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January 30, 2008

February Giveaway: "Go, Diego Go, Live! The Great Jaguar Rescue"

One mom will win a family four pack to Go, Diego, Go Live! The Great Jaguar Rescue.
"Diego, along with his best friend Baby Jaguar, are getting ready to celebrate the yearly Animal Carnivale in the jungle. Baby Jaguar is going to be the king of the carnivale where he will start the festivities with his unique growl. There is only one problem, the Bobo brothers show up with their magic bottle and take Baby Jaguar’s growl! Without his growl, Baby Jaguar can’t start the Animal Carnivale and there won’t be a Carnivale this year. Diego, along with his sister Alicia, help Baby Jaguar on his quest to get his growl back from the Bobos.  Their pursuit of the Bobos takes them through a rainforest, down a raging river and into a magical pyramid. Along the way, they meet and learn about all the animals of the rainforest, rescue a few with the help of the audience and even meet up with Diego’s cousin, Dora the Explorer! They finally catch up with the Bobos inside the Ancient Pyramid and, in an exciting climatic scene, manage to get the growl back to its rightful owner, Baby Jaguar. The Animal Carnivale finally can start with Baby Jaguar’s growl and the help of the whole audience growling too. The Carnivale is complete when Dora crowns Baby Jaguar the king of Carnivale and all the animals show up to celebrate.
Go, Diego Go, Live! The Great Jaguar Rescue
March 26 - 30
Radio City Music Hall
Visit radiocity.com to purchase tickets or call Ticketmaster at 212.307.4111"
The winner will be chosen at our pre-valentine's event at The Little Gym on February 9th.

February Giveaway: Angel Dear Animal Blankies

Leshem Loft, www.leshemloft.com, is giving away 6 of the most popular animal blankies from Angel Dear.  (Retail Value $90).  
 "These lovable, comforting fabric animals will sooth your little one (maybe even your big one too), while its design provides characters, for acting out animal sounds and funny animal stories.  Perfect for playtime an easing your little one to sleep.
 Leshem Loft is a unique space, where beauty, comfort, design, art and quality merge into one.  Situated in the heart of New York City, Leshem Loft makes its home on the 4th floor of a land-marked building. With 16 ft. ceilings, 9 floor to ceiling windows that bathe the space in natural light, exposed brick walls and a view of the Empire State Building, Leshem Loft has fostered an intimate, inviting and unique environment for capturing family portraits and picking up one-of-a-kind items for women and children. 
Yaron Leshem, an internationally recognized fine art photographer, whose work forms part of MoMA’s permanent collection, shares his technique and talent with families as well as individuals.  Color and black and white images are available as prints, pieces of framed art or as part of family chronology photo boxes.  
In-house and online, Leshem Loft offers an array of beautiful and unique items sourced from around the world for women and children, many of which are exclusive.  The collection includes everything from the practical to the “not rational.”  If you are looking for a $5 item or a $1,000 gift basket, Leshem Loft is sure to have something you will love, for yourself, your baby or your closest friends. 
Book a photography session with Yaron and Jenny at Leshem Loft or at a location of your choice. Unique and beautifully created birth announcements, holiday cards and invitations are also available upon request. For gift items, we offer exquisite gift-wrapping and same day delivery within New York City."


Mom in the City members can enter to win simply by sending an email to contests@mominthecity.com with "Blankies" in the Subject line.  The winner will be chosen on February 29th.

February Giveaway: ‘Celebrating Around the World’

In celebration of Barney's 20th Anniversary, one mom will win an all-new DVD release, Celebrating Around the World’.
This is a really good dvd.   I (Kimberly) received a copy last Monday and my almost 4 year old son has watched it at least once every day since then.  In the tape, Barney and a couple of kids travel around the world (Brazil, Japan,  India, Ireland, and Africa) to see the way various cultures celebrate.  Foods, dances, games and songs from the various cultures are introduced as well as concepts of sharing, taking turns, etc.  We especially like the dancing.  It's fun to see the kids (including my 11 month old!) try to do the various dances - especially the Irish jig and African dancing.  I highly recommend this DVD for Barney fans.
Mom in the City members can enter to win the DVD simply by sending an email to contests@mominthecity.com with "Barney" in the Subject line.  The winner will be chosen on February 29th.

Special Offer: Braincandy

"BRAINCANDY : Smart Stuff for Little Thinkers
Welcome to the world of Braincandy! Set against a “5 Senses” platform, Braincandy introduces a more organic approach to learning. Chock full of age-appropriate content for kids 6 months and up, this sweet simple recipe for fun includes silly “sense” puppets, animation and real kids exploring the world. To receive an additional 10% off of all of our sweet Braincandy treats, go to  http://www.braincandykids.com/new.html and sign up for the Braincandy Kids Club.

Also, this Valentine's Day, skip the chocolate and give your little thinker the gift of Braincandy DVDs, yummy treats that nourish the body and the brain; now through Valentine's Day, receive a free "Taste My World" DVD with any purchase at Braincandykids.com."

February Giveaway: A (Tooth) Fairy Tale

One mom will win a family fun pass for four to Vital Theatre's production of A (Tooth) Fairy Tale.
"A (Tooth) Fairy Tale
Book by Ben Winters
Music and Lyrics by Rick Hip-Flores
Saturdays and Sundays at 11AM and 1PM
January 19th – February 24th
Special Performances Jan. 21st, and Feb. 18th-22nd  at 1PM
Tickets: $18
All performances are at Vital Theatre Company
2162 Broadway, 4th Floor at the corner of 76th Street
Collecting teeth and delivering quarters is tiring work, and The Tooth Fairy is ready for a vacation! Luckily, she meets a young boy named Oliver who is sick and tired of being a kid, and all the rules that go with it. But when Oliver and the Tooth Fairy arrange to switch places, nothing goes exactly as planned as adventures ensue across the Upper West Side of Manhattan and throughout New York City."
The winner will be chosen at our pre-valentine's event at The Little Gym on February 9th.
(You might also enjoy this production - -) 
Book and Lyrics by Elizabeth Kann and Victoria Kann
Music and Lyrics by John Gregor
Saturdays at 2PM and Sundays at 12noon and 3pm
January 12th – May 25th
*Note: Special performance time on Sunday Jan. 13th is 11AM
Tickets: $28
All performances are at New World Stages, Stage 5
340 West 50th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues
Pinkalicious can't stop eating pink cupcakes despite warnings from her parents. Her pink indulgence lands her at the doctor's office with Pinkititis, an affliction that turns her pink from head to toe - a dream come true for this pink loving enthusiast. But when her hue goes too far, only Pinkalicious can figure out a way to get out of this predicament."

7 Favorite Things (February)

Instead of highlighting products, I'm focusing on events that I'm looking forward to in February.
1. Library Lovers Month: I love books.  I love free books.  I love libraries.
2. Black History Month: I'm Black.  I love learning about my history year-round.  I love when the rest of the country joins in.  (Don't miss the network premiere of A Raisin in the Sun on 2/25.)
3. Lunar New Year/Chinese New Year (2/7):  My older son is already talking about celebrating Chinese New Year (The Year of the Rat?!).  I'm not quite sure if it's because he's so cultured by way of growing up in NYC OR if it's because that's the day the new Nick Jr. show Ni Hao, Kai-Lan  (I saw a preview - it's a really cute show!) is premiering.  I suspect that it is the latter.
4. Random Acts of Kindness Week (2/12 - 2/18): Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness.” -Seneca
5. National Pancake Day (2/12): Celebrate National Pancake Day at IHOP by receiving a free stack of pancakes.  In exchange, they ask that customers consider donating to the Children’s Miracle Network.
6. Valentine's Day (2/14): Personally, I'm especially looking forward to going away to a retreat for married couples this year.  I have compiled a list of local Valentine's Day events here.

7. ***My baby Sean's FIRST Birthday on 2/22 - HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEAR SEAN-Y***

Recommended Books

Success Never Smelled So Sweet: How I Followed My Nose and Found My Passion by Lisa Price (President of Carol's Daughter) and Hilary Beard was a great read.  In the book, Ms. Price talks about her life from childhood to adulthood.  While sharing about her family, finding herself and the ups and downs of entrepreneurship, she is very open and honest, sharing about things like an abortion, filing for bankruptcy, a miscarriage and other personal events.  Sprinkled in her biography are various recipes and rituals.  At times, the book is a little too "new-Agey" for my tastes but overall I found it to be an open, honest and inspiring story of a woman who bootstrapped her way to success. 

I was also pleasantly surprised by Ladies Who Launch: Embracing Entrepreneurship & Creativity as a Lifestyle by Victoria Colligan, Beth Schoenfeldt and Amy Swift.  It was really good.  That was a surprise because in the past I have had negative encounters with a couple of the online site members.  (In fact, one of the members that is shared about in the book still owes me money for a business transaction - not enough to go to court or anything - but a debt is a debt!)  Anyway, the book provides great, practical advice about starting a business (or pursuing other non-business related goals) from a feminie perspective. Imagine It; Speak It; Do It; and Celebrate It are the four basic steps.  This isn't the most in-depth business book out there, but it's definitely an inspiring overview of the basic steps to take as an entrepreneur.


For those of you with little girls in your lives, Princess Baby is an especially cute new book.  Giving this book along with a princess wand and/or tiara from a store like Oriental Trading Company would make a great little birthday gift.


Valentine's Day Lingerie

I'm not big on doing gift guides for every holiday.  I do like passing on good finds though.  I'm not a huge lingerie fan, but I (re)discovered recently that my husband likes it a lot.  (Men are really visual!)  So, I'm making more of an effort to stock up on some key pieces.  I like Victoria's Secret, but at a certain point, their products just tend to be "cookie cutter".

All that to say I was so happy to find Yumdrop.com, a site that offers both sexy and sweet lingerie.  I received their Ruffle Bust Chemise and it was a hit (with both me and my husband).  It was comfortable, flattering and my favorite color (pink). 

On a funny, mom side-note, the chemise comes with a thong.  Michael (my older son) came into our room the morning after I "modeled" it for my husband.  He looked at my panties (before I could put a robe on) and asked, "Where's the rest of your clothes?"  My husband and I started cracking up!   


In any event, I highly recommend this site for finding romantic Valentine’s Day gifts for yourself/your significant other. 

Movie Review: ‘The Wheels on the Bus: Mango’s Big Dog Parade’

The Wheels on the Bus: Mango’s Big Dog Parade is excellent! My older son wanted to watch it over and over.  This is the latest DVD in The Wheels on the Bus series where Mango, Papaya, Coco and their friends ride around on the Bus.  (Roger Daltrey of The Who is the voice of Argon, the wise dragon bus driver in this series.)  During this particular DVD, kids learn social skills like sharing, taking turns and getting along.    One of the songs that are played is (of course) various versions of The Wheels on the Bus.  Highlights include when the characters take a "Jungle Bug Adventure" where they learn about a variety of unusual insects and when they help a procrastinating dog get to the Big Dog Parade and Canine Festival. (For more information about the Big Dog Foundation and the Big Dog Parade and Canine Festival -an actual event- visit www.bigdogs.com.)

January 23, 2008

NYC Restaurant Week

New York Restaurant Week is one of the most popular events in the city.  This year, the event takes place from January 21–25 and January 28–February 1.  During this time, you can enjoy three-course fixed-price meal ($24.07 lunches, $35 dinners) at over 200 top restaurants.
My husband had the 21st off for MLK day, so we went to luch at China Grill - New York, a popular, high-end Asian restaurant.  It was great!  First of all, the place was beautiful and the service was very attentive.  The food was also very good.  We loved our appetizer (spicy beef & scallion dumplings) and salad (crackling calamari salad).  The family-style servings were very generous.  The dumplings were served in a soy ginger sauce that was excellent.  The calamari was cooked perfectly (not too chewy/not too greasy) and the lime miso dressing on the salad was so good that I went back for more (and I'm definitely not a salad person).  The entree (sake marinated "drunken" chicken ) wasn't as good as the appetizers (we normally find that to be the case) but it was still good.  Our last course, the mango ice-cream dessert was also very good.  It came with mango, vanilla bean and raspberry ice cream along with some cookies.  It was a great ending.

China Grill - New York

Two tips in case you plan on going to Restaurant Week:
1. Be sure to ask for the official Restaurant Week menu when you are seated.
2. Save yourself some time in finding which participating restaurants are available at the time you'd like to make a reservation by going directly to OpenTable.com.  (Our first choice, Tao Restaurant wasn't available.)

January 16, 2008

How to be Your Physical Best in 2008

As the year begins, many of us are focusing on fitness.  Fortunately, I was able to get some tips from Laura Miranda MPT, CSCS of NYC Adventure Boot Camp.  (Their boot camp is for women of all ages and fitness level.  It is a four week outdoor fitness program that includes fitness instruction, nutritional counseling and motivational training. )
Millions of people drink an average of 2 regular soft drinks or juice drinks a day, which is a total of 300 calories. When you add these extra 300 calories up over a year, they result in over 30lbs of weight gain! Say no to soft drinks, and say goodbye to your unwanted pounds.
Did you know that 1 lb of muscle burns 30-50 calories per day, while 1 lb of fat only burns about 9 calories per day? The more muscle your body contains the more calories you burn each day. Resistance training has been called the fountain of youth – and it really is!

Fat free foods, when eaten in excess, will still be stored as fat! Fat free cookies and crackers are  made up of a whole lot of SUGAR! Yep, the secret is out! Sugar is just as fattening of a substance than fat itself, when eaten in excess.
A great way to burn off excess fat is to walk or jog for as little as 15-20 minutes first thing in the morning. Performing a calorie burning activity right when you wake up is more effective since your body is depleted of calories, and is forced to pull energy from fat stores. A personal trainer can help you identify your ideal target heart rate for maximum fat burn.

The easiest way to effortlessly lose weight is to not eat three hours before bed. It has been proven that not eating three hours before bed reduces fat storage throughout the night.
Make sure that you are exercising in your “Fat Burn Zone“during cardiovascular workouts by checking to see if you can hold a conversation without breathlessness.  Your body needs oxygen to aide in fat burn so make sure you are breathing deeply.  If you can hold a conversation without choking on the person then you need to ramp it up a bit.  Otherwise, you are just going through the motions.
Eating right when you wake up is vital to breaking the fast your body goes into every night. 2- 3 hours after you eat your body shuts down your metabolism and acts as if it needs to store food. In order to communicate with your body that it is healthy, well fed, and not in need of extra fat storage you need to start your day off with a small meal and continue to eat small meals every 2-3 hours.

Your body needs a variety of nutrients to function at its peak and burn fat. Find new, healthy alternatives to your daily meals, and substitute them frequently. Bringing food to work pre-made ensures that you will eat the healthiest and allows you to avoid last minute fast food choices. Make sure that you are eating 5 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables every day, of different colors.

Losing patience with exercise? The key to weight loss and fitness gains is to consistently give your body new challenges. Mix up your workouts every few weeks, and don't be afraid to try something new! Look into program’s that can help you add new excitement to your fitness routine. Rollerblade, hike in Central Park ride your bike, jog to a playground and use the jungle gym as your gym equipment. Exercise doesn’t have to be a drag!
Consistency breads results.  When you see results you become hooked.  When you set a goal to go to the gym at night although you may have the best intentions, things come up. Dinners, meetings, kids have practice, 1 day sale. Do you remember why your last quest to “loose weight” failed?  I bet I can tell you…lack of consistency.  Enter the AM workout!  NOTHING, I mean nothing comes in the way of an AM workout, except for being a little sleepy.  You finally want to make that change in your body you have been dreaming about, become consistent by switching to the mornings.  Your body will thank you.  (PS Adventure Boot Camp starts at 5:30 am!)   

Baby-Safe Q & A

"The Safety Dad" (James Hirtenstein) owns NYC-based Baby-Safe, Inc. which specializes in baby proofing, nanny surveillance and pool safety.  He was kind enough to answer the following Mom in the City member questions:

-I'm always scared that my oldest child will slam the door on my baby.  What's the best thing to do to prevent this? 

Your fears are warranted, as finger pinching or severing are a common household injury that are easily prevented. You can either use a spring release hook/eye on the door to keep the door in an open position or you could use a product called the door mouse. The door mouse sits on the door and acts as a buffer between to door and the frame. Keeping fingers safe from hams way. It is easily removed when you want to close the door all the way. 
-I would like to be able to lock doors (for privacy!) but I want to make sure that my kids don't lock themselves in a room.   What should I do?

As a rule, any locks on a door should be reversed. If you reverse the locks, you eliminate the chance of a child locking themselves in any particular room. Once you’ve reversed the locks, install an overhead door lock. This lock can be opened from both sides of the door but only an adult tall enough can reach the locking mechanism. 
-I have an open floor plan where the kitchen, dining room and living room are not separated by walls or doors.  How do I keep my baby safe from the kitchen area?

Kitchens are by far one of the most dangerous areas in the home; I can understand your concerns. There have been many revolutions in child safety and gates are one of them. They make irregular sized gates that can block off entire areas. If you feel that a gate is not your style you can take certain measures to baby-proof the entire area. Latch all the dangerous lower cabinets; install appliance locks on you oven, refrigerator and dishwasher. Anchor any water coolers as they can tip easily. Never allow a child in the kitchen when the stove is on as the door face can burn on contact. Always use the back burners when cooking. Using the back burners protect from a child pulling over hot pots and pans. NEVER leave a child alone even in a baby-proofed kitchen.  
-I purchased some socket plugs, but my toddler just figured out how to take them out.  What do you recommend?

When baby-proofing a home, I try never to use push in plugs. They come loose, parents forget to place them back and if you pull out a plugged in appliance, you now have an exposed outlet. Your safest bet is to use spring release outlet plates. These plates replace your existing plate with just a screwdriver and remain closed and out of harms way 24/7. If your child pulls out a plug, the plate automatically snaps shut. 
-I also purchased some stove knob covers but my toddler just ended up taking off the entire knob.  Any suggestions?

Your child might be onto something.  Score one for your child. Though stove knob covers do provide some initially safety, children do learn how to open and use them sooner than later. I too suggest taking off the knobs and placing them in a bowl up on a shelf and out of harms way. If you need to use your stove, these knobs easily slide back on for use. 
-My kid is obsessed with all things electronic.  I fear that something heavy (i.e. the microwave or television) will fall over.   What is the best way to prevent this from happening?

Electronics are a major hazard for children. In the last year 3000 children 5 and under have been admitted to the emergency room due to TV accidents. Fascinated by their bells, lights and whistles, electronics are an attractive toy for any inquisitive child. Each years too many children are seriously hurt and killed by electronics placed on unstable stands or placed too low so child can reach them. These accidents are easily prevented. Make sure all electronics are high enough for a child not to be able to reach or if they are low, please make sure they are secure to the wall and unable to be pulled over. Don’t place toys or object on top as children are inclined to climb to retrieve these toys. The results can be catastrophic. 

-My kid is a climber.  How do I make sure that things don't fall over (i.e. bookshelves, dressers, etc.)?  
Furniture tipping is one of the leading causes of emergency room visits for children. Each year thousands of children are injured or killed due to unstable furniture tipping. Things to look for are TV’s, Bookshelves, water coolers, lamps and bureaus. It is important to make sure that all furniture is weighted evenly and are not top heavy. Even if a piece of furniture seems sturdy it is never a bad idea to secure it to the wall. Simple cable ties and a wall secure should do the trick. Never place a favorite toy on top of a climbable shelf, as this is a recipe for disaster. It is important to latch all drawers as well. A latched drawer can’t be opened and used as a stepping-stone. 

How do I keep little fingers out of low cabinets?  (My cabinets are flat/no knobs/handles.)

Your best form of defense against access to the cabinets/drawers is some sort of latching system. These latches come from simple open door and push latch systems to the more advanced magnetic type, which requires a special magnetic lock to open the doors. The magnetic locks will last you longer than most push button latches but are also more expensive. If installed correctly, they both offer good protection against dangers 
-Should I tell my nanny that she's under surveillance?

Having been providing surveillance and safety advice for over 12 years, I am a firm believer that when it comes to your children, there is nothing too over the top to keep them safe. We live in a strange world now. If you aren’t being proactive about safety you are being inactive. I want to know everything I can about the person watching my most precious commodity. When you are in the interview process, you should let your prospective applicant know that certain rooms in house are under constant surveillance. You should also explain that it isn’t them they don’t trust but it’s something you feel strongly about. Most Nannies have heard the horror stories on TV. If they truly have a problem with it then maybe they aren’t the one for the job. If she does a fabulous job, a bonus might be a nice reward.  
-What protection do I have when my child is taken out of the surveillance camera's range?

If your child is out of the house or out of camera range your options are a bit more limited. If you want to hear what is going on in the house, you could always place voice-activated tape recorders to hear the interaction. If you are looking for out of the house help, there are two services that can provide a little bit of comfort.

Howsmynanny.com provides traceable license plates, attached to the stroller that allows others to report if your nanny is acting in a way that raises suspicion or concern.

Whereismybaby.com is a GPS tracking system that attaches to your stroller. This service allows you to track your child’s where abouts at all times if in the stroller. 

January 14, 2008

Free Play Date On NY Kids Club

Last Friday, my family went to a really fun "blogger" play date at the 68th street NY Kids Club.  There was a wide variety of fun things for the kids to do including the trampoline, free play, circle time, dancing, the balance beam and more.  The kids had a blast.  (My husband and the only other man there kept commenting on the floor - it was really nice and springy.  We need that flooring at home!) 
Anyway,  NY Kids Club is opening the event up to you (not just bloggers this time) this Friday at their 67th Street location in Manhattan. The event will take place January 18th, 2008 from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM at 219 East 67th Street. Please visit http://nykcbloggerparty.smnr.us for full details about the event, including RSVP information.  (There will also be complimentary drinks and snacks.)

January 09, 2008

Mom in the City's pre-Valentine's Day Playdate at The Little Gym

1/10 Update: We are no longer taking reservations for this event.  Due to great demand, we are already at capacity!

Who: Children ages 18 months to 4 years.  (Along with their parents and/or caregivers)

What: Will enjoy this 1 hour gym session (including plenty of music, movement, games and fun!).  Afterwards, pizza, juice and dessert will be served.  There will also be great giveaways (including a family fun pass for four to the Vital Theatre Company) and goody bags for each family with items from Crayola, Leshem Loft, Brain Candy Kids, and BabyLegs along with a special Valentine's Day treat for the parents from YumDrop Inc. and more.

A special thanks to Birthday in a Box for providing Valentine's Day themed party items for this event! 

When: Saturday, February 9th from 1:00PM-2:30PM

Where: The Little Gym of the Upper West Side (2121 Broadway, 2nd Floor; Between 74th & 75th Street; New York, NY 10023)

How:  RSVP to events@mominthecity.com; Cost: $10 per child before 2/1; $15 per child afterwards (Parents FREE); **30 children in the Gym is the max for safety reasons**

Why: To have some pre-holiday family fun! We will also be collecting new or nearly new clothing for Room to Grow.

January 04, 2008

99 Thanks

One of the things that I'm working on in 2008 is being more thankful.  I have an amazing life and I want to be sure not to take it for granted.  So now (more than ever) I'm focusing on saying "thank you" to everyone who does something kind to/for me. 

In that spirit, I sent the following "thank you" to all of the companies that have supported our group by sponsoring giveaways, special offers and/or events for the Mom in the City membership in 2007.  To my (pleasant) surprise, I had 99 people to thank.

"Happy New Year!

Thanks so much for your support of Mom in the City in 2007!

2007 Highlights:
-Growth: Not only has our membership grown in number, but also there has been a great variety of women joining in on the fun (including stay at home moms, entrepreneurs, doctors, lawyers, women in the parenting publishing industry and more!). In addition, I (Kimberly, Mom in the City's founder) expanded my Editorial and Regional Parenting Guide duties at ParentZone.com/ BabyZone.com. I now cover Northern NJ and Long Island as well as the NYC area. My new area has over 50,000 weekly newsletter subscribers.
-Great events: Member favorites included movie nights, family play dates and parenting seminars.
-Charitable Outreach: Mom in the City members continued to give to "our" charity, Room to Grow.

Our hopes for 2008 are simple:
- Consistent membership growth, more great events and more charitable donations.

Our first family event of 2008 is scheduled for 2/9/08. We will be having a pre-Valentine's Day family playdate at a new facility in Manhattan , The Little Gym of the Upper West Side.

We hope that you will continue your support of Mom in the City in 2008!

All the best,
Kimberly Coleman
Mom in the City"Mom in the City