Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Handprint Crafts for August

Believe it or not, this post from last year is the most visited one on my blog. So, I thought it deserved a re-publish. If you're looking for handprint crafts to celebrate the August holidays - you're in the right place.

How is it August already? While we still have a good long month of summer to go, there's no denying back-to-school and fall are right around the corner.
Here are a bunch of handprint crafts for August - some that are perfect if you're still on summer vacation, and one for those who are already in back-to-school mode.
For those still on school vacation:

And for those heading back to school:
And last but not least, here's how to make a gorgeous handprint butterfly. Whether it's a symbolic commentary on your child's year ahead, or just a final celebration of summer, handprint butterflies are a perfect August handprint craft.

How are you celebrating August and the end of summer days and the return of school days?

For a full year of Handprint crafts, you can read the full list here.

In Honor of BlogHer: A Little Glimpse of NYC

With the BlogHer conference here any minute, it's all the talk in Blogger-ville.

As it's my first BlogHer, I don't have much to say about the conference itself.

But New York City, I could talk about my favorite city all day long.

Instead, however, I'll just post this photo I snapped on a recent stroll around Manhattan.

Charming, aren't they?

And yet, those tees are exactly what's so great about New York City. You never know what you're gonna get.

And sometimes... you're gonna get profanity on baby onesies.

I'm linking this up to Finding the Funny, come join the weekly linky fun at My Lifeand Kids and Kelley's Break Room.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

A few favorite must-haves for summer

Over the last few months I've written a lot of posts at Momtrends.com about must-haves for summer. Here are a few of my favorite products in case you're still searching for the perfect summer bag, tee or toy for the kids:

Bungalow360 - These awesome totes from Bungalow360 are super eco-friendly and depending on the style are around $30. My tote has quickly become my favorite bag this summer.

Icebreaker Merino - I'm so in love with Icebreaker Merino's line of stylish and comfy performance clothing - tees, hoodies and more for women, men and kids.

Miamica Travel Accessories - From "Upgrade Me!" luggage tags to the "Bling it on!" travel jewelry case, Miamica products add a little bit of fun and whimsy to your travel gear.

Mudpuppy Toddler Travel Puzzles - These puzzles from Mudpuppy are genius for travel. All the pieces fit inside one compact pouch with a zipper so you don't spend your trip searching for lost pieces.

Nogent*** Knives - Nogent is a long-standing French knife maker, who recently came out with a new line of knives in fun summer colors. I have the paring knife in lime green, and I'm a big fan.

What's your favorite summer must-have?

Friday, July 27, 2012

Old Photo Friday: Blog Conference Past

I'm going to BlogHer '12

I'll be heading to the Big Apple for my first time at the Big Dance of bloggers, BlogHer '12.

I cannot wait.

All the talking, planning and excitemtn for next week's event reminded me of the fabulous time I had at the only other Blog Conference I've ever attended, Bloggy Boot Camp in Boston.

I'm happy to say I'm still chatty with lots of the folks I met there last year, including these two aweseome gangstas ladies
Kim, Me and Liz.

who I get to (squee!!) see again next week.

I cannot wait.

For lots of advice about what to do, not do, see and not see check out the advice of some seasoned BlogHer bloggers here.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Let the Math Games Begin! Great Ideas for Olympic Math with Kids

The London Olympics begin tomorrow, and I've already let my kids know this means they'll get to watch a lot of TV over the next couple of weeks.

And while I'm all good with our upcoming Olympic viewing, it doesn't mean I couldn't be even good-er with it if I thought the kids could get a little sneaky learning at the same time.

Bedtime Math - a very cool idea from a New Jersey Mom - has lots of ways to teach your kids math while they're watching the Olympics.

When the Olympics are over, you can continue the math fun with nightly problems available on the Bedtime Math website (BedtimeMathProblem.org) and on the Bedtime Math Problem Facebook page. You can also get math problems via a daily email.

Here are Bedtime Math's ideas for Olympic math fun:
  • Measure time with your own Olympic-style race. Many Olympic sports are won when an athlete gets from point A to point B fastest. Help your kids understand time with your own Olympic-style race outside. Use a stopwatch to time each family member and then compare times to see who finished fastest.

  • Keep track of medals won.Throughout the Olympics, total the number of gold, silver, and bronze medals won by U.S. athletes. Create a chart on a poster board or piece of paper, and use gold, silver, and bronze stars to track medal wins.

  • Go the distance. Olympic events like the long jump and the shot put are two great examples of sports that can be used to teach your kids about distance. Use a measuring tape to measure how far your child can throw a baseball, or see how much distance he or she can cover in a long jump-inspired leap.

  • Count everything. There are so many different ways to practice counting during the Olympics. Asyou’re watching the different sports competitions, ask your children to tell you how many players are on the field, lanes are in the pool, or countries are represented in a particular event – the opportunities for counting are endless!

For more ideas for Olympic fun crafting, baking and playing kid-versions of events, check out all these Olympic ideas on Pinterest.

I was not compensated for this post. I just think making math fun for kids is awesome!

Note: There is an actual Math Olympics. And a good commentary about how Math Olympiads should be as revered as Olympic athletes. The author ends with, "It’s time to glorify Olympic math champions, just as we glorify Olympic swimmers."

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/07/21/2904712/olympic-fever-should-extend-to.html#storylink=cpy

What do you think?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

At the Playground: Ocean View, Delaware

Every summer we vacation in Bethany Beach, Delaware.

In addition to all the other great things about the place, there is a really fantastic - and shady - playground in Ocean View, the next town over.

This year my two older kids spent their mornings at tennis camp, which meant Ziggy got to spend his mornings at the playground.

Which of course, meant I got to spend my mornings at the playground, too.

But I'm not complaining, because I know all too soon he'll be at tennis camp, too.

All photos taken by my brother at John West Park, Ocean View, Delaware.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED A Great Day in Jersey City and A Giveaway for Two Tickets to the Liberty Science Center!

The Giveaway has ended. Winner to be annouced soon.

We spent Father's Day in Jersey City, and it was awesome.

I had no idea Jersey City had such a gorgeous waterfront, including amazing views of Manhattan.

We had brunch at the Hyatt Regency, which is right on the water in Jersey City and my toddler son Ziggy just loved watching the boats go by.

Afterwards, we headed out for a walk on the promenade where we told the kids they could see their grandma's apartment across the way.

So of course, Ziggy called her.

They made plans to go for a swim and meet half-way next time.

Next, we went over to the Liberty Science Center.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Happy Old Photo Friday to Me

It's my birthday today, and it was the reflective/nostalgic mood this particular "milestone" birthday put me in that got me started on Old Photo Friday in the first place.

So of course for today, I'm got old photos from my birthdays. I'm still finding more, so next week I will probably be back with Part II of the birthday collection.

Here, in order, my birthdays from ages zero to eight.

I also love this photo of my brother, who I believed was forced to pose as a party decoration one year.

And from the same year, there's also this photo of me admiring my 1970s loot of a jump rope, hula hoop and my second dog (I got the first one for my birthday the year before) that barked when you clapped, which was the greatest technology ever... in 1978.

So I'm off to enjoy another year ahead, convincing myself that growing older is fine, and trying to embrace another Anna's outlook that it's all good with lots of candles, plenty of cake.

And the kids and I did in fact have plenty of cake, Jacques Torres Chocolate Cake made by my mother, for breakfast this morning. A perfect way to start my birthday. *

* I am going to maintain this lovely memory, and not mention that one of the children may (or may not) have immediately vomited all over me after we finished our perfect cake breakfast.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Garden Update - Because I know you worry

The garden is doing fine, more than fine considering the heat and lack of rain this summer here in Jersey.

The tomato plant has like, I'm not kidding, thirty tomatoes that are almost, almost ripe.

The string bean plant has yielded maybe five, possibly even six, string beans. All of which Kay ate, so that alone made it worth it.

The transplanted flowers from Strong Island have all made it, and the Black-eyed Susans are lately really starting to bloom.

And the herb collection - Lavender, Rosemary, Chamomile and Lemon Verbena - are all good.

Magpie's sunflowers, grown from seed, have all bloomed to her great delight - but given she's eight, not surprise.

Happy Bee!

Magpie's sunflowers, three string beans in a row, and proof the lavender plant is indeed lavender. {Ahem.}

We have not had success with the squash, which I think the local animals have been chomping, and the strawberry plant has also been a no go as well.

But I'm not discouraged. There's always next year.

Do you garden? Are you having a successful year?

Disclosure: This is an actual update about my garden in suburban New Jersey. It is not meant as a metaphor for life.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

My tips for making your guest bathroom ready for visitors

Thank you to Kleenex Hand Towels for sponsoring this post about how I'm making my bathroom guest-ready! To learn more about Kleenex Hand Towels or to find out how you can save money when you buy your own, check out this site.
Ah, summertime. It's a great time for hosting visitors, especially if like me you have a country home (really, it's our year-round house in suburban New Jersey but I like the sound of "country home" better than the alternatives) and lots of urban friends and family who love coming out from New York City for an afternoon of lounging around outdoors, grilling on the barbecue, and if they're lucky perhaps even a woodchuck sighting.

I'm excited to be working with the Clever Girls Collective and Kleenex Hand Towels to share my tips for making a guest bathroom ready for visitors.

Before having people over, the first thing I always do is make sure the sink is clean. My grandma believed if your sink was clean, visitors would think your house is clean. I'm not sure if she was right or not, but since my messy house needs all the help it can get, I don't take any chances.

I also make sure to have some nice smelling liquid hand soap, and also that my children haven't used it all in their pumping glee.

For visiting children, I have a step stool so little ones can reach the sink. And I keep a cabinet stocked with wipes and diapers in case they're needed for babies and toddlers.

Add a chandelier for a little sparkle, and our guest bathroom is ready to go.

Let's just hope the traffic isn't too bad for the City folk making there way out here to the New Jersey countryside.

Join the 14 million people who have already joined the Clean Hands campaign by using Kleenex Hand Towels, and click here for savings and more!      

I was selected for participation in this campaign as a member of Clever Girls Collective.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Old Photo Friday: Driving Miss Anna

Life in semi-rural Virgina, mid-1970s.

Idyllic, no?

I know this Old Photo Friday is late again. I blame summer.

Note: I still have the Creative Playthings cart shown above. My kids used to give each other fast-paced rides in it, zooming up and down the hallway in our NYC apartment house. Out here in the suburbs, it gets less use. I should totally move it back into the rotation.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Field Station: Dinosaurs - Just Another Reason to Heart New Jersey!

New Jersey already has it all - famous beaches, natural beauty, industry and incredible theme parks.

And now it has Field Station: Dinosaurs, an incredible travel-back-in-time experience in Secacus.

Being Jerseyites, we drove to Field Station: Dinosaurs, but New Yorkers can also get there easily via New Jersey Transit from Penn Station, and then a short shuttle.

We arrived in the morning, paid $10 for parking and took the absolute farthest away parking space as directed by the parking lot attendant. I was a little miffed, but decided someone had to park there, so it might as well be us.

When we entered the park we were given a Trail Map as well as a Passport, which can get stamped at various designated places. My kids were super-excited about getting stamps in their Passports.

The main attraction of Field Station: Dinosaurs are the giant animatronic dinosaurs, and they are seriously amazing. Their necks swivel, their eyes blink, and they roar - very loud, authentic sounding dinosaur roars.

My kids (ages 2, 6 and 8) were all equally enthralled, and I'm happy to report that the two-year-old was not scared at all.

In addition to the dinos, there are various activities. Several were not open the day we were there, which reduced the stamp-getting options for my kids who were on a Passport-stamping quest. There were also a few spots with stamp potential but for one reason or another my kids didn't qualify for a stamp.

Personally, I thought they could have been a little more loose with the stamps, but I will fully admit to also being of the everyone-gets-a-participation-medal school of parenting. My two older kids only managed to eek out a single stamp, and my little guy couldn't complete that activity so he couldn't get even one.

There was a lot of educational dino info throughout the park, which I think would be particularly interesting to dino-obsessed and older kids, as well as to visiting school groups.

Field Station: Dinosaurs was a truly a one-of-a-kind experience, and I'm glad that New Jersey is home to this latest piece of awesome. I would consider it a must-see for anyone visiting the area, and it would make a great day trip for folks on a New York City vacation.

However, I should also note it is an expensive piece of awesome. Ticket prices in advance are $17.50 for kids and $20 for adults, and at the park ticket prises rise to $20 for kids and $25 for adults. Kids two and under are free, and there are discounts for seniors and groups. However, for frequent visitors, season passes are $48-54 so that might be a good - and affordable - option for repeat visitors.

To learn more about Field Station: Dinosaurs visit their website,  like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter: @Jerseysaurus. You can also purchase discounted admission tickets online, as well as season passes.

Field Station:Dinosaurs is open daily from 10am to 6pm.

My family received free tickets to Field Station: Dinosaurs for review purposes from MamaDrama. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Just a Boy and His Bear Taking a Boardwalk Stroll

This post is from last summer, but I was reminded of it when we made our annual trip to the shore, and this same boardwalk, last week.

I took my urban-living, tie-wearing, stroller-pushing, toddler son to the Delaware shore.
And found out that what is a totally common not-worth-noticing sight in Manhattan, ain't so in this small shore town.
But conformity aside, just watch this 14-second video, and you'll see this is one very happy urban-living, tie-wearing, stroller-pushing toddler.

And for him, it's just another night strolling on the boardwalk, a boy and his bear.

Linking-up to Finding the Funny at Kelley's Break Room and My Life and Kids.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Rookie USA: Great Clothing from Head to Toe for My Little Rookie

There's a new kids clothing store Rookie USA, and it's coming soon to New York City.

I'm thrilled to be working with Collective Bias to spread the word about Rookie USA, which will feature "kids' favorite brands, head to toe."

As part of the #RookieUSA campaign, my daughter Kay received a package of clothes from Rookie USA, which included incredible brands like Levi's, Converse and Nike.

Kay loves sports, and gym is her favorite thing about school.While she has always participated in a lot of sports from tennis to ice skating, it wasn't until this spring that she played her first team sport, softball.

Here she is on the last day of the softball season, wearing her participation medal with pride and enjoying her little brother's admiration of it.

However, even though Kay is very active, she also cares a lot about what she wears so I was interested to see what she would think of clothes that she didn't pick out herself, since she has been choosing her clothes and getting dressed by herself since she was a toddler.

I'm happy to be able to say that Kay was a big fan of all the clothing, but she especially loved this outfit - a Nike 6.0 tank top and Levi's Skimmer Shorts. It's a great summer outfit, but I think it's also perfect for back-to-school for those still-warm fall days.

These sports shorts from Nike 6.0 were also a hit with Kay, as was the pink tee from Converse.

These Levi's jeans and tee were another fantastic outfit, and will be ideal for school and the fall weather.

Makes you want to get some clothes for your Rookie, doesn't it?

The bad news is that Rookie USA isn't open yet.

But... the good news is you can go to the Rookie USA homepage at RookieUSA.com, and sign up to receive a free $20 gift card that is good for your first in-store purchase. Just enter your email address and choose a password of at least eight characters, click "join" and you're done.

Welcome to the neighborhood, Rookie USA. My little Rookie and I can't wait to go shopping.

For more photos of the clothes from Rookie USA, please visit my Google+ photo album.

To learn more about Rookie USA, follow them on Twitter @RookieUSA and via the hashtag #RookieUSA. You can also like them on Facebook.

I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ and Rookie USA. #CBias #SocialFabric

As always, all opinions are my own.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Oops! I Forgot to Post an Old Photo Friday!

It's true, Friday came and went and I forgot it was old photo day on my blog.

In my defense, I was on vacation. And everyone knows on any good vacation you forget what day it is.

So here on a back-to-reality Monday, a retroactive Old Photo Friday of our family beach vacation in 1970-something:

And our family beach vacation last week. More or less the same location and same people, though our generational position has shifted:

And yes, that is my six-year-old so engrossed in reading her first issue ever of Us Weekly that she can't be bothered to put it down for family photos.

{Keep Reading}

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