Things for Families to do in NYC

A number of friends have inquired about my family’s trip to New York City. We went from dancing in car seats to dancing on airplanes, dancing on subway trains, dancing in taxis and ultimately… stepping here there and everywhere NYC style.  My sister and brother-in-law lived in Manhattan for a number of years allowing us to visit a number of cool places… All with an NYC-transplant as our tour guide. While there, I decided to take note and write down a list of go-to places. Here’s a mom’s perspective. Yep! All kid friendly. Happy travels!

The List

Brooklyn Bridge – walk accross

Shark Boat

Empire State Building

Parks – EVERYWHERE

Museum of Natural History

Chinatown

Time Square

Doughnut Planet

Central Park 

Governors Island is a very cool place and it’s free. 

The SUBWAY – don’t rent a car

World Trade Center Memorial

The Breakdown

The day that we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge we ended up walking 11 miles! There’s an area on top only for foot traffic which gives an amazing perspective.


The Shark Boat actually goes on the body of water and takes you past all of the important landmarks like the Statue of Liberty – giving a cool perspective. There’s usually a Groupon for discounted tickets. ​

The Empire State Building has two options for ticket prices. I recommend purchasing the ticket for the MAIN DECK which is on the 86th floor. It is the one that has open air rather than windows. Feeling the breeze through your hair 86 stories high is spectacular.. No need to pay more to go any higher… if you go higher you’re looking out through windows and do not get the same effect. 



If the kids are going, many of the PARKS have water features which are pretty cool. Make sure you always have a bathing suit packed.



We had a lot of fun at the Museum of Natural History. (That’s where they have all of the dinosaur bones.) They have a price posted her ticket but are willing to take a lesser amount as a “donation” which is a nice perk. 

Chinatown is filled with decadent foods and fun little places to shop. It’s really fascinating to see the difference between all of the boroughs and areas throughout this amazing city. 

You can find a number of fun places to eat in Time Square. It’s worth it to go in the early evening so you can see all of the flashing lights. The last time we went it was super crowded, but the kids were intrigued. 

New York City is known for its number of delicious foods. I highly recommend visiting Doughnut Planet. They have the best donut I have ever eaten. Try a few. 

Governors Island was once a full-service military base for the US Army and Coast Guard. You take a ferry from the mainland across to the island, it’s free. Once there you can explore a number of military ruins… a citadel, view artifacts- like cannons, lounge in hammocks on a gorgeous greenbelt and see a clear view of the city. There are often little snack shops set up in the picnic area. 

The Subway is fun! I can take you to wherever you need to go. Make sure to get a map. Some stations have cool break dancers to watch. 

The World Trade Center Memorial is a somber place. Beautiful yet heartbreakingly sad. Seeing so many names on the memorial is an eye-opening experience. 


Enjoy NYC!

❤️ Jen

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2016 Moms! Holiday Gift Guide 

Ohhh… I am in LOVE with these items on my Christmas wish list. {One will do; you need to give them options. Right?} Click each link to take you directly to where you can purchase each fabulous item. 

Happy Shopping! Merry Christmas. 🎄 🎁🎉

❤️Jen


1. Apron – $ 74

Have you seen these “Proper Bad Ass Aprons” from Hedley & Bennett? I’m in love. They had me at pockets & pinstripes! 😍 Plus, they come in pint-size for those parents wanting to introduce their kids to the kitchen. Sweet!

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2. Josie B. Doormat– $44

With messages – for anyone gracing your frontdoor – like: “Bye Felicia,” “Better late than ugly” and my fave, “If you’re Amazon, a Babysitter or Joanna Gaines. We’re home” you’ll be the talk of the town! Be sure to check out some of their racier styles too. Be careful…  I may or may not have had coffee spew from my nose while browsing  Josie B.‘s etsy page. LMAO!

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3. Roomba iRobot – $375+

Imagine, vacuuming your home while you’re not there. Crazy AMAZING!  

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4. Glen Ivy Spa Giftcard – $ ANY

Glen Ivy Hot Springs is one of my favorite places to relax. Rejuvenate in the 150 year old hot springs, take a mud bath or splurge for a massage. You deserve it! Now through December 21st  you can purchase a $100 gift card for only $85!

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5. Spitfire Fringe Boots – $250

Fringe!!! These adorable buckskin boots are handcrafted & made especially for you. The ladies of junk gypsy are sweet as pie and uber creative. They have graced HGTV, designed for pottery barn and just added their own book to my bookshelf. Can I be Jolie and Amie when I grow up?

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6. Sunglasses – $96

The infinity sign happening on the front of these shades will have everybody taking a double take. The large lenses are on trend and flattering on every face. I just love this pair of Tom Ford Women’s Sandra Oversized Red Gradient Sunglasses that I found on Amazon prime.

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7. Silver Stacking Rings – $59 ea. 

Lisa Leonard has created simplicity in a personalized ring. Wearing your children’s names on your finger is a gentle reminder of how much you love them. Stack them up with a pair of jeans our dress them up. My faves are made in silver. Lisa creates all types of jewelry. Check out her website.

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8. Keurig Brewing – $179.99

I see coffee as a treat. Mmm… hazelnut.  Are you a fan of donut shop, French vanilla or PSL?  It’s nice to not have to brew a whole pot. With this brewing system everyone you’re with can have a different type of coffee. The options are endless. This unit allows for singleserving or more. 

2016 Kids! Holiday Gift Guide

This Christmas, I decided that it was important to not go overboard with spending. I picked a few items for my “Kids! Holiday Gift Guide” that your children will absolutely adore. Here is my rule of thumb, choose one thing in each category: start with something that they want, something that they need, something to wear, plenty to read, something that they take time to create or make, a treat to eat & a little something extra. From my Carseat Dancers to yours, we wish you a Merry Christmas! 

Happy shopping!

❤️Jen

P.S. Please feel free to shop directly by clicking directly on each blue link.  


1. Coin Purse – $14.99

Relic Caraway Zip Penguin

My girls enjoy spending their own money on the items on their wish list. And when they are not spending, you’re  teaching them to SAVE. This cute little coin purse is the perfect gift for any child. Be sure to give it with a little bit of cash inside.

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2. Shopkins Snack – $ .47

Shopkins Shortbread Cookie Bites

Anything Shopkins is all the rage. Your  little cutie will love this snack. Santa could add a bag to their stocking. Yum!

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3. Usborne Books Set – $119.99

Shine-a-Light Series 

All kids enjoy books that are interactive. The books in this series allow children to shine a flashlight behind the page, or even hold it up to the light, to reveal what is hidden in and around different places. This series encourages children to READ & discover a world of great surprise all while learning along the way. So fun!

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4. Fairy Door- $24.99

Irish Fairy Door

A perfectly darling fairy door that comes with a magical key can be placed at the base of a wall indoors or outdoors against a tree as a sign of welcome for fairies—when the key disappears, the fairy has arrived! A charming gift for those who will forever believe in fairies. 

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5. Custom Dress- $52.00-ish

CourtneyCourtney Dress

Have you ever had the most comfortable concert T-shirt?  Or perfectly soft piece of clothing… something that you wish you could wear on the daily? Creator, seamstress, Courtney has hit the jackpot with the sweetest dresses EVER! My daughters and niece all have her birthday dresses & ADORE them! Check out her whole line. You will want them all! ❤️

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6. Kid’s t-Shirt – $21

Regulators Mount Up 

The T-shirts in the Saturday Morning Pancakes collection are hilarious. “Things that make you go hmmm…” and bring you back to those earlier years. 

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7. The Shrunks Trampoline Pool – $99

Trampoline

Say what!?! Two products in one! As a trampoline, the sturdy construction features a jumping area measuring 50 inches in diameter. To use it as a pool, simply flip it over! Great exercise and great fun. The best “babysitter” ever! LOL! 😂

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8. Lego Classic Set – $40

Legos

With this sweet Lego set your kids can be creative and build what they want. 

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9. Tsukihoshi Sneakers – $59.95

Rainbow Tennis Shoes

Cool breathable tennis shoes with barefoot comfort are all the rage. My kids love the idea of Velcro & no tie laces for easy on easy off. Every kid could use a pair of the perfect sneakers. 

 

Valentine’s Day >> Gift Guide and Instagram {Flash Giveaway}

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1. Plum Print– known for their keepsake art books, also sell folded notecards. Your kids artwork is printed on the front and an Artist credit is given on the back. These would be perfect for Valentine’s Day cards for you kids class, close family and friends, or lovely cards to send sweet love note all year round. (GIVEAWAY Pack of 24: $35)

2. Chasing Fireflies– After Christmas I have become obsessed with matching family pajamas, so why not add some fun Valentine’s Day ones into the mix for a fun night in. The pajamas from Chasing fireflies are comfortable and wear great after multiple washings.

3. Vosges Dark Chocolate Renegade Truffle Collection– Words can’t describe how amazing these chocolates taste, and one is never enough. These dark chocolate truffles are infused with flowers, roots, herbs and spices from around the world. The black heart box is pierced with rose gold spikes, inspired by the courage and bravery required to seek and accept true love.

4. Teleflora Sweet Thoughts Bouquet with Red Roses– For beautiful flowers that will last way beyond Valentine’s Day Teleflora is the place to shop for sweet smelling modern arrangements. This year Teleflora also has a Love Note Concierge hotline (1-844-IT-IS-LOVE). Anyone who calls into now through February 12th (7 AM – 11 PM EST) to the toll free line will be coached on writing a love note for their Valentine! Additionally, for anyone who calls into the Concierge and requests to purchase a Teleflora Valentine’s Day bouquet, will automatically receive a 20% discount. (GIVEAWAY $100 Gift Card)

5. Famous Footwear slippers– When spending a Valentine’s night in with your loved ones, you want your feet to be warm and cozy. Famous Footwear has a large affordable selection, you deserve it. (GIVEAWAY $20 Gift Card)

6. Minted Art Prints– I love Minted and they do more than just personalized photo cards. Minted has a huge selection of fine art framed prints, they provide a marketplace for independent artists who might not have gotten their art in front of such a large audience.

7. Sephora lip gloss– Kiss Kiss Universal Pink Gloss, this lightly scented lip gloss in a universal pink shade for a beautiful smile. Plus you can personalize the packaging for a great Valentine’s Day gift.

8. Chromecast TV– Spend a night in, with your current crush casting one of your favorite romantic dramas. From Google, this cast device can stream your favorite entertainment from your phone or tablet straight to the TV. (GIVEAWAY one Chromecast)

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Hope you will stop by Instagram {TODAY} to be part of our My Strange Family and Carseat Dancers sweet giveaway.

TO ENTER like this photo on INSTAGRAM & follow both @kristrange & @carseatdancers –> TAG a friend in the INSTAGRAM comments.

For additional entries follow the GIVEAWAY sponsors ON INSTAGRAM… 25 custom cards from @plumprint, $100 gift card to @teleflora, $20 gift card to @famousfootwear and a Google Chromecast!

WINNER will be announced , via Instagram, TODAY – SUNDAY Feb 7th. GOOD LUCK! 🍀

Christmas Countdown Chain // Magazine Craft {for Kids}

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas and the countdown is on. Our Elf on the Shelf will be flying into our home tonight. We’re busting out the Advent Calendar {There are some super cool ones out there… chocolate, tiny little drawers, scripture printables; the possibilities are endless.} & all of our holiday decor.

I’ve found that the easiest way to get everything out and prepped, for set-up, is to give the kids a simple Christmas craft to do.

All you’ll need for your Christmas Countdown Chain is:
1 Magazine – I am an EveryDay with Rachael Ray subscriber and just happen to have magazines at hand. But you could buy one at the store.
Scissors {for adult use}
Glue Stick – For my girls I prefer the Tombow MONO Aqua Liquid Glue Dispenser because it is easy to grip and control. Over gluing doesn’t tend to happen.
Stapler – You can use any stapler but I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to share my favorite stapler on the market. PaperPro can staple up to 20 sheets by merely pressing one finger to staple! The perfect stocking stuffer. A must have! {Not necessary for this project. LOL!}
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Adult: Cut the magazine lengthwise into 3″ wide strips.
Child: Count out 24 strips. I just love to encourage counting while doing projects.
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Adult: Make the first ring and staple closed, using three staples, for strength. Then, show your child how to loop & glue the second paper-ring. They can then continue to make rings that inter-loop. {This may take little or no assistance from you.} It is important that you encourage them to be creative. This is the moment that you sneak away. IMG_0051.JPG
I heard a few cries for help, once when DEA5 glued her paper chain to the table & once when her sister was putting her paper loops together faster. IMG_0055.JPG
They are so proud of their creation! Hang their completed paper chain out in the open. We are just loving the mix of colors in our’s. IMG_0054.JPG Each night, we will trim a ring from their Christmas Countdown Chain, as we count down the days until Christmas. They are thrilled to get started.
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All-in-all, this project took approximately one and a half hours to complete. I got some Christmas sorting done and feel like I am ready to finish decorating tomorrow. The best part was they were contained in the dining room and out of my hair!

Happy Holiday Crafting!
xoox, Jen

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Stroller Review // Joovy TooFold Double Stroller // Link to Giveaway

 

Having more than one little darling requires a stroller that can accommodate more than one kid. A double stroller is essential for a growing family. Often double strollers are heavy and cumbersome, taking up a ton of space. I was thrilled when I was “introduced” to the lightweight, all-in-one, all-terrain, Joovy TooFold that can easily be converted into a double stroller. Even though the TooFold is lightweight it is still very functional and fashionable. {Both important factors in my Mommy Manual.❤️} Be sure to read all the way to the bottom for a link to a giveaway that Joovy is doing on their blog. 20140330-231641.jpg

Stroller Checklist:

Is the price point under $500?
Not this one folks, the $799.99 price tag on the Joovy TooFold is comparable, but on the lower end of that spectrum, to all of the other high end strollers on the market. The unique, all-in-one, all-terrain abilities of this particular ride is well worth the price. And it’s lightweight frame is perfect for traveling families and those, like mine, always on the go.

Can it be folded with the seat attached?
This stroller can be folded with the main seat attached. However, the seat for the second child must be removed prior to folding.

Does it have a cup holder?
There is 1 cup holder conveniently located on the side of the canopy {My average sized water bottle fit well.} I like that the cupholder is made of material and not hard plastic like on some strollers. I just wish it had one more. The zippered storage pocket perfect for my mommy essentials is a nice bonus.

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Are the tires foam or need air?
Joovy thought of everything this time! The TooFold comes equipped with a tiny stroller pump for the back tires since they may require air. Brilliant! The front tires are foam.

Is the seat forward and rear facing?
Both seats are forward facing.

Is the storage space large enough to hold a bag of groceries?
The under storage has an extended wheel base that is large enough for one bag of groceries. One super cool, extra feature, that the TooFold has is a unique cross-body, XL, zippered backpack that can be carried or attached to the stroller. {On our trip to Disneyland we were able to store all of our snacks, jackets and my purse in this bag.}

Can I fold it with one hand?
The TooFold has a unique, patented, one-hand quick folding frame that even STANDS alone when folded. Impressive! 20140402-232012.jpg

Can I push it with one hand?
Pushing with one hand is no problem when only one child is riding. With two kids on board, it takes a little bit more effort & really requires two hands for the long-haul.

Can it be used from birth?
This stroller can accommodate a baby as small as 3 months old and holds a combined seat weight of 90 lbs. Perfect for a growing family.

Will it fit in the trunk of my car?
With folded dimensions of: 17.5″L x 19″W x 41.25″H it fits nicely into the trunk of an average car.

Bonus Question:
Is it easy enough for my tall husband to push?
The rotating handlebars with quick release handle adjustment & multi-position handles make pushing comfortable for all parents. No hunching over for those over 6 ft. tall. No back pain. It’s perfect for travel and leisure and everyday use as it is incredibly light. FYI: Just last week I had to carry it up four flights of escalator stairs, at Disneyland, while my husband carried our sleeping preschooler. {Everything at the resort was nonoperational after an earthquake.} Let me just say, I felt like Supermom! It didn’t even phase me. 😉 20140330-232556.jpg

Room for improvement?
I love that the TooFold has a built-in stand-on board for older children, but if a kid is standing on the board and there’s nobody in the front seat the stroller tips backwards. This is just something you need to acclimate yourself to and is not a huge issue.

Interested in joining the Joovy Family too? Visit the Joovy website. Plus check out my “Mommy on the Go” post where I style the Joovy TooFold with on trend fashions and accessories.

I was provided with a stroller but, did not receive compensation for this post.

Happy Strolling! ❤️Jen

Excellent news! Do you want to try to win this GREAT stroller? Joovy is sponsoring a #giveaway over on their BLOG! Hurry! Good luck! 😊 {Say Jen @CarseatDancers sent you.}

http://blog.joovy.com/2014/04/time-for-a-serious-all-terrain-stroller-joovy-toofold-joovyrush/
—> You have until Easter Sunday, 11:59 PM CST.

Go! What are you waiting for? – Jen