Archive For The “Blog Articles” Category

Costumes Are Not Just For Halloween

By |

Aeromax Space Shuttle & Astronaut Costume

 

Disclosure: We were provided sample items from Aeromax for review purposes and inclusion in our holiday gift guide. The opinions expressed herein are always strictly our own. This post may contain affiliate links.  We are providing honest feedback in exchange for the product.

Fun Fact: Costumes can be cool all year round! So Halloween has come and gone and now the New Year is quickly approaching. We love a good celebration, especially those with a theme. Costumes can play a huge part in pulling that theme together. Aeromax specializes in children and adult costumes… perfect for such occasions as in ringing in the new year or a birthday bash.

In our video below you will find Victoria romping around in a one-piece astronaut suit from Aeromax. The space patches, real-working zippers and pockets truly make this feel like real NASA uniforms. It comes with a matching cap or you can purchase the helmet separately. Victoria is rocking the orange suit (to match her hair) but there is a white suite and helmet available as well.

Dress up isn’t just for girls. Take playtime to new depths with costumes and cosplay. It ignites imagination and further piques the curiosity they hold for the world that surrounds them.

And let’s not forget that police officers and astronauts aren’t just for boys. My daughter is having a great time pretending to be a scientist and being part of the NASA exploration team, just like the ladies from Hidden Figures. I saw Victoria’s confidence boost just from being in the orange uniform. And she could imagine herself as an astronaut. Added props like the Space Shuttle summer float only expands that playtime (in the pool or not). The Space Shuttle is easy to inflate and feels sturdy. It offers an excellent prop for Space themed parties or playdates. It is terrific to add to any space-station-fort-building afternoon.

Encourage your kids to take a break from tech with Aeromax.

You can find these Aeromax Space items and much more in our holiday gift guide. Click on the link below to be taken to pages of learning fun perfect for holiday gift giving.

Read more »

Reversible 2-In-1 Flip Zee Girls Doll Review

By |

Disclosure: We were provided a sample doll for purposes of reviewing and showcasing in our Holiday Gift Guide. As always, the opinions expressed herein are strictly our own. We are providing honest feedback in exchange for the product. This post includes affiliate links.

Flip Zee Girls are soft, cuddly 2-in-1 dolls that transform from baby to big girl. These adorable dolls are terrific for the child that likes to play with dolls that “grow up” during play. Victoria has always done this with barbies and other dolls. She would play with them through stages of life. She did the same with the Toddler Disney Princess dolls and Our Generation dolls, ensuring that selected those that looked alike. I was fascinated with this as it never occurred to me to play in such a manner. I didn’t hide 1/2 my dolls for the second act when I was a child.

So naturally, when I learned of Flip Zee Girls, I immediately thought of Victoria and her style of doll play. The Flip Zee Girls are packaged as infants swaddled in a blanket with a bonnet. The bonnet flips back to reveal a fuller face and lots of colorful hair. The swaddle flips open to reveal the dolls body, arms and legs… not to mention the fashionable dress. So cute. So cuddly. So perfect for bedtime buddies.

And because they are so soft, they make the perfect car companion. Especially for those that easily fall asleep in the car and need a cushion to soften the ride. I highly recommend Flip Zee Girls for family travel.

You can find Flip Zee Girls in our Holiday Gift Guide… might make a terrific pre-holiday gift if you expect to be on the road. Which dollie is your favorite? (PS – Only 1 comes with cat ears!!)

Read more »

FlipaZoo 2 In 1 Stuffed Animal Plush Toy Holiday Gift Guide Review

By |

Flipa Zoo
Disclosure: While we were provided samples of the FlipaZoo plush, the opinions expressed herein are strictly our own. We only provide honest reviews and feedback. Thank you Jay at Play for the review items. #sponsored This article may include affiliate links.

 

FlipaZoo – cuddly animal plush toys that are actually two toys in one. Each FlipaZoo converts into a second zoo animal. Simply flip the back or the body of the animal over its head and it transforms into another pet. These super soft pets will easily become a favorite sleeping buddy, tv watching companion and travel friend.

 

This holiday season consider pre-purchasing zoo tickets or a family membership and attaching it to a FlipaZoo, giving both an experience and a toy in one.  We enjoyed talking about our recent trip to the Cape May Zoo when these guys arrived for review. Turtles are a family favorite, so it was easy to get attached to the turtle one.

These zoo buddies are perfect for cuddled storytime. We decided to read about elephants, tigers and turtles… given those are the FlipaZoo friends we received.

FlipaZoo is available at Walmart and Amazon for approx $20 making them a very affordable gift idea.  Grab a couple of these cuddle buddies for the cuddle bugs in your lift and enjoy the snuggles.

With the holidays coming… children’s lists are created and “hot” toy guides are everywhere. We’ve got one too and you can find all sorts of excitement for the young at heart on your gift buying list. Check ours out below.

Read more »

Amazing Fun Finds in Our Holiday Gift Guide

By |

Disclosure: Attached is our Holiday Gift Guide, with many (not all) of the items within having been given to us in exchange for inclusion and/or product reviews. As always, the opinions herein and in the HGG are our honest views and strictly our own.

Holiday Gift Guide

And just like that, we are in the Holiday Season. Victoria & I have been excited for months, actually… because we’ve had a sneak peek at some of the amazing things now available for those Christmas wishlists to the Big Guy.

And yes, we’ve included the VERY popular Fingerlings… but we’ve got so much more too. Cool tech like Luva Bella and Meccano M.A.X. and of course, VTech. New favorite Knex has made our guide and our Holiday Gift Guide wouldn’t be complete without game picks.

 

And then there’s our absolute TOP PICK for this season: Hearts For Hearts Girls. These dolls pass the fashion test with the softest hair, cutest outfits and accessories for girls to wear. But what really matters is that each doll has a story. She is representing her country with a back story, dealing with real world issues in her country. For Mexico, Consuelo is addressing hunger issues for children. The storybooks are fantastic, drawing you in and then you can go online for additionally diary content and download the app for games and exploration. But wait… it gets better. Every doll purchase supports the effects of World Vision with $1 donation for each purchase. We will be doing a separate doll review, so please check back for Victoria’s video review, more pictures and a hidden learning moment in the packaging. #TopPick2017

 

Please be sure to click on the Holiday Gift Guide, share it via Facebook and social media and give us your favorite holiday find this year in the comments below.

Read more »

Back To School Without the Big Budget

By |

This post is sponsored by Just Between Friends of Mercer County & Western Gloucester County. And while we were provided compensation for the article, the opinions contained herein are honest and strictly our own. We have been long-standing fans of the JBF franchise and below is an account of our personal experience.

 

 

While every school situation is different, classroom lists vary and the newest back-to-school trends parade in… one thing is certain: our children continue to outgrow the old and require the new. Shoes, tops, belts, pants and even sportswear all find themselves picked over as they grow tighter, inch shorter or fall out of style. They come and go, sometimes before ever being worn, because our ever-growing bundles of joy…  just… keep… growing.

Back-to-school shopping can be a labor of love while sifting through circulars for the best deals, listening to the whining of your (or other’s) children, and of course, falling in love with that item that’s not in their size. Of course it’s not all bad and I do enjoy taking my daughter out for that splurge item (or four) but that’s because we take full advantage of the Just Between Friends consignment sale in Gloucester County and Mercer County… and yeah, it is totally worth the drive!!

Couple years ago I was introduced to JBF and I’ve been super impressed ever since. The selection of items, the ease of consigning… and the checks!!!  Seriously, it is hard not to constantly log-in to watch your real-time sold items during the sale hours. Ok, ok… I’m getting ahead of myself. I’ve had a few seasons of consigning and here are my tips for shopping the sale and my tips for consigning.

 

Okay shoppers, get your sneaks laced up… seriously, that’s tip #1: wear comfy shoes. You don’t want to miss a bargain because of blisters. This is what else I highly suggest:

  •  Get the pre-pass!! Yup, it’s worth it to pay the admission ticket price or better yet, become a consignor with volunteer hours and get in early. Just be there EARLY.
  •  Know what you are looking for. There is SOOOO much and it is easy to get distracted by an awesome deal that wasn’t on your watchlist, so know what you came for… and get it first.
  •  Budget your time. Expect to spend more time than you would a department store. With shoes, clothing, games, toys, sporting gear, outdoor play, infant supplies, furniture… this is kinda a “pop-up” department store. I would not expect to be able to adequately take advantage of the sale on a lunch break.
  •  Don’t forget the big ticket items.  It is easy to see all the toys and clothing and not think ahead about the potential big ticket or bulky items until you walk in. Have a back-up plan in case you come across a must-have heavy piece.
  • See something unique, priced too good to be true, or just calling your name… grab it… chances are it won’t be there by the time you walk back through. That being said, there are many items that are in multiples with lots of selection… for these I would consider the 1/2 off sale on Sunday. For instance, I look for shoes immediately but return on 1/2 off Sunday for costumes and books.
  • Make sure your trunk is empty – sounds silly but I’ve easily bought 3 trash bags full of stuff and thankfully had the room in my trunk but not because I thought ahead. I just got lucky.
  • Mark your calendar… yup, right now.
    • Mercer County Just Between Friends… Sept 15-17 at Robinsville Field House
    • Western Gloucester County JBF… Sept 29- Oct 1 at Total Turf Experience

Consigning vs Yard Sale 101

Not only do I personally shop the JBF sale but I’m a consignor. You should see my living room 2 weeks before the sale- yikes! But the good news is, that everything that hadn’t sold last sale is already tagged and ready to go this sale. I only really have to focus on the newest “good-bye” pile of clothing and toys. Keep in mind that the fall sale is for fall and winter clothing and the spring sale is for spring/summer clothing and items (with a few exceptions like baby clothing and maternity is fine all year round).

 

JBF makes sense if you have a lot of baby gear, children’s clothing, maternity, toys and games vs other household items. Consigning is my fate, for others it might be Ebay or flee markets or yard sales. For those that know me, know that I completely suck at Ebay. Logging on, taking pictures, creating captions… all while trying to avoid the temptation of buying somebody else’s stuff. The closest I’ve ever gotten to posting an item for sale on Ebay was the night my beloved husband proposed to me… in a former wedding gown intended to be sold online but alas never was posted. He was my destiny, Ebay never was. Flee markets are too random for my taste. There is just something about the flee market vibe that doesn’t make me feel like I would get the best value of my time or my belongings. I shop them, surely, but not interested in reselling my items for the haggled prices that are most definitely part of the experience.

And then there are yard sales…

Sure a yard sale is just out your front door BUT you don’t know what foot traffic your sale is going to get vs knowing that JBF Mercer/Gloucester County is definitely going to attract shoppers for children’s and maternity items. JBF also makes great sense if your items and clothing are in great condition and should sell for more than street change. Yes, the JBF sale is a bargain spot but you can price your gently used belongings at a reasonable price vs pennies on the dollar for a yard sale.  Consignment shoppers expect to pay a bit more than a flee market or yard sale price for the assurance that sale items are in great working order and clear of any recall issues.  And then there’s the weather. And oh… did I forget to mention that you have to man your yard sale but with JBF simply drop-off and pick-up your items… unless you choose to volunteer for an additional % of your sales.

More options, better payout… less work – JBF wins in my book. That’s not to say I’ll never have another yard sale… not true, but I won’t be selling kids’ books for 10 cents or Barbies for a quarter. #JustSaying

 

Taking consigning seriously… here are my top suggestions:

  • Designate a space to hold items you organically come across that no longer fit or are no longer needed/wanted
  • Review the JBF price guide
  • Invest in stain remover for all your children’s laundry – I seriously saved many, many clothing items from horrible stains, which then meant I could resell them.
  • Invest in batteries – toys and baby gear must be in working order which includes working batteries. Shoppers look for toys that they can turn on – it totally makes sense.
  • Consider donating all or any of your unsold items to the charity Mercer County & Western Gloucester County JBF partnered with, The Unforgotten Haven. This is designated on your tags through the tagging system.
  • Consider using the Valet Tagging Team if you don’t have time to tag. This is a great convenience for those consignors on a time budget. Valet consignors make 45% of their sales (after a $20 consignor fee). The items are dropped off to a VIP tagger who does all the tagging work and brings them to the sale.

Whether you are picking up back-to-school items, in need of sports equipment, getting a jump start to your holiday shopping or just looking for a feel-good bargain… Just Between Friends of Mercer County & Western Gloucester County IS totally the place to be. Mark your calendars, set your reminders and invite a friend or two. There truly is something for everyone and personally, I love sharing a great bargain source and encourage you to do the same by inviting your friends and family.

Read more »

Digging Up Dinosaurs At Liberty Science Center

By |

At some point, I think every kid wants to become a Paleontologist. Dinosaurs are fascinating… captivating our imaginations and taking us back to a world from long long ago. A place and time we can only piece together – quite literally through excavation efforts from scientists like the famous, Jack Horner.  At the Liberty Science Center, located in Jersey City, children are welcome to explore the Jack Horner Dino Dig excavation exhibit. {Parent Tip: Maybe don’t wear white. Just Saying.}

DISCLOSURE:  As a Liberty Science Center Blog Ambassador for the day, we had been provided admission vouchers for our visit. As always, the opinions expressed herein are strictly that of Homeroom At Home.

This hands-on temporary exhibit offers guests the opportunity to dig for dinosaur bones and eggs. The Jack Horner Dino Dig exhibit, updated since Jack Horner’s visit last year,  specifically reflects his excavation experiences and prehistoric discoveries.  Jack Horner is a legendary paleontologist who struggled academically, but stuck with his passion. Struggling with undiagnosed Dyslexia, his interest in dinosaurs began with his childhood curiosity in why Canada turned up “better” fossil findings than his home town of Shelby, Montana. He channeled his curiosity for dinosaurs into his senior year Science Fair Project… and won. You can hear him describe his fantastic break-through story and discuss the early part of his career in the video clip below with Hank Green of Sci Show. In this episode, you will also learn how birds are related to dinosaurs.

With over 50 bones buried in 35 tons of sand, there is plenty of digging for everyone. The science museum provides the brushes and off you go, provided the weather is cooperative. Under a huge canapy, your little diggers are protected from the direct rays of the sun. Be sure to check out the excavation map on the exterior wall with helpful information about what’s to be discovered under all that sand. And cafeteria and restrooms are close by in case of much needed breaks. The LSC staff of scientist were right there to dig along side all these young paleontologist wannabes.

 

Unlike other “dig” sites, the Jack Hormer Dino Dig uses soft brushes similar to paint brushes. The children aren’t drilling, scraping, or chiseling rock but simply brushing sand away. Caution your children not to brush sand into someone else’s exposed fossil finds.

 

Buried beneath all this sand is a 72 inch long Triceratops skull, plus many other species including Tyrannosaurus, Pachycephalosaurus and Maiasaura, which Mr. Horner discovered cared for their young’s nest & eggs. This is one thing dinosaurs have in common with today’s bird specifies, specifically penguins.

 

Jack Horner’s Dino Dig excavation site is included in the Liberty Science Center general admission. Hours of operation, exhibit info, parking, directions and more can be found on their website at www.LSC.org. I encourage parents to bookmark the site since there are great resources available on their pages.

 

 

 

The Dino Days of Summer adventures don’t stop there. Be sure to venture to the 4th floor for the Our Hudson Home exhibit space to include opportunities to practice removing fossils from brick blocks and the touch tank, where guest can touch an animal that’s been around since before dinosaurs… the hermit crab. For the little learners, Dino Tales offers story time. There is something for everyone in this interactive and informative summer program.

Got a cool dinosaur tee? Children wearing dinosaur themed clothing get a $5 discount off admission during the Dino Days of Summer!!  This is good for up to four children in a party. Be sure to mention the discount at the box office. And if that’s not enough excitement… keep an eye out for the 12 inch stuff T-Rex hidden in the museum. Each week, Rex is moved to a new spot and any child spying him during their visit earns a raffle ticket for a special dino surprise pack.

 

Win a Dinosaur Digging Adventure Family Four Pack!!

One lucky family will win a four-pack of tickets to the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, NJ. Admission to Jack Horner’s Dino Dig is included in general admission. This prize pack is worth up to $87. Click on the Rafflecopter Giveaway below to enter the contest.

Here are the rules for entry and winning:

Winner will be selected at random by Rafflecopter. You have multiple chances of winning depending on the number of entries you’ve submitted.
Participants MUST live in the United States.
The contest will run from July 31, 2017 through August 11, 2017, 12am.
The winner will be announced on August 12, 2017 from Homeroom At Home.
Liberty Science Center will be notified of winner and directly issue 4 general admission tickets.
The winner must respond within 24 hours or another winner will be selected via Rafflecopter.
No purchase is necessary to win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Read more »

Comcast Xfinity: Bringing Dream Homes Into Reality

By |

Many thanks to Xfinity for providing us a hands-on demo of products and services and sponsoring this post. While we were compensated for this article, the opinions and thoughts expressed herein, as always, are strictly our own. This post may contain affiliate links. #XfinityMoms #Hosted

We are IN the age of the future, you know… that Sci-fi picture with robots and gadgets and all. Yup, we’ve made it. Our cars may not fly yet but our homes are becoming more and more of the dream home with all technology to keep us connected and the fun gadgets to keep us fidget free. Dream home or real home… we all want to feel connected, feel secure. As part of my sponsored Xfinity tour of the Philadelphia Magazine Design Home 2017, I had a chance to explore these tech options that do just that… keep us connected; keep us safe.

From the #XfinityApp to #XfinityHome, and #X1 to the new xFi , security is a hot topic for Comcast Xfinity. In an all-out attempt to significantly improve customer experience and connectivity, Xfinity has integrated all their platforms for the ultimate tech experience, security and ease.

Photo credit: Comcast Xfinity

Xfinity Home provides multi-functional security features such as live feed surveillance (perfect for keeping an eye on pets for those long days going from work to the soccer field), real time notification (ideal to ensure our children come through the door after school), 24/7 security camera options, and thermostat, lighting or appliance remote adjustments.  All this at the convenience of an in-home touch pad, your X1 remote or via your mobile tech/online. Whether sitting on the field, stuck in traffic or lounging at the beach… you can stay connected to your home, pets and loved ones.

Xfinity Apps hosts a series of apps to take this tech on the go. We have actually used the Remote app to control our tv with our tablet when the batteries died in our remote (and we were too lazy to get up mid-show to change them). #TrueStory Features like turning outside lights on after dark and managing your Xfinity preferences are also convenient functions of the apps. If I had to choose only one, it would be Xfinity Stream to stream shows, movies and data to all your devices.  Individual apps allow you to download the exact functionality you need and save on device space. Here are the apps avail: 

  • Xfinity My Account – pay your bill, manage appointments, view or edit your WiFi Network name or password and troubleshoot your devices
  • Xfinity Stream – Delivers all of your TV, all in one place. Stream live TV and Xfinity On Demand contact on any device, at home or on the go. X1 customers can also stream or down their cloud DVR shows to your device to watch anywhere
  • Xfinity TV Remote and X1 Remote – Allows you to control your TV with your mobile devices
  • Xfinity Connect – Provides access to features including Comcast.net email; call logs and call forwarding, Universal Address Book; also includes complimentary Voice2go access, letting customers take Xfinity Voice with them on the go virtually anywhere
  • Xfinity Home – Allows you to manage and monitor your home security and control remotely
  • Xfinity WiFi – Shows a map of Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspots available in your area
  • Xfinity Mobile – Allows you to view data use and call logs in real time; manage payment options, switch back-and-forth between data options or add additional lines; upgrade, downgrade or order a new device anytime from within the app

Take advantage of Xfinity X1 for all your tv viewing pleasures. Check the weather, listen to music, catch the score while watching another program or browsing. This is probably the most well-know of the Xfinity products and services. We had written about X1 while preparing for summer last year and you can check out our summer tips with Xfinity X1: Ultimate Summer Survival Tool to include more about Xfinity.  The search feature is unique in that you speak into the remote control, searching by channel, actor, genre or program title. The Kids Zone program is specially designed to ensure parental controls around parent-specified appropriate content – and remains my favorite feature of all time.

Two new (and very exciting) Xfinity mentions: Mobile Service and xFi. With tv, devices and home security all buttoned up, the only thing Comcast was missing is mobile technology… but not for long. We are excited to share that Xfinity customers will soon have the option to select mobile service as well, with NO line access fee. And what’s more is that Xfinity Mobile will allow you the flexibility to switch between data options (at no cost / once per month, per line). This is the ultimate cost-effective family option not to mention the integration into the largest 4G LTE network utilizing Comcast’s 16 million WiFi hotspots nationwide. Coming soon!!

Photo credit: Comcast Xfinity

And the Xfinity xFi – the much needed tool to managing all of the above. Imagine all of these devices and all of these services integrated and talking to each other. Surely you could set features and notifications for different functions (outside lights on at dusk) but with xFi you can set profiles to manage different functions at different times. So for example, you can arrange for internet connectivity to be shut down for the night for your children but still have tv access on your devices, all by setting up profiles. Take a look at the video clip below of Jeff with Comcast Xfinity describing the new xFi technology and the conveniences it will provide.

All that and a giveaway too…

Click below to enter this fabulous GIVEAWAY sponsored by Xfinity. *** PLEASE NOTE: Winner does NOT need to be an Xfinity customer to use this Amazon Tap – however it IS compatible with Xfinity Home app.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you again to the Xfinity team for sponsoring our tour of the Philadelphia Magazine Design Home 2017. What a wonderful reminder to make our living space purposeful, no matter how large or small. Functionality of our homes has a lasting impact on our daily lives which includes that of our entire family and extends into our mental and creative spaces. Being mindful of such will ultimately have a positive impact on our children’s development, engagement and academia.

Xfinity partnered with me to bring you this post. Follow #XfinityMoms on all social media for more information and tips. Swing by the blogs of my #XfinityMoms fellow bloggers for their personal experiences and insight utilizing Xfinity services & products. Be sure to enter the giveaway which closes midnight on May 22nd, 2017. Good Luck!!

Read more »

Discover the Dinosaurs of the Jurassic World Exhibit at The Franklin Institute

By |

Be greeted by a GIANT Brachiosaurus at the Franklin Institute’s Jurassic World Dinosaur exhibit. Children and adults alike are fascinated by the prehistoric world of dinosaurs.  The life-like realistic features are hard not to take in… and take you back in time.

Based on the blockbuster film, Jurassic World, this exhibition features some of the most well known and terrifying dinosaurs of days long gone, in a story setting of bringing these creatures to life again. The exhibition includes the lab, featuring eggs and newly born dinosaurs, as well as the DNA extraction to “make it all possible”. An animetronic Apachyahinosarus family awaits around the corner. Visit the caged Tyrannosaurus Rex getting eerily close to those teeth. Her growl compares to no other.

The Franklin Institute has plenty of hands-on displays in the Jurassic World exhibit stimulating our senses and enabling a completely immersed experience. This is surely a memorable experience to be talked about at the dinner table for many nights and weeks to come. Take advantage of the various educational toys, projects and resources to continue the discussion and keep the family engaged in this most curious time of history.

The Franklin Institute offers the Jurassic World:The Exhibition Mobile Guide with additional facts and video content to enhance your experience. Consider the VIP experience to include a souvenir photo. The exhibition ends April 23rd, so hurry for this once in a lifetime opportunity to experience “the closest you will ever come to living dinosaurs” (TFI.com).

Read more »