Category Archives: Reviews

Let’s talk Facial Masques & Keeping it Greentastic with Balanced Guru

Facial masques have been used for thousands of years as part of beauty regiments by people the world over looking to better or maintain the health and appearance of one’s skin. Thankfully I have been hip to this since I was a little girl, using them mostly as part of a 2 step process, after steaming my face to open my pores. There really is no comparison when using a facial cleanser in the shower, to the super-clean rejuvenating feeling achieved after using a masque.

Generally speaking, masques are either a peel-off kind or a wash-off kind. Extremely versatile, accommodating all skin types, they can be made from a variety of ingredients like yogurt, mud/clay, fruit/vegetable and grains. Masques help with a variety of skin concerns encompassing – moisturization, exfoliation, correcting conditions like blemishes, soothing conditions like sunburn, minimizing wrinkles and fine lines, drawing out impurities and refining pores.

Personally, I love the way my face looks and feels after using a facial masque. I just wish I could remember to use them on a regular basis, rather than just a random 3 times a year, or there about!

My husband really thinks I look hot-to-trot in my Balanced Guru Masque

What Are We Putting On Our Skin

I strongly believe that it is just as important to be aware about what you put on your skin as to what you put inside of your body. Many of us Mummies, go to considerably effort to be healthy and strong in many ways; exercising regularly, drinking alcohol in moderation or maybe eating a special diet? I know I want to be as bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as I possibly can be, so I can be a focused Mother to my beautiful little boy who is the apple of my eye! However, even though we go to great lengths, it seems to be somewhat commonplace to overlook all the chemicals and toxins in the personal products we use on a daily basis, which with continual exposure are said to be linked to all kinds of conditions with one example being breast cancer.

There are literally hundreds of kinds of masques available on the market today, but are they safe? I am going to jump right in here and say – No, Unfortunately the majority of them are Not. Mainstream beauty Products are riddled with parabens, sulfates, phthalates, petroleum, GMO’s and pesticide sprayed ingredients. And, that’s not pretty!

For me it is very clear-cut; heightened and constant exposure to such toxins, in the form of synthetic lab made ingredients, are harmful to one’s health and should be avoided at all costs. Period.

So what can you do to avoid this kind of exposure?

Well, you can either make your own facial masque, which is surely rewarding but also a time-consuming project considering the research and preparation time. Or, you can buy a masque from a brand honestly providing a safe product which you can be assured using, like Balanced Guru.

Balanced Guru (don’t you love the name) make a full line of products including facial masques, body balm, body oil, exfoliators, cleansers, toners, hair oils, scalp treatments and energy blends and mists. Not just that, this company REALLY cares about OUR Planet, and we cannot rave about that enough! All their products are certified organic being sustainably and responsibly harvested, they are cruelty free and their bottles and jars are made with post-consumer resin (PCR), which means they are recycled and 100% recyclable. LOVE that!

Let’s chat about the Spiced Berry Masque

Colorful berries are a great way to feed your skin with antioxidants. Clove and Cinnamon are also loaded with antioxidants to help fight free radicals. In case that wasn’t enough; vitamin C will give this masque and extra boost to also brighten your complexion — Balanced Guru

The first thing I experienced opening Balanced Guru’s Spiced Berry Masque is the overwhelming spicy warm comforting smell. It takes you to a whole new world, just really wonderful.

The masque comes in a dry loose powder. This means that you can play around and get creative with the liquid you use to mix in to activate it. Mixer suggestions, as per the packaging, are either water, raw honey or yogurt. But, how do you know which one suits you best? I wondered the same thing myself, so I did a little research!

If you use water you will just be absorbing the benefits of the ingredients; feeling frisky, add a small amount of apple cider vinegar to help regulate your skin’s PH levels. If you use raw honey the masque will include antiseptic, healing, soothing and antibacterial properties. If you use yogurt (I used my all time favorite Anita’s Coconut Vegan variety) you will topically take in the probiotic, the lactic acid can also help to soften skin and reduce fine lines! Just a note about the yogurt, using a sugar and hormone free kind is best, and you want to make sure that it contains live and active cultures to receive the greatest benefits.

My 3-year-old Son, graciously, mixed my masque for me. He delights in helping out with anything kitchen related, however he was not game enough to try the masque himself! Maybe next time?

I put the masque on using my hands and then went outside, enjoying the sunshine letting it naturally dry for around 25 minutes. I easily washed it off with cold water in the sink, and voilà my skin was super squeaky clean. And, I had complete peace of mind knowing I had used what I consider to be a wonderful product.

My little rainbow mixing my masque up for me with some vegan coconut yogurt

The antioxidant Spiced Organic masque comes in 2 sizes; a 4 oz which retails for $45, and a convenient 1 oz travel size which retails for $12. Balanced Guru also offer an astringent masque, moisturizing masque and a calming masque. You can see them all HERE.

Readers – Do you use facial masques, if so what kind do you like to use? Read More Willy B Mum

Mamarazzi® “Mayim’s Vegan Table” Book Launch

I was thrilled when Willy B Mum recently gave me the opportunity to attend The Moms Mamarazzi® book launch for Mayim Bialik’s cookbook Mayim’s Vegan Table. I should start by admitting that I do not watch The Big Bang Theory, and was not allowed to watch television back when Blossom was on.  But I have been a fan of Mayim’s ever since I picked up Beyond the Sling, her insightful book on attachment parenting, and when you add that to her veganism and her PhD in neuroscience, I didn’t need to be a fan of her acting to be totally starstruck when I met her.

Dark chocolate peanut butter pie

The event was held at Café Blossom, one of my husband’s and my favorite vegan date night spots. Miss Bialik posed for some photos with each of us while vegan appetizers were passed around, and then she sat down with The Moms for a brief Q&A.  She was incredibly relatable and genuine, talking with us like she was part of the group and not the guest of honor.  As a busy working mother, she revealed that she doesn’t have time to watch t.v., not even her own show.  She still has a lot of goals, she told us, and spending time catching up on all the hottest series would keep her from reaching those goals.  Basically, Mayim is just your average, everyday, Emmy Nominated author and neuroscientist.

Trying out Mayim’s Matzoh Ball Soup

After receiving a positive response to veganized dishes she shared in Kveller, a Jewish parenting magazine, Mayim put together Mayim’s Vegan Table with over 100 recipes that she makes at home for her family.  She worked with a pediatrician, Dr Jay Gordon, to include some chapters on nutrition and veganism, as well as some tips on stocking your kitchen.  Longtime vegans are unlikely to find anything in those chapters that they don’t already know, but I think it’s great that Mayim is introducing veganism to her largely non-vegan fan base.

Mayim’s Pretzels turned out wonderful

My husband and I have tried 4 recipes from Mayim’s Vegan Kitchen Read More Willy B Mum

Stokke Steps™ Styling Bouncer & Highchair Combo

Living in New York City does has it’s advantages, especially if you are a Mummy Blogger. Willy B Mum is constantly invited to events and the Stokke Steps™ Launch, hosted by MomTrends, was one of our favorites. Held on a snowy stormy winter night at the beautiful Manhattan Penthouse known as Gary’s Loft, it was a perfect night for an exclusive preview of Stokke’s new bouncer and highchair combination.

The Brainchild behind MomTrends, Nicole Feliciano welcomes the crowd

The Stokke Step Concept is ingeniously an extremely stylish and functional bouncer & highchair combination, which grows with a newborn till they are a child of 3 years+. This is broken into 3 parts;

  • Bouncer, and the Chair with Bouncer both of which can be used from birth to 6 months of age
  • Chair with Baby Set and Tray which can be used from 6 months of age
  • Chair which can be used from 3 years of age and up

A visual on how the Stokke Steps Concept works

We love the look and the modern sleek design of the bouncer (holding a baby up to 9 kg/20 pounds), which is made from a water-resistant polyester and cotton fabric. My favorite color is definitely orange, however if orange is not your thing, it also comes in 3 other options of blue, red or grey. Besides, being just gorgeous, another feature we love is that it comes with a newborn insert for use up to 4 months of age. Designed by resident expert and children pediatric physiotherapist, Vibeke Smith Aulie, who ensures that your Little Bubbie’s (Australian for Baby) developing spine will be properly supported, not to mention decadently comfortable. I wish they made these bouncers in adult sizes too!

Orange Bouncer shown with the newborn insert

MomTrends showcased the interchangeable module system in a uniquely beautiful way by emphasizing the highchairs and bouncers in a home setting. You can see yourself from the photos how seamlessly they blend in, easily bringing a baby to the table from birth. And when you have a newborn easily is a very important word!!

Stage 2; the sustainably designed highchair with tray is suitable for babies 6 months and up, coming in either a beechwood or walnut finish

The final stage, without the tray, is suitable for children 3 years +

Stokke offers a 3 year extended warranty on all products. The Bouncer costs around the $199 mark, while the highchair ranges in the $279 mark. At under $500 this is an investment which will be with you for years and years to come, and I quite literally mean that, as the highchair on its own can hold up to 188 pounds!

The Stokke Steps concept can be bought online at a whole host of reputable dealers which you can see HERE. Or, if you prefer a brick and mortar experience, you can search for a store near you using this helpful tool on the Stokke Website HERE.

Thanks for reading Willy B Mum, and don’t forget to share the love by checking out the MomTrends website for other helpful articles and pointers.

 

Willy B Mum Body Butter

Something strange and enlightening happened to me when I became pregnant with my now 3-year-old Son; I became obsessed with only using products on/in my body which were toxin free. This included the FACE STOCKHOLM bright orange nail polish, (which doesn’t contain DBP, Toluene or Formaldehyde), that I am wearing in the photo below, to everything in between; skin moisturizer, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, deodorant even the food I ate. Geez, I even stopped drinking coffee!

Thankfully, this train of thought, has continued with me throughout the life of my little munchkin. Not a day goes by that I do not learn something new towards living more of a toxin free family life, and for that I am grateful.

Most recently, I have started making my own body butter. All commercial moisturizer that were in my family’s home has now been thrown away. Seeya later Alligator! From here on in, it is homemade forever! This is the only sure way to know 100%, what is going on our bodies is safe, because let’s be honest, the ingredients in most creams these days is F-R-I-G-H-T-E-N-I-N-G!

What are these personal care companies thinking?? Oh sure, can I please have some parabens, propylene glycol, dioxane, sodium laurel (SLS),  artificial dye, artificial scent, acrylamide, lanolin, and some alcohol in my moisturizer please; it is exactly what I need on my skin seeping into my body!! NOT.

Me on the Island of Šipan in Croatia, 23 weeks pregnant.

Willy B Mum Body Butter is handmade in a kitchen upstate NY in the picturesque Hudson Valley. Our natural vegan moisturizer is made with an emphasis on food ingredients. All of our creams are a base of organic shea butter and cocoa butter. We then add a light oil of either grapeseed, apricot kernel or almond into the mix. Vitamin E is added, as is arrowroot to contain some of the oiliness. To finish it off, we add a 100% essential oil for fragrance and for its medicinal properties. That is it! Very simple, very natural and just like skin care used to be years ago.

If I cannot pronounce or recognize an ingredient in the ingredient list of a skin care product, I am not using it; it is that simple. Alternatively, I will just make my own.

Want to know more about the ingredients we use and why we use them;

  • Shea Butter – Is a fat extracted from the nut of the African Shea tree which is edible. And, listen up Mummies, it is an essential heresay for helping with stretch marks caused from growing tummy or boobies while pregnant. Of course, it is so much effective when used in its unaltered raw state, which is how we serve it in our body butters. Shea Butter has anti-inflammatory properties, and is a superior natural moisturizer. The Vitamin A found in Shea Butter is known to help with many skin concerns such as eczema, wrinkles, itching skin and blemishes. Additionally, it can help with skin allergies like frostbite, sunburn and insect bites; also aiding in wound recovery.
  • Cocoa Butter – is a vegetable fat extracted from the cocoa bean which is edible and used to make chocolate. Another highly sought after remedy for the prevention of stretch marks, it is also beneficial in treatment of skin concerns like eczema and psoriasis. Cocoa Butter is high in anti-oxidants which help keep free radicals at bay. Free Radicals are everywhere; in our bodies, the air and materials around us. They contribute to aging related illnesses so the more anti-oxidants you can consume the better. It is also a natural preservative having a shelve life of 2 years+ on its own.
  • Apricot Kernel Oil – is pressed from the dried seeds of the apricot fruit. It is an edible light oil, high in Vitamin A, which softens the skin. It is absorbed quickly and helps support a healthy glow. It also has a long shelf life which is perfect for natural products.
  • Grapeseed Oil – is pressed from the seed from the grape. It is an edible light oil which is an excellent moisturizer for dry skin leaving a nice gloss after use. It has anti-aging properties, and can be used towards tightening and toning skin. Grapeseed Oil can also improve stretch marks!!
  • Sweet Almond Oil – is pressed from the dried kernel of sweet almonds. It is an edible light oil which is a wonderful dry-skin moisturizer that absorbs quickly into the skin. As it helps to reduce inflammation, redness, and itching it also aids with skin concerns like psoriasis and eczema. Sweet Almond Oil also contains anti-aging properties, which help protect and revitalize the skin.
  • Arrowroot - is powdery starch product which is extracted from the roots of the arrowroot plant. It is edible, being beneficial during pregnancy, as it is good source of naturally found Folate; also known as Vitamin B9. Ground arrowroot is a natural baby powder option giving a baby’s bum a soft silky feel. We like to use arrowroot as a thickening agent so our body butter is not so oily.
  • Natural Vitamin E - is a fat soluble vitamin which is found in many foods and nuts. The variety we use is known as Tocopherol, from sunflower seed oil. Besides being a strong antioxidant, it helps with wrinkles, scars, burns and yes, stretch marks! We also like to use it as a natural preservative as it prolongs shelf life.
  • Essential Oils – are concentrated plant liquids containing volatile aroma properties, which have therapeutic properties used to promote health and well-being. Used for thousands of years throughout history, each essential oil has a differing health correspondence.

Shea Butter and Cocoa Butter in raw form

So there you have it, the story of how the Willy B Mum Body Butter came about. Hopefully, this project grows into a beautiful thing, and I end up making all kinds of wonderfully safe organic vegan personal products. That would be a dream come true!

If you want to buy some of our Body Butter you can do so at our ETSY store HERE and as a special offer through Feb 28th 2014 we are offering $5 off by using code WillyBMum at check-out.

WIN WIN WIN

We have 2 jars of Willy B Mum raw organic vegan Body Butter retailed at $60 dollars up for grabs – Himalayan Cedar Wood 12 ounce jar, and a Eucalyptus & Lemon 12 ounce jar!

Up until midnight on Wednesday the 19th of February enter fellow NYC Mummy Blogger US-Japan Family’s Read More Willy B Mum

Paxley Sunglasses, especially for our Little Ones

My Mum told me that growing up as a child in Australia I did not wear sunglasses, explaining that it was unheard of back then and as far as she knew they were not even available in children’s sizing. That is not the case these days, with Californian-based Paxley providing colorful, affordable and stylish options for the little Apples of Our Eyes!

For at least the last 20 years of my life I have been very much aware of how important it is to wear sunglasses. I, pretty much, wear sunglasses 90% of my time spent outdoors, I am quite fanatical about it. Maybe this is because I have blue eyes? Blue eyes are more sensitive to light than darker eyes, and for me it just really hurts and I am constantly squinting if I do not wear them. Plus, I have always been aware of protecting the delicate skin area around my eyes as much as possible. Yes, I can admit it, I am a little vain and am not a fan of premature wrinkles!

Health and looking stylish has always been important to me when it comes to eye wear, and I am now passing this on to my Little Guy in the hopes that he learns from a young age how important looking after his eyes are.

According to Doctor Michael Jones, who is a renowned pediatric eye specialist practising in Sydney Australia, starting the habit of children wearing sunglasses at a young age can aid in protecting against the most common eye conditions that develop later in life. You can read about this further HERE.

It seems fair enough that children should be wearing sunglasses as soon as possible. However, finding a comfortable pair that your child is willing to wear is a whole other story!

Finally comfortable in his Paxley’s cruising around Brooklyn

Most recently, I was sent a pair of the light green Pico sunglasses to test out on my little munchkin. I loved the look of them straight-off-the-bat, Miles however was not an immediate fan. I tried putting them on him so many times, and he kept taking them off. It was frustrating! But, I knew if I kept trying he would start to get used to the idea so I kept persevering.

I put them away for a few days, and then I brought them out to try again. After multiple tries it was a no-go again. Oh well, I put them away again, there was always the next day.

Taking a rest on some brownstone steps

And, then… we hit the jackpot! One morning, as Miles and I were getting ready to head out to his karate class, he casually asked me if he could wear his new sunglasses. I was just a bit excited about that, as surely with this icy glarey winter we are experiencing here in New York City, it is just as important to be wearing sunglasses as in the warmer months. Eye damage can develop in all kinds of environments, not just during sunny times.

Miles and I then cruised around Brooklyn taking in the ever-changing street art, and before we both knew it, I realized he had happily been wearing his sunglasses for over an hour! See, I so knew that was going to happen.

Now he loves his Sunglasses and has no problem wearing them at all, mission accomplished! Sometimes you have to take one step back to take two steps forward, especially when something is so important to instill.

Taking in the Brooklyn Street Art

Some of our favorite features;

  • Made without BPA, lead paint, PVC, Latex, Phthalates
  • Hypoallergenic
  • 100% UVA/UVB protection
  • Shatter-resistant lenses
  • Handcrafted in Italy
  • Ergonomically frames with rubber noses
  • Comes with a detachable fastener strap
  •  SafeBend technology that won’t pinch fingers, hair or clothing
  • Certified by the Consumer Product Safety Commission to be safe for babies and children

Read More Willy B Mum

Willy B Mum Loves the Aussie inspired aden + anais®

When I was pregnant with my now 3-year-old Son, like most first-time Moms, I had no idea what to expect, how I was going to cope, what to do or how being a parent was forever going to change my life. You know, you prepare as much as you can reading books and talking to other people; but you just do not get it entirely, until you have a bundle of joy cradled in your arms looking up at you like you are the Bees Knees.

aden + anais® swaddles and bibs were something that I had researched when I was pregnant. I had to set up a registry for my Baby Shower, and I fell in love with their organic products right off the bat. It was very important to me that my Little Munchkin had everything he needed with minimal toxins contained within them; his mattress, bedding, clothing, bibs, blankets, food and toys were all on my radar. Little did I know then, that aden + anais® was started by a fellow Australian. I actually did not figure this out until I started researching this article. I know shameful, what kind of Aussie Mum am I? No matter, now I just love aden + anais® ever more!

All perfect as gifts for the upcoming holidays; dream blanket, the mum and bub skin care line (including fabric softener) and my favorite jungle jam giraffe swaddle. I still use the swaddle alternatively as a sarong over my bathers in the warmer weather.

aden + anais® was started by an Australian Mother, Raegan Moya-Jones back in 2006. Raegan, at the time being pregnant, could not find anything that she thought to be adequate in the way of swaddles here in the United States, so she created her own oversized version using the much-loved Aussie favorite cotton muslin.

Fast forward to now, and aden + anais® beautifully stylish products are available in 60 different countries around the World. Amazing.

Raegan, indeed is a Super-Mum; she is also Author of the art of swaddling book Swaddle Love. And, she established the aden + anais swaddle love foundation, which aims to end touch deprivation in orphaned babies across the world.

LOVE her!
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Disney Frozen, because some Movies are worth writing about

The cold weather is in full effect here in New York City. Yep, there is no turning back; it is full pledge gloves, beanies and spencer (Australian for thermals) weather.

Being a Stay At Home Mum & having a 3 year-old-Son who is bustling with energy, I am experiencing a new stage with him again. What do I do to keep him busy when it is too cold to spend time outdoors? If you ask me this question again, once Winter is over, I am sure I will be able to reel off a bevy of answers. But for now, I know that movies are a suitable option!

Last week, Miles Storm and I were invited by event extraordinaire The Moms to attend a screening of the much-anticipated 3D Disney Movie Frozen. Frozen is loosely based on Hans Christian Anderson’s fairytale – The Snow Queen; being a tale of good, evil, love and life lessons.

Although, Frozen may look like it may be better suited to young girls, do not be fooled. My 3-year-old Son loved the movie and is still raving about the Talking Snowman Olaf and the Ice Princess Elsa. But just to back up a bit….

Miles Storm and I about to watch the Disney Movie – Frozen

Princess Anna and Princess Elsa are 2 sisters who are very different. Elsa was born with special powers where she unwillingly can create devastating ice and snow effects from touch or from feeling emotional, wild and crazy (I know how that goes). Anna, on the other hand, lacks powers but makes up for it with her fearlessness, kindness and never-give-up attitude.

As a child, Elsa harnessed her powers by always wearing gloves and learning to control her mind, but this all goes haywire one day when she puts her beloved village of Arendelle into an eternal winter. Unknowingly, she then takes off to an Ice Castle deciding this is where she will stay.

Like a good sister should, Anna, decides to find her in what becomes a maddening intertwine of sit-on-the-edge-of-your-seat events. Along her way, she encounters the help of hilarious characters like lovable Olaf the Snowman, rugged Mountain Man Kristoff and his loyal Reindeer Sven, and my favorite Trading Post and Sauna owner; Oaken. Oaken had me in stitches! Just, loved him.

Frozen is a clever tale of life lessons, sense of community and perpetual sibling love. Princess Elsa must shape up and  embrace her powers to overcome the fear of her somewhat frightening abilities. While Princess Anna must figure out what true love really means and does not mean!

I really do not want to give away the whole story here so I am not going to say too much more…

Frozen is full of music, laughs and wonder. It is a visually appealing movie which my Son and I really enjoyed. The theme of snowy days, is fitting to watch with the Northern Hemisphere Winter upon us. I will also say that from where we were sitting in the Theater, combined with the effects of wearing the 3D glasses, there was a lot of oohing and ahhing in awe – it was clearly a hit with the young crowd.

Frozen opens to the public, here in the United States, the day before Thanksgiving being Wednesday November the 27th. Showtimes, and advance ticket sales can be found at this link on the movie website FANDANGO.

Thanks for getting your Disney on and Reading my BLOG, I hope you enjoy Frozen as much as my Son and I did!

The CozyWoggle, a thoughtful invention by a Mum

I started WIlly B Mum close to 2 years ago now, not really knowing what to expect. I had written a Blog before, but it was not parent related and Social Media was not as influential as it is today. My intention was to connect with other Mothers for support, and to document my journey being a first time Mother. Willy B Mum has brought me many positive opportunities which I am very grateful for. I have met other Mothers who have become good friends, I have learned so much, and have been able to share the wisdom I have, to help other Mothers along their journey too. It has truly been magical!

I connected with Alexandria VA Mother of 2, Cherlyn Jenkins through my Facebook page awhile back and she is truly an inspiration. After learning that it was dangerous for babies/children to be in a car seat, while in thick winter jackets, she set out to invent a product that was safe, warm and convenient while maneuvering to and from a car in the cold weather. Because of her dedication, there is now such a product available on the market, which Cherlyn called the CozyWoggle!

Here in the North East part of America, it gets very cold around this time. And I have to tell you, it is very challenging & time-consuming to dress a child in a jacket, walk to the car, undress the child of the jacket, strap him into a car seat, drive to where you are going, and then dress the child back in a jacket.

Possibly unaware, a lot of parents strap their children into car seats with jackets on, not realizing what could result and the danger this imposes if they were involved in a car crash. Personally, I was guilty of this until I learned all about the CozyWoggle, I just had absolutely no idea.

Miles Storm becoming acquainted with his new CozyWoggle jacket

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children between ages 2-14, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Part of the problem is that young children are often strapped into their car seats while wearing a heavy coat, with the straps loosened for comfort. In the event of an accident, the coat compresses, leaving the harness loose and increasing the child’s risk for ejection from the car seat and/or the possibility of injuries from the loose belts — CozyWoggle.com

Most recently, Cherlyn sent me a CozyWoggle to test out on my 3-year-old Son, and I am so happy she did. The weather this last few days here in New York has plummeted to the 20′s, it is well and truly Winter Jacket time. I have this feeling that it is going to be a brutal Winter, and I know that our CozyWoggle is going to make our lives a lot easier, not to mention way more comfortable for my Son.

What to Do with A CozyWoggle

  1. Place Child loosely in Car Seat
  2. Unzip the sides of CozyWoggle from down to up, then remove child’s arms from cuffs
  3. Underneath the jacket fasten seat belt and secure it snuggly
  4. Leave the CozyWoggle loose like a blanket
  5. Once at destination, unbelt child
  6. Place hands in cuffs and zip sides of the jacket
  7. Leave the car, on your way, warm and cozy

Read More Willy B Mum

KidFresh, because sometimes I am not a perfect Mother

Every now and again, on a rare occasion, I serve Miles Storm prepackaged frozen foods. My husband and I do try our very best to always serve him home cooked foods, but you heard it here first: we are not perfect!

My husband is away at the moment on business, and driving between 2 homes with 2 dogs and a very excitable little boy really hasn’t left me much time to do anything, let alone cook and clean dishes!

Last week when I was in such a spot, I received a package of the 3 vegetarian options that the New York City based food company Kidfresh had sent for Miles Storm to try. It was kind of like the perfect scenario, I had no time and here was a delivery of KidFresh sitting in my kitchen.

So, I lined them all up and asked Miles Storm which flavor he wanted to try; Wagon Wheels Mac + Cheese, Muy Cheesy Quesadillas or Easy Cheesy Ravioli? He chose the Mac + Cheese.

Wagon Wheels Mac + Cheese is tonight’s winner!

Some of you may recall, that my Son suffered with bad eczema when he was a lot younger, and we were told, by his pediatrician, to cut out all gluten and dairy. If you are interested you can read about that HERE. However, most recently, he has grown out of that allergy, so very occasionally and as a special treat he can have dairy and gluten foods. I am quite proud to write that, we cook the majority of Miles Storm’s food. As a result of this, in his eyes giving him prepackaged food is indeed a Special Treat.

And, I have to tell you, Miles Storm ate the whole bowl. He really liked it!

Miles Storm loved his special treat of Kidfresh Mac + Cheese

Kidfresh products are available in over 5000 stores across the USA, including my favorite Whole Foods, and range in price between $3 to $4 per serving.

Proof is in the Pudding on this One

As a plus, the packaging is BPA free, and there are no artificial colors or preservatives in the meals. Each variety also has hidden vegetables mixed in like Butternut Squash, Tomatoes and Carrots. Yep, the people over at Kidfresh are pretty tricky!

Another thing that makes me feel good about Kidfresh is that they have helped to feed others not so fortunate since 2011 through NYC based non-profit organization – City Harvest!

For me, Kidfresh was a great way to feed my Little Guy at speed. I admit, I do feel somewhat guilty that I was not able to find the time to cook for him. But, on the other hand, I am happy he liked the food and ate the whole bowl. If that is not proof in the pudding I do not know what is?

What about you, if you are in a bind, what quick prepared foods do you serve to your children?

Thanks for reading my BLOG!

Miles was so happy to visit the Legoland Discovery Center – Yonkers, NY

Back in March of this year I was invited to the opening of the new Legoland Discovery Center in the suburb of Yonkers (Westchester County), which is approximately an hour drive North of New York City. I did plan on attending but was unable to make it. I was not so concerned about it though as at the time, my 2.5 year old Son was not into Lego at all.

Fast forward 3 months and all of a sudden my Son was OBSESSED with Lego. He carried around with him a Lego catalogue for weeks until it fell apart. He talked about Lego, and always wanted to buy Lego books or Lego at the toy store. In fact, Lego played a HUGE part in finally helping to toilet train him which I wrote about HERE.

Most recently, with him just turning 3 years of age, I felt that this was the right time to take him to Legoland. It appears I was right as he loved it, and cannot wait to visit again.

The Westchester Legoland Discovery Center is  a massive 32,300 square-foot indoor attraction featuring more than 3 million LEGO® bricks, is the tri-state area’s newest destination for children and families, and has been pulling out all the stops for LEGO fans since it opened on March 27, 2013 at Ridge Hill in Yonkers.  The attraction features a range of educational and interactive experiences, including hands-on play areas, a 4D cinema, master classes led by Master Model Builders, two LEGO amusement rides, special birthday and party rooms — Press Release.

Here we are, at Legoland

OUR ADVENTURE

Miles was so excited when we pulled up at Legoland. He said to me “I can’t believe my eyes”. So cute, and then as soon as he was out of the car raced off towards the sign to show me where to go.

We went on a weekday, thinking that it would be quiet, and as we arrived right at the Opening Time of 10AM this was the case for a while. However, the crowds soon flocked in and it became quite busy and hard to move around. I cannot begin to imagine what it is like on a weekend in Winter.

Once through the front door, there is a Lego photographer who takes photos of guests on the backdrop of a a green screen. This will then be branded with the Lego imagery which can be viewed further along. I have such a collection of these photos; from the Zoo to the Aquarium to various Fairs. They are great physical keepsakes, especially as printed photos seem to be a thing of the past.

You then must walk through the Lego Factory Tour. This is where it is learnt how Lego bricks are made. Children can also operate the machinery to make their very own Lego brick, which I think is a nice touch.

Continue onto (or bypass it if you like) the Kingdom Quest Laser Ride which is a journey on a Dragon trolley where you shoot a laser gun at Giant Trolls and Evil Skeletons. As you near the end of the ride, a camera will take another photograph of you which you can pick up at the next Stop. SMILE!

Next up, you can either view and buy your photos, or you can skip this all together and walk through the Lego Miniland. The Lego Miniland is a show of New York’s landmarks. This exhibit was just a little too old for Miles as he was not really interested, but it is very impressive that it was made from almost 1.5 million Lego blocks. I mean, how long would that have taken to build?

The next visual you see is of a big open space with the Center Piece being a 4-tier soft-play enclosed playground. Children must be between 3′ and 4’9″ high to enter, and there is a staff member at the entrance gate to enforce that rule. Miles just made the cut, but was too scared to go in for the first few times because there were so many children inside bigger than him. He was finally brave and went, but then I was near having a heart attack running up and down the fence to make sure he knew where I was and wasn’t getting bowled over by bigger children. Let’s just say I was happy when he decided to come back out.

We then headed to the very colorful cafeteria which is conveniently located to the side of the playground. I am happy to write that Legoland stocks healthy snacks like hummus and apples. There was also a variety of organic juices and water. Big Score in my Book!

Miles Storm so in awe that he can hardly get his hummus down fast enough. He was so excited to be at Legoland

The next few hours we made our way through all the exhibits including the Lego Racers: Build and Test. This is an area where children (mainly boys) can build their own race car from scratch and then race it on a variety of tracks. There are containers set up around with thousands of singular blocks, axles and wheels etc. The thing was that there were just not enough wheels to go around for all the children trying to build cars so it was a mad dash of Mums and Little Ones trying to find wheels. This might be an okay ratio when there are only a few children on site but there were was at least 40 when we were there. Miles became really upset when he could not find wheels to go with his car. It took us around 25 minutes but we eventually found some and he was happy to race his car.

In the Lego Racers: Build and Test area

There were also other exhibits including a Farm Inspired area for younger children which has bigger Lego Blocks to play with and a mini-slide. The Lego Friends area (mainly girls) with a kitchen, a karaoke machine and a place to build Lego flowers. Merlin’s Apprentice Ride, which looked like so much fun, but Miles was too scared to go on it so we had to give it a miss. *Sigh

The 4D Movie Theater is amazing. They have a variety of mini-movies showing constantly throughout the day with the duration of each one being approximately 15 minutes. Excitedly for Miles, his favorite Legends Of Chima was showing when we went in. You are given special glasses at the door to wear while you watch the movie. As an added effect, there was one part of the show where the characters are near a waterfall and actual water came out of the roof of the Theater!! So much fun. I mean, it is a light spray, you do not have to bring an umbrella or anything like that…. it was just really cool!

I loved the toilets, with each cubicle being painted with different Lego Mini Figurines. Both Male and Female toilets both have Changing Stations By The Way.

Legoland also offers Birthday Party facilities for up to 40 guests. And, a teaching facility where children can learn building tricks and tips from the experts. There is so much to do and see at Legoland. We were there for around 3 hours, which I think is fair time to get through everything. However, if my Son had his way he would’ve stayed there all day.

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