What To Put In An Easter Basket

With Easter just around the corner, you are likely thinking of what you might put into your children’s Easter baskets this year. Here are a few fun suggestions that we think you and yours might enjoy.

Surprizamals are the perfect toy to put in your basket- they are cute for any time of the year, but love them for Easter baskets because they come in their own balls that are roughly the size of your basic plastic egg. The “surprise” is that you don’t know what animal comes inside each ball- there are even some very rare ones your child will enjoy looking for. These toys are small, cute, and inexpensive, and the “surprise” aspect of them really makes kids like them that much more. Not to mention, that they are easy to collect. An easy win.  Available at https://www.surprizamals.com/

We’ve mentioned Whiffer Sniffers before, but there is a new series out as well as new Spring/Easter exclusives that little fans or collectors will really enjoy. These scented plush characters really smell like they are supposed to.  They are fun toys that come with clips so that they can hand off your child’s backpack (or whatever they prefer). These small toys pack a large fragrance as well- several months later, I still smell the ones he’s had on his backpack from August. Not overwhelming. Also, the sweet smell of confections is one I will take over the gross “little boy playing” smell any day of the week, I will tell you that. There are several sizes and styles available for each character-  snuggley super size, a backpack clip, and scratch ‘n’ sniff stickers. You can also find exclusive characters only found inside specially marked mystery packs. Ah, the fun is in the hunt, right? Grab yours at a toy store near you or at http://whiffersniffers.com/ .

Perfect for Spring as well as any Doc McStuffins fan is the Doc McStuffins Baby Check Up Lil’ Nursery Pals doll collection. Yes, quite the mouthful of a name, but the doll is perfectly sized for little hands and arms and designed for kids in that Pre-K-K age. The outfits on the dolls (or doll styles) come in Bumblebee, Ladybug and Blue Bunny.  These baby dolls are inspired by the Doc McStuffins Toy Hospital Nursery your kids might watch on Disney Junior, and every doll wears her own spring themed costume and comes with an included pacifier. Available in most retails stores for about $9.99.

If you are traveling this holiday, you might want to take along a familiar friend. Peppa Pig has her own portable night light that kids will love and is easy to bring with you wherever you go- she also looks cute sitting in an Easter basket. So, fun meets function, my favorite. This Peppa Pig Soft Lites is plug free and needs 2AAA batteries (which are included) to emit a soft glow that will comfort kids as they fall asleep. $15 on http://www.tech4kidsdirect.com

Looking for a fun bunny to add? How about Mim-Mim? If your kids are fans of this newish TV show, they will love the toys available. Not only is there the large, purple bunny from Mimiloo, Mim-Mim, but also friends like Tack. You can get these toys in stuffed versions or in a figure pack. The Mimiloo Friends Figure Pack comes with Kate, Mim-Mim, Lily, Boomer, and Tack. These brightly colored and unusual creatures will be fun additions to your child’s basket, and let kids act out favorite scenes from the show or imagine their own adventures. Books and DVDs are also available, such as the new “Kate and Mim-Mim, The Mimiloo Zoo”. There are books for the littlest kids, such as “Kate and the Mitty Kats”, as well as stepping up readers. Prices vary.

How to handle Valentine’s Day in a BRAND NEW relationship

It’s Valentine’s Day; that special time of year dedicated to all things heart shaped, loved up and ohh la la!

Deciphering how you should spend the 14th of February is usually pretty easy; if you’re in a relationship you go on a date, share gifts and so forth, and if you’re single you rock out your singledom with friends and have fun… or you try not to text your ex and watch any romantic 90s Hugh Grant classics and cry in the bath.

But what about if you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day with a NEW boyfriend? You’ve both been dating for 2 months, a month, a couple of weeks… what are the rules here? How far do you go? Do you celebrate it all at?

Don’t panic, we’re here to help point you in the right direction!

1. Feel whether the time is right

It can be ‘too soon’ to celebrate Valentine’s Day with each other. If you’ve only gone a few dates with one another, then we’d suggest that it’d be best to ignore Valentine’s Day this year. Follow your gut, if you think it’s too soon… it probably is. At the beginning of a relationship it’s always best to keep it cool and casual than to appear to needy.


2. Are YOU ready?

Question how you feel about this relationship. Celebrating Valentine’s Day with one another is a big step and shows that you’re into each other and potentially looking for something more long term. Maybe you’re not looking for a relationship right now, if that’s the case question whether or not celebrating Valentine’s Day may send your new boyfriend the wrong message. You don’t want him to get hurt if you don’t see this as a long term relationship!


2. Be open and talk about it with one another

If you feel that both of you are ready, just be frank about it and simply ask him, ‘It’s Valentine’s Day, do you want to do anything?’ If it feels weird, just laugh about it and keep it light! If he’s not ready however, don’t push it and don’t let it bruise your ego, sometimes people need more time to dedicate themselves to a relationship.


3. Keep it low-key

Whilst talking to your new boyfriend, tell him that you don’t mind keeping Valentine’s Day low-key. You could make rules like no gift giving or only doing something during the day. Create a plan together that works for both of you.


4. Go out for drinks

If you’re a new couple, perhaps just going out for a drink or two is the perfect way to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

Impress your new date with your favorite little black dress number, don’t go too overboard with something like a ball gown though… or a wedding dress. We’re pulling your leg of course, but wearing something flirty and simple is ALWAYS the best option for a Valentine’s Day date. If you feel like having fun, maybe go somewhere with a theme (like a 20s speak-easy style establishment!) or somewhere fancy!

5. Have a home cooked meal

If you don’t feel ready to go to a fancy restaurant together just yet, why not celebrate with a home cooked meal for two at your home? It’s still intimate, and fun, but it’s also causal. If you don’t know each other too well yet it’s also a great way to feel relaxed around one another and talk. Going to a posh restaurant can feel stifling and put pressure on you both. Give your new boyfriend the opportunity kick off his cool men’s chukka boots and relax in your company.

7. Do you get each other gifts?

Decide together whether you’re going to get gifts for one another. You don’t want to give him a bunch of flowers and a bottle of wine and discover that he’s got you zilch, or the other way around. Make a plan before Valentine’s Day.

8. Don’t get him anything too big for Valentine’s Day

You may want to get him SOMETHING to show that your relationship is going well and that you care about the guy, but you don’t want to get him something TOO romantic or serious as it may spook him. And the same goes vice versa! Just picture it: you’ve been going out for a month and a half and he gets you a huge plasma screen TV for you to watch Netflix together at your place. You’d want to run for the hills wouldn’t you?

Aim for a gift that’s not too expensive and something fun and casual. If he’s mentioned a book that he wants to read, get him the book! If he likes a band, buy him their latest CD or get him an itunes voucher so that he can download them himself! It would be too far to buy him tickets worth hundreds of pounds to their reunion tour… in Belgium. The thought is nice, but it’s too much too soon. For unique and quirky gift ideas check out some online shops like Mr Shoes.

And That’s The Way It Happens…

Have you ever taken your kids on a holiday train ride? This year, we took ours to the The Saratoga & North Creek Railway THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride. The magical story comes to life when the train departs Saratoga Springs for a one hour round-trip journey to the North Pole.  It’s an adorable way to celebrate the season (and if the kids have not seen the movie or read the book yet, make sure they do before you head out).  Make sure you wear your PJ’s for this ride!

Christmas train ride

Set to the sounds of the motion picture soundtrack, passengers will relive the magic of the story as they are whisked away on THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride. Once onboard, cheerful, dancing chefs serve passengers hot chocolate and cookies while they read along with the classic children’s book, The Polar Express, by Chris Van Allsburg. Santa and his helpers greet passengers at the North Pole and then board the train, where each child is given the first gift of Christmas – a silver sleigh bell. Chefs aboard each car lead passengers in singing Christmas carols on the ride back to Saratoga Springs.

train ride

The chefs really dance and sing when they deliver the hot chocolate and cookies, it’s quite cute. Other fun favorites show up as well (such as your friendly, mandatory Hobo) and the Conductor punches your child’s tickets, just like in the movie.  Of course, you and your kids will have the chance to meet the big guy himself, Santa, who pays a visit on every train ride.

The Saratoga and North Creek Railway has other fun events and train rides year round. You can find out what is being offered and when by visiting www.SNCRR.com/the-polarexpress-train-ride or calling 877-726-7245.

Disclosure- We received tickets in exchange for posting and social media. All opinions are honest and my own. THE POLAR EXPRESS and all related characters and elements are trademarks of and © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Based on THE POLAR EXPRESS book and characters TM & © 1985 by Chris Van Allsburg. Used by permission of Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.


The Radio City Christmas Spectacular #GreenGiantXRockettes @GreenGiant

radio city

This past week, we went into New York City to see the The Radio City Christmas Spectacular. It’s one of those things that you need to do at least once in your life, if not more often (if you are close enough that you are able).

radio city mucic hall

Running through Jan.2, 2017, you and your family and friends can go see one of NYC’s iconic show’s (and some of the world’s most iconic dancers) to really get the holiday season started. The Rockettes have been performing at Radio City since 1932, and during the Christmas season they preform 7 days a week. The Rockettes also perform every year at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in NYC and America’s Thanksgiving Parade in Detroit. They also lit the Empire State Building red and green for Christmas. Gotta love those hard-working ladies!
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This Holiday Season, Give the Gift of Health and Vitality with Lucky Iron Fish

It’s official – the holidays are upon us. The demands on your time seem to have tripled since Thanksgiving, and you’re desperate to find the perfect gift or stocking stuffer for the favorite women in your life, that they can in turn share with their families.

It’s got to be original and fun, but useful too, and it can’t break the bank. A social good component would also be great. And it should be made out of iron.

OK, maybe that last bit wasn’t on your list of must-haves, but if you think about it, most of us can stand to use an extra dose of iron as part of our daily diet. As many as 3.5 billion people worldwide, women and children in particular, are affected by iron deficiency, which can result in weakness, dizziness, impaired cognition, and increased risk of illness, and ultimately lead to anemia.

Thankfully, a little but mighty fish is making waves to wipe out iron deficiency for good:

Lucky Iron Fish is a carefully formulated and tested cast-iron cooking tool that’s easy and safe to use during food preparation. It gives your entire family up to 90% of their recommended daily iron intake, and it’s reusable for up to 5 years!

Simply boil the Lucky Iron Fish in any liquid or broth-based meals to enrich your food and drinking water with iron. When used as instructed, the Fish doesn’t alter the taste or smell, and doesn’t present side effects like iron pills can.

Lucky Iron Fish has been shown to boost energy and productivity levels, and the best news: When you purchase the Fish for your family for $25 on Amazon or LuckyIronFish.com, another Fish will be donated to a family in need.

Deck The Home – “A Christmas Story” Lights for Your Home


The holidays bring out all kinds of fancy and innovative new lighting and decorating techniques.  The most recent are the laser lights which bring lights onto your home without actually having to put up lights one by one.  Instead, a projector is set up and lights burst forth onto your home no matter the size with a full light display. some displays are of one or two colors and most are stationary or not moving.  But some move and some even have a holiday themes and one in particular is a licensed product, to go along with the holiday favorite movie, A Christmas Story.


This outdoor laser light projector gives you two colors – red and green- with swirling spinning patterns of ornament shapes and bursts of color.  In addition to these basic designs, there are also classic items from the movie, including the leg lamp, Ralphie in a bunny costume, the crate for the leg lamp, the “shoot your eye out” scene, broken glasses, Ralphie and his BB gun, and Ralphie’s friend Flick with his tongue stuck to a flag pole.  Each design is easy to recognize and simple, perfect to be projected on your home.  It’s different and funny! This projector is perfect for fans of the movie, or someone just trying to find a unique and different way to decorate their home this year.  The colors are bright, and set up is a breeze.  Also to note, the projector can be set up with a timer with the rest of your Christmas lights to make for worry free holiday lighting night after night.


And Advent Begins #HolidayGiftGuide

This past Sunday, Advent began.  Have you gotten you child their Advent Calendar yet? Most don’t follow Advent exactly, instead counting down the 23 days leading to Christmas Eve.  These two adorable options from Playmobil are no exceptions.

advent calender

For those children who love animals, the set #6624 could be perfect (I know, they call their sets by numbers rather then by names, which can be rather interesting when you are trying to find one).  This one is farm themed, and is very cute. Once a day, your child can punch out the numbered door and find a fun surprise inside, such as a kitty, cow, goat, or even a tractor. Weather you are country born, or just got a country soul, this is sure to please. About $25 at stores like Toys R Us and Amazon.

hockey set

For the sporty kids, the Playmobil NHL Hockey set #9017 will score big. This set comes with everything your hockey fan would like, such as Once all the pieces are revealed,hockey figures, two child figures, flags, goal, Stanley Cup, puck bag, and who better then to break up disagreements then a Santa referee? There are other accessories included as well (including reindeer), one for each day until Christmas eve.  Around $27.

hockey toy

If you are looking for more hockey fun, check out the PLAYMOBIL NHL Hockey Arena. This one is full of interactive fun and has a movable goalie. Just as in real games, use the player’s sticks to block or to hit the puck into the goal. Use the joystick to slide the goalie back and forth to protect the goal. You can customize your team and rink with any NHL team stickers (included). The PLAYMOBIL NHL Hockey Arena retails for about $59.99.

star wars lego

For more character sets, check out the Star Wars Carbon Freezing Chamber Set. This one is not only one of our favorites, but it also made the KMart Fab15 Toy List. This set is great not only for kids, but for Star Wars fans of all ages.  Go on a quest to rescue Han Solo from Boba Fett. This LEGO scene comes with minifigs of Boba Fett, Han Solo and an Ugnaught native. Not only does it come with the Carbon Freezing center, but also a moving elevator, detailed central control and of course, all freezing functions. Warning- only freezes LEGOs, your little brother is safe. Available at KMart for $25, prices vary elsewhere.

big toys

Can’t get enough Star Wars? You will love Jakks Pacific new Star Wars Big Figs. These are all the fun of your Star Wars action figures, only much, much bigger. You can get the Big Fig 18-19″,  the “Massive” roughly 31″, and the “Colossal” 48″. Yes, that might actually be bigger then your child. Options range from Storm Troopers to the man in black himself, Darth Vader, and everything in between. They have articulated joints, so they are not just statue-like and hanging out. These are very, very cool- any kid will tell you these are a must, and on any Star Wars fan’s holiday wish list.  As the sizes and characters vary, so do the prices, from around $20 to about $99.  Visit http://www.jakks.com for more.


From the very big, to the very small- have you heard of TsumTsum? This Japanese craze has hit American shores, and kids are flipping out for these adorable animals which translated, mean “stack stack”. Fitting name, since that’s exactly what you do with them. The Disney Tsum Tsum Series One 9-pk is another one of KMart’s Fab15 list, and it’s easy to see why. This is the perfect starter pack, since it comes with 3 each of the small, medium, and large Disney themed TsumTsum. Also included is a collecter’s guide, and one of the medium toys is a “mystery character”. This pack is $16.99 at http://www.kmart.com or in stores, prices vary by retailer.

zoomer marshall

One last animal for our list is one of the latest in the Zoomer robotic pet line, Zoomer Marshall. PAW Patrol’s dalmatian fire dog is ready to roll, with more then 80 interactive rescue missions and tricks, 150 sounds and phrases, he plays the “PAW Patrol” theme song (and dances to it), has water cannons to shoot (not real water) and more. Just charge him up, pat his head, and get ready to save the day. AA batteries not included. Available from KMart’s Fab15 list from about $70, other retailer prices will vary.

HGTV’s Santa HQ at Freehold Raceway Mall #SantaHQ #loveHGTV

santa visit

It is that magical time of year again, where malls across the country are packed with shoppers, including kids and parents of all ages. One of the main draws of shopping at the mall, beyond the shopping, is to see the big man himself Santa. This year HG TV brings you a very special Santa’s HQ, where visitors travel to the North Pole and explore the big man’s abode. The visit starts interestingly enough, with an app download. There really is an app for everything. The app is called Elf-Ray vision, and should be downloaded before you get to the mall.

app for santa

This app gives the user a special insight into the working of the elves. Point your phone at the walls, and see what the elves have been up to. Once activated, the gears show elves working hard behind the scenes or getting ready for the big day. These scenes are dispersed at various places all along your trek, so keep an eye out. The first step is the “Elfie Selfie” in Santa‘s workshop where, after snapping your pic as an elf, you star in your own holiday video (that also features some HGTV favorite stars) that you can share with with your loved one as well- just email it to yourself on the tablet.

visit santa

Next up is the Naughty or Nice O’Meter. Users input their name, then they are measured on whether they have been naughty or nice. My son was just barely nice, according to the meter, but he made the cut…..so far. Then off to the observatory where your Elf Ray vision really kicks in, and you can see an incredible display with twinkling snow and presents. The end of your visit culminates in a family photo, and then a meeting with the big guy himself, Santa. Make sure your kids bring him a list- then you can avoid those post office lines 😉

mall santa

Guests of the mall are invited start to making reservations by visiting www.santa-hq.com. Guests also can enter to win $10,000 in cash online at www.santa-hq.com/sweeps orwww.mallsweeptakes.com or in mall at the Concierge Desk beginning November 14th.

Enjoy your visit!