PLAYMOBIL and NHL For the Win!

According to my Facebook feed today, there are ten Fridays left until Christmas and you know what that means – let the wish lists begin! I’m sure my child isn’t the only one already on his first (or second) draft of a Santa letter. Now as a parenting blogger I’m often given the chance to preview toys before the general public, and back in July I saw some of Playmobil’s new play sets. I came home and told Jack to put nothing in stone yet. Not to make too big of deal out of it, but Jack – they made an NHL Playmobil set. Little Playmobil Rangers guys!

Playmobil Rangers NHL

Playmobil and the NHL have teamed up to deliver the coolest new hockey play set, and two weeks ago we were given the chance to attend the launch and meet one of my son’s heroes, a real live Ranger, Rick Nash. My husband was pretty darn excited too and offered to come along and help. I decided to put him to work and had him ask Rick about what his favorite hockey toy was as a kid. Jack tried to help…

So maybe the kid won’t grow up to be a reporter…

Great toys give kids a chance to use their imagination and immerse themselves in pretend. For some reason my little boy who has never even tried on a pair of ice skates is obsessed with hockey. He has a few play sets and figurines, he collects cast off pucks down at the street hockey rink and pretends he’s a Ranger scoring winning goals. When I saw this Playmobil set I couldn’t wait to show him. It has EVERYTHIING a kid needs to host his own mini playoff series. Right down to a tiny little Stanley Cup. There’s even a Zamboni.

playmobil nhl displayThe detail is super cool. Jack loved being able to use the included stickers to customize his figurine. He was thrilled to see that you can get referees. We all loved how you can really shoot the puck at the net with the trigger action on the players.

Playmobil NHL Set NYCJennyHuge thumbs up on this one, Playmobil! It ticks all the boxes my little hockey fan requires, and has made it to the top of his Christmas list. I suspect it will be that way for a lot of hockey loving kids this holiday season. The full line will be available October 15th and you’ll be able to find it at places like Amazon.

Ten Fridays left people, TEN FRIDAYS.

Life Update – The Summer I Got a Job

Let’s dust off this old blog, shall we? Every day it seems like I wake up with the best of intentions and think that today is the day I will blog! Instead today is usually the day that I find approximately 15 other things to do by noon, my to-do list grows, and my boss has a busy day.

My boss?

Did I mention that I started a part-time temp job back in the Spring? Well I did, and out of superstition I didn’t really want to talk about it. Surely if I spoke of the job…I would lose the job. I haven’t worked since Jack was born four years ago. That’s a LONG time! The job sort of came out of nowhere and is primarily working remotely (i.e. from home) and as that’s the holy grail of working mom jobs…I went for it. We’ll figure the logistics out as we go along, I said.

I have so many thoughts on working from home now. It’s great, it’s hard, it’s perfect, it’s maddeningly difficult… The few days I actually go into an office feel almost like a small vacation. Complete with last minute packing insanity. Last week my childcare fell through an hour before I was to leave, Jack was on a break from camp and I almost lost my cool trying to find a solution. Yesterday morning he threw himself on the floor and declared that he would be “so bored at camp without you mommy!”. At tennis camp. The camp he was so excited to start? Seriously? Thanks for the guilt, kiddo.

I’m becoming a unique expert on both of sides of the working mom vs stay at home mom debate/war.

It’s summer though and summer is made for flexibility and this odd, part-time, work from home job has lent well to playground time, running through sprinklers, begging the neighbor’s nanny to take Jack outside with her charge too, and pulling my hair out while trying to be everything to everyone. I’m not gonna lie, it has also helped a great deal with the unexpected expenses that sometimes come out of nowhere in family life. This has been an incredibly GOOD THING. And yet, summer’s not what it was. Of course it hasn’t been. Tonight I fell down the rabbit-hole of my photo archives and looked back over all of Jack’s previous summers. I swear I wasn’t crying – my eyes just got a little damp from all the dust I haven’t had time to clean. Clearly it’s not because he used to be so tiny and sweet, and I had what I thought was all the time in the world with him…

I see why he was so upset this morning. Sure he’s had a year of school and is completely used to not hanging out with me 24/7 by now, but somewhere in his brain is nestled the memory of lazy summer days with mom. Last summer we’d stroll to an outdoor soccer class in the mornings and then hit the playground for a few hours till Roger came home.

Memory plays tricks on us, and from the distance of a year it seems like it was idyllic. I miss it, he misses it, and I have such guilt I can’t even describe it. Last summer though? I know by July we were at each other throats and oh so bored because everyone else was away or in a camp program! Yet here we are and Jack keeps insisting that we should just go to Central Park, Mom! Of course he does, it’s been our summer spot for years now. Our special routine of endless summer days in that park – he wants to call it back.

This is us, learning and growing, Jack. You’re no longer a toddler, and I no longer have zero responsibilities outside the home. Our roles are changing and it’s hard on both of us. I promise you, this is hard on me too, now please let me have an extra bedtime hug and kiss?

Which brings us to the subject of camp. Jack has had his first taste of real summer camp! Roger and his sisters are camp people. I myself never went, but they went every summer and eventually became counselors themselves. Camp is a big deal to that family. So off he went on the big yellow bus to try it out. Day camp only, calm yourselves people – he’s only four! He liked it, but said they didn’t do sports a lot. It was only for three weeks. Baby steps.

Edited Camp bus pic

We took a break, went to the woods for family and friend time. To swim in a mountain lake, stay up too late, and eat ice cream under wide open summer skies.


We went to the playground, and tried camp mom again.


That week of camp mom again was killer, not gonna lie. Right back to the boredom (for him) and frustration (for me). You see, when you work at home you have to say no so many times it hurts. “Just one more minute.” “In a few minutes.” “let me finish this and then we’ll go” “want some more cartoons?!” It’s not good for either of us. So… We found a REAL sports camp for four year olds! So we’re trying this thing again. Because we have to keep trying. There’s a way to make this work. There has to be, right?

And that’s where we are now. I’m working. Jack’s playing sports. Roger’s working, playing softball, and taking a band break. I’m heading out with Dysfunctional Theatre to Governor’s Island again this weekend for more Millay. I think that having an entire weekend devoted to making some art, something just for me, will be good. Right now I’m wound up so tight, I might split in two. I fear that I’m becoming truly good at nothing, merely mediocre at everything. Even motherhood. It’s not a nice feeling. I need a break. My family needs me to take a break.

I’m looking forward to my breather this weekend on that little island in the harbor that has been so magical for us last summer and this. We in Dysfunctional jokingly call it our summer house now. House 8B in Nolan Park. You should stop by. We’ll let you sit in a rocking chair on our porch for a bit – maybe you need a break too.

There are three and a half weeks left of summer before Jack’s school starts, and even then it’s a slow start. I don’t think they run full schedule until September is mostly done. But still three and a half weeks are left. I need to stop the tears and find the joy. It’s been there, but the craziness has buried it at times. I will use the poetry and music of this weekend as a break for myself to reset. It’s not like I’ve failed at summer, far from it – I just need it to end on a high note. My boy is growing up so fast, I want a few last times to sit and watch him be little. Be happy and silly. Just be.

That’s what summer break is for after all. Pausing and resetting. Just being.


6 Ways to Use Huggies Wipes Way Beyond the Baby Years!

My son Jack is way past the diaper stage now, but I still carry Huggies® Wipes everywhere we go. Oh yes, yes I do. I love being that over prepared mom who breaks out a package of  baby wipes to save the day on the playground. Okay, saving the day might be an overstatement, but still… Everyone likes being clean and breaking out a pack of Huggies® Wipes to wipe down the kids’ messes is usually met with smiles by everyone else. It’s not just kids making the messes I need to clean though – there are plenty of adult messes I’m wiping up! Here are a few of my favorite ways to use baby wipes – bet you didn’t know the theater one!

Huggies Wipes NYCJenny

Backstage at the theater: Full confession, I used baby wipes long before I ever had a kid. They are indispensable for me at the theater. Baby wipes should be on every dressing table backstage at every theater. They can be used to wipe off make-up after the show when you don’t have time or the space (hello crazy Off-Off Broadway theater, I’m looking at YOU) to wash at a sink. You can use them to fix mistakes as you apply make-up too. I’ve saved many a botched eyeliner job with a baby wipe. I’m not lying, a nice, thick Huggies® Wipe will take that make-up right off! In those really tight quarters backstage they are handy to “wash” hands, wipe spills, clean a prop or anything else that might come up last minute when there is no way you have time to get to the sink before running on stage.

City feet in the summer: I can’t believe more people don’t do this one. Keep a pack of baby wipes by the front door and wipe your feet down after coming inside! Sandals + NYC Summers = Major YUCK. No joke, the bottom of your feet can get black with dirt and God knows what else during the summer here. I have no idea why we keep wearing sandals, but we do. I know some people who head straight for the bathroom to wash their feet in the tub, but that isn’t always practical and you’re still tracking that grossness all the way inside your home! Best to just keep some Huggies® Wipes on hand and take care of that nastiness before you get any further inside! I’ve made a lot of baby wipe converts with this tip.

Dining out: I always keep a travel pack in my purse. Kids are messy, but sometimes so are grown-ups! This past weekend we were out with family and our server was way off her game (to be polite about it) and didn’t see fit to bring out extra napkins or wet-naps with our messy meals. With one person ordering ribs, another peel and eat shrimp, and yet another having a pot of mussels… my pack of Huggies® Wipes was a welcome help at the end of that meal. Ever tried to feed the baby pasta while out and about? Classic.

Around the house: In a pinch a baby wipe can pretty much wipe down any surface in your home and make it presentable for last minute company. The floor, tables, those dusty baseboards I keep meaning to REALLY clean…

Traveling: How many times have you accidentally spilled something while driving? Or worse, while on an airplane? Whose laughing at me now for packing the baby wipes?!

At the beach or playground: Ice cream is always sold at these places. Enough said.


I could keep going, but I’ll leave you with that mess about to happen!

If you aren’t a convert yet to baby wipes post diapers, Huggies and Wal-Mart have the scoop on Baby Wipes 101. Now you tell me, what are some of the different ways you use Huggies® Wipes?

Pixar’s ‘Inside Out’ Review!

Last Friday I had the incredible good fortune to sit in on an intimate screening of Pixar’s latest film, “Inside Out” thanks to The Moms. Denise and Melissa even brought Bill Hader to us for a bit of a Q&A session before we saw the film! He was charming and funny – had the whole crowd laughing before the film even started!


I’ve been waiting for a Pixar movie to make me gush since “Up” back in 2009. The first ten minutes of that movie had me ugly crying into my popcorn and remains one of my favorite animated movies ever. “Inside Out” is here to give it a run for its money.

The film tells the story of Riley, a hockey loving little girl whose life is turned upside down when her family relocates from Minnesota to San Francisco. We spend most of the movie inside Riley’s head with the emotions that are guiding her through this experience and life in general. Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger and Disgust. They reside in Headquarters, a kind of mission control for Riley’s mind. We learn how memories are made and stored, and how our emotions sometimes war for control over us. I burst out laughing when Anger takes over with threats of making Riley use the one bad word he knows – I remember far too well the summer my own kid knew just one bad word…

I also remember being the new kid in town (3 separate times). I remember my imaginary friend (oh God, get your tissues out for that moment), and I remember how frightening and overwhelming things were a lot of the time growing up. Riley, we all feel for you because we’ve all BEEN you.

While trying to get acclimated to Riley’s new home in San Francisco, Joy and Sadness get lost, Riley gets all turned around as a result and there’s a race against time to get it all together. Poor Riley is so confused and missing her old home, but all the grown-ups keep telling her to be happy and smile. Joy up in headquarters just keeps trying to put Sadness in a tiny little circle – repression anyone? This is Pixar though and it all comes right in the end. With not a dry eye in the house, mind you. Later that night when I tried to explain the movie to Roger, “no no no – it turns out that we NEED Sadness because you see…” and then I literally started crying again.

Bring the kids (the ones around me loved it!), bring your spouse, bring your mom, your sister, your best friend…this is a movie for everyone. Be sure to pack a box of tissues to share. It’s a good cry though, I promise. The ending is just so beautiful.

Pixar’s “Inside Out” opens on Friday, June 19, 2015.

The End of a Great Year…

So just like that Jack’s first school year is over. In a flurry of end of school performances, stacks of “artwork” sent home, scuffed up white uniform sneakers, outgrown “just in case” clothes found in the back of his cubby, signing for a report card, hugs, high-fives, tears, and extra gift cards for the teachers because I wish I had gotten around to reading to the class just once and now I have GUILT…  it’s done.

Year one is in the books, and I couldn’t even get an in focus picture to document it.


On the left is the first day of school way back in September. On the right is the last day of school. Same uniform shorts and pants – look how he’s grown! I think the last vestiges of baby fat melted off his cheeks while I wasn’t looking. He’s so tall now. And those are his second pair of uniform shoes on the right…at least a full size bigger than the one’s he started with. He’s grown out of fighting over every toy. For the final quarter he FINALLY got the highest mark for “Waits turn while speaking in a group”.

Funny he still can’t wait his turn when it’s just us three at the dinner table…

I cried. I did not cry on the first day of school, but I cried on the last. I cried because it was everything I thought it would be. Oh so much growing was done this year! It’s entirely possible that I was also shedding a tear or two because now it’s summer, and I work from home and what on Earth are we going to do before summer camp starts?

That my friends, is another post. For now I’ll take a rare moment to take a deep breath and look at how much my child has grown. I’m so proud and happy right now. I know the school years won’t always be as great as we imagine them to be, but this first year? It was perfect.


Book Review: Home Is Where Your Boots Are

I received a copy of this book in exchange for this review. As always, all opinions are my own.

With the long Memorial Day Weekend behind us, it looks as though summer has finally arrived! The temperatures are soaring into the mid-80s here in NYC, and it’s clear that everyone has summer on their minds. One of my favorite things about summer? Beach reading! I’ve been reading through a bunch of fun reads that I think are perfect for your summer reading list and here’s my first review for you!

Home is where your boots are nycjenny

Home Is Where Your Boots Are by Kalan Chapman Lloyd is a fun read loosely based on the author’s own experiences in her small Southern hometown. Having grown up in the South myself, I can vouch for the authenticity of the picture she paints of life in a Southern small town. The crazy characters, dirt roads, heading to church on a Sunday morning come hell or high water, and the fierce loyalty small Southern towns breed. There’s just nothing else like it, and I loved revisiting that part of my life even for just a little thanks to this book.

The main character, Lilly Atkins, left her hometown of Brooks, Oklahoma to be a big city lawyer in Dallas. When she discovers her fiancé cheating on her with his secretary, she packs up her things, and runs back on home to Brooks. With the help (and love) of family and friends she sets up shop in Brooks, and starts life fresh. When her ex-boyfriend comes to her for legal help with his divorce, trouble with a capital T erupts! This isn’t a romance novel, but there’s a bit sprinkled in – there’s a big mystery to solve and a healthy dose of laughter along the way.

In short it’s a perfect book to start the summer with. I can’t wait for the next installment in the series, These Boots Are Made For Butt-Kickin’ due out June 2015. I am very much looking forward to my next visit with Lilly and Brooks, Oklahoma!

Home Is Where Your Boots Are is currently available on Amazon.

Chuggington LIVE at the Beacon Theatre NYC – Giveaway

Heads up, NYC area parents, if you have a train loving little one like I do – you’re going to want to head over to The Beacon Theatre the weekend of May 16th and 17th for the North American premiere tour of CHUGGINGTON LIVE! The Great Rescue Adventure. My son, Jack, loves Chuggington and he’s so excited to see it live on stage!

Chuggington Live Cast

I’m thrilled to announce that I’ve partnered with MSG and The Beacon Theatre to give away a Family 4-pack of tickets to the May 17th 2pm show to one of my readers! Just follow the steps in the Rafflecopter form at the end of this post to enter.

Don’t want to wait to see who wins? There’s also a special 25% off discount code for my readers at the end of this post!

The North American premiere tour of CHUGGINGTON LIVE! The Great Rescue Adventure, produced by Life Like Touring and Ludorum, rolls into New York City’s Beacon Theatre on Saturday, May 16 and Sunday, May 17, 2015.

The live-action, musical children’s show, based on the popular TV series, gives young fans and their families the opportunity to experience the train-tastic adventures of the Chugginton trainees, Wilson, Brewster and Koko.

This brand-new production features impressive trains with working features and movements that bring the Chuggington TV series characters to life on stage. A fun, two act musical, this live show is presented before a giant LED video wall featuring animated locations and background action sequences from the popular TV series.

In CHUGGINGTON LIVE! The Great Rescue Adventure the trainees are eager to impress their mentors by mastering new roles that test their courage, speed, and determination. When Koko finds herself in trouble at Rocky Ridge Mine, it’s up to her friends to help her. Do the trainees have what it takes to put their newly learned skills into practice to save Koko?

First launched on Disney Junior in 2010, Chuggington now airs in more than 178 countries and is translated into 36 different languages. In the United States, the TV show is seen 22 times per week across Disney Junior and Disney channels, with an estimated 2 million viewers every week.

The Great Rescue Adventure will be at The Beacon Theatre at the following dates and times:
Saturday, May 16, 2015 with shows at 11:00AM, 2:00PM and 5:00PM

Sunday,May 17, 2015 with shows at 11:00AM and 2:00PM

Use the code “FamChugg” when ordering tickets to get 25% off regular priced tickets!

Tickets are on sale now and will be available through Ticketmaster Charge By Phone (1-866-858-0008) and all Ticketmaster Outlets. Tickets are available in person at MSG, Radio City Music Hall and the Beacon Theatre Box Offices. Full event details at:

Jack and I hope to see you at Chuggington Live! There’s nothing like taking your child to experience the magic of live theater!

Here’s that Rafflecopter form I promised. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Trollbeads Mother & Daughter Event With Vera Sweeney!

Looking for something fun to do this Saturday? Join Trollbeads for a Mother & Daughter Event hosted by Vera Sweeney from Lady & the Blog and TLC’s “What She Said.” Guests will receive a custom flower crown designed by Rachel Cho with every purchase (while supplies last)!

Trollbeads Event Vera Sweeney NYCJenny“What She Said” is set to air on May 10th and features some of the country’s foremost female comics commiserating, venting, and speaking the truth about being mothers during these crazy modern times.

When: Saturday, May 2nd 1-4PM
226 Columbus Ave, NYC

RSVP to to guarantee VIP gift!

Chuggington Fire Patrol Rescue Is Here!

Attention all Chuggington fans – this week a brand-new Chuggington DVD was released! Jack and I were lucky enough to attend a special event here in New York to celebrate it, and we’ve got the inside scoop for you! The latest Chuggington DVD, “Fire Patrol Rescue” was released on March 31st. It includes 6 episodes, special features, and introduces a new Chugger to the world – fire engine Asher!

chuggington dvds nycjennyWe spent Saturday morning at the New York City Fire Museum learning about fire safety and getting a sneak peek of “Fire Patrol Rescue”. The kids were invited to explore the space, playing with blocks and tunnels. There were coloring pages of Wilson and Asher and a fun color your own paper fire truck craft. The DVD includes the Chuggington coloring pages as one of the bonus features, and this mom is so glad because Jack could not get enough of the coloring!

Chuggington Coloring Pages

After much coloring and giggling and decking themselves out in their own fire helmets, the kids got to see a sneak preview of two of the new episodes. Jack was completely enthralled as you can see by this picture I snuck with my camera phone during the screening.

Chuggington Watching DVD NYCJennyJack has long been a Chuggington fan, but this new character, Asher, is like the perfect storm of preschool entertainment. It’s a TRAIN that’s also a FIRE TRUCK!!! Jack loved all the fire rescue action going on, and I loved the fire safety messages that were seamlessly and age-appropriately woven in to the story line. We’ve had a lot of bad news stories lately in NYC involving fire and it’s led to a lot of scary, but necessary conversations. While Jack is completely entertained by these new episodes, I really do think he’s getting some valuable information to back up what we’ve been trying to teach at home.

Another special treat? The director and head writer of Chuggington, Sarah Ball, was in attendance! We got the kids to stand with her for a quick group shot at the very end – Jack was totally out of his mind with joy because the DVD he’d just been handed also contained a toy Asher to take home.

Chuggington Group Sarah Ball NYCJennyAt a suggested retail price of $16.98, I’m going to call this Limited Edition “Fire Patrol Rescue” DVD and train box set a total steal. It’s a heavy die-cast metal TOMY train, definitely quality and with 6 episodes (total run time of 62 minutes), the DVD is packed with excitement and learning. Jack is currently keeping his Asher right beside his bed with all his other “treasures” and the DVD is in heavy rotation. A definite hit in this house!

We received free samples to facilitate this review. All opinions are my (and Jack’s) own. 

Our Cars Party + Giveaway #disneyside

I received free products in order to host a Disney Side @Home Celebration – no other compensation was received. This post contains affiliate links. The opinions expressed here are 100% my own. 

After having such a good time throwing our surprise Disney Side playdate party last winter, Jack and I were super excited to be chosen to host another Disney Side party this year! Last year’s Mickey Mouse theme was fun, but we had no idea how much more fun this year’s theme would be – Disney CARS! The timing couldn’t have been more perfect – it’s like Disney KNOWS what’s going on. In February Jack’s Nana treated him (and all of us) to his first trip to Disney World, and guess where we stayed???

art of animation resort Disney NYCJennyThat is the Art of Animation resort at Disney where one entire section is devoted to Cars. It blew his mind. After a few days of warmer weather and time with family we flew back to snow and regular life. Luckily we had some pixie dust magic in our Disney Side box to rescue us from regular life doldrums!

The hotel was Jack’s favorite part of the entire trip. Carrying that magic on into our home with all the fun party things available was easy. I’m not big on recreating things from Pinterest tutorials, I rarely get enough sleep for that kind of action. I like that everything we received coordinated and was easy to use. The shiny, curling decorations that we hung from the ceiling were Jack’s favorite.

Disney Cars Party NYCJenny

Since we’d just come out on the other side of a small surgery for Jack, we kept things very simple. I let Jack steer the ship on this one basically! I wanted healthy snacks – he voted for cupcakes, donuts and cookies. I threw some applesauce in the mix and called it a day. Our party kit included this cupcake stand which is my new favorite thing. Assembles in two seconds, looks adorable, AND decorates the table. Score.

Disney Cars Cupcake Stand NYCJennyI love the pile of donuts. That’s the ONE Pinterest thing I did. All over Pinterest is this idea of a pile of donuts representing the stacks of Luigi’s tires. Jack just thought it was too perfect. After all he spent a solid half hour taking pictures of the stacks of tires at the resort just a few weeks previously! Spy the tiny Jack?

art of animation disney tires nycjenny

We served up our cupcakes and apple juice in themed plates and cups – we even had little treat baskets to send home with Jack’s little friends. Jack insisted that everyone would like “a fruit snack, one lollipop, and two Hershey’s Kisses oh and some stickers”. I’m telling you, have a four-year old plan a party and you’ll spend all day laughing. Nothing demonstrates friendship more than a shared fruit snack apparently.

Disney Cars Party Plates NYCJennyWe broke out Cars Bingo – which is actually one of our go-to family games now – but they just wanted to play race cars instead. Which I totally understand. It’s hard to talk about race cars without wanting to have a race yourself!

Disney Cars Bingo NYCJenny

Boys Playing Cars NYCJennyAll in all, this was a really sweet way to prolong the magic Jack experienced at Disney. Lightning McQueen, Mater, and the rest of the gang are as familiar to my son as his closest friends – he was so excited to have a party with them. A party for no other reason than, “oh my stars this winter has been SO LONG!”  We’ve made it through walking pneumonia, three ear infections, a never ending sinus infection, and an adenoidectomy & ear tube surgery. A little fun for no serious reason was a great way to spend the morning.

And now I have something for YOU! Disney and MomSelect sent us this super awesome, brand new, Wilton Mickey Mouse Cake Pan. Seeing as how I’m really more of a cupcake girl. I’d like to pass on this cool cake pan to one of you! It’s always fun to share the love and Disney Side magic. If you’d like to win it, enter using the rafflecopter form below! Good luck!

Disney Wilton Cake Pan Mickey NYCJenny

This giveaway starts at 12AM EST on Saturday March the 21st, and ends at 12AM EST on Saturday the 28th of March. It is open to the USA only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received free products in order to host a Disney Side @Home Celebration. The opinions expressed here are my own. This post also contains affiliate links.