Saturday, April 28, 2012

Lunch Snacks from Duane Reade with Help from the New Duane Reader

On Wednesday, I took the train into Manhattan to run about 319 errands and still be home in time to pick-up my kids from school by 2:30. 

Just as I finished what felt like even more than 319 errands, I remembered there was nothing at home for the kids to bring in their lunches, and there were still two more school days left that week.

Lucky for me, right there across from the train station at 33rd and Eighth was the answer to my school lunch woes:

Duane Reade.

I had just read the day before the new DuaneReader online (basically a drug store circular, only irreverent and funny)

so I knew Duane Reade had a bunch of treats my kids would like, and that I wouldn't find too terrible for them to eat.

Inside the store I quickly found Cheddar Penguins:
With the new low Duane Reader price I had spotted online the day before:

And even if you haven't checked out the Duane Reader online before going to the store, there are plenty of "old-fashioned" paper ones at the store:
as well as clearly marked labels by the Duane Reader featured items.

I also got the kids a bunch of dried fruit, since word at my house is when I pack fresh stuff it is "mushy" and "brown" by lunchtime.

Shopping complete, I left with even a few minutes to spare before I needed to catch my train home to Jersey. Walking across the street to Penn Station I realized in all my lunch food buying, I'd forgotten to bring home some products to help my daughter who had all of a sudden developed super-chapped lips.

Going down the elevator, and feeling like the worst mom ever that I was going to come home without the Chapstick, I stepped off the elevator, looked-up and there it was: a Duane Reade in the train station.
I grabbed the forgotten items,

made a dash for my train, and settled into my seat with a few minutes to spare.

Duane Reade, I totally owe you one.

For more photos from my trip to Duane Reade, visit my Google+ story, A visit to Duane Reade with a little help from the Duane Reader.

Visit the Duane Reader online for a good read and to find great deals.

You can also like Duane Reade on Facebook, follow them on Twitter @DuaneReade as well as at the hashtags #DReade and #DreadeVIP.

Disclosure: This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias. #CBias. All opinions are my own.

I am also part of the Duane Reade VIP blogger team (follow along at #DreadeVIP).

Friday, April 27, 2012

Enterprise Photos: Live from New York City

All photos taken by my mom, from her New York City apartment.

Old Photo Friday with Bonus Yes, I Still Have It AND Who Wore it Better!

I was digging around the ol' photos, and I found this great one: me at my college graduation.
Photo by my brother.
And wearing my cool vintage 1950s shades. While I insisted on wearing them to the graduation ceremony, I remember my mom telling me to take them off for the photos or, and I quote, "You'll regret it when you look back at the photos one day."
Photo by my brother.
I didn't take the sunglasses off, not out of defiance or disagreement with my mother, but just because I forgot.

For years afterwards, when I looked at my graduation photos I would hear my mother's words, and I would worry, "She was right! I am going to regret this one day! And now there's nothing I can do about it!"

But seeing these pics today,and it's been close to twenty years now, I'm happy to report that I'm totally OK with it.

And would you believe I still have those sunglasses? And I can now happily add this post to the Yes, I still have it archives.

And my son loves to wear them, fondly remembered now as Mommy's "graduation glasses."

Which of course means I have to ask, who wore it better?

And Ziggy? When the time comes - please, please, please don't even think about wearing them to your college graduation.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

If You're Fighting in the Mommy Wars: You've Already Won

I'm linking-up to Yeah Write. For those of you who were here last week, you will be glad to know this week is not a dream sequence.

I've been following semi-closely the latest round in the "mommy wars".

And this is my conclusion: if you're fighting in the mommy wars, then you've already won.

If you are weighing your options, and making the choice to work or not work, you've already won.

If you are a two-parent family that can afford financially to have one parent stay home, you've already won. I don't care if you are a stay-at-home mom or a stay-at-home dad, your family? Is winning.

If you're a two-parent working family, you've already won, too. In this crappy economy both of you have a job? Your family? Is winning.

If you have the luxury to debate whether it is better for a mom (or dad) to be employed or stay home, then you've already won.

Working moms, stay-at-home moms - who yes, I realize are also working - it's all good. Why try and make one better, or worse, than the other?

So now that we've established that fighting the mommy wars is a poor use of time, let's use all our free time to do something good!

Let's turn our energy to all the people who don't have that choice to be employed outside the home or to stay at home. Let's help the single mom (or dad) who is doing all the childcare and all the working.

Let's help the stay at home mom who wants to work, but can't find a job.

Instead of complaining a mom (or dad) shouldn't be working because she should be home with her kids, why don't we all just give the lady a hand? Invite her kids to go with you to the after-school activity you know they need a ride to, offer to pick them up from soccer so she doesn't have to leave work early, and believe me (not that this should matter) she will return the favor. Work-out-of-the house moms always do, one way or another.

And as long as we have all this extra energy for righting the world instead of fighting over the most personal of decisions, what don't we try and make more tenable out-of-home working arrangements for parents? I would have loved to keep my pre-kid job. But the hours were just too long, and my company had no interest in trying to keep me in a part-time role.

And last, don't think I've forgotten, what about making the stay-at-home mom's life a little easier, too? Personally, I think stay-at-home moms are entitled to some kind of union that limits hours worked per week and gives time off on holidays, or at least pays overtime. Oh wait, they don't get paid... so maybe we could work on that, too.

What do you think?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Tea Collection: Great Picks for Kids Summer Clothes

It's that time of year when I unpack the kids clothes I dutifully put away last summer, and realize nothing fits.

Why I still insist on putting them away every year, I do not know.

Because not even once, has something fit the next summer.

So today I'm doing a little shopping for some new summer clothes for my kids on the Tea Collection website.

For my son, I'm loving this Monkey King tee ($26):
And for my daughters, I am planning to get them each one of the "wardrobe sets" so they'll have plenty of mix and match pieces for the summer ready to go. The 5-piece Moon Orchid Set ($115) is perfect for my oldest who loves turquoise:
What clothing designers are your favorites for kids summer clothes?

Tea Collection has been awarded the 2012 "Stylish Tot" Cribsie Award!

Tea Collection is committed to designing distinctive fashion collections for children inspired by different cultures around the world. Visit Tea Collection today and view their new summer collection. 

I was compensated for this post, but all opinions are mine.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Old Photo Friday: Ziggy and the Plaid Pajamas

My mom buys the kids lots of great clothes - but often a little on the big size. I understand why - kids grow, and usually, they grow quickly.

And of course, the buying-large strategy means the clothes will last for awhile.

Like in the case of Ziggy and the plaid pajamas which my mom bought him when he was a baby. For reasons she outlined in this email I received from her:

"Bought Ziggy some plaid PJ's since U like 2 dress him in old men clothes and he's in bed a lot."

Here he is wearing his "old man pajamas" as a wee baby:

And here he is still happily wearing his "old man pajamas" just last month:

What about you? When it comes to kids clothes, are you a "buy a size bigger" shopper, or more of a "buy the stuff I like in multiple sizes" kind of shopper?

This is my usual installment of Old Photo Friday, even though (yes, I know) the photos aren't that old.

Linking-up to the always funny, Finding the Funny at My Life and Kids and Kelley's Breakroom.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Click and Improve: The Solution for Hassle-Free Home Improvement (and a Discount Too!)

We bought our house in scenic New Jersey almost two years ago. Like most new homeowners, when we moved in we made a list of things that needed to be repaired immediately, and a list of things that we should also get fixed, but that were less urgent.

And two years later? Yes, that's right... we've checked nothing off the list.

So when the nice folks at Click and Improve (an amazing company that makes it easy to actually complete your home improvement projects, instead of just thinking about your home improvement projects) contacted me about trying their service, I finally got one of the items on our endless list done.

The ceiling in my eight-year-old daughter Magpie's room had been damaged by a leak in our roof, and so in addition to needing to be repainted the ceiling also needed to have the peeling plaster repaired.

Magpie complains incessantly about the bits and pieces of plaster floating down from her ceiling, so I figured repairing her ceiling could move to the top of our home improvement list.

Part of why I had put-off the ceiling repair for so long was because I didn't know where to start. I didn't know who to call, or how to explain the condition of the ceiling. Luckily, the Click and Improve website makes it easy to determine what service you need. When you choose "Painting"  you are given several options, such as interior or exterior, and there are even visuals for explaining your job for handy-impaired folks like myself:

Once scheduled, I used the imminent ceiling repair as an excuse to have my daughter clean her room. In case you don't understand how momentous that is, lemme show you before and after photos:

The painter showed-up on time the following morning, and Click and Improve even gave me a courtesy call to let me know he was outside my house.  He did a great job, and by the end of the day the old, cracked, peeling paint on the ceiling was a distant memory.

Seeing how easy it was to get this repair done - which has been on my to do list for over a year now - I'm inspired to get on track and finish the rest of my home repairs as well. With the help of Click and Improve, I think it might really happen.

Try Click and Improve for yourself! Enter the code "HANDPRINTS" at checkout and receive 10% off any service. Expires 8/1/2012.

You can find Click and Improve online at, as well as on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube

Click and Improve currently serve the greater New York City metropolitan area, including Long Island and parts of New Jersey, and are expanding rapidly.

To learn more, here's a video that explains how to easily Find Your Home Repair Solution.

I received a free service from Click and Improve to review their service, by my opinions and enthusiastic support are all my own.

What's at the top of your home improvement to do list?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Mother Earth to Oriental Trading: Don't Try to Friend Me On Facebook

Image from
Once again, Oriental Trading is making me crazy with their offerings for Earth Day.
On behalf of Mother Earth, let me be the one to tell you, Oriental Trading, that she is totally not happy that you are selling item after item of disposable plastic and paper junk in honor of... EARTH DAY.
Most of us celebrate Earth Day by doing something to help the planet. But then again, most of us aren't trying to make a buck off of "saving" the planet.
All of which is to say, I wish you wouldn't sell crap and claim it's good for the planet, when you know perfectly well that it isn't.

And Mother Earth? She is totally pissed off about it.

Among the worst Earth Day offerings from Oriental "Not Facebook Friends with Mother Earth" Trading:
  • Our Earth Punch Balls, 'cause you don't need to be a junior ecologist to know these are totally not awesome for the environment:

Recycle Rubber Duckies, which I'm guessing can't be recycled:

Earth Day Photo Frames - because why craft a unique frame out of recycled materials, when you could buy all new mass-produced stuff to make frames that are basically all the same?

And then there are these Jumbo Earth Sticker Sheets, because having a giant sticker saying "Save our Planet" is practically the same thing as actually like doing something to um, y'know... save our planet.

And last, but not least, the vinyl, won't-last-five-minutes, Earth Kick Balls, because nothing says "I love the earth" like a toy that gets barely used before ending up in the trash where it will live on indefinitely.

This post is recycled from Earth Day 2010 and Earth Day 2011 and has been updated to include the latest Earth Day product line extensions from OTC.

No trees were harmed in the writing of this blog post.

And there are plenty of companies doing good for Earth Day, here are a few of my favorites.

I'm linking this post up to Finding the Funny (with My Life and Kids and Kelley's Break Room), because even though it is ultimately not at all funny, it is still sorta funny that they are selling this stuff.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Old Photo Friday: My Big Brother's Birthday

Tomorrow is my big brother Ethan's birthday.

What better way to celebrate than with photos of his birthday's past on this Old Photo Friday?

The original birthday:

Third birthday?

A great present on the fifth birthday?

Sixth birthday?

Eighth birthday?

And right when I was starting to feel nostalgic for those simpler, "olden" times, I realized that my big brother's car-themed birthday cake:

Looked an awful lot like his nephew Ziggy's cake just last August:

It should be noted both cakes had the same stylist.
Happy Birthday, Big E!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Little Miss Muffet's Monster-Sitting Service at the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre - And A Chance to Win Tickets to the Show! GIVEAWAY CLOSED

Last month, we took a family trip into New York City to visit Central Park in it's early spring splendor and to see Little Miss Muffet's Monster-Sitting Service, the current show playing at the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre now through August 26.

My six and eight-year-old daughters loved the show, and my two-year-old son did, too - after a bit of a slow start. The show is recommended for ages 3-12, and with a running time of a little under an hour, it really is a great "first show" for little ones.

The theatre is also very accomodating of kids (like my son) who took a few trips back and forth before settling in happily to watch the show.

And, as is always a pleasure to report, the show has enough humor and fun to be enjoyable for older kids and grown-ups, too.

The marionette productions at the Swedish Cottage are based on children's classics but given innovative and contemporary updates with lots of singing and dancing.

This show tells the tale of Molly Muffet (the great–great–great–great granddaughter of the original, “Little Miss Muffet”) and what happens when she ends up home alone while her parents leave for a high school reunion. With help from "Al"(short for Aloisius Albrecht Alviss Spider) who is in fact the same spider who once sat down beside the original Miss Muffet, they start a monster-sitting service which results in as many troubles and delights as you would imagine would come from baby-sitting monsters.

The Swedish Cottage (built in 1876) is a charming destination itself and the fairytale park next door makes a great before or after show stopping place as well.

Located at 79th Street and the West Drive inside the park (easiest entrance is on 81st street from Central Park West), make sure you leave enough time to walk there with your little ones. (Click here for a map.)

There's a lot to see in the park, and if your kids are like mine, they do not want to be rushed and do not have a firm grasp of what is meant by "We're going to be late." and "The show starts at as specific time. We can dawdle afterwards."

Taking a break to smell the daffodils

If you would like to see Little Miss Muffet's Monster-Sitting Service, here's your chance to win a Family Pack of Four Tickets!

To enter, leave a comment below (make sure it has your email address, or a way to contact you) and let us know if your kids have ever been to a puppet show!

For five additional entries:
- Follow this blog publicly via Google Friend Connect (it's on the right side of this page)
- Follow City Parks Foundation on Twitter @CPFNYC
- Follow me on Twitter @Anna_Sandler
- Like City Parks Foundation on Facebook
- Like RandomHandprints on Facebook

Please leave a comment for each of the above you do, or if you do all five you can leave just one comment saying "High Five!" or something similar.

Thank you for entering! Ticket giveaway ends on Monday, April 23 at 10am EST. CLOSED.

For a full schedule of performances and to purchase tickets to the show ($8 adults, $5 kids) click here.

The Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre is a service of the City Parks Foundation. My family received tickets to facilitate the review of the show. All opinions are my own.

Giveaway small print: Contest open to U.S. residents age 18 and over. Contest ends at 10:00am EST, Monday, April 23, 2012. Winners will be randomly selected via and announced here as well as emailed or messaged on Twitter with the good news. Entrants must provide contact information in their comment. If winner does not respond within forty-eight hours, a new winner will be selected. Prize supplied and fulfilled by the City Parks Foundation. Performance date to be determined by City Parks Foundation, who will work with winner to find a suitable date. I was not compensated for this post or for promoting this contest.

For more information and full giveaway rules, please contact

Good Luck!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Happy Easter! {More Bunny Photos}

For more Easter fun, click here.

Old Photo Friday: One Kid as a Bunny and One Kid with Bunnies

Once upon a time, not so long ago in Old Photo Friday terms, it seemed the kids got their faces painted every.single.weekend. Now? Not so much. (Not that I'm complaining.)

So as I was compiling a nice little gallery of their adorable painted faces, I was happy to come across a bunny face perfect for some Easter posting, Jewish kid style.

Kay, as bunny rabbit, April 2009
And once upon a time, it seemed like every urban weekend was spent visiting a makeshift petting zoo of some kind. And now? Not so much. Again, I'm not complaining. Just noticing.

Magpie, with bunny rabbits on the Upper West Side, 2006
I still remember how much you loved petting those rabbits.

You can see more Old Photo Friday posts here, and more Easter posts here. Including one about when my daughters plotted to dress-up their baby brother as - you guessed it - a bunny.

And yes, I realize I'm posting this on Saturday. In my defense, yesterday totally did not feel like a Friday.

I'm linking-up to Finding the Funny with Kelley's Break Room and My Life and Kids because, well... that's what I do. You should too!

{Keep Reading}

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