Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sunday funday round-up!

Whew! It feels like it's been a month since I blogged, but it's only been a week! Almost the same feeling as when you close your eyes and swear there's no way a whole night of sleep passed before you hear "MOOOOOOOOOMMY" over the baby monitor (anyone else?!?).

Anywho! I've been trying to organize things in our house, and the craft box was due for an uphaul! Instead of trying to dig through everything, I separated different types of supplies in zip-loc bags for easy access. 

Check out what's in our craft box: 

Must haves: Glue sticks, toddler friendly scissors, tape

Googly eyes

Pipe cleaners

Markers

Stamps!

Fuzzy pom poms

Crayons

Turkey craft kit!

Finger paints


Cute container from Target to store it all in!





Have I mentioned lately how much I absolutely adore Dollar Tree? Seriously. I hope all you mommies out there have one nearby. The Turkey craft kit- SO cute... and SO cheap at $1!

Sometimes, we have a "Thingamabob" craft night where we just take anything in our craft box and go bananas with our imagination. I like to do this when we are reorganizing the box, as there are usually a lot of scraps and such strewn about in it.

Of course- Halloween themed scrap spider

Not too shabby with his toddler friendly scissors!
What's in your craft boxes, Mamas?

& please do keep an eye out for our next post.. Birthday Themes! So exciting!




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Sunday, October 13, 2013

Friday, October 11, 2013

Ben Makes...

Ben's most favorite holiday in the whole wide world is Halloween...He can't wait to go Trick or Treating! Due to Mother Nature's lack of cooperation the past 2 years, this will be his first actual Halloween that he will be old enough to remember. Crazy, right? The kid is obsessed with Halloween and has never had one!

Look at my little bespectacled Batman!

To celebrate, we've made a simple craft you can do at home too! All of the materials were purchased from the dollar store! This craft cost us less than $5 with plenty of supplies left over to go into the scrap craft box!

SILLY SPIDER:

You will need:
Construction Paper
Googly eyes
Pipe Cleaner 
Scotch Tape/Glue Stick 

Step 1: Trace your child's hands on a construction paper color of your choosing

Step 2: Cut hands out and glue or tape together in middle




Step 3: Glue googly eyes to spider and tape or glue pipe cleaner mouth




Step 4: Bend the fingers to make spider legs and attach pipe cleaner to make his web

Step 5: Hang and enjoy!



Do you have any fun Halloween crafts you enjoy doing with your children? Comment below and share! :) 


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Saturday, October 5, 2013

Ben-Voyage: Medieval Times


Our first ever Ben-Voyage feature brings us back in time...WAY BACK! I admit, I was a little hesitant to bring Ben to Medieval Times- the 11th century inspired feast and tournament attraction in Lyndhurst, NJ. Would it be lost on him? Would he eat the food? Would it be too violent? Would the 2-hour show be able to hold his attention? Any doubts I had subsided when we pulled into the parking lot and his face lit up upon seeing the castle. “MAMA!” Ben shouted, “A CASTLE!” Whew! Off to a great start! The castle sticks out amongst the otherwise residential streets of Lyndhurst. Parking was plentiful and a breeze too, much to my relief. 



Ben was all smiles!
We arrived at 7:20pm for the 7:30pm show, however, it is recommended to get there early as seating is first come first served. The doors to the castle open 75 minutes prior to the show, giving you and your family plenty of time to interact with the various characters, explore the gift shop, get a medieval picture taken in full costume, or even see the royal Falconer and his impressive bird of prey up close! In retrospect, I wish we had gotten there earlier to be able to experience all of the fun extras Medieval Times had to offer. Parents be forewarned-there is a medieval torture museum that you can tour at an additional cost. It is NOT recommended for little ones, and there are signs posted that say that as well.  On the plus side, there are lots of cute photo ops, so have your camera charged and ready! We exchanged our tickets for crowns bearing the color of the Knight we would be rooting for, and headed to get our seats. Seating was well organized and timely!


The lengths the staff went to set the tone for the evening especially impressed me. Expect lots of ‘M’Lord’ and ‘M’Lady’ jargon. It was a charming touch. Our server, Joe, was nothing short of exceptional. He made sure our mugs were filled and our bellies were satisfied. He said he had been working there a while, and you can tell everyone working there truly enjoys it. Just a side note-sales tax and gratuities are NOT included in the price of admission, so budget ahead for that. You’ll want to budget ahead anyway for your kids at the gift shop (which is reasonably priced!).


Image courtesy of Medieval Times Lyndhurst Facebook page
The show opened with a monologue to set the mood for the night, and the announcer did a phenomenal job getting everyone super excited and ready to see all the action. We were encouraged to cheer for our Knights (3 either from the East or West), and jeer for the opposing ones. The storyline of the show will definitely be lost on little ones-however talking is pretty minimal, and the action resumes quickly. The feats of skill that the Knights displayed were truly exceptional, and the horses were beautifully trained. Ben was on the edge of his seat with the fight scenes, and they were choreographed amazingly enough that I was too. The weapons hitting each other actually produced sparks, how cool! There was generous use of smoke and lighting to enhance scenes, and the music also did a great job to accompany the action. Ben’s favorite was the Falcon. It was really breathtaking to see it soar above the audience. Another charming touch-after their skillful showcases, the Knights threw roses to the females of the audience. It was adorable to see all the little girls excited to catch them. Also, there were a lot of kids at the show! It was definitely family-friendly and appropriate for all audiences.




Mid-show, they announced all the birthdays and special events that were being celebrated. Medieval Times offers different packages that you can upgrade your general admission ticket with, which will include things as a royal announcement during the show, VIP seating, a cheering banner, and much more! To see what packages are offered, check out: http://www.medievaltimes.com/lyndhurst/ratesdirections.aspx. There was a little girl a row ahead that was celebrating her 7th birthday and having the time of her life! She definitely looked like she was enjoying the royal treatment! I would recommend going to Medieval Times for a special and unforgettable way to celebrate.



Image courtesy of Medieval Times (Yes! It really looked like that!)


The food was SO GOOD. I was not expecting to be overly fond of it, but I was!  The first thing that was brought out was the Tomato Bisque Soup, which was so flavorful and complimented the Garlic Bread wonderfully. The Oven Roasted Chicken was juicy and VERY generously sized. I thought that would have been it for our feast, but no! A spare rib was also brought out, and it did not disappoint. It was literally falling off the bone. For dessert, an Apple pastry rounded our meal out. Delish! Ben loved eating with his hands, which is surprising because he usually errs on the pickier culinary side (He’s very refined in his 3 years!). The servers will bring utensils out for the little ones if you ask them. I also appreciate that they offer (upon request) a Vegetarian meal, which includes: Hummus, Warm Pita Bread, Carrot and Celery sticks, 3-Bean Stew with Fire Roasted Tomato and Brown Rice, Fresh Fruit or Italian Ice (based on availability), and select Non-Alcoholic Beverages.  


I would encourage anyone looking to go to book reservations, ahead of time, as it can get crowded.  Toddler Tip: You may want to bring a portable booster seat, as the seats are low. Also, children 3 and under are free as long as they sit on an adult lap and share from their plate!



 
            We had a knight to remember (get it?)! Thank you to the staff at Medieval Times who made our visit magical! We definitely will be back! I highly recommend you bringing your little Knight or Princess here for some good old (and I do mean old!) fashioned fun! To buy tickets or learn more information about the show, please visit the Lyndhurst Medieval Times website at: http://www.medievaltimes.com/lyndhurst



P.S. For those of you who don’t live in New Jersey, fear not! There are 8 other Medieval Times locations: Kissimmee, Fla, Buena Park, Calif., Schaumburg, Ill., Hanover, Md., Myrtle Beach, S.C., Dallas, Texas, Atlanta, Ga., and Toronto, Canada.


            Have you ever been to Medieval Times? Comment below and share your memory!






Disclaimer: Medieval Times provided our tickets with the intent for this review

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Thursday, October 3, 2013

FALL in love with these Toddler Must Haves!

I've compiled a Fall wardrobe too cool for school for your little boy! Check out our Dirt and Dump Trucks Toddler Fall Fashion Must Haves below!


The first collection can be found at babyGap:






The next collection can be found at Gymboree






The third collection can be found at Crazy8:


What fall staples do YOU need in your toddler's wardrobe? Comment below!


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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The 2013 Holiday Hot List! (Toddler Boys - ages 2 to 5)

This 2013 Holiday Hot List will be focused on Toddler Boys aged 2-5. I will try to have a focus on toys that are educational as well as engaging.


The first 2013 Holiday Hot Lister is the Fisher-Price Imaginext Batcave. The Imaginext brand in particular is always popular in my household due to it's kid-friendly design and numerous characters and accessories, so it's no surprise it's made it on to the Hot List!

The Imaginext Batcave retails at $39.99 and is recommended for ages 3-8. It comes with a Batman figure, a Robin figure and a Batcycle. Inside the Batcave, you'll find the Batcomputer, a Batwing, secret walkways, a jail, an elevator and so much more! There is so much in this playset to encourage your child's imagination. You can purchase this at most major retailers!









The next 2013 Holiday Hot Lister is the LEGO Bricks & More Builders of Tomorrow Set (6177). This set comes with 650 LEGO pieces in various shapes and colors and is recommended for ages 4 and up. LEGOs encourage creativity and fine motor skills and are also evaluated by the National Lekotek Center-an organization that works with children with disabilities or special needs. LEGOs are an endless source of fun in my house, and their effect on young minds never ceases to amaze me.


***Correction! This set retails for $29.99 on Lego.com and most major retailers!






OKAY... This next 2013 Holiday Hot Lister is SUPER awesome. VTech's Switch & Go Dinos - Jagger the T-Rex is incredible fun! He transforms from T-Rex to Construction Crane, and unlike other "transforming" children's toys... HE IS ACTUALLY EASY FOR YOUR CHILD TO TRANSFORM ON THEIR OWN! Not only that... He responds to 24 specific voice commands, including to launch his missile! So cool! Check him out... So worth the $67.99 for sturdy, well-made pieces that aren't flimsy and tons of fun! He's built to be played with and loved for a long time! Jagger is available...you guessed it-at most major retailers!






The next 2013 Holiday Hot Lister is...drum roll please! The Home Depot Big Builders Workshop Playset by Step2. This has been out for a while, but I think it deserves a place on the Holiday Hot List due to the sheer amount of play Ben has enjoyed with it.

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He loves being "just like pop-pop" in his workshop. The Big Builders Workshop Playset is engineered for little hands ages 3 and up. It features a working overhead light, lots of storage, a dual-action drill, a hammer, a handsaw, a screwdriver, a working vice, durafoam wood, nuts, bolts, and lots of other fun features. Guys... this thing is cool, and Step2 is a wonderful brand that really has this toy-making thing down pat.


It retails for $129.99 and is a Toys R'Us exclusive!





That's the Dirt and Dump Trucks 2013 Holiday Hot List Roundup (Whew! Say that 5 times fast!) for now. I will add more to the list periodically, so be sure to check back and leave some love in the comments!



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Ben Digs...

TRUCK TUNES!!!


This is presented by Twenty Trucks, and Ben absolutely adores the songs. I, admittedly, find myself singing along. "Can you name all these trucks? Yes I bet you can...". The songs are catchy and the lyrics are fun. As a parent, obnoxious kids' songs are the bane of long car rides. Truck Tunes, however, is AWESOME. If you have a child who is into construction, please, please check out Twenty Trucks' Truck Tunes. 

It can be ordered directly through their website http://twentytrucks.com/ or at Amazon.com

They also have a DVD to go along with it, however, I have not seen it for myself yet. I plan to soon though! 
 





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