A Look Inside a Fun Moms’ Night Out

Big thank you to our sponsors, Parents Magazine, Clorox ®, and Dove.

With school in full swing and holidays soon around the corner, joining MomTrends for a fun evening at Meredith Corporation’s NYC headquarters for some helpful family lifestyle tips and tricks was just what this overscheduled (aren’t we all?) mama needed. The annual Momtrends Moms’ Night Out presented a bunch of fun activations and info from Parents Magazine, Parents Latina, Clorox ®, and Dove.

Let’s just say that I have a moderate obsession with Clorox® Disinfecting Wipes. They save me on the daily with a quick swipe of countertops, kids’ sneakers, lunchboxes, and more. They also help to conveniently keep the kids’ creative spaces tidy, while killing 99.9% of germs. I may have been the only one who needed to reach for the Clorox ® Disinfecting Wipes at their fun snowglobe making station (yes, my mess-making left something to be desired). It was a blast gluing mini-trees, woodland creatures, and NYC-themed figurines to a snowglobe base – and then adding snow, water, glycerin, and glitter. Thank goodness for Clorox ® to quickly hide my glue mess! Also, if you haven’t tried the “micro-scrubbers” version of the wipes – do yourself a favor and stock up for eternity.

An excellent resource for all things parenting: Parents Magazine and Parents Latina shared DIY stations for moms and kids alike. Their current magazines came to life with an easy-to-replicate spooky fruit skewer station to make Halloween parties fun without all the added junk.

Not just for kids: the PARENTS team knows how to curate the DIY elements for the adults-only party too. Blending a custom scent with Alchemologie’s natural perfume station brought a super special touch to the Moms’ Night Out bash.

After the evening was over, I looked forward to dropping off a sweet little caddy that I decorated with a simple flower WikkiStix at the Baby Dove activation station to a new mom in my neighborhood. During those early newborn weeks, it’s always nice to gift helpful essentials like Baby Dove’s Tip to Toe wash since it’s free of all the stuff (no parabens, sulfates, dyes or phthalates) that you don’t want on your little one’s skin. I also love that Baby Dove is uniquely made with prebiotic moisture and 100% skin-natural nutrients to gently nourish the delicate microbiome that babies are naturally born with.

Baby-Dove-Tip-to-toe-wash

Big thank you to Momtrends and all the sponsors!

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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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NY 529 Direct College Savings Plan: The Smart Way To Save For Your Child’s Education

Our children, our truest markers of ticking time, have a way of reminding us just how fleeting these precious moments of childhood are. It was just yesterday that I wrote this birthday letter for my son – but then I blinked and a few more years passed.   And all of the sudden, while making memories in what feels like a beautiful and chaotic mess, the days somehow slip into years.

I know this truth, as the mother of an eight and now six-year-old.

Yesterday:

New-York-529-College-Savings-Intrepid-NYC

And also, just yesterday:

how-to-save-for-kids-college-NY-529

How is that possible?

My kids have big dreams.  Our oldest has her sights set on being an inventor (who will create a teleportation device), a scientist, and an artist.  While the little guy dreams of being a chemist (the kind who mixes colorful potions) – and a LEGO builder too.  Like all parents, we want our kid’s ultimate career dreams to come to fruition – but in the midst of the financial responsibilities that come with adulthood it can be concerning to think about paying for our children’s college education when many colleges currently charge more than $60,000 per year.  What will the cost of college be in 10 to 15 years?

That’s why it’s crucial for parents like us to save for two college educations in the most efficient way possible – with a NY 529 Direct College Savings Plan for each child.  I jumped at the opportunity to meet with the plan’s financial team along with NY’s First Deputy Comptroller Pete Grannis, at an intimate event at the Intrepid Museum, hosted by Momtrends Media.

When choosing a 529 plan to use towards your child’s two-or-four year university, accredited vocational school, or postgraduate program along with supplies and accepted expenses (computers, room and board, etc.) – it’s important to find out if your state offers tax deductions for 529 contributions.  While states including New Jersey do not, New York 529 plans offer tax benefits.

  • 529 account funds can be used in any state – they are not limited to the state sponsoring the 529 plan.
  • Account contribution limits for 529 plans are generally high – from $200,000 to $300,000 or more, depending on the state.  The Direct Plan, accommodates contributions up to $370,000 on behalf of one beneficiary.  This amount includes all New York-sponsored 529 savings accounts held for the same beneficiary. Also, most institutions only count 6 percent of the total 529 funds as usable when determining financial aid eligibility.  In comparison, 20 percent of traditional savings account are factored into the financial aid eligibility process.
  • Many people can open a 529 account with as little as $25!  Including, not only parents but other relatives and friends – as long as U.S. citizenship or resident alien status is established.  The account owner selects the beneficiary, investments and how the funds will be used.  If you’re a New York State taxpayer, you can also benefit from the state tax deduction.
  • In lieu of toys that will be long forgotten, family and friends can contribute to kids 529 accounts creating a lasting gift that will grow over time.

To learn more about these powerful savings vehicles where earnings grow federally tax-deferred and where qualified withdrawals are tax-free – visit www.nysaves.org.  For Financial AID information visit www.hesc.ny.gov.

This is a sponsored post.  Opinions as always, are my own.

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Game Day Party – A Super Bowl Bash

I may not be much of a football fan but I do love a great gathering!  The Super Bowl is just weeks away and if you’re gearing up for a game day bash check out our party ideas and game day recipes over on Momtrends.

superbowl party tablescape

Go, Fight, Win Y’all!

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Painting with Glidden Disney Paint {Sponsored}

I vividly remember my own childhood bedroom makeover.  My mother let me pick out wallpaper (which she applied herself), and she also purchased fabric to sew coordinating bedding.  As a little girl, I was allowed to take ownership of the project, and what I remember most is the special feeling it gave me.

As the days have continued to slip into weeks (and years!) over here (as they often do in early childhood) my plans to update Lucia and Adrian’s shared bedroom has been a goal that constantly got pushed back.  I’ve been thrilled to have the chance to paint their space to reflect a bit more of my boy’s interests as a Disney Paint Mom thanks to Mom Trends.

Adrian is turning three-years-old next month and his favorite book is still Papa Please Get The Moon For Me by Eric Carle.  Since Adrian also has a love for Buzz Light Year, I decided to saturate part of the room with painted stars using Glidden‘s Ready, Set, Glow! Disney Specialty Finish from WalmartThe stars were approved by big sister and will give Adrian an intergalactic element incorporating his interests.  Before beginning my project, I perused DisneyPaint.com to get ideas from their how to videos and virtual room planner.  It was a challenge to stay on course as the website gave me so many ideas for Lucia and Adrian’s future rooms.  I eventually created some stencils, printed a lot online and taped a few to the wall with painters tape to begin.  The paint was so easy to apply and virtually orderless.  My kids were so excited every step of the way!

Glidden’s Ready, Set, Glow! Disney Specialty Finish allowed me to maintain the light serene feel that I love so much in the bambini’s bedroom.  The luminous sheen adds a subtle touch during the day, with true magic taking place when the lights are off at night (It is Disney Y’all!)  After the paint is charged by the chandelier for about fifteen minutes, my children now fall asleep amidst glowing stars that gradually diminish in about five minutes time.  I couldn’t be happier to see the littles so thrilled with a fun project that I completed for them.

In addition to painting, I’ll be doing a bit of sewing and re-purposing for my Adrian.  We can’t wait to celebrate his big-boy-hood with a fun party to reveal their new room!

Compensation and products for review were provided by Glidden via Mom Trends.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions of Glidden. 

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Children’s Shared Bedroom with Glidden Disney Paint {Sponsored}

In my home, we are big DIYers.  My husband and I find considerable pleasure in the creative process and tackling projects ourselves.  When Lucia (our oldest) transitioned into a big girl bed, a great deal of sewing, re-purposing and refurbishing took place.  Our redecorating efforts felt incredibly special, and we were all happy with the outcome.

Adrian moved into his older sister’s room around his first birthday and we didn’t do much to gender neutralize the room.  We added a shelf, purchased two gorgeous crib sheets and rearranged a bookshelf.  At nearly two years later, the room still has a much stronger feminine pull.

It’s hard to believe that my boy (my baby!) will be three-years-old next month.  We were in the midst of brainstorming a possible room-redo to celebrate his big-boyhood, when an opportunity to test our Glidden’s line of Disney Paints serendipitously appeared.  It gave me the push I finally needed to make Adrian feel special in his shared space; however I was a bit apprehensive about making all parties happy.  I’ll admit that I am a lover of white, bright spaces with a soft serene feel, but I also want my children to be happy.  I needed to find something that big sister and mama would also approve of – a tall order indeed!

We ventured to Wallmart with kids in tow, prepared for massive disagreement.  I think that my heart may have skipped a beat when I spotted an entire DIY section (complete with sewing supplies and fabric!) and my kids were immediately all over the rows of Glidden’s Disney Paint.  They saw their favorite characters displayed in the Glidden paint section, and conversed amongst themselves about their new room.  I thought that all had gone array when Lucia attached herself to a can of Disney All That Glitters Interior Specialty Paint (declaring that Cinderella’s picture was speaking to her!)  Keeping the emphasis on celebrating Adrian, we found our answer in a quart of Disney Ready-Set-Glow Interior Specialty Paint.  The kids were over-the-moon about adding intergalactic-glowing-fun to their room, and we can’t wait to surprise Adrain with Buzz Lightyear themed bedding.  Luckily, mama was pacified after learning that the luminous, translucent topcoat would add cool glowing accents when the lights are turned off  (ie. still maintaining light-walled serenity).

One of the greatest things about this project is that Glidden Disney Paint (exclusive to Walmart) offers an affordable way to decorate with inspirations from Disney Magic that children know and love.  My bambini, like so many I know, are definitely character driven, and as a parent I feel safe embarking on painting their room because Glidden Disney Paint is low odor and has no VOCs (an absolute must in my book.).  This premium-quality paint comes in 112 exclusive colors and five innovative specialty finishes.  Its distinct collection of colors has specialty palette groups catering to various styles and ages (from infant to tween).  Furthermore, room decorating at Walmart is easy as Glidden Disney paint colors were created to complement each other and  pieces from Walmart’s line of Disney bedding and accessories.  It is also specially formulated  to be ultra-durable to withstand wear and tear by messy littles – a definite necessity in my home!

Before leaving Walmart, I was able to pick up a ton of party food, supplies and a $50 Walmart gift card door-prize (be on the lookout for my room reveal party post!).  I don’t get to Walmart that often as there isn’t one close to us, but it truly felt like a one-stop-shop and the prices were unbelievable.

I can’t wait to get started!

Compensation and products for review were provided by Glidden via MomTrends.  The opinions expressed herein are my own and are not indicative of the opinions of Glidden.

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