Marvel Cross Pens are the Write Gift for Father’s Day

This post is featured in partnership with CROSS Pens.

With Father’s Day just around the corner, gifts for my husband and our dads are up in the air as usual. What do you get a guy who has everything?

Gift cards almost too impersonal for my family. Ties? Meh. Grilling supplies? Got those last year. Books? Still sitting there from the year before.

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As a writer, I appreciate quality writing tools, especially pens. Cross Pens, synonymous with style and professionalism, has many different looks and patterns. I love that Cross has pens that can be paired with any personality or passion—even superheroes! 

With the recent release of Captain America: Civil War, it’s so fitting that there are Marvel Pens that showcase Captain America’s iconic emblem. Or if you’re Team Ironman, there’s a style that’s fit for the sleek Tony Stark Fan. 

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Having just watched Captain America: Civil War, and as major Mets fans (catcher David Wright is nicknamed Captain America) it’s safe to say our entire tribe is Team Cap! For Father’s Day, we’ll be gifting my boys’ true hero a very stylish Captain America Cross Pen. The pen, which comes with its own case, is a beautiful shade of blue with a subtle Captain symbol along the side. For us, this is a fun gift for the boys to give dad because we love Marvel, we’ve seen the movie together and our Mets love!

Perfect for the office or playing tic tac toe with the boys, the Marvel line of Cross Pens is an ideal gift for the guy who has it all and appreciates a quality writing tool.

 Check out Marvel Cross Pens and all of the other sleek styles if you’re on the hunt for a great gadget for dad or your grads.

Full Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. Thank you for supporting NKT. As always, all opinions on NKT are my own.

New York is My Playground Review + Familiar Cameo

With photography by Jane Goodrich and written by Bob Raczka, New York is My Playground is a new book with a collection of fun and artistic portraits of kids enjoying the beauty of NYC.  As an NYC/NJ transplant, this book celebrates everything that I’ve ever hoped for my kids. The city’s beloved structures, everyday motions of life, landmarks and art installations are the perfect backdrop for a storied childhood for those who live in and around NYC.

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The photos are compelling, the text is relatable and the story is timeless. New York is My Playground embraces the innocence of children and the simplicity of the juggernaut that is NYC. The 32-page hardcover book is geared to the 3-7 age range, but would be a perfect addition to any family’s library.

As a blogger, I’ve had the unique opportunity to meet and work with some of the most artistic and creative minds in the business. Jane Goodrich, an accomplished photographer based in Larchmont, NY, has a penchant for storytelling. Her playful spirit and candor resonates with kids; we have gorgeous portraits of our kids as proof.

One fall afternoon in 2013, Jane asked us to meet her at Central Park for a shoot. We took some fun photos near the Conservatory Water. This was actually a rescheduled meeting because Littles had a seizure and was hospitalized the day before we were supposed to meet. All’s well that ends well.

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Littles was about 20 months old at the time, and because of his medical issues and requisite delays, he couldn’t walk yet, so I remember Big Brother having to help lug him into various positions. At one point, I thought Littles was going to fall into the pond, but thankfully, we averted any impromptu swims. You can see Bigs trying to hold him back below. 

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We followed Jane’s lead and took more photos at the Alice in Wonderland sculpture and even threw some leaves around.

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Just as we were finishing up, though, we passed the iconic Hans Christian Andersen sculpture and Jane asked J to hop on and take a nap. It was spontaneous and silly, something that J can tackle well. The final pose yielded the photo in New York is my Playground, which captured a smirking 6 year old J, who is play-sleeping on the Hans Christian Andersen sculpture in Central Park. 

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Family Portraits with Jane Goodrich

The first time we met Jane 3 years ago, she photographed our family at our family’s favorite local backdrop, our lake. 2013 was in the thick of our family’s turbulent times. In fact, Littles had a 2-hour EEG the morning before we had our photoshoot. I think Josh was having some questionable behavior relating to his meds, so our dr. called for an immediate EEG. Looking back, you’d never guess that hours before the photos were taken that my baby had 20-something electrodes glued to his scalp.

 

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You’d never know that my older boy was starting to develop anxious behavior relating to his brother’s condition. And you most certainly couldn’t tell that our world was unraveling in real life. The absolute best family photographers can see beyond the surface and capture the essence and underlying beauty. 

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Time and again, Jane has been able to capture Biggie’s charm and effervescence. She’s been able to frame Little’s bold and mischevious side and the juxtaposition of personalities of our whole family. As a writer who’s often behind the camera, I treasure all of my family’s photos, especially the rare ones where I’m included.

 

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If you’re looking for a talented family photographer who has a gift for capturing the essence of kids, be sure to reach out to check out Jane Goodrich Photography.

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I know books see many proofs before the final copy, so it was a honor that J was included in this fun book. New York is My Playground ($14.95) is on bookshelves now, and it’s something we’ll cherish for a very long time!  Congrats, Jane!

Enter to Win #FlippforMom SpaFinder Gift Card

As someone who is constantly losing things and digging through my bag for store discount cards and such, I’m so glad to know there’s an app for that. The free app, Flipp, is a very cool shopping all-in-one list, coupon and store card hub. The app allows users to save and look up store circulars, discount cards and other information that streamlines shopping and saving.

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Because it’s location-based, it pinpoints your favorite stores’ locations so you can personalize the deals you save. I love that the shopping list shows what deals are out there, every time you add an item to your list. As a deal hunter, this app is so helpful and super convenient.

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Because Flipp is all about making moms’ life easier by connecting stores and specials and lists in one place, they’re celebrating moms throughout the month of May. Flip has kicked off a special #FlippforMom campaign. Throughout May, on their official Facebook and Twitter accounts, Flipp will be hosting a different giveaway for every week. Be sure to check out Flipp’s Facebook page for more details.

And because we’re all about awesome apps that help make our lives as parents easier, Flipp is offering a very generous $100 SpaFinder gift card to one of you! Please enter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Full disclosure: This is a sponsored post. All opinions on NKT are my own. Thank you for supporting Nextkidthing.com

Enjoy the Magic: Attending the 2016 DisneySMMC

It’s hard to believe that it’s time for the 2016 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration. In March, a magical invitation landed in my inbox at just the right time. Naturally.

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Chaos and hardships always seem to pop up at the most inopportune times. This year, though I truly shocked and honored to receive another invitation to DisneySMMC. Because it wasn’t our first time, I had to really think about it. We weren’t financially prepared to take a vacation to Disney World, just weeks away. And truly, with all the chaos happening at home, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to take a vacation, never mind be with anyone outside of my daily bubble.

And that’s when it hit me: in light of the crazy, I needed to seek joy. So, we pinched our pennies, and the stars aligned, and here we are…

Because joy always balances the crazy, right?

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For my non-social media friends and family, DisneySMMC is an invite-only event hosted by Disney Parks where we, as influencers, are given an inside look at what makes this place so magical. It’s one of the few elite celebrations where families are included and encouraged to join the festivities. Disney hosts meticulously-planned parties and social media strategy lectures and more over the 4-day event.

One of my absolute favorite speakers was from the 2015 event. Eva Smith, Head of Marketing Insights for Pinterest shared a lot of valuable information. In fact, I’ve gone on to use a lot of that info when I freelance as a social media consultant and train small businesses. The lessons and insight I gained from that talk alone was worth all the effort and investment in attending.

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Sponsors such as Hanes, Kimberly Clark, Alamo, GoGo SqueeZ, Joffrey’s and American Tourister contribute to the magic. But it’s the Disney Parks Team that goes above and beyond to provide such incredible experiences for the 150+ influencers and their families in attendance.

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It goes without saying that, contrary to popular belief, DisneySMMC is NOT a “free trip.” I’ve had friends and family members assume that we get to come here for free. Not the case. In fact, we had to scrape to be able to afford this trip. (We’re eating PB&J on the days that Disney doesn’t feed us!) While we pay our way to take part in the Celebration, we do receive some complimentary items (swag), discounts and other cool perks. One of our favorite perks was meeting Olaf last year!

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If you follow me on social media, then you may already know that my family has been in Florida for a few days. With the crazy weather on the East Coast, I’m glad we got the painful traveling out of the way so we can hopefully enjoy the sunshine for the rest of the week.

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Today, May, 4, 2016, my guys and I spent the day at Hollywood Studios in honor of Star Wars Day. May the Fourth Be With You! It was cold, wet and rainy, but we had so much fun checking out our favorite attractions and interacting with Storm Troopers and more.

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Now that we’re all settled into the Beach Club, I will be sharing a lot of info on my social channels. I plan to snap more off the cuff, behind the scenes stuff on Snapchat. Fun visuals over on Instagram. Limited updates and maybe a Facebook Live post from some parts of the conference on Friday, 5/6. And definitely videos over on YouTube. I’ll link up  my channels below, so be sure to follow for more fun updates!

Twitter: @jenrab 
Instagram: @jenrab
Snapchat: jen_rab
Facebook: The Next Kid Thing
YouTube: The Next Kid Thing

 

 

Full disclosure: At DisneySMMC, we receive some complimentary items and discounts, however all opinions on NKT are my own.

Spring Styles for Boys from The Children’s Place

With our trip to Disney Social Media Moms Celebration coming up next week, I’ve been doing a lot of shopping over the past few weeks in preparation. The Children’s Place is one of our favorite go-to stores for stylish and classic options for kids. Though I’m always envious of the racks of pinks, pastels and sparkles, the boys’ selection at The Children’s Place is pretty plentiful.

We noticed that the main trends for boys at The Children’s Place were stripes, sharks and neons. I’m always a fan of the classic look with a little edge, and The Children’s Place does that so well.

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For our trip, I picked out a few dressier shirts for the boys to wear at the various dinners and family events at DisneySMMC. I let the boys choose and then picked outfits that coordinated.

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For the more casual looks, we opted for sporty tanks and fun graphic tees. I’m pretty sure the bulk of our play clothes are from The Children’s Place. The clothes are comfortable and they hold up very well. 

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The Children’s Place always has great deals going on. I try to find coupons before I head to the store to maximize the deals. So if you’re on the hunt for great spring and summer outfits, make a stop at The Children’s Place.

Full disclosure: I received a gift card to share my experience at The Children’s Place. All opinions on NKT are my own.

Messy Play with Booger Balls

Just in time for International Nose Picking Day, Funrise Toys sent us a Booger Balls care package. Yes, you read that right. There is, indeed, an International Nose Picking Day. And yes, there is a toy called Booger Balls!

If you have kids who appreciate messy outdoor play, then Booger Balls is totally up your alley. We love messy play, and as a play enthusiast who has a kiddo with special needs, I appreciate that this sort of play hones gross motor skills despite the slimy mess.

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Booger Balls come as a powder mix, and then once mixed with warm water, it becomes a gelatinous substance that resembles—you guessed it—boogers. We had a few unsuccessful attempts getting it to mix correctly, but once it did, the guys loved flinging the Booger Balls at their target.

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My littler guy loved mixing and stirring and then capturing the mixture. The older guy loved the sensation of the mix and practicing his aim. Booger Balls are certainly a messy outdoor toy, so expect lots of sticky mess. I recommend playing in an area that you can just hose off when you’re done. If you have a water table that you can wash off, consider doing it there.

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We had a fun time with Booger Balls and have added it to our outdoor play arsenal! Check out the guys in our fun video below!

P.S. I edited this late last night, so disregard the poor angles and whiny preschooler. Just keeping it real! 

NYC Vlogger Challenge Week 11

It’s time for week 11 of the NYC Vlogger Challenge. This week, I have some great prompts for more travel hacks and other favorite requests.

This week, let us know:

1. What are more of your travel hacks?
2. What are your favorite books and magazine?
3. Does your family have a favorite board game?
4. What’s your favorite salad recipe?

 

How can you join the conversation?

Each week, one of us will host the challenge and we ask you to join us on Youtube, Vine, Instagram or your blog with a response video. That’s it! 

Can’t wait to hear your video response to one of the prompts above!



Peppa Pig + The Muddy Puddles Project

On the heels of our recent Spring Break trip, we had DVDs on repeat in the car. Like most preschoolers, my younger guy loves Peppa Pig. So, naturally, since we couldn’t access YouTube Kids while on the road, my kids were watching a lot of Peppa Pig. Peppa Pig’s Cold Winter Day is always playing, and I think I know all the words by heart by now.

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There are 10 fun-loving episodes with winter themes. My guys love the Pig family’s crazy antics, especially Daddy Pig becomes the toboggan. ha! “Why can’t our daddy be a toboggan, mama?” Wouldn’t that be awesome, though?

The Muddy Puddles Project

As huge fans of Peppa Pig, I loved learning about The Muddy Puddles Project and Wellie Walk, which is Peppa Pig’s chosen charity. The fact that this beloved brand has their own chosen charity warms my heart.

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I first learned about The Muddy Puddles Project on one of my PBS Kids Annual Meeting trips. I remember tearing up at this young man’s legacy and his amazing family’s advocacy.

 

 

 

The Muddy Puddles Project is a fundraising platform for the Ty Louis Campbell (TLC) Foundation, a certified 501(c)(3) that funds pediatric cancer research. The project was inspired by Ty, a little boy who loved Peppa Pig and dreamed of jumping in muddy puddles when his cancer was cured. Since his passing, the Muddy Puddles Project continues to grow by leaps and bounds with families all across the U.S. joining the mission and participating in special fundraising activities.

Though we missed it, April 1st was officially proclaimed “National Jump in Muddy Puddles Day” by the nonprofit and it kicks off a whole season of special events – including Peppa-inspired Welly Walks to benefit the charity. Kids and families can help celebrate the beginning of Spring by organizing a Welly Walk to raise funds in honor of the Muddy Puddles Project.

This statistic from the Muddy Puddles Project is staggering:

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Looking for ways of spreading the love for this wonderful charity? Learn more about the Muddy Puddles Project and ways you can organize your own Welly Walk in the name of helping families affected by pediatric cancer. We hope to take our own walk in the near future…when it starts to feel more like Spring!

 

Full disclosure: we received a sample dvd for review purposes. As always, opinions on NKT are my own.

Get a Free Snapfish Photo Mug on Select Tommee Tippee Products

When two of my favorite brands collaborate, that can only mean good things, right? Our friends at Tommee Tippee have partnered with Snapfish for a fun collaboration.

Tommee Tippee and Snapfish have partnered together for a promo for an exclusive offer for a free 11oz. photo mug from Snapfish. On select cups and mealtime products, be on the lookout for yellow stickers that indicate this cool promo. The offer is currently on specified stickered cups (excluding single valve) and mealtime products. Cups can be purchased at Babies R Us, Target or Walmart and mealtime products such as (plates and bowls) can be bought at BRU.

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I have more mugs than I know what to do with, but with Mother’s Day coming up, how perfect would this be for a gift for Grandma! I love personalized gifts, and I love giving them even more. 

The boys and I went on a shopping excursion a few weeks ago to take advantage of this promo. My Target only had pink cups on our first trip, but lucky us, we found some cool blue ones on another visit.

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As you can see, not all Tommee Tippee cups and feeding ware have the Snapfish promo, so be sure to grab the ones with the yellow sticker as seen above.

Once you purchase, you can go home and order the photo mug online with the code included in the specially marked packages.

So, if you’re on the market for some new sippy cups or straw cups or feeding gear, be sure to check out Tommee Tippee’s great gear.

 

Full disclosure: this is a sponsored post. Thank you for supporting NKT. As always, all opinions on NKT are my own.

NYC Vlogger Challenge Week 8

It’s my turn once again to host the NYC Vlogger Challenge. We’re at week 8 and my prompts were inspired by Disney Social Media Moms Celebration on the Road, as well as Spring activities coming into play!

My prompts are pretty easy and straight forward. I’m hoping you share some of your favorite Disney World hacks or theme park essentials. If outdoor play is more your speed, tell us about it, we’d love to hear all about it!

 

1. Do you have any favorite Disney World or Land attractions or secret spots? 

2. What are your theme park essentials? Is there something you always bring to a theme park?

3. What are your favorite Spring toys?

4. What are you favorite outdoor games?

5. Does your family like to swim?

 

How can you join the conversation?

Each week, one of us will host the challenge and we ask you to join us on Youtube, Vine, Instagram or your blog with a response video. That’s it! 

Can’t wait to hear your video response to one of the prompts above!