Protect Like a Mother Exhibit from Lysol

Nurturing and protecting is an innate trait for mothers, regardless of the species. This weekend Lysol is celebrating mothers with “Protect Like a Mother,” an interactive art installation at Brooklyn Bridge Park. Boasting vibrant jewel toned colors against the monochromatic backdrop of the Brooklyn Bridge and NYC skyline, this installation presented by Lysol is a larger than life tribute to mothers from all walks of life.

 

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It’s hard to miss the bright orange orangutan sculpture that depicts a mama toting baby on its back. Even at 5, I’m always toting my low-toned baby, especially when he’s weak or succumbing to the side effects of his meds. Protecting and nurturing is second nature for mothers and parents. 

I love the way that the orangutan mother is described as the ultimate mulitasker. Carrying sleeping babies, while cooking dinner, navigating a crowd and holding everyone’s things? Sounds familiar!

 

 

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The Golden Eagle Mother exhibit is as beautiful as the symbol it represents. The way the Golden Eagle Mother perches her nest in hard-to-reach places to protect her offspring—this is something that’s so relevant to mothers who feel the need to hold her loves close, but far away from those who might cause danger.

 

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Like so many of the other kids, Josh’s absolute favorite part of the installation is the interactive bubble play from the octopus sculpture! We could’ve played with those bubbles forever! I think I feel most like an octopus mother constantly juggling the many moving pieces in life. Though I may drop things, the way I nurture these kids doesn’t go away.

 

 

 

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We loved walking around reading the description of each animal mama. We learned so much about the way each creature mothers so differently, yet all have the same end result: to keep her babies safe.

 

 

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The protective instinct is one of the many facets of motherhood, within the animal kingdom and our own. I love the way the “Protect Like a Mother” exhibit celebrates the undeniable way a mother protects her babes. Lysol has been a leader in germ kill and offers products that kill 99.9% of germs to help moms protect their kids from passing germs and getting sick. As a mama with a babe who is in and out of hospitals and specialists, I constantly do what I can to keep the family as germ-free as possible.

 

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Make sure to check out this truly innovative outdoor art exhibit presented by Lysol at the Brooklyn Bridge Park this weekend 9am-6pm. The exhibit is so unique and makes for some really fun photos!

 

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Full disclosure: this is a sponsored post in partnership with Lysol. I received compensation for sharing this information. However, as always, all opinions on NKT are my own.

New York Baby Show Free Ticket Giveaway

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

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

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

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

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

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!

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!

Family Fun: The Bronx Zoo’s Boo at the Zoo

One of our most favorite places to go around Halloween time is the Bronx Zoo’s Boo at the Zoo. Not-so-spooky, the Boo at the Zoo is a fun family affair, where there is something for everyone. This year’s theme is aptly named, Mystery & Mischief.

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Boo at the Zoo is a fabulous time of year when with festive costumes and thrilling decorations converge with special events at the zoo in celebration of Halloween. The Bronx Zoo is currently featuring a myriad of events and festivities on the weekends until November 1.

My kids adore the zoo and get all into the decorations. It’s so fun to see the usual sites at the zoo, all decked out for Halloween. From pumpkins to spooky backdrops, the Bronx Zoo knows how to get into the Halloween Spirit. The bug carousel is one of my kids’  absolute favorite things at the zoo; the boys love being in their costumes and showing off and just riding around and around as many times as we can.


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During Boo at the Zoo, in addition to checking out all the animals, there are so many fun tricks and treats to see. Throughout the zoo, there are treats for the kids and a fun costume parade. The Alice Farley Dance Company will lead the way again, decked out as snakes, bats, butterflies, and more.  

Among other highlights for Boo at the Zoo include:  the Jack ‘O Lantern Illumination, music, magic shows, giant pumpkin carvings and much much more!

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photo credit: Bronx Zoo

If you’re not in the Bronx, stop by another borough for their version of Boo at the Zoo. Queens Zoo and Prospect Park Zoo both have Halloween activities to let visitors get up close with animals, from the creepy to the cute. And for those who prefer an aquatic take on the holiday, the New York Aquarium’s Ascarium is back this year.

More details and tickets for Boo at the Zoo are available here: http://bit.ly/1OXdXsw

Full disclosure: I received tickets to the zoo to share about my experience. As always, opinions on NKT are my own.

A Look Behind the Scenes at Macy’s Parade Studio

Tucked away in an industrial area of Moonachie, NJ, artists, builders and welders toil away in preparation for Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. From the unsuspecting exterior, you’d never know that the office building that overlooks a distant NYC skyline houses the makings of magical displays and festooned floats. The 72,000 square foot building is home to Macy’s Parade Studio, which builds and designs many of the floats and balloons featured in the storied Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

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After a 40-year stint in Hoboken, Macy’s Parade Studio has called Moonachie, NJ home for the past three years. From this studio, floats of all different shapes and sizes are designed, produced and assembled before the big day—Thanksgiving Day. 

  

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As families gather together, whether in-person along the parade route or in front of the tv to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, many hands had a part in the preparation for the festivities. Macy’s Parade Studio’s team of designers, carpenters, animators, metal fabricators and electricians are responsible for bringing creativity to life. As these creations come to fruition, the team must factor in logistics so that they’re able to make it from the Studio through the Lincoln Tunnel and safely to its Upper West Side destination by ensuring the floats can collapse to no more than 12.5 ft. tall and 8-ft. wide. And before the floats and balloons head for its grand NYC stage, we got a glimpse at the Macy’s Parade Studio for a firsthand look at some of the newest additions to this year’s parade. 

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This year, the parade lineup boasts the most new character balloons ever assembled, along with five new floats. Timeless classic Paddington Bear, Pikachu, Pillsbury Doughboy, the Red Mighty Morphin Power Ranger, Skylanders’ Eruptor and Thomas the Tank Engine will take flight for the first time. Returning balloons include favorites Adventure Time, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, The Elf on the Shelf, Hello Kitty, Papa Surf, Ronald McDonald, Snoopy and Woodstock, Spiderman, SpongeBob and Toothless. 

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I had the chance to participate in a Q&A with Macy’s Parade Studio VP John Piper, who gave us a lot of really interesting background info on the parade, the new floats and how they get those floats from New Jersey to NYC.  

Cracker Jack Popcorn, Beauty of Beijing, Dora and Friends, Goldieblox and Pirate’s Booty will debut as new floats this year. Inspired by America’s pastime, the Cracker Jack float’s modern baseball theme will be a home run with its live cameras, giving spectators a chance see themselves on LED screens aboard the float and providing a surreal take on the ever-present selfie.

 

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Beauty of Beijing showcases ancient and contemporary elements of Chinese culture.

 

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Nickelodeon’s Dora and Friends’ float, full of vibrant colors and bright details, showcases Dora’s new home of Play Verde.

 

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The Girl-Powered Spinning Machine from Goldieblox brings creativity and engineering to life with a myriad of spinning gears, pinwheels, parachutes and jogging wheels.

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Meghan Trainor, pop star known for belting “All About that Bass,” will be performing on the GoldieBlox Girl-Powered Spinning Machine. Ubiquitous lunchbox staple, Pirate’s Booty Treasure Hunt pirate ship will make its inaugural voyage with its detailed Treasure map sail and plundering Pirate at the helm.

 

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New Jersey’s own B&G Foods, which is based in Parsippany, distributes Pirate’s Booty among other popular food and household brands.

 

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The 88th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will air Thursday, November 27, nationwide on NBC at 9am. The parade will step off at 77th Street and Central Park West and will travel down to Columbus Circle  and continue down 6th Ave to 34th street and make its final turn at 7th Ave. in front of Herald’s Square.

 

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade by the Numbers

16 Giant Character Balloons, 

33 Novelty/Ornament Balloons, balloonicles, balloon heads and trycaloons

27 floats,

1,300 cheerleaders and dancers

1000 clowns

12 marching bands

 
 
 

 

Art is Everywhere: Zio Ziegler for PB Teen

Art is everywhere.  That’s the main message that I learned last week after attending a really cool event at PS 289 in NYC.  

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Artist Zio Ziegler has collaborated with PB Teen to release a rad line of gear, including bedding, book and lunch bags, among other things.

In conjunction with his collaboration, Bay area artist, Ziegler, who typically works with spray paint, was commissioned to do a mural for PS 289.  I was onhand for the unveiling, which captured the artist’s essence and passion for influencing art for our youth.

Ziegler’s mural was unveiled to reveal two figures intertwined, which he said symbolized his duality and relationship with school.  It’s a modern and thought-provoking piece, and one that’s perfectly positioned to influence aspiring artists for years to come.

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While working on the piece, Ziegler also had a chance to engage with a select group of students within their art classes.  He gave them pointers and even drew fun pictures for keepsakes.  One forward-thinking student had white Converse sneakers and had Ziegler draw a custom graphic.

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At the unveiling, PB Teen had a selection of pieces from the ZZ line out on display.  As a Pottery Barn fan in general, naturally, I fell in love with everything.  From the hot pink laptop sleeve adorned with ZZ’s signature art to the skate deck shelves, I’d officially like one of everything from this funky collaboration.

 

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Zio Ziegler for PB Teen will be available soon, so enjoy these photos as a sneak peek for what’s to come!  Be on the look out for these bright statement pieces that are perfectly suited for teens and beyond.

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Kleenex Field Trips and the American Museum of Natural History

Having NYC in our backyard is a treat, and one that we try to enjoy as often as we can.  The city, and all of its robust offerings, never fails to entertain, but even better: it also educates.

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Aptly enough, last week, I was invited by my friends at The Motherhood to take part in a field trip to one of our favorite NYC institutions, the American Museum of Natural History.  Having explored the incredible exhibits on our own many times before, this field trip, sponsored by Kleenex, provided a unique behind the scenes experience for some of my blogging friends and our kids.

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Our group gathered at the AMNH to not only check out some of the latest exhibits, but also to learn about Kleenex’s current promotion that underscores the importance of field trips.  Field trips provide kids of all ages an opportunity to engage and absorb new educational experiences firsthand; it gives learning a totally different dimension, which is something that all kids should be able to enjoy.  And judging by the many mouths left agape in amazement throughout our visit, I can testify that our kids, especially my inquisitive preschooler, totally enjoyed themselves at AMNH!

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Our first stop of the day was at one of AMNH’s newest exhibits, Frogs: A Chorus of Colors.  My guy practically screamed with excitement at every single case.  He just couldn’t believe all the (live!) frogs and toads in different shapes and sizes.  And since we were visiting right before the museum officially opened, we were told that the frogs’ behavior would be especially interesting.  The highlight of the frog exhibit, besides the video kiosk that showed each different frog’s favorite foods, was witnessing some frogs actually being fed.  Pretty cool!

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Our next stop was the World’s Largest Dinosaurs exhibit, and yet, another exhibit that didn’t disappoint, especially the dinosaur aficionados in our group! The kid had a blast playing with the mechanism that reenact the motions of how a brontosaurus ate.  But it was the fossil pit that was, perhaps, the biggest hit of all.  With “gwobbles,” tools and bones to dig out, we could have been there all.day.long.

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My niece will be visiting next week, so we’re hoping to take another trip to the American Museum of Natural History to discover even more!

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Want to learn more about Kleenex’ Save the Fieldtrip Promotion?  Head to Kleenex’s Facebook page where you can enter to win $5000 toward your school’s own field trip.  In this day and age of cutbacks, I’m sure many teachers, parents and students could benefit from this awesome promo!
And since you’re already on the interwebs, check out their fancy on-the-go packs.  I am in love with the Wallet Packs.  Who knew tissues could be all stylish!

Full disclosure:  I am being compensated for my participation in this campaign.  The field trip was sponsored by Kleenex.  As always, opinions are my own.

David Weinstone Celebrates New Release with NYC Show

The best kind of children’s music is the kind that resonates, not only for the kid, but for the parents as well.  And David Weinstone and The Music for Aardvarks Band does just that for our family.  Having spent our baby days as city dwellers (and still dreaming of returning every day), Weinstone’s songs are so relatable since they transcend the usual cutesy topics, and instead, celebrates things like, taxis and the joys of Avenue A.  As a baby, the kid routinely fell asleep to the sounds of garbage trucks, cabs whizzing by and sirens wailing outside our window, so, like most urban families, we can totally relate to the fun songs from Weinstone and The Music for Aardvarks Band.

With alternative influences, clever guitar melodies and cheery percussion, Weinstone’s music strikes a chord for all families who appreciate good music.  We love classics like Birdie, Runaround Kid and Move Your Feet as seen on Jack’s Big Music Show on Nick Jr. (Get UP…get down!)

Besides catching him on Nick, perhaps you might know Weinstone from his classes that are said to be frequented by famous families here in the NYC and NJ area; Weinstone is also the creator of Music for Aardvarks classes, which has classes all across the country now.  So, not only do city families have the good fortune to rocking out to such fun music, but so can everyone else.

This weekend in NYC, David Weinstone and The Music for Ardvarks Band is celebrating their new cd, “All I Want!” with a concert at the Highline Ballroom on April 30th.

The theme of our new CD, All I Want!, is that what kids need most is quality time with caring adults. We hope the way we interact with kids at our shows reflects this.”

“All I Want!”, released March 8th, features all new songs and is David Weinstone’s sixteenth Music for Aardvarks recording.  This latest release is described as bringing together pop/folk/rock/blues styles to communicate a singular message:  “All I want is me and you!”

As fans of Weinstone, this is yet another one we’ll be sure to add to our playlist!

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In town this coming weekend?  Here are the details for their CD Release Party!

WHAT:                David Weinstone & The Music for Aardvarks Band
WHERE:             Highline Ballroom, 431 W. 16th St., NYC
WHEN:               Saturday, April 30.   12:00 noon.
TICKETS:           $12 in advance. $15 day of show. $40 Family 4-Pack.  Phone 212.414.5994.  www.highlineballroom.com.

David Weinstone’s discs are available online at musicforaardvarks.com, amazon.com, cdbaby.com, all major digital download sites and retail stores nationwide.

First-Ever Brooklyn Baby Expo Set for This Weekend

For quite some time now, Brooklyn has been undergoing a baby boom of sorts.  And quite appropriately, on Sunday, March 13, Brooklyn will welcome its first-ever Baby Expo.

Hosted by Karen Connell, the brains behind A Baby Grows in Brooklyn, the Brooklyn Baby Expo will be held at Toren Condos from 11am to 4pm.  The Expo, expected to attract expectant moms, new parents and young families, boasts a day full of activities, exhibitors, demos, seminars and raffles.

The Expo transcends the usual fare of baby shows and boasts a line-up of helpful demos and speakers that most modern parents would appreciate.

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