character.  The figures give kids a chance to replicated the DigiFusions that Mikey creates in the series.  The DigiFusion Figures features a ball and socket construction system, where kids can create their own combinations and even fuse multiple figures together.  The DigiFusion character reminds me so much of those old school toddler pop shapes, but for bigger kids.  Though the figures are geared to bigger kids, I loved that the 2 year old could play along and help create a character.  My older boy is in the action figure stage, so the DigiFusion Figure is a perfect fit.  

 

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A neat feature about the DigiFusion Figure is that it comes with a touch through technology card which will be placed on the Fusion Loader app and a sequence of numbers on the card in and an order that will activate the loader to call out the Digimon character on the card. These new toys will be available at major retailers starting in mid-February.

 

I’m super excited to be a part of the Saban Brand-Bassador program and can’t wait to divulge more information as we get it.  For now, be sure to check out Digimon Fusion on the Vortexx on Saturdays.  New episodes will return to Nicktoons on February 17.  Even better, there’s going to be an all day marathon with two new episodes at 9pm that day.

 

 

 

Full disclosure: I was not compensated though received promotional material to facilitate this review.  As always, all opinions on NKT are my own.

Welch’s Juice Ice Bars are a Sweet Frozen Treat

When it comes to fresh fruit, we have no problem snacking on the real deal, especially when it’s in season.  There’s nothing quite like enjoying a fresh piece of fruit and savoring the natural sweetness and natural juices.  But freeze juice?  Now, we’re talking.

Though we’re well-versed with Welch’s juices, I was recently introduced to Welch’s 100% Juice Ice Bars after attending Momtrends’ Holiday soirée.  After freezing the Juice Ice Bars for a few hours, we broke out the treats after dinner the other night.  They were sweet, flavorful, convenient, without all of the usual suspects found in other frozen treats.  By the way, if you’re adamant about integrating a “rainbow” of food to your family’s diet, Welch’s Grape Juice is a great way to incorporate purple foods since each four ounce glass amounts to a half cup of fruit, which is also one serving.

Back to the Juice Ice Bars: the pack that we sampled came with eight Juice Ice Bars, in three different flavors: concord grape, white grape with natural tropical flavor and white grape with natural cherry flavor.  J’s favorite of the bunch was definitely the white grape with natural tropical flavor because, according to him: “it tastes yummy like summer!”  Naturally.

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And speaking of naturally, one of the major selling points of these Juice Ice Bars is that they aren’t sweetened with HFCS or contain artificial colors or flavoring.  I’ll always associate my youth with ice pops, but unfortunately, it’s rare to find frozen treats these days that aren’t laden with artificial additives.  Welch’s Juice Ice Bars, though, have simple ingredients that I can feel good about serving my boys. I try to seek out the more wholesome ingredients, especially when it involves convenience and processed foods. So, having frozen fruit juice as an ice pop is a sweet treat indeed.

I love the fact that Welch’s Juice Ice Bars are shelf stable until they’re ready to freeze.  This makes having them on hand in the cupboard that much easier.  To sweeten the deal: Welch’s Juice Ice Bars are no more than 45 calories per serving.

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Welch’s Juice Ice Bars, manufactured by Kisco, are a seasonal product that will be back in stores this Spring. In fact, while doing some research, I found that the die-hard Welch’s Juice Ice Bars fans stock up on these treats and anxiously wait until they return to the store.  After tasting them ourselves, I totally understand the demand for these frozen treats.

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The only thing that would make Welch’s Juice Ice Bars even better is to have them more accessible year-round.  We’re already counting down the days ’til Spring.

I appreciate that Welch’s is a family affair: Welch’s is a Family Farmer owned company that uses concord and Niagra grapes grown in vineyards across North America, with many of the farms having been in their families for generations. The Welch’s Juice Ice Bars come in a freezer friendly bag with flavors including concord grape, white grape with natural cherry and white grape with natural tropical flavor.  Welch’s Juice Ice Bars can be found at Stew Leonards, Dairy Fresh, HEB, Canadian retailers: Demoulas, Loblaws and Sobeys.  As well as at BJs, Costco, Christmas Tree Shops and Walmart.

Full disclosure:  This is a sponsored post, but as always, all opinions on NKT are my own.

Breakfast (or Dinner) on the go with Aunt Jemima Lil’ Griddles

Thank you to Aunt Jemima Frozen Breakfast for sponsoring this post. “Like” Aunt Jemima frozen breakfast on Facebook.

Breakfast is a big deal in our house.


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Because of late commutes and crazy schedules, it’s tough to pin down the entire family for dinner during the week—forget about breakfast. However, on the weekends, breakfast is a totally different story. Hot, crisp bacon normally complements a batch of pancakes or waffles made from scratch, making Saturday and Sunday mornings well worth the week-long wait.

During the week, though, no matter how hard we try to perfect our morning routine to defray the chaos and rushing around, it seems we never have enough time for a hot breakfast. No time for pancakes, no waffles, just cereal. Biggie begs and pleads for pancakes before school, but let’s face it, after making lunch and ironing uniforms, the last thing I want to do is whip up a batch of pancakes from scratch.


In our house, pre-packaged foods are usually reserved for Trader Joe’s goodies, but on rare occasion, we’ll come across staples that are worth trying out. In fact, Aunt Jemima’s Lil’ Griddles fit the bill. As far as packaged breakfast for the kids, Aunt Jemima’s Lil Griddles Pancakes surprised me. I was expecting something a little less appetizing.


Though it’s hard to botch pancakes, you’d be surprised at the things you’d find on our shelves today. One to study labels before buying, the ingredients in Aunt Jemima’s Lil’ Griddles are pretty close to homemade, minus the fact that I don’t have to measure and pour it all myself. I appreciated that Lil’ Griddles contain real ingredients—flour, eggs, sugar, milk—and there’s no sign of fructose corn syrup. Nothing will ever beat a homemade meal made with love, but I like that making breakfast can be as quick as popping the Lil’ Griddles in the microwave or warming up on the oven. 10 minutes flat, if you don’t include bacon prep time.


We were so excited to try out Lil’ Griddles that we had them for dinner. Breakfast for dinner is something I never usually do because I reserve that deliciousness for weekend breakfast. But with the convenience of Lil’ Griddles, not only could we treat ourselves for a mid-week hot breakfast on the go, but we could also enjoy breakfast for dinner.


Biggie asked me, “are these homemade? I didn’t see you mix them!” I’d say that he approves of Aunt Jemima Lil’ Griddles.

This is a sponsored post as part of a Clever Girls Collective #AJLilGriddlesCG campaign. As always, all opinions on NKT are my own.


The Olympics and Swimming with SwimWays

With the Olympics wrapping up last night, I’d be remiss without giving an update on Biggie’s swimming progress and how it coincided with the games, and actually, our community’s latest festivity.

As I previously mentioned, this summer will forever go down in history as the summer that Biggie officially learned to swim, and we’re so thankful for Swimways for helping to make that happen. Of all the fun products we’ve been enjoying all summer, it’s the Sea Squirts Swim Assist vest that has helped Biggie build his confidence and skill in the water.

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Together with swim lessons from certified instructors and daily trips to the lake, the Sea Squirts has given him the boost to learn his ability on his own.He can jump into the deeper swim lanes to swim laps, as well as play around in the shallower water without hesitation. He’ll take off his vest to swim freely and confidently, but he still knows his limits, and when it’s time to put the vest back on. I like that it’s lightweight and buoyant, so the vest doesn’t do all the work, or make him stay floating up top. And, not only has it been a fun teaching tool, the clever blue shark fin has garnered so many cool compliments from other parents, the lifeguards and friends.

We loved watching the Olympics this summer, now that Biggie is a swimmer. We enjoyed watching all the different swim styles and watching history be made right before our eyes! Biggie had the chance to meet Olympic Gold Medalist Aaron Piersol at an event for Auro-dri last summer, but to see this latest batch of athletes excel in their craft, was something truly special.

Jack with Olympic Gold Medalist, Aaron Piersol
Of all the swimmers, like many other kids, Biggie was mesmerized by Michael Phelps. As we watched him collect even more medals to become the most decorated Olympian in history, Biggie had some words to say to him.

Dear Mr. Phelps,

Thank you for helping kids to like swimming. I like swimming and watching you is cool. I like how you practice hard and win your races. Keep helping kids so they can be happy and exercise too. I like all of your medals! Good job!

Biggie is a boy of many words, as you can see! But, as a family, who has spent most of their summer in the water, we’ve enjoyed watching the Olympics, and especially witnessing Phelps’ trials and triumphs. I admire his work with kids and the influence he has on the importance of water safety. I can’t wait to see what he does next.

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On a related note, our lake community has a roster of fun activities for families throughout the year. This past weekend was Royal Weekend, which is a long tradition that has been passed down generations, and one that Biggie was so excited to be a participant. The Olympic-themed event was held all weekend, honoring a duo of high school students and their achievements, before they go off to college and start their lives away from the lake. It’s a quirky tradition, but still so fun to see and take part in. The “royals” are both lifeguards and fixtures at the lake, so, to see the little kids look up to them is so fun.

What a fun, fun summer this has been!

Full disclosure:  I received product samples as part of the SwimWays Swim Team program, but as always, all opinions on NKT are my own.