So Much to Love at the #HotToys13 Event!

 I received items at the event, however all opinions are a 100% my own.  No other compensation was provided,.
Can you believe we are talking holiday toys already?  It seems like time goes by faster once you're all grown up, good thing no matter our age, we can all still play with toys though.  At the #HotToys13 event that's exactly what I got to do.  I'm excited to share some great items from the event with you all.  I felt like there was something for every age group, and loved them all.
Although I'm not too good at remembering the specific names of toys, I love love toys!  I still get the same excitement as I did with them as a kid, and now even more as a mom which is why I'm so grateful to have attended the amazing event here in New York City at the beautiful Hearst Tower that had spectacular views.  Here's some photos and information about just some of what was featured, I couldn't pick a favorite as all were so unique and fun.
Check out the "Speed Stacks girl" effortlessly show us how it's done.  My son had been playing with plastic cups stacking them up for fun, and then I learned there's actual cups for it..and it's actually a sport!  Check them out here.
Leap Frog LeapPad Ultra makes learning to read fun for your child.  As a new homeschooling mom to a Kindergartner that's both learning to read and write, I think this is something that motivates children.  The LeapReader takes it to another level, now not only helping your child learn to read but learn to write as well.  These days when presented with something new, most kids want to know if it makes noise and asks "what does it do?" well with the Leap Frog products your child will be learning and it will make noise.   
 Zoomer, the robotic dog is so much fun.  He knows 3 languages, and is fully trainable.  Don't have a backyard, can't take out a dog on walks, don't worry just get a robotic one.  Toys like this amaze me, and help me realize the future is here..and excites me for what kind of toys will be around when our children are older.
 Holiday Specs, 3D glasses that make simple Christmas lights so much more fun.  There's different designs on the glasses, and once you look through them towards the decorative lights you will see that design on every light.  They had a tiny tree with lights and I got to test out the snowflakes, it's really a fun item.
 Twilight Turtle, one of my favorite items and it keeps getting better.  Not only does it illuminate the lights and have many features, now you can sync it to your play list via an app, record your voice and so much more.  One thing that I did learn for the first time was that the adorable turtle is very light, for some reason I thought it was hard and heavy... :)
 Zing Toys Ztek Bow.  Everything in the Zing Toys line seems to be on my son's wish list.
Kids into science?  Check out Thames & Kosmos.  I'm looking forward to checking out some science kits for my son and I, for fun and for the science portion of our homeschooling.
Angry Birds TelePods gives children the opportunity to collect the Angry Bird figures, and combine real life play with the game. 
Pick a character and "telepod" it right into your game.
Mega Bloks Barbie Build n' Play Super Star Stage.  I like it because I have so many boys in my family that loves Legos and some girls who aren't particularly fond of it all because they're such girly girls.  This gives them the opportunity to build and play with their favorite, Barbie.  Make sure you're following #tweets4toys I believe they're giving one away this week.
Green Toys have always been adored in our home, their items are made entirely out of recycled materials.  Always nice subtle colors, and it's simplicity encourages a child's natural creativity and imagination.
TOMY's Battroborg is so much fun!  Everyone was battling it out at the event.  It's a classic that has been improved and brought back.  Think it's sure to be a hit with everyone.
My son loves Laser Pegs.  Children can build and play as they would with say, Legos but with light.  They are compatible with other building toys, unlike many toys out on the market today - these have lights that will stay on for a very long time.  Was even told it could double as a great night light for children.  These facts alone are my top reasons why I love Laser Pegs.  All of the ones I've seen are a 2 in 1, 4 in 1, or even 8 in 1 building sets, so you will get your moneys worth.  These make a great gift for children that love to build and create, the added light just adds to the fun and makes Laser Peg creations unique.  With the whole Laser Pegs line you'll find the perfect stocking stuffer, if not the perfect present that will be sure to light up your home..or that one table you are working on.
Even though time seems to be flying by me these days, I'm now so much more excited for this holiday season having learned a bit more about what's out there.  Now looking forward to shopping for all the children in our family..and maybe for some adults too.  There were so many amazing items that I didn't share with you here, so check them all out at The Toy Insider.  Check back for more in depth reviews this season!  Huge thanks to the hard working women behind the #HotToys13 event, make sure to follow them on twitter.

Make Food Fun for Kids

#daytodayMOMentsWhen it comes to food, we all just want our kids to eat, and eat healthy.  Of course this is without mention food allergies, which in our case is a whole other thing.  My son happens to love food, even though, as I say often; food doesn't always love him.  Many families get to order in once a week, or pick up a snack or eat out once a week but we unfortunately don't get to enjoy that luxury.  
I struggle as much as the average stay at home mom that has to cook in what seems like all day long, to find different dishes to serve up for my family, with an added challenge as I have to cook and bake allergy friendly.  I am always looking for ideas and inspiration to come up with new dishes and ways to plate food for my son to fill that gap in his life (eating out) that he will most likely never experience.  My husband and I occasionally grab a cup of coffee or a snack of sorts if the kids fall asleep in the car, which is usually my *treat* here and there.  If either of us are without the children we get to eat anything, but my son (and now my daughter as well) only eats what I make him..all the time.  If I find myself excited about any food I have tasted, want to taste, I make sure to make a mock of it for my son, somehow.     
The simple things we take for granted.  Any time you eat anything you didn't have to cook/bake up, take a moment to be grateful - for so many don't have that luxury.  Recently I have been experimenting in the way I plate, instead of a fancy adult or restaurant style plate that I usually try to copy, I decided to have more fun with it.  It has been a hit!  We as people eat with our eyes as much as we do with our mouths, and I think that goes specially for children. 
Kids just want to have fun, why not make food fun too!  I think that applies to all children, not just those with food allergies.   

Books for Craft Projects & Bedtime Reads #BookReview

I received item/s for the purpose of review all opinions are a 100% my own.  No other compensation was provided.
Animals Everywhere: A Pop-Up Adventure
Have an animal lover in the family?  Then again, if you have a child, what young child doesn't like animals!  This book is perfect for that young child interested in learning about animals.  This book is obviously a pop-up book that features over a 100 animals, beautifully written, great to capture a young readers attention.  Kids will be able to take an adventure to learn about animals from the ocean to the jungle.  My son has been really interested in animals, more than ever before, now he wants to really learn about them - this has been a perfect book to add to our collection of animal books.  We are also learning to read, lots of rhymes in the book make for a fun read.  Great book for children ages 4 and up.
Craft-a-Doodle by Jenny Doh
I love this book, it's 144 pages of awesome!  I'm the kind of "artist" that is only able to draw by looking at an object, this book has 75 exercises that show you how easy it is to doodle up amazing pieces without much effort really.  It is a collaboration between 18 artists, that is sure to bring out the inner artist in you.  I never really learned to draw - I guess, or never really had it in me, so for me this book teaches me to think outside the box.  With a pencil, brush or marker anyone can find the inner artist in them.  My 5 year old is the opposite of me, he is always drawing, so he has become a fan of this book as well.  Not for young children, but if they're up for it, why not.  Great way to add a little something different to our arts & crafts part of our days. 
Flip Dolls and Other Toys by Laura Wilson
This book has me flipping through the pages everyday.  I am inspired at the possible creations.  I don't sew, besides the basic two ways to sew with needle and thread my mom taught me in middle school, I don't sew.  You will find directions and all that you need to make a not so ordinary stuffed toy, one that flips, zips, snaps, stacks and maybe even move.  My son has been asking me to make one of them, and it is definitely in our plans once I get the basic necessities from a craft store.  It's just the kind of book someone like me, or someone more craftier needs to make fun creative dolls.  Create keepsakes, gifts, and more. 
Popular Mechanics 101 Things That Go Fast: Planes, Trains and Automobiles You can Make and Ride
This book has full directions on how to attach a sail to a bicycle, how to build a motor car, skate-wheel scooter, a toy farm tractor, and so much more that move, spin, and all.  With original retro art and illustrations just as they were published in early issues of Poplular Mechanics magazine.  To my sons disappointment, it isn't a book I could really use and build anything since for most projects in the book I would probably need a garage, not a New York City apartment building.  Or maybe I'm just making excuses for my skills, or lack of.  Into building and big weekend projects?  This is for you!  I'm blown away, and only wish I could make something.  My son and I will make something one day from this book, he said so, he tells me every other day as he suggests a new project. 

Chuggington Rescue at Rocky Ridge Stack Track Set & The Chug Patrol - Ready to Rescue DVD

I received the item for the purpose of review, all opinions are a 100% my own.  No other compensation was provided.
Notice the box is a little beat up?  Well, you know how little ones love boxes as much as the toy itself sometimes.  My daughter had so much fun climbing on top of it.
Right before all the fun started. 

I am obsessed with making my kids happy, so therefore I'm obsessed with toys.  Of course I believe as parents we all are.  I am always looking for the new and latest toys which is why I've been so excited about the Chuggington Rescue at the Rocky Ridge Stack Track play set by TOMY.    
Big brother builds and little sister enjoys the tracks as she tries to place the little train on the tracks. 
The Chuggington Rescue at the Rocky Ridge Stack Track is a fun action play set that children are able to build the way they want, as tall as they want.  Four layouts in one, but my son seems to love creating his own ways to build the tracks just as much.  It has nice sturdy pieces, easy for little hands, and one that won't break easy either.  Fun little features that promote imagination and lots of motor skills as they stack the tracks.  It has become one of our favorite toys.  The kids have been playing with it every morning.  I have it out in the living room floor, so my son and daughter plays around with it every morning while I get breakfast ready. 
 Then since the tracks are pretty high and sturdy, she attempts to go underneath it...
 Almost knocked down the whole thing...
..and she made it through completely!
What's even more fun is that sometimes I also put the Chuggington DVD on too while they are playing .  The Chuggington Chug Patrol - Ready To Rescue has five cute episodes, 65 min. long.  It is colorful, and even gets my little 11 month olds attention.      

We've had a number of train sets over the years, this is the first time we tried the Chuggington Stack Tracks but we love them.  Learn more about Chuggington Stack Track sets, the DVD and where to buy here.

NY Giants Will Beatty Got His Flu Shot at Duane Reade - You Can Too! #DuaneReade #shop #cbias

#DuaneReade #cbias #shop
Duane Reade 100 W 57th St. NY
#DuaneReade, #cbias, #shop
Last week my son and I headed to the 57th street Duane Reade, specifically because NY Giants Will Beatty was there getting his flu shot.  My son having watched football by his dad's side was excited to meet a real football player.  Did you know that you can get your flu shot at Duane Reade locations without an appointment?  I knew I could get your flu shot but actually didn't know you didn't even need an appointment. 
#DuaneReade, #cbias, #shop
In fact, from my understanding you can just walk in and get one during pharmacy hours.  No appointment necessary, most insurance are accepted, and $0 copay for Medicare.  Easy, convenient, awesome!  
#DuaneReade, #cbias, #shop 
Will Beatty all smiles with his flu shot!
#DuaneReade, #cbias, #shop
My son commented on how big and tall he was, and I was happy to see how nice he was.  Silly to say, but I'm always curious to see how people are in person.  He joked around, and sat there offering to sign an autograph for my baby daughter just in case she rips up her brothers. 
#DuaneReade, #cbias, #shop
I love that you can find just about everything at Duane Reade, and to top it off now you can get what you are looking for and get your flu shot for the season!  I told my dad recently since he kept getting very sick last winter and mentioned needing to make an appointment for a flu shot this season, he was excited to see how convenient it is.  As you know Duane Reade is our go to store for so much that we need throughout the year, where we head to get medicine when we get sick,  and just about everything in between.  Love Duane Reade for having fun events like this one, that you might just run into while picking up something, make sure to follow Duane Reade on twitter to get a heads up.  Remember to cover your cough, wash your hands, stay home when sick, and think you need a flu shot?  Get one at Duane Reade, and remember to tell your friends and family too!

Duane Reade Helps Me Get Ready for Halloween with Boo-tiful Legs #DRLegCandy #shop #cbias

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 their client.
#drlegcandy #cbias #shop#duanereade #shop #cbiasIt's almost Halloween!  Exciting time of year for us, not only because we love to decorate, and dress up, but my husbands birthday is on that day!  We have even been throwing parties together the last couple of  years!  This year we won't be having a Halloween party at home, since our daughter will be turning one at the end of November.  We decided with Christmas and New Year's around the corner, we had to give our wallets a break.  Luckily we will still be dressing up, decorating and having all that spooktacular fun Halloween is about.  Speaking of giving our wallets a break, luckily one of our favorite stores, Duane Reade has so much of what we need for Halloween for great prices.  So excited to dress my baby girl up in a costume for her first Halloween, and fun to see my son getting excited about picking out a costume for the day.  But let's be honest children are easy to dress for Halloween which is why I visited Duane Reade for me this time. 
#DrLegCandy #cbias #shopI'm undecided on my costume this year but one thing I know I'll need is pretty, dark, sexy leg wear..that Duane Reade has a great selection of.  Duane Reade is also kicking off a contest on the Duane Reade facebook page today!  Show off your Boo-tiful legs in Duane Reade branded leg wear to enter the contest to win awesome prizes.
#DrLegCandy #cbias #shop
#DRLegCandy #cbias #shop
On a random note, our local Duane Reade store has gotten a full makeover, and it's so much more spacious and looks allot like the other ones in the city now - we love it!  While I was there I had to check out the Halloween section.  I could make myself and probably for my whole family fun costumes easily from there for a fraction of the cost it will be at a specialty store.  It's a small section with a surprisingly wide selection of items including masks, makeup, horns, fangs, and even wigs.  You can also find a great selection of decorations as well, and of course treats..tons of treats!     
#DRLegCandy #cbias #shopI'm one of those gals that like to be sexy for Halloween, if it's a zombie I'm a sexy one, if it's a dragon I'm a sexy one...  Now that's not at all to say I am showing tons of skin or anything, but simply that I like to put on nice tights and heels.  I happen to love Duane Reade's leg wear selection.  If you want something all black, nude.. something you can wear all season long you'll find it. 
#DRLegCandy #shop #cbias
If you want something patterned, textured like fishnets, thigh high hosiery/'ll find a great selection to choose from.  Not only are the patterns allot more subtle than those you'll find at a Halloween specialty store but much better quality, so you'll get lots more for your money.  I had fun picking from the different tights and picturing it with different looks.  I love that I could put on a black dress, the right makeup on, a nice pair of tights, something on my head and easily obtain a Halloween look, and it all can be bought from Duane Reade.
#duanereade #shop #cbias
I said I visited for myself this time even though we left with a bag full but sometimes you just can't pass the deals and selection. 
#DRLegCandy #shop #cbias
I love the tights I bought, I love that I could wear it no matter what I choose to be this Halloween and as you could see depending on what I wear on top of it, it's versatile.  Still undecided on what you'll be this year?  Visit Duane Reade and if you don't pick up your whole costume/look there, at least get your #DRLegCandy ready.  And while you are at it, you could enter your Boo-tiful legs into the contest on Duane Reade's facebook page, you have until November 3rd to enter for great prizes.


He Loves Food!

If it wasn't for food allergies, I think my whole family would travel near and far just for food.  My son who's five years old truly seems to have a passion for food.  It might be since he has watched me have so much passion cooking/baking for him that he just connects, or it might be the excitement my husband and I express with every new allergy friendly creation I come up with.  Whatever the case, I could tell you amongst his many future plans, one is to have his own cooking show.  Of course I will note that it is along side being a real power ranger and ninja...  He has been helping me in the kitchen as far back as I could remember.  From bringing ingredients out from the pantry, to peeling carrots, to cutting vegetables, he has done it.  He was two years old cutting mushrooms for me with a plastic knife! 
Today he is still helping..when I let him.  Some foods might not like him but he sure loves food.  Here he drew up a photo of him eating onion rings.  He said that his mouth is full of onion rings, and that, this is his happy face.  It makes me smile every time I see any of his drawings.  I recently experimented in the kitchen and the onion rings were a success.  Let me know if you want me to share the recipe, I'd be more than happy to.  Days later I told him to draw a picture of a food he likes, he drew this, guess I should make them again soon.  I taught him from before he could probably fully understand, if he isn't allergic to it, he has to at least try it.  He eats things I wouldn't go near as a child, like onions.  He was allergic to onions for the first half of his life, so he is appreciative for the foods he can have.  :)    

The Butterfly Garden

My son and I at the Butterfly Garden in the Bronx Zoo.  We didn't get to take pictures but somehow this seems just as memorable if not more.  One of our favorite things to do is reminisce on our day, and pick one thing to draw from that day.  He drew this up so quick, even though to you it might not look so impressive, as his mom I'm always blown away by all that he does. 


Puffs Fresh Faces Saline Wipes

I received item/s for the purpose of review.  All opinions are a 100% my own.  No other compensation was provided.

I love anything that makes my life easier!  Puffs Fresh Faces moist wipes with natural saline is something I didn't know I needed.  For a person that never used any wipes personally I sure have been needing them allot!  I laugh at myself every time I reach for one, which is at least once a day.  For a person that is last to take care of myself, having wipes to remove my make up at the end of a busy day is awesome.

The Puffs Fresh Faces wipes are made with natural saline, aloe, and vitamin E.  They come in four varieties; Light Lavender, Fresh Scent, Fragrance Free, and the Scent of Vicks, great for when you have cold I'm sure.  They have on the go packets, and a cute container to have at home too.  I like that the containers are hard plastic with a convenient opening, it keeps the wipes from drying for a long time.  I already mentioned it is great to remove makeup at the end of the night but it is also great to wipe noses, little hands, and even just use it to freshen up.  I think they would come in handy on a hot summer day, a cold day with a runny nose, and obviously so much more.  I went camping for the first time a few months back, wish we had these around.  To simply wipe my face and neck after running after the kids, working out at home, and cleaning up around the house, it's simply refreshing.  Everyone knows mommy needs handy wipes and already carry them, but these are much more multi functional in my opinion.  I was totally reluctant and didn't think I'd need them at all, but now love using them and glad I got to try them out.