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.  

IMG 8921

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.

IMG 8919

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.

 

IMG 8914

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.

IMG 8909

IMG 8910

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. 

Smarter+Football+Release Image fc633254 a8a3 4220 9792 f47b35108812 prv

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. 

Baby Gear, Goodies and Gadgets We’re Excited About this Spring

I’m choosing to ignore what the forecasts are saying for Friday. No more snow, thank you very much—especially on the first day of Spring.

Instead, I thought I’d share some baby gear, gadgets and goodies that are perfect for those of you whom, like me, have Spring on the brain.

Cetaphil Baby

Cetaphil, known for its powerful yet gentle products that are recommended by dermatologists, recently introduced their new baby line, which touts natural ingredients and formulations perfect for gentle skin.

Cetaphil Baby Product Line Lockup copy

The line debuted at Buy Buy Baby in January and consists of diaper cream, Wash and Shampoo ($9.99), Ultra Moisturizing Wash ($5.99,) Daily Lotion ($9.99) and Moisturizing Oil ($6.99.) All Cetaphil Baby products are paraben free, mineral oil free, hypoallergenic and dermatologist tested. What I love most about Cetaphil Baby Daily Lotion is the fresh calendula scent. In the past only prescription creams have been able to heal my tot’s very sensitive and dry skin, but Cetaphil Baby Daily Lotion and Moisturizing Oil have been able to soothe his problem areas. In addition to Buy Buy Baby, be on the look out for Cetaphil Baby at Babies ‘R Us shelves this month. 

Evenflo Platinum and Symphony DLX All-In-One Car Seat

PTRU1 17431814enh z6This cozy and sleek carseat has been turning heads since its reveal last year. It features Outlast Performance fabric that can absorb hot and cold temperature, which is ideal for kids who spend a lot of time in their seats, whether its in the school car line or long road trips. Boasting a 60 second installation time, the SureLatch Technology is another feature that’s helpful for quick and secure installation. The key feature for me on the Symphony DLX All-in-One Car Seat is the e3 Side Impact Protection which is designed and tested to reduce side impact forces up to 50%. The Symphony DLX All-in-One Car Seat ($230) with fabric as shown above is exclusive to Babies ‘R Us.

Love to Dream

Love to Dream has been on my mind lately because I’ve had so many friends who have been having babies. Love to Dream has several products in their line but their SwaddleUp comes to mind first.

Grey

The SwaddleUp is designed to swaddle babies who prefer to have their arms up, rather than tucked away. The Love to SwaddleUP is step 1 in the Love to Dream sleep system. It’s designed for 0-4 months and allows baby to sleep with arms up, allowing baby to self-soothe. The Step 2 in the Love to Dream Sleep System is the 50/50 , which helps baby transition from a swaddle towards the arms-free independence of a sleep bag.

Fifty

Geared to babies 4-8 months, the 50/50 is particularly helpful for this transition stage when baby starts to become more mobile. Step 3 are the Inventa and Nuzzlin Sleep Bags. The Inventa features the Genius Cooling system which helps regulate your child’s temperature without disrupting sleep, which is great in spring with cooler and warmer temperatures.

Inventa1

The Nuzzlin is a light and breathable sleep bag that can keep a tot cool on warm nights and warm on cool nights.

Britax B-Agile 3

Britax’s light weight and quick-fold stroller, B-Agile 3, is now available in bright and bold colors this Spring. The B-Agile 3 new shower collection includes hues reminiscent of jewel-toned Easter goodies that are synonomous with the spring season.

Britax Agile-3 Shower

The B-Agile 3’s new colors include Limeade, a citrus yellow; Concord, a vibrant grape purple; and Aqua, a light turquoise. Meadow, a lush green, and Sapphire, a royal blue, are nods to the tones of the classic Britax ruby red fabric. These five colors of the shower collection round out the Britax fashion spectrum by joining the original Black, Red and Sandstone options.


NKT Faves: Friday Fab 5

 

Influenced by hip hop legend Fab 5 Freddy, I thought I’d jumpstart a weekly feature list: Friday Fab 5. As a product blogger, I often acquire really great samples and don’t get to post about them until way later.

With Friday Fab 5, I thought I could photograph a group of finds that we’re using and currently enjoying, whether we bought them or were provided as a sample. I plan to include kid and family-centric products, and maybe a few products that I enjoy for myself.  As always, I will include the info about the find and whether we bought or received as a sample.

NKTFidayFab5

 

 

1. Melissa and Doug Water Wow

My husband often brings home random samples from his office. One morning this week, he left this activity book on the couch. Littles found the book and begged for me to open it. Upon first investigation, admittedly, I was annoyed that this used water, because toddlers + water typically equals wet mess. Melissa and Doug proved me wrong this time around. The Water Wow uses a chubby water filled paintbrush to “color” thick cardboard pages. After filling the refillable paintbrush, the child can easily swipe the brush on the dry white pages to reveal a pre-determined colorful picture. After coloring all four pages of animal-themed images, my guy was excited that he could do it all by himself. Unfortunately, he was quickly frustrated that he’d have to wait for the pages to dry to color the in the book all over again. I love the size of the Water Wow book because it’s perfect for small hands and easy to throw in a bag for travel.  However, I’d love to see a few more pages, or perhaps, even a bigger book to engage kids even longer. The water color concept isn’t anything new, but I have to say, this mess-less water color play pattern is ingenious!

Melissa and Doug Water Wow can be found at Michael’s and Amazon. 

 

2. Wet ’n Wild Fantasy Makers

I honestly haven’t used (or seen) Wet ’n Wild since my jr. high days. And clearly, I’m not your most knowledgeable beauty source; however, I love this fun polish. I believe I received this Wet ’n Wild Fantasy Makers in a Halloween sample pack from an event. I was in need of a quick polish change and remembered I had this. The polish was light and easy, and quick to dry. Surpringly, it stayed on for almost a week! Loved this black color with fun sparkles.

 

3. Disney Creative Studio Deluxe Stylus

As major Disney fans, we’re always onboard for reviewing Disney-themed gadgets. I’ll do a thorough review soon, but the boys are both loving the capabilities of this the Disney Creative Studio Deluxe Stylus. They’re able to draw and color via the Disney Creative Studio platform. And truly, I can always get behind a product that entertains both kids and promotes imagination.

 

4. SoapSox

SoapSox is another product that I received to review. It’s been sitting on my desk for months, and I just haven’t had the chance to unpack it to share with the kids…until last night. I gave each kid one SoapSox to play with and it was an absolute hit during bath time. The shark was a true hit with my Sharknado-obsessed kids. You can load the soap through the designated soap pocket and then play with the bath-friendly stuffed animal. I love how functional and fun SoapSox is during bathtime. Best part of this bath toy, after using it, you can pop it in the washing machine! 

 

5. Thames & Kosmos Mini Volcano

Science projects are always a big hit in my house of geeky boys, but projects that blow up and make messes are always favorites. I received this small kit in a Toy Fair gift bag from a visit to the Southard showroom, and let me tell you, it kept my guys entertained for hours. Baking soda and vinegar volcanoes are a staple for creating erupting volcanoes, but this project took it up a notch with a little plastic volcano and some red dye.  Let’s just say I was not a fan of the red dye, but we will be using this mini volcano and goggles over and over again. The goggles might be my favorite part!

 

US News and World Report: “Can I Afford a Baby?”

Can I Afford a Baby?”  That’s a loaded question, right?

I know we asked ourselves this very question a few years ago, and maybe you’ve done the same.  A new article in US News and World Report asks this question and uncovers several important points to consider.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is $12,000 for the first year alone (for middle-income couples earning between $56,700 and $98,000).

So that’s where our money’s been going!

Even though I don’t focus just on baby products on NKT, as a mom and writer in the baby-rearing stage, when I decided to start NKT I considered my personal interests and the ongoing growth of this niche.  I knew baby and kid gear was a sector where the story well wouldn’t run dry any time soon.

In light of the economic disparity that was going on two years ago when I started, research showed that parents were and still are spending beaucoup bucks on our kids.

And despite the recent recession, the baby products industry continues to grow at a steady clip: Market research firm Mintel estimates it’s now a $9.8 billion industry.

Aptly titled, “Can I Afford a Baby” and filed in the finance section, this US News and World Report article outlines several important points that all new parents should consider such as, some of the itemized expenses one could expect in the first year, hidden costs (I wish someone would have told us about the cost of out of network hospitals and emergency procedures!), common mistakes and more.

Read More

Round Up: Elmo Gear, Gadgets and Goodies

In the past, I’ve profiled a variety of Sesame Street-themed toys, home goods and more.  Last year, Elmo’s image and branding transcended toys and books; we found Elmo on digital media, accessories and more.  Indicative of how connected our kids are these days, you better believe our kids’ favorite characters are following suit.
In honor of Elmo’s birthday, here’s a just a few fun Elmo goodies and gadgets that are worth checking out.

Elmo’s A to Z Wii Game

From Warner Brothers, Elmo’s A to Zoo Adventure is an educational video game that is one of two games that mark Sesame Street’s entry into the gaming sector.  In the game, kids can supplement their alphabet lessons with Elmo’s assistance.  Geared to the pre-k set and up, learning the alphabet gets a new dimension in Elmo’s A to Zoo Adventure where kids can interact with animals and Elmo.  Designed with the help of educational professionals, the details of the video game and the way it’s played cater specifically to the younger kids’ capabilities.?  Having attended the launch event of this game last fall, we’ve had a fun time testing out this game out, and it’s added a fun element to our daily lessons.  I love the little Elmo Wii controller cover–seriously so cute and the kid loves it.  Reluctant to recommend video games to the young ones, Elmo’s A to Zoo game is a great way to change up the usual alphabet-learning routine.

DreamGear Accessories

IMG_7434wtmk

Ok, so maybe the little guys don’t have their own iphone or ipads yet (or maybe they do?), but companies like DreamGear are helping mom and dads outfit their smartphones and tablets with fun kid-friendly accessories.  The silicon iphone case from DreamGear is durable, fun and washable–perfect for parents that appreciate Elmo’s cuteness.  I received a Cookie Monster case from DreamGear for review and receive so many compliments from parents and kids alike.  Who knew a phone case could be such a conversation piece?  Beyond phone and (fuzzy!) tablet accessories, DreamGear has a whole line of Sesame Street branded gaming and electronics accessories that are suitable for kids.

Elmo USB

I chatted about this cool Elmo USB from ATP case before it hit the market, and I still think it’s pretty cool.  It has room for storage for your files and for a video that’s included.  In addition to it being waterproof, drop proof, the plug and play convenience of these Sesame Street video usbs give our favorite furry monsters even more tech cred.

Earth’s Best


Earth’s Best has had Sesame Street branded food for the wee ones for quite some time, but they’ve been adding more to the mix.  Characters all over food isn’t my most favorite thing in the world, but when the food is a healthier option, then I’m on board.  Earth’s Best offers organic foods that don’t contain artificial flavors, colors or preservatives.  We are big breakfast people, so I have Elmo’s Oatmeal and O’s cereals on our must-try list.

Elmo Birthday Talking Plush


All Elmo fans must have their own plush furry monster, especially the toteable, talking kind.  In honor of Elmo’s birthday, I’m kind of smitten with this Elmo Birthday Talking Plush.  I might have to add this guy to my first birthday present ideas for my Sesame Street-loving nieces and nephews.

Happy Birthday, Elmo!

Check it

All of these fun Elmo gear, gadgets  and goodies can be found on one of my affiliates, The Sesame Street Store.  As always, shopping at my affiliates and sponsors helps me to make this website possible.

Full disclosure:  Select samples were provided for review purposes.  As always, all opinions are my own.

Bugaboo celebrates 10 years + a giveaway

It’s hard to believe that it’s already been 10 years since this ubiquitous line of strollers began populating streets in Holland.  Since then, Bugaboo has become a household name among many new parents worldwide, as well as a part of many celebrities’ baby gear aresenal.  In celebration of the high-end stroller line’s 10 year anniversary, from March until July, the company is announcing various exciting offers.  To find out about these offers, check out their site and sign up for their emails.

As if exciting offers aren’t enough, Bugaboo has teamed up with another brand well known to modern parents–Paul Frank.
pfbug
In February, Bugaboo announced that the Cameleon can now be outfitted with the Paul Frank Special Collection. Who doesn’t love Julius the monkey?  The iconic Paul Frank characters adorn the Special Collection, which includes two tailored fabric sets, two footmuffs and two blankets.  Retail prices are $129.95 for the tailored fabric set; $159.95 for the footmuff; and $49.95 for the blanket.

Speaking of cool blankets, Bugaboo added Micro Fleece Blankets to their accessory collection not too long ago.  The blankets come in a spectrum of colors that coordinate with the entire Bugaboo line.  The Micro Fleece Blanket is super soft, weather and water repellent and ideal for a brisk spring day at the park.  The blanket retails at $40

bugaboo blanket

I have a Red Micro Fleece Blanket up for grabs!

Want it?
It’s easy: spread the word about the Next Kid Thing launch and comment below.
Email, Facebook,Twitter, StumbleUpon–whatever social networking site you choose.


For additional entries:
share the news on more than one social networking site and comment with each additional link.

This contest ends next Tuesday, April 21 at 11:59 p.m.

Goodies: Be sure to check out their online community, Bugaboo Friends, for tips and other great info.

*******This contest is now closed***********

Silikids: review and giveaways

With all the news involving BPA lately, this company is one that shows the direction that the baby gear market is heading.

In light of the growth of environmental awareness and social consciousness, especially among new parents, many of us seek safer and much more sustainable products. Silikids, founded by two moms who, in a search for alternatives, decided to turn to silicone, one of the safest and most durable materials on earth, into a product line for children.
After recognizing the lack of hygienic, practical and non-toxic products Giuliana Schwab and Stacey Feeley founded Silikids. They have created a unique line of mom-inspired products, which are germ, mold and toxin-free, hypoallergenic and made entirely out of silicone.
Silicone is a non-porous material made from sand, which is unique for its hygienic, safe, durable and green benefits. Silicone is more frequently being used in children’s products, and is already commonly used for baby bottle nipples, pacifiers, teethers and baby spoons.

The Silikids collection currently includes:

·         Siliskins-silicone sleeves for 4- and 8-oz. bottles (bottles included)
·         Silibibs-soft and easy to clean bibs made entirely of silicone
·         Silipads-silicone kneepads for crawlers and toddlers

sleevehi

sleeve

silibibs

silipads

I had the chance to check out these products, and I was so impressed. The quality and durability are absolutely what I look for in the products that I normally buy.  The functionality and eco-friendliness are clear cut selling points, too.
With many families shying away from questionable plastic baby bottles, glass bottles are once again a popular alternative.
The Siliskin sleeves for glass baby bottles are a protective sheath that helps prevent the bottle from breaking. In addition to being functional, they’re fun and colorful, too!

The Silibibs are easy to clean bibs that are a great alternative to the flimsy plastic bibs out on the market. In addition to catching crumbs, many of those plastic bibs catch their fair share of germs if they’re not cleaned properly! These silicone bibs are a safe bet.

Even though my kid is beyond the crawling phase, I appreciate the innovation of the Silipad silicone kneepads. Bumps and bruises are part of our daily routine, but we could’ve definitely used these in the crawling days to cushion little knees from those hard surfaces.

All Silikids products are priced at less than $25.00 and are dishwasher safe, washer/dryer friendly and can be boiled for sterilization. These products which are fairly new to the market can be found at various stores and online retailers.

I have an orange pair of the Silipads and two 4 oz. sized Siliskin sleeves up for grabs.

Want to win it?

Visit the Silikids site and leave a comment with the products you’d like to try.

For additional entries: blog, tweet, stumble or share the news of the Next Kid Thing’s official launch on any social media site.   Please leave a comment for each additional entries.

*****This contest is now closed******