A Family Ski & Ride Weekend at Stratton Mountain Resort

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Some of my favorite childhood winter memories took place on ski slopes alongside my brother and friends. In hand-me-down CB Sports jackets, with a few dollars for the lodge, and a tin of Dermatone in my pocket – skiing elevated my winter playground in so many ways.

I want my kids to have similar adventuring experiences (except with helmets on their heads!), especially during the colder months – because winter is for so much more than hunkering down.

Nicole at Momtrends has a pretty cool commitment to sharing her family’s love of skiing and unplugged-togetherness on the slopes with as many families as possible. She got my crew hooked last year – and we all couldn’t wait to experience Vermont’s Stratton Mountain Resort, at Momtrends’ fourth annual Family Ski & Ride Weekend to kick off our 2020 season.

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The Trip
Located a bit over four hours from NYC, our drive to Stratton was hassle-free. Enticing scenic views and farm animal sightings gave us respite from city life. There are also a few nice spots along the way to pick up Vermont’s finest local goodies like maple syrup, cheese, and more.

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Skiing and Riding FUN
With 99 trails between an Upper Mountain, Lower Mountain, Sun Bowl, and Learning Area – I was super pumped to get the kids in riding lessons, click my boots into skiis, and find my path to fun. Highlights included taking the gondola to the summit (hello, breathtaking views), and getting lots of runs (mostly on the Upper Mountian) with friends while the kids were having a blast at camp. The immaculately groomed trails and ample terrain offer something for all levels and abilities. And, as much as I adore being with my children on the slopes and sharing in this incredible hobby together, I also love the gift of time that Stratton Mountain Sports School provides. While my kiddos learned from pro riding instructors, it was exhilarating to reconnect with that familiar feeling of pure joy set on skiis. Every parent needs time for their own fun too.

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The Lessons
Stratton Mountain Sports School offers ski and riding lessons from age three all the way up to adults. With a range of private lessons, group lessons, and full and half-day programs – we opted for the full-day camp for the kids’ first day back on snowboards. I’m convinced that this is the way to go! The day includes lunch, hot cocoa breaks as needed (and, according to my son, a special mitten dryer!). I returned to my excited kiddos in the late afternoon and could not believe how much they both accelerated in just one full day with Stratton’s expert, supportive, personalized coaching. They leveled-up in confidence and skills (while living their best lives!), which made our time together on the mountain all the more fun. In addition to showing mama their accomplishments, the kiddos were super excited to be able to handle going off on their own, along with other friends, after lessons. It’s remarkable what a shot of confidence can do.

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The Lodging and Stratton Village

We stayed on-site at Stratton’s Black Bear Lodge (a few minutes from the village). Greeted by a friendly staff, Black Bear Lodge offers a lot of helpful amenities. Like most, I want an early start on the slopes, and mornings require extra time to make sure that everyone is suited up, gear is in hand, and rentals are secured. The included breakfast was a time-saver with kids, and I so appreciated the endless Starbucks coffee and water in the lobby (note, there are no coffee makers or mini-fridges in the rooms). Stratton runs a super-efficient shuttle service with what felt like non-stopped transportation to and from the village and other areas. We actually never had to move our car all weekend. Stratton also has a charming village, with a steller rental service (we were in and out super-quick), lots of food and après-ski options, an outdoor fire pit, and more. The village shops will make you wish you left your gear at home (and absolutely need that new Patagonia, Burton, Spy or Volcom purchase!).

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The Tubing
Our fun continued well past the last chair of the day over at the Coca-Cola Tube Park located in Stratton’s Sun Bowl. With four lanes of snow tubing (and a cable lift service to get you to the top), a fire pit, and warming hut, everyone can be the undisputed champ of the tubing hill under the Sun Bowl’s cool night lights.

The Eats
Visit Mulligan’s for mountain views, American and Japanese cuisine options, solid selections of Vermont craft beer, and specialty cocktails (including CBD infused drinks). Some of the portions (like the tasty nacho appetizer), were more than enough to feed a small village. We found Mulligan’s to be super family-friendly with arcade games on the lower level.

Although I didn’t make it to Grizzly’s in the Main Base, I did notice the packed deck facing the terrain park. Grizzly’s looks like THE après spot to be.

During the day, we fueled up and took breaks at the Mid Mountain Lodge. My kids seemed to enjoy the Asian Bowls – while I just wanted to sit and guzzle water and coffee!

Stratton also hosted a wonderful dinner for us to sample the local flavors reflected in their restaurants – many of which we recognized the following night at Table 43.1 at Black Bear Lodge. It was all so well done and memorable.

I even had the chance to meet Stratton’s official photographer since 1968, Hubert Schriebl, and glace through his book of images that tell the story of Stratton through the decades (50 years, actually!). I may be secretly dreaming of becoming his apprentice and relocating to a beautiful VT timber frame home.

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Big thank you to Stratton for hosting my family and to the Momtrends team for injecting our first family ski and boarding trip of the season with so much excitement.

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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.

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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:

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And also, just yesterday:

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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.

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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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