The Powerpuff Girls Launch on Hulu + Giveaway

This post is in partnership with Hulu. Thank you for supporting The Next Kid Thing and all the things we love.

What a great time to celebrate women and girls! On the heels of International Women’s Day, we’re celebrating an iconic show that embraces girl power! The Powerpuff Girls is launching on Hulu. The newly reimagined Powerpuff Girls is a beloved show that’s garnering a lot of praise once again.

 

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What better way to celebrate the launch of The Powerpuff Girls on Hulu than by celebrating amazing girls in real life? These #RealLifePowerpuff girls are doing awesome things and inspiring others along the way, whether working in the fields of science or sports, or doing great things for their families and community. Do you have an awesome, inspiring young girl in your life? Share your #RealLifePowerpuff girl by posting a photo or video of them on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter and tag it with #RealLifePowerpuff and #Contest. Don’t forget to include what makes her awesome and they might get shared and enter you to win a special PPG prize! Visit the official website for more information.

The Powerpuff Girls was originally popular at a time when I was trying to figure things out in life. I love that it’s back and influencing a whole new generation of strong young women. I’m so fortunate to be surrounded by fearless young girls and women in my life. When thinking of fearless young girls, my 7-year-old niece comes to mind. When she was faced with some not-so-pleasant situations in school, she stood up for what was right and defended herself and her friends. I love that she embodies strength in the face of adversity and standing up for what is right.

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The Powerpuff Girls centers on three sugar-coated superheroes, Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup, whose missions in life alternate between going to school, fighting crime, winning at hopscotch and saving the world before bedtime. The girls are frequently called upon by the town’s mayor to help fight nearby criminals using their powers. While their differences cause them to squabble and tease, their individual strengths combined always lead them to victory. They rely on teamwork, trust, and friendship to thwart evil (in the most adorable way).

 Giveaway

In honor of #RealLifePowerpuff National Contest and the launch of ThePowerpuff Girls, we’re giving away a 6-month membership to Hulu. Even better, all classic episodes are now available to stream almost anywhere, on any device.

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One winner receives a 6-month Hulu gift code. The code is redeemable in the US and does not expire. Please enter below to win a code to Hulu to catch Powerpuff Girls episodes and other great shows!

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Rules for Raising Boys Who Respect Women

Happy International Women’s Day! I hope you find the time to celebrate the unflappable influence and power of women today, whether it’s at home, in the work place or amongst friends.

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I’m going to be frank with you: I had an incredible upbringing, however, I loathed the way my generation and culture expected women to sit back and let “the man” do all the work. I was told that I had to be ladylike, reserved, passive and to be a follower. Like so many of my peers, once I got older, I wasn’t having any of that.

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As an English Major, I remember a turning point in college. I took a Women’s Lit class, taught by an incredible professor, who shared authors who overcame the impossible and unthinkable. These literary masterpieces were always poignant and memorable. Women have always been strong; women have always had voices; women have always been at the forefront in their own way.

As a mother to two impressionable little boys, it’s my job to ensure that my little humans go on to contribute to society in such a way that makes a difference. It’s critical that they respect and treat women as equal peers, unlike the way we’ve seen over the years. Here are just a few of the many rules that I instill at home to raise boys who respect girls and women.

 

1. Emotions Show That You’re Human

When we were kids, I remember many instances where my brothers were told that crying was for sissies. Boys are often influenced to stifle their emotions, whether it’s in school, play or sports. Showing emotion was typically frowned upon and questioned masculinity. Because we’re human, real men show emotions. In fact, according to the NY Times article, “Teaching Men to be Emotionally Honest,” research shows what early childhood teachers have always known: that from infancy through age 4 or 5, boys are more emotive than girls.  Boys should be encouraged to show emotion, rather than be shamed for being sad when hurt or whatever the case may be.

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Why is it ok for girls to cry when they fall or fail? Why can’t a boy be tough and still shed a tear when they’re disappointed? A product of this mindset, my husband has always disagreed with me about this. If my kid gets hurt when playing a sport, he is human, and humans show emotions. When emotions are discouraged, isolation and possibly, explosions occur. I’ve seen it happen, and it isn’t pretty.  Just because society says so, doesn’t mean how things are meant to be. In Debunking Myths About Boy Emotions, author Vicki Zakrzewski says, “By reflecting on our own emotional and relational beliefs and challenges, we will be better equipped to guide boys as they navigate the social and emotional nuances of growing up in a society that expects them to behave in ways that go against their natural capacities.”
 

2. Omit Gendered Phrases 

As a parent of a young athlete, I’ve caught my kid’s coach and other adults mutter, you throw/run/catch/hit “like a girl.” On the flip side, “man up” is often used in various scenarios to imply that boys need to be masculine to be strong. Those phrases that are meant to be offensive are often said to “toughen” the boys up. …As if girls are not tough. As if girls can’t play as well as boys. Thankfully, in our case, my son has always been on teams alongside of strong female athletes. Quite frankly, his female teammates are just as strong, if not stronger than the boys. Nevertheless, phrases that imply that girls are not strong competitors are never ok.IMG 2251

By instilling that females are equal competitors, offensive phrases will fade. Girls can do whatever boys can do, sometimes even better.
In my research for this piece, I read a NYT opinion piece that mentioned that the phrase “to throw like a girl” leads to the consideration of an influential feminist essay penned by political philosopher Iris Marion Young titled, “Throwing Like a Girl.” In essence, this piece deconstructs and analyzes the idea that the phrase is an insult, and discusses the way that embodiment shapes subjectivity. 

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3. Nature vs. Nurture

In the psychological debate where nature vs. nurture, we question whether nature (traits and characteristics that are inherited) outweigh nurture (qualities that are learned as we grow.) We tend to hear boys having more behavior issues in early childhood. Is this because they’re predisposed for certain behavior? Or that we expect boys to sit still when, in fact, their natural tendency is to move around and be curious about their surroundings.

F55FB8E4 0E57 4FDD A71A E45D6178D36AWhatever it may be, the way we parent and react to behaviors shape our kids. There’s no denying that boys’ behavior is different than girls. According to research, “there’s a better approach to understand where boys and girls are coming from and then use those propensities without disparaging them, as a means of helping children whatever their potential happens to be.” Instead of boys will be boys and girls will be girls, let’s just let kids be kids.

4. Be the Difference

As we raise our kids in trivial times, it’s more important than ever to help our kids to be the difference. See something that needs to be changed? Speak up. Want your community to update something? Be the change. When we volunteer and add our helping hands to the mix, our children will learn the importance of getting involved. Working alongside of community members will help boys to not only respect and gain ownership of their surroundings, but teach them to give back before expecting things to be handed to them. Be the change that you want your kids to see.

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5. Embrace Your Flaws

In my many trials as a parent, friends have lifted me up and complimented me, sometimes even questioned me. I’ve heard “you’re a great mom,” when I helped my little guy fight through medical episodes. When creating something with imagination and our hands, I’ve gotten, “best mommy ever.” You know as well as I do that I don’t do these things to prove my strengths as a parent, but instead, to show my guys that “we’ve got this.” As a creative, crafty and entrepreneurial type, I embrace these qualities and share them with my boys. I was a Pinterest Mom before Pinterest was a thing; and I’ll never apologize for that. 

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Still, today, society suggests that we should have perfect homes, perfect lives to keep their perfect husbands happy. As we all know, that’s not a reality. Just as we all have our strengths, we have our weaknesses as well. I get overwhelmed, do too much and ignore the piles of laundry. I’m not the perfect person, nor is my husband, and reminding our kids of that every day is just as important as encouraging them to do their best. Because of our flaws, we work even harder to become better people.

By teaching them to respect themselves, boys learn to respect everyone around them. We’re hoping to instill that your flaws and shortcomings make you, and there’s nobody else we’d want them to be.

It’s no easy task raising young men in this day and age. So, here’s to you, fellow boy mom and dads. We have our work cut out for us.

Best Toys for 1 Year Olds + Diapers.com Giveaway

Even on the heels of Toy Fair, we always have toys on our minds. With a friend’s baby turning 1 soon, I was inspired to create a round up of the best toys for 1 year olds. I scoured Diapers.com to curate some of our tried and true favorite toys for 1 year olds.

From ride-ons to classic toys to techy toys, I gathered our favorites based on play value, durability, accessibility and whether my kids or kids we know loved them!

From ride-ons to classic toys to techy toys, I gathered our favorites based on play value, durability, accessibility and whether my kids or kids we know loved them!

1. Manhattan Toy Snuggle Bunny Baby Doll

ManhattanToySnuggleBunnyNKTTransitioning from baby to toddler, one year olds start to change their play patterns. According to KidsHealth.org, babies go from shaking and throwing toys to understanding functions of objects as a toddler. At one year old, kids start to play pretend, so toys that allow for nurturing and modeling behavior is always a hit. Manhattan Toy makes a myriad of interactive and beautiful toys such as the Snuggle Bunny Baby Doll ($17.) This soft and cuddly doll makes for a perfect first baby doll.

2. Plan Toys Sort and Count

PlanToysSortandCountStacking and nesting toys help toddlers develop hand-eye coordination, as well as cognitive development, according to an article on Cnn.com Simple, open ended stacking toys such as PlanToys’ Sort and Count allows kids to sort and stack the various pieces. This abacus-looking toy is made of Plan Toys’ planwood, organic rubberwood, e-zero glue, water-based dyes, recycled and recyclable materials, soy and water-based ink.

3. VTech Sit to Stand Learning Walker

VTechSittoStandWalkerMany toddlers are learning to walk and toddling around at a year old, so walkers make a fun gift. This VTech Sit to Stand Learning Walker offers a lot of play value with its many learning tools and interactive electronic features. VTech is so great at the electronic learning toys, but they’re also masters at creating toys that grow with kids. This walker can be used for kids in a more stationary pattern, as well as for those who are cruising and walking.

4. Melissa and Doug Large Shapes Knob Puzzle

MelissaandDougKnobPuzzleAccording to Learning4kids, puzzles help toddlers with important skills such as cognitive, fine motor, hand and eye coordination, problem solving, social and self esteem. Wooden puzzles from Melissa and Doug provide fun play patterns for toddlers to co-play and enjoy independence. I love the knob puzzles for toddlers, to give them extra help grasping these chunky pieces. Classic puzzles are timeless and perfect for curious problem solvers.

5. B Toys Fish Splish Boat

BtoysSplishFishBoatGood bath toys are the best for toddlers! I love the colors and creativity that B Toys inspires. This fun boat that can be used in the bath has a number of fun features that help toddlers explore bathtime and the environment around them. From the fishing pole, fish, captain and little rudder, this cool boat helpstoddlers with imaginative play while getting cleaned up.

6. Step 2 Whisper Ride II

Step2WhisperRideIIAs the winter starts to fade to warmer spring and summery days, ride-on toys will be all the craze. Step 2 are pros at the ride-on and outdoor toys, and the Whisper Ride II is one of my all time favorites. This push car is perfect for going on strolls in the neighborhood without the restraints of a stroller. Toddlers can pretend to steer while driving their ride, all the while mom or dad navigates with the handle. The Whisper Ride features a seatbelt, small storage compartment and cup holders.

 

 

 

There are so many awesome toys for 1 year olds on Diapers.com, and these are just a small sampling of their selection. Do you have a favorite toddler toy? What makes you and your kid love it so much?

Giveaway

Want to grab a few new toys of your own? We have a $50 gift certificate to Diapers.com up for grabs. Tell me what your favorite toddler toy is and why! Share your comment below.

For even more entries, check out the giveaway below to win a  Diapers.com gift certificate. This giveaway will be open for a week, so be sure to enter!

 

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Full disclosure: this is a sponsored post in partnership with Nakturnal, with a gift certificate as a prize. As always, all opinions on NKT are mine. Thank you for supporting The Next Kid Thing.

2017 Toy Fair: Just Play Toys and More

I’ve been busy at Toy Fair this weekend, pounding the conference floor in search of cool and innovative gadgets and goodies for the site! I’ve been focusing on doing a lot more videos this year, but in between that, I’ve definitely been instagramming and sharing clips to my IG Stories.

I loved checking out the Just Play Toys’ showroom, as well as walking through Spinmaster’s booth. Aside from the larger companies, I also love the smaller and very new companies who exude passion and innovation.

As I finish the show tomorrow and Tuesday, I thought I’d share some video that I shot from Just Play’s showroom. I absolutely loved their latest innovations, including their Disney Jr. toys. Minnie, of course, has my heart, so she was one of my faves from the day!

Kids Ride Free on NY Waterway for President’s Day Weekend

Even though we moved out of Hoboken more than six years ago, we still visit the city often. When we do, we almost always park in our old ‘hood and take the ferry over. It’s scenic, easy, convenient and it’s much calmer than the other modes of public transportation. Whenever friends ask me how to get to the City, I always point them in the direction of NY Waterway Ferry. It’s really the best way to go!

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Just in time for President’s Weekend, NY Waterways announced a pretty sweet special, especially if you’re bringing the kids to do some touristy activities. 

NY Waterways is once again offering “Kids Ride Free” over the three-day President’s Day Weekend, Feb. 18 – 20.  Families can link “Kids Ride Free” to NY Waterway’s Your Key To The City partner program which offers discounts of up to 56% on top NYC museums, attractions, tours and shows, such as the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museumthe American Museum of Natural History, Madame Tussauds and many more. 

  • Children under 12 can ride free on ferries to/from the following terminals: Port Imperial Weehawken, Lincoln Harbor Weehawken, Hoboken 14th St and Paulus Hook in Jersey City. 
  • Two child limit with each paying adult fare
  • No physical ticket required for a child
  • Free connecting multi-route shuttles to attractions (from Midtown W39th St Ferry Terminal)
  • Valid February 18 thru February 20, 2017

The weather’s supposed to be unseasonably warm this weekend, so make sure you head in and take advantage of this great deal!

Three Years Seizure-Free + Disney Love

Every time it happened, I can remember the way my heart raced out of my body. Instead of panic though, mother’s instinct overpowered the fear, and somehow, I remained calm every single time. 

Three years ago was no different; Josh was sitting in his Svan high chair in the kitchen with his Developmental Therapist when he had his last major seizure. Mid-session as they played, he lost control of his own body and a seizure writhed and zapped him, for what seemed like an eternity. I remember doing something they tell you not to do: I carried my two year old to the couch and hugged him until the seizure ended. Josh’s seizures were never longer than 3 or 4 minutes, but they were long enough.

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Although I knew what they’d say, this time around, I called the paramedics to be safe. They arrived at the postictal state, the part where Josh is physically drained by the events. He sleeps for a good hour and is out of sorts for several hours beyond that.

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When these episodes happen, it’s hard to forget the emotions and details of the day. That day he wore a gray Puma sweatsuit that my brother and sister-in-law gave him for Christmas. I remember scooping him up after the first responders and paramedics examined him and hugged him some more. I declined the ambulance since he wasn’t in danger anymore, and sadly, because I remembered how much it would cost. This is a reality of habitual hospitalization and the state of insurance/medical care.

Josh ended up being admitted to the hospital that day so that the doctors could examine his levels and detect any other seizure activity. Since it was right before a snow storm, we knew things would get tricky and unbelievably complicated. For the first time, Josh and I were separated from Jack and Jeff for two days as we stayed in the hospital during the snow storm.

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Thankfully, Josh remained stable and was well cared for while we were in the pediatric wing. I’ll always remember the nurses who were exhausted, but remained incredibly patient with my boy. I’d always ask if they got in to work ok, and if their families were faring ok in the storm. When you have a chronically ill kid, your respect for those who work in the medical field magnifies.

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In these past three years, thankfully, medicine and close monitoring has permitted my boy to flourish developmentally. I’ve put life on hold at times to be present physically to be a taxi to therapy two times a week, be present for mid-day school pick up and specialists’ appointments multiple times a year.

Josh has grown leaps and bounds, with the help of his educators and therapists. His vocabulary continues to grow as big as his personality and as vibrant as his imagination. He’s so social and makes friends wherever he goes. Language is definitely difficult for him to interact with his peers at times, but he tries so hard. Big bro is always his biggest champion and helps whenever he’s around.

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In the fall, he’s about to embark on a new adventure in Kindergarten. He’ll most likely remain in the special education program for now, but with the (possible?) changes in education, I have fears or the unknown.

Nevertheless, I’m so proud of this hardworking boy who goes to school year-round and endures 8-10 various therapies a week in school and privately.

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When we reunited at the hospital after several days apart, Jack and Jeff gifted Josh a giant Mickey Mouse balloon that they found in the hospital gift shop. Like for so many, Disney and Mickey have always been our happy place. After what our guy has had to endure at such a young age, we always promised a Disney Cruise, or a trip to see Mickey Mouse once he was stable. Disney is our escape from reality and a reason to reunite when life gets full of distractions and complications.

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I may have been invited to the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration, but our family was celebrating so much more. On this past trip to Disney World and Disney Cruise, we celebrated Josh being seizure-free for THREE YEARS!! This is huge because we get to discuss weaning him off of meds again! Go Josh, go!

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Whether it’s with a giant balloon or a chance set sail with Mickey, I’m grateful we have something to celebrate. Thank goodness for three years.

 

Free Printable: Paw Patrol Class Valentines

I don’t know about you but, Valentine’s Day always seems to sneak up on me. By the time I remember to put together Valentine’s Day cards, we’re usually scrambling or whatever character the kids like is no longer available. So, usually take it upon myself to create something fun and personalized.

This year, since Josh and his classmates are still huge fans of Paw Patrol, I made a quick tag to attach to leftover party favors. These stationery set party favors that I found at Target’s Dollar Spot are totally in line with the no candy route that so many schools have been taking. 

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Since learning about and falling in love with these new Avery labels at Momtrends’ Holiday Soiree, I find myself using them whenever I need to personalize something on the fly. I adore the 22802 Printable Tags with Strings because I can use them for gifts, crafts or whatever I need personalized. The labels can be quickly personalized on their website software Design & Print Online. It’s super easy, quick and efficient, and sure beats lugging out my cutting machine for a quick project.

 

I love that the software allows you to create tags or labels specific with the tags that you have. There are templates online, as well as blank canvases that you can upload your own design. I did a little bit of both; I added a photo of Chase from Paw Patrol and then included some text. I’m big on puns, so You’re Paw-sitively Awesome seemed apropos! Since I wanted my 5 yo to include his own signature, I left a blank space for that. I also left a space to include the gift recipient’s name. If you’re like me and short on time, this tag works if you just need to throw on your name. Don’t want to handsign each one, you can also edit these labels to add your kid’s names so it prints out. I’d recommend using Snapfish, Illustrator or other similar software.

Hoping this helps others, I’m sharing this file for you to use! You don’t have to use the labels for this printable, you can most certainly print them out and cut them as needed. There are 8 to a page and can be easily edited as needed.

Download the Paw Patrol Class Valentine’s Day here!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Family Fun: Disney Social Media Moms 2017

After the holidays, I found myself tired and overwhelmed with picking up the remnants of Christmas and trying to look ahead to the new year. Foggy and fragmented, I promised myself a more organized year with more adventures. When the much-coveted invited for Disney Social Media Moms landed in my inbox on the last wave of invitations, the husband and I wavered, but decided that our boys—our family—needed a break from reality. Since our invite came just a month out, we decide to surprise the boys with the trip. It was fun hiding all of the details until this morning when we drive to the airport! And by fun, I mean totally complicated!

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So, here we are back at Disney for another Disney Social Media Moms Celebration. Because I’ve been around for about 9 years, I’ve had the great fortune of being invited to this incredible event several times. Just as our family has grown and evolved, we’ve seen DisneySMMC grow from a small intimate affair to this grand production that’s become a highlight in my kids’ childhood. I love interacting with the great sponsors, learning about the Parks firsthand and experiencing unique opps. I don’t take these opportunities for granted one bit. We savor every single second, and I’m so grateful my kids get to experience these special events.

I stayed up until 3am last night finishing projects and woke up at 6am this morning. After traveling all day, I made the family head to the parks so we could take advantage of the small window of downtime I had for the day. Verdict? Totally worth the exhaustion.

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But of course, a little bit of Starbucks on Main Street helped with my delirium. 

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The events staff had a beautiful welcome dinner for us in Animal Kingdom. The food was a delicious array of savory and sweet treats, with plenty of exotic influence. The food never disappoints! After dinner, the group watched a River of Lights, but unfortunately, we were way too tired and left after dinner.

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We’re headed out to Epcot tomorrow, Disney Springs and then Hollywood Studios for some fun! 

Combining the best of the Parks and Disney Cruiseline, this year is the first ever Disney Social Media Land and Sea Celebration. We’re spending Tuesday and Wednesday at the parks getting the latest information on new additions, shows and more. On Thursday – Sunday, we’ll be setting sail aboard the Disney Wonder for a 3-day Bahamian Cruise.

When Josh was sick a few years ago, brighter days and dream trips kept us afloat. A Disney Cruise has always been one of our bucket list trips, simply because it combines everything we love as a family. I can’t wait to share this experience with my guys and to see this dream trip come to fruition.

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Be sure to catch me on Instagram, where I hope to share stories of our #DisneySMMC adventure!

Watch PBS Kids 24/7

Earlier this month, PBS Kids, the pioneers in children’s programming, introduced a new TV channel and a live stream on digital platforms. PBS stations across the nation are able to broadcast PBS Kids shows like Curious George and Wild Kratts 24 hours a day on an additional television channel and offer a live stream. Kids will have their favorite PBS Kids shows during primetime and after school, or really, whenever they might need it!  

Nielsen data demonstrates that live TV is the dominant way children access video, accounting for 68% of the time children spend watching video content.  And most of kids’ TV viewing takes place on weeknights and weekend afternoons and evenings – especially within low-income families, underscoring PBS’ mission to reach all children with high quality, educational content.

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Families will be able to access the new channel on-the-go with the digital live stream which complements on-demand clips and full episodes. Viewers will be able to watch the station-branded live stream through pbskids.org and on the PBS KIDS Video App, which is available on a variety of mobile devices, tablets and over-the-top platforms such as Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Xbox One and Chromecast.

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PBS Kids is a staple in our home. Since we’re constantly on the go, I love that my little guy can access his favorite shows while he’s waiting for big bro to finish up his sports. For a kiddo with speech delays and unique needs, I’m so grateful that we have access to such excellent programming at home and on the go, regardless of the time of day. Bravo PBS Kids!

 

 

Mother Nurture: Sweet Treats, Baby Shower Gifts and Goodies

A few weeks ago, I attended one of my good friend’s baby sprinkle for her second baby. Baby shower gifts are always some of my faves, especially when I get to include fun treats like Mother Nurture Enhanced Waters and Chocolate Truffles.

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Since most of us are moms of multiple kids, it was the perfect reason to get the girls together for a brunch with cocktails! After feasting on our bacon, eggs and quiche, we sat together to “sprinkle” my friend with the group gift. Since this is her second run at this mama thing, she already had most of her much needed gear and goodies. She did, however, request a hard to find bedside bassinet made by Chicco.

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And, as hard as it was, it was almost impossible to not over-shower her with pink and purple clothes. While I love shopping and including my favorite swaddles, socks, toys and such, this time around I included some treats for mama in my gift basket. In addition to the fun clothes, I added a bottle or two of Mother Nurture Enhanced Waters and a box of the Chocolate Truffles. In between unveiling my favorite essentials, it’s a must to shower the mama-to-be!

My friend, who watches everything she eats and is a self-proclaimed ‘water snob’, texted me few days after her shower to thank me for the goodies, but to also thank me for introducing her to Mother Nurture waters! She said she is always thirsty and loved the taste of Mother Nurture. LOVE hearing that!

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Mother Nurture products are created with moms in mind by professionals known for creating great tasting food and beverages. Mother Nurture Enhanced Waters boasts natural ingredients such as filtered water, sugar and natural flavors. The waters come in Tropical Splash, Mixed Berry, and Pink Grapefruit. The truffles, which come in Milk Chocolate or Chocolate Raspberry, have natural ingredients, Folic Acid, DHA, calcium and Vitamin D. 

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If you’re looking for a tasty or refreshing treat to add to baby shower gifts, be sure to check out Mother Nurture Enhanced Waters and Chocolate Truffles. Mother Nurture Products can be found on Amazon.

Full disclosure: I received samples for review. As always, all opinions on NKT are my own.