Kids’ Spring Crafting + Healthy Snacking

Spending one-on-one time with my kids is a priority that always has a way of making them feel special.  And I cherish our alone time just as much as they do!  My six-year-old son and I were due for a date, and I knew that a full day at the Children’s Museum of the Arts would be a blast for us both. Over the weekend we hightailed it on the train to SOHO to begin the day at Momtrends bash in partnerships with Wonderful Halos – the sweet, juicy mandarins that everyone loves – and even the littlest of hands can peel.

Alongside CMA instructors, the kids crafted adorable little spring creatures including bunnies, chicks and whatever their creative hearts desired out of Halos.  All the crafts were easy enough to replicate  – utilizing basic crafting supplies like googly eyes, pipe cleaners, and paper.

I loved seeing all of the crafty goodness because I’ve consistently brought loads of Halos to the kid’s school parties.  I’m OK with my children having treats, but I find the level of sugary overload to be out-of-control in the classroom celebrations.  And when I drop Halos on the kids’ plates, the majority are gobbled right up! Since the extent of my crafty fun only includes sticking celery sticks in the mandarin centers to create mini pumpkins at Halloween parties – I gleaned tons of super fun (and much more creative!) ideas to get kids excited about healthy snacking. I’ll definitely have the little ones replicate the ideas at our family Easter party instead of the usual jelly bean overload.

The event also featured tons of delicious snack and party food ideas incorporating Halos.  From smoothies to salads and my favorite: chocolate dipped mandarins, with a drizzle of sea salt on top.

After the fun party, my little guy and I spent the entire day at the museum. He was lucky enough to get a coveted spot in the clay bar, made totally cool stop motion videos, painted a ton, and created re-imagined artwork inspired by Martin Kippenburger.

We both declared it “the best day ever!” and our thoughtful friends at Momtrends were kind enough to pack away a box of supplies for big sister to get in on the action when we returned home!

 

This is a sponsored post.

 

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Cranberry Classroom: A Visit To Ocean Spray®’s Cranberry Bog

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This post is sponsored by Ocean Spray®. Opinions, as always, are my own.

My mother had this wonderful, old-fashioned metal food grinder which she’d clamp onto the kitchen table to make cranberry relish on Thanksgiving day.  As a kid, I always enjoyed watching the mashed up cranberries with a touch of orange ooze out the grinder’s bottom-end.   To this day, I can mentally taste her cranberry “sauce” with just a mere glimpse of a bag of Ocean Spray® Cranberries. And I’ll always appreciate how food has the ability to transport us back to specific times in our lives – carrying ties to the people and places we love.  My kids are quite fond of their abuela’s cranberry sauce – and of the cranberry in general (hello Ocean Spray® Craisins® Dried Cranberries!).  They eagerly joined in my excitement of celebrating the official start of the autumnal season with a visit to Ocean Spray®‘s iconic fresh cranberry bog right here in New York City’s bustling Rockefeller Center®.  As part of Ocean Spray®‘s Bogs Across America Tour, we joined in learning all about the cranberry and met multi-generational Ocean Spray® farmers in celebration of America’s favorite fruit and the bicentennial of the first cultivated cranberry harvest.  This is that 12th year that Ocean Spray® has brought their 1,500 sq. ft. cranberry bog back into Rockefeller Center® – and up until this time, we had only seen it on the news!

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Complete with report cards, the kids enlisted in Ocean Spray®‘s “Cranberry Classroom” and learned all about the cranberry from the inside out – including its amazing story of taste, health, and heritage in a fun, immersive and fruitful way.  The kids and I were fascinated to learn about how cranberries grow on low-lying vines and develop four hollow air chambers making them float when removed from the vine. And I loved chatting with families of farmers growing Ocean Spray® cranberries right here in neighboring New Jersey.  Equally as cool, was The Most Beautiful Harvest experience, in which the kids had their first go at Google Cardboard – transporting them through a beautiful Massachusetts-based cranberry bog.  This incredible, virtual-reality experience celebrates the beauty of the cranberry harvest – while showcasing the fruit’s journey from bog to bottle.  No worries if you missed this event – just visit www.OSharvest.com to check out fully immersive, 360-degree views of a bog. It’s the next best thing to being there!

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Little minds were hard at work as they made mini bogs-in-a-cup with molding clay, gravel, Peat Moss, sand, and cranberry vines.  This fun lesson taught young participants all about how cranberries are grown and also gave them the chance to contextualize what they would soon experience inside Ocean Spray’s® real-life cranberry bog!

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With some serious excitement, we donned waders to get inside the beautifully vibrant bog amidst 2,000 pounds of fresh floating cranberries!

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The boy was super interested in applying lessons learned. Here he is digging for clay, sand and gravel!

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While the girl couldn’t resist an opportunity to dump fresh cranberries on her little brother’s head.

 

A photo posted by Monica (@marinobambinos) on



All this hard work stirred up pint-sized appetites!

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And reminded me that Ocean Spray® Craisins® Dried Cranberries never fail to please!  These Ladybugs On a Log make a great after-school snack.

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Thanks so much to Ocean Spray® for having us join in this unforgettable experience.

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Wishing you all the goodness of this new fall season – and do share your favorite cranberry recipes below!  Thank you to Ocean Spray® for sponsoring this blog post. All opinions are my own.

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All About The 2016 Dumpling Festival in NYC

Dumpling fans rejoice!  The 6th Annual Dumpling Festival is coming back to NYC, this Saturday, September 24th and you bet we’ll be hightailing it to Sara D. Roosevelt Park (noon-5pm), again this year, to catch all the action and chomp away at delicious dumplings made fresh in Chef One’s Brooklyn-based location.

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With a fitting theme of “There is a Chef in Everyone” -a $20 ticket will get you four tastings of dumplings with varieties including Kung Pao Chicken, Pork & Kimchi, Kale & Vegetable, Buffalo Chicken, Edamame and more. Tickets will also provide an entry into the raffle drawing for airfare from Delta Air Lines and a Year’s Supply of Chef One Dumplings.

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Hosted by Youtubers Mike Chen and Dan Chen of Strictly Dumpling and Double Chen – the event will also hold the 13th Annual Dumpling Eating Contest moderated by ESPN sports announcer Larry Hardesty.

KobayashiThe 2015 record holder,Takeru Kobayashi, consumed 93 dumpings in 2 minutes time.

Stop by to catch incredible performances, snap a photo with “Dumpling Mama”  join in a dumpling making class (kids welcome!), and so much more!

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Best of all, this is a feast to feel good about! Proceeds from the event help support our city’s food-insecure population with 100% of proceeds donated to The Food Bank for NYC.

Follow the buzz on social media with #Dumplingfest2016 and stay connected to all of Chef One’s Dumpling goodness on Facebook.

This is a sponsored post. Opinions, as always are my own. Image number one via Chef One. 

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DIY, Design and More: Join Us at HGTV Magazine’s 3rd Annual Blogger Block Party

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Calling all design-lovers, DIYers, makers and more! HGTV Magazine is hosting their 3rd Annual Blogger Block Party, here in NYC on August 22nd, and this full-day event is set to engage a coveted influential audience of designers, lifestyle bloggers and style savvy consumers who turn to HGTV magazine for all things creative.

With live demos and access to highly talented creatives, last year’s event was incredibly impressive, drawing over 500 attendees and generating over 5 million social impressions!  Check out the line-up of dedicated speakers below, including Emily Henderson, Genevieve Gorder, Sherry & John Petersik of Young House Love, Rachel Faucett of Handmade Charlotte and Emily Bidwell from Etsy.

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HGTV Magazine Blogger Block Party || August 22, 2016, 12-8pm || 404 Studios || 404 10th Avenue, NYC

Make sure to RSVP here. I look forward to seeing you at the event and please note that it’s open to ages 18+, so grab a sitter if needed to fully enjoy a day of design inspiration!

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This is a sponsored post.

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And They All Screamed For Ice Cream

This post brought to you by Breyers Ice Cream. The content and opinions expressed below are that of Marino Bambinos.

In many ways, familiar tastes and scents have the ability to transport us back to times in our lives that connect us to the people and places ingrained in our memories.  During my childhood, we didn’t have a lot of treats in our home, but if I was lucky, the freezer had a carton of ice cream. It was always Breyers Natural Vanilla, and without fail, my father would sprinkle the perfectly round scoop with wheat germ before serving it to us.  These memories built on hot summer days with an unexpected scoop of ice cream very much shape how I approach summer with my own kids.  With the final day of school upon us, we’ll have plenty of time for spontaneous fun, with this mom saying “YES!” to ice cream.

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With a great reason to ring in the official start to summer, we hightailed it to Madison Square Park to join in a giant birthday party celebrating the 150th birthday of Breyers Ice Cream – the makers of America’s No.1 Vanilla ice cream.  Did you know that the vanilla that goes into Breyers products is 100% Rainforest Alliance Certified, and comes from sustainable vanilla farms in Madagascar?

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We spotted the green and white balloons before we even entered the park and arrived to a gargantuan Breyers ice cream carton with a walk-through interior displaying the history of the iconic ice cream brand.  And the best part?  Free ice cream for all!

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My little boy is a strictly vanilla guy, but the big girl was determined to sample Breyers new ice cream variety: Breyers Ice Cream Cake comprised of Breyers Chocolate Ice Cream with loads of chocolatey crunchies, sandwiched between Breyers Natural Vanilla Ice Cream.  I get cravings, just thinking about it!  After the kids inhaled their ice cream we relaxed at a table and had fun people-watching the wide spectrum of New Yorkers who came out to join in the fun.  There were classrooms of school children, co-workers on lunch breaks and families – sporting green birthday caps, enjoying tons of free ice cream and snapping away at the fun photo booth.

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In addition to the free ice cream, Breyers enlisted the help of Girls star Allison Williams, Grammy winning singer, songwriter and actress Kelly Rowland, and Jane the Virgin/ Broadway’s Chicago star Jaime Camil.  The trio led the crowd in singing “Happy Birthday” to the brand – culminating in stands of streamers, confetti and glitter exploding out of the life-size carton rimmed birthday candles.  As the crowd fan-girled over the celebrities, the stars caught it all on snapchat and joined in the ice-cream eating fun.

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Cheers to ice cream on hot summer days! Wishing you all the best of the season.

Breyers only uses milk and cream from cows not treated with artificial growth hormones.  *Suppliers of other ingredients such as cookies, candies and; sauces may not be able to make this pledge.  The FDA states that no significant difference has been shown between dairy derived from rBST-treated and non-rBST treated. 

Thank you for your continued support of sponsored content on Marino Bambinos.

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On Female Empowerment: Success is Calling

This is a sponsored post. Thank you for reading!

There have been a few times in my career when I’ve been disappointed and disheartened with women in the workplace. But you know what outnumbers that? The strong women that I know who lift each other up, in that sort of fearless reciprocity that elevates everyone.

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When I was invited by Audrey and Vera to learn about the ways in which TracFone empowers women via their Success is Calling partnership with Dress For Success, I couldn’t wait to learn about how the program works in supporting the economic independence of women.  In the heart of New York City’s Greenwich Village, an intimate luncheon took place in the award-winning Annisa Restaurant, which happens to mean “women” in Arabic, and features a wine list with selections produced by female vintners and vineyard owners.  Our event hosts also thoughtfully employed women-owned businesses in so many lovely details, including the flower arrangements. The idyllic setting set the stage for the powerful women who lent their voices in sharing their Success is Calling involvement.

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We first heard from Amy Tashjian, the Senior Director of Worldwide Programs at Dress for Success.  She introduced the beautiful synergy of the TracFone and Dress for Success partnership, and Success is Calling’s commitment to moving women’s economic empowerment forward.  Through the financial support of TracFone, Success is Calling can empower women with the tools to make positive first impressions, conduct phone interviews and thrive and advance in the workplace.  Upon program completion, women are given a TracFone smartphone, for one year to aid in all areas of the employment process.

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The heart of the discussion came from three women who flew across the country to share their life-changing stories with Success is Calling. The personal narratives told by Simone, ShaVaughn, and Fredericka gave us a first-hand glimpse of the program’s impact. Simone, felt her creative drive sink, and although she believed that she had solid interviewing skills, she learned what she was doing wrong and grew to see herself as an asset in the workplace.  ShaVaughn was determined to create a foundation for her baby daughter and described Success is Calling as a “utopia” and the “best thing that has ever happened” to her. She believes that she was given her voice and confidence back while learning how to translate her skills.  Fredericka, a single mom of four, described the program as a “great blessing” that prepared her for Skype-interviews and boosted her self-esteem.

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I was moved by the stories of resilience and perseverance, and the program’s effect in helping women gain business confidence, interviewing skills, poise and secure employment.  The women painted a picture of being encouraged with dignity and respect, in a non-judgmental atmosphere commented to everyone’s advancement.  The sort of female-led program that I’m honored to partner with here.

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