31 Days of January Fun

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It’s hard to believe that 2018 will be here soon.  Check out this calendar with 31 days of January fun!  Make the most of the month with some family fun, good food and more!

1.  Happy New Year!  If you’re like me, you don’t make resolutions.  However, I like to reflect on the past year and make goals for 2018.  What are you going to work for this year?

2. Check out what’s new to Netflix in January.  You can also check out what’s coming to Amazon Prime and hulu this month!

3.  Get to the gym!  It’s going to be packed with all the new members who joined for the new year.  It’s winter and it’s cold.  I need motivation too.  But we can do it!  If you don’t want to join a gym or prefer to exercise at home, this workout dvd set looks like a good one.

4.  Happy Trivia Day!  Play a game of Trivial Pursuit or check out a trivia night at a local restaurant or bar.

5.  Have a winter scavenger hunt.  Visit a local park and try to find the items on this list!

6.  Sleep in!  When was the last time you turned the alarm off and let yourself wake up naturally?

7.  Try a new winter sport.  If you’ve never been snow shoeing, tubing, skiing or snowboarding, now’s the time to give it a try!

8.  Any fellow bookworms out there?  Check out the books being published this month!  Still Me ,The Perfect Nanny and The Girlfriend are making it to my to read list!

9. Have a movie night!  Make some popcorn and rent a movie.  Some movies coming out on dvd this month include American Made (January 2), Battle of the Sexes (January 2), It (January 9) and My Little Pony:  The Movie (January 9).  Check here for a complete list.

10. If you didn’t make room for all your new holiday gifts before the holidays, now is the time to declutter.  Have everyone in the family donate 5 pieces of clothing, 5 books and 5 toys or other items.

11.  Try making at least one meatless dinner this week. Pizza, pasta are always good choices.  This recipe looks like one that my kids will approve of.

12.  Today is National Hot Tea Day and January is National Hot Tea Month!  I’m not a huge tea drinker, but when I do, I love using this teapot when using loose tea leaves.

13.  If you haven’t already, it’s time to take down the Christmas tree and holiday decorations.

14.  Practice gratitude.  Every night this week name three things you are grateful for.

15.  Happy Martin Luther Kings, Jr. Day.  Today is  the MLK Day of Service.  Find a project to volunteer at and honor his legacy today.

16.  New York City Broadway Week begins today through February 4.  Find 2-for-1 tickets on many shows!

17.  Anyone else get an Instant Pot for Christmas?!! Check out all of these recipes that you can make in it!

18.  Are your kids always telling you jokes?  Check out this site and tell them a joke today!

19.  It’s National Popcorn Day!  Make your own popcorn with a popcorn maker and then sprinkle with some of these fun seasonings!

20.  It’s time for family game night!  This month we are playing Mexican Train.  It’s an extended family favorite and we now own the game.

21. Have an at-home spa day.  Do your nails, put on a face mask and relax.

22.  Give your brain a workout!  Try to complete a Sudoku or a crossword puzzle.

23.  January is the best time to stock up on winter apparel and linens!  If you are looking to buy new sheets and towels, now is the best time to find the best deals.  If you can guesstimate your children’s clothing and shoe sizes for next winter, you can find boots, winter jackets and clothing on deep discount.

24. Pack a note in your child’s lunchbox.  Tell them how much you love them or wish them good luck on their test.

25.  Do your kids love slime?!  Enjoy making some with them with a kit or make your own with ingredients you may have in the house.

26.  Clear the paper clutter.  Cancel any magazine subscriptions that you don’t read.

27.  Many of us in snow regions should have gotten snow by now!  Bundle up and go play in the snow! Have a snowball fight, build a snowman, make snow angels…..then come in and warm up with a big mug of hot cocoa!

28.  Let your kids plan a day of fun and enjoy a day of doing what they want!

29.  Happy Library Shelfie Day!  Take a picture of your bookshelves and post on social media!  #LibraryShelfieDay

30.  Not many fruits and veggies are in season in January.  However, you will find citrus like oranges and grapefruit and root veggies and kale.  Try eating lots of these foods this month!

31. It’s the last day of the month!  Celebrate with a winter cocktail or mocktail!


31 Days of December Fun

Here is a calendar of 31 days of December fun. If you are looking for some fun things to do this month I've got you covered!

1. Freeform’s 25 Days of Christmas Movies begins tonight.  Schedule in time to watch some of your favorites.  Why not plan a movie marathon night or two?

2. Looking for a new Netflix binge?  Check out what is leaving and what’s new for December.  If you’re more of an Amazon watcher, here’s what’s coming to Amazon Prime in December.  If you’re more of a bookworm, check out all the new books being published in December.

3. Have you put up your Christmas tree or started decorating yet?  If not, now’s the time!

4. Get in the Christmas spirit by listening to some holiday music. Sia, Pentatonix, Gwen Stefani and Lindsey Stirling all have new Christmas albums out.

5. Hanukkah begins next Tuesday.  Get in the spirit by reading some of these books with your children.  Or get them ahead of time so you can read one each night of Hanukkah!

6.  Be a Christmas Angel. Check your local church or community organizations to see if they have holiday wish lists for children in need.

7. Still working on your holiday shopping list?  Check out my gift guides on the hot holiday toys for school-age kids and preschool kids.

8. It’s getting chilly out there.  Have you switched over to your flannel sheets?

9. Check out your community calendar and schedule in a day of local fun. Whether it’s a winter festival, show or parade, stay local today!

10. Take a drive around your neighborhood and check out the holiday lights.

11. Get your picture taken with Santa!

12. Tonight is the first night of Hanukkah.  Happy Hanukkah to those who celebrate.  Even if you don’t celebrate, why not make some latkes?  They are delicious!

13.  Have a date night.  Just you and your significant other.  No friends, no kids.  It’s time to reconnect before the holiday craziness begins.

14. Declutter and do a Goodwill drop-off before the holidays.  Help your kids clean out and make room for new toys, books and clothes.

15. Spend some quiet, relaxing time as a family.  Work on a puzzle together.  We enjoy the White Mountain family jigsaw puzzles.  We have this What’s For Breakfast 400 piece puzzle that has pieces in three different sizes so everyone can work at a level that’s right for them.

16. Winter is perfect for soups and stews. We love this Loaded Potato Soup.  Even better, it can be made in the slow cooker!

17. Today is National Maple Syrup Day!  Enjoy some homemade (or frozen) waffles or pancakes and pour on the maple syrup. We love Soukup Farms Coffee Infused maple syrup!

18. Bake some holiday cookies.  Here are 30 cookies from around the world!

19.  Do a random act of kindness (RAOK).  Pay for the person’s order behind you at the drive-through or double the tip you leave your waiter or waitress.

20. Donate non-perishable food to your local food pantry.

21.  Have a gift-wrap-a-thon.  Gather all your wrapping supplies, put on some fun tunes and get all your presents wrapped and ready!

22. Have a family game night! Here’s one of our family favorites.

23. Bundle up and plan a day of ice skating fun!

24. Don’t forget to set out cookies and milk for Santa!  It’s also National Egg Nog Day!  Celebrate with one of these 18 recipes!

25. Merry Christmas!  Hope Santa brought you everything you wanted!  Enjoy the day with family and friends!

26.  Spend a relaxing day at home enjoying all your new presents.  If you’re a real go-getter, start finding homes for all your new gifts.

27. The planner nerd in me is so excited for the new year.  New Year = new planner! If you don’t use a planner, now’s the time to think about using one for 2018!  I love the Happy Planner and have two – one for the everyday and one for my blog planning.

28. Get some fresh air. Take a family walk around the neighborhood.

29. After all the holiday spending, have a no spend day. Make your coffee, pack your lunch, cook dinner. Try not to spend any money today.

30. Hopefully, we have snow by now.  Get out in the snow and build a snowman, go sledding, have a snowball fight!  Then you can warm up with a nice mug of hot cocoa!

31.  It’s New Year’s eve!  Ring in 2018 with your loved ones!



Escape the Mystery Room {Family Date Night}


We recently celebrated my husband’s birthday.  When asked what he wanted to do, he requested we visit Escape the Mystery Room at the Palisades Mall.  This is one of those places where they lock you in a room and you must solve a series of clues to escape before time runs out.  My children are 9 and 11 and we thought this sounded like a fun family date night.

Escape the Mystery Room has locations throughout the Eastern part of the United States and one location in Austin, Texas.  There are several different themed rooms to choose from with a variety of difficulty levels (1 through 5).  During our visit themed rooms included Black Ops, Escape from Alcatraz, Treasure Island, Superhero’s Adventure, Houdini’s Magic Cell, Sherlock’s Library, Special Agent, Zombie Apocalypse and Hollywood Premier.  The room themes change approximately every twelve weeks.

We arrived at the Palisades location around 3:3o PM.  When we arrived we went to the desk and asked for suggestions of themed-rooms appropriate for families.  The girls at the desk noted that their most popular room is Escape Alcatraz.  However, they had no more reservations for the evening.  The other two rooms they recommend for beginners are Superhero’s Adventure and Treasure Island.  They did note that only 50% of visitors are able to escape the room on their first visit. We let the kids choose and they voted for Treasure Island.  However, the next reservation available wasn’t until 7:05 PM.

Escape the Mystery Room costs $20 a person, regardless of age.  The experience for the four of us cost $80 plus tax. They accept credit cards and once we paid and reserved our spot, we were told to come back at 7 PM.  Luckily, the place is located in a large shopping mall, so we shopped and ate dinner before our reserved time.

We arrived back at Escape the Mystery Room at 7 PM.  We were given a sheet of rules and instructions to read over before our experience.  There was also a list of charges if you broke locks, keys, or other items in the room.  Phones had to be turned off and pictures are not allowed to be taken.  Although you can be grouped with others, fortunately, it was just the four of us in our room.

We were escorted to the Treasure Island room, given a super brief overview and locked in. We were allowed to call for assistance two times, if needed. We had 50 minutes to figure out the 4 digit code that would unlock the door and set us free. There was very little direction given as to what you were supposed to do and it took a good 10-15 minutes before our daughter found our first clue!  We were on our last clue when we needed to request a clue.  Honestly, we didn’t find the info given very helpful, but we were at the last clue.

This was a Level One (beginner) room and we escaped with 6 minutes to spare!  We were told we could use the extra minutes to continue on and try to figure out the Level Three puzzle.  Unfortunately, there was not enough time for us to complete it.  But we were super excited that we were able to complete Level One!

I thought that there would be a fun photo op at the end or some recognition for escaping the room, but there wasn’t.  So we had to take our own picture in the lobby as a souvenir!

I think my 9 and 11-year-old were at a perfect age to do Escape the Mystery Room.  The Level one room was challenging, even for us adults.  If your children have short attention spans, are easily frustrated, or are not interested in puzzles, then I don’t recommend this experience.  My kids enjoy these types of challenges so this was right up their alley.  As soon as we left, my daughter wanted to try another room!

The Details:

Escape the Mystery Room
Palisades Center (this was the location that we visited, but check the map for the nearest location to you!)
3681 Palisades Center Drive
West Nyack, NY 10994
(845) 358-1978

Hours:  Sunday – Thursday: 10 AM – 9:30 PM, Friday & Saturday: 10 AM – midnight
Cost:  $20/person
Parking:  Plenty of free parking

*Reservations are highly recommended.  You can call or book online. If you want to make a reservation while at the mall, arrive several hours before your targeted time.

*If you want to make this a couples only date, I recommend gathering up some friends to make it a group date.  Otherwise you may be grouped with other people.

*If this is your first time doing an Escape the Mystery Room try a Level One room.  My husband and I found this room challenging for our first experience.


Holiday Gift Idea: MunchPak Subscription Box

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The holidays are quickly approaching.  Are you like me and frantically trying to figure out what to get everyone on your list?  Do you have some hard to shop for people?  The ones who don’t seem to need anything?  Or, you don’t want to get people “stuff” that they don’t really need.  How about giving a MunchPak subscription box? My whole family loves when this box arrives. We enjoy sampling the snacks over a couple of weekends throughout the month and discussing which ones are our favorites.

Inside each MunchPak box is a selection of international snacks from around the world.  The snack selection includes candy, cookies, chips and depending on what box size you choose, even drinks.  What’s even better is you can decide how frequently you or your gift recipient receives each snack box.  You can choose from 5+, 10+ or 20+ snacks per box.  Then you decide how long of a subscription you want to send.  Do you want to give a one time box or send a box for 3, 6, or 12 months? If you prefer that your recipient chooses which box they’d like, you can send a gift card instead. Bookmark this post, because on Cyber Monday (November 27), you can save 50% off a MunchPak subscription! Otherwise, you can save 25% off subscriptions the rest of the week.  Regular price subscriptions start at just $9.95 depending on which box you order!

Are you wondering what comes in this box?  Like I mentioned, there’s a variety of different types of snacks.  You will receive chips, cookies and candy.  The snacks will come from all different countries from around the world.  Although there is not a card included to tell you where the different snacks come from, they do have an app that allows you to scan the UPC code and find out more.  Many of the products have the country of origin right on the label.  Otherwise, I visit the MunchPak site and search the shop to find out more info.  Curious to see what a box looks like?  Here is a review of our most recent MunchPak box!  Inside our November box was:

Chewits (Blackcurrant) – (Candy from United Kingdom) Our box had the blackcurrant flavor of Chewits.  This is a candy from the United Kingdom.  The squares are individually wrapped.  They start out hard but as you suck on them, they get soft and chewy.  The blackcurrant flavor reminded me of a berry/grape flavor.

Cow Tales Crispy Moo Bar – (Candy from United States)  I had previously heard of the Cow Tales brand of candy before receiving this box.  My daughter had even gotten a Cow Tales candy trick-or-treating on Halloween.  This is a crispy rice bar with marshmallows.  It’s very similar to a Rice Krispy treat with little caramel bits on top.

Chiky Choko Banana Cookies – (Cookie from Costa Rica)  These are banana cookies with a bottom layer of chocolate.  The banana flavor was very faint.  Six cookies came in the package.

Lotte Pikachu Ramune – (Candy from Japan)  The packaging of this candy appealed to my Pickachu-loving son.  Inside are pink balls of candy.  They have a strawberry flavor on the outside and as you suck on it, the texture and flavor changes.  We found the flavor to get sour and then grainy with a banana flavor.

Tayto Ripples (Sour Cream and Onion Flavor) – (Chips from Ireland) These are Ireland’s take on sour cream and onion potato chips.  They were nice and crisp with a light sour cream and onion flavor.

Takis Zombie Habanero and Cucumber Tortilla Chips – (Chips from Mexico) These are a seasonal chip produced by Takis.  I personally wasn’t a fan of the habanero and cucumber flavor combo.  I found them to be hot and sour.  However, my husband really enjoyed these.  He thought the green coloring was unnecessary though.

Vidal Gummi Circus Clowns – (Candy from Spain) Our family loves gummy candy.  These clowns come in different colors but are all cotton candy-flavored with a cherry-flavored nose.  I found these gummies to be a bit hard and on the chewier side.  I couldn’t really discern the cotton candy flavor.

Lotte Stone Age Chocolate – (Candy from South Korea)  These are different colored candy covered chocolate eggs.

Kidsmania Wacky Monkey – (Candy from Mexico) This was also a super fun candy.  The package has a monkey that claps its cymbals together with the push of a button.  Yes, my son kept the monkey after we finished the candy! The candies are multi-colored, crunchy, sweet bites similar to a SweeTart flavor.

Eiffel Bonbons (Strawberry) – (Candy from France) This candy comes in several different flavors, but we received strawberry.  These have a powdery coating on the outside and are chewy strawberry-flavored balls.

Pei Tien Energy 99 Sticks (Pumpkin Roll) – (Snack from Taiwan) I wasn’t sure how to classify this snack.  It’s not really a chip, cookie or candy.  The outer shell looks and tastes like a puffy cheese doodle without the orange powder or cheese taste.  Inside is a sweet filling, that you couldn’t tell was pumpkin flavored unless you saw the package.

Lotte Milkis Apple Soda – (drink from South Korea) This is a new flavor of Milkis sodas.  Its a creamy bubbly apple juice that tastes extra sweet.

Every box is a surprise of snacks.  This subscription box is a lot of fun and a perfect gift for any foodie or snack lover on your holiday shopping list!

Hot Holiday Toys for Preschool Children {Holiday 2017}

A gift guide to the hot holiday toys for preschool age children.

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I think preschool children are some of the easiest to shop for.  At this age they are into their favorite television characters and toy manufacturers are very aware of this!  They are also at a great age for starting to learn to play games and do crafts.  Although there seems to be unlimited options, here are some of the hot holiday toys for preschool children this holiday.

Disney Junior Doc McStuffins All-in-One Nursery – Doc McStuffins helps your child take care of their baby dolls in this all-in-one nursery set. It comes with a cradle and a scale.  Included in the many different doctor accessories are a light-and-sound stethoscope and a laptop that has a light-up screen, makes sounds and plays music. This is a preschool toy of the year finalist. The laptop and stethoscope each require 3 x AAA batteries, not included. Recommended for ages 3+.  Retails for $79.99.

Go! Go! Smart Wheels Race & Play Adventure Park – Watch as Gavin the Go-Kart races down the track and off the jump ramp! This set includes a ferris wheel that spins, a tumble-down carnival game and a swinging gate. It plays 40 songs, melodies, sounds and phrases. Requires 3 x AAA batteries, not included.  Recommended for ages 1 -5.  Retails for $39.99.

LeapFrog LeapStart – This is LeapFrog’s new interactive learning system. Using the stylus, children use one of the 25+ books (sold separately) to engage in over 30 different learning activities. Recommended for ages 2-7.  Retails for $39.99.

Moonlite – Moonlite is a children’s storybook projector that attaches to almost any phone.  Using the flashlight function it projects story images onto the wall or ceiling. Recommended for ages 3+.  The projector retails for $24.99 and each story reel retails for $7.99.  Available stories include Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, The Ugly Duckling, Duck & Goose and more.

Luvabella – Luvabella is an interactive baby doll.  She moves, talks and plays, learning as kids play with her. She comes with four interactive accessories including a spoon, bottle, pacifier and stuffed animal.   4 C batteries are required, but not included.  The doll is available with blond hair, brunette hair or dark brown hair.  She retails for $99.99.

Paw Patrol My Size Lookout Tower –  Paw Patrol fans will love this 2 1/2 ft.+ tower.  It has interactive lights and sounds and comes with a Chase figure and vehicle, 2 Chase pup packs, one Marshall figure and 2 Marshall pup packs.  Requires 2 x AAA batteries, not included. Recommended for ages 3+.  Retails for $99.99.

Paw Patrol Sea Patroller – For Paw Patrol fans, Spin Master’s newest addition to the collection is the Sea Patroller.  This boat makes sounds, has flashing lights and comes with a detachable anchor.  The set comes with a Ryder figure and Ryder’s rescue ATV vehicle, an octopus and two lifesavers.  This is a preschool toy of the year finalist. 3 LR44 button cell batteries are included.  Recommended for ages 3+. The set retails for $59.99.


Rusty Rivets - Rivet Lab Playset

Rusty Rivets Rivet Lab – Fans of Rusty Rivets will enjoy this transforming playset.  This set includes real lights and sounds from the show and comes with an exclusive Rusty figure. There’s a moving crane, elevator and blaster.  You can add to the lab with other Build Me Rivet Systems sets, that are sold separately. Requires 3 LR44 batteries, included. Recommended for ages 3+.  Retails for $39.99.

Soggy Doggy Board Game – In this game players move their piece around the board, taking turns bathing the doggy.  But the dog likes to shake himself dry.  If he shakes himself on your turn, you get wet and have to go back to the start. Requires 3 x AA batteries, not included.  Recommended for ages 4+. Retails for $19.99.


Activity Kits for Tween Girls {Holiday 2017}

A collection of new 2017 activity kits for tween girls. Find something for that 9-11 year-old on your holiday shopping list.

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As kids get older, it gets harder to buy gifts for them. As a parent of an 11-year-old daughter, I can tell you that she still enjoys creating things.  Activity kits are great presents because kids have to spend the time making something before they can enjoy it. They can then take ownership of their project and have pride in their work.  It ends up meaning a little more to them.  Every year, new activity kits are manufactured.  Here are some of the newer activity kits for tween girls.  Maybe one of these will interest the tween on your shopping list this holiday season!  Please note, we have not personally tried any of these products yet, so cannot attest to the quality and ease of use.

1. Just My Style Flavored Lab Lip Gloss – As much as my daughter wants to wear makeup, since she’s only eleven, we only allow her to wear lip gloss. She would love making her own flavored lip glosses with this activity kit.  This would also make a fun activity to do with a friend when they “hang out.”  The kit comes with four lip glosses (3 flavored, 1 shimmer) that kids can layer and mix to create a customized tube.  Recommended for ages 6+, retails for $9.97.

2.  Alex Toys Knot-a-Mermaid  – Mermaids continue to be popular.  With this kit, kids can make their own mermaid blanket, just by tying knots. After the blanket is completed, they can stitch the shell appliques on. Recommended for ages 8+, retails for $19.99.

3. YOUniverse Crystal Growing Jewelry –  Kids learn the science behind growing crystals and then make jewelry with their crystal creations.  Recommended for ages 6+, retails for $12.97.

4. Just My Style Glitter Roller Perfume – Kids mix and create their own fragrance with this kit.  There are also stickers in the kit to decorate the bottles.  Recommended for ages 6+, retails for $9.97.

5. Just My Style Sparkling Fashion Plates – Do you have a budding fashion designer?  This kit includes 15 different plates that kids can mix and match to create more than 100 designs.  Recommended for ages 6+, retails for $14.97.

6. ORB Doll Designer: Strawberry Sweet – With this kit, kids design their own doll.  They create an outfit for their doll by layering different pieces of fabric and decorating it.  Each kit comes with a doll stand and a pet. Recommended for ages 8+, retails for $12.99.

7.  Plush Craft Personalized Pillow – Tweens love any type of room decor and personalization.  Initials are a big hit with this age group.  If your tween isn’t into a personalized pillow, Plush Craft makes all sorts of different pillow designs including, animals, a peace sign, an ice cream cone, an XOXO design and more. Kids follows a legend and use a special stylus to punch fabric strips into the pillow. Recommended for ages 5+, retails for $16.99.

8. ORB Fluffables – With these kits, kids create their own fluffable.  Using a stylus, kids push fluff into the form to create their animal.  They can follow the enclosed pattern or create their own design.  Recommended for ages 6+, retails for $9.99.

9. YOUniverse Galactic Bath Bombs – My daughter and her friends love bath bombs.  With this kit, they can make their own by mixing compounds and adding color and shimmer.  Recommended for ages 6+, retails for $12.97.

10. Project Mc2 H2o Nail Science Kit – In this kit, kids will use hydrographic printing to create unique nail designs.  3 AA batteries are required, but not included in this kit. Recommended for ages 6+, retails for $24.99.

11. Project Mc2 Smart Pixel Purse – Using an app, kids program their own designs which they can then show off on their purse.  Or they can use one of the pre-programmed designs. Recommended for ages 6+, retails for $59.99.

12. Gel-a-Peel Accessory Craft Kit – Kids can design and create their own color changing accessories using the templates provided.  3 gel tubes, 16+ templates and 5 designer tips are included in this kit.  There are different kits including neon, color change, sparkle and more. Recommended for ages 8+, retails for $19.99.


Hot Holiday Toys for School-Age Kids {2017 Gift Guide}

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It’s that time of year again.  The toy catalogs are coming in and the kids are starting to make their holiday wish lists.  Don’t get stressed out because I have rounded up this season’s hot holiday toys in NY Foodie Family’s 2017 Holiday Toy Gift Guide.  I recently attended Play Fair in New York City, where the biggest toy brands were showcasing their newest toys, just in time for the holidays!  Here are some of the recent new toys that are sure to be a hit with the school-age kids on your list!


Air Hogs 2-in-1 Hyper Drift Drones – These remote controlled can race on the ground or in the sky.  The drone detaches and has a self-righting cage so it always lands upright.  Each set comes with one hyper drift drone, one controller, one USB charger, an instruction sheet and spare propellers.  Sets retail for $39.99 each.

Grossery Gang Muck Chuck Garbage Truck – Muck Chuck Garbage Truck is one of the newest additions to the Grossery Gang.  It has a trash launch catapult and lots of storage space to hold Grosseries.  The cab and sides open for battle mode.  The truck comes with two exclusive grosseries.  Recommended for ages 5+.  Retails for $19.99.

Hatchimals Surprise –  The newest from Hatchimals is Hatchimals Surprise.  Inside each speckled egg are twin Hatchimals.  Help them hatch and then watch as they learn new things.  Choices include Peacats (shown above), Giravens, Deerioles and Ligulls (sold exclusively at Target), Puppadees (sold exclusively at Toys ‘R’ Us) and Zuffins (sold exclusively at Walmart). Recommended for ages 5+. Retails for $69.99.

L.O.L. Surprise! BIG Surprise –  You will be lucky to find a L.O.L. Surprise (Little Outrageous Little Surprise) BIG Surprise this holiday season.  The toy, released back in September continues to sell out and if you do find one, expect to pay a lot more than the $69.99 it retails for.  The L.O.L. Surprise! are blind bag dolls and accessories.  Inside the BIG Surprise are 50 surprises, each individually wrapped, resulting in the ultimate unboxing experience.   If you can’t get your hands on the BIG Surprise, smaller mystery pack dolls are more readily available.  Recommended for ages 6+.

LEGO Kylo Ren’s TIE Fighter– Legos are always popular with children of all ages and there are always new sets coming out.  One of the new sets this season is Kylo Ren’s TIE Fighter.  Recommend for ages 8-14, this set has 630 pieces.  It comes with three mini-figures and a BB-9E figure. It retails for $79.99.  Other new sets include Star Wars First Order Star Destroyer, Minecraft Waterfall Base, Witch Hut and Jungle Temple and NINJAGO Destiny’s Bounty.

Shopkins Cutie Cars – Cutie Cars are one of the newest additions to the Shopkins line. They are sold in 3 packs (pictured above) as well as in single packs.  Each car comes with its own Shopkin.  They are diecast and can be pushed. There are 37 cars to collect in Series 1. Recommended for ages 5+.  3 packs retail for $12.99, single packs retail for $4.99.

WowWee Chippies – These are remote-controlled puppies that can dance, sing, chase their tails and more.  They have LED eyes and posable hind legs.  There are four different puppies to choose from:  Chipper (blue), Chippette (pink), Chippo (black) and Chippella (white). Recommended for ages 5+.  Retails for $39.99.

One of the hot new toys for holiday 2017.

WowWee Fingerlings Monkeys – Fingerlings Monkeys were just released in August of this year.  These baby monkeys  hang on your fingers and respond to sound, motion and touch.  With over 40 different animations, kids can interact with their Fingerlings by petting it, blowing kisses and more. They can grip on to different surfaces. Parents, do not worry, there is an on/off switch!    There are currently six different Fingerlings (Bella, Boris, Finn, Mia, Sophie and Zoe) which retail for $14.99.  Recommended for ages 5+.



Gift Ideas for Creative Tweens {Holiday Guide 2017}

Gift ideas for creative tweens. Use this guide to shop for some of the more creative kids on your shopping list.

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This is the first in a series of gift guides to help you complete your holiday shopping.  These are gift ideas for creative tweens.  These gifts are great for both girls and boys in the 8+ age range and allows them to use their imagination and creativity.  Many of these toys are brand new to the market this holiday season!

Just released from the Orb toy company. These are the world's first creation compound. A great creative gift for kids this holiday!

1. ORB Molecules – ORB Molecules is the newest product from ORB (formerly ORB Factory).  It is the world’s first creation compound.  The molecules are brightly colored and come in different sizes.  They stick to themselves, but not anything else!   The ORB Molecules are sold in kits so that kids can make their own creations.  These will be hitting shelves in approximately two weeks and will be sold exclusively at Michaels stores.   These kits retail for $14.99. (Recommended for ages 5+)

A great gift idea for creative tweens on your holiday shopping list!

(photo courtesy of ORB)

2. ORB Morph – Orb Morph is not a new product to the market.  Morph is a lightweight, “shape-shifting fluff.”  It’s a building compound that kids can mold, that can also bounce and float.  As kids play with the morph, it gets softer and fluffier. The material doesn’t dry out and can be reused over and over again.   The Morph comes in six different colors and retails for $14.99.  It can be found at Walmart, Michaels, Target and Amazon.  (Recommended for ages 3+)

A fun, new gift idea for creative tweens. They can create pixelated stickers.

3. STiKidotz – STiKidotz are the world’s first 3D pixel art sticker.  Projects start with a square base.  Kids create a design on the base using the dotzPIXELS to create a design.  Once the design is complete you can cut it out with scissors, take off the paper backing and stick it to the surface of your choice. There are creative kits where kids can come up with their own designs.  STiKidotz also sells pre-designed kits that kids can follow to create characters and pictures. These kits are available on the dotz company website and beginning November 7, Amazon.  A starter pack is $12.99 and includes 2 bases and 36 dotzBLOKs.  (Recommended for ages 6+)

Check out the above video to see STiKidotz in action!  To learn more about them check out the STiKidotz website!

A great gift for creative kids. Kids can create many different projects with the one kit.

4. E-Blox Circuit Builder –  E-Blox manufactures three different circuit builder kits.  The Circuit Builder 115, pictured above, contains 37 pieces which kids can use to create 115 different projects. They will learn about electricity, alarms, motors and more as they create.  An instruction booklet is included.  These kits require 3 “AA” batteries.  The kits retail between $19.99 and $44.99.  (Recommended for ages 8+)

Another gift idea for creative tweens.

5.  Oonies – Made by Moose Toys, Oonies are small balloons that you can play with and customize.  Use the inflator to inflate the pellets to the balloons.  Then customize with the accessory stickers.  The starter pack comes with the inflator, 36 pellets and accessories.  The balloons stay inflated for approximately five days before deflating. Kids can make their own designs and creations or use the available theme packs.  The Oonies site has all kinds of games, challenges and more.  The starter pack, which you need for the inflator, retails for $19.99.  You can find Oonies at Target, Walmart, Amazon and Toys R Us. (recommended for ages 5+)


5 Things To Do With Leftover Halloween Candy

I hope everyone had a fun Halloween!  Halloween on a school night is tough for the kids.   Luckily, it is only one day a year.  However, with two kids  trick-or-treating we have enough candy in the house to last us until next Halloween! Thankfully, my kids are not huge candy eaters.  They usually donate their Take 5, M&Ms and Twix to my husband and I (they know what we like!).  Then they are good eating 1-2 pieces of candy a day.  I’m not kidding when I tell you that our candy bowl probably has Halloween candy in it from last year.  But what do you do if your kids will devour their Halloween candy stash if you let them?  Or like our family, end up with candy for days?  Here are 5 things that you can do with all of that leftover Halloween candy.

1. Halloween Candy Buyback  – Many dentists and other businesses participate in the Halloween Candy Buyback program.   Children can bring in their Halloween candy and usually earn $1 per pound of candy or other prizes and goodies.  The candy is then sent to troops overseas.

2. Switch Witch – The Switch Witch is basically the Elf On the Shelf of Halloween.  She arrives before Halloween to spend some time with your family. Then on Halloween night your kids leave a pile of candy in front of her and she takes it and leaves them a present.

3. Make a dessert – Because candy isn’t sweet enough, why not add some more sugar to it and make a dessert?!  This roundup includes 50 recipes using leftover Halloween candy.   Kit Kats, Butterfingers, Reese’s, Snickers and many more types of candy are included!

4. Bring it to work  –  Not everyone at your office has kids.  Leave a bowl of candy at your desk, the reception desk or the break room.  Believe me, it will get eaten!

5. Do a science experiment –  If you can’t eat it, play with it!  Here’s a roundup of 21 Candy Science Experiments.   Skittles, M&Ms and lifesavers are some of the candies used in the experiments.


30 Things to Do This November

A list of 30 things that you can do this November!

A new monthly calendar feature with suggestions of things for you to do this month!
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1. A Bad Moms Christmas comes out today.  Gather your girlfriends and have a girls night out!

2.  Today is National Men Make Dinner Day!  Get your man in the kitchen…..or have him bring some takeout home!

3. Need a sugar fix?  Now’s the time to get leftover Halloween candy on deep discount!  If you’re trying to get rid of the Halloween candy, check out “5 Things to Do with Leftover Hallween Candy.”

4.  Tomorrow we  fall back for daylight savings.  Remember to set your clocks back and enjoy your extra hour of sleep!

5.  For those of us in Westchester County and the surrounding area, Hudson Valley Restaurant Week is taking place from now until November 12.  Take advantage of the 200+ restaurants offering 3 course dinners for $32.95.  If you’re not in the Hudson Valley, try dining at a new-to-you restaurant!

6.  Tomorrow, (Nov. 7) Renegades, the first in Marissa Meyer’s new series is published.  Fans of YA fantasy might enjoy this new book. Other anticipated book releases include Artemis by Andy Weir (author of The Martian) (Nov. 14), Hardcore Twenty-Four (Nov. 14) the next Stephanie Plum novel in the series by Janet Evanovich,  and Promise Me, Dad (Nov. 14), Joe Biden’s memoir.  What will you be reading this month?

7.  It’s election day.  Exercise your  right and go out and vote!

8.  Netflix has several new original shows and movies coming in November.  Check out the full list of everything that is coming and leaving Netflix this month.

9. Start going through the kids’ drawers and closets to see what they need in terms of winter gear – coats, hats, gloves, boots, etc.  There’s nothing like being unprepared for a surprise snow storm!

10. If you weren’t able to see these movies in the theater, some notable movies coming out on DVD this month are Cars 3 (Nov. 7), The Glass Castle (Nov. 7), Wind River (Nov. 14), Whose Streets? (Nov. 14) and Logan Lucky (Nov. 28).

11. Happy Veteran’s Day.  Thank a veteran and attend a Veteran’s Day ceremony.  Remember we are the land of the free, because of the brave.

12. Fall is all about pumpkin spice and everything nice. Bake one of these pumpkin desserts.

13.  Today is World Kindness Day.  Here are 10 Ways you can celebrate it with your kids.

14. Cook something new for dinner.  The weather is getting cooler and it’s a perfect time to make a new soup or stew recipe.  This month I plan on trying out this Slow Cooker Sausage Lentil and Arugula Soup.

15. Today is Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day.  Get rid of those old condiment jars and throw out the forgotten leftovers.  Wash out the bins and wipe down the shelves.  If you’re feeling really motivated, wipe down the front and sides and vacuum the coils as well!

16. Read some Thanksgiving-themed picture books with your kids!

17. The movie Wonder comes out.  If you haven’t already, I highly recommend reading the book first!  It’s a story about August (Auggie) Pullman, a boy born with facial differences.  For the first time he attends the local public school, which becomes a learning experience for everyone.

18. How fun is it to get mail that’s not bills or junk mail?!  Send a friend or family member a card via snail mail to let them know that you’re thinking of them!

19. Are you traveling  by car for Thanksgiving?  Take some time before your trip and do a quick maintenance check.  Fill your wiper fluid and check the pressure in your tires.

20. Ben & Jerry’s is collaborating with Jimmy Fallon on a new ice cream flavor.  The secret flavor finally gets announced this month!  Be on the lookout for it in your local grocery store!

21. If you haven’t already, now’s the time to start thinking about your holiday cards.  Many online photo sites have special upcoming Back Friday deals that early birds can take advantage of.

22.  Disney Pixar movie Coco comes out.  Viewers will also get to see short, Olaf’s Frozen Adventure, before the movie.

23.  Happy Thanksgiving! Put on your stretchy pants because it’s time to feast! Start your day with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade which begins at 9 AM EST on NBC.  Give thanks today and appreciate all you have.

24. Are you going to brave the Black Friday sales today? Before you go, set up a game plan of the stores you want to visit and the deals you want to take advantage of!

25. Now that Thanksgiving is over try some of these recipes for using up those leftovers!

26. Have a family game night! One of our recent favorites is Wits & Wagers.

27.  It’s cyber Monday!  Get your online shopping deals today!

28. Produce in season this month includes beets, brussel sprouts, parsnips, potatoes, turnips, winter squash, apples and pears.  Buy seasonally and locally, if possible.

29.  November is officially sweater weather! Break out your sweaters and get warm and cozy! I’m on the lookout for some new sweaters.  Have you bought a recent favorite?

30.  Listen to a new podcast.  If you’ve never listened to one, you don’t know what you’re missing!  Check this list out for some new recommendations.  I am always on the lookout for new podcasts, so let me know what you’re listening to in the comments!